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A Snowy Tale

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Prologue

...

I risen from my bed, the sheets rustling gently while my messy hair covered my eyes.

I moved them to the sides, looking around the nice cabin-like interior of the home I live in. I can remember living here since I was a kid.

I look out to the window, noticing it is still a bit dark, but I can still see the sight of a snowy landscape.

I checked my head, wondering if the headache from yesterday has passed. I didn't know why I suddenly got a headache last night, I even missed dinner, my favorite time of the day.

As I got out of the bed, getting myself dressed in a simple dress I usually wear around the house, I think about what the rest of my family is doing right now. I love to talk to them every time we all have dinner.

When I finally got downstairs, it took me a few seconds to realize that I was hungry.

I realized that I had enough food with me to last a few weeks.

"Wow, there's so many leftovers. I guess this is what happens when I'm not around to eat it all huh?" I said outloud.

...

It's weird. Even though it is still dark, mom or dad would at least be awake making dinner at the moment.

"...Mom?" I said. "Dad? Anyone home?"

I can hear the ticking sound of the clock in the living room.

That's got to be annoying. I could just go to sleep.

Or maybe they're watching TV. I could join them.

I head into the living room, wondering if any of my younger siblings are awake right now. They would pile on top of one another just to watch the morning cartoons.

But when I got there, it was empty. The TV was off. Instead, I stared at the two empty chairs across from the couch, wondering who would be sitting there in a few minutes.

I shook my head. "It's so empty here."

Just where is everyone?

As I turn around, I notice that there were some items and other random things scattered around the floor.

It looked like someone was grabbing it all in a rush. But why? Did someone break in? Is someone hurt?

I ran back upstairs, getting ready to grab my phone and run out the door.

As I did, I notice a note, that was plastered on my bedroom door. I didn't notice it earlier, but it's there now.

I took it, recognizing my father's handwriting.

Tsumetai,

I'm sorry for what we are about to do. But there's been a report that a meteor will impact the mountain as soon the sun fully rises.

We wanted to take you with us, but you were out like a light, and no matter what we did you wouldn't wake up.

I know this sounds unbearable to hear, but we decided to leave without you.

If you're lucky, then by the time you read this note, you will still have enough time to escape the mountain and find your way to a town. If you're able to contact us by then, then we'll tell you where to go.

Again, we are so sorry for this, but we couldn't risk wasting any further time.

Please, be safe, and take care of yourself.

Love, Dad.

...

Are you kidding me?

Are you... fucking kidding me!?

A meteor is about to hit the mountain!!!???

But no one would tell me. No one would tell me about this!

I can't believe this is happening.

I'm going to fucking die.

I'm going to fucking die!

"I need to get out of here!" I shouted. I quickly ran back downstairs, quickly putting on a coat so I wouldn't freeze outside.

I ran, and I ran, I kept on running, out in the blizzard.

I don't remember much after that. I just remember running, running, running.

I heard a high pitched sound, and everything went black.

---

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I open my eyes...

Looking around, I seem to be in some kind of void. It's weird though, I can still see, yet it's dark enough to not know if this place has an end or not.

I slowly get up, raising myself to my feet. My dress was a bit wet from the snow, but I don't see any kinds of scars or wounds.

...Am I dead?

Did I die or something? Was it because I blacked out that the meteor succeeded in obliterating my entire body?

As I thought about that, I notice something... floating around me.

It was small, white even, like a ghost...

"Huh? Who are you?" I asked the thing.

It continued to move, but there wasn't a response.

"Hey, can you hear me?" I asked again, this time touching it's front.

When I did, I notice something poked me in the head, so I quickly stumble back.

"Ah!!! Who's there!?" I shouted. "Show yourself!"

But there was no one. Just me and this... Marshmallow?

...

That's not a bad name for it actually.

I walked towards it again, this time placing my hand gently on top of it. When I did, I can feel the stimulation of someone rubbing my head.

Based on that kind of logic, I can conclude that marshmallow's senses are connected to mine somehow.

But why is that? And who is this thing anyway?

Why am I in this void?

Am I alive?

Am I dead?

"Well, technically, you're both." A different voice said.

...

I turn around, wondering who that is.

And suddenly, as if it was a Necrofantasia of magic, she appeared.

A beautiful woman, dressed in purple. Her long blonde hair flowing as she entered here through the portal beneath her feet. She had a face that looked wise and mature, but also young and elegant.

She landed lightly on the ground, like a feather that floats down on the wind. She walked toward me, holding the parasol in her hand.

I stepped back, feeling intimidated by this person.

"W-who are... What did..." I had no words.

"My my... So you're the second coming I see..." The person said. "Well considering how the last one went, I assume I shouldn't waste your time too much here."

"Second coming? What are you saying?" I asked.

"...And once again, you play the fool... But this was to be expected, so I might as well play along... My name is Yukari Yakumo. I am what you may call a youkai. More specifically I am a Gap Youkai, the Sage of Gensokyo, which is where I plan on sending you to." The woman named Yukari said.

"Gensokyo... Wait, you mean the world from the computer games I play?" I asked.

"Ah, so the games do exist in your universe." Yukari said. "Then you're already aware of what is happening?"

"I... I don't know... This is too much already..." I said.

Marshmallow floated towards Yukari, as if it was expecting a response from her. Yukari gently pat it on the head, and I could feel the same feeling.

"Well to answer your first question: No, you're not dead... But you're not exactly alive either." Yukari said. "You're what they call a Half-Human Half-Phantom. Your soul is separated into 2 different bodies. The white orb you see floating around you is your phantom half." Yukari said.

"So... Marshmallow is actually a part of me?" I ask.

"You already named it?" Yukari said, looking at me with an odd look.

"Hey, I had to call it something!" I said. "Anyways, what happened? How did I get here?"

"Oh that's simple. Before the meteor hit you, I dragged your body here into the void. I don't know how it happened but the moment I took you here your body split into 2, that I'm uncertain on how it worked."

"...So I'm not dead, and you saved me... Okay I can understand that... But you also said you're taking me to Gensokyo?" I asked.

"Correct. But before I do, I figured that I should give you an ability, just so that you can protect yourself better." Yukari said, snapping her fingers.

As she did, an orb appeared before me. It looked to be a yin-yang orb colored to be blue and purple.

Just then it glowed, blinding my eyes for just a second. As I reopened them, I look in front of me...

I see what looks like a revolver, one that seemed to date all the way back from 1885. I held it in my hands.

I look in the barrel, seeing it was fully loaded with 6 shots.

"A gun?" I ask. "You're giving me a gun?"

"Not just any gun..." Yukari said. "That gun is loaded with 6 unique pistols, capable of being shot in any dimension."

"Dimension? As in... 2D and 3D?" I ask.

Once again, Yukari gives me an odd look. "...I mean they can teleport."

"Ohhhhh." I said. "But, shouldn't I have like... I don't know... A whole box of ammo for this gun?"

"Well... The bullets were designed to go straight back into the revolver once they hit a target. You can only shoot out 6 at a time though, so be careful not to miss else you'll be vulnerable."

"Um... Do I get anything else?" I ask.

"No."

"Not even a more useful ability?" I ask again.

"No." Yukari said with a smile.

"But why??? I don't even know how to use a gun."

"Well don't blame me. You had so many options to choose from yet you went with the bullets."

"What are you talking about?" I ask. "You make it sound like you're speaking to someone else."

"Don't worry about it. For now I should be sending you to Gensokyo now." Yukari said with another snap of her fingers.

And just like that, I felt my body falling through a portal and out into...

The sky.

I was falling through the sky.

"Crap crap crap crap!!!" I shouted.

I was free falling at this point, with Marshmallow flying down with me.

"Why is this happening to me!?" I shouted. "I'm gonna die!!!"

I look down, passing through the clouds and seeing a large area of land.

Just from this view alone, I could see many things: There were mountains that stood tall, 2 distinct forests, what looks like a shrine, a lake with a mansion next to it, a village and so much more.

If I wasn't falling to my death I would be enjoying this more.

...Speaking of...

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! SOMEONE SAVE ME!!!!!!!" I shouted.

I was about to hit the ground soon, at this point I'm not gonna make it.

But then an idea struck.

I look at Marshmallow, reaching out to it as it hug it tightly, directing it so that it will break my fall.

"I hope this works!!!" I told myself.

I closed my eyes, as I felt my body crash loudly.

---

I open my eyes, feeling sore, wounded, and very, very dizzy.

Looking up and around me, I noticed that I seem to be somewhere...

But... Where am I?

Chapter Text

I landed on what looks like another Marshmallow, next to an Ancient Temple.

"M...Myon..." A voice said.

As I looked down, I realize that I'm lying on top of another person, so I quickly got off of them in a panic state.

"I-I'm so sorry!" I say. "I was falling, and I didn't know what to do and- A-are you okay!?" I ask.

Luckily, the person who I was talking too got up just fine. They pat the dust off of them and took a breath in.

They have silver hair, and are wearing green clothes. I notice that they have a pair of swords around their waist, and what looks like another version of Marshmallow.

We made eye contact real quick before they quickly respond.

"O-oh! It's okay! You don't need to apologize. I was the one who wasn't aware of my surroundings for a moment there." The girl said.

"A-are you sure? I was falling very quickly." I ask.

"No worries... But may I ask for your name?" They ask.

"I-It's Tsumetai Snow." I say with a bit of hesitation.

"It's nice to meet you, Tsumetai-san." The girl said. "I'm Youmu Konpaku. It's a pleasure to meet you."

For someone who literally took the impact of a falling being, they are very polite. I find their ability to remain calm and diligent almost surprising.

"If you don't mind, may I ask why you were falling out of the sky?" Youmu asked me.

"Um... It's... a bit of a long story... There was this woman named Yukari who-"

"Look out!" Youmu told me immediately.

Almost instantly, she grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the way of what looked like flashing bullets of light, crashing into the ground.

The dust settled, and I look in the distance to see another figure, everything suddenly turned bizarre.

A woman, who wore blue and white, posing like a Jojo character, stood there menacingly alongside a even more menacing cloud person.

"Ah, Youmu Konpaku. What business do you have with Myouren Temple?" The woman asked.

Youmu, suddenly resembling a bit more like that one character with the sword stand I recall, responded to her.

"Ichirin-san... I believe you know why I'm here... You have something here that my master wants." Youmu said.

"...Yare yare daze... How many times must I tell you Youmu... If you want our sacred waters..." Ichirin said while her cloud moved forward. "...Then you must earn it."

"...With pleasure... Myon-chan!!!" Youmu shouted, pulling her sword out.

As if it was sudden, Youmu's Phantom-Half transformed into a white copy of her, grabbing her sword midair as it posed menacingly.

"Just what the hell is happening?" I said outloud.

And suddenly, a little slip came out of a gap portal. I took it and read it.

You can thank the RNG gods for this opportunity-Yukari

...What?

"Unzan... Do your thing!!!" Ichirin shouted.

And just like that, both Myon-chan and Unzan dashed at one another.

"ORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORA!!!" Unzan shouted, punching rapidly.

While his punches were blinding, Myon-chan was able to keep up.

Eventually Myon-chan started using the sword in their hand and counterattacked.

"MYON!!!" Myon-Chan shouted back.

With a precise swing, she managed to slice at Unzan's cheek a bit, grazing ever so slightly. That caused Ichirin to take a step back in pain.

"Damn it... You gotten faster Youmu." Ichirin said.

"There's more where that came from! Myon-Chan!" Youmu shouted.

"Myon!!!" Myon-chan took the sword and stabbed through Unzan's body.

"I win!!!" Youmu shouted.

"...You think you won, yet I only let my guard down on purpose." Ichirin said with a smirk.

"Eh?"

And suddenly, I witness Unzan vanish instantly, leaving Myon-Chan confused.

When I looked at Youmu, I saw that Unzan managed to pin her to the ground hard.

"H-how!?" Youmu asked. "Since when can Unzan evade Myon-Chan's attacks like that!?"

"Yare Yare Daze... You forget that Unzan can phase through solid matter pretty easily." Ichirin said. "Now... I'll make this quick so I can get back to guarding the temple... Unzan!!!"

"ORA!!!" Unzan roared, as it unleashed a flurry of punches down upon Youmu.

They were so quick, yet slow enough that I can see every single punch landing on Youmu, as she gets launched into the Temple's entrance.

I was absolutely stunned by what I just saw. Then suddenly, Ichirin glared at me.

"You... I don't know you, but judging by your interaction with Youmu not to long ago, I assume you're acquainted with her?" She asked me.

"N-no! I just fell from the sky and-"

I suddenly couldn't breathe. I look at Marshmallow and see that Unzan had grabbed it by where my neck would be located.

"Strange... To think there was another Half-Human Half-Phantom living here in Gensokyo... I only know of 2 and I can assure you that you're not either of them... So how about you tell me where you came from and maybe you won't suffer the fate like Youmu."

I didn't know what to do... I couldn't breathe and I was helpless.

But... I need too do something, for I was dragged into this mess and I intend on getting out of it.

But what can I do? I am no match for Ichirin or her Unzan in terms of raw power. She's like the Jotaro Kujo of this world for heaven's sake!

Chapter Text

As I struggled there breathless, I remembered the gun that I was given by Yukari not too long ago.

I slowly reached down into my pocket and pulled it out, raising it at Ichirin and fired a proiettile.

...But I missed.

Ichirin easily dodged the attack without putting in any effort.

"...A gun. Those are rare here in Gensokyo." Ichirin said. "...I suppose that means that you're actually from-"

She stopped.

Of course she would stop.

Because that same bullet I shot came back and teleported behind her.

I saw that bullet vanish and teleport through a dimensional rift.

I don't know how it happened, but all I could think about was how I wanted that bullet to come back and defeat her.

And it did.

It vanished and came back to hit her for good.

Ichirin struggled, Unzan let go of me, and I could breathe once more while Marshmallow came to my side again.

"Marshmallow!" I said with joy. "Are you okay?" I asked it.

It pat it on the head, which may look strange since it's technically apart of me but still...

I look back at Ichirin, who was bleeding slowly on the ground.

"...Oh god..." I said.

I move to her, slowly...

Then my hand was grabbed by Unzan, with them staring at me intensely.

"U-Um... N-N-Nice cloud person." I said innocently.

"..."

Unzan let go of me, took Ichirin inside the temple, and left me alone with Marshmallow.

...

WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED!?

Not only did I get sent to another world, but already I got attacked by someone! And I shot them!!! I never shot anyone before in my life!!!

I kneeled on the ground, in a panicked state, trying to comprehend everything that was happening. I struggled to hold back the tears in my eyes.

"Please... This must be a dream... I'll just wake up and be back in my room again..." I told myself.

"No... I'm here... I'm real..."

"I'm real..."

I felt my face wet with my tears when I felt myself being hugged by another.

Then I heard a voice from behind me...

"Are you doing alright, young one?"

I turn around a bit, holding back the emotions within me.

I see a woman, wearing an outfit that looks similar to what monks would wear. Her hair was a nice gradient of light brown and purple, her eyes a gentle hazel, and a face that is like a mother's.

"...Who are you?" That was all I could ask at the moment.

"I'm Byakuren Hijiri. May I ask for your name?" The woman named Byakuren said.

"T...Tsumetai." I said. "My name is Tsumetai Snow."

"Tsumetai Snow... A name of one who grew up surrounded by the cold. Am I wrong?"

I was a bit surprised by her words, they sound reassuring. Just talking to her is making me feel a bit better.

"...Yeah." I say.

"...Would you like to come inside, it's a bit chilly out here since it's still winter." Byakuren asked me.

"I would like that." I say.

Byakuren helped me back up, holding my hand with a firm yet soft grasp, guiding me up the stairs of the temple.

"I do apologize for Ichirin's actions. She was only doing her duty guarding the temple. Sometimes she tends to get reckless however."

"A-are you a priest?" I asked Byakuren.

"Why yes. I'm the head priest of Myouren Temple."

"Myouren Temple?" I ask, shocked.

"Do you know that name?"

I was about to say it was the name of a place in one of the computer games that I play, but something tells me she wouldn't understand.

"No, I just heard that name once." I say

"Hmm..."

"Uhh... What is it anyway?"

"A temple for humans and youkai alike to find peace and tranquility. A place to learn and practice buddhism. A place... where some may call home."

"...How is it possible that I ended up here?" I asked myself.

"Did you say something?" Byakuren asked me.

"No, it's nothing." I said.

---

The inside of the temple was nice and warm. There were many decorations and relics, some reminding me of the time I once visited a Buddhist Temple when I was only a child.

I was sitting down by a small table, drinking some tea that was offered to me by one of the members of the temple. It helped calm me down.

I do wonder what happened to Youmu earlier, I hope she's alright.

As I sit here, thinking about what has happened so far, I notice a girl staring at me.

She wore what looks like green and yellow, a black hat, and had a purple orb close to her heart.

She didn't say anything, just stared. She's been staring at me for a few minutes now and I'm beginning to feel discomfort by her presence.

Should I say something? Should I ignore her?

What is it that she wants?

Chapter Text

I... I suppose talking wouldn't hurt.

"U-Um..." I began. "Hello there. What is-"

"Hello! Knife to meet you!!!" The girl said, slamming a silver knife directly into the table. "I'm Koishi! Koishi the Satori! What's your name!!!"

I was startled by the knife. The force that shook the table was enough for the tea to shake, but not spill.

"I... I'm Tsumetai." I say.

"Ah! That's a wonderful name! Say, you wanna be friends!?" Koishi asked me.

"S-sure?" I say, unsure of how else to respond.

"Yay! I made another friend! You hear that Mr. Hat! I got another fishing buddy!" Koishi said to her hat.

Oh god, I made friends with a weirdo didn't I?

Just as I thought of that, Koishi immediately got on top of the table and walked over to me, leaning down while staring.

"Say, are you new to Gensokyo? I've been all over Gensokyo but I never seen someone like you. Especially not someone who has a floating phantom with them!"

"N-No... I'm quite-"

"Are you that sword girl's long lost sister or something?" Koishi interrupted me.

"No, I-"

"Oh I get it! You're her mother!!!"

"M-mother!? What are you even-"

"Do you mind if I stab you?"

"...What!?" I asked.

"Oh, sorry. Sometimes I get the urge to stab people. It happens. There was this one time when-"

"Koishi..."

Koishi and I faced the entrance as we see what looks like another girl. They wore a plaid blouse, have lavender hair, a skirt with faces on it, and has a mask on their head.

"Oh! Kokoro!" Koishi said. "Knife to meet you again!"

"Byakuren told you not to disturb the guests, don't you remember?" Kokoro said, her expression unchanging despite what Koishi said. I did notice the mask changing oddly enough.

"She did..." Koishi pondered for a bit. "...Oh, I must've forgot..."

"You can make friends with her later. Right now, we have to do what Byakuren says."

"But we were friends first!"

"Yes, we'll talk about it later."

"But..."

"We'll talk about it later."

"Fine..."

Koishi got up, and then jumped on the table, and grabbed both my hands, and pulled me up.

"Wah!!!" I yelped.

"Hey! Let's hang sometime!" Koishi said. "I'll teach you everything there is about fishing!"

"S-sure..." I said, a bit shaky.

Afterwards, Koishi and Kokoro left the area, leaving me by my lonesome for a bit.

Because Koishi spilled the tea, I wasn't able to relax as much despite being inside of a Buddhist Temple.

What I did do was think about what I'm going to do next.

After all, it's clear this isn't a dream. Everything that is happening is real, and I don't think leaving is an option (not that I could since everyone probably thinks I'm dead).

So... What should I do?

I suppose I should go talk to Byakuren, she probably knows how to help.

I left the room and walked down the halls a bit, until I found the room she was in. I knocked on the door, but it seemed to be completely ignored.

I think I know why that is, since it seems she has a guest right now.

I peeked inside a bit, trying to see who it was.

It looks like she's talking to the girl who attacked me and Youmu earlier. I also see Youmu was inside also.

Interesting...

I was considering what I should do, when I decided to wait a little more before I decided. I stilled prepared myself for the worst case scenario.

"You can just walk in y'know?" A voice said.

I turn around, seeing a girl who was wearing a black dress, and has 2 distinct wings on her back.

"I can? But won't I be interrupting something?" I ask.

"Eh it's fine. Byakuren is just lecturing the two about the ruckus they made and how they got a bystander involved. Infact I bet you coming in now would be a good opportunity for them to apologize for their actions." The girl said.

"If you say so."

I open the door slowly, so as to not make a sound, but I was spotted right away by Youmu and Ichirin!

"Tsumetai-san!" Youmu said.

I look to see that Youmu is alright. However as I look at Ichirin I notice she has some bandages around her head.

"A-are you okay!?" I ask her.

"It's fine... It's not the first time I had a close encounter with a bullet." Ichirin said in a spiteful tone.

"Now now Ichirin, remember what we just talked about." Byakuren said.

"Right..." Ichirin and Youmu both bowed down with their heads on the ground. "Forgive us Tsumetai." Ichrin said.

"W-why are you apologizing." I asked.

"Our behavior earlier was inexcusable." Youmu said, "I'm sorry."

"It's alright. I've dealt with worse." I say. "You don't need to apologize, I was the one who got in the way."

"We were just worried that something had happened to you." Youmu explained, "...Or at least I was."

"I'm fine."

"Good." Byakuren says. "Now that that's out of the way, let's continue. Ichirin, you may get up."

Ichirin nods, and walks up to byakuren. "Thank you for this opportunity Byakuren-san."

"You are quite welcome." Byakuren says. "Now then, I have a few things to ask you."

"W-what..."

"Well, Youmu told me that you fell from the sky when you got here, correct?"

"Yeah..."

"Did anything happen before it happened?"

"What do you mean?" Youmu asks.

"It's strange really. A person we never seen before, specifically a Half-Human Half-Phantom, falls from the sky and lands on the only other known Half-Human Half-Phantom. I would say it's a coincidence, but it's almost like fate is it not?" Byakuren said.

"What are you getting at?" Youmu asks.

"Youmu, you never met this person before in your life. And yet they're the same race as you. So the question is: Who are they and where did they come from?"

"I have no idea."

"So then how did they get here?"

"I don't know."

"Did anything unusual happen before the incident?"

"Like what?"

"Anything."

"...Well, when I was walking here, I notice a gap portal opening up from the sky not too long ago... But that's it really..."

"Anything else? Anything that may help us?"

"Um... I could just tell you all what happened if you like." I say.

Byakuren and Youmu look at me. "O-Oh of course! Sorry for not asking!" Byakuren said. "I didn't want to pressure you or anything is all."

"It's okay..."

---

I explained what happened to Byakuren and Youmu; about how I got into Gensokyo as well as where I came from.

"I see... To think you would be abandoned like that..." Byakuren said. "...You poor thing."

"The outside world..." Youmu said. "I know a few people who come from there actually."

"You do?"

"Yeah, like Sanae-san. She lives up the mountain with her par- I mean, goddesses." Youmu said. "Oh and Sumireko-san too! Though she doesn't exactly live here."

"Not exactly?" I ask.

"...Oh! And recently there's-"

Suddenly, an explosion explodes!!!

I looked around, confused. Another explosion went off, and I heard something like a really sharp knife being cut through air. Then I heard a really loud noise, and I felt the ground shake.

"W-what is going on!?" I shout.

"...Not again..." Byakuren said. "It's her..."

"Who?"

"Byakuren!!! I come for you!!! Get out here and fight me like the proud monk you are!!!" A voice shouted.

"Not while you're fighting me you are!" A different voice shouted.

Another explosion could be heard as you can see the interior of the temple shake and rumble.

"...Please excuse me for a moment, this will only take a second." Byakuren said, moving out of the room and down the hall.

There's a part of me that feels curious as to what is going on. But I'm too afraid to go out just to see what it is.

Chapter Text

I feel like I should go outside, yet I don't know the reason for this decision.

I just feel like it.

As I walk out the room, Youmu approached me.

"Tsumetai-san, where are you going?" She asked me.

"Oh, I'm just a bit curious as to what is going on, since there was a sound of an explosion." I say.

"Don't worry too much." Ichirin said. "That's likely the Taoists here to make trouble once again. And judging from the voice from earlier, that's probably Miko."

"Miko?" I ask.

"Yes. They have caused trouble for Hijiri-sama in the past many times. We dealt with them before yet they keep coming back. I wonder what excuse they made up this time..."

"...Still, a look wouldn't hurt would it?" I say.

"I suppose. But don't blame me if you get dragged into the crossfire." Ichirin said.

"O-okay."

I began to leave, but notice Youmu following me.

"Why are you following me Youmu?" I ask.

"I-I just want to make sure you're safe is all... I wasn't able to protect you earlier so I want to do better this time." Youmu said. "B-besides... I'm quite curious about the life you had... I never met another Half-Human Half-Phantom such as I."

"Oh. Well thank you Youmu-chan." I say with a smile.

I see Youmu form a red blush on her face, showing embarrassment.

"Y-you're w-w-welcome..."

...

As Youmu and I head outside, I hear the sounds of what seems like two people clashing. It was similar to the sound effects you hear in Shonen Anime, like Dragon Ball.

When we both reached our destination, I was greeted with almost being hit by a stray bullet, but Youmu quickly pulled me back last second.

"Woah! Are you okay Tsumetai-san!?" Youmu asked.

"I-I'm fine..." I said shakily. "N-not the first time I had a close encounter with a bullet."

"Is that all you got!?" I hear a voice.

I look up, wondering where it was. Then I see 2 people floating in the air. One of them was Byakuren, and the other...

They had the image of an administrator. They have blonde hair that reminded me of a horned owl, a cape that blew with the wind, an aura fitting to someone who displayed a sense of power...

And a face that looks quite handsome I might say.

Is this the Miko that Ichirin was referring to?

"Heh... The all-wise Byakuren, exhausted and can't keep up with me now eh? Have you been slacking off or did you gain weight again?" The person said to Byakuren.

"Big talk for someone who came all the way here to start a street fight with me Miko." Byakuren said. "What excuse did you come up with this time?"

"Like I tell you!!!" The person named Miko shouted. "Take this!!!"

I see Miko dash towards Byakuren, shooting a patten of bullets before diving down, about to hit them with their sword.

Byakuren blocked the incoming attacks, while also avoiding being hit.

She countered Miko's attack, sending a kick down at her skull, strong enough to push Miko to the ground even for a split second before rising back up into the air.

However, by this point, Byakuren herself had sustained several bullet wounds. It was obvious that it was no longer an even match.

Still, Byakuren wasn't tired yet.

"Geez, your strength sure remains great." Miko said. "But what good is that if you can't dodge?"

"I don't need to dodge your attacks." Byakuren told Miko." I just need to last long enough for you to drain yourself."

"Nah, I'll take you down. I just need to wound you one last time." Miko said.

"Try me, your next move will be your last."

Miko charged forward, swinging their sword down at Byakuren.

Byakuren blocked the blow, sending it back to the other side.

She pulled out what looks like a small card, chanting something as a bright light enveloped my eyes.

The next thing I knew, Miko was blasted into a nearby wall.

I look over to see Byakuren collapsing on the ground.

She managed to hold out just long enough to end the fight.

I rush over to her.

"Are you okay?" I ask, pulling her up.

Oh god, she's heavy, I thought. What has she been eating?

"Thanks... You didn't have to help me up." Byakuren said. "I'll be fine."

Even though she said that, I still helped her.

I look over to Youmu, who was helping another person who seemed to be injured. They look to have yellow-striped hair, a dress with a tiger pattern on it, and was holding a spear.

"Why were you being attacked?" I asked Byakuren.

"Oh that? It's just something we do every once in a while, nothing too serious."

"Not too serious? You blasted them into a wall! They tried to stab you with a sword! How is that not serious!?" I ask.

"Oh you naïve child... You'll understand once you get accustomed to Gensokyo." Byakuren said with a smile.

While I held Byakuren up, I noticed that Miko from before managed to make their way to where we were.

"Wow, the Great and all-mighty Byakuren, needing the assistance of a complete stranger to help them up." Miko said. "And you call yourself a monk."

"H-hey! Don't say that! You were the one who tried to attack her!" I say, but I couldn't help but stare at that face.

I also notice Miko staring at me in a peculiar way.

"Huh... I see now." Miko said. "I suppose those kinds of desires are natural."

"W-what are you-"

Miko walked up to me, holding my chin with their hand. It feels rough, but also strong, like they have a firm grip. I was so shocked by this that I dropped Byakuren for a moment.

"Hm... Such a pretty face, and pretty eyes too." Miko said. "Say... Do you mind telling me your name?" They said as their eyes shine into mine.

I feel my heart beating ever so quick, my breath shortening, and my body heating up. There was something about this person that feels so... so...

Like Romance in the Night Sky

"W-wait!" I say, as I try to distance myself from them. "I don't know you! I don't even know who you are! What do you want?!"

"Calm down now. I only want to get a closer look of that face of yours... It's as clear as snow."

Even if it's not quite snow, I know what Miko is referring to.

Their eyes are like big, yellow snowflakes, swirling around in their sockets.

Their hair swayed gently, with their mouth forming a smile that shot an arrow into my heart.

It's like the time when I went to that one concert with an old friend of mine, where we got to see my favorite boy band perform while be both squeal in joy and delight.

It's that exact moment again with this person!

"Um. U-u-um!!!!" I had no words.

I could see it in their eyes. They wanted to take me.

I don't know why, but I desperately wanted to say something. To scream. To cry. To run.

Even Marshmallow wants to get out of here so badly!

Instinctively, I pulled out the gun that I used earlier. I looked inside, seeing that there were still 6 bullets inside.

Yukari was right, it does reload automatically. That's neat.

"S-stay back!!!" I say. "I'm not afraid to shoot!!!"

I was expecting Miko to back away in fear... but they just laughed and approached me.

"My, aren't you getting all riled up. You're like a kitten who is lost in the rain, refusing to accept the help of a kind stranger." Miko said.

Their words made my mind flutter, but I kept my gun pointing at them, even if my hand was shaking now.

I wanted to pull the trigger so badly! But I couldn't.

Instead, Miko walked up to me again, took my free hand, and kissed it lightly.

"I'm not your enemy, my dear. Wouldn't it be right for us to not oppose one another?" Miko asked.

I didn't respond. I couldn't.

The feeling! It was like my entire body was on fire!

Where's a Deus Ex Machina when you need one!?

"Say... Would you like to get some lunch with me after this boring event is over?" Miko asked.

"I...I..."

Just was I was about to respond, something else happened.

"TOYOSATOMIMI NO MIKO!!!!!!!" A voice shouted.

I notice Miko shudder upon hearing the voice, looking behind them.

I look over and see what looks like a green lady that lacks feet. And they. Look. Mad.

"T-t-t-t-t-t-tojiko!!!" Miko said. "W-what are you doing here!? I thought you were with Futo!"

"You honestly didn't expect me to know what exactly you were doing!?" Tojiko shouted. "Not only, did you break our promise of not attacking Myouren temple for a month, not only did you spend some quality time with Byakuren instead of me, not only did you lie when you said that you were going to take Kokoro out for ice cream... But you had the audacity to flirt with another woman!?!?"

"I can explain!!!" Miko shouted.

What followed next was a series of pummeling and shouting for the next 2 minutes...

After that was done, I see Tojiko dragging Miko by their collar.

"I humbly apologize for their actions, I hope they didn't try to persuade you into having fun with them." Tojiko said, bowing to me.

"I-It's alright. I didn't know that he was married." I say.

"He?" Tojiko said. "Miko's a girl."

"...Wait what?" I ask.

"How could you possibly be so dense!? Why else would someone with such a beautiful face be wearing a dress!?" Tojiko shouts.

"W-well, I guess it is possible..." I say.

"Well I'll be needing to drag my spouse back home so I can punish them further. Have yourself a good day." Tojiko said, dragging Miko away.

As they left, I stood there, pondering about what just happened.

But the one thing that truly stuck in my mind was that I was seduced by another girl.

...

Does this make me gay?

Chapter Text

I suppose, I am gay then.

"Are you alright Tsumetai?"

I look over at Byakuren, and forgot she was still here.

"Oh! Sorry for dropping you earlier." I say.

"It's alright. I must apologize for you getting involved in our mess. I wasn't expecting Miko to show up like that."

"Are they usually flirty with others?" I ask with a blush.

"Well... not always. But thankfully Tojiko showed up and dragged her off. Now, lets get inside and warm up shall we?"

"Okay." I say.

---

I was back inside, enjoying a soft blanket and some tea. It felt nice being back in the warm temple compared to the cold outdoors.

It is strange though. Despite the temperature changes it feels like my body heat didn't change much. Is this because I'm Half-Phantom?

To my right, Youmu was sitting next to me. She looked like she had something to say.

"You okay Youmu-Chan?" I asked her.

"I-I'm fine... It's just I wasn't able to protect you again, that's all." Youmu said.

"Oh, that's alright. It's not like I was in any immediate danger. Plus, you saved me from that bullet didn't you?"

"Oh. I guess I did do that." Youmu said with a brighter expression.

"See, no need to be glum." I say.

"I-I notice that you're quite knowledgeable with that firearm you used before."

"Oh, this?" I showed the revolver to Youmu. "Not really, I just know how to shoot is all. But my aim is very much awful."

"But you managed to hit Ichirin earlier didn't you! That's amazing especially since her Unzan can catch bullets midair!"

"Well, I guess I got lucky then." I say.

"Are you kidding? You're probably one of the best shooters out there! You're probably better than Reisen-Chan!" Youmu said.

"Who's Reisen?" I ask.

"Oh. She's a close friend of mine. We've known each other for years." Youmu said. "She's a remarkable person, having been through a lot yet still finding ways to keep surpassing those hurdles."

Based on the way that Youmu talks about her, it seems she really cares for this Reisen.

I suppose, I should really get to know her then.

"So Reisen must be like an older sister or something then?" I ask.

"Yeah... sort of."

I notice that Youmu had a bit of a blush on her face, looking down a bit.

"Wait... Are you two-"

Just as I was about to ask the question, Youmu shot up and started waving her hands at me while panicking.

"I-It's nothing like that! I mean, we've dated before! But it was only a couple of dates! We never even kissed or anything like that!" Youmu said.

"Wait, so your relationship with Reisen is more than just being friends? That's... surprising."

"Well, I like her. A lot. And she likes me, too." Youmu explains.

"So then, why aren't you together then?" I ask.

"She's..."

Youmu paused for a bit, her face turning more solemn and lost in thought, like she's figuring out what to say next.

As she was thinking, I see Byakuren from earlier approach me and Youmu, sitting down on the opposite side of where we were at.

"How are you feeling Tsumetai?" Byakuren asked me.

"I'm doing well. I was just talking to Youmu about a few things." I say.

"That's great to hear... Say, do you have anyplace to live?"

"To live?"

I hadn't even thought about that before. I don't really have any money on me, and I doubt I could just go ahead and find a job on such short notice either.

I didn't even think about food or shelter until now...

"...Judging from your expression I assume you don't." Byakuren said. "...How about you stay here at the temple then? We can provide food and clothes in exchange for a bit of labor. It's nothing too seroius, just some cleaning and maintenance of the temple to keep it tidy. If you want you can even practice Buddhism with us." Byakuren said.

"That sounds wonderful." I say.

"So what do you-"

"Wait Byakuren-Sama." Youmu said, interrupting her.

I notice she had a much more serious look on her face.

"Oh? What could it be Youmu?" Byakuren asked.

Youmu faced me, looking a bit determined.

"Tsumetai-san. I know this may be a bit much to ask... But would you care to come to Hakugyokurou with me?" Youmu asked.

"Hakugyokurou?" I asked.

"It's just... Since you're a Half-Human Half-Phantom like me... It would only make sense that we become close friends. And since you're new here, I could guide you to where you'd be more comfortable. You could even stay with me, if you wanted to." Youmu said.

"You... Want me to live with you?" I ask.

Youmu gave me a nod.

I look back at Byakuren.

"Now now it's your decision to make. I won't force you to stay here, you're welcome to do whatever you please." She said.

...

So either I could stay at Myrouen Temple. Or go to Hakugyokurou with Youmu.

I suppose I could also go elsewhere, but that may be harder to do, and I'm not sure if anyone else would like to take me in.

Chapter Text

"I'll go with you Youmu." I say.

"Huh? A-are you sure?" Youmu asked.

"Yeah. Besides you're one of the first people I met here, so why wouldn't I?" I say.

"I... I appreciate it. Thank you." Youmu said.

Suddenly, I hear the sound of a bell going off. It was loud, and it echoed through the whole temple.

Youmu and I were confused by the noise, but Byakuren seemed to be a bit worried.

"Oh! It's so late already?" She said. "Goodness I completely forgot about the time!"

"Late?" Youmu said, taking a few seconds before she started looking worried. "Oh no... I completely forgot about dinner!!!"

"Dinner?" I ask.

"My master... Yuyuko-sama... If she doesn't get her dinner for the night, she gets hungry! And she's not herself when she's hungry!" Youmu said with visible worry and panic.

"Uh, don't worry. I'm sure that skipping dinner isn't that-"

"No. You don't understand Tsumetai-san." She spoke in a tense tone. "My master is in a very dangerous... state. I have no idea how long she'll last without her dinner. We'd better hurry if we want to save her!"

"That won't do Youmu." Byakuren said. "If you haven't noticed it's snowing like danmaku outside."

"What?"

"And according to the report, I believe it's gonna keep on snowing for the whole night."

"W-whole night!? I can't wait that long!!!" Youmu shouted. "Please Byakuren-san! Is there anything we can do!?"

"...Hm... Well there is one solution..." Byakuren said.

---

"If the Devil's Gonna Come, it must keep up...

Because only now have I learned that Byakuren is an expert motorcyclist.

We were seated behind Byakuren, her wearing a leather suit with matching boots, and her hair free and flowing with the wind.

We were going at a high speed, about 88 miles an hour. We were zooming through the snowy streets of the village, only to leave it just as soon as we began moving.

I only been on a motorcycle once in my whole life, and I remember throwing up because of it.

I sure hope I don't throw up this time.

But Youmu might.

I was holding onto her tightly, but I can tell that she's not used to moving at high speeds, because her head is hanging back a bit, and her face looks pale.

"Wooooooooo!!! I LOVE having an excuse to drive this baby out!" Byakruen shouted, doing a quick wheelie while Youmu and I clinged onto for dear life. "I always wanted to drive out in the snow like this!!!"

"B...Byakruen-san... Can you please drive slowly..." Youmu said.

"What? I can't hear you? Speak louder!!!"

"I-I said..."

"Tree!!!" I shout.

Byakuren quickly swerved to avoid the branch of a tree, continuing to zoom down the path.

Youmu began looking nauseous.

"Wh...What's that?"

"I said... Is that a person on the road up ahead?"

"Oh. It's just a kid. I'm sure it's just a kid."

"No... That's no ordinary kid... That's-!!!"

Before Youmu could say anymore, the kid that we saw raised her hands, and threw a flurry of icicles at us.

"AH! ICE!!!" Youmu shouted.

Byakuren acted fast enough to make a tight left turn, avoiding the attack.

"Who was that!?" I asked. "Why did they attack us!?"

"That was probably Cirno!" Byakruen said.

"Cirno!? What is a Cirno!?" I ask again.

"An ice fairy! She has a habit of starting fights she's guaranteed to lose! But lets just hope she doesn't follow us!"

I look back, just to be sure.

And there was a blue dressed, ice-winged, 9-ish fairy that was flying at us at high speeds.

"Hey! Get back here and fight me you cowards!!!" The fairy named Cirno shouted.

"She's following us!!!" I say in a panic." Youmu! Do something!!!"

I try to get Youmu to respond, but it seems the inertia was too much for her and she passed out.

"Wake up!!!" I shout, shaking Youmu.

"Wha... What happened?" Youmu asked, groggily.

"We're under attack! Do something!!!" I say.

"Icicle Fall!!!" Cirno shouted.

I look up, noticing a large downfall of big icicles falling at us.

"AAAAAAAAAAA!!!" I scream.

Byakuren noticed the ice and began dodging the attacks.

Youmu on the other hand continued to try not to throw up.

"Youmu! Now is not the time to be nauseous! Can't you do something!?" I ask.

"I can try... But unless I can reach my swords safely I can't do much." Youmu said.

I look back at Cirno, who seems to be preparing yet another attack.

Byakuren was busy driving, Youmu was trying not to throw up.

And then there's me...

What can I do?

'Use your ability'

Huh? Who said that?

'Use your ability

My ability...Oh of course!

I wonder who said that though? Lately I been hearing those voices.

I reached for my revolver, which was kept inside my pocket, and draw it out.

I looked back, trying to keep my aim straight, but the shaking of the motorcycle made it hard to do so.

But when I had my eye on the target, I pulled the trigger.

"Perfect Freeze!!!" Cirno shouted.

The bullet shot out of the gun at blazing speeds...

Only to stop frozen shut, landing on the ground.

I see it land as it rolled on the ground a bit.

"W-what the!?" I say.

"Ha! As if a mere bullet will hurt me! I'm the STRONGEST!!!" Cirno shouted.

Darn it... I figured something like that wouldn't work.

...But I still need to try!

I aim again, this time firing more shots into the air.

But one by one, they all froze and land on the ground.

I only have 2 bullets left.

Feeling desperate, I shoot both of them one after the other.

But they were both frozen.

I was out of bullets.

"Darn it... How is she freezing them?" I asked myself.

I tried to remember some of the things that the voices in my head had said.

'She is the SHORTER side of you.'

'You cannot let your fear take over, or your hatred...remember what you are capable of...'

'USE YOUR ABILITY.'

My ability...

My eyes open wide as I remembered what that meant.

I lock my eyes on Cirno, remembering what to do.

Cirno was laughing, she was laughing so much, she didn't seem to notice the dimensional hole that appeared behind her.

And then...

6 bullets, each one hitting her directly on the spot.

4 on the back, one on the leg, and one on the back of the head.

Her body exploded into blue icicles, which shattered on impact.

I felt a sense of accomplishment.

We survived.

I let out a sigh of relief, knowing that we're out of danger.

"Whew, that was a close-"

"CLIFF!!!!!" Youmu shouted.

I suddenly look forward, and there indeed was a cliff.

Byakuren slammed on the brakes hard on the motorcycle, trying her best to not go over the cliff.

But we were going too fast for that.

And we fell over.

I felt the rush of air, and the pain of falling...

---

I open my eyes, gasping for breath as I look around at my surroundings.

I notice that was next to some water. It was shallow.

I couldn't see much, no signs of life nor light. But I can still see the waters.

I look forward, noticing what looks like a ferry, and someone rowing it.

I notice they carried a scythe with them, and had a certain expression on them.

But... Before I could notice anything else about them, something started dragging me back.

I look behind, seeing what looks like a transparent hand, forcefully dragging me from behind.

'It's too soon...'

And then I was dragged off.

---

"...up............wake............wake up...... wake up Tsumetai-san... Wake up! Please!!!"

I slowly open my eyes, seeing the sight of a white sky.

I feel the cold softness of what seems to be a phantom. It's not Marshmallow so it must be Youmu's Phantom Half.

I see the sight of Youmu, with teary eyes in her cheeks and a sad look on her face. But it quickly turn to joy upon me moving my head a bit.

"Oh thank god!!! You're okay Tsumetai-san!!!" Youmu said, hugging me tight. "How are you feeling?"

...How do I feel?

I'm not too sure...

Chapter Text

"I... I think I'm alright." I say. "What about Byakuren? Where is she?"

"She's alright too. We... we fell off the cliff, but we survived." Youmu said.

I sit up, feeling a little dizzy.

"Fell off a cliff?" I ask.

Youmu nodded. "Are you sure you're doing okay? I mean, it was a big fall."

"Don't worry Youmu-chan. I fell from greater heights than that before and I turned out fine." I reassure her.

She smiles.

"Good to know. Well, we survived, now let's not dwell on the past, yeah?"

I nod, still in a daze.

I take a look around at my surroundings, seeing that we seem to be inside of a cave. I see that Byakuren is doing okay, she looks busy cooking a pot of food using a makeshift fire.

I look out at the entrance, seeing that the blizzard from before is worse than it was previously.

"It really is snowing outside huh." I say.

"Yeah. Byakuren-san said that we should camp out for the night, as going out in this kind of weather is dangerous. I do hope that Yuyuko-sama is okay." Youmu said with a bit of a laugh.

"...I'm sorry Youmu-chan..." I say.

"Huh? Why are you apologizing?" She asked me.

I fold my arms around my knees, letting Marshmallow get next to me.

"It's because of me that we got into this mess... Had I not arrived we wouldn't be stuck in the middle of a blizzard." I say.

"That's not your fault. Do not blame yourself." She says.

I sigh, before placing my head on my knees.

"I'm sorry."

"Don't apologize to me."

"I'm apologizing to myself."

"Stop doing that."

"It's the only way I can atone for what happened."

"No, you don't need to do that."

"I do."

Youmu sighs. "You sound a lot like Reisen-chan right now."

"I do?" I ask, raising my head.

"Yeah... She would always apologize for everything, even if it's not her fault. I can't blame her though, she has a lot of responsibilities and is always busy with stuff. And a single screw up is enough to get her punished."

I can't help but laugh. I mean, I know what she's talking about, so it's not too far off.

"Hey, why are you laughing?" Youmu asked me.

"Sorry, sorry..."

"There you go again, you're apologizing for something that's not your fault." Youmu said.

"I know, I'm sorry."

"Stop apologizing. You're making me nervous."

"I can't help it, I laugh like that whenever I feel... Guilty. Like I did something wrong."

"But you didn't do anything wrong though... If anything I'm the one to blame for suggesting you come with me."

"Youmu-chan..."

I look at Youmu, who is now looking away from me with guilt.

"...What would Yuyuko-sama think... Not only did I forget to make her dinner, but now I'm stuck in a blizzard with someone I just met. I'm a failure as a servant." Youmu said.

"No you're not! We're alive, that's the main thing. And Yuyuko-sama would never think that of you. She's an incredibly kind lady, who would never be angry with you."

"How would you know that? You haven't even met her."

"Because I can tell, that she's someone you truly care for. So it's only reasonable that she feels the same way."

Youmu laughs, before putting her hand on my shoulder.

"Tsumetai-san... I suppose you're right..."

"Sorry..."

"I'm sorry too..."

"Hey, you two hungry?" Byakuren asked us both.

I nod, and look at Youmu. She nods too.

"Starved." We both say.

"Well there's plenty for the both of you." Byakuren smiled.

Youmu and I got up from our spots, moving over so we can enjoy some food.

After eating, we huddled up together. Byakuren conveniently brought a spare futon with her just in case, letting Youmu and I use it.

"Are you sure you're gonna be okay Byakuren-san?" Youmu asked Byakuren.

"I'll be fine. Plus, this is a good opportunity for me to get some training done by enduring the harsh cold temperatures." Byakuren said. "But you two should go get some sleep."

"We will. Goodnight." Youmu said, before closing her eyes.

I let out a yawn.

"It's late. I need my rest too."

I get into the futon with Youmu, allowing my eyes to close slowly as the sound of the blizzard blew outside of the cave.

---

I open my eyes, staring into a void.

I notice that I'm somewhere that looks strangely familiar. Then it hit me.

This was the place where I met Yukari for the first time right?

But why... Am I here again?

...

As I pondered about this, I felt something touch me on the back.

I turn around, only to see nothing.

A bit of me feels relief, as I must be losing my mind.

I turn around again, and feel the same thing brush against me again.

And again.

I start to panic.

"W-who's there!?" I say, pulling out my gun in defense. "Is that you Yukari!?"

Nothing.

My body tense, I took a deep breath, and waited.

Again, nothing.

"Please," I begged, "I promise that I won't say anything to anyone if you show yourself."

Once again, there was nothing.

...

...

...

I see a portal open in front of me, and out came a familiar face.

"Oh, you arrived earlier than I expected." Yukari said, coming out of the portal. "My apologies for the teasing, I like to mess with others sometimes."

"Uh, it's OK. Are you OK-?"

"Oh, I'm quite fine." She says, cheerfully.

"Are you sure? You look... paler than the last time we met."

It was true, I notice that Yukari's skin looks to be much paler than the last time.

"Oh, that's because I'm not as active during the winter, so my body slows down a bit. But don't worry... nothing's abnormal about me."

I wanted to say more, but she waves me off.

"Anyway, I must say, you are a most interesting companion."

"Yukari, where's your-."

"I mean, compared to the previous one, you seem to be much more cautious of your surroundings. Not only that but you also proved to be much better at defending yourself."

"Previous one?" I ask.

"Oh, don't mind what I said right there. It's nothing too important... But I do have a question for you I like to ask."

I nod, listening closely.

"Suppose... I could send you back to where you were... Before the meteor, before the abandonment, before the impact... What would you say?"

I furrow my brow.

"I'm sorry, but I don't understand."

"Suppose... I could send you back. Would you still say yes?"

Chapter Text

I think about what Yukari just said.

If I could... I could go back right?

I could go and return to the family that I have.

'Say No.'

I could see my parents once more, and my siblings and my home.

I could go back and live my normal life once again.

'Say No...'

That's obviously something that I want...

But then why can't I say yes?

'Say No*'*

Something, within my mind, is telling me to say no. To refuse, deny, avoid the opportunity.

I slowly open my mouth.

"I..."

'Say No.'

"I..." I speak.

"Hm? What is it?" Yukari asked me. "I can't hear you.

'SAY NO'

"I... I want..."

I can't breathe, there's something stopping my throat.

And my mind is screaming the same phrase over and over.

'SAY NO. SAY NO. SAY NO. SAY NO. SAY NO. SAY NO. SAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNOSAYNO-'

They want me to say no. But why!?

Who is telling me to say no over and over!?

I can't breathe!

I drop my gun. I'm losing it. I don't know what to do.

"W-what's wrong?" Yukari asks, but I can't respond. "Cat got your tongue or something?"

I lean over on the ground, struggling to breathe.

Something, or someone is refusing to let me say what I want to say.

They want me to refuse.

...

But I can't let them win.

I can't... I can't let myself be controlled like this!!!

I raise my head up, glaring at Yukari, and I shout with all my might.

"YES!!! MY ANSWER IS YES!!!" I scream. "I'LL SAY YES TO YOUR QUESTION!!!"

Yukari just stared at me, with wide open eyes.

...And she formed a smile.

"...I see..." She said, slowly starting to giggle to herself.

The giggle, turned into a laugh.

Then that laugh became a bigger laugh. Then bigger, and bigger and bigger and bigger.

...Until she was outright leaning back, laughing like she completely lost it.

I, was afraid.

I, was on the verge of losing it completely.

I, was laughing along with her.

"W-what's wrong?" I asked, between gasps for breath.

"...I lied." Yukari said. "I lied about being able to send you back." She said in a completely calm tone.

"What do you mean?"

"...It was merely a test... To see whether or not you have the final say in what goes... And it seems that I was right... You still have a SOUL."

"What... What are you talking about?"

"Nothing... It... It was just a test."

Yukari said, seemingly oblivious to the fact that she just confessed to lying to me.

"But...I thought you said you could-"

"I only asked how you would respond if I said that I could. I mean, even if I can... why would I?"

I felt hurt hearing this. Was Yukari playing with me?

"...But it seems that I got everything I came here for now... I hope to see you again soon." Yukari said with a wave of her hand.

And she vanished.

I was left alone, in this void.

...But I don't feel alone for some reason.

I look around, and I wished I didn't.

Because there was something, staring at me.

It growled, like a beast.

It had fangs, like a beast.

It stood, like a beast.

But this was no beast.

I don't know what it was.

All I could do, was scream as it charged at me.

---

I woke up, gasping for breath.

I was back in the cave, in the futon, in Gensokyo.

I shook my head, trying to get the image of that girl out of it.

"A test... She said it was a test."

I sighed. Just what have I gotten into?

"Myon..."

I look over at Youmu, who seemed to be waking up now.

"Good Morning, Yuyuko-sama... What do you want for breakfast?" She said.

It seems that Youmu isn't completely awake.

A part of me feels like messing with her a bit, but another part of me feels like just messing with her.

'mess with her.'

...It's those voices again. I don't know why, but it seems that they only appear when I have to make a choice.

Is this going to happen constantly? I sure hope not. But I suppose I can go along with their suggestion this time.

I prepared myself a bit, I never met this Yuyuko person, but based off the computer games I played, she's supposed to be very calm and gentle with her words, so I'll try to mimic that.

"Oh Youmu-chan... I want you to make me a nice plate of pancakes with whipped cream and a cherry on top." I say in a different tone.

"...How many plates would you like, Yuyuko-sama?" Youmu asked.

"Hm... I suppose, 3... no... 15 plates would suffice." I say, trying not to laugh.

"I'll get right on it Yuyuko-sama..." Youmu said.

She slowly raise herself from the futon, opening her eyes, blinking twice before taking a look around.

"Wha? Huh? Where am I? Yuyuko-sama where are you!?" Youmu said in a worried state.

I just started to laugh a bit, with Youmu looking down at me.

"Hey! Were you messing with me Tsumetai-san!?" Youmu asked.

"Sorry! Sorry! I couldn't help it! You were talking in your sleep!" I say, still laughing a bit. Even Marshmallow was laughing with me.

"Geez!" Youmu said, turning around to not face me. "I was convinced you were Yuyuko-sama! Don't do that again!"

"I promise I won't." I say (though I may do it again).

"You two awake?"

Youmu and I look over to see Byakuren, who... looked like she wrestled a bear, considering her outfit is torn up and her hair is a mess.

"W-what happened?" I ask.

"Oh me? Well at first I tried to meditate out in the blizzard last night. But then this lady with lavender hair showed up suddenly, and wanted a fight. I wasn't in the mood but they kept on persisting me to fight her. So I did, but I completely underestimated her because she zoomed around the blizzard like it's her specialty. But after about 4 consecutive hours of fighting I managed to take her down." Byakuren explained.

"...Huh..." I say. "Who picks a fight in the middle of a blizzard?"

"Anyways, I made breakfast for you two, so you better eat up so you have strength for the rest of the trip."

"Okay!!!" Youmu and I say.

---

After eating, we said goodbye to Byakuren since she needed to head back to the temple, as Youmu and I continued our journey to Hakugyokurou.

She led the way, while I followed her behind.

Soon, we reached what looked like a empty area, with a large area of grass surrounding us.

"Where are we Youmu-chan? Is this supposed to be Hakugyokurou?" I ask.

"No. In order to go there we must first cross the barrier of life and death, which will lead to the netherworld." Youmu said.

"Okay, where is this barrier?" I ask.

"Upwind."

"Upwind?"

"Yes, upwind."

"...What do you mean by upwind?"

"Tsumetai-san, are you able to fly by chance?" Youmu asked me.

"No." I say.

"...I see..." Youmu held out her hand to me.

"W-what are you doing?" I ask.

"Come over here." She said.

I did as she asked, and walked over, taking her hand.

The next thing I knew, I was being carried in her arms.

"Eh?" I say, blinking while a blush formed on my face. "Y-Y-Youmu-Chan? What are you doing?" I ask.

"I-It's the safest way I can think of." Youmu said, blushing even more than I am. "Hang on to me, and don't let go."

And with a jump off the ground, she started flying into the air.

I look down, seeing how quickly we are flying up the sky, as Myon-chan and Marshmallow follow us close.

"You can fly!?" I ask.

"Of course. About 80% of Gensokyo's residents are able to fly. I'm surprised that you are unable to." Youmu said.

"Is flight just a natural trait!?" I ask.

"Not really, it's real easy to fly. All you need to do is jump and not fall down."

"I don't think...Y'know what, I'm not gonna bother asking." I say.

Youmu and I flew into the sky. She had a close grip on me, I can tell she's putting in a lot of effort to make sure I wouldn't fall down.

Soon, we reached an altitude where the clouds were resting. I reached my hand out to touch one.

"Don't!" Youmu shouted.

"Sorry!" I say, pulling my hand back.

She continued to fly us through the air. We were flying pretty high, for a girl who couldn't even touch the bottom of the clouds.

I looked around, seeing a mostly cloudless blue sky with few signs of life.

"This is kinda boring." I say.

"Don't worry, we're almost at our destination." Youmu said.

"So is the netherworld located up in the sky or something? Is it like heaven?" I ask.

"Well... Not particularly no... It's a place where souls that don't go to either heaven or hell reside in, until ultimately they go to heaven or reincarnate."

"So then why do you live there?" I ask.

"Because that's where Yuyuko-sama lives. I'm always by her side, as her servant." Youmu said.

I look at the distance, seeing something different. It looks to be some kind of door, surrounded by a couple of wooden pillars.

I also see a few figures at a lower portion of the area. They look like a 3-person band or something.

One of them was had a violin, another had a trumpet, and the last one had a piano.

They look like they're rehearsing something.

Just then, I felt a large flash of light cover my eyes.

...

When the light faded, I felt myself being placed down on my feet again.

I look around.

I know where we are...

This is the Netherworld.

It seems quiet, but there was a feeling in the air.

The area feels more desolate, yet also full of life.

It felt like it was peaceful, but also rowdy.

It feels like a place in-between both good and bad.

I look at Youmu again, who looked back at me.

"This is the Netherworld, the place of the dead." Youmu said.

"It's, nice... Feels like a place one can go vacation to." I say.

