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51827 No. 51827
Previous Thread: >>/others/51333

-------------------------------------

The young woman in red has been working on the piano practically since her arrival. It's obvious that she's a professional musician, and a very good one, at that. Curiosity overcomes me, and I make my way over to where she is staring at the keyboard, apparently lost in thought.

Getting a closer look at her, I see that she is a fairly slender woman, wearing a red hat that matches her dress, with a green star ornament on top. She seems oblivious to my presence, and is lost in thought. Her expression is very intense, to the point that I hesitate to interrupt whatever cogitations are going through her head.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0kkf56-XUo)

As I hesitate, she lowers her hands to the keyboard and begins to play once again. I'd heard her music before, but I was always distracted by something (or rather someONE) else. Now, standing next to her as she plays the piano, I realize that I am listening to a master at work. Every note is hit just precisely, and the music flows perfectly between several different emotions. I find myself wondering what it would be like to hear her in concert.

Assuming that she is a professional musician, that is. And if she isn't she damn well should be.

After a few minutes, the woman's song comes to an end, and she nods at the keyboard in satisfaction. Seeing an opening, I give her a personal round of applause, with causes her to jump in her piano bench with a surprised "Eep!" and stare up at me in shock.

"A fine performance indeed, Madam!" I compliment her.

The lady in red just stares at me.

"Er... Madam? Am I troubling you?" I ask in concern.

She chuckles in response. "Far from it!" Grinning, she looks me over from top to bottom, and then back again. "Hello~ to you! You are just the sight my eyes needed to see!"

I cough awkwardly. Okay, that's bit more... intense... of a come-on than I'm used to, but I can cope. "Alfred Arthur Westcastle at your service." I tell her, bowing.

"Lyrica Prismriver," she says primly. Odd name, but I'm getting used to that sort of thing. "And unless I'm very wrong, you must be one of the men Yukari's bringing in!"

"Sadly, it seems that you are wrong in this instance," I correct her. "I am merely one of the butlers at this mansion, here to serve you... in a mundane fashion."

Lyrica's smile freezes. "...Really?"

"I fear so, Madam."

She winces. "Oh. Crap. Uh... sorry about that! I mean, I saw a handsome guy in a suit, and Yukari said she was bringing in handsome guys in suits, and well... I guess I jumped to the wrong conclusion?" She's blushing brightly, looking mortified at her mistake.

I frown a little bit. "Miss Lyrica, I was there when you came in the front door," I remind her. "In fact, I've been here all afternoon, ever since you arrived."

Lyrica cringes. "...That was you?" I nod, and she sighs, lowering her head the the keys with a discordant sound. "That's fantastic. I must look like a total goof right now, huh?"

"Well, resting your forehead upon a piano doesn't exactly convey an impression of high intelligence." I say carefully.

"You sound exactly like my sister Lunasa," Lyrica mutters. "And I mean EXACTLY." She raises her head to give me an apologetic look. "Sorry. Honestly, I live in a place a lot like this, except it's really run down. So when I came in, I guess I was looking more at the house than at the people inside of it. Then, I was kinda antsy for the guys to show up, so I was playing the piano to pass the time."

"Expertly, at that," I note, "And Miss Lyrica, I take no offense. At times, it is the duty of the serving staff to blend in and not be noticed. I'm just flattered that you find our mansion that pleasant to look upon."

"It is a nice house, but that doesn't mean I should have overlooked you like that." The crimson-clad girl sighs. "I know how frustrating that can be. But enough of that! You're here now, I'm very much paying attention to you now, and am very glad to make your acquaintance!" She grins at me, turning in her chair to expose a bit more leg. And a very lovely leg it is, but that is entirely besides the point.

"And I am glad to make yours, Miss Lyrica," I tell her politely. "I hope you don't mind, but I was drawn here by your playing. You've really managed to lighten the mood here. Do you play professionally?"

"I do indeed! I'm in a band with my two sisters." She tosses her hair and gives me a seductive look. "But was it only my music that drew you over here, hmmm~?"

"Not at all," I say in a quiet, intense voice. Lyrica smiles hugely and leans in closer. "It is my job as a butler to check in on all of my guests," I say in a more normal tone of voice.

Lyrica groans and slumps to the side. "Very funny. And is it your job to mess with your guests as well?"

"I have no idea what you mean, Miss Lyrica," I insist with a straight face.

"I'll bet. And I'll bet you're not laughing your head off inside right now," she retorts.

"Perish the thought, Miss Lyrica," I say, laughing my head off inside. It's her fault, really. I wouldn't be doing it if she hadn't put the idea into my head.

Lyrica raises an eyebrow. "So. You're a butler here, huh?"

"I suppose the uniform is a dead giveaway," I concede.

"That and you actually said as much," she points out. I nod in agreement. Lyrica grows a huge smile on her face. "So let me guess. It's your job to fulfill any desire I might have this weekend, right?"

"That is part of the job description, yes," I tell her.

Lyrica's smile turns into a leer. "So if I asked you to sit right next to me, you'd have to obey~?" she sings, patting the bench next to her.

"Well..." I hesitate.

"I mean, you wouldn't want me to complain that one of the butlers was being mean to me, would you~?" Lyrica coos, her eyes dancing with mischief. "I'm only asking for a little bit of companionship, after all. You wouldn't deny me that, would you?"

"Deny you, no," I say evenly. "But one of the tricks to learning how to be good company is first learning how to be bad company." I sigh wearily. "Are you really going to force me to belch the American National Anthem just to prove a point?"

Lyrica cringes. "Okay. Message received. Backing off now."

I sigh in relief. "Thank God. I never learned how. I tried once on a dare and was sick for the rest of the day."

Lyrica giggles. "That must have been some dare."

"Let's just say that the maids here can have a strange sense of humor," I say, rolling my eyes at the memory.

Lyrica laughs out loud and starts fiddling with the piano, playing a song absentmindedly. "I think I can stand not knowing. Anyway, would you bring me a drink, please?"

I bow politely. "Certainly. Just one moment." I cross over to the snack table and recover a glass of wine, which I bring back to Lyrica.

"Thanks," she says, accepting it gratefully. "And uh, sorry about he flirting earlier. But can you blame me? A handsome guy in a suit comes up to me, and I'm just supposed to do nothing?"

"Flattering as that is, Miss Lyrica, that is the sort of thing that complicates the job somewhat," I tell her honestly.

"Heh. I'll bet." She takes a sip of her wine. "Well, I guess I'll just have to wait for the main event, huh?" A massive crash of thunder comes from the storm outside. "Assuming they ever get here," she adds.

"Miss Lyrica, I have absolute confidence that there is no reason to worry on that account," I lie. Another crash of thunder serves to contradict me. Lyrica just looks at me skeptically. Cursed thunderstorm, robbing me of credibility. "I have absolute confidence that someone will be able to get here eventually," I say with a shrug.

"Bottomless well of confidence, aren't you?" Lyrica snorts. "Ah well. If no one shows up, I'll just break into your room at night," she says with a wink, showing that she isn't serious.

"I'll make sure to sleep with a stungun, Miss Lyrica," I say evenly.

"I'll make sure to ground myself," she replies.

"I also have heavy stick that I can sleep with," I counter.

Lyrica considers. "If all else fails, I can do naughty things to myself while thinking of you."

I wince. "Miss Lyrica, if you make me do the belching routine to ruin your image of me, it might be bad for my tip."

She laughs, and shakes her head. "True enough. Seriously, though, I'm sure things will be fine." There is another crash of thunder. "Probably. Anyway, care for another song?" She stretches her fingers over the keys.

[ ] "That song you were playing earlier would be nice to hear again."
[ ] "I can only stay for a minute before I get back to work."
[ ] "Sorry, I must take my leave now."
Marked for deletion (old)
No. 51829
[X] "That song you were playing earlier would be nice to hear again."
No. 51830
[x] "That song you were playing earlier would be nice to hear again."

Yep, he's leg man.
No. 51831
[X] "That song you were playing earlier would be nice to hear again."

Man, Lyrica is awfully flirtatious isn't she? I like it.
No. 51832
[x] "That song you were playing earlier would be nice to hear again."

Man, he can really keep his act straight, anyone would be reduced to a pile a blubbering goo.

I just hope he won't be forced to shoot someone in the foot anytime soon.
No. 51833
>>51831
she is a canonically sly sort so it might transfer to flirtiness

[x] "That song you were playing earlier would be nice to hear again."

Leave to forget Keymaster even updates on weekends (when few do)
No. 51834
File 137384433471.jpg - (1.08MB, 850x1024, 8073f3061d427e27df5c27388f8f4873.jpg) [iqdb]
51834
>Sing us a song you're the piano man
>Sing us a song tonight
>Well we're all in the mood for a melody
>And you've got us feeling alright

Is it wrong that I want Lyrica to play this song? I would love it if she Alfred sang together.

Anyway my vote
[X] "That song you were playing earlier would be nice to hear again."
No. 51835
>>51834
Terrible. Do you also ask bands to play freebird?
No. 51836
>>51835
Please sage.

And no I do not. I just happen to really like this particular song and would greatly enjoy a scene involving it. And what's so wrong with "Piano Man"?
No. 51837
>>51836
The thread is on the top of the page, sage does nothing.

It's extremely cliche, that's all. Everyone who plays piano anywhere is sick of playing piano man.
I guess maybe not Lyrica since she's from gensokyo. Which also means she might not know the song at all.

Ah, whatever.
No. 51838
>>51837
I check the front page for the most recently bumped stories, so when people don't sage for a non-vote then I get annoyed/confused/excited (Take your pick). And I was unaware that "Piano Man is on the same level as "Freebird". I don't get out much as you can probably tell at this point.
No. 51839
[ ] "That song you were playing earlier would be nice to hear again."
No. 51840
[X] "That song you were playing earlier would be nice to hear again."
Flight of the Bumblebee like the one played in the movie The Legend of 1900.
No. 51841
[x] "That song you were playing earlier would be nice to hear again."

All dese legs. Truly this is quality reading.
No. 51842
File 137385523594.jpg - (146.74KB, 850x850, needs more appreciation.jpg) [iqdb]
51842
I smile and lean on the piano. "How about that song you were playing earlier?" I suggest, "It was quite pleasant to listen to."

Lyrica smiles as she immediately begins playing the piano. "I'm glad you like that one! It's one of our old standbys. Kind of an oldie for us, but sometimes it's good to get into old habits, you know? It lets you remember where you came from."

"That's true," I agree. "You say one of 'our' old standbys. You're referring to yourself and your sisters, correct?"

"Yeah," Lyrica nods, easily holding a conversation while continuing to play. "I play the piano, Merlin plays the trumpet, and Lunasa plays the violin. They call us the Phantom Trio!"

"Phantom Trio?" I echo her, "You mean, not only do you play music, you also walk through walls and haunt people?"

Lyrica blinks and seems to hesitate before smiling. "That's right! So you'd better watch out or I WILL sneak into your room tonight, even if you lock the door. And I'll be invisible so you can't even see me!" Lyrica chuckles and winks at me. "Or, I dunno, I'll spook you with ghost-fire or something."

I laugh at this. "A master of music, and a master of supernatural arts, hmm?"

"You could say it comes naturally," Lyrica giggles. "Though I prefer to entertain people rather than terrify them."

"You do very well at the entertaining part," I admit, "But with a name like that, shouldn't you brush up on your other skills? Some people find a taste of horror to be very invigorating."

"Ohhh, is that your fetish~?" Lyrica sings, giving me a wicked look.

"You've got me. I'm a horribly perverted man who enjoys looking at pictures of ghostly women," I say deadpan.

Lyrica immediately bursts out into laughter. "Oh, man! You're a real piece of work, Alfred! Anyway, it's just a name. It's catchier than Prismriver Ensemble, you know?"

"Where did it come from?" I wonder out loud. "Phantom Trio is a bit of an unusual name, after all."

"The place we live is a little run-down," Lyrica explains. "We'd fix it up, but it's our mess, you know what I mean?"

I nod. "I suppose so. In a horrible clutter, you know where everything of yours is, after all. So anyway, because you live in what looks like a haunted house, people refer to you as phantoms?"

"Something like that, yeah," Lyrica says mysteriously. She keeps playing for a few more minutes before finishing with a flourish. I favor her with a round of applause, and she bows in her seat. "Thank you, Thank you! I'll be playing all weekend, or until I get a handsome guy to 'play' with, if you know what I mean!"

"Your meaning is roughly as opaque as sparkling spring water," I say dryly. "In any case, you are amazingly talented. You must be quite popular back home."

"We are," Lyrica nods, trying out a few combinations on the keyboard. "Especially my sisters. Merlin is just so bright and cheery, and Lunasa has this quiet girl's appeal, you know what I mean?"

I nod. "And then there's you."

"And then there's me," Lyrica agrees, then falling silent.

Ah. That explains things then. But it isn't something she's volunteering, and I have no right to go prying into her personal business. "Is there anything else I can help you with, Miss Lyrica?" I ask her.

Lyrica shakes her head. "Nah. I'm just gonna keep playing for a while, okay? Just let me know when the men arrive."

"I'm certain that will be an event that gets everyone's attention," I tell her. With a final wave, I take my leave of the pianist and walk back over to the snack-trays, which are starting to look a bit depleted. I take a few trays and walk back into the kitchen to refill them. As I do, I take a moment to turn on a small television hidden behind a cupboard door, turning it directly to the weather report.

"...so we aren't really sure where this system came from," the weatherman says on the small screen, looking a bit baffled. "Sorry, folks, we really didn't see this one coming! It basically formed up out of nowhere, and now we're predicting heavy storms all weekend long, with chances of flooding in several areas-"

I reach out and turn the television off. "Fuck!" I hiss through gritted teeth.

"That doesn't sound very promising," Yumeko notes from behind me, already refilling the trays.

I sigh and go to join her. "No, it doesn't. Which means a certain important guest is going to be very, very unhappy. I'm going to take some advice I was given and give her a moment to come to terms with things. THEN I'll give her the bad news."

Yumeko nods. "Yeah, that's probably for the best. Anyway, let me help you with these." Together, Yumeko and I carry the trays back out to the lounge, greeted by a loud crack of thunder that makes everyone in the room jump. No two ways about it, this is going to be a very rainy weekend.

