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File 144825258136.jpg - (91.53KB , 850x832 , Remi Tycoon Thread 2.jpg ) [iqdb]
62708 No. 62708
[x] Get Mystia to sign a contract.

Remilia scratched her fang. An opportunity like this was begging to be taken advantage of, but she would have to be careful. Fate was monstrously unpredictable. She liked to give the impression that she could bend it to her will, but in actuality she was little more than a secretary, sending it the occasional note that it may or may not pay attention to. When it did, it was under no obligation to work in her benefit, and if there was anything that brought down fate's ire, it was someone trying to game the system to their advantage.

She could do something minor, though. Fate didn't seem to mind minor pokes and nudges, if they were spaced out appropriately.

"Sakuya, my fate-papers and fate-pen."

"Yes, milady."

A hidden pouch in Sakuya's apron held the paper Remilia reserved for fate contracts. There was nothing exceptional about it, but it helped make the whole affair feel more special. Remilia took the papers and walked back towards Mystia.

"Food's up," Mystia chirped, and presented them with two bowls of grilled eels over rice, chopsticks sticking out of them. Remilia thanked her own brilliance that she spent so much time farting around in China and Japan, so she knew how to use these effectively. Sakuya was halfway to scooping up food with her hands when she saw Remilia pinch the chopsticks between her fingers and followed suit.

Remilia took a bite. It wasn't bad at all. There was certainly a unique terroir from the food around here.

"Mmm, this is quite nice. Mystia. You really do deserve more customers for this fine food. In fact, I may have a solution for you. My name is Remilia Scarlet. You could consider me a lucky charm of sorts."

She tapped the paper on the table. "You see, with these enchanted sheets, I can send a message to fate. If you don't mind, I'd like to ask it to give you more customers."

"A-Are you gonna tie a red string to my finger?" Mystia asked, her face suddenly red. Her ears lowered like a cat's.

"No need to fear, my dear--"

"Y-You seem nice, but I hardly know you!" Mystia covered her face with her hands.

"I'm afraid I don't--"

"I'm a working woman! I'm not ready to settle down and live the family life!" Her wings flapped inside the crowded kitchen.

Remilia cleared her throat loudly. "I'm afraid there's a miscommunication here. I can assure you, whatever you think I'm going to do, that's not what I'm doing."

"Oh! Okay." Mystia folded her wings back up and lowered her hands.

"What I would like is for you to sign this contract, just as soon as I'm finished." Remilia scribbled quickly, trying to finish the contract before this birdbrain could get any more wild ideas in her pretty little head.

"What's it say?"

Remilia knew she couldn't outright lie; that was another thing that fate hated. She chose her words carefully.

"More customers will come your way, but on one condition: If asked about your success, you must tell them it was thanks to the Scarlet Devil Mansion's blessings."

Mystia cocked her head. "What if I don't say that?"

"Then you lose fate's blessing."

"Oh, that's great. So it's no-risk?"

Remilia grunted. "I make no guarantees."

She passed her the paper, now completed, with a space at the bottom for Mystia's signature. Mystia reached for a pair of glasses hanging from a small hook on the kitchen wall. Remilia tensed. If she read all the fine print, she might ask more and more questions. Mystia picked up the paper and adjusted her glasses. She looked up and down over the paper, then nodded, smiling wide.

"I can't read this," she said.

Remilia realized she had been writing in French this whole time. Including the note she left in the village.

"It's just the same stuff I told you already. No need to worry."

"That sounds legitimate and trustworthy," Mystia said. She picked up the pen and wrote her name along the bottom in big, bubbly letters. At least, Remilia assumed they were big and bubbly. She could barely read Japanese to begin with.

"Then, it's settled. We are bound by fate, platonically," Remilia said.

"Huh. I don't feel any different." Mystia put a long fingernail to her chin.

"Just wait, my dear. It will come." Remilia took the contract, folded it up, and slid it under her collar.

Mystia shrugged, still evidently not understanding. She slid off her glasses, her smile coming off with them when she noted Remilia's half-full bowl. "You better eat your food, you know. It's getting cold."

"Ah, yes, right."

Remilia had hoped to make a dramatic exit, but a slow exit after grilled eel would have to do. She ate quickly, and as soon as her food was finished, she set her chopsticks across the bowl.

"Well then, I must be go--"

"Did you like it?" Mystia squeaked, beaming.

"Yes, it was nice. I'd love to stay, but duty calls at my mansion."

"Alright. Fly safely!"

"See you later, Mystia." Remilia grinned back, then stepped away from the stand. Sakuya scarfed down the last few bites of food, then stood up.

"Wait, you've still got rice on your cheek." Mystia leaned over with a napkin and wiped her cheek.

They had to leave quickly, Remilia thought. This girl could give Meiling a run for her money, and pleasant, well-meaning people made her uncomfortable.

The trip back to the mansion went without much to note. Remilia could see by the moonlight that the grape seeds planted just days ago were already hearty sprouts. For once, the night made her feel tired. She couldn't resist a yawn once she dismounted from Sakuya.

"Still adjusting to the new cycle," she mumbled to herself as Sakuya held open the door for her.

Progress had been made, but there were a few loose ends bothering her. She needed to check with Patchouli, and throw a rock at a faerie, and one or two other things. This was when she was normally at her most active, but right now she wanted a nice, long nap.

[ ] Give in and adjust to being active during the day, then do things tomorrow.
[ ] Stay up, have some tea, and do things tonight.
Expand all images
>> No. 62709
[x] Stay up, have some tea, and do things tonight.

The only way to beat jetlag
>> No. 62710
[x] Stay up, have some tea, and do things tonight.
>> No. 62711
[X] Stay up, have some tea coffee, and do things tonight.

Also you should totally post in the old thread linking to this one.
>> No. 62712
[x] Give in and adjust to being active during the day, then do things tomorrow.

sweet dreams doremy
>> No. 62713
[x] Stay up, have some tea, and do things tonight.
>> No. 62714
>Pleasant, well meaning people made her uncomfortable

It's like a teenager trying very hard to convince themselves that the world is a wretched place... Or like a person that feels guilt crawling on her back.

Just wait, Remi, we'll make a proper lady out of you.
>> No. 62716
Wow, I was confused. I was half-thinking of a recording contract, but that doesn't make sense. I guess this works.

[x] Stay up, have some tea, and do things tonight.

We kinda forgot to check up on Patchy after Flan time.
>> No. 62717
[X] Stay up, have some tea, and do things tonight.
>> No. 62718
File 144834130882.jpg - (97.61KB , 850x1063 , Koette.jpg ) [iqdb]
62718
[x] Stay up, have some tea, and do things tonight.

Remilia stretched her neck. It wasn't worth trying to unlearn centuries of nocturnal activity over something as small as dimension-shifting. Especially not when there were things still to be done.

"Sakuya, could you get me some tea? I'll be back in just a moment."

"Yes, milady."

Remilia yanked open the door and slipped out for a second, just long enough to grab a small, smooth rock from the garden, then ducked back in and shut the door. Sakuya appeared with a fresh mug of black tea.

"Thank you. By the way, I need to talk with a faerie. Messy blue hair, taller than usual, kind of scrawny."

"That would be Omelette. The name was her choice. She should be restocking the fireplace in the lounge."

"I see. I'll be right back."

Remilia couldn't remember the last time she had used the fireplace, so 'restocking', like many other things, was mostly code for where they were goofing around. Remilia walked up the stairs and let herself into the lounge, where Omelette was balancing the fireplace poker on her nose.

"Hey, Omelette," Remilia said.

The faerie jerked her head and had the reflexes to catch the poker before it hit the ground. "Yes'm?"

"Reimu sends her regards."

"Gorf," Omelette said as the rock pelted her in the chest.

That's one thing off her list, Remilia thought. Next, the library. She hurried back to the first floor, where Sakuya was still waiting with the cup of tea. Remilia took a sip, then set it back down on the tray and went to the library. Inside, Patchouli was back to her normal state of reading and looking surly at the table in front of the bookshelves, her head peeking out from behind a fortress of books.

"Evening, Patchy. Burning the midnight oil?"

"As usual," Patchouli harrumphed.

"You were up to something interesting earlier, to be hustling around like that."

Remilia could only see the top half of Patchouli's face, but the wince she made was hard to miss. "Leftovers," Patchouli said.

Remilia walked over and sat on the edge of the table, looking down at Patchouli. "Leftovers of what?"

"Previous experiments. Ever find notebooks with half-finished equations, notes, diary entries? Imagine that but with living creatures made of magic."

"Oh. That sounds like something we should be worried about, Patchy."

Patchouli winced again. "Thankfully not. It seems for all my studies, my only audience is the dregs of the demon world."

"Hey!" Koakuma's voice shouted back from somewhere.

"The demonette in question is over in C6 if you really must see her. She's already devoured all the romance novels that made their way here, so she'll be sent home as soon as I finish the research." Patchouli flipped the page of her book.

"Is she the only one?"

Patchouli thought for a long moment, then shrugged. "Dunno."

Why not, Remilia thought. May as well check it out.

Small tables were set up throughout the library, nestled against half-moon shaped bookcases. When Remilia made her way to row C, aisle 6, she found someone who looked like a relative of Koakuma. Same build, same fiery red hair, but she was shorter and wearing a smart-looking black dress with a bowtie on the front. She was busy poking through the rows of books when Remilia cleared her throat.

Mini-Koa's face fell when she turned around. "Dang, I was hoping you'd be Patchouli."

"Are you the only demon here aside from Koakuma?"

"The only one walking around, so far as I know. That librarian's got enough demons stored in grimoires around here to level a country."

"Oh." Remilia bit her lip. Perhaps her habit of picking up any and every magical book she had found wasn't the best decision.

"Eh, they should stay stuck in there so long as she doesn't do anything ridiculous."

Remilia bit her lip harder. Mini-Koa smirked seeing Remilia squirm. "People here don't think things through a lot, do they?" she remarked.

