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Post #123

“So… that’s it, Miss Remilia?” I asked, putting down the hair brush and sliding a little to the side. “You’re just gonna, give up? Because you couldn’t find it all that long ago?”

“I will not hear this from you as well as her, Francesca,” she answered back in a huff. “This is not a situation you need to worry about; you may continue with my hair.”

“I’m done with your hair already. And, not to speak out of turn, but… I do need to worry about it! I mean, this is my life, isn’t it? I think maybe I should, you know, be allow to say something about it.”

She huffed childishly again, still not giving me the courtesy of eye contact. “No one has ever said you were not allowed to speak. I think only that it would behoove you not to speak here.”

Well that was a disguised slap in the face and a hearty “shut up” if ever I’d heard one. And if she could be stubborn, so could I. “Yes, well, I forgot what the word behoove means, Miss Remilia, so I’m going to talk anyways. Why don’t you want Sakuya to go look for Naganoto, or wherever?”

Sakuya seemed to have either grown tired of standing, or realized that all impact of her declaring victory at the foot of the bed had failed. In either case she sat down and slid a little closer to the two of us. It’d have been a nice little family gathering if not for the dour subject matter.

Remilia continued, still obstinate. “I like it here. I don’t want to move.”

“Well, yeah… I mean, I like it here too, it’s very nice! I don’t want to move either! But, we can’t just stay here! You know what your sister said, us fairies are just fading away! I don’t wanna die!”

“Hmmmh… Everything dies, eventually. Nothing on this earth is meant to last forever.”

“Small words coming from a woman who can outlive us all as long as there’s another living creature’s blood to drink,” Sakuya shot back, uncharacteristically unkind.

“This situation affects me as much as any of you, I will have you know,” she retorted, sliding sideways so that the three of us were now seated in a triangle on the bed. “What we face is a world that does not believe in us. In magic. Does it matter if I won’t fade away into the unknown like a fey? A vampire without magic around it is no better than a human, and she dies just as quickly. I am well aware of the gravity of the situation.”

“Then do something about it!” I shouted back, pounding a fist into the soft mattress. “Let Sakuya look! What are you afraid of? That she’ll come back without finding anything? That’s better than not looking at all, I’d say. At least then we know.

“I know already, Fran. The only thing worse than looking for a miracle and not finding it is knowing you won’t find it and looking anyways.”

“No you don’t! That’s just it; you don’t know! Did you, did you know that there was no such person as Kay? Did you know that it was just another voice inside Flandre’s head that didn’t mean anything? It’s… it’s magic, Miss Remilia! Who knows anything at all about magic; not even Ms. Patchy can figure it out! Just let them look, please! Sakuya wouldn’t… wouldn’t have come in here if she thought it was nothing! I’m telling you, something’s there!”

“And I am telling you that it does not matter if there is. I’m not leaving this house. This house is my home.”

“People… People move from their homes sometimes! And isn’t… Isn’t home where the heart is, or something”

“My heart is with this house. My heart has run from its problems from house to house, palace to palace, until I cannot even remember all of their names. I will not run from my problems here, only to pick them up in some other place I don’t care about.”

I ground my teeth in frustration. I wasn’t going to quit; I’d burned too many of my bridges already. This was probably going to be the only real, solid chance I had to sit down and talk directly to Remilia without feeling like a little bug. I didn’t really care if I make her angry, called her stubborn, insulted her, shouted at her… There are some things, even in a fairy’s life, that are worth fighting for.

“If you stop trying to fix your problems, though… isn’t that even more like running away?” I asked, looking back at her eyes that refused to look at mine.

“There are some problems, little one, which cannot be fixed.”

”Bull, shit!” Sakuya suddenly swore, leaning in closer to our triangle and practically forcing her hand to not reach out and grab Remilia’s chin for eye contact. The mistress looked at her of her own accord in the end anyways; small consolation. “If you would have wanted to you could have fixed it in a decade! You can control fate, dammit! I lived in Japan thirty-five years, Remi, and you know what? The whole country had heard of me, by name, rumor, or legend! There was no shortage of people who were willing to accept the existence of magic! And this was after you’d given up on the world and shut yourself up here! Don’t cry to me about people not believing in vampires; all you’d have to do is walk right into London and give them a show so spectacular their modern skepticism couldn’t deny it even if they tried to! You know why you didn’t, because you just didn’t want to turn into some lab rat stuck in a zoo in the name of science! You’re too busy being a queen to show people the proof they need!”

Remilia sighed, and said matter-of-factly, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. Luke, the sixteenth chapter. They have proof already, Sakuya, and they still don’t listen to it.”

“Because you have seen me, you have believed,” Sakuya slung back, thought not after some thought; were they quoting a book? “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. Something Jesus said somewhere! Sometimes people are just waiting for a sign to know the truth, Remi! Read their books, see their movies; they want these things to be real!”

“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. Titus, the first chapter. I don’t care what they say, Sakuya, because what they do is what is of importance. If they actually wanted to believe, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, would we?”

Sakuya drew a blank, and I could see her working frantically to find a counter-point. But every second of silence was another second for Remilia to rebuild her obstinate charisma. I renewed my attack in Sakuya’s stead. “Things change, Miss Remilia! Okay, so maybe humans don’t believe in us, maybe they didn’t two hundred years ago, maybe, maybe you’re right and there wasn’t any magic in Japan when you looked! But that, that was then and this is now! I mean, oasis dry up, but don’t new ones show up out of nowhere too? And even, even if we screwed up and Kay’s not from Nagatoko or whatever, we know she’s got a Japanese accent! Sakuya taped it, there’s no denying it, right?! That can’t be a mistake, she’s got to be from there!”

There was no end to the number of devil’s advocates she was going to pull, it seemed. “All we know is that her voice has the ability to speak English with a Japanese accent. I could very easily adopt a dozen different dialects from countries around Europe right now, none of which I was born in.”

“Then, then… At least we’ve got Kay! Who knows, maybe she’ll lighten up and tell us more! The devil girl did, didn’t she? She was a real mean jerk, and now she’s just a regular jerk!”

“The devil’s species I am familiar with. Who is this Kay, and what? Has she a brain, a consciousness, an ability to possess emotions or comprehend cause and effect? I put no trust in that which I have no ability to understand or control.”

I had seriously started to consider reaching out and just slapping the woman. Had this been what Meiling and Sakuya had to deal with when they told her about the utter disappointment Natasha and her band of hunters were? It was insane. Pointless! Here we were, so close to an answer, a hope, and she was digging her heels into the ground like a spoiled little brat! I could no longer tell if the tears in my eyes were those of sadness, or rage.

”You’re, guuhhhh, it’s…! Why do you have to make this so complicated?! Why’d’you gotta be so stubborn an’ prideful?! Who are you trying to impress? What are you trying to prove? That you’re the mistress, the big boss? Being a boss means you gotta take responsibility for the people under you! Know who I learned that from, China! And I bet she taught you the same she taught me!”

She folded her hands in her lap, ever looking the part of a dignified lady. “China taught me to change what I could, accept what I could not, and have the serenity to know the difference. What I cannot change is that sooner or later, all of us shall pass away, and there is not a damn thing I can do about that. What I can change is how I deal with this inevitability.”

“That’s not all you can change; you can change whether or not you die sooner or later! I mean, jus’ because everyone dies sometimes, doesn’t mean you gotta stop in the middle of the road when some automobile’s coming and think, ‘I should probably get outta the way… Oh well, we all gotta die sometime,’ that’s just stupid! And you’re being stupid too!”

In all honesty I was just trying to get Remilia to show some emotion instead of that close-eyed plain-faced elegance that was helping exactly zero people at the time, including herself. I knew she had a limit—I’d seen her reach in twice in two days—but the question I had to keep asking myself was whether or not my pitiful little fairy anger could make her reach it. And it looked like the answer was not yet.

“You asked me why, Francesca,” she replied simply. “My reasoning does not have to be a wellspring of logic, nor convince anyone except for myself. That is called an opinion, and I am allowed to have it. It hurts no one.”

Sakuya blurted out an extremely fake laugh, “Hah hah, yeah, except, when, you know, your opinion forces everyone around you to just sit around and wait to turn to dust. But hey, that’s just my opinion!”

“At no point, Sakuya, have I told you, or Francesca, that you cannot attempt to look for whatever it is you think you will find in Japan. Nor will I stop you or anyone else from attempting to move away and go live somewhere else; that is of course your affair and I am not your mother. Know only that I will be here when you get back from learning that this ‘oasis’ falls far short of your expectations.”

“You’d… you’d stay here even if everyone else left the house?” I asked, flabbergasted. “What about Flandre? What if she wants to leave, are you her mother?!”

Finally, some emotion. I got her to pause, got her sly smile to waver, and her eye to twitch. Perhaps a low blow bringing up her sister so soon after yesterday, but at this point the entire conversation had pretty much degraded into that anyways.

“If Flandre… wished to leave, that would of course be her decision, not mine. But neither it is yours to make, and if you will be attempting to convince her one way, I will be fully within my rights to attempt to convince her the other, if I as her sister feel that it is within her best interests to stay. And if this Kay’s home is full of more of her kind, I guarantee you it would not be within her best interests to stay.”

“Auugghh! Remilia, you, don’t, KNOW, that! You don’t know one thing about Kay! She showed up yesterday, for less than an hour; she barely even talked or did anything! You’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover!”

Remi inclined her head in my direction, eyes still closed; why wouldn’t she open them, was it helping her focus on being impotent or something? “Francesca, that cover is drenched in blood. I know my sister. I know that yes she had killed people without warning in the past. I know when she is in the mental state to do so or not. And I know that Flandre did not kill that woman. She said this Kay made her do it, and I believe her. You do not know how important it is to her that she not make these kinds of mistakes, ever. I know.”

That wasn’t going to be enough to stop me; not anymore. I inched ever closer to the vampire, well within arms’ reach. “No, okay?! No, I don’t know; I’ll admit that! I don’t know a lot of things! But you know what I do know, what I know and you don’t?! Kay is Flandre’s friend! I didn’t used to think so, but… I heard her, I heard her and saw her! You heard her too, didn’t you?! She said, that she just wanted to play with someone like her for a change! We all love Flandre very much; I, I bet you love her twice as much as any of us do! But we don’t understand her. And Kay… Kay does. She might not act very nice, but… Flandre trusts her, somehow. She’s someone she can talk to and not feel completely insane all the time. I know—well okay I don’t know—but I have a feeling that even though her mind control is dangerous? Flandre thought it was worth the risk! After all, tons of stuff is dangerous that we can still enjoy if we’re smart! Look at Flandre, she’s dangerous, but do we run away from her? No, we play with her every day! Mistakes happen Miss Remilia, and yes they’re not happy at all, but they’re just—“

She slapped me.

This wasn’t some disobedient slap you give a pet when they misbehave. She’d put enough force into it to knock me flat onto my side; no, this was anger. She was angry. Her scarlet eyes finally looked at me, and they were angry. She hissed back at me, and her words were angry.

“Mistakes… do not, just, happen. Death, does not, just, happen! Mistakes, are problems, problems that can be prevented, fixed, with work, and intelligence, and foresight! And every, every single ‘mistake’ that my sister makes is one more problem that she does not want, one more problem that she thought she solved!”

I rubbed the side of my head where she slapped me, half-expecting to feel my skin split open from the blow. Still on my side and very gingerly rising back up, I shouted back, “Problems?! Mistakes are mistakes Remilia! They happen because no one’s perfect! Look at Sakuya, you try to make her perfect, and look at all the mistakes she makes! Does that mean she’s got problems we need to fix right away?! You can’t stop mistakes from happening, Remilia! Accept what you can’t cha—“

As soon as I’d finally managed to right myself back into a sitting position, Remilia slammed me back down onto the bed, childlike hand clutched around my childlike throat as hard as a vice. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Sakuya make a move to grab me away, but she spat at her maid, “Don’t you dare move her, I am talking to her!” Her molten eyes focused back onto mine as she leaned forwards, stuffing her face right up to my nose and shouting whispers into it. I don’t know how, or why, she knew how to whisper a shout, but she did it, and it still managed to make my ears wince.

“Do you want to know what I could not stop…?” she asked sweetly, voice made of honey and poison. “Of course you do; precious little Francesca, always asking questions, always wondering wondering wondering why why why~? My sister was born with the power to destroy whatever she looks at; that I could not stop. My sister stores up magical energy like an overcharged battery; that I could not stop.

“My sister, destroyed our entire house, along with everything, and everyone in it, save myself and Hong Meiling, when she was NINE. She had NO idea what she was doing, NO idea how to turn it off, and did not even know that she had killed her own parents. THAT, I could not stop.”

Remilia drove my head deeper and deeper into the mattress, still burning holes into my eyes. Her voice never rose past that eerie whisper… “I could not stop her from devolving into catatonia when she finally realized the truth, and I could not stop her from running into the deepest, darkest hole she could find no matter where we moved. Don’t you think that if I could have stopped her from shutting out the world, I would have? Do you think I wanted to see her gouge out her own eyes day after day because she was too afraid to even look at anything for fear of destroying it? If I would have known that in detaching herself from the world for over a century, she would create a new world inside her head, don’t you think I would have tried harder to stop her, when I was already trying my hardest? Don’t you think that I didn’t want her to be in the dark for so long that she couldn’t tell the difference between the voices in her head, and the voices in her ears?

“We were miserable. At every house, in every country, under every name. And life had to continue, didn’t it? I had to be the big sister and pretend she didn’t even exist, to provide for us all. Do you know, fairy girl, how hard it is to live the life of royalty, politics, aristocracy, war… when every minute of every day you know that your sister is back home, in a pitch-black room, unable to hear you, and there is not one, damn, thing, you can do about it?

“This house,” she continued, pointing her other hand’s finger straight down, vibrating with passion, ”this, house, is the first place that I had ever seen her truly happy since our parents died. This house gave my sister back to me, a sister whom I had not known for two hundred, fifty-nine years. This, house, is all I have.” She threw me down onto the floor and stood up on her bed, addressing both Sakuya and myself. For the first time in a long time, I saw her black wings manifest and unfurl behind her, stretching from bedpost to bedpost, letting us both see exactly what she was.

She announced in a regal voice, “I am Remilia, and I am a vampire, by birth and not merely by blood. I was Henrietta the Second, the Queen of Navarre. My parents were taken from me, my country was taken from me, and my only sister was withheld from me. When I left my homeland, I swore to everything holy in the world that the day my sister smiled again was the day I would build our house and never move again. That day was July 4th seventeen seventy-six, the house I built was this one, I shall live here until I die, and there is not a damn thing in this world you can say, or do, that will make me leave it.”

An all-encompassing silence filled the room, broken not even by the ticking of a clock or the faint creaking of a hinge. Her strong words filled my head, my heart, my soul… making me remember in every way the things she had just said. Who she was, what her sister had done, why they were the way they were, it was all right there. My anger at her pride, and my sorrow at her past mixed to create something I just don’t know how to put into words…

Sakuya stepped away from the bed and got to her feet, face cold and consigned to a purpose. Looking at Remilia from below, unblinking, she told her, “I’ll take that bet.” And in a flash, just like always, she was gone. Nothing changed. There was no magical proof written on the walls, or miracle present on the bed, she had just, gone somewhere else.

Another momentary silence. “Get out of my room,” Remilia ordered me. I did not need to be told twice.

Sunny’s optimistic face was still pleasantly waiting outside the door as I walked outside and shut it behind me; I’d completely forgotten I’d even seen her outside. “Well?” she asked curiously. “What’d she say? Are we going for it?”

[ ] I didn’t answer her; there was nothing I wanted to say.
[ ] “…No. Remilia… doesn’t want to leave the mansion. It’s, too important for her… we’re not going anywhere.”
[ ] “It doesn’t matter what she said. She’s wrong. I don’t care how much she knows, she’s wrong.”
[ ] “Yes… Yes, Sakuya’s taking care of it. Everything’s… everything’s going to be all right.”
[ ] “I, don’t know. Remilia is being… difficult.”
[ ] Write-in = A cool thing

--( ) Regardless of response, insert your next destination/course of action here
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[X] “I, don’t know. Remilia is being… difficult.”
--(X) "Know if Sakuya posted any assignments, or should we just look for what needs doing? This house doesn't take care of itself, and it looks like Sakuya won't have any time for that today."

Somebody needs to pick up the slack, and Remilia didn't say Fran was fired.
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[x] “I, don’t know. Remilia is being… difficult.”
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[X] “It doesn’t matter what she said. She’s wrong. I don’t care how much she knows, she’s wrong.”

Angry fairy is angry.

>I am Remilia, and I am a vampire, by birth and not merely by blood.
How does this happen, I wonder?
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Well, you know, when a mommy and a daddy vampire feel love for each other, they... pick up a phone and call a bird in france and in 9 months they deliver a boy hidden in a vegetable...
I.E: They fuck, like every other thing.

[x]"Remilia considers a promise more important than all of our lives."
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Well when a mommy vampire and a daddy vampire love each other very much....
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Son of a... I was reading then posted and didn't see this. Beaten to it....
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I always thought Vampires can't have children. Never knew a MC could have chldren with Remilia.
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Well that was certainly an intense conversation. That was right up there with Patchouli and Natasha. Great to get Remi's opinion of Flandre and where it has come from. I think the most shocking thing for me was how much Sakuya had our back in this argument. Thinking back it makes sense, since she's pretty damn pleased with her discovery, but I think this was the first time she's been outright antagonistic with anyone in the story (unless I'm forgetting something).
I know Fran was angry, but she's also pretty torn up about learning what Remilia's been through, so a mean response doesn't seem appropriate. Likewise, Fran has every interest in living, so she's not about to give up either.

[X] "No... well, maybe, but... not yet at least. Remilia really doesn't want to do anything, but I think Sakuya has something in mind. Maybe."
[X] "So how'd you know Kay was from Nagato?"
--(X) Find Thérèse and help see if she needs help with her 'basement project'

No particular reason, I just think Thursday is just about the coolest fairy ever (after Fran, of course), and finally jamming with her for a few updates left me craving more.

Funny thing, skimming through the last thread
>“Sakuya; come on,” Sunny cut in, placing a hand on the head maid’s shoulder. “She won’t make things any worse. Give the girl a chance, eh?”

pic unrelated, just happy to have found a new image of Sakuya with a guitar.
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[x] “Yes… Yes, Sakuya’s taking care of it. Everything’s… everything’s going to be all right.”

Fuckin' A right she is.
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[X] “…No. Remilia… doesn’t want to leave the mansion. It’s, too important for her… we’re not going anywhere.”

--(X)"But we're going to do it, with or without her."
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[x] “Yes… Yes, Sakuya’s taking care of it. Everything’s… everything’s going to be all right.”

Sakuya cares. She's going to make things all right.

Someone else cares, too. Remilia and Francesca haven't even thought of moving the mansion yet.
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[x] “Yes… Yes, Sakuya’s taking care of it. Everything’s… everything’s going to be all right.”
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So Remilia doesn't want to leave the mansion?
No problem. Just teleport it.
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[x] “Yes… Yes, Sakuya’s taking care of it. Everything’s… everything’s going to be all right.”

Shaping things up to TRUE END
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I don't remember seeing all of Flandre's maids yet. Are they still alive?
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4 for Yes
2 for I don’t know
2 for No (includes >>41134)
1 for It doesn’t matter
1 for Yes-no-maybe so

Aaaaand since the were hardly any votes for the second part, we’ll just go with >>41139. Writing maybe tonight unless I get roped into playing “Graphics-Based Games With Maybe Also Text!” with the friends.

Personally it’s not worth nitpicking over, but I figured that since I’m calling vampires a race in AFT and not just a blood infection, obviously a male and female vampire could mate and have vampire children. A human-vampire pair, however, wouldn’t make anything, or if it did it wouldn’t be a vampire.

>No particular reason, I just think Thursday is just about the coolest fairy ever
Well, she has been referred to as “Flan-Lite” in the story. Most of the quirks with almost none of the crazy. And y’all seem to like Flandre, or so I have heard~

>pic unrelated, just happy to have found a new image of Sakuya with a guitar.
Musical Touhous are ever-awesome. Here, have a Flandre, courtesy of 49.5 FM, “The SPAZ”

Grah, I am feigning intense anger! Get that phrase out of my thread! This isn’t some VN, it’s a story with voter input and exactly one ending ever! Abandon misnomers and tired old ways of thinking, grah!

Flandre has seven special maids, one for each day, and all have been accounted for. There was a time in the past when the maids for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday kept switching because none of them “clicked” with Flan. But everything’s all right now.

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Helping Thérèse? Sounds kinda plain but I guess it's aright. Suddenly having the idea to move the mansion would be OOC and even asking for Patchouli help would be streching it...
Still, I wanted for her to remain in the main scene with the SRS BSNESS and all but I guess it's my fault for not voting (or using the internet) in the whole weekend... an habit that many people share and explains why you get so little votes in the weekends. Just wanted to make that clear since the last three times (in three threads, a good mark btw) that you noticed the lack of votes happened in the weekend.
Keep on rockin'
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The thing with weekends is that it's a cycles

Less people vote on weekends (busy with stuff) which leads writers to think there's less people (Thus they slack off on the weekends) which in turn make the people who aren't busy think no updates on the weekends thus they do stuff... and so forth.
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>Here, have a Flandre, courtesy of 49.5 FM, “The SPAZ”
Let's hope she doesn't hit the Turbo Bass. Remember kids, a boombox is not a toy.

This just bugs me. Most people work on the weekdays. When school is in session, classes are held on the weekdays (okay, some countries hold classes on Saturday, but that's usually a half-day). Unless any plans you have for the weekends take more time than a typical day at work/school, how the hell can you have less free time?
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>49.5 FM, “The SPAZ”
Fun fact: 49.5 MHz is, at least in the US, reserved for cordless phone handset transmitters. (Admittedly, a pirate radio station that broadcasts via people's phones would be pretty damn cool.)

Some people take advantage of the large blocks of free time granted by weekends to do fun things that don't involve the Internet. Likewise, most people slack off for at least a portion of their work day, and the most convenient ways to slack off do involve the Internet.
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well, it didnt hit me as hard as the natasha/patchy part, but it reveals a lot and is indeed powerfull.
This is in no way a critic, it's just that i was really moved by that conversation so it's difficult to top.
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I contemplated that question, holding up a temporary hand to get Sunny to be patient with me. The argument was a blur, full of double-meanings and metaphors and stuff I had barely managed to keep up with anyways. I don’t think either Sakuya or myself would have been able to do it alone; maybe that’s what China had meant when she said she needed help. Our talk had certainly told me something, but… had it given me an answer, any kind of answer at all?

I sorted through the facts. We knew what Kay’s dialect was. We knew she had to come from somewhere. There was an extremely good chance that somewhere was from Nagato, Japan. Remilia didn’t want to leave the mansion. She thought it wasn’t worth it to look at all. She also seemed to believe something like, “If we die here, then we die here. Thus is life.” And Sakuya thought it was worth it… right? She thought she could prove Remilia wrong about living in the mansion until she died…

“Yes…” I replied, realizing that telling Sunny the entire story wouldn’t have done any good anyways. “Yes, I think… Sakuya’s going to take care of it. There’s not much Remilia can do, but… I think everything’s going to work out, Sunny. Everything’s going to be just fine.”

“You’re sure about this?” she asked me again, listening closely to my answer.

“I’m… I’m sure. I’m not sure that it’s a miracle or a dream come true or anything, but… I’m sure that we’re going to find something. Something we can use.”

She sighed and patted me on the back heartily as we started walking down the hall for no particular reason. “Well amen to that, sister. I don’t care if it only took an hour, that was one of the hardest pitch-matching jobs I’ve ever had to try, music or no music.”

That piqued my interest. “Hey, yeah… what did you and Sakuya do to find out Kay’s accent?”

“Uggh, jumping through a lot of flaming hoops is what. Sakuya must’ve interrogated her yesterday and got it all on tape. We’ve got a huge archive of a whole bunch of random sounds and stuff in the computer room; ‘course no one ever goes in there, but it’s nice to have around. Anyways Sakuya dragged up a set of Japanese voice samples from all around the country, and I had to listen to those and Kay’s side by side; try to pick out which ones were the closest. It helped that Sakky must’ve grown up around there since she’d narrowed it down for me, but still… You don’t know how annoying it is listening to two people pronounce the word ‘dinner’ over and over again for two and a half minutes with differences so small I’m the only person that could pick them out.”

I nodded. “Uggh indeed, sounds like. But you did it in the end, and hey, I’m really glad you did.”

“Heh, think we all are,” she answered back, resting her hand on the doorknob of her room. “I just hope it all pans out. For now though, I really need a break. Listen to some music, maybe take a nap… you want to come in?”

As enchanting as the offer was, I didn’t really feel like sitting around at the moment, and politely declined. I just asked her what Thérèse was doing in the basement; she felt like a good person to hang around with for the time being, if only because Flandre wasn’t available and she was sort-of the next best thing. “Inventory” was the short answer I got back, and Sunny just told me to check either the armory or the far closet behind the gym. Figuring I’d just worry about it when I got there, I scooted myself down to the basement.

Compared to the last time I had to look for someone in the basement (I shuddered even considering it), Thérèse was conveniently in the armory, right where Sunny said she should be. She’d returned to a more “normal” two arms, but seemed to have traded them for what looked like a giant prehensile lizard’s tail with a sticky gecko-foot on the end, loud purple in color. She’d looped it over her back and dangled it close to her face, the end of it holding onto a clipboard for her. Her hair blended so well with the tail it took me a while to realize that it’s wasn’t really hair so much as a large mass of purple tails, almost like a much-less-threatening Medusa or something like that. She never failed to impress, that girl. Made me wonder if she changed different body parts like anyone else would change clothes, or if she was just bored.

“Hi again, Thérèse,” I greeted, waving to her and shutting the door behind me. The room wasn’t a room I exactly liked, but I couldn’t say I hated it. Weapons, weapons weapons weapons, some for every occasion, and a lot more guns that you might think a magical mansion should have. They lined the walls and extra shelves in well-ordered racks, and it looked to me like my cousin was busy counting them or something.

“Ahh, Princess Fran-cess, yo. You get sent down here too?”

“Actualy, I uhh, volunteered. I don’t really feel like doing nothing right now… Anybody can just sit around and do nothing when they’re not told what to do.”

“Meh, fair enough. If you wanna help, then cool gravy. It’s simple, really: we’re starting a war.”

I did a double-take on that one. I hadn’t heard anything about that! “A, a war?! With who?”

“See, now that’s just it, Sakuya won’t tell us yet! She just comes up and says, ‘War’s coming, take an inventory of all our weapons, blahdy blahdy blah,’ and she’s said it was very important we cap some fools, take some names, beat back the Reds—Okay yes that was a horrible lie. You’re an easy target; don’t take it personal.”

After my heart managed to start beating again (Or… well, no, okay, technically it’s not a heart; long boring explanation about fairies, don’t worry) I shouted back, “Hey, n-not funny! War’s serious! And there’s serious stuff happening here too, don’t joke like that! We’re trying to survive here!”

She stretched out her hands, trying to cam me down. “Hey, hey, shush shush shush, I get it. Force of habit; blame Flan. No, we’re not starting a war. But Sakuya does want us to start getting ready.”

“Ready? Ready for… wait, ready to leave?”

Thérèse nodded. “Ready to leave. Guess you haven’t heard about it yet, but she’s planning something, something that involves moving far far away. I don’t know what, but… I think it’s gonna end that whole ‘disappearing’ problem we’ve got.”

“Yeah, I, I know… I was just upstairs talking with her and Remi about it.”

“Oho?” She set down her clipboard and seated herself on a nearby table, full of what definitely looked like boxes and bags of silver bullets. “Do tell; you’ve got a knack for being in the right places at the right times, Fran.”

I hung my head. “Yeah… and saying all the wrong things. Sakuya found out that Kay girl has a Japanese accent; she used it to find out where she probably lives. I think… I think she and Patchouli are probably already there now looking for the actual place, or something.”

She raised an eyebrow at that statement and nodded, clearly impressed. She even clapped her hands together softly. “Well now… Who’d’ve thunk? Mad props to Sakky, then; wouldn’t’ve thought she’d be the one to find the key. What’s Remi think about it, then?”

“She’s… difficult to say. She talked in a lot of metaphors; I think I probably shouted at her too much…”

“Oohh, yyeahh… she’ll do that if you try an’ push her. Burned you down pretty good, did she?”

I shrugged, managing a little grin. “Well… Sakuya helped me out. I think it was kind of a draw. I’d rather not talk about it.”

“Fair enough, fair enough; we’ll prolly wish we’d stop hearing about it soon enough anyways. Might as well enjoy the calm before the storm, or whatever. You can write, can’t you?” She flicked the clipboard at me with her tail; I noticed that the paper had already been charted out into columns, and obviously it looked like we were making a list of all the different weapons in the room.

“Yeah, yeah, I can write. What am I writing?”

She twirled the little hand at the end or her tail around in a circle, pointing at all the weapon racks. “Well, eventually we’re going to have to move somewhere. And who knows what kind of shopping malls that somewhere’s gonna have, anyways? Or monsters we’re gonna have to shoot down? I mean, look at all these silver bullets; what if we’ve only got enough to take down a thousand werewolves, and we need to bring enough for two thousand?! So yeah, we’re just seein’ what we’ve got. It’s a right proper mess down here, and Sakuya must’ve forgotten to keep an updated list. But she’s busy, sooo… yeah. I left off right here; just, I dunno, write down what I say. I don’t know much more about these guns than you do, by the way.”

I nodded, clicking the nub at the end of the ballpoint pen. “I hear you. I mean, I don’t even know the name of that little gun I used in that fight two days ago?”

She pulled a hand to her chain and then quickly snapped her fingers. “Oh, yeah, that little ma-bob; I just had to write that down. S’a, COP three-fiddy-seven I think. Cute little squirt, no?”

“Ehhh… not, really. I don’t really think a gun can be cute. Or any weapon, for that matter.”

“What if the gun was shaped like a bunny?”

“That’d be… weird. And kinda freaky.”

“What if the gun was shaped like a bunny and shot bunnies with guns out of it?!”

I gave her “one of those looks”, which said a lot less than I’m saying right now, actually. If eyes could speak, I wonder what they’d say…? She stuck her tongue out the side of her mouth and turned back to the gun rack. “Okay! Moving right along then! We’ve got, let’s see… two, four… seven AK-forty-sevens with full stock, and three AK-forty-sevens with folding stock.”

“Is that spelled a funny way, or—“

“It’s A, K. It’s the letters. Duh. If you screw up Sakuya can always fix it later. Hooray for us.”

“Got it, got it. Probably using the wrong columns, but got it.”

“All right then, uhh, four, Type fifty-sixes and… wait, wait wait… Pluh, I screwed that up. It’s actually six full stock forty-sevens and five Type fifty-sixes. Come on Sakuya, putting these things right next to each other; they look exactly the same! Gah, why couldn’t you have done this years ago…”

[ ] Guess who’s lazy? I’m lazy! Write in conversation-type stuff like questions and comments for Thérèse; you’re good at that. Maybe. Usually.
[ ] Or you can just vote to timeskip the armory and go somewhere else. That’s also legit.
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[X] "Why do we have all these guns down here in the first place?"

And I kind of want to ask about Flandre again, just to hear from someone who's less 'caretaker' and more 'friend' to her, but I'm not sure how to phrase it.
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On Weekends people take the time to hang out with friends, attend family events, etc.

[x] Guess who’s lazy? I’m lazy! Write in conversation-type stuff like questions and comments for Thérèse; you’re good at that. Maybe. Usually.
-[x] "Why do we have so many guns down here? I'd thought there'd be more swords than anything."
-[x] "What about this mansion helped Flandre open up?"
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>“What if the gun was shaped like a bunny?”

[X] "Are there even enough of us to use all these guns?"

Time for another highly sobering conversation.
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[X] "Why do we have all these guns down here in the first place?"
[X] "Are there even enough of us to use all these guns?"
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[X] "Why do we have all these guns down here in the first place?"
[X] "Are there even enough of us to use all these guns?"

>putting these things right next to each other; they look exactly the same!
And what if there were some AMKs or AK-74s too? Kalashnikov didn't change the general shape of his assault rifles, just the details.

>Some people take advantage of the large blocks of free time granted by weekends to do fun things that don't involve the Internet.
I did account for that. I just don't think that takes more than nine hours a day.

>Likewise, most people slack off for at least a portion of their work day, and the most convenient ways to slack off do involve the Internet.
That requires you to work in an office or cube farm. And I don't come here when I'm at work. One wrong click and BAM, you're looking at porn. Who hasn't clicked their mouse when startled by their manager? Not worth the risk.
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[X] "Why do we have all these guns down here in the first place?"
[X] "Are there even enough of us to use all these guns?"
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[X] "Why do we have all these guns down here in the first place?"
[X] "Are there even enough of us to use all these guns?"
This sounds like something Fran would say.
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The two gun questions it is, then. I got home later than usual tonight, and I’m going to be having a rather busy day tomorrow, so I’m going to sacrifice another Derp Wars update in order to make some headway on Post #125. All I can tell you is that I’ll try to get it out sometime tomorrow.

>All the talk about weekends
I’ll not get involved in this discussion, I think; I don’t have a normal schedule and couldn’t say, anyways. All I’ll say is that while more votes is nice, it’s not necessary, and if I’m ready to write I’d rather write with only four votes than wait another day for four more. I’m not trying to be selfish or deprive you of your opinion; I’m just trying to keep the story moving.

>Helping Thérèse? Sounds kinda plain but I guess it's aright.
AFT thrives on the plain and the mundane. After all, it’s not about the plot; it’s about the characters.

>Let's hope she doesn't hit the Turbo Bass. Remember kids, a boombox is not a toy.
Crap; she could destroy anything in the world next to a radio with that magic power!

>Fun fact: 49.5 MHz is, at least in the US, reserved for cordless phone handset transmitters. (Admittedly, a pirate radio station that broadcasts via people's phones would be pretty damn cool.)
Woah, cool; I did not know that. I could see Koishi doing that in an alternate world somewhere.

Admittedly, I didn’t spend as much time on it as the Natasha/Patchy part, and I can confirm that it is indeed inferior. But I appreciate you non-critic’s critique.

I had a feeling someone was going to catch that reference. You missed the other one, though. Let see if any of you will waste time looking for it now, and find one I didn’t mean to put in there instead.

>And what if there were some AMKs or AK-74s too? Kalashnikov didn't change the general shape of his assault rifles, just the details.
Truth indeed. There probably are, I just don’t want to have to go into a whole lot of detail about it. All I’m shooting for is enough depth to feel realistic, but not so much that in intrudes on the characters’ conversation.
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All right, so this one’s extremely late and my whole body is aching from basically gutting the entire kitchen yesterday and getting caked with layers of century-old insulation.

But the good news is that I officially got accepted into graduate school at my university, so I get to put off becoming a real adult for two more years! Also it means I don’t have to get a soul-crushing 9-5 job to occupy myself with, and can hopefully hang around THP for a while longer until I realize how soul-crushing graduate school probably is.


