"Really?" 'Interesting' isn't the word you'd use to describe it. "Don't you think was funny? Didn't it make you laugh? Aren't you going to ask me what the hell I was thinking?" "I don't see the humor in scaring a girl out of bed." Youmu looks at you wryly. She obviously doesn't get it. "However, it worked. I won't offer any complaints." Aya taps you on the shoulder, circling around you and standing directly in front of Youmu. "If it's any consolation, I thought it was hilarious." "I know." She was laughing so wildly a minute ago, how could you not notice? Wait, aren't you forgetting something? "What about Durandal?" She hasn't said a word since you woke up. "She's been awfully quiet." "No questions have been addressed to me." She remains motionless. "I see.." Her response leaves you feeling a little depressed. 'Speak only when spoken to' was never a favorite regulation of yours. "If there's something you want to say, don't hesitate." "Understood." Her head tilts slightly to the left in a jerky, mechanical motion. "Oh well." She probably doesn't understand it one bit. You sigh, gathering what materials belong to you for your journey to... Wait, where were you going again? What did Eirin say about visiting somebody? Well, at least you have the map. Perhaps this is your next stop, if you can't find anywhere else more important to go. The dragon hunt seems to have fallen by the wayside as of late, and it may be a good idea for you to get a move on. The door slides open as Elly walks into the room. She's fully dressed, and from what you can tell ready to leave. "So, where to?" She smiles, confirming your suspicions. "Well, there's a lot of things we could do now, but I'd like to know what the rest of you would like to do." "Hmm?" Youmu gives you a strange look, as if inspecting your features to determine whether you're really yourself. "It's unlike you to ask us where we want to go. Very well, I'd like to return to the Netherworld, to tend to a few matters there. You also have a promise to keep." Aya chimes in, next. "Uhh, I dunno." She thinks for a second, looking off into space before turning to you with a sly grin. "I'd like a trip for two to the hot springs." "Right.." You reply, understanding her meaning completely. "We can do that, eventually." "I wanna see Yuka!" Elly cries out, as if complaining. "Mission objectives dictate primary target is airborne. The capture or elimination of the entity responsible for the Mark I's destruction is paramount." So Durandal has been given a set of instructions to carry out. Perhaps it could be seen as her own will, seeing as it destroyed what eventually became what she is now. You add in your own recommendation last. "And I'd like to go here, to where this red 'X' is." You place the map on the floor between the lot of you. Each person takes turns examining it. "Alright. I think it's best we decide this as a group." Aya rolls up the map, handing it back to you. "All in favor of a vote?" "That would make no sense." Youmu declares. "Everybody would vote for their own choice." "Indeed." Aya smiles, acknowledging Youmu's observation. "What I propose is this: We each vote twice. We can't vote for the same thing twice, and we can't vote for our own suggestion. How's that?" "Fair enough." Youmu nods, thinking the idea through carefully. "I won't object. I vote for Snake's map and the robot's mission." Elly goes next, mumbling as she thinks of a good answer. "Umm... I--err.. I like the hot springs and... Aww! Why can't I see Yuka!" Aya pats Elly on the back. "Alright, I say we go see Yuka, and that we go take out Dee's nemesis!" "Really?" Elly's eyes light up. "Then I want to go see the ghosts!" "Secondary mission parameters: Investigate lake, Interrogate Yuka." Interrogate? Maybe she's got the wrong idea about this.. You'd be the one under interrogation if you went after Yuka. You count the votes in your head.. Two for the lake, two for Durandal's, one for the hot springs, one more for the Netherworld, and two for seeing Yuka. The others look to you as you decide your answer. No matter what you choose, your option doesn't seem likely to win.
Pick two: [ ] Attempt to make contact with Durandal's target. [ ] Try to find and meet Yuka. [ ] Go to the hot springs. [ ] Return to the Netherworld.
"My votes go to the Netherworld and Durandal's target." You give yours last, as everybody watches. "Three for Dee, then." Aya counts the votes on her fingers. "Guess that's first on the list." "Target was last sighted above lake airspace." Then we'll go there, first." You nod to the others, who don't seem to object. "We can carry out the rest of them from there." "I won't object. It's a sound strategy." Youmu replies, looking over to the others. "We may also find Yuka somewhere on the island where we dropped into that cave, if my suspicions are correct." "Hooray!" Elly claps her hands, jumping up and down on the tips of her toes gleefully. Durandal leads the group outside, guiding you to a safe area for deployment. This time, she seems to be the most eager to get a move on. As you'd witnessed before, as Durandal finds a clearing in the trees, the air around her begins to blur the surroundings. A flash of light, and she's returned to full size. Although you've seen it twice, you're still amazed that such a feat is possible. The cockpit descends, and you and Aya climb aboard. As soon as it's closed, you activate all the necessary devises, and head out. Youmu and Elly cling to the shoulders of Durandal as she rockets at full speed towards the lake. You pass directly over several small houses, and eventually the village itself. Everything beyond that up to the lake is pure wilderness. "Arrived at destination. Beginning descent." You drop down to the water's edge, skimming the surface with Durandal's feet. She hovers motionless at the edge of the island. "Initiate scan. Terminating neural-network protocols." A window appears on the viewscreen. A topographical map of the general area, displayed by a series of green lines, is rapidly scanned for forms of life. "Lifeforms detected. Marking locations of human-sized signatures. Zero matches found." Several yellow markers dot the screen. They're all over the screen! There's no way you'll find one person in all this mess! Was the lake really this densely populated? "Ah!" A strangely nostalgic voice. "You're no frog!" "Snake?" It's Youmu. "We've got company." "So I heard." You reply. "Hey!" The voice calls out. "Who's in there!" Come out, you!" "Life form hostile. Activating battle protocols." "No, wait." You stop her, searching your memory for the owner of the voice. "Put the target on screen." Another window appears, covering the scan. It's a window to the outside, giving you full view of a familiar winged girl in blue. "Cirno?" Aya calls out from behind. "AHH!!" She points to Duranda's leg. "You ate Ayaya! Spit her out!" "No, no! I'm piloting this!" "Huh? Your not making any sense!" Cirno beats her tiny fists against the rubber foot. "Spit her out you! I'll freeze you like the cows!!" "Don't freeze my Durandal!" Aya cries out, hoping the idiot fairly will understand. "What?!" Cirno's taken completely aback. "There were Tengu like this?!" "Durandal, touch down on the island. Keep scanning for the target, and tell me if you find it." "Understood. Proceeding to accomplish secondary and tertiary objectives." At least she's got good time-management skills. The other tasks can be completed in the meantime. Durandal floats over to the sandy shore of the island, balancing herself automatically and releasing the cockpit. You and Aya step out, taking only the necessary equipment along with you as you set your own two feet on the ground. Durandal then proceeds to return to a miniaturized state, turning the sandy shore around her to red-hot molten glass. Elly and Youmu gather around, watching the approaching fairy. "AH!" Cirno floats over, pointing directly to you. "That guy!" "I'm not 'that guy' anymore." You sigh. "I'm Snake now." "You don't look like a snake." She furrows her brow in what could only be called disbelief. "Trust me, he's a snake." Aya replies, nudging you with her elbow. "A biiig snake~" "I've never seen a snake Tengu before!" Cirno's face gleams with curiosity and glee. "He's no Tengu, I can assure you." Youmu steps forward. "Ghostypants!" Cirno points at her and laughs for some reason. Youmu doesn't respond, closing her eyes in mild frustration. "Who's that?" Cirno points to Elly. "She smells like old!" "I am not old." Elly seems to be slightly annoyed as well. "I'm an old friend of Yuka's. Do you know if she's around?" "DO I?!" Cirno points to the trees ahead. "She's right there! I just saw her!" "What?" Your stomach lurches forward into your throat. Is she here? Watching you right now? You rest a hand on your pistol, feeling for it's comforting familiar shape. "Yeah!" Cirno now points with both hands. "Over there with the flowers!" "Yes, I know where that is." Youmu takes a step in that direction, eager to escape this conversation. "Good!" Cirno exclaims. "Then you can show me where it is!" "What?" Youmu turns back in confusion. "You just said--" "I know what I said!" Cirno cries out with indignation. "I'm the smartest, after all!" Here we go again.. "I see. Well, if you'll excuse us.." Youmu quickly walks away with Durandal and Elly following close behind. Cirno, now left with no target of conversation, turns to you. "Snacks!" "Snake." You correct her. "SNACKS!" Cirno repeats, louder than before. "YOU'RE SNACKS!"
"Fine, I'm Snacks." You give up, following Aya as she walks away. "Hey! Where're you going?" Cirno follows as well, floating close enough that you can feel the aura of cold surrounding her. "Don't leave me!" You eventually catch up to the others in a clearing. Ahead lies a field of sunflowers, which you can judge is almost perfectly round. Trees of various shapes and sizes mark where the field begins, and where it ends. The sunflowers, all of a similar size, face the sun as it hovers directly behind you. It's almost as if they were all staring directly at you. Needless to say, this doesn't settle well with your stomach, let alone your mental stability. The entire group falls silent. "Walked right into it, huh?" Aya mutters quietly to herself. "Best hope she's in a good mood." "Who's in a good mood?" An inquisitive voice comes from the field. Slowly, a figure emerges holding a parasol over her head. There's no doubt in your mind that it's Yuka. "Why, I'm in a great mood today." She smiles graciously at Aya, but behind it you can sense sinister intent. "That's.. good to hear.." Aya seems a little more than uneasy. She grabs your hand, squeezing it hard enough that you feel it might break. "So.." Yuka takes a step forward. She sound of her heel against the soft dirt echoes loudly in the windless silence of the flower field. "What brings you all the way out here?" Youmu steels herself, stepping forward. "I believe this is yours?" She waves to Elly, who's cowering behind Durandal's armored form. "Hmm?" Yuka's bright red eyes pop open. An expression you've never seen on her face before emerges. "E-Elly?" Elly steps out cautiously, an uneasy smile on her face. "I-I'm back.." Yuka's arms drop to her side, the parasol fluttering to the ground. A poignant silence. "Is it.. really you?" Yuka reaches a hand out, slowly as if afraid the woman before her may disappear. "Miss Yuka!" Elly rushes forward, diving into the still woman's arms. "Elly!" Yuka grabs her tightly, refusing to let go of the woman crying feverishly in her embrace. "You've come back!" You could almost swear she's crying. The heartless monster of a woman who's been trying to kill you all this time is actually crying right now. "Don't ever leave me again!" She yells, tears streaming down her cheeks. "I won't I won't!" Elly's crying as well. "Great, a couple of--" Cirno attempts to make a snide comment, but you grab her by the mouth, pulling her small floating body off into the woods. "You're spoiling the mood." You wave for the others to follow as you carry Cirno out into the woods.
You can hear them talking. About what, you don't know. What you do know is that you've been waiting with the others in the woods for a good twenty minutes now. "How's it looking?" You give a quiet call out to your watch, Youmu. "Give them more time." They've been bawling uncontrollably for almost the entire time, and have only begun to settle down in the past few minutes. You think it's funny, that somebody like Yuka could have this sort of side to her. Perhaps she's still human, in some regards. "Grrr!" Cirno gnaws on a tree branch. "Why do I have to wait?! Shouldn't they do this later?" "They can't help it. They haven't seen each other in years." Aya tries to calm down the frustrated fairy girl. "It doesn't matter! I want to talk to her now!" "You're acting like a spoiled brat." You give Cirno a light slap on the back of her head. "Knock it off." "Owowow! Whadja do that for!" She turns around from the now frozen, glaring at you with those ice blue eyes. "I already said. Be patient." "I don't wanna!" Cirno crosses her arms, pouting. She wasn't like this when you saw her before. Maybe her moods are just like this. "Well, you gotta. Be good and I'll give you a treat." You attempt to bribe her. This always worked on the kids back home. "Really?!" Seems it works here, too. Her eyes are gleaming. "Yeah, sure. Now be quiet." She does just that. "You're pretty good with kids." Aya whispers into your ear. "Keep up the good work." "Thanks.." You're not exactly thrilled to be praised for something like that, but it's better than having to make her deal with the spoiled brat. "How 'bout now?" You ask Youmu. "It's probably fine, now."
