Friday, February 26, 2010

Paradise Sukima 1

It’s a dark winter day in Gensokyo. The cold weather dampens everyone’s fighting spirits, youkai and human alike. Everyone is either sleeping, or just relaxing in front of a warm fire. All seems calm and peaceful... except at the Hakurei Shrine. Rumia flies aimlessly by and hears Reimu shouting “Suika, stop it! If you want sake, drink from your own gourd!” Suika replies “hai~!” while Rumia says “I-i-is th-that s-s-s-so~?” Two days have passed since Rika left to her annual checkup in the outside world, and Reimu is excitedly preparing a small welcoming party for her return. Inside the shrine, Reimu has prepared food, drinks and party favors, banners with the words “Welcome Home” hung all around the inside of the shrine, the floor sparkling clean, colorful ornaments hang from the ceiling... and Suika, who once again tries to taste the bottles of sake Reimu has neatly placed on the table. Reimu is in her room and she figures it’s her chance, so she goes for it. Her hand is mere inches away from her prize when she is struck on the head with a solid gohei. Reimu glares down at Suika and says “you greedy little oni! You have you OWN unlimited supply of sake, so stop trying to steal the sake for the party!” Reimu rushes away to the kitchen, mumbling happily to herself “great, the pies are done.” With a childish expression on her face, Suika stares at Reimu and says “you need to calm down.” Reimu places a second pie on the table at the kitchen then stares at Suika with a most natural smile, then suddenly laughs and in a fast fashion she says “Ha ha ha! I am calm! Can’t you see, ah hahahaha I’m so calm I’m laughing? HAHAHAHA!” Suika scratches her cheek as a small drop of sweat courses through it, listening to Reimu laugh manically, claiming to be calm when she clearly is not. Suika sighs and asks “Reimu, are you lying to me?” Reimu stops on her tracks and turns her face to Suika, twitches, then says “well I AM CALM! If I weren’t, I’d be hunting naughty youkai that cause trouble!” Suika continues staring at Reimu with that childish expression of hers, then thinks “thank goodness. For a moment there, I thought you were lying.” Reimu turns toward Suika, and clenching her hands below her into a pair of fists, she shouts “hey! I heard that!” Suika’s face fills with undeniable surprise and shock, and sounding frightened she says “Reimu is a satori maiden!” Reimu places one hand on her face and says “*sigh* look, I just want this to be a very special surprise for Rika. She promised she’d come back tomorrow, so I want to surprise her... And you’re not helping me at all!” Suika sighs, then says “of course I’ve been helping. I’ve been making sure the sake tastes good!” Reimu gasps and rushes to the bottles of sake and picks two of them up. Empty... Fire rises from all around Reimu, her eyes turn dark yellow as she clenches jagged teeth. From outside the shrine Reimu’s voice is heard shouting “Suika~~!!!”

Suika runs around the shrine, crying as Reimu follows and smacks her repeatedly with a broom repeatedly while shouting “you see? I was calm earlier! NOW I’M MAD!” Suika cries “I’m sorry- OW~! They were just so tasty!” Suika and Reimu run to the shrine’s gates where they stop the moment they see a bright yellow flash just above the village. From the flash, the dark silhouette of an adult woman emerges, then quickly flies to the Forest of Magic, landing in one of the clearings. The dark clouds and the snow make it harder to tell who it is, however. Shortly after, she flies to another spot in the forest, then again to another spot, then heads toward the Scarlet Devil Mansion. Suika, holding her head with both hands and with small tears clinging on her eyes comments “must be sight-seeing...” The figure now lands in the village and seems to stay there for a moment. Reimu looks curiously and calmly asks “do you think it’s an incident?” The figure flies fast out of the village, then heads straight to the shrine. Reimu pulls out some needles and charms from under her sleeve and says “Suika, get ready!” The woman gets close to the shrine at great speeds and long before they attack, Reimu says “Suika wait! That’s Ayalina!” Ayalina’s faint voice calls “Reimu~~! Hakurei maiden~~!” There’s urgency in her call, so without hesitation Reimu shouts back “OVER HERE~!” waving an arm in the air. Ayalina’s face is puffy and red, her eyes even redder and dark, seemingly crying. Concerned, Reimu asks “Ayalina, what’s the matter!?” Urgently, Ayalina asks “Reimu, have you seen Anilan!?” Both Reimu and Suika look at Ayalina with confusion on their faces, and as Reimu slowly shakes her head Suika says “sorry, but no, we haven’t seen him since he left 2 months ago.” Quickly, Reimu asks “what happened!?” Ayalina starts to shake violently, then sniffles uncontrollably. Reimu gently pats her shoulder and says “let’s go inside... I’ll make us some tea!”

