Patchouli Knowledge was tense. She flew among the high bookshelves of the Magic Library Voile, frowning.
"What is it, Miss Patchouli?" asked Koakuma, flying up to her with a stack of books.
"The black-white witch," muttered Patchouli. "It's been a bit longer than usual since her last ... visitation, hasn't it?"
Koakuma's head-wings twitched. "I see," she said, uneasily. "Maybe Alice got her to stop burglarizing places?"
"Hmph." Patchouli glanced around, as if expecting a figure on a broomstick to suddenly burst in through a window at any minute. "It's the uncertainty that's getting to me," she said.
"It's a semi-rare disease called Magician's Flu," said Eirin, "which is a bit of a misnomer, since it's actually caused by a kind of magically-infused bacteria, not a virus."
"Huh?" said Marisa, frowning in mild confusion as she sat next to Alice's bed.
Eirin paused, as she remembered her audience. "Don't worry about it, then," she said. "It only affects magician-youkai, though if you become a youkai you'll be immune, since you've been exposed to it now as a human. Symptoms include mild nausea, extreme exhaustion, coughing, and mood swings which in extreme cases border on mental instability."
"Well can ya help her?" said Marisa. Alice let out a soft whimper.
"Oh, of course," said Eirin, turning to the patient. "I've got a medicine that works wonders. You'll just need Marisa to take care of you for a few days."
"Great," murmured Alice, smiling weakly up at her. "Thank you."
"Not a problem," said Eirin, smiling back. "You just relax, only get out of bed when you have to, drink lots of fluids, don't eat anything particularly intense ..." She glanced to Marisa, and sharply said, "And no sex."
Alice giggled, blushing. Marisa sputtered indignantly. "Wha — the hell you think I — If she's that sick why would I —"
Eirin nodded. "Good," she said, giving a thin-lipped smile. "Be sure to contact me if anything gets better — or worse. I'm going to go get the medicine."
That night, Marisa had a dream. It was a dream of her own devising, made using an upgraded version of a sleep spell she and Alice had made. This variant allowed two people to share a lucid dream, connecting them telepathically. Marisa was standing on a cloud, in the middle of a starry night sky. Gensokyo stretched far below her. At least, she assumed that's what Gensokyo looked like from far above. The details of were somewhat distorted and blurry when she didn't look directly at them.
She regarded herself in front of a mirror (which was there the instant she wanted one); her clothes flickered between various outfits, mostly variations on her usual dress, although at one point she was dressed like a shinigami.
Alice appeared, sitting nearby. "Marisa?" she said after a moment.
Marisa turned, her outfit switching back to normal. "Oh, heya, Alice!" she said cheerfully. "Good thing I caught ya before ya fell asleep, I haven't worked out how to set up 'shared lucid dreams' if yer already asleep."
Alice smiled and nodded. Abruptly, she was standing next to Marisa, hugging her lightly. "What was up with that ... Komachi outfit you had on before?"
"Huh? Oh. Heh." Marisa grinned sheepishly. "Cuz I was gonna say I wanted ta snuggle you to death."
Alice giggled. "Marisa," she said, "that's really terrible, even for you."
"Yeah, I know, right?" said Marisa, hugging Alice close and running a hand through her hair. "'s why I decided not ta —"
Alice suddenly froze. The air around them suddenly looked chilly. "Huh? What's wrong?" said Marisa.
"I ... c-can't actually f-feel your touch ..." said Alice.
"Aw damn," said Marisa, frowning. "Yeah, that's the thing about dreams. This one of those mood-swings?"
"Sorry," whimpered Alice, looking like she was about to panic.
Marisa thought fast. "All right, I'm comin' over," she said. "Take it easy, I'll be there in a jiffy!"
"M-Marisa!" said Alice, clinging to her, as if willing herself to be able to feel her touch.
"Five minutes, tops!" said Marisa, hitting the emergency shutoff for the dream-spell.
Alice jerked awake. "Marisa!" she cried out. She jumped out of bed, reflexively setting off a burst of magic that was strong enough to rattle the windows, also shoving her dresser a few feet over to one side. A part of her knew this was foolish, but adrenaline and panic were running through her as she ran towards the door ...
Patchouli sat hunkered in a corner of the library, all defenses on alert, Spell Cards at the ready.
"Mistress, you really should get to bed," said Koakuma.
"I can't!" panted Patchouli hoarsely. "Marisa could attack any minute!"
"I doubt she will tonight," said Koakuma carefully.
"She's just waiting for me to lower my guard!" Patchouli moaned, and gave a cough.
"Maybe," Koakuma said diplomatically, "but I doubt she'll try to attack tonight, since it's a full moon."
"Perhaps," said Patchouli, and then she began coughing harder.
