It's times like this that I remember why I have friends- to kick my sorry ass into gear and actually put out the next chapter of a story. I have a lot of fun planning stories out, to the point that at last count I have... I think nineteen(?) stories that want to be written. Will they ever?

...Yukari. That's all I'm going to say. She's also the reason why this chapter took so long. She wanted to try being a DM for D&D, and she was using Gensoukyou logic for the campaign, and well, yeah. I think I'd rather try to talk to Deadpool for a week straight than go through Yukari's D&D sessions ever again.

On the last chapter, going to be honest. Looking back at it, I wasn't really happy with it. Felt too rushed to me. Not going to go back and fix it though, since it works for what it was intended for. I am going to try and avoid making that mistake again though. You all deserve better than that.

Ah well, enough bitching from me. Let's get started.

An hour later found the entirety of the mansion and myself sitting around a long table in the dining room, not a one of us saying a word. Meiling sat across from me, several bandages on her face and one of her hands wrapped up all the way to her fingertips. Considering that she pulled knives from her face earlier with no care or trouble, that just tells me how bad she got hurt now.

Patchouli is asleep in a chair to my right, snoring quietly. I guess she pushed herself a little too far and her sickness (or one of several, I stopped paying attention to Sakuya after she listed the fifth health problem and what it did to the purple mage. Or was it the sixth?) started acting up. Thankfully, she had some medicine on her for it, but it makes her drowsy. I'd feel more sorry for her, but since she sicced her bloody succubus after me...

Wait, do I lose man points for running from a hot chick who wanted to jump my bones? I mean, I think I'm justified in it since she was trying to light me on fire, but still. Best not think about it right now.

Koa herself is standing in a corner at the far end of the room. I'm not quite sure what happened to her, but from what I can understand, she got ripped a new one. I was told she calmed down after I threw that last fairy over my shoulder to take the blow for me. I found out after I woke up that the fairy, who Sakuya is standing nervously next to, wasn't a fairy. It was the mistress of the house, Remilia Scarlet.

Yeah. I used the lady that everyone in this mansion is scared of as a vampire meat-shield. I can tell you right now that she did NOT appreciate that. You'd think she wouldn't mind, what with being a supposedly powerful vampire that, from what I can gather, nobody likes to fuck with. But she took offense to that. And she's not blaming Koakuma for throwing the fireballs, or even Patchouli who gave the order to throw said fireballs. Go figure.

This all leads back to my current situation. I'm currently in a staring contest with Remilia, trying to not let my fear show. Yeah, she looks like a seven year-old girl in a fancy dress with a silly little mop-like hat, but when I got close enough to smell blood coming from said dress, I was wary. And when Meiling had whispered to me (Before getting knifed in the head again for "talking about the mistress behind her back") that the dress was permanently stained red from blood, I decided that perhaps I should be a bit more careful about who I used as a meat-shield. Remilia, on the other hand, looks like she's trying to set me on fire with her glare. The uncomfortable contest is broken by Remilia as she leans forward, resting her elbows on the table and interlacing her fingers in front of her face. After a few more seconds she finally speaks up.

"So let me get this straight. You came here to meet with my head maid to learn how to use a knife."

I nod. "Yes'm."

"You were given a test, by Patchy, to determine if you were worth the effort."

"Yup. Though I was kinda misled about the... goal of the test." The last part of my answer goes ignored for the most part, except for Sakuya, who's eyebrow twitched, and Meiling who barely manages to hold back a laugh.

"You then proceeded to flee from Koakuma," Remilia continues. "And in order to avoid her attacks you threw my workers into the line of fire, quite literally."

I shrug. "Remind me to thank them for that. They were pretty useful at that task, I might have to have them to it again." That answer gets Remilia to scowl more, but she keeps talking anyways.

"You then threw ME into a fireball, ran off without apologizing-"

"Because I had no clue who you were, and my life held more importance at the time." I intterupt.

"-without apologizing and checking to see if I was okay." Remilia says a bit louder. "You then ran into the basement, despite being told by multiple people to NEVER go into the basement." Now it's my eyebrow that's twitching.

