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File 125833382530.jpg - (949.99KB, 1060x1500, 15.jpg) [iqdb]
32398No. 32398
Finally done. Not done well, but hey, what can you do?

>>32293
I'll trust your judgment as to how 'lol' your opinions are, but don't sell yourself short. Every little bit helps.

>>32294
I try to write my updates more-or-less straight through, without jumping around between paragraphs, in order to avoid having to throw away writing that doesn't match up well with the story above it, which means that by the time I write the choices, it's usually past midnight and I'm all writefagged out. If something that seems obvious is missing, assume I just forgot to include it and write it in; if it's something like the one in this vote which goes along with the spirit of the primary vote, I'll generally include it or something like it regardless of how many people vote for it, unless later voters specifically disapprove of it. And don't worry about dying because nobody thought of a write-in; if I provide choices for a vote, at least one of those choices will result in a favorable outcome of some sort. Though that's not to say that I'm wouldn't hold back a more favorable outcome for the hidden write-in option. Stay on your toes~

---

[X] I had to leave it to Patchouli. I was still too injured to do anything but get in the way.
[X] Well, there was one thing I could do: quickly warn her of the source of the explosions.

"Patchouli! It's going to explode!" I called out to her, dropping to one knee and taking the strain off of my shattered ankle. She looked away from the thrall and towards me for a moment, surprise registering on her features, and as her attacker continued to race towards her, she abandoned her defensive posture and turned and ran.

What was she thinking, trying to run from them?! "Behind you!" I screamed again, crawling forward uselessly with my arms, knowing it was hopeless now, watching as she turned back towards the thrall as it made its final lunge towards her, claws reaching--

A flash of power, and then the thrall was flying backwards, feet dragging along the ground as the magic slammed into its chest. My eyes flicked back to Patchouli as she turned to the second thrall as it leapt over its fallen comrade and towards her.

"Haa!" A wordless shout, loud enough for me to hear, and a swing of her arm though the air, and the thrall flew over her head and past her, caught by an invisible force and thrown into the trees at the edge of the clearing. I watched as it slammed into a tree, back twisting at a sickening angle, before my eyes snapped back to Patchouli, hand still outstretched in the same pose and panting, clearly exhausted by her display.

Turning back to the first thrall, which was glowing even more brightly now, she raised her arm again, hand making a fist, and her lips began to move, intoning something too quietly for me to hear. I took in a breath, preparing to shout another warning, but fell back to my knees as another wave of powerful magic washed over me.

Her hand unclenched, and the ambient magic coalesced in an instant, a bright light flashing under the body of the fallen thrall as it was forced up into the air, limbs flailing uselessly as it flew above the treetops and beyond as the light within its body grew even more intense--

This explosion was even more deafening than the last, and I covered my ears with my hands, tucking my chin into my chest as debris from the blast blew past me. The sound stuck in my ears long after its source had disappeared, and my head buzzed as I finally looked up, bracing myself against a nearby tree and standing.

As bad as I might have felt, though, Patchouli looked worse. All the enemies before her defeated, she had finally allowed her body to take over, falling to her knees and panting as she clutched her chest. Would she even have the power left to locate the vampire now? I took a tentative step towards her on newly regenerated legs, feeling the burn as unused muscles stretched for the first time.

A flash of motion in the corner of my eye. I turned towards the forest in time to see the thrall leap, leaving the ground at the tree line in a slow arc towards Patchouli's defenseless form.

"Above you!" I shouted, ignoring the pain in my legs and sprinting towards her, eyes locked on the thrall, now glowing dimly from within, as it bared its claws and descended. Patchouli's head rose, far too slow, and she turned in time to see the thrall no more than a few feet away--

A splash of red and the sharp smell of blood as the attack hit, claws grazing Patchouli's shoulder as she dove out of the way, throwing herself to the ground heavily. My feet left the ground as I powered myself forward with half-formed wings, pulling out every stop to get there before the thrall could recover and deal the killing blow. I gathered energy, preparing a desperate attempt at a spell as the thrall recovered its balance, turning itself around and thrusting its claws again as Patchouli laid prone.

Before I could cast anything, though, the thrall... dropped, collapsing to the ground like the corpse it was. I reached the two of them at a sprint, tackling the body away from Patchouli and dismembering it hurriedly, but I could see even as I attacked that it was nothing more than a dead body now; even the light from within its body had disappeared, and presumably whatever had been causing the explosions had gone with it. What... was this?

A hiss of pain from behind me returned my thoughts to the present, and I returned to Patchouli as she pulled herself to a sitting position, eyes squeezed shut as she clutched her bleeding arm.

I approached her carefully, gently prying her hand away from her wound. The smell of her blood was almost overpowering now, and I bit my lip hard enough to hurt, fingers shaking as I used a bit of cloth from her sleeve to wipe the area clean. The wound wasn't deep at all, and it didn't look like she had lost enough blood to go into shock.

"Are you--"

"Fucking around with the dead..." She cut off my question with an angry hiss, directed at no one in particular, and snatched the cloth I had used to clean her wound from my hands, wrapping it around the site of the wound one-handed with remarkable dexterity. "God won't abide it, you can be damn sure I won't abide it. When I find the--" She stopped her rant abruptly and looked up at me, a look of confusion flashing across her features for an instant before her familiar scowl returned.

"Damn it! How long--" Cutting herself short again, she climbed to her feet, shoving me away as I tried to stop her from moving and staggering back to the magic circle she had drawn in the center of the clearing. "We need to activate the array!"

"What we need to treat your wounds!" I shot back, maneuvering in front of her and grabbing her by the shoulders, hard enough that she couldn't escape. "If we're attacked now, do you think you could--"

"It was an ambush, you fool!" she screamed in my face, trying in vain to escape my grasp. "If the vampire wanted to attack us, he would have come out of hiding and done it already! Now if we're to get any information at all from this folly, it's by making sure that the vampire isn't sneaking by us as we--"

"An ambush? Half an hour ago, you said that was impossible! Suppose you're wrong about this, too?! What are we sup-- OW!" My grip weakened as the heel of Patchouli's boot ground into my foot, hard enough to break bones, and she used the opportunity to break free, shoving me to the side and continuing towards her circle. I let her go, half of me still shocked by her sudden attack and the other half no longer concerned about what happened to her. As I turned my back on her, though, the latter half remembered that my only means of returning to Versailles without her was a long walk in the sun, and I strode back to her as she knelt before the circle.

"Just what do you--"

"Be silent!" she snapped without looking up, her shout punctuated by a small cough, and I complied, already feeling the magic surround her as she gathered energy for her spell. Another moment of silence passed, daylight still hitting me painfully, before she activated the circle and the gathered energy was released all at once, spreading over the forest and crashing into me with a sensation like being swept away by a tidal wave. I closed my eyes, trying to will away the feeling of drowning in a sea of power, and waited for the spell to complete...

"Nothing!" Patchouli spat, the last of the magic disappearing around us. "This... isn't poss--"

Her shout was cut short with a series of coughs, and I moved to her side, my thoughts caught between concern for her health and concern for my health. "Now can we leave?" I asked sharply.

She didn't respond for a moment, eyes running over her magic circle, as though searching for some kind of flaw. "Wait," she finally said in a small voice, drawing a small symbol in the dust with a single finger. This circle was much plainer than the first one, and she had barely even started before I felt the magic energy begin to gather. I took a step backwards, preparing myself for another assault on my senses like the first time she had used her transportation magic--

--and we were back, returned to the roof above the Scarlet Veil on which we had started our journey. This time, though, there was somebody else here, crouched at the same transportation magic circle that we had used.

"Who-- Jesus, Patchouli!" I stepped away from Patchouli as Henri rushed to her side, crouching to examine her wounds. "What the hell happened to you?"

"We were attacked," she said plainly, brushing him off and standing, a groan of pain in her voice. "Thralls that exploded."

"What?!"

"Go and investigate. I need to rest." With that, she stepped past him, hobbling towards the stairs. Surely he wasn't just going to let her go, looking like she did?

"I'm there!" he said, returning to work on the magic circle without a hint of concern in his voice. I brushed past him angrily, putting enough force into it to knock him to the ground, and ran after Patchouli.

"What are you doing, sending him out there?" I shouted, catching her as she threw the door into the building open and blocking her path. "I told you, you don't know--"

"You..." she said, voice thick with barely restrained anger. "Just..." She turned away, bending at the waist and coughing wetly into her hand, and as I stepped forward in concern, she walked past me and through the door.

"Just go home." she said weakly, taking the stairs two at a time even as she struggled for breath. "We need to recover. I..." She paused for a moment, and I caught a glimpse of her face as she turned the corner on the staircase. Was she... crying? "I would rather not deal with you now," she finished coldly before leaving my sight as she descended the next set of stairs.

