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Essence Of The Lost

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Gensokyo was a long lasting haven for the more extraordinary inhabitants like youkai, demons and so on. 

Their lifespans were tripled of that of humans; they healed faster and were much more resilient against illness, injuries & diseases. 

Kotohime often thought that they took those features for granted. 

Back in the Human Village, the redhead was returning home for the night as Rikako & Rika dropped her off. They'd met up to have a catch up at one of the places they'd frequented often for food and drinks, one that was hospitable to both youkai and humans. 

However, this visit wasn't quite as the same as the prior visits. 

Neither was Kotohime. 

They'd arrived at the princess's home and she thanked them for their company before they set off again. 

"Are you sure you don't want to stay at ours instead?". 

"It would be great to have you over" Rikako added. 

Kotohime smiled but shook her head, "I appreciate the offer, truly. But I've imposed enough by keeping you in my company already". 

Rika, being the eccentric but lovable engineer as she was, merely rolled her eyes in an exaggerated way before sticking a finger out and poked Kotohime's chest. 

"How long have we all known each other?". 

"Too long is what I assume Kotohime is possibly thinking now" Rikako quipped and offered the redhead a small smile. 

"Hey, I'm offended by that!" the brunette rebuked and stared at her lover "You're sleeping in the other room tonight". 

"Well, you only end up following me there when that actually happens due to missing my presence too much". 

Rika blushed profusely, stammering her words as Kotohime said how cute that was. 

"A-anyway!" she said a bit louder than intended before looking at Kotohime earnestly, "Look, my point was that we've known each other for years. Nothing changes that okay? You need us, we'll be right there. So don't think you have to deal with this alone" and then placed her hand on Kotohime's shoulder, "She wouldn't want that". 

"I..know" the redhead replied softly and pressed her hand over Rika's appreciatively, "Thank you both, I really am grateful for you being here for me. I will be okay tonight, I promise". 

"So long as you don't forget" Rikako added, "We are indeed a call away". 

Kotohime nodded at the duo whilst thanking them again, "I'll see you both tomorrow. I'm going to be helping Keine at the school..".

Rika's eyes beamed, thrilled that the redhead was slowly starting to come out of her shell and more willing to interact with the others "That's great news! The kids love you I've heard".

"Only because I tell them interesting stories of crime and so on" she chuckled, as hollow as it sounded to herself, "When Keine leaves the room of course".

"Getting on the wrong side of Keine can be problematic, you are considered a daredevil in the eyes of the children" Rikako said with an impressed look. 

Rika grinned, "That's Kotohime for you". 

"That can be up for debate in terms of being wise" the redhead teased, "Thank you again for a wonderful night. It was what I needed" she added warmly, "Please have a safe walk home. 

"It was our pleasure". 

"And we'll be doing it again so we will see you soon!" Rika stated, "Goodnight!". 

 

She smiled briefly as the two women started their walk before she turned to the door and unlocked it. Her footsteps felt heavy when she walked into her home and closed the door again once she was inside. 

It was then that the smile faded as the princess was basked in loneliness & despair again. 

She couldn't move and remained stood there as her eyes travelled around the interior of the hallway. A chill lingered over everything and Kotohime never could shift the iciness of it. 

It was like she took the warmth of their home when she vanished. 

The woman removed her shoes and placed them next to the others that remained, untouched and coated with dust. 

Kotohime couldn't bring herself to remove them. 

She could not convince herself to remove any of Meira's belongings because for Kotohime, a part of her had yet to accept that she was gone. 

That she would never return to her. 

Her dreary steps reverberated around the wooden surface as she slowly trudged along, not knowing what to do with herself. 

Normally she would stay with Rikako & Rika or Alice, to pick a few but tonight, Kotohime wanted to be alone. 

Alone with the remnants of what was her home with the woman she loved. 

Her aimless wondering led her to the kitchen where she remained near the door as her red eyes glazed over. That iciness suddenly felt ten times worse the more Kotohime reflected on the past. 

Every single inch of their home was a painful reminder of so many memories that she & Meira had built together over the years and to have them disappear just like that, to have the samurai leave, destroyed the princess. 

Kotohime's heart ached so fiercely that the only way she'd ever get any peace from it was either by pulling it out, or, for Meira to return to her. 

But she knew the latter was impossible. 

That would never be. 

Tears trickled down her gorgeous face as another memory pierced into the abyss that she was now permanently cocooned in. 

 

2 months ago 

"Woah, so fast!". 

