Continuation of >>104609
OH HEY GUESS WHICH TOUHOU IS IN THE OP PICTURE
You're still rather full from breakfast earlier this morning, but you can't possibly pass up the chance of some harmless
teasing when Remilia is like this. Good fun between friends, no? Besides, she really does look absolutely delicious right now...
"Well, I'm afraid I've already eaten, but..."
At first pretending to lean one arm on the back of your chair as you face her, you stealthily move your hand behind Remilia to gently take hold of the end of one of her wings, and wiggle it back and forth a bit before tapping your fingers along it. The reaction is instantaneous - a light twitching of the wing, followed by a short, suppressed gasp from the vampire, her cheeks quickly gaining some color. Despite this, she mostly manages to retain her composure, still smirking at you in that smug, confident manner of hers, eyes fixated on you with a strange expression in them that you can't quite place. Elbow leaning on the table, she rests her head on her hand, covering her mouth as you continue to rub the leathery skin of the wing membranes between the fingers. Is that what you call them? Bat wings are, essentially, really large hands, right? Remilia's are certainly rather big, despite being usually folded up to a more compact state...
"... I do have a sudden craving for bat wing soup. Perhaps you can oblige me?"
A muffled 'pfft' noise escapes her; you're not quite sure whether your little joke managed to fluster her, or if your playing about with her wing is making her feel ticklish (or otherwise..?). Her cheeks are, by now a firm shade of pink, and her eyes slightly narrowed; still, despite her mouth still being concealed behind her fingers, you notice the corners of her lips rising noticeably. In a motion that seems more reflexive than calculated, her wing jerks itself out of your hand, and Remilia exhales with another soft gasp, fixing you with a strange grin. As she opens her mouth to speak, her voice sounds oddly high-pitched for the first few words or so.
"Is that so..!" A 'craving', you say? Are you implying that you'd like to eat -me-, good sir?" Before you can answer, she places her slender fingertip on your lips, silencing you.
"I'm afraid I'll be the one doing the 'eating' around here, unless you remember your place, my dear boy..." The teasing tone of her voice and that wide smile on her face reassure you that she's merely joking right back at you, her finger slowly, oh so slowly trailing its way down your chin, then your neck, down to the collar of your shirt, and-...
"I'd hate to echo someone else's words like this, but... I'm still here, you know." Reimu's exasperated voice calls out from behind Remilia, prompting the two of you to turn to look at the somewhat annoyed-looking miko.
"I'd tell you two to get a room, but this -is- your mansion..."
"Tsss, what a vulgar mind you have, sweetheart. Nothing more than some joking around between friends; did you really expect me to strip him down and mount him on the table right here and now, or something?"
...That's... not that bad of an image, really, although you'd prefer the two girls to have some restraint in their speech.
"It really wouldn't surprise me, knowing you..." Reimu idly chuckles to herself as Remilia removes her finger from your collar, crossing her arms and pouting.
"I'm insulted! You make me sound like a lady of loose morals... And in my own house, too! Perhaps you are the one without inhibitions here, sweetheart?"
This goes on for a few minutes, with you sitting by Remilia and listening in on the playful insults and accusations being tossed around in a teasing manner, occasionally being targeted, yourself (and responding in kind, provoking laughs from the girls with either your wit or silly mannerisms). You don't mind, though; you've hardly interacted with Reimu at all so far, and Remilia can be rather fun when she's in such a good mood. True to her usual mannerisms, she seems to hold very little reservations in regards to the personal space of those she considers her friends, every so often lightly tugging on your clothing, touching your arm or hand, or even pinching your cheek while making some sort of joke about men being driven by their groins rather than their brains. Your little gambit with the bat wing joke earlier seems to have raised her spirits even higher than they were before - excellent! Now all you need to do is avoid any sort of arbitrary dramatic plot development that would turn her mood upside down from occurring within the next forty-eight hours.
The something crosses your mind. With Remilia distracted by playing around with your hair as a result of some discussion you can't seem to remember right now, you turn your attentions to Reimu.
"So, ah, what's been keeping you busy, Reimu? You mentioned something earlier..."
"Hmm? Oh, just another incident to solve, that's been giving me trouble-... er... Well, you see..." She sends a bit of a frustrated glance in Remilia's direction - you can't see the vampire's expression at this angle, but Reimu simply rolls her eyes and sighs in surrender, before continuing.
"Well. It's kind of my job to investigate whenever weird things happen in Gensokyo. Think of it as a sort of family business, I guess... I'm currently trying to figure out what's causing this strange heat wave, but I've run out of clues."
