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File 140269154898.jpg - (159.79KB, 850x638, Gift of the Magi Update 1.jpg) [iqdb]
60556 No. 60556
This is most certainly going to be rather unpleasant. Judging from the flurry of activity around the mansion today, it seems that Remilia is cooking up some new problematic event. The beginnings of a migraine begins to form in the back of your head as you consider what she might be planning, and worse, what part she’s called you out the library to play in it. Whatever it is, you can be sure you’d prefer to keep your hands clean of it.

“Patchy! Glad you could join us!” Remilia comes up behind you with a pat on the back, causing you to tense up reflexively.

“I wasn’t aware I had any option otherwise.”

“Oh don’t be like that. I’m just looking out for my friend, trying to get her to enjoy life a bit more.”

“You and I have very different ways of deriving enjoyment.”

“Oh, but variety is the spice of life, is it not?”

“So you’re saying you want to come read in the library?”

“Maybe something other time, tonight we have a party to attend.”

“You have a party to attend, I have books to read.”

“You can read those books another day.”

“And you’ll be hosting parties other days too.”

“It’s surprising you know that, since you never come.”

“You never let me forget, and I’ll not let you forget that I am a scholar first and a socialite never.”
You respond, and then letting your irritation get the better of you, add “Mine is the higher path.”

Remilia turns her head away from you, not letting you see her expression at your outburst, then walking away, her reply clear despite facing away from you.

“What is a book but a miserable pile of words. People are far more interesting than anything in your dumb library, not that you’d know.”

You’re not in the mood for more of this either, decide to return to the library.

Back in the quiet comfort of Voile, you find yourself more brooding than reading the book in your hands, a treatise on youkai social structures.

You’ve heard it many times before, that you shouldn’t stay in the library, that you should be around people more. Obviously, they don’t understand. That may be their happiness, and they might be satisfied with that, but yours is in your hands right now. Your books are all you need.

Thinking that, you are about to dive back into the treatise with renewed zeal when you are pulled back to reality with a start.

“Lady Patchouli.”

Sakuya’s voice comes from behind you, immediately followed by the magic sentries announcing her entrance into the library. That power of hers always makes you uncomfortable, and few things irritate you more than being interrupted while reading. The maid seems to delight in exploiting both facts.

“Yes, Miss Izayoi?”

“Mistress Remilia wanted me to inform you of some additional appetizing details of her party.”

You let out an exasperated sigh. Not this again.

“One of the guests will be a dealer of exotic and outside-world books.”

It’s likely a bluff. A book dealer wouldn’t run in the same circles as Remilia. She’s just trying to trick you into coming, for whatever scheme she has in the works. You would be interested in meeting a book dealer, but you can’t let her see that.

“Is that so? I doubt that they’ll have any books that I don’t already.”

“Mistress guessed that you would say that. Her response is that you have no way of knowing that until you ask.”

Ugh. Always a show off, isn’t she.

“Mistress also wanted me to inform you that there would be certain guests in attendance, certain scholars who you might want to meet.”

“That’s a cryptic piece of bait. I think she’s underestimating me if she thinks I’ll bite though.”

“Then its on to the next plan. If you come, milady swears that you’ll not hear a thing again about coming to her parties for a year. On the other hand, if you don’t...well she has a lot of interesting amusements she could host in the library itself from now on.”

And now we’re moving on to threats, letting her vampiric tendencies shine through. It’s probably pretty benign, but it does bring up a good point. Staying on Remilia’s good side will make your life much more comfortable.

“Tell Remilia that there’s nothing cute about making threats, but because she’s an old friend I’ll consider doing it for her. Go tell her that now.”

With that, Sakuya vanishes and you are left to your silence again. You start to get back into your book, but its a little dry and you weren’t terribly interested in it in the first place. With a small sigh, you close it and put it down, noticing with a start that Koakuma had been silently staring at you.


The small voice of your familiar slips out.

“Um…..Lady Patchouli?”

“I’m listening.”

You’ve learned to be calm and methodical in dealing with your familiar. It can be a bit irritating at times, but it’s better than if, for instance, she acted like a certain vampire.

“Uh, let’s see… I just had a little question, I mean a request. Something to ask of you.”

Another sigh escapes your lips involuntarily.

“Out with it, what do you want?”

At your prompting the words spill out of her in a jumbled and grammatically atrocious mess.

“Lady Remilia. She’s hosting a party tonight, you know? Did you know that? She is. And she invited me. Sakuya told me. But I’m your familiar, so I wanted to ask. No, I needed to ask you. If it’s okay, that is, if I can go. Can I?”

She stares at you plaintively, either in an attempt to persuade you or in an apologetic response to her previous outburst, while an acidic feeling starts to form in your stomach and the tightness of a new migraine begins in your head. Of course it’s this damn party again. The scowl on your face is apparently very obvious, as your familiar immediately cringes and begins to back peddle on her previous request, tripping over her words yet again.

“Um, it’s okay. Actually. I don’t mind. I mean, I don’t actually want to. I just had to ask. Because she invited me. But it’s fine if not. Not that it can’t be fine. You are the boss, so if you say fine, then it’s fine. Right? Sorry?”
You hold up your palm to stop her before her verbal spillage can continue. Taking a breath, and letting out another sigh, you collect your thoughts and calm yourself. There’s no point in taking out your frustrations on your familiar. You remember reading in Your Familiar and You the importance of maintaining a friendly and personal connection to higher order familiars in maintaining work efficiency for long term contractings. And this familiar, conversational skills aside, does her tasks well enough that you’d prefer to keep her for a while, rather than have her get unruly and have to find a replacement. According to the book, it is the small favors like this that make for a truly loyal, and therefore more productive familiar. By that logic it seems more prudent to just let her go. It’d only be for one night, but for some reason that you can’t quite seem to pin down, you dislike the idea.

[ ] Go to Remilia’s Party, and allow Koakuma to go as well.
[ ] Write-in for if you have strong feelings about what Patchouli should wear.
[ ] Make only a token appearance to satisfy Remilia.
[ ] In for a penny, in for a pound. Shove Remilia’s teasing in her face, be the life of the party.

[ ] Nope, staying in for the night.
[ ] Write-in for if you have strong feelings about what Patchouli should read about this evening.
[ ] But you’ll let your familiar attend.
[ ] You need her to stay in as well.

Rules Overview: Write-ins are great. I put a lot of value in the creativity of the community, so sometimes I’ll leave a space open for them. Other times I won’t explicitly do that, but Write-ins are always ok. That being said, I reserve the right to veto a write-in if it feels out of character, but hope to not have to utilize it.
Expand all images
>> No. 60557
[X] Go to Remilia’s Party, and allow Koakuma to go as well.

Don't have a write in, but I'm interested in seeing where this goes.
>> No. 60558
[x] Go to Remilia’s Party, and allow Koakuma to go as well.

Okay. This for now.
>> No. 60559
Sorry for the shortened vote, on my phone. Anyways:

[X] Go to the party
-[X] Token appearance
>> No. 60560
[x] Go to Remilia’s Party, and allow Koakuma to go as well.
>> No. 60561
[X] In for a penny, in for a pound. Shove Remilia’s teasing in her face, be the life of the party.
-[X] Wear the exact same thing she's planning to wear, except arrive before she does, being sure to coordinate with the help for a dramatic pause in the music as well as a spotlight following our first movements.

Nobody but NOBODY interrupts reading time. Chibi vampire needs to learn her place.
>> No. 60563
File 140269668235.jpg - (546.32KB, 700x700, 7ce3412e8de0955c5d12bff1c8e207bd.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] Go to Remilia’s Party, and allow Koakuma to go as well.
-[x] Write-in for if you have strong feelings about what Patchouli should wear.
Pic related, assuming this is a fancy sort of party. I don't imagine Remilia throwing dance parties.
>> No. 60564
[x] Go to Remilia’s Party, and allow Koakuma to go as well.
>> No. 60565
[X] Go to Remilia’s Party, and allow Koakuma to go as well.
[X] Make only a token appearance to satisfy Remilia check out the books and scholars. If they're unimpressive, leave immediately whether remi is satisfied or not (Koa can stay as long as she likes, though).
>> No. 60566
[X] Go to Remilia’s Party, and allow Koakuma to go as well.
[X] Make only a token appearance to check out the books and scholars. If they're unimpressive, leave immediately whether remi is satisfied or not (Koa can stay as long as she likes, though).

This seems promising. Though you could work on separating some of those paragraphs, especially the one near the end.
>> No. 60567
[X] In for a penny, in for a pound. Shove Remilia’s teasing in her face, be the life of the party.
-[X] Wear the exact same thing she's planning to wear, except arrive before she does.
>> No. 60569
File 140271909310.png - (1.06MB, 1000x800, classy library.png) [iqdb]
[x] Go to Remilia’s Party, and ask Koakuma to be your date.
[x] Pic.
>> No. 60570
File 140287024277.jpg - (71.26KB, 960x540, suitably professional.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] Go to Remilia’s Party, and allow Koakuma to go as well.
-[x] Make only a token appearance to check out the books and scholars. If they're unimpressive, leave immediately whether Remi is satisfied or not. (Koa can stay as long as she likes, though.)
-[x] Write-in for if you have strong feelings about what Patchouli should wear.

"A scholar first and a socialite never."
>> No. 60571
[x] Go to Remilia’s Party, and ask Koakuma to be your date. 
>> No. 60572
Got a few errands to run today, but afterwards I'll be finishing the update.

I gotta say, I really appreciate the voter turn-out. I hope I can match your enthusiasm for voting with mine for writing.

I also appreciate the Patchy in a dress pictures. Very inspiring.
>> No. 60573
File 140298057350.png - (312.18KB, 497x374, wait till mrcrabs finds out you're a toilet.png) [iqdb]
>> No. 60574
[X] In for a penny, in for a pound. Be the life of the party, and don't even be a jerk about it!
>> No. 60575
[ ] In for a penny, in for a pound. Shove Remilia’s teasing in her face, be the life of the party.