"I would not be worthy of holding a sword if I could not handle a knife" Meira chuckled as Kotohime was leaning over her shoulder. 

The speed in which she was dicing through the vegetables was mesmerising for the redhead to see despite the two being together for years after Meira's return. 

"I would definitely not be worthy of holding you if I could not wield either come to think of it".

Kotohime was on her tiptoes now as she slung her arms down her chest & nuzzled her cheek against the samurai's. 

Meira thought her lover truly was the embodiment of a rabbit at times with her endearing mannerisms.

"For your information, even if you couldn't use your sword or cut through vegetables with a knife like they were on fire, I would want you to hold me regardless, got it?".

"I do not believe I do" she teased as Kotohime whined and clung onto her further. 

The summer evening was filled with a soothing warmth as the gorgeous sunset began its takeover. The light continued to stream in through the kitchen window as both women laughed and teased each other without a care in their world. 

Tantalising scents wafted through the air as the two were in the midst of cooking dinner after a day of their usual work. 

Kotohime wouldn't want things any other way as the satisfaction that being with Meira gave her could never be replicated or beaten. 

There was a time where she believed that there'd be nobody that could click with or adjust to her eccentric ways & she was content with that. 

But it all changed when she met Meira, the reserved yet curious samurai that had caught the eyes of many. 

Even Reimu at one point. 

Kotohime felt something shake her heart up, waking it from its slumber to get her to recognise that there was something in Meira's purple eyes that oozed assurance & intrigue. 

Something that she wanted to see up close and personal, perhaps for the rest of their lives. 

Just like now. 

"Meira?".

The woman glanced to her lover after finishing her task off and since they were face to face, Meira was close enough to kiss her lips gently first. 

"Yes?".

Kotohime blushed in a second which emitted a soft laugh from Meira. 

"You beat me to it" she pouted whilst wrapping her arms firmly across Meira's chest. 

Meira smiled and gently brushed her forehead against the redhead's since her hands were laden with the textures and smells of different vegetables so she didn't use them. 

"And what if I said I would like to receive another kiss, hm?". 

"Are samurai supposed to be this coy?" the woman grinned. 

"That depends, are princesses supposed to be so..captivating?". 

"Should I be concerned with how many you actually know?". 

Meira reciprocated the grin as her eyes kept switching from Kotohime’s fiery eyes to her plump lips, "Perhaps..".

"Perhaps?". 

Kotohime’s weight was fully enclosed over Meira as their teasing took a turn for the electrifying. One of her hands slid down Meira's body as the other kept its hold around her lover's chest. 

"Perhaps, there is only one that I am unabashedly in love with".

"She is lucky" Kotohime smiled and brushed her lips over the top of the samurai's, "I envy her". 

"So you should" Meira stated in between kisses, "I could not even dare to look at another when I have been gifted with the opportunity to have someone like her want to build a home with me". 

Kotohime gulped, unable to even retort to the intense sincerity in her lover's words and eyes. 

A different kind of hunger replaced the one her body had been feeling earlier on; this one desirous, a craving so potent that it set her body alight with a kind of craving that could be compared to a vampire's insatiable blood lust. 

The only delicacy that could quench the agonising feeling was Meira, and Meira alone. 

"I love you, Kotohime, nothing will ever change the way I feel about you". 

Meira couldn't take it anymore after uttering those words to her lover; Kotohime inhaling a short spurt of air before their mouths joined together with no intention of stopping again. 

Quickly wiping her hands clean whilst kissing Kotohime, Meira then spun around and grabbed the redhead close to her, deepening the kiss. 

Her tongue twirled around the princess's, interwoven just like the way they were stood. Meira yearned to shower her lover with a torrential barrage of a promise that Kotohime would never forget. 

She never wanted Kotohime to ever have to think twice about how much she was in love with her. 

How she would do anything the redhead wanted. 

How nothing would one between them. 

Not even the distance that had built when she left all those years ago after her defeat against Reimu. 

Meira desperately wanted Kotohime to know and have engraved in her heart that she belonged to her, that she was wholeheartedly the princess's. 

Their fervent mouths and lips melding came to a slow and steady halt after the samurai lifted Kotohime up, placing her on the table top she'd backed her up against. 

"Meira..." Kotohime gasped whilst catching her breath, "What is it?". 

It was the tender intensity in the other woman's eyes that made Kotohime grab her face and hold her close, wrapping her long legs around Meira's waist. They were both breathing harshly, shaking, as they clutched onto each other but the samurai tried to formulate what she was thinking and feeling into words. 