It ended up being a whole lot more of the same for a good couple of hours, Thérèse taking half-steps down each shelf and reading the labels on the racks, with me jotting down whatever she ended up saying. It was something we both knew Sakuya should be doing herself; how were fairies like us supposed to know the subtle differences between a half-dozen different kinds of Es-Em-El-Eee rifles if they were all just lined up in a disordered jumble? And who wanted a smelly rifle anyways? But, we had it to do, and of course the “Anything we could do Sakuya could do better and thus should be done by her” train of thought was a proverbial black hole, so we kept at it.

I have to admit, it was a rather interesting experience once we finally got into a groove. Unlike a lot of guns in the movies that all just looked the same to me—black blobs shaped like an L or an F—at least there seemed to be a lot of variety with ours, and even though for most of it I had to keep my eyes stuck to the clipboard, I did end up seeing a few guns that, while not “cute” in Thérèse’s words, were at least “intriguing”.

Though we didn’t have a very big window to chit-chat since Thérèse had to keep telling me the type of gun to write down, somewhere along the way I ended up asking her, “Why do we even have all these guns down here in the first place? I mean, there’s gotta be like, I don’t even know how many guns, hundreds! There aren’t even enough of us to use all of them!”

“Meh,” she replied, shrugging disconcertedly. “Just ‘cause. You seen Remi’s wardrobe?”

I shivered at the mere thought of that cavernous room. “Yes… Yes, I’ve seen it.”

“Pretty sure if a person owns a few thousands sets of clothes she’s never going to wear anytime soon, owning a few hundred guns she’s never going to shoot anytime soon isn’t too far-fetched either. She’s a pack rat; won’t throw anything away these days.”

“But she’s a vampire! And Patchouli’s a wizard and China’s a martial arts master who can control energy and stuff! If you’ve got magic why do you need guns? Magic’s stronger, isn’t it?”

She waved a finger at me. “Doooon’t be saying that too fast now; magic can do more, it’s not exactly better. Not sure if you realized it, but even Patches had a little pocket gun hidden up her sleeve when we fought that weirdo girl; just in case. Thing about guns is that they’re easy; anybody can use one and y’all don’t have to do anything but twitch your finger.”

Good point; I nodded, but added, “Not anybody can hit something with it, though.”


“…That still doesn’t explain why we have so many.”

“Touché too. You’re never happy with an answer are you?” she asked smirking with a raised eyebrow.

“Eehhh, I… I just want to get the whole story the first time, is all. Better to ask all the questions at once and not have to ask again.”

“I can see you’re going to have a very aggravating life, then. Fine, uhh… how to explain it… Visual aids, haha! Kids love visual aids!” She suddenly backtracked and started combing a shelf we hadn’t gotten too yet, looking for something in particular. Eventually she pulled a handgun out of its case and showed it to me. It looked… stupid. It was pretty much a box with a tube on one end and a… broom handle on the other? Looked like the kind of gun I would make if I was forced to make one.

This is a Mauser C96 Red 9,” she announced, acting like some cheesy salesperson as she used her gecko-hand to accentuate different parts of the gun. “As you can clearly see, there is a red nine on it; thus, four out of five experts agree that it should be called the Red 9. It is almost a hundred years old, fires bullets, and is as ugly as sin. Now…!

She set the “Red 9” down and found a much more impressive-looking black revolver, proudly displaying it like she had the first. ”This is a 44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and it can blow your head clean off! If you are lucky, and us fairies are always lucky, the gun will be empty. If you shoot it, all it will probably do is blow your hand clean off instead. Now…!

Again she set the gun down and rummaged around until she took out a silvery behemoth of a handgun the size of my head. ”Now this, is the 50-Caliber Desert Eagle. It is excessive, it is loud, it is nickel-plated, and it is more than any living being should ever need ever.”

Arranging the three guns in a line on the table, she continued her little history lesson. “People, as I have been told, like gun. They also like more gun. The Desert Eagle, they like. The Forty-Four, they like. The Mauser, they do not like, because it is old and silly and only good for sweeping dust off of the floor. However,” she added, holding up a finger and looking me in the eye, “People are idiots.

“This room ain’t about guns and swords, see; it’s about history. The Eagle, the Forty-Four? They’re not history, they’re just shiny new toys, but the Mauser, now that’s history. Remi’s been smart, Fran; she knew one day the present would turn into the past and the stuff that everyone cared about would become the stuff no one would care about in a century. Half a century even; who cares about punch-card computers anymore, really? So she saves stuff. Most of the stuff you see in here? Brand new, picked up the year they came out. They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore, because nobody really cares about old junk. But the thing is… Well, if we lose the past, then we lose the present too, ‘cause the one’s built right off of the other, ain’t it?”

I thought about that one for a while, just staring at the three handguns sitting on the table for no real reason. Saving the past because other people won’t… Well, if anyone was cut out to hoard antiques of centuries past, it’d be people that couldn’t die, that’s for sure. It made me wonder, though, if “they” cared about or believed in anything at all. Didn’t focus on magic and fairy-tale creatures, didn’t focus on the past… was all they cared about the things that they could see and touch right in front of them?

My mind started wandering like it usually did, and I actually started paying attention to the guns themselves; looking at them, listening to them, trying to understand just what they were. I knew they didn’t have any sort of essence, but if I looked at them long enough, I could start to hear the kinds of things they might have said if they had one. The Desert Eagle sounded dark and metallic, like a robot: YOU ARE NOT COMPLYING; I AM NOW AUTHORIZED TO TERMINATE YOU. DESTROY, DESTROY… I’d be pretty afraid of that guy if I saw him just walking into my room. The Magnum wasn’t much better, though at least he wasn’t a robot: Ouuta my way, you punk. You want some’a this? Yeah, that’s right; you don’t want non’nuh this… That Red 9, though, I kinda liked him. He knew he was old and dusty, but he still had his pride and a whole lot of fight let in him. I mean, he was all like: Nrah, you kids these days all fast and furious! You don’t even know how to fight in a real man’s war! Why if I was half the man I used to be I’d show you a thing or two about fighting…

“Hellooooo, is Fran still in there? It’s polite to tell Big Sis where you’re going when you leave the house ya know.”

“What? Oh…!” I snapped out of my little daze when I saw a bright purple tail flicking itself back and forth in front of my face. “Sorry, I uhh, I was just listening to the guns there.”

Thérèse tilted her head interestingly. “Why, what’d they have to say?”

“They’re… very angry. I think guns might just always be like that.”

“Talked to a lot of other guns, have you?”

For once, amazingly, I actually caught her sarcasm before she had to tell me as such. “I know guns don’t talk, Thérèse; I’m not Flandre. It was a, metaphor, or something.”

“Ehh, I think hyperbole might be closer, but I try not to worry about grammar too much. Ready to stop slacking off now?”

“Not really.”

“Me neither. Gimme the clipboard; I’ll let you read for a change.”

By the time we’d finally cataloged all the guns, it must have been well past the normal window for lunch, and we hadn’t even started on all the stuff that wasn’t guns. It wasn’t exactly boring work—I must admit that seeing that a little pearl-handled derringer that could fit inside the palm of my hand came dangerously close to being “cute”—but we were both getting pretty tired of it, and my lizardized companion was banking on the hope that if we took a long enough lunch, Sakuya and Patchouli would come back before we finished and free us from the monotony. Not that any of us had a clue how long they’d be gone, but we were all hoping they’d get lucky.

[ ] Before lunch, though, I asked if we could make a quick stop at (insert place/person you want to visit here)
[ ] During lunch I figured I’d strike up another conversation with her, one about… (please choose just one)
--( ) …Sakuya’s quest and, more precisely, our plight
--( ) …Flandre’s current situation, and hopefully, a better look at the girl from someone who knew here closer than most of the other fairies did.
--( ) …Kay; it’d be interesting to get a take on it from someone who hadn’t met her.
--( ) …Remilia, and her iron-clad stubbornness.
--( ) …why Princess Tepes keeps breaking the fourth wall when making write-in reminders.
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>50-Caliber Desert Eagle
What is this doing in my SDM?

[c] During lunch I figured I’d strike up another conversation with her, one about… (please choose just one)
--(c) …Sakuya’s quest and, more precisely, our plight.
More points for our chief maid.

>--( ) …why Princess Tepes keeps breaking the fourth wall when making write-in reminders.
I snickered.
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[x] During lunch I figured I’d strike up another conversation with her, one about… (please choose just one)
--(x) …Flandre’s current situation, and hopefully, a better look at the girl from someone who knew here closer than most of the other fairies did.

I'm curious about this and the bit with the guns is pretty interesting, complete with Fran referencing a few movies unwittingly.
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>graduate school
...I want to be happy for you, but I know of two THP writers who go or have gone to grad school: HY (post-IPF, if I recall) and me. This does not bode well for updates.
But seriously, congratulations. What field, if you don't mind being asked?

[X] During lunch I figured I’d strike up another conversation with her, one about… (please choose just one)
--(X) …Flandre’s current situation, and hopefully, a better look at the girl from someone who knew here closer than most of the other fairies did.
We've heard that "this sort of thing" has happened before, but we need more details before we approach Flandre after she lets herself out.
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>little pearl-handled derringer that could fit inside the palm of my hand

[X] During lunch I figured I’d strike up another conversation with her, one about… (please choose just one)
(X) …Kay; it’d be interesting to get a take on it from someone who hadn’t met her.
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[x] During lunch I figured I’d strike up another conversation with her, one about… (please choose just one)
--(x) …Flandre’s current situation, and hopefully, a better look at the girl from someone who knew here closer than most of the other fairies did.

She can give more insight about this topic than Sakuya's quest.
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[x] During lunch I figured I’d strike up another conversation with her, one about… (please choose just one)
--(x) …Flandre’s current situation, and hopefully, a better look at the girl from someone who knew here closer than most of the other fairies did.
--(x) …why Princess Tepes keeps breaking the fourth wall when making write-in reminders.

Your choices are always good the point where we don't need write-ins.
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[x] During lunch I figured I’d strike up another conversation with her, one about… (please choose just one)
--(x) …Flandre’s current situation, and hopefully, a better look at the girl from someone who knew here closer than most of the other fairies did.
--(x) …why Princess Tepes keeps breaking the fourth wall when making write-in reminders.
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[X] During lunch I figured I’d strike up another conversation with her, one about…
--(X) …Flandre’s current situation, and hopefully, a better look at the girl from someone who knew here closer than most of the other fairies did.

>Mauser C96
Ah, the old broomhandle.
>it is old and silly and only good for sweeping dust off of the floor.
The ideal weapon for a maid.

>50-Caliber Desert Eagle
>What is this doing in my SDM?
Two words: wall decoration. It's impractical, but oh-so shiney.
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[x] During lunch I figured I’d strike up another conversation with her, one about… (please choose just one)
--(x) …Flandre’s current situation, and hopefully, a better look at the girl from someone who knew here closer than most of the other fairies did.
--(x) …why Princess Tepes keeps breaking the fourth wall when making write-in reminders.
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[x] Before lunch, though, I asked if we could make a quick stop at... the library, to see if Miss Patchouli had actually left with Sakuya and to see whether she'd taken the 'little devil' with her or not.

Seems like Fran is operating under the assumption that Sakuya and Patchouli have already left to scour Nagano... but a.) we don't know if she has or not, and b.) we don't know if Koa is involved in this particular investigation or not. A topic worthy of exploration.

Also, congratulations on graduate school Tepes. The process isn't exactly the easiest in the world, but surviving the ordeal is well worth the struggle.
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7 for Flandre
1 for Sakuya
1 for Kay
1 for stopping by the library

Cool beans, then. Writing at a vague time today; going to a concert tonight so we’ll see where my free time lands. And I’m not actually going to break the fourth wall here, in case you thought I was. Go visit Derp Wars for that kind of derp: >>40914

>complete with Fran referencing a few movies unwittingly.
Cute, no? I couldn’t bring myself to reference them directly though, or I’d have felt bad about myself. If you want to, feel free to imagine the Mauser talking like the TF2 Soldier.

>...I want to be happy for you, but I know of two THP writers who go or have gone to grad school… This does not bode well for updates.
Believe me, I feel your fears; last year I disappeared for three months, and that was just normal college. This is precisely the reason why I’m trying to finish AFT before school starts back up. I can live with my writing pace slowing down if all I’m doing is random shorts; people expect those to be slow anyways.
I’d like to limit the lol real life in this thread for now, so sorry, but I’ll pass.

Forgive my ignorance, but I don’t get it. It’s possible I missed something popular on the internet again.

I’m flattered~ But I’m just making sure that you realize the option is always available to you should you want it. Plenty of times there’s obvious choices I don’t see and you do.

>silly and only good for sweeping dust off of the floor.
>The ideal weapon for a maid.
Dohohoho! I didn’t even catch that myself. Nice one.

>50-Caliber Desert Eagle
>What is this doing in my SDM?
>Two words: wall decoration. It's impractical, but oh-so shiny.
Also because, as much as we might hate to admit it, the Desert Eagle may very well become an iconic handgun of this era, and worth saving. In fifty years when no gun is without full-auto spray-n-pray, perhaps we’ll look back at it and think, “Ahh, the good ol’ Deagle. That was back when real men used semi-automatics.”
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During lunch I figured I’d strike up another conversation with her to pass the time, one about Flandre’s current situation, and hopefully a better look at the girl from someone who knew here closer than most of the other fairies did. True, I’d never really asked what each of the other six girls’ relationships were to the vampire, but obviously Flan and Thérèse was tighert-knit than most.

“So, uhh, Teresa,” I tried to ask casually between cucumber slices, “How do you think Miss Flandre’s been taking all this so far? I mean, she’s been locked in her room almost a day now.”

My fellow diner scrunched up her face in contemplation, spinning a carrot stick around her fingers like a cigar. “Errmmm, hmm now… Well, I mean, it’s always hard to say with her. She’s usually been pretty good with holding herself back, so you just can’t tell how she’s going to take it the next time it happens.”

“Well, what ahh, what happened the last time she locked herself in her room?”

She chewed on a piece of her lip, unsure of how to respond. “Gwah, come on, what was it… I wasn’t here for it, mind you; I came here in 1885 I think, and that last incident must-a been in the late seventies. Had somethin’ to do with a bunch of lost tourists, I think. Big misunderstanding, I remember Saphy saying it was like a bad horror flick with everyone trying to convince everyone else that absolutely nothing was wrong. From our side of the table it was probably just a string of very bad coincidences. Those happen, you know.”

“Do you at least know how Flandre reacted?” I continued to ask.

“Badly, is all I really know. If I heard all the rumors right from Sakuya, this little pickle we’re in is pretty justified; some invisible ‘Kay’ girl mind-controlled her or something?”

“Or something, is right. It’s kinda hard to explain if you never met her.”

“Well anyways, the point is it probably wasn’t entirely Flan’s fault this time. Last time though, she didn’t have any excuse. Must’ve been pretending she was the mastermind monster and it got out of hand; I dunno, you’d have to ask her, really. So she was pretty shook up; probably stayed down there three or four days at the least, and by the time she got out to try and apologize to the survivors they’d probably run to mainland Europe by then. Poor girl…”

We let the conversation sit for a while, just snacking out of our random bowl of fruit slices. It made me so sad, knowing that she tried to apologize to the people that had survived her deadly accident… It reminded me of a movie I’d seen, “Edward Scissorhands” I think it was called. What must it be like, to have your hands full of death and not really even know how to control them? To try and get the people around you to believe that you didn’t mean to do all the awful things you did… It just wasn’t fair.

“So what about this time?” I asked once I felt the uncomfortable silence had gone on for long enough. “Is she better or worse at coping now?”

“Oh, better, much much better,” Thérèse assured me, nodding her head. “Remilia and her went together to get her some help once she was stable again. Saw a lot of big names as I recall; Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, can’t remember if they ever got to go talk to Von Hartmann before he died or not, but yeah. Makes me wonder what those kinds of psyche sessions must’ve been like. Do you think smart guys like them would’ve been able to figure out if those ladies were vampires?”

“I wouldn’t know; I don’t even know who those guys are,” I answered lamely, shrugging.

“Ehh, if they’re important enough you’ll hear about ‘em again, probably. But yeah, Flan’s pretty good at not breaking that limit outright now, I mean, she’s been clean for the last hundred-twenty years, I’d say that’s pretty good, wouldn’t you? A’course we never fixed all the bending of those limits she keeps doing, buuut… well, with her we’ll take what we can get.”

“I think we get a lot more than we deserve, personally.”

“Well… she doesn’t, that’s for sure. But hey, life ain’t fair. Live it as best you can and be happy with what you can get. Worked for me so far.”

“Yeah…” I just sort of trailed off for a while, not really having anything else to contribute to that train of thought. “Hey, can I ask you another question? I know, I know, you’re getting tired of them, just wondering is all.”

She gave an apathetic shrug and just swiveled around her wrist, motioning for me to continue. I really did need to stop asking so many questions, but how else are you supposed to learn things people forget to tell you?

I tried to ask it directly this time. “So what is Flandre like? I mean, really like. I don’t want one of those nice Sakuya or China stories about her just being misunderstood, I wanna hear yours, Thérèse. You know her better than anyone, don’t you?”

She wobbled her hand back and forth. “Meeehh… Not the words I’d use. ‘Cause Chi and Remi know her a dang lot better than me; so does Tullia for that matter. I think wha’chya mean is that she lets me see a different side of her. She’s not as crazy on the inside as you might think, but that’s its own pitfall at the same time. She acts worse than she is to prove a point, but she keeps the act up for so long she ends up believing it herself and can’t tell the difference no more. It’s… layers. Lots and lots of layers of crazy and normal, stitched together and patched up like a half-eaten onion grown by the lowest bidder, or something; I suck at metaphors. Point is, she knows the act won’t work on me; my personality is too close to hers. So when it’s just us two… she tends to drop it a little more.”

“So then… what’s she really like on the inside, minus all the acting and the crazy?”

Thérèse puffed out her cheeks and blurted out a withering sigh. “Blaaauuuuhhh, on the inside? Bugger that one’s hard… Eccentric. She’s like a mad scientist that doesn’t actually do any real science or anything, she just… thinks, thinks and toys around. All that talking she does? It makes sense if you’re quick enough, it’s not like she can’t still think. I bet there’s millions of people out there who think about tangents as fast as she does. She just… well, you know about that. She has a hard time telling the difference between what’s happening in her mind versus out of it.

“The whole ‘toying with death and destruction’ bit though, that’s an act, if a bloody dangerous one she plays far too close to the edge. She jokes about blowing things up on purpose to make you remember that she’s unstable, at least that’s her justification for it. Personally I think she just likes screwing with people, but… well, if this Kay business is as serious as it’s supposed to be maybe I should just shut up about that.”

“No, wait…” That little tidbit intrigued me; just liked screwing with people…? “What do you mean, just likes screwing with people?”

She rolled her eyes; seems I’d caught her in a trap. “It’s like, I don’t know… Maybe she thinks that if she can consciously trick someone into questioning their own mind, then she’s not as insane as she thinks she might be. Or could just be sadism, enjoying watching people struggle with problems she creates for them. Gives her a sense of mental accomplishment maybe. Who knows how much of that is her versus the crazy, though; she doesn’t try it on me so I can’t really tell.”

“That’s… that’s weird. Because Flandre sounded like she thought Kay did the same thing. Just messing with people’s heads for the sole purpose of messing with people’s heads, seeing how they’d react to it. D’you think maybe that’s why they’re kinda friends?”

“Peh, girl, I do not have a clue,” she answered, leaning back in her chair and shaking her head comically. “I haven’t even seen this Kay chick, let alone know what’s the deal between her and Flan. I’m surprised she even managed to pick her out of all the other voices in her head; could just be something like what I’ve got going. This Kay’s someone that Flan doesn’t have to put up an act on. Having someone to talk to when no one else cares probably helps too. But maybe when all this is—woah, hang on here…”

She stopped mid-sentence, and for good reason. I felt the prick of time around me, which meant she must’ve too, and both of us now had a piece of paper with a bold blue message written on it laying in front of us:

Come to the basement maid’s lounge as soon as possible. This is important, and it’s something we all need to discuss together.

Both of us just read the note and looked at each other, understanding without really needing to say much.

“Guess we’d better, huh?”

“Yeah, think so.”

“Didn’t think it’d be so fast…”

Paying very little attention to protocol we tossed our lunch dishes and leftovers onto some counter where hopefully it’d be taken care of and hustled down to the basement lounge. Definitely looked like something was happening: the couches and poofy chairs in the middle of the room had been rearranged into a big circle, enough to seat a dozen or so. We weren’t late, but not exactly early. Sakuya, Patchouli, China, and even the devil girl were already there, along with Wendy, sitting in various spots around the circle. Personally it was amazingly fascinating to compare Wendy and the new lady side-by-side; both had the exact same look of utter apathy for the situation. I wondered if the two of them had properly been introduced yet…?

“Just sit anywhere,” Sakuya commented, waving an arm around the plush seating. “The other four got notes too; they’ll be trickling in.”

Trickle they did. Over the next five minutes Monica and Sunny popped in, followed by Saphhire a while later, and finally a very sleepy-eyed Sunny. We pretty much all were just meandering around inside the circle, occasionally asking hushed questions, until Sakuya politely asked us to take a seat so we could “get started”. Whatever that meant.

Seating arrangement vote to disguise the fact that I can’t think of a better voting option! Because it’s the little stuff that’s the most important, for some reason.
(First) Choose the two people Fran will sit next to
(Then) Choose to sit in a chair alone, or a couch with people
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Two Sunnies? I think you meant Tullia came in with Monica.

[X] Monica and Thérèse
[X] Couch
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[X] Teresa, Francesca, Saphhire
[X] On one end of a couch.

An anyone says different! I shall fight to the death, or even the emoticon! BWAHAHAHAH!
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Clearly Derp Wars is starting to bleed back over into AFT.

[X] Monica and Thérèse
[X] One end of a couch.

Mostly because I want to see Monica get eaten by the couch.
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[X] Monica and Thérèse
[X] Couch
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File 128170467652.gif - (4.14KB, 113x113, 357-hit-head-on-keyboard-sign.gif)
>Two Sunnies? I think you meant Tullia came in with Monica.

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[x] Sunny, Meiling, Fran
[x] One couch. Just like that
Sunny is obviously going to sit next to Meiling, and I like those two. That's all this is.
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[x] Sunny, Meiling, Fran
[x] One couch. Just like that
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[x] Sunny, Meiling, Fran
[x] One couch. Just like that

What's better than one Meiling? Another half of a Meiling!
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[X] Monica and Thérèse
[X] One end of a couch.
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>She rolled her eyes; seems I’d caught her in a trap. “It’s like, I don’t know… Maybe she thinks that if she can consciously trick someone into questioning their own mind, then she’s not as insane as she thinks she might be.
So, like the Joker in 'The Killer Joke'? Shouldn't someone tell her about how pointless that is?

>Or could just be sadism, enjoying watching people struggle with problems she creates for them. Gives her a sense of mental accomplishment maybe. Who knows how much of that is her versus the crazy, though; she doesn’t try it on me so I can’t really tell.”
>“That’s… that’s weird. Because Flandre sounded like she thought Kay did the same thing. Just messing with people’s heads for the sole purpose of messing with people’s heads, seeing how they’d react to it. D’you think maybe that’s why they’re kinda friends?”
Pointing out the paradox in that way of thinking can be useful too.
Well that, and the whole acting thing. She is much better than everyone seems to believe so... why?
[x] No vote today!
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4 for Monica and Thérèse on a couch
3 for Sunny and Meiling on a couch
1 for Thérèse and Sapphire on a couch

Will probably try and get this update posted in the afternoon since I’ve got a prior engagement tonight. That is unless I decide to make it a long one; need to weigh the pros and cons of putting another vote option in the middle of this scene. And thanks for all the congrats on grad school, folks; I have a feeling I’ll be needed them.

She’s not that small. Well, okay, she kinda is, but not really.

Talk about Derp Wars bleeding back into AFT…

>So, like the Joker in 'The Killer Joke'? Shouldn't someone tell her about how pointless that is?
Not exactly. The Joker was trying to screw with someone to prove a point about the world. Flandre would be screwing with someone to prove a point about herself. What Thérèse is saying here (and note it’s possible that she could be wrong) is that if Flan can consciously and with planning pull off a ruse good enough to baffle someone else, then maybe it proves she has a lot more emotional and mental control that the average insane person would. But it’s all speculation.

>She is much better than everyone seems to believe so... why?
Just because she’s better than you think she is, doesn’t mean she’s well. Insane people don’t always think rationally. But again, this is just Thérèse’s guess.
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> if Flan can consciously and with planning pull off a ruse good enough to baffle someone else, then maybe it proves she has a lot more emotional and mental control that the average insane person would.
I don't really believe it's conscious. What I do believe is that it's part of the problem. She's letting her unconscious out way too often. Her ramblings are something than more often than not, everyone thinks about but usually stays on the lower shell of the mind. I suppose that's why Koishi holds so much control over her... more than it meets the eye actually.

Of course, this is pure speculation, but I heard you writefags like those, no?
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I flopped down in one of the couches next to Thérèse, and Monica promptly flopped down right next to me, accidentally sinking into the crack between the cushions. One by one everyone else ended up taking a seat, Wendy noticeably sitting in the chair as far as possible from Patchouli, which of course ended up allowing her to stare straight at her as she was wont to do. Once we were all more or less acclimated, Sakuya stood up and got what felt an awful lot like a meeting started.

“Well, uhh, thanks for all coming down here on such short notice, girls. Normally wouldn’t do this; I’m sure you’ve got a lot of questions right now. But Patchy and I figured it’s about time we set the record straight between all of us, especially after all that’s been happening lately. Oh, hang on…” Her figure jumped a few inches to the left, something we’d all come to except from her from time to time. “Sorry about that; just wanted to lock the doors. Not trying to keep secrets or anything, just… Well, okay, I guess I am. Everything we talk about in this room, I want you to keep to yourselves. It’s important, very important—“

”GET ON WITH IT!” Thérèse bellowed, causing me to wince to the side. Sakuya lowered her eyelids and deadpanned at the girl, but still conceded to her suggestion.

“Fine, fine, I know, I know, I don’t know how to keep it short and sweet.” She sighed and stretched her arms behind her back, most likely preparing herself for some kind of big speech. I had a feeling I knew what this was about, but a lot of us probably did, and so for the moment I just let Sakuya direct things.

“All right…” she continued, trying to act like a leader again, “now at this point I’ve lost absolutely any idea of who here knows what rumors and how many of them are true, so, here are the facts.

“The humans of Earth, at least for the most part, no longer truly believe in magic. As belief fades, magic grows weaker, and if there is no one to believe in magic, magic will cease to exist. Every single one of us living in this mansion is magical in some way, and so this lack of faith affects us all. But the seven of you fairies, and possibly even you, visitor—“ she motioned to the devil girl “—You are made entirely of magic, body mind heart and soul. Thus… well, there’s no real easy way to put it: your race is simply disappearing from Earth, just like humans’ belief in fantasy. We’ve already lost dozens and dozens within the mansion itself; the weakest of fairies fade first we think, the ones who don’t have anything tying them down to this world like you girls do, ambitions or close friends. But, in the end, we fear you’ll fade away just the same.

“Now, I’m sure most of you have heard at least something about what happened yesterday at lunch…” She trailed off, swallowing a lump in her throat before continuing. “All we really know for sure is that a creature known only as the letter ‘K’ showed up without warning in Flandre’s room yesterday morning, and the two of them have some kind of history together. Francesca here gave me the idea to catch her, which I did, and took her to Remilia. We don’t know exactly what she is or what she can do, but Flandre claims that this ‘K’ got inside her brain somehow and… made her kill Mrs. Natasha Herod, the vampire hunter who’s been staying here for some time. I’m, sure we all hope that wherever she is, it’s a, better place than here…”

We all shared a moment of silence for our mutual loss, even the girls who may have never met Natasha before in her short time here. In my own mind, though, I couldn’t stop wondering what was going to happen to her son, that one and only thing she said she cared about anymore. Did he know anything about his mother’s demon hunting? And, how long would it take before he found out she was dead? Or… wait, if no one had known where she’d gone… would he ever find out? I shuddered to think, what would be worse: knowing that your mother died without any chance to save herself, or just having her disappear and never knowing for the rest of your life one way or the other…?

Once she thought enough reverence had been had, Patchouli added, “Pardon me, Miss Sakuya, but I do believe we may know a little more than that. If I may continue where you left off?”

“Oh, y-yes, of course, you know the specifics better than me anyways,” she replied, sitting down as the magician leaned forward in her seat and addressed the room.

“As always, I apologize if my vocabulary rises about your heads; it is not my intent. I… cannot be certain, but I believe this ‘K’ to be a creature known as a satori. It is a rare species native to Japan, with the power to read the minds of those around it. Thanks to the laudable efforts of Miss Sakuya and Miss Sunhilda—“ I saw Sunny grimace at the sound of her full name “—they discerned that her voice had a particular Japanese accent, and this combined with my brief experience of her company has brought me to my current conclusion. There are a number of inconsistencies between the legend of satoris and the behavior of ‘K’, some of which could be explained either by a corruption of legend, or because as is my suspicion, her powers of mind-reading have been damaged in some way. Regardless, treating her like a satori may not yet be extremely prudent—“

“Where is she now?” Sapphire asked out of the blue. “If she’s responsible for the murder of a guest, she should be punished.”

“She’s under control,” Sakuya answered firmly. “She is someplace very safe, far away from here, where she won’t escape and won’t hurt anyone else, including herself.”

”Where?” Sapphire re-emphasized.

“No one is going to be doing any punishing, Sapphire,” China piped in calmly. “We’re not here to talk about what to do with Miss Kay.”

“Then why the fuck are we here?” our little devil butted in rudely. “Fix your own damn problems; I’ve got my own and I don’t bloody care about yours.”

“It may behoove you to do so,” Patchouli suggested to her. “Perhaps while you are in your own plane the predicament of faith is not an issue, but bound to this world you are privy to its laws of magic, whatever they may be.”

“It may behoove me to rip your pretty little face off and solve both our problems~”

“Nwwwaaahh, save the catfight for halftime, you two,” Sunny intervened, failing to stifle a yawn. “Patches, what’s Kay gotta do with us?”

“Ahh yes, that. I’m quite sure many if not all of you have heard Lady Flandre speculate about Kay and Kay’s homeland, if not exactly by name. It is a simple enough predicament we face, found all to often in nature as well as in Earthly culture: divided, a people is weak. Together, they are strong. For this Kay to live and survive so many thousands of miles from her home, the faith in her magic must be strong indeed, just as none of you may travel many miles outside of the walls of our land because the faith in our magic is weak. Miss Flandre realized this quickly, and understood that in Kay’s homeland there is hope of survival. Her stumbling block was simply that Kay appears to be a fickle creature, unwilling to openly reveal her residence, and it is a stumbling block we have now overcome.”

I felt my heart jump, and couldn’t help blurting out, “You mean you… you found it?!”

She nodded quietly, triggering a number of hushed cheers and sighs from the other people in the circle. As she continued to talk, I noticed that the corners of her lips were unconsciously inching ever so slightly higher. “Obviously there is no way to know for certain if what Sakuya and I found is indeed the home of Kay, but the concentration of magic is so great there that I cannot believe it could be anywhere else. In particular what we found is an abandoned shrine and a magical barrier at the edge of the Yatsugatake Mountains in Japan. The shrine seems to be of no concern in and of itself, but the barrier… Simply put, it is incredible. It encloses an area more than a thousand times the size of our grounds, stretches higher into the sky than I dared fly and lower into the ground than I dared delve. And I…” She tapered off, her face still trying to retain her composure even though is was apparent that her heart was trying oh-so desperately to get her to smile.

“I, couldn’t, break it,” she said in a definite tone of adoration… Adoration? At the time I didn’t understand why being denied entry was a good thing. “I tried. I tried just about everything I knew with the resources I had available to me, and I couldn’t even feel so much as a soft spot in that shield. Whoever made it… Their skill puts mine to an eternal shame.”

“Umm… qu-question?” Monica raised her miniature hand, barely even making it over the high back of the sofa. “If, uhh… If we want to go there to that magicaly place, isn’t a berry-er a bad thing?”


More than half the room swiveled their heads around, extraordinarily surprised when Wendy finally cared enough to speak up. Her expression was as dark and tepid as ever, but the simple fact that she seemed interested enough to talk had gotten all of our attentions, even the she-devil’s.

“Dr. Knowledge is greedy,” Wendy explained, stuffing her arms in front of her defiantly and staring back at her so-called adversary. “Greedy, but not foolish. She lusts for a magical sublime which she cannot obtain, but in striving she achieves great power regardless. Learning of a creature stronger in magic than she is not an obstacle for someone like her; it is a challenge. A challenge first to find the creature that bested her, and then to glean from it what she could not teach herself.”

My roommate mumbled back a confused “Oh” that I’d mumbled myself countless times before; it meant only about a quarter of the explanation got through, but it’d be some sort of faux-pas to ask the same question again (or would uncouth be a better word there? I really must get a hold on my vocabulary if I’m to tell you stories). It looked like all the other fairies had heard this argument before and didn’t pay it much mind—I’d heard it too for that matter—but if that was the case then I needn’t remind of which of the girls hadn’t heard it before.

“…Where the hell are you from, kid?” the head-winged girl asked, staring at her quizzically.

Wendy dully turned her head towards the questioner. “A land far simpler than this one; a land I would wish to return to and cannot due to the meddling of those who understand very little. Not unlike yourself, no?”

The spirit-girl raised an eyebrow at Wendy, pondering things we could all only guess about. Thumbing a… well, a thumb, in Wendy direction, she announced to the rest of us, “Next meeting you cunts drag me to? I’m sitting next to that chick over there. Bitch knows the real deal.”

…Well, on the bright side, at least they had something in common: they really didn’t care about any of us.

“If we could please continue, ladies?” Sakuya reminded, trying her best to keep us all focused. “I don’t want us wasting any more time than we’ve already wasted.”

“Fuck you, hypocrite,” the devil spat, flashing our head maid the infamous middle finger.

”The point is,” China interrupted before another verbal war sprouted up, “We can’t stay here. Our magic is all dried up. And for whatever reason this barrier in Japan has plenty of it. So, sooner or later, we’re going to have to try and move over there if we want to keep living together.”

“Am I right in assuming there is a problem in doing so?” Tullia questioned simply.

“R-Remilia,” I cut in accidentally, at first thinking I’d just whispered it to myself but soon finding that I’d blurted out the answer. And that meant I ended up feeling unofficially obligated to continue. “I, sorry if I interrupted China, but… Remilia, won’t, let us leave. She says that… she likes it here too much, and that… we all have to die sooner or later.”

“You… can’t be serious?” Tullie replied, saying what I’m sure everyone else had begun to think.

Sakuya cut back in almost immediately, a hand to her chin and her eyes steely. It was almost as if she didn’t want to give people the chance to dwell on Remilia’s obstinacy. “No. No, that’s wrong. She doesn’t want to leave, but… she can’t stop us if we try. And we have to try, whether she wants to or not.”

