Monday, September 21, 2009

Another Misplaced Sukima P-21

Three nights before:
Rumia floats around casually, while Agava trails behind her, pleading her. Agava grabs Rumia by her shoulders and turns her to face her. She smiles as innocently as ever and waits. Agava kneels and places her hands together, as if praying and desperately says "come on, Rumia, just help me out here a little bit. Come on~!" Rumia smiles as she stares back, then covers herself in her darkness, but before encasing herself completely, Agava shouts "I know you are the guarding of this... this charm! I'm begging you, please, help me take it OFF!" Rumia gasps, losing concentration and her darkness vanishing in an instant. She tries to fake a smile and nervously says "i-is that so~? Heh heh." Agava grabs her hands and says "look, I've changed. I swear, I have changed." Rumia looks at her suspiciously and says "prove it to me." Agava takes a sudden deep breath of air, but is unable to think of anything to say. She lets go of Rumia's hands and places her own on her thighs while looking down on the ground as she continues to kneel. She sighs and says "I don't know how." Rumia hums and says "well, if I can see proof of this, I can cut you a break. Bu~t if you trick me~" Rumia's eyes glow crimson while she smiles in a most wicked fashion and says "I'll make sure to make you suffer so much, you'll beg for a death that will never come." Agava sweats and backs away from Rumia. She gulps, then nods and says "you can be scary sometimes, you know that?" Rumia smiles like she usually does and says "is that so~?"

Present time at night:
At the Nameless Hill, Marisa waits above the cave where Kyo, Luna and Medicine are in, impatiently waiting for them to come out. "Waah~ so BORED! When are they coming out?" "Marisa~!" shouts a girl from above. Marisa looks up and sees Sanae, holding on to a small half-full vial and asks "What are you doing here? You looking for a fight?" asks Marisa offensively. Sanae shakes her head and says "here, take this. It's an anti-venom. It should protect you too from the poisonous flowers." Marisa looks at Sanae suspiciously and sniffs the contents of the vial, then gulps it without hesitation, then asks "and who are we fighting here?" Sanae asks "you really don't know?" Marisa tips her hat, then smiles at Sanae and says "so the knight's here, huh?" Sanae nods, then flies toward Marisa, shouts "take cover!" then lies on her stomach on top of the cave's entrance. Marisa looks at her curiously and asks "cover? From what?" The entrance to the cave bursts into flame, sending large chunks of stone flying in different directions. The small tremor causes Marisa so fall on her face, but she quickly recovers. Rubbing her nose, she gets up and asks "what the heck was THAT!?" In front of them, the crystal knight hovers in the air, ready to attack, but Kyo comes quickly from behind and strikes him with his energy shield, followed by Medicine and Luna, who shoots multi-colored daggers and poison clouds at him. Sanae gets up and shouts "after him!" The knight flies away to the open fields, where countless poisonous flowers bloom. He hovers above the flowers as he looks on to Aya and Momiji, both guarding any possible escape routes for him. Marisa smiles and says "alright guys, let's finish this quickly and set Reimu's mind at ease!" Kyo shouts "now you get it!"

At the Hakurei Shrine, Yukari looks inside the vacuuming gap and says "fu fu fu~! This is going to be very~ interesting." Mima shouts "hey! This isn't funny! I better go in and get them!" Yukari shouts "no! If you enter now, you'll shatter the entire barrier in a heart-beat. There's a reason why I specifically said 'only two can enter', remember?" Mima sighs and like Suwako before, she says "never as planned, dammit!" Kanako, who is forcefully washing Suwako's mouth out with soap, turns to Mima, releasing Suwako and threateningly says "watch it, young lady, or you'll be next!" Mima covers her mouth with her hands, then a large explosion and Reimu's angry shout at Ail startles all of them. Yukari feels something is wrong and shouts "hey, you two!? Can you hear me!?"

