It has now been almost a year since I've been able to write anything. Flea, shorts, SotUY again, or my own projects; I've not been able to write more than a few words of any of them. At least once a week since my last update, I've sat down and opened Word and tried to continue the story. I'd then spend half an hour glancing at the page, writing a few words, then deleting them, and closing Word out of frustration. I've rewritten the current update dozens of times by now, but I still can't even get any more than halfway through it.
That brings me here. There's enough stories that haven't finished, and left people wondering what the author's plans were, and where the story was going. I don't want people to never know that about Flea.
So, now I'm asking you to vote once again, my patient readers. The one thing I can still do for you is to give you a rundown of the rest of the plot, the backstories and motivations of the characters, the endings, and answer whatever other questions are left.
I must say that I'm rather disappointed by the recent "give up" tendency. And I'm also very annoyed by the fact that I can't do anything against it. I can't write your stories for you, but if I could, I would. I discovered this website with ASSM. For a while, I stayed in /sdm/, just lurking. And A Flea in the Dog House is one of the first stories I read here.
I probably can't help you, but if you decide to write again one day, I'll be here. Good luck with the picture, by the way.
Giving closure will utterly ensure that there will never be an update. Even if it's a damn near closed deal already, I'd still rather hold onto the vague belief that there will be one sometime in the far future.
>>46320 You really think he's going to update, after admitting he was unable to finish? I respect your choice, but I think it's better to end this, rather than going in a "not-abandonned-but-not-in-hiatus-either", like THAT OTHER STORY. But that's just my opinion, and opinions are like lemons.
The only thing worse than being left with an unfinished story is being left with an unfinished story and no answers because the writer doesn't want to give away plot details for the sake of some hypothetical future story they will never actually write.
From where we got to we were slightly under two thirds through the story. Hayate accepted the gun, and the disturbance (Marisa) was thrown out of the mansion by Sakuya. They spent the next several hours cleaning up the mess made by it. By this time, people were gathering in front of the mansion, having heard about Hayate, and considering Remilia to have broken the vampire's contract. (This is the contract detailed in PMiSS. The contract was important, and this is where it would have started playing a big role.) (This would have gone to vote, but I was expecting anon to vote as follows.) Hayate decides to meet them himself, to try and talk them down and explain that it was his own choice. As this is late in the day, Patchouli used her magic to shield him, and he could barely see anything. Even so, the sun was greatly weakening him. Between being weak and unable to see, Hayate struggled in talking the crowd down, and the humans there became more agitated. Some people would begin throwing rocks towards the mansion, and after one hits Hayate, he feels a sudden urge to attack the humans instead. Given past choices, he'd suppress it without a vote, and collapses. At the same time Reimu finally shows up, and tells the people to go home. They'd grudgingly listen to her. (Hayate's co-worker from the restaurant would have had a short cameo in the mob.)
After Hayate is brought inside, Reimu chews him out, and explains the contract to him before she leaves. In the story, Remilia is the vampire mentioned in the contract, and the contract would prevent Remilia from harming or turning any humans in Gensokyo, but since Hayate gave her permission, she was able to turn him. Danmaku is excluded from the contract, so Remilia is only allowed to fight with using it. After this, things are quiet for a while.
At the next meal, Cirno would bring up the sex thing (earning dirty looks from Sakuya), but Flandre would then ask what it is. Remilia would tell her what it actually is, and Cirno, on finding out, would have thought it gross, putting an end to all of that. Cirno would always be like a very little sister to Hayate, nothing sexual. The same goes for Flandre.
The next few days would be more of travelling around the mansion without many events. Just building up rapport with the characters. Throughout this time, Hayate would be getting many sudden impulses to do things (often unimportant), and would sometimes give in to them, and sometimes not. At some point Eirin would have shown up again to talk to Hayate about his blood. Sakuya would have Hayate work more through this time, and Sakuya would frequently become weak and need to rest. You notice she's developing wrinkles. When meeting with Remilia during this period, she'd let on that she's bitter about losing to Reimu, and complains that if she wasn't forced to hold back she would have won.
The next main story event would be a few days later when Remilia suddenly calls on Hayate to go with her into the human village at night, telling him they're going to visit a friend. From this point it's mostly plot. They'd go to the village to Akyuu's house, where the village's records are all kept. Once there, Remilia would will Akyuu to sleep/knock her out with danmaku, and exert her control over Hayate to make him find the contract and destroy it. Depending on your relationship with Remilia, you'd either go with her willingly or be knocked out at this point, returning to the mansion.
When you wake up, the room has an even deeper red tint to it, and you see Remilia letting out the mist from her fingers (as she did in EoSD). There is also a red moon visible from her window. Remilia, being the melodramatic, ostentatious type, would give you the big bad speech about her desires to rule over Gensokyo, which is now possible with her abilities released, and how the current Hakurei is no match for her in a real fight. Still, she can't kill Reimu, so she intends to turn her, and make her a slave. Sakuya, having realised something was off when you both disappeared, snuck into Remilia's room after she returned, and heard all this. She opposes Remilia. Now, depending on your relationships with all the other residents, some would either join you or fight against you. As things were going, Patchouli was the only one in question, and everyone else would have joined you.
This sets the stage for the final battle, where Remilia, now able to fight, steamrolls most of you. Meiling and Koakuma (and Patchy if applicable) would have been beaten down, while Remilia uses her power over you to leave you barely able to move while she fights the others. Flandre tries to talk Remilia down, while Remilia tries to talk Flandre into joining her. Since you guys were focusing pretty heavily on Flandre, she'd have sided with Hayate in the end.
Sakuya would have been fighting the strongest against Remilia, with severe fluctuations in her ability while she and Remilia talk. Remilia would end up defeating her, and stabbing her claws through Sakuya's stomach, killing her. She'd then immediately be filled with regret, and pick up Sakuya, telling her to come back. Sakuya would wake up. This was Remilia's manipulation of fate in effect: she needed Sakuya all these years, to take care of her, and to be there for her, and this caused Sakuya to stop ageing. On relying on Hayate and less on Sakuya, Sakuya became weaker while he became stronger. When fighting with Sakuya, Remilia can't deny that she still needs Sakuya, and so Sakuya can't die.
Remilia would still manage to incapacitate Sakuya, and late into the battle Reimu appears again, having found out what happened at the village, and noticing the mist. They would fight, and Reimu would be no match for Remilia physically. In the end, she would be preparing to turn Reimu in front of you all, when Flandre would finally challenge her. Remilia would just barely win, as Flandre can't bring herself to use her full power and kill Remilia. Remilia, now severely injured, would go back to Reimu, and at this point either you, with Rinnosuke's gun, or Sakuya, with her silver knives, would deal the final blow to Remilia.
As Remilia dies, Sakuya would begin ageing in front of you. Depending on how close you got with her (I can't really say how things stood, it seemed like you guys were going to focus on Flandre and Cirno and leave Sakuya in the dust), she'd either die, remembering her original name as she did, or you'd tell Sakuya that you needed her, and Remilia's ability would awaken in you, letting Sakuya continue to live.
If Sakuya died, Hayate would return to Rinnosuke's shop, with occasional visits from other SDM residents (with focus on whoever you were closest to), but spending most of his time with them. If Sakuya lived, Hayate would stay in the mansion, with him and Sakuya becoming the new rulers.