Under the light of the shrine Reimu gets a better look of Ayalina. It’s obvious she’s been crying for a very long time from the terrible look on her face. Her hair, which is usually kept in a neat bun is now lose and unkempt. She’s wearing her usual plaid-green dress, but it’s all crumpled and dirty, even under her apron. Reimu hands over a cup of warm tea, which Ayalina drinks while trembling very violently, almost spilling it. Reimu places a hand on Ayalina’s shoulder and gently says “please, calm down... sit down, it might help-“ Ayalina quickly finishes her tea and pushes her cup on Reimu, hurriedly saying “I can’t! I have to find him!” Reimu asks “what happened!? Is there’s anything we can help with?” Ayalina takes a few desperate breaths, then says “y-yesterday’s s-solar... *gulp* After yesterday’s strange solar eclipse Ail called home. He-he said he loved us and that he was fine... that he had to hide...” Reimu and Suika look at each other with fright and panic, then Reimu says “that... The solar eclipse that was caused by Flandre’s spell*...” As if not listening to Reimu Ayalina continues “I’ve been looking for him ever since, Reimu, but I can’t find him! I can’t even sense him! I thought he was here, but nobody has seen him over here either!” Without saying another word and with a determined look on her face, Reimu walks outside the shrine, but Mima stops her and says “I heard that last part!” Mima floats inside the shrine and sits on her ghostly tail next to the table, then closes her eyes and concentrates. A minute passes by and Mima seems to be trying to concentrate harder than usual, then opens her eyes and says “he... Reimu, he broke the link. There’s no way I can contact him.” Ayalina feels a heavy tug in her heart and her desire to cry takes over all her senses, but she steels herself and manages to stop from crying. Saddened, Reimu walks to Ayalina and says “I, I’m sorry but we can’t do anything.” Ayalina lets a single tear escape her left eye, allowing it to tread across her cheek as she says “it’s alright... you tried.” Ayalina turns to Mima, bows and says “thank you for everything... If you find anything, please contact me. I’ll continue looking for him outside.” Before Reimu can ask how to contact her, Ayalina gives her a red rose that looks like it’s made of glass, though feels like a real rose, then says “if you find anything, call my name through this, and don’t worry, this rose will know when it’s to contact me... so there are no accidents.” Reimu takes a little while to absorb all that, then says “please, if you find him out there you let us know.” Ayalina smiles and says “I know. You all care about him too.” With those last words, Ayalina glows green and white for a moment, then there’s a loud poofing sound. Mima rushes to where Ayalina was standing and looks with surprise at the flowers that now grow on the floorboard. Reimu kneels down and touches one of them, then they all turn to magical dust that vanish in the air. Suika, sounding a bit saddened, says “I hope she can find him.” Reimu looks at the rose Ayalina gave her, then says “me too, Suika.” Mima floats by the shrine’s porch, wondering what could have caused Ail to cut their link like that, and hopes she is able to ask him that herself.

At a secluded house in the Forest of Magic, the house of Marisa Kirisame, not a single light was on, even in a day as dark as this. Outside on the roof of the house, the snow is piling up, the windows look dirty, the path leading to the house seems non-existent, in short, the house looks as though it’s been abandoned. However, that is not the case. Burring her nose inside a few books, Marisa continues to work inside her new basement, drawing countless magical circles and looking dreadfully tired while doing so. Her eye-lines are dark, her face and her eyes look as though she’s had her face scrunched up by a raging youkai, her clothes are very dirty and even her hair looks like it’s lost some of its shine. After reading one of the many open books one last time, she goes back to the center of the room, where she has drawn a large star encased in a thick circle, surrounded by symbols and runes and MORE magical circles, all in different colors, some with thicker lines, others fully painted inside while others look plain, and in front of it all, white stones that make the shape of a door, all magically adhered to the wall. Marisa finishes drawing one last rune, and triumphantly she raises both arms in the air and shouts “I DID IT! I’m FINALLY DONE!!!” She grabs the last book she was looking at and raises it above her head while saying “thank you miss Hijiri! Without these, I’d have never figure that out!” She sniffs around, quickly lowers her arms, twisting her face in disgust, then says “ugh! I need a bath...” After a bath and a nice warm meal, Marisa heads to her room in the attic, carrying one of the books she borrowed from Byakuren. Wearing a thin white shirt and her bloomers, she gets under her blanket and reads the book she brought with her. She slowly lets her eyes drop as she reads the last pages of her book, then she suddenly opens them up round and wide. From outside the house she can be heard shouting “NO WAY! Now what am I gonna do!?”

