Friday, January 29, 2010

Shadow Hunting - Mishaps

Morning at the Myouren Temple. Byakuren casually walks to the Palanquin, where Minamitsu is waiting for her so they can search for Byakuren’s shadow. On the way to the ship she is met by Nazrin, who stares on a little saddened, bows and says “good luck, lady Hijiri.” Byakuren smiles, bends down, and kisses Nazrin’s forehead, making her bush a little, then says “thank you, Nazrin. If all should go well, we’ll be back really soon.” Nazrin smiles, then steps away. A little farther ahead Nue, Ichirin and Unzan wave at her with sad faces. Byakuren giggles and says “don’t looks so sad! It’s not like we’re leaving forever!” Nue quickly says “but the temple without Hijiri doesn’t feel like home~!” Byakuren can’t help but giggle, then says “don’t feel like that. The temple is your home, no matter what.” Nue lets out a small smile, then says “come back in one piece!” Ichirin sighs and says “if you need any help at all send for us, ok nee-san?” Byakuren bows her head with a smile, then says “everything will be fine, but I promise, if anything happens, I’ll call for you.” Byakuren waves at them, then continues her way, but stops and asks “oh... where’s Shou? I was sure she was going to be here.” Ichirin gets a little irritated and says “she couldn’t sleep at all last night, so I’m guessing she’s asleep now.” Byakuren looks a little disappointed and says “oh. And I really needed to talk to her too. She might get upset. Oh well.” Byakuren signals the girls to her and when they get close enough, Byakuren smiles and says “please, tell her I couldn’t wait for her to wake up, and tell her I said ‘bye’.” Both girls nod with smiles on their faces, making Byakuren smile along. Inside the temple, in Shou’s room. Shou sleeps contently, holding tightly to her pillow while sleeping sideways, snoring and sporting a pretty big nose bubble. She starts to mumble softly, then smiles, chuckles, and says “lady Hijiri~”

Inside the Palanquin’s dining room, on the tall but small square table, Byakuren and Minamitsu sit in front of one-another on the wooden chairs and discuss about their shadow hunt. Byakuren calmly says “alright, do you have any clue as to how my shadow would look like?” Minamitsu thinks hard and after placing her hands under the table she says “well, you are kind, so your shadow should be mean. Also, she might have bad breath, seeing as your breath smells like fresh mint, and it’s also VERY possible she doesn’t bathe at all, seeing as you DO take regular baths.” Byakuren sweats, her eyes hide behind a light dark shadow, and some strands of hair coil around above her head. Minamitsu continues “ah, maybe she has HUGE manly muscles and a crooked pointy nose... green skin, AND she’s probably naked too. You like clothes, right? Maybe she doesn’t.” Byakuren stares awestruck at Minamitsu for some time, and after stuttering a little she manages to say “maybe you’re giving it too much though.” Minamitsu lifts a magazine from under the table and says “no, no, it’s right here on this magazine I found!” On the article, there is a picture of a large grotesque-looking monster, and beside it the word “SHADOW” is written in huge black letters. Byakuren recovers her usual look and stares curiously at the article, then says “so it’s an article on shadows?” Minamitsu quickly replies “yup. All about shadows. Says here some can have two genders, and will occasionally try to eat vampires after squishing jelly off honeycombs.” Byakuren smiles and says “can I see that?” Minamitsu hands the magazine, and after Byakuren flips a few pages, she places the magazine on the table and presses her hand on it, looks straight at Minamitsu, then says “it says here, my lucky numbers are 5 and 78.” Minamitsu stares back, then smiles and says “and my horoscope predicts heavy rains on sunny skies!”

It’s late noon. Minamitsu is driving the Palanquin manually, whistling a tune as she does. Byakuren is at the farthest end of the deck, throwing a few glances over the safety rails, hoping to see her shadow somewhere down on the ground. Minamitsu lets go of the helm for a moment after seeing a lose board. She bends down and says “ah, someone might trip on this. I better fix it.” She walks inside the ship forgetting to set it to auto-pilot. A light gust of wind blows across the ship’s deck and the entire ship turns very violently. Byakuren is looking over the rails when the ship turns and quickly finds herself falling to the ground. While falling she smiles nervously, flaps her arms rapidly and shouts “HELP, I CAN’T SWIM~!!” Minamitsu comes running from the inside, looking terrified as she jumps on the helm and grasps the wheel tight, then stabilizes the ship. After settling down, Minamitsu swipes her forehead with her forearm and says “phew! That was clumsy of me. Someone could have fallen overboard.”

It’s early morning. Byakuren walks out of the ship and stands on the deck, next to the ship’s helm. She stretches her arms above her head and groans contently, then notices the empty helm. She looks around suspiciously and says to herself “she won’t mind. Besides, I’m just helping. She’s probably exhausted from yesterday, so I have decided, I’m going to drive today. Yes, I’m sure she’ll appreciate it.” When she approaches the helm she realizes that beside it there’s a very advanced looking panel with a few shining buttons and a big dome above the buttons. Right now, the dome is blinking yellow, then Byakuren says to herself “ah, it’s on auto-pilot. Hmm, let’s see here...” Byakuren bends down, placing her left hand on her thigh while poking her lower lip with her right hand, then says “ah, it’s the green one!” She pushes a small green button, but nothing happens. Inside the captain’s quarters, Minamitsu is sound asleep on a small bunk bed. A pair of metal shackles that hold the bed in place are released, making a loud “clank”, which make Minamitsu moan for a moment, but quickly stops and continues sleeping. Back on deck, Byakuren smiles as she covers her eyes with her left hand and points her finger at random buttons, then stops. She stares at the yellow button her finger points to, then presses it. There is a quick buzzing sound and the blinking yellow light goes off. Byakuren celebrates and says “Yay~ I did it!” She forgets to grab the wooden wheel and a quick gust violently turns the ship around. Inside Minamitsu’s room, the sudden turn sends the bed straight toward the round window that’s covered with white curtains. Minamitsu wakes up with a scream and finds herself falling through the window with terror on her face as she shouts “Captain OVERBOARD~~!!!”

Late noon. Minamitsu has a few cuts and bruises on her face and one barely-opened black eye. She puffs a bit of air from her mouth as she stares annoyed in front of her. Byakuren finishes moping the deck and places the mop inside it’s bucket, then sighs and says “I’m really sorry, Captain Murasa. I just wanted to help.” Minamitsu sighs, then smiles and says “I know, I understand. Please, just be a bit more careful lady Hijiri.” Byakuren smiles back angelically, salutes and says “no problem”, then picks up the mop and bucket. Minamitsu sighs and says “guess we better get inside. Geez, I hope the fairies haven’t destroyed the place.” After pressing the yellow button and leaving the ship on auto-pilot, Minamitsu takes one step and yelps after slipping. Luckily, she is able to hold on the helm before falling. Byakuren says “be careful, I just finished waxing these floors.” Terrorized, Minamitsu yelps “WHAT?” Byakuren continues “so be very careful not to slip.” Just as she finishes saying those words, she slips, drops the mop and the bucket, then slides all the way across to the left side of the ship and falls over the rails shouting “oh no, not again~” Minamitsu manages to rush to Byakuren’s aid without slipping, but after placing her hands on the rails she starts to tremble. From down below, Byakuren shouts “I waxed the rails too~!” Just as Byakuren says this, Minamitsu’s hands slip, her left foot slips, then falls over the rails, shouting “WAAAAAAHHH~~~!!!”

The next morning, Byakuren and Minamitsu decide to stay inside the ship while letting some fairies do random checks over the ship’s deck. The girls are sitting in front of each other on the square table. Byakuren takes a bite off a piece of bread, while Minamitsu reads the Bunbunmaru Newspaper. She stretches her hand and grabs a small cup of coffee from the table, pulls the paper away from her face, takes a sip, and after placing it back on its small plate she says “it seems those shadows are causing a lot of trouble down below... but there’s still no mention of your own shadow, lady Hijiri.” Byakuren finishes nibbling on her bread and says “that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop looking. We must be diligent and stay focused.” Minamitsu nods while still looking into the paper, then asks “but what if you didn’t get a shadow copy?” Byakuren stares confused at Minamitsu. The youkai pulls the paper away from her face to look at Byakuren and says “think about it. Someone as pure as you shouldn’t even have a shadow.” Byakuren gasps and smiles as she says “I’m flattered you think so highly of me, but that’s just not true! Every single one of us has some darkness inside!” Minamitsu stares into Byakuren’s eyes, then casually shrugs and says “well, if you say so.” Byakuren sighs, and drops the subject, then takes another small nibble off her piece of bread. From a small gap on the floor, a small mouse, probably one of Nazrin’s friends, sneaks its way up Minamitsu’s leg. Minamitsu throws the paper in the air and springs on her feet while banging hard on the table with her hands and looking embarrassed and surprised at Byakuren, then says “l-lady Hijiri, that’s very inappropriate.” Byakuren stares confused back at Minamitsu, who realizes Byakuren isn’t doing anything. The little mouse squeaks, and Minamitsu suddenly panics and thrashes around, shouting “it’s a mouse! A mouse in my pants! Get it off, GET IT OFF!” Byakuren lifts her hand, wanting to tell Minamitsu to calm down, but the sound of clothes stripping signals her it’s no use anymore, so she just covers her eyes with her left hand as Minamitsu shouts “you little CREEP! Look what you made me do! ...AHH, I’m naked!” There’s the sound of a barrel being moved, then silence. Byakuren peeks through a small gap between her fingers and asks “can I look now?” Minamitsu shouts “I’m sorry lady Hijiri! I panicked!” Byakuren giggles and says “it’s alright. Here, get dressed.” Byakuren picks up Minamitsu’s clothes and finds the mouse under the pants, enjoying half of a cracker. Byakuren sighs and says “well, it seems someone has been pigging out during the nights.” Minamitsu blushes with embarrassment and while getting dressed inside the barrel she says “i-it was just a snack!” That night, Minamitsu stands on the ship’s bathroom scale with a towel wrapped around. She stares at the scale for a moment, then slumps and sighs, then says “no more mid-night snacks.”

Late morning on the next day. Byakuren walks out to the deck of the ship, stretching and enjoying the warm rays of the sun above her. Minamitsu is navigating the ship with a smile on her face, when she hears Byakuren shouting “it’s my shadow!” Minamitsu lets go of the helm and magically summons a large anchor to her right hand and shouts “where!? WHERE!?” Byakuren bravely points right in front of herself and starts shooting mercilessly, then Minamitsu follows by throwing her anchor and some droplet danmaku bullets for good measure. When the dust settles, they realize they have made a large hole on the deck. Minamitsu walks closer and looks inside the hole with a depressing smile on her face, then asks “what did she look like!?” Byakuren calmly says “tall, very shaggy-looking, VERY dark, and she had no eyes or mouth!” Byakuren pokes her lower lip with her right hand finger and looks up as she thinks and asks “I wonder how does she eat?” Minamitsu’s eyes hide under a black shadow and some sweat drops fall all around her head. She trembles and stutters, then asks “Hi-Hijiri...? Doesn’t that sound like... your shadow?” Byakuren says “yes, that’s exactly what I mean. That was my shadow!” Minamitsu places both hands on Byakuren’s shoulders and forces a big smile, even though she is furious, then says “that shadow we just blasted... was your shadow from the SUNLIGHT!” Byakuren closes her eyes and giggles nervously, then looks at Minamitsu with glassy sad eyes, sticks out her tongue, then says “umm... sowwy~.” Minamitsu sighs loudly, then slumps and says “it’s fine, it’s ok. I’ll just patch it.” A soft gust of wind blows through the ship’s deck, then the ships turns violently to the right, knocking Byakuren off her feet and over the rails, but this time, Minamitsu grabs her cape before she’s out of reach. Minamitsu angrily says “dammit, I forgot the auto-pilot again!” Byakuren smiles as she looks up and says “well, just pull me up and...” A ripping sound unsettles the two girls, so Minamitsu pulls Byakuren up with all her might, and when she finally manages to pull her up, she opens her eyes and realizes she has Byakuren’s upper garments, while Byakuren herself falls to the ground again, this time in her white undergarments only. She places one arm over her chest, and the other holding her skirt from lifting up, and while she falls she smiles and shouts “kyaa~~ This is embarrassing~~!”

