Oh no, Sakana's writing again. Giant Wall of Text approaching!
Finally I've come around to write another MotK-fiction.
And this time, not only a short story, but the start of a longer work.
I've never tried my hands at that kind of genre before, let's see how this will go.
The characters, while borrowing from the real members, are of course fictional, so I hope no one takes offense in their portrayal.
Anyway, I hope you'll enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it. Enjoy~And don't get discouraged by the length, it's easy to read >_<
With a refined gesture, the man moved the cup to his lips and took a long sip.
He stopped for a moment, savoring the taste of the tea, and then set the teacup down.
There was a small sound as the empty cup was placed on the table.
It was immediately picked up by the girl that had been standing silently besides the table and placed on a cart that held the remains of a generous breakfast.
"It's almost time. They should arrive soon."
The man looked outside onto the blue sea under a clear and sunny sky. Since he was sitting right in front of the large window, his silhouette shone against the bright outside.
That's the whole point, he thought. The whole point of having breakfast in this room at this time, on this chair. It looks so beautiful, so... charismatic.
A small smile formed on his lips before he turned around to face the two girls that were in the room with him. He was wearing expensive looking clothes, and though he was only sitting on a common chair, his presence made it appear like a throne fit for a king. The man's name was Helepolis Scarlet, owner of the Scarlet Mansion, a large estate with a long and proud history. He was well known for being the very embodiment of charisma, and he took great care to keep and cultivate this image.
There was but one thing that was disturbing, or one might even say breaking, his otherwise perfect charismatic appearance: The small plushie he was holding in his arms. It was a plushie of a small girl with bat wings, wearing a pink dress and carrying a crimson colored spear in her hands. It was unknown who it represented, and why he always carried it around all the times, but people around him had soon ralized that talking about it or trying to take it away was a very bad idea. It was easier to just ignore it entirely as if it didn't exist.
"So, I suppose everything has been prepared as I have ordered it?"
He was asking the two girls standing silently before him, which nodded in response. They were dressed as maids and appeared to be twins. However, it was easy to distinguish the two by their appearance and their pets. One had a large snake hanging around her neck, and carried a flower in her hair. Meanwhile a ferret rested on the other's shoulder and she was wearing glasses.
"You have prepared all thirteen guest rooms, Matsuri?"
"Yes, master", the girl with the ferret answered calmly with a small bow.
"And I trust we have enough food for the next days, Nobu?"
"Of course." This time the girl with the snake responded with a smile.
"Wonderful. In that case, I trust everything will go as planned."
He turned around to the window once more. A dark spot could be seen on the blue waves, approaching the peninsula the Scarlet Mansion was built on. It would soon reach the small harbour at the foot of the cliffs below the mansion.
"Ah, it seem they are finally here. Nobu, Matsuri, please go and greet them properly."
"Yes, master", both girls answered simultanously, and with a bow, left the room.
Helepolis stood at the window, his eyes looking into the distance.
Finally, it would begin...
Eight people left the boat soon after it had reached the harbour. Since they were planning to stay here for a few days, almost all of them were carrying large bags or suitcases of some sort.
Only one of them had neither, a middle aged man wearing a dirty doctor's coat that might have been white in ancient times. Instead of any luggage he only had two things. One was a lage folded cardboard box, the other was a leash that ended on the collar of a small dog with a fluffy white fur that made it practically look like a shrunken sheep. A nametag reading 'Momiji' was attached to the collar.
Despite his run-down looks the man moved with a refined calmness and elegance which made it obvious he had once belonged to a higher class of society. That image was supported by a monocle he was wearing on his right eye.
"Hey Purvis! Move a bit faster, we don't have all day!"
The voice came from a young man lifting a few suitcases from the boat. He would've looked normal, if it hadn't been for the floppy bunny ears on his head.