"Maybe next time you should put up a sign then. And why is your sister in a basement, of all places? The hell did she do to piss you off?" My answer is a danmaku bullet hitting the table in front of me. I didn't see it coming, but I do manage to avoid panicking or jumping out of my chair. Instead I just move backwards in my chair, pressing myself up against the backrest. And all without breaking eye contact. Cool points: acquired! "Testy, aren't we?" I tease a bit. I quickly shut up when Remilia's eyes start to glow.

"The one thing, however," She snaps as she rises from her chair- literally rises- and floats over to stare me right in the face. "that I cannot forgive is that you have Flandre asking-!"

"Ne, ne, onee-sama! I finished cleaning my room! Now will you tell me what 'fuck' means?"

We all turn towards the voice that just spoke up. Blonde hair with it puled into a pigtail on one side, red dress, wings that look like wires with crystals hanging from them. Yup, there stands Remilia's little sister Flandre, an absolutely adorable little girl that is absolutely terrifying to me. Even more than her big sister, every single part of my mind is telling me to stay the hell away. And not even because of that little incident earlier. There's something else.

"Flandre! That's not something you say! That's a bad word, do you understand me?"

I snap back to the situation at hand. Remilia is scolding Flandre for using unlady-like language. Totally my fault, I'll admit, but hell. When you're about to be ended by a vampire loli who thinks that you're playing a game, and that the game involves smiting people, let's see how well you mind your language. Remilia continues on, regardless of my thoughts.

All Flandre does is tilt her head to the side with a confused look. "Eh? But the onii-san there said it first. Why didn't he get told not to use it?"

Oh great, shifting the blame on me. Thanks a lot kid. If she had done it to anyone else but me, I'd probably be applauding how easily she managed to do it. But since it is me she's doing it to, I can only feel frustrated. Still, Remilia's giving me the death glare again. Guess I should at least try and help her out here.

I lean back in my chair, looking at Flandre who's now standing behind me. "That's because of a couple of reasons, kiddo. First, I'm an adult, so I can be a bit more mature with my language. Secondly, I'm a uncivilized peasant, not a high-class person like you or your sister. So I'm a bit more, er... what's the word I'm looking for?"

"Vulgar?" Remilia snips from her chair.

"Crass?" Sakuya offers up from her spot.

"Dirty?" Meiling speaks up, not wanting to be left out. Her contribution earns her a knife to the head, for some reason. Whatever it was, I'm sure she deserved it and I'm not going to question it. Instead I turn back to Flandre.

"Yeah, all of those. But a little girl like you shouldn't be saying those kinds of words, all right?" My question only serves to put a pout on her face. I'm guessing she thinks it's not fair that I can say and do things she can't.

"Tell ya what." I suggest. "While I'm here, I'll try not to say those words myself. But you have to promise not to say any bad words until you're older. Deal?"

The little tyke beams widely at my words. Guess I did the right thing. "Deal!" she agrees, jumping forward and around my chair to hug me. Thankfully, before she can reach me I've already stood up and away from the chair, and Flandre's grasp. The minute she got close to me all the hairs on my neck stood up, and I just felt the need to move away. The little blondie gets a confused look on her face at my sudden movement, one that I try hard to ignore. Instead I focus on Remilia.

"So, I'm reminded for whatever reason you can think of, you wanted to talk to me about something?" I ask the lady of the mansion. Subtle, I am not, but it's not like I'm a swift planner. I'm just running off instinct here. Thankfully Remilia picks up on my intention and stands up as well, ignoring Sakuya's out-stretched hand to aid her.

"Indeed. Sakuya, please take Flan out into the garden while I speak with our guest. Meiling, help Koakuma get Patchy into her bed, and then return to your duties." After both women bow and accept the orders Remilia has given them, Remilia starts walking over to a door at the side of the room. "Mr. Jay. Pray, walk with me for a bit." Without even waiting for me to answer she opens the door and walks out of the room. Well, at least she left the door open for me. I follow after her, rolling my shoulders as I do. For some reason they felt really heavy. Must be from all the stress I've gone through today.

