How long is a cold century, when one waits for love? But what good is love if it turns to rot? For an eternity I've waited for eternity with you. For an eternity I've waited for love undying. For an eternity I've waited.
But not anymore.
------ "So you just let her inside? Do you have any idea-"
"What was I supposed to do? Look at her!"
"So what? That doesn't excuse you, you know the protocol, you should've called for me first-"
"I can't believe you. I can't believe you're going on a stupid power trip right now. Look at her, she can barely stand-"
"Sakuya! Stand aside. Meiling, bring her in, we'll prepare a bed."
"Milady!? Why-" --------
You awaken to the sound of footsteps and the creak of a closet door. The morning sunlight filters in through the ornate glass panes of the window that crowns your bed, briefly blinding you with its glare. Rubbing your eyes, you sit up and scoot up further along the enormous mattress, away from the sun.
"Good morning, Christabel."
Sakuya is here. Her back to you, she stands at the closet, hanging some clothes and arranging them with the rest of your wardrobe. Her unnatural silver hair catches the sunlight and shines briefly like the surface of a mirror.
"Sakuya," you murmur. "Um. Hello." You are never quite sure how to act around her. She has never been anything other than polite, of course, but in the months you've been here, she's the only person who hasn't warmed up to you.
"Milady Remilia ordered me to bring these dresses here from her personal wardrobe. As a gift for you." She turns around, holding up a bright red silk dress covered in ornate lace patterns. You shiver involuntary as she looks straight at you. Her eyes are a pale blue that is almost gray, not warm like Meiling's, but calculating and cold. Sometimes you get the feeling that rather than meet your gaze she is in fact looking through you, at something in the distance. "In fact, she says to put this one on for today, because the red silk goes well with your green eyes."
She walks up to the bed and places the dress there just as you stand up, rubbing her pale hands over the fabric to smooth out the creases. Once that's done, she stands stiffly at attention.
"Um..." you murmur, waiting for her to speak.
"You do not require assistance for getting dressed?"
You look at the dress, then back at Sakuya, a blush creeping over your face. "Er…no. No, it's fine, it's nothing too complicated, right?"
Sakuya nods cryptically, then takes a bow, the white lace of her uniform almost comically drooping, as though it, too, were bound to formalities. "I'll be leaving then." She straightens up then walks out of the room. "I'll be in the kitchens if you require anything. You will have to come down however; the faeries are making breakfast and I've left them unattended for too long already, I wouldn't be surprised if one of them's stuffed herself into an oven, or something..."
She closes the door before you answer, muttering something to herself about faeries in the stew. You can't help but smile. Sakuya may not like you, but the feeling is not altogether mutual.
With a happy sigh, you remove your nightgown and step naked into the bathroom, starting up a shower. You take your time, spending nearly an hour under the water, then step out, drying yourself with one of the fluffy pink towels Sakuya replaces each day.
Stepping out of the bathroom, you walk towards the bed. When you do, you notice that the dress isn't the only thing there. On top of it is a set of lacy red underwear, stockings, garter belt, and all. You stare for a bit. On the one hand, this is incredibly fine clothing and you're, as seems to be the case for most everything in your life, incredibly grateful towards Remilia for providing it. On the other hand, the idea that Remilia is basically dictating your dress right down to what underwear you'll be using is… odd.
You sigh, then smile broadly, putting the clothes on. This is far from the most eccentric thing your friend has done, anyway.
Once you're dressed, you head over to look at yourself in the mirror hanging on top your large dressing table. You brush your long, golden blonde hair until you can feel it's mostly dry, then comb it back. Finally, to keep it in place, you use a solid gold hairpin, encrusted with sapphires and shaped like a butterfly.
To compliment your dress, you open a little golden chest full to bursting with the jewelry Remilia has gifted you over the past few months. You end up picking a golden necklace with a sapphire nearly the size of an egg hanging from the chain. The contrast of the deep blue with the red of your dress and the whiteness of your skin mesmerizes you, and you put it on with a smile.
