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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

Expand all images
>> No. 63686
[x] If she was hiding a tail under that dress, it would scandalously hike up an already short skirt.

Wolf butt. Also, holy shit is this a Kagerou story?
>> No. 63687
[X] That maid headdress would require some alterations to fit comfortably over those long ears of hers.
I do love maid outfits.
>> No. 63688
[x] If she was hiding a tail under that dress, it would scandalously hike up an already short skirt.

Seems Moral's got us with wolves on the brain. Timer seems sweet, looking forward to this!
>> No. 63689
[x] If she was hiding a tail under that dress, it would scandalously hike up an already short skirt.

I'm torn between "hooray, Teruyo is actually writing something" and "not another lame-ass feature". But you also fixed the slowdown so I'mma shut up and enjoy the awoo.
>> No. 63690
[X] That maid headdress would require some alterations to fit comfortably over those long ears of hers.

You guys are missing the correct angle here. If you don't tell her, she won't know, thus more wolf butte.
>> No. 63691
I like this man's ideas.

[X] That maid headdress would require some alterations to fit comfortably over those long ears of hers.
>> No. 63692
[X] That maid headdress would require some alterations to fit comfortably over those long ears of hers.

There will be times for Dogdonk. Now is not that time. Plus I'm sure she's aware of her dang tail and how it affects clothes.
>> No. 63693
[X] That maid headdress would require some alterations to fit comfortably over those long ears of hers.
>> No. 63694
[x] That maid headdress would require some alterations to fit comfortably over those long ears of hers.

I’m going to guess that we are either Sakuya or some nondescript background character who’s good at being a fly on the wall. The way things have been presented makes me lean towards the latter, but who knows.
>> No. 63695
[x] That maid headdress would require some alterations to fit comfortably over those long ears of hers.
It would be tough to get any work done if she had to constantly readjust her headwear. Better make sure it fits right.

I like your logic.
>> No. 63696
[X] That maid headdress would require some alterations to fit comfortably over those long ears of hers.
The most important part of a maid's outfit.
>> No. 63697

This is actually a true statement according to the Maidnomicon.
>> No. 63701
File 154102449614.jpg - (125.23KB , 1000x1145 , handy.jpg ) [iqdb]
I've abused my admin powers to bring forward the countdown clock by an hour. I may have overestimated the amount of time it needed to be open for votes. Probably won't do it again.

>the most important part of a maid's outfit isn't the tactical garter
One day you'll come around.

Also, it's the first vote so you don't really need to overthink the options. As amusing it is to watch, I'm not playing 14D chess right now. s'just for establishing a tone and something that I can occasionally callback to, so just go with whatever you think is cutest/funniest or whatever. We'll be getting to slightly more thinky options soon enough.
>> No. 63703
“So what do you think of the uniform?” I asked, thinking of no better way to break the ice.

Kagerou stiffened, her ears perking up like a pair of antennas. She scanned the room once again, looking a little disoriented by my sudden interjection. Not a surprising reaction in the least. For all intents and purposes it seemed like those words had come from nowhere.

“Yes, I’m really here. You’re not just imagining things,” I said, hoping to reassure her.

“I can’t see you,” she replied quietly, trying in vain to discern where my voice was coming from. She would have no such luck. My voice wasn’t in the room.

“Sure you can,” I explained, “I’m right in front of you. Next to something that can open very large doors.”

She frowned, not really getting the joke. I could already tell that I better not lay it on her too thick. At least not right away. Relationships take time and effort. I’d likely have many more chances to see how she reacted to frustration.

“I don’t know why you’re playing games with me,” she grumbled, “it’s not exactly very polite.”

“Didn’t you read the fine print?” I asked, immediately clarifying, “on your contract.”

“Contract?” she had since placed the uniform on the desk and was pacing aroudn the room, probably looking for hidden compartments or something that could hide a person. “Do you mean the one I signed the other day?”

“That’s the one. Remember how Sakuya gave you something and likely told you it was very important you wear it at all times?”

“She said I wouldn’t get paid if I didn’t...” her realization was almost immediate. She put a hand down her blouse and grabbed me. “That’s pretty amazing,” she said, looking at the iridescent pendant.

I was pretty small, the length of the average finger and about as wide. A simple silver cap on one end had me affixed to an equally unremarkable chain that hung around her neck. I was some sort of crystal, somewhat opaque but colorful. Those colors shifted every so often and the contrasting bands changed hue and brightness. It was a subtle effect and I suppose that the oddest thing about it is that I didn’t seem to cast any light on my surroundings despite my vivid nature.

“Magic is pretty neat,” I conceded, a little awestruck by my appearance. “I take it that you didn’t actually read the contract and just signed right away?”

She smirked, likely feeling stupid. “She made me an offer that I couldn’t really pass up. It’s the first time I’ve ever signed anything. Didn’t think it would be a big deal.”

“And the drop of blood she asked for wasn’t suspicious at all?” I asked, honestly feeling a little incredulous.

“That maid pricked her own finger as well. I just thought that was how contracts were.”

“That bound us together. It came into force the moment you stepped into the mansion grounds,” I explained.

“Oh… okay. So I take it then that you’re the someone that’s going to be instructing me?”

Kagerou was unflappable. Personally, I would have been a little more unsettled if the jewelry I was wearing started talking to me. Then again, if I were a werewolf then maybe I’d accept the absurd more easily to begin with. I’d have to think about it some more later. What was interesting was that the silver on the chain didn’t seem to have any adverse effects on her. I guess popular culture got that one wrong.

“Kinda?” I said, feeling like I needed a head to scratch just about then. “I’ll give you the short version since it’s clear that you aren’t going to read your contract anytime soon: I’m here to make sure you do your duties properly for the duration of the contract. I can share what I know of the mansion and give advice.”

“Alright, gotcha,” she said with disinterest. It seemed she was too busy checking me out, gripping me tightly, watching me change color, shaking me and otherwise figuring out what my deal was. “Hey, so, you’re talking only in my head, right? Can you hear what I’m...”

“No, I can’t read your mind… not directly and not most of the time,” I told her. “Though I can generally feel any strong emotions and get a feeling for any particularly clear and direct thoughts.” Kagerou smiled silently and closed her eyes, focusing. “Hey, rude! Not to mention anatomically impossible.”

“That’s pretty neat,” she laughed, “at least I know how to annoy you now.”

“You should also know that I experience the world mostly through your senses. Though it’s kind of like in a dream where you’re looking at yourself from an outside perspective. It’s hard to explain but don’t go pretending I can see through walls or something.”

“I don’t really care about that,” she was painfully honest. “So you’re watching me all the time?”

“Whatever hang up you’re thinking about, don’t worry,” I assured her. If I had any eyes I would have rolled them. “I’ve got plenty to do here whenever you want some privacy. So go ahead and get changed, I won’t peek. Just gotta tell you that you may want to get that headdress fixed, whenever you move your ears it’ll start to slide off.”

“Keep the advice coming,” she said wryly, already accepting that I’d be bothering her all the time. It made me like her even more.

“This is fun, but you don’t really want to keep Remilia waiting long. She’s way more bratty than she lets on. Probably wants to show off some more.”

“Hm, maybe I shouldn’t have signed that contract so easily,” she sighed. “I’m not really good with people, truth be told.”

“I can help you deal with these weirdos. So, see? I’m useful.”

“Useful?” she arched an eyebrow and changed the subject, “ But for now, you’re right, let’s get going. What should I call you by the way?”

“Al is fine. I think my name is… Aleister? Al-Kindi? Maybe Albert?… oh, could be Alice? Not sure, all I can say for sure is that it starts with ‘Al’.”

“Right, Al it is,” she nodded and let me once again freely hang off her neck. “While I get changed, tell me something interesting about this place. Or how to deal with the people. Or you know what? That maid never really told me why she picked me in the first place. But whatever really, pick the more interesting one.”

Without feeling self-conscious in the least, she resumed undoing her buttons and slid the top part of her dress from her shoulders. It was a small gesture of trust that I intended to pay in kind. I shut out her world for a moment and gave the request some thought.

[] Tell her a little about about the main residents and their quirks
[] Talk about her and why she was picked in the first place

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/02(Fri)13:30

>> No. 63704
[X] Talk about her and why she was picked in the first place

I'm curious. Simply being a cute pupper is a good enough reason, but I doubt that's it.
>> No. 63705
[X] Tell her a little about about the main residents and their quirks
>> No. 63706
[X] Talk about her and why she was picked in the first place

Letting her get to know the SDM whackjobs on her own is the fun part.
>> No. 63707
[x] Tell her a little about about the main residents and their quirks

>> No. 63708
[x] Tell her a little about about the main residents and their quirks

I feel like we'll be able to learn more about Alphonse from what she has to say about the SDM folks. Wondering if we have any connection to Flan's crystals, though Al is more likely Patchouli's doing. I hope she didn't turn Alice into a piece of jewelery.
>> No. 63709
[x] Talk about her and why she was picked in the first place
>> No. 63711
[X] Talk about her and why she was picked in the first place

I'd rather discover the other character's personality and nuance through interactions.
>> No. 63712
[x] Tell about why she was picked.

I'm not sure if she has picked it up, but I feel that her condition is the most obvious reason. Remilia really didn't believe that she was an actual werewolf (I wonder why?) and she wanted to see it for herself. The silver chain was probably meant to be another test.

Knowing Remilia she probably is happy that werewolves were forbidden by the world (and thus, sent to Gensokyo) before vampires did.

Anyway, if she knows why she was selected, she can fulfill the hidden expectations that exceed her job description.
>> No. 63714
[X] Talk about her and why she was picked in the first place
>> No. 63715
[x] Talk about her and why she was picked in the first place

Of course, I'm also wondering why Kagerou decided she needed formal employment rather than just being an aloof awoof.
>> No. 63716
[X] Talk about her and why she was picked in the first place
>> No. 63717
[x] Talk about her and why she was picked in the first place

She'll get to know the SDM residents in due time.
>> No. 63718
[x] Tell her a little about about the main residents and their quirks.

Quirks are relevant to my interests.
>> No. 63719
[X] Talk about her and why she was picked in the first place
>> No. 63722
File 154117264980.jpg - (909.58KB , 2480x3507 , all that was seen.jpg ) [iqdb]
I was only dimly aware of the noise of rustling fabric. There were a lot of things I could think of saying to her. Not many of them useful. As useful and great as I was, I wasn’t omniscient. There was archived information I could search for and draw upon but even that had its limits. So I opted for something that bordered a little on speculation though it was something of a non-answer. Still, had to clarify some parameters first.

