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File 154096056230.jpg - (60.97KB , 800x576 , a lady with a glass.jpg ) [iqdb]
63685 No. 63685
As the gate closed behind her, Kagerou paused and let out the smallest of sighs. She stole a quick glance backwards and found that the gate guard was still smiling, watching her with with arms akimbo. The guard nodded at her, her green cap slumping forward a little as a result of the gesture, as if to urge her on in a friendly manner to keep on moving forward. Kagerou obliged and steadied her resolve before starting again towards the building ahead.

The path ahead wasn’t very long but there was plenty to distract a wandering eye—chiefly the large hedges and flowerbeds that were in full bloom. Kagerou looked somewhat amazed at the variety of flowers and the many different colors on display. Some of these floral patches had been arranged in such a way as to make a pattern. Most were simple geometric shapes or checkerboard design but there seemed to be a few that were meant to be objects or animals. Those were further away by a large fountain so it wasn’t easy to discern at a glance. At any rate, the smell was positively lovely and a soft breeze carried the delicate perfume quite well.

If she had any desire to stop and look (or smell) closer, she hid it well. Her gaze stopped wandering as she neared the doorway and instead she looked expectantly at the dark and thick wooden doors. She had just reached for a grotesquely heavy-looking brass knocker when the doors began to swing open with a groan. A pair of small girls dressed in smart short-sleeved uniforms stood at either end; fairies dressed in the typical warm-weather uniforms of the Scarlet Mansion greeted her with a smile.

“We’ve been expecting you,” one of the fairies said and beckoned her in with a casual wave of her hand.

“Yeah,” the other fairy added, “follow Ana here and she’ll take you to the Mistress.”

Kagerou nodded and began to follow the fairy. She chose to stay silent and slyly looked around at the luxurious atmosphere within the manor. Lots of polished surfaces and dense and expensive-looking bits of wood and stone were decorated with everything from simple patterns to frescoes and carpet. She saw grand staircases and equally imposing corridors with a myriad doors leading to… well, probably all sorts of things. It was the type of atmosphere that could be easily overwhelming if one stopped to try to appreciate every single detail. Luckily, Ana kept a brisk pace and Kagerou followed without lagging behind.

The fairy maid hummed a cheerful little tune to herself as she led on, her wings occasionally fluttering in sync to the melody. Ana didn’t really seem very special for a fairy—perhaps only a touch taller than average—and was only really noteworthy for her somewhat more-graceful-than-average gait. She wore her flaxen hair medium-length and straight, with short bangs in front. It suited her slight frame and still somehow hinted at the slight impishness that was present in all fairies.

“Here we are,” Ana announced as she knocked on a door. They were on the second floor, in what felt like the eastern wing of the large mansion. She opened the door gingerly, calling out softly, “Mistress? Your next audience is right on time and is here to see you.”

She signaled for Kagerou to wait outside for a moment and disappeared into the room, leaving the door slightly ajar. The door muffled her next few words a little too much to distinguish. It wasn’t very long until she returned. She peeked out from the room, jutting out her upper body into the corridor with lissome ease. “She’ll see you now,” she said with a broad smile as she popped back into the room.

Kagerou shrugged almost imperceptibly and followed.

Though there was still probably an hour or so of daylight left, the room was dark and lit only by lamp and candle. Kagerou seemed to adjust to the relative darkness easily and quickly saw that there were no windows in the room. It was a small space that could be best described as cozy—aside from a pair of paintings and a small bookcase in the back, there was a sole fainting chair in front of an unlit fireplace. It was there that a small figure reclined, an arm resting on the armrest and propping up her head.

“That’ll be all,” the figure said to Ana, the light from the lamps casting deep shadows on her body. The fairy maid performed a small curtsy and left, closing the door behind her. The figure raised a glass with her spare hand, swirling the dark liquid some before taking a sip. “So, you really are a werewolf,” she said, bemusement clear in her voice.

“Indeed I am,” Kagerou affirmed, daring to take a step closer to the figure.

“I honestly thought that Sakuya was pulling my leg,” the figure laughed, “but I can definitely tell that you’re one. Even if your presence weren’t obvious, there’s always the unmistakable smell.”

“Isn’t that a rather rude thing to say to someone you’ve just met?” Kagerou asked, her brow scrunching into a mild frown.

“Oh, I didn’t mean anything by it, it’s just an innate ability” the figure laughed again, like it was no slight at all, “I’m sure you can tell what I am at a glance, too.”

“You must be Remilia, vampire and mistress of this vast mansion,” Kagerou said stiffly, adding, “though, like you, I could also tell as much from your scent.”

“You’re quick on the uptake,” Remilia sat up, coming into clearer view. The vampire mistress wasn’t very physically imposing but she had an aura about her that likely equal parts natural and practiced confidence. Her short, almost messy, hair framed a face that had sharp features—most noticeably red eyes that were focused and intelligent. She tapped a finger on her glass, causing a somewhat melodious ring. “Well, what’s your name then?”

“Kagerou Imaizumi.”

“I suppose that’s fine,” Remilia commented, as if the suitability of the werewolf’s name were a serious concern. “Well, I’m Remilia Scarlet as you have already divined. This is my home and I look forward to working with you. I trust you’ve already heard all the details from Sakuya?”

“Some things like the duration and pay. Many specifics were left unmentioned,” Kagerou replied, “but I was told that there would be someone to guide me through things.”

“Hm, is that so?” the vampire paused, either for dramatic effect or to buy herself a moment to think, and took another longer sip from her glass. She seemed to savor every last drop, nearly slurping at the end. “Knowing Sakuya I think she’s probably made all the necessary arrangements. There’s a parcel for you in the next room down the hall. I'd wager that will help you sort things out. Come find me in my study afterwards and we’ll talk some more.”

Despite the polite tone, there was something very final about the vampire’s words. A youkai like her was likely to only get irritated if she didn’t have things exactly her way. Kagerou seemed to realize that and made no fuss before leaving the room. Whatever it was she thought about her first encounter with Remilia, she did a good job of hiding it in her face. She simply looked around in the hallway, guessed which room the vampire had meant and went on in.

Curiously, the room was illuminated by the remaining afternoon sun. It had two broad windows with heavy curtains tied back on either side. This was a more sizeable room with various bits of furniture including a chest of drawers, chairs and a small writing table. It was there that she found a large parcel wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine. Not finding anything else that could have been meant for her, she untied the string and unwrapped the contents.

The first thing she saw was a letter addressed to her. She picked it up and read it quickly. Beneath lay a uniform, much like the ones that the fairy maids wore. She picked it up and examined it. On closer look, it seemed that it was made of better material with superior stitching and embellishments. The color was darker; the dark blue and white material was several shades deeper than the fairy’s azure. Kagerou ran one of her long red fingernails across the material, evidently relishing the nigh-frictionless glide that resulted.

She took a final look at the brown wrapping to see if there was anything else in there that she had missed. With a silent nod to herself she began to loosen the buttons on her dress.

That seemed like as good a time as any to introduce myself. More importantly, she had yet to notice something very important about that new uniform of hers. It would only be polite to point it out.

[] If she was hiding a tail under that dress, it would scandalously hike up an already short skirt.

