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Subterranean Dolls


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Marisa flew underground. That spider ... insect ... loli youkai hadn't been too much of a threat. She idly wondered how word of the spell-card rules had gotten down here, then decided not to bother with it.

She glanced at her side to her ... "companions," which consisted of a row of fairy-dolls in red dresses. These were nothing new, although this was probably the first time Alice had specifically sent them along with her on any of her adventures. It was certainly the first time they'd still be able to keep in touch.

"So, uh ... Alice," she said uncertainly. She still wasn't used to this remote-communication thing Yukari had set up ...

"What is it, Marisa?" said Alice's voice, in stereo from each of the dolls.

"Heh ..." She rubbed the back of her head. "Well, uh, are these the same dolls you use for other stuff? I mean ..."

"Ah, no," said Alice's voice. "These are made specifically for Artful Sacrifice. I figured you'd be more at home with something you could blow up." She didn't seem to have a trace of irony.

"Ah, that's cool," said Marisa. "Do I ... uh, how exactly do I use 'em?"

"Just touch their magic cores," said Alice. "It'll open up their magical interface. They have ... a few of the same functions as my others ..."

Marisa nodded, grabbing one of the dolls and holding it somewhat forward. She focused on its back, as if trying to create a danmaku-bullet except not quite as much ...1

... and then a glowing hologram appeared in front of her.

She knew it was only visible to her by the taste of the magic. "Huh, cool," she said. It was mostly a list of commands, like "Prepare breakfast - disabled" and "Locate and repair damage to house - disabled" and things like that. There were a few other ones, however; one of them was "Follow and support specified target in combat: Auto: Marisa Kirisame"; another was "Switch Combat Configuration - Activate" The one directly behind the doll's back said "Magic Sign 「Artful Sacrifice」 - Activate".

Marisa held the doll towards a belligerent-looking group of fairies, then pressed the word "activate". The interface vanished, and the doll fired a bright red-orange beam of destructive energy, sending the fairies scattering and sprawling. The doll began to crumple up and disintegrate; it had been used as "fuel" for the spell.

"Awesome!" said Marisa, smirking. "Heh ... yeah, that's just about as fast as usin' my mini-hakkero fer a Master Spark ..."

"Don't use them all up at once, please," said Alice's voice. "There's a limit to how much I can replenish them, and it'll be harder to contact you without any."

"Yeah, yeah," said Marisa. "Lemme look at it some more ..." She took another doll and brought up its interface ...

... then blinked. Nestled among the various disabled housekeeping chores was "Punish Marisa for trying to sneak through the dolls' interface - Activate".

"Say, what's this one?" said Marisa, pushing it without hesitation.

The doll twisted out of her grip, summoned a frying pan that was bigger than it was, and hit her over the head with it.

Alice giggled. "Oh yeah, I forgot to turn that one off when I gave them to you ..."

Schmuck Bait End

1These things are hard to describe if you don't know how to use magic.

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