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Can you imagine what it would be like in a high security prison? All day and night, there's nothing to do, no one to talk to, and barely enough to eat. All day and night, you have nothing but yourself, a bed, a toilet, and four walls to amuse yourself with. Now, can you imagine what it would be like for that very same prison to be made of paper? There wouldn't be anything stopping escape but a flimsy barrier, and oh how easily it can be destroyed. That's what it felt like to be a certain little blonde girl in a certain little dreary basement where she had spent most of her 495 ageless years. The walls weren't paper, but they might as well have been considering the immense destructive powers this girl possessed. So why didn't she escape? Because her sister had convinced her that this was for the best. For the safety of all.
"Lady Flandre, I brought your dinner," said a voice just outside of the heavy iron door. A small gap slid open on the door and a pair of dark blue eyes could be seen before a hand reached through with a plate of what seemed to be a steak cooked rare. The willingly imprisoned girl picked herself up from her bed where she spent most of her time just staring at the ceiling and took the plate. The hand withdrew and Flandre's blood red eyes met with the blue eyes of the servant.
"Thanks, Sakuya," mumbled the girl as the gap slid shut again. The steak was nice and bloody, just how she liked it, but it was also somewhat unsatisfying. However, Flandre had grown accustomed to the gnawing sensation in her stomach as dinner was the only meal she got every day. She was unsure of the details but it seemed that Sakuya personally caught and prepared her meals, and it was a difficult job to do. You see, Flandre was a vampire. The steak was made of human meat.
As Flandre ate, she suddenly realized just how boring of a life she lived. For as long as she could remember, she had been in this room in the basement of a mansion. Her caretaker hadn't always been Sakuya, but the routine was always the same. Sleep and eat. Eat and sleep. Occasionally her sister would visit, but it was incredibly rare. The last visit was a few years ago when Sakuya had failed to show up with a meal. The sliding gap opened like usual but instead of the usual dark blue eyes, crimson eyes like her own looked through. And then, the lock clicked open, the door slowly swung open, and her elder sister Remilia came in with a smile and reassurance that the unusually long cold season would be over soon. And she was right too. Remilia's visits were always extremely enjoyable as they broke the monotony of her existence.
The steak was gone before she even noticed. An idea just came to her mind. Surely her sister wouldn't mind if she returned the favor and visited her, would she? Flandre toyed with the idea as she picked up the empty plate and placed it on the floor next to the door where one of the maids would pick it up later through a lower gap in the door. Lying down on the bed again, she imagined how happy Remilia would be to see her little sister visiting. She decided to do it, even though there was a little cynical voice in the back of her mind telling her that Remilia might not be happy at all. Can't know without trying, right?
Flandre was so enthusiastic about this idea that she jumped back out of bed and walked up to the door with the intention of opening it by force. Magical force, that is. Without little effort, she swiped a glowing red hand through the hinges of the door, melting the iron cleanly. With her other hand, she pushed on the now free standing door and it began to tip over. With an enormous thud that shook the mansion and cracked the cement floor, the heavy iron door fell to the ground.
"Oops," she said aloud. And just as she was thinking, I hope that didn't wake anyone up, the darkness of the basement was suddenly dispelled by the light of several lanterns coming down the spiral stairwell. Suddenly, what seemed to be a whole battalion turned the corner of the last set of stairs and stopped short at the scene. At the front was a silver-haired girl dressed in a maid's outfit. By the lantern light, Flandre could see that she had blue eyes.
"Lady Flandre, what are you doing?" demanded the maid.
The vampire smiled sweetly, revealing her characteristic fangs, as she replied with, "I'm going to see my sister."
"Please! You must stay in your room!" the maid exclaimed. Then in a more calm voice, "If you wish to see your sister, we can arrange for her to come."
"No!" shouted Flandre, her emotions causing a small magical tremor that shook the dust from the stone walls, "You don't understand, Sakuya! Remilia is always the one who comes to see me! For once, I want to go to see her!"
Sakuya hesitated for a moment. She understood Flandre's desire, but the consequences of giving her freedom were unpredictable. Flandre had only been out of the basement under Sakuya's employment once before and the result that time was devastating. Upon learning of the defeat of Remilia in a battle, she had gone berserk and rampaged her way out of the basement, demanding to see who had hurt her beloved sister. The resident magician had cast a rainstorm spell, taking advantage of the vampire's inability to cross flowing water and containing the mayhem, but it had taken the very same person who had defeated Remilia, a certain shrine maiden by the name of Reimu, to tire her out in the longest battle Sakuya had ever seen. In the end, the repairs for the mansion had taken well over a month even with the help of nearly tireless fairies and youkai.
"Very well, I will escort you to Lady Remilia," Sakuya assented. As long as Flandre wasn't upset, she wouldn't rampage like last time she reasoned. Something as innocent as a sisterly visit wasn't going to destroy a whole section of the house again. Flandre's eyes lit up as she heard Sakuya agreeing to help and the tension level of the group of people behind the maid dropped tangibly. The vampire took a few steps out of the room onto the collapsed door before running up to Sakuya and hugging her.
"Thank you, Sakuya!" she said earnestly with tears of joy. This was the very first time she had actually been given permission to go out of the basement. It was the first time she was able to climb the stairs without fear of getting caught and forced back. The whole climb up the stairwell, Flandre was tingling with excitement. She was going to see her big sister again! Finally they reached the top and with a wordless wave of the hand, the group of people accompanying Sakuya quickly dispersed themselves. Flandre was surprised to see that all of them were, in fact, wearing the same type of maid's dress that Sakuya was wearing -- it was just hard to see in the gloom of the basement. She thought she might even have recognized one of the maids as one who tried to stop her during that time before Reimu had shown up.
