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Yougakudan Chapter: Story of Eastern Wonderland

Chapter Text

Expanded History of Yougakudan, Part 3

By Hieda no Akyuu

The purpose of this collection of various media and samples taken from Gensokyo’s old and scantly visited regions is to analyze the importance of its forgotten past. The hope is that not only will some quirks in the present world be explained but predict future anomalies as well.

In a prior endeavor, interviews for each citizen of Makai involved with the Mystic Square Incident were commissioned. Forgotten details of the demon’s world were recounted and marked and its connections to present-day Gensokyo were solidified.

However, as Makai is distinctly separate from Gensokyo, no ties between the band Yougakudan and Makai were found. This does not make for a fruitless venture, however, as a substantial amount of information was detailed. To fully understand Gensokyo’s history, it is necessary to understand the connections of its neighbors, be it Makai, the Lunar Capital, or the Outside World. Currently, though, it is uncertain whether if Yougakudan has any true influence or connection to the past. The absolution of records from both the Gensokyo Chronicle and Keine Kamishirasawa’s collected history is still in question, which leads into the next piece of collected media.

A book was donated to the Hieda Estate for investigation. It initially resided within Suzunaan, given to the librarian there due to its presence as a peculiar work of fiction. The book is titled The Far-Away Story of Eastern Paradise. The cover is made from cloth and is completely blank save for the title. The paper is standard stock. Its condition is good, with no imperfections obscuring the pages. What is curious, however, is the lack of an author detailed anywhere in the book.

What is told in the book is a simple story made for a younger audience. The narrative is told in the third person, said narrative covering the adventures of the protagonist dubbed “Yume.” A few crude images accompany events in the story showing depictions of various characters. The style of which characters are portrayed imitates a “chibi” style found from media in the Outside World, where they have larger heads and stubbier bodies. The existence of the “Yume” character necessitated a consultation with Reimu Hakurei due to similarities in appearance.

After said consultation, it was discovered that every event detailed in The Far-Away Story of Eastern Paradise is a slightly altered retelling of the events of Reimu’s first solved incident, one that lacks a title. Said incident involved the evil spirit Mima who had attempted an overhaul of Gensokyo’s foundation, threatening to take control. She was stopped before any considerable damage could be done. According to Reimu, the characterizations and sequence of events in this story were exaggerated for entertainment value.

Marisa Kirisame, Mima's former apprentice, was also given a different name in this novelization, being referred to as "Eliza." An attempt was made to contact Marisa about this piece of literature as well. However, she was not available for a meeting.

Strangely, no other characters have altered names in the work. Locations are also not censored, with the exception of there being no substitute name for the Hakurei Shrine.

No such attempt at contact was made to find Mima herself by the Hieda Estate or Reimu. The spirit has been missing since the Mystic Square Incident. There are no records of her past then, even in areas such as the Netherworld where one would look to find a spirit. Her whereabouts have remained a mystery. Due to the continued collaboration with Gensokyo’s sage, Okina Matara, another investigation has been opened to figure out the cause and reasoning behind Mima’s disappearance. Based on her history, leaving such a character unsupervised could pose a risk towards Gensokyo.

What is to be detailed here is a transcription of The Far-Away Story of Eastern Paradise. Any images that were to appear will be accompanied by a descriptor instead. The drawings may be recreated but capturing the imagery may be considered forgery if the author were to reveal themselves. For those concerned about the literature itself, it will be donated back to Suzunaan after transcription and preserved there.

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The Far-Away Story of Eastern Paradise

Humble Beginnings in Chaos

[Depicted: The “Yume” character standing under a shrine’s awning. Her hair is purple and tied in a large ponytail. She adorns a white kimono outfitted with a red hakama. Next to her is a large turtle who is asleep, complimented with floating ZZZs. He has features indignant of an elder, those being bushy gray eyebrows and a long, wispy beard. The sky is blue with a cartoonish sun hanging atop the torii.]

Our story begins like many others. On a bright, sunny afternoon, Yume and her beloved pet Genjii are relaxing at the little miko’s shrine. She had been training for hours beforehand, so it was time for a break! Old Genjii cannot keep his eyes open, leaving Yume to herself. She thinks of snacks, of a dip in the hot springs, and of many more goods she cannot afford.

However, this wonderful, peaceful day would not last for long. Before Yume can think of dozing off, she hears something from right above her. The sound of thunder rumbles through the air, scaring her senselessly. She wonders what in the world could be making such a sound when there is not even a cloud in the sky. The earth shakes beneath her feet, the young shrine maiden hardly able to keep her balance. Then, suddenly, a burst of ravenous bakebake erupt from all around the shrine!

[Depicted: An entire page full of bakebake with varying facial expressions. In the middle of them all is Yume who we only see the face of, looking distressed.]

“What's all this!? I won’t be able to sleep with all of this nonsense!” she shouts, stepping a foot onto her pet’s shell. The old man wakes up, wasting precious seconds with his slowness.

“My lady, these youkai act as if they are controlled. I can also sense something unknown to me nearby...” he rambles worriedly, raising his old head, “in any case, I will be accompanying you to see the fruits of your training.”

Yume pouts, now fully stepping onto Genjii’s massive shell. With an arsenal of her ofuda, gohei, and her shrine’s secret Yin-Yang Orb equipped, she feels there is nothing in her path that can stop her! Not even the fact that she cannot fly by herself yet!

[Depicted: Yume standing proudly on top of Genjii’s shell. Her right hand holds her gohei, the left holds three ofuda, and above her is the Yin-Yang Orb.]

Wasting no time at all, Yume and Genjii soar through the waves of bakebake. Try as they may, but the weak spirits are no match for her might. Though, it begs the question, where did these things come from!?

After clearing through a ridiculous number of bakebake, crossing onto a bridge above the river that leads to Genjii’s house, they are greeted by something unthinkable. Yume’s eyes cannot believe what they see. Even old man Genjii is confused by what is in front of him. Was this the unknown he was worried about?

[Depicted: A red tank with its cannon pointed at the protagonists. It is massive in comparison. The sky around it is dark gray.]

“Just what in the heck is that!?” Yume yells, pointing her gohei at the giant heap of metal in front of them. It's all she can say before the strange contraption rears back, blasting from its cannon.

Yet, despite its size, despite its firepower, it's hardly faster than a regular turtle. Genjii, is no regular turtle. On her command, Genjii glides and evades its blast with no issue, giving room for Yume to unleash her true power. Channeling the energy within the Yin-Yang Orb, she unleashes a blast herself, crumbling the iron abomination into dust.