[] That maid headdress would require some alterations to fit comfortably over those long ears of hers.
--------
Hey, so this is a story I’ve been thinking of doing for a while. I was going to start it in October to begin with and then that good-for-nothing handsome fellow Moral half-assedly revived nanowrimo so I decided to wait and do it then. Daily updates and all that jazz though this first post is something of a setup and introduction.

I’ll also be debuting a feature that I specifically introduced for stories like these: a timer. When the timer reaches zero, votes are closed. It’s the only sane way to be consistent about update times as I still gotta write every day. That takes time, as you might image. It’ll be ticking down just below every update:

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/01(Thu)13:00

203 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 63910
[x] Sakuya had felt so warm that night and her touch burned brightly in my memory.
>> No. 63911
[X] Sakuya had felt so warm that night and her touch burned brightly in my memory.
>> No. 63912
Breaking the tie:
Coin flip: heads!
>> No. 63916
File 154273850175.jpg - (101.29KB , 1024x1024 , obey.jpg ) [iqdb]
63916
Kagerou reached for the cube in Patchouli’s hand. She grasped it gingerly, as if afraid that he colorful object would shock her as soon as she touched it. Nothing that fanciful happened. Patchouli put the other cube away as Kagerou inspected her new possession. It sure was pretty. Myriad colors shifted about in seemingly random patterns and pulsated with varying brightness.

“...” Kagerou seemed bemused with the tiny cube and stared at it silently.

“Keep it close,” Patchouli instructed, with a fixed stare at her chest. It wasn’t a lecherous stare or, for that matter, even directed at her. It was a message directly for me. “Enjoy it,” she said so quietly, so quickly that I wasn’t even sure that she moved her lips at all.

“Let me touch it,” I said, drawing the werewolf’s attention away from the cube. “It’s a gift for me.”

Kagerou sighed, caressing the edges of the cube gently as if that would somehow make it react differently. She looked up at Patchouli who had reclined with a satisfied smile in her chair. The witch offered no further insight. Kagerou pinched the cube between her index and thumb and brought it towards her bosom. She was no doubt uncomfortable about doing it in front of Patchouli but she nonetheless shoved her hand down her blouse and towards me.

------

The fireplace was at full roar. Though the wood split up and crackled as it burnt up, none of its heat could be felt. The room itself, small and with its single window shut with a thick curtain drawn over it, simply failed to warm itself up. Even the bed, with its luxuriously padded quilt and multiple layers of sheets, did little to address the dearth of proper temperature. It was a terrible problem. One that, in more my lucid moments, I suspected was entirely my fault.

The ceiling seemed so distant. Before I had gotten to bed, I could have effortlessly stretched my arm up and touched the plaster. Now, however, it might as well have been all the way up on the Moon. But that was alright. In between chills and overwhelming fatigue, my mind wandered. It projected its half-maddened thoughts up on the white surface, made a better suggestive canvas by the flickering of light and shadow as the fire consumed the logs. Dark shapes danced around and distorted, giving fake texture and depth to what I saw. In those moments where I was less sure—sure of everything, maybe—I could see both memories and my imagination crudely animated up there.

“How do you feel?” she interrupted a familiar scene that had manifested itself time and time again.

“Like shit,” I replied, my voice sounding like croak. Everything felt like it was sore, so things like chills were a welcome distraction.

“I’ve brought you a herbal tea,” she said, placing a tray on the nightstand.

“Thanks,” I said, “I wish you’d get rid of her, though.”

“Her?” she checked my temperature for the millionth time, placing her hand gently on my forehead. Her expression was neutral, as if to assure me that everything was routine. There was a pale glint as she withdrew her hand, of light reflected off the ring she wore.

“Fatima,” I replied, her name sounding far more guttural than I intended. “She’s been keeping me company while you’re busy,” I explained, “over and over I see her. Remember her, I suppose. Nasir, too.”

“They’re not real,” she said, a subtle note of concern seeping into her voice. Sakuya had been taking care of me for… hours? Days? A while. For however how long I had been in that bed. All that while she had diligently nursed me, bringing food and keeping me clean and comfortable. She had been quick to joke that I would be up and about in no time at all and whenever I felt like talking, was quick to keep the subject light.

“She was real,” I told her, “met her just south of the Zarqa. It was a whole year. you don’t really forget that sort of thing.”

“Maybe I should let some fresh air in here,” she sat down next to the bed on a stool and offered up the cup of tea.

I tried to sit up but found it too difficult. Saying nothing, she put down the up of tea and helped prop me up and placed some pillows behind me as support. “I feel really cold, I don’t want fresh air,” I complained, “and besides, I know what you meant. I know she’s not in the room. I’m not that far gone!” I coughed that last bit out and felt so winded afterwards that I had to take a moment before accepting the tea.

I looked at her while I took a sip. She was studying me carefully, looking for signs of either recovery or further decline, all the while sporting an amicable smile that was meant to reassure me. If I had had more strength I would had tried something playful, like tugging at one of those twin braids she wore in front and tell her that she wasn’t as good of an actress as she thought. She may have had the others fooled, but I could see right through her. Just like with Fatima.

“I think I love her more with time,” I confessed, the bitter drink making my throat and airway feel a little less sore.

“Maybe I should leave if you’re going to do nothing but talk about your ex-girlfriend,” she teased, more concerned that I drank the tea than what I was actually saying. I was used to her being like that. She was only serious when she absolutely needed to be.

“It wasn’t like that,” I said, “I was a kid and had a crush. And I think she liked me too, I remember the look she gave me from time to time. But she loved her cause much more. And Nasir. I never stood a chance.”

“Hm, so you shied away from confessing?” she fussed with one of the ribbons on her right braid, tightening it, “and here I thought you were a lot more courageous than that.”

I drank my tea slowly. It was pleasantly hot and made my stomach feel, well, something other than discomfort. “Maybe I did lack a bit of courage in those days,” I said, thinking about it. “But when you meet someone that’s rebelling against everything without bothering to look at themselves as well, you can’t really reason with them. I realized that many years after. Even if I had become her lover, she would have dumped me as soon as it was slightly inconvenient for her.”

“Sounds like a pitiful excuse to me,” she smiled knowingly, “I’m always honest about things like that.”

I was too tired to say something appropriate as a response. If I tried to change my train of thought, I risked complete derailment. And then where would I be? Just staring at shadows on the ceiling until I became lucid once again. “Nasir,” I continued, “was my friend as well. He became a politician later, you know. Dunno if Fatima ever told him how he felt; he probably would have smiled and said something cool like ‘I know’ and kissed her. ”

“Fine...” she got the hint, pouring more tea out of a teapot and into my cup, “why have you been thinking about them?”

“There was a lot going on in my life back then and I felt very alone. Even when I was with them I didn’t really cut loose as much as I should have. I think I’ve changed for the better...” I closed my eyes and drank more tea. It made me happy even if I knew that, if more of my taste buds were functioning, I would have normally gagged from the taste. “I’m living more in the moment, enjoying what I do have. I don’t need to dwell on her anymore and so I love her for allowing me to grow. Time is a precious thing” I said, smiling at her.