Once that's done, you gaze upon yourself in the mirror for some time, admiring your wonderful reflection. A little voice in the back of your head tells you you've been doing this for the past fifteen minutes and that it's all horribly vain, but you mercilessly crush it, then set it on fire.
After a while, you come back to your senses, tearing your gaze away. Your conscience rises up again, and suddenly you feel a bit embarrassed. Stepping away from the mirror, you survey the room. There's nothing else left to do.
You open the door to your room and step out, closing it behind you. As you stand on the red carpet of the long hallway, you realize that even though you're fully dressed, for once you don't have anywhere urgent to go.
"Well, that's odd," you murmur to yourself. You can't remember the last time you started a day without being summoned somewhere. It must have been months ago. The freedom is a tad disconcerting, to say the least, so you....
[ ] Go visit Remilia. She hasn't called for you, but then she did say you could visit whenever you wanted.
[ ] Go to the Library. You don't have lessons today, but Patchouli and Koa surely wouldn't mind if you dropped by, right?
[ ] Head down to the garden. Meiling is probably done with that strange Oriental martial ritual she does every morning, whatever it is.
 ...are feeling quite hungry. However, you spent so long in the shower Sakuya probably finished and served breakfast quite some time ago. You'll have to head down to the kitchens and ask her to make you something.
You knock twice on the ornate mahogany doors to Remilia's personal living room.
You hear her voice from behind the doors before you can knock a third time. "Come in, Christabel."
Nodding, you open a door and step inside, closing it behind you.
Remilia sits at the coffee table in the center of the room, smiling at you. With the bookshelves and ancient portraits as a backdrop, and under the light of the chandeliers (for though it is morning, the blinds are, as always, closed), she looks like a vision out of a fairy tale. However, she is quick to break the stillness, and motions you to a seat. "Come now, pull up a chair. I don't think you've had breakfast yet, right? I'll have Sakuya bring us something."
You sit down, meeting Remilia's impossible scarlet gaze, but only briefly, before looking away. You cannot match the intensity of her stare. Not the first time, at least. Your eyes wander towards the painting hanging on the wall right behind her, then again back to her. This time, her gaze has softened, and now you can properly face her. "How did you know it was me, milady?" You can't help but ask, though it is far from the first time that Remilia has shown such prescience.
"You've become a very dear friend, Christabel. It would be a shame if I could not recognize your presence, now wouldn't it?" She smiles, and not for the first time you're struck by how beautiful she is. Her hair is the same golden shade as your own, but her skin is much paler, if that were possible, and her features, you think, even more delicate. In moments like this, the unnatural side of her that sometimes terrifies you only accentuates her beauty. You have never seen red eyes like hers, and even the giant, black leathery wings that she stretches open on occasion are less horror and more magnificence. "At any rate," she goes on, breaking you out of your reverie. "You didn't answer. Have you eaten, yet? I haven't, you know, I was busy reading something, time flew by, and all of a sudden I just realized I'm hungry enough to eat a cow."
You giggle, partly at the idea of it, and partly because you could actually see Remilia pulling that stunt. She is not a subdued person. "No, no, milady, I haven't eaten. I overslept, then spent an hour showering. It's almost midday right? If there was anything left in the kitchen the faeries have probably eaten it by now."
Remilia snorts. "Pigs. Proper ladies like you and me would never be that gluttonous. Anyway," She puts a slender finger to her throat. Her magic obeys, flowing out into a rose-shaped seal. "Sakuya," she says, and the magic causes her voice to reverberate through the room and, presumably, downwards, to the kitchens. "Hey, Sakuya. I want the biggest, largest, most obscenely ornate chocolate cake ev-"
Two forks, two knives, milk, coffee, sugar and Irish cream manifest on top of the table alongside two plates bearing two gigantic slices of rich chocolate cake. "Oh, I guess this will do," says Remilia. "And here I called Patchouli crazy when she first put up those spells."
You pick up a fork, raising an eyebrow. "Cake, milady?"