[Depicted: Yume and Genjii hovering over a pile of ash. Yume’s arms are crossed, her face in a pout.]

“For something so big, that was surprisingly easy,” Yume says. She cannot help but feel disappointed. Was that it?

“That is your training paying off, my lady,” Genjii replies gleefully. They cannot get too comfortable, however, as they are bombarded by yet another swarm of bakebake.

Yume groans, now happy with sweeping them all aside like leaves. “This feels like cleanup, hardly the excitement I was hoping for,” she says. “Why are there so many of these stupid things anyways!?”

“My lady, look, at the end of the bridge!” Genjii shouts.

[Depicted: A girl standing over the hatch of another tank, this one having a flower motif. She’s wearing a simple white button-up and shorts. Her hair is brown and put into two neat braids. She bears an ear-to-ear smile.]

“Maybe I, the brilliant inventor Rika, and my Flower Tank can be of assistance!” the girl exclaims, pointing a finger at Yume.

“...Cool!” Yume replies giddily, “you’d be willing to help get rid of them?”

“My lady,” Genjii interjects, “I do not think she wants to be our ally, look at what she is standing on!”

“Can you two shut up!?” Rika yells with anger, pointing a wrench at them. “You didn’t let me finish! It was I who brought those bakebake, and I am here to crush you and your shrine with the awesome strength of my tanks!"

“You think you can crush my shrine on a day like today?” Yume says calmly, readying her weapons. “You’ve got another thing coming, twerp!”

“Twerp!?” Rika says viciously, hopping into her tank, “oh that does it!”

[Depicted: Yume with her arm extended outward. The Yin-Yang Orb is glowing in front of her. Past it is the Flower Tank. It is armed with multiple turrets, shooting a variety of danmaku. Rika is nowhere to be seen, assumedly in the hull. The sky is back to being blue.]

Unlike the earlier weapon, this “tank” was outfitted with way more tricks up its sleeve. Perfect dodges are completely out of the question for them now. Every bullet from the machine is a close call, forcing Yume to cling to Genjii for dear life as they graze each one.

Sadly for Rika, gadgets and gizmos only get you so far. In the face of the determined Yume, it is only a matter of time before these gimmicks are blown away. With expert skill, Yume clogs the gears in the tank with her ofuda. The strategy annoys Genjii, because ofuda are supposed to seal away youkai, not jam machines. It does not matter in the end, as even the second machine from the supposed “brilliant inventor” has failed to stop Yume's guaranteed victory.

Through another mechanism, Rika ejects herself just seconds before her beloved Flower Tank is destroyed. Her vigor has not faded, even when falling.

[Depicted: Rika hanging onto the strings of a parachute, a massive explosion behind her. Despite the circumstances, she is in good spirits.]

“Hah, only a minor setback!” she states, landing on the ground. She points at Yume, issuing another challenge. “A genius such as I doesn’t have just one invention! If you follow me, I’ll show you truly what for!”

“Uhhh,” Yume responds sheepishly, rubbing the back of her head, “can you just tell me why you want to wreck my shrine so badly?”

“To show off my craftsmanship, and who better to test it on than the esteemed heavenly shrine maiden?” Rika asks, scoffing. Not a peep is said for a few seconds, the awkwardness crushing Rika in the end.

“OK fine!” she exclaims, stomping her foot on the ground, “some lady put me up to it, promising me that if I beat you, I’d get to run my tanks all around Gensokyo."

“Whaa!? that’s insane!” Yume states, going slack-jawed. “Do you know her name?”

“I don’t remember, she just promised me all of that,” Rika says tearfully, wiping her eyes, “and I fell for it like a fool.”

“Well, I bet we’re going to be the ones to stop her,” Yume says confidently, tapping her shoe on Genjii’s shell, “come on old-timer, let’s get to the bottom of this mess!”

“It is not like I have a choice, my lady.”

[Depicted: Yume standing on top of Genjii, her gohei pointed straight towards the reader. A white trail is behind them, implying the speed of their flight. A small brown blob in the bottom-left corner of the page is likely Rika watching from afar. There is more detail to the characters on this illustration compared to the others.]

Chapter Text

[Depicted: A very zoomed-out shot of Yume and Genjii floating above a forest’s canopy. A red river runs through the middle of the trees. The sky is black like its nighttime.]

“Gramps,” Yume whines, pinching her nose, “something stinks!”

“To you, perhaps, but I thank my old age,” Genjii chortles joyously, “I cannot smell a thing!”

Yume rolls her eyes, hanging on tight as the two descend deeper into the forest. Yume cannot help but look around, trying to make sense of her surroundings. She had pointed them forward from the shrine without much thought and here they are in this murky, smelly place.

“Hey, Genjii,” she says, looking into the turtle’s tired eyes, “where are we, and why does it reek so bad?”

Genjii turns his head around, stating, “we are in the forest of the Raijuu, a mysterious beast that can control lightning and poison. It must have rained here recently, because what you are smelling may be whatever they fried with their electricity. Like the poor fish in the river.”

“Ew, dead fish!” Yume shouts, putting a hand over her mouth. Before they can discuss rotting fish for much longer, a shadow casts over them in the deep darkness.

[Depicted: A behind view of Yume standing atop Genjii’s shell. In front of her is an Evil Eye about as large as her. They are surrounded by trees and the red glow of the river.]

“Eek!” Yume exclaims, fumbling the gohei in her hands.

“Remain calm, my lady!” Genjii says encouragingly, “this Evil Eye should be nothing to you!”

Yume pouts, effortlessly swinging her gohei at the creature. It disappears without a trace. “Of course I know that,” Yume says, slinging the gohei onto her shoulder, “it just surprised me.” Being one of the lowest forms of youkai, your standard human with a blade could fell an Evil Eye. For this shrine maiden of paradise, it is a walk in the park.

Genjii warns, pressing forward through the forest, “keep yourself sharp, because there are certainly more than just that one around.” Just as the old man had warned, a flock of Evil Eyes appear in the distance. Perhaps angry over their fallen brother, they ferociously swarm Yume and Genjii.

From there, however, it is only a matter of time before they are eliminated like the one that came before them. Be it a swing of her gohei, a flick of her ofuda, or a trouncing by the Yin-Yang Orb, there was not a chance in the world they could take down Yume.

Though, taking down leagues of Evil Eyes does get tiring.

[Depicted: Yume standing in front of a few trees, being the only character present. She is exasperated, frowning while her face drips with sweat.]

“It’d be nice to only have to remove like, three of these things,” she complains while wiping sweat off her brow. She pants, taking a seat once the coast seems clear. They rest at the end of the river, stuck at a dead end pond.