"Well, time to go out and see if she'll surrender." You throw your arms up in the air. There's really no other option beyond leaving them there. You take a step in the direction of the woods, but a cold hand over your shoulder stops you from progressing further. "I'M GOING TOO!" Cirno yells in your ear, a big smile on her face. "I guess it's fine." You turn to the others. "You guys wait here and keep an eye out. If they make any strange moves, don't hesitate to give me a hand." "Understood. Will terminate targets if aggressive action is observed." "Right, that." You leave them to watch as you head out into the field. Yuka and Elly look up at you as soon as you clear the trees. "What do you want?" Yuka looks up at you with an impatient glare. Maybe she wasn't done talking ,and you'd interrupted her. "Miss Yuka!" Elly wags a finger at the woman she calls her master. "That's very rude of you! This man got me out of there!" "What?" Yuka glances at Elly, and back to you. She jumps to her feet, grabbing you by the collar. "You were in my house?!" "Yeah, why?" You grab her hand, trying to pull her off of you. You notice the others coming out of the woods with weapons ready, and you wave them down. "What's the big deal?" She pulls you closer to her, concentrating her full attention on your face. "What did you see?" "Huh?" "WHAT DID YOU SEE?!" She raises her voice, yelling in your face. You can't quite describe what you'd seen in there. The dream you had before leaving had allowed you to witness what the place may have looked like previously. "Lots of black walls, and a painting of three girls." The only things that stick out in your mind are those thoughts alone. "Painting?" She suddenly drops her hand from your neck, staring intensely into the sky. She touches a finger to her lip in thought. "Did I have such a thing?" "You were in it." It must belong to her, if she was part of it. "There were these two blonde girls in it with you. "You're lying." She turns her eyes back to you, studying your expression. "I don't know such people." "But they were there!" Elly stands up, supporting your claim. "How could they be in a painting with me if I didn't know them?" Yuka shifts her eyes between you, Elly, and the flower patch behind her. "Elly is the only person I lived with." Elly pats her on the shoulder. "I'm sure there's a meaning for it. The rest of the house was wrong, too." Yuka rubs her brow, turning away to face the fields. "Enough of this. My head hurts." She sighs as she walks over to pick up the parasol she threw away before. "You're free to come in for tea, though it doesn't mean I won't try to kill you another day. Call it my thanks for returning an old friend to me." She lifts the pink umbrella over her head as she walks off into the field. Elly gives you a strange, almost apologetic look as she follows close behind. "WAITAMINIT!" Cirno calls from behind you. "Don't you run away!" Yuka spins around, wide eyed. "I have a score to settle with you, Yukapi!" Cirno pushes you aside, pointing to the woman in red. Yuka narrows her eyes in annoyance. "Not now, small fry. I'm awfully busy." "No you're not!" Cirno turns to you as she continues to point to Yuka. "SNACKS! Make her dead!" You can't help but feel frustrated yourself. Wasn't this her fight? "I'm not your lackey, kiddo." "Grrr!" Cirno pulls against the frills of her dress, a display of aggravation. "Fine, you're next!" She zips forward, obviously trying to attack Yuka. A wall of what looks like flowers stops her advance. Funny, that wasn't there before. Neither was the human fist flying through the wall and landing square against Cirno's jaw. The entire display is rather comical. You watch as the flowers blow off into the wind, revealing the fist to be none other than Yuka's. She quickly regains her composure, brushing some petals from her dress as Cirno lands face-first at your feet. She gets up a second later, completely uninjured. "Yuuuu--kaaaa--piiii!" She launches herself at Yuka a second time, in the exact same path she used before. This time, Yuka stops her with her own hands, crossing Cirno's arms behind her back and throwing her forward into the dirt. "Stop that." Yuka looks down upon the fairy sympathetically, as if she felt sorry that Cirno could be that stupid. "Damn... youuuuuu!!" Cirno tries to pull herself up, but with Yuka's entire weight holding her down, the attempts end in constant failure. "Miss Yuka.." Elly looks on with a worried look in her eyes. "I've dealt with her before, I can do it again." Yuka looks up at Elly as Cirno struggles under the weight of Yuka's knees on her back.
Ignore it. Just ignore it. Whatever's going on between the two of them has nothing to do with you, so there's no need to get involved. You notice the rest of the group slowly advancing forward to your position. "Let go! Fight fair!" Cirno continues to struggle under Yuka's weight as she slowly becomes more and more annoyed. "What's going on?" Aya taps you twice on the shoulder, leaning over inquisitively to investigate the squabble. "Nothing. Nothing at all." You stand still. "This useless fairy.." Yuka brings her arm behind her, preparing for a blow to the back of Cirno's head. Looks like she's already at her breaking point. "Stop it!" Elly grabs her arm, trying desperately to hold Yuka back. "Let go, Elly! I'm going to kill her!" Yuka struggles. "That's why I can't let go!" Elly somehow manages to pull Yuka off of Cirno. The ice fairy flaps her transparent blue wings, fluttering to her feet. "Ha ha!" She laughs, continuing to antagonize the enraged youkai. "Even your own servants betray you! I'll kill you once and for all!" Yuka continues to pull away from Elly, and you decide to step in before things get further out of hand. You grab Cirno by the shoulders and lean your head down to her ear level. "I thought I told you to be good." You whisper, ominously. "If you don't settle down I'll have to punish you." Gulp. You notice Cirno's entire body grow cold, as if chilled by your words. For some reason, she seems to be much more afraid of you than she is of Yuka. "Fine!" She attempts to hide her fear as she crosses her arms and closes her eyes. "I get it! It's not like she can beat me, anyway!" You notice Yuka's brow twitch. She's pissed, and you have a good idea how she acts when she gets like this. You step over to her, hoping to resolve the situation on that end as well. "Tea would be lovely." You smile and bow, hoping it'll work. "Very well." You hear her laugh quietly as the hints of a smile appear on her otherwise angry face. That worked out better than you thought it would. "However!" Her sudden addition makes you snap to attention. She sends a vengeful glare in Cirno's direction, speaking just loudly enough so that she can hear. "She can stay outside." "Fine!" Cirno yells in retaliation. "It's not like I want to go in that stupid house, anyway!" You really hope she doesn't make things any worse than they already are. Yuka storms off in a huff. Not exactly the kind of person you'd like to follow, but you tag along despite your better judgement. She eventually leads you to a small cottage on the opposite side of the field of flowers. Not surprisingly, small sunflowers are painted on the side of the house, styled as if growing from the ground. It hardly seems to fit her personality, or at least the parts of her you're familiar with. As it was agreed earlier, Cirno sits outside while the others walk inside. You walk in last, telling Cirno you'll bring her something if she's quiet. The inside of the house seems completely normal, almost stereotypical for a cottage out in the wilderness. Wood burning stove, no running water, and no electricity. It's very plain, especially when compared to her last residence. You wonder exactly what may have happened there. "Here you are!" Elly brings over the drinks with a smile. Her current self reminds you somewhat of a waitress. "Hey, thanks!" It's cold, and you gulp it down in seconds. "That was quick." Elly blinks, stunned. "Err, want another?" "I'm fine, but give one to "The Strongest" out there, if she behaves herself." You jab a thumb at the door, reminding everyone of Cirno's presence. "Now," Yuka's eyes focus on different members of the group as she speaks. "I'm not doing this to be hospitable. I had some questions." Every so often, she sends you a despicable glare. She didn't seem the type to just forgive and forget. You're not surprised she still doesn't like you. "First, I want to know how you got into my house." She crosses her arms as she waits for the answer. "Before we go into that," You interrupt. "I believe this is yours." You take out the sunflower pendant. Her eyes widen slightly, but she shows little reaction beyond that. "Keep it." She suddenly turns away, leaning her head over the backrest of her chair with her eyes closed. "I don't need that trinket anymore." She waves it off, smiling. "However, if you somehow manage to learn how to use it..." You notice her eyes settle on you for a split second. She closes them as soon as your eyes meet. "Use it?" You didn't know it has any sort of purpose. "What's it do?" "No clue." She shrugs in response. "I'm surprised it still exists." "Kaguya and Youmu have one, too." Aya leans forward as you put the pendant away. "What do you think that means? Are there more of them?" Yuka shrugs again, responding with silence. "On a completely different note, you're the closest resident to where we fell in. Perhaps you saw what happened to our machine?" Youmu asks, pointing to Durandal. "It looked a little like this, although it was much bigger." "Hmm?" Yuka eyeballs the robot, studying it for a second. "Yes, I saw what happened. Will you not answer my question first? How did you get into my house? It shouldn't be possible from the outside." "Well, we just sorta walked in." Aya makes an elaborate gesture with her hands. "Didn't seem like a big deal." "Oh?" Yuka's eyes light up with curiosity, though her speech and body language serve to understate it greatly. "That shouldn't be possible. If I can't get into my own house, how would a couple of weak youkai like you be able to sneak through the barrier?" "We don't know. After walking in, we got trapped and couldn't leave." Aya replies. "Had to have the Gods on the mountain bust us out." "I see." Yuka gives you another passing glance.
[x] "I have an uncanny ability of getting in where I shouldn't be." [x] "After flying through the Great Border on a Stratofortress and traveling sixty years into the future, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a lot of doors I can open that I shouldn't have the keys to."
[x] "I have an uncanny ability of getting in where I shouldn't be." [x] "After flying through the Great Border on a Stratofortress and traveling sixty years into the future, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a lot of doors I can open that I shouldn't have the keys to."
[Q] "I have an uncanny ability of getting in where I shouldn't be, usually when I don't want to." [Q] "After flying through the Great Border on a Stratofortress and traveling sixty years into the future, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a lot of doors I can open that I shouldn't have the keys to."
[X] "I have an uncanny ability of getting in where I shouldn't be." [X] "After flying through the Great Border on a Stratofortress and traveling sixty years into the future, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a lot of doors I can open that I shouldn't have the keys to."
[x] "I have an uncanny ability of getting in where I shouldn't be." [x] "After flying through the Great Border on a SKYTRAIN and traveling sixty years into the future, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a lot of doors I can open that I shouldn't have the keys to."
[X] "I have an uncanny ability of getting in where I shouldn't be." [X] "After flying through the Great Border on a Superfortress and traveling sixty years into the future, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a lot of doors I can open that I shouldn't have the keys to."
[X] "I have an uncanny ability of getting in where I shouldn't be." [X] "After flying through the Great Border on a Superfortress and traveling sixty years into the future, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a lot of doors I can open that I shouldn't have the keys to."