I stayed at the top of the stairs, unsure of whether to go after her or not. As important as it was to figure out what had went wrong and what we needed to do next, there was nothing to be gained from upsetting her to the point of hostility.

[ ] I went after her. Whether she wanted to see me or not, there were things that we needed to take care of.
[ ] I went with Henri. He had no idea that the forest might still have been dangerous, and I doubted he could protect himself if it was.
[ ] I went home. This was more action than I had planned for today, and I was still hungry and tired from yesterday.
Expand all images
>>No. 32399
[x] I went after her. Whether she wanted to see me or not, there were things that we needed to take care of.

Not like Remilia to start taking orders now.
>>No. 32400
[x] I went after her. Whether she wanted to see me or not, there were things that we needed to take care of.
>>No. 32401
[x] I went with Henri. He had no idea that the forest might still have been dangerous, and I doubted he could protect himself if it was.

Why deal with an obviously upset girl and risk wounding her pride further when we could be making sure one of our few allies doesn't get blown up?
>>No. 32402
[x] I went after her. Whether she wanted to see me or not, there were things that we needed to take care of.

Stubborn Remilia~
>>No. 32403
[x] I went home. This was more action than I had planned for today, and I was still hungry and tired from yesterday.

Not to sound heartless, but Remi isn't in the best shape at the moment to even help out much.

Where's a perfect maid when you need one?
>>No. 32404
>[] I went with Henri. He had no idea that the forest might still have been dangerous, and I doubted he could protect himself if it was.
Remi needs to regenerate. She's been through a lot of tough spots lately, and hasn't had a chance to feed. There's a good chance she'll be too weak to really do much good, especially at this time of day.

>[] I went home. This was more action than I had planned for today, and I was still hungry and tired from yesterday.
I have a pretty strong suspicion that some of the townspeople may have started to catch on to Remilia. If my gut instinct is right, going home would be folly, at least for the moment.

[+] I went after her. Whether she wanted to see me or not, there were things that we needed to take care of.
>>No. 32405
[x] I went home. This was more action than I had planned for today, and I was still hungry and tired from yesterday.
>>No. 32407
[x] I went with Henri. He had no idea that the forest might still have been dangerous, and I doubted he could protect himself if it was.

If Henri dies because Patchouli told him to canvass the area alone, she'll probably never forgive herself for it.
>>No. 32408
[x] I went home. This was more action than I had planned for today, and I was still hungry and tired from yesterday.
We can return to combat after we've refilled out HP and MP~
>>No. 32409
[X] I went with Henri. He had no idea that the forest might still have been dangerous, and I doubted he could protect himself if it was.

No point in letting him get killed out there because of Patchouli's foul mood.
>>No. 32410
[X] I went with Henri. He had no idea that the forest might still have been dangerous, and I doubted he could protect himself if it was.
>>No. 32411
Also keep in mind that Patchy isn't in the best shape herself (and that's considering her questionable health in general)

And Remi's been having a bad day, a long time without food, getting blown up in daylight.

If she helps Henri out, she's not going to do alot barring something to drink. The best she could do is provide information and try to use her senses to detect stuff (but even then due to her recovery they might not be at their peak)

Just something to consider.
>>No. 32414
[X] I went with Henri. He had no idea that the forest might still have been dangerous, and I doubted he could protect himself if it was.
Voting the UNEXPECTED OPTION.

That and I want to know more about the Scarlet Veil's members. They seem pretty vainilla but...
>>No. 32415
[x] I went home. This was more action than I had planned for today, and I was still hungry and tired from yesterday.
[x] Warn Henri, first.
>>No. 32416
>>32398
By the way, where's that picture from? Looks like a page from some doujinshi or something.
>>No. 32417
[X] I went with Henri. He had no idea that the forest might still have been dangerous, and I doubted he could protect himself if it was.
>>No. 32424
[B] I went with Henri. He had no idea that the forest might still have been dangerous, and I doubted he could protect himself if it was.
>>No. 32438
[x] I went home. This was more action than I had planned for today, and I was still hungry and tired from yesterday.
[x] Warn Henri, first.


the "i'll eat in a few days" turned into "ok, i have to eat now" after that explosion...
>>No. 32444
Go with Patchy -> Lose control and feed off her in a fit of starvation.

Go with Henri -> Lose control and feed off him in a fit of starvation.
>>No. 32447
>>32444

Listen to this man.

[x] I went home. This was more action than I had planned for today, and I was still hungry and tired from yesterday.
[x] Warn Henri, first.
>>No. 32448
>>32444
Go home -> Miss out on character development and interactions, being forced to wait another month for the next update we'll see the other characters in.
>>No. 32449
>>32448
>Miss out on character development and interactions
The only developing that'll happen is them becoming dead or vampirized, since the only interacting we'll be doing with them is feeding on them.
>>No. 32450
Been writing '[X] Henri' for a while now, so I'm going to call it before the tide turns. Those of you who are really worried can relax; it's not a bad end or anything.

Sage for slow.
>>No. 32451
>>32450
>Been writing for a while now
HOORAY!
>'[X] Henri'
Meh.
>>No. 32452
>>32449
Patchy's a youkai, remember? She can't be vampirized.
Besides, as it's been stated all too often, Remi eats too lightly to be able to vampirize anyone.

>>32450
We're patient.
>>No. 32453
The real problem isn't Remilia attacking one of the two, but her lack of blood in a while on top of some intensive days might result in her abilities being far from optimal, not the best thing if an enemy is going to attack thinking a full strength vampire is the target.
>>No. 32458
>>32453

I mostly just felt bad for Remilia when voting to go home. She's been through a lot and hasn't had anything to eat in a while. And she's been pretty consistently exposed to her weakness to boot.

That's like taking some guy, depriving him of food and water, and throwing acid on him every 10 minutes. Oh, and then you break one of his ribs every couple of hours for good measure.

That's basically what Remilia has been dealing with lately.
>>No. 32477
>>32458

That too, since she has been through a terrible lot in the last couple of days. She basically got blown up for Shinki's sake. A lesser non-human would be out for weeks after such punishment.

But thinking on it, I find it odd how Remilia doesn't remark on her sister much (sure Flan'll get her own character later on, but you'd think Remilia would think once about her little sister)
>>No. 32479
>>32477
>but you'd think Remilia would think once about her tragically psychotic little sister)
Maybe she tries not to.
>>No. 32481
>>32479
She could be her long-lost sister that Remilia doesn't know exists yet.
>>No. 32499
File 125901437141.jpg - (164.51KB, 520x500, 16.jpg) [iqdb]
32499
Long one this time, and it would have been even longer if I hadn't gotten sick of writing it and phoned in the last bit.

Also, since this is /sdm/ and I feel the need to brag:
http://replays.gensokyo.org/download.php?id=6116
Not exactly a stellar playthrough, and slowdown of over 1% isn't optimal, but I BEAT EOSD EXTRA FUCK YEAR.

>>32416
It's from a doujin called "Battle Cry", provided courtesy of Taisa on IRC when I asked for "badass Patchouli".

>>32444
Half right.

---

[X] I went with Henri. He had no idea that the forest might still have been dangerous, and I doubted he could protect himself if it was.

"Henri!" I turned back to the roof, letting the door close behind me as I called out to the other magician. Someone had to warn him of where he was going, and if Patchouli's tantrum was enough to stop her from doing it, the job fell to me. "Wait a moment!"

"You've put Patchouli's in one of her moods, I take it?" Henri casually drawled, standing from his work and turning to face me. His familiar tone, coupled with his slouching posture and plain workman's clothes, reminded me of just how different he was from his comrades. Had my mood been better, I might have found his manner charming, or at least interesting; instead, I just got more irritated at his uncomfortably accurate view of the situation. Where did he get off, talking to me like that?

"You're just going to follow her orders, even though she hardly told you anything about what to expect?" I asked, scowling back at him.

"Ah, she told me enough to make me feel like following orders," Henri replied with a easy grin, crouching back down to poke at the magic circle again. "I'm a man of few and simple pleasures, Miss Remilia, and explosions are real high on my list."

...Explosions? "So you have some way of defending yourself?"

"Against the thralls? Probably not," he said with a thoughtful expression. "I figure I'll run for it if things get dicey."

Unbelievable. How did a person this lackadaisical fit into a group with someone like Patchouli? For that matter, how did he manage to live long enough to become a magician?

"I'm coming with you," I snapped, stomping back across the roof to stand near the magic circle. If he wasn't going to protect himself, I'd have to try, my own well-being notwithstanding.

"Yeah? 'Kay," he replied, apparently unconcerned, as he placed his hands on the edge of the magic circle. Before I could say anything else, the magic surrounded us again, cutting off my senses as it transported us.