Meiling put a hand to Sakuya’s thigh as the rest of us chattered various blurbs of shock, disappointment, and confusion. She looked firmly at her good friend and said, “Sakuya… If we try to go against her, you know what—“

“I don’t care. Chi, I don’t, care.” She turned to the rest of us and continued. “You’ve all heard her say it who knows how many times, haven’t you? That she’s not our mistress, and we’re not her slaves. That she’s happy we feel safe in her home, but that it’s our choice to stay or go. All seven of you, you’re here to represent the other twenty-nine of your kin outside this room. This is bigger than any of you, me, Flandre… even Remilia. We all love her for what she’s done for us… but if we really love her, we can’t let her just throw away everyone’s lives like this!”

Glancing back at China, she added, “You remember that night, don’t you Mei? The night Remilia saved me, from myself. And you remember, that I swore if there was ever a day when I could do the same for her, I’d do it, whatever the cost. Well that day is now, Meiling.”

The room was carpeted in silence, each one of us listening to and understanding Sakuya’s words. It was what I knew in my heart had to happen… it was the only option if Remilia wasn’t going to budge, and knowing her, she probably wouldn’t. But still, to go against the great lady’s wishes…

“So, like, what do we tell Remi then?” Sunny wondered out loud.

“We don’t. We don’t tell her one single thing about what we’re discussing about here. On the outside we’re going to go about our lives and live them to the fullest as best we can, and we’re going to let Remilia do the same. That’s what she wants, and so that’s a gift we can give to her. But the other gift… the other gift is what she needs, Sunny, and the only way we can give her that gift is if she doesn’t know a thing about it.”

“But it sounds… it sounds like we’re gonna be fighting her or something, Sakuya!” I exclaimed, venting my worries.

Her face grew worrisome, but amazingly she didn’t try and time-stop it away. “It, it sounds like that, Fran I know. But it’s, it’s not. We’re all on the same side, aren’t we? Remilia and us all just want to live together and be happy, don’t we? We just have… well, different ideas of how to do it.”

“How are we going to ‘do it’ then, Sakkie?” Monica asked her.

Sakuya looked at the good doctor. “Patches? The floor is yours.”

Patchouli stood up this time, walking into the middle of the circle with her silly pink pajamas on, and began to bestow her logic upon us yet again. “We have three options, that I can see giving us the greatest chances of success.

“Option One: Diplomacy. Whoever, or whatever made that barrier cannot be far from it, and with enough time I think I may be able to find a way to communicate with it. If we send an appropriate party to negotiate and explain our dire strait, it is possible that it will aid us. If it can create a barrier of that magnitude, finding a solution for us would be a trivial matter.

“Option Two: Stealth. Though I was unsuccessful in breaching the barrier today, this was in part because I dared not use techniques so obtrusive as to be considered hostile. With enough practice I believe I can conjour up a way to create a small hole in the shield, one that will not be detected and thus not seen as unattractive to the maker of the barrier. Alternatively there may be a break in the barrier I did not look hard enough for. In either case, with Sakuya’s help we could ferry in our entire population one by one, and if our luck is good, certain amenities as well.

“Option Three: Force. Obviously this possibility takes the opposite course of action from the previous one. Using any and all means available to us we will break a hole in this barrier, whether it is detected or not. This has a possible advantage over the previous option of being faster and more guaranteed at the cost of possible retaliation from the shield-maker. In addition, there is a chance that with a big enough hole… I may be able to transport the mansion itself straight inside.

“Obviously, there are pros and cons with each option, and so at this time I will open the floor for discussion.”

It’s time to DEBATE!
[First] Choose how Fran feels about EACH option: Strongly For, For, Indifferent, Against, or Strongly Against.
(Then) Write in possible justifications for these feelings, which Fran can then use in the discussion or just use as interior monolog.

[ ] Find a fourth option. Be sure to explain what it entails!

Author’s Note – I have a feeling this may turn into a rather ugly conflict of Anon’s opinions if we’re not careful. For now just keep it civil, take it easy, and we’ll just see what kind of votes and discussion pop up. I’ll mitigate the problems later if there are any.
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Diplomacy: Against.
The only person we have met from there is K. K is not exactly evil, but definitely unpleasant and hard to deal with. If she is normal for where she comes from, diplomacy would be a waste of time.
Stealth: Indifferent
It sounds like the 'best' option in that it does not involve fighting, but it seems like a half-solution. Stealth would let people enter, yes, but not allow the mansion to be moved. And if everyone went in through the hole, someone is bound to notice.
Force: Indifferent
We know nothing about the people who made the barrier. All we know is that it is very powerful, and the one person from beyond we have met is very dangerous. Something that might very well cause a fight would be far too much of a risk.

Fourth option: Stealth, then force or diplomacy.
That is to say, we make a tiny hole in, and send a few people to scout. Choose them for their stealth and wits. Sakuya and Therese would be good picks, I think. Fran can come too just so that we can have a point of view with the group. They covertly gather info about the land, and then come back home with it. If it is judged that we can negotiate well, then proceed with diplomacy. Otherwise, use force.
This might actually be what you meant by 'stealth'. In that case, count this as a vote for stealth instead.
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[X] Diplomacy: Strongly for
-[X] Whoever created this barrier is probably in charge of the land, so being on good terms with them would make for an easier transition. Plus, since they made it, they probably know the safest way to pass through.
[X] Stealth: For
-[X] A good back-up plan in case we can't contact the barrier's creator, or they're unhelpful. It doesn't seem nice, but we're dying out here.
[X] Force: Against
-[X] While getting the whole mansion through would be nice, and get around Remi's "I'm not leaving this house" problem, could we even fight off someone much more powerful than Patchouli? Flandre would be too big a risk to use in such a fight, since the creator probably has to maintain the barrier.

>…Well, on the bright side, at least they had something in common: they really didn’t care about any of us.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess Wendy's going to argue to do nothing.
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Dipolomancy: Strongly Against. If other Satori's or other Japanese mind readers and tricksters are around, diplomancy might end up more like surender. It's better then dieing, but if we become servents of something like K it might not be my much.
Stealth: Weakly for.
Sneaking in seems to be the best first move. If we can get even just some of us in before who ever put up the barrier notices, then maybe we can learn about it? Or try and break through it from both sides? Does that help with this sort of thing, Dr. Knoledge.
Force: Weakly for.
Dr. Knoldege I have faith in your power, and Remilia loves this mansion, however it is the people that make it what it is, hearts and souls come before wood and rock.
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Diplomacy: Strongly for
- Even if they make it inside the barrier the young lady powerful being/s that made it would be hostile to them.
Stealth: For
- Sneaking in might work if they are careful.
Force: Strongly against
- Kay alonge was enough to show the strength of who may be living inside.
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[X] Diplomacy: Strongly for
-[X] Whoever created this barrier is probably in charge of the land, so being on good terms with them would make for an easier transition. Plus, since they made it, they probably know the safest way to pass through.
[X] Stealth: For
-[X] A good back-up plan in case we can't contact the barrier's creator, or they're unhelpful. It doesn't seem nice, but we're dying out here.
[X] Force: Against
-[X] While getting the whole mansion through would be nice, and get around Remi's "I'm not leaving this house" problem, could we even fight off someone much more powerful than Patchouli? Flandre would be too big a risk to use in such a fight, since the creator probably has to maintain the barrier.
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Diplomacy: Against.
Pretty much same as >>41499
Stealth: Indifferent
As was said, this option would leave mansion behind and most likely Remi as well. As i doubt that she would come willingly. But still, it sounds like safest option.
Force: Indifferent
This may sound like a best option, but there are too many unknowns about the other place to make it a definitive choice.

Ultimately it may come to >>41499 4th option.
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Diplomacy: Indifferent
It is the ideal solution. No unnecessary bloodshed, and it's better to start things on a friendly note with your future 'landlords'. Still, they could be a bunch of unreasonable people like Kay, so it's a gamble.

Stealth: Against
What >>41499 and >>41525 said. Remi seems to be attached to her mansion, so we can't abandon the mansion if we want to save her.

Force/Direct confrontation: Against
We only have so much combatants, with Remi being uncooperative, Flan being sulky, and who knows what Koa thinks at this point in time. The 'only' thing that we know about the enemy is that they can create a huge, impenetrable barrier. It's far too risky.

Fourth option: Distraction + Force -> Stealth
The distraction team (Sakuya, Meiling, Koa, and/or the seven fairies) will attract the attention of the barrier-maker (by pounding the barrier or something, as long as it's showy enough).

Meanwhile, Patchouli and some optional bodyguards (some of the fairies and/or Koa, maybe) can go on with the Force option on another part of the barrier, making a hole and teleporting the mansion inside.

Once the mansion is inside, the distraction team will retreat from the enemies, and enter the barrier later using the Stealth option, helped by Patchouli from the inside.

[spoiler]The only problem is that the fairies going with the distraction team may run out of faith before they can get in, being separated from the mansion and all. How far can they get separated from the mansion without dying, anyway?
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[x] >>41499

>she announced to the rest of us, “Next meeting you cunts drag me to? I’m sitting next to that chick over there. Bitch knows the real deal.”
D'awwwww, she's making friends~
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Why are people assuming people are as bad as Kay when we more or less know better... then again canonically, the SDM snuck its way in during the 1999 vampire incident (so it might have been more stealth than anything)
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We know better, but Fransesca doesn't.
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3 SF, 1 IN, 3 A, 1 SA
Average = Slightly above indifferent

4 F, 3 IN, 1 A
Average = Between indifferent and for

1 F, 3 IN, 3 A, 1 SA
Average = Between indifferent and against

Also some votes for the Stealth --> Diplomacy/Force write-in

Looks like Francesca will be advocating stealth first and diplomacy second. I’ll take all your comments into consideration and use what I can to make Fran’s opinion known. As per usual, attempting to write and update later this evening, but the update might get pushed back until tomorrow; I’ve got a lot of dialog to get through.

Ahh, and by the way, this isn’t the end of the “what do we do?” discussion. I’ll be having all the characters share their ideas and debate with each other this update, adding in some much-needed clarifications and other food for thought. At the end of the update, they’ll be properly voting on the choices, so you get another chance to make sure you know the path you want to try. Haven’t decided how the in-universe vote’s going to work just yet. I should just let Fran’s vote be the swing vote, being a CYOA and all that, but it seems a little weak. I’ll work on it.

>This might actually be what you meant by 'stealth'. In that case, count this as a vote for stealth instead.
Yes and no. The idea with “stealth” is mainly to just get everyone into the barrier as quickly and quietly as possible, and deal with the new world however they must. Your idea is, like you said, better summarized by the word “Scout”, where you test the waters first and then make a decision. It’s an important enough distinction to where I think the other characters will seriously have to consider it.

>Of course, this is pure speculation, but I heard you writefags like those, no?
Speculation is wonderful; it shows that what I’m writing is making you think. So long as excessive speculation doesn’t end up affecting the story with suspicion and paranoia; such things are of no good in AFT.

>I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess Wendy's going to argue to do nothing.
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that some of that is wrong.

>D'awwwww, she's making friends~
The enemy of my enemy is my friend The disapproving whelp of my over-educated captor is my possible ally in a world of talking butterflies and filthy minds.

>then again canonically, the SDM snuck its way in during the 1999 vampire incident
To my knowledge you are incorrect. Gensokyo’s timeline on the Touhou Wiki (http://touhou.wikia.com/wiki/Gensokyo) has this entry:

>before 1998 A.D. - Vampire Incident
>Scarlet Devil Mansion appears in Gensokyo, but it isn't clear if its always been there originally or always under Remilia's control.
>Akyuu believes Remilia came to Gensokyo after this incident

Now, all we know about the “Vampire Incident” is a little blurb in Reimu’s profile, stating that:
>Originally, attacking humans was the point of the youkai existence, but since the erection of the Great Barrier it's become troublesome for them to do so, and they've had to find sources of food outside their normal choices; consequently, the collective willpower of the youkai began to drop. It was into this situation that a powerful youkai from outside, a vampire, appeared, and quickly amassed a great number of subordinates. [Reimu] was eventually able to disperse this rebellion by defeating the powerful vampire and establishing a contract of behavior prohibiting various actions.

Whether this vampire was Remilia, this girl http://touhou.wikia.com/wiki/Kurumi or someone else, we don’t know. Additionally, those two little words, “Akyuu believes” is pretty much code for “Fanon, think whatever you want”. All this aside, if the timeline is correct (and I’ve no reason to doubt it) the SDM entered Gensokyo before 1998 A.D., which A Fairy’s Tale can allow for.

It’s very possible I missed some supplemental material somewhere, and if something was answered I’m not aware of, my apologies. But, in conclusion, I’d just like to remind you that any discussion about the finer, more minute points of Touhou canon can pretty much be summed up with “ZUN was drunk when he thought of this. Lol ZUN.”
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>if the timeline is correct (and I’ve no reason to doubt it)
The wiki is full of rumors and half-baked theories, don't trust anything that isn't a translation of primary source material. And don't trust PMiSS too much, Akyuu only reports what she hears and the Monologue admits that the dangers of youkai are exaggerated. And Aya's articles are kind of simplified (like real news articles these days). And the dialogue in EoSD has a lot of joking around (no, Reimu didn't actually kill Sakuya). And...
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With all three, you've got to filter out the non-sense (the timeline is actually from the japanese wiki)
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The room once again became silent; an easy silence, this time. A silence of thought and contemplation, one that everyone was glad to have, and one for a time no one dared interrupt save for a few murmurs and whispers.

Diplomacy, stealth, or force… Patchouli really hadn’t embellished any of them, that was for sure. I wasn’t sure what to think, to be honest. I just sort of expected all the smart ladies to have a plan ready and we just had to help with it or something. Guess it wouldn’t be fair to them if we didn’t pitch in on the planning too, and for that matter it wouldn’t have exactly been fair to us if they hadn’t let us pitch in.

At first, diplomacy just sounded the best and smartest. We were in trouble, and we needed help. Whatever was inside the barrier could give us that help. So all we had to do was ask, right; what was the point of just walking in without asking permission first? Plus, shouldn’t they feel sorry for us fellow magical misfits? It was like Patchouli had said: alone we are weak, and together we are strong. But then I got to thinking… what did we really need? What we needed was for people to believe in magic again, before any more of us disappeared. I had no idea why Japan was different from England, but for whatever reason, that barrier had enough magic for hundreds of our mansions. What we needed was to get inside that barrier, as quickly and safely as possible. Diplomacy could take time… Force could make enemies… But if we just snuck in without anyone noticing, it could work. Maybe we had a shot…

“Can’t use stealth,” Sunny said out of the blue, finally getting the ball rolling. “If we’re doin’ it for Remi, she won’t be happy if we leave the mansion; we gotta take it along. So either we move it ourselves with force, or we hope we can convince whoever’s inside that there barrier to move it for us.”

“If we’re doing it for Remi,” Saphhire retorted coldly, “We should respect her wishes and not do anything.

“That’s not an option.”

“The hell it isn’t. Her sister just killed someone and her house was invaded by some thing that can bend minds and turn invisible. I’d say that’s a good enough reason to put this little discussion on hold until everyone calms down and we can bring the sisters in on it.”

“We can’t do that; I know her,” Sakuya answered back, fingering his lips pensively. “If she gets anywhere near a discussion like this she’ll shut us down. When she makes up her mind, she makes it.”

“What about Flandre then?” I asked, preferring to contribute to the topic at hand rather than selfishly change it. “I mean, all this got started because of her! Shouldn’t she… be in the decision-making process thingy?”

Sakuya shrugged. “Flandre is ‘indisposed’ at the moment. You can try dragging her out of the cell, but it’s a hundred to one she’ll even talk back at this stage.”

“Then, why not wait? No matter what we decide it’s going to take time for Patchy to work on her magic, right? So can’t she just, plan ahead for a while and wait for Flan to get better?”

Thérèse nudged me from the side and whispered into my ear, “Do you really want to put this off for another week? Do you really want to have to spend each day wondering what we’re going to do?”

“…N-No…?” The girl had a point; I certainly didn’t want to have to carry this weight around day after day, questions rattling around inside my head. I just wanted to know how we were going to solve this… “Never mind,” I said to Sakuya, “You can, keep talking I guess.”

She nodded and added her own thoughts on the subject. “Personally, I’d be all for stealth if we could find a way to bring the mansion with us; as much as I don’t want to be as stubborn as Remilia, this house is the world to her. Are you sure you can’t sneak it through without being detected, Patches?”

“At this point I’m not sure what I can or cannot do with the mansion, or that barrier. And I can tell you is that the more impossible the request is, the longer it will take me to grant it. As we’ve established that time is of the essence, I dare not try anything too complex.”

“What’s the problem with just doing that, uhh whatsits, making a big enough hole for the mansion without just breaking the barrier like a window?” Thérèse asked her.

“The same problem as it is with breaking it like a window,” the librarian responded dejectedly. “The larger the hole, the greater the chance we will be detected; that is the bottom line. If your primary goal is stealth, the hole must be small, no more than a meter or two across. And to answer your inevitable next question, no, I cannot just ‘magically squeeze the mansion through a tiny hole’. Not in our time frame, at the very least.”

The room grew silent again as we waited for either the next idea, or the next opinion. It came by way of Tullia this time, who wondered aloud, “What about Kay? This is her home, after all.”

Sakuya shook her head. “Kay’s a dead end. She’s not going to cooperate; lunch yesterday made that fact quite clear.”

Monica suggested a solution. “But, uhhmm… Kay and, Flandre… they’re friends, right? Can’t Miss Flandre talk to her?”

“Shit, girl, you were fucking there. Didn’t you see them try and ‘talk’? Ahah, hah hah hah, NO.”

Meiling cast an unimpressed glare in the devil’s direction. “Do you have any opinion of what to do, visitor?”

“Me? Hell no. I’m just here for the entertainment. You sluts do whatever the bloody hell you want.”

“Three things,” Thérèse retorted, holding up as many fingers. “One, shut up. Two, watching our world burn for your amusement sounds exactly like what Kay is doing, and we don’t like her. Three we’re not sluts and we’re not cunts. Chicks is cool.”

Fortunately, Sunny brought us back on track before the conversation derailed, as conversations with that girl-looking-thing were liable to do (seemed I was just going to have to get used to it). “Moving right along! As much as I love just breaking stuff, I really don’t see why we’d choose anything but diplomacy. It’s safe, friendly, and gets the job done. Plus if it doesn’t work at least we haven’t pissed anyone off, right?”

As far as I was concerned that was my cue to speak up. “It’s, slow. Look, I, I know this sounds kinda mean, but… what are we really talking about here? We’re talking about how to stop any more of us from dying, or disappearing, or whatever. And the best way to do that is to just find a little hole and sneak in as fast as we can. We don’t know what the people in there are like, or what they’d think ‘bout us—I mean, Kay is from there after all—but if we sneak we don’t gotta bother nobody.”

The rest of them chewed on that idea for a while, boosting my miserably small ego just a bit. And then, of course, Wendy decided to be her old buzzkilling self by stating the obvious.

“Stealth’s weakness is the loss of the mansion. I care not for it, however others more materialistic than I might. My vote is force, and on this I shall not waver.”

“I know, I know,” I answered back, biting my lip and trying not to let Wendy’s cynicism get to me. Had a feeling she was going to side with force, being the hard-boiled no-nonsense girl that she was. “There’s gotta be a way to get it in easier…”

“Why force, if I may ask?” Tullia asked our dark cousin. “The last thing we want is a fight with the neighbors of our new home; it would be out of the frying pan and into the fire!”

She closed her eyes, probably in annoyance or something like that. “You forget the doctor’s definition of force, Cousin Tuesday. Force does not mean to seek a fight with the natives. Force means to use brute force, as opposed to stealth, to open this so-called barrier. In essence these options are the same. In practice the difference is the gain of the mansion at the loss of silent entry. To me the trade is acceptable; silent entry is an illusion in a world of magic.”

Tullia took a few moments to process the rebuttal before making her own. “Just because we don’t seek a fight doesn’t mean brute force isn’t going to get us one. After all, we’d be breaking open something that was put there for a reason. I don’t think the person who put it there will be very happy with us.”

“My stance remains the same, Cousin Tuesday.”

Thérèse added her two cents. “Weeellll, I’m feelin’ force too, ladies; sorry. We need this mansion for Remi’s sake, and you know what they say: better to seek forgiveness than to ask permission.”

“Why… do they say that?” Monica wondered aloud, fighting with the seam of the couch to at least try and seem large enough to be taken seriously.

“Ehh, you know… ‘cause. ‘Cause they do, it’s just what they say, yeah? No…? Uunnnghh, all right… It’s like, you want something, yeah? You want it really bad. But maybe if you ask for it, you don’t get it. Well, if you just take it without asking, yeah it feels bad, but… at least you’ve got it.”

“So, we’re… stealing magic?”

Reptile-girl gave Monica a funny little expression I don’t really know how to describe. “Nnnnoooo…? Not, realllyyy? Well… kinda. It’s complicated. It’s not stealing. Someone, help me out here.”

Sunny stuck her tongue out at her. “No. Help yourself out; we’re on different sides. And yeah, I’m joking. Kinda.”

“Civility now, girls,” Meiling reminded, crossing her legs as she leaned back into her couch with Sunny and Tullia. “We’re all on the same side here. All we’re looking to do here is find out what plan works the best. Disagreeing is fine; just be sure to say why.”

“I don’t see you making a very large contribution, Meiling,” Sapphire hissed, obviously not enjoying this meeting much at all. “You too, Patchouli. Care to share what you think?”

“I… am undecided. For me these things take time, and introspection, both of which I have if I decide to abstain from the discussion. I wouldn’t dare try and contribute anything here I’m not yet sure of.”

“As for me…” Patchouli added, “I am biased, considering any decision requires a large effort on my part to achieve. But in this bias, I will say that of our possible options I feel most sure about my abilities to establish a connection with the maker of the barrier. In short, diplomacy. As for our chances in actually striking a bargain with this maker… I cannot say.”

Sapphire sighed audibly from across the circle. “Well, great, thanks, you’re a real contribution to us all. Anyone have a comment that isn’t completely ambiguous?”

“You know, you’re not doing much to help either, Saph,” Sunny pointed out.

“I already told you, I vote we wait. Bugger these ‘three options’, there’s always alternatives, and I say waiting’ll do more good than harm. Flan might have some ideas, even if Sakuya isn’t ‘allowing’ Miss Remilia to join us.”

“It’s a wasted vote; you’re going to be the only one that thinks that you know...”

Though a cluster of the girls continued to go back and forth with the whole “waiting option (Monica was one of them it seemed), I started thinking about what Sapphire had said about there always being alternatives. The mansion; it all came back to the mansion, didn’t it? I knew stealth was the surest option, but it didn’t give us the mansion. There had to be a way…

Ignoring wherever they were in their conversation at the time, I politely interrupted, “Uhh, excuse me? I, I got a question. Why can’t we just, y’know, sneak in first so’s everyone’s safe, and then try and bring the mansion in? Is there a real big difference between talking to the barrier-person-thing inside it versus outside it?”

That managed to get a number of people’s attention, and for a while a lot of them mulled the prospect over. Sunny eventually answered back, “It’s… an idea, but it’s got the same problem diplomacy’s got: if they don’t like us, we don’t get it.”

“But… Well, then at least we’re in. Better to seek forgiveness, right? And I’d think it’d be a lot easier for Patchouli to open a small hole than a big one, right Ms. Knowledge?”

“Logically, yes; I do not relish the prospect of brute force on a barrier of that caliber. However the disadvantage with stealth is emotional as well as physical, Miss Francesca. While Sakuya could transport every resident safely in the blink of an eye, eventually time must flow again, and Remilia will know we have gone against her wishes in leaving the mansion behind. Whether or not we manage to regain the mansion in the future, the impact it would have on her may be most undesirable.”

I racked my mind for an alternative. “Gwah, you’re right I guess. Then, then… what if… what if we don’t send everyone in all at once? Like, half now and half when we bring the mansion over?”

”If we can bring the mansion over,” Thérèse reminded. “And that idea’s worse yet; now we’re split in half, who’s going to decide who stays and who goes? And if we don’t get the mansion the half that stay are going to be all indignant.”

“We could… maybe just send our cousins over? I mean, they’re the ones that need it the most. And who’s going to mind a few more fairies in a magic land anyways?”

“Eeehhhhhh… it seems really patchy; no pun intended doctor. I don’t like it.”

“But, I think I do,” said China, finally rejoining the conversation. She did?

“You do?”

“Well, I like the heart of it, Fran. Sending in a part first, to be followed by the whole. While I doubt you were thinking of this, to me it makes sense: a scout.” She turned slightly in her chair, arms folded across her knees, addressing the circle. “A few of us enter through a small hole without causing any alarm. Once inside we could look at the land and learn about its residents; what they’re like, how they treat intruders, and most importantly if they’re open to the idea of immigrants. Perhaps, with luck, we may find the one who controls the barrier, and negotiate with it face to face. No offense meant, Patchouli, but I believe that sort of diplomacy may be a deal more successful than a magical, ethereal connection made outside of the shield.”

Scouting… Now there was an interesting alternative, and it looked like the rest thought so too. Sapphire was skeptical. “And if this face-to-face diplomacy fails…?”

“If it fails, then it’s really no different than if it failed outside of the barrier. But, this way we’ll have a better idea of what we’re up against. We could come back, sit down again, and have a better idea on where to go from there. I believe that’s a fair alternative to flat-out waiting Sapphire, yes?”

She glowered back at the groundskeeper. “And… Remilia?”

Meiling sighed as she leaned back on her chair. “Whether or not Remilia actually believes in it, she knows that we want to go there, and as Sakuya has said, whatever her opinions are, she will not stop us if we want to leave. Remilia can’t fault us for simply looking at the new world.”

“Well, technically, she can,” Sakuya mentioned, lazily flicking dirt from out of her fingernails. “And she probably would. But yeah, you’ve got a point; she wouldn’t stop us. It’s got potential.”

Thérèse scratched her “hair” with her “tail”, muttering unintelligibly at first. “Gamble… S’all a gamble… worth it, true, buuut… I dunno. It’s a good idea, Mei, lot better that flat stealth, but it wastes even more time than before. Though considering force’ll take just as long to figure out a way to break it… Bwah, this is gonna take some thought. Can we, like, adjourn the court or whatever; I need some thinkin’ time.”

“Y-Yeah, me too…” Monica pined, having finally given up on sitting and was just leaning on the couch back whilst standing. “I can’t choose… they all feel like they’d gonna work…”

“A recess would not be remiss,” agreed Patchouli, standing up out of her chair and stretching. “Overtaxing the brain in a debate is hardly beneficial for constructive thinking.”

Sakuya looked conflicted. “No, wait, wait wait; if we all run off I just know we’re never gonna get back together, and right now I’m not risking Remi finding out. I’ve got a better idea; the room’s big enough, right? Let’s just all find a little corner by ourselves and give it some thought. Oh, wait, better idea.” She blinked away and blinked back, holding a dozen or so folders and passed one out to everyone. “Just so we can see were we all stand, write down your opinion on a piece of paper once you’re ready. I think it’ll help to just be able to see where our thoughts sit.”

“The what now? Is this gonna be like some final final vote where the winner wins?” Sunny wondered skeptically, squinting at the folder.

“Is some kind of actual government where speeches are boring and politicians politic?” Sakuya chuckled and waved her hand unconcernedly. “Just think about what you think is best for everyone in the mansion. That’s all.”


The group dispersed to different parts of the room to concentrate in their own ways, some just lying on a couch or chair or the floor, while Monica ended up hiding under a pile of pillows thrice as big as her and Thérèse just morphed into some fuzzy panda-bear-looking creature and for all intents and purposes appeared to have fallen asleep. I just pushed a nice comfortable chair facing up against the wall and curled my legs up underneath me, sorting through all this mess.

There’ll be some introspection first, but in the end…
[ ] In the end, I decided on diplomacy.
[ ] In the end, I decided on stealth.
[ ] In the end, I decided on force.
[ ] In the end, I decided on scouting.
[ ] In the end, I decided to wait.
[ ] In the end, I decided on…??? (write-in goes here)
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[x] In the end, I decided on stealth.
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[X] In the end, I decided on scouting.
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[X] In the end, I decided on scouting.
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[x] In the end, I decided on diplomacy.

I was strongly for diplocamy at the start and that hasn't changed.
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[B] In the end, I decided on force.
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[x] In the end, I decided on force.

Guys, Remilia won't leave the house. The ebst way to make everyone happy, is by taking the whole house with them.
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[X] In the end, I decided on scouting
Go Go Fran! To the unknown!
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[X] In the end, I decided on scouting.
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[x] In the end, I decided on scouting.

After all, scouting seems to take the best parts of all three other choices. We don't make too big of a splash at first, we're able to negotiate with a certain someone that maintains the barrier, and, in the end, we get to bring the mansion over.
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>Sakuya answered back, fingering his lips pensively.
oh my
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[x] In the end, I decided on scouting.

We need more information.
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[X] In the end, I decided on scouting.

Making everybody happy? Oh, you mean everybody except the one who made the barrier and any inhabitants that notice the intrusion.
People WILL notice somebody forcing their way in, and they most likely will NOT like it.
If who ever made the barrier is as strong as Patchouli has said, we don't stand a chance.
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[X] In the end, I decided on diplomacy.

Pissing against the tide, because I think scouting will end up a waste of time.
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>Making everybody happy? Oh, you mean everybody except the one who made the barrier and any inhabitants that notice the intrusion.

Everyone who matters. That means, those who are facing real death by disappearing due the lack of magic, those who are actually close to Francesca, those who have become a family by living toghether in the mansion. And that includes the Scarlets sisters.

Besides, the Barrier isn't there just to keep people out of Gensokyo, it's also there to keep the magicin. Gensokyo was made to be a refuge, a sanctuary for magical beings; it's only natural some of those left outised would attempt to enter Gensokyo by any means necessary.

>If who ever made the barrier is as strong as Patchouli has said, we don't stand a chance.

Do you mean the Hakurei? Although Reimu wasn't the one resposible for creating the Hakurei barrier, she is the shrine maiden when the mansion showed up in Gensokyo. And when the mansion was discovered, the spellcard rules were already in play.
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[x] In the end, I decided on scouting.
i originally voted for this and besides. It will be fun to see Fran in the scouting party exploring new world.
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[X] Scouting

Even if it is a waste of time, we have that much time. Maybe.
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[x] In the end, I decided on diplomacy.

Personally I'd think it'd be best to try to talk to the person as it may make the whole move easier than harder. That and the whole "If you just asked I'd have said yes" thing as opposed to forcing your way in.

The mansion snuck its way into Gensokyo during the Vampire incident without much effect until Remilia decided to make that mist.
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9 for scouting
3 for diplomacy
2 for force
1 for stealth

Yeah, pretty much knew it was going to fall like this considering the first vote, but I thought I’d just give you a second chance to make sure. In all honesty I was going to try and have the characters’ dialog make convincing sides both for and against each option so that it’d be a closer vote, but that fell through as I realized the update was already getting kind of long, and I knew you were probably just going to go with scouting anyways since, like >>41630 said, it’s a compromise between the other options.

I’ll just allow the plot to resolve itself in favor of scouting, then; but the trick is making it look like Fran isn’t just getting whatever she wants because she’s the main character. Writing whenever; grad school registration is murder. I’d try and outrun the first day of classes if I thought it’d help, but the semester starts August 30th, and considering there’s probably a few more cute things you want to do before the end of the story, I’m not going to force it. But we’ll see where it goes.

That image fills me with fear and loathing. For the good of your soul, fellow viewers, don’t maximize it. It will bring you nothing but pain.

You have been referenced before in this post and do not need to be referenced again, expect for right now.

I am the greatest proofreader. The greatest. Also cute pic.

It’s okay, minority. I still love you, but I am a slave to the vote. Personally I wanted to write force, because then Flandre would get to blow up a quarter of the Great Hakurei Barrier by herself using destruction hax, and then spend the next several updates getting comically chased around by Reimu, Marisa, Yukari, Ran, or a combination thereof. But that won’t happen now~

>Talking about Touhou canon
At this point I think talking about Touhou canon is a moot point anyways, considering that this late in the story the “plot” of AFT is more important than it and I’m not going to compromise the latter for the sake of the former. I now feel compelled to say lol plot, lol canon, lol Touhou, lol ZUN, and lol internets. Also because since the story ends once the mansion gets inside Gensokyo, whatever may or may not be happening inside the barrier at the time isn’t our concern.
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>Spoiler section
Is your nose bleeding? That's me hating you dead
Seriously now, that could've been awesome, but scouting fairy sounds good as well so...

By the way, you know that, when Remilia first appeared, our Reimu wasn't even born? I believe that either Yuuka or Reimu's mother taught her some manners but I can't remember right now. I'm telling you this because I wouldn't want the story to stop following...
>lol plot, lol canon, lol Touhou, lol ZUN lol internets
>the “plot” of AFT is more important than it and I’m not going to compromise the latter for the sake of the former.
You're now the best person ever. Forever. And ever.
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That's wrong anyways, it was indeed the Reimu we know that stopped the vampire incident and made the spell card rules.

Oh well... I kinda forgot with the seriousness of the last few votes that this was a rather silly story.
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>First spoilered section
See, this is what I learned as a writer: don't allow voters a chance to kill the seriously awesome shit.

...And who's to say it can't still happen? Francesca is only one fairy. What she votes does not necessarily determine the outcome (kind of like that one South Park episode). Flandrebooman gaems may yet still be in the future.



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If nothing else, perhaps it could be a sort of "What If...?" scenario, if not a part of the actual story?

Really, it's too good an idea to not do in some fashion or another.
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Augh. This is why I try not to reveal the coulda-woulda-shouldas until long after the fact. Truth is, weeks ago before we’d gotten to this point, I had originally intended to not let you vote on how to get through the barrier and default to force (since I thought that was the most logical way to get the mansion inside at the time, and because it was a cool scene), but I scrapped it because with such an important decision I felt you’d want some input. So I gave it to you, and you wrote-in scouting, and it won.

I’m not trying to be a bitter, soulless author that follows votes mindlessly to a T, but frankly you’ve got to be prepared to take some votes on just your gut. The spice of these stories is sometimes not knowing just exactly what’s going to happen; do you think the lunchtime scene would have been nearly as special if you’d known exactly what was going to happen with every choice? For that matter, sometimes the spice of the story is that I don’t even know what’s going to happen; I hadn’t planned on a “scouting” option winning in the slightest, and now suddenly a whole new perspective has opened up for me (and I must say, I’m glad to have it now). At this point I certainly hope that you trust me enough to know that whatever the vote is, I’ll be writing something that you’ll enjoy.

Sorry for being so needlessly wordy, but I just wanted to give a reason for why I’m not changing the vote. Please don’t worry; I’ve got some ideas for how to make scouting just as enjoyable as force. And think about it this way, too: AFT has been a laid-back story, and thus should probably have a laid-back ending, an ending scouting could provide. Would an over-the-top finale of explosions and battles really feel right for it? Again, I point you to Derp Wars for that sort of thing: >>41644

>Is your nose bleeding? That's me hating you dead
I’ve had a stuffy nose for the last few days. Maybe I’ll blame you for that, now.

