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File 156762140534.jpg - (497.33KB, 2480x3507, bloody mistress.jpg) [iqdb]
64282No. 64282
She stared into my eyes with naked desire. There was no stopping her.

It had begun with a sigh, world-weary yet empathetic. Just moments earlier we had been happily chatting away to while away the night. Drinks were a matter of course. The intimacy of her boudoir was disarming; the plush cushions threatened to suck one into a state of complacency while the red velvet material offered an almost ticklish kind of stimulation. The evenings we spent together all invariably became casual and relaxed.

Sakuya had joined us that night—a sign of things to come in retrospect. She had happily let both her mistress and I do the lion’s share of the talking and only interjected every now and again mostly to curb the vampire’s rhetorical excesses. For the most part she had spent the evening observing, nodding silently and occasionally smiling. Whenever she did engage in a subject for more than a few sentences it wasn’t the abstract past that Remilia was so fond of talking about but rather about the more recent events of the days and weeks. In other words: largely the time we spent together.

We all sat apart in a circle of chairs and furniture. I was on the narrow sofa while Remilia and Sakuya sat on chairs opposite one another. I had declined the offer of another drink because I already felt that my wits strained. There was no need to try them further and risk a slip of the tongue. I told myself that I took pride in my dependable composure. Sakuya had one of her few drinks of the night, staring at the melting ice cube intently.

“It needs to be now,” Remilia said after sighing. There was no doubt that she was drunker than the rest of us. She had had a few more than everyone else. Still, she seemed to sober up fairly quickly as she became serious.

I nodded, understanding at once what she meant.

Wordlessly, she put down her glass and stood up. Remilia managed to keep her poise as she took the few steps to where I was and sat down next to me. There was limited space on the dainty sofa. Not that it mattered. Remilia overlapped me in places, her arms swinging over my shoulder and a leg straddling my own. It wasn’t just the upholstery that tickled but also soft determined breath on my cheek and neck. Utterly undignified but entirely necessary.

Remilia was small and maneuvered quickly, putting most of her weight on me. My eyes met Sakuya’s for a final time and she looked right past me. The vampire caressed my face tenderly as a lover would, projecting further intimacy for both of our sakes. She nuzzled my neck before rising up to kiss it many times over, leaving a sticky trail of saliva. Using a hand to gently turn my face she rested her forehead against mine and brought our lips close together. My heart beat faster and I could feel that the sensation of dangerous excitement was mutual.

She let out a whimper before drawing a sharp nail over the wet spots on my neck. The look in her intensely crimson eyes was a touch pathetic and showed that she was at her very limit.

“It’s alright,” I whispered and smiled like the lamb I was.

She no longer held back. After giving me that plainly animal look she straddled me like an experienced whore. Her body pressed against mine fully and without a trace of modesty. We both felt stimulated and excited; her unnatural powers were not entirely to blame. Her arms wrapped tightly around my neck and back and, had I not been on bottom, I suspect that her legs would have locked around me as well.

Remilia squirmed wildly as her face moved downwards and panting breaths grew quicker against the skin of my neck. I didn’t know when it happened just that it eventually did: a feeling of blissful acceptance washed over me. I kept my smile—a frozen grimace—as she drew out my essence with rabid intent. I could feel my warmth spreading into her and, indeed, dribbling down my neck and elsewhere. I was limp and a plaything of a vessel. It was difficult to think much or feel much else but a general agreeable sensation.

The entire exchange of fluid only lasted but a minute. Remilia withdrew soon, raising her face back again over my own tilted face. She was intensely stained by my blood. I had marked her as much as she had marked me. A twin trail of red streamed from her mouth down towards her chin and likely ended all over her dress. Flecks of red marred her cheeks and globs even appeared as tears below her eyes. Hers was an expression of ecstasy and love, both thankful to me and entirely selfish.

She groped my chest with a hand, caressing gently. Her eyes met mine once again and it seemed like she was still entranced—though with a reconfigured desire. Her lips met mine and roiling wetness filled my mouth. She kissed me as a lover would, her lust undisguised. The metallic and burning flavors of her tongue were even more intoxicating than a bottleful of drink. Waves of delirious excitement wracked my brain and I felt parts of me begin to become responsive once again. I breathlessly grabbed her shoulders and she accepted the advance by suffocating me with more heart-pounding intensity.

She held onto one of my hands firmly even as the other went on to do what we both thought should come next. Her small body began grind against mine without a whit of self-restraint.