“Yes, it is,” she agreed, returning the smile easily.

I gave her back the empty teacup and slunk back down into the bed. She helped me settle in once again. “Hey, Sakuya?” I asked.

“What is it?”

“I’ll get better soon, right?”

“Without a doubt,” she replied firmly.

“Good, good,” I nodded weakly. “Can I hold your hand? I still feel really cold though I’m sure my fever is higher now. I could see it in your eyes earlier.”

“Bluffing won’t work with me,” she said quietly, correctly guessing I was fishing for information.

“Can’t blame me for trying,” I said, letting the precious focus and presence of mind I had held onto dissipate some.

“It would be dull if you didn’t,” she said and then quietly reached for my hand. She was as warm as the fire normally would have felt. Her slender fingers coiled over my left hand and tightly held on. It was a soft, cloud-like feeling to have her hold my hand—even the small spot where I could feel the relative coolness and hardness from her ring. I was sure that I felt sticky and probably disgusting after being ill so long. It didn’t seem to bother her as she quietly stood vigil, holding on to me for as long as I could remember. Her affection was dearly felt and allowed me to set aside anxieties and pain.

I felt as a small ship tied in at a safe harbor. However much it may rain, or waves crash up against me, I wouldn’t sink so long as I remained tethered to her comforting touch.

-----

“She has really soft hands, you know,” I said, “I wonder what moisturizer she uses.”

“Who does?” Kagerou asked as she climbed another flight of stairs.

“Sakuya,” I replied.

“And how would you know that? You don’t have hands,” she pointed out quite logically.

“Oh… I just do, is all,” I said, realizing that I had completely lost track of reality again.

“Had fun with your cube?” she asked, keeping a deliberately slow pace. We were far from the library, on the other side of the mansion. Near Remilia’s bedroom if I wasn’t mistaken.

“I don’t think fun is the right way to describe that,” I told her, “but it was interesting.”

“It disappeared with a bright flash as soon as it touched you,” she said, playing up her own inconvenience, “next thing I know you’re quiet for the longest time. That bookworm smirked at me and told me not to worry about it and then just told me to go away and go do something else for the time being. Kind of rude, don’t you think?”

“Sorry, still think she’s cute,” I laughed, feeling playful, “but don’t worry, I’d only scratch you behind the ears, my lovely.”

“Try it and I’d bite your hand off,” she cautioned, baring her quite-sharp teeth.

“Next time I have a hand, we’ll see what actually happens. I bet you’d relax so quickly you’d be begging me to rub your belly next.” I could have gone on all night, but I was worried about what I might have missed. “So where are we going now?” I asked.

“I wanted to check in on Remilia. Make sure she hadn’t keeled over and died,” she said.

“Reasonable enough,” I said, “it did look like she was at death’s door earlier.”

Before we reached the vampire’s inner sanctum, Kagerou stopped by an unused bedroom. The door had been left ajar for whatever reason. There was no one inside and a careless fairy was likely the likeliest suspect for why the door wasn’t closed. Kagerou wandered over to the window and stared out at the moon. It had been freed from the clouds for the moment. She silently closed the curtains before leaving and shutting the door.

“Hey, Al?” she asked, keeping her voice as low as possible.

“Yes?”

“Are you alright? You’d tell me if that cube was harmful, right?” she sounded a little hopeful at the last part.

“I’m fine. And I think I’d tell you,” I said, “we’re stuck together. Anything I want to do depends on your cooperation.”

“Is it really just that?” she asked, “would you tell me if you had your own body?”

I thought about it. No clear reply came. So I was honest, “I don’t know. I’m trying to be as straight as possible with you. Not sure why but I think that, as far as people go, you’re alright. So you deserve my cooperation.”

Kagerou grabbed me, removing the pendant from under blouse and staring at it directly in her hand. I still looked as I had before, colorful and mysterious. She traced a finger on my surface. I felt smooth and not cold. Not warm either. Just not as cold as you’d expect something like a gem to be.

“Let’s keep cooperating for now,” she said after a moment and placed me back out of sight. “So how do you think I’m doing as a maid so far?”

“About average,” I told her, “the previous chief maid left big shoes to fill. Could stop time, you know. Well, allegedly, according to this file I have here.”

“Average is fair,” she nodded, “I never thought I’d be at a place as silly as this mansion. The people here are different than what I’m used to.”

“I think you’ll keep on improving, you have the potential” I told her.

“Thanks. A compliment from you is liable to make blush, so you better cut it out,” she joked.

“There is one thing you should watch out for. Well, keep an eye on, at least.”

“And what would that be?”

[] That beautiful witch sure was vague as to why she needed to make a charm in the first place.
[] It was odd that Remilia’s pride would let her lose control in front of someone she had just met.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/21(Wed)13:00

>> No. 63918
[x] It was odd that Remilia’s pride would let her lose control in front of someone she had just met.
Remi's an odd bat bird to start, but...
>> No. 63919
[x] It was odd that Remilia’s pride would let her lose control in front of someone she had just met.

Watch out for the spooky vampire~
>> No. 63920
[x] It was odd that Remilia’s pride would let her lose control in front of someone she had just met.
>> No. 63921
[X] That beautiful witch sure was vague as to why she needed to make a charm in the first place.

I dunno, Remi was probably just hit hard by Sakuya being on leave. The witch is spookier
>> No. 63922
[X] That beautiful witch sure was vague as to why she needed to make a charm in the first place.

Remilia has a perfectly reasonable excuse for acting like she did. And she probably just missed Sakuya.

Patches doesn't. And Kagerou did not like that-whereas she enjoyed her bout with Remilia quite a bit. If one option is likely to continue mending the bridge between the main characters, it'd be this one.
>> No. 63923
[x] That beautiful witch sure was vague as to why she needed to make a charm in the first place.

Yeah, I'm thinking this is the bigger mystery of the two.
>> No. 63924
[x] That beautiful witch sure was vague as to why she needed to make a charm in the first place.
>> No. 63927
delete, repost

[x] It was odd that Remilia’s pride would let her lose control in front of someone she had just met.
More on vamps.

picking this because
>I will explain more once you deliver these things to me.
Patchouli tends to be blunt about things. Remilia is less likely to be upfront.
>> No. 63928
[x] It was odd that Remilia’s pride would let her lose control in front of someone she had just met.
Actually I don't think that's odd but I wanna hear more about remi anyway.
>> No. 63929
File 154281725748.jpg - (179.30KB , 1024x1015 , alike in dignity.jpg ) [iqdb]
63929
“I don’t really know what to make of her,” Kagerou confessed, “I can tell she can be really dangerous but she’s also really… simple sometimes when you think about it.”

“I think so, too,” I said, “but Remilia has more going on that might seem obvious.”

“Maybe. But she doesn’t really seem like the type to plan anything out in detail,” she said.

“You’ve only known her for about two days. That’s a little too early to tell,” I argued.

“True enough. It would be nice to know more about her. Or the people here, in general. I feel like they all know about me much more than I know about them. To me, this was always ‘that place over there with those strange youkai’,” she sighed.

“Isn’t that Gensokyo as a whole? At least humans would no doubt think that.”

“Humans like you?” she stared down at where I was with a smile.

