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Danmaku Under the Influence

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Someone was going to die tonight.

Eirin was absolutely certain that Gensokyo would have at least one demise at the hands of Yukari's madness.

The possibility of this ending well was as slim as Eirin wanting to return to the Moon, which was non-existent.

She turned around to glance at the blonde who appeared far too pleased with herself, perched on a gap with her fan tapping against her chin in what appeared to be careful contemplation but Eirin knew better.

Yukari was simply loving the precursor of calmness before the chaos she was about to unleash.

The lunarian sighed, a frequent habit now, and questioned Yukari again, "Yukari?".

"Yes, darling?".

The sugary sweet tone resulted in Eirin rolling her eyes, "This is absurd, you are aware of this right?".

"Not absurd, entertaining".

"It's unequivocal madness" she corrected.

"And that is indeed what will make this procession that much more entertaining, no?". 

"No" Eirin replied in a deadpan tone at her lover's questionable schemes.

The were in a field, not far from Youkai Mountain during the gloaming time of day which was apparently the best time to hold this little competition and clearly Yukari's incentive and invitation had been accepted by what seemed to be most of Gensokyo. 

That just meant more work for Eirin and Reisen who was setting up a range of medical equipment at the proclaimed medical bay.

If someone didn't die today, they would certainly be injured severely.

She ran her eyes over the crowd of participants and spectators as she pondered how they still managed to be lured into Yukari's schemes despite knowing that it wouldn't end well. But similarly to Remilia, most knew of the consequences and simply wanted to be entertained.

Because being hammered by bullets whilst drunk as a skunk was the grounds of entertainment in Gensokyo apparently.

Almost all of the participants were inebriated already.

It was a miracle they'd even found the location Yukari had set up for this spectacle  but the blonde had constructed a spotlight of some sort above the designated area which would make it easier for everyone to find.

Because of course she did. 

"It'll be harmless, Eirin" Yukari replied with a level of assurance that shouldn't be possible, "I can ensure you that nobody will be heading to the Sanzu river anytime soon".

A dejected 'aww' came from Komachi as she swung her scythe over her shoulder and walked off to take a seat at Mystia's stall.

Since there was going to be no work apparently, she may as well enjoy the show.

Before Eiki appeared and broke up the party, something the lunar sage was hoping would happen. She found it suspiciously convenient that she wasn't around. 

The sight of Komachi being here alone was disconcerting for the lunarian as she faced Yukari again, "That isn't entirely reassuring..more so considering the rules you've set in place. The more drunk, the better?". 

"Hm, people do the craziest things when inebriated".

"And other times too" Eirin replied with a chuckle, pointedly at the youkai who feigned innocence, "Well, there seems to be no sensible thoughts on the matter" she relented as Ran ran around to get things in order as efficiently as she could.

"The odds of Yukari ever changing her mind about the infliction of pain to others is rarely retracted" Okina piped up when she appeared behind said blonde, "Mind you, it has its perks, if not slightly contentious".

"Of course you would assume so" Byakuren smiled once she arrived with Kanako and Yuyuko, courtesy of Yukari's gaps, "Gensokyo's sages seem to have a penchant for trouble".

Yuyuko nodded, "It's all part of their charm".

"Charm is really clutching at straws". 

Yukari rolled her eyes at Kanako's remark and grinned, "This is art, Kanako".

"With all the blood loss that is about to paint over the ground, I'm inclined to agree with that" Eirin jested.

That earned another round of laughter and agreement as Yukari took in the sky, the plumes of clouds becoming imbued within the darkness of it.

It was the perfect time to commence the show.

The debacle had essentially become another party, one with action and an abundance of mistakes to occur. Yukari was counting on it as she smiled and hovered above slightly higher so that everyone could see her.

The gap with numerous unblinking eyes remained around her, the edges of her gap flickering like fire in the wind which created an eerie ethereal sight of the youkai sage awaiting for at least a quiet lull to settle over the grounds. She wasn't expecting full silence as both the crowd and participants had enough alcohol in them to open a distillery, one she could capitalise if she were to bleed them dry.

But that was a thought for another day; youkai sustenance in the form of a delectable beverage certainly didn't sound like a bad idea.

"Welcome to the Drunken Danmaku Duel, I'm so pleased to see so many faces here".

"No kidding.." a slurring Reimu stated, blinking her eyes, "Since when did Yukari have like five faceshes?". 

Alice steadied the priestess even though they were sat down as she shook her head, "Reimu, careful".

"It's fine, fine" the brunette waved her off and slouched over her lover, "I'm gonna win, dunt worry your pretty faces".

Alice worried, often and frequently as she smiled at the woman.

The youkai sage chuckled to herself, "Oh this is going to be marvellous if Reimu is already this drunk. Alice will have to forgive me" she mused before addressing the crowd again.

"Now, I have explained the basic rules in the invitation I sent you all so please keep that in mind, despite your..condition at this point".

Eirin inwardly groaned.

Yukari's limpid tone continued, "The fighting will occur within this barrier". 

An incandescent glow of violet in the shape of a dome appeared over the empty space in the field with swirls of silver and azure decorating the walls of the interior and exterior. Yukari's sigil was prevalent on the ground of the fighting area, the amethyst hue radiating from its etching as an obsidian layer of fog hovered over it elegantly. 

The circumference of the dome was by no means large as it only provided the basic freedom to move around.

But that was the point.

The dimensions of the dome were precisely large enough to fly around in, but small enough to be exposed to all the projectiles because that was the aim of the game.

Yukari continued, "Your main goal is to ensure that you do not hit the sides of the barrier, the ground or become incapacitated to a point where you forfeit or are knocked out. If any of these occur, you have lost".

An array of murmurs and questions ran around the crowd and the ones that were not completely out of it yet were wondering whether that would be possible given the room within the dome.

"Why's the circle thing so small, Yukari?" Suika hiccupped after taking a 'sip' from her gourd, "I can't get bigger".

"That would be against the rules, Suika" Yukari chuckled, "The size is to test your abilities, primarily your cognitive skills".

"Our what?".

A maladroit Cirno stumbled over Aya's legs and collapsed, staring up at the sky.

"Your ability to think in terms of judgement, perception, memory and reasoning" Rikako offered as she jotted down notes about the event with Yumemi and Chiyuri.

