After a moment I snap my fingers. "How about something casual? You know, Outside fashion?"
"Huh?" Remilia looks surprised. "Well, I don't know... I wasn't thinking about that. I was just wondering what sort of dress I should wear, or if I should stick to what I usually have on-"
"No, Meiling's right," Sakuya interjects. She scratches her chin thoughtfully. "Something cute and appealing that catches her eyes, something new and exotic to her viewpoint without being overdone... maybe something that makes her want to try something new."
"Reimu in outsider clothes?" I ask, seeing where she's going with this.
"I have an idea there, but half the fun would her her and Mistress Remilia looking through the wardrobe." Sakuya winks at Remilia, who blinks, considering.
"Picking out clothes with Reimu," she says thoughtfully. A pretty, gentle smile comes over her face. "That is an excellent idea! If it works, I mean, but it's worth a shot, right? So, um..." Remilia paces over to an unused section of her wardrobe. "I of course have a selection, but I've never worn them. What do you two think would look good?"
The three of us spend the next hour or so picking through clothes for Remilia, finally settling on a blue pair of shorts and a pair of shirts, one worn on top of the other. A black ribbon tops it all off. The final result is actually quite cute, showcasing Remilia's youthful attractiveness while not making her look like a child. No two ways about it, Sakuya knows her stuff.
The rest of the evening is quite busy, as we scamper around making sure everything is perfect. Finally, everyone makes it an early night, ready to do our best to make tomorrow the best day it can be. What bothers me is that I can't find Flandre anywhere. Some of the fairy maids did see her in one of the older storage rooms, rooting through a box marked 'BRIDESMAIDS.' This worries me.
The next morning dawns clear and bright, and promises to be a gorgeous day. I'm at the gate earlier than normal. This is it! We all have to make this day successful for Mistress Remilia! A couple of fairies stand next to me. I'll be passing the task of door guard to them for the day while I escort Reimu around. Speaking of whom...
There she is! Just appearing over the treetops! "All right," I whisper to the two maids, "Best behaviour, remember!" They nod, serious, and we wait for Reimu.
Moments later, she touches down in front of us looking... well, a little tired, really. Maybe she got up early for this? She looks fine otherwise, customized miko outfit not having a single speck of dust on it, but a yawn lets us know that she isn't fully awake yet.
"Morning, Reimu!" I say cheerfully.
"Mmmm, mornin'," Reimu yawns, "Sorry, woke up early, and-" she is suddenly interrupted by a large growl. From her stomach. Lengthy one, too. The three of us struggle to hold back smirks while Reimu blushes, looking a bit bashful. "Uh, yeah..." she mutters. "Well, see... I figured Remilia would be feeding me, so it was an excuse to conserve some food, so uh..."
"Haven't eaten yet?" I ask knowingly.
Reimu looks mortified. "I woke up early because my stomach was growling, okay?"
One of my fairies moves forward holding a steaming mug. "Tea?" Reimu takes it gratefully, and seems to wake up as she downs it. Then her stomach rumbles again, and she goes back to mortification.
"Breakfast?" I offer.
"...Yes please." Reimu's face is starting to match her outfit.
"Then follow me! Breakfast should be ready soon." I push open the gate and lead Reimu to the house, still drinking her tea. "Anyway, thanks for being our guest! We're all looking forward to it."
Reimu looks at me quizzically. "So, Meiling, what's Remilia's game, here?"
"Well, every single time she's invited me over, there's always been this glint in her eye like she's planning something. I don't know what, maybe she just wanted to suck some shrine maiden blood. She seems genuine this time. I just want to know what's what." Reimu shrugs.
I hesitate before answering. "It's because there always was an ulterior motive before. She realized that, and now she's making a genuine offer. You know, to make up for all those times the offer was less than genuine." Why lie? It's the truth, after all.
Reimu seems to take this in. "Oh," is all she says sipping at her tea. We walk up to the door. "You're coming with me?"
"Yep. I'm on internal duty today, and Sakuya's always with Remilia, so you get stuck with me." I smile at her in a friendly manner.
Reimu smirks. "Personal escort, huh? Then would you kindly escort me to the dining room?"
I chuckle. "Right this way, Reimu."
I lead Reimu into the mansion into the mansion and start down the hall when Remilia's voice calls out to us. We turn, and Reimu's eyes immediately get as wide as dinner plates. Remilia walks down the hallway in her chosen clothing, quickly but not hurrying, while Sakuya reamains a few paces behind her. Her face his open, her smile broad and genuine. She has none of the usual smug slyness she gets whenever someone comes for a visit. Good job, Remilia!
She makes her way up to us and smiles at Reimu. "I'm glad you came! Breakfast is ready whenever you are."
Reimu stares at her for a long moment. "Remilia, what the hell are you wearing?"
"Uh, uh..." Remlia sputters, looking for an answer, while Sakuya looks at me in a panic. Gotta salvage this!
"They're clothes from the outside," I say casually. "What do you think?" I say it as though it's the most natural thing in the world. Reimu blinks at me before taking a longer closer look at Remilia, even pacing around her to take in the whole outfit. The whole mansion seems to hold its breath...
Reimu smiles. "You know what? It's kinda cute!" She giggles. Remilia seems ready to die of joy, and I barely keep from breathing out in relief. Then I notice something out of the corner of my eye, and my breath freezes in my throat.. "So, where did you get it, anyway?" Reimu asks, curious.
"Oh! Well, I actually have quite a few clothes that I've collected over the-"
"ANYWAY!" I loudly interrupt, repositioning myself. "Reimu, I think breakfast is ready right about now! I think Sakuya's cooked up eggs, bacon, sausage-" Reimu's stomach growls loudly. I think I actually see a vase quivering. "-for starters."
Reimu nods, embarrassed. "Yes, please."
"Then off we go!" Remilia chirps. After a moment's hesitation, she screws up her courage enough to take Reimu's hand and lead her towards the dining room. In their wake, Sakuya frowns at me.
"Meiling, what in-"
"I saw Flandre-" I say flatly. "Walking down the hall. She had a pink dress on."
Sakuya stares in horror. "...A bridesmaid's dress?"
She thinks for a moment. "I'm getting Patchouli and Koakuma, and I'm getting them to distract her."
Shortly thereafter, Reimu and Remilia are eating breakfast. And by 'eating,' I mean that Reimu is absolutely stuffing her her face while Remilia looks on in amusement. Poor girl must have been half-starved. Reimu starts to say something, then remembers that her mouth is full and grabs a glass of orange juice to clear it. "So this is western food? It's great!"
"You've been to my parties before," Remilia notes. "You've had food like this."
"Well, not exactly like this," Reimu replies. "It's not as extravagant and rich as what what you normally serve. It's like... the sort of food that sticks to you, keeps you healthy, you know? I could get used to this."
Remilia shoots Meiling and I a stealthy thumbs-up. "Well, there's plenty of that where it came from! I have two more meals planned for you today, more if you stay the night! You should feel free to drop by whenever you like. My door is always open for you, you know." Oooh, slick, Remilia.
Reimu thinks about it, then smiles. "You know? Maybe I'll have to." Once again, Remilia makes a gesture under the table, a fist-pump of triumph. She keeps her face steady, though.
... You know what? Time to take a risk.
"So, Reimu," I say, "What do you think of Remilia's outfit?" I'm careful to leave out 'Mistress.' This is supposed to be informal, after all.
Reimu nods approvingly. "It's cute! You should wear that clothing more often, Remilia. It really suits you."
Remilia blushes, but waves a hand dismissively. "Oh, I couldn't! Appearances to maintain, you know. That's why I'm glad to have a day like this. It lets me unwind among trusted friends. And Reimu?" She smiles. "Please, just call me Remi. No need to be too formal, after all."
Reimu shrugs, munching on a bagel. How much has she eaten, anyway? "Sure thing, Remi." Remilia pumps her fist again. So far, so good! Time to go a little further.
"You wanna try some clothes like that on?" I ask Reimu. "There's a whole bunch in storage."
Sakuya catches on at once. "Indeed. I think you'd look good in some of them, Reimu. Nothing wrong with trying something different, right?"
Reimu pauses a moment before swallowing another bite of egg. "Sure, why not? You'll have to show me what you've got stashed away, Remi." Remilia nods agreeably before realizing that she's going to be helping Reimu try on clothes. She barely keeps her composure, but manages somehow.
Reimu and Remilia spend a good couple of hours digging out various clothes for Reimu to try on. Some look good, others not so much, but Reimu finally settles on a tight pair of jeans that stop at the knee and a sleeveless red shirt. It looks... pretty good on her, actually. In that kind of outfit it's possible to get a better idea of what her body looks like, and I have to hand it to Reimu: for a girl that has such a spartan diet, she actually has a pretty good figure. Incident resolution must be pretty good exercise. Remilia is struggling not to look at how the shirt stretches across Reimu's chest, or how the jeans show off her legs and butt. Struggle being the operative word. Like I said, not bad, Reimu.
The only low point is when a frazzled-looking fairy slips Sakuya and I a note in Koakuma's handwriting. It reads: FLANDRE IN OLD CHAPEL, DECORATING. HUMMING WEDDING MUSIC. TRYING TO DISTRACT. DO NOT LET REIMU NEAR WEST WING!
Oh god, we need to get Reimu outside.
Fortunately, Reimu has sttled on her flattering new ensemble, and is admiring herself in the mirror (along with Remilia). Sakuya takes the opportunity to suggest that everyone go outside to enjoy the garden, and Remilia is quick to agree. Reimu concurs, and the four of us head outside.
Right to the part of the garden arranged to look like a Hakurei yin-yang. Remilia looks at Reimu eagerly, waiting for her reaction. Reimu looks... uncertain. Like she walked into a room to find that someone had pasted pictures of her all over the walls. Right, then.
"I hope you don't mind," I say quickly, "but I was stuck on ideas for the garden this year, and decided to borrow your symbol. Is that alright?" Remilia looks at me in surprise.
"Uh... it's okay," Reimu says slowly, "but that's the sort of thing to ask about beforehand, y'know?" Remilia looks startled, then horrified when she realizes what Reimu's feelings on the flowers are, and finally relieved when she realizes that she isn't being blamed for it.
"Yeah, sorry. I'll remember that next year." Reimu shrugs it off, and Remilia gives me a grateful look. Might get a bonus for that one. Taking one for the team!
"Well, it's such a lovely day," Sakuya notes. " And Remilia has a parasol to keep the sun off. What about a friendly danmaku duel?" Remilia looks at Reimu, again eager for her response.
"Eh," Reimu shrugs, clearly uninterested. "Maybe another day. I'd like to just relax and not strain myself today, you know?" Sakuya nods evenly, and Remilia tosses her another grateful look. Another one taken for the team! Well, for Remilia.
"There's lots of things to do here, anyway," Remilia says. "Anything interest you?"
Reimu looks at her. "Sure. What can you do here?"
Okay, gotta jump in with suggestions.
 Relaxing tour of the gardens.  Visit the trophy room.  Pool time!  Tennis, anyone?  Write-in?
(Pretty much just re-posting earlier options. Pick more than one, and feel free to suggest an afternoon schedule for Reimu, and we'll work on the evening schedule later. No stress, just have fun with it.)
[X] Relaxing tour of the gardens [X] Write-in: Show her the swimming pool and tennis court and other facilities on hand. Offer a swim/game/etc. while on the tour. Let her decide. Yeah we need to keep the things casual, as in, oh look, there's the pool, there's the tennis court, oh? How about a match?
>>55412 I'd say it's more our tendency to join bandwagons instead of coming up with creative votes on our own. Not that I see any problem with that, as long as the bandwagon sounds promising, like this one.
[X] Relaxing tour of the gardens [X] Write-in: Show her the swimming pool and tennis court and other facilities on hand. Offer a swim/game/etc. while on the tour. Let her decide.
"Well, the gardens really are lovely," I point out. "There's a hedge-maze, the tennis court is set up, oh and there's an indoor pool if you're interested!" I carefully leave out anything regarding the west wing. Hopefully Flandre will be contained soon. This is arguably more terrifying than any of her openly destructive rampages.
I'm about to continue when Sakuya covertly shushes me with a gesture. She turns to Remilia. "What do you think, Mistress?"
"Huh?" Remilia looks surprised, but I understand at once. Of course. This is Remilia's date. We can only help her out so much. She needs to take the lead at some point. "Well... Reimu, how about a nice stroll around the gardens? Later we can have some lunch, or maybe there's something you'd like to try out."
Reimu shrugs. "Sure. It's a nice day, after all."
And so Reimu and Remilia started to walk around the gardens, simply enjoying the day (although Remilia had to protect herself with a parasol). As they walked, Remilia kept sneaking glances at Reimu whenever the latter was looking at a particularly lovely arrangement (yes, I appreciated her interest). I nudge Sakuya at one point. "We need to talk to her about that," I mutter, "she really needs to control herself better, or she might annoy Reimu."
Sakuya nods and flickers momentarily. Remilia blinks, and glances at a note that has appeared in her hand. Her wings twitch, and she glances back at the two of us with a nod. Another flicker from Sakuya, and the note is gone.
Remilia clears her throat. "So, Reimu. How are things lately? I know being a shrine maiden is rough."
Reimu shrugs. "Same as usual. Troublesome youkai. Declining donations. No credit whatsoever." Remilia nods but says nothing, just waiting. After another moment, Reimu sighs. "It's just frustrating, you know? I set up the spell card system after that nightmare in Makai, and it succeeds where nothing else has in the past. It gives people a chance to settle their grievances with no more bloodshed. Then Myouren temple shows up, takes credit for spreading peace and steals even more worshipers. Also, it's apparently fine for them to have both youkai and human followers, but not me." She shakes her head. "I work my butt off to keep people safe here, but the Moriya shrine is the one that gets credit for making life easier here in Gensokyo. If I'm too soft on youkai, people complain to me. If I'm too harsh, the youkai complain that I'm overstepping myself." She kicks a stone on the ground in sudden anger. "I can't win. Ever."
Remilia falls silent for a moment. "I'm sorry. I never knew how thankless it could be. But at least you have friends to back you up!" she points out.
Reimu grunts. "I guess. Marisa's a good friend and all, but she's mainly concerned with bettering herself. A good buddy, but not exactly someone you confide your deepest secrets too. Incidentally, Meiling," she looks back at me, "Marisa wants revenge on you for that little incident with you. Which was hilarious and deserved, by the way," Reimu giggles.
I smile back. "Thanks. I'll keep an eye out."
Remilia seems troubled. "What about Yukari and Suika?"
Reimu grunts. "Suika means well, but she's, well, drunk all the time. As for Yukari..." Reimu sighs heavily. "Yukari is either groping me, or trying to anyway, acting all mysterious and untrustworthy, or worst of all trying to lecture me on my responsibilities..."
Remilia scoffs in disbelief. "YUKARI. Lecturing someone on responsibility."
"I know, right?" Reimu rolls her eyes. "She's trying to lecture me on keeping the balance and how I'm supposed to do it, how hard I need to work, yadda yadda yadda."
"What do you say?"
"I ask her how long her latest nap was. Shuts her up every time." Remilia laughs at this. "Lately she's been pressuring me to get married."
Remilia stops laughing immediately. "She what."
"Yeah," Reimu shakes her head in frustration. "A couple weeks ago she started worrying about the family line. I told her I was still young enough that I didn't want to think about that yet. She started going on about obligations and stuff, and I told her to shove it. I'll marry when I damn well feel like it." Reimu stops to smell some rosebushes. "So, she keeps going on and on, and I tell her to shut up or I'm sealing her under the shrine for a week."
"So what did you do?" Remilia asks, curious.
"I sealed her under the shrine for a week."
"You DID?!" Remilia gapes at Reimu.
"Don't look so surprised. Yukari's powerful, but not all-powerful. She has limits. I set up a bunch of wards around the shrine a long time ago. I just activated them to seal her gap powers, and the rest was easily. She sniffled and whimpered the whole week long." Reimu throws her hands up defensively. "She pushed me too far! I couldn't take it anymore!"
"...What about her servants?"
"When Ran and Chen came along to rescue her, I beat them up and made them clean up the shrine." Remilia stares at Reimu in disbelief for a long moment, then bursts out into laughter. After a moment, Reimu joins her.
"She totally deserved it," Remilia giggles.
"You have NO idea," Reimu giggles back.
"Nicely done. Say, have you ever played tennis?" At Reimu's shake of the head, Remilia continues on. "It's a sport from the outside, a bit like danmaku, but you knock a ball back at each other. And it has the cutest outfit, I think you'd like it!"
Reimu smiles. "You know what? Sounds fun!"
A bit later, Reimu and Remilia are laughing together as they play tennis in the shaded tennis court. Both are clad in white tennis uniforms. Reimu seems to enjoy the game a great deal.
"HUP! Not, bad, I see why outsiders AH! play this!" Reimu calls to Remilia, grunting whenever she intercepts the ball.
"YAH! It's not bad, is it? HAH! By the way, the uniform ACK! looks cute on you!"
"HAH! Thanks! Looks cute on you, too!" Reimu thinks for a moment as she knocks the ball back to Remilia. "You know? AH! You're awfully cute today."
"EHHH?!" Remilia yelps, letting the ball sail past her. "...Wait."
"Hahah, I win that round!" Reimu laughs.
"That was so cheap!" Remilia laughs back.