The next morning, refreshed, rested, and a little lost about her next step, Marisa walks out of her house, wearing her usual winter outfit, navy-blue hat, dress and skirt, pink shirt and undergarments, a large pink bow on her hat, and a white petticoat and a light blue shawl over her shoulder. She takes a deep breath and says to herself “ah~, this isn’t going to be easy.” She rubs her chin with her left hand and says “Sukima won’t help, and if I ask her she’ll just blab it all to Reimu. I want this to be a surprise, ze!” She snaps her fingers and smiles, but before she says anything else she frowns and says “ah that’s right. That dummy left to the outside world. Hmm... Maybe I could try a...” Marisa’s train of thought is interrupted by a pair of familiar voices in the distance. She looks to the sky and comments to herself “whoa... it’s pretty bright today... wait, aren’t those Budou and Kyo?” Above the forest, a wild vampire youkai tries to fly away as fast as possible, but she is stopped by a fireball that comes from Kyo’s hand. Budou exclaims “nice one! Now let’s bring her to justice!” Kyo wears a pink muscle shirt under an unbuttoned blue shirt, wooden sandals, and long black pants. He hovers next to Budou takes a brave and heroic pose, pointing his red sword at the vampire and saying “you’re gonna pay for clawing that kid!” Budou wears a brown dress that no longer needs the two large black buttons to held it closed, however she’s kept her teal apron and changed her small white bow for a much larger white bow with black linings. She’s also wearing a pair of pink socks that seems to allow the claws on her feet to go through without actually breaking. The little bat youkai covers her mouth while she chuckles and bluntly says “so says the man in pink, tee hee!” A large vein pulsates on Kyo’s forehead and says “careful, you are talking to your MASTER!” Budou replies “you’re the one who made fun of my socks! They were a gift from papa!” Kyo turns to face Budou and says “it was just an observation!” Budou replies “you were giggling!” Kyo growls loudly, then says “let’s just get this over with!” Budou simply says “hmph” as they turn to face the vampire, who surprisingly enough just floats there and stares awestruck at the two. She points at them and asks “this is what the village sends to deal with me? Anyway, that was an ACCIDENT! I was aiming for the dog! Geez, I never thought the kid would get in the way like that!” Kyo and Budou both get angry, fire rising from behind them as their eyes turn red, then Kyo asks first “what do you mean by that!?” Budou adds “I’m strong, you meanie!” The vampire starts to laugh, then says “this is RICH! A clown in pink that shoots fire... and a speck of dust that thinks she’s so~ great! What’s so great about a cute little baby bat youkai that eats FRUIT and befriends humans?” Kyo whispers “Budou, she’s desperate. Don’t let her taunt...” Budou sniffle, making Kyo turn his head to look at her. Her eyes are already watery and her face is all red from holding back her tears. Her entire body twitches as she quietly sobs, her eyes getting more and more glassy with every passing moment. Kyo panics and quickly says “Budou! Budou, calm down! Come on kid, don’t do this! You’re strong! Just let her have it!” The youkai continues “let me have what? A laugh? Oh look, she’s starting to cry~ Oh, boo-hoo!” while she mocks Budou, faking she’s rubbing her eyes and making kissing sounds. Budou is doing her best to steel herself, but then the youkai adds “you little cry-baby. Who’s going to save you when you’re out in this cold and cruel world..? Your mom... or perhaps... your daddy~!?” Her words echo inside Budou’s head and the young youkai can’t take it anymore. She clenches her eyes tight and rubs them with her little fists as she cries so loud she unsettles the entire forest. Kyo panics even more and says “no, no Budou! C-come on, be tough!” Out of nowhere, a loud and powerful female voice makes the land below rumble as she shouts “Kyo~~~!!!”

The vampire panics, Budou continues to bawl and Kyo trembles with great fear. He looks at the vampire with terror in his eyes and says “Sanae...” The vampire raises an eyebrow and confused she asks “Sanae? Is that some sort of spell or somethi-GAH!!!” From behind the youkai, a dark female silhouette with bright angry yellow eyes raises its arms while holding a square weapon on her right hand and just as her hands strike down on the vampire Kyo gets in front of Budou, covering her sight while looking toward the violent scene himself, where constant smacking and crunching sounds come from. The vampire screams in agony and Kyo exclaims “by the GODS! That’s not suppose to DO THAT!” The vampire gurgles then Kyo gasps and shouts “inverted hell’s wedgie~!!” He covers his eyes until the sounds stop, then watches as the vampire, who looks like a ball now, falls to the ground, where Orin catches it in her wheelbarrow, shouting “thanks sis~! This should do NICELY!” Kyo looks back up and Sanae’s silhouette is now gone. He looks around with horror still present in his face, then, as if realizing something, he turns around and there is Sanae holding Budou in her arms, humming a lullaby and saying “shh, it’s ok now. It’s ok.” Kyo keeps his distance and thinks of flying away, but long before he can move Sanae turns her glare his way and asks “you were picking on her again, weren’t you!?” Kyo exclaims “I WASN’T picking on her, EVER! It’s TRAINING! She’s never going to get stronger if you keep butting in!” In an instant, Sanae is face-to-face to Kyo and while glaring straight into his eyes she says “she... is a little... girl. Not a brute or a tomboy! You either help her train appropriately, or you’re going to be in trouble with ME!” Kyo stares back with a frightened expression and simply nods without saying a word. Sanae smiles and says “glad we understand each other.” While Sanae deals with Kyo, Budou pulls out the golden whistle Ail gave her before leaving, then takes a deep breath. Sanae feels this and sounding a little sad she says “are you sure about this? You know, maybe it would be best if you wait just a little longer.” Budou sobs then softly cries “I don’t care. I want to see him. I want papa back.” Sanae pats her head, but before she says anything, Kyo, sounding very serious, says “you know, you could blow on that now and have Ail come back... In fact I’d love it if you did that because I miss him too. But think about it a little more. You wanted to become stronger for him, for when he came back. Tell me, do you really believe you are ready?” Budou continues to hold the whistle close to her lips for a moment, her eyes hidden in shadow. She drops it on Sanae’s back, however the lace around it, which is bound to Budou’s neck prevents it from falling to the ground. She sobs again and without looking back she says “alright... I’ll wait. I need to become stronger... so I can help him. I want to help him.” Sanae tilts her own head and rests it on Budou’s as she brushes her hair with her fingers, then softly says “let’s just go home for today... and Kyo... Thanks, and sorry. I know you have your own training methods, but you have to remember that she is a child, regardless of her age.” Kyo quietly nods, and after floating there for a few more seconds, they leave.