“Milady,” Sakuya interrupted the spectacle. “That is enough for now,” she said loudly but without emotion.

Remilia drew back from me as recognition and sense returned to her eyes. My lungs burned as I realized I could finally breathe again.

“Milady,” Sakuya began again, firmer with her intervention.

“I hear you Sakuya,” Remilia said softly. A loud sigh followed as she rolled off on me, spent, and onto the sofa. My head swam as I struggled to regain my composure. I touched the side of the neck and could feel magic at work—the punctures were nearly closed and only fast-drying blood could be felt.

“It becomes more intense every time it happens,” I said between ragged breaths as my heart and body began to settle down.

“Indeed it does,” Remilia agreed, still looking more like a slattern than the all-powerful mistress. Her hair had become disheveled and her small bosom heaved in synchronicity with my chest. We avoided direct eye contact, each preferring to stare out at the wall. The sultry connection between us remained painfully strong and just below our surface thoughts.

“Would you like me to fetch you a change of clothes?” ever the maid, Sakuya raised a practical question. Remilia had dyed her clothes with dark blotches of my blood.

“No,” Remila frowned, “I’ll go and get changed by myself. I think it would be for the best if I then got some fresh air.”

“Very well,” Sakuya nodded, watching as her mistress made a wobbly attempt to get to her feet. She seemed indifferent to her struggle and did nothing to help her up or to walk out of the room. All the alcohol she had consumed, along with the feeling of satiety, worked in tandem to keep her precariously off balance. Still, she managed to make it to the door and beyond without stumbling. That was perhaps a byproduct of resurgent pride. If she felt anything like me, she may as well lie in bed in quiet contentment and drift off to sleep.

“...sorry about that,” I said sheepishly as I made the gargantuan effort to sit up and pour myself a drink. Fuck the pretense of composure and fuck pride. My hands trembled and felt cold but I managed to lift the bottle and pour. I didn’t hesitate to bring the drink immediately to my lips and it washed away the taste of blood and saliva with astringent efficiency. As an added bonus, its depressive effects were felt almost immediately and made me less self-conscious.

The maid joined me, pouring another drink along with the last of the very melted ice cubes. She glided next to me, sitting down on the sofa. After taking a drink she produced a white handkerchief and dabbed my neck and face. The white cloth quickly became red as more blood had spilled out than I had realized. It didn’t seem like much of it had gotten on my clothes, thankfully. That would at least spare Sakuya another chore.

I laughed. “You shouldn’t have to clean me up,” I complained to the universe.

“I want to,” she said quietly, her gaze solely focused on the task.

“This won’t do!” I growled playfully and grabbed her thin arm. “Come on, I can deal with all of this stuff later. You’ve done enough.”

“Have I?” she laughed bitterly. How unlike her. Ah well, I guess that I was privileged in that way—I got to see all sorts of things about her that others seldom saw. Even Remilia was accustomed to either her dutiful side or her happy-go-lucky and sometimes scatterbrained comments.

“Well, maybe there’s a bit more you can do,” I said and tried to get her closer to me.

“...idiot,” she said, not offering up much in the way of resistance.

“You mean selfish idiot,” I laughed, finishing off my drink. I felt smaller than her at the moment and so leaned into my vulnerabilities. I placed my head on her shoulder and relaxed.

Sakuya moved one of her braids out of the way and let me rest in peace. She sighed and began to stroke my head gently, like the spoiled child that I was. A question that needed no context followed, “Why?”

I thought about it. My brain was barely better than slosh so it took me ages to come up with an answer. When I did think of it, however, I was plainly determined. “It’s because a deal is a deal,” I said, “even when circumstances change.”

I didn’t know if she was satisfied with that answer. She didn’t make her feelings known. Or maybe she did and I just lacking the means to understand. My soused and relatively blood-starved brain had had enough. With her gentle embrace and caresses I drifted off into a very peaceful sleep. She would join me before too long and we stayed together until the break of dawn. Neither of us spared any thoughts for Remilia.

---

Kagerou was in the bath. She was scrubbing herself clean of grime and dust. I hung around her neck, sudsy. I accidentally learned about some of her anatomical details that were above the waterline.

“Hey, sorry, I just came back from whatever,” I told her, tuning her out, “I may have seen a bit of you just now. Wanted to be honest about that.”

“Al?” she smiled and joked, “it’s fine. You’re like a sister, why would I mind if you saw me naked?”

