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File 141516001218.jpg - (148.93KB, 827x1169, image.jpg) [iqdb]
61559No. 61559
The warm winds of late summer blow through the air, whipping my short hair back and forth as I lean on the tower's stone parapet, taking in the view; I've an excellent vantage point here, several hundred feet up, to observe both the entire mansion's grounds and everything for miles beyond this place. Verdant green still dominates the countryside, and both sky and Misty Lake shine clear and blue, the sun shining down with an almost sweltering heat.

Closer to home, Meiling's garden near the front gates is still holding strong by grit, plentiful care, and magic, with the gatekeeper herself just out of sight beyond the brick walls ringing the mansion. As for the building itself, it's more like an old red-bricked castle; turrets and towers aplenty, with massive stained-glass windows letting sunlight in. You'd think that the lady of the house wouldn't approve of those, but she seems to find it all good fun.

Vampires.

Of course, I'd be blind to miss all the fairy maids aimlessly flitting through the air, ostensibly to keep an eye out for intruders, but in reality because anyone who wants to get in has to go through the meatshields first. Such is the life of a fairy, I suppose.

I tug my collar back, trying to get some of that precious airflow down my shirt. This is one of the best spots in the entire mansion to do so if you don't feel like flying, what with how it's just one flat, open surface. Plus, I've got a beautiful view, and absolutely no one comes up here. It's peaceful, quiet, and-

"Karin?" asks a girl behind me, her voice high-pitched and curious, and I reflexively jolt, spinning around fast.

"How did you- who the hell- what?" I stammer, reigning in the reflexive urge to punch her in the face.

My ambusher is one of the fairy maids serving under me, a smiling brunette who stands at roughly four feet tall. I've got two heads of height on her myself, leaving me as easily the tallest fairy around. Her wings, like a dragonfly's, twitch at odd intervals.

"Whatcha doin'?" she asks, swaying from side to side, hands clasped behind her back.

"What are you doing?" I ask, rallying on the authority of the most esteemed (pff) rank of Fairy Captain.

"Lunch!" she says, happily showing her hands and the brown paper bag clenched in them. "I like coming up here for the view!" Her face falls. "Unless there's something bad about that?"

"The problem is that you"-spooked me-"are, um, trespassing." Yes, tell an easily disprovable lie, Karin! That's genius!

Her brows furrow, eyes drifting skyward, as she thinks this over. "But I live here?"

I roll my eyes. "You live on the ground floor, you clod." When she merely keeps staring at me, I sigh. "And you're trespassing because this tower's off-limits to maids?"

She pouts, thrusting her lower lip out. "Well, what are you doing here, then?"

"I'm captain," I say, turning my nose up at her. "I can go where I want."

She shifts her lunch bag to one hand, leans over, and pokes me right in the belly, her finger sinking into my dark shirt. "But you're off-duty, aren'tcha? Look, you're in plainclothes and everything!"

I stare down at the offending digit. "Don't do that," I say in a low voice.

She blinks, the error of her ways dawning on her, and retracts her poking finger. She's about to say something else when she glances past me, and her eyes widen. "Gosh, that might be a problem."

Ire is annexed by dread, the latter filling my gut as I look over my shoulder, despite my better judgement.

Oh, that's- that is the opposite of good right there.

I spin around, hands slamming down on the parapet to steady myself as I lean over it, the better to get a full view of the situation.
__________

[X] Wiiiiiiiiiiitch!

[X] why is everything on fire it wasn't on fire when i checked a minute ago why is one of the maids roasting marshmallows what is this

[X] Cirno, why do you have a fairy army?

[X] Some other horrible disaster is happening! [Write-in]
___________

Welcome, readers, to Anchorage, the follow-up to Don't Lose Your Head! To those of you new readers, there are going to be references here and there to the previous story. I'll try my best to explain things as they come up, but if you don't mind wading through some pretty bad writing to start, I recommend you give it a read.

To my returning readers, welcome! I'm glad to have you back for another adventure, and I hope you enjoy this as much as I'll enjoy writing it.

Finally, pic related is our protagonist, just so we're all on the same page.
Expand all images
>>No. 61560
[X] why is everything on fire it wasn't on fire when i checked a minute ago why is one of the maids roasting marshmallows what is this
This is what happens when you let grape mages go full KILL MAIM BURN. *cough*Khornate Sorceror*cough*

Good to have you continuing, sir.
>>No. 61561
[X] Cirno, why do you have a fairy army?

Can't not pick this one. Great to be getting more of your SDM, Sights.
>>No. 61562
[X] Cirno, why do you have a fairy army?
>>No. 61563
[X] Cirno, why do you have a fairy army?
>>No. 61564
[X] Cirno, why do you have a fairy army?

Probably just found out how to make snow golems and dressed them up like fairies
>>No. 61579
[X] Cirno, why do you have a fairy army?

Probably because she wanted to be as cool as Karin.

Also goddamn I didn't realize Karin was a giant. I can't picture a fairy nearly six feet tall.
>>No. 61581
Might as well call it here and keep momentum moving. Cirno's fairy army it is!

>>61579

Note that the height is a rough guess on Karin's part. Assuming a head is anywhere between 8-and-a-half to 10 inches, she could be 5'6 at a conservative estimate all the way up to 5'10, give or take an inch or two either way.

Blame Patchouli's magical augmentations for this freakish height, as well as many other little quirks, both physical and mental, that distinguish Karin from the rank and file.
>>No. 61582
File 141522852792.jpg - (303.19KB, 1300x1500, image.jpg) [iqdb]
61582
A mob of fairies maybe fifty strong has formed in front of the mansion's front gate, bearing signs and weapons. Their leader, Cirno, is easily identified by her icy wings, blue hair, and matching dress. Some of the maids in the skies are drifting downward, being assimilated into the group when they touch down. The only reason the mob isn't flying over the walls is that Meiling moved to block them, standing at the center of the gate and not budging an inch.

They're not violent yet, but Cirno's indistinct shouting is riling them up further with each passing second, and Meiling could be overwhelmed by sheer dint of numbers if the situation gets worse. Worst of all, it looks like no one else is coming. I could just get someone else, or leave Meiling to it, but-

"So, if I've got this right, you're up here, so that means you're on duty," says the girl behind me, her words coming slow as she works out the implications. "But if you're not working right now, then... you're trespassing, too?"

If she finds out I was lying just to be left alone, there goes a good chunk of my authority.

Ugh. I brought this on myself.

I sigh, looking at her over my shoulder. "Just stay here and enjoy your lunch, all right? Captain's orders."

She gives a smart, crisp salute with her bag hand, slapping herself in the face with the paper container. "Will do!"

Right. I vault over the parapet and fall into open air, plummeting for a breathtaking second before my wings beat hard enough to stabilize my fall, leaving me hovering. I burn through the skies towards the mob, but this high up no one seems to notice me. All the better! The best entrances are the most memorable, and I know just how to make this one stick. It takes but seconds to reach the gate, and then I adopt a standing posture and simply stop flying.

It's a bare handful of moments that I free-fall towards earth, bracing for the inevitably terrible landing. I hit the ground directly in front of Cirno, knocking her flat on her butt from surprise even as gravity drives me down to my knees, my impact rattling my bones from my feet all the way up to my grit teeth. I spring upright a moment later, as if I hadn't just hit the ground at a speed approaching terminal velocity.

All eyes are on me right now; perfect.

"So!" I say, clapping my hands together, sweeping my eyes across the crowd. There's familiar faces aplenty, maids and local fairies alike who are all suddenly reluctant to meet my gaze. "What's going on? Cirno, why are you being disruptive?"

Cirno rallies almost immediately, hopping back up and leveling her pointer finger at my forehead. She really has to reach to make it work. "Your work conditions are unfair!"

I blink. "...What?"

Cirno scowls, jabbing at me again and again as she talks. "The pay is terrible and everyone's always getting up early and works all day and Sakuya's always around to be all 'I will shank you' if anyone ever decides to take a break and it's not fair!" she declares, stomping a foot down to cap it all off.

"You don't work here," Meiling says, her tone flat with knowledge that nothing she says will matter.

"Ha!" Cirno thumps a small fist against her chest, standing short and proud. "I serve all fairy-kind!"

I raise a hand. "...But you don't work here," I say, seeing no reason to abandon Meiling's argument.

"That shall not stop me!" Cirno says, a cocky grin spreading across her lips. "I won't rest until everyone is equalized! Yourself included!" She extends an open hand to me. "Join us! Don't you care about fairy equality?"

"I'm captain of the guard!" I say, glaring at her hand like it's covered in bees. "I actually like my position as it is, thank you."

Cirno retracts her hand in a blink, eyes bulging out. "You're a traitor to fairykind!"

"You don't even clean!" an outraged maid in the front row says, waving a blank sign around for effect. "Why do you get to say anything?"

"Yeah!" another bellows, thrusting a makeshift spear upward; makeshift in the sense that it's a stick with a shard of glass tied to the top by a piece of string.

"Get outta the way!" Cirno says, planting both hands on her hips. "We're coming through whether you want us or not!

The crowd starts cheering as they pump signs and weapons up and down, completely enthralled by Cirno. I glance over at Meiling, but she merely offers me a helpless shrug.

I grimace. Of all the times to go on break, I had to choose now. I don't have my axe, and I've got no armor. If violence breaks out...

This could get bad.
__________

[X] Retreat and get someone higher-ranked to sort it out; this is outside my pay-grade.

[X] Send Meiling off to get someone else while I negotiate with Cirno to stall for time; maybe she's got some good ideas, but when it's couched in this rhetoric, it doesn't do anyone any good.

[X] "Meiling? Let's stop them with our violence."

[X] [WRITE-IN]
>>No. 61583
[x] "...So, you're in charge here? Meaning these fairies all work for you? So what are YOU paying them, huh?"

Undercut her with insane logic.
>>No. 61584
>>61583
I fucking LOVE IT.
[x] "...So, you're in charge here? Meaning these fairies all work for you? So what are YOU paying them, huh?"
-[x]If she tries to talk about things other than money, remind her that fairy maids are already paid in things other than money, like food and housing and frilly uniforms.
>>No. 61585
[x] "...So, you're in charge here? Meaning these fairies all work for you? So what are YOU paying them, huh?"

I like it.
>>No. 61586
[x] "...So, you're in charge here? Meaning these fairies all work for you? So what are YOU paying them, huh?"

this is just dumb enough to work
>>No. 61587
Too good to pass up

[x] "...So, you're in charge here? Meaning these fairies all work for you? So what are YOU paying them, huh?"
>>No. 61588
[X] "...So, you're in charge here? Meaning these fairies all work for you? So what are YOU paying them, huh?"
>>No. 61589
[ϕ] "...So, you're in charge here? Meaning these fairies all work for you? So what are YOU paying them, huh?"

I get the feeling poor Karin will be using LOGIC a lot in the near future.
>>No. 61591
[x] "...So, you're in charge here? Meaning these fairies all work for you? So what are YOU paying them, huh?"

I don't really think this will work, but it'll be hilarious.
>>No. 61604
File 141534770239.jpg - (206.79KB, 1200x900, image.jpg) [iqdb]
61604
All right, despite how I want to pick Cirno up and use her as a flail, I don't think that's tenable. At the same time, however, her words have given me an idea. It may well be a terrible idea, mind! Still, right now I'm willing to give it a shot.

"...So, you're in charge here?" I ask.

Cirno nods, beaming proudly. "Yup!"

"Meaning everyone there works for you?" I continue, gesturing at the crowd with an open hand.

"I'm the people's choice, yes!"

"So what do you pay them?" I ask.

"...Eh?" she says, squinting at me. "Whaddaya mean?"

"What do you pay them?" I reiterate, frowning. "I can't imagine it's cheap to hire a mob to follow you around."

Cirno folds her arms together and throws her head back in laughter. While it subsides a few moments later, her grin does not. "They get a better job, you dummy! Higher pay and nicer hours!"

"But you, specifically, do not give them any material compensation, correct?" I say.

She shrugs. "I'm broke."

"Ahuh. Right." I shake my head, wondering how she ever managed to recruit so many people. "So, their complaints are about pay. You have no money, so how are you going to pay them anything when they're all fired?"

There's some uncertain looks amongst the mob, but Cirno merely snorts. "Remilia wouldn't do that! She needs us! Well, them, but you know what I mean."

"No, she doesn't," I say, giving her groupies a meaningful look. "There's plenty of us to go around, you know."

"Like anyone else would want to stay if you fired these ones!" Cirno says, gesturing grandly back at the crowd. General agreement rises up from them, their spirits bolstered by the idea of solidarity in unemployment, and I flinch as the stakes hit me; a complete fairy walk-out would be very, very bad, especially considering how much work I'd have to do to pick up the slack.

I pinch the bridge of my nose, thinking of another conversational track to try. "Okay, okay, I'll give you that one. But what if you do get inside? How are you going to convince Lady Scarlet to raise wages?"

Cirno starts ticking off fingers. "We'll march around and be all shouty, and then Remilia shows up and I shoot her in the face and she'll listen to all our complaints and everyone gets what they want! Bamph!" She smacks a fist into her open palm. "Problem solved, everyone's happy, the end."

"I see a problem vis-à-vis the face-shooting part," I say. "That will endear her to your cause... how, exactly?"

Cirno's grin grows cocky. "It means I'm the strongest!"

Oh, this oughta be good. "And?"

"If I'm the strongest, it means she's gotta listen!" she says, completely assured of that outcome.

Okay. Obviously I am not dealing with someone who is mentally all together. Time to try a different tack.

"We still haven't gotten to the issue of their wages in the first place, you know," I say. "Do you even know how much they're paid?"

"Almost nil, and that's terrible!" Cirno says, all vigorous outrage. "You can't even afford a decent glass of beer without working for, like, a week!"

Oh, playing the alcohol card, are you? Clever, very clever, but you just screwed up, missy.

"I agree that it would be terrible, if we needed sustenance." I spread my arms wide, catching the attention of Cirno's horde. "Let me ask you all a few things. Do you get hungry? Thirsty?"

No one says anything, although there's a few sheepish looks among the group.

"Were you forced to come here? To work at this mansion?" I say, pressing the advantage.

They're still silent, and some of the more outspoken ones are sinking down, discouraged.

"All right," I say, clasping my hands together and giving them a good shake. "Those are basic needs out of the way. You don't need to work to live, and we're obviously not forcing you to stay here. Do you remember the agreement reached upon your being employed?"

"That's not what we're here for!" Cirno says, all scowly outrage.

"Actually, it is," I say, matching her glare with my own. "Have you considered any of the other expenses of housing hundreds of fairies, Cirno? We get food and lodging, in a building with electricity, no less. That includes bathrooms, and hot water, and actual plumbing!" I raise an open hand, forestalling her next words. "And, yes, we do get wine and beer and other drink rationed out for free, before you say anything. That's not counting the parties where everyone can have as much as they want!"

The fairies are mumbling in uncomfortable agreement with my words. I press on before Cirno can rally them again.

"And I still haven't gotten into the cost of the clothing," I say, giving my shirt and pants deliberate tugs. "You think your frilly outfits come cheap? They're custom-fitted for everyone who works here. I had a suit of plate mail commissioned for me at Lady Scarlet's expense, even, and you don't know how expensive that kind of thing is until you see the bill. I died a little inside when I found out, but the Mistress still paid for it! Just like she does with the rest of you!"

"But-" Cirno tries, valiantly attempting to turn this around on me.

"No!" I say, really getting into it now, a great metaphorical fire burning in my chest as I wildly chop a hand through the air. "And what's this I hear about breaks? You get two a day, half an hour each! Don't tell me that's not enough when you've only got eight hours of work! You!" I point out one of the maids who got sucked into the crowd. "I've seen you sleeping on the job when you're supposed to be cleaning! And you!" My finger swivels to another maid, shrinking down when I aim at her. "You went and smeared paint all over the walls!" My sights are set on a third. "You set a dinner table on fire! Why? Why?"

"I wanted to roast marshmallows," she says, very quietly.

I fling my arms up. "Every one of you's done something like that! And then you've got the guts to come here, after getting all those things I just mentioned, after all the things you get as part of your job, and you whine? I swear, we'd actually be more efficient if you quit!"

Cirno looks more and more horrified as I go on, and she turns back to her mob once I finish. "Guys, you- you didn't say anything about that! Is she right?"

A fairy in the middle of the crowd clears her throat, deliberately avoiding eye contact with Cirno. "We, um, might have exaggerated things a bit?"

Cirno's face is like everyone just stabbed her all at once.

"But- b-but you said this place was awful!" she says, her voice cracking as she clenches her fists at her sides. "I thought- I really thought we were gonna get something done! Something good for everyone here! But you all lied about it!"

Everyone is quiet as Cirno looks between them, her hope bleeding out with every moment of silence.

"Did anyone even care?" she asks, on the verge of crying. "Am I the only one who wanted to make things better?"

No one answers.

Her mouth works open and shut a few times as she tries to say something, anything else.

Where words fail, tears suffice.

I can't help but feel intensely awkward as Cirno buries her face in her hands, sobbing noisily as she flies away fast as her wings can carry her. Everyone else is just staring at the ground, red-faced, now that their leader has fled the scene, and no one dares break the quiet she left behind.

I... huh.

Of all the possible reactions, I didn't expect that.

I glare at the crowd, who all steadfastly avoid looking at me.

"Well," I say. "That was an excellent piece of work you managed, you idiots."

"I concur," Meiling says.

"Shut up, Meiling."

She shuts up.
____________

[X] ...I should go after Cirno, shouldn't I? She meant well, even if she was horribly misguided about it. I can't hold that against her. Meiling can handle this crowd while I seek her out.

[X] Maybe that'll teach Cirno to actually get her facts straight before she goes around causing trouble. Now my break is ruined, I've got a mob to deal with, and I'm in a bad mood. Time to put the fear of me into these morons.

[X] [WRITE-IN]
>>No. 61605
[X] ...I should go after Cirno, shouldn't I? She meant well, even if she was horribly misguided about it. I can't hold that against her. Meiling can handle this crowd while I seek her out.
>>No. 61606
[X] ...I should go after Cirno, shouldn't I? She meant well, even if she was horribly misguided about it. I can't hold that against her. Meiling can handle this crowd while I seek her out.

Wasn't Pyromaniac/Marshmellow roasting fairy a Keymaster thing?
>>No. 61608
>"I wanted to roast marshmallows," she says, very quietly.

YESH...

[X] ...I should go after Cirno, shouldn't I? She meant well, even if she was horribly misguided about it. I can't hold that against her. Meiling can handle this crowd while I seek her out.
>>No. 61610
[X] ...I should go after Cirno, shouldn't I? She meant well, even if she was horribly misguided about it. I can't hold that against her. Meiling can handle this crowd while I seek her out.

Guilt.
>>No. 61611
[X] ...I should go after Cirno, shouldn't I? She meant well, even if she was horribly misguided about it. I can't hold that against her. Meiling can handle this crowd while I seek her out.
>>No. 61612
Five for, nil against, looks like we're going after Cirno, fellas.

>>61606

Yep. Considering our protag is a fairy, it only makes sense that a lot of people she'll meet will also be fairies. As such, cameos will be a thing! They won't dominate the story or anything, so don't worry. And, yes, I did get Keymaster's permission beforehand.

Now just look forward to Kazuki from FoSL popping up here and there.

>>61611

Oh, buddy, ya dun goofed with your post. I know it's confusing, but you don't actually put your email in the email field to post on imageboards like this. The only use it has here is when you put sage in the field, like I've done here, which means your post won't bump the thread and get everyone mad if the story hasn't updated in a while.
>>No. 61625
File 141551973080.jpg - (93.87KB, 800x600, image.jpg) [iqdb]
61625
"Well, now that you've succeeded in making a fellow fairy cry," I say, my pointed gaze too uncomfortable for anyone to meet directly, "I hope you're all quite done being idiots. Meiling?"

Meiling grunts, which is all I need to know she's listening.

"Sort out who works here and who doesn't, please?" I say. "I've got to go after Cirno."

"Gladly!" she says, and in three long steps she's hip-deep in the crowd. "All right, all right, break it up, you're done here!"

While she sees to forcibly separating the maids from the outsiders, I stride off the same way Cirno went, towards the lake.

-----

It doesn't take more than two minutes for me to reach lakeside, and Cirno didn't go through any effort to hide herself, either. The girl's sitting in the sand, knees tucked under her chin, water sweeping up over her feet and back into the lake. She's skipping rocks out across the waters, pitching them with commendable viciousness.

I'm about to speak when a terrible realization hits; I did not think of what to say when I actually got here.

Crap.

Um.

Being all shouty just comes naturally to me, but I don't think that's the right approach here.

Okay, gotta think, what's the best way to break the ice (augh that was terrible of me) here?

"Hello?" I say, falling back on something tried and-

Cirno launches herself upright, spinning around, arm swinging, and a rock is sailing at my forehead before I can even process the motion that sent it flying. It cracks me square between the eyes and bounces off, leaving me blinking but otherwise unharmed.

"Well, that wasn't very friendly," I say, quirking an eyebrow.

Cirno stares at me, surprise marking her tear-stained face. "What? I- you- what?"

"I've been shot in the head before," I say, tapping a thumb against my forehead. "With real bullets, even. I snagged a few casings as souvenirs, if you want to see them sometime."

"I've killed people with that throw!" she snaps. The full weight of that statement only hits her a moment later. "Er, fairies, I mean! Not actual, yanno, humans or whatever. How come you just tanked it like that?"

"I'm invincible, that's what." Unless some power-armored dick kicks me in the jaw, but that's a rare occurrence. "And it's good you haven't actually killed anyone who'd stay dead, or I'd have to bring you in for murder."

"Like you'd be able to catch me," she says, a bit of that old self-confidence leaking in.

"It'd be tough," I admit. "So, you wanna talk?"

Her expression grows conflicted, and she sits back down facing the lake. "I don't see what about."

"Mind if I join you, then?" I ask, taking a step closer.

She still doesn't look at me. "Nngh."

"I didn't hear a no," I say, and park my butt next to her. I've got to sit on crossed legs so the tide doesn't soak through my boots. She goes back to skipping rocks, and I'm fine with just sitting there and watching. Her record distance seems to be about eight hops before the rocks sink completely, although she only manages that twice.

It takes around five minutes of this before Cirno speaks again.

"They're a buncha jerks, that's what they are," she says, her words lacking heat. "Come to me complainin' about everything here, making me think I could get some proper fairy justice going on, and in the end I just turn out to be a big idiot."

I shoot her a wry smile. "Maybe next time you'll do a little more digging before you cause a revolution, eh?"

She sniffles, glaring sideways at me. "Shaddup."

I merely shake my head, still smiling. "Your enthusiasm was commendable, though."

That causes her to perk up, twisting her body to face me. "Huh?"

"I can't think of many people who could get a bunch of fairies together like that on words alone," I say, genuinely kind of impressed. I don't count myself in that list, mostly because if shouting ever fails me I just pull out my axe, and that solves any insubordination issues I might have.

"It wasn't hard," Cirno says, frowning. "All I had to do was promise 'em I'd make things better and they were following me. But it was all just one big game to 'em, wasn't it?" She roughly shoves a foot forward, kicking up sand.

"You were really into it, at least, and I think that counts for a lot," I say. "But good intentions only get you so far if you're operating on a fundamentally unstable platform."

"...Eh?" she says, her expression puzzled.

Right, fairy here, not the smartest. "All your efforts are for naught if your base is wrong?"

Her brows furrow as she tries to figure that out. "I don't think you're explaining this well."

"Cripes. Uh." I hold a hand over my mouth and chin as I think on this. "...You can't do good if you're working off bad info?"

That gets her to nod, enlightenment spreading across her features. "I getcha, I getcha." She purses her lips, giving me a once-over. "What's your name, anyway? I thought I knew all the fairies around here, but you're... well, you're-"

"Huge?" I say, giving her a knowing little smile as I plant my hands in the sand behind me. "And it's Karin, by the way."

She nods. "Yeah, huge is the word. You're human-sized; that's just weird.

I lean back, my arms holding me upright. "I used to be around your height, actually." Her expression is skeptical, but I continue anyway. "You might not believe it, but it's true. Lady Patchouli was looking for a volunteer for some testing. I sign on, and just like that"-I snap my thumb and middle finger-"here I am today, big and bulletproof." And smarter, too, but I don't think I should mention that right now.

Cirno's quiet for a bit, staring at her feet, face set in thought.

"You're just all kindsa odd, ain'tcha?" she eventually says, watching me from the corner of her eye. "You're tall, you're tough, you're wordy, ya got a weird name-"

"Hey!" I say, sitting straight up in outrage. "I picked it out myself!"

"How'd you come up with it?"

"I-" I come up short at that. No one's really been interested in why I chose it. "...It was the heroine's name in one of these stories I read, a long time ago," I say, and I can feel my cheeks heating up. It sounds so stupid when I say it out loud. "She was smart, and strong, and witty, and famous for what she accomplished in her adventures. I wanted some of that to rub off on me, I guess." I sigh. "I don't think I'm very original, but it's grown on me."

Cirno considers that notion for a little while. "That's a dumb reason to pick a name."

"Oi!" I say; girl knows how to ruffle my feathers, I'll give her that. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Well, you're just borrowing someone else's idea," she says, nodding sagely. "I mean, look at me! You're not gonna see any other Cirnos around, are ya?"

I frown. "Guess not. What about you? How'd you figure Cirno was what you wanted?"

She shrugs, and skips another rock across the lake; this one makes it five hops before it sinks. "I'unno. I just knew it was me, long as I can remember. Nothing else ever felt right."

I mull that over for a few moments. "...Makes sense."

She looks me head-on, her expression inquisitive. "How'd you know my name, anyway? We haven't met before."

"You joking?" I say. "Who hasn't heard of Cirno, the menace of Misty Lake?"

"Menace?!" she squawks, glowering at me. "Menace?!"

"I thought you knew!" I say, edging away by inches almost on reflex. "You beat up other fairies and shoot people at random. What kind of name were you expecting?"

"Slanderers!" she says, all righteous indignation. "They should be calling me Cirno, the great and powerful and wise and almighty fairy queen of all Gensokyo, that's what!"

Don't laugh, Karin, don't laugh.

I look away, sucking my lips inward in an attempt to keep the giggles at bay. She must have seen me anyway, given the elbow she drives into my side. "It's not funny!"

"You might be aiming a bit too high with that title," I say, unable to keep the smile off my face when I look back at her.

She's got a terrific pout going on now, and it's just the cutest thing. "You sayin' I can't pull it off?"

"Yes." I say, without hesitation.

This time my side takes a mean punch, and I flinch at just how much force she packed into it. "What do you know about anything, huh? One vee one me, lady, I'll wreck you, come on!"

I wince, raising my hands in surrender as she keeps slugging me. "Okay, okay, you win, knock it off!"

She relents only after one last swing, leaving my ribs with an ache I didn't think could be caused by such a small girl. "That's what you get for doubting me!"

"I've learned my lesson, believe me," I say, patting my side to make sure everything's intact. "...And I'm sorry about earlier."

My sudden topic switch throws her off. "Huh?"

"About what happened at the mansion," I say. "I didn't mean to make you-"

Cirno raises a balled-up fist. "Shaddup."

