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A Snowy Tale

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*ERROR*

...

I look at the hand that is held out to me... A thin, pale hand, with some strange glitchy essence flowing around it like vines... I knew what she can do to me if I take it willingly. If I grab this hand, I'll end up like those lost causes... I'll become a husk, a hollow shell. I'll be nothing more than a slave doing her bidding...

But it's not just that. It's the person she's doing this to. This isn't just about me... This is about everyone I know, everyone I meet, everyone I love. I'm the reason they're all hurting. Had I never come here, had I never shown up in Gensokyo, had I never met Youmu, or Marisa, or Miyoi, or Reimu, or Reisen, or Fargo, maybe they would be living more peaceful lives. They could be happy without me.

I look at the other hand, the one with the revolver. I could probably take that and try and shoot her in the face if I wanted... But that be pointless wouldn't it? She'd likely predict that and force me to submit, or worse, kill me slowly. It just be better to take it and kill myself. I can't go on like this anymore.

*bam*

?

"What was that?" Inco said, looking around curiously. I thought I heard what may have been some kind of metal clanging. It couldn't have been my imagination since Inco also heard it.

*bam*

There was that noise again. It sounded a bit louder than the last time. It confused me enough where I forgot about Inco's offer, and instead picked up one of the other revolvers and point it at her, stepping away.

"...What's this? You're fighting back?" Inco said. "...Pah, like you or your pistol would be enough to take me down, let alone your friend." She said in a mocking way. "Youmu... Do your thing will ya?" Inco commanded.

"As you wish master." Youmu said in a dark tone, approaching me and drawing out her blades. I stepped back, still pointing the gun at her.

*bam*

"Youmu... Don't... Do this..." I say. "...You can still save yourself..." I tell her.

"...Your words mean nothing compared to the voice of my master." Youmu said.

*bam... bam... BAM!!!*

The noise has gotten so loud, I could swear that someone was about to break into the void any given second.

"I-I'm sorry Yo-" I said, before being interrupted by the sound of a large burst of noise coming from behind me.

The sound of what may be glass shattering echoed, as I look back and see a large bright opening, as a figure walked out... Carrying...

A shovel?

Extra Unlocked!!!!

Fight Back

...

They wore a black shirt and a black skirt with yellow highlights. There were green rings all over her outfit, and her feet were bare. Her hair was a grey blue, reaching to her waist. She gave off a fanged smile as she gazed at Youmu.

"...What the?" Inco said. "How the fuck did a centipede get here!?" She said with a exaggerated confused tone.

"Let's just say a certain shovel enthusiast managed to get a billion, and leave it at that." The girl said. "Long story short, I'm here to save ya Tsumetai."

"H-How did you know my name?" I ask the girl. "Who are you?"

"Momoyo Himemushi." The girl said. "Now then... Got any dragons I can face off?" She said, cracking her knuckles while looking forward.

"...Master?" Youmu said quietly.

"...Just do your thing..." Inco said.

"At once." Youmu said, dashing forwards at Momoyo at blinding speeds. The first blade went forward, but was blocked by the shovel, then the pickaxe went straight through Youmu, sending her a long distance away while she dug into the ground.

"W-What the hell!?" Inco yelled. "I can't believe this-"

Momoyo drew a small leg segment from her body, slicing it across Inco's neck. Inco stepped back, clenching her neck as she summoned what looks like a crimson spear.

"You!!!! Who sent you!?!?!?" Inco demanded, throwing her spear at Momoyo, only for it to be stopped by another person who stepped in the way, grabbing the spear with ease.

She wore a blue dress, with shoes that look like she is compensating for something, a black cape, a blue tokin, and sported dark blue hair and red eyes.

"What the-" Inco said before being interruped with a kick that sent her flying.

"About time you showed up Megumu." Momoyo said. "Here I thought I would be having all the fun."

"You were about to be impaled by a spear." Megumu said. "How is that fun?"

"Because when else will I get the chance to beat up the noble vampire from the mansion?"

"...Anyways, What happens next?"

"Well, according to that angel lady I met, we need to get the girl out of here fast before anything else bad happens."

"I'll get started right away." Megumu said. She appraoched me, kneeling down a bit. "Hey, are you okay? She didn't do anything harmful to you now did she?"

"I...I don't know... I don't even know what is happening right now..." I say.

"Oi!!! You better hurry! The vampire and her sword accomplice are coming back! And they look pissed off!!!" Momoyo shouted.

"Okay okay! I'm going!" Megumu said. "Hop on." She said, instructing me to get on her back.

"What is she going to do?"

"She's going to fight them off."

"But...We can't leave her alone. We should-"

"Just do it!" Megumu said.

"Okay." I get on her back, as a large black pair of wings suddenly sprouted, and we burst into the sky. We quickly flew towards where the opening was, about to reach it.

Only for a large array of roots to block our way, stopping us from going any further. And a figure emerged from the roots... Being Yukari.

"My my... To think the Great Tengu would be here and now... I was not expecting that." Yukari said.

"Y-Yukari!?" I shout. "What are you doing here!? Wait... No... You too? She corrupted you also!?" I ask.

