[x] Straight to the underground! Resolve the problem directly!
You might as well go straight to the underground! But the problem is how? “So. Flan,” you address her. “How exactly we are going to the underground?”
She just shrugs. Welp. This incident may be more complex than you think.
“Well, well, well...” Suika points to a very conspicuous well in the corner of the shrine grounds. “You could always take the well down. Reimu and I made an elevator of sorts. Well, it’s more like a hellevator. Hahahaha! Hah. Ha... anyway. We made it in case another incident like this ever happened.”
“As expected of Reimu!” She’s an experienced incident investigator. She would know. She’s prepared!
“...All Reimu did was tell me to dig and somehow it worked out.” Suika shrugs. “So, yeah. Just hop in the well and get on top of the bucket and it’ll take ya to the underworld.”
You hop on and squeeze inside, sitting on the edge of the bucket. Flandre sits on the other edge. “It’s... kinda cramped.”
“If Reimu can fit, you two definitely can! Not that I’m saying she’s fat.” She snickers to herself. “Oh, also. A note of advice. People may seem scary in the underground, but you can tell what kinda person they are by the look in their eye!”
Suika traces a circle around her chest with her hands. “Even if his or her eye is... somewhere else.”
“A third eye? Like a triclops?”
“Something like that.” Suika throws down the lever, wheeling you down under.
“But why a well? And why a bucket?”
You descend down the wellevator... hellevator thing. The light from the surface eventually disappears, replaced by a faint glow underneath your bucket. You can still see where Flandre is, if only because of her glowy eyes. So that makes you feel better. “Ya ready to solve this incident, Flan?”
“Yeah,” her voice echoes around the confined walls of the well. “This is fun.”
“I’m glad you’re enjoying the adventure, Flan!”
You pat her head, missing slightly because of the dark. “Any time, Flan~”
The walls expand, leading into a rather large hole! The place actually has light! Not much, but you can see where you’re going. There are a lot of stalagmites and stalagtites on the outskirts of the road, but the road itself is neatly paved and relatively flat.
You squeeze out of the bucket, having to pull Flan out as well. You're safe! Relatively.
The road eventually leads to a bridge. A huuuuuge bridge. And yet, nobody’s here. It’s pretty quiet. The only thing you can hear is the sound of water dripping. As soon as you step foot on the bridge, the sound of rapid footsteps approach you.
“Heeeeeeey!” A person screams, dashing madly towards you and Flan.
“Hi!” you reply back. “I’m Leonotis, what’s your name?”
“Parsee Mizuhashi, nice to meet– hey, no. I own this bridge. I’m the one who asks questions around here. What’s your name, Leonotis?”
“...Leonotis?” She just answered her own question! “And this is Flan.” You point over to your vampire friend. She disappears from sight, finding safety behind you.
“Anyhow. You cannot pass this bridge. It’s mine.” She crosses her arms, huffing and puffing.
“Oh.” Maybe you should reason with her. “Perhaps we can fly around it?”
“Well... I suppose,” Parsee contemplates. “That’s technically not passing the bridge, so I guess it’s oka– wait, no!”
“...No?” Flan questions.
“No,” Parsee affirms.
“But you said it was okay just a moment ago,” Flan states, still hiding behind you.
“Not anymore!” Parsee boldly declares.
“Because... because... I’m really bored and kind of lonely.” Parsee’s desperately trying to fight back her tears. “No-nobody even comes here anymore! There’s nobody that even says, “Oh, hey Pars, how are you doing today?’ or ‘Good weather we’re having, huh?’ to me! I haaaaaate this bridge. I’m jealous of the people that can come and go whenever they waaaaaaaant!” She breaks into sobs.
“Uh! Erm!” What should you do!? Umm, think about it! “...Want to join us in our adventure?”
Parsee changes face, smirking with glee. “Kay.”
Flan, frowning at the sudden turn of events, grabs your hand and drags you along.
“Flaaaaan, whatcha doing?”
“...Jealous,” Parsee mutters, grabbing your other hand. Flan initiated a hand-grabbing train and it is absolutely dysfunctional. You have no idea what’s going on! Mayday, mayday! Flan doesn’t stop, moving through the underground streets. You seem to have entered the city of the underworld. Neat! You’d examine the place more closely, but your hand is currently Flan’s property.
“Oh, what’s this? A new opponent?” A woman floats down from the sky. She has a horn! Must be an oni! “Uh...” she pauses. “What’s going on here?”
You reply truthfully. “I have no clue!”
“Great!” The oni clasps her hands in excitement. “Let’s fight, cute stuff.”
[ ] Yes [ ] No
“I WASN’T GIVING YOU A CHOICE, SILLY!” She roars, exploding waves after waves of danmaku.
You shake off Flan and Parsee, getting ready to danmaku. It’s battle time!
Well. She said not to move, so why move at all? You stay completely still, unflinching in the face of danger. Multicolored bullets and orbs pass you by, skirting right next to you. But that’s it. They never really come into full contact. You did it!
And then a giant purple orb approximately the size of Reimu's shrine comes crashing down from above.
You tried! That’s the most important part. You hold your ground, waiting for the explosion of danmaku to come flying straight at you. But it doesn’t. Just inches before the orb squashes you, it whines and whimpers, fizzling out with a “blip!”
The oni pulls you in for an oni hug, squeezing the breath right out of you. “Aww, you did it! You beat me, kid! Nobody’s ever beaten me before. Except Reimu and Marisa and Suika and... anyway. You deserve some praise! What’s your name, hot stuff? I’m Yuugi.”
“Le—o—no—tis,” you state between gasps of air. She’s really strong! She makes the Meiling bear hugs seem like light squeezes!
You’re saved by a flying side kick to Yuugi’s face, sending her soaring away.
“OI, YA DUMB BROAD!” Parsee screams. Her clothes are disheveled and blackened. “For gods’ sake, could you pleasepleasePLEASE watch where you’re throwing your frickin’ danmaku?”
“Uh, whoops haha,” Yuugi laughs innocently while Parsee shakes her back and forth by the collar. “I’m sorry~?”
“Sorry’s not cutting it today,” Parsee sneers, slapping the oni around.
Flan, relatively unscathed, pops up from behind one of the buildings. “Did you win, Leo?”
“...Um, I think?” Yuugi’s busy with Parsee right now, so you’re not too sure whether that counts as a real win or not! After all, all you did was stand there.
“Hey! Another cute fella.” Yuugi’s eyes light up at the sight of Flan. “Wanna fi—”
“If you say ‘Wanna fight?’ I’m really going to kill you.”
“Awww, Parsee, that’s so cute!”
“Are you asking to die? Because that’s what I’m hearing from that blabby mouth of yours.”
Yuugi snickers. “Wanna fight?”
“I’m going to murder you.”
“I appreciate the sentiment!” Yuugi runs into one of the buildings, jumping through the window in wild and spirited laughter. Parsee follows suit, spitting out various profanities.
“...Did you really win, Leo?” repeats Flan.
“I don’t know anymore,” you answer her, shrugging.
The journey continues! You keep walking through the underground city, following Flan down the road. In the middle of the road, you find a lone wheelbarrow. Curious! Upon further inspection, you discover that there is a person napping in the wheelbarrow. She has a pretty green dress and cat-ears.
“Nrrnnn,” the person groans, stirring in her sleep. She bats her eyes. “Whu— wha!?” She tumbles out of her wheelbarrow, flipping it completely over. “Travelers?”