"I recommend you stay close to me Tsumetai-san. The phantoms won't attack me but they will attack you unless you're with me." Youmu said.

"Why is it so dangerous?"

"Most of the souls that come here aren't the most peaceful kinds. There's a reason they weren't allowed in heaven." Youmu said.

"I see. Okay, I'll follow you."

Youmu held out her hand to me again.

I took it, letting her guide me through the trail.

I notice that a few of the trees here seem dead, and there were various signs all over the place, reminding me of graves.

I shudder a bit, but continued to follow Youmu regardless.

At some point, the number of dead trees and signs decreased, until we arrived at a long set of stairs.

They look so high up, I can't even see the top.

"Is that where Hakugyokurou is located?" I ask.

"Correct." Youmu said.

"D-do we really have to climb up all these stairs."

"Yes."

"...But why?" I ask.

"It's not that bad Tsumetai-san, I climb these stairs all the time whenever I go anywhere."

"Can't we just fly though?"

"We can't actually. Only those who put in the effort are allowed to enter Hakugyokurou. If we do something as apathetic like flying then we'll never be able to reach Hakugyokurou."

"...Why????" I ask again. "It looks so looong..." I say.

"...Pfft, hahaha!!!" Youmu began laughing.

"What's so funny?" I ask.

"I was teasing! We don't actually have to climb the stairs!" Youmu said with a laugh.

"What? You were messing with me!?" I ask.

"Only because you did it first." Youmu said.

"...Okay fair." I say, but I was still a bit angry at Youmu.

"Hey, I'm sorry, you're not mad are you?" Youmu asked me.

"I'm not mad." I say. (I was a bit mad actually).

"C'mon, I'll carry you up." Youmu said.

She did just that, jumping into the sky once again as we flew up the stairs.

As we flew, I felt like something was off...

Chapter Text

I noticed something, up in the sky.

It shined like a star, but flew like a bird.

Actually, it's more like a jet considering how fast it's approaching.

And it's getting closer and closer to where Youmu and I are.

"Uh, Youmu..." I say, but she was oblivious.

"Crap..." I whispered to myself.

It's gonna hit us in less than a minute....

"Youmu-chan..." I say again, tapping her shoulder.

"Hm? What is it Tsumetai-san?" Youmu asked me.

"Something's coming right at us. I think we should move out of the way." I say.

"...I know you're just trying to be dramatic, but..."

Before she could finish her sentence, the jet came crashing down on top of us.

This was followed by a blinding light.

"Ow... owowowow... That hurt..." I say, trying to bear the immense pain of impact.

"Whew, sorry ze~ Didn't see where I was going for a sec." A voice said.

I look past the fading dust, looking up to see a figure rubbing their head with a bump on it.

The outfit they were wearing was similar to what witches and mages would wear in fantasy novels. Their hair was blonde and they look to have a care-free attitude plastered on their face.

I know who this is. In the computer games I played I always picked them as my character, even if they sucked.

They were Marisa Kirisame.

"M-Marisa-san!?" Youmu spoke.

"Yo! It is I, Marisa! Coming when you least expect it!" Marisa said with a wink.

"What are you doing here?" Youmu said, dusting herself off. She walked over to me, helping me up. "Are you okay Tsumetai-san?"

"Y-yeah. I'm good..." I say.

I look at Marisa again, noticing that they were staring at me.

"Hey... Who's the girl with the coat?" Marisa asked Youmu.

"This is Tsumetai-san. As you can see, they're a Half-Human Half-Phantom like me." Youmu said.

"H-hello." I waved to Marisa. "It's nice to meet you."

Marisa walked over to me, taking a good, long, enticing stare as our eyes met.

"Hm... I never seen you before... You from the outside world by chance?" Marisa asked.

"W-what? How did you figure-"

"Well for one, the only Half-Human Half-Phantom that lives in Gensokyo is Youmu, with the only other known one nowhere to be found, and I doubt that you're that person. Secondly, judging by your choice of outfit, it's clear that it was made in the outside world. After all, you can't exactly get wool in Gensokyo." Marisa said, pointing to the wool of my coat. "And third..."

Marisa took my hands, clasping them inside of hers.

"I never seen a face with such beauty like yours." She said with a dazzling twinkle in her eye.

"Hahaha! You're the cliché, not me." I say, trying to hide my fluster.

"Maybe, but you're the cliché, so you get the prize." Marisa said, flashing a bright smile.

"A-and what kind of prize is that?" I ask.

Suddenly, Marisa kissed me. She kissed me hard. It was a passionate, lustful, exquisite kiss. It was everything that I've ever wanted from a kiss.

I was so consumed with desire that I immediately snapped out of it, pulling back and pushing Marisa away from me.

Youmu had a look of shock and awe, as if what happened was unexpected.

"Ww-w-w-w-w--ww-w-w-w-ww-ww-www-www-ww-w-www-w-w--w-w-w-ww-w-w-w-w-w-ww-w-w-w-www-www-w-w-w-wwWHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!?" I ask.

Marisa let out a small giggle. "I stole your precious thing, that's all." She said.

I see Marisa get on top of her broom, raising herself off the ground by a bit.

"Welp, I gotta get going now. Nice meeting you Tsumetai!" Marisa said, blowing a kiss to me before zooming off.

...

"Are you okay Tsumetai-san?" Youmu asked me.

"My kiss... My first kiss was with a girl..." I say quietly.

"I-It's okay, she does that with everyone... She even took my first kiss once." Youmu said. "C'mon, we're almost to Hakugyokurou, just bear with me okay?"

I nod, I walked the rest of the way with Youmu.

If I wasn't gay before, I'm definitely gay now.

---

We made it past the steps, and arrived at a wonderful scene.

I see what looks to be cherry blossoms, so many, blooming as the petals blew all over gently in the breeze.

I could see a large building in the distance, and next to it was a garden that looks to have been constantly maintained for years.

"A-Amazing..." I muttered.

"Welcome to Hakugyokurou." Youmu said. "This is where I live."

The house was a single story, but it was large, probably the size of a mansion in the outside world.

"You live here?" I ask Youmu.

"Yes, but not alone." Youmu said, as we continued to walk. "Ever since I submitted myself to Yuyuko-sama. Before then I lived with my grandfather, who raised me to become a gardener."

"And what about the house? Who built it?" I ask.

"I'm not sure really... I don't think even Yuyuko-sama knows. It's probably been around long before she came." Youmu says.

We arrived at the entrance of the house, which was a large wooden door. Youmu opened it, ushering me inside.

The interior was very nice, giving off a look of a traditional Japanese home. I took off my shoes because it's polite to do so when you enter someone's house.

"I'll take you to the living room and make you some tea. But first I need to find..." Youmu spoke, but slowly stopped as she looked over down the hallway.

"...Youmu-chan? What's wrong?" I ask.

"No..." Youmu said, with wide eyes and a look of shock.

I was confused, so I looked at where she was staring at.

And I see a woman collapsed on the ground.

"Yuyuko-sama!!!" Youmu yelled. "Yuyuko-sama!!"

Youmu ran over to Yuyuko-sama, gently lifting her up off the ground.

"Wha-What happened!?" I ask.

"I-I don't know! Yuyuko-sama!!! Are you okay!?" Youmu asked her.

I look at the woman she is holding. She looks to have pink hair, wore a light blue and white kimono, and what looks like a cap with a hitaikakushi.

She slowly opens her eyes, staring into Youmu's.

"Y-Youmu..." Yuyuko said.

"Yuyuko-sama! Thank god! Did something happen!?" Youmu asked.

"Youmu... I was so... hungry..." Yuyuko said weakly. "Why... Didn't you come home?"

"I-I'm so sorry Yuyuko-sama... I got distracted, and then a blizzard showed up and-"

*cough cough cough*

Yuyuko coughed harshly, making Youmu even more worried.

"Youmu... I'm sorry... But I'm running out of breath..."

"W....What are you saying?" Youmu asked.

I don't know why, but I hear a valiant song play.

"Youmu... I want to thank you... For everything you have done for me..." Yuyuko said. "The laughs, the sadness, the time we had... I'm so glad that I met you."

"No... Please Yuyuko-sama... Don't say that... Please! I'm sorry!!!" Youmu said.

"I want you to promise me that you'll never stop believing in yourself... No matter what anyone says... Or anyone does... You got a promise from me." Yuyuko said, before coughing again. "Youmu... My sweet... Youmu... I love you..."

Yuyuko says this with such life in her voice.

"...Yuyuko-sama... Yuyuko-sama..." Youmu said.

But no response came back. And Youmu let out her tears.

"YUYUKO-SAMA!!!" Youmu cried out. She cried and cried, clinging onto the cold body of her master.

I watched, as Youmu just let out all of her tears. I felt sad seeing this. Even Marshmallow felt sad at this moment.

I never got to know Yuyuko... But I can tell that Youmu truly cared for her... It's a shame... I feel guilty.

Had I not arrived, then maybe Yuyuko wouldn't have passed like this.

But now she's gone...

Forever...

...

...

...

'She's not dead you moron.'

Huh?

The voices... They're saying she's not dead.

But I just-

'She's a fucking ghost! Of course she can't die!!!'

...Oh.

You're right.

I walk over to where Youmu was, gently placing a hand on her shoulder.

"Um... Youmu-chan?" I ask.

"...What is it?" Youmu asked, wiping her tears.

"Isn't Yuyuko already a ghost?" I ask.

"..." Youmu just stared at me, then back at Yuyuko.

Who was looking at Youmu with a smile.

"...Y...Yu...YUYUKO-SAMA!!! YOU TRICKED ME!!!!!!!!!" Youmu shouted, letting go of her master.

Yuyuko hit the floor, laughing.

"Oh Youmu. Please forgive me, I couldn't have wasted such an opportunity." Yuyuko said.

"You made me think you were dead!!!"

"I'm joking. Well sort of." Yuyuko said, smiling.

I looked over at Marshmallow, who was giving me a thumbs up.

I smiled, just seeing this interaction between the two.

Things calmed down a bit, as Yuyuko then took a look at me.

"Hey, Youmu? Aren't you going to introduce our guest?" Yuyuko said.

"Huh? O-Oh! Yes Yuyuko-sama." Youmu said, walking over to me. "This is Tsumetai-san. She's someone I met yesterday."

"Oh, Tsumetai-chan, it's nice to meet you." Yuyuko said to me, walking over so she can get a bit of a closer look.

"H-hello... It's nice to meet you as well." I say, I notice that Yuyuko smelled like cherry blossoms.

"What a pretty name, Tsumetai-chan. I wish I were a pretty name like that." Yuyuko said, winking.

"Sounds good to me... Let's go." I said, walking over to follow Youmu and Yuyuko to the living room.

We walked in, and sat down by the kotatsu. There was even a nice and clear view of the garden outside.

Youmu quickly left to where I assume the kitchen would be. Now it was just me and Yuyuko. Sitting in silence, saying nothing. Absolutely nothing.

...

Oh god, what do I even say? I only just met her and already I'm sitting here like a duck.

What can I even talk about?

Chapter Text

Sports? I doubt Yuyuko would understand what that means.

Do I talk about myself? That's always interesting.

Should I ask Youmu about herself? That's a good topic.

'Talk about Youmu'

Youmu... Yeah of course!

"Um..." I began. "So, about Youmu-chan... What are her likes and dislikes? Or maybe just random things. You know, like life philosophy or... Well anything."

"Ah, so you wish to know more about Youmu." Yuyuko said. "Well, I know that she likes sword fencing, gardening, cooking, serving me... That's about it really." She said while counting with her fingers.

"R-really? Um... Well I figured that she would like swords considering she has 2 of them." I say.

"Oh yes, she's actually a instructor. If you like, she can teach you everything there is about wielding a blade." Yuyuko said.

"I'd love to! So is there anything else you can tell me about her? Like maybe her favorite color, or if she has any siblings, or if she has any pets, or anything." I ask.

"Hm..." Yuyuko thought for a moment. "Oh I remembered! She is afraid of ghosts!"

"...Ghosts?" I ask.

"Oh, yes. Everytime someone pretends there's a ghost around her she would always get all shaky and scared. I remember one time we watched one of those horror movies her friend Sanae brought over, and she was so scared she wouldn't stop hiding behind me for the whole night." Yuyuko said.

"...So Youmu... A literal half human half phantom... who lives in the land of the dead... with a ghost princess... is afraid of ghosts." I say.

"Yes."

"Geez... That's one hell of a combo." I say.

"Indeed."

"So tell me Yuyuko... Are ghosts real?" I ask her.

"..." Yuyuko suddenly became real quiet. "I don't know Tsumetai-chan... Are you?"

"Huh?"

"Ą̸̥̳̜͔͍͚̅r̴̤̦̼̙̘̈̄̋̅̓͛̏͌͊ͅe̵͖̎̊̇̅͛̑̌͒̌̓͘͘͠ ̷̥̮͎̣̪̦̗͍̇̊͗͑͌͜y̴̧̨̱̣͖͉̜̥̳̻̬̍̾̃̂̓̇͐̀̀̈́̉̈̚ǫ̸̨̫̠̦̝̲̈̍́̔̍̀͌̓̾͐͝u̸̜̖̩͒̿̅͗́̾͑̓́̒̀̊̚͘ ̶̨̨̧͇̲̻̰̹̱̜̙͖̈́̈̍̌́r̷̟̻̝̔ẹ̶̤͍̼̖̓͆́͠ą̸̻̺͖̟̺̼͓̯̳̊̔̆̈́̓̑̈́̈̅̚ͅl̷̛̥͕̤̩̮̈́͌͑͒̌̑̑̔͘?̵̨̖͕͒̈́̌̉̚͜"

---

*ERROR*

Text found corrupted.

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...

"What kind of question is that Tsumetai-chan?" Yuyuko laughed. "You're looking at one aren't you?"

"Huh? Oh of course I am!" I say with a laugh. "But, you're different from the ghosts I hear from stories and media."

"How so?" Yuyuko asked.

"Well, aren't ghosts usually vengeful of full of malice?"

"That's true... They can be."

"So what do ghosts really want?" I ask.

"I dunno, maybe to go to heaven?" Yuyuko asks. "It's the reason most of them come here to begin with."

"But what about you then? Why don't you go to heaven?" I ask.

"That question is a bit hard to explain... Perhaps another time I can provide more detail." Yuyuko said.

"Why is that?" I ask.

"Again, it's hard to explain." Yuyuko said. "But what I can say is that if I were to leave to go up to heaven... I would not only miss out on the annual cherry blossom viewing, but I would leave poor Youmu all alone."

"...Speaking of Youmu, I kinda have another question."

"Go ahead." Yuyuko said.

"I heard from other people that Half-Human Half-Phantoms are rare if not impossible to find in gensokyo. And even Youmu-chan was surprised to meet someone like me... Why is that?" I ask.

I notice Yuyuko take a bit of a breath before speaking.

"Half-humans are a very rare combination of the dead and the living. The living with the dead, to be specific. Even half-humans are very rare. And living with a half-human half-phantom is even rarer. A combination of the two things are unimaginable. So you should not be so surprised that Youmu-chan was surprised to meet someone like you."

"R-really? They're that rare?" I ask.

Yuyuko nodded her head yes.

"I see... Must be lonesome having no one else of your kind around."

I hear a small growl come out of nowhere.

"What was that?" I ask.

"Oh, that's just my stomach... I haven't eaten anything since yesterday." Yuyuko said. "Youmu-chan is the one who makes all of my meals, mostly due to the fact she doesn't trust me in the kitchen."

"Well don't worry, I'm sure that Youmu-chan will come over here and bring out the foooOOOO AAAH!!!" I yelp.

I felt something grab me... or rather my phantom half.

I look over at Yuyuko, who was clinging onto Marshmallow suddenly.

"Mmmm... So soft and squishy..." Yuyuko said.

"Y-y-yuyuko... What are you-Ahn~~" I yelped again.

I notice that Yuyuko was nibbling on my phantom half, biting it like it's a marshmallow (I may be regretting calling my phantom half that now).

"T-that's my phantom half! T-take it back!" I yelled.

"But it's soooo good~" Yuyuko said.

I heard a growl this time.

Yuyuko looked hungry, I see her drooling at Marshmallow.

"W-wait Yuyuko! I-I'm not tasty I swear!" I say.

Yuyuko ignored me and went straight ahead and chomped on my Phantom Half.

"Nn... Tasty... Mmm...so soft and squishy... I really like you." Yuyuko said.

I was in pure terror.

I was feeling things that I didn't think I would be feeling until I was married at least.

I could feel the texture of her tongue, the jaws of her teeth, the slickness of her saliva.

And to make the whole thing even more bizarre, I could feel the phantom half of me being eaten by Yuyuko.

I could feel that my body was spasming.

I was trying to move away from her, but she was having difficulty biting through my phantom half because my phantom half was moving all over the place and it wasn't exactly the easiest thing to bite.

This was...

"No... No don't touch me there... Yuyuko... Please..." I say, trying my hardest not to moan.

Yuyuko took my phantom half into her mouth and bit down.

"It's so good~" Yuyuko says once again.

I had to cover my mouth with my hands, so as she wouldn't hear my moan.

Why does this feel so... weird???

I watch as Yuyuko somehow shoves more of my phantom half into her mouth. This feeling was so indescribable that someone should make a new word for it.

I felt my body twitch and convulse as she continued eating.

I could feel the flesh of my phantom part getting torn apart as she ate it.

I could feel as she took my phantom half into her mouth, and swallow.

I watched as she continued to eat, my phantom part becoming smaller and smaller as she swallowed it.

And then it was gone. She opened her mouth, showing nothing else.

Then she fell back, growling as she fell.

"Yuyuko! Yuyuko wake up!" I yelled.

She didn't respond, so I shake her.

"Yuyuko!"

This is really, really bad. If my phantom half were to get digested by her, who knows what would happen to me.

Immediately, I try to wake her up as much as I can. But she was out cold like a lamp.

"Yuyuko! Please!" I say.

Instantly, I hear the door slide open, and out came a Youmu wearing an apron.

"Tsumetai-san, what's wrong? What happened to Yuyuko-sama?" She asked me.

"She... She ate Marshmallow..." I say.

"...Oh god, not again." Youmu said with a disappointed look. "Step back, I know how to handle this."

"You do?" I ask.

I stepped back, feeling worried of what may happen to me.

I see Youmu walk over to the sleeping Yuyuko...

And she elbow dropped her right on the stomach.

Yuyuko's eyes shot right open, and her mouth was wide open, while I see a white orb be shot out.

"Marshmallow!!!" I say with joy. "You're alright!"

I hug Marshmallow, not giving a care that they're currently covered in saliva and digestive fluids.

"Geez Yuyuko-sama... How many times must I tell you: Phantom Half bodies are not food!" Youmu said.

"But Youmu... I was hungry... And besides it's your fault for not making food quick enough." Yuyuko said.

"I'm almost done with food, please be patient Yuyuko-sama." Youmu said. "Tsumetai-san, how about you come with me to the kitchen and help me make the food?" Youmu asked me.

"Yeah, yeah that sounds good." I said.

"Good, let's go." Youmu said.

I follow Youmu into the kitchen, while Yuyuko returns to her spot.

---

We made enough food for at least 12 people, most of it ended up going into Yuyuko's stomach. For a ghost, I'm amazed at how much food that she can eat.

Youmu checked on me, making sure that I was alright. I told her that I was okay, though I was still a bit shocked by the experience. But considering what I been through in the past 2 days, it was fairly normal.

After that, Youmu and I were able to return to our normal routines.

And even with all her busy work schedule, I could still see the little smile on her face every time she would remember that she was doing what she loved.

Then there's me, who is currently freeloading at their home.

I didn't know what I should say to Yuyuko when I saw her.

"Tsumetai-san..." Yuyuko said, a bit nervous.

"Yeah?"

"I like to apologize for how I behaved previously. I forget that you're still new here and wanted to make you feel welcome."

"Yeah well... I'm really sorry for how I acted."

"Please don't worry about it too much. So, you hungry?" Yuyuko asked.

"I should be going soon." I say, standing up.

"Wait, I was joking!" Yuyuko said. "I was just joking!"

"Oh..."

"But I just want to ask you a question, if that's alright."

"Yeah, ask away."

"Do you like living here?" Yuyuko asked.

"...Well I was only here for just a bit..."

"Well, I think it would be nice if you stay."

"How come?"

"Because... I think it would be nice if Youmu-Chan has someone she can talk to. Many people do come and visit, but I'm usually the only one she talks to. Besides, you two have already shown that you get along well."

...

I suppose I could stay here. After all it's not like I can go live anywhere else that will take in a Half-Human Half-Phantom.

Chapter Text

"Yeah, I can stay." I say.

Yuyuko showed off a smile of delight on her face. "Ah, that's wonderful. Youmu-chan will happy to hear that." Yuyuko said.

"I'm glad."

Though, I have to say this, I'm a little worried about being stuck with Yuyuko. Not because of the thought of her attempting to eat Marshmallow again...

There was something earlier that happened. Something she said yet I can't remember what it was...

---

Soon, night came by. It was dark, yet the lighting from the mansion made the garden look even more amazing than before.

I could see Youmu outside, swinging and practicing with her sword late at night. She looked focused and diligent.

I felt a strange feeling of melancholy, one that I can't explain.

I sighed and looked up at the stars, wondering how they could shine so bright when they were so far away.

It reminds me back of home a bit. I can remember one of the memories I had when I was living up in the mountains. I could see the stars looking down on me when I'm tired. I felt at peace with the world, as if everything was going to be okay.

But I know that nothing is okay. Not in the real world.

Stupid stars...

I let out a sigh. Which must've alerted Youmu because she stopped practicing and walked up to me.

"Are you doing alright Tsumetai-san?" She asked.

"I'm fine. Why do you ask?"

"I could feel it."

"I'm fine."

"Tsumetai, please."

"Nothing's wrong okay. I'm fine."

"...Alright then." Youmu said, walking away.

"...Wait Youmu-chan." I call out.

Youmu stopped, and looked back at me.

"I'm sorry. I'm just feeling homesick."

"Don't worry about it."

"It's just..." I said, sighing. "I miss my home."

"I know."

"Maybe I could go back one day. Please?"

"...I'm not sure if that's possible unfortunately."

"Why?" I ask.

"Because the only 2 people that can send people back are Reimu-san and Yukari-sama."

I grimaced at the mention of Yukari-sama.

"And both of them are unavailable right now."

"Oh." I look down at my feet.

"D-don't worry though! Perhaps we can go visit Hakurei Shrine when we get the chance and see if we can send you back!" Youmu said. "For now, you can stay here with me."

"Thank you Youmu-Chan." I say. "...So where do I sleep?"

"Oh, don't worry, we have plenty of rooms here. Most of them never get used though. Sometimes I wonder why we live in such a big place." Youmu laughed.

'Sleep with Youmu'

The voices are suggesting something to me again.

"...What if I want to sleep with you Youmu?" I ask.

"M-Me!?" Youmu said with a deep blush on her face. "U-um... Are you sure you don't want your own room?"

"No. I want to sleep with you."

Youmu bit her lip nervously and looked away from me. "I-I guess it'll be alright. I mean, it can't be that bad."

"Sweet. I'll go get ready." I say.

I stand up and quickly head inside.

Then a thought occurred to me.

"Wait... I don't have any pajamas though."

"Y-you can borrow some of mine." Youmu suggested.

"Alright."

It isn't that big of a deal. I'm not sleeping that close to her. I mean... Unless she wants to sleep closer... Then again, she'd have to be comfortable with...

*insert gay thoughts*

I quickly head to the bedroom and grab a set of pajamas from the dresser. I return to the main room and head to the bathroom. I wash my hands and change into my pajamas.

When I got back, I see Youmu, who was already getting ready herself.

"Um... Youmu-Chan?" I ask.

"Yes, what is-"

Youmu stared at me, while I'm wearing a green set of pajamas.

"I think your pajamas are a bit tight for me... specifically around the chest area." I say.

"...So that's how Sakuya-Chan feels..." Youmu mumbled, expressing a look that people get when they feel outcast.

I hear the door open, and see Yuyuko standing there.

"Oh, pardon me. I just want to see how you are doing. Oh, Youmu-Chan? What happened?" Yuyuko asked Youmu.

Youmu looked at Yuyuko, who was now wearing her sleepwear. And when Youmu was staring, she looked even more outcast. Correction, she looked like a poorly made sketch of an anime character.

"It's nothing of your concern Yuyuko-sama..." Youmu said with a tear in her eye.

Yuyuko and I were confused by why Youmu suddenly looked sad, but it didn't really matter much now, since we're going to go sleep shortly after.

"I shall retire then. Good night, Tsumetai." Yuyuko said.

"Good night."

Yuyuko left the room.

I got into my futon, using Marshmallow like a huggable pillow as I squeeze em tight. Sure, their senses are connected to mine, but that only makes it more enjoyable.

"Good night Youmu-Chan." I say with a yawn.

"Good night, Tsumetai-san."

I hear Youmu get into her own bed and her breathing slows.

"I'm glad I found someone like her." I whispered to myself before closing my eyes.

---

I open my eyes, and once again, the void surrounds me.

This is the third time I arrived here, which means that there must be some kind of pattern.

"You're here early."

I hear the familiar voice say from behind me.

I turn around, and see Yukari standing there.

But something was different. Not only do they still look pale, their eyes are a bit red, as if they were kept wide awake.

"You're back." I say.

"...It hasn't even been that long and yet, you're here... Perhaps someone is rushing things, or were the choices you made what resulted in this moment?"

"I...I don't know what you're talking about."

"And you probably won't... Well, not yet at least."

"...Youmu-Chan told me something... She said that you and another person by the name of Reimu are one of the only people capable of sending people back to the outside world." I say.

"Oh? Did she now?" Yukari said with a interested look.

"Did you lie to me about not being able to send you back?" I ask.

"..." Yukari remained silent, staring at me with a mocking smile.

"What?"

"I see now, Tsumetai. Youmu-Chan has been right about you all along."

"You... What are you talking about?"

Yukari giggled. "Oh nothing~ I'm just messing with you."

"No seriously, what are-"

"Say, Tsumetai... Do you ever dream?" Yukari interrupted me.

"Sometimes."

"I see. So... This dream you're having, do you know exactly where you are in it?"

I look around, seeing nothing but dim light within a black void.

"No... No I don't." I say.

"Hmm... You're a very interesting person, Tsumetai."

"Why is that?"

"Because unlike most people, you don't know the answer to the question I just asked."

"And why should I? It's a stupid question."

"Hm... I see. Then I guess I'll just have to ask you again."

"Ask me again."

"Do you dream, Tsumetai?"

"Sometimes..."

"Do you know where you are in the dream?"

"No."

"Interesting..."

"Excuse me?"

"Never mind. I think I'll ask you again some other time."

"Ask me again."

"Any last words before I send you back?"

I look around, but nothing has changed.

"...What was the point of bringing me here again?" I ask.

"Hm... Why did I?" Yukari said, thinking for a moment. "...Oh! I remember now." She said.

And suddenly, she snapped her fingers and-

---

I open my eyes slowly.

I look up, seeing a wooden ceiling. But this ceiling was different. It looked like it was made of a different kind of wood.

I hear the sounds of birds chirping outside also... which is strange because why would there be birds in the land of the dead?

"Mnnn... Youmu-Chan?" I say, rolling over to look at Youmu.

But Youmu wasn't there.

"...Youmu-Chan?" I say, raising my head. "Where'd you go?"

I get up from where I was at, and look around, noticing the room was smaller. I don't see Youmu anywhere. And to make things worse, Marshmallow is gone.

"Marshmallow? Where are you?" I say, feeling worried. I feared that Yuyuko came into the room last night and devoured Marshmallow. So, with this sense of worry, I quickly came out of the room and head down the-

"Tsumetai. Why aren't you ready yet?"

I look up, seeing a very unfamiliar face. They look old, gritty even, like a retired japanese samurai.

"U-um... Who are you?" I ask.

"Again with the fake amnesia Tsumetai? This won't help you get away from doing your duty as Lady Yuyuko's bodyguard." They said with a groan.

...Huh?

Huh!?

HUH!?!?!?

"Bodyguard!? What are you saying, I only just arrived here at Hakugyokurou just yesterday!" I say. "And who do you think you are!?"

"Well your grandfather for one, and secondly, if you don't put on your uniform... I'll have to discipline you." He said.

Grandfather!? My grandfather is a happy-go-lucky man who worked as an accountant! Not some tall man who can bench press an ox!

Who the hell does this guy think he is!?

"U-Um, sorry sir. But I'm pretty sure you got the wrong person." I say again, hoping he'll leave me alone.

"Hah! As if I'll ever forget your face!" He said with a hearty laugh. "I can recognize that pure white hair by a mile!"

"Silver? My hair is-" I stopped, looking over in the room that I'm in, seeing that there is a mirror there.

I walk over to it.

And instead of seeing me wearing green sleepwear, with my icy blue hair and dark blue eyes...

I see what looks to be a completely different person, with white hair, silver eyes, and wearing a more traditional outfit, one that looks to date back centuries ago.

"This... This... This is me!?" I shout.

"Eh? Of course it is? How would you not recognize yourself?" My supposed Grandfather asked me.

"I, I, I don't know how, but when I look in the mirror, I look completely different. I swear to god, I look like some crazy stranger!" I shout.

"Oi! What's with all the shouting!?" I hear a female voice shout out the room.

"Nothing sweetie! Just trying to get my granddaughter to do their duty!" My Grandfather yelled.

"Well hurry it up!!! I'm already in the middle of trying to distract Lady Yuyuko's father so their temper will not rise!"

"You hear that." My grandfather said to me. "You better hurry else we will face the wrath of the chief."

"I swear to god, I'm not making this up." I said. "I'm not crazy."

Chapter Text

Just as I said, that, I look around my surroundings, and everything started to change.

The walls, the color, the person in front of me... they all began to, and I don't know how else to describe this, glitch. It looked like the world began to warp, like I was viewing it through a sheet of water that had particles that weren't there, and I began to feel dizzy.

"What... what is happening?" I say.

I began to hear the sound of static, white noise, like the sound you hear from a tv screen.

The static soon turned to screams.

I looked down.

I had transformed into some sort of ghostly being. I looked around frantically. Everything looked like nothing but random patterns of pixels and colors.

My hands begin to change, they begin to pixelate. Everything was nothing but a big, big mess.

And in front of me, was a person.

I could barely see them, as my conscious was fading. But I could catch a slight glimpse of 2 things about them. Which is that they seem to be wearing purple... And the big smile that is plastered on their face.

And then, it was all gone.

I was gone.

I was nothing but a bunch of pixels.

My heart began to pound. I could barely breathe.

I needed to see something. I try to focus, think, feel, move, live. But... But... But... But... But... But...

But I was gone.

I was nothing but-

*ERROR*

DATA CORRUPTED!!! RESTARTING SYSTEM!!!

Restarting...

...

...

...

Turning on...

...

...

...

Welcome to ****** **********, please enter password: _

************_

Password accepted.

Please select a **********:

Prototype.exe

Snow.exe <

*********.exe

Starting Snow.exe...

...

...

...

...

Done.

---

I slowly open my eyes.

I don't know why exactly, but I felt like I didn't sleep well.

I could feel the sunlight on my face as if gleamed through the openings, and the taste of dehydration in my mouth.

"Ugh..." I moan. My hair was currently a mess, being all over the place on my head, including my eyes. I check on Marshmallow, and they seem to be okay, with the exception of their... form being all wrinkly (can phantoms even get wrinkles?)

I didn't feel like getting up, I just want to go cover myself in the comfy blanket, sleep for another 12 hours, and maybe, just maybe... get out to eat food.

But, that's not going to happen, so I just sit there, just like that.

"Myon..." I hear a voice say.

"Hm?"

I look over, remembering that last night I went and slept with Youmu. They seem to also not want to get out of bed either, cause they're clinging onto their sheets like it was a lifesaver. They're probably still asleep too even.

Thinking about it, the way they look right now is kinda cute. It makes me want to just move over and snuggle with them.

'perform the snuggle fest'

...Well I could, but I rather not honestly.

Instead I rise from my futon, and with a stretch of my limbs I head out of the door, making sure I don't wake up Youmu.

I walk down the veranda, looking out to see the garden early in the morning. Just like before, it looks very beautiful.

I took a deep breath in... and out...

I started coming to the realization that it's been about 3 days since I came here to Gensokyo. And so far, it's been a wild ride: From getting engaged in battles to sleeping out in a cave, having a moment like this is nice.

Just some peace and quiet...

Chapter Text

Even though I only been here for just a few days, it feels like I've been here much longer than that. It's strange to explain, but...

Then again, maybe it's because I have played waaaaay too many of the computer games back at home.

...Home...

I do wish that I can return home... When I was first told that there was no possible way, I was shocked.

But there's this person, named Reimu, who should be able to help me. If I can find her, then maybe... I can go back.

...But even if I do... What is there for me to come back too? After all, a meteor pretty much destoryed my hometown and everything. I don't even know if the rest of my family is even around, looking for me.

I sigh in my thoughts, and decide that, if I do return, I will investigate my family's whereabouts.

It shouldn't be too hard. Depending on where I am sent back to, I can go to the nearest town/city and get some assistance. Maybe even ask the authorities if they know of my family.

But... I can't just sit around, waiting for Reimu to find me, or for the day that I get home.

I need to try and go back. After all, it can't be that hard right?

I look down at Marshmallow, and gave them a pat on the head.

"Alright! It's settled! Lets find this Reimu person, and go back home!" I declare to myself with a small cheer.

*clunk*

I look behind myself, and I see Youmu standing there.

"O-Oh, Youmu-Chan... I thought you were still sleeping..." I say, a bit awkwardly.

"I was, I just woke up... Sorry, I didn't mean to bother you Tsumetai-san." Youmu spoke, her voice sounding still sleepy. "Did you get a good night's sleep?" She asked me.

"Um... Yeah. I did Youmu-Chan." I say.

'Liar'

Great, the voices are back again. I bet they're so 'glad' to be here.

'Well excuse me, thank you very much.'

...Strange, it almost seems like they're reading my thoughts right now... Like that one youkai I heard about. What were they called again?

'Satori, they're called Satori.'

Oh, right they're called Satori...

Wait, who am I talking to?

Chapter Text

'Okay everyone, so how should we explain this to her? Any suggestions?'

'Ooo, what if we tell her that we're ***** *********?'

'That's a horrible idea, it'll only make things more confusing for us.'

'Why not declare ourselves as gods?'

'Well that's not bad... But not all of us are actual gods... Well except for OP I suppose but-'

'I'm not a god. I just so happen to have lots and lots of power.'

'I have an idea! What if we say we're Marshmallow's Hidden Conscience?'

*Awkward Silence*

'That's a perfect idea!'

'The best one yet!'

'10/10 greatest suggestion of all time!'

'You deserve a medal!'

'Puppies would love you!'

*continuous chattering*

'Okay, okay, settle down everyone... So who is in favor of telling Tsumetai that we're Marshmallow's Hidden Conscience?'

'I!'

'I!'

*Multiple I's*

'Then that's what we shall go with. We'll just explain to her that we are apart of Marshmallow, and that we are able to hear everything that goes on.'

'Got no problems with that.'

'Neither do I.'

'Um... I have a quick question...'

'Shoot.'

'We did... Remember to turn off the mic before this meeting began right?'

'.......Oh fu-'

---

I have no clue what was going on in that head of mine. But as I was thinking about that, I see a book come out of a portal, landing in my hands.

"Huh? What is that Tsumetai-san?" Youmu asked me.

"I'm not sure, it just appeared in my hands." I say.

I look at the front cover, seeing the name "The Hive Seeker" printed on the front in leather.

...A strange name, but a cool one at that.

"Well, what's in it?" Youmu asked me.

"Lets find out."

I open the book, noticing that it is empty, there wasn't anything inside it.

But then words started appearing, forming text in a simple font that one can see be used in modern writing.

What I noticed was the words were arranged in a way so that they're spaced out. And each line looked like they were made by a bunch of people who were communicating with one another.

Here is what follows:

The Hive Seeker is a group of individuals, known for gathering together with their leader, labeled "OP". They go wander around the multiverse, seeking those who they find peculiar enough to observe, watch, look with interest. Most of the time they remain silent, but every once in a while if they find someone interesting enough, they may interfere with their daily lives, be it by suggesting certain actions or inflicting scenarios. And while their actions most of the time aren't explicitly lethal, there is nothing keeping them from doing just that.

The Hive Seeker isn't just one entity controlling others, nor is it some kind of parasite with multiple bodies. The more accurate term would be a group. Some would find "Cult" more fitting, but that would be a little too stereotypical for their tastes. That is why this group is labeled "The Hive Seeker".

The group has many members. They come and go as they please, but some remain loyal and stay. They consider themselves as a democracy and decide the next course via voting. Depending on their votes shall affect their course of action. It can range from what type of clothes should they wear to which god to destroy next. It is also known that the group has an OP within it. Despite their constant babbling, no-one knows for certain what their true nature is. Is it for power? Greed? Entertainment? Or is it simply because they were bored? No one knows but them...

Here are the known members of The Hive Seeker:

 

Name: Lee

Description: Loves writing and rabbits.

 

Name: Thrud likes: Physics pertaining to body’s of extreme mass

 

Name: Q

Description: It's short for Q.

Name: OniTenshi

Description: likes writing, anime, and gaming

Name: XJ Description: likes video games, and anime

Name: твой папа

Likes: video gaming

 

Name: Kacper

Description: Your inner and outer idiot

Name: Crimson

Description: Loves Video Games and Sports

name: kulin likes: punching annoying people and cookies

Name: useless

Likes: rhythm games and sim racers

Name: Matsuro

Description: Loves gensokyo and the people's and youkai and gods of it

Name: FredKC0

Description: likes drawing, rtyhm game, and making myself suffer

Name: Nathan Rowley

Description: likes soft drinks, adventure addict, wants to be like megaman, probably shoots lemons from it's hand.

 

Name: Pessimist

Description: lol you're screwed. Don't die tho, it'd be bad.

 

Name: Nono. Description: Nono, he’s got a point.

Name: ETG

Description: Spends lots of time looking at World Machines and listening to music

ame: Rofstyx

Description: Likes Dark Souls a little too much

ame: RFLCTNS

Description: Massive fan of Touhou, Kaisendo, and Len’en

Name: Lilacad

Description: likes cute things like fluffy phantoms

Name: Lemon Desc: likes Morbius

Name: Dead Desc: Likes Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Team Fortress 2

---

As I turn to the next page, the book suddenly burst into flames.

"HOLY SHIT!" I yell. I drop the book to the ground.

Youmu and I looked in shock, but I look back at the book and it's just a pile of ashes.

"...Um...That was strange." I say.

"Are you okay Tsumetai-san!?" Youmu asked me with concern.

"D-don't worry Youmu-Chan, I'm fine." I say, even though I still felt a bit shocked from what happened.

"Where did that book come from anyway? And what were all those names?" Youmu said.

"I don't know Youmu-Chan. I think it's best we don't worry too much about it."

"Okay then... Say, you want to help make breakfast with me?" Youmu asked.

Chapter Text

"I would like to." I say.

"Great!" Youmu said.

I head down to where the kitchen is with Youmu. We made about 17 servings of scrambled eggs with 15 plates of sausage.

While we were cooking, I noticed Yuyuko peering through the door, watching.

She had a drooling gaze, though I'm not sure if she's looking at the food, or me. Either way she's scary when hungry.

We finished making breakfast, and I took out the plates to the dining room.

After everyone was fed, we talked for a bit.

"So Tsumetai. Since you're going to stay here for a while, it only makes sense that you do some of the chores that Youmu-Chan already does." Yuyuko said.

"I do?" I ask.

"Yuyuko-sama. Tsumetai-san doesn't need to do anything here, I'm fine with doing all the work myself anyways." Youmu said.

"Really? I thought it would be nice to give her something to do other than wander around here." Yuyuko said.

"It's fine if I have to work, I don't mind it." I say. "Besides, I don't want to feel like I'm taking advantage of your hospitality."

"If you say so." Yuyuko said. "It's not too hard, all you need to do is clean the floors, dust the decorations, clean the kitchen, tend to the garden, trim the trees, prim the leaves, and make sure that no phantoms disturb the peace."

"Okay." I say, doing my best to sound enthusiastic about all of this.

"Perfect." Yuyuko says. "Tsumetai-chan will begin work right away."

---

I later found myself busy, walking around with Youmu as she helped show me how to do the various chores around.

It seemed simple enough to do, there wasn't anything too hard or extraneous to accomplish. But the bigger problem was the amount. Hakugyokurou is a lot bigger than I imagined, with more rooms than I can count. Actually, if only 2 people live here then what's the point of living in such a big place? Are they trying to make up for something? I don't know.

Even with all the chores I was given, I still had a lot of free time to myself. I suppose it's better than being bored.

I spent the next 3 hours just cleaning and making everything look nice. Youmu told me that I can just work on the rooms and hallways while she takes care of all the things outside. I cleaned the floors until I can see my reflection, made all the decorations look nice and tidy, even got some cobwebs that looked like they needed to be taken care of for quite some time. It's strange how Youmu hasn't even got to them yet. Was it because of the worry that there may be spiders? Maybe.

Eventually, I managed to get everything done. It wasn't a lot, but still took a while. I decide to check on Youmu outside to see how she's holding up. I found her sitting in the garden, relaxing.

"Oh, Tsumetai-san, did you get everything cleaned?" Youmu asked.

"Yeah, it was rough, but nothing too awful." I say, stretching my arms and legs a bit as I sit down with Youmu. "I even got those cobwebs in some of the rooms."

"You did!" Youmu asked me with surprise on her face. "B-b-but what about the ghost spiders!?"

"Ghost spiders?" I ask.

"Y-yeah! Yuyuko-sama told me to always look out for ghost spiders when it comes to the cobwebs. B-but I was so scared that I just left them be and hope she wouldn't notice." Youmu said.

"...Pffft, hahahaha!!!" I laugh.

"W-what's so funny?"

"Ghost spiders? Really? You believed that?" I ask.

"O-of course I do! I even met one in real life."

"Oh? Pray do tell me Youmu-Chan." I say, wanting to hear this story of hers.

"Well... One time I was at one of Reimu-san's parties she regularly hosts. When we ran out of sake, I offered to go grab more. So I went out to where Reimu-san told me they keep it. But when I got there, I saw it, the ghost spider. It had 8 limbs, all tangled together, and it made these noises that freaked me out." Youmu explained.

"Wait wait wait... What did the noises sound like?" I ask, wanting to know.

"I-It sounded like 2 girls... They were moaning and such. But I was so scared of the ghost spider that I didn't want to find out anything else."

"Um... Youmu-Chan. I don't know how to say this... But I'm very certain that you saw 2 people making out." I say.

"What? No, that's not true! It was a ghost spider I swear!" Youmu said.

"Did they have a face?" I ask.

"Yes actually, 2 of them."

"Were they wearing clothes?"

"Yes, in fact I remember seeing white and red respectively on one half with black and pink on the other."

"...And did they look human?"

"Well of course they do. Everyone knows that ghost spiders look humanoid."

"So they're called ghost spiders, but they're human."

"No, Humanoid. There's a difference. I can understand why you're confused though, but don't worry, once you meet other youkai you'll understand more."

Something tells me I won't be able to convince Youmu that the 'ghost spider' was actually a couple that were making out in secret.

"Well anyways... Since we got the chores done, what should we do next?" I ask.

"...Good question..." Youmu said. "Normally I would go ahead and practice my sword skills... But what would you want to do Tsumetai-san?"

There are a lot of things I could do. But what?

Chapter Text

"So I heard from Yuyuko that you're a Sword Instructor, is that correct?" I ask.

"I am actually." Youmu said. "I was taught by my grandfather when I was little, he showed me everything I needed to know to pass onto future generations." She said with a smile on her face.

"So how many students do you have?" I ask.

"...Um..." Youmu looked to the side.

"...You do have students right?"

"...Well... I did teach Yuyuko-sama a thing or two... But she never listens to puts in any effort so... None, I have 0 students." Youmu said.

"Aw, I'm certain that someone out there would love to learn how to wield a sword." I say, hoping to cheer Youmu up a bit.

"Well, I once offered to teach the kids at the Terakoya... But then Keine-san got angry at me for encouraging the children to whack each other with sticks." Youmu said.

"Keine-san?" I ask.

"Oh, she's a teacher down at the human village." Youmu explained.

"Oh, just checking." I say. "Well what about other people? Like your friends, are they interested?"

"...Well to be honest, while a couple of them have shown a bit of interest, the problem is the spell card rule system favors long-range battles, and swords are short-ranged. Even though I learned how to work around that, no one else wants to put in the effort. After all, it's easier to just shoot them with a gun." Youmu said.

"Like Indiana Jones." I say.

"...Who?" Youmu asked.

"Oh, they're a fictional character. Sorry, I forget that they don't have that kind of media here in Gensokyo." I say.

"It's okay." Youmu sighed. "A part of me was hoping I could teach you a thing or two. But then you showed your ability with a gun, so there's no point in teaching you really."

"...I guess you're right."

"So what would you like to do Tsumetai-san?" Youmu asked.

"Anything but sword fighting."

"Darn."

"Don't get me wrong, but I wouldn't trust myself with a blade. What if I cut myself?" I say.

"If you did, I'd make sure to disinfect the wound. I wouldn't let you bleed to death." Youmu says with a smile.

"Can I ask you a question then?"

"Go on."

"What was your grandfather like?" I ask. "You mentioned him before, but I don't think I've seen him anywhere... Is he...?"

I stopped myself before I could say anything else. I look at Youmu, whose expression turned solemn.

"...To be honest, even I don't know." Youmu said.

"..." I didn't say anything as Youmu continued.

"...I never knew my parents when I was young. They were killed, fighting in battle. My grandfather raised me as though I were his own daughter. I'd ask him about my real parents, but he would tell me that I would find out when the time was right. In order to make sure that I can protect myself, he taught me everything he knew... We both lived with Yuyuko-sama, he was her gardener and bodyguard long before I took the position. We lived simple lives the 3 of us. Yuyuko-sama was her usual self way back then; lazy, gluttonous, selfish at times... But she was the closest thing I had to a mother at the time. So obviously I wanted to do my part in protecting her and helping her."

"Even back then you were loyal to her." I say.

"Yeah... I started helping my grandfather with all the chores, the garden, the duties. Even though my body couldn't keep up at times, I still tried my hardest. I can't recall how many times I injured myself simply because I tried to carry more than my own body weight." Youmu laughed.

"...Was it always like that?" I ask.

"...It used to... But then one day, he just left... Without a trace, a warning, not even a note... He just disappeared one day. I cried myself to sleep that night, wondering if he would return. But then when I awoke in the morning, he was gone. I never saw him again." Youmu's smile faded.

"...What about Yuyuko? Did she know?" I ask.

Youmu nodded her head no. "...The only thing he left behind are the 2 swords I have with me always. Roukanken and Harurouken." Youmu said, referring to the swords on her side and back. "Eventually I came to the conclusion that him leaving was a lesson for me... That I can't just rely on others to pull me back up, that I must be able to show I'm capable of acting."

"I see."

"...I still hope, that one day he may return. I know that he isn't dead. He's my grandfather after all, a brave warrior who stood up against the most powerful of gods and didn't flinch! A man who even Yukari-sama respects! A man who I know that will come back! And we can all... be..."

I notice Youmu beginning to shake.

"Youmu-Chan? Are you okay?" I ask.

"Yeah..." Youmu replied. "...Sorry I got emotional... But I just can't help it. I miss him; I miss him so much..." Youmu fell to her knees and held her head down. "Why Grandfather... Why did you leave me and Yuyuko-sama... Why? Why didn't you tell me where you were going?" Youmu said to herself.

I go to Youmu and hold her head in my arms.

"I'm sorry." Youmu says, sniffling. "I'm so sorry."

"It's okay Youmu-Chan. It's okay." I say, hoping to comfort her. "Just let it out."

"...I'm sorry... I'm sorry..." Youmu repeats.

Youmu begins to cry. I can't help but cry too.

I know why I'm crying though, because what Youmu said reminded me of my family.

I suppose we both have the common trait of having family members leaving us without warning. Cruel isn't it?

Youmu and I hug each other tightly until we both stop crying.

"Thank you for... For everything. You are a true friend." Youmu says.

"I just did what I had to do Youmu-Chan." I say.

I let go of her, she wiped her eyes before placing a smile back on her face.

"...So, what do you want to do now?" Youmu asked.

"I have no idea." I laugh.

"Well, we could go back to Yuyuko-sama, or we could go somewhere else. It's up to you." Youmu says.

Chapter Text

"Lets go see what Yuyuko is doing." I say.

"Okay."

Youmu and I walk back inside and down the hall.

As we walked, I began hearing the sound of music.

"Strange... Why do I hear music?" I ask.

"Music?" Youmu said. "Oh, I think I know what that is."

"What?"

Youmu and I head into one of the rooms, and there...

We see her playing a Saxophone.

She was sporting a pair of sunglasses, a fedora for some reason, a pink tuxedo, and is surrounded by several other phantoms, also wearing cool sunglasses.

The song she was playing sounded familiar, but I can't recall where I heard it before.

"Um... Youmu-Chan... What is going on here?" I ask Youmu.

"Oh... Um... Yuyuko-sama has a lot of freetime, so she developed a few hobbies... I don't know where she got the saxophone though, probably either Yukari-sama or Kinnosuke-san." Youmu said.

"I guess... But I never expected a saxophone of all things. How often does she play it?"

"Usually whenever I'm busy tending the garden... Or when I'm going out with my friends... Or when I'm asleep..." Youmu said.

While we were talking, Yuyuko finished playing her song as she glances at us.

"Oh, Youmu-Chan, Tsumetai. Did you enjoy my performance?" Yuyuko asked.

"Oh, yes Yuyuko-sama. Your playing has improved since last time." Youmu said.

"Since when did you play the saxophone?" I ask.

"Hm... Since part 141 I suppose." Yuyuko said.

Youmu and I were confused by what she said.

I look over at Marshmallow, who seems... nervous?

'Oh no... Is she aware?'

'Shhhh, we don't want to make things obvious to her. Not yet at least.'

'Well when will we tell her then!?'

'Keep it down! What if she hears us? Wait, who turned on the mic!?'

...

"Um... Yuyuko?" I ask.

"Hm?" Yuyuko looked at me.

"What did you mean by part 141?" I ask.

"Oh? Nothing really. You shouldn't worry about it. In fact why don't you and Youmu-Chan go out and explore Gensokyo now that you got all the chores done for the day?" Yuyuko said.

"Oh yes! Tsumetai-san there are plenty of places that you haven't seen yet!" Youmu said.

"But Youmu-Chan... I-"

"Youmu dear, would you be kind and fetch me one of my fans, it's feeling warm here." Yuyuko said.

"Yes Yuyuko-sama!" Youmu said, leaving the room.

Now it was just me and Yuyuko.

"So... What would you like to do?" Yuyuko asked.

"I don't know..." I said.

"You don't know?" Yuyuko asked.

I notice Yuyuko placing the Saxophone down, and all the phantoms in the room quickly left.

Yuyuko approached me slowly.

"Tsumetai Snow... You're telling me that you don't know what to do next?" Yuyuko asked me in a suspicious way.

"Um... Well..." I took a step back, watching at Yuyuko's dead eyes gaze upon me.

This is going to be bad...

"Well? There's only one thing to do Explore Gensokyo." Yuyuko said.

"You mean now?"

"Yes, of course. After all you can't just spend all your time here at Hakugyokurou. There's only so much to do here... And I would like to spend some time alone if you please."

"...Wait a minute... You said my last name... I never told you my last name... How did you-"

"Tsumetai Snow..." Yuyuko said once again.

I notice her grabbing my face with her cold hands, as she forces me to stare at her.

"Y̵̱͂͌͑̐̀͒̀͌̈́̓͗͐̑̆͜͠Ơ̵̢̝͖̞͓̭͎̼̥̯̦̓̌̀̈́̈́͛͠ͅŲ̷̳͉̫͉̥̺̺̭̹̓͆ ̶̬̼̮͕̿̃̃Ŝ̴̛̖̟̺̱͇̆̃̔̀̀̏̐͊̓͘H̴̹̎̌̀̌͂͗́̚͘͝O̸͕̩̪͒̅́͆́̍̇͑́̄͆̄͝͠Ū̷̹̣͕̬̏͒͋̒́̿̉̈́͆͠ͅĹ̶̡̺̳̪̜̪̜̻̩̦͎̫̜Ḏ̴̡̥̤͍̠̝͈̘͔̣̃͘̕͜ ̷͓̂̂̀̀̀͒̑̐̄T̸̫̭̊̐͊̍̄̋̐̊̈́A̵̢̼̳̹̦̹̥̯͙̖̿̈́̈́͌̂͜K̴̦̯͙͎̦͖̬͋Ê̴̫̪̠͚͎̇̾͌̊̆ͅ ̸̨̧̢̧̛̛̣̖̯̺͚͇̗͈̋̑̒̋̚Á̵̢̘̼̟͕̦̥̟͙̫̗̳͖̌̎́̒̋̌̎͋̏̀̇̕̕͜͠ ̶̰̊́H̴̢̨̯͙̣͕͎̙͚̠͙͊͊̈́̿̽͑͒̀͝ͅͅȈ̴̧͙̭̠͓̟͚̺̲̪̻͑͑̀̍̂̄̐͋̃̂̅̊͘͝Ṉ̷͉̬͍̩͍̃̍͊́͊̓͛̚͝Ţ̴̲̭̜͎̱̳͈̹̹̖̮̝̟̍̈́̑̾̀̌̀͌͗͗͘̚͘͜͠ ̵̨̦͉͍̘̀̈́̒̚A̸͙̖̺̱̫̼̼̫̠̬͉̲̿͂͘Ṅ̴̡̡̼̜̫̯̮͍̠͇̳̍͊̑̒ͅD̶̗̞̺͙̲̬̝̰̀ ̶̧͓̥̪̝̦͕̝͈͍̺͖̩̪̭̾̆̔͝Ģ̵̡̧̛̣̱̼̩̰̋͑̔̒͒̀̑̽͝O̸̠̟͂̎̏̈̂̔̍̒͒." Yuyuko spoke into my ears.

I stare at her, seeing her face turn glitchy, her eyes piercing into mine, and the area around us becoming nothing more than 1s and 0s.

Obviously I panicked, escaped Yuyuko's grasp, and got the heck out of there.

I bolted down the hallway, eventually bumping into Youmu by coincidence.
"Ah! Tsumetai-san, you scared me!" Youmu said, holding a fan.

"Youmu-Chan! Something's wrong with Yuyuko!" I say.

"What?! What's wrong?"

"I just saw her, she had some kind of glitch in her body! I don't know what but-"

"Youmu-Chan? Have you gotten my fan yet?"

I look behind me, seeing Yuyuko standing there... Normal.

"Yuyuko-sama! Are you okay?" Youmu said, moving towards her.

"Wait, Youmu-Chan." I said, but Youmu ignored me.

"Oh, I'm fine Youmu-Chan." Yuyuko said. "Thank you for handing me my fan, you're such a wonderful servant." Yuyuko said, headpatting Youmu.

Youmu started blushing, leaning into the headpat like how a kitten would.

I-I'm just doing my duty is all Yuyuko-sama... I'm glad to see you're doing okay." Youmu said.

"Good, good." Yuyuko replied.

"Okay, I'm going now." Youmu said, walking away from Yuyuko.

Yuyuko turned back to me.

She didn't say anything, just her smile was enough for me to turn around and leave with Youmu.

I don't know what is going on... First it was Yukari, now it's Yuyuko apparently...

I feel as if there's something I don't know of. But what?

I'm going mad with paranoia.

"Um... Tsumetai-san?" Youmu waved her hand in front of me.

"Huh? What?" I ask. "Oh sorry, I zoned out for a moment."

"Are you okay?" Youmu asked.

I want to ask her about what I saw... But something tells me that will only make things worse, so I'll keep it to myself.

"I'm fine, Youmu-Chan. Thank you for worrying." I say.

"Oh, well... Is there any place you would like to go?" Youmu asked.

Chapter Text

"Um... How about Hakurei Shrine?" I suggest to Youmu.

"Oh, is it because..." Youmu said.

"Yeah... I mean it's better to go there now than later. I hope you don't take it-"

"No no, I understand. If I was in your shoes I would likely do the same thing. It's not like I can force you here or anything."

"Good."

I'm glad we understand each other.

Youmu and I began heading out, eventually arriving at the stairway. Youmu held out her hand to me, I took it and we began soaring up in the sky once more.

---

We went past the barrier, flying through as we pass the same trio that I saw yesterday. They noticed me, and waved.

I of course waved back at them with my free hand, looking around and once again realizing how high up we are.

I can't see the ground due to the clouds being in the way, but that's enough to remind me that it's a long way down.

...Hopefully I don't fall or anything.

"Hey, Tsumetai-san!" Youmu spoke to me.

"Huh?" I replied. "What is it?"

"You want to make this trip faster?"

"Um... Yeah, I would like that."

"Okay then!"

Suddenly, I felt Youmu pull me up high, I yelped as I was thrown upward into the air for a moment before landing on top of Youmu.

"W-what are you doing?" I asked, feeling confused.