Remilia takes a bite with a contented moan. "Of course, Christabel! What's the use of being rich if you don't get to have cake for breakfast every other day?"
Suddenly very hungry, and quite unable to provide a counterargument, you follow Remilia's example and dig in. Like all food served in the mansion, the cake is absolutely delicious and made with the utmost care. You both eat quickly, making only a little small talk as you do.
When you're finished, you stand up, smiling, and stretch your arms with a delighted groan, working out the kinks in your back like a cat. "That was really good!"
Remilia cocks her head with a smirk. "You know stretching after eating isn't good for you? I'll bill you for the whole table if you puke on it."
"Hng," you shrug, still smiling, as you walk towards one of the large sofas placed around the room. "But how would I pay for that, milady? I'd have to pawn off your gifts, but I'd never, ever do that, so I guess I'd have to leave..." With complete nonchalance you lie down on the couch, on your side so you're looking at Remilia, one hand supporting your head. Your blonde hair falls downwards like a golden cascade, nearly touching the floor. "But that'd be terrible."
Suddenly, your heart skips a beat. Remilia's expression has changed from teasing to a stone-faced intentness. "...yes. Terrible."
She stands up, very slowly at first, but then in a second she's crossed the distance between you, and she towers above your prone form. She's breathing heavily, shaking her head.
Remilia grabs you by the left wrist with both hands, her pale fingers running over your skin and intertwining with your own. Her grip is incredibly soft and delicate, but there is a firmness to it, a strange, menacing quality that leaves it clear that she is incredibly strong. "Don't ever let me hear you saying that again. Ever." She leans down, pressing your hand against her breasts. You can feel the heat of her skin under the fabric of her white dress. "You can't leave me. You don't get to leave me, Christabel. Do you understand?"
You frown, taken aback by her vehemence and worried that you've offended her. "I'd never leave you, milady. I couldn't-"
"Thank you!" Remilia brings your hand to her lips and peppers it with soft kisses. "You don't have to say anything else. Just… thank you. Let's forget you ever made that threat."
"It wasn't a threat, milady, I was just trying to-"
"But it was a threat, Christabel. I know you said it in jest, but to me, just the merest insinuation…" She looks away for a second, her face darkening. "You've become my dearest… friend, Christabel. So I can't even contemplate losing you, alright?"
"...alright," you say. Though her fervor sometimes scares you, and she seems to think more highly of you than you do yourself, you cannot bear to cause Remilia distress.
Remilia smiles and lets go of your hand. With a grand gesture, her giant black wings disappear in a flurry of rose petals that fade away into the air, allowing her to finally sit down on the sliver of space you left on the couch. She places a hand on your hip, running her fingers over the fabric of your dress. You sigh contentedly at her touch.
"You're wearing the dress I gave you." Her hand moves up, fingers tracing circles over your taut midsection.
"Yes, milady. Thank you."
"You don't have to thank me for anything, Christabel. As far as I'm concerned it's always been yours." Her hand moves further up, fingers pressing against your neck. "My God, how can you be so beautiful?"
Before you know it, you're truly face to face, Remilia having crawled on top of you. Her scarlet eyes seem to swallow the world.
You've gone back to a similar scenario many times in your mind. It is not often that one of your conversations devolves into something like this, but when it does, one of you always ends up backing down.
It's not you, this time. Something in Remilia's eyes makes an undercurrent of raw lust flash through your body, and you lean in…
Remilia stands up just as quickly as she got on top of you, looking away. "I need some time to myself," she murmurs.
"I understand," you whisper hoarsely, standing up from the sofa and heading towards the doors. As you walk away, you notice you're shivering from head to toe.
You turn around. Remilia's gaze is briefly fixed on the painting, but she soon turns to look at you. Her expression is quite stern. "Patchouli told me there would be a storm tonight. But I want you to remember, no matter how dark the night gets, I'm always here, alright?"
You frown. "What-"
Remilia brings a finger to her lips. "Don't ask. Just… keep it in mind, okay?"
