“Um, sure...” the fluffy-fluffy-fluffy fluff-head girl says with that look you get sometimes when you say too much like you think you probably did just then.
You get that look all the time these days, it seems.
All the time.
All those eyes, just looking.
“Ah! I mean, yes! Yes, I would very much appreciate it if you would help me, sir!” the girl says, with more cheer and enthusiasm than before.
Probably trying to hide how uncomfortable you're making her you think, possibly.
The quicksand might be doing it, too.
Bad way to go, quicksand. You certainly wouldn't recommend it. Not unless you want your death with a side of false advertising.
But that's neither here nor there.
What is here is someone in need of help!
Help! That you might provide! You!
Which you will not be providing if you just stand there, thinking things to yourself!
“R-right! Right! Help! I will help!” you say, shaking with enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm, and fear.
Not from this, of course.
But from that other thing.
The thing you shouldn't can't won't don't don't don't don't-
You will help her.
You will help her, and then get away as quickly as you can.
It's been too long.
You know 'they' can see you, but can 'they' see you?
Doesn't matter! Doesn't matter!
You're doing this! You're helping! You turn and run and dash and hop and jump and run some more through the forest, looking for anything that could be of use.
A rope would be too convenient, but a vine? Vines are good. Sticks are good. Even fairies are good, if you string them together just right.
Rocks, though? Not so good.
Not that they don't have their uses, but most of them aren't pleasant. Especially not after what happened to-
That's not going to happen to you.
You won't let it!
You won't, you won't, you-
“Augh! you barely manage to get as your legs suddenly buckle, and you tumble gracelessly onto the cold, hard ground.
At least, you assume the ground is hard.
It usually is, most of the time, but for some strange reason you barely feel anything from the impact, let alone from the assorted rocks and sharp twigs scraping your face as you skid to a stop.
As your eyelids began to droop, and a warm haze enveloped your senses, not even the dart in your neck bothered you anymore.
Nothing bothered you anymore.
Not the footsteps that sounded so distant, even though their owner was now right in front of you. Not her quiet mutterings of “...damn, another one...” as she rolls you over onto your back. Not the red eyes you saw looking down upon you, nor the many more that came to join them, only to suddenly leave. Distant voices call out for rope, and footsteps rush past and around you, your eyes registering it all as a blur of white, with two points of light hovering above you.
”I'm sorry,” a voice whispers, as she raises something over her head.
With a start and a *thunk* you wake from your slumber, knocking your forehead on the glass of your containment pod. Were your arms not firmly restrained, you would almost certainly attempt to feel around to make sure there wasn't a bump, while silently cursing whatever mysterious force was responsible for interrupting your dreams just before they reach the good parts.
“Every time. Every fucking time.”
Such a shame, too. While you find yourself already having difficulty remembering every single detail, some traits still linger in your mind. That hair, that voice, those ears...
Ah, yes, she definitely seemed like a cute one. You can't help but think she seemed almost familiar, but you just can't quite put your finger on who it could be.
Not that it really mattered, you suppose. Not really.
All that mattered to you right now was going back to sleep.
There wasn't very much else you were good for in your current state, anyway, let alone capable of doing, and sleeping was something you were both good at and capable of doing.
And so, you close your eyes and focus on the rhythmic hum of the pumps moving all that sweet, oxygen-and-nutrient-giving fluid in and out of your body. You preferred it this way. The injections 'they' gave you would be quicker, but the sleep would be dreamless, at best. At worst, well...
You didn't like the dreams 'they' made you have.
No, this was the better way. The best way.
And so, you close your eyes, and let the sound of the pumps lull you to sleep. All the while, you imagine things...
Sights... Sounds... Feelings... Anything, and everything in between...
Is this the famous compilation filler episode?! Please tell me it is, it is literally impossible to follow through all that's happened from the start. And we still have to declare our love to the lovely and totally real nurse!
>>197665 It might be that. Or it might be something else. It could be a lot of things, or all of those things.
>>197667 >I think I've given up on following any sort of cohesion and just going with the flow of the story.
You know, it is very funny that you should say that.
Actually, while I was going to hold off on saying much about this, at least until I thought things through a bit more, ehhhh. Fuck it.
Buckle in, kids. It's time for a talk.
You see, this story has been going on for a while, now. A long, long, loooooooooooong while. And, as much as it sucks to say, it simply cannot go on forever. I can't write with the speed or frequency I used to (obviously), and between all the things I've been wanting to put into this thing for years now, and all the new stuff coming out that I also want to do things with, "forever" is pretty much how long this story will have to continue if I'm going to get around to any of it, especially at the pace I'm going now.
So, what to do? Just keep on building up this already rickety tower of nonsense in the hopes that I might come close to even touching where I want things to end up before it all comes crashing down under its own weight?
Well, I can't promise that won't be where it goes, anyway, but however things ultimately end for this thing, I want to at least feel satisfied that I hit all the points I wanted to with it before taking it out behind the shed and going "Old Yeller" on it.