I shut up.

She lowers her fist after a few seconds, satisfied. Her expression falls right after, and she looks back out to the lake.

"You stopped me before absolutely everyone ever found out about my screw-up," she says, her voice soft, "so I guess it ain't all bad. I only embarrassed myself in front of, oh, maybe five-dozen people instead of the entire world."

"Looking on the bright side, huh?" I say, scooting closer to her.

"One way of putting it," she mutters. "...So, it really is as good as you said, working there?"

"I was one of the masses before I got my new post, and I was treated decently even back then. So I have to say yes."

Cirno sighs heavily. "It really was all for nothing, then? There wasn't anything wrong I could have fixed?"

"Maybe not today," I say. "All I can tell you is to just keep trying, I guess. If you actually champion a proper cause, and you pack as much energy into it like you were earlier, I think you could get some good things done."

Her face is unsure, but there's traces of hope to be found. "You think so?"

I push myself to my feet, and bask in that glorious feeling that comes from stretching my legs. "I do. But you have to fight smarter, not harder. That's the only way you'll get anyone taking you seriously."

"Huh." She props her chin up with a fist, eyes on the waters ahead. "I... I don't see anything wrong about that."

"Glad to hear it," I say, stuffing my hands in my pockets, watching the waves as they roll in. "Good talk, Cirno. Good talk."

"What, you leaving?" she asks, not moving.

"Afraid so. My break only goes so long, and I think your little disturbance just used it all up, thank you so much." I kick some sand on her, taking vindictive delight in her surprised yelp as she flails defensively.

"Jerk!" she howls, but I'm already legging it by the time she recovers. "Just for that, I'll be back! You watch!"

"Looking forward to it!" I reply, leaving her in the distance.
__________

That's one incident resolved before it could really blow up! What's next to land on Karin's plate?

[X] Koakuma needs assistance placating a grape-flavored witch.

[X] Flandre's looking for a playmate!

[X] Bored gatekeeper seeks sparring partner.

[X] IT'S TIME TO DRILL THE FAIRIES AWWWWWWWW YES
>>No. 61626
[X] IT'S TIME TO DRILL THE FAIRIES AWWWWWWWW YES

This is an excellent choice. All the vote options are excellent choices.
>>No. 61629
Can....can this be an order vote, instead of an exclusionary vote? I don't think I can vote at all otherwise.
>>No. 61630
>>61629

Yep, anon, this vote is just for what happens first. We'll get to everything in due time.
>>No. 61631
[X] IT'S TIME TO DRILL THE FAIRIES AWWWWWWWW YES

Man Karin really loves to drill fairies huh
>>No. 61633
[X] Koakuma needs assistance placating a grape-flavored witch.

Maybe she's still on fire.
>>No. 61634
[X] IT'S TIME TO DRILL THE FAIRIES AWWWWWWWW YES

Honestly I really wanted to vote for Flandre, but it feels morally wrong to not give Karin this.
>>No. 61635
[X] Koakuma needs assistance placating a grape-flavored witch.
>>No. 61636
>>61625
[X] IT'S TIME TO DRILL THE FAIRIES AWWWWWWWW YES

>"I do. But you have to fight smarter, not harder. That's the only way you'll get anyone taking you seriously."
Pointy-haired fairy boss is go.
>>No. 61638
[X] IT'S TIME TO DRILL THE FAIRIES AWWWWWWWW YES

Good to see that we maybe sort of did some good.
>>No. 61639
People seem to want FAIRY BOOT CAMP, so people are going to get FAIRY BOOT CAMP BAH GAWD CONSIDER IT CALLED

>>61631

anon you seem to be deliberately phrasing things in a particularly suggestive manner

why is that i wonder
>>No. 61663
File 141581184650.jpg - (795.19KB, 3200x2472, image.jpg) [iqdb]
61663
The past few days since Cirno's failed strike have been peaceful, but the cause behind it has been nagging at me whenever I stop to really think about it. If there are agitators among the staff, they could use a strict dose of discipline.

Fortunately, I'm finally able to do something about it, since today is officially training day!

As the noon light streams through the barracks windows, I am ready. My armor is fastened on securely, covering me toe-to-neck, and it doesn't so much as clank as I begin my customary stroll through the room. Approximately one-hundred fairies, no more, no less, stand at attention, wearing varying expressions of nervousness, dread, and dull acceptance.

I pause, facing the center of their formation, and inhale deeply.

"Attention!" I bellow. "You know well what time it is, correct?"

"Aye!" is the unanimously surly reply.

"Then switch to something you don't mind getting dirty! It's time for training!"

The answering groans combine into something room-shaking, and I can't help but grin.

Welcome to my world, girls.

-----

I've herded my company outside, in the back grounds of the mansion. There's plenty of clear ground here, even taking the pond into account, and it's more than enough for everyone to stand at ease without being cramped. They've swapped the frilly uniforms for assorted athletic wear of all types, ranging from shorts and t-shirts to crudely-fashioned wooden armor, which isn't as ridiculous as you'd initially think.

More importantly, however, is the wooden obstacle course I spent last night erecting from prefabricated parts; the Mistress lets me have this indulgence so long as I'm sure to clean everything up when drilling is over. As such, portability is paramount.

I'm actually really proud of the whole setup; the whole thing surrounds the pond, so if you get knocked off at any point there's a good chance you'll get soaked as well. As for the obstacles themselves, there's the opening half-pipe, which starts you off on a flat platform that ramps up to a sheer wall. Once you climb that, there's the rope swing across the pond, and you have to time your jump off just right to land on the first of several spinning platforms, each one barely large enough to comfortably stand on.

If you don't fall and crack your skull when hopping across those, you hit the 'boulder run', as I like to call it; three sloped, walled-off platforms stacked atop each other, the first going forward, second backward, and third forward again, with alcoves carved into the sides for cover. A tower rises up to overlook the open-topped tunnels, Meiling standing tall and proud atop it, and she waves when she notices me looking. Up there, she's got an easy job of flinging rocks down, where they roll all the way through the tunnels and squash anyone too slow to reach cover. I usually handle that part of the course, but sometimes she joins in for double the fun and double the concussions.

If you manage to get past that, there's the narrow fifty-foot long beam flanked by rotating mannequins along the entire stretch, all of them armed with large spiked flails. There's gaps between their revolutions to rush through, but if one hits you, you're done.

Making it through there leaves one on the final stretch, a vertical climb up another sheer wall eightyish feet tall, with scarce handholds dug into the wood. The way it's built means you'll have to take a few leaps to make it all the way up, and I've seen many a run die there because of it. Once you make it to the top, you're almost done, and there's only one last thing to do.

Jump.

There's a trampoline waiting at the bottom. The only problem is that it's, well, child-sized. Botch the landing, and may Gods help you, because gravity won't.

Of course, all this would be meaningless if one could simply fly over the entire thing, so anyone who flies is immediately disqualified and penalized. You've got to get through on your own strength and speed, because you never know when you might be ground-bound and still need to be fit for duty, and also it amuses me.

See, if I were doing this for anyone other than fairies, it would be cruel and unusual. But, seeing as anything that happens here will just end up killing them anyway, I feel no pity. I've never gotten any compliments from the people who actually undergo the course, obviously, because they're a bunch of pansies, but such is life being captain.

And, of course, there are some observers today. Lady Scarlet, obscured by a parasol as large ad she is, sits on a balcony conveniently placed to oversee everything. A shock of white hair alerts me to Sakuya standing guard next to her, the head maid ever ready to protect her mistress should something occur. Also scattered about are the occasional fairy outside my jurisdiction, as well as those brown-skinned hobgoblins who are already placing bets on whether anyone will succeed.

Well, everything checks out. I turn back to the fairies about to undergo the course, and fall back on a prepared speech.

"Ladies!" I say, my voice ringing clear through the air.

"Oi!" says a distinctly masculine voice hidden amongst the crowd.

"And gentlemen, yes!" I say, making a mental note to get him later for interrupting me. "If you are needed to defend the mansion and its inhabitants, you will need to be strong! Fast! Tough! If you pass this training, then you might even be good enough to stab the next person that attacks us! Does that sound appealing to you?"

There's some richly enthusiastic cheers, but most of the crowd is irritatingly quiet. Still, that's better than I usually get.

"I see we have some real go-getters!" I continue. "Hopefully everyone will match your eagerness to please, ladies! Now, let me state the conditions of this course.

"As usual, you may drop out at any time. If you do so immediately, you go without meals for the next week! If you clear at least the opening third before dropping out, this penalty goes down to three days! Reach two-thirds completion, and it's only one day." I hold a hand high. "However, should you be brave enough to go the whole distance, not only do you get meals as usual, but you also get a sizable bonus paid entirely out of my pocket. Of course, the completion percentage is in the single digits." I pause, eying the crowd for any go-getters. "Are you bad enough to run this gauntlet, ladies?"

One of the fairies up front breaks formation, stepping forward and leveling a finger at me. "If you're so sure it's beatable, why don't you try it yourself!" she snaps.

Ah.

I think I found one of the fairies that misled Cirno.

I take a moment to study her before I reply: bob cut, dark hair, dark eyes, a face that would be cute if it wasn't twisted up in anger, and I'm head-and-shoulders taller than she is. Anything more detailed will have to wait; protocol demands that I answer now.

"So," I say, keeping my expression cold. "Is that an order I hear, miss?"

"Oh, but you know all the tricks, don't you?" she continues, heedless of the potential retribution about to rain down on her. "So here's my challenge, boss! You run your own freakin' course with a handicap!"

"You're treading on dangerous ground, talking like that," I say. "Why should I listen to you?

She lowers her arm, and jabs a thumb into her chest. "Prove me wrong and I'll do whatever you say for one month, even off the clock!"

"And what do you get out if this should I fail?" I ask, unblinking.

The girl folds her arms, baring teeth in a hostile smile. "Seeing you fail, what else?"

I glance upwards; Lady Scarlet is leaning over the balcony, clearly interested in this little spat.
__________

[X] Challenge accepted! (Select at least one drawback)
-[X] I'll take my armor off. I'll be vulnerable, but faster. Good trade, in my opinion.
-[X] Why don't you get some of the girls together and block my way? Take your best shots at me!
-[X] Pff, who needs two hands? I'll do this with one!
-[X] You got some special idea? [WRITE-IN]

[X] Challenge denied! (Optional: select any number of consequences)
-[X] And just for mouthing off, you get to go first!
-[X] I WILL PT YOU UNTIL YOU DIE, DO YOU HEAR ME
-[X] That's it, I'm docking your pay.
-[X] CONSEQUENCES WILL NEVER BE THE SAME [WRITE-IN]

[X] Challenge accepted! However! (Select any number of drawbacks from first option and any number of consequences from second option)
>>No. 61664
[X] Challenge denied! (Optional: select any number of consequences)
-[X] And just for mouthing off, you get to go first!
-[X] CONSEQUENCES WILL NEVER BE THE SAME: You WILL run this course until you complete it! Then, AND ONLY THEN, will I CONSIDER running it for your benefit.

Assert authority, straight up. We don't answer to this little jackass.
>>No. 61665
[X] Challenge accepted! However!
-[X] I'll take my armor off. I'll be vulnerable, but faster. Good trade, in my opinion.
-[X] Why don't you get some of the girls together and block my way? Take your best shots at me!
-[X] And just for mouthing off, you get to go first!

Aw yeah, a chance to impress the scrubs.

I wonder if the mouthy one is going to give up before she gets through the first third.
>>No. 61666
[X] Challenge denied! (Optional: select any number of consequences)
-[X] And just for mouthing off, you get to go first!
-[X] CONSEQUENCES WILL NEVER BE THE SAME: You WILL run this course until you complete it! Then, AND ONLY THEN, will I CONSIDER running it for your benefit.
>>No. 61668
[X] Challenge accepted! (Select at least one drawback)
-[X] I'll take my armor off. I'll be vulnerable, but faster. Good trade, in my opinion.
-[X] Why don't you get some of the girls together and block my way? Take your best shots at me!
-[X] Pff, who needs two hands? I'll do this with one!
>>No. 61669
[X] Challenge accepted! However!
-[X] I'll take my armor off. I'll be vulnerable, but faster. Good trade, in my opinion.
-[X] Why don't you get some of the girls together and block my way? Take your best shots at me!
-[X] And just for mouthing off, you get to go first!

It occurs to me that if dying is such a casual thing for faeries they probably wouldn't call it that. They'd say something different, like I dunno, popping.
>>No. 61670
[X] Challenge accepted! However!
-[X] I'll take my armor off. I'll be vulnerable, but faster. Good trade, in my opinion.
-[X] Why don't you get some of the girls together and block my way? Take your best shots at me!
-[X] And just for mouthing off, you get to go first!

Sounds like a plan to me.
>>No. 61671
[X] Challenge denied! (Optional: select any number of consequences)
-[X] And just for mouthing off, you get to go first!
-[X] CONSEQUENCES WILL NEVER BE THE SAME: You WILL run this course until you complete it! Then, AND ONLY THEN, will I CONSIDER running it for your benefit.

I presume it's Star Sapphire. And the male voice being everyone's favorite Grumpy Fairy. I wonder if he's still dating Meiling in this or not.
>>No. 61672
[X] Challenge denied! (Optional: select any number of consequences)
-[X] And just for mouthing off, you get to go first!

Don't stoop to her level. Show them we won't take any of their bullshit.
>>No. 61679
[X] Challenge accepted! However!
-[X] I'll take my armor off. I'll be vulnerable, but faster. Good trade, in my opinion.
-[X] Why don't you get some of the girls together and block my way? Take your best shots at me!
-[X] And just for mouthing off, you get to go first!
>>No. 61680
[X] Challenge accepted! However!
-[X] I'll take my armor off. I'll be vulnerable, but faster. Good trade, in my opinion.
-[X] Why don't you get some of the girls together and block my way? Take your best shots at me!
-[X] And just for mouthing off, you get to go first!
>>No. 61683
Looks like Karin'll be ditching her armor and blitzing through a fairy squadron in addition to the rest of the course, since the challenge has been accepted! Of course, by virtue of being a mouthy git, the challenging fairy has won the honor of running the course first!

In other words, consider it called, fellas.

>>61669

Karin's, again, more than a bit odd compared to other fairies, and this drifts into her thought-processes and speech as well. Other fae may well refer to dying by a variety of euphemisms, but she doesn't see the point of dressing it up.

All of which is to say I hadn't actually considered that implication and am now adjusting things accordingly!

>>61671

I'll conclusively state that the challenger is not Star Sapphire. Karin would recognize her if she was, since the Three Fairies have established quite a reputation of their own. As for grumpy fairy and any relationships with Meiling thereof, well, that'll just be my little secret.
>>No. 61686
File 141599470235.jpg - (152.14KB, 1131x1600, image.jpg) [iqdb]
61686
Trawling for original character art can be productive! For example, add wings and adjust the hair a little bit, and pic related is a spitting image of the mouthy fairy!
__________

"...Who the hell do you think you're talking to?" I ask, my expression completely flat.

The girl huffs and puffs and says, "A sadistic assclown, that's what!"

"Who am I talking to?" I say, glaring at her. I can't exactly call her 't-shirt and shorts girl', even if that's technically accurate.

"The name's Nia!" she says, so proud, so cocksure, so certain I won't just apply axe to face.

"Well, Nia," I say, my tone level, unwavering. "If that's how you want it to go, I'm only too happy to take you on. Get a crew together; your friends are going to be shooting at me while I run the course. In addition, I'll even ditch my armor. Sound good?"

She blinks several times, surprised, before a grin threatens to split her face open. "Two handicaps? I can't tell if you're brave or just stupid!"

"However," I say, keeping my features carefully schooled. "I need a few minutes to actually take my suit off, and while I'm doing that, you are going to run the course first."

"Ye- what." Her radical shift in expression fills me with dark glee.

"I'm still your commanding officer," I say, smiling humorlessly. "And you've just mouthed off to me in front of everyone else. You didn't think you were getting away without any punishment, were you?"

She's only off-kilter for a second before her arrogance reasserts itself, cocky grin and all. "Hell, if it means I get to see you bomb, no problem! I'll squash your course flat!"

"I'm happy to hear that. Now, unless you want me to bend you into a pretzel, you'll start running right now." I pack enough sheer menace into that last word that the observing fairies all back up, but my challenger is stubbornly steadfast.

"Just you watch!" she says, and then she's charging at the halfpipe with gusto to spare. She manages the opening climb with style, reaching the top on her first attempt.

While she carries on with that, I get to work removing my armor from the top down, one segment at a time. It's a long and complicated process, and there's plenty of buckles, belts, laces, buttons, and hooks to unfasten along the way, but I speed through it with steady, experienced hands. The trickiest part, by far, is getting the cuirass off; I've got to thread my wings through the little slits in the back designed to accommodate them, but thankfully said wings are flexible and slide through the holes like they're greased up.

I've just set the upper half of my suit aside when Nia botches a jump, smashing headfirst into one of the spinning platforms and rebounding into the pond, sending up a great splash of water.

"Try again!" I say, giving her sputtering, waterlogged form a single glance before I return my attentions to my suit.

There's a strangled, outraged "I'll show you!" before she's clawed her way out of the water and charged up the halfpipe once more.

I sit down as I get to work on my lower half, and start humming while I do, my mood brightening tremendously whenever there's a loud splash of water. Chatter rises up from the rest of the crowd, everyone happily kicking back to watch someone else fail miserably.

My greaves join the rest of my armor on the grass just as Nia reaches the boulder run. I pause to watch; Meiling lobs a rock down into the top tunnel, where it disappears from sight. A few moments later, there's a scream of frustrated rage from the contestant, swiftly followed by a pop and Meiling's booming laughter. Nia blinks back into existence near me, flat on her face.

I give her a nudge with my metal-clad foot. "Are you done?"

In response, she pushes herself up to her knees, and glares at me through crossed eyes. "Done? I have only begun to fight!"

She shakily makes it to her feet and storms off, directly away from the course, until some kindly goblin reorients her. While she gives it another go, I get to work on my sabatons. Only once I've got those off, and removed my socks for good measure, do I consider myself done.

With the entire suit in pieces beside me, my only protection, if you could call it that, rests in my close-fitting bodysuit and tights. They don't shield me against anything save exposure, but the getup works well with my armor's padding to prevent any chafing, and that's what matters in the field. Plus, they're black, so if I take a splash here no one's going to see anything they shouldn't.

I drum my bare toes across the prickly grass while I wait, sparing a look to the crowd; most of them are happy to just watch the show, but I catch the occasional sidelong glance at me. Seeing them flinch away when I smile back leaves a warm feeling in my heart.

"Well done!" Meiling calls out, jerking my attention back to the course. Nia's made it through the boulder run, and Meiling is waving her on to the flails.

Tenacious, isn't she? However, all her failures have taken their toll, given how drunkenly she's stumbling into the danger zone. My brows crease together as I watch her bumble across the beam, and-

Okay.

How in the hell is she dodging all of those?

Much to my amazement, the brain-scrambled fairy's mad weaving is leading her clear past the flails, her ducks and bobs avoiding death by inches every time. The crowd is watching, rapt, as she gets closer and closer to the end of the beam, her legs seemingly acting on a higher intelligence, carrying her flawlessly through the obstacles.

When she reaches the safety zone at the edge of the platform, I loose a low whistle. There's no way she can reach the top of the final climb in that state, but she jumps anyway, grabbing hold of the wall.

"I'm doing it!" she yells, her words coming in thick and slow. "I'm making it happen! Suck my diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick!"

I'm forced to revise my previous estimate as she climbs and leaps like she's the misbegotten daughter of a monkey and a spider, ascending at a record pace, and it's with disbelief that I watch her growing ever closer to the top.

How is she doing this.

How is she still hanging on.

How did she reach the top?!

Nia stands proudly on the tower for a moment, basking in her accomplishment, before she peers down at the trampoline waiting for her. Evidently deciding that it's not a big deal, she topples over, falling all the way down until she lands feet-first onto the trampoline, which launches her back up, spinning wildly through the air. Her landing, however, is not so fortunate, and I can't help but wince when she slams into the earth headfirst.

Everyone is dead silent.

After a breathless few moments, she lifts an arm up.

"Choke on it," she slurs, her quiet voice carrying clear as a bell.

The crowd bursts into frenzied cheering, everyone rushing over and hoisting her up. I can't help but follow them, my legs carrying me over to her almost on their own, numb shock coursing through me at the mockery she made of my course. I push my way through the mob, working through the mass of smaller women until I find myself staring down at Nia, currently laid flat on the shoulders of four separate maids.

All eyes are on me once I reach her, including hers.

"...Suck my dick, huh?" I say, still struggling to think of a better question.

"I am not actually a ladyman," she mumbles. "Or a manlady. Whichever one you wanna go with. Either way, it wasn't literal."

"Right," I say, still mentally sucker-punched by her surprise victory. "Right."

She squints, looking me over, and grins in a decidedly concussed fashion. Her thumb unfolds upward. "Y'know, you should lose the tights and just wear that- that other thing, the onesie, all the time. 'S a good look. Shows off the legs. Fit'n'toned'n'nice legs, too, oi."

What.

"Are you... are you hitting on me?" I ask, entirely unsure how to feel about that.

"Am I?" Her eyes cross as she focuses on the bridge of her nose. "Huh. Guess that's what it sounds like."

I- I'm honestly kind of flattered, but-

She frowns, just a little. "You could use some work in the chest area, though."

WHAT

-----

After the mob successfully pulled me off Nia, averting murder by a margin of seconds, I find myself near the course start, trying to catch my breath, clear my head, and no stay calm don't go back and kill her it's not worth it.

To distract myself, I turn my attention to the course. I'm poised for action in front of the half-pipe, and everything's set up for me; there's a dozen fairies fluttering around the course, just waiting for a chance to play a fun game of 'ventilate the boss'. Unfortunately for them, I've no intention of letting it be easy.

I shake my head, reminding myself of the consequences of failure. If I botch this, I'll be humiliated in front of my subordinates and my superiors.

Hm. Maybe agreeing to this challenge was a mistake.

Well, no backing out now.

"All right!" I say, my body tensing as I prepare for one hell of a run. "I'm starting in three! Two! One!"

I fling myself forward, through a hailstorm of inaccurate bullets crashing down all around me, and pound up the halfpipe. The moment my momentum begins to falter, I jump, propelling myself up those last few feet to get my arms on the top. A high-pitched yelp escapes me when a bullet nails me between my shoulderblades, stinging bad as a whip, but it spurs me to clamber on top in rapid order.

Okay, okay, quick overview of what I have to do: first the rope, then the spinny platforms, then boulders with Meiling, then the flails, then the final climb, end on the trampoline, go!
__________

[X] Without my armor, I AM MADE OUT OF GOES FAST. NOTHING SHALL STOP ME.

[X] A little bit of caution goes a long way here; go at a decent pace, and hope the gunners remain inaccurate.

[X] Take it slow, only moving when success is guaranteed. I just hope I can withstand the barrages in the process.
>>No. 61687
[X] A little bit of caution goes a long way here; go at a decent pace, and hope the gunners remain inaccurate.

Well damn, mouthy fairy's not half bad.
>>No. 61688
[X] Without my armor, I AM MADE OUT OF GOES FAST. NOTHING SHALL STOP ME.
>>No. 61689
[X] Without my armor, I AM MADE OUT OF GOES FAST. NOTHING SHALL STOP ME.
>>No. 61690
[X] Without my armor, I AM MADE OUT OF GOES FAST. NOTHING SHALL STOP ME.

hm, you might have figured out anon's secret weakness, all capital letters in one of the voting options
>>No. 61691
[X] Without my armor, I AM MADE OUT OF GOES FAST. NOTHING SHALL STOP ME.

I thought she was bulletproof?
>>No. 61692
>>61691

Against physical attacks, yes. But danmaku is magic, and even against people who are supremely tough, magic really freaking stings.
>>No. 61693
>>61690
Got it right

[X] Without my armor, I AM MADE OUT OF GOES FAST. NOTHING SHALL STOP ME.
>>No. 61694
[X] A little bit of caution goes a long way here; go at a decent pace, and hope the gunners remain inaccurate.

Haste can make for waste.
>>No. 61698
[X] Without my armor, I AM MADE OUT OF GOES FAST. NOTHING SHALL STOP ME.

Charge like you mean it.
>>No. 61699
[X] Without my armor, I AM MADE OUT OF GOES FAST. NOTHING SHALL STOP ME.
>>No. 61702
File 141607713958.jpg - (190.76KB, 982x1280, image.jpg) [iqdb]
61702
Yep, I saw which way the votes were going that time. Have an update! And don't look at the picture until the end, because spoilers!
__________

The rope, hanging from a beam stretching over the pond, dangles limp maybe ten feet out. I take a few steps back to build up room, then sprint forward, kicking off at the last inch of available ground to spear myself through the air, arms outstretched.

My grasping hands close around rough hemp, and my momentum transfers to the rope itself, the two of us swinging forward. The wind blows in my ears, danmaku whistling by, and I let go just when I reach the apex of the rope's arc.

For a few brief, exhilarating seconds, I'm weightless as I soar upwards. Gravity reasserts itself in quick order, and I careen down towards the spinning platforms. My speed is too much for any of the bullets flying about to catch me, but the downside rapidly becomes clear as my trajectory reveals itself.

I'm going too far.

It's only by dint of twisting around entirely and making a wild grab as I plummet that I catch onto a platform by my fingers, and I swing back and forth a few times before my momentum's bled off, my handhold spinning me around all the while. I grab on with my other hand and hoist myself up with a grunt of effort, coming to rest on solid ground on my hands and knees, my breath coming in shaking as how close failure was sinks in.

The pressure's on me as the gunners reorient, but I've already stood by the time their bullets come close. I plot out a path with a single brief look, and then I jump ahead; the moment I touch down on the next platform, I spring onward, flying on as though I'm lighter than air. A defiant smile crosses my face as I bounce across the stepping blocks as if they're spring-loaded, and I land on the opening to the boulder run after a mere handful of seconds.

Adrenaline is rushing through me as I bound forward; if I go fast enough, I might even clear the first tunnel before needing cover. Meiling, of course, is only too happy to crush that hope, having evidently given one boulder an early start as it rounds the corner at the top of this ramp and rolls at me. It fills half the corridor, coming down at a rate faster than its size would suggest, but I covered enough ground to easily slip into the second of the three alcoves carved into the walls. The rock rumbles past me a few moments later, and I charge back out.

There's a loud splash from behind me as I clear the first tunnel, and I round the short corner that leads to the next one. Unfortunately, I'm greeted by both another boulder already rolling down from the top of this tunnel, as well as the fairies that have repositioned to rain bullets down the corridor. Fortunately, I'm able to quickly clear the distance between me and the first niche, ducking into it just in time for the stone to roll by. A sheer wall of danmaku follows it, and I wince, bringing my bare arms up in a defensive shield.

This'll suck.

I blitz out, teeth grit, and bite down any noise as I charge through the barrage, the bullets lashing away at my whole body, tearing little strips out of my clothing as I go. I'm forced to duck into another recess in the wall when a boulder thunders down at me, but I'm out again and into the bullets as soon as it's gone.