Inside the barrier, Renko and Maribel looks around, both hugging each other and trembling. Around them, various gaps like Yukari's and Ail's are visible, some blue, some green and very few with a sickly yellow color. "M-M-Mary~!" nervously says Renko. Maribel replies "R-Renko... wh-what just happen? Where are we?" Yukari's voice echoes all around them "can you two hear me?" Maribel immediately shouts back "miss Yukari, help us!" Yukari asks "Renko, do you remember what Mima and I talked about?" Renko shouts back "yes! But I want to get out of here... I feel sick in here!" Yukari replies "remember what I told Mima. Now, you HAVE to close those gaps you see around you in the right order. First green, then blue, then yellow, understand?" Maribel asks "what are you talking about?" Renko says "Yukari told us how to fix the barrier, so now *urk* we have to fix it ourselves." Maribel asks "Renko, are you ok?" Renko replies "this place is making me feel sick." Maribel says "then go back outside and let miss Mima come in." Renko quickly says "no, Mary! If either one of us goes out, we both do, and it'll take Yukari another day before she can open this place up again. We have to do this now, Mary." Maribel nods and says "then what should I do?" Renko says "you should be able to close the gaps, since you have already helped Ail before with HIS gaps." Maribel remembers the energy flow she felt every time she helped Ail. She concentrates her energy and feels just like when she helps Ail. She looks at Renko and with determination, she says "ok Renko. Tell me how to do this!" Renko says "both you and I will concentrate on closing the gaps, but we must do so in a specific order. First the green ones, then the blue ones, and last, those yellow ones." Maribel holds on to Renko and flies with her to the gaps. Renko says "concentrate on closing them. Let's start with that first green one." Maribel flies with Renko, close to the large green gap to their left, then extends her hand, getting it close to it. She closes her eyes along with Renko's, who can feel the energy flowing through her as well, then slowly, the gap starts closing. After it closes up, Maribel opens her eyes and excitedly shouts "we did it, we did it!" Yukari's voice echoes and says "congratulations! Now please, hurry! Somethings wrong out there... Ran's gonna need your help!"

From the bushes, Agava watches while Ail, Shinki, Alice and Budou whisper something to each other. Quietly, she waits, then notices Flandre on the bushes beside her own. "Flandre?" she whispers to herself, while staring at the blond vampire. She notices the angry expression on her as she looks straight at Ail. Agava hesitates, but something inside her gives her enough strength and courage to go straight to her. She walks closer, until she is just a few feet away, then whispers "Flandre?" Flandre aims her hand straight at Agava, who flinches and crouches to the ground shouting "please, don't shoot!" Flandre's face twists in anger upon looking at the shadow being and angrily shouts "YOU! After I'm done with big... with Ail, I'm coming after you!" Agava manages to ask "wh-why?" Flandre loses her temper, rushes to Agava, grabs her by the jacket and shouts directly at her face "thanks to you, I hurt Meiling! And thanks to HIM-!!!" Flandre notices Ail and all the other are gone. She scoffs and says "then I'll take care of YOU first after all." Agava trembles and says "don't blame him for something I did." Flandre gets shocked and releases Agava. She stares back at her and says "y-you're not going to trick me again!" Flandre opens her hand straight at Agava and says "first I'll break your head, then I'll break your arms, and your legs, and then, I'll deal with that Ail!" Agava whimpers, closing her eyes tightly, then says "fine... do your worse. Just don't blame that idiot anymore." Flandre stops from blowing Agava's head and asks "why are you protecting him? He's your enemy." Agava says "Flandre... I don't know why, but being with you... I don't know, but I think I've changed... for real." Flandre looks at her with disgust, but says nothing. "I was the one that caused you to lose control again, Flandre. I'm sorry." says Agava. Flandre now looks at her with curiosity as she continues her tale. "I made you read a spell, out of my desire to get rid of the charm inside me, that caused you to lose all control, and that's why you hurt that girl. So if you have to deal with someone..." Agava stands up and bravely prepares herself for the worst and shouts "you deal with ME!" Flandre hesitantly trembles, unable to decide whether or not to blow Agava to bits. She walks closer to Agava and says "I have decided I will not blow you up, but you'll have to be my playmate until I get bored of you."

Reimu flies just above Agava and Flandre, and spots Rumia watching from one of the trees, however she ignores them and continues her way. A sudden burst of energy sends chills down her spine, strengthening her resolve as she says "Budou's starting her offensive. Ail you idiot, what have you done!?" She flies straight through the gates to Makai without wasting another second. Agava, Flandre and even Rumia, feel the energy Reimu just felt, however, they fell another source. Agava looks at Flandre and says "there is one more thing I have to do before I can stay with you. Can you wait?" Flandre smiles and says "no. So I'll go along with you and play with whoever is using this much power." Agava smiles, then both she and Flandre fly toward the source of the energy. Rumia encases herself in darkness and follows them to the Nameless Hill, where a mighty battle is being waged.