From below, with a smile on her face and a glint on her eyes, Marisa stares at Budou’s whistle as it hangs on Sanae’s back and says to herself “so~ a magical whistle that can call papa Ail back here... I see it. Summoning properties embedded on the mouth piece. This is it! Oh, but wait! I need those goddesses on my side... this is one tough puzzle. Hmm~” Marisa closes her eyes and rubs her chin while she thinks, but she quickly gets bored and says “well, something will come up. Something always does!” She raises her hand to the air and her magical bamboo broom simply materializes next to it. She grabs it and sits on it, and while smiling with confidence she says “while I think of something I’ll go pay some visits. I’ve been cooped up inside that basement for a while. I’m sure they all miss me!” At the Scarlet Devil Mansion’s library, Marisa has sneaked her way in again. Patchouli happily greets her, saying “Sun Sign Royal Flare!” Marisa replies this happy greeting, shouting “Love Colored Master SPARK~!” Patchouli’s density-defying magic is quickly defeated by Marisa’s fast beam of light, and the librarian finds herself on the floor, covered in burn marks before she knows what hit her. Almost on top of her to her left, Marisa grins widely and says “long time no see, ze!” Before Patchouli can answer Flandre tackles Marisa and while hugging her on the ground she shouts “MARISA~! Where have you been!? I’ve got so many things to show you!” A silver washtub falls right on top of Flandre’s head, making a very loud clank and even bending out of recognizable shape. Flandre looks a little confused, letting out a soft “huh?” as she looks around. Marisa stares with surprise and asks “Flan! Are you ok?” Flandre giggles and rubs her head, then says “well of course. Come, come! I want to show you something!” Marisa chuckles as Flandre drags her away and says “alright, alright, don’t pull so hard.” Hiding behind a bookcase, Koakuma pouts as she stares at a spell card on her hand whispers to herself “drat, it still needs work.” Patchouli stands to the right of the mischievous assistant and asks “so you were aiming for me, weren’t you?” Koakuma’s hair stands on end as she yelps in surprise.

Flying back to the Forest of Magic, Marisa smiles as she says to herself “that Flan got a REALLY nice toy there. Hmm~ I wonder what kind of magic holds that saucer thing up in the air like that...? Oh well. Next stop, Alice. I’m sure she must miss me a lot, da-ze!” At Alice’s house, Shanghai finishes dusting around the windows and proudly says “mama Alice~ I cleaned the windows!” From her room, Alice replies “you are such a good girl, Shanghai. Thanks!” Shanghai smiles with a very please and content look, placing both hands on her cheeks. Hourai comes from the kitchen, hugging herself and shivering. Shanghai asks “Hourai, how can you be cold?” Hourai sneezes, then says “because of the ghost.” Shanghai doesn’t believe what she’s hearing, and sounding a little annoyed she says “Hourai, there’s not ghost in here. Besides, we are strong enough to deal with one.” From the kitchen, a whimsical voice says “oh, is that so? Perhaps you’d like to show me how strong you are?” Shanghai and Hourai twitch and slowly turn around, finding Yuyuko standing right behind them, smiling whimsically. The two little dolls yelp and immediately fly away to Alice’s room, Shanghai screaming “mama, she wants to eat us!” Just as the dolls enter the room Marisa bursts in through the front door, shouting “hay-a~, Alice! I come to play with... eh?” Marisa notices Yuyuko in the kitchen, who continues to smile as she waves at the witch. Marisa waves back and says “now this is a strange sight. Alice has visitors?” From the corridor, Alice angrily says “un-WELCOME visitors! Two of them, even!” Marisa is going to reply, but Yuyuko beats her to it, saying “aww, don’t be like that.” Alice immediately points her finger at Yuyuko and asks “what are you doing here, and what is this about eating my dolls.” Before Yuyuko replies, Alice points at Marisa, who raises her hands while smirking widely, then asks “and what are YOU doing here? Not planning to steal more books, I hope!” Marisa sweats and says “I don’t steal them, I borrow them. I told you already, I’ll return them after I die.” Yuyuko excitedly says “ah, I can arrange that for you now if you like.” Marisa smiles and casually replies “no, no. It’s not my time yet.” While Yuyuko and Marisa continue a most lovely conversation about death, Alice slowly loses her patience, then suddenly shouts “could the both of you PLEASE get out!?” Yuyuko says “certainly. Just let me take these two little souls with me” while pointing at the two dolls. Shanghai and Hourai quickly whimper and cling on Alice’s shoulder. Alice smiles dangerously and asks “why in the HELL would I ever hand these two to you in the first place!?” Yuyuko thinks for a moment, then says “because it’s the right thing to do.” Alice takes a deep breath, but Marisa speaks before her “whoa, that’s a tough one to beat.” Yuyuko smiles and bows, saying “thank you.” A large vein pulsates on Alice’s forehead as she smiles and pulls a spell card from her pocket, and before Marisa and Yuyuko can convince her to stop she shouts “Curse Sign Shanghai Doll!” Shanghai positions herself on Alice’s hand, and combining their powers they fire a large thick purple beam that sends both Yuyuko and Marisa flying out the door and on to the cold snow outside. Alice stands on her door and says “good day to you!” then slams the door shut. Marisa gets up from the snow and while Yuyuko stands up afterwards, she says “well, that went much better than I expected, ze.” Smiling, Yuyuko says “oh, I agree.”