“I’m not going to dignify that with an answer,” I said. “What happened while I was gone?”

“I didn’t notice you were gone for a while, actually,” Kagerou said as she leaned back in the bath. She wasn’t teasing. “That magician of yours smiled and said something that I didn’t get and then went away. I tried to give her the stuff we got but she said to leave it in the library and she’d find it later. Not really very polite but whatever.”

“She gave me something again,” I told her.

“Was it like before?”

“Yeah,” I said, vividly recalling the sensation on my neck. “Remilia was there as was Sakuya.”

I filled her in briefly on what I experienced. Some of the embarrassing details were withheld for everyone’s sake. The modesty and dignity of a lady were sacrosanct, after all.

“And you’re sure that it happened to you?” she asked the obvious.

“I don’t know. It felt like it did. But there’s no way to be sure it was me. Not like there was a mirror to see myself. Or even then, if the person in the mirror is the really real me.”

“Guess it’s complicated,” she concluded. The naked maid likewise filled me in on what happened since then. She dined with Remilia who was still sulking and not very chatty. Afterwards, she checked in with the fairy staff. There were a few loose ends of work she did and then she decided to take a bath and freshen up.

“Huh,” I got a strange feeling just as she was finishing up with her bath. “Don’t ask me how I know but I think Marisa is looking for you.”

“Where is she?” she accepted my feeling at face value. Recent events made outlandish things like that easier to swallow.

I concentrated. “Second floor, not that far away actually. The fairies are avoiding her so she’s somewhat lost.”

Kagerou dried herself off and put on clean clothes. With my guidance she found the wandering magician in no time flat.

“Oh hey!” Marisa greeted her enthusiastically, “long time no see, eh?”

“Were you looking for me?” Kagerou asked.

“Yeah, I wanted to say that I enjoyed our time together. That means you too, Al!”

“It certainly was interesting,” I said, still not entirely sure what had happened. I had had too many different experiences in one day and was pretty emotionally overwhelmed. Even that encounter with the redhead felt like it happened a week ago.

Kagerou seemed to share my fatigue. “A lot happened and I feel pretty tired. I’m just about ready for sleep I think,” she said with a smile.

“Oh, yeah, I getcha. I want to get home and have a little fun in the bath before bed,” Marisa nodded, not bothering to define what ‘a little fun’ actually meant. Could be anything from adding bath salts to wrestling a fairy into submission judging from her energy.

“We’ll talk some other day about what happened, right?” I asked.

“Hmm, yeah, we should,” Marisa said…blushing? She averted her gaze from us, staring at her own shoes. “Patchy said… well, no that’s not important!” she rallied, trying to force a change of subject, “I also wanted to give you some advice for tomorrow. About Reimu. Bring her a gift and she’ll be more willing to hear you out. Hope that helps!”

She turned as if to scramble away and leave immediately.

“It does, thank you,” Kagerou nodded, “shall I walk you out?”

“I can find my own way!” Marisa waved a frantic goodbye before jumping into the stairwell. What a very odd girl.

“...it’s probably best if you unwind and go to bed early,” I told Kagerou, “it’s been a long day.”

“You’re right,” she agreed.

The werewolf read a few more pages of her horrid fiction before turning in early. I watched her sleep for some time, envious of just how carefree she seemed. Maybe that reflected well on me as well—I was helping her deal with the stress of the job effectively. Funny how in such a short time I had begun to genuinely care that she was happy. Ah, but that sort of sentimentality was useless. Right?

Still, I wondered… it was a restless night for me as I tried to process everything. I thought about talking to Sakuya but after she had made fun of me last time… no that wasn’t it. It wasn’t because she made fun of me. It was also because of what I saw. There were big blanks that I couldn’t fill yet about our relationship. That is, if we even had a relationship before. Before? It could be visions of the future for all I knew. It was magic and there were no real points of reference, I had to admit. All I knew for sure was that I was anchored to the colorful stone around the werewolf’s neck.

When morning came around I had no new insights into what happened. All that I had really internalized was Marisa’s advice. That is to say, what sort of things a shrine maiden would appreciate most.

[] Fancy tea and snacks were a fine choice.
[] A bottle of something good from the cellar was a more grown up gift.

Time remaining: ::Timer ended at: 2019/09/06(Fri)13:00


-
Same deal as before with the timer!
Expand all images
>>No. 64284
[x] A bottle of something good from the cellar was a more grown up gift.
>>No. 64285
[x] Fancy tea and snacks were a fine choice.