"So, just like that?" Yuka looks at Aya in disbelief. "Yup. Can't say I know how it happened, though." Aya leans back in the chair. "One minute we were in a cave, and the next we were at your old place." "Perhaps it has something to do with the outsider?" Yuka looks at you, addressing you directly. "You seem to get into a lot of trouble around here. I bet that shrine maiden would have her hands full." "Funny thing, that." You reply. "Some way or another I got suckered into doing a job for her, and she's been out of town so I can't get any advice. She said something about a dragon." "You're working for her?" Yuka stares at you in disbelief, chuckling to herself as if finding humor in the statement. "She doesn't pay well, though I can't say anything about this 'dragon'. Their kind abandoned this world once the Border became stable." "I got that impression." Reimu's place did seem a little run down, nor did she seem entirely truthful. "I seem to have this uncanny ability to get into places I shouldn't be." "Really?" Her tone is somewhat mocking. "Care to elaborate?" It wouldn't hurt. Maybe you could learn a thing or two. "I could use how I got here as an example. One moment I was jumping out of a B-29, and the next I was stuck in a tree in this world." "The good doctor in Eientei thinks he did it himself, and that Yukari wasn't involved. She seems to think he's a celestial." Aya elaborates. "Huh." Yuka shrugs apathetically. "And you manage to get into Mugenkan without any help. Maybe you're a gap youkai like Yukari, though I'd have more reason to kill you if you'd have been a celestial." She laughs, as if making a joke. "He doesn't sleep enough to be a gap youkai." Youmu replies swiftly, disregarding the last statement completely. "If he did, I doubt I'd have so much difficulty trying to catch up with him." Yuka sends you another obnoxious glance, taking your mind completely off the topic. "You were following us?" The thought sends a chill down your spine. She was chasing you this whole time, and you didn't even notice? "Yes, why not?" Yuka nods, proudly. "I was trying to kill him, after all." "It didn't seem that way to me." The night in the hot springs comes to mind. "What were you really after?" "Who knows." Yuka shrugs, grinning slyly. She certainly doesn't intend to tell you. "On another note," Aya segways into another topic as she leans her chair further back. "You said you saw what destroyed RAY?" "Ray?" Yuka gives her a puzzled stare before suddenly realizing what she means. "Ah, yes. I did say that, didn't I?" She attempts to recall the events, pausing for a few seconds in thought. "It was certainly unlike anything I've ever seen before, though these past few weeks have been full of firsts for me." She smiles, looking across the table at each member of your group. "I can't quite describe it, though I'm sure it was mechanical. It had no arms or legs to speak of, and it was colored a bright blue." "That should do well enough. Any idea where it was headed?" You lean forward, watching as she traces the flight pattern in the air with a finger. "I believe it headed South, to the red house on the riverbank." Aya sighs, exasperated. "Another one of the young master's playthings?" "Doubtful." Yuka tilts her head. "I felt no magic aura surrounding it, yet it was able to fire danmaku with precision. I'd expect a project like that would be far beyond their usual childish games." "A UFO?" Elly adds in. "I guess we could call it that." Aya throws her hands in the air. "It's not like we know anything about it." "Primary mission objective is to eliminate the unidentified flying object." "AHH!" Yuka jumps out of her seat. "I-It talks?!" "Yeah, why not." Aya replies carelessly as she motions for her to retake her seat. Yuka sits down cautiously. "So it's out to kill it, then." Yuka turns to you. "I would advise you run if you were to see it. I doubt even I could beat something like that." "That really says a lot, coming from the strongest of us." Aya looks a little worried. You'd probably be worried as well, were you to ever see Yuka's full power. "Hey!" You hear Cirno call from outside the window. It would seem she's been listening in the entire time. "The strongest in this room, I mean." Aya corrects herself, overflowing with sarcasm. "So?" Yuka turns to you with an inquisitive smile. "What do you plan to do now?"
Forgot mah trip. Also, IRC-inspired H-scene all of a sudden.
Things never go as planned. By the time I'd figured out that this meeting had gone horribly wrong, it was too late. In less time than it takes to blink, the entire group had been incapacitated. Dee lays on the floor in pieces, Youmu and Elly lay unconscious--or worse--on the floor beside me, and I've been pinned against the wall, forced to watch as the horror played out. It's all that woman's fault! I'll kill her! I swear to God I'll kill her! But the pain keeps me from moving. She's put something through me. It hurts to move my hands, and it hurts to move my feet. I'm forced to watch as she does whatever she pleases with my beloved. Why does that hurt the most? "He's still alive, you know." She's smiling! That bitch is smiling! "I'll kill you!" If only I could get my hands free! I'll rip her fucking throat out! I'll tear her limb from limb! I'll shower her blood over those goddamned sunflowers she loves so much! She hurt my Snake! I can't forgive her! "You will, will you?" That fucking grin! I'd like to tear it right off! "What'll happen to him?" KICK She kicked him! She kicked my Snake! Stop it!! Don't hurt him!! "Keep talking and I'll make it worse. Be quiet and watch like a good girl!" What's she doing? Why is she bringing him over here? His head in my lap, it feels so good! Why do I think if this now?! I need to get us out of here! Snake, wake up! Please wake up! "Oh, what have we here? Do you have feelings for this man, Tengu?" Why is she smiling? What is she doing?! Her hands.. Why is she touching him like that?! "Let go of him! Don't touch him!!" My mouth moves on it's own. "Hmmm?" She stares right at me. Those red eyes.. What does she want?! "I'll take that as a no.. Then I suppose you won't mind if I have this." What? What is she.. Her hands, she's.. "NO!!" I can't stop myself, not when she's doing this in front of me! Get your hands away from him! He's mine! I won't let someone like you touch him! "You~ Can't~ Stop~ Me~" Her hands dig down deeper, and I can only watch as she rapes my beloved with her hands in front of me. Why am I so powerless to stop it? Why is it that I can only sit by and do nothing? Please, Snake! Wake up! If you love me, wake up! But he doesn't. Of course he won't wake up. No matter how much I want him to, no mater how much I want this to stop. It won't. I.. can't do anything! "Aww, she's crying~" Why does she look at me like that? Does she really hate me that much? Stop smiling! Please, wake up! WAKE UP!! "Look what I've got~" There's something in her hands.. "I'm sorry, was this yours?" I can't see. She's leaning in too close.. Why does she look at me like that?! Her breath against my face.. It hurts my eyes. Am I.. crying? "Sorry, finders keepers.." Why does she make that face? Oh, no. No! NO! Not that! Anything but that!! Get off of him!! "Ahh, feel's good~" She's smiling! Stop smiling! GET OFF OF HIM!! "STOP IT!" Don't move your hips like that! Don't touch him! "PLEASE STOP IT!!" "That's twice, now." She glares at me. I don't care. All I want her to do is stop! "You really need to be.. Ah! Quiet." She puts something in my mouth. I don't care! I'll be quiet! I'll do anything if you just make it stop!! "Mmmm.." That was-- "Oh?" Why is she surprised? "Looks like it wasn't strong enough.." It couldn't be!" "Mmm.. Looks like I'll need to be.. Hah.. More thorough.." What is she doing with that vine? Why is she tying his hands around me! No, don't tell me he's.. "...??" His eyes open. Why now?! Why not before!! Don't let her do this, Snake! "Aya!?" She covers his mouth, holding something to my throat. "Shhh.. Be quiet and I won't kill her." It's sharp. It hurts. I don't mind! Don't worry about me! I'll be fine! Make her stop this! "What are you doing?! Let go of me!" That's right! Throw her off! Just like that! "Settle down, boy. You're enjoying it, too." That's a lie! He could never! ..Could he? It's not true, right? "That's a good boy.." That smile! She sees the pain in my eyes and she loves it! "Yes, AH! Just like that! Deeper! Ahh! Right there!" He can't be-- No, stop it! She can't be allowed to enjoy it! "Ahh! Tengu.. Look, Mmh.. at your man now!" She throws off her dress. I don't want to look! I won't look! But I can't stop looking! That's supposed to be me! Pull it out! Pull it out!! Pull it out and put it in me!! "Ahh, that's what I wanted.. Look at your woman! She likes it!" I don't! I hate it! I hate it! I hate it I hate it hate it! "She's getting turned on, now.. Make her feel good too, boy." Why does he make that face? That's supposed to be only for me! I can't let her see it! "That's right, Tengu. Ahh! He can use his mouth, when he's like that." Why does she smile? Why do I suddenly feel so good? I'm supposed to hate it, so why do I like it so much?! His lips, his tongue.. Touching my most sensitive places.. If he does that, I'll-- "I suppose we don't need this anymore." Her hand.. In my mouth. She takes out that thing.. "Ngh! Ah-Aya, take a good look. Th-This was inside your mouth!" Her hands hold up a pair of white underwear.. Are they.. hers? Why did she put them in my mouth? Wait, what are you-- Her face is so close.. Her lips against mine.. It feels so good. I hate her but it feels so good! I want to bite her tongue but I can't! "That's a good girl.." Her hips bob up and down. It's mine, why does she have it? "Aya.." Her breath against my ear.. It feels good, too. Everything feels good.. "What do you want?" I want.. "I want.." Is that my voice? Why am I speaking? "You want?" That smile.. I hate it. "What do you want?" She has what I want. I won't let her have it. It's mine and I want it. "Snake's.." Why can't I say it? I want it so bad but I can't say it! "Snake's what?" Why does she look so angry? "Say it!" "I.. I.." My mind is a blur. It feels so good! I can't even think! "I want Snake's cock inside me!" Ahh.. I said it.. Relief.. Now I can-- "Really?" What? "Too bad~ This.. Ahhn~ Is mine, now!" She even grabs it! Why?! Why can't I have it?! I want it so bad! "Look, Aya. He's.. AHH! ..about to burst." No, you can't! Take it out! You can't have that! "Watch closely.. He's going to.." Stop moving! Take it out! Snake! Don't! "Ahh!" He's--He's coming inside her! Why?! Didn't I feel good, too?! Why her?! Why can you come so much inside of her and not me?! Don't you love me?! Even though I love you so much-- "Ahh, that's it! So much--" Why is she looking at me?! "Hahahaha!!" Why is she laughing?! Why does she get to do this to him?! Why not me?! "Mmmmm... He's m-mine now, you stupid slut!" I am, aren't I? I'm just like she said. A slut.. Only a slut would let herself feel good when her man gets raped like this.. in front of her.. But why now? Why, after all of this, do I come when se calls me that? It all feels so good...
"Our current goal is to find whatever it was that destroyed RAY. I plan to see that through." "You'll die." Yuka replies, expressing a certain dissatisfaction in your response. "I might have to take the chance." If it's really as powerful as she thinks it is, you'd best find an alternative means to destroy it. If it's a machine from the outside world, you might recognize it. "We will." Aya corrects you. "Don't forget I'm in there with you." "I didn't." If worse comes to worse, you'll make sure at least she'll be safe. "It may be incredibly strong, but I don't intend to lose to a machine." Youmu adds in her own opinion. "I won't forgive myself--nor my teammates--this incredible dishonor." "Well said, I suppose." Yuka smiles at Youmu, seemingly impressed. "Make sure to bring him back safe, for I wish to kill him myself." She glances at you again. "We'll have him back alive, but we won't lose to you, either." Youmu says, as she pushes her chair back. "Farewell, Yuka. I hope we may never meet again." Youmu steps out the door. Yuka waves, smiling elusively as Youmu leaves the building to stand outside. As the door clicks shut, her smile disappears, and she turns to face you with an almost hollow expression. She says nothing. "What?" You hold your hands up, trying to coax words from her mouth. "You keep such dull company." the thin traces of her grin reappear. "What." Aya looks at Yuka, seemingly offended. "They're weak, too." Yuka continues, refusing to be distracted by the aura of ill will flowing from Aya's direction. "And?" What's her point? "Why not liven it up a bit?" She grins, staring at Aya. "Are you asking to come with us?" Aya glares distastefully at the smiling youkai. "It's not gonna happen." "Who said I was?" Yuka's smile grows wider, now realizing she's gotten under Aya's skin. "That's enough of that." You make an effort to stop it before it gets worse. Knowing Aya, it could bad real quick. You turn back to Yuka after calming Aya's temper. "What's your point? Why would it matter to you?" "No reason." Yuka shrugs. "I just thought you should know." "Thanks for the advice, but we should get going." Another minute in this place, and you feel a fight might break out any second. "Thanks for the nice chat." You stand up to leave. "You're most welcome. Feel free to stop by again." You can sense an implied threat in her words. You pull Aya to her feet, leading her out the door before Yuka can say anything else. You give a friendly wave as you step outside after Durandal and Elly. "I feel better already." Being inside that place would be what you'd consider to be the emotional equivalent of getting stabbed in the chest. It wasn't pleasant, though the tea was good. "Hey!" Cirno flutters over, grabbing you loosely by the collar. "Where's my treat?" "Were you good?" You can't help but think she might be deceiving you. "'Good' is my middle name!" Cirno points to herself haughtily. "What happened to 'Strongest'?" Youmu turns to ask. "That's my other middle name!" Cirno replies, releasing you so she can flail her arms around in a playful gesture of annoyance. "Alright, I'll have to get you something, then." You shrug. All you have is bullets and trinkets. Nothing worthwhile to a fairy demanding a treat. "Ehem!" Elly forcefully clears her throat, bringing your attention over to her. She notices your gaze pass over her, and continues speaking. "You've brought me this far, and I thank you for that." She bows deeply, much like many of the others did when you first met them. "From the bottom of my heart, I thank you!" "'Twas nothing, my good lady." You add a little flair to your speech. "I did what I thought was right." "I'm glad you did." She leans back up, smiling widely. "Thanks to you, I can see Yuka again." "Though I doubt we'll be making the attempt to visit her again. She wants to kill me, after all. If you want out, now's your chance." "I'll leave that up to you." She looks longingly to the house behind you.