It hurts running through the barrage, but the dread in my gut is worse when I reach the end of this tunnel and round the corner, as half the fairies split off to cover the final exit; they'll be able to blast me front and back, and there's nothing I can do to stop it.

Why did I think it was a good idea to forgo armor in addition to the firing squad? Why?

My self-recriminations will have to wait, however, because Meiling just lobbed another giant rock at me oh crap. Bullets slam into me from both sides as I run for it; not a single inch of my body is spared, from my head down to my feet, and my only respite is found when I fling myself into the first niche with inches to spare before the rock rumbles past.

I'm out again as soon as possible, working through the pain as I thunder up the ramp at breakneck speed. Meiling doesn't get the chance to attack again as I reach the end in record time, and it's with a ragged cry that I launch myself out of the claustrophobic tunnel, into full daylight, and nearly fall off the narrow beam for the flail run because of my haste.

"Keep it up!" Meiling shouts as I right myself, and her encouragement is a much-needed buoy for my flagging spirits.

Danmaku and flails both surround me as I rush ahead, the spikes of the latter coming dangerously close to piercing my skull, but I've got just enough mobility to consistently duck and weave past them. The gunners are moving ahead as they shoot, trying to reach the far end so they can simply fire down the lane at me, but I'm going fast enough to keep pace with those complete jerks.

Once I fall into a rhythm, it's easy enough to dart past the flails without stopping, the rushing of displaced air dominating my hearing as I dodge spiked death by inches. I slide to a halt near the end, immensely grateful there aren't any splinters in the wood, and allow myself a moment's rest in the safe endzone.

I study the wall ahead briefly, plotting a course, and jump; I slam against the wood, catching a pair of handholds and hugging my body close to the tower.

All right, I'm almost there. I can do this. I can do this.

A bullet splashes apart harmlessly near my head, signaling that my break is over.

If Nia climbed like a monkey-spider hybrid, I propel myself up like I've got jet engines for wings, jumping even when it isn't necessary because it's just plain faster. The first mandatory jump is pathetically easy, and I scramble up from it without a care. The next jump in line is only slightly more difficult, and the third and the fourth go down just as easily.

The anticipation of victory swells in my heart as I grow closer and closer to the end. I claw up through the penultimate set of handholds, one last jump all that stands between me and a near-assured win, and leap for it.

And then fortune fails me.

Of all the times for a bullet to connect, one chooses now to smack into my outstretched hand, and it reflexively seizes up. I grab at the little hole with my good hand, but it's too late; my stomach drops out as I fall, and fall, and fall, scrabbling at the wall as I plunge towards the earth. It's only by good fortune that I'm in position to catch the second-to-last handhold carved near the bottom of the tower, my sudden stop wrenching my arm painfully as I swing to and fro.

Okay, that's- that's disheartening, but I'm still in the game. Not that it stops the fairies from shooting at me.

"Oh, enough already!" I snarl, frustration at the constant, unending fire boiling over. They don't relent as I haul myself up and grab the next little recess in the wall. With the time bought from me being set back like this, the shooters have had time to bunch up; imprecise their fire may be, but massed together they're still a threat.

The bullets smack into my back and legs and arms and head as I retrace my path, and it hurts, it hurts a lot, but I force myself to keep climbing even as the hits pile on, painful numbness spreading through my body wherever the shots connect. Frickin' danmaku and its frickin' magic bullshit powers; I can see why most Spellcard matches end on the first solid hit, ow, ow, gods damn it all, ow!

For all my whining, relief floods my heart when I find myself near the top once again. This time, I leap with both hands outstretched, magical rounds crashing all around me, and catch that damn thing even as more shots pummel me. I heave myself onto the tower's roof, my vision starting to blur up from pained, involuntary tears, but I force myself to my feet and hobble to the other side, the better to peek over the ledge.

Sure enough, the trampoline lies in wait. I brush at my eyes, clearing my sight up for a crucial few seconds, and work the angle over; if I just jump like this...

And I dive, one last deluge of fire flying overhead as the fae take their final shots at me.

The wind roars as I fall, drowning out everything else, and as my target grows closer and closer it dawns on me just how small it is. I'm left wondering whether I judged my jump right, which is a terrible thing to think of when there's only a second to impact.

Thankfully, I was right on target.

I sink feet-first into the trampoline for a long second, and then it launches me up through the air. My flight is uncontrolled, messy, and the landing is hardly graceful - I hit the grass on my side, rolling on an extra few feet just for good measure, coming to rest facing the sky.

I prop myself up on my elbows, blearily looking around at the crowd. After a breathless moment, I find my voice. "I- I did it. I did it."

Once again, they break into cheers at another successful course clear, and even the imminent specter of their own attempts isn't enough to stop the adulation from pouring over me. I even spot Remilia clapping from her seat.

It feels good, but that doesn't stop me from hurting.

I push myself to my feet with painful effort, getting my first good look at myself in the process, and I flinch; the danmaku's definitely taken its toll on my clothing. My tights show more (painfully red) leg than they cover, and the front of my bodysuit is faring little better. I run a hand across my back to find it in much the same condition; I think I can safely say I'm not exactly presentable right now.

"You all just carry on with the course," I say, my whole body taut with effort of hiding how poorly I feel. "I need a change, and then I'll be back."

As they line up for the challenge, eager after two successive victories, I stump off towards the nearest edge of the mansion.

Only once I've rounded the corner do I sag against the building, hissing through my teeth as I hug myself tight. I sink down and down, until I'm sitting against the wall, resting my head against upraised knees.

Aaaah, just- breathe, yes, breathing's good, that's good, no one else is gonna shoot me, I'm fine, I'm safe, I won.

That's right. That is right.

It doesn't feel like it was worth it.

The last time I felt this bad was when I got my jaw broken, but at least that had the decency to only hurt in one spot; right now my whole body's sore, and numb, and I'm having trouble just lifting my head.

Danmaku has no right to hurt this much.

Ah, hell, what am I doing? If anyone walks around the corner - oh, that would just cap it all off, wouldn't it? I should at least get inside before I break down like-

"Oi."

Shit.

I glare at the interloper through narrow eyes, my vision blurry from unshed tears. "What?"

The fuzzy shape takes a step towards me, resolving into a concerned-looking Nia. "...I've never seen you look so bad."

"Just- just go," I mutter, burying my face in a hand; I really don't want to deal with anyone right now, especially her.

"Boss," she says, and both the appellation and the respect in her voice cause me to come up short. "Look, you did good up there."

I spread my fingers, looking at her between them. "What's up with you? You start backsassing me in front of everyone, and now you're here paying me compliments? What are you trying to pull?"

Nia raises her hands in an appeasing gesture. "Nothing, I swear! I just wanted to say that y'beat me fair and square. Even went farther than you had to." She shakes her head, smiling. "That was really, really dumb, you know, taking all those hits without any protection. Still, I'm impressed."

"Is there a point to any of this?" I ask.

"I'm-" She grimaces, looking away. "Well... Sorry. Didn't think you could pull it off, but you showed me wrong."

"Well, good for you. Now go away, I've got to"-I start pushing myself upright-"get inside."

I was hoping that'd be the end of it, but I only make it halfway up before my legs decide they've had enough for one day, abruptly giving out on me. I drop, smacking into the wall, and strangle a gasp before it can leave my throat. The tears in my eyes threaten to overwhelm me, my vision growing blurrier as the pain reasserts itself.

God, this is just humiliating.

"...All those bullets must've done more damage than I thought," I say, trying to salve my damaged pride. It doesn't work.

Nia frowns, and then she's at my side in moments, cool hands on my arm and shoulder. They feel nice. "Hey, easy there, I gotcha. Let's get you moving, all right?"

I battle with the desire to simply tell her to piss off, but fact is that I really don't want anyone else to catch me in this state.

I swallow, and force the next words out. "Tell anyone of this, and I'll cut you," I say quietly, bracing myself for the effort needed to stand. As an afterthought, I add, "I'll dock your pay, too."

She grins, cocky as ever. "Not a problem, bosslady! Up we go, come on, that's a good girl."

It takes a team effort, but she gets me to my feet. I'm leaning heavily on her as we start walking, and it hurts every step of the way, but she keeps me from toppling again.

Maybe she's not half bad after all.

-----

It's around an hour before I return in fresh clothes, having taken the opportunity for a short bed rest (by which I mean I collapsed into my bed the moment we reached my room.) Things are winding down by this point, to my disappointment, but I'm pleasantly surprised by the results so far.

Both mine and Nia's victories apparently spurred the rest of the fairies to keep on trying again and again. An astounding seventeen managed to clear the entire course, and slightly more than half the rest broke past two-thirds.

I suppose there's merit to leading by example.

Still, I didn't miss all of it, given there's still a dozen people who haven't attempted the course yet. Watching them try (and fail) is a great balm for my lingering pain, I have to admit it.

All the same, I think I'll be a lot happier if I never have to run under those conditions ever again.
__________

Victory, while extremely painful, belongs to Karin! What's next on the agenda?

[X] Flandre Scarlet seeks a sturdy playmate. Scarlet Enterprises is not responsible for any death or dismemberment that may occur.

[X] Meiling's days at the gate are usually uneventful. Brighten one up with a practice match!

[X] Patchouli's rage cannot be contained, and Koakuma is steadily going mad as a result. Help the poor familiar out.

[X] Lost Chupacabra: Remilia Scarlet worried sick, offers reward to whoever finds 'Tupai.'
>>No. 61704
[X] Lost Chupacabra: Remilia Scarlet worried sick, offers reward to whoever finds 'Tupai.'

Opportunity to sass Kasen detected.
>>No. 61705
[X] Flandre Scarlet seeks a sturdy playmate. Scarlet Enterprises is not responsible for any death or dismemberment that may occur.

Damn, they're all good. We still get to see everything right?
>>No. 61706
>>61705

Yeppers. This is just whichever one you want first. I'll cycle in new events as we go through the old ones, as can be seen with the Remilia event taking the place of Karin's training day event.
>>No. 61707
[X] Lost Chupacabra: Remilia Scarlet worried sick, offers reward to whoever finds 'Tupai.

Huh...this is an interesting vote. Maybe I should start following this story.
>>No. 61708
[X] Patchouli's rage cannot be contained, and Koakuma is steadily going mad as a result. Help the poor familiar out.

This I gotta see.
>>No. 61711
[X] Flandre Scarlet seeks a sturdy playmate. Scarlet Enterprises is not responsible for any death or dismemberment that may occur.
>>No. 61713
[X] Patchouli's rage cannot be contained, and Koakuma is steadily going mad as a result. Help the poor familiar out.
>>No. 61716
[X] Patchouli's rage cannot be contained, and Koakuma is steadily going mad as a result. Help the poor familiar out.
>>No. 61717
[X] Lost Chupacabra: Remilia Scarlet worried sick, offers reward to whoever finds 'Tupai.
>>No. 61720
[X] Patchouli's rage cannot be contained, and Koakuma is steadily going mad as a result. Help the poor familiar out.

It looks like neglecting this too long will drive Koakuma insane. ... I can't decide if that's a good or a bad thing.
>>No. 61721
[X] Patchouli's rage cannot be contained, and Koakuma is steadily going mad as a result. Help the poor familiar out.

Huh, Nia's actually not so bad.
>>No. 61723
[X] Meiling's days at the gate are usually uneventful. Brighten one up with a practice match!
>>No. 61724
[X] Patchouli's rage cannot be contained, and Koakuma is steadily going mad as a result. Help the poor familiar out.
>>No. 61727
Looks like Patchouli is going to get some lessons in anger management. Consider it called!

>>61707

Glad to have you aboard! I hope you'll enjoy the story.
>>No. 61768
File 141656125542.jpg - (254.59KB, 850x1200, image.jpg) [iqdb]
61768
Apologies for the delay on this one! I got caught up writing filthy fairy pornography as a non-canon offshoot of that last update. Anyway, enjoy!
__________

It's been a relaxed several days spent patrolling the mansion, which is what I needed after going through that obstacle course.

Currently, I'm traipsing down a corridor formed by dint of being the space between two gigantic bookcases, each one stretching up hundreds of feet into the air, every one stocked with literature of all types. The only noise to be heard is of my own breathing and the clanking of my boots and also whoever just started screaming.

The wordless vocalization echoes throughout the library, carrying between the towering bookshelves and rebounding off the walls, sharper than any blade. I take note of all these things, including heading and distance, and then spin on a heel and walk in the exact opposite direction of the source, because it has nothing to do with me and I want nothing to do with it.

Trouble, of course, wants something to do with me, given that the moment I turn a corner is when a woman rams into me; she rebounds off my armor, landing on her rear, and I merely blink in surprise.

Another scream fills the air, much closer than before, and my veins fill with ice. "KOAKUMA!" Lady Patchouli fairly roars, her usually sedate voice filled with utter rage. "GET THE FUCK BACK HERE!"

Sure enough, the redhead rapidly scrambling to her feet ahead of me is Koakuma herself, bat wings sprouting from the side of her head and all. "Nope nope nope nope nope," she mumbles, her eyes haunted as she stares through me. "Gotta hide fast come on Karin help me out she's gonna kill me oh Christ Almighty-"

"Koa!" I say, holding my palms out. "Don't worry, just- just go past me and hide. I'll handle her."

Koa's only too glad to follow my order, rushing down the corridor and ducking into an empty niche in one of the bookshelves. I hang back, peeking around the bookcase in wait for Lady Patchouli. I think I've made a terrible mistake, but it's too late to back out now since the purple powerhouse just flew into sight high above me, her arms on fire.

"Boss!" I say, waving at her, then down another corridor. "She went that way!"

Patchouli screeches in thanks, maybe, I think, before flying in that direction. I cross gauntleted fingers as she goes, praying she doesn't decide to turn around.

Thankfully, she doesn't.

The moment she's out of sight, I sigh in relief and turn around. "We're good, Koa."

Koakuma pokes her head out from her niche, and crawls into the open on her hands and knees. When she stands up and makes her way over, up close I can say she's got maybe half a head's height on me.

Now Koakuma, see, is the classiest demon I have ever met; she's also the only demon I've ever met, but that's just a minor quibble. This whole business with Lady Patchouli's spurred her to switch things up, for reasons I can only guess. She cut her long hair down to hang at chin-length, for one, which does wonders for framing those red eyes. She also swapped her usual dress for a more 'modern' getup: dark-rimmed glasses, a dress shirt that's white from those tight, puff-topped sleeves down to her chest, shifting to tar-black the rest of the way down, shirt to miniskirt to garters to pumps, with an inch of bare leg between skirt and garters. Tight-fitting, all of it, but surprisingly modest for a succubus all the same. Sometimes I wish I was half as stylish.

But, more importantly, something she said has been nagging at me.

"Christ Almighty?" I ask.

Koa shakes her head, smiling wanly. "Outsider god. I'm praying to anyone who'll listen at this point, because no one else has been helping me. Er, beside you just now, I mean. Thanks."

"No problem. And I know who he is, I read some of the book," I say. "Just... A demon praying for salvation? Really?"

Her smile dies faster than a fairy with an axe lodged in her head. "You don't work in close proximity to Patchouli, so listen." She leans in until her nose bumps mine. "If she finds me, I am going to claw her eyes out. I may die doing this. I am willing to accept that sacrifice if it means she stops."

I frown in sympathy; ever since a sizable portion of the library entrance got blown to pieces thanks to a certain jackass who broke in and shot the place up, Lady Patchouli's been on a hair-trigger temper. Lately, it's almost like she goes out of her way to find something to explode over, and not entirely figuratively, either.

The woman's learned how to spontaneously combust. It's terrifying and hilarious in equal measure.

Still, she's my employer, and I have to have some loyalty towards her.

"Do you know what set her off this time?" I ask, the better to get a full view of the situation.

Koa draws back, giving me some much-needed breathing room. "She asked for books, I brought books. She asked for more books, I brought more books. I set those books down on the table, table shakes from all hitting it at once, Patchouli spills her tea."

I wince. "Ooooh."

"And now this," Koa says, gesturing vaguely up at the sky.

"While I feel bad for you, I don't see what I'm supposed to be doing about this," I say.

"I'll tell you what we're going to do." Koa grabs me by the shoulders, my pauldrons whining under her grip. "You and me. Are going. To kill. The grape."

This just took a worrying turn. "...That would be murder."

She doesn't even blink. "I know."

"Look, murder isn't the best solution, and I'm not just saying that because she gave me this job."

"I don't care."

She's starting to scare me with that thousand-yard stare. "Koa, we can't kill Lady Patchouli, all right? Now I like you, but if you keep this up-"

"YOU LYING SHIT!" Patchouli bellows, completely ablaze and descending upon us like a falling star.

Koakuma makes a noise like a rapidly-deflating balloon, spraying spittle onto my face, and she shoves me away before turning spade-tipped tail and sprinting for her life; I'm forced to dive aside as Patchouli flings a great gob of fire at me, which explodes on contact with the ground and flies outwards, coating me in sticky flame and gods damn it no it BURNS PATCHOULI YOU TOTAL BITCH.

While I flail around trying to pat myself out, Patchouli chases after Koakuma, throwing more of those firebombs everywhere. I can't really pay much attention to that, given how my suit's roasting me alive, but I soon punch and curse and roll my way into a severe case of not-on-fire-itis.

Just as I've gotten up, there's an explosion, an echoing whoop of glee, and my stomach drops. Only one person is so bold, so foolish, to so brazenly charge into Patchouli's library as of late, and it's the one and only Marisa Kirisame, spell-slinging, bomb-lobbing, book-thieving, mushroom-gobbling, stupid-hat-wearing menace.

All right.

Okay.

This is not good.

Marisa needs to be stopped before she steals everything and shoots everyone. Patchouli needs to be stopped also, before she catches Koakuma and gets her eyeballs ripped out. The only things I've got are whatever fairies I can scrounge up, my axe, and the fact that I'm feeling more than a little hot-headed right now and I'm ready to beat the tar out of someone.

Wait, shit, no, that's actually my hair on fire.

Once I pat that out, then I'm ready for action.
__________

- Primary vote

[X] Intercept Marisa; Patchouli will still be around in ten minutes, unlike the blindingly fast kleptomaniac.

[X] Intercept Patchouli; familiarcide is nothing anyone wants to experience today.

- Secondary vote

[X] It'll take some time, but I should form up a platooon to assist me before Marisa blows them all to pieces. Strength in numbers, that's the fairy way.

[X] Only grab whatever fae are along the way to help me; that won't slow me down much, although I'll have to adjust my pace so they can keep up.

[X] Speed is the most important thing here. If I can reach the problem quickly, I can intervene before it gets too far out of hand. Roll solo and go fast!
>>No. 61770
[X] Intercept Patchouli; familiarcide is nothing anyone wants to experience today.

[X] Speed is the most important thing here. If I can reach the problem quickly, I can intervene before it gets too far out of hand. Roll solo and go fast!
>>No. 61771
[X] Intercept Marisa; Patchouli will still be around in ten minutes, unlike the blindingly fast kleptomaniac.
[X] Only grab whatever fae are along the way to help me; that won't slow me down much, although I'll have to adjust my pace so they can keep up.

It's like we're surrounded by psychopaths off their meds.
>>No. 61772
[X] Intercept Patchouli; familiarcide is nothing anyone wants to experience today.
[X] Only grab whatever fae are along the way to help me; that won't slow me down much, although I'll have to adjust my pace so they can keep up.


Redirect the Grape against the Black-white.
>>No. 61773
[X] Intercept Patchouli; familiarcide is nothing anyone wants to experience today.
[X] Only grab whatever fae are along the way to help me; that won't slow me down much, although I'll have to adjust my pace so they can keep up.
[x] Redirect the Grape against the Black and White
[x] Sell Tickets.

This is the best plan.
>>No. 61774
[X] >>61773
>>No. 61775
[X] Intercept Patchouli; familiarcide is nothing anyone wants to experience today.
[X] Only grab whatever fae are along the way to help me; that won't slow me down much, although I'll have to adjust my pace so they can keep up.
[x] Redirect the Grape against the Black and White
[x] Sell Tickets.

YES.
>>No. 61782
[X] Intercept Patchouli; familiarcide is nothing anyone wants to experience today.
[X] Only grab whatever fae are along the way to help me; that won't slow me down much, although I'll have to adjust my pace so they can keep up.
[x] Redirect the Grape against the Black and White

>filthy fairy pornography
Where!?
>>No. 61784
[X] Intercept Patchouli; familiarcide is nothing anyone wants to experience today.
[X] Only grab whatever fae are along the way to help me; that won't slow me down much, although I'll have to adjust my pace so they can keep up.
[x] Redirect the Grape against the Black and White
[x] Sell Tickets.

Changed my vote and deleted my old one.
>>No. 61792
>>61773
You have my [X].
>>No. 61793
[X] Intercept Patchouli; familiarcide is nothing anyone wants to experience today.
[X] Only grab whatever fae are along the way to help me; that won't slow me down much, although I'll have to adjust my pace so they can keep up.
[x] Redirect the Grape against the Black and White
[x] Sell Tickets.
>>No. 61808
File 141782990492.jpg - (45.46KB, 366x414, image.jpg) [iqdb]
61808
Technical issues were the reason for the delay on this one, sorry!
__________

After a moment's deliberation, the decision comes easily. Marisa just leaves all her loot lying around in her house, I think, and I can always go raid it to get them back. Koakuma and Lady Patchouli, on the other hand, are probably going to kill each other if I don't do anything. Maybe this'll be my chance to smack some sense into the witch, too; her incessant screaming got old a long time ago.

I take a running start and jump, my wings beating hard and fast to lift me airborne. Tearing upwards, I break above the sea of bookcases in time for a storm of multi-colored stars to fly past me, collateral fire from Marisa laying waste to whatever fae get in her path. I wince as I turn away, leaving them to be annihilated; sorry, girls, but I've got a bigger problem to handle.

Fortunately, I'm not the only one keeping my distance from Marisa.

I flag down a pair of maids flying side by side on a course away from the intruder, and they come up short. Nisa and Naru, twins with golden hair flowing down to their waists and eyes a matching hue of yellow, hold wood-shafted spears at the ready, mosquito wings buzzing to keep them afloat.

"Aye aye, ma'am?" they say in perfect sync, voices eerily similar.

"Fall in on me!" I say. "We're going after Lady Patchouli!"

The two exchange glances, shrug, and join me, happy to avoid Marisa's rampage. We skim across the bookshelves, keeping a low profile so that Patchouli'll be blindsided by our approach. This also leads me to finding another two maids bickering atop a shelf.

"Oh, come on!" says the pigtailed greenette with a copper shortsword (which, given her height, is effectively a longsword). "We can go out and take a few shots at her! It'll be great!"

"Screw that!" says her counterpart, a scowling redhead clenching gauntleted fists at her sides. "I wanna live, dammit!"

"Yuni, Eloshi!" I say, and the two snap to attention in that order. "Follow me, we've got to handle Lady Patchouli!"

Yuni deflates, lowering her sword and pouting up at me. "But I wanted to stab Marisa!"

Eloshi, by contrast, pumps steel fists, her scowl flip-turned upside down. "Cool! I get to punch that pomegranate-hued punter in the nose!"

"Maybe," I say. "Also, pomegranates are red."

Eloshi blinks, her smile freezing. "...They are?"

I sigh. "Why did you think they were purple?"

"The word starts with a P?" she says, her tone wavering.

I merely stare at her. So does everyone else.

"I, um, was trying for something clever, with alliteration and everything," she says, by way of lame explanation, her face heating up. "...Don't laugh."

"What's a punter?" Nisa and Naru ask, their voices overlapping in unison, and I shudder internally because that will never not be weird.

Eloshi shrugs. "Heard one of the gobbos say it. I assume it's some sort of insult."

"Oi!" says a deep, rumbling voice, and Eloshi whirls about, arms held defensively across her chest, as a greenskinned hobgoblin pops his head over the shelf. "'Scuse me, but what d'you think you'z talkin' about? You an idiot?"

"How did you get up here?" Eloshi asks, umbrage at the names she was called overwhelming her embarrassment.

"I climbed, you dunderhead, what else?" he says, hauling himself onto the shelf and standing at an impressive three-ish feet, wearing a dapper little white dress-shirt, black waistcoat, and matching pants. "And punter ain't even an insult."

Eloshi plants a hand on her face, shielding her expression from view, while Yuni fails to keep a straight face.

"Maybe you coulda asked what it meant before you made a right prat of yourself," he continues, before whirling on me. "Now, boss!"

"Yes?" I say, mildly bemused by the title; I don't have any authority over the goblins, so this is the first time any have called me that.

"Name's Raguk," he says, tapping a finger against his bald pate, "and I's thinkin' you could use some hobgob representation in yer little warparty."

"Can you fly?" I ask.

"Nope." He bares a glistening white and exceedingly pointy mouthful of teeth. "Jump real good, though! And I's dead 'ard!"

I briefly consider turning him down, but worst comes to worst, he'll be one more body to throw at a problem. "Consider yourself recruited, Rakug."

"Raguk," he corrects, turning a squashed nose up at me.

"Right. Now let's-"

"Hey, guys!" says an incoming maid, and I frown in annoyance as she flutters down from on high. On second glance, she's the fairy who alerted me to Cirno's strike.

"Hi, Ryoko!" say the twins, waving.

"Hi!" Ryoko says, beaming like Marisa isn't lasering everyone around. "I just saw everyone else here and figured I'd see what was going on!"

"Patchouli's mad at Koa, we're going to stop her, and anyway where's your weapon?" I ask.

Ryoko shrugs, still smiling widely. "It was heavy! So I dropped it!"

I glare at her. "And now Marisa is here to blow us all to pieces."

She shrugs again, careless and loving it. "Y'know, I don't think having it on me would really help."

"I"-am forced to concede the point-"do not approve, but I'll let you off this once. Now we're wasting time, so if we could get-"

"Bosslady!" shouts someone else from behind me, and I stifle a growl as I spin around to find Nia bearing an iron hatchet in each hand. She twists sideways, pointing an ax over where Marisa is lasering a small squadron out of existence. "The fight's that way!"

"Belay that, we've got bigger problems," I say.

Her expression is very briefly surprised, and then mightily indignant. "We're getting slaughtered over there! What could possibly-"

There's a great and mighty scream from Patchouli a short distance away, and Nia's mouth clicks shut.

"Yep," I drawl. "It's one of those."

Nia nods, brows furrowed in resolve. "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go!"

She buzzes past me, wings aflutter, and her rapid shift in mood has me so confounded that I only think to give chase after everyone else does. I quickly take the lead, Nia easily falling in at my side, and I spare a quick look back; Raguk clears the twenty-feet gaps between platforms with legs so springy I'm not sure if he lied about being unable to fly.

Fortunately, it doesn't take more than a minute to catch up with Patchouli, just in time for Koakuma to soar upwards, the leathery wings on her back unfurled and flapping hard to carry her towards us. Patchouli catapults up after her, still ablaze, but she comes up short when Koa darts past us and hides behind me, hands on my shoulders as she peeks over my shoulder.

Our party (counting Raguk standing a few feet below) stays in a loose line formation, all of us staring Patchouli down with admirable steadiness.

"WHAT IS THIS?" Patchouli screams, and most of the group unconsciously shift back, save me and one other.