“Maybe,” I wished I could shrug again. “Still, it’s healthy to be skeptical sometimes. And I wouldn’t trust that vampire—or any other-”

“-Youkai?” she interrupted, having a laugh at my expense.

“Certainly not a rude youkai that keeps interrupting,” I huffed.

“I understand, don’t worry,” she said with a nod, “it is strange. I think it’s obvious she cares about what others think. I mean, just look at this place!”

“The rich really have poor taste,” I concluded.

“And she’s in love of herself,” she added.

“How many paintings and busts of her have we seen already?”

“I lost count at around a dozen,” Kagerou laughed. The sound echoed down the corridor. It was a reminder that we should be discreet when slagging off the boss. Kagerou noticed it as well and lowered her voice, “I’m not going to trust her fully but I still have a job to do.”

“As do I,” I said, “doesn’t mean it’s as straightforward as they want us to believe it is.” I thought back to the cube and what I say. It was simple at all. And I still wasn’t convinced that a werewolf was the best or most logical choice for a head maid, virtues of my particular very fluffy and cute companion aside.

But we were at an impasse and time was wasting. So we left conspiratorial talk behind for the moment and carried on. We went to check in on the mistress of the mansion, hoping she hadn’t turned into a dehydrated pile of bones in the interim.

Remilia wasn’t in her bedroom. Kagerou checked around quickly, looking in the bathroom for good measure, but found no sign of the vampire. The fairies had done their job, at the very least, and brought up another similar-looking coffin and placed it on the bed. That was something worth celebrating.

Kagerou sniffed the air. “You know, I won’t stop comparing you to a dog if you keep doing dog-like things,” I gave her a fair warning.

“Shut up. Anyone with a nose would notice the smell,” she made a not-too-subtle dig at my lack of corporeal form. I supposed I didn’t really pay much attention to her nose. Sight and sound were easier to tune into.

“Oh, yeah, I guess they would,” I said, realizing what she was smelling. It was like a fancy car freshener. A bit woodsy and a bit lemon-y. Nice attention to detail, cleaning staff. “Way better than sick vampire.”

“Agreed. So, think she’s in her study?”

“That’s a good bet,” I told her, wishing in part that I had a more reliable way of locating people. The idea of having a bat radar was amusing.

Remilia was, as predicted, in her study. We found her dressing down a fairy, complaining about her incompetence. Her self-inflicted curse seemed to have been lifted as she performed with full vim and vigor. Kagerou cleared her throat loudly and interrupted a particularly gruesome threat involving impalement.

“Ah, yes, good, you’re here!” Remilia clapped her hands together like an overly-stimulated toddler. “You can go now,” she shooed away the poor, deathly-pale-from-fright fairy like the preceding tongue-lashing hadn’t just happened. The poor girl, a member of the service staff, could barely remember to curtsy as she scrambled to flee. “Good quality help is so hard to come by these days!” the vampire exclaimed loudly, no doubt intending it to be heard by any and all.

“Was there a problem I should know about?” Kagerou asked cautiously, sensitive that she could also be the target of the vampire’s ire quickly.

“Not really, no,” she replied, “just the usual level of excuses one gets whenever they ask if something has been done yet. These fairies need to feel the crack of the whip every once in a while.” She smiled, recalling something, “...or the cold of a sharp knife.”

“I’m glad to see that you’ve recovered your… energy,” Kagerou said.

“I can turn into mist, a bat, cause maidens to faint just by looking at them, and make priests renounce God with my mere presence… a little alcohol can’t possibly keep me down for long,” she said with an absolutely normal level of modesty. Clearly she was in a great mood.

The vampire wore something different as well: a short-sleeved dress that was cut low in the back, ended above the knees, and was as dark as midnight. Embellishments of red and black were found along the hem and few ribbons. It contrasted well with her pale skin and red eyes. She had taken the time to apply makeup—dark eyeliner, a subtle touch of blush and a reddish-peach color lipstick—and I had to admit that it pronounced her desired effect. A sophisticated look for a sophisticated monster. She had wholly vanquished the image of the collapsed wretch from earlier.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Kagerou nodded politely but I could just feel that she was struggling to keep her eyes from rolling.

The very excitable vampire walked over to Kagerou and clasped her shoulders, “my dear werewolf, I’m sure your kind has many talents as well. They obviously aren’t comparable to my own, but you shouldn’t feel too inferior. Diversity makes life less dull.”

“Yes, Mistress, I won’t,” Kagerou replied in the most condescending tone imaginable. While she was having fun at her mistress’ expense, I was still very much aware of how little I made use of her nose. I took a moment to note what Remilia smelled like: I expected a strong perfume but instead it was the pleasing smell of rose water.

Luckily, vampire was too in love with herself to notice. She let go of her shoulders and returned to her desk with a spring in her step, “I have something I want you to do for me,” she said.

“Anything, Mistress,” Kagerou smirked.

“Tomorrow, I want you to dust off the large book of recipes and make sure the kitchen staff are up to snuff,” she said, “make everything and everything. The trickier the better. If they fail, punish them until they get it right. If they succeed… well, they won’t, but if they do, you can break out the rum. The fairies love that for some reason.”

“Oh, alright,” Kagerou replied. I, too, didn’t really see that coming. I told Kagerou to ask her if she would then like a special meal at some other time.

“It’s merely a dry run,” Remilia replied.

“A dry run for what, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“That, my curious werewolf, is a matter for another day,” she avoided giving a direct answer, “all I’ll say now is that the idea came to me in the bath. After our little match, I felt a sudden urge of excitement and that led me to think of a most genius idea.”

“Involving a lot of food?”

“Involving many things,” she delighted in being vague, “I’ll have you stress test a fair deal of things for the next few days to make sure there are no unforeseen setbacks later on.”

“...I understand,” Kagerou said, realizing that there was no point in trying to pry more information from her.

“Hm, I think I’ll talk to Patchy. She ought to help me with things, or at least provide some feedback,” Remilia said to herself. Looking at her head maid one more time, she stopped herself from heading off to the library in a rush. “I’ll expect you to be at dinner later,” she said, “but before I forget—I also wanted to present you with something.”

She retreated behind her desk and opened a drawer. After rummaging around and tossing out valuable-looking coins and jewelry, she found what she was looking for. “This is for you,” she presented a brooch to Kagerou. Made of a dark, shiny metal, it was shaped into a giant black bat with its wings outstretched. “Let it never be said that I do not reward good service.”

“Oh… thank you,” Kagerou took them to her hand and looked at them carefully. I could already tell she would never wear them.

“Think nothing of it,” she said, reciting a speech she had obviously been working on in her head for a while, “nobility obliges. Whether it’s superior working conditions, charity for the poor, fairness in sport and competition or something else altogether: superior breeding and status carries with it a most just burden. Without our exemplary morality, then how would the masses guide themselves? I shudder to think how dark the world would be without our example.”

“...”

“At the very minimum, I should thank my new badminton partner for reviving my interest in the game. It must be fate that brought us together,” she laughed softly, apparently somehow amusing herself, “I’ve unfortunately let my skills decay to an unacceptable extent and almost paid the price. ”

I found her delusions funny. “Maybe you should give her superior noble mind a little dose of the truth,” I told my companion. Judging by how her ears had flopped during that whole speech, I wagered she was in agreement.

