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ATTENTION: THIS IS A FANFICTION!
Translations from Japanese by Deranged of pooshlmer
The little show began from that moment. The perfect and elegant maid was once again performing her duties flawlessly and elegantly. While doing so, she happened upon the door to the room of her respected mistress.
"...Yeah. Sakuya will... give that....... then.... it...."
Inklings of a conversation could be heard from within the room. Sakuya at first thought against eavesdropping, but when she heard her name mentioned, she could not contain her curiosity. Sakuya furtively strained her ears to listen to the conversation inside the room. The voices... They belonged to the Remilia herself, as well as one other whose voice was so soft that Sakuya could not make out what the voice said clearly.
"Oh my, that's not good. You need to tell Sakuya properly this time." "......, .............."
Just what are they talking about? Though milady's voice is clear and pristine. She is truly, wonderfully charismatic.
"......, ........ ........." "Yes, that she must leave this place."
Eh? Huh? What did she just say?
Blood rushed to her head. The words had been heard, but she could not understand them. No way, that's impossible, it can't be... Leave this place, that must be, absolutely not...
Her body unconsciously lurched forward. She then placed her hand on her face. Calm down, I must calm down. I definitely must have misheard something. Come on, Sakuya, come on...
She managed to curb herself just as she reached her limit. Nothing less was expected of the dog of the devil. The time-manipulating head maid wasn't to be taken lightly.
"That girl'll be a nuisance by being around, after all."
Right to the heart. The finishing blow landed cleanly.
Farewell, Milady. Farewell. Farewell. I would rather choose death over being a nuisance to Milady. Thank you so much for everything up to now. The underwear that you had said you recently lost is actually in my room, so please feel free to take it back. I shall earnestly pray that this foolish maid can at least remain a twinkle in the sky of your memory. Goodbye......
".......?" "What's wrong, Remi?" "I thought I felt someone's presence in the corridor. ...Perhaps it was just my imagination."
Remilia had checked outside her room. But there was nothing there besides the traces of water stains in the splendid scarlet carpet underneath.
A depressed-looking human wandered aimlessly through the forest. The dog of the devil had become the devil's unwanted dog... no, she was no longer that, even. She was Sakuya Izayoi, just another stray dog. The misfortune around her was so great, even a certain Goddess would immediately back off and refuse to take her curses off her.
In any case, as she had sworn herself to one and only one mistress, the roads left to her were few. She could count on previous work experience to find further employment, but her pride would make her refuse the thought of serving more than one mistress. Just what could she do?
Perhaps death was the only option. But being a human, the faintest hint of hope stopped that thought in its tracks.
Maybe... Just maybe, that was really a mistake, and Milady is actually waiting for me to come back... Those thoughts that swirled around her head were the only things that kept the rope meant for her neck, and the knife meant for her wrists from being used.
As she walked around aimlessly, she ended up arriving at the Hakurei Shrine. Her feet had most likely taken her to places that she remembered traveling to with her Lady. She could see the red-white shrine maiden and the black-white magician in the area. The three-coloured girls seemed to be colouring something. Then, the girls noticed her presence.
"......Ugh, it's Sakuya."
A groan escaped Marisa's lips. Sakuya received her second fatal wound of the day. The words may have been trivial, but as she was now, they still caused heavy damage. The feeling of a stake of ice stabbing at her heart stopped her in her tracks. Ahh, so I'm actually despised this much... Reimu then seemingly inquired about Sakuya's state.
".....Sakuya, is there something wrong? Where's Remilia?" "....Nothing's wrong. I just thought I would drop by."
The mention of Remilia's name struck her heart, but the remnants of her pride kept her from showing it.
"Ah. ...Well, we're kinda busy today. If you don't have any business here, could you leave?"
The third attack. The defensive wall that her pride erected was no more. Sakuya's heart, looking for someone to save it, had been defeated by three grievous wounds.
"I see... I suppose so. I'm a nuisance, after all. ...I'm sorry, I shall leave at once." "Huh?"
