The Story Retold (Side B)
This tale is reaching toward its end.
I should've known it.
I should've known it from the start.
For a mere human like me to be accepted by the youkai, for a mere human like me to have this power,
if I thought about it carefully everything have always been too perfect.
As if an unknown force had been guiding me. As if I was nothing but a piece in a board game, where I moved accordingly to her hands;
a game to be called her perfect 'Wonderland'.
But then, it's fine, isn't it?
Even if I mess up, even if I die here, nothing would matter to her. Just like in a board game, she could always flip the board and rearrange the pieces, starting another game.
Because I am just a piece and everything is just her game.
Even if I'm gone, there will be another 'Sakuya' to fit my role,
and then the next one,
and the next one,
and the next one,
and the next one,
on and on until she's satisfied with her ideal world.
But if I die here, will I finally by free?
"Of course, little birdie~ I will set you free~"
Flowery Sign: Mountain Breaker
A strong gust of wind blew past me and I instantly opened my eyes, finding myself back in the pitch black room, back to the wooden chair where I was sitting before, back to reality. The sudden need to breath shocked me and I gagged, holding my neck as I gasped for air.
What happened? Where am I?
No, I remembered. I was exploring the library with Koakuma when I found this room with the two monsters. The monsters invited me to a game and then—
I clutched my neck harder, biting back my sobs. If I am not the real 'Sakuya', if I was made into 'Sakuya', then who exactly am I ?
"Are you okay, Sakuya-chan?"
Sakuya. Sakuya. Was that voice talking to me? The Sakuya that it wanted, was it 'me'? I didn't know. I was afraid to answer and found that I was wrong. But the voice persisted, calling that name over and over. Sakuya. Sakuya. Sakuya! Who are you calling? Is it me? Is it really me? I shut my eyes tightly and covered my ears with both hands, trying to fight the voice away.
A strong hand grabbed my wrist and I opened my eyes, staring into familiar green eyes. The eyes looked so sad. Why are you looking at me like that?
"What is wrong, Sakuya-chan? Are you hurt?"
I blinked and studied her face, her soft green eyes that gaze on me worryingly; I didn't like that look on her face, it didn't suit her at all. I tried to open my mouth, to tell her that I am fine, to tell her to stop worrying about me, but my voice wouldn't come out. The only thing I could do was shaking my head slowly. She patted my head gently, before turning her gaze to the other side of the room, to the side where the monsters used to be.
"Hm, that punch tickled a bit."
I flinched as I recognized the voice, and unconsciously grabbed on Meiling's long skirt; an old nervous tic that I hadn't overcome yet.
"Hey, Flynn! Get off, you're sitting on me!"
The two scary monsters appeared from behind the shadow, dusting off their clothes that had somehow gone dirty with rubbles and dirts. One of them pouted and shoved the other away, before fixing her eyes on Meiling and I, smiling sweetly.
"Oh, it was just Meiling. Is it dinner time already?"
The chinese youkai returned the smile, but even then, I knew she was nowhere near happy.
"I'm sorry, but not yet. Rather than that, it's been a while since I see your happy smile; it's kinda refreshing, young mistress."
I stared at Meiling, tugging her skirt to get her attention. She let out a long sigh, scratching her head.
"Actually I plan to tell you about the young mistress once you're a bit older, but I guess I have no choice. Listen carefully Sakuya-chan, that girl is the other mistress of this mansion. The younger sister of lady Remilia; the young mistress, Flandre Scarlet."
The mistress...younger sister? Those monsters, no, vampires. One of those vampires? But if one of them is the younger sister of lady Remilia, then...
"Then why is she locked away here—"
I clamped my mouth shut in an instant, realizing my mistake, and the vampire laughed loudly in response.
"Why are you angry, Meiling? That's the fact anyway; I'm locked down here, that bastard is enjoying life out there. Ah well, she's probably tired playing family with me."
"Please watch your words, young mistress, and you know it's not true."
"Then what is? Where is she now? Why won't she come here and see me again!?"
