[Ask First] Tiger visits the library

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[Ask First] Tiger visits the library

Postby Shou Toramaru » 01 May 2010 02:29

Rumours about the Scarlet Devil Mansion had persisted for as long as it has existed in Gensokyo, the humans in the village spoke about it in hushed whispers, and some used it as a tale to scare their children; behave or be taken by the vampire that stalks its endless corridors. Hong Meiling, the gate guard of the mansion, had been her first opponent in the tournament. Their fight had been close, and even though Shou was victorious in the end, she held her opponent in very high regard. Shou had heard that the mansion contained a large subterranean library, which intrigued her.

On this particular day, Shou had set out from the Myouren Temple with the intent of meeting with her newfound friend again, but she also travelled to seek out some of the knowledge the library surely had on war and tactics, the sort of things she could study and further her understanding of the tenets of Bishamonten. She knew the Scarlet Devil Mansion had a dangerous youkai living inside it, but she knew that risks must occasionally be taken in search of greater understanding, and with that in mind, Shou carried her holy artefacts with her, along with her spell cards, should the need arise to use them.

Shou landed near the mansion’s impressive gates, and she called out to see if the guard was on duty, “Miss Meiling? Are you here today?”
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Re: [Ask First] Tiger visits the library

Postby Hong Meiling » 03 May 2010 01:05

First, there was a rustle, like the sound of grass being brushed aside quickly. Then, a small thump, and a wail of pain. Finally, a somewhat dazed guard made her image clearly visible from behind the iron gate, and she looked a little worse for wear. It took Meiling a short second to realize just who it was that was calling, but once realization dawned on her, her face brightened like a light.

“Oh, Miss Toramaru!” She explained, her voice somewhat slow from her sudden awakening. “Didn’t see you there-- I was tending the flowers back here.” ‘Tending the flowers’ of course, referred to a nice, relaxing snooze behind the gate. She had locked it, to be safe, but even then, any noise would bring Meiling to a panicked state of awareness.

After all, more often than not, her bosses were far scarier than any intruder that tried to break into the mansion.

Her hands quickly untied a set of keys from her waist, and Meiling made short work of opening the gate. For someone like this, whom she could clearly trust, letting them inside would be no problem. And, even if Shou didn’t want to enter the mansion, opening the gate was an act of courtesy towards the tiger-like woman.

“What brings you here today?”

While Meiling was glad to see her, even she had to admit that most people who visited the Scarlet Devil Mansion came for the mansion residents, rather than the Gate Guard.
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Re: [Ask First] Tiger visits the library

Postby Shou Toramaru » 05 May 2010 18:21

Shou watched Meiling open the gate, wondering if she’d somehow interrupted with some important task. The last thing the tiger wanted was to upset the owners of the mansion. Shou gave the gate guard a short bow, “I come to the Mansion in search of knowledge. I understand there is a library within the mansion that contains a wealth of interesting texts and books. However, I cannot simply rush in without talking to a good friend first.”

Shou walked inside the gates, taking in the sight of the mansion, which was somehow beautiful and sinister rolled into a single building. She kept talking as she looked around the mansion’s strange architecture, “I have never met someone with your fighting style; it has this unique flair to it that made fighting against it very interesting. Do you train by yourself?” Shou didn’t move further down the path, instead, she waited for the guard to lead her further in; she didn’t wish to presume that she was immediately welcome.
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Re: [Ask First] Tiger visits the library

Postby Hong Meiling » 08 May 2010 20:26

Meiling’s smile did not diminish in the slightest when she heard Shou’s reasoning, though in the back of her mind, she had to worry for the woman. Even as strong as she knew that Shou was, Patchouli was cruel and prone to lashing out. While she knew she didn’t need to worry for Shou’s safety, she still was concerned for her overall well-being.

“J-just be careful in there, okay?” Her feelings were starting to escape, even despite Meiling’s desire to remain professional. “The guys in there are scary-- and if they think you broke in…”

It was best to leave that sentence unfinished. Meiling shuddered at the thought.

When Shou changed the subject, Meiling was happy to follow along this vein of talk. She lazily made her way towards the great doors of the mansion, contemplating her answer with each step.

“I train alone now.” She explained, and her voice made it clear that she wasn’t particularly lonely due to this fact. “For the most part, I mean. I spar against people who ask and the people who try to break in.” This thought caused Meiling to scratch at her head a bit-- even despite how many times Marisa had broken in, Meiling still had not found a proper counter for Master Spark.