Reimu sticks her tongue out. "It's your fault for getting distracted! Anyway, my serve, right?" Remilia giggles and tosses the ball to Reimu, who thinks for I moment. "You know what?" She starts floating. "I just had an idea!"
Remilia grins and starts flying herself. "I'll play along!" The two start improvising an aerial version of tennis, starting to bounce the ball off of walls, the ground trees... there aren't any apparent rules, but neither seems to care.
Honestly? I think they may have just improved the game of tennis.
After a quick game, Sakuya brings out some sandwiches and we all sit down to have a quick lunch. Sakuya and I make sure to give Reimu and Remilia some space, though. Let them have their fun.
"So, what's this about a pool?" Reimu eventually asks.
"Oh, I have an indoor pool," Remilia shrugs. "Freshly cleaned. Once we've had time to digest, we can dig out some swimsuits and take a dip, if you'd like."
Reimu nods. "Sure, sounds fun." In response, Remilia nods happily, then freezes, then turns away so that she can control her anticipation at seeing Reimu in a swimsuit. Reimu doesn't notice however, having turned to me. "So Meiling, what's this I hear about you and Yuuka?" Remilia's internal struggle is forgotten as she suddenly bursts out laughing. I glare back at Reimu's smirk.
"Aw, c'moooon," Reimu wheedles. "Word is that the mighty flower youkai is tripping over herself trying to impress you! What'd you do, huh? Breed some lovely lilies?" Reimu grins wickedly, and I lower my face into my hands. Dear lord, word is spreading. I'll never hear the end of it.
After lunch, I show Reimu to a wardrone where some swimsuits are stored. I immediately pick out a green bikini, but Reimu takes her time looking. "Hey, Meiling?"
"Level with me. What does Remilia want?" She doesn't turn to me as I say this.
I stare at her back, trying to quell my anger. How dare she...?! "Nothing," I tell her levelly. "She asked you here because she cares about you. Because she's trying to be your friend."
"Oh." Reimu's voice is subdued. "Because you said it yourself: it wasn't always that way."
I deflate a little. "No. I guess not."
"A lot of people aren't really interested in me, you know," Reimu comments, still not looking around. "There are people who only care about my position. Guardian maiden, and all that jazz. People who want to use my hereditary power. My body, in various senses. They only care about how I can benefit them. I myself am only a token addition, if you get my meaning."
I do. "It must be hard."
"Not knowing who your friends really are? Not knowing which of the people who praise you to your face insult you behind your back? Not having anyone who you really feel you can connect with? Yeah. It sucks." Reimu's voice is bitter, and I'm starting to get an understanding of her. Why she can seem so... frosty at times. It must be hard, being under such pressure and not knowing who your friends are.
"...Remilia used to be like that," I say quietly, "but she's changed. She invited you here because she's trying to be a friend. A real friend. She cares about you. Yes, she admires you and what you do. Yes, she thinks you're a cute girl. But beyond all that she cares about you as a person." I don't add that it happened when Reimu let Remilia see beyond her shell. She doesn't need to hear it.
"Maybe," Reimu answers quietly, running a hand over the upper part of her face. I pretend not to notice. "She's done some lousy things in the past, huh?"
"No more than what she had to," I shrug. "She has to drink blood to live, and she's had to protect herself. There've been humans much worse than she could ever dream of. That doesn't excuse her, necessarily, but... it may explain things, at least. At any rate, I've always tried to keep her from going to far."
"Huh?" Reimu seems surprised at that.
"I've been here longer than anyone else," I remind Reimu. "I know her very well. Sakuya may go along with whatever she wants, and Patchouli may turn a blind eye, but I'm the one who tells her when she's wrong. Like during the Scarlet Mist Incident? When that red mist was going to choke Gensokyo? We almost came to blows over that. I was about to get some weapons from the armory and confront her over it when you and Marisa showed up. Kinda became moot after that."
"That's hard to believe." Reimu sounds very surprised. I just shrug.
"I'm not the pushover everyone seems to think. In hand-to-hand, I can just about equal her, and certain artifacts can push me above her level."
"Wow." Reimu nods, apparently impressed, before changing the subject. "Okay, I'll take this one."
"Hm? Ah! R-Reimu, that one's-"
"Yeah, it looks nice, I think it'll fit perfectly."
"But there's not much-"
"Who cares? It's all girls here, and I like the way water feels against my skin. This'll be perfect."
Remilia isn't going to be ready for this.
Our indoor pool is very large, and only fits thanks to the mansion's rather unsteady relationship with normal geometry, and Sakuya's manipulation of that relationship. Tinted skylights give plenty of lighting without causing any bother to vampires, and a series of deck chairs line one side.
Remilia has chosen a relatively modest red tankini, while Sakuya has chosen a dark blue strapless bikini. Reimu chose a white bikini. A small one. As in, a thong and small enough that it shows underboob. Somehow, she wears it without a trace of embarrassment. Does this girl have no modesty, or has being around Suika and Yukari totally destroyed it?! Poor Remilia' jaw almost hits the ground hard enough to crack it, not that Reimu notices.
Still, once Remilia gets over her shock, the two spend a pleasant afternoon in the pool, racing each other, digging out an inflatable ball... somehow Sakuya smuggles in a small waterslide. I have no idea how.
After a couple of hours, Remilia conscripts me, and my knowledge of chi and pressure points, to give her and Reimu a massage. They keep talking while I alternate between the two of them and seem to appreciate it. Then, Sakuya starts giving me puppy-dog eyes, and I give her a massage as well. She enjoys it far too much, as far as I'm concerned.
"Is Yuuka next?" Reimu asks sweetly.
Evening schedule (supper included)?
[ ] Try on dresses? [ ] Dancing lessons? [ ] Games of some sort? [ ] Maybe a portrait? [ ] Write-in?
[X] Games of some sort? [X] Try on dresses? [X] Dancing lessons? -[X] Only if the mood's right! Mood must be right for this!
Table games to digest, then dresses and maybe dance should do nicely. After that problem in teh garden, let's avoid the portrait. I don't think Reimu would like the idea.
For Remilia's sake, I hope the mood for love will soon come during the dresses part. Because while friendship made total victory, love progress doesn't seem to have advanced. Not from what we've seen anyway. Should we be worried?
[X] Write-in: Ice cream. What else do you by the poolside? [X] Write-in: Something more relaxing after all that exercise. Do we have an aviary or stables? Either tea in the aviary or horseriding and tea-picnic by the lake. [X]Dresses and dancing much later in the evening, maybe after dinner.
>>55431 If she runs into Flandre she will assume that all of this was to seduce her so she'd get married to Remilia and THEN she could drink her blood freely. Classical romance/comedy situation.
>>55426 No, no need. We'll make sure they get some alone time at the end, but... did you really think she'd fall for her in a single date? I'm of the opinion that there's some feeling hidden and this 'date' is intenteded to make her change her mind switch from acquaintance/friend to true friend to possible love interest. And to prepare Remilia for one-on-one dates without freaking out.
[X] Write-in: Ice cream. What else do you by the poolside? [X] Games of some sort? [X] Dancing (after dinner)
Reimu grins at me again. "You've got some magic fingers there, Meiling."
"Chi control, actually," Remilia quips.
"Whatever you wanna call it, they're good." I just groan in embarrassment.
Remilia grins. "Sakuya? If you can tear yourself away from Miss Magic-fingers there, some ice-cream would be nice."
"Mmmmkay," Sakuya sighs. A flicker, and dishes of ice cream are set out for Reimu and Remilia, while Sakuya waits expectantly for me to resume. I roll my eyes and comply. Okay, gotta change the subject before Reimu starts up again.
"So, Reimu," I start. "You said Yukari was after you to get married. Any men in your life?"
"Eh, Yukari was just being a busybody on a sensitive subject," Reimu waves her hand dismissively. "As for men, it's hard to find a decent one here in Gensokyo. You may have noticed."
"We went to a party awhile back," Remilia nods. "It was a disaster. Except for Patchouli."
Reimu stares at Remilia. "What."
"I know. Scary, isn't it?" Reimu turns her head and stares off into the distance, clearly having a hard time accepting this. I know exactly how she feels.
I decide to take the moment to broach a question. "Does it have to be a man? What about a girl?"
Remilia chokes on her ice-cream, but Reimu just chuckles. "It'd make extending the line a bet difficult, wouldn't it? Honestly though, I don't care so much about that. Male, female, whatever, I just want someone to appreciate me..." Reimu trails off, suddenly feeling as though she's said too much. She quickly plows on. "Still, gotta have kids someday, and all." She doesn't seem too pleased at the prospect. Probably not too keen on the idea of being expected to have children just for the sake of having descendants.
"Go to Eientei," Sakuya murmurs, still subject to my ministrations. "Ask Eirin about artificial insemination. Find a donor. Boom, done."
Reimu hesitates. "Kinda... heartless, isn't it?"
"Better than an unhappy marriage of convenience." Reimu looks distinctly uncomfortable. Remilia glances at her and clears her throat.
"Well, how about we have a little game of something before supper? Cards, perhaps?"
Reimu grins at her. "Strip poker?"
Remilia gasps in shock. "Why Reimu! I had no idea you wanted to see my body so badly! Is-isn't this enough for you?" Swooning, Remilia starts to fiddle with the strap of her bathing suit.
"I didn't mean it seriously, dammit!" Reimu yelps, flushing bright red at once. She starts to sputter, but trails off when she notices Remilia smirking at her.
"I win that one," the vampire declares.
"...Damn it, Remilia," Reimu growls, glaring at Remilia. Remilia just grins triumphantly. After a while, the two burst out laughing. Sakuya and I glance at each other. Things are going well.
After drying off and changing back into casual clothes, Reimu and Remilia settle down in a sitting room to start playing a few games. They spin through them at random, Remilia introducing Reimu to everything from Chess to Risk and Monopoly. Reimu seems interested, though she admits to having a preference for japanese games. It doesn't stop her from playing, though.
Sakuya has disappeared to check on Flandre and start preparing a meal, while I stay close enough to attend to Reimu and Remilia's needs, while still being far enough away to give them some privacy. Doesn't stop me from overhearing them, though.
"Hey, Remilia," Reimu says all of a sudden.
"Hm?" Remilia is considering the board carefully. It looks like they're playing some version of Risk.
"Have you ever done something you aren't proud of?" Reimu is carefully not looking at her.
Remilia doesn't answer for a long moment. "...Yes," she finally says. "Quite a few things, in fact."
Reimu glances up. "Oh yeah?"
Remilia is silent again. "How do I explain? When I became a vampire, I did what I had to do. What I felt was my right to do, what I was TOLD I had the right to do. Vampires fed on humans. Wasn't that simply how things were? Of course, I saw the excesses of some of my kind, and was disgusted by them." She moves a piece on the board. "Flandre and I are the last. Good riddance to the rest, really. But as horrified as I was by some of what they did, that doesn't mean I was able to befriend humanity."
Remilia stares at Reimu. "They wouldn't let me. They despised me because I harmed and fed upon them. Understandable. They would attack me to prevent any more harm. Also understandable. My relationship with humans went on that way for years, and I never begrudged them their anger, their aggression. It was simply how things were. And it never occurred to me that things could be any different."
Reimu thinks about it for a moment. "You're pretty personable these days, though. What changed?"
"I met you," Remilia says simply. Reimu blushes, looking shocked. "Don't look at me that way. You're one of the first people I ever met who saw no reason for me to fight humans. Oh, Sakuya's human, but when she came into my service we both came to see her as a rare exception to the rule." She takes a long drink of wine. "You are the first person who ever encouraged me to get out of the house and just... talk to people. Who showed me that I didn't have to live that way, constantly at war with the world. So I tried. And I enjoyed it. Life became much sweeter." Remilia smiles gently. "That's all because of you. And it's how I started to appreciate you. So, thank you, Reimu." Reimu stares in shock for a moment before blushing brightly and quickly staring down at the game board. Remilia lets the moment pass, still with that gentle smile upon her face.
Reimu and Remilia are having supper now, with Sakuya attending to them. Meanwhile, I'm on my way to check up on Koakuma and Patchouli. I find them standing in front of the library, Koakuma looking awkward, while Patchouli is rubbing her face in aggravation.
"What's going on?" I ask.
"Flandre has barricaded herself inside, and is researching," Patchouli mutters a response.
"Researching what?" Patchouli doesn't answer. Instead, Koa slowly swivels her head to look at me.
"Artificial reproduction between women," she explains.
"She wants to be an 'auntie,'" Koakuma continues. "But she understands that it could mess things up if Reimu and Remilia... you know..."
Patchouli takes things up there. "So, Flandre decided to find a way for Remilia to impregnate Reimu, but removing any vampiric elements."
Koakuma takes up the conversation again. "The end result? Perfectly human child, Hakurei descent, with possibly even greater power. Imagine if she inherits Remilia's personality."
The thought of Remilia as a shrine maiden, or Reimu acting like Remilia runs through my head. I shudder along with Koa and Patchouli. "How far has she gotten?"
Patchouli shakes her head. "The actual research? Not far. The family planning? She figures that twelve children should be enough."
"She's picked out names, too," Koa adds helpfully.
I stare at the door for a long moment, just imagining the horrors awaiting within. Then I turn around and walk away. Nope. Got enough to deal with right now. Flandre can wait. I feel the glares of the other two upon my back as I get the hell out of there.
I arrive in the dining room just as Reimu and Remilia are finishing their meal. "So, what would yo like to do next?" Remilia asks brightly.
"Dunno," Reimu shrugs. She seems a bit subdued. "What do you have in mind?"
"How about dancing?" I ask, walking up to the table. "Reimu, have you ever ballroom danced? Want some lessons?"
Reimu chuckles, blushing. "Nice idea, but I really don't have the clothing for that..."
"Did you forget where you are? We can find something nice for you to wear!" Remilia smiles brightly at my suggestion, while Reimu somehow blushes even brighter than before. After a moment, she nods.
"W-well, fine... a-as long as it's a nice dress, I guess..." she trails off, looking embarrassed.
I suddenly note that Reimu can, when she lets herself, look awfully darned cute.
The two spend several hours going through various closets. I try to get a read on Reimu's attitude. She seems quite excited to try on as many different dresses as possible, but other times she seems subdued, even bashful. Maybe she's feeling a little awkward after Remilia basically admitted that Reimu had changed her for the better?
Bashfulness aside, Reimu certainly gets a kick out of posing in a variety of different outfits, and gets Remilia in on the act too. They really are just a couple of girls when you let them be. Reimu finally settles on a lovely white sleeveless dress with gloves (the ribbon and hair tubes stay, of course). It's... really quite flattering on her. Reimu can definitely look beautiful when she allows herself. Remilia chooses a rich red dress (naturally) that is form-fitting on top, but fairly loose around the legs. Again, very flattering.
Then Remilia insists that Reimu sit down, and starts brushing her hair, humming gently as she does so. It's... quite the sight, really. I exchange a wordless look with Sakuya. Remilia looks utterly content, as though she's had the best day ever (and maybe she has), just humming tunelessly while she gently runs a comb through Reimu's hair. Reimu sits motionless, not saying anything, just sitting and blushing faintly. Occasionally she glances at Remilia's reflection in the mirror, expression unreadable.
Somehow, I think things are going rather well.
And then, dancing. Sakuya and I watch as Remilia guides Reimu through a series of steps, a few of the fairies playing a slow tune off to the side. Remilia leads at first, then allows Reimu to take over as soon as the shrine maiden picks up the motions. Reimu's taller, so it sort of looks like an elder and younger sister practicing their steps before a ball. But as the night wears on, and the full moon rises in the sky, Remilia starts to improvise, hovering to eye-level with Reimu, gazing deep into her eyes as the two glide across the floor to the sound of fey music. Vampire holds shrine maiden tightly but gently, a gentle smile on her face.
There's no vampire magic at work, but Reimu can't bring herself to look away from Remilia. She doesn't pull back, either.
Remilia giggles. "Wasn't it? You're really something, you know."
The two are having a private moment on one of the balconies, sipping wine as they look over the moonlit garden. Sakuya and I... are hovering just out of sight. Her idea. Not that I protested much. I guess. Look, who could stand to miss something like this?!
Reimu sighs deeply, looking at the sky. "Thank you for this. I needed it."
"I could tell," Remilia says knowingly. "That's why I invited you here. It was time I let you know that there really are people who care about you."
"I know that," Reimu insists, "It's just... no one's ever let me know quite like this." She chuckles weakly.
After a moment, Remilia sighs. "...I'm sorry."
"...I did have an ulterior motive for asking you here today."
"...Oh." Reimu sounds disappointed. After a moment she sighs. "All right. Let's here it. What's on your mind?" Her voice as gone from the carefree tone it had assumed during the day to a more familiar, guarded tone. However, she seems... saddened, somehow. What is Remilia doing?!
"I just wanted a chance to be close to you." Remilia says quietly.
"WHA?!" Reimu yelps loudly and jumps, accidentally sending her glass flying into some bushes. I grab Sakuya's shoulder tightly to keep her from going off after it; I can take care of it later. Don't interrupt this moment, damn it! "Wh-wh-what the heck does that mean?!" Reimu's flustering stops cold when Remilia turns to her, tears in the vampire's eyes.
"...It means that I think you're the most fantastic person in the world, Reimu," she says. "And all of what I said was true. I wanted to give my friend a day off. But deep beneath all of it... I just wanted a chance to be close to you. Even if it's only for a day."
