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File15431683027.jpg- (154.17KB, 781x718, waggy but not soggy.jpg) [iqdb]
63969No. 63969
Kagerou crouched near the mermaid, trying to look as non-threatening as possible. Not exactly an easy feat when your nails are as sharp as claws. She brushed away the hair from her face and kept at a quieter, flatter tone in order not to upset the mermaid any further. “There’s no reason we can’t be nice to each other, right?” she started clumsily, not quite getting my advice. I held my tongue, as it were, for a while longer.

“I am nice to everyone,” the blue-haired girl mumbled and avoided eye contact. A more courageous person might have expressed their offense more starkly or, at least, been able to meet Kagerou’s gaze. But she was intimidated and unsure of what to say or do. In other words, she was unlikely to talk much and definitely wouldn’t share her secret.

“Part of being nice is trusting that the other person will also be nice,” the werewolf said, not really making a very logical case. She lacked the charisma and magnetism to get away with improvisation. Still, the way she said it was a marked improvement from earlier. She actually sounded empathetic, if not actually respectful of the mermaid’s mental state. “I’m not really good at making friends,” she confessed, making a little joke at her own expense, “and I think you just saw why. That wasn’t very endearing, was it?”

“It was scary,” the mermaid blurted out. Having said the first thought that crossed her mind, she seemed to get embarrassed by the admission and covered her mouth with her hands. She mumbled a quick apology, “sorry, that was rude of me.”

“No, no, it’s fine,” Kagerou chuckled and was as unsubtle as could be, “honesty is also part of trust. And friendship.”

“Yes, we’re true friends because I freely tell you what I think all the time, wolfy” I said, because… well, I couldn’t really help myself. I knew she couldn’t say anything either or betray her emotions towards me—the mermaid would pick up on something that obvious. “Get to the point,” I told her, “you can keep lying about being an enlightened individual in front of the mirror later.”

I just didn’t want her to trip all over her own words. Without showing that she was serious, I didn’t think that the mermaid would listen to her.

It likely took her a lot of effort not to think something very rude at me. Kagerou continued to sell her pitch, “I’d like to be your friend and have something to give you as proof of that.”

“Really?” she asked, watching Kagerou’s hands carefully. Any skepticism she may have held dissipated as soon as she saw the glimmer of the dark metallic object. “Oh, what’s that?”

“It was something given to me as a sign of friendship,” Kagerou simplified, “and now I want to give it to you for the same reason.”

“I think Remilia would disagree that you’re her friend,” I said, once again being unable to help myself. Mistress and servant, sure. Badminton partners, also okay. Superior vampire and lowly, uncouth werewolf? Probably more along the lines of what she really thought. If Sakuya were around, I somehow doubted that she would tolerate someone like Kagerou so easily.

“It’s pretty cute,” the mermaid said, accepting the brooch without hesitation. She giggled, “look, it’s even got two really shiny red eyes. They’re little stones; I like the way they catch the light.”

“Yes, it is nice,” Kagerou nodded and smiled, “you can pin it to your clothes and wear it whenever you feel like it.”

“Thank you,” she said, looking more at ease. “But, um,” she quickly looked troubled again, “I don’t really have anything I can give you in return.”

“Oh, you don’t have to, it’s fine.”

Thankfully she didn’t lay it on too thick, saying something stupid like “that’s what friends are for”. That said, I felt like there was a good chance that the mermaid, with her puppy dog-like disposition, would have bit hook, line and sinker.

The mermaid reached around to a knocked over pile of flat stones. “Maybe you’d like one of these?” she asked expectently, holding out an otherwise unremarkable rock.

“It’s fine, really,” Kagerou rejected the offer diplomatically. “I’d just like to keep talking to my new friend, if that’s alright.”

“Oh, I’d be happy to,” the mermaid replied, playing with the curled ends of her hair.

Kagerou stood up, dusted off one end of the nearby bench and sat down. The mermaid wagged herself closer, only keeping the end of her tail partially submerged in water. “I’m working as the chief maid at the mansion,” Kagerou explained.

“That sounds like a lot of responsibility!” the mermaid interrupted with happy surprise, looking genuinely impressed. She supported her head on her hands and arms, having leaned forward on the rocky floor.

“It is a lot of work, yes,” the werewolf nodded, “and I have a lot of different duties.”

“So that’s why you’re wearing that cute uniform,” she said, “I almost didn’t recognize you!”

“It was dark last time as well,” Kagerou sighed, troubled by the memory, “and that reminds me—I didn’t really get your name after the… incident.”

“Wa~ka~sa~gi~hi~me” she enunciated every syllable with a lilt, not minding at all that they hadn’t introduced themselves yet.

“Ah, that’s right,” Kagerou frowned, “I’m sorry that I forgot it. You told me last time as well.”

“It’s fine!” Wakasagihime was quick to forgive, “I heard from the others that you felt really bad about everything. It’s normal to want to forgive a bad experience like that.”

“Others? Oh, yes,” the werewolf seemed to recall something, “I didn’t go to many meetings, but I did hear of a mermaid joining the group at some point.”

“I only went once myself,” the bubbly fish woman explained, “I don’t really like leaving the lake for too long. My skin gets all dry if I’m away from water.”

“Hm, I don’t like leaving my home much either,” Kagerou confessed, “though it’s for… other reasons. I’m Kagerou, by the way. Sorry for not introducing myself earlier.”

“I know your name, silly,” she shook her head happily from side to side, her fins wagging, “you told me last time as well.”

“I guess my memory isn’t very good, right?” Kagerou laughed at herself.

“It’s alright. I can do the remembering for the both of us, if you like. I don’t really talk to people that much so I try to remember as much about them as possible.”

“That’s fine with me,” Kagerou said, “but as I was saying… I’m working at the mansion. I just started, actually. And it’s part of my job to see that everything is normal. And, um, well, I was wondering what you were doing here.”

“Oh, you’re new?! That explains it!” Wakasagihime exclaimed like she had had a massive revelation. “Of course you’d be like that! You didn’t know I’d be here. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.”

“No, I shouldn’t have grabbed you in the first place and-”

“No, no no,” the mermaid sat up and waved her hand, “I thought you were scary and mean… and possibly hungry... but you were just worried about doing your job right. I understand!”

By this point any and all tension that may have been haunting their interaction had been thoroughly exorcised. The mermaid, once shy and reticent, wore her happy heart on her sleeve with a bright smile that, I had to admit, felt infectuous. It was difficult not to look at her earnest gaze and easygoing demeanor and not feel like all was right with the world. I wouldn’t call Kagerou listless by any means but, compared to Wakasagihime, she seemed about as lively as one of the statues in the garden.

“Still-”

Kagerou couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Wakasagihime continued, unprompted, “the previous maid lady once found me by the edge of the lake. She said she was going to make me into a good meal for her mistress and had a cold look in her eyes. I was scared to death! Luckily, the owner of the mansion isn’t as bad. She came out, looking for the maid, and saw that she was bothering me. She told her ‘stop messing around, Sakuya, we need to get going’ and the maid put away her knives right away.

“I was so thankful, that I offered to sing a song to her. She apparently really liked the offer but didn’t have time that day,” she continued to breathlessly explain, “so she came back another night and looked for me at the lake shore. It was the maid that found me, but that’s not that important, anyhow I sang to her. Even though she has those wings and scary eyes, they’re kind of like yours actually, she was nice to me. Said that I had a lovely voice and all, I remember getting all red-cheeked and she laughed and called her scary maid again. Only she wasn’t so scary once you got to know her. Said that I should come back a week later at night.

“I came back the next week and there was this statue of a mermaid, just like me, outside. Remilia, who is actually kind of cute herself when you think about it, made it just for me! She said that it was a sign of good luck to have a mermaid around and that I should feel free to come around whenever. I don’t really think that it’s nice she’s, em, so exposed but Remilia said that was just how art was and that it was beautiful. Also, she said that I could stay in this cave whenever I wanted and she put in the bench you’re on right now so that she could sit and hear me sing more. Isn’t that really nice? I really like her. Oh, and, um, she also asked me to keep an eye out for anything weird that turned up in the lake and let her know. Because we’re friends, though, I don’t mind helping out.”

“I see,” Kagerou struggled to digest the story. It wasn’t easy to follow, give the mermaid’s propensity to digress and let her voice get squeaky as she got more excited. “I suppose it’s fine that you’re here, then,” she at least got that takeaway right.

“Yes! I’m happy to be here!” she wagged her tail, splashing herself lightly with water. Thinking about it, her clothes must have been special as they didn’t seem to absorb any water. The drops simply ran off the fabric. “Would you like me to sing you a song?”

“Some other time, maybe,” Kagerou declined, “I’m just glad that we’ve cleared things up.”

“Me too, friend!”

Light conversation followed for some time afterwards. It was all very normal. Not what I would have expected an exchange between a mermaid and a werewolf to be like. Then again, I didn’t really know what to expect from either given that most people thought that they weren’t real. Putting my own prejudices aside, they talked about the lake, Kagerou’s job and the usual pleasantries that people rely upon during conversation.

Kagerou struggled to keep up with the mermaid’s positive and gushing energy. When she had had enough, she told her that it was late and that she would be turning in soon. It wasn’t that late considering that she worked for a vampire, Wakasagihime agreed that it was time to part ways, “gosh, I didn’t realize how tired I am, too. I’ll see you some other time.”

Flopping herself into the water, the mermaid disappeared quickly. She obviously was faster and more agile in the water than on land.

“I thought you were going to bother me about it,” Kagerou said to me.

“You were thinking about it, I sensed. No need to bring it up,” I told her.

“Yeah, but you’re annoying, Al.”

“Maybe, but I’m not stupid. And I can read the mood,” I said, “if you had told her that you needed one of her scales for a charm, even someone as trusting as her might take it the wrong way.”

“At least now I know where to look,” she said, blowing out the last candle that hadn’t melted down entirely yet and taking her leave.

“Go rest up,” I suggested, explaining,”you’ll probably be busy all day tomorrow. Doesn’t seem like Remilia is going to call on you again tonight.”

She agreed and returned to the mansion, enjoying the last of the cool night air while walking through the garden. Once inside, she climbed up to her room, undressed and flopped into bed. It had been a long day and I understood her desire to go to sleep right away. She was soon fast asleep, occasionally rolling over in her sleep or snoring lightly.

I went off into my own little world for the rest of the night. It was only around mid morning that I cared to check in on her again. A look of peaceful contentment was on her face. It looked like she would be out for some time yet if left to her own devices.

[] Wake her up. Remilia would be disappointed if the fairies aren’t cooking already.
[] Let her sleep in. There are more important things in life than babysitting fairies.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/26(Mon)13:30

Expand all images
>>No. 63971
[x] Let her sleep in. There are more important things in life than babysitting fairies.
sweet dreams, Doremy
>>No. 63972
[X] Wake her up. Remilia would be disappointed if the fairies aren’t cooking already.

Cant just throw your wingman under the bus. These two are a team, and need to work together.
>>No. 63973
[x] Wake her up. Remilia would be disappointed if the fairies aren’t cooking already.

Gotta have our head maid acting properly.
>>No. 63974
[X] Wake her up. Remilia would be disappointed if the fairies aren’t cooking already.
>>No. 63975
[X] Wake her up. Remilia would be disappointed if the fairies aren’t cooking already.

She has a job.
>>No. 63976
[x] Let her sleep in. There are more important things in life than babysitting fairies.

We've been pretty strict.
>>No. 63977
[x] Wake her up. Remilia would be disappointed if the fairies aren’t cooking already.
>>No. 63979
File154325422096.png- (340.59KB, 1001x534, to sleep perchance to dream.png) [iqdb]
63979
Rousing a sleeping werewolf proved to be as difficult as it sounded. At some point in the night, after some tossing and turning, she had found the ideal position for sleep. With the judicious use of a pillow and a serene expression on her face, she looked well on the path to enlightenment. Getting her to respond and get up felt like a transgression against the cosmic order but it was a necessary evil.

I tried a soft approach first and kept my voice low and words playful. Coaxing her with pleasant good mornings and such didn’t really produce much in the way of results. A soft grunt and a quick nuzzling of her pillow were the only reactions I got out of her. She definitely wasn’t a morning person. So I had to up the ante.

Yelling first thing in the morning was a little too much, even for me. I applied a more gradual approach. Wishing I could physically shake her a little, I kept at it, causing her to grunt louder, her eyebrows to move and, finally, slip her head under the pillow. That might have worked if my voice weren’t inside of her head. There was no escape from my determined nagging.

“Fine, I’ll get up!” she complained at last, rolling onto her back and stretching her arms out in exasperation. Kagerou pulled away the pillow and yawned, displaying a set of teeth that put the vampire to shame. Even though I always knew in the back of my mind that she was a youkai, and a werewolf to boot, it was easy to see a sleepy girl in pajamas and assume she was a normal human.

I felt bad about not letting sleeping dogs lie but there was work to be done. “You should get dressed and go to the kitchen,” I told her, “busy day today.”

“Sure, yes,” she dismissed me, suppressing another yawn and stretching her legs. There was no urgency in her actions but it didn’t seem like she’d fall asleep again so I let her take hers at her own pace. Eventually, she got up and started to get ready. After washing her face, she looked at herself in the mirror and spent some time making sure her hair would cooperate. There was a tendency for it to seem wild and disheveled so she took the time to brush it into submission.

Kagerou got dressed and headed down to the kitchen. There the fairies were already neck-deep in work. The oven was at full blast, making the sizable room uncomfortably sultry. There were at least half a dozen dishes being cooked, ranging from broiled meats to pastries and other sweets. At the middle of the vortex of activity was Sonia, the boss of the kitchen, commanding and assisting some of her less-talented subordinates as necessary.

The werewolf wasn’t really needed to supervise or command. While she wasn’t unwelcome as such, Sonia didn’t really pay much attention to her boss. That left Kagerou free to improvise as she liked, keeping an eye out for any slackers or particularly incompetent assistants. She also tried her hand at assisting directly whenever possible though it did seem that she had little practical experience cooking. Or, at least, cooking the type of rich and complex foods that were favored by the inhabitants of the mansion.

A butter-rich puffed pastry was too much for the struggling werewolf and Kagerou fared poorly at mixing doughs and stretching things out at the right moment. Not to mention, at the right temperature, which was the secret to getting textures and consistency just right in those things. The sweltering, constant, heat from burners, stoves and, not-negligibly, the masses of bodies in the kitchen was almost dizzying in their effect. More than once she had to take a short break to have some water. It was any wonder that the fairies could work for so long without simply melting away. Regular exposure to these conditions had hardened them. I joked at one point to Kagerou that they should be the ones running security—they had the stamina and resistance to repel even the most persistent of attackers.

Things quieted down soon after midday as several of the dishes had been completed. Sonia, with a voice hoarse from yelling at the other staff, had given everyone a short break to get some air and have lunch. She went around with Kagerou tasting the finished dishes, judging the various efforts with withering critique. “The shell isn’t dense enough, it’ll get soggy before too long,” she said of dumplings. The same dumplings that Kagerou had been all too happy to sample. As an overheated, tired and disoriented glutton, the werewolf was relishing the chance to reenergize herself with food.