Yumemi stared at Cirno creating icicles above her face, "Well she's a goner" the red head mumbled.

"Hey, I heard that! Fight me, Red Rikako!".

Rikako smirked before tucking up her glasses as Chiyuri punched Yumemi in the shoulder, "Red Rikako! Ohh that's perfect!".

Yumemi scowled and flicked the ice fairy's wings but whether she was even sober enough to feel it was questionable.

The youkai sage continued before an altercation could take place between the two, "As I was saying, it is a test in your ability to think whilst under pressure. The initial aim is to see how long you can go without being hit by the other's danmaku. Hand to hand combat is also allowed, as are usage of other weapons such as swords but the fundamental rules of the most beautiful danmaku does apply. Anything too undignified like certain holds or biting is grounds for disqualification".

Mokou cracked her knuckles, sending Kaguya a wolfish grin and the princess in turn only blew her a kiss which knocked out the tough bravado in an instant, making her splutter and blush.

"Stupid princess..".

Mokou was finding it problematic to maintain her acrimonious tendencies towards Kaguya over the years. 

"Now, those are the core rules to be adhered to. As for the spell card, only I will have to be notified of which you will choose to use just to make sure they follow some of rules in place. For the crowd and the opponent, it will indeed be a surprise but I will ensure it's not too lethal" she explained and glanced at Eirin who appeared slightly relieved, "I will choose who goes up against each other from those that have agreed to participate". 

Seija grumbled at that but said nothing, eyeing up Reimu with a feral look that made Shinmyoumaru whack her with her mallet lightly. 

The obdurate amanojaku put her hands up in mock surrender and scoffed.

Becoming whipped by an inchling princess was not a part of her grand schemes. 

She figured that beating the ever loving shit out of Reimu, Marisa or Sakuya would have sufficed as a concession for her losses. 

Yukari glanced around to see if any of the information she had provided was being taking in and for the most part of it, majority of the competitors were somewhat coherent as they could handle their alcohol. But that would truly be tested once they got into the proverbial ring. 

She smirked, closing her fan with a gentle tap against her lips, "Any questions?".

"Yeah I gotta question for ya" Tenshi yelled out from her seat on a keystone and Yukari visibly scowled, "Bout that prize..".

The youkai sage figured she would have to be a bit more specific given the many desires Gensokyo's residents had and if Tenshi was the one enquiring, Yukari could only imagine what the more cunning ones had in mind.

"Let me make this clear, anything doesn't mean anything. There are some exceptions which include causing harm to Gensokyo, enhancing your skills/abilities and using your wish to kill someone you hold a grudge against. Tenshi" she replied with added enunciation to her name. 

"Pfft, fuck morals!" someone shouted, the punchable tone sounding much like Jo’on’s. 

"No, fuck you!" Tenshi yelled back, patting a shuddering Shion next to her.

"I bet you would if you weren't screwing my sister!".

"Ha! She's the best there is. Why would I wanna downgrade to a pillow princess like you!". 

Jo'on growled and shook her shades at Tenshi, "Listen here ya motherfu-

"Jo'on, I believe we have had this conversation before, hmm?".

Byakuren's calm and composed voice sent a cold tingle up the effete goddess’s spine as she sat back down, "Sorry".

Yukari sent an appreciative glance to the priestess as she shook her head, concealing a smile at the theatrics already in motion.

This was going to be so much fun.

"Family drama aside, any more questions?".

Meira cleared her throat, bringing the back of her hand to her mouth as her eyes hovered up to see the youkai. 

"No requesting to take the Hakurei Power" Yukari quickly clarified, which Meira nodded in acknowledgement, "Though you could try and court Reimu and marry her. But I have a feeling a certain seven coloured magician and a law abiding princess may have some qualms against that" she laughed softly. 

Meira was seriously thinking about it before a frown from both Kotohime and Alice made her sober up slightly. 

Reimu was too out of it to even realise what had been said. 

It was a wonder how alcohol could turn even the most disciplined individuals to resort to pouting the way the samurai was. 

The efficacy of it was instantaneous. 

Yukari asked again and this time there was a murmur of no and other incomprehensible forms of an answer. She was satisfied with the response so far and floated down, just enough to remain in the air so that everyone could see her but now near to the medical unit where Eirin and the others were.

"You look far too delighted with yourself, Yukari" Eirin stated and earned a ruffle of her fringe.

"Sometimes, I have reasons to be" the blonde replied and planted a kiss on the doctor's cheek, "Let's begin, shall we" she smiled.

Eirin returned it, "I know what you are doing" she thought to herself and signalled to Reisen to make sure that they were prepared. 

If there was one woman who was aware of an inkling of Yukari's mind, it was Eirin and she knew her lover rarely did things without reason.

That was one of the attributes that made the youkai sage a force to be reckoned with; even the most innocuous actions pertained to some sort of result. 

She walked to the bay and examined the gap Yukari left open to Eientei should they need more supplies..or if someone required an emergency operation, whichever happened first.

The blonde was always prepared and Eirin wondered if the participants were as Yukari summoned the first two to fight.

 

Marisa and Yuki 

The two blondes flew, or rather hobbled to Yukari and disclosed which spell card they were going to use and after agreeing, the duo looked at each other, grinning as their glazed over eyes barely registered their surroundings. 

"Ya ready for a short trip back to Makai?". 

Yuki flipped Marisa off, "Bring it, you two bit rate magician".

A resounding 'Ooh' went through the crowd as they made their way into the dome.

"Maybe we should hold a separate competition for the trash talking because I feel like we're going to get some gold ones" Kanako suggested with a grin at the way Marisa and Yuki were glaring at each other.

"It's probably not violent or problematic enough for this one" Yuyuko nudged at the youkai perched on her gap, appearing innocuous. 

"I don't know about that, she thrives off of wordplay too" Eirin murmured and remained on guard after Yukari offered her a seat.

She found herself lifted up in a gap and placed near the youkai, accepting it as a solid reason to make sure she had a clear view of the fight to assess the state of injuries. The lunarian figured that Yukari was aware of her reasonings and she couldn’t deny that it was somewhat of an endearing move for the incorrigible youkai who was watching her with expressive eyes. 

The many faces of Yakumo Yukari would continue to both stump and mesmerise Eirin. 