>I'm telling you this because I wouldn't want the story to stop following... Oh… You're now the best person ever. Forever. And ever.
The sooner we realize we’re writing fan-fiction about magical girls based on games with no plot, loose canon, and no characterization, created by a drunken Japanese beanpole of a man, the better we’ll be for it. Follow canon as far as you can before your head starts hurting, then give up and use that effort to write a better story instead.

And thank you~

>That's wrong anyways, it was indeed the Reimu we know that stopped the vampire incident and made the spell card rules.
Speaking of loose canon… Reimu’s been solving incidents for at least the last ten years, and is still considered to be in her mid to late teens. Either her Hakurei hax has stopped her from ever reaching twenty years old, ZUN forgot, or she was like six when she beat back that vampire. Just throwin’ that out there.

Soooo… yeah. I’m not touching that issue with a ten-foot gohei.

Wait until the story’s over, and we’ll talk about it.
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What is "The vampire incident" if not EoSD? I'm confused.
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This was it; this was our future, our hope for not just fading away like we never existed. I had to think it through, take it slow, understand just what gave us the brightest chance for getting in safely. If it was just a matter of difficulty, it’d be so easy; I knew Ms. Patchouli was smart enough to figure out a spell for anything once she set her mind to it. But the time… the awful time… How long did it take from the disappearance of one fairy to the next? How long before it was just us seven? I’d asked myself these questions before, but I needed to tell myself that there was no point. We didn’t need a timeline of fairy disappearances, complete with statistical averages and weighted predictions and I don’t know what all that math stuff is about anyways; there was no equating the worth of a soul.

Accuracy at the expense of speed wouldn’t work… Speed at the expense of accuracy wouldn’t work… so what gave us the best chances at both? I pondered for what felt like hours but what was probably just minutes. Force would work—it was just boom, crack, whoosh, we’re in—but Patchouli didn’t know how the break it and we didn’t want to make anyone mad. Stealth would work—it was just pop, timestop timestop timestop and we’re all in—but we didn’t get to keep the mansion. Diplomacy would work—it was just dial ‘em up, ring ring, talk, we’re in—but we had no idea who we’d be talking to. Scouting would work—it was everything else that worked from the other three—but there was so much more that could go wrong. Waiting… waiting wouldn’t work. I didn’t care what Saph said; we couldn’t just do nothing. I knew doing without thinking wasn’t always the best idea. But thinking without doing was going to be even worse.

For now, I’ll spare you my illogical mental ramblings, and just say that in the end, I decided on scouting. In the long and short of it, we neither knew nor understood anything about the world we were trying to move to. And we needed to. Sending scouts kept all the other ideas’ strengths and cut out some of their nagging weaknesses. Plus… Well, I did kind of want to be one of the scouts. For some reason I had a knack for being useful in important situations and useless most everywhere else. But I suppose everyone has their gifts.

One by one the group tiptoed back into the circle, most of them fiddling with a folded sheet of paper like I was, the sheet that had their vote on it. They all seemed quite serious, breathing slowly with unsmiling faces. I just had to wonder, what was the tally going to be? Would everyone vote for the same thing? Would I be the only one that voted scouting, since I’d kind of thought of the idea? Would it be a three way tie? I just wanted to get it over with…

Sakuya was the last one back to the middle, taking a good five to ten minutes longer than the second runner-up, Sunny. It really was a tad maddening, sitting in silence and watching Sakuya puzzle over who knew what in the corner; for some reason she hadn’t stopped time to do it, which I really thought odd. Once she had recomposed herself, the meeting continued.

“Well, ehhh, sorry for the wait; we all think at different speeds. Should we, umm… show our votes, then? Maybe say a little bit about why you chose it?”

“Can we not call them votes, please?” Sunny suggested, making a little face at the word. “Just say like tell us what you think, or something.”

The maid chewed on her lip before replying. “Ahh, fine… Well, I guess I’d better start then. We can, go around the circle like this after. So…” She fumbled with her sheet of paper and flipped it open for all of us to see. Really wasn’t sure what the whole paper deal was about, but I suppose it did make it easier to see who voted for what, in case we forgot.

“Well… I guess I decided on scouting. Mainly, ‘cause… we need to keep that mansion, I don’t trust force, and diplomacy is, just… I just think scouting’s a better idea. It’s hard to explain. Patchouli? If you don’t want to go next we can go the other way…” We could all tell there was a lot more to the maid’s vote than just what she’d said, but nobody tried to call her on it.

The librarian flipped out her paper. “I have sided with diplomacy, for the reason I stated before; I am most confident that this magical technique will be the least difficult for me to perfect.”

“All right… Miss Spirit?”

“You leave me the hell out of this; I don’t fucking care. Pass, abstain, whatever.”

“Fair enough… Mei?”

“Scouting for me as well, though of course I’m biased as I came up with the idea. Scouting covers all our bases and leaves room for solid backup plans should it fail. Understanding this new world is key if we’re to live in it.”

“Mmm… Sunny?”

“Yeah… So, I stayed with diplomacy; sorry China. I just think it’s the surest bet. It’s not like they’d turn us away, right? Plus like Patch said, it’s fast, and fast is good here.”

By this point the girls knew where they were in line, and Sakuya stopped her little self-appointed MC position. It was chilling, like we were on trial or something and had to defend our side of the story. I knew that this was serious business, but still, we could’ve done it another way. Tullia was up next…

“I, also, decided on diplomacy. If this creature we’re trying to contact is going to be a neighbor to us for the foreseeable future, I’d say it’s important to make a good first impression. Diplomacy is the only one which doesn’t enter the new world without permission.”

Three against two for diplomacy… my vote would tie it… But we were already half-done, Wendy wouldn’t change her vote, and neither would Sapphire… It was going to be close. And speaking of Sapphire, she seemed to be very reluctant in taking her turn.

“Saph, it’s… your turn you know,” Sakuya reminded politely.

The vampire-fairy grumbled and buried her face in the sloping sides of her chair. She said nothing, just held out her paper and tried to pretend she wasn’t there. It was hard to see the writing in that right… Wait, diplomacy? She changed her mind?! From the exasperated exhaling around the room, it looked like a number of the other girls were thinking the same thing I was. Why, though? Was it for the reason China had suggested? She’d still get to wait regardless?

Thérèse asked the question for me. “Care to share your thoughts, cousin?”

“No… just, keep going. It’s my decision.” She almost sounded embarrassed

Wendy certainly didn’t waste any time in going, and predictably her paper had “FORCE” written on it. Her voice remained as firm as ever. “This argument it pointless. If we are to love that which we hold dear, we must go to any lengths to protect it. What is a battle for our kind, if not a chance to prove our sincerity? Those in this new land shall see us and know that we are adamant; we will earn a respect brought forth from action, not words. I will convince no one here… but I will not compromise my beliefs.”

If I said it in the past… I shouldn’t have, and I’ll say what I should have said then, now: I will never say that Wendy didn’t care about anything. But what she cared about was simply something we didn’t understand. I felt like I really should have tried to get to know her better… As sad as the idea was, I had this feeling, that somewhere in that new world was a place perfect for her, and once she found it she was going to leave the mansion, leave us. Because the fact was that her place clearly wasn’t with us; she just didn’t have anywhere else to be.

None of us really dwelled on it for very long, and it quickly became Monica’s turn to shine. I really had no clue where she was going to go with this; she retained a pure fairy’s unpredictability through and through, something I had a suspicion I’d lost somewhere along the way.

Monica had apparently tried to write her vote on the paper, but I had a feeling she really didn’t know how to write, or read, or spell. Amidst a lot of scribbled-out scratches that might have been words, she’d instead drawn us a picture. I doubted anyone besides me could have made it out—I was sitting right next to her after all—but it looked like a picture of either “diplomacy” or “force” to me.

Her voice trembled as first, followed by reddening cheeks. “I… I, can’t, write, very good… So I, I drew a pitcher. It’s, it’s that one long word, diplomancy. S-See, here’s us all standing down here, an’ here’s the bubble, and we’re talking to this thingy up here. I, uhh, I gave it a quesshion mark for a face, ‘cause we don’ know what it looks like. And, uhhmm… I guess, what Tullie said. We wanna be nice to people.”

Our precious little Monica… Drawing us a picture because she couldn’t write. I couldn’t help myself; smiling, I reached out my arm and pulled her in towards my side, rubbing my cheek against her hair.

“Don’t you ever change, Monica; don’t you ever. You stay just the way you are.”

“Nnnngg, Francie, this izz serious busy-ness!”

Sunny inched herself closer to our couch and looked at “diplomacy” intently. She tapped her finger at it and commented, “You know, the sad part is that she can probably draw better than I can. That’s cute, Monica; real good job.”

Her red cheeks intensified. “It… It wasn’t, really, s’possed to be…”

That brought the spotlight to me, and I gulped down the lump in my throat, only to have it replaced instantly. Not because I was nervous—it was just a discussion with friends, after all—but because I could count. Staring at the papers people were holding up like signs, it was four votes diplomacy, three votes scouting. Mine would tie it four-four, meaning it was on Thérèse’s head to swing the tide. And it was going to be my fault, in a very loose, roundabout sort of way. But, I had it to do, so I unfurled my little banner and made it “official.”

“I… well, I’m going for scouting. ‘Cause, it’s like China said I guess. It takes the best of the best and leaves the worst of the worst. We, we don’t know anything about the barrier world, and even if we did, we don’t understand. And we gotta. So… sorry, Thérèse, I know I tied it for you. I didn’t mean to.”

That little remark earned me a painless slap from the fairy in question, who for once looked perfectly normal save for a pair of snow-white dog ears atop snow-white shaggy hair. She stuck her tongue out at me, too. “Awh, well thanks kid, left it all to me did you? And here I was just going to go with whatever was winning at the time, see?” She held out her pre-written paper, which sure enough had written on it: WHICHEVER CHOICE THE MOST PEOPLE HAVE VOTED FOR BY NOW.

“It’s not a vote, Thérèse, I told you that,” Sakuya comforted. “We’re just seeing where people are. And it looks like we just need to decide between diplomacy or scouting, so… at least we narrowed it down. That’s something.”

“We’re going to be here all afternoon, aren’t we?” the little China asked disparagingly.

“All things come to they who wait, Sun,” the big China responded soothingly, running her double’s shoulder.

“Provided they live long enough to get them,” the devil added mockingly, well aware of the connotation of her words. She even was snide enough to add, “Oh, too soon, maybe? Heh.”

Sakuya snapped her fingers a few times to get everyone back on track. “Focus, now. Diplomacy and scouting aren’t really all that different; I’m sure we can find a middle-ground. Scouting people, what specifically don’t you like about diplomacy? Diplomacy people, same thing please; yes I know I’m probably being pushy. I’m just trying to keep this moving; none of us want to be here right now.”

“In all honesty, I find it impersonal,” Meiling started off assuredly. “Far better to meet our neighbors face to face than through some magic link. And if I may borrow some of Wendy’s reasoning, it shows initiative; that we are willing to go further than perhaps we should in order to ensure our safety.”

“Plus what I said about understanding, too,” I added in, though Meiling probably would have as well had I not cut in. “It’d be nice to know some stuff before asking a whole bunch of questions.”

Sakuya smirked and held a few fingers up to her forehead. “Pssh, well, they took all the good reasons. I got nothing. Sapphire, you want to say anything yet?”

The little “vampire” was still in a rather sour mood, though I suspected it had as much to do with her own actions now as ours. Her liquid brown hair covered her face like a curtain as she hung her head in some mixture of shame and defeat and who knew what else. “No… I just voted for it because… going before your master is a servant’s job.”

“It’s unnecessary,” Sunny replied back from the other side. “What we’re looking at here is either talking to some superbeing and asking to get the mansion brought over there, or sneaking inside the barrier, and then talking to some superbeing and asking to get the mansion brought over there. Scouting’s just diplomacy with an extra step we don’t need.”

“This isn’t a race, Sun. The fastest way isn’t necessarily the best way.”

“It isn’t not a race, either, China. Patches said the diplomacy magic was the fastest, right? Every day we can shave off of the time we get in there is another day my family doesn’t have to die!”

“I said I had the most confidence that I would be able to succeed,” the woman in question corrected as she walked back to her chair and spread a blanket over her shivering legs. “Truthfully I have no way of knowing how fast or slow I would develop a successful tactic for either scenario. Either option is acceptable to me, at this point.”

“Agreed,” said Tullia, nodding her head. “Like Miss Sakuya said, there’s not much difference between them. I simply chose it because it seemed less intrusive, but there’s something to be said by understanding those who we’re inquiring to first. I’ve no problem with scouting if it must come to it.”

“Bah, buncha spineless voter-peoples you are,” the diplomat-fairy whined. “Little Money? Are you going to be all wishy-washy too?”

“What’s… that supposed to mean?”

The dull thud of Sunny smacking her head against the armrest of the couch was ample enough response. “Nevermind, I give up; Teresa, go ahead and vote for scouting so we can get this over with. I’m getting too old for this.”

Thérèse gave the girl a quizzical look before smirking at her. “You came here twenty-eight years after me, kid, and I know you weren’t a bicentennial girl before then. What’s your point?”

“My point is that we’re arguing over whether we’re gonna put peanut butter or marmalade on our toast. Just pick one, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and eat your dang breakfast.”

“I hate marmalade.”

“Hmm, didn’t know you could even eat Earth food, devil-girl.”

“Well, I also hate peanut butter.”

“Just keep fightin’ the good fight, then, girl.”

Well, that had me completely lost. It’s possible I drifted off somewhere in there; as life-changing as this meeting was I’d actually found it rather boring after a while. “Wait… did we just decide something? You lost me.”

Thérèse give me a playful nudge on the shoulder. “We decided to decide. We also decided that Sakuya still doesn’t know all that much about fairies. Seriously, Sakkie, we’d’ve fixed it faster if you just would’ve just not said anything and locked us in the room.”

The head maid seemed just as lost as me. “I was just trying to… make sure we didn’t forget anything. This is the future of the mansion, after all!”

“Sakkie, whatever we pick’s gonna work, it’s just a question of how. Here, I’ll make it easy. Is there anyone in this room right now who thinks scouting is a horrible idea and we shouldn’t do it?”

“Not really…”
“Nah, it’s fine.”
“Every plan has flaws in it, I suppose…”
“I’m all for it.”
“Let’s just get it over with.”

My companion presented the room to the head maid with a simple outstretched hand. “You see? Problem solved. Patches can get started on the hole-drilling magic whatever-it-is machine. Can we go now?”

I could see Sakuya still didn’t get the situation. I didn’t exactly either, but at the same time I did. “Que Sera Sera” I think it’s called; whatever happens, happens. We’d narrowed it down as far as we needed to, and then just taken a leap of faith. Sooner or later, it was going to come down to faith anyways, so it might as well be sooner. It seemed like she was slowly coming to the same conclusion.

“So… It’s going to be scouting?” she asked no one in particular.

I hadn’t talked for a while and felt the need to contribute. “Seems that way, Sakuya.”

“What about all the specifics?” she worried. “The planning and who’s best suited for scouting?”

Sunny shrugged, already getting out of her seat. “You figure it out; just tell us later. We’re better at spur-of-the-moment stuff anyways. And now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a previous engagement with a plate of biscuits and Weird Al Yankovic.”

“I swear I’m surrounded by children,” she mumbled into her hands as the atmosphere quickly dissipated and fairies started trickling away one by one.

“Most of whom are actually older than yourself, friend,” Meiling encouraged as she patted the silver-haired woman on the back. “We’re all kids here, just fending for ourselves without any parents.”

“Sounds like Lord of the Flies to me, with Remilia in the other camp coming to get us.”

The guard held out a hand to her friend, and Sakuya looked back up. “Then let’s get off this island before she burns it down with everyone inside.”

Sakuya smiled and grabbed the hand, getting pulled out of the chair and into an affectionate hug. “Amen to that, sister; amen to that.”

I smiled as I watched the scene come to a close, just glad that everyone always had someone else to look out for them. We weren’t really all just kids, I thought; we had groups. There were the little kids running around without a care in the world, the big kids pretending to be more grown up but at heart were just as silly, and the adults who watched us both and wished they were kids again. It was dysfunctional, and would break itself more often than other people would break it, but it worked.

I just hoped that when this was all over, it still would.

If I even cared about chapters anymore, this might be a good place to end one.

Next scene:
[ ] Days down the road (When Flandre finally opens her door)
[ ] Weeks down the road (When the tension has blown over and things are back to normal)
--( ) A write-in to more specifically state what you’d like to see?
[ ] Months down the road (When they’re finally ready to leave)

Author’s Note – Obviously the last option will happen eventually anyways; this is just a last little chance to finish up loose ends you might have or see things you might have wanted to see. The first two choices probably won’t drag on for more than a handful of updates due to time constraints, but if there’s any final thoughts you’ve got, now’s the time. If not, vote for “months” and I’ll start winding it down.
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[X] Days down the road (When Flandre finally opens her door)

I'm interested in seeing how Flan is coping with her accident.
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[X] Days down the road (When Flandre finally opens her door)

Did you really think we would skip scenes, Tepes?
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[x] Days down the road (When Flandre finally opens her door)
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[x] Days down the road (When Flandre finally opens her door)

Another time skip to months later would be fine. I just want to see this.
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[X] Days down the road (When Flandre finally opens her door)
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Hahaha! Seriously? Isn't this a given?
[x] Days down the road (When Flandre finally opens her door)

Justification wise - I've been hoping to see Flandre's reaction to the situation and Remilia's attitude for a while.
Also "When the tension has blown over and things are back to normal" implies we missed some good Remi.
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I was imagining how would your Flandre react after getting out to meet the world after a long time-and finding out that it was still there- and I stumbled across this:
Maybe innacurate considering your Flandre, but still damn funny. It fits with the musical motif of this story tho
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[x] Days down the road (When Flandre finally opens her door)
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[X] Days down the road.
Bandwagons GOOOOOOO!
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[x] Days down the road (When Flandre finally opens her door)

No real need to vote, but what the hell.
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9 (I think) obvious votes are obvious. I would have tried to give you some more enchanting options—perhaps a few hours later—but once again I was tired, and doing a different scene the same day probably would have been poisoned with the whole secret meeting thing. We’ll go ahead with the Flandre scene then, and afterwards round up the end of the story. That is, of course, unless there’s really something you still want to see/question you still want answered. Make your voice heard if this is the case!

Apologies for the slow updates, but the college transition was a weird one. I’m back on campus now and it’s a lazy orientation week, so hopefully I can get back to writing daily. I’d also like to apologize if the last few scenes seem a bit lower in quality, but I’ve just had to deal with walls of plot lately, something I’ve actually tried to avoid for most of the story because it’s boring to read, and to write.

>Hahaha! Seriously? Isn't this a given?
Some silly part of my mind seems to think that my voters may still choose not-Flandre over Flandre. I’m not sure why.

>Also "When the tension has blown over and things are back to normal" implies we missed some good Remi.
Meh, not really. None of the girls in the meeting are going to blab the secret plan, and Remi’s still stubborn, so it’d just be more of the same really.

Interested. Off the mark, yes, but still interesting. A fun find. Personally I don’t like the singer’s voice very much.
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>may still choose not-Flandre over Flandre
We love your other characterisations too!
That option was just too hard to pass up on.
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Will there be a Q&A after the story is done?
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Of the next few days there’s really not much for me to say. With our strategy made and with Patchouli working on whatever it was she needed to work on, there was really nothing more to do except remember to not tell Remilia about it. We all returned to our normal meanderings, late mornings and lazy afternoons interspersed with whatever miscellaneous work Sakuya had for us. It had finally started to feel like the work I did had some meaning to it beyond earning my bed and food and a roof over my head, as a matter of fact. It wasn’t just a house anymore; it was our house, a house that we weren’t going to leave when times got bad. It finally made some real sense to actually clean it and take care of it.

What continued to bother me, however, was Flandre. Several people had told me by then that a few days isolation was normal for her, but the feeling was just altogether uncanny, for example seeing Wendy out by the edge of the orchard alone when I knew it was Wednesday, or practicing with Thérèse and “the band” on Thursday. I found I’d gotten used to knowing one of my friends was always with her, and now they weren’t…

Wednesday turned into Thursday, and Thursday to Friday, and still no change from that ominous little door in the basement. A few of us—me included—had taken to sitting outside it for an hour here or there, just to see if we could find out anything at all. What was found out didn’t help us in the least. I’d heard nothing at all, Thérèse had managed to catch a few indistinguishable shouts, and Tullia was pretty sure she’d heard a crashing noise more than once; precisely what we’d expected to hear going in, and of no benefit whatsoever.

I pulled myself out of a warm bed and a soft pillow early Friday morning, comfortable but unable to manage falling back to sleep. As I’d grown accustomed to doing the last three days when I couldn’t find anything else to do, I trundled downstairs to Flandre’s door, wearing just a white nightdown wrapped in a blanker that morning. I’d dragged a small stool and sketching pad along with me too, rationalizing that if she’d been okay I’d have been down there all day anyways; might as well be down there all day regardless.

I started off by putting my ear right up next to the door; quiet, as usual. What did our little lady do with herself in there, anyways? Just sit in a corner and shiver? Cry herself to sleep? Split into four and ponder the meaning of life with herself? Probably all that and more from what I knew of her. I resigned myself to setting up the stool next to the door and began to draw whatever it was I felt like drawing; it was going to be a long day.

Time passed at first exactly how I’d expected it to pass. No reactions from inside the door, no visitors from upstairs, just me, the stool, and a very-slowly improving plethora of kitten drawings. Not exactly boring, but hardly what I’d call satisfying. It got to the point where, just out of a false hope, I slid my chair right up against the door and begin talking through it, whether or not my voice was actually loud enough to carry through.

“Hey, Flandre? Hi, it’s me again, Fran. It’s Friday, so, like… I’m here to be your perspective today I guess. But, you locked the door, so I’m just gonna stay out here instead. Can you even hear me? If you can hear me say yes…

“Okay, I guess that was kind of stupid. If you couldn’t you wouldn’t know what the question was. I don’t wanna shout; that’d annoy people upstairs. Then again the cellar door’s closed, so I guess I could… That’s right. You don’ have to talk. I just talk, and you can just listen, like we usually do expect the other way around. Kinda funny how it flipped around on us…”

It really was pointless; I knew Flan couldn’t hear me. That door was thick for plenty of reasons, and being extremely soundproof was one of them. Why’d I do it, then? Probably for the same reason Flandre talked to Kay whether or not she was actually there: to get things out of your mind without feeling crazy. It’d been too quiet down there for too long; even if it was my own voice I was hearing, it was better than nothing. And deep down inside… well, I just wanted to try and feel what Flandre felt. Alone, in a soundless room with only yourself to keep you company… You do tend to talk about a lot of strange things.

“Yes… Yes, I know you can’t hear me. I mean, at least… I’m pretty sure. I won’t say a hundred percent… maybe vampire ears are really really good… I just want you to know that I want myself to know that I’m trying, Flandre. We’re, we’re all… trying. Your seven, Patchy, Sakuya, China… we all still love you. We just… we want you to come back, Flan. Whoever you are, whatever you’ve done, whatever you look like… We just want you to come back to us. We’re scared over here, Flan. How do we know what’s gonna happen to you? How do we know you’ll ever come out of there? With you, we just can never tell…


“…We’ve got a plan now, did you know that Flandre? Sakkie found out where Kay lives! Nagano Japan, Flandre! You wouldn’t believe the giant magic bubble Patchy found when she went over there! We’ve got it all worked out; Once Patchouli finds a way to poke a little hole in the barrier, then we’ll send a few people in to scout it out, find out what our new home’s gonna be like. Then we see if we can find out who’s in charge, ‘cause if we’re lucky and they’re super-super strong, they can just pick up our whole mansion and bring it over to the new world! Then even Remi will be happy! We were gonna ask you your opinion, but… you couldn’t come to the meeting. I don’t suppose you’ve got any good ideas, do you? Wonder if your magic power’d let you break a hole open in the barrier… Nah, but I bet you’re gonna be afraid to use it after this. I don’t blame ya; it’s not really fair. Who gives a girl like you a power like that, anyways…


“…Thérèse says I’ve got some real potential for being the lead singer in the band, Flan! I know, I can’t believe it either! I mean, like, I sang little kids rhymes and songs I just made up that don’t really rhyme, but I didn’t ever think I’d be able to sing, like, real songs! And now I get to be lead singer! Though… I guess it’s ‘cause I can’t play no instrument or anything yet. Monica’s doin’ really good on the ukulele, too; Sunny thinks that maybe she can be our bassist once she grows up or whatever. Thérèse showed ‘er the giant string bass we’ve got that’s like twice as big as she is; do you think she’d be able to play that? Maybe if we taped it to the stand she could just sorta fly next to it and tap the strings. You can’t be in the ‘ficial band, though; Sunny’s the one who started it and she said fairies only. Maybe she’d let you jam sometimes, like Sakuya, but if we ever go touring it’s just us! We’ve got five outta the Seven, and good luck getting’ Wendy to do anything fun ever. Saph might, but she’s like Remi except not as funny, so… yeah…


“…I know you like Kay, Miss Flandre. You hate her, but… I know you still like her. Because, it’s like… well, I know that you hate yourself, too, but that doesn’t stop you from living each day does it? Maybe she’s just one of those what do you call its… guilty pleasures, maybe? The stuff that sounds bad but feels good. I know you want to kill her, Flandre, but… I think you need her. You need someone like you to be your friend. Or maybe, ahh, what’s that saying again? Like… a noble friend is the best thing; a noble enemy the second-best? It’s hard for me, though; I still just don’t know anything about her. Maybe you don’t either, but… you can learn a lot about a person just by hanging around them for a while. Look how much I learned about you! And after all, if Sakuya could find out her accent after just one day, imagine how much you could find out, Flan…


“…And then they’re joking and smirking at each other like it was all just a game that she’d lost. I don’t get it; what does she want? To be left alone, to kill people, to do whatever she wants to do? She said she hates us all, then why did she go to the meeting? Just because Patch asked her to? She can’t force her anymore, and why would she obey Patch after shouting as her for not knowing anything and reaching to far and whatever else it was? I don’t get that girl; then again it’s only been a few days. I still gotta wonder though… what’s with those boobs? Everything else about her’s just the smallest ever, but those things are like giant balloons or something! But she can’t have chosen[i] to look like that, it must just be her; I mean, I know she wrapped ‘em up, but no one would have [i]made her do that, ‘cause the only person that’d care is Remi and she doesn’t like Remi. Which means she did it ‘cause she wanted to, which means she doesn’t… like them? That or maybe she would… actually think they’re distracting? But if she can turn into smoke and give herself a weird tail and all, shouldn’t she be able to change that? I should ask Patchouli, see what her ideas are…


“…I really do wonder what different people feel… when they kill someone. What does it feel like, to know that they’re dead and it’s your fault? Are you supposed to feel sad, or scared, or depressed… or evil murderer peoples, would they just feel nothing? I wonder what Kay feels… But you said Kay doesn’t feel anything at all; no heart and no soul, you said. I never did get the chance to ask you that, Miss Flandre; how’s that possible? How can a living, thinking creature not have a soul or emotions? I mean, everyone has to feel something about at least one thing in the world. She’s curious; does curious count as an emotion? Maybe she’s just like a really, really, really extreme Patchouli: a girl who wants to know everything abut everything, and will do whatever it takes to find out. Like I said, I don’t know; I’m just throwing ideas out here for you. Or… well, you can’t hear me, I guess, so… I guess it’s just ideas for me.”


“…I mean, I guess I can see why video games are supposed to be so popular. Because it’s like a cartoon that you can control however you want, right? Where you choose how to save the world in your own way; I mean, I guess that’s pretty cool. Except, video games aren’t all that powerful are they; you have to follow all the rules of the game. What if I want to pick up this rock and hit the bad guys with it; they won’t let me do that. But it still looks very pretty, and sometimes it’s got some cool music too, so I guess they’re all right. It’s something Monica likes to play, and it keeps her from being shy and hiding behind people, so it’s a start I suppose. Then there’s you, of course; seeing how fast you can beat an old game, then doing it with the controller upside down, or player a four-player game with yourself and see how well you do… Is it hard to concentrate when you’re split? Like, is it still just you, or are there really four different people running around? I know, you probably can’t explain it very well; it’s just something that works...”

I must have carried on for hours; with no sun and no clock I couldn’t even tell if it was time for breakfast, or time for lunch. I wouldn’t have been in the mood for food even if I’d known the time, anyways. I’d become so focused on just speaking my mind I really could have cared less that the stool was extremely uncomfortable on my bottom, or that my feet were wrinkling my kitty pictures.

Or that Flandre’s door was open.

I basically fell out of my chair when I finally realized it; for all I knew it could have been open for the last ten minutes and I never would have noticed over all of my talking. It was open… and only Flandre could have opened it. And only if she’d wanted to open it. There was still hope… I leaned into the half-open door, but it was still pitch-black inside, and the one dim bulb at the top of the stairs wasn’t helping shed any light on the situation either.

[ ] I needed to act natural… just sit down and go back to talking as if the door was still closed. Maybe she’d heard me through the door, and opening it was a sign she wanted to listen.
[ ] Wait, I told myself. It was best to wait there, keep quiet, and let Flandre take everything at her own pace. If she needed baby steps right now, opening the door was a good first baby step.
[ ] Still outside the door, I called out softly to the lady inside, seeing if she could hear me now.
[ ] I had a feeling she wasn’t going to take the initiative right away, which meant I needed to; I very, very slowly tiptoed inside the room, hoping she was ready for me.
[ ] The door was open; I didn’t want to screw this up with my meddling. As quiet as a churchmouse, I crept away to fetch (insert authoritative character here).
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[X] I needed to act natural… just sit down and go back to talking as if the door was still closed. Maybe she’d heard me through the door, and opening it was a sign she wanted to listen.
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[x] I had a feeling she wasn't going to take the initiative right away, etc.

On a phone with no copy+paste functionality and no way to quickly hop to the bottom of a page, so yeah.
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[X] I had a feeling she wasn’t going to take the initiative right away, which meant I needed to; I very, very slowly tiptoed inside the room, hoping she was ready for me.

*but* as you walk in

[X] Keep talking as if the door was still closed.
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[x] Still outside the door, I called out softly to the lady inside, seeing if she could hear me now.
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[x] I had a feeling she wasn’t going to take the initiative right away, which meant I needed to; I very, very slowly tiptoed inside the room, hoping she was ready for me.
She opened the door, that's a clear indicator that she is ready to be seen outside again, and that all is normal in Flandre-land.
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[x] I had a feeling she wasn’t going to take the initiative right away, which meant I needed to; I very, very slowly tiptoed inside the room, hoping she was ready for me.

Can't see what else to do here. I know Flan's not the most logical at times, but this seems like the only reasonable response to me.
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[x] I needed to act natural… just sit down and go back to talking as if the door was still closed. Maybe she’d heard me through the door, and opening it was a sign she wanted to listen.
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[x] I had a feeling she wasn’t going to take the initiative right away, which meant I needed to; I very, very slowly tiptoed inside the room, hoping she was ready for me.
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[x] I needed to act natural… just sit down and go back to talking as if the door was still closed. Maybe she’d heard me through the door, and opening it was a sign she wanted to listen.
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5 for going inside
3 for continuing to talk
1 for calling out

Not trying to cut the vote short or anything, but I’ve got the opportunity and the drive to write early, so I’m going to do it. I’ll get that out to you in a few hours, which means probably late this evening; you should be awake of my lies and procrastination by now. I’ll try and find the time to polish out the Sakuya arc of Derp Wars too; I really need to update that faster like I said I was going to.

Also, this link is something I forgot to post for a while now. A friend of mine was at a Canadian anime con and snagged this picture. This is the very first instance of a non-Japanese Flandre cosplay I’ve ever seen, which makes her very awesome, and also cute because Canada is more like Britain than Japan is. A pity those random kung-fu people are in the way. Using an external link just because I feel like posting real people straight on TH-P is a little tacky.

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I held my breath and listened closely, but I still couldn’t hear anything. Considering I’d no real idea how long the door had been open, she might have been right on the other side of the door watching me from the darkness, or at the other end of the room on her bed, or even locked up in her closet or something. But I had a feeling that wherever she was, she wasn’t going to take the initiative right away, which meant I needed to. I very, very slowly tiptoed inside the room, hoping she was ready for me.

A hand reached out from the darkness and softly grabbed for my wrist once I’d fully entered the room, the owner of the appendage remaining silent. I should have recognized the hand… but I didn’t. The flesh felt rough and leathery on my wrist, wrinkles brushing against my skin. It could only have possibly been Flandre’s, but… this wasn’t her hand. It was neither soft, nor young, nor did it possess that ever-present feeling of immense power hidden within the tiny palm of a child.

“You… you were, waiting, for me…” the younger sister said in a bleached, crackly voice that was not at all hers either. “Waiting… for me?”

I won’t say that I wasn’t afraid this time, because I was. Her strange hand, her strange voice, the fact that I would be the first real physical contact she’d had with anyone in almost four days… I had no idea what to expect. And coming from a girl who’d learned to expect not to know what to expect, that was actually staying a great deal.

I nodded, softly replying, “Yes… I was waiting for you.”

She pushed the door closed again, returning the room to absolute darkness; not even the tiny lights of her computer and other appliances were to be found. I could still feel her rough hand on my wrist, holding it tightly and now adding her second hand around mine. “She… she hasn’t, waited in years…”

I could only assume the she was Remilia; not something I dared to bring up. “I, just… wanted to make sure someone was there to meet you, Flandre…”

“Y-Yes, Flandre… Flandre is my name. My name is Flandre. I’m not insane, I’m not insane, I know my own name…”

There was so much I wanted to ask her. Why she sounded different, felt different… If she thought she was well enough to go upstairs yet… what she’d worked out down there… how much she’d heard of my rambling… if we could turn the lights back on… but right now it wasn’t even remotely about me. This was Flandre, nothing but Flandre, and I was only going to do exactly what she wanted me to; speak only when spoken to.

“You… sounded like me… why did you, sound like me?”

I bit my lip, thinking of how to word it that would actually make sense to someone besides myself. “I, guess, because I wanted to see if it would help me think. You seem to do it all the time, and I… I think it works.”

“You, don’t want to, be like me… I’m, not a good person.”

“Don’t… Flandre, don’t say that. We all… make, mistakes. But you’re still a good person, no matter what.”

She pulled her hands away from mine, leaving me feeling astonishingly alone in that darkness. Her voice was cold as she answered back, “We, all make mistakes… because we’re not good people. Good people… don’t joke about killing strangers… Good people, don’t joke about killing friends… I, should have known… that she was going to do it.”

I managed to stop myself from trying to blindly find her shoulder in the darkness; couldn’t let my emotions get the better of me just yet. She wasn’t ready for a friend just yet. All she needed right then was another person. “Maybe… Maybe you should have. But you didn’t, and it hurts… but, you can’t change it. Don’t worry about the past, Miss Flandre; it’s all over now.”

“I, know… but that doesn’t mean… it, wasn’t my fault.”

“Flandre, Flandre, look at me. I can’t see you, maybe you can’t see me, but I’m Francesca, your friend. Natasha was not your fault. What happened was Kay, and Kay alone. If she wouldn’t have been there, nothing would have happened. This is Kay’s fault, and don’t you dare think it was yours for even a second.”