The epilogue would take place many years later, where Hayate's wings have finally reached Remilia's size, and him and Sakuya (who, along with the other mansion residents still look the same) holding another ball, where a teenage Hakurei shows up, with her aged mother; Reimu.
There would also have been an optional bonus stage which would be a horror short involving Rumia, but... yeah.
http://danbooru.donmai.us/post/show/277415/ Flandre in this story was inspired by this image. In the original human route, which would have been more of a horror story, she was going to be much more menacing. The point where all that changed was after Hayate became a vampire, where Flandre tried another taste of him. "You're not tasty anymore..." After that she lost interest in him as food, and saw him as a person she could play with, instead. There were going to still be more scenes indicating her unstable nature (we saw a few of them already), such as one scene where you'd walk past your room and see her peeking through the door. Oh and yes, those dreams were all real. She liked to play with her food.
After becoming friends with you and Cirno, she became a lot more normal. That said, it still ended up being a bit too much of a change in personality in the end. Rewriting everything would have helped sort this out.
Darn. I had hoped we'd be closer to Flandre, but a little sister route is fine, too. It's nice to know what would have eventually happened; this is like an epilogue after the final choice of accepting the gun.
>At the next meal, Cirno would bring up the sex thing (earning dirty looks from Sakuya), but Flandre would then ask what it is. Remilia would tell her what it actually is, and Cirno, on finding out, would have thought it gross, putting an end to all of that. Cirno would always be like a very little sister to Hayate, nothing sexual.
I was expecting this. Cirno, and Flandre, were both little girls, mentally, and physically. Remilia, while still being a kid in most regards, at least had a slightly older mentality, along with actually knowing about sex.
I can't think of any way to justify sexual relations with Flandre or Cirno in this story, nor would I want to.
Hayate has to run an errand, which sees him travelling through the forest of magic at night. He hears crunching, and finds this in a clearing. Everything goes dark, and the short involves Rumia playing cat to Hayate's mouse. In hindsight this wouldn't have worked too well with the vampire route since I don't believe Rumia's known for cannibalism.
The problem is, the sudden turn to serious that started happening in the first place would have been welcome perhaps if it gelled with the rest of what was going on, but think about it:
You sold this story to us as "guy becomes butler in SDM, needs to learn to get along with sakuya, hijinks ensue". Its fine to have serious stuff going on, but the direction you started taking it replaced the focus of the story. This wouldn't be so bad if you had done it earlier or later in the story, but from the point of view of the reader, we got next to no actual time to get used to any of the characters before the turn to serious.
If you had paced it out that the depressing end you were going for was gradually revealed and was the result of us fucking up, that might be acceptable. If you had made it a problem to be overcome to get to our happy ending, it would have been appropriate. But it sounds like the bad end was going to happen either way.
From a story telling and pacing point of view, this doesn't work because it basically makes the first 2/3 of the story mean nothing. You could literally start the story at the last 1/3 and have the same story. From the viewer's perspective we would feel cheated. You say we weren't leaning toward Sakuya, but that is bullshit because not only did we interact with her at a large number of the given options, but by how the story was paced (rather than the rate it was written) I would have guessed we were still in the first tenth of the story or earlier. I'm not sure what you even expected. What, were we supposed to choose "[x] stick to Sakuya like glue" for every fucking choice, even if it didn't make sense? When you have a bunch of endearing characters, you can NOT punish the reader for trying to get to know more than one. You can NOT assume that just because we choose to interact with another character, it means that we hate another.
Think of it this way, we spend the story building relationships with the characters..... and the payoff is to lose all of those relationships and have everything destroyed for everyone involved? How on earth are these two things thematically connected? You might be able to argue for a theme of loss, but we are still in the stages of getting to know the residents. That's like playing through pokemon, then all of the sudden at the 4th gym it turns into silent hill for the rest of the game. Oh, and all the pokemon you had spent effort leveling are all instantly killed with no way to avoid it.
The other glaring issue is the massive liberties that must be taken with the characters to even make the story work at all. ASSM was a nearly identical story to what you just described, and it fell into exactly the same trap. It developed characters to be likable, as you have, but then all of the sudden twisted them to fit in with a grimdark ending. And this isn't even factoring in the fact that none of these representations gel with the source material in the slightest.
A lack of consistency with the source material can be overlooked when, and only when, it is an established part of the story. You can't go with normal representations of the characters, then twist them at the drop of a hat. You needed to have those elements in play from the start, but you didn't. Fuck, Remilia's freakout after turning him into a vampire almost made me stop reading the story.
The whole backstory you worked in for Sakuya and Meiling could have worked, but not Sakuya's motivation. It isn't consistent with the character herself and her actions up to that point. Its simply not believable that the characters would have acted in the ways they acted if there was something that ground breaking beneath the surface.
So basically, it would have pissed me off because the story would have gone from a charming fish out of water slice of life story where we get to learn about the characters..... to "OMGIMGRIMDARKAMICOOLYET". And it would have done so without us ever getting the payoff that the first part was working for. In other words, its a massive middle finger to anyone that actually started reading the story for the god damn characters, because they don't freaking matter.
An example of this kind of story done right is the recent anime Madoka. Its grimdark as fuck, despite luring you in as a cutesy magical girl show. But the story worked because it have hints as to the true nature of the series in the first 10 seconds of the show, and cut off any hope that it was anything else by episode 3. In otherwords, it established it's concept early, allowing the viewer to form expectations that could actually be fulfilled by the show.
Your story forms expectations that can't be fulfilled. And THAT is why it would piss me off at every turn. I would see the story I liked up to that point morph into something wholly unrecognizable, knowing that I would never get a fulfilling conclusion.
Again, I mean as little insult as possible. I know it will be hard to take such negative criticism without insult, but I don't dislike you for this. I'm just sad that the story I was expecting will never happen, and I'm sad that the expectations I had from our interactions with Sakuya and Cirno will never be fulfilled. But I am glad I did not have to watch the character's needlessly suffer, and my hopes slowly whittle away.
I think I can admit to half the problems outlined in your post being a result of the unplanned change to the story's direction when I let Hayate become a vampire.
>If you had paced it out that the depressing end you were going for was gradually revealed and was the result of us fucking up, that might be acceptable. If you had made it a problem to be overcome to get to our happy ending, it would have been appropriate. But it sounds like the bad end was going to happen either way.
The synopsis was based on the choices so far, as much as I could guess the rest of anon's votes for the rest of the story. There was going to be a lot of time between the mob and the trip to the village in that synopsis. At least a week of story time passing. That would have helped with this, but I didn't include anything in the synopsis since 80% of that time would have been directly interacting with the characters at anon's choice. Calling it the last third was based just on the amount of plot happening during it. I guess it would have been closer to half.
>What, were we supposed to choose "[x] stick to Sakuya like glue" for every fucking choice, even if it didn't make sense? When you have a bunch of endearing characters, you can NOT punish the reader for trying to get to know more than one. You can NOT assume that just because we choose to interact with another character, it means that we hate another.
There was no assumption like that. Just basic visual novel style methods at work. If you ignore the character and don't pick enough of their choices, you don't get their good end.
>Think of it this way, we spend the story building relationships with the characters..... and the payoff is to lose all of those relationships and have everything destroyed for everyone involved?