I quickly catch up to Remilia, which isn't that hard to do. She's waiting for me outside a door in the hall, and doesn't move until after I'm right beside her. Once I am, she opens the door and walks on without a word, me following. We keep going like this for awhile, walking through the hallways until we need to go through a door, and then walking again. I don't even bother to try and keep track of the time or even to memorize where we came from. All these halls look the bloody same to me, and I've always been pretty poor at directions and knowing where to go unless I have landmarks to go off of. Kinda hard here in Gensoukyou, but I digress. After a bit more walking, Remilia finally speaks up.

"You're not exactly the swiftest antelope in the herd, are you?"

I blink at her question. "I'm sorry, that's a new one. What did you just say?"

My guide merely rolls her eyes and grumbles. "I said that you weren't very smart. Do you honestly think that you were being subtle in your attempt to avoid my sister? I've seen more subtle attempts from that little ice fairy."

I glance down at the little girl berating me, a bit lost. "What ice fairy? Did you forget that I'm new here?" I sigh, rubbing the back of my head. "Know what, forget I asked. Knowing my luck I'll find out who you're talking about sooner than I'd like. And honestly, I probably could have found a more subtle way of getting out of there if I had had time to think. But she didn't really give me time to. And you really did want to talk to me, remember?"

"Too true," Remilia nods, stopping in front of a door so abruptly that I end up taking another three steps past her before catching myself. She opens the door and steps through it into another short hall with only a single door at the end, ignoring my little mess-up. "Still, now that you've basically snubbed her, my little sister well now start to hound you. Such a child, she is. Once something has caught her fancy she'll not stop pursuing it, until one of two things happens. Either she decides she wants to keep it, or..."

I gulp. I don't really like that 'or' at the end, and I don't think I should find out. But my mouth betrays me. "What?"

She merely smirks as we reach the end of the hall, reaching her hand out to grab the handle of the door in front of us. "Or she grows bored of her toy and... breaks it. She is but a child, after all. And children don't like to keep or take care of things that don't amuse them."

Remilia turns the handle but doesn't open it yet, turning instead to face me as her smirk becomes bigger and her eyes glow a faint red. "So do try and make yourself entertaining, for your sake as much as hers." With that warning my host opens the door and steps through, snapping her fingers as she does. As I step through and the sound of her snap ends, all the candles in the room burst to life, lighting the room quite well. As impressive as that was, however, something else captures my attention.

Weapons. On every single wall, a vast array of blades and clubs and a whole bunch of other things are mounted. The center of the room isn't empty though. Lined up on racks laid out like aisles in a store are even more of the deadly tools. Remilia has quite the collection, I have to give her that. I'm no expert, but even I can tell that the weapons here aren't just regular iron and steel. A quick check with my eyes leads to me almost being blinded from trying to see the 'lines' on the deadly assortment before me. All of them are probably enchanted or blessed, maybe even both. Rubbing the spots out of my eyes lets me see Remilia giving me another smirk, as if she knew what I had tried to do. With a frown I try to ignore her smug look, taking a closer look at some of the blades near me. Seeing that I'm not falling for her little game, the little blood-sucker waves her hand, causing the door to shut behind me.

"Breathtaking, is it not?" Remilia asks, strolling over to the wall on my left. She raises a hand to caress a bright silver shield with a blue, v-like design near the bottom. "You'll find, Mr. Jay, that being long-lived brings many things. Power, knowledge, respect, fear. And with those things, you'll also find that it brings you enemies as well. Of course, being a child of the night brings you these things at a much faster pace. But then, humans do so enjoy thinking that anything that is not mortal is a taint on the world. Or to be more specific, they think it a threat to their own self-appointed supremacy. And just like any desperate and delusional fool, they try everything they can to kill said taint. Most fail, of course. Some get lucky."

Remilia steps away from the shield, next stopping in front of a shelf that holds a myriad of vials and jars. She reaches up and grabs a small glass container, a blue fire burning inside. As she stares into it she continues talking to me, going on about a subject I'm not sure I follow.

