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Chapter 1: Mages Guild
Creak creaak~ Creak creaak~
"Sorry da ze… Just bored…"
"… Mmm-hmmm…. Hmm-hmmm…"
Tap tap tap tap~
Tap tap tap tap~
"Eheh… Sorry, sorry…" Marisa then sighed and allowed her head to drop onto her arms, resting for approximately half a second on the table before suddenly standing up and crying out to the heavens, "Argh! ! ! I'm bored ze-"
"Then go home! !" was Alice's immediate rebuke, the book she was reading now slammed between the table and her hand out of frustration. Patchouli, peering from behind her book disinterestedly, was content to leave the disciplining of Marisa to the Seven Coloured Puppeteer.
Kirisame Marisa pouted, but otherwise sat back down again. For about half a second.
"Wh-Where do you're going?" Alice's peridot eyes followed Marisa with an annoyed yet somewhat nervous glare as the troublesome girl got off her chair and started wandering out of the study room.
"Hmmm?" Marisa twirled her little hair braid in thought for a moment, "Oh don't mind me! I'm just going to take a look da ze!" was her carefree answer, and with a swish of long blonde hair, the girl was out the door and out of sight.
"G-Gah!" Alice Margatroid was already on her feet, her eyes now filled more with nervousness than anything else. "M-Marisa! Marisa!" she desperately called out after the girl.
"You might want to follow her, just in case-"
Alice too, was already out of the study room, her similarly blonde but much shorter hair disappearing beyond the doorframe.
"-that kleptomaniac takes any of your possessions again," Patchouli Knowledge finished advising an empty study room. Closing her book for the first time in a long while, the third magician of the three combed a long, errant strand of purple hair back behind her ear before leaning back in her chair and smiling to herself.
Maybe she should invite Alice and Marisa over to her place next.
After all necessary anti-theft measures have been put in place, of course.
"So what are you two reading up on ze?" Marisa asked
The three magicians, Marisa, Alice and Patchouli were once again together at the study table in Alice's study and reading room. It was rather large space that took up a good two thirds of the second floor of Alice's house. Sturdy oak shelves neatly crammed with books completely took up the space of three walls, save for the door, while sunlight streaked in from the three four-panel windows of the last wall. Between them were humbly rich armchairs and potted plants, and in the centre of the whole room the large, study table surrounded by cushioned chairs.
Marisa was dressed in her trademark black dress and pinafore with white apron and turtleneck blouse. Alice had opted for a more casual blue strap dress in her home, with a shawl instead of her usual capelet to keep her shoulders warm. Patchouli was hidden within the elegantly billowing folds of her purple gown, her large black velvet travelling cloak hanging on the coat rack by the door, her knee-length buckle boots standing next to it.
Accompanying (read: guarding) Marisa were two little dolls, dressed in little black dresses and shoes, with little white aprons and capelets. Shanghai and Hourai, Alice's most trusted doll servants. Who were armed. With lances.
"Magic theory," answered Alice and Patchouli simply to Marisa's earlier question.
"Can someone get these dolls off my back, by the way?" Marisa eyed Shanghai and Hourai nervously.
"You said you were bored, so they're here to keep you company," Alice answered coolly. To be fair, Marisa had not tried to steal anything yet, although she did seem to eye some of Alice's stuff a little too closely.
"Haah… I came here because I wanted your company ze… Not some doll's…" grumbled Marisa. Alice, caught off guard, just barely managed to hide her blush behind her book.
"I-Idiot Marisa! If you really wanted my company, you'd stop making things difficult for me!" Alice lashed out.
Patchouli was eyeing Alice with great interest.
"A-And what are you looking at!" Alice rounded on Patchouli.
Patchouli's purple eyes slowly lagged back to her book, whereafter she quietly complimented Marisa with the smallest hint of a smirk, "Well played."
Alice's face was stunned a brighter red.
"I know right!" Marisa blatantly boasted, "Alice is so easy to tease da ze!"
Alice snapped back to Marisa and cried out, "Y-You did it on purpose!"
"And just what are you two reading ze?" Marisa asked for a second time.
"Sigh… Marisa," Alice impatiently put down her book for the third time, "If you'll just spend some time reading quietly with us, you'll know."
"Hmph… Is this really your idea of magic research?" Marisa suddenly asked Alice passionately.
"Is that how you intend to find out the truths of this world? !" Marisa was now up on her feet, her finger pointed accusatorily at a startled Alice's nose, "To merely contend with reading about 'theory', and not actually going out there to see things for yourself? !"
Alice was speechless, "U-Um…"
"There are so many exciting things out there da ze! Life is full of mysteries, and every single one of those mysteries has the potential for magic!" Marisa continued on grandly, "And yet here you are, insisting on doing nothing but silent reading, and not out there experiencing all there is to see and do!" she finished indignantly.
