[Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

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[Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

Postby Nue Houjuu » 28 Oct 2009 19:16

Nighttime at the Scarlet Devil Mansion was never a truly memorable affair. For a five hundred-year-old vampire who owned an estate filled to the brim with staff that all, save for one, had extensive lifespans compared to humans and rarely did much during her waking hours than drink tea and engage in pleasant discussion, repeating the same steps night after night, the countless nighttimes all began to run together into a single block of monotony. Even if it was broken here and there by the occasional burglary or excursion to visit the other members of Gensokyo's populous, by and large the tedium outweighed the excitement.

Tonight was going to take a sledgehammer to that dreary block, shattering it into pieces with only the slightest bit of warning before the head fell. That warning came in the form of the weather. Of course changes in weather were frequent in this land, but tonight the pouring rain struck down harder than ever, and even some of the longest-lived youkai had never seen lightning as bright or heard thunder as loud as what could be witnessed now. It was a truly horrible time to spend out of doors, but if one were not forced to engage in such an unpleasant duty, it was also the sort of time that was perfect for lighting a fire, curling up under the blankets, and just listening to the rain while sipping at something warm. Or, perhaps, it was an even more perfect time for dark, sinister shadows dripping murderous intent to creep into your home...

Perhaps that made the ones stuck outside the lucky ones. Perhaps not. You'd have to ask one of them. Like that girl slowly approaching the mansion's front gate. She was almost completely hidden in the darkness of the drenching torrent, and made even harder to see by her choice of completely black attire. Only the three odd, bright red appendages sticking out from one side of her back and her doll-like shoes of the same color could be seen clearly. As for her identity? That couldn't be seen at all. As she drew nearer, it became apparent that she was capable of moving so unhurriedly even in this weather because she had a large, black umbrella over her head that was tilted at since an angle as to hide her face. Only her mouth, curled up into a girlish, slightly eerie smile was visible, and only for a moment, before the mysterious figure addressed one who shared a similar stuck-outside fate.

"Excuse me, is this the Scarlet Devil Mansion? If so, I'd like to ask you to let me in."
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Re: [Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

Postby Hong Meiling » 29 Oct 2009 04:41

It was a lock-down. The heavens had condemned the two vampires to the demarcation of their own home, using a torrent of wind and water to ensure that the two children did not somehow break free of their confines. This Mistresses would be unable to walk beyond the foyer, and though they may be starved for company, any sane sort of guest would be wary of leaving the comfort of their own homes. Those guests, and certainly the Mistresses inside as well, would be curled up snug as a bug in a rug, probably sipping hot cocoa (or some other preferred fresh, warm drink). Entertained by stories or music, they would look outside their windows, to the deluge beyond, and shiver. How cold the window glass was! It was such a dreary night.

The volley stung. Not only was the rain a chilling cold, but the drops were forceful. It was as if the heavens were releasing their own danmaku onto the small earth-- it’s denizens the victims of the attack. Some were better prepared than others; those with the foresight to bring umbrellas or parkas having at least some protection from the torrent.

A certain guard could be called ‘prepared‘. Protecting her scarlet hair was an even more scarlet umbrella, coated with layer upon layer of lacquer in attempt to deter raindrops. While it provided Meiling with some sort of shelter, it was still desperately lacking when compared to the brick walls and tile roof of the mansion that loomed behind her. The rain ran in sheets off of her cover-- what rain had escaped plastered the girl’s hair to her face and back, and her clothes stuck close to her body and provided little to no warmth at all.

Yet Meiling had something that most did not. She had the Tao. By looking to the center, she could effectively distract herself from the outside world. …That was the goal, at least. The biting cold and sloshing rain seemed impossible to entirely block out, and Meiling was forced to distract herself not with the Tao, but the sheer amount of effort to attempt to focus upon her center. She was not succeeding.

The addition of another wretch in the rain only further distracted Meiling, who squinted against the pouring bullets to take in as many details as she could.

Wings.

Strange wings. Her eyes narrowed further, staring deliberately at the young girl before her. She seemed familiar, somehow. Though she could not pinpoint just what it is that seemed so homely.

“It is.” Her words reaffirmed the question calmly, as Meiling still tried to pin down the feeling of nostalgia. “Are you lost?”

While Meiling did not move, she also made no effort to bar entry. She had every intention of letting this poor girl inside; pity and empathy mixing together to form a strange sense of comradery. By letting this girl inside, out of the cold… Well, Meiling would still be outside, but at least she could spare someone else her fate.

This girl, with her strange red wings, would fit in well with her Mistre-- Wait! That was what it was! The visitor’s wings were different… And yet to Meiling, they instilled the same sort of feelings as Lady Flandre’s. Could it be that this girl was somehow related...?

“Or… By any chance, do you know the lady of the house?”
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Re: [Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

Postby Nue Houjuu » 29 Oct 2009 18:22

Only the girl's mouth was visible, so there was no way of knowing how far that light, tinkling laughter of hers actually spread across her face. Perhaps it was wholehearted, and caused her eyes to form kind, upside-down U's. But it could also have extended no further than her mouth, leaving cold eyes staring straight ahead with an utterly different expression. Whatever the case, she made no indication of planning to reveal herself and simply held her umbrella firmly in place as she her lips parted once more to answer. "That's good then, since it means I'm not." She spoke with all the bright sincerity of a child and further added to the notion by giving a shake of her head, which sent water scattering out from under the protection of the black parasol.

It was obvious that Meiling wasn't the only one who was wet. She might not have been as drenched, but the girl's wings and... three other appendages that were blue in color extended outside the circle of safety, and the rain coursed down their length to stain the black of her dress even darker. Yet she didn't seem bothered in the slightest by the damp or the cold. Her unfaltering smile remained, but... Maybe there was something more accurate to compare her to than a child. With the way she remained oblivious to the awful conditions around them and the almost eerie grin that refused to fade, it was as if there was a quality of falseness about her. Like a doll that had a cord on its back you could pull to make it talk. It looked and sounded real, and might even be mistaken for a true person, but lacked the most important thing.

The girl, whatever she might be, shook her head again in response to the second question she'd been asked and opened her mouth once more to answer, but her words were lost in the quaking thunder that erupted around them. A bright bolt of lightning bloomed nearby as well, bathing them in a brilliant flash that made even reading the girl's lips impossible. By the time the light had faded her mouth had already returned to its uncomfortably pleasant smile, and any other attempts she might have made at speaking were prevented by the crash of a window breaking somewhere far up above.