Ryoko waves, smiling. "Hi!"

Patchouli wheels about to level a burning finger at the girl. "LOOKITYOUSHUTUP!"

Ryoko stops smiling, and an eyelid begins to twitch.

"Marisa's stealing books!" I say, successfully redirecting Patchouli's attention to me. I jerk a thumb over my shoulder, where more starfire can be heard exploding way off.

"WHAT?" Patchouli bellows inquisitively.

My ears are hurting, but I press on regardless. "I was hoping you'd put off executing Koa and fight her instead?"

Patchouli looks at me, then past me, then at me again, her expression still furious but with traces of thought creeping in. "I WILL DO THAT!"

Yes! Now all I have to do is sell tickets!

The flames around her surge to greater intensity, engulfing the witch so completely in fire that she can only be seen through the occasional flickering glimpse. "BUT FIRST I'M GOING TO KILL ALL OF YOU FOR RUNNING AWAY FROM HER!"

Damn!

-----

[X] FAIRIES HUNT IN PACKS, ARISEN (HIT AND RUN)

[X] WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH (SHOOT SMASH STOMP CHOP)

[X] EMERGENCY EVAC NOW, DAMN IT, NOW (RUN FOR MARISA)

[X] [WRITE-IN]
>>No. 61809
[X] EMERGENCY EVAC NOW, DAMN IT, NOW (RUN FOR MARISA)

All we have to do is avoid both of them until they distract each other! The perfect plan!
>>No. 61811
[X] WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH (SHOOT SMASH STOMP CHOP)

You can tell this is the best plan because it involves screaming.
>>No. 61812
[X] EMERGENCY EVAC NOW, DAMN IT, NOW (RUN FOR MARISA)
Hopefully we can lead her face-first into a Master Spark.
>>No. 61813
[X] WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH (SHOOT SMASH STOMP CHOP)
>>No. 61814
[X] FAIRIES HUNT IN PACKS, ARISEN (HIT AND RUN)

They totally do. One group does a fly-by, you don't take them out they'll be coming by for another pass in less than a minute.
>>No. 61815
[X] EMERGENCY EVAC NOW, DAMN IT, NOW (RUN FOR MARISA)
>>No. 61816
[X] FAIRIES HUNT IN PACKS, ARISEN (HIT AND RUN)
>>No. 61817
[X] EMERGENCY EVAC NOW, DAMN IT, NOW (RUN FOR MARISA)
>>No. 61818
Calling it here for RUNNING AWAY LIKE A PANSY
>>No. 61820
>>61818
Surely you mean TACTICAL GENIUS, right?
>>No. 61821
>>61820

Not only do we not have someone named Creed nearby, but we don't have a couple tanks the size of a small house hiding behind a single oak table.
>>No. 61822
>>61821
CLEARLY YOU HAVEN'T BEEN PAYING MUCH ATTENTION
>>No. 61824
[X] EMERGENCY EVAC NOW, DAMN IT, NOW (RUN FOR MARISA)
>>No. 61825
[x] WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

We warboss now? I approve.

And yes I know the vote was called
>>No. 61828
File 14183091349.jpg - (333.10KB, 829x1000, image.jpg) [iqdb]
61828
I've already taken Lady Patchouli down once before. Granted, it was a surprise attack that segued into a chokehold, she was distracted by someone else, and she wasn't on fire this much. Under these new conditions, I think I can be forgiven for disengaging.

"Everybody!" I shout as I float backward, Koa drifting along with me. "She's too dangerous! I'll cover you, but you have to run! Now!"

Their reactions are immediate, everyone backpedaling as Patchouli surges towards us, great tendrils of flame lashing outwards from the inferno surrounding her.

"Don't die!" Koa says, before she lets go of my pauldrons and flees with the rest of the group, leaving me to stare down Patchouli.

The witch levels her hands palms-out at me, and that's all it takes for flame to spray towards me like water from a hose. I swear underneath my breath, bringing magical power to bear as I raise my arms in an X in front of my face; a half-shell of white light flares alive inches in front of me, just in time for the wave of fire to splash against it, going above and below but, critically, not on me.

My shield sparks, cracks spreading through it at an alarming rate as the constant stream of fire wears it down, and I'm forced to push more power into maintaining it as I slowly fly back, the shield following me as I go. The convection is intense enough that it's steadily cooking me alive inside my armor, even with the shield dampening the effect. Sweat's beading on my brow, and the effort of holding the barrier up against this hellfire is stealing the breath from my lungs. I grit my teeth and clench my fists so tight I think I might break my fingers, focusing every last shred of will I've got on keeping the shell intact as I keep flying backwards.

I wouldn't call myself magically weak by any stretch, but Patchouli has so much raw power that I can't hope to hold on for more than a few seconds against her full strength.

Thankfully, I don't need to, because I just reached a gap in the bookshelves.

My wings stop buzzing, my shield drops, and I pitch onto my back as I plummet, diving through a small gout of flame in order to avoid the great wave filling the air I used to occupy. Patchouli swears mightily, redirecting her attack downward, but it's a simple effort to start flying again, spreading my arms and shouting in incoherent triumph as I arrest my fall and shoot straight back, corkscrewing as I go until I'm looking straight ahead. I shout again, this time in distinct panic, as I pull up just in time to avoid slamming face-first into another bookcase.

Once more I break above the sea of wood, and I spot my entourage fleeing in a single group. I take off towards them, glancing over my shoulder to see what Patchouli's up to, and oh hell she's coming right at me. The fire around her has died down enough that I can see her clearly, but only because the energy's been redirected, great jets of flame blasting from her feet and propelling her across an entire bookcase, lengthwise, in a mere second.

And there's only two more between me and her.

"KILL!" she bellows.

I spin around, fist cocked, and launch a straight right punch just as she rockets into my personal space. My hand tears through fire to connect with the center of her face, snapping her head back and knocking her ass-over-teakettle, momentum carrying her flipping over and over and howling in pain past me and to the unforgiving ground far below.

It's actually pretty funny, but I don't want to stick around if she decides to get back up, so I fly towards my entourage. They'd stopped to watch Patchouli come at me, and they raise a great cheer when I reach them. Koakuma tackles me hard enough to send us spinning, her arms wrapped around me in a hug. "Thank you thank you thank you so much, that was awesome!"

She kisses me on the forehead before letting go, leaving me to sigh in weary acceptance; physical affection is something you get used to with succubi around.

"So, witch one is dealt with," I say. "Marisa's still blasting everything, though, so who's with me to take her out?"

Yuni raises her sword. "You know it!"

Similar agreement echoes from everyone else, even Koakuma, and optimism blossoms fresh in my heart. Even Nia, smiling in a way that isn't insufferably smug for once, raps her hatchets together. "We got one down, one more shouldn't be a probl-"

I never get to hear her finish that sentence, because Patchouli smashes into her from below with enough force that Nia explodes in a shower of fairy dust, Patchouli tearing upwards through her in a shower of flame and hate.

I can only stare in dull horror as Nia's hatchets fall, bereft of their owner.

"Break! Break!" I scream, as the asthmatic rocket wheels back at us for another go. "Get to Marisa!"

Everyone, stunned, takes a moment to get moving, but when they do they book it. I pull my double-bladed axe free of its straps across my back, gripping the wooden shaft tightly in both hands, and mutter a quick spell beneath my breath; the axe flashes brightly, Spellcard dampening taking the lethal edge off. A glance up reveals the brilliant comet that is Patchouli homing in, not on me, but on the group ahead. I'm about to shout out a warning, but even as I'm sucking in a breath I know it's already too late.

"Incoming!" I yell anyway. With only a rough second left to impact, Patchouli's targets become painfully clear; Nisa and Naru spin around, faces set in surprise, and Nisa reflexively shoves Naru aside, just in time for Patchouli to slam straight through the former, leaving a trail of Nisa-dust in her wake.

Everyone present scatters in a panic, save Naru. The surviving twin howls a rage-filled challenge and flies downward after Patchouli, spear held at the ready as the witch harshly arrests her flight a short distance below, spins around, and jets back up for another go. I haul my axe back over my shoulder as I fly towards her, tensing up to deliver a real skull-splitting blow, even as Naru braces herself to spear Patchouli clean through.

She never gets the chance; Patchouli blasts a gout of flame that envelopes the fairy and flash-fries her into dust, leaving the witch to immediately redirect towards me.

Shit.

Everything seems to slow down as I meet her, putting all my strength into a diagonal chop aimed right where Patchouli's head should be in precisely half a second. As she closes in, her course unchanging, I think I have her. That's before she twists her body in a corkscrew motion, my axe tearing through flame and a chunk of her hair, before she rams into my midsection at mach speed. I fold in half, eyes bulging and the air driven out of my lungs, my axe flying from my fingers to parts unknown.

A letter to my future self: never let Patchouli go fast, or she will slay your ass.

And that's not even counting the fire.

So, to recap, I'm being carried along in a spinning deathroll by a flaming Patchouli, who is somehow managing to outmatch me with strength granted by incandescent, burning hatred. To top it all off, the fires that don't hurt her are doing an admirable job of burning me alive.

"Let me go!" I try to say, which in my winded state comes out as a harsh, wheezing "Lemmigo!"

Patchouli obliges me and stops abruptly, which sends me flying off her and tumbling end over end, my wings flapping hard as I try to right myself. On one of my many revolutions, I catch her blitzing off again towards everyone else, and I firmly resolve to give chase.

That's before I smash face-first into a bookcase.

Hard.

There's several loud cracks, a great bombshell of pain exploding across my face, and I've got the presence of mind to note that those two things together were probably every bone in my head splintering before I black out.

-

I blink, and immediately regret how much it hurts. Then again, so does the rest of my face, and lying flat out on my back isn't going to make it better any time soon. Taking stock of my situation reveals that my vision's blurry, my jaw doesn't work, and everything feels wet. On the bright side, the bookcases towering above are too huge to be mistaken for anything else, so at least I know I'm on the ground floor.

I sit up, make a noise pretty similar to "Auuuuuurgh," and promptly lay back down. My head throbs with every beat of my heart, and I feel sudden kinship for the poor bits of metal battered into shape between hammer and anvil. I gingerly touch a hand to my face, wincing at the contact as I check everything out: nose broken, jaw busted, concussion flaring up in force, oh yeah, good times. Then I pull my hand back and stare, just stare, at my gauntlet, because I'm certain it wasn't slick and red before.

Wow. That is a lot of my blood.
__________

[X] SCREW THIS CONCUSSION, I JUST WANT PATCHOULI DEAD

[X] hey yeah a nap sounds real good right about now (transfer POV)
-[X] Koakuma
-[X] Eloshi
-[X] Yuni
-[X] Ryoko
-[X] Raguk
>>No. 61829
[X] SCREW THIS CONCUSSION, I JUST WANT PATCHOULI DEAD

If rage is what grants Patchouli power, then I say we need some rage of our own!
>>No. 61830
[X] SCREW THIS CONCUSSION, I JUST WANT PATCHOULI DEAD
>>No. 61831
[X] SCREW THIS CONCUSSION, I JUST WANT PATCHOULI DEAD

FAIRY DUST, SON.
>>No. 61832
[X] hey yeah a nap sounds real good right about now (transfer POV)
-[X] Koakuma
>>No. 61833
[X] SCREW THIS CONCUSSION, I JUST WANT PATCHOULI DEAD

COWARDS DIE IN SHAME.
>>No. 61834
[X] SCREW THIS CONCUSSION, I JUST WANT PATCHOULI DEAD
>>No. 61835
[x] SCREW THIS CONCUSSION, WAAAAGH!

WE'LL SLEEP WHEN SHE'S DEAD
>>No. 61836
[X] hey yeah a nap sounds real good right about now (transfer POV)
-[X] Marisa

People seem pretty dead-set on murderfairy, so I'll toss a vote for this.
>>No. 61837
I would have voted pass out if not for the Metal Gear Rising reference.
>>No. 61838
[X] SCREW THIS CONCUSSION, FOR THE EMPEROR!!!
>>No. 61840
To little surprise, votes are called for Karin getting back up and breaking Patchouli in two with her bare hands, in the name of Gork, Mork, and the Emperor.

>>61837

As good a reason as any!
>>No. 61844
>>61840

Well, if you're going to snap someone in half, you might as well do it for someone who would actually care about you snapping them in half without going full chaotic retard.

That's worse than regular full retard. And you never go full retard.
>>No. 61845
File 141925787466.jpg - (47.74KB, 600x450, 1350078855364.jpg) [iqdb]
61845
Welp. Hate to tell ya, folks, but I've effectively been crippled writing-wise, because, thanks to issues on my end, I have nothing to write on. I'm posting this from my PS3 browser, which doesn't count because writing here is a special hell and also it has a hard character limit that makes a proper story post impossible.

Anyway, no computer, no tablet, nada, I am shit out of luck here. Fortunately I haven't lost any progress on Anchorage thanks to judicious pastebinning, but I can't write anything further either. I doubt I'll get this resolved anytime soon, so for the foreseeable future, Anchorage is on indefinite hiatus.

Hope to write for you again soon, fellas. Until then, I'm out.
>>No. 61846
Christmas is ruined! I was really enjoying this.
>>No. 61906
File 142829344637.png - (684.89KB, 1100x594, HERE IT COMES.png) [iqdb]
61906
>>61846

HAPPY MUDDAFUGGIN EASTER, ANON, BECAUSE I HAVE A COMPUTER AGAIN
__________

Much as I'd like to sleep this off until I regenerate, facts are that if I do, Patchouli's going to keep rampaging through the library, and that's even worse than leaving Marisa to do the same... is what I'll say if anyone asks. Personally, I just want to slug Patchouli on the nose as turnabout for fracturing my skull, but if you're honest about simply being in it for vengeance instead of spouting off some bullshit heroic garbage, everyone looks at you weird and suddenly nobody wants to talk to you afterwards, the pricks.

Anyway, I sit upright, eloquently vocalize my head's throbbing agony with a "Hooourgh," and push myself to stand on wobbly legs. I pat my armor down, checking to ensure everything's still attached properly, and only realize that I'm coating the silvery metal in blood slicks after I finish. Ah, hell, that just looks ugly. Still, I'll have time to clean it later, 'cause right now I got a witch to beat up. I jump, my wings buzzing, and slowly begin making my way upwards, veering widely back and forth despite my best efforts.

Frickin' wings, how do they work? If I keep this pace, I won't be able to help-

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-"

...Koa?

-----

"-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" I scream, spinning out of the way of another barrage of hellfire.

"HOLD STILL!" Patchouli bellows after me, and I dutifully ignore that order in favor of power-diving. The survivors of Karin's entourage scattered, much like myself, once Patchouli torpedoed her out of existence, which left my master's sights on me and no one else.

Those cowardly bitches.

The time for recriminations is not now, however, what with JUKE okay dodged that one by a hair. Focus, all right, just stay calm, and God fucking damn her she's putting rocks in the fireballs now that's just not fair.

"Don't you have anything better to do?!" I shriek, spinning past a meteor big as- as- big as something very goddamn big, okay, now is not the time for thinking. "Go bother Marisa, you horrible oh fuck."

I just made the mistake of looking over my shoulder, and THAT

IS A METEOR

ABOUT TO HIT MY FACE

OW

(it did, just for the record)

By the time I shake off the effects of a giant fiery rock to the face, I find myself tumbling through the air on a direct course to snap my neck against a bookshelf. So, naturally, I scream some more.

"FFFFFFFFFFFFF-" I start, but my breath is stolen when a golden blur zooms by, and a hand shoots out to snatch my shirt's collar and drag me along for the supersonic ride. I look up into a pair of golden eyes, matching long hair, and a winning smile. And also a massive black pointed hat, but that's besides the point.

"I thought I heard my name!" Marisa says, seated sidesaddle on her broom and paying absolutely no attention to her flight path while she looks down at me. "So, Koakuma! What's set Patches off this time?"

I respond with an incoherent choking noise, because Marisa is expertly strangling me with my shirt collar as we fly on. Marisa blinks, realizing her error, and jerks to a stop, flailing me around because momentum is a filthy whore who wants to see me suffer.

"Whoopsie-daisy!" Marisa says, wincing as she lets me go, leaving me to double over and hack for breath, barely hovering on my own power. I can't stay here long with Patchouli on her way, but I can spare one bit of advice for Marisa before I go.

-----

"Fly, you fool!" Koakuma wheezes, glaring at me through teary eyes as she rubs at her throat. That's all she says before her wings stop beating, and she plummets towards a gap in the shelves.

"I save your ass and this is what I get?" I yell after her, scowling. "Be that way!"

I spin my broom around, firmly of a mind to get me some books, when I realize the error I made in stopping at all with an RPG (Rage-Propelled Patchouli) flying about, because she's coming right at me and she is on fire and oh man oh boy oh man she just dove past me on a direct course for Koakuma.

Welp. I definitely gotta see this, so I cautiously follow Patchouli's descent. There's a lot of screaming as Koa touches down and sprints for it, which was a good idea because Patches hits ground-level a moment later, explodes in a massive fireball with enough force to send my hat flying off, and leaves a huge mushroom-cloud billowing up as she leaps out of the fresh crater in the floor. She tears out of there on foot, and after I snag my hat out of the air, I jump off my broom at around twenty feet up, tuck'n'roll, and come up with my hakkero palmed and ready for action. I snatch my broom out of the air as it falls, twirl it about in my left hand, and grin widely as I give chase to Patchy.

I don't need to go far, because the moment I round the bend, the psycho witch dives for a hobbling Koakuma. "GOT YOU!" Patchy yells, with vigor I didn't think she could muster, and she brings Koa tumbling down into a big flaming heap. Koa, meanwhile, just yells incomprehensible and undoubtably vile slurs at Patches as the two roll around on the ground.

With Patchy distracted, memories come surging back of that time she super-soaked me, and my grip tightens around broom and hakkero as an unwholesome grin spreads across my face.

Oho, ohohohoh, it's time Marisa the Magnificent got some well-deserved payback.

I stow my hakkero, grip my broom with both hands, and sprint towards the murder-in-progress with bludgeon held high.

"Yo-de-ley!" I bellow, my war yodel causing Patchouli to pause for just a second to glare over her shoulder.

"Yo-de-ley!" I continue, winding up for a swing, and Patchy's fires flicker as her eyes widen, that most beautiful of emotions, fear, reflected in them.

"Yo-de-ley-he-HOO!" I finish, smashing Patchy full across the face with enough might to flip her off Koakuma, flying head-over-heels until she crashes face-first onto the ground a few feet away.

"Papow!" I howl, dancing a manic little jig as Patches smoulders on the ground with a concussion. "I wasted you!" I continue, pointing at her prone body. "Y'just got owned! And furthermore-"

Patchouli's hand shoots up, and a jet of water sprays out from the center of her palm and hits me square on the chin in the span of half a second.

"WHARGHABLURRRRRR!" I howl, my broom flying from my fingers as what feels like a freight train slams into me, carrying me along the aisle. The super-focused spray flies up my mouth and nose, and while that's pretty awful on its own, it's nothing compared to when my slip'n'slide fun ride ends with me being bodily slammed against a bookshelf.

It's with no shame that I admit I blacked out for a bit there, because that's the only way it makes sense that the next thing I see are three Patchoulis looming over my soaked self, all of them hefting what appears to be encyclopedias.

Thick ones.

Oh shit.

Oh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

"How do you keep doing this?" I rasp, my eyelids fluttering rapidly as I try to blink the water out of my eyes.

The Patchies raise their books, and I cringe, bringing my arms up.

Three blurs of metal slam into the witches, bringing attackers and victims down to the floor. I blink a few more times, and the images before me resolve into one coherent whole. The attacker turns out to be the candidate for the worst-off fairy I've ever seen, blood streaming down her shattered face from a variety of cuts, and-

"Patchouli!" she slurs through a jaw that firmly resolves to move, "I'm gonna stomp you into juice!"

...the fuck?
__________

KARIN ENGAGING MURDER DEATH KILL PROTOCOLS. CLEAR THE AREA.

[X] CHOKE A WITCH

[X] STOMP A WITCH

[X] AXE A WITCH

[X] SUBDUE A WITCH REPEATEDLY

[X] ALL OF THE ABOVE

[X] WRITE-IN
>>No. 61907
[X] ALL OF THE ABOVE
RIP AND TEAR
YOU CAN DO HUGE MAGICS, THAT MEANS YOU HAVE HUGE GUTS
>>No. 61908
[x] AXE A WITCH
Time's up you shit-brained, fuck-faced, ball breaking, duck fucking pain in the ass.
>>No. 61909
[X] ALL OF THE ABOVE/FAIRY WAR CRIMES!!

Nice to have you back, Sights.
>>No. 61910
[X] ALL OF THE ABOVE

aw yiss
>>No. 61911
[X] ALL OF THE ABOVE

Don't fuck with this fairy.
>>No. 61912
[X] ALL OF THE ABOVE

I instantly remember why I was reading this story.
>>No. 61913
[X] ALL OF THE ABOVE

Welcome back, you crazy bastard. God I've missed you.
>>No. 61914
[X] ALL OF THE ABOVE
RIP AND TEAR INDEED, INDEED AS IN FIST /IN/ WITCHE'S FACE, /DEED/LEDOO.
>>No. 61915
File 142863688442.png - (1.76MB, 1000x1450, THE PATCHOULI OF DISAPPROVAL.png) [iqdb]
61915
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

HAPPY UPDATE TO YOU

(yes i may have put off updating until now just so I could do the above)

((fuck you site time it's still my birthday in my timezone))
__________
Situational overview.

Marisa to the left of me, waterlogged and gaping. Patchouli below me, stunned by a combined hundred-and-fifty pounds of fairy and plate mail crashing onto her. Koa down the aisle to my right, probably unconscious, no time to check. Axe retrieved and strapped to my back. Fists clenched. Boots ready for stomping. Face broken in too many places to count. Vision fuzzy. Ears ringing. Everything hurts.

"Let's go!" I slur, every word an agony to force out through a busted jaw, and I wrap my hands around Patchouli's throat and squeeze. Her face turns purple matching her hair as I choke her out, before her hands shoot up against my breastplate and a tsunami-force spray of water kicks against my chest hard enough to launch me thirty, seventy, a hundred feet upwards, cresting the top of the nearest bookcase, before it dies off and leaves me momentarily free of gravity's grasp.

Even as I wheeze for breath, the wind knocked out of me by that spray, I catch a split-second glimpse of movement above the shelves; gravity quickly reasserts itself, pulling me down before I can get a clear look at what it was, but more importantly it directs my eyes down to where the deluge of water Patchouli summoned is currently falling. Bigger problems reveal themselves when the veritable river just evaporates, revealing a swarm of dozens of small meteorites coming directly at me, and more flying from Patchouli's upheld hands. I flutter aside, wings beating hard to carry me out of the way, but one of them clips my left wing as I go, setting it ablaze and oh good gods that hurts.

With one wing on fire, my other one isn't able to support me properly, and I start to fly out of control before I simply stop beating my wings. I shift my weight upwards until I'm falling feet-first through the curtain of fire, hold my arms tight against my chest, and tumble through the barrage and smash into the floor directly in front of the witch, my landing bringing me to my knees for a critical moment.

I'm already recovering when she aims a palm down at my face.

"Accept the burn!" she screeches, napalm spraying from her hand, but I throw myself diagonally to her left, armor rattling as I crash onto the ground and roll to my feet. Patchouli's already spinning for me, fire streaming through the air, but I yell wordlessly and bull-rush her. Globs of flame catch onto my right arm before I smash into her, grabbing her tight in a bear-hug and carrying her along with me as I blindly charge onwards. She doesn't let up in the slightest, grasping my shoulders and applying more horrific fire, but before she can break through my armor I slam into a bookshelf, scattering the contents onto the floor. Patchouli emits a croaking gasp as I let her go, and she slumps back against the bookcase, too stunned to do anything.

While she's reeling, I grab two great handfuls of her dress and pull her off her feet, bringing her purple eyes level with mine.

"I'm not some twig-armed pansy, Patchouli!" I snarl. "I could break you in two with my bare hands!"

I take a few steps back before I start swinging Patchouli around, spinning again and again and again until I'm stumbling along with her with every revolution, and then I loose the cannonball witch towards the ceiling. She screams on the way up, she screams while I pull my axe loose and haul back, and she screams all the way back down until the exact moment I swing and catch her about the midsection, her body folding in two around the (still Spellcard-dulled, damn it) axeblade; the blow launches her down the aisle like a shot.

"Don't fuck with this fairy!" I roar, as she flails through the air, hits the ground, and skips across the carpet like a stone across water. As she bounces, I reach back and attempt to smother the flames spreading across my wing; in doing so, I catch sight of Marisa over my shoulder, who is currently attempting to squeeze into a cubic inch of empty bookshelf space. She goes utterly still when my eyes fall on her ashen face.

"Hi, Marisa," I say politely, the truly spectacular pain of talking somehow not enough to make me stop doing it. "You're next."

"...I should go," she whispers, edging along the bookcase and, more importantly, away from me.

"You should!" I say, and finish extinguishing myself just as a metal ball the size of my head nails me full on the breastplate, carrying me off my feet and stinging like holy hell.

"I'll rip your heart out!" Patchouli screams at me, upright at fifty paces ahead, and with a dozen more of those spheres swarming around her. "And I'm going to make you eat it!"

Marisa whistles. "Yeah okay have fun with that I'm out," she says, clambering up the bookcase as an escape route. I curse her internally, grab my axe off the floor, hoist myself upright, and glare death at Patchouli.

"Bring it on!" I yell. "You psychotic, ball-busting, relentlessly awful, camel-faced whorebag!"

"CAMEL-FACED?!" she thunders, bringing her hands up. "YOU LITTLE-"

Four different war-cries, one deeply masculine, the others unmistakably fae, ring out from above, and Patchouli and I both pause to look up.

"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!" Raguk bellows, the little hobgoblin shirtless, grinning madly, and diving towards Patchouli, a knife in each hand and a third clenched in his teeth, which cannot make his screaming easy. Falling right behind him are Eloshi, Yuni, and Ryoko, fists, sword, and man-sized hammer at ready, respectively. The three fairies are all yelling incoherently, but the target of their vitriol is unmistakeable.

Patchouli is buried under a fairy-and-goblin pile before she can even blink, and all the spheres collapse to the floor as the group begins mauling her. I just stare in a sort of horrified, yet impressed, silence, for all of the five seconds it takes for Patchouli to explode. The fiery blast launches everyone off, Ryoko flying past me, Raguk down the aisle, and Eloshi and Yuni smashing into opposite bookshelves.

Why am I not surprised?

Her attackers dealt with, Patchouli rises up and hunches over, panting for air as her torn clothes flicker and spark with flame. We match glares, and I lurch ahead, axe held ready.

"Your head is diseased," I spit. "Rotten to the core. There's no saving it, so I'm going to cut it off."

"Come get some, you rotten bitch!" she says, her voice hoarse, and a snap of her fingers brings the spheres back to floating around her.

"You're nothing!" I snarl back, and charge. Another little gesture on her part sends all the metal orbs flying at me fast enough to knock my head clean off, every individual sphere weaving erratically through the air.

That'd be suicidal to wade into.

Fortunately, I'm not wading.