As I set the trays back down on their table, I reflect that there are still two guests that I have not yet spoken to. I might as well have a word with them, if only because it gives Yukari more time to cool down before I give her the bad news. Who should I speak to first...?


[ ] The young lady in pigtails, now relaxing on a couch.
[ ] The classy woman, staring out at the storm in fascination.
No. 51843
[x] The young lady in pigtails, now relaxing on a couch.

Flipped for it, I'll be honest.
No. 51844
[X] The young lady in pigtails, now relaxing on a couch.

We'll save the best for last.
No. 51845
>>51844

[ ] The young lady in pigtails, now relaxing on a couch.
No. 51846
[x] The young lady in pigtails, now relaxing on a couch.

Iku looks like she's still enjoying herself.
No. 51848
Out of nowhere? Pretty sure someone did intend to screw with Yukari then. Calling it for Tenshi because she wasn't invited.
No. 51849
[x] The classy woman, staring out at the storm in fascination.

Up to my waist in all this tide & not nearly enough piss to fight it with.
No. 51851
[x] The classy woman, staring out at the storm in fascination.

You have my urine.
No. 51852
[X] The young lady in pigtails, now relaxing on a couch.
No. 51853
[x] The classy woman, staring out at the storm in fascination.
No. 51855
[x] Talk to Yukari, she would likely want to know about the current weather situation.

It was suggested at the end of Suika's segment that we should give her a bit of time to cool down, then talk to her. And we've talked to one other guest in the meantime.
No. 51856
Save the best for last? No, I don't think so:

[x] The classy woman, staring out at the storm in fascination.
No. 51857
[X] The classy woman, staring out at the storm in fascination.
No. 51858
[x] The classy woman, staring out at the storm in fascination.

>>51856
Then why are we saving Yukari for last, hmmm?
No. 51866
[x] The young lady in pigtails, now relaxing on a couch.

I have never seen Hatate written on this site before. I'm curious to see what she's like.
No. 51874
>>51858
>Implying the story ends at that point.
No, I'm simply saying the conversation with Iku is the last one we'll have before we deal with an irate Yukari. Wouldn't you want to calm your nerves and brace yourself by talking to a beautiful woman. (In my mind Hatate looks roughly 19-21 years old)
No. 51881
[x] The young lady in pigtails, now relaxing on a couch.

At this point, we might as well save the best girl for last.
No. 51883
[ ] The young lady in pigtails, now relaxing on a couch.
No. 51884
Vote called for the fine young lady in pigtails! Will update soon.
No. 51887
File 137391992525.png - (821.24KB, 848x1200, inquisitive.png) [iqdb]
51887
Well, she's relaxed now, but one of the remaining guests was paying a great deal of attention to the mansion earlier, to the extent that she was even taking notes. Perhaps she intends to report on the service here? Come to think of it, it might be a good idea to have a word with her and leave a good impression of Pleasant Meadows. It might be good for business, after all.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N04BpK6saXk)

I walk up to the young woman, looking very relaxed on a couch, and take a good look at her. Pigtails, purple blouse, purple checked skirt... and a very exotic hat and footwear. I'm not even sure how she walks around in those things. An extremely good sense of balance, perhaps? Well, it's none of my concern. I simply bow to her and make my introduction.

"Alfred Arthur Westcastle at your service, Madam," I say politely, "Is there any way that I can be of service to you?"

The lady with pigtails sits bolt upright, suddenly giving me every last drop of her attention. "Yes! Yes, there is most certainly something that you can do for me! Right this instant! Please!" She's practically vibrating with excitement,

"Er... very well," I say carefully, "And what would that be, exactly?"

She smiles with excitement. "Have a seat, right here!" she tells me, patting the space next to her on the couch.

Oh dear. Not this again.

"Regrettably, Madam, I am not in fact one of the escorts hired by Miss Yukari-" I begin.

"Huh?! Nonono!" The young lady blurts out, hurriedly waving her hands in negation. "I know that! I didn't mean to imply that you were!" She hesitates, then clears her throat and takes a deep breath before looking back up. This time, her enthusiasm is much more restrained, and she has a professional smile on her face. "Please let me start over. My name is Hatate Himekaidou, and I am the editor of my own newspaper, the Kakashi Spirit News. I am very pleased to be here, and I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me."

"Ah," I say in dawning comprehension, "So you're a journalist, and you want to report on the mansion!"

Hatate nods in excitement. "That's right! I never get the chance to go so far abroad, so this is a really good opportunity for me! Anyway, I was waiting for you to get a spare moment so that I could interview you. Ah, with your permission, of course. Also, I'd like to take a photograph."

I nod agreeably. "The answer is yes to both, Miss Hatate. Also, I'm sorry I kept you waiting for so long." I sit down beside her as I say this.

"Oh, not at all!" Hatate assures me. "I understand fully that you were just doing your job! It must be difficult to have to deal with us all on your own." She looks very sympathetic.

I shrug. "All part of the job, Miss Hatate," I assure her. "It also helps that one of your number absolutely insisted on helping out."

"Yeah, a lot of the maids back home are like that," Hatate chuckles. She pulls out a cellphone and points the camera at me to take a picture, and I obligingly give her my best professional smile. "Thanks! Anyway, I really don't get away from home all that much, like I said, so I'm really looking forward to writing an article on this place!"

"I'm sorry about the weather, by the way," I say with a regretful glance out the window. "And the outdoor staff worked so hard to get the gardens ready, too. Alas, no-one instructed me in the proper usage of the weather-control knob."

"Oh, wow! You really have one of those here?" Hatate asks, scribbling excitedly on her notepad, eyes gleaming with interest.

I stare at her blankly for a moment before bursting into laughter. After a moment, Hatate joins in, perhaps a tad awkwardly. "All right," I admit, "That wasn't one of my better ones."

"Oh, uh, don't worry about it!" Hatate quickly assures me. "But never mind that! This place has a lot of interesting things. Can you tell me about its background?"

I nod, going into the official spiel. "Pleasant Meadows is actually a fairly old house that has undergone renovation several times before coming into its current form. About thirty years ago it came into the possession of its current owner, who wanted to use it as a vacation home. However, it proved to be a bit too expansive for that purpose, and so he had it converted into a private getaway for people who want to throw an exclusive party far away from any prying eyes."

"I see," Hatate mused. "So, it's a vacation spot for the rich and famous?"

"We have had a few celebrities in here," I admit. "Mostly, it's just a location for private parties that can be rented by anyone with enough cash on hand."

"Really? Like who?"

I smile. "Now, Miss Himekaidou, that would be breaching confidentiality!"

"Awww, c'moooon!" Hatate wheedles, leaning back in her seat. As she does so, the material of her skirt visibly slides up her thigh, exposing more skin. And it's a very nice thigh, to be honest. However..."

"Five out of ten," I say simply, shaking my head. "I am sorry Miss Hatate, but that really was rather labored."

"Ouch," Hatate winces, adjusting her skirt to something more modest. "Well, it was worth a shot. I'm really not used to using that sort of tactic. Stick to the basics, then?"

"It might be better, yes," I nod, feeling a bit of regret. It really was a rather nice thigh.

In any case, the interview goes on swimmingly, and I tell Hatate all about the history of the house, as well as a few of the more memorable stories (making sure to leave the names out, of course). By the end of it, I feel that I've left a good impression of the mansion upon her.

"This is excellent," Hatate comments, scribbling down the last few details, "I really appreciate this, Alfred!"

"Not at all," I say with a small bow, "It is my duty to assist the guests after all."

"And assist you have!" Hatate declares. "This is gonna be front-page news for sure! The intrepid reporter visits luxury accommodations overseas! Heh, none of my competition has ever printed anything like this." The young woman nods in satisfaction.

"Do you have a great deal of competition?" I inquire.

"I have the largest circulation now, ever since Aya..." Hatate trails off, looking a little ill. "Actually, never mind. The less said about her, the better."

"Sounds like quite the story," I comment.

"The kind that ruins reputations," Hate says seriously. "Like, forever."

I nod slowly. "I certainly have a few stories like tucked away in my mind. The things I've seen..." I sigh dramatically.

Hatate looks stricken. "Aww, come on! You can't hold out on me now! Gimme something to bring back home!"

"Regrettably, I am sworn to secrecy regarding the event that transpire with this household. Terribly sorry." I pause, smiling serenely. "But some of them really are quite fascinating."

Hatate glowers at me. "You're a jerk, you know that?"

"And you're the type to reveal your sources, then?" I point out.

Hatate giggles. "Good point. I'll let you off the hook this time." She glances down at her thighs. "At least until I learn this seduction thing, that is. I still don't know how Aya did it..."

Ah, a young female reporter, hard at work at learning all of the tricks of her trade. Including the bad ones.

[ ] Ask some questions of your own out of interest.
[ ] Does she have any more questions for you before you leave?
[ ] Excuse yourself.
No. 51889
[X] Ask some questions of your own out of interest.
No. 51891
[x] Ask some questions of your own out of interest.

Interesting bit about Aya. I wonder what happened?
No. 51892
[X] Ask some questions of your own out of interest.
No. 51893
[X] Ask some questions of your own out of interest.
+Is this Aya the Pedo-Aya from Being Meiling?
No. 51894
>>51891
>>51893

I think this is the same Aya from Being Meiling.

[x] Ask some questions of your own out of interest.
No. 51895
[x] Ask some questions of your own out of interest.

Gonna need some more info if he's to figure out where they're from.
No. 51896
>>51894

It's the same continuity. Hence the references to Yukari and Shinki.
No. 51899
>>51896
Dude, I totally did not make the link... O_O
/This Anon needs new deduction skills/
No. 51900
[X] Ask some questions of your own out of interest.
No. 51901
>>51894
Continuity... How often do we have that on the site?
[x] Ask some questions of your own out of interest
No. 51904
>"Sounds like quite the story," I comment.

>"The kind that ruins reputations," Hate says seriously. "Like, forever."

I feel this exchange deserves extra attention. Here the author seems to be making commentary about how modern media has the power to create conflict and prejudice within society through the spread of damaging information. By personifying the reporter as one of man's basest and most vile emotions, it causes the reader to question the merits of publishing such information, even if true, when it could bring ruin to the lives of others.


Or maybe Keymaster made an amusing typo, and I'm poking fun at him for it.

Really though I love this story and your writing in general. Keep up the good work.
No. 51906
>>51904

FFFFFFFF-

The worst part? I corrected that same damn typo, like, THREE FRIGGIN' TIMES when proofreading. I dunno, maybe I'm repressing or some shit.

Any way, looks like everyone's voting the same way here. Barring a sudden surge of different votes, it's pretty obvious what the outcome will be.
No. 51908
File 137393112674.jpg - (101.28KB, 753x1000, 1852ca93629bb7db1ea5d32b3eaf68ae.jpg) [iqdb]
51908
Is Aya really forever ruined for you, Keymaster?
No. 51909
>>51908

Nah. I'll probably write a short about her redemption at some point. Poor Aya just got hit by a good punchline.
No. 51912
[x] Ask some questions of your own out of interest.

>>51909
At least.
No. 51914
>>51909

>Poor Aya just got hit by a good punchline.

Understatement of the century here folks! Step right up and take a gander!

Seriously though, I don't even like Aya all that much and I think you went a bit too far. But that's neither here nor there.
No. 51915
File 137394010961.jpg - (135.49KB, 850x1062, thanks for the interview.jpg) [iqdb]
51915
"Ah, seduction," I sigh. "The timeless art women use to get their way over men. I've built up a tolerance to it, actually."

Hatate glances up at me, looking skeptical. "Really? Somehow, I think that all men say that until they actually DO get seduced. Then they spend all of their time denying it ever happened."

"Most of the seduction attempts on me come from women old enough to be my mother," I tell her. "The association alone is enough to kill the impact of any and all attempts on me."

Hatate winces. "Ouch. Good point." She considers for a moment. "But wait, wouldn't that just mean that an attempt from an actual, pretty young girl would be that much more welcome, and that much more effective?" She tosses her hair in an attempt to prove her point.

"Your logic is very compelling, and I choose to completely ignore it, Miss Hatate," I say politely, completely unmoved. Mostly.

She snorts in response. "Whatever you say, Alfred."

"Just so, Miss Hatate." I hesitate. "Actually, do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions? There are just a few things that keep occurring to me. Maybe you can sate my curiosity."

"Sure thing!" Hatate practically beams at me. "After all, it's the job of a reporter to inform! What would you like to know?"

"Well, for starters, 'Kakashi Spirit News?' Why 'Spirit News,' exactly? Do you contain reports on the doings of the proverbial other side?" I raise my eyebrow.

"Well, sometimes," Hatate says agreeably, "It all depends on what the undead princess is up to. Some of her goings-on are real sellers, you know what I mean?" I stare at her for a long moment. "...It's just a cool-sounding name. Don't read too much into it," she says awkwardly.

"You are completely unflappable," I say wonderingly. "Have you ever considered a career in butlering?"

"Don't you mean being a maid?" Hatate snorts.

"All I know is butlering. I'm sure I'd look horrible in a maid's uniform," I say evenly.

"Maybe, but it would it certainly sell well among some of my readers!" Hatate says wickedly.

"Once again, I must disappoint you, Miss Hatate," I say with a shrug. "Call me camera-shy, if you must. And the thought of some of your readers liking such a thing horrifies me. But moving on, I can't help but notice that your outfit is very... exotic, if you will. The hat and shoes, especially. I'm honestly not certain how you walk around in them. Aren't they bad for your feet?"

Hatate laughs and stands up, easily spinning around in a circle before sitting back down. "Not at all. I have very good balance. Everyone in my village does, really. And these shoes are just fine on my feet, honest! They and the hat are just part of the local dress where I live. Actually, there's a more complicated outfit, but it's a pain to get on and off, so I usually just wear this." She gestures at her clothing.

"You live in a village, you say. Does your newspaper have good circulation?" I ask my next question.

Hatate nods. "Yeah. The area I live is fairly tightly-knit, so it's easy for me to market my newspaper. I get a lot subscribers, and I have a reputation as being an honorable, trustworthy reporter!" She puffs her chest out with pride.

"I have no doubt," I nod. "Is it your role as a reporter that got you invited to Pleasant Meadows in the first place?"