Choose your 3 party members (Durandal cannot be removed at this point.): [ ] Aya [ ] Youmu [ ] Elly [ ] Cirno [ ] Yuka
It bothers you, though. Yuka's smiling face when she tells you the group is weak. 'No reason' is hardly an excuse for what she said, too. You're almost certain there was an implied meaning behind her words. Actually, there seems to be cryptic references and meanings in about every word she says. "Actually, I have a favor to ask of you." You stare Elly in the face. You need to ask, though she probably won't like it. "I need you to convince Yuka to go with us." Almost immediately, her entire face perks up. Not in the surprised, angry face you'd intended. She seems overjoyed. "Of course! At once!" She runs back into the house without another word. You watch the discussion through the window as you think on the fate of the others. You'd like to be rid of Cirno as soon as possible, since she's been nothing but an annoyance since you met her again. Aya and Youmu will of course will remain with you. They've been around since the start of this mess, and throwing them to the wayside now would be more than disrespectful. As much as you want Aya to be safe, you can't bear to have her leave your side. Indie the house, you notice Elly point at you through the window. Yuka's eyes slowly fall to face the same direction. She's staring right at you, a surprised but pleased smile on her face. Unlike her usual look where she puts up the facade of a smile to hide her anger, she looks genuinely happy. Eventually, the two step outside. The both of them face you. "A wise decision, boy." Yuka continues to smile, though her tone of voice is still a little disdainful. "I've instructed Elly to watch over my home while I'm out." As she mentions the fate of her old friend, she seems to become a little concerned. "You're fine with this, Elly?" "Of course!" Elly smiles, reassuringly. "It's nothing I haven't done before. Honestly, it's kind of nostalgic. I hope you don't mind me drinking all your tea, though." She gives a friendly giggle. "By all means. You live here now, so it's your tea as well." Yuka judges Elly's expression for a while longer before suddenly facing you. "Very well, I shall accompany you for a while." "Don't try anything funny." Youmu gives her a suspicious glare. "Lay a hand on him in anger and I shall cut you down where you stand." "Ohh~ Scary~" Yuka sneers, grinning at the thought of Youmu's threat. "Don't worry, I won't try to kill him in his sleep." The fact that she even mentions it tells you that the thought at least crossed her mind. Best stay on your guard. "And don't get any funny ideas!" Aya grabs you around the waist in her usual possessive manner. Yuka doesn't respond with more than a grin as she moves to inspect Durandal. She circles the miniaturized robot, scrutinizing it's every detail. "So what's it do?" She seems intrigued. "Show her, Dee." You snap your fingers, giving Durandal the order to return to size. "Affirmative. Please stand at a distance of no less than ten feet." And just like that, she's back to normal. Yuka's eyes go wide with awe as the cockpit lowers. You take your seat at the helm as Aya climbs aboard behind you. Yuka and Aya exchange glances as the cockpit begins to raise. Once inside and ready, you call out to the others. "So, where to?" "This way!" Yuka points to the South as she takes flight. Youmu follows close behind, keeping watch on the suspicious woman. You cross over the lake, leaving the flower fields, Elly, and Yuka's house behind. Cirno adamantly yet silently follows behind, struggling to keep pace with Yuka's speed. She guides you to the Southernmost edge of the lake. Ahead, you see a huge, red painted mansion built on the water's edge. "We should start our search here." Yuka suddenly stops, calling out to you as she points to the house below. She mutters something under her breath in annoyance, though the message comes through your headset in a garbled mix of syllables. You touch down just to the East of the mansion, inside the boundary of a heavy brick and mortar wall. You strictly remember the vampire saying that her house was red, though you don't imagine this could be the place. It's huge! You could occupy an entire division in this place! Comfortably, too. You remove yourself and Aya from the cockpit, allowing Durandal to return to her human-sized form. You wonder if anything can be done to minimize the scorching effect that ability has on the ground. Youmu stands with Yuka just ahead of you, and Cirno flutters in from behind. "You're too fast!" She complains. "Slow down next time!" "We'll try." You jeer. And here she calls herself the strongest. "Well, guess we should go and say 'hi'.." Yuka seems entirely too displeased to be here. "You there!" A voice calls from far behind. "Don't move!"
[Y] "The school of The Undefeated of The East!" [Y] "The Winds of The King!" [Y] "Zenshin!" [Y] "Keiretsu!" [Y] "Tempa Kyoran!" [Y] "LOOK! THE EAST IS BURNING RED!" This is a fun choice, though the writing might turn out a lot differently considering Snake's from WW2 and American as well.
[♧] "The school of The Undefeated of The East!" [♧] "The Winds of The King!" [♧] "Zenshin!" [♧] "Keiretsu!" [♧] "Tempa Kyoran!" [♧] "LOOK! THE EAST IS BURNING RED!" While: [♧] Turning around [♧] Remember the Basics of CQC
You turn around quickly, facing the source of the voice. Beyond a small grove of trees, something approaches at an astounding speed. To you, it's no more than a blur. You step back, preparing for a fight as the object jumps directly in front of.. Cirno? The blur caused by the object's incredible speed suddenly disappears around the figure, revealing a red-haired woman in green. She holds out a fist in the most dramatic of manners. "Answer me, Cirno!" "Eh?" Cirno, oblivious to the whole thing, turns around to face the woman why suddenly called out to her. "The school of The Undefeated of The East!" The woman throws another punch into the air, yelling something entirely unfamiliar to you. It seems like she's done this before. "Uhh.." Cirno stares at the woman, dumbfounded, for a second longer. Suddenly, her face lights up as if she understood what the woman just said. "The Winds of The King!" She replies, throwing out an icy fist of her own. The punch is deflected by the woman. "Zenshin!" "Keiretsu!" The two exchange a flurry of blows, almost faster than your eyes can detect them. "Tempa Kyoran!" The two cry out in unison. As if on purpose, their fists connect as they make they make the strangest martial arts pose you've ever seen in your life. "LOOK, THE EAST IS BURNING RED!" They yell out at once. Then, silence prevails. The two pant and breathe laboriously as the rest of the group stares at them speechless. "What the hell?" Yuka breaks the silence, cocking her head to the side as if it might help her to understand just what happened. "It's been six days, Cirno!" The woman smiles, standing up straight. "Since what?" Cirno flutters around curiously. "Err, since we last met, of course." "Oh, right!" Cirno beams. "Good to see ya, China!" The woman's composure drops instantly. "Please stop calling me that." "Why? All the others do!" "My name is Hong Meiling!" The woman yells out as if desperate. Cirno flies away without another word. You really don't understand that kid one bit. In her absence, the woman now known as Meiling turns to you. "And what are you people doing here? This is private property, you know." She narrows her eyes, inspecting each person thoroughly. "Private property, you say?" The maid from earlier appears from nowhere behind the unaware Meiling, holding a knife in her hand. "With you a the gates, it might as well be a public park." "Ah." Meiling's expression shows absolute terror, as if she knows something you don't. "But I was--" "While you were goofing off with the fairy, another insect got in." The maid slowly turns to face your group with a demonic smile. "I'll deal with you after I take care of this garba--AH!" Her eyes suddenly widen as she notices you. The knife in her hand and the smile on her face disappear instantly. "My apologies, I didn't recognize you at first." "You looked a little preoccupied there, maid." Yuka replies in your stead, saying exactly what you're thinking for once. "Did I?" She pushes Meiling to the side with a palm to her head. "I apologize for my rudeness. Please, come this way." She bows and waves you to follow her in one swift motion. "What's wrong?" Meiling brushes her dress clean. "I thought they were just gar--" A knife in her shoulder serves as an interruption. She clings to the wound as she falls silently to her knees. "Please, this way." The maid repeats herself, ignoring the fact that she just stabbed somebody. You remain still out of fear for your life. "Uhh, is that okay?" Aya points to the pain-stricken Meiling, greatly understating the situation.
>[x] Use the IMAGINATION gun as a Medi-gun from TF2. This is the single worst idea ever. There is no possible universe in which Snake, a guy from World War fucking TWO, would look at a gun, and go "LOL AH SHOOTS HEALAN BEEMS WIF MAH GUN."
[x] Help Meiling then [x] Enter the Mansion.
>>55568 Hey, we can't all be mecha-loving f/a/ggots. Age to counter your retarded sage.
>>55587 >There is no possible universe in which Snake, a guy from World War fucking TWO, would look at a gun, and go "LOL AH SHOOTS HEALAN BEEMS WIF MAH GUN." What part of >IMAGINATION Gun did you not understand, numbnuts?
[X] Use the IMAGINATION gun as a Medi-gun from TF2. to [Y] Help Meiling then [Z] Enter the mansion
Like hell it's okay! She just got stabbed! You lean down over her, attempting to inspect Meiling's wound. It doesn't look like it hit any vital organs, but the way it's twisted may have caused a bone to chip. She doesn't seem to be bleeding badly, so it must've missed her vital arteries. "Hey!" She tries to bat you away with her one uninjured arm. "Stop it!" "You've been stabbed. You need to stay calm so I can get the knife out." You make an attempt to calm her as you reach for the hilt of the blade. You have no idea why she'd refuse treatment like this. "Snake." Yuka places a hand on your shoulder to catch your attention. "What? What is it?" You turn your head around. "Now is not a good time for this." She could go into shock if something isn't done. "She's a youkai." Yuka shakes her head. "It'll be fine. Just let her deal with it." "But.." You've completely forgotten. Youkai heal a lot faster, don't they? Even so, she may still need medical attention. You turn around to tend to Meiling, but she's already pulled the knife out. "I was trying to tell you." She stands up, holding her injured shoulder. "This kind of wound is nothing." "..." You're not sure you believe her. Even if she's able to deal with it, you can see the pain in her face. "Leave her." The maid commands, coldly. "The mistress will want to see you." "Vampires don't come out during the day." Youmu retorts, dryly. "We've plenty of time until then." "Hey! She's right!" Aya puts a hand to her head, turning to the maid. "What's the rush, Sakuya? Do you want us to leave an injured woman out here like that?" "She'll manage." "Is it common practice to stab your subordinates?" You can't help but ask. The maid, Sakuya, didn't seem to pay any mind to stabbing another person. "They need.. motivation, sometimes." She had to think about her answer. The pause adds a chilling effect to her words. She really doesn't care if she stabs someone. "Really! I'm fine!" Meiling's unwavering belief that this commonplace makes you question the sanity of people in this world. "So she says." Sakuya holds out her hand, as if to prove herself right. "Are you coming inside, or not?" You remain silent. On one hand you have the injured, who claims herself to be fine. On the other you have a possibly murderous and insane maid, who believes that stabbing her employees is a sound form of motivation. You can only hope the others inside are a little easier to deal with. "Alright, let's go." You take another glance at Meiling before you leave. "Are you sure you're okay?" "I'll be fine in a few hours." She shrugs her uninjured shoulder as Sakuya leads you around the side of the house. She stops at a small door on the side of the house closest to the water's edge. "This is the service entrance. You're free to come and go from this door as you please. The front gate and door are locked at all times while the mistress is resting." So she was asleep! You don't offer any further complaints. You simply stay silent like the others and allow her to show you around the house. From what she tells you, most of the place is unused, and most of the spare rooms are locked. She gives each person a key, save for Durandal, as she leads you to the next room. You judge the place to be set up much like a classy hotel. She points you each to your rooms as she takes you into the main hall. From where you're standing, it would appear that you're on the second floor. "To the left of this room is the library." She points to a set of doors below you, at the bottom of a winding main staircase. "Try not to make too much noise if you've a need to go there." She leads you down the staircase and to another set of doors. "Beyond this set of doors is the dining hall. Breakfast--er, dinner will be served at sundown. I'll have someone send for you once preparations are complete." She turns to face the group, bringing the tour to a close with a charming bow. "Until then, feel free to explore at your leisure. I will ask that you do not disturb the mistress's rest, nor that you make a mess of things. If you have any further questions, ask one of the other servants." She looks at her watch. " I'm busy, so I've little time to answer more stupid questions." With those words, she disappears. She didn't slowly fade away or fall from view like so many others you've seen in this world do before. She simply vanished. One moment she was there, and the next she wasn't. Her final words leave a bitter taste in your mouth. "So," Aya sighs. "What now?" "This has made me tired. If you don't mind, I'd like to retire to my assigned room for a short while." Youmu dangles the key in front of her, staring at it with great intent. "Sure, go right ahead. Take Durandal with you in case we need to contact you." You're hoping the radio in your head can reach Durandal's sensors. "Switching to frequency 140.90. Standing y for further instructions." You hope that answers your question. Durandal follows Youmu from the room, back the way you came. That leaves you alone with just Yuka and Aya. The both of them seem bored more than anything else.