The next day at noon. Minamitsu walks out of the ship, looking bored and yawning. She looks to the ship’s deck and spots Byakuren with an angelical smile, kneeling and cooing at something. She decides to get closer, walking casually with both hands behind her head. She stands next to Byakuren and kneels beside her and curiously asks “lady Hijiri, what are you doing there?” Byakuren smiles angelically and says “I found this squeaking little bird over here. He’s so CUTE!” Byakuren moves away slightly to reveal an ordinary rubber duck with an additional multi-colored feather head-piece. Minamitsu stares at it in disbelief, then says “l-lady Hijiri, you realize that’s a rubber duck, right?” Byakuren twitches and opens her eyes wide in surprise, then grabs it and squeaks is twice, then looks at Minamitsu and says “no wonder it didn’t move much.” Down by the Youkai Forest, Nitori searches the ground diligently for something. Another kappa approaches Nitori and asks “what are you looking for?” Nitori sounds a little worried when she replies “my latest invention. Right now, it’s on a very delicate state and if someone were to squeak it, it’ll set off a time bomb in it.” The kappa gasps and covers her mouth, then says “Nitori, that’s dangerous. But why would you put a bomb in a rubber duck?” Nitori casually answers “it’s supposed to make him shoot a few sparks in the air, but I placed too much energy in the prototype I was using.” A very loud explosion from the sky makes both Nitori and her friend to yelp in fright. After everything settles, Nitori shrugs and casually says “ah well. Let’s move on to the next project.” On the Palanquin’s deck, Byakuren and Minamitsu stand awestruck on top of a large burn mark, pretty burned up on the front themselves. Minamitsu coughs and says “r-ru-rubber...” Byakuren looks at Minamitsu and shouts “DUCK!” then quickly crouches. Minamitsu stares at Byakuren with curiosity, then is knocked from behind by Mystia, who flies by too fast to stop in time. The night sparrow falls on her face on the deck, while Minamitsu falls over the rail and down to the ground, shouting “this is getting annoying~~!” Byakuren runs to the rails, but is unable to catch Minamitsu on time. Mystia casually walks next to Byakuren and asks “did I just hit something?” Byakuren smiles at Mystia and quickly embraces her, saying “what a cute little youkai~! What’s your name!?” While Byakuren rubs her smiling face on the sparrow’s shirt, accidentally, but effectively cleaning all the smudge off her face, Mystia panics and tries to fly away but is unable to break free.

The next morning, Minamitsu is flying around inside the ship, looking a little unsettled. A fairy passes by so Minamitsu stops and asks “hey, have you seen lady Hijiri?” The fairy closes her eyes and shakes her little head, then says “there was some commotion by the common quarters a little earlier.” Minamitsu smiles and says “thank you very much” while rubbing the fairy’s head, making her smile contently while blushing. At the common quarters, Byakuren walks out one of the rooms, dragging a black wiggling bag. Minamitsu lands behind her and ask “lady Hijiri, what’s that you got there?” Byakuren swipes some sweat from her forehead and says “it’s a shadow! Saw her lurking around, so I chased her and trapped her!” From behind Byakuren, Minamitsu says “great! Open the bag so we can get a better look!” Byakuren smiles and says “alright then” and pulls the bag open. Byakuren is extremely shocked after seeing who was in there. Her eyes turn round and white and she’s unable to close her mouth. After being freed from inside the bag; her hair messed up and her clothes completely wrinkled, Minamitsu punches the ground and asks “what the HELL just happened!?” Byakuren stutters “bu-bu-but... behind me... just now...” while pointing behind her with her thumbs.

Late noon. Minamitsu finishes nailing down a wooden board, then dusts her hand after exhaling. She steps back, looks up and says “no more falling off THIS ship!” She admires the 6 foot tall wooden wall she installed on the ship’s rails. She pushes the last board to make certain it’s sturdy enough, then says “now we can safely continue our search.” Without Minamitsu ever even noticing, Byakuren stands on the far edge of the ship and admires the tall wall, then says “wow, this looks safe enough.” Minamitsu proudly crosses her arms around her chest and says “of course! I installed this thinking about YOUR safely, lady Hijiri. Now, we should land soon before we run out of...” Byakuren screams “kyaa~~ I’m falling again~~!” Minamitsu trembles as she stares with great surprise toward the spot where Byakuren was. Not one of the boards looks unsettled or broken. She trembles some more while her eyes turn round and white, then points forward and says “but... but... 6 feet tall, and still...”

Nighttime. Minamitsu walks out of her room wearing a white sleeping robe tied up by a white lace. She flies further inside the dimly lit ship then lands next to a row or windows and stares outside. She sighs and says “the sky looks so beautiful.” Byakuren lands behind her, wearing a silky-looking black sleeping robe tied by a white lace. After she lands, Minamitsu asks “you can’t sleep either, lady Hijiri?” Byakuren smiles and says “actually, no. But when I heard you come out of your room I came to see if you were alright.” Minamitsu turns around with a smile and looks at Byakuren, then says “oh, I’m alright. I just wanted to see the sky tonight. It’s so beautiful. So many stars.” Byakuren giggles and says “yes. Nights like these should be enjoyed to their fullest.” Both looks at each other, then smile, and for a few hours, they sit on the floor and watch the night sky through the windows. Byakuren falls asleep on the floor, so Minamitsu thinks of carrying back her to her room, but she notices a shooting star that seems to land on top of a large yellow star. She is fascinated by this and walks toward the window for a closer look. She sighs and says “so beautiful.” When she turns around, there is a big eye above a large tongue on an eggplant-colored umbrella right in front of her face, and a girl’s voice shouts “URAMESHIYA~!!” Minamitsu jumps back so suddenly, she breaks a hole on the ship, but is so shocked by the surprise she falls, unable to scream. Kogasa looks out the hole and says “wow, I really scared her.” From behind, Byakuren asks “Kogasa, is that you?” Kogasa gets surprised and jumps out the window with fright, then falls down, letting go of the karakasa and shouting “kyaan~!” Byakuren looks outside the hole, sweats while smiling sheepishly, then says to herself “really, somebody’s going to get hurt with these gags.”

Morning. Minamitsu finishes removing the useless wall of wooden boards from the railings and decides to take a bath. Meanwhile, Byakuren is enjoying a bath, humming to herself as she enjoys the warm water on her skin. She looks inside the tub and says “oh my! I need to do something with these nails.” A few minutes after, Minamitsu enters the entrance room wearing a towel wrapped around her body and one on her head, and notices Byakuren’s clothes on a basket next to the small sink. She twitches and blushes, then thinks “I better not interrupt.” Byakuren exits the bathroom with a towel wrapped all around her body. She smiles and asks “oh, are you taking a bath too?” Minamitsu takes a deep breath of relief, smiles, then says “yes. I just finished removing those large boards off the railing and though I’d take a quick bath.” Byakuren walks to her fresh set of clothes while Minamitsu heads inside the bathroom. Byakuren yelps, so Minamitsu instinctively turns around, only to get shocked and surprised. Byakuren says “silly mouse, you startled me. Geez, I even dropped my towel. That’s so un-lady-like!” Minamitsu faints and falls on her back while a powerful stream of blood gushes out her nose. She lies on the bathroom floor with a smile on her face, twitching occasionally while Byakuren concernedly asks “Mini-chan!? Mini-chan are you alright!?” With her eyes hidden by a dark shadow, her cheeks bright red, and with a smile on her face, Minamitsu asks “who’s... Mini-chan?” Byakuren sighs with relief and says “that’s you, silly.” Minamitsu struggles to lift her arm and flip her thumb up, and before finally blacking out she says “I... approve.”

It’s late noon and Byakuren is resting her elbows on the ship’s railing while Minamitsu manually drives the ship while whistling a tune. Byakuren sighs and says “what a beautiful afternoon. The sky is gold, the clouds look like sweet sugar puffs, and everything’s just so calm and quiet. Oh, how I wish every moment were like this. Don’t you agree, Mini-chan?” Minamitsu smiles back and says “that’s right, lady Hijiri. It should always be like this.” She looks away from Byakuren, changing her expression to depressing concern and thinks “it’s still way too quiet. Something’s gonna happen soon.” There is a loud crash and the entire ship rocks violently. Minamitsu presses the auto-pilot button, shrugs with a defeat smile and thinks “right on time. Ah well, time to pick up lady Hijiri from the ground again.” She looks at Byakuren, who’ still standing by the railing and asks “Mini-chan, what was that!?” Minamitsu looks shocked and asks “wait, you didn’t fall off?” From the ship’s entrance, Marisa bursts out the door, shouting “HEY~ EVERYONE!” Byakuren smiles widely and says “miss Marisa, hello! What a lovely surprise!” Minamitsu trembles and points at Byakuren, but stutters nonsensically. Marisa smiles widely and says “sorry about that hole, I couldn’t stop on time, ze!” Byakuren replies “ah~, accidents happen.” Byakuren approaches Marisa, then asks “to what do we owe the pleasure of this visit?” Marisa rubs the back of her head with her right hand and while smiling sheepishly she asks “I came to borrow some books, but I can’t find them.” Byakuren claps softly and tilts her head with a happy angelical smile and says “oh my, here, I’ll take you to them.” Byakuren leads the slightly surprised Marisa inside, saying “this way, please.” Marisa grins and says “wow, you really are a nice person.” Minamitsu stands completely awestruck, pointing at Byakuren and stuttering some more. After Marisa and Byakuren enter the ship, Minamitsu walks to the rails and looks down. She confirms lady Hijiri really didn’t fall. She starts to tremble violently, then jumps over the railing, and while laughing she shouts “I’m REALLY getting use to this~~!!”

The next morning at the dining room. Minamitsu and Byakuren glare at each other from across the small table, neither one blinking. Byakuren smirks and something under them clacks. Minamitsu sweats as she glares back and softly growls. Byakuren sits back with a triumphant stare, making Minamitsu tremble. The captain looks under her, sweating more each passing moment, but she suddenly gasps and there are more clacking sounds coming from under her. Byakuren moans in defeat and says “you cheated!” Minamitsu smirks triumphantly and says “you know the drill. King me!” On the table lies a checkered game board with round black and red playing pieces. Byakuren growls and while pouting she says “the game isn’t over yet!”

Later that day, inside the ship, Minamitsu kneels on the floor, scrubbing it with a small brush. She drops the brush inside the bucket, swipes the sweat off her forehead and says “phew. Almost done.” Byakuren speeds by, having tied two scrubbing brushes on her feet and using them to skate around with great agility. Minamitsu sweats and looks worriedly at Byakuren, then sys “oy! Be careful. You might get hurt.” Byakuren continues to gain speed while skating with the brushes and says “aww, come on! We’re safe inside!” Minamitsu shouts “lady Hijiri, the hole that witch made! LOOK OUT!” Byakuren looks ahead of her and realizes she heading straight toward the hole Marisa made when she crashed into the ship. She tries to stop herself, but she is going too fast to stop in time. Minamitsu runs after her, hoping to catch her before she actually falls, but even she knows that’s impossible, however that doesn’t stop her from trying. Byakuren is just mere feet away from the hole, then a golden washtub falls on her head, successfully stopping her from falling through the hole, however, she’s knocked out. Minamitsu reaches Byakuren and looks into her swirling eyes and dazed smile. She turns her attention to the washtub on the floor next to Byakuren, bends up and picks it up. In a sudden rage, she throws the washtub through the hole and shouts “WHAT IS IT WITH THESE GAGS!?”