You nod with a sad smile. "I'll never forget it, milady."
Remilia nods and waves you off, turning back to stare at the painting again.
You leave the room. Once you close the door behind you, you cover your face with your hands and let out a shuddering sigh. You don't know what to think. Your relationship with Remilia, who is everything to you by virtue of how she took you in and gave you a chance to live, is a difficult one to understand. When things come to a head, as they did just now, you're left exhausted and confused.
At any rate, there's not much point in just standing around aimlessly in the hallway. You...
[ ] Go to the Library. You don't have lessons today, but Patchouli and Koa surely wouldn't mind if you dropped by, right?
[ ] Head down to the garden. Meiling is probably done with that strange Oriental martial ritual she does every morning, whatever it is.
[ ] Head to your chambers. You don't feel like doing much, but maybe some music will cheer you up.
Speculation We are Remilia. Flandere has managed to usurp control of the mansion and has taken our place. We lost our memories during that incident and she is going to this charade because Flandere enjoys finally having power over Remilia. This is why she is so forward and why Sakuya is so different. This is probably also why Sakuya gives us pink towels. Not sure why our hair is now blonde but it could be magic. It could also explain why we spent so long looking at the mirror, because we recognise that there is something wrong.
[x] Go to the Library. You don't have lessons today, but Patchouli and Koa surely wouldn't mind if you dropped by, right?
Interessting theory, but this provides proof to the contrary. However, Remilia's hair isn't golden/blonde, like already stated, and there's the picture in the OP...
Well, the same thing happened in Idea of Alice, with all the non-canon hair/eye colors, but not everything is different (normal colored) in this story.
My first idea was that Christabel is actually Flandre, but the lack of bone/cristal wings and, more importantly memories, is disturbing. Patchouli being Flandre's teacher is also fairly common, if not canon (not really sure), but if the MC doesn't have her memories, she may also have lost all her knowledge too.
Also, I don't think Sakuya would be this cold to Remilia, of all people.
Anyway, it's too soon for epiletic trees. Let's wait for the next updates and speculate again later.
Oh right. There is nothing to prove this, but I believe that such an important detail would have been mentioned when Christabel was staring at her reflection in the mirror, but the only physical description we have of her is regarding her long golden hair, and how she's probably pale.
Actually, the simple fact that she actually has a reflection should disprove both theories, no? Or did ZUN give them the passive ability of having reflections too?
I would like to vote, but it's already been called. I just found this while wandering around the boards, and I'm extremely sad that it's apparently been abandoned.
The first two posts were excellent, and enough to get me thinking about what the setting for this story is. Pre-Gensokyou Scarlet Devil Mansion?
This is the first story I've gotten seriously interested in on this site for three years now. Peerless Magician, if you're reading this, please come back to us. I want to see where you would have taken this story, and I wouldn't be satisfied if someone else wrote it since it seems as if you put a great deal of thought into what you've already written.
Oh my, I'd forgotten about this. Well, better late than never. - ------
You leave behind Remilia's room, making your way through the mansion's grand, almost cavernous hallways, papered and carpeted red and gold, decorated with paintings of angels, naval battles, and old Scarlet family members, and occasionally guarded by the endless vigil of one or two suits of plate armor. Like most everywhere in the house, everything is lit by grand chandeliers hanging from the ceiling - the enormous windows that punctuate the walls at regular intervals, each large enough to fit three men, are locked, and then shuttered by elegant panels of carved wood.
Eventually you make your way to the domed foyer that marks the entrance to the mansion. The windows that circle the cupula of the ceiling are shuttered, too, but the massive chandelier at the center gives more than enough light to illuminate the enormous painting that decorates it. It seems to tell a story of some sort. On the right, flights of armored angels congregate, lifting up trumpets and colorful banners. On the center, the massive figure of God points downwards. On the left, more angels, or rather their shadows, for they are all in black with few distinguishing features save empty eyes and mouths open wide in despair. Their wings are broken, their clothes ragged, and they are falling, cast to the ground from Heaven.