And then we were back in the forest, the same scene of carnage that I had just left. I regained my balance as soon as I could, taking stock of my surroundings and searching all my senses for signs of additional enemies. The only change I could sense was some of the wildlife having returned to the area around the clearing; a good sign that nobody had been here since I had left.

"It's clear," I said... to nobody, as Henri had already left my side, standing over the unexploded thrall corpse with a faraway look on his face, like he was lost in thought.

That was the last straw. "Do you have any concern for your life whatsoever?" I snapped, hands bunching into fists as I nearly shouted at him. He turned back to me, the look on his face saying that he had no idea what I was upset about.

"Eh, a bit," he said with a noncommital shrug and a light gaze. "Y'know, you're a lot like her, aren't you?"

"Do tell," I said icily. "I suppose you have some brilliant spark of insight to share regarding keeping control of your emotions?"

He stared blankly back at me for a long moment. "That too, I guess." Another shrug, and then he turned back to the thrall, crouching to examine it. "I was more thinking that both of you have weird-colored hair."

"...Ah." This was truly pathetic. I closed my eyes, willing myself a small measure of control over my emotions. Perhaps the lack of food really was getting to me.

"She's not always that easy to set off, y'know," Henri said abruptly, his calm tone contrasting with the frenzied movement of his hands as he drew a complex magic circle onto the body with ink and a brush. "She's more stable with her sister around to reel her in. Say, did these guys explode all at once, or one at a time?"

Was he talking about Patchouli? "One at a time. Patchouli has a sister?"

"Mm-hmm. Adèle... uh, Adèle something. Not her real sister, so they don't have the same last name. Total opposites, but they balance each other out pretty well."

Not her real sister? How curious. "And she's a magician, as well?" I asked.

"You saw the four chairs in the hide-out, right?" A slight smile as he continued to draw. "It's not like we have lots of guests down there. Was it just instantaneous, or did they give any warning before they blew up?"

A fourth person... Perhaps this Adèle was the mystery woman in the portrait reduction I had found in Patchouli's diary? "They glowed from within for a few seconds beforehand. So she--" I paused; frowned. "What exactly are you doing, anyway?"

He made another brush stroke with a flick of his wrist, then looked back up at me with a smile. "If they went off one at a time, my guess is there was someone pulling the trigger remotely. Even if this one didn't blow itself up, it should still have the spell attached, and I can match it to one of the triggered explosions, then link that back to where the culprit is."

"You can do that?"

He nodded. "Unfortunately, that's about all I've got for this one. The actual bang looks like amateur-hour stuff." A slight frown. "Stuff the vessel full of power, spark it, and watch the entrails fly. What was the blast radius, like twenty five, thirty feet?"

"Roughly, yes." How was he telling all this? As far as I could tell, he hadn't actually cast a single spell yet.

"Figures." He turned his head to the side and spit, his frown growing deeper. "Bastard's got no idea how to do things. Give me a five second fuse and this much tissue and I'll level a city block." He stared off into the distance for another moment looking displeased, and then, with a shake of his head, he was back to normal, looking up at me.

"I'm running it now, 'kay?" he asked, turning back to the body of the thrall and placing his hands around the edge of the circle. Almost immediately, the magic spread through the clearing; still an unusual feeling, but less oppressive than the transportation spell. Perhaps because it wasn't acting on me? I watched in silence as the power grew, beads of sweat forming on Henri's forehead as he concentrated his power into the circle. The spell was a long one, requiring over a minute of continuous power, and I was slightly startled when it suddenly broke, Henri falling backwards onto the ground with a sigh.

"Didn't work," he muttered, wiping his brow.

"So we've gained nothing?" I asked sharply, another flare of temper reaching the surface.

"Not nothing. Just couldn't get good enough resolution to catch the guy himself. He's definitely in Versailles, but we already knew that."

"I see." So Patchouli's speculation about the vampire being on the run was false all along? But if the vampire was in Versailles, why didn't he go after Michel when Patchouli and I left him alone? Did this mean that the thralls had really been acting under his instructions the entire time? And--

"Well, nothing left to do now but cover our tracks now," Henri said cheerfully, breaking my train of thought and-- was that a knife? What was he going to do with that?

"Ah, it's part of the spell, okay?" he said, noticing my expression. "No worries." Then, before I could say anything, he raised his other hand and, pressing the metal against his palm--

"What do you think you're doing?" I shrieked, covering my mouth with my hand and steeling my nerves as the smell of blood assaulted my nose.

"I know it's strange, but the spell needs a material component, and blood is -- oh." His eyes widened as he made the connection, but his surprise was quickly washed away, replaced by a smirk and a chuckle. "Want some?" he said glibly, proffering his bleeding hand to me.

..He didn't realize how hungry I was. It wasn't his fault. "Don't make offers you aren't prepared to honor, human," I snapped angrily, trying to curb my impulse teach him a lesson about making jokes in poor taste.

"You think I'm not serious?" My anger didn't seem to reach him, though, and he spoke as calmly as ever, reaching up to his neck with his uninjured hand, unbuttoning the top button of his shirt, and pulling his collar down. "You don't even have to hypnotize me, or whatever it is you normally do."

My nails were digging into my palms now, and I hissed my next words through clenched teeth. "You... you think you want me to..."

"You said you could do it without killing or turning, right?" His lazy smile returned, and he gave an exaggerated shrug. "Books and laboratories are fine, if you like that sort of thing, but if I have a choice, I'd rather learn by doing." He took a step forward as he spoke the last word, his smile going a little off-kilter and the look in his eyes growing a bit sharper. "Bitten by a vampire and lived? How many humans in the history of creation can say that?"

"I... see." I said, swallowing. Patchouli certainly wouldn't approve, and there was no guarantee that Henri didn't have some ulterior motive. Even if that weren't true, there was a small chance that I would end up injuring him, or...

...Why was I searching for reasons not to do this?

He was a human. I was a vampire. Like it or not, this was simply an aspect of my nature. A meal was a meal, regardless whether I took it from a hapless passerby or had it offered to me consciously. Had my brief interaction with these human magicians already made me forget that so completely?

Besides, I was so hungry.

"Kneel, would you? You're too tall to do it properly." I felt the tension drain from my body as I made the decision, and the smile that crept to my face must have matched Henri's as he followed my order, dropping to one knee before me. A short step forward, and I was close enough to touch him, running my fingers along his collarbone, cupping his cheek with one hand as I gently pushed his head to one side. I could hear his heart as clearly as my own as I leaned over him, listening carefully for the sound of blood rushing through his jugular vein. I opened my mouth wide, resisting the urge to bite as I dragged my fangs across the skin of his neck, searching for the right spot...

There.

A hiss of pain as I broke the skin, but I was already gone, my mind wrapped in bliss as the first drops trickled into my mouth. I bit again, and then once more, instinct taking over as I forced the small punctures open wide, and before long, blood flowed freely, small rivers tracing a path around my lips and down my chin. I let up for an instant, taking a small breath, before leaning forward and covering the wound with my mouth, lapping hungrily at it with my tongue.

The true taste of blood... is indescribable to anyone other than a vampire. The rich, metallic splash of flavor came first, but behind it was a mix of ingredients, in quantities so small as to be nearly unnoticeable; some common to every human, like the bittersweet taste of adrenaline, some much rarer and unknown, perhaps linked to a previous meal, a passing sickness, or some other undefined element.

They say that hunger is the best spice, though, and as I fed, I felt my strength return, the pain of the sun's light against me gradually fading as magic energy rushed into my body. I slowed my pace, but continued to feed for another few minutes as my conscious mind gained traction again, warning me not to go too far. Before long, I felt him shiver, his pulse quickening under my hand, and I pulled away, licking a few leftover drops away with the tip of my tongue and letting out a long, satisfied sigh.

"Huh." Henri touched a hand to his neck as I stepped away. "Different from getting bitten by an animal," he said, smiling dumbly at me. Not an uncommon reaction among my victims; I hadn't hypnotized him, so he might remember the pain later, but being bitten induces some sort of chemical euphoria independent from my magic. "So are you full now?" he asked with a chuckle.

"I am," I said, smiling sweetly and dropping into a small curtsy. "You have my thanks."

"Anytime," he said with a roguish grin, crouching over his magic circle again. "My hand doesn't even hurt anymore," he noted idly.

I chuckled lightly, letting my suddenly improved mood dictate my actions; the sleepy, good-natured sensation that a full stomach brings had swept over me quite rapidly. The sun was still in the sky, but low enough that my new-found energy canceled it out, and I felt a sudden urge to lay on my back and relax. A little too unrefined to act on, but I compromised with myself by taking a seat on the ground next to the magic circle, idly watching Henri work.

The amount of blood needed for the magic seemed to be relatively small; a few drips on the dirt, and then he was back to drawing with the brush and ink. This spell must have been fairly simple, based on the complexity of the circle; no more than twenty or thirty shapes before he set the brush aside.