“What did Sakuya tell you when she was pitching the idea to you?” I asked her.

“Not much,” Kagerou replied. I felt a vague sensation of confusion on her part, though it didn’t seem it was from my question. “These costumes are way too complicated,” she complained, “I’ve never seen so many tiny little buttons and hidden straps before.”

“Hang in there,” I said with disinterest, “I wanted to know if there was a specific phrase or word Sakuya used that stood out to you.”

“Um, why?”

“Because I couldn’t begin to guess why she chose you without more information.”

“So you’re saying that you don’t know?” she asked, growling a little. Sounded like a dog warning a passerby that they’re walking too close to their home. But it didn’t seem it was directed at me—her thoughts were pretty focused and hinted that she was frustrated at a particularly stubborn button she was trying to fasten.

“Not exactly, no. It’s not like I’ve ever talked to Sakuya before. Well, at least not in my present state. I do have some other information about the mansion in general, I was thinking I could make an educated guess.” I wasn’t that useful right then, I’ll admit.

“I don’t know if it’ll help,” she said with a smirk once she triumphed over her stubborn button, “but she said was pretty confident that I’d naturally fit in here. Mostly, I was relieved that she wasn’t about to attack me again. Those knives of hers are really scary.”

“I believe those are special knives that were made by...” I paused, finding that the rest of that information was not available. “Well, that’s not the important part,” I didn’t dwell on it, adding, “I suppose that it’s not that strange to expect a youkai to handle youkai better. Where I’m from, werewolves and vampires have a sort of love-hate relationship. Maybe it’s something like that?”

“I’m not really looking for love and I’d rather be left alone than hate anyone,” she said with a sigh as she encountered her next obstacle.

“I don’t think you get what I’m saying but it’s okay,” I said, “we can figure it out as we go along together. Is there anything else I should know about you before we move on?”

“Like what?”

“Dunno, anything that’s special or out of the ordinary about you or your life,” I lamented the lack of shoulders I could shrug.

“Besides being a werewolf? Not really. I live by myself and stay out of the way of most folk. I wouldn’t be surprised if that maid picked me because I was the only one to say yes. This doesn’t seem like something that the other youkai she’s beaten up would do. Youkai pride and all that,” she sighed again, that time caused by her own train of thought. There seemed to be a lot there that could be unpacked. I'd revisit the subject at some other opportunity. I was curious to learn more about her.

“Mind me asking what she’s promised to give you as a reward?” I asked the last thing left to cover.

“Actually, I do very much,” she said, suddenly getting a little worked up. Anxiety that raw was hard to mask as anything else. “Let a girl have her secrets, Al.”

“If you say so, wolfy,” I let out an over-the-top sigh as a protest. “You about done? I’m tired of not seeing things.”

“Pretty much,” she said, having successfully managed to dress herself. The fancy maid uniform was a surprisingly good fit for her—it was like the proverbial glove with no fabric being overly tight or excessively loose. It was also a lot more… subdued up when compared to the fairy’s uniforms: I got the feeling that the fairies were also meant to be eye candy whereas the head maid was meant to be more dignified and reserved. The skirt wasn’t as short, for one, and there was considerably less amount of skin shown off overall.

“Looking good,” I said, “though I think I was right about the headdress. It’s smooshing your ears a little.”

“They’re just tucked in slightly for now. I’ll look for some needle and thread latter, I have an idea that might fix it,” she said, trying to look at her unclear reflection in the large windows. She looked to make sure that the amulet she had salvaged from her old dress was fastened securely in front, where the ribbon would have otherwise gone.

“A woman of many talents,” I concluded.

“Not that many,” she fired back, having found something in her new pockets, “looks like that knife enthusiast left me a couple of pointers for the job. Wonder if she didn’t fully trust the snarky crystal to do its job properly?”

“Like I said, never talked to her before. Not sure about the circumstances of my creation,” I tried to play it off like it was no big deal. A stupid, braided maid wasn’t worth getting upset about. “Those look like index cards, haven’t seen those in a while.”

“Index cards?” she flipped through several of the conveniently-sized notes. Apparently she had never been to a library or needed to catalog something. “After reading a pair of these I think it’s best that I read the rest later. It’s pretty specific stuff about special situations.”

“I’m sure it’s all stuff I can just tell you anyways,” I said. “Leave your old clothes here, we can leave them in your room later.”

“Right, wouldn’t want to keep a vampire waiting too long,” Kagerou agreed, “where do I have to go now?”

I pulled up my current map of the mansion. Aside from the restricted areas and other parts whose topography was kept ambiguous, it looked like things were still largely being kept in the same configuration. Remilia’s study was in the same wing of the building for now and could be reached by taking one of the smaller stairs that broke up the smaller side corridors. I let Kagerou know the best route.

I had to admit, she sure looked like she belonged there. Her movements were quick but measured and smooth. Almost dignified, even. If you were into maids, then scrappy wolf at least looked the part. She knocked on the door without hesitation. I was glad to see that she wasn’t really nervous on her first day of the job.

“Oh, now you look decent,” Remilia said as soon as the new wolf maid came on in. Before Kagerou could even so much as take stock of her new surroundings, she followed up with a bold demand, “give me some of your blood now. A teaspoon’s worth will do.”

The unexpected request took Kagerou aback and it didn’t seem like she knew what to say.

“Yeah, giving a vampire your blood sounds like a terrible idea,” I told her, “I’ll get you out of this one. Hopefully without upsetting your employer. Just let me think for a moment.”

“Um… oh darn this silly thing!” Kagerou smiled sheepishly as she twitched her ears, causing the headdress to move and slip. She pretended it was unintentional and tried to ‘fix’ its position. As far as I was concerned, she definitely got points for being able to think on her feet.

[] She should play the request off as a joke. And remind Remilia that a great vampire like her surely wouldn’t embarrass herself by asking something so crude from an employee.
[] It’s clearly just a test. Kagerou should stand up for herself. How else is she going to be able to deal with unruly fairies and intruders if she’s a pushover?
[] As much as it hurts to admit it, one of those index cards apparently had instructions on what to do in this exact scenario.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/03(Sat)13:00

>> No. 63723
[x] It’s clearly just a test. Kagerou should stand up for herself. How else is she going to be able to deal with unruly fairies and intruders if she’s a pushover?

Who needs 'em lousy index cards anyway?
>> No. 63725
>“I don’t know if it’ll help,” she said with a smirk once she triumphed over her stubborn button, “but she said was pretty confident that I’d naturally fit in here.

A practical joke then? This Sakuya has some backbone.

Not saying that's the only reason, but is probably part of it.

Also, I wonder what we really are. The situation kinda reminds me of that story about Voile's books and knowledge being sealed into a guy. Our knowledge seems too limited for this to be the same thing though.
He (she?) has dropped hints about being familiar with the mansion some time ago ("It seems things are mostly the same") but he has somewhat modern knoweldge. That can be added, though, so my crackpot theory (we are Sakuya's predecessor) is not impossible. Just extremely unlikely.

>Head maid uniform

Ah, new information. So we're supposed to assist and/or replace Sakuya? Now I'm reminded of that Simpsons episode where Smithers hires the obviously-incompetent Homer as his replacement, for obvious reasons.

>A stupid, braided maid wasn’t worth getting upset about

No love lost here, uh?

[X] It’s clearly just a test. Kagerou should stand up for herself. How else is she going to be able to deal with unruly fairies and intruders if she’s a pushover?

Either it is a test and we pass, or it isn't and she sets clear boundaries from the start. A contract does not mean giving up our will.

...unless it does. This is Gensokyo after all. Something like that probably has happened before.

The only hint about this option I've found is:

>"A youkai like her was likely to only get irritated if she didn’t have things exactly her way"

To which I say: sucks to be you, vamp. Her blood is ours, is what made our bond and we ain't giving up a drop of it.

...just kidding. I'm not that combative. For now.

>Cop out index card from dumb braids option.

You digust me.
>> No. 63726
I guess my wording wasn't so great, but I meant the second choice to be something more along the lines of:

[] It’s clearly just a test. Kagerou should be blunt in her refusal. How else is she going to be able to deal with unruly fairies and intruders if she’s not clear and direct?

All three choices are about standing up for yourself, otherwise there'd be a "let Remilia have some blood" option. Writing quickly has its drawbacks sometimes like not being able express myself as well as I meant. The choices overall should roughly map to be something like:
1) Be diplomatic
2) Be brash
3) Mystery box that relies on Sakuya's wisdom and experience
>> No. 63728
[X] It’s clearly just a test. Kagerou should stand up for herself. How else is she going to be able to deal with unruly fairies and intruders if she’s a pushover?

Al clearly does not like Sakuya and consulting the index paper right on the first problem we face doesn't look good for our cute independent wolfy who don't need no man. Remilia also doesn't seem the type to be fooled by people sucking up to her.

I believe Al being unsure of the circumstances of his creation implies that he was recently created.
>> No. 63729
[x] She should play the request off as a joke. And remind Remilia that a great vampire like her surely wouldn’t embarrass herself by asking something so crude from an employee.

Just a prank, sis.
>> No. 63730
[x] It’s clearly just a test. Kagerou should stand up for herself. How else is she going to be able to deal with unruly fairies and intruders if she’s a pushover?

As much as I want to see Kagerou fumbling the index cards with her ridiculous fingernails, showing that she has a backbone seems like a good idea at the moment.
>> No. 63731
Then change one blunt vote (the one above) to one diplomatic, unless there's a tie.
>> No. 63732
[x] It’s clearly just a test. Kagerou should stand up for herself. How else is she going to be able to deal with unruly fairies and intruders if she’s a pushover?

I'd love to play it off as a joke, but being firm about these things is better.
>> No. 63733
[X] She should play the request off as a joke. And remind Remilia that a great vampire like her surely wouldn’t embarrass herself by asking something so crude from an employee.

A maid needs to be more subtle and refined in her approach.
>> No. 63734
[X] As much as it hurts to admit it, one of those index cards apparently had instructions on what to do in this exact scenario.
>> No. 63735
[x] It’s clearly just a test. Kagerou should stand up for herself. How else is she going to be able to deal with unruly fairies and intruders if she’s a pushover?

Show some backbone.
>> No. 63736
[x] As much as it hurts to admit it, one of those index cards apparently had instructions on what to do in this exact scenario.
I'm interested in seeing what Sakuya's got for us. Plus, Kagerou fumbling around with index cards
>> No. 63737
[X] She should play the request off as a joke. And remind Remilia that a great vampire like her surely wouldn’t embarrass herself by asking something so crude from an employee.