The raindrops that poured down was joined by a storm of glass, and in short order something much more solid that landed with a splat on the paving stones between them. The girl in black simply continued to smile, her expression indiscernible without more than her mouth visible. More importantly, what was it that had come crashing through the window? If one looked up, they'd see unfiltered light pouring out from the broken pane of one of the guest rooms. It could have been a clumsy fairy maid, perhaps? That seemed to be the logical conclusion when one looked close at what had fallen. It was hard to make out the details, but in the light afforded by the large building behind Meiling, a maid's outfit dressing the figure could be recognized.

Well, that was alright then. Fairies, after all, would not take long before returning to life. And all of their maids were fairies. So then why... why was this person not stirring already? The seconds ticked away, but it remained motionless. The longer one waited, the more uncomfortably apparent it became that the liquid stained pitch-black in the darkness pooling around its still form wasn't coming from the sky. B-but it was alright, because a fairy, even the slow regenerators, would not stay dead, right?

Yes. That was correct. Fairies didn't die even if they were killed. That was a fact of life. But wasn't it also a fact that nearly all fairies had wings?

If Meiling tried to look for them, she'd find nothing on the person's back. Nothing except an oddly-placed object that glinted silver. That was an uncomfortable place to put something like that. And how was it staying in place, upright like that? The silver part was thin and wide, and probably narrowed to a tip. Actually, now that she thought about it, it looked very familiar... Where had she seen something like- Oh, that's right! It was one of Sakuya's kni...

Wait, hold on a sec. One of Sakuya's knives. Embedded in the back of a maid. Who didn't have wings and had yet to make any movement or sign of life. Something was really, really wrong here. But it couldn't be that. No, that thought was just silly. There was no way something like that could ever happen. Not to Sakuya. Because Sakuya was...

Dead. The lightning that streaked across the sky made sure Meiling knew it. Even if the maid's countenance was washed with white in that flash, there was no way to mistake her face. Her face which was always calm, cool, and composed. Even if the expression of shock frozen into her open eyes and gaping mouth had been something she'd never showed once in front of the gate guard, trying to deny it was useless. Beyond a fraction of a doubt, this was Sakuya, dead from a fall. Or maybe even before that. Because someone, somehow, had stabbed her with her own knife.

As the merciless rain continued to pour down on the red umbrella, the faint sound of the Scarlet Devil Mansion's front doors closing might have been heard. But how could she even think about something trivial as that strange girl's disappearance? It didn't matter, nothing mattered if Sakuya was... Sakuya was...

She had been killed, and by a member of her own household.
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Re: [Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

Postby Hong Meiling » 30 Oct 2009 07:23

Meiling’s postured slackened, eased by her first impression of this strange girl. The more that Meiling took note of her, the more this girl seemed to remind her of the Young Mistress; there were clear differences, though. Rather than a doll broken beyond repair, this girl more closely resembled a doll that was simply neglected for far too long. With a little bit of tender loving care… She might be good as new.

There was a startling clap-- and Meiling jumped entirely unlike a trained warrior. Her face flushed pale, before her mouth opened to utter a small apology, and just what was it you said? I missed it. But before her lips could form any semblance of a word, she was startled by yet another noise. This one, however, had a clear and pinpointed origin. Meiling whirled around, hands gripping the wrought iron bars fast as her blue eyes darted for some kind of explanation.

Rather than an explanation, she found the victim. The fall was not detailed or in slow motion; nor was it in the blink of an eye. Meiling witnessed the poor maid descend in real time-- too trapped by bodily limitations to react in time to prevent the wet, sloppy ‘thud’ as flesh met cement. Instantaneously, her eyes flickered up to the window-- surely it was in tact-- it was just a trick of the light-- just thunder and lightning---

No. The window was broken. Warm candle light streamed out from the house, obscured and degraded by the rain outside. Small remnants of it seemed to shine against the glass that now littered the courtyard, looking almost like a candlelight vigil for the fallen maid.

The maid-- oh god, the maid-- She was alright, right? That glimmering was just a piece of glass that had fallen on her-- that was all-- no reason for alarm! It only looked like a knife-- a trick of the light-- because of the rain! She was just scared-- spooked because of the storm-- everything was fine, really. The maid would get up, dust herself off, and flutter back into the mansion. She’d spend her hours avoiding the Head Maid until the even simmered down. It was alright. It was all alright. She’d be up any second now, doomed to a lifetime of fear at the hands of the Head Maid.

Meiling’s stomach lurched when the sight of a green ribbon finally caught her attention. This was no mere fairy. The sour, acrid taste of bile had formed in her mouth, no matter how hard that Meiling tried to swallow it down. There was no way-- absolutely no way--

She had to be sure.


Tone arms tore the gate apart, and the supposed guard threw herself through the gap that she had created. Meiling was sure she had never run so fast-- it was as if she were being pulled by some strange, imaginary string; there was no way to stop. Not when that doubt, that small doubt, still clouded her mind.

This might not be a trick of the light. This might not be a dream. Something--something-- could be seriously wrong.

It was. It was wrong. Totally and utterly wrong. Wrong wasn’t even-- it didn’t even--

This.

This was incomprehensible. This made… It was…

Meiling dropped to her knees as soon as she neared Sakuya’s form. Surely, she wasn’t dead. Just hurt. Sakuya was smart-- Sakuya would be able to do something-- stop time, or something-- in order to save herself. She was Sakuya after all. Sakuya didn’t die. Sakuya couldn’t die. She was only human-- she wasn’t allowed to die!!

She wasn’t dead. That was obvious. She wasn’t allowed to die. The Mistress did not give her permission; so Sakuya simply had to be alive. Even against the dire prayers in Meiling’s heart, Sakuya’s nonexistent pulse and frigid skin were making it very hard for her to deny this simple truth.
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Re: [Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

Postby Nue Houjuu » 30 Oct 2009 21:28

What a contradiction this was. Sakuya was the Perfect Maid. She served the mistress of the manor, oversaw the other maids, assisted in the removal of intruders, and even repaired the damage caused by said intruders, all in a timely manner and without breaking a sweat. Sakuya was also human. And for humanity to attain perfection was impossible. So in the end, which won out - her profession, or her heritage? If it was the former, there would be no way she could die. Losing one's life was such a horribly wasteful affair, and prevented one from completing one's assigned tasks. So there was no way...

As to which aspect of Sakuya overruled the other, that still-growing pool of liquid black as coal in the night with just a faint hint of crimson, too thick to be diluted by the rain quite yet, and the slowly spreading dark stain on her back answered that question. No human, no matter how perfect a maid they might be, could escape their mortal coil. So... So...

So what was she to do now?