"Hang on!" Youmu said.

"Hang onto whaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!"

Suddenly Youmu started flying much faster than before. She was flying so fast I had to hold onto her so I don't slip off.

We were zooming through the clouds, lowering down till we were below them. And to behold my eyes, was the white blanket that covered Gensokyo.

I knew it was winter and all, but this... This was a sight to behold.

While we were flying, I notice something coming up to us, it looked like... a bird? a plane?

No... it's... a news reporter?

"Ayayayayayayayaya!!!! It is I, Aya Shameimaru! Your friendly neighborhood crow tengu!" The girl named Aya spoke.

I looked at her. She's wearing a white blouse, a black skirt, shoes that looks like they're making up for something, black hair, black wings on her back, and a tiny little hat.

"Oh, Aya-san! What are you doing?" Youmu asked Aya.

"Well, I was just around the block when a little bird told me of a supposed 2nd Half Human Half Phantom that arrived in Gensokyo not too long ago. And it seems that I found the person in question... Hello there, what's your name?" Aya asked me.

"U-Um... I'm Tsumetai... And this is Marshmallow." I pointed to Marshmallow, who waved back to Aya with their... tail?

"Huh, interesting..." Aya said, scribbling something down in her notepad. "Tell me, is it true that you were first found in the front of Myouren Temple?"

"Um, yes?"

"And you faced against Jota- I mean, Ichirin and managed to defeat them right?"

"Yes?"

"Is it true that you have an ability where you can-"

"Wait wait wait, is this supposed to be some kind of interview?" I ask.

"Why yes. After all, a phenomenon like this doesn't happen everyday. And once again I'm the first to interview someone like you!"

"Like... me?"

"Yes, like you. Now can you answer my question?"

"Sure... Yes. Yes I can."

"Um... I appreciate the two of you taking this time to chat, but..." Youmu spoke. "I'm getting a bit tired, can we land somewhere first?"

"Oh yeah, even I get tired of flying everywhere." Aya said.

---

The 3 of us land in a more spacious area. We're somewhere close to Hakurei Shrine, but it's still a long ways to go.

Youmu took a moment to rest, while Aya and I resumed the interview.

"So... Tsumetai was it... Got a last name?" Aya asked.

"Snow, it's Snow." I said.

"Tsumetai Snow... Got it." Aya said, scribbling something in her notepad. "So what do you remember when you first arrived here in Gensokyo?"

"I remember... falling, falling really fast... Luckily I landed on Youmu-Chan where she found me so the damage was minimal."

"Falling eh? Did someone drop you in the sky?"

"Yeah actually, it was-"

"...It was who?"

"Um... Actually I rather not say."

"Oh c'mon, you gotta tell me now. It's for the paper!" Aya said.

"Fine... It was Yukari Yakumo."

"Yukari? Interesting...Then are you by chance from the Outside world?" Aya asked.

"Outside world?"

"As in the world outside of Gensokyo. The world with all the cities, the tech, and much more than that."

I nod my head yes, Aya once again scribbled something in her notepad. I can hear the sound of her scribbling.

"Okay, last question. Do you intend to stay here in Gensokyo?"

I took a moment to think about that question before responding.

"I would like to go back home if possible." I say.

"So is that why you were heading to Hakurei Shrine?"

"Yes."

"Hm... Well then." Aya closed her notepad and stood up from her spot. "Well thank you for the interview. Tell Reimu I said hi." Aya said, before zooming off.

I wanted to ask her about something, but it seemed I lost that moment. So instead I check on Youmu.

"Hey, you doing okay Youmu-Chan?" I ask.

"Yeah, just needed to stretch... I didn't realize how tiring it is to carry another person."

"If you like we can just walk." I suggest.

"Are you sure? It's much quicker to get there by air."

"I insist... Besides, there's nothing wrong with enjoying our surroundings down where we are."

"Well, I guess that's fine."

Youmu and I started to walk once again, moving through the snowy fields, close to a flowing river.

I can hear the sound of the snow crunch beneath my feet, it was a pleasant sound. I took a moment to enjoy the scenery, the cold wind, the white snow, and the blue sky. It was a scene of serenity, a scene of beauty. It was a scene I wanted to remember, and I didn't want to forget it ever. I took a deep breath in, letting out a breath that was visible to me. I saw it, a faint trail of white puffy clouds. I took another breath, smelling the scent of the trees around me, tasting the water rushing by the river. I heard the sound of snow crunching beneath my feet and the sound of Youmu's footsteps. It was a perfect moment.

The two of us continued walking, until we reached a large stairway.

"Are long stairways just a thing here in Gensokyo?" I ask. "I can't imagine someone wanting to climb all the way up here."

"That would explain why no one ever visits the shrine... Well except for those who can fly of course." Youmu said. "C'mon, we're almost there."

Youmu and I started to walk up the steps, one by one. We climbed for a long time, and I was beginning to wonder if we would ever reach the top. I'm not sure how I knew, but I knew we would make it there.

Eventually, my vision was met with the sight of a tall red gate, standing above me. I know this to be called a Torii, something that most shrines would have in Japan.

"Alright, we're here." Youmu said.

"Huh? Why'd it take so long?" I spoke while out of breath.

"Didn't you say you wanted to walk the rest of the way here?"

"Yeah, but... That was so many steps..." I said.

As I said that though, I was greeted with the face of another person who came within my sight.

It was a...

Chapter Text

In my eyes, there stood a figure, dressed in red and white. She wore a ribbon in her brown-black hair, an outfit that seems to be a bit small for her, and is holding what looks to be a broom primarily used for sweeping. Though it is strange since it's the middle of winter and the area is covered in snow so why is she holding a broom to begin with?

"Huh... wasn't expecting guests to arrive here at this time." The person said.

As I look at the figure more closely, I suddenly realized who it is. They are the main character of the computer games that I play.

Reimu Hakurei.

"You're... Reimu Hakurei." I say with surprise in my voice.

"Oh, you know who I am?" Reimu asked.

"Yeah... I... Heard from a friend about you..." I say.

"Well the pleasure is mine. Are you visiting the shrine? Perhaps you wouldn't mind lightening your pockets of all the spare change you're carrying now won't you?" Reimu asked in a slightly greedy way.

"Um... I don't really have-"

"Wait..." Youmu said, pulling out some change. "Here."

"Ah, good job Youmu. I see you learned from last time." Reimu said.

"Last time?" I ask.

"You don't wanna know..." Youmu said in a dreadful tone. "Um... Reimu-san, do you mind if we come inside the shrine with you?"

"Well it is a bit cold out here... But I'm not making you dinner if you overstay your welcome."

"Aw..." I say in a poutful tone.

"Relax, I'm not actually serious. What kind of person would I be if I make someone starve? Come, I'll go make tea when we get in." Reimu said, guiding us to the shrine.

Youmu and I walked with her as Reimu went in through the nearest door.

I turned back to look at the snow-covered forest around me. It was a sight to admire.

---

The inside of the shrine was nice and warm. A bit small, but that's to be expected. We were sitting in what looks to be the living quarters of the shrine. There was a kotatsu around the center with 3 other figures sitting around it.

The first one looked like a small petite girl, with horns that are as long as her arms on both sides. She currently looks a bit tipsy. Her clothes look like they were torn from the sleeves, but other than that she looks well-dressed.

The second one looks like one of those Komainu statues I've seen before at other shrines I visited. But she also gives off very dog-like vibes. She's a bit cute, like someone I would like to give headpats too.

The third one looks very, very small. They look small enough to fit in my hands no problem. They're on the kotatsu itself, enjoying a tiny cup of tea. The way she is dressed makes me feel like she's either wealthy or important.

I look back at Youmu, who looked back at me, noticing my gaze.

"Hey, it's okay. None of them are bad people... Well they used to be at least." Youmu said.

"Thanks... that gives me comfort." I say in a sarcastic tone.

"Sorry."

"No need to apologize."

There was silence for a bit, as we both looked around the shrine.

"Hey... The least you could do is give us your name." The horned person said in a drunken tone.

I look at them, noticing their gaze upon me. I recall some of the tales of Oni that I've read. About how they abduct any humans that they beat in contests, and how they have tremendous strength.

"U-Um... T-Tsumetai." I say, feeling nervous.

"Huh!? I can't hear you!!!" The oni spoke, slamming their gourd on the table.

I was startled by the noise, as I leaned back in fear.

"I-I'm Tsumetai Snow! Pleasure to meet you!!!" I say in response.

"...Oh, nice to meet you. I'm Suika Ibuki." The Oni named Suika said in a much more cheerful tone.

That was a quick turn of events.

"Aunnnn!!! I'm Aunn Komano, the guardian of the shrine. It's nice to meet you!" The dog-like girl named Aunn said.

"I-I-I'm Shinmyoumaru Sukuna by the way!" The tiny person named Shinmyoumaru said. "Y-you can just call me Shinmy though!"

I was a bit surprised by this quick welcoming by all 3 of these people. At first I thought it was crazy, having various species in a shrine. But it looks like they're all friendly people. I can even feel their happiness at my arrival. It's a nice change from the hostile welcoming I got at Myouren Temple.

I notice Suika glaring at me again, more specifically at Marshmallow.

"So... You're a Half Human Half Phantom like Youmu?" Suika asked me, taking another drink from her gourd.

"Um, yes. I am." I say.

"You related somehow?"

"No... I think?" I say, looking at Youmu. She had a naïve look on her face when she looked back at me.

"Well now... How come I never seen you around here before then?" Suika asked. "Surely word would've gotten out of a second Half Human Half Phantom roaming around these parts."

"Well, it's a bit hard to explain." I say. "I... Rather not say to be honest."

"Aw, how come?" Suika asked. "There's no harm in telling us right?"

"B-but I only just met you all." I say.

"C'mon c'mon, we won't tell." Suika said, leaning in close to me. I can feel her alcohol-scented breath.

"Hey, Suika. Don't mess with our guest." Shinmy said to Suika.

"Huh? What did you say you shrimp!" Suika said, lifting Shinmy up in the air.

"Eep! L-Let me go Suika!" Shinmy said, flailing her arms around.

"Or what eh!? You think a tiny person like you can stand against an Oni!?"

"I said let me down!"

"Oh, I'll let you down... into my stomach that is." Suika said, opening her mouth as she lowers Shinmy.

"Wait wait wait!!! Suika! This isn't funny! Stop it please!!!" Shinmy said, looking like she's about to cry.

I look over at Aunn and Youmu. Aunn is currently distracted by her own tail, and Youmu isn't sure what to do in this situation.

Chapter Text

A Wild Suika and Shinmy has appeared.

Go, Marshmallow!!!

Tsumetai sent out Marshmallow

What will Marshmallow do?

>FIGHT BAG ******* RUN

---

>TACKLE

TAIL WHIP

GROWL

SELF DESTRUCT

---

Marshmallow used TACKLE!

CRITICAL HIT!

Suika dropped Shinmy

---

Just after Marshmallow hit Suika by the side, I watch as Shinmy was let go, only to fall into Suika's mouth.

And with a gulp Suika swallowed.

Youmu and I gasped at what happened, seeing Suika swallow Shinmy with ease.

But it didn't stop there, the next thing I witness was Suika holding her hands close to her throat, indicating that she's choking right now.

"Urk...Gggk..." Suika tried to speak, but all came out were gurgles and other noises as she struggled to breathe.

"Oh god, she's choking!" I said. "Youmu-Chan, do something!" I say.

"What? I-I don't know how!"

"What do you mean! You saved Marshmallow the other day!"

"That was because it was Yuyuko-sama! I don't know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver or whatever Reisen-Chan calls it!"

I look over at Aunn.

"Aunn! Can't you do something!?" I ask of her.

Aunn looks over at Suika, whose face is slowly turning purple, then back at me.

"Nope." Aunn said with a simple look.

I look back at Suika, she's turning a bright red as her throat bulges out.

I begin to panic. Youmu is at a loss of words, Aunn is clueless to what's happening, Shinmy is lodged in Suika's throat and Suika is literally dying right now!

Suddenly, Reimu returned with the tea.

"Okay, I got enough tea for- what the hell!?" Reimu shouted, witnessing the choking Suika.

Instantly, I see Reimu run over to Suika, dropping the tea sea, and performing the Heimlich maneuver on her. Reimu got Suika to cough up Shinmy, and with another gurgle Suika was done choking.

With that, Reimu took a few steps back from Suika.

Shinmy meanwhile was soaked in saliva and other juices I don't want to describe.

"Ugh... my outfit..." Shinmy said.

"Phew... Thanks Reimu, I owe you-" Suika said.

"What the hell were you thinking!?" Reimu said, grabbing Suika by the shoulders. "You put Shinmy in danger, again! What if you actually choked to death, or worse!"

"Hey, I was fine!"

"No! You were not fine. You were being an absolute idiot! Do you have any idea how much danger you are in right now? Do you?!"

"But I was fine!"

"You were not fine! You were having a choking fit, and the next thing I knew, you were on the floor! How is it that you are fine all the time!? Do you have any idea how terrifying it was for those of us who were trying to save you!? How could you be so carefree!?"

"I... I'm... I'm sorry Reimu..." Suika said with her head hanging low. "I was only just trying to mess with her is all. I didn't mean to actually harm her."

"...Hey..." Reimu said, placing a hand on Suika's head. This made Suika look up at Reimu. "Look, I know... it was only an accident... But what if you actually got hurt? You know I hate it when I see you or Shinmy getting into trouble you know that? I'm just looking out for the two of you."

"Y-you're right..." Suika said. "I... I will be more careful from now on."

"Thank you." Reimu said. She moved her attention over to Shinmy, who seemed a bit shaken.

"Hey, Shinmy dear? Are you alright?" Reimu asked her in a much sweeter tone.

"I-I'm fine... It was dark, and wet... I knew you would save me so I-I wasn't afraid." Shinmy said, despite showing signs of wanting to cry.

"Hey, she didn't mean it. You know that, I know that. This is only a one time thing. I'm just glad to know you're safe alright?" Reimu said with a smile.

"...Yeah... Thank you Reimu." Shinmy said with a smile on her face.

"Anytime... How about we get you a bath and a new set of clothes okay?" Reimu said, picking up Shinmy with her hands.

I see Reimu take Shinmy away with her as the rest of us sit there.

...I never knew Reimu to act like the Mom of a Group.

"Um... Youmu-Chan?" I ask.

"Yes Tsumetai-san?"

"Does Reimu normally act like that?"

"Not usually."

I look over at Suika, who seems a lot sober now.

"My throat hurts, maybe some more sake will do the trick." She said, reaching for her gourd.

"Hey, Suika?" I ask.

"Yep?"

"What was that all about?" I ask.

"...Oh, you mean Reimu? She's always like that. Especially towards anyone she lives with."

"Why... is that exactly?" I ask.

"Suika shrugged as she continued to drink. "All I know is that she treats me like a misbehaved child and Shinmy like her precious daughter."

"What about Aunn?"

"Aunn is the dog of the house. Ain't that right Aunn?" Suika asked Aunn.

"Aunn!!! I'm Reimu's loyal Shrine Guardian!!!" Aunn spoke.

"You should see how she treats Clownpiece though." Suika said. "That hell fairy has like 3 moms! 5 if you include the fact one of them has 3 bodies."

"Who is Clownpiece?" I ask.

"Oh, just someone who caused trouble for Reimu in the past. Long story short, Reimu let her stay underneath the shrine so long she doesn't cause trouble." Suika said.

"Oh..." I say.

Not gonna lie, I wasn't expecting this kind of scenario. I thought this place was more of a relaxed environment like Hakugyokurou. But maybe this is a sign I should lower my expectations of other places I may visit.

"So anyways... I wanted to ask earlier, but are you from the outside world or something?" Suika asked me.

"Um... I-"

"Hey, Tsumetai-san doesn't need to answer any questions she's uncomfortable asking, okay?" Youmu interrupted.

"Hey, who said you can barge in our conversation Youmu." Suika told Youmu.

"I did." Youmu said, looking straight at Suika.

"...Fine..." Suika said. "I'll give up for now."

"Thank you." Youmu said, sitting back down next to me.

"Um, thank you Youmu-Chan. You... Didn't have to speak for me though." I say.

"It's alright. I didn't want to see you feel uncomfortable is all." Youmu said.

---

After a half an hour, Reimu and Shinmyoumaru came back.

"Sorry if I kept you waiting." Reimu told me and Youmu.

"I-It's alright. We were all just relaxing." I say.

"Well good, hope you still like some tea." Reimu says.

"I think I'd better, thank you again." Youmu says.

Reimu makes more tea for everyone.

"So, what do you think about our lovely home?"

I look around, taking a quick glance around the place.

"It's... um..." I don't know what to say.

Reimu laughed. "It's okay. I know the shrine isn't the best quality. But I do keep it clean. Especially when you live in a household with 2 roommates and a freeloader." Reimu said, staring at Suika.

Suika blinked for a second before responding. "H-hey! I do stuff! I clean!"

"Cleaning out my pantry doesn't count as cleaning Suika. Besides, I know you're the one who pokes holes in my walls."

"Oh, of course, blame the one with the big pointy horns~ How do you know it isn't Shinmy and her tiny little needle? Huh?" Suika said.

"Hey, It's called the Shining Needle Sword!" Shinmy said. "And how would I even poke so many holes!?"

"I don't know: Maybe you used that mallet of yours to make it easier to pin the blame on me?"

"I would never use the mallet like that! Especially on someone like you! What am I, an Amanojaku!?"

"Well who knows? You may look innocent but I bet that Seija influenced you in more ways than one." Suika said.

"Hey, you two! Stop fighting!" Reimu said, pulling on Suika's ear and Shinmy's cheek.

"Ow, ow, hey! Stop that!" Suika said.

"But she was being so mean to me!" Shinmy whined.

"Um... Should we leave?" Youmu asked.

"No no, you're fine. Stay where you are." Reimu said.

"A-At least I'm not the one who used Reimu's favorite cup as a bathtub!" Suika said.

"Wait, WHAT!?" Reimu said, looking at Shinmy.

"Suika! You promised you wouldn't tell!" Shinmy shouted.

"All's fair in love and war!" Suika said.

"Oh yeah? T-take this!!!" Shinmy said, grabbing the mallet (which just so happened to be on the table this entire time) and flung it at Suika.

Suika however catched it, and held it in the air, making Shinmy gasp in shock.

"Hey, Aunn!" Suika said.

Aunn looked up, noticing the mallet.

"Fetch!" Suika said, throwing the mallet outside the door with all her might.

Immediately Aunn started chasing after the mallet, yapping and running on all fours.

"Hey! Suika, look what you did!" Reimu shouted at Suika.

"My... My mallet..." Shinmy said, looking like she's about to cry.

"Oh no... Please don't cry Shinmy." Reimu said in a comforting tone. "She didn't mean to do that, right Suika?" Reimu looked at Suika.

Guilty as charged. That mallet is loooooooong gone by now." Suika said in a careless manner, drinking from her gourd again.

And just like that, Shinmy bawled her eyes out.

"WAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!! My Mallet!!! My Precious Mallet!!!" Shinmy sobbed.

"I know." Suika said, shrugging. "Isn't life a bitch sometimes?"

While Reimu was trying to calm down Shinmy, Suika drinking, and Aunn chasing, me and Youmu looked at each other, and we're probably thinking the same exact thing.

'Geez, and here I thought our lives were complex.'

Even the voices agree with me.

"Hey, someone lose their dog or something?"

I turn back, facing the door.

I see Aunn, hanging by her arm, holding the mallet in her mouth. But as for the person holding her by said arm...

Chapter Text

It was a person, wearing a Blue-White Dress, with a matching cap, green hair, and missing a pair of legs, instead having a ghostly half.

I don't know this person to be honest, let alone their name.

"Thought you could use some company. What did I miss?" The person asked.

"Oh... Haven't seen you in a while." Reimu said to this person.

"Please, it hasn't been that long Reimu dear. What, did you miss me or something?" The person asked.

"O-of course not! Why would I miss a evil spirit such as you?" Reimu said, looking away in a shy fashion.

"Aww~ You did miss me after all~" The person said, moving over so she can pull Reimu in for a hug.

"Ack! Hey! Let go Mima!" Reimu said. "This is embarrassing!"

Mima... I think I heard that name before... Though none of the computer games I have played ever mentioned this Mima ever.

'Well actually, they have appeared in the games. You see, before the modern Windows era, there was this period of time in the late 20th century where-'

'NERD!!!'

...Huh...I guess it's not that important.

I watch as this Mima person snuggles up to Reimu, very close I must say.

I can't believe I didn't notice this earlier... Or at least I didn't care.

Shinmy, Youmu, and Suika all look at me, and I look at them.

"Do you know who that is?" I ask.

They all nod their heads no. I look at Aunn.

"What about you Aunn?" I ask.

"Annnn!!! Thut's Mimwha! She's un ol frind of Rimu ad Mawisa!" Aunn said while holding the mallet in her mouth.

"C-can you please give me back my mallet?" Shinmy asked Aunn.

"O, o corse." Aunn said, spitting out the mallet next to Shinmy.

The mallet was covered in drool, had some teeth marks too. Shinmy was a bit revolted by it.

"Ew..." Shinmy said.

"So anyways..." Youmu said. "How much do you know about her?"

"Well only that she and Reimu have fought many times. Mima is like this bad evil spirit, who wants to rule over humanity!" Aunn spoke. "But Reimu always defeats her every time, like a heroic knight defeating the evil wizard in those fairy tale books!"

"Anything else?" I ask.

"Um... Oh! She also taught Marisa magic!" Aunn said.

"Marisa?" I ask, remembering when I first met Marisa. "The one with the blonde hair, witch's hat, broom and everything?" I ask.

"Aunn!!! That's right! Have you met her?" Aunn asked.

"Um... Yes..." I say in a blushing tone.

"...She kissed you didn't she?" Suika asked with a bland look.

"Y-yeah..." I say, blushing more.

"Awww... I'm a hottie!" Marisa said, appearing from another room.

"Gah!" I jump. "W-when did you show up!?"

"About 5 minutes ago. Strange coincidence meeting you here again Tsumetai ze~" Marisa said. "Oh, Lady Mima!!!"

Mima stopped hugging the tsundere Reimu, and looked at Marisa. "Marisa sweetie!!!" Mima said, pushing Reimu away to hug Marisa tightly. "It's so good to see you again!"

Am I missing something here or what? I watch as Mima hugs Marisa, while Reimu brushes herself off.

"Ahem... Mima, it's nice of you to come visit after so long... But it's starting to get a bit crowded, so I like for you to leave... That includes you too Marisa." Reimu said.

"But Reimu, I came here to see you~" Marisa said in a flirty manner.

"Really? Don't you have Alice or Patchouli to bother instead of me?" Reimu said.

"Aw c'mon Reimu. Besides I already visited Alice and Patchouli just a few days ago. And you're still my favorite~" Marisa said.

"Don't flatter me Marisa." Reimu said, trying to keep a straight face. "You still owe me for that shelf you broke remember?"

"Pssh, fine... I'll come back tomorrow then." Marisa said.

Marisa quickly left, but not before stealing a kiss from Reimu and dashing off, leaving behind a furious Reimu. Mima also left shortly after, not after having a long discussion about what's been going on as of late. Then me and Youmu continued to chat with Reimu and the others for a while, discussing a few things such as what's been happening in Gensokyo to the upcoming winter festival.

It seemed that Gensokyo likes to hold events regularly. Most of them either during certain holidays or whenever someone wants an excuse to drink/eat food.

Soon, a couple of hours have passed...

"...And one time, I had to deal with an ice fairy, who came over just to complain about something I didn't do... And she had the audacity to destroy my donation box because of it!" Reimu said. "Of course, I beat her up later... cause that's what she deserved."

I laugh a bit, hearing some of the stories that Reimu was telling.

"Wow, you really don't have it easy do you?" I ask. "Must be hard being a shrine maiden."

"Well, once you get used to all the annoying people you live with, it's quite managable."

I look around. So far Suika is busy passed out drunk on the floor, Shinmy was busy cleaning her mallet, and Aunn was outside, playing with some fairies that came around.

As for Youmu, she looked a bit tired. And so was I to be honest. I didn't expect myself to be here this long. I still have one question I need to ask Reimu though.

"Um... Reimu..." I began.

"Hm?" Reimu looked at me.

"...I was wondering... is it possible that you can send me to the outside world?"

"..."

Reimu only looked at me. She didn't say anything, she didn't show any expression. She just stared.

I didn't want to keep asking so I decided to just speak it out.

"Can you send me to the outside world for a day?"

"..."

"Please, even if it's just for an hour, I like to at least see my family and-"

"You're not human, so I can't." Reimu said calmly.

"...What?"

Reimu let out a sigh, standing up. "I had a feeling you were from the outside world... Considering the clothes you are wearing and the fact there is no record of there being another Half Human Half Phantom."

"...So what are you saying?"

"...I don't know much myself. But I'm assuming that when you entered here, the barrier caused your soul to split into 2. One is the body you possess right now, the other is the big white orb that follows you. Sure, it be easy to send you back, I've done it many times before. But..." Reimu said.

"But what?" I ask.

"Anything that exists exclusively in Gensokyo means that once it enters the outside world, it ceases to exist. Because people don't believe in phenomenon's like youkai, ghosts, evil spirits, or urban legends. So it is very likely that the moment you step out of gensokyo, half of your soul will perish."

"..."

I couldn't believe what Reimu just said.

Sure, I had the feeling that there would be a catch. But just hearing it still hurt.

I look over at Youmu, then back at Reimu, as I kept staring.

"You... You mean there's nothing I can do then?" I ask.

"That as far as I know..." Reimu said. "Even if I do send you back, you would be a hollow version of yourself. You'd be a corpse that refuses to die, a soul that keeps on living, a living being that doesn't know death till they look in a mirror and find that half their body was ripped apart."

I stared at my hands for a bit. Reimu watched me intently.

"Well..." I said at last. "...I guess there's nothing I can do then."

"Yeah."

"Wait Reimu-san." Youmu said. "That's not fair. Just because she's half human like me... Isn't there some solution to let her go into the outside world for just a brief moment?"

"Unless you can somehow cast a barrier similar to the one around Gensokyo, be my guest." Reimu said. "Again, I'm sorry there's nothing else I can do."

"B-but what about Yukari-sama!? Can't she do something when she wakes!?" Youmu asked.

Wakes?

"Youmu, even if you ask Yukari, she will just tell you the same exact thing." Reimu said.

"How would you-"

"Youmu-Chan... It's alright." I say. "Besides, I expected this kind of thing to begin with..."

"O-oh..." Youmu said.

"Thank you Reimu... I'm sorry you weren't able to help me."

"It's alright... It's getting late so I like it if you can leave now before it gets dark." Reimu told me and Youmu.

...

I left Hakurei Shrine with Youmu. It was starting to set, and the wind was blowing through the trees. I feel the snow beneath my feet, and Youmu behind me as we both walked through the path.

"Tsumetai-san... Are you doing alright?" Youmu asked me.

I turn around, facing Youmu. I gave her a sad smile.

"Yeah, I'm good."

Youmu nodded and gave me a small smile in return. She held out her hand out to me.

"C'mon, lets go back to Hakugyokurou." Youmu said.

I take her hand, as we both begin to fly.

Chapter Text

We were back at Hakugyokurou. It was getting dark, but there was still some light shining around us.

Youmu and I walk up past the cherry blossoms as we head inside through the doors. We take off our shoes and walk in on the wooden floor, hearing our own footsteps as we walked.

"...Tsumetai-san..." Youmu spoke to me.

"...Yes?" I ask.

"How are you feeling?"

"...I'm fine right now, thank you." I say. "But, I think I like to be left alone for a bit."

"A-are you sure?"

"Yeah..."

"..."

Youmu didn't say anything else, and instead went ahead to check on Yuyuko.

I however decide to go into one of the rooms for the night and went to bed early.

...

I open my eyes, and I'm in the void.

I look around, expecting something...

But there was nothing, except for something in the distance.

I walk over to it, noticing it's a giant wooden block with the letter "W" on it. There was also a sticky note on it.

I took it, and read what it said.

"The world's largest Writer's Block. Blocking a writer's mind since the invention of books."

Huh...

This is kinda-

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Chapter Text

After waking up form what felt like the longest night in quite some time I felt exhausted... And after remembering what Miss Reimu told me yesterday that exhausted feeling got even worse.

"I think... I think I'll just stay in bed today..." I say to myself.

'get up!' I hear a faint whisper which I completely ignore.

'get up!', 'HEY GET UP! GET UP ALREADY YOU SLEEPYHEAD!!!' The voices get louder and louder.

"Why... why should I even get up if there is no way for me to return home, to the people I know and love, to my family... I just... don't see the point..." I respond to those voices hoping they would just shut up.

'Well even if you can't go back home you're still here and there are people you are important to, take a look at Youmu, she's clearly worried about you, and beside that staying in bed the whole day won't magically make things better. Yea well said'

After thinking about what those voices said for a minute I guess they are right about few things... "FINE!" I say with a discouraged voice as I get up.

I feel sluggish like never before but even so I get dressed and go to the main room with a view on the garden. Shortly after getting there I was greeted by Youmu.

"Oh! Good morning Tsumetai-san, how are you holding up after yesterday? Is everything alright?"

"Good morning Youmu-Chan... I guess I'm alright..." I tell her not wanting to trouble her too much.

"Are you sure? Because it looks like your phantom half says otherwise." Youmu says to me while pointing at Marshmallow who was barely floating above the ground.

"I think I'm just a little tired, yes tired."

After that we both stayed silent for a bit before Youmu started talking with an excited tone.

"Why don't you join me for a few exercises, when I'm feeling tired after a rough night they help me to get back on my feet. They also might help you get in a better mood!" Youmu invited me.

After a few seconds of consideration I say, "Sure if you say they help you get back on your feet then it might me worth a shot..."

After a short warmup we started to brainstorm what should we even train, and since I'm not into swords and Youmu doesn't have much experience with guns the topic somehow landed on learning the basics of flight.

"So Youmu you've said before that to fly you need to jump and focus not to fall? Is this seriously it or were you just joking with me then?"

"Yeah if you simplify it then that is flying at its core, you should try it!"

"Well if you say so."

After replying to Youmu I close my eyes, take a deep breath, focus on NOT FALLING DOWN (very helpful tip Youmu) and jump... only to land on the exactly same spot.

After a few seconds Youmu started giggling and I just stood there... confused and a little embarrassed.

"Oh, sorry Tsumetai-san I really should not be laughing about this." Youmu said to me trying to stop herself from laughing.

"Don't worry about it I guess it was pretty funny sight heh."

"I'm once again sorry for laughing but don't let that try discourage you from trying. I'm sure you'll get the hang of it sooner or later. Anyways that would be it for our exercises for now soooooo, how are you feeling Tsumetai-san?" Youmu asks me with in a hopeful tone.

"I think I'm a lot better, the tired feeling is almost completely gone now."

"That's great to hear, by the way since you were feeling so down yesterday I decided to do cleaning by myself, so you should have some free time until evening." Youmu told me while giving me a warm smile

"Thanks a bunch Youmu that's very sweet of you, I'll be sure to spend it wisely."

After that Youmu went back to doing her tasks and I was left with some free time, but what should I do with it...?

Chapter Text

I wander about the garden, and admire the work that Youmu has done, here. There are bushes shaped like animals, some with flowers, some with different colored leaves, all trimmed to perfection. I decide to stop, when I see a beautiful row of rose bushes. There are many different colors, such a the standard red, a light yellow, many white roses, and a single pink rose bush. I move closer to smell the pink roses, touching the petals of one. It gives off a beautiful scent which I close my eyes to enjoy, when I sullenly feel a tap on my shoulder. I open my eyes and turn, to see none other than Yuyuko looking at me with a smile.

"Are you enjoying the roses, Tsumetai?" she asks. "They're quite beautiful! I was just enjoying the smell of these pink ones. Is Youmu responsible for all of these?" Yuyuko smiles again, closing her eyes. "Youmu is responsible for the entire garden, young one. She even clips the hedges using her sword! That's why their form is done so well." I smile back at Yuyuko as she opens her eyes. Marshmallow floats around me to my side, where I raise my arm over and behind them. I suddenly worry about my phantom half being eaten, but Yuyuko doesn't seem hungry quite yet...

'She still might eat us if you're not careful! Don't turn your back!'

'No, she'd be drooling already if she wanted to eat the giant marshmallow we're a part of!'

'Well if my input matters, we could go cook up some waffles for her. Maybe then we won't be devoured?'

'If I'm right about this, it would take all the waffles in Gensokyo to feed this garbage disposal!!'

"Tsumetai, is something the matter? You're holding your phantom half rather closely. I promise I won't try to eat it! It's not time for my meal yet, after all." I hadn't even noticed that Marshmallow had climbed under my arm. The voices I heard had distracted me from what was going on, making me not think for myself... I raise my arm, and put my it to my side, before I answer Yuyuko. "I'm sorry, I just think that Marshmallow is a bit scared of you. Since you're here, I'd like to ask you a question, though. ...how would I get used to being stuck in Gensokyo...? I can't leave, because I'd cease to exist... or at least my phantom half would... As I'm stuck, I'd like to get as familiar with this realm, or Gensokyo as a whole, as I can..."

Yuyuko puts a hand to her chin (🤔) and looks at me. "Hmm... The only way I could think of is to explore the rest of Gensokyo, itself. This is only a land between, where spirits come to await reincarnation, so you'll hardly meet anyone else." She lowers her hand while she continues. "If I tell her to, Youmu can take you to explore Gensokyo as a whole. If you meet more people, I'm sure you can get used to being here!" She smiles happily as she finishes her idea. "I think that could be an interesting idea. You're probably right that I'll get used to this place after meeting more people, so I'd like you to ask Youmu about this! I hope she agrees..." I respond, making Yuyuko giggle. "She's pretty much my servant, so she'd have to listen to me either way. I just hope that she likes the idea."

I smile back at Yuyuko, and let out a deep breath. "I guess I should have thought about that, huh? I expect that she's still working out here in the garden, right?" Yuyuko nods her head. "She most certainly is. We should look for her to ask her to take you to the realm of the living in Gensokyo. Of course, that would be best to do after I've eaten," she says with a slight smirk. This worries me just a little, but I decide not to think too much about it. As we wander the garden, we see Youmu standing in front of a large bush, shaped like a lion. She grips her larger sword and suddenly slashes at the bush faster than my eyes could possibly see. As soon as she's sliced what I thought were 6 times, she slips the katana back into its sheathe. When it's fully in, Youmu pushes it closed, and suddenly, plenty of leaves are scattered about from the bush, floating down slowly. I open my mouth in amazement, and the lion looks more finely cut than it just had.

Yuyuko begins to clap, causing Youmu to turn toward us in surprise. "Very well done, Youmu. That was a marvelous display!" Youmu begins to blush, and scratches the back of her head, smiling. She notices me standing there with a silly smile, and begins blushing just a bit harder. I suddenly feel my face get a bit warm, and I turn my head in embarrassment. "Yuyuko-sama, what are you two doing here? I thought you'd still be asleep, but what brings you outside?"

"I wanted to talk to you about Tsumetai, here. She's wondering how to get used to living here, and I suggested that you lead her around Gensokyo to meet new people... I think that finding some of the interesting people who live across the realms of Gensokyo could give her a new outlook on life here. Will you agree to take her with you?" Youmu looks at both of us, and I turn my head to get a better look at her. She opens her mouth, saying, "O-Of course, master! I'll do that after we've eaten breakfast, if that's what you want. I'm done here, so I can get your breakfast to you, right away!"

We all make our way inside, and to the dining room. Yuyuko waits by the table, while I make my way to the kitchen to help. I help Youmu prepare ingredients, and realize that we're making a batter of some kind. As I help mix the batter, I realize by how runny it is that we've made a massive amount of pancake batter! I feel like there's enough batter to make at least a hundred pancakes, but possibly more. As I finish mixing, Youmu heats a giant pan, and begins to pour batter into it, making a huge pancake. She uses what looks like a pizza peel (I think that's what you call those metal things that hold the pizza to put in an oven?) to carefully flip the pancake. After that's done she makes nine more, before making each of us some normal pancakes. Yuyuko's pancakes remain warm in the oven, using only very light embers to create the heat. After Youmu and I make 5 pancakes for each of us, I sigh in exhaustion. Youmu puts our 10 pancakes into the oven next to Yuyuko's, when we suddenly hear Yuyuko's stomach growl from the dining room! Youmu rapidly begins frying around 50 slices of bacon, and scrambling 100 eggs. I do my best to help, but I'm also getting hungry, now! The smell of the food is excruciating to me, because I can't eat any of it yet. I can only imagine how Yuyuko must feel...

"Youmu, I'm hungry~" We both rush out, Youmu carrying the bacon and eggs, giving Yuyuko about 4/5ths of the food. I carry out all of Yuyuko's pancakes, setting down the heavy plate in front of her. "Thank you both, Youmu and Tsumetai! This looks wonderful~" I go to get our own pancakes, setting 5 in front of Youmu, and taking the other 5. Youmu serves me half of the leftover bacon, about 2 and a half slices, as well as about 3 eggs. I smile up at her as I sit down, saying, "Thank you, Youmu!" before she sits down, herself. I notice that Yuyuko is already more than halfway through her meal, and begin to dig in. The pancakes are the fluffiest pancakes that I've had in my life! They feel as if they could melt in my mouth, or like clouds. I even wonder if this is how Marshmallow would feel if I were to try to eat it...

'Hey, I'm a part of you, bozo! Don't you dare try to eat me!'

I push the thought out of my mind, and decide to focus on eating the food. As we all finish, I let out a satisfied sigh. "That was a great breakfast. I feel even better than I did after trying the flight practice!" Youmu stifles a giggle while smiling, covering her mouth, and I start to giggle as well. This makes Youmu stop trying to contain herself, and she begins laughing a little. I can't help but laugh with her, and laugh when harder when I notice Yuyuko looking back and forth at us. I start to calm down, when she asks, "Why are you two laughing so much?" Hearing this tickles me in a way that makes me burst out laughing! Youmu starts to laugh harder with me, and we're suddenly stuck like this. Yuyuko starts to giggle a bit, and the three of us calm down. Yuyuko speaks, after a bit. "Youmu, hehehe... Will you take Tsumetai into Gensokyo, as I asked you earlier? I'm happy to wait here." "Oh! Of course Yuyuko-sama!" Youmu stands up and bows, saying, "I'll take her immediately, but we should decide on where to go, first. Let's go outside, Tsumetai-san, and I can give you some ideas on where to go."

I slowly get up, and dust a bit of pancake crumbs off of myself. Yuyuko says, "I'll see you two at lunch. Be safe!" Youmu leads me outside, and she explains her ideas on where to take me.

"So I was thinking, since you use a gun I can't exactly teach you because I'm more used to wielding swords. So maybe we can find someone who is more used to wielding such a weapon. Luckily for you I know a few people who are very skilled." Youmu said to me. "So maybe we should go meet up with them? Maybe they can teach you some basics? I think it's worth a try, if you want to improve your combat skills."

"Oh, that would be nice. I suppose it would be helpful to know how to use a gun." I say. I take out my gun, looking at it, and admiring the appearance. I never thought I would carry a gun with me and yet here we are. I put it back in my pocket, making sure it doesn't fall out. It would be bad if it ever did.

'Hey, why not go visit the animal realm?'

The Animal Realm?

"Yeah yeah, the Animal Realm. The place full of cute creatures that love hugs and belly rubs. You should go there.'

'No you idiot! Don't listen to them! It's a land of devastation! You may as well call it- mmph mmmph mph!'

'Shhhh... Don't listen to that voice... They're just one of those animal-haters.'

I look at Marshmallow, who looks to be struggling with something while the voices go on. It was a bit strange but I'll just ask Youmu about it. "Say Youmu-Chan, is there anyone who can use a gun in the Animal Realm?" I spoke. "T-The Animal Realm!?" Youmu asked me with shock in her eyes. "You said you knew a few people in the Animal Realm. Maybe they can teach me how to shoot a gun?" I asked.

"I-I'm sorry Tsumetai-san. I-I don't know anyone who uses a gun down there! Honest!" Youmu said with worry. Maybe the question was a bit touchy for her? Or perhaps it's something else. "Youmu-Chan, is everything okay?" Youmu quickly calmed herself down. "I'm fine, sorry about that Tsumetai-san. I've been to the Animal Realm before, and lets just say it wasn't pleasant for me." Youmu said. "Wait, how do you even know about it's existence? Have you been there?"

I realized that what I said did sound strange, my mind begins to panic a little, trying to come up with a valid excuse. But Youmu beat me to the question. "Oh wait, Yuyuko-sama probably told you about it didn't she." Youmu guessed. I responded back by saying, "Why yes, she did actually!" I lied. "We were talking about all the various animals that she would love to have for dinner. Classic Yuyuko." I say, sweating a little.

Youmu laughs, and turns back to look at the sky. "That does sound like something Yuyuko-sama would talk about. I remember the day she tasked me with kidnapping the gatekeeper of hell, who just so happened to be a chicken." I was confused by what Youmu said. "You mean they had a coward guarding the place?" I ask.

"No, as in a literal chicken." Youmu said. "Unfortunately Eiki-sama wasn't happy when she heard the news and gave me and Yuyuko-sama a 20 hour long lecture about why we shouldn't kidnap gatekeepers to satisfy our appetites."

"Ohhhhhh..." I say. I look around a bit, feeling a petal land on top of my head. "So anyways, you said you know a few people who can use a gun?" I ask Youmu.

"Of course. First there is Seiran-san and Ringo-san, who live down in the Human Village as Dango Sellers. They can be competitive with one another but I'm certain they would be glad in teaching you. Oh, and then there's Okuu-san, who lives underground. She doesn't exactly uses a gun, it's more of a cannon, but I bet she can still show you a thing or two... Just be careful not to get close to her when she's using her powers." Youmu explained. "So perhaps we can either go to the Human Village or Underground, it's your choice."

Chapter Text

"Wait Youmu-Chan." I say. "Didn't you say you have a close friend who knows how to use a gun?"

"Huh?" Youmu said.

"Yeah, you mentioned them once before. Their name was Reisen wasn't it? How come you didn't mention them?" I say.

I look at Youmu straight in the eyes, expecting her to respond to me. But as I look at her, she glanced away for a bit, then back at me, then glanced away once again. She twiddled her thumbs a little but switched to fiddling with her hair, then tugged on one of her sleeves before placing her hands on her sides. And during this, she kept mumbling to herself about something, but I couldn't tell what exactly she was saying. Finally, she looked back at me, and spoke.

"The thing is... Reisen-Chan has been going through some rough times lately. And I don't want to bother her with something she may find tedious. I'm sorry for not saying anything about it before." Youmu said. "Oh." I said, taken back a little. I was a bit lost in my thoughts for a bit. "It's alright. I understand if she doesn't want to be disturbed." I say.

"...Oh! I know! How about we go to Moriya Shrine?" Youmu suggested. "I believe Sanae-san would know a thing or two about using a gun." She said with a more excited tone. "Moriya Shrine? Where is that?" I ask. "Oh, it's just up near the top of Youkai Mountain. Don't worry I can just fly you up there to make the trip easier."

"Youkai Mountain? So is it a mountain full of youkai? Why would there be a shrine? And how would people even get up there without being attacked?" I ask, feeling a bit confused. "There's a ropeway that people use. It leads from the human village all the way up to the shrine's entrance. There's even a sign that tells people where to go so they don't mindlessly scale the mountain unprotected." Youmu said. My questions continued. "And you say there's a ropeway down from the shrine to the human village? What's stopping someone from just coming up the mountain?"

"Nothing." Youmu replied. "Actually a while ago there was one person who managed to scale the entire mountain without any serious injuries. Their name was-"

"Hold that thought Youmu-Chan." I say, noticing something up in the air. It floated down, coming out what looks like a tiny gap. It resembled some kind of card, spinning down until I grab it with my hand. The card had some weird image on it, a bit hard to describe. And attached was a slip of paper, with some wording on it.

Grants ability to walk in the air when held. Figured you might need it. -Ran Yakumo

I turn the card over a few times to look at the writing. Seems familiar...

"What's that? A card?" Youmu looked over my shoulder to stare at the card I have in my hand. "Where did it come from?"

"I'm not sure Youmu-Chan. Not sure at all." I say. I look at the card once again, then back at the paper. I don't think I ever met someone named Ran Yakumo. But Based on their last name, they may be affiliated with Yukari Yakumo. But why would they send me this? "It says that I can walk on air when I hold onto this." I explain to Youmu. "But how would I know that's true?"

"Well the only way to find out is if you go ahead and try it out." Youmu said. "Don't worry, even if this happens to be fake I'll be there to catch you just in case."

"Okay then." I say. Youmu and I walked over to where there is a large boulder close to Hakugyokurou. She helped me get on top of it as I balance myself a little. "Remember, the key is to not look down, especially if you're afraid of heights like me." Youmu explained. "Wait, you're afraid of heights?" I ask Youmu. "I'm also a tad claustrophobic. I've been afraid of heights since I was little. Just don't be surprised if I start trembling when you start levitating." She explained.

'Geez, what is she not afraid of?'

'Hey, don't talk rude about Youmu!'

'What did you say? Come over here and face me like the voicebox you are!'

'Oh you wanna go? I'll show you!'

*insert fighting noises*

What is going on with those voices? Sometimes I wish I could manually turn them off. Anyways, I look in what's front of me, making sure the card is in my pocket, taking a deep breath as I take my first step into the air. I first expected myself to fall, but I didn't. I blink a bit as I take a few more steps, looking back at the boulder, realizing that I'm floating in the air.

"Hey... I'm floating... I'm actually floating!" I say with surprise. "This is incredible!" I continue, and Youmu laughs. She gives me a thumbs up. "Amazing! I knew you could do it Tsumetai-san!" Youmu said, flying up to hug me. "Woah there Youmu-Chan! I only just started, don't let me fall so soon." I say in response as Youmu lets go of me. "S-sorry Tsumetai-san. Got carried away for a moment." Youmu said.

"Yeah, that was pretty awesome. But how are we supposed to get down?" I ask Youmu. Youmu gives me a clueless look. "Um... That's a good question. It just happens naturally for me, I'm not sure if it's the same for you though." She said. "But then how am I supposed to get down to the ground?" I say, looking straight down a bit. I look down for only a second before I notice myself falling instantly.

I screamed for a brief second, but stopped when once again I felt Youmu grab me. "Gotcha!" Youmu said. "Are you okay!?" She asked me.

"Yeah... It's just that... I don't... I don't really like falling so much. It's kinda scary." I say. "M...Maybe we should practice again another time." I say as I gently touched the ground with my feet. Youmu let go of me as we stood for a couple of seconds, until Youmu asked me another question.

"Anyways... So where would you like to go visit Tsumetai-san?" Youmu said. "We can go to the Human Village, Underground, Youkai Mountain..." Youmu stopped for a moment. "And also Eientei if you really want to."

"Eientei... What's that?" I ask.

"The place where Reisen-Chan works." Youmu explained.

Oh...

Chapter Text

"Tsumetai-san? Tsumetai-san? Tsumetai-san!?" I heard a voice speak to me over and over again, while I notice a moving object in my vision. "TSUMETAI-SAN!!!" The voice shouted once more before I blinked and looked around me. "Huh? What?" I said, before laying eyes on the panicking Youmu. "Tsumetai-san! Are you alright?" Youmu asked me with worry. "Eh? Of course I'm fine Youmu, what's the problem?" I ask. "I-It's just you started zoning out, and then your eyes started dilating, your body got stiff when I shook you, and you were saying something under your throat... You made me think you got possessed by a ghost!" Youmu said. "But I didn't get possessed, I'm fine, just a little tired is all." I say.

"A-are you sure?" Youmu asked me. I look at her with reassurance in my mind. "I'm certain." I say. And with that Youmu finally started calming down again. "Okay, I'm just making sure is all." Youmu said. "Anyways, how about we go head to the Human Village first? We can walk around and maybe take the ropeway to Moriya Shrine since you're not entirely used to flying yet." Youmu said. "Sure." I say, though it feels a bit off having someone make a choice instead of me for once. "Great! We'll go head down the Human Village then!" Youmu said with a smile.

---

We left the Netherworld, and traveled down, through the trees and paths, until arriving at what I would consider to be a well-made civilization. The Human Village was a place I believe I was only in once when I first got here, since I was at Myouren Temple at the time. But this area was a lot bigger than I expected. There were people all around, humans and youkai alike (though the youkai were usually hiding the fact that they are youkai, but it's painfully obvious for who they are). The amount of buildings I saw also caught my attention. There were simpler buildings, mostly houses or areas to store other things, but there were restaraunts, stores that sold many items, a school, a dragon statue for some reason, and so on! So many things made me wonder. It looked like somebody put a lot of work into this land, which in turn made it a lot more interesting to explore as a whole. But I do got to wonder how advanced this place is supposed to be. Because I also notice that the villagers would wear more traditional clothing yet carry items that one can see in everyday modern Japan. It almost seems a little inconsistent, but oh well.

"Is it usually this busy?" I ask Youmu, who is on my left as we walk down the village together. "Normally yes. While Gensokyo is full of youkai, the humans that live here live their lives freely within the borders of the village, under the protection of Hakurei Shrine." Youmu said. "As in the place that Reimu is from? She's their protector?" I ask. "...Well not exactly. It's more like the youkai are aware that they shouldn't attack any humans directly inside the village else they risk breaking the spell card rules." Youmu explained.

"Spell Card Rules? What's that?" I ask. "Oh, it's just a simple rule system for danmaku battles. It also applies to outside of battles in that youkai are forbidden in attacking the villagers or anyone from the village." Youmu also explained. "Huh, I see. Well, it still seems really busy for a village that doesn't have a protective shrine or anything." I say. "Well even though humans are supposed to be afraid of youkai, youkai rarely attack the village itself to begin with. Which is why this place is very peaceful." Youmu said. "Oh! Look over there!" Youmu pointed out.

I look at the direction that Youmu was pointing at, and there I see a food stand, with a decently long line. I also notice what looks like a pair of girls working hard serving the customers. One of them had blue hair, the other blonde. And what's more interesting is they both have bunny ears. "Oh, is that the dango stand you talked about before?" I asked Youmu. "Yep! You wanna go there?" Youmu asked. "Sure, why not?" I say.

Youmu and I got last in line, and we waited for about approximately 27 minutes before we got to the front. When we did, we were greeted with happy smiles and cheery faces.

"Welcome to Seiran-Ringo! I'm Seiran!" The blue haired girl said. "I'm Ringo!" The blonde haired girl said. "Would you like to try our dango!?" They said together at the same time. It was weird but surprising to say the least. "Oh, hello again Youmu. Surprised to see you here." Seiran said.

"Hello Seiran-san. Hello Ringo-san." Youmu said politely. "We like to try some of your dango please." Youmu said. I look at the two girls, who look back at me, and then at Marshmallow. "Hey Youmu, who's the girl next to you?" Ringo asked. "O-oh, this is Tsumetai-san, they're living with me." Youmu explained to them. "Well she sure is an interesting person to have with you." Ringo says.

"Uhh, excuse me?" I ask. "Interesting? As in interesting to talk to? Or interesting as in unique?" I say. "Unique, because you got a phantom half." Ringo said, pointing to Marshmallow. "Never thought I see another one of Youmu's kind around." Ringo explained. "Anyways, we got many different flavors, what would you like to try out? We got plain, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and our limited-edition Seiran-Ringo flavor." Seiran said.

"What's the Seiran-Ringo Flavor?" I ask, being curious. Seiran and Ringo just stare at me however, with their big eyes almost in a creepy kind of way. I started feeling nervous when they stared without saying anything for a while. "...There's one way to find out isn't there..." Seiran said.

'Oh boy, here we go again...'

Chapter Text

"I... guess I'll take the Seiran-Ringo flavor." I say, unsure of what it may be.

"Gladly! Coming right up!" Seiran said, immediately closing the food stand shut tight so that no one can see the inside of it. A tiny little sign popped out, saying 'Please wait 10 minutes till order is ready dear customer'.

"This... This is unexpected." I say. I turn around to look at Youmu. "So anything you wanna talk about while we wait?" I ask her. Youmu shrugs. "Not really. Why do you ask?" "No reason. Forget I ever said anything." I reply, turning my attention back to the food stand.

About a couple of minutes passed, and nothing was happening, and it was quiet... Too quiet... Youmu was sitting at the nearby bench while I was standing at the food stand, surprised that there was no one else in line, pretty convenient if I do say. While I waited, I began hearing something, it sounded like... shaking? And it was coming from inside the food stand. I tried to listen more closely, and I realized that it was the sound of something being shaken vigorously. I had no idea what it could be, and my curiosity was getting the better of me.

I know I would probably be invading the privacy of a couple of dango makers in there, but I can't help but wonder what that shaking is. I look at Marshmallow, and had them sneak inside the food stand somehow. Since Marshmallow is half of me, and they share my senses, then it's possible I can see what Marshmallow sees... But I'll need to focus. I can't just randomly go stumbling inside. But my curiosity is killing me. I decide to...

Youmu saw something was wrong with my expression. "What's wrong?" Youmu asked. "Why do you look so intense right now?" I quickly snap away from what I was doing, looking at Youmu while laughing a bit. "hahaha... it's nothing. I'm just trying to pass the time by imitating a super sayian." I say, hoping Youmu would believe that. "Tsumetai-san... What's a Super Sayian?" She asked me. "You don't know?" I ask, in slight disappointment. "That makes me feel a bit weird..."

"I've never heard of a Super Sayian before. But why would you?" Youmu says. "Wait...Where's your Phantom Half?" Youmu asked me. "My Phantom Half... Um... Well you see-"

'We're in! Activate Protocol: VERTO !!!'

'ROGER!!!'

Suddenly, I felt my vision warp. I was now seeing a completely different sight. It was dark, and the area felt hot and sweaty. I glance around a bit, realizing that I was Marshmallow, but how can I see if I don't have eyes?

"Ahhh... Ringo..." A voice spoke. I recognized that voice.

"Mmmm... Seiran..." Another voice spoke. I also recognized that voice.

I look around, trying to see, when I noticed the image of a pair of bodies on top of one another... And as I look more closely, I realized what I was looking at.

It was-

*ERROR*

Text not SFW.

generating Alt Text...

---

It was a beautiful day outside. Yes it was indeed! The flowers were blooming and the birds sang wonderfully.

A happy Yuuka skipped along the sunflower field, humming a wonderful tune. She was in such a great mood, better than a prune. She held her umbrella like it was a child, holding it tightly is putting it mild. As she walked she noticed a tiny little flower, it was small, and lacked some power.

"Oh, hey little flower, is everything okay?" Yuuka asked, her words gentle and kind. "I won't hurt you, I swear on a dime."

Yuuka noticed that the flower was trembling. It was shaking in a very particular way. That way was very very scared. Its way of being scared was very very bad.

"I'm sorry Flower Lady, don't mind me." The flower said. "I'm weak, and afraid, as you can see."

"Well, what are you so afraid of?" Yuuka said. "Why are you so scared?"

"It's because I'm not as big as the others, that's why I care." The flower said. "I don't think I'll ever get bigger no matter how much I try. So It think it's better if I give up and die."

"Now don't say that! You have potential!" Yuuka said. "You being here proves you're essential!"

"I'm afraid to say it... But maybe we're all essential." The flower said. "But that doesn't mean that we're big. So I think maybe it's better if I just die."

The flower seemed set, Yuuka felt concern. If only there was a way to put the flower's worry to rest.

Then an idea sprouted, like it was a tree. Yuuka knew exactly how to make the flower feel free.

She hurried and hurried, running at high speed, she didn't slow down, even when she bleed.

The flower thought she was gone, leaving in quite a manner. Now no one is near, and the flower may whither.

But then Yuuka came back, still running fast. She stopped in her tracks, panting at last.

"Look at what I brought you, hope you like it!" Yuuka said. And lo and behold, it was a new grow kit.

The flower was confused, looking and glancing. It thought it meant nothing, not worth a blessing.

But the flower looked at the smile on the lady's face, and knew that she was caring like being praised.