After a final lingering look at her lover, squeezing her hand in hers, the blonde faced the dome, "Are you both ready?".

She was provided with a nod and a thumbs up, at least she thinks it was a thumb as Yuki wasn't sure which finger she wanted to use given her drunken state.

With another soft chuckle, she commenced the first fight, "Begin!". 

With the tact of Rumia flying through a forest, Marisa somehow managed to steady herself on her broom and flew within the dome towards the other magician. 

Cheers were going through the crowd already as everyone made their bets as to who was going to win.

Given the way that the duo were stumbling around due to intoxication, it was anyone's guess but Marisa's lack of natural flying abilities did give her the disadvantage in the situation. 

Something she realised as soon as they unleashed their spell cards. 

Even Yuki shared the look of dread when the interior of the dome became littered with bullets and orbs and neither got a moment to resume the fighting as they attempted to fly around to evade the barrage.

"Oh shit!" they both exclaimed with regret in their tone. 

Eirin ran a hand down her face; she was now 100% convinced somebody was going to die today. 

The limited space made the manoeuvring borderline impossible as both magicians ducked and weaved with bullets sliding across them in an errant manner. 

Any participant had to have a jolt of temerity to do this sober let alone drunk. 

"Damn it!" Yuki yelled when an obnoxiously large star danmaku ploughed into her way and she barely side stepped it, the edges of her dress burning, "Hey, I liked this dress!".

Marisa shrugged with a snarky grin as she proceeded to fly around in a effort to dodge the onslaught. 

Yukari had been deliberating whether she should've created a barrier where the attacks would have been deflected off of the surface rather than being absorbed like now, for higher stakes of course, but Eirin had shot that down immediately. 

Just like Marisa almost plummeted to the ground when Yuki rammed into her. 

"What the fuck, that's cheatin!". 

"No it isn't, we didn't have your sheltered spell card rules in my time, Marisa" Yuki grinned.

"I know, I was around too ya dummy!". 

"Oh, that so?" Yuki grinned and slurred her words, "Looks like your way too comfy with the 'protection' of the new era. Hah, what a joke" she laughed whilst shifting around the glimmering flames surrounding her. 

Mai could only shake her head at her counterpart's needling nature. 

Marisa steadied her balance of her feet as she dash ahead to Yuki, "Suit yourself" she sneered. 

She swerved around the other magician rapidly, a river of orbs and stars skimming over her but she had a goal in mind to topple the other woman. So Marisa kept going round and round Yuki who attempted to keep up with her and dodge the spell cards when at the right moment, Marisa dipped down suddenly, gripping her hands on her broom and barrelled into the other blonde.

The determination on her face was palpable to Yuki who went wide eyed, unable to escape as she quickly got ploughed into the barrier at a hasty speed.

And out she flew,. 

The bullets stopped immediately as Yuki flew through the purple barrier and landed carefully near the medical bay, the blonde knocked out.

She groaned as Eirin began checking her over. 

Being drunk and thrown at a speed like that was never going to end well. 

"I think I'm gonna be sick".

"Reisen, bucket". 

The lunarian bound up quickly just as Yuki was about release a different type of projectile. 

Yukari concealed a laugh as Eirin shook her head disapprovingly before looking at the magician in the dome. 

"I declare Kirisame Marisa the winner!" Yukari stated with a dramatic sweep of her hand.

The crowd roared with raucous glee as the stumbling blonde flew down, barely landing steadily. 

"I lived through that era too, Yuki" she laughed and raised her hand, waving at the crowd. 

Yukari politely clapped as the victor was given her laurels and it was no surprise as to what Marisa's wish was 

One would think it'd be a steady source of income or food but no, Marisa asked for magic related equipment and research.

"More magical stuff, like tomes and stuff and hic- maybe like a cat" Marisa managed before dropping to the ground. 

Because attempting to cat-nap Ellen and Alice's familiars didn't end well. 

 

The next round consisted of Tenshi and Jo'on.

Though Yukari wouldn't say it out loud, she was rooting for the rebellious celestial. 

The goddess of riches was a little too overbearing for her liking. Then again, Tenshi was at first but it was a different kind of annoying, one Yukari had somewhat acclimated to.

"Are you both ready?" she asked after giving the clear for the spell cards they were going to use. 

The two readied themselves in the ring, sneering at each other as Tenshi twirled her sword. 

"This should take like 4 minutes. 2 minutes to fix my hair, 2 minutes to put her down like the animal that she is" Jo'on shrugged and brushed the rings on her fingers over her shoulder to polish them off, throwing Tenshi a desultory look, "A sober celestial is no match for me so a drunken one should be a breeze" she giggled. 

Tenshi rolled her eyes so hard that she could feel the outer sanctum of her brain, "Wow, you have a bigger ego than Yukari but at least she's hot and has the whole 'can create or destroy anything' gimmick going on" she smirked from ear to ear, "All you do is shine but the last time I checked, you can cover a turd in gold but it will still be a turd underneath". 

"Tenshi.." Yukari shook her head, an amused smirk on her face as Eirin too found the slandering match between the two rebels entertaining. 

It wasn't like Tenshi was incorrect about her paradoxical lover. 

Eirin also found herself on the side of the celestial and though she was inclined to dislike them, Tenshi had shown she was unlike the stuffy heaven dwelling denizens she had encountered before.

"Best of luck to both, begin!" Yukari signalled. 

The dome became alight with glowing silver bullets and solid keystones. 

Coins ricochet throughout with sprinkling orbs which engulfed the vicinity. 

Both attacks combined were coalescing like nebulous dust swirling in space after a defining explosion of a red star. 

Considering how plastered the two were, they seemed coherent enough to dodge better than Yuki and Marisa did. 

But those two were only human. 

There wasn't an iota of space available where projectiles were not present and all they could do for now was circle each other whilst sizing up the area, searching for an opening to eject the other from the match. 

But the conditions made it difficult, even for transcendental beings like themselves.

Still Tenshi really didn't like Jo'on and vice versa which provided the grounds to finally go on the offensive.

So the celestial stepped from keystone to keystone, ubiquitous bullets grazing her bare arms as she raised her sword and cut through some of Jo'on's attack.

The goddess was in the midst of doing the same but she could barely dodge as Tenshi's continuous flow of keystones made it problematic. 