And so! With that in mind, I'm thinking a possible way to go about moving things forward in this story is to stop worrying about how to move things forward. Forget about how to move from Point A to Point B, and just hit those damn points, by any means necessary. If that means some confusion about things, like how you went from enjoying a lovely tea party in Alice's garden to being handcuffed to a bed in a secret chamber in the Scarlet Devil Mansion's basement to helping a heartbroken mother fix her strained relationship with her daughter (or at least her crippling alcoholism) in a place that may or may not be Makai, then so be it.
Of course, it won't be that drastic or sudden of a shift between places and events. I'm just wanting to do things a little more like how I used to do them, before starting this story. Before things like cohesion and continuity mattered, and I had to make a point of trying to remember who said what to whom and when and where.
If all else fails, and there's still stuff I want to do regarding this story, I might try for a few short, one-off bits to cover them. Deleted scenes are always fun.
Most of all, though, I want to have fun. I want you all to have fun, too. Failing that, I want you all to look upon this trainwreck and think to yourself, "what the FUCK did I just read?" That's always fun.
Anyway, just wanted to let you know what I've been thinking regarding this story, and that's all I've really got to say about it for now. As always, questions or comments are welcome and appreciated.
>>197668 I'll be honest, I think I gave up a long time ago on seeing reasonable progression. Progression that is based on solid, scrutable, logic that we can predict or build up towards. Would it be nice to have had that? I mean, I guess, but in the same way that it would have been nice to have most stories update regularly.
This isn't meant to be an overly harsh criticism, just a statement of fact about why I read this story. Which is mainly because it's interesting despite all these "objective" failings and I'm kind of in it for the ride. It doesn't matter that the ride shifted from a merry-go-round to a roller coaster to go karting. So, as far as I'm concerned, it's okay that you just go for the beats without sweating smaller stuff like consistency and narrative build up.
If it's fun and you're satisfied with what you're doing, then it's ok. I'll live and enjoy. And get my essential vitamins and nutrients of less-traditional storytelling. So yeah, enjoy those mixed metaphors and you do you.
>>197668 ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS FUCKING UPDATE SEMI-FREQUENTLY, YOU BITCH
I WOULD HAVE VOTED, OTHER PEOPLE WOULD HAVE VOTED, IT WOULDN'T EVEN MATTER IF YOUR PROSE GOT A DEGREE WORSE BECAUSE THERE IS NO QUALITY CONTROL FOR MAGICAL GIRL FANFICTION ON THE INTERNET
BUT NOW YOU'RE WRITING A RANT ABOUT "OH SHIT I FUCKED UP, I NEED TO UPDATE EVERYTHING HOW AM I GONNA WRITE ALL OF THIS" AND SAYING THINGS ABOUT HOW YOU NEED TO CUT CORNERS NOW
I UNDERSTAND THAT THIS SITE HAS BEEN SLOWLY DECLINING INTO DECAY AND THE LOWER END OF MEDIOCRE FANFICTION AND THAT THE STATUS QUO RIGHT NOW IS THAT NOT UPDATING DOES NOT MAKE YOU A NIGGER (HINT: IT DOES) BUT PLEASE HAVE SOME STANDARDS FOR THOSE SECONDARIES THAT CURRENTLY INFEST THIS SITE AND DO WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO. FUCK.
Yes, solid progression based on a clear chain of logic would have been nice. But that would likely have required me to implement a level of planning beyond "fuck it, we'll do it live" from the very beginning, rather than not at all.
Woah, simmer down and take it easy, friend. I think you're confusing me for the Angry Marine guy. His thread's a page or two over.
Believe me, if it was as simple as "update more" this whole time, I would have done that. But when Life decides to take a massive, mastadon-sized shit all over everything, writing magical girl fanfiction for the internet gets bumped to the bottom of your list of priorities. I don't like it, but I also don't exactly care for watching someone have their life collapse around them, either, among other things.
Also, "STANDARDS"? Me? Now I know you're confusing me for someone else.
The teacher's voice booms from the large, black, eyeball robot-tank-thing floating in front of the door, looking at you all with what you could only assume was disapproval.
“IN SPITE OF THE COUNTLESS FACTORS WORKING IN YOUR FAVOR, INCLUDING THIS SCHOOL'S ENFORCEMENT OF ITS OWN RULES BEING SO NOTORIOUSLY LAX AS TO BE PRACTICALLY NON-EXISTANT, EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU 'SHINING BEACONS OF OUR SOCIETY'S FUTURE' NEVERTHELESS MANAGED TO BEAT THE ODDS AND LAND YOURSELF HERE, IN DETENTION. SO, CONGRATS ON THAT, YOU FRICKING GENIUSES. NOT EVEN THAT LITTLE DARKNESS-SPEWING GREMLIN HAS MADE IT HERE, AND SHE EATS PEOPLE, SO I CAN ONLY IMAGINE HOW ANY OF YOU MADE THE CUT.[”
“Actually, I have done nothing to be here,” Houraisan cheerfully says, hand thrust enthusiastically into the air. “I simply wanted to experience what it was like to be a delinquent! I am quite excited!”
“Hey, yeah, I'm not s'posed to be here, either!” the horned girl sitting the back speaks up. From the punkish streaks of color in her hair, to the way she was currently leaning back in her chair and propping her feet up on the table, you found it hard to believe she didn't belong in detention.
“THAT IS ACTUALLY CORRECT, MISS KIJIN. YOU'VE ALREADY BEEN EXPELLED.”
