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55139 No. 55139
1st Thread: >>51178

Not-Recap:

A young vampiric magical girl, depressed by the state of her life, meets an entity of unknown origin. They can only communicate via paper – that is, the girl must write, each word becoming meaning to the entity within her paper. The entity replies in similar fashion. This entity is aptly named Words. The girl thus far is known as F__nd__.

With little to no directive in mind, the two (or one, technically) gallivant about the girl’s home, getting into a variety of shenanigans. They meet the other members of the household: a time-stopping maid named Sakuya Izayoi; a gatekeeper and gardener named Meiling Hong; a magician known as Patchouli Knowledge; and the powerful Mistress of the mansion, the Scarlet Devil.

In the evening of that day, a visitor, Ran Yakumo, arrives at the mansion. The visitor informs those of the household that a puncture has been made in the Hakurei Barrier (the border between Gensokyo and the outside world) somewhere within their beloved mansion. During the meal, a small incident gets F__nd__ into trouble. The Mistress offers her a deal: help uncover the source of this barrier problem, and F__nd__ will not be punished for the incident.

After a night of troubling dreams (for Words, at least), the two decide to find out more information from the people within the mansion. They jump a few hoops, finding a box out in the woods filled with silver and magical paper. Touching the paper in the box reveals a disconcerting vision from the Mistress.

Driven by the vision’s contents, the duo set out to find the Mistress, who is apparently visiting the nearby Human Village. One accidental meeting with a disturbing doll-maker later, the Mistress is found, and a mixture of small and philosophical talk is made. They go back home and part ways. The mystery at this point seems further unsolved.

And then both the Mistress and Patchouli seem more antagonistic than they originally seemed; a debatably brilliant conflict coupled with equally debatably brilliant exposition ensues.

Welcome back to Not-Life.
No. 55140
File 137869895929.jpg- (384.04KB , 600x868 , I Wonder What Happened Here.jpg ) [iqdb]
55140
Her glare burns me like rays of light.

I... I can’t do this!

But... I have to do this...

...

Listen. You have to be confident in your power. If neither side is willing to listen to reason, you will have to defeat both sides and make them listen. Use Second, Third, and Fourth, but make sure that you don’t kill either side.

R-right... Here goes nothing.

“What will it be?” she says, no trace of patience in her voice.

In a flash, I grab both of her wrists and lock them in an iron grip.

“I will not stand down and allow you to kill family!” I shout as loud as I can.

“So be it,” she snarls, and then spins around so quickly that I lose my grip and land next to the box of silver.

In another moment she spins back towards Patchouli and throws Gungnir.

“NO!” I scream.

The spear blasts by quickly, and sinks deep into flesh. But not Patchouli’s flesh. Standing in front of Patchouli is Koakuma, who materialized in the path of spear just in time. The little devil’s eyes are wide with surprise at first, but then her lips curl into a smile. She turns towards her master.

“Once more,” she manages. Then she begins to laugh, and laugh, and laugh, as the spear burns her flesh away, until there is nothing left in her place but a spear that clatters to the ground. Is she dead? No, wait, devils don’t die, do they? Don’t they just return to the “outer plane” that they were made? Never mind, I need to focus; there’s no time to think about these things.

Almost immediately after Koakuma’s not-death, Patchouli closes her eyes, chanting something quietly under her breath. As she goes on the chanting gets louder. No, not louder; it is simply coming from all sources, from all corners, as if her voice is emanating from the very fabric of the universe.

Meanwhile, Gungnir disappears from the ground and reappears in the Mistress’s hand. Her grip tightens on it, and she takes aim again, but this time I’m on my feet and dive her from behind. A few seconds later, Second and Fourth appear, and we’re all struggling to hold the Mistress down.

Then she bursts apart into a group of bats, which slips through us easily and reform into the Mistress in the air above us.

“Enough of this primitive scuffling...” she rumbles ominously. “If you want to play, darling... let’s play.”

And then a single spell card appears in her hand. She raises it above her head, declaring, “Dark Sign, ‘Scarlet Netherworld!’ ”

Instantly, a rain of scarlet bullets burst forth from her, some speeding downwards quickly, but most moving between each other in a very confusing pattern. At least, for me. I’ve always hated this card.

I combine myself into one again, because then I can concentrate more on dodging bullets. I have my own spell cards, but I won’t use them yet.

The torrent of zig-zagging bullets draws closer, and closer, shortening the distance between me and them. I will have to fly through this quickly and with finesse. Doing both at once will be difficult.

Just focus... on dodging... Dodge, dodge... now!

I get through the torrent with minimal damage; one burn on my leg, but that’s all. Good.

The Mistress sends another, similar wave at me.

This time, I make it through without any collisions. I’m closer to her, so...

“Taboo, ‘Kagome, Kagome!’ ” I declare.

A series of green bullets form long pillars, both horizontal and vertical, in an fashion resembling a cage. Then I begin to fire larger yellow bullets that stir up the green pillars, sending the smaller danmaku that makes up their structure scatter in all directions.

The Mistress releases another wave of “Scarlet Netherworld,” then starting flying about madly in an attempt to dodge my bullets. Unfortunately, she succeeds without so much as a single collision.

Patchouli’s chanting is everywhere at once now. I wonder for a moment if everyone in Gensokyo can hear it, but don’t dwell on the thought. Focus. Focus, focusing...

...Until an eldritch scream bursts from the ground below. Instinctively I glance towards the source of the sound, causing me to fly headlong into the final wave of “Scarlet Netherworld.” The bullet-collision sends me towards one of the tall bookshelves of Bookshelf Forest, but I manage to veer away and retain my flight. Safe of oncoming fire, albeit for a moment, I watch the scene below.

Patchouli is standing with her arms outstretched, ever in continuation of her chanting. On the ground in front of her is a complex magical rune, glowing strongly. In the center of the rune, a tiny window sits. It’s very slowly stretching outwards. I can’t make out what it looks like, though: one moment it’s a completely solid colour, and the next it has become an image of crystals, and next a vast forest, and then a tall and imposing mountain. The window continues to shift its image until finally it settles on a foggy haze filled with

Ow

The Mistress’s foot collides with my stomach, as if she’s a rocket colliding with a bridge, and we crash into the ground like that

Ouch ow ouch

Before I have a chance to react, the Mistress splits into a group of bats and
‘[-\’\’
[]-
they begin to bite and scratch/[]\-=[]’;

Boom.

A few bats shatter into dust, victims to my power.

Crack.

Two more fall to my powers, and then they all scatter away from me, towards Patchouli.

No. Not now.

“I’m not finished with you!” I shout.

\][;’

Ouch

Without pause, I dash after the bats, covered in wood chips. A few more fall to my power, and then they regroup to form the Mistress.

\\]\][

“Enough!” she shouts, voice cracking. Gungnir re-materializes in her hand.

I destroy it.



It reappears almost immediately.

“Don’t you understand who I am?!” she shrieks. Gungnir leaves her hand. But it’s not meant for Patchouli.




It’s meant for me.

.-=\\--=
___=-



./,.\’.



.


;’.,-\=.


.\.]/




.\/.\\\













I’m the Scarlet Devil.






If I were still counting chapters, then this would be the end of the third one.

Some believe dreams are a form of divination. What kind of dream would you fancy on your quest?
[ ] Did
[ ] Could

----------

Second thread; we did it~

Too bad I couldn't slip this post into the last thread, though. It kind of fits as a thread-ender. Ah, well; can't win 'em all.
No. 55142
[x] Did
No. 55143
[x] Did

Well fuck, this could have gone better.
No. 55144
[X] Could
No. 55145
[x] Could

Infinite possibilities. That is what the future holds.

Well. Now what?
No. 55146
[X] Did


Well, this suddenly turned... Interesting.
No. 55147
[X] Could

To be fair, I was expecting things to go pear-shaped no matter who we sided with. Let's see what else we can do.
No. 55148
[X] Did

No time for what-ifs, could-have-beens, uncertainties or doubts.
No. 55155
>>55148

Actually, this is a dream, so there's plenty of time for what-ifs, could-have-beens, uncertainties and/or doubts
No. 55190
File 137894764637.jpg- (152.54KB , 500x700 , inside.jpg ) [iqdb]
55190
Voting called for "did." Update pending.
No. 55200
File 137901762737.jpg- (89.37KB , 450x337 , Scarlet Nightmares.jpg ) [iqdb]
55200
You are not alone here.

At first glance, the dirt path before you seems like nothing more than just that: a dirt path. But, if you look long enough, you’ll begin to notice that nothing is as it seems. You’ll begin to notice how the moon is not a pale crescent, but a full moon that is the colour of blood. The trees to the left and right are not trees, but people. The dirt path is a river, but instead of water, red liquid. It’s only ankle-deep, but it makes your nerves tingle anxiously as if you were the prey and the liquid itself were the predator.

The embodiment of fear, your subconscious states simply. It’s not you thinking it, but at the same time you can clearly recognize it as your own thought.

You glance around. The night barely covers the faces of the people that were once trees, the ones who stand on each side of the path. A seemingly endless forest of people, standing idly. Various expressions are on their faces, from overjoyed to smug, furious to frightened, depressed to curious. All of them are frozen in time, like sculptures demonstrating the extent of sentient emotions.

Then, one of them steps out of the forest. Her steps lead her to the river, and then she bends down and takes a sip from it. For a moment, she sits there, drinking from the river. And then she collapses. Doesn’t move. Doesn’t breath.

Dead.

Dead?

Yes. Dead.

The river... it brings death.

After a few moments of contemplation, another girl exits the forest. You think you may know this one; a young girl with crystal wings. She seems so familiar to you, but you can’t quite pinpoint from when and where.

She, too, bends down to drink from the stream.

No, not another one.

Your feet move almost automatically towards her. She can’t die, too. Your hand grabs her wrist as she reaches down to cup the water in her hands. Her face glances up at you, surprised. She smiles. It’s a warm smile.

Thank you.

The liquid in her fingers begins to sizzle, and with a squeal she drops it. She stumbles away from the river. You glance at her hands; they are burnt where she held the red liquid.

I’m okay. Really, I’m fine!

Soon your ankles begin to burn, too, as you stand in the river. In a panic, you dash for the line of trees, but the more you run, the farther away the trees appear to be. The river’s current begins to rush faster, causing you to trip into the river.

You’re in worst danger than I. Be careful.

It burns at your clothes, your legs, your arms, your face. Everywhere burns, as if you’ve fallen into the fires of hell. When you emerge from the river, the line of trees is just barely in view. The girl with the crystal wings futilely reaches out towards you.

Words... be careful!

Everything goes dark.

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

DAWN OF
THE SECOND DAY
-48 Hours Remain-


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

























Hello there, Words.

...I know you can hear me.

Fine, I’ll come back later.









Hello again, Words.

Are you ready to speak now?












He...llo?

My, my. I was beginning to think you were nothing more than inane writings supplemented by my sister’s shattered mind. But... no. It’s true. You’re real.

Ah... look at me; I’m being positively uncivil. Allow me to introduce myself.

I am Remilia Scarlet, Mistress of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

And you are “Words,” correct?

Essentially, you’re the demon Patchouli roped into destroying me?

I have to say... you’re quite the interesting creature. Manipulating my poor sister to do you bidding? Absolutely diabolical. If it were under different circumstances, I would even offer you a job.

Yes, that’s correct: I read your adventure up until now. My sister is a lot better at writing than I would have given her credit... there’s the minor annoyance of her crossed out scribbling, but besides that... she is quite skilful, indeed.

[ ] Reply.

----------

Sorry my posts have been slower as of late. Unfortunately, the freedom of summer has been lost to the busy-ness of fall.
No. 55201
We are the demon? Seriously? We did not manipulate anyone, Flandre even commented on waht she thought of these ideas. We told Flandre to not kill or side with anyone and she feels a lot better than before with our advice and suddenly we are supposed to be the demon that kills Remilia? Thats just utter bullshit.
No. 55202
[x] I'm the demon? Really? That's strange, I don't feel very demonic. I think you might need to work on your reading comprehension.
No. 55203
[X] Curses! I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you kids and your divine spear Gungnir!
[X] Cooperate with police. Looks like the jig is up.
No. 55204
>>55201

Think about it from Remilia's point of view. Remilia doesn't have much to go off of either, so when she sees a foreign "something" inside of Flandre's mind while she's regenerating from being killed, She's quite naturally going to think it's the demon.

Since we turned on her, there's probably nothing we can say to convince her otherwise either.
No. 55205
[x] Is that how you choose to see things? From what I can tell, you're far more demonic than I am. Now what do you want with me.

I hope we can meet up with Flandre again at some point.
No. 55206
>My, my. I was beginning to think you were nothing more than inane writings supplemented by my sister’s shattered mind. But... no. It’s true. You’re real.

...So it seems. I admit I wasn't so sure myself.

>Ah... look at me; I’m being positively uncivil. Allow me to introduce myself.

>I am Remilia Scarlet, Mistress of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

We've already met, though you may not remember. You introduced yourself to me in the dream you sent to guard the box.

>And you are “Words,” correct?

It is the name your sister gave me. If I have another, I do not know it.

>Essentially, you’re the demon Patchouli roped into destroying me?

...Perhaps. I do not remember. The first thing I knew was the writing of my friend. Anything before that is lost. ...In the dream in which we met you claimed to not know what I am, and spoke of the demon as a seperate entity. But yes, that is an entirely likely hypothesis, and many signs seem to point to it. You may wish to find an expert to be certain.

>I have to say... you’re quite the interesting creature. Manipulating my poor sister to do you bidding? Absolutely diabolical. If it were under different circumstances, I would even offer you a job.

While your praise is appreciated, it is misplaced. All I have done is stumble blindly, trying to find a way to help your sister. It appears I have failed.

>Yes, that’s correct: I read your adventure up until now. My sister is a lot better at writing than I would have given her credit... there’s the minor annoyance of her crossed out scribbling, but besides that... she is quite skilful, indeed.

...The way her mind works is interesting. So fractured and yet so intelligent. An unfortunate combination for her. If she were merely one or the other her suffering might be so much less.

And I found the crossed out scribbling to be quite endearing actually. I wonder if she realises I can still understand it?


...Would you do me the favour of telling me if she is alright? I did not wish her to come to harm. Please do not treat her harshly, as she had only the best of intentions. Protecting one's family is a noble goal, no matter the contents of said family.

...What will you do now, Remilia Scarlet?
No. 55208
>>55206

This is an in-character vote, if that wasn't clear.
No. 55210
>>55206

[X] Wall-o-Text

I'll go ahead and cast a vote for this. Hits every point I'd like it to hit and then some.
No. 55211
>>55204
If I didnt miss stuff we didnt turn on her. We said to choose neither side. Also she said she read our conversations with Flandre, so I dont know why she assumes that we are the demon.
No. 55213
>>55211
Who knows?

[x] dat wall
No. 55226
[X] >>55206 Wall-o-text sounds good to me.
No. 55232
>>55206
[x] +1 for wall
No. 55235
File 137930150442.jpg- (63.21KB , 800x534 , I'm Sorry.jpg ) [iqdb]
55235
He...llo?

My, my. I was beginning to think you were nothing more than inane writings supplemented by my sister’s shattered mind. But... no. It’s true. You’re real.

So it seems. I admit I wasn’t so sure myself...

Ah, yes. The mysterious debate of one’s own existence or not. But that is a discussion for another time. Look at me; I’m being positively uncivil. Allow me to introduce myself.

I am Remilia Scarlet, Mistress of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

...We’ve already met, though you may not remember. You introduced yourself to me in the dream you sent to guard the box.

Yes, yes. I did not expect the dream to find you. In all honesty, it should have met my sister personally. Intriguing. That aside... you are “Words,” correct?

It is the name your sister gave me, yes. If I have another, I do not know it.

Speaking of my sister... she is a lot better at writing than I would have given her credit. There’s the minor annoyance of her crossed out scribbling, but besides that, she is quite skilful, indeed.

...The way her mind works is interesting. So fractured and yet so intelligent. An unfortunate combination for her. If she were merely one or the other her suffering might be so much less.

And I found the crossed-out scribbling to be quite endearing, actually. I wonder if she realises I can still understand it?

...Would you do me the favour of telling me if she is alright? I did not wish her to come to harm. Please do not treat her harshly, as she had only the best of intentions. Protecting one’s family is a noble goal, no matter the contents of said family.

She is fine. But I doubt that you really care about her well-being as much as you want your host back.

That’s not

After all, you are essentially the demon Patchouli roped into destroying me.

...

Perhaps. I truly do not remember. The first thing I knew was the writing of my friend. Anything before that is lost. ...In the dream in which we met you claimed to not know what I am, and spoke of the demon as a separate entity. But yes, that is an entirely likely hypothesis, and many signs seem to point to it. You may wish to find an expert to be certain.

In either case, I have no malicious intent. Nor would I so callously think of your sister as a mere "host."


But of course, it’s obvious. You are tied with this paper, which is identical to the ones found in the box of silver, and according to Patchouli the demon were sealed in paper. Not only that, but you’ve been influencing my sister the whole way. I have to say... you’re quite the interesting creature. Manipulating my poor sister to do you bidding? Absolutely diabolical. If it were under different circumstances, I would even offer you a job.

While your praise is appreciated, it is misplaced. Again, I have no malicious intent. All I have done is stumble blindly, trying to find a way to help your sister. It appears I have failed.

All of that aside... what will you do now, Remilia Scarlet?

Is it not obvious?

I will destroy every last page you exist on, releasing you from this realm and changing the time continuum forever. With you gone, I will not die, and peace will return to this house.

Are you sure destroying me will heal all of the problems in this house?

Even if not, I can still fix it. There’s nothing that I can’t handle, because I’ll always be able to try again.

I assume you’re referencing the Luna Dial?

Of course.

Isn’t that cheating, though? We get one chance at life for a reason.

There is no such thing as cheating, Words. If there was, Patchouli would be disqualified for attempting to summon creatures that don’t belong in this world. If there was such a thing as cheating, than people wouldn’t treat one person better over another. If there was such a thing as cheating, justice would be what led this world, not power.

Face it. Nobody plays fair. If nobody else does, why should I?

Anyways, I’ve wasted enough time writing with inter-planar demons. I have some things to attend to. I’ll leave you alone for now... wait for my return, and enjoy your last moments in this world. This is probably the last time you’ll experience it.
















...

Help

Help me

I’m sorry

I’ve been a bad girl

Please don’t

please

help

Who’s there?! What’s going on?

W-words?

I must be hallucinating

What’s going on?

I’m stuck

And I’m not allowed to talk to you anymore

“F__nd__”...?

Ah... my name is broken, too...

Yes, that is me... I am here...

I’m sorry

I’m really sorry

Why are you apologizing?

For everything. It’s all my fault. All of it. Patchouli was probably killed X’ed because I wasn’t good enough.

Sakuya, too, probably. Maybe even Meiling.

Sorry I should stop using that word

And

I’m in so much trouble. I’ve been a bad girl. I shouldn’t have attacked my sister. What was I thinking?... I’m... terrible... The Mistress is so mad at me...

And now I’m hallucinating talking to you, without even being at the paper... I’m writing without writing... heh hehhh~

ButIshouldstop. I’m not allowed to talk to you anymore.

Wait, I don’t understand! You didn’t do anything wrong!

No

I can’t

Help

I’m sorry

Good bye





Don’t go! Hello? Hello?!















[ ] Say something, quickly!

----------

Forcing write-ins like this is okay, right? Right.
No. 55236
Development fact: I wrote this update two times before getting to this version. Still a little unsure about it, but at least it's better than the other versions.
No. 55237
With the e being in bold I'm guessing this is a chance to get another letter?
Unfortunately I've been sick all weekend so my head is a mess. I won't be doing any clever writing for some time.
I just wanted to point that out, for whoever does write something.
No. 55238
[x] Please don't go. You're all I have. You're the only person I know, the only friend I have. I... think the Mistress is going to kill me. Or banish me, I'm not certain. She... says that I'm the demon that Patchouli summoned. Maybe I am, I don't know. I never meant to hurt anyone... all I ever wanted to do was help you, and your friends. Your family.

Please, don't give up. I might die, but maybe that's okay. I really don't remember anything from before a couple days ago, so maybe there's not much to be lost in the first place? I don't know. But F__nd__, I can't stand to see you hurting like this.

I hate knowing you're hurting. I hate knowing you're scared. I hate knowing that you're all alone and there's nothing that I can do about it! All I can do is talk to you, while I still have time.

And don't lose hope, okay? That's what she wants you to do. That's how she controls everyone, everything around here. By making them think that it's hopeless to resist her. Lord and Master of her own little world... but you don't know what happened to the others yet. But if you give up now, something might happen to them. To you. And I don't want that to happen!

So, please. If nothing else, don't give up. Will you please talk to me? Be my friend, just for a little while longer?

Please?





All of the above is my write-in. Is it too wordy? Maybe someone else can come up with something better.
No. 55240
[x] There are times where people are faced with overwhelming circumstances: you were not even slightly prepared for something like this; you did your best: you always do... that's something to be proud of.
-[x] Yet you said you're not good enough? What is good enough for you? Because the alternative to this outcome would've been killing your sister-and that doesn't really sound like a happy ending to you.
-[x] I imagine that you'd settle with nothing else but a perfect happy ending for everyone. That's so Flandre: worrying about others and dedicating an afterthought for you, even in this situation.
-[x] Well, I may be nothing but useless words in a paper, but there are some things I know. And the most important of those things is a little girl called Flandre Scarlet. And I say you're a good girl. Only a good girl can get his ass handed to her by fate so badly from the day she was born and yet smile so shiningly as you undoubtedly do.
[x] By the way, your sister is going to destroy me because, apparently, I'm the monster that's trying to make everyone kill her. So I guess it's time to 'act' the part: If you can't live with this outcome why don't you try again? By using the Luna Dial you should be able to change this outcome-like your sister did. Where there's a will, there's a way.
[x] Whatever happens, let me tell you that meeting you has been an honor-and my pleasure. I just wish we had more time...

My take. It's less about our feelings and more about hers and what to do from here. I feel like her misconception of being a 'bad girl' is something that needed to be addressed first.
No. 55242
[x]...Please don't blame yourself. It was as much my fault as yours. No, more so. If I had been better at guiding you, we wouldn't be in this situation.

...but regrets will get us nowhere. Do you remember what I said to you back then? "Most states of existence are difficult, I think. Maybe that’s what makes it all worth it. Enduring the challenges, so that one day you can look back and say, “Yeah. I did that. I got through that just fine!” ". I know you feel wretched right now, like everything has gone wrong and nothing will ever be right again. But you can't give up. One day things will get better. One day all this will be a distant memory. All you can do is live your life without regrets until then. We all fail sometimes. Failure is alright, as long as you're willing to get up and try again.

...I promised you that I would stay with you as long as possible. I fear that time is slowly coming to an end. Soon your sister will destroy me and I will likely never find my way back to this world. So I have one last request; Promise me that you won't blame yourself for this. None of this was your fault. The actions of others made this fate all but unavoidable. It was Remilia and Patchouli and I who are at fault. So promise me that you won't blame yourself. Blame me if you must, but don't you ever blame yourself for our actions.

I once said that "All one can do is keep moving forward, with a smile on their face, doing their best to enjoy whatever existence they may or may not have." That applies now, in our darkest hours, more than ever. Please don't let this break you.

This may be the last time we ever speak, so I just want you to know; I was honoured to be your friend, and I would not trade this short time we've spent together for the whole world. Thank you so very much for being my friend.

Thank you, and goodbye, F__nd__.
No. 55243
I'm torn. I don't like >>55240 but the idea is good (using the Luna Dial to go back in time)

I vote for:
[x]>>55242
But with the Luna Dial idea from:
[x] >>55240

Can we vote for a mix of all votes? That'd work nicely.
No. 55244
Use the dial to get another shot at fixing things...huh, where have I heard that before..
No. 55266
File 137951636382.png- (365.39KB , 500x707 , sword.png ) [iqdb]
55266
Voting closed. Let's see what I can work out...
No. 55277
File 137955854841.jpg- (70.98KB , 2190x877 , Thank You.jpg ) [iqdb]
55277
Please don’t blame yourself. It was as much my fault as yours. No, more so. If I had been better at guiding you, we wouldn’t be in this situation.

...But regrets will get us nowhere. Do you remember what I said to you before?

“Most states of existence are difficult, I think. Maybe that’s what makes it all worth it. Enduring the challenges, so that one day you can look back and say, ‘Yeah. I did that. I got through that just fine!’ ”

I know you feel wretched right now, like everything has gone wrong and nothing will ever be right again. But you can’t give up. One day things will get better. One day all this will be a distant memory. All you can do is live your life without regrets until then. We all fail sometimes. Failure is alright, as long as you’re willing to get up and try again.

...I promised you that I would stay with you as long as possible. I fear that time is slowly coming to an end for me; soon your sister will destroy me and I will likely never find my way back to this world. So I have one last request; promise me that you won’t blame yourself for this. None of this was your fault. The actions of others made this fate all but unavoidable. It was Remilia and Patchouli, and even I, who are at fault. So promise me that you won’t blame yourself. Blame me if you must, but don’t you ever blame yourself for our actions.

I once said that “all one can do is keep moving forward, with a smile on their face, doing their best to enjoy whatever existence they may or may not have.” That applies now, in our darkest hours, more than ever. Please don’t let this break you.

This may be the last time we ever speak, so I just want you to know; I was honoured to be your friend, and I would not trade this short time we’ve spent together for the whole world. Thank you so very much for being my friend.

Thank you, and goodbye... F__nd__.






...

.......






Wait.

....

.......

...

If... if I can’t blame myself...

You... you shouldn’t either, Words... n-nothing is your fault, either...

...

We... we tried, right? Right... that’s what you said... we tried. But we can get back up and... try again? Again... Have you ever heard the saying, “the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?” Well, I think... I think that’s the opposite of insanity, actually. I never... try again, I never continue... and I’m still crazy... Unless I’m the normal one and everyone else is crazy... but I guess that means being normal is a bad thing.

People who try again... they’re different types of people, aren’t they? They know how to persevere.

Words... you’re that type of person, I think.

I’m glad... that you’re here... I’m glad you’re here to help me. You make things make so much more sense... everything becomes so simple... is that what life really is? Do I make it all extra-complex... m-more than need be?... M-maybe. But either way... thank you, Words...

...

Thank you so much...

You’ve managed to shine a beacon of hope in this broken world of mine... I wish I could give you a hug. Can you pretend I did? Pretend I gave you a hug. Pretend my arms wrapped around you and that nice warm feeling spread between us.

It’s the best I can do, I guess.

I’m glad that I’ve helped you. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. And will continue to try and do.

I just wish we had more time.

....

Wait a sec...

...Say that again!

I wish we had more time...?

...

Yes, that’s it!

More time! If we could somehow get a grasp on the Luna Dial... we could get more time!

Just like my sister did. will? is?

That’s true... I guess that makes sense... I’m a little wary of trying to use it, but it seems to be the only option. Except we don’t have possession of the Luna Dial, and I’m going to be destroyed soon...

...

Oh. I forgot, I’m not actually at my paper right now...

Weird...

A moment ago when we started talking, I didn’t even realize... that I was actually talking to you at first. You suddenly reacted to my thoughts with meaning. Even right now, I’m not writing or anything. That’s “telepathy,” right? Except doesn’t telepathy involve hearing voices in your head?... When you speak here, your words aren’t in the form of a voice, but instead “pure meaning.” Basically... “words”... Heh. Your name fits.

I wonder how we managed to reach a connection like this, since I’m all the way in the basement, and I assume you’re somewhere upstairs where the Mistress usually is.

...

A question to save for the future or the past, then. First thing’s first: I have to get to you before the Mistress does.

Currently, I’m... well...

I call it the Labyrinth, but I’m not sure what the Mistress’s official name for it is. Not that it really matters.

It’s a maze of untidy tunnels deep below the mansion. I’m usually left here when I’ve done something really bad. Or I’m in some terrible insane mood. I can never find a way out, because it’s so expansive and everything is the same. This is probably where I would have been exiled after Second’s mess in the halls two days ago.

Has it really been two days? Wow, time flies... except I’ve never seen a chronometer with wings. Although Sakuya can fly. Hm.

There are lots of odd critters down here. Rats, bats, and things that don’t even belong. That’s saying a lot, since this is a vampire’s mansion.

An all-in-all terrible place, yes? One can only wonder how it got here. The Labyrinth serves no practical use; there are no special rooms down here besides jail cells. Perhaps this was a place where people were stored for... vampiric reasons, back when we didn’t live in Gensokyo.

As for me, I’m currently locked up to a slab of metal, which is made up of “2% silver,” according to my sister. This keeps me weak.

I could break it. But it’s already drained a lot of energy out of me. Still... desperate times stand for desperate units, or something like that. Oh, wait, the word was measures.

Kyu.

And like that, the locks on my arms and legs are nothing but fine dust. I roll off of the metal slab, and glance around.

Darkness, of course. There’s not light down here, even for my vampire eyes.

Old memories are here, too. But I don’t feel sad or mad anymore. I feel rejuvenated. I think that’s one of the pros of having friends.

Anyways, this room is small and boring, so I exit by feeling my way out.

The ground is cold. Cold and impersonal stone. This stone has no friends. There are three passages from here, though.

~One straight ahead, into the darkness. Where there is darkness there may be light.

~One to the left, into the shadows. Shadows are deceitful, and often lead to unexpected thingies.

~One to the right, into the unknown. Unknown is good and helpful, but it is also scary.

Choosing one is literally a gambit here, so... what do you think?

[ ] Straight ahead.
[ ] Left.
[ ] Right.

Achievement get!
You have deepened your bond with F__nd_e. The “E” in her name will now be uncovered from now on. Great work!
No. 55278
[X] Right.

I don't know if the directions are metaphors or just literally a dark corridor, a shadowy corridor and so on. But either way... My reasoning is two things. If they are metaphors, it's something like:
Our current situation is because we have too many unknowns, but if we manage to break through the questions, we will reach answers. Not knowing is scary but we have to persevere, face the unknown and make it known in order to stop this situation from repeating after we return through time.

And if they're literally just hallways:
In any labyrinth, the best way of finding your way out is to always take right or left turns. Doesn't matter which, as long as it's always the same, you just keep your hand on the wall as you keep walking. You'll run into a lot of dead ends, but eventually you will reach the end. Wandering aimlessly you might get lucky, or you might get stuck forever, but the right/left hand system guarantees success, even if it takes time.

It's also helpful to have some way of marking your passage in case of loops, so we could scratch a mark in the wall as we pass each corner.
No. 55279
YES!
No. 55280
[x] Right.
Time to choose the 'Right' way... aha
No. 55281
>>55278

I like your logic.

[x] Right.
No. 55301
x] Right.
No. 55310
File 137996373498.jpg- (11.30KB , 350x269 , right.jpg ) [iqdb]
55310
Let’s go to the right.

The right path is the right path.

I will use my right hand, placed on the right wall to my right, to guide me on the right path.

There is no light here, no way to tell where I am headed, so my only guide is touch. And Words. Words is my guide, too. Where would I be without guidance? Done here, alone, probably.

Is that where the me in the “original timeline” is? Alone? Does the other timeline still exist, or did it break as soon as the Mistress went back in time? Are we overwriting, or coexisting with, the “original timeline?”

I guess there’s no way to rightly know. The thought of another version of all of this living out an alternate reality is interesting, though.

...

Ugh, this walking traversing this place always takes so long...

...

Long long long. How boring...

...

Hey...! Is that light I see?

Yes... A room on the next right. Light just barely reaches beyond its gaping entrance.

I decide to approach it carefully. Y’know, just in case that light isn’t a good thing. As I enter, tiptoeing, the first thing my eyes fall on is Patchouli Knowledge.

Oh! Patchouli! She’s alive!

Blindfolded, gagged, and chained to the wall, she’s alive, yes, although she looks kind of sickly. A single lantern sits on the ground next to her; the source of the light.

“Patchouli!”

At the sound of my voice, she lifts up her head in my direction. A scent assaults the room. The scent of rotting corpses and blood. It’s a good scent wrapped in a bad scent, confusing my nose and sending mixed signals to my brain. The scent comes from the dark hallway behind, and I turn to see its source.

A human frame with sharp bones visible, kind of like a skeleton or something. Tight skin adorned with various cuts and sores, hairless but for a few stray strands on its head. It lacks a nose and lips; its teeth are exposed freely as a result. Two slits are where its nose should be, which I would guess is its substitute for breathing. One of its eye sockets are empty.

The creature regards me curiously with its single eye. Is it... human? It has blood running in it, and that blood smells human...

It groans. Takes a step towards me. I sense its heartbeat beginning to pick up. It doesn’t have a friendly intent, does it? The creature stops in front of me. It’s taller than me, at least the height of an adult human. It grabs a hold of my wrist.

...I guess I have to fight it.

I yank my hand away from it, but its grip is iron despite how frail it looks. It screeches in my face, and then dives onto me.

Damn it, get off!

It scratches and bites and punches, but the attacks have little coordination. It has no idea how to fight properly. Annoyed, I roar and grab its wrist and squeeze so hard the bone in its arm cracks like an egg smashed against a slab of some sort of silver alloy.

The monster screeches again, but this time a screech of pain, and it scrambles away from me as quickly as it is able. I sit up from the ground, covered in a few scratches from its dirty nails. It’s nursing its broken arm over in the corner of the room, whimpering to itself.

Oops. Now I feel bad. I reach out towards it, trying to look apologetic, but it screams and runs away, out of the room. Sorry, weird monster.

...I should get Patchouli. So I do. The chains crumble easily in my hands, and then I pull off the gag and blindfold.

As soon as she is free, she coughs and gags for a minute. It worries me, but after a bit she stops and looks me in the eye.

“Thank you, F__nd_e...” she croaks. She’s very pale.

“What happened?” I ask.

“The Mistress... after she defeated you, we faced each other. For a long time... we fought... I can’t match up against her, though... so I eventually lost. Rather than kill me outright, she left me here. She said... said that my death was not longer necessary...”

“...What were you doing while I was fighting her?”

“I was attempting to speed up the process... of the fate-resistant creature’s passage into our world... I may have succeeded, but there is no way to know for certain, because the Mistress interrupted me... Although, even if I did succeed, I’m not sure if the creature’s presence in our world would do any good,” she pauses and glances around. “Where are we?”

I stand up, and glance around the room. There’s nothing salvageable here but a broken table and the lantern, so I take said lantern.

“We’re in the Labyrinth. This is the place I’m sent when I’m a bad girl.”

I face her.

“I’m leaving this place. You can come with me, if you’d like, but be careful.”

[ ] Wait. Before heading out, tell or ask Patchouli about... {Write-in}
[ ] Yeah, there’s nothing else we need to do here. Let’s go.
No. 55311
[x] Wait. Before heading out, tell or ask Patchouli about...
-[x] Who was that creature... what happened to Sakuya?
-[x] Ask her if you think that I'm the creature and why was she so sure that it'd help... is she really being influenced by it?

I wonder if the fact that we're in Flandre's head now instead of in a piece of paper was due to her accelartion of the process? Either that or there's an unbeatable monster out there. I'm leaning towards the latter.
No. 55312
[x] Wait. Before heading out, tell or ask Patchouli about...
-[x] Who was that creature?
-[x] What happened to Sakuya (and Meiling)?
-[x] Tell her about Words and ask if she also believes that we are that "fate-resistant creature".

We can talk while moving, but there's a lot of stuff that needs talking about.
Should we maybe mention that we consider pulling the same stunt as Remilia and Groundhogging it too?
No. 55313
[x] Wait. Before heading out, tell or ask Patchouli about...
-[x] Who was that creature... what happened to Sakuya?
-[x] Ask her if you think that I'm the creature and why was she so sure that it'd help... is she really being influenced by it?

Yeah, we might as well come clean to Patchouli. If the Mistress knows about us, no reason to keep ourselves hidden. Maybe Patchy has an idea.
No. 55340
File 138032116447.jpg- (574.75KB , 1000x690 , broken heart wings.jpg ) [iqdb]
55340
My apologies, but I am currently devoting my creative energies to a small side-project for the next few days, so the update for Not-Life will be a little late. Please wait warmly, etc.
No. 55362
File 138085154833.png- (206.81KB , 315x400 , I always mispell lantern as lanturn.png ) [iqdb]
55362
Wait. There are some things we should talk about.

There is?

Well... I think we should tell Patchouli about me. It’s not like we need to hide my existence anymore. I mean, even Remilia knows about me now.

I guess. Come to think of it, why were we hiding your existence in the first place?... Well, whatever. It doesn’t matter.

“Say, Patchouli... there are a few things I feel we need to discuss, but let’s do that while we’re moving. Come on,” I say, stepping ahead as Patchouli’s guide. The light from the lantern my guide. The lantern’s guide is science. Science’s guide is people, and people’s guide is light. Full circle. Maybe. It’s probably more complex than that.

“So, Sakuya and Meiling. Do you know what happened to them?”

“No, I do not. After I was defeated... anything could have happened to them. They could be down here, in this ‘labyrinth,’ or... somewhere else...”