[] Her fancy words can’t hide the fact that she’s still sore about losing the match.
[] It was her first time playing and she almost won. Next time it’s inevitable Kagerou will win.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/22(Thu)13:00

>> No. 63930
[x] Her fancy words can’t hide the fact that she’s still sore about losing the match.

In yo face.
>> No. 63931
[X] It was her first time playing and she lmost won. Next time it’s inevitable Kagerou will win.
>> No. 63932
[x] It was her first time playing and she almost won. Next time it’s inevitable Kagerou will win.
When the going gets smug, the wolf gets smugger, or something of the sort.
>> No. 63933
[x] It was her first time playing and she almost won. Next time it’s inevitable Kagerou will win.
>> No. 63934
[X] It was her first time playing and she almost won. Next time it’s inevitable Kagerou will win.
what he said >>63932
>> No. 63935
[X] It was her first time playing and she almost won. Next time it’s inevitable Kagerou will win.

Remilia is the smugest but Kagerou doesn't fall behind too much. That, I consider a virtue.

>Fairy stress test

Uh oh, she's planning a party. I guess playing made her miss her high society gatherings. I can't say I blame her.

>I could already tell she'd never wear it.

She should definitely wear it at the party.
>> No. 63936
[x] It was her first time playing and she almost won. Next time it’s inevitable Kagerou will win.
>> No. 63937
[x] It was her first time playing and she almost won. Next time it’s inevitable Kagerou will win.

Do the cleaning fairies use lemon Pledge?
>> No. 63938
To those convinced that theirs is the only truth, any suggestion otherwise is at best a distraction and usually otherwise an insult. I think both Kagerou and I knew that challenging Remilia, even with nothing more than words, could at any time become something lethally dangerous. The pleasantries and back and forth we had shared was no guarantee of safety if she were ever truly upset.

As a youkai herself, I had no doubt Kagerou wouldn’t mind throwing down if it ever came to it. Still, best it didn’t. Not that I’d ever tell her, but I was surprised that a werewolf could match wits with a vampire. That bigotry of low expectations wasn’t my fault though—I readily blamed books and films for showing them as little more than wild killing machines most of the time. Vampires were the suave and seductive type, by contrast. Unless they sparkled, that is, then they had no personalities.

“I had never picked up a racket before in my life,” Kagerou said, sounding like she was talking about the weather, “sure wasn’t hard to get used to it. I completely wrecked you during the second game.”

“Power can trump elegance at times, unfortunately,” Remilia conceded without much issue, offering a backhanded compliment, “though I suppose you would be rather good at fetching and jumping around.”

“I’m not sure there’s much elegance to be found in someone who was sweating as much as an ice fairy under the summer sun,” Kagerou shrugged, keeping a certain degree of circumspection in her taunt.

“Technique and form carried the day, naturally enough. In the end all that uncouth display from the other side amounted to sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Remilia’s eyes widened and her cheek twitched upwards, in egregious self-satisfaction.

“It’s a shame that there were only three games,” Kagerou said, “I had energy for several more. And with only a single point determining the outcome… I think I would have been able to keep on improving had we carried on. It’s a shame that you were at your limit. Then again, I’m glad that you avoided hurting yourself too much.”

“That’s a great showing of spirit and all,” Remilia countered quite easily, “but I was playing at a fraction of my potential. That wasn’t even my final serving form.”

“You can have as many forms as you like,” Kagerou followed up, ears twitching with every word as if to emphasize their weight, “I’ll still defeat them all.”

“We’ll see about that,” Remilia crossed her arms, projecting a confidence that was so thick it threatened to consume all.

“We will, soon enough,” Kagerou echoed, crossing her own arms in a standoffish manner. Both could do naught but smirk at each other, eyes locked in a quiet battle for dominance. There was notable tension in their bodies and each stiffened their heads, threw back their shoulders and stuck out their chests—kind of like two cocks staring down each other before a fight. To an outside observer, it was a display that was equal parts sad and amusing.

“I could watch this forever,” I whispered, “but I’m also afraid you’ll starve before looking away. You've made your point. You’re the hungry, scrappy challenger looking to dethrone the overconfident king. You’re also prettier, bustier and whatever other metric you want to use to feel superior.”

“Bustier?” Kagerou gasped before snickering. I wasn’t sure if the vampire heard what she said precisely, but she didn’t seem too amused at being laughed at.

“I look forward to settling this later,” Remilia said, a fang poking out of her mouth as she lightly bit her lower lip. “It’s exciting to finally get into the groove again.”

“I’ll be seeing you later, milady,” Kagerou forced a stiff, almost mechanical-looking curtsy at Remilia. The determined look in her eyes did not diminish in any capacity. It was the same for Remilia.

Maid and mistress soon parted ways after for the moment. While Remilia was probably headed off to see her friend at the library, Kagerou turned to her duties as chief maid. That mostly meant wrangling fairies and making sure nothing was on fire. She headed down to the kitchen area to make a few announcements and prepare things for the next day.

“...oh dear,” Sonia reacted to the news she’d have to work all day with understandable dismay. “I’ll tell the rest of the staff later,” she said, giving a very good reason for the decision, “if I told them now, they might purposefully mess up the Mistress’ dinner.”

“Speaking of, I was curious about something...” Kagerou quieted her voice, leaning in to speak to the fairy, “was that sauce last night…?”

“You should ask Miss Sakuya about such things,” the maid answered equally quietly, her eyes confirming what we were all thinking. Asking about the extraction method and preparation would only serve to upset everyone involved.

Thankfully, Kagerou got the hint. “I just want to eat things you would eat, to be clear,” she said, despite being a youkai herself, “I manage just fine with my current diet.”

“I understand,” the fairy nodded, offering no real judgment on the decision either way.

“I’ll be around tomorrow to supervise, help out if necessary,” Kagerou shifted the topic back to its original tack.

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” Sonia looked up apprehensively at the werewolf, appearing like she half-expected to get a knife in the ribs for her honesty, “but I’d prefer it if you kept out of my way. I like doing things in the kitchen a certain way. I spent a lot of time learning from Miss Sakuya and she’s really strict and serious, so I don’t want to do anything that messes with that.”

Kagerou laughed in response. “I’m not going to take over,” she explained, “don’t worry about that. I’m not very good at cooking, having really just cooked for myself my whole life.”

“Oh, alright, sorry,” the fairy brightened up, though it seemed like her candid little request had been embarrassing—she avoided direct eye contact with Kagerou afterwards.

“Say,” Kagerou changed the subject again, “you wouldn’t happen to have any mandrake, would you?”

“Mm, maybe? Would have to check the stores,” the fairy signaled another and called her over. She asked her to check for the ingredient. “I’ll let you know as soon as they’ve looked. If you’ll excuse me now, I have dinner to prepare.”

“Of course,” Kagerou nodded and let the fairy go about her work. Only the kitchen staff was hard at work at that time of night; the others had long since done their work for the day and were no doubt up to no good.

“Was that on the list?” I asked the obvious.