The orange glow of Tenshi's sword became rapid against the slicing of bullets till the two became hard to detect in the mess of the orbs. 

"You're all talk" Tenshi laughed, appearing in front of Jo'on and brought her sword down to her arm, cutting her skin open. 

"Says you!" Jo'on yelled back as a flurry of bullets formed behind her before launching at Tenshi, "You're just a puny celestial, I'm a goddess!" she yelled while making Tenshi glide to the side to avoid the myriad of attacks.

Tenshi didn't relent however, cutting through the orbs whilst avoiding the impact of her own keystones.

She was aware of Jo'on's arrogance but this level was something else in its entirety and she assumed Shion might have been exaggerating but clearly she wasn't.

Like who even treats their sister that way?

"This is for Shion, you fucker!". 

Finding a clearing, Tenshi commanded the array of keystones flying everywhere to circle the goddess before pushing them together, hitting Jo'on over the head and making her plummet to the ground.

A resounding wince went through the crowd at the impact. 

Goddess or not, that had to hurt.

The match was over and the bullets dispersed, leaving the winner in all her glory, flexing her sword in her hands as she gave Shion a wink, "Don't underestimate celestials!".

An unconscious Jo'on was collected and dropped off to the medical bay via a gap, placed on one of the many stretchers as Reisen cleaned her up.

"I'm not sure which pain is going to be more intense, the hangover or the impact of the keystones" Eirin noted. 

Yukari chuckled, "That may apply to everyone, sweetheart".

Eirin was sure she was counting on it. 

Tenshi then joined them, her victory palpable as she requested her wish which was quite unlike her. 

"Make Shion a temple here in Gensokyo so that she can get worshippers". 

How selfless. 

 

Yukari called out the next duo. 

"Kaguya and Kotohime".

"Hey hold up!" Mokou objected and sat up as Keine tried to steady her, "It's my turn with the princess!".

Yukari grinned and rested her gloved knuckles on her chin, "Which one?". 

Mokou stalled for a second, not being able to think clearly as Kotohime and Kaguya smiled far too sweetly at each other, the competitive nature being tangible in their collected demeanour.

"Not to worry Mokou, we have all the time in the world to settle our differences" Kaguya reminded her. 

"Indeed" Kotohime added, face flushed but eyes alight with danger, "This is personal". 

Before Mokou could answer, the two women had headed to the dome, preparing themselves for the decisive battle as to who the true princess was.

Eirin was worrying slightly, her arms folded across her chest as Reisen kept an eye on both Yuki and Jo'on, "It's strange to see her so fired up like this. Even her duels with Mokou have become more of a friendly spar".

"Really?" Okina spoke up incredulously, "I hear they both immolate and decapitate each other when they fight".

Eirin elaborated, "Trust me, Okina, compared to what they used to do to each other, that is friendly".

That was unnerving for the group to be aware of as Yukari smiled. 

"This will good for them both" Yukari reassured and pressed her lover's shoulder, "Perhaps something more will blossom for them after this" she stated in her comforting tone. 

Kaguya could certainly do with some more benignant influences and sparring partners other than Mokou so Eirin shrugged. 

The youkai sage nodded to the combatants, "Begin!".

What was different this time was that neither of them set off their spell cards first. 

Instead, they zipped at each other and began a fist fight.

Safe to say that nobody saw that happening and even Mokou was impressed. 

Meira was relieved that the redhead had actually paid attention to their sparring sessions as she was countering and unleashing her own bombardment of melee attacks on the other princess. 

Kaguya in turn depicted what was years worth of fighting and the skills she had obtained as her hands speedily moved over Kotohime's form, going through her defences. 

To everyone's drunken and sober minds, it looked elegant as fuck.

Rather than the altercation appearing bellicose, their duel was decorous. 

That being said, the two quirky princesses were still in a competition to rough each other up as much as possible and since it wasn't technically out of the rules, Yukari allowed and watched on with interest.

Soon enough though, both were still bibulous, battered and bleeding with imminent lassitude settling in but they weren't done. 

A collision of their arms hitting against each other's bought them face to face, eyes flickering with delight and something shrouded in maniacal lunacy. 

It was the mutual signal to activate their spell cards.

At this point, it would be a case of who would be injured the most as their earlier brawl had consumed most of their energy, leaving the strength to move and deflect barely there. 

The dome became engulfed with a combination of colours, bullets and orbs of all sizes swaying around and so, the grazing game began. 

The intensity of the attacks collided with each other as the two women avoided anymore contact, hoping the other will get tired out and it was a valid method to win. Parading around at the speed they were going and in such a small space was bound to take its toll eventually, which happened now. 

Kotohime's red hair skimmed behind her as the luminescent orbs tracked her every move, immersing herself in the power but no matter what, she couldn't out fly them. They were persistent, searching for her like Kaguya had been using them and cultivating her methods for years.

Which was the case.

Eventually, the fight had to end since the two were panting but the exhaustion settled over Kotohime quicker, her actions lethargic as she continued to sway around the orbs but couldn't dodge them.

A blinding wall of danmaku collided with her when she slowed down, leading her worn form to head towards the floor.

Kotohime may have been the original princess of Gensokyo but she was at the end of the day, only human. 

She fell to the ground to reappear in Reisen's arms who winced when saw the state of the redhead. As bad as it seemed, Reisen was relieved that Kaguya had won, as was Eirin who looked on with an impressed gaze.

Kaguya was elated, all smiles as she waved to her adoring fans, and Mokou now apparently before telling Yukari what she wanted. 

"I'd like the latest games console from the Outside World, if you may. I hear those Touhou Project games are quite popular now".

Because of course that is what she wanted. 

 

The next duo wasn't really that surprising.

Yukari's penchant for pissing Reimu off was the norm, as was competing with the Moriya shrine so having her fight Sanae was inevitable. 

Kanako grinned, "This is clearly going to end well".

"Well, it is essential that our stalwart Priestesses can fight in any condition, wouldn't you agree?".

Yukari's reasons were always skewered with rationale yet trickery but that wasn't new at this point.

"You may need a new one after this, both of you" Byakuren pointed out as Reimu and Sanae circled each other, already in the midst of their trash talking. 

"I suppose you can visit them once they join me in the Netherworld, I'm sure" Yuyuko offered and chuckled into her sleeve. 