Sakuya had always been there for her. Sakuya had always been the only one to treat her like a person. She'd always found a way to uphold her duties and role as head maid while still affording the gate guard compassion. She'd always been there. And now she was again. She was right there, in front of Meiling. Dead. Any words that might have wanted to be said or feelings to be acted on would now never have the chance to make their debut. Sakuya was gone. Never again would Sakuya greet her with that unshakable, calm, detached expression. She would never chastise her for falling alseep at her post anymore. And even the simple conversations that might have passed between them were gone forever. Sakuya was dead.

. . . . .

If one had the strength of heart to face the truth, regardless of how loathsome a truth it might be, then they needed to take the next step after accepting things. Meiling, should she manage to reach this point, needed to do something. That fact of the matter was that was Sakuya was dead, someone had killed her - someone good enough to use her own weapons against her - and that someone was still loose in the mansion. It was hard to believe she'd been legitimately bested, or that anyone could best Remilia, legitimate or otherwise, but... Was it worth the risk? Could she afford to neglect those inside to tend to the body? If they didn't know... Wasn't that why Sakuya had been killed? She hadn't known the danger, and so the danger had gotten her. If Remilia and maybe even Flandre didn't know, then...

Now it was time to face another awful truth. She had to choose one option. As a servant of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, it should have been obvious that her first and foremost duty was to protect the head of the estate. As a person who had a heart and feelings, it should have been obvious that her foremost duty was to ensure Sakuya's c... co... To ensure Sakuya was treated with respect. Yet she couldn't do both. Meiling already knew what could very realistically happen if she didn't give those inside the mansion warning soon enough, but that would mean just leaving Sakuya here, letting her go rigid in such a gruesome position as her body slowly cooled and sunk further into death. The alternative was to drag Sakuya inside first. Could she really bring herself to... touch the maid, though? Additionally, no matter how strong the red-haired guard's hours of daily training had made her, carrying another person was going to slow her down. Was that something she could afford? The murderer was already inside, and likely knew where the vampire sisters were, so Meiling started out with a disadvantage.

Whatever she decided to do, she'd have to do it quickly to prevent this night's tragedy from claiming another innocent life.

----------
Somewhere inside the mansion, the light squish squish of wet red shoes against the equally red carpet was accompanied by an uncomfortably familiar peal of tinkling, girlish laughter. Yes, there truly was an unknown presence within, one that had slipped in through the cracks like a dark shadow and merely hid, never fully vanished, when the lights were turned on it. She'd already gotten her first victim, and the night was still young. Before the sun rose, this mansion would surely have caught a glimpse of the true definition of terror.

The footsteps continued down a flight of stairs, and as they traveled, something invisible spread out from their owner like a wave. "Hee hee. Now, let's see what's behind Door Number One..." This unknown girl who had been there to witness the body of Sakuya falling to the earth, and had slipped inside shortly thereafter... What was she doing here? Did she not know the danger she was putting herself in, by entering the place where someone who had control over time had been killed? Was she, perhaps, the one who would next be claimed by thing lurking just out of sight?

At the bottom of a flight of stairs, a certain girl's door gave the clicking sound of being unlocked, and then swung open of its own accord...
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Re: [Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

Postby Hong Meiling » 31 Oct 2009 08:22

There was no question, nor any shred of doubt. Sakuya had to come first. To leave her out here… It went against all of the Gate Guard’s morals and reasoning. Even if it meant bringing the corpse into a den of hungry wolves… Meiling had to make sure that no one would prey upon their perfect Maid in the dead of night.

A lump rose in her throat. Hopefully the Mistresses would have more self control than to attack the corpse of their beloved Sakuya. But… Meiling’s mind itched with fear as her fingers pressed against Sakuya’s cooling arm. Their Mistress had the power to control the fates… Just what had happened? A nagging of instinct tugged on her mind-- run. Run now. Bring Sakuya, and flee as quickly as she could. She could go to Hakugyokuro and beg that Ghost Princess who had entertained her… Or even better-- That reaper from before in the village! Surely they’d be able to do something-- anything-- she could fix this! This was something that could be mended. Sakuya would wake up as if from a slumber, blink her sharp blue eyes, and wonder just what had happened.

Meiling pulled the corpse up gingerly into her arms, stomach lurching with both the movements and the smell of the human blood. Sakuya would wake up, and Meiling would frown. ‘You fell asleep during your job!’ Meiling would scold, and she would give Sakuya the same look that she had received so many times. Sakuya would be none-the-wiser. They’d come home, and the Mistress would praise Sakuya as always.

But… Meiling took a hesitant step towards her gate, would they even be there when we got back?

If she turned back… If she let Sakuya sit the way she was… Meiling felt she would fail. The moment that the warmth left the Maid’s body completely, Meiling would know it was over. Once that had happened, there would be no hope. She had really failed, and Sakuya would really be dead. Meiling bit at her bottom lip, gnawing carefully in thought. If she ran now, she had no real chance; even in the back of her head, she knew that she would not change anything by begging…

But still, her heart tugged towards that imagined chance. If… Even if it were one percent… That was something, right?

Clutching the Maid close to her body even despite the horrible smell and feeling of slimy blood, Meiling darted towards the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

The least people that ended up in this state, the better.
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Re: [Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

Postby Flandre Scarlet » 31 Oct 2009 22:03

Flandre hated storms. She hated the constant noise they would put up whenever she least wanted it. She hated the way the thick, black clouds made the entire wolrd feel like one enormous basement. She hated how the flashes of lightning and subsequent sounds of thunder always reminded her of something greatly unpleasant that she couldn't quite remember but always put her on edge. She hated the fact that they only ever seemed to happen at night, the only time she could even think of going out. And most of all she hated the rain. She absolutely loathed the idea that the entire world could be simultaneously covered with running water, meaning that even if she did go out, within minutes she would be nothing more than a drenched, powerless little girl wandering around in the dark; an experience that inexplicably terrified her the first time and one that she never wished to repeat. The times the skies blacked outside and the heavens let loose their torrential downpour were the times Flandre was honestly glad to be in the basement, as far away from whatever petty, spiteful god controlling the clouds as she could be; a fact that the resident elemental wizard had used to her advantage on multiple occasions. Because of all of these reasons, the young vampire wasn't exercising her freedom at all tonight. She had retreated back to the safest place she knew, the confines of the cellar.

