Undisclosed Location - Europe
Geoffrey du Temple and Francois Villon hated each other. This was a fact pretty well known amongst the Kindred, and only a damn fool would be crazy enough to put the two of them in the same room together. Their honor guards alone turned into what would have been a large office into a cramped mess. The two vampires sat next to each other, alternating between trading snipes at each other but never taking their eyes off of the person across the desk from them.
Remilia Scarlet sits quietly, hands steepled and expression passive as she looks at the two vampires bicker. She's noticably different compared to her time in Gensokyo; due to her heavy feeding, Remilia is now taller, leaner, and one may even go so far as to say she has developed a figure. Although still young-looking, she's since taken to calling herself a teenager. The vampiress briefly breaks her pose to tuck her hair behind her ear, stopping to admire her long fingernails. If getting all this new power has increased her own attractiveness this much by now, she can't wait to see what it looks like when she consumes enough to become an adult.
The mental acuity she's gained is also something wonderful.
"Boys, boys..." she says with a fanged smile. "There's no reason for us to argue. You haven't even heard why I'm here."
"With you involved, it can't be good," Francois says with a frown. "Look, both of us have given you plenty of room to carve out your own little spot of Paris. Surely, there's enough city for three Princes."
"I concur. We all have our own parts of the city, and although your recent conquest of Avalon was something of note, that is on the international scene," Geoffrey sets his hands on the desk, balled together. "Here in Paris, we still have our agreement."
"No, see, I don't think we do," Remilia replies, leaning her chair back on two legs. She props her legs up on the desk, and she pauses to stare at her much longer legs. "Hmm, I could get used to this..."
"Miss Scarlet, what are you implying?"
"Hm. Oh," Remilia grins. "You see, I've recently learned something about myself," she holds out a hand, palm open, and allows a magic bullet to form in her hand. "I've recently learned that my sister isn't the only one limited to her powers. You see, as it turns out... Scarlet blood is just powerful. To demonstrate," she points the bullet at one of the guard vampires. The bullet launches toward him rapidly, but the vampire dodges it, his reflexes honed by centuries of training. Twisting her hand, Remilia continues staring the vampire as she snaps her fingers.
The vampire's head explodes, sending a shower of mist across the room. Remilia's grin never fades as the other vampires stare at her, shocked. "W-what is this nonsense?!" Francois yells.
"There's a change in the balance of power," Remilia explains. "From here on out, I'm
the sole Prince of Paris, and there's nothing you, or anyone else can do, to stop me. And from here, I'm going to take over the Camarilla city by city, either by crushing you under my heel or by you falling into line with me. Those are your only two options, Princes. And if I were you, I would take the second."
"You and your small cabal against our far larger forces?" Geoffrey laughs. "I'd like to see you-"
The prince's head explodes with a snap of Remilia's fingers. Before Francois can react, he, too, dies with a misty pop of his head. Remilia laughs at the honor guard as they jump to exact revenge, but a sharp glance from the Scarlet vampire cause all of them to explode into a fine mist of blood and atoms. Remilia swings her feet off of the desk and stands up, looking out of the office at the night sky. "And here I was hoping they'd allow me to just crush them, but... ah, I guess I still don't have full control."
It's clear that Remilia doesn't really care. She steps over the three headless bodies and shows herself out. In the hallway, her own honor guard of Ghoulified maids falls in lockstep, their Mistress drunk with power... and hungry for more.
-=-=- Venice, Italy
You sit under the same tree, your meditation over. You've decided to simply rest against the tree and look up at the sky, hands resting on your lap as you watch the clouds go by. Soon, you're going to have to get off of your rump and go after Remilia, but you don't think that either you or your team is ready just yet. That said, everyone has been doing their own projects or training so hard, you don't have the heart in you to make them keep going. A break is good for everyone.