“Being the shrine maiden is not an easy task,” Genjii says lazily, drifting in thought and through the air.

“Tell me about it,” Yume says, shakily standing upright.

Their moment to relax is sweet, yet short. In the dull forest, a bright light flashes, nearly blinding the heroes. When it settles, a figure appears. A woman stands tall, clad in white-red robes befitting of a withered samurai. In her hands, a glistening katana, sharp enough to pierce stone.

“So this is where the shrine maiden has been,” the woman says, glaring at Yume and pointing her sword at her. “I’ve waited a long time for this moment.”

Yume is in stunned silence, looking upward. She feels as if she’s not in danger, her urgency replaced by her endearment.

“I, Meira, will take your power and make it my own!”

[Depicted: A portrait of Meira over a black background. She is surrounded by a pink haze and sparkles. Peculiarly, there is an immaculate amount of detail and realism to this illustration. Meira’s features are exaggerated to make her appear more attractive.]

“My power?” Yume mumbles quietly with a blush on her cheeks. “I wouldn’t mind if you just took me.” That second part was not said so quietly.

“What? I want to take your power, not to take you hostage!” Meira yells, shaking her head. Her blade is still pointed and ready.

“But what if you took me out?” Yume asks, tapping her finger against her chin, “on a date to get lunch, maybe?”

“Wh-what!? Aren’t you shrine maidens not supposed to desire women?” Meira asks in a mix of curiosity and frustration.

Yume retorts confidently, putting her hands on her hips and smiling wide, “yeah, and?”

“My lady,” Genjii interrupts, sounding very tired of these shenanigans. “It is best that you not succumb to her charms. She looks poised and ready to strike.”

“I’ve had enough of this! Ready yourself, for your power is mine to claim!” Meira exclaims, taking up a combat stance.

[Depicted: A side shot of Yume and Meira in a return to the regular artstyle. Yume is standing atop Genjii with her gohei lowered and a blank expression. Meira has a frown with steam coming from her head.]

Being the most agitated by Yume’s misunderstanding, Meira is the first to strike. Quick like the lightning the Raijuu of the forest spit, she dashes at Yume, readying her blade. She’s like a flash, her movements blinding to witness.

Yet, there is a problem with her approach. In a place as wretched as these woods, shining like a diamond gives away your tactics. Before Meira can think to swing her blade, Yume and Genjii steer clear of danger for now.

“I advise you not get too close to her,” Genjii says, moving on his own volition towards the pond’s edge, “that sword could crack my shell open...”

“You’re not being made into turtle soup on my watch!” Yume exclaims, readying the Yin-Yang Orb in her hands. If this devilishly handsome samurai wants her power, she can have it!

The orb in Yume’s hand begins to spin rapidly, mixing the Yin and the Yang to a bold gray. From it, pulses of danmaku emerge, ready to down Meira where she stands.

[Depicted: The Yin-Yang Orb surrounded by spirals of black and white danmaku. Two hands, presumably Yume’s, are on its sides.]

Meira, as determined as she is, still gives chase. Her speed is absurd, enough to weave through even the powerful shrine maiden’s barrage without getting too injured. Her robes are burned and some of her skin is scraped, but the steady swordswoman will not falter. She bursts, swinging her blade at Yume once more. Another narrow miss.

“That can’t be the true extent of your strength!” Meira shouts, not hesitating on her next strike. None are more talented at grazing than Yume in this instant, as not a purple hair on her head has been cut. The opening has presented itself for her as Meira’s stuck in recoil.

Despite not being a proficient close-quarters fighter, Yume knows when to take her chances. Part of being a pro shrine maiden is juggling your tools correctly. In this instance, Yume switches from the Yin-Yang Orb to her trusty gohei and spares no mercy before jabbing it into Meira’s side.

It’s a perfect hit and Meira hunches. In rapid succession, Yume switches to her Yin-Yang Orb again, using its limitless power to accomplish one goal: hitting her on the head. Not too rough, she wouldn’t want to damage a pretty face like this, but someone has to be put on time out. Another successful strike. Meira tumbles, going in free fall towards the water. Not before her hand is grabbed by Yume, being upheld just inches above the pond.

“Miss Meira, what put you up to this?” Genjii inquires with a frown.

Meira coughs, barely clinging onto Yume. She musters the strength to glare at the old turtle, scowling.

[Depicted: A black silhouette hanging behind an injured Meira. Thin white eyes and a devious grin are visible.]

“I was told by a spirit that if I took down the shrine maiden, I’d receive her strength,” Meira says hoarsely. Genjii lowers, getting everyone onto solid ground. Unfortunately for Yume, this means her and Meira’s hands must part.

“A spirit? Do you recall her name?” Genjii asks, now deep in thought.

“She went by... Mima, I believe.”

“Mima!?” Genjii shouts, showing the most emotion he’s had in years.

[Depicted: The same silhouette with Mima completely filled into it. She’s in full display, wielding a crescent-shaped scepter in front of a purple flame.]

“My lady,” he continues, instantly rising high in the sky, “we must make haste! That dastardly Mima is up to no good!” Meira is left alone to recover, finding a moment of peace after that mayhem.

Yume murmurs to herself, crossing her arms. “Her hand was so rough... but I didn’t want to let go.”

To no one’s surprise considering the circumstances, she was not paying a lick of attention.

“She didn’t care for a word he said,” Meira whispers to herself, standing upright and putting a hand on her hip. “What an interesting girl.” Through aches and pains, Meira walks away, ready to head home herself.

“Did you understand me?” Genjii asks frustratingly, scanning the treetops for where to go next. If it’s Mima’s doing, somewhere with a high magical reading or spiritual power is the place to be.

“Something something Mima, correct?” Yume asks with not a hint of urgency in her voice.

“Yes... let us depart from here, I believe the stench must have gotten to your head.”

[Depicted: Yume sitting on Genjii with her head in her hands with notably rosy cheeks. A thought bubble with Meira’s face floats above her head. Genjii has a puff in front of his face to indicate a sigh.]

Chapter Text

[Depicted: A small silhouette of Yume and Genjii floating atop a variety of colors. The colors are arranged in waves and swirls, giving a mystifying feel.]

“Well, it appears we found a realm of magic and wonder,” Genjii says, looking down at the mysterious void below them. For once, this wise elder is stumped. There’s magical energy surging, yet there’s nothing physical to witness here. He’s content to stay afloat, because falling down there doesn’t appear to bode well.

“It’s so pretty,” Yume replies, clinging to the edge of Genjii’s shell, staring straight down as well. For her young mind, the vibrant colors are nothing like she’s ever seen.