"Here we go!" he said, placing his hands on the magic circle. I couldn't feel the magic surround me this time as he cast the spell, but it was definitely there; almost immediately, I saw grass spring up around his hands, popping through the bare soil as though the world was moving in fast motion. The magic spread through the earth like a shockwave, and I felt a brief tingling sensation as it passed under me, spreading life throughout the clearing. That wasn't all it was doing, either; the corpse were slowly vanishing from sight, decaying at hundreds of times their normal rate until there was nothing but bones remaining. The urge to lay in the grass and relax returned in full force as I turned to look at the field behind me, restored in a matter of seconds to its original splendor.

Ah, what was I holding back for? I let myself fall backwards, throwing my arms open and savoring the sensation of the grass against my bare skin, waiting for the magic to finish.

"Your mood seems to have improved a little, m'lady," Henri said after another minute or so, extending a hand to help me up. I took it with a small giggle, letting him pull me to my feet. As he let go of my hand, though, my leg muscles trembled under me, and I tumbled forward, catching myself heavily against Henri's chest.

"I tripped," I said, grinning dumbly as I looked up at him.

...This really wasn't like me, was it? Something in the back of my mind shouted at me, telling me something was wrong, but it was too far away to hear, and the thought fell out of my mind as I tried in vain to stand on my own.

"Improved a lot, it seems," he said with a curious look, taking me by the shoulders and holding me at arm's length. "Are you all right, Miss Remilia?"

"Better than all right," I replied, laying my hands over his. "Must be something I ate," I managed before collapsing into another fit of giggles. My joke didn't seem to sit well with him, though, as he let out a small gasp, his expression more stricken than I had ever seen it before.

"...Aw, shit." He slid a hand out from under mine and brought it to his face, shaking his head and groaning into his palm. "Patchouli's going to rip me a new one."

"What's wrong?"

"...Keep a secret?"

"Maaaybe," I said teasingly, bringing my other hand up to rest against his arm.

He sighed. "Well, then, I may have been coming down from an excellent opium high when I got Patchouli's call, and you may have gotten some bizarre contact high just now when you bit me."

"...Opium?" So that's what this feeling was? How interesting. Drugs didn't usually have as much effect on me as they did on humans, but this was clearly an exception, considering how coherent Henri seemed.

Although... "What were you doing in the middle of the afternoon, getting--"

"Oh, Christ, not you too, okay?" he interrupted, clearly annoyed. "Listen, can I just take you back to your house to sleep it off? I don't think either of us wants anyone finding out what happened here."

"That's... true, isn't it?" Somehow, I just couldn't find the will to get too worried about Patchouli finding out that I had bitten Henri, but even in my present state, it seemed like something that should be avoided. "Well, then, take me away!" I said happily, releasing his arm and jumping off the ground and into his arms.

The journey back was a euphoric blur as I gave up on interacting with the world around me, letting my senses be dampened by the drug; to this day, I'm still not sure how Henri managed to get me back to my mansion without being seen. The last thing I remember was being laid gently on my bed, and the sound of the door of my bedroom closing softly as I drifted lazily into unconsciousness.

My dreams... I won't recount them here. Suffice it to say that opium's reputation as a promoter of vivid, surreal dreams is entirely justified.

I awoke to a sharp knock on my bedroom door and rolled over, glancing up at the clock. Six 'o clock... in the evening? No, I felt too well rested for that. Had I just slept for over twelve hours? Why--

Ah. The memories of the previous day returned in a rush. I... had made somewhat of a fool of myself, hadn't I? I blushed to myself as vague memories of being carried through my mansion returned to my mind.

"Remilia! Are you in there?" My recollection was cut short by Patchouli's terse shout from the other side of the door, accompanied by another sharp knock. "I don't intend to wait forever!"

"What are you doing here?" I called through the door sleepily, getting out of bed. At least Henri hadn't seen fit to undress me for bed, I noted thankfully, removing my ruined dress and making my way to the bathroom.

"We need to plan our next move. I thought you might appreciate being included in the discussion."

"At six in the morning? This isn't a decent hour for vampires or humans," I called back, quickly washing the dried blood off my skin and taking a set of clothes from my wardrobe.

"The sun hasn't risen yet," she replied. "It may yet, however, if you insist on prolonging this conversation with a door between us."

"I thought I might make myself presentable this morning, if it pleases you, Miss Knowledge," I said curtly, struggling to button up my dress. She didn't reply, and I continued dressing in silence, meeting her at the door a few minutes later. She looked as disagreeable as ever, taking a moment to frown at me before turning on her heel and walking back down the hall and towards the exit.

"No instantaneous transportation this time?" I called after her, struggling to keep up with her pace.

"Casting magic to facilitate travel to your mansion would imply that I have some desire to be here," she said plainly, without turning to look at me. Even with her acerbic comments, she seemed less emotional than she had yesterday, treating me with the same casual distrust as she had after we met at the mausoleum. At least I could be sure that she hadn't discovered that I had bitten Henri, though I still wasn't sure I understood what had set off her temper after the fight with the thralls yesterday.

That still left the question of how to pass the time as we walked from my mansion to the Scarlet Veil building, though; even if she was behaving more neutrally now, it was clear that Patchouli wasn't going to start a conversation.

[ ] I talked to Patchouli about...
- [ ] ...her 'sister'.
- [ ] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.
- [ ] ...biting Henri.
- [ ] ...our bet. I still hadn't had a chance to make my first guess as to her ailment yet, had I?
- [ ] ...something else. (Write-in)
[ ] I let the trip pass in silence.
[ ] Write-in.

---

Another example of how I tend to distract myself when writing: if Remilia bites holes with a total surface area of ~1 centimeter in the jugular vein (cross-sectional area ~200 square millimeters), given the simplifying assumption of a constant blood pressure of 100 millimeters mercury (~13.3 kilopascals), how long will it take to drain 1 unit of whole blood (~450 milliliters)? I got as far as the Wikipedia page for 'Reynolds number' before it occurred to me that I might be taking verisimilitude a bit too far. If any of you are engineers with time on your hands, do post the answer; I'm curious now.
>>No. 32500
[x] I talked to Patchouli about...
- [x] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.

I see no harm in this choice, though it's a bit too soon after Patchy's mood to try touching other subjects.
>>No. 32501
[x] I talked to Patchouli about...
- [x] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.
- [x] ...Henri's drug use.
>>No. 32502
[x] I talked to Patchouli about...
- [x] ...her 'sister'.
- [x] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.
>>No. 32503
[x] I talked to Patchouli about...
- [x] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.
>>No. 32504
[x] I talked to Patchouli about...
- [x] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.
Antagonizing her further now won't get us anywhere.
>>No. 32505
[x] I talked to Patchouli about...
- [x] ...her 'sister'.
- [x] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.

Henri is awesome. And an opium high Remilia is hilarious.
>>No. 32506
[x] I talked to Patchouli about...
-[x] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.
Works for me~!
>>No. 32507
[x] I talked to Patchouli about...
-[x] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.

Has anyone told you that you're awesome lately? Because you are.
>>No. 32508
[+] I talked to Patchouli about...
-[+] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.
-[+] ...her sister.

In order of priority. The sister talk can wait, if need be.
>>No. 32509
[x] I talked to Patchouli about...
- [x] ...her 'sister'.
- [x] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.
>>No. 32511
[x] I talked to Patchouli about...
- [x] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.

Asking about her sister probably won't end well normally, and sure as hell won't end well when she's angry like this.
>>No. 32512
[x] I talked to Patchouli about...
- [x] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.
>>No. 32513
[x] I talked to Patchouli about...
- [x] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.
>>No. 32517
[X] I talked to Patchouli about...
- [X] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.
>>No. 32539
[x] I talked to Patchouli about...
-[x] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.

Epileptic tree time.

Complete confidence on going to investigate the scene alone. Certainty on the mechanism of the exploding corpses, while giving us no leads, and constantly distancing himself from the vampire's actions which he labels as 'amateurish'.

Offering his blood, but only if Remilia knelt in obeisance. No apparent ill effects on him afterward (he was able to carry Remilia to her bedroom).

Remilia pointing out that drugs that work on humans shouldn't work on vampires, and yet she was more affected by the drug than he was.

tl;dr: Henri is the vampire,
>>No. 32540
>>32539
Oh shi-...

...this actually makes a whole damn lot of sense, come to think of it. God damn.
>>No. 32541
>>32539
FFFFFFuuuuuck
>>No. 32542
>>32539

I'm not so sure on that, but let's wait and see.
>>No. 32548
>>32539

This is a pretty creative conspiracy theory. You get +30 paranoia points. Spend them well.