Everything was good according to Kagerou but the fairy maid thought that there was room for improvement in almost everything. “Miss Sakuya wouldn’t stand for this,” she commented bitterly, sounding about as disappointed in her staff as she was in herself.

“It’s fine,” Kagerou tried to console her, “there’s plenty of time yet to get things just right. Don’t stress out too much. The others will pick up on it and get demoralized.”

“You’re right,” the head chef said, using a fork to pull apart a particularly tender piece of meat. “Can I be honest with you for a moment?”

“Go right ahead,” Kagerou said, eying hungrily the maid’s movements. She watched like a woman transfixed, almost certainly close to drowning in her own saliva. The smell was intense, as it was the only thing she was focusing on, and it translated the scent herbs and suet into an imagined explosion of savory flavor.

“With all due respect, you don’t seem to know what you’re doing in the kitchen. But the calm and dedication is something I can get behind,” Sonia said.

“Yes, I try to keep my cool,” the hungry wolf said, most definitely not keeping her cool. The thought of trying the last dish, the one that Sonia was slowly picking at without actually tasting it, had awakened the animal side in her. Her ears were standing on full alert, directed like a pair of satellite dishes eager to receive any and all transmissions of flavor from the meat. It was a good thing that she had lost her headdress already, otherwise that it may have popped off in an almost certainly cartoonish fashion.

“I’m really tired of acting so tough and in charge all the time,” the fairy lamented, “Miss Sakuya took care of so much of the cooking and always did it so gracefully that I don’t know if I can ever be like her.”

“You’ll be like her, yes,” the zombified werewolf offered a half-hearted endorsement. She watched as the fairy took a piece of the tender meat and dunked it in the thick brown sauce—a mix of spices, fat and all-natural juices—and really let it absorb the flavor.

“I hope she’s doing well,” the fairy sighed and dropped her fork down onto the plate. I could feel the anxiety just bubbling through Kagerou. She was of one mind and that mind was juicy, delicious meat. “Miss Kagerou?”

“...”

“Excuse me, Miss Kagerou?” the maid spoke up again, looking at the hopeless head maid with confusion in her eyes.

“Hey, she’s talking to you, wolfy,” I said quite loudly, “you may want to snap out of it.”

She did, though I could tell that it almost physically hurt her to do so. I could feel that an enormous amount of willpower was needed to tear her away from the food and pay attention to the maid. “Sorry, what were you saying?” Kagerou smiled politely, trying not to show the wistful maid just how far gone she had been.

“I was just wondering about Miss Sakuya… but I guess I shouldn’t dwell on it,” Sonia turned the subject away from the previous chief maid right after, “we should get back to work to do her proud.” With fire in her belly and determination in her eyes, she called back the tired kitchen staff and set things into motion again.

Kagerou lost out on trying the succulent meat because the returning fairies cleared the dishes to make room to work. That was a loss that she took very personally. She sulked for the better part of the afternoon, so much so that the fairies that she worked with started whispering something about an evil spirit and possession. The real miracle was that she managed to keep on working without hurting herself, her languid movements were just asking for trouble. All it would have taken would have been careless chopping or sauteing and things could have turned out nasty. For my part, I tried to keep her sharp and focused, but she would have none of it, grumbling something about this or some other thing.

She never did get to try the meat. By the time the kitchen staff had finished everything they had set out to do, it was evening and most of the food was parceled out to the hungry fairies that had been working elsewhere in the mansion. Sonia had gone around tasting things sporadically, preemptive any excuse Kagerou might have thought up to take the initiative herself. She got to savor a few nice things, sure. But it just wasn’t the same. I could feel that a deep sorrow had taken root in her soul, one that wouldn’t disappear until the next proper mealtime came around.

Sonia whittled down the numbers in the kitchen as she got ready to cook Remilia’s evening meal. She thanked Kagerou for her help, told her to come back the next day, and firmly, but politely, suggested that she should see to her duties elsewhere. There wasn’t much time to do much save to freshen up before attending to Remilia. The fluffy werewolf had sweated a lot in the hot kitchen, same as many of the fairies, and stunk as bad as a wild animal.

At my incessant urging, she returned to her room and took a bath. I exhorted her to be thorough but it was unneeded advice. She felt the cumulative fatigue almost as soon as she drew the hot water and happily scrubbed herself clean and then soaked leisurely for a good while. Smelling of flowery soap and shampoo, she dried herself off carefully before fetching another identical uniform from her footlocker. The uniform she had been wearing had to go to the mansion’s laundry as it was unfit for purpose.

After she had dropped off her dirty clothes, she had to hasten back upstairs and wait on Remilia. The vampire didn’t really seem to care about her chief maid’s day and blathered on about bloodlines, taking hunting trips when she was younger and vague details about where she lived before Gensokyo. Somewhere near mountains, where the woods were dark and looked sinister. Full of superstitious locals. She’d gotten tired of it and decided it was time for a change was the gist for the reason she decided to move.

Although Kagerou ate at the table with her, she didn’t really get the chance to ask questions. Not that there was probably much she would be capable of asking—working all day in the kitchen had taken a lot more out of her than she had realized. For a moment I thought she would nod off right there and then but she managed to endure like an exhausted soldier on sentry duty. Her life may have very well depended on it. If there was one thing that the vampire didn’t enjoy, it was being ignored.

The meal took longer than other days. Apparently, once Remilia got started up on her stuck-up-neighbors-who-were-really-just-minor-nobility-but-acted-like-the-Bourbons she couldn’t really stop herself. Pointing out slights, faux pas, lack of taste and a complete lack of business acumen and estate managed turned out to be an expert subject of hers. “Of course, by using those inferior seals, the vintage from that year ended up tasting like vinegar!” she laughed, too amused by the memory, “that Cornelia lost so much face at her daughter’s engagement party!”

Thankfully, I could tune out the vampire and escape into my own world. I only really started paying attention again when she got bored of the sound of her own voice and decided to retire to her study to do work. Kagerou had been saddled with a heavy burden in the interim—being recruited to practice badminton the next day with her.

It turned out that being a maid was incredibly physically demanding. Kagerou lasted the evening just barely. Ana preempted any rest and relaxation by asking the chief maid to weigh in on a couple of decisions for the household. The distribution of supplies in the stores, which wines to bring into rotation, managing the laundry’s backlog… the list of inane things just went on and on. I tried to help her as best as I could but the constant moving about and inspections of rooms and supplies personally took their toll.

By the time that she was off the hook, Kagerou was running on fumes. Hell, I was tired. And I didn’t even have a body that could feel sore muscles or a head that could hurt. The werewolf collapsed into her bed the first chance she could. Grunting, groaning and snoring like a buzzsaw at some points, she spent the rest of the evening trying to regain her energy. That made the wake up call the next day even harder.

With a look that would have made me fearful for my life, had I been standing before her, she woke up extremely cranky. She took less time to brush her hair down and stomped off to the kitchen with all the energy of a condemned criminal heading to the scaffold. The grind was much the same, with the din of the kitchen, combined with the withering heat, overwhelming much of her senses. She barked orders at fairies and was less tolerant of their inevitable mistakes. All the while, she made some pretty stupid ones of her own. Things creaked along with only a short break around midday before resuming work.

To compound on her frustration, most of the things worked on were stock and consomme, used then in jellies or stored away to for use as a base to other dishes. In short, they weren’t things she could chow down on and chew; the dream of a leg of mutton or smoked pig jowl was cruelly crushed. The only real positive was that she was getting a little more into the rhythm of cooking and her timing was slightly better. Nothing to write home about yet, by any means.

I had to pull her out of the kitchen a little earlier than the previous day, so she could keep her commitment to Remilia. She changed into something more sporty, but there was no mistaking that she was glum and not very excited about having to work out. She found a skirt that looked about just right for a game with rackets and donned a short-sleeved top that matched. Remilia was clad in similar garb, though her clothes were pink as opposed to Kagerou’s white.

The vampire wasn’t very competitive, thankfully, opting for practice games and trying for specific swings and plays. Regardless, she dominated. Kagerou just couldn’t keep up, reacting too slowly or swinging too wildly. Virtually none of the pep and focus from their first match made a showing. I could tell that she was trying, as her thoughts did focus on the ball and her movements, but there was a disconnect between thought and movement. Her clumsiness did not go unnoticed by Remilia, who was disappointed in her lackluster opponent.

“Come on now,” she complained after slamming the shuttlecock sloppily onto Kagerou’s side of the court, “you should have been able to return that. I even took it easy on you.”

“Sorry, I’m just not feeling very fired up today,” Kagerou admitted, holding back another yawn.

“How am I supposed to show you my top form if you don’t at least try to keep up?” the vampire said with unambiguous irritation in her voice. She was keen to show off what she could do when she wasn’t hung over and kept expecting Kagerou to be a worthy foe. If she had thought her opponent was saving her energy to lull her into overexerting herself first, she was sorely mistaken. Kagerou really couldn’t manage much more.

There were some attempts. Not valiant, but attempts nonetheless. A nice swing, a well-deserved point here and there, a timely interception. Few and far in between. Neither of them felt very satisfied at the end of the session, with Remilia getting worked up at the dispirited opposition she faced. “I’ll expect you to shape up before the next time we play,” she warned, “I can’t be expected to be motivated to improve myself if I don’t have a fair challenge.”

“I think she admitted that she thought you were pretty good. At least before,” I told Kagerou, hoping to get a reaction from her.

“I apologize,” Kagerou bowed her head, “I’ll try to do better next time.”

“Yes, yes, we’ll try again in a day or two,” the vampire huffed, “I’ll be doing a few more practice swings by myself now. You may leave me. Make sure supper is ready at the right time.”

The both of them were unsatisfied with how that went. They had barely worked up a sweat and Kagerou slunk away without being able to say much. A nap might have helped her out but she had more work that needed to be done. Ana was waiting for her in her room, once again needing input on this and that. Pointless things, things that fairies might be able to manage if not for their chronic indecision and predisposition towards slacking off. After changing, she saw to all of that and then once again submitted herself to the gauntlet that was dinner with Remilia.

The subject was still sports. Her grudge against would-be rivals extended into aristocratic competition and she regaled us with tales of lawn games like croquet and tennis. Whenever she didn’t win, it wasn’t due to a lack of skill, but due to misdirection by a perfidious socialite or substandard equipment. I wondered if Sakuya had had to endure all these stories about past glories and frustrations. Remilia drank several glasses of wine, enough to loosen her tongue more, but not enough to go overboard. The session didn’t end until she described in detail how she got back at one of her boorish frenemies by stealing away her fiance, the duke of something or another.

“Naturally,” she ended the anecdote, “I had no interest in the portly man and spurned him after he proposed to elope with me, but the public humiliation drove her straight to a sanitarium. A fact that her mother dearest played down for years afterwards.”

Highly satisfied with herself, she withdrew once again for the evening. Kagerou cleared the table on autopilot. She tidied up and then saw to a few other pending matters that Ana had brought up earlier. There was no way that Sakuya could have dealt with all of this day in and day out without cracking. There simply wasn’t enough time in a single day to deal with everything.

Kagerou collapsed in bed like a puppet whose strings had been cut. She slept deeply. The next night it was the same. And so was the night after. Her hair got wilder as she stopped spending so much time grooming herself. The heat in the kitchen and the physical demands of the job messed her look up, anyhow. She had stopped cursing at me or even looking at me with murderous intent when I woke her up, instead resigning herself to quiet acceptance that she had to get up early. Early to rise and late to bed transformed her into a pitiful creature. One day she managed to sneak in a thirty minute nap but that was just about the limit of luxury she could afford.

It was unclear just how much cooking was needed to whip the fairies into shape. Sonia took it seriously, perhaps too seriously, and didn’t seem at risk of running out of dishes or ideas. Kagerou worked quietly now, keeping to herself and only correcting the few (and more egregious) mistakes that still cropped up. Her own technique seemed to improve as well, though it was offset by her general poor condition. It would be fair to say that she could be trusted to sear something without overdoing it for the most part. Or to chop a leek into the correct thickness for a given dish. I didn’t think she could do complex multi-stage cooking by herself yet, but progress was progress.

“Come on, that’s enough,” I told her one day in the late afternoon. She blinked, apparently having forgotten that I was there with her. “Stop helping with the prep work, get out of here.”

“...what?’ she mumbled, not understanding. Everyone was too busy to notice the tired chief maid talking to herself.

“It’s time you took a break. You’re killing yourself here,” I said. “Things are running smoothly enough here and there’s other things you should be doing.”

“Just tell me later and I’ll get Ana to help out,” she said, not getting my meaning.

“I meant that you should rest a while, go get some fresh air. Play a game, do something fun. Anything that’s not work,” I explained.

“Oh, no time for that,” she murmured, mechanically chopping up a radish.

“Fine, let’s just say that it’s work as well. Just outdoors work. Not in here. You need a change. I’ve never seen anyone completely degrade so quickly,” I told her, “this kitchen work and dealing with Remilia’s whims is killing you. Something has to give.”

“Isn’t it your job to keep me working?” she asked, sounding incredibly annoyed. Tragically, she seemed more far gone than I had initially thought. She was actually so beat up that she welcomed the endless drudgery: the sleep-inducing prattle by a self-centered vampire, the endless miscellanea and the debilitating cooking.

“Yeah, so shut up, I know what I’m saying,” I took a firmer stand, “you’ll be no good to anyone dead. Or, you know, collapsed in bed because your body needs rest. Let go of that knife, tell Sonia that you’re leaving things to her and walk away. Do it or I’ll get really nasty.”

Kagerou gripped the knife tightly. I got the distinct impression that her repressed resentment would have been translated into a most cruel stab if I had happened to exist beyond pendant form. Her knuckles whitened. Ultimately, she sighed. She relaxed her hand and left the knife on the chopping board and did exactly what I asked. Sonia didn’t seem to mind at all. She was still fired up to do her best.

“Tell her to inform Remilia that you might not be there for dinner,” I said. And nipped any concerns that I was being too radical in the bud, stating, “she’ll understand. She knows you have work to do and it’s only out of a kindness of her black undead heart that she’s obliged you a place at the table. She’d want her whims carried out, or those of her friend, before having you listen to her endless stories.”

The werewolf didn’t put up a fight, having long since lost the battle over control of her own spirit. I planned to fix that. All in due course. I was half-tempted to tell her to take a long soak and then go to bed earlier but I knew that that level of hedonistic self-indulgence was too much for her right then. She was still thinking about work and still thinking about duties. The deprogramming would have to be gradual.

So it came down to the list. There were many things that were still missing and that Patchouli expected us to gather. I tried to recall the things that didn’t sound too difficult and could also conveniently give her a change of atmosphere and pace.

[] See a certain mermaid about her scale
[] One of the flowers needed was probably in the garden and someone who spent a lot of time outdoors might now where to find it
[] The only place to find something like that bitter powder was in the human village

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/27(Tue)13:30

>>No. 63980
[x] One of the flowers needed was probably in the garden and someone who spent a lot of time outdoors might know where to find it

The village doesn't seem like a good place for some R&R for Kagerou. And she's in no condition to convince Waggysaggy for her scale. The garden it is. Meiling is the best person to ask for lazing around relaxing advice.
>>No. 63981
[x] One of the flowers needed was probably in the garden and someone who spent a lot of time outdoors might know where to find it
>>No. 63982
[x] One of the flowers needed was probably in the garden and someone who spent a lot of time outdoors might know where to find it
>>No. 63983
[X] One of the flowers needed was probably in the garden and someone who spent a lot of time outdoors might now where to find it

Finally Meiling?

