"Umm..." I looked up from the odd crisscross craziness that made up this weird place. It was like someone took a bunch of those funky outsider light tube things, lit them up, and made a grid across the everything of everything, but also nothing, because I keep trying to get at them, but they keep not being gotten at! "...Can you repeat that?"
Sighing for the third time, the great voice asked, "Sister, may I kill her?"
"No." Ohh, a new voice!
The other voice took on a begging boom. "Please?" At least she's polite! Sis always said that politeness was important, so maybe I should let her? Ohh, wait, but then I can't do this job I apparently have!
"You know as well as I why we cannot. Now, answer her questions, sister."
Sighing for the fourth time now, the voice said, "There are some things you must keep in mind, such as-"
"No, no, before that!" I wasn't really listening, so it'd be nice to start from the top!
Sighing for the fifth time, I could tell that her head was throbbing, as I sensed those cute little nerves doing their thing. "Welcome to the Realm of Dreams, young satori. We have need of your aid for some reason-"
"You never said that the first or the second time!" I put on a pout, as she's making stuff up! That's not very nice!
"-for you possess in you a power rare among not only your kind, but all kinds." Jeez, it's rude to talk over me!
"Take deep breaths, sister." Ohh, it's the nicer one again! Hi, nice one! Ohh, wait, I should use my mouth to talk, right?
The sound of the booming voice taking deep, crinkly breaths from a paper bag filled the air. Thankfully the crinkles were less noisy than her, as that'd be annoying. Like, wow would it be disruptive!
While she did that, I cheerfully greeted, "Hi, nice one!"
"...Hello." She's so nice~
However, the rude one didn't let us talk more, instead booming, "And so we have brought you here as you slept, though you yet sleep." At least the name is accurate! "We are sadly understaffed, you see, for our, erm... single employee is out sick." What does her relationship status have to do with anything? "And so, as you are the only one capable of fulfilling her work, you must do it."
"Can I say no?"
"Now, as I was saying before, there are some things you must keep in mind. One, you must satisfy every requirement we give to you. If we say jump, you jump. If we-"
"Am I a dog?"
"Okay!" I started wiggling my butt, barking a few times for practice. One of my arteries came out of the bottom of my skirt, wagging up a storm. Not literally, though, because that'd be silly.
The other, less rude one chimed in, "Actually, no you aren't." Aww!
Sighing for the sixth time, she boomed, "Two, you will work while asleep, so be sure to do that. While our wing is largely pointless due to youkai not technically needing sleep, dreams and nightmares are still an important cog in the machine that is reality."
"Does that make us all robots?" That'd be so cool!
Booming once more, she continued, "And three, you may do whatever you like within those dreams and nightmares so long as you fulfil the requirement."
Perking up at the sound of that, I asked, "Anything?"
"Anything." This'll be such fun! "Now, here is your first work order."
A piece of paper suddenly materialized out of nowhere, floating down like paper likes to do. I, of course, snagged it before it could escape me.
Requirements: 1: Make her feel reassured that her trauma won't happen again. 2: Do not leave her alone.
Booming one last time, the rude one said, "Ohh, and here. Use this to amplify your power."
A pink blob splatted me in the face with a sloppy wet smack.
[ ] You know what'd make someone feel super not alone? A birthday party! Like, a real big one with lots of gifts, but probably more people than gifts because people suck! [ ] You know, maybe a nightmare could help? Like... one not focused on those bad things, but other bad things instead! Maybe if she can't open her eyes and her family is super concerned! I know mine would be! Or, uhh... are? [ ] Clearly this calls for sex! You can't feel lonely when you have lots of sex with a nice boy! Or a girl? Whatever floats her boat! I won't judge! ...Vocally! [ ] Write-in! Because sometimes listening to those little niggling voices in the back of your head is a good idea! Probably!
[X] You know what'd make someone feel super not alone? A birthday party! Like, a real big one with lots of gifts, but probably more people than gifts because people suck!
"Mnng..." Suddenly up became down when I rolled over.
"Sjusddadrm... Gwaay..." I growled, barely awake, and pulled the covers to a more quiet location. Which is to say, covering my ears to shut out the pesky noise.
"Flandre Scarlet, wake up this instant." I clenched my fist in the direction of the sound, and the pop in my hand signalled its end. "Don't give me that sass, young lady!" Or not. Missed. I reached out again, only to find fingers lace with mine.
I actually bothered to look at the mirage known as my sister this time, and just stared at her a bit, eventually rubbing my less explosive eyes with my free hand to make her more sister-like. "...Are you real?"
"...Are any of us?" Yep. Very real. Only my sister says stupid things like that.
Instead of destroying her for leaving me without food for hundreds of years, I chose to pull her into a hug for now. I have trouble undestroying things, such as her clothes, so waiting is a good idea.
Funny that her chest is still smaller, that said. "I missed you, too, Flan."
Truth be told, I missed freedom more than her. "...Same."
Smiling like an idiot, my sister said, "Ohh, we've much to do, Flan! After breakfast, find me; I know how good at it you are!" With that, she exploded into giggles and bats, though neither lasted long, as they all were quick to swarm out of the room.