“Be wary!” Genjii exclaims sternly, scolding Yume in as few words as possible. She moves to sit in the center of the turtle. As they soar forward, Genjii continues to wrack his brain. Such a place shouldn’t exist here, so why is it like this now? He followed his senses to bring him and Yume somewhere where Mima must have interfered, but could she really be so powerful to warp a landscape like this?

Then, little did he know, his three hearts would drop.

[Depicted: A collage showing various different locations. The locations are a red-carpeted foyer, a blue-tiled fortress, a temple covered in a red haze, and a room that is empty save a blue torch.]

He cannot believe what he is seeing.

“Yume,” he states with wide eyes, “we rest on the border of the Dream World, Makai, and much more.”

“Ma-what now?” Yume asks, tilting her head.

“Just know that Mima is tearing our very realm apart, attempting to merge it with others,” he explains with fear in his voice. This is likely the first time Yume’s heard the old man so panicked.

“Well, then that’s more reason to stop her in her tracks then, right?” Yume says, scratching the back of her head. She’s offset by his attitude. If Genjii’s nervous, she feels like she should also be nervous.

Genjii shakes his head, taking in a deep breath. “She must have grown much more powerful than all that time ago... behind our backs, too.”

“Old-timer, heads up!” Yume exclaims, whipping out her gohei.

[Depicted: A behind shot of Yume, in front of her being two red orbs. Each one is as large as her, both scribe with a sharp, gray X in the middle.]

“My apologies, my lady,” Genjii replies, gearing into battle. It’s a good thing he snapped out of his fearful trance, as the strange entities in front of them start to move. They zip quickly across the air, moving so erratically that theyre hard to keep track of. Even that samurai’s speed was easier to track than these things.

Once they close the distance on Yume and Genjii, they immediately blast streams of white danmaku. Not being so lucky this time around, they both eat a fair share through their movements. Not enough to knock them down, however!

“Agh!” Yume shouts, gritting her teeth. The danmaku thrown by these things isn’t what she’s used to. It burns, smoking her kimono and her skin. It’s moments like this where she wishes she had a shell.

“Just what are these things!?” she continues shouting, gripping a handful of ofuda. Like a ballet dancer, she spins on one foot, flicking the seals as she does so. A couple of them landed on target, making the plan clear in her head. If they’re going to fly randomly, so should she!

Genjii reluctantly spins with Yume, groaning under his breath. “I do not know, do you have a plan?”

“Yeah, it’s called not having one! Get moving!”

[Depicted: Yume with her fingers on her chin looking upward. Above her is a slot machine trapped in a thought bubble, the slots having icons for a gohei, ofuda, and a Yin-Yang symbol.]

The next object in her rotation is the Yin-Yang Orb. She tosses it above her head and it floats per her mental demand. With it, she calls upon the might of her ancestry, rays of light shooting out. Genjii, as per her vocal demand, flies around like a bug. The red orbs themselves almost mimic their pattern, but unlike Yume, they can’t toss as many danmaku as her. In a war of random chance, the more experienced gambler wins.

Beams shoot through the red orbs like butter, the punctures doing them in. They pop like balloons with confetti, congratulating the heroine on her quick-witted plan.

“That was scary..!” Yume huffs, putting a hand on her chest. Her heart’s beating with a fear she hasn’t felt in a while, but that’s for a good reason. Genjii floats them back to where they were heading, with something new peeking over the horizon.

Genjii remains silent, his bushy brows furrowed. The impending structure in front of them is not helping much at all.

“Genjii,” Yume says softly, sighing through her nose, “what’s got you so worked up? You’re never this antsy.”

“This is nothing like I have ever seen before,” he says, slowly shaking his head. “I worry Mima has grown too powerful for us to take down if she is able to terraform the land like this.”

Before he can finish another thought, Genjii’s head is met with a light thud from the end of Yume’s gohei.

“I didn’t spend all this time training to lose to that old hag, you hear!” Yume exclaims, steam coming from her ears.

“Yes, but...” Genjii mumbles, cutting himself off. “Let us argue this later, I believe we have a larger problem at hand.”

[Depicted: A giant, grey cobblestone wall. Atop it are five silver stone balls balanced carefully on conical stands. Each one has a color hovering above it, a small symbol for an element inside. They are: fire (red), ice (blue), lightning (yellow), earth (green), and stars (white). In front of it are Genjii and Yume, dwarfed in comparison.]

“Ugh!” Yume huffs, putting the Yin-Yang Orb into her hand again. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Mima or this stupid brick wall, nothing’s getting in my way! My sunny day wasn’t ruined for nothing!”

In no time flat, the two begin to scale the massive monolith. Half-way through, the bombardment begins. One of the five magic stones glows with a neon blue light, hailing down shards of ice down the left side. Genjii shifts to the right to avoid the chaos, but it’s equally as covered. Another stone glistens in white, shooting stars at rapid speeds.

With his head more focused on what’s in front of them, Genjii evades the shiny mixture. No more chips on his shell for today, he thinks. Once they get level with the stones themselves, Yume attempts to do the same to them as she did the entities before. Those rays of light shoot at the stones, but to no avail this time. They plink off, reflecting away from her.

What this did accomplish, however, was upsetting these not-alive magical artifacts. All five light up in a horrifying rainbow, launching a barrage of elemental mayhem at Yume. As it’s all focused in one spot, Genjii quickly dodges left, hovering Yume above the structure. As they flee, Yume attempts launching ofuda at them, once again, to no results.

[Depicted: Every stone glowing in their respective colors below. The back of Yume’s head is visible. A speech bubble is by her head, showing the portrait of a woman with purple hair put into a similar ponytail. However, she bears a headband with a red circle in the middle.]

“It is no use, Yume, we may have to run past,” Genjii says desperately, his doubts creeping back.

“What’d I say!? Nothing’s getting in my way!” Yume yells with enough anger to damage her throat. “I don’t remember much of what mom told me, but I do know she said that when in doubt...” Yume puts both of her hands on the side of her Yin-Yang Orb. In this opportunity of ceased fire, she knows what she must do. She takes a step back, lining up her shot.

“Kick it out!”

[Depicted: The Yin-Yang Orb flying at the page like a fireball. Behind it is Yume with her leg raised, having just kicked the orb.]