That afternoon, Marisa flies straight to the Moriya Shrine, and upon landing she looks around and notices Sanae and Budou aren’t there. She scratches her head under her hat, then thinks “darn, the kid isn’t here... but at least Sanae is gone too.” She snaps her finger, winking to the air and smiling as she says “I came by at just the right time, ze!” Marisa jumps with a fright when Suwako, who sits like a frog on the snow, asks from behind “the right time for what?” Marisa Quickly recovers from the fright and with a smile on her face she says “Suwako, how are ya!? Say, Kanako wouldn’t happen to be around, right?” Again, Marisa jumps in fright, though this time she falls on top of Suwako, when Kanako comes from behind and asks “now why would you need to speak to two goddesses in such a beautiful winter afternoon?” Suwako forcefully pushes Marisa off her back, and the witch manages to fall right on her feet, already holding a book with its pages open, and with a confident smile she says “ladies, you wish to help Gensokyo thrive and advance a little, right? Well here’s your lucky day!” Marisa shows them the book, to which Suwako asks “do you even know where this leads to?” Marisa confidently says “of course! To a REAL paradise. One filled with enough resources to literally sky-rocket progress AND turn Gensokyo into an advanced world that balances both magic And technology... What do you think?” Kanako takes the book away from Marisa and stares at it for a while. She bends down when Suwako lightly taps her thigh, allowing her to see into the book some more. They whisper something into each other, then Kanako asks “alright, before we give you our answer, tell us exactly what are we supposed to do.” Marisa sighs and says “well, being a human, I am only capable of drawing the symbols and the circles and those stars, but it takes the blessing of a god to make this work as it should... so what I need you to do is to come to my home and bless the room, the circles, the symbols, the stones...” Marisa places both hands together in front of herself as if praying, winking and bowing her head, then asks “so, will you help?” Kanako and Suwako raise an eyebrow at each other, then look with suspicion at Marisa, though by the time they look to Marisa, she’s all the way at their shrine, donating three one thousand yen marks and offering a prayer. From there Marisa shouts “so, will you help!?” The goddesses approach Marisa and return her book, then Kanako loudly says “I’M SORRY LITTLE WITCH, BUT YOU’LL HAVE TO FOOL SOMEONE ELSE, YOU HEAR ME!?” Marisa frowns and sounding disappointed she says “o-oh... I see. Well, sorry to have bothered you. I’ll see you later then.” Marisa hides her disappointed look in her eyes with her hat as she climbs on her broom, but before she lifts off, Suwako pulls her arm and winks, then whispers “tomorrow.” Marisa continues to hide her eyes under her hat, but her smile is so wide it’s impossible to hide. Shortly after Marisa leaves, Sanae and Budou arrive to the shrine. Sanae asks “what did she want?” Kanako shrugs and looking uninterested she says “don’t know. I wasn’t paying attention.”

The next morning, Marisa wakes up with a sprint, sweating and breathing heavily. She is still only half awake as she says “no... Tha-that’s not...” In her mind she sees the faint traces of a nightmare where she has taken Gensokyo’s barrier in her hand and literally pulls on it and pockets it. Shortly after, then entire land of Gensokyo gets covered by concrete buildings, the trees replaced by metal poles with round lights on them, the fauna and flora disappears before her eyes and replaced by black rivers where vehicles pass by, emanating dark clouds that makes breathing a chore. As she looks on she suddenly finds herself at the Hakurei Shrine, where an aged Reimu stares at her with contempt and asks “are you happy?” just before collapsing and turning to dust. Aged as well, Marisa reaches for Reimu’s remains, calling “Reimu! Reimu, no! I want to save you! Come with me. Come with me!” Back in her house, Marisa yelps, this time holding both hands against her face, sweating even more and breathing with effort. She finally wakes up and realizes she is still young, Gensokyo is still a beautiful paradise... and realizes it was all a nightmare. She rushes to her bathroom where she has accumulated water and dunks her head into the sink, pulling it out almost immediately and looks at herself in the mirror. Her frightened expression slowly changes to powerful determination and while staring straight into her own eyes she says “Reimu, I will save you! Once I finally open this gate... You’ll see, Reimu. I’ll save you.”

