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File 131088263753.png - (517.65KB, 1417x883, interviewwithanampedflyer.png) [iqdb]
45724 No. 45724
>[x] Now? Right now?

I squirm a bit in my seat. "...All right." She practically chirps as she produces a small notebook with a flourish.

"Just relax," she hums. "Never been interviewed before?"

"Never even seen a tengu before, but I'll wing it." Oof. Pun not intended. This isn't off to a good start. Still, she smiles and lifts the pen as she starts.

"Can you tell me your name, please?"

"My name's Kazuki. Kazuki the Applepicker." Scribble, scribble scribble.

"There's probably a story to that," she notes as she pens.

"A long one." Fortunately, she moves on.

"And how old are you?"

"Hm. Most fairies don't really keep track...I'd say about ffffour..."


"Little higher."


"No, no. Four hundred and a bit. Give or take."

There's a moment of silence. Aya stares blanky for a good five seconds before finally speaking up. "...Can I hear that again, please?"

"He's not lying," Meiling interjects. "That's about when I first met him. He's probably even older, from before he was old enough to remember."

Aya blinks, and scratches out a line before quickly replacing it. "I, uh. I see." Is it wrong that I feel a smirk creeping up on me? "So tell me a little about yourself."

Put me on the spot, why don't you. "Uh, let me think. I'm three feet, six inches tall--about bog-standard for a fairy. I live by the lake. I like to fly and read--"

"Ooh!" She interjects. "You're literate?"

"...Yeah. I can read."

"Sorry, sorry, it's just pretty uncommon." Outside humans and tengu, you mean? Before I can work up a good indignation, she's moved on. "You said you live on the lake? Where were you born?"

"Right here. Well, somewhere near the lake. I don't really remember much."

"Oh, really? Did your parents move around a lot when you were young?"

"Uh... miss Aya, no offense, but how much do you know about fairies?"

"Not much," she admits, a mild look of concern crossing her face for an instant. "I've only seen the ones up in the mountains. Why?"

"Okay, well. " I rub the back of my head. "We're nature spirits, you know that--but what that means is there's first-generation fairies."


"Meaning I'm just a nature spirit. I have no parents." There's another moment of silence as Aya processes this. I feel a bit sheepish. "I mean, there are fairies who have kids, but..."

"...That is so sad!" And out of nowhere, there's a flurry of black wings and she's pulling me into a hug. After a moment of confusion I sort of... reach up and pat her arm. She's warm and comforting, her shirt smelling of pressed linen with a hint of the feathers from her wings. After a moment, she breaks the hug, a bit embarrassed by her outburst.

"Well, uh. You can't miss what you don't know, right?" I offer, more asking than telling. I've never really felt this awkward about it before.

"On that note," she says, slowly picking up the professional demeanor she had carefully cultivated (and then promptly defenestrated), "is there anyone special to you? You know..."

"Nnnnot like that, if that's what you're asking." Now it's my turn to feel a bit embarrassed. Man, I hope she didn't see Dai...

"Really? You don't have eyes on anyone?" It's all I can do to avoid a wary glance at Meiling, who, thankfully, says nothing.

"Uh... no. Bachelor fairy, through and through. Maybe someday, but..."

She laughs a bit. "Okay, okay, I won't pry." More than you have. At least she's nice. "So you live on the lake?"

"My whole life." My whole, four-hundred year life. Hee hee.

"Tell me about it."

"Well, it's lovely. It's cool and calm and really pretty on a foggy morning. It doesn't get too hot in the summer, and I like the cold. Really, ask any fairy who lives there, it's a beautiful place to live." I'm not just saying that, either. I sometimes forget how much I like home.

"I can tell you care about it." Abruptly, with a sharp movement she flips her pad up to a new page and levels her pen like a sword, looking at me intensely. "Okay, Mister Applepicker, time to get serious. Fairies are nature spirits, of course. What's your special power, do you know?"

"I only found out a few months ago--Change."

She looks intrigued. "That's pretty broad, isn't it?"

"I guess so. I'm still learning the ins and outs. I don't know how far I'll be able to go with it, but... well, the sky's the limit, maybe."