Okina beamed at the dark humour. 

She was not entirely wrong in her observations either. 

Yukari smiled and signalled for the duo to begin.

Reimu was banned from using the Fantasy Seal spell. 

That's a handicap.

The brunette flexed her fingers around her gohei as her yin yang orbs spun near by menacingly, "Call it quits now and I'll go easy on ya".

"If you weren't slurring so much, I-hic could almost take you seriously, Reimu".

Clearly Sanae was one to talk as she hobbled in the air, blue eyes also dilated.

"You wanna know what I-I'm gonna wish for?". 

"A new hairstyle? Oversized bows are so PC-98 era".

Kanako face palmed herself but only to contain the snicker as the crowd was shaken by the audacity of Sanae's jibe. It wasn't the first time the woman had made a scathing remark about someone's fashion choice. 

It was a given that somewhere in Hell, Hecatia was rooting for Reimu. 

"I believe this is an instance of the pot calling the kettle black given Sanae's own hair ornaments" Alice commented to group, "Reimu is not going to go easy on her now".

Nobody messes with Reimu's bow, that's like a staple.

Reimu cracked her knuckles, summoning her pugnacious manner and pointed her gohei at the other woman, "Oh you are so done for now. I'm gonna beat you up so bad that y-ya gonna end up back in the Outside World!".

"Yeah, then maybe I can pick up a new and smaller bow for you!" Sanae giggled like she wasn't in the midst of a fight.

"That does it". 

The gauntlet was set and the duo sent out their spell card attacks, enclosing the dome in ripples of firepower.

Crimson and verdant collided, forming miniature explosions wherever they met as the two moved around the air space. 

Given the inebriated state Sanae and Reimu were in, the two could just about manoeuvre effectively, the obvious loss in their cognitive traits glaring when Reimu almost crashed into the barrier herself and ended up head first into cluster of small bullets.

"Ouch..".

She winced as Sanae doubled over laughing, "Wow, that was weak!".

"Not as weak as you ya frog wearing snake!".

"Is that true, Suwako? Do you wear Kanako?" Okina ribbed the smaller goddess. 

Kanako shook her head, "More like the other way round".

"If that's what you want to tell people" Suwako grinned. 

The discussion was closed when the two priestesses headed for each other to engage in a brief fight before Reimu dashed under Sanae and appeared behind her to hook her arms around Sanae's neck, putting her in a headlock. 

Just as she was about to lock on, Sanae bit her upper arm at the same time. 

It wasn't the most graceful of moves but they were utterly shit faced so it had to suffice, much to the amusement of the group though Yukari sighed and lifted her fan up to signal the end of the fight. 

Sanae retaliated and bit Reimu's arm to free herself, not seeing the youkai sage's action, "Hey!". 

"Reimu, Sanae, that will do" she stated, "You're both disqualified".

"What?!". 

Sanae's teeth were still lodged in Reimu's arm which made the scene more hilarious than it should have been. 

"You both broke the rules at the same time. I believe I made it clear: no burly holds and no biting". 

The two priestesses groaned as a ripple of laughter went through the spectators at their antics.

Safe to say that both Kanako and Yukari were disappointed by their priestesses, shaking their heads when the two flew down in front of them, glowering at each other.

"She bit me first!".

"Well she put me in a headlock!".

"Disqualified" Yukari said sternly, though her face was breaking its serious nature when Eirin chuckled. 

It was almost as if the blonde was counting on a more entertaining form of a fight as opposed to the other ones that had occurred. 

Yukari was well aware of what Reimu and Sanae were capable of already so the lighthearted setting of the round was just a filler fight. 

 

After the surprise disqualification of the priestesses, a few more high octane battles ensued that kept the crowd jeering through the night.

Suika and Yuugi's fight was as chaotic as one could expect from two robust oni, both using their brawn to launch each other into the firing line since they could handle the direct impact of the attacks. Yukari's rule did mean that Suika couldn't grow but that didn't hinder the small oni whatsoever as she opted to grab Yuugi's horn and catapult her to the side of the dome. 

Yuugi's couldn't halt the impact even if she tried, which she did, and ended up flying through to her defeat. 

Suika's wish consisted of alcohol related matters, as per usual. Apparently she had heard of certain tastes of the Outside World that she wanted to dabble in. For experimental purposes. 

Following that, a match between Flandre and Koishi had erupted with a curious Kokoro watching on with what was definitely mild anxiety as Mamizou tried to reassure her that both would be fine. Watching the two fight in the most unusual yet sporadic of ways was quite the spectacle, a reminder to the crowd that neither were a force to be trifled with. Flandre was barred from using her four of a kind attack but it wasn't even necessary as her physical strength and speed as a vampire overpowered Koishi. It lead to the satori flying to the ground, though she seemed unaffected by the damage. 

Flandre's wish entailed demanding more time from Remilia, the older sister not having much of a choice and she relented which made her wonder if Yukari had something to do with that in a more deeper sense. 

The duel after that was between Murasa and Futo, one for the supposed dignity of their factions. Byakuren frowned upon that but she knew it couldn't be helped as Miko shared the same sentiments. Despite this, it proved to be an entertaining fight with more curse words in both archaic and modern languages and less grazing. Even when the two managed to get up in each other's faces as a whirl of bullets flew around them, the tension simmered. Which led to them both making out because of course it was unresolved sexual tension, isn't it always? 

Neither required a request from Yukari so the blonde did them a favour and gapped them back into the Myouren Temple for some alone time.

Rika and Nitori were up next in which it was discovered that the engineer was an angry drunk and poor Nitori didn't stand a chance in both their claims regarding technology and just basic common sense. Rika had a lot of pent of bitterness given her loss many, many, many years ago and clearly she was still irritated about it so it wasn't anything personal against the kappa but just, fuck Gensokyo. She did total Nitori, the frightened kappa being chased around the dome with a furious Rika on her tail till Nitori called it quits and bound out of the barrier and to Eirin's medical bay.

Since taking over Gensokyo wasn't a wish Yukari was going to grant, Rika settle for more access to engineering tools, specifically those from the Outside World. The youkai sage had a feeling she'd have to keep an eye on the disgruntled woman. 