I feel like Remilia "give the fairies a break" Scarlet would ordinarily be a lot more lenient than this, recognizing Kagerou's exhaustion, but eh
>>No. 63984
[x] One of the flowers needed was probably in the garden and someone who spent a lot of time outdoors might now where to find it
Yeaaaaaaaah, Meiling time, motherfuckers.

>As an overheated, tired and disoriented glutton, the werewolf was relishing the chance to reenergize herself with food.
Don't Call Her a Glutton
>>No. 63985
[x] One of the flowers needed was probably in the garden and someone who spent a lot of time outdoors might now where to find it
>>No. 63986
[X] One of the flowers needed was probably in the garden and someone who spent a lot of time outdoors might now where to find it

the H O N G
>>No. 63987
Guiding Kagerou proved to be easy. She was pliant and managed to keep up a good pace despite being fatigued. I had to admit, I missed some of the usual push back, but I was certain that I wouldn’t be bored for too long. We looked around for the fairies in charge of gardening. They were all in the dining hall next to the kitchen, a group of green-kitted girls laughing and joking around. Kagerou identified Mary, the head gardener, and approached her.

“We water and trim, mostly,” the head of gardening said rather unhelpfully in response to the obvious question. She seemed to be a more laid-back kind of fairy. While she wasn’t distracted or rude by any means, it quickly became obvious that we couldn’t expect much from her. “I give the flowers nicknames, because they’re cute, but I didn’t know they had fancy names like that.”

“You really haven’t heard of something as weird as a dragon’s teardrop?” Kagerou asked, not quite buying the fairy’s explanation.

“Nah,” the fairy smile, “I once saw a big book in the library with all these hard words and pretty drawings of flowers but my head hurt after reading it for a while. There's just so many different lil’ flowers that I don’t think anyone could keep all the names straight.”

Patchouli’s list was concise and offered little more than the names of things we were supposed to gather. That meant that we couldn’t offer up a description and see if the fairy knew what we were looking for based on that. I began to wonder if maybe being surrounded by so many books had made her forget how the real world worked. At any rate, I told Kagerou to try to pry any and all information the fairy might have.

“None of the other fairies would know either,” Mary said, puffing up her lips as she thought. “We’re all nice to the plants and they’re nice to us and that’s all we care about.”

“Is there anyone else who might know more about the flowers in the garden?” Kagerou asked.

“Well...” she thought about it carefully, looking around the table at her colleagues. They seemed equally stumped. “The big book in the library might help?”

“...alright, what’s it called?”

“Dunno,” the fairy shrugged. Realizing she hadn’t really solved anything, she apologized, “I wish I could help you, sorry.”

“Hey, whaddabout the other gardener?” another fairy piped up.

“Oh, yeah, maybe,” Mary, nodded, “she might know.”

“What other gardener?” Kagerou asked, looking around the table.

“Miss Sakuya put us in charge of a lot of the work,” Mary explained, with pride in her voice, “we make sure things are going well. But it wasn’t always like that. And I guess it isn’t kinda really. She said something about making sure the workload didn’t get too big. It was a nice thing for her to do.”

The fairy wasn’t making that much sense. It was to be expected that a fairy might not be the most eloquent of speakers, so I told Kagerou to be patient. The werewolf nodded at the fairy, egging her on.

“Well, she’s in charge of the garden I guess. Choosing what to plant and when. She really likes it. We listen to her talk about the plants sometimes and she’s nice. Explains how much water the cuties need and we try to remember it all. The Mistress likes her work a lot,” Mary nodded happily which, in turn, caused the other fairies to nod in agreement.

“So, who is she? Where can I find her?” Kagerou asked.

“Out by the front,” Mary said, “she’s the tall lady at the gate.”

“Oh, you mean the gate guard,” Kagerou said, holding back from saying the obvious ‘you should have said so from the start’.

“Yes, Miss Meiling!” Mary said excitedly.

“She has really nice hair, too,” another fairy opined unnecessarily.

“Right, thank you for the help, I’ll be on my way now,” Kagerou smiled at them. We had a new lead.

“Bye bye, Miss Kagerou!” the chorus of fairies replied. They immediately went back to their joking and inane conversations.

The next destination, naturally enough, were the front gardens and gate. The sun was beginning to hang low in the sky, with maybe less than an hour before it set behind the mountains. Kagerou looked around at the various flowerbeds quickly, as if looking for something that obviously looked like a dragon’s teardrop. It was difficult to imagine what a mythical creature’s tears were supposed to be like. They could look like just about anything depending on who you asked.

As expected, there was nothing that screamed ‘dragon’ or ‘teardrop’. Kagerou approached the front gate quietly and looked around for the guard. She found her easily, standing by the outside wall with a comic book in her hands. The guard, a reasonably tall girl with red hair, looked up at the approaching werewolf and smiled.

“Sorry to bother you,” Kagerou started, “I was looking for a specific flower in the garden and was told that might be able to help me.”

“Ah, a flower?” the guard smiled, her blue eyes lighting up with delight. “I did not take the new chief maid for a lover of flowers. What a pleasant surprise.”

“It’s not really for me, I need to get one for someone,” Kagerou explained.

“A romantic gift! Most touching.”

“That’s not it either,” the werewolf shook her head, too tired to do much but deny it flat out, “listen, Meiling is it?”

“Yes, Hong Meiling,” she performed a small bow and winked, “I’m sorry, I like to joke around because I get bored while minding the gate. A pleasure to formally meet you, Miss Kagerou.”

“Likewise,” Kagerou showed her the same level of courtesy, bowing her head slightly in greeting. Meiling was happy at the acknowledgement. “Though, just Kagerou is fine. I’m not your boss.”

“I think you’re mistaken,” Meiling explained, “as Lady Remilia’s right hand, the chief maid is responsible for everyone working in the household.”

“Hm, I hadn’t realized,” Kagerou crossed her arms, not entirely amused by the large scope of her duties. I couldn’t blame her. The fresh air had begun to dissipate some of the stupefaction she had been subject to while working all day in the kitchen. She eyed Meiling, dressed in a distinctive green outfit that was something at odds with the very European style of dress of the fairies and Remilia herself. “All the same, I think I prefer less formality.”

“No problem,” Meiling crossed her arms as well just as a breeze moved the material on her skirt. There were no two ways about it—it was something of a traditional Chinese dress which opened on the side and wasn’t as constrictive to its wearer as similarly-long skirts. The blouse, with its frills, and ribbon in front were perhaps a concession to the style of the mansion.

“Anyways, about that flower...”

“Ah, yes, gardening is a hobby of mine,” Meiling explained, “I tended the gardens by myself for a long time, as well. Guarding and patrolling the perimeter can be a little too…”

“Boring?” Kagerou offered.

Meiling laughed, looking really tickled by the interjection, “you didn’t have to be so honest like that! But it can be. Which is why I also train whenever I get the chance.”

“Train for what?”

“Keeping myself fit and ready,” placing her comic book down on the ground, she adopted a stance that definitely looked martial arts-y. She mimed throwing a punch, jabbing without any strength behind the motion. “Miss Sakuya sometimes spars with me, too, but she’s usually busy tending to Lady Remilia.”

“It makes sense that the gate guard knows how to fight,” I said. She looked like a completely normal young woman but appearances could be deceiving. The only hint that she wasn’t human was the fact that she guarded a place as strange as she did. Nothing about the mansion was ordinary. I had no doubt that if things got heated, she could do more than just glower at unwanted visitors.

“Oh, there’s an idea,” Meiling crossed her arms once again and looked at Kagerou, “we could spar a little right now, if you’re up for it. It’s been a while since I fought with someone new.”

“I’m not sure I can right now,” Kagerou tried to decline politely.

“…of course,” the girl looked disappointed, her green cap drooping down on her head. It reminded me of Kagerou’s own drooping ears whenever she was disheartened.

[] Let her down gently, explaining that getting the flower takes priority since Patchouli wants it.
[] She’ll understand if she learns how much Kagerou has been working lately.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/28(Wed)13:30

>>No. 63988
[x] Let her down gently, explaining that getting the flower takes priority since Patchouli wants it.
>>No. 63989
[X] She’ll understand if she learns how much Kagerou has been working lately.

Kagerou needs to let this stuff out of her chest and we are not good enough for it. Maybe Meiling is.
>>No. 63990
[x] She’ll understand if she learns how much Kagerou has been working lately.

I mean, you're comparing a time stopping super maid with a normal wolf on her first job. I'm sure she'll understand.
>>No. 63991
[x] She’ll understand if she learns how much Kagerou has been working lately.
it me
>>No. 63992
[X] She’ll understand if she learns how much Kagerou has been working lately.

This Patchy seems pretty nice, I'm sure she'll understand.
>>No. 63993
[x] She’ll understand if she learns how much Kagerou has been working lately.
>>No. 63994
[X] She’ll understand if she learns how much Kagerou has been working lately.
>>No. 63997
File154344474652.jpg- (150.34KB, 800x1118, china gal.jpg) [iqdb]
63997
“My, that sounds troublesome,” Meiling said of Kagerou’s workload. It didn’t seem like she was making fun, her body language neutral if not slightly empathetic, but I still got the distinct impression that she didn’t take it as a particularly convincing explanation. If she had something to add about working at the mansion, she kept it to herself.

“Just being outdoors again feels like a huge change,” Kagerou smiled, looking up at the sky. As the sun and horizon got nearer to each other, the few clouds in the sky shone brightly with reflected light.

“So, about that flower of yours,” the girl in green brought the conversation back around to the original topic, “tell me what you know about it.”

“Oh, just the name,” Kagerou said, shifting her gaze back down from the sky, “it’s called a dragon’s teardrop. Do you know what that is?”

“Yes, I think so,” Meiling nodded, “that’s one of the many names it has. Haven’t heard it in a long time.”

“Are there any in the garden?”

“There might be a small patch left,” Meiling explained, making her way to the gate. She looked out into the garden, off to the distant corners, as if they’d somehow be visible from a different. “They’re picky and only bloom under the right conditions. And die quickly. Useful for certain medicinal drinks, if I remember correctly,” she placed a finger on her cheek as she thought about what else she knew about the flower. “If you’re lucky, they may have come at the right time. They’re gone before summer begins.”

She stayed quiet for a moment, ostensibly thinking of where the flowers could be. With good reason, too. Even if she did spend a lot of time in the garden, it was still a pretty vast place. Just watering everything regularly was likely a large investment of time and the fairies assigned to gardening duty were probably at it every day of the week, rotating through patches.

Kagerou didn’t seem to mind, using the moment of silence to close her eyes and think. Or maybe just rest. She was starting to feel the effects of accumulated fatigue keenly. A refreshing wind blowing in from the direction of the lake and she embraced it, letting her body relax as the gate guard did all the thinking she needed to do. A part of me expected her to fall asleep on her feet but she endured and was sufficiently responsive when Meiling remembered all she needed to.

“Follow me,” Meiling said, taking Kagerou to a far end of the grounds. She followed the perimeter like she was paroling it, keeping an eye out for anything that looked out of place. Past statues, hedges and a number of flowerbeds, she stopped several times to take a closer look at any promising leads. Each time she leaned in close, inspected any would-be candidate carefully before deciding that it wasn’t what she was looking for.

It wasn’t until she reached the absolute edge of the property that she finally found what she was looking for. “This is the dragon’s teardrop,” she pointed out a very small white flower which drooped among a forest of livelier flowers. Moving carefully, so that she might avoid t he thorns from the other plants, she crouched down and reached for it. The flower came loose without the need for any sort of tool, like it was waiting to be plucked.

“Not much to look at,” I said, noting that other than the long white petals, it didn’t really have much going for it. I wasn’t sure which was the pistil and which was the stamen but it seemed to have one of each from what I could tell, each long and droopy as the rest of the flower. The only thing that might have given it its very evocative name may have been the curly nature of these, which at the end almost looked like a droplet, or maybe tear.

“It must have bloomed recently,” Meiling said, “and it probably would have died in a day or two.”

“It’s not what I expected,” Kagerou said as she accepted the flower from Meiling. She brought it close to her nose to smell its fragrance but was interrupted by the gate guard.

“Please don’t do that,” Meiling warned, suddenly much more serious than before. “As with all medicinal plants, it can also be a poison. Raw, it can be quite deadly. You must know how to prepare it ain order to reap its benefits.”

“Oh, I see,” Kagerou recoiled from the flower. She held it in her hand like it would burn a hole through it, eying it cautiously.

“It’s alright if you don’t ingest anything or get enough of its pollen inside you. Just be careful,” she warned with a more easy-going smile, trying to show that Kagerou shouldn’t freak out. “Also, if you’ll forgive my prying but, you’re not with child, are you?”

Neither Kagerou or I really expected the question. The werewolf blinked vacantly, having a hard time processing everything about that. I could almost detect a thought directed at me, one that seemed to ask ‘did she really just say that?’. “No, I’m not,” she answered at last.

“Then there’s no problem at all, your energies are probably normal,” Meiling clapped her hands once, happy that all was well.

“Thank you for your help,” Kagerou had pocketed a napkin at some point when she had helped out in the kitchen. She found it, wrapped it around the fragile flower and put it away carefully.

“Yes, it was no trouble,” the guard nodded, “I’m glad I could save you from more difficult work.”

It was hard to tell if she was being genuine or just a little bit cheeky. Either way, that affable veneer was charmingly disarming. Even if she did feel slighted or was merely having fun at our expense, it’d be hard to fault her. I could see that Kagerou didn’t really mind either, though she probably was glad to have gotten the flower without too much of a hassle. Without Meiling, it was probable that we’d have to waste time poring through dusty tomes first.

“If it’s alright to you, I ought to get back to my own job,” Meiling said, wasting no time at all, “since I’m out here, I may as well complete my routine patrol.”

“Wasn’t she reading a comic book just recently?” I asked, but Kagerou didn’t really seem to care.

“Would you like some company?” she offered, clearly still enjoying the great outdoors.

“It’s quite alright, you go ahead and rest,” Meiling winked, “that way you’ll be able to serve Lady Remilia properly. It’s faster if I go alone, anyhow.”

“I doubt I’ll rest right away,” Kagerou confessed, “being outside again has made me feel less tired.”

“All the same, I’ll be off now,” Meiling offered a quick goodbye, giving a short bow, “I’ll be at the gate if you need me later.” She began to hum softly to herself as she walked away, the light of the setting sun the same color as her long hair.

“Do you-?” I began to ask.

“Maybe I should have,” Kagerou guessed what I was going to ask. “Or maybe that’s just the way she is.”

“Hard to tell,” I said. “On the bright side, we got something else from the list.”

“Let’s go for something else,” she said, “since Remilia won’t be expecting me, we might as well get as much of this over with as possible. Afterwards a hot bath, a nice meal… and a lot of sleep,” Kagerou sighed, looking forward to the night. Just a little more drudgery and she’d be able to sleep like a rock.

