A PALE PALM WAS SMACKED at one's own forehead, and ruby eyes glared at the form twenty feet in front of them.
A chest heaved and a tall figure leaned against a large brick wall, more towards the right side. The ends of gingerish locks touched the small black lines of a large entrance gate.
As always, the green-attired body was in an almost defenseless, not allowed doze instead of being a proper gatekeeper.
This had to be the first thing Sakuya ever hated about her colleague, and maybe the flaw she hated the most.
No matter how much sleep Hong would take outside of working hours, she would be in a pleasant state of sleeping.
Taking her hand off of her forehead, Sakuya reached for four daggers that were hidden in one of the pockets of her apron. She wasn't a violent woman per-say, but she did have an odd tendency to want to, well...
"...They never get you…"
Much to the gray-haired maid's disappointment and the amazing luck of the other worker, maybe due to said sleeper being quite well in Qi, the slumbering guard was unharmed. She now leaned to her left.
Three daggers were on the edge of the bricks' linings and one was between the left index and middle finger of Meiling, but not with cuts, oh no—despite her napping state, the gatekeeper was able to reach for the weapon before it could even attempt to leave a small line of red on her skin.
A big bubble started to form from the two-small-braids-in-the-front having woman, and as Meiling continued to snore quite loudly, Izayoi rolled her eyes and walked away. It's not like anymore daggers will make their mark, sadly.
(It would be fine and dandy if they do one day.)
The second issue with Meiling was definitely her laziness.
When the tall woman wasn't sleeping on her job, she was either standing there like a good gatekeeper should do or doing something in the mansion; for the time being, she was outside and eating.
She was watching heavily for any foreigners that dared to come in and start trouble. She seemed to be sitting in a half-comfortable, half-on-the-defense position.
This in itself wouldn't of been bad if it wasn't for the fact that Remilia had asked her several times to kindly fix up the garden. Meiling, not surprisingly, gave the excuse that she'll "get to it as soon as possible!" to the mistress.
That was three weeks ago, and when Remilia was too unamused to ask the gatekeeper again, the job of reminding the Chinese worker was given to the vampire's head maid.
Meiling still hasn't done it.
Sakuya did not let it slide.
The red-eyed female in question walked slowly towards the oblivious Meiling, who was eating meat dumplings cheerfully.
"Meiling, it would be wonderful if you fixed the garden," the human said as she took away the brown bag in the youkai's hand, "seeing as you were asked to almost a month ago."
Meiling pouted at the lost of the rest of her food but gave a thumbs up. "Of course, Sakuya! I have been rather busy, but I'll get to it right away!"
Meiling grabbed the bag right back and swiftly jumped over the brick wall behind her, zooming to the garden.
Sakuya did not say anything, but thought to herself, 'As long as the garden's done, she can eat all she wants.'
Needless to say, when the roses started dying and the grass was to everyone's calves, Sakuya made sure to sharpen her knives.
To call Meiling careless was circumstantial—she was not careless in moments where she must use martial arts, and she is definitely not careless in those she allowed and those she doesn't allow inside the mansion (when she managed to actually be awake...)
She was, however, careless in house duties and the ways of being a female servant of full grace.
It was a month and a half after Meiling was asked to tend the garden, and after Sakuya threw knives at her head and arms (Meiling dodged them well in her sleep, but not so much when she was awake,) Lady Remilia was able to enjoy a time in her garden without any dresses ripping.
As usual, Sakuya made sure to tighten the umbrella of the table in the backyard specifically made for the small mistress, stand to the right of the vampire, and held a circular tray consisting of a Victorian tea-set.
Meiling was there because of course she wasn't doing her job, but Remilia allowed it and thus Sakuya said nothing.
After ten minutes had passed, Remilia asked for more set of tea, but Sakuya needed to use the bathroom. She handed the tray to Hong, for some reason not choosing to give it to Koakuma who also was outside.