Silence, pure silence was all I got back. When Flandre wanted to be quiet, she knew how to be quiet. Not a rustle of clothing or puff of breath from her lips; not even a squeak or a tinkle of her wings. I wanted to see her, to look into her eyes and let her know that everyone was going to be okay. Why wouldn’t she turn on the lights; she must have wanted to see me and much as I could see her. Then again… it was what she was used to, after all; it was what she’d lived in for half a week. New things take some getting used to.

Finally, she answered, though it made me wonder if she’d heard me right. “Don’t… don’t look at me. I, don’t want you to see me, like this… not yet.”

Like, this…? Many thoughts went through my head. It could have meant she just looked tired and worn out from too much thinking and too little sleep… it could have meant that she’d hurt herself and the wounds were still fresh… it could have meant she wasn’t wearing anything and was feeling embarrassed for some uncharacteristic reason… it could have meant she only wanted to care about our words, and not our faces. But then something clicked, something she’d told me herself. Vampires. Vampires drink blood to stay young. “Drink more, look younger; drink less, look older,” that what she’d said. But if she hadn’t drank any… for four days…

“All, all right Flandre, don’t worry; I can’t see anything right now anyways. It’s okay. We, we don’t have to turn the lights on.” Against my better judgment I hazarded a simple question. “Would you… like you sit down?”

She squeaked out a gravelly “meh” of a sound, and probably shrugged. “I… broke, all the chairs, though. And the, the bed. And the table. And m-most of the beanbags… here, here…” I could hear her walking away by the sound of the crackling debris she was stepping over, and she came back dragging what sounded like a pair of beanbags. Crawling around blindly I managed to trip into it and right myself as my companion did a much more polished version of the same.

“How… is, everyone?” she asked me after a long pause where the two of us just tried to enjoy a calming lounge in the bean-filled pillows.

“They’re… they’re doing okay. We’re, still a little shook up… more because of the, uhh, us disappearing thing. But, we’re staying positive, making the best of it.”

“That’s… that’s, good. I, don’t… like it, when people, feel bad because I do… Pointless. Sadness begets sadness begets sadness… no good. The buck, needs to stop… somewhere. How… is, my, sister?”

“You sister is worried about you. She… she really loves this house, Miss Flandre; she doesn’t ever want to have to lose it, or you. She’s, I think, a little stubborn… but maybe, it’s a good kind of stubborn.”

“No… Remilia was… never, the good kind of stubborn. She, she… she found what she liked, and then, never, never, never waned to let it go. Never knew how to let go… hated letting go… The old world was better, she said… Why, didn’t we just stay in Navarre, she said…” Another empty silence where she forgot her sentence, and I dared not cut any budding thought off. Sooner or later she managed to find her tongue again. “I… I want to go, visit… Kay. Best friends, should… have, sleepovers… braid each other’s hair… do Truth or Dare… Why’d you never let me in, Kay? I know why you never did… because you, you can’t do any of those things. You, don’t know how. I told you… I told you I’d teach you. You’d never listen, a’course. When did you ever listen…? F-Francesca… where… is, she? Where is my Kay Kay?”

Was she asking about where she was at that very moment, or where her home was? It could have gone either way… But she needed something positive. She’d heard nothing good or cheery from anyone for four days, and nothing from me that she hadn’t ready told herself. She needed some good news for a change… Some great news

“Flandre… Your Kay Kay is in Nagano, Japan. That’s where she lives, Miss Flandre; that is where her home is. We found it out, Flandre… we found out where she lived. Patchouli found a magic bubble there and everything; you did it, Flan. We all did it; we found out where she lives.”

I could hear her inhale sharply; she couldn’t have expected that kind of news. I let her be; let the knowledge of it sink in. I might not have worded it as eloquently as I’d have liked, but that first sentence was really all that mattered. This was what she’d been working towards for who knew how many years; the answer to the question of “Is this it?” A new world, a new life… a new friend? Would this be what it took to get Kay to open up? And even if it didn’t… there had to be other people like us inside that barrier. Other magic creatures who didn’t have anywhere else to go, who’d found it before we had. She said… Kay had a sister. An older sister. If Kay was like Flandre… would Remilia herself find a companion in this other sister? Our elder vampire, for all her coyness and fancy trappings, really did seem alone. With Flandre so close and yet so far away from her, it felt like the only friend she thought she had was China. What I wouldn’t give for her to make a second…

Amidst what I certainly hoped were tears of joy from Flandre was just a simple question. “How?”

I saw no need to mince words. “Her accent. She has one; Sakuya realized it, and Sunny pinned it down to a region. And Sakuya took Patchouli to Japan so she could use magic to find the spot.”

My lady asked another question, as simple as the first, and just as knowledgeable; almost like she already knew where to go from there. “What’s the plan?”

“Scouts first. There’s a barrier around the place; Patchouli’s working on a way to break it. We send in a few people to check it out. We’re hoping that we can find who’s in charge and ask them to teleport the mansion inside; Remi would like that… a lot.”

“Mmmm… Mhhmmmm… I, think I can help with that. I’m… good at breaking things.”

“Are you… sure, Miss Flandre? After what, happened…?”

“I… I break things no matter where I am, what I do… might as well break something useful for a change… But… I need to see Kay first.”

I hesitated, gnawing uncertainly on one of my fingernails. “Sakuya said… she’s locked up, far away. She… doesn’t want anybody going near her. I don’t, think that she’d let you go even more.”

There was a sound of someone getting up from a beanbag. “Sakuya… does not know how to handle Kay. I… do not either. But, I know better than she does. And I need to talk to her. While I still remember what I was going to say.”

[ ] “I… I can’t. Flandre, I love you, I want to always help you, but… I don’t want Kay to do anything more to you.”
[ ] “I… I can, take you to Sakuya, at least. From there… you’re on your own. I, I won’t stop you, but… I can’t bring myself to help you.”
[ ] “We, we can try… but I’m not letting you talk to her without me an’ Sakuya there too.”
[ ] “If you think that’s best… I’ll do whatever I can.”
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[ ] “We, we can try… but I’m not letting you talk to her without me there too.”

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[x] “We, we can try… but I’m not letting you talk to her without me there too.”
She's... Flandre's friend... I know that. But I still bear a grudge. For what she did to the hunter. For what she did to Flandre.
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[x] “We, we can try… but I’m not letting you talk to her without me an’ Sakuya there too.”
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[x] “We, we can try… but I’m not letting you talk to her without me there too.”

Fran can't die, Sakuya can. Although Sakuya should be somewhere nearby in case she tries to mindfuck her way out and escape.
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[x] “We, we can try… but I’m not letting you talk to her without me an’ Sakuya there too.”

Princess Tepes, you wouldn't kill off Sakuya, right? Right?
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[X] “We, we can try… but I’m not letting you talk to her without me an’ Sakuya there too.”

What's with all the worry about Sakuya getting killed? First of all, it can't happen without creating a time paradox. Secondly, Kay made Flandre kill Natasha to prove a point. What that was is unclear, but she felt Natasha was unimportant enough to sacrifice, and she probably recognizes that Sakuya is important to Flandre. Finally, if this little meeting does result in Sakuya's death, Flandre would definitely kill Kay.
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[x] “If you think that’s best… I’ll do whatever I can.”
I don't really feel that Fran has to tag along, just because she is the protagonist. If Flandre wants to go chat it up with Kay for whatever reasons, she should be able to do it alone. I mean, they're friends, of a sort.
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[X] “We, we can try… but I’m not letting you talk to her without me an’ Sakuya there too.”
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that'd be one hell of a twisted friendship. Sure they're someone on the same wavelength, but Koishi does noting more than mess with Flandre's already shaky grip on sanity.
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[x] “If you think that’s best… I’ll do whatever I can.”
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4 for yes, but with Fran and Sakuya
3 for yes, but with Fran
2 for whatever it takes

Close vote, but I’ll call it here for now. Being back at college means hanging with friends in the evenings is mitigated to more than just poking at keys on a keyboard, which is vastly superior. This is an excuse for possibly not updating tonight; we shall see.

Good Lord no; I can’t lay a finger on Touhous, certainly not in this story anyways, lest legions of hate and shuuuuunnnnnnnn rain down upon me. I don’t know why you’d even contemplate worrying about something like that; I promised that the lunchroom incident was an isolated incident and things were going to get better. Also >>41850 is right; time paradox and all that. AFT will not change the Touhou canon of 2010. Which, sadly, means that no matter how hard Flandre, Francesca, or anyone else tries, they won’t be able to make Kay’s eye open.
Also, just a reminder, I didn’t kill Natasha; you did.

It’s like you’re doing my work for me. It’s a good thing this story is ending, or I might start getting lazy.

Worse friendships have happened. And, as we’ve discovered previously, Flandre isn’t as much of a lost cause as could be expected. She just has weaknesses which Kay can easily exploit if she lets her guard down.
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I debated with myself, each second of quick thinking probably amounting to paragraphs of possibilities that I don’t need to utter here. Flandre knew the situation… she knew it better than we did. And even if she’d just spent four days locked in a cellar of her own free will, she’d also gotten out of it of her own free will too. Besdies… Everyone else in the mansion had seemed to have worked out their problems by now; Flandre deserved to be given that same chance.

“We, we can try… but I’m not letting you talk to her without me an’ Sakuya there too. Just… in case.”

“That’s fine… that’s fine. What I need to say, doesn’t matter if you hear it or not. Just, a little something between me and her.”

I nodded, though it was a useless gesture in that darkness. “A’course, none of that matters if Sakuya doesn’t think the same way I do. You want to go get her, or should I bring her down?”

She hummed apathetically. “Mmmeh, neither, really; if she’s as nervous as she was the last time she’ll be checking on that door every ten minutes or so. Which means… if my internal clock isn’t broken she’s either in the room already, or outside the door listening! Seriously, sometimes you’re as bad as Kay!”

Apparently she was right; I heard footsteps clump clumsily near the opening of the door and approach us, the perpetrator mumbling words of apology. “I’m sorry, Miss Flandre… didn’t want to interrupt.”

“If I don’t want to be interrupted, I lock the door, Sakuya,” she replied flatly. “If the door in question is not locked, I am not doing something so crucial that I can’t afford to be interrupted. Taking to Fran is not crucial, not even if the topic of conversation is her closet lesbianism, which it wouldn’t be because she’s not, no I have no basis for a claim in either direction, and a dearth of gender in a wild species does not cause the species to magically evolve a way to change. It usually causes them to die. But fairies are technically genderless and don’t reproduce, so… yeah. Just testing out the old talk-a-mobile; haven’t driven it much in a while. Remi never collected cars; not sure why. How much did you hear?”

A brief pause for comprehension was followed by her response. “Enough. No, I don’t want you seeing Kay. But… yes, I will let you see her. I trust Francesca to know the right thing to do; if she reasoned it was okay, then… so do I.” After another, longer pause, Sakuya added a question. “Do you… want to talk about what happened?”

Flandre remained as silent as she’d continuously been. “…No. No, not really, no. I… handled it. Technically had it handled probably yesterday—have NO idea what day it is right now—but, I waned to make sure before I opened the door. I’m… fine, I’m over it, it’s in the past, and until you find a way to touch that, which you still might, the past can’t hurt us; where is she?”

Sakuya sighed, long and deep. Her answer was filled with a reference I wasn’t around to understand. “She is… where, you used to be. Under every precaution they built for it. If it held you… it can hold her.”

“Take us to it. Both of us. I hate having to walk there.”

“Flandre… you know that’s well outside the walls. She might, not… last long there.”

Ominous silence filled the room, chilling me to the spine as I thought of their words. The way they talked… It felt like there was some sort of ancient cell outside the mansion, used in an age when Flandre was hardly the quirky and joke-making woman she was now. But I knew what it was like to go away from our walls, and I did not like it.

“Thérèse tested it once; my idea, her volunteerage,” Flandre answered simply. “You feel the loss, but you’re perfect until six kilometers. Then you start feeling dizzy; that lasts until about fourteen. She lost her ability to shift after that, lost her flight at twenty-two, couldn’t walk anymore at twenty-seven, at which point I carried her until she actually started disintegrating at thirty-five-ish. The cave should be safe.”

”Should be,” Sakuya stressed. “I’m in no mood to start taking chances after we finally have a plan for survival here.”

“I want her to hear what I have to say. Because she’s going to ask eventually anyways, and you know she will.”

Another sigh from Sakuya’s lips, before she finally addressed me. “Fran… I put Kay in a secret place far away from the mansion; you, might not feel so good that far away. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to risk it; God knows we’ve had enough of those this week to last for years.”

I knew she was trying to be polite, but at that point curiosity came first for me. “Just… do it, Sakkie. Take us there. If I feel too sick, then take me home. There’s, plenty of stuff that we don’t need, but we want anyways…”

“Nnnnnhhhh… Fran, you start telling me the moment you think anything’s wrong. We’ve lost too many already.”

“I, I know…”

“Right then, do you want me to count it off, or…?”

“I’m thinking of a number between one and three pi squared. Count up from one, and the number I’m thinking of had better not be relevant in any way whatsoever.”

“That… makes absolutely no sense.”

“And neither does warning us when you’re going to Stop. I’m the one who over-analyzes things in this house, Sakuya, not you. We’ve already got enough of me running around without having t—“

+ + + + + + + + + +





The moment our world had switched from the old darkness into the new darkness, I fell over onto the ground, unable to even decide whether I wanted to clutch my head or my sides. All around me the very air was pressing in around me, thick and sticky like hot tar. They’d said we were in a cave… caves were supposed to be so cool… why was it so warm? Hard to breathe… hard to move… even hard to think properly. So this was what it felt like to really be in a world that didn’t know you existed. I’d… forgotten.

There was no light save for a solitary flashlight Sakuya held, but its cone of illumination flailed about wildly as she dropped to the ground to catch me; must have used her powers to get there before I fell.

“Francesca! Fran, talk to me; are you okay?”

My tongue stuck in my mouth; even finding the right words to use had become difficult. “Uh… Oh-kay, just… just… hurts like dizzy. My, brain, it doesn’t want to work… body ‘neither. M’okay… M’okay… Where, are we…?”

“An old cave; very old, maybe older than me,” Flandre answered, her winged back turned to us. I couldn’t tell if my muted vision was from the poor light, or the thick air, but she seemed a little taller than usual… “Deep underground, maybe twenty kilometers outside the mansion… we think smugglers might have used it; found traces of stonework and wood. Had it turned into my little safehouse when I was still… sick. You have the key, Sakuya. I want to see her; she knows we’re here by now, steel won’t stop her eye.”

“Flandre…” Sakuya sounded extremely concerned, even antagonistic. “You didn’t tell me she wasn’t going to be able to think either. I don’t like this.”

“Just, get… get with over it,” I butted in, ears telling me I’d mixed up the words. “Sooner we’re, in… sooner we’re out.”

Sakuya swiveled the electric torch forwards. I could only see Flandre’s back, but it looked… frightening, I suppose is the closet word I can come up with. Her sleep pants and once-comical plaid tank top has been pulled to ribbons by her own hand, dangling and fluttering like a desecrated flag, and revealing mottled grey skin that looked like death itself; it was a wonder the rags were staying on at all. She was definitely taller than her usual four feet, but horribly hunched over like an old lady without a cane. Shock-white hair streamed down her shoulders and fell in a wild heap almost to her calves, as dead and limp as her skin appeared to be. It… it wasn’t fair. I had absolutely no clue where or how Flandre and her sister got their blood to stay young, but to be turned into this without it… even if there was nothing they could do… or even if a vampire found it wrong to feed off of others to live… Who would have created such a creature, anyways?

The head maid snuck past the third woman with some difficulty in such a narrow corridor, and approached an ancient metal door rusted brown and green. A gigantic key came out of her apron pocket and twisted into a keyhole I seriously wondered even worked anymore. Apparently it was a finicky apparatus; she ended up blinking away and returning with the key inserted and several metal latches flipped back. She turned to Flandre inquisitively, who held out an equally mottled hand and waved her on, not really caring who went in first or last. Unceremoniously, we all wordlessly trundled inside.

There… There she was.

Leaning against the wall of a small padded room, forced into a straightjacket and equally-restrictive pants, with a multitude of chains giving each limb only the barest shadow of movement, was the thing responsible for so many of our worries and fears. The thing that had toyed with Flandre as Flandre toyed with all of us; the thing who was said to have no heart, and no emotions. Despite her bonds forcing her body into every indication of submission, she still wore that smile, that horrid smile. As some small consolation her eyes had been blindfolded and could only smile in our general direction rather than at us specifically.

Sakuya silently stepped back into one of the padded corners, hooking her finger in my direction to get me to follow. I could hardly have cared less; my body didn’t feel like it could stand being away from someone for too long, even if we just sat on opposite ends of the room. Each step felt like walking through mud, mud and sandpaper. I collapsed at Sakuya’s feet, still feeling the strength to stand but lacking the will to do so; she was down there with me in an instant, carefully taking me into her lap and wrapping her arms around me. It was… better. Not good, but… just a little better.

Flandre sat down in front of Kay, finally giving me a decent view of her face. I wish I hadn’t; practically everything I’d thought I’d known about it was gone. A gaunt face, dead skin stretched tight around her cheekbones, and unsightly wrinkles elsewhere. Thin lips and a none that was barely more than bone. Eyes still red, but now a deep red, the red of old dried-out blood. Even though she didn’t sound even remotely like she’d used to, at least her words were the same; but this face… I did not know this face.

The vampire leaned forwards and slipped the blindfold off of her “friend’s” face, letting them see eye to eye once more. For what might have been over a minute Kay actively looked her over, her tattered form and wizened hair. I thought it odd, before I realized that this might very well have been the first time she’d seen her like this. So… even the great Kay could be left speechless by her own curiosity.

“So you’ve been feeling sorry for yourself, haven’t you?” she finally asked.

“I have. I am sorry for myself no longer.”

“Have you come to kill me? It’s written all over the inside of your head, you know~”

Flandre gritted her teeth, and I saw one of her hands tense up. “You… You are blind, Kay. You can see everything… everything except what’s right in front of you. That blindness got you caught, my friend… but of course, you let yourself get caught, didn’t you?”

“…Hee… Did it take you four days to figure it out for yourself?”

“It took me half of one. You might one day discover that there are some things which are more important than curiosity. We killed a woman, Kay; is there nothing left of your heart?”

The wanderer’s smile faltered, her mouth flattening out for a change. She seemed to look inwards, if only for a few seconds; I imagined there wouldn’t be much there. “Nnnnmmm… Stop sounding like my sister. She can’t get into my mind, and neither can you~ I don’t hang around here because I want to hear stuff from her.”

“Kay… you spend more time with me than you ever have with her. The sad thing is… I know you better than she does. I know what’s a lost cause with you, and what’s not. Did you find that in my subconscious, Kay?”

Her pointless smile returned, masking her silence. What was she thinking? What did she ever think about? If I’d had a wish, I no longer knew whether I’d ask to understand Flandre, or understand Kay.

The worn-out vampire continued when she figured her companion wasn’t going to reveal anything, smiling softly herself and bringing some life back to that dead face. “None of it’s worthless, Kay. None of it. You see I remember what you keep forgetting: you weren’t born blind. I see that eye of yours, every day, whether you’re in my room or not. Can you even feel hope, Kay? Faith? Or is it all just a game, games and puzzles? Someone’s going to find you, Kay. Someone’s going to find a way to make you open that eye of yours.”

She shook her head cheerfully. “Nope~ Perhaps you forgot what I keep forgetting; I closed it for a reason. It was a good reason.”

“And you’ll open it for a good reason again. Because I know you. I know you better than you know yourself, just like you know me. Some part of you isn’t dead yet, Kay… because you’re still looking. You’re looking for that person, that person who interests you so much you’ll have to open your eye to find out who they really are. That person isn’t me. I’d hoped it was… but it’d have happened by now. I’m just a toy to you now, aren’t I?”

“Toys are very fun for a girl to play with~”

“You,” she said as she pointed a crooked finger at her, “Are no girl. I am no girl. The two with us are not girls. We are women. And women… act like adults.”

Holding up a precautionary hand to Sakuya, Flandre began grabbing at Kay’s manacles, cracking them off one by one like they were made of Styrofoam. What was she doing…? It’d taken her years to catch this “woman”, why let her go? Was it because… because we knew where she lived now?

“I would like to apologize for my behavior during lunch, Miss Kay,” Flandre spoke softly, now slowly working off the straightjacket and matching pants. “My actions were rude and unwarranted, and I violated your personal privacy. I would ask that you forgive me. I would also, like to forgive you. I forgive you for whatever you may have done in the death of Natasha Herod. What happened there was a tragedy… but I will not be the one to judge you for what no one can prove. Not anymore.”

It seemed Sakuya had not been overly kind or considerate in originally confining Kay. She wore no clothes underneath the bondage uniform, and ringed red-purple bruises littered her skin when the manacles had bit into it. That closed, indigo eye continued to hover lifelessly near her chest, but even completely naked I couldn’t see where its cords ended. Off the eye, behind her back, folded to make a wobbly heart, then down her ankles and… nowhere. No matter what angle I looked at them from, the endings of the cords were always right out of sight.

None of this bothered the girl, obviously, who just looked pleasantly at Flandre and barely raised an eyebrow. “You’re really feeling sorry for yourself this time, aren’t you?”

She didn’t answer the question, and simply continued her confessions. “I am going to let you go, Kay. Like a small fish I’ve caught that has its whole life ahead of it, I want you to keep swimming around. Wherever you go, and whatever you do there… well, that’s your decision. I would like it if you would still come to visit me, and I would hope that I may be more than just an enjoyable toy to you. I would wish that we may see each other again soon in a happier place, Miss Kay. Not too soon, however. Because frankly… my Japanese is pitiful.”

It moved.

The eye… moved.

It didn’t open. But… it twitched, for just a fraction of a second. And in that fraction of a second, I saw emotion flash across Kay’s face for the first and only time, as she looked at her friend. Fear. Surprise. Hope.

“I… would enjoy that… Miss Flandre.”

And then it was gone. She was as doll-like as she’d always been, ever smiling, never loving. She continued to sit there unclothed, paying no concern to the world around her. Flandre stood back up, took a half-step forwards, and placed her own puffy hat down on Kay’s head, giving it a loving pat before turning back around to us.

“Let’s go home,” she suggested wearily. “I need a drink.”

This is also a good place for a chapter to end.

This is the second-to-last vote. Make it count. The final scene begins months later, in media res…
[ ] …jamming with the band (another song vote? Or the third-place song from last time could be used)
[ ] …derping around with Monica.
[ ] …trying to be friendly to the devil girl.
[ ] …spending some quality cleaning time with Sakuya.
[ ] …spending some quality gate-napping time with Meiling.
[ ] …writing-in (Write-ins with Patchouli and Flandre are not allowed)
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[X] …trying to be friendly to the devil girl.

Overly optimistic fairy time. And if we can't be with Patchouli, this is the closest we can get.
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[X] gate guard napping. Wise instructor Meling~.
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File 128303023594.jpg - (113.87KB, 1000x900, 5b4c12a8116edcb9e95c10d37445015a.jpg)
[X] …spending some quality gate-napping time with Meiling.

Hasn't been enough Meiling.
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>“Thérèse tested it once; my idea, her volunteerage,”
I would really, really like to see this as a short.

[X] …trying to be friendly to the devil girl.
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[ ] …trying to be friendly to the devil girl.
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[B] …spending some quality gate-napping time with Meiling.
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[x] …trying to be friendly to the devil girl
Maybe even apologize for our part in getting her stuck here?
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[X] …trying to be friendly to the devil girl.
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[X] …spending some quality cleaning time with Sakuya.

Could make a round all over the house meeting several characters and end up in Remilia's wardrobe cosplaying a certain someone? Oh well, I guess there's not much point voting this at this point buuuuuut...

on another note, just finished reading all the 9 threads after several days, and god damn what a ride. Just in time for the last two votes too. I admit enjoying AFT a bit too much and that's you to blame Tepes! You and your good characterizations, short but cute story arcs, amusing scenes, well thought out dialog and fast updates(from what I noticed during the readthrough). A real pity it must end soon. oh well...
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[x] …spending some quality gate-napping time with Meiling.
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[X] …trying to be friendly to the devil girl.
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[X] …trying to be friendly to the devil girl.
No rest for this fairy
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[x] …trying to be friendly to the devil girl.

Different Koa is interesting Koa.
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[x] …trying to be friendly to the devil girl.
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9 for Koakuma
4 for Meiling
1 for Sakuya

Didn’t exactly expect this outcome; guess I still don’t know you as well as I think I do. But like always, I’ll roll with it. Updating in lolidunno hours, probably tonight.

I blame myself, personally; she was a solid character that I knew was still going to get overshadowed because she’s almost always outside, and everything else is inside. No matter how you slice it I actually think that’s the real reason she doesn’t get more acknowledgement in stories, simply because she’s too far removed from the action. I should have given Fran more reason to go outside. Ah well.

It wouldn’t be that cool. It’d just be Flan and Thérèse walking through the English wildness doing a magical reenactment of “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?” Other than that, just them talking to each other, which while entertaining really possesses no substance. You might as well just have them chatting to each other over IRC which the occasional message of “crap, just a sec, legs stopped working.”

…Which would actually be pretty hilarious if all thirteen-odd characters were in the channel. Might have to do that now. Thanks.

Funny, when I think about it; what took me a year and a half to get though two you just two days. At least that way you didn’t have to forget any of it like I probably did. But I’m certainly glad you enjoyed it, and I’m glad you made it here before the end.

>fast updates(from what I noticed during the readthrough)
Updates during last summer and this summer bordered on daily or semi-daily. Updates during the school year were dirt slow bordering on nonexistent for months at a time. So… actually, I don’t even know what else I can say about that.
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Tepes, if someone read thru a story that fast it either was bad or it was really good, i've read some of the archived gems in thp and i have read them equally fast and multiple times. i dont want AFT to end but as soon as it ends i'm reading it from start to finish again...
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That and Sakuya generally, though the whole outside thing is just generally just a excuse to exclude her, same with using "not fall" to exclude the Akis. Isn't it sad, Meiling?
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I just hope that Tepes gets feeling creative again some time soon. This whole thing has just been plain astonishing, from start to (almost) finish.
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Actually it was more like 5 days of 5+ hours of reading not 2, but yeah you made me stay up until 3am a few times... Also I wouldn't expect anyone to be able to push out updates fast all the time, but your average seemed to be well above the speed of most writefags around here. Though I'm still quite new to the site so take what I said with a grain of salt.

I'm not sure what your future plans are, but you could of course do a sorta continuation which you update when you feel like, continuing random small happenings(or describing the incidents how our fairy lives through them, that is if you end AFT into some point after reaching gensokyo but before EoSD) etc. There's so much potential left I'd say. Then again, I'm the type of person who doesn't like to see good things end so meh.

Also, I wish I had the powers of a drawfag to create a few portraits of our 7 fairies or certain scenes like the Flandre's face into boobs-scene before the big pop.
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I cannot say that my life has been the most interesting of all lives. I can’t even say my life has been the most interesting life of all the mansion’s fairies’ lives. In fact, perhaps the only truly interesting thing about it is simply that I’ve lived with people who have more interesting lives than I do. Because of this, I really can’t say whether my tale has captured your interest or not. I never really tried to embellish anything, I just sort of… kept going, I suppose. But, like all stories, interesting or not, even mine must come to an end. Though, I don’t want to end my story with an ending; rather, with a beginning.

This beginning began in the wee morning hours of December the twenty-fifth; Flandre’s idea, obviously.

Everything had been arranged beforehand; that morning would be the morning. We would split up into three groups of two: Patchouli and Thérèse, Meiling and Sapphire, Flandre and myself. We’d wait until Remilia went to bed, then Sakuya would bring us all over to Japan, wait until we were all through, and then go back home just in case Remilia woke up. If all went as planned we’d be celebrating the holiday in our new home before Remilia even found out.

I’m still not entirely sure how those pairings worked out in the end. All I remember is that Flandre specifically requested me because she was poorly-adjusted and I was the most normal; covering her weaknesses or something like that. Apparently Sunny was too human, Monica was too young, Tullia was too old, Wendy was too apathetic, Thérèse was too much like her, and Sapphire was too much like her sister. It’s not like she couldn’t have just called me “too skittish” and picked someone else, but I wasn’t going to argue.

Currently we were all just burning time in our own ways until we got the all-clear from Sakuya on Remilia, which depending on how much or how little alcohol the mistress ended up drinking could have been two hours from then, or two minutes. Wherever the other scouts were I really couldn’t say; all I knew was where I was, which was on top of the observatory, star-gazing with the devil girl. Or, more accurately, she was in the room with me while I star-gazed, and occasionally she’d look up at the sky. Four more months in the mansion had only kind of mellowed her out, and she still refused to stop the swearing even though everyone knew by then how hollow it was.

“Koakuma,” we’d ended up calling her, after Sakuya’s original “little devil girl” quip she’d made. It was really more of a symbolic name than anything; she’d talked our ears off about how names were superficial for so long that we’d given up even bothering with it and just decided that since we were going to Japan anyways we’d just call her what we’d been calling her in the first place, albeit in a more appropriate language. Except for Flandre; she insisted on calling her “Lilligan” for some reason only Thérèse had ever really understood. I had no complaint; she’d named us Seven from thin air too, and her Lilligan had been coined long before Koakuma had stuck with the rest of us. You’ve got to pick your battles, after all.

“You know… one day I might actually care to find out what all these constellations’ names are,” I commented, bunching my green coat tighter around my chin. Chillier than usual that night; a little snow would have been nice at least.

“Muh… they’ve been named a hundred goddamn times already. Why bother with learning which prick civilization thinks theirs is the best?”

“Well, I mean… just so I could point them out and say, ‘Oh look, it’s Draco the Dragon!’ or something like that. I’d probably just forget the shapes by themselves.”

She groaned. “Shit, girl, just name ‘em yourself. There’s your constellation Sparkle Pony, over here’s Mr. Umbrella, and that big one up there is called The Motherfucking Moon.”

“I love you too, Koa.”

“Yeah, well don’t expect me to return the favor; I’ve endured here long enough, don’t know why you even fucking bother anymore. Wait, yes I do; because you’ve still got that ass-backwards asinine idea that you can convince me you sluts aren’t completely full of shit. I’ve been there before, y’know.”

I shrugged, hopping down off of the telescope and standing next to her again. “It’s not hurting anyone to keep trying. Who knows; in the new country ya’might change your mind.”

“Like I haven’t heard that crap two hundred times since September.”

As several of us might have predicted, Koakuma had not magically changed into a friendly bundle of love by the perplexing new hospitality of her hosts. But I tried to look on the bright side of things; the death threats had stopped, and if you were lucky you could convince her to play a game of cards with you or something. Slow progress beats no progress.

“When’s that self-deflating maid getting you out of my damn hair anyways? I can’t even begin to list the number of things I’d rather be doing than listening to this drivel.”

“Just waiting for a scribbly note to get magically placed in my hands, Ko’. All depends on how festive Remilia’s feeling tonight; her sleep schedule is basically non-existent anyways being a… shoot, what’s the word… diurnal, a diurnal vampire.”

“Pshh, festive. As if anyone in this house needs a fucking holiday as an excuse to drink themselves under the table.”

I flashed her a smirk and a raised eyebrow. “That’s odd, Koa; usually you just say shitfaced. Getting soft, are you?”

She slammed a fist into the side of my arm; amazingly this one didn’t feel hard enough to actually mean anything. “Your decent into depravity only makes me harder, Miss Francesca.”

“And I still love you too, Miss Koakuma. Also, ow.”

Perhaps in hindsight spending time with the girl wasn’t altogether very constructive; more than half of the depraved things she accused me of thinking only got there because she’d brought them up in the first place. But one must learn to take the good with the bad, and the good thing about Koakuma is that no matter how rude she got, she was never afraid to call things like she saw them. She’d be your conscience in a pinch if you ever needed one; sort of like the angel and the devil on your shoulder all rolled up into one. Not that she ever claimed to be helping you, of course; she simply delighted in pointing out everyone’s many, many flaws. But at least she enjoyed something in the house. It only takes a spark…

Sakuya’s note thankfully came before Koakuma’s patience expired; the devil girl had been getting a lot better at “enduring” people lately. Short and sweet as usual; apparently we were meeting in the sun room, which Remilia had probably never used once but must have had built for propriety alone. Apart from the walls being made entirely out of glass it really wasn’t any different from another of the mansion’s lounges. By the time I’d gotten there our other two junior scouts and Meiling had already arrived, along with Sakuya, in various states of preparation.

“It’s just as cold in Japan this time of year as in England,” she kept reminding us even though we were all clearly wearing coats, and fairies (or whatever Meiling had turned into when she’d stopped being human) had a good deal more tolerance for cold than humans. I noticed that Sapphire was taking her side-sword with her.

“Diplomacy, Saph,” I reminded her. “We’re not trying to pick a fight here.”

“My sidearm is merely symbolic, cousin,” she responded as she buckled the sheath to her side. “Ornamental even. Meant to convey a message that we are not defenseless, merely refugees. Drawing a sword against the strongest of creatures is a useless gesture anyways.”

“Suit yourself, I suppose. Where’s Patches?”

“Triple-checking stuff, Fran; you could’ve answered that yourself,” Thérèse replied, looking herself over in a mirror. “Whatdayya think, ladies: vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry?”

Sapphire rolled her eyes. “I can’t believe you’re worrying about fashion at a time like this, Teresa.”

“Blue Moon, definitely; I’ve seen too few fairies with that color hair. China?”

“Mmm, agreed. Shoulder-length, I think, with one defined curl in the bangs.”

“Done and done. Fran, ya think I need a tail this time?”

“We’re just trying to be fairies here, Terry; not show-offs. And stop it with the giant chest; you’re only giving Koa more to whine about.”

She stuck a goofy forked tongue out at me and folded her arms defiantly, not so subtlety lifting up her oversized breasts at the same time. “Just because you still can’t manage to shrink yours don’t mean I can’t still experiment, Francesca!”

“I’m just saying… At least Flandre’s ‘experiments’ don’t make me feel embarrassed to be your cousin. Where is she, anyways?”

“Changing, at least she was when I stopped over there.”

“Please don’t let it be the sexy costume… Is it the sexy costume?”

“I can neither confirm nor deny what she is wearing or is planning to wear at this point in time. However I can say that during the instance I saw her she was not, in fact, wearing the sexy costume. It was still hanging in the closet.”

“Pssh, and you complain about me accusing people of looking silly.”

“You haven’t seen her wear it, Fran. It’s embarrassing.”

“With all due respects, little ladies, she is old enough to wear it.”

Our pointlessness cornering clothes and body parts which clothes were designed to cover took us well past the time when Patchouli had finally arrived, decked out in a black furry cloak and matching hat, like the ones Russian women supposedly wore; I’d learned not to exactly trust the little things movies took for granted lest I end up with a head full of things that were wrong. Flandre’d made sure of that.