You feel somewhat compelled to examine the painting for a bit, feeling a morbid curiosity at the falling angels' suffering. You wonder if that is what Remilia feels, too. She ignores the painting more often than not but sometimes you've found her, at night, staring at it.
Finally you look away. You feel sorry for them, but then it's their problem. You haven't offended anyone, to be cast from Heaven like that.
Suddenly you feel like you need some air. Rather than try to open the enormous mahogany doors of the main entrance, which for a girl your size requires both hands and more than a bit of effort, you make your way down a small, out of the way hallway that leads to a service entrance. You open it, then quickly close your eyes, briefly blinded by the Sun. Rubbing your eyes and grumbling, you walk outside, closing the door behind you.
At that point a soft breeze picks up, gently caressing your face. You open your eyes and smile, breathing deeply. The mansion's garden is a vast expanse of rose and carnation bushes and trimmed shrubs that encircle several enormous apple trees in full bloom, forming circular nodes of flowers that themselves surround, like a cross, the marble fountain at the center, on top of which stands an angel, stony wings spread, a longsword raised and pointed triumphantly at the sky.
Following the contours of the statue with your gaze, you look up at the sky as well, and gasp at what you see. Though above you it is calm, in the distance the deep blue expanse gives way to vast thunderclouds, black as midnight, giant as Jupiter's eye.
"A storm's coming, isn't it, Christabel?"
You startle and turn around. Meiling is standing behind you, deceptively slender arms crossed over her chest, a wan smile on her lips, baby blue eyes fixed on the sky. You take a moment to observe her. Though she's at least a head taller than you, Meiling is very beautiful. Her mixed race features are striking, her hair is a fiery copper red. You can't help but think that she also looks a bit odd in that Chinese uniform she insists on wearing, but to each their own, you suppose.
Finally she looks away from the storm clouds and meets your gaze. "Ordinarily, I'd be glad, the plants could use some actual rainwater for a change. But somehow I've been feeling weird all morning." She taps her chin with her index finger. "Does it ever happen to you that once in a while you get a feeling that something terrible is about to happen, for no reason at all, and then just like that a breeze blows or a cat makes a noise and it's gone and you're left feeling all silly? Like that, only it won't go away." She looks down, pensive.
"I... guess," you murmur. "Though I haven't quite felt like that today."
Meiling shakes her head and then smiles broadly at you. "I'm sorry," she says. "I shouldn't burden you with something this silly. How are you today, Christabel?" As she says this she beckons you to a nearby bench near a rose bush and you both sit, or rather you sit and Meiling half-lies down, stretching out her legs and putting her arms behind her head. Still, for all her apparent nonchalance, she still occasionally looks up at the sky.
"I'm fine," you answer, then frown, recalling something. "Remilia's been a bit weird today. She told me a storm was coming, too."
Meiling snorts. "Did she go all dark and clench her fists? She was probably trying to be dramatic and scare you, she loves doing that. Then again..."
"No," you say. "She seemed pretty serious."
That seems to set Meiling on edge. "That's weird. Still... I don't know. It's just rain, right? I feel like I'll go nuts with paranoia if I try to think otherwise. And Sakuya seems fine, hasn't said anything out of the ordinary."
You smile grimly. "Well, I wouldn't know about that. She doesn't say much to me."