"That is where the problem starts, you see, especially for us vampires. Killed by sunlight? That is false. The rumor started after a fledgling vampire, succumbing to his wounds, turned to ash just as he stepped back into the sunlight streaming in through a window. Holy water? It does not weaken us. The glass containing the fluid shattered and entered his eyes, and some went down his throat, thus making him easily killed. Because of these accidents and rumors, it was obvious that the church and other 'holy' religions would be seen as our enemies." Remilia scoffs and places the jar back on the shelf, a sneer on her face. "Utter foolishness."

I step closer to her, a bit confused. "So you're saying that all of those weaknesses I've heard about are false? Garlic, stakes made of ash wood, all that jive?"

Remilia frowns, stepping over to the next weapon on the wall. A longsword hangs here, the silver blade shining dully. The hilt, designed to look like two lions' heads, is chipped and worn. She stares at it before she answers.

"Perhaps I misspoke a mite." she amends. "True, these things of normal quality eventually became enough to take care of the newer and weaker vampires. Against a stronger level of vampire, however, they would do little to us. At the most, it would annoy us. It would take something of a much higher level to do us harm. This sword, for example, was forged with silver from a cross in a church, heated by a fire burning wood from what is said to be the same cross their messiah was nailed to and holly, and bathed in holy water blessed by the head of the church himself. However, as you can imagine, the more powerful the weapon the rarer it is. So eventually everybody looks for that 'legendary weapon' that killed a vampire, not realizing that its power wanes over time. It is an inevitable fact, just as it is true that vampires only get stronger with age. In the end you have a weapon that is far weaker than it once was against the might of a vampire that has lived long enough to become one of the strongest beings in the world. And of course, these are humans we're talking about. A sword of holy magic at the peak of it's power is no better than a broken spade in the hands of a stable-boy, wouldn't you agree? And of course, that's only the physical part of the problem. Pray, can you tell me what the other side of it is?"

I close my eyes, trying to figure out what she's telling me. I think I understand what this room is for now, and why she brought me here. I'd probably call her arrogant, but I can't. If what she's implying is true, her having all these weapons is simply an obvious conclusion to a bad situation. I step past her to go look at a weapon near the corner, a pump action shotgun with the pump handle replaced by a long horizontal piece sticking out about six inches on each end and making the whole thing look like a cross. Props to whoever made this, they clearly wanted the holy part backed up by some good ol' fashioned heavy firepower. If my hunch is right though, it didn't do the poor guy much good. Finally deciding on my answer I turn around to my host, who's watching me with a small smile, a finger up to her lips.

"Human nature." I state, looking slowly over the room and the weapons- no, trophies that it holds. "I'm guessing some of the idiots who came to pick a fight with you were hoping for glory or some such thing, and it... I dunno, weakened the weapon? And they certainly can't have been the first, right? I mean, you see stories like that all the time. A virtuous hero, surrounded by adoring fans and having glory and praise showered on him becomes corrupt or too proud. Eventually, it gets to the point that it all goes bad, and his arrogance gets him killed. Someone finds the weapon, is told what it is, and this time we have a not-so virtuous man taking it up to repeat the cycle."

I look back at Remilia who seems to be looking at me with a bit of happiness and pride. Guess my hunch was right. All the weapons here are from poor dumb shmuck who thought himself better than he was and ended up getting offed. And judging by the number of her trophies here, nobody seemed to get the hint of 'Don't fuck with the Scarlet Devil'. Dumbasses should have paid attention the first time, or at least after the tenth. A funny thought occurs to me, and I grin at the little vampire.

"How many of the dumb shits thought you'd be an easy hit because you look like a kid?" Remilia chuckles darkly.

"Honestly, I stopped keeping count. A few didn't, but at least half of those were so caught up in their own delusions of their own power or that of their weapon that I oftentimes wonder if I shouldn't count them in the same vein." She chuckles again, her eyes shining. "Now that I think about it, I do recall a young man asking the exact same question you did, word for word. I think he was... number thirty-five? Couldn't have been the fortieth, though after awhile they all start to blend together. I do think he was one of the ones that lasted the longest, though, so I suppose I should ask Patchy if she remembers. Young man should be remembered, even if he did fail. The only reason he died when he did was because our battle took us to the library, and he accidentally destroyed the tome she was reading. And they call me violent."

