Marisa yawned and pushed aside her book, sipping the cup of tea Reimu had prepared for her. It was well past midnight, and the shrine maiden had went to bed long ago, but Marisa wanted to stay up just a little longer. There was a problem, possibly an Incident in the making, and she wanted to solve it before it began. Neither of the girls had lived long enough to know whether this was a natural occurance or not, so Marisa was going through a lot of her borrowed books in an attempt to figure it out.
The problem was that a lot of the lesser youkai were acting... strange. That was a pathetic way to put it, since youkai attitudes could be utterly incomprehensible to a human, but in this case it was definitely strange for even them. To put it simply, they were becoming more extreme. Aggressive youkai were ignoring the spellcard rules, attacking the human village, and becoming more of a nuisance than ever. Keine hadn't slept in almost a week before Sanae had to take over for her, and both Kanako and Suwako were even being pushed.
On the flip side, some youkai were going to the other extreme and becoming far too attached to others. It was something that was most pronounced in the fairies, especially Cirno, who had decided that Reimu was the greatest thing ever and had been hanging around the shrine a lot. That's why, despite it being the middle of summer, Marisa was halfway under the kotatsu trying to keep warm. The other fairies weren't acting any differently, and the human village was populated with the small things when they weren't being attacked by the aggressive types.
Of course, the humans demanded why Reimu wasn't doing anything yet, but the fact was, the spells she had in place hadn't alerted her that anything that was highly dangerous to Gensokyo or its boundary had actually taken place, and the rules Yukari had made with the first Hakurei all those years ago stated that she couldn't act unless in self-defense or unless a threatening incident was occuring. The spellcard rules were an extension of this rule: just like a youkai shouldn't be attacking humans lest they be exterminated, Reimu couldn't go around attacking random youkai for any reason.
However, these youkai were breaking the rules. But since they weren't vital to the survival of the boundary, they could get away with it. So in order to be able to act, Reimu enlisted Marisa and her plethora of books for help. She was hesitant to ask any of the others for help, especially the youkai: Although it seemed that the stronger ones were unaffected, Sakuya had stopped by long enough to mention that Patchouli had started acting strange as well, but so far she appeared to be of the clingy type rather than the aggressive 'destroy everything' type. It was a welcome sign so far, but Reimu worried that if Yukari started to be affected by... whatever this was... then the border would collapse.
This all led to the current situation. The two humans had gone through almost all the books they had between them with no answers to why all of this was happening. Cirno wasn't old enough to know what was going on, and Suika couldn't remember anything like this happening before, so all Reimu could do was wait until she was allowed to go out and find out just what the problem was. Although Marisa wasn't bound by such rules, a lot of her power was linked to the spellcard rules as well, and without them she wasn't nearly as powerful as Reimu was.
Basically, to act, the girls needed an Incident to happen. Without that trigger, there was only so much they could do.
Marisa growled with frustration and finished her tea. She stood up, stretched, and walked through the shrine to Reimu's room. The red-white had set up an extra futon next to hers for Marisa to sleep in a few days prior so the witch didn't have to fly back and forth between locations at night, when just getting home to the Forest might end up in an hours-long battle.
The black-white sighed and stripped out of her clothes and into some white pajamas. She hung the clothes up next to Reimu's miko outfit, put her hat on top of her broom, and set her hakkero next to her futon. Crawling into it, she fluffed her pillow and lay her head down, and the allure of sleep quickly sent her to the land of dreams.
That night, just before dawn, Reimu awoke with a start. Her passive alert spells were going off like bells in her head, and the shrine maiden quickly went from sleepy to awake out of force of habit. Have they started to attack here as well? she wondered briefly. She grabbed her gohei from next to her futon and walked up to a storage chest in the corner, kicked it open, and brought her yin-yang orbs to a hover position around her.
The kick startled Marisa awake. "Reimu... what are you doing?" she mumbled. "What's going on?"
"We're being attacked," Reimu replied, which woke Marisa up faster than anything else. "Grab your stuff. The alarm says they're coming from the front and the back. Which one do you want to tackle?"
"Whichever you don't," Marisa grabbed her hakkero and stood, walking up to the bedroom door and sliding it open. "How many are there?"
"I'm not sure, but they didn't trigger any of my more serious alarms, so it's probably not that many." Reimu walked up next to Marisa. "If they're attacking, Marisa, chances are they won't follow the rules, so you'll have to fight however you think is best."
"What do you mean?"
"What I'm saying is that if you have to aim to kill, then do it."
"...Alright," Marisa nodded. "So what are we waiting for?"
Choose Your Character [ ] Reimu Hakurei (Armed with 4 Yin-Yang orbs and Gohei)
[ ] Marisa Kirisame (Armed with Hakkero)
Choose Your Location: [ ] In front of the shrine. That's probably where the biggest numbers are.
[ ] Out back near the springs. They might think they're doing a sneak attack.
(Now that the character has been decided, the PoV will now shift to 1st person.)
[x] Marisa Kirisame (Armed with Hakkero)
[x] Out back near the springs.
"I'll go out front," Reimu decided. "Marisa, you take the back. Quickly, go!"
I nodded. I didn't like taking orders from Reimu, but in this situation I was willing to make an exception. She was the more heavily armed one between us, and without any mushrooms on me I couldn't fuel my Illusion Lasers. All I had on me was my basic missile spell and my Hakkero. This meant I could Spark, yeah, sure, but using the real Spark compared to the spellcard Spark were two entirely different things.
Let me do a quick explanation: In danmaku and spellcard combat, as you know, you imbue a card with whatever spell you want to use. When you use this spellcard, it instantly casts whatever spell you're using. In my case, I have to "ignite" my spellcards with my Hakkero, creating a Spark. Now, in spellcard combat, the spells are a lot weaker than they would be normally. But, they're a lot faster, and in spellcard combat, speed takes priority over power.
There's a reason I'm explaning this: To use a fully powered Master Spark, I have to charge my Hakkero for about fifteen seconds. Without my options as backup to protect me while I charge it, it's too risky to use it on my own unless I have a lot of lead against whatever I'm shooting at. Or have some support.
Wait a minute.
"What about Cirno and Suika?" I asked. Yeah, the fairy was barely better than cannon fodder but she'd be something, and Suika was damn strong; when not following spellcard rules I've seen her rip heads off of youkai without breaking a sweat. Reimu shook her head.
"No time!" She answered, resting her gohei on her shoulder. "Let's just hope the commotion wakes them up! Now come on, let's get moving!" I nodded.
"Right!" The two of us ran out of the bedroom and split up, Reimu returning to the shrine proper (a lotta people don't know this, but Reimu's house is behind the shrine). I grabbed my broom and headed out back, snapping off the end of it to use it as a last ditch spear. I really didn't want to get close cause my fighting skills were pretty bad, even compared to Reimu, but at least I'd have a chance... well, sorta. If a youkai got close to me, I'd probably get eaten faster than I could bring my Hakkero to bear.
And you don't want cute little me to be eaten, right ♥?
I walked out into the hot spring and jumped up onto the slanted roof. Up here I'd get a better view of the area, and it'd give me time to charge up. I suspended my Hakkero into the air and began to charge my magical energy into it, igniting the energy stored in the reactor and forming a Spark. Magic circles appeared under and in front of me, and I used my inner magic to fuel my eyesight - a little trick I picked up from Patchy. My eyes were glowing a bright yellow as I saw into the night and found what I was looking for: A small group of ox youkai with a wolf for their leader, standing on their rear legs with some nasty looking tear-Marisa-up claws. No, getting close wouldn't do at all.
It was good that I learned to multitask. I had finished charging my spell and pointed it at the group of youkai in the woods. I "locked-on", so to speak, focusing on the lead wolf youkai.
"Master Spark..." I whispered. A red lead beam zeroed in on the group. The leader paused, uncertain, his teeth gnashing. "...SHOOT!" I felt a rush of magic flow through me in pulses as my energy surged into the hakkero for the final push, giving me sort of a tickle throughout my body. I gasped with excitment as my Spark fired, the radiant beam of multicolored light screaming into the dark, widened, and barreled right into the group of youkai.
Really, the Spark feels almost as good as having an orgasm, just without the mess. Remember that next time you ask why I like shooting so many of them.
"Got them!" I shouted, dimming my eyes back to human levels and making a V sign. "That wasn't so bad. HEY REIMU I GOT-"
I grazed just barely in time, the heat from the spell ray singing my pajama sleeves. Not danmaku - that was a fatal attack! This was bad; what out there could have survived my Spark?! I reactivated my nightvision and glared out into the night, rising into the air to get a better view. There, behind the charred corpses of dead youkai was a vaguely human form. I tried to focus on it but the target shifted out of view back into the woods. I narrowed my eyes; the youkai was toying with me. If only I could-
I briefly felt a warm sensation on my back before it exploded into pain. I gasped and fell headfirst into the hotspring, screaming. An overwhelming sense of panic overcame me and I clawed my way out of the water, coughing out the springwater and gagging. "What the hell- Reimu?!"
Reimu groaned and struggled out of the hotspring too, rubbing her stomach. "That hurt... I didn't expect so many of them." She opened one of her eyes and looked at me. "A-are you okay Marisa?"
