Return to Fiction by Mima
As we approached the giant red residence, a figure started to approach us. As the figure got closer, it became more and more obvious who it was, strange green Chinese dress, green beret with a star taking the front, and long red hair which trailed down to her back. It was the woman who talked to us on the night that Flandre attacked. Having read the Gensokyo Chronicle, I took a guess that it was Hong Meiling, the gate-guard of the mansion.
As she stood in front of us, her expression could be seen, and matched exactly to when we last met, uneasy and worried, and I believe I know what, or who was causing it.
“H-hello there, if you’re here to see the mistress, she’s currently out. Please come back later.” She stuttered.
Before Yuka could say something, I quickly spoke, “We were wondering if we could go into the library. There’s something we need to check, please.”
Meiling quickly spoke under her voice, “She can’t be trying to hunt Patchy down now can she? Poor Patchy…” Looking directly at me, she spoke, “Sorry, but, I can’t let you go in if Miss Scarlet isn’t here.”
“Well, as you probably know, Flandre attacked me, and nearly killed me, so if you let me in, we’ll call it even.” I replied with a grin.
Meiling looked puzzled, “That’s a strange favour, but, I guess I can let you in.”
“Ah, thanks!” I shouted.
“On one condition.” Meiling gravely added.
I looked back at the guard, “What?”
Please don’t be a blood toll or something.
“I-I-I-I’m afraid M-Miss Yuka cannot go in. Someone might get h-hurt or the mansion might b-be trashed.” Meiling spoke, shaking almost.
“Can’t you make an exception this once? I promise I won't let her do anything wrong.” I pleaded.
Yuka laughed, “Oh will you? I’d like to see you try.”
“No, no, it’s alright Haru. You go alone.” Yuka spoke, a little more seriously.”
“W-what?” I spoke, sounding a little more surprised then I should have.
“Go on alone; I’m sure you’ll find it. Meanwhile, I think I’ll help train this gate-guard to be stronger.” Yuka grinning menacingly, before looking at Meiling.
“Eh?!” Meiling shouted in fright.
As Yuka leapt at the youkai, I quickly got out of the way, opened the gate and ran to the mansion, just in case there were any stray danmaku.
Fortunately the door was unlocked, so I quickly entered and closed the door behind me, followed by the sound of one of Yuka’s lasers blasting something.
As I examined the mansion I was surprised by the size of it, it looked a lot more spacious then what it did outside. At that moment, another thought hit me, ‘Where’s the library?’
Obviously, Meiling wouldn’t be able to tell me in her current situation, so I just walked forwards, observing the mansion. It was spotlessly clean, almost perfect, with a very regal décor that reminded me of castles and mansions I visited back in the Human World.
I was looking at an old looking painting of someone fishing off a bridge when I noticed something move in the corner of my eye, quickly turning to look at it, I found myself looking at a fairy, who casually flew out of a doorway, looked at me, and then continued to its own business.
Looks like it’s not so bothered about me being here.
“Excuse me, Miss… Fairy...” I called out awkwardly.
The fairy turned around to look at me, looking curious, yet puzzled.
“I don’t suppose you could direct me to the library, could you?” I asked quietly.
The fairy’s face lit up, and she smiled, nodding positively.
“That’s great, so, where is it?”
The fairy spun 90 degrees and pointed at the door it just left.
“Oh, it’s right in there?” I asked quickly.
The fairy replied with a nod.
“Oh, that was pretty stupid of me, thanks a lot.” I nodded my head in thanks.
The fairy curtsied slightly before flying off, back to whatever she was doing,
So far, so good. I thought, as I opened the library door.
I was hit with surprise at the size of the library, I was expecting it to be big, but this place looked like it dwarfed warehouses, bookshelves sat on bookshelves making it appear three, maybe even four stories, the only problem was there were no walkways for the upper bookcases, so until I learnt to fly, I doubt I’d be reaching all the way up there any time soon.
Hopefully the bookshelves were arranged nicely, and don’t turn into a labyrinth leaving me stranded for days and days until Yuka finally loses it and hunts me down.
Wondering in, I began to wonder how the heck I was going to find something in this gargantuan room, especially since I didn’t know what I was specifically looking for.
As I wondered in no particular direction, I began to see the wide range of books that were in her, factual, fictions, foreign languages I’d never even seen before. This place was like the holy grail of literacy.
“Wow, this place is amazing…” I spoke out unconsciously.
“I’m glad you think so.” A voice spoke from beside me, causing me to almost jump out of my skin.
Quickly spinning to the side, I faced the unknown voice, to see a long, purple haired woman wearing a white nightcap and purple and white pyjamas. Also noticeable was the large book she was holding, and resting on her lap.
“Y-you must be Patchouli… Miss Knowledge. I’m Haru.” I spoke out clumsily, still slightly shaken from the shock.
The woman smiled, “Yes, that’s me. We’ve not met before have we?” She asked, as her eyes scanned me.