[] Village
[] Lake

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/29(Thu)14:20

>>No. 63998
[X] Lake

The village stresses her, no reason to go when she's feeling down
>>No. 63999
[x] Lake
Might be nice for a dip, iykwim
>>No. 64000
[X] Village

Because Kagerou doesn't seem to get much time often, and the village is much farther away than the lake (which is literally right there from the Mansion)
>>No. 64001
[x] Lake
>>No. 64002
[x] Lake

It's not like Patch gave a time limit.

>“Also, if you’ll forgive my prying but, you’re not with child, are you?”
Meiling having Sakuya flashbacks.
>>No. 64003
[x] Lake
>>No. 64004
[X] Village
I feel like lake seems like the more chill and Kagerou kind of option, but maybe we can meet someone interesting in town.
>>No. 64005
As Kagerou stood at the edge of the lake, she picked up a small stone and hurled it over the surface, causing it to skip a few times before sinking. With the sun about to set and the prospect of going back to the mansion straight away unappealing, she idled and did no one thing in particular. She walked a few steps along the shoreline and threw another stone, careful to keep her distance from the water as the minute waves lapped up.

When she had checked the grotto, she had found it empty. Without the mermaid around, there really wasn’t much else to do at the lake. I joked about her taking a quick swim to relax but was unequivocally shot down; the lake had deep waters and it was still uncomfortably cold for a casual swim. There were only a few youkai that bothered to bathe there and fewer humans still. That is, until summer arrived. We were simply using our time at the lake to unwind some.

“Sun’s about to disappear,” I noted, keeping an eye on its journey behind the mountains. The sky was a mix of various shades of red, orange and purple as the sun began winking behind the horizon.

Kagerou threw another stone. It skipped three times across the surface of the water, distorting the reflection of the sunset. “The moon’s already out if you haven’t noticed,” she said, finding a large nearby rock and sitting on it. She looked up at the sky, keeping a track of both celestial objects.

“It’s about half-full now,” I said idly, not really caring about the conversation that much.

“Yeah...” Kagerou stifled a yawn, covering her mouth with a hand. The nights would be darker for a the next week, at least, until the moon completely shrunk away and started waxing again.

“As a werewolf, do you get weaker when the moon isn’t full?” I asked, more idle curiosity than anything else.

“It’s more like I get more powerful when it’s full,” she explained, “most of the rest of the time, I feel normal.”

She yawned again and stared out at the landscape. I didn’t much feel like forcing any conversation so we sat quietly for a long time, until after the sun had set and night had begun in earnest. We weren’t really waiting for Wakasagihime but I think we both expected her to show up at some point. The werewolf continued to throw stones every now and again. I wondered if there was anything worth fishing living in the lake. Other than youkai, that is.

The last stone that she threw sank down after only a single bounce. A moment later, it reemerged. Flying back about a meter to our right, it skipped on the rocky ground erratically before coming to a full stop.

“Um, please don’t do that,” Wakasagihime interrupted our peace and quiet, splashing out of the water right in front of us. “It scares the fish if rocks are suddenly sinking everywhere,” she said, “and if the fish are scared, it puts everyone else on edge.”

“Oh, I hadn’t realized, sorry,” Kagerou apologized. Like me, I felt that she didn’t really care about the fish but wanted to avoid upsetting the mermaid again.

The mermaid smiled, flopping up at the water’s edge with her lower body still mostly submerged. “It’s fine this time,” she said, “what brings you to the lake tonight?”

“You,” Kagerou said, “there was something I wanted to ask you to do for me?”

“Is it sing?” the mermaid’s eyes lit up. That joy lasted only a few moments. She added apprehensively, frowning slightly, “I haven’t practiced at all! I need to do my warmups first or I’ll sound terrible.”

“It’s not about that,” Kagerou tampered down expectations, “don’t worry about singing for me.”

“Oh, but I want to!” the girl exclaimed, once again regaining her excitement, “just give me a few minutes to get ready.”

“Like I said, it’s fine, really,” Kagerou emphasized, trying to keep her from getting carried away. “It’s something else that I want.”

“...you’re not going to try to eat me again, are you?” she asked. It almost sounded like she was joking but the fins on the mermaid’s head waggled with uneasy energy.

A strong thought flashed through Kagerou’s mind. I agreed with it. “Yeah, she’s never going to let that go,” I said, “but then again, you’d probably do the same if someone tried to eat you.”

“Don’t worry, I’m not,” Kagerou replied, suppressing the urge to sigh. In order to avoid any more misunderstandings, she just came out and said it, “I need you to give me one of your scales if you’re able. I really need one.”

“A scale?” Wakasagihime looked back towards her tail and then back to Kagerou. The was a look of confusion on her face and she repeated the look in reverse, staring at the werewolf long and hard before returning to her tail. She splashed some water as she brought the lower half of her body forward and sat up on the shore’s edge. “I’m, um, not sure that’s such a good idea!”

“Oh, does it hurt you to shed one?” Kagerou asked, trying to figure out how to convince the mermaid. “If it does, I understand, and I’ll look elsewhere.”

“No, it doesn’t hurt at all,” she said, looking increasingly flustered, “they… shed and grow back every now and again.”

“So you’re not just shedding at the moment?” the werewolf asked, being a little slow on the uptake.

“She’s embarrassed about it, you idiot,” I scolded her, “it’d probably be like asking you about how hairy you’d get on the full moon.” It was something I had thought about but had the common sense of never bringing up during the course of a normal conversation. Well, except as leverage.

Kagerou’s ears twitched, a sure sign that I had touched a nerve. The thought she directed at me was mildly unpleasant. She had called me worse before.

“At the moment? That’s not really it either...” Wakasagihime played with the frilly hem of her dress, tugging at it like a nervous teenager unsure how honest she should be with her parents about something very personal. She was trying to gauge how Kagerou might react before opening up.

“I’m sorry, if it’s really personal for you, forget it,” Kagerou apologized, “I don’t really know much about mermaids.”

“Oh, so you’re not-?” Wakasagihime realized something and her face reddened. She tried to explain, her voice small and her words somewhat stilted, “you see, um, well… mermaids only give their people their scales in special situations, like, um, well, you see, it’s a tradition that...”

She took a deep breath before continuing, “it’s supposed to be something that we give to people important to us, like if they save our lives… or if they’re, um, our lover.”

With the truth laid bare, Kagerou found herself at a loss for words. She wasn’t sure how to handle the mermaid. It wasn’t that she was affected by the implication either—I wasn’t exactly attuned to her blood pressure or heartbeat but from what I could tell she was calm and normal. It seemed much likelier that she was keen not to upset Wakasagihime with a careless remark.

So, it was clearly up to me to navigate the treacherous rapids of the heart. With incredible reserves of sensitivity I could draw upon as well as a keen understanding of a maiden’s heart, mind and soul, I was best positioned to advise Kagerou how to handle the situation. Any response had to be something truthful, without being sappy or, worse, flippant. Something that wouldn’t bite us in the ass later, either.

[] Play it cool. Tradition is only as big of a deal as Wakasagihime allows it to be.
[] Embrace the circumstances. Friends should definitely count as important people, too.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/30(Fri)14:30

>>No. 64006
[x] Jump in already.
[x] Play it cool. Tradition is only as big of a deal as Wakasagihime allows it to be.
This Kagerou's simple-minded bluntness makes me think that trying to play the "we're friends" card would probably just go badly sometime down the line. Sure, pooh-poohing fish traditions might make Waggysaggy pout, but that's a short-term hurt for a long-term gain. Besides that, Kagerou seems more keen to cut out the bullshit where possible.

in b4 people dogpile the other option because they expect KageWaka shipping
>>No. 64007
Kinda funny that necklace bro realized she doesn't want to give a careless remark, and is only offering us careless remark options.

[X] Embrace the circumstances. Friends should definitely count as important people, too.

This one seems better since it leverages Kagerou's ignorance of how important the tradition is into the equation, potentially mitigating the perceived offence.
>>No. 64008
[x] Embrace the circumstances. Friends should definitely count as important people, too.
>>No. 64009
[x] Play it cool. Tradition is only as big of a deal as Wakasagihime allows it to be.

I think we have to convince her of this first so it won't cause any misunderstandings later.
>>No. 64010
[x] Play it cool. Tradition is only as big of a deal as Wakasagihime allows it to be.

My reasoning is that I simply don't like how the other option feels more manipulative. "We're friends, aren't we...? C'mon... gimme a scale" At least this is straightforwardly trying to say it's not about emotions, it's just about the scale and her task.
>>No. 64011
File154359866523.png- (625.90KB, 1280x1280, Z8G5wsr.png) [iqdb]
64011
[x] Play it cool. Tradition is only as big of a deal as Wakasagihime allows it to be.

>This choice
>>No. 64012
File154360633874.jpg- (83.84KB, 833x952, like a visual metaphor or something.jpg) [iqdb]
64012
“Oh, is that it?” Kagerou asked, trying to make it sound like it wasn’t a big deal at all. There was only so much I could say or tell her and I had to trust that she’d be able to resolve things in an appropriate fashion. I found myself wishing that I were a cursed object, able to take control of my unwitting host at times. “I wouldn’t worry too much about it,” the werewolf said, “traditions are nice but it’s up to people to give them as much meaning as they want.”

“I guess you’re right,” Wakasagihime said, shaking her head, “but it’s something that I have known all my life. And since I’ve never, um, had the, uh, chance to do it the right way… it’s disappointing if I never get to do it properly.”

The mermaid said her piece with the look of a hopeless romantic. She pressed her hands against her chest as if in a silent prayer, picturing a dashing young knight who would save her from a most terrible fiend just when she thought all was lost. Starry-eyed, she sighed, no doubt having reconciled the obvious anatomical paradox with her vision of living happily ever after and starting a family with her most distinguished love.

At least some part of Kagerou seemed to empathize. She softened her words while still driving the same basic point home, “there’s no reason you can’t do that with someone else when the time comes. I need it to solve a problem so I don’t think it’d be too terrible if you helped me out.”

“No, it wouldn’t be,” Wakasagihime agreed, “it’s just… well, a big part of who I am. Don’t you have any traditions you follow?”

“Not really,” Kagerou said glumly, “I’m the only werewolf around these parts. I don’t really have any traditions other than just staying alive.”

“Mmm, that’s really sad,” the mermaid pouted and flopped more of her body onto land. She wasn’t good at hiding her feelings at all, showing unvarnished pity clearly directed at Kagerou. The werewolf didn’t really seem used to that and scowled in return. Not at all being cool.

“Well...” Kagerou said, shifting uncomfortably on her rock, “I guess all that means is that I’m free to start my own traditions.”

“Oh?” the mermaid’s fins twitched. She flopped once again, leaving only the very tip of her bifurcated tail in the water.

“Listen, don’t misunderstand or make a big deal out of this,” Kagerou went seriously off-script, “but maybe it can be tradition for a werewolf to ask a mermaid for a scale so that she can fit in better at her job?”

“I’m not sure that’s a good tradition,” Wakasagihime said quietly, still having her doubts. It wasn’t like Kagerou was doing that well either: she looked unsure of what she was saying. I had nothing to tell her since she couldn’t unsay what she had said. It was better to just roll with it.

“If you don’t want to do it, I guess it can’t be helped,” Kagerou sighed, “I’m sorry. I don’t really understand why it’s that important to you.”

“Would you wait for me?” Wakasagihime asked, shuffling her body back towards the water. “I want some time to think by myself. I’ll give you an answer later, if that’s alright.”

“I’ll be right here,” Kagerou said, shrugging.

With a solemn nod, the mermaid disappeared into the dark lake. Kagerou stared out blankly, showing that she wasn’t about to return to the mansion in the meanwhile. “That could have probably gone better,” I said, breaking my silence.

“Maybe,” the werewolf replied, appearing not to be in a very talkative mood. I wanted to joke that it was fast becoming a tradition for us to sit out in the night and enjoy the breeze and the stars but I feared that she might take it the wrong way. I didn’t want to risk being thrown deep into a lake because I annoyed a werewolf at the wrong moment.

There wasn’t much of a breeze that night, with the air staying still. Not much of the stars either, with a cloudy front having swooped in to obscure most of the sky. Kagerou gripped a stone, as if to throw it and make it skip on the water, but then put it down. “Is there even any point to trying so hard to fit in?” she asked no one in particular.

“At the mansion?” I asked.

“Let’s say yes,” she explained, “things seem to be running just fine without my meddling and all I have to show for it is feeling like a tired mess. And I don’t even know why I’m bothering with that stupid list. A magician sounds like the sort of person who should fetch their own weird ingredients.”

I thought about what she was saying. I couldn’t say for sure if she had made a difference. “It’s too soon to tell,” I said, “and, besides, it’s a job. It’s great if you’re happy but you signed a contract. What’s important is living up to its terms.”

“I sometimes forget that you’re with me because of that,” she grumbled, annoyed.

“Regardless, I’m still your friend, I hope,” I stated.

“It’s too soon to tell,” she echoed my words harshly. And yes, there may have been a dark smile on her lips that showed that part of that reply was simple venting but that didn’t mean she was exactly wrong. Likewise, it cut both ways. What I said and what I wanted or felt weren’t always the same thing. I had a job to do, after all.

We spent most of our remaining time alone quietly, each lost in our own thoughts. The mermaid returned some time later, when the night was even darker due to the moon’s total disappearance behind clouds. She emerged from the water sheepishly, looking surprised to find Kagerou still sitting on the same rock.

“Sorry for taking so long,” Wakasagihime said, her usual mirth mostly returned.

“It’s fine, I took a nap,” Kagerou forced a yawn and stretched her arms, stating a little white lie.

“So...” the mermaid began, “I thought about what you asked for and it’s not impossible for me to give you a scale but I need you to promise me something first.”

“It depends.”

“I want you to come and save me if I’m ever in trouble. I think that’s a fair trade and is in the spirit of the tradition,” she said plainly, forcing herself not to stutter while looking at Kagerou straight in the face.

“I can try my best, but no more,” Kagerou warned, not waiting for me to weigh in. I really wished I were a cursed object with magical powers.

“That will have to do,” Wakasagihime giggled sweetly, no doubt having another mental digression. Kagerou would make for a poor knight, unable to fit comfortably in plate mail without getting hair caught in a hinge somewhere. She presented her with a small object from her pocket, shiny and very much a scale.

Kagerou stood up and gratefully took the scale; it was the size of a (normal) fingernail, colored light blue and, oddly enough, dry as a bone. She put it away in her pocket and thanked the mermaid, “you’ve really helped me out of a difficult situation.”

“I hope you’ll do the same for me one day,” Wakasagihime said bashfully, covering her mouth modestly with a hand.

“That means no more trying to eat her,” I warned, adding helpful input as always. If she wished to snarl at me, she hid it well, keeping up a pleasant facade for the mermaid to feel at ease.

Whether out of guilt or a new sense of duty, Kagerou stayed with the mermaid for a while longer. They talked of other things besides the scale, making small talk about the lake and the youkai who could be seen there. I didn’t really care and so tuned them out as they gabbed. Calling them friends, close or not, was something of a stretch for a would-be neutral observer, but there was something beyond very casual acquaintanceship brewing there. It was unlikely to bloom into something far more intimate unless Kagerou allowed herself to open up.

