It was a pleasant day in Gensokyo, with spring in full bloom. The fairies were out playing, humans and youkai were going about their business as usual, and all was peaceful across the land of fantasy.
However, this peace was just an annoyance to a certain border shrine maiden.
Reimu was just lying back on the steps of the Hakurei Shrine, staring out over the trees that surrounded her, brooding over her boredom.
There had been no incidents lately, and at first she was glad for the downtime. After taking a well deserved few days off, she had decided that maybe she should clean the shrine up a little bit. 'If only people would donate more, then maybe all that cleaning would have been worth it' Reimu thought bitterly.
With the lack of donators, or any visitors in general, Reimu was starting to lose her mind from boredom.
"I wonder where Marisa has been lately" Reimu said to herself as she rubbed her eyes to get the spots out of her vision. "It isn't like her to just disappear for days like this. Maybe I should go out and make sure she wasn't eaten or something…"
With the downtime given to the two incident resolvers, Reimu and Marisa had been hanging out almost everyday, minus the last few days where Marisa had been oddly absent. Reimu wasn't one to worry though, for she knew that Marisa was tough, and could handle herself, even at her lowest. Even still, Reimu decided that she should check up on her sometime soon though, if only for the fact that without her best friend or anyone else to bug her she would probably keel over from boredom.
As Reimu sat up, a cool breeze blew across the shrine, slightly ruffling her clothes, and causing her to become even more annoyed.
While she tried to straighten her hair ribbon, she muttered something along the lines of 'annoying wind' and 'stupid ribbon'.
With her wardrobe fixed, she stood up and decided to go inside and take a nap, if nothing for lack of anything better to do. 'I could always go sweep again' she mused to herself as she walked through the door to her quarters. She stopped and debated whether she actually should go and sweep, but dismissed the thought quickly, considering it was done earlier that day.
As she was lying down on her futon, one last thought passed through Reimu's mind. 'Marisa better be all right, because if she's not, someone's going to have hell to pay.' As that thought passed she drifted off into sleep, hoping something, anything would happen the next day.
Reimu woke up a few hours later confused, not realizing that she had slept for far longer than she meant to.
She got up and stretched, before going to check how late it had gotten, and seeing that the sun was completely down realized that her whole day had been slept away. 'Great, there goes an entire day, wasted when I could have gone out and did something besides moping.'
Right then Reimu's stomach started to growl, so instead of waiting around brooding about her day, she turned around to go get a bit of dinner. As she started to walk to her pantry, the distinct sound of coins being dropped into her donation box rang out through her home, making her head snap around at the sound.
Rushing out to see who could be donating so much, she was slightly surprised when she saw that it was the Scarlet Devil Mansion's head maid Sakuya.
It had been a while since they had last seen each other, what with Sakuya busy keeping the mansion together and Reimu off solving incidents across Gensokyo. The times that they had interacted, they got along quite well, since Reimu didn't have the annoying tendency to break into the mansions library, like a certain magician she knew did.
"Ah, Reimu, I'm glad that you are awake, but I hope that I didn't wake you up so late in the night." Sakuya said as she was turning around. She was wearing her standard maid uniform, but also had a scarf around her neck to help stave off the chilly night air.
"Eh, it's not a problem, I was already awake anyway. So what are you doing here anyway? Because I was about to grab a bite to eat…" Reimu said as she walked up to Sakuya, trying to look into the box and find out how much Sakuya dropped in. Needless to say, she couldn't see jack in the dark, so she gave up and turned her full attention back to the maid she was speaking to.
Sakuya had a look of minor amusement on her face as she watched the shrine maiden try to get a peek of the inside of the donation box. "Well, I apologize for intruding when you were about to have dinner, but I'm afraid that my visit here isn't strictly a personal visit."
This caught Reimu's attention, and it was evident on her face that she wanted to know what Sakuya had come to her shrine so late in the night for. "So, does little Remi need my help or something? She must be awake by now, so I'm assuming she sent you here for whatever business she might have.
At the 'little' jab to her mistress, along with the casual nickname that Reimu had used, Sakuya's face twitched in slight annoyance, before she regained her composure. "Yes, Mistress Remilia sent me here to ask you something important. But before I do, I must ask. You know that Marisa has been doing Mistress a great favor by entertaining Lady Flandre, right?"