"You're losing?" My sense of panic returned but I swallowed it. How many were out there?!
"No, just a setback," Reimu tried to reassure me. She grabbed her gohei from the water and stood up. I caught a glimpse of her wet, white pajamas clinging to her body and had to look away, blushing. "What?"
"N-nothing!" I sputtered out, grabbing my Hakkero off the ground. "There's a magician youkai out there Reimu. It almost got me good, singed my clothes-" I suddenly realized a huge problem and looked down. I was in a similar situation as Reimu, it seemed. It was kinda distracting... hey, I actually look pretty hot-
"Hello there," A seductive feminine voice whispered in my ear. I screamed and turned around, and the magician youkai smiled at me, her fanged teeth gleaming in the moonlight. I glared at her and charged up my magic, sending a torrent of magical shots at her. The youkai easily grazed my shots, then again dodged Reimu's needles as she fired them from 2 orbs. Wait, only 2?! No, there was no time to question! I leaped back into the air, flying backwards to dodge the incoming shots.
I heard an explosion from the direction of the Shrine. Reimu and I both turned to look briefly. "Go, Reimu, I got this!" The Shrine Maiden nodded and turned to fly off, but an energy blast forced her to graze backward toward me.
"Oh, I don't think so, Hakurei Maiden!" The magician youkai glowered, firing off more shots at me and forcing me to move. "You've been a pain in the ass for youkai for too long! You're going to stay here and fight me to the death!"
"Not if we can help it!"
I whipped my head around to see a charging, flying oni followed by a gust of blue trailing ice cold air. Suika tackled the magician youkai and sent them both spiraling into the roof, breaking through into the house. Cirno stopped in front of Reimu and smiled at her.
"Reinforcements have arrived, Rei!" She chirped happily. Reimu blinked at the grinning fairy, then looked at her house. Oh come on Reimu, don't start bitching about your roof! "The strongest in Gensokyo is here to help!"
"Th... thank you, Cirno," Reimu stuttered, looking at me. I couldn't help but shrug. "Alright, come on! Back to the shrine! Marisa!"
Choose an Action: [ ] I should go with Reimu and Cirno to help defend the Shrine. Suika will be alright.
[ ] I'm not convinced that magician youkai's been beaten by Suika. I should stay to help her.
This part really fucking sucked, and I have no one to blame but myself. I'm sorry for the shit quality. Next part will get better.
Reimu critically fumbled her defense roll for those who care. She had to deathbomb twice.
>>35966 Yeah like I said this part really sucked. I redrafted this scene like a dozen times and it still came out bad. Originally I wrote it to where Marisa had to go get Cirno and Suika but realized that this would take too much time, so I had to go for the cliche "SUDDENLY REINFORCEMENTS" angle, which I absolutely goddamn hate if there's not a lead up to it. But since it's written from Marisa's viewpoint, I didn't have a choice.
I probably should have just left it as third-person but I like writing from 1st-person viewpoints. As a GM I didn't really get to do that a lot, obviously.
Also yeah I put in some pseudo-yuri stuff in there because it humors me. I haven't decided if I'll pursue any lines of thought like that; As it stands I'd rather keep character interaction less... er, 'romantic' or whatever.
Also don't read too much into the Cirno/Reimu aspect. It's adorable, yeah, but in this case it's more one-sided than anything.
[x] I'm not convinced that magician youkai's been beaten by Suika. I should stay to help her.
This update wasn't actually too bad, as determined as you seem to be in saying otherwise. The only thing you might want avoid doing in the future is using ACII art to make symbols like the heart. I couldn't care less as long as they're used in decent ways and arn't used too much, but some people on this site will throw a shit-fit at the slightest sign of anything similar to an emoticon.
[X] I should go with Reimu and Cirno to help defend the Shrine. Suika will be alright.
"I'm on my way!" I took to the air and started charging up another Spark, trailing behind Reimu and Cirno as we headed to the Shrine. I was confident in Suika's abilities; she could hold her own against almost any youkai in hand-to-hand combat. In the close quarters of Reimu's house, I was certain she'd win. You know, Assuming they didn't just tear the whole thing down fighting. That would be pretty awesome, but I'm sure Reimu would be pissed.
The three of us landed on the Shrine's roof. As if on cue, the night sky lit up with a flash of lightning and a peal of thunder. I looked out and watched as youkai of all sorts stood along the steps to the Shrine, glaring at us with red eyes. A few magician youkai stood in the center of a group, muttering incantations to themselves from the look of things. "What are they waiting on?" I asked.
"I put up a barrier right before I got knocked back into you," Reimu explained. "It'll keep them back for a bit longer, but it's a spellcard barrier so it won't take too much to knock it down." I nodded. Wait.
"When did you get a spellcard?"
"Don't worry about it, Marisa," Reimu blew off the question. "How's your Spark coming along?" I looked at my Hakkero. The lines carved into it had started to glow with the colors of the rainbow, signifying a full charge.
"Ready whenever you are, Reimu," I said, forming a magic circle under me. I held my hakkero with both hands and pointed it at the group of youkai. I centered on the magicians since they'd most likely be the strongest; the rest of them could easily be handled by the others. I looked over at Cirno, who took back to the air and started to form long icicles in threes. The shards started spinning, changing direction slightly to aim at individual targets. She crossed her arms and waited patiently.
Reimu held her arms out to her sides. A circle appeared at her palms as several multicolored orbs formed; her iconic Fantasy Seal. Without spellcard rules, each one of those orbs would be ridiculously powerful. I silently cursed - it was unfair how powerful she was. "Your move," I snarled toward the youkai.
"I heard that!" A voice shouted from beyond the barrier. The three of us looked toward the sky toward the voice. I was surprised to see that it was Rumia, self proclaimed all powerful youkai of darkness. Cirno stopped forming icicles to glare. That's right, weren't they friends?
"Rumia! What are you doing here?" She shouted.
"I've come because the Hakurei maiden deserves to die," Rumia declared. "Cirno, have you forgotten what she's done to you? To us? Why would you stay to defend her?"
"Reimu has done nothing wrong!" Cirno screamed. "Reimu is kind, and gentle, and she cares about me!"
"See? Already she's messed with your head," Rumia crossed her arms. A lightning bolt forked through the sky, and in the flash I saw monstrous black wings on the small youkai's back. Had she gained power? "What happened to the Cirno I knew and loved? The one who always fought to prove that she was the strongest? Now you're defending her? What's wrong with you?"
"I care about her! I'll die to defend her! I'll die a thousand times to prove how much I care!"
"My, what a declaration," I grinned at Reimu, who looked away from me and huffed. "I didn't know you two were-"
"Shut up, Marisa."
"Cirno, come to me!" Rumia demanded. "You're a fairy, not a human!"
"I don't care. I'd rather be human than try to kill Reimu!"
Rumia lowered her head, her eyes covered by her hair. "Then I'll have to kill you too, Cirno." The ice fairy grinned.
Lightning flash and thunder crackled. The magician youkai finished their incantation and sent a massive blast of dark energy at the barrier, shattering it like glass. Reimu reacted first, launching one of her Yin-Yang options at the blast. The option expanded, consuming the blast and reducing it to magic particles. Reimu thrust her hands forward and shouted, causing her Fantasy Orbs to arc up over her back before launching forward into the swarm of youkai, vaporizing them in clusters of sixes and sevens. She grabbed her gohei and launched herself forward into the horde.
"Master.... SPARRRK!" I shouted. My hakkero exploded with energy as I shot my signature move, sending a rainbow-colored ray of magic into the magician youkai and carving a crater into the ground where they stood. I grinned at my handiwork as Cirno cut loose with her own barrage, sending icicles flying into the horde and impaling them with impunity. I had to admit, it was pretty impressive to watch the little blue fairy cut the front lines down to nothing.
Reimu dived in, tossing around talismans and needles at dizzying speed. Youkai tried to swarm over her but were cut down as she spun, showing off why she was called a Youkai Exterminator. A large one appeared behind her, ready for its meal, but Reimu just spun her gohei around and stabbed the beast in its eye, causing it to recoil and giving her enough time to shove several dozen needles into its body. Her movements were quite beautiful, the work of a true professional doing what she did best.
Wait, I don't need to be watching, I need to be fighting!
As Cirno joined the fray below, I took to the air and primed my magic missiles, staring down Rumia as she grinned at me. "So, you wish to fight me?"
"Gladly," I tossed my hakkero into the air and caught it. Rumia glared at me and spread her arms out, summoning hundreds of violet crackling energy balls. Lightning flashed and she waved her hands forward, sending the bolts screaming at me. I smirked; Rumia wasn't abiding by the spellcard rules but her shots had a definite pattern. I grazed between two of them and spun, autofiring my magic missiles. Rumia flapped her black wings and dodged them, sending another wave of shots at me.
I dropped from the sky to dodge the shots, ran across the Shrine gate, and took back to the air, flying directly upward and spreading out my shots. Rumia grazed my bullets and responded in kind, but I was too far from her for the spread to be effective. I easily slid between the shots and sped up, stretching out my arms up toward her. I gritted my teeth and tackled Rumia, sending us higher into the storm clouds. I balled up a fist and punched her repeatedly in the gut. She growled in pain and balled her hands up over her head, crashing them down on mine with surprising force.