Reimu stares, speechless. She swallows. "Remi, enough. If you're trying to say something, say it. Don't make me guess. I hate that." Remilia nods, and starts to speak, then stops. She tries again, but can't get the words out. Finally she sighs in resignation.
"...I'm sorry," she whispers.
"For what?" Reimu blinks, uncertain.
Remilia doesn't look at her. "I can't think of any other way to get this across. I hope that you won't hate me for this, whatever your response. Please. Forgive me."
Remilia presses her mouth to Reimu's, hands tight on the sides of Reimu's dress. Her eyes are closed, her body tense, as though expecting Reimu to scream, or yell at her, or hit her... or, well, something. Actually, I half expect it myself. Sakuya and I find each other's hand and squeeze tightly.
As for Reimu... she just stand there rigidly, shocked beyond words. Her eyes are wide and disbelieving. I wonder how she will react. I hope it's understanding, at least. I hope she understands that this is the only way Remilia knew how to express herself. I hope she won't hold it against Remilia, and that they can just laugh about it one day. My heart is pounding. Sakuya's grip is crushing my own. I hope-
Reimu closes her eyes.
Reimu relaxes and slides her arms around Remilia's waist.
In response, Remilia relaxes as well.
Sakuya and I watch in wonder as Reimu gently returns the kiss. Breaths we didn't even know we were holding are released. "I think she accepts," I whisper.
"Looks that way," Sakuya murmurs approvingly. "I'd say the day was a success." I nod in agreement. Good job, Remilia!
We wait for a long moment, trying not to intrude on this moment. Actually, I probably shouldn't be peeking, but I really wanna know what they're gonna say to each other! Isn't this kiss taking a little... long?
Actually... aren't those two getting a bit frisky?
"Um," I say aloud.
"Er," Sakuya adds, blushing.
"Well, they seem to be enjoying themselves. That's a very... passionate... kiss."
"No kidding," I feel my face turn red just watching them. "You know what? Maybe we should just walk away now- eep!" The two of them just fell over onto the balcony floor! "...Are they still going?"
"Not only that, but Reimu's on top," Sakuya confirms. Is my face as red as hers? "You're right Mei, we should go insioooooooh my."
"Inside. Yeah. Now. Right." The two of us retreat inside as stealthily as possible. Not that we would have been noticed, most likely, the way those two were carrying on.
We close the door behind us and turn to find Flandre peering at us expectantly. She's carrying a book under her arm. "Are they making babies yet? I found a book to help them out." Flandre holds up the book to show its title: 101 Ways for a Vampire to Thrill Their Partner. Judging by the cover, there's no question what kind of 'thrill' that is.
It's a long time before we manage to get Flandre to go to bed.
We finally peek in on Reimu and Remilia after the sounds have died down. No, it's not that we were being voyeurs! We were just... checking. That's right. Checking. Right. What we finally see is Remilia leaning back on a couch, we with Reimu laying her head in Remilia's lap. Both are fast asleep, with content smiles on their faces. We decide to leave them be.
This brings us to the following morning, with Reimu and Remilia awkwardly looking at everything but each other, both dressed in their normal clothes. Their faces are as red as Reimu's clothing, or Remilia's eyes.
"So," Reimu begins.
"Uh," Remilia continues.
"D-d-don't get me wrong!" Reimu sputters, finally looking at Remilia. "I, uh, I'm not looking to move in here or anything! Even if it was nice, uh, I mean! Even if you have a nice PLACE here! And nice smelling, I mean SOFT! Yeah, soft... chairs. Right!" Reimu is desperately trying to regain her composure, and failing horribly. "So... um... even as nice as you feel- HAVE BEEN! As nice as you've been! At stuff, uh..." Reimu wrings her hands together, starting to realize how she sounds. "Um, uh, well, what I mean is-"
Remilia giggles and smiles warmly and Reimu. "Please come back anytime. I'll always be waiting."
Reimu stares at Remilia, stunned, before glancing away. "'Kay, she mumbles. "And come visit me too."
"I will. I want to see more of you in the future," Remilia shyly replies.
"...'Kay. I'd like that too. Kinda." Reimu shifts from foot to foot awkwardly, but I swear I see a small smile on her face."Well. Gotta go." She starts backing towards the door.
"Come back any time. I mean that." Remilia's still smiling.
"...Couple days maybe?"
"Good-OOF!" Distracted, Reimu manages to back into the front door. With a giggle, Sakuya opens it for her. "I'mgonnagonowkaybye." Reimu blurts out, spinning around to retreat-
"Reimu!" The shrine maiden turns around as Remilia calls out to her. Remilia's face suddenly settles into a seductive, alluring grin. "You looked sexy in that dress." With a squeak of pure embarrassment, Reimu runs out the front door, quickly lifting into the sky. Sakuya closes the door after her.
In Reimu's wake, Remilia sighs, a long and heavy release of breath. "That went well," she says idly, a stupid, happy smile on her face. I think I see a hickey on her neck.
Then Flandre walks up in her pink bridesmaid dress. "Sis? Are either of you pregnant yet? I wanna be an Auntie!"
"WHAT?!" Remilia shrieks.
It's some time before we manage to calm them down.
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE ACHIEVED: REIMU AND REMILIA ROMANCE! IT'LL TAKE SOME TIME TO GET UP TO SPEED, BUT IT'S OFF TO A GOOD START!
Whew, that took a while! Let's have some lighter fare now:
[ ] Marisa's Revenge [ ] Aya'a Troubling Obsession [ ] Yuuka's Confession [ ] Is there someone there...?
I stretch, enjoying the day. Specifically, the peace. Yesterday was nuts. Remilia chased Flandre all over the mansion, frantically trying to tell Flandre that she and Reimu were not getting married and having children. Flandre's response was 'yet,' which didn't really help to calm Remilia down. It also didn't help that Flandre started shouting out suggestions from her book, some of which were rather... descriptive.
Really, I never would've thought it of Flan. She really is older than she looks. And disturbingly knowledgeable.
Anyway, after the chaos of Remilia's embarrassment, things died down and the lady of the house sat in a chair all day long, sipping tea contentedly. Supposedly, she and Reimu didn't go all the way, so to speak. At least, 'not on the first date,' according to Remilia. Flandre had taken up a large part of the library for her research. I'm too scared to go in there right now.
Still, what a nice day for a nap! I slide my hat low and relax against the gate, preparing to laze the day away...
Wait. I know that presence.
I open my eyes to see Yuuka Kazami, blushing, gazing at me intensely. "I missed you," she says with quiet sincerity.
"Um, Yuuka, we just saw each other three days ago."
"And each day was unbearable!" Yuuka cries placing her hand over her heart. "I truly thought that mine heart would tear in twain from being apart from thee!"
I blink at her strange turn of phrase. "Uh, where did you learn to talk like that?"
Yuuka blinks. "Oh. I bought some books from Kourindou. According to the shopkeeper, lines like that make girls swoon." She looks at me hopefully. "Are you close to swooning so that I can catch you in my arms and carry you home?"
"No, not really," I say awkwardly. "And I shouldn't really leave the mansion without telling anyone..."
"I can carry you to your bedroom!" Yuuka offers, and immediately realizes what she has just said. "Oh... actually, I think I like that second option better." Aw geez, she's got that same dumb grin Remilia had! And... is she drooling?! What is she thinking about?!
"Yuuka," I groan. Aren't you going a little too fast?"
"Ah!" Yuuka is suddenly startled out of her daydream. "You are right of course. My apologies." Yuuka bows low, but when she straightens back up, the fires of determination burn in her eyes. "Then allow me to do it correctly. I have been practicing at home, and a fearful heart will not get the better of me now!" She takes a deep breath and gazes deep into my eyes. "Meiling Hong."
"Er, yes?" I have a very, very bad feeling about this.
"I LOVE YOU!"
Yuuka's shout is loud enough to echo across the lake and thunder off the walls of the mansion. I gasp, freezing in place. My heart is pounding so hard. I... knew something like this was coming, but to actually face it...! Such an expression of feelings! Ones that came from deep within the soul. Had they come from a man, I may very well have fallen, overcome, to my knees. As it was, well, I was touched, yes. However, it didn't change the fact that Yuuka was a woman-
"Please marry me and bear my children!"
"Uhhhh," I can't speak. Did she actually?! Yes! She did! But! That! Why!
"I'm a girl." I finally say, dumbly.
"Well, that's sort of what I was getting at," Yuuka shrugs. "But I think of you as a woman, not a girl," she adds, sweetly.
"You're also a girl." I point out.
"Oh." Yuuka blinks, then looks away shyly. "... I don't mind bearing our children. But take good care of me, okay?" The flower youkai looks up at me bashfully. She's actually kinda cute like this NO! STOP! NOT THE POINT!
"We're both girls," I emphasize.
"I can work around this!" Yuuka declares. "Between my powers and the science of Eientei, our love can bloom like the most vast of all gardens!" Yuuka steps towards me, loving expression in her eyes. I flatten myself against the gate. "Sweet Meiling. I have loved you for so long. Your deep blue eyes. Your gorgeous red locks. Your beautiful body. Your sweet, caring nature. Together, we could make a garden of love, unrivaled-"
Yuuka's gaze suddenly widens, and she leaps back in time to dodge a rain of razor-sharp knives. The air still ringing with her shout, Sakuya lands before me in full combat gear, bodysuit practically creaking with the sheer number of knives on her person. Slowly, she stands to her full height, eyes crimson with wrath. "You may not have her, Kazami."
"Because," Sakuya clenches her fist, "I have resolved to BECOME MEILING'S BRIDE!"
"W-what?" Yuuka gasps. Understanding seeps onto her face. "Then... all this time..."
"Yes," Sakuya says quietly. "When Meiling rejected my advances the first time, I was hurt and took it out on her. I have long since realized the error of my ways, and accepted her friendship. That said..." she closes her eyes. "To be so close to the one I love, but forever denied her... it is more than I can take. And I will not see her stolen from in front of me!" Sakuya's eyes flare. "From this point on, I will devote myself to Meiling! I shall be the one to win her heart!"
Oh please stop. I like men. You aren't men. Please stop.
Yuuka nods admiringly. "I appreciate you determination."
Sakuya nods. "And I admire your passion."
Yuuka readies her parasol. "However, I will not allow anyone to stand between me and my love."
I'm not your love. Not hers either. Please stop. This is embarrassing.
Sakuya nods. "Then we think alike. I will not stand down either."
You really should. Both of you.
"Then let us settle this!" Yuuka shouts.
"I agree!" Sakuya roars.
They don't. They lunge into the sky and start fighting.
They don't stop.
"You're so popular," Remilia remarks from beside me. I'm too exhausted to react much. I turn to look at her.
"What do I do?"
Remilia thinks about that. "Tricky," she admits. "But you know, I used to be that way. After centuries of life, though I started to appreciate women as much as men. Hence, myself and Reimu."
"I'm straight," I insist.
"Eientei probably has something that can help out," Remilia quips, and I groan. "In any case, I think those two aren't going to take 'no' for an answer." Oh god, that's right. What do I do?!
We watch the intense battle for a moment longer. Sakuya zips around constantly, hurling hurricanes of blades, while Yuuka lets loose with wave after wave of massive energy bolts. After a while, Remilia claps me on the shoulder. "Well, good luck! Whatever you decide, I'll back you up!" Remilia backs away, and I stare at the sky wearily.
What do I do...?
[ ] Stop. [ ] No, really stop. [ ] I said stop. [ ] STOP, DAMMIT!
I stare blearily at Sakuya and Yuuka's fight high above the ground. Both of them are going all-out, fighting with all of their might, for the purpose of winning my heart. Which is sweet and all, but they seem to be ignoring the key point about me not being interested. I thought Sakuya knew; at least Yuuka hadn't had it brought to her attention...
No. You know what? This is not how you win a woman's heart. I need to stop the two of them, get them settled down, and carefully, gently, explain the concept of heterosexuality to them-
"For Meiling!" Yuuka shouts, firing an enormous pulse of energy, "And the many children we shall have!"
"No!" Sakuya roars back, "For my lovely wedding with her!"
"I need a vacation," I groan, turning towards the house.
"A vacation?" Remilia asks, following after me as I trudge towards the front door.
"Yeah. Somewhere nice and peaceful. Lots of good food. No women trying to force their affections onto me. That would be wonderful."
"A peaceful place in Gensokyo?" Remilia chuckles. "Not very likely."
"I can dream, can't I?" I sigh, trying hard to drown out the sound of the battle behind me. I've almost made it to the front door when I hear Sakuya and Yuuka gasp in surprise behind me, battle abruptly halting.
"Ah, Meiling?!" Yuuka's voice.
"W-wait a moment!" Sakuya's now.
I pick up the pace as much as I can without making it seem like I'm running. I've almost made it to the blissful freedom of the mansion when my suitors slam down hard in front of me. They're both panting heavily, and quite bedraggled, with torn clothing and scorch marks all over. They were really going all out, huh?
Yuuka is the first to speak, and she actually looks rather hurt. "You can't leave now! We need you to witness out battle!"
"That's right!" Sakuya says desperately, "It's no good if you're not there!"
"Indeed," Yuuka puffs her cheeks out, "I need to show this interloper how much better I am for you!"
"Interloper?!" Sakuya squawks, whirling on Yuuka. "You're the one who just barged in here!"
"After she told you she wasn't interested! She just said as much!"
"Oh, so she's going to just fall all over you then? Can't you see how uncomfortable you're making her?!"
"Well what about you, dammit?!"
This is ridiculous. The might flower youkai and the perfect elegant maid are bickering in front of me like children. All over who I'm supposedly going to give my heart to. Without even asking me. Just declaring things and carrying on as though I'm not even there.
I'm starting to feel angry. Really angry. I've had just about enough of this. In fact, I think this has gone on just about long enough. And as those two oblivious dolts keep arguing in front of me, lost in their own little world, I realize that they're this close to pulling me between them like I'm the prize in a goddamned tug-of-war! I can't believe this! Doesn't anyone care about my feelings?! Oh here it comes they're reaching out for me like a prize, bickering over who I BELONG to-
"WOULD YOU TWO CUT IT OUT, DAMMIT?!" I shout smacking their hands away as hard as I can. My voice cuts like a thunderbolt, instantly silencing everyone. Everything. Not even the birds can be heard in the deathly silence. Yuuka and Sakuya stare at me in shock, faces pale. Remilia gapes at me, wordlessly. I see several fairy maids peering out of the mansion. Somehow, being the center of attention in this madness just makes me even angrier.
"M-Meiling, wha-" Sakuya tries, but I cut her off.
"Shut up. Shut. Up. Both of you." Their mouths close so hard I can hear their teeth clack. "Listen to me, and listen good. I am not a prize to be won. I don't belong to either of you. I'm not some damsel to be impressed and carried home. I am Meiling Hong, a warrior, and I have been subject to humiliation after humiliation from the day I arrived in Gensokyo!" I take a deep breath to steady myself. "Now. I've finally managed to claw back some pride, some self-respect despite everything I've been through. I will NOT have that ripped away from me by two overpowered women who aren't even paying attention to how I feel!"
"That's not true at all!" Sakuya shouts angrily. There are tears in her eyes.
"What you feel is what's most important to me!" Yuuka cries, looking just as upset.
"I. LIKE. MEN." I tell them biting the words out. That brings them up short. They gape at me for a long moment, understanding starting to dawn upon them.
"Well, yes. So do I," says Yuuka.
"Same here," Sakuya agrees. "Men are great. I just like you more."
"Exactly," Yuuka agrees.
"We like men just fine," Sakuya clarifies, seeing my confusion. "But given the choice, we'd rather be with you."
"It's called bisexuality," Remilia comments from somewhere behind me. "Or possibly Meiling-sexual. You're quite the prize, you know." Yuuka and Sakuya nod eagerly at this.
Bwuh? I'm what?
For a long moment, there is silence as my would-be suitors stare at the ground in shame, not daring to meet my eyes. I stare at them, confused and angry, not sure what to feel anymore. Finally Yuuka asks "Do... you hate us now?"
I grit my teeth and press my hands into my face. "Don't ask me unfair questions. Just... don't." What can I say? I don't hate them, I just wish... I wish...
A pair of gentle arms encircle me from behind. "Easy, Meiling," Remilia's gentle voice coos. "They're inexperienced at this, and overeager. They're showing their feelings a little too hard, because they don't know what else to do. The only problem here is that you're just too lovable as a person, and that's not a bad thing, not at all."
I take a deep, shuddering breath, and look at the two of them, seeming sad and vulnerable. "Why? Why me?"
Sakuya looks at me. "Because you're kind and sweet. Because when I was new here, you took me under your wing and made me feel at home, and I've never forgotten it. Because I admire your strength, and your quiet determination." I blush a little bit at this.
"Because you always have a warm smile as bright as the sun," Yuuka adds. "Because you treat person and flower alike with gentle care and kindness. Because you are strong in body, mind, and spirit, and are yet so humble that you don't even realize it. Gensokyo needs more like you." My face burns even more at her words.
"Don't forget that you're absolutely beautiful," Remilia chimes in. "Face it, Meiling. You're pretty much everyone's dream girl." Yuuka and Sakuya nod vigorously at this, and a look away in embarrassment. I am not!
For a long moment we just stand there, not looking at each other. "I'm sorry, Meiling," Sakuya says quietly. "I fucked up again, huh?"