"Shaddap and get back to your trashy novels," Remilia said.

"Fine." She took a random book from the shelf and sat down.

Remilia turned and walked away. Mini-Koa couldn't get to Remilia; she could regret bad decisions perfectly fine on her own. She walked back over to Patchouli.

"You have a habit of summoning assholes, Patchy."

"Koakuma's alright, isn't she?"

"True. Koakuma's nice enough." Remilia shrugged her shoulders. "So, going to be staying up late?"

"Time has little meaning in this place. Which is oddly fitting." Patchouli let out a snicker without smiling.

Ah, time. Fate's somewhat more reliable but equally annoying brother. Her taste of controlling them only reminded her of how both could flatten everything out in the end. She shook her head. Being around Patchouli made her too thoughtful for her own good.

That was it: Beer!

"Be back later, Patchy. I got me an idea," Remilia said.

"God save us all," Patchouli said.

After she left the library, Remilia snatched the teacup from Sakuya again and chugged the lukewarm tea as she passed. "Follow me."

They returned to the office Remilia had set up earlier, and Remilia snatched up the books on beer-brewing. She read through the basic process. Okay, she didn't have hops. She'd find a way to make beer without hops, then. A half-hour of flipping through books led her to some recipes for Gruit.

"Rosemary. We've got tons of that in the pantry. Juniper. We've got some tried juniper berries, don't we? It's so good with venison. Yarrow. Mugwort. I bet Meiling's got something close to that in her garden. Let's go ask her." Remilia tucked the book under her arm and went walking towards the door. Sakuya followed.

"If she has it I'm going to feel so smart. Even when I let people have nice things, I'm still benefitting from it."

She pushed the front door open and nearly bumped right into Meiling. "Oh!" Meiling giggled. "You startled me."

"Do you keep any yarrow root or mugwort?"

Meiling's face beamed so brightly Remilia nearly had to shield herself from it. "Those are essentials to Chinese medicine, so I always keep some handy. Did a faerie come down with Blood Heat?"

"No, actually, we're going to use it for beer," Remilia said.

"That's great," Meiling said.

"You don't think it's sacreligious or anything?"

"Of course not. Beer has a storied medicinal tradition!"

Remilia wasn't going to argue, especially if it meant Meiling would stay excited about things. The three of them set to work gathering ingredients, piling them together in the kitchen.

"Is there anywhere else we could do this? I'd rather not fill up the kitchen too much. But it'd need enough ventilation to not make the hole place smell like smoke."

"What about the furnace room?" Sakuya suggested.

"We have a furnace room?"

"Of course. It's always been there. It's by the servants' quarters."

Remilia couldn't remember ever hearing about a furnace room, but she would assume, for now, that it existed.

"Well, works for me. Let's get things set up. Then, if any faeries are still up and faffing around, we can set them to work on watching the mash as it boils."

Remilia thought back on the faeries she'd gotten to know better now that she actually paid attention to them. Were there any that might be especially good at it -- or at least, would fail in more hilarious ways than others?

[ ] 2-3 of the named faeries of the voter's choice.
[ ] Let's learn some new names.
>> No. 62720
[X] Let's learn some new names.

We're supposed to remember the names of fairies? I thought that was Sakuya's job.
>> No. 62721
[x] Omelette
[x] Priscilla
[x] Margeroux

We haven't really even met Margeroux yet, have we?
>> No. 62722
[X] Let's learn some new names.
>> No. 62723
[x] Let's learn some new names.
- [x] The chair throwing fairy
>> No. 62724
[x] >>62721
Secondary characters oh!
>> No. 62725
[X] Let's learn some new names.
>> No. 62726
[X] Let's learn some new names.
>> No. 62727
[x] Omelette
[x] Priscilla
[x] Margeroux
>> No. 62728
File 144841011723.png - (516.67KB , 1019x764 , eso es todo lo que puedes decir.png ) [iqdb]
62728
[x] Omelette du fromage
[x] Priscilla
[x] Margeroux
>> No. 62729
[x] Fromage
[x] Malla
[x] Croissant
>> No. 62730
Calling votes for [X] Let's learn some new names.
>> No. 62731
File 144842449082.jpg - (220.40KB , 744x800 , Remilia doesn't go into the kitchen much anym.jpg ) [iqdb]
62731
[x] Let's learn some new names.

"First, let's get the barley malting while we set things up," Remilia said. "Meiling, take the barley to the kitchen and have the faeries put it in a clean pot full of water."

"Aye aye, ma'am." Meiling saluted and hefted the heavy bucket of barley, heading off towards the kitchen. Sakuya and Remilia took the satchels of herbs and roots, the brewery book tucked under Remilia's arm.

"I know we don't have the brewery equipment yet, but we can call this a practice run if it turns out bad. A small batch should be fine."

Remilia felt the words 'It can't be that hard, right?' form in the back of her mouth, then stopped herself. Fate loved its ironies and all that. She held her tongue as Sakuya led her to their destination.

"Well, I'll be damned. We really do have a furnace room," Remilia said as Sakuya pushed open the door.

Inside, a large rounded structure sat on the floor, like a massive hollow ball stuck halfway into the ground. A wide pipe came up from the top. Remilia had never remembered seeing a chimney at the top of her castle, but she had a sinking feeling that if she went to look now, it would be there.

She pushed away her existential confusion and directed her attention to the trio of faeries curled up by the fire, napping, one with a headband and two with mob caps. "Hey, wake up, you three," she said, nudging the closest one in the side with her foot.

"M'wake!" the headband faerie grunted. Her wings flapped to life, lifting her into the air as she righted herself. The other two stirred, blinking up at the sudden noise.

"Mistress, thank goodness you're here! A wizard came through with sleeping powder and--"

"Don't even try," Remilia said. "First of all, why the hell are you running the furnace in the summer?"

"Iunno," she mumbled. "It's a furnace room, right? That means you gotta furnace."

"What?"

"You gotta."

"Sakuya, who are these faeries? And... that's the faerie who keeps shouting all the time, isn't it?" Remilia pointed at the headband faerie with blonde hair so short and messy it didn't even touch her forehead.

"Yep!" She beamed, proud of her fame.

Sakuya consulted her notebook. "That one," she pointed to the brown-haired one with freckles and soot on her nose, "is Elodie."

"Isn't it a great name?" Elodie chirped.

Sakuya pointed to the one with black twintails. "That one is Alexandra."

"Yep!"

Finally, Sakuya pointed at the shouting-fairy. "And her name is Jeanne."

"Yeah! Theme music!" Jeanne started humming loudly.

"Well, look alive, ladies. You three have a new job now. First, we're going to make this place clean enough to brew beer in. Then, you're going to brew beer."

In truth, the place was fairly clean to begin with. The faeries must've only used the furnace for naps. Still, every book she saw emphasized cleanliness as being very important.

"I'm going to go have lunch. I expect to at least see moderate progress by the time I return," Remilia said.

While there were occasional feasts, lunch at the Scarlet Devil Mansion was a mostly scattered affair, since food would have to be brought to the library for Patchouli and Flandre, and out in the garden for Meiling, and then something else laid out for the first wave of faeries, then the second.

In any case, Sakuya and her kitchen staff still worked on each meal dutifully, and today was no different. Remilia ate her way through apples and brie, herbed peas with almonds, and glazed duck breast in short order. Lunch was quick with nobody to talk to.

After that was finished, Sakuya sent the lunch faeries to get some sleep before dinner prep started; the faeries' sleep cycles were as strange as everyone else around here. She then came over to Remilia with the soaking pot, which now had had time enough to malt, she hoped. The two of them went back to the furnace room slash brewery. Those three faeries had actually done a good job so far and were drying up the floor when they returned. Remilia consulted her book.

"Alright, now get this to a boil and let it go for a couple hours," Remilia said as Sakuya set the pot in the room.

She watched as the faeries turned the large furnace into a makeshift brewing... thingie, and started a fire with only minor burn injuries inflicted on each other.

Remilia rubbed her hands together. "Well done. It's in your hands now, faeries."

"If anything goes wrong, it's Jeanne's fault," Elodie said.

"Hey! It was my fault the last ten times so that means I'm due for a success soon," Jeanne shot back.

Remilia slipped out before she heard any more worrying things. That took care of most of the things on her list. She still had a good amount of time before the village would wake back up and come to life again. She thought of the furniture that had started piling up as they had cleaned the rooms and changed them around. More guest rooms would probably be repurposed soon enough. Something needed to be done before the faeries had enough furniture to build a chair fort.

Never again, she thought to herself.

[ ] Pawn it all off to a middleman for a quick fix.
[ ] Get some faeries to display it for sale in the village.
[ ] Display it outside the mansion. Hopefully, more people will be coming by here.
>> No. 62732
[X] Get some faeries to display it for sale in the village.

More publicity as well a potential sales income. Hopefully these fairies will be competent, right?
>> No. 62733
[x] Display it outside the mansion. Hopefully, more people will be coming by here.

EVERYTHING MUST GO
>> No. 62734
[x] Display it outside the mansion. Hopefully, more people will be coming by here.
>> No. 62735
[X] Get some faeries to display it for sale in the village.


Fairy Maid Brewster Trio!

Yeah, Theme Music!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKIt0pqaGWY

Don't judge me
[doublespoiler]I can't stop you can I[/doublespoiler]



But, seriously, I'm loving this story more than anything even remotely related to economics ever should. I'm following this story closely!

And even more on topic, selling rare foreign furniture? What housewife could resist the chance to add a mahogany desk to her home? There's ALWAYS a million and one places for a good desk!
>> No. 62736
[ ] Get some faeries to display it for sale in the village.

Good publicity and income though I wonder if we're overestimating fairy competence.
>> No. 62737
[X] Get some faeries to display it for sale in the village.
>> No. 62738
"Oh, a group of fairies have gathered in the village, let's hear them respectfully without jumping to conclusions! " said no one ever.

[x] Quick fix.