Hatate laughs, nodding. "Yeah. I kinda got on Yukari's bad side a while back, so I made sure to write a really nice article about her not too long ago. Y'know, just praising her beauty, intelligence, generosity... that sort of thing." The young reporter shrugs. "Next thing I know, I get invited here! A chance to see the Out- to see the world abroad!" she corrects herself mid-sentence. Maybe it's her enthusiasm, but she seems to be letting things slip more often than the others.

"Not to mention the opportunity to spend time with some young men specifically paid to show you the time of your life," I note.

"There's that too, yeah," Hatate agrees, blushing slightly.

"Now, I'm not going to ask any questions about where you are from, because I understand and accept that such is not my business to know," I tell her evenly. "But I am curious about this: despite coming from Japan, and mostly having Japanese names, each and every one of you speaks English perfectly, without a trace of accent, despite apparently never going abroad. This includes yourself." I spread my arms wide. "How exactly do you accomplish this feat?"

Hatate stares at me blankly for a moment before understanding lights up in her eyes. "That's a secret~!" she sings, winking at me.

I sigh, defeated. "I thought as much. Oh well. I wish you well, Miss Hatate, and do not hesitate to come find me if there is anything that you require."

"Thanks, Alfred!" Hatate says as I stand up. "And thanks for the interview! I'll be sure to say nice things about you, okay?" I give Hatate a polite bow and move on. As I do, I glance out a window at the storm. It's as bad as ever, if not worse. The rain is pouring down in sheets, the wind is howling like mad, and the lightning is nearly constant. I'm just glad that Pleasant Meadows is so resilient. The last thing we need is a power failure.

Now, there's still one last thing that I want to do before talking to Yukari.

[ ] Talk to the classy woman gazing out at the storm.
[ ] You should really talk to the classy woman.
[ ] You haven't talked to the classy woman yet; remedy that!
[ ] Just talk to the classy woman already!
[ ] (No, really. I need you guys to talk to Iku so I can move on with the story.)
[ ] (...Please?)
No. 51916
[x] It's getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes.

You're not the boss of me.
No. 51917
>Hatate stares at me blankly for a moment before understanding lights up in her eyes. "That's a secret~!" she sings, winking at me.

I suspected it, but this definitely confirms it.

[X] Talk to the classy woman gazing out at the storm.
No. 51918
I think the writer is trying to tell us something.


[x] Refill snack platters
No. 51919
[x] Talk to the classy woman gazing out at the storm.

Ok I'll bite. We've let her storm gaze long enough.
No. 51920
[X] >Obligatory comment about rail-roading followed by smart-ass comment ending with a write-in vote to do as the writer wishes, but worded differently than the choices provided
No. 51921
[X] I dunno if anyone's thought about this yet, but maybe we should talk to the classy woman.

Best for last, indeed.
No. 51923
[X]Talk to the classiest of the many classy ladies.
No. 51924
>Maybe it's her enthusiasm, but she seems to be letting things slip more often than the others.

So he's noticed there's something to let slip.

inb4 Yukari actually briefed him on everything at the beginning and this is a test to see who can be trusted to go regularly to the Outside World without revealing their true nature.
No. 51925
[x] Refill snack platters
-[x] Go talk to Yumeko again, maybe she'll be willing to tell us what's going on
--[x] Yukari's had enough time to calm down, go talk to her - talking to the classy lady will be better when we don't have this hanging over our head.
No. 51926
>>51925 here
---[x] Complain to the author that if he doesn't want to give us a choice he shouldn't let us vote.
No. 51927
[X] Go to Gensokyo and ask to have sexual relations with Flandre in the missionary position, purely for the sake of procreation and with the lights off.
No. 51930
>>51927
You sick bastard. Don't you know how old she is? Like 500! That'd just be weird.
No. 51931
[x] Refill snack platters
No. 51932
[x] Talk to the classy woman gazing out at the storm.

If we had talked to her while she was drinking I think things would have been a bit different.
No. 51935
[X] (...Please?)

I think I may be doing this voting thing wrong.
No. 51943
[X] You haven't talked to the classy woman yet; remedy that!

So many hard choices.
No. 51944
>The last thing we need is a power failure.
[ ] Get the flashlights and candles out of storage.

No wait,
>I'm sure I'd look horrible in a maid's uniform
[ ] Head to the servants quarters to, ahem, check something

No, that's not it either. I don't get what you want-
[X] (No, really. I need you guys to talk to Iku so I can move on with the story.)

Why didn't you say so earlier?
No. 51945
[ ] Talk to the classy woman gazing out at the storm.
So many options here. They're staggering
No. 51946
>>51918
Indeed. It's obvious what he wants us to do.

[x]Go check up on Shiki.

But seriously, here's my vote:

[x] Talk to the classy woman gazing out at the storm.
No. 51947
[ ]Talk to yukari.
No. 51948
>>51947

*Gasp* sacrilege! To talk to Yukari before completing all the options would be a travesty indeed!
No. 51949
[X] Jump in the lake
No. 51950
[x] Token Iku vote
No. 51954
All these choices how can I decide??? Should I- no wait, that- but then-

[x] Anemia option
No. 51955
[x]Talk to the classy woman.Everyone that isn't Iku!
No. 51960
... You invited this.

[ ]Snow end
No. 51961
>>51955
>>51960

I think with these, talking to Iku is now at the point of only being half the votes. We only need one more vote for not talking to Iku to win.

Come on, Anon, make this happen! The author's making us vote for a reason, clearly there's a super-secret good end if we choose not to talk to Iku immediately.
No. 51962
[x] Talk to the classy woman gazing out at the storm.
No. 51963
[x] Talk to the classy woman gazing out at the storm.
No. 51964
[x] Talk to the classy woman gazing out at the storm.

It's FEVER time!
No. 51965
[X] Talk to the classy woman gazing out at the storm.
No. 51966
Alfred is far too classy for FEVER.
No. 51968
All joking aside, I should have the next update done sometime today.
No. 51970
File 137400620518.jpg - (269.81KB, 850x1347, pure class.jpg) [iqdb]
51970
I take a long look at the last of the guests, the sole woman I have yet to speak to. She's tall, and everything about her screams 'class act.' Still, she is not without her eccentricities, including hair dyed a purple color, a long ribbon on her hat that resembles antennae, and a huge scarf that must be at least ten feet long.

I'm once again struck by the strangeness of this latest group. There's obviously more going on here than I'm aware of, and Hatate was bad at concealing it. Normally, this would not be something I would dwell upon, as each guest is entitled to their secrets, the the various oddities just keep piling up. There's something peculiar about this group of guests, and I don't mean the hair dye.

But then again, it really is none of my business, is it? They are entitled to their secrets, and my job here is simply to serve. Shaking myself a bit, I walk up to the woman standing by the window and bow in introduction. "Alfred Arthur Westcastle at your service," I say politely. "Can I be of service to you, Madam?"

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rru3XqqORUk)

The woman glances at me with crimson eyes (contact lenses again?) and nods. "A glass of wine, if you please," she tells me, handing me an empty wineglass. I bow, and immediately head off to get her a refill. Red wine, by the scent. And she has exceptionally fine taste in wines as well, if I do say so myself.

I return to her side and hand her the newly filled glass, and she accepts it with a nod. I acknowledge her behavior mentally. This is a woman far more used to dealing with servants. It doesn't bother me in the slightest; I'm used to such things. Instead, I simply take the moment to observe her. The woman reeks of class, with a confident bearing and easy posture. She gazes out at the storm with apparent fascination, and sways from side to side in a precise rhythm that is too purposeful to be drunkenness. Instead, it's like she's dancing privately to the sound of the raindrops. What a fascinating woman.

I turn to go when I am interrupted by her voice. "Has there been any report on how long this storm is expected to last?" she asks me.

I turn back to her with a nod. "Yes, madam. According to the weather report, this system is supposed to remain for the entire weekend. There is even a risk of flood, I understand."

She looks genuinely troubled. "I see. Will this place your coworkers and the other guests at risk, then?"

I hesitate. "Regrettably, I didn't happen to notice which areas are likely to be affected, Madam-"

"Iku Nagae," she interjects, introducing herself with a nod.

"Miss Iku," I correct myself. "But as I was saying, I would be surprised if the local area was not affected." I gesture to the window. "This is the fiercest storm I've seen for a long time, and I have been here several years."

"This is the fiercest storm I've seen for a long time, and I've seen a LOT of storms," Iku says emphatically. She looks at me, still looking troubled, and perhaps a bit weary. "But again, do you think that your fellow staff are at risk? Or the gentlemen supposed to... attend to us?"

And yet another euphemism for it. "I'm certain you don't need to worry, Miss Iku. Our duty is to provide the best service possible to our guests, a charge we do not take lightly."

Iku winces. "I wasn't acting like that much of a bitch, was I?" She shakes her head. "Sorry. I forget that things are different overseas. I didn't mean to be too standoffish."

I shrug. "I take no offense, Miss Iku. Some people enjoy bantering with the butler. Others wish to be left in peace. I took you for one of the latter."

She shakes her head. "Well, the way things are going, you're going to be the only male companionship we have all weekend. So I'd better be nice to you, hadn't I?" Iku smiles slyly.

I wince, groaning a little as I take in the room full of eccentric women. "Your words fill me with unknowable dread, Miss Iku," I tell her, getting a laugh in response. "Fortunately, I have developed a finely honed skill at dodging."

"Angry guests?" Iku inquires.

"Angry guests, drunk guests, clumsy guests, grabby guests... the list goes on." I shrug again, and stare out the window at the near-constant thunder and lightning, at the howling wind and surging rain.

Iku looks at me carefully. "You're worried." It's not a question.

"I am," I agree, letting some of my worry appear in my voice. "I have never seen a storm so intense. The head butler, Eric, was supposed to arrive with everyone else in a van a few hours ago. Now, he's a good driver, and he's also the kind of man who is determined to get to the job no matter what. But this..." I gesture at the storm and trail off. "...I haven't been able to get a hold of him," I say finally, my voice very quiet.

Iku turns to me, now looking worried. "Do you think something happened to them?"

I straighten my back. "Well, Miss Iku, you have my assurances that-"

"No." Iku says in a calm, but sharp voice. I look at her in surprise. "I am not asking this of a butler. I am asking this of the man standing next to me. I ask again: do you think that something happened to them?"

I take a deep breath, then let it out slowly, leaning against the window for support. "...I don't know," I finally admit. "Eric is an excellent driver, as I said, but in this weather he could have gone off the road into a ditch, into a river, into the lake... I just don't know what happened to him." I gaze out at the storm, no longer able to conceal my worry for my friends and co-workers.

Iku nods sympathetically, then turns to look out at the storm again. "I'm usually very good at telling the weather," she explains. "It's sort of what I do, you see. But I just didn't see something of this... intensity... coming. It's a little unusual for me." She shakes her head. "Maybe the air currents are just different over here, I don't know."

I glance over at her. "You're the flashiest meteorologist I've ever seen," I quip.

Iku smirks back at me. "A girl has to be eye-catching if she wants to grab people's attention. Besides, this is nothing. You should see me dance."

"She dances and tells the weather?" I shake my head in amazement. "This must be the newest thing: dancing weather ladies. It'll certainly improve ratings."

Iku laughs out loud. "A butler who serves wine and snarks with the best? Is that par for the course over here, or are you just an anomaly?"

"I'm proud to say that I'm part of a long tradition, Miss Iku," I inform her. "The snarking butler is pretty much an expectation at places like these. I take pride in my work."

"And enjoy it, I'll bet," Iku says with a smile.

"There is a certain pleasure to it," I admit. Iku chuckles again, and the two of us gaze out at the storm, each wondering what has become of Pleasant Meadows' loyal staff.

[ ] "You seem tired. Is there anything I can do for you?"
[ ] Stand there in silence.
[ ] Excuse yourself.
No. 51971
[x] "You seem tired. Is there anything I can do for you?"
Regardless of his job, he has kindness to return.
No. 51973
[ ] "You seem tired. Is there anything I can do for you?"
No. 51976
[x] "You seem tired. Is there anything I can do for you?"
No. 51978
[x] "You seem tired. Is there anything I can do for you?"

While the boys are away Alfred will play.
No. 51980
[X] "You seem tired. Is there anything I can do for you?"

Sure, let's ask.
No. 51982
[x] "You seem tired. Is there anything I can do for you?"
No. 51983
[x] "You seem tired. Is there anything I can do for you?"

Well, it's polite to ask.
No. 51988
[x] "You seem tired. Is there anything I can do for you?"

I imagine it's pretty ingrained into him at this point. Automatic even.
No. 51991
[X] "You seem tired. Is there anything I can do for you?"
Clearly, we all know how this situation will end.

WITH A DANCE OFF!
No. 51992
File 137402604163.png - (968.29KB, 800x1119, a surprise this update.png) [iqdb]
51992
After a moment I glance over at Iku, and notice the slight bags under her eyes, marring her otherwise perfect features. "Are you all right?" I ask in concern, "You seem a bit tired. Is there anything that I can do for you?"

Iku laughs a little bit and shakes her head. "No, no. I actually feel a lot better than I have in a long while. I'm sort of here to recharge a little bit, you understand?"

"Difficult job?" I ask, "It must be hard to simultaneously dance and predict the weather."

Iku rolls her eyes. "Are you ever going to let that go?"

"Never," I declare, "I shall hang on to that mental image with all of the strength that I can muster." After a moment in which Iku just gives me a sardonic look, I shrug. "Honestly though, are you here to get away from the stress of the job?"

"Yes, but not my official job." Iku sighs and takes a long drink of wine. "You see, I'm sort of a caretaker for a young lady of high standing. One with very little in the way of impulse control."

I cringe. "All of a sudden I appreciate my job a whole lot more."

"Yeah," Iku says, slumping a little in soul-deep weariness. "Can you imagine what I go through in the run of a day?"

"Given the large number of rich young ladies that come through here? Yes. Yes, I can." I nod sympathetically to Iku. "The difference is that they go away at the end of the weekend."

"What a luxury that would be." Iku sighs happily at the thought. "But no; I have to keep one eye on her every day of the week because her parents are a) too busy, and b) have absolutely no idea how to deal with her. I'm the lucky one that has to pick up after her." Iku stares at me. "Imagine having to be the guardian, in everything but name, of someone like that."

"I refuse," I say flatly, "The nightmares would haunt me forever."