I let go of Rumia, holding my head in pain as she circled around and sent a blast of energy into my back. I screamed in pain as the electric black magic ravaged my body and, embarrassingly, shredding my top. Cold rainwater pelted me as I spun to face Rumia and held my hands out.
"Stardust Reverie!" I shouted as thunder roared. Hundreds of stars shot forward at Rumia, grinning as my attack hit her dead on. Rumia screamed as my magic did its work, tearing into her with reckless abandon. I dropped down to her level and gave her a roundhouse kick to the side of the head, sending her sprawling back. The youkai recovered and shot an X-shaped pattern of bullets at me. I dodged most of them, but one struck me on the arm, and I cried out as I heard the snapping of bone. Pain dulled my vision and I felt shock quickly setting in, but I focused on Rumia and held out my good arm.
"Earth Light Ray!" I screamed. Slave-type magic shot out from around me and surrounded Rumia. The darkness youkai tried to back away but was too slow as my lasers shot into her, ripping off her wings and one of her arms with deadly efficiency. Rumia coughed up blood but gritted her teeth, stabilizing herself and returning fire with lasers of her own. I grazed the random spread of lasers and charged at her again, balling up a fist and punching her in the nose. She cried and backed away but I pressed my advantage, shoving my hand on her chest and unleashing magic missiles at point blank range.
My bullets tore through Rumia and sent her flying backward. Lightning flashed and I caught the dead look in her eyes as I struck my fatal blow. But she wasn't dead yet, and righted herself as I backed away. I began to charge my hakkero again, switching it to my left hand and pointing it down at her. "I won't let you leave this place alive, Rumia!" I shouted over the thunder.
"Then you'll just have to die!" She screamed back. "Darkness Laser!" Rumia spread her arms and sent dozens of lasers at me. I narrowed my eyes and tried to scan it; the lasers were in a trick pattern - she was trying to force me to move into them. I stood my ground and continued to prepare my Spark as some of the closer lasers struck me, giving me razor thin but almost unbearably painful cuts. One of the lasers nearly took the top of my head off, and blood seeped into my eye as my hakkero finished charging.
"Final Master Spark..." I gritted. "Shooot!"
A massive multicolored ray of light shot out from my hakkero and blasted me back into the storm clouds as it spread far beyond anything that could be dodged. Rumia screamed as the beam of pure light smashed into her, and I could barely make out her small form as my laser slowly tore her apart, piece by piece, until all that was left were a few scraps of clothing.
The laser faded from view. I stared through clouded vision at the spot where she just was, and I felt my heart clench up slightly. Most of these youkai were faceless, but I knew Rumia, and I had just killed her. I looked down at the battle below. Cirno and Reimu were clueless to what had just happened from what I could tell, but I was too high up.
I felt myself falter as pain and shock finally settled in. I couldn't stay conscious anymore. I tried to lower myself to the ground, but the pain was making it hard to concentrate... it was starting to become hard to think... hard to breathe...
I felt myself lose control. I felt rain and wind toss me around for a bit. Then I felt nothing at all.
I awoke to a crackle of thunder and the sound of light rain.
Slowly, I opened my eyes and found that one of them wasn't opening at all. I felt my face and touched the bandage over my right eye. That was unfortunate. I looked around and saw that I was in Reimu's house, alone, but covered up in what looked like a medical blanket withe the word "Yagokoro" written on it. "...Eirin?"
"Ah, you're awake!" I looked over toward a familiar white-haired woman, who was standing in front of a rolling table and mixing together some red liquid. "It's a good thing that the miko called me; otherwise you might be dead right now," Eirin turned around and walked to me, smiling. She helped me sit up and handed me the cup of warm liquid. "Here, this will accelerate your healing. You should be fine in a few hours. It was hard to find all the stuff I needed since human biology is so different, but I think I've got it."
"What happened?" I asked, taking a sip of the liquid and grimacing. It tasted like a rotten mushroom.
"Well, you fell out of the sky after your fight, but Suika managed to rescue you," Eirin explained. "Reimu and Cirno fought off the youkai, who dispersed after they realized their leader was dead," That's right; I killed Rumia. "Reimu the others left a few hours ago to gather your things... ah wait, they should be back by now."
The door to the bedroom opened and in came everyone. Reimu took one look at me and smiled. "Marisa, it's good to see that you're okay."
"Hey, it'll take more than that to slow down the great Marisa Kirisame!" I boasted proudly, then coughed.
"Drink your medicine, Marisa," Eirin admonished, and I obediently agreed, taking another drink and almost vomiting it right back up.
"Well, we got some of your stuff, but you don't have a lot," Reimu opened up the bag she was carrying and spilled a couple dozen cylinders; my magic cartridges. She also dropped four glowing orbs; my options. "That's all we could find. Your house is a mess you know!"
"Yeah, yeah, I get that a lot," I muttered, taking another drink. I'm pretty sure it was turning me green. I looked at Cirno, who seemed... actually, perfectly fine. "Cirno... about Rumia..."
"It's fine, it's fine," Cirno waved a hand dismissively. "Look, all youkai bear the weight of possibly dying to you or Reimu or just another strong youkai. It's a fact of life for us yeah?" She frowned. "Yeah, it hurts a little that you had to kill her, but... well, everything will be okay! I still got Wriggle and Mystia and Daiyousei..." I saw that she was now blushing slightly. "And... and... I got Reimu, yeah?"
Reimu looked at the small fairy, a funny expression on her face. "Cirno, you shouldn't say things like that! Marisa will get funny thoughts!" I grinned. She opened the door for this.
"Yeah, I mean, I didn't know you were into little girls, Reimu," I teased. Reimu huffed and looked away.
"You shut your mouth," She said, crossing her arms. "It's not like that."
"Anyway, anyway," Suika interrupted us. "Look, I'm not the one who should be the serious one here, but we gotta figure out our next move. The Shrine ain't safe anymore."
Reimu sighed, and we all returned to serious mode. "She's right. The barriers here are really weak, and as of this morning this has been officially declared an Incident, anyways. We need to gather up some allies."
"Who you got in mind?"
"Remilia and Yukari," Reimu had to force that second name out. "And their people. We'll split up and each try to get one of them to help us out."
"Isn't Patchy acting weird too?" I asked. Reimu nodded.
"Yeah, that's what Sakuya said, but we don't have a choice. We need their help, especially if the aggressive youkai are pulling moves like attacking the Shrine. I talked to Sanae this morning and she said that last night they fought back the biggest attack yet. Mokou is helping them now." I raised an eyebrow; Mokou leaving the Bamboo Forest was pretty irregular.
"So things are looking pretty grim," I said. Reimu nodded. "And we still need to find out who's doing this and why."
"Right, so," Reimu looked down at me. "You should be good to go in a bit. You and Suika are to team up and help to gather allies. Which place do you want to go?"
Choose your destination: [ ] The Scarlet Devil Mansion. I'm friends with Flandre and Patchy, so it'll be easy for me to get them as allies.
[ ] Yukari's home near the boundary. If I go there, she won't be distracted by Reimu, so I can sway her to get up and move.
[ ] I should go check on the village first, regardless. My dad and I don't get along but he lives there too!
[x] Yukari's home near the boundary. If I go there, she won't be distracted by Reimu, so I can sway her to get up and move.
Why aren't some of the bigwigs in Gensokyo affected by this strange affliction? The only reasoning given so far is that only lesser youkai are infected, but then we have people like Patchy who are also brought low by this. What's stopping this thing from hitting the power players?
[X] The Scarlet Devil Mansion. I'm friends with Flandre and Patchy, so it'll be easy for me to get them as allies.
I dropped the magic cartridges in my hat and watched as my enchantment caused them to disappear into a pocket dimension. Inside my hat the cartridges would be safe until I needed them, which I hoped wouldn't be anytime soon. If the curse had affected Flandre, I was terrified that I would have to fight her. She abided by the rules because they were "fun", she had said, and to think of her no longer following them and acting on her own whims would mean total annihilation, possibly of Gensokyo itself, unless someone outright killed her. I didn't even know how to kill a vampire except for the legends about their weaknesses, and Remilia had proven a lot of those false.
I shook my head and activated my options as Reimu finished recharging her last orb while making sure she had enough weapons for her trip to Yukari's. The flight there was dangerous before, so I could only imagine how bad it would be with youkai running loose. By comparison, the lake next to the mansion was mostly populated by fairies, so I would probably be safe until I got to the mansion proper, save a random youkai showing up to eat the fairies.
I looked over at Cirno, who was finishing up forming an option of her own, her eyes focused on the glowing blue icicle as it took shape and filled with her latent magic power. The little fairy could only form 2 of them compared to my 4, but it was a good start for her, especially considering I didn't think she could even form one. She was definitely stronger than I gave her credit for, but still it wasn't much compared to Reimu or myself.
Suika took a swig from her gourd and grinned. Unlike the rest of us, Suika didn't need options, and she said she preferred just punching things to death anyway, so I guess it worked for her.