Gotta have a reference point for actual sales.
>> No. 62739
[X] Get some faeries to display it for sale in the village.

Drip-feed the stuff out, no point saturating the market, and it's not like it's going to go bad piled up in some dusty room somewhere for a while.
>> No. 62740
[X] Set up an outdoor viewing area near the gardens, with tea and cakes served to visitors. For a fee, of course.

If you sell a man a chair, he'll take the chair and leave. If you sell a man delicious cakes, he'll keep coming right on back.
>> No. 62741
File 144851635452.jpg - (300.49KB , 850x1201 , mostly unrelated to the update but have a busy nig.jpg ) [iqdb]
62741
[x] Get some faeries to display it for sale in the village.

"Sakuya, what time is it?" Remilia asked.

Sakuya checked her watch. "A little after midnight."

"The perfect time for an aggressive advertising campaign. Sakuya, let's go get some more faeries."

Remilia and Sakuya went from room to room, gathering a collection of various faeries. Remilia suspected that the glasses faerie, Margeroux, had a decent business sense, and that the mob cap faerie, Charlotte, was one of the more charming and approachable of the faeries. After that, all she needed was some muscle, so she picked up some headband faeries whose names escaped her.

"What're we doing?" one of them grumbled, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. When Remilia woke her, she was actually in her bed for once like a normal person, but was wearing her maid uniform underneath. Whatever worked, Remilia supposed, as she led them to the storeroom with stacked furniture.

"I'll tell you what we're doing: We're opening a shop in the village. Why wait around trying to get everything ready? All the humans are asleep right now, and I can come out to the village to supervise. The next morning, all the tax collectors and administrators will wake up and see this fine, lightly-used foreign furniture on sale for them."

Remilia, Sakuya, and the faeries piled the furniture on anything they could find with wheels. Chairs were balanced on kitchen carts, and tables were balanced precariously on dollies. They dragged their loads to the front door, where Sakuya, torch in hand, opened the door and led them out like a general leading a nighttime march.

Meiling was sleeping in the small but neatly-kept shack by the gate. She had her own room in the mansion, but sometimes she preferred to sleep outside because she was apparently in love with dirt or something. Something to do with her river dragon heritage, Remilia guessed. Meiling opened a single eye as they passed, then quickly shut it and pretended to still be sleeping.

Remilia was filled with a strange excitement as she walked in front of Sakuya. Seeing at night was no problem for her. Every few minutes she would glance back and marvel at the trail of furniture following her, the squeak of wheels and rattle of carts. The moonlight dimmed as they made their way down the hill and into the forested area past the lake.

A faerie yelped loudly. Remilia turned her head and saw pairs of wicked red eyes watching from the forest.

Not this time, Remilia thought. One ass-kicking was enough for this week.

She clasped her hands together, then faced her palms towards the forest. A crack like cannon fire rang out, and a massive red ball of energy burst from her hands as big around as she was tall. It ripped through the forest, chewing up trees as the red eyes scattered.

"That was your warning shot," Remilia called to the forest, then turned to the faeries, put her hands on her hips, and grinned.

Half of the faeries swooned appreciatively, and the other half winced at the reminder of how strong she was. Both were good. Remilia heard a sniffle coming through the forest and turned back. A small woman was hunched over, trembling and clutching her red cape to her shoulders, the blue bow in her hair bouncing as she sniffled and shook.

"You s-scared me," she whimpered.

A collective "Aww" came from the faeries.

"Well, ahem," Remilia said, "that's a rather bad first impression, staring down our caravan from the forest like that."

She took a step closer to her, but the girl yelped and flew up into the air, cape fluttering behind her. Something small and round, like a melon, came falling from the sky as she fled. Remilia watched with curiosity until she realized the girl's head had fallen off, then she watched with horror as it hit the ground with a thud.

"Dammit, dammit, dammit!" the head said as its body flew back down, scooped it up, and flew back up without another word.

"Let's never speak of this again," Charlotte said.

"Yep," "Fine by me," and "I'm gonna hurl," came the responses from the faeries.

A little while further and the trees thinned out, the forest opening to a wide plain with little chance of anyone or anything lurking around. The village was still a dot in the distance. They passed by Mystia's stall, which had shut down for the moment. Mystia herself was sleeping on top of the stand, hunched down like a bird.

Past that, the farming cottages were all fast asleep, though dim orange lights came from the village further down the path. Two men, presumably night guards given the bows and arrows slung on their backs, watched as Remilia drew close to the village entrance. One of them stepped forward, meeting her halfway.

"...what," he said.

"Never seen a caravan before?" Remilia asked.

"In the middle of the night, staffed entirely by faeries and... whatever you two are? No, I can't say I have."

Remilia waved to indicate the furniture they'd brought. "Doesn't change the quality of our fine goods."

"What're you..." The guard took a deep breath and pinched his face while the other guard watched, holding back laughter and enjoying the show. "What're you going to do with all that furniture?"

"Sell it," Remilia said.

"During the nighttime?"

"And daytime. We have plenty of staff."

"Do you have a-- Have you talked to-- Did you..." The guard shook his head as words failed him completely. "I'll admit, this is a new one."

"If there are any issues about permits or licensing, I believe this should take care of it. Along with a little something for your troubles, of course." Remilia pulled a stack of bills from her pocket, enough to thumb through with a sense of satisfaction.

The other guard ran up to them. "You're splitting that with me, right?" he asked, wide eyes glued to the mass of bills.

"Then with that settled..." Remilia said.

"Er, yes, I'll talk to the administrator tomorrow morning," the first guard said without looking up from the money. The look in his eyes said that there probably wouldn't be much of it left after tonight.

Inside, there was a surprising amount of activity. All manner of outrageous humanoid creatures were gathered around in bars and dancing circles, a blur of tails, ears, wings, and a couple of scales. The bars were all staffed by bored-looking humans, as if years of serving youkai had dulled any sense of fear and anxiety they once posessed.

But, of course, the partying was kept away from the nicer part of town. Once they passed the initial partying -- and once Remilia dragged more than a few faeries back after they tried to join in the dancing -- it quickly became quiet again.

The luxury market area was large and spaceous, and it took only a little searching to find a nice corner to set up in, even in the dark. "Spread it out. You won't want to have to dig around to get at the bottom of a stack," Remilia said.

They managed not to make too much noise aside from grunts of effort as the solid wood tables were unloaded, and soon had the furniture laid out nicely. The only things left were a stack of money for making change, a notebook, a pair of blankets, and a sign that Remilia had made before heading out, making sure to remember to write it in Japanese: "Exotic Furniture from the Scarlet Estate".

"And, now, we wait. By which I mean you two wait here. We brought blankets so you can sleep if you want. I won't be returning for a while, so if you get in trouble or break anything, it'll be on you."

"You can trust us!" Charlotte pumped her fist.

"Excellent. Then, I leave this in your hopefully capable hands." Remilia clapped her hands on their shoulders, looking down at them with her best imitation of paternal affection.

"Gonna sell the hell out of this furniture," Margeroux said.

They made their way back out of the village, dragging stray faeries away from the revelry again. The guards from earlier both had a mug of strong-smelling alcohol in hand as they left.

"G'night, faeries!" one of them called after them as they left.

Charlotte and Margeroux watched as they left. Margeroux adjusted her glasses, mostly for show. "Do you think they'd respond more to the hard sell? Or will the furniture speak for itself? Maybe emphasize its foreign appeal? It's all one-of-a-kind in here."

"Hm? Sorry, I wasn't listening," Charlotte said, half-way under one of the blankets. She held it open. "Want to cuddle?"

"Charlotte, this is serious. We need a sales plan in mind. Then we can cuddle."

[ ] Rely on Charlotte's faerie charmingness.
[ ] Rely on Margeroux's business sense.
>> No. 62742
Sorry for the slight delay! Can you believe it's the 25th already?

I'm grateful to have so many people reading and enjoying my story, and I will definitely be continuing Remilia's economic adventures after the end of the month. However, plot elements have kind of been piling up, which is part of why updates have been later and later into the night each time. I'll do my best to keep a regular update schedule after the 30th, but it most likely won't be daily updates. Thanks for reading!
>> No. 62743
[X] Rely on Margeroux's business sense.
>> No. 62744
[X] Rely on Margeroux's business sense.
>> No. 62745
[x] Rely on Margeroux's business sense.
>> No. 62746
[X] Rely on Charlotte's faerie charmingness.

SOMEBODY has to vote cuddles...
>> No. 62747
[x] Business first, charm and cuddling later
>> No. 62748
[X] Rely on Charlotte's faerie charmingness.

I actually think this will work better. The Village knows fairies, and I'm fairly certain they don't have a high opinion of them. So I doubt any of them will take a business fairy seriously. One that wants to cuddle and sell you a nice chair so her boss is happy though? Much easier to understand.

Won't be the most profitable, at least initially, but it gets our foot in the door.
>> No. 62749
[x] Rely on Charlotte's faerie charmingness.

Cuddles go.
>> No. 62750
[X] Rely on Charlotte's faerie charmingness.
>> No. 62751
[X] Rely on Charlotte's faerie charmingness.
>> No. 62752
[X]Cuddles first, business later
>> No. 62753
File 144860103813.jpg - (163.23KB , 850x1302 , Sekibanki is too adorable to be very effective at .jpg ) [iqdb]
62753
[x] Rely on Charlotte's faerie charmingness.

Margeroux rubbed her chin. "You're kind of adorable. We could use that to our advantage tomorrow. How do you feel about humans?"

"Dunno the last time I've seen one. They're like bigger faeries but without wings, right?" Even when she was falling asleep, Charlotte's default expression seemed to be a big, beaming smile. Brainless but heartwarming, Margeroux thought.

"Close enough," Margeroux concluded. "We'll see how they respond to your affable nature tomorrow morning." Leaving it at that, she climbed under the blanket next to Charlotte and took on the role of the big spoon.