"Which is exactly why you should just take it easy, Reimu~" Remilia interjects once again, releasing your hair from the grasp of her delicate fingers; a bit of a shame, since you were actually enjoying the feeling. You can really understand why dogs appreciate their masters scratching their heads or behind their ears, now... although you'd like to hope Remilia doesn't think of you as her 'pet'. Not that the thought would be -completely- bad, but you've got to keep focused on what's to come this Sunday. That's right, it'd probably be best to take Sakuya's advice (or was it more of a request?) and leave the revelation for Sunday evening, before you go to sleep... Assuming Remilia doesn't put you into a more -permanent- form of sleep after hearing what you have to say, of course. Swallowing once to calm your nerves, you shake the violent images from your mind, focusing more on the pleasant and jovial Remilia by your side.
"I did tell you to just take a break and spend the weekend at my luxurious mansion, did I not?" Luxurious? There's hardly anything to do... Granted, maybe you could take some initiative and suggest something interesting, later.
Reimu, on the other hand, seems a little skeptical towards the offer.
"...What's the catch?"
"Catch? You wound me, Reimu, sweetheart... Do I need an ulterior motive to want to give my beloved friend the chance to rest and relax from her overwhelming duties?" The concerned and caring tone in her voice could convince even the most paranoud skeptics, if only you didn't know her well enough by now to treat -anything- she says as a potential tease or joke. Reimu's defenses seem to collapse as she responds with a weak smile.
"Fine, fine, but just for this weekend. I can't make a habit of lazing about in your place like this..."
"But all you do at your shrine is laze about anyway, sweetheart~"
"That's not true! I... uh... clean it, sometimes, and... and I'm constantly busy with collecting donations, and-..."
Suddenly, a sadistic glint flashes in Remilia's eyes, her face taking on a predatory appearance, fangs bared and all.
Ouch! Low blow, there; Reimu actually looks physically wounded all of a sudden, her mood visibly shattering and shoulders slumping downwards. Remilia immediately hops out of her chair to comfort the poor miko, leaving you sitting there in a confused state.
"I... I do get a donation or two, every once in a while," Reimu manages to sniffle, Remilia helping her out of her seat and putting her arms around her, standing en pointe
to make up for their difference in height, patting the depressed shrine maiden on the back with a soft smile.
"I'm sure you do, sweetheart... There, there, lady Remilia will make it all better..." Shooting a wily smile your way, she flutters her wings excitedly once more. Does she really not notice this? Is it like a dog wagging its tail?
"I've got to, ah, go take care of this, my dear. You should go greet the others in the meanwhile! I'm sure they'd be delighted to see you again. And, ah..." Her eyes narrow just a little bit, the smug smirk on her face taking on a more mischievous appearance.
"Perhaps we can continue our little discussion about 'soup' a little later..."
With that, the two girls head off, Remilia leading a quietly sobbing Reimu along to an unknown destination, leaving you baffled at having heard quite possibly the most unusual double entendre, ever. Oh well... Now that you've been excused for the moment, you might as well do something productive... Wait, have you forgotten already? You're here to clear things up with Flandre, not get involved with flirty shenanigans with her sister! Granted, that kind of comes with the territory, but you've got to keep focused. For all you know, Flandre could be crying in her room right now, telling herself that you don't like her as much as she thought you did, or that you're favoring Rumia over her by allowing her to live in your room... Or even worse, maybe she's slowly building up a hate towards -you- by association with the little man-eater. You can't really blame Rumia for this, but you'd rather patch things up with Flandre ASAP - misunderstandings have a nasty habit of mutating and growing in the mind of an uncertain and confused person.
Which is exactly why you're going to stop by the library first of all. Haste is worthless if it precludes caution and planning - while you're kinda-sorta good at coming up with cheesy short speeches on your views of the world, you doubt you could ad-lib anything good enough to reassure Flandre on the spot. You need help, you need advice... and who else would be best to seek such wisdom from than your dear mentor and benefactor? (This is a rhetorical question, Jin.)
Despite the corridors being perfectly illuminated by candlelight, you palm your way along the walls anyway; it makes it somehow easier to sense your location within the twisting, winding depths of the mansion. The walls seem to... breathe beneath your hand, if that makes any sense at all. Well, it kind of does; there have been numerous comparisons of the mansion to a living creature, after all, both in your mental contemplations and the descriptions of others. On the upside, it seems to like you, since you don't get lost. On the contrary, finding the stairs leading up to the massive double doors of the library entrance is a piece of cake for you today, saving you the burden of wearing out your feet before even venturing forth into the depths of the gigantic library itself. The sound of the doors closing behind you sends out an eerie echo, yet you're kind of used to the strange, dark light, and the uniform rows of bookcases stretching out into the distance endlessly.