“Twice!” the grinning girl says, proudly.
“AND YET, HERE YOU ARE. IN SCHOOL. IN DETENTION. TWO PLACES YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE, FOR NO REASON BEYOND THE FACT NOBODY ELSE WANTS YOU HERE, EITHER. IF THERE WERE ANY LINE BETWEEN CONTRAIANISM AND STUPIDITY, IT HAS BEEN COMPLETELY ERADICATED FROM THE SHEER AMOUNT THE TIMES YOU'VE CROSSED IT.”
“Frustrating, ain't it?”
“ON THE CONTRARY, THIS IS EXACTLY THE MOMENT MOST OF US WERE WAITING FOR.”
“...hah? The hell's that s'posed to mean?”
“I COULD EXPLAIN WHAT THAT MEANS, BUT I'D RATHER YOU JUST STEW ON IT FOR THE REST OF THE AFTERNOON. AS FOR THE REST OF YOU-”
“Hey! Wait a damn minute!”
“MY NOTES SAY SOMETHING ABOUT 'WRITE AN ESSAY AND/OR ENGAGE IN CONVERSATION WITH FELLOW DETAINEES FOR THE PURPOSE OF' SOMETHING SOMETHING 'PERSONAL GROWTH AND DISCOVERY' YADDA YADDA YADDA. BASICALLY, JUST DON'T TRY TO LEAVE OR EAT EACH OTHER OR WHATEVER.”
“Ha! In that case, I'm-”
“EXCEPT FOR YOU, KIJIN. TRY TO LEAVE. PLEASE. SEE HOW THAT GOES.”
The horned girl's eyes flick around the room for a few moments, before settling back on the large, black machine staring back at her. “...staying right here! Ha! How d'you like that?!”
“I'm not stuck in here with you, you're stuck in here with me!”
“ACTUALLY, NO, JUST SIGMA IS STUCK IN THERE WITH YOU. I AM CURRENTLY SPEAKING TO YOU FROM THE COMFORT OF MY OFFICE, SIPPING THIS CUP OF BOG WATER THEY CALL 'COFFEE'. I KEEP TELLING THEM I CAN FIX THE MACHINE MYSELF, BUT NOOOOOOO! DON'T TRUST THE CERTIFIED GENIUS TO FIX A SIMPLE COFFEE MAKER. I ONLY BUILT A DOOMSDAY WEAPON OUT OF A FEW PLANKS OF WOOD AND A BOX OF SCRAP METAL Bleh, screw this stuff. SIGMA? I'M GOING OUT FOR A BIT. KEEP YOUR EYE ON THEM, WOULD YA?”
“ＯＲＤＥＲ ＣＯＮＦＩＲＭＥＤ － ＳＥＮＴＲＹ ＭＯＤＥ ＡＣＴＩＶＡＴＥＤ,” the large machine responds, its single red eye glowing faintly as it begins to slowly pan back and forth over the room
“ALRIGHT, KIDS, BEHAVE YOURSELVES. I DON'T WANT TO COME BACK AND FIND SIGMA HAD TO GET ROUGH ON ANY OF YOU, BECAUSE WE STILL HAVE TO SEND YOU HOME TO YOUR PARENTS AT THE END OF THE DAY, AND IT'S KINDA HARD TO TELL YOU APART WHEN YOU'VE BEEN REDUCED TO A FINE, RED PASTE. AND ON THAT NOTE, I'M OUTTA HERE.”
And just like that, the machine goes silent, save for the faint whirring of the eye moving back and forth. It was now just you, your fellow students, and a giant robotic eyeball keeping each other company for the rest of the day.
With what promised to be a long, strange day ahead of you, you decide the first thing to do is:
[ ] Look around, and see who else is in here with you.
[ ] Open up a book, shove your face in it, and keep it there.
[ ] Put your pen to paper, and hope it looks like you're doing more than simply doodling.
[ ] Lay your head on the desk and take a nap. Not like there's anything better to do.
File 150733383477.jpg - (113.97KB, 1000x448, all in all its just another brick in.jpg)
Of course! Survey the area! Gather intelligence on who your fellow detainees are!
When you're going to be stuck in a relatively confined space with a group of people for any length of time, it is always a good idea to determine whether any of them are likely to stab, shoot, burn, freeze, drown, crush, maul, dismember, or eat you.
Anything that was listed in that waiver you had to sign when you first enrolled in this school, basically.
First of all, there was the punk-looking girl. “Kijin” was it? You think you heard something about an armed insurrection she tried to get going one morning, but that was also the day they had Eggs Benedict in the cafeteria, so you weren't really paying attention. Why would you? You only ever saw Eggs Benedict in the cafeteria maybe once every few months, while student-led uprisings were practically a weekly occurrence.
One week it's the school marching band demanding new instruments, the next it's the marching band's instruments demanding new students to play them, and then there's always the fairies and whatever they've gotten themselves worked up and throwing chairs over.
Whatever insurance they've got on this place, you can only assume it is very, very good, and probably just as expensive.