Either we spaghetti Alice, or we dazzle everyone. Regardless, this gunna be good.
>> No. 60576
File 140328904140.jpg - (282.88KB, 850x1213, Gift of the Magi Patchy Koakuma Dresses.jpg) [iqdb]
“Human beings are born solitary, but everywhere they are in chains - daisy chains - of interactivity. Social actions are makeshift forms, often courageous, sometimes ridiculous, always strange. And in a way, every social action is a negotiation, a compromise between 'his,' 'her' or 'their' wish and yours.”
- Andy Warhol

Compromise isn’t weakness, or so you read in a book once. You’ve also read the opposite elsewhere, but those authors felt like the kind of people who had grossly imbalanced levels of tissue between their heads and their muscles, so you felt justified in disregarding their statements.

Despite your misgivings, you have to admit that it’ll likely be far easier in the long run if you just go along with Remilia tonight; satisfy her odd whimsy rather than face her full annoyance later. You’d like to think that you’re above being petty over backing down on a battle of wills like this, but you can’t deny a bit of frustration at the idea losing anything to that girl. Perhaps she’s rubbing off on you in all the wrong ways.

You are about to go back to reading your book when you remember that your familiar is still waiting for an answer from you. You had gotten distracted with your own decision and thoughts that you had forgotten to give her approval for the night off.

“I have no problem with you going.”

“Really? It’s totally okay?” she said excitedly. “Well, of course it’s okay, you just said it’s okay so why wouldn’t it be. I just didn’t expect you to say yes. Not that it’s a bad thing that you did. It just doesn’t feel like something you’d do because you don’t usually go to her parties, and we’re always so busy sorting the books, so I thought there was no way I’d ever have a chance to go.”

She pauses for a moment while she visibly pants lightly to catch her breath, while her thoughts seem to catch up with the mass of words she just put out, prompting her to launch into a second round of second-guessing words already spoken.

“But even if I never go I’d still be fine, if that’s what you wanted. Ah, but that doesn’t mean I’m not thankful for you letting me go this time either, I’m really happy about that, but I’d still be happy if you wanted me to stay in the library with you instead.”

Her face matches the hue of her hair when she finishes her outburst, and she sinks into her chair with a hand over her mouth. Perhaps she has a respiratory illness as well? If speaking loudly is enough to wind her and make her red faced, that’s entirely possible. You mentally file away the idea of a future investigation into the matter. For the time being, it’s probably best to approach it with...what was the word Remilia used, back before she gave up on trying to teach you etiquette? That’s right. Tact. The tactful thing to do when someone accidentally makes a big scene is to carry on as if it didn’t happen, according to Remilia. You suppose if you are going to make it through tonight, you might as well brush up on your tactfulness while you can.

“Actually, I will be attending as well.”

Your familiar responds by peeking through the cracks in the fingers covering her eyes at you. Then, remembering she needs to respond, recollects her composure, as best as she ever can and attempts small talk.

“You’re going too? That’s pretty rare for you, isn’t it Lady Patchouli? What’s the occasion? C-c-could it be a date?”

“No. I’ve no interest in anything like that. There are supposedly certain guests who would be of interest to me as a scholar. Additionally, Remilia was particularly insistent this time, so it felt prudent to agree to her invitation.”

“I see… it’s about books then after all.”

“Of course it’s books. I’m always looking to expand the contents of Voile, and if that requires a bit of talking and deal-making, it’s a small price to pay.”

As for your familiar’s unexpected desire to go, you are more than a little bit mystified. Of course, the same could be said of a lot of things regarding this girl. To the extent of your knowledge, she’s never left the library outside of the few errands through the mansion that you’ve sent her. Then again, she’s a quiet, unobtrusive girl, and you certainly don’t keep tabs on her. She could probably have a whole other life outside of the library without your knowing. That idea bothers you for reasons you can’t seem to put into words.

The conversation peters out and the two of you settle down into another of your common and much appreciated silent moments, each reading your book of choice. Looking over yours across the table, you see that she has her head stuck in one of those romance stories, a new one from the outside world. You resist the urge to comment on her poor taste in literature. It was many many years ago, and you’d never admit it to anyone now, but you once also read every sappy romance story you could get your hands on. Then you grew up, and realized what a fool you were being. For now though, you decide to let your familiar continue unabated.

Looking over the cover of the book, you see a terrible cliche, a princess in a flowy dress being rescued by a blond knight, and It occurs to you that your current outfit, while comfortable and perfectly utilitarian for reading, might not qualify as proper party attire. You’re not sure why not, those gaudy and tight clothes look ridiculous and feel even worse to wear. However as the saying goes, when in Gensokyo, abandon things like common sense. Of course, that was another of those “fight first and think later”-types who said that, so it’s probably not worth listening to.

“Could you prepare a fitting outfit for me?”

A familiar head, or rather the head of your familiar pops up from behind her book as you call her to attention, and she immediately launches into a flurry of speech.

“An outfit? Did you have anything in mind? I could pick something nice out for you. Not that anything that you pick out wouldn’t be good but I just thought that since you don’t usually bother with fancy clothes, I could try to help. I don’t mean that you wouldn’t be able to, you just don’t want to, or maybe you do?”

It occurs to you that maybe asking her, who was just reading a book like that, to pick out suitable clothes might not end well. However, you certainly aren’t going to do it yourself, even if you did know where to start. Besides, even if you do end up wearing something outlandish as a result, you can use it to irritate Remilia.

“I leave it entirely up to you.”

“I’m on it!”

Your familiar zips off towards your bedroom quarters in the library, leaving you to appreciate the fact that she seems to have at least some knowledge and zeal. If it will keep Remilia off your case, it may pay off yet. It’s not like you even know what most of the bins that Remilia has sent to you even contain. Presumably clothes, but you already have enough of your own that you don’t need or want more. You sit back down with your book again for a few moments before your familiar sends you a magical note telling you that she’s got some clothes ready. You open up a portal to your room, where you are greeted by your familiar holding enough cloth to put all the merchants in Venice to shame.

“Okay, I’ve got some options lined up!”

The first option that you are presented with is some kind of lacy black thing that’s purpose seems to be to expose as much of the upper body as possible. You’re looking to show up, not show off, and thus give it the veto.

“Oh well, it was worth a shot.”

The next option she presents you with is reminiscent of the arabian dancers you often saw in your youth, with a light and airy lavender cloth sash to be wrapped around the upper body, and a long flat skirt of a similar color. You’re not sure why Remilia even had this, but you certainly won’t be baring your midriff tonight, so it’s no good as well, despite it’s nostalgic qualities.

“Not gonna show any skin at all, Lady Patchouli? I suppose that’s fine too, how about this?”

The third option is a flowing dress the color of pale light, almost white in fact, lavender. With just a stretch of the imagination, it could almost look like a wedding gown. Despite your family background, you don’t know or care much at all about fancy clothes, but you can definitely tell that it is of a high quality, though not gaudy like something Remilia would choose. Something about it just looks right, although logically you see the foolishness of wanting to have nice clothes and look pretty. The more you look at it, though, the less you find yourself thinking that, and the more you come to the conclusion that this shall be what you wear tonight.

“Do you know how to fit a dress? I doubt this one will fit me well.”

“Does that mean you like it? Yay! I do too. Of course, anything you like has to be the right choice, Lady Patchouli!”

“Yes, I think that it will be perfect for tonight. You did a good job, picking this out for me.”

“Thank you so much, Lady Patchouli. It really means a lot to hear you say that.” She clasps her hands together and looks at you warmly as she says that, catching you off guard as you try to figure out how to react.

“Well, it’s only the truth as I see it. Anyway, about that fitting?”

“Ah, right right. I’ll get on that right away, Lady Patchouli!”

While she gets to work preparing your outfit, you ask her where she learned about clothes and dress design, as she displays an obvious level of proficiency with it.

“Oh, I’ve read a lot of books about it, but this is actually my first time working with actual fabric. I hope I don’t mess it up too bad.”

You start to comment on how you doubt that, but you can’t really see any reason why she would lie about it.

“These books you read, they were from Voile?”

“Yep! There was a whole bunch of them. I read a lot during my break and came across them by chance.”

“I see.” You notice that she seems a lot more at ease talking while she is focused on working with something. The two of you settle back into the usual calm silence, until your familiar pipes up again.

“You said these were Lady Remilia’s old clothes, right?”

“Yes, they’re hand-me-downs from her. I don’t know why she got rid of this dress though, it doesn’t look like it’s ever been worn.”

“If I could fancy a guess as to why, I’d say it’s because it doesn’t fit her at all. In fact, it looks like it was made to fit you, Lady Patchouli, all these clothes do.”

Hmm. The plot thickens. These couldn’t be a brand new gift from Remilia, she would be much more flamboyant in their delivery if that were the case. They were brought in years ago by Sakuya without explanation after Remilia had bugged you about a party, so you assumed they were from her to encourage you to attend, but now that you think back to that, you’re beginning to wonder if there was more to it than just that. However, only knowing what you currently do, you can’t really reach any other conclusions yet. You shelve that for the time being, until you can ask Remilia about it again later. You adjust your bonnet contemplatively.

“Um, you aren’t planning on wearing that with the dress, are you Lady Patchouli?”

“My bonnet? I wasn’t planning on not wearing it.”

“No good, it’s definitely no good.”

“I always wear this.”

“Wearing a hat to this kind of a party is a serious faux pas, probably. Consider it a chance to let your hair down.”

“I always wear my hair down though.”

“It’s a figure of speech Lady Patchouli, and you know it.”

“Fine, I suppose if I’m changing out of my usual, I might as well do it completely.”

“Good, and looking at those ribbons you keep on your bonnet and hair, I just had a great idea. Why don’t we tie more onto your dress? I think it’d look really cute.”

“Cute? I don’t really have any sense for that, but if you say it’ll look nice, then go ahead.”