Inhaling deeply while steeling yourself for the long trek ahead, you take the first step. Let's see... Left at this bookcase, right at the one with all the books in German... No, wait, this is a dead end. Back a few steps... Ah, right, you were supposed to go -that- way at the modern literature bookcase. Out of boredom, you take a passing glance at the titles of some of the books you pass by along your journey, fishing for anything interesting without any real results.
'Recollections of a Furniture Restorer'... 'In Pursuit of Softness'... 'It All Started With a Train Wreck'... 'Immortality Disease - A Theoretical Study'...
...What is all this, and why on earth is it all in the same section? Well, whatever... you're here to see Patchouli, not loan another book. The temptation to call Koakuma and ask her for directions goes as fast as it comes, the memory of your awkward little encounter with her not long ago today still fresh in the back of your mind. Trudging onwards into the depths of the library like several times before, you eventually manage to navigate your way to the center of the maze. You know, if the woman would just teach you how to -fly- or something, you could embrace the wonders of vertical travel, making your life much more simple. In any case, the librarian is sitting in her usual spot, as expected; the one character in whose case it would be odd if she -wasn't- just sitting around and waiting for you to come interact with her. Upon hearing your approach, she raises her violet eyes from the book in her hands, the expression on her face upgrading from 'bitter scowl' to 'only mildly unpleasant'. She must be starting to like you.
"Jin? I was aware Remilia had intended to invite you to the mansion again this weekend, yet I was under the impression this would occur in the afternoon. I am surprised." Her face quickly contorts back into a dark frown.
"I dislike... being surprised. Would you kindly explain this unexpected turn of events?"
"Er, well... It all started when Flandre proposed we go out on a dat-... a little outing this weekend, and..." You proceed to detail the following events to Patchouli, sparing no details, up to the point where Flandre storms out, you comfort Rumia and Rumia flies you to the island.
"...And then I came here, because, well... I want to fix things up with Flandre, but I'm not entirely sure how I should go about it without only making things worse."
Patchouli is merely glaring at you with the kind of expression you would use when looking at an autistic child picking their nose.
"So, to summarize, you put Flandre and Rumia together in the same room. Flandre, whom I have repeatedly warned you about to be unstable and dangerous when provoked, and who seems to be overly fond of you lately. Rumia, who Flandre had most recently seen engaged in the act of strangling you. And you believed this to be a good idea." A moment of silence passes with her eyes fixed upon you, not blinking even once, as the corners of her mouth slowly curl downwards to an impossible degree, and you feeling increasingly uncomfortable just standing there. Not that sitting would be any better with her looking at you like that, mind you. Eventually, she sighs loudly, putting the book aside and rubbing her temples.
"I am far too vexed to even call you an imbecile at the moment. Why do you not consider the consequences of your actions before you undertake them..? You create unnecessary conflict with your reckless behavior, and then come to me for aid."
"S-sorry... You did say I could come to you for advice, but if it's too much-..."
"No, do not misunderstand. I have not withdrawn my statement. I would simply appreciate it if you did not cause trouble simply for the sake of coming to see me. It does not flatter me, it merely interrupts my routine." What routine? All you do is sit around all day and-... Wait, you feel like something in what she just said went right over your head. Subtle hints of a mild, nearly nonexistant smirk fading from her lips in the blink of an eye, she gestures towards a chair over to the side, which you pull up to her desk and sit down in, still a little nervous.
"To be quite honest, I do not know the exact nature of your 'relationship' with the younger sister, so any advice I could give you on the matter would be somewhat limited... Above all, I would encourage you to be honest. Naive as the girl may be, she can pick up subtle signs of lies or half-truths with surprising ease. Be open about your feelings on the matter. However..."
"...If what you say is true, and she was pretending to be in a good mood as she left, then I suspect not heading after her immediately has resulted in her forming a... how should I word this... a shell, around herself. Think about it. Why do you think she did not tell anyone, even her own sister, about what happened this morning? Furthermore, Sakuya has surely informed her of your arrival by now; why do you think she has not come out of her room to greet you?"
She... has a point, there. Maybe Flandre just doesn't want to see you (or anyone else), right now? If this is true, then just barging into her room uninvited might end up making doing more harm than good...