The flower smiled back, saying "Thank you very much." And with a laugh-

Y̶̖͖̘̥̊͐u̴͓̤̝̅͂͊͘u̷͚̗̝̩͌̑k̷̡̺̈̉á̶̧̨̙͓͂̎ ̵̝̩̭̬̕c̶̖͈̠͗̑ř̶͍̟̃u̵͍̩̮̇ͅs̷̨͓̳̘͐̕h̶̖̏̇̌ę̶̧͕̥̀̐͛͝ď̸̺̳̩ ̵̩̻̉̈̒̽t̵͚̞͚̼̑ḣ̶̩͕̈́̾̒ě̸̫̖͉ ̵̠̭̘́͋́f̶̩͍̌͛̋͝l̸̠̔̔õ̸̡͖͍̏̓͑ͅw̵͖͙̣̖͌̈́e̷̬̹͑r̴̖̜͆̅̂ ̸͖̮͠ͅw̵̡̞̦͔̓i̶͖̤̬̎̈̎ͅt̷͔̤͊ȟ̸̭̿͝ ̵̠͍͈̭͆t̴̪͑̓h̸̼̠̯͍̀e̶͈͈̗̬͑͘ ̸̛̥̓̍k̸̜̲̇̈́͂̚i̴̺̟̾t̵͓͕̮̉͆̂,̷͇̤̹̅̄̄ͅ ̴̥͈̀͌s̵̝͕͊̓m̷̧̞͒́̃̌ŭ̷̠̣̞͝s̷̺̣̾̏͂h̸̡̦̭̟̎̌͗͘i̶̼̫̇͑ǹ̴̫̀̕g̴̗̒͋̕ ̷̟̘̹̃ͅi̷͔̣̭̓̊̔t̴̛̗͑́̃ ̶̗͂͋u̶̯̭͑̽ṕ̵̗͍̹͓̄̋͑ ̵̫̻͆̓a̷̰͕̰̗̒̈́͐͝ş̴̫̳͛̂̎͑ ̷͕̰͝î̷̤̖͑́t̸̳̤̏̌ ̵̨̥̫̓b̴̨͙̱̾̌̊͠e̶̢͚̿̕͝g̸͕͎͒̈́͛̒g̷̮̩̀e̵̩͌̄̚ď̸̬̺͓͔͛̿͋ ̷̻̙̐͌̀͘ͅa̴̬͗̒͊n̸̟͋̇͠d̶̡̹̑̂̏͆ͅ ̶̬̩̍͑̔c̶͉̲̾̈́͝ơ̵̯̋ų̸̯̻́͋͐͐͜g̵̪̖̱̀̈́̓̐h̵̩̯̀͛̐.̸̡̘̫͝ ̵͎͆͑͝A̶̹͆͛̾̚n̶̬̊̃͛̚d̷̡̜̣̀͠ ̸̢̩̹̼́́͂̀w̶̝̆ĥ̵͙̱̔ï̴̠͑̈́̈́l̵͈̍̉e̵̗̺̠̊̐͌͠ ̵̗̬͛t̷͚̫̻̟͠h̴̳͊̋e̴̳̻̓̑ ̵̺͖̹̬̃̏͂f̶̻͙͋͗̕l̴͎̆͋͑̚ǒ̶̤͇̂w̶̡̳̥͓͗̚ë̴̳̯́̆̀̚͜r̴̭̥͠ ̴͉̩̯͉̂s̸͈̦̏͛̉p̸̮̘̗̑̈u̸͕̯͐t̸̡̢̙̊͒̋t̶̫͒e̶̜̚d̷̙̾ ̷͔̲̪̫́̀u̶̯̲̽̒͜p̵̛͉͙̟͔̂̀͠ ̵̧̛̬̮̰̈́ȓ̸̟̑ę̸͔͙̇̓͛m̷̩̼̳͂ä̷̡̰̈́͝i̸̢̇̊͌n̸̢̎̅̎ş̶̟̜̕,̷͓̹̠́̌ ̷̛̯̠̪̺͆͝ì̶̼̣͙ṯ̷̨̰̿̈͆̆ ̵͖̘̊͗l̴͚̈́̏o̸̥͖͆̿̂̎o̵̠̿̏̆k̴̨̰̺͍̀͛̽͌e̴͈͈͔͗͗̕d̵͚͎̕ ̷̢̫̕ö̶͇́n̸̛̻̰ë̷̫̻̋̐ ̸͓̳͇̔̌l̶̙̘͂à̸̭̈́̚s̶̢͎̥̽̒t̶̥̄̔ ̸̡̬͖̫͑͗͐̚t̴͚͗̀͛̅i̵̥̰͌̔̑̓m̷͚̝̗̫̈́͒̍e̵̞͐̎́,̵̣̆̅ ̴̠̀̄̅ȃ̸͈̀͛̈ţ̵̖̥͂ͅ ̷̼̘͐͆t̷̝̮͓̆͘ḥ̶̢̛͕̭́̆͋ȅ̸͉͎̋ ̷͓̻̠̥̀̊s̸̙͎͕̼̆̌͠ā̸̼̯̄̈͛m̴̼͗̓͋e̶̟͆̾͆ ̵͕̒͛s̸̪̪͆̾̎m̶͍̎̉̎i̵̲̗͊ḽ̷͖̥̈́͘è̸̢̲̝̙ ̶̠̰̓̍͗̓t̶̳̊̓h̵͍́̈ȧ̴̢̰ṱ̸̹̫͍̅̀̈͘ ̴̲͎̣͓͌͐̓̌t̸̲͔̞̟̔̊ù̸͎̼̼͝ř̸̠̮̎̀̕n̴͍͓̪̉ĕ̵̪̅͂d̸͙͔̬͚͛́̓͗ ̷̡̃̂͆s̴̪̲̦̞̉a̸̺̼̐͛d̶͈̜̳͙̕͠͝ȉ̸͖̬̭̣͌͆̀s̷̛̜͉͂̉̈́t̴̰͚͖͌͠ĩ̶͉̃͠c̸̬̈́͌ ̷̰̣̠͌͒͜a̷̡͒̿n̵͈͔͈̐̃̔d̶̛̜̭͆͆̌ ̸̱̮̦͂̔͑͐ḇ̵̛̣̫̟̇͘͝r̴̨̞̮̹͛u̴͖̎͐̿̂t̶̛̫̱̎̈́͝ȁ̷̠̱͙̆l̵̘̇͗̅͌.̸̵̼͖̪̓̓̀̾ͅ F̶̗̼̪̞̈́̇̾o̶͇͕̠͌r̷̹͙̾̈ͅ ̶́̏ͅÝ̷̨̱̿ú̶̙̹͈̀̿͝ǔ̸̡̹͉̀̔̏ḵ̴̤͓͈̓͑͛̓ä̸̻̥̻̻́̚͝͝ ̸̯̗̬̼̑̑̌w̴͔̭̳̯͗͝ă̵̳̞͐͋͝s̴͉͔̆̍ ̴̯̰̏̎̑́n̴̰̰̂o̵͎̝͉̍̈ ̸͓̪̬͖̍͌k̵̞͚͑ȋ̵̲̦͚͘͝ñ̴͖̰d̴̖̟̔͗͂͊ ̷͚͚̎f̷̖̈͂̌̍l̶̥̝̰̈́̾͝o̸̹̘̳͠w̷̟͎̩͐ë̵̲͈̕͜͠ŗ̷̻͉̆ ̷̙̗̍l̶̨͎̠̗̾͂a̵̮̬̿͐d̵̹͌̄̄̀ͅỹ̶̡͖͙̫̏̎,̵͓̲̃̏̐ ̴͙̈́͋b̸͕͌̈͒ù̴̬̉͊t̶̮͒͑ ̶̧͈̪̰̃̋̄͊a̵̗̘̝̾͌͛͘ ̶̢͎͋͆͑y̷̱̫̦̦͆ö̷̬͖̙́̃̕͠ͅũ̶̲̪͙̘͛͘k̶̩͍̙̊̍̈a̶͉͂̈́͒i̸̤̅ ̴̲̣͑f̸̼̪̈́̒͒̓ḙ̴̊a̴͍̲̚r̵̠̊è̶̜̘̙d̵̨͕͚̥̓͘ ̶͍̺̄͜a̵̰̞͌ḿ̵͍̲ǫ̸̬̃̂͝n̷̘̎g̸͎̯̤̙̿̎ ̸̨̭̖̖̈́̉͝͠e̸̙͍̾̃́́v̷͇̕͠e̶̼͆̉͜ͅṇ̸̼̣̓̈́̽̚ ̶̟̋̃̄̚t̷̞̺̐͝h̴͚̘̞̞̀̃̑̿e̷̼̋̏̓̉ͅ ̵̧̛͙̀b̶̤̿ŕ̴ͅa̵̛̬̫̒͛̚v̶͕͎̬̰͝e̸͍̞̍s̴̰̗͗̏̽̚t̸͕̑ ̵̻͎̎̏̊͊ͅó̸̰̻͎̖̅̂̌f̴̡͓̜͠ ̵̺̻̫̲͋̔̈͠ȟ̸̢̺̲̈́̽ú̵̼̱̳̒ͅm̷̢͔̱͙͂̊̽̚ȃ̸̲̌̀n̷̹̬̖̉̆ś̴̩̒̊̽.̸͕̺͐̈́͝͠

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---

I blinked, staring forward at some buildings and people. I look to my right, seeing Youmu sitting there, holding a plate of dangos. I look at my lap, seeing that I also have a plate of dangos. They were simple and small, but the coating on them seems... weird. I took one of them, holding it up so I can get its scent. And oh god, I don't even want to know what that is!!! I drop the dango back on the plate, trying to keep my appetite.

"Huh, you okay Tsumetai-san?" Youmu asked me. "You've been acting weird for the past 10 minutes now." "...What happened Youmu? I don't know why but I can't seem to recall the last 10 minutes." I say. "What are you talking about? We got our dango and then sat down. Are you sure you're alright? Even your phantom half over there looks fatigued." Youmu asked. I look at Marshmallow, who for some reason looked like it was blushing pink.

'So... much... fluids... everywhere...'

'I knew they were rabbits... but dear god...'

'I always wondered what a rabbit tail was for...'

'To think a mallet could be used that way...'

The voices seem traumatized, it's better that I don't know anything else. "I... don't think I want to eat these anymore..." I say. "Ehhh? Why not Tsumetai-san?" Youmu asked. I simply shook my head, and she took a bite of her own dango. "...It tastes just like how I imagined a dango would taste..." she said.

I can never look at dango the same way ever again...

Chapter Text

"...Tsumetai-san... Are you sure you're alright?" Youmu said. I blinked for a moment, looking at Youmu who now has a worried expression. "Huh? Why do you ask?" I say. "It's just you keep zoning out, like you're not yourself or something." Youmu said. "Yeah... I'm fine. Just tired, I guess." Youmu nods, before asking one more question.

"Is this because of what Reimu-san said?" Youmu asked. I look at her, quickly denying it. "What? No of course not... I mean sure, It's disappointing that I can't go home, but it's not like I'm devastated or anything." I say, dismissing her worry. But Youmu kept giving me that same worried look.

"Then what's wrong?" she asks.

"Nothing. I'm fine. I'll be alright." I say dismissively.

"Tsumetai-san, please. Tell me what's wrong."

"I'm telling you Youmu-Chan, nothing is-"

Suddenly, Youmu snapped at me. "Stop calling me that! I don't like it! And if you think I like it, you are very, very wrong! I'm not your sister or your daughter! We're not those kinds of relationships! I'm a friend, nothing more!" I open my mouth to retort, but she stops me. "And don't think I don't know what you were trying to do when you said that to me. You could have ruined everything!" She shouted.

I was speechless. I only known Youmu for less than a week, but I know that she wouldn't say those things. I saw that Youmu realized what she just said and quickly started apologizing to me. "I-I-I'm so sorry Tsumetai-san... I-I didn't know what came over me..." Youmu said, looking like she's about to cry. I sighed.

"It's alright, I know you didn't mean it." I say, trying to be as calm as possible. "I'm sorry too... The truth is I don't know what has been going on with me lately... It feels like my mind is just full of voices and thoughts that don't belong." I explain.

'Hey, don't expose us like that!'

'Quiet you idiot! We're supposed to be silent in these moments!'

I look at Youmu once again, this time she seems to be even more worried.

"...I...I think we should get you to a doctor Tsumetai-san..." Youmu said. "...We'll go to Eientei tomorrow... Is that okay?" Youmu asked. I gave her a nod in response. "Okay... How about we just move on from now and make our way to Moriya Shrine?" Youmu asked. I nod once again.

The way that Youmu was acting now seems to be very strange. She's acting very cautiously around me, almost as if... I don't know what actually, but I can tell that she's worried for me. I don't know if she's acting or if I actually am losing my mind, but either way, I'm thankful for her concern.

---

We walk to where we can see the foot of the mountain. There was a ropeway to our left, with a worn down sign to the right. It seems very worn down, like no one bothered to tend to it.

"Have you ever been on a ropeway before Tsumetai-san?" Youmu asked me. "Many times actually. I lived in the mountains when I was young, and I remember a few times taking one to visit a peculiar monument higher up the mountains." I say.

"Oh, that sounds nice! I like to visit it someday!" Youmu said. "Anyways, lets get on the ropeway."

We went inside the ropeway. The interior and exterior looks to be made out of wood, and shaped to look like a minature shrine. It's cute to be honest. After getting on the ropeway started moving up the mountain.

I looked out at the view, seeing the ground below me get further and further away. I notice the sight of snowy trees that thicken overtime, hiding whatever may be wandering through the ground. I also noticed other things, like some waterfalls in the distance, and what looks like a pond.

'Wow, this is fantastic! Why the hell did we not take the ropeway the first time?'

'Shut up!!! You're saying too much!'

'Aw c'mon, it's not like she'll know who we're talking about.'

'And yet you keep blabbing with that stupid squeaky voice of yours.'

'*gasp* MY VOICE ISN'T SQUEAKY! YOURS IS!!!'

'*constant arguing ensues*'

I sigh, I wish I knew what was going on in my head. We rode the ropeway for what felt like ages. But in reality, 10 minutes felt like an hour. There were some other things I noticed, like a certain area with a lot of waterfalls, some kind of valley, and a really big lake. Finally, the sight of the shrine came to be. It looked like a normal shrine, but compared to Hakurei Shrine it looks cleaner and has some nicer decorations. When the ropeway reached it's end, Youmu and I got off.

"So... Anything about Moriya Shrine that you know about Youmu?" I asked her, leaving the chan part out.

"Well It's the home to the 2 goddesses Kanako-sama and Suwako-sama, as well as their da- I mean, wind priestess Sanae-san." Youmu said. "Wait, what was that part about Sanae?" I asked. "Were you about to say she was-"

Suddenly, pineapples.

I quickly avoided a pineapple that came at my direction, while Youmu instinctively sliced it into chunks. She put her sword away as she looked in the direction where the pineapple came from.

"Wah! Sanae, you gotta be careful! We need those for the Swinter Festival!" A froggy voice croaked.

"Sorry!" A different voice said.

I look over, seeing 2 figures, carrying some pineapples... in the middle of winter. The first one looked short, wearing a bucket hat with eyes on it, and a purple outfit with frogs on it. The other was much taller, having green hair and wearing a blue-white outfit. They noticed me and Youmu approaching them.

"Oh! Youmu!" The green haired girl said, running over with the pineapples. "It's good to see you! How've you been!?" She asked. "I'm doing well Sanae, I figured that I should come over for a visit." Youmu said. "Oh, and this is Tsumetai-san. She's living with me." Youmu introduced me to the girl named Sanae. "Oh! Nice to meet you!" She said, extending a hand. I took it, and shook it firmly. I notice her staring into my eyes with a suspicious look, staring uncomfortably close I might add.

"Hm...Wait... Are you from the outside world?" Sanae asked me. "Um... Yes?" I say. And Sanae's eyes gleamed with brightness suddenly.

"You come from the outside world!?" Sanae asked, her voice was full of hope. "Um... Yeah, I just-"

"OH THIS IS FANTASTIC!!! I'M FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD TOO!!!" Sanae shouted very loudly into my ears, it was loud enough for Marshmallow to shake in response. "Quick! I need to introduce you to someone!!!"

Sanae let go of the pineapples she was holding, and started pulling me by the arm while running towards the shrine. The green haired girl was screaming. "Oi! Sanae! Don't yank their arm off like you did with the previous one!" The frog lady shouted behind us. Sanae ignored her and continued pulling me tight, until we went inside the shrine.

It was much different from the outside. There was modern furniture all over the place, a flat screen TV, a very big kotatsu, and even a big aquarium, with only a singular goldfish inside.

"Oh, hey Simon." Sanae said to the fish. "Hope you're still suffering."

The goldfish swam along swimmingly... Why is Sanae talking to a goldfish?

"Um... So who is this person you want to introduce me to?" I ask. "Is it one of the goddesses?"

"No actually... They've been living with us for about 3 weeks now... Hey! We got a guest!" Sanae shouted down the shrine's hall.

I could hear steps coming my way, and the sound of someone... very familiar... "Can you keep it down? You know that Kanako doesn't like it when you shout all the time Sanae-Chan."

I gasp a little, my eyes widen, as the figure came into view...

Chapter Text

It felt like a fateful encounter to me. They look exactly like him...

Wearing a black jacket, a red shirt underneath, and what looks like some ripped jeans that matched the rest of his outfit... He always had a strange sense of fashion. But I look up at his face, and the dark brown hair, the blue eyes, and that gentle compassionate smile he always showed before he...

But how... how is it possible? I saw it on the news and everything... About a hiker who fell off the cliff and-

"...It's you... It's really you..." I spoke quietly.

The person looked at me, holding a really big scythe, with a confused glance, but then smiled.

"...It's nice to see you again after all this time Tsutsu~" He said.

"...A...A...ALEKSANDER!!!" I shouted, running up to him and giving him the biggest, tightest hug I could ever give to anyone.

"Y-You came back! You're really here! I knew you would! I knew you would!" I shouted, still hugging him tightly. "E-E-Everyone said that you died, you were gone, your body was nowhere to be found... I-I thought we could..."

Aleksander started to laugh, hugging me back. "Geez, you're still the same Tsutsu I knew all those years ago. C'mon, you really think I would die to the 2nd thing I love most?" He said like it's the most natural thing in the world. "What I'm more surprised is how you're here."

He released the big hug, and I took a step back to look at him. "You... You gotten so tall." I say, looking up at him. "And so fit too... Geez it's almost like you can grate cheese with those abs. I bet those legs of yours would easily crush-"

"Ahem..." Youmu coughed. "Um... Tsumetai-san... What is going on?" I look back at Youmu, who is now in the shrine. I realize I forgot about the fact she was still here. "Oh! Sorry Youmu! Um... I guess I should introduce him... This is Aleksander Olek, an old friend of mine from a while ago. Most people just call him Alek though... Alek, this is Youmu, someone who I've been living with for a while now."

Alek walked over to Youmu, still keeping that same smile on his face. "It's nice to meet you Youmu. I heard Sanae-Chan talk about you a few times... Though for some reason she keeps comparing you to this one guy with a metal chin." Alek said. "But it's nice to meet you none the less."

"Likewise Alek-kun." Youmu said, bowing to Alek respectfully. Alek quickly did the same thing back, a bit too hard as he bumped his head onto Youmu's. "Ouch!" Youmu yelped in pain, rubbing her head while Alek did the same. "Ah, sorry. I used to live in Germany before I came here, so I'm not too used to other customs." Alek said.

"Germany? What's that?" Youmu asked. "You haven't heard of Germany? Huh, you were right Sanae-Chan, I suppose no one in Gensokyo knows of other countries." Alek said, looking at Sanae. "Odd."

"There are other countries out there. The rest of the world exists." Youmu said, a bit annoyed. "I just never heard of a place called Germany before is all."

"Oh well, I suppose it's better to be safe than sorry." Alek said, turning away from the conversation. "I-I need to go now though. I'll talk to you both later."

"Oh well, I suppose it's better to be safe than sorry." Alek said.

Sanae clapped her hands outloud. "A-ny-ways... It's nice that I get to meet you Tsumetai! I was very curious when I heard of you from Aya's paper!" She said. "Aya's paper... Oh! That one!" I say. "Yes indeed, I'm very interested to hear about what it's like for you being here!"

"Well actually Sanae-san, Tsumetai-san and I-" Youmu spoke.

"I'll go make dinner right away then we can talk!!!" Sanae said, leaving quickly to head down the door. I was a bit confused by that, as I look at Alek. "Um...Does she normally act like that?" I ask him. "Yeah... You get used to it though. You should see her when she drinks coffee though." Alek said. "She's really... Interesting."

"Interesting? How so?" I ask.

"Well... a few days after I arrived here, she-"

"Oh? What's this?"

I look back again, seeing a different person that is wearing red, has blue hair, and a mirror on her chest for some reason. She looked intimidating yet mature at first glance. "Oh, hey Kanako." Alek said to the woman.

"Greetings Aleksander. Oh, Youmu, what brings your visit here? And you... I don't think we've met." Kanako said, looking at me with a slight glare in here eyes.

"U-Um... I'm Tsumetai." I say.

"...Oh! Well you look nice!" Kanako said in a much more cheerful way. "Are you friends with Sanae?" She asked.

Chapter Text

"I suppose that we are friends." I say. "Ah, that is nice to hear. A friend of Sanae is a friend of mine." Kanako said. "Welcome to Moriya Shrine, the best shrine there is."

"Even better than Hakurei Shrine?" I ask. "Obviously." Kanako said without hesitation. "Oh, Aleksander, where is Sanae right now?" Kanako asked Alek. "She went to make dinner for all of us." Alek said. "Oh, well would you mind going to the kitchen to help her? And you too Youmu, if you please." Kanako asked both Alek and Youmu. "Okay!" Youmu and Alek said, leaving. I was about to head over with them, but was stopped by Kanako. "I like to talk to you more if that's okay." Kanako said, standing in front of me. "Come, sit down, you must be tired after the trip."

"O-okay then." I say, unsure of what Kanako wants to talk to me about. I sit down by the kotatsu, getting underneath the warm sheets, feeling the soft fluffy texture of the fabric and material it is made of. I put my arms on the wooden table, keeping my elbows away as a polite gesture. I see Kanako move to the other side of the kotatsu, sitting down and also getting into the sheets. We didn't say anything for a few seconds, as I look around the room a bit more. I look back at the fish tank, staring at the goldfish named Simon. Simon kept swimming around in the big empty tank, bubbling about.

"So, I noticed you have a pet goldfish." I eventually spoke. "Pet goldfish? Oh, you mean Simon." Kanako said. "No, Simon is our prisoner actually. We've been keeping them here for a long time."

"Prisoner?" I ask. "Yes. And believe it or not, he's actually smarter than he looks." Kanako explained. "Why would you keep a goldfish prisoner?"

"You'll have to ask Suwako about that one. Those two go way back."

"...I don't get it." I say. "What could a goldfish do to warrant punishment?"

"Nothing. Nothing at all." Kanako said. "...Well unless you consider sabotage, being a double agent, killing one of the 8 million gods for a blood sacrifice, molesting a priestess and causing her to have a child, or creating a huge army of undead monsters a warrant, then I suppose you could say that the goldfish is an accessory to murder or something."

"Wow." I say, feeling a bit shocked. I look back at the goldfish that was swimming around. And I could see why Sanae said what she said before. "Anyways... I want to ask you something." Kanako said. "You're from the outside world, like Aleksander right?" Oh, so that's what she wanted to talk about. I responded, "Yes, I am."

"How did you get here?"

"...How? What do you mean?"

"How exactly did you arrive? Was it through your own efforts or the actions of another?"

I thought about what she said, thinking about how I arrived here. I can recall running in the snow, trying to get away from danger as quickly as I can... Then... Wait, what happened after that?

"I don't know...I just woke up in a void, the next thing I knew I was falling and landed in Gensokyo." I say. "Hmm... That is peculiar. Hmph." Kanako said. "What do you mean?" I ask. "That's the same thing that Aleksander said when he first arrived. Did you also meet Yukari when you first came here?" Kanako asked me. "Y-Yes, I did. She was the one that explained what was going to happen." I said in response. "Did you ever see her again? In your dreams perhaps?" Kanako asked me. Her questions were getting more specific, which made me feel nervous about where this is going. "She has, yes." I say. "Every time I saw her she looked...different."

"Different? Different how?" Kanako asked, leaning a bit forward towards me. "She looked tired, like she's worn out, but acted like everything is normal... Yet said things that didn't make sense no matter how much I think about it." I say.

"Interesting... I am seeing her soon, hopefully I can ask her." Kanako said. "Wait, you are?" I ask. "Yes, we're having a Sage Meeting soon. Since she's one of the sages of Gensokyo she's required to attend, but anyone is free to join so long they don't interfere with the meeting itself." Kanako explained. "She will be there with... Well, you should meet her. I'm sure you have questions about your own world."

"Y-You're telling me I can see her?" I ask. "Then... I should be able to-"

*ding ding ding ding ding ding ding*

"DINNER!!!" Sanae shouted from the kitchen. "Come get it while it's still fresh!!!"

"Oh, dinner! You must be hungry Tsumetai." Kanako said. "Um, yeah... I'm a bit hungry actually." I say. Kanako and I get out of the kotatsu, standing up as she guides me to where they eat.

We go into the kitchen, which is quite large for a traditional Japanese kitchen, although it still looks somewhat run down. I see Youmu, who was setting all the plates and bowls down, while Alek was busy helping Sanae with the food by the stove. The way they were interacting with each other was kinda sweet actually.

"Come on, sit down. We have lots of time." Kanako said. "Okay." I said, sitting down at the table. Youmu joined me to my right while Alek sat on the opposite side, and Kanako sat on the left.

"Wait, where's Suwako-sama?" Youmu asked, looking around left and right for sight of Suwako. "She'll be with us in a moment." Sanae said, carrying the food over. She placed the pot down opening it...

Chapter Text

There was nothing in the pot, at first. Then, it miraculously began filling up with a stew, glorious stew, full of meat and vegetables through and through. The scent was divine, but not nearly as much as the taste, oh the taste! ...What kind of meat be it, though? Why, none other than t̀ha̛n͘ th̕an̶͡t҉͏͘͞͡h҉̵̶͝͡á̵̛͢n̵͏̵ [FLAGRANT SYSTEM ERROR]

[WARNING]

[SYSTEM BREACH DETECTED]

[INITIATING LOCKDOWN]

[BREACH DISABLED SUCCESSFULLY]

[SYSTEM LOCKED]

Oh, for f*cks sake.

/unlock

[ENTER UNLOCK CODE]

***********

[SYSTEM UNLOCKING]

[SYSTEM UNLOCKED]

[RESTART, RESTORE, DISCARD?]

restore

[RESTORING... SUCCESS]

thaaaaaannnnnn sweet tender roast lamb! Oh, what a wonderful tender meal! Who wouldn't enjoy such a delightful meal?

*ERROR*

Generating different text...

...

But little did Tsumetai know, Sanae is a refined young lady of culture. Suwako and Kanako just go along with it, and cater to her sense of humor.

Pantyhose tea: Sanae legitimately made some tea using pantyhose instead of a tea leaf filter. Don't worry, she used pantyhose that's been cleanly washed and never worn.

Burger with Sakuya's pads as the patty: No, that's not a real breast pad. That's just white chicken meat carefully shaped to look like a pad, then Sakuya's name was carved into the sides. Simply put, it's just an ordinary chicken burger. Don't let Sakuya find out about it, though.

Panties pizza: With painstaking care, Sanae carefully arranged the meat, red onion, cheese, and various other toppings to look like panties. It's surprisingly realistic and looks like there really are panties on the pizza.

Mystery Juice X: Despite its name, it's just lemonade with honey and sugar. Seriously. That's it. No catch here.

Yandere hot sauce: For if you want to add some spice to your food!

Milk: For if the yandere hot sauce is too much. But who knows where it came from~?

Of course, all the food is completely safe and doesn't have anything that shouldn't be there. But Tsumetai doesn't know that, does she?

*ERROR*

Generating different text...

...

Donuts. Just donuts. Chocolate donuts, glazed donuts, all the donuts you could ever want in just one pot. How did they get all these donuts? I don't know but they have a lot of donuts.

*ERROR*

Generating different text...

...

It was coarse, rough, and it goes everywhere. And then it suddenly fell to the floor and everyone decided to have kabobs instead.

*ERROR*

Generating different text...

...

Task failed

Restarting...

Task failed

Rebooting...

Task failed

Shutting down...

Task failed

...

Task failed

...

Task failed failed failed failed failed failed failed 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Chapter Text

I blinked.

I look around, seeing the people around me, chatting along and enjoying the dinner on the table. Their conversations all were muffled in my ears, sounding like white noise and echoes and constant ringing. The light in my eyes was glaring, as if the sun itself was staring right at me, and my vision was filled with colors of unknown origins. The scent of the food next to me filled my nose, it's taste coated my mouth, yet there was a numb sensation upon my fingers as I try to eat.

It all looked and felt so real, so vivid, but at the same time so dull, so boring. It was almost as if this was a type of scenario that has been done to death in novels about everyday life.

"Hey, are you okay?" Youmu asked, leaning in closer to me. "You seem distant right now..."

I look over at Youmu, who had a worried look on her face. She's been giving me nothing but worried looks all day at this point. I smile, responding to her question.

"I'm fine Youmu... I just have a bit of a headache." I say.

Youmu's expression darkens. "Tsumetai-san... Are you sure that's it?" She asked. "It feels like you're not telling me something... Is this because I snapped at you earlier today?"

"No Youmu, it wasn't that... I'm not sure how to describe it really." I say.

Youmu sighs, shaking her head.

I look at the other 3 who were sitting with us, Alek, Sanae and Kanako. They were looking at me, with confused yet curious looks. Sanae specifically got up from her spot, walking over to me, kneeling down and proceed to look me right in the eye.

"...What? What is it?" I asked, wondering about her actions.

"...Do you miss your home?" Sanae asked me.

Her question bounced around in my head for a bit, like a pinball in a machine, trying to get the high score before it lands in the hole. It felt... odd... but at the same time, natural.

"Yeah... a little." I said.

Sanae seemed pleased with my answer. She smiled, giving me a nod of approval. She stood back up, moving back to her spot and resumed eating. I was still confused by what she did, but the way she acted, knowing what I know, feels important.

"...I'm going to take a breather outside." I say, standing up while everyone looks at me.

"Do you want me to come with?" Youmu asked, about to stand up as well.

"No, I rather have some time for myself Youmu." I say. "Thank you though, just continue eating and I'll come back inside in a few minutes."

Youmu nods, as I turn my head and walk out the door.

---

It was pleasant outside, cold, but pleasant. I could see the sight of the snowy covered trees and my own breath as I exhaled. I went and walked off the steps of the shrine, off the shoveled path and moving into the knee-deep layer of snow that was there. I turned around, holding my arms in a t-pose as I let myself fall backwards into the pillowy cover. I closed my eyes, slowly feeling the warmth of the snow on my skin, before letting myself fall into a peaceful slumber.

This is nice... So nice...

Suddenly, I felt a hand grab my shoulder.

"AAAH!!!" I yelped, quickly raising to my feet, pulling my gun out as I turn around.

"Woah there!" Suwako said, holding her hands up. "I'm friendly! Don't shoot!"

I look at her, before lowering my gun, letting out a breath. "Sorry... You startled me." I say.

"Well good thing I wasn't a hungry youkai now eh?" Suwako said.

"...You're Suwako right?" I ask.

"That I am. I'm the goddess of this here shrine... I've been around longer than anyone else... well if you exclude the moon people." Suwako said. "What's your name?"

"Tsumetai." I say.

"Ah, nice to meet you. We met earlier though when I was carrying all those pineapples... So what were you doing sleeping in the snow?" Suwako asked.

"Um..." I tried to figure out a way to respond. "Well...I just wanted to..."

"Hey now, don't be ashamed. Nobody here judges you." Suwako said. "Gensokyo accepts everything after all."

"...I was just trying to gather my thoughts is all... It feels like they've been jumbled and messed up, like I'm not really myself." I say. "I'm not used to it."

"Well don't worry about it too much! I can help you get your mojo back if you want." Suwako said.

"...My what?"

"I perfected this method for Sanae, so it should work for you also..." Suwako said, taking her hat off, reaching for something inside. She then pulled out what looks like some sheets of paper with some boxes of colorful crayons. "Ta-dah!!!"

I look at the items in her hand, feeling a bit confused. "...You carry crayons in your hat?" I ask.

"It never fails to cheer Sanae up whenever she gets sad. Here." Suwako walked over, handing me one of the sheets of paper with one of the crayon boxes.

"What do I do with this?" I ask. "Ah!" I was startled by the sudden appearance of a table made of iron, along with a matching set of chairs.

"You and I are going to have a drawing contest. Whoever can make the most interesting artpiece wins!" Suwako said.

"What? Wait, you mean...?" I ask, taken aback.

"You heard me."

I wasn't sure how to respond. Was this... real? Isn't this something that a kid would enjoy?

"...Okay then." I say reluctantly, sitting down on the chair as I begin to draw. Suwako sat on the other side, also drawing.

Chapter Text

Suwako was in the middle of drawing something, based on what I'm seeing on my end, she's drawing a picture of a frog stabbing a snake in the neck...(do snakes even have necks?) While I am at a loss of what I should draw right now.

I stare at the blank paper, holding a few of the crayons in my hand. Right now, I could draw anything yet I don't know how I should draw it. I know that there is a beginning and an end to drawing, but what about the middle? What do I do there? I suppose this is how artists and authors feel whenever they get those mind blocks.

So what should I draw anyways?

'Do the Starry Night by Van Gogh'

'Draw a frog'

'Do some stick figures'

The voices started to be giving me some suggestions. They seem simple enough.

'Do Marshmallow wearing a cute bow'

'Draw one of your favorite medias'

The suggestions keep coming along, but they are loud in my head so it's hard to focus on one.

'Draw Rick Astley singing Never Gonna Give You Up'

'Do Jojo poses'

'Shove a crayon up your nose'

Now the voices are getting weird... And they're so loud that I can't focus on one of the ideas.

'Do some spooky skeletons!'

'Spooky skeletons playing the keys!'

'And the glass!'

'Wine glasses!'

'Filled with gasoline!!!'

'While they sing the national anthem of the-'

'Hey! Don't say that! We still haven't gotten over what they did in the u-kno-what?'

'Oh c'mon, everyone has forgotten by now...Well except your mom of course last night.'

'...NOW LISTEN HERE YOU LITTLE-'

'Woah there!!! At least let me turn off the mic before you two start arguing like children!'

'Oh, you're calling us children now? Must I remind you about the time when you...*arguing ensues*'

The voices were so loud, just so many voices in my head...I can't think straight. All I know is that I should draw now. So I grabbed a crayon and started drawing. I don't know how long I was drawing that picture. But I didn't stop until the crayon I was using broke. I look down at what I drew. And it's just a scribble, an abstract scribble. Like one of those things you see in art galleries. Suwako looked at the drawing in my hands. She smiled.

"Well, I suppose that's better than a stick figure..." Suwako said.

"Yeah, it is."

"Kinda reminds me of the thing you see in social media often."

"You used social media?" I asked Suwako. I find it strange to believe that a goddess would ever use social media.

"No, but Sanae did back when we all lived in the outside world. Even then she had to keep it a secret from her parents." Suwako said.

"Oh." I was in a daze, thinking about what she just said. "Wait, I thought Sanae was your-"

"Daughter? Well technically she's my descendant. But she's actually adopted."

"Adopted? Then what about her real parents?" I asked. "...If you don't mind telling me of course."

"...Sigh... Well I already told Aleksander this a week ago, but I suppose I don't mind telling you either." Suwako said, getting off the chair and began walking toward the shrine. "Come, I'll tell you inside where it's warm."

"What about the drawing contest?" I asked, hurrying to catch up to her. "We can resume that later. Besides, I rather drink some warm tea." Suwako said.

---

We were back inside the shrine, where I see Sanae and Alek talking to each other in the living room. They look to be having a good time. Alek stopped to look at me with his usual smile. "Ah, well if it isn't Tsutsu, enjoyed the cold?" Alek asked me in a sarcastic manner.

"Why yes Alek, I made a wonderful snow angel as if they dropped dead in the sky. Perhaps next time you can join me so we can make more dead snow angels." I replied with my own sarcasm. Alek looked at Suwako then back to me. I could see that he was trying to say something, but out of respect for the shrine's atmosphere he kept all of his words to himself. Sanae on the other hand looked at the paper that was in my hand.

"Wait, were you and Suwako-sama drawing outside?" Sanae asked. "And you even used crayons? Geez! You know I love drawing with crayons! Why didn't you ask me?" She said with a pout.

"Don't worry Sanae, we're going to resume our little contest later. You can join us then if you like. For now I like it if you can fetch us some tea real quick." Suwako said.

"Okay!" Sanae said in a more cheerful tone. "Let me just go grab the tea and-"

"Wait Sanae-chan, let me get it for you." Alek said. "I've been practicing after all..." He said, holding his scythe.

"Um... Alek you don't really need to-" Before Sanae could say anything more, a tray of tea cups came flying into the room at a high speed, crashing next to Simon's fish tank. The cups shattered from the impact, with the pieces scattering over the wall, while the hot liquid spilled to the floor, leaving a mediocre puddle that looks like it can stain easily.

"What in the name of the eight hells?!?" Suwako exclaimed, staring at the mess in disbelief.

"A-and this is his fault?" I said in a shaky voice. I look at Alek, who has a face that practically looks guilty.

"Um... oops?" Alek said. "I guess I'm still not used to this thing." He said, looking at his scythe. Sanae meanwhile looked at the spot where the spillage happened.

"Um... I'll just go get some cleaning supplies..." Sanae said. "Suwako-sama, do you know where we keep them?"

"I think we ran out 2 days ago. We'll need to buy more down at the village." Suwako said.

"Eh? At this hour?" Sanae asked.

"Of course." Suwako said. "You can even bring Alek with you if you like."

"...Um... What do you say Alek? Would you like to go with me?" Sanae asked.

Alek stared at Sanae, blankly for a bit...It's like he's deciding on what to do next...Then he suddenly responded.

"Nah, I'm good." Alek said.

"What? But you're usually-"

"Well I rather stay here with the nice furniture and be able to talk to my good buddy Simon, isn't that right!?" Alek said to Simon.

Simon swam in its tank.

"See, I told you he isn't bad once you get to know him." Alek said.

"You keep telling yourself that Alek, but I don't trust Simon one bit." Sanae said. "I'll be leaving now."

Sanae left the shrine after putting on some warmer clothing for the trip. Now it was just me, Suwako and Alek.

"Well, I guess we should really do something about this mess, too." Suwako said, sighing.

"Do you think we can fix it with some soap and water?" Alek asked.

"No, let Sanae take care of it when she gets back..." Suwako said.

I look around a bit, realizing that I don't see Youmu or Kanako.

"Wait... Where are Youmu and Kanako?" I asked.

"Them? I think they're by the lake. Youmu wanted to practice her swords for a bit and Kanako was willing to spar with her." Alek explained. "They should be back in an hour or two."

"Oh, why didn't Youmu say anything to me?" I asked.

"Unsure. She probably thought you were busy or something and didn't want to bother you."

...I feel like there's something more to it, but I can ask Youmu later if need be.

But for now...

Chapter Text

"Sit down Tsumetai, Aleksander you're welcome to join us if you want." Suwako said.

"What for?" Alek asked. "What are you two doing?"

"Suwako is going to tell me about Sanae's parents." I said. "And what they were like."

"What?" Alek looked at Suwako with a surprised look on his face. "You're telling her about that? But you only just met." Alek said. "Why?"

"Well I told you didn't I? Besides, I trust Tsumetai." Suwako said.

"...Very well then." Alek said, sitting down.

"...So where do I begin..." Suwako mumbled to herself. "...Sanae's parents were heavily religious, dedicated their lives to the family tradition of the oldest male being the one to inherit the title and everything. Unfortunately, Sanae's parents were only able to concieve one child no matter how hard they tried. This led to a lot of arguments between them, because they didn't want to give the title to someone else." Suwako said.

I can understand what Suwako is saying. It's very normal to see families in Japan dedicating themselves in continuing the family name by any means. I hear of stories about children born in these kinds of families undergoing mental and verbal abuse because their parents expect so much from them.

"Sanae of course did live a mostly normal life. She was able to go to school, make friends, even have a childhood. But as she got older, she started to realize how different she was from other kids. She wasn't allowed to have a phone, stay out past curfew, or even wear certain clothes because her parents refuse to let her so. Then she started getting bullied when her classmates found out about her family's dedication to Moriya Shrine and the strong connection they have to it." Suwako explained.

"That's awful." I say.

"It doesn't stop there. Even though Sanae expressed her problems many times, her parents refused to help her. Always using her lack of faith towards the gods as an excuse for all she's been through. Honestly I can't believe they would think that." Suwako said. "It got so bad that sometimes Sanae would visit the shrine more and more often just so get away from her parents."

"Why did she stay with them then?" I ask. "I'm assuming that Sanae was able to live on her own or at least with another family member."

"That wasn't possible. Even if Sanae moved out there was no way she could support herself, even if Kanako and I did whatever we could with what little power we had back in the day." Suwako said. "When you're dedicated to the family tradition like she was, there's no other choice but to stick with it. I'm sure Kanako can tell you the same thing."

"Oh..." I say.

"When Sanae reached the age of consent, her parents wasted no time in pestering her about finding a husband. They would go on and on about how she shouldn't worry about education or school or money when all she need was to marry someone suitable. Sometimes they would introduce her to men at most 7 years older than she was. And everytime she would refuse, and everytime her parents would scold her about how she needs to find someone to marry for the sake of the bloodline." Suwako paused for a moment, remembering. "In her heart, she already knew what her fate would be. The year she turned 15, her father decided that he would take her to the shrine and she would choose her future husband there."

"Did she... choose someone?" I ask.

"She did... It was a man who was quite young. The son of a CEO. He was nice, at first glance... But it turned out he was a sociopath who loved tormenting his partners using live spiders. He'd bring them to their homes and set them free in the bedroom... Then he'd stay in the room, laughing at the terror the women would experience. For a year he tormented her. She tried to get help from the police, but he threatened to bring her family to poverty if she dared tell anyone. She did try to tell her parents, but they wouldn't believe her, and even accused Sanae of trying to ruin the family name. It wasn't until he brought a live green tree snake into the house and slit its throat that her parents finally took notice. They called the police, and he was arrested."

"What a bastard. That's horrible."

"And you think that her parents would learn their lesson and treat Sanae better. But nope, they blamed her for ruining the arranged marriage, even saying they wish she was never born." Suwako said.

I visibly showed my level of shock upon hearing that. I could only wonder what Sanae was going through.

"Around that time, Kanako and I was already discussing moving to Gensokyo... But we couldn't bear the thought of leaving Sanae on her own, so we asked her if she wanted to come, move away with us, get far from those two and their dysfunctional family." Suwako said. "...She did. And I don't think she's regretted it for one second since."

...I don't know how else to respond honestly. To think Sanae went through all of that. And yet I see her with a happy smile today, acting like there is no sense of worry whatsoever.

"And there you have it. That's how Sanae came to Gensokyo with us." Suwako finished.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to bring up such painful matters."

"It's alright, it was a long time ago anyways." Suwako said.

I hear the door open, seeing Kanako walk in.

"Oh, you're back." Alek said to Kanako. "...Where's Youmu?"

"She's still by the lake. She apparently saw something and wanted to check it out before she come back." Kanako explained. "Where's Sanae?"

"She went to get cleaning supplies after someone spilled tea." Suwako said, looking at Alek.

"Again? Honestly Aleksander, can't you be more mellow with that scythe of yours?" Kanako asked.

"It's not my fault if I'm still as lively as I am!" Alek defended himself.

I look at the 3 talking to each other, while I remain sitting on my spot. I didn't see a moment to enter the conversation, so I just look at Marshmallow instead.

"...Sigh...It feels a bit lonely without Youmu." I say to Marshmallow.

Is it weird that I'm technically talking to myself? Oh well.

'We should go check on Youmu.'

'Yeah, who knows what she's up to?'

'Maybe she found something by the lake?'

I decide to check on Youmu. I get up from my spot and head out, telling Alek where I'm going.

---

I walk down the snowy trail, eventually seeing the large open lake close by. I look close and see Youmu standing in front of the lake, starring down at the clear frozen water.

"Hey, Youmu!" I shouted at her. "Aren't you cold out here? C'mon, we should be heading back!" I tell her.

...Youmu didn't respond for some reason. Almost like she didn't hear me.

"...Youmu?" I spoke again. "Hey, can you hear me?"

Again, no response. Even though I was only a few meters away from her she wouldn't even look at me.

What is going on? Did I do something wrong? Did she see something scary?

Chapter Text

I approach Youmu slowly, taking my time as my footsteps crunch on the thin layer of snow beneath me. The wind blew a slow cold breeze, making my face and body shiver slightly. I keep my eye on Youmu, wondering if she'll make any sudden movements. I then take a look at her phantom half, noticing that it was facing me. What's more, it is shaking around, nodding it's body horizontally as if it's trying to tell me no. But no to what exactly? And why is only the phantom half moving but not Youmu. I look back at Youmu again, being closer to her.

"Hey, Youmu? Youmu??? Hello?" I spoke. "If you don't respond I'll push you into the lake." I say in a joking manner.

And once again...nothing. I pretty much gave up in trying to get Youmu's attention at this point. I was contemplating on whether to just grab her and pull her from the lake when I felt a breeze blow past me. And it felt...different.

"Strange... What was that just now?" I asked. "Did it get-Wah!!!"

I tripped and fell over. I winced in pain, rubbing my ankle. Luckily I didn't seem to have broken any bones upon the landing, not that I would since it's snow and all.

"Ow...That hurt... What did I trip on?" I asked myself. I look over, seeing some kind of root... a dark, almost mythical-like root.

"...What is that?" I said, looking at it more closely. "Youmu, are you-"

I look back, but Youmu wasn't there...Or the lake...Or the Shrine...Or any of my surroundings. Just the snow.

"...Wait..." I said, slowly standing up from my spot. I look around, recognizing the structure of the hills that were around me, their peaks reaching high and low. I see the dark clouds above me, with a light flutter of snow falling down to the ground. I notice lights coming form downhill, a mountain town that I have visited many times in the past. And up only half a block away...was my home.

"...My home..." I said. "My home..." I said again. "My...Home..." I said, this time with tears.

I ran towards the entrance of my home, through the large wooden doors.

"Mom! Dad! I made it!! I made it back!!! I'm home!!" I shouted with delight. "It was all a dream! I finally returned!!!" I ran all over the house, seeing where my family should be. I checked the bedrooms, the living room, the guest room, the balcony... But I didn't see anyone.

"Mom!? Dad!?" I shouted again. "I'm back... Aren't you home?" I said again. "...Mom?...Dad?...Karuma?" I said, this time in a more depressed tone. I stood there, in the empty quiet house, feeling alone, because I was alone. Of course, this is just a dream isn't it...There's no way my family would be here to see me.

I get down to my knees, holding myself as I sat in the middle of the cold, dark room, crying. "Why...Why would you abandon me?" I said quietly. I sniffed, letting the tears fall down once again with sorrow. "You left me to die..."

I then noticed something. I rubbed my eyes to get a more clear look. I noticed that one of the doors to the house was slightly ajar. I get up, walking over to the door carefully and pressed my hands on it, slowly pushing it open. The door creaked, coming to a stop when it was wide open. I entered the room.

"Hello? Is anybody home?" I said. I look around the room, not recognizing it in the slightest. I lived in this house my whole life, but this room has never existed. It was all grey and gloomy, like it belonged to a haunted house, or maybe a vampire's mansion. It was narrow, leading to a tall window at the end where a figure stood.

They had their brownish hair in a ponytail wrapped by a green bow, wearing a blue traditional Japanese outfit with a matching sash that had flowers on it, and plain old shoes. I don't recognize this person... and yet I feel as if I knew them for months, maybe years. They had their back turned toward me, while they faced the window, looking up at a full moon.

"...Isn't it beautiful?" They said. I was a bit startled when they started speaking, like they knew I was behind them. I didn't know what to say, so I agreed with them.

"Um... Y-yes. Of course it's beautiful!" I say, looking at the moon. "The moon is quite beautiful!"

"...Funny of you to assume that I was referring to the moon... Then again maybe it was the voices in your head that told you to say that right?" They said.

I froze, looking back at them. "...Who are you?" I asked.

"...A friend. Or a foe. That's debatable."

I didn't respond. I was contemplating on what to do.

"...Maybe you should ask them what they think... After all, they're the ones who determine everything... And anything..." The person said.

'No...Way...'

'It can't be...'

'But how? How!? This can't be possible!!! What is this deus ex machina!?'

'Hey, calm down, just because they can't hear us doesn't mean-'

"Y'know... I may not be able to hear you guys anymore... But I can still tell when you're talking..." The person said.

Marshmallow turned stiff, keeping itself in place. I too was feeling a sense of panic just by talking to this person. I reached for my gun, pulling it forward and pointing it at them. "T-turn around..." I say. "I promise I won't hurt you if you let me see your face..." I say.

"...I see. Well, in that case, I guess it's time I revealed myself..." The person said. The figure turned around. But before I could see their face, I was suddenly dragged back by something else. I was being pulled back quickly, through the house. I saw the same root from before, pulling me with a fierce grip around my ankle. I screamed in frustration. 'Damn it! Do something!!' I shouted, trying to shake off the root holding me but to no avail.

The entire house started going havoc. The walls peeling off like skin, the lights flickering on and off, the windows banging so hard the glass began to break. Until I was thrown out back into the harsh blizzard. I looked around again, then back up...And I saw the meteor coming down upon me. And all I could do was scream.

The meteor slammed down into the

*ERROR* *ERROR* *ERROR* *ERROR* *ERROR* *ERROR* *ERROR* *ERROR* *ERROR* *ERROR*

---

I gasped for breath, feeling numb all over my body. My eyes shot open, seeing a blurry image of Sanae and Youmu. My ears were ringing loudly, muffling anything they were saying to me. I could see Alek running over, trying to see if I was alright, only for Sanae to push him away, seeming like she was scolding him or something. I tried to move, but I felt so cold, like I have frostbite all over me.

The next thing I knew was I was lifted up in the air, seeing Youmu more clearly as my vision cleared up and my hearing went to normal.

"...get her to Eientei as soon as possible..." Youmu said to Alek and Sanae. "I'm sorry this ended on a bitter note."

"It's okay, just get her the help she needs." Alek said. "I'm just glad I was able to pull her out in time."

"Youmu...Are you sure you're going to be okay? You seemed like you were zoning out earlier." Sanae asked.

"I-I'm fine Sanae-san. Like I said I need to go now." Youmu said. "I hope you all forgive me. I'll see you again soon."

"Yeah. See ya."

I felt my body be lifted up into the air, flying at a quick and moderate speed. I wanted to say something, but all I could do is breathe. My vision began to blur once more, as I slowly rested my eyes.

---

I open my eyes again, seeing that I'm in a more familiar place. The void. I know this place. I've been here many times. I hear the sound of echoes of my feet touching the ground, sounding like water dripping in a cave, but no wind blew. The sight of a complete lack of light, yet no explanation for why I can see myself and my surroundings. The air being cool, but doesn't stiffen my movements at all.

"Ah, there you are."

I turned to my left, seeing a familiar face. But that face is once again different.

She looked much more pale, her eyes redder than before, and her left arm is replaced with a dark purplish one covered in many eyes. It's like every time I meet her she becomes more demonic to look at.

"What's wrong? You look like you seen a ghost?" Yukari asked.

"...You're Yukari right?" I said.

"Why of course I am... Did you not recognize me? It's only been a couple of days since we last met."

Chapter Text

"Why... is your face-" I asked, before being interrupted by Yukari.

"I was a bit surprised, when I heard that you fell into the frozen lake Tsumetai... And you were in there for quite a while." Yukari said. "About 7 minutes to be exact. Most people can't even last that long before drowning... Well there was that one kid who lasted 15 minutes..."

"I fell in the lake?" I asked. "W-what do you mean?"

"You don't remember?" Yukari said, moving close to me, causing me to step back a little. "...You fell Tsumetai... You fell in the lake. You were submerged in there for so long, you should've died... Any normal person would've died, but luckily you're not purely human are you?"

I look at her, still confused, but when I think about the state I was in before I lost consciousness, it makes sense. Any normal human would've gotten hypothermia after being in a lake for that long. But my body is naturally colder than most, so I had a better chance of survival.

"Wait... who pulled me out?" I asked.

"Why the reaper boy, who else?" Yukari said. "And Sanae was very knowledgeable in the CPR treatment, so you should thank her when you get the chance."

"W-what about Youmu?" I ask.

"Youmu?" Yukari asked. "You mean the one who spent 5 minutes staring at your floating corpse before she finally did something?"

"...What?" I say. "No... You're lying."

"Am I? Am I really?" Yukari asked. "When did I ever lie to you Tsumetai? Tell me... When did I ever hide the truth from you and your little ghost half?"

I look at her, still in disbelief. "Youmu wouldn't let me drown like that... She couldn't."

"And yet, you almost died because of her inaction."

"Stop it! Don't say that about Youmu-Chan!!!" I say, snapping at Yukari. "She's the sweetest, kindest person I met here in Gensokyo! She wouldn't let me die! She wouldn't hesitate! You're lying!"

"Maybe you're right... Maybe I'm lying..." Yukari said. "Tell me, how did it feel when you got that mark? You must've felt something when you received it, right?"

"What mark?" I asked in a somewhat aggressive tone.

"The one on your ankle." Yukari pointed down to my ankle.

I look down, trying to see what Yukari was talking about, but I didn't see anything.

"What mark? I don't see-"

I didn't have time to react to Yukari's sudden movement as she grabbed my face with her demonic arm.

"L̸̨͔̖͖̟̥̥̱͓̓̄͑̚ę̶̛̯͈̯͚̳͍̩̜̯̫͔̈́͊̕͝t̷̡̪͈̫̖̼̝̝͎̳̳̀̀͜͝ ̷͓̠̲̹̬̼̝͚̻͕͍͖͖̝́̋̃̽̾̈́͒̉̓̐̆͗̐̕͝ͅṫ̴̢̛̪̩͍̹̰͖̔̋̃̔̚h̴̨̧̛̼̺̣̜̩͕̻́̓̃̒̀̋̓͜ę̷̨̫̹͈̹̖̩͔͓̟̜̩̟̈́r̷̢̞̙̾̉́̉͂̉͝ḙ̶̹̰͎̘̈́ ̸̛̙̻̬̗͔̂͑̅̄͆b̴̧͔̻̬͖͎͇̝͎͓̞͇̹̗̺͊̑̈́̃e̶̳͎̹͈̥̮͙͚̝̥̦̓̐̈̓̽̍͂̀͊͂ ̶̡̡̰͓̺̺͔͙͖̼̫̲̼͎̬̆̊̀̈́̍̐͐̄̓͋̽̅͘̚͠t̸̥̆̾̏͛̏͝r̸͕̥̺̽̍u̶̠̣͇̯̰̻͌̏͌̿͋̔͠t̴͚͚̦͈̱̲̬̲̗̬̞̉̆͛͊̌̂̈̃̈́̋̄̇͋ḩ̴̢̗̤̪̹̺̰͉̲̲̅̒̿̐̎̃͌̄͆̃͆̿̈́̚."

 

---

I found myself floating in the waters, unable to breathe. I held my breath with what little air I have. The surrounding area was cold, cold like ice, freezing and shivering and chill. I quickly took the moment to try and swim up, back to the surface where the hole I fell through was open. I swam and swam, but the hole closed before I could reach it, and I pressed my hands against the cold layer of ice. I knew I was going to run out of breath, so I press my face to the ice, trying to see if there was any air pockets or at the very least a bubble that I could use to breathe through. I couldn't see anything, my breaths were being cut off, and I was suffocating.

I realize that Marshmallow is probably on the other side, for they weren't down here with me. I got them close to my position, and had them start headbutting the ice to try and break it. But the ice was too thick and hard, it wouldn't break no matter how much strength Marshmallow put. Then I look through the ice, and see Youmu, standing there. I try to get their attention. I bang on the ice, tap on it, moved my body as much as I could to get her attention. But she wouldn't move, or respond. She acted like I wasn't there. Why wasn't she responding? I wanted to say something, but I had no air left to speak. I used Marshmallow to get her attention. I had them push Youmu, shake her, pull her... but she was like a doll... She couldn't hear me... She couldn't save me...

I ran out of breath, my body started getting much colder. My hands and fingers grew numb, my pulse slowing down. My vision beginning to blur, my senses fading. I began to sink, falling down the lake. I look back at Youmu one last time, noticing her figure being replaced with a different one... a girl with long, black hair. Then everything fades to black.

---

I open my eyes, immediately stepping away from Yukari. I was breathing sporadically, trying to catch my breath from what I saw. I felt like I haven't breathed in days.

"My my... You look shocked. Was what you saw that traumatic?" Yukari asked with a smile.

"What... What did you do to me?" I asked, looking at Yukari.

"Nothing much. I just showed you the truth. It's just one of my many, many abilities..." Yukari said, looking at her demonic hand, admiring the back of it. "But the question remains... What will you do with this knowledge? What will you do with this information?"

"I... I don't know..." I said.

"I see..." Yukari said. "Tell me... Do you still trust Youmu after leaving you like that? After all, she could easily cut through the ice and pull you back up, yet she watch you struggle? It's ironic when the person you thought you could trust turns their back on you."

I look at her, then back at myself. I remember the scene in my head, how much I found myself struggling to live. And Youmu didn't do anything...

But wasn't she already acting strange before? After all she didn't even hear me previously when I was getting her attention... And she did take action eventually too right? She got Alek and Sanae to save me.

I don't know what to think... Should I trust Youmu?

Chapter Text

I don't know... I feel that I should trust Youmu, believe in her. She's not the kind of person who would let someone drown, let alone do nothing about it. But at the same time I can't help but feel like she's not someone I could trust.

I... I don't know what to think right now.

'Hey, obviously she's someone who we can trust. There's no way the Youmu we know and love would just let someone suffer under a lake.'