"Hahahaha!!! As if I needed to be corrupted!" Yukari laughed. "No... I'm just possessing this body, that's all. The Yukari you knew was gone from the be-"

Megumu didn't bother listening and instead kicked Yukari right in the gut, sending her into the wall of roots.

"I have no time for introductions!!!" Megumu said. "We need to go NOW!!!" She said, flying right into the wall of roots. They began to break, leaving a gaping hole.

We quickly flew through the hole, which seemed to be endless. The hole seemed to go on forever. Suddenly, it ended, and we landed in an empty room.

"This isn't where we are supposed to be..." Megumu said. She looked around, noticing the sight of rings appearing all around, more and more rings, while I started getting concerned. "...It's a trap!!!" She shouted.

Just then, the rings started flying all over the place, zipping around and attempting to hit us. Megumu flew around again, hoping to avoid the rings attacking her. Unforunately one of the rings hit her in the wing, causing both of us to fall to the ground. Megumu used her body to keep me safe while she took the impact.

"Ugh!!!" She yelped in pain as we rolled across the floor. "A-are you okay Tsumetai?"

"I-I'm fine..." I say. "But your wing..."

"I'll heal, we need to focus on getting you safe though." She said.

"Oh, I wouldn't count on that..."

Megumu and I look at where the voice came from, seeing a figure that I know I seen before... And those eyes... Those eyes with rings inside of them.

"You... It's you..." I say.

"...Oh? Oh??? OH!!! OH OH OH OH OH!!!" The person said with a strange voice and unusual patterned movements. "You're the one who fell into that hole... Because I pushed you!!! Hahahaha! That was such a bad idea wasn't it!?" They laughed, laughing loudly with a maniacal tone.

"...Damn it... We need to get out of here and- AAAAAHHH!!!" Megumu screamed, as she was suddenly being held up by a pair of rings.

"Oh? Running away? That is a good idea. Such a good idea. Yes yes yes. It's a good idea to run. But a bad idea is to not run. It's such a bad idea, almost【Insanity】Even!" They laughed.

"Hey! Leave her alone! Let her go! Stop!" I shouted.

"Stop? But that's not a bad idea... That's quite a good idea is it not?" The person said. "That's no good... That's no good at all. It's not good to have good ideas.. You should let your mind be more free..." They said, summoning a large ring big enough to fit my head. "You should wear this, it'll let your mind be free of its morals!"

I see the ring be thrown at me, I quickly duck, seeing the ring circle around to try and hit me again. I keep on dodging it, hoping it does not hit me, while I try and keep my focus on Megumu who was struggling to break free of the bindings.

"Go... Just go! You need to run away!!!" Megumu said. "I'll find my own way!"

"No no no!!! That's a good idea!" The insane person said. "You need to stay, stay and join her. Stay and become like me!!! That's such a bad idea!!! hahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahhahahahahahhhahahahahahaha!!!" They said, laughing uncontrollably.

Damn it... This person looks much more dangerous than Inco. It's like she needs some form of restraint. I look around the room, seeing more rings pop up, floating and spinning. All I have is my revolver, I doubt I can do much against this person... How can I fight against her?

I need to think of an idea... But what's a good idea? Think think think...

*ding ding ding!!!*

I got it!!! I don't know why but a good idea just popped into my head like a lightbulb! I take the revolver, pointing it at Megumu.

"Wait, what are you doing Tsumetai?" Megumu said.

"Oh Oh ohohohohhohohohoho hahahahahaah!!!!! That's such a bad idea! Shooting your saver!!! That's such a bad idea!!! Go ahead! Yes yesy eysyeysyysyes yes!!!!" The person said, dropping the rings as they all fall down, including Megumu. "Do it!"

I pull the trigger 6 times, letting out all 6 bullets as they come flying at her. Megumu braced herself for the bullets, expecting them to hit her.

But they did not. They stopped right in front of her face and body, and instead pointed at the other person, all of them hitting her in the chest and arms. She was sent to the floor, the whole room vanishing with it.

"Ack... That... That was such a good idea actually... hahahaaaaaa..." They said, laying defeated.

"...Are you okay?" I ask Megumu, reaching my hand out to her. She looked at me for a bit, before smiling and taking the hand.

"I'm alright... Never considered you to be that bold." Megumu said. "I actually thought you were going to shoot me."

"Oh no, I did intend on shooting you." I say with honesty.

"...Wait what?"

"C'mon, we need to keep on moving!" I say.

"Wait, what do you mean when you said that?"

---

We continued to move for a while, trying to find a way out of this void. It feels like it could stretch for miles on end, without any signs of reaching a destination. I was tired, and Megumu was still injured, yet we still keep on moving.

"...There!!!" Megumu pointed. "There's the exit!!!"

I look over, trying to see where she was pointing at. And in the distance, I see a small gap in sight.

"The gap?" I asked.

"Yes, we can leave the void there! Then we-"

*shing*

I heard the sound of a blade, and the next thing I knew, Megumu spurted out blood before collapsing next to me. "Megumu!!!" I say, kneeling down to check her wound. "Megumu! Are you okay!?" I rolled her over, seeing the large scathing wound on her chest, leaking out blood. She was still breathing, but I am unsure if this wound is fatal or not. I didn't have anything on me that could stop the bleeding besides my coat, but it will have to do. I take it off, ripping it so I can use it as a make-shift bandage.