When she was fully gone, a few more bumbling parts of her taking a few attempts each to not bounce off the walls, suddenly reality's heart skipped a beat.
And then there was a maid.
A maid that wasn't there before.
"...Are you real?" I know all this isolation isn't good for me, but I like to think I'm not quite this bad off. Sudden maids are a bit weird even for me, especially nude ones.
"Yes I am, Young Mistress." Young Mistress... ...I like the sound of it. It sounds like words. Which are better than silence.
Much, much better.
"Are you breakfast?" She smells like food, so worth a shot.
"I am afraid not, Young Mistress." She chuckled, not smelling like even an ounce of fear. Not that it'd actually measure to an ounce. After all, she'd probably piss herself if she was afraid, and that would likely not quite hit that mark exactly.
Humans tend to do that, if I'm not mistaken. I could be, though.
"...Then what are you?"
"Most might call me a maid."
"Ahh." I guess I walked right into that, though I could have sworn that maids wear more than just head dresses and aprons.
"In 28 minutes 42 seconds."
"Where, not when."
She gave a very maidly bow, or so I assumed. I think it was meant to be a skirtless curtsy. "My apologies, Mistress. Where you shall be in 28 minutes 22 seconds."
"Ahh." Well, I can deal with that, assuming she's accurate.
Smiling as help tends to, she offered me a hand, and I decided to take it instead of removing or biting it. From that point, I was guided through the gaudy halls I had once known, though I noted that they were all the more gaudy compared to before. Which is honestly impressive, as I still have no idea what color they are.
Still, the carpet feels nice between my toes. It's very... fluffy. And soft.
As we made the trek, I noticed a fairly diverse staff of odd little girls. Little little girls. They all make my sister seem mature by comparison, so I suppose that makes sense. They didn't actually seem to be doing their job, however, which I found a bit concerning, especially considering their weird amount of nudity. Hopefully I didn't destroy the concept of clothes when I was sleep.
However, the long journey didn't last much longer, which was something I was thankful for. You see, with such a prophetic meal looming not far off, were our arrival delayed, I might be left filthy. And, as long as it has been since I last bathed, I would not like to be filthy. I may be nose dead to it, but the tears in everyone's eyes tells a story I do not like.
When she opened the door, the sight of running water nearly eked a hiss out of me, though I held that back. I'm a Scarlet, and hissing at bathtubs is below me.
Odd that it was already running, however.
When the maid strolled up to the tub, twisted its knob marked with a particularly stylistic letter H, and motioned to it, I knew something was odd with her. "The bath is ready, Mistress."
I gave an uneasy nod, first dipping a toe in, followed by the whole of myself. The water was something approaching scalding, and it stung quite badly.
And I loved it.
Hundreds of years of tension melted away in hundreds of seconds. Memories too terrible to recall dripped from my mind like wax from a candle lit from a few too many ends. In this moment, I felt at peace. I looked to the maid, whispering just audibly, "Make me sparkle..."
And so the maid took a few particularly rough brushes to my delicate form, stripping both grime and flesh to an acceptable ratio.
I like this new maid. She knows how to remind you that you are, in fact, real.
After the most painful bath I had ever experienced was over, she uncorked the tub, the essence-filled water slipping away like some sort of watered down sacrifice. What was left behind was surely not something most would like to walk in on.
...Or not. It was now cleaned to the point of having a mirror shine.
"Now, let's get you dried off, shall we?" Not even needing to be asked, the maid began to do everything within her power to dry me. I could just destroy the water, but mistakenly destroying the concept of water may go poorly. It was bad enough possibly destroying the concept of clothes earlier, but water isn't as easy to invent.
Well, assuming times haven't changed so drastically that this is simply normal.
With the water stripped from me, we continued on, leaving behind the now eerily clean bathroom.
More halls, more gaudy and more elemental cherubs later, we arrived at the dining hall, which seemed significantly larger than I remembered.
Which is to say ten times larger.
Ignoring all that, I allowed the maid to seat me, though the placement of the dishes made it clear that I was meant to sit at the head.
In an instant, the smorgasbord of sweets was unveiled, each looking fairly simple, though I spied my favorite fruit intermingled among each and every one. A minor detail, but it was nice to see that my ever so forgetful sibling hadn't forgotten that much about me, just forgot about me as a person.
I greedily began to devour the strawberry sweets. Pie, shortcake, tarts and more fell to knife and fork, tooth and nail, and each finished in more bites than my sister would prefer, the pig that she was. First one fell, then two and three. By the fifth I had begun to feel less lethargic, and felt my flesh regain its healthy appearance. By the twelfth sweet, I felt full to bursting, and though my stomach rupturing would do little in the long term, I decided to stop sateing my thirst before it were to happen.
I arose from my seat, and looked about at the sea of eyes, each representing a thing or concept, and each akin to a star of pure lifeforce. Each alike, yet each unique, but if one scans them carefully....
