[x] Richard Meyers
[x] I noticed you were sleeping facing the pillows, and that bugs me as someone training to become a doctor.
[x] Shouldn't we eat first? I'm not usually hungry in the morning either, but I honestly can't remember when I ate.
"Richard Meyers, Miss Knowledge. Though most of my buds call me Richie," you answer. Patchouli opens the door from what must have been the bathroom if it was designed with the most space and least amount of light possible. She is changed in a new robe of similar color. The pale purples go well with her hair, frail though it must be. Interestingly, she maintains her little night cap.
"Oh, so you're straight and through an Anglo-Saxon American hmm?" she asks, she walks past you into the main section of the library, beckoning you to follow. You don't find this difficult, as she moves leisurely, stopping every couple of moments to scan a bookshelf.
"Yeah, I'm not a exotic foreigner, but hey, you apparently summoned me for my smarts right? Anyway about the sleeping thing, Koakuma led me there and she let you put your face on the pillows," you begin to explain, you don't see any reaction from Patchouli, save a single eyebrow raised when you mention Koakuma leading you. She picks out an old tome on one of the bookshelfs, muttering its name under her breath. You look the title over and chuckle when you notice the language. Learning Latin has its perks, you also know some Ancient Greek.
"It bugged me seeing you clogging your breathing as I'm training to be a doctor. Oh, by the way, what's the Ephesia Grammata?" She seems to ignore your question, opening the book to some formulas in Greek. You ask again.
"Oh! I was just thinking about your education, considering how in the Outside becoming a doctor is quite dependent on schooling. This book is just a reference of some older magical formulas, I wanted to cross reference them with Hindu and Bhuddist mantras." Patchouli then begins a semi-coherent ramble about the different styles of mantras, explaining that Greek mantras were less about philosophy and more about protection and the cycle of seasons. You struggle to grasp the meaningfulness of what she's saying, and before long she's reciting the formulas, oblivious once again to your presence.
Like a tiger, you wait for her to finally stumble on a particularly long mantra and quickly attempt to regain any chance of talking. "Slow down there Miss Knowledge! l understand you're busy and all, getting to whatever this meeting is, but shouldn't we eat first? I mean, I'm not usually hungry in the morning either, I can't remember when I last ate." She seems annoyed by your butting in, and pauses near her desk. With a sigh she turns towards where the wafting smell of food was coming from.
"I suppose you're right, familiar. Let's do this quickly though, I wanted to get some reading in before my meeting," she actually huffs as the midget maids guide her to a seat near the doors where Koakuma must be. You realize that even after the long walk, you're only near the wall adjacent to Patchouli's bedroom, just how big is this place anyway?
"So, Miss Patchouli?" you sit down on the seat across from her, the maids paying you no such attention, "Do you own this place? Is this some sort of huge library for the occult?" Patchouli smiles at the question, and ponders it as a plate with a lingonberry crepe is brought out for both of you.
"No, I'm afraid I don't own this mansion, though once could say the library is mine." She can't be serious, how big must the entire mansion be if this is just the library? You must have been openly aghast because she actually snorts at your disbelief. She's already attacking the plate, as if she were in a race.
"You see, this entire mansion is bigger on the inside, as there's someone who can manipulate time and space in here. The space part only seems to work here though, but still impressive for one such as yourself, no?" There she goes with that pretentious voice again, the worst part being that you can still hear the Parisian French on her, it just gets translated instantly into English.
"Yeah, I think as a defense mechanism from insanity I've just sort of accepted whatever bullshit is powering these abilities. Is she the one in charge of the mansion then?" In truth you're still interested in figuring out how this works, if any of this can be recreated in "the Outside", as your boss calls it, who knows how much bank you'd make!
"No, she's the maid. The mistress is a vampire named Remilia Scarlet. That's how the mansion is named "Scarlet Devil", get it? Actually, I'm going to be meeting with both of them. It concerns your contract, so I suggest you join me," she's halfway done with her food, and every sentence she speaks is rushed, every bite she takes drowned in water.
"That's a point I wanted to ask you about. It's not just about exams and whatnot, it's also about volunteering and community service. I can't do that if I'm stuck here forever with only a couple of hours as exceptions," she stops eating and furrows her brow at this development. Oppposite as she was doing before, now she robotically and arduously chews every bite, drinking water only after swallowing for a couple of minutes.