That wouldn't have happened. Maybe it seems that way because the synopsis I gave was brief and made little mention of the other characters, but it's not like everybody you didn't make love you would have been killed off. Between comments in these threads, choices made, and talk in the IRC, people didn't give a shit about Remilia. As such, I had no reason to believe anon would suddenly change their minds and pursue her enough to get on her better side and influence her.
>It developed characters to be likable, as you have, but then all of the sudden twisted them to fit in with a grimdark ending.
I don't know what to say to this. The antagonism between Remilia and other characters (especially Reimu) had been laid on pretty heavily for most of the story. Sakuya's concerns about her were brought to light, and it's not as though that wouldn't have been explored further. Unless you were already put off by the tone the story took following Hayate becoming a vampire, which I think you are. I don't think I can help you there. Hell, the original plan for the story was far darker, with much more cheap drama. I think we're both glad that I dropped that shit, even if the vampire route ended up a failure anyway.
>A lack of consistency with the source material can be overlooked when, and only when, it is an established part of the story. You can't go with normal representations of the characters, then twist them at the drop of a hat. You needed to have those elements in play from the start, but you didn't. Fuck, Remilia's freakout after turning him into a vampire almost made me stop reading the story.
I'm assuming you meant Sakuya here. As for the characterisations, I tried to focus on the canon parts of their personalities while writing them as characters that would fit the story. This worked better for some than others. Cirno and Meiling, for example, I think were the ones I did best. Sakuya and Patchouli the worst, but both for different reasons. Patchouli for having very little connection to her canon portrayal, and Sakuya for straying from it more as the story went on. Remilia, on the other hand, I will defend. Remilia is a brat in canon. There's no arguing against that. She's a kid who tries to act like an adult. That was the basis of her character in Flea. An extremely powerful child who always wants to have her way. It follows that she'd be a sore loser, too. Still, there were failings in this. She was too manipulative, and at times too smart, while others too stupid. I failed at giving her a concrete personality.
>So basically, it would have pissed me off because the story would have gone from a charming fish out of water slice of life story where we get to learn about the characters..... to "OMGIMGRIMDARKAMICOOLYET". And it would have done so without us ever getting the payoff that the first part was working for. In other words, its a massive middle finger to anyone that actually started reading the story for the god damn characters, because they don't freaking matter.
Like I mentioned, this was basically the original plan for the story. It was retarded and I'm glad I scrapped it. But, I then thought I had to come up with a different serious plot for it because it wasn't meant to stay slice of life to begin with. I didn't even see that as an option.
Hell, maybe this story would have turned out far better, and actually finished, if I did just stick with it being slice of life. A reboot of it with that basis is sounding like a good idea, actually.
>>46397 I'm definitely not saying you were a bad writer or anything. It just honestly seems like two separate stories got mashed together at some point. I think either story would have been good on its own. The problem is that the elements of the first half don't compliment the second half. You build up an expectation you can't fulfill. Or, as a related issue, the time spent building up the character relationships doesn't contribute toward the ending scenario.
The only purpose the first half might serve, as is, is to build up the emotional impact later, but doing it in this way ends up coming off as shallow. One of the reasons is because you're in the twilight zone of character development. Not developed enough for us to really know them yet, and not enough time spent on them to instill a proper sense of loss, or feel like we've gotten something out of them. And on the other side of the coin, we've spent too much time with them to blindly accept horrible things happening to them, and seeing our unpaid investment of emotion ended before any of the scenes we were hoping for happened. I think you could have even pulled off the story as it was, if you only changed the pacing. If you started making shit hit the fan after we knew everyone well, or before we got attached to anyone, it might have worked.
Of course, you're also fighting against canon as well. Its hard to view Remilia as a villain because we KNOW from canon that she isn't. So when we're given clues that she's evil, they're ignored and treated as "there's probably something going on behind the scenes we don't know about". That in turn brings you into the dreaded trap that ASSM fell into.
First off, yes, Remilia is bratty and selfish in canon, but you draw that infinitely out to justify actions, there are limits to these things. Its kinda like the Remiu being a bitch thing. Reimu has done a *couple* things that might be construed as being a bit mean spirited. But the character gets warped like crazy in CYOAs to some pretty crazy extents. You can't go "Remilia is bratty, therefore she would do ______ ". Or at the very least, you can't expect the audiance to latch onto that idea without spending an extensive amount of time convincing the audience that THIS Remilia is different. We need to feel sympathetic to her, while also gradually recognizing her as the antagonist.
See, since we don't believe Remilia is evil (because we have pre-existing knowledge that she's NOT) we assume there's something more complex going on. We assume we're going to get a neat twist ending or something. I don't know, maybe there's a secondary problem going on the background Remilia is trying to solve on her own? Maybe there's a problem influencing their actions we don't know about. It doesn't really matter what it is, because the audience is captivated pondering what could possibly make a character that is usually so well composed and docile start acting like an insane dick. We think "wow, the writer must really have something up their sleeves"
Then, when it finally turns out that the twist was "nope, she was just evil/a jerk", it disappoints. Not only did our image of a charming Remilia get broken, and not only did it fly in the face of every single thing that makes Remilia an interesting and likable character, it also didn't even do a good job of selling Remilia as a the villain. It wasn't an interesting twist. It wasn't worth what we lost (character development) to get that ending.
That was why ASSM was an utter failure in the end, despite me rather liking Owen's writing. You didn't learn anything from the story, and in the end both the characters and the reader are left with less than they started with. When you can have the character leave the mansion halfway through the story and go "thanks for the tea, I'll be trying to find my way home now" and have a more fulfilling ending, then something is wrong with your story.
You can break character all you want, as long as you make an interesting story. But if you can't make the breaks in character add up to something, then it becomes frustrating.
When writing, think of it as having a resource representing the trust and patience of the audience. You can spend that resource to set up interesting stories, but if you spend too much, the audience will walk out. If you don't use the resource efficiently to build an interesting plot, the audience will feel cheated. You have to manage your story resources wisely, and be efficient in how you manage reader expectations.
Like I said, I think EITHER a pure slice of life, or a pure thriller/mystery concept would work. You had the groundwork in place for both.
My personal opinion, though, is that your slice of life part worked better. The reason for this is that your characterization is strong, but the scenario for Remilia was a little weak, and would need some major tweaking to become a self sufficient story. The situation you set up in the mansion though, and the base idea of having to get int good with Sakuya, actually worked very nicely as the framework for character interaction. When Cirno was added, that presented enough of a foil to pretty much guarantee hijinks would ensue. I think that if you ever did revisit the idea, my main suggestion would be to involve all of the residents of the mansion more, particularly Remilia. Playing on her selfish and fickle nature, there is plenty of room for non-serious, yet interesting, conflict.
I also wanted to say that your Cirno-maid was love. Enough that I actually drew her. And I usually avoid drawing here for fear it would link back to me elsewhere. So that should say something about how well you represented her. It disappointed me to hear you say that she was an "eternal little sister" character, because frankly she never came off like that at all to me, and I felt a little cheated about all the route-baiting.
However, I think an analysis on Cirno as a character would be better left to another wall of text, if you don't get tired of this shit, that is.
Yeah, I'll agree with your entire post there. Not sure what else to say about it.
>It disappointed me to hear you say that she was an "eternal little sister" character, because frankly she never came off like that at all to me, and I felt a little cheated about all the route-baiting.