When Remilia gave permission for Izayoi to relieve herself, Sakuya turned to walk inside, not choosing to use her powers.
She was not even three steps away when she heard Meiling shout:
"Sakuya! Can you ask Patchouli if she has my—"
"Meiling, no!" Koakuma screamed out.
Sakuya turned and was speechless. When Meiling hollered her name, she accidentally swung the tray, spilling tea all over Remilia. The tray also knocked out the umbrella.
Meiling was never allowed to be anything of a maid for a long time.
"Eh, stuff like that just...just doesn't matter."
The Qi fighter gave a pat on the back to the maid, but said maid furrowed her eyebrows at the dodge at her question.
Why couldn't she just say what type of youkai she was?
From the start of their time together, the time-stopper always wondered what breed did the green-eyed woman belong to.
The Scarlet sisters were clearly vampires. Patchouli was a witch and Koakuma was a succubus devil. The other maids were all fairies...
And Meiling was a youkai. A Chinese one.
There were so many types of youkai creatures, though, and nothing the long haired gatekeeper did gave off a trait known in specific divisions of the class.
She obviously wasn't an oni, despite her height, and she definitely wasn't some man-eating youkai—no, she was hungry for foods that humans ate, but she wasn't gonna go eat on Sakuya next.
Speaking of herself, Sakuya had originally thought Meiling was another human, and had used her typical hair and eye color as a possibility to her humanity, but the gatekeeper responded, "You have gray hair and red eyes, yet you're a human...That's rather strange, but also cool!" and that was that.
Today, she decided to ask again. It was night and Meiling was roaming the halls. Sakuya and her happened to bump into each other and while talking, somehow, the topic came back into the maid's mind.
"I'm a youkai, silly! This is probably the twentieth time I've—"
"I'll never ask again. Please."
"Well, maybe once I'll tell you..."
Sakuya wouldn't lie and say that her eyebrows didn't slightly raise up in an intrigued fashion.
"I'm a Chinese Youkai!"
Meiling waved goodbye and happily strolled away, and Sakuya wouldn't lie and say that she wasn't disappointed to not get an answer.
Sakuya was neither a busty female or in the middle, but she definitely wasn't flat.
Just a tad above small.
Her breast were...okay, perhaps?
The Scarlet sisters were out of the question, she had more to her chest than Koakuma at the very least, and it was kinda hard to tell with Patchouli (she always wore those "pajamas") but, judging by the noticeable curve of her long outfit, the witch was probably one cup bigger.
Meiling clearly had the largest bust. Not that Sakuya was looking, of course, but sometimes, whenever it was so hot that she wore tight emerald green, alluring knee-high chenogasms...
Her bust was quite the one to be envied.
Sakuya didn't care, of course. Not at all—anyways, that is besides the point.
Sakuya tended not to dress too skin-revealing, and that counted with even the hottest days of summer. She would simply unbutton the first three buttons on her collar, revealing her chest.
As she wasn't near having an ample figure, there was no immediate line that indicated the separation of her two breasts.
Izayoi one hot day went to wake Meiling up in the middle of her slumbering sessions via a simple shaking on the shoulders and not the usual knife-throws.
The busty woman woke up and they thus began conversing about duties Remilia had ordered for Meiling to do days ago. Mid-conversation, the short haired maid felt herself get hot and fanned her chest, which was exposed due to three buttons being opened.
Meiling gazed deeply at said chest and Sakuya quickly asked, "W-What...What are you doing?!"
Hong responded, "Just wondering why you're wearing pads in this heat. No wonder you're hot!"
...Sakuya was wearing a white cotton bra.
Meiling never said anything like that again when she got knife'd everywhere.
(Sakuya hated Meiling's constant bluntness.)
Sweat poured from a forehead covered by carrot-shaded bangs. Legs were covered in dirt patches and bandages filled with blood were rolled around two arms and a right leg.