"Well, this sucks." Aya smiles sardonically, casting an encouraging glance in your direction. Looks like she's making you choose what to do.. again. "Well, why don't we check out the library?" It's at least something. You'd be happy if you could find a few books on past events, so you could catch up on what you missed. "Yes, lets." Yuka steps forward, pushing past you without a second thought as she steps silently down the hall. "Looks like the flower queen doesn't like it here, either." Aya mutters into your ear. "I heard that." "Damn." Aya snaps her fingers as you head after Yuka. Retracing your steps is a fairly simple task in this mansion. Though the halls are poorly lit and all painted the same shade of red, you're able to find your way around with surprising ease. Before long, you're standing at a large door marked 'Library' by a small sign overhead. "You sure this is the place?" Aya tilts her head, oblivious to the sign above. You point straight up to the sign, completely silent. "Oh." She smiles and giggles as if embarrassed. "I knew that." "Riiight." You grin at the fact that she used such an obvious lie to cover for her mistake. "Shut up." Yuka's commanding tone forces you both to silence as she forces the door open. Your first thought as you walk inside goes something like 'wow, this is big'. Though the word 'big' is a gross understatement. This single room is certainly bigger than the entire rest of the house, and lines wall-to-wall with all sorts of books. Some appear to be extremely old, leather-bound tomes, while others seem to be much newer. You can't possibly imagine how a room this size could fit into a house that's dwarfed in comparison. "Hey, this way!" Aya leads you beyond a series of slightly curved bookshelves which seem to emanate from the center of the room in a round maze-like pattern. Though you could easily find your way through the mansion, this room is nothing less than labyrinthine. You could easily get lost even feet from the exit, though Aya seems to know exactly where to go. "It's easier to do this.." Yuka groans in frustration, jumping to the top of a smaller bookshelf, and then to a larger one. "She's got a point, Aya." Your eyes follow Yuka as she leaps from shelf to shelf. "Mind giving me a hand?" "Yeah, sure." Aya moans, probably upset that you chose Yuka's simpler method over her own. She grabs you around the waist as she takes flight. The two of you eventually catch up to Yuka, who merely points across the room. "That way. I see something." Her eyes narrow as she stands still for a second longer. As she's about to jump across the next gap, an explosion sends a tall bookcase ahead crashing to the ground. "Shit." Yuka curses. "Is it after us?" Aya asks, setting you down just next to her. You're sure you could see movement for a split second in that direction just after the explosion. There it is again! Something appears to be flying around in that part of the room, blasting away bookshelves as it moves. It appears to be headed right for... "It's headed this way!" You yell, grabbing Yuka and Aya as you run for the end of the bookcase. You leap across to the next bookcase with Aya and Yuka under each arm. As you run, you glance back to see the place where you just stood a moment ago. As you'd expected, the bookshelf crashes to the ground as an explosion destroys it from the bottom up. "It's after us, isn't it?" Yuka glares at Aya as if she did something wrong. "I don't know!" Aya yells out her response, eyes wide in fear. "Stop moving! I'll drop you!" You don't mean it as a threat. If they don't stop squirming you'll seriously drop them! You jump another bookcase, trying to gain as much distance as you can before the cause of those explosions decides to follow you. You look back once again, trying to find your enemy. "Snake!" Aya twists your head to face forward. What you see stops you in your tracks. A woman in a pitch black dress stands in your way. "There's one behind you, too." Yuka adds with a chuckle.
"Snake, move!" Aya screams as the one in front advances forward. You glance to Yuka, who seems to find your current situation a little too funny. Without putting one of them down, you're defenseless. You're sure as hell not putting Aya down, so that leaves only the joyously giggling youkai under your left arm. "Whatever you're thinking, don't do it~" Yuka singsongs, realizing your intent without even looking at you. You choose to ignore her commands. "You there!" You stare directly at the woman in the black dress. She points to herself, as if to say 'who, me?' as you ready your left arm. "Catch!" You throw Yuka forward, directly into the woman. Yuka screams playfully as the two collide, falling off the bookshelf to the floor below. That leaves-- "Nice toss." You spin yourself around, coming face-to-face with none other than Marisa, carrying a load of books in a large burlap sack. "What are you doing here?" You ask, setting Aya down beside you. You take a look over the ledge, expecting Yuka to return at any moment to rip your guts out. "Nothing much, just renting a few." She nods her head to the sack before flying away on what looks like a broom, waving as she busts through a window. "See ya 'round!" "What the...?" You're not too sure what just happened. What the hell was all the explosions for, then? Was anything really after you? Or were they after her? "That.." Yuka clammers back up to the top of the bookcase. "Was rather rude." She dusts herself off. "Call it payback." You flick your ear. "For this." "I suppose I should kill you once, then." She returns the gesture, pointing to each part of her body where you shot her before. "..For payback." She smiles deviously. She's serious. "I'll pass." You try to downplay the situation. Showing your feat wouldn't play well for you against this woman. "What happened to that other woman?" Yuka's smile widens as she licks her lips. "I took care of her." You'd rather not ask what gruesome method she might have used, though you'll admit your tactic was effective for what it's worth. "You certainly did." The sound of a woman's voice echoes from somewhere inside the room. It seems to be coming from every direction. "You also let the thief get away." "Thief?" Wait, could that mean.. "Yes, that's the one." The voice seems to draw closer. "As such, I am holding you responsible for the damage. How do you intend to fix this mess?" "What?!" Aya exclaims, knowing something you're not aware of. "It's easier if you fix it yourself!" "I see.." Yuka carefully studies the area. "Vocal projection.." "Meaning?" She's not making any sense, though you can't just write it off as the ravings of a lunatic quite yet. "Meaning, she's probably not even in this room.." "Very perceptive." The voice laughs, amusedly. "Though you're quite wrong." "Yeah, right." Aya agrees with the voice, turning to face you and Yuka. "It's not like she ever leaves the room." "So, we find her and crush her." Yuka beats her fist into the palm of her other hand, smiling much like a child would when getting a new plaything. "That's.." You're not particularly keen on the idea. "A little over the top, don't you think?" "Not really." She raises an arm, staring off into the corners of the room. "There!!" She tosses something into one of the bookcases, hitting nothing. The object she threw looks almost like.. a flower? Well, you won't argue with her sense of taste, though it's a little more than gaudy.
[x] "You can send the bill to my handler, Yukari Yakumo, care of the Hakurei Shrine." [x] Fire a 16" naval shell at a bookcase with the Nitori rifle. [x] "Now unless your homeowners' insurance policy protects you against 'snakes', I suggest you reveal yourself before this one causes any more property damage."
[x] "You can send the bill to my handler, Yukari Yakumo, care of the Hakurei Shrine." [x] Fire a 16" naval shell at a bookcase with the Nitori rifle. [x] "Now unless your homeowners' insurance policy protects you against 'snakes', I suggest you reveal yourself before this one causes any more property damage."
[X] "You can send the bill to my handler, Yukari Yakumo, care of the Hakurei Shrine." [X] Fire a 16" naval shell at a bookcase with the Nitori rifle. [X] "Now unless your homeowners' insurance policy protects you against 'snakes', I suggest you reveal yourself before this one causes any more property damage."
Eh, why not? We have Yuka in our party, so we can afford to be a little cocky. We have Aya in our party, so we can afford to be a little cheesy. Might do some good to break up the tedium of constant jobbing.
A second flower thrown by Yuka also strikes nothing. A clear miss. The room fills with the sound of arrogant laughter. "Pitiful." In response, Yuka fills with rage as the unseen woman laughs at her feeble attempts to fight back. "That bitch.." Yuka mutters angrily through clenched teeth. "How dare she!" "We won't find her standing around here." You make a visual sweep of the room. "We should try to get to the center." You can vaguely see a small area clear of bookshelves ahead. You point to it, alerting the others to it's presence. "Over there. We can split up and branch outward from there." "Sure, that's fine and all, but why not try reasoning with her, first?" Aya makes a valid point. "Heh, I'll show her 'reason'." There's a terrifying glint in Yuka's eye. She searches the room with her eyes, grinning devilishly as she pulls that parasol out of thin air. Did she have that on her before? "Snake?" Aya looks at you, speaking quietly and with urgency. "We should go. Now." Judging from the look on Yuka's face, that might be a good idea. You doubt you'll be able to stop her at this point. Before you can react, Aya grabs you around the waist. As she lifts you from the ground, you take a quick glance behind you. As you leave the bookshelf, you're sure you could see a second Yuka standing there. "Hold on!" Aya shoots across the room, stopping just short of the door you came in through. The two of you drop to the floor as the room fills with a brilliant white-yellow light. "What the hell is that?!" You try to yell over a cacophony of explosions which seem to be emanating from the center of the room. Though it's obvious Aya didn't hear you over the noise. She sets you on the floor below, tightening her grip around your waist as she buries her head in your chest. No more than a few seconds pass, and the noise begins to die down and eventually stops altogether, replacing itself with a terrible silence. What the hell just happened? "I think it's safe now." You pat Aya on the head as she slowly releases you. "We should go find Yuka." Though you have your suspicions she's the cause of this whole mess. Aya nods reluctantly, and you step past the bookshelf you'd used as cover. At first, you can't see anything out of the ordinary. You need to get a better view, so you instruct Aya to fly you back to where you were before. As she takes you over the tops of the bookshelves, you're amazed at what you find. An entire section of the library, gone. It appears as if somebody drilled a hole through the shelves all the way to the other side. Yuka stands where you left her, smiling contentedly as you and Aya set down beside her. "Hmm, looks like I hit something~" She jumps forward before you can react, her heading directly parallel to the destroyed section of the library. It would certainly appear that she was the cause of this mess. You and Aya follow silently behind her, fearful that she may try that same attack twice. Before too long, she jumps to the floor below as if she'd found something. You follow with Aya's help, landing just behind the smiling youkai. Your first inclination is to get angry, though her awesome display of power has put a damper on that. You'd rather not anger her further. Instead, you wait silently behind her as she digs through a pile of books. "Ah!" She reaches her hand inside. "You again!" She pulls out the same black-dressed woman you'd run into earlier by the neck. "Now then, you will tell me where that woman is hiding." The woman silently shakes her head, defiantly refusing Yuka's orders. Yuka responds by raising a hand to the woman's face. "You'll tell me, one way or another." She smiles widely. A small flower seems to grow directly from the palm of her hand. "That won't be necessary." The voice from before, this time coming from behind one of the nearby bookshelves. "You've caused enough damage for one day. I don't want to lose a servant as well." The figure of a woman appears from behind the bookshelf's corner. "What is your purpose, here?" "Oh, nothing~" Yuka drops the woman in black, turning to the new arrival with that smile on her face. "Hmm." The woman seem entirely disinterested in Yuka. She takes the woman in black in her arms as se steps back behind the bookshelf she'd emerged from. "If you've nothing important to say, then get out." You then hear her mutter to herself, "This'll take weeks to fix."