“Hello! I'm Leonotis,” you introduce yourself. Pointing to Flan, you add, “And this is Flandre. We’re from the surface. Currently, we’re undergoing investigations for an incident.”
“I thought that was Reimu’s job.” She yawns, kicking the wheelbarrow back up. “Where is she?”
“We’re working in her stead. She’s sick, so we’re doing our best to be Reimu!”
The girl blinks, staring right at you.
“Um. Yes?” You uncomfortably stare back at her. She’s getting reaaaally close to your face!
She grabs you by the shoulders reassuringly, giving you a serious look. “You do know there are laws against forced labor, right? Don’t let that shrine maiden bully you into this.”
“We volunteered,” Flan helpfully chips in.
“We could take you in. We have lots of pets and we have a big house and it’s fun and very spacious and you’ll have a great time,” she adds, ignoring Flandre. Her arms are pulling you in closer and closer.
Flan comes to your rescue, zapping her with danmaku.
“Heeeey,” the cat-eared girl yowls. “That—”
“Really hurts?” asks another voice. A woman with curly purple hair and a very, very frilly dress appears. “Hello, Rin.”
The owner of the wheelbarrow, presumably Rin, starts sweating profusely. “Um. Erm.”
The woman with the purple hair nods to herself. “Sleeping? Oh, that’s not all? So you wanted to... oho?” She wiggles her eyebrows at the wheelbarrow girl. “I don’t know~ That would be rather.. and with such a young man, too! And how many times do I have to tell you? Repeating ‘I am not thinking anything lalala’ doesn’t work on me, no matter how much you think it.” She turns and focuses her eyes on you. All three of them! She has very cool eyes.
“Thank you,” she bows graciously.
“You’re very welcome!”
...Wha? Wait. You didn’t say that last bit out loud, did you?
“No, not at all.”
“Then how did you know—”
“That you were going to say that?” She ruffles your head, knowing exactly where to ruffle it. Awwh~ her hand is nice and soft. “Magic. My name? Oh, it’s Satori.” She smiles courteously to Flan. “And don’t worry, I’ll be sure to scold Rin properly!”
[ ] That’s no good! Rin didn’t do anything wrong! [ ] Miss Satori knows best! [ ] Why would Miss Satori punish Rin?
Hmm. You don't believe in punishment without fair trial. Why would Miss Satori punish Rin? It's unfair! You'll save Rin from this unjustitude! That might not actually be a real word. “But Miss Satori, why would you pu—mmph.” You're pulled into an affectionate hug.
Miss Satori nuzzles against you, attacking your hair. “It is odd, this feeling of hugging you and never wanting to let go.”
It's understandable. The concept of concentrated hugs and headpats is a tricky one. From your observations, it might be a positive externality of–
“Thermodynamics?” Miss Satori finishes your thought. “Interesting theory... ah? Of course, that makes sense. But what about...? Hmm. I see. Results are inconclusive? Oh, how adorable~”
Wow! “How do you know all of this?”
“Well~!” She gives you a triumphant smile. “I'm a bit of a mind reader.”
You open your mouth to say something but your stomach voices its complaints first, growling furiously. Wah, how embarrassing.
Miss Satori laughs it off. “I don't need to be a mind reader to figure out what that means! If you want, our home is not too far from here.” She lets go of you and moves on ahead of the road, motioning Rin to follow along. “By the way, we'll talk about those thoughts of yours later, Rin~”
“I didn't do anything wroooooong!” bawls Rin. She drops her wheelbarrow and runs towards Miss Satori frantically.
“It’s the thought that counts, right?” Miss Satori mischievously smirks, walking faster to avoid Rin. “Please slow down, dear. It’s dangerous to run after such a heavy nap.”
“You don’t understaaaaand!” Poor Rin's in tears, still running after her owner.
Flan clutches the sleeve of your robe. “We are surrounded by abnormal people.”
You reassure her. “Yes, isn’t it great? It’s just like home!”
Miss Satori is waiting with a dejected Rin in front of a huge mansion. “Welcome to our humble abode!” Turning to Flan, Miss Satori suddenly chuckles. “And yes, I do suppose there's nothing humble about it. But we don't get many visitors so feel free to make yourself at home.”
Flan retreats behind you, stealing glimpses at the owner of the mansion. They share a silent conversation... maybe. You can't read minds so you wouldn't know.
You decide to try and coax your sidekick out of her hiding spot. Which is currently behind your back. “Flan. Dontcha think this mansion's super big? It really feels like we're back home.”
“...It's much too dark,” murmurs Flan. “The place is unsettling.”
“That's silly to say. Don't you live in the basement? There's always no lights on down there.” You wonder if you can ever bother Sakuya to install lights. You’ll help, of course.
Flan lightly tugs on your shoulder. “...Bully.” Nevertheless, she keeps close to you. Throughout the entire first floor of the mansion, you see pets frolicking, scurrying from place to place. It's lively!
“Isn’t it just?” Miss Satori asks. It definitely is! “I’m glad to hear that. I hope it’s not too bothersome.”
She pulls you in for another hug and hair ruffling session. Being a mind reader really helps with knowing just the right spot to pat your head!
“I do try!” Miss Satori beams.
“How come you’re allowed to do all kinds of stuff with him?” whines Rin.
“Because.” Miss Satori crosses her arms. “I am the authority in this house. Welcome to the Satori empire, viciously ruled with an iron fist by yours truly.”
“Not fair, yes. Maybe I would have let you if I didn’t see what was in your head at the time.” Miss Satori pauses for a moment but still adds, “And no, that is not allowed. Even in the underground.”
“No means no, Rin.” Miss Satori takes a sharp right in the hallway, pulling open a door. “Luckily for you, Leonotis, I was on my way to call Rin to dinner. Please come in and help yourself to anything.”
“Well! If you insist!” Yay! The place is humongous! It’s even bigger than the dining hall back at home!
“There are times where we have to fit everyone living in the underground, so it's only natural,” replies Miss Satori.
You're in the middle of eating eggplant, peppers, green beans over jasmine rice with basil, so you can't reply to her right now. At least, not verbally. So you think it to her! If she held grand parties here that would be a lot of fun! You relay this to Miss Satori.
“Well. They're not really parties. The oni sometimes barge in without notice and eat all of our food. Okuu usually lets them in, even when I tell her not to.”
“Oh, oh!” Rin waves to you. “Have you met Okuu yet?”
“Our hell raven. Lovely person. Bit of a ditz.” Rin draws an imaginary circle around her chest. “Has a big eye right here!”
“Like Miss Satori's?” you ask.
“It must run in the family,” adds Flan.
“No. And no.” Rin dismisses both statements. “It's more like a... I don't know what it is.” She just shrugs.
“Speaking of. Where is our dear raven?” Miss Satori idly nibbles on the back end of the fork. “The fires have been acting up again in Old Hell. Could you please check up on her?”
“Wush gohing to do–”
“Please chew, Rin.”
Rin takes a big gulp! “I was going to do that right after dinner.”
You should tag along! This might be a part of the incident.
“Incident?” Miss Satori eyes you with her... eye. “Oho? Reimu is sick with... no, there is no such thing as the Hakurei flu. Geysers? Hmm, that does sound troublesome. And of course you may go with Rin.” She throws Flan a quick glance. “Flandre. It is good to speak your mind once in a while.”
Flan, shaking her head, just shrinks in her seat. Miss Satori knowingly smiles. You, of course, are completely lost. You're no mind reader.
Annnnd you're finished with your dinner. It was good!
“Thank you,” Miss Satori nonchalantly answers.