I put all the focus I can spare into a shield, and my half-dome of protection flares alive ahead of me just in time to absorb the first sphere, massive cracks instantly webbing throughout the shield as a direct result. I don't stop sprinting, even as a second and third ball smash into the shield and leave it with more cracks than whole space, with more spheres narrowly avoided only through fast footwork on my end.

I'm still thirty paces out, which is too damn far to axe her face in. Still, of all the moves she may have expected, I don't think Patchouli foresaw me just straight-up flinging my axe at her. The unwieldy projectile tumbles through the air, misses Patchouli spectacularly, and hits the ground a few feet past her, but what it did succeed at was causing her to flinch and duck, her spheres pausing without her guidance, because a giant axe will scare the piss out of anyone if you see it flying at you.

And you'd be surprised how fast someone can close the distance when they're ripshit-fucking-pissed, which I really, really am right now.

I leap, leg outstretched, and my metal-clad foot catches Patchouli straight on the nose as she looks back up. We sail forward, Patchouli flying prone through the air, my right foot on her face and left on her gut, and I surf the witch across a dozen feet of carpet before momentum gives and we hit the ground. Once we stop moving, I jump back, bringing both my boots down on her stomach, and she huffs in breathless agony, her eyes screwing tightly shut as the last of the fight leaves her.

Now that I can get a good look at her, I've done an admirable job of turning her face into a bloody mirror of mine. She cracks an eye open, her every breath coming in shallow and ragged, and she squeaks. If I had any doubts she was done, that just destroyed them, so I gingerly step off her, dust my hands off, and proceed to fall flat on my face as injuries and exhaustion team up to kick my ass.

Fucking ow.

I turn my head to look at Patchouli, who's staring back at me, and- no.

No way.

Oh man, she's actually, honestly crying.

"Y-y-you broke my nose," she whimpers, her words thick and stuffy. "And my ribs hurt bad, and you wrecked my clothes, and- and you almost cut me in half, and it really hurts. Aren't you- aren't you s-s-s-supposed to be working for me? What did I do to you?"

"Well, you tried to murder your assistant, for one," I say. "Two, are you seriously doing this? Are you seriously trying to play the victim after all this? The attempted murders, the endless screaming, the actual murders-"

"Only fairies," Patchouli whispers, avoiding my eyes.

"Of which I am one, so kindly shut the fuck up," I say. "Frankly, you've been a godsdamned psychopath ever since that one prick blew up the library entrance-"

Patchouli scowls, head snapping back to mine. "But he-"

"Is not any of us, you idiot," I say, giving her a black look.

"Shut up!" she snaps, full of teary anger. "You don't- you don't understand! The effort I- that he just- I put decades of work into getting those books, and they were all destroyed! Blown up!" She weakly jabs a finger against my shoulder, all indignant outrage. "Because you couldn't stop him earlier!"

I gasp, and the only thing preventing me from slapping Patchouli's face off is that I physically can't. "Don't you start pinning Asshole Extraordinaire on me! Don't you dare!"

"The fuck is this?" asks someone new, her soft, toneless voice nevertheless ringing through the air.

Patchouli and I both freeze in place, and ice forms in my belly as I look over my shoulder. Standing there, blue eyes dull with shock, is the silver-haired head maid of the mansion, and she's looking right at me.

"The fuck is this?" Sakuya repeats, pointing at me. "The fuck is that?" she continues, pointing at Patchouli, who's staring uncomprehendingly at the maid. Sakuya throws her arms up. "The fuck is wrong with both of you?"

"I-" I begin.

"She-" Patchouli starts.

"No!" Sakuya says, her tone growing heated, her face set in a grimace. "Shut up! Do you know what you've done? Do you?"

"...What?" I reluctantly ask.

"You fucked it up!" she hisses, her eyes bulging out. "Goddamn you! Goddamn both of you! You fucked it all up!"

"S-Sakuya?" Patchouli whispers, aghast at Sakuya's uncharacteristic profanity.

"You're a blight!" Sakuya says, gesticulating wildly, and Patchouli emits a tiny whimper. "A blight, Patchouli! How many times now have you wrecked things here? Huh? It's been months! You've been doing this for months!"

Patchouli and I both wisely remain silent, staring wide-eyed at the crazed head-maid.

"Who do you think fixes it when you're done rocketing around like a goddamn spaceship?" she snaps, her eyes filled with deranged hate. "Do you think the fairies do it? Do you?"

"I-" Patchouli valiantly begins, only for Sakuya to brandish a knife.

"Shut up!" she snarls, waving the blade at us with clear intent to lacerate. "I've had it! I'm done! I'm fucking done! You keep fucking it up! I'm done! You can clean up your own goddamned library, Patchouli, I quit! Fuck all of you!"

Sakuya disappears in a flash of rage, leaving playing cards drifting in her wake.

The silence between me and Patchouli is markedly less tense than before, if only because I'm scared shitless of Sakuya and I'm pretty sure that goes for Patchouli as well. We stay quiet until I feel a light pressure on my left hand, and a glance down reveals the witch has grabbed it.

"The shit are you doing?" I ask, giving her a stink-eye.

"...On reflection, Karin," Patchouli says very softly, eyes on the ceiling, "I really have been, ah, relentlessly awful, haven't I?"

"Oh." I blink a few times, thinking over what to say. "Why the sudden change of heart?"

"Sakuya scares me too much," she whispers. Her hand trembles. "And the pain forces an odd clarity on me, too. So thank you for beating me, I suppose."

"Well, um, are you..." I pause a moment to think of what to say. "Are you done launching into killing sprees whenever you get angry?"

She purses her lips. "Yes. Yes, I think I am." She swallows, then looks me in the eye. "And I'm sorry I, well, broke all those bones of yours. And swore at you so much. And kept insulting you and setting you on fire, and, and there are other things I've done that I can't really think of, but I'm sorry about those too."

"Apology accepted." I cough, awkwardly looking away from her. "And I'm sorry for breaking your nose, and my own insults, and the thing with the axe, and-"

"Don't mention it. Please." She sniffles, which has to really hurt with a busted nose, but her tears have mostly dried up. "So, um... Can you move?"

I try to sit up, but my body fails me. "Not really. You?

"My arms are about it," she says, frowning. "What about flying?"

"You kinda burned one of my wings off," I say, shooting her a mildly reproachful look. "So no."

"Damn," she mutters, staring up at the ceiling. "I think we're stuck here."

"Yep," I say. "Far as I can tell, everyone else is either unconscious or exploded."

"What about Koakuma?"

"She disappeared."

"...We're going to be here for a while, then, aren't we?"

"Most likely."

"Damn."
__________

Patchouli has been pacified!

Marisa is 2spooked to return for the immediate future!

Koakuma is in love with Karin!

Sakuya has resigned from library duty!

Remilia is highly amused!

Karin fears of maidly retribution!
__________

[X] Mansion Trek: The Search For Sakuya

[X] You know what'd be a good way to cool off? Fighting Meiling. That'd be great.

[X] Flandre's getting awfully lonely down in the basement. Dare you risk engaging with her?

[X] Remilia's still looking for Tupai, and she'll reward whoever finds the little devil quite handsomely.
>>No. 61916
[X] Mansion Trek: The Search For Sakuya

Apologize to the maid before bad things happen

Also happy birthday man
>>No. 61918
[X] Flandre's getting awfully lonely down in the basement. Dare you risk engaging with her?

Poor Flan.

>Koakuma is in love with Karin!
Awwwwwwwright.
>>No. 61919
[X] Ignore all of that shit and take Koakuma out for a classy dinner in the human village.
>>No. 61920
The dinner option will come later, with more candidates, yes? Then:

[x]50 shades of mad feat. Izayoi Sakuya .
>>No. 61921
[X] Mansion Trek: The Search For Sakuya

Having Sakuya pissed at you is a BAD thing.

Also, happy birthday!
>>No. 61922
[c] Mansion Trek: The Search For Sakuya.

It's back? It's really back? Welcome back, you crafty fellow.
>>No. 61923
File 142872902280.png - (16.13KB, 298x451, 2379265-0249014455-12715.png) [iqdb]
61923
>Koakuma is in love with Karin!
Pic fucking related.

[X] Flandre's getting awfully lonely down in the basement. Dare you risk engaging with her?
>>No. 61924
[X] Flandre's getting awfully lonely down in the basement. Dare you risk engaging with her?
>>No. 61925
[X] Flandre's getting awfully lonely down in the basement. Dare you risk engaging with her?

I like Koakuma, but fairies should love fairies, damn it. I don't approve of fantasy-race-mixing.
>>No. 61926
File 142879484233.jpg - (775.84KB, 1070x1070, 123846792916.jpg) [iqdb]
61926
I like where this thread is going. I like it very much.

>Sakuya disappears in a flash of rage, leaving playing cards drifting in her wake.

TF pls.
>>No. 61927
All right, we're tied 4 for 4 between Sakuya and Flandre getting to star in the next update. I'll close votes in the morning after I get some sleep, assuming someone's swept in to tiebreak by then.

But before that happens, reader responses!

>>61916
>>61921

Thanks! Two anons saying this is two more than I could have hoped for!

>>61918
>>61919
>>61920
>>61923

>all dat Koakuma support
>from a one-off jokey status update line

I expected this kind of reaction, and it still caught me off guard.

And also yes to the future DINNER OPTIONS thing expanding as your social links max out, why not.

>>61922

I REFUSE TO DIE SO EASILY

>>61925

But girls can't make babies with other girls, anon! So there's absolutely nothing to worry about.

>>61926

>TF pls

i don't understand

damn your newfangled internet lingo making me feel out of touch
>>No. 61928
[X] Mansion Trek: The Search For Sakuya

SWOOPING IN FOR THE KILL LIKE A FLAMING PATCHOULI
>>No. 61929
[X] Flandre's getting awfully lonely down in the basement. Dare you risk engaging with her?

Sorry to tie it up again, but this is the option I'd like to see! (and Sakuya deserves some extended break time anyway)

So I just read this whole thing and it's pretty great. Previously, I'd look in on the board and see this nice first post, with clean character art and a title of "Anchorage" and atmospheric first paragraphs, and think "ooh, this will be a lovely piece, maybe an OC girl staying at the mansion, probably slice of life but hella artsy... oh it's on forever hiatus? Awww. Not now then."

And now it's back! And... this isn't hella artsy character study at all! It's madcap hijinks starring the bane of my existence, that bulletproof armored axe fairy from Koumajou Densetsu! She's good in this though! This story is not what I expected it to be at all! That's not a bad thing! It's super fun! Write more! Exclamation point! Happy birthday!
>>No. 61930
[X] Mansion Trek: The Search For Sakuya

A maid could solve every problem I have, so I can only imagine that it would solve every problem here too!
>>No. 61931
WELL IT LOOKS LIKE SAKUYA'S GOING TO GET BOTHERED SOME MORE, BECAUSE VOTES ARE CALLED

PREPARE TO DIE

>>61928

PATCHOULI'S BEEN EXTINGUISHED, BUT THE METAPHOR IS STILL APT

>>61930

Are you absolutely sure about this?

>>61929

First, thanks for reading and the kind words in general, and I'm glad you like it!

Second, sorry, but it looks like you'll have to wait on your FlanFlan until another time. I think you'll like her, though! She was certainly one of the most important parts of my previous story, so I've got a fun grasp of how she acts.

I take it you haven't read Don't Lose Your Head, which was my previous (and immeasurably less well-written) story on this board, as it's where Karin originates from. I really should just rewrite it entirely and bring that mess at least somewhat up to code, because I do like it. It's just... terribly written, and there's a bunch I regret in hindsight. There's also a lot of good, though!

Anyway, strap in and let the good times roll, because we still have plenty of hijinks to go before this ride is through.

I wouldn't mind going hella artsy at some point in the future, though.
>>No. 61932
>>61931
Ah, that's the power armor guy, yeah? I read the start of that, years ago, but drifted off of it due to time + things getting too wacky and hard to follow. This stands alone just fine so far though!
>>No. 61933
File 143227248143.png - (133.46KB, 480x1048, YES PERFECT.png) [iqdb]
61933
I'm really sorry this took so long! Between writing for the contest and personal failings, it's purely my fault this took so long. But it's here now, and that's good!
__________

I shove the hammer into my tool belt, dust my gauntlets off, and float back to take a better look at my handiwork; the wooden patchwork on the hole Marisa left in the wall isn't pretty or anything, but it's good enough for me.

"So," I say, glancing at the fairy hovering next to me. "I think that's good work, don't you?"

"Frankly?" Nia grunts, the maid doubled over a toolbox half as large as she is. "It's kinda crap. But hey, you know, I'll take it."

The glare I shoot her could melt steel beams, but she weathers it without flinching. "Oh, I'm sorry, do you want to go ask Sakuya for help fixing it?"

"It's been a week," she says, injecting a surprising amount of venom into her words. "Just go talk to her!"

"Ha ha ha no," I reply tonelessly, narrowing my eyes at her; she's unperturbed, glaring right back. "I've just about healed up from that whole mess with Patchouli. Why would I want to spend another week in recovery?"

Before our little argument can spiral out of control, Koakuma's voice cuts through the air right behind me with a familiar, dreaded trill of "Karin~"

Nia flashes a smirk as I blanch, but I force a brittle smile as I turn around and find myself face-to-face with a grinning Koakuma. "Hi, Koa," I say, leaning back by inches as she breathes on me. "How're you?"

"I'm just fine!" she says, hands clasped behind her as she sways back and forth, the giddiest I've seen her in quite some time. "But anyway, I'm here because Lady Patchouli wanted to see you!"

"What about?" I ask, not daring to move because I'm pretty sure that if I do, she's going to pounce, drag me off somewhere, and do things to me.

She cocks her head to the side and giggles, which only serves to make me worry even more. "That would be telling!"

"Koa, please just-" I say, before she turns tail and takes off.

"Follow meeeeee!" she sings, flying towards Patchouli's study.

There's a snort from behind me, and I turn to find Nia scrunching her face up to suppress a laugh. "Bet you're real glad you helped her out now, huh?" she forces out through her teeth, but she sucks her lips into her mouth as I lean in.

Our noses brush, and I give her my best murder-stare. "Ha. Ha. Ha."

She doesn't blink, doesn't breathe, her eyes staring at something past my shoulder. I hold this for five seconds, ten-

"Karin!" Koakuma yells, and I reluctantly pull back.

"You're coming with," I growl, and Nia nods, still maintaining an admirably stony visage. When I turn, though, there's a snicker, and I whip back around to see her... completely straight faced.

Damn, but she's good.

-----

The three of us reach Patchouli's study in short order, descending from on high into a circular room at the library's center, hidden within the labyrinth of bookshelves. There's three exits from here through the bookshelf-formed corridors, all equidistant from each other, which gives Patchouli excellent sight-lines on the rare occasions someone doesn't simply fly in from above.

Koakuma touches down first, landing at Patchouli's side, the witch seated at a long oaken desk stacked with books and parchment and quills and other sundry office material. I land in front of the desk, a toolbox-bereft Nia falling beside me, and I bow my head just enough to be respectful. "Lady Patchouli. How can I serve?"

"Karin," Patchouli says, shutting her current book with a snap, her lips quirked downward as she looks up. "And your minion as well, I see."

"M'lady," Nia says, frowning at the description even as she bows more deeply than I did. "Here to help."

"As she says," I add, looking Patchouli in the eye. "You wouldn't call us if it wasn't important."

"Correct," she says, reclining in her easy chair. "But first, how goes your work?"

"Just patched up the hole Marisa made when she broke in," I say, with no small amount of pride that is immediately destroyed by Patchouli's withering look.

"It took you an entire week to fix a single hole in the wall?" she asks, very softly.

"Well, considering it's just us four taking care of the entire library now," I say, giving her a glare that promises eyeball-related trauma if she presses the subject, "I'd say that I'm doing a fine job of keeping things in order."

Patchouli's gaze softens, the witch unknowing of how close she came to me throttling her. "True enough. Anyway, here's the crux of the matter." She leans forward and plants her hands on the table, hard enough her teacup rattles on its plate. "This situation is untenable."

"Meaning?" I ask, already dreading the answer I know I'm going to get.

"I've had enough of us handling everything in here on our own. Get Sakuya." Patchouli reclines in her chair after that declaration. Koa, meanwhile, is still beaming for reasons unknown.

"Excuse me?" I ask, staring uncomprehendingly at my witch overlord. "You- you want me to get the stabby-stabby-murder-maid back with us? When she is specifically angry at you and, to a lesser but no less deadly extent, me?"

Patchouli's expression is anything but amused. "You heard me."

I fold my arms and frown deeply at her, reconsidering the merits of shoving my thumbs in her eyes. "No. No, no no no, no."

"It's either that or you're fired," Patchouli says, and I reel internally at that verbal uppercut.

Fire me? Fire me? My teeth clench together, and I'm fairly sure I just broke off a chunk of molar. "Very well, my lady."

Patchouli's tiny, answering smile just makes her next words all the worse. "Take Koakuma along as well, would you?"

Koa's grin makes sudden, terrible sense, but I force out a "Why?" regardless.

"Because you might have to force Sakuya to listen to you," says Patchouli, as though she wasn't suggesting that I march into a wall of knives. "At least this way you'll have someone to help you, should it come to violence."

"It'll be great!" Koa adds, displaying an astounding amount of self-delusion. "We can beat her up together!"

"I'm absolutely certain we won't!" Nia says, matching Koa grin for tooth-shattering grin. "Because we will die if it comes to a fight!"

"Agreed," I say, clapping a hand on Nia's shoulder in a show of fairy solidarity. "So, Lady Patchouli, let me ask you one thing. Why don't you talk to her instead?"

"Because I like my forehead free of sharp implements," Patchouli retorts. "Now get out of here before I set you on fire."

At that, Koakuma vaults over the table and lands in front of me, before snatching my hand and enthusiastically pumping it up and down. "Pleased to work with ya! Let's go!"

"Wha-" I start, before Koa takes off in a sprint, dragging me stumbling along with her. "Unhand me!"

"Nope!" Koa replies, her grip on my wrist hideously strong, and it's all I can do to not trip as I follow her.

"Oi! Hold up!" Nia shouts, barreling after us with gusto.

-----

It's only several minutes later when Koa's dragged me before the library doors, the behemoths stretching from floor to ceiling, that I reach my limit, digging my heels into the carpet and grinding Koakuma to a stop. "Enough!" I snap, grabbing hold of my trapped wrist and wrenching it loose. "This is ridiculous!"

Koa turns to me, lower lip thrust out in a deliberate pout. "What's the matter?"

"You know damn well what it is!" I say, wincing as I shake my hand. Girl's got a grip like an oni, good lord. "The hell were you thinking?"

"I wanted to hold your hand!" She giggles, playfully swatting my shoulder. "Duh!"

I don't know what to say to that, really, so I settle on inhaling deeply in preparation to yell at her. Before I can, though, there's a breathless cry of "Oi!" from Nia, and I turn back just in time to see her stagger to a halt, doubling over and panting for air, hands on her knees.

"Haaah," she wheezes, a victorious smile on her lips as she looks up at me, sweat dripping down her forehead. "Hoo, nellie, that was a workout!"

"Were you running after us this entire time?" I ask.

"Yeah!" she says, straightening up. She leans forward, hands planted firmly on her hips, and grins cockily at me. "What, you jealous I'm so fit?"

"I'm wondering why you didn't just fly."

Nia blinks, before she slaps a palm against her forehead. "That's a thing I can do, isn't it?"

"How do you forget?" I ask, baffled.

"You know, you just-" She violently shakes her head, smile flip-turned into a deep scowl at her own stupidity. "Well, it's not important!"

"What is important is us finding Sakuya," I say. "And, hopefully, not getting knives in our heads as a result."

"Speaking of which!" Koa interjects, tugging on my arm. "How do we find Sakuya, specifically?"

"I was thinking we visit one of the people Sakuya makes rounds on," I say. "Those being Mistresses Remilia and Flandre, and Meiling out front. From there, it'd just be a matter of waiting until she shows up."

"Yeah, that's a great idea and all," says Nia, clearly lying, "or we could just cut out the middleman and track her down directly!"

"How would you do that?" Koa asks, the model image of curiosity as she leans forward.

"I'm only with the bosslady here"-Nia points at me-"because she won that bet of ours. Otherwise, I'd be spending my time with the rest of the maids. Betcha if I chatted up some of the other girls, I could lead us to her without much fuss."

"And it'd be just us," I glumly note. "Alone. With Sakuya. Without anyone else to prevent her from deciding murder is the best solution to our arrival."

"That's why we bring gifts," Nia says. "Granted, I don't know exactly what she likes, so we'd have to do some research first, but I think it could work."

"What about simply ambushing her?" Koakuma asks, holding balled-up fists beneath her chin. "Swoop in, kidnap Sakuya, tie her up, and then we- well, let's just say I have ideas! Plus, if she's at our mercy, she'd have to submit to our demands!"

"Koa?" I say, my smile one of pure horror. "You scare me."

That knocks her back to pouting. "Aww..."
__________

[X] Koakuma's plan is suicidal, which is perfect because none of us can stay dead! Commencing Operation: Kidnap the Chief Maid!

[X] Bribes and flattery will get you everywhere in life, but in this case it might get a knife in my forehead to go with it. Still, nothing ventured, eh?

[X] Meiling and Sakuya are on good terms, right? Let's see if the gatekeeper can't manage to calm Sakuya down for us.

[X] If Remilia orders it, I'm sure Sakuya would hold off on the stabbing long enough for us to make our case. That's assuming we can even convince the Mistress to play along in the first place, though.

[X] Sakuya wouldn't dare attack us with Flandre around! But, ah, visiting Flandre means we'd have to keep her occupied for an unknown length of time, and who knows how that'd turn out?
>>No. 61934
[X] If Remilia orders it, I'm sure Sakuya would hold off on the stabbing long enough for us to make our case. That's assuming we can even convince the Mistress to play along in the first place, though.
>>No. 61935
[X] Meiling and Sakuya are on good terms, right? Let's see if the gatekeeper can't manage to calm Sakuya down for us.

Not really the Karin/Koa dynamic I was hoping for...
>>No. 61936
[X] Meiling and Sakuya are on good terms, right? Let's see if the gatekeeper can't manage to calm Sakuya down for us.

Seems the safest. And Koa's crush is amusing.
>>No. 61937
[X] Koakuma's plan is suicidal, which is perfect because none of us can stay dead! Commencing Operation: Kidnap the Chief Maid!

I like this Koa. She's cute.
>>No. 61938
[X] Sakuya wouldn't dare attack us with Flandre around! But, ah, visiting Flandre means we'd have to keep her occupied for an unknown length of time, and who knows how that'd turn out?

now should be flandre time. Besides, what could go wrong?
>>No. 61939
[X] Koakuma's plan is suicidal, which is perfect because none of us can stay dead! Commencing Operation: Kidnap the Chief Maid!
>>No. 61940
Nia's... whatever she has is cuter than Koa's scary crush. But they're both cute.

[X] Bribes and flattery will get you everywhere in life, but in this case it might get a knife in my forehead to go with it. Still, nothing ventured, eh?

I want to see them try to figure out an appropriate bribe for Sakuya. This definitely isn't because Nia suggested it.
>>No. 61941
[X] Koakuma's plan is suicidal, which is perfect because none of us can stay dead! Commencing Operation: Kidnap the Chief Maid!

Why? Because this little devil's cute AND willing to tie up and torture a maid.

We all want to see a devil torture a maid, don't we?
>>No. 61944
[X] Koakuma's plan is suicidal, which is perfect because none of us can stay dead! Commencing Operation: Kidnap the Chief Maid!

Sakuya can't hurt us if she runs out of knives.
>>No. 61946
[X] Bribes and flattery will get you everywhere in life, but in this case it might get a knife in my forehead to go with it. Still, nothing ventured, eh?

Probably best to give her some incentive not to knife us all to oblivion on the spot. Yes, we can't stay dead, but that just means she can hunt us down and make us suffer more.
>>No. 61954
Welp, outta ten votes, Koakuma's kidnapping scheme takes it with four!

Prepare for FUN
>>No. 61955
File 143259735379.jpg - (61.62KB, 454x595, F U N.jpg) [iqdb]
61955
>>61954

Waiting warmly.
>>No. 61957
>>61954
Here's hoping our strategy to get out of tough jobs by demonstrating incompetence pays off.
>>No. 62022
File 143415545921.jpg - (149.20KB, 640x480, AMBUSHED.jpg) [iqdb]
62022
"Okay," I say, already regretting my choice even as the words leave my mouth. "Koa? I- I think we're going with your plan."

The reactions are instantaneous.

"Ffffffffffffffffffffff-" Nia sputters, her face turning an intriguing shade of Patchouli-purple.

"Eeeeeeeeeeeee-" Koa squeals, hanging off my neck in a bone-crushing hug.

"Aaaaaaaaargh-" I wheeze, unable to breath beneath Koa's grip. My vision's going black around the edges when she lets go, and I stagger back, gulping in air.

"Yes yes yes yes-" Koa chatters, clapping her hands together gleefully as she bounces up and down like an overwound jack-in-the-box. "Oh, this'll be perfect!"

Nia's twitching uncontrollably now, packing all of her hate into the glare she's aiming at me. "-ffffffffffffffffffffffff-"

"Nia?" I say hoarsely, rubbing my neck. "Shut up."

There's a pained grunt from the fairy after she stops sputtering. When she speaks again, she drops each word with the grim certainty of experience. "If we do this, we are going to die."

"Oh, don't be silly!" Koa says, flapping a hand carelessly at her. "Once I'm done with Sakuya, everything'll be just great!"

"I know you already said you had ideas, but do you mind sharing them with us?" I ask. If I'm being honest with myself, half the reason I'm going along with her plan is because I want to see just what the hell she's got in mind.

At my question, Koa merely smiles brighter, pressing her forefingers together. "Let's just say it's a hobby of mine."

"What is?"" Nia growls, only to get an worryingly cheeful giggle from the demon.

I'm starting to think Sakuya might not deserve what we're about to do to her, before I remember the threats and the attitude when I did nothing wrong, and my sympathy suffers an abrupt heart-attack.

"All right, let's go!" I declare, marching to where the towering doors meet and giving them both a good shove; they swing open with magical ease, exposing the hallway outside the library. I stride through, followed by an enthusiastic Koa and a fuming Nia, but the moment we're out I realize that I still don't have a plan for finding Sakuya in the first place. Nia, however, does, so I turn to the scowling fairy, grab her by the shoulder and shake her about, heedless of her catlike hissing. "Nia, I hereby order you to mingle with everyone else and find out where Sakuya's at. Then I'll have Koa help me grab her."

That last sentence kills her desire to claw loose. "...I don't have to show my face to Sakuya?" she asks, quiet and thoughtful.

"Guaranteed," I say; now, whether any of the other maids will tattle on her is a different problem, and one she thankfully isn't asking about.

"Well," she says, expression troubled. "This plan is still... incredibly stupid, but okay."

"Knew I could count on you," I say, smiling for real this time. If I've got to do this, the least I can hope for is competent help.

She pulls free, frowning as she looks between us. "Okay, you two'll have to let me work alone for a bit. If you're tagging along, everybody'll just nope right on out of there, so- so go do something else while I handle things."