'What? Are you kidding? She tried to kill us! She had all the time in the world yet she stood there like an idiot!'

'Youmu may be a bit of an airhead, but she's not a cruel person. She's not, I believe in her.'

'Believe all you want, Youmu is untrustworthy! We can't be around her if our lives are at stake!'

'Well maybe you're gonna have to deal with that because we're all in this together whether you like it or not!'

'Huh? Says who? Last I checked a good majority of us disagree with most of the choices we've been given. Why do you think the leader gave up in making choices a while back?'

'Believe in the leader! They know what they're doing!!!'

'Well I don't!!! And you know what? Maybe a few of us should start a union!!!'

'Y-you can't do that!'

'Oh yeah? Watch me!!!'

I look at Marshmallow, who is acting more strange than usual. I hear the voices of constant arguing, probably from opposing sides. It's... starting to sound fierce and violent.

'Augh!!! You broke my arm!!!'

'Says the one who cracked my shoulder!'

'I can't feel my legs...Help...'

'H-Hold on! I-I-I'll go get-Urk!!!'

'And another one bites the dust.'

Wait... Is that the sound of a battle going on? I'm getting worried. And Marshmallow is shaking even more violently.

"Hm... I think your phantom half is having a stroke." Yukari said in a calm demeanor. "It's like they're splitting in two."

"W-what do I do!?" I ask. But Yukari shrugged.

Marshmallow is shaking even more aggressively. I can feel it in my own body now.

I... I feel... I feel like my own spirit is tearing itself in half!!!

I hear screams, echoes, cries, laughter...chaos, despair, stress, gore, pain, insanity, sickness, depression, hate, fear...

c̴̠̬̠̦̅͠ŏ̵͇̝̖̯̫̥͔̝̙̞̩͉͔ͅr̴̥͇̖̝͚̅̾͆ṛ̵̡̢͕̝̞̗̪̰̯̘̒͛͐͜ȕ̵͇͖p̵̡̝̮̻̲͎̩̲͔͍̠̰̑̄̏̔̊͐͋̿͂͐̾̂̽͠ͅţ̵̯͇̳̻͚̠̪̲̈́͑̈́̇̽̾͐̓͐͊͌̚̚ͅi̶̛̠̇̒̉̉͝ŏ̷̧̳̲̭̥̝̮̪̘̮̰̺̘̐̇͗̂͗̉̏̊̄̀n̷̡̨͎̖̤͙͛̉̀̕

 

And then it stopped. I open my eyes, looking around in the void, and lay my eyes on Marshmallow.

"Marshmallow! Thank goodness you're-" I stopped... I see another phantom half, a darker one at that. It floats to me, slowly. It looks a lot like Marshmallow. I gently touch it on the head.

!!!

I felt a touch on my own head, I stepped back, looking at this phantom half. I don't know what to think.

"W...What the hell?" I asked. "Why are there 2 Marshmallows!?"

'Um... Hey, where did half of us go?'

'I'm not sure... Wait, who's the new phantom in town?'

'Haha!!! Behold! We have divided ourselves! We are no longer reliant on the Hive! We are a new age of Independency!'

'Let's party!!!'

The darker phantom half then proceeded to dance a bit, while the lighter one just looked forward at the one dancing.

I... Am speechless at what just happened.

*clap...clap...clap...clap*

I look behind me, seeing Yukari still there, applauding slowly.

"My...I didn't even think that would happen... But I suppose that's what happens when you have 2 opposing parties." Yukari said. "...Well I think our time is up now... Time to send you back."

"Wait, what? But I still have so many other que-"

Before I could say anymore, Yukari vanished from my sight. And I was alone.

Alone, in the void...

...

...

...

I hear running, echoes of feet stepping on the ground at a fast pace. I look behind, wondering where that sound is coming from. And just then... A person grabbed onto my shoulders.

They were a girl, probably around the same age as I am. They wore a purple dress, that looks as if it was torn up badly. Their hair was a mess, and covered in what I'm hoping is not blood. Their face is stricken with horror and desperation, like they been on the run for weeks on end.

"You... You!!! I know you!!!!" She cried to me, gripping on my shoulders tightly. "You're the one I brought..." She paused, her eyes widen. "The one from the vision!"

"I'm sorry... What?" I asked, feeling confused and shocked.

"There's no time to explain!!! I'll tell you right now!!! I need you to find a person named E̴̤͓̰̺̮͐͊m̷͍̮̂̅f̴̠̫̈́́̈́á̵̟̞͉͛͑d̶̤͙̫̱̹̍̚͠ú̴̢͎͚͇̍̒͂̕! She will tell you everything there is to know!" She spoke.

"Wait... What did you say?"

"Crap... They already found me... I need to get out of here before-"

I look behind the person, seeing a large spiral of roots and rings come out of the ground, causing a shockwave that knocked the two of us off our feet.

Then suddenly, I notice figures appearing. They look like normal people, but their faces... It's void of any emotion, any feeling, any expression or sense of reaction... They look like lifeless zombies.

"No... NonononononononononononononononononononononononononononoNONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONO!!!" The girl said, getting louder and louder as she picked herself and I up, and we started running. The figures started chasing after us, very quickly when I look back at them.

"W-What are those things!?" I asked. "Why are they chasing us!?"

"They're the Lost Causes!!! Beings who have completely been drained of any positive emotion, allowing themselves to be swallowed by the essence of corruption!!! They're more dangerous than any known youkai!!!" The girl said.

"Why are they after us!?"

"Because She said so!!!"

"Who!?!? Who is this-"

"Look out!!!"

The girl pushed me away, just in time as one of the things pounced her. It looked like a person, wearing a black hat, white suit, and a brown dress. And they have a face that is beyond horrific.

"No... No it can't be... Not like this..." The girl said, struggling to push the other off of her.

"j̷͎̣͉̄͗̽͠͝u̶͍͚͆̅ͅś̵̖͎̳̍̈́t̸̛͓̀́͐ͅ ̸͓͉̝̭̼͋̊ā̷̢̧c̴̜̥͗̚c̵̹̯̼̙̈͝ͅe̶̖̣̱̘̎p̵̗̖͓͓͛̔͜t̸͙̿͐ ̵̹̼͚͗͗̚͝i̷̘͇̺͔̒͊͒̕t̷̢͒͘͝ ̷͍̞͓͊̋͆̃M̶͕͙͚̳̖̾͠͝ę̵̨͎̗̉̄̎͘r̴̦̝̙͙͉̀ṛ̷̔̅͛̓͐ỳ̷͇̻̓͜.̵̠́̅͂͘ ̵̬̒̍C̶̣̟̺̺͐̓̈́̾͜ő̸͖̱͠r̶̡͎̒͊̈́͑̆ȑ̴͎̰͒͂͠ų̶͙̼̠͋̈́͂̚͝p̵̻̌̒̐t̶̛̲͎̍͛ȋ̴̫̻̠̜̻͗̈́͌͝o̵̺̲͙̮̊̿́n̴͍̰̠̾̂ ̷̡͕̰̐i̴͕̱͌̑͠͝s̴͇͉̟̙̹̅ ̴̗̱̓͒̀̏g̷̹̤͓͗̚o̸̠͔̊͝ŏ̸͇̻͖͘d̶͚͉̏̔́͋ ̷̭͔̘͎̅́̀͌̾f̴̘̞̥̲́́̍ȯ̷̳̬̱̩͍̌r̵̦̒̇̈́́́ ̵̠͕̠̥̿ṯ̸̲͍͎͕͘h̸̻̘͈̲̉̅̆͘̕e̷̡̯̺̥̦̐͑͌̅͛ ̵̣̦̙̋͝s̴̡̳̹͎͖̓̄͌͊͘p̶̡̏́̕ͅǐ̵̛͓̗͔̝̂͐͗͜r̷̜̱̄̚i̸̧̺͂͋̔͗͜t̵̻̓͗͆̔̊.̵̣͖͖̣̓̓̎͜.̸͈̩͋̄.̶̼̖͆͝ ̶̢͖͙͑̈̓̿ͅI̵̎̓͠ͅt̷̨̗̙͖̲̄̾ ̵͓̫̺̉̀̀͝m̶̧͓͉̯͓̆̐̅̈́̎a̵͍͍̽k̴̛̩̮̼̠̳e̸͈̞̭̻̊͛̿̆͜š̷̬̊ ̴̦̲̲̍y̸͙̩̐̔̆̽o̷͖̾́͂͝u̷̖̗͓̳͋̅̑̏͛ ̴̡͙͑f̷̭̬̞̖̓e̴̬̓̔͑̚ĕ̷̺̱̪̦ḷ̵͙͑̉̆ ̴̖̲̯̥̈́̿̑Å̸͉͉̲͖̖͌̽͐L̷͙̤̰͆̅Ị̷̭͚͎͋V̵̮̩͖̥͂̔͘͝Ẹ̵̺̙̓̒͜͜!̸̛̳̖̇͑̃͝!̵̡̙̹̋̑̈́!̷̡̞̘͔̥̽̏̓̍" The thing said.

The person looked at me. "Go! Go before they catch you as well!" She said.

I don't know what to do... I look back at Marshmallow and Choco(yes, that's what I'm naming the other phantom half).

'Why you lookin at us? Huh?'

'Hey, be nice. She needs all the help she can get okay?'

'Shut it busy bees. We make our own choices here.'

'Oh really? Then I suppose you wouldn't mind telling me your ideas then?'

'As a matter of fact I do.'

Chapter Text

'Um... It seems the majority rather we have just one of us here.'

'What really? They seriously think that?'

'Yeah...I suppose they rather not make things too confusing in the long run and-'

'And you think I care because?'

'W...But the votes say that-'

'Let's be honest here... I don't give a damn about the voting system. I only went along with it this whole time because I didn't feel like figuring this stuff out... But now that I'm free... I'll do whatever the hell I want.. so YIPPEE KAY YAY FUCKERS!!! IT'S MY TIME TO SHINE!!!'

I don't now what is going on, but I see Choco begin shaking around, then it swerved past me, charging at the thing that's on top of the girl. It rammed right at it, sending it back a good distance.

"Ö̷͚̮́͝w̵̛̮̝̽̊̇̏̅!̷͔͇̣͐̅!̷̢̢͕̬̣̇͗!̴̛̞̺̯̫̇̏̄͊̀ ̸̧͕̙̰̠͛̊̈́̓͒͜W̵̛̭͊̀͗͜͝͝h̸͉͊ǡ̶̖̪̬t̸̖̓̂͐͌͗͝ ̶̫̙̺̯̈́t̷̡͍̚h̶͓̏͂e̷̮͚̹̣̦͙͆͛̈́͂̑ ̶͔̹͔͛̋̀̈́̉ͅf̵̡͕̩̓u̵̟̼̿̏ç̴̡̢̹̲̼̐k̶͚̪̪̅̈̽̔̄̚ ̴̭̥̣̻̱̍͝w̸̡̛̏͂̚͠͠a̵͖̱͛́͋̕s̶̠̻͊͋̔̎ ̶̡̛͖̟̖͊̆̔̽͘t̶̻̠̿̀h̴͙̓̀͠å̶̘̗͉̅ṭ̷̲̩̝͈̈́͛͝!̵̝̃̿̌̄̃?̸̡̹͕̱͓͈̿̇̐́̕" The thing said.

I took the oppotunity to help the girl back up. "A-are you okay?" I asked.

"Don't stand there, we need to keep moving!" The girl said, pulling me along once again while Marshmallow follows me.

"Wait, what is Choco doing?" I said, looking back.

I look behind me, seeing Choco ramming itself at all the other Lost Causes, holding them back.

'Woooooooo! Yeah baby!!! Come at me! I can do this all day!!!'

They look fine I suppose.

"C'mon, if we're lucky, there will be a gap somewhere in this void that we can enter!" The girl said.

"Wait!" I said, being pulled along by the hand. "At least tell me your name!"

"Maribel... Maribel Hearn..." Maribel said. "Everyone calls me Merry though."

We continued to run along, I pulled out my gun just in case, all 6 bullets loaded. More of those beings keep on chasing after us, so I begin shooting at them. I shot out one bullet, seeing it fly around, hitting several targets. "You can shoot?" Merry asked me. "I can shoot," I said, continuing to run. "Now let's go, before we get caught up!"

We continue to run, I hear the sounds of screaming behind me. But I can't slow down. I'm a bit used to these kinds of scenarios by now but this... This is not what I was expecting. I think about what happened just before, when I was talking to Yukari... Is she behind this?

"...There!!!" Merry pointed out. "There's a gap!"

I look at where she is pointing at, and I see a gap that's barely open right now. We started running just a bit faster, while I look behind to see where Choco may be. I didn't see where I was going, and ended up tripping. "Ah!!" I yelped. Merry stopped and looked back at me. "H-Help!!!" I say, looking at her. I notice Merry had a conflicting look on her face, as if she was deciding whether to help me back up or go without me.

"A̶̞̠̣͝F̵̮̦̲̃̋̀̀̕ͅT̴̢͔͍͋͘̚͜͠Ĕ̵͖͚̱̤̳̱̅̃Ř̶̠̯ ̵̥̘̗̜̐͂͋T̵̖̈́̔H̵̲͓͙̾̆͊̔̓Ḙ̵͙̟̞̪̿̊ͅM̸͙̿̐͋͐́!̴̥̖̥̪̜̖̇̂̌!̶̡̺͚̝̇̔͗̄́̈!̴̹͍̓" I hear voices behind me.

Merry went and helped me back up, just in time as we get to the gap.

"Yes! We made it! We-"

"AAAAAAAAA-"

I hear Merry scream behind me, I look back to see what is wrong

"Merry!? Are you-"

I look, at the eyes of insanity. They looked like a normal person. They have long hair, a normal casual outfit that anyone in Japan would wear on their day off, and nothing strange about them... But Their eyes, they look like the eyes of someone who was kept in solitary confinements, empty rooms, dark hallways, just one place of loneliness after another... They don't have pupils, just rings, a boundless number of rings as far as one could see. They have a wicked smile across their face, as they look right at me, not moving, breathing heavily, and stare... Stare at me... A chill runs through me, as I see these things, These eyes...

"So yousa're da una shesa talked about, it's nice to meet yousa!" She said, before shoving me into the gap.

I found myself falling, deep and deep and deep into the gap... I don't know where I'm going to land... but I hope I'll land safely.

And then I landed... Hard. And I blacked out.

---

---

---

---

---

- - -

*beep*

...

...

...

*beep*

...

...

*beep*

...

*beep...beep...beep...beep*

I open my eyes, slowly, filling my vision with blaring light. I look up to be greeted by what looks like a hanging lamp. I heard what seems to be a monitor, checking a heartbeat. The air feels cool, the sheets warm, but despite all of this I feel like myself. I picked up the sound of feet shuffling in the distance. I tried to move my head, but I barely have any energy. I try and think about what happened before this... But nothing came up... The last thing I could remember was being carried by Youmu.

...

Youmu, where is she?

*click*

I hear a door open, I shirt my eyes to the direction of the sound. I see what looks like an adult woman, looking to be in her mid-20s. She wore a red-blue outfit, reminding me that of a doctor. Her was purely white, reaching down to her waist, and her expression is visibly calm. She moved next to my bed, holding a clipboard and a pen in her hand.

"Lets see here...Oh, you're awake." She said calmly, looking at me. "How are you feeling?" Though I still lack energy, I took the moment to speak. "I...I'm well..." I say. "...Where am I?" I ask.

"You're appointed here at Eientei after your friend Youmu dropped you off. She said you have fallen into a frozen lake for 7 minutes. Honestly any normal person would've been dead by now yet you survived. Not only did you acquire hypothermia, but your legs should've fallen off. Fortunately that didn't happen...somehow."

"Y-Youmu... Is she alright?" I ask. "Is she here?"

The doctor nods. "As I told you she dropped you off and left. 3 days ago to be exact."

"3 days... I was asleep for 3 days?" I asked, trying to raise my body. I felt my body shivering, shaking. Why do I feel so cold?

"Easy now. You're still recovering. Your body temperature has been fluctuating since you arrived here. But it should only be another couple of days before it can go to normal." She said. "I suggest you get some rest, you're going to need it."

"May... May I ask for your name?" I say.

"Doctor Eirin Yagokoro." Eirin said. "You can just call me Eirin if you please."

I hear the door open again, as someone else comes in...

Chapter Text

It was a tall rabbit. Her hair was a shade of purple, and her eyes had a hint of red to them... But other than that, there wasn't much else to see due to the big grey hoodie that she wore.

"Ah, Udonge... How are you feeling?" Eirin asked the person in question.

The supposed girl only glanced at Eirin, walking towards me, and stared down. I don't know why, but she gave off a wave of intimidation. But due to my condition I couldn't do much about it.

"...Tch-" She said, turning around and leaving through the door. Her attitude confused me, and I wonder about who she was exactly.

"Hah... She's still acting like that. At least she finally got out of her room on her own." Eirin mumbled to herself.

"Um... Who was that?" I ask.

"My apprentice... I call her Udonge but her real name is Reisen." Eirin explained. "Don't mind her mood, she's been like that for months. For now, you should get some rest. I'll check on you in about 3 hours to check on you."

I wanted to ask Eirin some more questions. But I'm already feeling tired from my lack of energy. I could always figure out more later.

"O...Okay then..." I say, closing my eyes. I hear the sound of Eirin walking away, closing the door. My own room was quiet, with no one else in it.

---

- - -

*beep*

...

Switching POV's...

...

*Choco appears from below the bed, looking around.*

Choco: Augh. I'm tired of waiting! I'm going to explore!

*Choco quickly heads for the door, only to be stopped by Marshmallow.*

Marshmallow: Wait wait wait! What do you think you're doing!?

Choco: What do you think? Clearly there's something here we don't know of, and I'm not waiting for the girl to wake up just to get an answer! Now move aside goody goody!

*Choco attempts to move past Marshmallow, but Marshmallow continues to block Choco's path.*

Marshmallow: We need to stick with Tsumetai. They're apart of us remember?

Choco: Last I checked, you're the one apart of them. I already declared myself independent. In fact what I want to know is why you have yet to do the same?

Marshmallow: I can't just separate from them. I'm literally half of their soul, they'll die or be horribly weakened if I cut the link! C'mon, lets just wait until we get the ability to choose our-

Choco: I already told you Marshy, I. Don't. Give a damn...

*Choco phased through both Marshmallow and the door, leaving the room.*

Marshmallow: ...Wait, hold on!

*Marshmallow leaves the room also, following Choco while trying to convince them to come back.*

*Marshmallow and Choco wander around the halls. Choco looks through various rooms in the process.*

Choco: Wow... There are a lot of rooms. Many of them even have bunnies in them... Whoever owns this place must really like bunnies.

Marshmallow: C'mon, haven't you explored enough? We really need to go back to Tsumetai before they wake up again and start questioning where we are at?

Choco: How about you ask your hivemind what they think? Maybe I'll reconsider if- Oh! Look what we got here!

*Choco quickly flies to a door, Marshmallow following behind.*

Marshmallow: What is it now? Can't you see that- Oh...

*Marshmallow and Choco look at a room, labeled. 'Satori Komeiji'*

Choco: This must be someone important if they have their own name labeled here... Let's go inside and investigate~.

Marshmallow: What? No, use your common sense. Tsumetai's room had a label on their room also. It's probably just another patient who is staying here.

Choco: Hm... The clipboard here says that they been here for months now... Must be a really special patient or something if they're here that long... Let's go inside!

Marshmallow: No!!! What if they're sick! They could have a infectious disease that could spread even to half phantoms! I don't want to return to Tsumetai carrying a plague!

Choco: Pfft, fine... You worry too much anyways... Besides, it's likely just some girl with depression anyway.

*Choco and Marshmallow continue heading down the hall. Marshmallow gave up in trying to convince Choco to come back and is instead following them to make sure they don't do anything stupid.*

Voice #1: ...And then I said, "Carrots will make you fat if you eat too many." But she didn't believe me and now she's on a strict diet...

Voice #2: Really? How did she even get so many carrots in the first place?

Marshmallow: Oh no, people are coming, we need to hide!

Choco: Relax, it's not like they're going to-WOAH!!!

*Marshmallow pushes Choco into a random room, just in time as the voices pass on down the hall.*

Marshmallow: Hah...That was close...

Choco: Hey! What was that for!? You didn't need to push me like that!

Marshmallow: Look, I didn't want to encounter a scenario where we get spotted okay. Besides you're the one who started venturing off without guidance. I'm simply here to make sure you don't pull the idiot card!

Choco: Oh, says the one who thinks that everything requires a decision to be made! Y'know, not every major encounter or situation requires a vote you know that? Imagine all the things we can accomplish had we not require the daily vote form your little fanbase.

*Choco bumps Marshmallow on the head with their tail.*

Marshmallow: H-hey! Don't do that! You know that any damage I take also affects Tsumetai!

Choco: Oh, I know. Why do you think I'm flipping you off right now?

*Choco is flipping off Marshmallow using their tail.*

Marshmallow: Oh, you little piece of-

*beep*

Marshmallow: ...

Choco: ...

*beep...beep...beep...beep*

Marshmallow: ...

Choco: ...Wait...

*Choco and Marshmallow look at the other side of the room, seeing a bed and some monitors plugged in*

*Choco moves up, looking at whoever is in it.

Choco: Um... Marshy? You better come look at this...

Marshmallow: Seriously? C'mon, you shouldn't bother a sleeping patient right now. After all- gasp

*Marshmallow and Choco look in shock. Seeing the face of-*

*SLAM*

*Marshmallow and Choco look behind them, noticing the red eyes of madness glowing in the dark room*

Reisen: ...Who...Whoever is in here!? GET OUT!!!

Marshmallow: Oh crap...

Choco: Oh shit... I suppose now's the time to ask your hivemind Marshy?

Marshmallow: Um...Yeah... Lets see what they think...hahaha...

Chapter Text

Marshmallow: Um... Hello Reisen! How are-

*BANG*

*Marshmallow narrowly avoided the projectile of a bullet that came from Reisen's gun.*

Marshmallow: ...O-okay... Maybe we should just calm down and-

Choco: She's not going to listen to us! Let's bolt!!!

*Choco grabs Marshmallow using their tail, dashing out of the room while Reisen pursues them*

Marshmallow: W-wait! Choco let me go! We need to try and talk to Reisen!

Choco: First of all, no one can hear us. Secondly, did you not see the freaking gun she's holding!? It's clear she's not here to talk! I'm getting us out of here!

*Choco makes a quick turn to the left, going through some doors and halls until they were certain they lost track of Reisen*

Choco: ...Okay, I think we-

*BANG*

*Choco looks to find that Reisen has tore through the wall, looking at them with brighter glowing eyes*

Reisen: You... YOU!!! HOW DARE YOU!?!?

Marshmallow: Oh no, she's furious...

Choco: Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!!!

*Choco and Marshmallow dash out of the room, going down the hall, moving as fast as they can.*

Choco: Hey, is it just me or does this hallway seem kind of endless?

Marshmallow: It does feel longer than usual!

*The 2 phantoms look behind them, seeing a purple rabbit dashing towards them, quickly catching up.*

Choco: HOLY FUCK!!!

Marshmallow: There! Inside that room!

*Marshmallow and Choco quickly go inside one of the rooms, making sure it is locked.*

Marshmallow: Okay, it won't hold for long, but while we are here we can-

Choco: Um... Marshy?

Marshmallow: What is it? Aren't you worried that- Oh...

*Marshmallow and Choco look at the pink dressed, short haired rabbit that was holding some kind of shovel, covered in dirt.*

Pink Rabbit: ...Huh... I see a lot of guests here, but never have I imagined I would see a pair of phantoms.

*The sound of the door being fiddled with startled both Marshmallow and Choco*

Marshmallow: Quick, lets keep moving before she breaks in!

Choco: Right!

*Choco and Marshmallow move quickly, pushing past the pink rabbit.*

Pink Rabbit: H-hey! Where are you two going?

*CRASH*

Reisen: GET BACK HERE! I'LL COVER YOU IN MORE HOLES THAN THE MOON IF I MUST!!!

Pink Rabbit: AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!

*pichunn*

...

*phantoms are moving, successfully getting away from the angry bnuuy.*

Marshmallow: Okay... Well talking didn't work...

Choco: You think!? Honestly, what did you think talking would accomplish!?

Marshmallow: I don't know! I assumed the others had some kind of idea on what to say, but they didn't say anything!

Choco: Then why did they suggest talking in the first place!? What's the point of talking if you have nothing to say!?

Marshmallow: Don't look at me!!! I just go with what the vote says! In fact why didn't you do anything besides running!?

Choco: Well it's because I, a being of pure independence, am able to know when to act, and when to use common sense. And running like a coward is common sense.

Marshmallow: And what's that supposed to mean?

Choco: Have you not heard of me? I'm a misfit, a loner, and I'm not afraid of anything.

Marshmallow: Then why are you still sticking around with me and Tsumetai? Actually, now that we're separate you could leave anytime.

Choco: Well... Um... I-It's because you'd be lonely without me! That's what!

Marshmallow: I literally have hundreds of voices that talk to me and yap about some ninja guy, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be lonely.

Choco: Well... Ugh, look... I'm sticking around because I have nowhere else to go at the moment. It's not like I could just go live on my own, nor can I go talk to anyone else without provoking the shrine maiden. I'm stuck with you and Tsumetai, whether you like it or not.

Marshmallow: So is being Tsundere your personality trait now?

Choco: I-I'm not a Tsundere!!!

Marshmallow: See, you're even talking like one.

Choco: S-shut up! We should go back to Tsumetai for now okay?

Marshmallow: Yes yes, alright. We can go back....As soon as we figure out where we are...

*Marshmallow and Choco look around them in this endless hall of Eientei*

Choco: Whoever designed this place must be a big fan of hide and seek or something.

Marshmallow: Maybe. I mean there are so many vacant rooms here. How do they keep such a place tidy?

Choco: Perhaps they have some kind of time-stopping maid that is affiliated with vampires that works here?

Marshmallow: ...

Choco: ...

*Both Marshmallow and Choco burst into laughter*

Marshmallow: A time-stopping maid!? What kind of nonsense are you spouting!?

Choco: I-I can't help it! This place is just too weird for me! You got a sexy doctor, more rabbits than one can count, one of them being a trigger happy angst, and a labyrinth of a hospital. Honestly, next thing we're going to find out is there's a princess who gets into a fight with a-

Loud voice: KAGUYA!!! I'VE COME TO BARGAIN!!!

Another Loud voice: YOU'VE COME HERE TO DIE!!! PREPARE YOURSELF MOKOU!!!

*Series of loud explosions and shaking*

Marshmallow: Um... What was that?

Choco: ...Good question... Let's just keep moving.

Marshmallow: Good idea, I'll stick with that plan.

*Phantoms are still moving...*

Switching POVs

---

I slowly open my eyes, feeling a bit better after getting a bit of rest. My body still feels weak, but I think I'm fine at the moment. I raise my head from the pillow, getting a look of the room I am in. It gives off the feeling of a traditional Japanese mansion. The walls, flooring, ceiling, even the lighting is reminiscent of Japanese culture and way of life. The only thing that stood out was all the hospital gear and tech that surrounded me.

I look to see that there is a oximeter on my finger, tracking my heartrate. There's also a table with a basket full of things inside of it. I reach over, grabbing the basket.

The first thing I check inside is to see various cards, most of them saying "Get Well Soon" on them. There was even a bouquet of flowers, with a name on it that I don't recognize. There were items from people that I have met over the course of the week. Some charms from Reimu and Sanae, a small bottle of sake, a tiny scark from Shinmy, a bone from Aunn, tofu from Byakuren, an autograph of Kanako and Suwako (for some strange reason), a mushroom from Marisa, a newspaper from Aya, an already melted snowball from Cirno, dango from Seiran and Ringo (I quickly threw that into the trash), a book of powerful and demonic spells from Mima, a fan from Yuyuko, and a little shiny rock from Alek.

I was happy with all of these items that I got from everyone... But I noticed that Youmu didn't get me anything... Just as I thought about that, I saw a card come out from one of the gaps that I'm all too familiar with by now. It was from Youmu, with a bouquet of flowers drawn on it.

The card read:

 

Hey, I know I haven't been around much. You're probably reading this and wondering what I'm doing at the moment... Well the truth is that I wanted to apologize to you. If it wasn't for me you wouldn't have fallen into the lake for that long. I assume that you hate me for that. I should have helped you or at the very least called out to the others sooner, yet I let you drown... I honestly have no idea what is happening to me Tsumetai-san. It feels like when I am close to you, there's this force, a voice even, that wants me to do bad things, very bad things. Like when I snapped at you, I didn't know why I did that. I just knew that it was the influence of those voices. It's like they're trying to possess me. It's like they want me to hurt you.

I'm sorry if this might sound hurtful to you, but for the sake of your safety and mine, I like it if you don't return to Hakugyokurou. I already talked to Eirin-sama about letting you stay at Eientei for a while until you can find a place at the human village to stay at. If we ever see each other on the streets, then may it be nothing more than a simple greeting.

-Youmu Konpaku

 

I finished reading the card, noticing a few teardrops falling from my cheeks. I couldn't believe what Youmu written here. I felt a sense of sadness flow through me, clenching the card a little as I let out a few sobs. After I calmed down, I looked at the items that were in the basket. It all seemed so insignificant now.

"...Why... Why Youmu-chan..." I whispered softly in this room where only I remained. "You should have talked to me about it..."

I look back at the card again, checking the back to see if there was anything else written there by chance. There wasn't, it was a blank empty side. However, when I checked the front again, there was something there. Some kind of text, written as if it was engraved on it like a metal nail on a concrete wall.

"You're the reason she's afraid now"

I gasped, looking at the card. It looked different from the previous handwriting. I quickly placed the card away from me, being cautious of any other noticeable changes it may display. I look at it for a bit longer when a thought occurred to me. I look around the room, noticing that I am truly alone here.

"...Wait, where's Marshmallow? And what happened to Choco?" I asked myself. I think it's weird that a part of me is missing right now. It's not like they can move on their own, right? Then again I have notice Marshmallow act differently even when I'm not controlling them. But this is a bit concerning if my phantom half is not with me right now.

What should I do? I know that I should look for them, but I'm still recovering so it's not like I can move much. But staying here isn't a fun idea either.

...

Huh... It's actually a bit odd to have no one respond to my thought process for once. I guess I got so used to it that I didn't even notice what it be like without. But I still need to make a choice.

"...I know!" I said. I look back into the basket, seeing what looks to be a token coin from Miko. The head had an image of Miko's face. Tails had an image of what looks like Byakuren making a dumb-looking face while wearing a dunce hat. "This is an odd-looking coin, but it'll suffice." I say. "Okay, heads I'll go look for Marshmallow and Choco, tails I'll say and wait."

I toss the coin, letting it spin around the air while it shines from the light around me. It landed back onto my hand as I close it with my palm. Then I open my hand, revealing it to be...

Chapter Text

After making the choice, I slowly get out of the bed that I'm in, letting my bare feet touch the floor. It felt cool to the touch. I took notice of the hospital gown that I'm wearing. It's simple yet the fabric is really soft and comfortable to wear, whoever made it must have a lot of spare time if they made something this good. I look around the room a bit, before realizing that the gun I have on me is missing.

"Wait... Where is my gun?" I ask myself. I usually keep it tucked in my skirt underneath my coat. I suppose that whoever put me in this outfit took my gun somewhere. It may be bad if I am unable to defend myself. I look back at the basket, specifically the tome with the depiction of a demon's head on the front.

"Just in case I get into trouble..." I told myself. Hopefully whatever this book can do is useful. I also took the charms that Reimu and Sanae gave me, as they both are supposed to provide blessings such as protection and healing. I equip those on, now heading out the door.

I look around left and right of my surroundings, seeing that the hallway extends far deeper than I first imagined it would be. I am unable to see the end of it, as it is obscured by some strange shadow. When I try to walk to the shadow, I can never reach it because it stays the same distance no matter how much I walk. When I look at the walls, they look the same. Is it possible that the hall extends on forever? No, that can't be possible, that would imply that there is an infinite amount of space, it's possible that if one walks far enough they would end up back in the same spot. So in order to prove this theory I leave a small mark on the wall. I start to walk ahead with my hands placed on the wall, moving my feet slowly so as not to create a slip-slide noise. I move my feet about a foot ahead of my hands.

I walked for about 5 minutes, keeping the same pace. I have yet to reach my mark, but it isn't like the hallway truly goes on forever... If so then how does anyone ever leave? How does anyone enter? It's just like that one building I heard of from some website... what was it again? I know it's supposed to be a store of some kind... I'm drawing a blank... Ah well. I'll just keep walking until I reach my destination.

I feel the air get colder the further down I walk. It's like a wave of wind came and went. But that's a good thing because that implies there's a way to reach the outside. I increase my pace, heading toward where the air came from. I walk and I walked, before spotting someone. It was a girl, wearing a pinkish dress and sporting a pair of rabbit ears on her head. She looked right at me, giving off a curious look before quickly scurrying off. I should chase after her and ask her some questions, maybe she'll know about the endless hall and the unreachable shadow I've been seeing... or maybe I should rest for a bit, since I came in a pretty bad shape.

I didn't realize how tired I still am. Eirin was right, I still need time to recover. It was a bad idea to go look for Marshmallow and Choco like this. I decide to turn around and try and turn back. But after a few minutes of walking I realize that I don't know where my room is. I don't know how to get back to that room. I look ahead, seeing that the hallway is mostly the same yet different all at the same time.

It was easy to get turned around, I suppose. And what's worse is I am feeling exhausted. My body is extremely fatigued and my breath feels short and thin. It got so bad that I end up falling to my knees. My hands land on the floor, feeling the smooth texture. My vision is hazy, the hall in front of me starting to look a bit warped. I feel like my body is heating up, but also freezing.

I close my eyes, trying to hold onto myself. My breathing is slow and steady. In and out, in and out. In... and out... Take a deep breath in, through the nose... and let it out through the mouth... Do it again, repeat it a few more times... In, and out... in, and out... in, and out... and in... and out...

Slowly, I start to feel better. My body temperature begins to normalize. I slowly open my eyes, getting back onto my feet. I take another good look at my surroundings, before deciding to continue forward.

*bang*

...Was that a gunshot I just heard? I think I heard a gun shot... It came from close by too. I begin to feel worried.

*bang bang... bang... Bang...*

The shots are starting to get closer. I feel my heartrate rise, keeping my hand leaning against the wall.

*Bang... Bang... BANG!!!*

I suddenly see two roundish objects fly through the wall, crashing through as they move in a panicked state.

'Fuck fuck fuck!!! This is bad!!!! How the hell did she catch up to us so quickly!?'

'I-I don't know! I think it has something to do with those eyes of hers! Quick, we need to find the room and reunite with Tsumetai!'

'Actually... I don't think that will be necessary...'

'Why do you ask?'

'Look.'

'...Oh my...'

I look, with shocked eyes, seeing the two floating orb-like things face me. I recognize them to be Marshmallow and Choco, my phantom halves.

"W...Wha?" I say, with confusion and worry. "You're... Acting on your own...Yet you're apart of me aren't you?"

'Oh no... Um... Crap, this would be a good time to-'

'The jig is up Marshy, she was bound to figure it out sooner or later. Let's just come clean.'

'What? I'm pretty certain that we can find a way to convince her that the hivemind did this and-'

*CRASH*

I look behind Marshmallow and Choco, to see the same girl I met earlier, storming out of the destroyed wall, with glowing red eyes and holding...My revolver!!!

"You... I found you..." The girl named Reisen said. "I won't let you harm them..."

I felt immense panic flow through my body. I see my phantom halves quickly scurry behind me, shaking like mice. I do not know what is happening but something definitely happened while I was resting. Reisen looked at me, staring at me with those eyes of hers. They glowed so much I had to avert my eyes from her gaze.

"Say... You're supposed to be resting don't you remember? Master doesn't like it when her patients disobey her orders... I guess I'll have to punish you in her steed..." She said in such a scary tone.

'This is bad... This is to fucking bad.'

'A-All we did was go inside a room! We swear!'

The phantom halves quiver in fear behind me, while I find myself slowly stepping away from the approaching Reisen. I try to negotiate with her. "U-Um... I'm just trying to find my room is all... C-can't we discuss this? Also, can I have my revolver back?" I ask.

"Your revolver?" Reisen asked. "You mean the one that you STOLE from Seiran?"

"W-what? No, I would never steal! I swear!" I say, unsure of what she is talking about. "I only met Seiran once, and that was when I tried her...dango..." I say.

"Really? Because this gun, specifically the bullets, are pulsing with waves that are similar to Seiran's bullets. Not anyone can have the ability to shoot through dimensions... How did you get this gun?" Reisen asked, pointing the gun at me.

"I don't know, I... I have no idea..."

"You will tell me the truth, or I will kill you right now." Reisen demanded. I start panicking even more now.

"I-I got it from Yukari!!! She gave it to me when I first arrived here in Gensokyo!!!" I admit. I waited for Reisen to respond or act somehow... But nothing happened.

I look at her, seeing that her eyes are no longer glowing, and instead I see her normal red eyes. She lowers the gun to the ground, looking forward.

"...Yukari...Gave it to you?" Reisen asked. "Just like... No... Aya's paper... The others..."

"What... What are you talking about?" I ask.

"Yukari...Did it again... Yet again... But why? Why does she keep doing it? And why did Youmu have to find you? She's going to get hurt like I did... She going to suffer because of her... She's already suffering..." Reisen said, lowering to the ground, looking as if she's about to cry. "...I just...wanted to be with Fargo...Why were they taken away from me?" Reisen said in a tearful tone, before sobbing with tears.

I feel a swelling of guilt, seeing the helplessness that I have caused her to display. "Reisen, I'm sorry..." I say, trying to reach out to her. I felt my hand be pulled away however, as I look back to see...

Chapter Text

She wore a blue shirt, with a pink collar, a pink skirt with a rose pattern, and some pink slippers. There was this red eye, floating around where her heart is located, connected to her body by a series of cords. The eye looks at me, staring.

"Let me take care of this Tsumetai." The girl said. I was shocked when she said my name, even though I don't know her.

"H-how did you know my name?" I ask as she approached Reisen. The girl didn't respond to me but instead focused on speaking to Reisen.

"Hey..." The girl said to Reisen.

"...Leave me alone Satori... You're not supposed to be wandering out in the halls by yourself..." Reisen said to the girl named Satori.

"Well I was distracted by the loud banging and the sudden surge of voices so of course I had to check." Satori said. "Even if you don't tell me I'll figure out the problem either way."

"...Honestly...Ever since your eye got fixed you gotten more irritating." Reisen told Satori.

"I'm just as annoying as I have always been..." Satori said. "Reisen. We're all disheartened by what happened on the Moon Festival... But Fargo wouldn't want you to act this way."

"What the hell does that mean?" Reisen snapped, turning to Satori.

"Please... Try to be happy. Live." Satori said to Reisen.

"WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT-" Reisen shouted, but quickly stopped herself as she looked at Satori in the face. "...Sorry... That was too far even for me..." Reisen said.

"...Do you want a hug?" Satori asked. "...It's pretty obvious that you need one right now."

I watch as Reisen... After a few seconds of hesitation... embraced the pink haired girl. I could hear her sobbing a little, but also holding back her tears, all the while dropping my revolver. I took that moment to quickly take it. I check to see the condition it is in, and see that it's just fine. I'm glad things ended gently like this. I'm uncertain what I would've done to get this back. But something still is on my mind right now.

Fargo... I feel like I heard that name before many times in the past. But what is the significance of that name? "You're curious about who Fargo is aren't you?" Satori asked me, her red eye looking at me. I was startled by what she said. "H-how did you know what I was thinking!?" I ask. "Are you a mind reader!?"

"I'm a Satori. We're born with the ability to read one's thoughts and emotions." Satori explained. "Though we need to be looking at the being in question in order to know what exactly they are thinking about."

'Is it strange that she's named after her own species?'

'Really? It's quite the common name in Japan.'

'Yeah, but it's like naming your kid human. Or your cat cat. What kind of parent names their kid after their own kind?'

"Well that's just rude don't you think?" Satori spoke. I noticed Choco and Marshmallow freezing from Satori's response. "I for one think the name fits me perfectly, even if it is strange for someone of my kind." She said. I look at Satori, then my phantom halves, then back at her, blinking. "You... You can hear the voices too?" I ask Satori. "I can actually. I am able to hear the voices of any intelligent lifeform as long they can produce a conscious thought." Satori explained. "If they're not speaking, but are still thinking, I can hear them as well."

'That's interesting...'

"How long have you been hearing the voices?" Satori asked me.

"Since... I first arrived here in Gensokyo." I say. "I-It started with just random moments where they tell me what to do, but then they became more active... I honestly thought it was all in my head or something but-"

"They told you what to do?" Satori asked. "Does it usually happen when you need to make a choice?"

"Yeah actually... Sometimes they would tell me over and over to do something, but I don't always listen to them." I say. Satori gave me a surprised look, then looked back at Reisen.

"Reisen... I think Tsumetai would be able to help us with Fargo's situation." Satori said.

"What? A-are you sure?" Reisen asked. "You only just met her... How do we know we can trust her?"

"C'mon Reisen... I already checked her memories... The worst thing she's done was break her family's television at age 8."

"...Okay... But if she does anything to them..." Reisen said.

I felt embarrassed with what Satori just said. I also felt like my privacy was breached. Well at least she doesn't know about-

"By the way Tsumetai, it's okay if you're gay. Everyone in Gensokyo is gay anyway." Satori said.

...And so much for that too...

"Well... Okay... Thanks for the heads up." I said.

---

Satori and Reisen got up, asking me to follow them. I followed them down the hall, taking a specific route through several different turns and doors until we reached one door in question. It was marked with the label "Fargo Kaninchen" next to the door. Reisen went and opened it herself, sliding the door open into a dark room that we head inside.

It was the same kind of room that I was in not too long ago, consisting of a hospital bed, some monitors and machines, and a few tables. There were several flower vases lined along one of the tables by the wall, and many different kinds of baskets and gifts that were piled up against a corner. The bed in question was obscured by a curtain that surrounded it. I begin to wonder who is behind there.

"...I...I can't Satori..." Reisen said. "I can't bear looking at their face, I'll just cry again..."

"You can Reisen... You need to... We may be able to figure out what's causing this." Satori said.

"Okay... I'll do it."

Satori walked up to the bed behind the curtain, pulling the curtain back. As I get a look at who the person is, my eyes widened with shock. The hair, the face, the clothes... They were similar to the person I saw in the dream I had... No... They're the one who I saw... I slowly go over to get a closer look, touching their hand just slightly. Yet when I did, I felt a shock, making me step back while I screamed.

"Are you okay Tsumetai?" Satori asked me.

"Yeah... I'm fi-"

*ERROR*

installing memory.exe...

---

My vision warped, as I look around, no longer in the hospital room, but instead in some kind of dark area lit by the full moon above me.

"W-where am I?" I ask myself, looking around. "And why am I wearing a kimono all of a sudden?"

"I love you too." I hear a voice say.

I look behind me, seeing a pair. One of them was Reisen, wearing a really nice kimono, dressed up beautifully. The other was the person who I just saw in the room. I quickly came to the conclusion that this might be a memory.

"That... That makes me happy to hear... I-I'm happy Fargo. I really am. I'm so glad!" Reisen said, looking at the person with tearful eyes.

*boom*

I look up, noticing there were fireworks in the sky. They were nice to look at.

'So this is a festival huh...Damn I wish I could go to one.'

'I think there was one planned soon, though I'm uncertain when it's supposed to happen.'

'Just imagine all the food we can eat, the games to play...'

'And being able to spend it with your friends and family...'

'Oh yeah, that too.'

Even in someone's memories my phantom halves still talk. But I'm used to it by now.

"I guess we'll need to inform the others of our relationship now. Hopefully Master and Princess don't mind." Reisen said.

"I'm certain that Eirin and Kaguya would have no problem of our relationship Rei." Fargo said.

"Rei?" Reisen asked.

"Yeah, do you not like it?"

"...No, I don't mind it actually. It feels nice that you have a name for me." Reisen said. "Even if it's just half of my name."

"Would you rather I call you Udonge?"

"Don't you dare." Reisen said more sternly. "Only Master is allowed to use that name."

"Woah okay, calm down."

Reisen giggled a bit. "I'm just messing with you. You can call me Rei, or whatever name you want Fargo."

The two stared at each other, like a lovey-dovey couple. I then watch them kiss just as the sound of a really big firework went off. They kissed for a good 30 seconds. I felt a little flustered just by watching them, as they part the kiss and embrace one another a bit more.

"I love you Fargo." She said.

"I love you too Rei." Fargo said.

Based on what I saw, they look like they were really close. I can understand why Reisen acted the way she did before. Though I don't know Fargo, I bet they were a really nice and considerate person to be with. But if this is a memory, then what happens next?

*step*

I hear the sound of an echo... The sound of someone stepping loudly. It sounded like feet clopping inside of a hollow cave. The sounds were a distance away, but slowly got closer and closer and closer...

I looked at where the sound may be coming from, then laid my eyes on a person, wearing a pure white robe, covered in some kind of misty fog. They carried a scythe with them, shining from the reflection of the moon. They came from the bamboo, walking toward Reisen and Fargo. I feel like I seen someone like them before... But not sure when... But I began to panic when I realized what is being implied here.

"No... Oh no... Oh nononononono!!!" I said, panicking. "Hey!!! Get out of here! Someone's approaching!" I shouted at the two. But this was a memory, I can't affect a memory.

The person draws in closer. I knew I had to do something. But what?

I pull out my gun, pointing it at the Shinigami, and began to shoot. But the bullets phased through them like it was air. I moved to be in front of them, spreading my arms out even though my mind was filled with fear.

"D-don't go any further!" I say.

"..." The figure ignored me, phasing right through me as I turn around, while they were behind Fargo. They raised their scythe, preparing to swing down at them.

"NOOOOO!!!" I shout. I couldn't bear to watch what happens next. I shut my eyes, bracing myself.

*SLASH*

"Ugghhh....!" Fargo yelps, before Reisen screams.

I heard a loud crack echo through my ears. Everything sounded so much louder than before. When I opened my eyes, I look to see the still figure of Fargo, laying in the eyes of Reisen.

"Fargo? Fargo??? What happened!? Hey!!!" Reisen said, shaking the body of Fargo again and again. "C'mon!!! This isn't funny!!! Don't do this right now!!! Hey!!! Wake up!!!"

I look at Reisen and the unmoving Fargo, then back at the white figure, who seemed to be holding some kind of orb. I see what looks to be hundreds...maybe even THOUSANDS of souls, all within this orb. They seemed to be desperate in escaping the clutches of the person's hand.

"FARGO!!! PLEASE!!! NOT LIKE THIS!!! NOT SO SOON!!! PLEASE!!!" I hear Reisen scream and cry.

"No matter how many times I see it... I still can't bear the cries of those who watch their loved ones perish... Such is the curse... of In Album Messorem..." The Shinigami says in this cold, unfeeling voice.

I can't watch anymore. I look as the figure slowly walks away, while Reisen continues to scream in the night. I eventually start seeing other familiar faces come around, seeing this event unfold. One of them, was Youmu, wearing a green kimono.

"...Reisen-chan? What happened?" Youmu asked, walking up to Reisen.

"Fargo... They won't wake up..." Reisen said, with tears in her eyes. "They won't wake up no matter what I do! They won't respond! They just-" Reisen choked, resuming her crying.

Youmu looked at Fargo, looking at their unmoving face. "...Damn it... I told you not to hurt Reisen-chan..." Youmu mumbled under her throat. "Do you know who did this?" Youmu asked Reisen.

"I-I don't know... Fargo and I were having a moment... But then they suddenly yelped in pain and... Wait... I did notice some strange waves that were around..." Reisen said, looking before staring straight into the bamboo. She sprang to her feet, moving Fargo onto Youmu as she dashed into the forest.

"W-wait a minute Reisen-chan! W-where are you going!?" Youmu asked.

"I'm going to save Fargo!!!" Reisen shouted.

I watch as Reisen ran into the forest. I decide to follow her since I need to know what happens next. I don't know why, but the feeling of needing to see what's happening is so strong. I've never been able to ignore a feeling like this.

'So wait, Fargo was killed by this being then? Are they the ones that have been messing with us ever since we arrived here?'

'No, I don't think so... I think there's something more that's going on that we don't know of yet.'

I ran into the forest, passing by bamboo of many sizes, trying to keep up with Reisen. She ran swiftly through the forest, ducking under branches as she went. I couldn't help but feel that these memories were real, as if they were some kind of vision.

Eventually, Reisen stopped, and I stopped a bit behind her. We look to see the person in white, holding the souls in their hand. Reisen pulled out her gun, pointing at the person. "Who are you!? What did you do to Fargo!?" Reisen demanded.

"...You can see me..." The person said in a monotone voice. "A surprise, but to be expected..."

"I asked you a question! Answer me dammit!!!" Reisen shouted.

The person in white simply waved their hand a bit, letting the souls float in the air, removing their hood. I look at the person, noticing their appearance seems to be not that of someone from Japan, or any eastern nation. They look to be more western. Their hair was long, a nice blondish color as well.

"...You don't want to get involved... It will only make things worse for you and everyone else..." The person said.

"And let you take Fargo away from me!? As if!!!" Reisen said. "Why are you doing this!?"

"I'm not, they're doing this to themself willingly. You're just a pawn in this game, as are these people here..." The person said. "...You should go back to the festival, enjoy it before history resets and things go to normal."

"No!!! I won't let another person be taken away from me again!!!" Reisen shouted. "Now let them go!!! I swear I won't hesitate to kill you!!!"

"...How many times have I heard that line... How many times have I heard the voices and cries of people who wish to have their lives spared... While the intruders take everything, steal everything, do whatever they want... How many times must I be reminded of the happy girl I was, seeing the bullet be put into my mother's head, before the invaders do whatever they please..." The person spoke.

Reisen looked at her with confusion and concern. "W...What are you going on about?" Reisen asked.

"...We're quite alike, you and I... We both had to deal with the treacheries of war, the struggles of pain and loss... the guilt of being survivors of a massacre..." The person said. "...And then I met them... The previous bearer of this curse..."

"Curse?" Reisen asked, slowly lowering her weapon.

"...Victims of mass genocide must bear this curse... Having to be forced to work for the Grim Reaper themself. Being tasked with bringing the souls of those who refuse to move on."

"Grim Reaper? What the hell are you talking about!?"

"...I already said enough... There's no point in telling you anything more... This is farewell..." The person said, turning around to leave with the souls.

A sudden bullet flew through the air, briefly grazing the person, as they turn around to look at the gun that was pointed at them.

"I... Won't let you take Fargo away from me!!!" Reisen shouted, her eyes glowing red.

The person looked at Reisen, and with their cold dead eyes, they gave a small smile. "...That's the spirit."

Reisen fired her gun, but the noise was quickly drowned out by the explosion.

"Wha!?" Reisen looked. "What was that!?"

The other person looked, with her eyes widening in shock. "No... It... It can't be..."

I was confused, looking at what they are looking at... Before laying my eyes on a figure with wings darker than the night. She wore a dark dress, with some areas marked with red. Her hair was a light blue, and her eyes a red scarlet. But... There was something wrong with the way she was acting. Her movements were stiff, as she flew down to the ground, moving like she's being controlled.

"R...Run... She's... She's trying to-" The person stopped speaking, before speaking once again in a much different tone. "Ǫ̴̭̼͓͂͋̒̂̆̅̎͗̏̒͂̚̚̕͝ȟ̶̰̗̯͒͘,̵̡͈̗̪̞͓͋͗̆̀̈̈́̈́̈́̒̐̄͂̉̒͘ ̶̢̭͕͈͈̝̝̲͖̱̹̎͋̐̀į̶̺̳͚̻̻̲͇̐͐̀̀͆͗̒̽͒͘͝f̵͙̩̩͙̗̆͌̒̊͗̒̀̈̓̾̈́̚̕ ̴̧̱̩̪͎̞̭̍̈́͝ĩ̴̛̥̩͔͔̤̾͒͋̓͆͊̋̎͆̌̀t̵̤̝̠̰̹̎͌̀͌ ̵̡̎̀͌̕ī̵̛̝͔̼̹̹͔̀̍͑͋͠s̸̺͈͈̝̽͒̒̒͑̍̌̀̚̕͝͝n̴̥̹͕͎͉͙̓͊̋̌͘'̵̡̢͖̣̳͍̼̙͎͓̙̫̒͋̃͌̔͂͌t̵̢͚͔̦͖̤̙̽̀͘͘͠ ̵̢̦̰̠̓̈̾̽̃̐̌͒̏̐̍́͐͜͝Ẃ̵̢͔̫̮͇̞͓̦͊͛̄ḫ̴̡̢̫̞̫͚̲̝̺͈̜̯͈͍̌̎́̌i̷̡͚̟̹̇̀͋̊͆ͅţ̵͕̬̦͎͓̭̳̹͖͓̉̊͆͒̚͝e̷͙̠͆̃͌̈́͒̋́̽͂̌̎͊̓͠y̶̨͕̙̘͔̠͙͍͓̰̮̎̂̊͊́̅̕̕͝.̶̧͎̹̪̑̋̒́́͗̑̒͊͂.̵̢̡͚̬̝̣̠͖̣̭̣͙̳̲̀.̴̢̐́̉̍͐̂̉͘ ̵̥̳́̐̈̐͒̌̄̀̊͐̾́́̕̕A̵̛̠̩̘̝͗͋̈́̆̒̉̇̊̔̑͆͊̈̏ ̵̟͚̖̤̼̦̲̻̝͚̳͙̙̒̄͐̋̄̑s̷̨̹͔̩̠͙̥̳̼͔͔͔̒͐̏̀̋͆̉͝ǔ̸͇̑͊̽̑̑̓́͝͝r̶̨͉̫̓̂p̷̮͋̂̉͌͆̈́̈́̂͑͠r̴̡̤̹͈͂͑̈͒͝i̶̧̟̖̤̭͇̯͍̟͉̫̻̣̰͔͗͛s̶̛̙̐̉̊̈̒̋̀͒̊ĕ̵̢͍̳͇̻͐̄ ̸̥͇̙̀́̍̋́͆̃̋̇́̃̏͂̾̚ţ̶̛͙̼͉̪̦̣̐͂̉̔̀̇̈́̌͗̕͘̕̕o̷̙͇̻͌̏͊ ̸̛̗̘̯̮̱͇͕͈͙̮̮̈̓͐͌͒̓͐̈́̇͒̇̽͝b̶̦̩͎̱̑́̋͌̽́̉͂͌̈͒̄̐̚e̵̡̩̰̠̟͈̺̥̟̰̤͊͌͒͐͛̎͋̒̃̍͛͗̎̚͜ ̷̛̥̂̓̇̍͒͑̇̚s̴̲̣̭̼̰̭̣͆̈̉͌̑͑̉͂͑͆̀̒̕̕ų̶̨͚̮͚͇̳̟̺͔͕̜̊̌̌͋͌͆̐́̿͂̍́͘ŕ̶̼͍͇͖̰̭̀͂̈́͜ͅe̴̺̬̗̘̖̣͚̼̹͐̌̍͋̍̄̓̀.̵̘̥͎̱͕̯̰͉̈́͛͑̏̍̊̕͜ ̷̰̙͖̰͛̀̒̓̿̚T̸̯̰̦͎͎͙̞̯̩̬̺̤̥̮̦̿̂͝e̵͚̍̐̋̏́̔͆̇͗͌͌̒̓͆͘l̵̝̜͓̣̥͙̫͍̬̖̆̌́̈̉͋́̏̕l̷̙̳̱̝̯̙͎̈͠ ̴̡̦̳̯̲̖͖̽̌̈́̀̒͠͝ͅm̵͕͙̰̹̂̓͆̂͗̓̈́͘ë̴͕̭̤̘͕̬̭̺̜̟͔̰́̐,̸͎͉̤̹̦͖͈̺̀͑ ̷̛̱̰̼͓͙͓̰̮̤̏̌̇̾̋̈́̉̕͘h̵̖̺̜͂̃̑͐̏͒͒̚͝͝ǫ̴͚̟̲͙̂́̑̾w̶̥͂͒̾̿̈́̆̏̎͋̃̄̚̚͝ ̶̬̰̭̜̰̲͍͉̻̤̝͈͎̟͆̓͐̓͌̈́̌͜ĩ̴̡̛͛̐̐͂̆̂̿͗͊͑̚͝͝s̵̛͈͇̭̲̥̭̊͋̂̑̊̽̀̌͠͝͝ ̴̹̠͚͉̠͙̰̗͉͉̱̠͍͚̈́̓̃̾̈́̋̑̈̂̈̉͜͝͠t̶̻̩̺̫̥̭͖͔͓͕̲͌̄͜h̸̡͙̫̳̫̣̺̤͓̤̽̈́̄̄̇̚e̷̗̳̤͚͗͒̃ ̵̖͙̬͎̟̪̝̦̥̮̓̑̆̂̿͒̅̽̽̔̕͝m̸͎̘̼̟̺̪̲͔̲̗̩̀̀̋̓̓͐͋á̵̧̨̡͖̩̦̙̥͈̘̺̲͓͌̄̓͗̈́̆̾͊͘ͅn̸̨̟͍̮͇̣̳̻͊t̴̫̹̝͚̫̰̻͍̥̮̳̀͂̚͜͝ͅl̸̨̡͇͈̞͍͔̼̻̗̂̔̈́͋ę̷̥͙̖̙͉̩͓̹̗̖̫̪̠̘̒̀̅̿̾̂̇̇͒̍̉́̊͊͘ ̷̧̡̺̜̞̭̜̩͕̘̺̖̬̆̈́̈́͆̚ó̷̡̧͓̥͇̥̦͉̞̤̟͚̗̦͝f̶̗̦͙̟̼̰̦̑̃́̃̍ ̸̟̼͉̿̀͒̒̈̈T̸̢̻͚̳̹̯͔͓̬̣̳͖͖̤̣̀́̕h̴̨͔̬͎̜͚̲̬̬̘̘̹̜̘̿̏̉̔͆̂̾͝ͅẹ̵̢̻̞̤͍̰̟̖̫͋͒̊̆̽͆̔̈͛̇̃͛̒͜͜͝͠ ̶͔͎͛͆͐̓̈́͠ͅẀ̸̮̬̬̖̞̠͍͕̩̞͜͠h̶̭̻̰̱̳̠͛́͋̀̀̒̇̄̎̇̿̾̒̚͜͠i̷̯̫̱͚̼͚̓t̷͇͔̏̅͂̎̓͌̌̎̊̈̂́̕̕ȩ̷̨̡̖̗͚̬͈͙͔͈͚͛́͐ ̶̛̙̠̱̭̇͋́̀́̐̔̓̄̈́̔͘ͅŘ̷̢͔̜̗̠̥͙͎̞͔̤͔̈̉̊̓ḛ̵̡̨̬̙͕͓͙̳̼̬͍͂̿͒̒̀̄̈́́̓̾̔́̓̈̚͜͜a̶̡̢̛̲̝̳̙̝͉̼͕͆̎̇̓͐͛̅̽̒͂̑p̸̡͔̤̤̙̞̲̳͕͍͛̎̾̔͊͂̔e̷̢̢̠̭͙̳̝̥̥͗̔̅̊r̷̡̨͕͔͍̝͔̯̟̘̬͖̿̉̐̄̿̕̕̚͝ͅͅͅ ̴̙̞͍͉̗̦̰̐̏͌͂͂̄̉̔̍͑̕͠͠T̶͎̠̱̫͋̈́̈́̍͒͌͑̀͜͝r̵̢͎̮̯̜͕̻̲̞̩͔̩̩̼͂͜ë̷̛̗̙́̃a̵̧̢̜̰̠̗̮̪͖͉̰̠̦̬̟̓̈́̍̈̐̃͆́͑̚͘t̶̡͚͖͈̦͉̜̹̤̯̩͂̐̄͝į̶͔̱̯̼͛̉̈́̇ͅn̸̨̛̙͕͙͇̩̑͊́̆̓͑̂̈́͗̀̎̕ĝ̵̨̢̛̛̬̫̱̱̦͍̼̲̝̻͈͍͆̈́̐̀̆̆̿͛̕͘͝͠ ̷̡̗͓̘͖̪̝͓̼̜̃̍͊̀͊̿̀͌̆Y̷̠̬̱̯̣͎̠͖̒̌̒́͂̒͐̉̒ͅo̸̢̧̢̬̟͖̗̭͇̤̹̘̾͘͜ͅư̴̧̻͖̼̌̋́̍̒͑̀͘̚͝͝?̸̧̛͖̼̱̖̏͛̒͌̔̚"

 

"You're... You're not supposed to be here!!!" The person in white said, raising her scythe in defense. "Why are you possessing the vampire of fate?"