I placed the coat over Megumu's wound, doing my best to stop the bleeding. I placed my hands on her wound and closed my eyes.

"...Tsumetai..." I hear a quiet voice from behind me say.

I look back, still keeping my hands on Megumu's chest, and see Youmu standing there, with both her blades out. She stood in front of where the exit was, as her purple glowing eyes stare right at me.

"Y...Youmu..." I say. "...What happened to you?" I ask.

"..." Youmu didn't say anything, instead she tossed one of the blades over, with it sticking into the ground next to me.

"...Take that blade... Fight me one on one... No guns, no phantoms, just you and me..." Youmu said. "Win, and I'll spare you both. Lose... You'll serve my master alongside me." She said.

"...I...I can't agree to that Youmu... I never even picked up a sword before." I say.

"...Then now's a good time to learn." Youmu said, taking a stance as she steadies her sword behind her.

I too, take a stance, my own sword in my right hand, and my gun in my left.

"Fine... But I won't play fair if that's what it takes to defeat you." I say. "I'm sorry... Youmu-Chan." I say.

"Very well then...Let's do this...!" Youmu said, readying her sword to attack. I see her dash towards me, her blade hitting the ground as it leaves a trail of sparks, rising up to try and meet with my face.

I however, draw the sword just in time, blocking the attack, as I ready my gun to hit Youmu in the face. I let out a shot, but Youmu quickly dodged it and jumped back. She dashed towards me again, quickly moving to my left, instantly changing to her right, expecting me to not react in time. But once again, I use the blade to block her attack, and try and hit her with my gun. It grazed her black hair as she jumped back once again and tried charging at me once more. We continue to circle each other, and I manage to stay on my feet, though I can feel the exhaustion weighing down on me.

"Your blocking is good, but you need to work better on your strikes." Youmu said, charging at me once again. "You need to focus on finding your opponent's weak point and drive your attack there."

"...Youmu-Chan, I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I can't do that." I say. "I'm just not skilled enough-"

"Silence!!!" Youmu shouted, stiking at me with more force than before, I barely had time to block the attack as I stumbled a bit. "You're wide open!!!" Youmu shouted, I see the blade approaching quick. I use the gun in my hand to force her to block instead. I fired as the shot was split in half by her blade. I then received a kick from Youmu, knocking me down as she tried to stab me through the chest. I rolled over, getting back up just as she swung at me again and again. She was not giving me enough time to react, let alone attack.

"Your posture is off! A good swordfighter must be able to keep their stance even when being backed into a corner!" Youmu said in a strict tone. "A true sword fighter must rely on their ability to face any obstacle and cut it!!!"

I rolled out of the way again just as Youmu tried to stab at me. She was getting angry, and her anger was getting the better of her. I notice as she gotten more angry, her attacks end up less focused and more like flailing a sword around. Is this because of the corruption? Is the negative emotions making her focus less? I think I can work with that actually.

"You're the one telling me about having to focus yet aren't you the one flailing your sword around?" I say in a mocking tone. "You're not even using your sword properly. What kind of fighter uses a sword like that?"

"One who doesn't have to worry about a single thing!!" Youmu shouted. She then jammed the sword into the ground, forcing it back up as it clawed through the earth, releasing debris that starts falling around me. I had to focus on making sure I did not get crushed. I managed to avoid the debris and Youmu's attempts at flailing a sword. I took this opportunity to mock her again.

"And don't get me started on your role as a servant and gardener!" I say. "While you were here, serving your so-called master, Yuyuko was back at home, starving without your delicious foods!" I say. "What do you think about-"

*shing*

I felt a blade go through my hair, cutting half of my long hair off, making it short again. I look at Youmu who had a more enraged expression.

"Don't... You dare... Speak of that name..." Youmu said. "You of all people don't have that right."

Oh I think I pressed the wrong buttons this time. I see Youmu step back, and I see a magic circle appear around her.

"Human Realm Sword "Fantasy of Entering Enlightenment"" She chanted, as suddenly, series of bullets started appearing around, moving past me and then forwards again. I had to keep on dodging while keeping an eye on Youmu, but the way the bullets are patterned are forcing me to move closer to her.

I could either keep on dodging the bullets, and approach her, or I could try to attack her with the sword. If I keep on dodging, I might be able to hit her...As I thought about that, I noticed something about Youmu.

Her phantom half is missing. I didn't notice it before because I was focused on running for my life, but it's gone. Why is that?

...Wait... If Myon-Chan is anything like Marshmallow and Choco...

My thought process was interrupted by another attack by Youmu, this time a series of slash bullets are coming right at me, silently somehow. I quickly jumped up in the air, walking as I land back down, and getting behind Youmu to swing at her.

She blocked the attack with ease, not even flinching. "...You honestly think I'd forget about that card you have on you?" She said. She spun around, sending a kick to my stomach as I was sent back rolling across the floor, dropping my gun and the card I have on hand. I attempt to stand up, but my legs quickly gave in and I remained on the floor.