Of course precautions had to be taken against falling asleep. Even though with some proper food and cleaning up she looked practically good as new, the short, dreamless, half hours naps that had comprised one hundred percent of her rest for the past week ensured that Flandre constantly found herself fighting to keep her eyes open when the windows went dark; and so she had borrowed a book from the magician's library. A small one, one that she hopefully wouldn't notice or miss, especially considering that it was one of the few volumes on the shelves that focused primarily on telling a story rather than explaining something far above her head across the corpses of as many trees as possible. It had only managed to catch her eye because it was written by the same woman that had turned her favourite nursery rhyme into a full novel, but even an unknown book was better than nothing. Flandre sat on the very tip of her bed, back pressed up against the engraved headboard to keep herself from getting too comfortable, knees almost up to her chest and with the pages spread across them, her wings curled around her for some long-lost semblance of warmth, and he black iron staff Laevateinn at her toes. She had only just gotten into the novel. The flickering candle light and intermittent flashes of lightning along with her general rustiness made reading quickly an impossibility, and she wasn't entirely sure what an Orient was, but one of the characters had just been found mysteriously stabbed to death, and so it held her interest enough to keep turning pages.

Despite how engrossed she was in her reading, the click of the lock and the sound of the door swinging open in the dark caught her attention, mostly out of surprise. She had locked the door on purpose, out of some childish sense of security that she rationalized as not wanting to be interrupted. After quickly memorizing the page she was on, it occurred to her that Sakuya locked and unlocked the door all the time, and so it was logical that she would be able to enter the room with ease. Within a split second, her whole body burned with the feeling of movement impulses being contradicted before the muscles even started. The lopsided, irregular silouhette at the door was definitely not Sakuya.

"Who are you? Did Remi send you?"
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Re: [Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

Postby Hong Meiling » 02 Nov 2009 07:32

Inside the mansion was even worse. Without the rain to obscure the sights and smells, it was as if a curtain was lifted on Sakuya’s corpse, allowing Meiling to see very gruesome detail. The biting yet sweet taste in the air only forced Sakuya’s death even deeper onto the Gate Guard, whose feet pounded against the red carpet of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. She forced the maid’s head close against her shoulder, pathetical attempting to block those vivid images from her mind.

Once she was at the grand staircase, Meiling was forced to stop. Just where was she supposed to put the… the body? Setting her anywhere inside the mansion was like leaving her bosses a free meal ticket… But to leave her stashed away in some unseen closet seemed even worse for the perfect maid.

SOMEBODY!!” Her shrill scream was made to echo throughout the halls, but it was the only thing that Meiling could think to do. She needed help--Sakuya needed help-- it was maddening. What was she supposed to do!? “ANYBODY!!!

This emotion was so hard. It was… It was despair. The one person who would know exactly what to do was curled inside the Gate Guard’s uselessly protective grip. As if holding a princess, or an infant, she clutched the body tightly; even if Sakuya had already passed, Meiling still needed to protect her. With the blood that still seemed to ooze from the back of the elegant maid, Meiling needed to protect her even more than ever before.

No one, not even the Mistress, was going to do harm to Sakuya again.
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Re: [Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

Postby Nue Houjuu » 03 Nov 2009 00:56

The sense of wrongness that had first become apparent with the breaking of one of the mansion's windows continued to expand outward from its origin at the SDM's front gate. It had already spread to cover the entire outside and the one crack its influence had spread in through had multiplied into countless pockets so that from every chink or irregularity in the construction the terror of the night flowed. It pooled, invisible, inside the building, and condensed, laying a dark, twisted hand about every heart that knew fear within. It was thicker in some areas than it was in others, with the most potent mass of the mental pollution lying within plain sight of a little girl in a red dress.

So what was it that this girl saw? Nothing. That's why things seemed so wrong. There was a shadow falling across the doorway, but nobody standing there for it to belong to. Was it a trick of the light? It was possible that there was indeed a person there, and their location simply kept them from being visible to someone inside the room. Actually, it had to be that, didn't it? Shadows didn't just appear on their own, without being cast from something or someone. So if she knew that... Who could it be? They weren't speaking, just standing there, the shadow too hazy and nebulous to make out any distinct features. Was i- Watch out!

There was a glint of silver as something was thrown into the room, but it dropped to the floor several feet short of Flandre. The vampire had the benefit of lighting that Meiling had lacked, so there was no mistaking the object laying there. Provided the blonde vampire had ever seen her maid in battle, she'd undoubtedly recognize the short, efficient throwing knife, signature of Sakuya, on which still-wet blood stained the metal from tip until halfway up the blade. If Flandre's attention had been focused on this, she would have missed the door being closed once again. But not even the sight of a murder weapon within the sanctuary of her very own room could distract her from that horrible, rasping voice that scraped out the advice before the door was shut completely and re-locked itself, shutting her in with that equally horrible knife.

"You should probably save that for later, Little Flandre..."

----------
"What is going on out... What on earth?!"

That brief, formal tone of voice. That sense of professionalism exuded from every fiber of her being. That blue skirt, white apron, and frilly headpiece. "Unmistakable" didn't even come close to describing it. It was almost as if, when she allowed her presence to be known, you could tell Sakuya was there without even looking at her, so long as she was in the same room. And that's how things were now. Meiling could have continued staring down at the maid clutched in her arms, but she still would have felt it. That sense of wrongness.

Why was it wrong? Why, because Sakuya was here, dead! She couldn't possibly be... there, standing with a cup of tea and teapot frozen in time in the process of pouring, with her other hand placed to her hip in annoyance. That was just illogical. Meiling had seen it with her own eyes. Seen and felt the body that she even now clutched to her so desperately. And yet, if she looked back to it again, she'd see why Sakuya's thin brows came together in a look of displeasure. "Well? What is it?" she asked, irritation uncharacteristically clear in her tone just as it was on her face, "I'm assuming you had a reason for interrupting my serving Lady Flandre's tea other than to show off how much mud you could track into the mansion?"

Mud? No, she'd...

How was she supposed to tell what she'd been doing? She didn't even have the evidence. True, what she'd held might have once been the size and shape of a human, but as for anything that could be used to identify it as Sakuya, that was long gone. When Meiling turned back to look, all she found herself with was two armfuls full of mud. It was a putrid brownish green and smelled as bad as it looked, but that wasn't the worst part. What really made it awful was that, since it flowed unlike a nice, stiff human carcass, every place that Sakuya's body had touched against her own was now covered in the stuff. It ran down like a thick, pulpy soup of god knows what, pooling at her feet and actually proving to have enough adhesion and volume to cover her up to the ankles. It was all over her, so there was no way she could avoid touching or smelling it, and the fact that it was real was utterly undeniable. Which left one very, very big question.

What the hell was going on here?
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Re: [Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

Postby Hong Meiling » 03 Nov 2009 07:45

The moment she heard that voice, Meiling dropped to her knees. She released her tight grip, allowing the Maid some air, before--

What!? She looked intently down on the burden of mud, before her head whipped hysterically around. There, standing as if nothing had happened, was the perfect and flawless maid. As always, she was the pinnacle of elegance. Standing above all others, Sakuya even managed to stop time impeccably while concentrating on something completely unrelated. And even despite the mud that now held up to Meiling’s thighs fast, the maid mostly kept her cool, at least allowing Meiling the chance to try to defend herself.