Yeah. You smile as you count the fourth airplane fly over you. Everyone needs a break. But, more importantly, you need a drink, and there's a bottle of wine with your name on it back in the house. You stretch, realizing you've been meditating way too long. When people say you unwind, they really mean it. You stand up slowly, smiling as a cat runs by you, mewling. How cute. It's quickly chased by another, then two more. The last one runs around your feet a few times before catching up with his fellows.
You begin walking toward your temporary home, counting the four white cars that drive by in rapid succession. Then, as you turn onto the main avenue, four women in pink shirts walk by you.
Wait. Four? Four cats, four planes, four shirts, four cars....
You blink. Four. Shi. Death.
"What in the-" you begin, but shake your head. This is a coincidence, right? Japanese superstition doesn't extend out this far!
Well. Except the half-ghost... and the Lunar Rabbit. Okay, a few, but witches and maids and vampire hunters are all over the place. Why are you trying to justify this?! This is nothing more than a coincidence! You turn around and start marching back toward your tree, deliberately ignoring the four bikers that pass by behind you. This has got to be a trick or something. Bad omens don't hit this hard anyways!
You cross your arms and plop down next to the tree with a thud, slamming your eyes closed and shutting out the world. Maybe the universe is trying to tell you something? You tap into your own historical knowledge, trying to find a time, or a legend, or anything that might have so many fours in it. You reach far back, back to when Yuyuko made you read basically the entire history of Japan: Folklore and Mythology, the maps of the islands, everything down to the day Yukari accidentally broke Gensokyo's barrier for five minutes. Coincidentally, that was the day two girls named Maribel and Renko accidentally wandered in for five minutes, but you managed to shoo them out using Myon and some cleverly placed sounds. "One day, I saw the number four everywhere I went."
You gasp as you recall Yuyuko's words. "The next day, I committed suicide."
"No..." you whisper. "No way. That can't
You take a deep breath.
"The next day, I committed suicide.
Yuyuko's words echo in your mind. Your breathing becomes erratic as it repeats like a broken record. "I can't do that yet," you say. "I can't die now, so close to the end..." you suddenly feel lost and alone. You reach out to no one in your mind, you feel Yuyuko's words pressing down on you. "This has got
to be a coincidence."
It's got to. You open your eyes for a brief moment and see four leaves blow by you. You slam your eyes closed again, returning to shutting out the world. Nothing more than a coincidence. A coincidence.
Something is stinging at your eyes. You briefly open them and look down. Four tears fall from your face, into your open palm. "No. I don't want to beli-"
"Youmu?" You look straight up. Marisa, Sakuya, Reisen, and Flandre are all standing above you.
"Countdown, Five." Scarlet Devil Mansion - Roof
Patchouli looks at the giant-sized hakkero that is the Sun Crusher. Suspended within its core, viewable through a glass panel, two crossed swords and a crown float in a magical sphere, their radiant power being channeled into the cannon.
Pathcouli grins. This is her finest work ever, and as her Scarlet eyes glow with power, she feels her Mistress's pleasure, halfway across the world.
Off in the distance, standing guard at the gate, Meiling Hong looks up toward the roof. Her eyes betray a certain knowledge not seen in them before. "She's really going to do it."
"The bitch is really going to do it," she growls. Taking off her hat and tossing it to the ground, Meiling walks away from the Scarlet Devil Mansion, heading in the general direction of the Hakurei Shrine. As she walks, her right arm slowly starts turning a dark green-brown, and scales start to form along the length. Her fingernails grow thicker, becoming claws. "Fine, then, but just so you know..."
A giant red ray of light shoots into the sky, smashing against the Hakurei Border with incredible might and shattering a small hole within it. The beam travels to the clouds before detonating at the tip, expanding rapidly over the sky in all directions. Meiling pulls the braid out of her hair, letting it fall freely. She glares back at the red beam of light, her normally calm green eyes turning yellow, the pupil slitting into a reptilian shape.
"When you awaken the dragon, there can be no consequence but your demise."
-=-=- Four girls are standing above you.
Your memories take you all the way back to the beginning. Remilia was surrounded by four fairy maids.
Flandre used the spell "Four of a Kind."