"Well, good," Charlotte said after a lot of thought.

"My arm's falling asleep already."

"Here." Charlotte shifted, moving Margeroux's arm.

"Better?"

"Yes. Good night."

The pair of them fell fast asleep. Faeries, even the Scarlet Devil Mansion ones, didn't especially need creature comforts. They liked soft clothes and warm beds as much as anyone else, but had no trouble sleeping outside with little more than a blanket.

What they couldn't sleep through was a finger jabbing them in the shoulder. Margeroux was startled awake and squinted as the morning sun hit her in the face. A young girl with a topknot was poking at her as an older woman in neatly-made but boring-looking clothes watched.

"Welcome to the exotic furniture thing," she mumbled, trying to play the saleswoman while she was still waking up. She shook Charlotte's shoulder and watched as she went through the same routine.

"Oh! It's morning," Charlotte said, wings buzzing.

"What're you two doing in the village like this?" the girl asked.

"Selling fine furniture," Margeroux said. She threw the blanket off of her and slid off of the table. "Sorry about that. As you can see, we have a collection of fine foreign furniture, sturdy and beautiful." She grabbed a nearby chair and gestured to it.

"You're faeries," the woman in boring clothes watching them said.

"Nothing wrong with a faerie participating in a free economy, is there?"

"I mean, kind of. This is the first time I've ever seen a fairy selling anything."

"The wares speak for themselves," Margeroux said, hoping Charlotte would join in soon instead of rubbing her eyes and yawning.

"I'll... be right back," the woman said. She put a hand on the kid's shoulder and led her away.

"Phooey. Couldn't reel in our first bite."

"Do they have tea or coffee here? I'm still kinda tired," Charlotte mumbled, sliding off of the table.

"Coffee is for closers. I ain't touching the money Remi left us until we get a sale. Now start lookin' cute."

"Okay!" Charlotte grinned and batted her eyelashes.

"Good, good!"

Margeroux looked at the streets. The village was still waking up, and most of the stores were still closed, but the few people who were awake and moving had their eyes locked on the Scarlet Exotic Furniture Stand. She resisted the urge to glare at them, and instead backed away and hoped Charlotte would lure someone in. After a minute of waiting, another young kid, a boy with a bald head, broke away from his mother and came close.

"Are you a fairy?" he asked, open-mouthed.

"Yeah!" Charlotte grabbed him in a big hug around his arms. His mother yelped and leaned forward, then froze, watching them closely.

"Do you like furniture?" Charlotte asked, breaking the hug.

"I mean, my dad's got a desk?" He scratched the back of his neck.

"Then he could use one of our fine chairs. Take a seat and see for yourself." Charlotte grabbed the kid again and lifted him into the chair. He swung his legs, shrinking back a little as everyone watched.

"It's... nice?" he said.

"Darn tootin' it's nice," Charlotte said.

The boring-looking woman and the girl with a topknot came running back, someone else following at their side. The new person was tall, dressed in absurdly long, flowing white robes that hid everything about his body, aside from a pale face and short, stiff black hair. He carried a strange staff in one pale hand and an assortment of sacks in the other. The boy slid out of the chair and ran back to his mother.

"Faeries in the village, hmm?"

"Just humble furniture sellers, sir." She was quickly getting tired of this reaction.

"I must ask to examine your wares. Your presence is rather unusual, you see."

"I gathered," Margeroux said, gesturing to the crowd. They were all this close to getting sassed.

"Ah, pardon me. I forgot to introduce myself. I am Hotaru, a shaman and oracle under the patronage of the Hieda household. My presense was requested to ensure that what you have here is not enchanted or cursed in any way. That is all, and then I shall depart."

He moved towards the furniture and was quickly cut off as Charlotte hopped up to eye-level with him. "Hi, Hotaru! I'm Charlotte. Nice to meet you!"

"Yes, it's nice to meet you as well. One moment." He put a hand on top of Charlotte's head and lowered her back to the ground, then leaned over and put his hands on the table.

The faeries watched and waited. Margeroux fidgeted. The idea of the Mistress having hexed furniture sitting around for giggles wasn't unlikely. Hotaru ran his hands over the surface of the table, then leaned over further, his face nearly pressed against it.

"This color and smell. I've never seen it before."

The crowd took a collective step away.

"Ooh, ooh, I know this one!" Charlotte hopped onto the table and laid down to look Hotaru in the face again. "It's red cedar! Remi-- I mean, Lady Remilia made a big deal about it 'cause apparently it's really good wood."

"Yes, I can see that," Hotaru said, pushing Charlotte across the table to get some room.

He reached into one of his pouches and sprinkled some sort of green powder over it, then waited. Nothing happened, so he swept it off, then repeated again with a drop of some black liquid.

"Hey, you stain it, you buy it," Margeroux said.

"Worry not, this is a simple testing fluid. If it stained, then it would mean a poison has seeped into the wood."

"Oh. Then you don't gotta buy it."

Hotaru wiped the fluid up and inspected it. No change in color. He leaned over again and sniffed at the wood, then stood back up, looking satisfied.

"There are no maladies to be found in this furniture," he said.

"Thank you." The woman from before sighed.

Hotaru shuffled away, but the crowd stayed still. After a moment, a man with a long moustache and weird hat stepped forward and was quickly grabbed by his wife, a slender woman in a blue kimono with a sunset design.

"Dear," she said. It was obviously not an affectionate term.

"What? I'm just going to give it a smell. Imagine having a scented desk at the merchant office. It'd be like an aromatherapy technique."

"Dear."

"Hotaru said it's fine, and I trust him."

The woman in the blue kimono grumbled and let go. The moustachioed man walked over and knelt by the table. Seeing that it was safe, more people started to come closer, and a few more got into low-key arguments with their partner.

"Young lady, or fairy, or whatever you prefer to be called. Do you know what wood this is?" a man with a boxy chin and black robes asked, gesturing to a small cabinet.

"That's, um, walnut. It doesn't smell as nice, but it's pretty sturdy. Watch this." Charlotte flew up above the cabinet, then threw herself down and stomped on top of the cabinet. It didn't even budge.

"Impressive."

"I'm here to take orders," Margeroux took out her pen and paper. She wasn't sure how much money bought how much stuff around here, but looking at what counted as 'spare change,' she figured she could add three or four zeroes and not be too far off.

"Free hug with every purchase!" Charlotte added.

-------------Earlier that night----------------

The caravan of faeries -- the word 'faerivan' came to Remilia's mind, and she tried very hard to push it out -- made their way back home, travelling much faster with their heavy loads gone, though some of them were beginning to yawn and complain about how late it was.

"I'd be careful if I was you. Evil youkai are attracted by the sound of yawns," Remilia said.

"Really?" one of them squeaked.

"Sure."

It worked well to keep the faeries quiet as they came back to the forest. A few minutes after passing the gnarled patch of trees Remilia blew up earlier, she saw a dot of fire a few feet back. It looked like a fire.

"Sit tight for a moment," she said, and walked after it.

Sure enough, the red-haired girl with the loose head was there, casually toasting acorns over a campfire. She caught a moment's glimpse of someone else, but it became a blur of a white dress and a few kicked-up leaves as whoever it was ran deeper into the forest. There might have been a tail too. It was such a brief glimpse that Remilia couldn't have been sure of much.

"Sorry," the red-haired girl said. "She's awkward around other people, and I kinda told her about how you almost exploded me." The girl sounded bored, as if it was a normal, everyday mistake.

"Oh?" Remilia asked.

"I-I wasn't scared earlier. You just surprised me. I didn't see you at first, and I was going after the faeries." She bristled and tugged at her cape, hiding her black shirt. Her head wobbled slightly with her movements.

[ ] Apologize, even though you aren't especially sorry.
[ ] Introduce yourself to a fellow creature of the night.
[ ] Inform her that the forest will soon be under the authority of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.
>> No. 62754
[X] Introduce yourself to a fellow creature of the night.
>> No. 62756
[x] Introduce yourself to a fellow creature of the night.

I am thoroughly enjoying Fairy Adventures.
>> No. 62757
[X] Introduce yourself to a fellow creature of the night.

Xth rule of business startup: get a reputation going.
>> No. 62758
[X] Introduce yourself to a fellow creature of the night.

A successful highwayman such as Remi can surely understand the temptation of such a large caravan to a creature of the night! A budding friendship should form from this!
>> No. 62759
[x] Apologize, even though you aren't really sorry.

I know that feel. But social interaction is like that
>> No. 62760
[X] Apologize, even though you aren't especially sorry.
>> No. 62761
[X] Introduce yourself to a fellow creature of the night.
>> No. 62762
[X] Introduce yourself to a fellow creature of the night.
>> No. 62763
File 144868628098.jpg - (263.14KB , 850x1202 , what Remilia wants to be.jpg ) [iqdb]
62763
[X] Introduce yourself to a fellow creature of the night.

"Think nothing of it. We got off to a poor start, that is all." Remilia stood up, fanning her wings out and casting an impressive shadow. "I am Remilia Scarlet, descendant of Vlad Tepes. Perhaps you saw my estate. It appeared on top of the hill a few days ago."

Remilia was hoping for a look of awe, or even mild surprise, but the girl just raised her eyebrows for a moment. "So, you must be this year's big incident," she said.

"I'm an incident big enough for millennia," Remilia said.

"No offense, but I've heard that one before. Something outrageous and world-threatening seems to happen once a year around here, sure as the seasons." She tipped the roasted acorns into a bowl. "I'm Sekibanki, by the way. The girl who went scooting is Kagerou."

"Don't tell them my name!" a voice shouted from within the forest.

Remilia turned to the direction of the voice. "No need to be scared. We're all creatures of the night here. Except for my army of faerie maids."

"I saw. So they obey you, huh?" Sekibanki popped a still-too-hot acorn into her mouth and tried to hide the pain on her face.

"Depends on your definition of 'obey'," Remilia sighed.