"I used to sleep well," Iku says wearily. "Now I wake up every morning wondering what she'll do this time. And she used to be so cute when she was little, too."

"And then puberty happened," I say knowingly, having seen it before.

"Don't remind me," Iku grumbles. "The worst part? She's managed to make herself a friend, and spends a lot of time visiting her in a place where the locals know how to deal with that kind of mass-destruction. Unfortunately, while it means she's out of my hair for a couple of days a week, it means she's even MORE wound up when she comes back!" Iku shakes her head in dismay.

"...How do you deal with it?" I wonder. At least my job has vacation days.

Iku stares at me. "Alcohol. Lots of it."

"It seems to be a regional pastime wherever you're from," I note, glancing around at the rather high amount of alcohol consumption going on. "And speaking of which... where DO all of you hail from, anyway?"

Iku raises an eyebrow. "Why Alfred, don't tell me you're prying!"

I sigh in defeat. "Normally I wouldn't but in this case... I really can't help it, Miss Iku. I mean, everything about your party just screams out at me. You're a pleasant group of young ladies, but I must say, you're very eccentric as well." I sigh. "Honestly, this is going to nag at me. I just keep wondering where in Japan you could have come from."

"You're very observant," Iku comments, before pausing to glance at the others. "...Then again, I suppose strong powers of perception aren't necessary here. I suppose we do seem a tad... off."

"To say the least," I say dryly. "So I apologize if I seem a bit brash, Miss Iku, but curiosity overwhelms me. Where are all of you from?"

Iku just smiles beautifully. "It's a secret," she says simply.

I sigh deeply, conceding defeat. "As you wish, Miss Iku. I suppose I'll just chalk this up to yet another experience I had while on the job." I glance over at her. "Though if you are truly desperate for a dance, might I suggest Miss Hina?"

Iku blinks at me, then glances over to where Hina is still putting on her little performance, spinning in place gracefully and serenely. "I can dance better than that," Iku asserts.

"I have no doubt," I say with a smile, and excuse myself.

The snack trays are getting low again. I pick up a couple and move to take them to the kitchen for yet another refill. I don't know how these women maintain their figure with as much as they're eating (and drinking). Maybe they get a lot of exercise? Speaking of drinking, off to the side I notice Yumeko desperately trying to cut Suika off from the alcohol. She isn't having a lot of luck. Shaking my head, I pass though the doorway and make my way to the kitchen.

(http://www.rainymood.com/)

Halfway there, I hear the telephone ring.

I run the rest of the way, skidding to a halt and picking up the phone. "Hello?!" I nearly shout into the receiver, heart suddenly pounding in my chest.

"Alfred!" Eric's voice comes from the receiver, and I sag in relief. "Good to hear your voice, old man! How are things there?"

"I am surrounded by strange young women, they're depleting our supply of alcohol and the storm of the century is raging outside," I report. "Honestly Eric, I'm going to have to request a bonus after all of this."

"And you'll get a bigger one than you think," Eric replies, sounding awkward. "You see... it seems that we won't be attending this weekend. Neither the rest of the staff, nor the, ah, male 'escorts' that were hired."

For a moment, the kitchen is silent save for the sound of rain and thunder. After a moment, I manage to form words again. One word, specifically.

"What." I say numbly.

"I'm sorry, Alfred," Eric sighs, sounding truly wretched. "I tried, old man, I really did. God knows I hate this more than I can say. I've NEVER missed an engagement! Never! But it's the storm. The main road is impassable; the bridge is out! And the secondary road has been plain washed away. We're going to have to hire someone to lay some dirt down just to get to the mansion!"

"...We're blocked off?" I say, still feeling numb.

"I'm sorry," Eric says again. "The weather slowed us down terribly, and by the time we got close to the mansion, there was no way in! I got as near as a mile away, and then the roads just...ended." He sighs, clearly unhappy. "I eventually found a land line at the hotel we're staying at. The weather is playing merry hell with my cellular service. Knew I should have changed companies..."

"Wait, how are we supposed to get out?!" I demand, suddenly very worried.

"We'll pay someone to lay down some dirt so cars can get through, but not until the storm is over," Eric tells me, speaking in his 'calm down' voice. His level tone makes me take a deep breath and try to get my bearings. "Worst case scenario, we'll have you escort the ladies out by boat. But in any case, we can't do anything until the storm breaks."

"And it's likely to last all weekend," I say, rubbing my aching temples.

"I'm so sorry," Eric says again, sounding miserable. "Alfred, I know this will be tough on you, but I need you to try to keep those ladies entertained. Look at it as a learning experience. And I'll make sure you're properly reimbursed for your efforts, all right?"

"Have I a choice in the matter?" I sigh.

"None, really," Eric admits. "Stay strong, Alfred. I'll check in sometime tomorrow. Good luck."

"Thank you," I say quietly, and set down the receiver.

Damn.

Damn, damn, damn!

I KNEW this would happen! What the hell am I supposed to tell Yukari?! I just stand there for a moment, feeling overwhelmed, before I take a deep breath to calm myself. Chin up. Stiff upper lip. Just as Eric taught me. I can do this. I HAVE to do this.

Quietly, I refill the snack trays and take them back out to the lounge. Glancing around, I see that the guests are coping with things fairly well. Iku and Hina are laughing as they dance together, Iku mimicking Hina's movements in her own flamboyant way. Yumeko is desperately trying to pry a bottle away from Suika, to no avail. Eiki and Kasen are conversing, while Hatate is leaning one the piano as Lyrica plays. Parsee sits by herself, drinking quietly as she stares out at the ever-darkening sky.

And I? I am about to go disappoint my customer. God help me.

Quietly, I make my way to the first room of the east wing's second floor; Yukari's room. "Miss Yukari?" I call out, knocking. The door yawns open in response; she must not have bothered to even latch it. Shrugging, I step inside, wanting to get this over with. I open my mouth to call her name again.







































And then I see the blood.




(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKtJQqzro9w&list=PL663AAD73DC8B43F5)






Blood.


So much blood,

Blood on the bed, soaking it though.

Blood so thick, it looks like it's pooling rather than soaking into the mattress.

Blood splattered on the carpet, on the walls.

Purple bits of cloth and a few blonde hairs are mixed in, already turning the same shade of crimson. Her hat, almost obscenely, is placed primly in the center of the bloodstain. It's already turning red as it soaks the blood up.

So much blood.

Of Yukari's body, there is no sign.

But there is a message.

On the wall, written in drying, red (so red) blood is a single, dripping word:

DELICIOUS




[ ] React.
No. 51994
[X] Huh, that will take awhile to clean.


There's a dog in the wine cellar in a hidden room surrounded by computers.
No. 51995
why am I getting a feeling this is becoming nothing more than a troll attempt from Yukari towards Alfred and the other girls?
No. 51998
Great. Yukari realised no one else was coming and decided on another game.
No. 51999
[X] "AAAAAAAAHHH-!"
[X] Calm down! Think, th-AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!"
[X] "AAAAAAAAHHH-!"
No. 52001
>>51998
I get the feeling she caused the storm. And the worse part of this whole mystery thing: we know we're basically dancing to Yukari's tune.
No. 52003
[x] React.
[x] Don't scream like a little girl.
No. 52004
[X] oh shit oh fuck oh doom on you
[X] Shut the door. Return to guests. Inform everyone that Yukari's room is a bloody mess. Also that she's probably dead.
[X] TRY TO REMAIN CALM.

Excellent music choice, by the way.
No. 52006
[ ] Alright. Who died and didn't even have the common courtesy to inform us?
No. 52007
...Hina damn it, Yukari!

[X] Huh, that will take awhile to clean.

Right, since this may or may not now be a detective mystery, time to start pointing out minor details.

1.) Objects in the room are just now starting to soak up blood. This 'murder' probably happened a few seconds ago.
2.) 'Delicious' is fairly obviously a ploy.
3.) The human body doesn't contain that much blood...evidence that either this was staged or Yukari isn't human.

Anything that I missed?
No. 52008
[x] Alright. Who died and didn't even have the common courtesy to inform us?

When all else fails, snark. Snark as though your sanity depends on it.
No. 52009
File 137402924289.jpg - (130.28KB, 472x800, 4263c310934e134cddda3cd48a0f9629.jpg) [iqdb]
52009
[x] What you're seeing can't be real. But it is.
[x] No body should have so much blood in their body, but there it is.
[x] Accept it. Take it all in. Cry if you must.
[x] But you already know the answer.
[x] This is a game. A game for them. And you are not going to play.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydyDhZSCDVw
This is lovely. Thanks Keymaster.
No. 52012
File 137402968717.jpg - (680.92KB, 703x1000, delicious.jpg) [iqdb]
52012
Aaaah, it feels so good to have those introductions out of the way. Now the story can finally begin.

Welcome to No Escape.

And I LOVE how people actually think that this is a plan of Yukari's! Just keep thinking that, Anon.

It amuses me terribly.
No. 52013
>>52012
it has to be as Yukari actually dying would mean Gensokyo's fubared (and not to mention making Shinki a nigh-widow) and that whatever is running around cannot be stopped save perhaps Shiki but odds are she'd been either depowered or killed next.
No. 52015
>>52012
Okay then. What kind of monster could then overpower our dear Yama of all people?

No offense, but I don't think anyone is going to take this murder setting seriously.
No. 52016
>>52013
Shhh, no poking holes.

Besides, it's not like Yukari is all powerful in this continuity.
No. 52017
[x] Eric did say "Worst case scenario, we'll have you escort the ladies out by boat." I'm pretty sure murder qualifies as a worst case scenario.
[x] gather the ladies up, head for the docks, get everyone on a boat and sail to safety
No. 52018
>>52017
You realise the boat probably already sank at this point?

Bah, no matter. If it's really a monster, think about two of the guests here: Suika and Shikieiki. Then pity the poor monster.
No. 52019
[X] Huh, that will take awhile to clean.
No. 52020
And shit just went full on Super Clue. So much 'what the hell' though.

[x] oh shit oh fuck oh doom on you
[x] Shut the door. Return to guests. Inform everyone that Yukari's room is a bloody mess. Also that she's probably dead.
[x] TRY TO REMAIN CALM.

I like this.
No. 52021
[X]Not the first time someone's been killed at the mansion. Though last time it was on your vacation days.
-[X]Follow proper procedure; close the door so as to not disturb the scene, let the guests know, and escort them to the modern-day panic room hidden in the cellar.
--[X]If for some reason the modern-day panic room is now gone, retreat to one of the designated first floor bedrooms.
No. 52022
[X] Try not to scream like a little girl.
[X] Scream like a little girl.
No. 52025
[X] Nope. It's not real. All the stress from this situation is making you to hallucinate. Turn around, walk out and shut the door.
-[X] And then collapse from shock.

C'mon guys, Yukari's just hiding.
No. 52026
[x] Anemia option.

Can't skip a classic.
No. 52028
>>52015
exactly. If it was composed of solely lower powered touhous or such it'd be one thing but to have Yukari somehow ganked like like that...


>>52016
she'd still be stronger than most. That and what part of "one of the two pillars of Gensokyo" do you not get? She's as important as Reimu in keeping gensokyo from falling apart.
No. 52029
>"Delicious"
>Must be a clue
>Now which touhous are delicious?
>Well, all of them are attractive but not in that sense
>It's the bird

Hatate confirmed for the killer. Also tastes good deep fried.

10 little Indians~
No. 52030
File 13740473031.jpg - (16.72KB, 255x264, 1368829780071.jpg) [iqdb]
52030
>>52029
No. 52032
Okay, should note some things.
1. The storm is artificial.
The fact that the storm was unexpected by everyone has been thrown in our face multiple times, and that means someone created it.
2. Yukari's body is missing.
Given the 'DELICIOUS', we could assume that the body was eaten, but there's also the chance she's not dead. Bit optimistic.
3. Yukari was caught off guard.
You don't go at least a thousand years as a powerful manipulating youkai that most people think is a bitch without people trying to kill you. The antagonist is probably supernaturally sneaky, unless they have some convenient ability up their sleeve.


It seems as though someone (could be a touhou, but who knows) has taken this outing as an opportunity for killing/eating/whatevering some touhous. They also could be messing with us in a dramatic fashion, but I'll assume the 'homicidal maniac' just to be safe.

"Pleasant Meadows" eh? Haha. Keymaster, you scoundrel.


[X] Go straight to the main room. Make sure everyone is together and NO ONE is missing. Announce the Bad News and the Bad News.
No. 52033
raging storm, a mansion, a murder, this is a case for detective Haruhi.

[x] Oh no, they threw a murder party, just what I needed.
No. 52036
[X] Oh no, they threw a murder party, just what I needed.
No. 52037
[X] GOD DAMN IT, YUKARI!
Far too much coincidences for her not to be implicated.
No. 52038
[X] Scream Internally.
[X] Close door.
[X] Go back to other guests and make sure no one is missing.
[X] Try to figure shit out.
[X] DON'T SPLIT THE PARTY.
No. 52039
Key, that was possibly the best use of music I have seen on this site, so far. Period.

And the casual changing of the title, that.

That, with the music. That.

That.


Well done.

I see you took notes on all my whitespace usage.
No. 52040
[x] Alright. Who died and didn't even have the common courtesy to inform us?
[x] Gather the guests.
[x] Inform them of their companion's demise.

We have no time to panic. There's been a possible murder under this very roof, and we are no longer safe. The guests need to be gathered and informed.

Keymaster, you magnificent bastard. I thought that we were going to spend a weekend with the less popular Touhou characters, instead we get a murderer in our home and one of the guests missing.

Absolutely glorious.

>>52008
It very well may be.
No. 52042
I am somewhat annoyed you did not allow us to choose to talk to Yukari before this.

But clearly you've got an idea of how the story is set up, so I'll just have to deal with it.
No. 52045
Keymaster you magnificent bastard. I'm eagerly awaiting the next post.
No. 52046
So was I the only person who actually saw this coming? I mean, a luxury mansion with esteemed and eccentric guests, a big storm threatening to leave the mansion disconnected from the rest of the world, the fact that Keymaster expressed interested in making a murder mystery story back at the end of Being Meiling... No?