"Ah… Marisa… I-I…"
"That being said, isn't the only kind of magic you're good at the ones that involve explosions?" Patchouli quietly interjected without glancing away from her book.
Marisa cringed sheepishly while Alice stifled a chuckle.
"W-Well, it ain't magic if it isn't flashy ze…" Marisa mumbled as she sat back down and rested her head against the table. Sighing and glancing up, she peered at the covers of the books Alice and Patchouli were reading.
"Mmm hmmm…" replied Alice and Patchouli.
"Eh? Since when were you two interested in such things?" Marisa pulled herself up and asked curiously.
"Well, we thought we'd try a little something different from our usual magics," Alice explained, "And when the two of us discussed it, we'd realised healing magic was something we weren't particularly well versed in."
"Haah…? Healing? That's really, really boring ze…" Marisa slumped back down on the table again.
"Well, I don't suppose you'd really know anything about it either, huh?" Alice sweat-dropped at the expected reaction.
"Not much. I only know a dozen recipes or so," Marisa muttered uninterestedly.
"E-Eh? ! You know healing potions? !" Alice asked, genuinely surprised. Patchouli was peering over the top of her book again.
"Well, yeah, sure," Marisa sat up and started counting off her fingers, "Like which fungus can cure colds, or how certain weeds work really well as anti-septics, or how if you combine two of three different poisons together you can actually get miracle cures. Stuff like that," she explained.
"H-How do you know them?" Alice asked.
"Well, I'm always looking for magic mushrooms for my magic (read: explosions) you see," Marisa explained, "And occasionally when I randomly mix stuff I find together-"
"You randomly mix stuff…?" Patchouli asked a little concernedly.
"- I get unexpected results," Marisa continued. "I'm always disappointed if they don't turn up brilliant (read: explosive), but I document them anyways because, you know, just in case," the kleptomaniac finished.
"… That's great and all, but do you actually understand how it works?" Alice asked, still a little skeptical.
"Of course I do! I test them ze!" Marisa declared.
An awkward moment of silence.
"On… what?" was Alice and Patchouli's next question.
"Um… I uh… Ah well, it's not like the fairies really know what's being done to them anyways, da ze…" Marisa twiddled her fingers and averted eyes.
"… That's youkai abuse!" Alice cried out.
"You should use mice instead," Patchouli sagely advised
Another awkward moment of silence.
"They are anatomically more similar to humans," Patchouli explained, "You will get better results that way."
"Oh! I see!" Marisa thumped a fist on her hand.
"W-Wait! That's no good too!" Alice objected.
"And if you get the chance, use a pig," Patchouli continued, "They're even better."
"Patchouli, will you please stop!" pleaded Alice.
"Oh? And just what are we supposed to test these things on then, Alice-san?" Patchouli and Marisa rounded on Alice.
"… U-Um… What about rabbits…?" Alice suggested hesitantly.
"Speaking of Eintei-"
"Were we speaking of Eintei?" Alice asked Marisa.
"You're the one that brought up rabbits for testing ze," Marisa shrugged.
"Oh, I didn't specifically mean Eintei's rabbits, but yeah, it's not like that place will miss one or two, they have so many…" Alice mused.
"Anyways, immortals have bodies that will automatically repair any damage and revert to their original state, right?" Marisa wondered, "I mean, not even age affects them ze."
"So… I'll bet people like Kaguya or Mokou would be the perfect test subjects! I mean, nothing bad will happen to them, right?" Marisa beamed at her own genius and stood up excitedly for the umpteenth time.
"W-We're still on this subject?" Alice sweat-dropped.
"Then go ask Mokou to be your test subject then, and let's see if she fries you," Patchouli said, eyes still studiously fixed on yet another tome.
The subject was truncated as Marisa sat back down for the umpteenth time.
"Hey, Marisa, you said you know how cures from poisons work, right?" Alice asked as she sided over to Marisa and shifted the book she was reading so that Marisa could take a look too.
"Hmmm… That sounds about right…" Marisa commented as she pulled the book closer and examined its contents, "Well, it's basically as it says ze. You know how poisons are actually comprised of a variety of chemicals, right?" she asked Alice.
"Well, I'm not really too familiar with poisons myself, but yes?"
"You see, the thing is that what actually makes the poisons deadly are sometimes just a few of the chemicals in that concoction," Marisa explained, "And that if removed, the rest of the poison may actually isolated effects that may be desirable for certain ailments. Take for instance anticoagulants…"
Patchouli listened keenly. The truth of the matter is, despite all her mischievousness, Marisa is a hard worker, she thought with admiration. It's a pity she chooses not to show it, since she considers that side of her boring…
"I see…! Certain poisons may have the needed factors to cancel out the harmful components of other poisons, and it just so happens that when you mix them in certain combinations and orders, you'll be left with only the good parts," Alice summarised.