I know she’s considering the possibility that they’re dead. I don’t want to think about that, though. I... can’t imagine what life would be like if anyone here were... gone. It would be too different. Too sad. Never the same. We’re a makeshift family. Even though we often have our difficulties, we also have a sort of balance.

It’s only lately that I’ve been thinking about how delicate this balance is.

...

I guess I should explain about you, then...

Alright.

...

Alright.


“...P-patchouli.”

I stop walking and turn towards her. She’s staring at me curiously.

I can feel my heart beating more quickly. Why is it doing that? I’m just telling a friend about my other friend who is probably the same fate-resistant demon-creature-thingy that the first friend summoned into this world to kill my sister.

I never realized how silly this can all sound if you word it properly. Then again, anything can sound silly if you word it that way. Is the opposite true?

“F__nd_e? Is something the matter...?”

Okay, enough stalling. I can do this, right?

Right! We’ve seen worse. You’ll do fine.

“W-well, Patchouli... I need to tell you about something,” I begin. “You know that f-fate-resistant thing you summoned here? Well... I may have befriended it...”

Her left eyebrow raises a bit. “Go on.”

“Okay, so to begin... uh... S-Sakuya had been bugging me for a while before to start a journal or something like that, because she says it might help clear my mind and help me make sense of things. So, so, on the day before Miss Ran came to visit, I decided to try at least, andand I didn’t have any papers in my room, so I went looking for some.”

I forgot, you haven’t heard this part either...

“I ended up... finding some of these papers in your study... a-and, well, I needed paper, so I took some. I mean, you had so many, piles and piles and piles! So... I didn’t think you’d miss them...”

“F__nd_e, you couldn’t have taken some of the sealing papers...?”

I nod. “I... don’t know. I think I did, but is there any way to know for certain? Anyways... I started writing on them in my room. And then... as soon as I did, more words appeared on the page, ones that weren’t mine... I was really amazed. The Words that appeared talked to me about the things I said, and for a moment I even thought that it was Second or someone playing a trick on me, that it wasn’t real... And I got angry and destroyed that first page...”

You probably don’t remember that part.

“The morning after... I tried again. And Words was there, and we talked. I figured out how to use Four of a Kind to talk to Words from far away, and I relayed everything that happened to me to Words, and sometimes Words gave me great advice! In fact, we’ve hardly been apart since...”

Patchouli begins to rub the bridge of her nose. Come to think of it, how many times have I recorded her doing that? A lot. Habits are funny little things, aren’t they? Her eyes are closed as she thinks.

“And ‘Words’ as you call it... it is completely capable of communication with you? Does it have a personality of its own?”

“Y-yes, to both... Words is like you or me, just without a physical body. I wouldn’t call Words an ‘it,’ though. That sounds kind of rude.”

She doesn’t respond. I turn around and we begin to move again, down the dark tunnel into infinity. Or perhaps into a dead end. Or the way out of here. What is usually down dark tunnels, besides darkness and tunnel walls?

“Do you... do you think Words is the creature you summoned?”

I hear her clear her throat. “I see no alternative. Words is most definitely the same entity, although if it has changed at all over its time with you, I do not know. I would like to study the paper you’ve been writing on, and perhaps meet Words, but unfortunately that is impossible right now...”

So Patchouli thinks you’re the “demon,” too...

“Do you think Words is really influencing people like the Mistress says, then?”

“Before, I would say no, since Words is bound to special paper, and no one had come into contact with it. This new information, however, changes things: if there is any influence being exerted here, it would be on you alone, since you’re the only one actively in contact with the paper. I can’t tell for certain, however. I f I were to gain access to your written papers I may learn more.”

“If we get out of here, I might let you see them. I think you’re wrong, by the way; Words isn’t influencing me. I know it deep down.”

“Perhaps.”

We fall into silence.

Words, you’re not influencing me, right? Of course not. That’s a silly question. Forget I asked.

...

“Man, this place always goes on forever. Are you doin’ alright back there, Patchouli?”

Silence.

“Patchouli?”

I turn around

and then I’m knocked backwards

and the lantern slides behind me somewhere. I can hear Patchouli scream ahead of me.

Two somethings pin my arms down, and then a third something sits on top of my chest.

Dim light cast by the lantern reveals the disfigured face of the monster on top of me. It’s the same monster whose arm I accidentally broke. It screeches right into my face.

Its breath sme

AAAAAHHH

DON’T BITE ME

AUGH

NO, NO, FOCUS

FOCUS ON THE EYE...

...

The somethings pinning down my arms, whatever they were, explode into blood and dust. Instantly my free arms swipe forwards towards the creature attacking me, hitting it so hard it flies into the wall.

I rise to my feet.

“NOW YOU’VE DONE IT, FOOL!” I shout as loud as I can. “YOU ARE DEAD.”

It whimpers. Trying for sympathy again? That won’t work this time. You shouldn’t have messed with me.

Now you’re dead~

...

O-oh.

What happened? I lost myself there...

Do I hear screaming?

Wait, yes, it’s Patchouli! I have to get to her! She sounds close by, up ahead in the darkness of the tunnel. My feet move automatically ahead, but then I realize the lantern is still lying on the ground. A rush of indecision...

[ ] Go after Patchouli first, she’s in danger!
[ ] Grab the lantern first, you need light to see

----------

Ahh, it's great to sit at the ol' writing desk and enter the world of Not-Life once again~
No. 55363
[x] Go after Patchouli first, she’s in danger!

A moment to get the lantern might be one moment too many.
No. 55364
[x] Grab the lantern first, you need light to see

Where there is darkness ...there shall be light.
Patchouli is suspicious as fuck, btw.
No. 55365
[x] Go after Patchouli first, she’s in danger!
No. 55366
[x] Go after Patchouli first, she’s in danger!

I just always think in this situation that a bit more often than not, when you take the time to be able to see, all you're going to see is either emptiness where the person once was, or some horror scene of gore and such.
No. 55367
[x] Go after Patchouli first, she’s in danger!

>>55364
In what way is Patchouli suspicious?
She's in the same situation as us. Defeated by Remilia and locked in the Labyrinth to die or be dealt with at a later time.
No. 55368
[x] Go after Patchouli first, she's in danger!
- [x] Can you use weak danmaku as lighting?

[x] As far as influencing you... well, obviously I'm talking to you, which probably counts as some sort of influence. Suggesting that you do things, even! Absolutely scandalous!

But Ms. Magician most likely meant magically messing with your mind or mood, which as far as I know I can't do. And I think if I were capable of doing it unknowingly, I'd have done it to your sister when she spoke to me, and then none of us would be in this situation right now.
No. 55369
>>55368

>And I think if I were capable of doing it unknowingly, I'd have done it to your sister when she spoke to me

Dream Remilia claimed that she was probably immune to the demon's influence because of her power over fate. Other than that, I like your response.
No. 55404
File 138154131579.jpg- (101.98KB , 500x333 , maybe like this but instead of light coming down i.jpg ) [iqdb]
55404
O-oh.

What happened? I lost myself there...

Do I hear screaming?

Wait, yes, it’s Patchouli! I have to get to her! She sounds close by, up ahead in the darkness of the tunnel. My feet move automatically ahead, but then I realize the lantern is still lying on the ground. A rush of indecision...

With no time to think, I continue down the tunnel after Patchouli. A part of my brain protests about lanturns lanterns, but it’s too late to turn around now.

I’ve got a job to do.

Except it’s pretty dark.

Can you use some weak danmaku as lighting?

Aha, great plan, my bright companion...!

...I shouldn’t be making puns at a time like this.

I generate a small danmaku light, and it floats over my head as I move. Much better. I can see the stone passage ahead of me, but there is nothing in sight yet. So I run faster. And faster.

Still nothing.

Faster. I push my feet to their limits and beyond, causing me to lose my footing. I don’t stop, though; as soon as my feet give way I shift to flying down the tunnel.

More still nothing. How fast can these creatures move?

I’m hungry. I just remember I haven’t eaten since Ran visited.

...

Wait. I can smell them. That corpse-like scent of those creatures.

There’s a bend up ahead, forking the tunnel to the left and right. I pull up against the wall and shut off the light-maku.

I can feel my blood flowing restlessly. My heart feels like it could explode like a desk that exploded. I peek around the corner ever-carefully.

I can’t see, but I can still distinguish their numbers from the amount of heart beats. Four creatures stand in a circle, grumbling some sounds to each other. It kiiind of sounds like a language, but if it is, it’s a horribly primitive one.

...Then again, in English you can use “had had” and “that that” correctly in a sentence, so we might not be that much better...

Focus, me. Pay attention. I can’t find Patchouli’s heart.

Wait.

Patchouli is there. On the ground. She’s injured... I’m sure of it. I can smell her blood.

No... her heart, it beats feebly...

What did they do?...

No time to wonder. I must only act.

I jump out from the corner and flood the corridor with danmaku.

The loathsome creatures screech from the sudden light. After a few seconds of clawing at their own eyes, they turn towards me. I see hatred painted on their faces for a few seconds before the light disappears.

One of the monsters barks some sort of order to its companions. They yell a battle cry in unison and I hear them charge towards me.

How dare them.

How dare all of them.

I point at the “leader” with as much fury as I can.

“Shut up!”

The leader explodes in a violent flash of energy and light.

I feel the splat of blood on my cheek, but I don’t care.

Part of the ceiling crumbles from the explosion. Dust is everywhere. On skin, in my eyes, even.

It’s still pitch-black, but I can sense their heartbeats. They’ve quickened, much, yes...

Very much...

To my right, ten feet away. I almost glide towards the creature. I pounce on it, screaming a battle cry as we fall to the ground in a heap. It scratches wildly, trying to get away, like a rabbit in a trap.

I grab it by its neck and squeeze. Not hard enough to kill it. It feels the pressure and stops struggling. The hideous, wretched, foolish excuse of an existence whimpers.

Coward.

Destroy it.

I release its neck, but its head pops anyways.

Its friends leaps for me from behind, but I’m prepared for them. One blows to pieces before it lands. The other manages to get its arms around my neck. I swing forwards, trying to get it to lose its balance, but its grip is tight.

The crystals on my wings clink together loudly as it struggles to stay on my back.

I manage to get to my feet again. I run backwards, crashing the creature against the wall. It loses its grip. I whirl around and grab it by the head.

More of the ceiling crumbles around us.

...Do I hear water?

“Leave us alone,” I growl.

Then I toss it down the tunnel. I’ll spare it because I’m nice, or something.

The sound of water does not cease, so I summon light-maku and point it towards the ceiling.

It’s very damaged. Water is seeping from the cracks in the ceiling. As it flows, more debris falls.

...

The ground is wet. My feet are wet. The clothes I’m currently wearing or, more like rags are covered in blood and dust. I can only assume that Remilia changed me out of my kimono earlier. That, or my kimono has gone beyond “ruined,” now.

Patchouli. She’s on the ground. My light-maku floats above me, providing light to examine her.

Bite marks?

...Were those monsters going to...?

...At least they’re gone now.

Her only wounds are bite marks. They’re along her arms and shoulder. Even one on her neck. The blood...

Drink...

No! I shouldn’t think about that. She’s hurt. I need help. She needs help. You need help, too, Words. Help is needed everywhere. Help is hard to come by.

A loud crack from the ceiling as more rubble gives way. The water has gone from a small trickle to a torrent, and it isn’t showing any sign of stopping.

...Wait a second, water? The only large body of water around the mansion is the lake.

Does that mean this part of the Labyrinth is underneath the lake? Could I get out by breaking through the ceiling, and then swimming to the surface?

Running water hurts vampires, but I might survive. I can’t really swim, but I can try flying through the water, or something... I can force my way out of here. Then I can get Patchouli some help. That’s assuming it really is the lake above, and not somewhere else...

[ ] Let’s brave the water. Patchouli may not make it by the time we find another exit.
[ ] Let’s keep going down the tunnel. We’ll find another way out, and hopefully soon...
[ ] Write-in?
No. 55405
[x] Let’s brave the water. Patchouli may not make it by the time we find another exit.

Desperate times, desperate measures.

Besides, running water may harm a vampire, but the like is still, standing water. But of a nit-pick, but it should be fine. Besides, we made a friend in the lake earlier, so she might be able to help us. Either way, Patchy needs help, pronto.
No. 55406
[x] Let’s brave the water. Patchouli may not make it by the time we find another exit.
No. 55407
>>55405
>Besides, running water may harm a vampire, but the like is still, standing water.
If the roof breaks, it's going to be running directly down onto our heads. I wouldn't want to bet a friend's life on that.

Unless Patchouli is gushing blood in a very "I'm going to die soon" fashion, I'd rather not bet on our ability to get up through the roof safely.

[x] Let’s keep going down the tunnel. We’ll find another way out, and hopefully soon...
No. 55408
[x] Patchouli probably won't last much longer, if we want to save her we'll have to brave the water. But... be careful. If I have to pick between Patchouli's life and your safety, I'll pick you everytime. So go through the lake only if you think you can make it through relatively safely. Good luck, whatever you decide.
No. 55409
There's the chance that going through an entire lake will worsen Patchouli's condition. That isn't to mention what would happen if Flandre gets taken out in the attempt stranding everyone or worse. Couldn't Flandre follow the tunnels and use her power to blow up a small portion of the walls closest to the water source to orient herself?
No. 55410
[X] Let’s brave the water. Patchouli may not make it by the time we find another exit.

I can't help but imagine the worst case scenario of goin through the tunnels, which would be being trapped in a tunnel full of running water.
That basically the same as being submerged in a river.
The lake, on the other hand, is as >>55405 pointed out technically still water, even if it's flowing into the tunnels right now.
Assuming it's a sliding scale of "running" vs "still" water, that means things would get easier the further we get from the hole, once we're out of the tunnels.
Not to mention that we don't know much about the layout of the labyrith, either.
I'm going to place my bets on the lake, rather than spending who-knows-how-long navigating an maze of unknown size and complexity that is filling with water.
No. 55412
File 138171865637.jpg- (771.84KB , 1200x900 , DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC.jpg ) [iqdb]
55412
>>55404
[x] Grab Patchy. Create a duplicate.
- [x] First should fly down the tunnel with Patchy. Once First is a fair distance away, have Second-you go up through the lake.
- [x] Once Second is up there, she can orient First away from the lake.
- [x] If any walls and ceilings get in First's way, kyu them. You may want to summon a Third and/or Fourth to help with that -- I don't know how kyuing works, so that might not actually help.

[x] If you have to take her up through the lake anyway -- due to Second's flood catching up with you, or running out of labyrinth, or the just-go-up option vote winning, or whatever -- you should grab a large lungful of air, pinch her nose closed, and act as an air tank for her on the way up. Possibly even have your duplicates carry more air for her.
- [x] Yes, I know, and no, I'm not.
- [x] Meiling's place (she has a place physically separate from the mansion, right?) is probably the closest place you can get a blanket for her; she'll be soaking wet, and therefore probably quickly hypothermic, if you don't.

(Not sure if we know that last one IC.)

Pic not related, and I should probably have saved it for later, but I'd forget.
No. 55413
File 138180327642.jpg- (755.11KB , 2288x1712 , steam.jpg ) [iqdb]
55413
Would the lake even count as running water, though?

Honestly, I’m not sure. The fact that it’s torrenting down from the ceiling may count, but there’s no clear way to know. I’m jealous of humans. I mean, at least they have clear ways to not die: don’t starve, don’t get stabbed, don’t jump off a cliff, and don’t get set on fire.

What about vampires? Don’t get stung stabbed in the heart, don’t go near the law silver, don’t make contact with red herrings running water, don’t frizzle up in the sun, and don’t hang yourself starve yourself from blood.

Losing blood is another way to kill humans. Blood is a lifeline.

Patchouli is losing her blood...

Patchouli probably won’t last much longer. If we want to save her, we probably have to brave the water, but... I’m worried about your safety.

Don’t worry. If it gets bad I have a backup plan. Water evaporates when it gets lots of energy, right?

Er... yeah? Why?

W-well, uh. No reason. I’ll be fine, trust me.

...Alright, if you’re sure. Be careful. And good luck.

...

First, I strip a piece of cloth from Patchouli’s sleeve and tie it around her mouth, so that she doesn’t swallow water if her mouth somehow opens.

Of course, there’s her nose. I’ll have to clamp it shut with my fingers.

Take a deep breath, Patchouli.

...

Picture a stream flowing downwards. Using the power of flight, I am able to float up the falling water. Waterfall? Yes, that’s called a waterfall.

For the first two seconds, everything is fine. I wonder if perhaps waterfalls that are born from lakes don’t count as running water.

AH

AHH

I SEE NOW

DAMN IT

I-its...

Picture a potato peeler running across your skin. That’s the closest comparison I can put to a vampire floating up a waterfall.

Fortunately,

after few seconds,

the pain gradually subsides

as I cross the border from running water to not-really running water.

Yes, I did it. Maybe. I’m still trying to “swim” to the surface of this place, assuming there even is a surface. This is the lake, right? I can’t really tell, because there is little light above. I can only fly through the water. It’s very slow, like moving through molasses. even though I’ve never seen molasses, so I can’t tell if that’s a good metaphor

Eventually I realize that flying underwater was a terrible idea, because the longer I travel, the slower it gets, somehow. I wonder if Patchouli’s lungs are out of air yet.

That would be very, very, very, very, very bad.

...

I’ve lost my speed completely at this point. Now I’m floating downwards like an iron ball is chained to my ankle.

Seriously. Seriously, science? Screw you, physics.

I reach towards the surface. This is plan B, kids. Don’t try this at home.

I close my eyes. I reach deep inside of my inner self, where all of my energy is locked away. The same energy that I use to break stuff. The same energy that never seems to deplete, somehow. That energy.

This is risky. It’s dangerous. I could risk destroying the entire lake if I do this, worst-case scenario. Best-case, I’ll walk away safe and the lake will be in perfect shape. I focus on the water around me. Each of the particles around me.

This is it. I hope this works.

I squeeze my fist as hard as I can, digging my nails into my palm, tightening my eyes so much it hurts.

And then heat. I feel the heat around me; it is like, uh, sitting in boiling water, kind of. It’s not as dangerous, because the energy is radiating from me, not to me. So I guess, instead of boiling water, it’s more like decently hot water.

The water soon begins to melt away around me and Patchouli. Simultaneously, without the water’s resistance, I begin to rise upwards again. Any water that comes within a few inches of us melts into steam. In short time, I’m flying through the water again.

And then I rise out of the water, Patchouli in hand. It takes me a few moments to realize I’ve left the water, but once I do I stop rising and survey the area.

That is most definitely the mansion. Over there is most definitely the Mysterious Forest of Bad News. And the other over there is most definitely the sun rising. Lastly, I am most definitely floating above Misty Lake. Literally Misty Lake. I’m surrounded by steam. It’s like being... in a room filled with steam, I guess.

...

We did it. We got out of the Labyrinth. And I didn’t blow up the lake. Somehow, I controlled myself.

The water is far from calm. Between the flooding Labyrinth below and the mass-evaporation I caused, the water has gone into whirlpools and ripples are other messy things as it tries to balance itself.

I float towards the mansion’s island and alight down on the path that leads to the gate.

...I wonder what Sakuya would think if she heard my latest adventure.

“Hey!”

I turn towards the source of the voice, in the water.

A familiar kimono is resting on the rocks in the shallow water.

Wait, no, that’s a mermaid wearing a kimono. where is my kimono

“What’s all this?” she inquires, gesturing towards the lake mess that I caused.

You ever messed up a lake? Add it to my list of things I broke.

“Long story,” I mutter. “Look, my friend here is hurt, I have to get her help.”

Wakasagihime seems to notice Patchouli for the first time.

“Oh... alright, then... wow, what a stunt, you’re really making a name for yourself... I’ll just go invisible, again.”

“Er...”

But before I can say anything, she swims away.

Whatever. I need to hurry.

Meiling has a small house in the gardens. We could check to see if she’s there, and if she is, maybe she can help Patchouli. If Meiling isn’t there, though, I’m not sure what we can do...

Maybe I could call Sakuya. The spell that tells her when someone is calling her should still work, right? If she’s even able to hear it from wherever she is...

I hope those two are okay.

We could go to the Mistress, although I’m not sure how risky that is or not. What is her mood? What is she planning to do now? How would she react to finding Patchouli injured, after their fight earlier?

Although, I guess we could leave this place altogether and find help from someone outside of the mansion. That might take more time, though, more than we have...

And I guess I could try to help Patchouli myself. It’s not like there isn’t enough first-aid supplies around the mansion.

[ ] Let’s check Meiling’s hut.
[ ] Call for Sakuya.
[ ] Find the Mistress.
[ ] Get help from an outer source.
[ ] Help Patchouli on your own.
[ ] Write-in
No. 55414
[X] Let’s check Meiling’s hut.

She seemed to be the most neutral party in the Remilia vs servants conflict, so we should be able to convince her to help us stop both sides, instead of siding with one or the other.
No. 55415
[x] Let’s check Meiling’s hut.

Being a fighter, Meiling probably knows first aid.
No. 55416
[x] Call for Sakuya.
No. 55421
[x]Call for Tewi Sakuya
No. 55425
[x] Let’s check Meiling’s hut.

I'd say Sakuya, but I worry that Remilia might have some sort of hold over her. Meiling seems a better shot, overall. Decent by nature, and might know first-aid. Besides, her hut is on the premises (and near our paper), while not being in the mansion itself.
No. 55430
[x] Call for Sakuya.

Flandre considers Sakuya to be her friend, let's hope her judgement is sound. I'd vote for Meiling, but she's too much of an unknown in this situation I fear.
No. 55435
[X] Let’s check Meiling’s hut.
No. 55437
File 138205116121.png- (1.13MB , 850x1020 , gatekeepers.png ) [iqdb]
55437
Calling it for visiting the gatekeeper.
No. 55488
File 138250283255.jpg- (109.98KB , 426x600 , upsidedownflan.jpg ) [iqdb]
55488
Ahem, yes, my apologies for the wait. I recently obtained Rune Factory 4, and I've admittedly neglected doing much else but play it over the last few days.

Anyways, if all goes well, I should be able to update tomorrow.
No. 55491
File 138258219937.jpg- (169.29KB , 850x598 , I wonder what this page says.jpg ) [iqdb]
55491
Let’s check Meiling’s hut. It’s closest, right?

Yeah, probably. I mean, yes. Yes it is.

Meiling it is!~

...

I almost take the path up to the mansion, but I soon realize that going that route would make me too visible. I don’t want the Mistress to find see me yet.

Carrying Patchouli “princess-in-the-arms” style, I move through the crowd of trees next to the path. The gate is as imposing as ever, albeit without its gatekeeper. Hopefully she’s just at her hut, and not somewhere else.

I wonder for a moment if the sun is here to burn me, but then I remember that it’s still early enough that the sun isn’t out yet. Though it probably won’t be long before the sun wakes up. Also, I am hungry.

holding

blood

I float over the gate wall, landing behind a tall hedge. It feels weird – I’m trying to sneak into my home, now, but yesterday I was trying to sneak out. That’s called irony, right? Except it’s probably not that ironic, after all. Irony is supposed to be rare, but I seem to encounter it often.

perhaps irony is not as rare as I think

Quite suddenly, I feel a hand on my shoulder. It’s a strong grip. A gasp escapes from my lips, and I spin my head around to face the owner of the hand. Assuming there even is an owner.

Another gasp escapes me as I take in the stranger – it’s, of all people, Meiling.

Wow, the irony just keeps piling up. Or is this coincidence this time?

“You’re here,” she states simply. A pause.

“Patchouli. What happened to her?” she continues, frowning at the magician in my arms.

“I’ll explain in a moment. Can we go to your house?”

“Of course.”

She leads me to her little house. It’s a simple wooden cottage in the gardens; there’s not much decoration or glamour to it, but it somehow encompasses a cozy feeling. The interior is equally simple. The only furniture is the bare essentials – a table and two chairs, and a wardrobe and bed in a second room. Also, a pantry for food (for when she’s not eating at the mansion?). I’ve been here before, but only a few times, and never long enough to stay and chat.

After our arrival, Meiling lays Patchouli down on the bed and tends to the wounds on her. I decide not to watch, because it only makes me hungry. While I wait, I sit next to the window and watch the garden.

She’s got pretty flowers. Does she pick which flowers to plant in the garden, or is she merely the glove that plants them for the Mistress?

...

After a little while, Meiling leaves Patchouli in the small bedroom and moves into the dining room/kitchen.

“How is she?” I say.

She sets up some tea to steep and then comes to sit at the table with me.

“She’ll be perfectly fine with some rest.”

“Good... Thank you.”

We sit in silence for a few seconds.

“What happened?” she finally asks.

“Is it alright if I ask that first? I’ve been stuck in the Labyrinth for a while and I’m worried about how things went up here.”

She nods. “The Mistress told me about everything. Patchouli’s plan to destroy her, and how Sakuya was an accomplice... Even I was, albeit unwittingly... then she told me she had locked you both up down in the Labyrinth. I wish I could have helped, but there was nothing that could be done.”

She was an accomplice “unwittingly?” What does that even mean?

...I guess I should answer her question first before I ask a bunch of my own.

“Uh. Well, there were strange monsters down there. They attacked us, and hurt Patchouli.”

“Are you alright?”

I blink. “Huh?”

“You didn’t get hurt, did you? You’re covered in dirt and...”

Blood.

No, I mustn’t think about that now. There is no time for that right now.

She doesn’t say it, but I know that’s what she’s thinking. It’s the blood of those monsters that splattered onto me after I broke them. I’ve been able to smell the drop on my cheek for an uncomfortably long amount of time, and it keeps reminding me of how hungry I am. I only need to eat once a day, but I haven’t eaten since the dinner with Ran.

Time... time escapes through my fingers like sand even now.

“...I’m fine,” I mumble. I don’t sound very convincing. “I need help.”

“Well, I’m here to serve, Mistress. One moment.” She gets up – to check on the tea, presumably.

I wonder. Should I tell her I want the Luna Dial?

Maybe not yet.

“Say, Meiling...” I say as she re-enters, tray with tea in hand. “You helped Patchouli gather the silver for her plan, right? How come the Mistress didn’t lock you up for that, too?”

“To put it simply,” she says, handing me a cup of tea It’s hot. A nice hot. A pleasant hot, “I was not exactly a part of Patchouli’s plan.”

“What do you mean?”

“One day she came to me and asked me to gather the silver out in the woods for her. ‘It’s extremely important,’ she said. ‘Please, trust me. It’s for the best.’ She refused to explain why she wanted the silver out there, but I decided to trust her in the end, after much deliberation.

“It was foolish of me. I still can’t believe she planned to kill the Mistress, even after all we’ve been through. Still, it’s my fault; I should have noticed the signs. I could have said no to her, and moved on. Then again, maybe she would have just asked Sakuya for help...”

“So, you’ve never supported Patchouli’s plan?”

She fixes me with a hard stare. “This is my family. You, me, Sakuya, the Mistress, Patchouli. Even the fairy maids... we’re a family. I would do whatever I could to keep up together.”

...

“Thank goodness,” I say. “I’m glad you’re not so ready to upset everything...”

“Even so, we’re on risky ground here. One wrong move from either party – Patchouli or the Mistress, that is – and the entire balance could collapse. I hate to admit this, but if this balance is destroyed... we’re going to have to pick a side.”

“Why? Why pick sides? Why can’t we just keep things the way they are?”

Meiling sighs. “Unfortunately, change is a part of life,” she says. “If we can’t change, we’ll waste away in the past, so change we must.”

Well, that’s what I’m trying to do. Return to the past and start this over. I will fix it. We will fix this, Words.

But, if we fail, what will happen? Patchouli and Sakuya seem to be on the same team, so they’ll fight the Mistress. Will it be to the death? What would happen to the mansion? Gensokyo? What about Meiling? Would she help Patchouli, or the Mistress? Do I even want to know?

Everyone finds it so easy to know what to do in this situation. I thought... I thought we were all friends. Family. I thought... did I think wrong? Is everything changing now? My world has been flipped upside-down.

...Is this what it’s like to have a “life?”

...Oh, right. I have another nagging question.

“Do you know where Sakuya is?”

“She and the Mistress are currently with a guest in one of the sitting rooms.”

“A guest? Ran?”

“No, not Miss Yakumo. A strange youkai I’ve never seen or heard of before. They’re discussing some sort of important business.”

“So... wait, Sakuya isn’t locked up too? She was helping Patchouli, I would have thought...”

“She probably would have, but the Mistress’s need for a maid outweighs any kind of need to punish her. Sakuya is still with her, albeit under close watch. Probably lots of stares that could kill an ox.”

...

[ ] Tell Meiling about your plan: recover Words, steal the Luna Dial, and start over.
[ ] Leave Patchouli in Meiling’s care and...
- [ ] Find Words before it’s too late.
- [ ] Find the Mistress and see who she is meeting, and maybe even try to talk to Sakuya.
[ ] Write-in

----------

Sheesh, I haven't played a video game so intensely in years...

Also, 50th post milestone~
No. 55492
[z] Tell Meiling about your plan: recover Words, steal the Luna Dial, and start over.

DO ET
No. 55494
[x] Tell Meiling about your plan: recover Words, steal the Luna Dial, and start over.


It's true that we will eventually have to pick a side in this conflict, nothing remains the same forever. But if we have to pick a side, we're taking the third option and doing it on our own terms.
Time to start our own faction, with blackjack and hookers family and friendship.
We might not be strong enough to stand up to the Mistress directly, but we won't just roll over and watch our family be destroyed either.
Let's see if Meiling has the conviction necessary to join us in protecting our family, even if we have to protect it from itself.
No. 55496
[x] Tell Meiling about your plan: recover Words, steal the Luna Dial, and start over.

She seems to be on the same wavelength as the we are: keeping everybody from killing each other.
No. 55497
>>55491
>My world has been flipped upside-down.
Goddammit Seija.

[x] Tell Meiling about your plan: recover Words, steal the Luna Dial, and start over.

Things have to change? Well, fine. This change needs to change, too.
No. 55518
File 138311069162.jpg- (107.68KB , 850x656 , HNI_0047_JPG.jpg ) [iqdb]
55518
Status update.

Starting November 3rd, I'll be participating in the THP November challenge. This means daily updates for the entirety of November! or until I end up a charred husk For the details, visit the Nanowrimo thread in /gensokyo/. (I'd link it, but my mobile doesn't copy-paste very well.)

Anyways, voting closed, and expect the next update on the 3rd.
No. 55519
>>55518
Oh lordy. I saw that thread and did indeed wonder what morons would take him up on it, like he asked.

Well. Good luck in your endeavor.
No. 55520
With your usual attention to detail, I think you might go loopy from having to pass over editing so much text.
No. 55521
>>55518
In foresight, I think an apt comment would be "Prepare to Vote".
No. 55524
File 138315204284.jpg- (343.64KB , 464x668 , Flanders plays an event card!.jpg ) [iqdb]
55524
>>55518

>or until I end up a charred husk
No. 55525
[x] Tell Meiling about your plan: recover Words, steal the Luna Dial, and start over.

Late vote ahoy!
No. 55609
File 138353398168.jpg- (104.08KB , 1024x1024 , choices.jpg ) [iqdb]
55609
Um... I think we should tell Meiling about our plan. Do you feel we can trust her?

...She wants to keep everyone together like us. I think we can trust her.

Alright, then let’s get her help.

My tea is good, but for some reason I can’t get myself to drink all of it. Hesitantly, I place the half-cup of tea gently onto the table. Is my cup half-full, or half-empty? I don’t know, it’s just a half a cup of tea to me.

I just noticed how much we all like tea here. Actually, that’s kind of unimportant.

“I have a plan,” I say. “A plan that may keep everyone together.”

I start my explanation. I begin with the original timeline – how the Mistress was unwittingly destroyed by Patchouli’s plan, but ends up using her “trump card” to begin the cycle anew. I describe how I met you, and everything we’ve discovered but I don’t describe what we’ve exploded since then.

“Let me see if I can summarize this correctly. The Mistress died, but because she stole the Luna Dial she could start over the last few days?”

“Yes, and not only that, but with the Luna Dial she can enter all of Sakuya’s time-stops.”

Meiling snaps her fingers. “That explains why Sakuya and Patchouli couldn’t kill the Mistress using a time-stop.”

“Yes, maybe that’s why she stole it. Like a self-preservation move... though that makes me wonder how long she’s had the Dial. Was it the last few days? Weeks? Months? Years, even? Where does the Luna Dial come from, anyways?”

I should ask Sakuya about the origins of the Luna Dial some time. It might be an interesting conversation. Or it might be something boring and overused and uninteresting and boring, like maybe the Luna Dial was forged by seven old men as the bane of a demon lord. Though I guess a sword would work better for that purpose than a pocketwatch. obviously those seven old men are stupid

Sorry, I’m getting off-track.

“For my plan to work,” I continue, “I need to get it back, and go back in time myself. And... well, I’d like to have your help, somehow. Or... not ‘some’ how. Any ‘how’ whatsoever.”

“I have an idea. How about one of us gets your paper friend (called ‘Words,’ yes?), while the other keeps an eye on the Mistress while she’s with that guest.”

“I don’t know where Words is, exactly... and what about Patchouli?”

“All she needs now is rest, so we can let her sleep here. As for Words, well, we’d have to search quite a bit... maybe Sakuya could help with that. Or, maybe not... she’s probably under tight surveillance.”

“We could make a wild and hopefully lucky guess.”

Where would the Mistress hide the paper with the entity that becomes the weapon that causes her destruction? Her chambers? Maybe that’s too obvious. My room? Even more obvious. The library? That place is like a maze. Speaking of mazes, maybe she hid you in the Labyrinth.

Perhaps she didn’t even hide you. She wasn’t expecting me to escape, was she? She might have been more lax with her security. Or maybe not.

...There are lots of maybes, perhapses, and probabilities again.

Note: feel free to utilize Meiling (or even Four of a Kind) in your vote; split up or stay together (or whatever), it’s up to you.
[ ] Search for the papers first. Maybe you’ll get lucky.
- [ ] Specify location(s).
[ ] Go to the guest room where the Mistress, Sakuya, and the guest are, and...
- [ ] ...try to speak to Sakuya (though without being seen); maybe she knows where the papers are currently being stored.
- [ ] ...eavesdrop on the room. Maybe you’ll glean some important information.
[ ] Write-in.

----------

And here's my first post for the NaNoWriMo challenge~ It's a little shorter than normal, partly because this is the best place to put a choice and partly because I'll be picking up where I left off tomorrow anyways.

Try saying "exposition definition" out loud five or ten or twenty-one times, really fast.
No. 55610
[x] I'd sort of like to find the paper first. I hope you don't mind. I'm just... nervous, leaving that in her hands.
-[x] Actually, check her quarters. She thinks she's in total control of the situation, that everyone has been defeated. Why would she bother to hide those papers elaborately, when she feels that nobody can stand against her?
No. 55614
She probably hasn't bothered hiding it at all: after all, she has every reason to think she's already won.

First, Second:
[x] Get the faerie maids to assist in the search?
[x] Search rooms:
- [x] Your sister's office (if she has one)
- [x] Your sister's room
- [x] Your room
- [x] The kitchen (the papers may still be in the chest with the silverware)
- [x] The foyer (ditto)
- [x] Anywhere else you can think of

Fourth:
[x] Go to the library. It's a longshot, but Patchouli might have set up some sort of conditional resummoning, or Koa's contract might not have expired.
- [x] If so, ask her if she knows what your sister did with the paper, then get her to do something chaotic. (Shouldn't take much convincing, and anything will help.)
- [x] If not, search the library. A cursory search will do: she definitely wouldn't have spent time trying to find a hiding place there. Then presumably join First and/or Second in the wider search.

Any:
[x] If you find the papers, have one of your selves hide them in Voile, behind a copy of Moby Dick. It's a terrible book, and no one will ever find me there by accident.
- [x] Also stick one sheet in a copy of the last book on the top shelf of the bookshelf facing the one as Moby Dick, so that a) I can possibly hang on even if she does find and destroy most of the pages, but b) you can still retrieve them all speedily if you need to.
- [x] Careful that it doesn't look out of place when you're done!

Third:
[x] Go to the guest room where the Mistress, Sakuya, and the guest are, and...
- [x] ...eavesdrop on the room. Maybe you'll glean some important information.
- [x] When you get caught — and you probably will — lead your pursuer(s) on a merry chase!
- - [x] At that point, Second can dissociate and then resplit off from Third to make things harder and more confusing.
- - [x] Whichever other aspect is closest should sneak into the room after they leave.
- [x] In the very unlikely event that you have the opportunity to steal the Luna Dial, do so! It's far more important than me.

Meiling:
[x] Run. Go get Reimu or Yukari or someone.
No. 55625
[X] >>55614

This plan sounds as good as anything I could think of.
No. 55633
Calling the vote for >>55614

Update will, of course, be up soon.
No. 55639
File 138363252131.jpg- (237.64KB , 600x738 , unsettling four of a kind.jpg ) [iqdb]
55639
Okay, we have a lot of work to do, and little time, so let’s get started. First off, let’s ask Meiling to get help.

Help?

Yes, she could contact the shrine maiden you said solves most problems around Gensokyo. Or maybe even Ran Yakumo; she seems to be a powerful character around here.