"As did I," Yuuka murmurs. "I'm sorry. I am... not used to delicacy in personal interaction. I apologize." I sigh and look at them both. Both strong, determined women... who are so used to taking things on their own terms that new situations cause them to stumble. Strong women who are little more than little girls, inexperienced and confused, when it comes to matters of the heart. It's a strange idea, and it makes me giggle a little bit.
I step forward and envelop the two fools in a hug. It's so hard to stay mad at them; actually, I have a hard time staying mad at anyone without good reason, and their hearts are in the right place. "Just stop being dumb, you too. Okay? And we'll be fine. It's just... I'm not into girls, alright? You need to accept that."
After a moment, Yuuka and Sakuya respond, forming a sort of three-way hug. "Sorry. Thanks," Sakuya mumbles, face buried in one shoulder. Yuuka murmurs something and nods her head, face in the other shoulder. I sigh again, and squeeze them tighter.
Remilia watches us for a moment. "Meiling, are you sure you don't feel anything else here?"
I think about it, and decide to ponder what it would be like to make out with Sakuya. Flexible lithe body, clad in lingerie as she eagerly waits for me on her bed... hands clasped as we claim each other's lips... exploring every corner of each other's bodies...
Nope. Nothing. What about Yuuka?
Disrobing each other in the midst of a magnificent garden... laying down amidst the flowers... our scents mixing with the scents of the flowers around us...
Nothing there, either. On the other hand, I think briefly of sharing a bed with a man, laying in his strong arms, whispering sweet nothings to each other... Oh yeah. That does it for me.
Still, my sudden feeling of arousal has everything to do with thoughts of a man, not the two I hold close to me. Even if Sakuya's body is so very soft and lithe and nice to hold. And Yuuka is so very warm. And they both smell so nice, like perfume and flowers and sweetness and...
My eyes open in sudden horror. What is going on what am I feeling? I look up and notice Remilia grinning at me in triumph. "Come now, Meiling," she chides me, "When someone feels so strongly for you, and gives you their heart so freely, can you really say it has no effect on you at all? Isn't there a part of you that just wants to respond?"
THAT IS NOT HOW IT WORKS. Even if they feel so nice OH GOD.
"It's alright mistress," Sakuya says, stepping away from me. She smiles warmly. "I finally understand how Meiling feels."
"Agreed, " Yuuka says, also releasing me. "If she prefers males, then that his simply the truth that lies within her heart. Sakuya and I must accept this, and not put so much pressure upon Meiling."
Remilia pouts in disappointment, but I sigh with relief. Finally, they understand! Sakuya and Yuuka nod to one another and shake hands.
"Therefore, we must gently work to change Meiling's mind!" Sakuya declares.
"Love must be earned," Yuuka nods wisely. "It is the most precious of flowers, and will only bloom after emotion and hard work has been poured into it. Our effort and emotion. Our love."
Wait what stop.
"It's alright, Meiling," Sakuya says, gently caressing my face. Her hand is soft STOP THAT. "I won't put any more pressure on you. I'll just have to show you how lovely I can be, and how much I have to offer, so that you'll want to be with me!"
Yuuka takes my hand happily. "As will I! I will cultivate the gentler side of my soul, and will work hard so that you will fall for me! Of course, my arms will be open to catch you, always." Yuuka giggles bashfully.
NO THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO GET FROM THIS.
"Well, I need to get to work," Sakuya says brightly. "Winning your heart will be tough, but you're worth it!" No you dense fool STOP MAKING ME BLUSH. I try to contradict her, but Sakuya has already disappeared.
"And I have a lot to reflect on as well," Yuuka says, clenching a fist with determination. "Wait for me, Meiling! I'll show you all that my heart has to offer, so I can give it all to you!" Why does she not understand that I like men AND WHY DO I FEEL WARM AND FUZZY INSIDE. But Yuuka flies off before I can correct her, leaving me alone with a smiling Remilia.
"There's nothing wrong with it," she tells me.
"...I like men."
"So do I," Remilia agrees. "But can you really refuse such pure emotions?"
"I. Like. Men." I desperately try to explain.
"Of course," Remilia likes soothingly. "It just so happened that you really enjoyed holding them too, didn't you?" I... can't correct her! I did but... it wasn't like that! I was just thinking about other things and got confused! OH GOD I'M SO CONFUSED!
And I stand there, speechless, in front of a gently, triumphantly, smiling Remilia. And all I can think about is how very, very confused I am.
I like men, dammit!
Good news, everybody! Yuuka and Sakuya have formed a LOVE ALLIANCE! They'll be working overtime to convince Meiling that it's okay to receive affection from a woman! Just picture Meiling sleeping contentedly in both of their arms! That's what they're going for now!
Too bad Meiling is still straight! But boy she's confused!
Meiling's already confused about her sexuality. Let's see how this affects he relationship with her Friend with Benefits.
On a completely different note, it sort of makes a weird amount of sense that Patchi is good at picking up guys. The Purple mage is often depicted as knowing all sorts of different types of magic. Several types of magic use a man's semen as a special ingredient. Naturally, if she wished to experiment with those types of magic, she would need some way of getting that valuable ingredient.
Things have been weird lately. Well, let me rephrase that. Things have been mostly normal, but the small differences have been profound. Like Remilia constantly giggling or staring dreamily out the window. Most likely contemplating her next date with Reimu. She is certainly visiting the shrine a lot. Or how Sakuya and Yuuka have been wearing men's clothes.
Yeah. Sakuya has been dressing like a butler, and Yuuka has been wearing a suit version of her regular outfit. Both are attempting to look more like handsome, feminine men, and both are succeeding way too well for my comfort level. The last thing I need is more confusion. Remilia isn't helping. If anything, she seems to be egging the two of them on.
Honestly, just because she likes Reimu, doesn't mean that I'm suddenly going to start liking girls. Really. So I wish Yuuka and Sakuya would stop confusing me. Because they look really good dressed up like that, and that really worries me.
Anyway, I'm walking through the mansion halls towards my room, ready to lay down and take a nap. I really feel like I could use it. Maybe get a drink, or read up on DyCirno's latest exploits. That always cheers me up.
...Wait, is there a sound coming from Koa's room? Odd. She's supposed to be helping Patchouli right now.
Concerned, I slide up to Koakuma's door. If it's one of the fairies cleaning, that's fine. If the fairies are just playing around without her permission, I'll need to give them a stern talking-to... wait, no, I'm pretty sure that's Koa in there. Sounds like her, too.
...Wait, is she moaning?!
Oh geez. I should walk on by. Yes, that's right. Just walk on by. No need to eavesdrop, it's none of my business even if I am wondering what's going on in there and security is technically my business. I shouldn't do this. I shouldn't do this. Did she get a guy? Screw it.
I press my ear against the door, quashing any lingering guilt.
"Mmmm... you're such a naughty boy..." I hear Koakuma throatily chuckle from inside.
Oh my gosh she did! How did she sneak him in?
"Oh, does that feel nice?" Through the door, I hear her shuffle around. "How about... this? Ah, I see you like that."
Wow. Sounds fun. Is he gagged? Weird, I can't sense anyone else in there. Koakuma must be masking his signature.
"Now it's my turn. How about I try... this...?"
Try what?! I press my body even closer against the door, trying to hear something, ANYTHING-
What was that?! It sounded like a gunshot! And Koakuma shouted out in pain! There's no time. I rear back and kick open the door, rushing to my friend's aid.
"Koa, are you-" My voice freezes in my lungs as I stare at the scene.
Koakuma is in sexy lingerie straddling her partner. Her partner is tied to a chair, in some sort of leather fetish gear. One of its arms has a hole where Koa's nails must have breached the surface, causing that loud pop from earlier.
Koakuma's partner is a blow-up doll, now partially deflated.
I stare at her. She stares back at me, face pale and horrified. "Koa, what-"
"Don't look at me!" she wails, covering her face. "DON'T LOOK AT MEEEEE!!!"
Sometime later, after Koakuma has had a chance to calm down and dress- and hide her toy away- the two of us are sitting together in a remote sitting room, one of the more soundproof ones. The door is locked, obviously. Koakuma and I are sharing a stiff drink. I'm still nursing my first glass. She, with her face planted cleanly on the table, is midway through her second.
"Koa-" I start.
"No. Shutup," she mumbles back. "Don't wanna talk about it. Just wanna forget."
I reach over and gently stroke her hair. "That bad, huh?"
Koakuma lifts her head long enough to talk another swallow of alcohol before plopping her head back down. "I'm a succubus. I want a guy. Someone to cuddle with. Someone to tease and be lovey-dovey with. Someone to make love with all night."
That would be nice, wouldn't it?
"Failing that, casual sex would be great."
She's right about that, too.
"Remember that time you and I... well..." I don't have to remind her. She nods her head, remembering.
"Yeah, I remember that, Mei. We were both pretty drunk and a little desperate. It got weird and we stopped halfway through, as I recall."
"Yeah," I say, nodding. That was pretty awkward. It took a week for things to back to normal between us. "So this is..."
"I got desperate," Koakuma sighs. "Decades, Mei. Decades. It's like the neverending drought. I finally gave up and decided to... pretend. It wasn't working that well."
"Maybe you should take a trip back to Makai?" I suggest. Heck, I should go with her...
"Even worse than here," she replies.
"Yep. Great place to visit if you're a man. Not so much for women." She sighs and leans back in her seat. "So. Yeah. I got desperate enough to try artificial companionship. Now what?"
"Well... I dunno."
"Rhetorical question, Mei."
"Oh." I look at my friend, who by all rights should have men crawling all over her, and has been forced to the ultimate humiliation for a succubus. "Sakuya and Yuuka are dressing as men to try and entice me."
She winces. "Ouch. Awkward."
"You have NO idea..." I take a long pull from my own glass. For a long moment, the two of us just sit there, two lonely redheads with ruinous love-lives. Hers, nonexistant. Mine... weird.
This is dumb. Really dumb! There is no reason the two of us should be sitting alone like this!
"We're going out!" I declare, slapping my hand down. Koa blinks in surprise. "We are going to the human village, we are finding a nice bar, and we are finding a couple of nice guys! End of story!"
Koa stares for a long moment before a grin spreads over her face. "Wing-girls? Looking for men with no Patchouli sneering at out lousy technique?"
"Exactly." I stand up, determined. "We're two beautiful redheads. The men should be coming to us! I say we head in there and pick the best of them! Get back in the game!"
"It'll be quieter than last time we went in," Koa warns me.
"Fine. All the drunks will be gone. Let's go." Koakuma grins at me, and the two of us swiftly leave the mansion. Enough moping around. This time for sure! Nothing could possibly go wrong!
This is so dumb.
The bar is almost completely empty, despite it being late evening. What the heck is this, anyway? There are absolutely no men anywhere, despite it supposedly being singles night. All I see are a handful of people I recognize from Remilia's parties.
Iku sits alone at a table, drinking and staring at the ceiling. Tenshi sits a few tables away, her back rather deliberately to Iku. Shou Toramaru, that youkai from Myouren Temple, is sitting at the bar, staring at her drink. Finally, there's Reisen, sitting a little further down the bar from her, looking weary.
"Well," Koa says hesitantly, "may as well say hello to someone."
[x]Get Reisen and Shou together for a male hunt night elsewhere.
Tenshi looks like she has the hots for Iku, and the oarfish doesn't notice, making Tenshi mad. But we're not here to fix other people's relationships, we're here to have sex with men, and four beautiful women together are more likely to attract more gazes than only two.
It's totally not because I'm expecting an hilarious scene of tiger, bunny, succubus and gateguard drinking together in defeat. Or a foursome if that's not asking too much.
But if that vote doesn't work out, I guess I'll pick [X] Iku
voting this just to see what Keymaker does with her. I wonder if she has guy issues due to what few she meets A) being more interested in Kaguya or Eirin or B) See her as useless and only good for what sex appeal she has.
I shrug and gesture to the bar. We wind up sitting between Reisen and Shou, and I order a drink from the lady bartender (even the bartender! Sheesh!). I turn to Shou with a friendly smile. "So! Seen any nice guys lately?"
Her head slowly swivels to face me, and she glares. "Are you making fun of me?" I blink, taken aback. I notice that Shou looks a little... worn. Clothing in disarray. Hair mussed. Eyes... I can't even describe that look in her eyes. Wait...
"Easy, Shou," Reisen chimes in from her side of the bar. "She didn't mean anything by it. You know that."
Shou sighs, and relaxes a little bit. "Yeah. Sorry. It's just... this is the wrong time of year for that type of talk, you know what I mean?"
I stare, blankly. "Not really."
Koakuma sniffs the air and looks at Shou levelly. "Are you in heat?"
Shou twitches and glares at Koakuma. "A noble Disciple of Bishamonten does not go into heat!" she growls.
"Yeah you do," Reisen says, sipping her drink. "Like it or not, it's that time of year for you, noble disciple or not. Your tiger instincts are coming to the fore, and your body is instinctively looking for a mate." She sighs in exhaustion. "Believe me, I know."
Shou rolls her eyes. "You're a rabbit. You don't have an estrus cycle."
"No, but all the pheromones in the air are playing merry hell with me. It sucks to be a rabbit sometimes." Reisen grimaces.
I share a glance with Koakuma, then look at the two suffering women. "So, Koakuma is a succubus who hasn't mated in decades. I'm straight, but both Sakuya Izayoi and Yuuka Kazami are after me." Reisen stares at me in disbelief. Shou's jaw hangs open. After a while, she starts to grin.
"It really sucks to be you."
I snort. "Back at you, Toramaru." SHhou starts to laugh, and I join in. After a while, Reisen and Koakuma start laughing as well. Five minutes later, the four of us are sharing a table, drinking our woes away.
"You think YOU have it rough?" Shou snorts. "Here's my story. I'm a tiger. I have a passionate nature to start with, and I go into heat. However, I am expected to hold myself to a very high standard of conduct, given my position. This means that I can't go after any of the humans who visit the temple, and we all know how many youkai men there are around here."
"You mean almost none," Reisen comments.
"Unless you go underground, that is," Shou agrees. "And there are certain agreements in place forbidding that." Shou turns thoughtful. "Although, those agreements have pretty much fallen into disuse since before we arrived. Maybe I should head down below."
I chuckle. "You mean an Oni man? Aren't they a little... rough?"
"I like rough," Shou grins. "And beggars can't be choosers." She grimaces. "Did I mention that my own subordinate and that damned Nue are making this even harder for me? Because they are. They think it's funny."
"I thought Byakuren was trying to encourage more... relations," I note. Shou sighs.
"For all the good it's done. Too much bad blood. She's trying to go too fast. I agree with her, of course, but these things take time." She considers. "Granted, some youkai girls in heat pushing down some human men and mounting them would do wonders in that regard, I'm sure..."
"Don't tempt me," Koakuma says flatly. Shou roars with laughter.
"Anyway," she finally says once her laughter has subsided, "The best I can do is drink myself numb until the urge subsides. Which won't be for a while. Fun, I assure you."
I wince in sympathy, and turn to Reisen. She shrugs. "I'm a rabbit. That tells you a lot right there. And with all of the pheromones in the air, it's screwing with my system." She slumps in her chair. "It's like this every year, and Tewi always finds some way to screw with me over it. I have NO idea why she isn't affected."
I raise an eyebrow. "I thought Lunarians were above that sort of thing."
Reisen snorts. "Believe me, a lot of the Lunarian party line is total bullshit. Just don't tell that to Eirin. I'd never hear the end of it."
"Speaking of Eirin, doesn't she have a drug for that?"
Reisen stares at me. "You want me to talk to Eirin and enlist her help in controlling my sex drive? Yeaaaahhhhh, no. Not gonna happen. Last time I got her help, I blacked out, woke up five days later with no idea where I was, and I had five tatoos. Nope. Not happening."
I shake my head. "Message received. What is it with this place, anyway? I never had this much trouble on the outside..."
"I know!"" Reisen cried, throwing her hands in the air. "Every so often a nice guy comes along, seems interested, and what happens? BAM! Dropped like a hot potato for Eirin, or Kaguya or even frickin' Tewi! Is there something wrong with me?!"
My heart twitches in sympathy. I know exactly what she's going through. "No, Reisen," I tell her gently. "You're a sweet, beautiful girl, you really are. You just have the same problem I do: you keep meeting wingnuts." Shou snorts with amusement, and Koa nods knowingly. Reisen giggles despite herself.
"Yep. That's how I'd describe most of them. Sucks, huh?"
"Totally." The table falls into a companionable silence, and I glance at the bar longingly. "So, what happened to that handsome bartender?" I remember the guy from when I came her the day of the party...
"You mean Albrecht?" Shou asks. "Day off , I think. Too bad, he's a nice guy. Tends to turn women down though. I think he just doesn't want to wander into THAT minefield. Hard to blame him."
"Figures," I sigh wistfully. He really did seem like a nice guy. I look over at Iku, still staring at the ceiling. "So what's her story?"
"Iku?" Shou looks over at her. "Same thing. Passionate woman with no prospects. The thing is, she attends to the celestial courts. That means a lot of handsome men, wealthy, educated, the whole nine yards... all so pure that they have no sex drive. At all."
"Ouch," I glance over at Tenshi, who is staring into her drink with a look of befuddlement. "And her?"
Reisen grins. "Tenshi has started to awaken to certain aspects of her nature since she started visiting Gensokyo. The sort of things that wouldn't awaken in Heaven. In other words, she's started becoming attracted to men, and doesn't know why."