"Wait." You pull the map Eirin gave you from your pocket and examine it again. This has got to be the place. "What?" The woman peers back around the corner. "I'm trying to find somebody." You hold the map open in front of you. "Eirin sent me here to find some sort of magician. She thought this person could help me." "Really?" The woman narrows her eyes, examining the sheet of paper held in your hands. "Even if you do manage to find this magician, I doubt she'd help you. After all, you've injured one of her servants, let a thief make off with her books, and destroyed her library." She disappears around the corner before you're able to respond. You turn to face the others. "That was fun." Yuka announces with a smile on her face. Her blatant disregard for other people's property is more than irritating, especially since it may ruin your chance to speak with somebody who could help you. "I'm sure it was." You turn around, waving for the other two to follow you. "Come on, let's see if we can't find that bastard ourselves." "This way, then." Aya flies ahead of you, turning down the same corner that woman stood earlier. "It shouldn't be too far." You can barely hear her as she says something to herself. "Damn, Patchy's pissed.." You follow Aya's path through the series of bookshelves. Every so often, you pick out ones that stand out to take with you. You'll look at the titles later. Several sharp turns later, you wind up in a large circular space somewhere near the center of the room. "Hmm, guess she went somewhere else.." Aya scans the room, searching for somebody. You notice something moving behind a large pile of books, and go over to investigate. "Who's there?" The figure heard the sound of your footsteps and calls out to you. At least now you know it's human. By the sound of the person's voice, it's probably a child. "A couple of scaa~ry ghosts~!" Aya leans over your shoulder, supporting herself in midair with a hand placed on the top of your head. "I don't like ghosts! Go away!" A book flies over from behind the pile, headed directly towards Yuka's face. She catches it with a smile on her face. You can't tell if it was blind luck or amazing skill. You push Aya behind you, "Don't mind her, she's just playing around. We're all absolutely--" You take a quick look behind you, seeing a flying bird woman who calls herself a Tengu and what might as well be a tank youkai. "Mostly normal. I can promise you we're not ghosts." "Good! 'Cuz I hate ghosts!" Youmu probably won't get along to well with this one. You take a step closer to the book pile, coming face-to-face with a small, blonde-haired girl in a red dress. "See?" You pat your chest with your free hand, affirming your words with a smile. "We're not see-through or anything, so we can't be ghosts." "Then," She looks up, eyes wide with curiosity. "Are you vampire hunters?" "Nope." Aya jumps over your head, knocking the books from your hand. "You remember me, right?" "Umm.." The girl points at Aya, thinking hard as you silently pick up the books you were once carrying. "Alphonse?" An obvious guess. The little girl smiles. "Wrong!" Aya seems slightly offended. She throws her arms out in a gesture of feigned desperation. "Aya! It's Aya! Remember?" She points to herself. "I interviewed you once?" The young girl smiles playfully. "Don't remember." Aya lets out an aggravated sigh as she floats away, behind you. She pushes you forward. "Here, you deal with her!" You try to fight her off as she pushes you forward with all her might. "What the--?! What's the matter with you?!" "Hello, mister." You feel the girl tugging at your sleeve. It would seem Aya's getting her way whether you like it or not. You turn around, facing the girl. "What's your name?" "I'm Snake." You try to smile as you glance behind you at the unnecessarily frustrated Tengu. "Hey, seen any magicians around here?" "Well, there's Patches, but she's not here right now." She stares, unblinking with her vaguely red eyes. "What was all that noise?" You point to the woman behind you in the vibrant red and white plaid skirt. "That was her fault." You smile, adding unnecessarily, "She's a mean person." "She is?" The girl seems slightly afraid. "I don't like mean people." She tugs on your shirt. "Hey, hey. Where's Patches? I want to see Patches!" This 'Patches' character might be the woman you saw earlier. You attempt to pantomime the look of the woman's clothing, seeking clarification. "Did se have a hat like this.. and a long light purple dress like this?" "Yeah!" The girl beams with a playful fervor. "That's her! Did you see her?" Which would mean she's the magician you needed to see. What luck. "Yeah, I saw her, back that way somewhere." You point to the direction you came from. "Really?" Her smile grows wider. "Then, I'm looking for this book.." For some reason, she thinks you might be able to help her. "It's about dragons, I think." "Dragons, huh?" Aya finally regains her composure. "We're looking for a dragon too, you know." "Really?" The girl doesn't seem to believe her, and redirects to her previous topic. "Then! Then! Can you help me?" "Suuure, why not?" Aya grins at you slyly. She's obviously recruiting you to help. You wonder what she's planning, if she's planning anything at all.
With all the oppressive stares you're receiving, there doesn't seem to be the slightest possibility that a refusal would be accepted. You don't know anything about the library, but you are holding books. "All right, I'll give you a hand." "Hooray!" The small girl jumps up and down, clapping her hands with glee. You set down the books you'd grabbed on a nearby bench, examining the title and contents of each one. Hopefully, one might be helpful. "Let's see here.." You take the topmost one in your hands. It's labeled Advanced Particle Physics for Dummies. Pretty much useless, considering you don't understand any of the concepts inside. The next one in the stack is entitled Half Life: Full Life Consequences. The grammar and spelling is atrocious. You don't know why a library would stock such garbage. The next is familiar to you, Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red, a copy of Aya's manuscript. Following that are a series of books on the maintenance and upkeep of bilge pumps, a diary of a woman living in Germany during the war, a picture book with 'STORNGST' scribbled on the front cover in blue ink, and a collection of electrical diagrams for computers. Nothing even remotely related to dragons. You turn to the little girl, who's been waiting patiently beside you the entire time. "Do you remember what it was called?" "Nope!" She smiles. "I think it was blue." "Blue..?" With a mountain of books like this, just the color of the jacket won't help much. "Do you know where it might be?" "Umm.." She holds a hand to her lip in thought. "I believe she's looking for this." It's that woman from before. She must've come in when you were skimming through the titles of the ones you'd carried. She's carrying a book, though the color is an unmistakable red. "Ah!" The girl jumps over to the woman, tackling her and grabbing for the book. "That's it!" You turn to Aya, "I thought she said it was blue.." She shrugs in return. "Yeah, well. That's Flandre for you." The woman hands the book to Flandre while staring at you. "It's way past your bedtime. Shouldn't you be asleep?" "Nope!" She runs back over to the bench, plopping down right in front of you. "Sister said I could sleep whenever I wanted!" "Really?" The woman doesn't seem to believe her, though she allows Flandre to do as she pleases. "I suppose it's fine, then." She slowly makes her way over to your group. She looks entirely too displeased to see you again. "Uh, hi." You smile meekly, feeling slightly uncomfortable. "Didn't I tell you to leave?" "Not really, no." You try to hold your gaze against hers. "I needed to speak with you, remember?" "With me?" She reacts with a mild surprise. "You said you were looking for a magician. There's plenty of those outside. Why not speak with one of them? I'm sure they'd be more than happy to deal with a youkai like you." "That's the thing." You need to get something out of her. "Eirin doesn't seem to think I'm a youkai. Most of the others I've talked to say the same thing. I need to know what I am." "You're annoying and far too pushy is what you are." The woman scowls. Suddenly, Yuka pushes you aside. "Hey, while you're at it, I'd like to know what I am, too." She laughs loudly, mocking you. The woman takes an uncomfortable step back as Yuka inches her face closer to hers. "I'll have no dealings with the likes of you." "Aww, that's too bad!" Yuka smiles, pointing the end of her parasol at the oblivious Flandre. "I don't think you understand your position, witch." The woman's eyes narrow. "You wouldn't." Yuka's threatening smile widens. "Try me." The two go silent, staring intensely at each other in a wordless battle of wills. After several terribly long minutes, the woman finally gives in. "I understand." She sends you a baleful glare, as if you'd had a hand in this. "What do you want to know."
"Hey, don't look at me like that. I'm not telling her to do this." You hold up your hands, defensively. She looks about ready to kill you. "You brought her here, she's your responsibility. Ask what you will, then be gone." You feel something press against your side. Yuka grabs you by the arm, leaning in close. "Hear that?" She smiles. "I'm your responsibility~" If anything, she's only making the situation worse. "Yes, I heard. Knock it off." She leans behind you, looking at the angered woman from behind your other side. "Hehe~ Stop me, stop me~! Stop me or I might hurt somebody~" "See?" You point to Yuka, hoping you may be able to alleviate the situation somehow. "I can't control this woman." "So it would seem." It looks like it worked, though only a little. "As I said earlier, you brought her here. She's your responsibility." "And he's my responsibility." Aya steps forward, pushing Yuka away from you. "Please, we need your help." The woman judges Aya's expression. "Very well." She turns her attention to the girl sitting off to the side. "Flandre!" "Ye~s!" She sets the book down and runs over obediently. "This man and I need to speak in private." She nods at Yuka. "Could you keep an eye on this woman for me? Make sure she doesn't cause trouble, okay?" Flandre smiles, grabbing Yuka's hand. "Okay! This way, mean lady!" "Wha-- Mean lady?! Hey!!" Yuka looks more surprised than upset as she's dragged off into the library. "Bye-bye! Vampire hunter, Alphonse!" Flandre waves to you with her free hand as she drags Yuka around a corner and out of sight. "Better." The woman sighs, brushing sweat from her forehead. "I do so hate--" She turns a suspicious eye to you all of a sudden. "Vampire hunter?" "Hmm?" You redirect your full attention to the woman. "Oh, that? She asked me if I was one earlier. I guess I didn't actually answer, though. If you're curious, I'm not." "I see." She holds her suspicious gaze for a second longer. "What is it you wanted to ask me? Why did Eirin send you?" "I'm really not sure." You shrug, trying to find a good way to bring up the topic. "I'll make it simple for the both of you." Aya leans over your shoulder. "This guy here is turning into something. It's been happening ever since we ran into Remilia a few days--err, weeks ago." You'd forgotten about that strange time skip that occurred while you were inside Yuka's mansion. "To make a long story short, he looks like a youkai, but Eirin seems to think he's something else. She said something about magic, and he doesn't seem to have any aversion to celestials like most youkai. She seems to think he's one of them." "Certainly.." The woman nods, thinking to herself. "You said you met Remilia?" "Yeah. In the village. She was with that creepy maid. She told me she could speed up the process, and I agreed to let her do it." You remember clearly. You had to carry Aya back that night. "If that's true, she may know a little more about it." The woman nods. "I'll do what I can, though I should like to know your name first." You're not sure why your name's important, but you tell her anyway. "I've never met a being named 'Snake' before.." "It's something I've been using since I got here. It's kinda grown on me." At this point, it might as well be you real name. "An outsider, perhaps?" She smiles. "Yeah. I've only been here for a few weeks now. It's easy to lose track of time without a watch or anything." "I wish I could say the same." She chuckles. "A woman who lives here has a bit of a thing for time." "We've met." She probably means that knife-throwing maid. "Hey," Aya nudges you with her elbow. "Since she's probably forgotten already, this here's Patchouli. Everyone calls her Patchy or Patches." "Please don't." She frowns. "I'd prefer it if people used my full name on occasion." "Patchy's fine, isn't it?" Aya smiles, looking up at you. "I.. guess so." You shrug, unsure of how to properly respond. "If it so pleases you.." Patchouli rubs her eye. "Though I suppose I should give my opinion on the matter." She examines you closely for a fraction of a second. "There's honestly not much I can tell you that you probably don't already know. You have the look of a youkai about you, yet you have an ungodly amount of magical energy stored within you. If you'd like, I could train you how to harness that power.." She smiles, much like someone would were they to stumble onto a gold mine.
[x] "Ungodly, huh? So you're telling me I'm some kind of magical battery?" [x] "Well as long as it doesn't involve spontaneously combustion or premature balding, I'm game." [x] "You sure it was okay for that kid to leave with Yuka? I mean, I appreciate relief from the constant voiced threats of murder & dismemberment, but..."