Subtilty is so much more practical than blunt statements.
>> No. 63739
File 154125749949.jpg - (47.19KB , 500x590 , vampirism.jpg ) [iqdb]
“I think I got it,” I said, having thought over a few different possibilities. Though anything that would affect her self-image and appeal to her pride, like shaming her, would likely be the most effective solution, there was something to be said for placing Kagerou directly in the firing zone. It would be less ambiguous and probably not too bad for the werewolf’s ego when the dust settled. Hopefully.

Remilia had her arms crossed and stood only a short distance away. We had caught her with an open glass cabinet, evidently where she kept a bottle of fine something or the other. The prospect of an actual drink was evidently less exciting than fresh blood. Although… there was no reason why the two couldn’t possibly be combined.

“Don’t yield. Be firm in your refusal,” I advised before she ran out of a reasonable excuse to stall.

“Are you sure..?” she mumbled.

“We can have this debate or you can convince Remilia that you’re not just a pretty face and a pushover.”

She focused her mind once again to form a very clear thought. I didn’t mind being called that orifice so long as it got results. “Be firm but polite,” I told her, trying to drive the point home.

“Well, that sure took a while,” Kagerou forced a smile, having finally adjusted that unstable headdress of hers.

“I don’t like being kept waiting,” Remilia complained, clearly not amused.

“My apologies,” Kagerou said, likely suppressing a shrug. I wouldn’t say that she was afraid but I felt a certain tension in her that was the product of uncertainty. There was no doubt that she felt that there was the possibility of a fight-or-flight type of scenario breaking out. “I can’t comply with your request,” she said after a pause.

“I’m not asking for a favor,” Remilia’s left eye twitched with irritation. It was the tell of a woman who was seldom refused. It may have been her vampiric nature, but she seemed somehow larger in presence than her short stature and dainty clothes would otherwise indicate. A normal person would have been unnerved without really understanding why.

“Be that as it may, I’m still refusing,” Kagerou held her ground.

“Tell her that it’s not a part of your duties,” I told her.

“I’m not completely familiar with every aspect of my job yet,” Kagerou started, her words sharp and with a serrated edge, “but degrading myself on your whim is definitely not something I’ll do. I’ll quit right now if you don’t treat me with the respect I deserve.”

“Hm, I guess a bluff isn’t too bad,” I told her. There was some truth to her words, I felt, but something told me that whatever compelled her to accept the job in the first place would make her put up with a lot of questionable things.

“It’s only as a favor to Sakuya that I won’t destroy you right here and now,” Remilia smirked, like it was supposed to be a joke, but there was a clear lack of warmth in those words. She uncrossed her arms and turned her palms upward in supplication, as if she were burdened with a fate only a higher being could fully understand. She further opined, “my compassionate nature will be my undoing.”

“It’s good to see we’ve cleared up this misunderstanding,” Kagerou nodded, letting go of some of the tension in her body.

“It’s only been postponed,” Remilia broadened her smirk into a cold and particularly toothy grin that allowed sharp fangs to pop out from her small mouth. “Fetch me a glass and fix me a drink,” she ordered as she walked away from the cabinet and towards her desk.

Kagerou nodded again and did as she was asked. The cabinet contained everything that she needed. “The smaller glass,” I instructed her. I suspected she knew next to nothing about drinks and the vampire would likely want something with a kick to it to get over the unpleasant taste of having a subordinate refuse her. A snifter of what looked like brandy would do the trick. “Pour only a finger or two in there, glasses are never meant to be full.”

Remilia had retreated to her desk and was now pouring over an open book, a quill and ink well next to her. Her choice of writing implement spoke volumes about how out of touch she was. I would have told Kagerou just that but it seemed that my hirsute companion was distracted. Without the threat of a vampire’s wrath, she had taken to becoming awestruck.

The study was both small and intimate and large and imposing. The first part of this contradictory effect was accomplished by the presence of fine wooden furniture—a solid oak desk and a padded chair matched the cabinets and bookshelves—and other things like small busts and a hand-painted globe took up spare space. The second was covered by a tall, vaulted, ceiling that was elaborately decorated. It wasn’t exactly the Sistine Chapel, but the sprawling scene above was nothing to scoff at. Whoever painted it likely followed the vampire’s whim to the letter as the large scene had a Remilia-like figure sitting on a gaudy golden throne and presiding over an assembled court of sycophants and vassals. Of course, the came bearing the most luxurious and exotic gifts and laid them at her feet. A psychologist could most definitely spend weeks learning about the way her mind worked just by looking at all the flourishes and details that occupied every centimeter up there.

Unlike the first room where we had met her, this place was well-lit. The lamp on Remilia’s desk was the only obvious source of light. Clearly, though, it only cast a soft light that only made the area around her desk a viable work area. The other sources of light, particularly those that lit up the large scene above, were not obvious to spot.

“Give her the drink before she finds more reason to get annoyed,” I snapped my metaphorical fingers.

It did the trick and Kagerou turned her attention to her capricious mistress once again. “I hope that this is to your liking,” she returned smoothly to the role of maid.

“It’ll do,” Remilia snatched the glass away from her hand and sniffed its contents with her eyes closed. “I can’t expect a werewolf like you to innately understand the finer things in life. All you do all day is run around in the woods, roll in the mud and fight with one another. And all that non-stop rutting! Talk about an indecent and crass existence.”

She shook her head and tut-tutted, then finally took a drink. Kagerou didn’t seem too pleased at Remilia’s description of her kind, her ears having become stiff and pointed back as if she were ready to snarl at any moment. This time, the headdress was coming loose unintentionally. The werewolf seemed to be struggling to keep a straight face.

[] She’s just being goaded. Tell her to take a deep breath and let it go even if Remilia keeps being petty.
[] A few choice comments about vampires might be appropriate. Hopefully she’ll be able to hold back.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/04(Sun)13:00

>> No. 63740
[X] She’s just being goaded. Tell her to take a deep breath and let it go even if Remilia keeps being petty.
I want Kagerou to defend herself but not by insulting Remilia. Let's not push it any further than we already have.
>> No. 63741
[X] A few choice comments about vampires might be appropriate. Hopefully she’ll be able to hold back.

I really get the feeling she isn't looking for little-miss-perfect. I'm betting she heard stories about how werewolves and vampires are equals, and she's testing the waters a bit.
>> No. 63742
[x] A few choice comments about vampires might be appropriate. Hopefully she’ll be able to hold back.

Talk shit, get bit.
>> No. 63743
[x] She’s just being goaded. Tell her to take a deep breath and let it go even if Remilia keeps being petty.
no getting fired 10 minutes into the job, thanks
>> No. 63744
[x] A few choice comments about vampires might be appropriate. Hopefully she’ll be able to hold back.
>> No. 63745
[x] She’s just being goaded. Tell her to take a deep breath and let it go even if Remilia keeps being petty.

Don't sink to her level.
>> No. 63746
Flipping a coin where heads = 1st option
Coin flip: tails!
>> No. 63747
[X] She’s just being goaded. Tell her to take a deep breath and let it go even if Remilia keeps being petty.

Remilia's reaction to our first choice makes me suspect that the rivaliry between vampires and wewolves is a thing in this story.
I suspect that the right choice was checking the hints but it probably was something about accepting-which she wouldn't do anyway.

The play on her pride option left Kagerou flat footed if Remilia refused to play ball and she definitely would have, considering her unreasonably antagonistic nature.

So, as for this choice, she's just still being antagonistic for the sake of it, but considering she's got all the power here, there's no way arguing would be a good choice.
>> No. 63748
“Play it smart,” I said with a sigh. Petty bickering seemed unavoidable but Kagerou most definitely didn’t need to go overboard. “First day and all, don’t make it too personal,” I reminded her. I wasn’t sure whether or not she’d listen to me as there was a look in her eyes showed more than casual irritation.

“I suppose that no matter how wide the gap between our abilities and natures is, it can’t be helped,” Remilia said after taking another drink.

“Yes, it’s truly unfortunate that you typically don’t get to enjoy a nice sunrise,” Kagerou said, rather bluntly I thought. Wasn’t that great of a comeback.

“It’s but a loveable quirk,” Remilia shrugged it off, “there’s just so much to do and so much I can do with my powers that daylight hasn’t even crossed my mind in years.”

“Perhaps I can s-” Kagerou started.

“No threats!” I yelled, hoping to interrupt her. “Pile on the quirks if you want to get to her.”

“...shut up,” the werewolf grumbled.

“What was that, my dear?” Remilia cocked an eyebrow and seemed to scrutinize Kagerou’s face.

“I was just saying,” Kagerou cleared her throat. She had a hand behind her back, curled up almost into a fist. Her long nails dug into her forearm’s skin, reddening the area. “I always heard that vampires can’t even go into places uninvited. Seems like a rather pathetic limitation for such a powerful being.”

“That’s- not quite true,” Remilia said, her cadence changing almost imperceptibly as if unsure how much to say. I had no idea where Kagerou had picked up that bit of information. The vampire paused, seemingly to offer an explanation but then thought the better of it instead saying with a laugh, “well, it’s certainly rude to barge in somewhere without an invitation. Aristocracy, undead or not, is better than a common furry lout.”

“Stakes? Crosses? Running water? Garlic?” I spouted off the things I knew about vampires off the top of my head.

“I said, shut up,” Kagerou growled.

“Are you quite alright?” Remilia asked, putting down her glass with a patronizing look of concern.

“Just fine,” Kagerou replied, “I was just wondering how truthful I should be to my new employer. A vampire’s weak point does seem to be its ego, after all.”

“Well, I won’t disabuse of that notion since you may be right,” Remilia took the comment in stride, adding without a hint of irony, “I’m better than most of my kind but we can be real divas from time to time.”

Kagerou’s next thought was loud and clear enough to make me blush. “For the love of- don’t you even dare!” I could already picture her employment being remarkably brief.

“Well, love,” Remilia went on, “we should talk about something more practical now. Do take a seat. Pour a drink for yourself if you like.”

Against all odds, Kagerou held back from burning it all down in a fit of insanity. She shook her head at the offer of a drink and silently pulled up one of the other nearby chairs. I really didn’t get her. Just a moment ago she seemed so fired up, so ready to go. Her hairs stood on end, there was clear tension in her muscles and other signs pointed towards her being close to jumping on the vampire to try to claw her eyes out. She was a youkai and usually meant that it was hard for her to deny her nature.

“I find these conversations a little tedious,” the vampire continued, “but it’s best to avoid misunderstandings rather than allow unpleasant things to occur.”