Reimu nodded her head in affirmation, remembering that after the Red Mist incident and encountering Flandre, Marisa had volunteered to be a playmate with the young vampire. Why she would do that of her own will, Reimu never really understood, thinking that one encounter with Remilia's little sister was enough.
"Yea I remember that Marisa decided to be Flandre's playmate, but what does that have to do with me?" Questioned Reimu, as she was starting to get a little suspicious of the reasoning for her being needed. 'Maybe Flandre finally snapped and killed her' Reimu thought, her face morphing into one of horror.
"Yes, as I'm sure you know, Marisa has been sick for the past few days, so Lady Flandre has had no one to play with lately. Everyone in the mansion has been too busy to keep her company, so she has been getting lonely" Said Sakuya, as she looked down in sadness for her Mistresses younger sister.
"Eh? Marisa was sick this entire time and I didn't know?" Reimu was shocked; she should've known her best friend was sick, because if anything she could've helped her to recover. While to most of the residents of Gensokyo, she was a gruff no-nonsense person who had a penchant for laziness, she did care about her friends. She felt anger if one was insulted, and she felt sadness if one was hurt. Reimu was a human after all; she felt emotions just like anyone else.
Sakuya cocked her head to the side as she said, "Yes, Marisa has been sick for about a day now. Alice had stopped by and informed us that she had spent almost two days outside practicing some new magic she had learned, and never thought to stop and get something to eat or to wear warmer clothes at night. You didn't know about this, Reimu?"
As Sakuya told her about what had happened, she did remember that Marisa had been really excited about something. 'It must've been the new magic she learned' Reimu thought to herself. "Now that you mention it, she was really excited last time I saw her, but to be honest I thought she had just gotten into Alice's sweets pantry again, so I thought nothing of it. But Marisa staying outside for two days just to practice magic does seem like something she would do."
"Isn't that the truth. Marisa is one to work hard at what she loves. But that's not the reason I am here, Reimu. Since Marisa is indisposed, Mistress has an offer that I think you might like."
Sakuya paused, before she continued. "We would like you to come to the mansion to be Lady Flandre's new playmate, at least until Marisa gets better."
Reimu paled at Sakuya's proposition. Really, she should've expected this, considering how the conversation had even started. But even so, it caught her off guard, and she opened and closed her mouth, trying so say something, anything, but nothing was coming out, so she looked more like a fish out of water than the calm and cool shrine maiden she usually was.
"Of course, Mistress said she would compensate you for your time, if you do choose to come and watch over her dear sister." Sakuya said, before she realized that Reimu wasn't paying attention, and was probably scaring herself with thoughts of being alone with Flandre, who was know to 'break' her toys and playmates. Sakuya realized that if Reimu continued with those thoughts, then her efforts would be made moot.
"If money isn't enough, I can cook a big meal for you tonight, so you aren't hungry when you are accompanying Lady Flandre. That is, if you agree to come with me." Sakuya added, hoping that her appeal to Reimu's deceptively large appetite, and her mistress' offer of money would be enough to get her to go along with the offer.
Finally Reimu regained her mental balance, and looked back over to Sakuya. "Yea yea, I guess I can come watch the vampire for tonight, but only on two terms."
Sakuya smiled internally, but outwardly her face remained passive, waiting for Reimu to tell her what she wants. She was just thankful that Reimu finally agreed, because while she was out here trying to bring Reimu in as a sitter, Remilia was back home entertaining her sister while she still had time before she left on some business.
"Okay then, tell me what your terms are then. I would like to get back before Mistress gets upset."
"Okay, first is that we stop by Marisa's place to see how she's doing, now that I know she is home sick and not out messing around like she sometimes does. Then for number two, for dinner I want one of them fancy 'western' meals from the outside world that Meiling says you're so good at making." Reimu said, starting to drool at the thought of Sakuya's cooking. She had the honor of eating some of the maid's cooking before, at one of her after incident parties that all the youkai would throw, and she had to say it was some of the best food she has gotten the chance to eat.