At night, Byakuren, who has a bandage around her head, sits in front of Minamitsu at the small square table and looking serious she says “I believe it’s time we headed back, Mini-chan!” Minamitsu stakes back at Byakuren with determination and says “agreed. All we’ve managed to do is fall over the ship and hurt ourselves over and over.” Byakuren nods and says “so we rest at the temple, then continue the search on foot.” Minamitsu nods and says “then it’s decided. Let’s head home!” Byakuren notices Minamitsu has her hands under the table then smiles and asks “ah, you got another magazine there?” Minamitsu lifts her hand and pulls out a rubber duck, surprising even herself. Byakuren panics and shouts “RUBBER DUCK!”, then runs away and jumps inside an empty barrel. Minamitsu quietly stares at the rubber duck and asks herself “what am I doing with this?” At the Youkai Forest, Nitori searches frantically around while wearing a pair of night-vision goggles. She stomps the ground hard with her foot and angrily says “that’s the SECOND one already! I’m not this careless! Someone must be stealing them.” There’s an explosion in the sky and Nitori sighs with an irritated expression on her face and says “great, I’m going to have to start from scratch again.”

The next morning, looking exhausted, Byakuren and Minamitsu leave the ship as soon as it lands. As they walk back to the temple, Byakuren says “Mini-chan, I don’t think we’re cut out to hunt shadows.” Minamitsu sighs and says “we just had a bit of bad luck back there. Maybe we’ll fare better down on the ground.” Byakuren sighs and says “I sure hope you’re right.” There’s a bit of silence between them as they walk to the temple, then Byakuren giggles and says “the girls are going to be so happy when they realize we’re back.” Minamitsu shrugs and says “maybe... I know I’d be.” A large silver washtub falls on their heads and knocks both in an instant. With swirling eyes and vacant smiles, they lie on the ground while everyone else is unaware of their return. From the ship’s deck, there is a small flash, and a shadowy figure jumps over the rails and flies away. Aya, with a glint in her eyes and a wide crescent smile on her face says “uh-fu fu fu. I, the beautiful Aya Shameimaru, age 17 (lie), have found the greatest story for all times. I’ll call it ‘Endless Mishaps of the Holy Vessel’.” She flies away towards the Hakurei Shrine with a sense of accomplishment and a crescent smile on her face.

The End
Characters & scenario belong to ZUN -Team Shanghai Alice-
JAN 29 2010
Written by
Willie G.R.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One Random Sukima 32 - HELLBOUND

It’s early noon. Komachi lies on the cold snow with her scythe to her right, and slowly, her eyes start to close. Her eyelids feel heavier as her body relaxes on the cold snow, and even though she knows falling asleep on the snow would be a bad idea, she thinks “just... gonna rest my eyes and get up quickly before...” She notices a beam of light in the sky heading toward the Sanzu River. She immediately wakes up and grabs her scythe, glaring angrily at the beam of light and saying “how DARE you try to fly other the river! I’m going to have to teach you a... oh wait.” She focuses her eyes and notices the mask and cloak, then says “’s one of the guards. I wonder what’s he doing here?” She shrugs and looks away, then says to herself “well, as long as he didn’t see me, he won’t report me to Shiki-sama!” To her right, a strict girl’s voice says “neglecting your duties again!?” Terror fills Komachi’s face as she looks toward the angry glowing eyes to her right and exclaims “Shi-Shiki-sama! I wasn’t sleeping! I-I was just resting my eyes for a second, I swear!” A golden sword strikes Komachi’s head, leaving a large steaming lump on her head. While she rubs her lump and pouts, Shikieiki says “I’ll scold you later. We have some work to do in there.” Komachi’s face fills with horror once again. She trembles and sweats as she asks “y-you mean... down there...?” With a serious face, Shiki looks to the sky as the beam of light falls straight toward the river and says “yes. There’s an intruder in there, and it’s up to us to find him before somebody else does.” Komachi gulps and sounding frightened, she asks “who would be stupid enough to want to enter that place?” Shiki hides a small smile with her sword and says “an idiot in search of hope.”

As soon as he puts on the mask, Ail flies from the farthest shores of the Sanzu River and heads toward it while flying higher and higher. The moment he’s right on top of the river, just like he expected, his power of flight stops working, so he falls straight on to the water. As he falls, he wills himself to continue forward, then realizes he can still use small magical bursts to impulse himself, so he positions himself to fall on the water on his feet, and just before touching the water, the soles on his shoes expand and inflate a little. Inside the mask he smiles as he thinks “Nitori. I wonder how long will THIS addition work?” Using well-timed magical impulses and the inflated soles on his shoes, Ail skates on the water, heading straight to the patch of land at the other side. He notices many strange arms, claws and tentacles reaching out to him, probably to drag him down with them. He swerves, twirls and jumps over these obstacles as he gets closer to his goal, then all the obstacles just disappear underwater. Ail knows this isn’t good, and just as he suspected, something worse emerges from underwater. A creature that looks like a mixture of a giant brown eel and a whale with whiskers around the mouth jumps over his head with its mouth wide open, bearing thousands of jagged teeth. Ail ducks at the last possible second while pushing himself with another magical burst, avoiding the creature’s mouth, it’s body, then it’s tail after using another quick magical impulse. Land is just a few feet away from him; Ail tries to hurry before the creature tries to jump at him again. To his dismay, the creature is right behind him, determined to take him down to the depths of the river with it, jumping high in the air and aiming to eat him, however, Ail has no intention of dying just yet, so in one last ditch effort, he jumps and impulses himself with a heavy magical burst, and as soon as he’s clear from the river he realizes he can fly again, so without wasting another moment, he flies up and away from the shores, where the creature lands and strands itself. After his shoes deflate, making a loud rude noise, Ail looks back as the monster wails sadly, unable to return to the river. The creature’s cry seems to affect him, making him feel depressed, so he turns around and lands close to the creature. He looks into the creature’s three left side eyes, then nods. As if understanding Ail’s intentions, the creature rocks itself until it rocks hard enough to lift its body, then Ail concentrates and shoots a water ball twice his own size at the creature’s belly, helping it roll back to the water. After falling in, the creature sinks, causing Ail’s heart to fill with despair. He thinks of going after it, but remembers that the moment he touches that water, he’ll suffer a fate worse than death. The creature pops its head out of the water away from the shore, giving Ail a much needed reassurance of it’s well being, then as it swims away it sings a beautiful song that seems to soothe Ail and restore the energy he wasted when crossing the river. Ail smiles under the mask, then quickly turns around and walks away.

After walking for 30 minutes, Ail finds himself in front of two very familiar large doors. The building in front of him looks like a large white dome supported by dark-blue walls and surrounded by many gargoyle statues, all diligently watching over the surroundings. Ail wastes no time in pushing open one of the doors, expecting to find Shikieiki staring down at him from her platform, but to his surprise, the courtroom is completely empty. He walks toward Shiki’s platform and looks to his left, and sees the stairs to heaven, then to his right, and sees his destination... the gate leading to the hole to Hell. He takes a deep breath and quickly walks over to the hole, closes his eyes, then lets himself drop in. The moment he feels the overwhelming and suffocating heat of hell he opens his eyes and starts to fly. The cloak wraps around his body, startling him as it does, then the sword the shadows gave him starts floating around him, surrounded by a golden aura. Ail relaxes and realizes the cloak has become like part of his skin. He feels he can breathe a little easier, and the scorching heat of hell doesn’t feel as bad anymore. After relaxing, Ail takes a look around. The floors are dark and full of dirty-looking bones and skulls, and everywhere he looks, a stream of bright magma flows all around. He watches as the spirits all moan and beg for water and something comfortable, maybe even some decent clothes, but a strange large and bulky horned creature bathed in flames surfaces from a crater and starts to strike them all with a fiery whip, then wraps a few of them with the whip itself and tosses them toward the stream of magma. All of them burn in the scorching river, but they can’t die. Ail shivers at the sight, then looks in front of him. Ahead of him, an orange mist blocks his view, but from what little he can see, he knows there are many dangerous formations and obstacles ahead. He takes a deep breath to relax, then flies straight forward.

Back at Gensokyo, at the Moriya Shrine. Reimu is sitting next to Sanae and Budou as Sanae confidently says “look, I’m not saying it’s fun to feel like you’re dying from suffocation, but that blob hasn’t returned, and I’m sure it won’t return.” Concerned and irritated, Reimu replies “Sanae, these things keep coming back if you don’t destroy them! Yours is probably just slow.” Sanae replies “you’re worrying over nothing. Now, can someone tell me why Ail isn’t with us right now?” Budou twitches and Reimu drops her mug of tea. Sanae sweats and asks “what? What happened now? I-is he hurt? Come on, say something!” Inside the shrine, Rika and Kanako overhear the conversation, then Kanako says “wait, wait, I’m gonna take a wild guess here. After going through hell and back, Ail forgot something along the way and now is going through hell again to recover that which he forgot, is that it?” Rika flinches, Reimu twitches, and Budou panics and flies away toward Suwako after seeing Sanae’s unsettling worry-rage-face. Without thinking of the consequences, Sanae grabs Reimu by her shirt, lifts her up to her own face, and with glowing rage-filled eyes she shouts “what happened now!?” Reimu sweats and hesitantly says “well... you see...” Before she can answer, two blobs suddenly drop from the sky; one for Suwako, the other for Sanae. Kanako and Rika are trapped outside the domes this time, however, they watch as another dome falls nearby, so they look at each other, then Rika shouts “my lady, if it’s ok, we’ll head out and help the tengu!” From inside, Reimu shouts “you go ahead! I’m breaking this thing in just a moment anyway!” Kanako shouts “Is Sanae doing alright!?” Reimu shouts back “not to worry you, but she was too agitated when this thing hit. Now STOP SHOUTING, you’re breaking my concentration!” Rika and Kanako look at each other, then Rika says “let’s go help the tengu, then.” While they fly toward the tengu, Kanako looks suspiciously at Rika, and when Rika notices, she blushes and asks “wh-what is it miss Kanako?” Kanako continues to stare suspiciously, then asks “Rika? Do you know your family name?” Rika sighs and sadly says “no. I was found by some very special people. They saved me from dying... and that’s all I can remember about my past.” Kanako drops the subject and says “I see. Sorry, I didn’t mean to touch such a sensitive subject. Let’s just help that tengu.” Rika nods, then says “yes. Lives are at stake!” Again, Kanako looks at her suspiciously, then asks “ok, what do you know about Ail?”