The air around her crackled, as if answering to her anger, and I tightened my grip on Meiling's skirt. The chinese youkai raised her arm in defense, hiding me behind her tall figure, but before anything happened, a hand reached for the vampire's shoulder, calming her down.
"Whoopsie, Flan, calm down for a while. Let's revise the story again before you go berserk, shall we? Let's see..."
I could hear Meiling growled as she recognized the presence; the way she acted to the second vampire was very hostile, unlike the previous one, so the first one must be the real young mistress.
"Oh, I got it! How about this: right when the monster was about to deliver the finishing blow, a uselessly brave peon rushed into the scene to help the prince."
Again with the story? Meiling stole a glance at me and I shook my head; I didn't know what they're trying to do with that story.
"They thought they have outnumbered the monster, oh, but think again! Born from the monster's accumulating grief and wrath, two shadowy figures rose to its aid. And not only that, the life of a pitiful little lamb was at stake."
Another two identical figures appeared from beyond the dark scenery, one of them carrying a familiar looking girl, tugging on her hair roughly. I gasped.
"The monster made its demand; 'Give me back the girl, or this little lamb will die!' "
I tugged hard on Meiling's skirt and she nodded, putting on her fighting stance. This is bad! Because of me now Koa has—
"Don't worry, Sakuya-chan."
Huh? I blinked and turned to see the chinese youkai smiling, giving me a confident thumbs up.
"Leave it to Meiling."
She took a deep breath and shouted.
" 'Whoa, we're in a real pinch!' The peon said. But even if everything seemed impossible, the two 'heroes' would never give up. Because justice will always prevail!"
What? What is she trying to do by provoking the vampires like that? But before I could say anything, a bright purple light engulfed my devil friend and she vanished. I could see the vampires were as confused as I was when another magic circle formed under their feet.
Earth Metal Sign: Emerald Megalopolis
Jeweled pillars shot out from the ground all the way to the pitch black ceiling, crushing the vampires from right beneath them in a sickening crunch; I stared at the tremendous display of magic in awe, while I could see Meiling grinning in pride from the corner of my eyes. There's only one person who could reproduce such amazing spell; I gulped and glanced to my right, hearing a light footsteps approaching.
"The shepherdess came to take her little lamb back. Oh and Meiling, that catchphrase was unnecessary, saying about 'justice' whatsoever."
Lady Patchouli stood there beside me, the same bored look on her face as she dropped her familiar to the ground, closing the grimoire on her hand; the little devil stared at her with teary eyes and tackled her master in joy, but instead of a welcoming hug, she gained a book to her face. I held my own face in response and cringed, imagining the pain.
"And you. What do you think you're doing, Koakuma? I've only summoned you for a few days and you've dare to sneak behind my back?"
"Eek, I'm sorry!"
Koakuma covered her head as another fling of book approached, but instead a loud thud it hit her softly this time, and the little devil blinked.
"Now, hurry to the door and start repairing the barrier. This your first proper job as a familiar; don't mess up."
"I-I understand. Right away, Patchouli-sama!"
The one-week magician let out another sigh as the familiar scampered away, before reopening her grimoire; the thick book fluttered in front of her, glowing in bright purple light. Her gaze deepened.
"Meiling, I want you to subdue the young mistress. Don't let her take a step out of this room."
I took a quick breath and closed my eyes, ready for any punishment. It is true that Koa broke the barrier but I was the one who forced her to, and even if lady Patchouli didn't know about that, the fact that I sneaked into this room didn't change.
...huh? That's it? I opened my eyes to her right hand hitting me on the forehead, before she retracted it back.
"Aah, it's such a pain to close the grimoire again just to hit you. Anyway, I want you to assist Meiling. Can you stand?"
I stared at her for a while before switching my gaze to the ground, releasing my grip on Meiling's skirt and switched it to my own.
"What is it? You can't stand? Are you hurt?"
I shook my head.
"Then, is there something in your mind, chief maid?"
I bit my lip, hesitating, before whispering softly only for the three of us to hear.
"Patchouli-sama... Meiling-san... Is it...is it true that..."
My voice was stuck on my throat, and I swallowed hard, trying to find them again.