I was about to speak when she began to talk again, in her odd voice, which sometimes sounded… normal, while at others it was almost monotone. “But, I have seen you before. I was at the party at the shrine, so I know well what… happened to you, and I am also aware of how you are back. However, that doesn’t explain why you’re here inside my library.”
“Well, it might sound odd, but I’m not sure exactly what I’m looking for.” I told the magician hesitantly. “I just got a clue to a game that I should be looking for something.”
Patchouli sat still for a moment, “Yukari’s game, I presume? The Mistress and Sakuya left to take part in that game earlier.” The purple youkai looked down at her book and gave out a sigh, “Looks like this place has turned into a playground.”
“You might be lucky, the clues seem quite unique, so you might not get visited by that many people.” I spoke out, unsure of what I was saying, but trying to make Patchouli feel better.
“I see, that would also explain that… thing that appeared in my library earlier, I thought it was Marisa turning this place into a dumping ground to be honest.” Patchouli said quietly, still reading her book.
I took a quick look around, but saw nothing and so asked, “I don’t suppose you could help me find it, could you?”
Patchouli remained seated and continued reading her book for what felt like a few minutes, “I guess so. Can you fly yet?”
I looked down, “No, not yet.”
“I see, well, try to keep up.” Patchouli spoke as she rose, and began to head deeper into the library, away from the door with her feet hovering slightly off the ground.
I began to walk beside her when she started, “So, where is Yuka, I’d have thought she’d be here with you.”
I grinned slightly, “She’s outside… training, with Meiling.”
Patchouli smiled slightly, “I see, well, at least there’s no mess in here.”
As I walked through the various aisles I looked at the surroundings, which are as to be expected, all books, but the collection was purely amazing, every collection was complete, sometimes there were even copies of the same book, sometimes in different languages, it made me begin to wonder how long this sanctuary of books took to form, and how valuable some of these things were.
“May I inquire into how you knew my name? I didn’t think I was so well-known in Gensokyo, unlike my library.” Patchouli asked without warning, sounding like she was bragging towards the end of the sentence.
I quickly thought about how I actually knew, “Oh, right, I read about you. The Gensokyo Chronicle by Akyu… uh, Hieda.”
“Hieda no Akyu? I should have guessed.” Patchouli mused to herself. “I suppose you must be alright if she’s let you read her beloved books, I take it you enjoy reading?” Patchouli looked at me expectantly.
“Oh, yeah. I can say I don’t read as much as you, going by your reputation, but let’s just say that if it wasn’t for reading and that Chronicle she lent me, I wouldn’t have lived as long as I did the last time I was here.” I explained to her, and watched as her expression lightened up.
“Well, here we are.” Patchouli announced, but still generally quiet, before coughing. “Straining my voice… not a good day.”
She barely even spoke ‘normal’ volume.
The object was merely a metal box in the centre of a crossroad of aisles, completely silver and slightly reflective, on all the sides it was completely blank, the only part of note was the top, which slightly resembled a printer. There seemed to be two slots, but no instructions to it.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out the piece of paper that had the clue on. “What’s that?” Patchouli asked, looking over my shoulder, thanks to her levitation.
“It’s what brought me here.” I quickly spoke, before I placed the paper near one of the slots. Carefully, I tried to push the paper into one of the slots, but something was blocking it making it a wasted attempt. Moving to the other side, I tried the other slot, which accepted the paper with the whirr of machinery, and took the paper off me.
“Oh, it’s gone.” I said with a bit of disappointment.
“Is that it?” Patchouli asked, now floating beside the box.
Suddenly, the box began whirring again, resembling a printer, and from the other slot, a piece of paper was produced, exactly the same as the previous one, except the text, as expected.
“That’s it, I’ve got what I came for, I guess.” I spoke, with a little excitement.
That’ll show Yuka, I can do stuff by myself.
“I was expecting something a bit more… dramatic, since it’s from Yukari.” Patchouli quietly commented.
“She’s probably planning something else.” I quickly replied, “Anyway, thank you Patchouli for your help. I should go now, to give you some peace, and stop Yuka’s… playtime.”
“Can you remember the way out?” Patchouli asked quietly, as usual.
I nodded, “Yeah, it was pretty much a straight line from where we came from, with a turn to the… left… where I met you… I think.”
“Correct, good luck, although I ask you don’t tell the Mistress of my assistance, she may not be terribly pleased about it.” Patchouli asked seriously.
“No problem, I won’t say a word.”
“Thank you; also, if Akyu has placed trust in you, then I shall do the same. Next time I see her, I shall inform Meiling to allow you access to the library, I believe you should find a much larger selection to choose from here then at the Hieda library. Just do not linger too much in the Mansion itself; you never know who you may run into.”
What is this? War of the Libraries or something? Some secret library feud between Patchouli and Akyu? … I’m just not going to ask.
I quickly bid farewell to Patchouli before turning around to where I came from and began to run back to the entrance, to find Yuka and what was left of Meiling.
Return to Fiction by Mima