The leaves rustled. Remilia turned to see a woman with a white dress and chestnut hair peeking out between the trees. What she thought were massive cowlicks were actually a pair of furry brown ears, and a shaggy tail swished in curiosity behind her.

"You're the Kagerou she mentioned, I take it?"

"Yeah." She nodded.

"Dog!" shouted one fairy.

"Pup alert!" shouted another

"Vweep vweep! Dog spotted at 3 o'clock!" shouted a third.

"I am not a dog!" Kagerou shouted back.

"Get a load of those ears!"

Remilia recognized the last voice as Priscilla's. The faeries began to close in, and Kagerou started growling in response. She raised her hands to show wickedly long red fingernails. Remilia started to feel like her own long fingernails weren't so impressive anymore. Sekibanki reached into her bowl and started pelting the faeries with hot acorns. She beaned one of them between the eyes, then the faeries started squabbling over who got to eat them and whether the five-second rule applied here.

Remilia cleared her throat. "Dreadfully sorry about them. It seems that poor first impressions are a skill of mine."

"M'used to it," Kagerou grumbled. "No matter where they're from or who they are, every faerie likes to mess with people. And... I'm an easy target." She sat down and fiddled with her hair, eyes downcast.

Sekibanki looked at her friend, then rubbed her neck. She nearly knocked it off of her shoulders, but grabbed it and righted herself just in time. "So, are you an oni or something?" she asked.

"Me? I am a vampire, or vampiress, if you prefer. I have walked the earth for centuries and drank the blood of thousands." Remilia put her hands on her hips and puffed out her chest.

"I'm a rokurokubi. It's kind of like a dullahan," Sekibanki deadpanned.

"You can probably guess I'm a werewolf," Kagerou mumbled.

Remilia was filled with a strange pang of anger. She didn't know what a rokurokubi was, but she definitely knew that a dullahan was supposed to be a terrifying rider, a sign of death and decay, half-rotted, grinning wickedly, wielding a man's spine like a whip -- not some governor's-daughter-looking girl toasting acorns in the woods. And yet she could feel that Sekibanki wasn't lying.

Werewolves were whatever. It didn't surprise her that some milquetoast self-conscious teenager could become a werewolf. The dullahan thing, though. That put a fire under her bonnet. Gensokyo had always been described to her as a refuge for those too fearsome to be accepted among humans. Suddenly, she wondered if it wasn't more like some kind of retirement home.

"Is this a normal night for you? Just camping out in the forest and roasting acorns?"

Sekibanki poked at the fire listlessly. "Not always. When fall comes around we roast sweet potatoes."

"You're fearsome creatures of myth and legend! You, you're supposed to have two spines, and you don't even seem to have half of one." She pointed at Sekibanki.

The two of them were quiet for a long moment. Even the faeries were quiet, if only because they had eaten all the acorns that were thrown at them earlier.

"It's not worth it. You're from the Outside World, right? You said you came here just a couple days ago. Humans are different here." Sekibanki broke her stick into pieces, tossing each piece into the fire as she went on. "Sure, I wanted to go hog wild, give children nightmares and scare them 'til their hair turns white. Can't do that here. No matter who you are, there's hundreds of people -- whether they're ghosts, gods, humans, whatever -- who could shred you to pieces with a thought." Sekibanki leaned back and popped another acorn into her mouth. Kagerou looked away, hiding her face. She put her sleeve to her face and made a muffled sniffle.

Remilia straightened up. "Well, I happen to be one of those fearsome creatures, and I won't stand for this. Consider yourselves on my to-do list. It won't be tonight, and it won't be tomorrow. Someday, though, we're going to reclaim our rightful place back on top."

Sekibanki rolled her eyes. "Good luck. If you've got a mansion, then I'm sure you'll be able to afford a nice burial for yourself."

Remilia harrumphed and turned on her heels. "I'd love to listen to more of your pessimism, but I have a burgeoning empire to run. I'll be seeing you later. Servants, follow." She waved at the faerie maids, who followed after her as she walked back onto the dirt road.

The trip back was quiet. Remilia stewed in an anger that came off of her in waves, bullying the faeries into silence. She half-stomped, half-marched past the gates of the mansion and up to the front door. As soon as she yanked the door open, the faeries flew in and scattered, getting some safe distance between her and them.

She had made good use of the night, but those milksop creatures left a bad taste in her mouth. In times like this, she felt like getting involved in someone else's business. That would help cool her head before going to bed.

[ ] Go bother the faeries about the beer. Gruit. Whatever.
[ ] Go bother Patchouli about the 'guest'.
[ ] Go bother yourself with some books.
[ ] Go try to have a moment of quiet and enjoy yourself.
>> No. 62764
[X] Go bother Patchouli about the 'guest'.
>> No. 62765
[X] Go bother the faeries about the beer. Gruit. Whatever.
>> No. 62766
[x] Go bother the faeries about the beer. Gruit. Whatever.
>> No. 62767
[x] Go try to have a moment of quiet and enjoy yourself.
>> No. 62768
[x] Go bother Patchouli about the 'guest'.

LAPDOGS! ALL OF YOU!
>> No. 62769
[X] Go bother the faeries about the beer. Gruit. Whatever.
>> No. 62770
[x] Go bother the faeries about the beer. Gruit. Whatever.

If worst comes to worst, you can drag a fairy to your quarters for some private "hugs, snuggles and venting of frustrations over tea and scones" torture to cool off! We ARE trying to build an empire here! If we make a decision while frustrated and impatient, it's less likely to be the right one.
>> No. 62772
[x] Go try to have a moment of quiet and enjoy yourself.

I'll be in my study if anyone needs me.
>> No. 62773
[x] Go bother Patchouli about the 'guest'.

Mostly because I have no idea what this is referring to.
>> No. 62774
>>62773

Oops, sorry for not making it clearer. It means she'll bug Patchouli about the mini-Koakuma.
>> No. 62775
>>62774
In THAT case...

>>62770
Will be changed to-

[x] Go bother Patchouli about the 'guest'.

Never not little devil
>> No. 62776
[X] Go bother Patchouli about the 'guest'.

>Consider yourselves on my to-do list.
Lewd, Remi. Very lewd.
>> No. 62777
Calling votes to [X] Go bother Patchouli about the 'guest'.
>> No. 62778
File 144877539764.jpg - (64.10KB , 600x600 , like an existential whoopee cushion.jpg ) [iqdb]
62778
[x] Go bother Patchouli about the 'guest'.

"Sakuya, would you deliver dinner to the library? I'm going to go chat with Patchouli and see how the little demon is doing."

"Has Koakuma gotten into trouble?" Sakuya asked with the slightest tilt of her head. Anything concerning a fellow servant seemed to concern her, Remilia noted.

"Ah, no," Remilia said, waving dismissively. "There's another one of them in there, some leftover from something Patchouli tried. I'm not sure I want to ask too much about it."

"Are you not going to see Patchouli, then?"

"No, when I say 'not sure I want to ask,' I... nevermind. Please deliver dinner to the library once it's finished, along with a bottle of table wine."

"Yes, milady." Sakuya bowed, then headed for the kitchen.

Remilia let herself into the library. Patchouli was, of course, seated at her table surrounded by books. Koakuma was busy organizing the pile around Patchouli, and her scrawnier lookalike was perched atop one of the stacks, swinging her legs, smiling with the kind of happiness that only comes at someone else's expense.

"Good of you to come here, Lady Remilia," Koakuma said with a sigh of relief.

"What's the situ--"

"Shh." Patchouli held up a finger to silence Remilia. "I'm about to attempt something. You, hold still."

The magician got up from her seat, clutching her book tightly between her hands. It sizzled with bright light and yellow fire. She raised it above her head.

"Begone from this plane, hellspawn!" She brought the book down with all her strength. The glowing hot corner bashed the smaller Koakuma square on the forehead.

"Ow, ow ow ow!" She fell backwards off of the stack of books. The smell of burnt hair filled the stale air, and when she crawled back up there was a painful-looking bright red mark on the front of her head. "What the hell was that?"

"Another attempt to get you out of here," Patchouli said, lips curled in a scowl.

"Trying to force me back, hmm?" the little Koakuma asked, her spade-tipped tail flicking behind her like an irritated cat.

"That or kill you. I'd be fine either way, to be honest."

Koakuma -- the good one -- came over to Remilia's side. "Her name's Blümchen, apparently. Patchouli managed to get on the line with one of hell's Second Circle Missing Entities Division operators, but as soon as the operator heard who it was, he started laughing and hung up."

"Correction. He started laughing, paused to say 'Good luck, fucker,' then hung up," Patchouli said.

"Uh-oh! Sounds like you're stuck with me." Blümchen batted her eyelashes and smiled. "But, then, where else would I go? This place is perfect for me."

"If you think we'll show you any courtesy here, you're wrong. We'd sooner lock you up in a cage." Remilia crossed her arms. She was already done by the time she came in, and Blümchen was digging away at her empty reservoir of patience.

Blümchen's smile widened. The tips of two small fangs glinted from under her lips. "You already have. Or, at least, that's what you were doing. Your regrets have sustained me for this long, but now that I'm out in the open, I can feel them even harder. I'm absolutely tingling with--"

"Oh, come off it." Remilia's hand sliced through the air to cut her off. "So, Patchouli, what's the next plan?"

"Ahem, I was speaking," Blümchen harrumphed.

Remilia was no demonologist, but she knew that what every demon loved more than anything else was a silent audience that would listen to their absurd, over-the-top proclamations and backstories. She wouldn't give her the opportunity.

"Hah! You think my ego's fragile enough to fracture from a single interruption? Lady, do you have any idea how hard it is to annoy your way out of hell? Or have you lost your perspective from hanging around a brown-noseing lap dog?" She grinned in Koakuma's direction, then ducked to avoid some flying books.

Remilia made a 'don't respond' gesture, trying to be subtle about it. Any angry response would just feed the demon further. That was, if she really was some manifestation of regret like she said.