...What about us?

I have a plan that we can try. For now, the best thing Meiling could do is get outside help just in case this all blows in our face.

Alright...

“Meiling, Words has a plan,” I say. “For you, though, you should get help, or something. Just in case this plan goes badly. Maybe you could contact the shrine maiden?”

“The shrine maiden,” Meiling repeats, mulling over the idea. “I would rather not get others involved, but I fear you may be right. This is getting out of hand; we’ve almost had a few murders already. Just... are you sure you’ll be alright without my help?”

“Yes. I have Four of a Kind, and I can blow up pretty much anything you can think of, remember? I’m a force of nature on my own. Let’s not forget I have Words on my side. Words is smart.”

Meiling rises to her feet, her chair screeching as she slides it back.

“Very well. I will move as swiftly as I can.” She approaches the door, then turns back to me. “Mistress F__nd_e, please be careful. There’s no telling what kind of frame of mind the Mistress is currently in.” She leaves.

Okay, what’s your plan?

Let’s send you and your other sides on a search to several places I might be hidden. Your sister’s room, any kind of study or office she may (or may not) have, your own room, the kitchen, or the foyer? Even some other places, if you can think of anything.

Okay...

We should send Third to eavesdrop on the guest room where the Mistress and the guest are. There’s a chance you can glean some important information. If you get caught (and you probably will, knowing your sister), cause as much of a ruckus as possible, so that we can keep the Mistress busy.

Finally, well... this is a longshot, but I have a hunch that Patchouli might have set up some sort of conditional re-summoning on Koakuma. I think Fourth should go check the library just in case Koakuma is somehow still around.


Alrighty. I like this plan.

It feels good to have a plan. Like... like you know where to go next. Plans are like lighthouses.

...Thanks for helping me, Words.

...

Four of a Kind is a go.

“Second, you’re coming with me,” I say. “Well, not actually, since we’ll be splitting up to search, but you get what I mean. Probably.”

“With my help, we’ll find Words in no time~”

“Third, Fourth, you two go off to eavesdrop and find Koakuma, respectively. The details are in our memory, since Words literally just talked about it. We clear?”

“Crystal clear,” Third replies, poking one of my wing-jewels.

“Then let’s get this done.”

We all quietly exit the hut and make our way towards the house.

I think going through the front door would be a terrible idea. Instead, we approach one of the few windows (on the third floor) and slide it open.

...The window can be opened from the outside. Maybe that’s how the black-white witch got inside that one time.

The scarlet halls greet me like an old friend, except these walls are neither my friend nor greeting me. This place always looks the same. Maybe this entire mansion is in a not-life, too. Poor mansion.

Can mansions turn into tsukumogami?

Third sets out towards the guest rooms, which are one floor below. Fourth sets out towards the library – it’s on the first floor – and Second and I split off towards the Mistress’s chambers and my room, respectively.

Why do I go to my room first? I’m not sure. I feel like I want to see it again, though.

...

Second.

I’ve made it to the Mistress’s room.

This place is so clean and proper; I wouldn’t be surprised if every last piece of dust was controlled in here. The Mistress’s cleanliness makes it easy to search around – no trace of paper. Obviously not the best place to hide it, then.

I... I think she has a study where she does... studious things. Whatever, I don’t really care what she does there. She may have left you there, Words. I’ll check there next.

...

First.

My room is normally messy. A few broken pieces of furniture and toys, lots of dust, et cetera. It’s not that I like mess, but... I guess I never really bothered to clean it up, because I figured it’d just get messy again. I don’t have to fake being clean and proper, because I’m neither, so I just leave my mess. I guess the only thing I keep clean is my bed. I make it every morning.

You can tell a lot about a person from the place they sleep, I think.

The room is virtually no different than when I was last here, except obviously without the stack of paper that contain my friend sitting on the desk. Actually, the desk is broken. Odd; I didn’t break it... did the Mistress...?

Either way, my search of the room returns nothing.

...

Fourth.

The hallways are deserted.

I travel to the library with little incident.

Upon my arrival, I decide to examine the area where Patchouli accomplishes most of her scholarly endeavours. There is no visible evidence of the struggle that occurred here earlier; I can only conclude that Sakuya has cleaned up since then.

I debate withdrawing from the library, but it occurs to me that Koakuma may be in her negligently neatened sleeping quarters.

Fortunately I have not completely forgotten the whereabouts of said quarters. I promptly arrive at the intended location, and instinctively knock on the door. Predictably, there is no answer, but I enter the room regardless.

...There is no sign of any life forms – or any useful objects – in the room. Unfortunately, it seems Koakuma is nowhere to be found. For now, I will search a few more places, in the event that Words is hidden in the library.

...

Third.

I found the guest room~ It wasn’t the same one as the one they used when Ran Yakumo was here. No, no, quite a few doors away from that one. I am currently in the room next to that one... with my ear against the wall. Vampire ears are very superior, you see. If I’m quiet enough, I can hear them speaking.

... I think they’re speaking in Japanese.

“...you have a mansion. You have countless servants and maids. It seems to me that you are a powerful political power on your own. You’re not oppressed.” A female voice. It was unfamiliar to me. Perhaps the guest Meiling was talking about?

“...Yes, it seems that way, doesn’t it?”

The Mistress, this time.

“Regardless,” the Mistress continues, “I can assure you that I am just as much a victim as you. I can barely sneeze without Yakumo or the shrine maiden breathing down my neck. They have an unhealthy control. Something must be done, and that is why I have offered to help your cause.”

“If what you say is true, I would like you to prove it to me.”

“Prove it? And how do you propose I do that?”

“Release those you have oppressed.”

Silence descends upon the room for a full three seconds.

“I beg your pardon?” the Mistress asks.

“There are things in this house that feel an anger for you, Miss Scarlet. If given the opportunity, they would seek their vengeance on you. I want you to prove you are on my side by releasing each and every such creature from your service.”

Silence again.

“You do realize I simply cannot do that?”

“Why not? It is simple. You can truly prove you are on my side by releasing your own oppressed. By forfeiting the power you have obtained from your poor stewardship, I will place my trust in your plan.”

“It is not that simple. I require my assets to make this plan work—”

“Assets, Scarlet? They are not assets.”

The scuffing of a chair.

“Forgive me, but if you cannot willingly release those who are oppressed by you, then I cannot work with you.”

“Miss Ki—”

“And as such, I will have to free these oppressed souls on my ow—”

And then, suddenly, the entire room is silent.

More silence.

Even more silence.

Carefully, I leave my eavesdropping wall and peek into the guest room.

...

There is nobody there.

...This is worrying.

I should... we should regroup.

Optional choice:
The second part of this update will utilize the rest of the write-in, but if you would like to add something (since you may or may not want to make a new choice with any new information in this post), you are free to do so.

[ ] Say or do something (write-in)
No. 55642
Here are a list of touhou character's whose last name (or only name) starts with a "ki".
Marisa Kirisame
Kikuri: Stage 15 boss of the Jigoku route.
Chiyuri Kitashirakawa: Yumemi's assistant
Kisume
Seija Kijin: An Ama-No-Jaku who guards the Shining Needle Castle and plots rebellion against the Human. She never listens to everyone's orders and is usually disliked by humans due to her ability to turn anything over
No. 55647
>>55639
Huh. I assume the sudden silence and evacuation is a Lunagade Interrupt; there's not much we can do about that.

Also, I totally failed to understand that Flandre removed our papers from the chest -- or were those ever really our papers in there? Either way, kitchen and foyer are rather less likely, now. Oh well. Still need to check, I guess?

>>55642
˙uᴉɾᴉʞ ɐɾᴉǝs uo s,ʎǝuoɯ ʎɯ 'uoᴉʇdᴉɹɔsǝp s,ᴉʞᴉʍ noɥnoʇ ǝɥʇ uo ʎןǝןos pǝsɐq

It ... might be worth checking what's left of the Labyrinth to see if she's been put down there? Maybe?
No. 55649
>>55642
Marisa is likely out of the question. The language did not sound like her, and Remilia would not discuss such a plan with her.

Kikuri has no dialogue, no profile, no nothing. She's literally a blank slate as far as being a character goes...

Chiyuri doesn't seem like she'd have the kind of power necessary to straight up challenge Remilia in her own home.

Kisume... I don't know. She doesn't seem like she's neither powerful nor outgoing enough to be of use to Remilia. She'd probably just prefer to sit in a bucket in the attic instead of helping break the Gensokyo status quo.

Seija Kijin on the other hand. I haven't played Double-dealing Character, but according to the wiki, she wants to "flip society upside down" and make the weak rule the strong.
This fits well with the conversation of Remilia trying to convince her guest that she's weak and oppressed and needs help to overthrow the strong (Reimu and Yukari) keeping her down.
Of course, this doesn't work out as she is herself oppressing others.
While she may be weaker than some, she is stronger than most and she has a rather forceful personality, which goes terribly with Seija who like to be opposite to other people just for the sake of being opposite.
No. 55662
File 138369019562.jpg- (90.92KB , 319x480 , stack of paper.jpg ) [iqdb]
55662
>>55647
Allow me to clarify on the papers.

Patchouli sealed the summoned "inter-planar demon" in special paper. Sealing an entire entity into one sheet of paper is ludicrous, so the entity's soul was split across each sheet in the stack. The total amount of paper Patchouli used to seal the demon amounts to roughly one and a half of pic related.

Soon afterwords, our lovely protagonist took a small portion of these pages for herself, and used those to write this story. The majority of the paper was left in Patchouli's possession, however; those were the papers that were scattered in the silver-filled box.

We can assume that after the battle in the library, the Mistress reunited all of the pages and stored them in the same location. The box is probably irrelevant at this point, though checking the kitchen or the foyer shouldn't hurt.

Also, this is probably the most meta post I've ever made.
No. 55663
>>55662
Oh.

Hm.

That's a lot more paper than I thought.
No. 55672
File 138371185488.jpg- (181.54KB , 600x400 , books.jpg ) [iqdb]
55672
Second.

The study is a small room, lined with shelves that are covered with books and a few other knickknacks. I wonder if the Mistress has read all of these.

But who cares about her books? That’s not what I need to pay attention to; after all, there’s paper on her desk.

...Lots of paper.

I approach the desk and examine a few sheets.

This is most definitely my our? handwriting. Which means... this is you, Words. We... we did it!

...

Wait, everything I’m thinking is automatically being recorded on this page here...

It’s

It’s like magic. Whoa. La, la, di, do. So...

Hm, that’s... interesting. I should stop experimenting with this and find a way to hide you first. Let’s gather everyone.

...

First.

All four of us are at the study now.

I can’t believe we found you so quickly! This means the Mistress won’t be able to destroy you. This is good. Very good. Very excellently perfectly good.

There is a lot of paper. A lot of paper. You could probably tape all of these together and make a road from here to somewhere really far away, like the Human Village. Or maybe not that far. Maybe Miss Alice’s house.

Assuming her dolls would permit that.

The papers were in neat piles; one with the blank pages and one with the pages I’ve written on. I’ve decided to take all the ones I’ve already written on, while Second, Third, and Fourth split up and carry the rest.

Where should we hide them, though...?

How about in between some books in the library? Your sister probably wouldn’t suspect them to be there, and even if she did, she’d have to do a lot of searching to find the specific bookshelf where we would be hiding the pages.

Aha, good plan! Let’s go~

...

I can’t help but wonder about that guest and the Mistress. Where did they go? Are they even still here? Who was that guest? What were they planning?

...

The library seems so dormant. It’s like a tree in the winter. Is it because Patchouli was wounded? I hope she ends up okay...

...

Does any of this really matter anymore? If we start over, what happens to all of this? Will everything disappear?

...

The bookshelf I pick out is ninety-seven bookshelves down and twenty-two left. Here, we hide a few sheets in between each book. For the sake of security, I even hide a few sheets two bookshelves down, in a book called “Moby Dick.” Odd name.

I disperse Four of a Kind.

I guess... I guess next is getting the Luna Dial, and then using that to start over.

But first, I should check up on Patchouli. I know Meiling said she’d be alright, but... just in case.

I decide to exit through the same window I entered, because it’s easier to sneak around that way. The trip is short; maybe I’m just moving quicker, or maybe time is just flying faster. “time flies”... How does that saying even work? It can’t possibly be referring to Sakuya

As I come to the window, I note the thick coat of angry-seeming clouds blotting out the sky. And I see them. The Mistress and another youkai, that is.

They’re moving at high speed over the house and gardens, firing complex danmaku patterns at each other. I can’t see the other youkai all that well, but she seems to be a blur of white and black...? I can only assume she’s the guest the Mistress was talking to.

They look very fierce, the two of them. They speed around each other, like a dance, firing bullet after bullet, but neither successfully hitting the other. It looks simultaneously beautiful and dangerous. Most beautiful things are dangerous.

Maybe I should wait and watch, see how this plays out.

...Or, I could join the fray and try to work with one of the two here to defeat the other...? Would that accomplish anything?

I still need the Luna Dial...

[ ] Wait. Let things pan out first.
[ ] Attack the Mistress.
[ ] Attack the other youkai.
[ ] Write-in.

----------

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November...
No. 55683
[X] Wait. Let things pan out first.
No. 55686
[x] Check for the dial in the room where those two where and in the Mistress bedroom.

She probably carries it with herself but it's possible that she wanted to keep it safe from harm somewhere
No. 55688
[x] Check for the dial in the room where those two where and in the Mistress bedroom and study.

Let's use Four of a Kind again to do this while also keeping an eye on the battle.
If we see that she's carrying the Luna Dial, we meddle in the battle in a way to disadvantage Remilia so we might get a chance to steal it. If not, we hope that 2nd-4th can find it.

Hmm.. Something I just thought of.
Is the Luna Dial just the clock, or is the chain part of it too? If the chain isn't part of it, we could maybe destroy that at an opportune moment to make the clock fall so we can get it.
No. 55689
> >>55686
> Check for the dial in the room where those two where and in the Mistress bedroom.

No. She had to use the Dial to get herself and Seija out of there in no time. She's almost certainly still carrying it.

I'm worried that we haven't seen Sakuya, though.

[x] Treason.
- [x] Come in from behind the Mistress and push her into oncoming danmaku?
- [x] This has the advantage that you now are near her, possibly with your hands still on her, and can search her for the Luna Dial.
No. 55698
>>55686
>>55688
I'll just come out and say that this wouldn't contribute to anything, so I won't use it. Sorry about that, but it's for the best.

>>55683
>>55689
Since these are the only two votes left, then, I'll see what I can do about mixing them a bit.

Consider voting closed, etc.
No. 55699
In that case, my vote here >>55688 can be counted as meddle in the battle if an opportunity presents itself.
If you haven't already started writing, that is.
No. 55701
File 138379192943.jpg- (488.45KB , 596x1000 , flipped world.jpg ) [iqdb]
55701
We should wait for the perfect opportunity before we interrupt the battle.

...Certainly! I wouldn’t know how properly interrupt them right now, anyways... they’re moving so fast...

Youkai in White suddenly stops moving, throws a small object into the air, and shouts out a phrase. It’s obviously a spell card that she’s activating, though I can’t make out the name. My Japanese is a little rusty sometimes

As soon as the spell is declared, arrow-shaped bullets begin to appear all around the battlefield. aka Meiling’s poor garden They start close to the ground, and then rise up quickly towards the clouds above. It’s almost like reverse-rain, though with not as many droplets as real rain, of course.

The Mistress weaves in and out of the arrows with relative ease, occasionally pausing to fire her own array of crimson bullets. Before long, the spell card ceases running, and the air is empty again.

This gives me an opening. I slide open the window and take to the air. It’s cold air; not that cold air annoys me that much. According to Sakuya, humans are more responsive to temperature than vampires. I wonder what that’s like.

So, I guess... we’ll be meddling with this battle, aren’t we?

Maybe we should come in from behind the Mistress and push her into oncoming danmaku?

I’m not sure I could get close enough without her noticing. Maybe I could fire my own danmaku at them, though. Maybe that would confuse her for long enough for me to grab the Luna Dial, or at the very least destroy all of her pockets...

The two haven’t noticed me floating over by the window, of course. They’re too preoccupied by each other.

My sword, Laevateinn, materializes in my hand.

I take a deep breath.

With a scream, I speed through the air in the direction of the two fighters. I intentionally avoid them, but the sword in my hand leaves behind a stream of bullets as I fly. The bullets swarm over the two, causing them to momentarily ignore each other to avoid my surprise attack.

Unfortunately for them, my manoeuvre works. They are both hit – Youkai in White was hit by many more than the Mistress, the latter of which makes it out with only a few marks.

Either way, they’ve stopped fighting, and both pairs of eyes are on me, shocked.

Youkai in White reacts first, pointing at me.

“Who are you?” she calls out.

I notice the Mistress’s hand balling into a fist.

“This is my sister, F__nd_e,” she says calmly. “F__nd_e, why don’t you come over here, and meet our guest?”

The words sound innocent. The voice behind them is struggling to stay composed.

Wordlessly, I comply. We all float above the gardens in a triangle, only a few metres apart.

Her eyes dart towards the house, then back to me. Her eyebrows hover closer together. By the way her cheekbones are moving, I can tell she’s grinding her teeth together. I rarely see the Mistress like this. She usually wears a complex mask of cordiality and vanity. To see her without it is scary.

“Your sister...” Youkai in White repeats, studying me. A grin creeps onto her face. “I see. It is nice to meet you, Little Scarlet. I am Seija Kijin.”

Seija Kijin. I’ve never heard that name before.

“Hello,” I say simply.

In all honesty, I’m not paying attention to Youkai in White. My true focus is on the Mistress; or rather, the pocket over her left breast. Blowing up a small object is easy, but to destroy something small and specific like a pocket without damaging whatever is attached to it is a little more complex.

Just when I think I’ve got it, the Mistress moves, towards me. Her hand finds my shoulder, and her eyes find mine. Her expression is completely empty and the touch of her hand is light; her mask has returned.

Seija stares at us curiously, but I barely notice.

Slowly, my sister leans in, until her lips hovering just next to my ear. Being this close, I can smell her usual sweet scent and even a trace of sweat. My heart’s beat, already quick from interrupting the battle, intensifies, though I’m not entirely sure why.

“Welcome home.”

The words are filled with malice.

...

As she steps back or floats, I guess, my hand flies forward and grabs the rim of her pocket

ow

ouch ouch ouch

She... she slapped me!

In my right hand, I’m clutching a small piece of fabric. Wait, is this her pocket I’m holding? Where’s the Luna Dial?

...My cheek still stings.

The Mistress is flying towards the ground at full speed. I speed after her as I come to realize: the Dial must have fallen to the ground!

Before either of us can reach it, I suddenly feel extremely dizzy. Everything begins to move and spin, and then the sensation ceases.

...Except that everything is upside-down.

Think of the gardens as a ceiling, and the clouds as a floor. That’s what it looks like. The mansion sits on the ceiling, reaching down towards the clouds below, and so does the lake. The only things that have actually flipped are me, the Mistress, and Seija.

Undeterred, the Mistress reaches the grass above and starts looking around wildly.

She can’t find it yet, can she?

Then danmaku begins to rain at us from the clouds.

I’m already confused as it is. This is getting ridiculous.

The Mistress looks up down? from the garden to Youkai in White. Is she the one who flipped everything?

The Mistress raises a spell card. “Scarlet Gensokyo!” she declares.

I’m forced to relinquish my position near the ground as danmaku shoots from her in all directions.

The Luna Dial must be lying around somewhere in the garden-ceiling...

[ ] Place your priority on finding the Luna Dial.
[ ] Try to fight off the Mistress first, this is getting out of hand.
[ ] Attempt to end Seija’s spell: this flipped world is too confusing.
[ ] Write-in
No. 55702
[x] Place your priority on finding the Luna Dial.

It's what we came for; focus!
No. 55703
[X] Place your priority on finding the Luna Dial.

Focus on the Dial, nothing else.
No. 55704
File 138379604648.png- (48.01KB , 572x540 , 1285212091818.png ) [iqdb]
55704
[x] Place your priority on finding the Luna Dial.
No. 55708
[x] Place your priority on finding the Luna Dial.

Go get it!
No. 55717
[x] Place your priority on finding the Luna Dial.
- [x] You'll probably lose connection to me when you stop time. Don't worry about it.
No. 55719
[x] Place your priority on finding the Luna Dial.

If we get it, none of this matters because it won't happen.
If we don't, we're screwed. We've played our hand so all we can do is go for it and hope we come out on top.
No. 55730
File 138383886266.jpg- (709.99KB , 800x1920 , 133162300615.jpg ) [iqdb]
55730
>>55719
Nicely put.

[x] Place your priority on finding the Luna Dial.
The die is cast
No. 55734
[X] Place your priority on finding the Luna Dial.
No. 55739
>>55730
Well, the whole "fighting over time" thing reminded me of Wakfu.
I wanted to quote a line from there, but I couldn't remember it well enough.
No. 55760
File 138388923682.jpg- (36.28KB , 400x400 , dawn of the first day.jpg ) [iqdb]
55760
Place your priority on the Luna Dial! This is it, all we’ve worked for comes together now!

Right.

LET’S
DO
THIS!

...

The Mistress’s danmaku spreads out from her body in long lines, and then with a wave of her hand it all slides away at an angle. It’s kind of like the pulling of a curtain.

As the curtain gets less dense with movement, I fly forward. Predictably, another wave bursts forth, the bullets so tight together that it’s impossible to move quickly with them present. I’m stealing back each meter one-by-one.

A glance behind reminds me that Youkai in White is still here, still working her flipping magic, and still firing her own danmaku at the Mistress. I’m essentially between them both, Seija floating near the clouds and the Mistress near the gardens. I’m the unfortunate victim of their wide battle. If I don’t be careful, one of them could hit me while I’m trying to dodge the other.

I can’t really tell if they’re actively trying to hit me or not. Regardless, I keep moving.

It becomes a task of tedium. Still, I keep moving.

Thunder roars in the skies, promising rain. Or maybe it’s just promising more thunder.

Soon everything becomes dizzy again, and then the upside-down world turns upside-down. Two negatives make a positive – so in other phrases, the world returns to normal. I look up – the real up – just in time to see Seija fall out of the sky.

Ah.

The Mistress’s spell also ends. Immediately, she switches targets to me.

“Scarlet Sign, ‘Scarlet Meister!’ ”

A single ray of bullets speed in my direction. It’s fast, but I manage to spin out of the way in the nick of time.

I can’t say the same for the rest.

After the first ray has fired, the Mistress spins in a circle. The bullet design follows her movement, sending rays of bullets in a spiral around her. Maybe this would be okay, if it weren’t for the speed. I’m good at dodging when things are slow and complicated. Fast danmaku patterns are another matter altogether.

As such, I’m brutally smacked around by the danmaku.

I fall and fall and fall, until I land in one of the garden’s hedges. For a few moments, I lie there.

...

I rise shakily to my feet. The Mistress is several metres away, groping around the flowers and grass and hedges for her cheating device.

Oh. It’s begun to rain. At first, I barely notice the raindrops, but soon they begin to sting like insect bites.

The Mistress stops moving about, preferring to examine something in her hands. She clutches it in her hand tightly, and then turns to me. A grin is on her face. It’s a grin that says, “I won. You lost.” As if to capitalize on the point, she begins to visibly spin the tiny knob on the back of the object in her hands.

She is holding the Luna Dial.

The Priority is the Luna Dial.

If that knob does what I think it does, the Priority is going back in time without me.

A hundred-million signals rush to my head. I run towards her, but I she sends a bullet of danmaku at my feet that causes me to stumble.

A light shoots out from the clock held in her hands.

The Priority is the Luna Dial.

THE PRIORITY IS THE LUNA DIAL.

There is nothing I can do!

No!

...

Not after all of this, not after we’ve come this far!

We worked so hard... so much is at stake!

...

No.

...

NO.

I open my mouth as wide as it can go, squeeze my eyes shut, and scream. I scream with all of my might.

I’m angry, I’m sad, and I’m confused.

I’m angry at everyone for being so selfish. I’m angry that nobody, besides you, Words, will listen to me. I’m sad that everything is changing right from underneath me. I’m confused because the Mistress and Patchouli are treating this like a game. As if life and death were a thing to win or lose.

I remember I said I wanted things to change. When was that? Two days ago, right? It feels like an eternity. I take it back. I don’t want to change. Not like this. Never like this.

This is why I’m upset.

My emotions flow forth, threatening to metaphorically drown me. I feel something wet on my cheek, and I realize it’s my own tears. Anger, despair, confusion. I can’t make sense of anything anymore.

Magic bursts forth from me, raw emotion releasing my power. Before I know it, everything around me begins to fade away; the hedges become nothing, the nearby fountain becomes nothing, all of the unfortunate flowers become nothing. The rain evaporates before coming even close to me.

Time itself seems to move in slow motion. The clock in the Mistress’s hands continues to shoot out lights, becoming more intense, but it also starts shaking uncontrollably. She closes her fingers over it, but the shaking becomes too much for her to hold.

She drops it. Before it can even hit the ground, the Luna Dial explodes.

The very air seems to hiss as tiny metal shards of the timepiece fly in all directions.

Everything stops.

I don’t mean metaphorically. The rain freezes in the air, the hedges stop shivering in the wind, and my own limbs seem frozen. Nothing moves. Nothing happens. Then the tiny pieces of metal of the clock fly back up, ever-slowly, from the ground. The pieces float around one another, all finding their place. Then they all converge into one point simultaneously, forming a complete clock in the Mistress’s hands. The clock’s glow returns.

The destroyed garden rebuilds itself; the hedges and flowers spontaneously forming into existence again. The rain flies up, back into the clouds above, as if it had never existed.

I realize that it’s all rewinding. It’s all starting over. I take a step forward, and then another. My own movements become sluggish in comparison to the rest of the world – everything around us is rewinding at a faster rate than it had originally happened. Seija floats back into the sky, danmaku flies around, and then everything is quiet. The clouds drift away. The sun un-rises. sets? The moon drifts across the sky at an unsettling speed.

The Mistress’s eyes are shut, her hands held tightly around the clock. Maybe she’s not even awake anymore.

All the while, I’m taking little steps, one by one. It’s slow. It’s unbelievably slow, but I’m not going to stop. I’m not even sure what’s happening anymore, but I have to get to the Luna Dial.

It is the priority. All or nothing.

Step.

Step.

Step. Step.

The sun reappears, and continues across the sky.

Step.

The Mistress and the clock glow like a second sun; I can’t look directly at them. Energy pushes against me, threatening to knock me to the ground. Still, I persevere.

Step. Step.

Words, I don’t even know if you can hear me anymore.

Step.

Step.

We’re probably not going to see each other again. I just want you to know that you’re my best friend.

I’m so sorry I can’t take you with me. I’m so so sorry.

Step.

Thank you for everything.

Step.

Step.

I stand an arm’s length from the Mistress.

The sun has almost un-risen for the second time. Time is almost up.

I reach out and embrace my sister.

Her eyes open, and stare into mine. At first, she looks like she might hate me. But then her eyes change. I see them soften. Her expression seems to plead with me, but I don’t know for what she is pleading.

In that moment, we hold each other tight.

It’s all or nothing.















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

DAWN OF
THE FIRST DAY
-72 Hours Remain-


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

...

Hello? Hello?

I just woke up. Are you awake, too?

...

Please? Don’t tell me I imagined you.

...

Uh... hello?

You’re real! Yes. Thank you. I didn’t imagine you at all.

...I wonder, should I start calling you something?

...Don't you remember? You started calling me Words...

“Words.” Oh yeah, I suggested that, didn’t I? Okay. You’re Words, now. Yay! You have a name! Now you can make a passport.

What were we doing yesterday, anyways? Oh. Yeah! Barrier stuff. Should we get to that right away, then? Or did you have something else in mind?

Barrier stuff? That was a while ago... Wait, this wasn't supposed to happen.

Are you there? Are you okay?


What do you mean? Of course I'm okay. What are you talking about, Words? You're acting silly... well, not as silly as I act 98.2% of the time, but still.

No, this is wrong! Don't you remember? Patchouli and the Mistress? The Labyrinth? The Luna Dial?

...Me?


...

How do you know about the Labyrinth and Patchouli and...? I never even told you...

...

What's going on, Words? I don't understand...

[ ] Say something.
No. 55761
[X] What was it the Mistress said? "The Luna Dial is powerful, but one of its unfortunate side effects is tampering of memory. Essentially, the farther back you go, the more you’ll forget." We've gone back in time almost two days, but from your point of view, those days haven't happened yet. I'll cover the important information to see if I can jog your memory.
-[X] The hole in the Barrier that Ran came to talk about was made by Patchouli. She was summoning a demon that was resistant to fate manipulation, and when she couldn't bind it, she trapped it in sheets of paper, including the sheets in front of you. I'm the demon, but I don't remember anything from before the summoning.
-[X] The paper is now fate resistant, but that property will fade in three days time, and me with it. Patchouli and Sakuya were (are?) going to combine the paper with the mansion's silverware to create a weapon that would kill the Mistress.
-[X] Because the Mistress also traveled back through time to prevent this death, she may remember this as well, and try to kill Patchouli to put a stop to that.
-[X] Ironically, both Patchouli and the Mistress are acting to overcome what they consider their oppressors. Patchouli feels that everyone in the Mistress's service is suffering, while the Mistress believes that Yakumo and the shrine maiden will come down on her if she makes any attempt at extending her power.
-[X] If we don't stop both parties this time, we'll need the Luna Dial to travel back in time and try again. Only, the Mistress has it, not Sakuya.

If anyone can think of something else that's necessary information in case Flandre's memory doesn't come back, feel free to add it.
No. 55768
[X] Memory refresher

Hopefully we can use our knowledge of "the future" to get our hands on the Luna Dial so we have a chance to set things right, even if it takes several tries.
The only problem is that at the point that Words appear, the conflict is already underway.
There is no way to prevent it, we just have to try and resolve it peacefully. Again.
No. 55775
[X] Wall o' Refresher
Hopefully those memories come back.
No. 55779
[X] Memory refresher

I'll get on board with this. Also, personal details would help. Like reminding her of how she looked in a kimono? That's a detail that might get through to her.

Please remember, Flan.
No. 55780
[X] Memory refresher

So, Remilia has the Luna Dial right now? I can't really remember.
No. 55781
>>55780
Well have to assume that Remilia has the Luna Dial. As far as we know, she's been able to enter Sakuya's timestops freely during these days and that was because she had it (according to Patchouli).
No. 55791
>>55761
>>55765
Aaaargh, no, don't just fire off details like danmaku! Especially since there might not even be memories to jog. Start with the main idea, then introduce supporting evidence.

Also, I still don't know why people think there is no demon other than us. Future Dream Remilia (the Remilia of two loops ago, now) said she knew that there was such a demon. We are almost certainly not the only demon involved here (if we're even a demon at all), and calling us "the demon" is a terrible idea.

[x] Um. Right. ... I'm sorry, F__nd_e. I guess for you, none of it's happened yet. Let's try and keep most of it from happening this time.
- [x] The short version is that the Mistress used the Luna Dial to roll back time -- so for me, two days happened that, well, haven't happened anymore.
- [x] The slightly longer version is that Patchouli is trying to kill the Mistress.
- - [x] Demonic possession, I'm told. (Influence, rather than outright control.) I'm not absolutely sure, but it's what the Mistress of two loops ago thought. I think the Mistress herself is being influenced by it, too.
- [x] Because the Mistress had the Luna Dial last time, she might well remember everything. I think you need to go find Patchouli and warn her to flee the mansion -- tell her the Mistress almost certainly knows about the chest.
- - [x] The chest is part of Patchouli's (or the demon's) murder plan. It's got a bunch of silverware (to forge a weapon out of) and a bunch of papers (more of me). It's hidden outside the mansion. The fairy Cirno knows where, although she doesn't know what it is. (Last time you found out by talking to Meiling while Cirno was nearby. She said the Mistress' name in confusion when she met you, though, so be careful.)
- - [x] Actually, you may want to hide the chest yourself, first: it'll definitely throw a wrench into Patchouli's plans. And if the Mistress can't find it, she might think twice about going after Patchouli, at least until she knows what's different this time.
- [x] Other than that... I don't really know what to do. Find an exorcist, I guess? You mentioned something about a shrine maiden a while back...
No. 55794
File 138397035339.jpg- (296.08KB , 1000x701 , in another (not-)life.jpg ) [iqdb]
55794
Uh, right. I guess from your point of view, everything that will happen hasn’t happened yet.

What do you mean...?

Well, to put it in simple terms, you and I have just time-travelled. It’s a long story, but we ended up using the Luna Dial.

The Luna Dial? Isn’t that Sakuya’s clock?

Correct. We used it roughly two days from now, and that started things over.

...I don’t understand.

Right, what was it the Mistress said?

“The Luna Dial is powerful, but one of its unfortunate side effects is tampering of memory. Essentially, the farther back you go, the more you’ll forget.”

You must have forgotten most of what happened, so let’s see if I can help you. I’ll cover the important information to see if I can jog your memory.


The hole in the barrier that Ran came to talk about was made by Patchouli. She was summoning a demon – or whatever she calls it – a demon that is resistant to fate manipulation. She couldn’t bind it to a proper contract, so she trapped it in sheets of paper. This includes the sheets of paper you found and are currently writing in front of you. I am probably this demon; I say probably because we don’t know for sure.

The paper retains the fate-resistance ability I possess, but that property will fade in three days’ time, as well as me with it. Patchouli and Sakuya were – and probably still are, in this timeline – going to combine the paper with the mansion’s silverware to create a weapon that would kill the Mistress.

Because the Mistress also traveled back through time with us, she may remember this as well, and try to kill Patchouli to change the course of events.

...

You’re joking, right?! Surely, you’re joking.

Is someone playing a trick on me?

I’m

No, I can’t believe anyone would do any of that. Why would the Mistress kill Patchouli, or the other way around? We’re... we’re a family! Why would any of this happen?!

...

Why?

My head hurts.

You... you must be lying!

But why would you lie? And you know so much... So many things I never told you...

...The Mistress... is she oppressing us? Is she oppressed? Maybe... maybe both?

And... the barrier... that’s because of you and Patchouli? You’re a demon? What kind of demon are you?

Time-travel? I forgot everything? This... this has to be a trick. Just yesterday we were chasing Second around, and then the Mistress told us about the barrier... did going to sleep break something in you? Is that it? Should I not have gone to sleep?

Am I still asleep? Is this a nightmare?

...

...I need to think. Everything is wrong.

No. No, my head hurts. I need to think about this. Just... please wait a bit. I... I need to think.

...
















Words, I don’t remember.

What you said; it sounds familiar.

It’s like when you read a book, and then forget about it for months and months and years and years. The next time you remember that book, all of the details are fuzzy, and some are even wrong, but some of them sound familiar.

That’s what this feels like. I feel like I know everything you’re telling me, but at the same time, I don’t remember any of it. This is the first time I’ve heard any of this, but it seems so... so familiar... I know that sounds confusing. I don’t know how to explain it better.

I’m not sure what to do. Maybe I’m hallucinating again... maybe this is all a figment of my deranged imagination, or something. Maybe I’m still asleep, and this is a dream. Or maybe this is the real world, and everything I’ve ever known is a dream. Maybe I’m dead.

The implications... the Mistress and the Patchouli, wanting to kill each other? They’re friends, aren’t they?

...But still, even friends can be turned against each other...

I don’t know, Words. I want to remember this, I really do, but I don’t even know if it’s... if it’s real. I can’t tell what’s real or what’s not! I never really could, could I?

Maybe I’m just crazy. Maybe I’m hallucinating.

The one called “Words”... I want you to show me.

Show me what to do. Show me that what you’re saying is true, that it’s not a lie, or a dream, or a hallucination, or a fantasy, or a twisted form of the afterlife. Show me that what you’re saying is real, because before I can even question if I remember it, I need to know that it happened. Show me where to go, and what to say.

Show me.

Go ahead. It’s all or nothing.

[ ] Show her the way...
No. 55818
Are we supposed to write-in what and how we show her or is this more like a two part update with the real vote coming after?
No. 55820
>>55818

Pretty sure we're supposed to come up with a plan of action to first prove that what we said is true through creative use of future knowledge, and then to fix things so they won't turn out how they did. Or something, I don't know, I'm too busy trying to deal with a mild psychotic break to be helpful. Sorry.
No. 55821
Maybe we should have her find the box with our papers inside.
No. 55822
[X] Ask Patchouli about the box of silver in the woods. If she plays dumb, ask if she wants you to ask the mistress about it instead.
No. 55823
[x] I remember when we got those pages in the box in the forest for the first time, you had a sort of... vision, from touching them. Look for those pages that are being stored away. The fairy that hangs around the mansion can show you the way, if you ask her.

Of course, if my memories are still intact from traveling through time, it's entirely possible that the pages are still hidden in books in the library, where you put them. But we'll deal with that when we come to it.



-I dunno, right now getting to those pages is the only thing that occurs to me. In any case, it proves that what we're saying is true, between the stored silverware and everything. If we're lucky, maybe some of Flan's words from before the timeshift will be there.
No. 55824
[x] I remember when we got those pages in the box in the forest for the first time, you had a sort of... vision, from touching them. Look for those pages that are being stored away. The fairy that hangs around the mansion can show you the way, if you ask her.