Shou leans over to me. "Earlier, she was asking Iku for thorough details on the birds and the bees, as it were. Poor Iku was so embarrassed, I thought she would combust." Shou snorts with laughter, and I can't help but feel a pang of sympathy. It reminds me of when Flandre proved to be more... informed... than I had realized.
"You know, it really sucks to be a woman in Gensokyo," I note out loud. The others chime in agreement. I see Iku incline her head my way and nod.
Oh well. At least I can suffer with friends.
That night, I'm lying in bed with Koakuma.
Fully clothed, that is. On top of the sheets. The two of us are staring at the ceiling, feeling the pleasant buzz of alcohol pass through our system. We'd gotten pretty drunk, the four of us. Shou had finally jumped up on the table and started dancing, and Iku had joined her. The three of us on the ground had started cheering, and Tenchi just stared at us in confusion.
Finally, Shou and Reisen had decided to stagger on home, and Iku had left with Tenshi in tow, the celestial still asking some awkward questions. Koa and I had flown home rather wobbly, and made our way to her room, where I plunked down until the room decided to stop spinning.
Then I told a fairy maid to get us some ice cream. Life is good now.
"That was fun," Koa says. "Let's do it again sometime."
"Yeah, sounds good."
"Hey, wanna mess around a little?"
"Nah. Not really. No offense."
"Heh. I was just trying to get a rise out of you, Mei. Mission failed, I guess." Koa grins wickedly.
"Oh well," I say, shrugging. "I guess we just have to wait until Mr. Right comes along. We do have plenty of time."
"Maybe," Koa muses, "But Shou's idea has some merit. Just find a guy, and grab him! Just like that!"
"Don't start an incident. Reimu will whomp you."
"Might be worth it," Koa shrugs, but we both know it won't happen. Koa's too nice to force herself on someone. In the end, being a woman in Gensokyo is a lonely affair, indeed. At least we have plenty of friends.
And ice cream. Ice cream heals all wounds. As does booze.
After a while, I stagger back to my room and fall asleep.
So, what next?
[ ] Marisa's Revenge. [ ] Aya's Troubling Obsession. [ ] Is there someone there...?
Cloudy today. Bit of breeze, might rain later. I yawn, feeling a little bored. Probably should have brought a book out with me today. Oh well.
I straighten out and gaze out over the lake. Been a while since I've seen Cirno. I kinda miss her. Latest word is that she's been arguing with the kappa, trying to get the 'DyCirno Super Team' up and running, and that's hard to do without battlesuits for her friends. Still, Cirno and friends with battle armor... that'll shake things up in Gensokyo!
I decide to do a few calisthenics to pass the time. As I do, I think about Sakuya and Yuuka. Sakuya has gone back to wearing feminine clothing, thankfully, but is always 'coincidentally' in a compromising position where I can see more than I really need or want to. I'm pretty sure that this is all part of her master plan. And no, I'm not feeling tempted. Really.
As for Yuuka, she's still dropping by, still dressing in a plaid suit, and acting like her declaration of love never happened. Except for the fact that she always has a compliment for me, and is always finding an excuse to touch my hand, and otherwise is flirting at me as hard as she can without making it overly obvious. Which of course makes it even more obvious, if that makes any sense.
No, I'm not tempted by either of them. Really. I swear.
You know, maybe Koa and I should meet up with Shou and Reisen, and go visit the underground, just for a laugh. Even if it's just for a girl's night out. It could be fun! We should invite Iku along, too. Maybe even Tenshi could tag along!
As I shift into a more rigorous workout, I reflect that I wish, just for a day, that I could deal with something other than romance troubles.
You know how they say, be careful what you wish for? As THAT VOICE hammers my ears, I curse whoever thought that expression up in the first place. Slowly I straighten up, and bring my eyes to bear on the source of that cocky, condescending voice that has caused me such grief.
I bring my eyes on, of course, Marisa Kirisame. And stare.
What the hell?
Marisa smirks down at me, standing balanced atop her broom. She's wearing... well, it's certainly a variation of her usual witch's outfit, but... different. Covered in symbols of some sort and... are those hand-carved talismans? Wood, and amber for sure. She's also carrying about as many wands as Sakuya usually does knives. Wands in her belts (plural intended), wands in bandoliers across her chest, arms and legs. Wands in containers around her belts aside from the wands just shoved through the loops. She even has wands stuck in her hat, for crying out loud!
She also has a couple of mysterious, bulging pouches. Also, there's a weird look in her eyes like she's simultaneously focused and yet completely out of it.
Oh yes. Her hakkero is clearly visible, and quite clearly attached to her clothing by a chain. As is her broom. I have no idea what she's using to secure her hat, but she is probably using something.
"What," Is all I can say to this avatar of witchy destruction. I have no idea whether to laugh or scream. Maybe both.
"Marisa's grin doesn't waver. "Hey, China," she says again, emphasizing the awful nickname. "Like my new look? I realized that last time, I was being a little too hasty. So, I decided to prepare this time!" She practically leers down at me. "I've been practicing new magic. I've learned how to make protective talismans. Wands to increase my attack power. An enhanced broom, so I can fly faster. And a whooooole bunch of mushroom brews to crank up my base magical power like you've never seen before. I'm trying them all out at once!"
I stare at Marisa. "So, you're hopped up on magical drugs, and you're carrying enough experimental magical firepower to blow up the Human Village, all for the sake of settling a grudge?"
Marisa laughs a little too shrilly. "That reminds me! Remember that day? When I was just gonna go visit Patchy? When I was just gonna borrow a few books? The day you stole my fucking hakkero?" Marisa's smile is wide and terrifying, and her voice never loses its amiable tone. "And not just my hakkero! My broom! My hat! And you made me JUMP FOR THEM! With the maid helping out! And then you made me ask for them back LIKE A LITTLE KID! WASN"T THAT FUN, CHINA?!" Marisa is still smiling, her eyes glittering with madness, her voice loud and jovial.
"...Yes?" I hazard.
"AHAHAHAHAHAH!" Marisa laughs maniacally. "It sure was! I sure never forgot about it! Neither did anyone in Gensokyo, thanks to that fucking tengu! Oh, but I'll get her, too! I'll get ALL OF THEM!"
"Yep, yep," Marisa nods her head contentedly. "I'm just gonna clear things up with my ol' pal China. And then Sakuya! And Patchy! Oh, I'm gonna borrow a whoooooole lotta books toady! And then I'll pay a visit to Aya! And a bunch of other people who found that article just a little too funny and wanted to remind me of it! Every day for DAYS, China! Won't that be fun?! I know I'll have fun!" Marisa's eyes are dancing with a light beyond rage, beyond madness. She's consumed by the need for vengeance, and all other matters are trivial to her.
Wow. She's about this close to causing an incident. Where's Reimu?
...Right. Dating Remilia. Wonderful. So she probably doesn't know enough to rein in her friend. That's just great.
"Fine," I bluff, despite feeling more than a tad nervous. "You wanna fight? Come on down here!"
"Yeah, no," Marisa comments. "I know how tough you are, so I'm gonna hang back here." Damn. One the plus side, Marisa is at least showing me some respect. On the minus side, she's perfectly willing to kick my ass, and probably capable of it right now. I'd need some serious backup in terms of artifacts to take her down right now. Her position is even worse: close enough to get a good shot at me, but far enough away that I won't be able to get close to her before she opens fire. And she'd probably dominate in a ranged battle... hmmm... unless I sprang at her before she could react, maybe absorbing some hits...
"Hey, China! How about a demonstration?" Oh crap, Marisa's getting ready to blast me gotta think gotta think-
Wait. She's aiming at the ground...?
"MASTER SPARK!!!" *THOOOM*
That's a pretty big hole in the ground. Her Master Spark pretty much vaporized the soil. Deep, too. Even if geared for nonlethal combat, that's gonna hurt. A lot. Just how much mushroom gunk is she hopped up on, anyway?!
Marisa then reaches into one of her bandoliers and holds five wands in a single hand, all of them already crackling with power. "So, China," she coos, "wanna play?"
Wow. That's almost Flandre-level scary. What the hell do I do?
[ ] Slap her shit around. [ ] Sakuya! I need some help here! [ ] Yuuka! Marisa's being mean to me! [ ] DyCirno! Save me! [ ] Get Flandre. Get booze. It's the only way.
I've got a bad feeling about this. Meiling is very capable on her own, but this time, Marisa is dead serious about having her revenge. I fear this might go bad for the gatekeeper if she just tackles the black'n'white on her own. Better play it safe, not give in to Marisa's taunts, and call for reinforcements. And look at that, we have two lovely powerhouses of destruction who are willing to play white knight in shining armor for us.
We can't call for Cirno- Marisa specializes in heat and light, and lots of it. I'm pretty sure that DyCirno might melt too quickly to help out much.
We can't call for Yuuka or Sakuya, in specific. That'd make one jealous and cause things to get... Worse.
We can't get Flandre drunk. What, are you nuts?
I don't think Meiling can take Marisa alone. Not like this. And so this is what we'll have to do.
[x] Rainbow Dragon Warning Flare, signal the mansion to prepare for a Code Blue. [x] Hold off Marisa for as long as humanly possible. Take advantage of the fact that she's not exactly in her right mind, and probably isn't used to the power she's got. [x] Let the cavalry mow her down.
Meiling has a job to do! She has to do it well, and be smart about it. It's not just keeping things out of the mansion, it's being responsible enough to know that, sometimes, holding someone back may be impossible- and letting people know to get ready and reinforce the front gate.
Marisa's gone plum loco, folks. Time to pull in whoever might be watching.
God I wish we could somehow call up Mima to drag her student off. Though something tells me that she'd actually get a pretty good laugh out of her student taking vengeance so far that she turns herself into a magical mushroom juggernaut. Sounds kind of like what Mima herself might have done.
Marisa's gone off the deep end. This is obvious. She's also clearly more powerful than me. I can't just beat her down. Call for help? Sakuya and Yuuka are likely nearby. Heck, maybe even DyCirno could come to the rescue. But as soon as I call for help, Marisa is sure to open fire.
Alright. Where strength fails, use cunning.
I let loose a loud, shrill whistle from between my teeth and hammer the ground as hard as I can, throwing up a huge cloud of dust. Marisa shouts and opens fire with her fistful of wands, letting loose a dizzying array of energy bolts. I leap back onto the wall and, focusing my chi for a moment, push off, leaping with all my strength towards Marisa. I barely graze over her storm of energy, and have just a moment to notice her startled gaze before I slam my fist into her gut with all of my strength.
Marisa had made the mistake of fighting on my terms. I didn't have to worry about spellcards, or magic. And I know how to fight someone like Marisa.
Landing on the broom with Marisa, I get her into an armlock and start flying back towards the ground, dragging her with me. Marisa growls, and keeps trying to stick a wand in my face; I just barely keep from getting blasted. Suddenly, she changes the direction of her flight to complement my own, driving us both into the ground. I flip to my feet, but Marisa sticks two handfuls of wands my way and lets lose. Desperately, I spin into a series of flips, avoiding most of the shots, but still taking a few hits. As the barrage weakens, I punch the ground again, sending a shockwave towards Marisa which knocks her off balance. Can't let her take to the air...!
However, Marisa quickly regains her footing and shoves her hakkero in my direction. "MASTER SPARK!" I immediately leap, just barely avoiding the massive beam of energy. As it slackens, I change my momentum, surging towards Marisa in a diving kick... which she handily avoids with a dive to the side. She comes up with hakkero and wands in hand, eyes blazing with madness. "That the best you got?! I'm gonna enjoy this!"
So I jump into the hole in the ground she made earlier.
"Huh?" Confused, Marisa floats over the hole. "Why are you doing something so dumb-" And stops short, just barely avoiding a wave of rainbow-colored energy bolts. She only realizes too late that I am right behind the bolts, and for a moment, we are eye-to-eye.
Then I somersault in mid-air and axe-kick her into the ground. It isn't enough. As I land, Marisa shakily regains her footing, glaring at me. "That ain't nearly enough, China!"
She doesn't notice the two-dozen fairies gathered behind her, the ones I had summoned with my earlier whistle. She also doesn't notice the streams of danmaku until they're raining into her back, sending her lurching forward.
Right into my reach.
Hand blazing with rainbow fire, I uppercut Marisa with all of my might, slamming my fist into her jaw, and making her spin around like a top before collapsing to the ground, unconscious. I breathe out shakily. I... I did it! I beat Marisa! Admittedly with some help, but still! Battered but unbowed, I stand victorious.
Oh, that's Sakuya. She's rushing towards me, looking panicked. Is it me...? Whoah. That earlier barrage must have hit me more than I thought. Damn, but I'm sore!
"Are you all right? What happened?!" I give Sakuya the short version, and she shakes her head in frustration while the fairy maids crowd around us, concerned for me. "She's gone too far this time. Grudge be damned, this is not how you settle it! I'll get Reimu, maybe she can-"
"No," I interrupt her, thinking. "No, I have a better idea." A wicked smile comes over my face. "Sakuya? I'm going to take a quick shower and get a change of clothes. I want you to get Marisa in a different outfit and take all of her magical gear. That should make her less dangerous." I lean over and press my palm against Marisa's forehead. Yow, she's got a lot of toxins in there! Hang on... "Okay, I've caused her body to start purging all of that mushroom gunk from her body. Take her to a room in a mansion, I'll be there in a bit."
Sakuya stares at me blankly. "Meiling, what are you up to?"
I smile wickedly. "You'll see."
After a quick, invigorating shower and change of clothes, I stop by the kitchen for a brief moment to grab something, then knock on Flandre's door. She's surprised to see me, and I quickly explain what has happened.
"Oh, Marisa," Flandre says sadly, "Nobody likes to lose, but she really went overboard. She was acting like... well... me!" Flandre is genuinely upset by this. No-one is more troubled by her mood swings than she is, and the thought of someone behaving like her is troubling for her. Especially when that someone is a friend.
"I know, Flandre," I tell her quietly, "and I need your help to make sure that she never goes so far ever again, never loses herself to a lust for power."
Wordlessly, I hold up a bottle of whiskey. Flandre hesitates, then nods in determination and starts to drink.
I open the door to the room where Marisa is sitting, watched over by Sakuya. The witch glares at me, rage clear in her eyes, though thankfully the madness has passed.
"Not bad. You cheated and took me down," Marisa seethes. "So now what? Gonna humiliate me again? Get Aya to take pictures while you parade me around? WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT WITH ME, YOU CHINESE BITCH?!"
Wow. She's really steamed. All that, and Marisa has only sampled a fraction of the humiliation she forced down my throat. It's a little hard to feel sorry for her, when she's effectively having a temper tantrum. A super-powered temper-tantrum, but none the less. Fortunately, I have the means to teach her a lesson and still get some of my own back, all in one go.
I silently step aside and let Flandre enter the room.
Flandre, who is visibly wobbling and holding a bottle in her hand.
Marisa and Sakuya stare in horror.
"So," Flan begins, "Marisa. Nice ass. But bad acts. Actions. You know, right?" Marisa stares at Flandre in horrified fascination, while Sakuya stares at me in wonder. "Ya see," Flan drawls on, "You been awful bitchy to Meiling. Kinda mean. So Meiling get you back. Also kinda mean." Flandre nods at her own logic. "So you get her back again. Also kinda mean. But Marisa!" Flandre points a finger at the witch. "You went far. Waaaaay to faaaaar. ME far. And that's too far."
"Uh... I'm sorry?" Marisa tries.
"Good," Flandre nods, and walks over to hug a very confused Marisa. "Very good. But Marisa? You were doing drugs."
"...I always use those drugs," Marisa points out.
"Maybe. But Marisa? You overdosed. Badly. And you were kinda sorta breaking the rules earlier." Flandre steps back. "Marisa!" she shouts loudly, causing everyone to jump, "You are outta control, young lady! You need to settle down! Or be settled down! By someone! You need a wife!" Flandre nods, pleased with her reasoning.
Marisa stares in shock.
Sakuya stares in shock.
I just stare.
A pretty green-haired fairy maid walks by.
"To her!" Flandre declares, pointing at the maid.
Marisa stares. Sakuya stares. I stare. The fairy maid stares, confused. Flandre keeps pointing at the fairy.
"What." Marisa asks flatly.
"What." Sakuya asks, stunned.
"What?" I ask, baffled. I don't know what I was expecting. This was not it.
"I'm sorry, what?" asks the fairy maid, stepping into the room. "I'm sorry, did you need something?"
"I need you to marry Marisa," Flandre explains. "She needs to be calmed down, and get a nice wifey. And be a wifey. So you, marry her. Kay?" The fairy maid turns bright red, and stares down at the floor, too embarrassed to even look at anyone, the poor thing. After a moment, she speaks:
As Marisa gapes at her, the fairy maid raises her gaze bashfully. She has a happy smile on her face. "My name is Pameel. You can call me Pam! I'm not much, but let's make a happy family together, Miss Marisa!"
Marisa stares, speechless at the suddenly love-struck fairy. I don't even know what's going on anymore. I don't think anyone does. Flandre just nods in satisfaction. "Right. Sakuya! Prepare the chapel! And two wedding dresses! And my bridesmaid dress! Wedding in fifteen minutes!" Flandre imperiously marches out of the room while the delighted fairy runs off to prepare, her dream of being a bride coming true. Sakuya stares for a moment, then just disappears. Sometimes, you just have to go along with the madness. As I come to this decision, Marisa finally finds her voice:
"BUT I DON'T WANNA MARRY A FAIRY!" Marisa wails.