Her frustrated, reckless decision pays off ridiculously. Like a game of pinball, the Yin-Yang Orb bounces between each of the five magic stones, leaving a crater in each and every one of them. It’s a spectacle to behold, especially as the orb flawlessly returns to Yume’s hand after the fifth stone is shattered. Out of their craters, massive magical energy erupts like fireworks. They explode with much more magnitude than the entities prior, blinding both Yume and Genjii. They’re not caught in the splash of it all, but they get to witness the arising smoke.

“That was quite... creative,” Genjii says awkwardly, slowly moving forward past the annihilated fortress wall.

“Hmph,” Yume pouts, crossing her arms and sitting down. She still hasn’t gotten over how much doubt her mentor has about her.

“Now is not the time for pettiness, my lady,” Genjii scolds, sighing. “I apologize for my tone. As you know, I am quite old, so anything new to me is rather frightening.”

“Then how do you think I feel?” Yume mumbles, looking down at the back of Genjii’s head. “All of this was scary to me too, and you weren’t helping.”

“I understand, and I was in the wrong to worry about you,” Genjii says with a smile slowly creeping onto his face, “you are every bit as skilled as I had hoped you would be. It was silly to think otherwise.”

“Well, duh! Again, that’s what all the training was for!”

[Depicted: The front of both Genjii and Yume’s heads. Genjii looks up while Yume looks down, their eyes meeting one another. They are both smiling with furrowed brows.]

“Anyhow,” Genjii interjects, clearing his throat, “Reimaden is past this way, if there is a place to find Mima, it is right here. Are you ready?”

“More than I’ll ever be,” Yume says, arming herself with her gohei, “I’ll teach that Mima a thing or two about interrupting my afternoon!”

Chapter Text

[Depicted: A ground-up shot of Yume and Genjii surrounded by green, amorphous blobs. Said blobs have crystals circling them. The sky is black.]

“The evil energy I sense from here is rather overwhelming,” Genjii notes, moving out of the way of the already incoming projectiles. It’s not as harsh as the monolith prior, but danger is still obviously present.

"So, this is Reimaden,” Yume responds, carefully chucking ofuda at the formless creatures attacking them, “it’s kinda creepy here.” Despite the strange atmosphere here, she can’t help but find herself in a state of calm. Perhaps she burned all her fury earlier when yelling at her mentor. Whatever it may be, it’s perfect for now. Panic would doom them both.

“That makes two of us, then,” Genjii chuckles nervously, staring ahead, “...that there, however, is new.” The walls of another fortress rise in front of him, yet they are not all that imposing. This is not a structure made to keep them out. Rather, he fears it’s meant for something far more sinister.

[Depicted: Yume and Genjii surrounded by short, blue brick walls. Some bricks have sigils of varying colors, with some glowing and some dull.]

The annoying part of this building, however, is how cramped it is. It makes it hard for a big old turtle like himself to move, let alone dodge. What doesn’t help one bit is when the walls themselves start firing at him.

“My lady, get down,” he demands, dipping down so he can fly as low to the floor as he can. Yume gets on her knee, preparing the Yin-Yang Orb to fire in all directions but below.

Yume gazes at each brick around them, their existence only confusing her more. “Gramps, how the heck did this place even get here? Shouldn’t we have known that buildings don’t come outta nowhere?”

“Mima and her magic work in mysterious ways,” Genjii says while shaking his head, “it is surprising, but not unheard of that she would do this under our noses.”

Yume groans, letting her frustration out by silencing more blobs with her ofuda.

[Depicted: A top-down view of Yume and Genjii floating above a glass floor with a sun-shaped object peeking through, illuminating the dark hallway.]

“Now what is this...” Genjii whispers to himself, distracted by the floor below. Is this why the sun had gone down so quickly? It was daytime when they thwarted Rika and it had only been dark from there, despite them not travelling for very long. He knows it’s impossible to trap the actual sun, but the entity glowing in the floor is not a reassuring omen.

Soon enough, the two pass it by, forced to pay no mind. It was the largest source of light here, and now they wander again through dull hallways. A straightforward path to whatever the evil spirit Mima has planned. Is it a trap? A ruse? Confusion atop confusion, at this rate, left and right look the same as each other.

“Just how long does this go?” Yume asks, trying hard not to seethe through her teeth. Unlike the old man, she’s the type to get angry when she doesn’t understand something. Her rage grows over her fear.

As if on cue, the hallway they have been fluttering down opens up from a tight cave to an open expanse. A far too open one, at that. It’s a massive arena lined with much higher walls with not a single obstacle in sight. At first, they had thought it was a dead end, until a heinous, sinister presence began to loom.

“Look who decided to finally show up,” a voice echoes, it causing Yume and Genjii to dart their heads around.

“Who’s there!?” Yume shouts, quickly retrieving her gohei, pointing it at the darkness.

“Could it be...” Genjii mumbles.

“Over here, you two.”

[Depicted: The evil spirit Mima floating in the arena, dimly lit by purple torches. She wears a purple dress with a blue cape over her shoulders. Atop her head is a blue, pointed cap. In her hand is a large scepter with a crescent moon shaped end. She has no legs but rather a white tail that is typical of spirits to have. A smile of jagged teeth is on her face.]

“Mima!” they shout in unison.

“Yes, I am she,” Mima retorts, chuckling through closed lips. She lowers her staff, putting a hand on her hip.

“You fiend, you will pay for-” Genjii starts before being cut off by his student.

“-for ruining my naptime! Get over here!” Yume points her gohei between Mima’s eyes, the Yin-Yang Orb violently glowing above her head.

“Oh ho ho!” Mima chortles, fanning a hand in front of her face. “You two are sorely mistaken! I have no plans to fight you now, young one.”

Yume grinds her teeth, just about steaming through her ears. “So you plan to run, you coward!?”

“Not at all,” Mima says, pushing her palm towards Yume and shaking her head, “rather, you two look like delightful test subjects for my new apprentice.”

“New apprentice...” Genjii mumbles, stumped.

“Let us waste no time, Eliza, come show yourself!” Upon her declaration, the arena is covered in a blinding white light. When the flash clears, sitting atop a large stalk in the middle of the room is a new face.

[Depicted: “Eliza” sat cross-legged atop the aforementioned stalk. She is fit in a matching purple dress and witch’s hat. Her hair is short and curiously, a red color. In her hand is a magic wand with a typical star at its end. Lastly, the stalk itself has a blooming white flower at the top of it.]

“Kyahaha!” Eliza cackles, maniacally looking Yume in the eyes, “it’s about time, Lady Mima!” Mima puts her hand atop Eliza's hat, patting the girl on the head.

“You all have fun now, I have grander plans to tend to,” Mima states, backing away and raising her staff. “Soon, this world will be mine.” Unlike her apprentice’s entrance, Mima’s exit is much less showy. A blink later and she’s gone.