Inside Sanae’s black blob, Reimu sits in meditation while Sanae’s face turns purple, her life slowly leaving as she tries to gasp for air. Time is short, and Reimu knows this. She sweats while she breathes and meditates while holding on to a charm on her right hand, and her gohei on her left. She quickly opens her eyes and expels air very suddenly, seemingly grunting and pushing forward with both hands while still holding the gohei and charm. Several amulets fly all around her, shaping a circle in the air, and without breaking the formation, they stick to the black wall, shattering the black blob in an bright flash. Sanae takes various deep breaths and coughs violently for some time. Reimu knows she’ll be alright, so she rushes to the blob in which Suwako and Budou are in. She shouts “BUDOU, SUWAKO!? Are you two alright in there!?” From inside, Budou shouts “Hakurei sis! Big sister Suwako doesn’t move. She’s shivering a lot, but it’s not even cold in here! What do I do!?” Reimu shouts “first, you need to calm down...” From inside the blob, a large spectral city surrounds Budou and Suwako, and every time nature tries to grow in this city, it’s destroyed and removed by the foolish humans that disregard nature as being useful to them. Suwako trembles and cries as she witness these events and repeats “but nature is there to provide for all... you fools *sob*” Budou listens to Reimu as her voice faintly goes through the black orb’s wall. Budou takes a deep breath to calm herself down, then says “alright... I’m calm. Hakurei sis, how do I break this thing!?” From outside, Reimu shouts “you have to find the wall and hit is hard with whatever you can!” Sanae’s voice adds “Budou... get your big sister out of there!” Budou’s face shows only determination now. She places her hands in front of herself and feels the wall, then shouts “mama, Hakurei sis! Stand back!” From outside the blob, Sanae and Reimu look at each other with surprise, then a very familiar sound can be heard coming from inside the blob itself. Reimu asks “is that a-“ Sanae hurriedly says “spell card... yes.” They continue to stare at each other, then both gasp and scream, jumping away just as a wave of green energy in the shape of a drill bursts right through the blob, obliterating it in the process, then disappearing quickly. Sanae and Reimu quickly stand up and look toward where the blob was, finding Suwako sobbing on her knees, and a little further away is Budou, standing and casually waving at Reimu, then Sanae. With a smile on her face, she triumphantly shouts “MAMA, Hakurei Sis! I did it! Look, I saved big sister!” Reimu and Sanae exchange shocked looks across the shrine’s courtyard, then they stare back at Budou in shock for a little while longer.

At the bottom of the waterfall, to the left side of the river, Aya tries to air-tackle the black blob that has Momiji trapped inside. Rika and Kanako land close by, then Kanako asks “is she alone in there!?” Aya ignores them and continues to air-tackle the blob, always getting bounced back until she tries one last time, giving it her all and some more, but only manages to hurt herself badly after bouncing back violently. She falls on her back on the ground and grabs her right shoulder and screams for a moment, then stops as Rika kneels beside her and softly says “please calm down, miss Aya.” Aya says “Momiji’s in there!” Kanako asks again “is she alone in there?” Aya recovers and manages to sit up, then says “n-no. The kappa was with her... Nitori. They were playing shogi when that thing landed right on top of them.” Rika whispers “good”, then gets up and walks toward the blob, and after getting close enough she shouts “miss Nitori, can you hear me!?” From inside, Nitori answers “yes, I can hear you! Who is this?” Rika shouts “it’s me, Rika. Miss Reimu’s maid, but never mind that now!” Kanako shouts “how is Momiji!?” Inside the blob, Momiji is completely paralyzed, while specters of other tengu fly right through her, shouting many rude insults at her, then circle around her, shouting many more insults. Nitori shouts “she’s really cold, and she can’t move! Also, I can’t believe the tengu are so mean to each other.” Aya’s specter sneers at Momiji while saying many horrible insults, making Nitori gasp and angrily say “oh my! That Aya’s the WORST!” From outside Aya shouts “HEY! What did I ever do to you!?” Nitori looks confused as she asks “huh? How can you be out there when you’re in here?” Kanako shouts “never mind that!” Rika continues “yes! Miss Nitori, you have to break this blob from the inside. Do you have anything you can use to break it’s wall?” Nitori smirks, her eyes glint, and from her backpack, several mechanical arms pop out, some with drills, some with iron balls, and two with a pair of hands holding wooden clubs. With a glint on her eyes and a wide smirk on her face, Nitori chuckles and shouts “stand back!” Outside, Rika and Kanako look at each other curiously, while Aya quickly flies away from the blob, shouting “oy~! Get away from there!” Rika and Kanako look curiously at Aya, when the blob behind them explodes, sending them flying far away, while Nitori comes out of it, cackling like a maniac while swinging her tools wildly in the air. Once she realizes she’s already out, she looks disappointed and says “aww~ Was that all? Oh well, I had my fun.” Nitori smiles and pulls back all the tools she had unleashed, then looks around and notices Kanako and Rika, side by side on the snow with their eyes spinning as they moan. Nitori shrugs, then looks behind her, then watches as Aya embraces Momiji and says “it’s alright, I got you. Remember what I told you about those things. Don’t worry, you are no less than anyone.” Nitori smiles again, then says to herself “now that’s how it should be.” She pulls a camera from one of the pockets in her skirt, takes a couple of pictures of Aya and Momiji hugging one-another, then casually walks away while whistling a tune to herself.

In hell, Ail is being bombarded from all sides by countless spirits and monsters that simply have nothing else to do while waiting to be punished. Ail struggles to avoid being hit by the powerful and fast bullets, but he’s out of his league, as some dangerous obstacles prevent him from moving too much. Luck from Shou’s blessing on his bracelet is the reason he’s still alive, as all the bullets that have grazed him open a tear on the cloak, but thanks to both of Shinki’s blessings on the bracelet and on the cloak itself, each tear patches up in seconds, though Ail can feel as though his skin is being cooked every time there’s a tear, but the Hakurei blessing on his bracelet quickly heals his skin. Ail instinctively knows that using his own powers while inside hell will give him away, but the blessings from Suwako allows him to break some stalactites, getting rid of a few enemies from the air, and a few others from the ground, and Kanako’s blessing allows him to blow away most of the flying enemies and some of the floating platforms. Even with all these blessings helping him, he knows if this keeps up, he’s going to attract unwanted attention, so he decides to swoop down to the ground and hide inside a small cave on a tall purple wall. Right after hiding, the shadow of two large yamas momentarily block out the light. Ail peeks with his left eye and sees one tall and thin yama, dressed somewhat like Shikieiki, but the second one looks bulk, a little shorter than the first one, wears a navy-blue suit, and sports a large pair of red dragon wings. Ail quickly hides when the bulky yama looks his way and with a gruff and deep voice he says “you ghouls better behave, or I’ll give you all DOUBLE the punishment!” The tall thin one, in a more elegant and calm tone of voice says “I swear, I thought I felt a living soul around here. Were you, by any chance, trying to have fun with our uninvited guest?” None of the creatures speak, then the bulky yama’s thunderous roar causes the entire area rumble and the spirits to run away, then he shouts “if I find anyone alive down here I’ll make SURE to PERSONALLY take care of it!” As they casually fly away, the tall yama calmly says “calm down. It’s probably become ashes by now.” Ail waits inside the cave for quite a lot of time, making sure those yama are far away from where he is. A pulsating energy that feels very familiar to him gets his attention, and as if in a trance, Ail exits the small cave and flies straight toward the source.

In Gensokyo, back at the Moriya Shrine, Sanae’s scream of rage echoes all the way down to the village when she finds out about Ail. She grabs Reimu by her shoulders, lifts her up on the air, and shakes her up violently as she shouts “why didn’t you STOP HIM!?” After being dropped, Reimu’s world moves around a lot as she manages to say “I tried... but...” Reimu finally recovers and says “the thing is, if he doesn’t do this, we will all be affected by those blobs. Not just those whose shadows are dead.” Sanae drops to her knees, so before she can get up again, Budou, along with Phredia, jump on Sanae and embrace her tightly. Budou says “mama, we have to trust papa Ail. I am sure he’ll return.” Phredia rubs Sanae’s cheek with her tiny hands, trying to comfort Sanae, who looks down to Budou and says “I’m sorry, Budou. I am sure this must hurt you too... and you, Reimu. I didn’t mean to snap like that.” Rika and Kanako look at each other for a moment, then back at Sanae, then Rika says “he’s got you and little miss Budou to return to. I’m sure that’s why he wanted us to tell you the truth if you asked.” Sanae sighs loudly, then starts to rub Budou and Phredia’s heads with her hands, then says “well, those two sha... I mean, angels, placed their blessings on him, right?” Reimu nods, then says “but I would have never allowed him to go. What he’s doing is a reckless and desperate attempt for peace of mind, and I don’t like it.” From the shrine’s porch, Suwako says “Reimu, don’t forget that we all have our own paths to tread...” While Suwako’s voice echoes, the scene changes to that of Remilia, crouching on the floor and looking away from a spectral mirror that makes her look like an adult who decays quickly, then vanishes. Suwako continues “you also mentioned these tests he must endure, Reimu. You should have expected something like this to happen, especially since it was the yama herself that told you about this.” Remilia looks up to the mirror again, then screams and tries to attack it, but the mirror moves away from her reach. Suwako continues “besides, each and every one of us, even us gods, must go through these tests in life, even if they seem inhuman and just plain cruel.” Remilia finally summons the courage to chase the mirror and strike it with her claws, striking the blob’s wall instead and breaking free. She lets herself fall on her back on the floor and breathes in deeply, feeling relief in her. The scene changes back to Suwako in the Moriya Shrine, just as Sakuya rushes to her mistress’ side. Suwako finishes saying “maybe this is part of that test. Maybe it wasn’t really over. Maybe it’ll continue until he learns the lesson he needs to learn. One encouraging thing about him...” Everyone in the shrine stares silently at Suwako as she smiles at them and says “is that he’s consciously taking on these tests without questioning them once. Or haven’t you noticed?” Aya and Momiji look at each other, then at Reimu, who says “I... guess you’re right. Well, regardless of what Shiki said to me, Ail can count on me and all his friends, I don’t care if I’m interfering or not!” Sanae nods and says “and he knows he can count on me, and lady Yasaka and lady Moriya... when they are behaving.” The goddesses blush, but smile and nod, then Budou says “and I’ll become even stronger and help papa much, much more. You’ll see!” Everyone in the shrine smile, but keep quiet.

Back in the depths of hell, Ail find himself floating above a great lake of magma. In its center floats a white platform, and on that platform is the evil red spirit that once possessed Ail. The spirit’s deep and ominous voice echoes to Ail “welcome, little man. To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?” The sword the shadows gave Ail positions itself right in front of Ail and points itself to the spirit. He laughs and says “I see. So you figured it out. I am actually surprised. Tell me, did you like how all that power felt? How all that rage and hatred mixed inside of you, giving you STRENGTH, giving you POWER!” Ail silently glares back to the spirit through his left eye, then thinks “the moment I touch this sword the yamas will learn of my presence here. Not only that, but I’m sure it’ll melt. I need to get closer before I try anything.” Ail slowly flies closer to the spirit while it says “do you really believe I’ll just let you reach me?” In an instant, the spirit shoots various “Spear of Gungnir” straight at Ail, then unleashes “Knockout in 3 Steps” so fast, Ail is almost caught by one of the smaller bullets. Ail continues to get closer, and the spirit fires Ran’s “Wizard Fox Thoughts” and Patchouli’s “Philosopher Stone”, then takes the shape of Ail’s silhouette. Every single bullet veers away from Ail as he gets closer to the red spirit, who laughs just as Ail reaches him, then says “you won’t be able to find my tail now, little soul.” Ail continues to glare with his left eye, then notices the shape the spirit took is just an illusion, and can see its tail right by the silhouette’s translucent neck. Just like Ail predicted, the second he touches the sword it melts down rapidly, but Ail slashes quickly enough to cut the spirit’s tail with the broad bottom of the sword. The spirit starts to scream loudly as its tail gets cut off and falls to the magma after bouncing off the platform, and Ail manages to let go of the swords just before the handle melts in his hands. All that’s left of the sword is the triangular red gem that rested on its hilt. The spirit falls on the platform and writhes around as if in pain. Ail turns around and slowly flies away with the gem floating around him, surrounded in a yellow aura. The spirit begins to laugh, progressing to a loud cackle, then says “you may have cut the bond, but I’ll never leave you, Ail. It may take me years, but I’ll link to your fate AGAIN! I will turn your life and twist it into a living hell. Just wait and see!” Ail lifts his right arm, signaling an uncaring farewell, then speeds up, anxious to get back to the surface. After Ail leaves, a shadow looms over the evil red spirit. The girl asks “why do you want to torment that soul so?” The spirit answers “because it’s fun for me. Seeing him and all those around him struggle needlessly is an amusement I can’t get enough of.” Shikieiki floats in front of the spirit, shocking and surprising it, then says “you will no longer interfere with his life.” She draws a magical symbol in the air with her sword, while Komachi, who’s behind the spirit, makes a triangle inside a large circle and some symbols, using the same magic as Shikieiki. Scared, the spirit asks “w-what are you doing? NO! You can’t!” Raising her voice, Shikieiki says “a soul like yours doesn’t deserve the chances YOU’VE been given. By the power invested in me, I, Shikieiki Yamaxanadu condemn you to an eternity frozen in time!” After she says these words, both symbols glow light blue, and the spirit’s voice is silenced. The red spirit is now encased in a light blue crystal; a crystal similar to the one that had Agava imprisoned in the former hell. Shiki strikes the crystal with her sword, sending it down to the depths of the magma lake. As it sinks, sounding very concerned, Komachi says “Shiki-sama, you realize the trouble you’ll get into once they find out about this?” Shikieiki smiles lightly and says “all the proper paperwork has been filled. I got permission to do this, directly from the bosses themselves. We won’t be seeing that spirit anymore.” Komachi smiles, feeling relieved after hearing that, then Shikieiki hurriedly says “come, we’re not done yet!” Komachi smiles and says “right! Let’s go!”