Soon, you're off with Rin and Flandre to find Okuu as soon as everybody is done eating. Which is right now! Because Rin is already pulling you along.
“We have to hurry hurry~” Rin sings, barreling straight through the hallways.
“But what about Flan?”
“Flan! I came here with her to the underground. Miss Satori was just talking to her.”
“...Who?” And then a stray laser explodes between you and Rin. You bounce away helplessly, riding the wind from the explosion. You recover with a roll, stopping right before the main entrance of the mansion.
Flan to the rescue again. She marches through the halls, grabs your hand, and frowns at the cat-eared person.
Rin shrugs off the explosion, dusting herself off. “Oh, that's Flan. Anyhow! Let’s get to work. Okuu's not going to find herself. The depths of Old Hell are far and wide. Who knows where she could be?”
Once outside, you are reminded that you are underground and that the underground is really a huge cave. And sound travels far. You can even hear a faint voice! Or... voices? “Do you hear that?”
Flan shakes her head. Rin does the same.
“...Odd!” The voices are coming from far off, nearby an area with a loooot of rocks. “I'm going to go check it out.”
“Check what out?” Rin blinks. “I don't hear anything at all.”
You run on ahead to start flying in the direction of the voice, or at least where you think it's coming from. Down below there are rocks, rocks, and more rocks. You fly low to scan the area.
「 is not ____ can ... lie. And with ____ even ... may ___」
Uh. This is kinda freaky, now that you think about it. You can hear voices that nobody else can hear. Maybe you’re going crazy?
There's a book between a small pile of rocks. You almost miss it. It has an old, raggedy cover, roughly flayed because of its harsh life amidst the rocks. What a lonely book.
[ ] You'll give it safe harbor! [ ] Disembodied voices are scary! Let sleeping books lie.
You just wouldn’t be Leonotis if you left this book all alone in the dark depths of the underground! You can’t let this go! As a scholar and magician, you resolve to save this book from its misery. When you pick up the book, fragments of words swirl around your head, whispering to you. You can’t really pick up what they’re saying but now you’re... dizzy.
“Leoooo,” Flan calls out. She followed you! And so did Rin! “You okay?”
“Yuh,” you warble out. “Mmmokay.”
Rin points to your newly secured luggage. “What's that?”
“Some abandoned book I found here. It speaks to me, though.”
Rin puffs out her chest. “That’s a sign of a good book!”
“I mean it literally speaks to me. It’s actually pretty creepy.”
She shrugs. “Have Satori take a look at it. I'm sure she can help you. She knows everything!”
Flan creases her eyebrows, giving you a biiiiig stare. “...Are you really okay?”
“Yep. I think.” You put the book in your pocket, now that you’ve calmed down a bit. “Just a little shaken.”
“Great~!" Rin bounces up and down. "We should get going! Let’s go, Leo–” But before she can grab your hand, Flan steps between the two of you, glaring at the cat-eared girl. Rin tsks. “In any case, we’ll go check out the furnace. I’m pretty sure she’s there or at least nearby.”
The underground starts to look less like the underground and more like the inside of a huge stove. The fires that accompany the stove-looking interior burn bright and strong. Maybe too bright and strong.
Up in the air is a person with a white cape – and a rather snazzy one, too. The glowing stars on the inside are really pretty! Oh! She has a huge eye in the middle of her chest like Miss Satori's! Except it looks more like it's attached than dangling around. The person wearing the cape is muttering something about calculations. “Have I erred? Maybe I should have factored in energy density into the equation. Or was it because of reprocessed fuel? That shouldn’t matter because of the moderators slowing down the process...” She starts talking to herself about chain reactions and radioisotopes.
The fires only increase in strength, erupting throughout the furnace area.
“Err, hello!” You greet the person.
The caped girl spins around and points straight at you. “You there, boy! Don’t you know it’s dangerous to be this close to the furnace of Old Hell?”
Rin waves nonchalantly. “He’s with me, Okuu.”
“Orin~!” The caped girl shouts in glee. “Did you come to cheer me on?”
“Uh, no.” Rin shakes her head. “I came to tell you that the fires are–”
“Unstable, yes." Okuu thoughtfully taps her index finger to her chin. "The coolant interchange seems to have burst and now the fires are overtaking the entire furnace, which may possibly spread to Chireiden by way of explosion. I’m trying to diffusion the situation.”
“...Diffusion?” you ask.
“Diffuse. Slip of the tongue. Teehee~” Okuu giggles to herself.
Rin crosses her arms. “Now’s not the time to be silly, Okuu.”
“Right. Then can you do me a favor? Could you go tell Satori to evacuate the area? I’m going to try and quell the exploding furnace fires.”
“How?” Rin skeptically questions, raising an eyebrow at her friend.
“By blowing it up with bigger fires!” Okuu claps excitedly, sporting a wide grin at the prospect.
Flan does her usual thing and hides behind your back. “...Is that safe?”
Wagging her finger, Okuu answers, “I predict that it’ll be 70% safe!”
“What does that even mean!?” Rin’s really worried! She’s giving Okuu frantic hand gestures.
“It means we have a good chance that things won’t end up horribly horrible.” Okuu flashes Rin a confident smile. “Go tell Satori!”
“What about these two?” Rin points to you and Flan.
“They will be quality control. Except instead of quality, it’s explosions control. I’m sure they can do it.”
“You’ve only met them for a minute or so.”
"Then it's settled!"
"Okuu,” Rin gravely utters. “Don’t mess everything up.”
“Obviously.” Okuu flourishes her cape. “What do you take me for, an idiot?”
“YES.” Rin scowls menacingly at Okuu. “Don’t hurt the boy.”
Okuu blinks. “And what about the girl?”
Rin hmphs and turns-face, swishing her tails. When she’s gone from sight, Okuu smiles and floats down from the air, heading straight at you. She immediately squishes your face and cheeks. “Hi there, little guy.”
“Hhhhhi,” you manage to blurt out, unable to talk properly. Okuu has a secure hold of your face.
“I’m Reiuji Utsuho, but you can call me Okuu!”
She tilts her head, staring at you vacantly. “Oh!” A moment of epiphany! She releases your cheeks.
You decide to repeat yourself. “I’m Leonotis! Pleased to meet you.”
“Likewise! And you!” She points to Flan. “The girl behind Leonotis. What is your name?”
Flan glances side to side, cowering behind you. Shrinking from view, she mumbles, “...Flandre Scarlet.”
“Well aren’t you just a little ball of cuteness~!” Okuu reaches for Flan, but she scoots away from her grasp. You’re in the way, so you get assaulted instead.
“So what do you do here?” you ask, being used as Flan’s shield.
“I manage the fires of Old Hell. I just love... tampering with the fires, eheheh. That raw power of mixing fire with nuclear energy. I love it. The sheer destruction that creates nothing but oblivion.”
Flan suspiciously eyes Okuu. “I think she's the culprit behind this mess.”
You agree. “I think so too!”
“Oh, there’s an incident happening?” Okuu scratches her head. “Am I the final boss?”
“Maybe! There has been some geysers erupting throughout Gensokyo lately. Or at least in Reimu’s shrine. So we went to the underground to resolve the incident because she was sick.”
“Erupting geysers, hmm? Yeah, that'd be a problem, alright. The fires have been getting real explodey lately because I maintain the fires a little too well. To the point where they got all big and became hellish. Not Old Hellish, but actual hellish, if you get me! And suddenly, I accidentally created a humongous fire of death. So now I have to go blow it up. By smashing an artificial sun into it.”