"It's a deal then. We should leave immediately, as Mistress and I have some business to attend to at Eintei as soon as possible." Sakuya said as she took off into the night sky.
"All right, as long as I get paid and fed I guess I can do this for a night or two…" Reimu muttered after she took off after Sakuya.
"So exactly how much will I get paid for tonight anyway? I mean all you said was that I would be compensated, but you haven't given me any solid amounts yet." Reimu asked as they flew to the mansion.
Earlier they had stopped at Marisa's place, and realizing that she wasn't home, they decided to fly over to Alice's house instead, knowing that the two magic users were very close, almost as close as Marisa was to Reimu.
When they had barged in through the open bedroom window to see Alice giving Marisa a kiss on the lips after checking her temperature, they both realized just how close they actually were.
"W-w-what the hell!" Sputtered Alice as the twin thumps of people landing in her room sounded next to her. She wasn't expecting visitors that night, and to have them rudely jump through her window was enough cause to make her fall out of her chair.
Marisa on the other hand, just beamed happily at the newcomers from her cozy spot on the bed, waving a hand and greeting them with a peppy "yo!"
"Glad to see you're feeling better Marisa, sorry I didn't come by sooner, but I thought you were off goofing around in the forest again like last time." Reimu said to Marisa, before she turned and help Alice off the ground. "Didn't mean to scare you Alice, but no one answered the door so I figured you both were up here."
Reimu wasn't really surprised about the situation. When it came to stuff like this, she was almost always able to tell when to people were involved with each other. While she was usually very blunt and maybe a bit crass when it came to interacting with others, she was always very observant of others, due to a combination of her duty as a Hakurei and her easily bored mind.
"Wait a minute; you knew we were together Reimu?" Alice asked as she dusted herself off. She thought that they had been very low key about it, that way news of their relationship wouldn't reach the human village, or even worse: Aya.
Reimu shrugged lightly at Alice. "Not completely. I always thought you guys were closer than you let on, but I figured that you didn't tell anybody for a reason."
Marisa, still under the bed covers, frowned at that. "Yea well, it would be pretty bad if my dad found out. I mean, he already disowned me for ditching that arranged marriage years ago, if he caught wind that I got myself a girlfriend, who is a youkai of all things, he would probably go and drive the whole village into a frenzy."
Finally getting over her shock and forcing her blush down, Sakuya finally managed to speak. "You were supposed to have an arranged marriage Marisa? Is your father a noble in the village?" She questioned, thinking Marisa could have been so different if she had gone along with the marriage.
Marisa snorted at that. "As if. He was just the owner of Kirasame-ya second-hand shop. He agreed to marry me off to some rich boy who just wanted to get into my pants. He disowned me when I never showed up to the wedding. When he found me back at home packing my stuff, he went on some rant on how we could've been set up for life, with powerful allies and more crap along those lines. I left without saying anything to him, because being some sex object for a guy who doesn't care about me at all ain't on my to-do list. That's about when I really started livin', I went out, got a mentor, started learnin' magic, made my first friend" at that she gave a grateful smile to Reimu, gave a tiny smile in return, "and things have just gone uphill since then.
"Oh…" Was all Sakuya could get out. She didn't know that Marisa had problems such as that in her past, but Marisa was right, it seemed like luck had favored Marisa for a long time, in many different ways.
"Alright then! That's enough of that, now are you two going to stay for some tea?" Alice asked, trying to keep the conversation from dragging up more memories.
Sakuya shook her head before taking a look at her pocket watch. "Sorry, but we need to get to the mansion quickly. Please do get better soon Marisa, and it was nice seeing you again Alice." She curtsied before turning around and floating out of the window.
"She's right, we need to leave now before Remi has a fit. Make sure Marisa stays out of trouble would ya?" Reimu turned to go follow Sakuya out the window when Marisa got her attention again.
"Hey Reimu, what exactly are you gonna be doing at Remilia's place anyway?" She questioned. She felt like she should know the answer, but just couldn't make the connection to what that answer was.
"Since you got sick, and everybody else will be busy tonight, I'm being hired to watch Flandre tonight." Reimu said with a small sigh. Now that she had time to think about it again, she was having second thoughts. That is until Marisa said something that threw her off guard.