Later that morning, Marisa arrives to the Hakurei shrine and after spotting Reimu sweeping the front yard she smiles widely and waves her hand, shouting “OY~! Reimu~!” Reimu doesn’t respond, which confuses Marisa, then she says to herself “whoa, maybe I should have visited earlier...” Marisa lands next to the gate, away from Reimu, then repeats “oy, Reimu!” Reimu slowly turns to face Marisa; her face looking casual, though in her eyes the sadness she’s feeling becomes obvious to anyone. Speaking softly, as if devoid of energy or will, Reimu says “oh, Marisa. It’s been so long. How are you?” Marisa quickly approaches Reimu, realizing her friend isn’t mad at her at all, then asks “Reimu, what’s the matter?” Reimu turns her head away from Marisa and continues sweeping the same spot she was sweeping before, and by the looks of it, she hasn’t been doing a thing there as the snow continues to pile up. Marisa exclaims “Reimu! You are sick!!!” She grabs Reimu by her elbow and drags her away from the broom, which continues to sweep slowly on its own before it finally falls on the ground. Marisa drags Reimu all the way inside the shrine and notices Aya and Suika sitting under the kotatsu, and sounding aggravated she asks “hey, you’ve been here all the time and didn’t even notices!? What kind of friends are you!?” Aya and Suika stare at Marisa and the really weakened Reimu, and Aya asks “whatever do you mean?” Marisa pulls Reimu closer, making her looks like a rag-doll, then points at her with her right hand and says “THIS!! Reimu is THIS sick and you let her out in the snow like that!” Both stare back a little saddened now, then Aya manages a weak smile as she says “she... She is not sick, Marisa.” Suika lowers her head and says “she’s sad.” Marisa raises her right eyebrow, grabs the limp Reimu by her waist and stares at her, then asks “sad, you say? And why is that?” Drooping on Marisa’s arms and looking away, a few tears escape Reimu as she says “she never came back... And she promised... Bus she’s not back. She left too. I was bad, wasn’t I?” Marisa narrows her eyes as a large sweat drop forms right on top of her hat while staring at Reimu, then looks at Aya and Suika, then asks “did I miss something, ze?” Suika takes a few gulps from her gourd before answering “Rika was supposed to come back yesterday...” Aya sighs and continues for Suika “but she didn’t come. Though what’s strange is that gap hag didn’t come either.” Marisa lets out a quiet “oh” when Suika suddenly comments “maybe that old hag ate her.” Like a phoenix rising from its own ashes, proud roaring flames around itself and singing it’s powerful song, Reimu springs back to full life and screams Yukari’s name in a rage. Marisa covers her head and backs away as she says “WHOA~! She’s a whole new person now!” Suika stares on with her usual childish face as Reimu shouts “don’t just sit there! Help me find Yuk-“ Reimu stops speaking and just looks around, then lifts her right hand. The symbol left the night Reimu made the master-servant pact with Rika is glowing, and Reimu suddenly feels Rika’s life slowly drain away somewhere. She trembles and whispers “Rika...” Marisa stares back at her friend as Reimu’s face loses all its color and her eyes fill with dread, and with great worry, she asks “Reimu, what’s wrong!?” In a flash, Reimu flies straight out of the shrine, shouting Yukari’s name over and over. Worried, Marisa quickly summons her broom to her hand and flies after her friend, Suika and Aya following shortly after.

Suika is left behind, while Aya and Marisa follow an orange trail left behind by Reimu. Aya and Marisa look at each other, then Marisa comments “she’s going too fast. She might end up hurt!” Aya nods and says “you take the left, I’ll take the right!” They split apart, increasing their speed in hopes to catch up to Reimu and manage to trap her... unless she decides to attack them. Further ahead, Reimu shouts “YUKARI~~! Yukari where is Rika~!?” She stops for a moment and looks around, then heads toward the Misty Lake, thinking “last time I entered Mayohiga I went through the lake. Maybe it’ll work again!” Before she can reach the lake, Marisa and Aya surround her, then Marisa shouts “Reimu, slow down! You’re going to drain yourself if you keep flying this fast!” Reimu shouts “I don’t care! Rika’s in danger, I just know it!” From her right, Aya shouts “you are using too much energy! You’re going to crash!” Reimu shouts back “I said I don’t care! I’m finding that Yukari and she’s taking me to Rika, whether she wants to or not!” Marisa reaches for Reimu’s arm and grabs hold of her just as Reimu’s mind shuts down and she falls. She struggles to keep herself balanced while pulling Reimu, avoiding some trees as she loses altitude, but thankfully Aya grabs Reimu’s other arm and helps Marisa with the load. Holding Reimu, they make an u-turn to the shrine and while on mid-flight, Aya position Reimu behind Marisa on her broom, and after they flip their thumbs up, they speed up, hurriedly taking Reimu with them. At the shrine, Reimu lies on her futon feeling completely drained and exhausted. Marisa and Aya kneel to her left while Suika and Mima kneel to her right, Suika placing a damp cloth on Reimu’s forehead. Weakly, Reimu says “she’s really gone. Marisa... she left.” Marisa sighs, patting her head, wanting to say some comforting words to her friend, but can’t find the correct ones. She gasps suddenly after feeling a warm wind course through her body, then says “Reimu, I’m going home and pick up some things, then I’ll come back soon, I promise. You just rest.” Mima looks at her former apprentice, then says “hey...” Marisa stares at Mima for some time, then Mima says to her “you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. Reimu has lots of friends to care for her already.” Marisa smiles, feeling relieved, then stands up while putting on her hat, then says “I’m not leaving Reimu like this. I’m her friend, ze; and I haven’t been around for a while... She needs my presence in the right dozes or she’ll flip!” Sweating, Aya and Suika stare at each other while smiling sheepishly. Mima simply smirks and says “that’s my girl. Bring some sake on the way back, will ya?” Marisa tips her hat to Mima, then turns around, leaves the shrine and flies away to her house in the snowy afternoon.