"That about covers the options, yes," she replies smoothly, jotting it down in her pad. She glances up at me from her book, a steely expression in her eyes. "Were you involved in the Scarlet Mist incident?"

...No sense lying about it. "Yeah. Yeah, I was." Almost hungrily, she presses on.

"What's your relationship with the vampire? Can I see your neck?" Almost theatrically (I think) she cranes over, peering up and down for puncture wounds.

"Remi is a friend."

Eagerly, she continues, almost nose-to-nose with me. "Really? You've been seen going to and from the premises with great frequency!"

"Because I live there," I reply. She apparently didn't expect that, because she sits back in her chair, blinking.

"Really? Well, it is on the lake... I actually thought you were a butler there or something." And right back to that enthusiastic grin. "You know, working alongside all those pretty maids?"

I have to laugh a bit at that. "No, no. Remilia gave me a room." Which, I realize a second too late, begs the question...

"I see...and why did she give you a room?" I think she can tell I don't want to answer this, because she doesn't get pushy. But she says nothing, waiting for a response.

"Look...I can tell you, but it's not my place to explain the particulars."

"I understand. Off the record, then. I won't tell a soul, or even write it down." I look at Meiling, unsure. She nods. All right, then, if Meiling says go ahead...

"Remilia has a sister. She's... not well."

"What happened?"

"... She murdered me." I was wrong. Those weren't awkward silences. This is an awkward silence. Finally, I speak up again. "I know you wanted to ask about the wings. I would too. Flandre... took them off. After I reincarnated, Remi gave me a place to stay there if I wanted. She's done everything she can for me, and she protects her sister for a reason. I'm serious, please don't spread this around."

"You have my word," Aya says. She looks like she means it. We sit there quietly for a moment, before Aya ventures to break the mood. "...Did you really yell at the shrine maiden?"

"Heh. Yeah, yeah I did. I know she was doing her job and all. She said she was sorry." I almost want to mention the notarized apology, but it's back in my room framed up.

"Really? Fascinating, fascinating. Then, is it true you hate danmaku?"


"Well, don't you think it's--"


"I mean, everyone--"


"But it's practically--"


"...I see." Damn straight. "You are most definitely a character. All right, just one last question. What do you think about this strange weather?"

"Well, I mentioned my power. One big thing is that I can feel the potential for it. And...well, the air just feels stuffy and wrong. Like nothing's moving. Like..."

"Like nothing's changing," she finishes, scribbling frantically. "So you think something's amiss?"

"I know it. Winter isn't leaving. The season isn't turning." Meiling looks surprised. I guess I would be, too.

"Well, thank you. That's certainly a scoop I didn't expect. Oh, one more thing--Is there anything you'd like to add?"

"...Yeah. You have nice wings."

"Oh my," she says with a demure look. It doesn't work for a second, I can tell she's positively puffing.

"That's not what I mean. What I'm getting at is--take care of your wings. You'll miss them when they're gone."

"Oh." She mutters, looking crestfallen. And for a moment, I feel like she's going to hug me again, before she flips her book shut with one last note. "Well thank you very much for the interview, that should be everything. Though, I did want to ask..." She sits up. "Talking with you made it clear that there's a lot I don't know about fairies. I mean, I thought mountain ones were kind of typical."

"It depends on where we're born--nature spirits, and all. We're tied to the land."

"See what I mean? A lot. And, well, no one likes to be ignorant. Especially if I'm going to publish this, I want to do some research. And what I'm getting at is, well... would you tell me more about fairies? We could take a quick flight around the lake, and..."

"...And I don't think that's a good idea. Flying the lake."


"Look, I can tell by the size and shape of your wings, it looks like you're built for speed."

She visibly swells with pride again. "None faster in Gensokyo."

"I wasn't done. Given how narrow they are, they're not really very maneuverable, are they?" And she practically wilts. Nail on the head. "My point is, I probably wouldn't be able to keep pace with you very easily, and you wouldn't be able to comfortably slow down for me." I tap my goggles. She looks impressed. Once she finishes deflating, that is.

"You know your flying, Kazuki."

"I told you I liked it," I say, resisting my own urge to let it go to my head.