It's fifteen minutes later. Through the wonders of time-stop, Sakuya has prepared the chapel and put both Marisa and Pam into lovely white wedding dresses. Flandre has put on her pink bridesmaid dress and has a sloppy grin on her face. I'm in my best dress, staring at the scene in incomprehension. Patchouli and Koakuma are there, staring at the scene speechlessly. Remilia is also there, gaping at Flan.
Of course, the chapel is packed with fairy maids, all weeping with joy for their sister.
Oh yes. Sakuya has put on a formal dress and presiding over the whole thing.
"Please don't worry, darling," Pam says happily. "I promise we'll have a very happy life with lots of babies! I'll be sure to take very good care of you!"
Marisa stares at Pam in horror before pointing an accusing finger at Sakuya. "You can't do this! You're not a priest!"
"Actually, I have the qualifications of an ordained minister," Sakuya replies cheerfully.
"Anyway, let's continue," Sakuya presses on. Marisa is too stunned to move. "The love between these two is plain, so let's get on to the important part!" MArisa gapes, speechless. "Meiling, would you please put the wedding bands on their fingers?" I don't know where Sakuya got these rings. I don't even care anymore. I can only comply, sliding a ring on Pam's, then Marisa's finger. The fairy maids squeal with delight, and Pam giggles happily. Marisa just stares at her ring blankly.
"...This has got to to be a dream," she mutters.
"A wonderful dream!" Pameel agrees.
"NOT WHAT I MEANT!"
"Anyway," Sakuya continues cheerfully. "Pameel, do you take Marisa to be your bride?"
"Yes!" chirps Pam.
"And Marisa, do you take Pameel to be your bride?"
"Hell no!" Marisa squawks.
"It's opposite minute for Marisa," Flandre points out, "so that means 'emphatically yes.'"
"Oh, Marisa, I'm so happy!" Pameel cries with delight.
"NOOO!" Marisa wails.
"The since there are no objections to this union-" Sakuya starts.
"I object! I object!" Marisa yelps desperately. No-one hears her.
"-I hereby declare you married! Pameel, please claim your bride with a kiss."
Marisa whirls on Pameel. "Now you see here, you little-"
Pameel leaps into Marisa's arm and kisses her.
An awed silence ensues. Or possibly a stunned silence for some of us. Marisa's eyes bulge as Pameel kisses her, deeply and fully. Actually, very fully. Wow, for a fairy, Pameel can sure kiss! Is she using tongue?
Slowly, ever so slowly, Marisa frees her lips from a happy Pameel, and turns her head around to the source of the sound. Which is, of course, Aya Shameimaru, eyes shining, smile wide as she takes in the scene.
"A union between Marisa and a fairy! How romantic! I've got to make sure everyone hears about this! In a burst of wind, Aya is gone, leaving behind a chapel full of cheering fairies.
"What," Marisa says numbly.
"Darling!" Pameel cries, tugging on Marisa's arm, pulling her down the isle. "Let's hurry to the honeymoon room and start making a family!"
"What," Marisa says again, still having a hard time understanding anything.
"Are you really an ordained minister?" I hiss to Sakuya.
"Hell no," Sakuya whispers back. "But they don't have to know that!"
Pameel has pulled Marisa into the hallway by now. But as Flandre hiccups and passes out, as the fairies cheer, and Patchouli, Koakuma, and Remilia stare in bafflement, I still hear her cry out:
Marisa wound up spending an hour in the honeymoon suite, desperately dodging an amorous fairy, before diving out the window, vaulting the wall, and running like mad for the Forest of Magic, Pameel hot on her heels. Apparently, Pam kept slipping into bed with her wherever she ran, eager to start a family. The entirety of Gensokyo thought it was a very nice story indeed, and Reimu was only saddened that Marisa didn't have the wedding at her shrine (she was laughing like crazy when she said this). Marisa is still trying to evade Pameel, with limited success.
Over all, it was a good contender for the BEST DAY EVER.
Good news! Marisa is now (quasi-)legally married to a determined fairy maid! She'll probably be too busy to bother Meiling for a while!
In other news, new options!
[ ] Switching places with Sakuya [ ] Remiu's been in Remilia's room an awfully long time... [ ] Flandre has a bad dream.
So, it's exam week for me. That means that posting will probably not be as quick as you've been used to. I might still update, but there's a good chance that I'll be using the time to review notes. I'll be done Friday afternoon, so I may post something in the evening. If not, Saturday for sure.
You have exams this week? Holy youkai, that's werid. I only say that because every other school I can think of is already done with exams, and is out on break. If you don't mind me asking, your school uses the quarter system doesn't it?
I hate studying. It is the bane of sanity. Needed to write to unwind a little. Here you go.
Heavy rain today. Supposed to clear off later, but for now I'm stuck outside in the pouring rain with only an umbrella between me and soaked clothing. And hair. And, well, everything.
Still, it hasn't been totally boring. Earlier today, I saw Marisa fly screaming across the sky, closely pursued by her adoring new wife. I wonder if she'll ever figure out that the marriage wasn't completely, totally legal?
Come to think of it, Pameel wouldn't understand or care either way. So they might as well be considered married. Wonder if Pameel will ever get those children she wanted. Come to think of it, who will actually get pregnant...?
Never mind. Think of something else.
Before the rain started, I also saw Cirno attempting to drill her friends into becoming a hero team. It seemed to involve a great deal of posing in wooden mock-ups of power armor. It was going fairly well, until Wriggle apparently summoned up some termites by accident. Probably subconsciously got fed up with it. On the other hand, Rumia and Mystia seemed to be right into it from what I could tell. I have to wonder what their next mission's going to be... If I find out, I'll have to make a submission to the club newsletter!
But then the rain came, they ran off, and aside from the enormously entertaining sight of Marisa running in stark terror from a fairy, there's been nothing to do. Can't read. Can't practice. Too damp and cold for a nap.
I am so bored. And cold. And the wind is making me wet despite the umbrella.
Hell with it. I'm going in to make some hot cocoa.
About ten minutes later, I'm in the kitchen thoroughly enjoying the rich, chocolatey drink when Sakuya walks in, looking tired. She blinks when she sees me. "Hello, Meiling," she says, smiling, "What are you doing inside?" She also places one hand on her hip and tilts her body in such a way that it somehow manages to highlight her curves. Nice try, Sakuya, but I'm still not interested.
...How does she pull that off? Did she do some creative sewing to her uniformNO I AM NOT INTERESTED IN HER THAT WAY STOP IT.
IGNORING Sakuya's nonverbal comeon, I sip my drink and shrug. "Bad day. Cold, wet, boring. Saw Marisa running like hell from Pameel, though."
Sakuya giggles. "I'm pleased to have played a part in that! But, uh," she glances at me, "don't talk to ME about a bad day, mmmkay?"
I raise an eyebrow. "Something happen?"
Sakuya groans, and walks over to her secret stash of beer. Before my eyes, she pops the cap and chugs the whole thing down in about six seconds. "Do. Not. Ask," she sighs.
Sakuya glares at me for a moment, then shrugs. "Alright. Want the whole story? Here you go." She sits down at a table and I join her. "First, Miss Patchouli. I had to serve her tea five times before I got it to her exacting standards, and each time she sent it back, she had some sort of comment to give me about the tea, my uniform, or my 'abysmal technique,' as she calls it, that night we went out together. That's just for starters." Sakuya starts on another beer. "Secondly, Mistress Remilia took up several hours this morning just trying on dresses because she wondered what Reimu would like best. Flandre demolished her room because she was trying to make the Risk boardgame more realistic. I have no idea where she got the artillery pieces. And I had to go over everything the maids did because they're even more distractable than normal thanks to that wedding!" Sakuya takes a breath, followed by a drink. "So, yeah. Being a maid is hard."
"But you can stop time," I point out.
Sakuya snorts. "Do you have any idea how draining that is? It wears down on you, and keeping track of everything is a massive pain in the ass. I still have to do the work when time is frozen, and I can't maintain the freeze while sleeping. Again, tiring." She plunks her chin on a hand and sighs. "You really have no idea, Mei."
"The one-upping game?" I ask her, smirking, "All right. I have to be out there at the crack of dawn every day, no matter the weather. Most of my job involves staring at the lake endlessly with no breaks. Sometimes I get to tend the gardens. Other times I have to run like mad to head off intruders. When it's not sheer boredom, it's a mad scramble to intercept unwanted guests in time. And remember the blow my poor reputation's taken."
Sakuya rolls her eyes. "Come on, Mei. You love the garden, and you've finally gotten back at Marisa. People know how strong you are now. Don't tell me your job is pure hell."
"Hey, don't go thinking you've got it tougher than me of all people," I retort.
Sakuya and I glare at each other for a long moment. "So, you honestly think your job is harder?" she asks in a low, dangerous voice.
"Utter boredom, with the occasional fight. Usually scrambling around for cannon fodder, occasionally against enemies that flat-out cheat. Wind and rain, Sakuya, while you have a comfy mansion all day long. Yeah. Cleaning is nothing compared to what I have to do." I tell Sakuya this firmly, my indignation slowly rising. I mean, sheesh, she has a cushy job with all the time in the world to do it! What is she complaining about?!
Sakuya glares and leans forward over the table. "You get to slack off all day," she points out, "and want to say that you have it rough?"
Oh. She did not. She did not just say that.
"You're one to talk, timestopper," I hiss back. "I'd like to see you do MY job, just for a day, see how you like it!" Sakuya's eyes flare at this.
"Think you'd make a good maid, then? Think it's easy?" she asks, standing up.
I stand up to match her. "Easy. I'd like to see you handle my job for a day before you come crying for your old job back."
Sakuya starts to laugh, slow and heavy. "Oh, I'd take THAT bet! Why don't you try it out, Mei? Be the only good maid here in the middle of a bunch of fairies?"
"And how'd you like to keep the gate for me?" I ask back, a competitive spreading over my face. "How about it, Sakuya? Wanna see what I go through in the run of a day?"
"You are so on!" Sakuya shouts, slapping the table. "I give a day, no HALF a day, before you start begging for your old job back!"
"You're on!" I shout, smacking the table as well. "We trade places for a day. First one to crack, loses!"
Sakuya and I shake on it, grinning fiercely at each other. Sakuya is a friend, and I care about her, but ooooohhh, this was a chance to show her what my life was like but good! Now she'd see what I had to go through!
"Loser does one favor for the winner?" Sakuya asks.
"You sure will!" I taunt back. This was gonna be easy!
Next morning, I find myself staring at my reflection in a full-length mirror. It looks... huh. Well, how do I say it? I'm wearing a maid uniform, precisely tailored for me by Sakuya. I don't know how she got my measurements. I don't really want to know, at that. All I know is that it really hugs my figure, emphasizing my bust, my hips... everything.
"Does it have to be a miniskirt?" I wonder out loud.
"Absolutely," Sakuya insists. I sigh and look over at her, dressed in one of my uniforms which she had adjusted for her figure. It... really works for her, to be honest. Tight in all the right places, split sides emphasizing Sakuya's legs OKAY STOP STARING DAMMIT.
Actually, the two of us look like sisters trying on one another's clothing. It's kinda fun trying on Sakuya's clothes, really. I look over at Sakuya. She looks right back at me. Well, stares back, really.
"M-maid uniform," a blushing Sakuya mutters, a smile crawling over her face. Her eyes have a far away, dreamy look.
"...Sakuya, you're drooling," I tell her.
"Eh? Ah!" Sakuya yelps, rushing to clean herself up. A moment later she's composed herself, and the two of us look at each other. I decide never to ask what she was thinking about.
"Right, " I say, feeling competitive again. "I'll start on your chores, and you can go outside and be bored.
"Nothing like a relaxing day," Sakuya retorts, grinning at me. Nodding, the two of us head to the entry hall. Remembering my new duties, I rush to the front door, bow politely, and place my hand on the knob, ready to open it for her. Sakuya seems to enjoy the sight a little too much. As I open the door, Sakuya starts forward boldly...
... and stares straight into a raging thunderstorm.
I smile at the gaping Sakuya and press an umbrella into her hand. "Remember to hurry to the gate, or you'll be struck by lightning~!" I sing.
Sakuya looks at me in alarm. "What, wa-" I push her outside and slam the door. Then I open it just a crack to see her staring out at the rain and thunder in discomfort. After a moment, Sakuya sighs before straightening up in determination. A flicker, and I can just about see her standing by the gate, probably soaked already.
Welcome to my world, Sakuya.
Well, enough of that. I have a job to do!
[ ] Cook breakfast. [ ] Wake up Remilia. [ ] Check on Flandre. [ ] Patchouli's morning tea. [ ] Are the fairies up yet?
Well, might as well literally get cooking! After all, there's a mansion full of people that need food, and I'm getting nothing done just standing around! As thunder booms outside, and I reflect that Sakuya's learning EXACTLY what I go through in a given day, I make my way to the kitchen.
Right, here we are. Time to startWHAT THE HELL?
The kitchen is a mess. Ingredients strewn all over the place. Two cartons of eggs open on the counter, their contents all over the counters and floor. Flour, sugar, milk, all kinds of things mix together and coat much of the kitchen in a sort of... slurry.
What the hell happened?
Oh. There's two fairies in here. That's what happened.
"What happened?" I ask the fairies in a flat tone of voice.
They jump and turn to me. "Oh, Meiling!" one of them says brightly, nonetheless looking a bit nervous. "Well. Um. We heard that you would be taking over for Sakuya today, and we thought we'd help! Even though we've never cooked before, we're sure we can be a big help to you!"
The other fairy somehow sets the stove on fire.
"See? Get a couple of sticks, and you can roast your food, just like that!" The first fairy laughs nervously, while I rush for the fire extinguisher. Right, first thing: extinguish blaze. Second: clean kitchen. Third: breakfast. One has to prioritize, after all, and fires are kind of a priority why is that fairy roasting marshmallows over the burning stove?!
She even has the gall to complain when I put the fire out. I try to be patient. Somehow.
After putting the fire out, I conscript my two new 'helpers' to clean up the kitchen, which thankfully goes without a hitch. Partway through, one of the smarter fairies comes in to lend a hand. I want to kiss her when it's all over.
"Okay," I sigh, looking over the now-spotless kitchen. "That took a while, but no problem. Kitchen's clean, and we just need to cook. Let's start with the staff meals first. That would be..."
"One-hundred and twenty sets of bacon and eggs with toast," my new helper says primly.
Right. Fairy maids. Lots of them. And they all need to eat. "How does Sakuya..." Time stop. Right. No. She still has to let the food cook, so stopping time wouldn't help there... I'm answered when the newest fairy points out some equipment along the side of the room which I've never really paid attention to before. The huge stove, a huge mixing bowl and whisk, enormous frying pans, the biggest goddamned toaster I've ever seen, and other paraphernalia that I just now realize are meant to tend to the needs of the numerous staff. And Sakuya does it all alone. I'm starting to wonder if I made I mistake.
Then the second fairy sets the stove on fire again.
"Why?" I ask dully.
"I wanna roast marshmallows!" Is my response.
Anyway, after putting the fire out again, I put myself to work cooking the absolutely massive amounts of food needed to feed the fairy staff. Martial arts training pays off here; it's handy to be able to simultaneously crack four eggs and flip multiple other eggs while still keeping on eye on the bacon. I set the fairies to work helping me as best they can (I also take the matches away from them), when fairy number two walks up to me.
"Um, the rest of us haven't woken up yet," she says hesitantly.
"Well," she says hesitantly, "They figured you'd just let them sleep in, you know?"
I roll my eyes. "All right. You set the staff tables, right? Put the egg, bacon and toast on plates and set them out, along with the orange juice. I'll go wake them up." Getting a salute in response, I leave the kitchen while fervently praying that nothing will be burned down in my absence. Minutes later I'm in the servant's quarters, looking at bunk after bunk of sleeping fairies. "Everybody up!" I shout. My response is disgruntled mumbling. One fairy asks for breakfast in bed. Another one mumbles that she wants to get married, too.
How does Sakuya motivate these girls, anyway? Incentive? Threat of violence?
...Oh, right. Well, forget it! I'm not Sakuya, and I don't have to do things her way! I'm sure some positive reinforcement will work just fine!
"Come on, everybody!" I say cheerfully, "It's a brand new day! Let's all get up and work hard, alright?" In response, another fairy asks for some orange juice. Another one farts. A third fairy demands that I turn out the light. This really isn't working, and I have a mansion to take care of.
"I'm carrying knives," I say blandly, and seconds later the room explodes into motion as fairies hurriedly start getting ready.
So this is what it's like to be Sakuya. I may have misjudged things.
While the fairies are eating breakfast, I take a plate out to Sakuya. It's stopped raining, and a warm sun is coming out. Wonderful. So she'll have a nice, warm day out here. My only hope is that the boredom gets to her.
I find Sakuya standing at the gate, drenched from head to toe, staring blearily out at the lake. "Breakfast," I tell her, offering a plate of food. She mumbles a response and takes it from me.
"All right," she says after a moment of chewing. "So dealing with the elements is rough. Big deal. That's as bad as it could possibly get."
"Sakuya, I'd argue, but I need to wake up the mistresses. Blood, right?"
