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Being Meiling is a Touhou Gamebook fanfic written by Keymaster on the Touhouproject.com forums which ran for ten threads. Keymaster had originally wrote two one-shots, called Being Meiling and Being Meiling at Christmastime, with the same general theme: Meiling, gatekeeper of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, contemplating over her life. This fic, however, branches out from that into a more general Meiling-focused romance/slice-of-life story that explores what goes on behind the scenes in Gensokyo.

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After the first story ended, Keymaster wrote two sequels: Pleasant Meadows, and Tengu of (Mis)Fortune, summarized below under the A Day In The Limelight entry.


Tropes:

    General Tropes 
  • A Day in the Limelight: Obviously for Meiling, but other minor characters get a chance to shine as well, including Hatate and Mima.
    • Heck, Koakuma actually gets a boyfriend!
    • Pleasant Meadows, the second story, is basically this: Hina, Shikieki, Suika, Parsee and a few others go to the Outside World for some companionship, and then shit gets nasty as people get kidnapped in a rather sloppily laid-out brainwashing plot ending with Snark and gap-beasts.
    • Tengu of (Mis)fortune, the third story, is basically Aya picking up the pieces by helping Hina pick up the pieces, and the Aki sisters play a secondary, although major, role. And Sukuna becomes the new shrine's miko.
  • Barely-There Swimwear: Flandre wears this a few times in thread five to troll Remilia. Then she ropes Reimu in...
    • Similarly, humiliating the Watatsuki sisters involves them in a pair of these.
    • Also a common object of fantasy for Aya.
  • Butt-Monkey: In the first few threads, Marisa is humiliated by Meiling twice, which culminates in her being forced to marry Pameel, one of the SDM's fairy maids. In thread three, Aya also gets slammed. Heavily. As in, has to get her own adventure to redeem herself kind of heavy.
    (on Aya's Cirno obsession) Anon: Good job making me want to use balefire on Aya. It takes skill for a writer to evoke emotions in their readers.
    • Nitori, to a lesser extent. First clobbered by DyCirno, then pressed into building mechs for Cirno's friends, with Cirno an unwelcome taskmaster. And unlike her fellow kappa, she's not happy about that.
  • The Dreaded: Poor Yuuka just wanted a friend.
    • Yukari has a similarly daunting reputation. She also is much less terrifying in person.
    • Kanako looms over most of the plot of Tengu of (Mis)Fortune as the Mikami's biggest worry. She's defused by affection.
    • Add in the Oni to the Tengu and Youkai in general to humans. Keymaster's Gensokyo is just full of people with scary reputations who are far less scary in person.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Tenma, ruler of the Tengu, has been doing this for centuries. In fact, it's a common problem for older Tengu in general, due to the awful things many of them have done in the past.
    • More amusingly, this is a common response to both nonexistent love lives and unruly subordinates. There's a reason Gensokyo goes through so much alcohol, and it's not just because of the Oni.
    • Less amusingly, Suika does this constantly in Pleasant Meadows after being depowered.
    • In To(M)F, Nitori has been doing this ever since she found out Rinnosuke used her technology to Mind Rape the victims of the Pleasant Meadows incident.
  • Flanderization: The fic averts fanon for the most part, with three exceptions: Ayanote  and the Watatsuki Sisters. In Pleasant Meadows, it's Rinnosuke
    • Ironically, it's not Alice who's the Yandere, it's her Shanghai Doll.
  • Flat "What": Frequent, both in dialogue and narration.
  • Heroic BSoD: Aya fainted when she met the Oni gentlemen (although that's more of Heroic RRoD.) She comes close when she meets a familiar face in Big Papa, but hangs on that time. Sukuna also blacks out at seeing Hina in her new dress.
    • A semi-inversion pops up at the end of Being Meiling, where after the Watatsukis have been utterly shamed, the forest fire fairy Malla goes a tad loopy after donning the Robe of Fire Rat.
    • This is part of what kicks off Aya's madness. After realizing her banishment from the Tengu Village wasn't going the way she thought it would - that she had spent decades alone with no one to talk to and was going to be alone for several more after being denied re-entry into the Tengu Village - she broke down in tears. Probably several times over the years.
    • After the Tengu warriors slaughtered a village full of innocent humans thinking there were hunters there (there weren't), Lord Tenma and likely several other Tengu elders fell into one that lasted centuries.
  • Hidden Depths: The reason Aya's been stalking people and taking indecent pictures? After nearly a century of solitude with both humans and youkai unwilling to give her the time of day, it's the only way she knows how to socialize with or get close to anyone prior to Tengu of (Mis)Fortune.
    • The oni in general. Still the boisterous, hard-drinking hard-fighting maniacs everyone knows; also excellent craftsmen who basically rebuild their city daily, and much more decent and self-aware.
    • Patchouli, despite her weak constitution and hermitage tendencies, is both a surprisingly good dancer and is really good at picking up guys.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: A frequent response to the antics of Gensokyo.
  • Noodle Incident: No one ever figures out how the laughing Oni statue ended up in the Laughing Oni inn. The doors aren't big enough, the walls weren't broken...
  • Serial Escalation: A little out of order. Being Meiling lasted ten threads. Tengu of (Mis)fortune? TWENTY.