“Yes, that witch can’t even be bothered to check the kitchen,” Kagerou huffed.

“Why would she when she could just send you?”

“Being a maid is lovely,” Kagerou grumbled, crossing her arms and watched the night’s meal being prepared. It didn’t seem like a group of fairies and a few impish creatures could ever hope to accomplish much. And yet, vegetables were chopped, sauces made over a steady fire and not much went wrong. Sure, there were moments of confusion and absent-mindedness but these were kept in check by Sonia who was quick to chastise and to step in when necessary. She had been trained well and her only real shortcoming was that she couldn’t be everywhere at once.

One of those stumpy, toothy creatures walked up to her and grunted something. Sonia at what it was carrying, nodded and pointed at Kagerou. The creature waddled its way to Kagerou, taking its sweet time despite being surrounded by frenzied fairies. It presented a slightly damp piece of paper that held something else wrapped inside.

“Thank you,” Kagerou took the offering as the small creature shuffled off without so much as an acknowledgement. “I think this is the mandrake,” she said while unwrapped. It was certainly a root of some sort—brown, thin and with little tendrils that presumably absorbed nutrients—but I had never really seen mandrake before.

“One down, a million more to go,” I summed up our plight, “let’s hope we can get everything else as easily.”

“Yeah,” she agreed, “guess I should keep this somewhere safe.”

That somewhere was back in her room. The head maid took one last break that night, storing the first ingredient for the charm in a drawer, before returning to duty. It was time for dinner and Remilia was still chuffed and in a talkative mood. She had Kagerou join her again and babbled on and on about herself and her interests. Who knew (or cared) about the best horses in Picardy? To her credit, Kagerou comported herself well. Still eating like a wasting waif but she kept up the illusion that she was listening to Remilia.

The vampire was back in the saddle when it came to drink. She had a pair of glasses of wine like she hadn’t been sick as a dog just a few hours earlier. Maybe there was something to her being a vampire and therefore more resistant to poison. Or maybe she was an alcoholic. Frightening lows were offset by comfortable and mellow highs. There was no way of telling.

“I have a lot of planning to do tonight,” Remilia announced after she had her fill. Like the day before, she barely touched most of her food, only really eating more of her ‘special’ dish. “I’ll call you if I need you, but I think it unlikely.”

Without waiting for Kagerou to clear the table or offer a digestif, Remilia left. “I get the feeling she’s bored on most days,” I said, “otherwise she wouldn’t be so excited about something new.”

“Sounds likely,” Kagerou shrugged, clearing things up quickly. There were no dirty tablecloths or stains to deal with so it took her no time at all to have the small dining room looking good.

“So, how are you feeling?” I asked, “tired?”

“A little. It’s been a long day,” she said.

“Let’s take it easy for a while, then. No idea if she’ll call on you again today but it’s probably smart to wait an hour or two at least before calling it a day,” I advised.

“Sounds reasonable,” she agreed.

[] A moonlit walk through the rear garden by the lake would be lovely.
[] Take the time to admire the mansion’s art collection and noteworthy objects.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/23(Fri)13:00

>> No. 63939
[] A moonlit walk through the rear garden by the lake would be lovely.
I wanna hear some mermaid song.

>Still eating like a wasting waif
Wouldn't a 'wasting waif' eat very little rather than a ton?
>> No. 63940
[x] A moonlit walk through the rear garden by the lake would be lovely.

We haven't explored the lake yet, have we?
>> No. 63941
[x] A moonlit walk through the rear garden by the lake would be lovely.
Time for a swim?
>> No. 63942
>"That wasn’t even my final serving form.”

Next three updates will be Kagerou and Remi charging up and yelling

[X] The lake

"You're going to love this, trust me"

While knowing the art and decor might be the more maid-like thing to do, she has seen more than enough Remilia busts and portraits.
>> No. 63943
[x] A moonlit walk through the rear garden by the lake would be lovely.
>> No. 63944
[x] A moonlit walk through the rear garden by the lake would be lovely.
[x]Jump into the lake
>> No. 63945
[X] Take the time to admire the mansion’s art collection and noteworthy objects.

AKA the panty raid option.
>> No. 63948
In contrast to the front garden, whose carefully-cultivated flowerbeds caught the eye, the area to the rear of the mansion was relatively subdued. It was a space that welcomed idling, with paved paths and stone benches placed strategically around fountains and hedges. There was a distinct lack of symmetry and the many paths meandered towards uncertain ends. Some ended in a copse, others near the edge of the property or by the lake. This was a private area, where someone keen to enjoy nature but also their privacy could duck into a gazebo or lose themselves just beyond one of the clever breaks in the terrain as it sloped down towards the shoreline.

The light from the moon was unreliable, being occasionally interrupted by a passing cloud that hid its waning face. Even so, Kagerou had no problem seeing where she was going and she leisurely strolled through the gardens with no particular destination in mind. She stopped in front of one of the larger fountains, one topped by a cherubic nude perpetually relieving himself with water. Placing a finger into the edge of the pooled water, she splashed lightly and playfully.

“It’s a nice evening out, don’t you think?” she asked, taking in a deep breath of fresh night air.

“It’s a shame that no one seems to take advantage of all this space,” I said, “a few torches or lamps and it’d be a cozy spot to have a few drinks or talk.”

“You’re right, Al,” she nodded, “it does seem like a waste that there’s no one around to enjoy it. Then again, the whole mansion sort of feels like that.”

“Vampires are stupid,” I concluded without any nuance. No point getting into what went through Remilia’s mind when she decided to have a chateau in the middle of an eastern wonderland. Compared to the village and how they lived, the Scarlet Mansion was an opulent palace.

“They are unusual,” Kagerou agreed, “I’ve been around nature all my life, so I find all those large rooms and complicated corridors weird.”

“There’s even more extravagant places in the outside world,” I told her, recalling the many images of Versailles and the Castle of the Nymphs I had seen. Remilia lived in little more than a hovel by comparison. I had always wondered if the people who had lived there bothered to make full use of all the space and luxury.

Probably not.

“Hm… so have you been to places like these before?” she asked.

“I don’t think I have,” I said. I didn’t want to talk about my life, even the parts I could remember. I felt like I would have to spent too much time explaining to her things like technology and society at large. “The important thing here is that the high and mighty vampire decided to copy from lowly humans and did a so-so job. Don’t tell her that, it’d drive her crazy.”

“I’ll hold on to that in case she’s ever too annoying,” Kagerou chuckled softly to herself, probably imagining Remilia’s horrified face at being called out.
“That’s not all that’s off about this place,” I decided to tell her about some of the stranger things I noticed on the maps, “did you know that there’s supposed to be an observatory in the floor plans somewhere? Like, a place to look up to the sky. And a solarium, a place meant to get plenty of sunlight. How useful do you think that would be to a vampire?”

“Maybe she’s being considerate and thinking of her guests,” Kagerou shrugged.

“...I think we both know she wasn’t. It’s probably just another thing she can brag about.”

I continued to talk about the easily-overlooked rooms and areas of the mansion. Kagerou seemed mildly interested if not somewhat incredulous about the sheer variety of rooms and the space they must have occupied. “Hard to think that all that would fit in that building,” she said, looking at the mostly-windowless structure.