In any case, in terms of sheer trouble-making, you doubt that was the primary reason for Kijin's apparent expulsion. What would do it, you suppose, would be the string of thefts that she was allegedly involved in a while ago. Supposedly, it wasn't just student lockers, but classrooms and offices that were having things going missing. While you didn't know exactly what was stolen, you count yourself as one of the lucky few to not have been struck, although you suspect you have those “security measures” Medi took the liberty of installing in your desk and locker to thank for that.
You can't deny feeling a little guilty about that, since you really should be the one looking out for her, but you were still happy to have her watching out for you. And to think, if it weren't for her spotting that suspicious-looking girl tampering with your locker that one time, and her telling you about it at dinner that night, her mother might never have suggested that your locker needed protecting!
Though you don't quite understand what Medi's mom was muttering about “harlots” after that, you're still happy that she cares so much for your well-being, and are truly grateful to have been taken in by such a warm and caring woman, even if she can be a little strange. Like that time you slipped and called her “mom” and she locked herself away in her room for the rest of the night. From the way her face turned purple, and smoke started coming out of her as she hurried out of the room, you were worried that you had made her angry, but the next day she acted as if nothing had happened. Strangely, it was also around that time that the lunches she packed for you began to drastically increase in size. This, she repeatedly assured you, was simply due to her accidentally cooking too much and not wanting any of it to go to waste.
Why she couldn't just put the extra food in the fridge, you had no idea, but you couldn't deny it was kinda cool to have a lunch box larger than your head. Tapping your foot against the side of the large container at your feet, you briefly wonder if you'll be allowed to eat outside, or at least near an open window when the time comes, but brush those thoughts aside in favor of resuming your survey of your fellow detainees.
There was the “Princess” of course. You never really had much reason to interact with Houraisan, but she seemed pleasant and harmless enough. Of course you knew about the rumors floating around about her and those disappearances from a while back, but you didn't really think there was much truth to them. Some claimed that anyone who tried to ask her out would vanish, never to be heard from again. Others made her out to be some sort of alien body-snatcher, abducting people and taking their place. Either way, she was made to sound like someone to be avoided.
That didn't stop the occasional guy from trying their luck and asking her out, of course. And, sure, you don't remember seeing any of them around after that, for some reason, but you don't see why she would necessarily be to blame for that. Perhaps they were all the type who don't take rejection well, and chose to remain home or transfer to another school rather than live with the humiliation?
Pretty silly if that's the case, you think. In a school where a not-insignificant portion of the student body can bench press a bus and may or may not have a taste for human flesh, some hurt pride is hardly the worst thing that a girl could to in turning you down.
In any case, while you weren't exactly on familiar terms with Houraisan, the girl seated a few rows back from her was an entirely different story. There, paradoxically clad in black leather, sunlight from the nearby window glinting off her tinted sunglasses, sat none other than Mystia “(Bird) Meat is Murder” Lorelei. To call the girl an “activist” would be akin to calling the time one of Satori's pets tried to cause a nuclear apocalypse because someone told her to “bring light to the world” a “simple misunderstanding”. While a school with as many different people from different walks of life naturally had its share of disagreements and conflicts, Lorelei took outrage to a whole new level, protesting more loudly and forcefully over any bird-related products used in the cafeteria's meals than any other individual or group was capable of, up to and including that time the human segment of the student body discovered exactly what the “pork” in the school's “pulled long pork” sandwiches was.
The fact that the sandwiches in question were actually quite tasty and popular, to the extent that even many human students continued to eat them even after the revelation, did no favors to that particular cause.
A few seats away from the egg-hating food terrorist and slightly behind you, sat the one you only knew as The Girl With No Head. While there were times she appeared as The Girl With A Head, this was clearly not one of those times, and since you never actually ever caught her name, you found it simpler to just refer to her by her head-having status. In the rare instances when the head was present but the body was missing, you referred to her as simply The Head. Generally quietly, if not silently, for fear that she might hear you.
Though you didn't like to judge others by their appearances, The Head struck you very much as a biter, and not just because that was clearly her only means of attack in that state. Mostly, it was because of that, sure. But not just because of that.
Getting bitten sucks, even when it doesn't come with the risk of being turned into a flesh-hungry or blood-thirsty monster.
And on that note... you think to yourself, looking over at the farthest corner of the room. Seated as far as she could get from the sunlight streaming in through the window, black wings drooping as she miserably holds her head in her hands, sat the blonde girl whose name continues to elude you despite all the times she's joined you for lunch recently.
Whatever it was, the fact that you were hardly the only one in the school to not remember her name both lessened your sense of guilt, and served as sad proof of the girl's complete lack of presence or charisma despite her claims of being a vampire.
Remilia Scarlet, she most certainly was not.
Then again, that was likely for the best. One of her was more than enough for most, as it is.
Still, it made you wonder. While one vampire lived a life of wealth and luxury, to the point that she personally funded an expansion to the school that was larger than the entire original building just so she could name it herself or have it named after her, this one seemed absolutely destitute. Instead of having servants tending to her every whim, she seemed to be the one doing the serving, following Yuuka Kazami around like a sad puppy and doing pretty much anything she was told to do.
You wouldn't be surprised if it was actually Yuuka who was supposed to be in that seat, and poor Kurumu or whatever her name was made to come in her place.
Truly, the world was a cruel and unfair place, sometimes. And school? Even more so.