Well, color me interested anyway. Let's see how you handle this, Keymaster.
No. 52048
[X] Alright. Who died and didn't even have the common courtesy to inform us?
[X] Gather the guests.
[X] Inform them of their companion's demise.
[X] STAYCALMSTAYCALMSTAYCALM

Huh, didn't see that one coming.
No. 52049
>>52046
I had my suspicions as soon as the storm started ramping up & Al was unable to contact anyone outside.

Kinda half-expecting Al to speed-walk his ass to the drinks table down a few shots and, when someone undoubtedly asks what's wrong, calmly state that, judging by the blood & bits of hair, someone killed Yukari and did something with the body.
No. 52052
Can you even kill a youkai? I thought that they would reform after a while.

>>52046
Well, the signs were definitely there. I was expecting something like this to happen too, but not so soon. I was giving it a night or two before something like this would turn up.

>>52049
After seeing something like that, I wouldn't be surprised if Al decided to down a couple of drinks to calm his nerves.
No. 52053
>>52052

Yes yokai in general can die, though depending on the species it might be very difficult to do. Yukari however if canonically able to 'get better' due to border-hax.
No. 52054
File 137407478874.jpg - (0.97MB, 2649x3642, image.jpg) [iqdb]
52054
>>52030
>implying this isn't a locked room mystery
>implying this isn't a homage to pic related
No. 52055
>>52046
The storm and the character's introductions had UMINEKO all over them.

Which explains why I'm so pumped up I guess. The only thing we had about it was a parody:
http://www.touhou-project.com/gensokyo/res/172.html#376
No. 52056
>>52055
And Yukari as a Golden Witch isn't unbelievable at all... o.o
No. 52057
>>52012
> And I LOVE how people actually think that this is a plan of Yukari's! Just keep thinking that, Anon.

Murder mystery dinners exist in real life, and almost always don't involve an actual murder.
No. 52058
Anyway, I did this because I wanted the whole thing in one file that can be easily searched / read without distractions, and figured others might want it too:

http://pastebin.com/rCY1uDqP
No. 52059
I really hope Keymaster remembered that should Yukari die, Gensokyo is screwed. She is one of the people (if not the only one) that can sense and fix the Hakurei border. Reimu is presumably too young/inexperienced to fix the border on her own. Given this, I highly doubt Yukari is actually dead. Plus, don't Youkai respawn or something? She'll probably pop up in her bed with Shinki and need a hug.
No. 52060
Looking at who, other than Yukari, is A) not present and B) responsible for convincing people to come here.
> Yumeko: Shinki
> Eiki: Komachi
> Parsee: ????
> Kasen: Reimu
> Suika: just Yukari
> Lyrica: No indication, but I'm wondering why the other two aren't here
> Hatate: ????
> Iku: ????

I also notice that there's no-one here from the Scarlet Devil Mansion, nor from Eientei.
No. 52061
>Murder Mystery
Delicious indeed.
No. 52062
>>52060
For the SDM, it's pretty logical, since the entire staff but Flandre are already taken, and Flandre is, well, Flandre.
No. 52066
>>52062
Fairy maids.

Also, who'd Patchy and Koa end up with, again?
No. 52067
>>52066
Though Patchy doesn't, as I recall, have any trouble finding men anyway when she feels the need to.
No. 52068
>>52066
Koa x Josef.
Patchy x Random men in town
+GL with all the fairy-maids.
Trough Malla would be fun, but then, fairies looks like eight years old girls, so..
No. 52069
My, such a response! I'll try to synthesize everything into a decent update.

So, Anon. I want you to maybe take a look at the character introductions. Think about who you like.

Which ONE would you like to wind up with? You have lots of time to think it over... but give it some thought.

PROTIP: The girls you want to keep around? Pay attention to them. The others? Might be very tasty.
No. 52070
>>52069
So many choices and all good ones too. Damn.
No. 52071
>>52069
Shikieiki! Shikieiki!
No. 52073
>On the wall, written in drying, red (so red) blood is a single, dripping word:
>DELICIOUS

>The others? Might be very tasty.

inb4 Alfred is the one who does all this. Too much tasty and delicious going around here.
No. 52074
>>52073
The butler always is the culprit.
No. 52075
I have a theory as to who it may be. Mystia Think about it, she has never been romanced before, according to the IRC, and she makes delicious food. Not only that but, she is the butt of many Fried Chicken jokes.

inb4 I'm proved wrong
No. 52077
File 137409024712.jpg - (135.26KB, 850x850, what did she taste like.jpg) [iqdb]
52077
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9xBAzJ48F0&list=PL663AAD73DC8B43F5 -Ignore the spoken stuff at the end)

There is just so much blood. I had no idea that there was so much blood in the human body. I mean, I understand intellectually that on average you have about, what? Six liters of blood in your body? And when I spill something it goes all over the floor, much like all of this blood is going all over the bed. It's a pain to clean up, especially when it's all thick and smelly and sticky and the smell is boring into your nostrils like someone jammed rust in your nose. But seeing the real thing, like this?

Oh my God it's everywhere.

Is that really what six liters looks like? That's a lot of blood.

A lot of blood.

Heh.

Haha.

That's going to take a long time to clean, isn't it?

I mean, the sheets alone will take hours! Then there's the bedspread, and it's seeping into the mattress, and the carpet and walls will have to be scrubbed. I mean, how inconsiderate of someone to leave SUCH a mess! Especially when I'm the only one on staff here! Is there no consideration for what I have to go through? Really, I probably won't even get a tip for this!

My heart is pounding in my ears. My whole body feels numb. My mouth is as dry as a desert. I wonder if Yukari's mouth is dry? It must be soaked with blood, except all of her blood had to have leaked out, so it must be dry. Can you still produce saliva when you have no blood? So many questions.

Of course, that's assuming there is even still a mouth. Poor Yukari, no more mouth to find anything DELICIOUS. Kind of funny, when you think about it. Truly ironic.

Haha. Ha.

I take a shuddering step forward, dimly aware that my whole body is shaking. Could this be a nervous breakdown? Why yes, Mister Westcastle, that could very well be the case! Now, now, you have a job to do! Straighten that back, stiff upper lip, and all that other crap Eric told you that really doesn't apply to a bloody fucking murder.

I hear a whining sound from somewhere nearby, and it takes me a moment to realize that it's a scream trying very, very hard to force it's way out of my throat. I manage to swallow it back. Don't scream, Alfred. Don't scream. Calm down. Think. You hear me? Think.

I think that there's a fuckload of blood on the bed and that one of my guests just got horribly murdered.

Don't scream like a little girl. Or a big man. Or like anything. Don't scream. Can you do that for me, Alfred?

I can certainly try, Mister Westcastle.

Excellent. And try to stop thinking of yourself as multiple people in the third person. It can't be good for your mental health, which has already taken a massive pounding from... well, you know. The horrible murder.

You know, this is probably just a prank. Someone is probably trying to throw a murder mystery party or some such, except for the fact that regulation clearly states that all members of the staff need to be informed as to what is going on, and this was most certainly NOT on the schedule. Sex was on the schedule. That much was very damn obvious.

Not any more, though. And I find this to be a very poor substitute. Really, why engage in murder when we have so many other diversions here? It just makes no sense.

And I know what blood smells like. That is blood. Real blood. Honest to heavens blood, dark and thick and dripping. REAL.

Maybe it's just a hallucination? Of course! Bravo, me! That's what's going on! All of the stress is making me hallucinate! I'm just imagining that I'm seeing a horrible murder scene, nothing else! That's right, I'm going to go outside, shut the door, collapse from THE OVERWHELMING SHOCK, wake up, have a bit of brandy to steady my nerves, then have a good laugh with the guests over this whole thing.

Except it isn't fake, and running away from the facts will accomplish nothing.

Oddly, I find myself wondering what to tell the guests. I mean, they have to be informed at some point. But what do I say to them? 'Everyone, I regret to inform you that the interior of Miss Yukari's room looks like a blood donation agency spilled all of their product. Oh, and she's probably dead, as well.'

I can't see that going over so well.

Goddammit, Yukari, why did you have to die like this?! Especially so horribly?! Do you have any idea how much this inconveniences me?! I wasn't trained for this madness! Really, no common courtesy at all! And I don't even have a way to evacuate the guests from the mansion, safely away from the psychotic murderer! Roads are out, going by boat wold be suicide, we don't even have a panic room! Why don't we have a fucking panic room? IT WOULD BE REAL FUCKING HANDY RIGHT NOW, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?!

I slap, myself, hard. The pain gives me something to focus on, and I take a deep breath to calm myself down.

Calm down.

Calm down.

Okay.

(http://www.rainymood.com/)

I'm not in good shape, but I don't think I'm going insane any more. But the blood stain is still there, which is clear evidence that I was not, am not, hallucinating the whole thing. Regrettably.

Why the hell would anyone write 'DELICIOUS' in what has to be Yukari's own blood?

......

Ah. Of course. They're toying with me. With us.

I consider the murder scene clinically. The blood is still damp and soaking things, so this has to have happened just recently. I don't think that the bloodstain represents the full contents of Yukari's body. Two, three liters tops? That means that the remainder is still within whatever remains of her (DELICIOUS) body. There are no blood-trails, so what happened to her body? It had to have been dragged away. Or maybe carried? How the hell was it removed without any sign of what happened to it?

I don't know. I'm not a detective. But I know that this is real, and I am freaking out over it. But I'm in control. I want to cry, to scream, to curl up in a ball and just let all of this... just... fade away. But I can't. It will still be there when I wake up, and I'll still have to deal with it. So I'd best deal with it now.

The smell is truly horrid.

...DELICIOUS, eh?

It's a taunt. Whoever did this is trying to mock us. To get a rise out of us. To terrify us. And it's working. So I have to calm down, and let the others know what has happened. Figure out who could have done this, and apprehend them. This is horrible, but doing nothing will only allow whoever the culprit is win. And I will not allow that.

I'm not playing their little game.

Nodding to myself, I turn with conviction back towards the door, intending to go to the lounge, and the guests. I have just a split second to hear a horrified female scream, and see something large and wooden come towards my face.

Then there is a brief moment of pain, followed by blissful darkness.

[ ] Quiet talking.
[ ] Thoughtful silence.
[ ] Screamed accusations.
No. 52078
Considering that the blood was still moving, I'd put it at someone who could either preserve the scene, or who could create the scene and hide within a few seconds, or who could create the scene and leave within a few seconds.

Let's go down the list, then.

Who was in the room:
Yukari(maybe)
????

Who had motive:
Yukari(maybe)
Yuyuko(maybe)
????

Who had means:
Yukari
Sakuya
Flandre
Nue
Kogasa
Yuyuko
Suika
????

If we can fill in the question marks, great. If we can eliminate people from the list, great. Any ideas?
No. 52079
It's way too early to start guessing, so we should just focus on the present.

[x] Quiet talking.
No. 52080
[x] Quiet talking.

It begins.
No. 52081
>>52078
It is a closed room mystery, the murderer is one of the guests. No other Gensokyan has a way to get through the barrier.

...probably.

[x] Quiet talking.
No. 52082
[X] Quiet talking
inb4 the culprit is Nitori
No. 52083
[x] Quiet talking.

Well uh, pretty much everyone in the mansion has the means of a weapon of some kind. And damn, I thought this was going to be another wacky story, forgot that Keymaster wanted to write a murder mystery instead.
No. 52085
Wait, this is supposed to be taken seriously?

Guess I'll wait for next story of yours then, Keymaster. The idea itself break my suspension of disbelief in a moment.
No. 52086
[x] Quiet talking.

>>52082
It's obviously Shanghai.
No. 52087
>see something large and wooden come towards my face

Well, I was going to suggest getting Eiki (she's some kind of cop, right?) except it seems she's already here.
No. 52088
>Well uh, pretty much everyone in the mansion has the means of a weapon of some kind

But who has a wooden weapon?
No. 52089
[ ] Quiet talking.

You know, it's not hard to find something wooden in an old mansion and swing at a poor butler.
No. 52090
[X] Quiet talking

You know, I have a sneaking suspicion that the killer hid in the room itself; Al didn't really take a very good look at it because of all the blood. How else could you kill somebody, dispose the body, and hide in the span of a few minutes?
No. 52092
>>52086
Kana or Gengetsu. Calling it.

[ ] Thoughtful silence
No. 52093
You know, nothing says that Yukari's dead. No body found. Just blood. For all we know, she's injured and tried to gap away. Ended up in view of another guest, who panicked and ran to Yukari's room and summarily thwacked us on the head.
No. 52095
[x] Thoughtful silence.
No. 52096
[x] Quiet talking.

Note that Alfred looked around the lounge and explicitly noted that all 9 guests were present - and all except Parsee were paired off in conversations - before heading directly to Yukari's room.

Guess who's the prime suspect?
No. 52102
>>52090
Completely plausible and even likely. I'm gonna vote for shitting on whoever knocked us out for letting the culprit go.
No. 52103
Ahahaha. Haha. Ha.

Very good, Yukari. Now manipulate the Border of Romance/Comedy and Mystery/Horror back, please.

(Though with that said I am a bit of a When They Cry fan so I really have no excuse.)
No. 52104
>>52103
>name
>no sage
ಠ_ಠ
No. 52106
Vote called. Quiet talking it is.
No. 52117
File 137418249879.jpg - (209.14KB, 850x1202, but without the rod.jpg) [iqdb]
52117
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi23DZ0_eZ8)

I come back to hateful consciousness with a pained groan.

Almost at once, something cool and damp is pressed to my aching face. "Easy, Alfred," a calm, gentle voice says to me. "You took quite a blow there. Just give yourself a moment to recover."

I grumble something unintelligible, not even sure what I was trying to say myself. God, my head hurts. Still the pain seems to be subsiding. What happened, anyway? As I lay there, I hear the sounds of the storm still going on outside. The wind and the rain, the thunder booming in the distance. That's right, we're in the middle of a storm.

Closer to me, I hear some quiet conversation. It sounds confused, worried. One voice even sounds a little angry. What is happening-

Blood.

Oh God. Yukari.

Slowly, I pull the cloth off of my face.

I'm lying down on a couch in one of the main building's lounges. Eiki is sitting in a chair next to me, gazing down at me with a worried expression. Behind her, Iku and Yumeko are talking to each other in hushed voices, occasionally throwing concerned looks at the closed door to the room. Parsee is standing in a corner with a frown on her face, watching the two of them speak. Every so often she casts a look my way, looking worried about me, before turning back to the other two. Somewhere else in the mansion, I hear the sound of a loud argument.