"Yeah, sure. Why not?" You've got a bit of time. Hopefully it doesn't require an extensive regimen of training to learn how to use it. "Good." She claps her hands together. "We shall begin at once. Wait right here." You watch as she steps off into the library, into the winding narrow corridors between the shelves of books. You turn to Aya, hoping to understand the situation a little better. "Does she plan to have me shoot fire outta my ears of something?" The mental image forcing it's way into your mind makes you laugh. "I dunno. Never seen her train somebody before. All she usually does is read books and sit around all day." "Really..?" The possibility that you could be little more than a guinea pig for her studies is unnerving. "I don't like the sound of that." "It'll be fine, so long as you don't push yourself too hard." You hear her voice before you see Patchouli step back into the area. She's carrying a well-worn book under her arm. She carefully opens it's cover as she gets closer to you. "Let's see here..." You watch silently as she flips through the pages. You lean your head over, attempting to read what's inside. It seems to be a compilation of manuscripts written in various languages, most of which are Western European in origin. The subjects you can read range from mind control, to firing small projectiles and flight, to molecular destruction of everything in a 30-mile radius. What the hell is she planning to teach you? "Uhh, what's all this?" You point to the book. "A tome of various uses of magic." She closes the book. "Many of which are far too advanced for a beginner like you to comprehend. I'll begin with instructing you on the basic manipulation of magical energy." She sets the book aside. "Let's start with the basics. By now, I'm sure you've seen at least one or two danmaku battles?" "A couple, yeah." You remember the fight you'd almost gotten caught up in back underground. All those red lights, headed straight for you. You can remember exactly how they looked.. "Not bad, for a beginner." Patchouli's voice halts your train of thought. "What?" You didn't do anything, did you? Her contented smile tells you otherwise. "Your hand, or did you not notice?" You look first to your left hand, then to your right. The latter holds an exact reproduction of one of those red and white lights you'd seen in the cave. It doesn't feel like anything. No weight or heat, as if your hand is completely empty. "How did I--" Surprise doesn't even begin to describe what you're feeling. Did you even do this? She interrupts you, "The first step is to concentrate the energy inside you into a single part of your body. The second is to visualize it taking form. You've completed those steps without any instruction. How?" She narrows her eyes, inspecting the thing you have in your outstretched hand. "I really don't know." You try to force yourself to remember. "I just thought of something I'd seen before, and it just worked." "Like I said, how did you manage that so easily?" Aya pats you on the shoulder, breaking any semblance of concentration you had left. The orb disappears. "The gun, Snake. The gun." "This?" You hold up the rifle Nitori had given you. "What's it got to do with anything? How the hell would this piece of--" Patchouli cuts you off again. "Let me see that." You hand it to her silently, trying to figure out how it's got anything to do with you making shit appear out of nowhere in the palm of your hand. "Hmm, this would make sense.." "Do tell." You're willing to believe just about anything at this point. The fact that you can make balls of magic appear in the palm of your hand has already thrown just about the rest of what you've known and held true out the door. Truth be told, you hadn't quite believed her when she told you that you could actually use it. "At first glance, it appears to be an ordinary--er--fairly ordinary weapon." She slings it over her shoulder with great effort, bringing the barrel to bear on the hole Yuka had shot in the library earlier. "It would appear that it uses the wielder's own power to activate the device. If my understanding is correct, it channels the wielder's power, amplifying it to a force many ti--" "Meaning?" She's not making any sense. "I suppose you could think of it as 'training wheels' for a beginner magician. At this point, you shouldn't need the gun at all." "Is that so?" You hold your hand out towards the hole in the bookshelves. "So you're trying to tell me that if I wanted to, I could fire a barrage of naval shells from the palm of my hand, merely by imagining them?" It sounds like bullshit. She's just messing with you, right? "Yes, I suppose you could." She smiles earnestly, handing the weapon over to Aya. "Try it, if you must. I have magicks that will allow me to repair the damage, no matter how extensive." "Wait!" Aya grabs you by the shoulder. "What about Flandre and Yuka?" "They're on the other side." Patchouli replies, "Though they'll be back soon." She turns back to you. "Go ahead, try it." "Okay, if you say so." Bullshitting aside, she seems to honestly believe you can do it. You may as well give it a go. As you would with the rifle, you try your hardest to imagine a naval shell down to it's finest details. Holding your hand out open before you, you remember the feel of the rifle's trigger. The weight of it's pull as you slowly let off the slack to-- You're suddenly jolted backwards. A deafening boom makes your ears ring. You feel your body hit the floor, and you open your eyes to a cloud of smoke. "What th--" You try to sit up, slightly disoriented. "Snake!!" Aya's arms reach down and touch your face. Her worried expression covers your field of vision. "He's all right." You hear Patchouli's voice calling her back. "A success, I'd say." You pull yourself to your feet with Aya's help. "However, I think a bullet of that size is a bit much for you at this point." She smiles, brushing off a thin layer of dust on her shoulders. "You shouldn't push yourself." "I'm used to it." You reply, brushing the dust from yourself. "I see.." She looks across the room. "A good sized hole, I must say." She's right. You follow the path of her gaze, seeing a wide, but shallow path of destruction through the bookcases. Compared to Yuka, whose bullets went straight through to the other side of the room, yours look considerably weaker. "Is there anything else you'd like for me to share with you?" She picks up the book she'd set down earlier. "I'd rather not have to fix the library twice."
It doesn't take you long to think of something. "What about flying? Can you show me how to do that?" "Possibly." She reopens the book, searching for something. "Flying isn't something everyone can do. There's those who can fly, and those who can't. A simple test will determine which one you are." She puts the book back down and taps you lightly on the head. "Now, try to think of yourself weightless. It shouldn't be too difficult." You make the attempt. As she said, it's not difficult, but your feet don't leave the ground. "Good, hold that thought for just a little longer.." She steps around behind you. "Now comes the test." She grabs you firmly by the waist, and gives you a careful tug towards the ceiling. Nothing. You don't fly. You don't even jump. She drops her arms and walks back in front of you. "It would seem it's not possible for you. At least, not with that much energy you're carrying." She frowns, as if she'd expected it to work. She returns to the book, flipping through the pages. "Simply put, magical energy has it's own form of weight. Those with less can fly with east, while those with more may require assistance. I'd thought that if you were to devote enough energy to it, you could pull it off. It would seem I was wrong." "No big deal." You've been living without that ability until now, you can keep living without it. Nothing lost, nothing gained. "I'll manage without it." "Why don't you just try pulling harder, then?" Aya gives it a go without another word. She lifts you up off your feet. You feel she might have it, until she starts losing her balance. She topples over backwards, with you landing just on top of her. "Ow~" She sits up, rubbing her head. "That didn't work." "I could've told you that one." You help her to her feet. "Good thing you were there to break my fall." "Right.." She smiles as she takes your hand. "I've time to show you one more trick." Patchouli points to a window above. "It'll soon be dark out, and Remilia will awaken shortly." "What about that thing Yuka did?" You point to the hole she'd made through the room. "Can I do that, too?" "With practice, I'm sure you could easily best her." She places the book on a nearby shelf. "Though you're not quite there yet. Once you become more accustomed to the use of magic, I can direct you to somebody who's mastered that particular technique. But for now, I'd like to get this place cleaned up." Aya grabs you be the arm. "We'll be leaving then." She waves as she tries to lead you away. "See you at dinner!" "Yeah, what she said." You give Patchouli a quick wave as Aya drags you off into the network of corridors between the shelving. On your way out, you meet up with Flandre and an exasperated Yuka. Looks like this little girl ran her through the wringer while you were busy. "Hey, vampire hunter!" "I'm not a vampire hunter." You smile at the small girl. "I'm just here to speak to Patchouli." "Really?" Flandre's smile widens. "Because I thought--" "The truth is," Aya leans down over Flandre, grinning. "He's actually a thief. He steals the hearts of young women and makes them his own. He's a scaaa~ry monster!" "R-really?" She looks to you with fear in her eyes. "Knock it off, Aya. You're scaring her." Though honestly, her reaction was a little too predictable, even for a child. "Aww, she's fine." Aya pats her on the head. "Isn't that right, Flan?" "Yup, Alphonse!" Flandre smiles, showing a pair of long canine teeth through her lips. "Al-" Aya leans back upright. "My name is Aya!" "I like Alphonse better." Flandre replies, making the name stick. "Let's get going then." You grab Aya by the arm. "Come on, Alphonse." "Not you too!" Aya slaps you on the back in a playful manner.
>Though honestly, her reaction was a little too predictable, even for a child. >"Knock it off, Aya. You're scaring her." Though honestly, her reaction was a little too predictable, even for a child. >"Aww, she's fine." Aya pats her on the head. >"Isn't that right, Flan?" >"Yup, Alphonse!" Flandre smiles, showing a pair of long canine teeth through her lips.
Acting the child? I like this Flandre. And she's a perfect foil for Yuka.
[x] "Truth be told Flan, I'm a dragon hunter, not a vampire hunter. Let's go wake your sister out of her casket, okay?" [x] "Yuka, did you have fun playing with Flandre?"
"Hey! hey!" Flandre pulls on your shirt. "If you're not a vampire hunter, and you're not a scary monster.. What are you?" "I'm a dragon hunter, I guess." You shrug. You haven't seen any, but you might as well keep the job title until you do. "Seen any?" "Noo..." She acts as if it's a bad thing. "Neither have we. Finding them seems to be part of the fun." "Is it really fun, Snake?" Aya asks, more sarcastic and rhetorical than anything. "Yeah, sure. Why not?" If you never have to see a stinking, smelling, giant lizard in your life, you'll die a happy man. Provided, that is, if you can die at all now. Speaking of dead, Yuka's been awfully quiet since she regrouped with you. She doesn't look all that happy, either. "Have fun with Flandre, Yuka?" You smile. "That's not quite the word I'd use, but if you think what you're doing if 'fun', I should say yes." You get the feeling she's trying to make fun of you, though her point doesn't come across well. "We had fun!" Flandre gives your shirt another tug. "Yup!" "Glad to hear it." You turn to the smiling girl as you reach the end of the maze. "Hey, know where we can find your sister?" "She's asleep. It wouldn't be nice to wake her up. She gets grumpy." "Does she?" As much as you'd like to see it, your better judgement rules against your waking her up prematurely. Best let sleeping devils lie. "Is there anything we can do before dinner?" "Umm.." Flandre thinks hard. "Ah! Let's go see China!" China? She must mean Meiling. Didn't Cirno call her that? You think it'd probably be a good idea, considering you'd last seen her with a stab wound in the arm. "Alright, let's go." You wave Flandre ahead, letting her lead the way. Yuka walks silently in the opposite direction towards the bedrooms as you follow Flandre to the front door. She slams the door open, though she hesitates for a split second before walking out into the failing light. Isn't daylight harmful to vampires or something? The walkway to the front gate is cleanly paved with rounded stones lined with small hedges to either side, giving the place a grandiose appearance. The rest of the space between the house and the stone and iron wall ahead is bare grass, save for small patches of fruit-bearing trees here and there. "This way!" Flandre points to the front gate before running over to the other side of the wrought-iron fence. "Flandre?" You can hear Meiling's voice as you approach. "What are you doing up so early?" "It's fine! I'm showing them around." She waves you over. Meiling's eyes widen in an instant of surprise as you pass through the gateway. "Oh! Wait, where are the others? Weren't there more of you?" "Sleeping, probably." It might be fine for the people here, but you're not used to sleeping during the day and staying up all night like some kind of vampire. You doubt Youmu and the others are, either. "The rest of us are just taking a look around. How's the arm?" "It's fine. Completely healed." She still seems a bit defensive about it. "Do you need anything?" "Nope!" Flandre answers in your stead. "Just saying hi." "Well, hello then." Meiling waves playfully to Flandre. "I should probably concentrate on my work, though it was nice to see you up so early." "'Kay!" Flandre waves once more before running past you. One of those vaguely wing-shaped objects attached to her dress brushes against your back, causing it to rattle like glass on glass as she runs. They can't be real, can they? "We should be going, too." You don't want a repeat of what happened earlier. "I'll see you at dinner, then." She grabs your shoulder just before you leave. "If you see Sakuya, tell her to expect a couple more guests." "Will do." You have no idea who would be so brave or stupid enough to walk into a vampire's house. Then again, you're here aren't you? Meiling waves as you leave, closing the gate behind you. At least she's not out there all day and all night. Even youkai probably don't have that kind of stamina. "This way!" Flandre stands just behind the door, only her smiling face visible. "Lemme show you my room!"