If it ain't brokem don't fix it.
Also, it's the mroning. And she seems more like a sake person.
>>No. 64286
[x] Fancy tea and snacks were a fine choice.
:reimusip:
>>No. 64287
[x] A bottle of something good from the cellar was a more grown up gift.

You know what brings people and youkai together in Gensokyo? That's right, booze.
>>No. 64288
[x] A bottle of something good from the cellar was a more grown up gift.

Any old schmuck can buy cheap food and tea.
>>No. 64289
[x] A bottle of something good from the cellar was a more grown up gift.
>>No. 64291
>>64288
>Any old schmuck can buy cheap food and tea.

You want to impress a poor-er, austere person with money?
>>No. 64293
>>64291

That is indeed the plan. Thanks for clearing that up for us cap'n.
>>No. 64295
Actually now that I think about it, those vintage spirits have to be super fucking valuable. Since Gensokyo is separate from reality, vintage spirits would be a non-renewable resource.

Well...hopefully such an extravagant gift will give us some leverage if she decides to exorcise Alice Al.
>>No. 64296
Life is being life but I'm going to try to get an update out within the day.

Also it's not 2008 /jp/, guys. Saging actual discussion in one of the handful of active threads on the entire site is not a good thing.
>>No. 64297
>>64296
>it's not 2008 /jp/
Ideally, it shouldn't be /jp/ from any time period.
>>No. 64301
>>64296
Remember when an angry reply was just the 'word' sage as if it did anything but not bump the thread? It took a few years to kill that rumor.

>>64293
'Look at all the money I have' is going to go well with Reimu.
>>No. 64302
>>64301
I'm still baffled as to how people ever drew the conclusion that "sage == mad".

It's completely disconnected from the original notion of sage as a social nicety to keep threads in super-active textboards from constantly vaulting up and down the thread list.

>>64296
Saging off-topic posts and posts that generally add nothing to the discussion is still very ingrained in me, personally. What an age we live in that that's become notionally unnecessary.
>>No. 64305
>>64301

She doesn't know Kagerou is employed, so there's no way Reimu would assume we are wealthy. She's prolly gunna think we stole it or something.
>>No. 64308
File 156795105433.jpg - (239.44KB, 1748x1181, pic unrelated.jpg) [iqdb]
64308
Kagerou got up at a decent hour, got dressed, enjoyed a filling breakfast and made sure the rest of the staff was clear on their duties for the day. The routine was becoming second nature to her and I didn’t feel it necessary to give her any particular advice on what to do. Funnily enough, I found myself relaxing more while she did all that than I had all of the previous night. I only really ‘woke up’ again when she was almost all set to leave.

“That’s not a bad idea, are you sure Remilia won’t mind?” Kagerou asked as she slung her bag over a shoulder.

“It’s for her sake that we’re doing this, right?” I explained, “it’s just the cost of getting things done properly. I’m sure she won’t miss a single bottle.”

It wasn’t a very drawn-out discussion. Kagerou agreed with my premise and went down into the storage spaces. A sign at the bottom of the stairs with faded letters warned that the area was for authorized personnel only. As if to make clear that it was no joking matter, a crudely drawn skull and bat were used as punctuation. I supposed that might intimidate a curious fairy.

Past a creaky wooden door lay a vast vaulted space. It was separated into various areas; we stood in something like a vestibule which connected to a larger main space. Beyond that, it was too dark to see much but it seemed like there were side aisles and possibly a transept. Arches and columns separated the spaces as well as the many racks with casks and bottles. Just judging by the limited amount that was visible from the entrance, there were several lifetimes’ worth of drink stored down there. Only someone serious about proper storage would build an underground cathedral of that magnitude.

Kagerou sniffed the air and found it cool and somewhat damp. “She definitely won’t miss a bottle,” she said, venturing into the nave. It was instantly clear that finding what we wanted would be no easy task. There weren’t any signs hung around nor clear logic to the organization scheme.

“Maybe we should call on the fairies who come down here to get things,” I suggested.

“Waste of time,” she said, “besides I don’t want anyone to know what we took. Remilia might not mind if we tell her after solving things but she’s not in the best of moods right now.”

“Oh, that’s a pretty good point,” I agreed. A point I should have probably come up with first.

“I’ll just try getting a few things from wherever and you can tell me if they’re good or not,” she decided, trusting in my impeccable sense of taste. Surely even if I didn’t really know everything there was to know about wine or fine liquors I could muddle through with instinct.