So, note to self: Patchouli is someone to not tick off. I shake my head and try to get the conversation back on topic. "So, why are you telling me all of this? What's the point? I mean," I sweep my arm to the side, gesturing to all the weapons in the room. "I get that this is basically a trophy room that is your subtle way of telling me not to fuck with you, but still. That can't be it, right?"

Remilia merely smirks again, walking over to the wall opposite of the one with all the stuff she had been looking at before. Curious, and a little miffed that she ignored my question, I follow after her. I stand right behind her, noticing her gave on one particular item. Of course, when I see it, my eyes bug out and my jaw drops.

Unlike the rest of the items here, which are hanging out on hooks or placed on shelves, this one is hanging inside a small wooden case, the entire front of said case being glass so that one could look in. Now normally you'd expect such a thing would hold something fancy, or at the least bit valuable. Here, not so much. It's just a long cord of leather coiled up, one end rather thin, and the other is think so it acts like a grip. And on that grip is written two words 'Vampire Killer'. I turn my head to the small vampire next to me, simultaneously bringing up an arm to point at the object. Remilia simply smiles mockingly, waiting for my words. It takes me awhile, but I finally say them.

"You mean to tell me you beat a Belmont? Wait, before that, they actually existed? Just how fucking powerful are you? !" My questions earn me a round of laughter from the little blood-sucker. Not even mocking laughter, or anything like that. Pure, joyful laughter pours out of Remilia's mouth, and I notice that she's even having trouble standing because she's laughing so hard. I know that I should probably consider this a good thing, getting her to laugh like this, it shows that I'm actually getting her to like me. But I'm far too distracted that she beat a bloody Belmont. Finally she gets a hold of herself, wiping away the tears in her eyes as she chuckles a few more times. "You done?" I ask, a bit irritated at her fit.

"My apologies for that. It's just so nice to see that somebody can appreciate my power at such a level. To think that you are actually familiar with the Belmont family, and just how great they are. And so that helps you understand just how much greater I am." Ignoring my urge to tell her just how many people in my world are 'familiar' with the Belmont name, I let her continue. "Ah, but you asked me a question, didn't you? Yes, I did defeat a Belmont. The last of them, to be precise. It was a long struggle, I assure you, and more than once I thought that I might lose. But eventually, fate decided me the victor. Since then I have had no other hunter challenge me for my head."

Well, yeah, if you beat a Belmont than nobody is going to fuck with you. Still, hat's off to Remilia for this win. And to the hunter who did well enough that Remilia gave praise to him. Little lady is mighty prideful, so for her to admit having difficulty putting him down is definitely something major. "Did you at least let his family know about how well he did before he failed?" I ask, putting my hand against the wall as I lean towards the whip to get a closer look.

"Hm?" Remilia responds, looking at me a bit confusedly. "'Before he-'?" All of a sudden she starts laughing again, prompting me to pull away from whip and level a glare at her.

"I really don't think it was that funny of a question." I mutter, a bit insulted. Thankfully, her little fit doesn't last as long this time.

"No, no, it's not that." Remilia assures me, waving her hand as if to assuage my anger. "It's just- *ahem!* I didn't kill the poor dear. I let them go, keeping the whip as a reminder of that battle. Ah, memories..."

I give Remilia a neutral look. "Something about what you said doesn't seem all that believable." I tell her flatly. I don't think that she'd let someone that powerful go, especially if they almost won several times, if Remilia's words are true. Considering that she admitted her near defeat shortly after bragging about how powerful she is, I'm inclined to take her word for it. I give a mental sigh, and decide to drop the issue. Remilia merely gives a small chuckle and responds to my previous statement, unknowing and uncaring of my thoughts.