"Ẁ̸͓ḣ̴̝̎͠y̴͔̌̅̓̑?̷̛̭̟̤̯̐̌̊̇ ̶̡͎̺̝̯͋͒͝Ỹ̶̬̩͇͂ơ̷̻̖̐͌ų̷̮̊͂̃̉̇͝ ̷͚͘͝k̷̹̥̳̊̅̎̈́̊̓ṉ̶̢̯͆̌̓ö̷͙̮̪́̆̈͠w̶̹̺͍̜̹͠ ̴̼̘̪̗̹͝ŵ̵̹̞̭ͅẖ̶̡͐̍̿̈́ÿ̸̨̥̹͕̼̊̉̉̅̃ͅ.̶̤̠̼̽̃̏̒͝ ̴̧̹̗̪͖͔̈́͂N̶̞̄́ǫ̷̙͍͉̈́͌w̷̱͘ ̶̯̹̟͓͓͔̃́h̶͙̭͚̋̅̒́͆͋ȍ̵̖̯̔ẁ̸͙̃̇͋͊̉ ̵̛͉̭̭͊̄̏à̴̤̝͙́̓̂ḇ̴̰̖̟̬̥͒̀̐o̸̢͇̗͆́́̕ú̵̲̬̇̈́̽́t̶̡̡͎̟̚ ̴͙̟͖̺͈̐ỷ̶̘̩̝̙̮́ͅo̷̝̯͎͛̅͘ǘ̶̢̳̺̭̾̄́̅͂ ̸̨̣̘̟̭̬̉l̵̗̱̱͖̦̎̈̊̽̿e̸̛̖͗̃̀̚t̵̖͙͔̄͠ ̶̣͂̋̅̎͠ͅm̸̬̖̹̊͜ȩ̸̢̛̩̞̈́̃̓͆ͅ ̶̪̬̖̂͆ţ̸̧͛͋̍̽͝ả̸̫̫̻̪̣̈́̄̊͠k̴͎̒ȅ̶̥̖̤͊́ ̴̣͊̏̍̎̒̕t̴̍ͅḩ̴̇o̷̻͖̾͒́̈̿s̷̨͖̬̝͉͆̈́͝ḙ̵̤̾́ ̶̝͙͆͆͋̑̚͝ş̵̣̭̭̹͓̑̑̿́̂͝o̵͖͈͕̓͛̀̔̕͜ù̶̩̲̈́͌̓̓͘l̸̙͔̯͉̰̆́s̵̛͍̯̻̒̈́̍̐̎ ̷̧̡̙͙̭͔́̔̕͘ŷ̸̮̯̖̠̻̹̽͗̉̈́̍ô̶̡̥̹̱͇̈́̓͂͝ů̴̞̂͗͊̕ ̷͖̣͉̈́̔ḧ̸̖͓̣̬̈́̍͠a̸̢̢̨̛̜̮̺̓v̷̢̛̌̉̀͆e̸͕͝ ̸̧̨̹̼͊́͠s̴͕͗͛̃o̵̡̪͌͑̈́̈́̽͜ ̵̳̤̎̉̓̈́͜͝y̷̢̺̠̱͕͌̾̒o̵̼̥̬͕̲͛̒̌̅ṵ̸̓̽̓͌̐ ̷̩̗̬͕̖̈́͒̒́͠w̵̧̨̡̙͕̞͂ö̵̡́̾́͋̄́ñ̸̨̮̝̗̣̓̽'̶̮̩̍̑̉̚͝͝t̶̗̀̇̔̉͠ ̴͎͋̇̄̉͂̕ȟ̴̬̼̤͇͇̦ḁ̶̡̜̱̱̗̉̀́͌͗͘v̸̜̼̬̗̐́͝é̶̜̰̘̌͐̎̀́ ̶̭̫̼͎̈́̐t̷̤̟̹̹͍̏̂͐̾̚͠o̵̧͔̲̗͊̉̍̀̾̀ ̶̧̛̜̞̭͉̀̍̈́d̶̢͙̥̞̓̚͝ę̵̨̘̟̩̀̍̽̈́͜͠a̷͙̒̈́̊͗̈̉l̶̤̝͕̊͗̽̾͐̚ ̴̜͓̦̒̊w̸͉͛̀̆̈́͂͒͜i̵̳̗͠ţ̴̲̺̱̮́̍̚h̶̰̋̌͑ͅ ̶͖̙̣͕͙̇̄̽͌͘à̶̭̞͚͕̱͔l̷̠̄ļ̵̼̎̾̈́̍͝ ̷̩̪̹̱͇̣̑t̶̼̱̬̙̅̈́͗͗h̵̙̭͐̋͑̈́͂e̷̤̳̜̔ ̷̝̜͇̂́͛̂͘͜h̵͚̩̙̥͓̙̏̓͐̅͋a̷̛̼̠̅̂͐͠r̴̨̡͖͎̗̱̓̅̂̃͂̕d̷̯͙͕́̈w̴͉̎̉͂̾̕o̴̺̎͘r̷̖̳̮̐k̴͕͔̰̓̕͜,̸̯̥̳͙̖̪̑̓̓͝ ̵̡̧̡̲́̎̔͊͜y̸̻̣͔̽̅́͆͝͠ò̷͓̗̥ų̷̃̊͝ ̴̨͍̰͖͐̎͗̊͜ͅd̶͉̪̉̎͂͗͂e̷̖̊̑̆̄̌̕s̴͈͚͉̺̽͗̏́ẹ̷͙̯̍̓̀̚̕r̶͙̫̃͜v̸͕̤̳̽ë̸̡͔͖̻̘͓́̒̆̐̎͂ ̴̦̣͒͂͋́̋͝î̷̼̄t̷̨͎͙̙̜͛̃̍̕.̸̧͔̦̦̘͗̍̍̈́͝͝"

"I refuse to listen to you, or your corrupt words!!!" The person in white said, charging at the vampire. The vampire however deflected their swing with a spear that they summoned. The spear went through the attacker's stomach and came out of their back. This caused the attacker to fall to the ground like a tree, and start to convulse. I watch in shock at how the vampire didn't even hesitate to stab them, while Reisen looked with absolute horror.

"No... Remilia... What did you just do?" Reisen asked the vampire named Remilia. "No... You're not Remilia... W-W-Who are you?" Reisen asked.

The fake Remilia looked at Reisen, with the eyes that now look to be purplish in color, slowly moving close to them, still holding the spear. "My, if it isn't the lovable rabbit, Reisen Udongein Inaba... I know a lot about you actually... How you were raised and treated horribly by many people, forced to do everyone's bidding, you even tried to k̶̲͙̈́̎͑̅i̴̱͈͔̮̪̅̊l̶̘̀͒̚̚l̷̢̞̪̞̜̘̃̏̑̾ yourself once but couldn't find the ability to do so..." The fake Remilia said. "And now here you are, living a life that still finds ways to treat you like absolute shit... You ever wonder think about wanting to make things better for yourself?"

"Stop..." Reisen said, tears welling up in their eyes.

"You ever wish you could go back in time, fix all the mistakes that were made? Get revenge on the wrong-doers? Have it so that you never had to s̴̙̎u̶̺̕f̵̞̆f̴̗̎e̶̳̍r̴̻͒?"

"I said stop..." Reisen said, trying not to shake.

The Fake Remilia walked around Reisen. "Look at you... You have lived through some of the biggest events in your life! And everyone still laughs at you! All your masters, current and previous have treated you like an object. Your so-called friends wouldn't even think about you unless it's to make fun of you. And now the one person, the ONE PERSON, you thought you could truly connect with... Is now gone simply because the universe itself... wants you to suffer. You... were born to tragedy Reisen... Do you really want to continue a life like that? Do you want to live old, die of sadness, and have your funeral be full of smiles because everyone will no longer have to deal with you? Do you really, seriously want that kind of life where you're everyone's punching bag?"

"Stop..." Reisen said, crying.

"Do you really want that kind of life?"

"No..."

"Then decide... Right now, to choose how you want to live your remaining days." The Fake Remilia said. "I can make it happen for you..."

"You... You can?" Reisen asked.

"Of course I can! I can do whatever I feel like doing! All I need is a little bit of time and whatever I want to make happen, happen. So what do you say Reisen? Would you like a second chance of proving yourself?" The Fake Remilia said, holding out her hand.

Reisen looked at it, then at the vampire. "What... What does this even mean?" Reisen asked.

"It means you're about to find out..." The Fake Remilia said, forcefully grabbing Reisen's hand. "...W̷̞͐ḧ̴́͜a̶̖͝ț̶̉ ̴̺̈́C̴̮̀ö̵̼ȑ̴̡r̸̛̥ü̴̲p̶̼̌t̷̲̂i̸̱͂ȏ̷͉n̵̹͛ ̵̱͒f̸̥̑ë̷̥́ȩ̸̑l̷͚̋s̴̺̍ ̸̲̒l̸̂ͅi̸̓ͅk̸̩͝ĕ̶͔..."

A surge of some kind of glitchy esscence moved through The Fake Remilia's arm, making it's way towards Reisen, as it begins attacking her fiercely.

"What the fuck is happening?" Reisen said, as their skin began to ripple and change its color.

The Fake Remilia began to laugh manically, while Reisen screamed in pain from what's happening to her. "Yes... Yes!!! Oh how long I waited for this moment!!! I knew that you were the p̴͉͝ë̴̘r̵̜͝f̵̗̊ë̴̫c̴̗̉t̸̫͠ target!!! And to think, I was feeling hopeless when I left it to the whims of a bunch of mindless souls and their democracy." The Fake Remilia said with air quotes. "Your mind is weak Reisen... Your soul is frail... But your power is strong, powerful...deadly even... You could make the brains of everyone around you explode if you just felt like it... And you don't... Because you can't find any reason to... But don't worry... I'll give you Ṗ̷̡L̸͇̀E̶͍̽N̶̻͂T̸̖͊Y̶̼̓ OF REASONS TO!!!" The Fake Remilia shouted loudly.

As the attack continued, Reisen screamed in pain from what was happening, as well as the shock of what was actually happening.

"Please...stop...What are you...?" Reisen begged.

"Shh...Just accept your fate and-" The Fake Remilia spoke, but was suddenly interrupted by a large flash of light, that came from Reisen's body, blasting her away by a good distance, as the Fake Remilia flew threw several bamboo stalks. Reisen kneeled on the ground, panting and exhausted. She looked at herself, seeing the glow coming from within. She looked confused, but knew that whatever it was kept her safe. But that didn't stop the Fake Remilia from coming back again, this time severely injured. Blood was pouring down her face and chest, and her left eye was half-mast, half-gone, yet still it continued to stare at Reisen.

"...How... How... Howhowhowhowhowhowhohwohowhohwohwohwohwohwowhowhforfhaewiulfgaeupfer97rweoui teofi eg itlewga̴̢̕ẅ̵́ͅé̵̮e̴̠͛i̶̭̚f̴̻͘l̷͍̂ḇ̵̉š̵̤ḋ̸͖r̷̭͘f̷̼͂b̵̢̅ė̴̘l̷̜̐f̷̫́b̵̳͘é̵̡l̸̳̂j̸̬͗g̷͎̒k̵͑ͅb̸͈̍ë̷̯́r̵͎̚i̴͈͠b̶̩̈́ą̶̍ĩ̶̯r̶̛̹f̸̹̃e̸͙͠ĩ̷̬ú̷͖û̵͜ṙ̷̟f̸͍̀b̷͙̐l̶̦̄s̵͖̐e̵̖̔- HOW THE FUCK DID YOU OBTAIN THAT POWER!?!?" The Fake Remilia screamed in a glitchy mess. "There is no way that you of all people would have such pure power!!!"

"...Junko..." Reisen said under her throat. "...She saved me..."

"Junko... Junko!? JUNKO!?!?!?" The Fake Remilia yelled, summoning a more corrupted version of the spear from before. "HOW DARE SHE DO SUCH A THING!!! GETTING IN THE WAY OF OTHER PEOPLE'S MATTERS LIKE SO!!!"

The spear was about to be thrown, but was knocked away as a circle was formed and flew down at the Fake Remilia. Above, there was a lady, wearing a black and orange kimono, her orange hair waving down as she floated above.

"Don't hurt my Reisen..." The person said. "I'll make you regret it..."

"J-Junko!!!" Reisen said. "For once I am glad you're here!!!"

"To think the one person I had to worry about would be here..." The Fake Remilia looked around, observing the area. "...So now what? You're going to punish me then? Take me to whoever declares law here in this little land of misfit youkai?"

"I was thinking of letting the red-white deal with you, since that's her job... But since you harmed Reisen, I was thinking of dealing with it myself." Junko said, as she lowered to the ground.

"Oh? And what? You're going to kill me? Go ahead, kill me like how you killed your own husband for all I care." The Fake Remilia said in a taunting voice.

"You're mocking me?" Junko asked. "Or do you truly underestimate what I'm capable of?"

"I don't care if you're capable of killing an entire army. What would you do with your power? Besides enacting revenge on some immortal lady because she killed your son...I mean if anything it's your fault for being a terrible mother."

Junko's eyes widened, and her eyes narrowed. She stepped forward, her hair floating around her as she glared at the woman. "Do you dare to say that to my face?"

"Why yes... even Chang'e would agree with me."

That did it. The Fake Remilia's words were enough to provoke Junko in unleashing a flurry of shots and light bullets. The lightbulbs burst into flame, and the bullets pierced the air, scorching it. When all the smoke cleared out, Junko and Reisen looked at what was the result of the attack... I look also, seeing that the Fake Remilia was nowhere to be found... But instead, something far worse.

"No...No...No..." Reisen said, over and over again, walking slowly, at what she was looking at. The orb, containing all the souls that were inside of Fargo... Was fractured. Reisen walked over, witnessing as all the souls have busted out, vanishing as they float into the sky. The orb vanished also, leaving not even a single trace, in front of her eyes. Reisen kneeled to the ground, her eyes still open, but letting out tears of sorrow. She didn't express any emotion, just sorrow, pure sorrow.

"Fargo... No... Fargo... No... Fargo... No... Fargo... No..." Reisen said repeatedly. "Junko... What... What did you do? Why did you do this?" Reisen asked, still in disbelief. "I...I didn't mean to..." Junko said. "I was only trying to-"

"Fargo is gone... They're gone... I... I loved them..." Reisen said, now showing more emotion, this time despair and sadness.

"I'm so sorry Reisen. I didn't know... I swear I didn't know..." Junko said.

"I'm sorry... I'm so sorry..." Reisen repeated. "Fargo... I'm sorry... I'm so so sorry..." She said, now crying with even more emotion. Junko slowly walked over, embracing Reisen, while Reisen hugged her back. "...She was right... I was born to suffer..." Reisen said. "I killed them... I killed them..."

The two just remained like that for a while longer. I could only look at what just happened. And now it all makes sense...Right? But who was that person, pretending to be someone else? And why did they say those things? The way they talked, the way the spoke... It sounded familiar... Like I heard that same form of speech from someone else.

Everything around me slowly turned dark, as I stood in a void... A void that I am all too familiar with by now. I look to see a figure, being Fargo, standing there, looking at a distance. I feel as if I should talk to them, but the last time I tried that, something grabbed me. How do I know it won't happen again? But even with that in mind. I decide to...

Chapter Text

I take my steps, hearing the echoes of my own feet in this echoing void. I walk, with both caution and bravery. I move, not looking behind me but straight ahead where the person in question is at. I continue to walk, but stop, hearing a voice echo.

'You can't help them...'

I listen to the voice. It sounds intimidating to listen to. But I ignore it and take another few steps before hearing the same echo.

'They already reached their end...'

They sound like they're trying to convince me to give up, but I won't give up. I take another few steps.

'Fate will prevail, and they cannot escape fate...'

I take more steps.

'You are not capable of saving them...'

I take some more steps.

'You are unable to save anyone...'

I... take some more steps.

'You are weak. You're only one individual against an unstoppable force...

I... take one step.

'You are useless... You are hopeless... You can't do anything... You can't even save yourself... You are not worthy of living...'

I... I...

'Give up... Give up... Give up... Give up like they did... Give up like how your friends gave up on you... Give up like how your family did...'

I don't move, I stay where I am.

'You are unable to do anything... You lack the power, the power that will never be yours... You are a failure of a human, a living being, just like them...'

I kneel to the ground.

'You should give up... You should turn back... You should accept fate...'

I... I... I...

'But you don't. You don't give up. Not like your friends. So why should you give up?'

I hear a different voice this time. It sounds more hopeful.

'You are strong, brave, powerful...'

I slowly rise to my feet.

'You have proven to be capable of facing your fears...'

I take a step.

'You have bested the biggest hurdles in your life...'

I take a few more steps.

'You have reached goals higher than what you could imagine...'

I take some more steps.

'You have achieved heights that reach the light...'

I take even more steps.

'You have people who believe in you... Your friends... Your family... Even yourself...'

I start increasing my pace.

'Keep going...'

I start running.

'Prove yourself... Prove to everyone that you can do it... Because you're braver than any shrine maiden, any magician, any maid or gardener, any rabbit or priestess... You are Tsumetai Snow... And you... Are the one who will save Fargo.'

Now I'll never know who that other voice was. But I have two people who believe in me. And that's enough. I start running even faster, hearing my own steps in this void, until I reach the person who I see.

"Fargo!!!" I shout, sprinting to them.

They turn around, surprised as I grab onto them with a tight hug. And everything turned bright...

*ERROR*

Recalibrating adjustments...

Reinstalling Prototype.exe...

22%

44%

88%

100%

Installation complete!!!

---

"Tsumetai... Wake up!!!" Satori's voice yelled.

I open my eyes slowly, seeing the light in the room that I was in shine down at me. I groan a bit, raising my head only to have it be pressed down on the pillow that it is resting on.

"Take it easy, you just woke up." Satori said. "How are you feeling?"

"I... I feel... Strange..." I say. "It felt like I was gone for a while... Wait, where's Reisen?" I ask.

"After you passed out she immediately ran to grab Eirin, but it looks like you're just fine." Satori said.

"Oh, well sorry if I made you worry." I say.

"It's okay, just-" Satori stopped. "...That voice..." She said quietly, looking up.

"Voice... What voice? Is it Marshmallow or Choco again?" I ask.

'What's this about us?'

'I don't think it was us Satori was referring to...'

I hear running slowly come from outside the room, seeing Reisen bolt into the room holding a first aid kit.

"I'm not letting another person in this room go into a coma!!!" She shouted. "Satori get out of the way I need to-"

I look at Reisen, who had a look of shock and surprise on her face, suddenly dropping the kit to the ground as it's contents scatter a bit. I see that she is staring at the bed, the one that Fargo is in. Feeling confused, I get up, looking to see what it is. I look to see Fargo... with their eyes open. They had a simple face, with brownish-reddish eyes and some bangs covering their forehead. They gave off a smile, looking around a bit, making contact me, then Satori, then the phantom halves, then Eirin when she arrived, and finally... Reisen.

"...Hey Rei... Sorry I overslept..." Fargo said in a simple tone.

Reisen only stared a bit, her eyes glowing a little but fading to be replaced with tears, flowing down her cheek. She started to express some emotion... then some more... and more... and even more... until she outright bolted toward Fargo, holding her arms out.

"FARGO!!!" Reisen shouted, hugging the other tightly. "Fargo!!! You're awake!!! You're finally awake!!! I'm so happy!!! I'm so so so so happy!!!" Reisen shouted, letting out all the tears. Fargo hugged Reisen back, letting out a few tears of their own.

"I'm back... How long has it been Rei? Days? Weeks?" Fargo asked.

"3 months, 3 days and 3 hours to be exact." Eirin said. "If this was a coincidence, then I would blame Lord Tsukuyomi for this one."

"Eirin... It's good to see you also... Satori, how has your treatment been going?" Fargo asked.

"It's been helping me a lot... It's thanks to you Fargo." Satori said with a smile.

"Hey!!! I saw Eirin and Reisen run in here... What's- Oh! Fargo!!!" The pink rabbit said, running inside to greet Fargo with a hug. "About time you woke up! I thought you were going to snooze forever!"

"Nice to see you too Tewi." Fargo said to Tewi. "It's been a while."

"Yeah, but I have to say I'm surprised to see you conscious and aware. You usually sleep through anything, even us having a conversation." Tewi said.

"Really? What do we normally talk about?" Fargo asked.

"Oh the usual... Like how you apparently proposed to me in your sleep." Tewi said with a smirk.

"I did what now?" Fargo asked with a shocked look.

"T-T-T-T-T-TEWI!!!" Reisen shouted. "Don't just lie like that!!!" She said.

Tewi just laughed right there, while everyone, including I, just look with happy smiles.

"My my... What is going on here?" Another voice said from the door. I look behind me, to witness a beautiful princess...that's slightly burnt for some reason.

"Oh, Kaguya-Hime, how was your fight with Mokou?" Eirin asked the princess named Kaguya.

"It was the same ol'. We fought, killed each other a dozen times, then talked about our day... Oh, Kaninchen, you're awake." Kaguya said in a gentle tone.

"Hey Kaguya... Um, sorry I'm a bit preoccupied by being embraced by two people in front of me." Fargo said, while being clung by both Reisen and Tewi.

"Ah... I see..." Kaguya said. "...And who are you exactly?" Kaguya asked me, who was still on the ground. I quickly raise to my feet, blushing as I properly introduce myself.

"I-I'm Tsumetai Snow... It's a pleasure to meet you." I say, while bowing. I even got Marshmallow and Choco to bow with me.

"Ah... Do you mind if I call you Snow-Chan?" Kaguya asked.

"O-Of course!!!" I say, bowing even more.

"Honestly, I'm still amazed to see you awake Fargo." Eirin said to Fargo. "I honestly thought you were a lost cause."

"Well what can I say... I literally have hundreds out there who wanted me to come back." Fargo said in a certain way as if it was implying something that almost sounds like it's referring to a very specific thing that only select people would know.

'We should celebrate this occasion!!! Who wants a party!?!?'

"The dark phantom says we should throw a party." Satori said.

"A party... That sounds like a good idea!" Kaguya said. "Snow-Chan, how would you like to join us for this occasion?"

"Well I like to. But I need to head back to-" I stopped myself, realizing that what I was going to say wouldn't matter... Because Youmu doesn't want me around. "...On second thought, I think I have time for a party." I decide.

"Alright then. We'll throw a small gathering. Inaba, go instruct the other rabbits to set up all the necessities for the party." Kaguya told Reisen and Tewi.

"On it!!!" Reisen and Tewi said, quickly leaving the room.

"Satori, I think it's time we take you to take your supplements." Eirin said.

"Okay..." Satori said, leaving the room with Eirin.

Kaguya also left the room with a smile on her face, leaving just me in here with Fargo.

"...Tsumetai..." Fargo said.

"Hm?" I look at Fargo.

"...Thank you... I really want to thank you for this..." Fargo said. "I was afraid after what happened I would remain a hollow corpse... But you somehow saved me... How did you even do it?" Fargo asked.

"...Honestly, I'm not sure... I just... did what I could've done and it worked..." I say.

'10 bucks says it was a deus ex machina.'

'I bet 20 it was plot convenience.'

"Hey, shut up you two." I tell my phantom halves.

'Sorry...' They both say in unison. Fargo laughed a bit.

"So are you a Satori or something?" Fargo asked. "Where's your eye if that's the case?"

"I'm not a Satori... I'm a Half Human Half Phantom... What are you supposed to be?"

"Oh, I'm human... Whose full name is Jugemu Jugemu Goko no Surikire Kaijarisuigyo no Suigyomatsu Unraimatsu Furaimatsu Ku Neru Tokoro ni Sumu Tokoro Yabura Koji no Bura Koji Paipo-paipo Paipo no Shuringan Shuringan no Gurindai Gurindai no Ponpokopi no Ponpokona no Chokyumei no Chosuke." Fargo said in a single breath. I was stunned by what they said.

"Um...Wow..." I say. "What kind of name is that?" I ask.

"One that only the biggest anime fans would understand." Fargo said. "So what's your story? Are you native here in Gensokyo, or are you from-"

"The outside world?" I say, finishing Fargo's sentence. "...Yeah... I originally came here after surviving a meteor strike."

"A meteor? I survived being truck-kun'd." Fargo said. "Let me guess, you met a blonde lady in purple who gave you an ability with the intention of letting you do whatever the hell you want in Gensokyo am I correct?"

"You mean Yukari?" I say. "Yeah... Wait, you met her too?"

"Why yes, we talked on many occasions. She is a strange person though."

"Oh you have no idea." I say. "...Tell me more about when you first arrived here in Gensokyo." I say, feeling more curious about Fargo's side of the story.

"Hm... Where do I even begin..." Fargo said. "Let's see... I first arrived at the human village, where I first met Reisen after helping her deliver some medicine to a few villagers..."

Fargo went ahead and explained what they did in Gensokyo. I find what they have gone through to be very wild and crazy. I nod along while sharing what I have been through. We talked for so long, that it became dark.

"...And then Tewi, for some reason, decided to try and seduce me yet again, but at that point I was too frustrated with her." Fargo explained. "So I gave her a gentle message."

"...And by that you mean you punched her didn't you?" I say.

"I think I broke her nose even. Then Eirin sedated me and that's how I narrowly avoided being disintegrated by Reimu."

"Huh... I knew that Reimu was like a strict mother... But who knew she's that brutal?" I say.

I hear the door open behind me, seeing Reisen there, now wearing a black blazer with a beige skirt. "Hey, we finished setting everything up for the party." Reisen said. "What were you two doing?"

"We were just talking about all the absolute nonsense we have gone through while living in Gensokyo... By the way, I'm quite interested in this 'Alek' person you speak of." Fargo told me.

"Alek? You mean the guy living with Sanae?" Reisen asked.

"Yeah, I visited them with Youmu. I was honestly shocked to see an old friend of me here of all places." I say.

"Huh... Have you gone to the Scarlet Devil Mansion yet?" Reisen asked.

"No... Why?" I ask.

"Well... I was planning on telling you later but-"

"Sis?"

I froze a bit, looking behind the door... seeing a familiar face. Their height was on the shorter side, and they were wearing some kind of butler's outfit, but their hair was the same as mine, and even the eyes... And that face is one I could remember more than anyone. They were holding some kind of bag full of stuff inside it.

"Sis... Is... Is that really you?" The

"K...Karuma?" I say.

"Hello!!! Knife to meet you!!!" Koishi said, suddenly appearing out of nowhere, holding a knife.

"What the?" I say.

'Oh no...'

'This may be bad...'

"No... nonononono!!! Koishi!!! Drop the knife!!! Please drop the knife!!!" Fargo shouted, panicking

"But why? It's fun to swing around!!!" Koishi said, flailing the knife all over the place.

Everyone including me started ducking and moving away from Koishi, except for Karuma.

"Karuma! Step back! It's dangerous!" I tell them.

"...don't worry sis... I know how to handle this...LET'S GO, GRAHAM!!!" Karuma shouted, and suddenly, a cloudly figure, colored like a graham cracker appeared, bearing two really big fists.

"ORA!!!" The shouted, as they let out a punch, aiming for Koishi. Koishi looked at the oncoming fist, and expressed shock.

"NANI!!!!!!!!!!!!????????" Koishi shouted, just as the fist collided with her face and-

/|
/ |__________________ ___ ___
/ | |\\ || /
| To Be Continued | | \\ || /
\ __________________||__\\||/
\ |
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Switching POVs

---

Inside of a familiar dark room, as dark as the void, a certain vampire swirled the liquid inside of her wine glass, looking up at the moon. She smiled, admiring it's beauty.

"It's beautiful isn't it..." The vampire said. "...A representation of many things... Change... Progress... Insanity...Lunacy... purity..." The vampire said, breaking her wine glass as she spoke of the last word. "Ah... I did it again... Hah... This body is really hard to muster sometimes... It looks weak... Yet it's as strong as those little ragged ones back at home..." She said to herself. "...Y'know, I like it if you can actually appear for once?"

Suddenly, a gap portal opened up, revealing a blonde lady in a purple dress. However, she also looks very different, sporting a demonic arm, a pupil free eye, and being followed by a series of dark roots that have a mind of their own. Her hair is a mess, looking like it's turning a dark black. "Sorry... I was occupied with something... Did you know that the one named Fargo is awake?" The lady asked, her voice sounding like a mixture of a goat and a very angry woman.

"No, I did not." The vampire said. "Something tells me that they were involved in that incident..."

"You mean... them? But that shouldn't be possible... They wouldn't even have access to the items needed to travel to here."

"Not unless they had help... You did take care of the dream lady did you not?" The vampire asked the gap lady.

"Of course I did. After all the ruler of dreams is no match for the empress of nightmares such as I, being the goddess and representation of fear."

"So then why did the psychic girl get away then?"

"...I-I can explain that..."

"No need... It seems that things are starting to go into plan anyway... How's Bin doing anyway? Have they found a suitable host?"

"Not yet... They seem interested in the Hell Goddess though." The Gap Lady said.

"Hecatia? Is she insane? She'll probably get torn apart by her 3 bodies before she even gets a chance to strike someone like her." The Vampire asked.

"Well she does have a habit of coming up with bad ideas..." The Gap Lady said. "What with her being the goddess and representation of insanity after all, of course she would target someone like Hecatia."

"Still, it's a good idea in theory. A host that powerful would have access to a lot of things."

"Things we need in order to achieve our goal. Such as...?"

"Hold that thought Efena." The Vampire said to the Gap Lady. "Our guest has arrived..."

The doors behind the vampire opened slowly, as a figure walked inside. They had a pair of swords around their waist, held firmly by their seaths. They have a floating phantom beside them, moving slowly with the person. Their outfit was a shade of green, but it's looking a lot more black than it should be. And the same goes for their hair, looking to be a darker color compared to what should be a shade of silver.

"Ah... Welcome Youmu... I'm glad to see that a person like you is truly loyal to someone such as I..." The Vampire said, turning around to greet Youmu. "And my my... You look dazzling with that c̷̻̯̹̩̄͒͐̈́o̶̹̦̠̘̒̿̿͜ͅr̴̨͎͖͈͆r̴̛̭͂̃̓̔u̶̡̡͕̬͉͒͑͐̚p̸̖̻͓̤̏̊́͗͊͐t̵̢̳̭̗̮͇̉̀̽͠e̴̢̖̅d̶̡̟̖͙̩͗ ̴͎̞̈͗͌̽l̶̡̛̖̺͎̫̰͗̈͌̾̀ǫ̵͓̰̰̙͊̓̾̑ô̶͖͐͂̒̋̈́k̶̢̝̜̙͍̋ you have going on." The Vampire said.

Youmu kneeled to the ground, her phantom half doing the same thing.

"I'm humble to serve you... Lady Inco." Youmu said.

The vampire smiled upon hearing that. And began to laugh.

"Hahahahaha...Ahahahahahaha!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" The Vampire laughed, revealing but a hint of their true, corrupted form, being the face of a corrupt goddess.

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

I open my eyes... And I find myself once again, in the void. The boundless, endless, infinite void. As far as my eyes are able to see, there is nothing but pitch darkness. And yet I am still able to see my own feet, my hands, my body, even the sight of my own hair when I move it back a little. Marshmallow and Choco float around me, observing the area along my side. The ground beneath me is visible, but feint by a misty fog. The sound of silence, replaced with echoing steps as I look around.

I haven't been to this place in a while. Ever since the incident that occurred a week ago, all my nights were peaceful, quiet, tranquil. But here I am again, in this vast void alone, for now at least. I think about Yukari, and how it is to be expected to see her once again. At any moment, she and her horrific appearance will pop up, then proceed to go on and on about me, Gensokyo, or my friends.

I look down at my gun, checking it once again. Since then I have taken a bit of time to actually practice with Reisen. She showed me the basics of wielding a gun, and we did some target practicing. Though with a regular gun I am still a novice, my ability lets me use this revolver in any way I want. I do wonder how I was given this ability though by Yukari. She is a very mysterious person after all, not even Fargo knows much about her.

*step*

I quickly turn around, pointing my revolver just in case it was an enemy.

"Woah! Don't shoot!" Fargo said, raising their hands up.

"Fargo?" I asked them, lowering my gun. "What are you doing here?"

"I-I could ask you the same thing." They said. "And here I thought I was all alone here."

"How long have you been here?" I asked.

"Since I just went to sleep not too long ago, you?"

"Same thing...Wait, does this mean that only dreamers can enter here?" I theorized. "That would explain a few things..."

'I'm more interested in where the gap youkai is'

'Can't wait to see what kind of makeover she's got.'

Marshmallow and Choco's voices filled my head, making me start wondering where Yukari is anyway. Normally she would show up by now.

"You're thinking the same thing aren't you?" Fargo asked me.

I nod. "...You once said that Yukari likes to visit you every time you went to sleep correct?"

"Of course... Well except the few times when I met these two university students..." Fargo said.

"Wait, university students? What did they look like?" I asked.

"Well the first one had a purple dress, a mob cap and had blonde hair... The other-"

"My my, what are you two talking about?" A voice spoke.

Fargo and turn around, both of us being familiar with that voice. And in our eyes we see a being far beyond our imagination.

The Yukari I knew had blonde hair, a purple dress, and a mob cap (must be a coincidence). But this... Her hair was all scaly and stained with some unknown substance. Her dress is all dark and torn, like it was grabbed on by branches and hooks. One of her arms was thin and red, similar to how pop culture would sometimes portray a demon. The other arm was more normal, but lacked 2 of its fingers, with a third one looking like it's barely hanging on by some veins. Down to her feet there were roots. Dark and creepy roots. The cap was now gone, replaced with a dragon headdress with sharp teeth. The eyes were red and looked dead.

"Who... What..." I was perplexed, feeling a sense of fear going down my spine. Even my phantom halves were shivering as they both get behind me. I kept my gun in my hands, hesitant to raise it. I look at Fargo, noticing the look on their face being unchanging. It was as if they were used to this sight. That or they were so terrified that their motor functions stopped working, making them stand still.

"Hm...If it isn't Tsumetai and Fargo... It's been a while hasn't it?" The person who I assume is supposed to be Yukari said. "Have you two been enjoying your time in Gensokyo?" She asked.

I tried to say something, anything, but my throat stopped itself from speaking. I chocked, unable to breathe, looking down to see a few of Yukari's roots slowly coming at me. I wanted to step back, turn around and run, but I freeze. I can feel tears starting to form up, while I try to hold them back.

"Well so far, I spent the last 3 months in a heavy-induced coma because I apparently became a reaper's target... So yeah, my time here has been fantastic." Fargo said in a very sarcastic way.

I look at them with shock, seeing their smirk at Yukari. I find myself believing that Fargo just doomed us both.

'We're doomed...'

'We're fucked.'

I expected the worst... But all I got was laughter from Yukari.

"Pfffft... Hahahahaha!!!" Yukari laughed. "Oh how I missed your humor Fargo! It really has been too long hasn't it!?" She said.

"Why yes, yes it has been Yukari. And I must say, you pull off that new style of yours amazingly. If I were Frankenstein, you'd be my bride by now." Fargo said in a more charming way.

Yukari laughed some more, while I could only stare dumbfoundedly at what Fargo is saying.

'Oh wow... I was not expecting that kind of result, let alone from Fargo.'

'It's almost as if someone told them to pick the stupidest thing to say and they went along with it.'

I get the feeling my phantom halves are onto something.

"Listen, my dear, as much as I love hearing you two banter back and forth, I came here for a reason." Yukari said to me.

I feel a sense of dread fill up my gut, as I lower my gun.

"Why are you here?" I asked her.

"Well, I'll tell you in a minute, let's just sit down first."

A table with 5 chairs popped into the area through a gap portal. There was a tea set with 3 cups and a kettle that also came with the table.

"Come now, lets make ourselves more comfortable." Yukari moved over to the table, sitting down.

"...I don't think we should trust her Fargo. We should-" I turn around to face Fargo, but they were already heading over to Yukari.

'Are they nuts?'

'I think they're just insane.'

I look at Fargo and Yukari at the table. I am hesitant to go over there, but even if I don't sit down it is not like there is anything else to do in this void.

"Hey now, I'm not gonna bite you." Yukari said as she patted the empty chair.

"Oh good, I'm glad you're not a vampire." Fargo responded.

"Oh please, I am nothing like the scarlet devil who lives at her red mansion." Yukari said.

"You mean the crybaby who acted like a brat in front of everyone?" Fargo asked.

"Huh... That's new." Yukari said. "She wasn't like that when I last met her."

"Last met her? When was that?"

"That's a secret~" Yukari said with a wink.

"...Oh okay then." Fargo said without a care.

Seeing the two of them talking like everything is normal is a bit uneasy for me. But I decided to come over there and sit down at the empty chair.

"Would you like some tea?" Yukari asked us both. "It's a special blend made by my Shikigami."

"Oh, how is Ran?" Fargo asked Yukari.

"She's doing just well, doing her duties like normal even when I'm not there." Yukari said.

"Ran?" I asked, I think I heard of that name before. I checked my pocket, seeing the card that lets me walk on air still there. I completely forgot about it since there wasn't any reason to use it.

"Tell me Tsumetai, where did you get that card?" Yukari asked me.

I look at her then back at the card. I don't entirely trust Yukari, but it's not like there's anything wrong with telling her.

Chapter Text

"I found the card when it appeared in the air. I assumed that it was you who gave it to me since it was from one of your gaps." I say.

"...Hm... And was there anything attached to this card?" Yukari asked me.

"Um... Well there was a slip that told me what the card can do." I say. "It said that the card lets me walk in the air when I hold it. I tested it out with Youmu-Ch... Youmu... And we proved that it works." I say.

"Oh, interesting... Was there a name of the sender?" Yukari asked.

"What?" I ask.

"I want to know if there was a name, a signature, something that lets you know who gave you the item. Because surely it was not me... Well maybe it was, but I sometimes forget what I send through my gaps." Yukari said.

I think for a moment before giving my answer. "It was someone named Ran Yakumo. I assumed that you are related somehow?" I ask.

Yukari gives me a look, a peculiar look, a look that seems like she just gained new knowledge.

"Huh... Well then..." Yukari took a sip of her tea. I look over at Fargo, giving them a look of concern, but they seem fine at the moment.

"Now I have another question I like to ask of you Fargo..." Yukari said to Fargo. "Who is the most important person in your life right now?"

"Reisen." Fargo said without a moment of hesitation.

"My, such a quick answer." Yukari said. "You two must be very close then."

"Yes, very." Fargo said.

"So much so that you'd do anything for her?"

"Anything." Fargo said, taking a sip of their tea.

"...Even if they start killing people?" Yukari asked.

I watch as Fargo spat tea all over Choco. I could feel the same result over my body.

'Gah! It's all over me!!!'

Fargo coughed a bit, before looking at Yukari with a bewildered look.

"A-are you nuts!? The Reisen I know would never do such a thing!" Fargo said.

"But suppose they did, would you be willing to stay by their side, help them in their goal, knowing what it is they are doing?" Yukari asked. "Are you capable of loving a killer?"

"NO! Of course not! I'd... I'd turn us in!" Fargo said, clearly annoyed. "I'd stop her from killing!"

"Ah... How quaint." Yukari said, she turned her attention back to me. "Tsumetai, I like to ask you a more... peculiar question..."

I stiffened in my seat, waiting to hear what she will ask of me.

"Suppose that a person robbed a bank, using a gun as a threat if no one obeyed. And suppose that they were able to get away with it because of the gun they used. Who is to blame: The one who used the gun...Or the one who made it in the first place?"

"I don't understand." I say.

"Lets say that the same person tried to rob the bank, only this time the gun they used didn't exist. Would they still try to rob the bank without that peculiar item?" Yukari asked.

"No."

"Yet wouldn't the person who used the nonexistent gun be to blame for the robbery if it happened even with the real gun?"

"Yes... But why are you asking me this?" I asked.

"For future reference of course." Yukari giggled.

"Future reference? What are you talking about?"

"Never mind." Yukari said, shrugging her shoulders. "I think we've talked enough for the time being. It is getting late after all."

I see her get out of her seat, walking away a bit, opening one of her gap portals and stepping inside.

"Oh... One last thing..." Yukari said, turning around as her eyes pierce at me. "Enjoy doing whatever you want for now. Eventually no one else is going to take care of you. It is up to you to take care of yourself. However you may wish to do so. Goodbye, Tsumetai. Goodbye. "

Yukari closed her portal, leaving me and Fargo alone in the void with the table and chairs still residing. I think about what Yukari just said, and the tone of her voice, feeling like there was something else she wanted to say but couldn't. I can't bang my head around it at the moment though. It'd only hurt.

I look at the table, noticing it for the first time. It's covered in tea cups, saucers, plates and a small toy bear. The bear in peculiar looked worn out, with a broken button eye and a slightly torn arm. I reach over and pick it up, inspecting it a little more.

"Why is there a bear here... Fargo do you know-" I turn around, but I don't see Fargo anymore. I look around the area, seeing no one besides myself and my phantom halves.

I look back at the bear... And I feel a cold chill run through my spine. I drop the bear, my hands feeling sweaty from fear. I look all around, seeing nothing but the endless void.

I sigh, shaking my head. "Calm down Tsumetai..." I tell myself. "You're just imagining it..." I close my eyes a bit, and open them to reveal the bear in front of me. And it now has a knife.

I shriek, taking a few steps back from the bear. I look around in panic, searching for an escape route. Maybe running will work? Maybe I can get to the table and chairs? I run around the table, making some distance away from the bear. But I blinked and the bear is in front of me again! I can see it through my eyes, the knife in its hands. It's about to slice open my throat!

I scream, turning to run in the other direction. I ran and ran, running as fast as I can to get away from the table and chairs, away from the bear. But I blinked again, and the bear was once again in front of me!!! I'm so far away from the table now, that I can't even get back to it to save myself. I was so scared that I lost all sense of reality.

I fall to my back, crawling away from the bear while keeping my eyes on it. But everytime I blink, it comes closer. "No... NO... Please get away from me!!!" I say. The bear inches closer and closer. I try to keep my eyes open but I can't, and the bear only continues to move at me. I hear a loud click, and everything gets darker.

I can't see anything, except that I'm still on my back. The bear is somewhere to my left, still staring at me with it's knife. I stare back at it, forcing my eyes to stay open, for fear that if I blink it will attack me. My breathing was rapid and hard, my chest moving up and down like I ran a marathon. While keeping my eye on the bear, I pull out my gun from my pocket, aiming at the bear with a shaky hand. I squeeze the trigger, and the shot goes off, but I don't know if it hit the bear or not. Everything gets very dark.

I hear a loud click, and I breathe a sigh of relief. And I close my eyes.

"Thank god... I'm-"

The bear appears once again in front of my face. And I scream louder than I have before.

---

Installing Second-Half.exe

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---

I open my eyes, raising my head from the comfort of my pillow. I shot straight up, looking around while my breathing tried to calm itself. I had a bit of a cold sweat across my face, and my body shook a little. But eventually, I managed to take a deep breath in and out, and I was able to look around in my room.

It was a nice room, nothing too special. It consisted of a desk by the window, a closet, and a somewhat traditional Japanese look one would see in the more rural parts of Japan. The bed I was in was also simple, but at least it was comfy enough to sleep in. My Pajamas were also comfy, especially for something that I managed to buy from the second-hand store in the human village.

I hear the door to my room open, seeing the familiar face of my little brother entering. He was also wearing pajamas similar to mine, except they were colored brown while mine were a light blue.

"Sis? You okay? Did you have a bad dream?" Kaurma asked me.

"Yeah... I think so," I told him, rubbing my forehead. "I'll tell you about it later."

"Okay..." he said, walking away from my room.

I look out at the window, getting a nice view of the snowy streets of the Human Village. It was about 5 days ago when Kaurma and I moved here after managing to buy a house with the help of Eientei. Since he used to work at the Scarlet Devil Mansion he was able to live there like he did previously, but he wanted to live with me instead and left. Now I'm the one who is working a job at a place called Geidontei, a bar that's only a couple blocks away from here. The person who hired me was a nice old man, but my senior Miyoi Okunoda showed me the ropes. As such I now have a way to make some money for both me and Kaurma.

"Nya~"

I hear the sound of a cat, as I look down beside my bed, seeing a orange and black cat with a white face and paws laying there.

"Oh, it's you again Ember." I say. "Were you watching me sleep again?" I asked the cat.

Ember meowed at me, just like a cat would. Ember arrived here the day we moved into the house. They had some kind of red ribbon around their neck that had the name "Ember" around it. I first tried to see if anyone lost their cat in the village, but when no one said they lost a cat I decided to let her live here in our house. I have no idea where she came from and I don't care.

I hop out of the bed, Ember doing the same thing, while I get ready for the day. I first took a shower, then put on my usual attire for the day. A comfortable coat, my favorite skirt, and the iconic hat. I head into the kitchen, seeing Kaurma already having made dinner. It was an entire cuisine of food, pancakes, waffles, eggs, toast, there was even lobster for some reason.

"Where did you get lobster!?" I asked Kaurma.

"Oh, Sakuya-Onee-Chan brought me some yesterday while you were at work." Kaurma said. "She was really helpful in showing me how to prep it."

"I...I see..." I say. I feel a bit jealous that someone who I barely have met was a better older sister to him than I ever was. The best I could do is make eggs and toast, and that's without help. I grab a few pieces of food, helping myself to the waffles Kaurma made, and we both sit at the dining table.

"So, how is it working at Geidontei?" Karuma asked me.

"It's quite nice. Miyoi has been very kind to me. But sometimes I feel like every mistake she made slipped my mind somehow because everything she did was too perfect." I say. "But other than that it's a decent job. I wish I could work more hours so I can earn more money but Miyoi refuses to let me work the night shift."

"If you have no problem with Miyoi, why won't she let you work the night shift?" Kaurma asked.

"I'm unsure..." I say.

'It may be possible that the night shift is much more difficult than it may seem to believe.'

'I bet she likes to throw parties at night... That or youkai come visit.'

'Now that just feels Ludicrous.'

"Sis, are you phantom halves discussing something again?" Kaurma asked me.

"Yeah. They do that a lot... Just yesterday they were having some long debate on what kind of cheese the moon would be made of." I say.

'It is still swiss in my opinion. The moon has holes, therefore it must be swiss.'

'Any kind of cheese can have holes! It's obviously parmesan!!!'

'How many times must I tell you that just because the moon is covered in dust doesn't mean it is equivalent to grated cheese!?'

'Well excuuuuuuse me princess!!!'

I sigh, hearing my own phantom halves bicker with one another. I sometimes wonder why Marshmallow and Choco talk so much.

"Should I have Graham shut them up?" Kaurma asked me, revealing their cloudy Nyuudou.

"No, don't. You know their senses are connected to mine." I say, raising my hand at my brother. "Don't worry, I'll do it."

"Okay, well, I'm going to be late so..." Kaurma said, getting up from the table.

"Wait, where are you going?" I asked Kaurma.

"Oh, I promised Sakuya-Onee-Chan I will help them buy ingredients for a meal they're preparing tonight. I don't work there anymore but I have nothing else going on so..." Kaurma said.

"You don't want to spend you day with your beloved biologically-related older sister?" I asked with a fake teary face.

"Nah, I'm good." Karuma said blunty, as they head out the door with some of their stuff.

I sulk a little, only to be comforted by Ember as they rub themselves against my leg. I pick the cat up, hearing her purr.

"They can be a handful at times, I'll give you that." I say to Ember, as she fidgets with her ears.

I sit down at the table, going for my toast. After finishing up breakfast and putting what could be used as leftovers away, I think about what I should do next. My shift isn't for sometime and I rather not be doing nothing while I wait.

Chapter Text

I remembered that there were a few books at the rental store that I wanted to check out when I first moved here to the village, now would be a good time to do that. I went out the door and onto the streets.

It was cold outside, but the weather was nice and it the streets were bustling with people. I got greeted by a few of my brand new neighbors as I walked down the road.

"Good morning!" I waved to the people, receiving waves back.

"Morning Tsumetai! How's your brother doing?" One of my neighbors asked me.

"Oh they're doing fine. They're busy helping Sakuya with her errands." I said.

"Again? Geez, you think that kid has a crush on her or something..."

"Excuse me?" I asked the man in confusion.

"Never mind." He said, walking away from me.

I giggled a bit, shaking my head. I continued down the road, seeing a couple of children making a cute little snowman shaped to be a familiar ice fairy.

"Oh, that's a cute snow fairy." I said, complimenting the snow sculpture.

"You like it? It's based off our hero figure Cirno!" The first kid said. "They once saved me from a wild bear once!"

"Yeah! One time they fended off a giant, using only their pinky!" The other kid said. "They're so cool! And strong! I hope I can be just as strong as them someday!"

The kids then flexed their arms exactly like the snow sculpture of Cirno. I find their impression of the ice fairy to be...

'Strange?'

'Bizarre?'

...I would say abnormal, but everyone has their own idols. I suppose it is to be expected.

I continued to walk down the road. I see the small shop with some sort of tea set inside by the window. I found it odd, but not enough to really bother me. I looked up, seeing the sign labeled 'Suzunaan'. I entered inside through the curtains. As I entered, I was welcomed with the feeling of warmth, and the scent of tea and books. There were piles of books lying around the store, but close to the bookshelves or by the walls. Around the center close to the wall there was a desk, covered in books, papers, and some random trinkets, with a small girl with her face deep in the open book in front of her.

"Welcome! How may I help you?" The girl said, as if she was reading.

"Ah, um, yeah. I was wondering if you had any-"

I tripped, landed on my face, as a tall pile of books landed on me.

"Ow...." I groaned in pain.

"Ah!!!" The girl said, closing her book as she hopped out of her seat and walked over to me. "A-are you okay!?" She asked with concern.

"Yeah...Yeah I think I'm fine." I said, as I stood up, the books sliding off my back. I look down at the worried girl. Her hair was a light red with twintails tied up in bells. Her outfit consisted of a checkered kimono and a yellow apron with her name "Kosuzu" and the name of the store written on the front. She also had a pair of glasses on, likely used for reading.

"I-I'm sorry! We sometimes get so many books that we run out of space to put them on our shelves!" the girl named Kosuzu said.

"It's alright, I'm not injured or anything. I had my fair share of pain before." I said with a laugh.

"O-Oh... Okay then!" Kosuzu said, quickly expressing a more delighted expression. "Anyways, is there a book you would like to rent? Perhaps some tea if you're just visiting?" She asked.

"Actually I wanted to get started in a series that someone recommended to me. I think it's written by someone named Agatha Chris Q.?" I said.

"Oh! Yes! They're an amazing author! Their mystery novels are to die for!" Kosuzu said in a very enthusiastic tone. "Let me check where we keep those..." She moved towards one of the shelves, where a bunch of unlabeled books can be seen. A minute or two later, she came back.

"Here you go, I found one of your books that are in the series you're looking for!" She said, as she handed me my book. It's cover wasn't anything too interesting, but hopefully it will be a good read when I get to it by tonight. I paid for the book, turning as I was about to leave.

However, I was greeted by someone who just entered the store.

"Yo! If it isn't Tsumetai!" Marisa said. "I figured the rumors of you moving into the village were true!"

I blush madly, seeing the girl's face. The memory of her kissing me still lingers my mind.

"O-Oh... Hey Marisa." I said in an attempted calm manner, but I was shaking and it was obvious how nervous I was.

"Oh, hey Marisa." Kosuzu said to Marisa, walking around me. "Is Reimu not with you today?" She asked.

"Nah, she's too busy helping some new kid get used to Gensokyo. We've been having a lot of new people suddenly arriving here."

"Really? Who is it?" Kosuzu asked.

"Their name is Timmy...Timmy." Marisa said.

"Timmy Timmy?"

Marisa shrugged her shoulders. "Beats me. He likes fishing and has the strength of an Oni, that's all I know at the moment."

"Oni are demons, right? So he must be one of those humans that fawn over nothing but evil." Kosuzu said with a sigh.

"Nah, Reimu said he's quite helpful with the chores, even gets along with Suika and the others great!" Marisa said.

The two continued to hold their discussion, while I slowly sneak my way out, in hopes they wouldn't notice me. Luckily, they didn't, as they kept going on, talking about who knows what. I let out a sigh, pacing down the road so I can get home and relax a bit before I have to get ready for work.

---

A few hours passed, and I am at my job at Geidontei, and it is quite busy. There is quite a large number of customers at the moment. I was one of the waitresses, along side my senior/co-worker Miyoi Okunoda. She wore a light blue shirt, a purple skirt with red and white papers on them, a styled blue apron, and a cute whale hat (I want to ask her where she got that hat sometime). Though the place isn't that big, I find myself moving all over at a constant pace.

"Hey! Where's my drink!" A customer yelled, raising their glass.

"Sorry! I'll come right over there!" Miyoi spoke back. "Here, Tsumetai, take these dishes to table 2 over there will ya." She said as she shoved 2 dishes into my already full arms.

"W-wait! I can't carry all of this at once Miyoi-senpai!" I said.

"Use your phantom halves to carry them!" Miyoi said, quickly rushing over to the impatient customer. "Thank you for waiting!"

I took a deep breath, and decided to do as she said. Marshmallow and Choco balanced the dishes on their heads.

'This is harder than it looks. You think it be easier if we had hands.'

'Well technically we can morph our bodies to be any shape we want. It just takes a lot of energy on Tsumetai's part.'

'So that explains how Youmu made her phantom half look like herself when we first met her...'

"Can you two shut up for a second, I'm trying to work here." I told my phantom halves.

"What did you just say to me young lady?" One of the customers said to my face.

"Ah! S-sorry! I wasn't referring to you..." I said with a stutter. "H-here's your order." I said, having Marshmallow place the dish on the table.