In Gensokyo, right after Ail cuts the tail off the spirit, the remaining black blobs break up, one by one. Byakuren cries as she witnesses many humans banding together and killing youkai in front of her eyes, all to see her suffer. Right after the orb brakes, she falls on her knees, and just before she falls to the ground completely, Minamitsu manages to reach her and grab her, keeping her torso up. At Entei, Eirin and Reisen’s orbs break at the same time, then both are helped by their friends, Tewi and Kaguya, to stand back up. At the Garden of the Sun, Elly and Kurumi rapidly punch the black blob form the outside, calling out to Yuka. The orb breaks apart, and kneeling in the center, covering her eyes with her left hand, while holding her parasol with her right, Yuka slowly stands up, then walks to her subordinates. Elly asks “miss Yukarin, are you alright?” Yuka wraps her arms around both girls, shocking Elly and frightening Kurumi, then says “I will be, very soon.” Then tightens her grip on them. At Makai, Alice and Mai hold Shinki on her feet, and right after the blob breaks away, Yumeko runs to them and looking very concerned, she checks on Shinki. At the Netherworld, Yuyuko’s blob breaks, revealing Yuyuko shedding tears while standing still and staring at the sky. Youmu rushes to her and asks “Yuyu-sama, are you alright!?” Yuyuko turns her head to face Youmu, and with tears in her eyes, she smiles and nods. At Mayohiga, Ran holds both Chen and Yukari and cries “I’m so sorry! Chen, Lady Yukari, I’m sorry~!” Yukari looks a little shaken, but calmly says “Ran, it’s ok... it’s over now.” At the Human village, the large black blob that was consuming the town’s center shatters away, and at the center, Kyo holds Maribel, while Luna holds Renko on her feet. Keine and Medicine rush to them, asking worriedly about the girls’ conditions. Meanwhile, at the Moriya Shrine. Everybody seems more relaxed, all sharing casual conversation, when Budou suddenly stands up and shouts “Papa! He’s coming home! Papa, I’m coming!” Before anyone can even get close to her, she flies away, toward the Sanzu River at great speed, leaving everyone, even Phredia behind. Sanae shouts “Budou, wait for us!” then flies after her with Phredia on her shoulder. Without saying another word, everybody else lift to the air and follow after Budou. Everyone, except for Aya, who stays behind a little longer and takes a few pictures of the kitchen, saying “ooh, so many things from the outside world. This should make a GREAT story.” After that, she runs outside and flies after the large group.

Ail reaches Shikieiki’s court room again, but to his dismay, when he pushes the gate open, Shikieiki looks at him and says “Komachi, he must be in this room somewhere.” Komachi frantically looks around and says “don’t worry Shiki-sama, I’m on it. That intruder can’t stay hidden from me!” Ail sweats and thinks “can’t they see me? Maybe it’s the mask.” Shiki looks at Ail and loudly says “it would be BAD if the culprit heads out that DOOR.” While saying this, she signals Ail to head to the entrance with her eyes, then continues to say “but once he’s outside those DOORS, he’s free from any trouble, so don’t let him get away.” Komachi moves away from the door while looking around the floor and says “yes, Shiki-sama! Don’t you worry, your Komachi is here. He won’t escape.” Ail smiles behind the mask, then quickly and quietly walks toward the exit, and leaves through the door, closing it immediately behind him. Once he leaves, Shikieiki bangs hard on her desk and with an inevitable smile she says “darn it, he got away!” Komachi smiles back and rubs the back of her head while saying “whoops. Sorry Shiki-sama!” They stare at each other for some time, then both start to chuckle. Outside, Ail continues the walk back to the river, which takes him another 30 minutes. When he reaches the shore, he notices Komachi standing by in her boat and looking toward Gensokyo’s shore. She looks back at Ail and says “all aboard for Gensokyo. Last call.” Ail smiles behind his mask again and immediately walks over. Komachi pushes the boat away from the shore and says “you know, you can take those off now.” Ail obediently takes off the mask and pulls the cloak open. He smiles at Komachi and says “I feel so much lighter now.” Komachi smiles while rowing the boat, then a familiar song reaches both their ears. Komachi smiles and says “it’s thanking you for saving its life earlier.” Ail smiles some more and replies “well, I really couldn’t leave it to die like that.” Komachi giggles and then sounding more serious she says “you took a great risk, but I’m glad you took it. I’m even happier that you managed to come back alive.” Ail sighs and says “honestly... I’m glad too.”

When Komachi and Ail arrive to the shore, they are met with a surprise. All of Ail’s friends are waiting to welcome him back. Budou, Reimu, Sanae, the goddesses, the Scarlet Devil Mansion, Entei, the Myouren Temple, and even Yuka, Elly and Kurumi. Elly looks at Yuka and asks “so that’s Ail?” Komachi chuckles and immediately she and Ail disembark. The first one to reach Ail is Budou, who excitedly shows Ail her first spell card while he holds her in his arm. Ail looks shocked at her, then looks at Reimu, Sanae and the goddesses. They all shrug while smiling, then rush to him to give him one big group hug. Night at the Scarlet Devil Mansion. Everyone has gathered there to listen to Ail’s tale, though he omits a few details, especially those concerning the two yamas he saw. After finishing his story, everyone enjoys some party favors. Remilia and Flandre even try a singing act that ended with Flandre storming out of the stage right after Remilia calls her “tone-deaf”. After going to the bathroom, Aya re-enters the party room, where before she says anything, everyone stares at her and says “AYAYAYAYA~” Aya’s face turns blue, so she quietly walks back into the bathroom and shuts the door. The party is about to end, when Ail takes the stage again and stares at all his old and new friends. Everyone quiets down after noticing Ail on the stage, and after they sit down, Ail says “my friends. Thank you all so much. Thank you for being my friends, even though I cause so much trouble.” From the tables, Orin shouts “don’t talk like that, bro!” Everyone agrees and before he can realize it, he’s shedding some tears while smiling at them. Everyone gets quiet again, then Reimu softly asks “are you really going to do this?” Budou hears Reimu and asks “do what? Hakurei sis...?” Budou notices Sanae being comforted by the goddesses while looking sadly at Ail, then Budou asks “what’s going on?” Ail continues “as some of you may know, something terrible happened between me and 3 very dear friends. We exchanged some hurtful words, and we almost even killed each other.” Budou flies to the stage and looking worried she asks “papa, what’s going on!?” Ail kneels down to look at Budou’s face, then hands a key to her and with a smile he says “Budou, I am so proud of you. You’ve become strong at such a young age, and you even got your own spell card now. I feel much better doing this, now that I know how strong you really are.” Budou gasps and says “the key to papa’s house?” Ail’s voice cracks a little, but he manages to smile and say “I’m sorry Budou, but I’m leaving Gensokyo.” Budou tosses the key at his face and flaps her wings furiously, while all the other guests, even Remilia and Flandre look at him with a disappointed and surprised expression. Byakuren shouts “Ail, don’t do this!” Budou hyperventilates, then lightly punches Ail various times on the chest, saying “papa, that is a MEAN JOKE!” She starts to cry and shouts “that’s not funny, papa!” Ail sighs and forces Budou on to his arms, calming her down a little, but still, she cries. Reimu looks away, spotting Marisa sneaking around the other rooms in the mansion. She wants to go to her friend, but Marisa quickly vanishes into another room.

Budou continues to cry on Ail’s shoulder, so Kyo takes this opportunity to say “dammit Ail, what sort of hare-brained scheme are you up to now!? How can you do that to Budou like that!?” Ail stands up and says “know this. I will not be gone forever. Just long enough!” Remilia flies closer and furiously shouts “long enough for WHAT!?” Ail calmly says “long enough to find out where I truly belong.” Remilia and everyone in the room quiet down, and even Budou stops crying. Ail salutes his friends and says “until our next meeting everyone! Farewell.” Ail grabs the key to his house and places it on Budou’s pocket, then climbs down the stage, immediately heading straight to Reimu’s table, Where Kyo and Sanae wait for him. Kyo glares angrily at Ail and says “I should PUMMEL you where you stand, Ail!” Ail sits Budou and Reimu’s lap, then pulls out two simple-looking golden whistles. He hands one to Reimu and the other to Budou, then whispers “if you ever need to contact me for whatever reasons, blow on these. Once you do, give me 30-40 seconds, but I’ll be here.” Budou sobs and asks “you won’t abandon me, right?” Ail brushes the side of Budou’s hair and says “NEVER! I would NEVER abandon you. I promised to take care of you, Budou, and to that promise I will hold. But right now, I need to do this, and knowing how well you’re taking care of yourself tells me it’s the right moment to do so.” Reimu pats Budou’s head after she sobs again, then Ail says “Kyo, Reimu, Budou, and Sanae. I swear to you all, I will return, but... I just don’t know when. Now, only the 4 of you know about these whistles. Don’t tell anyone! Not the goddesses, not Luna, not even my mother if she comes to visit.” All quietly nod, Budou sniffling as the rubs her nose with her sleeve. Phredia flies from under Budou’s hair and gives Ail a light hug on the shoulder. Ail pats her little head and says “you keep Budou safe, you hear?” Phredia nods, then heads back to Budou to help comfort her. Ail stands up straight and opens a gap to his mother’s house behind himself, then looks back at all his friends. Now, even the two goddesses have tears in their eyes. Ail takes a deep breath and says “farewell everyone. I will miss you while I’m gone.” Before he leaves, Sanae summons up the courage to give Ail a tight hug, then with a cracked voice she says “you take care and come back soon.” As soon as they let go, Budou flies to Ail and give him yet another hug and says “you come back, like you promised! You come back and very soon, alright papa!” Ail replies “I will. I give you all my promise.” He enters through the gap, then turns around and says “you take care of the house while I’m gone, ok Budou!? Take care.” The gap closes up and slowly disappears. Budou drops on her knees and starts to cry again, then Sanae and Reimu both kneel down beside her and gently rub her head. Outside the mansion, Kimi, Kali, Letty, Daiyousei and Cirno watch the events of the party. Cirno’s tears fall non-stop, turning into tiny ice cubes before landing on the snow-covered ground below. Cirno asks Letty “why... why am I crying? I’m the strongest, I shouldn’t be crying.” Daiyousei pats Cirno’s head while Letty answers “even the strongest can cry, Cirno. Those tears you shed aren’t those of weakness, but of love for your friends... which is strange for a fairy.” Cirno smiles while rubbing her eyes, then says “then I truly must be the strongest!” Beside Kimi, S-Suwako materializes with a smile on her face as she stares at Cirno. Kimi looks at her for a moment, then bows her head. At the outside world, at Ayalina’s house. Ail knocks on the door a few times before he hears his mother saying in a sweet tone of voice “this better be an emergency~ or there’s going to be one~!” When she opens the door and sees Ail standing there, she gasps and exclaims “AIL!? What’s the matter!? Why are you here!? What happened!?” Ail smiles casually and asks “mom... can I stay here for a couple of days?”