“Well, what about you?” Better to ask questions than to worry too much about fending off lasers. “You use a spear-- huh? That’s… That’s pretty different.” There was something about the way that Meiling was talking, but it was clear that she was impressed and almost a little bewildered when she thought about just how differently Shou fought from the rest of Gensokyo.
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Re: [Ask First] Tiger visits the library

Postby Shou Toramaru » 01 Jun 2010 01:23

Shou took a moment to stop gazing at the mansion and turned back to face Meiling, “Of course I shall be careful. I have many means in which to defend myself if required, although I hope that it will not be.” She held her artefacts slightly tighter, the last thing she wanted right now was a fight, but it would be foolish to turn up unarmed to a place like this.

“My spear? This is really an artefact of the God I follow, the Spear of Bishamonten. It was granted to me alongside the Jeweled Pagoda, and a set of Vajra. I don’t fight with it in a martial fashion, but it is a focus for my spells. It’s a bit unusual, but it has served me well for many, many years.” Shou turned again to face the imposing entrance to the Scarlet Devil Mansion, “Would you prefer me to knock? Or will you be able to show me to the library?”
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Re: [Ask First] Tiger visits the library

Postby Hong Meiling » 05 Jun 2010 18:26

Meiling listened with wanton curiosity, though she had to admit that her spirits dropped somewhat when Shou admitted that she did not use her spear as a melee weapon-- to a muscle-head like Meiling, using a spear for magic attacks just seemed incredibly silly.

She followed Shou’s gaze to the door, though she kept her mouth shut. Meiling would need to carefully weigh her options. While it was important that she show the guest the way, seeing Patchouli was never on her list of goals. Furthering that thought, if Patchouli saw her away from her post, even if she was escorting a guest… Well, it would not be pretty.

“Let me get you a maid--” She suggested hurriedly and as helpfully as she could. “I’m not allowed to leave my post-- but they should be able to show you, at least.”

The doors opened, and she left them agape for Shou to enter through, even if Meiling herself was half-jogging down the foyer in order to grab the first fairy she could spot. Thankfully, she was in luck. Hovering just outside of the sitting room’s entrance was a small maid who was currently in charge of polishing the mansion’s golden doorknobs. Meiling leaped to her much like an over enthusiastic dog would, and in short order, she had told the girl everything and replaced the day’s duties with “Showing this woman to the library, if she pleased.”

Well, it didn’t really matter if this fairy pleased or not, Meiling was just trying to be polite. In any case, the guard had commandeered a guide, and all was well. She hurried back, giving the maid a few prods here and there to nudge her over to Shou, where Meiling grinned triumphantly.

“This one can show you the way.” She beamed, quite pleased with herself for finding a way to avoid Patchouli. It was only too unfortunate that Shou would need to meet with the grumpy mage. “I gotta get back to my post, though. You two think you’ll be alright making it there?”

The small fairy nodded quickly-- she knew little of Meiling, and as far as she could guess, the Guard was probably as cruel as the rest of the mansion. With a silent, pleading look, she hoped that Shou would understand and simply agree to follow her.
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Re: [Ask First] Tiger visits the library

Postby Shou Toramaru » 10 Jun 2010 12:11

Shou looked a little downcast herself when the gate guard said she couldn’t leave her post, she would like to have talked some more with Meiling as they moved through the mansion. Still, Shou understood her predicament, and she did hope that the library’s caretaker would understand a simple request in the name of greater understanding.

“Thank you, Miss Meiling, it has been wonderful to see you again. If time proceeds well, perhaps I shall see you again after I have finished inside the library.” Shou gave Meiling a bow, and then turned to the fairy maid, “Let us proceed”.

As they walked through the dark mansion halls, Shou couldn’t really think of a suitable conversation to have with the small fairy maid, she seemed rather intimated by her mere presence, and the mansion didn’t seem like the sort of place where loud noises were especially welcome. It was hard to tell what sort of things could be hiding in the flickering darkness down the mansion’s corridors.

Shou was losing track of time as they walked, but they eventually arrived in front of a set of large doors that were indicated as belonging to the Great Library of the mansion. Unsure of how to attract the attention of anyone inside, she gave two short but loud knocks on the doors, opened one slightly and poked her head around the door, “Hello? Is the caretaker of this library present?”
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Re: [Ask First] Tiger visits the library

Postby Patchouli Knowledge » 12 Jun 2010 08:57

At the exact moment that Shou opened the door to the library, Patchouli Knowledge paused in the middle of transcribing a magic spell into a blank grimoire, and looked up from her desk, turning her gaze towards the maze of bookshelves that lay between her and the library's doors. Shou's arrival had not gone unnoticed by the Unmoving Great Library, despite the considerable distance that lay between the two of them.