Not that I would judge her for keeping to herself.

The talking and pleasantries came to an end eventually. Wakasagihime said that she had something that she had to do before the night was over and excused herself, disappearing back into the depths of the lake. Kagerou looked back at the mansion up above, trying to make out where her room was. The temperature had gotten lower and her maid’s uniform did little to protect her from the cool humidity of the lakeside. She started to climb back up the steps and through the garden.

Things carried on as normal back in the mansion. Remilia had already had her meal, the table had been cleared and there wasn’t much work left for the head maid. Kagerou swung by to see Remilia, finding her tending to a table full of models in drawing room. The vampire was carefully moving around minute objects with tweezers, making sure that everything was just the way she wanted it to be.

“Excuse me,” Kagerou said, looking around the room carefully. Nearly all the chairs were gone, likely cleared so the table could be extended. “I was wondering if you needed me for anything else tonight.”

“Unless you’re handy with a brush, not really,” Remilia replied, not bothering to look at the maid. The models mostly furniture—tables, chairs, grandfather clocks—though there were some miniature people as well, all dressed smartly. They were arrayed in various large diorama-like scenes, with spaces that clearly corresponded to locations in the mansion. Not quite a dollhouse, it was more of a slice of interesting areas and situations. As far as I knew, there wasn’t an indoor swimming pool, and yet there was a diorama with people lounging around in swimwear.

“I hope that it was alright for me to tend to other affairs earlier,” Kagerou sounded slightly apologetic, much like a proper maid might.

“I didn’t die of loneliness if that’s what you’re getting at,” the vampire joked, placing a bearded priest next to what was probably meant to be a taller version of herself in a chapel. She squatted, bringing her eyes on the same level as the pair of figures and gave them a slight nudge so they ended askew but more or less facing each other. With a satisfied grunt, she stood up and said, “so long as you tend to what’s important and are there when I really need you, I don’t mind whatever indulgences you may fancy. Out meeting a boyfriend, I take it?”

“No, nothing like that,” Kagerou answered, unfazed.

It may have been too flat and normal a denial, as the vampire persisted with a smirk, “a woman, then? I won’t judge, mind, I’ve tasted many a forbidden fruit in my time.”

“I’m not involved with anyone currently,” the werewolf kept her cool, “not that it’s any of your business.”

“Oh, don’t be so difficult,” the vampire wagged her index finger, “love and pleasure is something to be indulged in whenever there’s an opportunity. I would have happily shared a bottle of good Blanquette to toast your fortune. I concern myself of the welfare of all my employees. They’re akin to family, after all.”

“I’m thankful for your warm sentiments,” the werewolf replied, “but, if it’s all the same, I’d rather not discuss my love life.”

“Yes, yes,” Remilia waved her hand at her, miffed at what she saw as a hopeless prude.

“You’re not going to ask about the models?” I asked Kagerou, not really expecting an answer. I wasn’t quite sure what Remilia hoped to show with all those meticulously-arranged figures and scenes. But maybe that was a little too boring. “Or, know what? If love is on her mind, maybe you should ask her about her relationships. I bet she’d give you some amusing bullshit about why she isn’t seeing anyone right now.”

Kagerou’s ears twitched and I was uncertain if she would listen to me. But, hey, it was worth a try. Something to cap a day full of ups and downs.

[] The models seemed like more than a simple hobby.
[] If Remilia is so open when it comes to love, she should share some of her own experiences first.
[] It’s a trap! Kagerou should get much-needed rest instead.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/12/01(Sat)14:00

>>No. 64013
[x] It’s a trap! Kagerou should get much-needed rest instead.
If working shit jobs has taught me anything, it's to never do more than you're specifically asked. Sticking around would, in some fashion, fall into doing work either way, considering it has to do with Remilia. The whole point of the last outing was to help stave off burn-out, so Kagerou should probably just rest up. If the old bat wants social time, she can order it.
>>No. 64014
[x] It’s a trap! Kagerou should get much-needed rest instead.

If there's anything Kagerou needs it's certainly not more of Remilia's rambling. She's already heard enough over the few days.
>>No. 64015
[X] It’s a trap! Kagerou should get much-needed rest instead.

It is kinda a shame Kagerou is such a prude. Wish we had a MC with a bit more fire in her veins.
>>No. 64016
[X] If Remilia is so open when it comes to love, she should share some of her own experiences first.

Remi's full of shit. Fluster her.
>>No. 64017
[x] If Remilia is so open when it comes to love, she should share some of her own experiences first.

Setting the mood to become friends. The match was a good start, but it lost momentum terribly. Like everything else.
>>No. 64018
File154362448618.jpg- (526.42KB, 1420x1228, how do i shot bullet.jpg) [iqdb]
64018
>>64015
>Kagerou is such a prude
???
>votes for most prudish option
??????
>>No. 64021
[x] If Remilia is so open when it comes to love, she should share some of her own experiences first.

let's have some fun with her
>>No. 64022
[x] If Remilia is so open when it comes to love, she should share some of her own experiences first.
>>No. 64023
Stuff's come up, sorry, so update tomorrow (probably like 12-14 hours from now).
>>No. 64024
“It’s a good opportunity to turn the tables on her,” I insisted, trying to get Kagerou to listen to me. It may not have been the best of moments for the tired werewolf, but if she didn’t say anything, she’d regret it. I definitely would.

Kagerou failed to make up her mind quickly enough. She lost her opportunity to withdraw without further comment as Remilia noted how she was now staring at her. “Is something the matter?” Remilia asked, a little too pleased with herself, “was all that grownup talk a little too stimulating?”

“See, she’s totally having fun at your expense!” I continued to push, “let’s see how far she goes. Probably not so high and mighty when she’s forced to talk about herself.”

“No, not really,” Kagerou shook her head, trying to sound calm and composed, “I was just thinking how I’d like to hear more about your experiences.”

“Good wolfy,” I praised her, yearning to scratch behind her ears to show her she’s a good and obedient girl. It was unlikely she understand return my pure and most definitely well-intentioned gesture.

“Is that a fact?” Remilia raised an eyebrow, quick to detect the about face in attitude.

“You sound confident about the subject. It got me curious.”

“Yes,” the vampire seemed to be satisfied with the simple reasoning, “I suppose I am confident. Come, let’s sit then and talk somewhere more comfortable.”

The irony of the drawing room being no place to entertain conversation didn’t seem to register with Remilia. She left her models behind and took Kagerou somewhere closer to her bedroom and a fitting place for the conversation, her boudoir. The sitting room was decorated in a familiar style, favoring complex patterns carved into desks and furniture and lively colors for both wallpaper and upholstery. Heavy curtains made from crushed velvet flanked a single window that was strictly decorative—there was nothing beyond it but brick.

A large spinning wheel in a corner of the room suggested that the space may have been used as a sewing room but I really doubted that Remilia would have the patience to do any sewing herself. It felt as functional as the window or the various vases stacked on desks and shelves. The vampire sat down on a long red sofa with a flowery motif on both the upholstery and carved on the high wooden back. She motioned for the werewolf to take a seat on the other end, well within arm’s reach. It was an intimate setting for intimate talk, I supposed.

Kagerou sat down as Remilia stood up again. “We’ll be needing something else,” she said, finding a bottle of a dark something or the other on an ornate shelf. The practical décor didn’t end there as she conjured up a pair of crystal flutes from a hidden compartment on a tall desk. “Not the most appropriate style of glass,” she commented, “but it will do.”

Having filled each flute about halfway, she passed one to Kagerou and then sat back down. Kagerou sniffed at it suspiciously, it smelled of wood and faintly of fruit.

“It’s just calvados, dear,” Remilia said with a laugh, taking a sip from her glass, “it’ll ease your nerves if you’ll let it.”

Kagerou took a wary sip, finding that the liquid was stronger than what she was used to. It vaguely recalled aged fruit and was minutely sweet. She was transparent in her feelings and I could sense that she quickly adapted to its flavor profile when she took a second sip.

“Is there anything in particular you would like to know?” Remilia asked, leaning back in the sofa and looking completely at ease.

“I have no idea where to start,” I said, feeling that perhaps we had been outmaneuvered. Whenever she did stop being so snotty and vain, Remilia did tend to at least look the part of nobility. Her body language almost made me believe that she was as experienced and nonchalant as she said.

“Whatever you think might be most interesting,” Kagerou said, probably having the same doubts that I had.

“Something too technical is perhaps too dull,” the vampire mused aloud, “and perhaps courtly love is too unexciting if you haven’t lived through it.”

Though she said that, her first story was about just about that. It revealed a past that neither Kagerou nor I could really imagine. “He was a gallant youth whose head was full of poetry and idealized love. He liked to hunt and to play at soldier—as was the style at the time—and was most at home in the saddle. As a young girl of certain rank, I was the target of many like him. He only stood out because of his persistence.”

The unnamed lover would spend the better part of two years trying to win Remilia over by her count. He presented flowers, dedicated his victories in manly competition to her, hired troubadour to play for her and even paid nuns from a local cloister to pray for her and the glory of God. All very romantic gestures, Remilia assured us, wearing a nostalgic smile all throughout.

“How did it end?” Kagerou asked at one point.

“A tragedy worthy of a play,” Remilia lamented, “he would talk of marriage and taking my fair hand and that just couldn't be. His kind had no idea mine walked among them and so all I allowed him to do was to relinquish his chastity. He enjoyed that quite a lot, and so did I, but one day I was careless and he discovered I was a vampire. So I did what I had to do to make sure I could continue to live unperturbed.”

“You killed him?” Kagerou jumped to the most obvious conclusion.

“I’ve never killed a lover,” she boasted, quite weirdly, “no, instead I used some of the tools in my disposal to make sure he went on one of those long and foolish wars of his. He never returned, having decided that settling in conquered land was better than to risk the wrath of the church for his unholy transgressions.”

Remilia poured more drink. Kagerou had drank most of her cup and she didn’t really mind having more. I wasn’t sure if it eased her nerves but it did loosen her tongue, “what about that forbidden fruit that you were talking about earlier?” she asked.

“Not everyone is made the same,” Remilia explained, drinking up the liquor as if it were water, “some have types—tall, swarthy, jokers, intellectuals, what have you. Most of these preferences are tolerated, sometimes even celebrated, though it’s seldom that you’ll be able to marry a partner you love. Some other preferences are only whispered about, shared in hushed tones among others with similar proclivities.”

“What are your preferences?” Kagerou asked, inhibitions degraded.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet,” the vampire said with a grin, continuing with another story, “in the more cosmopolitan regions of the world, where coffee houses and sitting rooms are often filled with creative types and those with an open mind, some of those whispers can be easier to pick up.”

A young lady, the lone scion of a wealthy family of merchants had been in Remilia’s social circles once upon a time. “She had been allowed a university education and often comported herself as a man, drinking immodestly and eager to use profanity. Her parents did not know what to do with her as she flouted convention at every turn. In that era, I had a reputation for primness and modesty. The few years I spent establishing myself socially there had kept me well-supplied in other areas and it wasn’t too long before it was suggested that I tutor this girl in proper social etiquette. I obliged, feeling that having that family in my debt would be immensely profitable.”

Remilia laughed at a memory, “I don’t remember who made the first move but it was soon after I had taken her under my wing that we explosively explored a mutual attraction. Let me tell you—“ she gestured strongly with her glass, “only a woman can hope to know another woman’s body as thoroughly. I suppose we were as two bitches in heat, eager as we were to satisfy one another.”

“And you were happy?” Kagerou asked, sounding skeptical.

“For a time, yes,” Remilia replied, sighing, “we consumed each other, body and soul, for the better part of a year. Rumors grew and I had to make a decision. She never forgave me for it. All I have left is a half-empty bottle of her perfume. Several years later I learned that she had married and started a family.”

“Oh,” Kagerou’s ears drooped, “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, that’s just life,” Remilia said quietly. She pivoted, bringing herself closer to Kagerou. Her free hand came to rest on Kagerou’s. “I don’t really believe in regrets when it comes to love,” she whispered, the tone and look in her eyes clearly implying what she hoped to accomplish.

“Well, fuck,” I blurted out, “she’s coming on to you.” I really hadn’t seen that coming. With all her gibes about werewolves, it seemed like she would definitely be above involving herself with the chief maid.

Kagerou handled the situation gracefully. Or, as gracefully as the calvados would allow either of them to act. “I’m not really interested, sorry,” she said outright, without hesitation.

“That’s fine,” Remilia took the rejection well, patting the werewolf’s hand softly with her own before withdrawing it, “I’m just exploring possibilities. If you ever change your mind, let me know. It doesn’t have to be anything more than a spot of fun if you don’t it to be.”

Part of me was curious about the mechanics of a werewolf and a vampire engaging in a debauched affair but my feelings weren’t really relevant. Kagerou was a big girl and she could make her own decisions when it came to romance. Even if having sex with your boss was usually a bad idea, I wouldn’t judge or interfere.

“Well then!” the vampire imbibed until her glass was empty, “is there anything else you would like to know about my experiences? There’s an ultimate technique that I know that makes every man invariably weak in the knees. If that’s your kind of thing, of course.”

Kagerou drank more from her cup. She was feeling the effects of the alcohol, her body loose and a warm feeling coming from the pit of her stomach. It was interesting to experience where I got to experience insobriety vicariously. Her senses were duller but she was focusing much more on Remilia than she usually did. While not flustered, by any stretch, the idea of an affair with the vampire had excited her on some level. She refused any more to drink, probably feeling that any more might make her outright fall asleep given how tired she felt.

[] Is there anyone more recent? Perhaps in Gensokyo?
[] Let her share her ultimate technique.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/12/03(Mon)14:00


---
I'm going to keep trying to run this as close to daily updates as possible. December is a really busy month with a lot of things I got to do so we'll see what happens.
>>No. 64025
[x] Let her share her ultimate technique.
HISSATSU
>>No. 64026
[x] Let her share her ultimate technique.

This should be good.
>>No. 64027
[x] Is there anyone more recent? Perhaps in Gensokyo?

Possibly more of Al's backstory?
>>No. 64028
[X] Let her share her ultimate technique.

You're going to love this, trust me. What you're seeing now is a normal blowjob...
>>No. 64029
[X] Let her share her ultimate technique.

Impress me!
>>No. 64030
[x] Let her share her ultimate technique.
Wondering how much of it is complete bullshit getting passed off. Then again, I'm guessing someone bullshitting wouldn't make a pass.
>>No. 64031
[x] Let her share her ultimate technique.
>>No. 64032
[X] Let her share her ultimate technique.

