"Of course," you smile broadly at Meiling, and rise to your feet. Any excuse for music is a good excuse. "I'd be delighted to!"
Meiling beams at you and motions for you to follow her. You do, and the both of you make your way through the garden all the way to the massive front doors, which Meiling pushes open with total ease. "You have no idea how much this means to me," she gushes as you both step into the foyer. "Back in China my mother was really my only friend for the longest time, and she used to sing to me every night at bedtime. She only knew like three songs, I think, since she'd only just learned to read so all the music she knew, she'd heard as a child, but she sang so beautifully!" She turns around to look at you, still walking backwards, hands over her cheeks. "Hey, can you sing, Christabel? I've tried, but they tell me I sound like a cat shoved into a food processor." She pouts.
You frown. "Who said that?" Meiling is so nice, you don't think she deserves that kind of put down.
Meiling sighs and turns around, still determinedly walking forward, now up the grand staircase to the second floor. "Sakuya. But the boss agrees."
You snort, crossing your arms over your chest. "Well, I bet they're just jealous," you say with a pout.
She sighs, not particularly convinced. "Maybe there's something to it. What about you, Christabel?"
You grimace, feeling a blush creep up your cheeks. "I've never really tried before. And I don't think I could do it while playing, that takes practice."
"Oh." Meiling sounds vaguely disappointed, but then she smiles again. "I guess just hearing the melody again is fine... or I could sing it while you play! Then again that might just make you hate me..." She giggles, and you join in, shaking your head.
After that, the two of you end up growing silently, quietly enjoying each other's company as you make your way back to your room through the cavernous halls of the second floor.
Finally you reach your bedroom. It's one of about ten in this corridor (you aren't quite sure but you think the mansion has about two hundred rooms between the three floors and the underground level where the kitchens are), but after the first few nights of sleeping in a different room every night you've gotten good at picking it out.
You open the door, and you and Meiling step inside. You could have sworn you left the bed unmade and the dresser a bit of a mess, but it looks like Sakuya already tidied up.
Meiling for her part looks around, slightly bewildered. She turns to look at you with some concern. "Where do you keep the piano?"
You turn to meet her gaze, eying her with amused curiosity. "Meiling, you can't be this clueless." You walk around behind her and place your hand on the door to the piano alcove. "You didn't think I kept it next to the bed, did you?"
Meiling looks away, a bit flustered. "No, of course not!"
You roll your eyes and open the door to the other room, stepping inside.
Both you and Meiling stop dead in your tracks. Remilia is standing next to your piano, a hand resting on the glossy black key cover. She's pulled down the blinds on the window next to the instrument and turned on the lights, and she seems to be waiting for you say something, lightly tapping the ebony wood of the instrument with pale, slender fingers, her left absentmindedly playing with a lock of golden hair. Beside her, to your astonishment, you see the tip of a violin bow peeking out from behind the piano's music stand. You're pretty sure that wasn't there before.
When neither you nor Meiling can bring yourselves to say anything, Remilia speaks, or rather whispers. Her scarlet eyes roam over you with cold calculation, but her voice is choked, as though she were gripped with emotion. "What are you girls doing?" she murmurs.
"I... I was..." you mumble, suddenly overcome.
"She was going to play something for me, bo-milady!" Meiling interrupts, nervously rubbing the back of her neck. "Would you... would you like to stay and listen?" She manages to force out a smile.
Remilia narrows her eyes. "Leave."
"Excuse me?" you stammer, green eyes wide.
Remilia ignores you. "Meiling, leave. I have something I want to talk to Christabel about." Her tone breaches no question.
Meiling looks at you helplessly and you give her a defeated shrug, biting your lower lip in consternation.
"Well," she murmurs, lips pursed, hands balled into fists. She sounds crushed. "Well. I guess I'll see you later, Christabel."
Remilia imperiously waves her away, and Meiling shuffles out of your room, eyes fixed on the floor.
Once she's sure Meiling is gone, Remilia slams shut the door to your bedroom and to the piano room, locking both. Then she paces around the piano for a bit, saying nothing. Then suddenly she's in your face and you can smell the roses of her perfume and the faint smell of alcohol on her breath. She looks at you, running her gaze over your slender body like she can't believe her eyes.
"I'm sorry about that," she says finally. "But you left me too early today, and I had to be with you." She grasps your hands with her own. The contrast between your skins is amazing; Remilia is unbelievably pale. Slowly, softly, she places a kiss on the tips of your fingers.
You sigh. Even if she was horrible to Meiling, Remilia's presence is intoxicating. You can feel nothing but lust and admiration. She leans in. "Sit at the piano," she murmurs.
You nod, completely charmed, and do so, sliding back the key cover as you do. You notice at that point that you're still holding the music for 'Jasmine Flower' in your hand. You make to put it on the music stand, but Remilia takes it from your hand and coldly throws it away. The sheets float through the air and fall somewhere under the piano. Then she bends over you, briefly pressing herself against you as she takes a violin and its accompanying bow from behind the music stand.
Standing at her full height, she plays a single high note to test the sound, then nods approvingly. Your eyes widen in surprise. You've never heard Remilia play an instrument before, though given the vast collection of them spread throughout the mansion, the idea makes perfect sense.
You observe her, feeling your body tingle wirh anticipation. Remilia taps the body of the violin with the bow and smiles warmly at you. "Do you... know how old I am, Christabel?"
You blink. "I... I guess I have an idea..."