“Should blowing things up with the power of a sun really be the first solution that comes to mind?” Flandre inquires, a concerned look on her face.
“Yes~!” Okuu giddily laughs, clapping her hands. “It’s thermodynamics! Isn't it amazing?”
She speaks the truth! “Indeed! Thermodynamics is great.” A fellow thermodynamics aficionado! Maybe you can convince another person to accept your thesis. It'll make you all the more credible when you present it to Miss Patchouli again. “I’ve been working on a theory for a while. Care to listen?”
Okuu, with stars in her eyes, nods vigorously. “Please do!”
“I have a proposal that we should adopt the practice of modern applied thermodynamics, which is thermodynamics with a revision to the first law. The input energy, with any given mass, administered from a headpat or any given form of positive contact converts to a greater output energy from the action. The output energy exceeds input energy when mass is unchanged. Even when energy systems aren’t constant. From several experiments, this seems to be the case in every applied headpat or hug.”
“This is science at its finest,” Okuu sniffles, wiping a single tear from her cheek. “Could I... partake in such an experiment?”
You open your arms in acceptance. “Be my guest!”
Okuu, beaming, swoops in and gives both you and Flan a giant hug! Flan initially squirms around in the hug but eventually resigns herself to her fate. “I can already feel the power stirring in my being. I can take on anything now! Even the fires. And it's been long enough that I can safely assume that Chireiden’s been evacuated. 957 seconds and counting, to be exact.”
“Wow! Did you really calculate that?”
“No,” Okuu blushes. “I just thought making up specific numbers would sound really cool and make me sound smart.”
"You're not supposed to admit that," says Flan, wriggling free from Okuu's grasp.
"Maybe not. But anyhow! Fusion to do, fires to sunnify." Okuu lets go of you and flies straight up. She charges her sun, throwing up a finger pointed at the roof of the underground furnace. A bright beam of yellow light flashes across the place, expanding a circular sun from her fingertips. The sun hungrily devours empty space, filling up a large portion of the area. Before it gets too big, Okuu chucks it at the erupting fires. The fires are pushed back and fizzle out, being squished out completely by the gigantic sun thing.
Okuu smiles. Then tilts her head. And then inches back. “Uh." She starts chewing her lip. "We might want to start running away.”
Then the sun implodes, sucking everything into its non-explosion. Okuu flies, securing Flan by her hand. But you’re not so lucky. Unable to fly, you miss Okuu’s hand and instead get sucked into the sun of doom. Now might be the time to... uh. The time to...
Oh! Yes. That’s the word you were looking for. PANIC!
You feel the energy of the sun and fire, almost as if you were a part of it. You tap into the energy. It’s warm. Or maybe it’s hot. You can’t really tell. Either way, you grasp at the sensation of raw energy in front of you. Waiting for the explosion to come, you do your best to shield yourself from the damage!
But it doesn’t come. Instead, you feel the explosion being converted into magical energy. Yours.
Just there’s one little problem. You can’t really contain it!
“Leo!” You can faintly hear Flan from the distance.
[ ] You’re about to exploooooode! Attempt to let it out (safely)! [ ] Just try and transfer all the energy into magical power. You can do it! Maybe!
[x] You’re about to exploooooode! Attempt to let it out (safely)!
This could be worse! You're not exactly sure how, but it could definitely be a hundred times more horrifyingly horrible! At least help is on the way. Okuu and Flan come flying to your rescue!
“Leonotis!” Okuu yells, swooshing down to the ground. “Are you okay!?”
“Urp,” you groan, getting sick from holding in the energy. Your body can't handle it any longer. You try your best to convey that with a flailing of your arms.
Thankfully, Okuu gets it somehow. She raises a hand in front of Flan, blocking her from getting closer. Sniffing the air, Okuu frowns, eyeing you warily. “Flanners. Let’s leave Leo alone for a bit. I smell trouble on him. Radioactive trouble.”
“Safety protocol demands it! No buts.” Okuu crosses her arms, extending her jet black wings out fully. It's rather cool. You'd say something, but you're busy trying not to spontaneously combust! Maybe you could... redirect the energy somewhere else? Somewhere safe.
“Leo!” Flan makes a sudden dash towards you, ducking under Okuu's wings. The hell raven makes a desperate attempt to nab Flan, but the vampire's too quick.
Flan's rushing towards you, ignoring Okuu's cries of warning. Err... think quick! You suppose channeling the energy out with a quick and efficient beam would help. But where would you release it?
Forward? Flan and Okuu are in the vicinity and you might hit the palace should you shoot straight forward so that's a no. Upwards? You can't risk it – there might be a chance of the cave collapsing on itself. Plus, nobody from the surface would like a sudden beam exploding through the ground!
Hmmm... downwards? You wonder how many levels of Hell you can break through. You don't have enough time to think about it but it looks like your safest option! So you shoot down through the ground, hoping it doesn't drill you into the center of the world. A magnificient stream of yellow and red shoots from your fingertips, slicing through the bedrock with little regard for environmental safety. The force of the beam knocks you off the ground, letting you hover in the air. Thankfully, the beam doesn't penetrate deep into the depths of Hell. Still, a laser with the power of the sun is nothing to scoff at. The ground beneath you cracks. Then splinters. And then completely shatters. There’s only one thing left to say! “Uh-oh.”
The entire foundation of the floor ruptures, creating a void that swallows the falling everything.
“Damaaaaaage control!” Okuu shouts through the chaos of falling debris and splintering earth. She blasts flying rubble into dust with her cannon-arm-thing, disintegrating anything that comes shooting towards her.
Except when the entirety of Miss Satori’s dining hall comes flying down from the air. It’s about to crash down on Okuu and Flan! Luckily, you have just the solution to this problem! You’re experienced with dealing with rogue dining halls! You can do this.
Gale「Descending Dining Hall」
You channel a little bit of your magic to create a gust to slow down the dining hall. An explosion of wind shoots straight through the air and through the dining hall. Instead of slowing its descent, the wind sends the place straight up, shooting it right through the ceiling of the cave. Welp!
Flan shakes her head at you. “Repeat offender.”
“Annnnnnd that could have been worse!” Okuu grabs Flan, securing the girl under her arm. The raven does the same for you. “Good thing we evacuated the premises.”
“Where are we going now?” you ask, dangling helplessly from Okuu’s arm.
Okuu extends her wings, flapping them twice before entering the air. “Back to Chireiden. Let’s see what’s left of it.”
“You don’t seem to be too worried,” Flan adds.
“Should I be?” Okuu asks, tilting her head.
“Um...” Flan pauses to deliberate such a statement. “Yes.”
“Oh.” Okuu scratches her head. “I’ll do my best to be appropriately worried next time.”
Miss Satori’s mansion has now become broken roads, missing hallways, and shattered windows. And every single window happens to be shattered. What a mystery! “Okuu!”
“Hmm? What is it, little Leonotis?” She lets you and Flan free, opting to snuggle you both instead.
“Why are all the windows broken?”
“We – and by ‘we’ I mean just myself – decided to install some fragilite windows. They really give off a pretty shine. Shame they all tend to explode should you even sneeze them.”
“A shame indeed! My heart goes out to the second little pig.”
Miss Satori floats over the uneven roads, waving to Okuu. Rin follows behind, flat-eared and teary-eyed. “Looks like we’re out of a dining hall. And a few hallways. And all of our windows.”
“It was only a matter of time,” Okuu huffs.
“Yep.” Miss Satori shrugs.