“Yes, I agree,” Kagerou said, sounding as if the previous back and forth hadn’t happened at all.

“Good. Now I’m not going to place too many rules and impositions on you during your time here. Sakuya has delegated the more tedious aspects that you would otherwise have to deal with,” Remilia explained with a wistful look in her eyes. Like she was romanticizing the work itself. “Basically the only thing I’ll ask is for you to come promptly whenever you're summoned and to treat me with the utmost respect my station warrants me… whenever others are present.”

“I don’t have to be nice to you when we’re alone?” Kagerou asked with genuine confusion in her voice. Couldn’t blame her. I thought Remilia was pompous enough to insist on Mistress this and Milady that.

“I hope you are but,” the mistress of the mansion tapped the side of her glass, like she had earlier. The strikes were too weak to produce any distinct notes, which caused her to tap a little harder until a dull but distinct ring emerged. “I know how challenging it can be for a mere werewolf to observe decorum. No, don’t get angry!” she preempted any reaction with a smirk, “it’s just a joke. I’ve simply found that informality can be both amusing and more efficient when dealing with problems.”

“...alright, I’ll keep that in mind, Remi,” Kagerou couldn’t help herself, going for something embarrassingly informal.

The vampire seemed tickled by her boldness, “werewolves are always so amusing. Keep your wild side private and be earnest in your work and I think we’ll be able to get along famously.”

“Speaking of, where should I start?” she asked.

“There’s no much for you to do tonight,” Remilia said, “Sakuya saw to it that things would be taken care of for at least a day. I may require you to attend to me at dinner later but I haven’t decided if I would just prefer a small meal while I work here. Oh, yes, before I forget—use your own discretion for your duties. I won’t be up during the day usually so your time is your own so long as the work gets done. If you need to discipline staff or make a more general decision, I’ll trust your judgment.”

“That seems… a little too generous,” Kagerou said with justifiable suspicion in her voice. Yeah, it didn’t seem normal that someone like Remilia give a stranger so much freedom. Then again, vampires were known to be capricious creatures.

“I trust Sakuya and she elected to trust you,” Remilia explained. “Ah! Yes, one last thing: while you represent me in any capacity, your actions should always reflect positively on this household. If I hear of villagers being terrified by a werewolf while you’re working here, there will be hell to pay.”

“It’s insulting that you would even say that,” Kagerou frowned.

“Good, good. Then that’s one less thing to worry about.” Changing the subject once more, she complained, “I wish you had given me some of your blood, though. That would have made for a very interesting evening.”

“I think that might be a sex thing,” I joked, getting a little bored of the exchange. “You might want to file a complaint with HR.”

“HR?” she muttered.

“I forget we’re in Gensokyo sometimes. Sorry, never mind.”

“You should work on that habit of mumbling to yourself, it’s unbecoming for a lady,” Remilia smiled yet again and the subtext was clear. She didn’t need to add the words, ‘as normal as it might be for a werewolf.’

“I’ll try my best,” Kagerou nodded and then stood up, “I’ll be taking my leave if it’s all right with you.”

“Sure thing, I’ll call you if I need you.”

With the door closed behind her, Kagerou let out a large sigh. Though she hadn’t broken the skin, parts of her arm were flushed where her nails had dug in for a while. It didn’t seem like she was too upset about what had just happened and I couldn’t feel any of the hostility I had felt earlier.

“Vampires, huh?” I laughed, “can’t be helped, right?”

“Something like that,” she smiled bitterly, “I would be interested in finding out why she picked on me so much and then just… was weirdly friendly.”

“She’s been alive for longer than you and me. And advanced age makes some people loopy you know,” I told her, keeping any half-baked theories to myself. Any speculation now would be premature and possibly hinder her work efficiency. It was my job to make sure she did her best. “So, pumped about your new job?”

“I don’t know… it still feels a little too unreal. Like it’s not actually happening.”

“It’ll feel real soon enough,” I said, “come on, let’s get you settled in and then go do something besides talk.”

“Sounds good to me. Lead on.”

Though the corridors were mostly windowless, I was pretty sure that the sun had just set. Creatures of the night were just starting to stir elsewhere.

[] Observe the fairy staff and their routine
[] Get fresh air, perhaps talk to the gate guard
[] Explore the mansion a little and get to know its points of interest

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/05(Mon)13:00

A little too late, mac. I have to write when the timer ends to keep to the schedule, sorry.
>> No. 63749
[x] Observe the fairy staff and their routine

>> No. 63750
[X] Get fresh air, perhaps talk to the gate guard

Al already has the mansion mapped out and Sakuya took care of our chores. I'd say take it easy tonight and hang out with Meiling.
>> No. 63751
[X] Observe the fairy staff and their routine

I really get the feeling this dude is trying to snipe the Best Fairy Writer title.
>> No. 63752
>A little too late, mac.

Fuck me, I'm someone else who was going to vote (a writein that wouldn't have won anyway so thankfully it wouldn't have mattered) but I had a secure connection failed error and couldn't connect to the site for the whole day. That shit really fucks with nanowrimo timervoting, and I feel like I get that fuckin thing every other week.

[X] Observe the fairy staff and their routine
>> No. 63753
Let me know more about your setup in >>/gensokyo/13959 and maybe we can find a solution to your issue. Or feel free to poke me on IRC or Discord and I'll see if there's anything I can do.
>> No. 63754
[x] Observe the fairy staff and their routine

Our obvious priority must be our subordinates.

Also, it seems we are from the outside world... a random summon, a former guest?
>> No. 63755
[X] Observe the fairy staff and their routine

Please give more fairy fluff
>> No. 63756
[x] Explore the mansion a little and get to know its points of interest

Bah, fairies are overrated. Let's go meet the librarian.
>> No. 63757
File 154142901041.jpg - (563.58KB , 900x900 , the importance of being earnest.jpg ) [iqdb]
Before doing anything else, we retraced our steps to the small room where Kagerou had left her clothes. Along the way we saw a few fairies scurrying around, chattering excitedly among themselves. Whatever work they were supposed to be doing was clearly taking twice as long due to their lack of discipline. That said, the corridors looked clean enough that it didn’t really seem to matter. For whatever reason, there was little build up of dust on surfaces.

Our more immediate destination was on the far end of the upper floor of the wing. It was there that Kagerou would have her own private space to relax and unwind in during her downtime. It was generous billeting with a whole series of rooms combining into a small private apartment just for her. The decoration, tending towards golden and loud as the rest of the mansion, wasn’t really to my taste but it was a space comparable to a luxury hotel. It was unclear to me whether or not it was meant to be an extra perk for the new maid or if it was simply an otherwise spare area that might as well be put to good use.

Kagerou was clearly pleased with what she saw. More than once she asked me if I was sure that I had taken her to the right place. “I mean, just look at these windows!” she had her hands on her hips, looking on in satisfaction at the view beyond. Much of the adjacent lake felt close enough to touch and the vista extended off to the mountains off in the distance. A small balcony was tucked off to one side as well, granting an overview of the rear garden. The sun had set some time before but the light of the waning moon was bright in the night sky.

I had to stifle a laugh when Kagerou, entranced by the soft silken top sheets, jumped on her soft bed and began to roll around from side to side. She stretched out her arms and legs, trying to see if she could reach the edge of the large mattress. Finding that she couldn’t, she flailed around happily, making pleased and slightly squeaky noises. “So soft! I feel like I’m lying down on a cloud,” she sighed as she settled down.

If I had told her about the private bath and all of the other facilities just beyond a nearby door, it felt like she could have been moved to tears. I let her rest enjoy the new bed for a few minutes; the smile she wore wore was unguarded and worth seeing. Eventually, I coaxed her along, telling her that she would have plenty of time to rest later.

As a final act before moving on, she pressed a pillow up to her face, sniffed vigorously and then exclaimed with a giggle, “fresh flowers!”

With that interlude behind us, she agreed in moving on to observe the rest of the mansion’s staff. Fairies were rarer on the higher floors which were mostly bedrooms and the most intimate of drawing room and activity spaces. The would only likely come in to clean and only with specific instructions to that effect. As for the rest, they likely started off in the morning and methodically worked through every room throughout the week. Because of the size of the interior it would be hard to imagine that they ever really stopped.

“You’ll find their rooms off to the far side of the building, where the outside terrain slopes slightly,” I told Kagerou. They lived in a large communal space that was basically its own apartment. I couldn’t imagine that there was the same level of luxury as the upper residences but it was likely still a very comfortable existence for those fairies.

Kagerou didn’t seem interested in exploring those spaces, instead opting to head for the main kitchen. That was where most of the fairies would be at that hour of night, split between preparing their mistress’ nightly meal and the idle cleaning staff that were enjoying meals of their own.

Even with the large distances between rooms, floors and corridors, it was easy to tell how close you were to the kitchen just from the smell. It was a permanent mix of the smoky smell of burning wood with myriad spices that hinted at the broad range of dishes that were often prepared there. As we neared, Kagerou followed her nose, so to speak, and didn’t ask for directions. She found the maid’s dining room first and witnessed the evening gathering first hand.

A number of fairies sat on either end of long wooden tables on similarly long benches. These were a far cry from the polished dark woods of Remilia’s study. Instead, they made from simple light-colored planks that were nonetheless thick and sturdy-looking. That was probably for the best as the wood had been stained over the years by a reckless disregard for coasters or place mats. Not that the fairies seemed to mind; a whole gang of similarly-dressed girls were all talking loudly, almost trying to speak over one another in their excitement. The room was vaulted and decorated with simple red brick on ceiling and walls. It had the festive atmosphere of a beer hall.

The only fairy to even notice Kagerou was the same thin girl that had led us to Remilia. She had been sitting on one corner of a table, reading a book instead of merrymaking with her fellow fairies. She sprang to her feet nervously and scurried over to the werewolf. “What brings you here, ma’am? Is there anything I can do for you?”

“I’m just taking a look around,” Kagerou said, noticing that it was the same girl from earlier. “I figured that I’d take a look at what you guys were doing.”

“Right, right,” Ana nodded, “very smart of you. Miss Sakuya does like keeping an eye on us as well.”

“Ask her about how they’re organized,” I suggested, finding that my practical knowledge about them was limited.

“So, do you guys have a boss? I mean, one of your own. I can’t imagine I’d have to speak to you guys individually to get things done,” she said, still scanning the room. A few of the fairies were having supper—some sort of rich-looking soup full of what looked like onion and mushroom.

“Um, well, there’s a team leader for the each of the squads,” Ana said.

“Squads?” Kagerou asked.