Seriously though, I think Remilia would be aware if he was the vampire. That and if he WAS the vampire, he could have easily offed everyone by now. Remilia was completely at his mercy (just kill her once she falls asleep), and Patchouli would be easy to kill by any douche with a knife if she was caught off guard.

Come to think of it, Remilia needs to be more careful. These people are hunting vampires. There is no guarantee they won't kill her just because of what she is when this is all over. Try not to forget that.
>>No. 32549
>>32548
Vampires, like cats, like to toy with their prey~
>>No. 32555
>>32539
Fuck.
>>No. 32556
Henri was the one who knelt.
>>No. 32559
>>32549

I'm not saying that Henri might not be a traitor or something like that, as that's a possibility. He just doesn't really make sense to be the vampire. He could be working for the vampire, but again, I think its all paranoia.

If anything, we shouldn't be trusting anyone at all yet, Patchouli included. Henri could have staked us as we slept easily if was so inclined, and other than the fact that he didn't we have no real indication that we're anything but a tool or an amusement to them right now.

Not that we shouldn't continue being friendly, as I'd like to have Remilia gain their trust and vice versa. We just shouldn't assume we're "all in" yet.
>>No. 32570
Out of idle curiosity, if Henri was somehow a / the vampire, would there be any potentially negative side-effects (from Remilia's PoV) to drinking his blood? I'm not very clued up on vampire lore.
>>No. 32572
[x] I talked to Patchouli about...
-[x] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.
>>No. 32590
>>32570
Eh, it's not like vampire lore is some kind of a unified thing, and glasnost is pretty much free to pick whatever effect he likes.
>>No. 32693
>>32570
*Most* interpretations of vampires assume that they can't obtain sustenance from drinking each others' blood -- otherwise, why would they need to feed on humans at all?
>>No. 32694
>>32693

Most people would assume that, but I haven't actually heard any vampire lore actually come out and say it.
>>No. 32696
>>32693
A lot of vampire "lore" seems to break down if you think about it too hard, though.

Personally, I would think that blood is blood, and as long as it's not coming from your own body, it should sustain you. It's not like vampires have a universal rule against drinking from each other; humans have problems with cannibalism too, you know. Vampires might just prefer not to in the same way humans prefer not to.

There would be a question as to subservience, though; most of the time the drinker of vampire blood gains a link to the host, and the host is then able to enact limited control over the drinker. That's usually only referenced when a human drinks it, though. Maybe it depends on how strong the host's blood is in comparison to the drinker's willpower? In that case, if Remilia were to drink Henri's blood, and Henri is actually stronger than her, he might gain some limited control over her. The reverse might also be true.
>>No. 32702
>>32696
I would assume you can't simply drink another vampire's blood to create a perpetual blood machine for the same reason you can't just eat your friend's leg and let him eat yours and expect that to work indefinitely.

No idea about simply drinking another's blood directly. I'm not familiar with vampire lore myself.
>>No. 32711
Meh, if anything, I'd figure that a vampire can't regenerate blood, being an animated corpse, thus while a vampire can drink another's blood, it cannot do this indefinitely without killing (or forcing into coma) the one being drained. This logic has the upside that there's no need for any silly rules against drinking another vampire's blood, or that blood not providing sustenance. Add to that a constant upkeep cost and you have a very good reason for snacking on humans instead of another pet vampire.
>>No. 32744
[B] I talked to Patchouli about...
-[B] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.
>>No. 32841
File 126041907676.png - (54.44KB, 260x400, not to scale.png) [iqdb]
32841
It is simultaneously a relief and a disappointment to see that nobody's surprised that the update is taking this long.

Still alive, still working on it. Have some Royal Flare.
>>No. 32863
>>32841
It's not that I don't check frequently.
>>No. 32869
>>32841

Been too stressed over finals to bitch about updates. Still been checking this and a few other stories at least once or twice a day, though.

Ps: Update
>>No. 32895
>>32841
Unlike the other two I'm slowly getting used to you not updating as frequently; not to mention with the up coming holidays I can't justify demanding you to update when you have a life outside (just a theory) of THP.

Doesn't make it any better though on your update frequency...

Also update damn it.
>>No. 32903
File 126110060115.jpg - (353.45KB, 1112x662, 3cc457886e495b51259e8987fc38bec9.jpg) [iqdb]
32903
>>32841
I check daily to see if there is a new update. I just don't whine for updates that much anymore.
But if you want i can do it again.

Now get back to work Nigger, your update speed is lousy. At least make one once a week, i lose focus and interest if i read the next one after 2 weeks or so.
Just look at Tai- forget it.
>>No. 32904
>>32903
>Just look at Tai- forget it.
I'll get back to my old updating pace once glasnost updates this story~
>>No. 32905
File 126110156433.jpg - (18.74KB, 400x338, hahaha.jpg) [iqdb]
32905
>>32904
>>No. 32942
>>32904
>I'll get back to my old updating pace once glasnost updates this story~

Probably shouldn't have said that considering, and no offense to Glasnost, but some of us expect him to be real slow with the updates. It seems that with his writing, we've become accustomed to his long, inexplicable delays but still maintain focus.

The longer you delay Taisa the more likely the readers will remember the nonsensical tirades between certain anon rather than the story; at least in my opinion considering the posts over at /words/ and less so in /blue/.

Just my $0.02

Also Glasnost, UPDATE damn it...
>>No. 33241
File 126225505458.jpg - (101.38KB, 900x900, 17.jpg) [iqdb]
33241
Sorry about the delay laziness impromptu month-long hiatus. If it makes anyone feel any better, I have been writing for a significant portion of my away time, and some of it is /sdm/-related one-shot type things, so you'll probably be seeing it someday. The lack of updates here was caused when I realized there was a pretty huge inconsistency in my planned plot, which caused a sudden drop in motivation even after I had thought my way around it. As I've said before elsewhere, the only promise I'll make regarding updates is that they will continue until the story is finished, but I'm pretty dissatisfied with my work ethic regarding writing lately, and I hope to make some tangible improvements in the near future.

>>32904
Don't think I won't hold you to that.

---

[X] I talked to Patchouli about...
-[X] ...what Henri found out about the vampire.

"You've heard from Henri as to the vampire's whereabouts?" I asked. Patchouli was clearly in no mood for idle chatter, and I was far too drowsy to take much pleasure in annoying her any further than she already was.

"I have," Patchouli said quietly. "It seems my supposed counterattack was little more than dancing in the palm of the vampire's hand."

"Too true," I said, stopping at the door to slip on a nice, heavy coat. It wasn't that cold outside yet, but this would cover more skin, in case I found myself having to spend time out in the sun again today. "So what are your thoughts regarding our next move?"

She stayed silent for a moment, opening the front door and looking out to the streets, idly watching the lamplighters run about dousing streetlights as the dawn threatened to break the horizon at any moment.

"...Well?"

She gave a hollow chuckle in response to my prompting, then stepped outside, letting the door fall closed behind her, and for the second time today, I found myself chasing after her, struggling to button the higher buttons of my coat as she strode away on legs longer than my own.

"Aren't we in a mood today?" I huffed, still struggling to keep up as we passed through the outer gate of the mansion and onto the street. "Walking while keeping my wings folded flat like this isn't as easy as I make it look, you know."

"I'm afraid you've heard the extent of my thoughts," she said calmly, ignoring my present question to answer the previous one. "I have no plan for this situation, other than waiting and watching."

"Nonsense!" Was she telling the truth, or had she decided to stop trusting me again after her little episode on the roof? "Surely a brilliant magician such as yourself--"

"And see how much my brilliance has gained us." Still calm, even as she interrupted me, but there was a hint of bitter emotion there under the surface. "'Deceive the heavens to cross the ocean.' It was a feint of the utmost simplicity, and I was utterly taken in."

Aha. So she was still moping because of the ambush yesterday? "We were utterly taken in, you mean."

"I led us into a trap." Another empty laugh. "We would have been better off following your plan and blindly charging off toward Paris."

"You don't know that," I shot back, ignoring the small slight against me. "There could have been a group of thralls waiting for us there as well."

"Am I supposed to take comfort in the idea that we would have been routed no matter what path we chose?"

"If the only other option is blaming yourself for an unavoidable mistake, then--"

"'Unavoidable mistake'?" she repeated. "A phrase used by fools as an alternative to taking responsibility for their actions."

Ugh. Was she so determined to take this upon herself? "Unavoidable or not, what's done is done! Are you going to let it stop you from thinking?"

"I have not stopped thinking," Patchouli snapped, the first real outward sign of emotion she'd shown yet. "It is my considered opinion that as the situation stands, I may not be capable enough to ensure a favorable resolution to this situation. Now, can we put an end to this--"

"Your considered opinion is imbecilic." Now I was getting angry myself, though I barely even knew what at. "How did you manage to learn magic if your natural response to failure is to stop trying?"