Meiling absentmindedly plays with a lock of crimson hair. "She'll come around." You notice that for once there isn't a lot of conviction in her voice. "She... she can be a bit of a... well. But you're very likable, Christabel." Suddenly she perks up and jumps to her feet. "Oh. Oh! I knew I'd forgotten something." You blink, slightly surprised as you notice she's blushed a light pink. "I want you to play a song for me. I've been meaning to ask for ages but I only just got around to finding the sheet music in the library, well at least I think it's the sheet music, I mean I don't know about these things, maybe I got you a saxophone part or something awful like that... I'm rambling aren't I?" She looks at you in askance, biting her lower lip, and you nod, dumbly. "Anyway..." Meiling rummages through the small leather pack she always carries with her and produces two slightly crumpled pages of sheet music. "It's called Jasmine Flower. My mother used to sing it to me when I was a little girl. I can still hum the tune by heart, but it's a folk song, they don't exactly play it on the radio... not in France, anyway. I'm amazed I even found written music for it at all." She hands you the music with an uncertain smile. For your part, you're a bit taken aback. Meiling is usually so confident, it's very rare to see her embarrassed. You look down and read the sheet music. Meiling got the instrument right at least. As for the music itself, it's short, very sweet and really easy - a children's song.
"Would you?" She asks, clasping her pale hands together. "It would mean a lot to me."
She seems so very vulnerable.
 How could you say no? "Of course. Let's go to my room."
 You feel a rush of cruelty pierce your chest. Turn her down.
[X] "I wouldn't want to keep you from your duties. All this talk of coming storms strikes me as rather ominous.". If our instrument is something portable, offer to bring it down so she can listen while she works.
"Of course," you smile broadly at Meiling, and rise to your feet. Any excuse for music is a good excuse. "I'd be delighted to!"
Meiling beams at you and motions for you to follow her. You do, and the both of you make your way through the garden all the way to the massive front doors, which Meiling pushes open with total ease. "You have no idea how much this means to me," she gushes as you both step into the foyer. "Back in China my mother was really my only friend for the longest time, and she used to sing to me every night at bedtime. She only knew like three songs, I think, since she'd only just learned to read so all the music she knew, she'd heard as a child, but she sang so beautifully!" She turns around to look at you, still walking backwards, hands over her cheeks. "Hey, can you sing, Christabel? I've tried, but they tell me I sound like a cat shoved into a food processor." She pouts.
You frown. "Who said that?" Meiling is so nice, you don't think she deserves that kind of put down.
Meiling sighs and turns around, still determinedly walking forward, now up the grand staircase to the second floor. "Sakuya. But the boss agrees."
You snort, crossing your arms over your chest. "Well, I bet they're just jealous," you say with a pout.
She sighs, not particularly convinced. "Maybe there's something to it. What about you, Christabel?"
You grimace, feeling a blush creep up your cheeks. "I've never really tried before. And I don't think I could do it while playing, that takes practice."
"Oh." Meiling sounds vaguely disappointed, but then she smiles again. "I guess just hearing the melody again is fine... or I could sing it while you play! Then again that might just make you hate me..." She giggles, and you join in, shaking your head.
After that, the two of you end up growing silently, quietly enjoying each other's company as you make your way back to your room through the cavernous halls of the second floor.
Finally you reach your bedroom. It's one of about ten in this corridor (you aren't quite sure but you think the mansion has about two hundred rooms between the three floors and the underground level where the kitchens are), but after the first few nights of sleeping in a different room every night you've gotten good at picking it out.
You open the door, and you and Meiling step inside. You could have sworn you left the bed unmade and the dresser a bit of a mess, but it looks like Sakuya already tidied up.
Meiling for her part looks around, slightly bewildered. She turns to look at you with some concern. "Where do you keep the piano?"
You turn to meet her gaze, eying her with amused curiosity. "Meiling, you can't be this clueless." You walk around behind her and place your hand on the door to the piano alcove. "You didn't think I kept it next to the bed, did you?"
Meiling looks away, a bit flustered. "No, of course not!"
You roll your eyes and open the door to the other room, stepping inside.
Both you and Meiling stop dead in your tracks. Remilia is standing next to your piano, a hand resting on the glossy black key cover. She's pulled down the blinds on the window next to the instrument and turned on the lights, and she seems to be waiting for you say something, lightly tapping the ebony wood of the instrument with pale, slender fingers, her left absentmindedly playing with a lock of golden hair. Beside her, to your astonishment, you see the tip of a violin bow peeking out from behind the piano's music stand. You're pretty sure that wasn't there before.