Although truthfully, she had nowhere to return to. It took all her remaining willpower to keep her voice from cracking. Sakuya turned her back to Reimu and Marisa, and flew away into the sky at full speed.
"Goodbye!" "Ah, wait, I didn't mean...!"
Reimu tried to call out to her, but she was already too far away. She sighed loudly.
"I wonder what was wrong with her." "Who knows? But at least we can do this safely now." "That's true."
The two, busy with their many tasks, disappeared inside the shrine.
Where she was flying to, and how long she had been flying, not even she knew. She could figure out the time by her treasured pocket watch, but not even looking at it could improve her mood. Once again, Sakuya was wandering aimlessly.
The sun is starting to set, I should try to find somewhere to rest. Sakuya's muddled brain managed to work at that time at least.
She spotted a brightly lit house right at the edge of the Forest of Magic.
Ahh, that's right, that jogged my memory. I had visited that place together with Milady before. The places she often went to, and had memories of her mistress with, were just the Hakurei Shrine and there. At that point, she realized just how much of her time was spent at the Scarlet Devil Mansion.
Sakuya mindlessly flew towards the light. The shop with the slightly eccentric owner, the Kourindou.
She opened the door, and entered. The inside of the store was strewn with all sorts of odds and ends, yet the entire mess somehow evoked a mysterious feeling of harmony.
"Welcome. ...Oh, the head maid. Good evening." "...Good evening, shopkeeper. ...I'm not the head maid anymore." "I suppose that's something you'd rather keep to yourself?" "Well, yes. You could say that..." "...? ...Well, take your time and look around."
The shopkeeper's gaze then returned to the book he was holding. Upon hearing those words, Sakuya started to totter around the shop, looking as she walked. She had no plans to buy anything, all she did was look. It was what one would call window shopping. But a single item made her come to a complete halt.
"...Ah, this is..." "Hm? ...Ah, that. In the end, it's just been sitting there untouched. I wouldn't fault my customers for not buying it though."
Sakuya held a case with a teacup broken long ago in her hands. It had been converted into an item for sale. The shopkeeper was truly eccentric. Upon opening the lid, she found the broken cup and the polite note that she had left there.
Her Lady was in such high spirits then. As she closed her eyelids, the memories of that time... no, all the times with her Lady came flooding back.
Her despair grew larger as her chest tightened up. Milady, Milady, Milady... I am such a fool, yet you let me experience such a wonderful place... To be chased out of there... I must not have worked hard enough... Her eyes remain tightly shut, even as tears started to flow down her cheeks.
Sakuya then felt someone standing nearby. As soon as she noticed the presence, she opened her tear-stained eyes in that direction.
"....Um, I don't know what's going on... but you shouldn't cry in the middle of my shop like that. Anyway, you can use this."
The shopkeeper stood there with a perplexed expression, holding out a handkerchief.
Sakuya took a seat on a nearby item, and used Rinnosuke's handkerchief to wipe her tears away as she explained what happened at the mansion. Rinnosuke occasionally nodded as he silently listened.
"...So after I left the Scarlet Devil Mansion ,I am now nothing more than a wanderer... *sniff*" "...I see. It must have been tough."
Whatever the case, don't use that handkerchief for your nose, Rinnosuke thought. But those words couldn't escape his mouth.
"......*sigh* Just where did I go wrong?" "Hmm, I can't say I know what it's like... but did you ever hear the reason from your Lady directly?" "...No. But a mistress's words are absolute to a servant. They are to be acted on, not thought about. Since Milady had spoken as such..." "Hmm."
Rinnosuke folded his arms and hummed. He then came to a conclusion.
"Alright, I know." "....?"
Rinnosuke suddenly uttered those words, which caught Sakuya's attention.
"Do some information gathering to check whether you've really been fired or not."
Rinnosuke declared it plainly.