"You young ones don't have an ounce of patience anymore do you? That's what you get for growing up under the libs." The man called Purvis responded with a smug smile and proceeded towards the stairs that would lead them up the cliffs and to the mansion
"Hey, you could have at least taken the luggage of one of the girls, you self-proclaimed hobo-gentleman!", the bunny boy shouted after him before turning to another young man with blonde hair and glasses that was just climbing from the boat. "Benny, can you take one of them?"
"Sure thing, Pesco." the young man responded, and then the two made their way up the stairs with suitcases in each hand.
Following after them were a young girl with cat ears, who everyone just called 'Kitten', and Kilga, a young woman that held a position of great power in the world of MotK.
The last ones to exit the boat were three more young men going by the names of Bofh, Affinity and Fightest.
A few minutes later they all had reached the top of the stairs, Pesco and Benny breathing heavily from the weight of the additional suitcases they had carried.
"So this is the place, eh? Wow, that'll be fun.", Kitten asked while looking at the large mansion that now lay before them.
They weren't used to something that big. All of them were usually living in RPG, a modest but comfortable place in MotK whose inhabitants had dedicated their entire lifes to playing games.
This did not mean that they were lazy or childish. Quite the contrary, 'playing' was as much of a serious activity to them as fighting a war was to others. Only that a war was often far more humane and had less casualities.
And this was why they were here. To play. They had organized this trip to play a special game of Mafia, a very popular game in RPG, in a unique surrounding.
When they reached the mansion's doors, the twin maids were already waiting. They bowed as the guests came closer, then stepped to the side and opened the two large wings of the door simultaneously.
Everyone gasped as they got a view on the large entrance hall that lay behind the doors. The only one to enter immediately was Purvis, who seemed used to the extravagance of a mansion, while the rest of the guests hesitated, overwhelmed by the splendor before them. Only as the maids signaled them to get into the hall, they finally overcame their shyness and stepped through the door.
That was the moment Helepolis had been waiting for. As soon as all of the guests had entered and the maids had closed the door again, he stepped into view at the top of the large staircase that led up to the second floor in the middle of the hall. Behind him, the sun shone through a stained-glass-window portraying the same girl as his plushie, as he spread his arms wide and spoke.
"Welcome, everyone, to the Scarlet Mansion. I am honored that I may offer you my hospitality for those next days. I sincerely hope you will enjoy your stay and have fun with your games. Please refer to the maids if there is anything you wish for, I assure you that none of your needs shall be left unfulfilled.
I have already prepared everything for you, so you can start immediately. Just leave the luggage to the servants. Matsuri, please show the guests to the game room. Nobu, take care of their belongings."
He bowed once after his speech and then disappeared as fast as he had come before. While the eight RPG-residents were still looking at the stairs, unable to completely grasp what had just happened, the maids were already carrying out what they had been ordered to.
"Sir, please allow me to take that", Nobu said to Purvis, motioning to the cardboard box he was still holding.
"Ah, thanks, girl. Just set it up in a nice corner of my room, that'll be fine."
"Uhm, Sir. If you need a resting place for your dog, we have some high-class do-" the girl started when Purvis disrupted her.
"Eh? Who said anything about 'lil 'Miji here? She can take the bed, I suppose it's a big fluffy one, eh? The box is for me, young lady. I don't trust all that fancy stuff, nothing beats the classic hobo-bedding."
For a moment, the young maid was at a loss of words, but she quickly regained her composure.
"As you wish, Sir."
At the same time, Matsuri moved over to a door at the other side of the hall and begged the guests to follow her.
"The master had this room prepared specifically for your needs. Please use it for your business as you see fit."
She opened the door, which led to a room that was mostly empty. However, it was special in that one side of the room consisted of nothing else than a large window showing a beautiful scenery outside. Placed in a circle in the center of the room were ten comfortable-looking armchairs.
"Oh, not too bad. This room has a nice atmosphere." Kilga said as she walked over to the window.
"It sure has, but... why ten chairs? There's only eight of us." Affinity stated, confusion in his voice.