"Alright, I think we're all ready," Reimu nodded, then turned to Eirin, who had been watching us prepare with a soft smile on her face. "Eirin, do you think you'll have that potential cure soon?" The Lunarian shrugged.
"I'm not entirely sure. Since Lunarians aren't affected by this, I'll have to round up a test subject somehow. Cirno, can you get Mystia or Wriggle to help me out with that?" Cirno shrugged, unsure.
"I can ask if I come across them. I'll try to send them your way," She replied, looking at Reimu. "I'm ready, Rei."
"Then let's go. Thanks for all your help, Eirin!" Reimu smiled at the good doctor, who gave a smile of her own.
"It was my pleasure, Miss Shrine Maiden, and Miss Kirisame," I grinned and tipped my hat at her. I hopped on my broom and looked at the other three.
"Ready everyone?" I asked. Reimu and the others nodded. "Alright, let's get this show on the road!" So, like the heroes of legend, we took flight, becoming like meteors in the sky before we split up into two separate directions. Suika grabbed me around the waist and sat on my broom, holding on tight as I pointed us toward the mansion and attached my hakkero to the broom. I hunched down slightly and went full power, causing us to rocket toward it.
Stage 1 ~ The Misty Lake --While everything is quiet, a feeling of nostalgia kicks in. You can still easily remember the red sky...--
Flying is so fun. You'd really have to be able to do it to really understand it, and you can't truly appreciate it unless you had to earn that ability. That's how it was for me; I wasn't able to fly till I was seven. I know that sounds young, but Mama was able to fly when she was 3, or so I've heard. Mama died when I was born, but that's a story for a different day.
As I expected, the flight across the lake was calm. Suika had actually managed to fall asleep on the back of the broom; how, I have no idea, but I've found her sleeping in all sorts of weird positions, so maybe this was normal for her? I don't know, but I didn't want to ask. I just really hoped that she didn't tighten her grip in her sleep, cause being crushed to death in an oni-strength hug didn't really sound like my idea of a good time. I shrugged and focused on the mansion in the distance, which really didn't seem like it was getting any closer. In fact, shouldn't I have already been there? I looked around and noticed that a fog had started to roll in. That was strange, but weather in Gensokyo was never normal, really.
I looked up at the red sky and-
Now hold on a damn minute. Red sky?
I looked ahead and saw Reimu glaring at me before turning to face the fairies bearing down on us. Suika was nowhere to be found, and there was no way Reimu should be here, but I no time to think and reacted purely out of instinct as the fairies unleashed a deluge of danmaku at us. I squeezed between two shots and responded in kind, unleashing missiles and lasers into the swarm of enemies, tearing them to shreds. I moved my options in front of me and focus fired a path through the main body, grazed the shots that got too close, and barreled my way through.
Spirits came from all directions, trying to overwhelm us with danmaku, but Reimu and I had been in the game way too long to fall to such weak shots. We skillfully avoided the bullets and destroyed everything that tried to slow us down. The spirit's patterns, their shot spreads, even the way Reimu moved, all of it was all too familiar.
This was exactly the way things happened when Remilia created the Scarlet Mist Incident. From where we were in relation to the mansion, I knew that I was about to fight Cirno while Reimu went ahead to eventually fight Meiling. I looked around and sure enough, I could see a ball of blue headed in our direction from the mansion. "Reimu, heads up, something's coming," I heard myself say. Did I not even have control over my words here? Was this a dream? A nightmare?
No, this was something else. Someone was playing with my dreams. But I wasn't even asleep when this illusion started! What kind of youkai had this kind of power? And why were they targeting me now? Surely it was because of my mission, but how could they possibly already know about it? We just started!
"Marisa, take care of it. I'll go on ahead," Reimu nodded toward me and I felt myself nod back. She took low to the water and sped up, leaving behind a wake as she flew past Cirno and continued toward the mansion. I dodged the last few spirits and slowed down, waiting as the fairy showed up, just like before.
"You'll never touch land again!" She shouted at me. She crossed her arms and glared, just like the child she was.
"So you were the cold one," I replied. Well at least I knew what she was going to say next.
"Wow, that's a really bad pun," Cirno cocked her head to the side and blinked. Wait.
"Who are you?" I asked, suddenly in control of my own voice.
"Wouldn't it have been easier just to kill her?" Cirno answered my question with a question. That wasn't fair!
"You mean kill Cirno? That's not how the rules work," I stood on my broom and put my hands on my hips. "I defeated her, fair and square. I might be a thief and a liar, but I always followed the rules when it came to danmaku and spellcards."
"That's so stupid," Cirno - well, obviously not, but it's easier to keep my brain straight this way - rolled her eyes. "If I were you, I would have struck this fairy down so she wouldn't be an annoyance anymore. You got the power to make sure she stays dead, so why not just kill all the youkai?"
"I'm sorry, but I'm not going to go around killing youkai just because," I shrugged. "It's not how Reimu and I have worked since she made the spellcard rules."
"But you have before, haven't you?" Cirno accused. "You've killed youkai before, and you enjoyed it."
"We didn't have a choice," I answered. "It was them or us!"
"So why not go back to it?" Cirno wondered. She was now circling around me. "It would be so easy, wouldn't it? Exterminating youkai souls permanently so you won't have to deal with them ever again? Why couldn't you do that? You could have started with Cirno."
"Cirno's a friend of mine now," I said. The "fairy" laughed at me and resumed her original spot in front of me.
"My, you are an annoying one aren't you?" She said, putting a mouth up to her hand and chuckling. "You were annoying as her back then, too."
"Back then? Who are you?" Cirno laughed as her ice wings grew crystallized feathers and expanded, becoming twice as tall as me and spreading out. "Cirno" seemed to grow a bit, and her clothes changed up a bit, becoming more... flowy. A nasty looking sword made of ice latched on to her arm, and she grinned at me.
"Ask Reimu when you meet her in hell!" she screamed. "Tell her that the Angel of Death sent you there!" I blinked, and the world around me turned into darkness, with only the two of us illuminated. Cirno charged me, her sword intent on piercing my heart.
The Frozen Angel of Death EX-Cirno
I fell off the side of my broom, using it as a level to come up under Cirno and fired my missiles. Cirno dodged the attack and unleashed a barrage of icicles, forcing me to swing back up on my broom. I landed on one foot steadily and jumped off of it, using it as a springboard to deliver a kick to her ribs. Cirno grunted in pain but kept her composure, grabbing my leg before I could pull it back and flinging me off the broom. I fell into the darkness, firing magic shots at Cirno, but she deftly dodged my spread, closing the gap with surprising speed.
I ducked under a strike that would have taken my head off and gave a nice uppercut straight to Cirno's jaw, knocking her backwards and up. I flew above her and flipped over, giving a hard downward kick that I chased with more magical shots. The shots struck dead-on, but Cirno had recovered in time to block it. It cost her the sword, but even that victory was short lived as she formed two this time and came charging at me again. Her speed was incredible as she came at me, but I was still faster, and as we ascended I was able to unleash more shots and lasers at her. They pelted off an invisible barrier, and I silently cursed as Cirno responded with a torrent of icicles.
I dodged most of the shards but two caught me in the shoulder, and I screamed as my own blood splattered against me. I pulled the icicles out painfully and tossed them aside. Cirno came at me with her swords out, but I ducked under her and dived for my broom. I grabbed it and yanked the hakkero off, pointing it toward her and channeling my energy.
Cirno sent another wave of icicles at me, and I narrowly avoided getting disemboweled with a well-timed spin. She charged at me, blue fire in her eyes as she held her swords to her sides. My hakkero was only at half-power, but I had to take a shot.
"Narrow Spark, FIRE!" I shouted. A thin rainbow-colored beam shot out and struck Cirno, but the power of the shot didn't even knock her off course. I barely dodged Cirno's overhead strike with her swords and flew up behind her. I grabbed her by two of her wings and put my feet on her back, stretching them out. I screamed with exertion as Cirno struggled to get me to move, and the fairy screamed as I managed to rip out one of her wings. I flew backward and threw away the wing, only to watch as she regenerated it instantly.
"Nice try," she grunted, putting her swords together and fusing them into a massive blade. "Icicle Sword, may your edge destroy all who oppose me," Cirno held her sword out to the side and sliced at me faster than I could see. Only instinct saved me from being cut in two, but it didn't save one of my feet from being shorn off.
I screamed as a pain unlike anything I'd ever felt before coursed through me. Cirno took advantage of my staggering and charged me, grabbing me by the throat and lifting me above her. "Pathetic!" She screamed at me, and she put the tip of the sword to my breast. "Now, let's see what you're made out of!"
It's just a dream. A nightmare. Cirno is going to kill me and I'm going to wake up.
...but if you die in a nightmare, don't you die in real life?
Cirno ran me through, and I couldn't even scream as she sliced downward, cutting me vertically in two. She let go of me, spun about and sliced through me again, cutting me in half at the waist. "So much blood!" She crowed as she shoved a hand into my body, grabbing my intestines and ripping them out of me.