"...*sigh* And how does one do that?" "Hm. Well, there's the quickest way." "Which is?" "To hear it straight from the horse's mouth... from your Lady." "...Are you serious?" "Quite."
Sakuya's eyes gazed downwards.
"But... I don't know how should I approach her anymore..." "Just be yourself. ...From what I've heard, your Lady never actually told you to stop working for her, did she?" "......W-Well, that's true, but..."
It was true, she never said that. Her faith in what she had heard shook ever so slightly. But no, even if that was true, she couldn't just go back now.
"......" "Well, in the end, it's up to you. ...But as a busybody, I'll say this. ...I never saw your Lady as someone who would fire her servants for no good reason."
After finishing his sentence, Rinnosuke started to go back behind the counter. But his movement was suddenly stopped. He turned to see Sakuya holding his arm.
"I will go and ask her directly."
She asserted it definitively. Her eyes was entirely different from when she entered, and were now clear as day. A mistress's orders may be absolute to a servant, but she still wanted to work as her servant as much as possible. If she was truly fired, she would think about it when it actually happened.
"Mm, you look committed now, that's reassuring. Well then, do your best..."
Once again, Rinnosuke tried to return behind the counter. Once again, his movement was suddenly stopped. Sakuya was still gripping his arm, with more strength than before. Rinnosuke turned to look at Sakuya. Her eyes were still slightly red from crying, but her face showed a sweet smile.
"...Why do you need me to go with you?" "Oh my, so you think you have no responsibility for the very words you spoke?"
Rinnosuke came to regret opening his mouth at all.
They returned to the Scarlet Devil Mansion. Night had come, and the mansion was filled with light in every room, emphasising its presence in the darkness. Two shadows stood in front of the gates. One was Rinnosuke, carrying a lamp. The other was Sakuya, surveying the area.
"...That's strange." "...What is?"
Rinnosuke asked with a tinge of irritation. But Sakuya continued on with her tense tone.
"Meiling and the rest... the gatekeeper squad isn't around." "...Wouldn't they be resting?" "There should still be a lookout at the gate at all times. There's supposed to be a 24-hour system in place." "Hm, would that mean something has happened?" "...Let's hurry."
The two then attempted to get past the gate. They started to open the small doorway next to the gate. As they were trying to open it, the gate suddenly opened by itself, and a figure emerged.
"...Meiling?" "Ah! Ms. Sakuya! So you're here, thank goodness! Everyone was about ready to go searching!" "Eh? Ehhh? Meiling, you mean... searching for me?" "Yes. Ms. Sakuya, Milady called for you a little while ago." "M-Milady did!?"
Sakuya was shocked upon hearing that her Lady had called for her. Rinnosuke sighed, and gave her a little nudge in the back. Sakuya let out a gasp and took a step forward. Meiling quickly took her hand and led her inside impatiently.
"Now, over here. Please hurry." "Here? Meiling, Isn't Milady's room over there?" "Ah, erm, that's... M-Milady is over here, really."
Meiling's eyes started to grow frantic. Before Sakuya could investigate further, a voice emerged from behind her.
"Well, alright then, do your best."
Sakuya turned around to see Rinnosuke waving his hand, and turning to head back. But thanks to the Rule of Three, his movement was once again stopped. Rinnosuke turned to glare at the arm holding his own.
"You've come this far, we're in this together now." "Why would that be!?" "Now now, let's get moving!"
If Rinnosuke had known about "Donna Donna", it might well have been playing through his mind at that point.
The three of them were led by Meiling to the door to the reception hall. She then knocked on the large door, and called out.
"Milady, Ms. Sakuya is here. Mr. Rinnosuke is with her as well." "...We're here, let me go back already."
Meiling's call was answered by a voice from within the room.
"Good work. You may enter."
It was, without a doubt, Remilia Scarlet's voice. Rinnosuke stole a glance at Sakuya's direction. She had finally released his arm from her grip.
Sakuya straightened her back and stood prim and proper. Her eyes were unshaken, and her resolve was true. She opened her mouth and spoke in an elegant tone.