"That's not in the contract," she decides after pondering the concern. Nope. Nope-nope-nope.
"Yes it is. Getting into medical school is continuing my education. You have to allow me to do it," you smirk, oh no she doesn't stop you from your dreams. Hell no. She stares at you now, the chewing ceasing as you reply.
"Merde... look, you'll at most be needed here for a couple of weeks if you're so rushed to leave. Just follow me to my meeting so I don't have to brief you later. I already have your testing dates, as I told Koakuma to handle all of that if I forgot," as she finishes conceding, she rises from her chair and walks out of the vicinity to what seems like the opposite part of the room. She beckons you to follow, this time a frown etched on her. You do so, seeing as it's so important.
After five minutes of uninterrupted walking, Patchouli no longer stopping at shelves to inspect books, you make it to a large set of double doors. Koakuma must have joined you as you walked, as she struggles to open the doors with an assortment of maids. Must be some dense wood.
As soon as Patchouli fits through the crack in the double doors she's off. The main hallways are just as dark as the library, chandeliers being the only source of illumination. The atmosphere is looming and gothic, large gargoyles on either side of the red carpet imposing themselves upon you. Whoever owns this must be a big deal, someone not to be trifled with. If they're a vampire as Patchouli claims, then their prescence must freeze hearts. It's a wonder Patchouli lives in somewhere like this.
"Psst, what did you say to anger Miss Knowledge?" you turn to your right to see Koakuma right up to your face. Must have forgotten about her. Patchouli doesn't seem to notice, even in such a big hall where the acoustics must be booming. Either Koakuma is doing some magic or Patchouli is really fuming.
"I reminded her of her contract, she didn't take it well," you whisper, Koakuma nods in understanding, waving her hands in a choreographed motion before speaking again.
"Yeah, she's been stressed out lately, the asthma attacks she has are getting her the second she steps out of the mansion, even going to the balcony is giving her fits. I honestly spiked her food with medicine so that she could speak clearly when talking to Remilia." Right. Patchouli had a pretty nasty coughing fit last night, though you didn't know it'd be that bad.
Wait, she's speaking to the vampire? This must be serious then.
At last you arrive at the double doors, the rest of the walk spent in deathly silence. The door to this room is as large as the doors to the library, if not larger, and a swarm is at its handles as soon as you approach.
"Familiar," she begins coldly, "I'm going to follow my contract, but may your chosen God or lackthereof have mercy on you if you make a fool out of me. Stay quiet unless spoken to if you value your life, and Koakuma, I'll do the punishing myself if you don't heed that as well," you turn to Koakuma to see if she's bluffing, the devil's face nervous. It seems you're both out of the loop to the subject matter.
You don't expect to see a young girl with a frilly dress and light blue hair sitting at the head of a large table, or a white haired beautiful woman in a maid outfit.
"Patche! It's good to see you out of that library for once! Sit so we can drink some tea," cries the little girl. The maid silently moves out of the room.
Wait, that means that the girl in front of you is the vampire. The one that Patchouli says will kill you if you're not careful. That vampire. Did she just call Patchouli "Patche"? That's a cute nickname. Does that mean...?
"If you say so Remi, I wanted to talk to you about something serious though, it's about that plan I mentioned a while back," she sits at the seat next to what you can only assume is Remilia and beckons you to stand beside her. Did Patchouli just call Remilia "Remi"? So that means they're friends. Oh crap.
"How dreadful you are at times Patche! Do tell who is the ah, unimposing young man standing beside you, oh and do sit, I can't stand when Sakuya just stands there, so I shan't stand it with you," she sips her tea while you nervously sit down. Let's not piss off the vampire, even if she's a little girl. Maybe we can mess with her later.
"Oh, he's an American named Richard Meyers, my familiar for the time being, though begrudgingly so," Patchouli doesn't look at you as she brings to tea cup of to her. As you are about to make a scowl at her, you notice the area in front of you has tea. Odd, you didn't notice it there a moment ago.
Oh right, time shifter. Great. I guess that makes her a good maid, you didn't even notice the wait, or have to call for her. The maid is stoically silent as she returns next to the vampire.
"Well Patche, you can't expect a sentient being to be like a dog, that's the tradeoff for intelligence: attitude from that intelligence. Well Richard, you have my greetings, do help my friend with her dilemma." She's really well mannered for a brat, like a European aristocrat you read about in old Romanticist novels. You smile at her, you find it hard not to, she has a similar vibe to Koakuma, unnaturally charismatic.