The match between Mokou and Letty was an intriguing one given that it was a battle of the elements. Since she couldn't fight Kaguya, Mokou's annoyance had faded away to provide one of the least deadly matches since Letty had a handle of her drinking. The combination of ice and fire proved to be a spectacular show with both women careening and moving with ease. The immortal's pain tolerance led to her being able to take the attacks and ultimately she had won once Letty had succumbed to exhaustion.

Wishing for death on your already immortal enemy wasn't a possibility so Mokou settled with having her hut go through a makeover to keep out the pesky lunarian princess. 

The night went on with a few more matches till Yukari decided that there would be one final round. 

 

The final match was going to be a little different as opposed to what had been occurring so far.

She caught the crowds attention again, snapping her fan in thought as her eyes raked over the group. Most were still functional but some had already passed out before they could fight which made the whole procession for her next selection easier. The blonde was quite surprised to see two combatants in particular partaking in this but she had a feeling their mistresses had something to do with it, well, maybe one did. 

"Now, for the final round, we are going to have a team battle match".

A chorus of excited exclamation ran through at the prospect of such a match and even Eirin was curious as to what her lover had in mind. She glance back to see how many empty beds they would need as the others were still recuperating.

A few shouts ran through the crowd that wanted to participate and Yukari chuckled teasingly, "I admire your eagerness but this match has already been decided" she explained as she motioned for the four to reveal themselves.

Yumeko, Youmu, Meira and Sakuya.

All four were in the mildly drunk category and therefor could certainly function more than the other participants had as they hovered into the air and approached Yukari.

"A sword fight, of course" Eirin stated, "Reisen, please replenish the antiseptics and bandages please".

The lunarian looked on warily at Youmu who offered her a reassuring smile, "On it. Master. Is this really okay?" she asked.

"Yes, Yukari, is this really okay?" she repeated with a brow up much to the amusement of the blonde.

"Why indeed it is, you two. They are not as intoxicated as the other competitors and I've increased the size of the dome a tad to accommodate the extra bodies".

"Bodies?!" Reisen panicked, her worry for Youmu spiking as Yuyuko spoke up. 

"Youmu will be fine, Reisen, she has Sakuya fighting with her" she reassured.

Naturally, Yuyuko knew what Yukari was thinking.

"Since it is the finale, why not give everyone a show, hmm? And what better way than the clashes of swords and knives" she stated before turning her eyes to the four women opposite her, "Please reveal your spell cards".

Her violet eyes ran through them all, humming with wonder before she stopped at Sakuya.

"No time shenanigans".

"Duly noted" Sakuya replied easily, "I am aware that it would be too much of a leverage for me".

"And Yumeko, no drawing any energy from Shinki, that would be truly unfair" Yukari smirked as the demon maid feigned annoyance.

"While your means of doing things may be underhanded, I can admire your desire to have a relatively clean match. Lady Shinki has assured me as much".

One couldn't help but to wonder how many agreements Yukari and Shinki were embroiled in but that was a mystery for another day.

"Youmu, Meira?".

The samurai had sobered up considerably but the tell tale signs of her inebriated state were there, as was the same for Youmu.

"Your selection is fine to go ahead with" Yukari divulged, "The rules remain same as the prior but with the changes that if one of you loses, you both lose".

"That seems applicable" Meira nodded to Yumeko, "And the request if the team should win?".

"Both participants of the winning team will get to request something from me..though in all honesty, I'm not quite sure what Yumeko will ask for" the blonde answered, peering at the demon.

"It will be something on behalf of my mistress".

"What could a demon queen goddess need that she doesn't have?" Yukari replied. 

Alice had a sinking feeling as to what the request might entail and felt a tad guilty, more so when Reimu unceremoniously poked her cheek, "Told ya you should visit her more often".

"Yes, yes" the magician replied with a chuckle and looked up at the teams, "Good luck".

"Thank you, princess" Yumeko smiled before schooling her features back into reserved expression and faced Yukari, "Well, let's begin shall we".

Yukari gave them the clear to approach the dome which allowed them in as the rush of excitement was palpable over the area.

The final round was bound to be something rather unexpected and spectacular given its participants. 

All bets were on the four as they readied their weapons, Sakuya opting to wield two daggers since she won't be able to use her time based attacks. She signalled to Youmu to ready herself as they picked a target to shadow through the fight, Yumeko and Meira doing the same.

Once they were ready, Yukari signalled for them to start, "Begin!".

4 spell cards went off simultaneously. 

Despite the dome increasing in size, the sheer amount of bullets from each woman took up the space instantly, the battlefield becoming a minefield. 

They had to reposition themselves first, locating a clear path from the projectiles as they zoomed around the dome. It was a flurry of beautiful firepower that was already accumulating more energy with ever collision of each other's attacks. 

Meira and Yumeko were hastily approaching Sakuya and Youmu, speedy yet poised before the two switched targets midway. 

Yumeko had gone for Sakuya and Meira had gone for Youmu.

Sheer surprise took the half phantom as they had in fact deduced that Youmu would stave off Yumeko and Sakuya would handle Meira.

So to see the blur of red and white approach them took them off guard as Meira's sword clashed over Youmu's when the phantom lifted them up to deflect the attack. 

Sakuya had barely managed to slide her own weapons over the sheer strength of Yumeko's form, the woman pressing down against the knives with her left sword till their faces were close. Yumeko remained unreadable but the pulse in her red eyes were feverish which was an indication as to how much she was enjoying this. 

Because it was Yumeko who had requested to partake in this event, much to the worry of her mistress but she understood. 

Pride was at play. 

They were the original maid and demon combo, after all. 

Sakuya shoved forward, dislodging her knives from Yumeko's sword and dashed back, meeting the flare of numerous bullets scraping her back and she winced but she didn't have time to recover as Yumeko slashed at her again. It commenced a fervid battle of their weapons crashing aggressively against each other's. The length of Yumeko's swords were at her advantage which hardly gave Sakuya enough time to manoeuvre while avoiding the deathly orbs dancing around her.

Youmu wasn't fairing any better with Meira as even if the samurai had one sword, there was so much elegance in her form and the way she implemented her slashes. She was well timed with each stroke and could read Youmu whenever she tried to strike back. But Meira intercepted them all as she delivered numerous fast paced stabs before kicking Youmu backward, almost hitting the barrier though Youmu ducked away from the edge. 