“Service, Cleaning, Kitchen, Gardening and Auxiliary… those are the five.”

“Oh, and which one are you?” Kagerou looked at the smaller girl, clearly expecting her to be in charge of one of the squads.

“Well, I’m part of the service squad and we mostly attend to the Mistress and her guests… I’m not really the leader though...” she explained, an apologetic smile appearing on her lips. “We’re the only squad without a leader since Miss Sakuya liked to give out orders personally when it came to Mistress Remilia.”

“Congratulations then, I’m making you the new leader of the Service squad,” Kagerou patten her on the shoulder with a toothy grin, “I’m going to need a reliable pair of eyes and ears to help me deal with these fairies. You seem to know your duties well enough.”

Ana’s blue, doll-like, eyes widened. “A-are you sure? I mean, we’ve only just met and there’s surely other more reliable fairies that you can turn to.”

“Nah, I’ve got a good feeling about you,” Kagerou defended her pick, “I’m still new here so I’ll be in your care.”

“So long as you think I’m worthy,” she fairy bowed deeply. Her wings fluttered excitedly, betraying her inner emotions.

“That’s enough of that,” Kagerou tapped her on the shoulder again, urging her to straighten herself and knock off all the thankfulness. If I had to guess from the look of unease in her eye, my lupine friend wasn’t too used to others treating with so much respect and reverence.

“Sure, whatever you say, boss,” the fairy maid beamed at Kagerou with puppy dog eyes, “I’ll try to live up to your expectations. But…” her expression darkened, “I’m afraid I’m going to have to impose some more first.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Well, the other fairies… don’t quite see me as leadership material,” she confessed, “in fact, they like to tease me because I take the job a little more seriously than them. So, um, if it’s okay, could you talk to them?”

“Is that all?” Kagerou laughed, clearly relishing the idea of being a role model, “I’ll make the announcement personally. I doubt anyone will take issue with my decision.”

“Thank you so much!” the fairy started to bow again but Kagerou poked her on the forehead, prompting her to cancel the motion. “Most of the Service squad is sitting at that table over there—“ she pointed to one of the longer tables off to the side.

“I’ll take it from here,” Kagerou said with perhaps a little too much confidence. Fairies were energetic, irreverent and often scatterbrained. It was a miracle that they had been trained to any sort of proficiency to work day in and day out at the mansion. Out in the wild, they’d just spend all day playing and wasting time. Hell, even seeing them all dressed in uniforms was something of a minor miracle.

It wasn’t my job to make the decisions, like promoting a fairy she had just met to an important role. I was supposed to smooth over any mistakes and give advice on the best course of action. That said, other than being insufferable if necessary, I couldn’t really do much about getting her to listen.

[] Getting a group of fairies to go along with anything is like herding cats. She should be nice but firm and make sure they understand her decisions are law.
[] Fairies are unfocused by nature but like having fun. Giving them a treat first and they’ll be eating out of the palm of her hand.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/06(Tue)13:00

>> No. 63758
[x] Getting a group of fairies to go along with anything is like herding cats. She should be nice but firm and make sure they understand her decisions are law.

Being scary to children should be a piece of cake for a werewolf, right?
>> No. 63759
[x] Getting a group of fairies to go along with anything is like herding cats. She should be nice but firm and make sure they understand her decisions are law.

Give fairies treats and they'll start bouncing off the walls

>> No. 63760
[X] Fairies are unfocused by nature but like having fun. Giving them a treat first and they’ll be eating out of the palm of her hand.

SDM fairies are canonically useless. If even Sakuya can't completely discipline them then no one can. I think this option is more likely to gain their trust.
>> No. 63761
[X] Getting a group of fairies to go along with anything is like herding cats. She should be nice but firm and make sure they understand her decisions are law.

I feel like giving them a treat first would quickly devolve into an uncontrollable mess.
>> No. 63762
[x] Fairies are unfocused by nature but like having fun. Giving them a treat first and they’ll be eating out of the palm of her hand.

Not the most pragmatic option, but something about it seems more like Kagerou. As an animal at her core, she comes across a little impulsive herself.
>> No. 63763
[X] Getting a group of fairies to go along with anything is like herding cats. She should be nice but firm and make sure they understand her decisions are law.

You know how you get people to do things in Gensokyo? You give 'em the danmaku. Unless you'd lose, then you bribe em like you're an Italian, but I think Kagerou can handle even a gaggle of fairies.
>> No. 63765
Give the fairies treats = Team Flandre/Rumia
Nice but firm = Team patch


[x] Fairies are unfocused by nature but like having fun. Giving them a treat first and they’ll be eating out of the palm of her hand.

Good cop/Bad cop kinda dynamic with Sakuya.
>> No. 63767
I warned Kagerou not to be too soft when it came to dealing with these fairies. There was no reason to be harsh or rude but if she didn’t set boundaries, they would walk all over her. She approached the table where Ana’s squad were gathered but they were too caught up in animated conversation to notice her. They were apparently talking about their days while sharing a loaf of what looked to be day-old bread. An empty bottle of wine also sat ungraciously to one side.

“Hello, could I talk to you all for a moment?” Kagerou announced her presence normally, raising her voice just above the volume of their own conversation. A few fairies turned, smiles on their faces that quickly disappeared when they noticed that the speaker wasn’t one of their own. Fear of the unknown would work for her if she tried it. She tapped one of the last oblivious fairies on the shoulder to get her to shut up and added, “I’ll make it quick.

“My name is Kagerou and I’ll be temporarily be acting head maid. You may have heard of something to that effect.”

“Miss Sakuya doesn’t really tell us anything,” a shorter maid said, frowning.

“In short, I’m your new boss. After Lady Remilia, that is,” Kagerou explained. So far, so good. She was avoiding using big words and was getting right to it.

“Ah! Nice to meetcha, new boss lady!” a bespectacled fairy with brown curls bubbled forth an interruption. She raised an empty cup as if to propose a toast, saw that it was empty, looked at the wine bottle and then pouted.

“It’s Miss Kagerou,” another fairy elbowed the pouty maid. That one was a little more on the plump side and had shorter reddish-brown hair.

“Right, sorry about that Miss Kagerou,” the pouty maid looked apologetic.

“It’s fine,” Kagerou was clearly amused by the fairies, a nascent smile forming around the edges of her mouth, “more importantly, I wanted to make an announcement. I was told that this squad doesn’t have a leader.”

“Yup, Sylvia quit because she wanted to spend more time with her boyfriend,” the curly-haired maid lamented.

“It was really stupid of her too,” another fairy offered her opinion, unprompted, “Why give up a nice bed, cute clothes and free food and a lot for some guy?”

“He was pretty cute,” another chirped in, “I think I’d do the same.”

“Oh not y-”

“At any rate-” Kagerou asserted herself before things went too off the rails, “I’ve already picked a new squad leader.”

“She’s pretty quick, innishe?”

“I wanna touch her ears, they look soft.”

“Maybe she picked you, Cecily!”

There were a few other comments made that were drowned out by the fairy’s collective buzz. A few simultaneous conversations erupted between a number of them. It was hard to imagine these girls ever managing to buckle down and concentrate on anything. Kagerou’s nascent smile had gone as she tried to regain control and keep their interest.

She tapped one of her long nails against the table. It wasn’t so much the noise that caused the fairies to pay attention but more that it was long, red, and seemed to point at a few of them menacingly. The fairies stopped talking. “I’ll be entrusting the new leader to coordinate all of you when I’m not around,” Kagerou continued, “so listen to her and do your best.”

“Um, so who did you pick?” the fairy maid with glasses and the curly hair asked.

“I was just getting to that,” Kagerou seemed annoyed that she got interrupted yet again. She motioned to Ana, who had sidled up silently earlier. “I’ve picked Ana to lead you all.”

That announcement certainly got the fairies all revved up again. There was a mixture of disbelief and congratulating with a few mean comments about Ana thrown in for good measure. Apparently not everyone got on that well with her mostly due to how she sometimes carried on. One of the things I caught quickly was that she had some sort of one-sided… thing for Sakuya. The exact wording was rude but so I suspected that it was just unfounded teasing.

“Be firm,” I reminded Kagerou.

“My decision is final,” she said, looking at the few fairies that seemed to feel the strongest about the new appointment. “I won’t have any of this disrespectful talk, either. If I hear that you’ve been talking about Ana behind her back, I’ll make sure the offender is properly punished,” she rapped her nail on the table again, “is that clear?”

“Yes’m,” was the universal response. One of the maids whispered something about the new boss not being as cute as the old one but Kagerou pretended she didn’t hear it. It didn’t seem she was in the mood for escalating things right at that moment.

“Alright, good. That was all I wanted to tell you, it’s been nice meeting you,” she nodded and then turned to Ana. The taller fairy was a little flustered, not having quite expected the reaction from her teammates. “I need to borrow you for a moment.”

One of the fairies let out a particularly suggestive “OooooOoooh~” but I didn’t catch which one of them it was. Kagerou rolled her eyes.

“What can I help you with, Miss Kagerou?” Ana was eager to be helpful, despite the lingering smattering of color that still lingered on her cheeks.

“I wanted to meet the other squad leaders and get a feel for the staff,” Kagerou said.

“Hmmm, that might be difficult to do right now,” she sounded genuinely remorseful.

“Why’s that?”

“They’re not all here right now, I don’t think,” she looked around the large room to the other groups of fairies that were chatting and enjoying their down time. “They might be anywhere, it’s hard to say.”

“I’ve got a solution to this,” I offered an idea, “call a meeting tomorrow with the rest of them. You’re the boss, you can do whatever.”

“That’s not too bad,” Kagerou agreed. Ana brightened with those words, having taken them to mean that she hadn’t let her new boss down. Kagerou didn’t seem to pick up on that and instead just repeated my suggestion to her.

“I’ll get word around,” Ana nodded, “if you’ll allow me, I’ll get to it right away. No idea how long it’ll take me to find them all!”

“Sure-” Kagerou started but found that the fairy maid was overly zealous. She was halfway towards the door before Kagerou could get another word in. Even when they were trying to be helpful a fairy still acted like a fairy, it seemed.

“I think I’ve had my fill of fairies for now, how about you?” I asked her.

“Yeah, same. I could do with a little fresh air.”

I looked at my reference map. Though she hadn’t said it outright, I imagined that the strong smell coming from the kitchens was putting her off. Understandable when you’ve got a sensitive nose. So I decided to suggest somewhere quiet where she could really take in that fresh air. I could also satisfy my curiosity regarding some of the stranger things I had noticed on the map.