"I saw that little signal. I don't know what's sadder, her being such a failure of a demon or you trying to so hard to control everyone."

"Go ahead, talk more. Give us more details so that we can better find the hidey-hole you crawled out of," Remilia snapped. It was probably an angry response, but dammit, that smug face of hers just begged to be contradicted. It's always the small ones, she thought. Always the tiny ones with cute faces that could really get under your skin.

"You're definitely sadder. Trying to control fate and you can't even control a little shit like me." Blümchen giggled.

"This would be a simple affair if we were back in Belgium, but it's hard to find directions from this place," Patchouli groused.

"Ten million books in here and no map?" Blümchen snorted. "Come on, a few hours with me can't be worse than centuries of you two putting up with each other." She drew a line between Remilia and Patchouli with her finger. She pushed herself off of her seat and leaned over to Remilia.

"Do you really think she's half as bad as she pretends to be?" she whispered. Patchouli's eyes darted up from her book, and Koakuma half-leaned closer.

"You think I'm going to trust anything you say?" Remilia snapped quietly.

"Come on. A promising young magician, and centuries later she has nothing to show for it. So far as you can see, at least. After all, completing a contract is just one way to get out of it."

Remila ground her teeth together. The other way, obviously, was for someone involved to die. Or everyone. She felt a strange sinking in the pit of her stomach.

"You've always been a rusher, haven't you? You don't see results at first, so you tie another person to your string. And another. And another. And now, all of the sudden, the only people you can trust are the ones who'd have a lot to gain from you disappearing."

Blümchen leaned in close, until her lips were almost touching Remilia's ear. "And that's not even mentioning your sis--"

The whistling sound of thrown knives flew past Remilia, and a blur of silver passed her eye. Blümchen went silent. Slowly, they both craned their necks to the side and saw an outline of Remilia's head sticking out of the bookcase, drawn in knives.

"I'd prefer if you didn't spoil milady's appetite before dinner." Sakuya walked into the library, tray of dinner in one hand and a tray of wine glasses in the other. She made eye contact with the little demon for just a second, but it was one of the rare moments where she showed any kind of intensity. Blümchen seemed to appreciate the weight it carried. She bit her tongue, suddenly looking submissive, like the loser in a fight between two wild dogs.

Satisfied with her place at the head of the pack, Sakuya brought over a plate of quiche, decorated with slivers of strange, colorful vegetables that smelled of salt. "More of the pickled vegetables from the market, milady. I hope they go well with the food."

"Thank you, Sakuya." She plucked her wine glass by the stem and took a sip. With Blümchen quiet now, the table reached a painful and uneasy silence. She wondered if Patchouli had heard anything that Blümchen was whispering earlier.

Instead of disappearing as usual, Sakuya was lingering nearby with her arms folded. One hand rested close to one of the pockets on her skirt. Anyone who wasn't Remilia might not have noticed, but the faintest glint of silver showed from it. Her long, slender fingers were tracing over the edge of a hidden knife. Her grey eyes seemed cloudy, locked on Blümchen.

Remilia took a bite of her food, chewing it thoughtfully.

[ ] Blümchen's obviously just a little pissant who should be locked up.
[ ] Blümchen talks a lot about regret, but you sure wouldn't regret blasting her out of existence.
[ ] Blümchen knows a lot of things that she shouldn't. Maybe she's more right than you think.
[ ] Blümchen isn't just a pissant -- she seems downright seditious. Is this part of something bigger?
>> No. 62779
[X] Blümchen talks a lot about regret, but you sure wouldn't regret blasting her out of existence.
>> No. 62780
[x] Blümchen talks a lot about regret, but you sure wouldn't regret blasting her out of existence.

What can change the nature of a man?

GIANT
LASERS
>> No. 62781
[X] Blümchen's obviously just a little pissant who should be locked up.
>> No. 62782
[X] Blümchen's obviously just a little pissant who should be locked up.
>> No. 62783
[x] Blümchen knows a lot of things that she shouldn't. Maybe she's more right than you think.

doubt.jpg
>> No. 62784
[x]Blumchen is obviously just a little pissant who deserves to be locked up
-[x]in the basement, with Flan, as her new playmate

Either they become friends, making Flan more stable, or they become enemies, in which case Blumchen explodes. Either way, it's a win win for Remi.
>> No. 62785
File 144881674032.gif - (895.59KB , 250x200 , shoulder devil.gif ) [iqdb]
62785
>>62784
You want to put an unstable living weapon together with a spiteful manipulator, as the only person she has to talk to? That might be the worst idea ever.

[x] Blümchen's obviously just a little pissant who should be locked up.

Quit getting trolled, Remi.
>> No. 62786
[x] amongst my regrets, the one that comes to mind is not impaling you as soon as you started talking
-[x] Go full throttle, she's a demon she can take it. Or not, who cares?

Its time to live up to our family (fake) name and live full-life impalement
>> No. 62787
File 144882034230.jpg - (4.61KB , 279x165 , 136500071980.jpg ) [iqdb]
62787
[X] Blümchen knows a lot of things that she shouldn't. Maybe she's more right than you think.

>>62783
>
>> No. 62788
Blümchen could be bullshitting, but what if she's planted doubts in Patchy's head too? What if she's helped Patchy realize that their fate deal was her getting played? She hasn't been particularly friendly towards Remi since the beginning of the story. Besides that, her new hellspawn seems to know a lot about the whole fate thing. That whole deal with somebody or everybody dying to get out of the contract doesn't sound good. I'm getting kinda noided, mane.
>> No. 62789
>>62785

I dunno man, the situation with Flandre is apparently already reaching critical mass. I think we should play the hand that fate dealt us.

[x]Blumchen is obviously just a little pissant who deserves to be locked up
-[x]in the basement, with Flan, as her new playmate.
-[x]Explain the situation to Flandre. We want to reintegrate her into society, but she needs to learn to control her impulses. Blümchen is going to try her patience, but needs to remain unexploded.
>> No. 62790
[x] Blümchen talks a lot about regret, but you sure wouldn't regret blasting her out of existence.
>> No. 62791
>>62789
A word of warning: fate loves a good tragedy.
>> No. 62792
Closing votes for [X] Blümchen's obviously just a little pissant who should be locked up.
>> No. 62793
>>62791

If that was what fate truly desired, then petty details such as this vote wouldn't matter. The good thing about playing as Remilia is the knowledge that her power is kind of a big deal, and she can always beat the odds.
>> No. 62794
File 144886161864.jpg - (135.01KB , 850x478 , literally drop her.jpg ) [iqdb]
62794
[x] Blümchen's obviously just a little pissant who should be locked up.

Remilia took another bite. The mixture of quiche and pickled vegetables was an... interesting texture. Not exactly bad, but not good either. It was unique, she could say that. Blümchen sulked at her side of the table, alternating between watching Sakuya and staring at the floor.

Nobody said a word as Remilia ate and Patchouli and Koakuma took sips of wine. Sakuya kept her eyes on Blümchen, fiddling with her knives again every few minutes. Remilia wondered if Sakuya even remembered anything about the business between the two of them, or if it was just some instinct that stayed after her memories left her.

She remembered Blümchen's comments about trust and clenched her fork in her fist. She wouldn't let some rabble-rouser waltz through her mansion and start raising trouble. Patchouli could surely continue her studies with her subject locked up in a guest room. Or perhaps kept in shackles in the corner.

Remilia wondered if the mansion had any shackles lying around. It felt like it should've. What good is a mansion without proper dungeon materials? Of course, the 'dungeon' had been repurposed for Flandre.

Remilia hummed in thought to herself. Having Blümchen dig her own grave with Flandre would be morbidly funny, but too big of a risk. Knowing her luck, and fate's proclivities, she'd talk Flandre into breaking out of the dun--

Into breaking out of her room. Remilia ground a spinach leaf to paste between her teeth. This girl couldn't be allowed to roam free. One of the guest rooms and a few heavy weights would have to do. She finished her last bite of food and chased it with the rest of her wine.

"Patchouli, might I have a word with you away from the table?" she asked.

"Tsk. So suspicious of your friend, Remilia?" Blümchen raised her head and smirked. "What happened to being thick as thieves?"

Patchouli grunted in annoyance and pushed herself up from her seat. Remilia followed her down one of the rows of bookcases until they were out of sight of the table.

"Jesus Christ on a unicycle, what an asshole she is," Patchouli said before Remilia could ask anything.

Remi paused, mouth half open, then laughed. "To think I was worried she might influence you."

"I've spent the last three hundred years ignoring everyone else. I'm not going to stop now."

"Ah, there's the Patchy I know and love." Remilia raised her arm to put it around Patchouli's shoulder.

"Don't touch me."

She put her arm back down. "So, are there still more options to try?"

"Plenty of them. I was hoping that a quick fix would work. There are options almost guaranteed to work, but they take a couple days to prepare."

"Should we just, you know, blow her up?"

Patchouli laughed darkly, then took in a deep breath. A fuzzy little ball of dirt fell from one of the shelves and went straight up her nose. Remilia waited while she hacked and coughed for a few minutes. Patchouli took another deep breath, covering her mouth, then spat on the ground.

"Okay, yes, all done," she wheezed. "I wish it were that simple. A flesh-and-blood demon is merely one manifestation of an actual demon. Think of it as like being posessed, but not by a single free-floating entity. More like one entity managing a variety of smaller entities."

"Good point," Remilia said. She had no idea if it was true or not, but it sounded good. "What's the plan from here, then?"

"The first plan is to shut her trap and keep her still. The little shit was cooperative enough for the first few tries -- mostly so she could mock me when I failed -- but I think her patience started to wear thin after the fifth time I gave her third-degree burns."

"Yeah. I was just thinking of locking her up somewhere, to be honest."

"It'd be best if she stayed here in the library. No more travel then necessary. Koakuma has a... chamber, I suppose you could call it? She rarely uses it, and I suppose we could lock her up in there."

"Would Koakuma mind?"