Noon at the Hakurei Shrine. Rika stands beside Yukari, then bows to Reimu and with a smile she says “remember miss Reimu, I should be gone only 3 days! If anything should arise I’ll let miss Yukari know so she can tell you.” Reimu smiles back, but doesn’t reply. Rika smiles again and grabs her mistress’ hands and says “I won’t leave you, miss Reimu. I will come back! I promise.” Reimu’s eyes turn watery and a small tear escapes her left eye, then says “alright. You do what you need to do, Rika. I’ll await for your return.” Rika giggles and smiles angelically, then says “wait for me, miss Reimu. I will be back. That’s a vow I make to you.” Yukari stares at Rika from over her fan and says “well, shall we?” Rika smiles and places her hand in front of her chest and with a light bow she says “let’s!” Before entering the gap she turns around and says “miss Reimu, miss Sanae, little miss Budou, miss Mima, lady Shiki, and miss Komachi! I’ll see you all soon. Take care!” Form inside the shrine everyone stares at Rika and wave their hands while saying “see you soon!” Budou adds “take care!” Rika bows one more time, then jumps inside the gap, followed quickly by Yukari, who waves at Reimu and says “I’ll be back shortly”, then disappears into her gap along with Rika. With a heavy heart, Reimu goes back inside the shrine, and already she feels something’s missing. Budou flaps her wings, knocking Phredia off them, and says “miss Reimu, please don’t feel sad now! You promised to help me get stronger and we haven’t done anything yet!” Reimu lazily walks to the kotatsu and lets her body drop down on the table as she kneels beside it. Sanae, showing some sympathy, says to Reimu “don’t feel so bad, miss Reimu. It’s only for a few days.” Shiki adds “miss Reimu, you shouldn’t let things like these weigh you down.” Reimu sighs and says “Ail leaves Gensokyo, and barely two months pass and Rika has to leave too. Shikieiki, why is everyone leaving?” Shikieiki says “so that they may return stronger than they were before, miss Reimu.” Budou flaps her wings again, however Phredia flies away before being blown away again. Budou pokes Reimu’s hip and says “miss Reimu, come on, I need to get stronger too!” Reimu asks “but why did they have to leave?” Shiki replies “it’s just another road in life. They’ll be back, and I guarantee, when they do you won’t even recognize them.” Budou thinks for a moment and asks “is that a good thing?” Shiki smiles and says “in this case, it will be.” From the door, Kyo says “don’t worry about your training, Budou. I’ll take care of that, if it’s alright with you.” Budou exclaims “large brother!” Kyo twitches and says to himself “again with the large!” He walks over to Reimu and Sanae, then says to them “you two listen to the yama. She knows what she’s saying!” Reimu chuckles and says “yeah... I guess you’re right. We’ll just have to be patient. Right Sanae?” Sanae smiles and says “of course, miss Reimu! In fact, we should prepare a party for when they return!” Kyo shouts “now you’re talking!” Mima opens a bottle of sake and says “why not party now!?” Kyo replies “ALRIGHT!” From outside, the sound of sake being poured can be heard, then Mima saying “let’s drink until we can’t drink anymore, hunk!” From the village, Luna screams “KYO~~!”, causing a powerful rumble that reaches the shrine. Kyo asks Mima “you did that on purpose, didn’t you?”


Spring has come. The snowstorms are over, and trees are starting to recover their leaves. At the Garden of the Sun, Yuka casually walks by the flowerbed that used to have the colossal blue flower Ail had revived for her. She stops in front of it and when she takes a closer look she curiously asks herself “huh? What’s this? You’re growing back after all?” That very same flower that died the day Ail battled the goddesses is growing once more, this time with blue and white petals. Yuka kneels down and gently passes a finger on one of the white petals, noticing immediately how much softer they are, compared to the blue petals. She stands up, looks to the sky, then says “and it begins once again.” At the Forest of Magic, there is a whistling sound that echoes all around the forest. After some time, in the center of a small clearing, a gap violently opens up, violet bolts flying around as Ail falls through the gap and lands on the ground on his back. He’s full of cuts, wounds and bruises and looks very frightened. He slowly stands on his feet and looks around, and sounding scared and confused he says “I... I know this place.” From behind, an arm covered only by a small puffy white sleeve by the shoulder places itself on Ail’s shoulder, making him flinch. A familiar voice says “whoa, calm down. It’s just me! Marisa, ze.” Ail narrows his eyes to focus his sight and asks “Ma... Marisa?”

One Random Sukima
The End

Characters, spell cards and scenario belong to ZUN -Team Shanghai Alice-
Ail, Budou, Phredia, Agava, Kyo and Luna were created by Willie G.R.
Rika was created by Snapshot2010

JAN 28 2010
Written by
Willie G.R.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

One Random Sukima 31 - EX

A week has passed since the last shadow was dealt with. It is now snowing in Gensokyo, and even though it’s mostly cloudy, the yellow star left by Suwako’s shadow shines brighter than even, allowing itself to be seen, even through the clouds and now, all the trees have shed their leaves and all the roads are covered in white. At the Scarlet Devil Mansion island, a small shadow looms around with a grumbling stomach. Kali, the shadow of a shadow youkai, holds her grumbling belly and says to herself “I don’t care what Kimi says, I need MEAT! I’m SICK of fish and vegetables. Uuu~, even if it’s a fairy, I’ll eat it... I just want some meat!” She hovers just above the snow, hiding her ghostly tail under her long black skirt when she hears some giggling coming from the lake’s shore. Without making a sound, she hurries behind a leafless tree and cautiously peeks around it. She spots Cirno, Daiyousei and a tall, pink-haired woman who says in an annoyed tone “alright Cirno, I’ll play with you! Let me just get something from home, and I’ll come back.” Cirno cheers “YAY~ Letty’s the best!” Daiyousei suddenly gasps and says “I need to check on something. I’ll be back soon Cirno-chan.” Cirno smiles as she shouts back “ok~ Hurry back, Dai-chan!” Kali thinks “what LUCK! She’s all alone. I must be careful though. There aren’t many shadows to hide under.” Kali quietly gets closer to Cirno, making absolutely no sound. When she is inches away she starts to drool, keeping her eyes on her prize and concentrating solely on Cirno. She takes a few ghostly steps back, readying herself to pounce on the unsuspecting ice fairy. From her right, Yuki jumps from under a large pile of snow just as Kali begins her run, then shouts at the top of her lungs "IT'S JUST LIKE BREAKFAST, ONLY LIGHTER THAN AIR!!! A~HAHAHA~!” Cirno screams in terror as she flies away with tears in her eyes, and Kali’s heart stops for a moment. The shadow’s body turns to stone, then cracks, making a loud thud as she falls on the ground. Yuki stares curiously as the stoned body rolls all the way to the shore, then sinks in the water almost immediately. Yuki scratches her head, then shrugs with a smile and says “well, I was hoping for more, but I guess that’ll have to do!” She casually walks away toward the mansion, then says “oh that’s right. I forgot to feed my pet again. Eh, Mai’s probably taking care of it right now.” At Makai, Mai flaps her angel wings as she flies away from a huge dark shadow under the lake, looking on with horror as the shadow gets closer. She reaches the shore and rapidly crawls away from the lake water, and when she’s far away enough, she laughs for a moment while lying on the ground, then stops and smiles ominously as she says in a low tone of voice “I am going to kill that idiot.” She takes one last breath of relief and sits up. A colossal ell-like creature jumps from inside the water and gobbles up Mai, along with some trees and part of the ground, then sinks back into the watery depths. From the palace, Yumeko shouts “Mai~, did you feed Yuki’s pet? ...Mai~?”

At the Forest of Magic, in Marisa’s house. Marisa is busily writing symbols and drawing many magic circles on the walls of her new basement. She looks into an open book she has on a small table, then looks at the walls, then back at the book, then grips her own hair and angrily says “grr! That’s not it, dammit! Uu-, gonna have to do all this AGAIN! ...Oh? What’s this sudden pressure?” At Alice’s house, Shinki and Shanghai lie on the snow, making snow angels and having a good time. Alice comes from inside the house, and looking embarrassed she says “mom, aren’t you a little too old for this? Get up before somebody sees you!” Shinki smiles at Alice and says “Alice, you should try to have some fun once in a while.” Hourai pops her head from behind Alice’s back and says “but the snow is so cold!” From the ground next to Shinki, Shanghai says “but it’s still fun. Mama Alice should try this!” Alice places her hand on the right side of her face and says “ugh! How can I say no to that face!?” Even though it’s daytime and there aren’t that many clouds, it starts to get very dark. Alice gets nervous and asks “mom, what is this? ...Mom, are you-? *gasp*” Alice notices Shinki is lying on the ground curled up and hugging her knees while trembling and crying. Alice gets nervous and shouts “MOM! Mom what’s wrong!? ...Shinki!?” Shinki sees a ghostly image of herself using that final spell that destroyed Makai and she watches in horror how the powerful beams and bullets destroy the lands below her ghostly self, and how many plea for their lives just before the powerful spell reaches them and obliterates them. Just like that, the darkness leaves and the ghostly image of Shinki vanishes. Alice has dragged Shinki back inside the house and placed her on a bed by the time she wakes up. Shinki looks around and sees Alice worried face, then asks “A-Alice... Alice, child, what happened? Did you escape the spell on time?” Alice asks “mom, what spell? You suddenly started trembling and crying and you wouldn’t move. I was so scared!” Shinki gulps and says “I... I think I just relieved the moment I carelessly used that spell and destroyed Makai.” Alice and the dolls all stare concernedly toward Shinki as she rubs the side of her head, then starts to cry. Alice leans over and gives Shinki a much needed hug for support.

At Entei, Kaguya sits under the kotatsu in the living room and drinking from a cup. Eirin walks by her and casually says “good morning princess. I am surprised to see you awake so early.” Before Kaguya can answer, the entire mansion gets dark. From outside, Tewi watches as a colossal black blob consumes the entire mansion; when she gets close and tries to touch it, she gets pushed back with great force. Inside, she hears Reisen’s voice, screaming “NOOO~!! DON’T DIE ON ME!!” Tewi panics and shouts “whoa, what’s going on!!? What the hell is this thing!?” Inside the dark mansion, after hearing Reisen’s scream, Kaguya says in a commanding tone “Eirin, go check on her!” When Eirin doesn’t respond immediately, Kaguya asks “Eirin, are you listening?” Eirin is on the ground on her knees and one arm while grasping her chest with the other arm, and on her face, an expression of terror. Eirin falls on the floor on her side while thinking “what is this? Fear? What am I afraid of? I need to focus. The princess needs me. Focus, Eirin. Focus! Gah! I can’t... it’s just too much. I can’t stop shivering. Help me... Someone help me!” Kaguya kneels beside Eirin and tries to lift her up while saying “Eirin, what’s wrong!? This is no time for jokes! Eh?” The sliding doors from Reisen’s room burst open, and Reisen rushes out wildly using her Lunatic Eyes and shouting “I won’t let you kill me!” Kaguya backs away, pulling out a spell card and the jeweled branch, but before she is able to declare her spell, she realizes Reisen is fighting against a horde of specters from her past, while alongside her former war companions in the moon. Kaguya shouts “what is the meaning of this!?” and just like that, the darkness is replaced by dim sunlight; the specters leave, and Eirin manages to recover herself while Reisen drops on her knees, breathing heavily and holding her chest while repeating “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.” Tewi enters the mansion and asks “is everyone alright? That black blob left just now, and I swear I heard Reisen...” Tewi looks at the collapsed moon rabbit, then at Kaguya helping Eirin up. Kaguya stares back and says “Inaba, please send a message to the Hakurei Maiden.” Meanwhile, at the Ail’s house, the black blob is already on top of the house. Budou flies around, desperately looking for the door, while Ail kneels on the ground holding on to his stomach. He’s surrounded by three human specters that continue to kick him while laughing and saying “you think we’d be friends with the likes of you!? Just die, you FREAK!” All the specters laugh after kicking Ail on the back of his neck, then suddenly, like in Entei, the darkness leaves and Ail slowly recovers himself. Budou quickly flies to Ail and places an arm on his back, asking “papa, are you alright!? Why were those ghosts kicking you like that!?” Ail breathes heavily for a moment, then struggles to say “Budou... we... need to go... to Hakurei...” Budou pats Ail’s head and says “ok, ok, no talking now. Rest, then we go!”