Getting a head start on things is a good idea. Let's make sure we also get those papers to a safe place, as they are "Words" in a sense.

I would also suggest getting into another "battle of wits" with Koakuma, but tell her "Fate, Time, Science and Border" when she suggests playing riddles, obviously before you hear the riddles themselves. Just to see her reaction.


>>55823
The pages aren't stored in the library, the Labyrinth isn't demolished, Seija isn't here yet, and so on.
While we still have our memories, everthing that actually happened hasn't. Not yet.
No. 55850
File 138406647584.jpg- (215.64KB , 850x593 , a pair of blue fairies.jpg ) [iqdb]
55850
Show you? Well...

So, those fate-resistant pages? I remember that when we encountered those pages for the first time, you had a sort of... vision, from touching them. Let’s look for those pages, and try to recreate this experience.

How?

The ice fairy that hangs around the mansion can show you the way to the pages if you ask her. Remember, they’re in a box filled with silverware.

...

The future seems strange. But I guess it’s not much stranger than the present.

Alright, I’ll go. I’ll look for this alleged box and prove what’s real and what’s not...

I’m going upstairs. Bye, Third.

...

The dark hallways leading upstairs are dark.

Of course they’re dark, I just said so.

When I exit via the heavy iron doors that lead to those basement hallways, I glance towards the window that is not far off. The sun is awake at the moment.

The sun’s glow seems familiar today.

But I don’t have eyes for the sun, just as it doesn’t have eyes for me.

On my way out, I take a scarlet umbrella. Scarlet is the colour of this house, you know. Scarlet is everywhere; even the walls are scarlet. I feel like the hallways are the blood vessels of a beast. Maybe I’m one of the cells.

Words, does that make you a virus? Or maybe we’re all symbiotic bacteria.

I exit the house, umbrella in hand.

Strange; the gatekeeper isn’t around at the moment. That’s rare. She’s a diligent worker. I guess I can just stroll out.

The sky is mostly clear, with only a few stray clouds in it. What causes clouds? Something about water and ice flying. Sounds like magic to me. How do people of science explain it?

How do people of science explain time travel?

I come to a stop at the lake surrounding our small island.

So, uh, where is the fairy?

Maybe she’s on the other side of the lake?

...Oh. The other side of the lake, huh? I haven’t been over there in a while... but I guess I need to go there anyways to see this box, right?

I tiptoe close to the water. Suddenly this seems like a large task. Have I ever left this island? It’s possible, but if I have I don’t remember. Taking a deep breath, I float forward... over the water.

I land lightly on the other shore. The grass here seems like a different grass altogether. Is it greener? Wetter? Brighter? I don’t know. At the most, it’s different, and that is all. Difference is a thing that happens sometimes.

Well, there’s no fairy here either, but she can’t be far. I’ll just walk along the edge of the water for a bit~ Eventually I should come across her, right?

if not, we’ll have to find a plan B

...

A few minutes of walking and I’m beginning to doubt.

...

I hear voices.

They’re a little ways ahead. I have to listen closely to hear them.

“...ow that, do we? What should we do?” says a timid young girl’s voice.

“We obviously need to confront her about it!” says a second, loud voice.

“Oh... alright, then... Uh, how?”

“I’ll go to the gate and ask her about it when she gets back.”

That “loud voice” sounds like Cirno.

You sure?

Not... really.

Well, the voices are getting gradually closer.

Maybe I can go see.

Creeping near the trees, I scan the sky above. From the sound of the voices, it seemed like they are speaking from the air. Of course they are; they’re fairies. Fairies love to fly around. Why do they even have feet? Eh, maybe because it would be weird if they didn’t.

Oh, yes, there they are. A pair of fairies in blue, one with green hair, and one with lighter blue hair.

Her name is Cirno, correct?

Yeah.

“CIRNO!” I shout, hands cupped around my mouth.

The fairies jump in surprise. well, they’re already in the air, but you get the idea, I hope Probably not the most tactical way to announce yourself, but whatever.

“Wh-who are you?!” the green-haired fairy stammers, clutching Cirno’s hand.

“I’m a person who needs your help!”

Cirno points at me dramatically. “What do you need our help for, person who needs help?”

“I need you to show me that box you allegedly found recently!”

“Eh?! How do you know about that?” Greenie asks.

“...It’s a long story. Ever heard of time travel?”

“Not really...”

“Then I’ll spare you the details. Can you show me the box?”

“Hah, can I?” Cirno exclaims, landing down in front of me. She places her hands on her hips triumphantly. “I’m pretty good at being awesome like that. I can show you the way.”

“But Cirno, we don’t even know who she is... or what she plans to do with this box!”

“Good point, Dai. Who are you?” she asks me.

“F__nd_e Scarlet.”

Uh, you may want to cover her mouth!

Wha?

“Scarlet? You related to Re—”

My hand stops her from speaking mid-sentence.

Thanks for the tip, Words. Maybe you really are from the future. You know more about Cirno than I do. Unless you just happened to meet her before you met me. I guess we’ll see? I don’t want to doubt you, so let’s just take it one step at a time.

“Mwh hff mrrr,” Cirno mumbles.

“Don’t say her name,” I say. “She tracks her name, so she always knows when you mention her.”

I release the fairy’s speakers.

“You coulda’ warned me!”

“I kind of just did. And to answer your question, yes, I’m related to that Scarlet. I’m her sister.”

“Eh? The one who’s rumoured to be... well...” Greenie says.

“Yeah, the crazy little sister.”

“What are you doing out here?”

“Like a said, I need to see that box. Don’t worry, I won’t bother with it. You can do whatever the heck you were going to do after I’m done. I just need to see it. Is that okay? Can we go now?”

Cirno holds up one finger. “Give us a minute to talk this over.”

I nod. The two walk a little bit away, whispering something to each other. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t account for the superior hearing of vampires.

“Should we trust her, Dai?”

“Why are you asking for my opinion? You were ready to help a complete stranger a moment ago.”

“Yeah, but she’s... y’know, the one that’s supposed to be crazy? That changes things.”

“Cirno, even before that was revealed, she could have been a crazy person...”

Cirno blushes. “W-well, I... uh. Moving on!”

“I don’t mind showing her. The box was left by her own gatekeeper, anyways. It’s more her business than our’s.”

“Well, when you put it that way...”

The two come back to what they think is my hearing range.

“Okay, I’ll show you the way, but if you try to blow me up or something, I’m outta’ here!”

“I wouldn’t blame you. If I were as cute as you, I’d worry for my life as well~” I sing.

She blushes again. “Don’t say such strange things!”

I’m joking, of course. Though, every joke has an ounce of truth in it. Or maybe half an ounce. She’s like a little child, though. Children are cute sometimes.

...Aren’t I a child, too? I have the body of one, at least. Why do immortal people use the body of children all of the time? Who knows. It’s comfortable, anyways.

Cirno looks at her friend and nods reassuringly, and then they set out into the forest. I follow quietly form the ground below.

----------

We have officially reached one week of daily updates in Not-Life. Woosh! And so magic happened.

And yes, there is a second part coming. Tomorrow, as usual.
No. 55888
File 138412410542.jpg- (10.10KB , 604x604 , is the past really lost.jpg ) [iqdb]
55888
“You two are nicer than I thought.”

Greenie – or, Daiyousei, as I learned she is called – tilts her head around to see me. “What do you mean?”

“Most fairies in the mansion aren’t very nice to me. I think they’re afraid of me, y’know? Not that I really blame them.”

Cirno props up her head with her hands, with her elbows sticking out in that laid-back look. “Of course we’re nice! We’re the coolest fairies around. Right, Dai?”

“Cirno, that was bad.”

“Bad enough to freeze you in your tracks!”

“Cirno...”

“Come on, Dai! Don’t be so cold!” I say. “Those are some nice jokes and you need to try to appreciate them.”

Very silent.

My ears feel hot.

“N-never mind,” I mumble. Puns are not my forte. My Forte is a knight. Or maybe it’s supposed to be music.

Cirno turns around. “Hey, F__n? You’re pretty nice for a vampire.”

Huh? I don’t think I’ve ever been called “nice” before....

My ears still feel hot.

“Anyways, we’re here,” Cirno announces. “I think?”

This place doesn’t look any different from the rest of the forest.

“Where’s the box?”

She suspects the area for a minute. Finally she turns to me, frowning. “It was here... maybe they moved it while we were gone...”

The box is probably invisible. It was invisible the first time.

Oh, alright then.

I stand next to her and point at the ground in front of us. “Right here?” She nods. I place a hand over the air in front of me. I’m met by the resistance of wood.

“This is an invisible box,” I say matter-of-factly. I feel around it. It’s about a few feet long. And... yes, there is a large metal lock on the front.

“Whoa! How did you know?” Dai says from behind us.

“A little paper birdie told me.”

I reach out towards the eye of the lock on the box, and with a loud crack it becomes dust.

I flip the box open. I’m met by the sight of silver forks, spoons, knives, and paper.

...

“See? It’s just got silly silver things...” Cirno says, grabbing one of the forks. She examines it closely. “Nothing awesome, or interesting...”

“Don’t touch it,” I say, tapping her wrist lightly. She drops the fork back into the box.

...

So it’s true.

I’m not sure what to think.

How did you know, Words? How did you know this was here? Nobody could have told you... you were with me the whole time.

I told you, I’m

Yes, you told me. But I don’t want to believe what you said. I... I can’t believe it. Patchouli wouldn’t... she... couldn’t...

Why does Patchouli want to kill the Mistress?

She believes that the Mistress is too oppressive with everyone in the mansion, and fears that she’ll extend her power to others until she’s become omnipotent.

Omnipotent? How?

By increasing the range and power of her fate manipulating abilities, I think? That’s probably why Patchouli needed to summon fate-resistant entity to fight back. She must be powerful enough at this point that Patchouli couldn’t possibly defeat her without this fate-resistance plot.

Still... there must be a better way for Patchouli to stop her. What about the diplomatic approach?

But, knowing Patchouli... she probably already tried that...

I don’t know, I can’t keep guessing like this. I need to see it from their points of view. Maybe I should ask them personally.

So... this “other timeline”... I was there, and we... we did lots of things together? Did we... did we make a difference?

Um. Kind of. We tried our best, but we couldn’t succeed in settling this feud. That’s why we decided to go back in time; if we try to fix everything earlier than we did before, we might do better.

...

I wish I could remember.

Words, I feel like I’ve known you for a long time, but I only met you yesterday. sort of At the same time, I don’t really know you... it’s like when you’ve just met your best friend for the first time in many years. You’re not sure what’s different, but you know deep down that this person is still your friend.

Well, I guess you would have that feeling more than I do. You’re the one who has memories of another me. I’m just... just a phony, at this point.

No, no you’re not! Of course not. You’re the same person, no matter what timeline you’re in.

Are you sure about that, Words? Every day, we all die, and the next day we are born anew. The me today isn’t the same as the me yesterday. The me “here” isn’t he same as the me “there,” in that other “timeline.”

It’s like you said: I’m not sure what’s different, but I know deep down that you’re still my friend. I made a promise to stay by your side for as long as possible. That promise still stands, even across time.

...

“F__nd_e? You awake in there?”

Thanks, Words. Thanks for sticking with me. I’ll... I’ll try my best to remember what we did before. No, I won’t try my best. I’ll do my best.

“Hellooooo?”

Cirno is poking my side. Cirno, stop poking my side.

“Cirno, leave her alone, this—”

Dai cuts off mid-sentence as I whirl around, face-to-face with Cirno. I stare at her with a mock-grumpy scowl, making her stare at me worryingly.

Then I curl my lips into a smile.

“Thank you very much for you help, fairies~” I say. “If you want you can stay here, or go back to your business. You choose.”

“What about the box? What is it?”

“Honestly, I’m not entirely sure.”

That’s a half-truth. I’m kind of sure, but not entirely sure.

“Well, maybe we’ll stick around for a little bit, if you don’t mind. I want to see what you’re going to do.”

“Sure.”

As for those papers in the box... You said they gave me a vision when I first touched them?

...

Perhaps I should try that now, and see if it does anything. Unless you think that vision would be pretty useless this time around? Throw me a bone, Words~

[ ] Well, we might as well test the paper out. Touch it.
[ ] No, best not leave proof of tampering. Let’s just close up the box and go home.
[ ] Write-in.
No. 55889
[X] Well, we might as well test the paper out. Touch it.
No. 55890
[x] Well, we might as well test the paper out. Touch it.

Worth a shot. Remilia's memories came back after a while, so maybe this will help?
No. 55898
[x] Well, we might as well test the paper out. Touch it.

We're repeating history, if a bit ahead of schedule. Is that a good thing? I'm not sure.
No. 55918
[x] Well, we might as well test the paper out. Touch it.

>I wish I could remember.

"Don't worry too much. When we get the time, I can reproduce everything you've written on me to help you remember... but not now. Our time is far too limited."
No. 55919
[x] Well, we might as well test the paper out. Touch it.

We got spooked and left after touching it twice the first time, didn't we?
No. 55922
[x] Well, we might as well test the paper out. Touch it.

So, what's our next step after this experiment?
No. 55929
[x] Well, we might as well test the paper out. Touch it.

We've already left signs of our tampering, since we destroyed the lock.
Let's see if we can trigger the vision and this time we are ready for it.
No. 55941
File 138423123836.jpg- (42.01KB , 800x601 , silent field.jpg ) [iqdb]
55941
Well, we might as well test the paper out. Touch it.

I reach towards one the pages, but it’s covered in tiny spoons.

“Say, Cirno, could you grab that page for me?”

“Uh... sure...” she slips the paper out of its place and holds it out to me. “Why did you need me to do that?”

I reach out to touch the paper.

“Vampires are weak to sil—”

~ ~ ~

Lights burn into existence.

As expected, a vision appears before you. The familiar forest, the box of silver, the fairies, and your friend. It’s a static image, but a beautifully idealized one. You spend several long seconds absorbing the imagery.

As you stare, though, the leaves on the trees turn red and drop all of their leaves in unison. Then the trees slowly becomes shorter and thinner, and change shape. You realize that each tree is becoming a sword.

The transformation comes to a stop, and you are left in a field of swords sticking out of the ground. The blue sky fades into a blank and expansive white, with no visible sun or moon to break it.

The fairies seem to have disappeared.

You have a body here. You run your hands over your body – it’s not the same one you had last time you were in a vision. With one hand, you brush your hair back behind your ear. It’s much longer in this body than the last one.

You spin in a circle, viewing the world around you. The field of swords reaches into infinity in all directions.

This isn’t the same vision as the first timeline. Is the Mistress here? Is she watching you right now?

Your eyes fall on your friend again. She is frozen in place, like a statue at an art exhibit. Art exhibit... You’re not sure how you seem to know about these things, but nevertheless, you do.

You approach your friend, the leaves crunching beneath your feet the only sound in this empty world.

Your hand hovers next to hers, but you don’t touch. Warmth is radiating from her. She must be much warmer than you are.

In fact, you’re naked and positively freezing. You wish you had something warm to wear.

As soon as the thought enters your mind, an elegant, frilly dress appears over your body. It doesn’t have a lot of layers to it, but somehow it’s still warm. Maybe it’s only warm because you want it to be. This is a dream world, isn’t it?

You decide to inspect one of the swords, simply for curiosity’s sake.

They’re all exactly identical. Sleek, sharp, and perfectly balanced. You don’t dare touch one, but even just by looking you can tell they’re beautiful weapons.

“In case you’re wondering, those are all the same as the weapon Patchouli will eventually make.”

It’s your friend who speaks from behind you. You spin around to face her.

In a flash, she dives on you, knocking you onto your back.

She leans over you and kisses you. Her tongue forces its way in, probing the insides of your mouth. You begin to struggle, trying to escape from the assault.

She pulls away.

Her head tilts slightly, an impish smile on her lips.

You stare at her, at a complete loss for what to say.

“Poor Words. Allow me to alleviate some of your confusion.”

Before your eyes, your friend transforms into Remilia Scarlet.

Slap.

“Don’t touch me like that ever again,” you growl.

Her head reels back too far from the blow, out of the possible range of a normal bone structure. It startles you, but in a few seconds her head clicks back into its natural position.

“Oho, you’re quite the feisty one.”

“Who are you?” You’re sure she must be “Dream Remilia,” but you need to act like you haven’t experienced this yet. Technically, you haven’t. Why is everything different? Shouldn’t it be following the same order it did before?

Her mouth opens, speaking in a lower, sultry voice. “Who would you like me to be?”

Biting her lip, she transforms back into your crystal-winged friend.

“Stop it! Stop playing around like that!”

This was definitely not how the vision went last time. It’s way different!

“So prudish, for a demon. But, fine,” she sighs, transforming into Remilia Scarlet again. “I’ll keep this form, since this is how you remember me. Though, you’re not exactly how I remember you. Didn’t you have the body of a man, last time we were here?”

How does she have prior memory of you?

Oh no. She must remember you from the last timeline, somehow. How could she remember you? Perhaps... maybe because she was bound to the box, she could travel with your papers?

“Anyways, sorry about all of that. I thought you’d be into it.”

“Are you kidding?”

“Of course not. Like I said, you’re pretty prudish for a demon.”

“And how would you know that?”

She rises to her feet. “Darling, I am a demon. I’ve met enough of my own kind to know how they act. We’re a species that lives for pleasure, simply because our time in this world is so limited.”

“You’re... you’re a demon?”

“Of course I am. But, you’re smart. You probably already figured that out long ago.”

“How do you know so much about me? I thought...”

“You thought that since you time traveled, I wouldn’t remember you?” she says. “Allow me answer your question with another question. How did you time travel, even though you weren’t with the Luna Dial during all that ‘timey-wimey’ magic?”

“I... I guess it was because I was so connected to my friend.”

“Close. The real answer is because she’s your host.”

“She’s not my host.”

The demon giggles. “You don’t know much about yourself, do you?”

“Still, what does her being my host or not got to do with you?”

“Well, my host was with the Luna Dial, too. You see, my host is Remilia Scarlet. And since both of our hosts traveled back in time, we both went with them.”

[ ] React.
No. 55947
>>55941
>image
Well, those certainly look crosslike enough; but where are the poppies?

Alternatively: Oh, hey. She just said Remilia's name.

[x] And you've been making them try to kill each other rather than, oh, seduce each other because... why?
No. 55955
[X] So I was summoned by Patchouli, but... How did you end up here, then?


Let's try to pump her for information. Anything that we can use to understand the situation better.
(And, eventually, get rid of her if she's the cause of all this.
Inb4 Words has to heroically sacrifice himself to seal away both of them from Gensokyo.)


>>55947
Does a demon need a reason other than "it would be fun"?
As this "Remilia" said, they live for pleasure.
I don't think she's making them kill each other, though. I think she's just making Remilia expand her influence, which Patchouli noticed and decided that she had to stop her. Only she's just seeing the symptoms, not the cause.
Also, since she's apparently controlling Remilia (at least indirectly) I'm guessing she's hoping to use Remilia's powers and influence to sow more chaos around Gensokyo for her own amusement.
No. 55958
>>55955

>Inb4 Words has to heroically sacrifice himself to seal away both of them from Gensokyo

...On a slightly related note, I'm beginning to wonder if Dream!Remilia and Words might not be the same person demon. At this point I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out we were shattered fragments of the same being. I might just be paranoid though.
No. 55960
[X] Ah, so the demon that can subtly influence people to do his bidding is actually in Remilia's body. I owe Patchouli a coke.
-[x] So, what happens when your host dies? Let me guess: you assume full control of it.
--[x] (Try to manipulate the dreamscape, move the swords, change the light etc)
-[x] So, what's your evil plan?
--[x] (If the plan involves harm to F__nd_e or any of the people F__nd_e loves, attempt to kill it using the weapons in the area, if you were successful in manipulating this place before, use that too)

I guess that covers all the options.
No. 55962
[X] Ah, so the demon that can subtly influence people to do their bidding is actually in Remilia's body. I owe Patchouli a cake.
-[x] So, what happens when your host dies? Let me guess: you assume full control of it.
--[x] (Try to manipulate the dreamscape, move the swords, change the light etc)
-[x] So, what's your evil plan?
--[x] (If the plan involves harm to F__nd_e or any of the people F__nd_e loves, attempt to kill it using the weapons in the area, if you were successful in manipulating this place before, use that too)

With one minor change, I can totally vote for this. Although the conclusion is probably foregone, at least we can snark our way through.
No. 55963
>>55958
I'm not sure. Words was summoned to deal with Remilia expanding her influence, meaning Remilia had already started her plans before Words arrived.
And if those plans were because of the other demon, it can't be a part of Words since that means we would have to exist in Gensokyo before arriving to Gensokyo.

Unless.. When Remilia was first killed she went back a lot further than we just did. Causing "that demon"/Evil!Words to exist far in the past, retroactively creating the situation we're in now.
But that still doesn't explain why the demon had to be summoned and Remilia killed in the first timeline unless we're not actually working with parallel timelines here. Instead it's a single, repeatedly overwritten timeline so events in a hypothetical future can change the past to create the future where those events take place, reversing the Grandfather Paradox.
In the Grandfather Paradox, changing the past eliminates the future that caused you to change the past. But if there is only a single, overwritten timeline, then changing the past would CREATE the future that causes the past to be changed and it "was that way all along".


Godsdamn, sometimes I hate time travel theory.
No. 55966
>>55960
>>55962

...Hmmm, should we ask where she came from? I don't think it'll work, but it's worth a shot.
No. 55967
[X] So I was summoned by Patchouli, but... How did you end up here, then?
-[X] (Try to manipulate the dreamscape, move the swords, change the light etc)
-[X] So, what's your evil plan?
--[X] (If the plan involves harm to F__nd_e or any of the people F__nd_e loves, attempt to kill it using the weapons in the area, if you were successful in manipulating this place before, use that too)
No. 55970
I'm incredibly tired at this point, and time travel is incredibly confusing at the best of times, but let's see if I can make a theoretical timeline here. I've put question marks at the beginning and end of things that are just plain guesses.

>?Remilia does something that pisses Patchouli off (No demons are necessarily involved yet.)?>Patchouli summons a fate resistant demon>Demon is forged into sword>Sword is used to kill Remilia>?Remilia is possessed by demon in sword?>Remilia goes back in time with demon attached (Possibly very far back)>Demon manipulates Remilia into being even more draconian than before>Remilia starts expanding her powers>Patchouli summons fate resistant demon (Words)>Flandre somehow gets her hands on demon (Words)>Quest Start

This is all a rough guess, feel free to modify it if you have anything to add or think needs to change. It makes a few assumptions, like that the other demon hasn't been sitting in Remilia's psyche from a completely different incident, or is some sort of spiritual cancer on our psyche instead. This is just something I made in a few minutes. So yeah, fill in the mile wide gaps I've probably forgotten.

>>55963

Anyway, as far as time travel goes, I think the memory loss is supposed to prevent things like that. Too bad there are demons immune to fate's attempts to rerail the timeline, huh?

Inb4 it's a stable time loop and Words has to go back in time and pretend to be evil to stop the timeline from unraveling
No. 55972
[X] So I was summoned by Patchouli, but... How did you end up here, then?
-[X] (Try to manipulate the dreamscape, move the swords, change the light etc)
-[X] So, what's your evil plan?
--[X] (If the plan involves harm to F__nd_e or any of the people F__nd_e loves, attempt to kill it using the weapons in the area, if you were successful in manipulating this place before, use that too)

>>55970

Does that mean we just made out with ourselves?
No. 55973
>>55970

Before I forget, Dream!Remilia knew our name when we first met. Whether that's because we existed in her timeline as her, or otherwise, or because she was watching us long before she revealed herself, I don't know.

I shouldn't need to say this, but remember that we can't really trust anything Dream!Remilia says. She's just shown the ability to shapechange, and it's entirely possible that she's possessing Patchy instead and is trying to confuse us.

Also, if it turns out that Koakuma orchestrated this whole thing, I'm going to laugh.
No. 55974
File 138428246441.jpg- (0.97MB , 600x1400 , Only SFW Flandre Selfcest pic I can Find.jpg ) [iqdb]
55974
>>55972

><spoiler>

Maybe~
No. 55976
>>55955
>Does a demon need a reason other than "it would be fun"?
Well, Words does. So maybe. But really, I just wanted to keep it monologuing.

>>55970
I don't think Patchy trying to kill Remilia is plausible without demonic possession. Here's an alternate sequence of events.
➀. First demon breaks through, possesses Patchouli, Patchouli summons a second demon (which may or may not have been Words), makes a sword out of it, kills Remilia.
➊. Remilia, approximately dead, sends her ghost back in time -- but due to Patchouli's proximity, the demon comes with her, much like what will happen with Words later, in >>55760. We don't know exactly how far back the timeline unwinds.
➁. This is the first timeline we see. Remilia, having faint memories of the last go-round, makes a change from timeline 1: she tells Flandre to investigate the breach, instead of locking her up after her mini-incident at dinner. Demon moves to possess Remilia instead; Patchouli keeps working on the sword out of inertia and rationalization. The events of Thread 1 and the first part of Thread 2 play out.
❷. The Luna Dial is used, in post >>55760.
➂. Here we are again.

Or alternatively:
???. The demon's been trying to kill everybody, but someone keeps using the Luna Dial to reset things. Maybe this frustrates her; maybe she just enjoys the ability to kill people again and again. Either way, by now Patchouli's made of us a hundred swords or more; their memories litter this field.

>-[X] (Try to manipulate the dreamscape, move the swords, change the light etc)
Yeaaaah, we need to make poppies grow Between the crosses, row on row, / That mark our place.
No. 55980
File 138429347641.jpg- (87.22KB , 850x761 , It's my victory Words.jpg ) [iqdb]
55980
>>55976

>I don't think Patchy trying to kill Remilia is plausible without demonic possession.

>“It’s about justice,” Patchouli spits. “Remilia has bound us for too long. I want to stop her before she makes others suffer like us.”

>“No, Patchouli, it’s about revenge. Admit it to yourself; you want me to hurt like I hurt you. It’s a very natural response, I can understand that, but you’ve lost. Now, F__nd__, if you would please move...”

Seems to me that there's more to this than merely demons, or at least there's enough evidence to go either way.

But even so, I can't dismiss your sequence of events either. Everything you said occurred to me as well, but that leads to the possibility of three demons (The Sword, Words, and The Possessor). If Patchouli was close enough to be taken back in time (Which I doubt, as I expect Sakuya or Meiling would be ones to wield the blade rather than the comparitively fragile Patchouli) then the sword was too, what with being the murder weapon and all. Probably.

>The demon's been trying to kill everybody, but someone keeps using the Luna Dial to reset things. Maybe this frustrates her; maybe she just enjoys the ability to kill people again and again.

This too is possible, though unlikely. Even if it's true, it doesn't really matter I suppose.

>Either way, by now Patchouli's made of us a hundred swords or more; their memories litter this field.

Poetic. Let us draw strength from this graveyard, and make sure it is not our fate to dwell here for eternity.

>Yeaaaah, we need to make poppies grow Between the crosses, row on row, / That mark our place.

Let's hope those words don't become too fitting.

Anyway, sleep calls to me. I wish you all a pleasant day, and a good night.
No. 55992
File 138431552624.jpg- (572.96KB , 2048x1536 , and then there were poppies.jpg ) [iqdb]
55992
You can’t say you weren’t expecting there to be a second demon cropping up at some point. It seemed too tidy to pin all of the demon activity on yourself, especially since you barely seem to know what’s going on around you. This other demon, by contract, seems to have all of the answers. Speaking of which, you have about a million and a half questions fluttering around in your head.

“So, I was summoned by Patchouli, but... how did you end up here, then?”

“Patchouli is a powerful magician,” the demon says, “but she has little experience with summoning demons effectively. She opened a very, very large window between our worlds, large enough for both of us to enter the window together.”

A few seconds of silence.

“Hey, go pull out one of those swords.”

You follow the order, glad for a chance to indulge in your curiosity about the weapons that surround you.

The grip is cold, as if it were made of ice.

It slides smoothly out of the ground. You hold the weapon level with your collarbone, feeling its weight. It has an excellent balance to it. You run a finger across the flat of the blade; it’s smooth. You can appreciate the design of the weapon, even though the intent behind it is... not so great.

“Like it?” says the demon, approaching from your right. She takes one of the other swords, pointing it towards the sky. “I have to say, despite their shortcomings, Patchouli and Sakuya have designed a beautiful vessel for us.”

“Us?”

“Yeah, we’re both bound to those pages. Though, I’m only loosely bound in contrast to you. Don’t worry, I can’t read any of the conversations you two have.”

The demon glances down at the leaves around her feet and sighs. In one quick movement, she slices her wrist and blood spill forth from the wound. You step back, startled by the action. As the blood contacts with the leaves at her feet, the leaves become flowers. Poppies.

You glance back up at her wrist, but the wound is gone.

The poppies spread outwards, slowly transforming all of the leaves they touch. Soon, the poppies have covered most of the ground.

“This field reminded me of a poem from the outside world. I felt it needed poppies to make it match the poem better, you see. I’ll admit I find pleasure in little bits of symbolism like that. In fact... considering the name of this poem and name of your host... it becomes even more symbolic. How pretty.”

A poem about a field of poppies and swords? No, not swords, but crosses. Somehow, you know this poem.

“Is the poem... ‘In Flanders Fields?’ ”

“Yes, it is.”

“How did I know that?”

“Perhaps you encountered that poem the last time you were summoned into this world.”

“I don’t remember being summoned into this world before, though...”

“Yes. It takes a lot of practice to remember whether or not you’ve been here before.”

So is that why you seem to know a lot of things, like what an art exhibit is, and et cetera?

“I must have been to this world hundreds of times by now; so it’s easy for me to remember my past visits.”

“Do you have a name?”

“Not exactly. Names are too... binding. But if you’d like, you can call me...” she trails off, staring into the distance. “Well, you’re named ‘Words,’ because you use words on paper to speak to your host. If that’s the case, I shall be... I shall be Phantasm, because I speak to my host through dreams.”

“Phantasm... alright. I’ll be sure to use that name.”

“Not a name. Just a title,” she asserts.

She approaches the box of silver, examining the pages inside. You take this chance to attempt something.

You point at one of the swords, imagining it growing into a tree. Almost instantaneously, the sword responds to your thoughts, becoming a birch tree the same height as you are.

You point towards the sky. Slowly, the white “dream sky” becomes the pleasing blue of the real sky.

“What happens when your host dies? Let me guess: you assume full control of her?”

“Hm. Not exactly. If you want me to answer that, I’ll have to explain what a host is.

“There’s probably a better term for it, but I like to call a person who is bound to a contract with a demon a ‘host.’ But there’s a catch: you can only be bound to one demon at a time. Patchouli couldn’t bind either of us to a contract because she had that little devil, Koakuma. This left us to wander this world without a host. Until, of course, we fell into a series of circumstances that led us to our current hosts.”

“But I didn’t bind my friend to any contracts...”

“Oh, really? What about when you first met her? Apparently, you don’t remember your first conversation with her. What could have happened that night? You won’t know unless you speak with her.

“Anyways, once you have your host, you are bound to this world until your contract is complete, or either one of you die. Then you will return to your own plane. So, if Remilia Scarlet died, I would leave this plane. Depending on the nature of the contract, you might be able to loophole in a conditional control of the host’s body for a short period of time, but there’s not much you can do before time is up.”

“So are you planning to kill Remilia, take her body, and cause a havoc?”

“Of course not. She’s my ally. I told you, we’re bound by contract. A demon cannot work against its host, no matter what.”

“Then what’s your plan?”

She frowns. “Unfortunately, I’m sworn to secrecy to Milady. I can’t discuss her plan unless she gives me permission, so maybe when we leave this dream you can go ask her yourself.”

You slump onto the ground, suddenly very tired.

It’s just so much information to process. You wonder if this is what it was like for your friend when she learned that you had a history together that she couldn’t even remember.

What about her memories, anyways? When will they return? Will they ever return?

[ ] Is there something else you need to do or say here?
No. 56001
>>55980
>that leads to the possibility of three demons (The Sword, Words, and The Possessor)
Not necessarily, and even then, not all at once. I had outlined three scenarios in which this wasn't true, but as of the latest story post (assuming Phantasm isn't lying about the mechanics of possession, i.e., Patchy's immunity), none of them matter; my version is shot from the start.

Rereading the thread, though, makes me realize we don't technically have an explanation for why Sakuya's been distracted enough to burn dinner. New conjecture: three demons, but the third bound to Sakuya? Possibly knowingly, by Patchy, to put Sakuya partially outside fate.

As for finding out what exactly Remilia did to anger Patchy... I'd ask Sakuya. Or Koakuma. I'm almost certain I'm missing something else, but I cannot see what.

>>55992
[x] Ask how Sakuya fits into this.

And the Dawn found and prisoned me! / Captive I moan my liberty. Or is it just that poems are quoted by fools like me?
No. 56010
[x] Ask how Sakuya fits into this.


If we can't ask about Remilia, let's ask about Sakuya.
She's is obviously stuck deep in the middle of this since she's so completely distracted.


>She opened a very, very large window between our worlds, large enough for both of us to enter the window together.
Meaning Remilia was already doing something "bad" before the whole summoning thing. Although since Phantasm has been here "hundreds of times", we can't rule out her having something to do with it anyway. As for the whole "demons cannot work against their host", I call bullshit.
Unless this story has a very different version of demons, they are freelance, so to speak, only bound by the their contract. They may choose to go the extra mile for their contractor, above and beyond the requirements set forth in their deal, but they're not forced to.


>>56001
I was thinking something more along the lines of: "We cherish, too, the poppy red / That grows on fields where valor led".
It's a more obvious choice, but the Silver Pennies Birch Tree poem is also nice.

I know it was (probably) totally unplanned, but it's strangely fitting for the relationships in the story.
In Flanders Field refers to how the dead wishes for the living to carry on, while We Shall Keep the Faith is an affirmative response saying that we'll remember our dead and fulfil their wishes.

In Flanders Field is obviously Flandre, but also Remilia, being "the dead" who asks for someone to fulfill their wishes.
Which means that We Shall Keep the Faith is Words and Phantasm, those carrying out the wishes of the dead.
No. 56025
File 138440369173.jpg- (1.57MB , 1771x1240 , Master of Time.jpg ) [iqdb]
56025
The Mistress has apparently has something planned. You’re not sure what she wants to do, or of her motives, but she seems to be driven by a feeling of oppression from those in power in Gensokyo. You do know that her plan likely involves Seija Kijin, since they met on the second day.

Likewise, Patchouli is driven to create this weapon by the way Remilia commands those around her. She also seems to believe that Remilia is approaching an unstable level of power.

Your friend wants to keep everyone together, understandably. The Mistress and Patchouli are in a dangerous conflict that threatens to change things forever. This is not a healthy conflict, and it needs to be resolved. Thankfully, it seems Meiling also wants a peaceful resolution.

You’re not completely sure about Phantasm. She appears to want to help the Mistress, since they’re bound to a contract, albeit one of an unknown nature. Perhaps Phantasm has an ulterior motive – you haven’t seen many demons before, but the fact that they have little commitment to this world is dangerous. The impact of Phantasm’s actions may seem of little consequence to her, since she’ll eventually leave this world. Of course, you’re in the same situation, and you have no ulterior motive. You just want to you help your friend. It’s possible Phantasm is the same way. Or not. She just as likely has malicious intentions as she may have good ones.

And then... there’s Sakuya.

Maid of the Scarlet Devil, a master over time itself. Her time-altering clock, the Luna Dial, was taken by the Mistress. It seems Sakuya still has a degree of power over time, but without the Dial she is likely limited. She is also unable to be truly free from the Mistress even in her own time-stops. The fact that something so important was taken from her may have created a rift between them, if there wasn’t one already before the Dial was taken. After all, it seems Sakuya is acting with Patchouli to defeat the Mistress.

But would she really stoop to a plot of murder over the Luna Dial? Is it that important? Maybe this was simply the last straw in a long line of abuse. Whatever it is, there’s no doubt the two have a complex relationship.

“So, Words,” the demon says. “The purpose of this dream is to coerce an unfortunate soul to remind my host of her impending doom. Somehow, I doubt you’re going to do that. As such, I think we should terminate this dream, and get back to the tasks at hand. We both have the goal of helping out hosts remember.”

“Phantasm,” you say, rising to your feet. “We can end this dream, fine. But I have one more question before that happens.”

“Very well, what is it?”

“How does Sakuya Izayoi fit into this?”

“Sakuya Izayoi...” she repeats, staring into the distance.

A person appears ten feet away. She looks like she could be eighteen – or around there – and her eyes are closed, as if asleep.

She wears a blue French maid uniform. Her silver hair almost reaches to her shoulder, and two longer braids hang on each side of her face. Her skirt ends at her knees, but her legs are covered by white stockings and black leather boots. In her hand is a knife. The way she holds it gives the impression that it’s a part of her body.

She’s very beautiful, in the way that a lion or an eagle is beautiful. The kind of beauty found in the most extraordinary hunters. It belongs to those fit to hunt and take out anything that stand in their way.