"I don't really care, honestly." Patchouli shrugged.

"Well, sounds like a plan."

They walked back to the table. When Blümchen saw them, her smirk widened. "I should've known you'd be locking me up. Just like you locked up everything else. All your regrets, all your -- hey!"

Remilia took a handkerchief out of her pocket, rolled it up and wrapped it around Blümchen's head. "Someone hold her down," she said with a glance at Koakuma and Sakuya.

Koakuma was eager to tackle her around the waist and knock her to the ground. Sakuya appeared by Remilia's side and put a hand on her shoulder. "Milady, please."

Remilia looked up at her. Did she remember some history between them? Had she pieced this together?

She pulled out one of her own handkerchiefs, stuffed into a ball. "You have to stuff their mouth first, otherwise they can move the gag off with their tongue."

"O-Oh. Thank you, Sakuya." Remilia took the ball and shoved it into Blümchen's mouth before she could say another word, then tied up a gag around her mouth.

"Much better," came Patchouli's voice.

Heavy chains hovered above her, glowing an electric purple color. Koakuma let go and moved away. Blümchen tried to get up and make a run for it, but the chains came down on her, then wrapped around her on their own, locking her up like a mummy.

Patchouli wiped her hands. "She'll be staying in your chambers, Koakuma. She can't do much more than grunt now, so she shouldn't be too much of a distraction. Feel free to kick her whenever you're upset."

Blümchen wiggled in her restraints. It seemed her snarky comments were her only form of defence.

Calling it a job well done, Remilia crossed her arms and turned to Patchouli. "Any supplies you'll need for the new incantations?"

"I think I have everything I need, but thanks anyway, Remi. Lia. Remilia," Patchouli corrected herself.

"Too late, you said it."

"It's not my fault. Anyone else would seem like a dear friend compared to what I've been putting up with all day." Patchouli turned and walked as she talked, her attention already going back to her studies as she disappeared into the library, leaving the captive to Koakuma.

Sakuya had already collected the empty plate and glasses back onto the tray, and following her made a convenient excuse for getting out of here. She walked in front of Sakuya as they both headed outside fo the library.

"Make sure the faeries have finished boiling the gruit and aren't cooking it into oblivion. I think that's the last thing for today. I'm heading for bed."

"Good night, Milady."

Remilia went to her bedroom, then sat on the edge of her bed for a minute, still dressed. She was tired and greatly looking forward to today's sleep, so she figured she might as well stay awake for whatever catastrophe was going to distract her before she could sleep. She filed her nails for a few minutes, then just as she was thinking she could safely go to bed, she heard an explosion outside.

The front door was wide open when she ran back to the great hall. Meiling was standing just outside the door, looking a little dirty and beat-up. Next to her was a short young woman with blonde hair, just a few inches taller than a large faerie. Her black dress and wide-brimmed black hat stretched out so far that she appeared almost like a square.

"Hey! Miss me?" she called with a grin that showed off her front teeth.

Remilia remembered her. She was with Reimu when she came in to 'solve' the whole red mist affair. She may have looked like some foolish provincial, but she was a savant with magic, and her name was worth remembering. "And what brings you back here, Marinara?"

"Name's Marisa," she said, still grinning.

"She flirted with me! Why does everyone keep flirting with me?" Meiling threw up her hands.

"Naw, I didn't. I'm just naturally friendly. Besides, I came here to flirt with the librarian." Marisa tucked her witch's broom under her arm.

"It's four in the morning," Remilia said.

"Early to bed, early to rise, right?" She shrugged.

"You have poor timing. We just finished chaining up our last intruder." Remilia crossed her arms. Blümchen wasn't technically an 'intruder', but that didn't matter right now.

"Aw, then she could use a little cheering-up. C'mon, let me in to see her, yeah?" Marisa shoved her way in past Sakuya and Remilia.

The idea of Patchouli being happy to see anyone made Remilia smirk.

[ ] If Reimu didn't have any trouble here, Marisa hopefully won't.
[ ] Patchouli finding romance? Stranger things have happened.
[ ] This is going to be like a bull in a china shop, isn't it?
>> No. 62795
[x] Patchouli finding romance? Stranger things have happened.

"Sakuya, prepare the popcorn."
>> No. 62796
[X] If Reimu didn't have any trouble here, Marisa hopefully won't.

Gotta get the O.K. from both incident solvers.
>> No. 62797
[x] If Reimu didn't have any trouble here, Marisa hopefully won't.
>> No. 62798
[X] This is going to be like a bull in a china shop, isn't it?

CODE WITCH I REPEAT CODE WITCH
>> No. 62799
[X] Patchouli finding romance? Stranger things have happened.
>> No. 62800
[X] Patchouli finding romance? Stranger things have happened.
>> No. 62801
[x] If Reimu didn't have any trouble here, Marisa hopefully won't.

She's probably just doing it because Reimu did it.
>> No. 62802
[x] Ask Patchouli
-[x] If/When she says no, it's the season of the witch

Hunting time!
>> No. 62803
[X] Patchouli finding romance? Stranger things have happened
>> No. 62804
[X] Patchouli finding romance? Stranger things have happened.

If by 'Romance' you mean 'Extra Stage', then by all means, go right on ahead!

Remi looked into her mouth. We must know. How many tongues does Blümchen have?
>> No. 62805
Closing votes. Marisa's going to put on her wizard hat.

[X] Patchouli finding romance? Stranger things have happened.
>> No. 62806
File 144893649289.png - (2.41MB , 1600x1200 , 1445911762163.png ) [iqdb]
62806
[X] This is going to be like a bull in a china shop, isn't it?

However, this time, China fights back!
>> No. 62807
File 144894282079.jpg - (105.68KB , 850x542 , sneaky witchy.jpg ) [iqdb]
62807
[x] Patchouli finding romance? Stranger things have happened.

Remilia crossed her arms. Finally, some fun trouble, as opposed to the annoying kind. "Alright, then, I'll show you to the library. Let's see your moves."

"Hell yeah." Marisa grabbed the brim of her hat and followed after Remilia as she led her to the library.

Remilia pushed the door open and saw Koakuma with a flailing Blümchen over her shoulder, carrying her off into the distance. "Don't mind that," Remilia said.

"It'd be hypocritical of me to say anything. Aha! There's Patchouli." Marisa went running off towards her. Patchouli looked up from her book.

As soon as they made eye contact, Patchouli's face flushed. It turned a deep red, going right past the look of a blushing romantic and into the face of fury. "Haven't we had enough rats today already?" she snapped.

"Aw, is that any way to greet an old friend?"

Marisa spread her arms and came in for a hug. Patchouli chucked a paperweight at her. It fell short, landing at Marisa's feet.

"That is how I greet old friends."

"I'm flattered."

"What the hell are you doing here, anyway?" Patchouli's voice started to sound strained.

"This is a library, right? I came here to check something out."

Patchouli's eyes narrowed. "Don't say it."

Marisa made finger-guns at Patchouli. "You."

Patchouli spluttered and moved her mouth, but couldn't get any words out. She flailed her arms at Marisa, who seemed to mistake her asthma attack for regular rage. Her grin started to waver when she saw Patchouli's flailing get weaker and weaker.

Remilia leaned towards her servant. "Sakuya, the tea," she whispered.

The tea in question was ma huang tea, one of the reasons Remilia let Meiling have her herb gardens -- one cup of the stuff could get Patchouli breathing after even the roughest attack. Sakuya flickered away, then returned back a moment later with a full steaming mug. She hurried over to Patchouli and held the cup to her lips.

Patchouli gulped at it, drinking as much as she could with her swollen throat. After a few sips, she started taking heavy breaths between drinks, then took the mug from Sakuya gulped down the rest of it.

"Thank you, Sakuya." Patchouli handed the mug back to her, then turned to Marisa. "You irresponsible little weasel! Barging in here and giving me an asthma attack like that with your terrible flirting!"

"Sorry. Didn't mean to... take your breath away." Marisa's grin grew back on her face.

"Graaargh!" Patchouli leapt up from her chair. Books went flying as she leaned over the table and grabbed for Marisa's neck.

Marisa yelped and leaned away, but Patchouli got a good handful of dress. A stumbling tug-of-war ensued, rattling the table and knocking even more books off as Marisa struggled to get Patchouli off of her. That was the funny thing about magicians. No matter how much they learned, their bodies were still weak and squishy. Not like Remilia, who had no trouble flicking Patchouli's hands off of Marisa.

"Alright, alright. You can choke her later, after we've had some time to talk. Sakuya, could you get a bottle of wine for our guest?"

"Sorry, don't drink," Marisa said. "At least, not for the next couple days."

"Oh? Did something happen?"

"A big part of my business is mushrooms, and I make it a priority not to drink for a week after eating any new concoction. You only gotta puke blood once to learn that lesson."

"That's... reasonable." Remilia could've done without that detail.

Waste of perfectly good blood, too.

"Are you some sort of potionmaker, then?"

"There's only one way to describe me, and that's Marisa Kirisame. I got my fingers in too many pies to boil it down to one or two titles, but 'magician' and 'thief' would both work if you insist on it."

"You're a pretty poor thief if you announce it out loud like that," Remilia said.

"That's the brilliant part, you see. The first thing I steal is my victim's heart."

"Do you, now?" Remilia smirked. She crossed her arms and waited.

Marisa said nothing.

"Well?" Remilia said.

"Well, what?"

"Aren't you going to try and seduce the head of the illustrious mansion?" Remilia growled.

Marisa slid her hand under her hat and scratched her head. "Oh, heh. Eh. Nah."

"No offense, Remilia, but you might draw more attention if you went a little easier on the blood. You put it in everything you drink and your face looks like a baby's," Patchouli said.

"Ahem, when was looking youthful ever a bad thing?" Remilia shot back.

"I gotta admit, it is kinda weird. I just wanna pinch your cheeks," Marisa said.

"Anyway, Patchouli had a point in asking what you're doing here." Remilia waved the old subject away and brought up a new one.