Koakuma sighed, sliding her arm under Patchouli's shoulders to carry her to bed.
Marisa magically dressed herself, then hopped on her broom, shot out of her bedroom window, ignored a fairy floating nearby, and yelped as it nearly perforated her with a danmaku-pattern which rivalled the kinds she usually threw out.
Marisa glanced at the moon, which was full. "Oh right," she said, taking off her hat and slipping out her mini-hakkero. "Full moon. Fairies raised to Extra-Stage mode by moonbeams. Love Sign 「Master Spark」!"
The fairy giggled, and then let out a yelp as Marisa's mini-hakkero blasted it away with a large beam of light.
"And here comes the horde," she muttered, as more fairies flew up, attracted by the noise. "Jeez, don't you guys ever learn? Wait, what'm I sayin', dyin's just an inconvenience for a few minutes to ya, you got no reason to learn."
She flew towards Alice's house at top speed, dodging the bullets launched by the fairies to the best of her abilities. "Aw, hell," she muttered, as ten of them flew towards her from different directions. She attached a small device to the front of her mini-hakkero. "Love Sign 「Non-Directional Laser」!" Four blasts of light swung around in an arc, scything through the fairies and sending them sprawling in all directions.
She heard a scream from the direction of Alice's house. She turned, and the fairies who could see her face shrank back. "Right, then," she snarled, and took off tearing through the night sky. The fairies scattered.
Alice was floating near the roof of her house in her nightgown, trying to fight off a pair of fairies that were more elaborately-dressed than others. Amid the haze of her fury, Marisa recalled that they were named Luna Child and Star Sappire. Alice was obviously having a hard time of it, because her sickness was starting to overcome her adrenaline. "M-Marisa! Help!" she yelled. There were already rips in her nightgown.
Luna Child was singing randomly, her eyes somewhat glazed over. "And then the sky was all covered in twinkly stars and the puppets were dancing in time to the fuzzy white —"
Star Sapphire turned towards Marisa. "Uh, Luna! Witch!" she said, nervously tugging Luna's sleeve. She didn't derive her power directly from the moon, and so she wasn't affected as much — certainly not mentally.
Marisa loomed towards them, growling, her mini-hakkero raised. Her eyes seemed to glow red.
"... with a milkshake and oh look it's another big target and Lu-u-na Child has startled the witch!" sang Luna Child, grinning manically.
"That witch is not happy!" said Star Sapphire.
"Fairyabouttaget hitbya Magicannon 「Final Spark」 says what? da ze," snarled Marisa at top speed in English.
"What?" said Luna Child, firing a single danmaku-bullet towards Alice, following a random twirly pattern. Star Sapphire smacked her forehead.
Marisa screamed, her mini-hakkero firing a gigantic blast of light that was easily as large as a house.
When the glow faded, the fairies had completely disappeared. Alice stood before her and off to one side, looking slightly singed, and her nightgown was in tatters; she'd been almost caught in the blast.
"Oh, damn, you okay, Alice?" said Marisa, flying over and hugging her close. "C'mon, let's get inside."
"'s okay," mumbled Alice, hugging herself in close. "You ... saved me ... ugh ..." She looked like she was about to be sick.
Marisa nodded, turning towards the house. "Right, let's —" She had just enough time to notice that Luna Child's bullet had not disappeared, but was in fact still floating around randomly, before it hit Alice. There was a loud thunderclap, a multicolored blast of light almost knocking Marisa back, and Alice lay unconscious in her arms.
"D'oh," said Marisa, frowning towards the house. She aimed her broom downward twoards Alice's front door.
Shortly thereafter, Luna Child and Star Sapphire materialized directly below where they'd been when Marisa had blasted them, lying on the ground and whimpering softly.
Sunny Milk, the third member of their trio who wasn't affected by the moonbeams at all, crept up to them. "Don't piss off the witch!" she hissed.
At some point, Alice felt Marisa put their sleep-spell on her again, set to a good solid nine hours.
When she woke up, sunlight was filtering in through the curtains, and also through a spell Marisa had devised which rendered the windows opaque to cameras and tengus.
Alice sighed, feeling rather queasy. That had been stupid of her. This illness must have affected her mind worse than she'd thought. Well, at least presumably Marisa was going to keep a much closer watch over her now.
The next thing she noticed was that her hands were positioned slightly up past her head. Odd position to wake up in, she thought as she shifted her —
— tried to shift her position.
Wait, what? She looked up at her wrists, which had been tied to the bedposts. She looked down at herself; she felt her bare skin against the bedsheets, and saw similar ropes tied to the posts at the foot of the bed, going under the sheets. She also realized that she couldn't control her dolls, or even get more than a vague status update on them. She went through them in turn: idle ... idle ... idle ... trying to repair clothes(?) ... idle ... in use? Several of them were under someone else's control, outside the house.