"Patience is a virtue. You are to stay in the mansion for the entire weekend, are you not? When she wants to speak to you, she will find you herself. Do not underestimate a vampire's abilities to track down one human, especially one they are familiar with."
"...Yeah, I know what you mean from experience." She cocks an eyebrow at your response, but pays it no further mind, leaning back in her chair with a light cough. Come to think of it, isn't this the first time you've heard her cough in days? Even so, it's rather mild compares to her hacking and wheezing from when you first met her, or... that one time. Picturing the scene in your mind again, absent-mindedly looking at your hand as you slowly clench your fist, you can't help but shiver for a moment.
"Hm? Is something the matter?" Patchouli eyes you with a curious expression, perplexed by your involuntary shuddering.
"I see." Her interest is lost immediately.
"Then, was there anything else..?" Was there? Ah, yes... As long as you're here, you might as well ask about -that- as well, no?
"I'm, ah... I'm curious about... succubi."
"Succubi?" Your unexpected question causes her to open her eyes fully, an unusual sight compared to her usually narrowed eyes, giving her a constantly sleepy appearance. She seems more surprised than anything - ah yes, she doesn't take unexpected things too well, does she?
"Why do you want to know about succubi, all of a sudden..?"
"Well, ah, it's not just succubi in general... I was wondering about Koakuma, you see..."
A moment of silence, with the two of you just looking at one another. Feels awkward, man.
"Eh?" She's still staring at you, not blinking.
"W-well, ah... Mostly just curiosity, you see, since I don't know her that well at all... I mean, ah, she's your assistant, and I'm your pupil; there's a fair bet that the two of us are going to run into eachother more often as time goes on, no?"
She furrows her brow at you suspiciously for a moment.
"'Run into'?" All you can do is try to keep your cool under that gaze of hers. It's like being stared down by a vulture while you're slowly drowning in a scorching desert.
"Well, what exactly is it that you want to know? I cannot help you if your question is too vague."
"Ah, well... For starters, could you explain to me just what exactly succubi are?"
"Mmm... Succubi are devils. I am sure you already surmised this from Koa's name. I had actually never bothered giving her a proper name, simply calling her 'little devil' as I had not intended to keep her around for long. It stuck, over time."
"Don't devils have names of their own..?"
"Some do." She adjusts her position in her chair a little, before continuing.
"It is something of a status symbol for a devil or demon to have a name of its own, though... They are usually either titles granted to them by others, or appointed to themselves, to signify their power. For a summoned being such as her, however, a name granted by the master is essentially a symbol of ownership, like naming a pet." Makes you think of her little nickname for you... Does she consider you to be her 'pet' as well?
"What else can you tell me about succubi? Do they really, ah... well... you know..?"
"I honestly have no idea what you could possibly be referring to."
She's got to be kidding. Your tongue becomes twisted as you try to think of a way to properly word this, instead choosing to carry over the meaning by poking your left index finger through a circle formed by your right index finger and thumb.
"...and then with the soul-sucking and... well..."
It takes a surprisingly long amount of time for her to realize what you're referring to. As expected she doesn't become flustered or so much as blush lightly or anything, remaining perfectly calm as if you had asked her about the weather.
"Succubi feed off the vitality of men, through vaginal intercourse." Straight, to the point, blunt. As expected of Patchouli Knowledge; not that this makes you feel any less awkward about the question.
"Of course, a succubus bound to a master does not require such a method for obtaining energy, as they have a permanent link to the power of their master. In cases where the succubus is significantly drained, they may have their master's energy transferred to their bodies directly, through a method rather similar to their regular feeding techniques, although there is no health risk involved due to the binding magic, and blah blah blah..."
Don't imagine Patchouli and Koakuma having hot, passionate lesbian sex.
Don't imagine Patchouli and Koakuma having hot, passionate lesbian sex.
Don't imagine Patchouli and Koakuma having hot, passionate lesbian sex.
"...mechanics involved are rather simple. Are you listening?"
"Huh? Oh, y-yes, of course, I was listening the whole time. Very interesting!"
She frowns at you for a moment, before sighing softly.
"Did I answer your question?"
"Y-yes..." Strictly vaginal intercourse is deadly? ...You'll file this information away in the back of your head, just in case. Purely out of a scholarly interest, mind you.
"Um... I was also wondering... Koakuma doesn't seem to talk much, does she?"
"Ah. Yes. She is not allowed to."
"Not allowed to? But why?"