Patchouli slowly moved from her high-backed chair and picked up her usual spellbook, then made her way through the maze. The magician had been wary at first, as Shou's aura was an unfamiliar one to her, different from any of those who lived in the Scarlet Devil Mansion, Alice Margatroid's, or even Marisa's (an aura she had long learned to recognize as a result of several thieving incidents). The One-Week Wizard feared that it was another intruder intent on stealing from her bookshelves. That feeling had been assailed by the fact that the presence was merely waiting at the doors, but still Patchouli remained on guard.

Even though she knew the layout of her library's labyrinth by heart, it still took more than a few minutes for Patchouli herself to navigate it's twists and turns. Only after several minutes of waiting at the library's doorstep on Shou's part did Patchouli finally emerge from the maze's exit.

The magician floated towards the doors, fully opening them from far away with a gesture of her hand. Her amethyst gaze was fixed upon the devotee of Bishamonten who stood in front of her, and by the time she came a few paces between her and Shou, Patchouli had already studied the tiger in physical detail.

"You may enter. Please state your business here."
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Re: [Ask First] Tiger visits the library

Postby Shou Toramaru » 17 Jun 2010 00:38

Shou looked at the purple clothed magician standing in front of her, she wasn’t exactly expecting a youkai clad in such odd clothing to be caretaker here. Shou mentally waved the thought aside, the existence of a mansion with such peculiar architecture in Gensokyo was strange enough, and the inhabitants would hardly be what she could normally expect either. There was a short silence, before Shou cleared her throat to answer the librarian’s query.

“I am Shou Toramaru, a disciple of Bishamonten, a devotee of Lady Byakuren Hijiri, and a representative of the Myouren Temple in Gensokyo”. Shou finished her introduction with a short bow before continuing, “I have heard that this vast mansion contains a wealth of information, and I have travelled here to seek some manuscripts regarding the subject of war and conflict, so I can further my understanding and strengthen the bond I share with the God I follow.”

Shou was usually extremely confident, but she couldn’t help but feel the librarian’s gaze bore straight through her as though she wasn’t there, she actually felt a little unnerved.
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Re: [Ask First] Tiger visits the library

Postby Patchouli Knowledge » 19 Jun 2010 07:16

Her cold exterior unchanged, Patchouli nodded her head briefly after listening to Shou's self-introduction. "Toramaru. That name sounds familiar. Your appearance is quite familiar as well." The magician took her gaze off the tiger youkai as she spent a moment with her head bowed in thought.

After a few seconds, the One-Week Wizard gave Shou the focus of her stare again. "Hmm. It seems I remember now. You are one of those who participated in the single combat category of the tournament I hosted a while back." she then said, her words as frigid as her expression. "You defeated this mansion's gate guard during the very first matches. Quite handily, I might note."

"What you have heard is true. For over a century, I have been collecting all sorts of knowledge for my own enlightenment. Several books here discuss various aspects of the topic which you seek further information on. The philosophies of war, tactics, strategies, even historical records and discussions on the applications of magic in war, both small-scale and large-scale."

The magician's voice then took on a slightly different tone. "There is one thing you must understand, however. People who wish to use this library have always offered me something in return." she says. "What are you willing to exchange for the knowledge you seek?"
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Re: [Ask First] Tiger visits the library

Postby Shou Toramaru » 19 Jun 2010 13:15

Shou broke into a small smile, “Your gate guard is quite the talented fighter, the match was closer than it looked. Had her technique for disrupting my energy flow worked for much longer, I wouldn’t have been in the position I did to clench victory in the manner I did.” Shou certainly didn’t want to diminish the efforts made by Meiling during that battle, and she couldn’t tell if there was a trace of disappointment or simply dull surprise when the librarian was talking about her.

Shou listened to the explanation of the library, it really was as wondrous as expected, the librarian’s explanation coupled with the view across its myriad shelves meant the entire room was an almost literal treasure trove of information; she could spend days, months, perhaps even years looking through all of this.
It was the librarian’s last question that snapped Shou back to reality. She hadn’t brought anything tangible with her aside from her Holy artefacts, and they were far too precious to her to simply hand them away, perhaps there was another solution to the problem. “Your gate guard, Meiling mentioned that she currently trains alone, and the only people she has to spar against are those who try to break in. Perhaps I could offer myself as a training partner, we could potentially learn a lot from one another. If the break-ins are causing you and your library trouble, wouldn’t you agree that this could be a step to preventing further problems?”