[] A jaunt through the rear gardens ought to do the trick. An unlabeled building somewhere there was a curious omission.
[] Climb to the roof and stargaze awhile. The fact that the clock tower had an incomplete floor plan was odd.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/07(Wed)13:00

Don't you guys ever learn your lesson about needless tribalism? Poor Rumia (>>/others/50637) and poor Flan (>>/others/50773) deserve better than their fanbase.
>> No. 63768
[X] A jaunt through the rear gardens ought to do the trick. An unlabeled building somewhere there was a curious omission.
>> No. 63769
[x] Climb to the roof and stargaze awhile. The fact that the clock tower had an incomplete floor plan was odd.

She's a werewolf, they stargaze. Get a bird's eye view of the whole place while you're at it.

>bringing up ToY
So you're telling me there's a chance?

>> No. 63770
[x] A jaunt through the rear gardens ought to do the trick. An unlabeled building somewhere there was a curious omission.

Meiling? Meiling? Meiling.
>> No. 63772
[x] Climb to the roof and stargaze awhile. The fact that the clock tower had an incomplete floor plan was odd.
It's night?
>> No. 63773
[x] Climb to the roof and stargaze awhile. The fact that the clock tower had an incomplete floor plan was odd.
>> No. 63774
[X] Climb to the roof and stargaze awhile. The fact that the clock tower had an incomplete floor plan was odd.

This should work, considering she's a werewolf. Also, the garden also has strong odors so it might not be the best idea if he wants to give her nose a rest.

Finally, getting more information about that part of the mansion might be useful and will surely be interesting
>> No. 63776
[X] Forget the rest and play with Ana-chan.

[x] A jaunt through the rear gardens ought to do the trick. An unlabeled building somewhere there was a curious omission.


I'd be ok with that as long as it was reset to before we ____ed ______.
>> No. 63777
Sure is, mentioned 2-3 times in previous updates. Made me look, too. I swear half of the time I feel like I'm forgetting to add stuff because I have to write quickly.

As always, anything I write depends on having an audience that's active in the voting process. I enjoy writing and I don't easily get bored of it. That said, good luck getting (other?) people to read and vote when (probably) literal autism kept people from breaking a tie in my last story even though the alternative was me dropping it. Even here and now, and I'm not complaining in the least about the story or the turnout thus far, you'd be surprised at how many people read stories without voting for whatever reason. Maybe you'll manage to inspire a strong showing and usher in a revival of everything. In the meanwhile, I'll still be writing what I currently can.
>> No. 63778
File 154160220699.jpg - (61.99KB , 571x620 , awoooooo.jpg ) [iqdb]
Getting access to the roof proved to be incredibly simple. Though there was a proper stairwell on one far end, it was easier to find a hatch on the upper floors that had an old ladder still attached to it. Rusty marks and a discarded chain nearby were indicators that it was supposed to be shut tight; I figured that the fairies had come up to do maintenance and simply forgot to put the padlock back. The old ladder groaned as Kagerou made her way up above but it held.

A cool breeze greeted us as she popped her head out through the hatch. She inhaled deeply, filling her lungs with fresh nocturnal air. Seeing how it flapped about, she took off her headdress and discarded it casually back below. Without anything to stop the air current, her eyes flopped back momentarily. Hearing the metal below her groan again, they perked up with determination as she climbed fully up onto the roof.

The space above wasn’t as large as the interior of the mansion might have made it seem. The central roof area was akin to a courtyard—it was a large open area with tile and railings along the edges. It was basically featureless save for a pair of severely weathered statues that once upon a time depicted a pair of angelic figures, winged and smiling. Their lush wings were retracted and obscured by the simple, long-flowing robes. Most of their facial features were worn down and it was hard to tell whether they were originally meant to be real people or idealized figures. It could have just as easily been a pair of kitschy garden decorations or something found by a chapel.

Kagerou yawned and stretched out her arms, rotating her shoulders and neck and enjoying the feeling of subsequently relaxing her muscles. She stared at the still-large moon above intently, evidently enjoying the soft moonlight that gave the roof an almost otherworldly feeling. The wind whispered softly every now and then but it was otherwise quiet up above. Off in the distance, beyond the sloped roofs elsewhere and the nearby clock tower, everything seemed to be completely at peace; Gensokyo was uneventful as could be.

“Please don’t start howling at it,” I broke the spell of silence after a few moments.

“I won’t,” she reacted passively to my words, “it’s not even full, so no point.”

“What’s the deal with wolves and the moon, anyhow?”

“You’ll see if we’re together next full moon,” she answered cryptically, a broad smile on her face. With a shake of her head, she sighed wistfully and her ears slunk down. “Do you like looking up at the night sky, Al?”

“About as much as anybody, I guess,” I said.

“In the long nights, especially in the winter, there’s not much else to do but look up. Especially if you want to keep out of trouble,” the same enigmatic smile as before appeared on her lips, “I’ve spent a lot of time in awe of the heavens and I think I know as much as anyone can about their patterns without having studied a book.”

“Hm, that’s pretty cool, I can’t say I’ve spent that much time looking up there. Not that common in the cities. Not just because of the light pollution but because it’s hard to find the time.”

“You need to make time for the things that you enjoy,” Kagerou said, “even if it means you first have to do all the things you don’t want to do to get them out of the way.”

“Yeah, I agree. That’s probably why I’m here in the first place.”

“Oh? What do you mean?” she asked.

“Ah, it’s nothing,” I said, changing the subject, “still, all in all, I think we’ve had a good first day, right? Hopefully things will keep on going smoothly.”

“We’ll see,” she said unenthusiastically and changed the subject again, to something closer than it was, “you don’t really like talking about yourself that much, do you?”

“Hm? Want me to tell you more about where I’m from or something?” I asked, feigning ignorance.

“No, you’d probably tell me that,” she asserted correctly, “I just meant that you’re not really good about talking about what you’re really thinking and what you’re feeling. Every time I think you’re going to say something a little more intimate, you change the subject.”


“It’s okay. I think I’m about the same,” Kagerou shook her head and walked up towards the edge of the roof. The gardens were below and surrounded most of the grounds. Only a few odd detached structures and clearings otherwise broke up the plant and statue-filled landscape. She closed her eyes and took another deep breath, exhaling slowly. She laughed softly to herself and then said, “feel free to go at your pace, just do me the same kindness.”

“Fine by me,” I chuckled, appreciating that I may have not given her enough credit before.

Kagerou continued to gaze silently out by the roof’s edge for some time, leaning her body on the stone railings. Although she did gaze up at both stars and moon from time to time, she spent long moments looking at the surrounding expanse and the occasional distant points of light. There was a smattering of woods and gentle hills immediately near the mansion on three sides and on the other was the large lake that stretched out for some distance. We were on the far end from the lake, looking at the main entrance and the lonely road beyond that led to several junctions and, eventually, the human village and other locations. The soft glow of light could just be discerned off in the distance, indicating the location of the settlement.

For a moment she looked off into one direction and thought of home—it was a thought so unguarded that I couldn’t help but hear it. The dark patch of land looked unremarkable at our distance. I wondered how she lived and what she would normally be doing instead of playing maid at a spoiled vampire’s estate. I supposed that I had enough of an inkling of how her life normally was, given her reactions to fancy bedsheets and indoor plumbing.

“You wanted to do something up here as well, right?” she asked at last.

“How did you know?” I was genuinely curious.

“Call it a hunch,” she shrugged and brushed away an errant strand of hair that the wind had blown onto her face.

“I wanted to see what it was like up here. I’ve seen maps but… it’s not the same as actually going somewhere.”


“And well, if it’s alright, I wanted to check out the clock tower,” I sad. There wasn’t any concrete reason for me wanting to go there other than the map omitted some parts of some rooms. Not that that meant there would be anything interesting in there, just that more likely the old data didn’t preserve itself as well as it should.

“Sure, alright,” she let go of the railings and started towards the clock tower.

The old tower had seen better days. It was several stories tall and cropped up from the rest of the mansion like a chubby spire. Like much of the exterior, it was made from ruddy-brown materials and only the large face was made from something silvery-white. This face had large metal roman numerals attached to mark the time as a large minute and hour hand rotated around them. Both face and metal parts were slightly dirty and weathered—perhaps outright stained by a few things here and there. It must have been a bitch to clean. That, combined with the fact that it’s not noticeable from a distance, is probably why it wasn’t in as good of a condition as the rest of the mansion.

“Oh, there’s something over here,” Kagerou’s eyes caught the glint of something by the rear door that presumably allowed access into the tower. She bent over to pick it up and frowned.

“A dagger. And a bloody one at that.”

“It feels a little dusty, probably been here for a while,” she said, holding up the blade to the moon to see it better. There were large splotches of dried blood all along the blade. The hilt looked immaculate and so it looked like whoever had last used it had performed masterful stabs that didn’t linger too long in the body. Kagerou gripped it with her hand, feeling the weight of the blade, “it’s really light,” she said. And it wasn’t too long either—just about a hand-and-a-half or two long—meaning that was a quick and easy to use blade.

“I don’t see any blood stains on the floor, it might not have been used here,” I said.

“There’s always another possibility,” she furrowed her brow as she performed a quick stabbing motion to try out the knife.

A bright light in the sky interrupted our conversation. “A shooting star?” I asked as Kagerou craned her neck up to see where it came from.

“No, much closer than that!” she tensed up, both ears and hairs on the back of her neck edging up. The light intensified for a moment before it came hurtling down towards the roof. I thought it would crash but instead it slowed down at the nick of time and gently deposited itself on the surface. A figure was left standing in the dark, something in their hand, but otherwise impossible to see more of in the distance.

A klaxon sounded. It drowned out my thoughts. “It’s a goddamn intruder!” I yelled, upset by how sudden and intense the noise was.

“Eh? How can you tell?”

“Can’t you hear that bloody wailing?! It’s the alarm!”

“I can’t hear anything,” she said quietly, almost drowned out entirely by the continued blaring.

“Must be a special fucking feature then!” I yelled, almost yelping out in discomfort. “One of those stupid fairies must have seen the light and sounded the alarm, turning my life into a complete shit show.”

“Calm down, there has a to be a way of turning it off,” she said, edging closer towards the new arrival. The figure had stopped to look up at the moon but had begun to walk deliberately, almost sneakily towards the proper stairway.

“…” I wished I were dead. It was like a stadium of elephants trumpeting tinny music directly at me, with horrible whooping thrown in there for good measure. I couldn’t think properly. Much less deal with an actual intruder. “It’s your job to deal with these people, go beat their ass and maybe this thing will finally shut up!”