“This is Sakuya Izayoi, the Head Maid of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. She has served under Mistress Remilia for centuries, using her special ability to make house chores easier. She is not simply a maid, however; she is also a powerful fighter, able to throw several knives in quick succession. Perhaps this is because of her control of time. An unusual, and very rare ability, even more unusual that a human would have it, but she possesses it all the same.”

Introduction complete, the “model” disappears.

Phantasm turns to you.

“ ‘Sakuya Izayoi’ was not the name she was given at birth. The girl used to be a vampire hunter, one of extraordinary skill. At the time she met Mistress Remilia, the latter was quite well-known for her power. Naturally, Sakuya planned to hunt Remilia, and the battle was long, tiresome, and vicious. It lasted many nights. Eventually, however, the Mistress bested Sakuya Izayoi. I can only assume Sakuya’s powers were not as developed yet, which led to her loss. Feeling merciful, the Mistress decided to enlist the girl in her service. She was given a new name – the name you call her now – and became a maid at the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

“Many long, hard years passed, and Sakuya rose to the rank of Head Maid. It is a mystery why she would help the vampire, instead of ending her own life, or something of the like. Perhaps she really believed Remilia needed to die, and so she worked hard to win trust. Maybe she felt regret for her past, and wanted to reconcile by serving a vampire.”

“Considering that she’s been working with Patchouli on this plot, maybe this has been her plan all along?” you suggest.

“If so, she has the patience of a god. Fitting. After all, time is her bitch,” she pauses to chuckle to herself. “And that is all I know about Sakuya Izayoi. Also, she’s really sexy.”

“It is time for us to part, darling. Are you sure you don’t want to ‘spare some time’ before we return to the real world?” She licks her lips enticingly.

The action makes you feel something strange. It’s almost like a hunger. You know this is probably just an instinctual desire for... well, sex, to put it bluntly. You decide not to indulge this desire, as it would just make things more complicated than they needed to be. And it would waste precious time, right? (At least, that’s what you tell yourself. You’re not “prudish” about these things! Really.)

“Sorry, no can do. I need to get back.”

“Fair enough, I tried,” she sighs. “Give me your hand, I’ll wake you up.”

Hesitantly, you offer your hand.

Her hand is soft.

Before you can truly lament on this fact, the world begins to spin.

It’s a war out there, Words, and we may end up on opposite sides. So, no matter how it turns out, good luck, and may the best demon – or vampire, or magician – win.
No. 56026
File 138440386664.jpg- (144.53KB , 400x585 , eyepatch.jpg ) [iqdb]
56026
Uh, sorry, forget to mention in the title that this is part one. (Well, that's probably a little obvious since there's no choices, but still.)

Have an adult Flan wearing an eyepatch for the trouble.
No. 56056
File 138448875230.png- (797.62KB , 700x972 , for once this is probably not very relevant at all.png ) [iqdb]
56056
Hot.

My hand feels hot. Not a blush-hot. I can assure you, hands do not blush. More like I-just-touched-the-sunlight-and-might-catch-on-fire-soon hot.

I’m lying on the ground, aren’t I? Yes, I am. That’s the sky above me. The sky is blue. Why is the sky blue and why are large bodies of water blue? And how come every plant has to be green? I’ve heard that the forest has some colourful plants in its more magical depths. “Forest of Magic” is a stupid name.

Cirno and Dai are leaning over me, wondering what happened. I don’t sit up, because I’d much rather lie down.

“Are you okay, Miss? The paper exploded when you touched it, and... you had us worried,” Dai says.

“I’m fine, really.”

Now I sit up, because I’m worrying my guests. Actually, they’re always out in the open, aren’t they? That makes me their guest.

The paper that was handed to me became a pile of ash. I wonder if that means anything. Oh well.

We close the box back up. As soon as the lid is closed, the entire box becomes invisible again.

“Can you two do me a favour?”

“Yes?”

“Don’t tell anyone about this, okay? Just... I’m sorry to ask this, but maybe move it to a more secure place until I know what to do with it? And don’t take anything out of it.”

“Let us talk it over.”

They walk away and begin whispering something to each other. This time, I can’t hear them. After a minute, they come back, and nod to me in an

~adorable unison.

Stop it, me. You’re starting to sound like a pedophile. That, or an insane mother who lost her only child.

B-but they’re so cute!

I don’t care, you’re creeping me out.

I’m you, though, and I’m not creeped out, so how are you?

I wonder what the pedophile laws are in Gensokyo.

Shut up, they don’t have pedophile laws here. Half of half the residents are prepubescent immortals. Including yours truly, actually.

Oh, they’re talking to me.

“I know a good place to hide it,” Cirno says. “We can take it there for now, under one condition.”

“What is it?” I say, expecting the worst.

“Don’t tell the gatekeeper we’re doing it! We’ll get in big trouble!”

I smile, relieved. That’s easy. “You don’t have to worry about that. As far as I’m concerned, nobody but us will know the box was moved. Well, they might know if they come here and find it gone, but they won’t know it was us. I think. Yeah.”

I thank them for all of the trouble, reassure them that yes, my hand is fine, and then we part ways.

...

You were right, by the way. I had a vision.

But it was really short. It was like I was seeing me, Cirno, Dai, and the box, but from someone else’s eyes. And then after a few moments it just went away. It was like seeing a photo album, but it had only once picture. A lonely photo album, then.

I had a vision, too.

Oh... was it like mine?

It started out the same, but it was different. I’ll fill you in.

~ ~ ~

So I’m your “host?”

And the Mistress is host to a different demon.

Y’know, technically vampires are devils, or something like that. I forget how Patchouli classifies us. Demons bound to devils.

Wait, does this mean we’re bound to a contract?

According to Phantasm, yes. But I don’t know what that contract is.

Me either.

...So we’re bound to a contract, but neither of us know what it is?

That’s a little troublesome. But actually, who cares? I’m sure it’ll work out. Maybe? I hope...

What I’m more concerned about is Sakuya...

You’re pretty close to her.

Yeah... Sakuya was different from the others in the mansion, because she never treated me like the crazy little sister. I was her equal, always. We were fellow prisoners of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

At least, that’s what it felt like.

Honestly, if she has been plotting to “out” the Mistress this whole time, I’m not surprised. When she was young and still a newly appointed maid, she talked about revolution. She wanted a revolution against the supernatural monsters that tormented humanity. She was very much an anarchist at the time. I guess you have to be, when you’re a vampire hunter. In later years, she stopped talking that way.

But maybe she still thinks that way.

...

Well, Words, I’m kind of blind at this point on what happens next. You remember the other timeline, so what do you think we should do? Where should we go, who do we talk to, hmm?

...I wonder if Patchouli knows something about memory restoration.

I also wonder how Sakuya or Patchouli would react if we went up and asked them about their plot. That would be pretty funny, though I’m not sure if it has a practical use.

[ ] What’s your next course of action?

Also, decide on how much of the dream you told F__nd_e (if you want, you can use a write-in to be more specific):

[ ] Every detail.
[ ] Almost everything, though you left out the small talk and Phantasm’s... “advances.”
[ ] Most of the basic ideas and important information.

----------

Day 12, and we're still in service! The powers of the mind are amazing. Though I haven't had much free time for video games lately. Not that I mind~
No. 56068
>>55139
[x] Find a way to talk in private to Sakuya
[x] Every detail.
No. 56072
[x] Find a way to talk in private to Sakuya
[x] Every detail.

This sounds like a good idea.
Although we don't really need to go into every detail with Phantasm's advances.
No. 56074
[x] Find a way to talk in private to Sakuya 
[x] Every non-risque detail. 
No. 56083
We might earn another letter in her name if we're completely honest with her about everything.

[x] Find a way to talk in private to Sakuya
[x] Every detail.
No. 56085
Well, last time around Patchouli wanted to talk to us, so we might be able to weasel some tips on memory-restoration from her this time. On the other hand, Sakuya is about to go for a walk with the Mistress, so we should talk to her while we can. Maybe she knows something about the Luna Dial that can help us.


[x] Find a way to talk in private to Sakuya
[x] Every detail.


Also, a gesture of trust from us.
No. 56103
File 138457605335.jpg- (1.24MB , 838x1183 , so many symbolic things going on in this I love it.jpg ) [iqdb]
56103
Let’s find a way to talk to Sakuya in private.

Is there anything specific you specifically wanna’ say to her?

I’m not sure yet. Let’s at least see if we can catch her, since she ends up leaving with the Mistress at some point today.

Leaving?

Yeah, they go out for a bit. We never really learned what exactly they were doing, though I’m pretty sure Sakuya goes shopping.

I still can’t get over how you talk about future events. You have absolute confidence that they will happen... well, with good reason, of course... but still, it’s weird. The only other person I’ve ever seen speak like that is the Mistress. I guess she has good reason to speak that way as well.

I rarely speak with confidence, even if I’m talking about what already happened...

Anyways, time to get back.

The walk (and fly) back seem longer, somehow. The gate looks unguarded again. Where is Meiling? I can’t recall ever seeing her slack this much. Oh well, at least I can get in and out without question.

...Or, at least, I thought I could, but as I pass through the gate, Meiling lands directly in front of me, seemingly from out of nowhere.

“Care to explain why you had my box moved?” she asks.

Oh.

Busted.

Wait, wait, I can do this. I’ll... play it oblivious! I don’t know what she’s talking about, right? Right! Right.

“What are you talking about?”

“No need to act surprised, Mistress. I followed you from the gate to the spot in the forest.”

Oh...

Double busted.

“W-well, uh... I didn’t want anyone to use it...” I speak like a little boy caught snatching cookies from his mother’s cookie jar. Except I’m not a boy. And I did not snatch cookies, but a box of silver. And Meiling isn’t my mother. I shouldn’t be deconstructing my analogy. Is that even an analogy, or is that a metaphor? English is confusing.

She smiles warmly, an expression I was not expecting. “Truth be told, Mistress, I can understand why you’d be afraid. It’s natural to be afraid of silver. After all, your kind—”

“Why are you storing up silver, Meiling?” I interrupt.

Her eyebrows come down. She seems to regarding me with a new light. “Okay, well, to be honest... I have no idea.”

“Gee. You’re even worse at playing the oblivious card,” I mutter dryly.

“I’m not, honestly!” she protests, her eyebrows flying back up. “You see... Lady Patchouli asked me to help her with that box. She couldn’t tell me why, but I could tell she really, really needed it done.”

Words? Does that check out?

That’s what she said last time, if that’s what you mean.

“So... uh, where is it?”

“The box? I confiscated it from the fairies, of course,” she says with a hint of pride.

“...I hope they don’t get mad at me... they might think I sent you or something.”

I was just starting to like them, too.

“I’m sure they’ll understand when you explain it to them, yes? You seem to know quite a bit about that box, though, Mistress F__nd_e. Can you tell me anything about it?”

“Er... w-well...”

Wait a minute. I’m the Mistress’s sister. I can technically refuse information, and even give her commands. After all, she’s as much my staff as she is the Mistress’s.

“Honestly, Meiling, I wish I could,” I say, adopting a formal and business-y tone of voice like the Mistress. “For now, you’ll just have to trust me. Hide it, and don’t tell Patchouli the new location.”

“But—”

“That’s an order,” I add. “This is highly confidential stuff.”

“But what if Patchouli gets after me?”

“Throw all of the blame on me, understand? Better I take an angry magician’s scoldings than you. You’re just following orders.”

“But...” I wait, but she doesn’t say anything after that.

“Fine,” she concedes, biting her lip. “I’ll go move it right now, then.”

“Oh, and Meiling?” I add. “Don’t tell the Mistress about any of this, alright? It’s between you and me and Patchouli. And Sakuya. And Words.”

“...Alright. But I’m not sure I like all of this sneaking around...”

She mumbles something else I can’t quite catch, simply because it sounds like another language. Perhaps it is.

...That went better than I expected. But wow, Meiling sure knows how to do her job. Forget I said anything about slacking. If anyone says she’s a slacker, I’ll have to point them to this incident.

...Or just whack them over the head with a crowbar. N-not that I’ve ever done that to anyone before... seriously. Stop looking at me like that. Wait, you don’t even have eyes. Oh, that’s a fairy maid. She’s staring at me with a look of horror. She’s probably terrified that I’m out and about. The rumours about me aren’t exactly friendly, you see.

“Rawr!”

My mock-roar doesn’t sound remotely threatening. Regardless, that’s literally all it takes for her to scamper away, having momentarily forgotten her wings exist. Why did I do that? I’m just perpetuating the rumours, aren’t I? Well, I guess I don’t exactly care what the fairies think. They’re kind of annoying, anyways. Vampire hunters make much better maids than fairies.

With a shrug, I go back inside.

Now, where could Sakuya be...? Just kidding, all I need to do is call her name.

Which I do. Almost immediately, she appears in front of me. On her hands are wet rubber gloves. I wonder what I interrupted.

“Yes, Mistress?”

“You’re not too busy, I hope...? I just wanted to talk to you a bit.”

“I am never too busy for you, F__nd_e,” she says, wiping her wet glove on her apron. “What is it you would like to talk about?”

“Well, it wouldn’t do for us to talk here. Go ahead and finish whatever it is you were doing, and then we can go meet... in the clock tower.”

“As you wish, Milady.”

With a curtsy, she disappears again.

Well, I guess I’ll go to the clock tower... why the clock tower? Well, why not?

before anyone ever asks “why?” for anything ever again, they should be asking themselves “why not?”

...

This house is so big. I still get lost. Granted, I don’t walk around up here that much... Despite getting confused a few times, and having to ask a fairy for directions (she shivered a little when I approached, but otherwise tried to keep her maturity about her. Good girl), I eventually find the clock tower. The trip took about twenty minutes altogether. I think. I don’t really have a watch, so I’m estimating. Is it even proper to use “estimating” in this context?

The clock tower is pretty cool. All those cogs and gears spinning and rotating and spinning and rotating... Wait, is “spinning” a synonym for “rotate?” That just gave me a life-altering revelation.

I don’t understand the inside of clocks, though. One time I had a clock – one of the old ones that work off of gears and stuff, not those newish ones that run on batteries – and I took it apart. I mean, I took little screwdrivers and painstakingly took out each tiny nail, and then examined the little pieces swinging and twirling... and somehow, those little pieces made a clock. It made hands that rotate eternally. A measure for time.

The Luna Dial, though. I’d imagine it’s different inside. Who knows what goes on inside of the Luna Dial? What kind of cogs and gears run its mechanisms? Does it even possess such mechanisms, or is completely hollow but for magic? How does it go “backwards” in time? How does it stop time? Magic is such an interesting thing. What would happen if everyone stopped believing in time travel? Would the Luna Dial cease to function?

I feel tapping on my shoulder.

Turning around, I say, “oh, you’re here! Sorry, I was zoned out...”

As I expected, Sakuya stands there, the rubber gloves gone.“It’s alright. I apologize for the wait,” she says, smiling. I can’t help but return her smile. She has a very nice smile, you know. It rarely shows up, but when it does, it brightens the room. Have you ever met someone like that?

...Er, never mind.

“Don’t worry about it, I’m obviously easily occupied...”

We stand in silence for a few seconds. Her position jumps slightly, indicating that she messed with time for a moment.

“Go ahead, sit,” she says, gesturing behind me.

Two chairs that weren’t there before are here. Of course, she must have gone down and grabbed them. I thank her and sit down. She sits in the other one, placing her hands on her lap.

“So, what did you want to talk about?”

[ ] Specify the thing(s) you would like to say.

----------

By the way, I... I started reading GH last night. Should I be afraid for my fate? Yes, Flanders, you should.

Also, in regards to the title, I accidentally numbered yesterday's entry as #60, when it truth it was only the second part of #59. Does that really matter? Not really, but for the sake of perfect clarity, I've pointed it out. Now I can sleep peacefully.
No. 56136
Hmmm... what do we talk about? What do we say? We know what Sakuya is up to; how do we convey this, and try to talk her down? How do we get her to try and settle things peacefully?

[x] Start with small-talk.
-[x] Ask a few questions about the Luna Dial, and its operation. Like say, how someone would recover memories if they went back through time using it.
--[x] We know what Patchouli is planning. Please stop. We're a family.


As I recall, Sakuya was in on this whole thing. This isn't exactly subtle, but I don't think subtle would help all that much here. If anyone can think of a better idea, or how to word this better, go right to it.
No. 56140
[x] Start with small-talk.
-[x] Ask a few questions about the Luna Dial, and its operation. Like say, how someone would recover memories if they went back through time using it.
--[x] “I know what you and Patchouli are planning. Don't do it. We're a family; There has to be a better way.”
No. 56142
>I rarely speak with confidence, even if I’m talking about what already happened...

I know that feeling Flan, I know it well.

Not voting because I'm far too tired to display good judgement at this time.
No. 56167
The Dial is important, and stopping what's going on is as well, but... I wonder if it isn't just as important to understand why Sakuya feels she has to take these actions in the first place. While we have the chance, before things truly go wrong, we should try to learn more about her mind and heart.

[x] Start with small-talk. Segue gradually into heavier questions.
-[x] Ask how she's been. If there are things that make her unhappy in her life. We'd like to know.
-[x] What does she want? If everything went the way she wanted it to, what would things be like tomorrow, or next year, or a decade from now?
-[x] What does she consider us to be? Are we just someone she has to take care of? A friend? Part of her family? Share your own feelings on her at this point.
-[x] Ask her if there isn't any other way than what she and Patchouli are planning. Because we want everyone to be happy and for no one to die.
No. 56170
[x] Start with small-talk.
-[x] Ask a few questions about the Luna Dial, and its operation. Like say, how someone would recover memories if they went back through time using it.
--[x] “I know what you and Patchouli are planning. Don't do it. We're a family; There has to be a better way.”


This sounds good enough to me. It's not as if we have anything to gain from dancing around the subject. Last time we lost too much time trying to figure out everything we know now.
This time we use that knowledge to try and more directly stop these future events from happening.
No. 56171
File 138466004595.jpg- (33.51KB , 720x480 , clockworks.jpg ) [iqdb]
56171
How about starting with some small talk, and then bring up the Luna Dial. Ask about its functions, and maybe how to regain memory after using it.

“Uh, how are you?”

“...I’m fine,” Sakuya states simply. “Though the Mistress has been unusually busy lately. We’ve had to run quite a few errands. In fact, we’re going out later today.”

“Oh, yeah! Where are you going?”

“Shopping, among other things...” her eyes wander to the clockwork above our heads. “I should probably check the cogs tonight...”

“Speaking of cogs... How does the Luna Dial work?”

Her head snaps back to me. A single eyebrow raises inquisitively.

“Why the Luna Dial?”

“Er, no particular reason. Just... curious.”

She stares at me sceptically, but decides to humour me anyways. “Well... it’s the truest of all timepieces. What I mean is it’s not like other mechanical clocks, which may distort from change in temperature, the strength of gravity, magnetic fields, and other difficultly-controlled forces. The magic inside it negates all such influences so that the Luna Dial is one hundred-percent accurate. It also adjusts to fit your time zone. In a sense, the Luna Dial is time itself.”

Difficultly is a real word? Wow, I never realized that.

“So... would it still work without magic?”

“No, but it will never lose its source of magic: it runs off the believe of time. And obviously humanity will always believe in the concept of time.”

“And... the Mistress stole it, right?”

She looks startled at the question. Her pose time-jumps slightly, her face passive again.

“How do you know about that?” she whispers.

“I don’t know a lot about it at the moment. Can you tell me more about why she took it?”

She stands up, and then everything... everything becomes eerily quiet. The cogs and gears cease movement – the eternal ticking of the clock tower ends. There is no sound, none at all, just the complete silence. The darkness of the ears.

This is the world when Sakuya stops time. Why did she stop time, when the Mistress can “follow” into these time-stops? What’s the point of stopping time here? Perhaps it is habit. Perhaps it gives her comfort.

“It was said that an evil and wicked power was bestowed upon those who used it,” she says, beginning to pace back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. “According to legend, the troubles caused by the Luna Dial were so great... the Old Ones, fearing catastrophe, sealed the timepiece in shadow forever, preventing its misuse.”

She stops. Her eyes scan the walls, searching.

“I didn’t know what any of that meant for the longest of times. It was just a clock, right? The ‘Old Ones’ from the legend have long since vanished, so no one really knew the true nature of the Luna Dial’s power...”

Her hand balls into a fist at her side, but she doesn’t move. She just stares at the wall with her back to me.

“...I went to great lengths to get that legendary clock,” she continues. “When I finally had it... I could feel the sense of a dark omen brewing. That ominous feeling that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.

“Fast-forward a bit. Eventually, I met the Mistress, and came to be one of her maids. I’ve always kept the Luna Dial since then, but I tried to keep it a secret. In fact, it was never originally called the ‘Luna Dial.’ I changed its name so that nobody would know it was the same timepiece from legend. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep the clock a secret forever, but at least I could keep its origins a secret.”

“But now... she has it...” I mutter.

“She took it from me a few months ago. Ever since, she’s been toying with it... using it for her own ends. She can enter all of my time-stops automatically. Even this one right now – I can feel her moving about in her room, clinging to my ability like a leech.”

She sits back down in front of me, sighing heavily.

“I finally learned why the clock was locked away in the first place. It has the ability to send the user backwards in time, to change events that have already happened. When I first became a maid here, I tried to remove this ability so that even if it fell into the wrong hands, it would be useless. I failed, but I did manage to enforce a spell that messes with your memories of future events if you use it. This almost renders going back in time pointless, but... Still; memories can resurface, so it’s not a perfect fail-safe.”

“How would one go about regaining those memories?”

“Oh, I dunno... the spell gets weaker the more you go back in time, so I guess it’ll wear away eventually. Besides that... I guess make sure you don’t follow the same path you did before. If you don’t follow the same path, your brain will subconsciously wonder why everything is happening differently. After all, the memories don’t go away. They just get locked up.”

She smiles smugly.

“If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought you went back in time. All these questions about the Luna Dial. Why so curious, anyways?”

...

Sakuya, you’re a little too smart.

“I needed more information.”

“Why?”

...

How do I say this...?

“I know what you and Patchouli are planning.”

Gee, that’s subtle. Good job, me.

“Wh-what?”

“The Mistress’s murder. Don’t do it, Sakuya. We’re a family. There has to be a better way.”

We stare at each other for several agonizingly long seconds.

The clockworks above our heads begin to move again. Time is moving.

“Don’t tell me... you actually did travel through time, didn’t you?”

“...Yes, except I can barely remember anything that has happened. But it gets bad, Sakuya! We’re all fighting against each other! That’s not what a family does! That’s why I had to come back and stop you guys before it gets worse.”

“You shouldn’t have. You can’t change my mind about this.”

“Don’t you see? Don’t you care?!”

“Of course I care, F__nd_e,” she growls. She’s staring at her feet. “This goes beyond us, though. Do you even know what she’s planning?” She meets my eye. There’s a rage in her eyes. It’s not directed at me, but I can still see it. “She wants to break out of Gensokyo and take control of the outside world! This isn’t just some passive desire. She’s actually doing it! Even today, when we go out, she’ll be laying the foundation for her plans. She needs to be stopped.”

“Yes, but not this way! There is a better way to stop her. There has to be!”

“We’ve tried reason. She doesn’t care. She’s been planning to escape Gensokyo ever since the Scarlet Mist incident failed, and no matter how many times we try to change her mind, she won’t budge on it. She has stubbornly insisted on her own agendas, without a second thought for me, Lady Patchouli, Meiling, and least of all you! Why do you think she’s kept you locked up in the basement for over five hundred years? She doesn’t care about us. Open your eyes and see that this has always, always been a game to her.”

My retort freezes in my mouth.

...

Does the Mistress really not care?

Is all of this just a means to an end for her? Are we pawns in a game?

The Mistress can be kind of controlling... but is she really plotting something evil? To take over the world outside the Border?

...

I... I can’t accept this. Even if what she says is true, I...

...

“Sakuya,” I say.

She crosses her arms, waiting for my words.

The words don’t come.

“Sakuya,” I repeat, trying to get myself to say something. Anything.

If she already tried to reason with the Mistress...

If she’s already tried her best...

“If you can’t use reason...”

Then you don’t murder.

You don’t resort to violence.

“...you get help. From the shrine maiden. Or the Yakumos. They’ll help you. That’s their job. You don’t need to resort to sneaking around and plotting. You don’t have to do this.”

“...I’m sorry, F__nd_e. If you think that they can help, go ahead and contact them, but I know that the Mistress has already taken them into account. I know that at this point, nobody can stop her, because of the Luna Dial. This plan is our only hope.”

“And what about when she’s gone? What will you have left? What about in a year from now, or ten years from now? Will you ever be the same?”

“...I haven’t thought that far,” she admits. “Frankly, it doesn’t matter right now. What matters is the present.”

“What about me?! She’s my sister! Don’t you care about me? I thought... I thought we were friends...”

I can feel tears on my face.

Stupid tears. Stupid emotions. I’m always so emotional.

She places her hands on my shoulders. “This is in your best interest. You’re so miserable under her leash... for years I’ve watched you, talked to you, comforted you. And this... I can’t take it anymore. I’m doing this for me, and Patchouli, and the world she plans to invade... but an important part of the reason I’m doing this is for you.”

“If you really cared about me, you wouldn’t do this.”

She flinches as if I physically struck her. Her image jumps slightly again.

“I need to help the Mistress now; we’re going out.”

With a bow and averted eyes, Sakuya disappears, leaving me alone in the clock tower.

...

...

...

...

Sorry for telling her that we know her plan. I probably should have consulted you first.

Don’t worry, it’s alright. You did what you had to do.

...

Is she right, though? Is the Mistress really planning those things? Is she really so powerful that she can succeed, even if we bring the shrine maiden into this?

Should we... should we talk to her? Should we get the shrine maiden? Should we do nothing?

I don’t know what to do anymore...

...My head hurts. Why? I feel like I shouldn’t be here...

...

What should we do, Words?

[ ] We need more information. Find and talk to...
- [ ] ...the Mistress. (specify what you’ll say)
- [ ] ...Patchouli. (specify what you’ll say)
- [ ] Someone else?
[ ] Let’s go out and find the shrine maiden. Enough is enough.
[ ] Write-in

----------

This update is roughly 1700 words. Longest one I've had in a while~
No. 56183
[x] We need more information. Find and talk to...
- [x] ...Patchouli. She's the other person at the heart of this, and she knows enough to maybe have some decent ideas. Open up with the fact that we know about her plan and all it's accomplished is sending the Mistress back in time at least twice, us back in time once, and generally it isn't good enough to work. See if she has any backup plans. Also, see if she knows any way to find out the terms of a demon contract- tell her the Mistress has a demon, if she asks why we need that. Finally, ask if there's anyone we could contact to help with the situation that the Mistress probably doesn't have contingency plans for- Gensokyo is pretty big and has a lot of interesting characters; surely there's someone with useful powers that she hasn't thought of. We just need someone able to get the Luna Dial from her, and we can solve this whole issue without anyone dying.
No. 56206
I'm divided. I really want to get Flandre's memories back, which means doing something different, but interrogating Patchouli is the next logical step. On the other hand, we visited the library and Koakuma first the first time around, which we didn't do this time.

Hmmm... maybe we can see if Patchy wants to meet us somewhere else? I need to think about this.
No. 56212
>>56183

How about this: what if we let Patchouli know that we have an idea what she's up to, but we'll only talk about it once the Mistress has left, and we won't discuss it in the library. We can have the full talk later, in the clock tower or garden or something. That way, we can have some privacy as well as doing something we haven't done before, which might help jog F__nd_e's memory.
No. 56229
[x] We need more information. Find and talk to...
- [x] ...Patchouli.

First explain that we know everything, then tell her about Words and Phantasm and ask about demonic contracts.

I'm thinking we need to remove Phantasm from the equation. If we do that, Words will be the only one with direct knowledge of the previous timelines and the only one in the best position to alter the future.
(Especially if we manage to go back in time again, which resets everyone's memories again and without her "external memory" the Mistress will be repeating the situation the same as before while we will already know the chain of events and can more easily interfere.)

The Mistress probably doesn't remember what has happened, but Phantasm does. So Phantasm is currently acting as "her memory", just like we are F__nd__'s, and now she knows that we know so if she shares that knowledge with the Mistress she will be prepared for us this time.


>>56206
We are doing things differently. Just the fact that we're not stumbling around blindly like last time is "doing differently".
No. 56230
[X] We need more information. Find and talk to...
- [X] ...Patchouli.
No. 56231
>>56229

>The Mistress probably doesn't remember what has happened


I wouldn't be so sure.


>“How would one go about regaining those memories?”

>“Oh, I dunno... the spell gets weaker the more you go back in time, so I guess it’ll wear away eventually

It's possible that Remilia has a limited sort of Immunity by now. But if she doesn't, then you've probably got the right idea as far as Phantasm goes.
No. 56238
File 138475273913.png- (711.44KB , 708x1000 , Miss Knowledge.png ) [iqdb]
56238
I think we need more information. And perhaps some guidance.

...So, Patchouli, then?

Yes, exactly what I was thinking. She’s the other person at the heart of this, and she knows enough to (maybe) have some decent ideas.

...Alright, I’ll go find her. Well, she’s in the library, probably, so that’s not exactly “finding” her. Whatever.

I wipe my face with the back of my hand to dry off my tears from talking to Sakuya. Waving good-bye to the clockworks, I exit the clock tower.

...

Can I even face Patchouli now? What if she says what Sakuya said... I’m not sure I can take that again... I’m sorry. I’m weak.

We don’t have to talk to her if you don’t want to.

No, I want to, it’s just... I also don’t want to. But I don’t want any of this happening, either. If I don’t act, it’ll only get worse. I must choose to act, then. Letting things get worse is out of the question. And... maybe Patchouli can help. Maybe she knows something we haven’t realized.

Here I go, then. I’ll be strong. I’ll be strong because I have my friend beside me. Even though I don’t even remember everything we’ve been through, I feel like I’ve known you for a lifetime.

...

As soon as my foot crosses the threshold between hallway and library, I feel like everything is right. Yes. This is the right thing to do, isn’t it? This is how it’s supposed to be.

This library has a lot of books. Imagine the biggest library you’ve ever been in, and then multiply that by twenty-one. This library is bigger than that. I think. It sure seems like it, at least. I don’t even know where all these books come from, or how the librarian gets all of them.

It’s also easy to get lost here. One time I was chasing Second in the bookcases and then after I caught her I wandered around for a few hours trying to get back. I probably would have been there for days, but Sakuya found me. Took her a while, too. I don’t understand how Patchouli gets around here.

...I feel some sort of déjà vu.

W-w-wait, I know I know I know... I’m going to say... say that! Er. Never mind. Déjà vu is really weird, Words. It’s hard to explain, too. Do you get déjà vu? Oh well. Fortunately, it’s going away.

It only takes a few minutes without changing direction until I reach the librarian’s “Inner Circle Study Place Thing,” as I unofficially call it. Actually, this my first time using that term. Unless I happened to have used it in the other timeline. Anyways, the Inner Circle Study Place Thing is to a library what a clearing is to a forest. The bookcases, usually standing tall and imposing, abruptly end here, in a large circle shape. There are a few bookcases, yes, but they’re only at hip-height, and mainly hold whatever Patchouli thinks she needs for quick reference.

Speaking of the magician, there she is, on her chair. She looks up from the book in her hands as I enter her peripheral vision. A spark of determination shows in her eyes, contrasting against the frail way she holds herself.

“Aha,” she mutters, adjusting her posture. “I was planning on looking for you, but here you are...”

Out of the corner of my eye, I can see Koakuma, Patchouli’s assistant. She seems to be writing out something, but every once and a while she glances up with interest.

“Looking for me?”

“Yes. I had a spell on that box that notifies me when it’s being touched. I then scryed its location. You and a fairy were there.”

“There were two fairies.”

She blinks. “Was there? I must not have noticed. Regardless, you did tamper with my box.”

“Filled with silver that is most certainly not yours.”

Most of her face remains passive, but her eyes betray... something. I can’t quite tell... maybe apprehension? “Well—”

“Save it. I know what you’re doing,” I say. Conflict-born panic why now, panic? rushes through me, causing me to fidget a little. Is this adrenaline? “I know about the plot to kill the Mistress.”

Her mouth opens slightly. “I see.”

“And... and I want you to know that you succeeded. Then... then the Mistress used the Luna Dial to undo that.”

She sighs. “I can’t say I haven’t considered that possibility.”

She continues to stare, as if waiting for me to continue. She should say something, not me. Doesn’t she have anything to say?

“I assume you went with her,” the librarian finally mutters.

“Well, it’s a long story, but yes...”

“Does she remember?”

“I don’t know. I don’t even remember, myself.”

“Then how do you know about our plans?”

“There’s... there’s this demon, called Words. I think I’m bound to a contract with Words... Words helps me ‘remember,’ since I can’t.”

And for once, she looks genuinely surprised. I was beginning to wonder that her emotions were swapped out by a telekinetic alien piratic robotic magical school girl, or something like that.

“Alright,” she declares, “let’s start over. Start at the beginning.”

So I explain to her about you and Phantasm. I tell her how you both entered our world from her hole in the barrier, and how you came to be bound to me and to the Mistress. I explain the loss of memories – and how you and Phantasm seem immune to it. She asks only a few questions, but otherwise lets me speak uninterrupted. When I finish, she closes her eyes for a minute or two, thinking over everything.

“Is there a way to get rid of Phantasm?” I ask.

Her eyes open, but her stare goes through me rather than direct at me. “You must either destroy the body or object that ties her to this world, kill her host, or wait until her contract has been fulfilled.”

Well. You and Phantasm are bound to the same paper, so destroying that won’t do much good.

“It seems the plan is collapsing around us,” she notes. “And the fact that the Mistress knows what will happen – regardless that the knowledge is locked away in her memories – will make everything much more difficult.”

“Patchouli... maybe we can find someone who can help us. Gensokyo is a big place, with lots of powerful people... surely there’s someone out there she hasn’t developed some sort of contingency plan for.”

I hate ending my sentences with “for” or “at.” Not sure why. Maybe because grammar is important there, somewhere, somehow.

She shakes her head. “No. Her power has grown to such a point that nothing from this plane can resist. If she chooses to do something, there is little that can be done to stop her. This is why I summoned an inter-planar devil. Since they are not anchored to our plane, her powers over fate don’t work as well on them as they would on us.”

“But...”

There has to be another way.

Everyone keeps saying there’s nothing we can do.

The diplomatic approach doesn’t work. Getting outside help doesn’t work. Even the murder plot doesn’t seem to work the way it’s supposed to. Is there really nothing that can be done? Is the Mistress just going to do what she pleases, regardless of anything else here?

“Patchouli, there’s always another option. There has to be.”

“Perhaps... Perhaps if we were to regain the Luna Dial,” she says. “If we could do that, then she’d be unable to escape anything we try to do. The only problem is she has never parted from it: even when she’s asleep she keeps it close.”

“I... I could help. But only if you promise not to kill her after we get it.”

“But—”

“You must promise me this. There is always another way.”

“I can do no such thing. Her powers are too great, her agendas too disruptive. We cannot risk her following through with her plan to escape Gensokyo.”

“No!” I scream.

The lamp on her desk shatters into tiny, fingernail-sized shards. Patchouli jumps from the suddenness of it all. Koakuma instantly appears next to the desk and starts cleaning up the pieces. Patchouli, settling herself again, pushes her reading glasses up.

“Sorry. I mean... no,” I whisper softly. “I...”

I what?

I can’t take this.

All I get is people telling me what we can’t do, or can do... All I get is people telling me what the Mistress plans to do...

If they feel this strongly about it, does that make them right? No. Intensity of thought does not make something right. Humans kill other innocent humans over what they think is right, but they’re stupid for doing so.

So is the Mistress innocent, or not? Are Patchouli and Sakuya stupid for trying to kill her? Am I stupid for not believing them? Would I be stupid if I did believe them?

I wish there was a way to know these things.

It’s the one question.

Is the Mistress innocent, or not?

Or rather...

Is she really doing something evil? And is she really beyond reason?

[ ] Your words are your own...
No. 56239
>>56238
>“Alright,” she declares, “let’s start over. Start at the beginning.”

We already did that, Patchouli. You're too slow.
No. 56250
I can't really put it into a vote well, but the phrase "there is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt" pops into my head here.

The Mistress is guilty of arrogance and ambition. Sakuya and Pathouli are guilty of plotting against her (and future-murder). Meiling is guilty by association. Even Flandre is "guilty" of "choosing" to do nothing all these years. She could have left the basement a few hundred years ago, but it was easier to stay there and let things be as they were until it has now come to this.

Life isn't black and white. It's gray and gray, with some gray mixed in.
There is no objectively right answer, you have to decide for yourself what is right and wrong and stand by your decision when others oppose it.
The Mistress has chosen her path, Patchouli and Sakuya have chosen theirs. Meiling has chosen to obey while staying ignorant of the bigger machinations in play, but she has made her choice.
F__nd__, in the meantime, has chosen the impossible. She has chosen Rapture to put Humpty Dumpty together again and try to go back to the way things were.
But the thing is, Humpty Dumpty wasn't her family, he was F__nd__ herself and he fell off the wall when she decided to have a Life rather than live in blissful ignorance in the basement and let others decide her future for her.