Alice was perfectly capable of being loud, sharp, and fiery when she was annoyed. This had happened all the time with Marisa before they'd properly sorted out their feelings for each other. However, pure unadulterated rage had a different effect. She felt ... serene. Calm. It was as if her rage had given her a sort of external peace. However, this was the peace found in the eye of a hurricane. Pure wrath was sitting at the edge of her consciousness, giving the vague impression of holding something explosive the size of the moon above her head, about to throw it at the ground in front of her.
She heard the front door open, accompanied by various sounds of bumping and swearing, as if Marisa was carrying something heavy around. Alice mentally followed the sounds as they went upstairs, up the hall, and approached the room. The door opened, and Marisa staggered in, carrying in her dresser with the help of several of Alice's dolls.
"Rgghhh ... Oh, g'mornin', Alice!" she said with forced cheerfulness, and then yelped as the dresser nearly fell on her foot. "Right," she muttered.
Alice looked at Marisa with the expression of a master who now realizes he should have known in advance that an order to his stupid servant to "get the door" would be taken literally. "Marisa, I would advise you to make the explanation you are about to give ... phenomenally good," she said. She wondered if Marisa was going to say she hadn't been expecting Alice to be awake, and how many times she should smash her face into the ground if she had.
"Oh, well, I'm moving' in, ze," said Marisa cheerfully, pushing the dresser over to the wall next to Alice's. The dolls settled down on it. "I figured, we're at about that point in our relationship, and it'd make it easier ta take care of ya without havin' to worry about flyin' across the Forest inna full moon, right?"
"Well," said Alice, with what she felt was a disproportionate amount of patience, "and I should point out that I'm saying this by way of giving you the benefit of what miniscule doubt exists, I was referring more to the fact that I appear to be naked here, for one thing ..."
"Well, hey, yer nightie was pretty much kaput," said Marisa. "I set some o' your dolls up on 'repair clothes' mode, an' they're still floatin' around it lookin' like they dunno where to start." She was trying to force down a grin.
Alice considered this. "All right then, much better question," she said. "Why have you tied me down and made me unable to access my dolls?"
Marisa was obviously trying to hold back laughter. "Well, I didn't want ya to freak out again and try to fly away while I was asleep," she said cheerfully.
Alice decided to bring her previous suspicion to the forefront. "And ... were you hoping to arrive here before I woke up?"
Marisa was starting to crack up now. "Y-yeah, I wanted to see the look on yer face when y-ya woke up, d-da ze ..."
I think I'm about to have another mood swing, thought Alice, and then started giggling as well. Which made Marisa chuckle, which made Alice chuckle, which made Marisa give a stronger laugh, and pretty soon they were both laughing out loud, Marisa leaning heavily against the bed.
"Okay, uh, yeah." Marisa clapped her hands; the ropes disappeared, and Alice found herself regaining control over the dolls.
She sat up and hugged Marisa. "Mmm ... I love you, Marisa," she murmured.
"Heh, love ya too." Marisa hugged her back. "You aren't mad or anything?"
Alice grinned. "Oh, you know," she said. "I can't stay mad at you, y'know?"
"Ah, cool," said Marisa, grinning nervously. "You really mean that?"
"Nah," said Alice sweetly.
Marisa turned, and found herself facing a doll swinging a frying pan down at her head.
Patchouli whimpered, laying weakly in her bed. "Marisa ... coming ..." she stuttered.
"There's no sign that she's anywhere near here, Mistress," said Koakuma, putting a hot water bottle on Patchouli's head. "She's either decided not to attack the library for a while —"
"No!" exclaimed Patchouli, sitting up straight. "Such a thing is entirely unlike her! She'd ... argh ..." She coughed loudly, collapsing back against the bed.
"... or she's found something that would keep her busy," Koakuma continued, putting the hot water bottle back on her head. "Miss Patchouli, you really need to sleep."
"Can't sleep," muttered Patchouli. "Witches will eat me ... ooh ..."
"Y ... yeah," said Koakuma, frowning. "I think you're feeling, um, more sick than usual ... Here." She cast Marisa and Alice's anti-insomnia spell.
"Do not ... want — ohhh ..." muttered Patchouli, coughing as she switched the spell off. "Can't use magic ... from her ..."
Koakuma sighed. This was obviously going to be a difficult couple of days.
Eirin walked into the room. "How's she doing?"
"Worse," said Koakuma.
"No! Stay back!" moaned Patchouli. "You're obviously ... Marisa in disguise ... mukyu ..."
Eirin rolled her eyes. "Well," she said, "my test results indicate that she's contracted a semi-rare disease called Magician's Flu ..."