The gohei in Yume’s grasp shakes with her growing anger. She wants nothing more but to club this wannabee-witch on the side of the head and then throttle her master.

“Well, Lady Mima’s orders, looks like you’re all playin’ with me now!” Eliza says with a smirk, crossing her arms.

“Can’t you just get outta the way before I make you?” Yume grunts through her teeth.

“Nah, you two are stuck with me! And, I bet it’d make Lady Mima proud if I beat ya both right now...”

Yume fumes, fighting every urge to stomp her foot on Genjii’s shell, “as if I’d lose to the likes of you!”

“Calm your temper, she is the wicked Mima’s apprentice, she is still a formidable foe!” Genjii shouts, backing them up. There’s no more time for words.

“Let’s cut the chit-chat and get right to it,” Eliza says, flicking her wand and floating back herself, “time to put my magic to good use!”

Immediately, Eliza’s body is circled by four spheres, each of them a different color. They pose no threat, but the star magic she casts with her wand is! Yume and Genjii are blasted out of the gate, the turtle skating them by in the nick of time.

[Depicted: A back shot of Yume staring down Eliza. Eliza is surrounded by the “Orreries Sun” orbs. Various stars take up any empty space on the page.]

“That was a close one...” Genjii huffs, his assumption proven correct. This is no walk in the park. Yume readies her counterattack, gripping a handful of ofuda. Without a word said, she launches as much as she can at Eliza, noting that the magician is sitting still. To defend her, the four orbs move in front of Eliza, forming a barrier to deflect the ofuda towards the floor.

“Is that all the mighty shrine maiden has for me?” Eliza taunts, wagging her finger and waving her wand. Another wave of stars to dodge.

Yume for once keeps her mouth shut, trying desperately to think of how to trounce this pest. Even though her rage clouds her decision making, Yume can always find a way to win.

What she has already made a note of is how those orbs protect Eliza to make up for her being stationary. So, it must be up to her to destroy them! She takes the Yin-Yang Orb into her hand, reeling her arm back and aiming. Just like that fortress, she’s going to chuck this thing around to destroy those orbs.

“I see what you’re doing!” Eliza says, raising her wand high, “don’t think I’ll make it that easy.” Her own orbs scatter about, circling Yume in an attempt to close space and tackle her. Genjii tries to the best of his abilities to dodge, yet he can’t avoid all of them. The side of his shell gets knocked, tumbling both of them to the ground. He recovers but is worse for wear. The orbs return to circle Eliza again, the witch laughing at her work.

“Genjii, are you okay?” Yume mumbles, looking down at him with worried eyes.

“I am tougher than I appear, I will be fine. You must focus on how to beat her!”

[Depicted: Yume and Genjii exchanging eye contact. Genjii is noticeably wincing while Yume has sweat marks on her forehead.]

“You can always turn back, you know,” Eliza remarks, waving her wand again. More stars, this time aimed at the side of Genjii she just nicked. He evades, not even being grazed.

Yume is completely still, shooting a blank stare at Eliza. A plan has formed in her head, and it involves doing the exact same thing she did earlier. Her throwing arm is locked behind her, the Yin-Yang Orb accepting its fate as her holy throwing item.

“Again, really?” Eliza scoffs, shrugging her shoulders, “serve yourself, I don’t care if you wanna lose faster!” She rinses and repeats, zigzagging her orbs around the arena to try clock Yume and Genjii again. However, it is not Yume’s plan to destroy the orbs this time, but rather to hit Eliza. The magician does not move from her stalk, making her an easy target.

She’s got one shot and she’s going to take it. As Eliza’s own projectiles close in, she marks the perfect time to throw her own with as much strength her arm will give her. It gets the grin off of Eliza’s face as she realizes her fatal error.

It connects directly with Eliza’s forehead, knocking the hat off her noggin. She attempts to sit upright, raising her wand to call her shields back.

That, also, went according to plan. The orbs stopped right at the duo, right in range for Yume’s handy gohei. Since Eliza is dazed, they don’t obey her order quick enough, and she has to watch as Yume smashes each and every one of them with her gohei. It’s like they’re melons at a suikawari festival.

[Depicted: Yume standing tall in front of Eliza who only has the back of her head visible. She has a sweat mark over her hair. Meanwhile, Yume has an anger mark on her forehead.]

“D-Don’t think I’m out of it just yet, shrine maiden!” Eliza exclaims feebly, shakily raising her wand. “Eat th-”

Without the use of any tools, Yume slaps the wand out of Eliza’s hand, rendering her helpless. The stalk she was sitting on wilts, forcing Eliza to land on the cold, hard ground with a thud.

“We’re done here,” Yume says with strong emphasis in her voice. “Lead us to Mima, or else.”

“You do not have to be so harsh...” Genjii whispers. To a full-grown adult, maybe he’d understand, but Eliza is around Yume’s age. This girl must have been impressionable, easy for Mima to manipulate.

“Fine, fine,” Eliza huffs, standing up. She winces, crossing her arms. “On one condition.”

[Depicted: Eliza with noticeable scuff marks smirking. A bold number “1” hovers above her head with various question marks surrounding it.]

“One condition!? You lost, just give up!” Yume says, jumping off Genjii for once for the specific purpose of stomping the ground.

“Yeah, I lost, and I don’t wanna lose to you again, so...” Eliza says, her voice getting quieter after she speaks. “After you are done losing to Lady Mima, we should train!”

“Train, with you?” Yume scoffs, putting a hand on her hip and slinging her gohei over her shoulder.

“It may not seem so ridiculous,” Genjii chimes in a gleeful tone, “surely training with a magician of her caliber is worth your time.”

Eliza’s fist tightens, her other hand pointing firmly at Genjii, “see, the old guy gets it!”

Yume groans, throwing her head back, “ugh, fine! Can we go find Mima now?” She gets right back on Genjii’s shell, ready to depart.

“Hah, so our fate is sealed!” Eliza exclaims, pumping her fist, “anyhow, lemme open the path for you, she’s not too far away.” After searching the floor for it, Eliza grabs her wand and raises it one last time. The entire room lights up, a hallway at the back of the arena opening for them. It’s vast, the night sky peeping in.

“Good luck, cause I know you’re gonna need it!” Eliza says, waving them off as they fade into the hallway.

[Depicted: A side-view of Eliza’s head. She’s staring down the hallway with her hand on her chin. Yume and Genjii are in the distance and hard to make out.]

“They were so fast...” Eliza mumbles, tapping her chin, “if I could be that quick, maybe, just maybe...”