The knight attacks with many spells, all non-elemental. Kyo blocks with his shield as Momiji tries to catch the knight off-guard, but he disperse another magical attack, sending Momiji flying back. Aya gets angry and charges at him, generating a small tornado behind her, but the knight swings his arm and knocks her far away. Kyo takes this chance to get close and engages in melee combat with the knight. Both are evenly matched, so Kyo backs away and says "I was hoping to save this one for later, but..." Kyo pulls out a spell card from the pocket in his black pants, surprising Momiji, who says "no fair~!" and Aya, who shouts "don't be all show, little man!" Kyo shouts "Flames of Elegance!" Kyo thrusts his sword in the air about 10 times per second, causing the tip to catch fire. The fire dances around, then spread into a group of at least 15 pairs of dancing flames, all homing on the knight as they continue to dance with each other. The knight tries to avoid the flames, but he makes a mistake, and one of the pairs strikes him right on the chest, giving Luna and Medicine the chance to attack. Medicine spits out a green cloud of smoke that ignites as soon as it touches the fire around the knight, then Luna swings her blade, sending the knight straight down to the ground, however the knight keeps afloat, just inches away from the ground, expels a burst of energy that douses the fires, then laughs as it flies back up. Aya shouts "that was a good try... now what!?"

Marisa and Sanae stand on the ground, both preparing a spell each. Marisa says "those patterns... I've seen them before" as she watches the knight shoot more of his magic. Sanae snaps "concentrate!" Marisa says "oh, right!" From behind, Flandre shouts "Forbidden Barrage - Catadioptric!" Various bouncing blue danmaku orbs of different sizes overwhelm the knight, who immediately falls to the ground as soon as he's hit. He gets back up and immediately receives a 'Masters Spark' in the face, followed by Sanae's 'Orochi of Ancient Times'. After the attacks are done, then knight continues to stand, as if nothing even touched him. Both Marisa and Sanae gasp in shock, but then, from inside the armor, a high-pitched voice shouts "help! He~~lp! I can's get out! Someone get me out of here!" The knight's eyes glow red after staring at Flandre for some time, then an ominous voice echoes all over as it says "murderer~! You will pay for my brother's life!" Everyone present cover their ears, as the echoing voice make them feel as though their ears would explode at any time. Sanae shouts "LOOK OUT!" then pushes Marisa out of the way, as a large beam flies just past them at the speed of light. Flandre looks at the knight with a brave face, so the knight flies toward her, and in an instant, he has his hand around her neck. Agava shouts "what the-!? I'll save you Flandre!" She pulls out her spell card, but the knight knocks her back like she was nothing at all. Agava falls just past the poisonous flower fields, next to Rumia's feet. she spring up and shouts "Rumia! Please, I need more power! He's gonna kill her!" Rumia stares seriously at Agava, her eyes glowing crimson with intent."

Back inside the barrier, Maribel and Renko are just closing the last of the yellow gaps. After closing it, Maribel slowly descends and places Renko by her side, who immediately drops to the ground, holding her stomach. A violet gap opens in front of them as Yukari says "Maribel, Renko, thank you for your hard work. Now please, help me save my Ran!" Maribel asks "what? What's wrong with Ran?" She looks inside the gap and sees Ran in in a park of the outside world being chased by a multitude of people. Maribel gasps and shouts "miss Ran!" Renko gets up and jumps inside the gap, saying "don't just stand there, Mary!" Maribel follows Renko in, both landing right between Ran and the humans. One of them asks "what the hell?" Their leader says "more devilish work! I told you! The devil himself is upon us. We just show him we are powerful when we stand as one. Come and let us cleanse these demons!" The crowd cheers "YEAH!" As the people elaborate, Renko and Maribel rush to Ran, who sits limp next to the bathrooms. "Miss Ran!" shouts Maribel. "Are you ok?" Ran struggles to lift her head and says "I feel... so, so weak. I want to... to sleep." Renko inspects Ran, then pulls a dart out of her neck and says "tranquilizer." Maribel looks on as the crowd of people get closer and asks "what do we do now?" The crowd stops as various daggers rain from above. Renko looks up and shouts "CLOSE YOUR EYES!" A blinding flash incapacitates the entire crowd as Yukari falls down, grabs hold of Maribel's arm, opens a gap and shouts "get in!" Maribel and Renko grab hold of Ran and jump inside the gap with her, followed quickly by Yukari as the gap closes. Back safely in the shrine, Mima helps Maribel up, while Suwako and Kanako help Yukari, Renko and then Ran. Mima looks to the skies and says "it's almost dawn."