"But why does that matter?"

"Okay, Aya. Lesson one about fairy culture--flying is everything." I've definitely piqued her interest, given the look on her face. Thus encouraged, I continue. "Flying ahead of someone is often a sign of trust--since in a dogfight, they'd be in prime position to gun you down. It's like body language--how you fly, especially around others, is huge."

"Wow. Okay, I definitely need to learn more." Aya looks resolute.

[ ] Okay, here's a primer on fairy culture. (INFODUMP)
[ ] ...Save it for another time, I've done enough talking for one afternoon.
[ ] Write-in

Oh, and if you want to specify precisely what to do, whether you do or don't want to give Aya the highlights of fairy life, go ahead.

Last of all, big thanks to Stove for the friggin' hilarious drawing. Go give his stuff a look, over in /eientei/.
204posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 53993
[x] Why go looking? I've got one right here.

They get along really well.
>> No. 53995
[x] Why go looking? I've got one right here.

Who knew a dragon's heart could be so warm?
>> No. 53997


[x] Why go looking? I've got one right here.
>> No. 54372
File 134541101480.jpg - (114.64KB, 849x708, Undefeated of the Teast.jpg) [iqdb]
>[x] Why go looking? I've got one right here.

I settle in beside Meiling, smiling a little bit despite myself. "You're right," I say. "You're absolutely right. I should make time for my friends. I'm going to get started right now."

There's a long pause. Meiling leans over to look at me as I give a contented sigh. "...So?"

"So what?"

After a moment, she gives an exasperated, but friendly, huff. "I see." We sit there a little while longer, as I fold my arms behind my head. "This wasn't what I meant, you know."


Finally, she turns to me. "Would you like a cup of tea?"


The inside of Meiling's little cabin is snug, but inviting. It's more of a shack, but that suggests it's dilapidated or run down. Instead, it's warm, and cozy, and well-kept. I sometimes wonder whether Meiling uses it at all.

"Won't you be missed at the gate?" I ask.

"I'm not married to it," she replies, amused. "My job covers the whole of the grounds. And besides," she adds, pulling a fragrant smelling box out of a cabinet, "if anyone got close, I would know."

I resist the urge to brush my hand along the wall, seeing as it's covered in dozens and dozens of weapons. All sorts of makes, all sorts of origins. An empty spot between a pair of sai and what looks like a battered bronze shield catches my eye. Just from the size of the vacancy, I can tell that the jian Meiling gave me used to rest there. I wonder if I could find her something to replace it with.

"I'm not quite as good at making tea as Sakuya," Meiling says almost sheepishly. "I just like to keep my own stock."

"Free tea is free tea," I reply with a shrug. She shoots me another of her wry smiles.

"Who said this tea was going to be free?" she asks, emphasizing the rhyme.

"Me," I reply, going along with it.

"I see. You?"

"Who? I."

She fishes out the kettle. "Why? It's a small fine."

"Don't whine. I'm broke."

"You can afford to smoke. You're fibbing."

"Okay, relax. Just a little friendly ribbing. How much?"

"Just a touch." She tosses me a chipped ceramic cup. "Sixty-five."

"Man alive! Sixty-five? What is this?"

"Iron Goddess," she says with the smirk of the victor. Did she set me up for that? "Tieguanyin."

"Oh, lose that grin. Oolong?"

"You're not wrong." Meiling sets her squat little kettle on her stove. "Nearly done."

"Okay, that's enough of that."

"I win," she says cheerfully.

"It's not a competition, you know." She puts a hand on her hip, looking back at me.

"Everything is a competition, Kazuki. Life is battle."

"Not 'strife?'"

"Not this time, though that too. But I wasn't kidding, you know." Her look turns more serious. "Everything is one form of combat or another, even the friendly ones. Sometimes especially so."

"I'll pass on the warfare, thanks," I reply, flipping the teacup in my hands.

"I just don't get you, Kazuki. There's nothing wrong with fighting."

"Not by itself, no," I admit. Looking her over, it occurs to me that, friend or not, I don't know too much about Meiling. She's cheerful, almost bouncy, enthusiastic and yet calm, all at once, all the time. The kettle begins to patter as it heats.