"Well," Bofh responded, "we originally invited ten people to come. Two of them couldn't make it, unfortunately. It's not like we can't play, but it would be better if we had at least two more."
"Then, how about we ask the maids?" This time it was Fightest that spoke. "That charismatic guy back then said they'd fulfill all our needs, and now we have a need for players. You think you can do that?"
The last question was directed to Matsuri, who was still waiting near the door. She looked surprised at the sudden question.
"I... it might be possible. I... think I will have to ask the master about this matter. If you would excuse me for a bit."
She left the room with a bow and headed towards Helepolis' study room, in which he spent most of his days.
"Do not worry", Helepolis told the maid after she had explained the situation and smiled faintly "The solution for this problem is already on the way..."
On a grassy hill, five people stood and looked down onto the mansion that was their goal. Despite it being bright day, all of them were wearing long capes with hoods that hid their faces. And behind one of the girls, there was a strange shape, resembling a giant fish, floating in the air, also concealed by a cape, while one of the other girls had large fluffy bunny ears sticking out from beneath her hood.
"We'll have to go over the basic rules of stealth missions again, won't we?" the girl standing in front of the other four sighed.
"Oh, come on, Ruro. It's not like there's any point to the stealth anyway. If they have books, they should know we're coming.", another girl answered.
""Maybe you should have brought some cardboard boxes. I heard those work far better for sneaking missions. And yes, Ruro, I know that you like capes. And keep that 'and nothing else than the cape' thoughts to yourself, thank you very much.""
These last words were not spoken aloud, yet all of the girls clearly heard them in their minds.
"Anyway, shall we get going?", the bunny-girl asked and started to walk again.
"Sure, let's review the mission again while we're on the way. Moe Moe, if you could." Ruro answered, turning to the girl with the fish-shape floating behind her.
"Ah, yeah." She cleared her throat. "Operation Crimson Liberation. The target is the Scarlet Mansion, owned by Helepolis Scarlet. The mansion is said to house a secret library holding possibly thousands of unique works. Our mission is to infiltrate the mansion and steal-" Ruro turned around and shot the girl a displeased look "err, liberate every literary work we can get and bring it back to PSL."
"Very good," Ruro looked pleased, "what's the status of the mansion, Rou?"
"The mansion is usually inhabited by its owner, Helepolis, his two head maids, Matsuri and Nobu, the gardener, Valentia, and some other servants. At the moment, a delegation from RPG resides in the mansion. I got that information from Pesco himself, so it's trustwor- oh wait, scratch that. Anyway, the RPG-people should keep the mansion staff busy enough so we can look for the library undisturbed." the girl called Rou explained the situation.
Then she turned towards the bunny-girl. "Hey, Chaore, think they'd take two more players?"
"Heh, who knows. We should ask." Chaore answered.
Suddenly, a voice rang in the minds of Rou and Chaore. ""Hmm, I think I should tell Ruro that you're thinking about ditching this mission anyways because it sounds boring. She might be really interested in that, hehehe~""
Both girls were startled for a moment. While those things happened every day, noone ever got used to them. Telepathy, the reading of thoughts and the projection of her own thoughts into other people's minds was the primary form of communication for Esifex, since she didn't speak the same first language as everyone else. And her missing hesitation to talk about what she saw in people's minds was what made her so scary.
"Hey, what're you doing? You're falling behind!" Ruro called from the front. "There's books to liberate, so show some enthusiasm, will you?"
And with a final shout of "Just you wait, Helepolis. No one can escape from the Librarian Squad!" she started to run down the hill, heading straight for the mansion, her cape fluttering in the wind, the other four Librarians following close behind her.
A few minutes later, the Librarians stood in the garden that stretched out behind the mansion, looking for a way to enter. A moment before that, a part of the fence surrounding the mansion on the back had learned about the devastating power of an accelerated giant tuna and collapsed.
"Hey, there's a door over here. But it's locked." Chaore shouted out, standing next to a small door that was probably designed as a servant entry.