Inside Makai, Reimu and Ail meet face to face in the forest he helped restore. Reimu is beyond herself with rage, but manages to calmly say "you have messed too many lives today, Ail, and all for that youkai. Once we're done here, I'm sealing off Makai for good, and you inside." Ail replies "Reimu, you have the wrong culprit! Just go to the Nameless Hill. You'll find the knight there!" Reimu scoffs and says "again with that. Ail, the energy disturbance is coming from here. More specifically, from Budou herself. I can see it, you know? She's just a few yards away right now." Ail pulls out a spell card and shouts "I'm not letting you NEAR HER, Reimu! Earth Sign - Forestall Heartbeat!" The heart-shaped formation of leaves and white colored danmaku that beat like a heart go straight to Reimu, followed by a pair of lasers that trap her in the middle of it all. Reimu smiles, pulls a spell card and shouts "Barrier - Extending Barrier!" Her spell card pushes back Ail's attacks as if nothing at all, then strike Ail with force. Reimu thinks she's won, but Ail surprises her with a pair of white lasers, blasting her back against a tree. Ail gets up and says "you're tired, Reimu. Just stop this now. You need your strength to fight the knight." Reimu gets up, rubs the back of her head and says "Ail, you're really pushing my limits. Stand down, now." Ail pulls another spell card, but Reimu already declares hers as she pulls out her own, shouting "Wild Exorcism Dance!" Ail watches as she dances, then spots the many charms headed his way. He gasps and quickly shouts "Light Sign - Holy DANCE!!!" Just as the charms reach him, his orb of light prevents them from touching him directly, however, after enough charms cling on to the orb, both spells cancel each other out. Reimu hears an explosion coming from Gensokyo and shouts "NO~!" Ail wonders what is wrong with her. "Why is she screaming toward the gate?" he thinks. Reimu turns around with her eyes covered in tears and shouts "you idiot! Gensokyo... it's going to be destroyed because of your stubbornness." Ail shouts "Reimu, you are under a SPELL!!" Reimu growls and says "you love for that youkai has blinded you, Ail. You are allowing Gensokyo to be destroyed." Resolve fills Reimu's eyes when she says "I am going to seal away all your powers. You have meddled with Gensokyo's affairs for the LAST TIME!" Ail gasps as Reimu pulls out three spell cards. She looks at him with determination in her eyes as the spell cards in her hand glow pink. Ail pulls out another spell card and says "you refuse to listen, even though I speak the truth. Reimu... Good bye, Reimu."

Reimu shouts "Fantasy Heaven!" and immediately, 7 white orbs surround her. Ail is about to declare his spell, when Reimu, who's speed increases considerably, punches him right in the face, knocking the spell card right out of his hand. She punches him again, then kicks him to the air where she follows with a spin-kick. On the ground, Ail tries to recover, but Reimu strikes him with her gohei, then stomps on him and says "this is it, Ail. After this, you'll be just another powerless half youkai... WHOA-!" Ail manages to push her away, but Reimu skilfully touches his hand, activating the last orb. Ail panics and runs to his spell card, running away from the large amulets headed his way. The amulets are fast, but Ail is faster, and manages to grab his spell card just in time, but trips and falls. He manages to turn around with a smile, ready to declare his spell, but his smile vanishes when he hears "PAPA! HAKUREI SIS! Don't fight! Don't-" A terrible feeling of despair fills Ail's heart as he watches the amulets intended for him strike Budou on the back. Reimu opens her eyes and gasps, then in a terrified tone of voice, she says "no! This is too strong for her!" Ail wants to shout to the heavens, but his breath fails him, watching with horror as Budou's body vanishes right before his very eyes. He gets up and holds her. She looks at him with fear in her violet eyes and whispers "papa... I'm cold" Ail closes her eyes and says "shh, shh, it's ok. Just sleep now." He manages to encase her inside a peculiar barrier that looks like a large ice cube, glowing blue, just as her body completely vanishes, leaving only the little white bow she wore on her teal hair on Ail's hands.