[ ] You don't get me? I don't get you. So violent!
[ ] ...A dragon? Really?
[ ] Hey, Meiling, will you tell me more about your injuries?
[ ] You know, for someone so martial you kind of suck at danmaku...
[ ] Other?
[ ] Write-in (do this! You wanted Meiling, you got her! Though I'll probably eventually get to all of this anyway...)
>> No. 54373
[x] You know, for someone so martial you kind of suck at danmaku...

I prefer to think of it as more simple/asthetic than terrible. Remilia certainly doesn't have much artfulness in her danmaku yet no one makes a fuss about it.
>> No. 54374
[x] ...A dragon? Really?
[x] You know, for someone so martial you kind of suck at danmaku...

If multiple options are dis-allowed, please use the second one as my vote.
>> No. 54379
[x] You know, for someone so martial you kind of suck at danmaku...
>> No. 54381
[x] You know, for someone so martial you kind of suck at danmaku...

And then we get danmaku'd in the face.
>> No. 54382
[x] You know, for someone so martial you kind of suck at danmaku...

>> No. 54416
[X] ...A dragon? Really?
[X] You know, for someone so martial you kind of suck at danmaku...

Dragon danmaku.
>> No. 54869
[X] ...A dragon? Really?
[X] You know, for someone so martial you kind of suck at danmaku...

We must learn more of the Meiling... as well as get more training
>> No. 54870
Sorry for the disappointing bump, guys
>> No. 54875
>> No. 54885

Actually soon? Or we talkin' Duke Nukem Forever soon™?
>> No. 54890
>> No. 54891

As long as it isn't Half Life 3 Soon™.
>> No. 55151
File 136263102713.jpg - (455.24KB, 1000x1341, shake shake.jpg) [iqdb]
All right, I won't lie, I only cut off where I did because I wanted to try to get back into the swing of things without going much further. I didn't want to force or shoehorn any of the additional stuff that could come up.

As for me, what can I say? I gotta stop leaving this lie so long. It's just that every time new problems just keep happening.

Anyway. Have a gate guard.

>[x] ...A dragon? Really?
>[x] You know, for someone so martial you kind of suck at danmaku...

"One thing I don't understand," I say, "is that...well, you're so... militant?"

She grimaces. "Well, thanks."

"Martial?" I offer.

"Better. Somewhat. But...?"

"But, you..." I trail off, waving vaguely. She leans over, curious. "...and danmaku don't...really...get along," I manage. She frowns hugely, making me wince. I didn't mean it like that!

"No, no, it's a fair question." Meiling leans back and sighs. "I'm a very... personal fighter, Kazuki."

"I've seen you clean house," I agree.

"Even back home, bows and shot and what have you--I never really agreed with them. Admired them, respected them, certainly--only a fool would ignore what they can do. But they were never for me."

"And danmaku...?"

"I use what I need in order to get by, nothing more. Just enough to get in close, and then...well, you know." She smiles, just as the kettle begins to sing. She beckons for my teacup, and I pass it over as she continues. "But it's not as though I've just been resting on my laurels, you know. I watch. I record. I study. And I teach."


"Next to Miss Patchouli, I'm told I have some of the most technically proficient patterns around," Meiling says, ignoring the steam as she pours. "Of course, that doesn't mean much by itself, but it helps teach the foundations. I think danmaku is just another form of warfare. Just more..."

"Polite?" If I'm not careful with these one-word responses, this is going to turn into another word game.

"That works. It can be taught and learned like anything else. Can you keep a secret?" I just stare at her for a while, until she giggles and relents. "I thought so. Come here."

Interested, I follow her to a small table. It's not quite messy, but it's certainly full--those small comic books she and Remi talk about sometimes, the small stack of Chinese newspapers (she collects the odd ones that find their way here), and a small inkwell next to a few well-worn brushes. She shuffles the newspapers around and finally presents a small journal, written longform in her careful, precise script. Almost nervously, she passes it to me.

"The War of Art," I read, gently thumbing through the pages. "Is this ... a danmaku field manual?"