"Don't worry too much about it Reimu. Flandres' a good kid, she won't cause you any trouble, and you might be surprised on how happy she would be to see you." Marisa said, flashing a toothy grin to her Red-White friend.
Remiu cocked an eyebrow at that. "Why would she be happy to see me? The only time I met her we beat her up to stop the rampage she was on."
Marisa snickered, and Reimu decided that Marisa knew something that she didn't, which bugged her greatly. "Hey! Answer the question already! Why would she be happy to see me?!" Reimu was getting flustered now. It was never a good thing when Marisa knew something that she didn't.
Alice had a smug smile on her face as well. "Don't worry Reimu, if what Marisa told me is true, then you should be fine. In fact, I bet things will turn out better than fine." She said with a wink. "Now hurry, you don't want to keep your hosts waiting" Alice finished while shooing Reimu out of her window.
"Alright, alright jeez, I'll give you time to suck face before bed." Reimu muttered to herself, zipping out the window before Alice could hit her.
After Reimu caught back up with Sakuya, they both doubled their efforts to get to the mansion before Remilia got upset. Sakuya herself wasn't too worried, knowing that her Mistress did enjoy spending time with her younger sister, contrary to what some people may have thought.
"Hey Sakuya, are you going to have enough time to cook for me before you leave?" Reimu said as she put a hand on her rumbling stomach. She really didn't like going so long without dinner, so she hoped that Sakuya would still stick to their deal.
"Of course Reimu, I do have the ability to manipulate time, and I will need to make my Mistress her meal as well. You two can talk about your responsibilities and payment over dinner before we leave."
'That's good, if I don't eat soon I might just die' Reimu thought to herself. She could see the clock tower of the mansion in the distance, glowing eerily in the night. It grew bigger as they drew closer, and more of the mansion became clear as they flew past the edge of the forest.
The first thing that she noticed was that nobody was guarding the gate. "Sakuya, where is Meiling at? Is she asleep inside?" Then she thought of something that made her grin mischievously. "Or is she waiting for you in your room." When she said this, Sakuya's face turned completely red, with her blush spreading all the way up to her ears.
"W-what? N-no, no, she is out visiting her sister, and won't be back until tomorrow; and how do you even know about us? Have you been spying or something?" Sakuya snipped, wondering just how in the hell Reimu can tell when two people are together.
"Well to be honest, I had no idea. I was just joking around." She rubbed her chin in thought as they landed before the big wooden double door at the front of the mansion. "Thought I guess I should've been able to tell, because the last time I saw the two of you, you kept shooting glances at each other. Oh well, I was to drunk to tell or care then, and what you do in the bedroom isn't my business."
Sakuya landed next to her and walked up to the door. As she pushed it open, she spoke. "We've been together for a long time now. She is actually visiting her sister to bring her back to meet me. Meiling was so excited about getting me and her sister to meet each other."
"How does Meiling even have a sister anyway? She is a youkai right? If so, then I don't see how that works at all." Reimu said as she walked into the large foyer.
"To be honest I don't actually know. Every time I asked about it she would dodge the question. There is actually a lot about her past that she hasn't told me yet. Hopefully she will tell me sometime soon…" Sakuya finished, feeling slightly dejected that Meiling hasn't told her much about herself, but also understood that some people had secrets that they just don't want others to know about.
Reimu sighed at the face Sakuya was making. "Look, if I know Meiling at all, she just wants to surprise you with her past or something. Heck, she might even tell you all about it once she gets back with her sister."
"I suppose you are right, Meiling does like to save things like that for a big surprise."
As they were walking towards the dining room, they heard loud whispering coming from the end of the hallway. "That sounds like Mistress, but I can't tell who she is talking to." Sakuya looked at Reimu with an arched brow.
"Well, let's go spy on them. Maybe we can see who it is in all these shadows that your Mistress loves so much." Reimu said as she crouched down before moving along the wall towards Remilia's voice.
I really don't think this is a good idea Reimu…" Sakuya whispered as she followed the shrine maiden. Despite her protests, she was curious on who would be visiting her mistress this late at night.