I never intended Cirno as anything else, so I would like to hear your thoughts on it.
I think part of it was the fact that she seemed to be more like a good friend who seemed to be striving to get closer to the protagonist, rather than a "little sister". That archtype never even once crossed my mind. I felt more like she was just unused to dealing with humans properly, which obviously showed through with how a few scenes played out. However, she went out of her way to try adapting to get closer and closer to him, which I found very endearing. I'm sure you could see how that could be interpreted as her seeking more intimacy, even if she doesn't understand what that entails.
I mean, hell, sometimes that's how relationships go. The girl will try to find out more about what the guy wants in order to get closer, even if it might be something she might otherwise not even consider. This is equally common in young relationships, and even well into marriage.
It doesn't help matters that I really pictured her as being close to his age, but you know, fairy. Basically a more mature Cirno than we are normally shown. The fact that she doesn't act like a complete dumbass the whole time helped cement that image.
And to top it all off, there were several scenes that just screamed "route bait". Them sharing a room, or Cirno's sudden interest in sex, and so forth could have all been taken as both Cirno having such an interest, and an indication that she was a possible romantic route. I'm sure even the people that didn't want a Cirno route (for various reasons I'm sure), would have at least recognized signs of it being a possibility.
If you intended her to be a fully platonic character, then I question the choice of putting all those scenes which seemed to only be there to tempt the readers into pursuing her. If you literally didn't realize you were giving those signs, I can understand (even if I find it hard to believe). If you were intending to play it as comedy, but just didn't understand the ramifications of including those scenes, I can definitely understand it.
Though if you were including those scenes with the intent to shoot down the possibility after some investment on our parts, then that is kind of a dick move.
Personally, I was gunning for Cirno because I found her to be an interesting character, and the dynamic of their relationship felt unique and full of potential. I wanted to see how their relationship might develop.
I can see how people would be like "Ew, a route with perfect little sister Cirno, what are you thinking you sick fuck?", but again, she didn't really come off that way to me. Flandre on the other hand, did exude that vibe to me.
I hope that was at least somewhat constructive for you. But you know how opinions can be sometimes, so take it with a grain of salt.
>If you intended her to be a fully platonic character, then I question the choice of putting all those scenes which seemed to only be there to tempt the readers into pursuing her. If you were intending to play it as comedy, but just didn't understand the ramifications of including those scenes, I can definitely understand it.
It was these two, mainly. I guess Cirno came across as older than I intended her to be. I planned her to be as a little sister, not just since she's barely half Hayate's height, but she was meant to be a child mentally as well. It entirely didn't sit right with me having sex between them. That said, it's not as though they couldn't become closer. They were basically best friends in the story. I think the main problem is in trying to separate sex from the relationship while still keeping it as a possible "route".
I guess this comes down to me seeing the characters differently to how they came across to my readers, and that comes down to my own writing ability. The readers saw Cirno as more mature, while I was thinking of her as a kid. Hence, while the readers saw a Cirno "route" as a possibility, I wasn't about to go into that.
>But you know how opinions can be sometimes, so take it with a grain of salt.
The same issue got talked about in IRC a few times. It seemed to be about half/half of people for and against Cirno being a romantic option. So you're not alone, at least.
Also, it was asked a few times back in the day in IRC, and I've been meaning to say this here. I haven't read ASSM. I think I'll take a look at it and try to learn from it now.
Anyway, thanks for your posts. If nothing else, I now know what not to do in the future.
Considering the darker side of the story was eventually going to be coming out, what would've happened to Hayate if he'd done things like accepting Koakuma's offer for some fun?
You'd mentioned in the story that there'd be no bad ends, but considering it appears the story was going to be grimdarker, would something have happened to Hayate down the line if this choice had been picked?
In the human route it would have involved Hayate becoming steadily weaker as the encounters went on. In the vampire route he'd have been more resistant to the life-eating part of sex with Koa so it wouldn't have been as bad. Sakuya wouldn't have approved, though.
>>46436 How exactly was she going to seduce him right then and there? Or was there some sort of secret room only she'd know? Also would Patchouli have found out eventually or something?
...On another note, would there have been scenes depicting the encounters, or would it just be a "fade to black" type, where its skipped and Hayate feels weaker?
As for Cirno, yeah what the others have said is true. The way the story was written, it appeared she was more like a childhood friend who could eventually become a romantic partner instead of just staying a little sister. I suspect many people would've raged about her suddenly becoming uninterested in romance.
Same guy who did post 46442, I have to ask this Anonymaster, were you lying to us when you said there wouldn't be any bad ends in this story, because this grimmification, due to the increasing horror and darker tones, implies that your claims early on about not having bad ends were not as true as we might've hoped?
In the human route there probably would have been bad ends, yes. In the vampire route it would be a lot harder for Hayate to end up dead, and given the direction of the plot, I didn't think they'd ever really be necessary.
>>46451 Would you have preferred writing the vampire route or the human route, just off the top of your head? Sorry if this question has already been asked and answered, I just saw this thread today and skimmed through it. I don't really come to this board often anymore.
In the human route, basically trying to fight Flandre or Remilia at any point. Continued encounters with Koakuma would have resulted in eventual death either mid-coitus or while in bed while Flandre visits.
I guess in the vampire route if you'd gone with giving in to your urges and then attacked people in the crowd you'd have gotten Reimu fighting against you, which could have resulted in a bad end.
I'm still a little confused on how Remilia would have overpowered Reimu without help. Even without the protection of the spellcard rules, she's kind of a big deal . Especially if she were to say use her border hax. Sakuya might be able to stop time to look like she's teleporting, but Reimu can do the real deal. Heck, if anything, Removing the spellcard rules would likely be a BAD thing for Remilia, since Reimu could likely take advantage of any one of her dozens of weaknesses and just permanently kill her. Especially now that she can channel gods.
Its just a bit difficult to believe. Remilia, while powerful, would stand pretty much zero chance to taking over gensokyo without her friends. And even with all of them working in tandem, Flandre included (which seems at least slightly unrealistic) they would be hard pressed to do shit.
How exactly were you going to explain Remilia overpowering... well, anyone? I can even give you a list of people that would completely fuck over her plans:
* Kaguya and Eirin would likely make short work of her if they were "serious". * Yukari could just gap her to somewhere nice and sunny. She could even do this without even being anywhere near her. * Mokou. Vampires hate fire. Mokou is even more indestructible than Remilia. * Yuyuko and Youmu would likely be able to take care of her. * Marisa isn't exactly a pushover. You really think Marisa would get weaker when removing spellcards? * The Tengu would likely just flat steamroll her. * The Kappa's control over water would pretty much mean she wouldn't be able to do shit to them. In fact, even someone like Nitori would likely be able to shut her down completely, by herself, if she played her cards right. And we're not even taking their technology into account. * Kanako, Suwako, and Sanae would fuck her up. Pretty much no questions asked. * Tenshi would just wipe the floor with her, no questions asked. * Same for Suika * Komachi is surprisingly active in the living world, as is the Yama. They could conceivably interfere. * Yuuka. That should be self explanatory. * Keine's history hax (however you chose to represent it) would likely be of at least some hindrance.
Now consider that Remilia would likely to be facing all of the above. Potentially at the same time. Yeah... that is just plain not happening no matter how you slice it.