This ought to be good... or at least amusing.
>>No. 64038
>>64030

No way dude. This is the Legendary Scarlet Devil we're talkin about. Whatever it is, it's guaranteed to be sexy. Like snapping a pair of chopsticks in half with her butt or something equally amazing.
>>No. 64039
File154508811534.png- (255.57KB, 500x587, sick filth.png) [iqdb]
64039
Hey, figure I'd say something about me not updating. Sorry about that but life has been a relentless shitstorm of endless crises for the past few weeks. No signs of it abating anytime soon but, on the plus side, there may be a non-zero chance that I turn to writing in my starkest moments of sleep deprivation as a form of escapism. No promises either way. Just wanted to make clear that this hasn't been forgotten at all. Wait warmly but also bring a magazine or something.
>>No. 64040
>>64039
>shitstorm of endless crises
I know that feel, fam. Hope you get through the storm safe and sound.
>>No. 64046
File154803650763.png- (285.33KB, 800x808, hair hair hair.png) [iqdb]
64046
Meant to have something ready by today but things haven't worked out for various reasons. I'm aiming to have an update out by the end of the week sometime. Fingers crossed, look forward to that.
>>No. 64047
Lewd Loli hype!
>>No. 64048
File154854183244.jpg- (187.43KB, 907x1267, casting not couch.jpg) [iqdb]
64048
It’s an odd thing to depend on others to feel. As much as I would have wanted to feel the steady warmth provided by the drink and ensuing gentle numbness, I could only guess how Kagerou really felt after spending that much time drinking with the vampire. Sure, I could tell that she wasn’t 100% and that her thoughts weren’t as sharp and focused as she might like. But it was still akin an echo of a true feeling; what I saw, heard and felt lacked sharpness, or clear image of the impulse behind the sensation.

So, as a result, I stayed mostly quiet. Yeah, how she felt was her own prerogative, her own idle fancies her driving force. I didn’t feel it fair to impose on either her feelings or how she thought it best to handle the clearly drunk vampire. As worn as the thought might have been, how I acted at the present was different to how I would have acted if I had a body. I supposed it would forever haunt me how I would deal with a drunk and gabby vampire. Give her a hard time? Try to pry as many indecent details as I could? Accept her offer to fuck? Nah, probably not the latter—she was altogether too bony and small.

A werewolf was clearly a simpler creature: her ears stood half-cocked. showing sufficient interest to keep the vampire talking. What’s more—she seemed to have the vampire’s verbal flow internalize and let Remilia speak freely when there was no reason not to. Kagerou was rather good at letting Remilia blather on, keeping herself good and loose. When she did speak, when she did ask, her words seemed like a natural continuation of whatever it was she was talking about. A part of me suspected that a glass more might have pushed her on the edge, made her loose all composure. What good is a drunken maid?

“No, you see dear girl, it’s just a matter of mechanics to keep them coiled around your finger,” the vampire explained, half-unprompted. Kagerou only had to suggest that she share her secret that she spilled her secrets readily. “Confidence, as always, goes a long way when it comes to ecstasy.”

Some sounds lingered lazily on her tongue, almost adding extra syllables to common words. Kagerou paid that no mind, trying instead to get her boss to focus on what was important. “And you speak from experience?” she asked, curiosity piqued.

“Yes, of course, dear,” Remilia replied, bringing her glass up to her lips. There wasn’t much liquid left and her movements jerked awkwardly—so much so that an errant drop almost flew from the glass and onto her dress—but she managed to keep drinking without spilling any somehow. “It would likely help if you were a chirurgeon but such precise knowledge of anatomy isn’t quite needed.”

As always, though some of the vocabulary likely evaded her understanding, Kagerou played it cool twitching her ears only slightly with any misunderstanding. Context was king.

“What you must do is make good use of your fingers,” Remilia explained, “you see, we’re like dolls in a sense. Pull the right string and you get the body to do things automatically. She mimed a gesture that I really wish I hadn’t seen. There was certainly a boldness to the action and, as I understood it, it probably would provoke a strong reaction from the other party. Whether it was pleasurable or not was up for debate.

Kagerou watched with interest, her eyed following both the literal thrust of her argument and the shape with which digits bent as they explored the imaginary lover’s body. That the ultimate technique was physiological rather than psychological didn’t seem to matter—the vampire assured her that there was nothing else under the sun that would have a man so utterly capitulated when faced with intense ministrations.

That whole exchange provided incontrovertible proof that perversion had neither gender nor social station to bind it. If I ever met any other members of the midnight aristocracy, hell, or just anyone who put on airs, I’d soon remember how depraved they could be. I wouldn’t soon forget the coquettish smile on Remilia’s lips as she carefully demonstrated her technique. It was enough to make a mere mortal—as it were—like myself fall madly in love. Or, yeah, uh, mad with curiosity to how it actually felt to be on the receiving end of her moves.

“That might even feel good to you, thinking about it,” I said, unable to help myself. Didn’t seem like Kagerou agreed. For a moment I thought she was going to mumble an answer under her breath but instead her ears slacked disapprovingly and, if I’m honest, quite capriciously. She wasn’t sold on the power of love.

“Vampires are more interesting that I gave them credit for,” the werewolf said, her tongue loosed by the calvados. It was the closest thing to a proper reaction to the vampire’s ostentatiously lewd miming and innuendo.

“You know...” Remilia started, her red eyes shining with mischievous light, “once upon a time domestic servants...”

“Let’s leave the past where it rightly belongs,” Kagerou interrupted, seeing where the line of conversation was headed. She already had declared herself uninterested earlier.

“Cold,” I said, paradoxically glad that she wasn’t getting too carried away on account of the drink. My heart just wasn’t ready to see much more depravity in a single night. I’d have to be eased into it, perhaps with masks and the casual nudity prevalent with secret societies. Or my conception of what a secret society did, at any rate.

“No need to force it, such things occur naturally under the right circumstances,” Remilia observed, drinking the last of the liquor with a murmur. As with her drink, the truth threatened to spill out with the slightest amount of relaxation. There was enough sense left in her to channel that impulse and she kept from coming on too strong to the increasingly tired werewolf.

Kagerou stuck around until Remilia finished her drink, engaging in small talk about this and that. The subject of relationships came up peripherally, hijacking talk of companionship and the past, but neither really insisted on the central and more carnal points once again. Sexual tension stood to one corner, like a punished child, ever present but letting the adults talk about whatever else with only the slightest of interruptions.

Maybe it was just me. Maybe it was the fuzzy feeling I got from Kagerou’s own sense but I felt like Remilia held back some. There was a lot she could say about sex, relationships and pleasure. Quite obviously, she didn’t bring up the subject of her own kinks and her own pleasure. The jury was still out on whether or not it was deliberate. Same as the loosened collar and buttons that left pale skin underneath exposed at certain angles; were Kagerou to look straight down at her, she would see much of her flesh indecently exposed again.

Before the vampire could drone on about previous torrid love affairs again, Kagerou took her leave. She mentioned the late hour but also that she had enjoyed their talk. Remilia saw right through her but still forced a smile and let her go, telling her to “rest up and clear your head.”

Kagerou thanked her and stood, her feet unsteady at first. The blood seemed to pool down lower in her body, leaving her lightheaded. I felt her concentrate and take a deep breath before she attempted a step, mindful of not letting the vampire see just how messed up she might actually feel. It wasn’t like she would tumble over at the next opportunity or anything—it was just that her movements needed some extra thinking and coordination.

Thinking nothing of the sight, Remilia blew Kagerou a sloppy kiss, one that was too wet to be appropriate. She remained sat and leaned back, content to space out in the comfort of her room for a while longer. Instead of being bound to Kagerou, I wished I could spend some time the vampire’s thoughts. It would be interesting to see just how weird and out there her thought processes were.

The focused energy Kagerou showed led her straight to her bedroom without the possibility of detours. She undressed, got barely got her sleeping clothes on and flopped onto her bed. That her buttons were undone and that a passing pervert could see much of her flesh was inconsequential—she was more worried about getting rest than anything else. I didn’t even register anymore as an other, apparently.

Like a short-nosed hound lying on their side, she snored as she slept. I wasn’t as lucky, not really having a need to sleep. So I did what any disembodied entity would after a night of many truths and free flow of drink—I continued to work. I checked in with another boss.

Drinking and making merry wasn’t restricted to just werewolves and vampires. I couldn’t see anything, feeling just the general atmosphere and hearing a lot of noise, but Sakuya was somewhere where the drinks flowed and people socialized. I couldn’t tell what she was drinking as my vision was limited to rough contour of her face, but it felt room-appropriate. Maybe.

“I’d like to report in, if you don’t mind,” I announced, feeling the link between us stable. There was a huge distance between us, of that much I was sure, but it felt more stable if not outright more personal than earlier. I could almost feel her soft breath against the rim of her glass just before she took a drink. Oddly… nostalgic? Pale eyes looked ahead, communing with me but not losing awareness of the environment around her.

“Can I get you the next one?” A voice asked but was promptly dismissed.

“I’m fine sitting by myself,” Sakuya replied coldly, spurning whoever it was. She turned her attention to me, her voice low. I wasn’t sure if it was strictly due to necessity or the more intimate nature of our talk. “Speak. Any problems with the plan?”

“None yet,” I replied. She smiled to herself. I felt myself smile in return. Or something like that given I didn’t have a face. My non-existent heart pounded harder in its virtual state, glad to be talking to her.

“Carry on,” she instructed, asking the usual status questions quickly and quietly.

I replied as best as I could, filling her in about this and that. She seemed surprised that the fairies maintained the level of competence that they did—the subtext was clearly that she ought to have been as cats set on fire by now. I swelled with pride as no doubt my superior management skills and persuasive words had enabled Kagerou to handle things proficiently.


“Do you know day it will be in a month?” she asked, all at once concerned and more intimate. I had seen enough of Remilia’s heart for the evening to know that Sakuya spoke of something beyond employer and employee.

I drew a blank. “...no, sorry,” I said.

The chief maid was quiet and all I could hear was the background noise of people carousing. She sighed, nearly imperceptibly, and nursed her drink. Her hair was different than usual—the braids conspicuously missing and it all coming down casually at shoulder height. It felt odd though I couldn’t help but feel that I shouldn’t have been able to see that in the first place. Call it intuition. Instinct. Bias.

Whatever it was, I felt sad that I was disappointing her somehow.

“Is there anything else?” she asked, like clockwork, brushing aside any signs of familiarity that may have been there.

I couldn’t think of anything appropriate. Of anything perfunctory. Maybe I was encouraged by the werewolf's shiny stream of drool (that would soon fall form her chin onto her pillow) or had become more stimulated by the earlier conversation than I let on but I ventured into the realm of the personal. Just a tiny bit.

[] Remilia was quick to talk about love and lust. Just how much of that was actual flirting?
[] She had appeared in my dreams. Were we…? Or was that nonsense?
>>No. 64049
[X] Remilia was quick to talk about love and lust. Just how much of that was actual flirting?
>>No. 64050
[x] Remilia was quick to talk about love and lust. Just how much of that was actual flirting?

i'd like to know why remilia wants to fuck a literal bitch
>>No. 64051
[x] She had appeared in my dreams. Were we…? Or was that nonsense?
Do dreams come true?
>>No. 64052
[X] She had appeared in my dreams. Were we…? Or was that nonsense?
>>No. 64053
[x] Remilia was quick to talk about love and lust. Just how much of that was actual flirting?
>>No. 64054
[x] Remilia was quick to talk about love and lust. Just how much of that was actual flirting?

Thirsty
>>No. 64057
[Z] She had appeared in my dreams. Were we…? Or was that nonsense?
>>No. 64058
Since it's unlikely anyone will change their mind at this stage or vote, flipping a coin. Writing sometime "soon".
Coin flip: tails!
>>No. 64059
[x] Remilia was quick to talk about love and lust. Just how much of that was actual flirting?

Changed my mind. Providing us some background info on Remi's habits and mannerisms is a better use of this vote block.
>>No. 64060
File155017599062.jpg- (97.10KB, 867x762, izayoi.jpg) [iqdb]
64060
“There is, uh, one more thing,” I said. I was fast becoming unnerved, hesitation and anxiety swelling up from the depths of my mind. I attempted to steady myself and sardonically wished that I also had a drink in hand and perhaps several already in my belly.

“Yes?” Sakuya asked, her expression still murky to me. And yet I was sure that she was cocking her head slightly, wearing a look of someone who knows the question in advance but chooses to play dumb out of consideration for the other person’s feelings. In other words, she was letting myself get as ready as I needed to be. That’s what I hoped, at least.

Acting like an insecure high schooler around their crush just wasn’t me. And yet I found myself being circumspect, explaining and trying not to sound too stupid in equal measures, “We saw Patchouli at the library and she gave something to Kagerou. Meant for me.” I paused. Had we been sat together, I would have used the opportunity to look at her face and attempt to suss out just how much she actually knew. There was nothing like that that could guide me. Frustrated, I continued, “I saw something—a vision I suppose. It was someone who was sick and being nursed.”

The vision retained a burnish that made it feel like it had taken place only moments ago. Trying to recall anything about it conjured up complex feelings that I couldn’t quite define. “You were there,” I said, sheepishly, “and you cared a great deal for the person stuck in bed. I could feel the touch of your hand.”

“And how does that make you feel?” Sakuya asked quietly, not at all caring how awkward my admission was.

“Like I’m missing something, I guess,” I spouted automatically. I didn’t have a better answer and thinking about it got me nowhere. The emotions in the vision were complex and I wasn’t sure if they were even my own or something of a vicarious experience.

“That’s a shame, don’t you think?” I could almost see an impish smile forming on her face as she asked me that.

“It’s certainly something. I’m just not sure what.”

“Hang in there,” she said.

“I’m not even sure if that was me...” I continued to muse aloud.

“There’s one thing that could make you know for sure,” she said quietly.

“What would that be?”

“If I were to hold your hand,” she stated, “not that it would be possible right now.”

“Hm, that might do it,” I conceded, vividly recalling the sensation in the vision. It was the kind of thing that I’d know for sure right away.

Sakuya giggled. At once I realized why—I had taken what was meant to be a playful tease seriously. “I have no doubts that you’re keeping my replacement thoroughly amused now,” she said.

“I try my best,” I said, wishing I could have paired the words with a stupid, self-effacing grin.

I think she understood what I was going for, regardless. She went off on an unexpected tangent, offering an unexpected display of good humor, “Lady Remilia certainly could do with a good voice in her head to keep her in check at times.”

“Once the contract is done, who knows what may happen? I think I’d rather have a body again, though.”

“All the better to hold my hand with, I suppose,” she laughed softly, nursing the drink in her hands, “or maybe do more than just that. Some people, like certain vampires, are shameless with their advances.”

“We’ll see,” I said, trying not to get too carried away. It felt like a privilege to hear her joke around. It certainly was a departure from the usual terse questions and replies. Truth was, I could almost feel her soft hand if I concentrated. And I had a few choice thoughts. But I couldn’t think of a non-creepy way to joke about that. Maybe something about the moisturizer she used…? Erring on the side of caution and shutting up was probably better.

Sakuya also seemed to want to say something else, I could almost see the contours of her lips moving, mouthing soundless words. But she held back, letting the good natured exchange die down naturally and quietly. Turning her attention to the drink in her hand, she then moved to end our exchange, “I’ll be interested in hearing your next report.”

“I’ll be interested in giving it,” I said, maybe sounding more of a puckish rogue than I intended.

“Good night,” she said abruptly. It felt like maybe she would sigh but she hid any such desires well. I was probably projecting too much.

“Yes, good night,” I replied, not being able to think of any other thing to say.