Marisa shrugged. "I heard Reimu came here earlier, so I thought I'd check it out too. Seemed like a good place to cas-- to check out."

"Hands off," Patchouli said, bopping Marisa's wrist when her hand scooted too close to one of the books.

"I hope you'll understand my hesitancy to give a self-admitted thief a tour of the mansion," Remilia said.

"That's fair, I was kind of expecting that. I can show myself out, but don't worry. I'll be back." Marisa winked to the two of them and walked out the door.

"I have a feeling every powerful person here is absolutely insane," Remilia said.

"Good to see some things stay the same," Patchouli responded.

Remilia followed after Marisa, making sure she left without any side-trips. Outside the front door, Meiling had already gone back to bed in her shack. Not surprising, considering it was the middle of the night. The distant sound of birds outside reminded Remilia how long she had been up.

"Right, Sakuya. I'm going to bed for real."

"Oh! That reminds me. The faeries look to have successfully made wort from the soaked grains. Shall I hold it slow for now, so that it doesn't spoil?"

"A good idea. You're full of useful information tonight, Sakuya."

Sakuya made a noncommital hum. "I'll see to it that your sleep is undisturbed."

"Thank you much. Hopefully it will require no action on your part." Remilia yawned and stretched.

Back in her bedroom, she was safely sealed from any noise outside. She slipped out of her dress and changed into her sleeping clothes, and had a nighttime chaser of straight blood, which had been laid out by Sakuya. It filled her with a rosy warmth, and she carried that feeling as she slid under the sheets and fell asleep.

------------------END ARC 0: THE GIRLS ARE BACK IN TOWN------------------
>> No. 62808
Thank you all so much for the support and praise you've given the story. It's been great seeing you discuss things, and I'll be continuing this story after the end of Quick Words, but for now I need a brief hiatus (no more than a week) to organize things and catch my breath. See you again soon!
>> No. 62809
>>62808
>hiatus
>week
If only this were the norm around here.
>> No. 62810
File 144955597426.jpg - (153.79KB , 850x850 , sleep tite vamper.jpg ) [iqdb]
62810
-----ARC 1: SUPPLY AND DEMAND-----

Sakuya cradled her watch in her palm, her hand covering it as if someone might float by and try to snatch it at any time. A couple of faeries had tried it just to see what Sakuya's reaction would be. They never tried a second time.

Sunlight started to peek in through the crack in the front door. This was the uncomfortable time of day where everyone was either going to bed or waking up. Patchouli had already crash-landed into a deep sleep after being up for who knows how many hours, her face flattened against the table, unfazed by the bright lantern inches away from her face. That was her usual pattern: stay up for five days straight, then sleep like a brick until someone hit her hard enough to wake her up.

Despite her watch nagging at her constantly with its powers, Sakuya made herself do things normally to help the morning pass. She made the rounds around the mansion, checking for anything unusual, and broke up a pillow fight in the faeries' quarters before they ruined another perfectly good bed. The walking gave her time to ponder, and a plan for the day started to form in her head. She retreated to the office and spent a while flipping through the books on brewing, studying for what to do with the jug of wort frozen in time in the furnace room.

That should be enough time, Sakuya thought to herself after writing down a few notes. A glance at her watch told her it was early afternoon now, so she tidied up the office before heading out. Meiling was by the gate, attempting to play the role of a guard, but she kept glancing back at the gardens lining the estate, running back to prune a branch or fiddle with a patch of flowers. Being woken up several times over the night hadn't affected her energy at all.

"Good afternoon, Sakuya," Meiling said and waved at her like a friendly neighbor. Sakuya responded with a terse half-bow.

"That witch gave no further trouble on her way out last night, I assume?"

"Not enough worth doing anything over." Meiling put her hands on her hips and sighed. "That's the second time I've been beaten since coming here. So much for the fearsome guardian of the river."

"We are all readjusting." Sakuya had the vague feeling that it was true in more ways than she thought. Her hand cradled the watch in its secret pocket.

"Any big schemes planned for the daytime, or are we just going to wait for the mistress to wake up and fly by the seat of her pants again?" Meiling straightened her clothes. Dragons had never put a high priority on organization, so while she had adapted to many thing without a hitch, some basic concepts like folding her shirts before putting them away still eluded her.

"There are always things to attend to."

Sakuya felt something bump into the side of her hips. A fairy with yellow-orange hair and pointed ears was trying to force her way past her as she stood in the doorway.

"Hey, mornin', Meiling! How's the garden doing?" the faerie said, still wedged between Sakuya and the thick wooden door.

Meiling gave a proud grin. "There's going to be plenty to pick in a few weeks. I'm so glad it survived the move."

The faerie, who Sakuya recognized as Esmerelda, finally shoved her way past the door and ran towards Meiling. She hopped up into the air and sat down on Meiling's shoulder.

"Hah. It's good to see you again, but don't get in trouble for slacking off, alright?" Meiling tried to turn her arm up and give Esmerelda a friendly pat on the back but couldn't reach.

"I can help out here, right?" Esmerelda asked hopefully.

"Maybe just a little. Let's check on those grapes again, shall we?" Meiling settled for patting Esmerelda on the calf. Her smile faltered when she saw Sakuya's face. Sakuya didn't know why -- she didn't think she had done anything to change her expression.

"Yes, let's see if we can get any more growth there," Sakuya said.

Sakuya waited and watched as Meiling and Esmerelda did a quick pass around the soon-to-be vineyard, cleaning it up and plucking out some of the bigger weeds. After they'd made some progress, she took out her watch and looked back and forth between the watch face and the grapevines. They jerked forward, growing a few inches as if they were spring-loaded.

"What would happen if you did that while I was working on one of the plants?" Esmerelda asked.

"Let's never find out," Sakuya replied. "How is the soil?"

Meiling knelt down and patted the ground. "Still doing okay, but we should give it a little rest after this 'til the next rainfall."

"Very well. I'm going to be off for the village."

Esmerelda perked up. "Can you get me some walnuts?"

"We'll see." Sakuya checked the time on her watch, then stowed it away.

"See you later," Meiling said.

"Until then." Sakuya half-bowed again and left.

Past the gates and down the hill, the forest was much quieter than last night. The youkai around here must be nocturnal, same as Milady, she thought to herself as she passed by the small cluster of trees Remilia had turned into stumps. The path was already starting to feel natural to her, as if she was meant to walk it. Mystia's stand was gone for now, leaving a large square of matted grass on the flat earth with a trail of wheel tracks leading off into the distance.

The small clusters of farming shacks and summer cottages came into view not much further down. Their residents still threw furtive glances as Sakuya walked by, but there was some familiarity in their eyes. She was a rumor passed amongst neighbors now.

At the entrance to the village, the guards were already waiting. There were two new ones, along with the men from last night. The night shift was looking much worse for wear, one of them with a lump on his forehead and the other with a large welt on his cheek. They both had the dirty hair and sunken skin of a monstrous hangover.

Sakuya didn't pause, but she slowed her step for a brief second. The sorry state of the night shift said all that needed to be said. They didn't seem to recognize her. They probably didn't remember a single thing from last night. She passed them with a slight nod of her head.

Her purpose in visiting the village today was threefold: While there, she had to look for yeast cakes or dregs for brewing. Her reading from this morning told her that beer could not be openly fermented everywhere, and one could play it safe by using the dregs from a previous batch of beer. Also of importance was meeting with Mori to see about any news on the brewing equipment and mansion repairs. Before all of that, however, she would see how Charlotte and Margeroux were doing with their little business.

The village looked entirely different when it wasn't cloaked in the dark of night, and not just because there were more people outside. Lady Remilia had talked much about her trips to Japan -- she was a tad insufferable about it -- but Sakuya had never been. Or perhaps she had. She must have been at some point, she thought to herself, but didn't know why.

In any case, all the little differences of architecture, clothing, and language were enough to make her doubly out of place. As she weaved through the roads, she had the feeling the village was designed not to be as efficient as possible but to adapt to the land around it. Strips of houses formed curvy lines around the rise and fall of the uneven terrain. One house's ceiling formed a porch for the house on the small hill above it. One could call it either natural or lazy, and both would be right.

She found her way back to the faeries with only a little difficulty. The pile of furniture had shrunk considerably, so they had either done a very good job or a very, very bad job. Margeroux saw her approaching and waved at her, jumping up and down and grinning.

"Sakuya! Hey, Saku-- I mean, hey, chief!"

Sakuya hurried over. "Yes? Is it good news?"

"Hold out your hand," Margeroux said.

Sakuya reached a hand out.

"No, facing up."

Sakuya turned her hand up. Margeroux slapped a thick pile of bills into her palm.

"Doesn't that feel satisfying? I've been doing it all afternoon." Margeroux picked up the stack and slapped it down in Sakuya's hand again. "Thwap! Thwap! The sound of riches."

"The humans said the furniture is really good. We must've sold to half of the wealthy people in town," Charlotte said. "Also, ask a human first before you hug them. They're a little touchy."

"And tomorrow, of course, we will sell to the other half." Margeroux rubbed her hands together.

"Ahem. I'd rather you not advertise your unguarded riches." Sakuya stuffed the money into her apron. "However, you have done an impressive job." She pulled her hand back out, still holding some of the money, and dispensed a few bills to the both of them.

Charlotted marvelled at the cash in her hands. "My first paycheck! I can't wait to waste it all on alcohol and smokes."

"Hang on. Working-class vices can wait for a few minutes. What should we do about all this furniture in the meantime?" Margeroux asked.

[ ] A tarp or something over it should suffice.
[ ] Invest in someone to keep watch until tomorrow. A justified expense for peace of mind.
[ ] With the inventory much leaner, it can be packed up and taken home.
[ ] How, pray tell, did you figure that you were leaving before everything's sold?
>> No. 62811
[X] How, pray tell, did you figure that you were leaving before everything's sold?
Never don't bully fairies.
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