"Can't we just have Sakana beat it down again?" Rou responded.
"Eh, I dunno. The fence back there was one thing, but wouldn't they notice if we barged in here? How about we have Ruro use her modding-powers to unlock it?" the fish-girl said.
"Huh, not a bad idea. Well then, Ru-... wait, where is she?" Rou looked around confused, searching for the girl that was the leader of the operation. Then she spotted two people a short distance away, her eyes widened in surprise. A moment later, she facepalmed.
There, walking between the flower beds, was Ruro, who had taken her hood down so her face and strawberry-coloured hair could were visible. And walking beside her was a young woman wearing a simple but elegant dress with a flower-design and a parasol, her long red hair tied together. Despite her not looking like a servant at all, she was wearing a bag on her waist in that carried a variety of gardening tools. It was Valentia, the mansion's gardener, and therefore one of the people the Librarians had wanted to acoid at all cost.
Yet here she was, and Ruro was walking calmly beside her, apparently admiring the flowers that were in full bloom all around.
"Ah, those white roses are really beautiful."
"Ah, yes, they take a lot of attention and skill to grow"
"Oh, is that a cherry tree over there? It's blooming!"
"We received that one as a gift from one of the shrines around here."
"Oh my god! Stawberries? Do I see strawberries over there? Oh, I'm becoming light-headed, ah..."
"You are correct, those are strawberries. We have already harvested a lot of them, so you may ask the maids if you want to eat some."
"Oh, really, can I?" Ruro turned to the gardener with shining eyes.
"But of course, I do not see why you couldn't." Valentia responded with a smile.
""So I take it our stealth mission is cancelled?""
The two girls jumped at the sudden new voice in their head. When Ruro turned around, Esifex was standing behind her. The rest of the Librarians was also walking over, Rou still facepalming as hard as she could at the absurdity of the situation. They all had taken their hoods down.
Everyone was staring at Ruro with feelings reaching from confusion to murderous intent.
"Errr..... I... got a little carried away... didn't I?" Ruro uttered.
""Yes, you did. And no, 'but they were so beautiful' is not a valid argument. Don't even try to talk your way out of this, Ruro.""
The result was an awkward silence, that was soon broken by Valentia.
"Uhm, you said something about a stealth mission? You're not planning to break into the mansion, are you?"
"Huh, of course we are. That's our job after a- urgh" Chaore started sarcastically, but was cut short by Esifex elbow as it hit her in the side.
""We were merely planning to pay a surprise visit to the master of this mansion. He is an old friend of our dear Ruro here, and they have not seen each other for a long time. I apologize for the inconveniences we may have caused, but we thought it to be a good idea."", her voice resounded calmly in everyone's mind.
After a moment of surprise, Valentia smiled once again.
"Ah, so that's how it is. In that case, I shall lead you to the master. Please follow me." And she started walking towards the mansion's back door and unlocked it, begging the Librarians to follow her.
As they walked towards the mansion, everyone was whispering thanks and praise to Esifex for her genius help.
"Also wirklich, manchmal frage ich mich wie ihr es ohne mich eigentlich schaffen würdet. Hmm, da kann man nichts machen, was? Überlasst solche Sachen einfach mir, sonst geht nur noch mehr schief."
"Welcome, to the Scarlet Mansion."
Once again, Helepolis was standing at the top of the stairs, arms outstretched, the sun behind him, offering a charismatic greeting to the new guests.
"It's been a long time, hasn't it, Ruro? And what charming young ladies you have brought with you." He bowed once again.
"Das Vergnügen ist ganz auf meiner Seite" Esifex responded with an elegant gesture.
"Err yeah, it's been a while, Hele. Hi there." Ruro greeted him, still flustered from what had happened before.
"If I remember correctly, the last time we met was when you tried to steal some books from me. You wouldn't be planning on something like that again, would you? There have been... rumors... you know?" He had a cunning look as he talked.'He knows!'