I felt the connection sever after another moment. That left me alone with my thoughts. And intimately aware of just how loud a snoring werewolf could possibly be. I’d keep her from drinking in the future if it helped avoid the unnatural din. I tuned her out as best I could and whiled the rest of the night away.

Kagerou got up late and struggled to pull herself together. Her innards rumbled a in protest to the abuse they suffered the previous night, her eyes were unfocused and she yawned as listlessly as one would expect. Like mistress, like maid. A glass or two more and she might have been the one fouling up her bed instead.

I held back on the moralizing for the moment, letting her at least wash up and put on her clothes before even speaking to her. “You’ve missed a spot,” I said, referring to her hair, “if you brush that side a little more, no one will be the wiser to just how wild your evening was.”

“Yeah, okay,” she said, yawning yet again.

“Head hurt?” I asked.

“Not really,” she replied, “just feels like it takes more effort to think and do things.”

“Let me do the thinking for you then, my cute little wolf,” I said, helpfully.

“I’m not in the mood for your crap yet,” she warned me off, biting down to stifle another yawn.

“I was being genuine and trying to cut you some slack,” I huffed. “If you want to be a jerk and a dumb doggie, be my guest.”

“I don’t get you at all sometimes,” she shook her head, not thinking much of it.

“Way to ruin my good mood,” I complained, not really sure why I was making a big deal of things.

“Alright, whatever, sorry,” she waved at her reflection in the mirror, using her other hand to brush the last unruly strand of her hair.

“Apology accepted. Now go eat something to settle that stomach of yours,” I suggested. Kagerou agreed with that priority.

She had one of the fairy maids whip up something to eat. I noticed that some of the fairies seemed to be more agitated than usual but I couldn’t tell why. Kagerou either didn’t notice or was too engrossed by the prospect of food to care. It was only once after she finished her breakfast in record time that she regained the ability to care about anything else. Her ears perked up and she began to pay attention to her surroundings again.

“Thinking of making drinking with Remilia a regular thing?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

“I’d sooner tie a heavy stone around my neck and jump into the lake,” she grimaced, making clear the physical toll the whole exchange had taken.

“Then you’d just be stuck with the mermaid; doubt she’d give you any peace either.”

“Life is unfair,” she complained with a faint smile.

“Luckily we can rely on each other to get through it all,” I said without figuring out how much I truly meant it. “If I was sick, you’d keep me company and hold my hand, right?”

“You don’t have a hand,” she pointed out correctly and with some confusion on her face.

“Yeah. But if I did, you would. Good intentions, camaraderie and affection are important things in this life is my point.”

“You’re weirder than usual today. Sure, I guess, I’d do that for you,” she nodded, looking certain that I was making a joke that she wasn’t getting.

“Thanks, good to know,” I said, satisfied, “I’d do the same for you. You’re a good person.”

Kagerou looked down at her blouse and then pulled me out. She stared for a moment, eyes stopping to inspect the usual colors, trying to see if I looked any different. I could detect honest concern behind her actions but she tried to make it not so obvious. With a theatrical motion she dropped me back down and shrugged, “I honestly can’t tell if you’re drunk now or not. Or how that’d happen in the first place.”

[] Shift things back to the usual banter in order to reassure her that things are as normal as always.
[] It’s fine if she doesn’t get it. The important thing is for her to know she’s a very good girl.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2019/02/16(Sat)15:00


---
I'll be trying to pick up the pace again, I'll be figuring out what sort of schedule works best as I go along. I've put back a timer in order to try to motivate my sorry ass. Hopefully it won't take me so long to write after voting either.

>>64059
Sorry man, votes are tallied at time of calling. Only exception is if I mess up somehow and explicitly ask for more votes or a revote or something. Feel free to go nuts with changing votes or discussing stuff with other readers before that though.
>>No. 64062
[x] Shift things back to the usual banter in order to reassure her that things are as normal as always.
The shields are coming down little-by-little, but they're still up, so let's just back it off a bit for now, hmm?
>>No. 64063
[X] It’s fine if she doesn’t get it. The important thing is for her to know she’s a very good girl.

For all her complaining, she still does what she is told every time, even at her inconvenience. Sure, the banter with her is also nice, but I think it's good to be sincere with her once in a while.
>>No. 64064
[X] Shift things back to the usual banter in order to reassure her that things are as normal as always

I wish we could go ahead and keep it up, but she's a bit delicate and has been burned once. We better take it easy.

Besides she doesn't seem to like his happy self. That's kind of a pity to be honest.
>>No. 64065
[X] It’s fine if she doesn’t get it. The important thing is for her to know she’s a very good girl.

As long as he doesn't word it exactly like this and play up the whole "dog" thing. It's nice to get a bit of positive feedback every now and then.
>>No. 64066
[x] It’s fine if she doesn’t get it. The important thing is for her to know she’s a very good girl.

If only we could pet her. Almost as good as holding Sakuya's hand.
>>No. 64067
[x] It’s fine if she doesn’t get it. The important thing is for her to know she’s a very good girl.
>>No. 64068
[X] It’s fine if she doesn’t get it. The important thing is for her to know she’s a very good girl.

I'm not a big fan of the whole witty banter relationship dynamic thing, so that works for me.
>>No. 64069
File155036373783.png- (381.78KB, 612x665, fictitious catgirl getting love.png) [iqdb]
64069
She didn’t get me. But that was fine. It was hard to explain why I felt the way I did and no way of predicting how long it’d last. Being some sort of entity stuck in a stone probably meant that there would be at least some mysteries about my existence. Given the way things were between us, even honesty would come with prickly edges.

In other words, being too little like myself would make her dismiss what I was saying out of hand. She really would think I was drunk. Hit my head. Whatever. I chose my words carefully, trying to strike a balance, “we should get back to work. But I’m serious enough. You’re a very good girl, and you should get some recognition for that. Doesn’t matter if you believe me right now. I’d scratch you behind the ears and all but, well, you know the rest.”

“Jerk,” she said softly, very little of the usual acidic tinge to her tone.

“Let’s keep it in the cards for the future, who knows? We’ll see how things work out at some point,” I said, not really wanting to dwell on the end state of us either. Those were thoughts best left for someone with less confidence than me.

Not really wanting to keep up the same line of conversation either, Kagerou turned her attention back to her job. She had slept in, her breakfast really being lunchtime for more normal and respectable folk. Fatigue still plagued her and it reflected on her senses—any limitations on her end trickled down to me. And yet, the head maid wore a brave face as she interacted with a few fairies and made her rounds.

A few fairies that were slacking and not cleaning sprung into action as soon as Kagerou came around. Sure, they’d likely stop working soon after she turned the corner, but at least they tried to show respect to Kagerou’s rank and authority. More importantly, none of them seemed to notice just how tired the werewolf was and looked uneager to do anything that would get them chewed out.

From her behalf, and partially thanks to my sage advice, Kagerou was firm but not too bellicose. She reminded the other servants that work needed to get done and occasionally lent a symbolic hand to help—dusting a bust for a few moments or carrying a pail of water—but was happy to leave them to their own devices. The time she had spent in the mansion already had instilled confidence in her abilities to get the job done. The only thing that was still tricky for her was dealing with her own boss. That and her own body.

In between making sure the wheels of the machine were properly greased, she took a few breaks. Kagerou relished the fresh air and opened some of the few windows she encountered on her way. There wasn’t much of an air current but she still took her time to stand by the open window and take deep breaths. While I naturally made fun of her for pushing herself too hard with Remilia, I also made small talk about this and that and played short rounds of “I spy” to make sure she got all the fresh air she needed.

It soon turned out that she would need it. The afternoon was fast heading towards a close.

A flustered fairy ran up to her, tripping up on her own words, “We’ve been trying but can’t find... she’s not here and… and so Ana said to find you. So I was sent and here I am and um, yeah, you probably know what to do. If not, oh boy, Ana won’t be happy. None of us, I mean.”

She was a slight creature, like most of the other fairies, wearing the uniform of the service specialist. I couldn’t remember seeing her before. Though, if I was honest, all fairies kind of looked alike after a while. They were bubbly creatures that liked to slack off and be loud. I had seen so many brown-haired fairies with straight hair that I couldn’t even use their hair color or style to tell them apart.

Kagerou didn’t seem to know her either. She urged her to calm down, offering a patient smile, “okay, take a deep breath, then take your time and explain what’s going on properly.”

“Ah!” the fairy gulped down air and puffed her cheeks, failing at even taking a proper deep breath.

“Might need to direct this one,” I said.

“I’m going to ask questions, alright?” Kagerou narrowed her eyes, letting her tone become a little more serious. “Short answers, to the point. Understand?”

“Um, yes!” the fairy answered, pushing out the air she gulped forcefully through her mouth, inadvertently blowing a raspberry.

“I take it there’s a problem in one of your usual chores?”

“Yep!” the fairy replied.

“Which chore was it?” the interrogation continued.

“Serving food. We usually have a tray ready which we leave and, um, it’s then taken but there was no one to-”

“Hold up, don’t get ahead of yourself,” Kagerou chided, waving one of those long fingernails in front of the fairy. The fairy watched dumbly at the motion, cowed into silence. “Whose meal were you delivering? Lady Remilia’s?”

I understood at once what was going on. I let the fairy say her piece nonetheless. “No, the mistress’ sister, “ the fairy said, casting her eyes downwards. Clearly not a pleasant duty.

“Another vampire,” I told Kagerou before she asked. “Not sociable according to what I’ve heard.”

“And she’s not in her room? Is that the problem?” Kagerou asked, a little annoyed that she hadn’t known that there was another vampire she had to attend to.

“Nope, she’s not there,” sounding like she was uncomfortable with the subject she continued, unprompted, and not in the other areas she’s allowed to be. She likes to play games so maybe we thought she was hiding but none of the fairies like to play with her because, um, it’s not that fun.”

“So you haven’t really looked for her, then?” Kagerou was more than just a little bit annoyed at the fairy. I had to agree with the sentiment—they had tried nothing and were all out of ideas.

“Um, I guess not? We’re too scared. But she needs to eat too because last time she got out and looked for food...”

“I think I got it,” Kagerou scowled, “you want me to go look for her and give her her meal.”

“If that’s alright with you?” the fairy asked with puppy dog eyes.

The big bad wolf would have none of it, “if you don’t do your jobs, I’ll have to punish you, you know.”

“Ah, please don’t!” the fairy cowered, but didn’t relent. “We’re all very sorry but we’re not good at stuff like this!”

“Go bail them out,” I told her. The dressing down could wait. I reminded her of her duty, “you have to attend to these vampires whether you like to or not. If she is missing, you’ll have to go look for her sooner or later. I think the fairies will end up being more diligent of you if you manage to deal with something that’s scary to them. Show them it’s not a big deal.”

“Let Ana know that I’ll be expecting her to make it up to me later,” Kagerou growled, mostly for show, making the fairy tremble.

A glimmer of gratitude welled up behind the incipient tears, “oh thank you very much, Lady Kagerou! We left the tray at the entrance.”

Without waiting to be dismissed, the maid scuttled off, her legs looking absolutely rubbery. Whether that was because of the vampire or the werewolf was unclear.

“Just when I think I’ve gotten comfortable with the job,” Kagerou sighed. “So, Al, what can you tell me about this other vampire?”

“Not much,” I confessed, “her quarters are below ground, far away from everyone else. Looks like she’s got quite a few rooms to herself, basically living in her own apartments. As for anything else, her name is Flandre. That’s about all I know. There’s a warning that she shouldn’t be let out elsewhere unsupervised but no other details.

“Sounds fun,” Kagerou said with another sigh before asking me to navigate down to the other vampire’s quarters.

We found a covered tray of food by the entrance of the underground wing where Flandre lived. Going with a “find her first, then the food” mentality, we ignored it and instead opened a large door that led to a long corridor. The wallpaper beyond was less garish than usual, trading golden leaves and similar motifs for more child-like stamped teddy bears and horses. There were a lot of primary colors in non-threatening shades that were probably meant to be relaxing.

Kagerou didn’t seem to approve of the décor, her neck hairs standing on end as she cautiously proceeded. It was kind of creepy, so I couldn’t fault her. Seemed like the sort of place where you’d run into a pair of ghostly twins or hear random crying that seemed to come from nowhere. None of that happened, of course, but there really wasn’t much I could say to put her at ease. Kagerou looked around carefully, finding that a few toys like letter blocks had been scattered around.

She opened a few doors, finding storage spaces and a bathroom. They weren’t quite as sparkling clean as the rest of the mansion, maybe out the fairies’ own feelings about the area, but they were clearly active and in use. Someone definitely lived down there.

“Maybe we’re being watched?” I suggested, not so much to startle her but to give her the motivation to call out to the vampire. The fairies were spineless, after all.

“Hullo, Flandre?” Kagerou called out with no reply. The bedroom door was ajar, showing that the fairies had at least made it that far before scrambling away.

The room itself was lit by soft lighting and looked to be a young girl’s room. Large stuffed animals were clustered around the corners and there were toys as far as the eye could see. A four-poster bed with pink sheets and teddy bears the size of a person took up most of the space on one side of the wall. Toys, of every imaginable sort, cluttered the rest of the area save for a small tea table and a couple of chairs around it. Someone could easily be hiding between toys or stuffed animals.

“I wonder how long it takes Sakuya to tidy up this place,” I said, finding that he chaos of the space was at odds with the rest of the mansion. There were many shiny and distracting objects strewn about, making it hard to scan the area carefully.

“Flandre? We’ve brought your food,” Kagerou said, looking around again.

A soft giggle—one that seemed to come from nowhere specifically—made Kagerou’s ears perks up. “I’ll eat if you can find me,” a girly voice said. Seemed likely to me that it was Flandre.

“Is that you, Flandre?” Kagerou asked but got no reply. She looked around carefully and could find no clue as to where the voice had come from.

I wasn’t exactly an expert at psychology. That said, I could infer a few things from our surroundings and first interaction. It was my place to give expert advice and make sure things went as smoothly as possible. No wasting time when it could be avoided, neither could there be unnecessary ruffling of feathers. Vampires were annoying, yes, but we were professionals. And a professional had to decide how to best fight their battles in the name of efficiency. Everything seemed to point that we were dealing with a child. So we had to act accordingly and set a good first impression.

[] Go along with her whims for the moment. Even if it’s a waste of time.
[] Lay down the law. Food first, play comes later.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2019/02/18(Mon)13:00

>>No. 64070
[x] Go along with her whims for the moment. Even if it’s a waste of time
>>No. 64071
[x] Lay down the law. Food first, play comes later.
She's testing boundaries since Kagerou is the fresh fish of the joint. Gotta hold firm or she'll likely be more difficult in future.
>>No. 64072
[x] Go along with her whims for the moment. Even if it’s a waste of time.
>>No. 64073
[X] Go along with her whims for the moment. Even if it’s a waste of time.

She likely hasn't had any interactions since Sakuya left and is just lonely/bored. We can try to be friendly with her by being her playmate. She's still dangerous, but Kagerou isn't a fairy.
>>No. 64074
[x] Go along with her whims for the moment. Even if it’s a waste of time

play it safe
>>No. 64075
[X] Lay down the law. Food first, play comes later.