"Kariiiiiin~" Koakuma trills, and I flinch as she grabs my shoulder. "If that's the case, I've got just the place in mind for us!"

"Oh"-godsno-"kay," I say as I turn to her, forcing my smile to hold position on pain of death. "What's the plan, Koa?"

"Nia?" Koa says, eyes flicking to the girl in question. "We'll be at Karin's room. You know where that is?"

"Yup!" Nia says, all too cheerfully. "I'll get to work!" She takes off, leaving Koa with an unhealthy gleam in her eyes as she grins toothily at me.

"Now," says the succubus, pressing her nose against mine as I struggle to maintain my composure. "Let's go have... fun."

I whimper.

-----

As it turns out, Koa's idea of fun is less horrible sexual assault and more... intensely frilly.

"Wear iiiiiiiiiiiit," she whines, shoving a fluffy pink bundle into my arms with enough force that I pitch backward onto my bed. I scowl up at her, but turn my attentions to the dress in hand.

"Okay, first off?" I say, unfolding the garment and looking it over with a critical eye. The material is good, and it's a cute enough design, but- "When did you hide it in here?"

Koa taps a pinky to her lips, smiling impishly. "I have ways!"

I glare her way. "Of breaking into my room?!"

"Yes!" she says without shame or remorse as I screech internally. "Now come on and take your suit off so you can wear it!"

I defensively fold my arms, dress and all, over my chest. "No! And I don't care for your trespassing, you know!"

Koakuma starts agitatedly bouncing on her heels, wringing her hands together. "Aw, come on, it'll be a perfect fit! I made it myself! I even got your measurements right!"

I freeze as I try to process this latest, greatest invasion of privacy. It takes a few seconds for me to force the words out, my fingers twitching. "...How?"

She guilelessly cocks her head to the side. "I got them while you slept, silly!"

Koakuma.

With her hands all over me.

While I was unconscious.

Oh, that is it.

It's half a minute later when my door swings open and Nia steps in, triumphant expression giving way to shock as she takes in the sight of me straddling Koakuma atop my bed and throttling the damn woman.

"H'what?" Nia says, dumbfounded, and I pause mid-strangulation to glare at her.

"Where's our target?" I ask, deliberately calm, forcing my hands to unclench and allowing Koakuma to wheeze for air.

"Ah, one of the maids spilled cleaning material over Sakuya," Nia hesitantly says, edging back to the door. "Far as I heard, she went to her room to clean up."

"Karin's touching me~" Koakuma dazedly mutters, cheeks burning red, and I hurtle off her like someone just dumped a bucket of ice water down my suit.

Nia sniggers, taking far too much schadenfreude in my predicament for my liking. "I- I can come back later if you two got something to handle, you know? Don't let me stop you."

"Nia?" I say, stonily ignoring a red-faced Koakuma. "Shut up before I ram my boot up your ass."

"Yes, ma'am!" Nia says, saluting with commendably fake enthusiasm.

"I think I could get used to that," Koa mutters, rubbing her throat, and it takes all the self-control I can muster to not just slug her on the nose.

----

Once we head out, it's a scant five minutes later that we find ourselves in front of the white door to Sakuya's room. A quick check reveals the door to be locked, of course, so I step back, flanked by Nia and Koa.

"So, uh, how do we get in?" Nia asks, scratching her head.

I glance between maid and demon, shrug, and step up to the door. It's only a matter of bracing my shoulder against it and squaring my footing before I give it a nice, solid push, and there's a crack as the wood breaks off its hinges, swinging open with a minimum of noise. A quick peek inside reveals a modest bedroom decidely empty of Sakuya, but there's several more doors inside for her own little apartment.

"It's a good thing we're gonna be doing so much worse to her!" Koakuma says, jolly despite what we're about to do.

"By we," Nia says, already backing off, "you mean you two, of course."

"As agreed," I say, watching her from the corner of my eye. "Get some rope and take it to my room, okay? That's where we'll hold her."

"Got it, bosslady!" Nia says, throwing another salute before scurrying off.

"Koa," I say, already regretting this decision, "you're with me. And be quiet."

Koakuma claps her hands around her mouth, pre-empting a delighted cheer that would certainly have blown our cover. I step in first, fists clenched and ready for punching, but Sakuya doesn't materialize out of nothing to murder us just yet. The reason for that quickly becomes apparent when I pause to listen, the rushing of water drifting through the closest door on my right. That must be the suite's attached bathroom, which means-

Ah.

I slowly, carefully, with all due caution and then some, slink over and test the knob. It turns silently, so I ease it back to its starting position.

"Koa?" I whisper, and she falls in on the opposite side of the door. "I'll go first. Get ready."

"Oh boy oh man oh boy oh man-" Koakuma continues that train of words as I clasp my hands together and shut my eyes, willing the tiniest sliver of magic into my fists, and the thrum of power throughout my fingers feels right. Preventative dampening in effect, I reach out, gingerly grabbing hold of the doorknob and twist it, pulling the door out to me. It opens silently, and the splashing of water against skin becomes clear.

I don't waste any time.

"STORM HER!" I bellow, barreling into the plush bathroom, the screened bathtub-slash-shower playing host to one astonished, outraged, and very much naked chief maid, who, with a shriek, reaches up, wrenches a knife from its tape on the ceiling, flings the curtain aside, and throws the knife directly into my FOREHEAD.

WHAT KIND OF PERSON KEEPS A KNIFE IN THE SHOWER

THAT IS INSANE


I trip over my own feet, all fine motor control lost due to the steel embedded in my brain, and as a result crash through the curtain, into Sakuya, and tackle her entirely by accident, the two of us going down in a pile of flailing limbs and terrified screaming (and the latter was all her, for the record). I end up on top of her, getting mighty soaked by the water streaming from the shower head, but I'm rather more preoccupied by the fact that I am on top of a naked Sakuya, pinning the thrashing woman down thanks to pure chance and little else.

Our eyes meet, mine glazed-over, hers quivering in incoherent terror and outrage, and her breath hitches.

"W-w-what the hell?!" she stammers, blushing furiously, before I faintly remember my goal in all of this, haul back, and punch her square on the nose. It connects with a satisfying thwap, her face crumpling beneath my magic-infused fist in an explosion of danmaku, sending water and spittle and energy flying.

Aaaaah, that felt good.

There was something that came after this, I'm pretty sure, but right now it's hard to think and my head really hurts. I do notice when the water falling on my head cuts off, and I blearily look up to see a sheepishly-grinning Koa with her hand on the faucet handle.

"Hiiiiiiiiii," I say, smiling up at her. She reaches over, grabs the knife's handle, and jerks it free from my skull in an explosion of OW and WHY GODS WHY. It's only a few seconds later that I come to, breathing raggedly and entirely too aware of who I'm lying on top of and where my hands are, which are bad places for them to be if they want to stay attached to my body.

"You okay?" Koa asks, voice tinged with worry as I push myself onto my knees with the kind of urgency usually reserved for someone on fire. I'm still straddling (again, the incredibly naked) Sakuya, but at least now I'm not touching her inappropriately. Not that anything about this situation is appropriate, mind, but it's the thought that counts. I take a few more moments to catch my breath as I run my fingers across the narrow hole in my forehead, the wound already knitting back together; my healing does absolutely nothing for the newly-acquired headache, but I'll take what little favors I can get.

"I- I'm fine, I think," I say, keeping the shaking out of my voice as best I can. Triumph at what I just did outweighs the consequences I know are forthcoming, and I grin halfheartedly at Koa. "I got her. I got her."

"You did!" Koa says, clapping me on the shoulder and giving me an encouraging smile. "But now we have the problem of getting her back to your room!"

"I-" I blink. "That is actually a good point. If people see me walking around with her slung over my shoulder, there's no way they'll not tell the Mistress."

"We need-" Koa cuts off, rubbing her chin. "Well, I can't exactly figure out what kind of disguise would work for her. Any ideas?"

I frown, crunching my eyebrows together in thought, before something strikes. "Koa?" I ask. "I'm gonna need your help with a distraction."

She throws a snappy salute. "Anything for you!"

"Okay. Um." I take a deep breath before I speak again, because I am not looking forward to how I'll have to make this up to her. "You need to take your clothes off."

She goes stone-still, her previously cheerful smile taking a sickly edge. "...A-anything for you, Karin."

-----

"Don't look at meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" Koa wails, arms and wings curled protectively around herself as she tears down the hallway in her lingerie, a gaggle of scandalized maids watching with boggling eyes. As the air fills with shouts of outrage and fairies start chasing after the streaker, I edge out of Sakuya's room, carrying the blanket-wrapped chief maid on my shoulder, and take flight.

"Nothing to see here," I mutter, gliding over a steadily-growing stream of fairies who want to know just what all the screaming is about. They're all too busy trying to catch up with the action to look up, and I'm grateful for that because I have no idea how I'd explain why Sakuya is rolled up in bedding like a cigar.

It's in short order than I touch down in front of my own door, the chaos in the background faint, and I give the door a solid thump with my boot. "Open up!"

Nia pulls it open, peeking around the frame. "Come on, come on!" she urges, motioning inside, and I'm only too happy to dart in. Nia shuts the door soon as I'm through. I dump the senseless maid on my bed, then turn to my accomplice.

"So," she says, suppressing a smirk. "What's with the hair?"

I brush a damp strand of hair out of my eyes, scowling at her. "Sakuya was showering. And thanks for your concern about the gaping knife wound."

"Ah, you'll live," she says, leaning against the door. "Where's your creepy friend, though?"

"Distracting everyone else so I could get Sakuya here," I say, sitting next to Sakuya. "You might've heard the shouting?"

Nia purses her lips. "Huh. So that's what that was about." She glances around my dwelling. "So why do you get your own room, anyway?"

I rap my knuckles against my breastplate. "I, as I have said many a time before, am your captain. This comes with perks." I pause in thought. "Also, the rest of you lot can't keep a room clean to save your lives."

Nia scowls, brows lifting in anger. "Implying fairies can't keep things tidy? You speciesist!"

I open my mouth, close it, open it again, and finally manage a response to that idiocy. "You do remember that I, too, am a fairy, right?"

Before she can reply, the door is shoved open, swinging all the way inside and carrying the girl directly into the wall, leaving the way clear for Koa to dive through, sobbing incoherently, and hit the carpet at my feet. The door slowly drifts back, revealing a flattened Nia standing on trembling legs.

"...Ow," she groans, and then topples onto her face.

"Um," I say, as Koa curls up on herself, her weeping leaving me decidedly uncomfortable. I get up, slip around her, and shut and lock my door before turning to take in the situation.

"Ooh..." Sakuya moans, stirring in her makeshift prison, and my fists clench on reflex.
__________

[X] Koa's a weepy mess, Nia's been pancaked, and Sakuya is about to wake up. This is clearly the best time to jump on the chief maid, establish dominance, and engage in a bout of friendly persuasion.

[X] I've got to get my house in order before I can deal with Sakuya, so let's find where Nia put that rope and tie the angry knife-lady up and see to everyone else. Can't be that hard, right?

[X] I'd rather Sakuya stay unconscious a bit longer, so the plan goes as follows: PUNCH THE MAID, RESURRECT THE MINION, HUG THE DEMON. Good? Good.

[X] [WRITE-IN?]
>>No. 62023
[X] I've got to get my house in order before I can deal with Sakuya, so let's find where Nia put that rope and tie the angry knife-lady up and see to everyone else. Can't be that hard, right?

Okay. This seems the least-insane plan. It's gotta be good.
>>No. 62024
[X] I'd rather Sakuya stay unconscious a bit longer, so the plan goes as follows: PUNCH THE MAID, RESURRECT THE MINION, HUG THE DEMON. Good? Good.

This seems like the most insane plan, so it's obviously the best.
>>No. 62025
[X] Koa's a weepy mess, Nia's been pancaked, and Sakuya is about to wake up. This is clearly the best time to jump on the chief maid, establish dominance, and engage in a bout of friendly persuasion.

The middle ground of insanity. That means things can't go too terribly wrong, right?

...Right?
>>No. 62026
[X] I'd rather Sakuya stay unconscious a bit longer, so the plan goes as follows: PUNCH THE MAID, RESURRECT THE MINION, HUG THE DEMON. Good? Good.

more time gents.
>>No. 62028
[X] I've got to get my house in order before I can deal with Sakuya, so let's find where Nia put that rope and tie the angry knife-lady up and see to everyone else. Can't be that hard, right?

In the interests of tying this vote, I'll vote for this choice.
>>No. 62033
[X] I'd rather Sakuya stay unconscious a bit longer, so the plan goes as follows: PUNCH THE MAID, RESURRECT THE MINION, HUG THE DEMON. Good? Good.

Hugs!
>>No. 62034
[X] I'd rather Sakuya stay unconscious a bit longer, so the plan goes as follows: PUNCH THE MAID, RESURRECT THE MINION, HUG THE DEMON. Good? Good.

Sorry Sak. You had bad timing, that's all.
>>No. 62035
[X] I've got to get my house in order before I can deal with Sakuya, so let's find where Nia put that rope and tie the angry knife-lady up and see to everyone else. Can't be that hard, right?

Punching the maid might just wind up pissing her off more, and not even getting a second KO.
Trust me, I play Monster Hunter. Stuff builds up a resistance to getting KO'd after the first time you pull it off.
>>No. 62038
[X] Koa's a weepy mess, Nia's been pancaked, and Sakuya is about to wake up. This is clearly the best time to jump on the chief maid, establish dominance, and engage in a bout of friendly persuasion.

oh god
>>No. 62039
Right! Consider this CALLED in favor of PUNCH SAKUYA!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

>>62023
>>62024
>>62025

I love it when a post-combo comes together.
>>No. 62041
>>62035
If you end up being right, I'm going to find you, knock you out and then punch your lights out again as soon as you wake up.
You don't build a 'resistance' to losing consciousness. If anything, it gets easier after the first time. There's no "I was ready" shit either: the first seconds are always full of "where am I, who am I, what am I and what the hell happened?"
>>No. 62042
>Right! Consider this CALLED in favor of PUNCH SAKUYA!
I'm... I'm just going to wait for this arc to be over.
>>No. 62047
File 143458130999.png - (100.16KB, 383x719, koa's face when this entire situation.png) [iqdb]
62047
If I'm going to persuade Sakuya into coming back after all this, I'm probably going to need Koa's unique brand of help. To do that, I need to get her to stop crying, and that's not happening with Sakuya awake and slinging curses at us. Even if I tied her up, that wouldn't stop her from being immensely sweary, and that would only make things worse.

There's only one option.

I stalk over to the stirring woman, her eyes cloudy as they flick about. They alight on me without recognition, and I'm already drawing back for a punch when-

"...Huh?" she mumbles, eyelids fluttering, and I hesitate; even if she's kind of a huge jerk sometimes, Sakuya still doesn't deserve this.

"I'm really sorry," I say, and smash my fist square into her nose with a miniaturized explosion of power; if the punch wasn't enough to knock her silly, the danmaku was. Sakuya dealt with, I turn around and-

"I'm ruiiiiined!" Koa weeps.

-step over the devastated demoness, the better to reach a collapsed Nia and haul her up by her dress collar. "Whuh?" she says, cross-eyed and taking an intense fascination in the contents of my nostrils. I shake her about a bit with one hand, the other resting on my cocked hip.

"You all right?" I ask, stopping after a solid few seconds of fairy-shaking.

Nia blinks face-smashing-induced dizziness out of her eyes, grimacing as she does so. "I- I guess?" she says, before I let go and she damn near topples over again on contact with the floor, only arresting her fall by virtue of collapsing against me. "Oookay," she says, voice muffled against my chestplate, "no, I don't think I'm good after all."

I sigh, but let her catch her breath for a few seconds before she pushes away. She gives her head a violent shake, eyes screwed shut, before straightening up and clicking her heels together, frowning severely.

"You finally ready?" I ask, and she nods. I jerk a thumb over my shoulder where Koa's packing herself into a tiny ball. "I'll handle her while you get the rope."

"You got it," Nia says, unsteadily making her way around me. As she heads for the side of my bed, I turn back to Koa, awkwardly sidle in front of the prone woman, and get on my knees.

"Koa?" I ask, and she stops soaking my carpet in favor of looking up at me through teary eyes. "Um. You okay?"

"Nooooooooooo!" she sobs, and I wince in well-deserved guilt. "I- I can't ever show my face around here again!"

"You're a succubus," I say, trying for a soothing tone. "I thought- well, I thought you wouldn't care this much? If I knew this is how you'd feel, I wouldn't have asked."

The way Koa's eyes narrow at me, her tears slowing, is not a pleasant sight, and I lean back on reflex. "I'm a- a what?!" she hisses, but the following hiccup takes some of the menace out. "Why the hell did you- No! No!"

She pushes herself up to her hands and knees, and I force myself to hold my ground as she crawls up to me, her glare mighty indeed. "Uh, Koa?" I say, before she shoves me hard. I pitch onto my back with a cry of surpise, and I've just propped myself up on my elbows when oh gods she's on top of me.

"Just because I'm a devil, that makes me some kind of crazed sex fiend?" she says, her vibrations of outrage doing all sorts of interesting things to the rest of her body, but now is not the time to be thinking those thoughts Karin what's wrong with you.

"I-" am immediately cut off when she clamps a hand over my mouth.

"No!" she snaps, justified anger surging through her. "Was that why you asked me to- to embarrass myself like that? You thought I'd be fine with it?"

I say something that's entirely muffled by her hand, and she reluctantly removes it.

"Honestly?" I say, hoping she's not going to gag me again. "I was thinking that because you've been really uncomfortably physical lately, with the hugs and the leering and the invasions of personal space? Like you're doing right now?"

She flinches, some of the heat fading out of her. "...Okay, I might've been taking a few tips from their work, true."

"Well, they've been backfiring," I say, offering a weak little smile. "Frankly, all you've done is scare me."

"But I-" she says, deflating like a popped balloon. "I thought that was how it worked?"

"...You have issues," I say, not unkindly.

"Guys?" Nia plainitively asks, and Koa and I both look at her to see a bundle of coarse brown rope slung over her shoulder. "Are you seriously hashing this relationship business out now?"

"Yes!" Koa says.

"Of course you are," she groans, pinching the bridge of her nose. "Can we just- can it wait until after Sakuya's dealt with?"

"...You have a point," Koa says, rolling off me and springing to her feet. As she wipes her face dry, I get up after her, edging away a bit to better defend myself in case she pounces again.

"Right," Nia says, mollified. She twists, thrusting her rope-bearing arm out, a sheepish expression dawning on her. "I have no idea how to tie someone up, so I kinda need help here."

"I'll handle it!" Koakuma volunteers, snatching the rope and giving it a few tugs to test its strength.

"Okay, but do it normally," I say, frowning severely at her. "This is weird enough as it is, we don't need to add any bondage fetishes to the mix."

"How'd you know?" Koa asks, all innocent-like even as my eyes bulge.

"It's comments like that, Koa!" I say as she heads for Sakuya, idly swinging the rope about. "It's comments like that that creep me out!"

Even as I rant at her, Koa efficiently binds Sakuya with rope looping from her collarbone down to her knees. If she didn't look like a caterpillar in that blanket before, she's certainly going to feel like one when she comes to, whenever that is. Koa steps back, regarding the results of her work with satisfaction, while Nia aimlessly mills about and I try to think up a plan of attack that'll actually convince Sakuya to come back to the library.

Nia's the first to break the silence with, "So when'll you put some clothes on?" she asks, glancing sidelong at Koa. "Because I think you're just going to undermine this whole affair if you stay like that."

"Well, uh," Koa says, blushing as she folds her arms over her chest, tail unconsciously curling around a leg. "Mine are at Sakuya's room, and I don't think Karin's spares would fit me."

"Why don't we find out?" Nia says, and she books it towards my closet before I can think to stop her.

"Wait!" I say, charging after the little idiot, "no stop DON'T OPEN IT!"

She reaches the closet door, pulls it open, and manages a panicked "Fu-" before hundreds upon hundreds of roses and violets and lilies and so, so, so many other flowers surge out from the packed closet and bury her.

I turn, slowly, to stare at Koakuma, and gesture demonstratively at the pile entombing the fairy. "You see what you've wrought?"

"Um," Koa says, fidgeting in place. "I thought you'd like them?"

"The first ones, maybe," I say, folding my arms. "But it grew old after the fifth batch, and then I started running out of places to put them all."

A hand thrusts free of the flowers. "Help!" Nia croaks, voice muffled through her tomb.

"That's-" Koa flinches. "All right, maybe I should've toned it down."

My stern glare has no match, except maybe by Sakuya when she's really angry. "Maybe you should've."

"I'm dying here!" Nia says, trying to claw her way free and failing horribly.

Koa giggles half-heartedly. "...I did go through a lot of effort to get all of these, you know."

"And see what it's got me?" I ask, reapplying my SEVERE FROWN™.

"Damn all of you!" Nia shrieks, finally managing to poke her head out of the pile. "Aaaaugh!"

"And her, for that matter!" I say, stepping over to Nia, grabbing her by the wrist, and bodily hauling her free of the sucking hole she leaves in the hoard of flowers. She falls on her hands and knees, puffing for air (I suspect exaggeratedly).

"Took you long enough," she says, pushing herself up to rest on one knee, the better to scowl reproachfully at me.

"I told you to stop," I reply, without pity or remorse. "Now, I've had enough waiting around, so I'm going to wake Sakuya. Go be useful and, I don't know, get Koa's clothes from Sakuya's room or something."

"Anything to get me out of here," she grumbles, clambering upright and heading for the door. "But I'm not coming back until I know Sakuya's gone!"

She flees the room, leaving me to share an uncomfortable silence with Koa when she steps next to me, sporting a mild blush.

"So," she says, fixing me with an embarrased smile. "Um. Before you wake Sakuya up... Even if they don't fit me quite right, is it still okay if I borrow some of your clothes?"

"Go ahead," I say with a shrug. "If you can get past that mess, anyway."

In response, she simply floats off the ground.

"I suppose that works," I admit, and she smiles more brightly than before, which is a welcome change of pace after her earlier weeping.

"Just give me a moment, then!" she says, drifting over the flower-pile and poking her head into the closet. While she does that, I keep my eyes on Sakuya, who's still blessedly stunned. Soon enough, there's an "Okay!" from Koa, and I look over my shoulder to see her in a tight-fitting dark shirt and matching pants. I blink, taking her new look in with surprise and not a little jealousy, because damn if she doesn't make it look better than I could.

"So," I say, as she touches down next to me. "You ready?"

"Ready!" she chirps, any traces of her earlier bad mood erased.

"Okay then," I say, bracing myself for a litany of curses as I lean over Sakuya and give her nose a sharp flick.

"Gah!" she says, eyes shooting open, and the chief maid blindly looks about. "Ow! What's- what's going on?"

"Hi!" Koakuma says, leaning over her, head inches from my own. "We're here to-"

Sakuya's eyes clear up, and the outrage is quick to follow. "You! I'll kill you!" she snarls, wriggling violently and having no luck in breaking loose. "Let me go! Now!"

"So you can kill us?" I say, frowning down at her. "Oh, that's very convincing."

"I mean it! I'll-"

"Karin?" Koa says, baring teeth in a not-so-cheerful smile. "Why don't you let me get to work?"

Sakuya's breath hitches, and her eyes go very, very wide as she looks Koa over. "Y-you're going to molest me, aren't you?!"

What.

"I've read this kind of story before!" Sakuya says, flushing more and more with each passing moment, and I've got a deep and terrible gut feeling as to why. "A demon and her minion kidnapping pure and innocent maidens to- to corrupt them! I'll never admit defeat to you raging lesbians! Or your dextrous fingers! No matter what you do to me, I will definitely hold strong!"

"Koa?" I say despairingly, the not-succubus's mouth agape in amused wonder. "I think I might've punched her too hard."

"Come on!" Sakuya says, panting in anticipation. "Do your worst!"

"Aaaugh," I say, wearily hiding my face in my hands. "I'm not here to molest you."

"I am!" Koa says cheerily, right before I shove her out of the way.

"Neither of us are," I hiss. "All I want to ask is for you to please come back to the library and bring the maids with you. Okay?"

Sakuya frowns in disappointment, the freak. "That's it? That's what this is about?"

"Yes!" I say, flinging my hands up in exasperation.

She turns her nose up at me, haughty as can be when one's tied up and completely at another's mercy. "Well, I'm not going back!"

"Patchouli's stopped doing-"

"Do I need to repeat myself?" she interrupts, glowering at me.

I return her glower with vigor. "Do I need to remind you of your situation?"

"That you've busted in on me showering, kidnapped me, and punched me in the face? Twice?"

"I admit guilt to all of those things!" I say. "But you know what's in store if you don't agree to this?"

"Nothing that'll stop me from stabbing the both of you when I get loose," she mutters darkly.

Okay, this obviously isn't getting us anywhere, and I have this odd feeling that punching her again will only make things worse.
__________

[X] I didn't go through all this trouble to not let Koa do her job, so I'll just step outside for a bit and let her work.

[X] There has to be something I can use to bargain with Sakuya. I just have to figure out what.

[X] I wonder how the fairies would like to see their overlord like this? I'm thinking quite a bit.

[X] [WRITE-IN]
>>No. 62048
>>62047
[X] I didn't go through all this trouble to not let Koa do her job, so I'll just step outside for a bit and let her work.
Given how Sakuya is plainly interested in what Koa has to offer, I'm sure a compromise can be reached here.
>>No. 62050
I am a huge fan of plan Koa and Karin seduce the Meido, so...

[X] I didn't go through all this trouble to not let Koa do her job, maybe I'll stick around and see if she needs any help
>>No. 62051
[X] I wonder how the fairies would like to see their overlord like this? I'm thinking quite a bit.
>>No. 62052
[X] I didn't go through all this trouble to not let Koa do her job, so I'll just step outside for a bit and let her work.

Dooo it~ Dooo it~ Dooo it~
hee hee hee
>>No. 62053
[X] I didn't go through all this trouble to not let Koa do her job, so I'll just step outside for a bit and let her work aside and watch for now.

DOOOO EEEEEEEEET!
>>No. 62054
[x] Sakuya was... less than bothered by that fantasy of hers. While I didn't trust Koa to not go overboard, I did trust myself. Mostly.

Yes.
>>No. 62056
[X] I didn't go through all this trouble to not let Koa do her job, so I'll just step outside for a bit and let her work aside and watch for now.

Koa's plans have, surprisingly, worked out to get us this far. Why stop now?
>>No. 62057
[X] I didn't go through all this trouble to not let Koa do her job, so I'll just step outside for a bit stick around and see if she needs any help.

Because Karin must end this story with a harem of creepy, overly-attached superpowered women. Koa is only the start.
>>No. 62058
It's times like this that I'm glad I still come here.

[X] I didn't go through all this trouble to not let Koa do her job, so I'll just step outside for a bit stick around and see if she needs any help.
>>No. 62059
[X] I didn't go through all this trouble to not let Koa do her job, so I'll just step outside for a bit stick around and see if she needs any help.

It's really CS's fault for tempting us.
>>No. 62060
Well. Uh.

Yeah.