"Is it true that there was another chief maid—another 'Sakuya' that exist before me?"
Those words felt just like venom, dripping through my throat and burning it painfully, and once again I felt like covering my ears. I didn't want to hear the truth, but I needed to know; it was contradicting. Finally, after what felt like forever I heard lady Patchouli sighed.
"I don't know. I haven't stayed with Remi that long."
She said it bluntly, without care whatsoever; I instantly raised my face, staring at her in disbelief. I knew lady Patchouli was never one to tell a joke, nor someone who can tell a lie so casually. She raised her brow at me in response.
"Ah, but this gatekeeper had stayed with that vampire friend of mine longer, true? Do you know anything about this rumor?"
"Eh? Umm, sorry Sakuya-chan. When I met the mistresses there were only the two of them; I've never met her, too..."
Had those vampires tricked me? But before I could reach that conclusion, the chinese youkai continued.
"But I think I did hear about her from milady, long time ago when I had only started working under her. I remembered, that time she threw away my tea and said how terrible it was compared to the one 'Sakuya' made. Are you interested because the two of you have the same name?"
I slumped back to my chair, hanging my head. So it's true. It's true. I'm just—
Ouch! What in the—I yelped and held the bump forming on my head, staring at lady Patchouli with teary eyes. She looked down on me with her same apathetic look.
"So? Do you want me to hit you harder, Sakuya?"
What? What is she—
I shook my head, and she sighed.
"I know what you're thinking; you must be thinking something like you mean nothing to Remi, that even of you die, she can just manipulate fate and find another 'Sakuya' to replace you, am I right?"
I looked away.
"Wha—Sakuya-chan! How can you think of the mistress that way—"
I heard another loud thud followed by a yelp from Meiling.
"I am not talking to you, gatekeeper, so zip your mouth. Now, about our previous conversation, I can say that theory might be right; Your fate might have been manipulated by Remi. And not just you, maybe that gatekeeper too, and even me."
I gritted my teeth and glared at her, losing my composure.
"Then why? Why are you still staying by her side after knowing all that? Are you satisfied by becoming her doll!?"
The magician didn't waver; she looked down at me with her usual eyes. No. It was as if she's pitying me. And I didn't like it.
"Ah well, even if she did manipulate my fate, I certainly am not her doll. And besides, the reason I am here now, alive and breathing, is all thanks to that seemingly hideous power; because of her power, she saved me from my own twisted fate. I don't want to dwell too much in the past but I can say mine is not a pretty one. But that whimsical vampire, she bent that fate for me and give me a future to walk on. So like I said, even if she did manipulate my fate, I didn't regret staying by her side. And who am I to judge how she feel if I die? I'm sure that lousy gatekeeper think the same, too."
No. That's ridiculous. Manipulating someone's fate to save them?
"But, how about you? Do you regret coming to this mansion? Do you regret becoming what you are now, becoming the chief maid of Scarlet Devil Mansion—becoming 'Sakuya'?
Regret it? Do I regret it?
If I didn't meet the mistress; if I didn't become 'Sakuya', where would I be now?
Would I still be in the human village, enduring the hateful stare from the other humans? Would I run away and live by my own among the youkai? Would I already been dead five years ago among the lilies' poison?
Those fates, those horrible fates, by manipulating those fate for me and giving me this name, the mistress...
The mistress saved me from myself?
I clenched my fist, holding back my tears. I felt disgusted of myself.
So then I...How could I...
"Leave the girl alone, Meiling. There's something more important now—"
"No, I'll help."
Those words came out of my mouth before I could think and I rose to my feet, standing; wiping my tears away, I reached for my knife and gripped it tightly in my hand.
"I am fine, Patchouli-sama. So please...please tell me your order."
The magician stared at me for a while, before giving me a faint smile, a very faint one that I even doubt myself I really saw it.
"Chief maid, Izayoi Sakuya. I want you to assist the gatekeeper in subduing the young mistress."
What have I been thinking? To doubt my master that much, how can I even call myself a chief maid? Yes. I wouldn't hesitate anymore. I would stop the young mistress as the chief maid of Scarlet Devil Mansion; as Izayoi Sakuya.