Shinki arrives just as Budou vanishes, despair filling her heart. Ail kneels on the ground, holding tightly on to Budou's bow as he remembers something his mother told him. Ayalina's voice echoes in his mind "oh, that poor woman." Ail's child voice asks "mom, why is that woman on TV crying so much?" Ayalina's voice replies "because she lost something very important, my son." Ail asks "what is that?" Ayalina replies "her child..." Ail replies "ohh... But why does she cry so much, mom?" Ayalina replies "there is no greater pain to a father, or mother, than to lose their own child, Anilan." Ail says "umm~ But... why?" Ayalina replies "I pray you never have to go through something like that, but someday, my child, you will understand." Ayalina's voice fades as Ail comes back to reality. He fells anger and hatred toward Reimu. His thoughts dwell on causing her harm... killing her even, but Byakuren's words reach him, saying "Whatever happens, understand her feelings too. Promise me that much... promise me!" He is crying so much by now, he can barely see his own hands. He places the bow on his chest and starts to sob. Shinki kneels next to him and gently places her hand on his shoulder. Reimu gets closer, almost crying herself, then softly says "Ail... I'm sorry. I... Look... the energy she was emanating is gone now. I can restore Gensokyo now." Ail continues to stare blankly toward the spot where Budou disappeared, his tears continuing to flow without pause. His bracelet screeches so loud, the echo reaches all the way to Pandemonium, and a red image of the crystal knight, holding Flandre by the neck, hovers just above the crystal. Shinki and Reimu cover their ears as the screeching continues without any sign of stopping, however Ail continues to stare as if nothing else is happening around him.

Siki and Komachi watch in awe as Ail's ghost half glows pure white, then zips away toward Makai. Komachi says "something horrible just happen, Siki-sama. Siki closes her eyes and says "a mis trial." Ail's ghost half reaches Ail and immediately merges with him. The card Ail had in his hand just before glows blue, so Reimu picks it up and says "he was willing to give his life for her..." She inspects the card and says "but this..." Ail says with a cracking voice "go and find Sanae and Marisa... the culprit is with them." Reimu looks at him surprised and asks "Ail? Are you alright?" Ail repeats "go and find Sanae and Marisa... the culprit is with them." Reimu continues to stand there so Shinki shouts "didn't you hear!? Go! they need you!" Reimu concerned asks "but what about..." Shinki shouts "JUST GO!" Reimu leaves back to Gensokyo a little hesitant, but as soon as she exits the speedy gate, she can see the energy disturbance all around. She gasps in horror as she realizes that Ail was telling the truth. She hyperventilates and says "but... but... I am... shrine maiden... how...?" The energy disturbance grows stronger, helping Reimu snap out of her horrible realization, so she flies up and immediately heads to the Nameless Hill.

Back at the Nameless Hill, Rumia's eyes glow crimson as she says "you have proven to me that you really have changed. I release 12% of your former powers, for the time being, to prove your worth. Remember my warning, little shadow. It would be very wise not to take it lightly." Agava nods as she kneels down in front of Rumia. Her body grows to that of a human teenager, having 14% of her powers back. She smiles at Rumia, who, for a moment, though Agava would throttle her, but Agava only bows and says "thank you." Immediately, she shouts "Shadow Morph" and turns into a shadow bird. She flies straight toward the knight, trailing massive shadow orbs as soon as she is in range of him. Stills as a bird, she surrounds Flandre with her shadow body and says "I'm going to save you, Flan." The massive shadow balls smash on the knight, who releases Flandre, allowing Agava to take her away, turning back to normal after 20 seconds. She places Flandre on the ground and says "I'll be right back!" Aya kicks the knight back to the ground, where Momiji and Marisa strike him with their weapons, sending him flying toward Luna, who slices half of the helmet, then kicks it toward Kyo, how uses his shield to smash him back down, where Sanae places many pink charms on him, preventing him from moving from that spot. Agava flies close and pulls our another spell card, then shouts "Shadow Sign - Binding Darkness" Everything turns pitch-black around Agava and the knight for a few seconds, then, after the darkness clears, massive black orbs surround the knight, then all constrict against him, cracking open a small compartment on the chest of the armor. After the spell is done, Reimu, who is flying just above all, looking in disbelief, shouts "NO! This can't be! But, the energies! The disturbances! I VAPORIZED YOU!" Sanae shouts "Reimu, calm down. What happened!? ... Reimu?" Marisa flies toward her friend and says "now it's not the time, ze! Go down there and finish this!" Agava flies away as Reimu, accompanied by Marisa, floats down next to the knight. From inside the armor, a high-pitched voice shouts "get me out of he~re!" Another voice echoes from the armor itself, saying "just... finish it..." Reimu looks to Flandre and signals her to get close. Reimu places an amulet on the chest of the knight, revealing a crystal the beats like a heart. Reimu says "Flandre, break that." Flandre immediately grabs the eye of the crystal and clenches her hand, cracking the crystal and causing the amulet to explode, shattering the crystal into pieces. Again, from inside, a high-pitched voice shouts "what's going on out there!? Get me out of here, dammit!!!"