“...I don’t really think fighting right off the bat is such a good idea, Al.”

“For the love of-! Just get to it, woman! I’ll start just screaming like a lunatic if you don’t; I feel like I’m halfway there already. Come on you damn werewolf, time for fangs and nails. Stab that asshole if you have to, just make it stop!”

“Fine already! I’ll take care of the intruder, so shut the hell up!” she lost her cool. Maybe I had been just a little too loud and a little too annoying. One thing was for certain, I wasn’t the only one to be taken aback by her outburst: the intruder stopped short of the stairs and turned around, noticing that someone had been stalking them.”

“Oh thank you sweet goddess,” I sighed with relief.

“Eh, what?” Kagerou was confused caught between noticing that the intruder had noticed her and the fact that I was no longer yelling like a drunken sailor.

“The alarm stopped just then, everything back to normal,” I explained. If I could smile, I’d be beaming something brighter than the moon. “Looks like we lost the element of surprise, though.”

“Yeah, we sure did,” she said, gripping the dagger tightly. The may intruder have seen a glimmer of steel flash in the dark as they took a few steps back. A few strands of light appeared around them, something magical and that was sure to mean that a fight was inevitable. The only question that remained was whether to go in hard and try to decide it right away or if to take it slow and look for an eventual opening.

[] Fortune favors the bold.
[] Patience is the watchword.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/08(Thu)12:40

>> No. 63779
[x] Patience is the watchword.

No point in jumping in blindly when the element of surprise is lost. Play it smart and look for an opening.

Fair enough. Although, if you are considering dropping a story because of lack of votes, why not just ask for a certain amount of votes for an update? If people are reading without voting like you are saying, then it puts a word out to them.

Also, I'd like to believe we actually have a lot more readers than it looks, this place could use more activity.
>> No. 63780
[x] Patience is the watchword.
>> No. 63781
I did multiple times :^)
Also tried reminding people on IRC, other chats, keeping a steady schedule, doing long updates, doing short updates, more frequently etc. Over months and years I did just about everything. But it's not something I can do by myself like, for example, I don't think I've ever seen any of my stories recommended or talked about in the various other threads and that might have helped. Now, I know that I suck but I've also been told by people in IRC they enjoy the stories so I think that's a disconnect caused by complacency. If you enjoy reading something, then vote and tell others to do so as well. As the site's administrator I know for a fact that there's loads of people who read threads without voting or saying something. Getting them would help, yeah, but mostly I think you just have to light a fire under your asses. I'll still be here, still as glad to write 2hu fanfiction with people as always.

But yeah, if you want to talk about such things, it's probably to take it to another thread or talk to me on IRC or whatever. Let's keep things focused on this story here.
>> No. 63782
[x] Patience is the watchword.
>> No. 63783
[x] Fortune favors the bold.

Tidepissing. Surprise is lost but there's still speed and violence of action left to us.
>> No. 63784
So he is from the current outside world, came here by choice, but never actually set foot in this place. Interesting.

[X] Fortune favors the bold

While Marisa, if it is her, is good at improvisation, her magic is far superior than Kagerou's.

We gotta play to a werewolf strength which means hitting fast and hard and hoping you won't have to hit again.
>> No. 63785
[x] Fortune favors the bold.

If it's Marisa, then patience won't mean shit when she lets loose with mexibeams.
>> No. 63786
[x] Fortune favors the bold.
>> No. 63787
[X] Fortune favors the bold.

Speed seduction attack
>> No. 63788
[x] Fortune favors the bold.

Do the "awoo" lunge
>> No. 63791
There were a few good meters between us and the intruder. A sprint could close the distance in an eye blink but it couldn’t guarantee that the intruder wouldn’t react in the meantime. I could feel Kagerou getting worked up, her senses sharpening and focusing solely on the person in front of her. My own perspective on the world changed; outside of the very vivid image of the intruder holding something almost as long as their height, the courtyard lost some of its color.

“Don’t hold back,” I told her, feeling that she might not have listened to me if I had said anything else, “mix it up, take risks if necessary.”

She said nothing, evidently trying to work out a quick plan of action. Though I didn’t really have a body I could feel as such, I could still feel something akin to a rush of adrenaline. I could feel the knife in her hand like I was holding it in my own. Its weight, how hard she was holding it, how she kept her nails from getting in the way of her nimble fingers—I internalized it all. The moment stretched itself out in time and it felt like an eternity before Kagerou made her move.

The moon watched silently as she rushed towards the intruder. The youkai’s intensity was difficult to describe. The amount of energy that she put into every quick step was outright inhuman. I was never an athlete of any kind but I could appreciate just how abnormal it was to be able to accelerate so quickly. Her thoughts seemed singular, focused and utterly alien. And yet, there was an eerie calm that permeated her actions; it was something that confused me to no end. Thankfully, my understanding didn’t really matter.

As Kagerou launched into action, the intruder had some time to react. They dropped whatever it was they held on their hand and took a step back. Their hands moved quickly in a well-practiced fashion. Kagerou focused intently on tracking both their eyes and hands, always aware of what they were looking at and what they were doing. There was something yellow, something gold, something… brown. All three. A flash. Another. Didn’t matter. Danger was coming. We all understood that instinctively.

The werewolf didn’t bother to dodge. On her last bound, when the intruder was barely two or three body lengths away, she did something unexpected. She threw the knife at the intruder. It was a clumsy throw—done with strength more than finesse—and the dagger twisted through the air erratically, arcing away from the intruder. At the distance between us, it would be close but not close enough.

The intruder dodged the knife easily enough by pivoting to the side. Light began to shoot out from their hands, intense as it was colorful. Red, indigo, gold, green. There wasn’t enough time to processes what was what, when. Or how. The intruder was quick on their feet, pivoting back into a ready stance. They stood ready to dodge any more incoming knives.

That, of course, wasn’t something Kagerou could do even if she wanted to. She took a blow from the bullet-like projections without flinching; I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. How did she not feel the same thing? Or react in the same way? I tried to gasp, not understanding what was going on and finding that things were happening to fast for me to process rationally. In what could have only been fractions of a second, Kagerou had closed the gap. More than that, she had made contact with the intruder.

For a moment, all was still.

The intruder, a young girl who wore an expression of utter confusion, lay on her back, stunned. She had expected another knife, a flashy attack or whatever else that was quick and small. She had not considered in the possibility of being tackled by a werewolf. The knife throw from earlier had thrown her off and given Kagerou a chance to be decisive. The brawl was over almost as soon as it started.

“Hey, let go of me!” she complained, short of breath. With her arms pinned, it didn’t seem like she could hurl any more bullets at us.

“Intruder subdued,” Kagerou said with a grin that could only be described as smugness incarnate. In the brief frenzy of action she had worked herself up to the extent that the tiniest beads of began to appear on her brow. Her breathing was heavy, not so much from the exertion but from the electrifying current that still possessed her body.

“You cheated! I demand a do-over,” the intruder squirmed, thrashing about and offering sharp kicks of resistance in retaliation. Kagerou quickly put an end to that, pinning down her lower body with her knees. She smacked her lips, looking at the short intruder as if gazing at a rabbit caught in a trap. “Hey, don’t you dare think of doing anything weird to me! I won’t hold back if you do!” the intruder protested.

“Eating up humans isn’t part of your job description,” I said, thinking of a certain classic fairytale.

“I know it isn’t. I’m just having a little fun,” Kagerou laughed, “you wouldn’t know it but she’s been annoying to me in the past.”

“What? I’ve never acted annoyingly towards anyone in my life!” the girl yelled unconvincingly. “Don’t make me beat you up again, you crazy wolf.”

“As much as I’d love a little more payback, I think we can just talk this out like civilized people,” Kagerou replied, “that is if you promise to behave.”

“I’m always well-behaved!” the girl protested.

“Promise not to run away or to try and fight me and I’ll let go,” Kagerou said softly. She loosened up her grip on the girl’s thin arms as a gesture of good will.

“As if I could trust a cheater!”

“Then do it because you’re so well-behaved,” Kagerou mocked her, clearly not over her almost-frenzied rush.

“…ya drive a hard bargain,” the girl sighed, “fine. I promise. For now.”

“Good,” Kagerou let go of her and got up. She dusted herself off right away, noticing that she had scuffed up parts of her outfit.

“It’ll come out in the wash,” I told her.

The other girl, for her part, did much the same. She stood up and reached for a long, point and wide-brimmed hat that had been knocked off when she had been tacked. It was black with a white bow that matched the rest of her outfit: alternating black and white between skirt, blouse, vest and frilly apron. For all intents and purposes, she was dressed like a cosplayer’s conception of a young witch. The long object she had held earlier turned out to be a broom, adding to the look.

Before putting her hat back on, she quickly combed her hair with her fingers. Not that it did her much good. Her blonde hair looked like it had a hard time keeping itself in place. Save for a single braid that was held at the end with a small ribbon, every shoulder-length strand was at least a little bit messy.

“I thought you were going to shoot at me, they usually shoot at me here,” the girl mumbled, dusting off her hat and patting down her rear free of dust.

“I’m surprised the fairies even try that anymore,” Kagerou said, as if questioning how efficient they’d be at dealing with an intruder.

“Only when the other maid tells them to. Easy-peasy to dodge, same as her knives. Heck, I guess things can’t always be quite so easy, right?”

“I guess not.”

“Say,” the girl said, any hostile intent she may have had fading into an easy-going smile, “where’s Sakuya anyhow?”

“Um...” Kagerou paused, realizing that she didn’t quite know herself, “Al?”

“Al?” the girl echoed, not understanding that I was there.

“Oh, I thought you knew,” I told Kagerou, “she’s away on maternity leave.”

“Really?” Kagerou seemed to think back, if I had to guess to their last meeting. She wrinkled her nose and seemed to have a followup question. Maybe out of respect for Sakuya’s privacy, she didn’t ask.

“Really what?” the girl looked at her with concern, “did ya hit your head or something?”

“Ah, no, it’s nothing,” Kagerou talked to the girl direction, “Sakuya is away on maternity leave. I’m taking over for her while she’s gone.”

“Ah, no kiddin’?” the girl crossed her arms, “that’s big news, can’t believe she didn’t tell me. I should come by more often so I’m not outta the loop.”

“So, why are you here?” Kagerou cut to what was actually important.

“I was invited,” the girl smiled like it would be an immediately credible explanation.

“Guests don’t normally fly onto the roof and try to sneak in,” Kagerou said, understandably skeptical. The fairy staff may not have been an elite bunch of servants but even they would have likely been trained to announce guests properly. Then again, if she had shown up out of the blue then maybe the gate guard would have stopped her instead. It’s odd that Kagerou had to do it.