"...You are no match for me. While you are skilled with the gun, you fail in close range. Even without your gun you are no match for anyone, not by yourself... You're just another tool for master to use in her plans." Youmu said.

I struggled, managing to stand up while using the sword as leverage. I was exhausted, my body is bruised, and I'm pretty sure that hair of mine isn't growing back for a while. But still, I need to keep fighting back. I spoke once again. "And what are her plans?" I ask.

"Why would you need to know that?" Youmu said. "It doesn't benefit you in any peculiar way."

"...So she wouldn't tell you?" I ask.

"A bold assumption." Youmu said.

"And yet, you won't answer my question. What are Inco's plans Youmu?" I ask again.

"Even if I knew... I won't tell you." Youmu said. "Whatever Master has planned, it will come to fruition. There is nothing you can do."

"...So then why does she not trust you then?" I ask with a small smile across my face.

"..." Youmu's eye twitched a little as she looked at me.

"C'mon Youmu. If your master truly trusted you, she would tell you her plan. Would she not?"

"...My master knows what she is doing. It's clear she doesn't want it to get leaked out by accident if I ever find myself captured or interrogated."

"No, the real answer is that she knows that you are not trustworthy Youmu-Chan." I say in a more mocking tone. "Isn't that right?"

Youmu looks at me with an even more irritated look on her face.

"Don't try to taunt me, It won't work. I know your type."

"...Meanwhile, Yuyuko-sama is such a kind master. She would tell you anything because she knew you are a trustworthy person. She knows you are loyal, devoted, true to your commitment. And you abandoned her... Over a little possessed vampire who is too scared to even show her true face just because she knows... You. Don't. Matter to her plan. You are nothing more than a pawn." I say with strong emphasis.

Youmu expressed fury in her eyes, as the corruption around her started manifesting into a more physical essence. She jumped high into the air, pulling her sword back as she dove right for me while screaming. "I AM NOT A PAWN!!! I AM YOUMU KONPAKU, HALF HUMAN HALF PHANTOM SWORDFIGHTER!!! THE RIGHT HAND TO THE CORRUPT GODDESS INCO!!!-"

*stab*

Her sword was inches away from my face, nearing my eyes as I could see a bit of my reflection on it. My breath shook, my body trembled, but my hands were firm on their grip. I look at Youmu's wide eyes, her face letting out a gasp that was cut short when she looked down. My hands were firm on the sword that I was using, keeping it tight on the handle while the blade went right through Youmu's abdomen. Blood was spilt, and she went down. I was a bit shocked myself, as I didn't think that would work.

Youmu lied on the ground, still breathing, but not moving as much. She stared up at the empty sky, as I notice her eyes changing from purple back to their original color. She looked at me, with teary eyes and a softened expression. I looked back at her, also with teary eyes.

"Youmu...Chan?" I asked.

"...Hakurouken..." Youmu spoke. "...Passed down from generation to generation in my family..." She pointed to the sword in her chest. "It can dispel any form of confusion of those it cuts..." She said. "I knew... You could do it Tsumetai-san..." She said.

"You... You knew?" I asked. "You were aware? But... But I thought that..." I didn't know what to say. So I changed the subject. "...How did this happen?" I asked her.

"...Inco... She threatened to harm You and Yuyuko-sama... If I didn't submit to her... She's been trying to get into my head ever since I met you..." Youmu said, pausing to take a breath. "...When I saw you fall into the lake, unable to do anything... That's when I finally lost..." She looked down at her bloodied body, as I did the same. "I knew I had to do something..."

"...I thought... I thought you didn't want to see me again..." I said. "...I honestly thought you hated me..."

"Hated... You?" Youmu said. "...Of course not... Tsumetai-san... I love you like how I love Yuyuko-sama..." She said with more tears. "...I don't have much time left... So I need you to listen carefully..."

"No... Don't say that Youmu-Chan..." I say. "Please don't leave me... I already lost so much." I say with more tears.

"...My phantom half... They're still out there on their own... They're free from Inco's grasp... Find them, bring Myon-Chan to Yuyuko-sama... She'll know that I'm still there, that I never abandoned her to begin with..." Youmu coughed up more blood, struggling to stay alive.

"...D-d-don't worry Youmu-Chan!!!" I say, attempting to pull the sword out of her "I'll take you and Megumu to Eientei! We can get you fixed!!! We can go back to the way things were! When things were more peaceful!!! We can-"

"..." I look at Youmu's face, seeing the color in her eyes being drained. Her body didn't move any longer... She was dead.

"...No... No... You can't be dead..." I say, my voice cracking. "You... You can't..."

I drop to my knees, staring at her body as more tears fall down my face. I start to sob as I look at her, sobbing into my hands, unable to accept that she's really gone. I wanted to close my eyes, open them and see that innocent smile of hers again as we fly up into the sky just how we first met. I wanted to go back when we were at Hakugyokurou and make food for Yuyuko again. I wanted to meet her again for the first time at Myouren Temple, and have fun...

...But It's clear now isn't it... Just like last time... They're gone... Bound to be forgotten. I knew what I had to do now...