Reimu stares at the armor while the others surround her, looking awestruck at Reimu's face. She looks as though she wants to shout something. Reimu snarls, then angrily pulls the armor apart in pieces, finally removing the torso and revealing inside a fairy similar to Lily White, only dressed in black, instead. Reimu grabs the fairy by her dress and pulls her close to her face and shouts "SPEAK!" Marisa gasps "Lily Black?" The fairy sighs and says "yeah, yeah, you caught me." Reimu shakes her and shouts "SPEAK, you miserable fairy! How did you do that to me without me realizing it!?" Lily Black pouts and says "I used an ancient holy spell that diverts energy flow from it's actual source. I didn't want you finding me out, but... here you are, heh heh." Reimu tosses the fairy toward the poisonous flowers and rushes to her angrily, but Sanae grabs her from behind, locking her arms around Reimu's shoulder and using all her strength, just to keep her away from Lily Black. Reimu screams in a rage, then calms down, kneeling on the ground, breathing heavily. Aya rescues the fairy from the poisonous flowers and says "you have a lot to answer for, little fairy." Marisa crouches next to Reimu and asks "Reimu, what's wrong? Why are you so upset?" Reimu sobs and says "I killed her! Ail told me, but I didn't listen. I killed her!" Marisa asks "what are you talking about!?" Sanae gasps and shouts "oh no!" then flies away as fast as she can. Marisa gasps and asks "Reimu *gulp* who did you kill?" Reimu launches herself to Marisa, crying uncontrollably as she hugs her friend for support. Marisa sighs and pats her back as Kyo sits on the ground feeling defeated. Luna kneels beside him, joined by medicine and Agava, then Kyo says "we failed... after all of this... we failed?" Agava asks "what? We beat the knight... why is everyone so sad?" Rumia comes and pulls her shoulder and quietly shakes her head, then Flandre says "remember your promise!" Agava nods then says "alright then. Let's go." Agava stands next to Flandre and notices she's now two feet taller than her and says "hey... you should call me senior now, don't you think?" As they fly away along with Rumia, Flandre says "no~. You call me senior,and I'll call you playmate." Agava replies "aww, come on!"

Sanae arrives to the Makai forest, where Ail sits against a tree, placing his head on his knees while Shinki sits beside him, brushing his hair with her hand, comforting him. She gets closer to them and spots Budou's bow in Ail's hand, then start to cry as well, kneeling beside him, brushing the bow in his hand with the tip of her fingers. Daytime reaches Makai by the time Ail and Sanae calm down. Shinki stands next to Yumeko, who came looking for Shinki, worried for her lady. Shinki says "I'm sorry Ail, I tried to hold on to her, but she got so strong. She freed herself from my hand, saying something about your energy being eaten and was flying so fast... I couldn't keep up." Ail faintly says "it's alright, Shinki." By now, Cirno, Sara and Alice arrive at the forest. Cirno asks "you, blond maid! Did you hurt Ail!?" Yumeko smiles wickedly and says "no, you little runt!" Cirno gets close and asks "Ail, green miko!? Why are you so sad? Did they hurt you?" Ail and Sanae manage to smile and both pat Cirno on the head and Ail says "it's alright Cirno. It will take time, but we'll be alright." Sanae sighs and says "lady Moriya and lady Yasaka will be quite mad. I better go." Ail stands up and helps Sanae up, then says "let's go then." Shinki says "Ail, I'm really sorry..." Ail smiles and says "it's alright Shinki. It's not your fault." Alice tries to divert the conversation by asking "so she didn't seal us in here?" Ail says "I told you she wouldn't." Ail and Sanae look at Shinki, bow their heads, then smile at her, then Ail says "time to go back now."