“Isn’t this a big deal!? We’re supposed to be more worried!” Rin shouts, motioning to her home.
Flan nods in approval. “This is the reaction I expected.”
You pat her head. “Just give up, Flan. You’re surrounded by weirdos! Myself included.”
She looks like she's about to say something, but shakes her head in defeat. “Hrmph... kay.”
“So is the incident over?” Okuu pops in, pulling Miss Satori into a tight hug.
“Not yet.” Miss Satori smiles, leaning on Okuu. “We’re in severe need of a place to eat.”
“...Oh?” Miss Satori raises an eyebrow at you. “Well, if you don’t mind... Lady Remilia? Sounds like a lovely person. Would she... ah, she would? Splendid. I’ll go prepare.”
“What’s happening now?” asks Orin with a puzzled look on her face.
Okuu shrugs. “Hopefully, we’re eating!”
And she was right!
In the Scarlet Devil Mansion, Lady Remilia has a straaaange look on her face and Miss Patchouli is about to explode. Not like how you were about to explode back in the underground, but in a different way.
You explain the situation to them. “They followed me home."
Lady Remilia pauses. “I see. Guests are guests. And if they are guests of our dear Leonotis, it’s only appropriate to treat them, yes?”
“A roundabout way to say, ‘Leonotis is cute, so why not?’” Miss Satori chips in.
Lady Remilia says nothing for a moment. Then, with a small smile, she responds. “You are Satori, if I recall correctly.”
Lady Remilia nods to herself. “You are a frightening individual.”
Miss Satori curtseys. “Thank you~”
“Leonotis.” Miss Patchouli calls. “To summarize... you disappeared, went out to cause havoc in the underground, and took Flan outside without prior permission.”
“Err...” You’re in a bad situation. “Yes?”
Miss Patchouli's about to speak, but Miss Satori cuts her off. “Now, now. Leo was a good boy. He helped us with our little incident.”
Miss Patchouli blinks. “...You solved an incident too?”
“I did! Reimu asked me to.”
Miss Patchouli opens her mouth to say something, but instead stops and mutters something about “that blasted shrine maiden.”
“So!” Okuu pipes up. “I eagerly await for food!”
“Okuu, you’re being rude,” Rin scoffs.
“Dinner should be prepared.” Lady Remilia checks the clock. “I’m sure Sakuya could accomodate for a few more persons.”
“Let’s make haste then,” Okuu adds with a flap of her wings.
And it is a good day! And dinner's on the way. But right now, you’re not feeling hungry.
[ ] You feel.. tingly! Maybe wandering around the mansion will help soothe your nerves. [ ] You feel... restless! Time to get some fresh air outside. [ ] You feel... blargh. You feel like resting. Right here, right now.
[x] You feel.. tingly! Maybe wandering around the mansion will help soothe your nerves.
You should go walk it off – you’re all shaky. You dismiss yourself from the dining hall, opting to wander around the manor for a bit. Every time you traverse through the mansion, it feels like you find something new in it.
In this case, you actually do find something new! A girl shuffles through the walkway, whistling a soft tune. She has an eye dangling around her chest, similar to Miss Satori’s eye. But it’s closed. Is it sleeping? Interesting. But still... she’s not supposed to be here! “An intruder?” You can never catch a break with all these trespassers!
“Oh?” Koishi gasps. “But I was here all along. You just didn’t notice.”
Oh. She was? Would that not make her an intruder? She interrupts you by tapping you on the shoulder. Behind you. But she was just in front of you! “Who are you?”
“I’m Koishi. Who are you?” She throws the question back, leaning forward to get a closer look at you.
You take a step back. She’s getting really close, staring at you super intently! Her nose bops yours. “Leonotis, but most people call me Leo!”
“Mmm, I knew that,” responds Koishi, stepping in front of you. Her third eye bobs up and down as she hops around the hallway.
“Wha? Why’d you ask then?”
She cocks her head questioningly. “Dunno. Because it seemed appropriate? Your guess is as good as mine.”
What an odd person! “Puzzling.”
“Mmm.” She fades from view, slipping away from sight. You confusedly look around in the hallway, searching for the Koishi who magically disappeared. She’s gone!
“Koishi?” you call out to her, in hopes that she magically reappears. And she does! Right in front of you!
“You rang?” she answers sweetly, tipping her hat.
“How did you do that?”
Koishi bows, gloating with a prideful smile on her face. She spins on her feet with a flourish. “Magic!”
“I can magic,” you quip. “Can I do that?”
“It’s very easy,” states Koishi. “All you have to do is open your heart~”
Open your heart? You don't know what that means. “How do I do that?”
“Don’t worry, I’m here to help. Just tell me your deepest darkest secrets.” Koishi jabs at your chest. “That’s the easiest way to open your heart.”
[ ] You once ate Miss Meiling's lunch even though you knew it wasn't yours. [ ] Sometimes you pretend to study even though you're really not. [ ] Your greatest weakness is being tickled.
[x] You once ate Miss Meiling's lunch even though you knew it wasn't yours.
“You have to promise not to tell!” It is a dire secret that you have been hiding for eternity! It is something that you will keep to yourself – along with Koishi – to the grave.
“Of course.” She slaps a hand on your shoulder. “It wouldn't be a secret otherwise.”
“I...” You steel yourself, preparing to tell words that no soul shall ever hear again. “I once ate Miss Meiling's lunch, even though I knew it wasn't mine.”
“Egads, eating another person's lunch? How have you not been executed?” Koishi waggles a finger. “If your secret were to be exposed, it could yield devastating – no, hellish results!”
You collapse to the floor, weighed down by your guilt. You can't take the pressure! Something must be done! But before you can make a sprint to Miss Meiling, you bump into Koishi, suddenly appearing before you again. “Wah! So how do you do that?”
“If you must know, I consciously control the subconscious, subconsciously.” Koishi cups her third eye with her hands, beaming. “It's hard to explain.”
“But if you consciously control the subconscious, wouldn't that just be the control of your conscious?”
“I don't really think about it too much,” she says, tilting her head.
“Oh, I get it– wait.”
“Waha,” Koishi giggles, giving you a nudge from behind. You swear she was in front of you. Regardless of how many times she does that, it is still very mysterious. “Sorry. I subconsciously did that.”
“You completely lost me, Koishi so I will just nod my head and say I understand!” Usually, that works best. You know it does for Miss Sakuya!
“Sure, whatever floats your boat. Should we return to Satori and the others?”
“So you know Miss Satori!”
“More or less,” she shrugs. “Sometimes, we're sisters.”
“Sometimes?” you ask.
“Mmhm. We're sisters when I remember I'm Koishi.”
When she remembers she's Koishi? A fit of amnesia, maybe? Scary. “I don't follow!”
“Sometimes, I just, poof, disappear and all of a sudden I'm somewhere I don't really remember going to. Stuff like that, y'know?” She skips across the tiles of the floor, dodging the cracks with her shoes. A slight tapping from her feet echoes in the hallway. “It's like waking up from a dream and 'oh I'm not a dragon, I'm Koishi Komeiji, woops' kinda thing. Do you get?”
Ah! So it's like that. “I get. And I'm not just saying that.”
“Good! We can move on now.”
The hubbub of the once crowded dining hall is now less hub and a lot less bub. The plates have been cleared, the maids have disappeared to their work stations, and the underground family is now engaging in pleasant chats.
Koishi holds up her hand in signal for you to stop and quiet down. Crouching down behind a chair, she whispers to you, “Wait.”