"Very well, now listen carefully you two. Your objective is to keep the young mistress from escaping this room and to stall time until Koakuma finish repairing the main barrier. I will join you in battle but don't expect me to cover you all the time; this room is enforced with various sealing magic that will hinder her from using her full power, but even then, this is still her territory. Don't get careless, a little mistake may result in your death."
I tightened the grip on my knife, readying myself.
"I will tell the rest of the plan later, now get ready. She will recover soon."
"That kinda hurts~"
The jewelled pillars crumbled, and the vampires revealed themselves, unscatched but some cuts on their clothes, each staring at us with bloodlust swimming in their eyes. One, two, three—wait...where's the fourth?
"Gotcha, ya stinkin' magician!"
I turned around only in time to see a flash of red blur catching the magician and sending her crashing away, my eyes widened in shock.
"How sad, but don't let your guard down now..."
"Get down, Sakuya-chan!"
I could only stare as I felt myself being shoved away, silently watching as the second vampire and Meiling crashed into each other, before the whole scenery turned dark. I yelped, landing so ungracefully on my side as I skidded on the ground, trying to regain my balance. Oh no, Meiling! I rose to my feet and looked around, trying to find something, anything, amidst the pitch black scenery. This is bad, she put out the light again! I gulped, reaching my free hand to my pocket watch; this situation felt similar, just like when I first entered this room, but this time, I swear I wouldn't run. But what should I do now? At times when you don't have a good grasp of situation, use your brain and study your surrounding; that's what lady Patchouli once told me, so I did as I was taught, thinking deeply inside my head while keeping my whole senses sharp for any movements.
The objective is to keep the target inside and stall for time. So, isn't it better to look for the metal door first and protect the exit? No. It is too dangerous to fight near the barrier while it is being repaired. Any wrong move I will hurt Koakuma instead and destroy our chance of victory all together. The target are vampires who can see in the dark and this pitch black room is their territory. There are several of them, but everyone have been addressing her with one name, which means they are mostly replicas. But which one is the main body? Moreover, there are four of them and three of us. What if the target purposely split us away to create confusion with the replicas while the main body rush for the exit?
No. It—she won't. I closed my eyes, and swiftly, without any doubt, I threw my knife behind me, not even turning around.
"Because the monster, driven by jealousy, vowed to kill the fake prince. Isn't that right, young mistress?"
The young mistress, Flandre Scarlet, revealed herself from the behind darkness, a huge smile on her face. So I was right; she really liked using that trick, hiding her presence while striking her unknowing prey from behind. She approached me slowly, taking out the knife I threw before from her palm, licking the blood dripping from the wound as it started to close slowly. So she didn't even bother to dodge, huh? I grabbed my pocket watch tightly, readying for another attack.
"But y'know, fake-Sakuya? It's pointless if you don't use silver knives, you won't be able to kill me. I'll regenerate right away."
"Thank you for your information—"
"But my objective is not to kill you."
I stood there, staring silently at the frozen figure of the vampire in front of me, letting my pocket watch floated mid air as it was caught along the stagnant flow of time. I couldn't count anymore, how many times I had seen through the eyes of this world; my world, Sakuya's World, where everything stopped but myself. And I always hated it, every time I did this.
Because whenever I stopped time I always felt all alone, isolated from the rest of the world.
I think I understand now, why I could never control this power, why I couldn't activate it for too long. Because I couldn't bear the loneliness of this world I created, so I subsconsciously reverted the flow of time to the way it supposedly was. But right now, that suffocating feeling was nowhere in my heart.
Right now, I could stop time for as long as I want.
I reached for my knives, throwing them to the air; they sprung into their designated positions, lining up perfectly in a pattern I made, surrounding the vampire. Even though how fast a vampire is, there's no way to dodge if there's no escape route. And besides, judging her previous actions... I narrowed my eyes, taking back my pocket watch and leapt away.
And time resumes itself.
The knives rained down on my target in blinding speed, creating dust all over as they striked down mercilessly, but even after all that, the vampire stood, unwavered.