Consider the vote CALLED for Karin hovering around and ensuring Koa doesn't go too far. There are no ulterior motives here, nosiree.

>>62058

I'm just happy to do my part in keeping things alive around here. Even if it takes me over a month between updates, sometimes.

So maybe I could stand to improve my update speed, yeah!

>>62059

I swear I don't intend to lead votes like this. Honest.
>>No. 62075
File 143589320380.jpg - (155.82KB, 845x475, what sakuya's face should be but isn't.jpg) [iqdb]
62075
"Koa?" I say, already hating myself for what I'm about to say. "Just- you had a plan for this, right?"

She claps her hands together, her smile perhaps dazzling to those fortunate souls she hasn't stalked over the past week. "Yep!"

I swallow the lump that's just formed in my throat. "Do it."

Sakuya squeals in a poor approximation of fear, and more and more I wonder how I got stuck with this group of crazed deviants- oh, right, Patchouli, tests, promotions, etc.

"But!" I say, before Koa gets into whatever it is she has in mind. "I'm staying here to, ah, observe."

That just makes Koa smile more. "Well, long as you're sticking around, Karin, you mind helping?"

"Y- no." I'm regretting my words already when Koa raises her hands at head-level, palms out.

"Well then, glad to have you on board! Four hands are more effective than two, don't you know?" She gives hers a demonstrative few shakes.

"All my research on this topic points to yes," Sakuya adds, nodding eagerly.

I grimace, screwing my eyelids shut, balling my fists up, and rubbing my eyes with my knuckles. It's therapeutic for the headache brewing in the back of my head. "What, exactly, do you need me to do?"

"Can you hold her legs up for me?" Koa asks, without so much as a trace of malice.

I lower my hands to squint at her through slitted eyelids. "So you can do what, exactly?"

She wiggles her fingers. "Put my hands to good use, what else?"

"Please do!" Sakuya blinks, biting her lower lip at her error. "Er, don't. I meant don't."

I open my mouth to say something, and leave it hanging open as I come to the realization that, no matter what I do here, Sakuya's probably going to enjoy it.

Jesus Christ, these people.

"Okay," I say without further preamble, resigned to my role in the debauchery to come. "Before we get on with this, there's the problem of the rope. I'm not sure how far I can lift her legs with it like-" I gesture demonstratively at Sakuya. "Well. You know."

"Not a problem!" Sakuya says, raising her stuck-together legs a good half a foot off the bed, before promptly dropping them once again. "Not that I'll make it easy for you, you villains!"

"Whatever you say, Sakuya," I grumble, marching over and just grabbing her by the ankles.

"No, no, no!" Koa says, rushing in and swatting at my shoulder. "We have to take care of that blanket first!"

"Why- okay, I guess?" I say, letting Sakuya go and flinging clenched fists up in exasperation. Koakuma rolls the blanket up until it meets the rope at Sakuya's knees, leaving the rest of the willowy lady's pale, smooth, downright dainty legs bare and oh gods she just licked her lips.

"All right," Koa says. "As you were!"

"Yes, have at me!" Sakuya adds.

With a roll of my eyes and a sigh out my lips, I grab Sakuya's ankles again and hoist her legs upward. "I'm not entirely clear on what's about to happen here," I say to Sakuya, "but you forfeited any right to be upset when you said you wanted this."

"I never said-" Sakuya starts, before Koa all but dives in headfirst. Her hands dart in to commit the unholy deed, pointed nails colliding with the soles of Sakuya's feet and- scratching them?

The maid's reaction is instantaneous.

"Wha-aahahahahahahah!" she shrieks, kicking her legs wildly in a fruitless attempt to break from my steel grip. "Stop it stop it stopstopstooop!"

As Koakuma continues ravaging Sakuya's (immensely sensitive, apparently) feet, I just stare at the devil.

"What?" she asks, quirking a brow as she moves her assault to Sakuya's calves, which only causes the laughing girl to cackle harder. Calves are her weak point too, apparently! Good to know?

In any case, I look back and forth between the bucking chief maid and her assailant, and, squinting at Koakuma in a mixture of annoyance and blessed relief her plan wasn't worse, say "You're going to tickle her into submission."

"Well, yes!" Her eyes narrow in kind, the two of us at a slit-eyed standoff as she pauses her assault and leaves Sakuya gasping for air. "...You weren't thinking of anything lewd, were you, Karin?"

My hands go slack just like my jaw as I stare at Koakuma, Sakuya's legs thumping against the bed once more. "What."

"In fact..." Koa gasps, holding her hands over her mouth. "You're the one who suggested we break in while she was showering!"

"Yes, but-" I say helplessly, before she cuts a hand through the air, her shock giving way to vigorous anger.

"This was all part of your plan, wasn't it!?" she says, holding clenched fists at her sides. "You wanted her naked!"

"So it was your idea!" Sakuya says accusatorily, flush with what I sincerely hope is outrage now that she's regained her breath. "I knew you were a pervert, Karin! Somehow I always knew!"

Before I can respond, Koakuma thrusts a trembling finger at my forehead, and I'm suddenly acutely aware of her height advantage. "You're the crazed sex-fiend! It all makes sense now!"

"Gods damn it, STOP," I snap, swatting her offending hand away. "You two are completely wrong!"

"You just wanted to see us without any clothes on!" Koakuma continues, lowering her hands and glowering at me with all the heat of hell to back her up. "That's why you had me 'distract' everyone!"

"You did what?" Sakuya asks, outrage temporarily on hold. "Why didn't I get to see it?"

"We just talked about this!" I say, holding my hands up by my face in exasperation, fingers bent into claws as I try to make sense of the maddening bounds of illogic that have lead these two women to such incredibly stupid conclusions. "I thought you were a succubus! I thought you'd be okay with it!"

"Which was just an excuse!" Koa inhales sharply, looking upon me with disgust. "Sakuya's right, you are a pervert!"

"Excuse me?!"" I say, reaching the limit of my patience as Koa huffs, folding her arms and turning to the door.

And then she side-eyes me, her scowl flipping into a satisfied smirk.

Oh, you little devil.

Sakuya, meanwhile, is fuming at her lack of attention, wriggling against her bindings as Koakuma glories in her victorious mischief against me.
_____

What do?

[X] Explain to Sakuya, in specific, gruesome detail, what Koakuma's done over the past week, ending with how all this was her idea. The dirty work was my doing, admittedly, but the kidnapping? That was all her idea, baby.

[X] Ha ha, Koa, you got me, good job, now back to work. I don't care what I have to bribe you with, but come on.

[X] Nope. I'm done. I've had enough problems with this debacle already, I'll let Koa sort it out. Hell take me when she's done, but I don't care any more.

[X] [WRITE-IN]
>>No. 62076
[X] Explain to Sakuya, in specific, gruesome detail, what Koakuma's done over the past week, ending with how all this was her idea. The dirty work was my doing, admittedly, but the kidnapping? That was all her idea, baby.

Two can play at this game.
>>No. 62077
[X] Play along.

This is what you call 'neglect play,' isn't it?
>>No. 62078
[X] Play along.
>>62077 has it.
>>No. 62079
[X] Explain to Sakuya, in specific, gruesome detail, what Koakuma's done over the past week, ending with how all this was her idea. The dirty work was my doing, admittedly, but the kidnapping? That was all her idea, baby.
>>No. 62080
[X] Explain to Sakuya, in specific, gruesome detail, what Koakuma's done over the past week, ending with how all this was her idea. The dirty work was my doing, admittedly, but the kidnapping? That was all her idea, baby.
>>No. 62081
[X] Explain, in gruesome detail...

OUTPLAYED.
>>No. 62083
[X] Play along.

Koa's plans continue to be ridiculous.
And to actually work with ridiculous effectiveness.
Why cut it short now when we can let her go all the way, and either prevail against all odds or flame out even more gloriously?
>>No. 62084
[X] Explain to Sakuya, in specific, gruesome detail, what Koakuma's done over the past week, ending with how all this was her idea. The dirty work was my doing, admittedly, but the kidnapping? That was all her idea, baby.
>>No. 62085
[X] Play along.

Sakuya sounds like she's immensely pent up.
>>No. 62089
[X] Play along.

Why does the shower knife sound so familiar?

Though I can live with Karin/Koa
>>No. 62094
It may be a tie, but you know what? I can work with this. Consider it CALLED for playing along and ruthlessly exposing Koa's own misdeeds. These may not sound compatible, but I'll find a way!
>>No. 62108
File 143715108649.jpg - (200.96KB, 842x595, this has been a terrible day.jpg) [iqdb]
62108
I take a deep, shuddering breath, clasping my hands over my mouth and nose and running them down my face, the feeling of cold metal against skin calming me; a necessary step for what I'm about to do.

"All right," I say, exhaling. "Okay. I'm a pervert. I admit it, even."

Koa blinks, her little smile freezing in place. "Eh?"

"You know, I actually really enjoyed it when you were watching me;" I say, smiling faintly. "The attention was nice, you know? The hugs- well, those aren't unappreciated either. Flowers?" I gesture at the pile. "Why, there's so many I don't even know what to do with them all!" Sakuya's expression falls to one of confusion as she glances between me and Koa, which means this plan is probably working, so I continue. "My favorite parts are when I'm just standing around and feel you breathing on me, though. That's- ooh, that's always nice."

Koa's eyes widen as my plan hits her, and she mouths a horrified 'No,' at me, slowly shaking her head.

I ignore her. "Oh, and when you came up with this plan to grab Sakuya, well, how could I refuse? I always knew you had your eye on her."

Sakuya's brows furrow. "What."

"But..." I tap a finger contemplatively against my chin, eyes drifting upwards as I think. "When you said you had ideas on how to persuade her, I'll admit I was hoping for something a bit more... well, exotic."

"That's on you!" Koa hastily declares, wheeling about to face me properly. "It's because you're-"

"-the huge pervert who just so happened to screw Nia in here and not you," I say.

Koa's last remaining scraps of calm shatter, the corner of her mouth quirked up in a disbelieving smile as her jaw hangs open, eyelids twitching like she's got something stuck in them.

"Y'what?" Sakuya asks, eyes alight with interest strong enough to distract her from her predicament, although frankly at this point I'm thinking anything even remotely racey would do that.

"You remember my last big obstacle course?" I say, smiling sweetly at Koa. "She helped me back to my room, since I was all sorts of torn up. And from there-" I press my palms against my cheeks, flutter my eyelashes, and generally put on maximum charm. "Oh, God, her fingers."

"Hawhahwhahwaha?" Koa babbles, looking like she's about to cry, but I feel no guilt this time, y'rotten traitor.

Not that I have much time to dwell on that when my door's flung open with a scream of "LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!" as Nia charges in, hands outstretched and aimed for my throat, face cherry-red and twisted up in a mixture of outrage and utter embarrassment.

I sidestep and spin, leaving her to dive past and faceplant on the carpet. "She's so easily embarrassed," I say, dedicated to keeping the act up despite any potential fallout. "But you wouldn't know it if she had her eyes on you!"

Koakuma's clamped her hands over her nose and mouth in abject horror, while Sakuya looks, ah, enchanted is one way to put it.

"IhateyouIhateyouIhateyoudiediedie-" Nia rambles, before I scoop her up and wrap an arm around her shoulders, pinning her against my side despite her best attempts to break loose.

"She's really vulgar, too!" I say, tilting my head towards the girl in question. "You should've heard the swearing when I turned the tables on her!"

"I wish I did!" Sakuya says, biting her lower lip as she looks the both of us over.

"Whyyyyyyyyy?" Nia asks, unable to tear loose from the powerhug I've got her in.

I reach over with my other hand and ruffle her hair while shooting a megawatt smile at Sakuya. "Oh, and that was just the first time! What do you think I've been having her do ever since she started tagging along with me?"

"Why you do this?" Nia weeps. I think I've given this poor girl permanent brain damage, but now that I've gone too far, my only option is to keep going and see what happens.

"She certainly keeps me up at night, lemme tell you!" I continue, shaking Nia about even as she sobs incoherently. Koakuma starts vibrating in place, a high-pitched whine slipping through her fingers as her eyes flick between me and my captive, while Sakuya's sucked her lips in and is eying Nia up with unhealthy intentions. I figure now's a good time to let go, and Nia immediately dives for the relative cover of the flower-pile to bury herself and her shame.

"I-" Koa squeaks, eyelids fluttering rapidly as she tries to make sense of this latest, soul-destroying (from her point-of-view) development. "I- I-"

"-want her," Sakuya says, eyes drifting upward as her mind wanders off on a fantastically dirty voyage. "Oooh, yes."

"Too bad!" I say, all my false cheer gone in a blink. "Because I made everything about Nia up just now!"

Koa drops to her knees, hands clasped below her bowed head. "Oh, God, thank you," she prays.

Sakuya's eyes have glazed over as she mutters things I'm not sure I want to hear, and I get this sinking feeling she's completely cut off from the rest of the world right now. Still, I hold up a hand in Koa's direction. "Sakuya? Everything I said about her was absolutely true."

"Oh, God, damn you," Koa continues, still in that same reverent tone.

Much as I feared, Sakuya is so lost in her own mind that it's only when I clap my hands together, metal rattling against metal, that she's jarred from her reverie. I cut off the imminent tirade with "The part with Koa was true, but I lied about Nia."

All the heat goes out of her eyes as she screws them shut. She takes a shallow, shaky breath through clenched teeth, then another, and her legs are trembling faintly.

"... Sakuya?" I ask, as she tries to control her breathing. "Did- did you hear me?"

"Aaaaaaaagh!" Sakuya all but screams, and I absolutely did not jump, no sir. "Yes! Yes, I did! Why do you have to ruin everything?"

"But-" I start.

"I don't care!" Her voice is cracking when her eyes open again, and the glare she directs my way is no less frightening through the tears. "I'm tied to a bed and no one is doing anything but talk and talk and talk! I- I swear to you, if I don't get out of this without something nice to make up for all the punches to the face, I'm going to hurt you and I am not going to stop, do you understand?"

I made Sakuya so angry she's crying. "Amazing," I whisper, staring at the tantruming woman in awe; I'm witnessing history right now, and years later, when some fresh face at the mansion asks if Sakuya's really as perfect as she seems, I'll be one of the few people who can tell the story of the unflappable chief maid losing her mind.

"Screw you!" Sakuya replies, tears streaming down her face from a mixture of rage and long-seated, aching frustration as she tries her damnedest to wriggle free. "I'm completely at your mercy and you still can't manage to molest me properly!"

"... Sorry," I say, feeling a bit out of my depth here. "But if it's any consolation, Koa can fix that for you right quick!"

For the first time since she fell to her knees, Koa looks up and whispers "No."

"Excuse me?" I ask, metaphorical rug pulled from under my feet.

Koa sniffs, looking away from me in disdain. "You've got the nerve to tell me to do something after that stunt you just pulled? Really?"

"Oh-kay..." I turn to Nia, who's a pair of eyes peeking out from within the safety of her flower fort. "What about-"

"Go directly to hell!" she screeches, receding into the pile until the only sign of her presence is an odd lump.

Ah. I've alienated all my allies.

Grand.
__________

[X] SAKUYA, I'LL GIVE YOU THE BEST DAMN MASSAGE YOU'VE EVER HAD, YOU SEXUAL LUNATIC

[X] Koa, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, please just- do the thing! I'll give you whatever you want so long as I DON'T HAVE TO TOUCH HER

[X] Maybe I should try this 'neglect play' thing I've heard about. Sakuya's already mad, after all; it's not like things can get much worse from here.

[X] [WRITE-IN]
>>No. 62109
[X] I'll take them both, I'm hardcore

disappointed Sakuya and Koa? I see an easy way to solve this!
>>No. 62111
[x] Massage time it is
-[x] Koa too if she feels up to it.
--[x] Hell, I'll take all three on, I'm hardcore

If we neglect her even more she's going to kill everyone in the room. And we have to make it up to Koa. And to Ms not-really-molested too.

A lot of massages are the only way we can savage this trainwreck. Thank God she is a trained soldier: I'd die halfway through. Even more so if certain maid decides that it isn't enough.
>>No. 62112
[x] Massage time it is
-[x] Koa too if she feels up to it.
--[x] Hell, I'll take all three on, I'm hardcore

Onwards to /at/!
>>No. 62113
[x] Massage time it is
-[x] Koa too if she feels up to it.
--[x] Hell, I'll take all three on, I'm hardcore

That went well.
Gang-bang it, Hina!
>>No. 62114
[x] Massage time it is
-[x] Koa too if she feels up to it.
--[x] Hell, I'll take all three on, I'm hardcore

Wasn't expecting things to go quite that terribly.
>>No. 62115
[x] Massage time it is
-[x] Koa too if she feels up to it.
--[x] Hell, I'll take all three on, I'm hardcore

We'll probably have to apologize to Nia eventually. Grudgingly. Or we could take those lies and give them some truth. For now, though, massages all around.
>>No. 62116
[x] Massage time it is
-[x] Koa too if she feels up to it.
--[x] Hell, I'll take all three on, I'm hardcore

Sad thing is, you're never gonna let the actual Karin/Nia erotica you wrote see the light of day, are you Sights?
>>No. 62118
[x] Massage time it is
-[x] Koa too if she feels up to it.
--[x] Hell, I'll take all three on, I'm hardcore

Never surrender.
>>No. 62119
[x] Massage time it is
-[x] Koa too if she feels up to it.
--[x] Hell, I'll take all three on, I'm hardcore

And in case we haven't forgotten, we're trying to get Sakuya back to work.

So...

---[X] Offer to make it a regular thing. Once a week or something.

Nothing takes the edge off of over-worked maids like a good massage.

Or a trip to /at/, but either can occur with this option.
>>No. 62122
...well, I'd say that went reeeaaaaly well.

Let's hope massages are enough to ease the tension.
[x] Massage time it is
-[x] Koa too if she feels up to it.
--[x] Hell, I'll take all three on, I'm hardcore

And I agree.
---[X] Offer to make it a regular thing. Once a week or something.

Maybe this will eventually bring us /at/ material.
>>No. 62140
Utterly glorious

[x] Massage time it is
-[x] Koa too if she feels up to it.
--[x] Hell, I'll take all three on, I'm hardcore
>>No. 62142
[x] Massage time it is
-[x] Koa too if she feels up to it.
--[x] Hell, I'll take all three on, I'm hardcore

>>62119
>>62122
>Wanting Clear Sights to write more porn
I can taste the fat jokes already.
>>No. 62143
>>62119
>And in case we haven't forgotten, we're trying to get Sakuya back to work.

I'll be honest. I completely forgot.

[x] Massage time it is
-[x] Koa too if she feels up to it.
--[x] Hell, I'll take all three on, I'm hardcore
---[X] Offer to make it a regular thing. Once a week or something.
>>No. 62145
>>62142
>I can taste the fat jokes already.

Is there anything you wouldn't taste, you faggot whale?

(updates where)
>>No. 62148
File 143889840824.jpg - (417.02KB, 800x1200, THINGS ARE LOOKING UP.jpg) [iqdb]
62148
"...All right, you sexual lunatics," I mutter, working my knuckles over as a solution offers itself to me. "Sakuya, guess what? You're getting a massage."

Sakuya's tears are slowing down, but that doesn't stop her from eyeing me in suspicion. "You're just making that up!"

"Not in the least! Koakuma!" I point a finger at her, too. "You're also getting a massage!"

"Ooooh!" Koa coos, much more excited at the prospect.

"Hey!" Sakuya snaps. "No! I go first!"

"I only have so many hands, so fair enough!" I say, ignoring Koa's scowl as I turn to the hoard of flowers. "Nia? You're-"

The flowers shift just enough to reveal bulging eyes. "You should die."

"-not getting a massage, just for that," I say, working on removing my gauntlets.

"Fuck you."

"You'd like that, wouldn't you?" I say.

"Sluuuuuuuuuuuuuut," she drawls, fading into the pile once again.

While I want to strangle her for that comment, I'll save it for later, since I just finished removing my steel fists. I drop them and flex my fingers, the air cool on my hands after their stay in the warm confines of the gauntlets, and it occurs to me that the problem with massages is I have no idea how to give one. I've already committed to it, though, and I really, really need to make Sakuya happy unless I want to spend a month being stabbed in the brain.

There are... downsides to resurrective immortality, it is true.

I get on my knees at the foot of the bed, unable to tear my eyes away from Sakuya's trembling legs. "So, uh, fair warning, I haven't done this much," I say, fingers hovering over her feet. "Mostly I just throw people through walls."

"Oh, just hurry the fuaaaaah!" Sakuya gasps as I grab a foot and press my thumbs into the sole.

"Um," I say, freezing up. "You're- really sensitive, aren't you?

"That's it," Koa grimly declares, laying her hands on my shoulders. "You are no longer allowed to touch other women."

I'm fairly certain my neck cracks as I crane around to glare at Koa. "Get the fuck out of here or I'll never touch you."

Her displeasure morphs into terror. "Understood!" She flees the room with alacrity, flinging the door open as she goes. This just leaves the other hanger-on in the room.

"Nia?" I say, watching her hideout from the corner of my eye. "That goes for you too."

On cue, there's a rustling of flowers and a venomous "I won't do what you tell me!"

"How about I break your spine?"

"I won't let you do that either!" The flowers explode upwards as she launches from of them and escapes the room, slamming the door shut on her way out.

This leaves me alone. With Sakuya. A lady who's quivering so much I'd be forgiven for thinking she'd just been caught out in a snowstorm.

"So..." I say, hesitantly pressing my thumbs into a few different spots on her foot - everyhere I touch gets another little shudder from Sakuya. "I take it this is working for you?"

"I could get by with anything at this point," she says, frustration present but ebbing from her tone.

"That's just depressing," I say, sadly shaking my head.

She huffs, and I can just imagine the pout on her lips. "Don't think you're that good! You just caught me at a bad time!"

"Your bad time is all the time, Sakuya," I say, and on a whim I grab both her big toes and start gently rotating them. The contented sigh I get in response is proof I'm on the right track. "Seriously, I had no idea you were so pent up. Everyone just thought you were naturally kind of psychotic."

There's a brief pause before she speaks, her voice cold. "Like you care."

"I do- okay, I'm just curious," I admit, working my way down her toes as I speak. "If you're this pent-up, why don't you just visit Meiling? I'm sure she'd be more than happy to, ah, help you relax."

"N-no!" she says, and I crack a smile at her reaction. "There's no way that could work! A-and besides- oh, just shut up! And enough with the feet already, Koakuma worked those over just fine!"

"All right, all right," I say, letting go as I hover upright. With the benefit of reach, I'm able to wrap my hands around both sides of her right leg. "How about this?"

I lift her leg up far as it'll go (about forty-five degrees, with the rope limiting her and everything), and start kneading her calf upwards. That's a good idea, right? Judging by the pleased little sigh from her, apparently so.

Back in her good graces for the moment, I figure now's a good time to continue my earlier inquiry. "Well, like I was saying, I'm sure Meiling likes you!" For reasons beyond my understanding, admittedly.

Sakuya thumps her other leg hard against the bed. "Not like that, damn it!" Her tone grows melancholy. "...Even if I wish sometimes it was."

I stop, shooting her an inquisitive look. "Getting awful personal here, aren't you?"

"Yes, but on the other hand?" Her brows arch as she looks down at herself, then up at me. "You are feeling me up right now."

"...This doesn't count," I say, ducking my head to make sure she can't see me blushing. "Anyway, I wasn't entirely seriously before, but... Really? You've got something for Meiling, huh?"

I can't see her expression, but if I had to guess from her voice, she's smiling. "Well, she's always been nice to me. And she's not an idiot like all the fairies. No offense."

"Some taken." Not that I'm in any position to be annoyed with her after everything I've done today, let's be real. "Have you ever considered Patchouli instead?"

"Her?" Sakuya's practically dripping disbelief, which is a pretty impressive feat to pull off with one word.

I blink, swapping to her other leg. "It's just an idea. I mean, she's"-haughty and brilliant and vicious and-"surprisingly pretty, you know? Although how she manages that when practically her every waking moment is spent in a chair is beyond me."

"Eh." Sakuya shrugs. "I always thought she had chemistry with Marisa, personally."

Now it's my turn to balk as I look up at her. "You're joking."

"Not at all!" she says, nodding earnestly. "They're both huge nerds, for one, although I doubt Marisa would see it that way. And they're both really good at blasting people!"

"I'm pretty sure that Patchouli would scorch Marisa into ash if it weren't murder."

"That might strain the relationship, yes," Sakuya dryly remarks, and I can't help but smile just a little in response.

I'm surprised by how... how natural this is all starting to feel, and then it hits me that I'm gossiping with Sakuya after I punched and kidnapped her and she's absolutely fine with it. I don't know whether that's a compliment for my heretofore untested skills as a masseuse, or if it's just another piece of evidence on the long, long list of why Sakuya is a horrifically repressed maniac.

Probably the latter.

Interrupting my idle thoughts is my hand brushing up against the coarse rope; I've hit the limits of what I can do to her legs with it still attached.

Right. Now's as good a time as any, I guess.

"Ah?" Sakuya says, more confused than displeased. "Why'd you stop?"

"Sakuya," I say, frowning in thought. "I'm doing a good job of this so far, right?"

"I'd like it more if you moved your hands up a bit further."

"For Heaven's sake, woman, I don't mean like that. Besides, I'm pretty sure Koa would do horrible, terrible things to me if I did, and I know she's still right outside the door."

Sakuya responds with an overloud, entirely deliberate moan, and immediately there's a solid thump at my door.

"Sakuya?" I say through a grit-teeth smile. "Do that again and I will throw you in the closet and leave you there."

She gives this threat due consideration. "I would be okay with this."

"Gods, give me strength," I mutter, letting go of her leg so I can fold my arms together, and she damn well pouts when I let go. "Anyway, I don't think this would be a healthy time and place to vent those urges." Also you kind of scare me, I barely restrain myself from adding.

She huffs, shutting her eyes and looking away like the mere sight of me is a blight upon the world. "Don't act like you can tell me what to do."

"I'm- oh, forget it. What I was actually getting at was..." Oh, hell, here goes nothing. "Well, how'd you feel if I made this a weekly thing? No distractions, no Koakuma being all weird, just- just us. Does that sound good?"

Sakuya cracks an eye open, watching me from the corner. "...What are you getting at?"

"You'd have to come back to the library, for one," I say.

"Nngh," she grunts, shutting her eye again.

"Hey, Patchouli's been better since I smacked the stupid out of her!" I say. "Anyway, the second thing is I want you to promise you won't do anything to Koa or Nia or me in revenge for everything we just pulled."

Sakuya impatiently taps her toes against the bed. "Fine, fine, but do I at least get an apology?"

I clasp my hands together and bow my head, packing all the sincerity I can into what I'm about to say. "Sakuya, I'm so, so sorry about everything that happened today, especially the shower raid and the repeated physical assaults and the kidnapping and breaking your door. I and everyone else involved was an idiot."

"You broke my what?" she asks, eyes opening just enough that she can glare at me through the slits.

"I'll fix it, pro-bono," I say, wanting to head that problem off before it starts. "You know I'm good for it."

"You'd better be." She sighs, eyebrows creasing as she thinks that over. "I suppose that's as good as I can hope for," she says, opening her eyes fully and giving me a stern look. "But I've got a condition myself!"