As you continued to look over the classroom, you slowly became aware that you were not the only one checking out your surroundings, and as your eyes passed over your fellow students, you began to notice some of their eyes falling upon you.
In the very back row, directly behind you, an angel-winged girl scowls in your direction. Taking a few seconds too many to realize you were looking back at her, she suddenly sticks her tongue out at you before turning towards her sister, the maid enthusiast, who seemed to be completely absorbed in a magazine she was reading. As the winged girl poked and prodded at her sibling, seemingly trying to get her to notice you were there, you couldn't help but wonder what the magazine she was reading was about. The text was in some language you didn't recognize, but you suspected that it involved maids, swords, or maids with swords in some fashion, if the woman pictured on the cover was any indication.
Of course, you also had to wonder if it was okay to even read magazines like that in detention, but if the giant robotic eyeball watching over you wasn't going to say anything about it, you certainly weren't, either.
Figuring it was best to keep your eyes from lingering too long, you pry your gaze away from the twins and return to looking around the classroom.
The “princess” who, by her own admission, didn't really belong in detention. The punk-looking girl who absolutely belonged in detention, if not jail. The egg-hating harpy for whom the only regret you feel at her being in detention is that you're stuck in it with her. The pitiful vampire who was only being punished on account of someone who actually deserved it. The brat who deserved to be punished, and her not-as-bad sister who also technically deserved it but maybe not as much. And then, of course, there was...
Your eyes meet, and your blood goes cold. Why is she here? you think to yourself.
Why is it here?
It didn't belong here. You knew it. From the look in her eyes, it knew it as well.
It didn't belong here.
Not just here, but HERE.
You don't know how you know it, but you know
You know, but does it?
It does not.
You can tell from the way she, no, it. It looks around the room. Red eyes flicking from student to student, pausing on some longer than others. Searching. Scanning. Assessing.
Threats. Allies. Potential avenues of escape, and angles of attack.
She was like a soldier who found herself alone in enemy territory.
A lost little rabbit in a den of wolves.
Truly, she did not belong here, and she knew it.
And so did you.
Her eyes were but one clue that gave her away. Red and shining, like you only saw on your trips to the infirmary.
There ears, though? Those were a dead giveaway.
Though hardly as worn or crumpled as the kindly nurse's could be, the floppy ears sprouting out of that head of blue hair were unmistakable, and left little doubt in your mind as to who and what you were looking at.
No mere rabbit, of course. Not one from this place, but from the other place.
A place so similar, and yet so vastly different from the one you knew. A place where for the lofty and powerful, who look down upon those outside with disdain, convinced of their own superiority.
She came from the private school.
A surge of emotions threaten to overwhelm you, some rational while others were not.
Realizing it would do little good to get yourself so riled up, you turn back and gaze down at your desk, taking slow, deep breathes in an attempt to calm yourself down.
That's right, you needed to keep your cool. You had a long day ahead of you, after all, and dwelling on the negative would only serve to make it feel longer than it was.
You were going to get through this, one way other another.
The only question was, how...
[ ] Ignore the others. Focus only on whatever you can do yourself to pass the time.
[ ] Engage in some of that “conversation with fellow detainees” business the giant scary eyeball robot mentioned to pass the time.
[ ] Attempt to skip out of this whole ordeal, it's pretty much a waste of time anyway.
Seeing as there really wasn't much else you could do in this situation, you decide you may as well try to converse with your fellow...
Now that you were thinking about it, what would you call your fellow students in this situation?
They weren't exactly your 'classmates', since this wasn't really a class.
'Detainees' seems more fitting, you suppose. While it made it sound more like you were in a prison rather than in school for detention, the fact that you were being watched by a remote-controlled death machine rather than an actual teacher did make things seem a bit more severe than was warranted for what you-
Wait, why were you in detention, anyway?
It couldn't be because of that time you wandered into the air vents. That felt like ages ago, so it made no sense that you would be in trouble for that now.
You suppose messing up the flower garden would be detention-worthy, but that was more Tenshi's doing, and either way the groundskeeper made sure that neither of you would ever do anything like that again.
Even now, the mere sight of someone stepping on grass fills your head with the sound of snapping bones and screaming.
Of course, there was that time you and Tenshi found yourselves in the chemistry lab, and you kiiiiiinda sorta dared her into drinking a few of the experiments. You don't know why you did that, really. Or why she went along with it. All you do know is that, were it not for your gesture of holding her hair back for her while she spewed it all back up and into the sink, she might not have held back as much as she did when she got enough of her strength back to kick you in the balls.
It's the little things that people appreciate the most, sometimes.
What people don't seem to appreciate, you've noticed, is the little 'problem' you have every now and then. For reasons you and just about every single doctor you've ever seen are unable to fully explain, you seem to occasionally black out and lose consciousness. Sometimes you do things during these little 'episodes' of yours, but other times you don't. Either way, it's become enough of a routine for you that you're barely even bothered by them anymore. So long as wherever you wake up is familiar, you still have your pants on, and nothing's on fire, you consider yourself to be doing alright.
“Psst! Hey! Hey you!”
Unfortunately, it has earned you something of a reputation, both among the teachers and your fellow students. One that, despite your best efforts, has been rather difficult to shake off.