“I’m afraid I cannot offer anything more tangible to you or your library, and for that, I apologise.” Shou hoped that this offer would pay off.
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Re: [Ask First] Tiger visits the library

Postby Patchouli Knowledge » 22 Jun 2010 06:13

Patchouli waited silently, watching Shou with that steady, unnerving gaze of hers while the follower of Bishamonten tried to come up with an interesting offer. More silence followed after the tiger youkai finally came up with the offer of becoming a sparring partner for the Gate Guard. The magician lowered her gaze, and was clearly giving the proposition some serious consideration.

Ordinarily, the Unmoving Great Library would not have hesitated in rejecting Shou's offer. It was more of a direct benefit for Meiling, and not so much for the magician herself. However, during this time, circumstances were a little different.

She looked Shou directly in the eye once again. "How fortunate that you come to me at this time with that kind of offer." Patchouli says. "Hmph. My library happens to be quite well defended, and I would like to see anyone dare to steal anything from me right now. However, that gate guard's performance has been unacceptably disgraceful as of late, and she has permitted several break-ins to occur when she may have been able to prevent them. She has been a source of great embarrassment to Lady Remilia Scarlet, mistress of this mansion, and the latter has charged me with the task of improving the way she guards."

The magician crossed her arms. "Lady Remilia sees fit to allow me to improve the gate guard's performance by any means. I am currently addressing this problem from one angle, but perhaps you will be of some use."

"You and the gate guard may commence your training as early as today. Keep in mind that I will conduct frequent inspections to see that there is some definite improvement."
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Re: [Ask First] Tiger visits the library

Postby Shou Toramaru » 25 Jun 2010 00:35

Shou gave a sigh of relief, this was a very good outcome for her, Meiling and, as the librarian had elaborated, a good outcome for her library’s future security. Well, she was a representative of one of the Seven Gods of Fortune in Gensokyo, so perhaps the rather fortunate stroke of luck was down to that, especially as she hadn’t seen any rabbits on her way here.

“That is good to hear, I shall begin as soon as I can. I will inform Lady Hijiri that my regular engagements will bring me here to provide training for Miss Hong Meiling, and I shall schedule around my other duties. If Lady Hijiri disapproves of this training partnership, I shall depart and bother you no further.”

Shou gave another respectful bow to the librarian; she had one final question, “If I am to return to your library, would you share with me your name, Lady Librarian?”
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Re: [Ask First] Tiger visits the library

Postby Patchouli Knowledge » 27 Jun 2010 14:14

Patchouli bowed her head, giving her assent to Shou's terms. "Very well then." she says. "Go back and speak to your Lady Hijiri, so that you may have her approval... or not."

There wasn't much that the magician needed to say now, so she gave the tiger youkai her name. "I am Patchouli Knowledge, scholar and archmage." she said, drawing herself up in a dignified posture as she introduced herself. "I specialize in seven forms of elemental magic: Sun, Moon, Earth, Water, Wood, Metal and Fire. I am also known as the Wizard of the Week because of this particular focus."

After giving her name to Shou and stating some of her credentials, Patchouli moved forward. "If there is nothing else, I will call for someone to escort you back to the gates." she says. "This way, you may return to Lady Hijiri, and I can return to my work."
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Re: [Ask First] Tiger visits the library

Postby Shou Toramaru » 29 Jun 2010 12:50

Patchouli Knowledge, Shou turned the name over several times in her head, it was certainly rather unusual, but that was true for the entire mansion she was standing in. As the magician talked about her areas of magical study, she could quickly see why these intruders that had been mentioned hadn’t simply walked off with every book in the library. While Meiling was a capable defender in her own right (Shou decided not to press this point), the librarian herself, despite how frail she appeared to look, had her own array of powerful magic at her command.

“I have no further business here today, I shall speak with Ms Meiling on my way out and inform her of our new agreement, and then I shall return to the Myouren Temple to speak with Lady Hijiri. Thank you for your time, Ms Knowledge.” Shou tried to pronounce the librarian’s name as she had during her introduction, but it probably sounded a bit off. She silently waited for a small fairy maid to take her back through the Mansion’s twisting corridors to the Gates outside.
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