While I have been in favor of taking the third option, I'm starting to think that it might just be time to put the childishly idealistic idea of reuniting this broken family aside and pick one of the two futures in front of us.
Even if we did manage to resolve this conflict, the mended cracks would still be there and the slightest tap would shatter everything along the already broken lines again. It's sad, but it's probably for the best in the long run.


Personally, I'd side with Sakuya and Patchouli.
"A brother is not always a friend, but a friend is always a brother."
She might not have blood ties to the other inhabitants of the mansion but they are just as much of a family to F__nd__ as the Mistress, if not more.
And, right now, the Mistress is the one who is tearing the family apart while the others are trying to salvage that which can be saved, even if it means metaphorically cutting off a limb to let the body survive.
No. 56263
It occurs to me that we still don't know why Remilia is doing all this. We can't really answer Flandre's question until we know. There's only one thing we can really do if we want to find out; Ask Remilia.

Hmmm...

[x]

>So is the Mistress innocent, or not? Are Patchouli and Sakuya stupid for trying to kill her? Am I stupid for not believing them? Would I be stupid if I did believe them?

>I wish there was a way to know these things.

>It’s the one question.

>Is the Mistress innocent, or not?

>Or rather...

>Is she really doing something evil? And is she really beyond reason?

You can only do what you think is right. Sometimes we have to work with what we know, even if it's not enough. Sometimes there is no right answer, and you just have carry on regardless of how much it hurts. If you think what Remilia is doing is wrong, then you should stop her. If you think she's doing what is right, then help her. If you don't care about that, then do what you think is best, what you want.

But you know what occurs to me? We've been told what she's planning, but we still have no clue why. Was what she said about feeling oppressed true? Does she have some deeper reason for what she's doing? I suspect once we hear her reasons, the final pieces will fall into place, one way or the other. In the end, all you can do is what you think is right. So I guess we'll just have to ask Remilia the reasons why, and take it from there. (I suppose we should probably ask Patchy first, even if she's likely biased).

Not my best write-in, but I'm feeling really tired and drained, and I don't have multiple days to think about it, so sue me.
No. 56265
>>56263
>and I don't have multiple days to think about it
I thought about this. I was actually considering writing in /shorts/ today for the challenge, then write Not-Life's update tomorrow. If you guys want that extra day to think this vote over, just let me know.
No. 56266
[X] I'm not quite sure. I still have some questions for patchouli. In the last timeline she accused the mistress of plotting world domination and complained of being "bound and made to suffer". The mistress said that patchouli's plan was about revenge rather than justice. About the former, what does she know about the mistress's plans and how does she know it? Does she have proof she can show us? About the latter, what has the mistress been doing to her? Also, itsounds like Patchouli migjt be overestimating the mistress. You did nearly manage to get the luna dial -admittedly seija was dis tracting her, but surely seija isn't the strongest fighter in Gensoukyou
No. 56274
[x] "It's hard to say. The only one who can honestly say what the Mistress is up to is the Mistress herself, and she isn't very forthcoming. Her actions seem quite evil... forcing people to her will when she supposedly wants freedom herself is the act of a hypocrite. But why is she going to such lengths? Why is she turning those who would call her 'friend' against her?

I no longer think that this is the influence of some sort of demon. This is clearly all by her will. I just wish I knew why.

In the end, she is doing some very terrible things. That alone doesn't make her evil, or deserving of death, whatever the others seem to think. But I do feel that she has to be stopped. Still, that leads to your other question doesn't it? About her being beyond reason. The mistress seems to be one who follows her own course once she's set it, and won't listen to anyone else. And that's the root of our problems.

So. Innocent? Unlikely. Reasonable? Hard to say. Evil? I just don't know. But in the end, she's your sister, right? There has to be something there."
No. 56281
Er, well, I ended up writing that short anyways... You can go see it in /shorts/, if you're curious.

...As for Not-Life, the update will happen tomorrow. Votes will remain open for now, so use the extra time wisely~
No. 56322
File 138492718198.png- (760.39KB , 910x1024 , decisions decisions decisions.png ) [iqdb]
56322
It’s hard to say. The only one who can honestly say what the Mistress is up to is the Mistress herself, and she isn’t very forthcoming. Her actions seem quite evil... forcing people to follow her will, when she supposedly wants freedom herself? It’s the act of a hypocrite. Why is she going to such lengths? Why is she turning those who would call her “friend” against her?

I no longer think that this is the influence of some sort of demon. This is clearly all by her will. I just wish I knew why.

In the end, she is doing some very terrible things. That alone doesn’t make her evil, or deserving of death, whatever the others seem to think. But I do feel that she has to be stopped. Still, that leads to your other question, doesn’t it? About her being beyond reason. The Mistress seems to be one who follows her one course once she’s set it, and won’t listen to anyone else. And that’s the root of our problems.

But... what should we do? How do we get through this?

You can only do what you think is right. Sometimes we have to work with what we know, even if it’s not enough. Sometimes there is no right answer, and you just have to carry on regardless of how much it hurts. If you think what Remilia is doing is wrong, then you should stop her. If you think she’s doing what is right, then help her. If you don’t care about that, then do what you think is best, what you want.

...

But, you know what occurs to me? We’ve been told what she’s planning, but we still have no clue why. Was what she said about feeling oppressed true? Does she have some deeper reason for what she’s doing? I suspect once we hear her reasons, the final pieces will fall into place, one way or the other. In the end, all you can do is what you think is right. So I guess we’ll just have to ask Remilia the reasons why, and take it from there.

...

So... we need her perspective, is that it? Once we have her perspective on this... like you said, the pieces will fall into place.

And then... and then once we’ve completed the puzzle, we can decide what to do next. We’ll be able to make an informed decision.

...Then I need to talk to the Mistress, don’t I? Right now. Right away.

...

“F__nd_e? Are you alright?” Patchouli asks, breaking me from my thoughts.

“...I don’t know yet,” I say.

I take a deep breath... and run. I can hear Patchouli calling my name, but I don’t stop. I run out of the library as fast as I can, down the scarlet halls. I need to catch the Mistress and Sakuya before they leave... I need to know. I need to speak with her.

Before long, I burst into the open sun. I snatched an umbrella on the way here, which I now hold open over my head.

Nobody is here. I rush back inside and shout, “Sakuya!”

No answer.

...

They must have left already.

I have to follow them. I step outside again, staring into the horizon.

Words, where did they go last ti—

“Where... are you... going?”

Patchouli’s voice. She’s panting heavily. She must have followed me.

“Sorry, Patchouli, for leaving so suddenly,” I say, spinning around to meet her. “I’m going to go look for the Mistress.”

“Whatever... for? Are you... telling her about...?”

“No, I’m not telling her about your box. She probably remembers herself anyways. What I really want... is to speak to her.”

“About what, then? If you don’t mind.”

“I want to ask her why she’s doing all of this. I want to know what her motives are for doing all of these things you claim she’s doing. Do you know why?”

She stares at me quietly.

The wind blows slightly, billowing her long purple hair around her shoulders. The air is quiet, she is quiet, and I am quiet. We stand, two metres apart, in the dead quiet. Finally, she speaks.

“Come back to the library. I will explain what I can there... alright?”

“Well... fine, let’s go.”

We walk back to the library in silence. Heavy thoughts storm our minds – or, well, at the very least mine, since I can’t exactly read hers. An eternity passes, but we finally reach her desk at the Inner Circle Place Thing in the library.

Why do I call this place a library, and her a librarian? Don’t libraries lend out books? Patchouli hardly ever lends out books. Well, she lets those of the household borrow her books, but nobody else.

Anyways, she has Koakuma prepare us some tea, and we both sit down.

“What I’m about to tell you isn’t so much about the Mistress’s motives, regrettably. This is more or less the story of what led to this entire conflict, so it is valuable information. I hope it will help you.”

She pauses to clear her throat.

“I was quite naïve when Re... the Mistress and I... first met. I helped her because we were friends. I believed that friends were supposed to help each other above any values or morals. Eventually, I realized the absurdity of such a line of thinking. She had lofty goals, ones that I couldn’t support. Still, I tolerated her, only because I didn’t want to stir up a conflict with my friend.”

Koakuma pours us each a cup. I take the tea with a murmured thanks. It’s very good. Patchouli mutters something under her breath, regarding the tea with a frown.

“It was never enough, however,” she continues. “She was never very proficient in magic, so I was her magical assistant. I was the one who taught her the spell that prevents us from safely using her very own name – I was the one who assisted in the creation of the Scarlet Mist. In both cases, I acted because I was afraid of risking a conflict with her. I was... I was weak, F__nd_e. I... I’ve always held my few friends closely, and the Mistress was no exception. I couldn’t deny her.

“She never wanted to move to Gensokyo. We argued about it for many nights, filling the air with harsh words and even harsher thoughts. She considered moving here akin to a human settling into retirement in old age – never again could she be the powerful, charismatic vampire she has always fancied herself to be. She felt a great opportunity would be lost.

“I argued that the lack of faith of the outside world would threaten to kill us all. Despite this, she was stubborn, holding onto the outside world like a child with their favourite toy. One night, a human turned up at the mansion, lost. He was so unwilling to give up his precious logical beliefs that he was ignorant to all of the miraculous things around him – maids with wings, a magically autonomous library, and even the Mistress herself, a vampire – somehow, he noticed none of it. This event broke her. A part of the Mistress had always held on to the hopes that her time would rise again. Meeting that blissfully ignorant human, she realized how truly irrelevant we had become.

“We moved to Gensokyo soon after that. She decided to make her entrance flashy with the Scarlet Mist Incident – she has always loved her theatrics. We all know how that incident ended. After that, things were peaceful. There was always a small bitterness in her about the circumstances that led to our relocation, but I thought she would eventually adapt to her new home.

“Years passed... she appeared to have adjusted to this world. Gensokyo brought a calmness I had never seen within her: there were no plots, no schemes, no games. For once, she seemed peaceful.

“And then... out of the blue, she asked me to help her break through the Hakurei Barrier and into the outside world. I knew immediately then that she had never truly given up her bitterness; she had merely hidden it from me. For a decade, she had brooded in secret, and now she had come to me for help once again.

“We argued. For several months, we went back and forth, but nothing came of it. At some point...” her voices cracks slightly here, as if she’s fighting back an emotion, yes she probably is “...one of my candles... caught an entire section of the library on fire. Centuries of research were lost in that fire. I was filled with immense loss. The Mistress told me that night that Fate was a ‘vicious creature’ – the way she worded it, I knew. I knew it was her who caused the candle’s fire to rage to such a spontaneous and large scale.

“The library is my life. To attack the library is to attack me; I’ve put more into this library than I have into anything else. I realized that if I didn’t do as she said, she would cause even more damage. I was left with no choice, and so I complied with her. I helped design a weapon that could purge through the barrier. It was the most despiteful thing I have ever done; I felt like I was betraying Gensokyo. Despite my repulsion to my own actions, I was weak. Too weak to sacrifice my life’s work for the sake of Gensokyo. Too weak to resist the Mistress.

“I wallowed in guilt for several weeks. It was then that Sakuya talked to me. I vented my experiences to her – my frustration, my guilt, all of it. She helped me realize something. It was then that I decided something must be done. I realized that the Mistress would never give up on her quest, no matter what happened to her or those around her. She was hell-bent on escaping Gensokyo and showing the outside world that she was still relevant. I realized that I... I needed to destroy her so that nobody else could be hurt. Any silver weapon would do, but she has an immense array of safeguards set in place by her power over fate. The only was to bypass her safeguards was with something that could resist her powers altogether.

“So I delved into my studies, searching for some way to resist her. It seemed impossible for a long time, but eventually I realized that inter-planar devils were foreign enough to successfully catch her powers off-guard. A plan formed into my mind. Gather the silverware in the mansion in the forest, make it into a weapon, and inlay the weapon with the essence of the fate-resistant demon. I didn’t want[i/] to do it... I didn’t [i]want to use the weapon. I knew I had to, however. I had to make up for my weak will in the past. If I didn’t act this time, nobody would...”

She leans back, sighing softly to herself. “I just wish it didn’t have to be this way.”

...

We sit there for a few more minutes, drinking tea. Her story sounds really sad. Two friends brought apart by a deep desire... the Mistress couldn’t let go of the outside world, and that drove a rift between them... a rift that grew into this large conflict. But... the Mistress isn’t the only one at fault. Patchouli should have confronted her sooner. Maybe if she had, she could have mended things without resorting to violence.

And...

“Patchouli,” I say, placing my cup on its tray. “There’s something else you should have considered.”

“What do you mean?”

“You assumed this was all about you and the Mistress. You didn’t take into account how others would feel about it – sure, Sakuya seems to agree with your actions, but Meiling was completely unaware. She only helped you because she wanted to trust you. And then there’s me... did you even consider me in all of this? The very sister of your friend?! You made these influential decisions without taking others into account. I have just as much as a right to deciding these things as you do!”

She bites her lip, something I’ve never seen Patchouli do. Her normally expressionless face is riddled with guilt.

“F__nd_e... I’m sorry. I had to act... you can see my point of view, can’t you? I had to fight back.”

“I don’t care what you felt you had to do. We’re a family. Family members don’t sneak around behind each other’s backs, plotting the destruction of each other. We should have settled this together, around a table, or something. A nice table, like that round table in that book about that king.”

She doesn’t say anything.

“Patchouli, I feel like I can forgive you. But you have to promise me something first.”

“What is it?”

“You have to promise not to fight against the Mistress unless I specifically allow you to do so.”

She rubs her temple in a small circular motion with her free hand.

“I...”

“Promise me this!” I shout, jumping to my feet. I raise a fist into the air for emphasis. “You owe me no less!”

For several long seconds, she stares into my eyes, hers unyielding. Finally, she glances away. “The most I can promise you is two days, F__nd_e. I will hold off for the next two days, but on the third day, I will act. You will... you have until then to decide for yourself what side you are on.”

“Alright,” I say. “If that’s the best I can get out of you, I’ll leave it at that. Apology accepted.”

This gives me two days to decide for myself whether this family can be fixed, or if I have to choose a side... Well... Patchouli, I can understand your point of view. You’re doing what you think is right...

...You know, it’s not only Patchouli and the Mistress who are guilty here.

Huh?

Well... you’re “guilty” in a way, too. Until now, you’ve lived in blissful ignorance and let others decide your future for you. You chose to hide away in the basement. Maybe this is why Patchouli felt she couldn’t involve you: you couldn’t take control yourself, so no source of control was placed in your hands.

...

I’m not trying to excuse her. I’m just noticing that... well, Patchouli and the Mistress aren’t the only ones who are guilty. Maybe guiltier than anyone else, certainly, but they’re not completely alone in this. The phrase “there is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt” pops into my head here. Even Meiling is guilty in this situation.

...I see.

Y’know, you’re pretty smart, Words...

...

Thanks. what am I thanking you for? I don’t even know.

...Let’s move on.

[ ] Let’s go after the Mistress.
[ ] Wait, there’s something else... (Write-in)

Achievement get!
You have shown wise judgement in tough situations. The “L” in Fl_nd_e’s name will now be uncovered from now on. Great work!

----------

This is the longest update in Not-Life so far, clocking in at 2500 words. NaNoWriMo Challenge, bringing you quantity AND quality in one neat daily package!
No. 56339
[x] Let’s go after the Mistress.

Welp. It's been leading up to this for a while. Time to get it done.
No. 56343
[x] Let’s go after the Mistress.

Welp, here's hoping she's feeling talkative.
No. 56348
[x] Let’s go after the Mistress.
I can't see any other thing we could do before. No other powers can intervene it seems.
No. 56361
[x] Let’s go after the Mistress.

Wonder If we'll meet Wakasagihime and Alice again? Ooh, we should go rebuy Flan's Kimono! Maybe before meeting Remilia?
No. 56362
[X] Let’s go after the Mistress.


It's the final piece of the puzzle before we make our stand.
No. 56377
File 138501568456.jpg- (139.62KB , 600x826 , flustered adorable Water-Tail.jpg ) [iqdb]
56377
Yeah, there’s nothing else I can think of that needs doing. Let’s go after the Mistress.

“Well... I’m going to find the Mistress and get her side of the story. Patchouli, do you happen to know where she was headed?”

“...I believe she was going to the Human Village. Do you need a map?”

“Yes, please.”

She sends Koakuma to fetch a map.

I just realized that I could have asked you where she went. I keep forgetting you’ve experienced everything already.

Koakuma returns. already?! She hands me the map, flashing me a brief encouraging smile.

“I’ll walk with you to the gate,” Patchouli says.



The sun is burning bright. It’s floating somewhere around the center of the sky relative from the ground — that’s noon, right? I’m not very good at telling the time via the sun. It’s not like I get to see the sun that often.

Meiling regards us curiously as we approach.

“Mistress? Lady Patchouli?” Her expression seems to add, “what’s going on?”

“I am here to see Fl_nd_e off,” Patchouli says in her usual monotone. Well, not quite monotone; there’s a bit of emotion in the way she says my name, but that’s it.

“See her off? Where is she going?”

“Out,” I reply.

“Out?”

“Out,” Patchouli agrees. “Now, the gate?”

Meiling nods and claps her hands together. The gate slides open in response. I was half expecting the gate to creak, but it opens silently. It’s a little eerie, somehow. Neat trick.

“Good bye, Mistress Fl_nd_e! Good luck!”

“Yes. May your mission be met with success.”

I wave to the two, and depart down the path. As I leave, I overhear Meiling ask, “so where is she going? Is it related to that box?”

To which Patchouli replies, “I’ll explain…”

Then I can’t hear them anymore.

As I’m flying across the lake, I notice something floating in the water.

It is a green kimono that floats in the water, ten metres from the shore. I approach it. It looks wet, of course. Ever-so gently, I poke the kimono, as if it were armed with explosives.

The kimono fidgets.

Then I realize that the kimono is currently being worn by somebody. A youkai girl. Out one end of the garment is her head, face-down in the water. Out the other end is a tail. A long blue tail like a fish or a whale or something.

She’s not... drowning, is she? She looks like a fish. A... mermaid? Surely she’s not drowning...

I remember her. Yeah, she’s a mermaid, so she can’t be drowning... but lying face-down in the water doesn’t sound very healthy, either.

True. I should help her out.

I wrap my arms around her and fly her over to the forest. I’m not sure if mermaids are supposed to leave the water or not, so I take care not to take her out of the water... I let her lie on her side in the shallow area.

She’s... she’s pretty. She has pointy ears, and curly blue hair that hangs around her head to her shoulders like wet seaweed. The kimono fits her well... I want a kimono like that. It’s so nice.

Water-tail begins to stir. Her eyes flutter open, regarding me with confusion. Suddenly her eyes widen.

“You?!” she exclaims.

“The sleeping beauty awakens,” I mutter. “Have we met?”

“N-no... I just... uh...” she mumbles something very quietly, blushing.

“What is it?”

“Well... uh, you see... I remember watching you...” she mumbles meekly.

Watching me? Like a stalker or something?

“D-don’t take it the w-wrong way or anything... your wings are really pretty, so... I wanted to watch you. You’re a vampire right? You’re a very cute vampire.”

“Oh,” I breath. Now it’s my turn to blush. “Thank you. I... I like your kimono.” D-did she just call me cute? That feels weird... I can feel my insides exploding giddily at the compliment. And stupid blushing. Who invented the blushing mechanism, anyways? It’s got a mind of its own!

“By the way, I’m Fl_nd_e.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Miss Fl_nd_e. Please call me Wakasagihime.”

“So, uh, why were you lying face-down in the water?”

“Was I? Oh... yes, I was fighting somebody today, and I guess I lost... so I fell unconscious, you see. It’s kind of embarrassing,” the mermaid admits.

“Fighting someone?”

“Oh, yes. A maid. She had so many knives! It was my first spell card duel. She was accompanied by this other girl.”

Sakuya and the Mistress? What business did they have with a mermaid? Especially one who has apparently never played danmaku before...

“...Why?”

“I guess they were friends~”

“No, I mean, why did the maid fight you?”

She does a little fish-like spin in the water. “Uhm... well, I wanted them to notice me! I guess I was tired of being ignored by all the great and powerful people around here... nobody knows I live in this lake, and that’s sad, isn’t it? So... I declared a duel! It was so fun~”

“Ah... okay.”

I guess she makes sense. Maybe. At least she makes sense to herself, and that’s the most important thing.

“I like danmaku too. Maybe sometime I should duel with you.”

A wide grin spreads on her face. “That would be splendid! It’s a... how is it said? It’s a deal. No, that’s not quite right... it’s a date, then? Wait, that’s not right either.”

“Er, we can work out the phrase later. I’m in a bit of a rush. It was nice meeting you, though!”

“You as well, friend!”

I head into the trees, and she swims into the depths.

Dear diary, I met a mermaid today. She was a cute mermaid with a cute tail. I wanted her kimono. Perhaps I can find one of my own someday. Sincerely, me.

Dear diary, I need a kimono. Sincerely, me.

Dear diary, I feel like I once had a kimono. Why don’t I have it anymore? This is a sad thing. Sincerely, me.

Anyways, the map Koakuma gave me seems straight-forward enough. I’ll be at the village in no time~ Tally-ho!

----------

As before, optional write-ins in-between these parts are allowed.
No. 56391
[x]We've got a Kimono to find!
-[x]Wear it while meeting Remilia!

Everyone feel free to add to this write-in if there's something you want to do before we meet Remi. Visiting Alice, wander around looking at the sights, meeting the nice bartenderman, whatever you like. Just don't take too long, we don't want to miss Remilia.

...Hmmm, maybe we should have lunch with her. When was the last time they did something together as sisters?

I hope we remembered to bring the money.
No. 56401
[x] You should totally buy a kimono. Seriously
-[x] Also, be very cautious around puppeteers. And their dolls. Just...trust me on this one, okay?


Because the Kimono was wonderful, and Alice was traumatizing.
No. 56402
File 138509028240.jpg- (273.05KB , 1200x800 , Welcome~ Even youkai are welcome~ Enjoy the wine~.jpg ) [iqdb]
56402
As I enter the forest, I remember that Third is still writing in the basement. If I go too far away, she’ll disappear, so... I’ll have to bring her outside.

...

Ten minutes later, Third arrives, a portion of a stack of Words-paper held closely. And money. She made sure to grab some money as well, since you never know when you might need money... unfortunately, the world runs on money. Well, humans more so than youkai, but nevertheless, money is important. People even die over money. I find that wasteful. And sad.

I wonder if there’s a money youkai out there?

Four of a Kind, gooo~

Fourth writes. Third holds an umbrella over her head for her. I lead using the map. Second brings up the rear. We’re like a train, except all the portions train cars? I forget what they’re called are identical.

“So...” Third mumbles. “Wakasagihime: hot or not?”

“What?” I say dumbly.

“Is this really even a topic of discussion?” Fourth says dryly.

“I say hot!” Second proclaims, clapping her hands together. “Except how does a mermaid—”

“Aren’t we supposed to be focusing on the task at hand, as opposed to discussing your fetish for fish tails?”

“Ooh, burrrn,” Third sings.

“Oh yeah?! Say that again, I dare ya’! I could take you with my eyes closed!”

“I could ‘take you’ with my eyes being gouged out by a silver dagger, whilst simultaneously documenting the details of my superior prowess to Words.”

“Oh yeah? Well I can do all that, without my legs!”

“Don’t be absurd.”

Second and Fourth go back and forth like this for a little while, until they gradually fall silent.

The map leads us to the village after half of an hour, maybe? Or was that fourty-five minutes? I can’t tell. The sun is a terrible guide of time, as am I.

So, uh, Words? Do you know where the Mistress ends up?

She was close to the village, in a small area of the forest. I can’t give you directions, for obvious reasons, but she left a map with directions at a local bar for you to find. Er... that was in the first timeline, though. I’m not sure if she will leave the map this time.

I guess we can try, though.

“Fourth, you stay out in a tree or something and write. Second, Third, come with me.”

“We’re going to a bar?” Second asks.

“Probably not all of us. That would look weird. We all look the same, remember?”

“...Triplets?” Third offers.

“Let’s just go.”

...

L-look at all these people...

This is scary. Look at all the people! I’ve never seen so many people in one place!

Tall people, short people, small people, big people. One human, two humans, a human in red, a human in blue. A woman. A man. A boy. A girl. A couple, holding hands. A group of friends, laughing together. A street vendor trying to sell an assortment of strange fruits to a young woman. An elderly lady and a young boy, the latter carrying a bag with groceries. A pair of tall men chatting animatedly with each other. Loud voices, low voices, whispering, high voices. Perfumes and sweat and other scents. Blood.

Humanity.

Each of these has a life.

A life with worries and pleasures, good and bad, family, friends, and an inevitable death.

They’re beautiful.

All of them.

They are alive. Every day, they are experiencing the world around them. The Mistress once told me that red strings of fate were tied to each person’s ankle, and when one’s life touched another, the strings trembled, like a spider’s web when a creature is caught in it.

Do I have one of these strings, or was mine cut long ago? Maybe mine is tangled somewhere...

...

I tell Second and Third to find somewhere to go for a bit. “Maybe survey the area” were my exact words. It’s better that we’re not seen together – that would attract a lot of attention. I still get funny glances anyways. Maybe it’s because of my wings. What’s the matter? Not many humans with wings made from iron and small glowing gems?

I can’t help but stare back, because it’s so weird here.

It’s so weird seeing all of these people in one place... so many different types of people. So much variety. I’m assaulted by all sorts of senses – the sights, the sounds, the scents.

“Young girl! Would you like to buy exotic fruit?” An exuberant man shoves an odd object in front of me, stopping me from moving on. “They call these... uh, fire fruits!”

Yeah, the fruit he’s holding looks kind of like a flame.

“Maybe another time,” I say, pushing passed him.

Am I dreaming? This place is surreal.

...

Third.

No alcohol in sight. I think we went the wrong way. Oh well? I’m sure we’ll find the bar...

Looks like some sort of shopping area~ I’m eager to see all the things this place has to offer, so I pull Second along by the wrist.

Hey, is that store for clothing? That... that sounds fun! Whee~

Clothing? Hm... Third... I have an idea.

Oh?

We should get a kimono for First!

Oh! Yes, that could be awesome! She’d love that. And then we could be matchers with Wakasagihime-chan-san~ Oh... how do Japanese honourifics work again? Well, whatever~ I have the money right here. Thanks, Words, she’ll love it!

...

First.

I found it. I can tell it’s the bar because it’s kind of out-of-the-way from the main areas, plus it reeks of alcohol.

Alcohol smells kind of good, I guess? I wonder what it tastes like... there are different kinds of alcohol, though, maybe? Like, wine and sake and beer? I’ve tried wine once or twice, but it’s rare. The Mistress doesn’t let me drink.

I enter the bar quietly – a few people glance up, but nobody seems to care that a child just walked into a place for adults.

Then again, I have wings. Maybe they can tell I’m a youkai.

The bartender is a burly man, but he’s got a puffy moustache that seems to warm his entire essence. That, or it’s the happy smile on his face. Perhaps both. He regards me curiously as I sit on one of those tall round chairs that are always next to counters.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Yes. This sounds like the same bar from the first time.

Okay... good.

“Little missy, aren’t you a tad too young to be drinkin’?”

He has a gruff, yet somehow melodic voice.

“I... uh, it’s not about alcohol. I have an inquiry.”

“Oh? I guess I can help with that. What’s the matter?”

“Have you seen a young girl – kind of like me, but she has blue hair? And bat wings, instead of these...”

He rubs his chin. “Naw, can’t say I have. And I usually remember such things, too...”

“Oh. Okay. Thanks anyways.”

He frowns. “If I see her, I’ll be sure to let her know you were looking for her.”

“Thank you.”

I end up bowing respectfully, and then exiting the establishment. Was I supposed to bow? Maybe I conveyed something I wasn’t supposed to by bowing... I guess it can’t be helped. I need to find out what you should and shouldn’t do in human places.

Dang, was that the wrong bar? Or maybe the Mistress didn’t leave me a map this time... what are we going to do now? Maybe I should go home and wait for the Mistress to get back.

...

Hm, there’s a neat fountain nearby. A magnificent dragon statue stands in it. Its eyes seem to glow. Odd. They’re red.

My attention, however, is distracted from the dragon statue by a really, really loud shzeeeeo. That’s not a very good description, but I recognize it as the sound of a danmaku laser. It was so loud that every human in the area stopped what they were doing to glance at the source.

It comes from above.

A girl is flying above us. She wears all red, including a red cape and even red hair. A nice blue bow sits on her head in contrast with all the red.

“Hello, humans! I would like to tell you about the glorious day that is today~” the girl shouts.

A young boy next to me leans over to his mother, and whispers, “I can see her underwear...”

“I HEARD THAT!” the girl shouts. “Insolent humans, the lot of you!”

She lands on one of the buildings, looking down upon all of us.

“Today is victory! Today, I invite all youkai hiding in this village to rise up and fight in the most glorious war Gensokyo has ever seen! As for the humans... your days are numbered, too! When we’ve turned Gensokyo upside-down, your lifestyle will never be the same, so enjoy your freedom while you can!”

A few people are whispering to each other. Maybe they’re confused.

“Is this another incident?”

“Just another stupid youkai... the shrine maiden will take care of it.”

“Mommy, what does insolent mean?”

The redhead youkai glares at the crowd that is clearly not paying any attention to her. Suddenly there’s another loud schzeeeeo sound, and... the girl’s head floats six feet above her. Like, she’s suddenly decapitated.

And then the head splits into five heads. They regard the crowd furiously.

Everyone is dead silent.

The heads chuckle in unison, and then they all dive down towards the crowd, shooting out danmaku lasers.

Instantly, there is screaming. And scrambling. All of the people move away as fast as they can, trying to get to a safe place away from this rampaging youkai with five heads in the air and no heads on her shoulders.

[ ] Reunite with Second and Third, then get out of there!
[ ] Help the humans evacuate! They could get hurt!
[ ] Don’t get a-head of yourself. Confront the youkai head-on!
- [ ] Attack the five floating heads.
- [ ] Attack the headless body.
[ ] Write-in
No. 56407
[x] Don’t get a-head of yourself. Confront the youkai head-on!
-[x] Attack the headless body.

Evacuating probably won't help, as Sekibanki will probably just head them off anyway. We're probably best off attacking her to serve as a distraction so the humans can get some headway. As long as they don't run around like a headless chicken, they should be fine.

Pretty sure destroying the heads causes no damage to Sekibanki, so we should head for the knockout. There's something to be said for taking out the heads before they can hurt anyone, but she'll probably just respawn them anyway.

All we really need to do is try to prevent people from getting hurt until the village protector arrives. Hopefuly no one will lose their head and do something stupid.

Forgive me if this is a bad plan, but I'm feeling rather heady at the moment. It might be the beginning of a headache.
No. 56417
[x] Don’t get a-head of yourself. Confront the youkai head-on!
-[x] Attack the headless body.
-[x] make tons of head puns while you're at it.
No. 56422
[x] Don’t get a-head of yourself. Confront the youkai head-on!
-[x] Attack the headless body.
-[x] make tons of head puns while you're at it.


I was gonna make some head puns but then I took a danmaku to the kn-err face? Whatever >>56407 already did that.
No. 56423
[x] Don’t get a-head of yourself. Confront the youkai head-on!
-[x] Attack the headless body.
-[x] Make tons of head puns while you're at it.
No. 56424
[x] Help the humans evacuate! Fourth Thrid (Faster)
-[x] Reunite with the rest when you're done.
[x] Distract the Youkai heads Second First (most battle-like)
- [x] Crush his body when reunited with the rest.
Focus on their wellbeing first. Their strings shall not be cut today.
No. 56440
File 138516755952.jpg- (954.77KB , 750x750 , blood rushing to her head.jpg ) [iqdb]
56440
Don’t get ahead of yourself. Confront the youkai head-on!

...Oh my. Those puns!

Now’s your chance! You can make even more head-related puns while you’re fighting her.

OH YESSS

This is a perfect plan.

And with that, I blast into the air, until I’m at the same height as the building Headless is standing on. My sword materializes in my hand. One of the heads notices the movement and flies towards me.

“Hey, you’re a youkai, aren’t you? Now is ou—”

At full speed, I rush past the heads, aiming for the body. As I close in for the hit, her body cartwheels out of the way of my swing.

Oh.

I did not expect it to be that agile without a head.

I crash through the roof of the building.

Crack espsasdhfk

I sit up begrudgingly. I smashed right through a glass display case filled with... well, what were once pastries. Icing and crumbs are smeared on my dress. A clerk, apparently oblivious to the commotion outside, starts shouting curses at me.

“Yeahyeahyeahyeah I’m SORRY,” I try to shout through the cacophony of colourful words. He doesn’t seem to be listening.

A head floats down from the damaged ceiling, firing lasers at us. The clerk screams and runs out of the building. I roll under a table, just barely grazing the projectile. that felt cool Hey, is this chocolate cake? Yes, it is. Mm. Chocolate kills dogs and cats. Avocado kills birds. Poison kills people.

The head smashes against the table, upturning the entire thing. Pew pew pew – it continues to fire lasers at me, but I manage to avoid them. Well, just barely. I think part of my dress near my hip was singed.

As soon as the lasers stop, I rush the head and punch it straight in the nose. It screams as it goes flying backwards and

Boom.

The head explodes, shooting me through the window of the bakery and onto the stone plaza beyond.

Did I explode it...? No, I couldn’t have... maybe they’re supposed to explode after a little while?

I stand up and then immediately crumple to the ground. My leg hurts. Too much to stand. Wh-why is it hurting? AUGH, ow ow... there’s... there’s a slab of glass... it’s in my legggg, it hurrrts....

“Can’t handle me, can you?” one of the heads jeers.

“Don’t let it get to your head,” I grumble. “I’m... OUCH... heading your direction in a moment.”

I grip the glass and GOOOAAAAA

A\A\\\\--=.-=/\=-/-\.\A=.--

\]]\GG\[].\[]GESAF

GOOD GRI,.\/\]\EF

,./...

that

hurts

...

The glass, coated in my blood, sits in my hand. It’s like a small red knife.

The square is almost empty, but there are a few humans lying around. Just. Lying there. Are they dead? No, wait, danmaku isn’t lethal... so they must be unconscious or wounded.

Speaking of wounded. My legs still hurrrts. Come on, natural regeneration, work faster...

Headless hops down from the destroyed bakery, walking towards me with a spring in her stride. As she moves, the heads recombine into one and it places itself back upon her shoulders.

“Hello~” she sings, stopping next to me. “You attacked me just now... are you one of those silly human-loving youkai?”

“What’s silly about that, I wonder?” I say in a mock-curious tone. As in a tone that sounds like you’re curious but you’re actually not.

“Are you stupid?! Humans are supposed to fear us. They can’t fear youkai if youkai love them.”

“Okay, calm down. No need to lose your head over this.”

“What?”

“You’re running around like a headless chicken right now, talking about oppression and humans fearing youkai? Are you empty-headed or something? This is Gensokyo, for crying out lou—”

She grabs my collar, lifting me to her height. “You’re getting on my nerves. Stop talking right now.”

She tosses me a few metres away. I land on my bad leg, causing me to cry out.

“Let me spell it out for you. Today is the day Gensokyo changes,” Headless says, walking towards me again. “Today the oppressed stand up against their oppressors! No more insolent humans beating up youkai. No more super-powerful youkai telling us what to do. Today begins the rebellion!”

She lifts me up again.

“But you – you’re probably one of the powerful ones, aren’t you?”

“I guess you could say I’m ahead in the game.”

She smashes me against the dragon fountain. I hear an uncomfortable cracking sound accompanied by sharp pain. But who cares about that? I’m making head puns.

She stands over me.

“You want to keep your control over weak youkai like me. Well, I won’t allow it! I won’t!”

She lifts me up again.

And then her body goes flying backwards as I cause her head to explode.

...That’ll probably grow back. She’s a youkai that can detach her head at will – she must be able to grow it back, too.

...

I’m hungry. And everything hurts. I mean, my injuries will heal on their own soon, but... ouch. At least the cut on my leg from the glass is already beginning to seal up. Though, my head is still pounding... I wonder if I cracked something important when Headless smashed me against the fountain.

Wait a second. Do I hear crying? I glance around – yes, off to my right. A girl who could be a year or so younger than I appear, crying to herself softly.

I crawl over to her.

“Hello—”

She screams at me, hands on her ears and eyes shut tightly. She keeps screaming and screaming, as if screaming loud enough would make everything around her disappear. It’s a familiar action, but not exactly what I wanted to happen.

QUICKLY WHAT DO CHILDREN LIKE

UMMM... Sweets?

Oh, that’s right. Wait, just kids? Who doesn’t like sweets?

Uh, never mind. I crawl into the bakery and grab some sweet things that I didn’t manage to crush when I landed in here, shove them into a paper bag, and move back to the girl’s side. I hold a chocolate-chip cookie out to the girl, but her eyes are still shut, so I can’t exactly show her the thing. This isn’t going to— stop screaming, seriously! My ears ring enough as it is from being smacked against a dragon fountain.