"I have done no such..." she started, voice rising with anger, before abruptly cutting herself off. "I don't intend to discuss it any further."

"That's quite a shame, because I'd still like an answer!" I was practically shouting now, attracting attention from the few people already out on the street this early, but I didn't care. "Why, exactly, have you called me out here if your only plan is to do nothing?!"

Nothing. She didn't even acknowledge that I had spoken, continuing to walk down the street without so much as a change in her expression.

"So you're just going to ignore me?" No response.

"Playing deaf, like a spoiled child?" Silence.

"You..." I was practically shaking now, and it took a great deal of self-control not to reach out and grab her, shake her by the lapels until she admitted how foolish she was being. In the end, I swallowed my words, leaving my choice words unsaid, and the rest of the trip passed in stony silence.

That silence remained as we reached the Scarlet Veil headquarters, and Patchouli brushed my shoulder roughly as she stepped ahead of me on the stairs, unlocking the door and pushing it open. Henri and Michel were already there, seated in their usual positions, as the chairs in the room had been returned to their original positions since yesterday.

"Good mornnaaaah..." Henri cut his own greeting short with a noisy yawn, and he flopped back onto his chair lazily as I entered, eyes closed and feet already up on the table in front of him.

"Lady Remilia!" Michel, on the other hand, seemed wide awake, practically jumping from his chair to greet us as we entered. As he raised a hand in greeting, I couldn't help but notice the bandage under his sleeve, covering the thrall's bite from yesterday. At any rate, he seemed to be back to health now. "How are you this morning?"

"A patronizing busybody who alternates between active antagonism and indignation when her victims lose their patience," Patchouli said, pointedly brushing past Michel and throwing herself into her chair. "As per usual." With that last rejoinder, she scooped up a book from the table before her and held it up to her face, effectively blocking out the rest of the world.

"Quite depressed, after being accompanied here by such a devoted pessimist," I snapped in return, hanging my coat over the back of the chair opposite Patchouli's and sitting down. Blunt, but apparently not blunt enough; Patchouli didn't even look up, burying her nose so deep in her reading material that I doubted that she could even make out the letters.

"I... ah, I'm sorry to..." Or maybe too blunt. I couldn't help but feel a little bad as Michel stuttered, glancing back and forth between the two of us anxiously, like a kicked puppy anticipating the next blow.

"Never mind. What have I missed?"

"Two more murders." Henri spoke out this time, opening his eyes and hanging his head over the armrest as he shifted sideways in his seat. "Both of them committed around the time you and Patchouli were gone."

"And it's unquestionably another attack by the vampire?"

"Same situation as the husband and wife murder from last time. A locked room on the third floor with two dead bodies inside." Henri chuckled lightly to himself. "Police are trying to keep the circumstances quiet this time, though, before the vampire rumors turn into mass hysteria."

"They'd be better off telling the truth at this point," Patchouli said darkly, without lowering her book from her face. "The lynchings that would follow in the name of killing vampires seem as likely to find the true vampire as our methods."

"Now, I don't think that's true," Michel said as he took his own seat, having regained some of his composure. "The fact that the vampire waited until you were gone to attack shows that he does consider us a force to be reckoned with."

"Or he's simply demonstrating how easily he can manipulate us."

"...At any rate, please take a look at this," Michel said uneasily, apparently determined to politely ignore Patchouli's negativity. He leaned forward in his chair, sliding one of the books on the table towards himself and opening it to a bookmark. I instantly recognized the diagram on the pages as a map of Versailles, and after a second, recognized the red X marks dotted across it as the sites of each of the murders.

"The circles are a kilometer wide," Michel said, indicating the carefully traced halos around the point of each attack. "The shaded portion shows where all four overlap. It's not ironclad proof, but the fact that multiple attacks on different nights center around this same area makes it possible that his base of operations is here."

"Or he's intentionally scattered his attacks in such a way as to draw attention to that area, and his next ambush is waiting for us there." This time, Patchouli had lowered her book just far enough below her eyes to peer at the map on the table before butting in with disapproval.

"Y'know, you're right. Let's just give up," Henri said, voice heavy with sarcasm, pursing his lips and glancing up at Patchouli. She made no reply except to raise her book back above eye level, though, and he rolled his eyes slightly before looking back down to the map.

"On the other hand, just the four attacks we know about isn't a lot to go on," he said, tracing a finger over the map. "The overlapping area... that's still at least a quarter of a square kilometer. Not exactly a day's work. We may be better off starting with the crime scene just in case, like we did last time."

"It's not as though we'd have to search every house," I said, circling the area with a fingernail myself. "A vampire's mansion should be easy enough to spot."

"How's that?"

"Fewer windows, architecture from an older era, few or no servants..." I shrugged. "That's just what immediately comes to mind. I'm sure we'll manage somehow."

"Searching for old architecture in a city which has existed since the Dark Ages?" Patchouli again. "Genius. I've no doubt you'll be able to find dozens of vampiric estates by sundown."

"Oh, for Christ's sake!" Henri said, both feet hitting the floor as he abruptly dropped from his reclined posture. "Is your sister coming back soon, Patchouli?" he asked, an impatient edge in his voice as he glared at Patchouli again. "Because it's real hard to deal with you without her around."

She didn't say anything for a few seconds, and when she finally lowered her book to respond, her expression made no attempt to hide her anger. "My personal life is not the subject of discussion, and I don't appreciate the implication that such a thing has any bearing on--"

"Oh, come off it!" Michel said sharply, cutting her off. "It's been half a day. Either quit acting miserable and think of something for us to do or just go home."

Silence.

"As you wish." Patchouli closed her book with a deafening snap, her chair squeaking across the floor as she stood up with enough force to push it backwards. "My opinion is that taking a measure of introspection would be preferable to charging off to our deaths. Somehow, I find myself unsurprised that you disagree." Clutching her book to her chest, she glared down at Henri for an instant before turning away from us and stomping towards the front door. "You're no different from when we found you," she spat without looking back.

"Oh, so your personal life is off limits, but I'm fair game?" Henri was on his feet now, pushing past the short table to follow after Patchouli. "Listen, you stuck-up hypocrite, if you--"

"Henri, leave her be." Before he could get anywhere, though, Michel stood from his own chair, gently holding Henri's advance back with a single hand on his shoulder. "Patchouli, where are you--"

Slam. The front door slammed shut behind her with enough force to rattle the coat rack, and the three of us stood in silence for a long moment.

"...Christ. I need a smoke." And then the silence was broken, and Henri brushed Michel's hand off of his shoulder and walked away, stopping briefly at the door to dig a pipe out of his coat before stepping outside.

Michel sat back down, resting his elbows on his knees, cradling his head in his hands, and sighing deeply. "Oh, Patchouli," I heard him mutter quietly, lowering his hands and shaking his head.

"He's going after her?"

Michel shook his head. "She used her key to go back to her house. Going after her would be a half-hour walk from here."

"So I can go after her?" I asked, voice clipped; try as I might to detach myself, I couldn't help but feel like chasing after her and teaching her a lesson.

"I... suppose I could tell you the way to her house, if you'd like, but..." He settled back into his chair, wincing slightly and touching his injured arm as he did. "I haven't seen her act like this for... quite some time. Perhaps we really should just proceed without her."

"...Hm."

[ ] I went after her. Poor disposition or not, she was a talented magician, and I wasn't going to allow her moodiness to get in the way of hunting this vampire.
[ ] There wasn't any point in including her with the way she was acting. I...
- [ ] ...went to search the area Michel had found central to all the attacks. It was the closest thing to a lead we had, and it was best to start searching while the day was still young.
- [ ] ...went to examine the latest crime scene. The police might not have noticed anything helpful, but then, they didn't know they were looking for a vampire.
-- [ ] ...and brought along... [Write-in who, if anyone, to take with you.]
- [ ] ...decided to stay here for a little while. We hadn't really come to a consensus, and there were still things that could be done without leaving.

---

Sorry if this update is bad; maybe it's just the whole 'getting back to updating' thing, but it really feels sub-par.

For bonus points, spot the anachronism in this update.
>>No. 33243
[X]...went to examine the latest crime scene. The police might not have noticed anything helpful, but then, they didn't know they were looking for a vampire...
[X]...and brought along Henri, who was at least not wounded or depressingly pessimistic.

Your update is fine, it's just that nothing actually happened because we got on Patche's nerves again. At least you got it in before the New Year~
>>No. 33244
[x] I went after her. Poor disposition or not, she was a talented magician, and I wasn't going to allow her moodiness to get in the way of hunting this vampire.

>Don't think I won't hold you to that.
Bug him every day on IRC about it.
>>No. 33245
>>33241
God damn it, and I thought you'd died, too.
Not that I'm not overjoyed to see one of my beloved stories updated, mind you.