"This way, Lady Flandre," beckoned Sakuya, pointing down a long windowless hallway. The whole mansion was windowless actually, except for certain rooms, as was fitting for the dwelling of a vampiric family. The two of them passed many doors both open and shut, leading to storerooms, sitting rooms, tearooms, maid bedrooms, and whatnot. They also passed many other maids tidying up the huge mansion who stopped their work just long enough to realize who was walking next to the head maid.
Up another stairwell and halfway down another long corridor, they reached their destination: the observatory. As the head maid, Sakuya knew her mistress' habitual schedule by heart. Tonight was the full moon -- Remilia would, without a doubt, be gazing at it, watching its journey across the starry skies. Pulling open the double wooden doors, they saw that the elder vampire was indeed staring at the moon. The creaking hinges from the doors, however, caused her to turn her attention to the unexpected interruption.
"Oh, Sakuya," she said before her scarlet eyes fell on the other girl. They widened slightly. "And Flandre."
"Remi!" exclaimed the little sister as she ran up for a hug.
"I'm sorry my lady, but she wanted to see you--" started Sakuya, but Remilia cut her off with an idle wave.
"Don't worry Sakuya. I trust your judgment," she said as she returned her sister's affectionate hug. "And since you're here, would mind making me some tea? And Flandre too, I think."
"Of course, my lady."
Flandre looked back to thank Sakuya again, but where the silver-haired maid had been, there was already nothing but a sliver of moonlight. Even the doors had been shut again without having made the slightest noise. Before Flandre could wonder about this strange phenomenon, however, Remilia drew her attention again by nudging her slightly. It was only then that she realized that her arms were still wrapped tightly around her sister. She let go quickly as Remilia chuckled slightly.
"What's so funny?" asked Flandre, "Did I do something weird?"
"No, Flan. It's nothing," her sister replied, "So why'd you have Sakuya bring you all the way up here?"
"I wanted to see you!" Flandre answered, "We haven't seen each other in so long..."
"Yes, you're right, I'm sorry. I haven't visited as often as I should, but if you wanted to see me, why didn't you just have Sakuya come fetch me?"
"That's what Sakuya said too! But you're always the one visiting me. For once, I wanted to come visit [i]you[/i]." Flandre would have gone on, but she hesitated as a new thought occured to her. Now that she had gone through with the idea and visited, it seemed like such a lame reason. "But I guess I should've just stayed in the basement..." she added dejectedly.
"Yes..." It was only one word, but that one word struck Flandre with much weight. To her, it meant that she had messed up, that her reason to leave really was just a lame excuse. But most of all, it meant that her sister hadn't wanted to see her. "But since you're out here already, you might as well stay out for a while longer. At least, until Sakuya brings us the tea," Remilia continued, oblivious to the storm that was building up in Flandre.
There was a brief moment of silence as neither girl could think of anything to say before Flandre broke the quiet with a question, "Say, Remi... why do I have to go back to the basement?"
"Because it's safest that way for everyone," Remilia replied almost automatically.
"But why is it safest?" persisted the younger vampire.
Remilia hesitated. She had never been asked that quesiton before so she didn't have an answer ready. Should she tell the truth? Perhaps a well-tailored lie? She decided to tell part of the real story. It was best to omit the other parts. Especially about her periods of insanity. She would tell a half-truth. "Flandre," she started, "I'm sure you know that you have a powerful ability. The ability to destroy anything and everything."
"Have you noticed that you can't control that ability completely? When you've been angry or frustrated, haven't you done something without even realizing it? Until you can control it, you will have to stay in a place where no one will get hurt."
"But I can control it!" Flandre insisted, "I won't hurt anyone!"
"We don't know that for sure," answered Remilia. She was now acutely aware of Flandre's iminent explosion of pent up frustration, but it was already too late. Now she was forced to make a difficult the desicion. Allow her little sister free, the equivalent having a time bomb wander about her mansion, or refuse, the equivalent of setting the bomb off now?
"Don't you trust me?" demanded Flandre, "I'm your sister!"
Remilia decided quickly. "Yes, I do."
There was a hint of hesitation in her voice. Flandre's eyes narrowed.
The next moment, there was a flash of vermillion light and a deafening roar as an the wall behind Flandre exploded. Remilia shielded her face with her arms from the rubble, dust, and shards of glass that flew at her. When her vision cleared and the dust settled, she saw that there was now a gaping hole where one of the large windows of the observatory had once been and her sister was nowhere to be seen. The silhouette of a bat flashed across the full moon.
"My lady, what happened?!" Sakuya was already at the elder vampire's side, just mere seconds after the explosion.
"Flandre's escaped! We need to find her before the sun rises!"
"Understood," the maid answered, "I'll assemble a search party immediately."
"Get the shrine maiden too. Flandre will need to be forced and she's the only one who can do it."
"Yes, Lady Remilia."
Sakuya vanished immediately, leaving Remilia alone with her thoughts. Even if they managed to get her home, there was no telling what would happen next. Flandre no longer felt like she had a reason to stay isolated and not only that, she also no longer trusted her sister. Of course, there was always the final solution -- the last resort that Remilia constantly hoped she wouldn't need, but would use if it became necessary. And now, there didn't seem to be any other choice. Flandre would have to die.
Forward to Chapter 2
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