I wasn’t sure what would be best for a shrine maiden. A monsignor would be over the moon with the endless variety of wine on display. Kagerou couldn’t read most of the labels on the bottles but I recognized most of the scripts and plenty of the words—I was sure that the things I couldn’t make out were mostly names of vineyards and estates in places that may or may not exist any longer. Numbers were the easiest thing to make out and it quickly became clear that the real wealth of the mansion was nestled in those alcoves and on wine racks.

Grabbing a random bottle and calling it a day would have likely been fine. We ventured deeper into the area, beyond crates and larger containers, and found that there were all sorts of spirits available as well. Kagerou made a comment about a particularly pungent wooden cask she brushed by and I identified the smell instantly as whiskey. Aged for an inordinate amount of time… it likely tasted incredibly good. My companion seemed bothered by the fragrant aroma, her nose twitching with displeasure when she got too close to something strong.

It was almost too dark to see when we got closer to the apse. Kagerou was right in the middle of suggesting that we just turn around and grab whatever when a solution came into being. A faint ball of light appeared just in front of her. Instead of being something otherworldly like one might expect from a vampire’s sacred cellar it was instead decidedly mundane. It looked like a flashlight, casting regular light that did not flicker nor change in color.

“What is that?” she reached out at the ball and found that her hand passed harmlessly through it, momentarily casting spidery shadows against the floor and far-off walls. She turned and found that the light turned with her, maintaining a constant distant to her body.

“I think I know,” I said, “that’s magic.”

“Magic?” she narrowed her eyes skeptically, “whose?”

“Mine,” I replied. I didn’t understand how nor why but as soon as I had thought about making the place a little brighter the ball had appeared. To prove it to myself, I thought about making the light go away. It did. Kagerou’s vision struggled to adjust to the sudden change of light.

“Since when can you…?” she began to ask.

“Uh, no clue!” I said, flicking the light back to life with a thought. Naturally, I wanted to pretend that I was a powerful being with unknown and possibly unlimited potential. Yet, on the other hand, I didn’t really think it appropriate to lie to her about something that was as much of a surprise to me as it was to her. Not after all the other things I had told her about.

“Marisa?” she brought up the blonde’s name, making the obvious connection.

“Maybe!” I replied. Maybe that crystalline body of mine was like a magical battery. Sure, that made an amount of sense. From a certain perspective. Perhaps. “We can talk on the way to the shrine,” I said, buying some time for me to process things. “For now, let’s get what we came for.”

We were both thinking about my new ability too much to discriminate between choice of drink for much longer. In the end I told Kagerou to grab a bottle with a clear liquid and a label that said ‘plum’ in several languages—I assumed it would be some sort of brandy. That sounded like something a shrine maiden might enjoy. More importantly, it didn’t seem like something priceless nor irreplaceable and thus unlikely to incur Remilia’s wrath.

The werewolf was glad to leave the crypt-like space behind. It didn’t seem like she like damp smells. Unfortunately for her, outside wasn’t much better. There had been light showers sometime in the early morning and everything had a very distinct watery tinge to it. The clouds were somewhat gray but weren’t concentrated enough to threaten any more sudden rain. Still, she kept her cloak on just in case of a sudden downpour.

The roads hadn’t turned to mud so Kagerou chose to walk to give us time to talk.

“What else can you do?” she asked, avoiding a small puddle by hopping over it.

“No clue,” I replied.

“Okay,” she nodded, “how did you do what you did?”

“I just thought about lighting up things and it happened,” I told her, “didn’t need to memorize a series of words to cast a spell if that’s what you’re getting at.”

“Huh, well, do you feel any different? Maybe there’s a clue there?”

“I feel about the same as I always do. Maybe like tugging Marisa’s braid?” I joked.

“I’ll do that for you next time,” she answered, laughing, “I’m sure she won’t mind. I think you left a good impression on her.”

“It’s just my natural way with people.”

“Hm, I’m going to let that one go,” Kagerou rolled her eyes, “more seriously, shouldn’t we try to see what else you’re capable of doing?”

“And how are we going to do that?” I asked.

“Well… thinking about things?” she didn’t sound very sure of herself. But, then again, she may have been onto something. I could try wanting things and seeing what happened. Or… concentrating? Whatever it was, it was basically flailing about and hoping for the best.