"Remember to cook it into Flandre's food," she replies. Sakuya then smiles at me sweetly. "Have fun, okay?"
Screw you, Sakuya.
Cooking with blood is... a weird experience. The smell is disturbing, but I can deal with that. There's just something so odd about cooking blood into cupcakes and hash browns that I just can't explain. It's like a cross between the homey and the horrible. The fact that I'm drawing a smiley-face in blood just compounds it. Well, whatever. I'll go to feed Flandre, then worry about other tasks to be done.
A few minutes later I open Flandre's door. "Good morn-" Why is there a cannon in Flandre's room? Why is Flandre dressed up as an American Civil war general? Why is she sitting on a stuffed horse? As in a life-sized taxidermied horse? I didn't even know we HAD one of those.
"Hi, Meiling!" Flandre chirps happily. "Just set it down over there! I really need to figure out the rules for this game." She 'hmmms' to herself. "How big to make the board... should I hire people to actually fight the battles? Kind of makes dice meaningless, but adds another element. Getting good soldiers, that is." Did she... yes. Flandre has dressed up all of her stuffed animals in a variety of military uniforms. Some of the weapons they're holding look disturbingly real.
I stare at General Flandre for a long moment before setting the plate down and slowly backing out of the room. It's barely been two hours, and I can feel myself starting to crack. This is not a good sign.
"Oh, Meiling?" Flandre says just before I slip out of the room.
Flandre gives me a wide smile and seems to take in my whole body. "You look GREAT in that outfit!"
I blush happily. "Thank you, Flan!" With a polite, maid-like bow, I close Flandre's door and leave. The good thing about Flandre is that there isn't any subtext to a comment like that. It's just an honest compliment. Hopefully.
Nah, the Sakuya and Yuuka thing has me jumping at shadows. Calm down, Meiling.
I decide to bring Patchouli her morning tea before waking up Remilia. Remilia won't mind sleeping in a little, but I hear Patchouli can be a stickler for her tea. It's an easy task, in any case.
"No, all wrong," Patchouli tells me firmly.
"The tea I prefer has a very precise mixture of herbs," she lectures me firmly, "I suppose I can't blame you for having difficulty, even Sakuya has trouble some days but..." Patchouli rambles on about how she has a different blend of tea for every day of the week, and how it is important to her studies and so on and so forth. I cut My eyes at Koakuma and she just shakes her head wearily.
Patchouli finally hands me a list with the precise combination of herbs she wants for her morning tea (down to the milligram, from crying out loud), and I take a moment to ask Koakuma "Is this really relevant to her magic?"
"No," Koa sighs, "She's just being anal about it."
Ah. I figured as much.
My second try is apparently better, but still just a bit off. I'm also told that my maid uniform is a tad indecent, and I should think about a longer skirt. The worst part, somehow, is that Patchouli is actually trying to be instructive rather than critical. Talk about set in your ways. When Patchouli rejects the third batch of tea, I decide that enough is enough and, under the pretense of straightening Patchouli's dress, gently caress one of her nerve clusters. She blinks. "...What was that just now?"
"I was straightening your dress. You had a wrinkle."
"...Alright then," Patchouli gives me an odd look before sipping her tea again. She looks at it in surprise. "Actually, this may be closer to my expectations that previously suspected. Hmmm... maybe I didn't let it cool enough? Either way, I suppose this will be sufficient, Meiling. Thank you."
I take the opportunity to escape from the library while she's distracted. Koakuma stops me on my way out, and asks "What did you do, exactly?"
"I manipulated a nerve cluster that slightly numbs your taste buds, Seemed to work just fine." Koa snickers at my response.
Then a fairy runs up in a panic. "Meiling! Meiling! Someone lit one of the tables in the cafeteria on fire!"
"What?! Why?!" I yelp, shocked.
"She said she wanted to roast marshmallows!"
Anyway, after putting out another fire, and putting a certain pyromaniac fairy in time-out, I find myself before Remilia's door. Okay. Main event. Have to awaken the mistress of the house. Steeling myself, I push open the door.
"Oh, Reimu..." Remilia moans.
No. No way. It couldn't be. She couldn't She isn't. NOT WHILE I'M ON DUTY, OH GOD-
Oh wait, it's her pillow. Remilia must be dreaming. So, instead of walking in on Remilia and Reimu getting... busy... I walk in on Remilia dreaming about Reimu and getting affectionate with her pillow. Because that's just so much better. Not awkward at all oh god she's rubbing up against it.
...I still have to wake her up, don't I?
[ ] GOOD MORNING, MISTRESS! [ ] Shake her to wake her up. [ ] Just make some noise tidying up the room until she wakes up.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Fuck exams. That is all. (Think I did pretty well, for those who are wondering.)
Okay. Calm down. She's just dreaming. No problem. I'll just bustle around-
-ignore her while she's dreaming and tidy things up-
"Eheheheh... so cute..."
-and maybe I'll just I dunno.
...I wonder what exactly Remilia is dreaming about? She certainly has a big smile on her face. I mean, I can guess in very general terms what the dream is about. She's certainly enjoying it, that much is obvious. I'm just curious about the details. How far have those two gone...?
I have an idea. I shouldn't do it. I really shouldn't do it. It's a bad idea. Don't walk over there. Don't do this. Why am I standing next to her bed. Oh god I'm gonna do this. Too funny not to do. Bad idea. Can't stop myself. I lean over.
"Oh, Remi," I whisper in her ear, trying to imitate Reimu's voice. "Not in front of the children! Wait 'til we get back to the shrine." I make sure to make the tone of my voice during the latter part as seductive as I can. Remilia's smile gets even broader, even downright lascivious.
"Can't wait that long..." she mumbles, "here... into the woods a bit...I'll make you feel gooood~. Eheheheheh..." Remilia chuckles throatily and gives her pillow a big open-mouthed kiss. I press my hand against my mouth to stifle my laughter. I probably shouldn't have done that. But it was just too good not to do! I watch in amusement as Remilia starts to get a bit amorous with her pillow.
A bit TOO amorous, actually.
There's kissing, and licking, and uh, she's really rubbing up against it. Good lord, her hands...! W-what's she doing in that dream?! She's starting to slip her nightie off OKAY ABORT TIME TO WAKE UP.
I rush over to the window and nearly rip the drapes open. "GOOD MORNING, MISTRESS!" I shout at the top of my lungs, forcing a broad smile onto my face.
"HWAARGBURGLEGWUF!" Remilia yelps with a faceful of pillow. She sits bolt upright, eyes wide, mouth still stuffed full of pillow. Remilia stares at me wildly, then looks around her in confusion, pulling the pillow out of her mouth. "Reimu?" she asks hopefully.
"Wow, that must have been some dream, huh?" I chuckle desperately. Please let it go I don't wanna talk about how you were acting out your sexy dream with your pillow.
Remilia throws her pillow and smacks me in the face hard enough that I see stars.
"Why did you have to wake me up?!" she wails. "It was just getting good! Reimu and I were... were...um." Remilia blinks as I peel the pillow off of my sore face, most likely noticing the drool marks. She glances down at her nightdress, and its state of disarray. She glances back at me. "...What was I doing?" she asks quietly.
"Well, Reimu is your girlfriend," I say hesitantly, "Such activities are only to be expected between two healthy young women-"
"Oh God NOOOOO!" Remilia wails, diving under the covers, "My maid saw me dreaming about my sweet time with Reimu! I'll never hear the end of it! I'll... wait." Remilia trails off and slowly peeks out of her covers, staring at me. "...Meiling, why are you in a maid's uniform?"
"Oh right! I forgot to mention to you!" I suddenly realize. "Sakuya and I traded places today. We're doing each other's jobs!"
Remilia sits up and looks at me with an expression of total pity. "You poor dears. You know not what you do." I blink at her in confusion, and she sighs. "Let me guess. Got into a 'my job is harder than your job' contest, or something? Has it ever occurred to you that the two of you are uniquely suited to the jobs you already possess? It's pointless to-"
Remilia is cut off by a scream of pain from outside. We glance at each other in alarm, then scramble to the window. I throw it open urgently and lean outside, Remilia right beside me.
I see Sakuya kneeling next to a rosebush, shaking her arm in obvious pain, and swearing in a highly undignified fashion. "Sakuya? You all right?" I call out. The temporary gatekeeper whips her head up in surprise and stares at Remilia and myself. I'm pretty sure that I can see her face getting red even from this distance.
"Uh, no problem!" She calls back hurriedly, "Just, uh, doing the gardening! That's all! The rose bushes are a bit tangled and my hand got stuff, that's all!" Sakuya reaches for her side, probably going for her watch and disappears. Only to reappear a few feet away, shaking her hand again. And another flicker, and Sakuya's rubbing her arm. Then a foot. Then she somehow got a scratch on her face. As we watch, each time Sakuya reappears she looks just a bit more bedraggled, with more scratches and band-aids.
"She has no idea what she's doing," I realize.
"You're the gardener, not her," Remilia sighs. "Well, if you two are going to do this, so be it. Hopefully you'll learn something. Anyway Meiling, I'll take my breakfast now, and then I need you to help me get ready for my outing. I'm going to visit Reimu."
Remilia starts clubbing me with a pillow in each hand, while I can only yelp and defend myself from pillowy doom.
"Don't wake me up when I'm dreaming about Reimu!" Remilia wails again.
Anyway, I serve Remilia breakfast and spend the next three hours helping her decide on an outfit that will 'excite' Reimu. Yes, I'm helping the Mistress of the Mansion pick out her seduction clothes. I don't know if she's getting back at me or not. I suspect not. This agreement may have been a bad idea.
Then I have to make her bed OH GOD THERE'S A STAIN I have to change her bedding and clean the old sheets. Thoroughly. In the future, I'm waking her up sooner.
I do take a moment to check on Sakuya, who is visibly disheveled. Hair out of place, bandages and scratches marring her skin, clothing torn and tattered. She stares out at the lake, her face a mask of utter boredom. I decide to leave her alone.
Anyway, it's time to clean the mansion! The fairy maids clean most of the less important rooms, but it's the job of the head maid to personally clean the rooms used most often by the inhabitants. Thus, I open the door of the lounge, and scream in horror.
The room is big.
The room is cluttered.
The room has clearly been visited by fairy maids trying to help. The unthinkable mess is a pretty solid clue.
The room devours hours of my time, and I finally stagger out of there weary and disheveled.
Then I go to the next room and scream again. I have the sinking feeling that every room I need to clean today is going to be like this. Dammit, fairy maids.
All of a sudden, there is the sound of glass breaking, and the sense of an intruder in the mansion. What the hell is going on now?! I race down the halls of the mansion as fast as I can towards the... library?
I'm almost there when I hear another window shatter further down the hall. Glancing out the window next to me, I see a familiar black-white witch soaring off into the distance, Patchouli and Koakuma in hot pursuit.
I rush to the front gate as quickly as I can, wondering how exactly Marisa could have gotten past Sakuya. Halfway there, I screech to a halt. I've found Sakuya. She's in the gardens, head first into a rosebush, legs sticking rigidly into the air. There's a crispy scent on the breeze, and I can see a thin stream of smoke drifting up from her body. Yep, Marisa's handiwork. I walk over to the whimpering maid and carefully pull her out of the bush.
"Sakuya, what happened?" I ask, setting her down on the ground to rest.
Sakuya, still dazed, stares back at me. "Marisa," she says numbly, "I was bored out of my mind and didn't notice her until she was on the mansion grounds. I time-stopped in front of her, and then... she laughed at me." Sakuya shakes her head in disbelief. "She laughed at me wearing your clothes, said I'd been demoted, or something stupid. It was... infuriating!" Been there, done that. "So, we fought, and Marisa used a new spell or something to beat me. Then she made fun of me again!" Sakuya trembles in a familiar combination of indignation and humiliation.
In the distance, I see a familiar green-haired dot. Pameel. Marisa must have gotten away from her long enough to raid the mansion. I turn back to Sakuya and... she- she's tearing up!
Sakuya looks at me mournfully. "I'm terrible at this," she says wonderingly, "All I have to do is tend the gardens and keep intruders out and... and..." Sakuya turns her head to where a couple of lake fairies have slipped into the grounds and are about to pick some of my flowers. A couple of chi bursts chases them out. "I couldn't even keep some fairies out," Sakuya says in disbelief. Then she bursts into tears. "I'm so bad at thiiiiiiis!" she wails in humiliation.
OH CRAP! CRYING SAKUYA! HUMILIATED SAKUYA! CRYING SAKUYA BAD! MUST DO SOMETH-
"M-Meiling?" Yuuka's voice asks from behind me. I turn, very slowly, to see the flower youkai gaping at me, a red blush on her face. "Meiling. Maid outfit. Miniskirt," she mumbles.
OH CRAP I WAS BENDING OVER.
Slowly, a grin spreads over Yuuka's face. Then she faints, toppling over backwards, still with that silly smile on her face. "Maid...Meiling..." the delirious flower youkai mumbles, "Heheh... you can serve me any day..." Wonderful. Now Yuuka's having perverted dreams about me.
And so there I stand, with a weeping maid/gatekeeper to one side of me, a flower youkai having a dream about me on the other, and behind me is a mansion where the maids are so eager to help out that they're destroying everything. Plus the broken windows that need fixing. Plus the wrath of Patchouli which I'll no doubt have to deal with. And Flandre's experiment. I smell smoke, too.
Turning around, I see the cause of the smoke. Through the window, I spy a fairy maid happily roasting marshmallows over a burning sofa. Wonderful.
[ ] Screw it. I want my old job back. [ ] I must tough it out! [ ] Try to get Sakuya to quit.
[x] Deal with marshmallow fairy. -[x]...The bed is dead; Might as well get a marshmallow out of it. When fairy is out of signs, of course. --[x] Get Sakuya to quit. Yeah, yeah, you got the point. --[x]...There is also that point what the worst part of your work already passed - while the Maid still has the worst part of the day coming. And you have yet to see if Sakuya truly managed to to fuck up your garden. -[x]...Yuuka probably would be glad to help, if she did.
[X] Me AND Sakuya must tough it out! -[X] IRON DRAGON HEART SURGE -[X] Yuuka! Tend to the roses. Only the gentle caress of an experienced gardener can soothe their rage now. -[X] Sakuya! Is this truly the extent of the Scarlet Devil Mansion's head maid? I say nay! For all that you hold dear, I bid you; Stand! Stand and fight with me one last time. There's work to be done.
For some reason, I just picture Meiling as having the courage of a dragon, even if she doesn't show it all the time.
I take a long, slow breath. Okay, I can do this. Hang in there, Meiling. Be strong. First, I have a weeping friend to deal with. I kneel down and slip my arms around her.
"Sakuya," I gently murmur. "Easy now. I understand. I've been there. Just be strong for a little while longer, okay? I'll do the same and we'll both get through this. I feel... that we both NEED to do this, to understand what each other goes through. Alright?" Sakuya relaxes in my embrace and nods a little bit. "And later on, we'll go beat up Marisa. Okay?" Sakuya nods again, much firmer this time, and I giggle. I breath in the fresh air, trying to let the stress drain out of me... and smell the smoke again. Right.
"Sakuya," I say carefully, "Let's make a deal. Tell me how to deal with fairies with pyromaniac tendencies, and I'll give you a hint on how to deal with boredom."
Sakuya freezes, looks up at me, then follows my gaze. She groans. "That one again... well, your best bet is to put her in The Room."
I blink. "The Room?"
"Yeah. It's a featureless concrete room in the basement. After a few minutes of sheer boredom, the fairies tend to break down and beg for forgiveness."
"That somehow sounds a little harsh, Sakuya." She wordlessly points to the sofa marshmallow-roast. Right. "...Correcting poor behaviour?"
"Precisely," Sakuya nods. "And Meiling? I'm never giving you a hard time about slacking off ever again. I mean, at least I always have something to DO..."
"I feel the same way about you," I nod, heading towards the mansion. "I had no idea that HEY! NOT THE CHAIR TOO!" I break into a run, desperately trying to stop the fairy from igniting the entire mansion.
A little while later, I'm standing at the front gate with Sakuya. A quick blast of the fire extinguisher put out the flames, but we're going to need to get that sofa repaired, or even replaced. My marshmallow-roasting nemesis got put in The Room, as Sakuya suggested and, well...
"Three minutes," I say wonderingly, "Three minutes later she was begging to be let out."
"A lot of fairies don't handle understimulation all that well," Sakuya agrees, straightening out her borrowed clothing. "You're starting to understand why I discipline the fairies so harshly. They can take it, and if I don't they'll demolish the mansion."
"On that note, how do you like my job?" I ask with a smile.
"I'm so bored," Sakuya groans. "Every few minutes I'll stop time and patrol the grounds, but I can only do that so many times. At least I have something to occupy me inside."
I chuckle. "I know what you mean. Anyway, here." I walk over to the wall and carefully move a brick out of place, revealing a hollow behind it. There's a few books stashed there. "For when I need to pass the time," I tell her primly.
Interested, Sakuya starts leafing through them. "Historical fiction... science fiction and fantasy... manga... lurid romance novels?" I squeak and grab those last ones out of Sakuya's hands, feeling my face go red. Sakuya smirks at me. "Why, Meiling! Talk about an eclectic selection!"
"I-i-it isn't what it looks like!" I stutter, "It's just- Koa recommended these to me! I couldn't insult her!"