"Something like that," she nods, rubbing her neck. The pages contain accounts of typical patterns, the movements and attacks, tricks for avoiding the eyecatching mazes... some of the pages have a dusting of soot or smell faintly of ash. I think...does she record things as soon as her fights are done?

"Still a work in progress," she mumbles, reddening a little bit to go with her hair. I guess even someone as self-confident as her can be self-conscious, too. She takes it back, carefully re-burying it under her newspaper collection. And then, after a moment's pause, she puts her manga back over the top. She looks back at me with a sheepish grin. Dragon or not, she can be pretty adorable.

...Which reminds me. I just have to ask. "...You had a tail? Seriously?"

Her confidence returns as she straightens up, looking at me over one shoulder. With a wry smile, she gives a little swing of the hips. "Can't you tell?"

That...is a different thing all together.

[ ] So what exactly do you teach?
[ ] Meiling, tell me more about your injuries.
[ ] ...Okay, I have to know. I want to hear more about Flandre.
[ ] Write-in
>> No. 55152
[x] So what exactly do you teach?

I'm curious as this is quite the opposite of "butt monkey Meiling sucking at Danmaku"
>> No. 55155
File 136263554353.jpg - (319.10KB, 700x979, Meiling.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] So what exactly do you teach?
[x] Meiling, tell me more about your injuries.
Gee billy why do you get to pick two options?
Because the fact guns don't click with her saddens me.
>> No. 55180
[ ] No, no I can't. Try doing that again. Slower.
[ ] So what exactly do you teach?

I wonder if Kosuzu's going to be interested in this book. Or maybe I'm badly remembering Forbidden Scrollery.
>> No. 55187
[x] So what exactly do you teach?
[x] Meiling, tell me more about your injuries.
>> No. 55191
[X] So what exactly do you teach?

Update surprised me and glad to see it happen; that said I'm curious.
>> No. 55203
[x] So what exactly do you teach?
[x] Meiling, tell me more about your injuries.

I'm not clever enough to think of a write-in.
>> No. 55205
I like the cut of your jib. A slight alteration though

[X] *smirk* Maybe if you did that a little slower...
[X] But in all seriousness, what exactly do you teach?

I want to give the impression of a joke that could be taken further if she wants, not just "I am hitting on you now". Subtle. But yes, we must show that we are indeed interested in a closer look
>> No. 55357
[X] *smirk* Maybe if you did that a little slower...
[X] But in all seriousness, what exactly do you teach?
>> No. 56062
[X] *smirk* Maybe if you did that a little slower...
[X] But in all seriousness, what exactly do you teach?
>> No. 56520
File 136616896789.jpg - (162.08KB, 523x519, Meiling is displeased with the new 40mm grenade la.jpg) [iqdb]
Since there were a decent number of votes for "more about your injuries," you get that, too. I AM INFODUMP

>[x] So what exactly do you teach?
>[x] Meiling, tell me more about your injuries.
>[x] *smirk* Maybe if you did that a little slower...

Despite the color rising in my cheeks, I have to grin at that display. "I dunno. Maybe if you did that again, a little slower this time?"

She laughs. "Have you finished your tea?"

"Not yet, no," I reply.

"Too bad, I could have made a show of bending over the kettle."

I make my own show of hastily mock-gulping down the last of my cup, making both of us break out in giggles. "Okay, that's enough of that."

"For now," Meiling replies with a Cheshire cat smirk.

"For now. Do you mind telling me more about these injuries?"

"Not at all. They are what they are." She pauses for a moment, smile vanishing as she starts to think. "What do you want to know?"

"Well, you're a youkai, aren't you? Don't you heal extremely fast?"

"Yes and no," she replies. "My wounds mend very quickly, but there's..." She halts again. "...I'm not really sure how to explain it. Or if I want to."

I nod understandingly. It took a while for me to explain my leg to her. "Whatever you're comfortable with, Meiling."

"Well... for now, suffice to say there's something slowing down my recuperation. And..."

"Flandre?" I venture.

"Flandre." She looks down intently. "When she broke loose, and I brought her back, she--overreacted."

Enough said, that. "How bad was it?"