"Yup. I heard from Yukari that the outside world has similar but less effective methods. Of course, they can't use magic like I can ze!" Marisa thumped her chest proudly. "You'll have to be careful though," she cautioned, "Theory is one thing, but often at times, completely removing all the harmful stuff is not possible… But why the sudden interest in healing?" Marisa suddenly asked again.
Alice and Patchouli gave a cough.
"Oh… Right, I forget practising magic alone is toxic to one's constitution …" Marisa laughed awkwardly, "Ahah… Man, I wonder if I'll ever become as frail as these two ze…" she worriedly wondered under her breath.
Alice and Patchouli gave a more annoyed cough.
The clock struck six in the evening.
"Oh? It's already this late? Marisa," Alice turned to Marisa, "Would you like to-"
"I want to have hotpot!" demanded Marisa.
"Hang on Marisa… Could you at least have the decency to disguise your intent to freeload dinner here?" Alice's temple twitched.
"Why? You were going to ask me ze," Marisa blinked.
"… I was doing so out of courtesy…" Alice gritted her teeth together, "You know, sometimes I- OI!" her temple twitched some more as Marisa was already out of her chair and making a beeline for the kitchen, "Hey hey HEY! Where do you think you're-"
"I brought mushrooms," Marisa produced a small basket of delicately scented forest mushrooms with a sleight of hand, "Can I help?" she asked spritely.
"… S-Sure…" Alice looked away and sheepishly blushed.
"Heheh! Look forward to it da ze!" Marisa grinned at Patchouli and vanished towards the kitchen.
Alice sighed, turned to Patchouli, who was still reading, and said apologetically, "It looks like we're going to have mushroom hotpot tonight, are you okay with that?"
Patchouli looked up blankly before smiling a small smile, "Let's just hope that Marisa is just as surprisingly good at cooking as she is at healing potions."
Alice smiled back, "Then I had better go supervise her to make sure it doesn't turn into a complete catastrophe."
"Don't worry, I'll go too," Patchouli finally got out of her seat in six hours, and the two magicians followed after Marisa.
"Hey Marisa, don't just go running off like you own the place, this is my house!"
"Ehhh…? But Alice, the two of you are so slow and I'm hungry ze!"
"Maybe we should go on a field trip tomorrow…"
"It's autumn. The season's just right to find the ingredients to try out the concoctions we researched this afternoon."
"Ooh… That's a great idea! You see Alice? Even Patchouli goes out occasionally to experience the world!"
"…? ! H-Hey! I go out frequently too! It's just that I don't go out when you happen to be here, Marisa!"
"Why? Can't bear to leave me alone?"
"It's because I wouldn't dare trust you with my house! !"
"Ahh… That was a tiring day," Alice Margatroid stifled a yawn as she prepared to go to bed, "Having guests around really isn't an easy thing…" she wiped a tear from her sleepy eyes as she undressed and simply let her clothes fall about her ankles, her dolls swooping in and picking them up before they hit the floor.
"Shanghai," she turned to one of her dolls as her other, Hourai, draped a nightgown about her shoulders, "Do wake me up earlier tomorrow, I'm going out with Patchouli and Marisa," she requested, lifting up her arms to allow the dolls to pull on her sleeves for her. Little Shanghai nodded in acknowledgment of her master's orders.
"Ah…! Thank you Hourai," Alice smiled as Hourai finished tying up the front of her nightgown for her, her little fingers apparently just as dexterous as her maker's. "Well, then, it's time to turn in for the night," she said. And with that, all the dolls flew to their places on the shelves about her room, Shanghai and Hourai, her two closest dolls, taking a special shelf closest to her bed.
"Good night," Alice blew out the candle lights and threw herself into the waiting, snug blankets, her eyes shut with anticipation. An outing with Marisa and Patchouli- …! Not that she'll ever let those two see this side of her, she'll never hear the end of it…
"I-It's not like I want to go out with you two…! Or… at least that's what such a character in a story would say," she giggled to herself, before drifting off to a peaceful sleep.
And all was tranquil in the Margatroid Household-
"So… What do you think?" Shanghai asked Hourai, "Weren't the two of them together so cute this afternoon? !" she squealed.
"… If you're talking about Alice-sama and Marisa-san, then I don't support that pairing," Hourai replied obstinately.
Alright! Chapter 1 of my first story in the longest time finally up! If anyone's missed me, sorry about that…
Oookay… At the time of uploading this chapter, I actually have ten more (for a total of eleven) in the folder waiting to be uploaded. I have to apologise first though. I wasn't gone for so long because it took long to write them. In fact, the bulk of the writing was done over the Christmas month. The fact was… I simply got lazy. I've been pursuing other vices (:|) and neglected to indulge myself in Touhou fanfic. And for that, I apologise.
That being out of the way now, it's time to get these arthritic (read: unused) knuckles cracking!
Stay tuned! (Yes, I'm leaving you with a cliff hanger. I'm not being very nice on my first day back, am I…? Hehe…)