It's just a dream... it's just a dream. But the pain... so real. Blood seeped into my eyes as Cirno dropped her sword into the voice and reached into my open chest, grabbing my lungs and yanking them out. I tried to gag as my windpipe was ripped out of me, and as my brain started to shut down I saw Cirno's cackling face as she squeezed my organs together. "Get ready to die, Kirisame!"
I opened my eyes and gagged, coughing up blood and bile. I lost control of the broom and sent Suika and I bouncing along the surface of the lake until we bounced up at its coastline, skidding along sand and dirt before finally stopping. I screamed in pain and rolled onto my side, hugging myself and coughing up more blood. Suika stood up and ran to me, broom in hand as she knelt next to me, screaming my name. I couldn't talk as she shook me - I could feel every single cut and tear as if it had really happened. I could feel ice-cold hands inside of me, as if Cirno... no, not Cirno, just her body and her face... but as if she was still touching me, still putting herself inside of me with reckless abandon.
It was a form of rape that I couldn't forget. Her face, that twisted caricature of Cirno that laughed at me as she felt around inside of my body. I started crying uncontrollably as I still felt that touch, that deadly touch of her hands.
In the distance I could hear Sakuya shouting mine and Suika's name. I closed my eyes and tried to control my sobbing, but that only made it worse. I felt Sakuya touch me, asking if I was okay, but I reactively recoiled from her, and I could hear my own sobs turn into shrieks. "Stay away! Get away from me!"
This unholy pain and fear... What was it that creature had done to me? I had to regain my composure but... it was so hard... so hard...
"Marisa?" A childish voice said my name, and I opened up my eyes to see Flandre looking at me, a... a concerned look on her normally smiling face. She was hiding under a parasol as she looked at me, ever the vision of innocence. "Marisa, are you okay? What happened? Why are you crying? You never cry."
I honestly have no idea what came over me next, but I latched on to that vision of innocence. I practically crawled toward Flandre and grabbed hold of her into a tight hug, and everything that "Cirno" had done to me replayed over and over in my head, and in turn I cried harder. I called the vampire's name as she dropped her parasol, taking the pain of sunlight just to return my desperate embrace. I heard her call Sakuya's name, and instantly the maid was upon us, holding the parasol above her mistress and directing Suika to the mansion.
"Marisa, let go of her," I heard the maid say, but that only made me grab on tighter to the small child, and it took everything Sakuya had to force me to let go of her. "Get ahold of yourself!" She shouted at me. I looked up toward the maid and saw her stern face, but I could see the concern in her eyes as well.
Had this really reduced me to such a mess that even Sakuya was worried about me? I struggled within myself to try and grab hold of my emotions, to calm down enough to explain myself. Instead, images of Rumia's face fading away in the night greeted my visions.
Kill them all... her voice whispered seductively to me. It's so much easier if you do. "No!" I screamed. "No! Don't do this to me!" Sakuya backed away from me, looking around to see who I was shouting at. In my mind, Rumia's face was replaced with a woman whom I didn't recognize. She grinned at me, her fangs gleaming.
I'll always be right here with you Marisa. And every night, I'll keep coming to you until you do my bidding. Yes... you can't resist me forever.
I screamed. I screamed and screamed until Sakuya put some chloroform to my mouth, and I passed out.
I don't remember my dreams, just the dread feeling they gave me. When I awoke in the Mansion, the moon was hanging high in the night sky, and my hat and broom were propped up in a corner. I recognized the room as one of the mansion's many guest rooms; specifically, the one Remilia had set aside for me and Reimu. Sitting at the edge of the bed with a confused look on her face was Flandre, who brightened up instantly when I sat up in bed. She ran out of the room and returned with everyone save Patchy and Remilia... no, wait.
Remilia entered the room last, a dark look in her eyes as she grabbed a chair and spun it around, sitting on it backwards and laying her arms on top of her makeshift prop. I stared at her, my brain still slightly addled, as she stared back at me.
"Speak," she said. "Marisa, tell me what happened."
Make a Decision: [ ] Tell Remilia everything that happened. She might be able to make sense of everything.
[ ] Tell Remilia only what she needs to hear. She doesn't need to hear how I was... violated.
- [ ] Tell Flandre or Sakuya the whole truth later.
[ ] Don't tell anyone anything. I'll keep this to myself. Just tell them why I'm here.
Make a Second Decision: [ ] Check on Patchouli. See if she's really as bad as Sakuya said she was.
[ ] Work on Remilia to make her an ally. We still need her.
[ ] Sleep. I can't think straight.
[x] Tell Remilia only what she needs to hear. She doesn't need to hear how I was... violated.
- [x] Tell Flandre or Sakuya the whole truth later.
[x] Work on Remilia to make her an ally. We still need her.
This certainly is a plot development. I was this close to picking sleep before I realized what a terrible idea that was.
>>36084 Yeah... I like to think of stuff like that as mental image aids. It's mega-easy to picture stuff you've seen before. And it's just a dream, the real Original Character Do Not Steal looks completely different. Assuming that last glimpse wasn't another fake... It's Nue, isn't it. Nue is rather well-known for tormenting people in dreams. And there was a dark cloud.
[X] Tell Remilia only what she needs to hear.
[X] Tell Flandre or Sakuya the whole thing later.
[X} Sleep. I can't think straight.
I related the story to Remilia the best I could, from the night previous where I killed Rumia all the way up to my nightmare above the lake. I omitted the part about "Cirno" in the nightmare, saying only that I died. Of all the people in this mansion, Remilia was the last person I wanted to know about that. I never really trusted her, and the look in her eyes as I related my story betrayed no thoughts or emotion, only a small tapping of her fingers against the chair as she listened to me was the only reaction I received.
I finished my story and went straight to the point. "Basically Reimu and I agreed that we need your help, Remilia," I said. "If this curse gets worse, then we don't know who could be affected by it. If Utsuho or yourself, Yukari or Flandre became hyper-aggressive, and started ignoring the spellcard rules... well, no offense, but I'd hate to have to kill you, yeah?"
Remilia chuckled. "As if you could kill me," she said, almost taunting me. "So what are you trying to ask of me then?"
"We want your help," I stated simply. Remilia narrowed her eyes.
"You want my help?" She asked me. "Why?"
"Um..." I looked down and thought for a second. "Well, we want this resolved quickly. Reimu said that we're calling on all of our allies for this, so I came to you. We've been close to the mansion for a while now, so..." I chuckled; damn, that stare was making me nervous. "So we came to you. What do you say Remilia?"
Remilia leaned back and looked up, thinking. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, and her wings did the closest thing bat wings can do to fluttering. For whatever reason, I noticed that they had grown; they were already bigger than she was tall, but they seemed to have gotten even larger. Come to think of it, Flandre's wings had gotten bigger the last time I had seen them; there was an extra blue crystal at the tips, but they were still noticably bigger. Maybe that's what vampires did instead of growing?
"Wait, what? Why not?" I asked. Knowing how Remilia felt about Reimu, I figured she jump at a chance to help us out.
"Well first off, you presume that I wanted to help," Remilia explained, standing up from the chair and pushing it aside. She leaned on the bed. "Secondly, who says that I'm not already cursed, hmm?" She grinned and got up on the bed on her knees. "I'm not, but did you ever consider that? And finally, maybe I like everything in Gensokyo going to hell. It would give me the perfect excuse to feed on humans and youkai alike, wouldn't it?" She started crawling closer to me on the bed, putting her hands on either side of my legs. She bared her fangs and made a hissing sound. "I could start with you, couldn't I? You're weak right now, and I haven't fed on a living human in quite a while... it's always the meals Sakuya prepares for me..."
Remilia crawled up until she was in my face. I felt a shiver go up my spine as she sat up and put her hands on my shoulders. I took a calming breath; Remilia wasn't really going to bite me. This was one of her many ways of manipulation Sakuya told me once: By instilling fear, and maybe a little bit of desire. Child or not, it was easy to forget that Remilia had five centuries of practice in every art of manipulation, including intimidation and seduction... you know, if you were into kids, I guess.
It was still freaky though; her breath smelled like blood as she leaned in and touched my nose with hers. All I could see were those blood-red eyes, the pupils like slits as I felt her try to stare into my soul... or maybe my fate? That was her power, after all. Remilia foled her wings around me and her, covering our faces and shrouding us. She licked her lips and narrowed her eyes. "I could take you now, and no one would say a word to Reimu," she whispered. "And I would gladly watch Gensokyo tear itself apart in bloodshed."
Alright, what to dow when Remilia acts like this... uh, Reimu said stay calm and stuff. Man, it's hard with that face staring at you though. "Yeah, you'd like that I guess," I replied, keeping my stare as level as possible. Don't play into her intimidation, that was another thing. "But I'd kill you before you got to saw it."
"Oh?" Remilia grabbed me by the hair and yanked my head sideways, exposing the side of my neck. She leaned in and licked it. Damn, that shouldn't tingle! I tried not flipping out as she opened her mouth and hissed again, pressing her fangs down on my skin but not piercing.
"Look, if you're not going to help, then let me go," I said. "I don't have time to play games with you; I'll need to find someone else to support us."