I took the other sword from her, managing to pull out the other one with some effort. I folded her arms cross her chest, placing the shorter sword in-between her hands so that she looks like she's holding it close to her. I took off my hat, the same hat I have been wearing ever since I came here, and place it down next to Youmu, so that a part of me will never leave her.

"Goodbye Youmu-Chan... I'll never, ever forget you... Even if everyone else does." I say, walking away from her body.

I drew the long sword, Roukanken, into its sheath, keeping it firm around my waist as I did with the gun I still have. I walk over to where I left Megumu, seeing that Momoyo finally caught up. She was missing an arm however, and her body was severely injured.

"Momoyo... Are you alright?" I ask her.

"Me? I'm fine... Not the first time I had my body torn apart limb from limb... You should see one of Kaguya and Mokou's fights sometime... Those are a whole other level of carnage!" Momoyo said with enthusism. "How's Megumu?"

"She's fine... I think... But Youmu..." I look back at Youmu's body, that still laid right where I left her.

"...Oh...My apologies." Momoyo said in a respectful tone. "...Do you want to take her with or..."

"..." I remained silent as I kept my head down.

"...Ah... I see... C'mon, let's go before anyone else shows up to ruin this moment." Momoyo said, picking up Megumu with her only arm.

We walk towards the gap, Momoyo and Megumu entered in first. I took one look back at the void, observing the dimly lit space, before turning back to the gap, entering through.

---

"Tsumetai? Tsumetai??? Helloooooo????" I hear a voice call out to me.

"...Ugh... My head... Why does it hurt so much?" I said, slowly opening my eyes to the sight of Tewi staring down at me, holding what I believe is a bucket of snails.

"Oh, you're awake." Tewi said. "I was about to dump this entire bucket of snails on you in case." Tewi said.

"...Why???" I ask.

"Because you wouldn't wake up no matter how much everyone tried." Tewi said. "Geez you probably hit your head really hard because when we found you you were out like a light. And you sounded like you were having some kind of nightmare too even, cause you were screaming and mumbling things that didn't make sense. And Satori couldn't even enter your mind for some reason, something about it being too clouded."

"...Clouded? Like how clouds look?"

"Sure, lets go with that... Anyways, what's with the cat?" Tewi asked.

"Cat?" I look over, seeing Ember sleeping on my lap. "You mean Ember?"

"That's her name? Well crap, guess I'll have to tell Princess that "Inyaba" already had a name."

I giggled a bit at what Tewi said, finding it strange how Kaguya comes up with peculiar names for everyone. "So what happened after you found me?"

"Well after we took you back to your room, Eirin gave you some medicine just in case. Then we had to redirect our attention to another patient when Reimu and company suddenly barged in with a wounded patient, some phantom, and a moon rabbit that Eirin spent a good ol' 30 minutes interrogating before Fargo came in and explained everything."

"Wait what?" I said with concern. "Did something happen?"

"Beats me, everyone's still at the living quarters discussing about the new incident that just surfaced." Tewi said. "If you still have strength, you should come over and tell us about that dream of yours. My money's betting it was about giant mochi demolishing the human village."

Tewi scurried off just as she finished talking, leaving me alone to ponder my thoughts. I look down at Ember, petting her a little as she woke up, looking at me.

"Meow" Ember meowed, rubbing their face on my hand.

"Good morning Ember... Did you sleep well? Cause I sure did not." I say. "I had the craziest dream too... I was in some kind of nightmare sequence. Then was chased by a monster version of Yuyuko, manipulated by this strange vampire who made me see this weird memory about my loved ones dying... Oh, and then these two people, Momoyo and Megumu, saved and rescued me. We fought this strange person with rings of insanity, and I faced against Youmu and somehow won... But alas, it was nothing more than a-"

I look to the wall on my right, seeing a long sword placed there next to my gun. That sword was the one that belonged to Youmu, the one named Rankouken. I was stunned, I was shocked, I had no words and all I could do was stare as the world around me froze and turned deaf. I looked back at Ember, who had a confused look on her face, tilting her head while looking back at me.

After a few minutes, I snapped out of it, hopping out of the bed as I grab the sword and gun. I walk out of the room, with Ember following me behind as I made my way to where the living quarters would be.

...

"...So you honestly don't know who possessed you or why?" Reimu asked Shirai.

"I'm telling you... I just remember waking up in some void, being greeted by some strange lady who asked me if I wanted to be free of the constant experimentation from the Lunarians. Then I took her hand and the next thing I knew I was crawling out of the ground. Strangely enough I still had some control over my body so I figured if I got myself killed, the hourai elixir will nullify the corruption." Shirai explained to Reimu.

"...Satori, is she telling the truth?" Reimu asked Satori.

"Hm... It sure sounds like it... I don't sense any signs of lying or deception." Satori said, staring at Shirai with her red eye.

"Geez, what's with that eye of yours... Does it ever blink?" Shirai asked Satori. "What do you do if someone pokes it?"

"I carry eyedrops wherever I go just in case." Satori said.

"Well I explained my situation. What about you then?" Shirai pointed to Rin. "I remember seeing you when I first met ya, but no one else here knows you."