Though Meiling could not take that chance. Hot tears nipped at the back of her eyes, and it took all that she had to simply hold them back. She choked back a cough, snot dripping slowly from her nose, as the tears began to stream down her face. Her agonized expression turned a bright and unsavory shade of red as her face contorted into heavy sobs, yet all the while the Gate Guard did not turn her attention away from the Maid.

She sniffled, rubbing at her face with her forearm for only a second. If… If Meiling looked away, then maybe, just maybe, this phantom that was Sakuya would disappear, and all would be lost again.

“Sakuya--” her voice was raspy and pleading, like a begging child, “Sakuya, don’t go.”

It was demanding. It was selfish. Under any circumstance, she knew that the Maid would have to flitter off, ready to serve the young Mistresses. But she had to at least try. Even if it was all some kind of strange, horrific dream… She could not stand to let that girl leave her sight.
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Re: [Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

Postby Flandre Scarlet » 04 Nov 2009 06:30

Yes the shadow falling in through the semi-illuminated hall definitely did not belong to Sakuya, nor Remilia nor anyone Flandre knew of or had ever seen. In fact, that was part of the problem. Flandre couldn't see them. At least not with her eyes anyways. The deep seated sight ingrained into her mind many hundreds of years ago remained unswerved from it's ruthlessly cruel depiction of the tiny nudges that could send the whole world into oblivion if Flandre so chose, but that only made it all the more disconcerting, and in a way, more unnerving.

Floating points of tension in the air itself was disorienting, the knowledge that someone was definitely there and she couldn't even see them was nerve wracking, but the tiny, unbidden thought popping into the back of her mind was worse by far, terrifying in the same kind of nameless, abject fear a young child has of leaning down and looking at the sky upside down between their legs, afraid of falling upwards forever. What if she had finally done it. What if she had broken so much and the world had gotten so bad, she could finally see how to destroy the air itself. Who knows what would happen if she simply reached out and-

Even without the dancing candle light sparkling on the knife's razor edge, Flandre would have picked it the tell-tale dull gleam of silver streaking through the night air anyways, her eyes both being keener than most, and glints in the dark being tantamount to a spider on the pillow at night. For a brief moment, a tiny rush of hopeful relief trickled down her spine and into her heart, deciding that it must be Sakuya at the door in some way within one revolution of the blade, seemingly forgetful of the fact it was flying right at her, only remembering that knives hurt as it thunked point first into the floor before her. That voice though . . . that hair splitting, nail withering voice . . . no . . . there was no way that could be Sakuya, no way that it could be anything human even. Simply being exposed to it as the door swung shut was enough to make Flandre start and drop her book onto the floor, even as the bolt flipped shut, something else only Sakuya should be able to do.

Save it for later? What did that even mean? Well it was Sakuya's. Maybe she would want it back? Maybe the creepy voice and invisible stranger was just a shy youkai who wanted to help without scaring anyone? It had to be, right? That kind of thing only happens in horror novels, not in real life. Never in real life. Impossible. Maybe she could make Sakuya happy by giving her her knife back. Yes that seemed like a wonderful idea. Go to Sakuya and give it back. Even if she wasn't happy about it, it would be a good idea to talk to her. Or hear her talk. Or at least see her. Or even be close to her. Just knowing where she was would feel good even. The more she thought about it the more logical the course of action became. Find Sakuya, give her the knife back, and tell her about the invisible stranger in her room. She didn't want to knife anyways. It didn't belong to her. It's bloody. Why is it covered in bloo-it's silver and she doesn't like silver. Sakuya would be glad to have it ba-why is Sakuya's knife covered in bloo-maybe she would bake a cake for her. She would simply make a passing mention of the stranger-who threw silver knives at h-who was obviously no harm at all and Sakuya would know exactly what to say to them to make them stop being so shy-protect her from something that wants her DEA-and then she could go back to reading her book. She was right at the page wher-BLOODY KNIVES-and it wouldn't be hard to find again. She could already imagine the maid's understanding smi-SHE'S DEAD-as she explained that there's no such thing as invisible people and tuck her back in to-IT KILLED HER AND IS WEARING HER SKIN-with some hot chocolate for the storm and a bloody knife in the eye because Sakuya had really always wanted nothing more than for her to be dead all along and invisible people had nothing to do with it.

Ignoring the throbbing headache that seemed to have wormed it's way into her skull, Flandre bent down and heaved the knife out of the floorboard, grimly aware of the skin biting cold aura of silver even through the wooden grip, wiping the copious stains off on her skirt and tucking it into the sash at her waist. Sakuya would have something to say about the smear. The young vampire flipped the bolt once more and padded softly down the hall until she was swallowed up the the darkness of the basement, thoughts of Sakuya scrubbing her clean in a bath of her own blood chasing themselves around her brain, completely unaware that the Nue had done nothing to her. There had been no illusions, no suggestions, no phobias or psychological trauma brought into play. Truly the worst victim of fear and madness let loose into the entire mansion, Flandre wandered out into the night's shadow a free girl; lost to a twisted little nightmare world purely of her own innocent design.
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Re: [Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

Postby Sakuya Izayoi » 05 Nov 2009 10:55

((OOC: fuckit here we go))

In a small, quiet, dimly illuminated room located somewhere inside the massive Scarlet Devil Mansion, beside her mistress's room, there slept a young maid.

pitter-patter-pitter-patter

But this was no ordinary maid: she was the head maid of the great Victorian-era building, and as such she was effectively the leader of all household affairs, second only to her mistress, the Scarlet Devil, Remilia Scarlet.

boom

Remilia, however, had the tendency to just leave the household affairs to the head maid. Nonetheless, the maid was perfectly fine with the arrangement: as long as she was fed and clothed and had a room, there would be no complaints from her.

pitter-patter

Tonight, however, the maid was restless.

The stormy weather was just oh so very perfect for sleeping and resting and being lazy, if you were safely tucked away in your own cozy room, away from the brutality of Mother Nature (unlike a certain red-haired gate guard); cold and dark and melodious; yet Sakuya remained wide awake, utterly unable to sleep. Instead, the Perfect Maid chose to spend her time reading a book. The book was a departure from the murder mysteries Sakuya usually read to pass the time; a high fantasy novel, an epic detailing the legendary story of five heroes who fought to defy the greatest of destinies. At the moment, the book was opened to its final chapter; a hopeless situation with no foreseeable chance of victory. Destiny was winning.