Kanako and Suwako are already waiting inside Marisa’s house, though the door was still locked when Marisa herself walks in. They exchange some quiet smiles, then Suwako breaks the silence when she says “now I understand the real reason is because you want to help Reimu, however...” Kanako switches to a serious expression as she says “...understand that our reasons for helping you is to help Gensokyo flourish to a new era. Not for Reimu.” Marisa smirks as she hides her eyes under her hat and walks past the two goddesses, saying “this way, ladies. Be careful with that first step.” Marisa leads the two goddesses down a small narrow passage to her new basement, where the gate she has prepared awaits activation. Wasting no time, the two goddesses walk to the larger star at the center of the room and begin with their blessings. The entire room shines so bright Marisa has to use her hat to cover her face so as not to end up blind. There is a loud magical whirring sound, and then the loud sound of a door being unlocked. Suwako days “done” and Marisa lowers her hat. The magical circles now shine in various colors, the stars, symbols and runes have turned to pure gold, and the stones on the wall make the shape of an archway and shine bright pure white. Kanako looks around herself, seemingly impressed and says “amazing. For a human to actually make this work. You must have poured your all into this.” Marisa smirks as she places her hat back on her head and says “I’m doing this for someone very special. After this she won’t have to resolve another incident... ever!” Suwako stares seriously at Marisa and says “those are pretty big words there. In any case, you have to wait a month before the gate is ready to open. After that, take all the time you need.” Kanako adds “you better be right about this Paradise because from now on, you are on your own, and if something happens, it’s YOUR own fault. We never came here, and we most certainly never saw into that book... you understand?” Marisa stares back with a most serious face, then nods. Kanako and Suwako nod back, then quietly walk out of the room, but not before Suwako smirks mischievously Suwako says “you should clean up this house. It’s a complete mess.”