“And normally I’m not tackled by a wolf girl maid,” the girl laughed, “life is full of surprises, isn’t it?”

Kagerou growled, “how rude. Last time you were like this as well, didn’t even bother to learn my name.”

“I meet a lot of youkai all the time,” the girl shrugged, “but I guess you’re right. I know some people who would chew me out for not introducing myself properly and crap. I'm Marisa, hiya,” she said with a wink.

“...I wasn’t asking you to introduce yourself,” Kagerou sighed, “all the same, I’m Kagerou.”

“’The Wild Wolf of the Scarlet Mansion’!” Marisa laughed at the wholly made-up title, “ally to vampires and cunning enemy of the beautiful ordinary magician!”

“Please, don’t go around calling people such weird things,” Kagerou shook her head, “or calling yourself beautiful.”

“Aw, lighten up!” Marisa beamed, “you’ve changed since the last time I saw you. I feel a weird power inside of you now. It’s kinda interesting, my heart was racing during our fight.”

“Um, thank you?” Kagerou seemed to be strangely embarrassed by Marisa’s comment. She coughed into her hand and changed the subject, “so were you really invited here. The intruder alarm was set off.”

“You guys have one of those?” her eyes widened, weirdly impressed by that fact. I could almost see the racing, wildly imaginative thoughts that were occurring to her. No doubt something ludicrous like a contraption involving fairies, a brass bell and some duct tape.

“Kinda, but you still haven’t answered my question.”

“Yeah, I really was. I’m supposed to go to meet Patche for tea. We had a weird conversation the other day at my place, so maybe she wants to talk more.”

“You haven’t met her yet,” I explained quickly, “probably can be found in the library. Patchouli is Remilia’s longtime friend.”

“Well then, you won’t mind me keeping you company while we look for her then, right?” Kagerou proposed.

“Guess not,” Marisa shrugged, “sometimes those fairies think they can try to play pranks on me, they probably won’t try it if you’re with me.”

“So it’s settled.”

As Kagerou said that, the clock’s hour hand reached the number eleven. A few chimes rang out but not as loudly as the size of the clock had made me expect. The sounds was carried far, more due to the stillness of the night, but it was still quiet enough to not hear if you were in one of the windowless rooms deep within the mansion.

“Hey, by the way,” Marisa said, picking up her broom, “that’s a pretty cute uniform you have. It suits you.”

“...thanks,” it didn’t seem like Kagerou knew how to take a compliment properly since she quickly turned away to lead her towards the stairs.

It was strange. At some point during the encounter I became aware that I could see more than I normally could. It wasn’t until Marisa lagged behind a little that I realized that I could… kind of see what she was seeing. It wasn’t quite like with Kagerou that I could feel her senses directly; the input was too muddled and took some filtering to get used to. All the same, it felt like the range? Perhaps details? Something about my perception was enhanced. It was difficult to judge independently as I had no eyes of my own to compare as a baseline. Memories of senses were frustratingly difficult to compare with the present.

[] Ask Kagerou to keep on chatting with Marisa and try to find out more why Patchouli supposedly wants to see her.
[] Try to shut out Kagerou and focus wholly on Marisa and her senses to see what happens.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/09(Fri)13:00

>> No. 63792
[X] Try to shut out Kagerou and focus wholly on Marisa and her senses to see what happens.

This could be a power unique to Al. It's better to master it so we can be more than a battle commentator.

Also, Sakuya is the last person I'd expect to be on maternity leave with her devotion to Remilia and all that lol. Or it could be Al bullshitting.
>> No. 63793
[x] Try to shut out Kagerou and focus wholly on Marisa and her senses to see what happens.
Surely she can manage without us for a while.
>> No. 63794
[x] Try to shut out Kagerou and focus wholly on Marisa and her senses to see what happens.
>> No. 63795
>>Also, Sakuya is the last person I'd expect to be on maternity leave with her devotion to Remilia and all that lol.
Who do you think is the father?

[x] Try to shut out Kagerou and focus wholly on Marisa and her senses to see what happens.
>> No. 63796
[X] Ask Kagerou to keep on chatting with Marisa and try to find out more why Patchouli supposedly wants to see her.

gotta start the maid family line somewhere
>> No. 63797
[x] Try to shut out Kagerou and focus wholly on Marisa and her senses to see what happens.
>> No. 63798
>Patchouli's magic
>Remilia fated her to make a maid family line like >>63796 said
>Could be Rinnosuke
>Yukari shenanigans
>All of the above
Take your pick. It's (probably) not Al since he hasn't been to the mansion in a long time.
>> No. 63799
[x] Try to shut out Kagerou and focus wholly on Marisa and her senses to see what happens.
The first one is something shell probably do anyway, but I believe that this experiment should let us find out if she's lying or not. We won't get much chance to do this without anyone other than a fairy, and matching species might be a factor.

That said, maternity leave? So I guess I was both right and wrong with my forced vacation theory.
>> No. 63800
[x] Ask Kagerou to keep on chatting with Marisa and try to find out more why Patchouli supposedly wants to see her.

Keep gabbing.

Templates like that, etc.
>> No. 63801
File 15417767647.png - (1.23MB , 1000x1600 , straw.png ) [iqdb]
The way to the library was anything but direct. It was located on the lower floors, sunken on the eastern side of the mansion. Finding the right staircase and the right corridor to follow could be challenging to someone not familiar with the surprisingly large interior layout.

The stairs leading from the roof weren’t in the best of conditions and the old wooden steps creaked as any weight shifted around on them. While there was very little in the way of dust and dirt, it felt like the cleaning wasn’t as thorough there as in the rest of the building. Only a few of the many lamps that lined the walls were even lit—another curiosity in a place where the illumination tended not to come from conventional sources like candles and electricity. Still, it was only a short way down to the first door and the first corridor that they had to take. A little penumbra wouldn’t kill them.

I gave Kagerou perfunctory instructs on the best path downwards. Service stairs and storage rooms may not have been the most glamorous part of the mansion but they offered a more direct route to the library. At any rate, it was more for me than for her. I didn’t feel like talking much and, if they got lost, I reckoned that Marisa could find her way down. A slight inconvenience and loss of face as the head maid was very survivable.

I was very interested in Marisa. Some of that, if I had to be honest, had to do with a lifelong fascination for magic and all the impossible fantasy that was pervasive in the collective imagination of people like me. Who didn’t want to be able to cast a fireball, have a cute (and often sassy) familiar and fly through the skies? Being close to someone like her, someone real, was exciting beyond words. I cursed the fact that the materials I had access to were limited in scope. Sure, there were references to the types of denizens in Gensokyo but very little about specific individuals.

It was just as well that I didn’t currently have a body. Looking at her (as it were) and all she represented would have made my heart pound like a jackhammer and my face as beet red as a teenager’s fantasizing about the person they liked asking them out. I tried to calm myself. I could feel myself getting stupidly worked up. If I didn’t concentrate, I’d miss my chance. It took another minute or two to start forcing myself to think of her of less of a symbol and more of an opportunity.

When you have a body, it’s hard to imagine reality through any other way other than what your senses perceive it. Even putting aside the massive and often undervalued bias that’s found in our psyche, things like what “blue” looks like and what “savory” feels like on our tongues feels so true, so universal that we think that it’s the same for everyone. The subjectivity of existence was made clear to me ages ago but the experience with Kagerou only reinforced my suspicions. Seeing things through her eyes, feeling the smells and sensations of touch were simultaneously comfortingly familiar but also disorienting at times. I couldn’t call on clear memories of my previous senses but I knew that they had to be different.

“Hey, so, how long have you been doing this?” Marisa asked, distracting me momentarily. I tried to shut that out. To shut Kagerou out as well. They talked every now and then but I wasn’t really interested in what they had to say for the moment. If I got caught up in the flow then I’d miss my chance to find out what was happening. Maybe even why it was happening.

My mind had adjusted surprisingly quickly to the werewolf’s reality. The longer Marisa was around, the longer I began to feel that that wasn’t all there was to the world. Yes, I could feel beyond what Kagerou felt. But it wasn’t quite the same. There were small incongruities such as variable amount of shadow and sharpness to objects. At times things took on a very subtle but different tint to them, much like with an old monitor that was long-since dying flickered every now and again, altering the colors onscreen. Other senses had those irregularities as well; the soft sound of footsteps on carpet seemed to get pitch-shifted on occasion.

It was by focusing on those differences that I was able to begin to separate the overlap. It wasn’t easy and the occasional word exchanged by them made it altogether more challenging. I felt anchored to Kagerou and she was the default, the correct, way of experiencing the world. It didn’t help that Marisa’s senses seemed to be inferior in every regard—she saw less, particularly in dim lighting, heard less frequencies and outright couldn’t smell things like the wild flowers in the detergent used to clean the various carpets.

And yet, if I got close to something like a breakthrough it was because I realized that both emphasized different things. Whereas Kagerou was trying hard to remember which path to take, scrutinizing doors and junctions, Marisa turned her attention to the various objects and decorations they passed by. The lingering gaze on a particularly shiny bust of Remilia, made from polished marble helped me narrow down her perspective.

The whole ordeal was taxing in a strange way. I didn’t really feel fatigued like I would have in my own body but my thoughts became unfocused and the actual connections I had started to make, diffuse. I wanted to keep on trying, keep on seeing how far I wanted to go. There was something I was just beginning to notice about Marisa, something exciting that felt like finding a lighthouse in stormy waters. I wasn’t sure what it was but it felt beautiful and pure. If I could reach it, or understand it, I felt like maybe I could start to learn to be a magician as well.

“I’m so full of it,” I complained to myself.

“Hm? Did you say something?” Marisa asked. They were near the library, just a short walk away from a side entrance.

“No,” Kagerou replied.

“Must have been my imagination then,” Marisa shrugged.

“Been a long walk, huh?” I said, “we’re almost there.”

“Mmhm,” Kagerou acknowledged quietly. If Marisa had heard me, even for a moment, it was clear that that it was no longer the case. I decided to stay quiet for a while because I was still incredibly tired. Not thinking for a while would be… really pleasant.

Maybe a nap wouldn’t be so bad?

[] Patchouli wasn’t as cool and aloof as she seemed. She was actually sensitive and caring and always made the most of those intimate moments.
[] Though she catered to the vampires’ whims a little too much, Sakuya was still a wonder to behold. Especially when she allowed herself to relax.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/10(Sat)13:00

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