She grabs spare ribbons and makes idle conversation with you as she ties them on.

“Say, Lady Patchouli? Why do you always wear these ribbons? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you without them on.”

“I usually just wear them to store enchantments that boost my ability to channel magic.”

“Well, you won’t need that tonight, unless you’re planning on getting into a fight. You aren’t, right?.”

“Well, I suppose that entirely depends on who the guests are and what kind of mood they put me in.”

“Just don’t damage your dress please.”

“Oh, it’ll only be damaged if I lose though.”

“Please don’t joke about that Lady Patchouli.” She pauses her handiwork to clap her hands together in a satisfied manner. “There we go, all done.”

“Alright, then I’ll be trying it on now.”

“Yep, go ahead.”

“....this is my room. I’ll be changing now.”

“Yep, go ahead. Wait, changing?”

“Yes. Leave.”

The only thing faster than your familiars departure from the room is the excuses she makes.

“Ah, so sorry Lady Patchouli. I got caught up in the clothes and things and I wasn’t thinking. Sorry!”

It’s not actually that big of a deal, but like a lot of things, she tends to make a big scene out of an ultimately small matter.

Now that you are alone in your room, you begin to change into your dress. Taking off your robe casualwear, you stop to consider yourself in the mirror for the first time in decades. All this foolishness with the party and the clothes must be getting to you, you’re even acting like Remilia now. After this night is over, maybe you should find some new project to work on, something to keep you from losing your way, to reaffirm yourself as a scholar. You berate yourself for so easily falling into her pace, for a moment just now, you were looking forward to this evening. You thought you were better than that. You’ll show her yet, though. You’ll go to her party, but you won’t lose yourself and what you care about most, either.

Turning the mirror around so that it faces the wall, you put the dress on, resisting the urge to move the mirror back to take a look. That’s not the kind of person you want to be, you decided that a long time ago.

As you finish putting on the dress, you hear your familiar’s voice from the other side of the door.

“Hey, Lady Patchouli? I was thinking, while we were trying on clothes, we could go for a ‘cool’ look. How do you feel about a pinstripe suit and tie?”

You get the feeling like this is just another chance for her to play dress up.


“Suit jacket?”


“Why not? I wear a vest and tie all the time. It looks nice, and we could be a matching pair~”

“A matching pair, huh?Does that mean you won’t be changing for the party?”

“Oh, I, uh, don’t really have any clothes other than my work uniforms…”

You’re the same way, you just have a few pairs of the same types of robes. Apparently it’s different for her though. From her tone of voice, even you can tell that she’s down about it. You don’t understand the kids these days.

You suppose that at this time, the only tactful thing to do would be to let her sample from the pile of clothes as well, and you have just the idea of what she should wear. As to why this is in a box of clothes that supposedly never belonged to Remilia, you’re really not sure. You’re curious, but you’ll save that for the further investigation that you already had planned for this box and it’s contents.

Okay, so this is only a partial update. Once I finish the rest of the update (the first part of actually being at the party), then there will be more heavily-story relevant voting. Thanks for waiting warmly.
In the meantime, while I finish that, mini-vote on what Koakuma should wear
[ ] Well then, what do you say to borrowing some of these clothes here?
- [ ] A dress that looks very similar to Remilia’s, albeit a larger size.
- [ ] Write-in.
[ ] What you always wear looks fine to me.

Additionally, I have two more rules to add.
Addendum #1. Don’t listen to any time estimates I make.
Addendum #2. Don’t listen to any update length estimates I make.
>> No. 60577
[x] Well then, what do you say to borrowing some of these clothes here?
- [x] A dress that looks very similar to Remilia’s, albeit a larger size.

I wish we'd gotten to vote on outfits. I would have definitely voted for going the other way around and matching Koa's suit.
>> No. 60578
File 140331079395.jpg - (476.50KB, 800x1131, c1ba16549e95d8512c8b363f12ba5bd0.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] Well then, what do you say to borrowing some of these clothes here?
- [x] Write-in.

Pic related, though this could be rather similar to something Remilia might wear.
Koa in a suit might be nice too, but something tells me she'd rather be the one wearing the dress, judging by her interest in those romance novels.
>> No. 60579

You say that as if guys don't enjoy romance novels.

[X] >>60578
>> No. 60580
[x] >>60578
>> No. 60582
[X] >>60578

Well, my shipping goggles are now firmly locked into place for this story.
>> No. 60585
File 140400063636.jpg - (1.48MB, 2061x1159, Gift of the Magi SDM Party Clothes Finding Good Im.jpg) [iqdb]
That is a nice Koakuma pic. Good stuff, glad it won.
“Why don’t you wear this then? It seems like it would suit you.”

You pull out from the box a dress that is more scarlet than pink.

“S-Suit me? But this is Lady Remilia’s….”

“You said yourself that it can’t be hers. Beside, it was in the box, so it’s mine to give as I choose.”

“It’s such a pretty dress, there’s no way I can accept it..”

“I insist, red is more your color than mine.”

The only times you wear red, it’s entirely incidental, a result of a particularly poor day for your health.

“Well, if you’re sure it’s okay, then, um, I’d love to wear this.”

“It’s all yours, don’t take too long to get ready.”

You leave your room so that your familiar can get changed. While you wait, you pass the time with one of the books your familiar had read about clothing design. You don’t really see what about it interests her so much, but you don’t claim to understand the tastes of others. Still, it is pretty informative, as is to be expected of a book in Voile.

A few minutes into it, you hear the click of the door opening and look up to see your familiar come out in the dress. Despite your recent reading, you don’t yet have a good sense for whether it is good as an outfit from a technical viewpoint, but intuitively, you get the same sense that you got from your dress, that it is somehow very fitting. The outfit is entirely shades of red which compliment her features. You can’t shake the feeling that every article was made for her, although as a scholar you know better than to put any stock in feelings and hunches.

As she does a little twirl in the clothes, it occurs to you that she probably wants some sort of statement from you about her appearance. Is this kind of social expectation just a prelude for the rest of the night? Just thinking that already has a acidic pain pooling in your stomach and a tightening headache forming in the front of your skull. On the brightside, at this rate you’ll soon have your poor health as a very viable excuse for departing early.

“You look...nice?”

“You think so? Yay, I’m so happy.” Another twirl in place. Apparently she really wanted to hear that, the insincerity in your voice not managing to penetrate her optimism in the slightest.

“Ah, we’re going to be late if we don’t hurry up!” Your familiar sets off for the exit, and after a few moments to check to make sure your things are in order, you join her. You’ve got a very wary feeling about tonight, like you’re going somewhere dangerous very unprepared.

Oh, what a travesty that would be. Surely nothing in life could ever make up for being late for one of Remilia’s parties. Still, you can’t help but feel something you haven’t felt in quite a long time, a little flutter of nervous anxious excitement in your stomach. It sucks, and you curse Remilia idly in the back of your mind for putting you through this.

You depart from the library and float through the hallways to the ball room and dining areas that Remilia always uses for her parties. Floating a few meters in your wake now is your familiar, who makes no attempt to hide her excitement about the night’s events. Thankfully she’s not feeling compelled to share it with you, but her body language is enough to be mildly annoying, even though you know it’s not fair to push your irritation towards a certain vampire onto her.

Remilia always had a particular preoccupation with dancing, likely part of her aspirations of elegance and nobility. When you’ve asked her about it, you’ve always been given some bogus response about beauty and emotion and similar junk, but you and she both know that’s not a real answer. Nevertheless, you can be guaranteed that there will be dancing tonight, though the lack of suitable male partners here in Gensokyo might make the gendered dances a bit harder to pull off. Thankfully, you can, as always, use your illness to dodge her promptings, not that you would have had to worry about rebuffing any suitors even if you didn’t have such a convenient excuse.

No, wait, there was that one gentleman, the blonde one. A perfect gentleman, although you can’t remember his name anymore, if you ever knew it in the first place. He was such a perfectly upstanding gentleman, that when he saw a young quiet sick girl who had no one to dance with, his perfect gentlemanly conscience could not allow the night to continue with her alone. He matched your every refusal with his calm but determined insistence that he would dance with you in such a way that would not aggravate your illness. In the end, you relented, and true to his word, he led you through each dance, slowly and steadily, and for a moment, you were taken into his stride, and it felt like you were the only two people in the whole ballroom, dancing to only your own rhythm.

That was almost a century ago now, back when you were still a bit new to the mansion, before you could really understand that he was just using you to fulfill his own fantasies as the white knight that would ride in on his horse to save the sad maiden from her plight. He got his just deserts shortly afterwards in the onset of the Great War, when he and the cavalry division he led got mowed down by machine gun and artillery fire during a brave but ultimately foolish charge on a fortified position. At the time, like the fool that you were, you were totally distraught, but nowadays you’ve come to rather enjoy the irony of it. He died as he lived, chasing a silly chivalrous ideal that might not have ever truly existed in the first place, and you returned to your library, having learned what does and does not have true value in this world.

You arrive in front of the doors, and while you aren’t late, you definitely aren’t the first to arrive, judging from the sounds of activity coming from within. You feel a sudden tightness in your chest, and start to reconsider if this is such a good idea. Even if it will get Remilia off your back, you’ll have to deal with and be around people all night. Your headache is getting worse and you really want to turn around and leave now, but your familiar is here too, and you can’t show indecision, or worse, weakness, in front of a servant. Hopefully the noise will allow you to arrive without drawing too much attention to yourself. With a bit of luck and maybe some illusion magic, you might be able to go the whole night without serious irritations, and then you can return to the comfort of your library.

You open the door slowly and quietly, and notice a few things in short order. Firstly, there are a lot of people here, a lot more than you have had to deal with at once in quite a long time. Steeling yourself, you continue on. Secondly, to your surprise the old ballroom dancing accommodations are no longer set up, and instead the whole room is set up like a lounge.