Heck, take ANY group of five or six named youkai we have seen in the series. ANY. They would likely be able to take down Remilia, or at the very least make her back down. Heck, how would you explain her putting down fairies like Cirno? Even if she killed her, she'd just be back later to try again.
The funny thing is that Remilia is the member of the mansion who is probably least suited to conquering Gensokyo, apart from Meiling. Sakuya's time hax could mean many quick assassinations, but that still wouldn't be enough to grasp victory. All it takes it Yukari or Yuyuko to take notice and the bitch is pretty much dead. Not that it was sounding like she'd help anyway.
Flandre's destructive abilities would be overpowering, but she's just a vampire, and even her ability wouldn't be able to save her. Patchouli is frankly the most dangerous of the lot, when you really get down to it. With so many different supernatural beings, the only way to win is to be versatile enough to get at their weaknesses. But even she wouldn't get far at all.
I guess I'm just kinda scratching my head at how any of this would have come about at all. That isn't even factoring in how unbelievable the "Remilia tries to conquer Gensokyo" plot would have been.
That isn't even power levels man, it's common sense. Do you honestly think she'd be able to pull it off? Do you think she'd be stupid enough to even try?
Besides, it's pretty unfair to dismiss the critique to "lol powerlevels". It is a story critical point that Remilia would somehow be able to conquer gensokyo. I'm saying that we're lead to believe that somehow everyone else would just let this happen? Really? It's kind of a texas sized hole in the plot.
Besides, Remilia arrived before the spellcard rules were first used (EoSD is canonically the first incident using the rules). The story hinges on the idea that Remilia is resentful about losing because of those rules. Yet she would have had to elect to use those rules in the first place, so the motivation doesn't really work.
Also, depending on how you interpret the vampire incident, Reimu may have actually defeated Remilia before the spellcard rules anyway. Of course this is just conjecture, and there's no way to prove it either way yet. Just food for thought.
Oh, and I completely forgot to mention a bit of information that makes this an entirely moot point anyway. If Remilia's plan was to turn Reimu into a vampire, she could have done it right after EoSD. Anyone that has ever seen Reimu's endings for that came can easily see why.
Also, the vampire route confuses me in the first place. If Remilia's overall motivation is to just turn Reimu and take over gensokyo, it seems like turning the butler would have been the stupidest god damn thing she could have done.
Maybe that's why this Remilia thought she could conquer gensokyo: She's stupid and does stupid things.
As far as the whole power levels things go, canon material (most notably PMiSS) likes to point out that vampires are among the strongest of all youkai in Gensokyo in terms of general ability, and are extremely powerful physically.
The vampire incident had already been mentioned. It was before Reimu's time. Remilia was defeated by a large group of youkai and the former Hakurei, and she told Reimu that her mother had been much stronger than she is.
>If Remilia's plan was to turn Reimu into a vampire, she could have done it right after EoSD.
No, she couldn't have, because of the contract that this story hinged on. Remilia could never fight Reimu with her full strength because if Reimu died it would have meant the end of Gensokyo. While Reimu and Remilia would be closely matched in terms of magical ability, Reimu is absolutely no match for a vampire in terms of physical ability. The only way for Remilia to fight Reimu was using the spell card rules, but once she had a pawn to destroy the contract for her, the option of turning Reimu opened up. Once she then had Reimu as a slave, you've then got one of the strongest physical beings and one of the strongest magical beings in Gensokyo together, and one of them is allowed to hit a lot harder than she can be hit back.
Power levels for the entire cast is not something I'm about to go into.
>Maybe that's why this Remilia thought she could conquer gensokyo: She's stupid and does stupid things.
It was kind of the point that Remilia has an overinflated ego, but as above, turning Hayate was part of her plan.
But again, this entire scenario was a "what-if" had the story gone differently with Hayate focusing on helping Remilia instead of turning against her, which wasn't about to happen.
Actually, the reason I listed those three was pretty simple, and if you stop and actually think about it for more than a second instead of assuming I don't know shit, you'd probably realize it as well. The problem isn't that I don't know shit about Sanae. The problem is that I know a LOT about Sanae and her gods. Also note that I never said that Sanae alone would shut her down, now did I? Sanae COULD do it alone, theoretically, but that wasn't something I was even attempting to argue.
Remilia is a vampire. In Touhou, vampires are weak to running water, including rain. Weak to the point that they cannot move in it. This is the reason Flandre was unable to leave the mansion in EoSD extra stage, as well as the reason Remilia wasn't there to handle things (she was trapped at the shrine).
Now, Kanako and Suwako both share a highly relevant domain: water. Specifically, running water, including rain. Hmmm. I wonder what that would mean. I wonder what two gods who can control rain could do to a being who can't do shit if it's raining. Hmmmmm.
I don't like being a jerk about this, but this isn't rocket science, you should be able to solve this. And you certainly shouldn't be acting all high and mighty because you think that you can pick apart one TINY part of an argument in order to negate the entirety of that argument.
Now factor in that Sanae herself can also control both wind and water, and we have three gods all capable of shutting Remilia down if she were to attempt expansion. NOW factor in that both Sanae and her gods are powerful in their own rights besides the water hax, to the point where they would likely be able to stop her anyway.
I'm not saying Remilia would have no chance against them, but her odds would not be good in the least, and it would be borderline retarded of her to even attempt such a thing from a purely strategic point of view. Especially if you were to factor in the plethora of other characters who have equal ability to shut her down.
Fuck, even friggin Sunny Milk could potentially outright kill Remilia, given the proper circumstances. Yes, Sunny can canonically focus light into intense beams, and yes we have been shown that sunlight can catch Remilia on fire and knock her out. Is it likely? No, fuck no. But that's the thing, when you have thirty unlikely things conspiring against you, suddenly it is pretty much a sure bet.
Let me ask you this: Can you honestly, with a straight face, make the claim that Remilia would actually be able to take on all the power players in Gensokyo? This isn't even power levels, its a simple matter of being outnumbered by a large group of people who control the very things that you are weak to, while at the same time those people are ALSO about as powerful as you, or more so.
Superman is pretty fucking powerful (stupidly so), but if he were to try to take over a city filled with people that could shoot kryptonite beams out their eyes, he would likely die.
I love Remilia as a character in canon Touhou, but I'm not so hung up on wanting her to be the "best" that I try to delude myself into thinking she's invincible, or even all that influential. She's just a spoiled brat with a bunch of power and nothing to use it on. Gensokyo is FILLED to the fucking brim with people that have such ridiculous abilities that none of them would be able to do anything, because everyone else would quickly end their ambition.
That is the entire point behind Gensokyo as a concept. Its a case of mutually assured destruction bringing about an incredibly tenuous peace. A peace which it is made abundantly clear that pretty much every single person in Gensokyo wants to keep it that way. The sheer mentality that a single character would or could conquer Gensokyo is entirely missing the point.
Really, you could almost see Gensokyo as a commentary on the effect of the nuclear age on global politics, with large scale conflict all but impossible, causing a shift to smaller, less significant conflicts (in this case, "incidents"). When some new player comes in brandishing nukes, all the other countries get together and bitch slap them until they either fall in line, or they disappear.
So yeah, think twice before assuming the person you're talking to doesn't know jack, because you'll usually be dead wrong.