Chapter Text

[Depicted: A gradient of purple over a dark void. No characters are present in the frame.]

The duo flies together in silence. They have wandered into Reimaden’s depths, reaching a chasm unlike anything they have ever seen. A strong feeling of dread hangs over them, as the threat of Mima is at its peak. They are in her domain, far far away from the comfort of Yume’s shrine. This is it, the climax of their stories. The difference between saving this world or leaving it to the evil spirit to ruin.

Genjii speaks up, taking in a very deep breath. “My lady, do you believe you have it within you, to confront Mima?”

“...” Dead quiet still, but her face tells Genjii all he needs to know. She is determined and full of righteous anger, the aura of a blooming shrine maiden radiating off her. She stands stiff, gohei in one hand, a handful of ofuda in the other. Lastly, the Yin-Yang Orb hovers over her head, glowing bright enough to pierce the overcast of darkness.

[Depicted: Yume facing forward with each of her tools as described. This picture is in a more realistic style than the standard. Interestingly, it takes up two pages.]

They reach the end of the abyss, made sure by the purple haze below disappearing entirely. The ultimate stage is set, it is just time for the wicked actor to make her debut.

Out of both frustration and courage, Yume assumes a strong stance, shouting to whoever may hear her. “Mima, quit playing games, show yourself!”

Mima’s high pitched cackle vibrates the realm itself. Try as she may to spook them, neither Genjii or Yume flinch. Not long after, the air in front of them distorts, tearing a hole in space itself. Through it emerges Mima, scepter in hand. She casually hovers within arm’s length.

“Someone is a little late, did Eliza really hold you up for that long?” Mima quips with a grin.

“Enough!” Yume exclaims, pointing her gohei right between Mima’s eyes, “I’m going to defeat you here and now!”

Mima chuckles, backing off slightly. She taps a finger against her chin, tilting her head to the side. “Really now, you think you can do that?”

[Depicted: The sides of Yume and Mima’s heads, separated by a diagonal dividing line. Yume wears a frown, Mima a smirk.]

“I wouldn’t be here if I couldn’t,” Yume remarks sternly.

“Hmm, you truly have inherited the blood of your clan,” Mima says, squinting her eyes.

“What do you mean?” Yume asks, clenching her jaw. She wants nothing more than to get this fight started.

“The way you can manipulate the positive and negative energy of that orb,” Mima notes, shaking her head. “It’s what I’ve been after, all of this just having been a ruse to bring you to me.”

“So, I’ve been set up! Enough of this chatter, Mima, I am going to exorcise you here and now!” Yume yells, readying each of her tools, all of them glowing bright.

“That indominable attitude is what you’ll need if you wish to stand a chance!” Mima shouts, enveloping herself in the darkness. In seconds’ time, she re-emerges, transforming into a form more powerful than she was before.

[Depicted: Another high detail, two-page illustration of the transformed Mima in a portrait style. She sports large, black, bat-like wings on her back. Her spirit’s tail has been replaced by a pair of legs with only a set of blue flats as footwear. Her face has a smile with crooked teeth. She has her scepter within both hands. Behind her is a pinkish-purple sphere surrounded by two rings in a black void. This is the last illustration for a gap of pages.]

This is it, the final battle. No more words need to be exchanged, as this conversation can only be had with bullets.

The first to strike is Yume, who launches the ofuda she had prepared right at Mima. The spirit dodges with grace, flapping her wings to get above them. From high in the sky, she directs her scepter to point at Yume, charging a great barrage. In the blink of an eye, a slew of incomprehensible magic danmaku are cast, surrounding Yume.

Genjii, quick to act as always, does his best at damage control. However, once they avoided the initial ring, the danmaku flared out and bounced around, clipping Yume in the process.

It’s painful, but certainly not enough to keep Yume down. It’d take removing all of Yume’s limbs to get her to quit, but even, she’d still have plenty of bite left.

Mima’s going to pay the price for that one, she thinks, shining the Yin-Yang Orb bright atop her head. She doesn’t care whether it’s the positive or the negative energy of the orb that takes Mima down, she just needs anything. Beams of light swerve and curve from it, homing in on Mima. No matter how fast she flutters her wings, the spirit is not able to escape. However, a heinous person like Mima won’t go down so easily.

Just like Yume, she is more than ready to retaliate. Four colored orbs, the same as those Eliza cast in the previous bout, emerge from Mima’s hand. It’s more refined, but Yume knows this trick already, so she knows there’s not a chance she falters. When they are near her, she performs the same move she did last time, whacking one full force with her gohei.

Yet, this is where the difference between master and student is as clear as day. When Yume’s gohei makes an impact, instead of shattering into nothing, the orb explodes right in her face. It envelops both her and Genjii in a fiery blaze, one they are fortunate to escape intact. Once again though, they are worse for wear.

Mima is as brutal as she is wicked, not shying away from attempting to obliterate her opponents. Unfortunately for Yume, there is no time to heal, only time to act, and act she does.

She takes the ofuda approach again, this time only equipping one. Both of them are flying in the air at breakneck speeds, so if she herself wants to connect with something outside of her orb, she needs to strike where she thinks Mima is about to be. She lines her ofuda with her eyes, taking aim. She waits for her gut to make the call, and when it does, she flicks it with absurd speed.

It connects, hitting Mima right between the eyes. Unlike the energy from the Yin-Yang Orb, ofuda drain the vitality from beings like evil spirits. Mima heaves, forced to sit still to remove it from her face. This grants the perfect opening, as more danmaku fires from the Yin-Yang Orb. All direct hits, the assault causing Mima to tumble.

As is the nature of one living a life after death, Mima is persistent even after suffering so much damage. The ofuda on her face has been ripped off, revealing a scowl loaded with malice. She may have wanted to toy around with Yume prior, but now, she wants the shrine maiden eliminated.

She swiftly fires star magic from her scepter, once again revealing who had taught Eliza her tricks. As an attack, it is quite lacking, as a now-hobbled Genjii is able to avoid it with ease. It gets the duo thinking, why such a poor attempt here? Is Mima really that close to being exorcised? That crucial second of letting their guard down meant they were not prepared for the spirit’s next cheap shot.

In a literal flash, Mima is within arm’s reach of them, her scepter raised high. She swings it down, mercilessly aiming to have Yume join her in the realm of the dead.

Barely, just barely, Yume sidesteps away, Genjii being missed himself by a hair. Mima doesn’t follow it with a blast of magic, but rather disappears into the abyss. Then, she repeats her past attack, appearing inches from the two and swinging. This cycle repeats numerous times. Mima goes for their heads with her staff, they dodge, she goes away, then tries again. The issue is, Mima isn’t getting tired, as she isn’t making the split-second decisions to save her life.