Meiling sighs. "Bad. I was missing an arm and most of my torso. Hundreds of years of damage, just from lashing out once."

Once. That girl hit her once, and... I shudder a little, despite myself, remembering that low, deadly "come here/"

"But!" Meiling adds, cutting off the gloom before it can take root, "I came home, alive, successful, with Flan sleeping on the arm I had left. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat."

"You really love her, don't you?" I ask, trying not to sound incredulous. I think I succeeded.

"I cherish her, Kazuki. And besides--it's not as if she did anything permanent. I'm getting better. I can feel it, little by little, every day, just like I have for five hundred years." Well, that's optimistic, at least.

I have to smile. "You do know how to play the long game, don't you?"

"You could say I'm strategic, yes," she agrees. "It comes with being a dragon."

"How so?"

"I'm a very, very patient woman," she says, voice strong, awash with confidence. "I know what I want, Kazuki." And after a moment, she turns those incredibly blue eyes my way. "And I always get what I want."

I find myself swallowing hard as my heartbeat picks up, taken aback by that burst of... startling confidence. I actually feel a little taken aback, quickly fumbling for another conversation topic. "So what were you saying about teaching?"

Abruptly, that intense, striking presence vanishes, replaced by the cheerful, kindly gate guard I've always known. "Oh! That's right. Actually--It'd be easier to show you than tell you." Abruptly, she stands up. "Come on."

Meiling takes me to a small courtyard around the back of the mansion, clear of anything more ornate than well-kept hedges. Unlike the ostentatious statuary and decoration of most of the grounds, this is a plain box of grass. The most noticeable thing in this place--

"Miss Meiliiiiiiiiiing!"

--Is a perky fairy girl, wearing an oversized peacoat and beret, a small bugle banging against her hip. She beams up at Meiling, her equally-loud hair done up in dangling maroon curls.

"Good morning, Reveille," Meiling says warmly, patting her on the head. "How's the training going?"

Reveille snaps to attention, clocking herself in the head as she salutes in response to... hair tousling. Okay. "Ma'am! Basement Brigade training continues apace!"

"Wait, Basement Brigade?" I ask. The strange fairy turns and regards me for the first time, her wingtips twitching behind her. Abruptly, the twitching redoubles and her bright eyes go as wide as saucers.

"I-it's you! Mister the Applepicker! ...Just Applepicker? Master Kazuki? Lord of the Scarlet Dev--"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on," I say, raising my hands. "Just Kazuki is okay."

"Of course, Master Just Kazu--I mean, Kazuki." She grins, bobbing on her heels. "I'm Reveille, current head instructor for the Basement Brigade under Miss Meiling!"

"So what is this brigade?" I ask, still faintly bewildered by what seems to be an animated bowl of sugar with wings and a military jacket.

"Sakuya and I co-train them," Meiling explains, unsuccessfully hiding her amusement at my face, "When the staff have duties in the basement, where they could come in contact with Flandre."

"We've all been talking about you," Reveille goes on, still sparkling at me. "And how you bravely saved that miscreant witch invader! Oh, that reminds me!"

"...Miscreant witch invader?" I mumble.

"No, no, no, hold on, I have it here..." she fishes around within her voluminous coat, dumping an implausible number of things from tongs to cutlery to what appears to be a length of antler out onto the courtyard grass, until finally she gives a triumphant 'a-HA!' and produces a small pin, handing it to me with a flourish.

Turning it over in my hands, it's made of sterling (if slightly smudged) metal, embossed with a knife and star over a stylized English letter B. Reveille goes on as I inspect it closely. "It's my pleasure to inform you that you have been made an honorary member of the Basement Brigade, for your courage and sacrifice in honorable combat with the little sister."

"I...that's...thank you?" I offer.

"The honor is all mine," she says, saluting again, shortly before fumbling for her beret as it slides off her head. She goes on regardless. "So, what brings you here?"

"I wanted to show him what I teach," Meiling explains patiently.

"Ah! Miss Meiling handles the close-quarters combat drilling!" Heh. Drilling. "And of course, negotiation and aggression control."

"What, really?" I ask. The chipper little thing nods enthusiastically.