“I’m not sure I understand it myself. Math isn’t my strongest point, I’ll admit, but it’s almost as if there’s more room inside than outside.”

“Vampires, huh,” Kagerou shrugged again, as if that was somehow an acceptable explanation to all inconsistencies.

She took interest in some of the landmarks that I mentioned that were nearby. There was no real sense of urgency to her questions, just idle curiosity of someone killing time until they’re maybe needed again. There was a small hut on one end of the property, tucked away between some trees. The wood had been decaying for some time and it looked like no one had used it in decades.

“It’s supposed to be a hermit’s abode,” I explained, looking at the legend on the map, “why and who was supposed to live there, I have no clue.”

“Why would a hermit live near a vampire?” she asked.

“Maybe it was a retired vampire hunter making sure Remilia didn’t get out of hand?”

“...” she didn’t have any plausible guesses either. There was nothing inside of the simple hut either—no furniture, clothes or anything else—and it almost seemed that it had mostly been a decorative building.

“There’s a shed where they keep broken statues, want me to guide you there?” I consulted the map again.

“No, that sounds boring. Is there anything else?”

“Abandoned bathhouse?”

“Nah.”

“Mysterious unlabeled building in the middle of a maze?”

“Ah,” Kagerou seemed interested in that one. Her ears perked up, “where is it?”

“Towards the lake,” I signaled.

I came to appreciate Kagerou’s senses more as she effortlessly navigated the dark garden. I was certain that a normal human would have tripped numerous times over a loose stone or found herself without any points of reference. I noticed that she was guiding herself not only with sight—but also with sound. As we approached the lake, I could make out the sounds of water moving about as both waves and in the form of a small stream that fed into the lake. I was certain that in complete silence, she’s be able to hear the heartbeat of a rabbit dozens of meters away.

The unlabeled building turned out to be a greenhouse and the maze more like a few shrubs that zig-zagged and cut up a direct path there. It was large, at least two stories tall and wide enough to house a likely respectable amount of plants.

“Smells like fertilizer,” Kagerou said after a long, sharp whiff of the air. “Different than what they use at the village, this is more earthy and complex.”

“It looks like it’s in use,” I said, piggybacking on her keen senses to notice tracks by the entrance.” Wouldn’t surprise me if they grew organic crops or exotic fruits for Remilia’s luxurious meals.

“Oh, what’s that?” Kagerou noticed a dark figure jutting out to the right by the lake’s shore.

I looked at my map. There was supposed to be a grotto nearby. The figure was standing on a thin pillar. Perhaps it marked the grotto’s entrance. Or maybe it was simply another fountain, except broken. Either way it was different to most of the other statues we had seen. It wasn’t made of stone and it didn’t depict Remilia or a standard nude.

Kagerou forgot the greenhouse and moved closer. Stone steps led down to the shore and the statue.

[] It depicted a bare-chested mermaid with a friendly smile.
[] The statue was a normal-looking girl. Normal save for a missing head.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/24(Sat)14:00


--

Sorry this one took so long, I was unfortunately called away for most of the day.
>> No. 63950
[x] The statue was a normal-looking girl. Normal save for a missing head.

A statue? The plot thickens.
>> No. 63951
[x] The statue was a normal-looking girl. Normal save for a missing head.

Best girl? Best girl.
>> No. 63952
[X] The statue was a normal-looking girl. Normal save for a missing head.

can't vote for 'hime until she covers up
>> No. 63953
File 154301860440.jpg - (23.49KB , 500x281 , Just say no to crossovers.jpg ) [iqdb]
63953
[X] It depicted a bare-chested mermaid with a friendly smile.

Kinda thought the first fish tits option on the site would garner more interest. Oh well, I'm content to live on this lonely island.
>> No. 63954
[x] It depicted a bare-chested mermaid with a friendly smile.

>>63953
I'm with you
>> No. 63955
[x] It depicted a bare-chested mermaid with a friendly smile.

As much as I love Banki, fish tits are more intriguing.
>> No. 63956
[x] The statue was a normal-looking girl. Normal save for a missing head.
>> No. 63957
[x] It depicted a bare-chested mermaid with a friendly smile.
>> No. 63958
[x] It depicted a bare-chested mermaid with a friendly smile.
Changed my mind.
>> No. 63959
File 154307640154.gif - (587.49KB , 500x500 , shiku shiku.gif ) [iqdb]
63959
The statue was located at the very edge of the mansion’s grounds, where stone and brick gave way to sand and grass. The lake was mostly quiet but ever-present, its small waves lapping up tirelessly only a few steps away. Kagerou had paused in front of the statue, her back to the dark body of water, and was looking carefully at the statue. She squinted and looked at it from top to bottom, interested in the figure depicted.

From what I could tell, it was meant to be a mermaid stood atop a column of water. Most of the statues in the garden looked like they had been exposed to the elements for a long time, stained with dust and dirt and often marked by bird droppings. This statue, however, looked immaculate, and perhaps was made from a different material altogether. The quality of the craftsmanship was likewise different, generally inferior, and her features were rougher and her lines less graceful.

Still she smiled, a smile that may have been intended to be placid but ended up looking slightly goofy. Whomever made the statue wasn’t a master of the craft and there was a distinct lack of detail in her expression and body language. Her modest bosom was exposed for all to see, nipples perpetually in a semi-swollen state. It wasn’t meant to be erotic, probably. I thought the design more playful and naive than anything else; the mermaid had one hand outstretched as if to invite anyone nearby to take her hand and jump into the nearby lake. That didn’t seem like the best of ideas. Though she would probably be fine, with her fins and forked tail, anyone else would probably drown before too long.

In a sense, these imperfections gave the statue a lot more personality than her by-the-numbers brethren elsewhere. It didn’t seem like Kagerou was admiring the statue for its quality as art, though. She circled around, coming close to the base of her column as the fountain she was meant to be a part of was not working. With a hesitant prod, she confirmed that it was, indeed, made of stone.

Her ears stood erect as she noticed something. A sharp inhalation followed. She sniffed the air around the statue in short bursts. I couldn’t tell what she was searching for. All I could detect were traces of moisture in the air. Naturally, she was more in touch with her senses. Not having found what she was looking for, she walked towards the lake and repeated the exercise. Then again, towards the rocky entrance of the grotto. There she paused and smelled the air with slower and more deliberate sniffing.

It was a fascinating process to watch, even if I didn’t quite get it. I didn’t feel any malicious intent or particular excitement from her but, all the same, I felt like I was watching a wild beast track down its prey. She scanned the surrounding stone and ground carefully, seeing that the cave was basically connected to the lake by means of a small and shallow inlet to the right of the entrance. A few plants had grown around the area and she was careful not to step on any of them or otherwise make much noise. Convinced that the way forward was into the grotto, she slunk in quietly, every footfall deliberate.

The grotto wasn’t very large, its entrance barely tall enough for Kagerou to get past without having to duck. The interior space was, perhaps, only as wide and high as one of the smaller rooms in the mansion like a guest bathroom or a large storage closet. Water flooded half of the space, filtering in from the lake. The other half was a dry slope where a bench and a pair of statues had been set down.