You need to quickly find a group to mingle with so that you can blend in. You do a quick survey of your immediate options. Remilia is currently sitting next to the Hakurei shrine maiden and having an animated, albeit possibly one-sided, conversation with her. You should stop by to chat with Remilia at some point tonight for the obligatory banter and, more importantly, the identities of the people who she baited you here with. However, interrupting them right now might be a bit, what’s the word, uncouth? not to mention the possibility that it might give Remilia the incorrect impression that you are eager to chase her bait. Still, the sooner you could connect with a fellow intellectual, the better this night could go.

You do notice one person who is decidedly not an intellectual despite her seemingly endless appetite for books. You’re not actually sure if she even reads the books she steals from you; it’s hard to imagine that black-white ever sitting still long enough to get through a paragraph. For a moment you humor the idea of messing with her in retaliation for books stolen and quiet evenings in the library interrupted. You won’t be having a danmaku fight in this setting, but a little bit of well-placed magic on an unsuspecting rat could put her in an embarrassing situation and be most gratifying for you. Normally you would be above using your magic for such a base purpose, but as you see it, she’s long since fired the first shot in this war. On the other hand, this setting is far more suited to her, so perhaps it would be better to not fight this battle.

As you look around for other options, you notice that you are being watched. A magical servant, some kind of automaton made from a doll, is staring directly at you from across the room. When you make eye contact with it, or as close to eye contact as you can get with a doll, it turns around as if it wasn’t staring at you, and then flies away in a way that is obviously trying to be nonchalant, but fails horribly.You are about to give chase when you realize with a halt that doing so would turn all attention from it towards you. It’s a small thing, and in a futile effort to maintain subtlety, it’s holding back from a full speed retreat, so you might still be able to tail it while remaining incognito. Alternatively, you could put that on hold, do some more subtle investigating later, and for now just go meet Remilia or try to get back at the black white thief.

[ ] Follow the doll, you won’t be so easily spied upon.
[ ] For now, talk to Remilia for further directions around the party.
[ ] Rat trapping.
[ ] Wait, where did your familiar go?

We'll be at the party for quite a few choices, expect shorter, quicker, updates.
That being said, remember Addendum rules 1+2
>> No. 60586
[x] Wait, where did your familiar go?
Poor form to immediately bail on the person with whom you arrived.
>> No. 60587
Isn't poor form kind of what this Patchouli is all about? I say we let Koa have some space and meet some other characters.
[X] Follow the Doll.

Doll espionage gaems.
>> No. 60588
[x] Follow the doll, you won’t be so easily spied upon.

The plot marches ever forward! Don't let the precious plot threads get away!
>> No. 60589
[X] Follow the doll, you won't be so easily spied upon
>> No. 60590
[x] Wait, where did your familiar go?
>> No. 60591

Hopefully you don't vote as blindly as MokouAnon from that one story.

[X] Follow the doll, you won’t be so easily spied upon.
>> No. 60592
[X] Follow the doll, you won't be so easily spied upon
>> No. 60593
[x] For now, talk to Remilia for further directions around the party.
>> No. 60594
I have no idea who you're referring to, but I have no intention of doing so.

[X] Follow the doll, you won’t be so easily spied upon.

Hopefully Patchy can do so with some degree of subtlety.
>> No. 60596
File 140419288090.jpg - (175.59KB, 500x586, Gift of the Magi Alice's Outfit.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] Follow the Doll.

You sift your way through the guests to follow the automaton, with the magical incantation Sequor Sequi Secutus, a tracing spell, primed and on the tip of your lips in case the doll notices you and makes a sudden attempt at escape.

For now, you are taking the more subtle route, since the spell would undoubtedly be noticed by the dolls owner and put them on guard, if you noticing the doll hadn’t already.

There’s another magician in Gensokyo, or so you’ve heard. A human that turned herself into a youkai and now lives in the Forest of Magic and specializes in dolls. Another magician lurking around your library means trouble.

The black-white being here for the party makes sense, she’s more a social creature than a magician, but for a true magician to stroll into another’s domain reeks of ill intent.

Will she make an attempt on your library? Unlike the hoodlum thief, another real magician could break the arcane locks and steal your magical secrets, and would have the motivation to bring you harm to secure those secrets for herself.

You don’t have a taste for cloak and dagger intrigue outside of your hobby of recreationally reading mystery novels, but you do think you might now understand what Remilia sees in these parties. The people here let their guards down so easily. You can fool this aggressor into thinking that you too are letting the atmosphere get to you, and then she will reveal her true intentions when she sees weakness.

This kind of baiting strategy is certainly in line with what you gleaned from your reading of The Art of War, although you never expected to have to put it into practical application.

You now play a dangerous game, and therefore one you simply cannot walk into blind. If you are going to try to get close to this foe, you’ll have to think of a way to approach her casually. Now how do you do that? You don’t know anything about her beyond the fact that she works with dolls, and you’re not exactly a well-practiced conversationalist.

As you ponder the best way to approach her, you see the doll stop next to a girl who you assume is Alice Margatroid, the doll magician. Indeed, she is a girl who could easily be mistaken as a doll herself. She seems to be standing alone, but is craning her neck slightly and scanning the crowd as if searching for someone.

Seeing that she is starting to look in your direction, you turn away a moment too late and in the brief moment of eye contact, you see in her expression that she has found the prey she has been hunting, and begins moving towards you.

For a moment, you appreciate the irony in the similarity between your current situation and the one between you and her doll just prior, and briefly consider the possibility of adopting the same strategy as her doll did then and retreating full scale, before dismissing the idea. This is where the first battle of this war will be fought, and to show weakness now could be a fatal misstep.

You suppress your rising panic and do your best to calm your thinking. Before she arrives you need a plan of attack, a way to start a conversation that will give you the most information while surrendering the least, while still maintaining a cordial appearance to lower her guard.

The other alternative to a proactive offense would be to simply play defensive at first and let her do the uphill conversational work. While she’s tired, then she will show her weaknesses.

[ ] Offense from the outset, greet her first and begin conversation on your terms.
- [ ] Introduce yourself as a youkai scholar, avoiding mentioning anything detailed about your work with the arcane, attempt to get her to be forthcoming about herself. Know thine enemy.
- [ ] Ask about her work with dolls specifically.

[ ] Play defensive, let her lead the conversation at first.

[ ] Abort game, find a person to sit down and look deeply engrossed in a conversation with, she might give up if you look busy.
- [ ] Remilia and Reimu
- [ ] Marisa

A note about write-ins. A person, action, or a subject in a write-in might be invalid, i.e. a person isn’t attending the party, an action would be too out of character for Patchouli, or the write in is using meta-knowledge that Patchy doesn’t have and couldn’t guess. Feel free to ask clarifying questions about a setting if I haven’t made something clear. The worst that can happen is that we have a discussion about why a write-in might be invalid.

Or I’ll just take it as a compliment that you are voting for the options I provide, that’s fine by me too.

Also, I tried breaking up the paragraphs more this time. This better?
>> No. 60597
[x] Offense from the outset, greet her first and begin conversation on your terms.
- [x] Ask about her work with dolls specifically.
I doubt she's attending a party thrown by the Scarlet Devil and has yet to hear of the Unmoving Great Library.
Also, I didn't really have any problem with the larger paragraphs. If anything they might be a little TOO split-up now.
>> No. 60598
[X] Play defensive, let her lead the conversation at first.

Also yeah, it's much better.
>> No. 60599
To clarify about the introducing yourself option, you aren't trying to fool her, you are just deliberately avoiding talking about your work so as to not let anything slip, and trying to keep the conversation about her.

I can see how that would be misleading though.
>> No. 60600
[X] Play defensive, let her lead the conversation at first.
>> No. 60601
[x] Offense from the outset, greet her first and begin conversation on your terms.
- [x] Ask about her work with dolls specifically.
>> No. 60602
[x] Offense from the outset, greet her first and begin conversation on your terms.
- [x] Ask about her work with dolls specifically.

If we're trying to keep her on the back foot by talking first, we should try to get her to spill some details about her own work.
>> No. 60603
[X] Play defensive, let her lead the conversation at first.
>> No. 60604
[x] Offense from the outset, greet her first and begin conversation on your terms.
- [x] Ask about her work with dolls specifically.

Of course Patchy has read Sun Tzu, that should not surprise me at all.
>> No. 60605
I was very tempted to let the voting go on a little bit longer, cause it was close and because first impressions can have far-reaching effects.

However, I also want to start writing the update, so I'm calling it for [X] Asking about her dolls.
>> No. 60607
[x] Play defensive, let her lead the conversation at first.
>> No. 60608
File 140468524648.jpg - (436.38KB, 1006x623, Gift of the Magi Update 5.jpg) [iqdb]
You need to ensure the safety of your library, thus you’ll have to be proactive. She’s coming at you with a mission in mind, so if she takes control of the conversation, it will be very difficult to not fall into her pace. From the very beginning, you will have to take the offensive to put her off balance. From there, an assault of further questions will keep the subject of the conversation fixated on her. You might be able to learn some very useful things about her, and more importantly, you will be seen as someone she knows, while all the important details about you and your work will be a mystery.

If she does end up being strong, and therefore a threat, which is entirely possible considering your health and more academic than militant focus of study, this will hopefully not allow her to notice, or at least not mark you as a person of interest for her. Hopefully, it won’t come to that. In the past, you’ve always ran. Better to pack up your notes, hold them tight to your bosom, and run to a new home than to risk it all.

The unfortunate truth that you all accepted when you came to Gensokyo is that there is no where else to run. You could try to escape back to the outside world, but that world without magic is now even less a home to you than a vampire’s mansion here. Your library and yourself, both composites of things forgotten by humans, but you'll not be so easily displaced here by this upstart. You will not go so softly into this good night. Tonight, you prove that Knowledge is real power.