I just shove the dang thing into her mouth.

Her screams are stifled – for a moment she looks extremely confused, and then she realizes that there’s something very very sweet in her mouth. She pulls it out, looks at it, and then begins to nibble on the slab of dough and chocolate. Her eyes find me again, and she frowns.

I try to smile encouragingly, but I probably look really scary. A girl with weird thingies sticking out her back, covered in shards of bakery-windows, icing, and blood. I’m probably scarring her for life just by being in her line of vision. Then again, a few minutes ago she was being left behind by an insane crowd trying to escape floating heads that shoot lasers, so maybe I’m not the only guilty party here.

Gensokyo is a traumatizing place.

...

Finally, she finishes it off.

I sit down in front of her. She flinches, but doesn’t scream or run away, so that’s good. I think? Are children supposed to scream, or are they supposed to be quiet?

“Uh, hello... are you lost?” Is that how one talks to children? I haven't talked to any children for a long time. Like, actual children, not youkai that look like children.

She nods meekly.

...Oh. Hm.

I glance back at Headless heh heh she’s actually headless now on the ground. A small... thing seems to be growing out of her neck. Yeah, she must be regenerating. I should get out of here before she’s fixed.

[ ] Take the little girl with you.
- [ ] Find a bath or something, both of you need to get cleaned up before anything.
- [ ] Search for her parents. It’s a little risky, but it’s important.
[ ] Don’t take the girl with you.
- [ ] Find a bath or something, you need to get cleaned up before anything.
- [ ] Get out of the village while you can.
[ ] Write-in.
No. 56441
[x] Take the little girl with you.
- [x] Find a bath or something, both of you need to get cleaned up before anything.

Get cleaned up, get talking, let things simmer down, and find parents afterward.
No. 56442
>>56440
I have to say, you are an excellent punster. Bravo. Way to keep your head in a stressful situation. No wonder we like you.

[x] Take the little girl with you.
- [x] Find a bath or something, both of you need to get cleaned up before anything.
- [x] Apply additional cookies to the problem of awkwardness. Hey, if it worked once, odds are it'll work again, right? Aside from that, introductions and speaking cheerfully probably wouldn't hurt.
No. 56443
>>56442
I know, right? He stands head and shoulders above other punsters. I simply have to shake my head when I think of the sheer cheek of some of those puns. He almost even makes punnery highbrow humor, in fact. While puns go in one ear and out the other for some people, I consider myself an aficionado. Thus, while it'd normally be hairy, neck-and-neck competition, his masterful use of puns gives him a sizable head start towards being one of my favorite writers.
No. 56445
>>56442
>>56443
Can you believe I was 8 inches away from using "getting head" in a pun? I must have been out of my mind to find such a joke in good taste. I guess it's good that I headsitated; who knows where the story would have headed after such a mindless jest?
No. 56457
[x] Take the little girl with you.
- [x] Find a bath or something, both of you need to get cleaned up before anything.
- [x] Apply additional cookies to the problem of awkwardness. Hey, if it worked once, odds are it'll work again, right? Aside from that, introductions and speaking cheerfully probably wouldn't hurt.
No. 56458
[x] Take the little girl with you.
- [x] Find a bath or something, both of you need to get cleaned up before anything.
- [x] Apply additional cookies to the problem of awkwardness. Hey, if it worked once, odds are it'll work again, right? Aside from that, introductions and speaking cheerfully probably wouldn't hurt.


While Fl_nd_e may look scary right now, covered in blood and glass and pastries, she usually looks just like a little girl, except the wings.
And a scared little girl who's lost would probable feel pretty comfortable with another girl "her age", especially once that knows what she's doing. (And has pastries! Tasty pastries. Mmm..)
No. 56479
File 13852766537.jpg- (1.92MB , 2816x2112 , b-but everyone loves pastries.jpg ) [iqdb]
56479
You two should find a bath and get cleaned up.

Find a bath?

Yeah, there are establishments where you can go to bath.

Wow! Humans have thought of everything! What will they think of next? An place where you pay to have your hair styled? I was joking I know about hair… places

“So, uh… I’m Fl_nd_e. What’s your name?”

For a few moments, she stares at me as if she can’t comprehend the question. She sniffles a bit and says, “Sachiko.”

“Sachiko? That’s a pretty name. Hey, what’s wrong?” She’s looking at me quite seriously all of a sudden.

“Are you…” she trails off, her stare intensifying. It seems to be focusing on something over my shoulder. Oh. “…Wings,” she mumbles.

She’s wondering if I’m a youkai, isn’t she? I guess it’s obvious for everyone who comes into contact with me. Sometimes I wish I could hide my wings, like the Mistress can. She can do it because hers are a part of her, but mine are “artificial”… they were made, and are unable to be concealed by normal means.

“Well, do you think I am?”

She trembles. “Are you going to eat me?”

“No, no! Nothing of the sort!”

She shivers more strongly, as if remembering something terrible. “I miss Mommy…” tears begin to form in her eyes.

I reach out for her hand. “Sh, sh. I’ll help you find your Mommy, okay?”

I help her to her feet and hand her another cookie. She takes it gently and begins to nibble on it. Kind of like a mouse, actually. Have you ever seen a mouse nibbling on food? I have. It’s cute. I have to admit it’s even cuter when a human girl does it.



Before leaving, I brush some of the mess of off of her and myself.

I explain to her that before we find her Mommy, we need to get cleaned up. Luckily, she understands my intent, and leads me to a bathhouse. Her wet hand – from perspiration, most likely – clings to mine tightly.

In the street she’s leading me down, there are still people walking about. The must be either oblivious to Headless’s appearance in the square or just feel there’s no real danger. Either way, commerce and socialization trek on treks on who cares whether its trek or treks. People don’t seem to notice us, or just don’t care. Well, I lied, there are a few strange glances in our direction, but nothing more than that.

Eventually, we arrive at the bathhouse. It’s a quaint little building. The lobby has some seats, there’s a clerk behind a counter, and two doors to gender-segregated baths.

Sachiko whispers into my ear, “Mommy takes me here.”

I smile. “Thank you for leading me here.” As a reward, I hand her a small cupcake. She eats it eagerly, clearly warming up to my presence at this point.

“Hey! You guys!~”

A familiar voice. My voice.

Third and Second rush into the building, shopping bag in hand.

“Aha, we caught up to you! Are you guys alright?” Second asks.

“Yes,” I state simply. Sachiko turns from me, to Second, to Third with visible confusion. “Errr, allow me to introduce Sachiko. Sachiko, these are all me. Just call them Second and Third.”

“ ‘All you?’ ” she repeats, mouth open wide. “...Sisters?”

“Uh... I guess you could say that...”

Third bounces jubilantly. “Never mind that, look!” She pulls a garment out of her shopping bag, practically shoving it into my face.

“What is this?”

She unfolds it.

It’s... a kimono?

“It was Words’s idea! Words reminded me that you wanted a kimono, so there!” Third says, holding it up against me to test its size. “Of course, it fits. I tested it myself~”

I take it gently. It’s soft. And red.

“Th-thank you... I... I don’t know what to say...”

Words, you reminded her for me? I... it looks so pretty and... it’s mine? I’ve never had a kimono before... I... a gift?

...Thank you. I wish I could return the favour, but... you’ll probably just say something cliché like “your happiness is enough for me,” right?

Eh...!

Hee hee, just kidding. I’m glad you’re glad that I’m glad, though.

“I got one for Sachiko, too,” Second adds, pulling out another kimono. “Pretty much depleted our pocket money for these, though... not that it matters. There’s loads back at home.”

“Thank you, everyone. We’ll try them on after our bath. If that’s alright with you, Sachiko?”

“Yes~!” she chirps. “I haven’t had a kimono in a long long long time!”

Second and Third leave the building and disappear; no need to keep up the spell for them. Sachiko grabs my hand again and pulls me with an iron grasp towards the clerk.

“Uh... h-hello?” I try.

The clerk brightens at our entrance. “Oh, how cute~ Would you two girls like a bath?”

She doesn’t seem to notice my wings. Hm.

“Yes, please...”

Terrible public relations here. They let a rampaging youkai into their baths without batting an eyelid. Just kidding. Does that even fall under public relations? I pay the price for two children (it’s pretty affordable) and we step into the girl side. These things are public, huh?...

We change out of our clothes and leave them in the lockers. I feel silly taking off my clothes out here. It’s a public place. I mean, it is separated by gender... Still. it feels weird. Fortunately, there are towels for us to wrap around our bodies while we’re outside the actual bath water. There are also showers here. Sachiko tells me that it’s customary to rinse off in the showers first before stepping into the bath. I make it quick the less my bare skin is exposed to the air, the better, clearing off the icing from cakes and blood from cuts I’m very confused of why nobody has noticed the blood, and then we settle into the bath water.

It’s very warm... relaxingly warm. So-very warm~ Ahh~ I sigh contentedly.

Sachiko pokes me playfully.

“Monsters like baths?”

“Most do, I think? I haven’t met many youkai...”

She frowns. “Sorry.”

“Sorry?”

“I shouldn’t call you monster. You’re not mean enough.”

“Mean enough?”

“To be a real monster...”

I consider that line of thought. Are monsters – youkai – bad? I’d like to think that youkai are like humans that way: some do bad and some do good. Really, youkai aren’t that much different from humans, when you come down to it... and yet youkai and humans are always fighting each other. Well, I guess humans always fight humans and youkai fight youkai, too... we should all be exterminated sometime.

I try to express some of these thoughts to her.

“Well, there are bad people out there, right?”

She nods. “Uh-huh.”

“And there are also good people.”

She nods again.

“So maybe there can be good youkai and bad youkai just like there are good people and bad people?”

I’m kind of surprised I’m having this kind of discussion with a nine-year old human. I didn’t think these thoughts would cross the mind of such a young person... Are the prejudices between humans and youkai so fierce that even the young are tainted?

“But... youkai...” she trails off, her brow furrowing deeper. Suddenly she dives onto me, placing her ear against my chest. My heart beats more wildly at the sudden close contact.

“I can hear your heart...” she says. “Your heart beats with love. You’re... you’re a good monster.” She sounds surprised by her own words. “There are good monsters out there...?”

“Yes, of course.”

“...Daddy says that monsters will always be monsters.”

I frown.

“Daddy is wrong, isn’t he?” she asks, thought it’s not a question I want to answer. “Sometimes he’s wrong... Mommy was never wrong, though.”

Suddenly she starts poking my side.

“Ahh~ How dare you?!” I say in a playful voice.

It descends into a silly poking-slash-tickling match. Her joyful giggles fill the bath, until I remember there are other people around here. For some reason this fact makes my face burn up.

“Fl_nd_e? Your face is all red...”

“I’m a little too hot,” I lie.

“Oh! Mommy says that means you need to build up your bath skill.”

I’m not sure what that means, but I laugh anyways. I laugh because I’m glad I have company.

We leave the bath soon after that. I throw out the old clothes we were wearing; they’re too dirty and in my case, too ripped up, to be worth saving. Instead we each don our kimono. I know next to nothing about how the ribbon (called an “obi”) is tied, and the placement of the folds, and... well, fortunately Sachiko has prior experience with a kimono. Getting my wings into the garment takes a bit of cleverness, but it works. She shows me how to tie the obi, and then has me tie hers for practice.

Her kimono is pink and mine is red. We’re like matchers~ All we need is Wakasagihime and we can be the Kimono Trio~

“I can keep it?”

“Of course,” I say. “It’s yours now~”

“Thankyouthankyouthankyou,” she says, jumping up and down eagerly. She looks so happy.

We exit the bath and immediately freeze.

Standing outside the door to the changing room are humans with weapons. They’re all pointed at us – or to be more exact, at me. One of them, in a differently coloured outfit than his comrades, speaks.

“Halt! You’re the youkai that caused the trouble in the Dragon Plaza, aren’t you? You’re under arrest for causing the injuries of multiple people, the destruction of public property, and kidnapping.”

Sachiko hides behind me, grasping my obi tightly in her fear.

“You will now come with us, quickly and quietly, and without commotion.”

The people with their weapons look kind of apprehensive.

[ ] Go with them peacefully.
[ ] Fight your way free.
[ ] Write-in option?

----------

This update brought to you by Attack on Titan's opening theme. That song pumps you up for literally everything.
No. 56485
[X] Go with them peacefully.


We didn't do anything wrong, we actually defended the village. There is precedent for that (Keine mostly), and Sachiko can vouch for our character.
Hopefully there is someone among the guards sensible enough to understand that there are good and bad youkai.
We should also explain that Sachiko is lost and looking for her mommy. I'm sure the guards can help with that.

Only do anything agressive as a last resort and that should be for escaping, not hurting anyone.
No. 56488
[X] Go with them peacefully.

Well, fighting wouldn't accomplish anything. Going along peacefully is more likely to throw them for a loop. Besides, it's a chance to show Sachiko just how reasonable we are, and how well we can handle this.
No. 56498
[X] Go with them peacefully.
No. 56500
[x] Go with them peacefully.
-[x] But explain- politely and carefully- that we are not the one who cause the problem, that was the flying head girl. We certainly didn't hurt anyone (other than the flying head girl) or kidnap anyone (Sachiko was just showing us where the baths were, because we got dirty). Do they know where her Mommy is, by the way? We promised to help her find her.
No. 56510
[x] Go with them peacefully.
-[x] But explain- politely and carefully- that we are not the one who cause the problem, that was the flying head girl. We certainly didn't hurt anyone (other than the flying head girl) or kidnap anyone (Sachiko was just showing us where the baths were, because we got dirty). Do they know where her Mommy is, by the way? We promised to help her find her.
No. 56516
File 138535449042.jpg- (12.42KB , 300x225 , internal explosion.jpg ) [iqdb]
56516
I step towards the “leader.” He takes a step back, looking frightened by my approach, but relaxes when I hold out my wrists to him.

“Thank you for your cooperation,” he mutters, cuffing my hands.

“I need someone to hold my umbrella or something. I can’t touch the sunlight.”

One of the men does so, and out of the building go.

Sachiko still clings to me. The men police? don’t pull her away or anything, despite the fact that they accused me of kidnapping a few seconds ago. Perhaps they figure that they need to question her about me anyways, so we move as a group.

...How did they know where to find me, anyways?

Someone must have seen me and alerted the police. I didn’t exactly look my best walking around the streets. Maybe I should have been more cautious.

“What’s happening?” Sachiko whispers.

“It’s just a misunderstanding. We’ll clear it up soon.”

I’m not exactly sure if that’s true, but I need to keep up morals. Both hers and mine. I can already feel familiar panic in my blood. I’m in trouble, aren’t I?

You need to explain – politely and carefully – that you’re not the one who caused the problem. It was the flying-head girl. We certainly didn’t hurt anyone (other than the flying-head girl) or kidnap anyone (Sachiko was just showing us where the baths were, because we got dirty).

That’s right. We didn’t do anything. We didn’t do anything. It’s just a misunderstanding...

...

They lead us to what I assumed is a law-oriented building. I’m separated from Sachiko (not before assuring her that I’d be back soon and that everything would be fine) and taken into an interrogation room.

It’s a simple room with a table and two chairs. I’m told to sit down, and my cuff is chained to the table. The man who prepared everything leaves me alone for a few minutes, and then another man enters the room. He sits down and stares at me with a cold, calculating expression.

It feels like ten minutes have passed by the time he speaks.

“I’m going to ask you some questions. You must answer with the truth. If you lie, you will only bring more trouble on yourself. Is this clear?”

“Y-yes,” I say. I can feel my face heating up as blood surges through my veins. My fight or flight instinct seems to think this is an appropriate time to fight or flee.

“What is your name?”

“Fl_nd_e Scarlet.”

“Scarlet?” he says. His face doesn’t match the curiosity in his tone. “Are you a relative of the vampire on the lake?”

“I’m her sister.”

“Are you a vampire, as well?”

“Yes.”

He takes some notes on a small pad of paper.

“Where were you at 12:33 P.M. today?”

“Uhm... is th-that when the square was attacked?”

“Yes, it was,” he confirms.

“I was there, then,” I say.

“A man came here soon after the incident, claiming that his bakery had been demolished by a young girl matching your description. Is this true?”

“...It was an accident.”

“Was kidnapping the young girl also an ‘accident?’ ”

“No. She was showing me to a bath house so that we could get cleaned up.”

“Cleaned up? Why did you need to be cleaned up?”

“I was dirty from the commotion.”

“I see,” he says, marking something down on his notepad. “Did you have an accomplice?”

“No... I was alone.”

“Witnesses spotted a teenage girl with red hair. The girl was apparently a youkai and she had the ability to detach and reattach her head at will. Was this your accomplice?”

“No, I told you. I was alone.”

“Did you see the girl I just described at the square?”

“Yes.”

“Tell me what happened. Leave out no detail.”

I recall my experience to him: how I was in the square, and then Headless attacked, talking about a revolution; how I fought her, and defeated her; finding Sachiko and going to the bath house. He doesn’t interrupt me or react to anything I say. He simply sits there, watching, occasionally looking down to make a note. When I finish, the interrogator stands up.

“Please wait here,” he says, leaving the room.

Throughout the entire questioning, he didn’t show a single expression. He’s a good interrogator, that much I know. Myself? I was probably giving off all sorts of emotions... like panic. Did he notice? I didn’t do anything wrong... why was I panicking? Was I really that nervous? He made me nervous.

...

It’s so quiet. How long have I been waiting here? At least the kimono is comfortable.

...

An eternity passes.

Maybe it’s only been a half hour. Maybe a full hour. Maybe less. Maybe more. I can’t tell at this point.

The walls become trees.

Yes, I must be hallucinating. I’m suddenly in a forest, surrounded by trees. There is no table, no handcuffs. Just me lying on the ground in a forest.

Sachiko steps out from the trees and rushes up to me. Her hands grab my shoulders, shaking me.

“We’re free! Come on!”

She helps me to my feet and pulls me along with her iron grip.

We keep running between the trees, going deeper and deeper. The trees get bigger and taller as we go on, until they’re so massive they blot out the sunlight. It’s pure darkness here, but she keeps on leading me. Where are we going? Where am I? Why are we here? It’s a web of confusion, until it ends. I trip and fall, falling through the ground beneath our feet, falling and falling and falling...

I’m suddenly in the Labyrinth... the Labyrinth? I’ve been here recently, I haven’t I? ...That’s right, you said I was there in the original timeline... The silence breaks as I hear Sachiko screaming ahead of me. Panic sets in and I run forwards. She’s screaming endlessly, screaming and screaming and screaming...

I’m high in the sky. There are thick clouds blotting out the sun. I swoop and spin and flutter, and then the clouds crackle with thunder and rain. The rain stings like little bug bites, getting heavier and heavier. I head towards the ground, but the faster I move towards the ground the closer to the clouds I get. Soon it all goes dizzy and I’m upside-down, falling into the clouds below me and watching the ground above me helplessly. It continues to rain against me, burning and burning and burning...

Then I’m nowhere. Well, I’m somewhere, but this is also nowhere. An infinite expanse of black. There’s no ground, but no gravity; I just float weightlessly in blackness. I keep floating for a while, until I spot a spider web. I drift towards it slowly. A small part of my mind protests as I get closer to the web, but I have no energy to try to change my trajectory.

When I collide with the web, I stick to it. I’m stuck to the web. I don’t feel like struggling, so I don’t. I just let the web hold me.

The web is red, I realize.

...

Clunk. The door to the interrogation room opens. I... I was dreaming, wasn’t I? I’m awake now. The interrogator approaches me. He grabs my wrist and unlocks the handcuff. I look up at him with groggy, drowsy, sleepy confusion.

“We cannot find any inconsistencies with your story and witness accounts,” he says. “You’re free to go.”

I smile. “Thank you.”

He smiles back. “You’re welcome. Have a safe trip home.”

As I enter the lobby, a pair of arms wrap around me tightly.

“You’re okay!”

Sachiko buries her face into my chest. I hug her back.

“I told you it would be okay, didn’t I?”

To be honest, I was probably just as worried as she was.

“They said you were not to be trusted... they asked me a whole bunch of questions. They didn’t want to believe me, I think... but the questions guy said they needed to be ‘fair.”

We separate just as one of the police people humans approaches us. He begrudgingly hands me my umbrella and my bag of sweets that they confiscated upon our arrival, and then leaves.

“Maybe we should find out if they can help us find your mom...”

She opens her mouth, and then closes it again. “Um... no, that’s alright. We can go to my house. Daddy might be waiting there for us.”

AUGH

IT

HURTS

Suddenly I feel like the inside of my head exploded.

Why? What is this? It hurts... it hurts!

I crumple to the ground, clutching my head.

Go back home.

...

I feel like I need to go back to the mansion... I feel like I’m not supposed to be here, with Sachiko. Why? Why is this? I should be fine. I should be fine, shouldn’t I? What’s going on... why does my head hurt? Why do I feel like...?

Sachiko is shaking my shoulders.

“Fl_nd_e? Fl_nd_e? What’s wrong?! Say something!”

I... I can’t go back home yet... I have to help Sachiko... but...

[ ] Give in to the instinct!
[ ] Fight the instinct!
No. 56520
Goddamnit Remilia, give us another hour or so! We're busy!
No. 56523
[x]fight it
IRON HEART SURGE
No. 56528
[x] Fight the instinct!

Be careful, Flandre. You need to fight this off, but there is a human girl next to you who is very fragile. It's important that you don't accidentally hurt her, even if you're struggling in pain and trying to throw off a magical compulsion; you'd feel terrible about it afterward and it generally wouldn't be good.

The dream, with the red threads- fate manipulation? Your sister trying to pull you home, perhaps? Not sure if she's home already and wants you to join her there, or if she's doing her own thing and simply wants you out of the way...
No. 56532
[x] Fight the instinct!
No. 56538
>>56528

Agreed, this is likely part of Remilia's ability to control fate. She's been controlling Flandre for a long time, and now realized that something is wrong. But Flandre has us: a demon immune to Remilia's fate powers. A demon she has a contract with. We can help her.

It also might partially be her mind rebelling against the time paradox. She could be on the cusp of getting her memories back. Either way, Flan needs to hang in there.

[x] Fight the instinct!
-[x] Try to remain calm, in control. I'm here. Talk to me, let me help you through this.
No. 56541
[x] Fight the instinct!
-[x] Try to remain calm, in control. I'm here. Talk to me, let me help you through this.


Row row fight the powahcompulsion.
No. 56569
File 138544384738.png- (1.30MB , 744x1052 , I love the wings in this one.png ) [iqdb]
56569
Fight back! You can control yourself!

I can’t....

Listen, try to remain calm. Stay in control. I’m here. Talk to me. Let me help you through this.

...I.... I can’t... but...

...Words, I feel like something else is supposed to be happening right now... Everything that’s happening – fighting Headless, meeting Sachiko, being taken here – none of it was supposed to happen. That’s what I feel. I feel like everything is wrong.

You’re doing fine! Fight that feeling; nothing you’re doing is wrong. There is no wrong here, only actions.

...

I...

you’re right

I can

I cant

I CAN DO THIS.

I’ve had worse pain. It’s just a little headache. Yes, yes, that’s it. I will IGNORE this pain.

“Fl_nd_e?!”

My head feels like a tight clamp is around it, trying to squeeze or crush it.

But... I can fight it. I have to. I made a promise. I don’t care what is wrong at this point... I can fight it. I can do this.

As if responding to my resolve, the pain decreases to a dull throbbing. ‘As if responding to my resolve?’ Perhaps it really was responding to my resolve.

“I’m... alright,” I say, grunting from the effort to use my body again.

She helps me to my feet. For some reason, the laws of the universe seem all the more powerful right now. Gravity fights against me with two or three times the force it normally should; sounds are much louder. Everything around me feels tougher, stronger. Even Sachiko’s skin or the handle of my umbrella feel sturdier than normal.

That urge to return home rears its ugly face again, but I continue to fight back. Fight back. Fight back. Fight back. Control it.

“Are you sure you’re alright?”

The swarm of conflicting urges makes me frustrated. I feel like I need to break something.

Trembling a little, I let go of Sachiko, attempting to stand on my own. Gravity is strong, but it doesn’t push me to the ground this time. The umbrella is heavy, but I don’t drop it.

“Let’s go to your house.”

“...Okay,” she mutters, worry etched into her face.

She leads me by the hand again, her grip a little lighter than before. I can’t tell if it feels lighter because of my confused state of mind or just because she doesn’t want to accidentally hurt me somehow. Either way, I don’t complain. Mostly because I have no energy to complain

It’s so bright outside, somehow. Everything seems so much brighter. The noises are louder. Everything is intense for me. My head hurts. It’s all crazy.

It hurts.

It hurts it hurts it hurts.

And yet I trek on.

Why? Why do I continue?

Because I made a promise.

Why do I resist? Why am I fighting my urges? It all feels wrong.

Because I made a promise.

I made a promise I must keep.

I made a promise I must keep.

I made a promise I must keep.

“We’re here.”

Huh?

We’re at a small house. Residential streets? How did we get here? Oh, yeah, we walked. How long did that take? Minutes? Hours? Days? Time is fragile.

And then

Explosion of pain.

GO BACK

DO NOT RESIST

I can’t. I can’t go back... I CAN’T GO BACK... I MADE A PROMISE THAT I MUST KEEP.

My vision is all white. There is nothing but white light. I can feel my stomach churning upside-down inside-out, knives stabbing me, my head exploding. I’m screaming, screaming and screaming, with no control over my own voice.

YOU STUBBORN FOOL

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It lasts a few seconds.









It also lasts an eternity.





I feel myself being ripped apart, down to the tiniest pieces, everything being destroyed around me. It all ends. All of it is ripped into nothing...

No. I am still here. The pain everywhere ebbs away.

And the universe? It is still here, too... nothing was truly destroyed.

...

My eyes are here. They’re no longer filled with bright light. I’m inside a simple bedroom, lying in a futon. My arms are here, my legs are here, my wings are here. Even my kimono is still here. I’m alive. My head no longer hurts; the laws of the universe are no longer more intense than normal.

I remember it.

I remember when Words and I played a game of riddles with the little devil in the library.

I remember when we accidentally uncovered Patchouli’s plot.

I remember chasing after the Mistress and meeting the doll maker in the woods. I remember seeing the Human Village for the first time. Walking into that bar, talking to the nice bartender. Finding a doll hidden in my clothes, going deep into the forest, speaking to the Mistress. Going home and fighting. Fighting to save my family.

The Labyrinth. More fighting. Escape. The talk of oppression and rebellion with the Youkai in White, Seija Kijin. The world being flipped upside-down. Fighting again. The Luna Dial.

The Luna Dial.

Taking me back in time.

And here I am. And here you are.

I am back in time. I remember it. All of it.

Words... I remember... I remember you. I remember our conversations, and the comfort you brought me, and our adventure. I remember it, and...

“You’re awake!”

A familiar voice by the sliding door. I turn. There is a young girl there, holding a tray. I know that girl, don’t I? Yes. Sachiko is her name. Upon seeing me sitting up and awake, she places the tray down and practically dives onto me. Her hug is warm.

“I was so scared... You were screaming, and I thought... I thought...”

She whimpers.

I wrap my arms around her. “I’m alright. Just... a crazy headache. It’s gone now.”

“I’m so glad you’re okay...” she mumbles.

We stay like that for a few minutes, me stroking her hair as she releases quiet sobs.

“There, there, you don’t need to cry anymore, it’s over...”

She sniffs. “Fl_nd_e...? I made you lunch.”

She brings me the tray with a sandwich on it. I accept it gratefully. It’s... well, not the best sandwich ever, but I’m kind of biased since my meals are made by a perfectly imperfect maid. Still, it’s delicious, because Sachiko made it.

“So, Sachiko. Is this your house?” I ask, trying to get her mind off of my previous traumatizing condition.

“Uh-huh. Daddy and Mommy aren’t home yet, but they’ll probably be home soon... I hope they’re okay...”

“They’re probably out looking for you!”

“I guess so...” she says, gripping the obi on her kimono. “I hope he doesn’t get mad at you.”

“Why would he get mad at me?”

“You might be a bad monster, to him.”

“Ah, I see. Well, I’m sure he’ll understand when we explain everything to him...”

I finish the lunch, and she takes the tray away.

...

Words, that whole headache thing... that must have been my brain fighting the inconsistency between what’s happening here and what happened the first time. That could be why I had such a strong urge to go home... in the last timeline, we weren’t in the human village very long, so the fact that we stayed here this time must have been “the final nail in the coffin.” Is that how the saying goes?

Except why would my head hurt so much? Surely I wasn’t so subconsciously “time-confused” that my own brain would work against me...?

...In any case, thanks for helping me remember, in your own way... I... I feel like... with my memories back and you by my side, I can do anything.

Anyways, Sachiko has returned, staring at me with deadly seriousness.

“Fl_nd_e?” she asks, sitting down next to my futon. “What kind of family do you have?”

I wasn’t exactly expecting a question like that.

“Me? Well...” I pause to gather my thoughts for a moment. “Well, I live in a big ol’ house with lots of little fairies who do all the work.”

“Servants?”

“Yeah, I guess so. They clean up everything and stuff. But the Head Maid is a human. She tells all the other maids what to do. Her name is Sakuya, and she’s like... like a sister to me, I guess.”

“A sister...”

“And then I have a real sister. She kind of looks like me, but she has bat wings.”

“Bats?!”

I change into a bat. She jumps at the sudden transformation, staring at me with wide eyes. I flutter to the ceiling and stretch my wings out, to show her what the wings look like. Then I flutter back down and turn back. Yeah, I never mentioned I could turn into a bat, did I? Magically magical magic is magically magical.

“That’s what bat wings look like,” I say. “Anyways... my sister is the mistress of the whole house. She’s kind of bossy, but she means well... I think.

“We have a gardener. The gardener’s name is Meiling. Some people think she’s lazy, but she’s actually really good at what she does. Sometimes I wonder if Meiling acts like an airhead on purpose to make people underestimate her, because no matter how odd she may act, she always seems to have control over things. Nobody gets past the gate without her knowledge, apparently...”

Oh, I’m going off on a tangent. Sachiko looks confused.

“And then there’s Patchouli. She lives in a huge library inside our house. She’s a family friend. She has a little servant of her own who helps her out.”

“Like neighbours?”

“Yeah, kind of like a neighbours.” Except Patchouli and Koakuma live in our house, not next to it. “And the last person... well, my last family member is Words. Words doesn’t have a body like you or me, so Words talks with magic.”

“Magic?”

“Yeah! Words can talk by writing things to us on paper.”

“And those people are all family?”

“Yep!”

“But... how are they family?”

“What about your mommy or daddy? Why are they family?”

She narrows her eyes. “Uh... they’re parents...”

“What else?”

“Um... well, they love me. And I love them.”

I nod. “It’s the same thing for my family, even though they’re not related to me through blood. I love them and they love me. That’s what a family is.”

Understanding sparks in her eyes. “Oh! Well, I love you. Do you love me?”

I’ve only known her for a short time, but... I think I can safely say that I consider Sachiko an extended family member. I smile. “Yes, I do.”

“So, does that make you my family?”

“Yes, of course. You can pretend I’m your sister. Isn’t that fun?”

“Hee hee~ Yeah! I never had a sister before.”

She hugs me again. It feels nice.

[ ] Once you guys are all ready, let’s go searching for Sachiko’s parents.
[ ] Sachiko said her parents would turn up here soon, right? Let’s wait around for now.
[ ] Write-in?

Achievement get!
You have in a roundabout way helped your friend regain her memories! The “R” in Fl_ndre’s name will now be uncovered from now on. Great work!

----------

This probably would have been posted up an hour or two sooner if it weren't for writefag getting distracted by reading GH and its shitstorms.

Also, Not-Life is officially 75,000 words long. That's only 1000 away from the first Harry Potter novel, for comparison. So, essentially, we've reached novel status~

I'd like to celebrate this occasion by requesting any constructive criticism. Or you can just buff up my ego~ Seriously, though, if Anon has noticed something I can improve upon, I would definitely like to think it over and possibly apply it to my writing.
No. 56573
[x] Sachiko said her parents would turn up here soon, right? Let’s wait around for now.
-[x] Do some stuff while you wait. Maybe talk a little, or play a few games. Your time is your own for once. Enjoy it while you can.

As for critcism; I can't really think of much at the moment. All I can think of is that sometimes it seems you have a little trouble writing Anon's write-ins and making them flow well. You're allowed to completely change the wording as long as you feel it flows better and you don't lose the spirit of the original write-in, ya know.
No. 56579
[x] Leave before her parents get home to avoid more complications.

I can't remember what we were doing but whatever it is we should hurry up.
No. 56586
>>56538
Congrats! This story was a really good idea, y'know. Interesting take on the SDM crew. And Flandre's really sweet. Keep it up, right 'till the end.

[x] Once you guys are all ready, let’s go searching for Sachiko’s parents.

Regarding those urges... I think that fate, not unlike law, is only a restriction to those who agree to be bound by it. We should not.
No. 56590
[x] Sachiko said her parents would turn up here soon, right? Let’s wait around for now.


We're not leaving our new sister alone until her parents come home, so we're sure she isn't left alone again.


>>56586
That sounds likely.
Except the "law of fate" is closer to the law of gravity than any manmade law.
Of course, in Gensokyo gravity is smacked around more than all of Reimu's opponents combined, and Flandre is blood-related to the one who can bend fate into a pretzel and make it dance the fandango, so yeah...
No. 56622
File 138553217128.png- (383.43KB , 709x550 , Scarlet Gensokyo.png ) [iqdb]
56622
“So... while we’re waiting around, want to play a game or something?”

“Oh... like a board game?”

“Sure.”

“I know a game! You wait here!”

She dashes away eagerly and returns only a minute later. She brings with her a game board and pieces.

“This is called Go! Mommy showed me how to play.”

“Go? Alright...”

The objective is to obtain the most points by using the game pieces (called “stones”) to capture spaces on the board. She explains to me the more detailed rules, and then we start. I wasn’t sure what to expect when playing – it seemed easy enough at first, but the more I learned about it the more complex and confusing the game got. Naturally, I lost to her pretty quickly.

“I win! I win!” she shouts, bouncing up and down in excitement. “Oh... uh, you did okay, for you first time.” She smile awkwardly.

“Heh, I guess. I should show you some of my board games some time. Like E-Card. Maybe I can bring some over here one day and we can play board games all night~”

“We could go to your house, too! I want to see fairy servants.”

We chatter for a little while, and then fall into a warm silence. It’s that silence where you just sit there with a friend, enjoying each other’s company.

We’re interrupted by the sound of the front door being moved. We exchange a glance, and then together we step out into the other room to greet whoever it is that’s coming inside.

A woman is at the door, removing her shoes. She hasn’t noticed us yet.

“Mommy!” Sachiko shouts, running up to the woman and hugging her tightly.

“Sachiko?!”

...

We’re all seated around a wooden table. Sachiko and I explain the story to Sachiko’s mother, who looks overjoyed to be reunited with her daughter again. When we complete the story, the mother tells her side of things. It’s like that saying, “three and a half sides to every story.”

“We were there when the rokurokubi – the headless youkai – attacked. In the pull of the crowd, I lost my grip on Sachiko’s hand, and we couldn’t find her in all the crowds! We searched for a really long time, but... well, I decided to check here just in case she found her way back.” She shoots an adoring grin at her daughter. “You father should be here shortly, too. He wanted to check around a bit more. Oh, he’ll be so glad to hear you’re safe!”

The mother stands up.

“Thank you for helping me reunite with my daughter,” she says, bowing in my direction. “And thank you for purchasing such a lovely article of clothing for her! This must have cost a fortune... after you sure it’s alright? If you want—”

“No, no, it’s fine,” I say, waving a hand in an absent gesture. “You’re perfectly welcome, Miss... er.” Or is it Missus? Missus Miss?

“You may call me Tomoe.”

Missus Miss Tomoe-san-chan-sensei. Still gotta work on those honourifics.

“...Are you sure? Isn’t that kind of informal...?”

She smiles. “Nonsense, it is my turn to insist! Human or youkai, a friend of my daughter’s is a friend of mine~”

I return her grin.

Sachiko is staring out the window, frowning.

“What’s wrong, Sachiko?” I ask.

“The sky is wrong.”

“Huh?”

“It’s all red.”

“What?!”

I slide off my chair and approach the window.

The sky... there is no sky. Instead, a cloudy mist barrier. It’s blocking any sort of sunlight or blue skies – it’s a perfectly impenetrable mist.

The worst part is that it’s familiar. It’s scarlet mist.

----------

I'm not so proud of this one. Apologies for the shortness and lack of detail. Today was a little hectic... I'll try to make up for it in part 2.

>>56586
Thank you for the kind words! Of course, I couldn't have gotten this far without you guys, the readers. Even you, distant person reading this from the archive dimension. I thank you all for your continued support and interest!

>>56573
Yeah, I can be a little iffy about changing write-ins, can't I? I'll have to remind myself that's it's okay to edit. Spirit of the law, and all that.
No. 56640
Eh, nothing wrong with a short update from time to time. You do what you can, right? Anyway, I've really enjoyed this thing from the get-go. The whole stream-of-thought thing from Flan really makes the story work, Looking forward to more!
No. 56645
[x] Time to hand the Shrine Maiden an extermination request.