Two days later:
At Byakuren's temple, Ail meets a woman with orange-yellow hair with black stripes and golden yellow eyes with a giant cloth circle attached to her back and wearing a lotus ornament on her head. She wears a burgundy-orange-white dress with a tiger pattern by the abdomen, white frilly pants and black shoes. He politely asks "is miss Hijiri here?" The woman looks to him and asks "are you Ail?" Ail nods as the woman slowly walks closer to him. He says "I want to thank her for helping me so much." The woman replies "she's very weak right now. She can't have visitors." Ail looks down and says "ah... C-could you tell her that I am sorry for getting her mixed up in all of this?" As he finishes his sentence, the woman strikes Ail with her claws right across his face and calmly says "lady Hijiri helped you out of the kindness from her heart, as well as all you friends. Apologizing to her like that is like spitting at her face, mocking her sacrifice!" Ail looks at her with his left eye, since he can't open his right, due to the stinging pain of her claw mark. She says "this curse will follow you until you understand all the sacrifices made for your sake are not to be taken lightly. All came from the heart, mister Ail, and you have to understand this. I'll tell lady Hijiri you were here, but if you want to insult her sacrifice, then you do so on your own." The marks on his face start bleeding, causing panic to Ail. The blood stops as soon as it started, and when Ail looks back up, the woman is gone. He walks away, holding his face in pain, back to his house.

At the Hakurei Shrine, Reimu stands next to Ail, who finishes telling her about the claw marks. She smiles and says "I see. That's Shou Toramaru, and she's quite loyal to Byakuren." Ail says "you don't say?" There is a moment of awkward silence between them for a moment, then Reimu starts to cry and says "Ail, I'm so sorry! If I had just listened..." Ail sighs and calmly says "you did what you thought was right, Reimu." Reimu shouts "Ail, I did something terrible! Hate me, shout at me, GET ANGRY! Don't just act like it's nothing!" Ail calmly replies "all those thoughts crossed my mind, Reimu. But I could never hate you. You've been there for me and Kyo since the very beginning, in you own, special way, that is." He turns to her and says "besides, hating you will not bring Budou back... but I know something else that will." Reimu looks at him confused, then wipes the tears off her eyes and asks "what?" He replies "Shinki tells me there is a Makai parallel to hers, however to access it, I need to go to the outside and look around a well known icy mountain." Reimu looks at him surprised, then says "the spell... it was meant to seal your powers away. She couldn't have..." Ail shouts "there is hope, Reimu!" Reimu turns her sight away, then Ail says "besides, if there should be someone apologizing for all this is me..." Again, Reimu looks at him quite puzzled. Ail turns away from her and says "all of this happened because of me, Reimu. You see, after I helped Renko and Maribel enter, Yukari and I saw certain barrier on Maribel, so we decided to try and open them. What a stupid decision that was." Reimu asks "is that why she can use those heart bullets?" Ail nods and says "the thing is, I stopped when Yukari admitted to me she wanted to experiment with Maribel and her powers, but when she followed me during that incident with Tenshi in the Heavens, I accidentally placed a gap in her heart, and couldn't close it. She absorbed enough magic to have an endless supply herself, and that's not all. After Makai, Shinki's power went inside of her, giving her even more power. That's why she's flying like a pro without any practice or anything." Reimu shouts "Ail... that's so irresponsible!" Ail continues "then there was that disturbance in the gate back here that took us to the future... all because she has so much magic in her.... Anyway, after the goddesses possessed the two girls, somehow she And Renko shared some of that power, so it's only a matter of time before Renko gains abilities of her own.

Reimu smacks Ail at the back of his head. He laughs and says "I'm not done, Reimu. Yukari and I had a little conversation after I came back from that future and realized my bracelet is... or was, somehow connected to Maribel, so it's been her powers that have been warning us about all of these events. Now, only the godly blessings remain in here." Reimu asks "does she know?" Ail says "I told her yesterday, so she closed that gap on her own. She lost those cat-ears in the process, but she was just so mad that I didn't tell her about that before, she just snorted at me." Reimu says "you're lucky that wasn't me." Ail laughs then says "if I hadn't done that, Reimu... *sniffle* Budou would have never become a youkai, we would have never been to Makai, that knight would have never found a way here... I'm sorry for everything, Reimu." The claw-marks start bleeding again, mixing his tears with the blood. Reimu says "stop regretting everything, Ail. You won't be able to live with yourself like that. Besides, without Budou, you would have never experienced that love you shared, Maribel would probably be whining about how she doesn't have powers like ours, and Agava would have probably stayed the same wicked little monster. Add to all of that, you showed me the love you have for Gensokyo is second to none. You even helped save us from a horrible future." The bleeding stops as Ail's eyes fill with determination and purpose, then says "yes, you're right. Besides, if I didn't do it, fate would have done it for us anyway, right?" Reimu chuckles along with Ail, then asks "so, when are you leaving?" Ail quickly replies "tomorrow."