Now for a plan. You’ve heard about this Alice Margatroid girl as part of Sakuya’s debriefing after the incident with the theft of the spring. An incident you were actually fond of in some ways, as the weather kept the usual pests away. It was Danmaku, but this Alice still lost to Sakuya. However, even Sakuya, who you doubt has the sense for such things despite her facade of perfect elegance, noticed that this Alice was holding back. You’ll need to find a way to assess her power, but the easiest way to go about that, a “friendly” duel, isn’t really appropriate for the situation, so you doubt she’d agree to one, not to mention the unintended effects it could have on your health.

Instead, you’ll have to learn about her magical techniques. Specifically, those dolls. Whether this is a hot, brief war, or one of slow and cold espionage between the two of you, she’ll likely be able to use them to her great advantage. Thus, it is paramount that you find their weaknesses and flaws now.

You can sense that she is getting close to you now, and so you turn around and close the rest of the distance yourself, hailing her from a bit farther away than is customary, and due to the distance, a bit louder too.

“Good evening, Miss Margatroid.”

A few heads turn in your direction for a few moments afterwards on account of the loud greeting, but such is the price you have to pay for seizing the initiative.

“My name precedes me? I’m honored, Miss Knowledge.”

“And mine as well. I’m something of a scholar on all things arcane, as you might have heard, and have been most interested as an academic in hearing about your famed doll magic.”

“You want to hear about my dolls? Really?”

Either she is a very good actor, or she is very enthused about this. However. there’s no way a magician would be so willing to divulge her secrets. Even if you were to butter her up with all the tricks you’ve picked up from Remilia, the chances of getting a foe to be intentionally forthcoming about their powers was statistically marginal. Or so you thought. The best you thought to do was distract her and maybe catch a slip-up.

There are two possible conclusions to draw from this. Either Alice Margatroid is not a normal magician, or she has no intention of actually telling you anything useful or accurate and this is a trap. Nevertheless, as long as you don’t fall into the trap, sniffing the bait out should be fine. It’s not like you can subtly pull out now anyway.

“Well, I am a scholar, and since I’ve never seen….Well what I mean is I’m always looking to learn more about foreign techniques.”

Fool that you are, you almost let slip a lack a knowledge, a sign of weakness. And it seems you might end up showing another, much more serious weakness too if you don’t play your cards right. The tension of the night and this encounter are already starting to take their toll on your health. The faint but distinct nausea, the dull but head-splitting migraines, the weakness in your limbs and, of course, the shortness of every breath that always precursors a coughing fit.

You’ll probably feel it tomorrow too if you push yourself for an extended time period tonight, but by your reckoning you can last through most of the evening without severe symptoms showing up, but your health is as fickle as the weather so you might need to excuse yourself early if it gets worse.

“......so I’d love to tell you about it, that is if you’re interested. Um, by the way, are you feeling okay? You’re looking a bit ill, Patchouli.”

Apparently she was talking while you were suppressing your illness from showing. You can’t help but notice that she’s switched to using your given name. This kind of quick familiarity makes you uncomfortable, but you’re more interested in covering up the extent to which your illness affects you.

“I’m fine, Miss Margatroid. Thank you for your concern though.”

“If you say so, but please, call me Alice.”

“I prefer to stay professional.”

“Well, as you wish. Shall we have a seat? I think I see a quiet corner over there where we can discuss our work uninterrupted.”

A quieter setting is fine by you, you don’t like the attention that you draw by mingling with others in the center of the party. Perhaps now is when she’ll show her real intentions in coming here.

The two of you make your way to the corner of the room, but are waylaid right before you reach your destination by Remilia, who makes herself known to you from behind with a pat on the back, at which you reflexively twitch forwards and tense up with a sharp intake of breath.

“What’s this? Trying to run away from my party, dear Patchy? And with one of my guests, at that. How very…..daring of you. “

“Unlike some people, I do not fancy such carnal pleasures as you imply. We are simply going to a quiet place to discuss our work with the arcane.”

“Is that what you kiddos are calling it these days? Well, even if that were the case, it doesn’t look like your body could hold up for that right now anyway Patchy.”

“I knew it, you were feeling ill before-” Alice attempts to get a word in edgewise, unsuccessfully, before she is cut off by Remilia.

“I understand your intentions, Miss Doll Maker, and I do commend you on being so thoughtful to our dearest bookworm. It’s a shame that they seem to be wasted on her.”

“I would appreciate it if you would not talk about me as if I am not present.”

“Oh, but you do it so often to others, I merely thought it just deserts. Although, it is also true that you easily blend into the background, so perhaps you would be better suited as furniture after all. I think a bookcase would be most fitting.”

“As if a single bookcase could never contain the sum of my knowledge. The only fitting vessel would be my grand library.”

Immediately after saying that, you realize that Alice is still with you. Damn. Thankfully, she seems to have been taken just as off balance by Remilia as you have, and is currently intently staring at her feet and might not have even noticed your slip-up at all.

It seems like, as long as Remilia is here, you’ll be at risk at falling into one of her traps. Worse, she seems intent on sabotaging any actual progress in this conversation, and thus delaying your opportunities to detach yourself for a moment of reprieve from this oppressively social atmosphere. Thus, you need to get Remila away from the two of you.

How to go about doing that is not so simple as that statement. In fact, you really have no idea at all how to disway Remilia once she has caught a scent and is on the hunt. She can sniff you most subterfuge from a mile away, as you learned many years ago. Instead it might be best to try to play her game and appeal to her sense of nobility and grace as a hostess.

“Remi, a good host ought to be more conscientious of your guests, right?”

“Ah, I see. You make a valid point, as is to be expected of Patchy. It seems I really am interrupting…..something, aren’t I? I’ll leave you to do that, but do try to not make a mess of it...”

“Not the kind of thing you seem intent on implying.”

“Whatever you say, Patchy, see you later.” She stops and looks down at the area around at your feet, adding “Extraneous actors should depart and give these two some privacy, right?” in a voice that didn’t feel like it was even trying to sound repentant.

You give her an inquisitive glance, but are only returned her usual smirk which betrays nothing.

“Ah, one last thing for the two of you. Don’t forget to use proper protection.”

With her acquisition of the last word, she walks off. A good thing, too, since you wouldn’t even start to justify that statement with a response. You should’ve known that she would pull something like that. She’ll act all pure and elegant when it’s convenient for her, but if you try to pin her down with it, she’ll simply change into whatever new form suits her best at the time. A true demon, if ever there was one.

You start to walk away before Remilia changes her mind, before noticing that Alice didn’t come with you. She’s back where you left her, with an expression on her face as if most of her mind was somewhere else. Remilia can have that effect on people, especially if it’s their first time dealing with her beyond her shell of perfect nobility.

You were once like Alice is now, a long time ago, before you learned how to deal with your vampiric host. You often forget the kinds of trouble that other people have with her. Even after all these years, you can’t claim to understand most of what she does. The trick, you’ve learned, is to stop trying to understand Remilia. Evidently, Alice is not currently choosing to do that, as she seems to still be trying to process the prior conversation.

You don’t have time for this, and you aren’t in the mood to try to get her attention with words while stifling a coughing fit that is welling up in your chest, instead choosing the quick but perhaps uncomfortable route and, after bracing yourself first, grabbing her hand in your own and leading her to the table.

She tenses up at first, but then settles into following you. She’s still looking at the ground, but you can tell her wits are collected again. With a start you realize that you just wasted a good opportunity to try to get some information out of her while she was distracted. You were acting just as foolish, but in a situation like this, you can’t afford to not take these opportunities.

Arriving at the table in the corner of the room, you lower yourself into a seat as Alice takes the one opposite it with a light sigh, speaking first and cutting off your attempts to get to the point of the conversation already.

“It feels good to be out of the thick of that. I don’t really go in for this kind of party setting when I can avoid it, you know? I can never seem to get comfortable around so many other people. ”

It seems like she does have some sense after all. A social gathering is no place for a magician, companions only distract and complicate things. Or is this also part of her ruse? There’s no way a sensible person would be so honest to a stranger. You certainly won’t be reciprocating, but nonetheless that is a hard statement to respond to. She seems to realize that too, and is about to apologize when you cut her off.

“I dislike noisy places, so here works for me better as well.”

“Good then, I’d hate to be forcing you into an uncomfortable situation then.”

Actually, this situation is still pretty uncomfortable too, but you hold your tongue.

“So then, Miss Margatroid. What business did you have with me?”

“Oh, I had something of a favor to ask of you. I’ve heard from Ma- from a friend that you have a very large and well stocked library here. I’m always looking for more reference materials to help me in my research on autonomous dolls, and I was wondering if you might lend me a few relevant texts if you had any.”

Your initial reaction is one of nausea unrelated to your health. The thought of giving away your books reflexively repulses you in many ways simultaneously. She calls it borrowing, but a certain black-white thief has taught you all you need to know about how “borrowing” works here. Speaking of the thief, she seems to be friendly with this Alice, so this can only mean trouble.

However, thinking more rationally, you have to concede some merit in allowing her some books. If these books are truly all she wants, then it would be an easy way to reduce magician border tensions. The Caliph could have averted the sacking of Baghdad if he had just bowed down and gave tribute to the Mongols. Instead of a tribute however, you could work this as a trade. If you offer to pick out texts to exchange for copies of her current reference materials, you can keep her out of the library and also possibly glean some useful information from the copies you receive about her dolls.

The final option is to allow her limited, supervised access to the library. Obviously, you would never let her see anything except but what you wanted, but if you act very welcoming and go along completely with this act of opening up to her, she might also drop her guard. It’d also be a good opportunity to continue talking to her, and as much as you dislike excessive socialization, she seems to be prone to slip ups while talking, so you should put yourself in a position to take advantage of that.

[ ] Nope. No visitors. No lending. Staying in your library only.
[ ] Keep her out of the library by proposing a trade.
[ ] Allow her supervised access to your library.
>> No. 60610
[X] Allow her supervised access to your library.
>> No. 60611
[X] Allow her supervised access to your library.
>> No. 60612
[x] Keep her out of the library by proposing a trade.