If fate is her strongest weapon against outsiders, then we're the strongest counter.
No. 56657
>It’s scarlet mist.


Well shit...
No. 56671
File 138560602571.png- (301.53KB , 640x480 , Here we go again.png ) [iqdb]
56671
>The worst part is that it’s familiar. It’s scarlet mist.
No. 56673
File 138561080157.png- (197.33KB , 640x426 , The Scarlet Mist.png ) [iqdb]
56673
“Fl_ndre? Why is it red?”

“Oh, no...”

I fall to my knees.

This is bad. Very bad. This is terrible. The... the Mistress must have...

I... I can’t do this... the Mistress’s plans are really happening, aren’t they? Unless someone else set up that mist, but I find that unlikely. This means that the Mistress is going to break the barrier and escape Gensokyo, if Patchouli was right about her intentions.

Tomoe joins us at the window. She places a hand on my shoulder. “Don’t worry, Fl_ndre. This happened once before, and the shrine maiden fixed it.”

Her hand is comforting. Warm, motherly. How long has it been since I’ve felt such a hand? Centuries, surely...

“It did?” Sachiko asks.

“Yes, around a decade ago... I was several years older than you are right now at the time,” Tomoe says. “A vampire cast scarlet mist over the skies so that she could walk around even when it was sunny.”

“Why?”

“Because vampires burn up in the sun,” I interject, rising with shaky feet. “I remember that incident.”

“Oh, that’s right, you’re not as young as you look...” Tomoe says.

“My sister was the vampire that caused that mess,” I continue. “I think she’s plotting something again... perhaps she even had a hand in the youkai wanting to rebel around here. Whatever’s going on, it’s an incident, and I need to stop it.”

“What? Why? The shrine maiden can do it!” Sachiko protests.

“No... she can help if she wants to, but I need to be there. This is a family matter, I think.”

Not that I’ve been involved in many family matters. That’s going to change this time.

Tomoe nods. “I understand. Please, feel free to drop by and visit when it’s all over. We’d love to see you again, and I’m sure my husband would like to meet you.”

I thank them for the hospitality and step towards the door.

“W-wait, Fl_ndre!” Sachiko says, grabbing my wrist. I turn to her worry-stricken face. “You... be careful.”

“I’ll be careful. Don’t you worry!” I say, ruffling her hair. She giggles.

...

It’s much scarier than I thought.

The mist is more like a fog. After only ten minutes of walking, it had spread from the skies to the land below. It makes seeing from long distances difficult. It feels like I’m walking through death.

There are hardly any people out anymore. The few that are still out are already making way to shelter. Nobody wants to stay out in the open, exposing themselves to the mist.

...

Why, sister, why? Why are you doing this? I want to know. I want to find out. I want to help you, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to. What if you’re asking too much? How much is too much? You’re driving our family apart. Is it already too much? I don’t want to be the one to decide that... I don’t want the one to decide when it’s too much.

...

After some time, I escape the village. The mist seems to suck out sounds as well as sight. It feels lonely. Isolation.

I bring Fourth with me on the way back. I’m not sure where I’m going, but hopefully it’s in the general direction of the mansion. I need to get back. I need to speak to the Mistress. I need to stop her. I need...

Ineedhelp.

Words, you’ll help me? Yes, of course you will... we’re going to get through this just fine. Right? Right. Right...

Of course, I’ll be here alongside you the whole time.

Yes, yes, of course. Of course we’ll be alright... We’ll...

...

I left Sachiko’s house in highish spirits, but I feel terrible now. Is it because of depressing thoughts, or is the mist affecting my moo





My thoughts are interrupted as a biwa lands heavily on the ground in front of me. A biwa is a type of instrument, by the way.

A girl floats down to the ground peacefully from the skies. Black hat, wooden broom – I recognize her immediately as Marisa Kirisame, the “Ordinary Magician,” as she calls herself. She’s an interesting little human witch. She’s also pals with the shrine maiden who solves incidents...

“Marisa?”

“Eh?”

The witch doesn’t even look at me. “If yer looking for a beating, just wait a sec’. I’m finishin’ up with this one.” And with that, she takes her broom and smacks the biwa with it.

To my surprise, a girl materializes before my eyes, clutching the biwa tightly. She sits up, groaning. “Okay, I lost! I surrender!”

“Ya sure talk big for a weakling,” Marisa says. “I didn’t think such a shoddy tool would be able to withstand my Mini-Hakkero.”

“That is unfortunate, but I can’t do much about it. I’ll hand over the title of strongest tsukumogami to you.”

“Tsukumogami?” I interrupt, stepping between the two. “What’s... uh, going on?”

I remember the term. A tsukumogami is a youkai that forms from items or tools. Usually they’re formed from feelings of betrayal after being discarded by their owner, but it’s not a very predictable "birth." I would have suspected that quite a few items in the mansion would have become tsukumogami by now...

...Now that I think of it, the Biwa girl must be a tsukumogami. A biwa-type, obviously.

“She doesn’t know what a tsukumogami is...?” the biwa mutters.

Sshh, Miss Biwa. I just explained it to Words.

“Fl_ndre?!” the witch asks incredulously. “What’re you doin’ out and about? Do ya have somethin’ to do with this mist?” She waves her arm at the mist that is all around us.

“Can I go now?” the biwa asks.

The witch whacks her with the broom again. “Go on, get outta’ here before I set ya on fire or somethin’.”

Miss Biwa scrambles away, muttering something.

“Marisa... what’s going on?”

The witch chuckles. “Eh, youkai are actin’ up all over the place and tools seem to have a mind o’their own. And now, this scarlet mist. An incident if I ever saw one.”

“Where’s the shrine maiden?”

“Reimu’s busy lookin’ for the source of the incident,” Marisa says. She clutches the brim of her hat and poses with an air of bravado. “I’m gonna’ find the source o’ the problem first, though! So... do you know anythin’ about this? The mist is a lot like the one yer sister used in her own incident a while ago...”

[ ] Tell her you think the Mistress may be the cause behind the scarlet mist.
[ ] Tell her about the conflict going on in your family.
- [ ] (Optional write-in) Leave out certain details?
[ ] Don’t tell her anything.
[ ] Write-in.
No. 56677
File 138561418457.png- (740.22KB , 610x710 , it begins.png ) [iqdb]
56677
>>56671
No. 56681
[x] Tell her about the conflict going on in your family.
-[x] Tell her as we go, we shouldn't stop if we want to reach Remilia in time.

Marisa! You're exactly the person I wanted to see! Lend us a hand?
No. 56694
[x] Tell her about the conflict going on in your family.
-[x] Tell her as we go, we shouldn't stop if we want to reach Remilia in time.

Time to see how trustworthy Marisa is.
No. 56695
[x] Tell her about the conflict going on in your family.
-[x] Tell her as we go, we shouldn't stop if we want to reach Remilia in time.


Hopefully we can use our fate-resistance as an "anchor" to keep Marisa from being dragged into whatever fate Remilia is plotting.
Like, whenever fate tugs at her, we pull right back and keep her with us.
(Sort of like two boats in a stream. One has a motor, the other can only float along. But if you tie them together, the first boat can tug the other one with it.
If that makes any sense...)
No. 56705
File 138570115390.jpg- (333.05KB , 850x478 , Ordinary Magician.jpg ) [iqdb]
56705
Should I ask her for help? Should I tell her about... home?

Do you trust her?

Yeah... she solves a lot of incidents, too... I mean, the shrine maiden gets most of the credit for solving incidents, but Marisa is usually alongside her. I remember fighting Marisa after the Scarlet Mist Incident. It’s, uh, kind of a long story. Second got free and I was chasing her around and then we ran into Marisa After the incident blew over, she would come visit Patchouli once and a while. Sometimes, I’d bump into her. She seems like a pretty nice person, if a bit rough around the edges, though I would say that’s part of her charm.

Okay, that was quite a roundabout way of saying yes, I trust her.

Tell her everything you feel is relevant. You should probably do that while you’re heading towards the mansion, since we don’t want to waste any time.

Alright. Here goes nothing...

“Walk with me,” I say.

“Eh?”

“I need to hurry to the mansion, but I want to tell you important things. So, walk with me.”

“We can fly there!”

“Wha—”

And suddenly she scoops me onto her broom with her, and into the sky we go. I hold onto her shoulders tightly. Sitting on the broom handle feels kind of uncomfortable. How does she fly around like this all the time? magic?

“Uh, Marisa, I can fly on my own, you know!”

“I know! Tell me about the incident,” the witch says. “And ease up on the grip.”

I relax myself. I forgot how fragile humans can be. Wouldn’t do for me to crush Marisa’s shoulders. I should really just jump off and fly on my own, but for some reason I can’t get myself to do that. Oh well. Broom travel it is.

“Wellll... okay, so... the Mistress... my sister. For a while, she’s been wanting to leave Gensokyo,” I begin.

“Leave Gensokyo?!” Marisa exclaims. “Why’d she wanna’ do a silly thing like that?”

“I’m not sure... but she seems quite insistent on it. According to Patchouli, she’s been planning to leave Gensokyo ever since we first arrived, which was... ten years or so ago, maybe? Er, are you sure you know where you’re going?”

In reply, the broom speeds up. I hold onto her by wrapping my arms around her waist tightly, shutting my eyes. I can hear my wings jingling madly at the speed. Mist is everywhere. I have no idea how she knows where to go.

“Slow doooowwwnn!”

Marisa chuckles. “I told ya! Tools are actin’ up all over Gensokyo! The broom has a mind o’ its own today.”

The broom does a mid-air circle, as if to pronounce its freedom.

“Mister Broom, please slow down!”

To my surprise, the broom concedes to my request. We slow to a much more comfortable pace.

“So, where was I?” I say, gathering my thoughts. “The Mistress has never really liked it here. Lately she’s been plotting to escape, and it doesn’t sound like the most peaceful way to leave. Patchouli’s been trying to stop her, but she won’t listen... somehow, the conflict escalated, and now they’re actively trying to kill each other.”

Marisa glances back at me, a suspicious look on her face. “Kill? Not temporarily?”

“Yes. It’s a really, really long story, but I somehow got caught between them... I... I wish they would just go back to the way things were before, but that seems impossible now...”

My family is cracking.

What am I going to do?

“That’s serious...” she mutters. “I haven’t seen any youkai willin’ ta ignore the spell card system in a while. They must be really desperate...”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, if anyone tries to settle disputes without spell cards, Reimu cracks down on ‘em pretty hard. That’s why Gensokyo is usually so peaceful, fer a land filled with hot-headed youkai. If your sister and Patchy are willin’ to ignore the rules, they must be pretty frantic to kill each other.”

“Which means we need to hurry.”

The broom responds by speeding forwards once again, causing me to almost fall off. It drops out of the sky, and I scream, but then it catches itself before hitting the ground.

Brooms are unreliable. I feel a little dizzy. I prefer flying like a normal person does.

Marisa slides off. I slump off.

“Heh, sorry ‘bout that. Just let the broom ‘ave its fun. Not like it’s going to stay animated forever,” she says.

The broom pokes her side.

“Ow! Don’t poke yer master!” the witch protests. She shrugs. “Anyways, we’re here.”

I glance up, but there’s so much scarlet I can barely see the water three feet in front of me.

“There’s so much mist...”

“The original Scarlet Mist Incident didn’t have this much,” Marisa says. “It stayed in the sky, kind of like clouds. This stuff is coverin’ everything. Oh, by the way, where does this youkai and tool rebellion thing fit in?”

“I’m not sure...”

“Hm. I wonder if it’s a separate incident or not... oh well. Let’s get over there and talk to Remi—”

“Shhh,” I hiss, placing my hand over her mouth. “Don’t say her name. She has a spell on it.”

“Erm. Alright.”

We start down the path to the mansion. Marisa’s hat is awesome. I want a hat like that. I should buy one sometime.

Words, we’ve come a long way. Through time and space itself. We’ve done more than most people ever do in a conflict like this. We’re going to find out the answers now, aren’t we? This is it.

The gate comes into our limited view. Seriously, we can only see a few feet in front of us. It’s unnerving. This mist is creepy and unrelenting. Our view is so shallow that Marisa almost collides with the gate.

“Eh, no guards! We can just stroll—”

Something lands on the ground behind us. I can already tell who it is. The gate guard, of course.

“Intruders!” Meiling shouts.

I spin around. “Meiling! We need your help! The Mistress—”

She takes a step back, surprised by my appearance at first. Then she sighs. “I’m sorry, mistress. I have been instructed to stay here and guard the gate from intruders.” She points at Marisa. “You’re an intruder. Please leave the premises or I will use force.”

“Like hell I’d do that!” Marisa shouts back, reaching into one of her pockets.

“Meiling, you don’t understand! The Mistress is planning—”

I’m cut off by magic. Marisa’s hand, clutching her Mini-Hakkero, points towards Meiling and unleashes a huge wave of fire. The air around us hisses loudly as the fire evaporates most of the scarlet mist around it. For once, I can actually see the ground.

Meiling, however, jumps out of its reach and begins to blast her own danmaku at the witch. Marisa rolls out of the way and takes to the air, the broom carrying her through the mist with a mind of its own.

“HEY! WAIT! Don’t just leave me here!”

Meiling flies after her, and I see flashes of light through the mist.

“Ugh! Stop it! Stop fighting, everyone...”

I seem to have punched the brick wall. Oops. There’s a fist-shaped hole in it now.

...Gensokyians and their danmaku.

[ ] Join the fray.
- [ ] Attack Meiling.
- [ ] Attack Marisa.
[ ] While they’re distracted, find...
- [ ] ...the Mistress.
- [ ] ...Patchouli.
- [ ] ...Sakuya.
[ ] Write-in
No. 56707
[x] While they’re distracted, find...
-[x] ...the Mistress.

I'm really conflicted here, while Meiling would be a powerful ally if we can convince her, this is the perfect opportunity to have a sister-to-sister chat. If we bring Marisa and Meiling along they'll shoot first and ask questions later. So I've reluctantly decided to go find Remi.

I've put the write in if I'd decided to go the other way in spoilers for posterity.

[ ] Can you order Meiling to stand down?
-[ ] If not, join the fray.
--[ ] Attack Meiling
---[ ] See if you can recruit her afterwards

No. 56711
[x] Get to Meiling and convince her to abandon the fight.
-[x] Patchouli and Sayaka are trying to kill the Mistress, and we need her help to stop it. Marisa is being a violent idiot, but consider her our guest or something as long as it can keep everyone alive- protecting the lives of the people in the Mansion is more important than keeping intruders out to Meiling, right?


This iteration of Meiling doesn't know that Patchouli and Sayaka are planning to kill the Mistress, as I recall. That little twist on the situation makes a huge difference in how she interprets her orders, and what exactly she considers important.

I would say that we should just abandon the situation, but we've confronted the Mistress mostly alone before, and it didn't work out well. Patchouli might be able to give us a better sense of what's going on, but she still has death as her preferred solution here. We need to confront the Mistress, and we need to do it with superior firepower that nevertheless doesn't want her dead on our side. That means shutting this fight down and getting both Meiling and Marisa to back us up.

If this doesn't work, well... at least we'll know we tried.
No. 56712
>>56711

Thing is, I'd really like to talk with Remilia. Not as enemies, not as an incident resolver, but as family; we can't do that if we bring anyone else along. Hence why I'm so conflicted right now.
No. 56720
[x] While they’re distracted, find... 
-[x] ...the Mistress. 
No. 56741
[x] While they’re distracted, find...
-[x] ...the Mistress.


The Mistress Remilia is the only one whose side we haven't heard yet.
A sister-to-sister talk may be what's needed to fully understand this situation in order to resolve it.
(And I'm back to hoping for the best, that we can somehow resolve this incident peacefully.
I'm expecting the worst, but hoping for the best...)



It's a good thing I didn't post in the middle of the night so I had to come back today and delete my old post and repost it because I couldn't even remember how to use tags on THP.
Yep. Good thing I didn't.
No. 56755
File 138578912580.jpg- (142.47KB , 850x850 , The Mistress of Scarlet.jpg ) [iqdb]
56755
Wait, this is a perfect chance to speak to the Mistress, sister-to-sister. It’ll just be you and her. You can finally find out her perspective in this.

...Ohh, that’s right! That’s the final piece of the puzzle. Bye-bye, Marisa. See you later?

I sneak past the gate. This is it. I’m really doing it. How much has been led up to this moment? A lot. A lot has led up to this. Maybe. Perhaps this isn’t as big as I think it is. Still, this is important. Important to my not-life.

...My “not-life.” I feel like I’m defying something important when I use that term.

...

The house is quiet. There’s no mist inside, thankfully, but the ever-present scarlet is still there, manifesting itself as the walls around me. Why is she so obsessed with scarlet? Is she called the Scarlet Devil because of her love for the colour, or does she love the colour because she’s called the Scarlet Devil?

Is scarlet even the colour of blood? I forget.

Now, where could the Mistress be? I’ll check her chambers and study first.

...

Her room is as clean as ever, but there’s nobody there. The study is the same way. Well, with the “nobody there” part. It’s not clean. Lots of papers lying around on the desk.

Hm... I wonder...

What is it?

Well, during the original Scarlet Mist Incident, I’m pretty sure the mist was released from the clock tower. So, I’m thinking maybe the Mistress is there this time, as well.

Doesn’t hurt to look.

True. Unless you’re looking somewhere where your eyes are getting burned or sucked out of their sockets. Or perhaps poked out. Not that I’ve ever had my eyes poked out before. Burned, sure... Er.

A-anyways. The clock tower.

It takes me a bit to find it again, but rest assured I arrive at the clock tower. I’m greeted by the gears spinning and the... what’s that thing called again? Pendulum? Yeah, the pendulum is doing its creepy TICK TOCK TICK TIME TOCK IS ALMOST TICK TOCK UP TICK TOCK.

Except you’re wrong, Miss Pendulum. Time is not almost up. It’s still only the first day. Or night? I’m not sure what time it is, and I obviously can’t tell from the sun right now. But I guess even though it’s only the first day, we can still run out of time....

Oho, silly me. I’m inside a clock and I’m wondering about the time. I actually don’t want to know, so I’m not going to look at the clock face...

Now, usually when people come to the clock tower, they stop here and admire the ornate clock face, or stare at the loud and eerie clock parts above. There is, however, a small ladder that leads to the roof. Considering nobody’s down here, I should check up there.

The ladder is made of metal. It’s cold. I should fly, but I don’t feel like flying. I climb instead.

After several minutes, I reach the trapdoor on the roof and climb out into the open air.

Oddly enough, the mist seems to be avoiding this roof – ten feet in radius around the roof, there is no mist. There was a similar effect on the front door of the mansion, come to think of it... I guess it’s to keep the mist outside.

The Mistress stands at the edge of the clock tower, her back to me. She’s just staring into the mist. Unmoving. Unchanging. Just standing there, staring into the mist, as if there’s something amazing she can see. Except, she can’t see, can she? The mist blots out everything. Standing up here, I can hardly even see the mansion’s roof below.

“Remilia?”

She spins around hastily. Her eyes relax as she notices who it is who has come to disturb her mist-watching.

“Darling Fl_ndre~” she sings. Sings? It sounds so out-of-character for her... “Come, see my masterpiece at work!”

I step up next to her on the edge of the tower, but I see nothing but mist. “What am I supposed to be looking at?”

She grabs onto my hand. Immediately, my senses are assaulted by a million sensations.

I can see everything. I can see the forest, the village, the mountains, all of it. I can feel the people and youkai moving about. Each spell cast, each step taken, each and every little thing. I can feel it all, save for a few blank areas. These areas are mostly buildings, like our mansion.

Is this... is this what it’s like to be omnipresent?

She lets go of my hand, and it all goes away. Hey, why take it away? I liked that...

“Those sensations are the result of the Scarlet Mist. Wherever it spreads, it spreads my essence,” the Mistress says. “I can feel a rabbit’s heartbeat in the bamboo forest, or a human being ripped apart by a hungry youkai. It is truly... magnificent.”

...Is this what Patchouli was talking about when she said the Mistress was getting too powerful? To be able to know everything that’s going on within the mist, that must require tons of power.

“So, my dear sister... tell me, what is it that you’ve come to say, or do?”

Now that the time has come, I find it hard to speak. Still, I must. I must because I must.

“I wanted to talk to you. About all of this,” I say, gesturing to the mist.

“You’ve done enough investigating. You know what I plan to do, do you not?”

“Yeah, I know, but... I want to hear it from you. I want to know... well, I want to know why. Can you tell me that? Can you tell why you’re doing all of this, or are you going to give me the ‘it’s above your understanding’ cop-out?”

She smirks. “Tell me, Fl_... what is it like to be out of the basement for so many hours at a time? Is it, perhaps, liberating?”

Well... from meeting fairies, mermaids, freaky doll makers and cute human children, seeing all of these new places and going on these new adventures, I would have to agree. It’s... liberating.

“Yeah, it’s nice. I didn’t know that the world was so... big.”

She laughs. “This one is a small world. The outside world is big.”

“No, I mean... maybe a better term is ‘rich.’ Gensokyo is full of people and places and ideas... there’s so much going on. I can’t believe I’ve missed so much in the basement all this time... and umm, you’re changing the subject, Remilia.”

She regards me with those studious eyes of hers. Calculating. Evaluating. Tabulating. I feel the muscles in my hand tensing.

The Mistress seems to notice. “Fl_ndre. Calm down.”

...

I take a deep breath. Relax.

“Gensokyo is a cleverly disguised cage,” she says, “for supernatural beings such as you and I. Just as this house is your prison, Gensokyo is mine. Wasn’t today a great day for you? You left your prison. You felt liberation. That’s all I want. Why is this so wrong?”

“B-because, you’re trying to change things by force.”

She nods. “I understand that some of the things I have done aren’t the most morally correct. But, sometimes there are things we must give up in order to move forwards.”

“Stop hiding behind your words! I want a clear-cut answer! Why?! Why do you feel like you need to escape? Why can’t you just be happy with the way things are?!”

Her devilish smirk disappears, replaced by an un-amused scowl.

“Humanity is a strong force. Because of their short lifespans, they can afford to act where most youkai would not bother. And now, look at us. Once revered and feared, we have become nothing but a joke. Talk to any humans about supernatural beings, and you’ll be laughed at for believing in such ‘nonsense.’ ”

“So?”

“Do you really want that to be our legacy? We’re vampires! We’re more physically capable than humans. We live longer, and we’re nearly immortal. Yet, despite all of our biological superiority, we fled from the world. We fled from humanity. Humans. Why? Why did we flee? This is not how it’s supposed to be. There’s this German phrase... I don’t quite remember it, but it translates to, ‘they are the meal and we are the hunters.’ That is how it’s supposed to be, not the other way around.”

“That’s it? This is about vampire pride? Is that really it?”

“I’m proving myself.”

“Why do you need to prove yourself?”

She stares at me for a long time with a pained expression on her face. It feels like an eternity, at least. Maybe it’s not.

“Up until now, you’ve been locked away in the basement for years. You hardly know me. You don’t even know anything. Why should I tell you?”

The words sting.

...I mustn’t give up.

[ ] “Because I’m your sister.”
[ ] “Because I want to help you.”
[ ] Write-in.

Note: while I wouldn’t say there’s a “losing” option here, what you say can influence how much the Mistress says on the matter. Write-ins encouraged!

----------

NaNoWriMo Update #27~ So that means three more until I've completed the challenge! [spoiler]Wow, about 21 per cent of me didn't think I'd make it.[/i]
No. 56756
>>56755
>[spoiler]
>[/i]
Wow what.

Anyways, I just wanted to mention that if Anon wants an extra day to vote for this update (or any of the next few updates), let me know. I can appease the NaNoWriMo Challenge by continuing that story in /shorts/.
No. 56762
>>56756

>I just wanted to mention that if Anon wants an extra day to vote for this update (or any of the next few updates), let me know

That would be great, thanks. I'd like the time to come up with a suitable write-in and discuss things with people. Neither of the options appeal to me, or strike me as Flan's actual motivations. Sadly I have a bit of a headache at the moment.
No. 56763
[x] "Because those who do know you, and do know things, don't really care. They learn just enough to decide that you should be killed, and don't want to learn more. But you know that I will. I'll care because you're my sister, my family, and what's important to you is important to me whether I really understand it or not. And you need to tell someone because you care about your legacy, that someone will understand who you were and why you did what you did. Since no one but me cares about you as a person instead of you as a monster, I'm the best you'll get."

This is the best I've got. Hope my read on Remilia is right.
No. 56769
>>56763

...Hmmm, I've been thinking on your write-in, and I'm a little worried. If you're right about Remilia then you've got possibly the best write-in, but if you're wrong... well it's pretty much all or nothing and that makes me worried.

I'm also not sure if your write-in aligns with Flan's goals either. I'd rather be honest and fail, than put on a mask and succeed.

As I said in >>56762 , I've barely thought this through and there should probably be more work done on it first, but I'll post this in case anyone wants to chime in and help.

[x]...Because I can't decide to help you until I know your reasons. You're my sister, I want to believe in you, to be able to help you, but unless you explain yourself I can't condone harming everyone for your own pride! So please... at least give me a chance to decide whether or not I'm on your side.

This seems to fit Flan's mindset better, but I'm not sure of it's success. It's a rough draft and I'll probably change it a bit tomorrow when I can think clearly. If you think of something I should add or change, then tell me.

Good night everyone.
No. 56773
>>56763 is a solid write-in, a definite improvement over the base choices.

Remilia might be seeing Flandre as a triviality, a Not-Life, and while going all bottom of the heart help you has served us is the past, this is Remilia's domain now and we need to proof ourselves in her eyes. The one pitfall of the write-in is if Remilia says something along the lines of "Plebeians need not know the reasons behind fate and tyrants. Enigma only ends up perpetuating one's infamy."

In any case, information is king here, and we must do everything in our power to not be casually brushed off by Remilia.

[x] "Because those who do know you, and do know things, don't really care. They learn just enough to decide that you should be killed, and don't want to learn more. But you know that I will. I'll care because you're my sister, my family, and what's important to you is important to me whether I really understand it or not. And you need to tell someone because you care about your legacy, that someone will understand who you were and why you did what you did. Since no one but me cares about you as a person instead of you as a monster, I'm the best you'll get."

I had thoughts about deleting or changing the "no one but me cares...monster" part, because Remilia might not think her opponents consider herself a monster, so much as an oppressor, tyrant, mastermind. Really, the sentence reflects Flandre more than it does Remilia. Because it applies both ways, the sentence tries to closen the two, which is acceptable.
The rest of the write-in stresses the first choice (Role: your sister, your chronicler). The "I care about you as a person" sounds like "I want to help you", but it's more like "I care and thefore I am unique". There is no mention of doing anything to help her. Yet. Finally, this is also why Option 2 is naive, predictably leading to "Help me? What can you do to help me. I've already won."
No. 56777
[X] Because you're my sister and I care about you. And that's what you really want, isn't it? Someone who cares about you.
You're afraid that you'll be forgotten by the humans who no longer fear us. That you'll be alone.
I know what that feels like, that was my not-life in the basement for hundreds of years, but you don't have to do this. You don't have to break the cage in order to escape, all you have to do is open the door and walk out.
Like I did.
But seeing all the wonders of Gensokyo has made me realize that the real cage was never the basement, it was in my own heart. I felt like the world couldn't accept me, that I was a monster. And I locked myself away in the belief that the basement was a better place for me.
You're doing the same thing, only your cage isn't Gensokyo, it's the Outside. You think that you belong Outside, when you actually belong here, with your family.



Wow, that got a bit long, but I'm not sure if I can cut it down to a more manageable size without losing things I want to say.
But yeah, I get the feeling that behind all that pride and bravado Remilia's much more like the little girl she appears to be than she cares to admit. And if she's going to compare her situation to Fl_ndre's, we turn the argument around and show her a better way, the one we used.

I'm not quite happy with the final part, though, it just sounds so cheesy.
It's a point that I want to bring across, that neither the basement not Gensokyo are the real problems. It's the fact that they're insecure about their place in the world.
Fl_ndre is very introverted and chose to lock herself away from it. Remilia is similarly insecure, but she's more extroverted and chooses to project the problem on the world instead.
No. 56820
File 138596410741.jpg- (194.06KB , 450x600 , Tree of Isolation.jpg ) [iqdb]
56820
She grips my shoulders roughly. Her eyes stare into my eyes with desperation.

“How could you understand?” she says, her voice a low whisper. “How could you ever understand me? You were always the perfect child. Mother always preferred you over me. You did everything right. You have always been loved.” Her scarlet eyes glow. “Relevant...”

The perfect child? Me?...

She floats over the edge of the tower, the mist clinging to her as if she were a magnet. Her eyes glow even more ominously, somehow, an eerie grin plastered onto her face.

“Remilia...” the name sounds odd in my mouth. I can only call her by name when I’m in her presence... I find that sad. “Remilia. That... that was only the past. Since then, we’ve changed.”

“You were the favourite!”

“Remilia! I’m not any more special than you are!”

“You had all of the talents. Even your vampire powers are more incredible than mine. If I had half the power you had, I would have brought humanity to its knees long ago.”

“Remilia!” I’m screaming at this point. “Listen to me! I’m no better than you! I’ve been stuck in the basement for centuries, wasting my life away out of fear... fear of my powers, fear of people... even scared of your disappointment should I mess up.”

The malevolent spark in her eyes seems to vanish.

“...my disappointment?”

“Yes... I’m sorry, Remilia. I’m sorry I was such a terrible little sister... I’ve always been such a burden to you. But... I want to move past that now. If I can change, so can you! We can live together in peace!”

“Why? Why does that matter?! What do I have to live for here?”

“Friends. Family. Me. Even if everybody else has forsaken you at this point... you have me. Me! I want to help you. I want to show you the wonders of Gensokyo. Please. You don’t have to do this.”

“I do have to do this. It’s the only way to prove my relevance.”

There’s that word again. Relevance. She... she must feel irrelevant. But why? Why does she feel this way? She has her family, her friends... there are enough people that love her, aren’t there?

...

I understand now.

Perhaps this is a five century-long problem. Perhaps it began when we were children... I don’t remember our childhood, but the Mistress... Remilia... she does. She says I was the favourite child? That... that could have planted a seed in her heart. Disappointment after disappointment, and the decreasing importance of vampires must have driven this further. This was a seed that, over five hundred years, has grown into a tree. A tree that grows fruit which taste of the feeling of irrelevance.

...I don’t need her to tell me why she’s doing all of this. I understand it now. All I need to do is help her.

My blood rushes through my veins as I open my mouth to speak.

“You claim that I do not know or understand you,” I say, “but I think that means all the more that you should tell me. Because those who do know you don’t seem to care enough... they just learn minimal information, enough to decide what you do and don’t deserve. They don’t want to know more. They don’t truly know you, because in the end they’ve already decided your fate.”

Did she notice the irony in that statement? Who knows?

“But... but you must know that I care. I care because you’re my sister, my family, and what’s important to you is important to me whether I truly understand or not. Since nobody but me seems to care about you as a person as opposed to a monster... I’m the best you’ll get.”

She lands on the roof. She regards me with a hard expression, but her eyes betray some sort of sadness. For a long time, she just stands there, thinking. A penny for your thoughts? I feel like she’s pondering decades of ideas and experiences, applying my words to her interactions with others, or something like that. I decide this is a sign that I can keep talking.

“And to be honest... I think I do understand you. We’re more alike than you seem to think. You... you want someone who cares about you. That’s what you really want, isn’t it? You’re afraid that you’ll be forgotten by the humans who no longer fear us. Then... then you would be truly alone, wouldn’t you? I know what that feels like. I even came up with a term for it. ‘Not-life’... because my life wasn’t enough of a life. It was a not-life, one that I had bound myself to for hundreds of years.”

She shakes her head. “If what you say is true, then you must know that I need to change myself. I need to escape this ‘not-life,’ as you call it, and to do that—”

“No, you don’t have to break the cage in order to escape. Seeing all of the wonders of Gensokyo, and most of all, meeting Words... it has helped me realize that the real cage was never the basement. It was my own heart. I felt that the world couldn’t accept me. But these last few days... seeing how everyone has treated me... sure, there are people out there who consider us nothing but monsters. But who needs them? Today I met a little girl in the human village. She didn’t hate me like I thought people would. And Words... Words doesn’t hate me. Words is trying to help me, for no discernable gain on Words’s part.”

“That’s because you’re special.”

“No. It’s because there are genuinely kind people in Gensokyo. People who want to care about you. People who want to love you. But they can’t do that if you don’t let them. Patchouli doesn’t want to hurt you, Remilia, but she feels she has no other choice. She’s been pushed to the edge. She cares about you a lot, but... she also cares about Gensokyo, and knows that what you’re doing is wrong.”

The silence that follows is the longest yet. I don’t dare interrupt it, because I want to grant her as much time as she needs to think. I’m laying a lot of ideas on her, to be honest. In fact, it feels weird to be saying so much. Words, is this what it’s like to help people? Am I helping her like you’ve helped me?

...

Finally, she leaves the world of her mind and speaks.

“I understand what you are saying,” she says, closing her eyes. “But unfortunately...”

Her eyes flash open, but instead of their usual red, they’re a pale purple colour. “A puppet that can no longer be used is mere garbage. I cannot allow Remilia to become garbage. Her role has not ended just yet.”

“Who are you? What’s going on?”

“Heh, have you already forgotten about me?”

She raises her right hand, clenching it into a fist. A glowing symbol appears on her hand. The symbol is a sword surrounded by flowers. Poppies.

“Remilia and I have made an oath. A contract. She is bound to this contract until it is has been fulfilled, even if I must play the role of her puppeteer to fulfill it.”

“Phantasm...!”

She floats into the air. A spear begins to materialize in her hands, but it’s not Remilia’s usual spear, Gungnir. Instead, it’s much longer, and it glows an ominous purple-blue. “Your words were strong. Remilia was starting to become convinced of what you were saying, getting closer and closer to throwing away all that we have worked for... so I had to step in and possess her. I will not allow her to fall under sappy sentimental speeches.”

Phantasm’s purple eyes twinkle with excitement. Her mouth opens, releasing a dark, evil voice, one that could not belong to any being of this world.

I shall consume. Consume... Consume everything.

She all but disappears as she heads deeper into the mist.

[ ] Chase her! We can't let her get away!
[ ] No, we can't go blindly after her. We need assistance. (Specify from whom.)
[ ] Write-in.
No. 56831
To reiterate: Well shit!
I knew that whole "oh, I'm just a meek little servant" spiel was bullshit.

[X] No, we can't go blindly after her. We need assistance. From everyone at the mansion.


I'd prefer Reimu or maybe Sanae, seeing as how Remilia basically needs an exorcism at this point, but going to find either of them would tip off Phantasm. And Reimu is probably on the way anyway.
Let's gather everyone (Meiling, Sakuya, Patchouli, and even Marisa should still be around) and explain the situation. We've already noticed that inside houses are blind spots in their omniscience because the mist doesn't reach inside.
That should give us a chance to plan out the situation a bit.

I'm guessing we'll end up with something like Sakuya and Phantasm fighting over time (Sakuya vs the stolen Luna Dial), Meiling and Marisa fighting Phantasm more directly, Flandre trying to reach Remilia ("I know you're in there" and all that. Standard procedure for possession) and Patchouli ready to banish Phantasm once weakened.

Anyone got any suggestions for more specific tactics?
No. 56834
>>56831

>I'm guessing we'll end up with something like Sakuya and Phantasm fighting over time (Sakuya vs the stolen Luna Dial), Meiling and Marisa fighting Phantasm more directly, Flandre trying to reach Remilia ("I know you're in there" and all that. Standard procedure for possession) and Patchouli ready to banish Phantasm once weakened.

Don't forget Words and Phantasm having a battle in the centre of Remilia's mind! It's a classic for a reason!

>Anyone got any suggestions for more specific tactics?

We should totally punch Phantasm in the face personally... somehow. But yeah, I got nothing. Unless we can figure out how to possess Remilia ourself...?
No. 56835
[X] No, we can't go blindly after her. We need assistance. From everyone at the mansion.
[X] Sakuya first, she can warn everyone else much faster then we can.
No. 56836
>>56834
It seems that Remilia needs a friend as much as Flandre-if not more.

[x] Chase her! We can't let her get away!
There's no time to be lost!
No. 56838
>>56834
I'm thinking the poppy field.
The battle will be as much physical as metaphorical, with random religious imagery all over the place and a soundtrack by a full opera orchestra.
No. 56844
[x] Chase her! We can't let her get away!
-[x] Shout for help. Shoot flashy danmaku. Anything to get peoples' attention.
No. 56849
[x] Chase her! We can't let her get away!

We really can't. Finding her again in this mist will be a huge pain, she'll timestop along with Sakuya so we can't catch or search for her that way, and who knows what she might be able to pull off if we give her time to prepare? It's time for bold action.
No. 56850
>>56849
Close one, I was about to start writing. I guess I'll close the vote right now and post the new thread soon.
No. 56858
File 138604571233.png- (724.72KB , 585x600 , dreamlike.png ) [iqdb]
56858
New thread:
>>56855


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