"Yessir! We can't properly stand and fight the little sister, nor are we expected to."

"I teach them open-hand styles and conflict avoidance," Meiling adds. "Most of safely contending with Flandre is not agitating her. Open hands are more plaintive gestures, whereas a closed fist presents hostile body language."

"Miss Sakuya instructs us in danmaku and ranged defense," Reveille chirps. "Meiling is more up-close and personal. She also helps with injuries and first aid when the girls get rough."

"I...I see."

"She even does therapy with Miss Patchouli!"

If I'd had anything in my mouth, I would have done a spittake. "Really? That old ba--err, shrew?"

"She's not so bad, Kazuki. I think she actually likes you."

"I don't. So what does 'therapy' entail?"

"Her physical health is poor. I help her as a consultant and give her a small exercise regimen. She's awful about keeping up with it, though. Though that reminds me, Kazuki..." I turn and look at her as Reveille starts recollecting the things she dumped out of her coat. "I've heard you're doing some magic training?"

"Yeah," I admit, "With Marisa--err, that miscreant witch invader. Abjuration and enchantment, mostly."

"Enchantment?" Meiling leans in, interested. "Can you do some body reinforcement?"

"Uh, some, yeah. I'm still pretty new."

"That's a good match for you, Kazuki, with your size and strength. Make sure you incorporate what I've taught you."

"How do you mean?"

"I mean redirection and body posture," she says, abruptly seizing one of my arms to demonstrate. "Deflecting a blow rather than blocking it head on. Leverage that strength to work with, not against, nature. It'll go further. And what's this?" My eyes widen as she pulls me closer, drawing the silver blade Sakuya gave me from where I stowed it. "She gave you her knife?"

"One of them, yeah."

"She only has one knife, Kazuki," she says, gently turning the weapon as she examines it. Wait, what?


"Awesome?" offers Reveille.

"Terrifying. A-and she gave it to me?"

"You should take good care of this--and she must have asked you to train with it, yes?" Meiling (finally) lets go of me and slips the knife back where she found it.

I rub my wrist reflexively. "She did. How did you even notice?"

"Awareness!" exclaims the fairy. "Miss Meiling teaches us that, too."

"Awareness. Yeah." Just...give me a minute to get my heart beating again.

"Actually, Kazuki, one more thing." I freeze up a bit as Meiling speaks again. "Before you set out, be sure to come and see me. I want to give you something too."

"I, uh, I will." She looks at me and frowns, expression concerned.

"Are you all right?"

"Yeah! Yeah, I'm good, you just--surprised me." It's easy to forget that Meiling is six feet of lean muscle and unnatural strength.

"No I didn't," she says. "I terrified you. I can smell the adrenaline."

"That... really isn't helping any, Meiling," I manage thickly, wiping the sudden burst of sweat from my brow. Fortunately Reveille seems to have noticed the change in atmosphere and given the two of us some space.

"Kazuki..." she says hesitantly, looking almost stung. I wince again at that. "Do you... trust me?"

[ ] Of course. Do you really need to ask?
[ ] Yeah, it's just that...
[ ] ...
[ ] Write-in

In addition:
[ ] I should go.
[ ] New topic: What's this about Sakuya and her knife?
[ ] So you have a bunch of maids out here training?
[ ] You want me to try to combine my magic and melee?
[ ] Write-in
>> No. 56521
[x] Yeah, it's just that...
I'm as curious as Meiling what this is all about.
>> No. 56522
[x] "Trust? Yes."
[x] "Respect? Yes."
[x] "Terrified of? Apparently also yes."
[x] "Just give me a bit. I think I pulled a worldview muscle."

[x] You want me to try to combine my magic and melee?

Magical Kung Fu Kazuki would be pretty bitchin'.
>> No. 56530
[x] Of course. Do you really need to ask?
[x] You want me to try to combine my magic and melee?

>"I know what I want, Kazuki." And after a moment, she turns those incredibly blue eyes my way. "And I always get what I want."

DAMN. Just DAMN. A Meiling that could possibly be coming on to Kazuki very strongly? I'm cool with this.
>> No. 56531
[x] Of course. Do you really need to ask?
[x] You want me to try to combine my magic and melee?
>> No. 56532
[X] Yeah, it's just that...