, Ruro thought to herself.
"Ahahaha, of course not. Just wanted to pay a surprise visit to an old friend, ahahaha!" she responded.
"Oh, but of course. Excuse my baseless suspicions. Well then, you are surely tired from your trip, aren't you? So why don't you rest up before we can enjoy this reunion. Nobu, show them to the guest rooms." He was now talking to the twin maids who had been waiting at the foot of the stairs patiently.
"Okay!" the girl with the flower on her head responded energetically and started to walk over to the newly arrived guests in order to guide them.
"Ah, and I almost forgot. Some people from the lands of RPG are here, and they're short of two players. There wouldn't be some amongst you versed in the ways of playing their games? I think they called it 'Mafia'."
Rou's and Chaore's eyes began to shine and they immediately voiced their desires to join the games, when Ruro grabbed their shoulders from behind.
"Hey, are you two forgetting why we're here? It's not to play games!"
"Ah...uhm... it's... it's not playing. It's...." Rou stammered.
"Investigation! It's investigation!" Chaore helped her out.
"Ah, yes. Investigation. We might find out about the secret library if we mix in with the other guests, rigth? Right?"
"Why do I think you're just looking for an excuse to neglect your duties? Ah well, might as well have some fun while we're here. Sure, go and join the game." Ruro smiled and let go of the two.
"Thanks, Rur-" Rou started, but stopped when she saw Ruro's look. She was staring at the maids, more specifically, at their legs that were clearly visible under their short skirts. Her eyes sparkled dangerously.
"I'm not too sure I'll be able to fully concentrate on the mission either, eheheh~"
"Well, now that that's settled. Matsuri, lead those two girls to the gaming room so they can join the other guests." Helepolis ordered the maid with the glasses before he disappeared once more.
"Of course. If you two would please follow me?" Matsuri responded calmly and headed for the other side of the hall, Rou and Chaore following behind her.
"And the others, after me, please." Nobu said to the remaining three Librarians and led them off.
In the gaming room, the eight players from RPG were still waiting for the maid to return. So when they heard the sound of the door opening, everyone turned around with expecting looks on their face, that soon changed to surprise when they saw not only the maid but two familiar but unexpected faces following behind her.
The young man with the rabbit ears was the first to speak.
"Yo Rou, Chaore. In for some mindhax?" he greeted the arrivals with a grin.
"Yo Pesco. Seems we had a good timing, eh?" Rou answered.
"You sure did," Kilga said. "Well then, now that we have enough players, let's get started. Purvis, will you take the position of Gamemaster?"
"Of course. Sit down everyone."
The ten people in the room went over to the armchairs. On each armchair lay a letter, sealed with scarlet wax.
"Now, choose a seat and open the letter to see your role." Purvis said while petting Momiji, who was resting on his lap.
Everyone did as ordered. The rustling of paper filled the room, then everyone looked towards Purvis and nodded to signal their readiness.
"Alright, then let us begin our first game now. You all know the rules, begin with Day One."
"Yuyuko doll: Pesco!" Kilga exclaimed.
"I'm voting for myself.", Bofh said.
"Voting Rou, for making sense."
"What, but I haven't said anything yet?"
"You damn bunny!"
As the discussion started, the maid that was still in the room silently left and closed the door behind her. She should return to the master soon, so that everything would go as planned...
After that, the day passed calmly. After long debates, the Mafia players decided to lynch Fightest, Vanilla Townie, shortly before dinner.
At the same time, the Librarians rested in their rooms, planning on how they would search for the secret library tomorrow, then they enjoyed a gorgeous dinner together with everyone else.
The maids spent most of their time preparing the dinner, then cleaning up after it was over.
The gardener tended to her flowers, just like she did every day.
And like that, night fell.
As the hands of the clock approached midnight, a single shadow stepped through the dark corridors of the mansion, carefull, so as not to be seen by anyone.'Soon, very soon...'
the shadow thought to itself. 'Just be patient for a little longer.'