     Being Meiling 
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: One of the problems with the fairy maids. On the plus side, this means a few minutes of understimulation make for a very good punishment.
  • Ax-Crazy: The French general clone of Flandre. Her basic strategy? "KILL EVERYTHING!"
  • Badass Normal: Albrecht the bartender, who solves most of his problems by shooting them in the foot.
  • Batman Gambit: The entire reason for the Hakurei-Scarlet wedding. Everyone involved knew that Aya would never be able to resist showing up to cover such a grand event, which will draw her to a specific and well-guarded place to be recaptured.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Why Yuuka falls in love with Meiling. Most other people are too busy running in terror in the other direction.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Koishi; she's an unrepentant pervert who only follows her impulses, but her ability to read the subconscious of others and knowledge of how sexuality works helps her to give Meiling some valuable advice in regards to Sakuya and Yuuka.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: The satori don't take being drunk too well, to the point of having accidentally married Shou in a drunken spree because they suddenly wanted tacos. Also, Flan, who can stay upright at least and not go overboard. But then again, the people of Gensokyo seem to have a bit of a problem with this.
  • Chick Magnet: With his physical attractiveness, bartender-granted ability to listen and dispense sage advice, and proven ability to defend himself, Albrecht would be a prize even without Gensokyo's female-skewed gender ratio. With it? Let's just say it's a good thing Yuugi, an extremely strong Oni, is his girlfriend, and can handle the stick-beating.
  • Epic Fail: The other problem with fairy maids is that with most of them, this is what happens when they try to do anything other than some very specific tasks.
    • Also, Sakuya's "attempts" at gardening when she and Meiling swap jobs for a day.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: It takes a lot of force, and application to the right spot on the skull, but it turns out this is a (semi)reliable way to get Flandre out of one of her "moods".
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Meiling does this frequently in dialogue and her internal narration as Sakuya and Yuuka continue to try and gain her attentions. And the more she does it, the less convincing it becomes.
  • Humongous Mecha: In the first thread, Cirno makes one out of magic and ice. A thread later, she smashes up five Kappa mechas.
    • Who she then shanghais into building another four Humongous Mecha for her friends. Which can also combine with DyCirno.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Tenshi telling the other five girls in their party to the underground that they should be more responsible. Iku does not appreciate this.
  • Insistent Terminology: Big Papa's preaches the tenets of looooooove. Not "love", "looooooove", with seven "o"s.
  • Large Ham: Big Papa, who spreads the word of LOOOOOOOOVE (and Tacos!)
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: After finally getting a boyfriend, Koakuma indulges in this quite a bit. How much? Well, let's just say she gets a lot of mileage out of her ability to fly.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: For a given definition of "mundane," as in, FLAN. She takes her games seriously, and is a much better anti-Marisa anti-Aya defense!
  • Mundane Utility: Sakuya's timestop, unsurprisingly. As Meiling discovers, it's a necessary skill for keeping the Scarlet Devil Mansion intact. It's also handy for quick-changing people.
    • Conjured fusion bombs + legendary sword = kickass baseball game. It's also a good way to cook steak.
  • Noodle Implements: In Thread Three, Cirno comes up with an idea on how to defeat, of all people, Yukari, and drags Meiling along to pick up various things, making Meiling wonder what she needs them for.
    • This in turn inspires Meling's assault on the Watatsukis, complete with flammable foam!
  • Oh, Crap!: Marisa, when Meiling and Sakuya show up at her house, hours after she humiliated the latter.
    • Meiling (and Sakuya), when Yuuka;s show up at the mansion at the beginning of the story.
  • Only Has Same-Sex Admirers: Poor, heterosexual (at first) Meiling has this problem.
  • Power Perversion Potential:
    Meiling: Apparently, stopping time lets Sakuya do some very interesting things. As does Yuuka's plant control.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Aya's little "shrine" to Cirno. While the exact extent of the pictures isn't detailed, the implications are... disturbing.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Sakuya sees Yuuka in the mansion's front yard with Meiling, she makes a break for it in frozen time. Later, we find out that she was going to get help.
  • Super OCD: When Malla, the marshmallow fairy, is tasked with replanting a chunk of forest she burned down, she plants the trees in neat rows, each with the same tree. All the trees are the same distance apart. Each tree has the same rock patter buried at its base. Her campsite is precise and immaculate. Considering how fairies normally act, the entire thing is rather disturbing.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Cirno all the way. From a mid-level annoyance to a top-tier enforcer of Justice throughout Gensokyo! Hell, even her presence takes a few levels in Intimidate.
  • Troll: Flandre increasingly becomes one with her personality becoming more stable. Poor Remilia...
  • Tsundere: Invoked by one of the older fairy maids while giving advice to Pameel about Marisa. And as the reader sees, this is a fairly accurate assessment of Marisa's attitude towards the fairy.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: What Meiling's girls' night out in the underground with Koakuma, Reisen, Shou, Tenshi, and Iku inevitably ends in. The girls spend a good chunk of the fifth thread piecing together what happened.