Our resident magician had begun to concern herself with whether or not Flandre would be able to find the “Eye” of the barrier, and subsequently bore a hole into it without destroying the thing outright. Which is to say, she was most likely freaking out inside her head while pretending to us that she wasn’t. Not that I blamed her—we all really had no idea how any of this was going to pan out—it was just one of those things about her I’d picked up, her hidden inability to cope with problems that she couldn’t experiment benign solutions for.

“How much time did you buy us anyways, Sakuya?” Thérèse asked her, now cycling through any number of slightly-ridiculous clothing combinations.

“Uggh… For the last time I did not try and get her drunk! Vampires metabolize alcohol too fast for that to work very well anyways. We didn’t even finish the entire bottle of champagne between us, and no I’m not drunk right now; I already slept mine off. She is sleeping normally because this is what normal people who are normal do at two o’ clock in the morning. But to actually answer your question, considering the timezone change, I’d say you’ll probably want to be back by dinnertime.”

I raised my hand. “Umm, question? Is that like the normal early five o’ clock dinnertime, or the crazy late elegant nine o’ clock dinnertime?”

Sakuya massaged her forehand with her hand. “Just… don’t take forever; nobody wants to have to explain to Remilia why we weren’t here to open presents with her on Christmas morning. You do still want to open presents on Christmas morning, don’t you?”

“Well, technically if we move the mansion to Japan it’ll be Christmas evening.”

“Thérèse, you are not exactly helping.”

“Just fillin’ in for Flandre until she gets here, Francis, which should be rrrriiiight abbbooouuuuttt… now!”

Predictably, we all watched the door.

Predictably, Flandre did not come rushing through it at the dramatically appropriate time.

“…Thérèse, you are still not exactly helping.”

She shrugged and held up her index finger, “You mean I’m not helping resolve silly non-sequiturs. What I am helping to do is ease tension in what might be an extremely tense situation! Are you feeling playfully relaxed and full of endorphins?”

“I’m feeling playfully confused and full of dolphins.”

“Good, then we’re on the same—Hi Flandre—page here.”

“Sorry I’m late; I was too busy not playing predictably into your lame dramatic entrance.”

What was impressive was that Flandre had probably been leaning outside the door listening, could have jumped in when Thérèse had suggested, and didn’t out of pure spite. What was more impressive was that she purposely entered fifteen seconds late, it didn’t phase Thérèse at all, and she had even managed to go back to the end of her sentence while sneaking in a quick greeting as the younger sister burst through the door. What was most impressive was that Flandre wasn’t short. As so as I’d heard her voice I looked at the space four feet above the floor where her head should have been, couldn’t find it, and then promptly began to lose my mind.

A woman. She was a woman, and a truly amazing one at that. Six feet, six inches; my brain had remembered that useless bit of information. Her hair was thick and of the purest gold, the whole of it as long as her singular tail had used to be, flowing down well below her shoulders. A face the perfect combination of what her own had used to be and what Remilia’s was: charisma without childishness, beauty without refinement, and mischief without peer. Her raiment was plain, plain but perfect; a scarlet dress divided down the middle for walking, black dress shoes without unsightly heels, and a red velvet jacket with white fur trim; ‘tis the season, after all…

And she wasn’t wearing her wings.

I stared. I couldn’t help myself, I couldn’t stop, and I couldn’t speak. It was Flandre. The real Flandre, the Flandre she should have been… always hidden, hidden away because she didn’t think she deserved it. Hidden away because when she was nine, the world was simpler… the world made sense to her.

Is was unavoidable that she noticed my gawking and leaned down to look at me through coy lips, perhaps not-so-unintentionally giving me a good look down her shirt at her not-so-unimpressive bosoms.

“Thinly-veiled sexual double entendre disguised as a question concerning you staring at me?” she asked.

“You… you, look… You look beautiful.”

“Coy and reluctant affirmation thinly veiling pride in one’s body. Additional reminder concerning judgment by soul and not by flesh.” Pointing at Patchouli in an effort to apparently deal with every problem at once, she continued. “Associated remark mitigating eventual point of concern at noticeable lack of portable doomsday devices; affirmation that aforementioned lack is a tolerable level of insecurity outweighed by visible maturity of former carrier’s outward appearance, resulting in the increased sincerity and seriousness of negotiations with indigenous magical Japanese residents. Also they’re hella-annoying to sit in a chair with, you don’t even know.”

It took me a while before I realized that I hadn’t actually understood any of that. “Trans… lation into little people’s English, please?”

She shrugged, sitting down into a spare chair and crossing her legs unconcernedly. “I kind of like the look too but beauty’s only skin deep. Yes I don’t have the wings on, but it’s a fair trade for not looking like an idiot to our new neighbors; for once I think it’ll be important to be treated as a mature adult at face value. Is this party wagon rolling yet?”

“It is now,” Sakuya replied as the got up and went to the door. “Everyone who’s ready please go outside; I feel awful when I try and drag people through doors and make them hit their heads on the frame.”

“But I just sat down! No, wait, wait… think adult thoughts. I am a perfectly intelligent and mature woman who is capable of rational thought. I like to think about breaking the glass ceiling, ordering martinis at heavily-populated-yet-professional bars, and never getting the raw end of the divorce lawsuit.”

I was glad to know that she was still our Flandre. Expect now she could drop kick me a lot easier. It’s actually not that bad if you manage to hit the pile of pillows. Without much dallying we tricked out into the nippy early morning, watching our breath mist into the darkness. Patchouli was dragging her heels about being unprepared, but Flandre clearly pointed out that she’d had four months and didn’t even have to do the hard work of breaking the bloody thing in the first place; she was good enough for government work, whatever that meant.

“Does… anyone want to, I don’t know, say something before we go?” I suggested, not really sure if we were supposed to be all somber or serious like we were going on a suicide mission. “Since we might not see the mansion in England again?”

Flandre stepped forwards, actually looking like she wanted to be serious. “I… think I’d like to, if you don’t mind. Just… Just a quick prayer; if you wanna bow your heads, please.”

Another of her prayers… The sisters had always been tight-lipped about that. I’d heard from China that they believed in one all-powerful God, but not a mote beyond that. I’d always just figured that it was some human-world thing fairies wouldn’t understand, but then again, I hadn’t been around the mansion for very long. It’d always been a sort of open secret between the sisters and a handful of the residents; something known but never referenced. Such as the fact that there was a full-sized chapel on the third floor that seemingly only the sisters ever even used, and rarely at that. I knew enough to be respectful to the thoughts of others, though, and bowed my head along with everyone else.

“Dear Lord,” Flandre began. “You are awesome. We are all a lot less than awesome. Please help us to be more awesome like you.”

“And please let Remi have a Happy Christmas,” Thérèse added simply.


Wait, that was it? It felt… rather short, to me. And not exactly very proper. But, I supposed, oddly appropriate. Sakuya gathered us all around her and split us into pairs, getting us to hold hands.

“Just another little thing to make it easier, you know,” she explained. “It’s a lot easier to get people to cooperate in real time, especially when I’m going to be dragging six of you. At least this way it’s two chains of three and I’ve got two hands.”

Sapphire acted like herself again. “Spare us your time-travel explanations, Miss Sakuya; they really are of no benefit to us. Just get us there.”

The maid took one last double-check to make sure our hands were all firmly held, and nodded. “I can do that.”

+ + + + + + + + + +

“Nnn, Sakuya, please, warn us next time.”

“I’m sorry, it’s just, I know Flandre doesn’t like the countdowns.”

“I don’t either!”

“Yes, and Thérèse doesn’t either, apparently.”

“M-Magic… I’d, forgotten… what this much felt like…”

“Indeed, cousin…”

“Holy dang, you’re right; if it’s like this inside I could like transform into anything! Aaawwwesoooommme.”

“Please, young ones, please; we’ve work to do. Miss Flandre, the barrier is… here. Can you feel it?”

“Yeah, it’s there… slippery little thing ain’t it? Just like Kay; bet you wouldn’t find it if you weren’t looking.”

“Whatever happened to Kay anyways, Flandre?”

“What? Oh. She ran away. She does that.”

“She didn’t… hang around or anything?”

“Miss Flandre, please, I’d ask that you not get distracted. Can you get a hold on the barrier; can you see it?”

“Gimme a minute… it’s not science, you know. Nnneeehhh… nyeh, get back here… damn it’s slippery! I don’t think it likes me very much…”

“How can an inanimate barrier have feelings of like and dislike?”

“Shut up Saph; I get to talk, you don’t. Because I’m working and this is how I work. If, it would, just… cooperate… bugger, lost it again, what’s holding it together, soap? I’ll get it, I’ll get it, been practicing with Patches for the last four months. Her’s weren’t this weird, though… come on! I can’t see you if you’re not going to look at me! Nnngh! Nnngh! If you don’t cooperate I’m just gonna try and claw through it you know! Maybe that’s the secret, just dig through with a drill, eh? So much for magi—there! Found yooouuu~

“Miss… Flandre…?”

“Sshh… looking…… Bloody hell…”

“Do you… see an Eye?”

“There’s like a thousand Eyes on this thing, Patches. Like either a thousand people made it together, or one person is just that wicked good. Prolly both.”

“Is it a problem?”

“Wha? No, no, I think it’s just a failsafe, prevent someone from blowing it up all at once. Guess forcing our way in wouldn’t have worked after all. No, I can see ‘em now. We want in on the ground or in the air?”

“I’d think the ground would be more inconspicuous.”

“Yeah, that, plus like, oh no, where’d my wings go, now I can’t fly!”

“That’s not very funny.”

“Yeah, I know. Closet Eye’s this-a-ways, come on…”

“Can’t we just fly to the Eye? Walking is quite inefficient.”

“When you grow up to be my sister, Saph, and when Thérèse grows up to be me and you have horrible paradox children that carry your combined souls in their two-headed abomination of a body, which because Thérèse is Thérèse actually turns into a very nice-looking two headed dragon that’s all slick and powerful but also super-cute, and then that dragon finds a magical pearl that it guards and pretends it’s its egg because it can’t find a mate since it’s the only one of its kind, and its belief turns it into a real egg that hatches into a computerized snake-alien voiced by Sigourney Weaver, and when that snake-alien discovers that the world it lives in is not actually the world that contains the plot of the Alien movies, I will have wasted a minute of your time and we will have walked to the Eye by then. Yeah, that’s right; I can use time-travel.”

“…Just get on with it.”

“I shall resist the urge to make a Monty Python reference and comply… Hello, Eye. You are a normal Eye. You are not as cool as the Kay Eye, because she is worth more points in Scrabble. Maybe if you’d brought your brother Jay you’d all be one happy alphabetical sequence. I can be a letter too; maybe if you want to you could call me Flander-Ay. But that’s really stretching it, isn’t it?”

“Can you please dispense with the formalities, Miss Flandre? Can you open a hole in this Eye or not?”

“Grrr, fine… ruin all my fun… I’ll just have you use all three of you. J-O-K-I-N-G-L-Y, stretched across the triple-triple on the top-right. Eight-nine-fourteen-fifteen-seventeen-nineteen-twenty-twenty-four, times three times three, two-hundred-sixteen, plus the fifty point bonus for a BINGO! YYYEEEAAAH!”

“That did it; everyone, in, now!”

“Please, don’t worry about us Sakuya; we’ll make this work!”

“I certainly hope so; I’m not going to be getting any sleep tonight. You take good care of Sapphire now Meiling, you hear me?”

“I can take care of myself, Miss Sakuya.”

“I can’t! That’s why I’ve got Fran with me! Team Japanese Double Custard is gonna diplomize like a bandit!”

“Heh, not if Team Eldritch Micro Abomination puts you in jail for stealing democracy!”

“Please don’t ask me to name my team, you two.”

“Oh, we already named you. You’re Team C, for China and cool cucumber.”

“This is an entirely unmitigated waste of time.”

“Laaaaaaaaam-m’okay. We’re being serious now. Three directions, then?”

“We should really decide on a rallying point in case anything happens, or we run out of time.”

“Can we use that shrine? If it’s on the outside it’s gotta be on the inside too; at least Sakuya’ll know where to pick us up.”

“Fair enough. What time?”

“Seven hours from now. Meiling, Flandre, make sure your partners know the plan; I’ll be doing the same.”

“Plan? We have a plan?”

“This Flan has a plan, Fran.”

“I am entirely confused now.”

“Yeah, we did that on purpose; it’s easy to over-think these things. See y’all in seven hours, girls, unless you see our mansion flying though the sky or something first. Then, go there I guess.”

“In hindsight I am seeing this as perhaps the most pathetic rescue quest in history.”

“Lies, Sapphire, all lies; it’ll be unremarkably mediocre and you know it. Come on Fran, we’re wasting Christmas. Bye everybody! Good luck, don’t suck!”

“You know, Flandre, that all seemed kind of… rushed. Are you sure we should just be walking into this blindly?”

“Do you think that working out intricate details would help us any? We’re scouts. We scout.”

“I know, but I mean… what if two groups end up going to the same place, or we don’t meet up at the right time, or Sakuya can’t find us to pick us up?”

“Shush; Patchouli is allowed to worry about those things. You are not. Now stick your finger out in a random direction so we can go that way.”

“See, like that. That just doesn’t make any sense; wouldn’t it be better to try and find somebody important who knows things about this place?”

“Which is what we’re doing, by walking in a random direction.”

“Unnnggh… Can we at least fly in a random direction? I thought we were supposed to be getting this done fast; don’t you have a plan?”

“Oohhh Fran… Le sigh. The plan is there is no plan. Scouts have to improvise; you never know just what you’re going to find.”

“Is this the plan Patchouli told you to tell me, or are you ignoring that and coming up with your own?”

“It’s a paraphrase. More or less. Also extremely abridged.”

“Nnnggh! Flandre, if I, didn’t know you as much, and maybe if you weren’t so tall, I’d… I don’t know, try and tackle you in silly rage, or something.”

“Look on the bright side; I promise I won’t pick you up by your hair and watch you flail around out of arm’s reach.”

“I love you too, Flan. So, can I just, fly up there over the trees real quick and see what we’re looking at here?”

“Yes, you could also do that.”

The last vote of this story… which has been the first vote of many other stories.
[ ] I saw a giant mountain in the middle of nowhere… it looked pretty important.
[ ] I saw the shrine we were supposed to meet at… it didn’t look abandoned at all.
[ ] I saw a beautiful green forest… a few of the trees seemed particularly large.
[ ] I saw a large village all by itself… someone there had to know something.
[ ] I saw a beautiful lake… It’d been so many years since I’d seen a real lake.
[ ] I saw a strange giant forest of… was that bamboo?
[ ] I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye… were there houses on the edge of the barrier?

Author’s Note – No sense hiding anything at this point. Any option ultimately gives us the same result, which is a good result and shame on you for thinking I’m going to change everything at the very end. It’s just a matter of who we meet along the way, and whether or not Team Japanese Double Custard is directly responsible for getting the mansion into Gensokyo.
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[ ] I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye… were there houses on the edge of the barrier?

I'm getting emotional and it's not the story itself it's just the fact that this is the last vote of an awesome story...
PD: Tepes, choose a few situations you want turned into 4koma or pinups. I have a drawfag on standby.
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[X] I saw the shrine we were supposed to meet at… it didn’t look abandoned at all.
[X] I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye… were there houses on the edge of the barrier?

Going with intuition either the place where you were supposed to meet at that was now suddenly not deserted would seem like a good tip that there's a connection between this world and the other (being similar) OR why would there be a village next to the barrier? Possibly to guard or keep an eye on it? I don't think a village would appear on a limited area like that without a reason.

Shake that drawfag's hand for me will ya?
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[ ] I saw a beautiful lake… It’d been so many years since I’d seen a real lake.

Just want to say the same as the others. Princess Tepes, damn good job. Thumbs up.
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[x] I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye… were there houses on the edge of the barrier?

Torn between this and the lake. Yukarin takes precedence over finding out if Cirno is still the strongest fairy on the lake when Fran comes.
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[X] I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye… were there houses on the edge of the barrier?
Attack of the tall, busty blond women!

>Are you feeling playfully relaxed and full of endorphins?”
>“I’m feeling playfully confused and full of dolphins.”
Never change, Flandre.

>Yeah, that’s right; I can use time-travel.
You can use normal time-travel, like everyone else.

>I promise I won’t pick you up by your hair and watch you flail around out of arm’s reach.
But I can imagine it, and it is adorable.
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[x] I saw a beautiful lake… It’d been so many years since I’d seen a real lake.
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[x] I saw a large village all by itself… someone there had to know something.
Selecting at random, because I don't care which wins. I'm missing this story already, and it's not even over yet.
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[x] I saw a beautiful lake… It’d been so many years since I’d seen a real lake.

I was the anon that said that this knocked RaAN of its top spot in my 'best things written on this site' list. That has not changed.

So long as you dont pull an 'Owen' and kill all the happiness in this story at the last second I dont see this changing.
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i'm just footing the drawfag's bill he's still unrelated to the wonderfull world of THP. It helps that he's a coworker...
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[X] I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye… were there houses on the edge of the barrier?
Our fairy always end up in the center of things and today will be no different.
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[B] I saw a beautiful lake… It’d been so many years since I’d seen a real lake.
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>“Shit, girl, just name ‘em yourself. There’s your constellation Sparkle Pony, over here’s Mr. Umbrella, and that big one up there is called The Motherfucking Moon.”
I'm so glad Koakuma won this vote.

[X] I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye… were there houses on the edge of the barrier?
LAKE is tempting (as ever), but I can't pass up potential Yukari-Flandre interaction.
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[X] I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye… were there houses on the edge of the barrier?

It's..it's already the final vote?
>a year and a half
Damn. Time flies when you're having fun.
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That'll be a memorable rendition of Koa: Someone whose very sizable breasts are dwarfed by the size of the chip on her shoulder.
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So, the end is not an end but a new beginning? Cliche'd but very effective. When I saw that list of votes I practically squirmed with glee... Nostalgia ahoy!

[X] I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye… were there houses on the edge of the barrier?
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[x] I saw a beautiful lake… It’d been so many years since I’d seen a real lake.
lakes are beautiful.
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[x] I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye… were there houses on the edge of the barrier?
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[X] I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye… were there houses on the edge of the barrier?
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[X] I saw a strange giant forest of… was that bamboo?

Shame you can't just accidentally walk into the Ancient City from Gensokyo proper. Unless Fran ended up pointing straight down and Flan decided to start tunneling. Meeting up with Satori could be neat.
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[x] I saw a beautiful lake… It’d been so many years since I’d seen a real lake.


But in a happy way.
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[x] I saw a beautiful lake… It’d been so many years since I’d seen a real lake.
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10 for mysterious houses (I’m counting >>41975 in this)
7 for the lake
1 for the village
1 for the bamboo forest

Hopefully the vote’s gone on long enough to get everyone’s opinion in; I don’t think I’ve ever had a larger vote than 20, so this should be about it. This last update is going to take a while to write, since I need to make sure I round this story out nice and easy; also because I’ve got to spend some time planning out useful and interesting characterizations for the new characters F(r/l)an are going to meet. Take it easy until then, and again I apologize for slacking off on Derp Wars, but AFT’s been taking precedence lately. In hindsight I could’ve waited until AFT was done to start it, but in hindsight I didn’t want to.

Once more (like I haven’t done it enough already) I’d like to thank each and every one of you for reading and enjoying, no matter how much or how little you voted/contributed to any sort of discussion there might have been. It’s been a fun ride, and I’m both relieved and disappointed that I’ll finally be finishing this; it was a lot more work than I’d anticipated, as the gigantic hiatuses showed. You can stick around in this thread for questions and comments afterwards; just please don’t ask me a whole bunch of “what happened afterwards?” questions, if at all. “What ifs?” are perfectly fine and will probably be interesting for both of us.

>PS: Tepes, choose a few situations you want turned into 4koma or pinups. I have a drawfag on standby.
Sweet awesome biscuits, really?! Never thought there’d be an artist left that still cared enough to do something like this. Thought even less that I’d get to pick what’s drawn. I’ll have to give this some thought; gift pictures are serious business! Give him my greatest thanks; this means a lot to me.

>I'm just footing the drawfag's bill he's still unrelated to the wonderfull world of THP. It helps that he's a coworker...
So he hasn’t even read the story? I hope he at least knows something about Touhou. Not like it really matters; I suppose you don’t need to know who someone is to draw them. But it helps.

Pssh, Fran is the mediocrest. Cirno’s got the one-up on most of the Seven with her ZUN-hax ice powers.

>Never change, Flandre.
Interesting note: Technically Francesca had the dolphin line, but it’s actually funny that you can read it as Flandre too. The weakness of not defining dialog is also its strength, apparently. Derp.

You and >>41974 both, apparently.

>I was the anon that said that this knocked RaAN of its top spot in my 'best things written on this site' list. That has not changed.

>So long as you don’t pull an 'Owen' and kill all the happiness in this story at the last second I don’t see this changing.
What? No. No. Shame on you for even considering that; didn’t I already say that? And it’s not like ASSM was very happy to begin with.

Then AFT was not in vain, for I have successfully subverted the succubus stereotype to positive effect.

No! AFT has been written in vain! I’ve unwittingly fallen prey to horrible, unoriginal clichés! Fran, I’m blaming you; your narration is uninspired and sophomoric!

Very neat indeed, but yeah, doesn’t exactly work that way. Fun image, though.
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THREAD ONE >>28203
Post #1) The story begins. Our protagonist is a random fairy working in Remilia’s mansion. Exposition about some things.
Post #2) Our fairy works hard polishing light fixtures. She spots a shifty human maid who is totally not up to something.
Post #3) Oh no, the human maid is actually an assassin! Our fairy tries to stop her but gets knifed! The humanity!
Post #4) Our hero pulls the knife out of her own chest and fights back! Sakuya saves the day; Remi wants to know what’s up.
Post #5) The fairy tells it like it is. Remilia is pleasantly impressed. Sakuya is not a perfect and elegant maid in this story.
Post #6) Remilia tells the fairy to “babysit” Flandre tomorrow. She has mixed feelings about that. Skip to new day.
Post #7) Clean fairy must be clean. Gratuitous bath scene that isn’t really gratuitous. Is Sakuya late for work?
Post #8) Sakuya is late for work. There’s a wall of text about how to treat Flandre. It’s not that important.
Post #9) The strongest update. Our hero meets Flandre, who has a broken brain-mouth filter. Extremely broken.
Post #10) Star Wars reference; Flandre continues to refuse to shut up. Our fairy is more confused than she is scared.
Post #11) Some visual description you probably don’t care about. The two girls cook some omelets.
Post #12) Flan attempts to break the ice with some random questions and statements. She also knows how to cook.
Post #13) Flandre’s wings are capacitors in this story, and they’re detachable. She’s not a child; she just needs perspective.

THREAD TWO >>28692
Post #14) They decide to restock Flandre’s pantry today. Our fairy is rather afraid of telephones. Slight hijinks ensue.
Post #15) Sakuya’ll be down in a few minutes to help them; Flandre doesn’t believe her. The fairy doesn’t know what to do!
Post #16) The two go to the kitchen. Flandre teases some of the other fairies and explodes a head of lettuce on purpose.
Post #17) Sakuya needs help fighting Medusa Heads in the Clocktower! Not really; just fixing some gears. Flandre is snarky.
Post #18) Our fairy just wants to help! Many hands make light work, and they’re done in no time.
Post #19) Flandre experiences an unfortunate hostile break down; no one gets hurt. Now they’re in Patchouli’s office.
Post #20) Patchouli teaches Flandre about The Lord of The Rings. She’s a good student, if somewhat tangential.
Post #21) Flandre experiences another break down; some canned food gets hurt. Our fairy is quite scared now.
Post #22) Our hero hugs Flandre and makes all the bad feelings go away. D’awww~ Wanna watch a movie?
Post #23) The Princess Bride is a nice movie. Flandre and the fairy play dress-up. Darkstalkers reference.
Post #24) Now they’re at the theatre. Sakuya asks the fairy how her day’s been. More exposition you don’t care about.
Post #25) Our hero wishes she could understand the world better. Remilia and Flandre are sisters. End scene.
Post #26) Skip to next Monday. Sakuya has a new assignment for our fairy.
Post #27) The fairy makes oatmeal in the kitchen. Sakuya timestops so much she forgets how to multitask correctly.

Post #28) Let’s be Meiling’s apprentice for now; she’s cool, right? Now if only anyone knew where she was…
Post #29) Meiling is calm and motherly (also ponytail). She lives in a log cabin near the garden.
Post #30) Questions asked and answered. Our fairy doesn’t like to hurt people.
Post #31) More questions asked and answered. Our fairy likes Meiling’s body, but not like that.
Post #32) Meiling uses an allegory of a dandelion to explain why Remilia is selfish. Back To The Future reference.
Post #33) Skip two weeks ahead. Our fairy doesn’t understand how to practice Tai Chi.
Post #34) Fight scene between our heroine and China. The gatekeeper explains the importance of proper balance.
Post #35) Suddenly, Patchouli’s reach exceeds her grasp! She summoned something she shouldn’t have. Turtleneck moe~
Post #36) Our hero decides to be Patchouli’s personal aid until she recovers from her burns. Remilia throws a hissy fit.
Post #37) Apparently fairies get sick to their stomach when there’s too much order in a room. Like Patchouli’s, for example.
Post #38) Our fairy takes deep breaths and calms down. It’s not so bad. She decides to spruce up the room with flowers!
Post #39) Fairy Versus The Telephone, Round 2. She wakes up Flandre by accident, who affectionately calls her “Friday”.
Post #40) Flandre and Friday chat for a while about nothing in particular. A Comic Book Guy reference doesn’t happen.
Post #41) Suddenly, a visitor! China comes to Friday’s aid. Also Patchouli’s aid; burn ointment and such.
Post #42) Friday suggests lavender and patchouli flowers to brighten the room up. China is moved by the thoughtfulness.

Post #43) China leaves, Patchouli sleeps. Soooo boring; there’s nothing for our fairy to do until Patch wakes up.
Post #44) Friday asks Patchouli why people wear clothes. The librarian is flustered, but explains what she can.
Post #45) Friday wants to know more! Patchouli tries to oblige, but Remilia interrupts. Hijinks are imminent.
Post #46) Remi and Patch tell Friday about the birds and the bees. Each in their own strange ways.
Post #47) Friday gets a few things clarified about the above topic. Remilia doesn’t want any lesbian fairies in the house.
Post #48) Our hero goes to visit Flandre and meets “Tuesday”, another of Flandre’s personal maids. Cue three-month hiatus.
Post #49) Flandre performs a magic trick, but not really. Apparently Flandre has a special maid for every day of the week!
Post #50) Friday meets “Wednesday”, the buzzkill fairy. She doesn’t like to be called Wendy. Flandre makes a Die Hard reference.
Post #51) Wednesday is SRS BSNS all day every day. The two fairies fly around a bit, then look for “Thursday” in the orchard.
Post #52) Wednesday disapproves of Patchouli; says she dabbles too much. Thursday must be hiding inside that old spooky cabin!
Post #53) Friday plays Hide-and-go-seek in the dark to find Thursday. Thursday is a shape-shifter, and is sort of like Flandre Lite.
Post #54) We finally discover what our protagonist looks like. Thursday vaguely explains the philosophy of shape-shifting.
Post #55) Suddenly, a gunshot! Thursday investigates, and Friday follows. Oh no, some human is beating up on a fairy!
Post #56) A more epic rendition of what happened 52 posts ago. Friday gets shotgunned. Fairies don’t die when they are killed.
Post #57) Friday heads back to Patchouli’s room. The librarian sends her on a stereotypical book search.
Post #58) But first, Friday visits Remilia, the Princess of Texas. Sakuya is on-edge for some reason. Also an unevil vampire fairy.
Post #59) Our hero talks with Saturday, the half-vampire fairy. Then she gets back to work. Finding books is hard!
Post #60) Patchouli’s office is a mess; Friday works around it. Wendy is a dues ex machina and helps carry a stack of books.
Post #61) Friday heads back to Patches’ room. The woman talks about how magic works, and admits she doesn’t know why.

Post #62) Patchouli visits our resident vampire hunter and gives her the silent treatment. It works a little too well.
Post #63) Wall of text. Patchouli starts off as Sherlock Holmes, then bares her soul to the world. We learn her backstory.
Post #64) Friday is concerned for dear Ms. Patches. She runs to China and asks for her advice.
Post #65) We learn more of Patchouli’s backstory. Meiling and Sakuya have a short scene that is cute but hints at a bigger picture.
Post #66) Friday wanders around and finds “Monday”. Monday is tiny, pink, young, and nervous moe~
Post #67) Our two girls take solace in the common ground of their inexperience and confusion. Somebody needs a hug~
Post #68) Enter Sunday, the fairy who looks like Meiling but isn’t. They shoot the breeze for a while. Cue one-month hiatus.
Post #69) Flandre’s throwing a party, and cool people are invited. The young’uns run into Thursday again, who messes with Monday.
Post #70) Friday helps Monday gain a little more self-confidence. Sisters gotta help each other out!
Post #71) More of Flandre being Flandre. This time she’s wearing a hoodie and playing Darkstalkers 2. Cue one-month hiatus.
Post #72) Friday tries to play vidya games, but Flandre break down again and tries to kill her. Thursday snaps her out of it.
Post #73) Friday’s name is now Francesca. Not Freya. They all play Super Bomberman to celebrate. Our hero fails badly at it.
Post #74) Francesca talks to Flandre and makes sure everything is all right. It is. They sit down to eat foodstuffs.
Post #75) Our hero says a non-denominational table grace. Dinnertime chatter and gossip follows.

THREAD SIX >>36567
Post #76) Flandre talks about her past, Wendy brings up gloomy stuff, and Flandre goes all weird and mystical. Are the voices real?
Post #77) Skip ahead four months. Francesca narrates the summary of what happened during the skip.
Post #78) Fran, Saphhire, Tullia, Thérèse, and Remilia kill time in the theatre, watching Dracula. Some info on vampires.
Post #79) The five of them put on a play to satisfy Remi’s charisma. Fran plays the monster. This update broke the new post limit.
Post #80) Everyone is happy that the play did so well. Cut to the basement, where Patch is trying to summon something again.
Post #81) Fran arms herself to protect Patchouli. An explanation on how summoning works that isn’t based on anything.
Post #82) Overly long description of Patchouli summoning a creature from the beyond. It doesn’t look like Koakuma very much.
Post #83) Requisite fight scene with a hostile something. Fran’s bravery gets her arm blown off, but the good guys still win.
Post #84) Our new “friend” is the sexy little devil you all know and love. She hates you very much and wants you to die in a fire.
Post #85) Koakuma is still pissed off. Nobody is putting up with anyone’s shit, least of all Francesca’s.
Post #86) Patch and Koa discuss their differences. Patch loses. Fran tries the same thing. Her impact is debatable.
Post #87) Francesca keeps trying to break the ice. It’s not very effective. Also she and Monica are roommates now~
Post #88) When the going gets tough, the Fran goes to China. China’s always got reassuring words.

Post #89) A little more China, and a little sleeping Monica. Have a good night’s sleep…
Post #90) Strange dream that may not exactly be a dream. Monica wakes up and begins small talk.
Post #91) Small talk is had, but it’s Monday, so back to work. Fran heads over to Patchouli; they discuss devils and fucking.
Post #92) Fran stumbles upon the hidden meaning of “Go fuck yourself.” Patchouli has a eureka moment and runs off.
Post #93) Fran eavesdrops on Patchouli, who dissolves all the protective wards on Koa. Koa promptly tries to kill her.
Post #94) Patchouli is awesome and curbstomps Koakuma like a boss. Koa seems more amicable now. Maybe.
Post #95) Hard working fairy must always work hard; our hero does the laundry. Sakuya is late again.
Post #96) Herp-a-derp, Sakuya, herp-a-derp. Nothing more needs to be said.
Post #97) Chit-chatting with Sakuya and Fran. Random exposition is hard to summarize.
Post #98) This exposition update is cuter than the last exposition update. Fran can help Sakuya multitask!
Post #99) Doo de doo, polishing the hand-railings~ OH SNAP, FLANDRE JUST WENT FOUR-OF-A-KIND!
Post #100) Four Flandres are running around the basement on a secret mission. It’s fun to listen to them talk!
Post #101) Fran learns of “Kay”, the infamous enigma inside Flandre’s head. She’s in the walls… But can she be found?
Post #102) Playing Hide And Go Seek with Monica, d’awww~ Wait, is that mysterious disembodied hair?! Gasp!
Post #103) The search turns up empty, and Flandre is bored now. This can’t just be the end… can it?
Post #104) CHARLES NO! CHARLES, YOU GOT IN MY HEAD! Alternatively, lol I troll u. (Kay = Koishi, y’all)

Post #105) Koishi chats with Fran, but is invisible! She’s more visible in Flandre’s room. She’s also a heartless jerk.
Post #106) Fran asks Sakuya to help apprehend this fiend! But she’s not the perfect elegant maid; she can’t do it!
Post #107) Maid-sensei believes in herself and tries harder. Sakuya threw a Poké Ball-Of-Duct-Tape! Wild Koishi was caught!
Post #108) The team revels in their huge success. Hijinks and fun times ensue. Flandre cops a feel.
Post #109) The prisoner must be brought before the mistress! Remilia is elegantly confused.
Post #110) Koishi is inspected and more or less pleads the Fifth on everything. Confusion is had.
Post #111) Everything you know is about to change. It’s all fun and games until Koishi makes Flandre kill a minor character.
Post #112) Francesca reels in the aftermath of what just happened. She and Monica try to cope. They’re doing better now.
Post #113) Sleep your troubles away… The next morning, Tullia is watching over our hero. Mostly exposition.
Post #114) Patchouli is trying a long-shot approach to find out where Gensokyo is. Francesca yells in a library; blasphemy.
Post #115) Remember, Meiling is pretty much Fran’s mom in this story. She’s always there when you need a shoulder to cry on.
Post #116) Lots more exposition. Most importantly, we discover Sakuya’s backstory; she’s wasn’t a vampire hunter, just a bitch.
Post #117) Fran needs to play with kids her own age for a change. And by that we mean boot up Rock Band and pick a good song!
Post #118) Awesomeness is had when “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Killer Queen” get their lyrics AFT-ized. Seriously.
Post #119) Sakuya is press-ganged into playing Rock Band too. Her song? “Time Warp”, obviously. It lacks a pelvic thrust.
Post #120) Fran fills in for Sakuya in giving the mistress a bath and stuff. Remilia likes to be Remilia, doesn’t she?
Post #121) Fran and Remilia talk about Koakuma. Remi makes Fran uncomfortable, which isn’t very hard to do.
Post #122) Sakuya proves useful in discovering that Gensokyo is in Japan. But Remilia is stubborn and doesn’t want to go now?!