Rin started first. "I'm Rin Satsuki. I'm a Kirin and a certified Nurse. I used to be good friends with Reimu and Marisa back in the good ol' days of our youth. Unfortunately they seem to have forgotten about me..." Rin said, staring at Reimu, and Marisa too who also happens to be there. Marisa stuck her tongue out at Rin. "I remember getting ready to help resolve the Scarlet Mist Incident when suddenly I was sent to another world full of 1s and 0s. There was no way out so I just made myself a home using my limited abilities. Then the next thing I knew, I appeared in front of the whale girl."

"Hey! Don't call me Whale girl!" Miyoi said, holding onto Choco around her arms. "Besides, you were the one who freaked out when Reimu was mentioned."

"Well that's because she owes me 12 incidents worth of compensation! I was supposed to be player 3! Not the time maid!" Rin said.

"Calm down everyone..." Reisen said, coming out of a room and removing her gloves alongside Fargo.

"How is Shinmy?" Suika asked, standing up.

"She's fine. It's going to take about a week before she can leave the hospital. But don't worry." Reisen said.

"A Week!? Then who is going to be my drinking buddy until then!?" Suika said.

"You'll get along just fine without one." Reimu said.

"But it's not like I can go out and party." Suika said, expressing dismay.

"That's not what I meant."

"I'll be your drinking buddy Suika." Tewi said with a snicker.

"Ugh, no. You'll probably spike my sake with something spicy when I have my back turned." Suika said.

"Oh c'mon, I'll never do that... Ain't that right Fargo?" Tewi said, giving a wink towards Fargo.

"I am not answering that." Fargo said.

*step...step...step.*

...

Everyone looks to face me, as I enter the room. I look around, seeing the faces of Reimu, Suika and Aunn on one side. I see the looks of Reisen, Fargo and Tewi standing by another door. I look and see the sight of Miyoi standing around unknown figures to me. I see Satori who stood by herself. I see Marisa standing by the window, giving me a quick wave with a smile. Everyone stopped to face me, as I stood, holding Youmu's sword.

There were a lot of things in my mind that I could say if I wanted to. So many things. I could talk to Miyoi and embrace her. I could go up to Fargo and talk to them about the issue with Yukari. I could look at Satori and let her figure it all out and do all the talking. I could just turn around and go back, not say anything at all...

But I need to do this. I take a deep breath in, and sighed as I readied myself.

"I need to tell you all something... Something that may affect all of Gensokyo right now..." I began.

---

It was a quiet morning at Hakugyokurou... The trees blew gently and the sky was clear with only a few clouds in sight. The petals gently floated down to the ground, landing on the very messy garden. The garden hadn't been taken care of in a while, and as a result everything looked like a mess. The trees had branches sticking out, making them look uneven. The walkway was covered in so many petals that you can't see the ground any longer. And the amount of phantoms just wandering all over the place without a care was imminent.

Inside of the mansion, the walls and floor of the halls were all dusty, covered in cobwebs and filled with trash. The rooms were messy and out of place. The kitchen was stained with food and the sink was all piled up to the brim with dishes. The fridge was empty of all things except for the cheese. The table in the dining room had only a single bowl of rice, left untouched for over a week.

By the Veranda, there remained but one person. Wearing a blue kimono and sporting pink hair. Her hair was such a mess from not being combed or brushed in the last week, and her kimono was all wrinkly due to being constantly worn. Her eyes stared down at the empty cup, almost lacking any emotion. She looked up to the great big tree that was in sight of where she was at, seeing how it was still dead, lacking any petals whatsoever.

She let out a sigh, a long sigh as she looked behind her, expecting someone to come in and say hi. But no one has entered Hakugyokurou ever since her servant left her. The only thing that lived here were her and the ghosts that never seemed to leave.

"I'm so bored..." She said to herself. "I don't have anything to do..."

*slide*

The sound of a door could be heard opening in the back, as voices were heard.

"Hello? Anyone home?" A voice called out.

"...Hm?" Yuyuko said, looking over, rising up as she walked over to the door. "Who is it?"

"...Yuyuko? Is that you?" The voice said.

Yuyuko stopped, hesitating as she was almost convinced of who that voice may be.

"...Yo...Youmu-Chan?" She said in a more quiet tone. She began to sprint, not caring for manners as she charged for the door. "Youmu-Chan!? Have you come home!?" Yuyuko ran faster, turning down the hallway as she arrived at the front. "Youmu-Chan!!! I'm so glad-"

Yuyuko stopped, for it wasn't Youmu who she saw.

...

I look at the face of Yuyuko. Her eyes looking to be hopeful but turned silent as she stared at me and Choco.

"...Tsumetai..." Yuyuko said. "...I thought..."

"...Yuyuko... I brought someone who wished to see you..." I said, stepping to the side as Myon-Chan moved over. They floated a bit forward, before stopping.

"...Y...Youmu???" Yuyuko said quietly, tears slowly forming from her eyes.

Immediately, Myon-Chan dashed towards Yuyuko, going in for a hug as Yuyuko spread her arms out and welcomed Myon-Chan.