"They look well-read," Sakuya comments, "Meaning that ONE of you likes to read them a lot. At least one of you."
I slump, defeated. "...Don't judge me."
Sakuya's response is to reclaim the books and start leafing through them. "This will no doubt be a font of information on you and your tastes," Sakuya notes with a grin. "Talk about a prize!" My face is reintroduced to my palms. Why must this happen to me? Then Yuuka pokes her head around the corner.
"Can I get in on this?" she asks.
"Help me with the gardening, and you're on," Sakuya agrees.
"Hey!" I protest, "No fair!"
"You never said we couldn't get help," Sakuya tells me primly. Then she hesitates. "Plus... I think I messed up a couple of shrubberies." I twitch. "So I'd like Yuuka's help restoring them. Fair enough?" I force myself to nod calmly. She's getting an expert to help. That's fine. It's not like there'll be any permanent damage to MY PRECIOUS GARDENS-
Then I remember the damage that has been inflicted to the mansion on my watch, and sigh in resignation. "Fine. Then if you'll excuse me, I have a mansion to tend to." Squaring my shoulders, I march back to the front door, trying to ignore Sakuya and Yuuka talking about how I look in my maid uniform. I can do this!
Actually, I do pretty well, all things considered.
Firstly, I get all the maids together and explain how important it is to keep the mansion looking good for its inhabitants, and that we all need to work together to keep our home tidy. I also mention that while I'm not Sakuya, I'm willing to dole out discipline as needed. Everyone glances at the marshmallow fairy when I say this and nods grimly.
After that, things go pretty well, all told. Working together, we manage to clean up all the damage that the overeager fairies have inflicted on the household. Windows are replaced, new furniture is shuffled out of storage, and the fairies actually pitch in. Still, I start to realize just how much effort goes into organizing them. Sakuya has a chart which groups the fairies into rough categories. The smarter fairies get more complex jobs, while the dimmer ones get the simpler tasks, mainly keeping the hallways dusted. There's also some enforcement involved; I find myself relying on fairy informants and dashing to and fro all over the mansion to give a threatening glare to slackers. It works quite well; apparently my displeasure is a new experience, and not something anyone likes to see.
I'm really starting to understand Sakuya. This is why she's so different when on and off duty.
Aside from cleaning, there's cooking to worry about as well for the entire mansion, and some of our residents have very particular tastes (hello Patchouli, your dress is rumpled again, let me get that.) Speaking of Patchouli, she apparently gave Sakuya quite a tongue-lashing when she got back. I'm sorry I missed that. Welcome to my world, Sakuya.
Long story short, I don't stop running at all for the whole day. After clean-up from supper time, I find a nice, quiet lounge and just collapse into a sofa. What a freaking day.
A few minutes later, Sakuya comes in and joins me, taking a seat to my side. We remain in companionable silence for awhile before looking at each other and speaking in unison.
"I had no idea your job was so insane," I groan, slumping on the couch. "I've been running all day, I constantly have to check up on the fairies, and then there's Flandre's latest obsession... how do you do it all?"
"Time stop," Sakuya points out, staring blearily at the wall. "So, today I found out that I suck at gardening, being defeated in public is humiliating, and I swear I will never criticize you for slacking on the job ever again. I mean, all I could do was stare at the lake all day! And then I had to keep freezing time and fly around the grounds to make sure no one got in. How do you-?"
"Dragon senses," I remind her.
"Oh yeah. Those." Sakuya sighs again. "So. The message here, as Mistress Remilia said, is that our jobs are equally difficult, and we each have the skills to perform them admirably. Something like that?"
"I think so. It was a stupid bet." I look over at her. "Call it a draw?" I take and squeeze her hand.
Sakuya squeezes back and smiles. "A draw. And I want my job back tomorrow."
"Damn right," I say, standing up. "How about a drink?" Sakuya flickers, and a drink appears in my hand. "Right. You're way better at that then I am."
"Experience," Sakuya replies, winking. We sit down and drink a little bit, and I feel the stress from this awful day flow out of me. I also feel a new understanding form between myself and Sakuya. "You know," she says after a moment, "I really like your clothes. They're comfortable, and attractive!"
I giggle. "I hate to admit it, but I think I like this maid uniform too! It's kinda cute, you know?"
"I like it too," Sakuya grins at me, "and Yuuka ESPECIALLY liked it."
I groan. "Don't remind me. By the way, what happened to her?"
"After she helped set your garden to rights, she leafed through one of your novels, we traded notes, and she went home."
I straighten. "...Traded notes?"
"Oh, you know. I may have shared some stories about you with her. She was VERY interested."
I slowly turn my head to look at Sakuya. She smiles back innocently. This is one of those times where I just don't want to know, isn't it? Oh well. It's not like this is a big surprise or anything. I shrug it off and sip my drink for a bit, when an idea occurs to me. "Patchouli was pretty angry that Marisa made off with some books, wasn't she?"
Sakuya sighs and takes a large chug of her drink. "Don't remind me. I've never been dressed-down like that in my life! Not like she managed to stop Marisa..." Sakuya glances over at me. "That's another thing I'm sorry for. I understand now."
I wave it off. "Thanks, but that's not what I mean." I smile broadly. "Wanna go get Patchouli's books back and 'correct' Little Marisa on her behaviour?"
Sakuya sits bolt upright. "DO I?!"
Shortly thereafter, we touch down in front of Marisa's house in the forest. It's a pretty run-down place, I must say. Sakuya curls her lips in distaste, and I can't disagree. Seriously, some people take no pride in their home...
The first thing I notice is Pameel, wrapped in a thick blanket and lying in front of Marisa's door. Despite the rough accommodations, the sleeping fairy doesn't seem to mind. In fact, judging from the broad, sleepy smile and the occasional giggle, she's having a very nice dream. I have an idea as to what.
Okay, Sakuya and I are in front of Marisa's house, still dressed in each other's clothing. How to go about this.
[ ] Well, we've been hard enough on Marisa lately. Let's just talk rationally with her. [ ] Tag-team shit-slapping. She still has it coming. [ ] Throw Pameel at her. We're marriage counselors!
[x] Well, we've been hard enough on Marisa lately. Let's just talk rationally with her.
Like an unnamed fairy said ' I don't like being hurt...and she probably doesn't like being hurt either. If I hurt her because she hurt me...she would hurt me because I hurt her...it'd be a circle of hurting..' I mean, the other option is more funny, yes, but we should try to end this.
To be honest, this vote option is a tad meta. Screwing with Marisa is terribly fun, of course, but I'm wondering if I'm turning her into too much of a buttmonkey. This vote option is basically telling me 'All right Keymaster, time to tune it down a little.' Plus, there are people out there who like Marisa.
Honestly, a buttmonkey Marisa is a change of pace for me. Since canon has her a miniature Reimu in terms of strength, and fanon therefore has her as competent at the very least, it's different to see someone she can traditionally massacre take her down.
I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Well, let's talk things out with her, first."
Sakuya stares at me incredulously. "You're joking."
"You have to be! After all the things she's done..." Sakuya looks quite angry, but I cut her off.
"I know, Sakuya. And I know that if we keep embarrassing her, things will only get worse." I straighten out my borrowed uniform as I get my thoughts in order. "Look, I have as much against Marisa as you do. More, really. And what happened when I finally got one over on her? Marisa goes off the deep end. She's probably still stewing, in fact. If we just walk in there and clobber her, it'll just make thing worse."
Sakuya shakes her head slowly, still frowning. "Look," I continue, "Marisa is a jerk. There's no two ways around it. And she went overboard after I finally got back at her for all the insults she gave me. But if we just humiliate her again, we'll have a very dangerous opponent who considers us an enemy. We've gotten back at her, everyone in Gensokyo knows this. It's time to take the high road and declare peace, Sakuya."
She sighs and nods wearily. "You're right. Better to not have her coming at the mansion every day looking for vengeance." Sakuya thinks a moment. "Though of course we threaten her with worse if she does it again."
"Well, yeah. Naturally." I smile cheerfully.
"What about Pameel?" Sakuya asks, pointing at the fairy. "Do we tell her to leave Marisa alone now?"
My smile turns impish. "Nope. That would just devastate Pameel, after all. And Marisa needs a little reminder around, something to keep her on the straight and narrow. Besides, we're making peace. Previous punishments are still in effect. Marisa will just have to deal with her wife on her own."
Sakuya smiles broadly at my reasoning. "I take it you're going to get one last shot in? Just as a warning? What do you have in mind?" I tell her, and Sakuya suppresses an un-ladylike guffaw. "Perfect! Just let me get something from the mansion." A flicker, and she's back. "Let's go."
The two of us walk up to the door, and I gently shake Pameels' shoulder. "Mmmmmrrrgh," she moans, "Darling? That you? Ready to start a family now...?" Her eyes flicker open, and widen in surprise. "Ah! M-miss Sakuya! Miss Meiling!" She scrambles to her feet and bows. Hey, she's wearing a cute little sundress. Did she dress up for Marisa? "It's good to see you again! I'm sorry I haven't been around, but Darling Marisa is just so shy~!" Pam chirps this last happily, a slight blush on her face. The features of a girl in love. Then she looks at the two of us in confusion. "Um. Why did you switch clothes?"
"Just a change," I say, shrugging it off. "Anyway, we need to talk to Marisa, okay?"
"And we need you to contain yourself while we do so, understand?" Sakuya firmly adds.
Pam looks confused but, nods. "Alright. I'll just admire my Darling Marisa at a distance!" She sighs dreamily and gets out of our way. After about three feet she stops. That's apparently as far as she's willing to get. Fair enough. Shrugging at Sakuya, I knock hard on Marisa's door.
It takes a few minutes, but I see lights start coming on in the house, and hear a clatter as Marisa makes her way to the door. I'm pretty sure I hear her muttering, too. Finally, Marisa jerks the door open, bleary-eyed and with bed head. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Pam gape at Marisa's nightdress, but she manages to stay put.
"Who th'heck is comin' out here at this time'a... night..." the sleepy Marisa trails off as she sees the two of us, in each other's clothing, with friendly smiles as sharp as daggers.
"Hi Marisa~!" we chirp in unison.
Marisa's face loses all color. "Oh god. Oh god no. Oh god. No."
Before Marisa can slam the door shut, I lunge forward an put a companionable arm around her shoulders. "How ya doing, Marisa?" I ask sweetly.
Sakuya slips a friendly arm around Marisa's other shoulder. "We're sorry to wake you! Pretty girls need their beauty sleep, after all!"
Marisa is as rigid as a board. "Why are you two here," she says flatly.
"We came to say hi!" I say happily. "I mean, you know all those times you publicly humiliated me? Thrashed me without mercy? Insulted me to my face and told everyone in Gensokyo about it?"
"Ah... hahaha...ha..." Marisa forces a weak laugh, meeting my eyes with an expression of barely-concealed terror.
"And when I finally got back at you for all those years of utter humiliation, you went off the deep end and tried to kill me? You know, pretty much starting an incident?" Still smiling!
"Ah... yeah, that... Reimu gave me a real talking to..."
"I'll bet!" Still smiling! Squeezing her shoulder even tighter! " And then when we tried to get you to settle down, do you know what happened then?"
"You ignored our warning!" Sakuya says with a warm smile, "And you not only defeated me, you made every effort to humiliate me! And it worked!" Sakuya's smiling now, and her smile is as sharp and deadly as my own. "So we thought, for a change of pace, we'd come visit you!"
Marisa is stone-still, and glancing between the two of us. I can feel the power building within her- at the first sign of trouble, she's going to try and make a break for it. Brave woman.
"So you know what we're going to do you?" I ask excitedly. Marisa keeps her eyes on me, still very tense, and shakes her head slowly. "Nothing!"
She was not expecting THAT.
"Wh-whuh?" she sputters, "Wait, what?! So, you're not here for those books I borrowed?"
I look at her, very serious. "No, Marisa. I'm not. For one thing, because Patchouli was being quite rude about it, and can frankly get her own books back if they're that important. She has no business criticizing Sakuya and myself if she can't even stop you herself." Sakuya nods in agreement. "But mostly, because it's pointless."
Marisa looks very confused, but she's more relaxed now, realizing that we mean her no harm. Sakuya and I let go and look at her, with Marisa staring back. "...I don't understand," she finally says.
I sigh. "Marisa, I'm not going to lie. Embarrassing you like that was incredibly satisfying, after everything you put me through. The second time? That was a warning, because you WENT TOO FAR." I lean in as I bite out these last words, and Marisa flinches, looking away. I think she already knew that. "You know what happened after every time you beat me? Humiliated me? I sucked it up. I went on." There's real anger in my voice, as I remember what Marisa's put me through. "And what happens when I finally even things up? When I finally make you feel everything that I felt? You go off the deep end. You had a chance to learn a lesson, and you refused." I glare at her, driving all of my emotions into my heart.
Marisa shifts uncomfortably. "Yeah... I know. I'm sorry, I... Reimu had a long talk with me about it, like I said. I'm sorry." She looks me in the eyes, and there is real regret in them. "I'm really sorry... Meiling."
I nod. "Apology accepted," I say evenly. "We came here today thinking about how badly we wanted to kick your ass for insulting Sakuya. But we're not going to do it. We've had enough. We don't want you coming back on a ridiculous quest for revenge."
Sakuya steps in, and her voice is cool and crisp. "If you truly wish to study at Voile, I will speak to Miss Knowledge on your behalf, Marisa. But we will no longer tolerate your insults. If you come back and challenge us again..." Sakuya surges forward until her nose is actually touching Marisa's, "We will respond. And you will regret it like you have never regretted anything. We serve a vampire, Marisa. You do not want know what is hidden away in the deepest depths of the mansion."
Marisa stares back, wide eyed, and nods slowly.
"You're powerful," I tell her, "But so are we. I finally realize that. And I WON"T let you humiliate me, or threaten the mansion. Not any more."
Marisa stares at the two of us, stunned. Slowly, she nods her head. "R-right. Gotcha. But, um... what about Pam?"
I smile and step back, gesturing the fairy forward. "Why, she's right here!"
"Darling!" Pameel cheers, and glomps Marisa from the side.
"Wh-what the?!" Marisa jumps and stares down at Pam in horror.
"She was sleeping on your doorstep!" Sakuya chirps, "Ah, how romantic! So eager to see you!"
"You really shouldn't leave your wife out like that Marisa," I scold her.
"B-b-buh-but!" Marisa sputters as Pameel nuzzles her.
"Ah, Darling!" Pameel sighs happily, "You're so shy! It's so cute! You don't have to worry though! I've been in love with you since our engagement!"
"...You mean when Flan told you to marry me?"
"Yes! Since it came from Miss Flandre, it had to be true love!" Sakuya and I glance at each other and shrug. Fairy logic. "Ah, how much I love you! Your beautiful hair! Your pretty eyes! Your strength, your intelligence and work ethic, your courage, your laugh and smile... you're just... perfect, Marisa Darling!" Marisa is blushing deeply and staring at Pam. She looks up at the two of us, very uncertain.
"Hey, remember that attempt on my life that I forgave you for?" I ask.
"And that threat of terrible things to befall you should you forget our warning?" Sakuya asks.
I smile broadly. "Consider this... our parting shot. Sakuya?" Sakuya nods, things flicker... and it takes Marisa a moment to notice the change. When she does, she squeaks with shock and embarrassment, face going so red it nearly glows.
Lingerie. Bright red lingerie. Lacy, frilly, silky, clingy lingerie, hugging Marisa's every curve. Wow, Flandre was right, she really does have a nice butt. It's something Sakuya dug out from the mansion, and looks softer than a cloud, Expensive too. Also, Pameel is wearing identical lingerie, but colored a bright green. All Marisa can do is squeak in shock. That's when Pam notices the change.
"Darling!" she squeals excitedly, staring at Marisa with shining eyes. "How romantic! You're so lewd it's cute!"
"What," Marisa says flatly. The she notices the red string Sakuya tied around their pinky fingers. "WHAT."
"You can't run away now, you shy girl, you!" Pameel giggles with a wicked look on her face. "Come on! Let's get romantic!"
"What-wait!" Marisa protests as Pameel pulls her inside the house. "I'm not ready-"
Even as the door closes in our faces, Sakuya and I keep standing there, listening to the lovers inside. Pameel's voice we can't make out, but she sounds excited, encouraging, and maybe a little seductive. Marisa we can hear just fine, though.
"Wah! Leggo! Wait- what're we gonna do on the bed?! Whoa! H-hey! Where're you touching, you perverted fairy! I am not being shy! No- I am not bold! YEEEEK! He-hey! That's sensitive! G-Gyahahahah! St-stopit, I'm ticklish! No! Don't take it off! It's embarrassing! N-no! Don't look!"
"Think Pameel will get her family?" I wonder out loud.
"A fairy overpowering a human? Not a chance," Sakuya chuckles. "Marisa's purity is safe. But she's certainly in for an energetic honeymoon." Sakuya snickers, and I laugh out loud.
"Feel better now?" I ask her.
"Much!" Sakuya agrees, slipping her arm around mine. "Let's head home!"
And we head home.
I hope this is a satisfactory ending to Marisa's wrath. But who knows? We may see the happy couple again one day! Anyway, probably gonna be a new thread next post. Pick one:
[ ] Aya's troubling obsession. [ ] Is there someone there...? [ ] Meiling goes for a drink. [ ] DyCirno vs. Yukari.