Post #123) Angry Francesca and Angry Sakuya versus Prideful Remilia! The truth of the sisters’ past is revealed. Remi isn’t leaving.
Post #124) Our heroine chills with Sunny, and then Thérèse. Miscellaneous plot stuff and talking about guns. Advent Cirno reference.
Post #125) Thérèse explains why Deagles suck and the Mauser C96 also sucks but is still awesome. This makes sense in context.
Post #126) Fran receives a little insight into the secret life of Flandre. Most of it is assumptions that don’t prove anything.
Post #127) Every main character except the sisters have a secret meeting. They’re going to go to Gensokyo against Remi’s wishes.
Post #128) Debate over the best way to gate-crash the Great Barrier. Valid points are made. We won’t be seeing a Kool-Aid Man.
Post #129) After a not-really-dramatic tie between two options, the girls settle on scouting Gensokyo out first.
Post #130) Timeskip a few days. Flandre is still in self-locked isolation. Fran just sits outside her door hoping she’ll open it. She does.
Post #131) Flandre is starved for blood and probably looks like crap. Francesca brings her up to speed on the situation.
Post #132) Fran, Flan, and Sakuya visit Koishi one last time. Flandre forgives her for killing Natasha, because she’s being the bigger person.
Post #133) Timeskip to Christmas. Fran kills time with Koa until the scouting party heads over to Gensokyo. Adult Flandre is tall and cool.
Post #134) Princess Tepes does not tell you the thrilling conclusion. Go read it for yourself!
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“Okay, I am going to do that.”

I carefully floated my way up through the branches of the sparse wood we’d walked into, and peeked my head up over the sea of leaves. Nobody around that I could see, but for some reason I didn’t just immediately shoot up into the sky and whiz around like I was flying a jetpack for the first time. I’m still not sure why I was being so cautious, and though I could give the excuse of playing it safe and not taking undue risks (since that was what a good scout would do), it was probably just because it was a strange new world, and I still found new things unsettling.

But once again remembering that time was at a premium, I finally scooted upwards and surveyed the land. And a beautiful land it was; it felt like it was torn straight from a storybook. A singular gigantic mountain was the jewel in the crown of the landscape, its peak lost in an ocean of low-hanging clouds. The country was a tapestry of plains and forests, with at least one river that I could see winding down from the mountain into a shining lake still ringed in a late-morning mist. Off in the distance I thought I even saw a small town, or perhaps more like a village. The best of England at the best of times simply couldn’t compare with what I saw; it all just felt right.

I probably spent a lot longer gazing at the countryside than I needed to, though, and I knew in the back of my mind that I’d have plenty of time to sightsee later. We had to find something important, something that looked like a place where an important barrier-maker might live. The village might have been a good bet; at least a good place to start, but I had a feeling that Patchouli or Meiling would probably have already thought of that. And whichever one of them didn’t think of that idea would probably head to the mountain instead; how could a giant landmark like that not have important people living on it? We were the unorthodox team, the team with a horribly silly name that barely made sense. It probably needed to be our job to avoid the obvious and find something out of the ordinary. But what looked out of the ordinary? Maybe that shrine Patchouli had talked about; what would a shrine be doing in the middle of nowhere in the edge of a magic barrier? Now that had[i/] to be worth investigating. Where was it again… She’d mentioned something about the east…

Wait… what was that…?

I thought I’d seen something when I looked to the east. It wasn’t a shrine (at least I didn’t [i]think
it was; hard to tell from that distance), more like a… ranch, or housing complex. I really hadn’t gotten a good look at it, and a second sweep across the same general area didn’t turn anything up. Had I bobbed too low and it was hidden in the trees? I adjusted my angle and peered around the area again. Still not there… probably just some after-image of looking at the—

No, there it was again! Right in the corner of my eye, for just a second when I thought I’d completely lost track of where it was. It was definitely a small group of structures of some kind, right on the edge of where I knew the border was; that magic bubble stuck out like a sore thumb to me. Too small to be a proper village, I thought, but as soon as I’d snapped my head around to pinpoint it I lost my mark and it was gone again. But I knew it had been there, and I at least knew the general area where I thought I’d seen it. Not feeling very comfortable with just shouting down to Flan, I floated back down under the trees where she’d procured a santa hat from somewhere (presumably her pocket) and was busy flicking the pom from one side of her head to the other.

“Is Christmas coming early this year?” she asked me not-exactly-cryptically.

“A circle has no end; see, I can make non-sequiturs too.”

“Candy-cane vaudeville routine, Fran; ho ho garden rake. What looks important from up there?”

I shrugged. “There’s a huge mountain and a village in the middle of the… country, I guess I’ll call it for now. But I’ve got a feeling the other groups are probably going to check those places out, being how they’re not you. I saw a couple stray houses right on the edge of the border though; seems important, if they’re on the edge and all that. I think that shrine Patchy talked about is in that direction too, so if the houses are nothing we’ve still got that.”

“…I’m not gonna carry you,” she mentioned, pointing skeptically at me with heavy-lidded eyes.

“You don’t even know where we’re going,” I retorted, folding my arms indifferently.

“Yeah?! Well… you’re short. Look at how short you are; you’re so bloody short. If I was as short as that, which I’m not because I’m tall, I’d wish I was as tall as you were, because you’d be me since I was you.”

“I… that… nah, I’ve got nothing.”

“As it should be; lead on, Macduff. That’s actually a misquotation, you know; the original line is lay on Macduff, as in to attack an opponent. The origin of the misquotation is uncertain, but has been confirmed to date back at least 1885 in Haggard’s ‘King Solomon’s Mines.’ The fact that the phrase is used casually in that context suggests that it may have been a common misquotation even at that point…”

That conversation, and the rambling tangents which followed, certainly helped level out the rather uneventful journey through this unknown magical land, which despite the positively unlimited supply of the stuff wedged into every plant and particle of the air hadn’t actually looked very magical at all. Normal trees, normal rocks, normal sun; it definitely felt like we were still on planet Earth. Personally I wondered how our voices hadn’t attracted any indigenous creatures, sentient or otherwise; it wasn’t like we were trying to keep our voices down overly much. After the first half-hour we’d grown tired of walking and I took up a much faster flight just a few meters in the air, with Flandre keeping up easily from the ground. I wasn’t entirely sure why she didn’t join me; I knew that both she and Remilia could dance around in the air as well as any fairy, even without wings, and her excuse of “I’d look silly flying without wings” came up rather lacking from my perspective. But I supposed as long as she could run that fast and maintain her inane conversations without sounding out of breath, I wouldn’t worry about it.

+ + + + + + + + + +

Two hours later, we were lost.

“We’re not lost,” I tried to tell Flandre, even though I pretty much knew it myself. “We just… can’t find the place we’re looking for. There’s a difference.”

“I’m well aware of the subtle difference, Fran. The implication of lost is that one is traveling on a predefined path which one has currently misplaced, and thus is hampered in their finding of the—we’re lost, Fran.”

“But I saw that village, Flan! You saw it, even, when you came up to look! We both know Kay; this is probably just one of those illusion tricks or something. This might even be where she lives, you know?!”

“I never said being lost was a bad thing, Custard,” she clarified. “You never find what you’re looking for until you kind of stop caring about looking for it anyways; at least that’s what should happen if this place is as magical as it’s supposed to be. Obviously Kay’s completely the opposite, but she’s got problems.”

“Oh, that reminds me, I forgot to ask back home… What’s the deal with her third eye? You keep on saying she didn’t used to be like that.”

That got her attention; she brought her running down to a steady walk, and I had to follow suit. “It’s really sketchy, but if she’s really a satori like Patchouli thinks… Well, the main thing is that a long time ago, she used to be perfectly normal. Not perfectly, okay, bad word, but she wasn’t a jerk. And then all of a sudden, something snapped. She shut herself off from the world, just like that. Worse than I did even; at least I still have a heart. She’s got nothing; no emotions, completely blank. Which for the most part means she’s not going to feel pity if she screws you over, which she tends to do.”

“What happened? I know she wouldn’t tell you—that’s not like her at all—but, do you have any clues?”

She shook her head. “She dropped a lot of stuff innocuously about what she was like before it happened, but she never said what tipped her over. Though, if I had to guess… and this is only if Patch is right… I think it was basically suicide. Like, emotional suicide. Of course that’s obvious—she can’t feel anything now—but it’s like, how’d she do it? Or why? Why does anyone commit suicide anyways, it’s stupid. If there’s an afterlife you’re not escaping any consequences of your actions, and if there isn’t you won’t be around to comprehend that you don’t have to worry about your horrible life anymore. But that’s besides the point.

“I’ve got a feeling she just read too many minds, Fran” she explained, stopping her movement to better collect her thoughts. “Provided that third eye of hers did that, which it probably did if she was a satori. She saw more hell in people’s minds than she could live with, and it was too much for her so she just shut herself down. I mean, imagine if every bad thing Lilligan said about everyone was true, and you knew it was true because you could see all of it? All those things people keep hidden in their minds because they don’t want anyone but themselves to know… it’s spooky, ain’t it?”

I tried to imagine what she’d proposed… and I just couldn’t do it. Every bad thing anyone’s ever thought about, and you knew it all… I couldn’t even contemplate how many times worse it would be than Koakuma dropping all those filthy ideas into my head. It made me wonder how any satori would manage to not either go insane or just turn into a horrible bloodthirsty monster.

“Is that… really, what you think happened to her?” I asked, not even sure if I believed it myself.

Another melancholic shrug. “It’s Kay, Fran; she’s the master of hiding things. Could be that, could be that everyone around her never loved her or trusted her, could be some kind of Frankenstein story… she might have just had one really, bad, day. Frankly, I’m hoping that moving here might get the stick out of her ass and she’ll open up a little, even if that eye doesn’t open back up.”

“Mmmm… I kinda see where you’re basing your friendship from, you know. That story isn’t too much different from yours.”

“My story sucks, Fran; a tragic hero goes mad with the power and destroys her world, but its not actually her fault so the reader wont blame her. She redeems herself with years of penance and isolation so the reader won’t whine about the unfairness of her not getting her comeuppance. Oh, and let’s give her a crippling injury that changes her for life; it’ll make her more realistic and prove that even magical creatures aren’t perfect. Real life is a lot more clichéd than you think it is.”

I shrugged back at her. “But at least it’s real.”

“Meh. That’s debatable, but it’s a pointless debate. Since we’re here, any other plotholes you want me to fill in this clichéd biography?”

Sifting through the double-meanings or outright lies of her words, there was a little something I’d been meaning to ask her; her or Remilia, technically, but I’d never even considered asking the older sister; she wouldn’t have given a straight answer. Funny how I had a feeling Flandre would in lieu of that, really.

“Well, if you’re offering… Where do you and Remilia get your blood from?”

She stuck out her tongue. “Oh. That. I thought it was going to be something important, like why did I act out of character this one insignificant time that affects the entire plot adversely or something. We take it from Sakuya, mostly, since she can heal herself up fast enough. Tried to stockpile it, but once it’s out of a body it sort of dies and it’s no good to us; complicated vampire stuff, don’t bother. It’s not like we need a whole lot, just enough to keep us stable, and she’s cool with it. I just hope she doesn’t secretly have some sort of sick fetish for it, because that’d be really weird. Before that Meiling used, to…”

She trailed off abruptly, turning her head sideways and standing unnaturally still.

“…Flandre…?” I whispered after five or ten seconds of the silence. She stretched out a hand to halt me.

“…We’re being hunted,” she told me, in a supposedly-Australian accent. Jurassic Park was a pretty fun movie, I guessed, but did that mean… dinosaurs…?! If they existed anywhere, I’d certainly expect them to exist in a magical world for things humans forgot, after all.

“By… what…?” I half-expected her to respond with “a clever girl,” but it seemed right then even her silliness had its limits. Instead she very, very slowly took the santa hat off her head and handed it to me, still peering into the surrounding forest and bushy undergrowth.

“Take this… Don’t want it getting ruined…”

I nodded without saying anything, staring into the trees myself. I knew her five senses were far sharper than mine, so I didn’t expect to see anything, but it was still worth a shot. Nothing, though… what had she heard? Or smelt, maybe? I gripped the santa hat like it was the hilt of a sword, even though I had no intention of doing anything expect bolting for the sky if something jumped at me. Where was it… what was it… Some fantasy monster, or was it just a curious bystander?

The seconds became minutes without event, and yet Flandre wouldn’t budge. Her eyes and head seemed to follow no pattern; swiveling around randomly before gluing themselves on a completely random spot, then moving around again. Yet she’d made no noise ever since she’d given me her hat, every cautious replacement of her feet as invisibly silent as if they’d always been there. Suddenly I started to wish that I’d brought a little weapon of my own, just in case; I had absolutely no idea how fairy reconstruction worked in this new world, so I didn’t particularly feel like dying. Did they even have fairies here?

She held out that halting hand to me once more, making sure I wasn’t going to do anything before she was. After confirming that she and I were on the same page, she extended her other arm straight out in front of her, curled her middle finger and thumb together, and issued a single, crisp snap.

Something pounced. Something extremely fast, like a bolt of chocolate lighting, aimed directly at Flandre. I had no time to see what it was, or what Flandre did when it reached her; within barely more than an incomprehensible blur of a second she’d rolled the thing onto the ground and knocked it unconscious. After the initial wake of shock had subsided, I realized that it had been… well, it looked like a cat. A very, very, very big cat, just about as big as Flandre was. I’d seen big cats in movies before—lions, tigers, panthers, those sorts of things—but this didn’t look anything like any of those. It really just looked like an extremely large brown housecat with extremely large ears and extremely sharp claws. What on Earth…?

Author’s Note: The following spoiler-tagged text is spoken in Japanese. The story is told from Francesca’s perspective, and thus she can’t understand it, but it has been translated for your convenience. It’s not necessary to know what’s being spoken in order to understand the story; you may read it or avoid it at your leisure.

No, no, no, that wasn’t supposed to happen! She wasn’t supposed to do that! And neither were you!

I heard a high-pitched female voice shouting through the trees around us in a language I took to be Japanese. I’d tried to learn the language over the course of the last few months and failed miserably; the only thing I’d really gotten out of it is that tons of words ended with a vowel, and there were alternatives to just using “he” and “she”. A handful of random nouns and phrases had gotten stuck in my head, but any fluent speaker of Japanese would probably say them too fast for me to catch them anyways. I assumed Flandre was prepared in my stead, though, or else Patchouli wouldn’t have paired us off.

This was totally self-defense; she attacked me first!” Flandre shouted back, sounding mildly indignant.

The voice seemed agitated. “Nyrrrr… You provoked her, you scary lady!

Provoked?! I snapped my fingers; come on!

Hey, you’re the bad girl here, not me; I bet you’re the troublemakers Master told me to look for! You went an’ poked a hole in the barrier an’ now she’s gotta go out and fix it!

I really had no idea what they were yelling about, but if Flandre felt confident enough to talk back, maybe the danger was over for now. I jumped back down to the ground and tugged at her sleeve. “Umm… what’s she saying?”

My teammate responded, but was still looking into the trees for the source of the voice. “She says the cat here made a mistake; I think it might be a pet or something. I’m trying to tell her it’s not my fault. Right now she just said she knows we poked a hole in the barrier; more important she said her Master’s gotta patch it. Might just be our lucky day, Fran.”

“Wait, you mean like… her master’s in charge of it?! So we found who we were looking for already?!”

“I’ll ask her. Yes, okay, we poked a hole in the barrier. Sorry about that. We don’t want any trouble; we’re refugees. All we want to do right now is talk!

The voice didn’t respond immediately, but its tone hadn’t seemed to cool down once it did. “All the bad people always just want to talk! I bet you’re just waiting for me to come out so you can break my neck like that poor kitty next to you!

Flandre gritted her teeth, alternating between translating for me and talking to the voice. “She thinks we’re bad guys; also that is a kitty. I didn’t kill her, I just bopped her on the head. She’s fine, honest! Come down and check her yourself!

“That’s a kitty?!

I’m not falling for that! What do you think I am, a stupid kid?! I’m not a kid, I’m the best cat you’re ever gonna find around here! Master wouldn’t-a chose me if I wasn’t the best!

Flandre groaned softly. “You know, we can shout back and forth all day, but if I’m not leaving and you’re not coming down I really don’t know what else to say! Unless you wanna talk about your Christmas presents; you celebrate Christmas over here? I haven’t opened my presents yet. She thinks we’re trying to trick her. I told her we’re not turning around and we don’t want any trouble. I think she’s a magical cat, maybe.”

I scratched my head; it’d been a while since I’d had to realize magic made a lot of things possible and there was really no point in doubting. It’s just that there were no magic cats in the mansion, so I had a little trouble realizing that they probably still existed elsewhere. “Can you see her?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah, she’s like fifty meters up ahead, little to the left in a tree; she’s not hiding her tails very good at all. Yes, tails; apparently she’s got two. Patches’d probably know what she is just from that…”

What’re you doing here, scary lady?!” the cat-girl shouted again, still sounding a little high-strung.

“She’s asking what we’re doing here,” Flandre clarified again. “I told you, we’re refugees from the outside. All we want to do is find someone who can get us and our friends inside safe! Also I can see your tails; you might wanna tuck those away if you think I’m gonna come over and do scary-bad things to you!

Try as I might to see this magical girl-cat, I came up completely blank; there were just too many trees in the way for me to pinpoint anything. Though I did see the forest thinning out in that direction; maybe we weren’t all that lost after all.

Nnyrrrr… All right, fine, have it your way! Walk towards where I’m at if you’re so cool, scary lady! I’ll tell my Master you’re coming, so don’t even try and sneak up on us. She’ll beat you like you never even thought!

If all the conversations with our new neighbors were going to go like this, I seriously needed to take up my Japanese lessons again, and rapidly. This was getting really annoying; the fact that I didn’t even know who we were talking to didn’t help.

Flandre stretched her arms unconcernedly. “She’s giving us the benefit of the doubt for now; wants us to follow her straight ahead. Bloody hell do I hope her master speaks English, because I really don’t want to risk butchering an important sentence in the middle of things.”

“Did you do that just now with the cat girl?” I asked.

“Well, no, but… come on, it’s me. I can’t trust a word I say. If it’s in Japanese then you won’t even have a prayer at trust a word I say either.” Flandre had now taken to staring at the unconscious giant “kitty”, pondering something. “We should probably take this thing with us.”

“I… think it’s a her, not a thing. Also are you sure you can carry it? It’s kinda big…”

It was a stupid question, really; Flandre gently reached under the creature’s belly and eased it up into her arms, draping her front legs and head behind one shoulder as she curled the rest up into a giant furry ball. I followed her lead as we weaved through the last leg of the forest (hopefully), getting some final bits and piece of conversation out of the way before talking to whoever this “master” was.

“Some luck, huh?” I commented about our current situation. “I mean, first place we go to is the right one!”

“And the first thing we met tried to kill me, and the second one wasn’t all that friendly either,” she observed cynically. “Big hole in the barrier, small hole in the barrier… Prolly still pisses people off the same way.”

“We didn’t have any choice, though; we’re already pushing it as it is. I mean, it took four months before Patchouli thought you were ready… and it cost us three more of my cousins. Why’d we have to take so long, anyways?”

She sighed as we approached the end of the trees. “I’m not answering that, because it’s in the past and thus pointless to complain about. I’ll be sure to complain to Patchouli about it for you later, because I’m better at it than you. An’ by the way, if they do speak English, don’t feel like you’re not allowed to talk. I suck at talking; you’d probably make a better diplomat than me anyways. I’m just here to look important and tall.”

“And carry giant kitty cats apparently,” I added, fluttering up and petting the creature on its head. Not as nice as I’d imagined; its fur was extremely coarse, almost needle-like.

“Yes. And carry giant kitty cats. I am also well known for doing that.”

The trees finally gave way to grass, and the two (three?) of us found ourselves at the edge of a rather quaint little village, if a village it even was. The houses were definitely Japanese; I noticed the trademark feudal-era sloped roofs and sliding doors from pictures. It was a quiet place, eerily quiet even. A calm wind blew fine dusted snow through the street, but nothing else. I could just instantly tell as soon as we began walking down the main street that no people, magical or otherwise, lived in this place. At least not at the moment; I could hardly imagine houses looking as perfectly-upkept as those without anyone having lived in them recently. But then again, what did I know about the magic of this world?

The magical cat Flandre had talked to was nowhere in sight, and neither one of us dared break the silence of the town save for our feet on a thin layer of crunchy snow. It didn’t seem to be a large concern at the time; the town was hardly very robust, just a single wide street bisecting the houses with smaller alleys in between, which meant anything of importance didn’t have very many places to hide if we were to start looking. Fortunately we didn’t have to; a solitary figure clad in robes of white and indigo stood watching us from the porch of what looked almost like an old magistrate’s residence, a gloved hand dragging itself across the weatherworn railing in front of her.

The closer we got, the more I realized how noticeably not human she was. First the foxtails; nine of them, vibrant bushy plumes of cream-tipped gold fanning out behind her like flames. Next the hat, a simple form-fitting venture with twin peaks, which I could only assume kept a pair of fox ears warm to match her tails. Finally the face; under an unassuming head of blonde hair lie in wait a wise and cunning creature, with slanted gold eyes sharper that the sharpest of hawks, and pointed teeth hidden behind poised and unsmiling lips. To my mind, a creature of this appearance would have no difficult task in appearing foolish, but she carried herself with such grace, such perfection, that Remilia herself with her royal upbringing could do no better; this woman was something loftier even than a queen.

Flan stopped her advance in the middle of the street, a good ten meters from the house with the fox lady. The two women laid eyes on each other, assessing the tiniest of details about each other which I’d never have any hope of noticing. It was the stranger who spoke first, once again in a flowing Japanese tongue.

Lost your way, have you?” she issued, seeming to ask a question.

Flandre responded instead in English. “I’m quite a ways away from home, good lady. So yes, you might say that I am indeed quite lost.”

She caught on seamlessly, and answered back in the same language, spoken with a strange and inhuman accent I can only describe as sharply round. “I see you’ve acquired one of my servant’s pets. I hope for your sake she is not injured?”

“Sleeping off a concussion, merely. ‘Twas a misunderstanding; I meant no harm. Do you want her back?”

“That depends largely on to who I am speaking, and what she wants.”
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Flandre nodded and addressed herself with a name I’d only heard her referred as once before, and had since forgotten. “My name is Françoise d'Albret, former Princess of Navarre, born 1508. My sister is Henrietta the Second, former Queen of Navarre, born 1503. The little one here is Francesca, a dear friend of my family’s house. I seek an audience with whomever is responsible for maintaining the barrier around this land; our house is dying from a lack of faith in magic, and we’d wish to immigrate here.”

The fox woman contemplated this introduction, her sage and unreadable expression never wavering. It gave me just a sliver of time to think about what she’d just said. So that was what her name had used to be… Françoise. I shivered to think about how close it was to my own name, the one she’d given to me. Of course it wasn’t her real name, no more than Henrietta was Remilia’s, but… it still made me think.

“Your fortunes have brought you to the right place,” she answered enigmatically, “though we shall see if your solution is as fortuitous. At present, you may call me Ran. There will be tea inside shortly, if you want for some.”

“Much obliged, Lady Ran.”

“Y-yes, thank you…” I added meekly, feeling that if I didn’t start talking soon I’d never want to. “Sorry about the hole.”

“Such a small hole in the Barrier is easily repairable; for now, pay it no mind,” she reaffirmed, smiling softly for the first time and winking those sharp teeth of hers. I still hadn’t gotten used to human-like people wearing teeth like that; aside from the vampires’ fangs, Thérèse was the only one who ever looked like that, and it spooked me every time. Lady Ran seemed nice enough, though. Together me and Flandre cautiously entered the house, Flan depositing the “pet” softly onto the porch first.

Ran slipped off a pair of wooden sandals and slid them off to the side of the door before entering the house proper; Flandre and I followed suit, observing the rather simple trappings of the domicile. It had a different sort of feel to it than the mansion; though it was smaller, it felt more open to me, rooms gently transitioning into other rooms rather than a myriad of thick walls. Not a familiar style, but not unenjoyable. We were led through a kitchen area to what I took to be a dining room, if only because there was a low table with cushions set up there; the table even felt like it had a heater under it or something of the sort. Ran fanned her robe out and sat down on one of the cushions, the soft blue plush immediately swallowed up by her many tails. Flandre crossed her legs and sat across from her, forcing me to nervously take a seat next to the fox-girl. It’s not that she was scary, mind, just… imposing, imposing and undoubtedly foreign.

Another strange girl busied herself at the stove with the aforementioned tea; presumably the “magical cat grl” Flandre had spoken with earlier. Compared to the stately Ran, her servant was positively comical, a fidgety little creature only a head or two taller than myself, with brown hair and cat ears to match, dressed all up in a black turtleneck and pants like she was planning to rob a house or something. She plodded over to us with the tea tray and set it down on the table none too gently, kneeling down on the open cushion afterwards. Her unsettling red claws tap-tap-tapped against the marble tabletop, polished and pure like they were carved out of jasper, while her orange cattish eyes continuously glared back and forth between Flandre and I.

I don’t like ‘em; they look like trouble. Can’t I just kick ‘em out?” she hissed antagonistically in Japanese.

Ran looked authoritatively at her apprentice and scowled. “Now now, Chen, be polite; these women have come all the way from Europe to see us. We may at least give them a few minutes of our time.” Turning back to address us, she added, “You’ll forgive my servant Chen, but she does not speak English and is still rather young.”

Flandre smiled and ruffled my hair playfully. “Forgiven; I’ve dealt with more than my fair share myself. Thank you for your time.”

“There will be ample time to thank me later, I think,” she commented, pouring herself some tea and grabbing a square of some fried biscuit-like food with a pair of chopsticks. Turning back to Chen, she said, “Chen, dear, have some common sense; wearing black clothes during the middle of the day in wintertime won’t keep you hidden.

The young cat pouted indignantly. “But a black cat is an ill omen! I want ‘em to feel afraid!

Ran seemed quite skeptical at that comment. “Why don’t you go outside and check on your little friend; make sure she’s all right? The vampire woman was thoughtful enough to carry her here.

She’s a vampire?!” Whatever the fox had said, Chen’s eyes went wide with awe as she stared at Flandre attentively. I had no idea what was going on, but of course Flandre did, and she rested her chin on her hand coyly, staring right back at the girl.

Do little kitties taste good~? I’ve never tried a little kitty before; you look so small and delicious, Chen~

The girl suddenly made a very catlike snarl and slashed threateningly at Flandre, with no real intent to hit but every intent to come frighteningly close. She dashed halfway across the room so fast I felt like she’d just skipped the distance in between, stilling hissing at my companion venomously before vanishing outside. Flandre merely smiled at the situation endearingly, a sentiment the great vixen at our table did not share.

“That was… unpleasant,” she commented harshly, narrowing her eyes at Flandre suspiciously. “How do you make out I should respond to this?”

“Apologies, apologies,” she replied, stiffening her composure and getting back to business. “I’m a long-time sufferer of psychosis and mild schizophrenia; efforts to curtail it have been… shall we say, partially unsuccessful. I cannot promise it won’t happen again.”

“Hardly reassuring, Lady d'Albret… hardly. I’m not usually of the disposition to turn away refugees, but I will turn away ne’er-do-wells. Vampires have rarely of a trustworthy disposition, the old vampires even less so. Perhaps you will forgive my formalities, but despite my composure that does not mean I trust you any more than Chen.”

Flandre squinted her eyes back at Ran the same way she’d done, opting to match jab for jab apparently. “If I were in a position to be antagonistic, which I am not, I might say the same thing about kitsune; kyuubi no kitsune even more so. I hope for both of our sakes not all of those stories are true.”

I could see one of Ran’s white-gloved hands slowly start to clench up from what I took to be an insult. Time for me to step in; I hadn’t realized at first that Ran wasn’t exactly going to be cooperative.

“Umm, hi, me again. Françoise? Yes, you can shut up now.” I tried to put on a positive face whilst looking at Ran and thumbing nonchalantly at the so-called ne’er-do-well. “The psychosis isn’t actually that good of an excuse most days, Miss Ran; she just likes to show off in front of guests. I’m a pretty lousy voice of reason, I guess… but I’m all she’s got right now. Sorry about that.”

The tension in her hand relaxed, but that slight scowl remained as she looked me over ominously from behind her tea cup. “It may behoove you to allow her to talk less and you more, if that is your position.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

She set down her tea cup and closed her eyes, cupping her sleeves together sagaciously. “Perhaps now might be a good time to tell me exactly what events transpired to bring you here.”

And so, in a roundabout way, we did. Starting with a brief synopsis of Flandre’s past and moving up to Kay’s involvement with our house and beyond, Ran heard of our particular plight. The further we went on the less Flandre talked, until it really just turned into my mini-biography, most of which you’ve heard me tell you already. The regal fox asked for only a few clarifications, most of them related to Kay in some way, and hid her personal opinions on the matter perfectly. Throughout it all I really had no idea if we were advancing our cause by telling her about the bind we were in, or if we were only unwittingly proving to her that our house was too dangerous to be let inside the barrier. I mean, a genius magician, an unbeatable martial artist, two five-hundred year-old vampires, a girl who could control time… I hated to admit it, but technically speaking all of them together were a serious threat to anyone who didn’t trust them. And Flandre and I weren’t exactly the best representatives for our little circle.

By the time I’d finally caught our story up to meeting Chen, the cat in question had come back inside and sat down again, giving Flandre a noticeably wider berth than before and slowly inching her cushion towards her master. Ran had kept her eyes closed for a good few minutes, and took an uncomfortably long time opening them after I’d finished.

“A rather eventful life your family and friends have led, princess,” she finally said softly. “I must admit, I’ve spent so long inside this land that I’ve forgotten what other creatures have had to endure outside of it. That you managed to survive at all is rather serendipitous, let alone find us from almost ten-thousand kilometers away; have you ever met with a fatespinner?”

Flandre smiled and shrugged. “My sister has the gift, though she’s for the most part squandered it. One time out of a hundred, though, she’ll manage a small miracle.”

“We shall see if that luck will hold,” she replied, standing up suddenly. “I will consult with my associate on the matter; she is the official administrator of the barrier’s integrity, not I. Feel free to ask Chen if you need anything. Be prepared to wait; my associate does not like being roused from her sleep at such an early hour.”

The foxy enigma twirled around and walked away without another word, her tails fanning out behind her like a bush of burning gold. I wondered what kind of person this “associate” of hers might be to consider the beginning of the afternoon to be “an early hour”, but considering how much of a mixed bag Ran and Chen seemed to be, I could only speculate wildly about this unknown third party.

An awkward silence quickly formed between the three of us, Chen now sitting at the opposite corner of the table to split the distance between us both. She just kept glaring and staring poisonously, which would have been extremely unsettling if she hadn’t simply looked as cute a button.

I don’t like you,” she grumbled at us.

“She says she thinks your hair is silly,” Flandre translated incorrectly, though obviously I didn’t know it at the time.

I felt a little embarrassed and tugged my ponytail forwards. “Ohh, umm… w-well, tell her that I, uhh, I think her earring looks pretty cute.” I attempted a smile at the little cat, who only glared at me more.

Flandre shrugged and, again, misinterpreted the message. “She’s afraid you’re going to give her bad luck.

Chen smirked proudly. “Hah. Tell ‘er she’d better stop thinking she’s better than me or I’ll put a curse on her!

“She says wearing your hair in a ponytail is bad luck around here. You’d better untie it or you’ll get cursed with bad vision.”

I bit my lip; bad vision didn’t sound fun at all. And I knew enough to know that bad luck could exist in a place like this, too. I reluctantly pulled my hair tie free, sending my bushy tangle careening all over my shoulders. “Is… is this better, Miss Chen? Am I still going to get cursed?”

She wants you to know that letting her hair down is a symbol of humility where she’s from. She acknowledges you as having the right of way.

Chen nodded contentedly, pleased with the result, and began nonchalantly licking her claws. In between licks she staggered out her smug response. “That’s more like it… Miss Yukari’s the best of the best of the best, I’ll have you know vampire lady… And she picked Miss Ran as her personal shikigami, and Ran’s so strong she can have a shikigami too! And… And then she picked me! So you’d better watch out for me, both of you! ‘Cause I’m fast!

“Chen says you’re safe; because she’s a magic brown cat she can protect people from curses, just like black cats give them away. She says you’re pretty lucky to be staying with her and Miss Ran; they’re such a good team nothing wants to mess with this house!”

I smiled nervously, not sure whether I should be happy with that reveal, or worried. But I still put on a pleasant faced and bowed to Chen, saying to her, “I, umm, I’d like to thank you for keeping me and my friend safe. I, I guess we’re both just nervous around strangers.”

The fairy Francesca apologizes for the misunderstanding and is grateful that you didn’t hurt her. She hopes to repay you for your greatness provided she remains in this land.

Nymmmm… What kind of repayment?” Chen asked, now interested in the situation.

“She wonders what kind of movies are your favorite.”

“Oh? Well, I, uhh… Hmm, that’s kinda hard. I mean, I like adventure movies with magic a lot, but sometimes they’re kinda silly… I guess any of the ones where the good guy beats the bad guy at the end, but he helps out a lot of friends and learns something important about himself!”

She offers to teach you about her culture by inviting you to her house and showing you a film about Western ideals. She adds that she lives in a rich mansion with many maids who can prepare any kind of food you could ever imagine.

…Any kind?” she wondered hungrily, running her wet tongue around her lips.

Any kind~

Chen scratched her chin with those ruby fingernails of hers, contemplating something I had hardly any idea about. Before long she smiled and nodded her head firmly. “All right then; apology accepted. Don’t think you’re going to get off the hook just ‘cause you’re not staying, either; Miss Yukari’s waaaaay too nice to turn people away, ‘specially if you passed the Ran test. Well… s’long as she’s awake, nnyehh~

“Chen hopes she can come over to your house one day and watch one of your favorite movies with her; she’s interested to see what a movie from America might be like. And she’s getting hungry just thinking about all the snacks Sakuya’ll make for her~”

My smile became significantly more pleasant at that response, and I inclined my head towards the chocolate-haired cat again. “Well, I’d glad you’re so excited about it, Chen! I’ll have to think up a really good one.”

She also thinks your earring looks pretty cute.

Chen smiled back as me and tilted her head sideways, letting the single golden ring in her ear dangle back and forth. She stuck out her thumb at me and, in very stuttering English, told me, “Yooou, iisssu hoakay~”

Holding back a little giggle, I answered back, “Dohmo arreegato, koisaiymass~”

Chen and I went for almost three years before we finally found out the truth about that day.

+ + + + + + + + + +

After that rather unorthodox ice-breaking incident, the mood had lightened up considerably. The three of us just wiled away the time casually, Chen explaining miscellaneous things about the new world, and us explaining miscellaneous things about our old one. She called herself a nekomanta or something like that; just a normal cat that had lived for so long in a magical land that she turned into a spirit cat and got intelligent (and human-shaped, apparently). Not all that different from a fairy, in my opinion. But of course that meant that even though she was technically twenty-seven years old, only fourteen of those actually counted in her mind.

Though Flandre’s constant translating slowed the pace of our conversation down and kept us oblivious of the time, I was still quite surprised that, when Ran finally came back, it was already four in the afternoon according to the clock on the wall. The only noticeable difference the several hours of absence had made was that she was without her hat, and perhaps just a tad weary-looking.

“My associate will speak with the two of you now,” she announced, very business-like. “I see you have all been enjoying your wait; most pleasant. Warming up to the strangers, Chen? Now that’s unlike you.