While I wanted to know what was up with me, the downside to just trying things was rather obvious. Also possibly very dangerous. It was also something to do while we made our way to the shrine.

[] Try a few thought experiments.
[] It’s probably safer to consult a magician first.

--

No timer since I'm unsure when I'll be able to commit to writing. Probably soon! I'll keep tracking votes and call it at some point when things are looking clear.
>>No. 64309
[x] Try a few thought experiments.
FLIP HER MAID SKIRT UP, C'MON
>>No. 64310
[x] It’s probably safer to consult a magician first.
Firstly, it's best to focus on the task at hand before running off on further tangents.

Secondly, there is absolutely no telling how disastrous attempting magic at random might turn out, if not for Al then certainly for Kagewoo.

Thirdly, connected with the above point, Al xirself doesn't understand the underlying mechanics of xir spontaneously developed ability to into magic.

Lastly, holding off provides further excuses to consult with Patchouli and/or Marisa about the above matters.
>>No. 64311
[x] Try a few thought experiments.

HowDoIShotWeb.jpeg
>>No. 64313
[x] Try a few thought experiments.[] Try a few thought experiments.

Do it pussy
>>No. 64314
[x] Try a few thought experiments.

Do it coward, you won't.
>>No. 64315
[X] It’s probably safer to consult a magician first.

Both options lead to experimenting. Since this quest doesn't really have a sense of urgency, there's no reason to rush things.
>>No. 64316
[Z] It’s probably safer to consult a magician first
No rush
>>No. 64317
[X] It’s probably safer to consult a magician first.

No reason to hurry, really.
One recent experiment is enough for now.
>>No. 64318
Let's see if I can't get this done today.

Coin flip: tails!
>>No. 64319
File 156856273393.png - (486.22KB, 1050x910, maiden of the shrine.png) [iqdb]
64319
Despite her initial enthusiasm for magic, Kagerou didn’t seem too upset by my more cautious approach. “I don’t want to accidentally blow up a mountain,” I joked by way of explanation.

“Could that really happen?” she asked knowing that neither of us had an answer.

“Think about yesterday: you didn’t really trust Marisa,” I pointed out. She at one moment flinched when the magician was getting ready to cast her spell. “I guess that was about you thinking that she couldn’t keep her power in check. Why risk that?”

“It would attract attention,” she said with unease, looking around with a mild streak of paranoia. “If you stand out, it feels likelier that we’d get into a fight.”

“Hadn’t thought of that. But makes sense,” I agreed. The inhabitants of Gensokyo were strange to say the least.

As we continued to walk among soft earth and wet grass the conversation moved away from actual powers and possible effects and towards the logical conclusion of the decision. “I don’t think we would get much from Patchouli,” Kagerou shared her opinion.

“I think we would,” I disagree.

“I’m not surprised to hear you say that,” she rolled her eyes, thinking the obvious.

“It’s not because I like her,” I told her, trying to frame it as a rational decision. Proper learning needed proper structure. “Does Marisa strike you as the type to sit still for long enough to give a thorough lecture about magic usage? She’d probably keep trying to cast spells on me to see what would happen.”

“But that doesn’t mean that Patchouli will be better. If she doesn’t outright ignore us-”

“She won’t!” I interjected. That elicited another eye roll.

“-as I was saying,” the maid proceeded calmly, “I’m not sure she would take the time to explain. And, if she did, it probably wouldn’t be straightforward. Think books and roundabout explanations about nature or something else. I’m not going to read books that are thicker than my head and full of hard words.”

“...not even if I ask nicely?”

“It’s asking too much,” Kagerou said. And yeah, she was right. I couldn’t force her to sit and read for probably dozens of hours things that she had absolutely no interest in. Never mind the fact that she wasn’t a strong reader.

“We’ll see what happens when it happens,” I brought the discussion to something similar to a close. “Who knows?” I joked, “with our luck we could run into a third magician today who combines Marisa’s approachability with Patchouli’s serious understanding.”

Kagerou’s ears drooped back and her shoulders went slack. It was a joke that sounded all too plausible given recent events. For better or worse, that was it for magic for the moment. It was quiet for a while. When we next talked the subject shifted to something more immediate. With an annoyed huff about the unevenly wet portions of the road, Kagerou decided to pick up the pace and abandon the road altogether. We zoomed to the shrine conspicuously but in record time.