[X] You want me to try to combine my magic and melee?

If you really trust her, you'd tell her what's wrong.
>> No. 56541
Woo! Update
[X] "Trust? Yes."
[X] "Respect? Yes."
[X] "Terrified of? Apparently also yes."
[X] "Just give me a bit. I think I pulled a worldview muscle."
[X] You want me to try to combine my magic and melee?

I think we're fully figuring out what we are getting into

>"I know what I want, Kazuki." And after a moment, she turns those incredibly blue eyes my way. "And I always get what I want."
>My eyes widen as she pulls me closer...
>It's easy to forget that Meiling is six feet of lean muscle and unnatural strength.

I believe we are starting to understand Meiling's strength, both physical (which we sorta new) and her presence(?)(not sure if it's the correct word, but I hope you understand my meaning).
Combine our well deserved fear of the extremely strong (leg + wings) with something drawing us towards that strength (Meiling herself), and it's no wonder we're starting to freak out now.

We're going to have to get over this soon. Meiling will not take no for an answer, even if I wanted her to (which I don't). We most likely need to talk to her about the strength shock now/soon, but we need to wait for the right time for anything else.
>> No. 56551
[x] "Trust? Yes."
[x] "Respect? Yes."
[x] "Terrified of? Apparently also yes."
[x] "Just give me a bit. I think I pulled a worldview muscle."

[x] New topic: What's this about Sakuya and her knife?

I need to know more about this knife and Sakuya.
>> No. 56556
[X] Of course. Do you really need to ask?
[x] You want me to try to combine my magic and melee?
>> No. 56557
[X] ...
[X] I should go.

I can't possibly be the only one who wants it to happen like this.
>> No. 56558
[x] "Trust? Yes."
[x] "Respect? Yes."
[x] "Attracted to yes
[x] "Terrified of? Apparently also yes."
[x] "Just give me a bit. I think I pulled a worldview muscle."
>> No. 56586
File 136637656489.jpg - (17.25KB, 102x178, meilingcry.jpg) [iqdb]
>> No. 56591

Alright then, I'm gonna give you some support.

[X] ...
[X] I should go.
>> No. 56606
[x] "Trust? Yes."
[x] "Respect? Yes."
[x] "Terrified of? Apparently also yes."
[x] "Just give me a bit. I think I pulled a worldview muscle."
>> No. 56611
[x] "Trust? Yes."
[x] "Respect? Yes."
[x] "Attracted to yes
[x] "Terrified of? Apparently also yes."
[x] "Just give me a bit. I think I pulled a worldview muscle."
>> No. 56612
[X] ...
[X] I should go.

Hell yeah, Commander Kazuki
Wait, does that mean Aya's in for a right hook one of these days?
>> No. 56613
[x] "Trust? Yes."
[x] "Respect? Yes."
[x] "Terrified of? Apparently also yes."
[x] "Just give me a bit. I think I pulled a worldview muscle."
>> No. 56629
[x] "Trust? Yes."
[x] "Respect? Yes."
[x] "Attracted to yes"
[x] "Terrified of? Apparently also yes."
[x] "Just give me a bit. I think I pulled a worldview muscle."

>> No. 56651
[X] "Trust? Yes."
-[x] "Respect? Yes."
--[X] "Attracted to? yes"
---[x] "Terrified of? Apparently also yes."
----[X] "Just give me a bit. I think I pulled a worldview muscle."

Works for me~!
>> No. 56653
Banned for double-voting in 5 different stories, this time for his own version of the write-in.

Sadly, he was also the genius who posted >>51255. His fascinating insights will be surely be missed.
>> No. 56655
>> No. 56684
I'm the poster of that vote, and this is my favorite post in the story.
>> No. 57033
[x] I should probably be going, honestly.
-- [x] I was thinking of seeing Stalkuya about those clothes.

mo' saku mo' betta
>> No. 57035
[x] I... all right, fine, as long as Reveille doesn't get her sparkles on me.

Maybe Kazuki might learn something from them. That and can't bring myself to turn down Meiling.
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