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"Sakuya, what do you want out of life?"

The question came abruptly- in the midst of another peaceful day in the Scarlet Devil Mansion, as I was serving tea and snacks. It made me nervous. If it isn't too disrespectful to say such a thing, it's rare that the young mistress thinks much beyond her next meal, and when she does it's usually with something mischievous in mind. Besides, what did she mean "my life?" My life was hers, and I told her as much. "To serve you, miss," I answered cautiously.

She responded by throwing a grape at me. "You're smarter then that, Sakuya. Don't dodge the question." Taking the grape unflinchingly in the face, I set the plate and cup that occupied my hands down, foregoing my own tea until this was settled. "I honestly don't know what you mean," I told the vampiress as she sipped from her own cup. "You're immortal, yes? So as long as I live, I'll be working for you. I stopped dreaming of anything more then a place to call home long ago."

As the word 'immortal' left my lips, a wistful smile appeared on Remilia's face, surprising me again. I'd only seen that particular expression on the mistress once, the circumstances of which are another tale altogether, and a rather gory one. "What is it, miss?" I felt compelled to ask, though it was presumptuous.

"Immortal, hmm? You misunderstand the meaning of that word. All of your kind do." She set her cup down. "Death is enraged that it has no natural dominion over us, and so it sends its minions to dog us. Mercenaries, youkai, vampire hunters- whatever do the job. It's only sheer luck that that shrine maiden or some other hasn't put an end to me already."

"Don't talk like that, Mistress. I won't let anyone-"

Remilia waved a hand. "The time will come when you can't protect me, and by then I'll be ready. I shan't worry about it, and neither will you." She gazed at me, the smile gone from her face. "The point is... someday you will no longer be my servant. I ask you, not as an employer, but as a concerned friend; what will you do then?"

I stared back at her, unable to answer. Memories like faded paintings flickered through my mind, images of fire and blood that I hadn't the strength to face anymore, shut away for years upon years. Yet there was also warmth there, and the gentle smile of a human face; something I hadn't seen outside a mirror since I was too young to know my own name.

Despite it all, I still wanted to do something for Gensokyo...

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