"It's you!!! It's really you!!!" Yuyuko cried. "I thought you were gone forever!!! Waaaaaaahhhh!!!" Yuyuko bawled her eyes out, hugging Myon-Chan tightly. "I'm so sorrrrrrryyyyyyyyy!!! I promise I won't ever try to eat you like all the other times ever again~~~~~~~~"

Myon-Chan used their tail to wipe Yuyuko's tears away, as they moved their body to express their joy and gratitude. Choco and I look back at each other, knowing what we'll be needing to tell her.

"...I'm sorry for what happened to Youmu Yuyuko..." I tell her. "I tried to save her... But this is all I could do..."

"...No..." Yuyuko said, still crying. "Thank you Tsumetai... You've done everything you could do to bring back my Youmu-Chan..." She said. "...How could I ever repay you?"

"There's nothing you need to do Yuyuko." I said. "I'm just glad to see you're safe."

"...Hehe..." Yuyuko showed a smile, I notice her gaze look down at my hands, noticing the 3 diamond ring. "Tsumetai... You're married!?" Yuyuko shouted.

"Hm?" I said with an odd look before realizing what she meant. "Nononono!!! This is a promise ring!!! It was given to me by my old friend Alek!!!" I said, trying to correct her. "I'm not married yet! Heck I probably won't get married till I'm at least 25!" I said.

"You're going to get married!?" Yuyuko shouted again, squeezing Myon-Chan tightly.

"No!!! I'm not engaged! I don't even know when Alek will propose to me!!!" I say.

"Well when you do, you better make me your Maid of Honor!!!" Yuyuko said with a more serious look.

"...Uh huh..." I said as I nodded, realizing what was asked of me. "...I will. I promise."

Yuyuko smiled. "...Would you like to come in for some tea... I don't really have much to offer since I ran out of food just recently."

"Actually, we're here to drop off some things." Choco said. "Like food, water, gardening supplies..." Choco started listing things off her hand.

"Hm? Who are you?" Yuyuko asked.

"It's a really long story." I said. "I'll tell you tomorrow when I come visit again okay?"

"Okay... You better... And bring some snacks too!" Yuyuko said.

...

I left Yuyuko and Myon-Chan after dropping off all the things I bought for them. It was about a week's worth but they should be able to manage for a while. I said my goodbyes and left with Choco. Along the way we talked.

"So... That was Yuyuko huh?" Choco said. "It's no wonder Marshy feared them so much... Glad she didn't confuse me for a chocolate bar." They said, pretending to shiver with fear.

"I'm still concerned over what happened to Marshmallow... And myself also... Does this mean I'm no longer a half human half phantom?" I say.

"Well...I wouldn't know since I'm just a normal phantom now. But hopefully we can find Marshy and get back together again."

"Right." I say. "I'm hoping Kaurma is doing okay though..."

"Aw~ You're worried about him." Choco said. "Just like the big sister you are." She said with a smirk.

"I-It's only because I fear that he will try and overwork himself! I don't want him to feel like he has to do everything at once!"

"C'mon, lighten up, I'm only messing with you." Choco said, snickering to herself.

"Honestly, it feels like your behavior only got more rash with time." I say.

"So where we going now?" Choco asked. "Home? Hakurei Shrine? Eientei perhaps?"

"...I was thinking we go over to Geidontei. After all we still need to make that big dinner to celebrate Shinmy's recovery." I say.

"Oh..." Choco said with less enthusiasm. "...Can we do that tomorrow?"

"...No." I say.

"Aw c'mon!!! What if I refuse!? Huh!?"

"...Then I'll get to see whether Roukanken is capable of slicing 10 phantoms in one slice." I say with a intimidating grin while placing my hand on the hilt of my sword.

"...Um... Nevermind..." Choco said. "...Let's go."

"Good girl." I say, patting Choco on the head as we continue to make our way down the path.

I thought about all the things I have gone through in the past few days. I went on a date with Miyoi, had my memory wiped, got attacked by phantoms, experienced a freakish nightmare that end up being true, and somehow survived all of that with all of my limbs.

And so far, I managed to reconcile with Miyoi after the date, got to reunite with Choco, talked to both Alek and Kaurma about our memories and the past (that was a really emotional moment between all 3 of us). Informed Reimu about what I know about the entity known as Inco, and things are starting to look good again. Rin is now working at Eientei as a nurse, and she's quite good at it. Shirai is also staying at Eientei after learning that's where Fargo works at. And as for me, I'm off to visit Geidontei so I can help Miyoi with the dinner that she promised Reimu and her family.

Gensokyo so far has been a very interesting place for me... But I know there is more to come, and I'll be ready for it.

---

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

---

A certain Crow Tengu flew across the sky, dropping off newspapers of the latest incident that has surfaced. One of them was dropped off by the mansion next to the lake. The Scarlet Devil Mansion more specifically. They have swooped down, allowing the paper to fly directly into the sleeping gatekeeper's face. It slid off slowly, falling to the ground just as Hong Meiling woke up from her nap.

"Huh...Whuh?" Meiling said in a sleeping tone. She yawned, stretching her arms up and across, feeling a bit dehydrated from sleeping the whole time. She looked down at her feet, seeing the bulky chunk of paper. Bending down, she reached with her left hand to pick up the paper, standing straight back up as she looked at the front cover, noticing the image of a girl she never seen before in her life.