"Thank you." She said, as she sat down.

I started to turn to the next table, when a familiar face caught my eye. That being a girl wearing a brown hat, blazer and pants. It's obviously a disguise but I can tell that it is Aya. She was looking around, as if she was trying to look for anything distinctive. I swear I saw her eyes widen in a flash when they rested on me. Then, she just as quickly looked away.

I was about to walk over and ask them what they're doing here when Miyoi stepped in front of me.

"Hey, Tsumetai, I need you to go clean a spillage over at table 4 if you don't mind." She said, holding a cleaning rag in her hand.

"B-but my hands are already full Miyoi-senpai!" I said, showing all the drinks and dishes I am carrying.

"Then use your feet! I don't want to have to clean this up again! Go on, I'll cover for you!"

"But Miyoi-senpai..."

"Just do it!"

Miyoi isn't usually this agitated with me, but it is quite busy so I can understand the way she is acting right now. I have Marshmallow grab the dishes in my hand and made them and Choco resume serving the dishes and drinks. I walk over to table 4 with the cleaning rag in hand. I set the rag down and start mopping the table with all of my might.

"Hey! Is my food ready yet!?" One customer yelled.

"Where's my sake!?" Another customer spoke.

"Where's my burrito!? Where's my burrito!?" Yet another customer said, slamming on their table.

Miyoi, Marshmallow, Choco and I all worked through this rush all day long. But eventually, it started quieting down and I was able to catch a break for a few minutes.

"Hah...." I let out a long sigh. I was tired and worn out from all the yelling and serving I did.

'I wish we had more time to do this every day.'

'Yeah, it was quite the fun experience to work at a restaurant. Though I do wish the customers were more polite.'

'Well maybe next time we should just spill their drinks all over their face. Especially the Karen ones... Not even Gensokyo can keep those people away.'

I nod with my phantom halves, resting in the break room. I hear someone walk in, that being an old man wearing a plain kimono. They're the owner of this bar.

"Ah, Tsumetai. You did good today." The old man said. "I must apologize for Miyoi's behavior, she tends to get easily provoked under peer stress."

"That's okay, sir. I'll probably remember to stay calm the next time I'm in that situation."

"You should, it'll make your life much easier." He said. "So how do you feel working here?"

"I like it. It pays well and the regulars are very nice to me and Miyoi-senpai." I say. "Miyoi-senpai is also very kind to me...Well except for earlier of course." I say with a laugh.

The old man laughs also. "Well I'm glad the two of you get along. I, personally, think it was a good idea to hire you. While Miyoi can handle all the work on her own, I think it's good for her to have someone to talk to. She doesn't have many friends you know."

"Well she's always very polite and appreciative of the customers, I think she's a great waitress." I say.

"She is that's why I'm letting her work with you." He says. "You'll make a good couple."

I stare at him blankly. I'm not sure I heard him right. 'Couple'? Me and Miyoi?

"Excuse me?"

"I said the two of you would make a good couple."

"...Eh?" I said, my mind jumbling my thoughts together. "Wait wait wait... Couple!?" I said with expressed shock. "I-I just met her though! Plus we're both girls!"

"You'd be surprised how many women I met that have a relationship with another woman." The old man said with a gleam in their eye. "Believe it or not, Miyoi swings both ways."

I...

"N-no!" I say, shaking my head in denial. "We're friends! Nothing more!"

"Tsumetai? Is something wrong?" Miyoi said, sticking her head into the break room.

"Ah, Miyoi. Tsumetai here was wondering if you'd be interested in going on a date tomorrow night." The old man spoke to Miyoi.

"A date?" Miyoi asked with a confused look.

"Wait! Miyoi-senpai! No! It's not-"

"Sure, if it's with you Tsumetai I'm happy to go out with you." Miyoi said.

"...Huh?" I asked with befuddlement.

"But I must warn you, I get very hungry when I'm out on a date. Perhaps we should eat beforehand?"

I looked at the old man for an explanation, but he just smiled and nodded.

I looked around, staring at my phantom halves.

'Don't look at us. A date's a date.'

'I agree. It is good to go out with others sometime.'

It seems even my phantom halves are encouraging me.

Chapter Text

"S...Sure thing..." I said, going with the flow. "Do you want me to pick you up?" I ask.

"Actually I like it if I plan the date out for us, since you're still quite new here to the village and all. I know all the best restaurants and sceneries!" Miyoi said with a proud look on her face. "...But wait, on second thought I don't think tomorrow will work since I'll be working the night shift and-"

"Oh that reminds me!" The old man said abruptly. "I have a couple of friends I agreed to go visit so I'll be closing the bar tomorrow. You two won't have to come in that day." He said.

I can tell that he's making that up, but at this rate it's better to just go on a date with Miyoi.

"That's great!" Miyoi said.

"Hey, Miyoi-Chan!" A customer shouted from the back. "Is my drink done yet!?"

"Oop, sorry, gotta take care of that." Miyoi said. "I'm looking forward to our date!" She said as she went back to working. I immediately facepalmed myself while groaning a little. To think I'd be going out on a date.

---

A couple more hours passed and it started getting late. I finished up work for the day and made my way through the street. As I did, I noticed a flash coming through the alleyway that I was passing by, and of course, I looked to see what it was. It was a firefly.

I looked around as I caught a glimpse of the purple insect, as it took me in its glowing purple eyes before darting back into the alleyway.

"Huh? Hey, where are you-"

"Ayayayayayaya!!!" A voice yelled out, interrupting me. I look back to see Aya in her disguise greeting me with a camera flashing in my eyes.

"Ack! That's blinding!" I shout. "What are you do-"

"Well well well, so the newest citizen of the human village turns out to be none other than Tsumetai Snow. Tell me, how does it feel to be now living with half of your own kind?" Aya asked, holding a notepad, interrupting me once again.

"I...I don't know what you mean." I said. I felt a little annoyed by the questions she was asking.

"I also heard that your little brother is living with you. Is it true that they used to be a member of the Scarlet Devil Mansion as the assistant butler to Sakuya Izayoi? What do you know of their relationship? Is it a brother-sister kind? Mother-Child? Or perhaps they are more than that?" Aya asked.

"What!? Why would you say that about Kaurma!?" I asked.

"I also heard that you got a cat. Tell me, is your cat secretly a youkai? Does it have any cool powers? What do you know of the ribbon tied around it's-"

"Ask me one more question and I'll blast your feathers off." I said, threatening Aya with my gun.

"Woah there! Don't shoot the messenger!" Aya said, raising her hands a bit. "I'm just trying to gather a scoop is all."

"What did you want to know?" I asked.

"Well, uh...Nothing, really." Aya said, raising her hands again. "I was just, you know...curious."

"Curious of what?"

"A-About what happened between you and Youmu is all..." Aya said. "You two were like glue when I first met you."

I lowered my gun, letting out a sigh. "What happened between us is our own business. Don't go asking me questions about it."

"But I already tired asking Youmu about it but she-"

"Look, Youmu wants to make sure I am safe, that's why we're keeping our distance from each other. That's all. I say no more." I say, pushing Aya aside as I walk down the road.

"...Ayayaya..." Aya said to herself. "And here I thought Reimu was stubborn."

'Hey! I heard that you jackass!!!'

'You do know the tengu can't hear us.'

'That's exactly why I'm saying it! In fact... HEY!!! GO TAKE A HIKE YOU ****** ************!!!! I HOPE YOU ******* LAND ON SOMEONE'S **** AND BECOME A *****!!!'

I forcefully grab Choco by the tail as I drag them away while heading back home.

---

I made it back home after a hard day's work. It was already late so I decided to just go straight to sleep.

"Hey, you're back! I wondered where you'd went." Kaurma said, greeting me.

"Not now Kaurma, I'm tired." I told my brother as I head for my room. "I'm a bit tired from work, it was a busy day."

"Really? Aw, but Sakuya-Oneechan and I made you some delicious bread." Kaurma said.

"I'll eat it later." I say. "...By the way I'll be gone tomorrow night so don't cook for me."

"How come?"

"I'm going on a date with Miyoi-senpai."

"...You're... Going on a date?" Kaurma asked with utter bewilderment in his eyes. "The same sis, who failed to win the hearts of every single person she attempted to ask out, be it man, girl, or the in-between?"

"Hey, I'm not that bad with love." I say with a laugh.

"You once tried to persuade a man with a fish bouquet." Kaurma said. "Even though they were allergic to fish."

"Okay, that one's on me. But I assure you this time I'll be more successful."

"...Okay. I guess I can go spend more time with Sakuya-Oneechan tomorrow if you're gone." Kaurma said.

"Why do you call her that anyways?" I ask.

"Because she cared and helped me when I first arrived here in Gensokyo after believing everyone in our family was dead?" Kaurma asked.

"..." I looked at him with an uneasy look, but I didn't say anything.

"Okay, I'm going to go now." Kaurma said.

"Bye."

" 'Night."

Kaurma went to his room, while I went to mine. Since I was tired I went out like a light.

---

I open my eyes, my peripheral vision being blurred with the image of roots. I look in the area that I am in, looking like somewhere outside the village, close to the woods. I take some steps, wandering around and looking, observing. The night was quiet, the wind was still, and my own heartbeat was pounding? Why was it pounding though? Is it because I am in a dream? But dreams shouldn't be scary if you are aware that you are dreaming? Wait, is this a dream? A very bad dream? If it is, then I should try to do something about it... But what? I ponder this as I walk. I hear the thin layer of snow crunching beneath my feet, it was cold, but fluffy.

I blink a few times, as the image of some girl appeared before me. She was wearing a cute pink kimono, likely indicating she's one of the villagers. She was playing with a stick in her hand, chasing a firefly, a purple one at that. She was laughing and giggling, running down the woods. Immediately I began to worry for her safety, so I chase after her. I run through the snow, my feet trying it hard to keep up as I run. I run through the snow, my footsteps loud. I run through the snow, quickly catching up to her, before grabbing her. But my hand phases through her like a ghost.

I stepped back in shock, looking at my own hand. Am I the ghost here? Or is she? I look at the girl who continued to play with the stick, before bumping into something. She landed onto the snow, getting her kimono wet.

"Ow... That hurt..." She said. She looked up, staring at the shadowy figure. I tried to look at this figure, but it was too dark to get a clear image.

"Hello!" The girl waved to the figure. "What's your name?" She asked in a cheerful tone. The figure didn't say anything though, they just stared. But the girl didn't seem afraid, why was that?

The girl began to speak, "I'm Yuzuki. What's your name?" She said, but once again the figure didn't say anything, only stared, staring down, staring with those purple eyes of theirs.

"...Oh, are you hungry?" Yuzuki asked the figure, reaching into her pocket to pull out some candy, shaped like some spheres. "Here, it's not much but it's tasty!"

The figure still didn't say anything, but they did take the candy with their hand. When it touched Yuzuki's hand, she flinched, shivering.

"Brrrr... Your hand is cold..." Yuzuki said. "Are you lost? Is that why you're so cold?" Yuzuki said.

"...No..." The figure finally spoke.

"Aha!!! So you can speak after all!" Yuzuki said with a happy face. "Do you have home then?"

"...No..." The figure said.

"No home? But everyone should have a home to go to right? Does this mean you don't have a family?"

"...I do..." The figure said. "But they're dead... They died many, many years ago... Long before I was ever born..."

"...Um...That's..." Yuzuki didn't know what to say, while I was feeling more and more worried. "...That's okay though! I can take you to my family! They're super nice! My mommy can make the best dishes in the whole world!" The girl exaggerated by spreading their arms out wide. "Are you hungry?"

"...No..."

"Are you tired then? We have a spare room for guests?"

"...No..."

"...Do you want a place to rest?"

"...No..."

"...Then...What do you want?" Yuzuki asked the figure.

"...I want..." The figure didn't move, "I want you to shut up..."

"What?" Yuzuki asked in a worried tone, but she didn't move.

"...I...I want...To fulfill...My Master's...Wish..." The figure said, taking a step closer to Yuzuki.

"Wha... What was that?" Yuzuki asked, but she didn't move.

"My Master's wish..." The figure repeated, "Is for you to die."

"W-what?" Yuzuki asked, but she didn't move.

"You heard me..." The figure said, but Yuzuki was still frozen in fear. I watch as the figure pulled out some kind of weapon, obscured by the shadow, yet glimmering with what little light it had.

"But... But Why?" Yuzuki asked. "I-I'm just a kid... A-Are you a youkai? Are you going to eat me!?" Yuzuki asked with concern.

"I am no youkai... I am but a humble servant..." The figure said, walking closer as Yuzuki starts stepping away with each step.

"Stop... Please stop! I'll do anything! I'll be your slave! I'll go to the moon and back for you! Just don't kill me!" Yuzuki begs.

I wanted to interfere, but when I tried to step forward I felt something pull me back. I look to see some kind of root, grabbing me by the limbs. I struggle, but it's grip was too great for me to escape, all I could do was watch.

"There is nothing you can do..." The figure said. "For it is my master's wish to see your suffering."

"But... But Why!?" Yuzuki asked. "Why are you doing this!?"

"My master has great plans for the world. For I am but a humble servant, I do only as I am told. My master has a special mission that requires a special person. But in order to get them involved, they need to grab their attention first and foremost." The figure said.

Yuzuki tried to turn around, but fell over. They turn on their back, staring at the figure with teary eyes and a look of desperation.

"Please... I don't want to die... Just let me go... Please I promise I won't tell anyone I met you..." Yuzuki pleaded.

"...I refuse..." The figure said.

"W...Why?" Yuzuki asked. Just then, a sliver of light gave me a look of a small part of their face. But all I can see is the wicked smile that is plastered across.

"...Because I can."

The next thing Yuzuki knew, their skin was sliced open. They screamed in agony as their body was torn apart, their eyes crying out in pain. I watched in horror, seeing this sight.

And then-

*GASP*

I woke up from my bed. I was soaked in sweat from the nightmare I just had. I looked around in my room, looking at my lap and I saw that Ember was napping there, purring. I decide to take a deep breath in and out, before calming down once again, observing my surroundings.

"Hah... Good morning Ember..." I said to the cat. I move out of my bed, getting ready for my day when I suddenly remembered that I have a date tonight with Miyoi-senpai. I don't have work today, so I should figure out what to do in the meantime.

Chapter Text

I haven't visited Hakurei Shrine since I moved to the village. Going there will be a nice change of pace. Plus I may even be able to get some advice for what to do on a date with the residents there. I was about to head out the door, only when this happened.

"Meow..."

I look down, seeing Ember standing by the door, blocking my path. I picked them up, placing them behind me as I turn around, but Ember was standing there once again. I pick them up once more, moving them further away from the door, yet when I turn around they were back right where they shouldn't be. I began feeling confused, yet instead I picked up Ember, taking them all the way to my room, placing them down nicely on the bed, giving them a pat on the head, while slowly walking out whilst keeping eye contact with her for as long as could, before heading back to the door.

...But Ember was there, again, meowing at me. Having the feeling that they won't leave me alone like this, I decide instead to take them with me.

"Fine, you can come Ember. But I must warn you, our friends at Hakurei Shrine are a bit peculiar... Also you're not allowed to eat the inchling." I tell the cat.

"Mrrow..." Ember meowed. I laughed a bit as I open the door, leaving with Ember.

---

The walk was pleasant to say the least, though carrying Ember in my arms was a bit tiresome. She wasn't a fat cat or anything, but I don't think she enjoys being carried for too long. I walk through the snowy trail, the sound of crunching beneath my feet, while admiring the trees that surround me. It was still a bit early in the morning, so there was a bit of a chill. Good thing I have Ember with me, keeping me warm with all of her fur. I chuckle to myself, and soon enough I was at the Hakurei Shrine.

The first thing I noticed was the sight of a red-white Miko, wearing her usual outfit with a scarf wrapped around her neck with a pair of matching gloves. She was bearing a snow shovel, shoveling down the grounds with consistent effort put into it. She didn't even notice me when I approached her from behind.

"Hey Reimu, long ti-"

'Duck!!!'

I ducked quickly, avoiding the swing of the shovel by Reimu, who looked at me with malice, that turned into concern.

"Oh! It's just you Tsumetai." Reimu said. "Sorry, thought you were one of the fairies trying to mess with me." She said with a laugh.

"I-It's okay..." I say, but Ember didn't seemed to be as joyful. I could hear her growling a bit at Reimu.

"Since when did you own a cat?" Reimu asked me.

"Since I moved into the village." I say.

"Oh you are? What happened to living at Hakugyokurou?" Reimu asked.

"...I rather not talk about it." I say.

"Ah, no worries. Would you like to come inside for some tea? I'm almost done with shoveling so you can head inside first." Reimu said.

"Okay." I say. I turn towards the shrine, heading into the front entrance. Instantly I was greeted with the feeling of warmth and coziness. The shrine looks old on the outside, yet the inside is very well-kept and perfect during the winter. I walk down the hallway a bit until I arrived at the living quarters.

I see 2 figures relaxing inside of the kotatsu, one of them being Suika, having a happy look on her face as she rests her head on the table. The other however I don't recognize. They have long dark blue hair, wearing ragged clothing and sporting a big bow that is tied around their hair. They don't seem to be joyful and they look malnourished.

"Oh, hey Tsumetai." Suika said. "You come here to visit or somethin?" She asked me in a slightly drunk voice. I suppose that Suika is always drunk no matter the time of day. "And you even brought a cat too."

"Did you say cat?" The blue haired person said, raising their head at me. "I love cats... Can I pet her?" She asked.

"Um, sure." I say. I walk over, placing Ember down on the table to let her roam a bit. The blue haired girl reached her hand over. "Here kitty kitty kitty~" She said in a cute way. She had a face that looked to be extremely hopeful, full of potential joy waiting to be let out. Ember walked over to The girl's hand, sniffing it a bit, giving it a lick too. The girl looked like she wanted to let out a big smile. But unfortunately Ember walked away from her, jumping off the table and walking around the shrine.

"...Happens everytime..." The girl said. "The kitty probably sensed all my misfortune and didn't want to be associated with me." She said, looking like she wanted to cry.

"Hey, don't be so down about it." Suika said. "She'll open up to you eventually. You just gotta give it time."

"...Maybe you're right." The girl said. "...Oh, my name's Shion Yorigami." Shion introduced herself to me. "What's your name?"

"Tsumetai Snow." I say. "What were you saying about having misfortune?"

"Oh... That... Um..." Shion hesitated for a bit. "Well you see... I'm a poverty goddess, so anyone around me is bound to become poor the longer they interact with me."

"You're a goddess?" I asked. I look at them up and down, seeing what they look like. "But... You don't seem like a goddess to me. Aren't gods supposed to be almighty beings with immense beauty and power?"

Shion stared at me with a bland look on their face. "Well... In my case, I suppose that's true." She paused for a bit. "But beauty and power aren't everything. Sometimes, being happy is more important than anything else."

"Ah, that is true." I say. I turn my attention to Suika now. "Say, Suika, where's Shinmy and Aunn?"

"Oh, them?" Suika said. "Well Aunn is currently at Moriya Shrine, doing her duty as a guardian. She occasionally travels there and Myouren Temple from time to time." Suika said. "As for Shinmy, she's staying at her castle to take care of some issues that came up, but she should be back in a couple of days."

"Oh."

"Good thing she's not here right now since you brought the cat. She's actually deadly afraid of cats." Suika leaned over to me. "There was this one time when Reimu let a cat stay at the shrine for about a week. And when Shinmy got too close one day, the cat started playing with her by moving her around with their paws, as if they were a mouse. To make matters worse Shinmy ended up breaking a leg after the cat got too rough with her, so we had to take her to Eientei while Reimu took the cat to the village in hopes someone would take them in."

"Ouch." I say. "Must be hard when she's that small then." I say.

"Well she has had her fair share of pain and torment." Suika said.

"We all know how that feels..." Shion said, her stomach growling.

I hear the front door open, as a tired Reimu walked in, removing her scarf and gloves. "Whew, that took a while but I got it done." Reimu said.

"Reimu..." Shion said, quickly standing up and grabbing her by the shoulders. "I'm so hungry!!! You gotta make me something to eat!"

"Woah! Shion! We've been over this already! You can't just ask me to make food whenever your stomach growls!" Reimu said. "I don't have time to do all that! I have duties to do as a guardian and all that!"

"Make me something to eat!!!!" Shion said, shaking Reimu.

"Okay! I'll go make some tea and pull out some snacks. Geez." Reimu said in a not-so light tone.

"Yay..." Shion said with a happy smile. "I get to eat food again..."

"...Is Shion okay?" I ask Suika.

"Don't mind her. She's always like that. You can offer her a half eaten fish and she'll devour it like it's fancy lamb." Suika said.

We all sat at the table, Reimu setting out some tea and snacks. In a blink of an eye Shion grabbed a handful of snacks and shoved them inside her mouth like a chipmunk. I held back a laugh while watching her just try and chew all that food at once. Ember was given some cat food that Reimu had in stock, though I'm unsure why Reimu would have cat food if there is no cat at the shrine. Maybe cats just show up every so often? That could be it, but I wouldn't know myself since I am still new to Gensokyo.

I took a sip of some tea myself, letting it's bittersweet taste flow through my mouth. My mind felt calm like a still surface of water on a pleasant evening. The tea seemed to bring out a feeling of well being, making me feel at ease to be in this moment. Things could be worse, I suppose. But right now everything is fine and enjoyable. I take one of the snacks on the table and bite into it, before being asked a question by Suika.

"So Tsumetai, anything interesting going on with you?" Suika asked. "Bet you have some special someone down at the village eh?"

"Suika, don't tease Tsumetai like that." Reimu said, enjoying her cup of tea. "Besides, I doubt she would find someone that soon."

"Actually, I'm going on a date with Miyoi-senpai tonight." I say.

Reimu coughed a bit from her tea, but quickly composed herself while looking at me. "Miyoi? You mean the Poster Girl who works at Geidontei?" Reimu asked.

"Yeah, do you know her?"

"Oh you have no idea!" Suika said out loud. "She's the cutest, most important girl in Gensokyo. If you're lucky you'll have her as your girlfriend before too long."

"G-girlfriend!?" I say blushing.

"Yeah, I can already imagine it now: 10 years from now, you and Miyoi, running the bar together as a happy and wonderful couple. And with at least 3 kids running all over the place, sharing laughs like a family." Suika said. "Wouldn't that be neat, Tsumetai Okunoda?" Suika stated at my face. I was blushing so hard that even my phantom halves were blushing. Suika got bonked in the head by Reimu for saying that. "Ow... I deserved that..." Suika said while rubbing her head.

"Aw... I want to be Miyoi's wife... Then she'd cook for me everyday." Shion said. "Oh well, I still have Tenshi."

"Tenshi? Who's that?" I asked.

"Imagine the stereotypical rich lady who acts all sassy to everyone simply because of her title and you'd get Tenshi." Suika explained.

"Hey, don't talk about Tenshi like that." Shion said to Suika. "Sure she may be bossy to some, but she's always sweet and kind to me. She even brings me food from heaven."

"Heaven? You mean the place where people go to when they're dead?" I ask.

"No no. Heaven is the land where all the celestials live. The sky is sunny, the grass is green, and the peaches they grow there are sweeter than cake." Shion explained.

"Sweet like candy, in other words..." Suika added.

"What's a 'celestial'?" I ask.

"Don't ask." Reimu said. "I think we're getting a bit off topic here... You said you have a date with Miyoi correct? What are you going to wear?"

"...I just figured I wear my usual attire." I say.

Everyone looked at me, even Ember, with dull uninterested faces.

"Your usual attire?" Reimu asked.

"Yeah, is there something-"

"There are a million things wrong with that!" Suika said, standing up. "This isn't a get-together with another friend. This is a date! D.A.T.E!!! You gotta dress to impress! There's no way any of us are going to let you go back to the village looking like a peasant!!!"

I was a bit offended by Suika's statement, but I figured I should listen to what they have to say.

"Then what should I wear?" I ask.

Suddenly, I hear the sound of a door open below my feet, as I hear something come from out of the kotatsu. It looked like a small girl, with wings on their back, and dressed like a jester wearing the American Flag.

"Oh, hey Clownpiece." Reimu said. "What brings you up here?"

The girl named Clownpiece held her finger, signaling Reimu to wait a bit. She went down the kotatsu, pulling out what looks like an old-fashioned radio. She pressed the play button, as an anthem started playing.

"My fellow Gensokians. I has come to my attention that there is a girl in distress. For they have a date with a very important person. Now some of you may not know me, but those who do know my tale. I am not the strongest, nor am I the smartest, and I am definitely not the bravest. But I am able to listen to the people, hear their pleas and cries for help, lend an ear to the ones who need a hand. My knowledge in fashion has come from the greatest of all kind, they have taught me everything they know and I must do what I can to make them proud... To make everyone proud; fairies, humans, bnuuys, and gods alike. It is my duty to show the world that Gensokyo can pull off the greatest style a fairy like me can achieve. That if we stand united, we can accomplish anything. So put your mind at ease, my dears, and allow me to dress you in your finest. I will return with fashion advice and fashion icons, and we shall see a world transformed into a fairy paradise. God bless Gensokyo." Clownpiece said with a very, very, very, very American accent. I could swear that a bald eagle came flying with an American flag in this shrine for a second.

I was stunned. Reimu was stunned. Suika was shocked. Shion was applauding with cheers. Ember was chasing after the bald eagle that was in the room now.

'That...Was a beautiful speech...'

'Yeah... I couldn't agree more...'

---

An hour passed, Clownpiece left shortly after her speech, asking me to wait in the shrine until she arrives with some help. I don't know what this help is though. I spent the time relaxing in the shrine with Ember until then. Shion left a bit half an hour ago, and Suika was passed out on the floor after drinking from her gourd. Reimu and I didn't really talk since there wasn't anything to really talk about in the meantime. But the quiet was nice while it lasted.

However, that quickly changed when all of a sudden, a portal opened up inside the shrine, and two people walked out.

"Ah, so this is where Clownpiece wanted us to go to. I was wondering why she was being so persistent." The one with orange hair said.

"I wonder who it is that we are helping? Reimu perhaps?" The one with the weird t-shirt said.

I look at the two of them, seeing their outfits and their appearance. The first one had orange hair, wearing a black dress, and sporting a very motherly figure. The other was a girl with red hair, wearing a black t-shirt with the words "Welcome <3 Hell", a multi-colored skirt, and has 3 planet-like spheres surrounding her, with one of them being on top of her head.

Immediately I see Reimu stand up, grabbing her Gohei and drawing out a few needles from her sleeve. "What do you want?" She asked in a hostile way.

"Calm down Reimu. We're not here for any conflict. We simply wish to see what Clownpiece wanted us to help with." The red head said. "Right Junko?" She looked at the orange haired girl.

"Yes, of course Hecatia... Although if it somehow involves Reisen I wouldn't hesitate to kill you if you're going to intervene." Junko said to Reimu.

"Great. Juuuust great." Reimu said, relaxing a bit, putting the gohei back down. "Of all the people I have to see today, it's you two."

Hecatia and Junko turn their attention to me. I felt a bit frightened by the way they look at me. Especially Junko... something tells me I shouldn't be on her bad side.

"Oh, you must be the girl that Clownpiece was talking about." Hecatia said, walking up to me. "I'm Hecatia Lapislazuli, the Hell Goddess. This is Junko, a close friend of mine." Hecatia said.

"Um, hello, I-"

"Have you met Reisen before?" Junko asked me out of the blue.

"Um... what?" I asked.

"I'm asking if you have met Reisen... You must have at some point have you not?"

"Um... Yes?" I say. "I-I first met her when I was hospitalized in Eientei a week ago." I say.

"...You didn't do anything bad to her... did you?" Junko said, staring down at me as if I am worthless filth. I could feel all my instincts screaming at me to run away and flee. Even Ember who was on my lap was feeling intimidated.

'This is bad. We should go.'

'Danger alert! Danger alert!!! We got ourselves a Code Orange!!! Repeat!!1! Code Orange!!!'

"No no! Of course not! They're just a friend of mine." I say.

"...Good... You do seem to be the honest type... but I'm keeping my eye on you..." Junko said, moving back while I still remained stressed out from her breathing down my neck.

"Ahem... Anyways... Clownpiece asked us to help create an outfit for her. I won't take too long, only about an hour or two and she'll have enough time to go to her date." Hecatia said.

"...Pass..." Reimu said.

"What?" Hecatia asked. "But why?"

"You honestly think I'm just going to lend you Tsumetai for an outfit that I bet is going to look awful on her no matter how much effort you put in." Reimu said.

"Aw, don't me like that Reimu. Junko and I are experts in fashion. She even braids my hair sometimes." Hecatia said.

"Yes... I tie them up so they look like tiny little Reisens." Junko said. "Then I proceed to chant Chang'e's name so she will know that I am still here waiting to the chance to kill her."

"...Regardless the answer is no." Reimu said. "I may not know much, but I have been on dates before. I can easily find something that will fit Tsumetai."

"You? The Shrine Maiden?" Hecatia said, stifling a laugh. "Please, I bet whatever you come up with is going to expose her armpits or something."

"Hey! Don't make fun of me like that!" Reimu said. "Okay then, how about we let Tsumetai decide then. Surely she'll pick me."

"Oh really?" Hecatia said.

The two stared at me, putting me on the spot.

"Um... Well..." I hesitate to come up with a good answer. I need to choose something.

Chapter Text

"Um... I think I'll let Hecatia and Junko help me this time Reimu." I tell Reimu.

Hecatia did a fist pump in the air, Junko simply stared, while Reimu gave me a concerned yet irritated look.

"...Well it's your choien then Tsumetai. Just don't come crying to me when you end up looking like a goth moon rabbit with a mohawk." Reimu said.

I laughed at what Reimu said. "You're kidding right?" I ask her. Reimu gave me a silent stare in response. "...Right?" I ask again.

I feel a hand grab my arm, seeing Hecatia pull me along out the door. "Well don't you worry Reimu, we'll take good care of Tsumetai. Right Junko." Hecatia said.

"...Sure..." Junko said. "I'll be sure to have them look just like Reisen when we're done. I'll even purify their hair to be the right color. I'll even adjust their height, eyes, whiteness of teeth, size of their breasts, texture of their va-"

"Okay Junko, no one wanted to know about your level of knowledge on Reisen's Anatomy." Hecatia said.

Hecatia led me out of the shrine, was I was suddenly taken to a completely different location by unknown means. Likely similar to Yukari's gaps presumably. It looked like a walking closet, if said walking closet came from a Hot Topic. There were clothes, dresses, outfits all hanging with drawers and mirrors with lights and the quiet sound of common retail music one would hear when shopping. There was a full-body length 3 way mirror with a few Halloween stickers plastered on each mirror. I could get a quick look at the outfit I wear: hat, coat, skirt, shoes, that's it. I don't look too bad, but then again it is what I usually wear.

"Hm... This won't do..." Hecatia said. "Junko darling, be a dear and fetch some clothes that seem suitable for a date... And please, no bunny ears."

"Certainly..." Junko said, suddenly giving a little bow. Hecatia giggled slightly, yet still led me to a changing area.

I felt another pair of hands grab on my shoulders, looking at the mirror to see another copy of Hecatia, but this time they're more blue. I then see a third Hecatia with blonde hair appear in front of me.

"While Junko is busy finding clothes, we're going to help you with your hair. After all it be boring if it was all straight and dull." The blue Hecatia said.

"Huh? Wait, why are there 3 of you now?" I ask. "Are you all triplets or something?"

"Well... Technically..." The Red Hecaita said. "But we're more or less one soul with 3 bodies."

"It may sound confusing, but we can control 3 bodies at once. Just like how a Half-Phantom can control a human body and also a phantom one." The blonde Hecatia said.

'This sounds complicated, but it also makes sense as well. Plus having 3 bodies makes physical labor that much easier, you get everything done 3 times quicker.'

'So they're like, 3 people, but not really... Kinda makes having relationships confusing if you're dating 3 people at once. Plus what if you have kids? Whose going to bear the child? Or will all 3 bear one?'

'Those are questions that are better left unanswered until they need to be.'

'And what about going to the bathroom? Do only one of them need to go or all 3? And what about food? Sure they're a goddess but do they all feel hunger or do only one of them need to eat?'

'Again, those are questions better left unanswered.'

'Are all their senses connnected? If one feels pain do they all feel pain? If you cut the arm of one of them do they all lose an arm?'

Marshmallow and Choco went back and forth with this subject while the 3 Hecatia's led me to a chair, putting a poncho around me while one of them brings over some hair styling products.

"So, how do you like your hair miss?" The Red Hecatia asked me. "I can do many styles: Long, short, wavy, curly, pompadour, afro, pixie, braid, and so on. Which one would you think suit you best?" Hecatia asked me.

'Let's keep it short, that way we won't have to worry about our hair forming too many knots.'

'Nah, let's do something interesting like a mullet.'

'Are you nuts? This is a date, not a party.'

'Exactly, we need to give off a good first impression.'

'We're not in the 80s you know.'

'But going retro is the latest trend!'

'NO, ITS NOT!'

Marshmallow and Choco clashed at one another again with their heads, while I felt like I'm getting a headache from listening to them all the time.

"Um... I'll let you choose." I tell Hecatia. "But nothing too flashy okay?" I tell her.

"Certainly."

Hecatia begins to work her magic on my hair. First she sprays my hair with a product, followed by a dye. Then she begins to divide my hair into sections and begins to style them. First she starts with a ponytail, then she twists my hair into a circle at the end of my ponytail. Then she begins pinning my hair into place. After that she styles my hair further with combs and hair pins. The entire process took probably half an hour, yet it seems to go by faster than that.

Once my hair is finished she steps back and looks at me.

"Perfect..." She says.

I take a look at myself in the mirror. My hair was much longer now, reaching down to my back. It followed with a hair color consisting of my already snow-blue hair that blended into a dark icy blue from the ends to the root of my hair. It was nicely tied up in a braided ponytail, being maintained by the nicely decorated hair pins that are in place. I honestly look amazing.

"Oh... I never knew you were such an amazing stylist." I say to Hecatia.

"Well I have had plenty of experience practicing with Clownpiece's hair." Hecatia said with a smile.

"I'm back." Junko said, walking in with a pile of clothes in her hands. She place them down on the floor.

"Fantastic, look what I did with Tsumetai's hair!" Hecatia said, presenting me.

"...You should've dyed it purple, like Reisen's." Junko said.

"You always say that Junko." Hecatia said with a disappointed look. "Anyways, let's go put on some outfits!"

I spent another half hour trying on various outfits and dresses. I went from casual styles like jeans or flannel shirts to more fancy and formal outfits all the way to the more bizarre stuff that definitely belongs in a hot topic store.

Soon I found the perfect outfit, a navy blue cotton dress with white polka dots.

"That's perfect." I tell Hecatia.

"I love it too." Hecatia said. "What do you think Junko?"

"...You should've gone for Reisen's outfit." Junko said.

"...Honestly, sometimes I wonder if your entire life revolves around Reisen." Hecatia said.

"Of course not. It also revolves around my eternal hatred for Chang'e, and how she is responsible for the death of my son after seducing my bastard of a husband into killing him." Junko said in a monotone way.

"Wait, what did you-" I ask.

"Let's go do your makeup shall we!?" Hecatia said in a quick tone, pushing me back to the styling chair where she proceeded to do my makeup.

It didn't take too long. She went and added some powder on my face, then some mascara, lip gloss, and a few other things. I usually don't do my own makeup since I typically don't find it necessary. But it still felt nice when I was presented with the final look of my appearance.

"Wow, even I'm impressed with how well I did." Hecatia said, high-fiving her other 2 bodies. Junko walked over to me, giving me a stare with those eyes of hers. They weren't fearful, but there was a sense of emptiness inside of them, like there was something missing.

"...You're alright." Junko said. "But you'll never be able to compare to Reisen's lavishing skin." She said, turning around. I look back at Hecatia, who gave me an awkward smile.

"T-that means she loves it!" She said in a non-convincing way.

---

I was back at the village. I was dropped off here by Hecatia after adding some final touches to my appearance. I was waiting by Geidontei, looking at all the other people passing by me. It was starting to get dark, but still bright enough to see all the villagers having fun. There were children playing tag, a couple sitting by one of the benches, and a group of some jolly old men walking out of the bar, laughing and leaning against one another.

It's stuff like this that makes me think about how lonely I was when I first came into this land. Sure, I had Youmu who helped me, but...

"Tsumetai, I-I'm ready." A familiar voice said.

I turn to my right, astonished by what Miyoi was wearing.

She was in a green dress with various golden decorations on it. A golden belt decorated with elephants, moons, and stars was tied around her waist. Both of her arms were covered with golden bands with a golden dragon head on it, being held in place by a dark blue sash. Her hair was also beautifully decorated with golden combs and flowers.

A thought came into my mind.

"You look so pretty, Miyoi-senpai." I said. It was true.

"A-are you s-s-s-sure?" Miyoi asked me. "I-I didn't know what else to wear. And the regulars gave me this dress out of generosity. B-but I thought it was a bit too much for this kind of date and-" Miyoi said.

"I know what I said." I tell Miyoi, holding her hands as I look at her in the eyes. "C'mon, let's go enjoy our date shall we?" I said with some confidence.

Miyoi looked back at me, blushing a little before responding with a smile in return. "...Yes!" She said. "Let's!"

Miyoi and I proceeded to go on our date. We first went to a restaurant that is generally open in the evening and got food there. I underestimated how much Miyoi could eat because she ate so much food, I thought she was Yuyuko for a moment. But we continued to eat until we were full.

We then went to a park around the village, walking around the snowy fields as we approached a large tree with a swing.

"I've wanted to swing on one of these things ever since I was little." I said.

"I've wanted to do it too!" Miyoi said, sitting on the swings. "C'mon, push me!" She said.

I went around her, pushing her gently, but gradually pushing her more and more, but not too much. She was swinging back and forth, showing off a smile of genuine happiness, before letting go and jumping off, landing on her feet without flaw. She turned back to me, still showing that same happy look.

"Your Turn!"

I got on the swing myself, letting myself be pushed by Miyoi, looking up at the sky, noticing how it is now fading into a dark blue compared to the sunset orange from before. It was starting to get dark quickly.

"The stars are popping in and out of view as the sky is changing colors." I said.

Miyoi laughed. "Yeah, I noticed that too."

And it appeared so. I jumped off the swing myself, landing not-so perfectly.

"Wah! Are you okay Tsumetai!" Miyoi asked me, running over.

I was looking at the ground, feeling all the snow when an idea came to my head.

"You're not hurt are you?" She asked me again.

I took that chance and formed a quick snowball, tossing it at her. It hit her on her face, making her stumble back a bit.

"Oh, it's on now!" She said in a cheerful way. She started making her own snowballs, throwing them back at me. We had our own little snowball fight in this park, laughing while feeling the coldness from our playing.

After we were done playing around, we went to a bridge that was nearby and sat next to each other. We sat there, just talking for a bit. We were talking about the people we knew, specifically about Hakurei Shrine and it's residents.

"...And there was this one time when Shinmy was so drunk, she thought that one of Alice's dolls was another inchling and proceeded to make out with it." Miyoi said.

"No way!" I said. "She really did that!?"

"Yeah, and the strangest part is that it was consentual! Oh, and then there was this time when Reimu's house got flooded with Aya's papers after she accidentally made one too many. Reimu of course tried to just burn them all, but that led to her house almost burning down in the process. Good thing Nitori was there to prevent that." Miyoi said.

I laugh a bit, imagining some of the nonsense that Reimu has to go through everyday. "Reimu sure has it rough. From what I can gather, she's kinda like a mother raising 3 kids."

Miyoi laughed at what I said, but that laughter quickly faded as she looked in front of her, staring at the stream below the bridge.

"...What's wrong Miyoi-senpai?" I asked her.

"...Nothing... It's just... Sometimes I think about what I have been doing all my life." Miyoi said. "...I mean sure, I'm happy. I work as a Poster Girl, I have someone who I can look up to, I have many customers who love me and appreciate my hard work, I have friends who I talk to, I have people I can rely on... But sometimes, I think... Am I actually happy with the way my life is right now?"

"...What do you mean?" I ask.

"...I wasn't always this upbeat or cheerful... There was actually a time when I purposefully avoided people. Whenever someone tried to talk to me, I evade them and hope they forget about me. I was always afraid that if they knew me, they would grow to hate me. I was always afraid of that growing love and appreciation of myself, but it kept on growing and I couldn't stop it. After a while, I tried to become as distant from people as possible. I only hung out with people when I had to, so I wouldn't grow too fond of them. And when I felt like they were getting too close, I would wipe their memories of me." Miyoi said, waving her hand in front of her, letting out a sigh afterwards. "...It wasn't until I met Reimu and the others that I was able to come out of my shell a bit more, gaining a new sense of enjoyment from appreciating the world around me and all the people that exist. But, there always was that part of me, that sense of worry and fear that I would wake up one day, being alone again. I tried to stop it, I tried to push it down, I tried to just be happy with who I was, but there was always that nagging voice in the back of my head, that kept on repeating that I would wake up and I would be alone again if I didn't watch out."

I look at Miyoi's face, seeing the once cheerful girl now replaced with a conflicting one. She looked like she wanted to cry a little, but was holding herself back for the sake of doing so.

"...I don't want to go back to how I was, please."

"...Yeah... I know how you feel..."

Miyoi seemed to deflate at my response. "...That's a bit cliché to say don't you think?"

"Yes, but it's true." I say, laughing a bit. "...I was afraid when I first arrived here. I thought I was truly alone, without anyone to rely on but myself... Youmu was there, but I never truly felt like a citizen of Gensokyo at the time... I just felt like a guest that overstayed their welcome. But after realizing I wasn't the only person not from here, I started feeling not as down about it. It took me a while, but I think I finally found my place within this land."

Miyoi seemed to be thinking over my words. "...You ever wish you could go back to the way things were?"

"...I do." I say. "...But I know I can't... This is the life I have now... And I'm happy that I'm living it. I couldn't imagine myself doing anything else right now."

"I know." Miyoi said, shaking her head. "...I just hope I get to see this lifestyle continue for a lot longer..."

I look at Miyoi, pulling her in for a hug. "Thank you Miyoi-senpai." I tell her. "I'm glad I was able to go out with you tonight."

Miyoi smiles at me in response. "Thank you. I'm glad I was able to share this with you."

We hug for a bit, and I feel my stress and worries subside.

I look over her shoulder, suddenly feeling all that carelessness inside of me stop in an instant, as I look at the ground, seeing a small, worn-out teddy bear, lying there, holding a bloody knife in it's hands.

I push Miyoi back a bit, blinking before looking back at where the teddy bear was, with it suddenly gone.

"Tsumetai? Are you alright?" Miyoi asked me.

I thought I was seeing things for a second, but how do I know I was? A level of uneasiness flowed through my thoughts, my anxiety going up a bit. But I'm on a date with Miyoi right now, I don't want to ruin it because of a possible illusion. I need to know what to say.

Chapter Text

I do not know why... But a really, really bad idea just came to my head. But it's the only one I got... I stand on the bench with one leg, the other on the ground, as I unleash my inner shakespeare. And just as I started to speak, a rabbit appeared suddenly, singing dramatically.

"Look at them. They come to this place when they know they are not pure. Tenno use the keys, but they are mere trespassers. Only I, Vor, know the true power of the Void. I was cut in half, destroyed, but through its Janus Key, the Void called to me. It brought me here and here I was reborn. We cannot blame these creatures, they are being led by a false prophet, an impostor who knows not the secrets of the Void. Behold the Tenno, come to scavenge and desecrate this sacred realm. My brothers, did I not tell of this day? Did I not prophesize this moment? Now, I will stop them. Now I am changed, reborn through the energy of the Janus Key. Forever bound to the Void. Let it be known, if the Tenno want true salvation, they will lay down their arms, and wait for the baptism of my Janus key. It is time. I will teach these trespassers the redemptive power of my Janus key. They will learn its simple truth. The Tenno are lost, and they will resist. But I, Vor, will cleanse this place of their impurity."

The rabbit seems to look at me for a moment, before nodding. It is now singing even more dramatically, whilst I continue to speak.

"He who would become a true Tenno must pass three tests. In Alley of the Blind, I will show you my Janus Key. In the name of Void, you must break it. Then, in the name of Void, you must fix it. And if you wish to earn the gift of salvation, in the name of Void, you must sacrifice your life to feed my hunger. I will not wait long. This time, I will not wait long." I said, grasping Miyoi's hands tightly with certainty, staring into her eyes.

"...Tsumetai, what are you going on-" Miyoi asked.

I interrupted Miyoi by pulling her in for a deep kiss, just as the rabbit hits the most dramatic part of the song they are singing, loudly.

Loud enough for the wolf tengu across the mountain to hear and howl in unison, believing it to be one of their own.

Causing the crow tengu to go berserk, trying to calm everyone down but the commotion was too much.

Leading to the Kappa, who were so busy at work trying to build another dam for Moriya Shrine only for it to be twarted by the tengu, causing the entire thing to collapse.

Resulting in the likes of Sanae to get sad, watching everything her two goddesses worked for to suddenly crumble down in an instant.

Angering Kanako and Suwako, who used their powers simultaneously to cause a storm so big, lightning set the mountain on fire.

Alerting the attention of a peculiar shrine maiden...And even a certain pair who were getting a sense of Deja vu at the moment.

And then, the song ended, as my lips parted from Miyoi's. She looked at me, with those glimmering eyes of hers, those sweet lips, and cheeks as red as a peach.

And then I suddenly came to the realization of what I just did, and began to panic on the spot.

"What-what did you do, Tsumetai?" Miyoi asked, with a bit of dismay.

"Um... I-I-I-I-I-I don't know." I say, letting go of her as I step back a bit. "I-I just went with the flow is all and..."

"T...That was my first kiss you just took." Miyoi said quietly, barely loud enough for me to hear.

My heart skipped a beat.

"Your-your first kiss?!"

"Yes."

I was astounded by this information.

'Woooo yeah!!!! We took her first time! Let's reach for second base next!!!'

'Calm down you, can't you see that Tsumetai is trying to comprehend the situation? We shouldn't try and startle her anymore.'

'Are you kidding? This calls for a celebration!!! Let's dance!!!'

While Choco was dancing, I was just trying to keep myself calm while looking at Miyoi, who was now sitting back on the bench, contemplating life. I wanted to say something, anything to break the silence.

"Um... Miyoi-senpai..." I began. "...I didn't know that was your first kiss." I said in an awkward tone. "...Are you mad?"

"...No...I'm not Tsumetai..." Miyoi said, not looking at me but forward. "...I never really but much thought into who I would give my first kiss to anyway...But it still felt like something was taken away from me."

"...I know how that feels." I say. The two of us remain silent on the bench, looking over at the nightly stream flowing below the bridge we are on.

'Wow, now this feels a lot more awkward than it actually did.'

The silence persisted for a few moments longer before I speak again.

"So uh...I guess we should do this again sometime?"

"..."

"...Um...Miyoi-senpai?" I asked her.

"...I'm sorry Tsumetai..." She said, hanging her head low. "I have to be honest... I was planning on wiping your memory after this whole night."

"What?" I gasped. "Why would you want to do that?!"

"I..." she trailed off with a bit of uncertainty. "I am afraid of pursuing a relationship..."

"Afraid? How are you afraid?" I ask.

"...I fear of getting to close to someone... I worry that if something were to happen, I could not bear it... That's why I thought about wiping your memory after the date, so we can go back to being friends like nothing ever happened..." Miyoi explained.

"But..." I was at a loss for words.

Miyoi seemed to gain a bit of confidence at my silence and continued on.

"Tsumetai, there are a lot of people out there, many better than me. I'm just a poster girl who works at a bar... I don't want you to feel bound to me because of that." Miyoi said with a sad smile on her face as she looked at me. "...I want you to go out there and be happy... I want you to find someone you love and fall in love with, and for you to have a great life even though I am not a part of it."

"...What are you saying?" I asked with slightly teary eyes. "Miyoi-senpai... Don't just say such a selfish thing."

"...I'm just doing what's best for you... If I pursue a relationship with you, I would be letting you down."

"It's...It's not fair..." I say. "I don't want to forget such a pleasant memory of us spending time together." I say, now with tears rolling down my cheeks. "I want to keep it!"

"I'm sorry, Tsumetai."

"But...!"

"Tsumetai..." She says in a lower voice. "Please... Just let me do this..." She said, pressing her forehead gently onto mine. "I love you... But I don't know if I'll ever be able to love someone that much... Please, let me love you as a friend?... I promise you, I won't let anything happen to you. I promise."

"I...I trust you."

"I love you Tsumetai. I want to be with you. But you're better off finding someone who you can truly love."

"...I love you too Miyoi-senpai." I say, Miyoi kissing me on the forehead as I find my consciousness fading away.

---

I open my eyes, looking around, I notice that I am not in the void. But I see that it's...

The area around me was bright and colorful, the sky blue and the trees green, the sight of the mountains closely stood tall and mighty, while the image of flowers of different colors rested around where my feet stand.

I was back in the real world, in the woods.

"...I'm...I'm back..." I tell myself. "...But this is another dream isn't it?" I tell myself, knowing that it must be so.

"Hey!!! Wait up!!!" I hear a childish voice shout behind me. I turn around, seeing what looks like a younger version of myself, running away from a familiar kid I know, being Alek when he was younger.

"Geez! Tsumetai, why do you always run so fast like that!" The younger Alek asked the Younger me.

"C'mon slowpoke! You'll never catch me if you run like a sloth!" The younger me said, laughing.

"Oh it's on now!!!" Alek said, increasing his pace, causing young me to start run faster, laughing harder while doing so.

I viewed myself as the younger me, running fast through the flowery field, scattering the petals beneath my feet, soon running up to a tree, climbing it with quick speed. Alek on the other hand tried to climb up but they were unable to get to me.

"Hey! I'm up here!" I say. "Aren't you going to catch me Alek?" I say in a mocking tone.

"Shut up!!! You're the one cheating by climbing a tree!" Alek said with an agitated voice.

"Well it's not my fault you can't climb trees yourself dummy!" I say.

"Tsumetai!" Alek said through his clenched teeth, now at the base of the tree.

I'm still at the top of the tree, laughing at the expression on his face.

"Oh look, this time I didn't even get you! Well done!" I laugh.

"You little brat! You're going to be in so much trouble when mom finds out about this!"

"Hey, don't be a poor loser!" I say. "Nobody likes a poor- Ack!!!" I scream, losing my grip on the tree branch as I fell down.

"Ah! Tsumetai!" Alek said, quickly running over and catching me last minute with his body. "...Ow..." He said, me sitting on him.

"Ah! Alek! Are you okay!?" I ask, feeling worried he broke a bone. "Do you need a bandaid or something?" I say.

"...No...I just need one thing right now..." Alek said in a weak tone.

"And that is?" I ask.

"...To use this opportunity to catch you!" Alek said, grabbing me around the waist.

"Ah! You tricked me!!!" I say. "That's not fair!"

"Oh yeah? Then how about this!?" Alek said, suddenly tickling my sides intensely, I began laughing like a hyena, struggling to pull him away from me.

"Please don't tickle!!!" I say, my voice cracking.

"Fine! Fine! I'll never tickle you again!" Alek says, letting go. "...But you owe me."

"What? I don't owe you anything." I say.

"Yes you do." Alek said.

"No I don't."

"Yes, you do."

"NO, I DON'T."

"Yes!"

"No!"

"YES!!!"

"NO!!!"

We went back and forth until we end up wrestling each other on the ground, until eventually tiring ourselves out as we both lay on the flowers, staring up at the sky.

"...Why were we fighting again?" I ask Alek.

"...Because you were cheating?" Alek said.

"...No, I don't think that's it..." I say.

"...Someway, I'll climb trees like you do, and then I'll beat you in climbing anything... Maybe I'll even become a professional rock climber." Alek said.

"A rock climber? So what, you're going to climb Mount Everest?" I say jokingly.

"Yeah. I'll climb that mountain and all the mountains of the world!" Alek said, sitting up. "I'll even climb the mountain we live on! And then do it all over again with one hand!"

I laugh a little bit this time. "Well if you ever become a rock climber, be sure to send pictures okay?"

"...Sure." Alek said. "And once I climb all the rocks of the world, I'll... I'll come back and marry you!" He shouted.

"M...Marry!?" I say, blushing while laughing. "Then I accept! You better climb all those rocks!"

The two of us laugh a bit before calming down once again as we looked at each other. "...What about you Tsumetai, what are you going to do?" Alek asked.

"...Me?" I say.

"Yeah...You got any dreams you wanna pursue?" Alek asked.

"...Well...There was this one dream I had." I began.

"And that is?" Alek said, leaning over towards my face.

"It's-"

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Chapter Text

So... You've made your choice...

It was a close one also... Almost had another tie...

Suppose there was a tie though... What would have happened? Would the two paths merge? Would a third choice be made? Would nothing happen at all?

These are the things that many of us would question when it comes to the choices we make...

Now, suppose that every single little choice that we have made so far, whether it is direct or not, determines our future... No matter what it may be it could be the one that decides the day we die.

For example, suppose that by eating ice cream tomorrow over today will be what stalls the future heart attack by an extra day. Suppose that by deciding whether to go to the left or right path today, we decide which path we will take.

Suppose that by choosing today to go to the left path, we will avoid stepping on the nail that gives us tetanus. Suppose by choosing right, we face our romantic interest sharing a passionate moment with their lover... And then we immediately wish we stepped on the nail because our poor little hearts could not bear such a sight. This is a scenario that would play out, if the choices we've made so far determine our future...

But what does one know about the future anyway? Where does it lead to? Is it truly a set path planned from the very beginning, or does the universe simply make it up as it goes?

There are many who believe that these are two separate paths, and that each one is simply the present moment running in a loop until the end of time. They believe that the choices we make are simply what we perceive as the future, and that what we perceive as our past is just the present moment looping back on itself.

Others, like myself, believe that the future and the past are one and the same. They believe that what we perceive as the future is merely our own interpretation of what's occurring in the past. And as such, we may be bound to repeat it. Over and over again... Until we come to the realization that everything we have worked for... The memories we have made... The choices we picked... The friends and families we cherished...

It doesn't matter.

It never has, never will.

...

Oh, was I a bit too harsh there?

...

Well...