"Yes, my dilemma. Remi, I'm going to be blunt, I want to start an incident to cure my asthma," Patchouli sounds like she just expressed high treason, and Koakuma's eyes go wide. Incident? Like terrorist incident? What does that have to do with asthma? Remilia stops toying with her cup and looks at Patchouli worriedly.
"Patchouli, we can get Eientei to-" Remilia stops as Patchouli stands up to interrupt her, though you notice the action is much less imposing coming from the girl in the nightgown.
"No Remilia! You and I both know that hasn't and won't work, this asthma is beyond natural, it needs an unnatural solution an I plan to get it!" you realize that this is the first time Patchouli has raised her voice, and she begins coughing into her sleeves. Remilia waits for her to finish coughing. That's some respect to someone who just yelled at her. They must be long friends.
"Why does this need an incident then? What power source could you possibly need to make this cure?" Remilia asks gently, Patchouli downs the tea in a single go.
"The Philospher's Stone and the Alkahest Solution. That's what I need, the only way to cleanse the magical flux and taint inside my system at this point is to have an infinite receptor. At that point I can convert it into a solid state of flux and use the Alkahest to dispose of it, or just use the Philospher's Stone to turn it into a compressed solid," Patchouli explains, her speech all too fast, a hint of desperateness, anger, wonder and hope all combined. You know this is the abridged version, and Patchouli is oft to go on another ramble. You decide to take action, despite her protests. You hear the familiar shift in her voice to a higher pitch, she's about to go into another fit. You reach over and put your hand on her shoulder.
She reluctantly stops speaking, taking a deep breath before descending into another fit. This one is truly violent, and you begin to worry for her health. You move into action, saying the practiced lines that you learned from dealing with your family's asthma. She's hyperventilating now, could this actually harm the 'magician monster' that is your boss? Who cares? Right now, she's a patient, and you didn't learn to be both a Phlebotomist and Pharmacy Technician before college to let someone choke in front of you.
"Deep, long breaths Patchouli. Nice and steady. Drink some of your tea now that it's stopped for a bit. Calm." She doesn't have that scowl anymore. You have to coax her into breathing steadily from the ragged hyperventilation.
"I don't nee-" There she goes again damn it!
"I'm doing my best to help but you need to listen Patchouli. Slowly breathe in and out, then drink a sip of tea. In. Out. Good." She doesn't protest anymore. You vaguely notice Remilia echoing your words at this point, standing on the other side of Patchouli.
It takes ten minutes before Patchouli finally is over the attack, and even then it's only after Koakuma rushes from the room to retrieve a red vial of medicine. The room is silent. Your temporary courage subdued by what had to be a glint of a silver knife coming from the maid, though you have no idea why she'd threaten you. That's the thanks you get from patients sometimes.
"Patchouli, I'll do it. You need rest, this goose chase of yours is only making your condition worse," Remilia breaks the silence, gently placing her hand over Patchouli's. The magician raises her eyes at the vampire, with what must be gratitude.
"No Remilia, in fact, I wanted to tell you this so that you could avoid responsibility. This is my goose chase, and I know it's hurting me. That's why I got the help." She's much calmer now, though it could just be fear from that monstrous attack. Remilia seems flabbergasted, and in fact so are you. Strong vampire, time stopping maid, and she refuses? Remilia also seems to have much more patience than you, because it's you who breaks the sacred rule Patchouli set forth.
"Wait, then why even bother telling her? She has so many resources? Even if you were trying to hide it ou would have been more effective by not telling her at all. Plus, what am I supposed to do? I don't do magic, and the Philospher's Stone is nothing but myth! You just said this isn't a natural science problem, so what's the goal?" Patchouli looks you over with tired eyes. She must have been pulling these all nighters for a while now, constantly under stress from the asthma. It's hard to maintain eye contact with her languid gaze on you.
"She'd find out. She always does. Then she gets involved. I don't know what you can do, because you're right: the Philospher's Stone is impossible. Even if it were real, I'd need energy to power the impossible magical and chemical reactions. I don't know any of the chemistry involved, or physics. I'm a holed-in mystic, and I'm hopelessly and utterly lost. I need your help desperately, or else I'm going to be afflicted with this for who knows how long. There, are you satisfied?" Patchouli doesn't stop staring at you as she drones out her response, now so soft that you must stay attentive to catch it.