I'm not exactly opposed to letting her in the library, but following Patchy's logic, we gain basically nothing out of letting her into the library. This way, she gets what she wants and we get useful Knowledge as well.
>> No. 60613
[X] Allow her supervised access to your library.

Alice and Patchy are equally socially incompetent. This is hilarious to read, in a way.
>> No. 60614
[x] Keep her out of the library by proposing a trade.

If we can cultivate a business relationship with her then we could learn more about her larcenous friend.

[x] Ask if there any other magicians in Gensokyo.

Here's hoping she's as much of a Byakuren fangirl here as she is in Eastern Starlight Romance.
>> No. 60615
One can barely interact with people and the other sees threats in furniture. This is hilarious indeed.
[x] Keep her out of the library by proposing a trade.
>> No. 60616
[x] Keep her out of the library by proposing a trade.
-[x] Request a sampling of her Knowledge; surely if she came with the intent, she's at least prepared a list of that which she already knows.
>> No. 60617
[x] Allow her supervised access to your library.

"Magician border tensions" is a fantastic phrase.
>> No. 60618
[x] Allow her supervised access to your library.
>> No. 60619
[X] Allow her supervised access to your library.

This story is fun to read.
>> No. 60620
[x] Keep her out of the library by proposing a trade.

Heck, maybe Alice could steal Patchy's books back from Marisa. Now that would be a great deal, give up a book, get a book back in return.
>> No. 60621

[X] Allow her supervised access to your library.
>> No. 60622
[X] Allow her supervised access to your library.

As others have said, this story is greatly enjoyable!
>> No. 60624
Access to the library wins. Update in a day or three. This next one *should* be pretty short.

Again, I'm loving all the votes and support. I have so much fun writing this, and it's great to hear that other people are enjoying it too.
>> No. 60628
File 140479205358.jpg - (520.10KB, 850x1067, Gift of the Magi Update 6.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] Allow her supervised access to your library.

You feel as if you may well be inviting a tiger into your own home by allowing this, but on the other hand, you’ll be able to monitor her much easier this way.

“For a fellow scholar, my books are your books.”

“Really? Thank you so much. You don’t know how much of a relief it is to hear that. I heard….well nevermind.”

You can manage a solid guess as to what she heard about you, but you don’t care what anyone else thinks of you, especially not the ignorant masses.

“My library is open to you, on a set of conditions.”

“What? Conditions? Oh, I mean, of course. Whatever requirements you have, I can satisfy.”

“Good. These are just a few things I ask for to guarantee the safety of my library and those who use it. Firstly, you are never to venture alone into the shelves. The spatial expansion magic makes it something of a labyrinth for the uninitiated. My familiar will be your guide. Secondly, you are to tell me or in my absence my familiar of any books you use here, and you must ask for my express permission if you wish to borrow any of my books for use outside of the library. Finally, this library has a zero tolerance policy on all forms of larceny, pilfering, purloining and burglary. This includes conspiracy to commit any of the aforementioned crimes, and I do assign guilt by association, so I hope your “friend” can restrain her tendencies for your sake.”

“Marisa? But she steals from me too…”

“Some friend you’ve got there, but that’s not my problem.”

“I’ll...I’ll talk to her about it”

You have a hard time imagining her starting a conversation with anyone, but then again, she did seek you out rather insistently.

“Well then, I look forward to working with you. When you want to come to the library next, the password to tell the gatekeeper that you’re here on my invitation is ‘Knowledge is power.’ Until then, Miss Margatroid.”

“W-wait a moment. Um, I was also wondering if we could stay together tonight.”

In the back of your head, you can hear Remilia snickering, but you hold back from the kind of comment that you know she would make, were she here.

Alice on the other hand seems to have realized the unintended second meaning in her words, and seems to be trying to hide her beet red face between her arms and the table. You take this as a convenient chance to try to take your leave again. You take one step away from the table before her voice. muffled through her arms, stops you.

“Please don’t go. I’m not like that, please don’t hate me.”

It’s not a word of power, there’s nothing magically compelling in that phrase, and yet you halt your departure completely and sit back down with her. In her voice just then, you thought you heard something familiar, something filled with the kind of nostalgia you can’t let go of. Rationally, you know better than to let yourself get attached to anyone, especially a potential threat, but you can’t bring yourself to leave her.

So pitiful and vulnerable, she reminds you of yourself as a child, before you found your calling. You had no purpose, and no one but yourself. This dredges up a lot of uncomfortable memories for you, and you hate to see her like this, but you know you can’t leave her now. You’ve probably been around humans too much lately, their sentimentality has been rubbing off on your terribly.

Alice seems to have recomposed herself somewhat, but she’s still not meeting your gaze or speaking. While the two of you sit at the table silently, you consider your options from here.

It looks like Marisa is doing something flashy in the middle of the room, so the bar area in the corner is deserted right now, and you’ve heard that some people deal with this kind of thing better while a bit intoxicated. Alice certainly looks like she could use a drink.

On the other hand, it might be better for both of you to get out of this party setting completely. You could both probably relax more someplace quiet like the library.

Finally, there’s nothing inherently wrong with just staying here and talking idly until she calms down a bit. It’s still isolated and low-key, although there’s no guarantee that won’t change later.

[ ] Go with her to the bar. You will, of course, abstain for your health. Give her just enough to get her tipsy and she’ll start feeling better. Maybe.
[ ] Bring her back to the library. You’re both done with being around so many other people. Might be a trap though.
[ ] Stay here at this table with her. Keep the conversation grounded in your and her work and studies, don’t let it get personal.


Turns out, I lied and updated today. Lots of free time.
>> No. 60629
[X] Stay here at this table with her. Keep the conversation grounded in your and her work and studies, don’t let it get personal.

Really enjoying this, as many other anons have said. Glad to hear it's just as fun to write!
>> No. 60630
>“Please don’t go. I’m not like that, please don’t hate me.”

...Wow, this line. It hit me far harder than I expected. I kinda want to hug Alice and tell her that of course I don't hate her.

[X] Bring her back to the library. You’re both done with being around so many other people. Might be a trap though.
-Inform Koakuma
>> No. 60631
[X] Go with her to the bar. You will, of course, abstain for your health. Give her just enough to get her tipsy and she’ll start feeling better. Maybe.

Jeez Alice, why did you even come to the party if you have no friends there.
>> No. 60632
[x] Stay here at this table with her. Keep the conversation grounded in your and her work and studies, don’t let it get personal.
>> No. 60634
[x] Go with her to the bar. You will, of course, abstain for your health. Give her just enough to get her tipsy and she’ll start feeling better. Maybe.

Maybe not the best choice for getting Patches a friend, but probably the most entertaining.
>> No. 60636
[x] Bring her back to the library. You’re both done with being around so many other people. Might be a trap though.
-[x] Inform Koakuma, but let her know she can stay at the party if she wishes.

Minor modification of >>60630's vote, they should probably be counted together when votes are called.

Because I think this is the easiest path for Alice to gain Patchouli's trust. Also the quickest way to lose it if she makes a wrong move, but that's part of the fun!
>> No. 60639
[x] Go with her to the bar. You will, of course, abstain for your health. Give her just enough to get her tipsy and she’ll start feeling better. Maybe.

If she gets a little alcohol, she'll lower her defenses and we'll have the upper hand in negotiations. Once that happens, we can steer the conversation however we like.
And besides, what better way to make some friends than with alcohol? In the future, when they're both good friends, they'll look upon this day with a fond smile and a nostalgic shake of the head. "Those were the days."
>> No. 60640
[x] Go with her to the bar. You will, of course, abstain for your health. Give her just enough to get her tipsy and she’ll start feeling better. Maybe.

She could stand to loosen up some.
>> No. 60643
Calling it for [X] Drinks.

Enjoy the ZUN Route.
>> No. 60644
koa route
>> No. 60646
File 140498691749.png - (629.96KB, 830x736, Gift of the Magi Alice Classy.png) [iqdb]
[X] Drinks with Alice at the bar.

Well, if some of stories you’ve read are any indicator, then the easiest way to lighten the atmosphere and improve the mood is to get her a bit drunk. Plus, it’ll move the conversation past the events of a few moments ago. And Remilia says that you have no tact. You’ve got plenty, obviously. Even defusing this kind of situation is easy with the social powers of alcohol. Or so you’ve read. A scholar has no need for it, and so you don’t have any experience with it, but theory is just as valuable as practical experience.

“Say, Alice. What do you say to going to get some drinks? The bar doesn’t look too crowded right now.”


She lifts her head and you see a dangerous glimmer in her eyes. You’re getting the feeling that this might not end well. However before you can try to redirect her interests, she’s already up and ready to go. You join her and together walk to the bar.

“So, Patchouli, what’ll you be having? Normally I like white wines, but right now I’m the mood for something much...stronger.”

The emphasis she places on that last word worries you. Still, the eagerness which she speaks is a stark contrast to how she was just a moment before at the table, so much so that she feels like a completely different person.

“Oh, I think I’ll have my familiar bring me some red wine.” You say as you conjure up a piece of paper folded like a plane and containing a message, which you send on its way to find your familiar. The message reads: Bring a wine glass filled with the high strength symptom relief to the bar.

It’s a medication of your own design, which you use to reduce some of the more distracting effects of your poor health that would otherwise reduce your ability to function as a scholar. Essentially it simply reduces pain throughout the body, but can’t offset the physical effects such as weakness or tendencies towards anemia and asthma attacks. You often take it diluted in your tea to offset the bitter taste.

You arrive at your destination, and Alice immediately reaches over the counter and grabs herself a bottle of sake, which she pours into a shot glass and knocks back before refilling it. You’re starting to have second thoughts as to whether this was a good idea. To distract her, you ask her about her work.

“So, tell me a bit more about your work. Right now you’re working on an autonomous doll, right?”