Fixtures for torches or other sources of illumination had been installed along the walls though only a few candles that had been placed on the bench were alight. They produced a dim light that cast long shadows. It had the look of a votive display directed at the pair of… well, vampires. Not Remilia but not quite not not Remilia. She even had her arms crossed, like I had seen the vampire mistress do several times already. The second statue looked familiar and close to not-Remilia but had more of a childlike smile. It was artistic liberty constricted by the demands of the person that commissioned the statues.

While I was distracted by art and light, it seemed that Kagerou had found what she was looking for. I hadn’t noticed a large, meaty-looking tail flopping about at the edge of the water. The werewolf stood rigid, her whole body tensed up as she carefully observed as best she could. Her breathing became slow, almost halting, as she maneuvered to get a better look without letting herself be noticed. Soft humming echoed around the rough stones that made up the grotto. It was wholly without concern and lacked any awareness of the stalking wolf’s presence.

“My, you’re smooth!” the humming was interrupted momentarily by a cheery voice belonging to a young woman.

Kagerou froze in place. I could hear her heart beat, dull and rhythmic, as everything else quieted down. A moment passed. Two. The humming resumed. Another moment had to pass before she relaxed enough to risk taking a step closer. Her ears became as sharp as daggers but soon flopped as recognition swept onto her face.

“What are you doing here?” she asked the fish, clear annoyance in her voice. The voice boomed around in the closed space, echoing off rocks and water.

The fish gasped, her tail flopping around in confused excitement as she looked around desperately for the source of the voice. In truth, the fish was only half a fish. In her panic I could see that she shared much with humans, having arms, hands and a not-very-fishy head. A mermaid, in short. She was a far cry from the bare-chested statue outside, wearing a green outfit with hemmed frills that wrapped around her in traditional Japanese style. Where the dress ended, a large gray tail jutted out.

She had been hunched over a pile of something by the water’s edge and had knocked over everything in a botched attempt to take flight through the water and towards the lake. Kagerou was one step ahead, however, having pounced on her. In a nature film, that would have been the scene where the hungry wolf had caught her prey and started tearing into it. Kagerou wasn’t trying to hurt her, instead she was telling her to calm down and to be careful, “you’ll hit your head on the rocks if you flop around like that,” she warned.

“Ah, ah AH!” the mermaid cried out in alarm, finding that she couldn’t escape the werewolf’s strong grip. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”

“I’m not going to hurt you!” Kagerou howled in a counterproductive fashion. The mermaid continued to apologize and then plead, begging to be spared. The werewolf held tight, trying to reassure her, but all reassurances fell on deaf ears. Only when the mermaid accepted her (imagined) grisly fate, whimpering and tucking into herself, did the struggle finally come to a close.

“I’d say she needs a hug,” I said, feeling pity for the witless mermaid, “but you’re already holding her too tightly.”

Kagerou ignored me, trying to reach the distraught girl, “I’m going to let go of you, it’s alright now. I’m sorry if I frightened you. I, uh, didn’t realize you’d react that way.”

“...” the girl was mumbling something to herself, tears in her eyes. I felt really bad for her and I wasn’t even the one who had wrestled her into submission.

“Can we please start over? We got off on the wrong foot. I’m sorry,” Kagerou sounded deflated, her ears drooping down as she tried to comfort the girl by gently patting her on the back.

“...you’re n-not-?” the girl stuttered something quietly, unable to turn around and face her attacker.

“I’m not going to hurt you, promise,” Kagerou reaffirmed.

“Please don’t eat me.”

“I won’t!” Kagerou promised yet again, sounded frustrated. With her long nails and wild streak, I could understand how she might have been typecast her whole life as a dangerous beast. Too bad, as she really was a nice enough and relatively civilized werewolf.

“Then why-? Last time you bit me! Please, don’t finish the job...” the girl wasn’t exactly coherent, swapping between pleas, shock and outrage.

“Like I told you, that was a misunderstanding,” Kagerou sighed.

The girl finally turned around and looked at Kagerou. Her dark blue eyes were wet with tears. She was a mermaid, alright. Though she had hair, styled in a cute fashion with shoulder-length curls, she had a pair of fins on either side of her head instead of ears. She smiled uneasily, as if trying to make sure that she was really in the clear. “Are you really not going to-?” she looked into Kagerou’s eyes directly, trying to find the goodness in her before noticing her outfit, “from the mansion?”

“Yes, I am. I was just having a look around. I was trying to see who could be in here,” Kagerou explained, not very convincingly. I was sure she felt terrible about what just happened but her words were stiff and not emotional enough. The poor frightened mermaid needed reassuring.

“Well, I’m allowed to-” the girl put a hand over her mouth as she realized something, “if you don’t know, then I shouldn’t tell you, I think.”

The mermaid seemed as a child who really, really, really wanted to talk about something but couldn’t because she pinky swore she wouldn’t tell anyone else. She wiped the tears from her eyes and adopted a sheepish smile. There was still tension in her body, particularly in her tail which still flopped back and forth slowly. Almost like a nervous tic. The equivalent of tapping a foot or having a restless leg.

“You can tell me,” Kagerou said, evidently not being able to resist a secret. That risked coming on too strong—yet again. Because the werewolf had to work on her people skills, it was incumbent on me to do something. Calm the girl down, earn her trust. Before she really did start coming off as the big bad wolf, devourer of innocent maidens. While the mermaid didn’t seem to fear for her life anymore, it was clear that she wasn’t completely at ease. Personally, I would have hugged her. Had I any arms. If Kagerou did that, or made sudden gestures or moves, it might just whip the mermaid up into a panic and cause her to think that she was being attacked again.

[] A gentle kiss on the forehead will help make things right.
[] Offer her the bat-shaped broach as a token of friendship.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/25(Sun)13:30

>> No. 63960
[x] Offer her the bat-shaped broach as a token of friendship.
Give the mermaid a shiny. Mermaids love shinies.
>> No. 63961
[x] A gentle kiss on the forehead will help make things right.
>> No. 63962
[x] Offer her the bat-shaped broach as a token of friendship.

This will be its only use.
>> No. 63963
[X] Offer her the bat-shaped broach as a token of friendship.

You can't just go around kissin dudes. That's not how life works. I'd rather keep the broach, but fuck me if that other option isn't awkward as shit.
>> No. 63964
[x] Offer her the bat-shaped broach as a token of friendship.
>> No. 63965
[X] Offer her the bat-shaped broach as a token of friendship.

I also do NOT want to give up the broach, but the other option is even less favorable.
>> No. 63966
[x] A gentle kiss on the forehead will help make things right.

Kiss all 'em girls
>> No. 63967
Both excellent choices, again. A shiny thing has been bait for fish like creatures for millennia and a kiss is extremely cute.

However, I think it will definitely scare her. While having her teeth close and not suffering a bite should be all the example she needs, I feel she'll become too scared to even notice.

As for the gift, Remilia will demand us to wear it for sure and will be mad if we give it away... or will she? What if we spin a tale about us telling stories of her magnanimity? The tales of the great Remilia will expand through all of Gensokyo!

[x] Give her the brooch
>> No. 63970
New thread >>63969
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