Looks like neither of them are aware of Flandoll age. As such, this one would be the in-character vote.
>>No. 64076
[x] Lay down the law. Food first, play comes later.
>>No. 64077
[x] Go along with her whims for the moment. Even if it’s a waste of time.

There's no way to enforce the other choice, so it's a bad one. If she just says 'no lol' there's nothing we can do.
That ain't good child-rearing technique.
>>No. 64078
>>64077

A valid point seeing as we've been hired to be a maid, not a nanny. Still, I'd like to believe we could finally achieve the long awaited Flandre spanking scene.
>>No. 64079
I'm unexpectedly busy but I'll aim to have the update out by the end of the day.

>>64077
I can tell you've never babysat before. Thanks for the laugh!
>>No. 64080
File155051679919.png- (695.78KB, 1024x1024, 152595321245.png) [iqdb]
64080
>>64071
Yeah, this is obvious. If she feels like she can get away with anything, then we'll never reign her in.

[x] Lay down the law. Food first, play comes later

And while we can't beat her up, we have the ear of the person she fears(loves) the most: REMILIA
>>No. 64081
File155053872690.jpg- (2.37MB, 3500x4000, the potential was there.jpg) [iqdb]
64081
“I guess we’re playing hide and seek,” I said softly as Kagerou looked around. It was a moderately large room with a finite amount of hiding space. If she looked carefully, it wouldn’t take Kagerou very long to find someone who might be hiding.

The werewolf muttered something under her breath, not too keen to debase herself by playing along. She approached a heap of assorted toys and dolls, finding that some of them had been broken or were otherwise missing features—a black button of an eye hanging from a thread here, a slightly ripped arm there. Some books were also strewn ingloriously among the mess, old weathered spines probably meaning that they were from the library’s collection. I half-expected a picture book to be somewhere there but it seemed they were mostly normal novels.

There was a promising lead at one point: a large stuffed panda bear seemed like it could hide someone. It looked large enough and, though it looked steady and sat placidly in a corner, it might have been hollowed out. There were a few dark rips the size of a coin here and there that could even be used as a peephole. The hope that the Flandre was in there was soon dashed; after poking the bear’s white and black gut, it lost all rigidness and crumbled forward, changing the bear’s neutral expression into a sort of melted grimace.

Kagerou turned her attention to the other things nearby. She poked another pile and brushed aside some of the larger stuffed animals in case someone was hiding behind them. “Nice ears,” the voice whispered, sounding so close that she may as well be standing behind the werewolf. Kagerou turned around and found that no one was there. “You look like some sort of dog,” the voice said, giggling, “maybe you should you sniff, sniff, sniff around and find me.”

“Oh, what a class act,” I preempted anything Kagerou might have said in anger with a snippy comment of my own. “Seems the sort that would make a fairy cry just for the fun of it, don’t you think?”

Kagerou smiled knowingly and said nothing. She knocked over one of the taller piles around more out of thoroughness than frustration and then went on to work on the other areas where someone could be hiding. Under the bed was also obvious, so she went there. Something red seemed to glimmer from a moment from the darkness but it was gone in an instant. “Nope, not yet!” the voice said, still having a good time with our search.

After patting down the sheets and moving away pillows and other things, Kagerou seemed satisfied that there was no one there either. The maid was careful to always keep one eye on her surroundings—any telltale signs like a rustle would not escape her notice.

“Maybe you should use your nose,” I suggested. It wasn’t the worst of ideas even if it might give the voice the satisfaction of seeing Kagerou follow instructions.

Tapping softly over her clothes, to where I hung, she sent me a quiet message. She then scratched the tip of her nose with one of her fingernails as if to tell me to pay attention carefully. I tried to concentrate on her senses. Ah, it was obvious when I stopped to smell the roses. Or not smell them as the case was. There was a prevailing scent in the air—between something floral and musky—that made it hard to smell much of anything else. No doubt Kagerou’s senses weren’t all there either yet.

“Well, I guess you could just kick everything around until you find her,” I said, “have the maids clean up after.”

I could feel that she was tempted by the nuclear option. But she wasn’t done yet. She examined the environment carefully one last time, looking for anything that might be out of place. I wasn’t sure what she was looking for but she seemed to have found it at the tea table. Sweeping away a few remaining crumbs, she sat down and crossed her arms.

It didn’t take long for the voice to say something, “giving up already?”

“No, I already found you,” Kagerou said quietly.

“Oh, where am I then?”

“It doesn’t really matter,” the werewolf added, sounding like she was bored of the conversation.

“Of course it does!” the voice replied, sounding more agitated. “You’re lying, you haven’t found me at all!”

“I found you three times already,” Kagerou said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Prove it then!” she yelled, her voice coming at once from both the right and the left.

“Only if you stop cheating.”

“I’m not cheating, you’re cheating! Find me!” went on the high-level discourse.

“You keep moving away,” Kagerou explained calmly, “I don’t know how you but you were behind me, under the bed and probably in a pile of clothes and toys somewhere over there. As soon as I look at you, you disappear. If that’s not cheating, I don’t know what is.”

“I’m not cheating,” the voice grumbled pathetically, straight out of a playground spat. “You just haven’t really found the real me. Those are just other mes. I haven’t moved, I swear.”

“Oh, then I definitely know where you are,” Kagerou said with a look of near-blinding smugness, “if you promise not to use any more of your tricks I’ll walk over to you now. More fair that way, yes?”

“Mmm….” she seemed to stop and think about it before relenting, “okay, but if you’re wrong then anything goes.”

“I’m not wrong,” Kagerou uncrossed her arms and got up. She took slow and deliberate steps, once again showing her flair for the theatrical. It was fun to watch as she seemed to be enjoying the moment. She made her way to one end of the room to something I had overlooked at first—a spare curtain for the bed that hung against the wall. No one could be standing behind it because it was short and didn’t reach down anywhere near the floor.

“Behind that, really?” I asked.

“Hello,” Kagerou said, pulling the curtain back.

“Hello,” the voice replied. It was a blonde young girl with a pleased smile that she had been found. She was sat cross-legged, floating casually in the air. “How did you know?”

I didn’t until just now,” Kagerou said, “I sat down to think about it and then I asked you something important. Then it made sense.”

The girl floated down gently to the floor, standing on her own two feet. She was small and thin, not unlike her sister. There was definitely some resemblance between them—the red eyes being one—but she carried herself different, more at ease and without projecting that almost-indescribable and often overwhelming aura Remilia liked to show off. Maybe it was my very human perspective but I suspected that, as she was also a vampire, she’d might also be as good as her sister when it came to being a huge pain in the ass.

She wasn’t quite properly dressed, looking like she had recently gotten out of bed and hurriedly dressed herself with whatever she found. A white blouse with red embellishments that would have looked sufficiently smart if tucked in and fastened with lace. Instead, it hung loose and droopily over her torso hiding a pair of dark shorts that looked ready to slide off at the slightest of jostling. The only buttons that were done up were the ones strictly necessary to give her closes a pretense of hanging on and, even then, there were a few that were inserted into the wrong buttonholes. A lot of her petite figure poked through the uneven gaps of cloth as a result. She’d need to undo everything to do a proper job of buttoning up the second time around.

Her golden hair was shoulder-length but also a mess, as if it hadn’t been brushed in a while. A ponytail had been clumsily tied with a red ribbon to one side of her head. As she grinned widely and relaxed her body, colorful crystal-like objects shook on the tips of very unusual-looking wings. The crystal themselves varied in color, some being variants of blues and others being pinkish or even orange. There was no obvious pattern to them. The bat-like wings of her sister were nowhere to be seen and hers were more akin to dark petrified wood or some sort of scorched metal. They seemed unnatural for sure but may or may not have been organic, it was hard to tell.

“Oh, so what did I do to give away?” the girl raised her left index finger to her chin and looked up into Kagerou’s eyes.

“You were trying to hard to make me think you were moving around,” Kagerou explained, “I was sure you were really there and you kept disappearing, so I thought maybe you needed to do that to keep an eye on me. In order to keep on teasing me.”

“Yeah, I couldn’t really see anything from behind the curtain, so I had to send other mes to hide in other places for me,” the girl stated matter-o’-factly. “You’re pretty clever!”

“I little bit lucky,” Kagerou shrugged. She crouched slightly, bringing herself to the girl’s eye level, “I’m the new maid that’s filling in for Sakuya while she’s gone. My name is Kagerou.”

“Ah, yep, I know,” she said, “me and other mes have been watching you for a while. It makes things less boring. Hmph, my elder sister didn’t really ask for my opinion before hiring you.”

“Oh, sorry, I didn’t know,” the maid said.

“No, but it’s fine. New faces are fine now and again,” she said, tapping her foot impatiently. “By the way, I’m Flandre. Remilia would want me to call me ‘mistress’ and stuff, but that kind of stuff is boring. Right? I mean you have to get titles for doing important things like going to the moon faster than you can count to ten.”

“The moon?” Kagerou frowned, not following.

“Or the lake. That’s fine, too,” Flandre said, mimicking like she was going to go out for a swim. “But I guess the lake isn’t that cool since if I wanted this room could also be a lake. Kind of.”

“Um… maybe I should bring you your food?” Kagerou asked, hopelessly lost.

“Fine, fine, I did say I’d eat if you found me,” Flandre nodded. She yawned suddenly, barely bothering to cover her mouth and marched on to the tea table.

“Weird girl,” I said as soon as Kagerou made it back to the hallway.

“Pretty different from Remilia, at the very least,” Kagerou said quietly.

“Everyone living here is a weirdo,” I said to myself, “except Patchouli. She’s just lovely. I wish we could spend some quality time together.”

My partner said nothing but the violent rolling of her eyes transmitted her opinion loud and clear. She didn’t dally and picked up the tray, wisely not giving me time to start enumerating all the things that I thought were great about that adorable witch. When she returned, she found Flandre drumming with her fingers on the table, creating noise more than anything.

“Here you are,” Kagerou said as she laid out the meal. It wasn’t the most comfortable of surfaces to sit at, the table being somewhat lower than a dining table, but it would do in a pinch. She lifted up the lid and unveiled some sort of thick soup with chunks of brown something or the other in it. Its oily surface glistened and it was still faintly hot.

“Mm...” Flandre picked up a spoon and sploshed the liquid around some.

“What’s the matter, not hungry?” Kagerou asked the obvious.

“I can eat,” she said, “I was just wondering if I could ask you something. But it’s the kind of thing that I think my elder sis might think is rude to ask, so I’m not sure if I should.”

Kagerou took the liberty of grabbing a nearby chair and joining her at the table. An attempt to engender trust, I supposed. “Just ask away, I’ll try to answer the best I can,” she said softly.

“Well, okay, I guess it’s fine,” Flandre said, taking a spoonful of soup into her mouth. She nodded in approval of the food, more as a gesture to herself, before continuing, “I heard you talking to yourself. I also talk to myself. Other mes, mostly. Do you hear yourself talking back?”

It was Kagerou’s turn to put a finger on her chin as she thought. “Clearly she wants to be reassured,” I said, once again feeling that I would have been better served by studying psychology in my previous life. But maybe she’d find the truth interesting, too.

[] It’s common enough to have a dialog with yourself.
[] Reveal that Kagerou isn’t just talking to herself.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2019/02/20(Wed)13:30

>>No. 64082
[x] Reveal that Kagerou isn’t just talking to herself.
wakathinking
>>No. 64083
[x] Reveal that Kagerou isn’t just talking to herself.

I could see no way this could possibly go wrong
>>No. 64084
[x] Reveal that Kagerou isn’t just talking to herself.
>>No. 64085
[X] It’s common enough to have a dialog with yourself.

The only people who are aware of his existence (in his current form, at least) are Sakuya and Patchouli. Don't think it's a good idea to casually reveal it, especially to a wild card like Flan.
>>No. 64086
[x] Reveal that Kagerou isn’t just talking to herself.
>>No. 64087
[X] Reveal that Kagerou isn’t just talking to herself.

If this was a case where she and her clones weren't self-aware enough to realize they are separate entities, and she really thought she was talking to herself I'd pick the reassurance vote. As things stands it's Kagerou who looks like the crazy person.

We really need to come up with some sorta code for situations where it's necessary to communicate with necklacebro in public. Left ear wiggle for "agree", butt sniff for "disagree"...something like that.
>>No. 64088
[X] It’s common enough to have a dialog with yourself.

If she wants to be reassured, we should oblige.
>>No. 64090
>>64087
I'm not sure you can conclude that the clones are self-aware. None of them have appeared for more than an instant in the story and canon (ie spell card comments/Marisa) doesn't really address their existence beyond that they're a 'slave-type' attack. That's my understanding and but I'll admit that I may have missed something. More importantly, there's nothing here that shows that Flan considers them truly separate entities. In fact, she just said that she talks to herself and makes no distinction between her and the others.
>“I heard you talking to yourself. I also talk to myself. Other mes, mostly. Do you hear yourself talking back?”

Though this is the kind of thing you should be discussing among yourselves. I feel forced to point this out because it feels like the voters often forget that they're supposed to be interacting with one another, too. Discussing theories, critiquing logic and persuading others to your line of thinking should be happening at times. You're helping me create the story and your comments and choices ought to have a real impact. So that works best when you're sure of what is happening, what you want and how to get it.
>>No. 64091
>“Clearly she wants to be reassured,”
So sayeth our protagonist, but I'm not so sure. That single line is the only indication of this we have. I mean, she could just be making conversation. Or just talking about whatever comes to mind.

In any case, I don't recall exactly how much of a secret the pendant thing is supposed to be, but if we're trying to keep it relatively close to the chest, we don't wanna be telling it to any ol' random basement gremlin you find. I'd rather keep the inner circle as small as possible.


[x] It’s common enough to have a dialog with yourself.
If it can be done without directly lying to Flandre it would be better, but that's up to Kagerou's skill.
>>No. 64092
[z] It’s common enough to have a dialog with yourself.
keep some things close to the heart
>>No. 64093
With access to four of a kind, Flandre's secret sex technique has got to be some next-level underwater 3-d chess kinda shit.

>>64083

I'm almost 100% sure how to deal with Flan-flan was somewhere in that pack of ninja-info cards Sakuya gave us in the beginning that everyone including Kagerou forgot about. If end up getting exploded, I'll credit you as the one who saw it coming first.

>>64091
>>64092

But over on the Clever Audacious and Wise end of the spectrum, just think about how Kagerou can strengthen her own position of authority be letting her direct connection to Sakuya be known.

>>64090

I meant more like all four dudes in the room all think they are the real Flandre, and the other three Flandres are the clones nightmare scenario. Pretty sure that isn't the case here due to how the three clones were content to disappear when found.
>>No. 64094
>>64093
Write ins don't seem to be allowed, but I can add:

[x] Check Sakura cards

To my vote, if that'll put you at ease. It is a good idea.
>>No. 64096
>>64094

It's a bit too late now that Flandre is staring at us with puppy dog eyes, awaiting a response.
>>No. 64097
File155069097895.jpg- (165.15KB, 1033x990, fire.jpg) [iqdb]
64097
Due to life being stupid, can't update today. I'll try for tomorrow. Have a pair of 2hus by way of apology.
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