The next morning, at the Hakurei Shrine, Reimu wakes up inside a futon next to Marisa’s and slowly sits up. She looks around and sighs, then notices Marisa, still in her normal winter clothes and blowing a nose-bubble while snoring lightly. She stares for a moment, then suddenly smiles and mouths “thank you, Marisa.” Marisa wakes up a few hours after Reimu, and after she realizes Reimu isn’t in her futon, she panics and springs up, shouting “Reimu! Where are you?” From the kitchen Reimu calmly replies “it’s alright. I’m here.” Marisa feels as her heart slows down back to a healthy beat, then says “phew! For a moment I though you left looking for Sukima again... How are you feeling?” Reimu smiles back at Marisa and says “thank you... and Aya and Suika too. All of you.” Reimu walks to Marisa and gives her a hug, saying “I’m so glad you’re back! I really am.” Marisa blushes and lightly pushes Reimu away, then Reimu stares at her seriously, then says “and if you tell anyone about this I’m going to kill you!” Marisa sweats and smirks, backing away from Reimu, then says “my lips are sealed!” The shrine doors suddenly slide open, and behind them is Aya, holding her camera on her right hand and bearing a wide crescent smile, Suika with a mischievous look on her face, and Mima smiling and blushing just slightly. Reimu mysteriously holds her gohei on her right hand and bangs it on her left hand while smiling at her friend with a blood-thirsty look on her. Aya sweats and asks “eh... Reimu? Why are you looking at us like that...?” At the front of the shrine, a lone female villagers reaches the top of the shrine, approaches the donation box and holds a few coins in her hand to toss in, however, the screaming of Aya, Mima and Suika, accompanied by loud smacking sounds and Reimu shouting “GIVE ME THAT!” startle the girl to a run back to the village just before she tosses the money in. Later that day, Marisa is about to leave the shrine, but before she does, she wants to make sure Reimu is ok. She finds Reimu sitting by the shrine’s porch, facing the hot springs while enjoying some tea and just thinking to herself. She approaches the maiden and before she asks Reimu says “if you’re worried about me, don’t. I’m fine. It hurts that she left like she did... and now I’m not even sure she’s alive... but at least I got you, Aya, Mima... Sakuya...” Marisa sits down next to Reimu and says “you still sound depressed to me.” Reimu springs to her feet and shouts “well of COURSE I AM!” She calms down again and drops on her knees, holding her teacup again, then says “but I’ll get over it. So it’s ok-“ A voice in front of the shrine calls “hello~! Reimu~! Are you actually working today?” Yukari floats inside her gap, looking casually around the shrine. Nobody answers her so she shrugs and says “oh well, I can come back later... GYAH!” She is knocked out of her gap, which quickly closes up, and she feels a heavy object pressuring her back, pressing her entire being on to the snow, then in an ominous voice Reimu says “give me ONE good reason why I shouldn’t seal you for GOOD, you useless hag!” Forcing a nervous smile Yukari replies “my-hi~, well aren’t we in high spirits?” Reimu presses harder on Yukari’s back with her foot, then Yukari says “ow, ow, ow! Geez Reimu, all this because I forgot!?” Reimu backs away and angrily asks “forgot WHAT?” Yukari mouths “geez, you even sealed my gaps” and quickly realizes Reimu is staring curses straight at her, so she flinches and backs away, then nervously says “that Rika was going to stay home for a few more days, and that she’d be back soon. In 4 days... well actually, in 2 more... 1 if you don’t count this glorious afternoon.” A giant vein pops on Reimu’s head as the maiden shouts “WHAT DID YOU SAY~~!?” From the side of the shrine, Marisa says “oh boy.... it was nice knowing her!” Marisa rushes away from the scene, looking terrified and pulling down on her hat, and just afterwards Reimu shouts “Divine Spirit Fantasy SEAL!” Yukari shouts “no, wait. REIMU!” Before the first set of explosions finish Reimu shouts “Treasure Tool Yin-Yang Demon God Orb!” Yukari shouts “no, wait! Reimu I can explain. KYAH!” Reimu shouts “Divine Skill Foot of the Wind God Champion!” There is a crunching noise along with Yukari’s yelp, then Reimu shouts “Divine Arts Omnidirectional Demon Binding Circle!” Yukari’s scream echoes through the air all the way down to the village, then Reimu shouts “Amulet Youkai Repelling CHARM~!” Marisa peeks from the corner of the shrine, but immediately jumps away as fast clouds of dust blow by, then Reimu shouts “Dream Land Super Duplex Border!” Yukari shouts, though this time seemingly out of energy, then there’s silence. Marisa raises her head from the floor and finds Aya, Suika and Mima, all hugging beside her, trembling with a look of terror in their faces. The next day, at Eirin’s clinic, Yukari lies bed-ridden and completely covered in bandages with Reimu standing beside her, crossing her arms around her chest while staring angrily at her. Yukari sighs, then says “I’ll go get her tonight.”

The next morning, Reimu paces around the gate of the shrine, saying “I’m going to completely murder her... Murder, murder, murder.” Marisa sits by the donation box and says “calm down, Reimu. After that overkill I doubt Sukima will let us down, ze.” Reimu stops pacing around and looks at Marisa, then says “wait, this scene is vaguely familiar...” From behind Reimu, the familiar sound of one of Yukari’s gaps opening makes her opens her eyes with expectation, so she quickly turns around, but there’s nobody there but the lone gap. Reimu gets closer and hears the faint screams of a girl. The screaming rapidly gets closer, and then a girl falls from inside the gap face-first to the snow, holding her arms up while making the love symbol with her fingers. Reimu gasps contently and smiles widely as the girl stands up. She has wavy brown hair that reaches to half of her back, and wears a common-style shrine maiden kimono, with a long-sleeved white top that’s broken at the back to allow her small white wings with the scar in the middle through, a long skirt that’s white with red strips from both sides that go to the bottom end of her skirt, a red scarf around her neck that has the words “Will of” on one of its end, and on the other end the word “Fire”, and wearing a most familiar sapphire yin-yang around her neck on a necklace. Unnoticed by Reimu yet, is the bandages around her light-blue eyes. The girl looks around and says “wh-where am I? M-miss Yukari, I can’t see! Miss Yukari?” Reimu jumps from where she stands, extending her arms in the air, ready to give Rika a bone-crushing and shouting “RIKA~! You’re back~!” Just before Reimu falls on her, Rika asks “my lady?” From the donation box Marisa smirks and says “I hope Aya’s getting all this. This is GOLD!” There is a thud coming from where Reimu and Rika are, then Marisa smirks widely and says “oh yeah... pure gold... da-ze~.”

To Be Continued...
Characters, spell cards and scenario belong to ZUN -Team Shanghai Alice-
Kyo, Ayalina and Budou were created by Willie G.R.
Rika Onkamikami was created by Snapshot 2010
FEB 26 2010
Written by
Willie G.R.

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