LAST EDITED ON Apr-27-21 AT 03:06 AM (EDT)
With a look of dawning puzzlement, Marisa sat up, stretched, yawned, and looked around the room, trying to figure out where she was. Bedroom, obviously. Quite large, very fancy, in that frothy, overdone style she associated mentally with Gallia in the days of the monarchy. Certainly nowhere she'd ever slept before.
"What th'..." she mumbled, mystified. The last thing she remembered...
Marisa's eyes went wide as it clicked together in her head. "This is... oh man. Oh man. Did I check in? Tell me I didn't check in." Palming her face, she groaned, "I'm gonna be washin' dishes for the rest of my natural life."
"Are you talking to yourself?" a faintly amused voice asked.
"Aah!" Marisa cried, jumping in surprise. Turning, she saw an unfamiliar figure standing in a doorway, regarding her with a faint, enigmatic smile: a young woman, maybe three or four years older than she was, with shaggy grey hair in twin braids, dressed in a black-and-white uniform with a distinctive ruffled headband.
Recovering her aplomb quickly, Marisa shook her head and replied, "No, I'm a witch. Witches don't talk to ourselves. If it looks like we are, we're talking to our familiars. Right, Mr. Murgatroyd?" she added, directing the question to her yellow tabby cat, who was curled up next to her.
Mr. Murgatroyd's only response was a languid stretch and a prolonged yawn.
"I guess he doesn't find your conversation stimulating," said the woman standing in the doorway.
"Rude," Marisa grumbled.
"You're the one who went to sleep on the floor of a complete stranger's sitting room."
Marisa added two and two and said, "You must be Gryph's fiancée's maid."
A mischievously arched grey eyebrow. "Oh, what gave me away?"
"You're wearing a maid outfit," Marisa pointed out.
"There is that," the maid conceded. Then, with an elegant gesture combining bow and curtsey, she added, "Sakuya Izayoi. I am the keeper of my lady Countess Remilia Scarlet's house. And you, I gather, are one Marisa Kirisame, a witch of the future count's acquaintance."
"You're well-informed," said Marisa, sounding slightly impressed.
"It's my job," Sakuya replied.
"Anyway," Marisa went on, either missing or ignoring the maid's continued private smile, "I didn't 'go to sleep' on your floor, I crashed out from magic drain." With a rueful hand behind her head, she went on, "I guess I overestimated how much gas I had left when I volunteered to fly Gryph over here. I don't really remember anything after we hit the lobby..."
Her voice trailed off, a preoccupied look coming onto her face, as it dawned on her that something about her present situation was odd. Looking down at herself, she blinked, uttered a dismayed squeak, and then grabbed the covers at her waist and yanked them to her chin.
"Wh-wh-why am I naked?!" she demanded, her face crimson.
"The clothes you arrived in were somewhat the worse for your adventures yesterday," Sakuya replied, entirely unruffled. "They're with the hotel's laundry at the moment and should be returned presently." She opened the door to the adjoining bathroom, took one of the hotel's complimentary robes from its hook, and then placed it neatly across Marisa's lap. "In the meantime, breakfast is ready, if you would care to put this on and join us."
Marisa put up a hand, still holding the covers bunched at her throat with the other. "Hang on, hang on. You mean to tell me you stripped me and sent my clothes to the laundry?"
"I doubt you'd have wished to remain in them," Sakuya observed, her face perfectly straight. "The Crillon's laundry still uses clothes mangles."
In spite of herself, Marisa snickered, her discomfiture already dissolving in the face of the maid's deadpan delivery. "Awright, fair enough," she said, then climbed out of bed and into the robe in more or less the same gesture.
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
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