"Oh, I have my pride, Mr. Jay. My pride has led to where I'm at, and judges my actions. It aids me in deciding what I do with my life, and what I do with the lives of those who challenge me. It is the only way that those who lose me to may experience mercy from me. The weaklings die shamefully, cowering and broken before me, or arrogant and indignant about their defeat. That is not the way a warrior should meet his end. No, they should die with pride in how they did, and acceptance of the results of the fight. In order to beat a vampire, or indeed any opponent, you must accept that you yourself may die. Go in with the desire to win, but with the knowledge and acceptance that death may take you to it's side. The dear child did just that, and the only request made of me was that I make sure they got a proper burial. Of course, I couldn't just kill such a promising human, one so full of potential. Hence the reason for my mercy. And of course," Here Remilia turns to face me fully, her eyes glowing a dull red again. I don't know if it's just be, but it looks like the lights aren't as bright. I don't know if it's her doing or not, but either way if she's doing this for intimidation it's working. I try as hard as I can not to let it show on my face though. Thankfully my jeans are baggy enough that you can't see my knees shaking a little. "My pride is the entire reason I showed you this room."

I barely manage to swallow, trying my damndest to look her in the eye and answer her levelly. "Y-yeah? How does that work?" I ask. Yay, I only stuttered once, she'll never find out that she's making me anxious.

...Ok, even if this is a serious situation, I still think I could have put that in a better way, internal sarcasm or not. Still, it actually helps calm me down and get my nerves (and knees) under control. Remilia ignores my new-found courage and just walks up to me, never once breaking eye contact. She keeps walking until she's about a foot away, at which point she starts flapping her wings to level herself up so that our faces are at equal level. She then closes the gap to about six inches before she starts talking again, her voice soft but clear.

"When the strong stand on top or even anywhere near, everything they do and say spreads and carries weight and consequences to their reputation. For those that have servants and soldiers this extends to them as well, meaning that whatever they do reflects onto us. Sakuya is my most loyal servant, and has a rather significant reputation of her own. Thus, her teaching you and how well you do so in her training along with all the things you'll do afterward shall eventually come back to me. With that said, I will allow you to train under her so long as you swear to do nothing that shall tarnish my name. Do we have an agreement, Mr. Jay?

I suppress the urge to wipe my brow in relief. That'd be admitting weakness and at this point I think it could actually hurt me. Just a feeling, is all. "Well, I seriously doubt I'll be doing anything that hefty or, well, public that'll do anything to insult you. But still, yeah. I'm cool with your conditions. I hold out my hand to shake, an action she meets to seal our deal.

"Excellent." she states, releasing my hand and floating away and back down onto the floor. "Than I shall have Sakuya stop by in the human village for the next week, starting tomo-"

"Whoa whoa whoa!" I interrupt, getting a scowl from Remilia. I ignore it. "One week? She's going to teach me how to use a knife in one week? The hell does that work? !"

Remilia's scowl deepens, but she still answers in a polite, no-nonsense tone. "Don't be ridiculous. She has plenty of duties here to do, and stepping out to make the trip to the village to teach a no-name human how to use a knife for someone who's not even going to serve me is already pushing your luck. She's not teaching you how to fight, that is the job of that mutt on the mountain. Sakuya will teach you enough so that you at least won't fall on your own blade. But if you want to learn fully from Sakuya, you'd either have to walk here everyday for months and hope that she's not busy doing something for me. That means you run the risk of dealing with my little sister, something you've already displayed displeasure in. Or if you want you can live here while learning, so long as you make yourself useful in tasks that any of the manor's inhabitants may need. It carries the same risk of dealing with my sister, but at least you'll know when Sakuya is free for training. No? Well then, everyday for a week in the human village it is. Now-"

"My lady." A voice speaks up from my right, scaring the bejeezus out of me and getting Remilia to turn her head slightly in the direction of the new speaker. Sakuya ignores my reaction and simply bows to her mistress. "Reimu is outside the front door to take our guest back. She asks that we hurry up and bring our guest out before she decides to, and I quote, 'let myself in and get the suicidal idiot out, I've got better things to do'.

Remilia chuckles, only this time it sounds rather weak. "Ah, Reimu. Subtle as a brick she is. Mr. Jay, where are your accommodations?"

"Er," I start, a little confused at the vampires reaction to Reimu and at why the miko is even here for me in the first place. Did she come all the way here for little old me? I'm flattered, really. Surprised, but flattered. "I'm staying with Akyuu. Do you know who she is?" My question is mostly ignored by the two ladies, but I think I'm starting to get used to it. Sob.