Sakuya took a deep breath, then opened the door and entered the room.
Just one step.
"Happy Birthday, Sakuya!!!"
A deafening cheer.
The sounds of several crackers going off.
The falling multi-coloured confetti.
The brightly decorated room.
The masses of humans, fairies and youkai populating the reception hall.
The smiles on everyone's faces.
All of those sensations struck Sakuya in unison.
"....T-This is... What is this?"
The sudden developments left Sakuya in a daze. Her eyes wandered all over the room, utterly flustered. The sea of bodies then parted to make way for a few people, who started to walk towards Sakuya.
"Happy Birthday, Sakuya."
Remilia's exquisite expression was that of a child who had just pulled off her prank.
"Happy Birthday, Sakuya!"
Flandre's innocent smile shone through as she spoke.
"Happy Birthday, Sakuya."
Patchouli had a rare smile on her face.
"Eheheh, Happy Birthday, Ms. Sakuya!"
Meiling moved in front of Sakuya, and joined Remilia and the rest as she spoke.
"M-Milady, what is..."
Sakuya murmured in blank amazement. Remilia could only chuckle at her dumbfounded expression.
"My my. You didn't forget the day you started workng here, did you, Sakuya?" "Eh?" "It has been 10 years since the day you started working here, the day that became your birthday. Such an event deserves a large impact, don't you think? That's why we arranged this surprise birthday party. Although it wasn't my idea, admittedly." "Heh heh, if ya think something's missin', that's me!"
The grinning Marisa emerged from behind Remilia.
"Maaan, I was real scared that the whole jig was up when you came to the shrine." "I was talking with Patchy about it at first, but this eavesdropper here chimed in with all her suggestions, then it became like this. I gave it my approval since it sounded interesting." "This best way to celebrate this kinda thing is always a huge party!"
A smile played on Marisa's lips as she gave a thumbs-up.
"But we needed ya out of the way so you wouldn't find out. We had so many things to do here on the day itself that we couldn't have done if ya were here." "...That's right, so in the end, Patchy and I decided that we needed to get you out of the mansion until preparations were complete. ...It was quite fortunate for us that you seemed to go out by yourself." "...T-That means, in the morning..."
It was completely a mistake. Why! Why such an embarrassing thing! Sakuya stumbled backwards in shock. But hands reached out to support her.
"...Well, that's how it is. Happy Birthday."
Rinnosuke spoke as he propped Sakuya back upright.
"You, knew from..." "I was requested to prepare the decorations and food. Isn't it good for you though? You worried for nothing."
This man knew everything from the start. Then, what have I been doing all this while? Jumping to conclusions, getting depressed, worrying, all by myself... It was all really a mistake. It really was...
Strength returned to her two legs. Rinnosuke then slowly removed his supporting hands.
The entire room was bustling. There was all sorts of people eating, drinking and talking beyond where she stood. As she looked around, she found even the mistress and servant of the Netherworld, and the people of Hourai. Sometime along the way, Marisa had joined the party with everyone else as well.
But Remilia and the rest kept standing in front of Sakuya. Sakuya was nearly unable to bear everyone's kindness towards her shameful self. It was an enjoyable form of sadness. But in the end...
It brought her such happiness.
"Milady, everyone.... thank you... very much."
She bowed deeply as she spoke. Her shoulders began to tremble.
"...Don't you have a handkerchief?"
Rinnosuke shook his head with a smile, took a new handkerchief from his pocket and held it out. In an instant, the handkerchief disappeared from the palm of his hand. A sleight of hand without any setup. Sakuya then lifted her head.
"I hope to... be in everyone's care from now on as well."
The most elegant of smiles brightened her face. Remilia, Flan, Patchouli and Meiling all couldn't help but smile as well.
The perfect and elegant maid.
The proud servant of the devil.
That person is Sakuya Izayoi.
Without any stopping of time, the Scarlet Devil Mansion continued partying throughout the night...