As for Anonymaster's response, yeah, I fucked some stuff up. I neglected a few story points. The story you outlined at least has no absolutely glaring logical flaws that I can honestly claim are plot holes. Sorry I got so fierce about it. We've had "lol evil Remilia" so many times that it was honestly incredibly disappointing to see that was where the story was going.
Of course, its hard to keep a summary of events that might have happened fresh in your mind for a couple weeks.
>Remilia is a vampire. In Touhou, vampires are weak to running water, including rain. Weak to the point that they cannot move in it. This is the reason Flandre was unable to leave the mansion in EoSD extra stage, as well as the reason Remilia wasn't there to handle things (she was trapped at the shrine).
It is a certainty of their myth that vampires cannot cross running water. This would include, of course, the moving Misty Lake when it's raining. Doesn't mean Remilia would be useless if she got wet anymore than she's useless out in the sun (read; not very, despite being nominally weak to it).
Though I find the idea of Sunny Milk getting the drop on Remilia completely hilarious.
Actually that kinda is what that means. I'm not basing this off of vampire mythology, that would be stupid. This is outright stated in the EoSD manual. Remilia couldn't go home because Patchouli made it rain around the mansion. Flandre couldn't leave the mansion for the same reason. Touhou vampires are really weird. They are weak to sunlight, but all it really does to them is make them occasionally burst in to flame. Which isn't as bad as it sounds apparently. Yet apparently falling water is an impassable barrier.
The source if you've honestly never bothered to read the extra stories. Which no one posting on this site has an excuse to not have done. Especially writers.
Oh, also, Scarlet Weather Rhapsody also explicitly stated that Remilia could not leave the mansion, which is why her scenario takes place entirely in the mansion. So really, there's little excuse for people to not know this. I think it was mentioned in the Three Fairies manga as well, actually, but I think it was a lot more vague in that.
If you think about it, when compared to the other youkai in Touhou, Remilia kinda sucks. She's not as strong as the strongest (oni) not as fast as the fastest (tengu) not as immortal as the immortals, not as magical as the magicians. And on top of all of that she has a slew of potentially crippling weaknesses, and no one takes her seriously. Isn't it sad Remilia?
Also, there's something I noticed about the Touhou community as a whole. No one. Reads. The. Fucking. Manuals. There is so much shit people overlook because it is only found in the manuals. Other than the "vampires can't move in the rain" thing, another tidbit from EoSD was that the Scarlet Mist was fatal within thirty minutes. Sorta makes Reimu and Marisa all the more badass, since they beat the snot out of Remilia while basically choking down a caustic mist. And cracking jokes the entire time.
The "not reading" thing applies to the print works as well. It makes me want to murder the world when someone says they are a Touhou fan, yet have never even attempted to read CoLA or the Faries manga. CoLA is good! Why are you people not freaking reading it?! The Three Fairies manga is probably the BEST part of the series.
Even more annoyingly, people tend to have read SSiB, which is probably the worst of the print works (my opinion), even if it has a few enjoyable parts. The people that will sit there and try to argue something with you based on in game dialog... those are the people I wish would die.
Anyway, yes, I laughed a bit when typing that bit about Sunny Milk. I kinda picture it as something like an overblown prank, an ant and a magnifying glass thing.
>>47776 Most people prefer yuri doujins and IOSYS than hard canon. Even some of the 'great' writers engaged in heavy fanon.
I still contest that Sanae would have problems due to a lack of combat experience. That and Remilia may not be the best in all areas, but fierce enough to maim/kill someone who is not on their absolute guard.
>>47916 It's not that they're considering her a weakling, just that she has weaknesses, though these folks overplay up lesser touhous to absurd extents. But the point still stands that if Remilia tried to take over Gensokyo, she'd get stomped pretty hard once the big names come into play.
>>47949 Because unless a story pays some measure of respect to canon, then it's basically original fiction with a bunch of OCs. Then again, most Touhou fans are only fans as far as IOSYS, stupid gags, and often wangsty yuri doujins go.
>>47950 As a character, he was likable and someone we wanted to see do well. As far as a avatar, he was a believable sort.
I liked him overall, and he served his purpose well. He and Cirno bounced off eachother really well. Same with Sakuya for the most part, though I would have liked to have seen that play out a bit more before the plot punched him in the face. Other than that, its been so long since I read the story I can't really give any deeper criticism. Though I will say that I did find it incredibly unbelievable that he would choose vampirism that easily. It honestly ruined the character for me. I still regret not being around a computer when voting for that choice was going on, because I would have voted against it, and tried to urge others to do the same. Oh well.
I liked him. Mind you, I'm usually pretty ambivalent to characters that start out as basically a stand-in for Anon, but he grew on me as he developed, mostly courtesy (as a lot of people have mentioned) of his interactions with Cirno. I actually cared when he turned into a vampire (best set of choices/updates in the entire story, btw) and even worried for his life a bit.
Honestly, though, the character I cared for the most was Sakuya. Once we got her backstory all her actions started making a lot more sense, I guess. I wish she'd gotten more development.
Yo all that shit was dumb as fuck, have a proper ending instead. I don't remember what my trip was. But if anyone doubts that it's me I can just say so in the IRC. -------------------------------
It’s taken you a long time to prepare for this, but you’re finally ready. Everybody has done a bit to pitch in. “Everything must be perfect.” That’s what Remilia said to you. In this case, you agreed wholeheartedly. You worked hard for this, and you want to hope it pays off. She’s trying not to show it, but Remilia is clearly nervous too.
It all started a few weeks ago. Remilia had called both you and Sakuya into her room. It was an odd sight. Normally when you came to her room, Remilia would be sitting in her throne, confidently looking down at you, or standing by the windows, looking out into the night sky with her back turned to you. She always wanted to seem composed and elegant. This time, you came in to see her pacing around the room, a frustrated look on her face. Sakuya, of course, was already there. “I’m here, my lady.” You kneel as you take your place by Sakuya. It’s still good to keep up appearances. Remilia doesn’t respond. She’s either too deep in thought to even notice you, or she’s too annoyed to deal with you right now. You turn to face Sakuya, patiently kneeling next to you, and whisper. “Is she mad at me? What did I do this time?” You can’t think of anything that could have left Remilia like this. Hell, it’s been a full 23 days since you last broke anything. Sakuya marks those days on your calendar to make sure you don’t forget them. Sakuya sighs, and shakes her head while faintly smiling. “You need to stop assuming such things. We’re all happy to have you here.” Her sudden praise takes you by surprise. “Hey, what’s with that? You’re making me suspicious.” They’re both acting strange today. You suddenly feel your skin crawl, and notice Sakuya dangling a silver cross near your arm, grinning to herself. “Okay, I take it back already! Cut it out!” Sakuya chuckles, and the cross disappears.