"Well then Sakuya, as I'm sure you've heard, you will be teaching Jay how to use a knife to at least a level where he wouldn't be better off with just throwing a rock." Remilia informs Sakuya. "You have one week to do so, after all your previous chores here are done. Try to spend at least two hours a day teaching him, I think he'd appreciate it."

...Well fuck you too, sunshine.

While I'm doing my internal grumblings, Sakuya merely bows once more to Remilia before walking over to me. "Please don't move, Jay. It'll make this easier for me." she tells me. Naturally, I'm a bit confused, but before I can say anything she grabs onto my shoulder. The girl's hands are small and thin, but damn does she have a grip. And she's cold too, I can feel it through my shirt and... wait, how did we get to the front door? The hell did I miss? Sakuya just walks to the door ignoring me having my panic attack.

"Time stop." she answers my unasked question. "I do believe Meiling told you before that I can control time? In any case I'll arrive after lunch time tomorrow. We'll start by finding a blade that suits you. Do you have any questions?"

I scratch my head. It's not really about her coming to teach me, but still I feel the need to ask. "Yeah, were you here when Remilia beat that Belmont?" My inquiry makes Sakuya stop for a brief second before she continues leading me to the door.

"I was. Why do you ask?" Her tone is flat, and I almost rethink asking my next question. Eh, screw it. I want to know, and if Sakuya is Remilia's most trusted servant and was here for that fight, then maybe she'll be able to answer.

"Well, it's just that Remilia said she let the dude go." I roll my shoulders, once more feeling that odd weight on them. "I was just wondering where that guy went to. Thought you might know where he is, or at least what's she's doing right now."

As I finish giving my reason Sakuya opens one of the doors for me. As I step out I see that Reimu is standing on the walkway, tapping a foot impatiently. And for some reason Meiling is laying smoking in a shallow crater. Part of me thinks that I should be shocked, but another part of me is just saying that this might just be the norm. As I step outside Sakuya slowly shuts the door behind me. But before I can go any further I hear Sakuya speak up from behind me in a soft, almost content voice.

"She gladly and willingly serves her lady."

The door shuts with a dull thud behind me, but I barely notice. What Sakuya said... could it be? I mean, really, what are the odds? But still-

"Oi!" Reimu shouts at me in irritation, drawing me out of my thoughts. "Can we get going? You got what you needed, right? So let's go, this is interrupting my work!"

"Yeah. Yeah I got what I need." I answer somewhat dully. As we head out my thoughts drift back to my new teacher. If what she said is true, my training just got a whole lot more interesting.

Remilia stared down at the door from the balcony in the main hall as Sakuya gave some parting words to her departing guest. Such a strange human he was, and quite interesting. Rightfully intimidated by her, and able to sense at some instinctual level at just how dangerous her little sister was. Most humans didn't learn that lesson until Sakuya was mopping up whatever smears were left of them. And those eyes of his... truly fascinating. And through those eyes he held somewhat of a connection to both of the Scarlet Sisters, even if it was just for the powers each of them had.

So interesting. And so frustrating, that she could not bind him to her whim.

Curse that Yama! This power could have been so useful to Remilia, and that blasted, useless judge had seen fit to keep him safe from her! Even now the Scarlet Devil watched as her lovely red chains hissed and smoked on the ground from when that human had unknowingly shrugged them off. But no matter. If he learned from from Sakuya, a bond could be formed the old-fashioned way. And she would use that to get some amount of control from Jay. His power fit in so well with the family. Why wouldn't she want it to be used to serve her house? And if he could not be swayed, or became too dangerous?

Well, she had already gone out several times before to solve a problem. What was one more?

From her perch up on Youkai Mountain Momiji finally closed her eyes, giving them a much needed break. Her eyesight and hearing were above and beyond any others, but even she would feel the strain from focusing her eyes and hears on one point for so long. After resting her eyes for a few seconds she shifted the sword and shield laying across her back to get it into a more comfortable position before finally turned to head back into her home, bending down to grab the paper wrapped bundle she had set down earlier with barely a break in her stride. As she entered the building she tossed the package onto her table before turning right back outside. "I wasn't expecting visitors today." she muttered to herself, turning to look over her shoulder back at the door.