The Francesca fairy promised me a good movie and all the food I could eat if I went over to her house! Is Miss Yukari gonna let them stay?” Chen replied happily to Ran’s question, swaying her tails back and forth.

That’s for her to decide. Come now; I’m sure they don’t want to waste any time.” While Chen cleared away our light lunch, Ran led us through a series of identical hallways I wouldn’t have been able to re-navigate if I’d tried. After I’d completely lost all sense of direction, Ran finally stopped in front of a door that looked exactly like every other door we’d passed, the only difference being a light violet card on the handle which read, “DISTURB, AND WISH YOU WERE NEVER BORN.” A second card hung right below it which read, “WISHES GRANTED HERE.”

Ran noticed Flandre eyeing the card as well, and sighed. “She is… unique. Mind your step; her sleeping habits are the least of her eccentricities.” The lady slid the door open softly and ushered us inside before going in herself and shutting the door behind her.

The first thing I did when I entered the room was lose my footing and fall face-first into a voluminous purple blanket. It felt like there wasn’t even a floor at all; the entire ground was composed of the softest mattress I’d ever felt, layered with the warmest and largest blanket I’d ever even dreamed of. I felt Flandre pick me back up and sling me over her shoulders piggyback style, giving me a bird’s eye view of the darkened room, whose only dim light filtered in from tiny windows that currently had the shutters drawn over them. I couldn’t believe how warm the room was, compared with the winter chill of the rest of the house. But I just chalked it up to magic and kept taking everything in stride. In the weak light, the floor just looked like a gigantic purple swamp, a humongous plush blanket twisted around the entire room, scattered with pillows and cushions of all kinds, both above the blanket and below. As completely impractical as it looked, I could not deny that it would have been the perfect place to sleep. Saved you from rolling off the edge of your bed, at least.

Ran seemed to know right where she was going, and floated lightly from cushion to cushion until she kneeled down in front of a barely-distinguishable larger lump of purple. I fluttered off of Flandre’s shoulders to try and get a better look, but I couldn’t see anything that looked like an all-powerful master of an unbreakable magic barrier.

“Yukari… Yukari, I’ve brought the two English girls in to see you,” Ran whispered at the lump, looking rather silly I had to admit. “Yukari? Yukari, can you hear me? Yuka…… She’s gone back to sleep.”

“Fran?” Flandre whispered to me. “Will you allow me to ask Ran if I’m allowed to try and wake Miss Yukari up?”

“…No,” I replied, not even beginning to think of the number of things that could go wrong with that idea.

We spent the next quarter of an hour gathering enough pillows from around the room to make seats for ourselves so that we wouldn’t sink into the floor, while Ran continued to try and wake this Yukari back up. I was almost afraid that we were going to fall asleep ourselves in this atmosphere if we stayed much longer; the comforting warmth was rather intoxicating. I’d feel like sleeping the day away too if I had a bedroom like this.

Finally, after what felt like the fifth or sixth “finally” that day, I heard a muffled groan coming from somewhere underneath the blanket.

“Yukari, Yukari, please, wake up; you have important guests.”

There was more muffled nonsense, and vague movements under the covers where Ran had leaned over to talk. I saw the fox woman try and rummage around for what might have been the edge of the blanket, which only caused whoever was under it to squirm more.

“Yes, I know it’s too early; I promise I won’t bother you again until March. These ladies have traveled halfway across the world to see you,” Ran pestered, finally catching a corner of the labyrinthine comforter and beginning to tug at it.

“Mmmmmm…. Mmmnnmnnmnnnmnn! Ttlllmmmmm… tlllmmm’nnn, wrrrthh hhllll fffrrrnnng.”

Flandre raised an eyebrow and leaned over to me. “…You catch any of that?”

I looked at her blankly, not really sure how to respond. “Not… really?”

“Yukari, please… you’re embarrassing yourself.”

“Mmrrrnnn… Dunn’t carrre…… ‘ay’cunn, weight’ill March… sleepy…”

The tugging at the blanket continued until Ran finally unearthed her quarry. What I saw was extraordinarily… unremarkable, actually. Just a normal blonde woman sprawled out on the mattress in a violet nightdress, head firmly sandwiched between two pillows. No wings or aura or alien appendages at all; I couldn’t even sense anything particularly magical about her. Rather pathetic, if you ask me.

One of her slender arms unattached itself from the pillow and groped blindly for the blanket. “Nnnngggghh… guvvve it baaahaack…”

Ran seemed to be getting a little perturbed. “Miss Yukari, really now; this will take two minutes. Can you act like you are the most powerful woman on Earth for two minutes?

“Mmnnnmm. Nough. Blankie… want blankie.”

The hatless servant threw up her hands limply in defeat. “I give up. Ms. Françoise, you try talking to her.”

Flandre crawled forwards as Ran crawled back, squirming herself on her belly until her head was practically touching the sleepy woman’s pillows. Peering at the seam between them, she gently lifted the top cushion up just a sliver, looking into the gap and presumably into Miss Yukari’s face.

“Hi,” she greeted simply.

“…Nnngh… Whaht?”

“Need you to teleport som’tin for me.”


“Fifty-six degrees fifty-seven minutes forty seconds north, three degrees forty-eight minutes fifty-one seconds west.”

“Nnnrrmmm… gimme a bit… tired…”

“Kay. I’ve got nothing better to do.”

Yukari pushed her top pillow back a bit; not enough for me to actually see her face, but apparently enough for her to see something besides Flandre’s. She dragged her free hand up in front of her face with painful slowness, and limply stroked the air like a cat pawing at sunlight. A sort of… portal, I guess you’d call it, opened up in the air in front of her. Nothing I hadn’t seen Patchouli do before, I suppose. Yukari’s was sort of an oblong oval shape though, each end pinched off by a fancy tied red ribbon like they were holding it in place.

I drifted over her shoulder to get a better look at what was on the other side. Earth, apparently, just minding its own business in space. The portal quickly zoomed in, centering around Europe, then the British Isles, then Northern England, until I lost track of its position and simply watched a blur of green, brown, and white whiz past. In the end, the image stopped perfectly over the familiar bat-like shape and octagonal walls of our precious mansion, all without a single hitch.

“Mmmnnn… d’you… nnnn… d’you, wunt th’ whole wull, r’just th’ house?”

“Walls would be nice.”

“Mmm’ckay. Basemn’nt?”

“Yeah. You need dimensions?”

“Nough… Where—nnwwaaaahhhnnn—where’d, you want it…?” Another ribbon-tied portal popped into existence in front of Flandre, presumably giving her a bird’s-eye view of the countryside within the barrier. Flandre studied it for a minute or so intently; it was an important decision, after all.

“Mmm… My sister did always love it when our house was on a lake… Can you zoom in here?”

The second window blurred inwards, showing me that misty lake I’d glanced at earlier. Flan did some more thinking, probably trying to visualize what views would look best from different spots on the shoreline. Eventually she tapped at a gentle peninsula and nodded her head. “Right there; that’s a nice spot.”

The portals then did… something. I didn’t exactly see what, but suddenly there was a miniature model of our mansion and grounds sticking out of the first hole. I certainly hoped that wasn’t the real mansion, even though I had a pretty strong feeling that it was. Boy was the sky going to look weird for them…

Yukari tried to reach up and grab the mansion, but her arm gave up halfway and she just groaned sleepily again. “Rrrnnnnnggg… too m’ch wurrrkk… You do it.”

Flandre looked skeptically between the two portals and the mostly-useless violet lady. “Do what how? Who now?”

“Nngghh, you… you put the thing in the thing.” She gestured enigmatically with her dead fish of a hand, which was completely unhelpful. Flandre scratched her head, utterly confused, then stop caring about being confused and just sort of took the mansion out of one portal and stuck it into the other like a building block. I should have cared about the gravity of Flandre holding the fate of the entire mansion in her unpredictable hands, and how amazing and impossible this teleporting was, but the entire meeting with Miss Yukari had become so inane that I’d really stopped worrying about anything that didn’t make sense. Which was most of it.

The two portals did their weird zooming-out thing again, and suddenly I was looking at one portal where there was just a boring green field, and another where there was our bat-shaped mansion sitting on a gentle peninsula on the edge of a lake. I just sort of sat there and watched it all happen; it wasn’t like I could have done much else.

“…Couldn’t you have just done that yourself?” Flandre asked bluntly.

“Mmrrhgnn… prolly.”

“…Okay, you’re weird.”

“Nnnhnn, m’kay~ So’re yough…”

Flan shrugged apathetically. “Thanks… I guess.”

“Ppttthhh… Thank’m me ina… ina Spring. Hate… wokun’nup…”

Flandre washed her hands of the babbling thing known as Yukari, and turned back to Ran. “Would it not be an incorrect assumption to assume that what I think just happened, just happened?”

“No,” she replied, equally enigmatic but apparently comprehending the question.

“Kay, just making sure we cleared that up. I’ma go back home and celebrate Christmas now.”

“Enjoy yourselves. You’ll be hearing from us again in a few months once she’s… cognizant.”

“Coo’ beans. Want me to carry you, Fran?” she added as an in-joke afterthought.

I shook my head. “I’m good, thanks.” As I hovered over to my companion, I felt a finger catch a hold of my sock. I followed the finger down to the hand that owned it, and the arm that owned it, and the friendly slacker who owned them all, head still cowering in her pillow cave. I floated back down to the ground and peered into the same little hole Flandre had been peering. As with the rest of her, there was nothing exceptional about Yukari’s face at all. She was just a sleepy-eyed, matted-haired, smooth-skinned good Samaritan that could move a house the size of a palace halfway across the world in her sleep, and probably could have cared less. So she was the strongest creature in the land?

I had a feeling I was going to like it here.

I blushed, feeling so completely inadequate at the moment, staring into the face of the lady who had saved my life. What does one say to such a person?

“I… uhh… I… Thank you. For… for everything.”

She smiled sleepily and ran her hand through my hair, as a mother would to her child. It was a feeling I couldn’t understand, let alone describe, just laying there in Yukari’s bedroom like that, with no sense of pretense or propriety. One of the strongest, and one of the weakest, sharing the most fleeting of moments together. She said three words to me, the only three words she’s ever said to me personlly in the few times I’ve seen her. For me, they signaled the end of a tired, worn-out era, and the beginning of a shining new one. Everything I knew was about to change…

”Welcome to Gensokyo.”
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File 128356227775.png - (74.78KB, 1162x558, AFTimeline.png)
Oh, and here's some boring crap you don't care about.
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File 128356802165.jpg - (375.98KB, 693x613, 26d29ed8c63017c410f7dc9dadbd2acb.jpg)
I...I don't know what to say.

Thank you.
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File 128357016630.jpg - (262.14KB, 600x750, Happy big fairy.jpg)
Happy big fairy
I'm so conflicted. I'm happy that we got the whole mansion into Gensokyo and no more fairies have to disappear. But I'm sad, since the end of the story means the only CYOA with fairy protagonists is Derp Wars.
Screw it, have a happy fairy (pretend it's Fran).

>Young and full of optimism
Who, you or Fran?

Must not point out plothole...
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Holy shit, definetly must rea before going to sleep. This way I will have happy dreams.
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You want a few 4koma of the discussion between Chen, Flan and Fran, don't you Tepes.
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Oh yeah. Definetly going to have a happy sleep tonight.
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Questions/comments after I've slept (actually, I may reread it tomorrow to come up with a few more), but for now, can't leave it without mentioning that this has been an excellent story. Thank you.

Fun fact: AFT is now the longest-running completed story on THP, beating Hakugyokurou LA by a few months.
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>Everything I knew was about to change…
>”Welcome to Gensokyo.”
I smiled.
It was fun reading it, thanks for writing.
Well, it was an open end. There is always room for continues.
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File 128358688168.jpg - (130.18KB, 600x700, 8669dde653b89dc7a5c1260d9844ed38.jpg)
...thank you.

Thank you for relieving my disease for such a long time. You've left quite a mark in our little site. I won't forget you or this story.

See you later!
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I hope this isn't over just yet, we still need to see Remilia's recation to this.

I really need sleep now so see pic.
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>>Fun fact: AFT is now the longest-running completed story on THP, beating Hakugyokurou LA by a few months.


Good work, Tepes-sensei!
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I can't find the words so i'll use a few that came to my mind:

orange, reactor, lemon, book, ship, work.

I suppose when i get down from whenever i am from reading the ending i'll say something more coherent...
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>completed story

I...I am so happy... ;_;
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I'll just say that this was my favorite story on the site. Thank you for writing it.
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Congratulations! I actually just picked this up recently so I might come bumpin around again somewhere in the near future.
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I really hope this isn't the last thing we'll be seeing out of you, Tepes. You're an excellent writer and I look forward to MOAR
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I'm not expecting full blown stories, but some more one shots of your SDM would be very welcome.

My thoughts are akin to the book "Good night Moon" and it ends with "Good Night Fran."

And a phrase comes to mind "Even if the tale is just a footnote in history, it's no less important to those that lived it."
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I shook my head. “I’m done reading, finally.” As I hovered over my keyboard, I felt a tripcode catch a hold of my interest. I followed up the text to the post that owned it, and the thread that owned it, and the friendly tripfag who owned them all, head still cowering in her writer's cave. I scrolled back down to the last post and peered into the same little wall of text anonymous had been peering. As with the rest of her, there was nothing exceptional about Tepes’s nick at all. She was just a sleepy-eyed, persistent, smooth-tongued good writefag that could move time the period of a several days all the way across the week in her post, and probably could have cared less. So she had the longest-running completed story on THP?

I had a feeling I was going to like reading more of her stories.

I blushed, feeling so completely inadequate at the moment, staring into the tripcode of that someone who had entertained a good portion of my life. What does one say to such a person?

“I… uhh… I… Thank you. For… for AFT.”
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Ahh man I shot Marvin in the face
Back again. Probably just going to respond to comments en-masse every day or so, complying to some garbage idea of “efficiency” in reducing the total number of posts I make, and also keeping this thread away from autosage. Yeah, I’ll stick with that story.

Answering this one now: yes, I’ll hang around THP for a while still. Derp Wars still needs more love, AFT deserves a few cute supplemental shorts, and I need more motivation to make another Mystery Vampire Theatre. However, no, I don’t plan to write another CYOA or other major-length story. Graduate school, lol real life, things like that; I just don’t have the time to commit to it.

Current shorts on the que in no particular order of priority:
{+} Part 2 of A Ghost’s Story (definitely going to write this soon)
{+} MVTSK: Conan the Destroyer (about a third finished right now, just need to find the time)
{+} An epic parody about Flan and Koishi (already have it started; mum’s the word here)
{+} The scene where Fran asks Monica to room with her (might do this, might not; don’t really have any ideas for it yet)
{+} A story about Remilia and Flandre’s parents (probably how they first met; have ideas but don’t know if it’s that important really)
{+} Write-in? lolidunno Loli doesn’t know.

>All the people saying thank you
Might as well do these all at once. You’re very welcome; I was happy to do it.

>All the people who are sorry to see the story go
Every book that has a beginning has an end. The words end, but the story goes on for as long as you’ve got an imagination to carry it.

>But I'm sad, since the end of the story means the only CYOA with fairy protagonists is Derp Wars.
That’s not a CYOA. That is a travesty forged of derpantine, lolimantium, and windex.

>Who, you or Fran?
Me, obviously. Notice how the entire graph is really just multiple curves of “fast updates trickling down to slower updates”. That’s called a lack of commitment.

>Must not point out plothole…
Because it’s really going to adversely affect the story, right? Just say it; I can always find a way to answer in inside AFT-canon with a side-story. That or just add it into the story proper and pretend it was always there.

I wouldn’t want to over-centralize on a single scene that much, but one would be pretty cute, I must admit. More on that later-ish.

Technically I kind of cheated to get there, though. See those five months of hiatuses? Yeah…

Still, a pretty cool distinction. I feel sad for all those stories that went on just as long but ended up dying before they finished.

>orange, reactor, lemon, book, ship, work.
Sounds about right.

Also, still debating needlessly with myself about what drawing(s) would be cute and awesome to have. That’s the thing with author-chosen fanart: they’ll never be able to decide what they want, but once they do, as least you know they’ll be happy.

I’d ask to try and meet up with you on IRC or something to clarify stuff, but I really don’t feel comfortable jumping onto #THP to find you, unless we could private message each other directly without using a channel. I’m probably overthinking this… Overthinking is the enemy.

Am I allowed to use an emoticon here? Is the IRC Cabal going to swoop down from on high and imprison me for using an unapproved emoticon on the board? Will my fifteen months of effort and hard work be negated by looking like a total douche for using an emoticon that isn’t sad crying face or angry weeaboo eyes? Did I just write a three-question intro paragraph in the style of a Team Fortress 2 blog post to emphasize what I am about to say?!

I doubt anyone really cares.

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I realize I'm a bit late to the party, but I'd like to agree that this was a wonderful story. I'm sad to see it be done, but it's a good kind of sad; if it hadn't meant something to me then I wouldn't feel anything about it. Also, your Flandre is still the best.

>Part 2 of A Ghost’s Story
I'm looking forward to this.

I still wonder about what things Fran learned about Flandre while Flan didn't believe (was kept from believing) Francesca had shown up that one Friday.
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I'd think you'd be very well recieved there as an influential person considers your story the best on the site.

I too would like to see a nice drawing of Fran; if my drawfag buddy wasn't busy with life, I'd try asking him to do so.
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>Every book that has a beginning has an end. The words end, but the story goes on for as long as you’ve got an imagination to carry it.
...That's a very pretty platitude, but it kind of falls short when you consider that your words carry the story way the hell better than my imagination ever could, would, or will.

Are you going to write anything else here aside from Derp Wars and the side-stories?
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Yeah... and I'd like to hear about summaries of various incidents from Fran's PoV, seeing how someone from it is involved in the bulk of the incidents.
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This gun is the best gun
Hi; me again, responding to more stuff. Not much “stuff” at the moment, but the last time I said that someone pointed out that it was a holiday, and it’s Labor Day weekend in the States, so we’ll go with that.

Better be careful, though. If y’all don’t occupy my mind with questions I might just start using this as my personal blog to talk about the little details of AFT which, though interesting, you really didn’t care about in the first place! No, I won’t actually do that; I’m terrible at sincere sarcasm. I should be working on Derp Wars right now anyways.

>Also, your Flandre is still the best.
Thank you. For once I’m not going to be humble about this; I spent more time working on her character than probably anyone else, so I think she deserved to be someone extra-special. I’m just glad that the story ended up gravitating towards her a lot so my work wasn’t all in vain. Amazingly, I had not intended for Francesca to meet Flandre that early in the story; if you’d have chosen anything else on the first four votes, Flandre probably wouldn’t have showed up until a third of the way through the story. Funny how it all works out in the end.

>I still wonder about what things Fran learned about Flandre while Flan didn't believe (was kept from believing) Francesca had shown up that one Friday.
Don’t you mean what… wait. That Friday?! Dang, I completely forgot about that! I’ll have to think about it; frankly, I think it might be more amusing to just let each individual reader wonder in their own way about that.

>I'd think you'd be very well received there as an influential person considers your story the best on the site.
Oh, really? Cool; a friend of mine mentioned something about that. Nice to feel important, I guess. But I’m pretty sure that all the jokes about the “IRC Cabal” and “Dicks dicks dicks” have at least a loose basis in fact, and that doesn’t sound particularly fun to me.

Plus someone’d probably try and steal my paper bag…

>...That's a very pretty platitude, but it kind of falls short when you consider that your words carry the story way the hell better than my imagination ever could, would, or will.
All right, fine, I’ll give you that. You’re still going to have to face the fact that AFT is over, though.

>Are you going to write anything else here aside from Derp Wars and the side-stories?
Very, very doubtful. Another long story would just take more commitment than I can give right now. I’ve got a big stack of side-stories lined up, though, so don’t worry, I’ll be around.

Ermm… I’m not really understanding what you’re trying to say here. Are you talking about incidents before they get to Gensokyo, or after? Could you be a little clearer please?
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Dear Princess Tepes.

I have followed this story since its inception, and up till now I'm struggling to construct my speech that can express my delight and awe for everything you have presented in this wonderful adventure (everything, and I mean everything). I just hope to see more of Francesca and her sisters after this story ends, but I understand if A Fairy's Tale ends with Yukari formally welcoming Fran to Gensokyo.

I know words aren't adequate enough to express how I feel for you, so I shall offer you a salute instead.

God bless you.
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I mean after, say about EoSD, there'd be a short about the seven talking about it and so forth. I'd get the feeling that Fran'd be a stage 5 death fairy, trying her best to stop Reimu or Marisa, but losing in the end.

I wasn't expecting long sagas, just simple shorts with fairy commentary of various events.
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I see that none of those shorts involve Meiling. I'd like some more Meiling, please.
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Why isn't Patchy in that picture? :(
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The future is bullpups and sage redheads
Your thanks is well-met and well-received, soldier; at ease.

Ahh, I see. Fair enough; I probably should do a short about the Scarlet Mist Incident. I’m sure you’d enjoy my take on the scenario, and I feel that I would too. I don’t want to do too much side-stuff with Gensokyo, though, mainly because of my collegiate time constraints. I’d rather just do a small handful that actually mean something to me, instead of “What Fran did during PCB,” “What Fran did during IN”, “What Fran did during PoFV”, or something like that. She’s just a small fairy in a big world; I don’t want her getting swallowed up by the lol canon of Touhou.

Meiling is… tricky. I wrote her as a very passive character that works behind the scenes rather than out in the open. Notice how throughout AFT, Meiling was always ready to help Fran or someone else out, but very rarely did anything if there was nothing wrong. If a story involves the majority of the cast she’ll be around, but she’s just not the kind of girl that is outgoing enough to have her own adventure.

But anyways, here’s a status update on my list of shorts:

{O} MVTSK: Conan the Destroyer (Just finished it a few days ago! Go read it and stuff.)
{O} An epic parody about Flan and Koishi (Same status as it was last time. Probably going to work on this one next.)
{O} Part 2 of A Ghost’s Story (Still in the que; haven’t started writing it. I know the premise I want, but not the substance.)
{X} The scene where Fran asks Monica to room with her (Gonna cancel this one. It’d be super-cute and have hijinks in it, but I’ll just let your imagination fill in the gaps. Most of the time when I dropped little notes like this in AFT, it was because I didn’t want to write it all out but still wanted you to have things to imagine.)
{X} The day of the "Invisible" Friday (Another regrettable cut. It’d be fun, but wouldn’t be much more than the Flandre we’ve already seen plenty of. It’d really just be treading old ground.)
{X} A story about Remilia and Flandre’s parents (This was just a flighty idea anyways. It would have been a silly romantic comedy scene with tons of double-entendres; enjoyable, but it’s not really relevant and would feel out of place with AFT.)
{O} A rendition of EoSD (Sure, why not? It’ll give me a chance to describe a “normal” day in Gensokyo.)
{O} A Cat Tale (Remember back when I was joking about this in >>40502? I wasn’t joking. Takes place during the first visit Flandre ever makes to Koishi’s house; she’ll drag along some of the SDM folks too. Might make this a mini-CYOA, just a handful of votes long.)
{?} An EX Trio Story—Flan, Koishi, and Nue (This would be completely irrelevant to AFT canon if it was even canon at all, but the hijinks potential is almost great enough to trump that. I’m considering it.)

As for Mr./Mrs. Raiker and his/her artist friend, I’ve almost narrowed down my choices to a manageable level. Yes, I’m the slowest decider in the world; my birthday’s a week from today and I still haven’t put a single bloody thing on my birthday list. One day I will stop procrastinating.
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I wasn't talking about "What Fran did during those events" but more like commentary by The Seven Fairy Maids on things, possibly with Flandre or Koakuma adding in flavor.
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I have to say, it's kinda cool that "A Fairy's Tale" ended on thread 9.
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Just finished this today and man what a pleasant ride it was!
All your characterizations were very entertaining, no doubt Flan was a favorite here. I've wondered how did you ever come up with the things she says, maybe your a little nutty yourself?

Been reading on this site since the beginning and I can say it's always the type of stories where we don't go around and chase girls all day that will be remembered the most and actually be completed and not left to rot like so many others.

Also what's up with SDM pumping out all the great stories that actually finishes?

Hope to see more of you, though it's gonna be hard to top something like this.
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It makes perfect sense
Oh, I see. That makes a lot more sense; thanks for clarifying. Now that’s easy; I can just style that like a round-table discussion about the different incidents and pretend it’s a podcast or something. I love podcasts.

And Cirno was nowhere to be found. Would have been if [X] Lake would have won, of course.

Yeah, Flandre’s pretty much my favorite Touhou, I’m not going to lie (she used to be undisputed, but now she and Koishi share the spot~). I tried to be impartial to it and not gravitate towards a Flandre-centric story, but I hadn’t counted on her being so incredibly popular. Not that I’m disappointed; I loved getting the chance to write her that much.

As for her dialog, it wasn’t as horribly tricky as it seems. The hardest part was the planning stages of the story where I had to decide just who she was. Once I decided to go with a less creepy-sadistic Flandre and a more loopy-detached Flandre, everything else just fell into place. My brain thinks a bit too fast for my own good, so I decided that when writing her dialog I would take every mental tangent I thought of on the spot and run with it until the conversation eventually went the way I wanted it to. I wasn’t horribly nutty when I started the story, but I probably am now. When you method-act a crazy character for so long, I guess she rubs off on you a little. I’ll admit I’ve found myself talking like her more than I used to, much to the chagrin of my friends.

In regards to chasing girls, it’s just old ground. The early THP stories were all like that, and those took pages out of the VNs they were loosely based on themselves. I’ve got nothing against skirt-chasing stories in principal, but the site’s over-saturated with them, so even the good ones don’t feel that special anymore if they don’t bring any new plot to the table. I like being original, and sometimes being original and sticking through ‘till the bitter end is all it takes.

>What's up with SDM pumping out all the great stories that actually finishes?
Probably just random chance. HY had a super work ethic and the whole site behind him for SDMLA, and maybe that just inspired other people to pick up where he left off. I really couldn’t say; I never much followed any of /sdm/’s past. All I know is that I felt like the characters worked well together, and I hate leaving things unfinished despite being a horrible procrastinator (See: all my hiatuses).

>Hope to see more of you, though it's gonna be hard to top something like this.
I’m always looking to improve my writing; I hope that in the future I’ll top AFT. But for now I just want to chill and write some random junk. Like MST3K parodies and Portal parodies.

If you and your artist friend is still there, Raiker, I’ve decided to stop being lazy and just pick a few that are cute. These are in no particular order of priority; I’ll be ecstatic if I even get one quick penciled job after procrastinating for so long. Thanks again for offering such an awesome gift!

And if I don’t get anything, I’m sure I’ll live.

{+} A 4Koma of Fran and Koa in the observatory
P1) Fran: “You know, I should really learn these constellations’ names…”
P2) Koa: “Shit, girl, just name ‘em yourself. There’s your constellation Sparkle Pony, over here’s Mr. Umbrella, and that big one up there is called The Motherfucking Moon.”
P3) (Fran looks at Koa skeptically)
P4) Fran: “…I love you too, Koa.”

{+} A 4Koma synopsis of “The Birds and the Bees” talk
P1) (Fran and Patch sitting on the bed in her room) Fran: “Patchy, what’s sex?”
P2) (Remi comes out of nowhere and sticks her head in the doorway) Remi: “DID SOMEONE SAY SEX?!”
P4) (Silent panel; Fran sitting on the couch looking disheveled and utterly confused)

{+} A 4Koma of the meeting between Fran and Thérèse.
P1) (Fran rummaging around the closet) Fran: “Maybe she’s up here…?”
P2) (Thérèse wedged into a shelf) Thér: “I AM A MONSTER!”
P3) (Silent panel; they both stare at each other)
P4) Fran: “Hi.”
Thér: “Sup.”

{+} A picture of the five-fairy band.
-- Thérèse on drums wearing sunglasses and four arms. Make her look however you want.
-- Tullia on piano, looking sage and probably out of place.
-- Monica on upright string bass. The instrument is twice as big as she is because it’s funny and cute.
-- Francesca on acoustic rhythm guitar, trying her hardest.
-- Sunny on electric lead guitar, looking like a natural.
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>{+} A picture of the five-fairy band.

That's probably the one I would love to see the most but I would've included Sakuya too
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Sakuya's not actually in the band itself, though; fairies only, you see. And Sapphire and Wendy wouldn't be caught dead doing "pointless" stuff like playing rock and roll. Five is a solid number for a rock ensemble, anyways.
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>AFT 4komas
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This is very late, but oh well.
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All that's missing is one unamused 'not so little' devil.
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File 128624679513.jpg - (222.64KB, 490x572, YES.jpg)
This… this… ;_;

It’s beautiful. Crisp, clean, pure… Perfect. I rarely find things in life that I might call “perfect”, but this is one of them. A thousand words from me wouldn’t do this picture justice.

Thank you. Thank you, with all that I have, and with all that I can give. AFT was its own reward, and yet it seems I’ve been allowed to receive even more. Never will I forget this gift, and the work you put into it for me.

Hush now, hush. Is a golden sunset over the sea greatly improved by silhouetted robots? Or is a blue forest lake made more lovely with a gaggle of nubile dryads? I say unto you nay.
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Well, unless you didn't actually draw it and just found it somewhere, in which case derp on my part, but the picture's still beautiful and awesome.

There, now I've covered all my bases and can rest soundly knowing that the Internet has been appeased and there will never be any more misunderstandings ever.
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>Well, unless you didn't actually draw it and just found it somewhere,

Yup. I had figured the MD5-hash-for-filename was a giveaway or you might have clicked the IQDB link, but it's from Danbooru.
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File 128633731470.png - (10.54KB, 452x379, DERP.png)

Thanks for the conformation. I have yet to actually USE iqdb for its intended purpose actually. And I completely forgot about the filename givaway. The main reason I thought it was an original is because I've looked on the various 'Boorus before and couldn't find anything like it. Must've slipped past the tags I used or something.

Now I shall run away with my foot firmly in my mouth and my face firmly in my palm, as it should be, probably.
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i was kinda occupied and said drawfag quitted, yet i shall get those 4komas done, drawfag coworker or not.
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less cowbell is more dakka
No worries; I mean, it's not a gift if you feel like you're obligated to give it. Take your time, do what you can, and as long as your heart's in it, it'll be fine.

This is not a disguised bump to put this back on the front page in case anybody actually had any questions to ask me, as if AFT was some kind of convoluted story like SDMLA or ASSM that actually needed said questions answered. Nope. Totally not a bump.

The easiest scenes to write were any scene with Flandre in it, no I had absolutely no idea where this story was going when I started writing it, and my favorite flavor of ice cream is peanut butter cup. There, now we've got the important ones out of the way.
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Flandre kind of just plopped down the SDM in the middle of a lake. I'd love a short story about Remilia's reaction to this.
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What would have happened to Natasha if she managed to live through this?
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Did anyone tell Natasha's family about her death?
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What happened to Natasha's son?
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Also, who is/was the one Fran told her story to?
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Cat got your tongue
Mmm… nah. You’re just in denial because the story’s finished.

>What would have happened to Natasha if she managed to live through this?
Well, since she didn’t, it’s not like I planned out everything about her future, so votes could have changed the below.

Natasha was never really meant to be a major portion of the story; I just realized out of the blue that I still had a vampire hunter locked up, and she could be used to parallel Patchouli’s past. Also I don’t like leaving obvious loose ends if I remember they exist. Most likely she’d have just derped around the mansion like every other character in the story, and maybe gotten another in-depth scene where she’d talk about how her perspective changed on magic, vampires, her life, her son, etcetera. She wouldn’t have gone to Gensokyo; Remilia would have struck a deal with her and let her go back to her son. She’d probably have lived a normal life afterwards, and maybe someone would have asked me to write a short about one of the SDM residents visiting her for old times’ sake.

>>43761 & >>43763
I told myself I wouldn’t answer “What happened after?” questions; sorry, but I’d rather you not ask them in the future. The story DOES have to end sometime, and at that point whatever happens after is all up to your imagination. Did he go look for her? Did he find the vacant plot of land where the mansion used to be? Did he find Gensokyo somehow? Did one of the mansion residents take a trip outside to find him instead? I don’t know any more than you do, and I don’t intend to find out.

>who is/was the one Fran told her story to?
I never had a specific person or persons in mind, actually. If you want the truth, I just pretended she was breaking the fourth wall and talking to anyone staring at their computer screen and reading her text. But that was just something I pretended; that would be silly. OR WOULD IT?! No, that’s just lame.

It doesn’t really matter; I just wanted to write a story as a first person narrative spoken to the reader so I could use the phrase “you know” legitimately.

Wow, these were certainly informative answers!
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Gah! I wasn't paying attention and nearly missed a chance for some Q&A!

I've been wanting to ask: Had we not persisted in the search for 'Kay' and pressured Sakuya into helping, did you have any plan for how her capture should come about/alternative reasons to search Nagano?

I'm sure I had others, but Friday evening at work = braindead.
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Just by the way, that is an awesome Ran pic.
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File 12873684644.jpg - (264.71KB, 600x900, Im gonna grow up to be just like Mom!.jpg)
Im gonna grow up to be just like Mom!
>Had we not persisted in the search for 'Kay' and pressured Sakuya into helping, blah blah blah…?
Oh man, this. This might very well have been the voter’s most influential moment on the plot. You see, I had not planned on you asking Sakuya for help at all. I was 99% sure that you’d just opt to hang around with Flandre and Koishi and Monica, because everyone loved Flandre and combined with Koishi and Monica I wouldn’t think you’d be able to resist the hijinks. Shows what I know.

The original plan was to have Koishi just hang around for a few days, meddling in miscellaneous ways while dropping Flandre innocuous hints about where she lived (Flandre probably would have given her “I will kill you” ultimatum by that point), in ways that would have made absolutely no sense to Francesca. Koishi did want Flandre to find Gensokyo in the end, but she wasn’t going to be very helpful about it, because she’s heartless like that. Eventually Flandre would have puzzled it out, and then she would have run to Remilia and begged her to move instead of Sakuya. I’d never intended on allowing Koishi to be caught, and the idea of Sakuya stopping time to catch her hadn’t even entered my mind until you’d voted for it. Big ups for write-ins; I told you they were a good idea!

There was also a really old plan of Kokauma having been summoned to Gensokyo once, and one way or another she’d tell Patchouli where it was. But this was before I had committed to having Koishi appear in the story; I hadn’t decided one way or another about her insertion until >>36567, which is why Flandre didn’t start putting random “kay” in her dialog until then.

At no point did I ever even consider someone like Yukari just pulling the mansion in by herself.

Thank you; I try.
I was Anonymous Contributor back on this thread >>/th/117707 by the way; I try to make the world a brighter place.
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>Eventually Flandre would have puzzled it out, and then she would have run to Remilia and begged her to move instead of Sakuya

This sounds more awesome than what happened. A direct confrontation between the sisters would have been awesome. But then again, the scenes we've got are already awesome, so...
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I think Sakuya going against her mistress in the most selfless way possible is good enough.

And we got Flandre's downright epic "I know where you live" moment too. That whole scene in the cave was full of win.
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I know you bumped the thread. I can smell it.
You can't delete your shame.
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It was a spambot.
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