"I told you before, how many times you cut me..."
Just as I thought, she didn't dodge. I grasped my pocket watch hard, listening to its constant tick-tack.
"I'll regenerate right away!"
I held my breath, staring at the sharp claws that barely reached my neck. How fast! If I was late for even a second—no, it's no time to think about that! I gritted my teeth and stepped a safe distance away, setting my knives again before resuming time. Once again, the vampire didn't care; she kept on charging at me in frenzy, and I repeated that patterns; once, twice, thrice, the crazed vampire laughed loudly as she lunged herself at me, ignoring all the knives piercing her body. This battle could drag on forever! But I knew that wouldn't be the case, as I started to hear my own breath hitching and my knees gave in.
"Eh? What's this, what's this? You're already tired? Aww, humans are so fragile~"
She's still moving around easily after all those knives? I stared at the blood-soaked vampire in disbelief, feeling the hilt of my knives and counting them; two, four, eight—I didn't have enough left for another barrage!
"Aha, that's right! Let's put a proper end to the story this time: The prince raised his sword and kept on attacking the monster. Slash! Slash! Slash! But the monster didn't stop."
I could see her approaching, summoning a strange black cane on her hand.
"Finally, after the long pointless struggle, the tired prince put his sword away. He kneeled down in defeat before the monster, letting it end everything for good. The end."
And the vampire froze.
"...eh? What the...my..body..."
Her body shook briefly, before collapsing onto the ground in a loud thud; I let out the breath I'd been holding, wiping my sweat. About time, I thought I'd die. Towering over the fallen vampire, I took one of my knives from her body, watching the wound it left regenerate in an unbelievable speed.
"I'm sorry young mistress, but I laced these knives with poison. But don't worry; it's not deadly, just enough to put you to sleep for a period of time. Until then, please wait patiently here."
I knew she wouldn't dodge but I didn't know the dose needed to immobilize a vampire, so I try my luck by dividing my knives into a few rounds. And just in case, I slowed down poisoning symptom so she wouldn't realize it too soon. Who would've thought it would work perfectly; I sighed in relief as I retrieved my knives. Now, I should hurry and regroup with lady Patchouli and Meiling—
"Poison, huh? How clever~"
...huh? What is that? There's something red dripping to the floor. Whose hand is that coming out of my chest? Is that...blood?
I screamed as the pain finally registered in my brain, and the vampire pulled her claws away from my flesh, leting out an insane laugh. Impossible! How could I be so careless? There are four of them; how could I forget? I cursed silently as I squirmed on the cold ground, holding my wound as blood keep gushing out of it. The vampire sneered down at me, licking my blood from her claws.
"As I thought, fresh blood is the best~ Oh yeah, before you die, I want to thank you for taking out Flan first hand. I thought I've put her on leash but that brat was a lot harder to tame~"
I gasped for air, letting out a pathetic croak.
"..you...why are you...the young mistress..."
"Hm? Ah, let me tell you a secret story: the monster and the little girl were always together, but actually, inside the monster's head, there was another monster. That monster was born from the 'real' monster's mind, and that monster loved the girl as much as the 'real' monster. But without a body of its own, it was nothing but a reflection from the 'real' monster. So in order to be real, in order to be with its one and only princess, there is only one thing to do; it only need to kill the 'real' monster and take over it's body~"
The vampire took the knife from my hand, putting its cold edge on my neck. Am I really going to die here?
"So thanks, Sakuya; you've helped me a lot. Now bye, bye."
Water Sign: Jellyfish Princess
I saw the knife sliced through 'my' neck, before 'my' body turned into liquid bubble that encased the perplexed vampire, trapping her in place. I reappeared from behind her, a certain magician and chinese youkai by my side.
"A job well done, Sakuya."
"Ah no, I just acted according to your plan, Patchouli-sama. But thanks."
I tried to look calm and put on my best poker face, but actually I was trembling in fear; if lady Patchouli didn't prepare this clone beforehand or I didn't recognized her presence, I would've really died back then. Fortunately her bloodlust was so strong that I realized it instantly, stopping time and switching place with the trap.