But Sakuya paid her book little attention; she was half-lost in her own thoughts, the same thoughts that were leaving her sleepless; and they were not happy thoughts.

Ever since her (first) return to the Scarlet Devil Mansion, she had been haunted by nightmares. It came rarely at first; maybe once a week, or once every five days; but now they invaded the maid’s dreams every other day; and today was one of those days. They were not ordinary nightmares, either; certainly not simple things that everyone dreams about from time to time, like drowning or giant spiders or falling. No, these nightmares repeated themselves, over and over again, like a tape recording, and they all showed the exact same events each time; almost as if she had experienced them before personally. She could see and hear and feel and smell, but she could not act; every single time she did the same motions, said the same things; and in a way it was so much more terrifying than a normal nightmare. Especially the figure she saw at the end.

But no, they were not the thoughts that currently interrupted the maid’s sleep.

“Lady Flandre.”

Right now, Sakuya was busy worrying about Flandre, Remilia’s little sister and the young mistress of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. Due to her unnatural powers and unstable mindset, the young vampire was usually confined to the basement; but there appeared to be a change in schedule made during Sakuya’s long absence from the mansion. For that, however, Sakuya had already received an explanation from Remilia herself. Something else was bothering the maid.

Specifically, there was something bothering the young vampire; perhaps Flandre tried to hide it, or perhaps she never even thought of it when she was awake, but Sakuya could tell that the young mistress was not sleeping well either. It was easy enough to make such a deduction; after the recent incident with the schoolteacher Keine, Flandre had hidden herself from Sakuya for several days; and while the vampire ate the meals Sakuya nonetheless prepared for her, the maid never saw Flandre. Not until her second return to the Scarlet Devil Mansion, after completing the final set of tasks Remilia had set for her; but the ragged and tattered Flandre she saw then only served to make Sakuya worry even more. Even if none of those events ever happened, there was still the unmistakable sound of strained breathing that the maid could hear whenever she passed by whatever room Flandre was sleeping in, and the indescribable look on the young girl’s face when Sakuya inevitably checked on her. Indeed, it was blindingly obvious to anyone with half a mind; Flandre, too, was having nightmares; but about what? Was it an offshoot of Flandre’s fractured mind, a new stage of insanity? Or perhaps they were connected to Sakuya’s own dark dreams? They do seem to happen around the same time-no, that can’t be it; it had to be a coincidence. Maybe there was another explanation; maybe it was just an normal nightmare, and-

KRAKOOM

“I wonder how Meiling is doing outside.”

That thought flashed across her mind the same way that powerful stroke of lightning flashed across the midnight sky; and the sudden, deafening roar of thunder also served to remove Flandre from Sakuya’s semi-brooding. But why would she suddenly think of the gate guard? The redhead was, perhaps, her worst non-fairy employee; she was lazy and unmotivated, and (according to reports from various guests) was missing from her post far more than she should be allowed to; yet Meiling was also Sakuya’s only non-fairy employee, and was therefore technically her best non-fairy employee as well. And she was steadily improving her habits ever since her morning talk with Sakuya. Perhaps she could still be-

CRASH

THUD


The sound of shattering glass was unmistakable, even in the heavy downpour of the storm; neither was the sound of a large, soft object smashing into the earth. With great speed Sakuya slammed her book shut, threw it onto her bed, and took an alert stance. Already her mind was geared towards her mistresses, ready to defend them to the end; her duty would come above all else. Thus prepared, the Perfect Maid left her room. No intruder was allowed to simply enter the Scarlet Devil Mansion unchallenged.

She did not know of Meiling’s predicament.
She did not know of Flandre’s newfound insanity.

And she knew not that her duty would soon lead her into a waking nightmare unlike any other.
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Re: [Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

Postby Nue Houjuu » 05 Nov 2009 22:12

Poor Meiling. After all she'd just experienced, the thing that she simply could not afford to have happen to her was about to. She didn't even need to look away to lose it. A single blink of teary eyes, and Sakuya was gone. No turning away, no movement whatsoever. She was just... gone. Vanished. Non-exist... no, not that last one. Sakuya was alive and fine! That's why she'd been turned to mud, because... because...

Whatever the reason for the disappearance of her corpse, the silver-haired girl returned in short order. She came into view in the same manner in which she'd disappeared - instantaneous - although this time she was kneeling rather than standing. She scooped up the card she'd left frozen in midair during the timestop, used to both minimize the period Remilia had to wait for her tea and prevent Meiling from getting any more mud on the floor than necessary, and then raised her head to regard the undisciplined sentry. It was perfectly clear from how cold her expression was that she was disappointed; one didn't even need to look into her eyes to start feeling guilty for something they'd done poorly. If they did meet her gaze, they'd find blue eyes as chill and hard as the silver in the knives she wielded boring down on them with unsatisfied authority.

Sakuya rose to a standing position and slipped the playing card somewhere onto her person, both which she did without breaking that... it wasn't a glare, because she wasn't expressing over anger, but... whatever kind of look she was giving, it more than got the message across, so that when she spoke, all she had to ask were the questions. Her face did the job of telling Meiling just how much of a letdown it was to see her here, inside the building, when she'd been assigned to remain outside and ensure no unwanted visitors got past the gate. Her mud-cloaked state naturally did little to help her case.

"What do you think you are doing, turning away from your assigned post?"

Surely the head maid understood how Meiling was feeling. She was always so perceptive, able to identify any errors or things that might be out of place within a room at a glance. It didn't take a (9) to read the red-haired youkai's emotions right now either. There was no doubt that she saw how distressed Meiling looked and how much she desired reassuring comfort right now. But whether she saw and whether she chose to respond to what she saw were two different issues entirely. She knelt before the larger girl, making sure to keep clear of the slowly-spreading mud, and reached out a flawless, alabaster-skinned hand to Meiling. But if there had been hopes for it to be a hand of comfort, someone was in for a harsh reality check.

SMACK-!!

The din from the storm outside covered all in a blanket of black noise, yet even through that the sound of palm striking cheek cracked like a whip. Sakuya's hand had been nothing but a blur as it slapped Meiling, and left her with a stinging sensation that ensured a red, five-fingered hand print would linger on her skin for some time afterwards. "I asked you a question, Hong Meiling. You abandoned your duty, and on a night when both the lady of the manor and her younger sister are at their most vulnerable and require more vigilance than ever from their staff. You too are a member of this staff, and are expected to behave like one. What do you have to say for yourself?"