"Mmmmm...." Remilia licked my neck again and lifted up, her eyes gleaming as she stared into mine. "Trying so hard not to appear frightened, but I can feel your blood racing, Marisa," She grinned darkly and let go of my hair. "Maybe I'll start my own investigation... I have the resources after all."
"Yeah, but you want to help Reimu," I kept the conversation on the main subject. "And by saying that, are you saying that you don't really want Gensokyo to fall apart?"
"Hmm... maybe not, I suppose," Remilia grabbed me by the shoulders again and pushed me down until I was laying down, the vampire sitting on my stomach and looking down at me. I guess this was the seduction angle?
...Man, with that face and her posture, she does look nice. It's... it's her eyes. Is she trying to hypnotize me? I shut my eyes and took a deep breath, keeping my composure. "Will... you help us, Remilia?" I felt the pressure lighten up on my stomach, but realized that Remilia was now laying on me. I opened one eye in time to see her close hers and kiss me. That tingling sensation again, this time coming from my mouth. Fine, two can play at this game.
I leaned upward and kissed back, grabbing her hat and flinging it off of her head so I could run my hands through her hair. I felt hesitation on Remilia's part, and knew I had struck a nerve; she wasn't used to her own game being played against her. I took the advantage and ran my tongue along hers, and Remilia shivered. It was awkward, kissing a little girl, but if the only way to get her to listen was to fight dirty, then I'd do it.
I managed to move up to a sitting position and put my arms around Remilia, pulling her closer. I opened my eyes and backed off, looking at her as she took a breath and opened hers. She was blushing furiously, so I figured that meant that I had won. "Well...?" I asked.
"...I'll think about it." Score! Marisa 1, Remilia 0! "But don't think I forgot about this," Remilia continued. "...although, you're pretty good, I guess."
"Lots of practice," I grinned. "Maybe when you're older I'll tell you about it." Remilia frowned at the joke and got off the bed, folding her wings around herself like a cloak.
"Sakuya, I'm leaving," she declared, looking as the maid picked up Remilia's hat and dusted it off, setting it gently against the vampire's blue hair. "Make sure Marisa gets some rest. I'll come to a decision in the morning about her."
"And Sakuya? Come to my room later."
"...Yes, Mistress." With that, Remilia stalked out of the room, shutting the door behind her. I caught a glimpse of dirty blonde hair as she shut the door and grinned. Flandre must have been waiting to come in after they were done talking.
"Sorry about getting you in trouble," I said to Sakuya. "What's she gonna do to you?"
"It's late at night and she wants me in her room, so you can guess," Sakuya chuckled, taking the chair Remilia was sitting in and turned it the right way to sit in it.
"Ah... and you're okay with that?"
"Well... I guess," the maid answered after a moment's thought. "I mean, I can't say no or she'll kill me... and I promised my loyalty to her in exchange for letting me live. Until I die from combat or old age, then I must serve the Mistress."
"I don't think I could handle that," I said, leaning back on the pillows and looking up at the ceiling. I could still taste Remilia on my lips and licked them. "Taking orders from a master like that... no, definitely couldn't. Abusive relationships just aren't my thing."
"I understand," Sakuya smiled. "I'm not exactly thrilled with it, but I'll do what it takes to make her happy."
"You love your Mistress that much?"
I grinned. "Lolicon," I teased. Sakuya blushed.
"No, don't misunderstand. The mistress is simply hungry."
Silence fell between us for a second. I looked down and suppressed my memories as they pecked at the corners of my mind, and I gripped my sheets. Remilia was a nice distraction, but with her gone, I naturally drifted back to what had happened before. I looked over at Sakuya as she walked over to the vanity where she had set a pitcher of tea and a couple of extra cups. She poured me a cup and walked back over, handing it to me. I accepted the tea gratefully and tried to ignore the fact that it looked suspiciously like blood.
"Say, Sakuya..." I began, thinking. "Have you been having weird dreams lately?"
"Hm? What kind of dreams?" Sakuya looked at me, her violet eyes calm and inquiring.
"Well... there's something I didn't tell Remilia," I confessed. "You see, during my nightmare, I fought... something. It looked like Cirno, but it was... a lot stronger. She defeated me like she was nothing, told me that she would do this until I accepted what she wanted me to do."
"And what is that?" Sakuya asked.
"She..." I looked down. "She wants me to start killing everyone. She tells me it would be easier to ignore the spellcard rules, go back to exterminating youkai the way we used to..."
"And she says that if you don't do as she asks, she'll kill you over and over again until you do. Does that sound about right?" Sakuya leaned back. "Yes, she's visited me in my dreams as well, Marisa."
"What is she?" I asked. "She's so powerful... and what she did to me... I..." I shook my head. "Sakuya, I haven't felt that violated in a long time... And it's not something I want to feel again. How do you deal with it?"
"It's just a dream, Marisa," Sakuya assured me, offering her hand. I took her hand in mine and she gave me a gentle smile. "She can't hurt you. She can try to influence you, but she can't control you."
I nodded. "Is this... how the youkai are being cursed? Maybe they're more susceptible to dreams, yeah?"
"Perhaps... Yes, that seems likely," Sakuya nodded. She let go of my hand and stood. "Marisa, would you like me to come back tonight?"
"Then I will," The maid began walking toward the door. "We'll talk later, Marisa. Get some rest until now."
stopped. She quickly walked from Marisa's room and down several hallways, past Flandre as she snuck behind Remilia, then past her mistress to the master bedroom. She pulled off her headdress and set it aside, undid her braids and sat down in the chair next to Remilia's bed. Time started again, and when Remilia bid her sister goodnight, she was completely unsurprised to see that Sakuya had beaten her to the bedroom.
"You wished to see me, Mistress?"
"Yeah..." Remilia took off her hat and tugged at her ascot, pulling it off and setting it on her hat. She then glared at Sakuya and bared her fangs. "Just where does she get off doing that to me?!" Sakuya shrugged, remaining calm as Remilia growled and began to pace the room. The charismatic vampire had these rants occasionally, venting her inner frustrations to one of the few people willing to listen. "She dared to resist me! Me! The Scarlet Devil! Not only that, but she turned my manipulations around and embarrassed me!"
"Well... only I was there to see it, Mistress," Sakuya offered. Remilia glared at stretched her wings.
"That doesn't make it any better!" Remilia cried. "In fact, that makes it worse! To know that my own head maid, saw me fall while I was in my element! How did she know how to counter my ability?"
"Perhaps Miss Reimu told her?" Sakuya suggested. Remilia blushed and looked down.
"But... Reimu wouldn't betray me! Besides, there's no way she could have known that Marisa and I would end up in that situation!" Remilia stamped her foot in anger, and Sakuya had to suppress a smile. Remilia throwing a tantrum was undeniably cute. "W-well, as long as that witch keeps her mouth shut about it! I'll just threaten her!"
"Yes, Mistress," Sakuya remained passive, nodding her consent to Remilia's future actions. Inside, it irritated her immensely that Remilia felt the need to use force in this case, but the maid knew better than to speak out of turn.
"But that's enough about that... I'm thirsty now..." Remilia walked up to and behind Sakuya, putting her hands on the maid's shoulders. "I'll come to a real decision about her tomorrow, as I said earlier."
"Yes, Mistress." Sakuya closed her eyes as Remilia grabbed her hair and pulled her head aside, opened her mouth to bear her fangs, and pressed down on Sakuya's neck, hungrily drinking up the lifeblood that poured out. Sakuya's eyes widened involuntarily as her body started twitching with each drink that Remilia took.
"Yes..." Remilia hissed as she licked her lips and folded her wings in. "It's going to be a delicious night..."
I blew out the candle that one of the maids had left for me, shrouding the room in darkness. I curled up in the center of the bed and tried to gather my thoughts, but like before, all I could think about was what happened earlier. It wasn't Cirno, but I couldn't get it out of my head that it was Cirno. Heh... it was ironic that the vision of the fairy I had was everything that she wanted to be: she was fast, powerful, and extremely deadly.
I rolled over and nearly jumped out of my skin. Flandre was standing right there. "GAH!" I screamed. Flandre giggled. "You scared me nearly to death Flan!" The small vampire's red eyes glowed in the dark. I had long ago gotten over my fear of Flandre ever since Sakuya helped her to control herself a bit. Patchy had also helped in that regard, and although still childish and extremely destructive, the Flandre standing before me was more mature and in control of herself than the one from the Scarlet Mist incident so long ago.
"I heard a part of your conversation with Sis," Flandre said. "Are things really that bad?"
"... They could be, Flan," I replied, sitting up as she sat at the edge of my bed. Her wings gave a soft glow in the darkness. "That's why I need Remilia's help. Ideally, Reimu said if I could get the whole of the mansion as our allies, that would be best."
"I'll help!" Flandre declared, grinning. "Whatever the trouble is, I can just go ky-" I clamped my hand over Flandre's mouth before she got the word out. When she said kyu, things tended to explode.
"Th-thanks, Flan," I patted her on the head. "Say, why are you up anyway? Shouldn't you be asleep right now? Or have you went back to being a normal vampire?" As if on cue, Flandre yawned.
"I've been having bad dreams, Marisa..." She said after a moment.