The wooded hillside looked desolate in the light that filtered through the grey clouds. The trees swayed silently, from time to time, as a breeze passed through them. It was quiet and I felt that Kagerou tensed up as soon as she started up the path to the shrine proper. Some of her paranoia had rubbed off on me as well—I could feel that we both thought that someone might be watching us. From where and why I had no idea. The feeling remained unspoken as I didn’t want to add any fuel to the fire.

There was no mistaking that Kagerou was intimidated by the shrine. Her steps slowed and, when consciously noticed, her pace was over-corrected with almost mechanical strides. She fiddled with the clasp on her cloak more than once; it was almost as if she believed that the fabric acted like a protective barrier. By the time that she passed under the wooden gate her eyes darted back and forth suspiciously for any signs of life.

At first glance, the shrine was a fairly mundane location. Paved stone led all the way up to a small wooden structure. Religious structures weren’t an area of expertise for me but I supposed that it looked suitably shrine-like. The slopped roof came to a halt in front at a smaller wooden gate; a thick rope was tied lengthwise on it as well as a few tassel-like ribbons that could well be charms or symbols of purity. A short series of steps led to an altar or box of some sort and beyond that wooden sliding doors obscured the rest of the structure.

There may have been an additional structure further back but it was hard to see clearly from the entrance due to the nearby trees. “I expected something… bigger,” I confessed. The vibe I got from everyone whenever the shrine or its shrine maiden were brought up gave the impression that it was supposed to be an important location. It seemed anticlimactic that it was such a plain place.

“Come on, let’s find the shrine maiden,” I egged the werewolf on, trying to make her forget her anxiety. She could stand dumb beneath the first gate all day if she didn’t get an encouraging push.

Maybe Kagerou felt comforted that she had me along for the ride. I continued to make a few, mostly flippant, remarks as she approached the shrine. The wooden steps at the end were conquered with ease and barely hesitated before knocking on one of the wooden doors. I was about to crack a joke about maybe making a donation first to ensure a good reception but the answer from inside was immediate.

“Just a moment!” a girl’s voice cried out from inside. The pitter-patter of feet on wood followed.

The door slid open to reveal a young girl with dark hair and a large red ribbon on her head. The shrine maiden, evidently. Her outfit didn’t seem entirely conventional. Oh, sure, the red and white scheme was much the same. Her unusual choice in apparel included a red knee-high skirt, a matching vest on top with a white collar that shared the style of her large white sleeves. Accents of red and white as well as bits of pattern were prevalent on edges and often frilly. Even if she hadn’t been the shrine maiden it would have been fair to say that she was inspired by the look.

“...Yes?” she frowned upon seeing her visitor. It wasn’t quite disdain nor hostility but it expressed clear disappointment that it wasn’t someone she knew and liked.

Kagerou’s heart sunk. She managed to keep from stuttering but only just, “I have something that I would like to discuss with you,” she said quietly. “May I have a moment of your time?”

“Fine,” the shrine maiden crossed her arms, “I don’t have any snacks to offer.”

The subtext there was obvious. I encouraged Kagerou to stay on point.

“Shall we sit and talk?” the werewolf strained a smile. It betrayed how she felt quite clearly. Lucky for her, the shrine maiden wasn’t too interested in reading her and just wanted to get things over with.

They sat by the front steps. “Miss Reimu,” Kagerou started.

“I don’t really have time for all that nonsense,” the shrine maiden huffed, expecting the werewolf to trip over herself in pleasantries.

“Ah, alright,” Kagerou nodded, trying to build her courage up. I told her to just explain things as plainly as possible. “I’m working at the mansion at the lake,” she started necessarily from the top, “I’m temporarily chief maid.”

“Ah, is that so?” Reimu raised an eyebrow with a scintilla of interest. It was then that she seemed to realize that the uniform under the cloak wasn’t just a fashion choice. “I’m not surprised that she quit after having to deal for so long with all of that.”

“Sakuya didn’t quit,” Kagerou corrected her, “she’s taken personal leave for some time.”

“Sure, whatever,” Reimu shrugged, “I suppose they chose you because you can frighten the fairies into obedience.” She cocked her head towards Kagerou’s long nails. Enough said.

“That’s not really important,” Kagerou brushed aside the comment, “what I mean to say is that I’m on official business from the mistress.”

“...” Reimu stared ahead blankly, offering no reaction to mention of Remila. Were they friends and had a fight? That would explain Remilia’s distraught state but not the shrine maiden’s indifference. Unless that was meant to show that she was giving her the cold shoulder or something. I couldn’t get a definite read.