----------
And for Flandre the nightmare, as cliche a phrase as it may be, was just beginning. It all started with the slamming of the door behind her as soon as she left. Reassuring thoughts that it might have just been momentum or gravity weren't so much as given the time to form before the hollow, metallic click-click of that bolt latching tightly once more rasped through the solid oak paneling. There was no way to write that off so easily. As strong as Flandre was and as simple a task as turning the lock seemed to her, it was actually quite heavy, and to do it manually at least required someone on the inside. But that was just silly, because there had clearly been nobody in her room but her prior to her leaving.

However, on a night like tonight, when it the lines between nightmare and wakefulness were blurred past recognition, things that might have been merely silly took on a dreadful, sinister tone. She'd been locked out of her room. Something didn't want her in her room. Something wanted her to walk forward into the shadows of the basement, to expose her back, to let it sink its blood-chilling fangs into her neck and feast upon her sense of reason and state of mind. And that something sounded like a little girl's laughter.

"...teeheehee..." There it was again. No, couldn't be. It was just Flandre's imagination. It was a stormy night, and something awful had just happened, so it was only logical that she expected to start hearing disembodied voices. And because she expected it, her brain pretended to hear them to fulfill those expectations. There was really nothing. Nobody was down here, she was alone, and there was certainly nobody laug- "Teeheehee~"

Nobody laughing. Just like there had been nobody in her room to shut the door behind her. And nobody standing outside the room to throw her a knife. That knife. Sakuya's knife. Nobody... nobody knew what had happened, there was nobody to be frightened of, and nobody was definitely right behind her, breathing ever so quietly yet so close that she could feel the hot gusts wafting on the back of her neck. And if she turned around now, she would see nobody. She'd be alone in the basement, the darkness hiding nothing but her own frightened face. Right?

"Tee hee hee~!"

----------
Yet out of all the girls this mansion, twisted into an inversion of its (relatively) safe and comforting home by the cursed storm, Sakuya seemed to have drawn the worst lot. Unlike Meiling, who simply saw things that hadn't(?) taken place, or Flandre, who encountered specters with a voice but no body, what Sakuya heard echoing from down the hall, that hissing shriek cut short by a wet, bubbling SNAP! What followed after was very similar in quality to the laugh which Flandre was currently being tormented, but there was one difference. The giggles had a certain, distinct quality to them that Sakuya knew in an instant. The laughter she heard wasn't just any girl's. It belonged to none other than Flandre Scarlet.

There were a million things the maid could have been asking herself right then. What had that sound been? Why was Flandre out of her room? Why had both the sound and the laughter come from Remilia's quarters? No matter how many she asked, the answer wouldn't come from just standing there. It was a maid's duty to ensure no harm befell her employer, after all.

Harm had already befallen Mistress Remilia, however, a fact that Sakuya would find as soon as she moved aside the already partially-open door to the vampire's room. There, in plain view of the doorway, she saw... something. It was too impossible. Too improbable. Too much for her brain to process all at once. Even for one with perfect composure, perfect mental stability, and perfect control over her emotions, the information had to be broken down and viewed a bit at a time. What she had walked in on was just that horrifying.

Each heartbeat brought her a new piece. Thud-thud. There was blood on the floor. Thud-thud. There was blood on the walls. Thud-thud. There was so much blood it was flowing over the side of the bed. Thud-thud. The drapes around the bed were all ripped and torn. Thud-thud. Allowing her to see what was sitting on the covers. Thud-thud. And what was sitting on the covers was. Thud-thud. Two young girls. Thud-thud.

But not just any girls. These girls were sisters. They were also a pair Sakuya was very familiar with. They weren't just sitting, either. One couldn't be clearly made out, because she was laying down with her head in the other's lap. And because this other was partially turned, it was impossible to miss the long, curving, metallic wings and the ornament-like jewels hanging from them.

She wasn't hearing her heart hammering in her ears anymore. Had her pulse stopped? Had she become like one of the undead siblings she served? No, it was still racing as fast as ever within her breast. She couldn't hear it because there was another noise covering it up completely. It was a wet, squishy noise, that occasionally crunched or made a loud gulp. And it wasn't just an auditory experience. The sounds came in time with the moving of Flandre's head. She would lean forward and the goopy, slurping, ripping noise would start. Then she'd pull her head back, and out would come the perfectly clear sound of something being swallowed.

Everything Sakuya heard and saw was witnessed within the darkness of an unlit room. Up until now, it had been possible to pretend things were otherwise, that she wasn't... That Flandre wasn't... That Lady Remilia wasn't... Lightning changed all that. Just as it had thrown back the veil of night and unmasked the face of the dead Sakuya for Meiling, it now purged away any doubts the live Sakuya might have. It was rapidly becoming difficult to tell what was worse; the fact that Remilia was being eaten, or the twisted, maniacal grin on Flandre's lips that a strip of her sister's bloody flesh still hung from when she turned back to look at her visitor.

"Oh, Sakuya, have you decided to join me for supper? You'd better hurry up before the meal gets cold. That's what you always tell me, isn't it?"

Again that innocent, girlish laughter played forth as the blonde vampire turned back to her 'supper' and dug in once again. There could be no doubt about where the red and brown stains across her face and shoulders had come from. Subsequent flashes of lightning only made things worse, because they made plain the fact that this was something nobody should ever witness. Remilia's skull had a large gap in it, the white of bone and pink and grey of brain tissue floating in the soup made of her own blood, which was slowly leaking out of the empty eye socket and coursing down to pour over her severed hands which were missing several fingers on each and the spots where those fingers had gone missing still contained visible bite marks and so did her head which underwent another crunching of innocent little Flandre's jaws as she bit down and drained more of her macabre meal and looked back once more waving for Sakuya to join her and-

Truly, Sakuya was the worst victim of the terror-spreading shadow that night.
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Re: [Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

Postby Flandre Scarlet » 06 Nov 2009 06:35

Without an open flame sitting in a relatively small room for hours on end, the remainder of the basement was far colder than Flandre's insulated, isolated little cell. The floor stones might has well have been slabs of solid ice for the amount of comfort and traction they allowed, and the intermittent rumble of thunder outside echoed seemingly without end inside the dark, vacant halls. Though both these things would usually be easily enough dissuasion for the young vampire, Sakuya would like her knife back, wanted it back, she needed to give it back, and so saying no was hardly an option at all.

That and the way that her door had locked itself behind her. That was a good incentive too. Although it would be simpler than winking for Flandre to turn around and blast the door off it's hinges simply to spite whatever malicious force had decided that she should not re-enter her own room, the fact that this time there hadn't been any indication of a person at all, put her off more than it should have. Despite the girl's hatred of being bossed around and inherent fear of the motivations of others, Flandre took it lying down, not making a peep of protest; for one rare occasion, doing what was expected of her without being tricked or threatened or bribed and without resentment. Somehow, something had strongly impressed her with the feeling that she should probably just keep walking and not look back. There was nothing to see anyways. If she looked back, that would only mean that there was something. Ignoring it would be best. Simply ignore it and it wont exist. It cant get you if you close your eyes.