"How do you feel?" Eiki asks me. I respond by struggling into an upright position on the couch, which gets the attention of the others. I sit there, trembling, for a moment as the memory of what I saw pounds into me. So much blood.

"Yukari is dead," I whisper, voice nothing more than a rasp.

Yumeko walks over with a glass of brandy, and I take it gratefully. The liquor acts as a shock to my system, snapping me out of my stupor. I remind myself not to drink too much; this is hardly the time to get drunk, much as I might wish otherwise.

"We saw the room," Yumeko says calmly. "It looks bad, but... I dunno."

"You DON'T KNOW?!" I practically shriek at her. "Did you not see the blood?! My god, I didn't even see the body!"

"That's sort of what I mean," Yumeko says thoughtfully. "Yukari is known to play tricks on people like this. Admittedly, this is a little extreme for her..."

"Yukari was looking forward to this," Iku says firmly, "I really can't see her pulling a stunt like this. If anything, I'm surprised that she didn't do something about the weather." The classy weatherlady takes a deep breath. "Which implies, of course, that she was in no position to do anything about it."

"What the blazes are you all talking about?" I demand, head swimming with confusion, "Do something about the weather? What, does she have a magical weather machine in her back pocket? Because I'd certainly like to borrow it if such is the case! I'm sure the estate could place a nice bid on it! OH, but we'll have to talk to her next of kin, won't we?!"

"Alfred," Eiki says sharply, "Calm down. Now." Her blue eyes stab into mine with an irresistible command. The woman has presence, that much is for certain. I sigh and pinch my nose, forcing my thoughts back into order. She's right. Something terrible has happened, and we need to figure out just what is going on. Regardless of their incomprehensible statements.

"What happened to me?" I finally ask.

"That idiot tengu hit you in the face with a chair," Parsee practically snarls.

Tengu?

"You were gone for fifteen minutes, Alfred," Yumeko says gently. "A few of us went looking for you, and found you with... that." She sighs. "Then Miss Himekaidou apparently jumped to the exact wrong conclusion, grabbed a chair, and knocked you out."

"The idiot would probably have bludgeoned you to death if we hadn't stopped her," Parsee practically spits. "Anyway, we dragged her off of you and brought you here."

I take a deep breath. "I'm the prime suspect." The realization is like a punch in the stomach. I am suspected of committing the worst atrocity that I have ever seen in my whole life. My whole body feels numb. My heart pounds in my chest. How could this be happening?

"You were found with the body," Eiki tells me evenly, "But it was truly a gruesome scene. Judging from your reaction just now, I'd say you went into mild shock at the sight."

"I could barely think, Miss Eiki," I exhale a shuddering breath. "It was horrible. I thought I was going to go mad. I finally had gotten my thoughts together, and was going to get the rest of you when..." I gesture helplessly. "Wood to the face. Very HARD wood, at that."

"Didn't know you swung that way," Parsee comments.

"I certainly didn't stay awake for it," I shoot back on reflex. No one laughs, and Parsee looks a little ashamed. This really isn't the time for such jokes. "...Is it a prank? Some sort of sick joke of Yukari's? The blood was so fresh when I got there..."

"Hard to say," Iku sighs, "Suika screwed up her courage and said that the blood tasted like Yukari's, so-" She winces immediately upon realizing what she has just said.

I rocket to my feet. "SHE WHAT?!" I shout, horrified. "Just what in the blazes is wrong with her? With all of you?! What the hell is going on in my mansion?!"

"He's awake?!" I hear a voice shout outside of the lounge. There are sounds of a scuffle, loud footsteps, and then the door is slammed open. Lyrica Prismriver stands there, face twisted in fury, holding a fire poker in her hand. Behind her, I see Hatate and Hina staring at me with fearful expressions. It's like they're trying to hide behind Lyrica's small frame.

Lyrica herself stares at me with loathing in her eyes. "You disgusting murderer," she hisses.

I shake my head in bewilderment. "I didn't-"

"You were gone for fifteen minutes!" Lyrica shouts back, "What, you want me to believe that you were just standing there in a daze all that time?!" She starts to storm towards me, but is intercepted by a stern-looking Yumeko.

Hatate cautiously steps into the room. "So, what?" she asks Yumeko in a shuddering voice, "You're trying to defend him?"

"You have no evidence-" Yumeko starts.

"He's a butler! It's always the butler in these murder cases!" Hatate glares back, confident in her logic. At least until the rest of the room slowly turns to stare at her.

"That's your reasoning?" Parsee scoffs. "Please. Looks like the tengu really do push nothing but garbage, huh?"

Hatate looks deeply offended. "Are you questioning my ability as a reporter?"

"YES!" Parsee shouts back. The two hold a glaring contest with one another, which is only broken when Hina peeks around the door frame, breathing heavily, and fixes her frightened gaze upon me.

"Alfred," the ribboned woman says to me in a very quiet voice. "You seemed so nice earlier. Did you... really do this? Why? How?"

"I didn't do a thing," I practically sob out. "How could I physically have done such a thing?! I thought I would lose my mind when I saw what had happened! This is just... just..." I shake my head in desperation, unable to find the words.

"Alfred makes a very good point," Eiki notes, standing in front of me, "This is Yukari Yakumo we're talking about. How could he have physically done something like that to her?" My three accusers have no answer. The only response comes from the storm, which rumbles with thunder. It is not a very helpful comment. Damned storm.

Kasen appears in the doorway with Suika. The two appear quite grim, and stare at me with inscrutable expressions. "Miss Eiki, can you not gaze into his soul and discern his guilt?" Kasen asks of the judge.

...What?

Eiki sighs and shakes her head. "No, for three reasons. One, he is alive and I can only judge the dead. Two, I am out of my jurisdiction in this land. Three... I didn't bother to bring any of the materials that would allow me to determine the truth in an instant. This was supposed to be a vacation." She sighs unhappily.

What?!

"I still say that this is Yakumo's screwed-up idea of a prank," Parsee insists.

Suika shakes head. "Not a chance. Yukari was looking forward to this. If she was going to do anything, she would have tampered with things so this weekend could have gone ahead as planned. I just figured that was what she was doing when she left." The horned girl gets a disgusted look on her face. "And that blood tasted like Yukari. It's hers, no two ways about it, and I don't see her making a blood donation just for a prank."

Then she actually-?!

"You're all mad," I say faintly. "Absolutely, stark raving mad. I am in an asylum, trapped with madwomen." I slowly sit back down on the couch. "Or maybe I'm insane, and this is all a horrible dream I can't wake up from." I glance over at Suika and Kasen. "So, are you two accusing me of murder as well?"

"It's possible," Kasen says with a shrug. "You were found with the... remains, after all. I must consider all possibilities before making a decision." Suika nods in agreement.

"He didn't have a speck of blood on him," Yumeko says flatly. "You have no evidence."

"I agree," Eiki says sternly, and Iku nods her agreement.

Parsee just stares at my three accusers, along with Kasen and Suika. "You're all idiots," she says flatly. "Hey, poltergeist. Let go of the poker. You aren't impressing anyone." Lyrica just stares at her hotly for a moment before throwing the poker against the wall. She then whirls around and marches out, Hatate and Hina quick to follow. All the latter two have for me are frightened glances before they depart.

Kasen and Suika watch them leave, look at me one last time, and then depart as well.

Iku sighs, and walks over to sit next to me, rubbing a hand on my shoulder. "I'm sorry," she says gently. "They're just frightened. We all are. Plus, Suika is Yukari's friend, and Kasen is just trying to be analytical. We know you didn't do this, so chin up, all right?"

"You are all completely out of your minds," I whisper back. Iku doesn't respond, instead moving away to give me my space. The four women start talking quietly, leaving me alone with my thoughts.

All right. I've got to talk to someone, right now. I need to say and hear something, anything, to take my mind off of this situation. Yes, I am surrounded by nine psychotic women. Yes, there has been a bloody murder. But I'm just not ready to face that yet. I need to get all of my thoughts in order first.

Maybe I should talk to these four, try and determine what could possibly be going on. Maybe I should try to talk to Lyrica, Hatate, and Hina, try to get them to understand that I am innocent. Or maybe I should go after Kasen and Suika, they seemed reasonable enough earlier.

Yes, I need to talk to them, but who first?

[ ] My four supporters.
[ ] My three accusers.
[ ] The two withholding their judgement.


Remember my Protip, Anon.
No. 52118
[X] My four supporters.
No. 52119
52118 here, site fucked up for me.

I miss one day of updates and it becomes this?

Keymaster, you magnificent bastard. Ocelot would be proud.
No. 52120
[x]My four supporters.

We should get a better understanding of what the hell just happened before attempting to convince the other people of our innocence. And metagamingly speaking, to know more about their strange mumbo-jumbo of "tengu", "tasting Yukari's blood", "judging the dead" and all that.
No. 52121
[ ] My three accusers.

Hang out with these people. Then, when a murder happens again, you have an alibi, so you can convince them!

I am a terrible person.

Also, is there a possibility of the weather being Tenshi's fault?
No. 52122
[X] My four supporters.
No. 52125
[X] My three accusers.

Isn't the saying, "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer"? Surely they would like to keep an eye on you just in case.
No. 52126
[x]My four supporters.

I'd much rather trust the level headed women here. Hatate would have killed the poor guy, she's not someone I'd want engage right now.

Develop a strong base, convince those on the fence, and then tackle to opposition. Like clockwork.
No. 52128
[ ] My four supporters.
No. 52130
[X] My three accusers.
No. 52131
While, ideally, I'd like them all to live and for this to be some over-the-line game of Yukari's it doesn't appear to be going that way so I might as well play along.

[x] My four supporters.

Conveniently enough I like this group a lot. Shame about the others. Winced sympathetically when Lunasa, Hatate, & Hina went full accusation. Feels bad man.
No. 52133
[ ] My four supporters.

Fan status: Shit as hit it.
No. 52136
[X] My four supporters.

>>52126
This guy gets it.
No. 52137
[x] The two withholding their judgement.

If Al can persuade them the three accusers will be easier to sway.

Silent hill 2 , nice.
No. 52139
[x] The two withholding their judgement.
No. 52140
[x]My four supporters.

If it is truly a closed room murder, then his supporters are the most suspicious of all. It is the most obvious place for the culprit to be (after all they know that he didn't do it) so it'd be the last place genre-savy people like us will look on.
Also, Yumeko has the means and motive to do so (stole her 'precious' as it were) so...


The other suspicious people include Hina (there isn't a greater misfortune than tragedy) Hatate (scoop) Shiki (A ton of reasons) Parsee (Envy taken to an extreme) Suika (she's the one providing the 'proof' that Yukari is dead: if Emperor's Color is pulling a Kinzo and reamains alive she's her most likely partner)
No. 52142
>>52140 Who here has the means?
No. 52144
[X] My four supporters.
At least they'll help our understanding of what's going on without being suspicious of us.

Hatate was ready to bludgeon us, a simple human, to death without even asking us a question. Can't say she's my favourite at the moment.
No. 52145
>>52142

The fact that she couldn't just control the weather points out that she may not have been as powerful as expected. Keymaster's Yukari also seems a bit less powerful than most.
No. 52146
[X] My four supporters.
No. 52148
[x]My four supporters.

There's an excellent in character reason for it!

A) Yumeko is a fellow servant, so there's probably a degree of comfort to having her around.

B) Eiki's a judge!

(Also, I am inherently biased as I love 3/4 members of this group, and am relatively OK with the 4th)
No. 52152
I wonder how hard it would have been to pull of a 'Weekend at Bernies.'
No. 52155
[x] My four supporters.

Not ready for confrontation yet, especially not before coming to grips with everybody being all magic and shit.

Also, sardonic Parsee is pretty great.
No. 52157
[x]My four supporters.
No. 52162
[x] My four supporters.

Well I figure that straight after this someone else might end up dead. Also if the killer is someone we know I could almost think it was one of our supporters, after all, the killer knows it wasn't us who did it.
No. 52163
Oh and yeah, whoever you like the most should be followed, otherwise they're liable to end up killed offscreen. Heck, Keymaster advised us on this, right?
No. 52164
[x] The two withholding their judgement.

If you really try to reason it out, the possibility of Al being the murderer is pretty slim. He's just met these women, and killing them is senseless. Not to mention the amount of time it could possibly take to murder Yukari and dispose of the body. Also, why would he stay at the scene of the crime? No matter how you slice it, coming back to the scene is stupid.

Of course, this is under the expectation that things are as they seem.
No. 52168
File 137424155713.jpg - (39.25KB, 400x299, SHI333.jpg) [iqdb]
52168
>>52164
>tOf course, this is under the expectation that things are as they seem.
Our hero is actually Alfred Arthur Nanaya, and as soon as he had one of the monsters alone and cornered his demon-hunting blood awoke and he blacked out and ninja-assassinated her into a fine mist. He was too fast to get any blood on himself and the supposed writing on the wall is just coincidental blood spatters. This also explains how he was taken down by his one weakness: a chair.
No. 52169
>>52168
What is this? "This Shrine"? Go back to /blue/ YAF.
No. 52170
>>52145

I'm not talking about power tiers. This happened fast, and they got out (and, if we assume it's someone present, back to the party) without a trace.
No. 52171
>>52170
It would have to be pretty fast too. The blood was still wet when we went to Yukari's room, so I assume that the murder took place ten or fifteen minutes prior to us arriving there.
No. 52173
Okay, a pretty clear majority for talking to Alfred's supporters, so vote called!
No. 52177
Out of curiosity, did our choices in our interactions with the characters have an effect on who is supporting/suspecting us?
No. 52179
>>52177

A little. You reacted pretty well to all of them, so I didn't adjust anyone's reaction. Had you been ruder, you would have had less outright support and a lot more suspicion.
No. 52184
File 137426468451.jpg - (444.94KB, 652x800, informative woman.jpg) [iqdb]
52184
(http://www.rainymood.com/)

I shake my head a little bit. Let's be honest, it would be better to talk to those who had actually spoken up in my defense, at least to start with. The others had outright accused me of murder, or at least considered me to be a potential suspect. As though I could actually commit such an-

No. No. Focus, Alfred. Just talk to them, try and get a grasp on what's happening here. Not to mention figure out just what the hell is up with them. I mean, what the hell is a tengu? Judging the dead? What?