"Now you, I believe your name is Flynn; the one who has been toying with the young mistress mind, and the one who have been turning her against Remi. Thanks to your explanation now I have reach another truth. You said you were born from her mind, or more specifically, her madness. If you're nothing but a speck of her imagination, then it's simple; If the young mistress want you to disappear, then you'll disappear, correct?"
The embodiment of madness laughed, and I reached for my knife again, readying myself.
"Just as I expected from the 21st generation of Knowledge, you're pretty sharp~"
"It's Patchouli now."
It was the first time I heard lady Patchouli growled dangerously like that, and I flinched a bit, taken aback.
"Whatever you say~ But there's a hole in your theory; I might disappear, but her madness won't. Besides, what makes Flan want me disappear? All alone in this lonely cold cellar, the only one she trust, is ME."
"Really now? What do you think, Flandre?"
Huh? Did she just talk to... I turned my attention to the fallen vampire, the one who was supposedly out cold sleeping, but there on the ground, I saw the pair of scarlet eyes fluttered open. The vampire stood straight to her feet, as if nothing happened, and I froze, before turning to the magician. Once again she raised a brow at me.
"Ah yes, I lied about the poison, Sakuya. What I gave you was a tranquilizer I specifically made for the young mistress; it will calm her down and numb her body for a few minutes, but she's completely conscious through it all. Still, I am glad she even fake her sleep and play along with my scenario."
Huh? What the—huh!? I turned to the young mistress, back to the magician, then to the chinese youkai who seemed to be as clueless as I was. Wait, it's no time to act like a fool! As a chief maid, I have to stay refined! I let out a cough, fixing my posture.
I thought I could hear the magician snickered under her breath, or maybe it was just my imagination; I huffed and crossed my arms, watching the result of her perfect plan. The young mistress walked over to the confined replica of her, staring silently, and the blob of madness cackled.
"Hiya, Flan! What's up? Wanna play another game? Too bad I can't move right now, so help out of this bubble first, will you?"
"Hey, Flynn. Do you love Onee-sama; do you really love Remi?"
The atmosphere grew quiet and I gulped despite myself, waiting for whatever to unfold.
"Yes. Of course I do. I love her so much, so much that I want to tear her apart!"
What the—I took a step back in surprise, but the young mistress didn't waver even a bit; her eyes was fixed on her mirror, observing her calmly.
"A ha ha, don't you get it, Flan? I'm sure you get it~ That beautiful sound of her cry, her deliciously red blood, that wonderful feeling when your fangs tear her pale white skin; isn't it wonderful!? She was nothing like those fragile humans! And even if you break her over and over and oove~eer, she would still return to your side! You love that from her too, right, Flan? Besides, I was born from your own mind, from your own madness; so these are all your own desires!"
That twisted logic—what is wrong with her? Once again I gripped on Meiling's skirt, watching the scene in horror. But if everything she said was true, if she really was born from the young mistress, then...
"Thanks for telling me, Flynn. Now, disappear."
"Huh? What did you say? Disappear? Disappear!? Okay, Flan, I will. I will disappear. But remember; you can never run from your own madness. I'm always waiting inside, waiting until you call out for me again—"
"I SAID, DISAPPEAR!"
Her voice boomed throughout the room, as if piercing the air itself, and I gulped, holding onto Meiling closer, hiding behind her tall figure. I watched as the embodiment of madness laughed on top of her lung, her insane laugh echoed in the pitch black room, before she dissolved into a dark shadow and disappeared completely.
Is it over? Is everything over now?
I slumped to my knees, feeling all tired, and I saw Meiling did the same, falling to her butt while whining about her broken arm. Oh yeah, she got that wound for saving me before; I gave her a worried look, but she gave me a thumbs up instead, swishing her good arm as if telling me not to worry, so I try to and flashed her a tired smile. But, what to do from now on?
"Now, young mistress. I believe you haven't reach the end of your story yet, so let me make a new ending for you."
I heard lady Patchouli talked to the young mistress.