Looking into Kotohime's gorgeous eyes made that so much easier to achieve and she smiled like a woman in love, melting Kotohime that much more. 

"I just, simply love you more than I can comprehend at times, Kotohime".

"I hope it stays that way" Kotohime quickly replied to mask the blush rising to her cheeks, "Because I don't want to imagine a world where we are not together. I can't..".

"You will not have to, I promise".

"I would like a samurai promise". 

Meira chuckled as she trailed her hands down to Kotohime's thighs, loving how random her lover was, "A samurai promise?". 

"Yes" the redhead answered and ran her hands beneath the gap of Meira's kimono, "A samurai promise". 

"Well, in all fairness. You already have that, would you believe". 

"I do?". 

"You do" she replied whilst her palms planted themselves on Kotohime's hips, "The moment I laid eyes on you, the moment my heart decided it was you whom it wished to dissappear with and never be found. That..was my promise as your samurai. To love, defend and honour you, princess". 

Kotohime's eyes were sparkling, the clear tears brimming as her thumbs caressed Meira's cheekbones and face, feeling how honest and true she was being. Hearing the gentleness of her rich voice, seeing the deep coloured eyes pulse for her, being the reason for Meira's smile; it was overwhelming. 

Kotohime wanted to remain in that moment for as long as time would allow them for the rest of their lives. 

She just wanted to love Meira. 

"It was my promise as your lover to keep you satisfied, happy and desired". 

Meira continued and felt the redhead's legs grip harder up against her waist now, small shudders running up them. 

She leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on Kotohime's quivering lips, being careful to soak up the softness, the shape and the texture. 

Kotohime followed the soft speed as her brain sifted through the powerful and loving words. Whenever she thought it was impossible for Meira to be anymore inherently perfect for her, the woman would say or do something to completely further her adoration by 50 levels and prove her wrong. 

"Nothing will change that, Kotohime" Meira mumbled against her lips, "I promise". 

 

"But everything did change, Meira, you lied to me!" Kotohime cried out as she slumped against the door and collapsed to the ground, "You broke every single promise!". 

Meira died a week later. 

Murdered in cold blood by a scorned rival who despised her. 

A rival she'd ousted many times in combat. 

A rival that sought Meira's life and relationship with Kotohime. 

A rival filled with such bitter hatred that she could be compared to an amanojaku. 

A rival who was later discovered and removed from Gensokyo by Yukari. 

Still, the grief had yet to settle for everyone, especially for the Kotohime. 

The wounds were as raw as those found on Meira's body. 

The ragged and messy cuts from where she was stabbed by her assailant in a cruel and calloused attack and then left to die. 

Reality flooded back as Kotohime broke down, unable to keep her sobs in. 

The present took over the warmth of the memory as the darkness of the kitchen smothered her and any hope of Meira ever coming back. 

What Kotohime was left with was frequent and cruel reminders of a woman that was as good as a ghost now and continuous imagery of her being alive and at home with her. 

Hatred took away the woman she loved and nothing would return Meira to her. She felt sick as she sobbed a continuous stream of tears that should've felt warm but were frozen. 

Frozen because Kotohime felt no life in her anymore. 

Because the one that made her feel warm, loved and needed ceased to exist. 

Much like the person she used to be before Meira was killed. 

The samurai's name repeated out of Kotohime's mouth in agony, her head dropping to her knees when she felt two pairs of arms wrap around her on either side. 

"Kotohime!". 

It was Rikako's voice, followed by Rika's as they held her tight to let her know that they were there, that they were not leaving her alone. Their own sadness was palpable, both for Meira's death and leaving Kotohime behind. The pain at seeing their friend so broken and so vulnerable made them wish they could create something to take away her grief, even if only for a while. But both women knew it was wishful thinking. 

All they could do for Kotohime was help her through the storm that human mortality brought, something they'd all eventually feel.  

"We're here, Kotohime!" Rika pleaded, "It's gonna be okay! Meira..will never be forgotten, but you can't let this destroy you". 

Rikako bit back a gulp as she held Kotohime tighter, "Rika is right. We won't leave you alone, not now or in future. Please, do not shut us out".  

The redhead was too withdrawn to realise what was going on but allowed the comfort and security of their words keep her afloat. 

As false as it was. 

"It's all lies, they don't mean it" she thought and grasped onto Rika and Rikako's arms surrounding her, "Nobody stays"

Kotohime couldn't bring herself to believe their words, not after what Meira said. 

Not after what she promised. 

"Everyone ends up leaving me alone"