Anyone that was alert and coherent were enraptured into the battle as the four gave it their all, going round for round as blood splattered the grounds.

Under the crescent moon, it looked ethereal.

The glimmer of their silver swords.

The stunning bullets surrounding them.

The collision of each of their attacks.

It was picturesque. 

There was so much on the line, at least for the two maids to defend their titles, so to speak.

It wasn't about the wish per se, not anymore.

With a stroke of luck, Youmu had managed to one up Meira when she lurched forward, giving Youmu's agile form the chance to slip around her and slash the samurai behind her leg, opening up a large gash. Meira clenched her teeth but kept her cool as she zipped around to face Youmu, only to be met with a number of stray green bullets, almost blinding her as she gasped, holding her arm in front of her face which scalded the skin there. Youmu took that as an indication to continue attacking the other swordswoman who was haphazardly dodging now as she scrambled backwards in the air to escape. She was further thrust into the firing line of more danmaku, including her own which delivered more gashes to her body.

Sakuya too had managed a turnabout with the demon, using the shortness of the knives as an advantage to get closer to Yumeko who felt a crushing blow to her upper arm, underestimating Sakuya's right knife in aiming for her. With the knife wedged in Yumeko's arm, she twisted it to puncture the demon further, right where her upper arm and shoulder met. The attack was enough for Yumeko to free her arm by pulling to the side which elicited a sickening squelch, catching Sakuya's blue eyes alight with a hidden glee. She pulled away before Sakuya's left knife connected with her face which led a thin red line to appear on her cheek bone as her arm wept with blood.

It was close, a tie breaker, a supposition as to who could win and Yukari looked on eagerly at the sheer display of power being put out.

It was impressive as to how long the four would continue fighting with both teams taking the upper hand many times.
 
They switched targets half way.

Meira and Sakuya didn't hesitate as they clashed all over the place, the sizzle of their weapons between them forming beautiful sparks. Sakuya was bleeding profusely from her wound on her stomach, a well time slash from the samurai rendering her immobile, almost dropping her knives when she felt the brunt of the woman's sword pierce her flesh again in the same area. 

Youmu could just about hold off Yumeko who was partially injured as it was but she didn't relent. Even her injured arm did not seem to stop her as their dual weapons hammered against each other's, slicing danmaku in the process to get to the flesh of the other's bodies and several times was Youmu caught at the tip of the woman's sword digging into her skin. 

Everyone viewing the fight was on edge, including the rowdy bunch watching the battle continue developing. 

Who would win was as good as anyone's guess at this point since all four seemed to be on par with each other. They depicted skill when evading both bullets and melee attacks despite being injured, a testament to their strengths and crafts. 

The sight was commendable and regardless of who lost, they would all leave knowing that they had proven themselves ten times over. 

But at the end of it, there could only be one victorious team.

Sakuya and Youmu had a game plan in mind as Youmu went on the defensive and flew away from Yumeko's torrent of attacks, flowing along with the bullets as Sakuya kept Meira busy.

Whichever way one looked at it, humans were not going to win against youkai, certainly not a demon like Yumeko.

Both Sakuya and Youmu had realised that, especially given that they were at their max capacities and could only use one spell card.

So they hatched a plan which would come to fruition now.

Yumeko's strikes were persistent and it did the job required as Youmu rounded the curve of the violet dome, flying against it all the way to the top till she could barrel roll around which put enough distance between her and Yumeko.

The vampire's maid had continued pushing Meira to her limits, using close combat with her knives which were hard to block considering the length of her sword and all Sakuya had to do now was wait for Youmu to dash back to her. 

Since Meira's attention was on her, she didn't see Youmu flying towards them at full speed

More so since her sword was horizontal, blocking Sakuya's knives which required the woman to place her palm over the end of her sword, the sharp edge sinking into her skin. 

She could barely fight off Sakuya and soon, the additional presence of both of Youmu's swords made it impossible to continue her push back.

Youmu slammed her swords down onto Meira's which in turn allowed her and Sakuya to thrust forward and essentially topple the samurai out of the dome before Yumeko could even reach them. 

It was all orchestrated in the manner of seconds. 

The final match was over. 

Meira plummeted through the barrier and into the medical bay.

It was over.

A moment of silence was tangible before the entirety of the Scarlet Devil Mansion erupted in cheer, bringing everyone back into reality as to what had happened.

Sakuya and Youmu had won.

The scene was alight with humans and youkai applauding the duo who were breathless in the dome, the barrier glowing vividly before fading away into the dark night.

"We..won?" Youmu asked tentative, clasping her hand over her sliced waist as Yumeko flew to them whilst clutching her arm.

Sakuya could only laugh softly, shaking her head, "I believe we did, Youmu".

Youmu was clearly on a winning streak, wasn't she? 

Yumeko smiled, "Congratulations, you both were worthy opponents" she humbly offered.

Sakuya and Youmu were relieved that the demon held no hard feelings, nor did Meira by the looks of it as she was being tended to by Reisen, the lunarian positively glowing at their win.

"Thank you, as were you" Sakuya replied, "Me and the mistress are happy to continue the torch that you and your mistress passed on".

"That is certainly apparent now, you've both done well" Yumeko nodded and exhaled before assessing a sword coated with blood, "I can confirm that on behalf of my mistress".

Youmu grinned and patted Myon beside her, jittery with excitement as the trio went to Yukari who looked pleased with herself as usual.

The billowing of the wisps of air around her gaps boasted a sense of hidden power, fuelling the darkness within her gap and it was quite the sight. 

"What a remarkable duel, I expected nothing less from the four of you" she applauded, "The match was riveting to spectate".

"Indeed, well done Youmu" Yuyuko beamed, "I'm proud of you".

"Thank you, Lady Yuyuko" Youmu bowed and was filled to the brim with the warmth flowing through her. 

Remilia was already on her way from what Sakuya could see and it there was one being that knew how to gloat, it was the vampire. She chuckled at the sight of her already smug smile as she delivered her praise over the maid, a small but prevalent blush forming on Sakuya's cheeks.

Remilia was courteous to Yumeko and Meira too which was quite something but it was a given since everyone was in good spirits, and luckily not the actual kind. 

The youkai sage let them all have a breather before getting down to the remaining matter at hand. 