With each strike, Yume must reach deep within her brain to find the nook to dodge and think of a way to combat this onslaught. If she lets just one of these connect, it’s game over.

Amid the chaos, amid the danger, Yume finds it within herself to meet this spirit head-on. After what could have been her third or thirtieth dodge, she grips her gohei with all her might, rearing her arm back. She knows that when she catches so much as a glimpse, she will throw her arms out swinging.

Surprisingly none the wiser, Mima does not change her plan. She teleports within close range of Yume, armed and ready to strike. That is, until she is ruthlessly jabbed in the chest by a gohei embedded with holy strength. She reels back, coughing heavily. Her scepter is dropped to the ground as both of her hands clench her throat.

“Guh... not bad,” Mima says, wiping her brow. She lifts her head up, a flare lighting up in her eyes. “Now that it’s come to this...”

“Thinking of running away!? You’re not going anywhere!” Yume declares, pointing her gohei at Mima.

“Hmph,” Mima huffs, clapping her hands together, “this time, it’s for real!” Darkness clumps together, obscuring the entire field of view. Mima’s hands are the first to emerge from it, tearing the dark apart and revealing her final form. Another transformation, the last resort of this twisted ghost.

[Depicted: Mima, this time sporting six purple, raven-like wings on her back. Her newly gained legs have since disappeared, her spirit’s tail returning. The entity in the background has grown larger and has shifted from purple to red. Mima cowls, showcasing a display of seething anger. This is once again, a two-page illustration.]

Mima outstretches her arms, two spheres of dark energy growing large in her hands. Now that is has come to this, she figures that now is the best time to unleash her most wicked magic. Yume and Genjii are on guard, but nothing could have prepared them for what was to come. Mima claps her hands together, then, nothingness.

Yume herself is consumed without her mentor nearby. She loses all of her senses. Sight, hearing, smell, she can’t even feel her own fingers. It’s complete darkness, Mima’s trump card. Trapped with only her thoughts, Yume tries to think of something, anything to escape.

Yet, she can’t. This time, she feels beat, like nothing can save her. Her mind has admitted defeat, but importantly, her heart has not.

Suddenly, she can feel once more. Her heart is thudding rapidly, fighting with everything it’s got left. As it does, Yume’s eyes catch something in the distance. A light. Not the one that’d beckon her to the afterlife, but one of hope. The positive energy of willpower in her heart has awakened the Yin-Yang Orb, her clan’s holy artifact zipping through into her hands. Once her hands touch it, she feels overwhelming power in her body, her senses returning to her at full force. Light shatters the darkness, Yume emerging from it with her entire ancestry’s determination behind her.

[Depicted: Yume floating with the Yin-Yang Orb in her hands. A yellow and white halo is behind her. The black and red background fades into the halo.]

“What!?” Mima exclaims, clenching her fists. She is in awe. There’s no way that could have failed! It was the shrine maiden’s turn to be sealed!

“My lady...” Genjii murmurs, having not been targeted by Mima’s assault. He scoops Yume onto his shell before she completely falls out of the air. “Now is your chance, seal this twisted soul away!”

“Mima,” Yume comments, raising the Yin-Yang Orb above her head, “your antics come to an end here, once and for all!” The light it emits is blinding, taking over Mima’s established dim realm. It’s Yume’s time to unleash her ultimate attack.

Mima growls, forming another pair of spheres in her hands. “Don’t think I’m going out like that, you brat!” She launches each at Yume, the dark orbs growing as they travel.

In retaliation, the Yin-Yang Orb shoots a large beam towards Mima. It is more like an explosion of light, easily mowing through Mima’s last ditch effort. It’s the last direct hit Yume needed. As the beam continues to strike, the darkness around Reimaden disappears, Mima’s power dwindling by the second.

“Gah... this power, already...” Mima murmurs with no strength left within her. She wails, her body fading away as she is finally defeated.

[Depicted: Two blank, white pages.]

Chapter Text

[Depicted: The exact same image of Yume and Genjii at the shrine that was at the start of the book.]

“Hey, old-timer,” Yume says, dangling her legs. The air around the shrine is calm. The morning dew drips on the leaves, fairies flutter through the air, and the sun shines with not a cloud in the sky.

“What is it, my lady?” Genjii replies with a yawn, lazily lifting his head up.

“I was just thinking about that stuff Mima was saying,” Yume notes, putting her head in her hands, “about my bloodline and the Yin-Yang Orb.”

Genjii, more alert, perks up, asking “what about it?”

“That orb’s gotta be super valuable if even she knew about it, why is that?” Yume says, bobbing her head.

“Well, you saw it, did you not? Its power is unrivaled, and perhaps unlimited. You could use it for more than just combat too, you know,” he lectures, chuckling.

“What!?” Yume shouts, putting a hand in front of her mouth after. It’s early, she doesn’t want to scare the birds. “Why didn’t you just tell me?”

Genjii continues, trying to relax again, “I feared you would get distracted. If you had a fondness for cats or sweets, for example...”

“D’aw, come on, that’s the training I want to do instead of all this shrine maiden work!” Yume states with a frown, pointing her finger right between Genjii’s eyes.

“Perhaps that is for a different day,” Genjii mumbles, closing his eyes.

“Nuh-uh, not so fast you two!” a voice says, a shape revealing itself from the shrine’s stairwell. It is none other than Eliza, adorned in the same purple witch’s clothes they fought her in. Despite the lengthy staircase, not a hint of exhaustion is in Eliza's body. She's eager, as if she'd prepared for this moment from her birth.

“What’re you doing here?” Yume scoffs, sighing through her nose.

“To train, obviously? You said we would, and I wouldn't take it lightly if you shirked me now, ” Eliza says, smiling wide. She’s booming with energy, obviously a much earlier riser than Yume.

Yume stands up, gesturing her hand to point above Eliza’s head, “no way, get lost!”

“My lady...” Genjii whispers, just seconds from drifting into pure slumber, “remember to hold true to your promises.”

“He’s right, you’re stuck with me ‘til the sun sets, now, let’s get goin’!” Eliza cheers, jumping up and down.

"Can't I just have a day to myself..?"

[Depicted: Yume and Eliza standing next to each other. It takes two pages, each girl separated by the book's crease. Yume wears a frown and stands with slumped posture, while Eliza has her hands in the air and a toothy grin. The sun shines bright above them. Bold text that reads “To Be Continued..?” is under both of them.]