Izayoi sighed as she used a tissue, wiping the overflowing blood from Hong's nose. "You should've attacked harder at them, Meiling."
The Chinese woman had saw an old man's little food shop being destroyed and robbed by five human men and an unknown youkai.
The humans weren't a problem. One used a foreign weapon Meiling didn't recognize to whack her in the nose with, hence the bleeding—"Humans sure are getting tougher!" Hong joked—but it didn't faze her. What fazed her was the youkai.
The enemy snarled at Meiling as if the youkai was a beast with no sense of civilization in it, and according to the green-wearing fighter, it barely looked like it had a human like body to begin with.
It had snuck its razor teeth into her arms and right leg, but as a Qi master should, she had turned and positioned and fought her way out of its grip before losing skin or even a limb, and was able to strike the other youkai into submission seconds before Reimu arrived.
Remilia was proud, and even joked to give her a raise. Flandre smiled. Patchouli gave a thumbs up, asking about the features of the youkai so she could later identify it.
Koakuma hurried to get Sakuya medical supplies so the maid could fix up Meiling, Koakuma in a slight fangirl mode; all of this was in the main hallway.
Sakuya did not smile though.
"At least I got to save that old man's work," Meiling exclaimed joyfully. "I'm finally useful!"
Sakuya still did not laugh like everyone else.
She detested Meiling's lack of self-care, putting others before herself.
It wasn’t like she couldn't handle a compliment, but for some reason, Izayoi didn't like it when her taller comrade constantly complimented her.
(Maybe it's because she felt her cheeks blush. A lot.)
When she would bump into the ginger, if the maid had trays in her hand, she'd be able to balance them efficiently and not spill a single cup of tea.
"You were able to save all of them as if you were a ballerina of grace," Meiling said happily. "With your hair and eyes, you remind me of a Russian Princess I once saw!"
The tall woman wrapped her arms around Sakuya's shoulders and Sakuya "hmphed" and furrowed her eyebrows. She tried very hard to slickly shake off the scarlet (no pun intended) on her cheeks.
"...Russian Princess? Now you really make me wonder just who you were before you affiliated yourself with Lady Remilia..."
Izayoi awkwardly stood on top of the staircase. Lady Remilia had oddly had a party with the more richer of youkais. The theme was Victorian fashion, and the vampire had forced everyone to dress up and participate.
Patchouli was talking to Marisa who had broken in. Koakuma looked frightened as Yukari complimented how cute she looked, and Flandre and Remilia were talking to some youkai Sakuya didn't know.
Sakuya on the other hand, well...it wasn't her "cup of tea."
She turned quickly to leave, and was almost out the area when she felt a hand brush against hers.
"Your gown was black with red trimmings? You look so...stunning! You should wear these colors more often."
She turned and saw Hong Meiling, voluptuously dawned in a green (of course) Victorian dress with white trimmings.
"Wanna dance, Sakuya?"
As they danced, she guessed she only hated the compliments half the time.
Grins were a trademark of Hong Meiling's. She wore it on her so much, Sakuya wondered if she was born laughing.
Well, not that she knew anything about her fellow worker's origins despite the obvious.
That didn't mean that the maid didn't notice those rare, short but meaningful moments.
Those moments when Meiling thought no one was looking. When she was not napping, or eating, or bothering Sakuya. When she was not asking Patchouli a question about books, or helping Koakuma carry said books.
It wasn't even when she was addressing Lady Remilia, no—
It was when Meiling would skip out on watching the outside area of the Scarlet Devil Mansion to, oddly enough, play with Flandre.
Sakuya had reprimanded her the first few times it happened, but after a while, she noticed something that glinted somberly in the green irises of the gatekeeper.
Hong had given Flandre a Chinese Doll that, when Sakuya had asked the gatekeeper, Sakuya had gotten the response that it was a toy that she "kinda grew up with it."