In his study, Helepolis stood at the window, looking out onto the dark sea that was only illuminated by the light of the full moon. Did he miss anything? It was perfect, wasn't it?
He had gone through everything so often, but he still was unsure whether there wasn't something he had missed.
But he couldn't afford to hesitate now. Slowly, he turned around to Matsuri, who had been waiting silently in the dark.
"You know your orders. Let it begin."
The girl looked at him with empty eyes.
Five more minutes untill midnight. It was time for the announcement of the nightkill soon. Most of the chairs in the gaming room were occupied, but three people were missing. Silence filled the room, only disturbed by the sound of raindrops hitting the window. Through the large glass-front, the players could see the dark clouds that were approaching fast. There would be a storm soon.
"Hey, anyone know where Kitten, Affinity and Fightest are?" Benny broke the silence.
"No idea, they went to their rooms after dinner. Maybe they just fell asleep." Chaore answered.
"It doesn't matter. I can announce the nightkill without them, since discussion will only take place in the morning anyway. They'll just miss out on part of the fun." Purvis stated, petting Momiji all the time while speaking.
Then he cleared his throat and fixed his monocle.
"This night, scum have killed-"*crash*
His words were interrupted by a massive roar as thunder struck outside. In the bright illumination from the flash, Purvis, who was sitting directly in front of the window-wall, appeared as an eerie silhouette...
Surprised by the sudden flash and thunder, the girl lost her balance and fell down.
"What's up, Sana? Want to take a rest? Or are you getting scared by a little storm?"
Speaking those words was a man. He was wearing a long light-brown trench-coat and a fitting hat, and smoking a cigarette despite all the wind and rain.
"So, where are we anyway?"
"I.... have no idea.... I think we're lost." the girl called Sana responded while she got up and fixed the black hat she was wearing. Then, she spotted some lights in the distance.
"Hey, Jana! Look over there! There seems to be a house that way, maybe we can find shelter there!"
"Oh, not a bad discover- huh? Oh, now isn't that interesting. Ahahaha." Jana started to laugh.
"Eh? What is it? You're being creepy, laughing like that all of a sudden!" Sana exclaimed in confusion.
"Sana, it seems your skills have worked once again. You think we're lost, but it seems we were rather guided by the hands of fate."
"You lost me."
"Look, Sana. This down there is the infamous Scarlet Mansion. The owner's an old acquaintance of mine, and there's been some... rumors... about him and that place. And pay attention, the number of lights that are on must mean there are guests at the mansion. Add to that the storm coming from the sea. It's perfect, isn't it. I can almost feel something's gonna happen down there."
He started to grin.
"Let's go Sana." he said, tossing his cigarette away behind him.
Suddenly, another roaring sound could be heard, and heat flared up behind the two people.
Jana jumped forward, grabbing Sana and dragging her with him, then turned around.
Where they had been a few moments ago, a giant wall of flames was coming out of the ground. He looked to the left and right. The flames spread out as far as he could see.
"Wha...wha...WHAT? What was that.. how did that... why?" Sana stuttered, still in shock.
"Hehe, interesting. Well, maybe my cigarette accidentally fell into a rabbit hole that was deep enough to reach a secret oil deposit below the ground and lit it on fire."
"I hate Murphy and his stupid laws."
"Or, this could all have been set up. Fire on one side, a storm on the other. Heh, not too bad." he stated calmly. "Let's go. Look, someone even made a hole in the fence for us, so we won't have to take the long way around."
A few minutes later, loud knocking could be heard at the back door of the mansion.
In the grass, where Sana had fallen before, there lay a single business card.
"Jana & Sana - Detective Agency"
Esifex stood at the top of the stairs in darkness of the main hall, looking at the storm outside through the stained-glass-window. Then, she started to sing.
"Lautes Grollen der Wellen erklang~Prologue End~
Als der Himmel ganz langsam ins Dunkel schwand...."