You sigh heavily and turn towards the whisperer, silently debating whether it was even worth correcting anyone, anymore. Despite your protests, several signed letters from various doctors, and the complete lack of any of the physical traits you would expect to have if you actually were such a thing, there remained a number of people in the school who were convinced that you were, in fact, a goat youkai.
“Yo! Goat boy! You wanna bust outta here?”
Having set herself down in the desk beside you, the girl named Kijin leans towards you, grinning.
“Not really,” you reply. “And I'm not-”
“Ah. Ah-ha! Yeah, yeah! I gotcha. Knew I could count on ya!”
“That's not what I-”
“I know! It's not fair! It's this shitty world's fault, and we'll make those bastards pay!”
“Whoa! Whoa! Now?! Damn! I like it! You got guts! And I'm not just saying that!”
“What are you even-”
“No, you're right, man! Now or never! Sink or swim!”
“Right! I'll be right behind you, no matter what! Ready?”
> Despite your protests, several signed letters from various doctors, and the complete lack of any of the physical traits you would expect to have if you actually were such a thing, there remained a number of people in the school who were convinced that you were, in fact, a goat youkai.
Ladies and gentlemen, Giraffe Logic at its finest.
What kind of question was that, that could be answered with but a mere 'yes' or 'no'?
None other than the most pointless of questions, clearly!
'Do you accept these terms and conditions?'
'Am I pretty?'
'Can I borrow a fishing rod?'
Truly, if there were a more harmless and inconsequential thing to ask someone, it's anything that could be answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no'.
“Yes,” you reply, certain that you were ready, despite not really knowing what you were supposed to be ready for. “I am rea-”
“YO! TEACH! WE GOT A RUNNER!”
The words the girl yelled barely have time to register as you feel yourself being yanked out of your seat and thrown towards the nearest window by some unseen force.
Squeezing your eyes shut, you do your best to brace yourself for the inevitable impact. In a school like this, they would almost certainly have some sort of protection against windows being broken. Some sort of magical seal or enchantment, you would assume. Even if the windows were just plain, old shatter-resistant glass or plastic or whatever they use in zoos, you just knew there had to be something to stop your sudden flight.
And yet, you feel nothing. Not the sound of cracking glass or bone, nor the impact of your body slamming into anything. If you felt anything, it was nothing more than the air rushing past you, first from in front of you, and then from below.
You open your eyes, and blink.
You see the outside of the school's main building, its myriad of windows glittering in the sun.
You see the open window from which you were thrown, and feel somewhat surprised at how it could become so small and distant in such a short time.
Vertically-speaking, the window's rapidly-increasing distance was far less surprising.
Thirty floors is a long way up, after all.
Coincidentally, it was also a rather long way down.
Not too long, of course.
Just long enough for you to register the image of the ground, rushing up towards you.
Just long enough for you to wonder if a fall from that height would be enough to kill you.
Just long enough to for you to realize how much it will suck for you if it's not.
And just long enough
for you to close
With a surprising amount of force, you feel yourself being yanked back up to your feet.
“I did tell you to watch your step, did I not?” the silver-haired maid chides you as you brush a few flecks of moss and mildew from the front of your robe.
You think to say something, but decide against it. She had warned you that the steps could be slippery, after all.
She had warned you of quite a number of things at this point, in fact.
She had warned you against coming back, yet you insisted.
She had warned you about accepting her mistress's invitation, yet you accepted.
She had warned you against uttering even the slightest hint of anything you may have seen on your previous visit, and yet you just had to make a point of addressing the young vampire as “Countess”.
While she seemed pleased enough at first, flattered even, you could tell it didn't take long for her to figure out the meaning behind that...
“Oh my! I just had the most fantastic idea, Sakuya!” the vampire says, clapping her hands together.
“Ah, an idea, Mistress?” the maid replies hesitantly, looking as if she already had some idea of what her master had in mind.
“Oh yes~!” the Scarlet Devil turns back towards you, flashing a grin you're almost positive was meant to display her fangs as prominently as possible. “This young man is soamusing, it's a shame that I should be the only one to enjoy his company. We simply must have my dear sister join us!”
And so, here you were, being led down to the mansion's basement, with the supposed objective of inviting the Scarlet Devil's little sister to join you all for brunch.
The Scarlet Devil's little sister, who was rumored to be extremely powerful, exceedingly dangerous, and completely insane.
“You only have yourself to blame for this,” the maid says, lighting her torch before motioning you to follow her down the damp stone corridor. “Just be glad the Mistress seems to only want to scare you, not kill you.”
“Um, what if she wanted to kill me?”
Without breaking her stride, or even turning back to look at you, the maid raises her free hand up, and with a flick of her wrist, seemingly plucks a deck of playing cards out of thin air.
Fanning them out, she turns her hand to show you both sides, and you can't help but feel a little impressed, even as you wonder how a magic trick answers your question.
Before you can ask the maid, however, she flicks her wrist again, and the cards are suddenly replaced by a set of long, silver knives.
“...ooooooooh.” you say, as the maid flicks her wrist once again, and the knives disappear as suddenly as they appeared.
Having made her point, two of you continue down the hallway in silence, passing by a few landmarks you remember from your previous visit.