At the Human Village, Kyo is using all his strength and power to try and cut a hole on the black blob that’s surrounding Maribel and Renko’s house. Inside, they can hear the two girls crying, which despairs Luna as she tries to break through the black blob with her gun-blades. Kyo shouts “Luna, take it easy!” Luna shouts back “but the girls!” Inside, Maribel and Renko lie on their knees, hugging each other, as Gensokyo around them slowly breaks away and turns into another city of the outside world. All the fairies, the youkai and the peace die along with Gensokyo. A specter of Reimu’s dead body lies next to them and constantly stares at them with empty eyes, making them cry harder every time. At the Moriya Shrine, Sanae exits the shrine and waves at Suwako, who waves back while blessing the trees she’s already helped grow so much. Before Sanae can greet her, she watches in horror as a black blob quickly descends from the cloud and falls right on top of Suwako. Sanae shouts “lady Suwako! Lady Kanako, something’s...” Inside her room, Kanako jumps from her futon when she hears Sanae’s scream, then notices how the entire shrine turns pitch-black, even though it’s morning. She rushes out of her room calling out to Sanae and Suwako, then finds Sanae lying on the ground, desperately trying to breath. Kanako runs to her and immediately drops to her knees and watches in horror as Sanae’s face turns blue. She shouts “Sanae! Sanae, breathe! Breathe, dammit all!” The black blobs suddenly leave back to the sky, and just like that, Sanae takes a deep breath, saving herself from suffocation. Suwako slowly gets up with her eyes puffy, red and full of tears and sobbing “the-the trees... No nature! That’s horrible.” After making sure Sanae is alright, Kanako rushes to Suwako, but before reaching her she watches as various more black blobs from all over Gensokyo rise toward the cloud-infested skies. Kanako growls softly and says “one incident after another.”

At the SDM’s gates, there is another small black blob consuming the front gates. Inside, Meiling manages to keep Yuki on her feet while walking and saying “it’s alright, it’s alright. I got you.” Yuki starts to sob, and is unable to reply, then Yumeko’s specter appears in front of Meiling and Yuki, then says “such an impertinent child. I swear, you put one more TOE out of line, and I’m kicking you OUT!” Meiling tenderly says “don’t listen to that thing.” Yuki sobs “my family hates me.” Meiling softly replies “your family would never hate you. These creatures aren’t your family. Trust me, I know what I’m saying.” A specter of Shinki appears on their left and says “Yuki, why the HELL did I bring you to life!? You’re only a pest! GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!” Meiling feels as Yuki’s body suddenly turns heavier and violently trembles. Meiling softly says “a real mother would never say such things to her child. No matter what.” Meiling touches a wall and says “this is it... I’m going to put you down so I can break this thing open.” The moment Meiling sets Yuki on her knees, Mai and Alice’s specter appear farther away, then laugh and Mai says “what a pathetic thing. She needs to call attention to herself, just to feel wanted.” Alice laughs and says “yeah. Say, why don’t we just leave her here to rot on her own!?” then Mai replies “good idea!” Both specters laugh, then Meiling summons a colorful energy on her right hand, then punches the wall hard, shattering the blob into pieces, then turns to Yuki, who continues to sob while kneeling on the snow, then softly says to her “don’t let those creatures get to you. Your family loves you no matter what. Not even if you make them mad; they will always love you and be there for you.” Yuki lifts her head to Meiling, and after seeing her smile she can’t help but smile back, dry up her tears and say “thank you.”

Meiling looks horrorstruck toward the mansion, after witnessing two black blobs fall from the sky on each of the mistresses’ bedrooms. She can hear Sakuya calling out to Remilia, while nobody calls for Flandre. She looks at Yuki and hurriedly says “I better check on the young mistress!” Inside the black blob, Flandre relieves 500 years of solitude in just a few seconds and feels as though her mind is about to blow up. The only thing she can hear, other than the buzzing sound inside her mind, is the feint voice of Meiling calling out to her. Inside Remilia’s room, Sakuya holds her mistress against her chest and continues to tenderly shush her and say “it’s alright, my lady. It’s not really that scary to grow older. You just need to accept it as it is. Besides, you know only too well, you can never grow old.” Remilia’s wings tremble along with her entire body as she replies “b-but... what about that story from Ail. I’ll lose you, Meiling... and Patchy too. Sakuya, I order you to stop time forever!” Sakuya looks sadly at the floor behind Remilia and says “I’m very sorry, my lady, but even if I could do that... I would still...” Back at Flandre’s room, Meiling has managed to convince Flandre to walk toward her voice. Staring with empty eyes, Flandre places her hand on the blob’s wall and sounding drained, she asks “Meiling... big sister? What... what should I do now?” From outside, Meiling desperately punches the outside of the blob, even after being pushed back numerous times, she quickly recovers and tires again. After Hearing Flandre’s voice coming from inside, Meiling stops punching the orb shouts “listen carefully! I want you to hit that wall. Break it, Flandre! Like you used to do before!” Flandre continues to stare with empty eyes as she remembers how life was before Ail’s intrusion. She remembers the innocent, yet deadly fun she had destroying everything around her. She starts to smile in a most twisted manner, then sighs and recovers her innocent face. She pulls out a spell card from under her puffy hat and shouts “Taboo – Lavatein!!” A scarlet sword materializes on the same hand Flandre had her spell cared, then Flandre swings it with all her might, trailing danmaku shards behind the blade, and strikes the wall hard, shattering it with ease. From outside, Meiling jumps away from the bullets just as the blob shatters, then quickly gets up from the ground and looks for Flandre. The little vampire stands with a smile on her face, then takes a step toward Meiling, who catches her just as she falls exhausted. Meiling smiles and says “my lady Flandre, you did it!” Flandre places her hand on Meiling’s cheek, smiles, then weakly says “thank you... big sister.” then falls asleep on Meiling’s hands.

The next day, at the Hakurei Shrine. Reimu and Rika sweep the still thin coating of snow from the shrine’s courtyard, while talking about the incidents all around Gensokyo. Reimu stops sweeping for a moment, then thinks “Yuka, Momiji, Byakuren, Yuyuko... Everyone’s whose shadow is dead were attacked by a black blob. Each one experiencing something terrible inside of it. Something that disables their minds.” Rika says “from what the gate guard says, the only way to beat these things is to break them from inside.” Reimu replies “true, but Momiji and Sanae can’t move at all while in there, so there would have to be someone with them for support.” Rika stares back at Reimu and says “well, you have ME, miss Reimu, so don’t you worry! If one of those black blobs comes this way, your Rika will support you!” Reimu smiles back at Rika, then continues sweeping, and after turning around, she giggles quietly while smiling to herself. Meanwhile, Budou and Phredia fly next to Ail, looking worriedly at him. Budou sighs and says “papa, are you SURE you’re ok!?” Ail smiles and says “yes Budou! Thanks to you, that memory from my past is gone. Now, we have to hurry. I have a very bad feeling for Reimu!” Phredia flies in circles around Budou, then points at the Hakurei Shrine. Ail shouts “NO! We’re too late...” then asks “Budou, do you feel that?” Budou lands next to Ail on the shrine’s stairs, then asks “feel what?” Ail says “’s like a very powerful emotion coming from the blob. Like... great sorrow.” Inside the black blob, Reimu and Rika hold on to their chests. Rika says “thi-this sadness... this anger... all this sorrow! My lady, what is this!?” Reimu breathes heavily for a moment, then says “I felt something like this before... it was...” Reimu manages to look to the sky and flying above her is a tall woman entirely surrounded by a ghostly blue aura, 6 angel wings, wearing a long blue robe with white long sleeves, long white hair that reaches down to her knees, blue eyes, and holding on to a wand. Reimu’s eyes fill with undeniable horror as she points at the woman and says “this can’t be! I killed you!” Rika asks “miss Reimu, what’s the matter!? Who is this poor creature!” Reimu pulls out her gohei and some charms from under her sleeves and says “This is Sariel... a fallen angel I had to kill in Makai, on the first large-scale incident I had to resolve.” Sariel suddenly unleashes a barrage of bullets straight on to the shrine itself, breaking a chunk of the roof in just seconds. Rika shouts “why is she doing that!?” Reimu stares determined at Sariel and says “I’m sorry... but I’ll have to kill you again.” Sariel responds with another barrage of bullets headed straight at Reimu. Rika jumps to her misters, knocking her out of the way of the bullet shower, and before Reimu can call for her, Rika is showered by the bullets meant for herself. Reimu watches in horror as Rika falls to the cold snow and stops moving. Reimu calls for Rika, saying “Rika, get up! That’s an order!” but there’s no reply. Reimu angrily stares at Sariel, points at her with her gohei, then says “you stepped way out of the line!”

Reimu flies above Sariel, surprising the Angel of Death, and with a smirk on her face, she says “this time I’m going to make SURE you stay dead!” Reimu unleashes her charms straight at Sariel, who doesn’t even block the attack and fires countless bullets at Reimu, but once she feels the burns from the charms she quickly stops attacking and uses her wand to block the remaining charms headed her way. Reimu is not done yet. She disappears from sight for a moment, and when she appears again she fires 5 large red needles that pierce the fallen angel’s skin. Sariel opens her mouth, but no sound come from it. Instead, a low frequency shriek echoes around, affecting Budou outside the blob, the fairies that surround the shrine, and Reimu’s attacks, turning them useless as soon as they touch the invisible sound waves. Reimu realizes what’s happening, so she flies close to the angel, realizing Sariel actually 5 times her own size. Reimu ignores the difference in size and continues her attack, then tosses a yellow amulet that shuts Sariel’s mouth, then continues to shoot her charms on the angel’s skin. Sariel tries to swat Reimu with her hands and wings, but Reimu nimbly dodges each and every attempt, then gets away from the angel and pulls out a spell card from her sleeve, then smiling at Sariel she says “and now, to finish you off. Fantasy Heaven!” Reimu closes her eyes and 7 white yin-yang orbs surround her and fly all around her. Sariel stares curiously for a moment, then panics and tries to fly away. Lightning strikes the angel and stops her from escaping. Under her, Rika holds her thunder sword up high, pointing it at Sariel and saying “I’m sorry, but I can’t allow you to escape.” Reimu smiles when she feels Rika’s presence, then the orbs around her start to glow and countless amulets fly all around, shattering the dark blob and trapping Sariel. Even though the blob is gone, the damage to the shrine remains... and so does Sariel, who is unable to escape Reimu’s attack in time, and just as Rika releases the angel from the lightning, ever single amulet flies straight at the fallen angel and cling on to her, covering her entirely, then there’s a blinding flash. After the flash stops, Reimu and Rika look to where Sariel was, but see only ashes falling to the ground below.