Reisen, Nazrin, Flandre, and Hatate were four.
Stephen, Landon, Alex, and Nina were four.
The [/b]four[/b] gods immediately on your side were Zeus, Ares, Poseidon, and Athena.
You've been in Venice for four weeks.
Four. Shi. Death.
"Guys... I..." you begin
"We came to get you for dinner..." Reisen begins. "Why... why are you crying?!"
"I'm... I'm going to die," you say. "I'm going to die
. The omen has been following me since the beginning, and now that we're here, in this moment, has it suddenly gotten worse," you look down at your hands. "Even now, the four of you are an omen. S... shi...
has been following me! I am going to die!"
"No, no, sweetie, you're not," Reisen gets down next to you and puts her arms around you. "You're not going to die. All of us, we're here for you. You're the only one out of all of us who has to survive the most! Only you can defeat Remilia Scarlet and save Gensokyo. Youmu, trust me, you're not going to die!"
"It's all there!" you scream at her... at them. "The signs are all there!"
"Well, personally," Marisa says. "I ain't never believed in that shit. So, when Reisen says you ain't dying, I gotta believe her," you still hear Yuyuko's words screaming into your mind. She gets down there with you and Reisen. "Hey, we're this far now, yeah? We can make it to the end! Trust me!"
"No, not without me dying before then!"
Remilia stands atop the Eiffel Tower. Perhaps its pretentious, but she doesn't care. She looks towards the west.
You look up, tears streaming from your eyes, at Flandre. Sakuya looks away from you, but only out of respect, as Flandre looks down on you with an unreadable look on her face.
"Stop," the vampiress looks down on you severely. "This is not you."
"But Flandre, I-"
"I said, shut up," she says. The other two back away from you as you blink back tears, staring up at the small child that's been your rock this whole time. "This is not you, Youmu, and it never has been. Why are you doing this to yourself?"
"I... I see it everywhere, Flandre," you say slowly. "I'm being followed by death."
"No, no you're not, you only think
you are," Flandre replies. "This is the manipulation of fate I told you about. Remilia has been letting us go for this long because she's been manipulating you into thinking that you'll die. She's put little hints throughout your journey that you will die. This is all part of her grand scheme."
"I... are you sure?"
"Youmu, I may not be the elder sister, but I'm still a Scarlet," Flandre tells you. "I know her. This is exactly like her to play a game that she knows she'll win. Now," she walks closer to you. "I'm not going to sit here and watch you destroy yourself because of her, Youmu. She's caused you to lose your way, and I'm here to set you back on track. Youmu, look around you. What do you see?"
You do. You look around. Reisen sits next to you, concerned. Marisa is on your other side, standing, rubbing the back of her hand and giving you one of her goofy half-smiles she always seems to have. In front, Sakuya gives you a look that can only be described as an odd sort of approval. And in front of her, between the two of you, is Flandre Scarlet. This girl, the one who's been linked to you from the outset. The girl who's done nothing but give you support, and you given her yours. Out of everyone here, it's been Flandre that's been by your side all this time.
Flandre is your light.
You reach up for her. Reisen and Marisa help you to your feet as Flandre grabs your hand. "Now," she says. "Get your mind in the fight, Youmu. A storm approaches."
) What song do you think it is?
Remilia starts laughing. She can see it as it approaching now. The scarlet light. Her light. Everything that she's worked for, enveloping the world in her power. She holds her arms out to the side, and for the first time since coming to Paris, Remilia opens her wings. They stretch out far past her body, growing to massive lengths and raising up. Far down below, onlookers watch as the sky turns scarlet. "This is my day now!" she shows. "Welcome to my world! Now, feed, my children! Embrace the time of Remilia Scarlet!"
They come out of the houses, from the sewers, from the metro. Vampires, countless hundreds, begin to tear a path of destruction throughout Paris, feeding on all they come across. Ghouls suddenly become active, feeling the power from their Mistress pour into them and acting much like vampires themselves as they feed on the innocent.