The grate in the wall was back where it belonged, and if the bolts on it weren't enough to keep it from being removed again, the signs of welding you saw around the edges almost certainly were.
The old door to the drainage tunnels was much as you remembered it, save for the excessive number of chains and locks covering it on this side.
If you didn't know any better, you would have thought your previous visit had left something of an impression on them.
And then, at last, you arrive at what you assume to be your destination. The large, metal door at the end of the hallway.
The door you saw on your previous visit.
The door you could have investigated, but didn't.
The door that, had you investigated, may have led to a series of events that were quite different from the ones you've had over the past few days.
But that's not what happened, was it?
You did not go to the door, back then.
Just as you did not do so many other things you could have, when you had the chance.
And yet, despite all of that, you were back here again.
You were always going to wind up back here, again.
At this door.
“No matter what happens, stay behind me,” the maid whispers, her voice hushed yet firm. “Do not speak. Do not move.”
Unsure of how to respond without speaking or moving, you opt to blink your eyes in a way that you can only hope could be interpreted as an 'affirmative'.
As you attempt to do your best impression of a stone statue, the maid steps towards the metal door, takes a deep breath, and presses a small button on the wall.
“Mistress? Young Mistress, are you awake?”
The maid speaks loudly and clearly, tilting her head up to look at a strange black box attached to the wall above the door. The box, emitting a faint whirring sound, tilts itself down, as if looking back at her.
“Young Mistress, I've come to-”
With a strange crackling sound, the box suddenly speaks.
”N-no! No-no! NOPE! Not, uh, not here! Nope! Go away.” it says, its tinny voice echoing through the hallway.
”What. WHAT. What is that? WHAT is THAT?”
“...as I was about to explain, Young Mistress, we have some guests that your sister-”
“Oh. OH. OH-HO! I see! I SEE! I get the picture! Yep! YEP! SHE put you up to this! Another one of her JOKES. Her funny FUNNY jokes!”
“Mistress, have you been sleeping like-”
”Sleep? SLEEP? OHOHOHO! That's good! That's GOOD! Sleep! She WANTS that! Th-that's when she DOES things! All of them! A-all of her dirty plans! And also the SCHEMES!”
“...oh, this is so much worse than I thought it would be,” you hear the maid mutter, rubbing her temples with her free hand. “Young Mistress, you don't have to come out, but I must inform you that we have guests and your presence is-”
”What is that. WHAT is THAT.”
The box tilts itself towards you.
”What is that.” the box repeats, its voice suddenly dropping several octaves, going from 'tinny girl-voice' to 'robotic demon from Hell'.
A chill runs down your spine, and you become acutely aware of the fact that something was watching you.
Something very, very dangerous.
To her credit, the maid seems to take this in stride.
“That, Young Mistress, is one of our guests. As I have already said, we have guests, and this is one of them. I repeat, this is one of our guests.”
For several seconds, the box does not respond, but simply stares at you.
The maid's words play back in your mind, and you can't help but think that this was a very good time to do what you were told.
While you do well enough at the 'do not speak' part of your instructions, you just can't resist doing something on the 'movement' side of things, and flash a quick 'peace sign' with your hands.
Or was it a 'V for Victory' sign?
Or were you signaling you wanted two of something?
You never could quite tell the difference between them, and assumed there was some subtleties regarding angles nobody ever bothered to explain to you.
The box, for its part, simply continued to stare at you for a few moments more, until...
“H-hey. Hey, Sakuya. Hey. Hey. Sakuya.” the box says, its voice returning to its previous, non-demonic-sounding level.
“Yes, Young Mistress?” the maid replies, eying the box warily.
[i]“Sakuya. Please. I want, uh, I want you to do something. Something. Please.”
“Of course, Young Mistress. How may I serve you?”
“Could you, um, could you please hit the wall? Hit the wall. Please.”
The box turns itself towards a portion of the wall to your right, then back to the maid.
“The wall, Young Mistress?”
”Y-yeah. Um, yeah. The wall. She, uh, I want you to. Uh, the wall. Hit it. Please.”
“Pardon my impertinence, Young Mistress, but is there a particular reason you want me to strike this wall?
”M-maybe. Or, um, not. Maybe not.”
“You've placed something in the walls again, haven't you Mistress?”
”Yeah. Er, uh, I mean, no? No. Nope. Yes. A bit.”
With a barely-audible sigh, the maid briefly glances back at you before turning her attention to the wall.
“Is there anywhere in particular I should strike, Young Mistress?” the maid asks, as she pulls out on large, heavy-looking knife and begins lightly knocking on the wall with its handle in various places.
”Huh? O-oh, um, yes? Yes,” the box answers the maid without looking at her, instead casting its gaze towards you once more. “Just, um, keep doing it until you, uh, find it? Find it. Yes.”
With another, slightly louder sigh, the maid continues knocking on the wall.
For a while, the sound her knocking is all that can be heard in the hall.
With increasing speed, the maid methodically goes over every inch of the wall, leaving no part of untouched.
As the maid continues her search, the rhythm of her knocks take on a rhythmic, almost hypnotic quality.
You feel your eyelids begin to droop, and feel as if you could just go asleep right there, on the spot.