“Flandre’s birthday is coming up soon.” Remilia stops her pacing to say this, interrupting your friendly squabbling. “I don’t know what to do for her. I don’t know if she even remembers.” She drops her usually confident gaze to the floor. Her eyes darting between the two of you and the ground, she swallows her pride and asks for your help. “What should we do?” You’re taken aback. Remilia always tries to seem so strong. She’d normally never show this kind of emotional side to you. But now here she stands, biting her lip while relying, no, depending on your help, not as her butler or servant, but as her friend. It just shows how much she cares about her sister. Sakuya doesn’t seem as fazed. She probably knew this was coming. “This is the third birthday of hers since she’s left… Her room, is it not?” Sakuya poses this question, probably for your benefit. Remilia timidly nods in response. That must be why it’s weighing on Remilia’s mind so much. They’ve made up considerably over the last few months, but nobody could just sweep under the rug that Flandre had been locked away for centuries. Of course it’s a sensitive issue. That tells you something disheartening, however. “Have you not done anything for her until now?” In response to your question, Remilia drops her eyes to the floor and painfully shakes her head. Sakuya speaks up in her stead. “We have talked about this before. I believed it was for the best not to bring it up. Flandre was considerably less… Stable before you came here.” She chooses her words carefully. It’s clear that she thought she was doing the right thing, and Remilia had to be talked down. Still, you wouldn’t agree with her then, and you’re not about to now. “I think we should throw her a party.” Remilia timidly looks up to you, but Sakuya speaks first. “Are you sure about that?” She frowns. There’s been a lot of bad blood between the two. You know that Sakuya mustn’t be confident about engaging Flandre any further. “Yeah, I’m sure. Flandre is a strong girl. She’s probably still resentful, even if she doesn’t show it. And she’s carrying a lot of pain, just as you two are. But she knows you both care for her in your own ways, even if she doesn’t understand what you’ve done. I know she’ll be able to appreciate this. Let’s do it.” You’ve always been amazed by how bright Flandre is. As Sakuya said, she’s not totally stable. There’s no way anyone who’s been through what she has could be. But she amazes you with her cheer, despite that. Having a birthday party for her is a risk. But you’re confident that Flandre will enjoy it. Remilia still looks unsure. “What do you think, Sakuya?” Sakuya sighs. “I believe Hayate has shown better judgement regarding Flandre in the past than I have. I’ll stand by his decision.” If she was making any effort to hide how unhappy she was about saying that, she failed. But she has been trying to make things up to Flandre, so you know she sincerely trusts you here. Remilia closes her eyes to think, before returning to that confident grin you’re used to. “Alright, I’m going to work you two to the bone. I hope you’re ready.” “Of course we are, mistress.” Sakuya says this with a bow. “Nothing really changes there, you know?” You shrug off Remilia’s words. “Oh? Maybe I should show you just how much more work I could have you do?” Remilia teases you. “Ah, but my lady, one of my most important duties is remaining well-rested. It wouldn’t do for me to make mistakes out of fatigue, would it?” You’ve learnt how to deal with Remilia’s teasing after all this time. She doesn’t hold as much power over you these days. Remilia responds with an exaggerated sigh. “Oh, why does my vampire servant require more sleep than my human one? I find it so peculiar.” “I’m afraid not even your own precious blood could cure his laziness, mistress.” Sakuya turns against you. “Hey, don’t chime in if you’re going to take her side.” Maids are too predictable. “Anyway, Cirno still doesn’t like sleeping on her own. What am I supposed to do?” “Oh, sure. I bet she’s the one who has to put up with sleeping with you.” Sakuya doesn’t give in. “Eh, it’s about half and half.” You’ve gotten used to being cold at night, anyway. It’s become so routine by now that it’s comforting, in a way. Suddenly, Remilia claps her hands, breaking up your exchange. “Focus, servants! We have a party to plan.” With your minds back on the task at hand, you begin throwing around ideas.
So here the lot of you are, waiting in the ballroom for the guest of honour to arrive. Remilia, Sakuya, Patchouli, Meiling, and even Koakuma are here. Patchouli is sitting by herself at a table, reading a book, like always. Meiling and Sakuya are cheerily talking to each other. Koakuma is standing in the corner after Remilia told her off for trying to drag you away again, and Remilia is still pacing over the floor. You head over to her, and put your hand on your shoulder, stopping her in her tracks. “It’ll be fine, my lady. You don’t have to worry so much.” She’s worked harder than any of you on this. She could use the encouragement. “Are you forgetting your place, servant?” She bats your hand away, turning from you. “I’m not worried. I came up with this, after all. I know everything will be fine.” “Of course. My apologies.” You let her be, as she walks off and starts tapping her foot instead. After all this time, she still has so much pride.
Soon enough, the large doors to the entrance hall open, and Flandre makes her entrance, with Cirno covering her eyes and guiding her. You all quietly make your way over towards the table in the middle of the room, waiting for Flandre to reach you. You notice that she’s shivering on her way over. It might have been a better idea to have Meiling bring her in. As Flandre draws closer, you all look to each other, and Remilia raises her hand, signalling for Cirno to let Flandre go. “Surprise!” You all yell in unison. Flandre looks around, clearly quite confused as to what’s going on. She looks to each of you, to the big cake and boxes of presents on the table next to you, and then to the banner you have hanging from the chandelier saying “Happy birthday Flandre!” in big red letters. She… Does understand, right? Flandre smiles before looking down and saying something painful. “My birthday? Is it really today? I had totally forgotten.” She then brings her hands to her face and begins wiping her eyes. Remilia turns to you, clearly worried that this is off to a bad start. You nod your head towards Flandre, and she gets the hint. Remilia walks over to Flandre, embracing her, a hand gently rubbing the back of her head. You explain for her. “Remilia never forgot. She’s wanted to do something for you for a long time. That’s why we’re all here now.” You don’t know how much it will help. But you think Flandre should understand how much Remilia cares. The two stay like that for a while, before Flandre taps Remilia’s arm, and she backs off. Flandre wipes her eyes one last time, before looking up to you all with a smile as bright as the deadly sun. “Thank you, everyone.”
Cirno rushes the proceedings along, pulling Flandre over towards the pile of gifts you have on the table, promptly grabbing the biggest one and shoving it into Flandre’s chest. Cirno’s gift being quite large, Flandre has visible trouble staying upright. “You’ve gotta open mine first! It’s the best!” Cirno’s apparently not familiar with the custom of saving the best until last, but none of you object, deciding to let her have her moment. Flandre puts the gift on the floor, and begins carefully unwrapping the ribbon and paper, being sure not to tear anything. Inside of it is… “Ice?” Flandre tilts her head, clearly puzzled. Underneath the wrapping is a large block of ice. Cirno cheerfully grins and walks over to it. “Not just any ice! This is my creation!” With a snap of her fingers, the sides of the block suddenly unfold, forcing Flandre to jump away. Now that they’re out of the way, you can see what was inside. It’s a large ice sculpture. Flandre and Cirno are standing next to each other, holding hands and smiling. Flandre figures it out with a “Wooow!” and starts examining it in more detail, as do the rest of you. You’ve got to say, the craftsmanship here is really superb. Their clothes are seemingly blowing in the wind along with their finely cut out hair, and their wings are neatly detailed too. With lesser talent a depiction like this would look uncanny, but Cirno’s really outdone herself here. Flandre, now done admiring the sculpture, takes Cirno’s hands in hers as she smiles. “This is so great, Cirno! Thank you so much!” Cirno must surely feel it was worth it, seeing that smile. Flandre turns to Remilia. “Sis, where can we put it? Can it go in the garden?” Remilia, slightly taken aback, asks the question on everyone else’s minds. “We can, but… Won’t it melt?” Flandre’s expression drops for a moment before Cirno bangs her chest and confidently says “Nope! I made this, and I used a lot of magic to do it! It’s my own special ice that will never melt. I call it Ice-9!” Questionable naming sense aside, that really is impressive. Patchouli, who initially only looked at it from a distance, moves closer and begins studying it intently. You walk over to Cirno, place a hand on her head, and ruffle her hair. She doesn’t pull away. “Good work, Cirno. This is really amazing.” Flandre nods in agreement. “Well, mistress? How about it?” Remilia shrugs. “I see no reason to object. How about it, Meiling? Can you find somewhere to put it?” Meiling, left out until now, thinks for a second, hand to her chin, before banging her fist into her other palm. “You’ve got it, mistress. I know just the place for it.” Remilia nods, satisfied with this, and turns back to Flandre. “There you go. It's all sorted.”