[x] I went after her. Poor disposition or not, she was a talented magician, and I wasn't going to allow her moodiness to get in the way of hunting this vampire.

Needs more exposition.
>>No. 33251
[X]...went to examine the latest crime scene. The police might not have noticed anything helpful, but then, they didn't know they were looking for a vampire...
[X]...and brought along Henri, who was at least not wounded or depressingly pessimistic.
>>No. 33252
[B]...went to examine the latest crime scene. The police might not have noticed anything helpful, but then, they didn't know they were looking for a vampire...
[B]...and brought along Henri, who was at least not wounded or depressingly pessimistic.
>>No. 33253
[X] I went after her. Poor disposition or not, she was a talented magician, and I wasn't going to allow her moodiness to get in the way of hunting this vampire.
>>No. 33254
[x] I went after her. Poor disposition or not, she was a talented magician, and I wasn't going to allow her moodiness to get in the way of hunting this vampire.

I figure the dynamic between Remilia & Patchouli is they are both very stubborn individuals.
>>No. 33255
[x] ...went to examine the latest crime scene. The police might not have noticed anything helpful, but then, they didn't know they were looking for a vampire...
[x] ...and brought along Henri, who was at least not wounded or depressingly pessimistic.

>For bonus points, spot the anachronism in this update.
Using kilometers?
>>No. 33261
[x] I went after her. Poor disposition or not, she was a talented magician, and I wasn't going to allow her moodiness to get in the way of hunting this vampire.

Talk about fussy, hard to imagine the supposely logical magician acting like this. I can see how similar Remilia and Patchouli are in this regard.
>>No. 33265
>>33255
I noticed this before, but I didn't want to bring it up: this is supposed to be Ancien Regime France, but the metric system didn't become mainstream until after the Revolution.
>>No. 33267
>>33265
someone's ahead of the times perhaps..?

I don't know...
>>No. 33269
I can´t decide.
I believe that following Patchouli will be pointless, but I also have the paranoid feeling that going somewhere with Henri (choosing him instead of Patchy, no less) WILL be bad news.

Oh, to hell with it.

[x] I went after her. Poor disposition or not, she was a talented magician, and I wasn't going to allow her moodiness to get in the way of hunting this vampire.
She isn´t Sherlock Holmes. Then again, there was only one. Introspection far away from the place with clues will be a huge waste of time.
>>No. 33270
[x] I went after her. Poor disposition or not, she was a talented magician, and I wasn't going to allow her moodiness to get in the way of hunting this vampire.
She isn´t Sherlock Holmes. Then again, there was only one. Introspection far away from the place with clues will be a huge waste of time.
>>No. 33271
>>33255
And for what it's worth, my other three guesses are the pipe, something to do with the lamplighters, or some turn of phrase used that is too new.
>>No. 33465
[x] I went after her. Poor disposition or not, she was a talented magician, and I wasn't going to allow her moodiness to get in the way of hunting this vampire.
She isn´t Sherlock Holmes. Then again, there was only one. Introspection far away from the place with clues will be a huge waste of time.

Updates?
>>No. 33467
>>33465
Updates?

Maybe next month...

seriously though he may be as busy, if not more so, than HY is nowadays.
>>No. 33528
File 126294215457.png - (282.33KB, 575x950, 18.png) [iqdb]
33528
>>33255
>>33265
Entirely correct, but I can handwave that one away as part of the 'translation' to English, since everyone's speaking French here anyway. Also, considering that the Scarlet Veil is basically full of scholars of one sort or another, it wouldn't be too surprising for them, at least, to be a little ahead of the curve, and the idea of a standard meter about the size of today's meter had already been proposed by 1760.

As for what I was thinking of, >>33271 grazed it with the pipe: I might be wrong, but I don't think the idea of 'stepping outside to smoke' existed during the 18th century.

>>33269
What sort of IME settings replace ' with ´, anyway?

>>33270
>>33465
Careful with that copypaste, guys.

>>33467
Nah, now I'm just being slow. I almost made my deadline of a week, though, so I'm pleased enough with myself. And, hey, there are new stories in /sdm/ now! Go read them if you haven't already; they look like they have potential.

---

[X] I went after her. Poor disposition or not, she was a talented magician, and I wasn't going to allow her moodiness to get in the way of hunting this vampire.

"Tell me where to find her."

"...I'll draw you a map." Michel reached over the table, sliding a blank piece of paper out from the middle of a high stack of books and grabbing a stray pen and ink well to write with. "Tell the servants that I sent you and they won't refuse you."

"The servants won't refuse me, no matter what I tell them," I said, scowling lightly to myself.

"Well, perhaps, but if Patchouli's told them that she won't see any visitors, then they might..." he began, trailing off weakly once he looked up into my eyes. "Ah, y-yes, that's right. I suppose it won't be a problem, will it?" he stuttered, quickly turning back down to the paper and continuing to draw.

"...That's quite a talent you have there," I said brightly, trying to lighten the mood a little. I meant it, too; in just the time we had been talking and without so much as a straightedge, he had already drawn out a small grid representing the streets of Versailles, and his hand flew over the paper as he spoke, writing in landmarks in neat lettering along the way.

"It's a useful skill for a magician to have. A misplaced line in a complicated array means a failed spell at best, and catastrophe at worst." Adding one last X with a flourish, he slid the map back to me. "This is where we are now," he said, indicating a circle on the map, "so if you go out the door and turn right, you'll be heading the right way."

"Thank you." I picked the map up off the table, looking it over once before folding it in half and slipping it into my pocket. "I'll be leaving now, then," I said, retrieving my coat from the back of my chair and slipping it on as I walked back toward the entrance.

"Lady Remilia!" Before I could make it out, though, Michel called out to me, the slightest hint of urgency in his voice.

"Hmm?" I stopped at the doorway, buttoning the top button of my coat and looking back at him.

"I would..." Michel's words trailed off into silence, and he looked away, staring at the ground as if what he wanted to say was written there. "I understand that Patchouli's attitude can be... frustrating at times, but..." He looked back up at me, expression tense. "She's... still a child, in many ways. Please don't be too hard on her."

I frowned at him. "It's not as though I'm going to hurt her."

"Of course not, I didn't mean to imply that you would. But..." He paused for a moment, then shrugged, as if to himself. "For want of a better word, Patchouli is a genius. She's not... accustomed to problems that she can't solve in an instant, and she's even less familiar with failure. I fear that telling her that she's overreacting would only drive her further into her shell."

"So what should I tell her?"

"I... don't know." He shrugged again, settling heavily back into his chair. "Perhaps I'm too close to the situation to be giving advice in the first place," he said, faintly smiling at me. "Do as you see fit, Lady Remilia."

"Hmph. As you say." Well, that wasn't particularly helpful. Still, it was clearer than ever that Michel really did want whatever was best for Patchouli. "I'll keep what you've told me in mind," I called back to him before stepping outside, closing the door behind me, and making my way up the stairs onto the street.

Besides, I still had one other source of information to consult before I would have to talk to Patchouli. "Henri?" I called out as I reached the top of the stairs.

To no reply. "Are you here?" I asked again, looking around from my position at the top of the stairs; I didn't see him anywhere, and there certainly wasn't anywhere in this narrow alleyway that I wouldn't have seen him standing in. Had he just left, then? Shrugging it off, I turned right and walked out onto the main street.

The sun still hadn't fully risen above the horizon yet, but its light was more than bright enough for the shopkeepers and street vendors to prepare themselves for the day by, and I tucked myself into my coat tightly, revealing as little skin as possible. After my recent meal, the sun certainly wouldn't have hurt me, and probably wasn't even strong enough to leave a rash, but I could still sense its power; a prickling feeling under my skin like my limbs had fallen asleep. Fortunately, the walk to Patchouli's house wasn't nearly as long as Michel had suggested, and hadn't walked more than fifteen minutes before I found myself on the correct street, no more than a few blocks away.

As I walked, I couldn't help but think back to Patchouli's words from earlier, belittling my plan to find the vampire, and my attention wandered to the well-appointed houses that lined the street, examining their suitability for our quarry.

I found in short order, though, that no matter how offhandedly she had dismissed me or how much I wanted to deny it, she had been right. Determining how many servants a household employed by looking at their front door was no simple feat, and what little I knew about architecture told me that nearly every house I passed was of a respectable age. As for windows... perhaps the Grande Galerie at the Palace had turned architects away from the style, knowing that they had no hope of besting its magnificence, or perhaps the high-class drunkards which composed the wealthiest men in the city disliked seeing the sun too early in the morning; either way, at least one in three houses met any criteria I would have set for 'few enough' windows.