“What am I waiting for?” you whisper back.
“Operation: Muss Satori's Hair is go.”
“But what do I–”
And without a word, Koishi is gone. You peer out from behind the chair, focusing on Miss Satori. She is currently talking to Lady Remilia.
“Most likely the spell that our dear Leonotis used was also the one he had used when he collapsed the first floor of this mansion.” Lady Remilia chuckles. “That was–”
“Adorable?” Miss Satori chimes in.
“Interesting,” Lady Remilia finishes her sentence.
“Interesting, meaning, 'I had to hold myself back from pulling him into a deep embrace,' yes?” Miss Satori grins.
“Satori, I am attempting to save face,” Lady Remilia sighs, placing her hand on her cheek. “You are not required to voice my inner monologue.”
“I do it in–” Miss Satori pauses, turning to dodge a tackle from her sister. “–good jest.”
“Sis!” Koishi pops up from the floor, hugging Miss Satori. “You dodged again!”
“Koishi,” Miss Satori croons, “I can always tell when you're about to pounce. Oh, so you met with Leo already? Oh? Oho? A secret, you say?” The mind-reader, stealing a glance at you, gives you a slight smile. Turning her attention back to Lady Remilia, Miss Satori dips her head. “Forgive me. I forgot to introduce my sister. This is Koishi Komeiji.”
“Hi,” says Koishi. She does not relinquish her grasp on her sister. “I'm Koishi Komeiji.”
“So I've inferred. Does she also–”
“No,” Miss Satori shakes her head. “She fortunately does not have the ability to read minds.”
“I see,” replies Lady Remilia, fluttering her wings in response.
“Ah, also.” Miss Satori dips her head. “I have a favor to ask of you. Do you know where Miss Patchouli might be?”
Lady Remilia, in a rare expression of genuine surprise, nods. “I do. She is the guardian of Voile. I am willing to direct you to her, but do you have business with our mage?”
“Something like that.”
“I will take you to her quarters later then.” Lady Remilia brings her attention over to you. “Leonotis. While I escort Satori, would you show our guests to their chambers?”
Sleepover! You get to do something! “Kay!” You search for Orin and Okuu, finding them at the exit of the dining hall. Okuu seems to be chasing Orin around!
“Let's sleep together, Orin~” the hellbird cries, diving for Orin.
“No, your wings are too hot and you radiate heat like a furnace. It's like having three blankets smothering me, stooop!” Orin successfully dodges Okuu, jumping out of the way of the bird's clutches.
“Orin! Okuu!” You call out to them.
“Leo!” Orin turns but immediately is caught by Okuu's big hug. “Guh.”
“Leonotis!” Okuu repeats.
“Looks like everybody's staying for the night! Isn't it exciting?”
Okuu smiles and swings Orin around. “A sleepover!”
Orin, helpless in her friend's arms, resigns herself to her fate. Her warm, hug-centric fate. “Well, I guess this is nice in its own way.”
You nod. “Yeah! We don't usually have too many guests that stay the night. I'll show you to your rooms!”
The two closest guest rooms are next to the library, so you easily find your way there. There are more guest rooms, but sometimes you get lost if you don't pay attention. You don't dare press your luck – you have to be the reliable one here, guiding Orin and Okuu to safety!
“Here it is!” you declare. “The guest rooms!”
Orin flicks her tails side-to-side. “Would you care to join us for a sleepover?”
“I can't!” You shrug. “Ever since Miss Koakuma asked, I'm not allowed to join sleepovers anymore.”
Orin makes an odd face. It's the same face that Miss Koakuma makes when Miss Patchouli doesn't let her do something fun.
“More pillow and blanket for me!” Okuu grins, puffing out her chest. “C'mon, Orin.”
“I want you to stay as far away from me as possible, Okuu,” sighs the cat, grudgingly entering the room with her friend.
Okuu waves. “G'night, Leonotis!”
“Night night!” You suppose it's best to head to your own room too. A few hallways later, you reach your own room! But before you open the door, you can feel the presence of an intruder! Footsteps! It's... “Flan!”
“Hi, Leo.” Flan's clutching a pillow with both her hands. The plain white cushion is currently covering half her face – you can only see her red, glowy eyes.
“Whatcha up to?” you ask. “Danmaku? Pillow fights? Danmaku pillow fights?”
Flan pauses for a moment, swinging her pillow around idly. “Staying in the basement is a little lonely.”
“Oh! Are you going to be staying in the guest rooms?”
She shakes her head. “I have my own room.”
“I'll walk you there!”
She shakes her head again. “No need. My room is right here.” And so it is! It is the room next to yours.
A new discovery. “Was this always your room?” you ask.
She nods. “I haven't used it in a long time. I liked the basement better.”
“I don't mind the mansion nowadays.” She squeezes the pillow tighter. “It's okayish now.”
“That's a relief.” It really is. Flan staying in the basement really worries you. “Everyone misses you. Miss Sakuya and Miss Meiling have been thinking about you, y'know.”
“Just saying!” It's getting late. You should head to sleep now! Chatting with Flan can happen tomorrow. “Anyhow. Good night, Flan!”
“Nighty,” she curtseys before shutting her door.
Now then. Sleep awaits. You head into your room and unpocket the old book you saved from the underground. Leaving it on the desk, you prepare yourself for the sleepiest of sleeps. But the sleeps never arrive. Despite being so tired from before, you can't manage to fall asleep.
Perhaps a quick walk around would suffice.
[ ] A trip to the terrace. [ ] A night stroll to the garden. [ ] A quick walk around the hallway.
You decide to take a trip to the terrace. Nothing better than a quick walk around the roof, enjoying the night sky. The walk to the terrace is... actually kinda difficult. Maybe you're more exhausted than you initially thought. However, you are rewarded with the sight of the full moon, coupled with many a star to lighten up the darkness of the night. What you do not expect is Lady Remilia sitting cross legged on the roof railing, looking up at the night sky. “Lady Remilia,” you call in a hushed tone, careful not to shock your mistress. “Why are you awake at this time?”
Lady Remilia, without even turning her head, replies, “Leonotis, child, I am a vampire. Vampires are nocturnal by nature.”
“Oh.” You feel silly for not realizing. How ignorant of you! “My mistake, Lady Remilia.”
Your mistress turns to face you, throwing her legs over the railing. “Now, I counter with the same question. Why are you awake, Leonotis?”
“I couldn't sleep, so I went here to see the night sky.” You take another look at the stars shining ever so brightly in the sea of black. They are trying their best not to be overtaken by the glow of the moon. “I'm glad it's so pretty tonight.”
Lady Remilia nods, quietly soaking in the beauty of the stars above. “Leonotis,” she calls your name. “Did you take good care of Flandre today?”
“To the best of my ability, Lady Remilia!” You hope that Flan had a fun time. Solving an incident together was fun. You hope she felt the same. “I think we had a lot of fun. I sure did.”
“I apologize for asking you such a question... but she is dear to me. Very much so.” Lady Remilia brushes her hands against her heart, closing her eyes. “Little Flandre is finally coming out of her shell. For years and years, she chose not to open up. But now, even if only a little, she is growing. For that, I thank you.”
“Ahh, I didn't do anything special!” All you did was bother Flan until she finally gave up and played along with you. “It was all her.”
“You may think that you did not do anything special, but you did.” Lady Remilia floats down from the railing, gently tapping her shoes onto the ground. “Your entire existence is special. I do hope you realize this.” She reaches over and embraces you gently, as family would.