"Youmu, Sakuya, the two of you have earned a request or favour for me that I shall grant. Do you know what you would like?".

The duo exchanged a glance and then shared the same knowing look with Yumeko and Meira. 

Sakuya and Youmu had already been discussing the potentials of what they would change or add in Gensokyo should they receive a chance to and said occasion had come to fruition in the form of Yukari's competition. 

The craft of wielding a sword wasn't as widespread as they would have liked, nor was it taught as often and from the cheering crowds that were expressing their eagerness of wanting to wield a blade, it only felt natural that the four could create a space for that. 

It was an endeavour that all those that fought with a sword such as Tenshi, Momiji and even Miko could provide a place and share their expertise on the matter. 

So they pitched the idea to the youkai who agreed with their request, another selfless one at that. 

Yukari also knew it would be beneficial in the long run if the inhabitants of Gensokyo were a tad more knowledgeable in combat.

And so, Gensokyo's first school of swords was created, a place where those who wanted to hone their skills and those who wanted to learn could train with access to weapons and grounds.

Yukari was not surprised at all. 

"As you wish" she smiled enigmatically. 

***

The night had finally come to an end as the crowds began to disperse, leaving behind a few stragglers who were far too out of it to move safety.

Yukari was in charge of gapping them home, a strict order from Eirin so she was in the midst of doing that. 

"Can you form an orderly line and please collect your person and their medication" Eirin instructed, "Any further check ups that I have recommended need to be seen to on the date of their appointment" .

The care takers, friends and spouses of the injured participants waited for further instructions. 

Yumeko and Mai had collected Yuki. 

Kotohime and Meira were aided by Rikako, Yumemi and Chiyuri. 

Byakuren took Jo'on back to the temple, much to the brunette's dismay. 

As for Reimu and Sanae, the duo were fast asleep as Alice and Kanako scooped them up to take them home. 

After that was taken care of, everyone returned home with another memory of an eventful day, courtesy of Yukari.

Said youkai had returned to Eientei with Eirin, both seated on the steps and sharing a drink.

They were silent for a while, simmering in the comfortable silence as a sanguine Yukari remained on Eirin's lap, her back pressed against the lunarian's chest whilst they watched the haunting glow of the crescent moon above them. 

With the running around and repairing that Eirin had to do, the woman certainly had her work cut out for her thanks to the mischievous blonde. 

"Yukari, next time you have a bright idea like that..actually, no, I don't think telling me in advance would be beneficial at all" she laughed when violet eyes that were glazed turned to her, "Was it what you intended it to be?".

The blonde sipped from her glass as she relished in the flavour of the wine, the results of the duel and Eirin's warm presence under her. 

As is with anything surrounding the sage, Yukari's goals were never transparent, never simple. 

She was too unpredictable, even for a youkai and from time to time, Eirin too had a hard time reading her.

"Well, I was hoping you would be on board regardless. It is as beneficial for me as it is for you".

"Is that so?".

"Indeed". 

The doctor sipped her tea before coming to a conclusion, "So it was test, an analysis for you. Pitting them together". 

She could feel Yukari's smile in response and all Eirin could do was sigh, both in absurdity and appraisal. 

Yukari followed Eirin's gaze up to the sky, nestling her fingertips over her shoulder when she shifted to the side as the late night felt like a stark comparison to what had happened earlier when they were surrounded in commotion, bullets and energy.

Now, it was just the two of them, hidden away as the residents of Eientei were most likely asleep. 

Eirin wanted to deconstruct what had happened, why and what would come to be. 

"I believe it is essential for me to measure the strengths and weaknesses of those that can be both a threat and an ally".

Eirin raised a silver brow, "Is that why you mixed up the teams like so? A few simple rounds like Kaguya going against Kotohime to the more destructive ones like Saki and Yachie?". 

The blonde grinned and brushed her knuckles down Eirin's arm that was placed over her knee, "Ah, so you did figure it out".

"There is a method to your madness usually, that much I do know. It took a bit of thinking as to whom was fighting and why to figure out where you were going with this, barring the entertainment purpose".

"Well, everyone had a pleasant time in the process despite my intentions, which is nice, don't you think? Youkai and humans together, the very essence of Gensokyo". 

Eirin couldn't deny her eccentric lover's strategy. 

It was a land built upon the premise of give and take, primarily for youkai to exist in a safe haven. 

That was Yukari's goal. 

Gensokyo's balance was on a preciously placed scale.

She had gathered that much after years and years of watching the way each incident and addition of new faces would instil a sort of uncertainty in Yukari, Okina and Kasen. 

The whole creation of it was fascinating considering the way the lunar society worked, which was somewhat different despite having the same principles of being landlocked, away from the prying eyes of the humans and with a very delicate hierarchy. 

Gensokyo was delicate, an infant in comparison to the Lunar Capital so everything that Yukari was doing was still technically a process of trial and error. 

"That being said, was it necessary for them to be drunk. What was your underlying goal for that, Yukari?" the sage enquired .

"Well, I suppose the purpose of that was.." Yukari sighed, appearing serious with her eyes closing for a brief moment, feeling Eirin's gaze on her and then she grinned with alacrity, "What could be more entertaining than witnessing humans and youkai stumbling around while trying not to get killed?".

Eirin groaned into her hand at the childish but not entirely shocking response "You're unbelievable at times, do you know that?".

"I take that as a compliment now" Yukari chuckled with mirth, "Speaking of which, why are you drinking tea. Wouldn't you prefer something stronger?" she enquired while making a show of drinking her imported (stolen) wine, tipping the glass back smoothly, "May I offer you a drink?".

"You may not. I think there has been enough alcohol consumption here today to last a millennia, Yukari". 

"Hmm, you say that but I insist, this brand is positively divine".

Eirin grinned and leaned back on her hands, "I'm sure"

"Darling, I insist that you try some".

Not that Eirin would get a chance to refuse it as Yukari chugged the contents of her glass and then proceeded to topple the goddess onto the ground, giving her a taste of said beverage. 

Eirin rolled her eyes, feeling the sweetness coat her lips and mouth as she feigned annoyance whilst wrapping her arms around Yukari's waist. 

When the youkai wanted something, it wasn't often that she did not obtain it. 

Such was the frightening abilities of an entity like Yakumo Yukari.