As they inched closer and closer, the Remilia's whispering become more coherent, and they managed to catch the end of the conversation.
"…not go out with you! All you do is stalk me and harass me all the damn time!" Remilia whisper yelled at the unseen visitor.
"Oh, don't be like that little Remi. I just follow you around because I like you, that's all. Besides, with you changing your sister's fate, we would see more of each other anyway, if things go as planned."
When the unseen person spoke, Reimu's head shot up in recognition. Abandoning her little spy session, she ran around the corner of the hallway to come across a heavily blushing Remilia, and Yukari standing there looking like she was having the time of her life.
"Oh Reimu, I was wondering when you would quit your spying and show yourself. I must be going now though, as I'm sure Ran has finished cooking dinner by now. Also, I will make you mine eventually, you cute little vampire." Yukari finished with a wink, before turning and disappearing into a gap.
The remaining trio just sat there in an awkward silence, with Remila trying to get her blush under control, Sakuya trying to grasp what the hell just happened, and Reimu just rubbing her forehead in annoyance.
"I'm not little!" Remilia burst out after another minute of no one talking.
Reimu raised a brow at that. "That's all you have to say, not you won't be hers or something along those lines?" Reimu smirked. "You know, that makes you seem kinda like a tsundere."
This made Remilia blush again, before she realized just who was talking to her. "Reimu! Ah, um…well it's a good thing you are here. Come, I assume Sakuya offered to make you dinner?" When Reimu nodded an affirmative, Remilia turned to the dining hall. "Good then, we can discuss your duties for tonight and the pay that will come with it."
As Sakuya curtsied, before disappearing to the kitchen, Reimu followed the vampire into the large dining hall. "So what is she even going to make anyway? She wouldn't give me any clues, just that we would be getting the same thing." Reimu asked, trying to suppress the growl in her stomach.
"Of course, she wouldn't tell you, because I requested that she would keep it a secret. But I am sure you will enjoy it either way. I have to say it is one of my favorite dishes, despite not being as extravagant as some of my other meals."
Remilia took a seat at the head of the large rectangular dinner table, leaning on it and meshing her fingers together as she watched Reimu take a seat to her left.
As Reimu got comfortable in her seat, Remilia started to speak. "So I assume you want to know the terms of your payment for tonight, am I right?" Reimu nodded when the vampire looked at her for confirmation. "Alright then. I don't know exactly how long Sakuya and I will be gone tonight, as our business may very well last all night, or it might end in mere minutes. So I have decided that, since you are doing me a grand favor by watching over my dear sister on such short notice, I think a lump payment of fifty thousand yen after my return would suit you just fine. Is this acceptable, Reimu?"
As Remilia talked, Reimu just sat there leaning on the palm of her hand, only half paying attention. When the vampire mentioned how much Reimu would get she nearly fell over in surprise. Eyes glazing over just a bit at the large sum of cash she was just promised, she nodded her head, not able to muster up her voice to say anything just yet.
"Great then! Now, Sakuya should be arriving with dinner in a moment so…ah, here she is now" Sakuya opened the large dining hall door, pulling in a cart with two silver covered platters on it. Reimu, getting a whiff as the food was brought closer started to drool a bit. After setting down the platters in front of the two and lifting the lids to reveal two delicious looking tenderloin steaks, with a side of mashed potatoes for Reimu and a small bit of rice, Sakuya gave Remilia her standard red tea, and Reimu a cup of plain tea.
"Please enjoy your meals." Sakuya stated with a small smile, before giving a curtsy and leaving her mistress and guest to their dinner.
"Soooo….what is this that we're eating Remi, because it smells like nothing that I've ever eaten before." Reimu asked the vampire, who was already cutting off a small piece and daintily putting it in her mouth.
"Mmm, this is beef tenderloin, one of the best cuts of meat you can get. Sakuya is one of the best preparers of steak that I have ever had the chance of meeting, I'm sure you will agree."
"If you say so." Reimu said as she took her first bite. Her eyes widened as her taste buds exploded in ecstasy at the savory flavor that was the steak. "Wow." Was all she could mutter .After that, she cut off another piece, and smeared it with the potatoes, before shoving it in her mouth.