And man did that response hit you. I mean, yes Patchouli is kind of a jerk to you, but hey, so have your previous bosses, and they weren't dealing with solving an impossible problem from literally opposite fields. You look away.
"I'll do what I can, but I can't say it'll work." you carefully respond. You can't just deny her, both the magic from your contract and your conscience holding you to your new task, and yet you can't really promise success. That must have sounded weak, but what can you do? You don't know about these situations, you're used to being the one with knowledge, not being clueless.
"That's all I ask. Remilia, if you'd like to help, I'd appreciate it if you'd search for any magical tomes we don't have in the library. I know you don't like those tasks, maybe Sakuya can handle it," she mumbles. For her part, Remilia doesn't give you a glare, or do any dramatic action. She just stands there, holding Patchouli's hand and nodding. You're not really a social person, so you don't quite understand what's happening, but it seems to cheer Patchouli up a bit. Now that you think about it, she actually seemed to release some tension when you responded that you'd do what you could. Maybe you shouldn't doubt the little actions so much.
"What a terribly dreadful brunch," Patchouli chuckles a bit, drinking another cup of refilled tea with her free hand. "You'll have to excuse me for that, Remi, may we get some confectionery and cakes? You must tell me the gossip before I seclude myself again." It's the most fake cheery act you've ever seen, but you're not spoiling the mood, you even chime in when the conversation moved to sweets and cakes. Before long, at least an hour has passed where the room seems much more at ease. As you rub your small stomach from the cake, Patchouli stands up as if to leave.
"Well, no rest for the wicked, Remi, I'm going to go and work on my project. Thanks for entertaining me. Let's go Richard, we've much work to do," Patchouli declares. She extends her hand out to you, as if to rouse you from your filled stupor. Remilia snickers at that motion before rising as well.
"Nothing of it, Patche. I'd always choose to spend time with a dear friend like yourself. Good luck, mum's the word on our parts. Oh, and good luck on bonding with your familiar, I'm glad it only took a night and a half day to say his name," Remilia jokes, Koakuma actually flies over and offers a high five as Patchouli pouts before turning to the door. You are so returning that high five.
After returning to the library, your appetite filled for possibly the whole day, Patchouli stops in front of her desk at the center of the room. She finally turns towards the two of you after digging through several volumes on her desk, and when she does, her tired look is just a bit brighter.
"OK you two, we've work to do. Richard, it's up to you if you'd like to study your own academics or if you want to read some of my books. We don't know what the answer might be, so any path is worth pursuing," she seems like a general briefing each batallón before a battle. You give her a salute, though she doesn't seem to get it.
"Right... Koakuma, please make sure none of the fairies disturb me, and prepare the 'the best damn coffee there is', because we're going to need it in a bit." Koakuma seems to get your joke, as she salutes while returning a hearty 'ma'am, yes ma'am!'
You assemble an assortment of books at your desk as a cup of black coffee and decadent Earl Grey is delivered to you. You don't know exactly how you're going to solve the Philosopher's Stone, but hey, anything's worth trying.
How will you attempt to solve the Philosopher's Stone?
[x] Pursue more of your academics, you just know there's a scientific way to make this possible.
[x] Grab one of Patchouli's introductory magic books. Perhaps a basic understanding of both magic and science could help. This option is influenced by a unique skill of yours
[x] Dive into more obscure occult books. You've got to get to the more advanced material, and you know Patchouli can't have read them all.
How long will you work on this before you take a break?
[x] Four hours or less
[x] Eight hours at most
[x] Until Patchouli dozes off or gets distracted
[x] No sleep until clear!
[x] Patchouli, you guys should be closer if you're going to make this work.
[x] Koakuma, she's been quite nice to you, why not talk with her a bit and rattle off some ideas?
[x] Sakuya and Remilia, maybe they can give you some information about where you're at.
Holy moly dialogue is hard. I feel naturally you'd go to the meeting after talking more with Patchouli, as she probably only gave you leeway because of the morning tiredness. Also, I'm tired of the asshole or villainous Remilia portrayal, so I made her actually a good friend for once.
Regarding choices, now that the main character creation has started the choices you make will have a bigger impact on the story, as I felt they didn't mean enough this update. I'm also going to notify you when your skills make something different. This doesn't always mean it's the best choice, stay realistic with your paths y'all.