When neither you nor Meiling can bring yourselves to say anything, Remilia speaks, or rather whispers. Her scarlet eyes roam over you with cold calculation, but her voice is choked, as though she were gripped with emotion. "What are you girls doing?" she murmurs.
"I... I was..." you mumble, suddenly overcome.
"She was going to play something for me, bo-milady!" Meiling interrupts, nervously rubbing the back of her neck. "Would you... would you like to stay and listen?" She manages to force out a smile.
Remilia narrows her eyes. "Leave."
"Excuse me?" you stammer, green eyes wide.
Remilia ignores you. "Meiling, leave. I have something I want to talk to Christabel about." Her tone breaches no question.
Meiling looks at you helplessly and you give her a defeated shrug, biting your lower lip in consternation.
"Well," she murmurs, lips pursed, hands balled into fists. She sounds crushed. "Well. I guess I'll see you later, Christabel."
Remilia imperiously waves her away, and Meiling shuffles out of your room, eyes fixed on the floor.
Once she's sure Meiling is gone, Remilia slams shut the door to your bedroom and to the piano room, locking both. Then she paces around the piano for a bit, saying nothing. Then suddenly she's in your face and you can smell the roses of her perfume and the faint smell of alcohol on her breath. She looks at you, running her gaze over your slender body like she can't believe her eyes.
"I'm sorry about that," she says finally. "But you left me too early today, and I had to be with you." She grasps your hands with her own. The contrast between your skins is amazing; Remilia is unbelievably pale. Slowly, softly, she places a kiss on the tips of your fingers.
You sigh. Even if she was horrible to Meiling, Remilia's presence is intoxicating. You can feel nothing but lust and admiration. She leans in. "Sit at the piano," she murmurs.
You nod, completely charmed, and do so, sliding back the key cover as you do. You notice at that point that you're still holding the music for 'Jasmine Flower' in your hand. You make to put it on the music stand, but Remilia takes it from your hand and coldly throws it away. The sheets float through the air and fall somewhere under the piano. Then she bends over you, briefly pressing herself against you as she takes a violin and its accompanying bow from behind the music stand.
Standing at her full height, she plays a single high note to test the sound, then nods approvingly. Your eyes widen in surprise. You've never heard Remilia play an instrument before, though given the vast collection of them spread throughout the mansion, the idea makes perfect sense.
You observe her, feeling your body tingle wirh anticipation. Remilia taps the body of the violin with the bow and smiles warmly at you. "Do you... know how old I am, Christabel?"
You blink. "I... I guess I have an idea..."
"No you don't," Remilia cuts you off, shaking her head, scarlet eyes wide. "I am five hundred and thirteen years old, to the date. That's five centuries. Do you know exactly how much happens in five centuries? More than you could possibly imagine. Only a fool could think life boring. I have travelled to every corner of the Earth, made and killed more enemies than you could imagine, met with the most illustrious personages of every age. They have called me the Scarlet Devil, for ordering the massacre at La Rochelle, though it was nothing but an act of pity, and La Corolle, for taking the flowers I wore around my head and dropping them into the pools of blood left by the guillotined. Some wear their memories like a sack of stones and are crushed by them, I wear mine around myself like a silken shroud, so I can observe my favorites when I will."
She takes a deep breath, her chest swelling with pride. "One of them is the story behind this violin. It's old, it was old when the man who gave it to me handed it to me in its case. But it has always played beautifully, and I remember what the man told me so vividly. He said that one night, the Devil visited him in his sleep and offered him eternal servitude in exchange for his soul. He agreed, of course, and his first command as new master of Hell was to order the Devil to entertain him with some music. But he could not contain his surprise when the Devil took his violin and played the most beautiful music the man had ever heard, with such art and skill and intelligence that no human could achieve, so beautiful that he broke down crying, and, in his sadness, awoke. Rushing to his desk, the man tried to copy down what he had heard. The result was some of the most beautiful music ever written, but he claimed that for the rest of his life it tortured him that what he'd composed was only the palest shadow of the music the Devil had played. On his deathbed, he handed his violin to me, because I was so much like the Devil of his memory."