You do not know how to respond, so you hug back. Maybe Lady Remilia will feel some of that happiness that you're sending her. And with that, your body finally realizes that it is exhausted. Your eyes grow weary and your legs become heavy. “Lady Remilia, I must resign to sleep. Thank you for your time~”
“Rest well, dear Leonotis,” she replies, once again focused on the moon and stars.
You make the final walk back to your room, passing hallways and stairs. As you enter your room and plop down on your bed, you can hear the faint voices of someone murmuring something.
And then morning comes. You were going to sleep in, but the sound of a voice yelling across the hallway jolts you awake. Could it be an incident? You smooth down your hair and swing open your door, running towards the action. On the stairwell, you can see Miss Patchouli and Miss Satori talking to each other. Miss Patchouli looks noticeably upset, furiously motioning with her hands.
“I have tried to make do with your pets' lodging and tried to accept it on a democratic basis. I have extended the privilege of self-determination to both the servant I own and the child I mentor!” Miss Patchouli shouts, scowling all the while.
“However?” Miss Satori asks, voicing out your mentor's inner thoughts.
“However,” repeats Miss Patchouli, adjusting the fringes of her bedridden hair. “This morning I woke to the sound of a thousand 'Ooooooorin~'s and a high pitched 'Stooooooooooop~' that rose to a full crescendo adjacent to my room. The harpy shrieked 'Let's take a bath together, Orin!' enough times for me to say this: the democracy is over and all rights are will now be wronged.”
“Could we not move Orin and Okuu to another room?” suggests Miss Satori.
Miss Patchouli freezes, mulling over the idea. Her temper fades to exhaustion. Then, rubbing the bridge of her nose, she responds, “It would be possible. But more importantly, I wish for my night's worth of rest back. However, I do not think you have the power to return that to me so I will make do with this. For now.”
“If it is any consolation, I will scold the two later today... oh?” Miss Satori takes notice of you, coming over to ruffle your hair. But not too much! She knows that you already have bed hair right now.
“Leonotis.” Miss Patchouli murmurs, saying your name more like a statement than a hello.
“Good morning, Miss Patchouli, good morning Miss Satori~”
Miss Satori leans over and whispers in your ear very secretively, “Leo, Miss Patchouli is a little tired. I think she will be very happy if you postpone your studies with her to another day.” And just like that, Miss Satori clears her throat.
That's your cue! Probably. “Um. Miss Patchouli?”
“Could we... postpone our studies to a later date?” You look up to Miss Patchouli, hoping that she doesn't see through your facade. “Please?”
Miss Patchouli wobbles, gripping the stairway railing to steady herself. “On second thought, I will allow it, if only for today.”
“Yay! Thank you, Miss Patchouli!”
“Now, if you will excuse me, I think I will go lie down.” Miss Patchouli turns face, floating more than walking. You hope that she'll be okay!
“I hope that Patchouli gets some good rest. It does not take a mind reader to see that she wasn't well rested.” Miss Satori says, patting down your hair to smooth out the craziness that is your bedhead. “So, what will you do now, Leo?”
After you freshen up and shower, you'll...
[ ] Go find Okuu and Orin! [ ] Bother Flan! [ ] Visit Miss Koakuma! [ ] Guard the gate with Miss Meiling!
Alright. I should have called my votes after the tiebreaker but I forgot to. Because of my error, I won't call it for Koakuma. Next time, though. I'm still not going to call it in case anybody wants to break the tie again.
It's been a while since you've greeted Miss Koakuma. You should go do that! You hope that she has some time to play. With Miss Patchouli temporarily out of service, Miss Koakuma could be piled up with work. Should you even go bother her then? Well! If she is doing work, then you suppose you could help, too. To the library!
Ah, Voile. The Grand Library of... Grandness. The books are in order, the fairy maids are shuffling quietly through the aisles, and Miss Koakuma is flying in your general direction. The two of you make contact, and by force of motion, you are flying too via inelastic collision. Newton would be proud.
“Ah, Leo~! Fancy meeting you here!” She pulls you in for a hug, still flying at standard Koakuma velocity. “You are now my accomplice. We're going for a little trip, you see!”
Wah. A storm of bullets trail behind Miss Koakuma, just barely missing the devil. Miss Koakuma, in turn, accelerates past acceptable traffic limits and zips past the Enchantments aisle. “Where are we going, Miss Koakuma?”
“Away, my cute Leo! Away to freedom and fun!” Miss Koakuma giggles, taking a sharp left past the next bookshelf. It's a skill only a librarian's assistant can pull off consistently.
“You silly little thing,” murmurs a familiar voice. Even throughout the sudden chaos the erupted, you can clearly hear it! It's Sakuya! “Now, you can maybe run away from your responsibilities, but you can't run away from me.”
“You'll never catch me, maid!” shouts Miss Koakuma, who has already been caught by the chief maid. Time powers are strong.
“Koakuma, darling, I need you to work with me here. Miss Patchouli told me to keep watch over you. I promise you that I won't get in your way as long as you do your work.” Miss Sakuya, who has been busy lecturing Miss Koakuma, only now notices you in the devil's clutches. She raises an eyebrow. “You caught a Leo along the way?”
“It, uh, just sort happened, ehehe,” Miss Koakuma grins sheepishly, relinquishing her hold on you.
“Dear Koakuma,” Miss Sakuya sighs, shaking her head, “I'll ask you one more time. Please return to your work.”
“Okaaaaaaay,” Miss Koakuma groans, floating lethargically back to the front desk. “When can I apply for my vacation days?”
“Your vacation days were revoked ever since you spent them all harassing Leo.” Miss Sakuya keeps watch of the devil, keeping the same pace with her. The chief maid takes a hold of your hand, gently guiding you to follow her. “Now, Leo. I heard from the fairies that you went off and solved an incident in your free time. I'd like to hear more. I'm sure Koakuma would too, while she's working.”
“Miss Sakuyaaaaa,” whines Miss Koakuma, “do you hate fun?”
“Fun is for those who do not live in perpetual overtime,” replies the maid. “So, Leo, care to share your exploits?”
“Okay!” You take a moment to recall everything that happened in the past few days. “Wait... what was the incident about? Oh, right! Hell was about to explode!”
“Didn't Old Hell explode anyway?”
“Well, yes,” you blush, “That was my fault. But! I learned a new ability from that! Here!” You show your audience your newly found powers. You breath in. Then breath out. The world goes black as you close your eyes. A bright yellow warmth glows throughout your very being, flashing in bouts of energy. You feel the same heat from Old Hell, growing in an almost insatiable want for power. But you quell the beast and maintain the flames that wish to spread.
Then, crashing through the door, Okuu speeds through the air, diving straight toward your position. “Did anything noteworthy happen here? Like, persay, fission!?” She glances to and fro erratically, searching for... something! Okuu furrows her brow, biting at her thumbnail in confusion. “Strange. Must have been a false alarm. I could have sworn that some kind of Hellish energy was pouring out somewhere around...” She points straight at you. “Here!”
“Well, I don't think you're completely wrong,” replies Miss Sakuya, tapping her finger to her chin. She places her hand on your head, giving it a little pat. “Leonotis is very good at learning things, even if that means he's learning how to create nuclear energy.”
Okuu joins in, very thoughtfully petting your cheek. “This warrants further observation.”
“Chief Maid Izayoi,” chimes in Miss Koakuma, “I think a break is in order.”
“Keep working, assistant.”
“Sakuyaaaaaaaaa!” bawls Miss Koakuma, “You guys are all having fun without me! Why can't I pet the Leo!?”