The next morning, Cirno, Orin, Marisa, Sanae, Reimu, Yukari, Kanako, Suwako, Maribel, Renko, Mima, Kyo, Luna and Medicine all wait for Ail by the Hakurei Shrine. Ail walks up the stairs wearing a white mask that covers his entire face, except for his left eye, and an old-looking brown cape that looks thick. He looks at all of them and says "thank you all for everything you have done. I truly appreciate it." Kyo says "good luck, buddy." Ail bows, then Cirno and Orin both rush to hug him. Marisa tips her hat to him, Maribel and Renko walk to him and Maribel says "I thought about it and decided I want to thank you." Ail asks "why?" She answers "because thanks to you I have all these wonderful powers. Yes, many bad things happened before, but now that I know about this, I can help and control this." Ail says "I see... I'm sorry to have kept it a secret." Maribel then says "oh, look at what I can do now!" She magically grows cat ears and a tail, then magically takes them away. Ail laughs and says "that's a nice trick.!" Renko adds "I'll be looking for my own ability now. Hopefully it's something subtle, you know?" Ail smiles, although his smile is hidden by the mask. He says "you two are so different, yet so alike." Mima gets close to him and says "if you need help out there, use our mind link to let me know, and I'll come and help you, alright?" Ail nods as Yukari opens the gap to a small village next to the mountain. He's about to enter when Sanae shouts "hold it! You're not going ANYWHERE without me!" Ail looks at her surprised and says "Sanae, this might be too dangerous and-" "Zip it" says Sanae. "Besides, I have lady Yasaka's and lady Moriya's divine protection, and I miss Budou as much as you!" Suwako jumps to them and says "you may act like a mother and father but-" Kanako knocks Suwako out of the way, grabs Ail by the shirt and says "if you dare play 'husband' with her, I'll personally kill you!" Ail sweats as Sanae blushes and pushes the goddesses away, scolding them both. From the shrine stairs come Youmu and Yuyuko. Yuyuko walks to Ail as fast as she can, crying as she did, then kisses him on his left eye and says "come back alive, Ail. Please come back alive!" Youmu quietly stands and listens to Ail respond "of course I will. That's a promise... but why-?" Yuyuko shushes him, then points him to the gap to where Sanae is standing next to. He walks to her, nods, then both head inside the gap. Yukari closes it and says "I have such a strange feeling... I've never felt like this for a human before." Reimu says "that's because I've never left Gensokyo like that." Yukari looks at Reimu, hugs her and says "don't go~!"

That day, Maribel and Renko visit Yukari's house to check up on Ran. They arrive through Yukari's gap, startling Ran as they come out of it, shouting "hello~! Miss Ran!?" Maribel walks straight toward Ran and asks "miss Ran, how are you feeling? Are you alright? Nothing wrong?" Ran yawns then says "I'm alright, miss Maribel. You don't have to worry so much." Maribel sighs with relief and says "good. I was so worried." Renko adds "but you don't look that well to me!" Ran says "it's that tranquilizer... It's effects still haven't worn off completely." Chen walks into the room and says in a commanding tone "don't bother miss Ran!" Yukari comes from inside her gap and says "Chen, that's no way to speak to our guests. They are just as worried about Ran as you are!" Chen gasps and bows her head, then says "I-I'm sorry." Maribel smiles and says "it's alright, miss Chen." Renko adds "we didn't mean to worry you." Renko, Ran and Yukari sit by the table while Chen and Maribel prepare some snacks at the kitchen. Renko looks at Yukari and asks "lady Yukari, why was Ran all by herself in the outside world?" From the kitchen Maribel asks "yeah, I'm curious about that as well." Yukari casually says "the barrier doesn't only work from the inside, you know. If it was that simple, we wouldn't have needed your help in the first place." Both Maribel and Renko say "oh" then silence. Maribel and Chen place the snacks and tea on the table and as everyone takes some tea and cookies, Maribel asks "lady Yukari? What about my powers?" Yukari says "don't worry, you won't lose them. You'll just stop gaining more." Maribel then says "ok, that's good, but... Do you feel even the slightest guilty for doing all of this to me?" Yukari smiles and says "fu fu fu fu, regret is for those who doubt themselves."

The End...?
Characters, spell card and scenario belong to ZUN -Team Shanghai Alice-
Ail, Kyo, Agava, Luna, Budou and their spell cards were created by Willie G.R. (any similarities are strictly coincidental)
Assistance with the creation of this chapter and Kyo's spell card by snapshot 2010

SEP 20 2009
written by
Willie G.R.

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