Was someone laughing? No. Just ignore it. Nothing's there. There it is again! If Flandre was simply doing whatever was expected of her before without a fuss, the giggling was forcing her very best performance out of her. As her pace sped up, the young Scarlet's head kept itself fixed straight forward, then her eyes refused to deviate even a degree from where she knew he second door would be, and then she even stopped blinking, as though somehow that would be taken as turning around to look and whatever was making that awful noise was-breathing on the back of her neck?! N-no! Don't look at it! Oh but it's so close! She gave in. She couldn't help it. It had to be real, the risk of ignoring it far outweighed the risk of giving it power and so the young vampire finally listened to the instincts screaming at her to just TURN AROUND; stumbling several steps backwards as her hand shot out to keep whatever was following her away, and to her total bafflement, meeting nothing but empty air.

Almost as if the storm itself was acting on cue with this madness, the thunder ceased and a momentary hush fell over the house as the rain's blew in a different direction, filling Flandre's ears full to bursting of absolutely deafening silence; the only sound possible to hear being her own shallow breathing and rapid heartbeats. For a few, wonderful moments, she felt nothing; too deadpanned to even feel relief, perfectly content to stand in her shocked and paranoid pose all night if it meant nothing would happen. Then the lightning flashed once more and the feeling of intimate invasion of privacy gave way under the crushing, smothering weight of absolute isolation. She had been alone the whole time. All by herself. Despite how utterly wrong it was to have an invisible, giggling stalker in the dark following her, the idea of actually being simply all by herself down here all along suddenly became illogically terrifying. The invasive giggling and skin crawling breathing in her ears at least drowned out her thoughts with instincitve mental noise. Now there was nothing. Nothing but-

The knife! Of course! That's why the uncomfortable stranger had been so amused! Just looking at herself she could see exactly what was so funny. her skirt was a mess. A quick glance at the belted knife confirmed it, she had forgotten to clean it up. Half of the blade was stained deep, oozing red, occasionally gathering into fat droplets at the tip before falling off, and it had obviously dripped all over her skirt without her noticing, creating the most horrendous smear imaginable. Feeling somewhat silly for getting so worked up, Flandre withdrew the knife from her stained sash, and deciding that Sakuya would probably be angry to see more mess than she had made already, attempted to hide it by cleaning it off on her white blouse underneath her red vest, only putting it back when it practically sparkled, and grimacing with displeasure as the moment she let her vest touch her chest again; the fabric sticking almost immediately as a deeper, darker red blotch spread through it.

Feeling momentarily calmed by the simple act, Flandre reached the edge of the basement quickly; pulling open the doors and quickly skipping up the lukewarm staircase into the first floor landing. Of course she had no idea that nearly everyone in the mansion had been "killed" at least once, and so the expansive, dim confines of the crimson halls were a welcome sight to her. In fact, it was a distinct possibility that Flandre might go all night without seeing someone being killed, provided of course, she didn't do it herself.

While finding the corpse of former mansion staff would be upsetting under any semblance of normal circumstances, the prospect of dead bodies would have been almost laughable matched against the fear that currently dominated her busy mind; a fear much like a rapidly spreading fire, needing only a little nudging and feeding to get out of control, but if left to it's own devices would likely break it's bounds and go wild with time anyways. Flandre didn't need a room full of blood and tattered flesh to be scared. No. Her mind could accomplish that better than nearly anything her eyes could do. What Flandre truly dreaded had much more to do with the absence of something; the cold certainty of gruesome death being a poor rival to the burning, acidic uncertainty of her own insecurity. She would simply have to find Sakuya and give her the knife back. That was the only way to be sure, the only way to end it. Whether her night concluded with relief or with tears, with bonding or with confession, with acceptance or her undoing, it would end. It would have to. There was no room for thinking "what if it didn't?". It just did.
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Re: [Ask First] Scarlet Mansion, Mysterious Nue

Postby Hong Meiling » 06 Nov 2009 22:01

It was with chocked-back sobs and a lowered head that Meiling realized Sakuya’s return. She knew looking up would be dangerous now. While she had so badly fought to keep Sakuya in her sights before, now she recoiled like a wounded animal, avoiding the Maid’s harsh eyes as if they would have burnt her.

“I--” She fumbled, hands wringing at the muddle hem of her cheongsam as she looked for some way to explain what had happened. “Uh, I…”

There was nothing. Nothing reasonable, nothing rational. Anything that Meiling said would only make her look insane. And… While that very well might have been true by this point-- No! No! She wasn’t insane. She hadn’t really saw it, was all. Because it hadn’t happened. It was all just a dream. Even Meiling knew that she was prone to napping at her post.

But even so… Would she really be able to sleep in the pouring rain?

“I have no excuse, Miss Sakuya.” She really didn’t. There was no explanation for why the guard was inside, caked with a layer of batter-like mud and sobbing like a child. Even if the tears had stopped from streaming down her face, the despair only seemed to drop further upon her fragile emotional balance. There was no explanation for anything…!

But there it was. Even Miss Sakuya was a compassionate being at heart. Over the last few weeks, nothing had made this more apparent than their shared breakfast. This was Sakuya, who went to the root of the problem. After all, it was her method to be as precise and effective as possible. Hadn’t it been Sakuya who had tried to find the cause of her laziness? She only wanted to fix things, after all! Sakuya would fix this same as all those other times…!

The noise was what dawned on Meiling first. That painful, familiar sound of flesh hitting flesh. Following moments after was the stinging sensation of her cheek. She didn’t believe it. Couldn’t. For the first time since Sakuya returned, Meiling stared up at her boss, a mixture of incredulity and betrayal. The red bruise had already begun to form, yet Meiling did not reach to soothe her aching face. She simply stood, trapped in unfrozen time, listening to Sakuya’s harsh criticism.

But what Sakuya said was not untrue. Now really was the most dangerous time for their Mistresses. If something were to happen tonight… If there was some intruder, the mistresses would be nearly defenseless if not for their employees. Above all else, it was Meiling that they trusted on nights like these. And yet… She had let down down. If it were possible, the Gate Guard drooped even lower, removing her hat as an act of humility.

“I understand, Miss Sakuya.” Mud crumbled from her legs, sledging down in a miniature landslide of her dress. She stood, though her gaze remained glued to the sopping, putrid mud. “I’ll return to my post now.”
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