Nodding to myself, I stand up and walk over the group of four women. "Ladies? I do beg your pardon..."

Yumeko nods to me, nodding encouragingly. "What is it, Alfred?"

I take a deep breath. "Well, if you don't mind, I would really rather like to know just what in the blue blazes is going on here. Somewhat relevant to my interests, if you get my meaning."

Eiki nods seriously. "We know what you mean, Alfred. I'm as troubled as you are. We're still trying to figure out just what-"

"No," I say flatly. "No, I fear you don't understand. Yes, there has been a terrible crime committed here under unusual circumstances. I cannot help but note that it occurred during the stay of an unusual group of guests who, so I understand, we know very little about. You came from Japan. That's about all that I know. Also, you are talking freely about 'judging the dead,' and the little lush with the novelty horns KNOWS HOW SOMEONE'S BLOOD TASTES."

The last bit comes out a little louder than I had intended, and a find myself breathing heavily. I close my eyes and take a deep, cleansing breath, before fixing each of the women in turn with my stare. "Who. Are. You," I demand. In response, they shift around, looking uncomfortable. Except for Parsee, who takes a deep breath herself before locking eyes with me.

"We're youkai," the acerbic blonde tells me.

I stare back. "What the hell is a youkai?"

Parsee gapes at me, apparently not expecting this response. Iku is the one who answers in her stead. "It's a catch-all term that generally means 'supernatural creature.' You could loosely include all of us in that category."

I stare at her blankly. Evidently my expression is dark enough to make her flinch. "You what." I say, my voice full of suspicion and disgust. "Supernatural beings. That is your explanation. You are supernatural beings from Japan. That is what I am expected to accept about you."

All, of a sudden, I notice that there are two Parsees.

Two Parsees.

Two.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVN1ewA7P60)

One beside the other, looking at me innocently. The blonde twins shrug before stepping over to me and touching my cheeks with two identical fingers. "It's a useful trick to use when fighting," the blonde clones say in unison. Then, one slowly fades away, leaving one Parsee behind.

I saw that just now. I felt that just now. Two Parsees. Two of them. I would make some comment about double the leggy goodness, but I fear that my brain just threw something very important.

Slowly, I turn to look at the other three. Iku shrugs, and lets an aura of electrical energy form around her, just for a moment. Yumeko holds out a hand, and the air itself seems to ripple as a sword pushes its way through the ripple and into the room. Another gesture, and it is gone. Finally, Eiki looks thoughtful for a moment before shrugging and levitating three feet into the air.

"Youkai," the judge repeats. "Though in my case I'm sort of a god. I judge the souls of the dead. Iku is an oarfish youkai, an emissary of the heavens. Parsee over there is a youkai guardian of a bridge in the underworld. Finally, Yumeko serves Shinki, the goddess and ruler of Makai." The green-haired judge (of the dead, no less), slowly lowers to the ground.

I stare at Yumeko. "Makai?" I ask weakly.

"Home of demons," Yumeko says with a shrug. "Though not to be confused with hell."

"So, I can't call you a maid from hell?" I ask in a desperate attempt at humor.

Yumeko smiles. "Given that my mistress is a goddess, why not call me divinely capable?"

I shake my head, trying to process this madness. "The others?"

"Suika is an Oni, a sort of Japanese ogre," Eiki explains. "Kasen is a hermit, a human who has transcended her limitations through meditation and study. Hatate is a young tengu, one of the most powerful of Japanese youkai. Lyrica is a poltergeist, a sort of created spirit. Finally, Hina is a goddess herself, one whose duty it is to gather and neutralize misfortune."

"Ah," I say with a nod, "So Hina was telling me the truth as much as she could without spilling the proverbial beans." This puts our conversation in a whole new light. I find myself combing the memories of my conversation with Hatate as well, searching for new insights.

"Also, these are our actual hair and eye colors," Iku puts in, gesturing to herself.

"Noted," I tell her. Naturally purple hair? Next to cloning yourself and pulling swords out of thin air, that's positively mundane. "All right. Now then, why exactly are you all here?"

"Sex," Parsee says simply, "There aren't a lot of available men in Gensokyo."

Yumeko glares at her. "Must you be so blunt?"

Parsee shrugs. "It's the truth."

"You came all the way here... for commitment-free sex?" I ask, trying to process all of it.

"More or less," Eiki agrees, looking a bit embarrassed. "What can I say? It's hard to find companionship at times for some of us, so Yukari offered us a weekend of luxury, and we accepted. That's about all that there is to it."

I massage my temples. "This is madness. This is absolute madness. I would think that my eyes are playing tricks on me, but I'm not prone to that happening. So... I am actually dealing with honest-to-heavens supernatural lifeforms. From Japan. Who were man-hunting."

"Technically, I'm from Old Hell," Parsee puts in.

"...Somehow, I feel like that explains everything," I say with a raised eyebrow.

"Not really," says Iku, "Most of the inhabitants of Old Hell are a lot more cheerful than she is." Parsee just snorts in response.

"...I see." I take a deep breath. "Look. I don't understand. I probably wouldn't understand without a long lecture, and we don't have time for that. Just answer me this: was Yukari a youkai as well?"

"Yukari is an immensely powerful and old youkai," Yumeko says, very serious. "She has the ability to manipulate boundaries. In general terms, she can open gaps in space-time and use them to get around almost instantaneously. She can also manipulate boundaries of more conceptual things as well. Her power is poorly-defined, but nearly godlike in scope. The only limitation that she suffers is that directly tampering with reality like this is extremely draining for her."

It takes me a moment to fully grasp what Yumeko has just said. "How the hell am I supposed to have killed someone like that?!" I demand.

"Exactly," Eiki nods. "Yukari's power is immense. A simple murder attempt would be fruitless against her. To say nothing of the circumstances of this particular murder."

"No body, no blood trail, no sign of anything despite me clearly arriving shortly after things had happened." I nod in understanding.

"No sign of anyone else, either," Eiki adds, "And believe me, I looked. No one under the bed, or behind the drapes. No one hiding in the closet, either."

"Conceivably, whoever it was could have taken refuge in another room, then slipped away in all of the confusion." I look around the room, wishing that I could see through the walls for any sign of an unwanted- and murderous- guest. "Unless it was one of the guests here..."

"Not a chance," Parsee tells me. "From the time Yukari left to the time we went looking for you, everyone was in sight of one another. My magical duplication ability has a huge magical signature, so I couldn't have sent one after Yukari without everybody noticing it." She hesitates. "You probably wouldn't have noticed anything, but it would have been obvious to everyone else."

"I have a similar situation," Yumeko puts in. "My powers include the ability to fold space to a degree. Remember the trick I just showed you? So, it was pointed out that I could have done it... except for the fact that it would have been obvious to the senses of a few of our guests."

"Including mine," Eiki nods. "So we know that we are innocent ourselves, and there is only circumstantial evidence to suspect you. And I'm a good judge of character, Alfred." She gives me a smile.

"Much better than those others," I say bitterly, thanking of the accusations fired at me.

Eiki face softens. "Try not to judge them too harshly, Alfred. Okay? They're just frightened. The thought of someone actually killing Yukari is... disturbing for us. For many reasons."

I'm silent for a moment. "If it wasn't one of us, the that implies that there is someone else in the mansion, A murderer."

Eiki nods again, very serious. "Correct. I'm just waiting for everyone to calm down, then I want to organize a sweep of the mansion to look for whoever this may be. In the mean time, I've instructed everyone to stay close to one another, and make sure that someone can see them at all times."

"Good idea." I sigh again. "I need to talk to the others. Try and get them to see that I'm not to blame for this. Where are they?"

Parsee gestures at the door. "Out in the hall."

"Thank you. I'll just take a moment to let my thoughts settle down, and have a word with them." Nodding, I start towards the door.

"Are you sure you don't want to rest a little more?" Yumeko asks in concern, "This has to be a big shock for you-"

"More than I can say," I reply, interrupting her, "But I just... need a moment alone to process all of this. Please excuse me." Without another word, I sweep out of the room, closing the door behind me.

Youkai?

Judges of the dead?

...Supernatural murderers, perchance?

This is a lot for a humble houseservant to take in. Do either of the other groups have anything to add to this? Off to my left, I see Kasen and Suika talking quietly. Perhaps I should speak to them, get them to see that there is no possible way that I could have killed Yukari, god-like figure that she apparently is. Then again, to my right I see my trio of accusers, glaring at me unblinkingly with suspicion in their eyes. I would love to set the record straight with them, as well.

Who should I speak to first?

[ ] Careful conversation.
[ ] Glares of accusation.
No. 52185
[X] Glares of accusation.

I understand they're scared, but with what Alfred's learned, he's now well-equipped to tell them why they're a pack of idiots if they think he's a murderer.
No. 52187
[X] Glares of accusation.
No. 52189
[x] Glares of accusation

now we have an argument, if not proof.
No. 52190
[x] Glares of accusation.

Well done Keymaster, this is certainly not what I was expecting after I found this quest.
No. 52191
[x] Careful conversation.

We need to gain ground before tackling our opposition.
No. 52192
[X] Careful conversation.

Kasen and Suika are much more likely to listen to our arguments. and once we convince them it will be easier to convince the others.
No. 52193
>>52184
[X] Glares of accusation.
Attempting to kill you just because "it's always the butler who did it" is unacceptable.
No. 52195
[X] Careful conversation.

I'm just kinda amazed that ANYONE could come to the conclusion that butlerbro murdered Yukari. In a house full of supernatural creatures, obviously the one, human, weak butler who's never met anyone of them before is the most likely suspect, right?
No. 52196
[X] Careful conversation.

Let's talk to the doubtful before we talk the the accusers.
No. 52199
[X] Careful conversation.

Get more people on our side and we have a better shot of convincing those against us.
No. 52200
[x] Careful conversation.

Accusation won't help here. We need to be calm and get everyone on the same page.

Also, we're going to need to stop Eiki's plan to split up. Never split up.
No. 52202
[x] Glares of accusation.
No. 52203
>>52193
I believe Parsee said as much, which earns points in my book for being so bluntly honest about how stupid some things are.

[X] Careful conversation.
No. 52205
[X] Glares of accusation.
No. 52206
[ ] Careful conversation.
No. 52214
>>52056
Hey.

I'm going to say this now, no matter how late it is in coming, because it will spare you grief in the long run, the short run, and the immediate future:

Before you do much more posting on this site--before you do any more posting on this site--go read >>/gensokyo/6052.

And if you aren't that poster, but you've still never read it before, go read it.
No. 52215
[x] Glares of accusation.

>Then again, to my right I see my trio of accusers, glaring at me unblinkingly with suspicion in their eyes.

Yes, I'm sure that brushing them off while they're looking right at him will make them more amenable to his words.

Kasen and Suika can wait a little longer. They're not going to freak, and quite honestly, trying to crack the tougher nut first seems less like the actions of a murderer.

by the way Keymaster you are all the bastards.
No. 52216
Great job so far, Keymaster, I had been following you since Being Meiling.

I still have a hunch about Suika being the murderer - I mean, she can turn into mist, which would go unnoticed under a storm, and the word 'delicious' - Suika tasted the blood, right?
Still, as of the moment, I could not think of a plausible motive if Suika is the killer.
Just my two cents.
No. 52217
>>52216
Forgot my vote.
[ze] Careful conversation
No. 52219
[X] Careful conversation.

How about some backup before Hatate tries to go after him with a chair again?
No. 52220
[x] Glares of accusation.

I'd rather set things straight with this group. We can't afford to have the group fractured like this, and letting them stew will just make things tougher for us in the future. In times like these, throwing accusations around is a sure way of making us an easier target for whoever murdered Yukari.
No. 52222
>PROTIP: The girls you want to keep around? Pay attention to them. The others? Might be very tasty.
Yeah, you don't think all of us forgot about that did you Keymaster?

[x]Careful Conversation

Out of the glares one of them wanted to ram a very hot poker up our arse, one thought we were guilty because the stories always say so (holy shit this thinking is the same sort most have due to a certain case that just finished up) and the other...

Well Kasen + Suika > Hina.
No. 52223
I would have to say my favorite would be Parsee whose snide/blunt/accurate reactions to things a pretty nice, and that's before getting to stylishly dressed attractive girl she is.
No. 52227
[X] Careful conversation.
No. 52229
>>52222

It's why I made that tip in the first place, man. It's a concession I felt that I sorta had to make to be fair.
No. 52230
[x] Glares of accusation.

I assume that anyone could die in story despite hax if they're isolated, considering the one with the biggest already bit the bullet. Though Eiki IS a Yama, so maybe she's even more hax?
No. 52232
CALLING VOTES. Called for careful conversations. Update later.
No. 52239
File 137434257832.jpg - (449.78KB, 750x1140, sad oni.jpg) [iqdb]
52239
I return Lyrica, Hatate, and Hina's look for a while. Well, I suppose it would more be accurate to call it 'watching them while they glare daggers at me.' I get the distinct impression that if they could will me dead, I would already be so.

...It bothers me more than I wish to admit. All three seemed so pleasant when I spoke to them earlier. And now, they accuse me of a murder I would be physically incapable of? I understand that they are worked up, frightened of what has happened, but being accused of murder because
'the butler is always guilty' is just a little much for me.

Not that Kasen and Suika's calculating gazes are any better, mind you. But at least they're withholding judgement, rather than declaring me a bloodthirsty psychopath outright. And honestly, I don't think I have it in me right at the moment to face a hail of accusations from a trio of hysterical young women. Maybe if I talk to Suika and Kasen first I can get them to believe me, and then solicit their help in calming the other three down. Yes, that sounds feasible.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7ossUdJTko)

Screwing up my courage, I make my way towards the... hermit and Oni, was it? The two of them watch me approach with inscrutable expressions. Finally, I stand before them and bow politely. "Ladies," I say neutrally.

Kasen nods back, polite and contemplative. "Alfred."

Suika's expression is quite cool. "Heya, Alf." They is no joviality in her voice.

I just look at the two of them for a moment. "So. A hermit and an... Oni, was it? Quite the story. I'd never even heard the term 'youkai' before today."

The two of them start a little bit, then Kasen nods. "They told you," she notes.