"The monster, thrashing in all its pain and suffering, finally realized that it had been tricked by the evil voice in its head all this time. Once it escaped from the tragic delusion, it finally realized; there was no shepherdess but a simple magician, there was no peon but a simple gatekeeper, and there was no blue-eyed prince but a simple blue-eyed maid. And finally, opening its eyes, the monster realized that it was actually not a monster itself, but a beautiful little girl. The evil voice that had tricked the everyone and held the princess captive, had disappeared."
The magician closed her grimoire followed by her eyes, muttering a spell in a secret language of magician that I didn't understand.
Moon Sign: Silent Selene
Soft white light emerged from around her and floated onto the dark ceiling, illuminating the room just like a moonlit sky. She reopened her eyes and walked to the now clearly visible metal door, standing beside it, then slowly, the door swung open to reveal her familiar on the other side, smiling widely. The purple-haired magician smiled, extending her hand toward my newly recognized master.
"Now, to awaken the sleeping princess."
Awaken. Awake—wait. Why do I feel like forgetting something? Something about waking up someone... I raised my pocket watch, staring at the tick-tacking device.
18:00:00 - It's time for the mistress wake up call!
I shot to my feet but quickly held myself; if I excuse myself now I would ruin the atmosphere! Oh, but what to do? What to do? Should I abandon my job as the chief maid for now and follow along lady Patchouli's scenario? Yes. I decided to wait and take that option, but my foot was thumping in impatience, and it seemed like my strange sudden behavior took everyone's attention. The young mistress giggled; she walked over to me and patted my head.
"You know, Patchy, waking up the mistress is the chief maid's job."
Huh? Huh? Everyone glared at me as if accusing me for ruining the scene. The magician sighed loudly and brought her hand to her hip.
"Flandre, if you are worried about the reason you're locked down here, I'll tell you: 90 years ago after we arrived at Gensokyo and you've gone berserk in the human village, Remi made a secret pact with the gap youkai and shrine maiden. 'The vampire Flandre Scarlet will be confined within the agreed area for her crime. Another attempt to break the rule will lead to her execution.' Following the creation of that pact, I made another deal with the gap youkai:
1) If Flandre Scarlet doesn't pose any danger to Gensokyo after a certain duration of time, the area of confinement will be enlarge to cover the whole Scarlet Devil Mansion.
2) If her mental stability improve over the next duration of time, the confinement area will be enlarge accordingly to her condition.
The duration we agreed on was every 50 years, which mean you can move freely around the mansion by now."
"But I won't."
Once again, I caught another new face of lady Patchouli's stunned expression, before she reverted to her usual expression and sighed.
"You see, Patchy, even if I was tricked it I doesn't change the fact that I did a terrible thing, maybe a lot of them. And after saying those harsh words to Remi—to Onee-sama... You can say, even though how much I want to meet her, I just couldn't bear to see her face now."
"After everything I've done to get the two of you back together... Aah, you are way too stubborn. The two of you."
"You and Remi. Why she never come down here is also because of that exact same reason; that she couldn't bear to see your face after failing to give you the perfect place to live. How troublesome, why can't you just meet when you want to? Another truth for me to uncover..."
"Fu fu, we are not sisters for nothing, Patchy; it's a given, I guess. Well then, I will be waiting here until she finish making that perfect 'Wonderland' for us. Oh, and don't forget to lock the door before you left~"
"Yes, yes. If that is what you want, I'll do as you say, young mistress. Meiling, Sakuya. Return to the surface and resume your job. Koakuma, help me with the sealing ritual."
Wait, what? Is this fine? This kind of ending, is it really fine? I glanced at the young mistress from behind the huge metal door, at her sweet but somehow sad smile, the same smile that I had seen on the mistress many times before, and I took a deep breath, shouting on the top of my lung.
"The mistress—the mistress cried in her sleep! She said she's sorry! She's sorry for everything!"
The vampire on the other side of the door giggled.