"...'Outsider Discovered New Incident. Possibly Connected to the Scarlet Devil Mansion's Owner?'" Meiling read. "...Huh... This is a bit concerning... I should go ask Sakuya about this."

"Ask me about what exactly?" The girl named Sakuya said, standing next to Meiling.

"Gah!!!" Meiling said, jumping and letting go of the paper as all the pieces scattered. But fortunately time stopped as Sakuya goes and grabs all the papers and fold them back neatly to the way they were. She looked at the cover, her eyes widening a little but not a lot as she read the article.

"...'There has been concern over the disappearance of villagers from the human village. Many believed them to be missing. However, recent evidence suggests that there is more to this Snowy Tale than we may believe'." Sakuya read out loud. She skimmed through more of the paper before staring back at Meiling with a disappointed look.

"...What's with the look Sakuya? I didn't even do anything wrong I swear." Meiling said. "All I did was sle- I mean, stand guard like always."

"...It's not your fault Meiling..." Sakuya said. "...I'm just worried about what may happen when this becomes too big to keep a secret."

"...Oh..." Meiling said, noticing Sakuya's look of concern. She empathized with her by giving a look of concern back. "...What can we do then?"

"...Right now... Nothing... As long that fiend holds Milady hostage, we can't even mention our side of the story without risking her life."

"I understand..." Meiling said. "...But I wish there was some way we could help."

"...If only we knew more about her." Sakuya said.

"By the way, whatever happened with that Kaurma kid?" Meiling asked. "I heard he's staying with his sister, correct?"

"Yes. They have tried to come back to work here a few times, but they have stopped showing up a while ago. I think that's good... I wouldn't want him to get involved with our matters."

The two shared a moment of peace and quiet before Meiling spoke again. "So what's for dinner?"

"Steak entrée with a side dish of blue cheese salad." Sakuya said.

"Mm... Delicious."

"I know, right? I'm so glad I remembered to get the supplies from the store today."

"Well I'm going to go start the rice now."

Sakuya walked back inside the mansion, while Meiling went back to standing guard.

Somewhere higher up the mansion, an eye could be seen peeking out of a closed curtain window, looking down at Sakuya and Meiling as they resumed their usual duties. They closed the curtain, allowing the entire room to be dark, just like the void.

"What is the matter Inco? You seem distressed?" A voice from behind the vampire called out. "It's almost like you are worried..."

The person who is possessing the vampire turned around, her glowing purple eyes meeting the dark hollow ones of Yukari, who is also being possessed.

"...I'm angry. That's what." Inco said. "...To think that a mere girl with a pistol managed to maneuver around me, take down my servant, and managed to tell the tale!" Inco shouted, grabbing a vase and shattering it on the floor. "What the hell were you doing when they were getting away Efena!? This is the second time you allowed someone to escape!!!"

"I...I don't know... I was about to stop her when that Tengu rammed right through me... They overpowered me with ease." Efena said.

"...Are you sure it's that?" Inco said with a serious look. "Maybe that youkai you are using as a host is holding you back... How do we know she isn't trying to sabotage our plans?" Inco said, summoning a spear and pointing it at Efena.

"Calm down Inco! You know very well that being aggressive about everything won't solve all your problems!" Efena said.

"Well maybe you should be more assertive instead of beating around the bush! Maybe you should go back to those two servants of hers and rip out their tails. Maybe that'll shut her up." Inco said.

"No! I can't do that! That would ruin our chances of success! It will draw too much attention if we kill off her Shikigami!" Efena said. "...You should blame Bin! She still has yet to find a suitable host and she allowed the girl to outwit her."

"Oh, believe me. I already have a punishment for Bin!" Inco said. "That insane brain of hers is neat in that it makes her unpredictable, but all it takes is a little trickery and she's down like a sad puppy."

"...And what about Youmu?" Efena said.

"...Oh, yes... Her..." Inco said, walking around the room a bit, looking around in the darkness. "...It's a good thing they left her body where I could pick her up... But that blade of hers is dangerous. I can't let it fall into the wrong hands else it may ruin everything we have been working towards."

"...So you mean..." Efena paused.

"...While I don't like the dead, they're much easier to control... Because they're completely void of life... They're nothing more than vessels you can shove as many souls into until you're satisfied... Just like with the prototype..."

"You mean the one that got away?"

"Yes yes... But that's what makes them a prototype... And we move on from those and improve, make more powerful and stronger vessels. Ones that don't need to be given some random ability of their choosing."

Inco turned towards a certain direction. "...It's going to be hard to get close to that rabbit... Especially if that pure lunatic still roams around the area... And it would have been nice if we had some Destruction on our side... But oh well... I'll just settle with Creation instead... Isn't that right, Marshmallow?"

Inco looked at the eyes of the white haired, white dressed phantom, staring down at Inco from the clutches of the rings and roots that bind her in place.

"You..." Marshmallow said with a tired voice. "...You won't... Get away with this..." They said.

"...Oh, but I can... And you wanna know why?"

"..." Marshmallow said nothing as Inco continued.

"It's because I can." Inco said, holding out a hand that manifested corruption, as she reached her hand out forward.

To be Continued...