So much so, you don't even notice the dull grinding sound of the wall opening up behind you, or the feeling of something grabbing the back of your collar.
“Ah-ha! I believe I've found-” the maid begins to say, as your body is yanked backwards.
The maid turns back towards you, but it's already too late.
Hitting the ground, you look up just in time to see the maid's eyes widen as the wall in front of you slides shut, plunging you into darkness.
”..oung Mistress...open....tress!” you hear the maid's muffled voice call out from the other side of the wall as you're dragged away down the dark hallway you now find yourself in.
“'Guest'? Guest. Right. Right. L-like I don't know! I know! Always. Always thinking I don't, but I...I know stuff...so much...so much of stuff...” you hear what sounds like a young girl loudly grumbling, amid a curious chime-like tinkling.
The voice, you assume, of the one currently dragging you.
“Always...always with the jokes with her...funny, FUNNY jokes...so so funny...”
A young girl with ridiculous physical strength, no problem seeing in the dark, and from her grumbling may or may not be completely sane.
So, a youkai.
You have been captured by a youkai.
While this was a situation that could be cause for concern in even the most ideal of circumstances, depending on how close the nearest rock was, the fact that you were currently inside a mansion known to be home to at least two vampires.
Also, the fact that one of those two vampires sent you down here to meet her sister, who was almost certainly the other vampire, and the maid even referred to her as-
Well, the point is you were captured by a vampire.
A vampire who, if the things you had heard and read were true, was extremely dangerous and insane.
So, again, a youkai.
The sound of a large door being opened breaks you out of your thoughts, as you're dragged out of the darkness of the hallway and into a rather spacious and well-lit study. Bookshelves lined the walls, while a variety of sofas, chairs, and tables decorated the interior.
A surprising variety, in fact.
Unlike what you had seen in other parts of the mansion, the furniture here was extremely mismatched, not just in style but apparent quality. Where one chair looked like any other you had seen here, the one next to it looked as if it had been cobbled together from scraps.
Feeling the grip on your collar release, you finally get a good look at your captor as she wearily shuffles away. A blonde girl, dressed in red. The crystals hanging from the wing-like branches sprouting from her back clinking together with the same chime-like sound you heard before.
Or were they 'branch-like' wings?
You certainly couldn't picture them being capable of flight, but wings were hardly a requirement for that, anyway.
“What is that?” you suddenly hear the girl ask from somewhere behind you
An impressive feat, considering you could see her right in front of you.
“Huh?” the girl in front of you asks, turning around.
“I said, what is that?” she replies, once again from behind you.
Craning your neck around, you turn to see that the girl was, in fact, behind you. Sitting on particularly nice looking sofa, a large book resting on her lap.
Same blonde hair. Same red dress. Same weird branch-wings with crystals on them.
You turn back to the girl in front of you to confirm she was still there, she looks back at you with tired eyes. Blinking a couple times, she looks back up at herself.
“Y-you see it too?”
The girl behind you lets out an annoyed sigh.
“Of course I see it. I am asking what it is and why it is here.”
“I dunno,” the girl in front says, looking more tired by the second. “Sakuya says it's a guest. I think, uh, think it's a trick? A trick.”
Closing the book on her lap, the girl behind you leans forward and stares at you. He red eyes glint dangerously in the light.
With theatrical flair, she gestures towards the unusual mechanisms surrounding you; a confounding mass of gears and pistons and blinking lights. And all somehow connected to the array of unpleasant-looking pointy things hovering over you.
Though you had no idea how any of it worked, or which part would be doing what to you, or in what order, you knew with absolute certainty that whatever happened was not going to good for your health. What you were not so certain of, though, was...
Well, quite a lot, actually.
But of all the things you were uncertain of, the few that were of any relevance to your current situation seemed to be the ones you were most likely to find answers to.
Unless, of course, she would actually know the name of that song you heard that one time was. That one that was all “doo do doo do doooo” while the drums were going all “parappa pa pa papapa pa pa”.
You swear that's going to drive you crazy for the rest of your life.
But, no. The question that you now had to pose was for more important than the forgotten title of some obnoxiously catchy tune you heard way back when. More important, even, than the secret to making the perfect souffle.
“Who are you, again?”
For a moment, she stands frozen in place, completely motionless. Muttering something under her breath, she allows her arms to flop to her sides as she slowly turns to stare at you in disbelief.
“Really? Really. I just spent, like, the past two hours explaining all of this to you! ALL of this!”
“I don't know what to tell you, lady, I don't know who you are,” you say, with complete honesty. “I have no idea how I even got here, or what 'here' even is, or if this isn't all just some weird dream or hallucination brought on by drugs or ghosts or alien mind control or my friend who wants me to do lewd things with her sister or even just the years of repeated head trauma.”
Stone-faced, the Red Lady slowly turns and walks away, muttering what you assume are a colorful variety of curses and profanities in that funny language you've been hearing the people around here using.
“FUCK!” you suddenly hear her shout, punctuating it with the sound of her kicking the door open and slamming it behind her.
And so, there you lay. Strapped down to a table in some strange room filled with strange machines in some strange place, with nothing to do but to wait for the strange lady who was apparently angry with you for some reason to return.