"That silly big sister of mine, she never changes... Oh, I know. Tell her that there's nothing to feel sorry about, that it's all my fault. Tell her that I'm sorry, too. And after that, I want you to protect her in my place. Onee-sama is pretty strong, that's why she tend to take everything by herself; I want you to stop her from doing such thing and always stay by her side. Can you do that, Sakuya?"
"Yes! Yes, I will definitely do that, young mistress!"
The foreign chant of the magician came into a stop, and slowly the metal door slid; I watched the scene before me intently, burning it to the back of my mind.
"Oh, and one more thing, Sakuya."
I heard the young mistress said, and I listened closely.
"The ending to my story, I'll leave it to you."
And the door came into a close.
19:00:00 – Night shift
I looked down at my golden pocket watch, smiling gently as it shined under the moonlight. First task: waking up the mistress and bringing her tea. I walked down the mansion hallway, a tray on my hand, and before long I reached the door leading to my master's room. Here I go! I took a deep breath and raised my hand to knock on the door.
"Come in, Sakuya."
I stopped mid-movement, blinking, before switching my hand to the doorknob, opening the door gently. Sitting on the bed was my vampiric mistress, the moonlight streaming from the window illuminated her figure perfectly; the sight of her always mesmerized me, and probably not only me, so I quickly shook myself back to reality, putting down the tray on her bedside table.
"You are awfully late today, Sakuya. Did something happen?"
I froze, my mind trying to make up an excuse, any excuse.
"Did Patchy give you another silly errand?"
"Um, yes. Yes, lady Patchouli did. Here's your tea, milady."
"Hm, I wonder if I should chastise her about overworking my maid."
I handed her cup and stepped back, standing by the bed, unable to calm myself. I made a promise with the young mistress, to protect milady in her stead and to tell her something, but now that lady Patchouli told me to keep the whole incident a secret, how am I supposed to tell her? Maybe. Just maybe, this way would work. I cleared my throat.
"Um, milady, may I ask you a question?"
"Of course. But whether I'll answer or not, it depends."
"Thank you. Um you see, I...I heard about the young mistress from, um, Meiling-san. Yes, Meiling-san. And if, just if, the young mistress tell you this: that everything is her fault, that she is sorry. How will you answer?"
"That is a very detailed 'what if', Sakuya."
Urk, I felt like hitting myself over the head. The mistress laughed softly, gazing at her own reflection on the tea surface, or perhaps, something beyond it.
"If she told me that, this is how I will answer; How many times you say that to me, I will always tell you that it is not your fault, and I know you will tell me the same. So, until our dream come true, until we reach that 'wonderland', until we find no more reason to say sorry to each other, let us lock away those horrible memories and say nothing."
Until their dream come true...
"Come to think of it, Sakuya."
"Is Patchy currently in the library now?"
"I...guess? But she told me she will be resting now—"
My diabolic master leapt down her bed, stretching jet black wings to their full length as she threw her cup away, landing softly on the floor; I caught the cup gracefully and put it back to the tray, ready by her side with her clothes in hand.
"Let us give our one-week magician another visit."
"But milady, she's probably sleeping—"
"Then wake her up! I've found a wonderful idea that will make her spring wide awake once she hear it."
...so the mistress was in mischievous mood today. Though I was a bit sorry for disturbing lady Patchouli after everything she had been through today, I was in no place to refuse my master's order, so I quickly stopped time and tidied up her room, returning to her side in a flash. We walked down the red corridor of the mansion in silence, and finally, I spoke.
"Um, milady, about this wonderful idea of yours..."
"Hm? Are you interested too, Sakuya?"
Actually I wanted to tell her to save it for later, because lady Patchouli must be very tired now, but I nodded instead.
"Very well, I will tell you. I'm thinking of making something big, an 'incident' so grand that will make the whole Gensokyo notice us."
Why would she want to do that? I kept silent and listened on.
"The Scarlet Mist Incident."
I stopped on my track and she turned to stare at me, giving me a mischievous smile,
and then, watching her scarlet eyes that shined with boundless wonder,
I smiled back.
"Looks like this story haven't ended yet, young mistress."
Chuckling to ourselves, we continued our walk to the library.
Toward the new future waiting for us; for all of us.