"Meiling-neesan, Meiling-neesan! I still haven't broke the doll, not at all!"
Sakuya didn't know why she did this, but she would watch Meiling act like a mother towards Flandre more. It made her heart warm to see the sight.
Flandre was crying and holding unto the white pants of Meiling. "I-I, M-M-Meiling, didn't mean too…!"
Shattered porcelain laid on the floor, ranging from the start of eyebrows to the bottom of legs.
Hong patted Flandre's blonde head.
"It's alright. Nothing...wrong. It meant nothing personal!"
(Yet Sakuya saw the sorrow in her eyes.)
One day, Sakuya asked Meiling where she got the doll. Meiling said it was 'just a toy,' yet she bore sentimental eyes.
Sakuya hates when Meiling does that.
"Meiling! You were awesome!"
"Wow," another voiced screamed out, "can you teach us all tai-chi one day?!"
Meiling waved her hands to the many little fairies below her and tried to turn to get a book from the library shelf, but one of the fairies got it for her.. "Thank you...Your name was, uh, Maricarmilla, right?"
The white-haired fairy nodded and smiled. The other fairies starting gathering multiple books, much to the Chinese gardener repeatedly saying there was no need to.
"Someone...Sakuya, help!" the green-eyed woman begged as she waved towards her colleagues.
From afar, Sakuya looked the other way with a frown and Patchouli looked up from her large book briefly before looking back down. Koakuma was going to go over and help but Patchouli advised her not to.
Sakuya found it strange, as Patchouli preferred peace and quiet and wasn't a fan of loud—
Sakuya was surprised. Patchouli wasn't one for gossip. "What are you talking about, Patchouli?"
Patchouli had quite the amused face. She turned a page from her large book.
"Oh...No reason, really," Patchouli said before Koakuma suddenly walked into the conversation.
"That's so cute! Sakuya, you tend to have Meiling bothering you all day, but now she's bothered by the fairies!" Koakuma whisperingly but bubbly noted as she held Sakuya's hands in hers.
Sakuya looked at the sight of Meiling playing with some of the fairies and falling to the ground, the redhead falling along with the fairies.
Briefly, before she fell, Hong locked eyes with Izayoi. Meiling grinned a smile at her and Sakuya looked away with a flush and frown. She turned back to a giggling Koakuma and a smirking Patchouli.
"I meant more or less what Koakuma said, Sakuya," Patchouli responded in a deadpanning tone.
(Izayoi hated that it was true.)
Sakuya held unto the long blanket in her hands worryingly. It was winter and, ironically, these periods were when Meiling took her job seriously for once in her life.
In any other situation, the red-eyed maid would be happy knowing that she doesn't have to throw some knives at the gatekeeper to make her do her job.
This wasn't any other situation, though. Meiling somehow didn't really sleep that much as most would think she would in the season known for hibernation.
Her green eyes were threatening to close but she was wide awake, shivering despite wearing a long sleeved shirt and extra puffy and thick white pants. Sakuya, who was wearing a long maid outfit that touched her shoes, felt awful.
Hitched air was coming out of the tall woman's pale mouth.
As everything around was frozen like a picture, she put the thick, red blanket around the female.
She almost reached to kiss her, but decided to instead just continue time.
Sakuya lowered the other worker down by her shoulders and walked her towards the Devil Mansion, responding in a rather gentle fashion, "We need to get you inside..."
Meiling smiled but coughed before rubbing at her shoulders furiously. The bed she was in had three lumpy covers.
"I-I don't need to r-re...r-rest," Hong weakly "assured" as she tried to get out of bed. Sakuya stopped her.
"No. You need to stay."
"I barely do a-anything," Meiling responded with downcast eyes, "so I need to at least do my job correctly no—"
Sakuya hushed her with a kiss. "You need to rest. Now."
To her surprise, Meiling kissed back.
The next day, when both of them were sick, Sakuya was only mad that Meiling didn't care for her health more.