"No you don't," Remilia cuts you off, shaking her head, scarlet eyes wide. "I am five hundred and thirteen years old, to the date. That's five centuries. Do you know exactly how much happens in five centuries? More than you could possibly imagine. Only a fool could think life boring. I have travelled to every corner of the Earth, made and killed more enemies than you could imagine, met with the most illustrious personages of every age. They have called me the Scarlet Devil, for ordering the massacre at La Rochelle, though it was nothing but an act of pity, and La Corolle, for taking the flowers I wore around my head and dropping them into the pools of blood left by the guillotined. Some wear their memories like a sack of stones and are crushed by them, I wear mine around myself like a silken shroud, so I can observe my favorites when I will."
She takes a deep breath, her chest swelling with pride. "One of them is the story behind this violin. It's old, it was old when the man who gave it to me handed it to me in its case. But it has always played beautifully, and I remember what the man told me so vividly. He said that one night, the Devil visited him in his sleep and offered him eternal servitude in exchange for his soul. He agreed, of course, and his first command as new master of Hell was to order the Devil to entertain him with some music. But he could not contain his surprise when the Devil took his violin and played the most beautiful music the man had ever heard, with such art and skill and intelligence that no human could achieve, so beautiful that he broke down crying, and, in his sadness, awoke. Rushing to his desk, the man tried to copy down what he had heard. The result was some of the most beautiful music ever written, but he claimed that for the rest of his life it tortured him that what he'd composed was only the palest shadow of the music the Devil had played. On his deathbed, he handed his violin to me, because I was so much like the Devil of his memory."
You clasp your hands together, gaze fixed on Remilia, awed. "That's a beautiful story, milady," you manage to whisper, not quite sure what else to say.
"It is, isn't it?" Remilia asks with a smile. "But the music is even better. Come, I'll play it, and you can play the accompaniment."
You blink, slightly bewildered since you don't have the sheet music. "Alright, I guess," you say with a smile, "I suppose I can improvise something..."
Remilia frowns, glaring at you. "What? No," she snaps, "play it as written."
"But I don't know-"
"Of course you do!" A shadow of something monstruous crosses Remilia's face, and you draw back with a gasp, but it's gone as soon as it came. "Of course you do," she says softly, and lightly brushes your cheek with the tip of her bow. It's cold. "Just try it. What's the worst that could happen?"
"Alright then," you acquiesce, still somewhat frightened. Taking a deep breath to calm your nerves, you place your fingers on the piano keys at the same time as Remilia adjusts her violin and raises her bow.
The Devil's Trill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VR6XJsGOF1s&feature=youtube_gdata_player
With a sigh, Remilia begins the melody, a sweet, mournful tune. The violin is powerful - the sound instantly feels the room, enveloping you in a warm, silken texture. Frantically, you strike the first succession of notes that comes to mind. Remilia says nothing and keeps playing, so you continue, striking some chords for harmony on every phrase. The melody develops, the rich, red chocolate tones thinning and growing wilder, sharper, as though the previous sadness had given way to anger. Remilia plays like an angel and you struggle to follow, but follow you do. Slowly you realize, as you punctuate each accent of the melody with loud, angry chords, that you aren't making things up. You know the piece, perhaps you have always known it, and playing it is more like returning to something you haven't touched for years than it is stumbling upon something new.
Suddenly Remilia, or rather the music, seems to run out of breath. The angry, fast bowing slows down to a sad, tired dirge, and your own striking morphs into soft, rolling passages, occasionally interrupted when Remilia makes the violin screech dry, harsh pitches like the screams of a torture victim. The music is crying now, it has abandoned all pretense of form, it is absolute despair and absolute loss and a deep, burning resentment. Then, finally, it recovers its composure. The melody returns, defiant, for one last battle, and Remilia ends it all with a thundering final chord.
The moment the sound stops ringing in yout ears, you slump, hands slipping off the keyboard. You feel drained, emptied. Remilia for her part has more composure, but she too seems slightly stunned, and slowly shuffles towards you, almost shyly, and places the violin on top of the closed lid of the piano. "One wonders," she murmurs, "how the Devil felt, at such severance, such complete separation from God." She sighs, eyes half closed, a deep inner commotion only just barely making itself visible on her face. "But make no mistake, it is better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven."
She locks eyes with you, and the two of you stare at each other in silence for the longest time, with no sound between you but the frantic beating of your heart.
Then Remilia is upon you suddenly, she's tackled you to the floor. You feel the heady smell of her perfume cloud your thoughts, and the weight of her body smother you. Her mouth locks with yours in a heated kiss which you lustfully return. Her hands roam over your legs, your hips, she roughly shoves them inside your dress and fondles your pale breasts. Helpless, you moan lustfully into her mouth.
Then without warning she leaves you. Remilia stands up, gasping for breath. She seems vaguely lost, almost confused. Then she glares. "You little whore!"
She moves, and you feel the sting of a slap on your left cheek. Remilia is so strong that the blow literally blurs your vision, and by the time you recover you can only just see her receding form as she leaves your bedroom, slamming the door shut behind her.
You stay like that for a while, sitting on the floor, hurt and confused and utterly bewildered. Finally, after what seems like forever you stand up shakily, adjusting your red dress and underwear to recover some pretense of modesty.
You struggle to make sense of things. What to do now?
[X] Chase after Remilia.
[X] Meiling seemed pretty hurt. Maybe you should go look for her.
[X] Ask Patchouli for advice.