"For the very reasons she is also not allowed to touch male visitors to the mansion. Whereas her touch would already cloud your mind and fill your head with... Well, I am sure you remember whatever it was that you saw when she touched your hand that one time..."
O rly? As if you could forget.
"...her voice would probably send you into a mindless frenzy. Even an adult male is practically helpless against the voice of a succubus; a young man like yourself, driven by your hormones, would likely attempt to rape her the moment she uttered a single word within earshot."
"R-right..." What a way to word it. She's not the type to soften her words, is she?
"Was there anything else?"
"Well..." Ah yes. That, too.
"...Do you have any more advice for me, for when I reveal the truth to Remilia this Sunday evening?"
"Aside from what I have already told you?" She fixes you with a bored look.
"Be polite. Be respectful. Show humility. Appease her senses of superiority over you. Do not make her feel intimidated. Do not make excuses for yourself. Emphasize your continued desire to maintain your friendship with her and her sister. Do I really have to tell you these things? They should be fairly logical..."
"Well, you do know her better than anyone else I could think of..."
"Is that what you think?" For just a moment there, you almost thought you heard a hint of sadness in Patchouli's voice - something entirely new to you.
"I must admit... We have been interacting with one another much less frequently these last few decades. You would most likely receive more accurate information on the inner workings of Remilia's mind from her most trusted servant, Sakuya." Huh. That's somewhat unexpected, really... You had thought Patchouli and Remilia were as close friends as you could get. Granted, you've never seen Remilia in the library, nor do you often see Patchouli out of it.
"...You look as if there is something yet still on your mind."
"Ah, well..." Rather than poke your nose into her personal life, you recall one last topic you wished to ask her about.
"I read the book, again. And..."
"...Something different happened. So far, it's felt as if by -knowing- the words, I was hearing them being spoken aloud in a strange voice, but this time... The voice sounded an awful lot like it was coming from inside my own head, not the book. And it almost felt as if it was, uh... talking to me."
"Talking to you?" She seems surprised, but not completely clueless.
"And what did it say?"
"It... It was talking to me about power. It said that I could not become strong unless I stop holding myself back, and forsake all of my limitations."
"This is true. To gain power, one must gain knowledge - knowledge of how to invoke and control this power within you, and to do so you can not allow yourself to be held back by your normal beliefs or inhibitions."
"I know, I know, but... It sounded different this time, somehow. I started thinking about... potential."
"Yeah... What I could possibly become. If I could be come strong enough to defend myself against youkai like Rumia... Strong enough to prove myself to Remilia and Flandre..." You swallow, the words replaying in your head as if spoken by yourself, a strange, salty taste finding its way into your mouth as if you were about to vomit.
"...Stronger than everyone. Strong enough to not have to fear anything anymore."
"...Hm. I see." She doesn't seem particularly upset over this, at least in comparison to yourself.
"Well. To obtain power, one must seek it. At the moment, you barely have any control over your powers at all. Your aim is terrible, your use of your psychokinetic ability is very limited, mostly to destruction, you probably lack the strength of will and mental energy to conjure more than two or three spellcards before collapsing. I am still amazed that you even managed to complete a duel without killing yourself." Somehow, this doesn't sound like praise.
"Of course, teaching you the basics was easy; we did that in the span of one weekend. Teaching you to -hone- your skills, to discover new possibilities within yourself, to explore your true potential... This takes a lot
of time and effort. The results will not be tangible immediately, and only through determination and discipline will you grow in power. That is... assuming you still want power."
"Power..." With great power comes great responsibility. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Several famous phrases such as these fly through your head, alarming you - are you actually afraid of yourself? What you might become? God damn, it's like some sort of bad superhero flick...
"Remember what I have told you. What you have, the ability to destroy a paper bird..." She pulls out a piece of paper from nowhere, folding it into the shape of an origami crane, which proceeds to take flight and orbit your head at a slow pace.
"...is not power. Knowledge is power. To gain more power, you must come to -know- yourself. Are you afraid of discovering your true self?"
"...I don't know."
"I see. The fact that you can admit this is a good sign." She stands up, slowly walking over to you; the crane stops its circular flying pattern, coming to a rest on top of your head as Patchouli stops before you, leaning down and looking you straight in the eyes.
"...Then, shall we continue your training?"
 Yes, but not right now.
 You want to become able to fight in a duel on your own, without outside assistance.
 Utility powers are nice to have. How hard would it be to learn to fly?
 The power of destruction leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Could you use the power of your will to -create-?