Even more so than when you invited her to drinks, you see her face light up when you ask about her dolls. She must really care about her research. As a fellow scholar, you can appreciate that kind of dedication to one's work. However, you still aren’t in the clear. Could she have learned about your philosopher’s stone? It would certainly be very pertinent as a power source for her dolls. The magical seals in the library haven’t sent you an alerts about any trespassers. You were a fool to bring it out against Marisa that day when Flandre was acting out. It’s your most precious work, not something to be used lightly. Knowing her, all of Gensokyo probably knows about it by now. Is her game to be trying to get close to you to make an attempt on the stone then? You won’t let her exploit your sentimentality, if it comes to that.

“Yeah. The gist of it is, well it sounds a bit weird to say it like this, but I want to create life artificially. The dolls I have now, they can only follow orders. My best two, Shanghai and Hourai, can learn and adapt to a degree, but in the end they’re just doing that in the way I’ve told them too. It’s still artificial, and though they can fool even me sometimes, I know they’re not really alive.

After saying that she takes another shot and then looks down sadly at the glass in her hands before pouring another shot and knocking it back too. Is it because she sees her work as a failure? You don’t really understand that. Even if it’s not finished, she has a purpose, she has something to work towards as a scholar, so why does she look so sad like that now?

“I see.” Even though you don’t really.

A temporary interruption comes in as your familiar brings you the previously ordered drink.

“S-Sorry about the delay, Lady Patchouli. Lady Remilia and Sakuya intercepted and stalled me on my way here, saying something about privacy. I’m afraid I didn’t really understand what they were talking about.”

“Oh, I’m just having a little talk with a fellow Magician, and that girl is taking it the wrong way. Your tardiness is no problem. Thank you for bringing me this, you’re dismissed.”

Bowing, your familiar leaves you and returns to the party in the direction she came from.

As for Remilia...You hope she doesn’t come to bother you again. If she’s really so concerned with your “privacy”, then she’ll leave you alone, but past experience has taught you that Remilia has her own definition of things like privacy and personal space.

“So, that’s your familiar?” She stops to take another shot and refill it.”She seems useful.”

“She is. As a scholar, having an assistant is very convenient. Do you have a familiar of your own?”

“My dolls act like one. I don’t mind doing housework, but I’d rather work with magic, so I have them take care of it for me.”
Another shot and another refill. How many has she had so far? She’s looking a bit red faced.

“I see.” Having a multitude of automatons working in the library would be a welcome addition, but you wouldn’t trust anything made with the help of another magician. They’d likely implant some kind of hidden override spell to allow them to take control.

The conversation peters out as you have nothing else to add and Alice seems preoccupied with preparing her next shot, and you realize how simple it became to have such an ordinary conversation. Either she is quick on the rebound, or she’s been intentionally acting otherwise. She takes another shot and you have to consider the further possibility that perhaps alcohol is simply a good way to calm people down. More than calm, it appears that she has well entered the “tipsy” phase of alcohol consumption.

You take the opportunity to drink your medication. Since it’s bitter, you tilt it back and empty the glass all at once. Since you usually take it with your tea, you don’t taste it, but this time, more than being bitter, it leaves a sour burning feeling all the way down your throat and causes you to enter a minor coughing fit. That’s not right at all. Perhaps you're familiar mixed up the dosages, or brought the wrong medication? That doesn’t seem likely. Ah, it must have been Remilia. She must have put something in your drink when she stopped your familiar. You ought to give her a piece of your mind.

However, as you rise from your seat, the floor suddenly starts to move out from under you and you feel very disoriented. Suddenly, you realize you’re falling backwards and begin to panic, flailing your arms around wildly for a few moments before realizing you fell back into your seat at the bar. Maybe...maybe you shouldn’t be walking around right now. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea, just sitting here right now.

“What’s this Patchy? You’re looking pretty drunk right now, and just from one glass. You’re a lightweight aren’t you?” She laughs lightly to herself, leaning back and almost falling out of the seat before catching herself.

You’d tell her not to call you that, but you can’t seem to stop chuckling at how she almost fell off her chair. Wait, you almost did too. You don’t feel drunk. She totally is though, so you tell her.

“If I’m drunk, then you’re, um, drunker.”

“Pshh, I’m totally sober. I’m good with booze, unlike you Patchy. I even had a few drinks as liquid courage before coming to find you, I mean seeing you, and I’m still feeling fine.”

“You’re such a liar, you almost just fell out of your seat.”

“I’m sober, and I’ll prove it. I challenge you to a drunking….a drinking game.”

Hah. You’ve got this in the bag, she’s had way more than you to drink already. As Sun Tzu wrote, numerical superiority does not provide an advantage unless the correct strategy is used. Wait, that doesn’t sound like it works. Well, you’ve totally got the advantage here, so the correct strategy is to exploit your numeric superiority. Truly, you are a master tactician.

“I accept your challenge. Pour those shots.”

You each take a shot in hand, with you fumbling yours and almost dropping it before regaining your grip at the last moment. You each tilt your glasses back, and you start to cough from how horrid it tastes going down. A minute or so of wheezing later though and you feel fine and ready for the next round.

“Um, Patchy? You don’t sound too good. Maybe we should call it quits.

[ ] Magicians don’t turn back!
[ ] Why were we having a drinking game in the first place?
>> No. 60647
[x] Why were we having a drinking game in the first place?
fuck off
>> No. 60648
[X] Why were we having a drinking game in the first place?
[X] Whatever, magicians don’t turn back!
>> No. 60649
[x] Why were we having a drinking game in the first place?

>you see a dangerous glimmer in her eyes.
Not good, she's trying to get us drunk to steal our magical secrets! She already succeeded on one point!
Keep your wits about you, Patchy! Getting drunk in front of a fellow Magician is bad enough, but getting sick and passing out would be even worse!
>> No. 60650
[x] Why were we having a drinking game in the first place?

Not cool Remi. On the other hand, pretty funny.
>> No. 60653
[X] Why were we having a drinking game in the first place?
>> No. 60657
[X] Why were we having a drinking game in the first place?
>> No. 60658
[X] Why were we having a drinking game in the first place?
>> No. 60659
File 140506371138.jpg - (110.46KB, 943x683, Gift of the Magi Patchy Alice in a Tree.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] Why were we having a drinking game in the first place?

Your brush with a severe coughing fit sobers you up for a moment. Damage control time. No more drinking. It must be a trap, she wanted you to get drunk, that’s why she challenged you to a drinking game, and that’s why she brought you to the bar. No, wait..you brought her to the bar.

Right, back to your initial plan. Now that she’s drunk you can grill her about any actions she might take against the library. At least, you’re pretty sure that’s what the initial plan was.

“So, other than research material, what else have you come here for?”

“I’m…not sure I understand what you mean.”

“I’m asking if you have any...ulterior motives.”

On second thought, that could have been a bit more subtle.

“Patchy, are you coming on to me?”


“Oh, nevermind. My mistake.”

Well that plan failed.

“By the way, Patchy. You look nice in that dress. Ah, the same for your familiar too in hers. You know I…..oh, I guess I can’t say that can I?”


“Oh, nothing. I was just admiring the craftsmanship of your clothes.”

You’re feeling really sleepy now. But you don’t want to go to sleep yet. You’re just going to put your head down on the table to rest for a moment and close your eyes.

“You know, It’s getting late, I should probably be going.”

Going. Going to take your books? No. If you let her leave, she’ll take your books.

“Stay here with me, Alice.”

You slip into darkness. What’s this strange sensation on your cheek?

[ ] So bright out. What happened last night?
[ ] You’re not up for this yet. Back to sleep.
Tiny update? Tiny Update. Since it’s short and the next one will be too, I’m gonna call the votes in a little over 12+ hours, whenever I wake up next.

If you guys had chosen to continue the game, it would’ve ended up in you blacking out, and this update would have started where this one ends, the morning after. Bonus scene get, good work.
>> No. 60660
[x] So bright out. What happened last night?
Remi spiked your meds. Not cool, Remi.

Also, Koa route where?
>> No. 60661
[X] So bright out. What happened last night?
-[X] Why is Alice in my bed too?
>> No. 60662
[x] So bright out. What happened last night?

Remi will pay for this, mark my words
>> No. 60663
Looks like I'm not the only one with Koa shipping goggles on.

[X] So bright out. What happened last night?
>> No. 60664
[x] So bright out. What happened last night?
[x] Is her hair brown or purple?
>> No. 60665
[X] So bright out. What happened last night?
>> No. 60666
That makes at least three of us.

[X] So bright out. What happened last night?
>> No. 60667
You'll get your chance to try.

Since you're so interested, I'll give you a little hint about the Koa events. You'll need to figure out how to change the status quo of their relationship. They've been master and servant for a very long time, and nothing has happened yet.


Anyway, I'm calling it for
[X] So bright out. What happened last night?

You guys might want to be mindful of Patchy's health. You wouldn't miss a scene by sleeping in anyway, you'd just get some rest and a different scene.
>> No. 60669
>You guys might want to be mindful of Patchy's health.

If you actually want us to take this into account you need to be more explicit about it. Nothing in the choices given implied this, which was probably why the vote was so one-sided. If there's no reason given to stay asleep (like, for example, Patches apparently needing more sleep) there was no reason to vote for that.

Remember something that is obvious to you might not be obvious to your readers unless you beat them over the head with it.
>> No. 60670

As I saw it, the fact that she was hung-over and had a long night previously would be enough motivation to sleep in.

As a heads up, you're not currently in the health danger zone, I do try to give fair warning when you would be overexerting yourself, but Patchy is a bit grumpier without her beauty sleep, and I do think it would serve you guys well in general to be keeping Patchy's health in mind for certain future choices.
>> No. 60671
>You'll need to figure out how to change the status quo of their relationship.
Write-ins have a hard time against provided options. I'm not saying they never win, or even that they rarely win, just that the odds are somewhat stacked against them.

