Within the Scarlet Devil Mansion, the various rooms and hallways were thriving with activity, with the various fairy maids dusting the furniture and sweeping the halls. This sharp increase in activity was due to the arrival of spring, and the inevitable spring cleaning it brings with its coming. All of the rooms were crowded with fairy maids doing their respective jobs, from cleaning out the pantry, to sorting the thousands of books within the mansion's massive library. This year's spring cleaning was definitely the most active in recent years.
However, the mansion's basement was a stark contrast to all the lively activity on the upper levels of the mansion, with the hallways being completely empty. It looked as if no one has stepped within these halls for several years, having a great amount of dust accumulated on the floor and furniture.
Deep within these dark and dank hallways there was one door that stood out from all the others. It was made of cold steel rather than wood like all the other doors, it was also noticeably larger than the other doors in the hall, with it being at least double the size of the rest. Another significant difference was that it was covered with locks; these locks prevented those without keys from entering the room, or leaving it.
Within the room behind this very peculiar door there was a small room. In this room there was a small bed, with one pillow and a blanket with a few tears and holes resting on top of it.
There was a desk with several books and writing utensils scattered about its surface. Next to the desk was a small pile of toys, ranging to the common teddy bear to a board game. Some of the toys looked like they have been worn out from several years of use and were in a miserable condition. Though a few looked like they were still in a useable condition despite the age and condition they were in.
The walls of the room were decorated with several pieces of paper taped to them. The many pieces of paper made up one huge picture, depicting a large grassy field with white puffy clouds peppering a vast blue sky and a bright yellow sun childishly drawn on in the top right corner of the picture. The large piece of art looked like it was drawn by a mere child.
On the ceiling there hanged several small, multi colored lights that were attached to a thin cord, not unlike the lights one would use to decorate a Christmas tree. These small lights did very little to improve the lighting in the room, but enough to see that the room was as dusty as the hallway the room resided in.
The strange decorations paled in comparison to the sole resident occupying the room though. Sitting on top of the bed in the room was a young looking girl, looking to be between eight and ten years old. She sat with her arms wrapped around her legs; she wore a red vest and a skirt of the same color. Under her vest she wore a white shirt with puffy short sleeves and a yellow ascot around her collar.
Her eyes were strangely enough as red as the vest and skirt she wore. Her blonde hung down to her shoulders, with a side tail tied with a small red ribbon on the left side of her head.
This girl may have passed for a normal looking child if it weren't for the bizarre, metal like rods protruding from her back, with crystals of all the different colors of the rainbow hanging from them. Each of the crystals glowed faintly through the darkness just enough to provide a small light source for the girl. The girl's strange pair of wings could easily be compared to the decorations on the ceiling of the room in a sense.
The girl sat in silence, staring at the ceiling in above of her. She listened to hustling and bustling of the fairy maids above with curiosity, with her red pair of eyes never once looking away from the ceiling. The room was otherwise eerily silent deathly silent, with the only sounds that could be heard being voices on the upper levels of the mansion being muffled by the ceiling, the girl however, could make out every word spoken and found it as a new source of entertainment.
The girls' eyes suddenly darted towards the direction of the door, as she heard the sound of footsteps echoed throughout the hall, only to be suddenly replaced with the sound of the undoing of locks. Without warning the door suddenly creaked open, letting a faint light come in the room.
The young girl gasped in delight at the arrival of the person who stood at the now opened door. Standing at the doorway with a friendly smile on her face, was a tall red haired woman.
She wore a green Chinese style dress, along with a beret of a matching color that had a large golden star pinned on it resting on her head. In her arms she held a lunch box and a plate with a small steak on it that was still lightly steaming and was covered with a red sauce like substance on it.
"Meiling!" the young girl shouted in delight as she jumped off of the bed and ran towards the woman standing at the doorway, completely forgetting about her newfound past-time and giving the woman a warm hug.
The woman called Meiling gave the young girl a warm smile as she returned the hug. "Hey Flandre, it's great to see you! How have you been today?" Meiling asked.
"I've been doing okay, but now I'm great now that you're here!" Flandre replied happily, "…But won't Saky be mad that you aren't doing your job?" she asked with concern.
"Nah, I'm on my lunch break right now, no need to worry about that crazy maid…at least for now." Meiling replied, chuckling lightly at her own joke.
"Oh…Hey what'cha have there?" Flandre asked curiously as she pointed at the things Meiling had brought with her with excitement.
"Oh this?" Meiling asked as she took a quick glance at the things she held before returning her gaze to her small friend. "Well I did say that it was my lunch break, and meals are much more enjoyable with good company. So when Sakuya asked me to bring you your lunch before starting my break, I thought it'd be nice to have lunch together and give you some company." Meiling replied in her normal cheerful tone.
"Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!" Flandre cried happily as she gave Meiling another hug, this having a much stronger grip, causing Meiling to cringe a bit from its strength. Meiling found humor in her friend's overjoyed response despite the pain the hug was causing her that moment, causing her to grow a large grin on her face.
While the two enjoyed their meals together, Meiling often talked about what she had been doing to keep herself busy since they've seen one another last, such as how she had started to plant new flowers in the mansion's gardens with spring finally arriving, or even the occasional story of one of Meiling's grand battles. She would even provide Flandre with the latest news from the world outside of the mansion's walls, with the most recent news being the resurrection of a human saint in Gensokyo. Each and every story Meiling told Flandre always put a smile on the vampire's day and made her day a little bit brighter.
Though the cheerfulness between the two's reunion was ended adruptly after Flandre's normally cheerful and childish expression disappeared and was replaced with a melancholic and timid one as she began to speak.
"Hey Meiling…Can I ask you something?" Flandre asked slowly.
"Of course! You can ask me anything!" Meiling replied happily, determined to answer her friend's question to the best of her ability.
"Do you…Do you know if…I'll be able to…I mean...well um…leave the basement soon…?" Flandre asked in a rarely heard sad tone of voice.
Meiling took several moments to gather her thoughts on how to answer this unexpected question. Meiling thought to herself as she contemplated on how to answer her Flandre's question without obliterating any of her hopes of one day living amongst the other residents of the mansion along with her sister.
The long silence of the room was broken when Meiling finally replied, "I'll be honest Flan, I don't know when you'll be free to leave the basement…but I swear to you on my honor as the Scarlet Devil Mansion's gate guard and your friend, that I will do everything in my power to see you out of this basement and into the world outside! Or my name isn't Hong Meiling!" Meiling shouted with great vigor and pride, pounding her fist against chest for emphasis.
Flandre then timidly stuck out her hand with her pinky finger stretched out and asked in a quiet voice "You promise…?"
Meiling, without hesitating for even a moment took her own pinky finger, and wrapped it around Flandre's and replied in a calm and reassuring voice "I promise, and I never break a promise, alright?"
Flandre's smile returned at Meiling's words of reassurance and then gave her friend a hug, this time taking care not to accidentally hurt her friend with her overwhelming strength.
This heartwarming moment wouldn't last though, as Meiling's break ended and had to return to her job quickly, lest she be met with an angry maid waiting for her back at her post upon her return.
"Come back and visit soon…Okay?" Flandre requested in her regular childish voice, though with a hint of sadness in it.
"Don't worry, I will." Meiling responded as she gave her small friend a pat on the head, lightly ruffling Flandre's hair.
Meiling then departed from Flandre's room, the door closing behind her and locking it after her. Though she was alone once again, Flandre had a renewed hope that she may one day be freed from the basement and be reunited with her beloved sister.