“Okay okay, I'm next!” Koakuma jumps up, grabbing her box off of the table and floats over to Flandre's side. She urges Flandre to open the present, not saying anything more. You then realise that you should have screened the presents first. From the unwrapped box, Flandre pulls out a piece of clothing totally not appropriate for a girl of her apparent age; a frilly, open-belly négligée with a completely transparent top. Flandre looks at it with a puzzled face, perhaps not quite understanding what this sort of clothing is intended for. Koakuma leans in close and whispers into her ear. You can't tell what she's saying, but she glances towards you a few times, and that worries you. Flandre's face suddenly goes red with blush, and Koakuma giggles while floating back over to Patchouli's side, flashing you a devilish grin on her way. Flandre hastily shoves the clothes back into the box and sets it aside, and hastily asks for the next person.
Meiling sheepishly picks up the smallest present of the lot; barely the size of her finger, and hands it over to Flandre. “It's not much, you know, but here.” Flandre curiously opens it up, finding only a crumpled slip of paper under the thin wrapping. She straightens it up and holds it close to her face and reads it aloud. “Ticket for free piggy-back rides...” You already feel the pity as Meiling explains herself, hiding her embarrassment by rubbing her nose. “Well, I don't have any money or anything, so...” You glare at Remilia, who resolutely ignores you. “I thought about what I could get you since I don't have any money, and...” Meiling, please stop. It hurts. “I figured I could just give you my body!” She says this proudly, completely oblivious to the muffled laughter behind her. Rather than being disappointed, Flandre looks positively joyous about this. “Can I redeem it? Right now!?” Meiling seems a bit taken aback by the eager response, but is happy to accept. “Sure thing, let's-”
“BUT FIRST, THE MAIN ATTRACTION!” Remilia loudly interrupts, clearly wanting her time in the spotlight. Ah, she's still such a child. Sakuya looks fondly on as Remilia strides up and pushes Meiling away, presenting Flandre with the last of the presents. She makes a grand motion of swinging the small box towards Flandre, encouraging her to take it. You're sure she's acting like this to hide her embarrassment. You know what's in that box, after all. Flandre unwraps the final present, revealing a purple velvet box. Remilia prods her to open it up, and inside she finds a heart-shaped golden locket. The final touch is her clicking it open, and she breaks a tearful smile when she sees what's inside. You discussed the idea with Remilia, but in the end, she did it all herself. A crude drawing of the two sisters together, made with simple yet colourful crayons is contained in that locket. The two sisters draw each other into another hug, and Remilia lets it all out. “Flandre, I'm so sorry. I know I can't even begin to make up for all this time. But I want us to be a family again. A real family. Are you okay with that?” Flandre lets out a quiet note of affirmation, and the two continue comforting each other. “They sure do cry a lot, huh?” You hit Cirno over the head for spoiling the mood.
The sisters laugh and separate, and the conversation shifts to the next person. With no presents left, Flandre shifts her eyes towards Patchouli, who's gone back to sitting down and reading a book. “Oh, my present will come later. You'll see it then.” With that, she's done talking, and yawns as she flips to the next page. Sakuya comes next, and she indicates that her present is the magnificent cake remaining on the table. In the end, we decided this was the best approach to take. There's too much bad blood between them for her to be too friendly with Flandre yet. Flandre meekly stares at her feet for a while, but eventually musters up a “Thank you.” It's not much, but it's a step for them. You don't know if they'll ever get along, but hopefully some day you can get Flandre to forgive her.
So last of all, comes you. Flandre looks towards you and your bare hands, and awkwardly asks the question she's left with. “Did you get me anything, Hayate?” “Well, not quite.” Before Flandre can be disappointed, you follow it up. “There is something I'd like to do with you, though.” There's a reason you decided to hold this party in the large, empty ballroom. As Flandre looks on in confusion, you make a show of clapping your hands together beside your head. On cue, the great chandelier in the centre of the room bursts with flickering light, and the Prismriver sisters emerge from behind the stage at the other end of the floor, immediately kicking up a fast jazzy tune. You didn't think they'd come back after the last time, but Remilia told you she “persuaded” them to return. Well, let's not think about that right now. You stretch your hand out to Flandre, offering it with your palm up. “We never did get to have that dance, did we? Would you care to join me?” Smooth. Totally smooth. Flandre beams with a smile so radiant it almost hurts, and takes your hand as you lead her to the floor. She's awkward on her feet at first, but eagerly follows your advice as you teach her how to move. You dance for a few songs, talking and laughing with her the entire time. At this point you know; all the trouble to set this up was definitely worth it.
As the last song winds down, you dance your way over to the large glass doors overlooking the garden, and Flandre can now see what the others set up during your fun. Cirno's ice statue is now on display in the flower garden, thanks to Meiling. Everyone, sans Patchouli, comes to gather near the doors, and Sakuya hands out plates with slices of cake to everyone. You spot Patchouli flying in the sky outside, and signal her with your hand. “Get ready, Flandre. Here's Patchouli's present.” You get her attention just in time for Patchouli's amazing magic show. The night sky suddenly lights up with dazzling patterns and colours; Patchouli using her danmaku like a fireworks display. Flandre excitedly hops about as she watches, letting out gasps of excitement as more and more lights explode in the sky. You all eat the cake together as you watch. It's delicious. Sakuya really outdid herself for this. Nobody talks, as everyone keeps their eyes glued to the sky. The final explosions appear; a flash of “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” followed a grand display of danmaku erupting into a picture of all of you together. Patchouli did a fantastic job. You almost don't regret promising you'll get her books back from Marisa for this.
It all gradually winds down, and the night comes to a close. Patchouli floats back in and immediately collapses into a chair, falling asleep almost immediately. Flandre steps forward and turns to address the rest of us, smiling all the while. “Everyone, thank you. Tonight was a lot of fun. I really, really, really enjoyed it!” Flandre's birthday party: Resounding success. You proudly watch as Remilia, Cirno, Meiling, and Koakuma crowd around Flandre. She really is happy right now. Just like you thought, she's a normal, kind young girl like any other. While she talks with the others, you walk over to Sakuya and lean on her shoulder. “That cake of yours is pretty good, you know. You really ought to have some.” She put a slice on her own plate, but she hasn't touched it yet. “How could I? After every-” You cut off her sombre talk by shoving a spoonful of cake into her mouth. Not even trying to push you away, she begins chewing on it until her frown turns into a melancholic smile. “You're right. It's good.” You spot Flandre waving to the two of you, as the others wait with her. You give Sakuya a firm pat on her back and go after them, as she follows behind you.
>>61842 Not really, then. Answering that didn't cross my mind, since it never ended up being a big part of the story up to where we got anyway. I mostly just wanted this to provide some nice and simple closure for people, with an open resolution rather than trying to set too much in stone.