“Before we get to that,” Kagerou offered a helpful smile and reached into her bag, “I’ve brought a show of goodwill.”

That seemed to capture the shrine maiden’s undivided attention. She stared greedily as Kagerou produced the bottle. It didn’t seem that she knew what it was exactly.

“It’s something from milady’s private collection,” Kagerou explained, “a fine and rare spirit.”

“I see!” Reimu nodded happily, “so she stopped being quite so stingy.”

It would be unwise to reveal that it was our own initiative, clearly. Reimu grabbed the bottle with a slight smile and put it next to her. “I’ll make sure to try it later. I hope it’s good.”

Maybe it was just my imagination but things seemed less tense all of a sudden. It wasn’t that Reimu’s body language or even tone had changed much. Or anything else that obvious. Maybe it had all been in Kagerou’s mind but it seemed like the tension in the air had dissolved away. If it had been, then Marisa’s magical counsel had been useful.

“I hope you’ll enjoy it,” Kagerou said politely.

“I’ll have to hide it for the meanwhile...” Reimu mumbled to herself, taking a look around. Though she didn’t sport anyone else, she still moved the bottle and hid it behind where she sat.

“We can probably bring up Remilia now,” I told Kagerou. Though I wasn’t sure which approach was best. The shrine maiden’s patience did not seem like it would be infinite.

[] Try to get a feel for the relationship between the vampire and the shrine maiden.
[] Confess that Remilia was out of sorts and had dispatched Kagerou to the shrine for some reason.

Time remaining: ::Timer ended at: 2019/09/17(Tue)12:00




I may write before the timer ends if there’s time and votes on Monday. Will let you know if that’s the case.
>>No. 64321
File 156856904757.png - (950.59KB, 812x1144, alice paz.png) [iqdb]
64321
[x] Confess that Remilia was out of sorts and had dispatched Kagerou to the shrine for some reason.

She is being friendly, but she probably just wants to get her case on and go away. She doesn't seem like the type to hide things... or any other kind of subtlety

>“Who knows?” I joked, “with our luck we could run into a third magician today who combines Marisa’s approachability with Patchouli’s serious understanding.”

Yeah, if only someone so perfect existed...
>>No. 64322
[X] Confess that Remilia was out of sorts and had dispatched Kagerou to the shrine for some reason.

Let's not beat around the bush.
>>No. 64323
[X] Confess that Remilia was out of sorts and had dispatched Kagerou to the shrine for some reason.

If she's not in the mood for pleasantries, fair enough.
>>No. 64324
[x] Try to get a feel for the relationship between the vampire and the shrine maiden.
If there's any time to not hit the "get on with it" button, it's here.

Reimu went from bitchy to almost willing as soon as the booze came out -- and I'll admit here that it ended up being a good idea, even if I thought it was a middling one at best before. This would be a perfect time to stick a feeler out and hopefully get some advantageous information as regards Al and Kagewoo's mistress and her relationships. Reimu's remark about Sakuya 'dealing with all of that' is particularly tantalising, though I doubt we'd get anything too direct on that.

Besides that, Reimu's distinct lack of reaction before that is too big of a signal flare to be ignored. This many hints in a row is practically a big red button asking to be pushed.
>>No. 64325
[x] Try to get a feel for the relationship between the vampire and the shrine maiden.
We bothered to bribe her, so I feel like it'd be a waste to just go straight to the point. Gensokyo just seems like that kind of place, you know? Unless there's a serious incident, you talk around the point and socialize and drink tea and whatnot. Go with the vibe, man.
>>No. 64326
[x] Try to get a feel for the relationship between the vampire and the shrine maiden.
>>No. 64327
[x] Try to get a feel for the relationship between the vampire and the shrine maiden.

cute Reimu
>>No. 64328
[X]Try to cop a feel on the shrine maiden's breasts
[X]Try to get a feel for the relationship between the vampire and the shrine maiden.

Yea, too many tantalizing hints to let this go. I agree with Tantalizing-Hints Anon up there.
>>No. 64329
File 156868190983.jpg - (191.81KB, 1308x2048, vampire unrelated.jpg) [iqdb]
64329
Alright, calling it. Might take a bit but please wait warmly.
>>No. 64330
File 156884518619.jpg - (210.27KB, 1500x1500, rip.jpg) [iqdb]
64330
Hey sorry, turns out that I've been busier than anticipated! I'll try to have the update done by tomorrow at some point.
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