In fact, Patchouli's house was among them, I noted with a bit of amusement as my eyes came to rest on a house number that matched the one written on my map. All in all, it was a fairly simple dwelling; hardly big enough to be called a mansion, by today's standards.It didn't sit on a great deal of land, but that was to be expected for any house this deep in the city. Even saying that, though, the front lawn alone was probably big enough to fit one of the tenements on the outskirts of town that laborers and that sort lived in; not quite as big as my own, but nothing to sneeze at. Putting my map back into my pocket, I pushed the metal gate before me open and walked down the short brick path to the house.

The door knocker was set annoyingly high, and I had to stand on my toes to reach it, striking it against the door a few times. I heard muffled voices and rushing footsteps from inside, and then the door was pulled open with enough force to startle me, revealing what must have been one of the maids: a plain-looking girl wearing a typical black uniform, a long white apron, and a confused expression.

"Hello? Who -- ah!" The servant gasped slightly as she finally looked down far enough to find me, and her expression changed to a foolish grin as she bent down, lowering her face to my level. "Well, hello there! Are you lost, young lady?" she cooed insipidly.

Oh, God, another one of these. "No, I am not," I said acidly. "I'm here to see Miss Patchouli Knowledge."

"Wha-- ah, L-Lady Patchouli? She said n-not to let anyo-- I mean, she's not in right now!" The maid, naturally, reacted poorly to the discovery that I wasn't a lost child, stammering out a vague lie that wouldn't have fooled me even if I had been a child.

"I was sent by Mr. Michel..." Oh, dear, what was his last name? Ah, well. "...Miss Patchouli's acquaintance. Please let me in."

"I-I-I'm sorry, but she's n-not in right now! I'm afraid you'll have to leave!" The poor girl had turned deathly pale now, and reached for the door handle to shut the door in my face with trembling fingers. Was my appearance really that disconcerting?

Either way, I had no patience for this. Reaching out a hand, I caught the door mid-slam and looked up into the eyes of the shaking maid, using enough magic energy to keep her still.

"You're going to show me where Patchouli's room is." Her grip on the door weakened as I spoke, her eyes losing their focus as I entranced her. "Quickly. I don't want to be seen."

"Y... yes." The confusion quickly left her voice as the magic took full effect, and she stepped aside, allowing me to enter. After shutting the door behind me, she took off without a word, heading up a nearby set of stairs, and I followed after her, taking a good look at the interior of the house as I went. For the mansion of a family as well-bred as Patchouli's must have been, it was surprisingly barren; there was certainly none of the lavish gold and silver that one would find strewn around the average nobleman's house, and even the woodworking had a plain, unadorned quality, far from the current vogue.

The building's floor plan wasn't particularly complicated, and once on the second floor, we walked down a large hallway to the far end of the building, then turned down a narrower corridor; a short dead end with three doors evenly spaced down its length.

"Stop," I commanded, and the maid obeyed, turning to face me with a blank expression. "Which of these rooms is Patchouli's?"

"The one on the end of the hall."

"Good." I met her eyes once again. "You have not allowed anyone into the mansion. You have not seen anyone out of the ordinary inside the mansion, nor have you seen anything else unusual over the past several minutes." I paused for a moment, thinking over my plan for confronting Patchouli, then continued. "Patchouli has given strict orders not to be bothered. She has already chastised you once for making too much noise outside of her room. You will convey this to the rest of the servants, then return to your usual duties. Do you understand?"

"Yes."

"Good. That will be all." With that, I released the magical connection between us, and the girl blinked a few times, staring at me for a moment before tottering away unsteadily back down the hall we had just come from. It would probably take her a few minutes to regain full control of her senses and start behaving normally again, but this guaranteed that I wouldn't be bothered, no matter what happened with Patchouli.

...In fact, with the story I had given the maid, it was likely that the servants would avoid this part of the building altogether. I hadn't intended it this way, but this was a good chance, possibly the only chance I would have to look around Patchouli's house. True, she hadn't thought highly of my invasions of her privacy earlier, but this was a different situation altogether. Besides, I still had a wager to win, I reminded myself; one that I hadn't even had a chance to think about since yesterday. If nothing else, perhaps there was another library hidden somewhere up here.

In the end, I...

[ ] ...decided to peek into a few of the other rooms first. A look around might tell me something about Patchouli I wouldn't learn otherwise.
[ ] ...went straight to Patchouli's room and knocked on the door. I came here with a purpose, and getting sidetracked would only make things more difficult in the end.
- [ ] Optional: Write-ins for talking with Patchouli; what to do, what to say, how to act, etc.
>>No. 33536
[X] ...went straight to Patchouli's room and knocked on the door. I came here with a purpose, and getting sidetracked would only make things more difficult in the end.

Snooping around now would be in poor taste, especially since we used magic to gain entry and privacy.
>>No. 33541
File 126297357633.jpg - (195.63KB, 600x800, c9150e029b2d21da1fef387de945f705.jpg) [iqdb]
33541
[x] ...went straight to Patchouli's room and knocked on the door. I came here with a purpose, and getting sidetracked would only make things more difficult in the end.
- [x] 'So, how's the investigation going?' (Yukkuri shiteitte ne approach)
>>No. 33570
>>33528
[x] ...went straight to Patchouli's room and knocked on the door. I came here with a purpose, and getting sidetracked would only make things more difficult in the end.
>>No. 33571
[x] ...went straight to Patchouli's room and knocked on the door. I came here with a purpose, and getting sidetracked would only make things more difficult in the end.

Updates. Impossible. It's only the 9th.
>>No. 33590
>...In fact, with the story I had given the maid, it was likely that the servants would avoid this part of the building altogether.

I TOTALLY BET THIS WON'T BECOME A CRITICAL DETAIL, LATER.
>>No. 33641
[x] ...decided to peek into a few of the other rooms first. A look around might tell me something about Patchouli I wouldn't learn otherwise.

lolidunno
>>No. 33668
[x]Find a servant and ask about Patchouli's illness, anything related to it.
>>No. 33675
[x] ...went straight to Patchouli's room and knocked on the door. I came here with a purpose, and getting sidetracked would only make things more difficult in the end.
- [x] Try to address the matter in a non-confrontation manner as not to put her on the defensive.
>>No. 33677
[x] ...went straight to Patchouli's room and knocked on the door. I came here with a purpose, and getting sidetracked would only make things more difficult in the end.
- [x] Try to address the matter in a non-confrontation manner as not to put her on the defensive.
>>No. 33831
[x] ...went straight to Patchouli's room and knocked on the door. I came here with a purpose, and getting sidetracked would only make things more difficult in the end.
- [x] Try to address the matter in a non-confrontation manner as not to put her on the defensive.
>>No. 34157
[x]Ask about updates
>>No. 36016
File 12717964779.jpg - (134.80KB, 803x1149, d353e116879ec38416d981da79124556.jpg) [iqdb]
36016
I really forgot about this one.
>>No. 36061
[x] ...went straight to Patchouli's room and kicked in the door. I came here with a purpose, and getting sidetracked would only make things more difficult in the end.
-[x] DYNAMIC ENTRY
>>No. 36809
>[x]Find a servant and ask about Patchouli's illness, anything related to it.

This doesn't sound like a bad idea.
How far does Remilia's entrancing ability go?
It would be nice if she could get that information from one of Patchouli's servants.
Can she make them tell her whatever she wants or are the entranced people too mindless to be able to say anything aside from “Yes sir”?
>>No. 37379
[x]Ask about updates
>>No. 37380
I have just finished reading this story from the first thread only to realize it's been 4 months since the last update. That makes me sad.

Oh well~

>[x]Find a servant and ask about Patchouli's illness, anything related to it.
>This doesn't sound like a bad idea. How far does Remilia's entrancing ability go? It would be nice if she could get that information from one of Patchouli's servants. Can she make them tell her whatever she wants or are the entranced people too mindless to be able to say anything aside from “Yes sir”?

I don't think Patchouli will be amused if she finds out we were messing with the minds of her servants. We already used our powers to gain entrance, let's leave it at that.

[X] ...went straight to Patchouli's room and knocked on the door. I came here with a purpose, and getting sidetracked would only make things more difficult in the end.
>>No. 37397
>>37380
glasnost has been focusing on Underground LA. I'm using the word 'focusing' very liberally here.
>>No. 37715
Having finished reading and immensely enjoying both stories recently, I'm hoping I covered my bases and will have an update to read soon. I realise that 'soon' is a very subjective word, however..
>>No. 51680
I don't know why that story got bumped, but I'm already hating the one who did that.
>>No. 51711
For half a second I saw this and thought one of my favorite stories had resumed.

Now I'm depressed.
>>No. 52069
Son of a bitch.
>>No. 52565
>>52564
Last update: 10/01/08
The most recent three posts are all saged, and lamenting that the thread was bumped.

You should be able to figure this out.
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