"They told me enough," I agree. "Granted, it seems like the kind of thing that would require hours to grasp fully, and that's just the introduction! But we don't have hours, now do we? There is a murderer loose in the house."

"That is true," Kasen agrees, "And we don't know who it could be."

"There are two options," I say, glancing out a window at the thunder and lightning. "One, we have an unknown individual in the house who has a gripe against Yukari. This individual may have slipped out, or may still be here. Likely, this individual came from your Gensokyo; who else would know Yukari was coming here?"

"Even in Gensokyo, news of Yukari's trip was kept private," Kasen tells me, "She didn't exactly go around broadcasting it."

"Well, she didn't really keep it a secret, either," Suika notes. "Maybe she didn't take out an article in the Kakashi Spirit News, but she was sure as hell stoked about it, and she'd tell anyone who bothered to ask her. The thing is, it ain't really easy to get out of Gensokyo, and she didn't say exactly where she was going. So we don't have a clue how anyone could have gotten here from Gensokyo."

"So really, your main suspects are the people inside the house," I realize.

"And you were the one found with the body, after a fifteen minute absence," Kasen says with a shrug. "Circumstantial evidence at best, but it still makes you the most prominent suspect-"

"You are an idiot," I say flatly. Kasen rears back in shock, while Suika gapes at me in surprise. I look at the little drunkard with a cool expression. "As are you. A drunken idiot."

Kasen flushes angrily. "How dare you-"

"HOW THE HELL COULD I HAVE MURDERED YUKARI?!" I shout, making the two women jump in surprise. Down the hall, I notice my trio of accusers startle, and Yumeko pokes her head out into the hallway in concern. "According to what I heard, Yukari was ridiculously powerful, with abilities most couldn't hope to match," I continue, my voice an angry hiss. My feelings at having been so unjustly accused have reached the boiling point; they need an outlet, and these two weren't exactly leaping to my defense, now were they?"

"Yukari wasn't all-powerful," Suika protests, "You could sneak up on her-"

"And I just waltzed into her room, murdered her, and somehow disposed of the body without getting a drop of blood on me?" I ask coldly, "And then I wandered back into her room for some ridiculous reason? That's your explanation?"

"We're not accusing," Kasen says desperately, "We're only laying out the facts as they are!"

"No," I tell the hermit coldly, "You may not have barged into the lounge with a hot poker, but your actions speak volumes. You certainly aren't leaping to my defense, even when the odds of a simple butler being able to commit such an act are next to nil. You have done everything but accuse me outright, when there is no way I could have committed this crime. And now you have the gall to wonder why I seem upset?"

Kasen winces and looks away, unable to respond to me. Suika just stares at me, her face unreadable. "Well?" I demand of the little drunkard, "Anything else to say? Maybe you're going to accuse me of hiding some sort of supernatural killing-power on top of everything else?"

"We already examined you thoroughly," Kasen murmurs, "You're completely human, with no signs of magical ability. The chances of you just... destroying Yukari like that are minimal, to say the least-"

"I'm Eiki's prime suspect," Suika interjects quietly. Kasen and I stare at her in shock. The Oni continues, her voice hushed. "I'm incredibly strong, physically. But beyond that, I have the ability to control density. Which means I can, among other things, separate myself into a bunch of clones and generate small but powerful gravity wells." Suika holds up a hand. In a puff of smoke, a miniature version of herself appears, waves at me, then disappears the same way.

I stare at her. "Eiki thinks you sent one of these clones to Yukari's room, and used your powers to kill her."

Suika nods, her eyes appearing damp. "Yukari was my friend," she says in a trembling voice, "We go way back, and an Oni values friendship tremendously. For someone to think me capable of this... do you have any idea..."

I lock eyes with her. "Yes." Suika closes her eyes and looks away, ashamed.

Kasen looks crestfallen. "I see. The Yama thinks that Suika had the means to perform this crime, but probably can't come up with a motive," she realizes. "Actually, she probably can't discern a motive for anyone here. And Alfred, I didn't mean to accuse you, or act cold. I was just... trying to be analytical, consider all of the possibilities."

I point at the tearful Oni, clearly on the edge of tears. "So is this Yama of yours. Does that make it all better, then?" Kasen has no answer, just looking away again. Down the hall, I see from the corner of my eye that my three accusers are looking at the ground uncomfortably. Good. At least now they know how I feel.

"...I'm sorry," Kasen says quietly. "I was trying to be a detective, I guess, without realizing how my actions would affect the man who actually came upon that mess. I apologize." The pink-haired hermit bows low to me.

"Me, too," Suika says in a choked voice. "It's just... when someone thinks that you might've killed your friend... it gets to you, y'know?" The small Oni turns away, wiping at her face.

I sigh, and slump against the wall. "I suppose I understand. This has been a very trying event for all of us." For a moment, there is only the sound of Suika trying to get her emotions under control. Trying to change the subject, I glance up. "I have to say, for a group of Japanese ladies, you all speak English quite well."

This gets a chuckle out of them. "Actually, only a couple of us, are fluent in English," Kasen corrects me. "Eiki and Lyrica, specifically. Possibly Yumeko. I myself can read and write English due to my studies, but I couldn't speak a word of it. You've been talking to us in Japanese this whole time."

I gape at her. "What?"

"Yukari," Suika says in explanation, turning to me, "She can mess with the boundaries between languages. She said she'd let all of the people here know how to speak Japanese by altering their understanding of languages. She would've let us understand English, but felt that we should be able to relax in our own tongue."

I stare at her in shock. I remember back to when I first met Yukari, and her peculiar gesture of caressing my face, how it left this strange tingle in my head. And after that, hadn't I noticed that something was a little odd? But it seemed so natural to be talking in... Japanese. "Then you can't understand me now?" I ask, consciously speaking English. Kasen and Suika shrug helplessly. I let myself switch back to Japanese. "Fascinating... how long will it last?"

"Dunno," says Suika, "Maybe for the weekend? Or maybe Yukari was gonna switch it back before she left? Heck, maybe she was gonna leave you with it as a gift. Or a prank."

"Is this all just a prank?" I ask hopefully, "Just a joke Yukari is playing?"

"Maybe, but I doubt it." Suika sighs wearily. "Yukari was really looking forward to this. Wouldn't shut up about it. If she was gonna do anything, she would've used her powers to clear up the storm. I thought that was what she was doing when she went to her room, honestly."

I mull it over. "...You know, something doesn't make sense. If you can't understand English, you wouldn't have been able to enjoy most of the books here, or the movies."

Suika raises an eyebrow. "Think about why we actually came here," she points out.

Ah.

A fair point.

The three of us lapse into silence after this. Not much more to say, really. After a bit, I notice that Lyrica, Hatate, and Hina have separated and are standing around awkwardly, occasionally casting guilty expressions my way. I sigh internally. Most likely, they overheard our discussion, and have re-thought their allegations.

...Holding a grudge serves no purpose. Especially not now. I should talk to them, probably one at a time to make things easier. But who first?

[ ] Lyrica Prismriver
[ ] Hatate Himekaidou
[ ] Hina Kagiyama
No. 52242
[X] Hina Kagiyama
Guess we might as well start with the one seemingly least likely to suddenly flip out and kill us and the best girl of the three.
No. 52243
[x] Hina Kagiyama
Do you enjoy your own misfortune as well, little goddess?
No. 52244
[x] Hina Kagiyama
No. 52245
[X] Lyrica Prismriver

Target the ringleader first, then work your way down.
No. 52246
[X] Hina Kagiyama

If we're going to try to clear this thing up, it makes the most sense to work with the easier cases first. There is only one of the three who hasn't expressed a desire to brain us with furniture.

In before it's an Orient Express murder.
No. 52247
[X] Hina Kagiyama
But can't she, I dunno, feel the HUMONGOUS amount of misfortune that have fallen on Al?
No. 52248
[x] Hina Kagiyama

Because I would rather she not be the next victim.
No. 52249
[ ] Hatate Himekaidou

Hatatetate~
No. 52250
[x] Lyrica Prismriver
No. 52252
[x] Hatate Himekaidou

Only one vote for Hatate? Come on.
No. 52253
[x]Hatate Himekaidou

I'd rather make peace with the one who almost bludgeoned us to death first and foremost, so that it won't happen again.
No. 52254
[x] Hina Kagiyama
No. 52255
[x]Hatate Himekaidou

The other two were sort of on the fence. Whereas Hatate was the most adamant about Alfred's guilt. Convince her and the others will flip.
No. 52256
[x] Hina Kagiyama

If this story is in the same continuity as Being Meiling, does that make this canon?
No. 52257
Gonna call the next update for Hina because she has a majority and the update really won't be all that long. Gonna start writing soon.
No. 52258
File 137436319481.jpg - (210.23KB, 850x1258, very sorry.jpg) [iqdb]
52258
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SW7JA6SLBQ)- play it quietly.

Hina's the closest, so I may as well start with her. As I walk towards the ribboned... goddess, I suppose, I notice that she's breathing quite heavily. I stop a few feet away, to give her some space in case she still feels threatened. "Are you all right?" I ask quietly.

Hina sucks in a deep breath, and a look of bliss briefly crosses her features. Then she looks back at me and her eyes flicker before she looks away, clearly very ashamed and unhappy. "...You must be disappointed in me," Hina says quietly.

"Yes, I am," I say simply. "When I spoke to you earlier, you seemed like such a pleasant person. But you were one of the first to condemn me, to accuse me of being a murderer. Let me ask you this, Miss Hina; I am told that you are a goddess. How can I, or anyone, have faith in a goddess that has no faith in me?"

Hina flinches as though physically struck. "You don't hold back, huh?"

"How am I supposed to feel? How would you feel?" I stare at the woman, the goddess in frustration. "And don't tell me you were frightened. I'm just as frightened of what's going on as you are, and I don't have any of these mystical powers. What you did... hurt, Miss Hina." I shake my head, words failing me.

"I know," Hina says quietly, looking devastated. "I shouldn't have done that. It's just... Yukari's dead, you know? And then Lyrica and Hatate started panicking and insisting that it has to be you because you're the butler, and you found the body, and... and I was stupid and went along with them. I'm sorry." Hina looks away, a tear rolling down her cheek. "You must think ill of me, don't you?"

I'm silent for a moment, thinking. "I'm not happy," I say quietly, "And I'm not a liar; I can't just pretend that getting accused like that was not a massive blow, Miss Hina. I want to think that I come across as a better man than that." I'm silent for a moment, not sure what else to say. "So, you're an actual goddess?" I speak at last, hoping to change the subject.

Hina nods, apparently eager to talk about something different. "That's right. I live on the lower slopes of Youkai Mountain, back in Gensokyo. My task there is to warn away humans who approach the mountain, for their own safety. There are a lot of dangerous youkai on the mountain, you see. More than that, though, I am a goddess of misfortune. I have the ability to absorb and consume misfortune and bad luck."

"You'd alluded to that earlier," I note, "Though I do admit that you cloaked the full story very well."

Hina shrugs. "I couldn't just come on out and say what I was, now could I? Anyway, that's what I do. I absorb bad luck and remove curses from humans. Unfortunately, this gives me something of a bad reputation, and most humans of Gensokyo are afraid of bad luck should they come near me." Hina smiles sadly. "It's unfortunate, because I really do like humans. But I guess this time I kinda brought the suspicion on myself, didn't I?"

I sigh, unable to stay angry at her. "I am disappointed, yes. And the reasoning you three have is poor, to say the least. But I suppose that now is no time to hold grudges, We need to cooperate if we're to deal with whoever this murderer is."

Hina straightens. "Yes. You're right, of course. That's exactly what we should focus on."

"Quite so," I nod. "So, let's just forget about accusations thrown about in the heat of the moment, shall we? After all, we all make mistake."

"Even goddesses," Hina giggles. She glances over at Lyrica and Hatate. "I'm really in no position to argue, given that I went along with them," she says so that only I can hear, "but I'm really frustrated with those two. I mean, Hatate was ready to kill you, and Lyrica wouldn't stop ranting about you. It was so easy to believe them... but I guess that's my failing, isn't it?" Hina takes a deep breath, minus the shuddering this time, and looks me square in the eye. "Alfred, you have my word. I want to make this up to you, and it is furthermore my prerogative to aid and protect humans. You will have my protection for as long as this crisis lasts."

I nod at her formal words. "Thank you, Miss Hina. Let's just let bygones be bygones, shall we?"

Hina smiles gently in response and leans over to give me a gentle kiss on the cheek before walking over to join Kasen and Suika. That leaves Hatate and Lyrica, both standing quietly by themselves, turned away from me.

Who to talk to...?

[ ] Lyrica
[ ] Hatate
No. 52259
[Thrid Option] Use one of Hina's ribbon to strangle Hatate in the toilets.

[X] Hatate, srsly, gonna listen to the epic "Butler = Culprit ; You = Butler ; Therefore You = Culprit" epic speech + explanation
No. 52260
[x] Lyrica

So... you are a ghost.
No. 52261
>>52258
[x] Lyrica

We are gonna need a backup translator for when the spell Yukari put on us fails at the most inopportune moment.
No. 52262
[x] Lyrica

I'm still mad about the chair.
No. 52263
[x] Lyrica
No. 52264
[x] Lyrica
Yeah, maybe later Hatate. You did try to kill us.
No. 52265
>>52259
I'm looking forward to this.

[x] Hatate
No. 52266
[x]Hatate.
Tengu master race.
No. 52267
[X] Lyrica

We should save miss "The Butler Did It" for last - it'll be a crucial moment of comic relief before the fan inevitably flings shit into a second fan.
No. 52268
[x]Ms. Lyrica 'Iron Enema' Prismriver

Until shown otherwise, I'm assuming that the air circulation device mounts recursive air circulation devices.
No. 52269
[X] Lyrica

I sure hope going to Hatate next won't be interrupted by anything.
No. 52270
[X] Lyrica

And with this vote I condemn another poor guest to an unforeseen death!
No. 52271
[X] Lyrica
No. 52272
[x] Lyrica

Time to get this rolling.
No. 52273
[X] Hatate
No. 52276
Calling votes for another fairly short update.

You have chosen Lyrica. Your decision is accepted.

Update will be in a new thread.
No. 52278
File 137442085415.jpg - (172.24KB, 600x500, feeling down.jpg) [iqdb]
52278
New Thread:

>>/others/52277
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