Ail carries the dazed Budou all the way up the stairs of the shrine, while Phredia heals her as she sits on her chest. Once they arrive, they notice many burn marks all over the ground, the snow, and the destroyed roof. He looks around and shouts “Reimu!? Rika!? Is anybody there!?” From the roof, full of burn marks and some dirt on her face, Rika peeks over to Ail and shouts “over here! We’re just patching the roof so we can start repairs!” Ail asks “where’s Reimu? What happened to you? What happened to the roof!?” Rika signals Ail to go to the entrance, so he rushes there and quickly finds Reimu sitting on the porch and staring at the storage house. Budou hangs her head from Ail’s arms and asks “Hakurei sis, what’s wrong?” Reimu stares at Ail and says “good... you’re here!” Reimu stands aside while Ail looks at her curiously, revealing beside her S-Suwako and S-Shinki, both wearing white robes, though S-Shinki’s is twice her own size. Both shadows smile and wave at Ail with a “hi~!” then Ail says “wh-what? But... you died... and you too.” Reimu seriously says “unfortunately, we don’t have time for questions.” S-Suwako says “oh, time doesn’t matter, miss Reimu. We could just stop it for a moment again.” Reimu sighs and says “I believe it would be for the best.” Both shadows close their eyes and surround a small area of the Hakurei Shrine in a soft golden light. Outside the light, time stops moving, and when Ail notices this he asks “what is this all about?” Reimu stares seriously at him, takes Budou from his arms, then says “listen carefully to what they have to say”, then sits on the porch with Budou on her lap. Ail looks at the two former shadows and realizes each has a large pair of white angel wings as well as having shrunk to the size of human children. Instinctively, Ail kneels to them and says “m-my apologies. I didn’t know!” S-Suwako says “please, don’t you do that too.” S-Shinki says “honestly, if Alice and Shinki do that to me, I’m going to cry!” S-Suwako says “please, you are a friend. Do you think I would ask you to do that?” Ail blushes a bit as he gets up and says “no... I’m sure you wouldn’t.” S-Suwako and S-Shinki both stare at Ail with urgency, then S-Suwako ways “Ail, we came down here because you, of all people, need help. Sadly, there is very little we can do to actually help you.” Ail says “wait, if you’re talking about the incident with the goddesses, we’ve already-“ S-Suwako lifts her hand, signaling Ail to stop, then says “no, you still haven’t resolved anything. Ail, the reason that shadow affected you so easily, the reason you manifested all those spells without using spell cards, is because of an old foe that continues to link its fate to yours, regardless of how much you try to rid yourself from him.” Ail opens his eyes wide, but before he says anything, S-Shinki, looking serious at Ail says “yes, you are correct. The same spirit that possessed you so long ago has been cursing your entire existence.” Ail asks “but wait, what about those black blobs? Is that him too?” Both girls lightly nod, then S-Suwako says “those black blobs are the manifested hatred from all the other shadows you all had to kill, all empowered by that demonic spirit. But forget about those. Miss Reimu will take care of that. YOU, on the other hand, will have to concentrate on this task.” Ail asks “what is this... task?” Reimu angrily says “I am COMPLETELY against this! What if a yama finds him there!? What if he gets burned to a crisp!?” S-Suwako shakes her head lightly at Reimu, then turns to face Ail and asks “do you still have that mask and cloak? The one blessed by the goddess from Makai?” Ail quietly nods, then S-Shinki giggles and says “then you are set!”

Confused, Ail paces around and asks “why are you asking this? What do you want me to do? How do I rid myself of that spirit for good!?” S-Suwako says “calm down and listen. You are going to have to enter hell, and I’m not talking about that subterranean one, I’m talking the one where the yamas keep all their sinners.” Ail opens his eyes wide and backs away, shouting “whoa, whoa, whoa~! Are you two INSANE!?” S-Shinki pouts and says “nii-sama is a meanie” then S-Suwako nods and says “I have to agree.” Reimu continues to hold the confused Budou on her arms as she takes a step forward after springing on her feet and says “well, I have to agree with him on this one! What if he’s found!? What if he dies in there!? He’ll disappear forever and you know it!” Budou reacts to this and shouts “no way! You want to put papa in danger this soon after recovering!?” S-Suwako looks sadly at Budou, then says “it’s the only way from stopping those blobs from appearing, and the ONLY WAY Ail can have a normal life. If that thing continues to link itself to Ail, it’ll eventually kill him, long before his time is up, AND if he doesn’t do this, those black blobs will continue to fall upon all of you, not just those whose shadows have died.” Reimu tries to argue, but she can’t find anything to defend Ail with. Ail himself feels pressured and unsettled at this sudden request, but courage slowly grows from his heart, and with determination Ail asks “what will I have to do?” Reimu and Budou complain, but Ail says to them “that thing has been messing with my life for FAR too long, and now it’s messing with my friends, and it could even hurt Budou!” Budou and Reimu settle down while S-Suwako says “I am sorry, I truly am. I... we both tried to look for another answer, another way, but we couldn’t.” S-Shinki smiles as she gets close to Ail, then giggles and says “he’ll be just fine anyway.” S-Suwako nods, then smiles as she says “as for what you have to do. You need that mask and cloak on. We got permission to bless both the mask and cloak so that they can protect your identity, and prevent you from burning to a crisp when you go there. And also... take this.” S-Shinki skips merrily toward Ail and pulls out a sword from under her robe. The sword has a golden hilt with a red triangular gem on its center, and the blade is broad at the bottom, and thinner and much sharper at the tip. The sword is the size of Ail’s torso, and when he grabs it he realizes it’s also very heavy. He looks at S-Shinki and says “wow. How can you carry this thing so easily when it weighs this much?” S-Shinki jumps and slaps Ail’s face, then says “you shouldn’t ask a girl about her personal secrets!” S-Suwako says “you have to use that sword and cut the tail of that spirit in order to completely break the bond it’s made to you...” S-Shinki looks up to the sky and says “oops, it’s time to go now, sis.” S-Suwako and S-Shinki start to float away, breaking the time-stopping spell, then S-Suwako says “Reimu, you do your best to keep everyone alive and sane! Ail, you do your best, and NEVER remove that mask and cloak while inside hell.” S-Shinki’s voice echoes as she giggles, then says “unless you want to burn to a crisp in an instant.” Then both disappear and turn back to yellow stars. One heads back to Makai, while the other sets itself above Gensokyo once more.

Ail, Budou, Reimu and Rika all sit quietly inside the shrine. Ail breaks the silence and says “I’m going, right now!” Reimu desperately shouts “no! Ail, let’s look for another way! There has to be!” Ail asks “and give those shadows the chance to hurt Budou? Let them kill Sanae? Drive Suwako, Remilia and all our friends insane!? Reimu, I must do this. If not for myself, I’m doing this for my friends and for Budou!” Budou stares quietly at the table with a saddened face, so Phredia rubs her head, making her giggle lightly. Rika says “mister Ail, I swear, if you die down there, I’m going to look for your spirit and beat you to a pulp!” Reimu laughs at Rika’s comment while a tear escapes her eye. She taps Ail’s head with her gohei, then says “I’ll hit you harder when you return.” Ail chuckles, then says “Budou, help your Hakurei sis if she asks, alright.” Budou sighs and says “alright papa...” Reimu asks “what do I tell the others?” Ail walks out of the shrine, turns his head toward Reimu, then says “the truth!” then flies away. After he leaves there is a long silence as the tension builds up inside the shrine. Budou lifts both arms and bangs hard on the table, then says “I need to get stronger! I NEED to help papa Ail! I can never help when he really needs it!” Rika grabs Budou and sits her on her lap, then brushes her hair with her fingers and says “that’s not true. You helped him a whole bunch last week. You took care of him, you brought him back from that depression, and now...” Reimu sits down with a worried smile on her face and says “now you give him a reason to give it his all so he can return.” Budou pouts and says “well that’s not enough! I want to help him! Protect him from all those that bully him so much! I have to learn how to fight! Like you, miss Rika!” Rika panics and says “eh!? I... don’t think I can help you, little one. I mean, I could teach you a thing or two, but I don’t know how good of a teacher I could be!” Reimu kneels next to Budou and Rika, and with a serious expression she says “right now he needs help. If we can destroy a few more of those black blobs, maybe his task will become much easier.” Budou looks into Reimu’s eyes and asks “and do you think I could really help with that?” Reimu stands up and points with her gohei toward the Youkai Mountain and says “let’s start by breaking the ones at the Moriya Shrine. What do you say, Budou... Rika?” Budou lifts her head, showing great excitement, and Rika looks curiously at Reimu and asks “but what about the roof?” Reimu looks up, then asks “what about it?” Rika and Budou look to the ceiling and realize it’s been restored and even reinforced. They look back at Reimu, smile, then Rika says “your Rika will go with you, my lady!” Budou lifts her right fist in the air and shouts “if it’s for my friends and my papa, I will not fail!”

Ail stands at the far edge of where the Sanzu river is; far enough, he hopes, to avoid Komachi’s detection. He wears the long thick light-blue cloak that Shinki had unknowingly blessed with its hood on, and on his right hand, the sword the shadows gave him, while on his left he holds the white mast with the uncovered left eye, and just stares. He feels as though his heart is beating fast enough to pop out of his chest at any moment, and his hands feel so cold the cold snowy winds hitting his body feel warm in comparison. He places the mask on and covers the rest of his body with his cloak, then flies straight toward the river. Meanwhile, at the Moriya Shrine, Sanae stands on the shrine’s porch, holding her chest and saying to herself “why... why do I feel so sad so suddenly? M-maybe I’m just tired.” At Makai, Yuki cautiously enters Pandemonium’s dining room, where Shinki, Luize, Alice, Mai and Yumeko are having some tea, all looking concerned at Shinki, who smiles nervously and says “look, I told you I’m ok. I was just caught by surprised yesterday, that’s all.” Shinki notices Yuki at the door and says “Yuki, where have you been?” Yuki looks nervously at them and slowly enters the room. Shinki asks “Yuki, are you ok? You look terrible.” Yuki mumbles softly, then Luize asks “oh my, are you hurt?” Mai gets angry and storm up from her chair and heads toward Yuki, then angrily asks “ok, what’s wrong with you now!? Oh, did you know you forgot to feed your PET yesterday. Honestly Yuki, it took me HOURS to get out of his mouth and FINALLY feed him properly!” Yuki doesn’t answer, so Yumeko gets irritated and asks “Yuki, don’t you have something to say?” Yuki looks at Mai with sad and glassy eyes and asks “do... you hate me?” Mai stares back with surprise and nervously asks “w-w-what are you saying? Have you lost your mind?” Yuki fidgets with her hands and looks away with a sad-puppy face and slouches a little. Mai looks back at Yumeko and Shinki, then both shrug, then Alice gets her attention and nods. Mail turns to Yuki, sighs loudly, then says “no, of course not.” Yuki gets surrounded by blooming yellow flowers as she smiles at Mai, then hugs her, surprising and scaring her at the same time. Mai blushes and shouts “HEY WAIT A MINUTE, WHAT GIVES!? What’s the meaning of this!?” Luize says “aww, how adorable.” Shinki adds “what a beautiful moment this is.” Mai shouts back “NO WAY~! Are you enjoying this!? Get her OFF ME!” Yuki continues to hug Mai’s waist, then places her face on the ice witch’s belly, then says “you love me~.” Mai freezes with a shocked face, then shouts “I think someone’s in need of a nap, don’t you THINK!?” Yumeko casually says “don’t be rude and hug your sister back.” Yuki says “you love me~!” Mai’s screams can be heard from outside as she shouts “what the hell is this turning into~!” Shinki adds “group hug~” then Mai shouts “I’m not liking this weird atmosphere~!

To be continued...

Characters, spell cards and scenario belong to ZUN -Team Shanghai Alice-
Ail, Kyo, Luna, Budou, Phredia, Kali and Kimi were created by Willie G.R
Rika was created by Snapshot2010
JAN 26 2010
Written by
Willie G.R.