Where before there was nobody there, there now stood a tall woman, her red hair done up in pigtails. The visitor wore a white vest with a blue overtop, held together by an obi belt with a large coin tied and positioned in the middle. The thing that drew the eyes of most of the people that laid eyes on her, however, was the large scythe that she carried. The blade shined brightly in the fading light, letting one see the strange wave-like bending at the end. The strange woman had the shaft of the weapon resting on her shoulders, lightly resting her wrists on it while she gave the wolf tengu in front of her a careless grin.

"Eh, don't worry about me. Just your friendly neighborhood shinigami ferrywoman dropping by for a quick visit!" The woman said in a cheerful voice. Momiji's eyes narrowed slightly. She knew this person, if only by name. Komachi Onozuka, the shinigami who ferried souls across the Sanzu River where upon arrival they would be taken to receive judgment from the Yama. In other words, the same person that held that that human's life in her hands.

Momiji decided that she should at least be polite, if only because the shinigami was at least a likeable person, despite the nature of her job. "And what, exactly, are you visiting for?" She asked. "As you can probably guess, the living place of soldiers is not full of things one would normally find exciting. Unless you're here for... another reason?"

Komachi looked away with a sheepish grin and gave a nervous chuckle. "Never was good at hiding things. Always was too honest for my own good." she admitted. When she looked back at Momiji, her grin was still in place. Only now it looked a bit intimidating.

"Shiki-chan wants to know exactly what you were thinking, sending my new co-worker into that nest of vipers." Despite the grin on her face Komachi's voice had as much warmth as an icicle. "If I recall correctly, he came to you for training. And we don't have a problem with that. You're a pretty nice girl, and Shiki-chan is willing to trust you with the boya's safety. At least until you sent him to meet that little brat and her dog. So what's the deal?"

Momiji stared at the shinigami with a neutral expression, one that Komachi met with her own predatory grin. For a minute they continued their stare off until Momiji turned back to face in front of her, giving a soft chuckle. "So even Yama-sama was unable to see my intentions? Well, she is a busy woman so I can't blame her for not taking a closer look. But still, I expected her to understand my test."

Komachi's grin became more amused, losing the threatening smile she had before. "Test, eh? And what exactly was this test?" she asked, genuinely curious. Momiji turned so that her left side faced the red-head, her face tilted down to the ground with her eyes closed and a smirk on her face.

"The Scarlet Devil is rather proud." She started, receiving a snort from her guest at the rather obvious fact. "At times she let's it get to her head and it blinds her to see any value in anybody else. Add that on to her temper, and she's not exactly pleasant company."

"Tch, things that anyone with a brain would know." Komachi stated, raising a hand to wave dismissively at Momiji's words. "The point?"

"Hmph. Simple, of course. My training is going to be hard, and Jay will certainly face a lot of uphill battles. But I needed to know if he'll be worth it. So I sent him to the devil's maid. Of course the little vampire would have stepped in to make her own assessment. She'd never lend aid to someone who she thought wasn't worth risking her reputation. And judging by Jay's words as he left, she has agreed to let Sakuya train him. A week is certainly more than I was expecting for him, but considering I was thinking he'd just be handed a weapon and then tossed on his ear, it certainly speaks volumes about his potential." She allowed another chuckle to pass her lips. "It seems that I'll be quite busy in a week. I'll have to find out which of the others in the guard will be helpful in training him. Oh, this'll be fun!"

Komachi raised a hand from her scythe, as if she were a child in a classroom. "Yeah, about that, I got a question." she stated. "I know for a fact that at least one of your soldiers knows how to use a knife, and several others could teach him how to use a light sword or something. Certainly would be a lot better combat-wise. So, why all the round-about?"

Momiji finally lifted her head and eyelids, looking the shinigami in the eye. "Did you forget? You just needed Jay to find someone to train him. And he found someone. Just remember." She warned, her mouth stretching into a grin, flashing her canines at her guest.

"The Yama may control his life and part of his loyalty, but she threw him to the wolves. And we'll raise him as we see fit."