I don't say anything, merely folding my arms again as I wait apprehensively for her to continue.

"I want you every day," she says. My door thumps once again at Sakuya's peculiar choice of phrasing, but we both do our best to ignore it. "Just for the first week," she adds. "Take it or leave it."

Could be worse. "Agreed. I'll let Patchouli know it's part of our deal." I take a deep breath. "Now I'm going to untie you, all right? If you were lying, and you try to run or stab me or something, that's it, you can go back to being all pent-up and frustrated and lonely and say goodbye to those visits I'm offering. If you don't..." I smile faintly. "Well, I haven't even gotten past your knees yet."

Her lips press together into a thin line, a faint blush on her cheeks. "...Okay."

My smile widens, mostly in relief that I've (probably, the paranoid part of my brain reminds me) escaped horrific pain at Sakuya's hands through the power of my own. Maybe I should branch out my services? Captain by day, massage therapist by night; I'd need a new closet just for all the money.

I grab the first loop of rope and, with a bit of effort, snap it in half. It's easy enough to repeat the process for the next few lines, but soon I'm obliged to get on the bed on my hands and knees, the better to actually reach the rest of the rope. The fact that this has me practically straddling Sakuya was entirely unintentional.

Even if she is cute when she's completely at my AWAY WITH YOU, EVIL THOUGHTS, YOU'LL FIND NO HOME HERE.

"Now," I say after snapping the last rope, willing myself to stay focused on the mission as Sakuya trembles with barely-restrained anticipation, the blanket clinging tightly to her body in all sorts of interesting places. "Let us begin."

Sakuya giggles.

My door thu-thu-thumps.

-----

It's half an hour later when I exit my room, my cheeks radiating enough heat to rival a furnace, and the moment I step out is when Koa launches into me.

"What did you do what did you do WHAT DID YOU DO," she says, wild-eyed as she shakes me by my shoulders. "Why is she still in there?!"

"Well, she fell asleep, for one," I say, determined to ignore the shaking. "And two, I got her to come back."

Koa stops jerking me around. From the look on her face, I'd think she hadn't heard that last word. "At what cost?" she asks, every word weighed down by doom itself, her whole body quivering in horror as she stares down at me.

Wow. I thought I was tall, but she's putting those extra inches on me to good use.

"You have no one to blame for refusing to help me but yourself," I say, frowning at her. "Now my hands are going to be on her every day."

Koa emits a sort of rattling wheeze, and her eyes roll up to the back of her head before she topples over.

I stare at her twitching body in muted fascination. "...I guess your turn'll have to wait until later, huh?"
__________

Success!

Koakuma is seething with jealousy!

Sakuya is finally relaxing a little!

Patchouli really does not want to know what deal Karin brokered with Sakuya!

Nia is plotting horrible vengeance upon Karin!

Karin grows sick of the rampant insanity surrounding her!
__________

What happens now?

[X] There is absolutely no way Meiling is nearly as crazy as the rest of these idiots, right? A fight with her can't go badly, right?

[X] Flandre's roaming the mansion in search of excitement. STOP HER.

[X] Remilia, for all her awesome power, is impotent when it comes to finding her chupacabra. Maybe she could use a hand?

[X] Aw, hell, it's time for another diplomatic visit from those 'Coalition' weirdos, which means one jackass in particular is coming over too. Keeping Patchouli from murdering him is going to be just lovely.

I ended Karin's time with Sakuya there because the scene was starting to drag on. I may or may not write the skipped part as a bonus interlude.
>>No. 62149
[X] Aw, hell, it's time for another diplomatic visit from those 'Coalition' weirdos, which means one jackass in particular is coming over too. Keeping Patchouli from murdering him is going to be just lovely.

I am now reminded that the echo dog won the Beer Gut Bowl and not Meiling. Sadness.
>>No. 62150
[X] Remilia, for all her awesome power, is impotent when it comes to finding her chupacabra. Maybe she could use a hand?
>>No. 62151
>>62149
Meiling had her time to shine. Echodog did not.

And speaking of people whom had their spotlight at some point or another...

[x] Remi option

Belmonymous how I miss thee.
>>No. 62153
Hmm. Sakuya route is looking nicer, though I'm still holding out for Nia route.

On-topic, I can't help but think that the longer we put off dealing with Flan, the more terrifying the consequences will be. Therefore...

[X] Remilia, for all her awesome power, is impotent when it comes to finding her chupacabra. Maybe she could use a hand?

Let that pot of madness continue to simmer. Also, think of the poor, lost chupacabra.
>>No. 62154
File 143891741921.jpg - (279.21KB, 700x700, 0ebda1083efbfbbd5a86c50f3d4f2e19.jpg) [iqdb]
62154
>>62151
>caring about less interesting Awooo
>>No. 62155
File 143891768721.jpg - (109.48KB, 850x1258, sample-715c145c97371861d0f7bf2a08974143.jpg) [iqdb]
62155
>>62154
>less interesting Awooo

Best doge already has her story so... yeah
>>No. 62156
[X] There is absolutely no way Meiling is nearly as crazy as the rest of these idiots, right? A fight with her can't go badly, right?

Please write the skipped part.
>>No. 62157
「X」 Remilia Option
requesting a bountiful serving of juicy skippped scenes~
>>No. 62158
[X] Remilia, for all her awesome power, is impotent when it comes to finding her chupacabra. Maybe she could use a hand?

I'm curious to see if Remi's charisma holds up better than the usual fragile charisma usually given her.
>>No. 62159
[X] Remilia, for all her awesome power, is impotent when it comes to finding her chupacabra. Maybe she could use a hand?
>>No. 62160
[X] Remilia, for all her awesome power, is impotent when it comes to finding her chupacabra. Maybe she could use a hand?
>>No. 62161
[X] Aw, hell, it's time for another diplomatic visit from those 'Coalition' weirdos, which means one jackass in particular is coming over too. Keeping Patchouli from murdering him is going to be just lovely. 
>>No. 62162
[X] Remilia, for all her awesome power, is impotent when it comes to finding her chupacabra. Maybe she could use a hand?

Chupa, shake!

I'd love to see the skipped scenes.
>>No. 62163
[X] There is absolutely no way Meiling is nearly as crazy as the rest of these idiots, right? A fight with her can't go badly, right?

Token Meiling vote.
>>No. 62164
>>62148
[X] Aw, hell, it's time for another diplomatic visit from those 'Coalition' weirdos, which means one jackass in particular is coming over too. Keeping Patchouli from murdering him is going to be just lovely.
I'm sorry, I just find way too much entertainment in Khornate Sorcerer.
>>No. 62165
[X] Aw, hell, it's time for another diplomatic visit from those 'Coalition' weirdos, which means one jackass in particular is coming over too. Keeping Patchouli from murdering him is going to be just lovely.

It's time for a big vote.
>>No. 62166
[X] There is absolutely no way Meiling is nearly as crazy as the rest of these idiots, right? A fight with her can't go badly, right?

Meiling goes in every field
>>No. 62167
>>62166
>Not using Meiling#Meiling

ONE JOB.
ONE. JOB.
>>No. 62168
>>62167
fffffffffffff
>>No. 62169
[X] There is absolutely no way Meiling is nearly as crazy as the rest of these idiots, right? A fight with her can't go badly, right?
>>No. 62170
[X] Remilia, for all her awesome power, is impotent when it comes to finding her chupacabra. Maybe she could use a hand?

Disregard wenches, acquire chupacabra.
>>No. 62172
[X] Remilia, for all her awesome power, is impotent when it comes to finding her chupacabra. Maybe she could use a hand?
>>No. 62173
[X] Remilia, for all her awesome power, is impotent when it comes to finding her chupacabra. Maybe she could use a hand?
>>No. 62179
[X] Remilia, for all her awesome power, is impotent when it comes to finding her chupacabra. Maybe she could use a hand?

Chupacabras!
>>No. 62352
File 144365659871.jpg - (383.92KB, 1461x2091, what sorcery is responsible for two koakumas.jpg) [iqdb]
62352
Everything is, for once, normal around the library, which is why I immediately twigged to something being wrong when I saw Koakuma A) not watching my every move and B) sporting hair down to her waist, which I'm pretty sure is impossible for her to have grown back in the one day since I've seen her. This is cause enough for me to pursue her through the aisles and flag her down; she stops when I call for her to hold up, looking over her shoulder at me in confusion.

“Yes?” she asks, turning to face me properly, hands folded behind her back. “Is there something I can help you with?”

Oh, now I know something's wrong. “Koa?” I say, watching her apprehensively in case she's, like, a body-snatcher or something. “How did you grow your hair out so quickly?”

“I... never cut it?” she says, cocking her head. “And how do you know my name?”

Okay, that settles it, something's wrong here. “Ma'am,” I say, losing the casual attitude as I watch her for any sudden moves. “Who are you?”

“Ah, Karin!” Koakuma says from behind me?

I sidestep and half turn to face her, keeping the other Koakuma in my field of vision, and the newcomer is – yep, short hair, snazzy dress sense, the works – probably the real one.

“Koa?” I say, glancing back and forth between her and the confused imposter. “Why are there two of you?”

My Koa spreads her hands. “What, you didn't know about my sister?”

There are many questions I could ask here, but I settle for the obvious. “You have a sister?”

“I am great at hiding!” Koa-2 (that's what I'm going to refer to her as now) says, giving me a snappy salute. “Also, Lady Patchouli summoned me up just yesterday, so there's that. Nice to meet you, uh, Karin?”

She extends her saluting hand, and despite my misgivings I shuffle over to her and shake it. “Nice to meet you too?”

“I know, right?” She giggles. “Hey, hey, c'mere, lean in for a sec, would you?”

I don't know what I'm expecting as I lean in, but when Koa-2 matches me, breath hot on my ear, I can't help but feel nervous.

“You really are an idiot,” she whispers, and then she bites a chunk out of my neck.

Just like that, I'm awake and everything's dark and there is something chewing on me and I can't dislodge it AAAAAAAAAAAAA–

“GEDDITOFFGEDDITOFF-” I screech, flailing around wildly as I roll around, trying to rip this goddamn thing off my neck. I roll sideways, tangling myself up in my blanket even as I tumble out of bed, smashing my forehead on my bedside table on the way down, that jolt of dull pain so welcome on top of the monster sawing through my neck.

Finally managing to free my arms from the blankety hell they were trapped in, I start punching blindly at my attacker; it only takes a few hits, each one punctuated by a muffled squeak, before it gets the message and lets go. Even in the darkness, I can see its beady little red eyes glowing as it draws back. Whatever move it had in mind is stopped when I grab it somewhere just below those eyes – it's thin, so probably its neck – and it responds with a choking rasp.

“Get the fuck out!” I scream, and then I pitch it through my bedroom's open door.

My eyes might still be adjusting to the dark, but I didn't hear my attacker slam into the walls in here, so I count that throw as a success. My body still shaking from this adrenaline dump, my neck slick with blood, and a home invasion just thwarted by my pitching arm, I think now's a good time to turn my lamp on. It takes some fumbling in the dark to get it, but I manage to find my lamp's pull chain and give it a yank, a click heralding the dullish-yellow light that fills my bedroom.

Gods be good, this is one hell of a way to get woken up.

I have just enough time to take notice of all the blood on my nightgown (aw, damn it, the silk's all torn) and blanket and bed and everything else when Sakuya appears in the doorway in nothing more than a scanty blue chemise, looking both extremely concerned and very dangerous with that knife in hand.

“I came as soon as I could!” she says, storming inside before I can fob her off with excuses. “You're- goodness, you're bleeding!”

“Really?” I say, scowling at her as I try and fail to avoid getting blood on everything. I finish disentangling myself from my bedding and pull myself up with the help of my nightstand. “I'll be fine, this'll heal up in no-” I wince, pressing a hand against my neck to try and stem the flow. “Ngh, no time at all. Let's just get after that freaking- what was that?”

“What was what?” Sakuya says, glancing over her shoulder. “I didn't see anything when I got here.”

“I just threw it outside!” I say. “How could you miss it? Its eyes were glowing!”

“Oh, it's Tupai,” Sakuya says, biting down on her lower lip. She's in front of me before I can protest, peering worriedly at my neck. “Enough about him, Karin, you're- you're losing a lot of blood.”

“I noticed, thank you,” I say, and if she's bothered by my acidic tone she doesn't show it. “Now why don't you just stop time and go get him? I'll keep.”

“Oh, shut up and hold still,” she says, and I think better of talking back as she glares at me. I shuffle out of her way, sagging against the wall as she grabs some of my bloody sheets and cuts out several long strips.

“What is with Remi's frickin' pets?” I ask, shaking my head. “Didn't she have that thing locked up?”

“He broke out,” Sakuya says, and that's all the explanation I get before she's back on me. She stuffs her knife into the frilly band wrapped around her thigh, then presents her improvised bandages. “Now lean forward and let go, I'll make this quick.” I oblige her, and in a few quick movements Sakuya gets the bedding wrapped tightly around my neck. She steps back, critically eyeing up her work, then nods. “You should be fine.”

“Okay, that's handled, moving on,” I say, shoving off the wall. “To reiterate; why did you not go after-”

Sakuya folds her arms and cocks her head just so, looking at me like I'm some sort of imbecile. “If it was as easy as just grabbing him while time was stopped, don't you think I'd have gotten him already?”

“To be entirely fair,” I say, “I have no idea how your thing works.”

“Well, I can't affect anything alive unless I'm already touching it when everything stops.” She shrugs. “I don't know why, but then again, I don't know how I can stop time, either, so there you go.”

“Fascinating,” I say, and gesture past her. “But we're burning time here, so let's go!”

Before I can take another step, Koakuma springs into view in my doorway wearing something very brief, clutching a doorstopper of a book as a weapon. She opens her mouth to say something, then clicks it shut as she gets a good look at the chaos that is my room.

Of course I have to seize the chance to speak first. “You took this long to get here and you couldn't even put a shirt on?”

That does its intended purpose of cutting her off as she looks down at her lack of dress. “I- that doesn't matter!” she says, red-faced when she looks back up at me. “What does is that you're hurt! What even happened in here? What's she doing here?” That last one is directed at Sakuya, whose eyes narrow at Koa's accusatory tone.

“Helping her faster than you did,” Sakuya retorts, and Koakuma's eyeballs just about pop out of their sockets.

“Both of you shut up,” I say. “We've got-”

A shrill scream faintly echoes from outside, followed by an uproar of what sounds like practically every last fairy in the mansion.

“The damn thing just hit the maid quarters!” I snap. “After it!”

I practically bowl Koakuma over as I barrel out of my room and take flight towards the many, many shrieks and wails and other noises of fairy distress.

-----

I'm the first to breach the fairy barracks and run straight into bedlam; there's a horde of fairies up in arms, all a-hollering as something small and hairless tears through the room and bites everyone who doesn't get flying.

A little redheaded fairy, whose name I struggle to place at the moment, is the latest victim of the rodent's rampage, seeing as it just jumped on her face. She's currently headbutting the walls with admirable gusto, and Tupai evidently decides that she's too much trouble and leaps off, latching onto the leg of a different girl flying overhead.

“I'm not done with you!” Eloshi – that's her name! – screeches, managing all of a step after the chupacabra before her cranial trauma hits her and her face meets the floor.

“What a mess,” Sakuya says, sidling up next to me with her knife in hand as Tupai's new ride frantically tries to shake him off.

“I'll say!” Koa adds, taking up my other flank; she apparently took my earlier words to heart, given how she stole one of my button-up shirts that's, alas, a few sizes too small for her. She must've decided to just save herself the trouble of trying to button it, since the front is hanging open. Normally that'd be worth my attention, but right now I'm just watching in horror as Tupai bounces from fairy to fairy, leaving me to wonder just how the hell I'm supposed to catch him.
__________

[X] This room needs all the fairies cleared out if I'm gonna have any chance of catching that chupacabra, and danmaku is a time-honored way of doing so.

[X] I'm (theoretically) in command of this mob, so maybe I can organize them and get some help with baiting this pest?

[X] I might just be able to use this confusion to my advantage; while Tupai's distracted jumping on everyone else, he won't see me coming for him until it's too late.

[X] [WRITE-IN]
>>No. 62353
[X] This room needs all the fairies cleared out if I'm gonna have any chance of catching that chupacabra, and danmaku is a time-honored way of doing so.
AREA DENIAL IS GO
>>No. 62354
[X] I'm (theoretically) in command of this mob, so maybe I can organize them and get some help with baiting this pest?

The only way to counter this creature of chaos is with ORDER
>>No. 62356
[X] I'm (theoretically) in command of this mob, so maybe I can organize them and get some help with baiting this pest?

Order, ORDER I SAY!
>>No. 62361
[X] I might just be able to use this confusion to my advantage; while Tupai's distracted jumping on everyone else, he won't see me coming for him until it's too late.

>Normally that'd be worth my attention,
Hmmmmmmm
>>No. 62365
[X] I'm (theoretically) in command of this mob, so maybe I can organize them and get some help with baiting this pest?

So close to being a sexy slumber party, and yet painfully far.
>>No. 62366
[X] Boxed Tupai: Sakuya can't directly affect living things (unless she was touching them), but presumably she can stop time, put a reinforced container around Tupai, close it, and let time resume.
>>No. 62368
[X] I'm (theoretically) in command of this mob, so maybe I can organize them and get some help with baiting this pest?

As much as the box idea sounds perfectly sound and perfect...

... commanding fairies is always the fun option.
>>No. 62371
>>62366

Fool. No box can hold Tupai. His power far exceeds such mortal constraints.

[X] I'm (theoretically) in command of this mob, so maybe I can organize them and get some help with baiting this pest?
>>No. 62375
[x] Boxed Tupai: Sakuya can't directly affect living things (unless she was touching them), but presumably she can stop time, put a reinforced container around Tupai, close it, and let time resume.
>>No. 62376
[x] Boxed Tupai: Sakuya can't directly affect living things (unless she was touching them), but presumably she can stop time, put a reinforced container around Tupai, close it, and let time resume.
>>No. 62377
Man, all this problem for a simple Treeshrew? The SDM needs to man up
>>No. 62388
>>62377
It's not a tree shrew, though I understand your confusion. It's a chupacabra called Tupai.
>>No. 62389
File 144503462212.jpg - (509.10KB, 1000x1500, please be ignoring the second koa.jpg) [iqdb]
62389
“Sakuya?” I say, watching in deep sadness as Tupai rips through everything. “Out of curiosity, could you perhaps just get a box and drop it on him while time's stopped?”

“I've tried,” Sakuya says, her tone doubtful. “And then he just chewed straight through it, so.”

“But, assuming you could get us a tougher one-”

“It was a steel strongbox,” Sakuya says.

I consider the implications of this. “...But you can do it, right?”

Sakuya sucks in her lips, brows lifting until they're covered by her messy bangs, and I can't help but feel embarrassed as her icy blue eyes bore into my own.

She is, I notice, very good at making me feel like a moron. “Okay, okay, point taken.” I shake my head as the shrieks of terrorized fairies continue to assault us. “Now, this is going to get ugly. Can I trust you two to work with me here?”

The corner of Sakuya's mouth quirks up, and she twirls her little knife in a highly flashy and utterly unnecessary manner. “Of course.”

“You know it!” Koa says, hefting her doorstopping book once more.

“Good,” I say. I take a deep, deep breath, preparing myself for the action to come, and then I leap skyward with a battlecry of “GET THAT SON OF A BITCH!”

My shout gets everyone's eyes on me, Tupai's included, and that little bug-eyed creep squeals as he keeps jumping from fairy to fairy. Sakuya and Koakuma take a moment to twig to my strategy, such as it is, but they rush to catch up as I fly into the fray, skimming the tops of the bunk beds as I go.

“Oi!” I shout, capitalizing on my rapt audience before they get distracted again. “Close the exits! We can't let him get out of here!”

Whether it's because they actually respect my authority or if it's just how I'm one of the few here who isn't losing her mind, I don't know, but my words induce a ripple effect through the crowd; they're not exactly coordinated, but the air becomes a mass of bodies as any fairies not maimed by Tupai get moving towards the (oh gods why are there so many) doors leading out of the barracks.

“Allow me a moment!” Sakuya says, right before she blinks out of existence, flickering into being at a door far down the line before slamming it shut. As soon as one door is swinging closed, she flits on to the next, repeating the process.

Confident Sakuya's got lockdown handled, I direct my attentions to the rest of the issue, which is how I can't see where Tupai is with all the bodies in the air. Now I could have them all get down, but-

“Everyone who's not heading for a door, go as high as you can!” I bellow, relying on iron lungs to carry my message over the general yelling. It works, thankfully, even if it's a messy flight upwards; more than a few fairies get caught on each other on the way, and it's just a big mess all around, but at least it's becoming a more manageable mess.

Of course, I didn't account for Tupai figuring out where this was going and simply letting go of his latest ride, falling out of sight behind one of the many, many bunks scattered around the room.

“Aw, come on!” Koa says, vocalizing the irritation I feel as I make a hard turn for Tupai's landing zone. Before we reach it, though, a fairy plummets from the crowd, arms outstretched.

“I see you, bitch!” Nia shouts, and I have to give her points for initiative even as she slams into the ground behind a bunk. Any hope she might have caught Tupai is crushed when the friggin' parasitic rodent leaps up a moment later, Nia howling in displeasure as he escapes her grasp.

“Nia!” I say as I blow past her, hot on Tupai's trail. “Stick with me!”

I don't quite catch her reply, but I'm pretty sure it was some variety of obscenity.

“And to think you're attracted to her,” Koa says, shaking her head with a disapproving frown.

“That was a lie,” I grind out, but I don't have time to appropriately lambaste her before we're within spitting distance of Tupai. “You go low, I'll go ahead!”

Koa obeys, diving as I stay at my current level. I accelerate past her before spinning around and dropping, letting momentum carry me past Tupai, and I slam into the ground ahead of it as Koa comes in from behind, the two of us sandwiching him between a pair of bunks. Lacking any other options, he leaps at my face; my fist shoots out on reflex, and then he just kind of stops mid-flight and flies aside?

He can do that now?

I'm not given long to boggle at this before the more immediate issue of Koakuma rams into me, unable to arrest her momentum, and bowls us both over, leaving me flat on my back and (every last inch of) her flat on top of me, save her book currently pressed against my throat. Now maybe this wouldn't be such a bad situation if there wasn't, I dunno, a rampaging demon-rat-bastard-thing to catch, but-

Nia springs through the gap between bunk beds, sailing over Koa and myself with a shout of “Get up, you useless lesbians!”

She's through the other bunk and after Tupai before that remark sinks in for both Koa and myself, and the blushing devil rolls off me with the quickness, straightening herself out as I pull myself up with the aid of a bed.

Judging by the path Nia's blazing, Tupai's already scurried quite the distance. Sakuya is still slamming doors, there's an armada of fairies above me that aren't doing much of anything, and an idea hits.

“What are the rest of you waiting for?” I yell, waving my arms at Nia. “He's over there! Get him!”

There's a moment's pause before everyone dives in the same direction at once... with painfully uncoordinated results, slamming into each other and the beds and pretty much everything except the general area around Nia and Tupai, the former putting up a valiant effort to catch him and failing utterly.

I don't know what I expected, really.

“Just hold the doors!” Sakuya calls out, her orders overriding mine (not that I mind in this case, because it works), and the fairies not splayed out over beds or each other flee for the exits, content to let the higher-rankers run themselves ragged chasing after Tupai, and speaking of which I really should be doing that.

“Let's go!” I say, jumping airborne and charging his way, just in time to get a good view of Nia smacking face-first into a wooden bedframe in an ill-timed lunge for the little monster. She bounces off and lands on her back, stunned, as Tupai scrambles over her body and towards the doors.

I think he's about to clear the beds area when Sakuya shimmers into being ahead of him, knife held high, and stabs it down so quick all I catch is a blur of motion. The look on her face when Tupai jukes aside and scurries between her legs is an unwholesome mix of surprise and anger, but she vanishes and reappears in front of Tupai to stab at him again.

Naturally, he dodges.

This repeats itself a dozen times in rapid succession, Sakuya teleporting after Tupai and missing every last time, before I get close enough to maybe lend a hand, Koakuma right behind me. Unfortunately, this is also when Sakuya swings at a leaping Tupai, misses as he twitches out of the way, and jams her knife several inches into a bed. The shriek of outrage that leaves her throat freezes my blood solid, because there's only one thing that can happen when Sakuya loses her cool.

“I've had enough!” she declares as I touch down, Koa landing beside me with worry writ large across her face, and the head maid vanishes once again.

“Okay, what did I miss?” Nia asks, stumbling to a halt beside me, still wobbly from headbutting wood.

I blink, and then the ceiling is knives why is the ceiling knives.

“Dodge this, you little monster!” Sakuya shrilly roars from above us, and with a single chop of her hand, doom falls.

Those still standing among the fairies, seeing this, makes the smart decision and bolt for the exits, which doesn't help me and mine in the slightest, since we've got, oh, five seconds before death. It is only now, in the throes of peril, that I take a closer look at the bunk beds flanking us.

Sized for regular fairies and not, for example, myself.

Oh, Gods, this is going to be a tight fit.
__________

[X] Koa is, much as I hate to admit it sometimes, a friend, and I'd be remiss to not take her with me when I dive for cover.

[X] Clearly Nia is the best person to save here, as the tiny fairy does not harbor some bizarre lust for me.

[X] Screw limits! Everybody's getting on the bed!
>>No. 62390
[X] Koa is, much as I hate to admit it sometimes, a friend, and I'd be remiss to not take her with me when I dive for cover.

For all that Koa lusts after us, she has helped so hey I don't wanna be a dick to her.
>>No. 62391
File 144503553215.jpg - (266.22KB, 480x600, c032bf3ca39ad3c3bb190016a4ac6044.jpg) [iqdb]
62391
[X] Screw limits! Everybody's getting on the bed!
-[X] Me last. I can take whatever Sakuya can dish out.
>>No. 62392
[x] There's like 50 empty beds in our immediate vicinity. If those two morons can't find their own bed to crawl under then screw em. Every man for himself.
>>No. 62393
[X] Screw limits! Everybody's getting on the bed!
>>No. 62394
[X] Screw limits! Everybody's getting on the bed!
>>No. 62395
[X] Koa is, much as I hate to admit it sometimes, a friend, and I'd be remiss to not take her with me when I dive for cover.
>>No. 62396
[X] Screw limits! Everybody's getting on the bed!

pomf~
>>No. 62400
[X] Koa is, much as I hate to admit it sometimes, a friend, and I'd be remiss to not take her with me when I dive for cover.
>>No. 62401
[X] Screw limits! Everybody's getting on the bed!

Push it to the limit, etc.
>>No. 62404
[X] Screw limits! Everybody's getting on the bed!

Koa first, then you, then the expendable/can-respawn-with-no-serious-concerns fairy closest to the outside.

Nia, much as we like her, IS expendable, and not in a permanent way, either. Koa, on the other hand...
>>No. 62407
[X] Screw limits! Everybody's getting on the bed!

Both. Both is fine.
>>No. 62416
Well, things seemed pretty clearly in favor of everybody getting on the bed (pomf), so here it is in Thread 2! >>62415
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