Remilia looked up to see Reimu chowing down on her meal, with her potatoes completely gone and the steak almost done as well. It made her think of her little sister, and how messy of an eater she could be when excited. 'Excellent. They will get along perfectly if given enough time.'
When the both of them were done, a thought that was bugging Reimu at the beginning of her meal hit her again. "How come your sister isn't here Remi? Is she still not allowed out of the basement or what?" 'Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all…' Reimu thought again. If Flandre wasn't even allowed out of her room to eat, maybe she still is just as crazy as she thought she was.
"Of course she is allowed out of the basement. I am not some barbarian who would keep her sister locked up. She already ate before us, and I told her to get cleaned up because she was going to have a special guest. She hasn't come out to see who it is because she gets nervous around people that she has never met before. She hasn't had the best experiences with people, and was always shy when it came to meeting someone new." Remilia turned somber at that. "That was one of the reasons we came to Gensokyo. With all the antagonism to us vampires, nowhere was safe, no matter how secluded from everywhere else."
Reimu was shocked at that. She never actually knew why they had showed up in Gensokyo, and had never bothered to ask. In fact, she never did understand why or even how people got through the Hakurei barrier, but never really cared to find any of that out. "Oh…um…uh…I didn't know. I'm sorry? Reimu asked tentatively. She really had no idea what to say at this moment, and just maybe she should have stayed quiet instead, but she decided to just roll though it like with anything else.
Remilia sighed at that. "Its fine, Reimu, really. We made it here in one piece, and despite the incident we caused, all is well with life and everyone is happy to be here." Looking up Remilia noticed the time on the old Grandfather clock sitting behind Reimu. "Well well, it looks like it is time for Sakuya and I to depart. Flandre should be waiting in her room. I will take you to her, and you will get paid when I return." Remilia said as they both stood up.
Together they walked out of the dining room, heading for the basement. Reimu, despite being the top notch youkai exterminator she knew she was, could feel her anxiety get worse with every step. Fighting Flandre on that night was one of the hardest battles she ever had, and there were many tough battles that she had participated in. Just the fact that the little blonde vampire had the ability to destroy anything was very nerve racking.
"This is where we part Reimu." Remilia said as they stopped at a large wooden door. Surprisingly, it looked like every other door in the mansion. 'Well, at least that means that she doesn't try to break out often if the door isn't reinforced….I hope.'
"Now, I'm leaving my sister in your care. Treat her nicely, and I might even through in a little extra money in your payment." The vampire said giving her a stern look.
"Alright already, don't get your bloomers in a bundle. As long as she doesn't try to kill me, or maim me, or….anything equally painful and deadly, I'm sure we will be just fine."
Remilia smirked at that. "Trust me; you won't have to worry about any of that. Now, I must be going immediately. Flan will be waiting somewhere in her room." Remilia said over her shoulder as she walked away.
"Yea, ok. Right. See you later I guess." Reimu mumbled to herself. 'Alright Reimu, you're the Hakurei Shrine Maiden. You got this. Its just baby-sitting…..kinda. I guess she is older than me isn't she? Nevermind…lets just get this done.' After mentally building her courage, she grabbed the doorknob and slowly pushed the door inwards. Her breath caught in her throat when the hinges squeaked loudly.
After taking a second to calm her heart, she thought to herself. 'I've taken on angry gods, dangerous youkai, and still I'm scared of a little vampire. Come on Reimu, knuckle up! Sure she is a vampire, with a deadly ability. She's not the only one you have fought like that, and you're no slouch yourself!' Reimu walked into the large room, her eyes being drawn to the large four poster bed sitting against the far wall in between two nightstands with candles on them.
It wasn't as dark as she was expecting, considering there were no windows due to the room being in the basement, and the only two candles in the room were not lit. She figured that maybe the room was enchanted by Patchouli, as that was the only reason she could come up with. She walked to the middle of the room and looked around, not seeing the little vampire that she was supposed to keep company until Remilia's return.
"Hello? Flandre? Hey, where are you? I'm supposed to be your playmate for the night." Reimu called out.
She shifted to one of the closed doors that she noticed when a loud sound caused Reimu to jump up and turn around,
Only to get a close look at glowing blood red eyes.