It didn't take long for my eye to catch on that star belonging to my familial quarry. I spread my wings, though a great flap did little more than force the maid to sidestep their path. Looking to them, I realized that they were stripped and useless, and so simply walked instead. With every step, I felt more alive, the sweets doing their work, and a toothy grin worked its way onto my face as I looked down at my talons, my hands far more full of life's mockery than it once was.
The maids stared as I passed, though I paid them no heed. The halls were gaudy as ever, but thankfully consistently so, making blazing a trail a simple matter. Eventually I came to a pair of oaken brothers, and pushed them open with a shove most reserved. "Sister, I know you're here. Come out so that I might greet you..." Although, I was tempted to exchange that greeting for a beating for what she put me through.
Beyond the wooden barrier, I found what could only be a library, as many books as I could spy from this point alone. I lowered myself in a crouch and made a leap, landing atop the nearest shelf, caring not for the dust upon my feet or the footprints left behind. I made my beeline, hopping and leaping from shelftop to shelftop, from left foot to right foot, making quick progress with great bounds, though progress was slow enough that it spoke volumes of the sheer size of this place.
Minutes went by, or so I assumed, and it wasn't long before my quarry neared. One last jump from atop the shelf and I landed before my sister. Or rather, behind, having her at my mercy, were I to want it.
There was a great explosion of paper, looking that it was meant to be all the colors of a rainbow, or so I assumed. I looked left and I looked right, finding myself surrounded by what had to be a hundred people.
I blinked, confused. It's not my birthday... ...Well, okay, it could be for all I know, but I honestly doubted it. After all, the weather was the opposite of what one would expect, and I doubted we moved so far in these many years. Uprooting this place, dungeon and all, would be beyond the power of my sister and I combined, let alone just hers.
I looked around at the decorations and such, saying, "It... isn't even the right month, is it?"
My sister just chuckled, answering with confidence, "It is now."
"That's... not how birthdays work, you know."
"Ahh, but it is when I have so many to make up for!"
Her words gave me pause. "...Make up for?"
"Why, of course! You've missed out on 400 years or more, so I am holding one per day as an apology!"
I stared at her in shock. "You're... apologizing? To me?"
"Even though I..."
I was left stunned, but it wasn't long before I broke her ribs in a hug.
And she returned it, smiling.
She didn't have to do this.
Any of this.
...But she did.
The next several hundred days happened in a blur, consisting of just as many gifts. Most were tacky or unneeded, but I did appreciate the flight-enchanted crystals she had made for me.
"Aww, that was such a touching dream..." I blew my nose on the sheet of requirements, and then dabbed my eyes with the new one. I didn't hear any snark or niceness from the two of them, so I guess they left?
Requirements: 1: Echoes 2: Echoes 3: Khoes 4: Oes
Likes: 1: Echoes. 2: Birds 3: Monks
Warning: Use blob as ear plugs.
I was quick to stuff the blob in my ears, as I knew exactly who this was.
[ ] Just stick her on a mountain till she gets it out of her system! Because that's how Sis handles the pets when spring comes! [ ] Turn her into a duck the first time she makes an echo! Perfect nightmare and still counts! [ ] Well, if there's one thing you know about her kind of music, it's that liberal amounts of sex are involved! Bring on the groupies! [ ] Write-in! Because, seriously, sometimes the voices have good ideas!
>>"Why, of course! You've missed out on 400 years or more, so I am holding one per day as an apology!"
Does she get interest?
[x] Write-in! Because, seriously, sometimes the voices have good ideas! -[x] Make her hum a fugue of which you've heard the music's din 'afore --[x] And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore! ---[x] And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore! ----[X] AND WHISTLE ALL THE AIRS FROM THAT INFERNAL NONSENSE PINA-PINAFOOOOOOOOOORE. [x] The best thing it's unsure if it's a nightmare or a dream for her. Sooooo it can be whatever! -[x] We are the BEST voices right? --[x] Obviously.
[X] Turn her into a duck the first time she makes an echo! Perfect nightmare and still counts! [X] Well, if there's one thing you know about her kind of music, it's that liberal amounts of sex are involved! Bring on the groupies! [X] Duck groupies!
[2.1] Write-in! Because, seriously, sometimes the voices have good ideas! -[2.1] Make her hum a fugue of which you've heard the music's din 'afore --[2.1] And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore! ---[2.1] And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore! ----[2.1] AND WHISTLE ALL THE AIRS FROM THAT INFERNAL NONSENSE PINA-PINAFOOOOOOOOOORE. [2.1] The best thing it's unsure if it's a nightmare or a dream for her. Sooooo it can be whatever! -[2.1] We are the BEST voices right? --[2.1] Obviously.
I started blinking in confusion as a sing-song voice began to sing like sing-song voices do, though this one was weirdly fast in its doing so. Weird scratchy noises dragged across the inside of my skull as I heard an older man belt out enough words to give me a headache.
Makeherhumafugueofwhichyou'veheardthemusic'sdin'afore! Hrm... Din 'afore, din 'afore... Got it! AndwhistlealltheairsfromthatinfernalnonsensePinafore!
Before I could even try to figure out what I had just heard, a group of women took over, though I could barely hear it over the sound of a crazy amount of xylophone drumming against the inside of my skull.