Across the continent, similar scenes of death and destruction can be seen as vampires awaken in daylight, coming out of their homes to kill and feed and become the dominant predators of the planet Earth. Across the world, pain and blood are brought out in droves and Remilia's apocalypse begins.
And in a little place in Venice, underneath a tree, five girls look up to the sky as it turns red. "The storm is here," Flandre says. "The only way to stop it is right here. Youmu. You're it. You're the key to stopping all of this," behind her, the three vampire hunters run up.
"It's chaos out there," Stephen says. "There are vampires everywhere. What should we do?"
You look up, clearly away all of your doubts. "Remilia has played her card," you tell them. "Save who you can. The rest of us," you look at your four friends from Gensokyo. "It's time to end this."
They all nod. "Full power," Marisa says. "Total annihlation!" She waves her hand, and her outfit changes into her familiar black-white witch's outfit. She dusts off her hat and puts it on her head. "Let's do this, everyone!"
"Yeah," Reisen nods. She reaches to her back, and you see her pistols shimmer into visible light. She's absolutely loaded with ammo. "I've been waiting for this for a long time now!"
Sakuya closes her pocket watch. "I'm ready, too. Flandre?" She looks down at her... her friend. Her companion, just as much as yours. A daughter to her.
Flandre bends over, rotating her shoulder blades. She growls, and you can hear the tearing of skin, then flesh, as her wings rip out of her back. At first, they're just the bone, but slowly, the crystallized light forms, each light blinking into existence as her wings grow to six, eight, ten feet apiece. Slowly, the vampiress rises, taking a deep breath. "The mist empowers me," she says with a feral grin. "I'm stronger than ever!"
Sakuya clicks her watch, vanishing and reappearing with your swords and gear. "Here," she says, tossing your clothing to you. You hold it up to see a streamlined version of your green-white clothing. "Change, quickly."
You grin and grab your shirt, ripping it off of your body. You throw on the shirt and vest, and with a wave of her hand, Marisa buttons you up. You throw on your skirt, buttoning it up yourself as Reisen reaches around and yanks your pants off. She throws them aside, and you slip your shoes on. Sakuya throws your swords at you, and you grab them in one deft spin and tying them to your waist. Marisa hands you a bracelet.
"Your armor," she says. "The same spell, but a bit faster."
You nod. "Now, are we ready?"
"Yes!" A resounding chorus echoes.
"Let's go!" You shout. Marisa summons her umbrella, spins it around, and leaps into the air, landing on her broom feet first and skysurfing it straight up.
"Be careful, mother," Sakuya says to Nina. The older woman smiles.
"You too, my dear Kr... Sakuya," replies Nina. Sakuya grins and reaches up. A spellcard forms in her hands.
"Valkyrie Sign, [Wings of Lenneth]!
" she shouts. Two ethereal feathered wings sprout from her back, and she takes to the sky, rapidly catching up to Marisa.
"Moon Sign, [Lunar Rush]!
" Reisen commands. A magic circle of energy appears underneath her and she shoots up, flying faster than she ever has. Of course, none of them compare to yourself. You look down at Flandre.
"Ready?" you ask. She takes your hand.
"I was created for this," she tells you. "It's my fate
," the two of you giggle.
"Hold on tight," you say. She shakes her head.
"I've copied your spell," she replies. "I can keep up!" You stare at her for a long moment.
"...I love you, Flandre. You're the... I don't know what you are. But you're special to me."
"I love you too, Youmu. And I know exactly what you are to me."
"You're my sister. More than Remilia ever was."
The two of you laugh, then look up to the sky. Flandre spreads her wings. "Hell Realm Sword!"
you both shout. "[200 Yojana in 1 Slash!]
This is it.
This is the final moment.
Starting from here is the final arc. This is the Scarlet Earth arc, and the last part of Youmu's Journey.
Just like one of the first votes I ever gave you, here I will give it to you again. This is in no way to hide the fact that I have no transition here that would make sense for a vote.
Are you ready?
[ ] Yes
[ ] No
[ ] Ask me a question. As in me the author.