"Alright, let's see it." You give her head a quick tousle and send her to the front of the group by way of a quick pat on the back. "This way!" She seems so enthusiastic to let you see it. "Up here!" You follow her up the main hall's flight of stairs, and through the large set of doors at the end. Didn't that maid tell you not to go in here? Oh well, whatever happens, happens. As you walk through the doorway, you first notice how dark it is in here. Awfully fitting, for a vampire. As you take a step in, Aya clings to your shoulder. That's right, you can see in the dark, can't you? It must appear pitch black to her. "Over here!" Flandre stands by a door, waving to you from the back corner of the room. Another identical door is directly across. You take another step into the room, and then another. Aya becomes more visibly restless with each step. "Snake.." She's pulling on your arm so hard it hurts. "Everything's fine. There's nothing else in here." You smile, hoping she can see at least that much. "I'll lead the way, so don't let go." Flandre pushes the door open ahead of you, and runs inside. You follow her, standing just beyond the doorway. This next room appears to be lit, and you cautiously step inside. You notice something moving just behind a small dresser. "Boo!" that something happened to be Flandre, attempting to scare you. "GYAAAAAAA!!" Aya screams, clutching your arm and hiding behind you. "It's just Flandre, Aya." You can't help but laugh. "S-Stop laughing!" Aya puches you hard in the arm. "It's not funny!" "Did I scare you?" Flandre looks up at you, smiling playfully. "Did I? Did I?" "Yeah, I'm shaking in my boots." You smile, though you weren't really scared at all. "Is this your room?" "Yep!" She grabs you by the arm, pulling you inside. In turn, you grab Aya by the arm and pull her inside. "Pretty nice, huh?" "Yeah.." It looks like the room of an average little girl, though much larger. "Say.." Aya wrenches her hand free from your grip. "Didn't you used to live in the basement?" "I don't like that room." Flandre frowns. "I don't want to talk about that room." "You don't have to." Aya picks up some strange looking stuffed animal. "Hey, who's this?" "That's a doll." Flandre seems to have been put in a bad mood by the mere mention of the basement room. "Does it have a name?" Aya smiles, trying to bring her spirits back up. "No..." Flandre crosses her arms behind her back, playing with the hair on her long ponytail as if nervous. "Is there anything you'd like to show us?" You ask, looking around the room for anything out of the ordinary. You notice the end of a spear-like object tucked behind her bed. "Hey, what's that?" "Oh, that?" Flandre smiles, full of glee. "Lemme show you!" She jumps over her bed, wrenches the thing out from behind it, and holds it high in the air. "NO!" Aya yells hurriedly, though she catches herself before anything else comes out of her mouth. "Er, I mean.. That won't be necessary." "Really?" Flandre puts the thing back. You have no idea what it is, or why Aya seems so wary of it. You decide to leave it be for now. "Hey, when's dinner?" Aya seems to be in a hurry to get out of here. You feel completely relaxed. Does she have to take a dump or something? "Soon, probably." Flandre walks back over to the door. "Let's go ask Sakuya!" "Yeah, why not." As much as you'd rather not see the maid again, you should at least tell her about the added guests or whatnot Meiling mentioned to you. You follow Flandre back down to the main hall, and through another smaller set of doors placed just off to the side. You're led through a series of hallways filled with these floating creatures dressed in maid suits. You'd call them human, but the tallest of them isn't more than about three feet high--the scaled-down figure of a slender woman. Then again, they all seem to be female, and they all have two sets of butterfly-shaped wings on their backs. You grab one for inspection as you pass by. It struggles in your hand, though it doesn't make so much as a peep. "Snake, put it down." Aya pokes you from behind. "Fairies bite." "Bite?" You drop it. Though it doesn't bite you, it does offer up a firm slap on the face with it's miniature hand. "Well, they do that, too." Aya pushes you forward into the next hallway. "Over here!" Flandre leads you through a door at the end. You step through, coming face-to-face with the maid. She doesn't look at all pleased to se you. "Uh, hi." You wave, suddenly wanting to get out of here as fast as possible. "I should get going." "Yes, please." She doesn't offer up any reason why you should stay, agreeing with you instead. "I was about to begin preparations." She turns her attention to Flandre for a split second. "Miss Flandre, breakfast will be ready momentarily." "Yeah, about that." Aya pushes you back into the room. "The gate guard said there might be a couple more stopping by." "How many?" Sakuya taps her foot impatiently, though she seems intrigued to hear more on the subject. "She didn't say." You wrap your arm around Aya's shoulder. "But we really shouldn't get in your way." You try to force her out of the room. "Hey, hey!" Flandre pulls on Sakuya's dress. "Do that thing with the clock!" "Oh," She disappears. "This?" Behind you?! "Yeah!" Flandre claps her hands. You doubt you'd ever get used to something like that. Just having her behind you is enough to keep you on your toes. The last thing you want is a knife through your back.
"Nice trick." You try to maneuver yourself around into a position less compromising to your ability to defend yourself. She allows you to walk past, though she could have easily done just the opposite. "Miss Flandre, why don't you show them out?" Sakuya smiles, though it doesn't look at all friendly to you. "I'll make you something special, today." "Yay!" Flandre throws her arms up in the air in celebration as she runs out of the room. "C'mon!" She grabs your hand as she runs past. "I guess this is goodbye." You laugh, waving to the maid as Flandre pulls you down the corridor. Strangely enough, she waves back before disappearing again. "Snake, let's go get the others." Aya floats over the mass of fairies clogging the halls as you're pulled through. "I didn't forget." You grab for another one as you pass by. They really do all look the same. If there's so many in here, why haven't you seen any outside? Come to think of it, wildlife in this world seems to be extremely hard to come by. You haven't seen so much as a trace of a living animal since you got here. As your busy thinking , the fairy in your hand bites your thumb. It doesn't hurt, but the sudden surprise makes you drop it. The fairy shakes a fist at you as you round the next corner back into the main hallway. "Thanks, kid." You pat Flandre on the head. "We can take it from here." "Okay." She giggles, running across the room. "See you at dinner!" You head back up to the rooms without another word. Halfway up the stairs, Aya breaks the silence. "That went off better than expected.." "What did?" You turn your head as you press forward. "Oh, just talking to myself. Flandre sure has calmed down a lot since I last met her." "Really?" She didn't seem all that calm to you. Just about anything and everything seemed to amuse her greatly. "Before, she liked to talk a lot about blowing things up." Aya smiles, deep in thought. "You know, that girl could kill a man with just so much as a thought." "What? That Flandre?" She seemed like such a good girl. Why does everyone around here have such strange powers? Who ever thought of a little girl that could telepathically kill you? "Yeah, she does this thing with her hand. I'm not sure how it works, but I've seen her use it once before." Aya stops your movement with a hand over your shoulder. "This is the place." You look to the side. It's certainly Youmu's room. You'd almost walked right past it. Aya knocks on the door. "Youmu~ Dinner~" The door flies open, revealing a slightly disheveled but completely alert Youmu. "One moment, Yuyu--" Her expression drops, suddenly. "Oh, it's just you. Don't scare me like that." A trained response? "Food will be ready soon." You look around the inside of the room, finding Durandal tucked in the corner. "Seen Yuka, lately?" "I don't believe I have." Youmu fixes her hair as she steps into the hallway. "Did you lose her?" "More like, she just walked away." Didn't say anything, either. Which room was hers, again? You look around the hallway, trying the doors next to your's and Youmu's rooms. None of them are locked, though you don't find her inside any of them. "I guess we'll see her when we see her." You shrug. "Giving up so soon?" And there she is, right in front of you. How'd she get there so quickly? "I didn't think you were the type." "I'm not." You just don't want to see her blow up the entire dining hall on a whim. "Where were you?" "Right here." She smiles, refusing to answer your question. "Of course." You don't try to press the issue. "Anyway, dinner's about ready." "I heard." "What are we all just standing around for, then?" Aya flies down the hallway, back the way you came. "I think she's got the right idea." You're starving. You race to catch up to her, following behind all the way back to the main hall. You don't stop to see if the others are coming, too. As you enter the hall, you come face-to-face with several people. You immediately recognize Meiling, who's holding Cirno in a manner of headlock, and the somewhat familiar face of Alice. There's one other person you don't think you've ever met before, standing just behind them. "Hey guys," You grab Aya, pulling her close as you wave from the top of the stairs. You point to the unfamiliar face lurking behind them, turning to Aya for answers. "Who's that?"
>"Youmu~ Dinner~" >The door flies open, revealing a slightly disheveled but completely alert Youmu. >"One moment, Yuyu--" Her expression drops, suddenly. "Oh, it's just you. Don't scare me like that."
>"Giving up so soon?" And there she is, right in front of you. How'd she get there so quickly? "I didn't think you were the type." >"I'm not." You just don't want to see her blow up the entire dining hall on a whim. "Where were you?" >"Right here." She smiles, refusing to answer your question.
Snake keeps forgetting about Yuka's octocamo.
[x] ⑨ [x] Introduce yourself: "The name's Snake, outsider, erstwhile soldier, and dragon hunter. You?"
"Who?" Aya follows your gaze, though she's not entirely clear as to which one you're talking about. "Never mind, I'll ask later." You can hear the footsteps of Youmu and Yuka catching up behind you. "Ah!" Youmu rushes to the front, pushing you aside. "You again!" You watch as she draws her long sword and rush the group. Meiling steps out of the way with Cirno, Alice stands there completely confused, and the stranger looks like she's smiling. She pulls a blade of her own, a red-orange piece of straight metal. The two cross blades, parrying each other's attacks and immediately stepping back. They circle each other like vultures over a dying rabbit. You were right, she was smiling. She throws her dark hat to the side, taunting Youmu to attack again. "Why should you attack me in another person's home, half ghost? Did we not already resolve this?" "I'll consider it resolved when you pay with your life!" Youmu takes the offensive, giving into the woman's taunts. "This won't end well." You simply shake your head as Youmu's attack is deflected as she's kicked aside. "Shouldn't we try to stop it?" Aya watches the fight beside you. There's really nothing you can do without a sword of your own. You can only watch and hope the fight ends without casualty. "Bitch!" Youmu braces for another attack. "Give it up." The woman brushes a lock of bluish hair from her eyes as she sheathes her sword. "YOU DRAW YOUR WEAPON!" Youmu commands, pointing her own blade at the woman in preparation for another strike. "What are you doing in my house?" A voice comes from below, followed by a small burst of red energy. It lands between the two of them, exploding in a brilliant light without leaving so much as a scratch on the polished stone floor. "Excellent timing." The woman bows to Remilia as she walks into the room. "It would appear I've been assaulted." "Well knock it off." Remilia turns to Youmu. "Both of you." You carefully make your way down the stairs as she speaks. "This isn't the kind of wake-up call I was expecting. Feel free to kill each other, but don't do it in my house." "My apologies." You hear Youmu mutter through gritted teeth as she puts away her weapon. She's obviously not sorry in the least. "Though I'd half-expected Alice," Remilia pays no mind to Youmu's begrudging apology. "The fact that I find you here as well is more than surprising. What is your business with the Scarlet Devil?" "Nothing important." The woman retrieves her hat, brushing it twice before placing it back on her head. "I heard there was free food, so I stopped by." "It's hardly free if somebody pays for it." Remilia sounds a little miffed. "Though if Youmu's here, that would mean.." She catches sight of you as she searches the room. "As I thought. Welcome Snake, enjoying your new body?" "I'd say yes, if I knew what it was becoming." You smile and wave. "Nice place you got here." "Of course." She acts as if you'd stated a fact, rather than a compliment. "Are you enjoying your stay?" "I'll know when I've seen the rooms, but so far so good." "Glad to hear it." She smiles, though the look in her eyes tell you she's remaining wary of the two who were fighting just moments ago. "The food will be ready shortly, and you're all welcome to join me." "Hooray!" Cirno applauds, squeezing herself from Meiling's grip. "Free food!" "Didn't you hear what she just said?" Meiling chases her as she circles the room. This won't end well, you just know it. "A new face." The strange woman takes a step toward you, smiling as she approaches. "I don't believe we've met." "I think I'd remember a sword like that, had I seen one before." You look to the hilt tucked in her waistband. "I'm Snake. Who're you?" "Tenshi." She grabs your hand, shaking it forcefully and playfully. Aya seems to be keeping her distance from the woman.