     Pleasant Meadows 
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Direct from Pleasant Meadows: "Naturally purple hair? Next to cloning yourself and pulling swords out of thin air, that's positively mundane."
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the lighthearted romp of Being Meiling and the more bittersweet Tengu of (Mis)Fortune, Pleasant Meadows is anything but pleasant. Standing out as the darkest of the three.
  • She's Got Legs: Eiki, of all people. This marks a rare adult portrayal of her in fandom,note  rather than the preteen/child form usually preferred.

     Tengu of (Mis)Fortune 
  • 0% Approval Rating: Aya's status after her Cirno obsession comes to light, on top of her previous behavior. It takes a lot of apologies, explanations, soul-searching, and hard work supporting Hina to reverse it.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: This is what Aya's reduced to after her exile finally becomes too much to bear. After already being denied re-admittance into the Tengu Village once after several decades, she spends thirty more years alone before her will finally crumbles, leading her to grovel to the elders to let her back in.
  • Character Development: Aya, from a perverted pedophile reporter to a humble tengu, shrine maiden of Mikami Shrine and a seeker of Truth.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Aya, once she starts turning her life around. Alongside helping to solve disputes, bringing other characters out of whatever funk they're in, and convincing the ultra-conservative tengu elders to start opening up, her narration will not fail to mention how good a character looks in a particular outfit.
  • The Fog of Ages: Aya explains to Hina and Momiji that it's difficult for her to remember anything from over a thousand years ago, largely due to being feral and her mind not having fully developed yet, similar to an infant or a toddler.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: A large chunk of Aya's current issues can be traced to several decades spent alone with no one to talk to. Not only did it leave her a bit desperate for attention, the story all but states she forgot how to properly socialize.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Futo thinks all youkai are savage beasts who don't know any better, and all but tells Aya this to her face. That aside, she doesn't hold it against her, exactly, taking it as a simple fact of life. Not only that, but she's very polite, even bordering on friendly towards her even as she insults her to her face. She can't imagine why Aya would be so angry over, from Futo's perspective, just stating how things are. Fortunately, she gets better.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Being narrated from Aya's point of view, the early parts are chock full of this. It gets better.
  • invoked Nightmare Fuel: An in-universe example; after Futo and Aya make up, they decide to watch Alien together, thinking it's a documentary. It turns out to be an utterly horrifying experience. According to Keymaster, this was based on his experience watching the movie for the first time.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Akyuu, Futo, and Tenma all get these from Aya. They reconcile afterwards each time, though.
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