“If you run from the authorities, you are to be punished.” Miss Sakuya says, matter-of-fact.
Okuu beams happily. “I understand! Once, I ran from Satori because I didn't feel like working! So, after that, I was not allowed to do anything that was categorized as an experiment or a 'fit of curiosity' for a week,” she laments, sniffling.
Miss Sakuya ruffles your head again. “What do you think, Leo?”
[ ] Authority should be listened to! [ ] Authority should be listened to, except when you think something's wrong! [ ] Authority exists to not be listened to!
It's a shame that I'm letting this story go, but I think it's really for the best. The plot's still so far away, and with how slow I update my other stories, I think we'd all die of old age before I complete this. So, sorry everyone. Another story bites the dust.
To the residents of Scarlet Devil Mansion:Moral!1d4WGijdSc2018/10/31 (Wed) 22:06No. 63699▼
It suddenly becomes precious when you realize that you have so little of it left. Gone are the days where I’d fall asleep in Miss Meiling’s garden patio only to wake up eight hours later, the day already passed by. Then Miss Sakuya would scold me, but she’d be indulgent—like she always is—and would tell me that she’d “save the lecture for next time,” and this would repeat many next times later.
Here I pose a question to you: How long of a lifespan does a homunculus have?
It is a worthy question, since the answer isn’t so readily found! A year? Five? In this case, the answer is seven and a half, give or take a couple months. Too bad there isn’t some formula to figure it out—because your guess as to why I have seven-or-so years is as good as mine.
Now, you might be asking, “How do you know you’re on your way to your expiration date?” The answer is pretty simple, but I’m sad there’s no fancy deduction or formula: I can feel it. The oil in the lamp is almost out. I was created with finite resources—and so, I have finite energy. I guess the same can be said of all living creatures, but Miss Patchouli only had so much mana to give to me, right?
That being said, isn’t that amazing? Miss Patchouli gave me enough mana to live for almost eight years! That in itself is a miracle—or maybe it’s just a testament to how incredible she is. But I’m guessing you have another question: “What’s stopping Miss Patchouli from giving me more mana?”
Unfortunately, this is where the oil lamp analogy stops making sense. Mana is a pool of energy, and it replenishes and depletes with rest and usage respectively. But sooner or later, that well dries up. Theoretically, I could live forever if I could somehow funnel external mana to myself. Would I want to? Heck no, but I digress. Mana doesn’t work that way. It ebbs and flows, and nobody—not even Miss Patchouli—can completely control where it moves.
If you really think about it, my entire existence is a fluke. I probably shouldn’t have happened, but I did, and I’m kinda proud of that! I’m the one-in-a-million happening, the guy whose life defies all odds. So… you know where I’m getting at.
By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be dead.
I’ve always wanted to say that! Doesn’t it give that mysterious sense of dread? Or maybe not—I guess it doesn’t because I’ve already explained why I’ll cease to be, so it loses most of its impact. But that’s intentional. I didn’t want everyone to start off reading this letter like it was supposed to be a postmortem farewell. This isn’t that. This is a letter of gratitude to those I met in our short time together. Sorry it’s in such a rush, but you can forgive me, right? Time is waning, so I’ll be brief.
Fairy maids: Thank you all for being my partners-in-crime. I wish I could list every one of you here, but there’s just so many that I don’t want to make this a fairy maid checklist. I had lots of fun with you guys—like the time where we spent the whole day planning Miss Sakuya’s birthday party and got no work done, and then Miss Sakuya found out and lectured us all. But she couldn’t stop smiling the whole time. Moments like those, I still remember fondly.
Lady Remilia: You gave me more than just a home and family. You took care of us all and made the Scarlet Devil Mansion truly live up to its name. I’ll confess: when I was younger, I humored your villain theatrics because I thought it was really cool, but I never once thought of you as one. Behind that devilish exterior lies a kind, compassionate soul who cares for her family, friends, and maids. You will always be my Lady.
Meiling: Thank you for being my teacher and confidant. I know, I know—I’ve finally dropped the “Miss” in front of your name. You were there for me when I had troubles, and, no questions asked, you’d always help me in my time of need. You’ve taught me so much: how to appreciate the finer details in life, how to have fun, how to have good character. Please guide the others as you have guided me.
Koakuma: This is a little embarrassing to me, but you’re like a mom to me. You’ve nurtured me, cherished me, and though (or should I say especially?) Miss Patchouli had to pull you off of me at times, you’ve shown me how much you care about the two of us. Please keep smiling as you always do because it’s the kind of smile that encourages others to do the same.
Sakuya: If Miss Koakuma is like my mom, then you are like my older sister. You were strict but lenient at the same time. I’d always bug you, but you’d take time out of your day to pay extra attention to me. Of course, that might have come with a scolding, but you’d always take it easy on me. I respect you because I always wanted to be like you: trustworthy, hard-working, loved by those around you, intelligent. But, please, as one last favor to me, do take some time to rest! You need it once in a while.
Flandre: You and I, we’re brother-and-sister-in-arms. Doesn’t really fly off the tongue, huh? Anyway, don’t let me disappearing on you get you down. I’ve seen you grow so much in our time together—the time where you’d hole yourself away in the basement seems like it was forever ago. But I can’t take your hand and pull you along anymore. It’s time that you set off on your own adventure—but remember that you’re not alone. You have everyone else in the Scarlet Manor with you. So, please, keep searching for your happiness.
Patchouli: Now, this is probably where Miss Koakuma would point out, “Wait, but shouldn’t Miss Patchy be your mom, not me?” Maybe. Miss Patchouli, you did create me. But—I think you know this too—we’re linked through mana. We’re parts of a whole. What is mine was once yours, so you feel it too. That’s why you will be the first to know why I’m writing this letter. And, like me, you won’t say a word about it to the others. But in any case, thank you—for everything. Really. I don’t have the right words to say it all, but thank you for giving me a chance to experience life and happiness, and thank you for bringing me to this world that I cherish so much. And if you’re reading this, I want to say that I’ve always known why you named me Leonotis. Thank you for that.
So ends this chapter. I love you all so very much.
Leonotis was alone on the terrace with one hand propped up against the railing. With his other hand, he rubbed an envelope between his fingertips as he looked down on Misty Lake, its blue gently enveloped in pale moonlight. Otherwise, it was dark. Cumulus congested the skies, much to his chagrin.
“Leo,” said a voice, softly, though he jumped anyway. Two crimson eyes briefly met his, and as they shifted, Leonotis heard a faint jingling of crystal wings.
“Hey, Flan. Looking to see the stars tonight, too?”
“No.” She looked to the sky, but all she found was gray. “It’s cloudy.”
“The moon’s peeking out, so I was thinking maybe the clouds’ll go away if I waited.”
“Maybe,” she said, smiling. “Do you think they’ll leave tonight?”
“Don’t think so. They look like the stubborn type.”
“Um, Leo,” Flandre said. “The maids and I are having tea together, so… would you like to join us?”
“Isn’t too late for tea?”
“I’m a vampire,” she replied, matter-of-fact, “and they’re fairies.”
Leonotis laughed, pocketing his envelope. “Fair point! Tell you what—I’ll go. The stars aren’t playing nice tonight.”
“Okay, good! Let’s go.” She took his hand and giggled. “Come, come. You don’t want to keep them waiting forever, do you?”
It was a rare moment for Leonotis—that Flandre was the one to yank him aside and drag him by the hand. He smiled and let himself be pulled along. “Yeah, you’re right.”