"Well... have you done what they say?"
"No! Sis says that the only orders I should take are the ones she or Miss Sakuya or Miss Knowledge tell me, so I ignore the voices that tell me to do bad things! I just go kyu and the dreams go away!" In the darkness something made a popping sound. Damn, didn't catch her this time.
"Well that's good," I told her.
"But they still scare me," Flandre looked down. "I've been sleeping with Sis, but tonight she and Miss Sakuya are eating, so I can't sleep in there."
"Well, that's unfortunate."
"Can I sleep with you, Marisa?"
"...eh?" I blinked. Slowly. Dozens of images entered my head, all of them involving Flandre doing inappropriate things to me, or the other way around. I blushed so badly I could feel my face radiating heat, and would have been thankful for the dark if it weren't for the fact that Flandre could see just as well at night as I could during the day. "Flandre, I don't think you're old enough for that..."
"But... I'm five hundred and seven now!" Flandre complained. "And Sis and I sleep together all the time!"
Oh... I knew what she meant, but the image of Remilia dominating her sister in the dirtiest way imaginable invaded my brain. I put and hands over my nose and prayed to all the gods there were that Flandre wouldn't be hungry tonight... and that was the second worst thing I've ever thought. I took a deep breath and erased it from my mind the best I could.
"W-well... sure, why not?" Smooth, Marisa, real smooth. "Yeah, you can stay here, there's more than enough room for us."
"Hooray!" Flandre hopped off the bed and disappeared into the darkness. I lay back down and separated the pillows out a bit so she would have one as well. A few seconds later Flandre got in the bed and got up against me. "Mm, Marisa's warm."
"Uh... thanks?" I patted Flandre as she snuggled up against me, planting her face in my breasts. I blushed again but knew that she didn't mean anything by it, so I just put my arms around her and closed my eyes.
"Marisa chases the bad dreams away..." Yawned the girl. Well... I guess? Maybe she'd do the same for me.
"Good night, Flandre," I whispered.
"Good night, Marisa!"
... I didn't have any bad dreams that night.
Sakuya entered Marisa's room a few hours later, wearing a button-up pajama shirt and matching pants. She was headed for bed when she remembered that she agreed to come see Marisa again before she went to sleep, and so detoured to the witch's room. She walked up to the edge of the bed and held her candle up. Briefly her eyes widened in surprise, but quickly gave way to a warm expression at the sight before her.
Marisa was asleep, and in her arms Flandre slept quietly, both of them the image of peace and quiet. Neither of them moved a muscle in their dreamless slumber. Sakuya bent down to pick up Flandre's discarded clothes, grabbed Marisa's witch outfit from the floor, and quietly left the room. She set the clothes on top of a basket of bloody laundry and left the two to sleep. Sweet dreams, both of you.
When Marisa wakes up, what should her next action be?
[ ] Take a bath. Sakuya will probably have provided one anyway.
[ ] Go see if Remilia's made a decision yet. The mission takes priority!
[ ] Go check on Patchouli. You need to see her for yourself.
Also, pick a Color: [ ] Blue
[ ] Yellow
[ ] Red
[ ] Green
I woke up out of my dreamless sleep to the sound of light breathing next to me. I glanced over to see that Flandre was still fast asleep, holding onto one of my arms and smiling serenely. I yawned and tried to pry my arm out of her grasp, but the small vampire just mumbled and latched on tighter.
This wasn't good. I needed that arm, and for the first time in years I woke up without being cranky or unwilling to get out of bed. I wondered if maybe Sakuya had maybe used her power in this room, cramming several extra hours into my sleep cycle to ensure that I was well rested. It was possible, I figured, well within her powers, but I wasn't for sure if that was something she would do for me. That aside, I was still in a bind. I needed to get up, maybe take a hot bath, check on where the hell Suika went, and I was definitely hungry.
But my first priority was to slip away without anyone noticing that I had woken up so I could check on Patchy. I needed to see her for myself, to see if she was really slipping into the same state that so many other youkai had fallen into. Patchy was strong-willed, but at the same time she used so much of her willpower just to keep going throughout the day, that maybe that thing had invaded her dreams whilst she was weak from a long day. With just the right nudge, Patchy may give in to whatever it was that creature offered to her.
Flandre yawned and loosened her grip for but a second. I took the time to quickly slip out of her grasp and slide out of bed without a sound. Years of thievery had made me pretty good at the art of stealth, and while I wasn't on the level of some of the craftier youkai, I could easily slip past a sleeping vampire for sure. I tucked Flandre in and gave her a gentle kiss on the forehead, made sure she was still out, and went to leave the room. Hanging up on the door were my clothes, with a note pinned to the apron.
Your clothes took quite a bit of damage from that tumble you had yesterday, so I trashed it and made you a new set. We're nearly out of black cloth right now so I added a bit of violet thread I had. I hope you don't mind. When you wake up, the Mistress and I are on the balcony. You should get cleaned up and join us for lunch. I believe that she has made her decision about you and Miss Hakurei's situation.
P.S. I used an enchantment scroll for clothing that we use around here that will protect your clothes - and yourself - from harm. It's not the most powerful protection in Gensokyo, but it should easily protect you against weaker youkai.
I smiled and looked at what Sakuya had made for me. The had was exactly the same save for the white ribbon being gone, and a green star I had attached to my apron was instead pinned on the front of it. My blouse and dress were also nearly the same, save for now having long black sleeves instead of the short ones that were there before. The sleeves tapered off into a dark purple color, ending with some similarly colored frills at the ends. A pair of same-colored gloves were hanging out of my apron, which was exactly the same as it used to be.
I marveled at the clothes as I touched them. The cloth was smooth and soft, almost like silk, not the rough wool I had to use when I made my own clothes. I could feel magic buzzing through the threads, and as I loosened the clothes from the hangars they were on, they felt like heaven. I looked at myself in the mirror and frowned. I couldn't go see Patchy looking the way I did, but if I took a bath it might take too long. I walked into the washroom accompanying the bedroom where a pail of always-warm water sat in front of a mirror. I quickly washed my face and brushed my hair, gritting my teeth as the brush jerked its way through some knots. I stripped down and put on my new clothes, slipped on a pair of shoes I assume Sakuya had left for me, and made my way out the door.
Although I wasn't entirely sure exactly which part of the Mansion I was in, finding the Library was easy. An enchantment had been laid on the door that would basically summon itself to you, no matter what part of the SDM you were in, and when you needed to leave you just had to think of where you wanted to exit into, and the doors would let you out there. The library itself was situated in a demiplane that followed the mansion's day/night cycles, and the door was nothing more than a portal to that demiplane. There is a minor incantation involved which requires knowledge of Russian, but if you know that, it's easy to get in.
I muttered the proper phrase and turned a corner, and there waited the door to the library. I pulled the doors open and steps inside. "Hey, Patchy, you in here?"
Of course, if she was there was probably no way she heard me. The library was massive, containing the combined knowledge of all of humanity, resting on eight seperate planes of existence at any one time (not counting the demiplane on which it rested), 3 of which were alterante versions of Earth, and in itself a living entity. It wasn't so much that Patchy took care of the library as the library took care of her: trying to look into it from the outside was impossible, even if you knew all of the secret entrances, and its built in defenses were so strong that during our siege on the Mansion so long ago it was a tough fight for even myself and Reimu.
Fortunately, the library was somewhat complacent and only defended itself when necessary. It had been used many times over the years as a safe haven: during the reign of Vlad Tepes, peasants hid in the library from his wrath; Jewish refugees and Allied soldiers used the library as a go-between during the Second World War; and before the front gate had been transported to Gensokyo with the rest of the SDM, it spirited away several Ossetian civilians when Russia invaded.
Or so I'm told, anyway. You never know what's truth and lies around here. I don't even know if what Patchy told me about the library itself is true. For all I know, it could be a musty old relic on the outskirts of Hong Kong, just waiting to be torn down. All I know is that the library isn't itself in Gensokyo, only the doorway leading to it. In other words, it's the only "legal" way in and out of the Boundary. That's the reason I'm here so much, if you must know: Not just to borrow books, but to check and make sure Remilia isn't using the library for nefarious purposes.
I hopped up on top of a bookshelf and looked around. Patchy's was normally nearby, but I couldn't pinpoint where, exactly. Normally, she shows up like a flame in darkness when looking for her. The only way to keep that much power hidden is to either be dead or to hide your magic, which for someone like Patchy, would be hard to do. Sure, she was weak in body, but the mental gymnastics she was capable of would astound all but the smartest people. But to hide her signal like this was beyond even what I thought she was capable of.
I took flight and made a large circle. I couldn't even find Koakuma in here. I tried to locate Patchy's room but even that seemed missing. There was a chance I wasn't looking in the right spot, but how I have no idea. The library was supposed to figure out what you were looking for and lead you to it, but it didn't seem to be working.
Fortunately, I found her reading area; a large room-sized opening with tables and chairs littered about. Normally she would be in this area, but as I came to a landing the only traces of her existence was a cup of tea. I leaned down and inspected it; it was still warm, hot even, meaning she couldn't have gone far. I shouted for Koakuma but got no reply... which was stupid of me to even expect one, considering that she couldn't even speak.