>You wouldn't miss a scene by sleeping in anyway
And how are we to know that? Sleeping in causes time to pass, time in which ~things~ might happen.

>hung over
Youkai. Magician. Obviously Patchy would be more susceptible than most non-humans, and obviously sleeping in would help mitigate the immediate effects, but time spent unconscious is time that could have been spent using magic to fix everything.

>late night
You never indicated what time the party took place, nor how long Patchy was in attendance.

>As a heads up
If we're dealing with mechanics more involved than 'vote for interesting things' you should probably say so before we need to take them into account, not after.
>> No. 60673
Never said they'd have to be write-ins, just that it would be something to keep in mind when selecting choices.

And as for the rest...Sorry?
>> No. 60674


By that I meant a certain magician with gradient hair. Her powers would be good with hangovers.
>> No. 60675
Who, Byakuren?
Maybe I just don't know the character well enough, but which of/how would her powers be helpful...?
>> No. 60677

Byakuren specializes in physical enhancement magic, the sort of thing that'd help with a hangover. I suspect she'd have a lot of practice on her followers.
>> No. 60678
Don't Buddhist monks swear off, or at least avoid heavy consumption of alcohol though?
>> No. 60679
Given that the story takes place soon after PCB, I would think Byakuren is a bit too busy doing nothing in Hokkai to get involved here.
>> No. 60680
I doubt Patchouli knows who Byakuren is, especially since as >>60679 said this seems to take place during a time where she's not really in the picture...

Also, according to the wiki her specialty is just "can use magic", not any specific type. Where does physical enhancement magic come from?
>> No. 60681

Mahayana Buddhism is lenient about what the laity can do, and Byakuren's followers booze it up regardless ("I also remember seeing them eating meat and drinking... " http://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Symposium_of_Post-mysticism/Part_3). Shou is a particularly heavy drinker (http://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Symposium_of_Post-mysticism/Shou_Toramaru#cite_ref-1).


>Where does physical enhancement magic come from?

"Her magic is a kind that enhances the physical might of the body." (http://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Symposium_of_Post-mysticism/Byakuren_Hijiri)
>> No. 60682
File 140529117867.jpg - (162.15KB, 850x415, Gift of the Magi Patchy + Koa Library.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] So bright out. What happened last night?

Your head hurts. It’s so bright. You don’t remember going to bed. Why is it so bright? What happened last night? Resisting the urge to simply roll over and go back to sleep, you will your body into motion, sitting up and seeing that the curtains on your window have been drawn open for the first time ever, and the overpowering brightness from before was from the sun reflecting off the snow outside your window. You get out of bed and stumble over to the curtains. As you close them, you notice a note left pinned onto the back of them.

It reads “Dearest Patchy. I had Sakuya open up your curtains, so that you could have the full hangover experience. You can thank me later, you’re welcome. - <3 Remilia.”

As you see the note, you start to remember the events of the previous night. That Remilia…she’s a demon through and through. You’re not amused by her jokes, however. You make a note to yourself to give her a stern talking to. You’re not really sure if that will accomplish anything, but it would be some nice stress relief to chew her out a bit in return for all the crap she’s put you through.

Then again, even just thinking about Remilia too much is giving you a headache. You instinctively grab for the pain relief powder and glass of water you keep on your bedside table. Usually you use it for the days when your health keeps you bedridden, but this is a special case. Right before you take it, you do a quick magical purity test to watch out for any “additives” that Remilia might have added to this batch as well. You take a small sip, and find that it does taste bad, but the usual bad. You really ought to be this cautious all the time, but you’ve let yourself grow soft during your seclusion in the library.

Finishing off the rest of the glass, you are about to go out into the library proper when you realize you’re only wearing underclothes. Evidently, you are still a bit disoriented from last night. A shower sounds far more appealing than anything that could even possibly involve dealing with anyone else right now. You can still smell the alcohol on your breath and how you feel can best be described as simply gross.

You strip down and enter the warmth of the shower. You can see why, in the stories you’ve read, a shower is the preferred answer to a hangover. It feels like all the troubles of last night are washing away down the drain. You leave the shower feeling refreshed, and change into your standard robes before heading out of your room and into the library.

On one of the couches you keep in the library for reading in, is Alice, sleeping and looking decidedly unrefreshed. She’s still wearing the dress from last night. Why was she in here without you knowing? Did she try to go through your books while you were asleep? Perhaps she tried to steal something? But then why would she stay here afterwards? First of all, how did she get in without triggering your alarms?

“Oh, Lady Patchouli, you’re awake. A-are you feeling alright now?” Your familiar speaks softly as she enters your vision from the left, back in her usual work uniform.

“Yes, but my memory gets spotty on the later details, such as how and when I returned to the library. Care to fill me in?”

“Of course, Lady Patchouli. But, um, should we really be talking here so loudly. Miss Margatroid is sleeping over here.”

“Yes, she’s sleeping in my library, but I really do not care to accomodate every, or in fact, any drifter that finds their way in. Which reminds me, do you know how she got past the seals and entered the library?”

“Oh...Should I have not done that? I’m sorry Lady Patchouli! She was with you, so I thought I should bring her back to the library with you.”

Does she not understand the importance of defending the library from intruders? You start to feel very frustrated in how easily she let a possible enemy into your domain while you were incapacitated, but there’s no use venting those frustrations on her now. She obviously intended no harm. You will however need to give her a lecture at some point soon about the dangers that face you and your books, and specific instructions as to how “Miss Margatroid” should be dealt with while she is in the library.

“I understand your reasoning, and nothing bad came of it, so it’s fine. In the future, however, please do not casually let outsiders into Voile.”

“Understood! Thank you for your leniency, Lady Patchouli.”

“So as I understand it, you found Alice and I at the bar, and brought us back. We were both unconscious at the time?”

“No you were technically awake. Well, you were able to walk, so I just acted as your support.”

You have absolutely no memory of your familiar finding you, or anything beyond Alice saying something about your clothes. As it is, the whole second half of the evening feels more like a dream, or perhaps a nightmare, than actual events. Alcohol is a powerful and scary thing indeed. Speaking of clothes, though…

“So, when you brought me back to my room, I was fully clothed, correct.”

“Ah, um, that was me, sorry. I just thought you wouldn’t want to sleep in your dress.”

That’s rather presumptuous for a familar to assume. Although, truthfully you are glad that the dress wasn’t damaged. For reasons you can’t really put words to, it feels important to you.

“It’s fine. You did the right thing. It was just an inquiry of mine.

“Thank you for the praise, Lady Patchouli.”

“I have one final question. Is there anything else about the events of last night that I should know about?”

She looks a bit red faced and looks away, but doesn’t speak for a moment. This girl is a terrible liar, and evidently she knows that well enough to not try.

“Um, yes. Well it’s more something from this morning than last night, but you should probably take a look at todays Bunbunmaru.”

She picks up a newspaper from a nearby table and extends it towards you. Right, Bunbunmaru is the name of that tabloid. You pick it up and read the headline: “Breaking News: Scandalous Hook-up between Two Magicians!” The article continues: Patchouli Knowledge and Alice Margatroid were seen talking, drinking and then leaving together at the New Years Party of the esteemed Remilia Scarlet. The hostess had this to say, “Those two were obviously interested in each other. I think Alice makes a good pair for my dearest friend Patchy.” But this reporter wonders, could Miss Knowledge’s health condition turn this story of two love birds into a trajedy? Look forward to more info in the next update on this breaking news story.

You’re not happy about this. Apparently your illness is common knowledge. It is likely only their ignorance and illiteracy that keeps every resident of Gensokyo from even now battering down the door to your library to try to take advantage of a perceived weakness and take your books

As for the subject of her article, you really couldn’t care less, aside from the obvious fact that you don’t like being in any spotlight. You’re also annoyed by the implications of Remilia talking about you to the reporter, this reeks of another of her schemes.

Setting the tabloid aside, you consider what you want to do, now that you’re hangover has started to clear. As you currently see it, your options are as follows.

Firstly, Remilia went too far last night and she needs to know that you won’t be tolerating further pranks. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much you can do to stop her if she doesn’t want to stop, short of moving out of the mansion, but that is very simply not an option. You would never leave your books, and the idea of leaving the relative safety of your library to brave the harshness of gensokyo does not sound appealing at all.

Maybe an honest and straightforward appeal would get through to her. If she likes you enough to house you, maybe she’ll actually care enough to listen. Or maybe, as you expect, she just houses you here to have convenient access to a knowledgable person and as a recipient for her pranks, in which case it might just make her want to target you even more.

If showing weakness isn’t on the agenda, then you could give her the response that she undoubtedly wants, and then some more. She pranks you to get a rise out of you, and she’s succeeded. Even if it exactly what she wants, it might be satisfying to go all out and vent your frustrations on her directly.

If neither of those options seems like it would work, then your final option for dealing with Remilia is not to deal with her at all yet. You won’t forget what she’s done, but you’ll let the issue rest until you see your chance to strike later. She’ll see what it’s like to be pranked, and then maybe reconsider her actions towards you. Of course, this wouldn’t involve taking any action at the moment and would allow you to do something else now.

You also have the question as to what to do with Alice. While you could just set your famliar to watch her if you don’t want to deal with her right now, it might be best to wake her up, and then see to her departure, personally.

Speaking of your familiar, now is as good a time as any to be explaining to her in detail your policy with regards to Alice and future intruders. Better to do it sooner rather than too late.

[ ] Heartfelt appeal to Remilia. You’ve had enough, you don’t want to fight this war, let’s just hope she accepts your surrender.
[ ] If Remilia wants a piece of you, then she’ll get it with interest. You can’t beat her in a fight, but that won’t stop you from giving her a piece of your mind. At the very least, a bit of yelling at her will make you feel better.
[ ] As comfortable as your couch probably is for sleeping, Alice has her own bed at her own home. Move along, Miss Dollmaster, nap time is over.
[ ] Actually, it’d be best to give your familiar that lecture now while you have the chance.
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