You clasp your hands together, gaze fixed on Remilia, awed. "That's a beautiful story, milady," you manage to whisper, not quite sure what else to say.
"It is, isn't it?" Remilia asks with a smile. "But the music is even better. Come, I'll play it, and you can play the accompaniment."
You blink, slightly bewildered since you don't have the sheet music. "Alright, I guess," you say with a smile, "I suppose I can improvise something..."
Remilia frowns, glaring at you. "What? No," she snaps, "play it as written."
"But I don't know-"
"Of course you do!" A shadow of something monstruous crosses Remilia's face, and you draw back with a gasp, but it's gone as soon as it came. "Of course you do," she says softly, and lightly brushes your cheek with the tip of her bow. It's cold. "Just try it. What's the worst that could happen?"
"Alright then," you acquiesce, still somewhat frightened. Taking a deep breath to calm your nerves, you place your fingers on the piano keys at the same time as Remilia adjusts her violin and raises her bow.
With a sigh, Remilia begins the melody, a sweet, mournful tune. The violin is powerful - the sound instantly feels the room, enveloping you in a warm, silken texture. Frantically, you strike the first succession of notes that comes to mind. Remilia says nothing and keeps playing, so you continue, striking some chords for harmony on every phrase. The melody develops, the rich, red chocolate tones thinning and growing wilder, sharper, as though the previous sadness had given way to anger. Remilia plays like an angel and you struggle to follow, but follow you do. Slowly you realize, as you punctuate each accent of the melody with loud, angry chords, that you aren't making things up. You know the piece, perhaps you have always known it, and playing it is more like returning to something you haven't touched for years than it is stumbling upon something new.
Suddenly Remilia, or rather the music, seems to run out of breath. The angry, fast bowing slows down to a sad, tired dirge, and your own striking morphs into soft, rolling passages, occasionally interrupted when Remilia makes the violin screech dry, harsh pitches like the screams of a torture victim. The music is crying now, it has abandoned all pretense of form, it is absolute despair and absolute loss and a deep, burning resentment. Then, finally, it recovers its composure. The melody returns, defiant, for one last battle, and Remilia ends it all with a thundering final chord.
The moment the sound stops ringing in yout ears, you slump, hands slipping off the keyboard. You feel drained, emptied. Remilia for her part has more composure, but she too seems slightly stunned, and slowly shuffles towards you, almost shyly, and places the violin on top of the closed lid of the piano. "One wonders," she murmurs, "how the Devil felt, at such severance, such complete separation from God." She sighs, eyes half closed, a deep inner commotion only just barely making itself visible on her face. "But make no mistake, it is better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven."
She locks eyes with you, and the two of you stare at each other in silence for the longest time, with no sound between you but the frantic beating of your heart.
Then Remilia is upon you suddenly, she's tackled you to the floor. You feel the heady smell of her perfume cloud your thoughts, and the weight of her body smother you. Her mouth locks with yours in a heated kiss which you lustfully return. Her hands roam over your legs, your hips, she roughly shoves them inside your dress and fondles your pale breasts. Helpless, you moan lustfully into her mouth.
Then without warning she leaves you. Remilia stands up, gasping for breath. She seems vaguely lost, almost confused. Then she glares. "You little whore!"
She moves, and you feel the sting of a slap on your left cheek. Remilia is so strong that the blow literally blurs your vision, and by the time you recover you can only just see her receding form as she leaves your bedroom, slamming the door shut behind her.
You stay like that for a while, sitting on the floor, hurt and confused and utterly bewildered. Finally, after what seems like forever you stand up shakily, adjusting your red dress and underwear to recover some pretense of modesty.
You struggle to make sense of things. What to do now?
- --------------------------------------------------------------- [X] Chase after Remilia.
[X] Meiling seemed pretty hurt. Maybe you should go look for her.