"...marisa..." I heard a distant voice whisper. I instantly turned and locked onto the sound; far away, deeper into the library than I had ever gone before. I nodded and took flight, making a beeline for the voice. How it reached me I never could figure out; probably telepathic, but I couldn't be too sure. As I skimmed by bookshelves and ladders, I noticed that the library had become more haphazard and messy. Books were scattered around, some of them torn to pieces. I paused to take note of a dead fairy maid, her lightless eyes staring up into the great nothing. It was unnerving, but I pressed on. Either Patchy or Koakuma had went berserk to make a mess like this, and my gut told me it wasn't Koa.
The library was dark now, but I activated my night vision so I could effortlessly go between the bookcases. It was worse, now; more dead fairies, their throats ripped out. Those who hadn't bled everywhere seemed devoid of it entirely, as if it had been sucked out of them. If I hadn't known where Flandre and Remilia was, I would suspect them. My suspicions drifted back to Koa; as a devil youkai, she subsisted mainly off of blood, so it could be possible she was feeding off of these unfortunate fairies.
"Marisa..." the voice was much louder now, and as I hopped up over a balcony I could see a faint light in the distance.
Turn back. The voice in my head was Patchy's, but it was weak, as if she was struggling to say it.
"Marisa, come to me," The voice was insistent, inviting. My gut told me to turn back, but I pressed on.
Don't... leave me here... She sounded... terrified. Like maybe she was using her last breath to hold something back. I walked toward a bookcase, and saw that beyond it a stone archway led into a long hall. The light was coming from there, so I turned to walk down it. Please, Marisa-
"Yes..." The voice hissed. I could recognize it as Patcouli's now. Why was she calling me yet telling me to go back? The obvious answer was that maybe she was possessed, but I couldn't think of a single being in Gensokyo that could possibly control Patchy. "Come to me, my Marisa..." I could feel tendrils of magic touching my heart, and a gentle, loving feeling swept over me. It was warm, pushing away the damp cold of the library, and I continued down the hallway.
Don't let her ensorcell you... I could hear Patchy tell me, but the words were more distant now, fading. I pushed them out of my mind and let the warm feeling in. It was sweet, inviting. Patchy wanted me with her. I continued down the hallway, toward the light.
The hallway emptied into a circular room no larger than your average gazebo. In the light of the room, Patchouli stood, her eyes soft and dancing in the light. "My Marisa..." she cooed to me. I walked toward her, raising my arms and wrapping them around her.
"Patchouli," I breathed. The violet-haired magician smiled at me and cupped my cheek, kissing me gently on the other.
"Oh, Marisa, how I've waited for you to finally notice me," she whispered softly into my ear.
Don't give in!
"Yes," I replied, smiling. "Finally, Patchouli, we can be together here," Patchy's magic touched my own, and together our power danced in the light. Her warmth and love overwhelmed me as I tightened my hold on her. The words left my mouth without me trying. "We can be together, forever."
Marisa, if you truly care about me, then don't give in to her magic! Don't let her take you!
"Quiet," Patchy growled, and I blinked in confusion. Her magic briefly faded, but then quickly sought to overwhelm me. "Sorry, my love, but you must ignore the voices. Dark magic seeks to consume and confuse you. Listen only to my voice."
"Yes," I said, nodding.
Marisa, look to your right! Look at what's over there and you know that who you're talking to is not me! I pushed the voice away, but my curiosity threatened to take hold.
"Listen to my voice, love," Patchy said to me. she took my hat off and tossed it aside, running her hands through my hair. I purred with pleasure. "Don't listen to that girl."
Marisa, look over there! Look at what she did to Koa!
Koa? Who was Koa?
"Forget everything, Marisa, and look only at me."
Don't let that demon take you! If you do, she'll kill you and possess you, just like she did to me!
But... Patchy was alive, in front of me. I could see her, I was holding her, taking in her wonderful scent, thinking about spending eternity with her. "Yes, love, think only of me," she said, and pulled me lower.
Marisa, if you don't look over here right now, I'll use Royal Flare on you and you'll wish you were dead!
My curiosity overwhelmed me, and I looked to my right.
Koakuma was strung up like a puppet, with hooks through her palms. As her body moved by an unseen wind, what remained of her blood dripped to the floor into a wide puddle that had obviously been collecting for some time. Her eyes were missing, gouged out by claws and fangs, and only the barest scraps of clothing that remained rested on her shoulders. Her legs were bound together by razor wire, and her wings had been ripped off and stuffed into her mouth. I gasped at the revolting image.
Next to Koakuma, a wisp of light materialized and formed into a hazy image of Patchouli.
Look at me, Marisa. Patchy's ghost stared at me with intense eyes. A devil called a succubus is holding you right now. She seduced me and killed me to take my body, but my spirit lives on. She is an agent of the youkai influencing the others in Gensokyo; to what end, I don't know yet. I bought time with Shikeiki to relay this message to you, and to help you kill the succubus inhabiting me.
"But... Patchy... you're...?"
"Silence, ghost!" Patchy's body shoved me away and turned to glare at the spirit. I felt the tendrils of magic rip out of me suddenly. "I took your form fairly! You are breaking the rules by staying here in spirit!"
Your rules are archaic and unwarranted. Your time is past. Patchy's voice echoed through the room. Marisa, the youkai and its agents are extremely ancient and powerful. Though I know not what it is they're up to, you can bet that it won't be good. This creature is but one of many, and each being a succubus possesses will increase the leader's sphere on influence and allow it to take control of stronger youkai, forcing them to go berserk and kill.
"Shut up, shut up, shut up!" The succubus shrieked, stamping her foot in anger. "You are violating the Compact!"
Silence, devil. Patchouli turned a cool eye to me. There is another set of youkai at work that seem to be waging war on the ones perpetrating violence. They are the ones that are opening the hearts of youkai to humans. You know an agent of this "good" youkai as Mima.
I found my voice. "But... Patchy... you were so powerful, but she took you! How can I hope to defeat her?!"
The body is merely a vessel for the spirit. Patchouli explained. The succubus roared and leaped at her, but Patchouli lifted an arm and formed a solid shield around her body, keeping the devil inside. Though my body is vanquished, I can still use my magic, and, you should know by now, in Gensokyo death is not the end of anything. I'm petitioning Shikeiki to let me stay in my library, as it is my home.
"But how did she seduce you in the first place?"
I'll admit, I was too easily fooled. She came to me in the night while I was weak from a long day, invading my dreams and promising me everything for nothing. She looked down in anger as her body pounded magic against the shield. I allowed her into my heart, and for the briefest of moments I felt on top of the world... but then she stopped my heart cold, and I died within seconds. She ejected my spirit from my body and took it over, manifesting physically through it. From then on, she lured the fairy maids into the library, killing them and absorbing their magic. Koakuma tried to stop her, but... you can see the result. There was no regret in Patchy's voice, but I said nothing. I should be sad, but Koa was nearing the end of her life cycle in our world anyway. She was to return home soon, and she was looking forward to it.
By allowing the devil into my heart, I failed Koakuma and let her die. By dying prematurely, she will have to undergo trials in her homeland, and it may be centuries before she's allowed back into our world. Marisa, don't fail me now. Kill my body and send the succubus back into wherever she came from. While she's here, the dream walker can try to influence everyone within the mansion, as well as people that are in buildings this library touches.
Even if you don't care about Gensokyo, Marisa, think about it: Billions of humans waging war on each other because this creature is influencing them to do so. I hate to sound cliche, but the fate of the world rests on you finding a way to stop this being from entering the world.
"And... what about the others?"
I say the others are good, but I know not their intentions. My brief time in between worlds has allowed me to research very little, but I don't think allowing them to win would be any better.
I watched the succubus put more magic into breaking the shield and saw fine cracks appear in it. "Patchy... I'm so sorry..."
Don't be. Patchy glared at me. Don't give into despair. If I have my way, you'll still be stealing books from under my nose while I'm here. It'll be as if I never left.
"Except you'll be dead."
I told you, death is only the beginning of a long journey. And if Shikeiki won't let me stay here in Gensokyo, then I'll wait for you on the other side.
"Why...?" I was afraid of the answer.
Patchy's eyes softened. Because I love you, Marisa.
It all came rushing in at once, and I realized that the only reason I hadn't broke yet was because of taking in all of this at once. I felt tears in my eyes and tried pushing the swell of emotion away, but a choked sob still escaped from my lips. The succubus broke the shield at that moment and swiped at the image of Patchy, causing her to vanish and reappear in front of me.
Marisa, I told you not to give in. Fight the devil, kill it, and then you can grieve for me.
Choose Your Next Action: [ ] Give into despair. Patchy is dead and there's nothing you can do about it.
[ ] Push your sadness aside and fight the creature while Patchy's spirit can still help you. It's about vengeance now.
[ ] Let Patchy fight the devil and run for your life. Live to fight another day.
[ ] Channel your despair into hatred and kill the succubus without Patchy's help. Let your rage control you.
[ ] Fight the succubus but try to find a way for Patchy to recover her body. If Patchy can live again, maybe she'll be able to help more.