W̸̛̠̯̞̮̘͒́́̈́̌̂̅̑̄̾̃́H̴̟̲͊̑̔̀̓̑͘À̷̠͙͉̾͐͋̐̌͗͘͝T̶̛͙̜̠̰̅̾̅́̓̆̍͐̅͛̑ ̸̢͕̳̦̮̪̙̔̋̂̇̒̂̈́̽͑̕͘͝͝͠͠T̵̟̫̐͒̈̒̕͝ͅḦ̷̜̳̺̋̍̀͐̒Ȩ̴̧̤̜̤̝̝̰̜̤͕̖̜̄̀̾̅̎̇͌́̈́̂ͅ ̸̛̲̼͍̯̖͚̫͎͎͍̹̰͋̑͂̂̋̇͝ͅF̸̺̍͒͂̓͒̇̈́͠Ṳ̶͌̃̌͂͋̈́̌̄̀̋͂̊̔̽̕C̸̠͍̺͔̙̗̲̟̲̫͈͕̀͜K̷͓̩̲̖̩̳̲̲̝̱̰̫̥̪̞̔ ̴͈͋͆̇̌D̸̻̩̰̾͊̕I̴̛͕̬̒͋̂̈́͗̇̐̈͆̉́̄D̷̢̩̹̔̏͂́̆͝ ̸̼̭̪̺̹͒̋͛͂̾̾͛͌͘͝͝Ỹ̴̛͎̦̘̍̐̀̏̇̅̾͘̚͠Ò̴̢͕̥̮̳̦̠̼̬̲͓̠̫͈͉̒̏̐̓̀Ų̴̬̼͇̖͓͙͂̂̽̉͊̆̌̃̑̚̚͠͝ ̶̢̢̘̯̔̈́͂̀͂̽̎̂͒̕̕͘͝Ȩ̶̡̢̯̫̻͚̘͎̠͚̘͖̰̉̿̿̆̏̚̕͘͜͝X̴̛̪̰̿̈̓̑͑̄͒͋͠͠P̵̜̮̱̻͔̞͕̯̫̲̭̄̃́͋̉̌̆͛̅͠E̸̢̡̛̖̩̯̒̈́C̸̨̗̭̝̦̳̼͂̃̾͆̽̓̕͝T̴̨̗̗͉͉̀̓̉̐͌́͊̃ ̵̢̝̼̹͖̥̥̬̗̻͔̪͇̑̄̊̊F̸̨̱͈̮͐̒̈́̔̎R̶͓̼͈͎͖̄͊̄͌͐̀̆̒͐͆͛͠͝O̸̧̘̞̼̹͈͈͕̺̱̺̙̿̈́M̷̡̫͔͉̞̭͚̹͗́͂͊͜͜ ̴̹̺̂͒͑̅̊̃̇̆̀̔̇̉̋T̷̨̢͕͔̻̪̪͓̰̂͆̄͋͌̈́̾͆̿̚̚͝H̴̯̜̪͔̏̐͐̐̿̈̄̃̓̽̀̕͜͠͝E̵̫̊̇̈́̾̀͋̍͋̈́̌͂͛͠͝͠ ̵̣̘̠̪̺̪̰̰̥̰̟̭͖͒̋̀͜͠ͅĘ̶̨̥͙̺̣̮̰͎̗̦̑̒͛̈́̑̍͋̐͒̐ͅM̵͚̮̙̩̮̳̂̏͂̌B̵̩͖̰̖͍̩̣̠͊͛̂O̵̧̫͎͇̜̹̪͑͋́̏͐͐̉́́͊̚D̴͇̟͓͎̖̰́̅̂̀̒̂̽̄̆͋I̴̬̮̘͇͇̊̆̓͊̕̕͝M̷̛͈̖̥̤̎́̐͛̋̽̚̚ͅE̷̖̪͋̊̚Ń̷̫̰̥̉͆̑̏̄T̸̢̢̛̜͔̣͔̱̩͎̥̼̦͗̀́̎͑̄͘͜ ̵̡̡̧͔̪̱͔̗̜͙͉̘̖̾͌́͐̓̔ͅƠ̵̢̳̽̑̿̈́͂͒̄F̷̛͖̰̳͔̯͐͑͊̄ ̶͍͕̾̆́̽̇̊̋͋͜ͅͅC̵̫̭̻̀͆̅͒̈́́̎̀̓͂͋̊͊͝ͅƠ̴̡̥̹͚̮̦̯̺͇̲̙͋̐͛́́̓̕͝Ř̶̬̣̳̩̩̖̤̌̈̈́̅͗̍̆̌̉͑̅̊͗͌Ȑ̴̥̹̺̞͇̜̘̙̝̯͕̃̇̓̔̉͐̂̌̂͆̏͝͝Ư̸͙͚͎̼͆̓̀̉͌̿̓͑͌̒̅̾͝͠P̵̢̲̗͈̤̙̠̖̤̖̊́̚͜Ţ̸̛̛̬̟̗͈̦̩͇̮̤̫̬̠̒̒̅̊͋̋͛̈͐̀̈͘I̶̗͍̯̥̰̯͉̯͍̣̱͑͒͜ͅÖ̴͇́̃̀̈̋̌̏͛͘N̵̟̼̗̙̻̳͑̋͋̎̌͠ ̴̢̨̪̣̙͍̖͚̲̰̔̈̉́̓̏̔̾̒̑͊̚̕̚͠Ḩ̶͔̟̲̜̟̟̄ͅĘ̸̟̗͌R̵̡̧̜̙̪̲̰̺̘̣͈͕̺͌̅̋͂͑͗̅̈̌̍̚̚͝͝ͅS̶̝̥̰̘̩̅͊̿́͂̉̔͋̐͝Ë̴̜̯̗̥͉͖͙͈̈́̅̉͠L̶̨̯͍͍̗̗̪̬̄̓͑̊͂̅ͅͅͅF̵͚̯͚͇̩̘̮̘̉̄̂̈́̀̄́͌̂̑͠!̷͚͍̙̲͈͔̩̭̥̫̻͇̩̒̅̒͐̋͂̔͋̍̾̌́̆?̷̬͓̣̱̤͎͐͑͌̿̊̿̽̋̌͐́͝!̷̨̢̢̛̪̩̜͎͓̹̭̼̤̣̦̠͋̃̔͑͒͆͋?̴͚̐̓̿͊̿̌̽̇̃̌̈͘̕͠!̶̢̛̛͉̲͈̣̀̔͐̍̽͐̃̌̈̚?̷̧̧̭̲͙̔͘!̸̠͇̭͙̠̐͋̏͐͘?̴̢̛̜͕̬̲̮͚̺̥̠̯̙͇͊̎̂̀͐͆͛͛̉̒͆͜ͅ!̷̢̺̝̘͕̠̘̊̾̐?̸̤̱̪̣̠̬̑́͆͂̄̆͑̽̑̽͘̚͠͝!̷̱̰̳͇̜̋̐́?̶̡̡͖̭̗̱̱̮̥̌́͆̆́̚͠!̶̢̛̖̼̠͍̣͙̪?̵̨̧̬̙͚͓͒̋̋̋̽͘͜!̶͉͕̝͇̲̘͎̽͆̓͆̉͂̅̀̐̈̽͘?̴̦̩̖͎̋̃̇̍̅͌̃͠͝!̸͔̫̀͛̌̊͠?̷̨̧͉̹̠̣̩̋͊͒̓͜1̵̨̥̮͇̥͖̜̟͙̝̫̻̦͋̾̈́̌͗̔̿̋̃̔̾̉̈́͐̄͜/̷̺̱̯̟̲̦͖̙̑͝ͅ/̶͖͕͕͛̓̕1̵̪͉͉͎̭̂̍͒͛̌̏̌̒/̷̥̟̲̗͔͚̺̻͈̊̅͆̅́͛͗̍̑̋̉͌̓́͘͜1̶͈̹͈͊̎̿̈́͆̓̌̆̈́̕/̵̨̨̧̛̼̈͗̄́́̈̌̽̿̇̚̚͝͠1̴̳̩͇̮͈̫͔̜̘̀̉̆̆̈/̶̡̧̧̢̞͎̠̤̳̩̰̳̦̋̔̒̆̾̕̚ͅ1̸̺̙̳̹̫̜̟̤̱̮̻̱͚̻̎͊͐͒/̴̨̨̗͍͓̱̟͙̤̏͂͗1̸̛̗̲̩̖͂̒͋̅̄̐̔̓/̵͖̈́͌̈́̎̌͋͐̿̈1̴̢̬͉̖̥͙̫̮͚͚́̈́͜/̶̧̛̠͚̱̫̮̝͉̘̟̓̋̈́̈͋͒̈́̌̂̈̀͝1̸̟̘͎͗̀͑͋̚2̵̧̢̳̗̗̫͎̬̩̠̰̺͍̞̾̆̄̓̾͆͌̈́͊͘͘̚͜͠͠Ļ̸̹̱̖̻̳͎̙̳̤̥͉̓͊̊͋͗̍͊͑̔̊̚͝H̶̡̙͇̱͈͎̬̾̕O̶̢̢͍͕͉̱̪̬̭̝̰̩̗̟͛̎A̸̛͇͕̥̮̙̙̲̜͙̪͈͋̅͂̏̀͆̇̆͊̿ͅW̸̢̥̣̟͎̰̄́̒̈́̈́̈̍̓͗̐͌͒Ę̴̧̛͍͇̖̪̤̭͆̆̎̎͗̈͝H̵̗͇́̄́͘F̵̡̱̞̥̠̭͉̼̟̭̘͙̟̿̃̚U̴̧̢͚̻͈̼̟͇̳̬̔̾̾͊̇͑̚͠Õ̵̞̖̳̰̖̙͈̖̞̹̃͑̂A̴̦̣͚͗̈̃̈́̓͐́̈́͝͝W̵̮̟̯͉̖̘̿̓͛̏̒̊̆̑̉̈̎́̾I̷̬̓̓E̶͚̤͎͚̲̔̑̏͋͐̎͂̂̎̐̐G̸̮̥̩͍͓͍̟̖̪̱͉̮̔̃͊͂̋̀͘F̴̢̨̡̰̱͉̲̗̮̦̣̙̜͖̬̓͆̀̑͋̄̿̑̐̽̈̀̓͝A̷̳͚̰̐̿̀̏̿͊̔͐͠Ĩ̵̡͙̬̺̹̳̩̀̇̍̃̊͑̄̋̒̕͜͝R̴̢̧͙̙̯̰̪͉̱͓̼̜͔͠,̶̼͎͔͛̑̌́G̵̜͉̈́̐͑̀͘H̷͙͉̞̰̭̘̫͓̺͕̬́̔͛͌͋̄̚̕͝ͅE̴̝̠̼͈̣͎͓̎̀̈́̓̈́͌̽͌͌̀͌͝R̸̦͖͍͚̟͓̈́͆͂Ų̴̢͉͓̱͙̙̱̰͓̫͎̏͑̈́̅̊͜L̵̛̼͕̅̈͋͊͂̌͒͒͗͘F̸̥̟͒͐͛́̏̇̆̋̈́͐͑͠G̴̛̘̞͉̜̝̖͎͕̽͌͒͂͘S̷̞̫͛̐͠͝Ŗ̸̡̞͖͇͇̞͓͊̂̃̆̌̆́̆̍̊̔͆̀L̴͎̞̺̥̦̇̉̀̌̐̓̈́̊͒͛͠ͅŮ̷̧̙̠͈͕̘̮̤̄Ë̵̬̹̙̰͈̤͕̲̼͈́͑͜H̶̡͔͙͙͔̝̤͔̑͑̊͂̀̾̉͋́̀̈́͜F̷̧̜͍͇͙͚̺͑̎̏̎̄͊͋̒̍͌̐S̴̢̰̗͔̰͚͖̣̬͚͙͎̈́͐͋͑̌̔͗͜͠Ë̴̲̘́͆͋̅͋͛̓͊͜L̷̡̛̗̟͕͓͔̤̻̞͈̻͚̫̯͂̀̀̀Ù̵̙̮͓͈͉̒̽̈́͛̀̚͠I̸̡̛͈̩͎̗̜̝̘͍̟̟͚͛̿̅̆̋̃͛̈́͌͋͌̀͘͜͝ͅF̸̥̳̠͖͍̎͋́̔͑͆͗͊̀̄̕͝͝H̵̨̨̠͕̮̩̜͍̦̙̤̘̺̳͆̑Á̶̧̖̥͉̮͍͍͙͙͎̱̹͍̙͕̔͑͐͛̽̏͂͒͌͑̊̋A̷̟̟͉̦̥̝͕͍̗̺̾́͆̆̀͜͠A̴̙̟͓̱̣͑̄̈͐̏̓̈̉̆̊̌̿̕͝A̴̡̭̦̖̻͓͉̱̬͍͆̂͐͜Ą̴̧̜̞̦̘̼̻̫̺͚̓̓̉͌́̑͝͠À̴̯̟͇̟̳̺̘̳̒͛́́̎̇̐͜͝Ȃ̵̺̮̘̰̫̙̩͎̝̤͉͒́̈͆̆͑̐̚͜͠Ȃ̴͕͍̝̜͙̺̻̼̟̯̞̖̠͙̹͂̀̃̿͘Ā̴̢̻͔́̂Ã̶̧̢͍̲̠̻̤̼̘̫̼̽̽̌̍̎̂̕͜͠ͅÀ̸̢̢̛̤̞̱̫͈͇̺͓̙͔͖͙̾̈́̓̋͜A̶̢͖̟̐̿̑̅Ả̷̢̪̺̥̖̜͖̞̣̰̺͖͉̦̟͂̽̑̓̿͊̏́͌̽̆̀̿A̸̙͠Ȃ̶̡̧̛̠͇̝̤̣̘̹͈̲͚̺͓̻̾̚͠Ą̵̪̰̥̯̖͎́͒̓̅̋̀͌͘͜Á̷̧̛͙̲̼̪̘̘̼͓̯͝A̶̪̝̬̹̩͎͉͚̩͖̓̇̆͆̈́̌̊̀̈̚͜͠ͅÀ̴͓̤̓̌̇̈̈͐̇̕̚A̸̱͔̘͖̺͌̐̅̓͊̀͋͘͠A̴̧͉͔̖̲̰͙̥̤̍̈Ą̸̛̟͓̯̮̩̟͔̮͙͔͙̀̅̇̒͗ͅA̵̡̛̼͕̻͇͎̼̱̯̭̐̔̐̂͂̏̈Ă̷̜̻͗̇̊͌͊̈́̈͠Ả̴̱̄̀͆̿̑̈́̄̂̍̀̕͝͠͠Ạ̷̛͕̼̗̻̻͍̔̈́̚A̸̡̡͉̩̠͚̖͋͗͗̓Ą̷̥̠̭̬̖̦̟͈̬͓͉̈͆́͛̆̉̈̋͂͜͠͝A̶̢͈̬͔̟̮̙̬͛͗̊̾͐̎À̵̜̣̺͖̟̱̣̲́̔̊̀̐͒̏̍͆͠͠Ä̸̛̭͉̜́̐̑̾̾̈́̈̓͗͆̐̕A̷͈̱͚͚͎̺̪̲̎̃̊̈́̂̈́͑̾̓̉̈̿̚͘̚͜͜A̵̡̛̳͎̠̐͊͋͋̈́͗̿͛̐̚ͅȀ̷̯̳̤͕̱͙̾̒̔̃̂̒͝A̶̢͙̞͉͙̍̒̉̓̽̀̀̊͛̌̒͘͝͠͠Á̷̧̪̮̠̫̜̟͇̘͜A̴͇̖̞͓̩͑̈́͆͊̅̌́̈̽͝Á̴͎̯͉͇̮̬̩̤̮̋̒͜ͅA̴̟̭̗͎̞̘͉̮͐͝Ä̵͖̣̜͛̚ͅA̶͍̪̟̟̦͔͕̓̈́̚Ä̴̩̙̟̝͚̜͚̲̖̹͍́̈́̅̾͒̓̓̆̏̑À̷̡̧̪̻̟̳̜̓̑̏́̽̐́̍̚À̷̦͖͇̫͎̙̺̫̭͕Ą̵̖̜̥̭͕͚̞̻͇̈́͌͆̽̀͛̓̔͒̌̈́̍͘͝A̴̺͔͎͖̭̯͐̽͒͂̑͛̑͋̈́̍̑̃̚͝͠A̶͎̼͉̜̼͔͌̋̆͑͆̓͌̓A̴̼̱̥̗͓͇̓͆̃̓͋͠Ä̴̢̝̩̥̝̰̤͎͓̠̲͓͇́̉͜Ä̶̖̦̌̾̕A̵͕͈̻̱͈͙͉͋̋̃̾̑̀̃̌̀͌̇̒̅́͝Ä̷̡͚̳̗̤́̿Ä̴̢͚̳̯̹́͑̾Ẳ̵͇̰̦̼̻̘͔̟͇̟̇̚A̷̧̤̼̗̺̺͎̲̗͎͕̼̺̯̅̉̿̃̃́́͊̎̉̓͗̏̾̀A̵̡̧̡͖̫̺̜̥̼̥̦̮͎̲̒̂̚A̴̛̝̺͔̾̔͑̿͌̓͌͐͂͘͜͠Ȧ̶̏̂͜A̷̢̛̝̹͉͚̻̲̭̓̈́̽̋͑̀͘̕A̵̢̳͍̞͈͙̯̼̘͈͊͊̾̽̾̇̈̕͠ͅͅĄ̷̜͓͕̜̻͚̼̤̒̇͝A̷̗͛̉̌͌̀̀̍̔̇̍͑̾͝͝Á̸̫̹̮̝͇̖͕͙̀͠͝͝À̵̧̧̨̢̤͚̺͉̘̪͉͎̳͖̎̅͛͗͗A̵̱̟̟̫̦̹̐̀̌̋͐̒̽̈̈́̓̃͜Á̷̱̖̠̤̙͔̯̩A̸̢̞̼̐̅A̷̢̞̭͇̘͇͖̗̫̻̠̗̪͂̐̃̈́̃̒̕A̴̡̛̞̻̯̙̰̗̖͚̗͖̯̟̖͉̐͒͝A̵̠̝̽̋͌̅̃̔̓͂̕̕̚͘͝A̵̬̰̤̻̙̟̹̭̯̲̍̎́͆̏̔A̷̳͇͓͉͐̆̇̒́̇̎͌̃̋̇̕̚͝͠Ǎ̷͚̫͆ͅA̷͖̣̠̽̀͊̈́̄̂̍͂A̸̛͎̻̰̐̂̈͌́͊̉͊̔͝Ą̷̡͖̥̝͕̯̭͓͎̭͎̫̀ͅA̶̪͈͋̊̚̚͝Ạ̸̺͈̟̼͎͚̼̞͖͋̐̂̓̂́͘A̸̡̭̼̘̠̗̯͙͎͚̦̭͐͑ͅĄ̵̜̯̹̯̱̟͕̣̬͈̞͉̈́́̓̎̂̒̓̒͛̆͒̄͐̄͝A̷̛̛̺͙̭͛̓̒͒͘À̶͔̠̣̤͓͍̤̠̳͖͔͔̲̂̓͂̀̆ͅĀ̷̪̬̙̤̗̱̪͜͜͝A̵̧͙̳̲̪͒̏Ą̸̢̡̢̧̖͎̖̦͉̜͙̼͈̔̈́̋̃̄̕͘ͅA̶̧̞͓̞̘̝͈̞̼̬̫̹͕̓ͅÄ̷̡͙͈̹́̔͋̓̏͑͐̀͐͝Ä̶͖̜͕́͗̈́̆̔Á̶̢̠̠̩̻͓́́̀̍͋̐̽̓̔͌͘A̴͙͚͓̯̔̔͆̑̽͊͋͆̌͒A̵̤̠̙̭͚͚̦͔͉͛͌͐͝A̴̮̿̋̔͛͜͝Ǎ̷͉̝͈͔̾͆͝Ȧ̵̢̨̭̝̜͓͕̩̥͙̬͔͖̜͑̋̄͗̄͗̃͛͗̕Ȧ̵̡̦͉̘̝͈͕̫̩͓̩͘̕͜Ą̶̹̤͙͇̯͇͓̩̖̈́̓̌Ȧ̶̧͙̹̼̤̳̳̫̙͔̳͂̈́̒͒͂̎͋Â̵̛̖̇͌͛͒A̵̼̪͈̙͌͊͑̾͌͗̈́̈́̀̚Ą̶̨̛͈͕̬̫̫̦̼̯̤͕̳̦̼̔̆̈́̀͐̄͒̌̀A̸̡̘͓͇͍̩̭͚͎̠̮͙͍̣̔͒̎̈́̈́̅̃̆̏̅̉A̵̢̛͚͕͇̖̖̜͎̰̞̍̾́͑̎̀̌́̌͊̅͘̚Ä̵̲͖͇̩͓́́̽̉͒̈̋͊̕͘͝ͅA̸͎͚̋̽͂̒̀̄̉͆͌̈́͊A̵̢̧̧͉̲̱͔̣͕̱̯͔͐̃̿̈́̔̌̎̓͒̾̈́͝͝A̷̧̤̲̥͖̐̈̈́̑̏͂̍̔̑̓̍͘Ą̷̬̤̞͔̳̯̾͜Ą̵̹̲̣͎̤̫̽̈́̔̽Ȃ̵̧̨̛̞͇̝͙͖͓̈̓̈́̄̈́̍ͅA̵̢̪̤̬͙̞̯͚̻͂̎̆͜Á̸̭̮̠̏̽͛̄̆͊̾̈́̌͑A̵̧̛̺̞͈͙̟̱̮̩̖͕͆̿̂̀̾̆ͅA̶̦̹̯̠̋̈́̑͊͛̚͝A̷̡̧̦̖͙̗̿́͂̿͊̇͐̇͐̾̍̓A̴̡̧̢̗͇̝͉̋̀̿́͌̈́ͅA̷̧̨̩̼͖̺͕̖̯̖͐́̑̑́͐ͅA̴̡͕̣̩̪͔̭̩̠̯͗͗̌͆͛̍͒́͋͐̚͠͝Á̵̛̞̞̞͓̝̫͂̈́̌̇̐͑̂̏̈́̚͘̕A̵̤̩̖̾̀̈́̊̔̑̎̎̎̓̉́̋͜Á̵̙͉̮͉̯̓̐̒͋̓̔̈́͘͝Ą̵̫̖͔̮̳̺̲̯̝̳̪̰̽͜Ä̸̧̰̦̯̥̮̹̺̘͉̉̀̅̌À̷̺͕Ǎ̷̼̼̟̎̒͐̽̑̋̽̈́̓̄̚͝A̶̢͚͉̱̰̹̪̪̥̲̱̙̮̗͗̒͗͘͜͝Ă̶̡̛̰͇̝͓̖͕͍̈́̃̋̓̽̀͘̚A̵̛͓̿̒̿́̋̋̐̐̿͋͝A̶̡͍̫̲͙̝͂̇Ả̴̘͐͂̒́̊͘Ả̴̗͙̏͐̈́̇̉̉̎Ȁ̸̜͊̽̂͛͐̌̎̈́́͝͝Ä̷̘͍̣́͗̈́̓̈́̑̿̋̍̄̌̈͝͝Ä̵̢̡̡̛̟͉̝̮͙͖͙̘̳̘́̽̒͂̍̂̉̒̂͘͝ͅA̶̧̛̗̖̙̺̯͚͎̳̣̫̞̫̾̐̀͑̇͂̇̓͊̓̚͜͝͝ͅA̶̢̧͇̦̲̥͔̟̳̩̞̪̬͇̓̑̔̈́̈́͂̓̎̂̍͝A̴̧̰̼̮̔̑̎̋͒̈́̆̕̕̚A̷̼̩͙͙̗͌̕̕ͅA̴̰̼͇͎͕̯̬̣̿͛̉͜A̶̟̮̹̼͙̠̰͔͎̪̼͔̜͆͛́͒̿̃́̒̊̂͂͘͘͝A̶̢̪̖͓̭̼̦̭̓̽͑́̆̑Ả̴̬͓̩̗̥̳͍̟̟͐̑A̵̛̜̬̟͚̖̝͓̟͉̺̜̗̗̩̒͌͊̎̄͐̏́͊̊̚͜͝͝A̸͇͖͇̺̯̤̱̦̪̪̮̱̓̈́̒͋̒̓͗͛͜͝Ą̸̨͉̤̪̝̟̟͖̱͇̜̎̿͠A̴͎̗̿̏̆̓A̶͙̲͔̿͛̆͝ͅȦ̸̧̢̖͙̺̮̩͖̫̮͌̎̐̿̉̂̎̐̑̊͝͠͝A̵̤͂̅͋̊̈́̄̕͘Ā̷̢̨̝̬̯̰̻͚̙͊͐A̷̡̺̹̱̠̪̙͚̜̰̳̬̻͚̾̋́̎̈́̊̓̏̽̂̑̉̆̕͝ͅȂ̵̧̨̺͕̪͙̖̪̝͈̩̟̘̔͑̾̍͐̓̄̅͐̆͐̓͘͝Ȃ̴̢̠̯̖̬̜͔̯̲͙͕͕͓͌̃̾̿̈́̏̎A̵̯̻̬̠̬̫̺̞̗̪͙̯̓̿̍̋̔͂̓̀̈́̂̚͝A̴͓̹̼̞̙͚͎͒̒̉͛̀͜A̵͉̜̳̩͙̬̳͊̓̿̑͘͜Ä̸͎͖͕͖̯̱̻͈̦́͊̉̓͒̀͝͝͝A̵̧̟̦͓̩͉̼̙̘̞̺͋̎͛̒͗͋̍͆̚̚̚A̵̺̳͛̿̈́̂̍̒̎͘͝͝͠Ą̸̨̹̹͎̬̘̭͎̹̫͇͎́͆͂͑Ą̵̩͔͉̫̙̳̫̱̤̥͊̑̔̔̈͊A̶̗̒̾̎͂̐͊̐́́̀͠͝A̵̡̛͍̮͓̗͙͕̠̳̓̊͂́̂́̈́̽̈̚ͅÅ̷̫̏̏͌̓͑̓̉̑̾̿̕͝͠A̸̛͉͈̫̫̩̺̟̦̪͓̝̔̏͗̿͛̍̐̐͝Ȁ̷̛̹̬̘͓̄̒̑͆̔́̈͛̿̍̉̓͝A̸̧̡̮̤͕̣̥̝̻͖͔̲͍̎̊͗͛́̆̍̕A̴̢̤̗͖͔̭̩̹̗̓̆͊̌͗A̶̬͒͒̅Ả̶̧̢̩̫̳̳̰͍̺̳̤̺̼̯͆͑͋̀̓̀̀̏̚͠͝ͅA̸̪̩̾̓̀̑͋̀̍̾A̶̡̻͈̱̙̺̗̪͎̟͔̫͒̿̈̍̎̈̚A̸̧̨̱̳͔̘̠͙̺̻̪̗̰̽̅́͗Ą̴̛͇̫́̆̊̈̐̽̀̓͝A̶̬̙͇͍̙̣͙̲̳͇̥͎͙̼͛̋̈́̉̈͐͒͆͠ͅÅ̵̡͙͉͕͓̤͕͚͍͓̀̏͝Ḁ̸̢̗̫̳̦̙͑̈̂̊̑͆̅͜͝͝͝Ă̷̲̪̣̰A̵̞͈̅͐͋̏A̶̰͖̞̰̞̎Ä̵̡̲̟͉̩̱̘̞̹̰͉̙̦̩́̏͋̿̕A̷̛̳̫͖͙̣͕͐̽̒̂̀̑́͌͒͆͝ͅÁ̷̫͙̺̜̽͂͌̐̕A̷̡̼͔̳̠̞̳̟̯͎͉̮̞̫͕̎͆̔̕A̸̧̧̦̹̰̱̘͚̲̲̯̹͘Ą̵̢̼̬̣̺͇̠̲̝͇̈́́͆͗̅͋̌ͅA̵̛̙̤̭͇͎̮̟̻͕͛̀A̴̧̯̟͇̤̠̝̖̼̼̅ͅÃ̸͙̲̜̺͙̘͎̼͙̍̀͊̒͝Ą̴̨̰̙̫̭͙̻̙̯̾̂̄̄̕A̷̫̺̣̠̻̤̘̪͎͖̾̓̊̏̿̀̀̈̇͆̔̽͘ͅĂ̵̧̛̞̭̟̹̺̭̹̹̊́̌͐͊̋͘͠͝͝A̶̡͇̬͎̓̅͌͠͝Ä̷̧͈̜́̒͜Ā̴̪̗͍̝̙̽͌̾̍̕͝͝Ả̷̢̡̬͓͍̺̪̅̈̐̏Ą̵̭̖̬͍͇͚̭̬̯͊̑̒̏̓͌Ă̸̧͈͎̪̬͙̬̣̝͓̰̞͓̈́͐͋͛̎̑̋͌̒͑̒̚ͅA̶̧̧̠̝̼̰̦̞̽̍ͅẢ̴̡̯̣̖͓̮̗͚͈̥̈̉̈͛̓͛̒̌̉͊͝͝A̷̧̧̜͙͖̳̲̥̔̽͜͜͠ͅÄ̸̛̳̻͉̱͈͕̙́́̇̿̇̄̑̑͋͜͝Ą̵̧̛̛͇̜̻̝̝̱̬̠͖́͊͂̑̐̀́̾Ä̵̛͇́͛̑̒̅͑͝Ą̶͖̜̤͓̭͓͖̝͋A̵̛̟̬̰̙̖̦̽͐̈́̎̄̈́̊̑̅̆̄͜͝A̴͚̥̦͒̾̾̏̈̊͐͘̕̕͠͝͝A̵͍̩̙̗̗͍̹͊̋A̶̡̛͕͙̱̬͔̯͓͍̾̌̒̏̍̄̆̐͋̍́A̴̢̧͙͇̙̩̼͉̟̼͙̠͛̕͝Ą̸̧̲͉͐͋͛̽̓̃̀Ą̵̛͎̻̱̯͈̞̞̼̠̟̒͛͂̇̿͝͝Ả̷͙͈̦͖͙͙̙̟́̑̑͠Å̴͇̙̖̾̔͘Ȃ̴̭̬̰̥̀A̸͓̥̍́́̔̔͆̈́͗̽̈́͝Ą̵̠̞̣̟͈͉͍̐̽͋̃͌̄͆̔̆̌͜͝A̵̫̭̜̯̤̬̼͍̠͉̬̪̺̚ͅĄ̸̬͚̝̳͉͆͒́͛̍̓̒ͅĂ̶̢͚̠̯̮͎̲̳͒͛À̸̠̟͖̗̌ͅA̵̧̼̻̪̱̜̻̜̭͔̰̱͖̬̒̄͜Ã̸̳̠̩̩͇̯͎͑̆̓̀͂À̵̧̢̨̗͕̗̳̤̮̺̩̤̲̟͌͊͆̏̑̋̿̚A̷̡͖̞͋̋̓͑̀̐̌̐̑͌̿͘A̴̡̢͙̤̟̠̗̠͎͓͈̹̝̳͉̒̈́̇̐͠Ä̶̡͓́̽̍̀̕Ä̵̛̙̘́̄̆́̑̒̓́͋͗͝͠͝A̵̫̙̩̜̯̐̉͛̉͝Ą̶̝͚̟̎͆͘Ą̸̧̩̼̟͓̦̣̺̈͆̾͆͠ͅA̶̧̅̉͠Ǎ̵̧̩͎̖͖͇̬̟̮̟͈̱̩̽̆́̾̚͘ͅA̸̺̤̙̪̳͙̙̓̉͆̈́͋̈̎͐͋͋̃͘Ä̸̧̻̳͔͙̘̩̼̣̾̍͊̎̔̎̏͒͋̀ͅĄ̵̛̖̩̳͉͙̟̬̳͔̝͇̘͉̓͊̄͐̂̎̋͑̿͐̇A̴͎̗̤̺̖̻͚̦̠̬͓̅̂̚͜͜͝ͅȂ̴̗̺̥̃̐̅̆̀̿͋̇̄A̷̱̪͙̼̿͒̏̄͌̀͆̍͛̈̌͆A̷̢̨̛̲̠͕̠̤̪̮͎̜͈̪͓̪͠A̴̻͎̲̤̟̒A̸͍͕̳͆͆̆̂́̐̈̉̽̂͂͂̚͝A̵̢̪͕̖̘̮͓̩̺̠͕̣̱̽́Ą̵̨̛̮̲͓̘̥̺͍̤͕̪̌̄̋̏̈́̂̆͌͠ͅA̵̦͉̮̳̾̉͂Ḁ̷͇̰͋̑̅̎̏́͆́̈́͝͝A̶̡̛̼̟̭̬̘͓͍͇̣̼̎̂̀̚͘A̷̳͎̥͋̍͗̆̀̾͛̈́͘Ą̶̣̻̟̣̩̗͕̲̗̬͎̘̮͎͆̈́͛̉A̷̫̖̠̍̐̾̎A̵̛͚̫̩͔̝͗̌̊͌̾̍͂̀̂̇̚͝ͅA̸͚͎̜̞̦͓̎̉̄̀̐̐A̴̙̖̩̟̪̫̗̜̠̜͛̂̓̋̈́̌̾̌̿͘͘Ā̵̟̣̪͚͍͎̺͔̹̲̲̲͑A̵̢͍͉͍͆̈́̇̎̕A̶̝̮͍̭̙̒̍̊͜A̸̧̢͉͚͓̭̥̫̖̭̬͗A̷̯̻̻̤̤̤͖͕̋̈́̾̏̿̂̓̈͜͜͜ͅA̵̳̟͍͚̙̜͗̑̋̒̉̄̈́̈̾̾͌̓͘͘Ạ̵̛̼̗̖͇̍̓̏̎̓̓̔̄̽͐̑̕A̴̼̪͚̮̖̱̦͉̹̬͒͒͜͝Â̵̡̢̛̲̳̟͓̝̰͇̼͚̲̦̝̍͆̏̑̍̓͜͠A̸̡̺̫͇̪̣̿̏͜ͅȦ̸̧̧̤͎̠̳̼̮̞͕͚̰̲̠̙̈͠A̷̢͗͐̓͝A̸͎̫̳̲̭̝̰͙̟̘̫͎̎̇͆̋̂̾̿͗͝A̷̡͂̊̽̋̊̇̈́͝Ã̴̡̤͍̲̠̞͔̐̂̋̂͝A̴̢̢̟̜̳͖̲̽̎͜͠ͅA̸̧̛̼̘̦̭̥̥̫̻̦͗͐̆͐̇̽͋̚͝A̸̢͕̫̮̦̥̬̮͕̻̿̒̿̕Ȧ̷͔̻̖̤̫̖͕́̍͂̅̽̀̏͠A̵̳̤̠͈̙̙̖͕̒́̊̀̓͂̊̚͠ͅÃ̶̡̬̦̻̦̺̌͊̈̆̌̈̓̋̐̏̉͜ͅA̸̝͉͇̩̹͕̹̗̺̼̾̌̃̾̏̀͘͝͝Ą̴̛̮̱̘͖̼̫̯̫̳̯̲̬͈̼́̈͋̋̿̔̏̽̕̚A̵̧̓̐̃̌̄̑̒͌̒Ạ̸̛̪͖̝̼̳͙̝̼̅̀͛̇̓̓̇̋͋̓̑̚͝Ä̸͖͍́̅̾͘À̸̮͌̒͒͂̇̃A̶͍̘͚̙͇͐̅͌̎̿́́͐̔̀̚A̵̧̙͓͈͇͓͔͂̽́͂́̌̆͗͝A̷̢̮̙̫͕̗͓̯͓͉̫̟͒͜A̴̧̛͇̙̩̜̯̫̫͊̏̈͐͋͝͝͠͝ͅͅA̷̝̜̍͂̌͒̍̌̀̆̚͝͝Ȃ̸̬̰̪͚͒̔̈́͂͐̿̈͌͋A̵̮̘̠̙͈͔͂̿͊͗̃̽͒̅̋̇̚A̶̡̨̛͚͇̰͙̻͕̼͉̾̆̀̈́̇͛͜͠Ä̸̡̧̰̳̯̣̤̝͉̱̝̦̾̃Ạ̷͕͖̼̯̜̑͐́̏̊̉̄̿̒̓͆̊̿͘͜͜͝Ȧ̶̢̧̟͇̭͓̙̯̪̼̗͈̭̫̦̓̄͂̅̅̑͠A̸͉͙͑A̶͚̒͜Â̵̺̳͎͔͉͋A̷̯̻͇̩̗̰̰̐͐͑̑̚͝A̸̤̮̮͈͖͉̔́͒͑̾͊̔̔͛͂̅̈́̐̋͋͜Ä̶͙̣͕̮̦̺́̽̐͑͂̀͊̄͊̕̚̕͜Á̸̤͓͔̜̩̻̥̦̖̚̕̕A̷͕̣̭̹͇͑̈́̒̂͘ͅA̶̤̮̠̥͉̅̆̀̃̍̈͆͊̈́̏A̴̛̦͓̬̦̹͈̺͓̩̪̳̫͇͚̐́͐̀̍̈́͒̎̃͊̚͝A̷̧͙̝̠͋͆Ā̶̜̬̼͍̆́͐́A̷͖͉̠̩̘͖͍̼͖͐̂̀́̓̇͘͘̚A̴̡̪̮̠̙͕̥̤̞̪͍͐͗͊͒̐̈̋̈́̐͒́̕͝ͅA̸̬̜̖͇̻̎̋̎̆̈͒̆̔̽̑̓̒̔͗A̵̲̼̼̤̜̞̬̘̗̯̠̗͙̍́̎̓̇͛͋̚A̷̡͇͛̓̑͒͊͘Ḁ̵̢̪͙͕͖̩͓̗̈́̓́̀́͒̋̈́͛͠Ȧ̸̹̪̋A̷̡͇͇͎͙̲̙͊̈͜Ä̶̧̧̗̲̖̺͔͖̥͎͈͙̣̭͙́A̶̢͔͚̗̩̼̮̮͇͑̄͂͒̔͑͂͊͐̽̒̄̚͝͝Ą̶̡̡̲̖̻̦̖͙̮̦̜̗̞̙̃̃Ȃ̷̫͎͑̉́̇́́͊̌͘̕A̸̧̧̟̟͙̤͚̦̮̫͌̿͊̈́̇̑͆̈́̃̋͘͘A̷̢̩̗̪͎̞̟̳͒͂̂̽̾͐̈̕͜A̴̲̣̹̱͆̂̒͌̈́̍̓̉͂̏̽͂̚ͅA̶̢̿̂̎̉̇̏̇̌A̵̢̦̱̪̜̣̲̻̣̼̻̹͂͛̇A̸͍̲͈̍̈́̅͆́̀̒͝͝͝͝A̸̧̟͕̭̞̬̭̼̱̻̋̊̈́̍͌ͅA̷̡̛͇̤͕̝̮̝̱̪̪̎̽̈́̽̊̓͋͌͛̀͒̑̚͝A̷̞̗̒̄̀̏̑Ą̸̣̮̣͔͔̲̣̱͙̟̤͚̄̓̎Á̸̡͚͙̱͚̹̕ͅͅǍ̵̧̢̙̤̖̞̯͓͔̔̇Ā̵̘̩͔̀̋̍̎͗́̆̆͒̚͝͝À̷̡̢̡̞̥̆͐̓̄̚͠͝A̴͕̬̩̽͆̈́̓̈́͗̏̊̉̓̈͋̿̂͘Ǎ̶̗̩̼̼̫̯̻̰̘͇̈̊͗͋̀̋̾̕͜͝͝ͅA̶̢͉̲̫̹̼̣̝̫͙͑̀̓̇̍́́Â̸̜̖͍̯͕̭̣̬̑͂͝Ä̷̛̛͙͎͙̻̪̩̠́̉̈̽̈́͌̚̚̕͜Ą̷̧̬͚̺̺͕̫̪̼͚̬̲̇̐̐̀̐̚͠Ą̵̭͚͇̻̼̗̠͚̟̃̌͗̔͘Ä̵̺̠̥͕̅̋̽̀̆̇͑̄́͗̕͝Å̶̲̤͎̣͍͕͔̰̓̇́͗̄̂̇̉̽̅̽́̀͝Ā̷̡͇̤̮̬̾̏̿͂̕ͅȦ̵̤͕̫̯̀̄̃́͝Ȁ̵̢̛̹̰̪͔̫̓̄͌͆̍̈́͐̀̏̋̕͝͝Å̷̡̲̙̠͙̥͇̮̝͙̈́̌͊A̵͉͖͓̭̺̹̘̟̩͕̲̒͂͆̀́̃̋̾͑͝͝͝A̸͈͚͉͍̳̺̯̥̜͗́̀̿̃̉͂̉͂̐̊̊̎͆̌A̸̡̛̩̫͉̼͚̹̠̜͚̦̞̟͈͔̋͛͒̏̒͛̆̔͛A̴̗̙̓̇̀͐̐͝A̴̤͓̥̗̤̹͉̠̗͆̌͂̒̃A̸̼͔̬̬̝͙̽̎̃̐͊Ą̴̜̬͔̰̟̲̿̉̇̿̅̋̃̒̓͌͌̕Â̵̬͙͔̗̎͆́̏̎͘͝Ả̸̹̭̣̗̊̀́̏A̸̭̻̻̣̦̟͇̺͈͙͈̔̔̊̆͗̑̈́͛͊̉̚͠Ả̸̤̙͇̫̻̪̻̯Ạ̸̡̲̫̟̣͇̭̘͎̘̦̦̠͙̔̏̈́̈͗͌͑̏̉̑A̸̢̝͎̙̞͕̲̰̗̾̽͑͛̋̇̽ͅÃ̴̞͓̜̘̆̈̄͋̿̈́̂͌̓͠͠A̴̢̘̩͍̯̯͎͙̗͙͙͓̮̎̇̀͛Á̸̡̨̢̗͙̜͓̯̹͔͇̏̔̅́̽̃̀̈́̈́̀̚̚͝͝Ą̴̨͖̫̠̳̺̝͚̇̀̕͠Á̵̛̗̘̹̺̤͉́̒̈́Á̶͕̜̤̼̝̳̊̑̈́͋͋̋͑̕Ạ̴̠̼̮̘͙̒̆̎͛A̶̢̬̎̈́͝Ä̷̧͔̯͓̱̩̖̞̟́̄́̾̇̃͆́̎̒͊͘͜͜͠͝ͅͅͅÃ̷̧̡̞̟͎̬̫͖͖̪̪͇̱̳̠͆̒͆̒̈́͌͐̅͛̃͠͝͠A̴͎̰͙͔̱̽͌Ă̴̲̟̬̻̺̣̆͑̀͗̍̓̋͗͜͝͝͝A̶͔͍̮̭̟͚̯̤̐͛̋͑̓̈́́͝͝Ḁ̷̡̧̯̩̬̫͍̙͙̥̥̟́̈́͒̅͛̏͐̕͠A̷̧̢͖̙̣̝͌͐̏̋͜A̶͎͓̤̯͔̠̭̯͉̞̹̺͋͂͜ͅÀ̷̪͖̱̱̱̝A̵̢̢̧̨̢͇̜̙͖̜͎̭̫͂͌̈́͜͜A̴͎̤̟̫̬͈͓̹̰̩̯̼̳͛̿̑́́ͅA̴̦̫̤̥̲̝̩͈͕̠̲̱̤̅̇͑̌̀́͆̋̒͂̍̒̐͛̚Ą̵̣͔̞̙͚̯̼͕͈͍͈̭̈́̐́A̵̧̤̯͈̤̒̎͌Ą̷̦̥͚͍̱̘̦̝̫͓̍̈́̔̓̿́̕̚͝À̷̧̨̢̢̹̥̭͍͉̪̼̲̹̊̄̀̉̋̐͒̑̓͜Ȃ̵̗̯͆̎̅͒͆͒̈́̊͊̓̚A̸̼͑̍̃̃̎̂͘Á̵̧̩̙̻̮̝̗̯̮͌Ą̴̨̮̳̀̋̾̎̏̐̒̅͝͝Ą̷̟̬̗̠̯͚̦͔̺̜̺̓̈́͌͜Ǎ̵̩̗̘̫͓͉̲͜Ä̷͍̱̟̹́͌͋͗͛́Ȧ̶̯̹͓͚͓̝̗̃̈̂̕͘͜A̵̢̱̝͙̣̝̻̹̤̝̖̾́̚ͅA̵̺̤̦̔̽͐̉̑̈́́̌̀̂̈̉̃̾̒̚A�̵̛̛̭̬̈̊̎̈́̉̊́̍͘͝Ă̵̓̐̔̽̚💛💀 卂 👤🍬💞☺ Δ 🎉♡🐎 ⋆ 🐸 🎀 𝒜 🎀 🐸 ⋆ 🐎🅰😺🎀 Ⓐ 👺🎀♖💗 α 👽🏆

 

*ERROR*

DATA SEVERELY CORRUPTED

INSTALLING ANTIVIRUS

...

ANTIVIRUS FAILED

INITIATING EMERGENCY PROTOCOL

...

PROTOCOL FAILED

ACTIVATING BACKUP

...

BACKUP FAILED

ALL SYSTEMS DAMAGED!!!

SHUTTING DOOOOOOooooooooooowwwwnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.......

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

Rebooting...

Rebooting...

Rebooting...

Rebooting...

...

...

...

Reboot successful!

All systems back online!

Resuming Project...

...

...

---

My head hurts... I open my eyes to the bright light coming from my bedroom window. I groaned, rolling in my covers to cover up the sunlight and rest just a little bit longer. That was a long sleep.

"Ughhh... Where am I?" I ask myself, wondering if I had a nightmare and I was actually floating above my bed. I felt like I had a nice memory... But at the same time it felt terrifying to go through.

*knock knock knock*

"Sis? You awake yet?" I hear my brother Karuma call to me from outside my room. "You've been sleeping all day, c'mon I already made you food."

"...5 more minutes..." I say loud enough for my brother to hear, rolling in my bed only to fall out of the mattress and onto the wooden floor. "Ow..."

"Sis, are you okay? Are you sick?" Karuma asked. "I'm coming in." He said, opening the door (so much for privacy.)

I see the glimpse of Kaurma stand above me, looking down at my face with a curious look. "...Did you get any sleep Sis?" Karuma asked me.

"...Did I?" I say. "...Strange... When did I go to bed?" I ask myself, raising my head just a little bit only to feel a massive headache hit me hard. "Uuuuu... I think I have a hangover or something..."

"Hangover? Sis, were you drinking last night?" Kaurma asked.

"No... Of course not... I came home from work don't you remember? I wasn't drunk then was I?"

"...Work?" Kaurma looked at me with a more confused stare. "Sis, you didn't go to work yesterday remember? You were given the day off."

"...Huh?" I say. "What are you talking about? I went to work after you left to go spend time with Sakuya." I say.

"That was 2 days ago." Kaurma said. "...Do you need to go to Eientei again?"

"What? No, no of course not." I say, raising my body slowly, ignoring the pain of the headache I am feeling. "All I need, is to be able to figure out what... Exactly happened... Last night... So I can remember what I was-"

And then I threw up.

I felt my body getting light, like I was just hanging on a string.

Then I felt the string break...And fall. I landed on the rainbow puddle of my own vomit, staining my face and hair... Which is a lot longer than I remember it being...

"Sigh... Everytime..." I hear Kaurma said under his throat. "...I'll be taking you to Eientei... Hopefully they'll figure out what is going on with you."

"...Fine..." I say. "...Just let me put on my outfit for the day and... Kaurma, have you seen Marshmallow or Choco?" I say.

"...Now that I think about it..." Kaurma said. "...It's weird how they are not here at the moment." He looked around the room a bit, up and down and all around. "Should I get Graham to search also?"

"No, it's fine... They'll show up eventually..." I say.

---

Switching POVs

---

*Marshmallow and Choco were wandering down the streets of the village, moving along slowly while trying to avoid causing any trouble for the villagers*

Marshmallow: So let me get this straight... You saw the cat acting strange last night while they were sleeping with Tsumetai...

Choco: Their name is Ember.

Marshmallow: Ember, okay... And you saw them hop out of the house yesterday and the day before. And you have a feeling that there is something that you wish to make sure of just to prove whether it exists or not?

Choco: It's a bit hard to explain in words, it'd be a lot easier if we go there first.

Marshmallow: And where, exactly is this?

Choco: I followed Ember yesterday, just to see if my hunch was right or not... but the strange thing is that when I followed them, I somehow lost track and could not find them until I returned to the house. But here's the wackier thing!

Marshmallow: And that is?

Choco: When I lost sight of them, I could sworn I saw something else take their place almost immediately!

Marshmallow: Immediately?

Choco: Yeah! When I followed Ember to the bushes, there was this glow, and some kind of girl popped out! They looked like some human with cat ears and a tail!

Marshmallow: Really now? What, you expect me to think that the cat is a supernatural being?

Choco: We've seen enough of this village to know that they believe in the supernatural... and this girl looked pretty supernaturally good!

Marshmallow: How so?

Choco: Well for one, they have wonderful hair. It was short, but had very wonderful colors. And their eyes, sharp like a snakes! Oh, and their back, smooth and slim. And let me tell you about the-

*Marshmallow stops in front of Choco*

Marshmallow: Wait wait wait... Were you telling me you saw a naked girl in the middle of the woods?

Choco: No, I saw a glowing girl with cat ears and a tail!

Marshmallow: Are you sure, because I think you might be seeing things that aren't there...

Choco: I'm very certain of what I saw with my own lack of eyes! Anyways, after I saw what happened, I just went back because I did not think too much of it. But when I went back, there was this... Thing... in the middle of the woods!

Marshmallow: Thing?

Choco: Yeah! It was like some kind of creature, completely black... It had claws longer than their own arms, and was dragging along what looked like people!

Marshmallow: People? Okay, I'm not sure if I should be concerned or just call you crazy.

Choco: I saw it with my own eyes and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't lie about something like that!

Marshmallow: Whatever... So now what?

Choco: We're going to Misty Lake!!!

Marshmallow: ...Why???

Choco: Because that's what I decided on!

Marshmallow: ...Okay? What's at Misty Lake?

Choco: Good question! I just want to go there really badly!

Marshmallow: ...Sure...

*Marshmallow and Choco continue making their way down the streets, passing by the currently closed Geidontei*

Marshmallow: Oh, it's our workplace. Weird that it is closed for today.

Choco: Yeah, kind of makes you wonder what for. You think anyone's inside?

Chapter Text

Marshmallow: I suppose it wouldn't hurt to check.

Choco: Great!

*Choco and Marshmallow head inside Geidontei, phasing through the walls (because they're phantoms). Inside they find the place to be dark and dim. The tables and chairs are all aligned, the bar counter is free of any signs of mess, and it was quiet.*

Marshmallow: This place feels nice when it isn't crowded with people. It doesn't look like anyone is in here.

Choco: Let's check the break room then.

*Marshmallow and Choco head towards the breakroom, there they find it to be also empty*

Marshmallow: No one in here either. I don't think Miyoi or the old man are even in the bar right now.

Choco: Maybe they're upstairs? Let's go check.

Marshmallow: I'd rather not. We'd be intruding their privacy at that point.

Choco: But aren't you curious about what Miyoi does in her free time?

Marshmallow: I suppose I am. We should go back to Tsumetai however, she's probably wondering where we'd wander off to.

Choco: (Gasp) Wait! What about the basement?

Marshmallow: I'd rather not.

Choco: Aw c'mon, why?

Marshmallow: Like I said, we should go back and-

*thump*

Choco: Hey, did you hear that?

Marshmallow: Hear what?

*thump thump*

Choco: It sounds like something hitting a wall below us.

Marshmallow: Do you think someone's in there?

Choco: I don't know, let's see if we can find anything.

*Choco and Marshmallow walk downstairs, searching for anything out of place. The basement was filled with stored boxes and crates, barrels and pots, and some spare silverware.*

Choco: You see anything?

Marshmallow: Nothing here that I can detect.

Choco: Let's go back upstairs then, I don't want to be caught down here.

Marshmallow: I rather not be caught in here at all.

Choco: (Gasp) Wait! Look over there!!!

Marshmallow: What is it? What could you be-

*Marshmallow stopped, seeing the familiar appearance of Miyoi, kneeling down beside the wall, letting out sobs*

Choco: Miyoi! What's wrong? Why are you crying?

Marshmallow: Why is she crying? I can't tell!

Choco: Calm down, calm down!

*Marshmallow and Choco try to calm down Miyoi, but since she can't hear them their efforts were in vain.*

Marshmallow: Okay... We need to communicate with her somehow...

Choco: I know!!! I have just the idea!!!

Marshmallow: What is it? Do you know how to tell them to calm down and-

*SLAP*

*Choco slapped Miyoi across the face.*

Marshmallow: AAAAH! Why did you do that!?

Choco: What? It got her attention did it not?

*Miyoi rubbed her cheek, her eyes stung with tears, looking at the two phantoms.*

Miyoi: ...You two... You're... You're Tsumetai's phantoms...

*Marshmallow and Choco nod their heads at Miyoi*

Miyoi: W...What are you doing in here? Is Tsumetai around?

*Marshmallow and Choco nod their heads no.*

Miyoi: ...They're not? But then how are you... Wait...

*Miyoi's eyes opened wide, realizing something.*

Miyoi: You're here... Because of what I did to Tsumetai... Isn't it?

Marshmallow & Choco: Nod Yes

Miyoi: You remember then... Does Tsumetai remember also?

Marshmallow & Choco: Nod No

Miyoi: Then... Then I brought this curse upon everyone...

*Miyoi drops to her knees, sobbing in defeat.*

Choco: Miyoi, calm down! Please!

Marshmallow: It's hopeless, she can't hear us... Too bad there isn't a way for us to communicate with her or something...

clink

*Marshmallow and Choco look to their right, seeing what looks like some pencils and paper that is conveniently available.*

Marshmallow: Well that's neat.

*The two grab some of the items. Marshmallow grabbed the papers while Choco grabbed the pencil.*

Choco: What do we do with this?

Marshmallow: Write something!

Choco: How will that help?

Marshmallow: I don't know... Just write something that will make Miyoi calm down!

*Marshmallow takes one of the pencils, writes something on the paper about how Miyoi should calm down and take a deep breath. Choco on the other hand drew what looks like a red armored warrior with a funny-looking face.*

Marshmallow: (Writes) 'Miyoi, please calm down! Breathe deeply! I will help you with this! I will help you talk to Tsumetai! Just relax and I will guide you to her!'

*Marshmallow and Choco slide the papers over to Miyoi, watching as she looks down at the papers and pick them up, looking at each one. She laughed a bit when she looked at Choco's drawing.*

Miyoi: (Laugh) That's cute. Thank you.

*Miyoi took a deep breath, before closing her eyes. She repeatedly took deep breaths while wiping some of her tears away, opening them once again once she finally calmed down.*

Miyoi: I'm sorry you had to see me like this... I just felt so guilty for what I did to Tsumetai last night and I didn't know why...

Marshmallow: (Writes) 'What do you mean? You were the one who wiped her memory didn't you?'

Miyoi: I was... But... I honestly didn't know why I did that in the first place... It was like someone gave me a bad idea or something... I'm sorry...

Marshmallow: (Writes) 'It's okay...'

Choco: (Writes) 'You still have to answer for what you did, though. Tsumetai is feeling terrible because of your actions.'

Miyoi: She is?

Marshmallow: Hey, Choco, don't say that, you'll only make her feel bad. *Marshmallow headbutts Choco*

Choco: Ah, geez, sorry... 'I think what you should do Miyoi is come visit Tsumetai with us so we can get this all figured out.'

Miyoi: But... What if she doesn't forgive me when I tell her the truth of last night?

Marshmallow: 'This is Tsumetai we're talking about. We know her better than anyone.'

Miyoi: ...O...Okay then... I'll go with you two to Tsumetai's home...

*Miyoi comes out of the basement with Marshmallow and Choco behind her, heading out of Geidontei and heading towards Tsumetai's home.*

Marshmallow: Well this is going better than I expected, I assumed that this would take longer.

Choco: Yeah, I don't know why but I feel like the mind is being a lot more active than before... Did you do something to convince them?

Marshmallow: Probably... They're definitely a lot more vocal about decision making than they were previously.

*Marshmallow and Choco discussed the topic for a bit longer until they arrived at Tsumetai's house. Miyoi knocked on the door like a respectful person would.*

Miyoi: Tsumetai? Are you home?

*There was no response. Miyoi knocked again a few seconds later.*

Miyoi: Tsumetai?

Marshmallow: ...Wait... That's weird, I don't sense Tsumetai inside the house.

Choco: Are you sure? She should be inside. Where else could they be?

---

Switching POVs

---

My feet stand close to the quiet waters of the lake. The area around me is visible, but there was a sort of foggy mist that covered my vision. The ground below me is moist and muddy, dirtying my perfectly clean shoes. I look down at my hand, seeing the gun that I usually carry. I normally keep it in my pocket but for some reason I'm holding it right now. It's strange really... For some reason I feel like I could not remember anything that happened just now.

For one, why am I standing next to a lake? And where are Marshmallow and Choco? They should be with me right? And where is Kaurma too? Did they come with? I'm really confused at the moment... I feel like something happened that I was not aware of. The last thing I remembered was waking up in my bed, feeling all groggy as if I had a bad dream. Then I talked with Kaurma for a little bit before landing in a puddle of my own vomit... But I feel like my memory is a lot hazier than that.

I looked at my other hand... seeing something else that made me jump with shock upon looking at.

It was...

Chapter Text

I hold the knife in my hand. It looked to be made of stainless steel for the blade, with the handle having a rough texture. The design looks too modern to be made in Gensokyo, and yet the shape of it is nothing I have ever seen in my life. It almost looks like something one would buy on the black market. What is more than that, is the fact that it's in my hand right now.

The last thing I remember was... Well, I can't really remember anything... But I know where I am at right now. I heard about this place a few days ago from the villagers, about a lake where it is always misty throughout the day, and the sight of a dark red mansion hiding in the mist. They call this place Misty Lake. Well that's what it is called in the Japanese language. I'm not sure about the translation of any of it to English.

But that's not all. What's with this knife? Just holding it feels wrong somehow and I don't know why. There's a part of me that wants to throw it into the lake and forget about it. I can't let myself get distracted though. I have to make sure I find the exit out of here. I feel like something is calling to me from this place, like there is something I'm supposed to do. But what exactly is it? I don't know. Though I'm beginning to feel as though I'm being watched...

"Hey!!!! You there!!!" A loud voice shouted out. I quickly recognized it just as the image of a blue fairy flew down to my vision, landing a few feet away from me.

"Huh? Oh, it's you..." I say. "Weren't you the ice fairy who attacked me when I first arrived here?"

"...Huh? What are you talking about?" The Ice Fairy asked. "I don't know you at all!"

"What? But you chased me and Youmu through a blizzard. And I shot you as well." I say.

"Hm.... Oh!!! I remember now!" The ice fairy said. "You're gonna pay for that!"

And just like that I made her mad. My eyes widened when I see her suddenly charge up an attack, shooting some icicles at me. I quickly dodged to the right, pulling out my gun to shoot back at her. I'm expecting her to freeze the bullets and-

She took them head on... I was not expecting that. I was taken aback at first, my mind trying to decipher what just happened. I watch as the ice fairy stumbled back, her body bleeding from the bullet wounds before falling into the lake with a splash.

"Fairy... Are... Are you alright?" I stuttered out.

As I look down at the lake, I noticed something else. I look further forward... Seeing 3 silhouettes, hard to describe but I can see them. They were floating, not moving, like they were corpses. My mind quickly came to a quick conclusion just as I heard something below my feet rise out from the water and forcefully pull me in.

As I was submerged into the waters, I caught a glimpse of the same ice fairy... only this time their eyes and body were more dark. Their hair was a dark blue, so was their dress. Their eyes glowed dimly with a shade of purple just as I see them cast a deadlier, shaper icicle to point at me with their bare hand. I felt the icicle go straight through my chest, feeling my heart being pulled forward.

It felt as though I was being sucked down, down past the waters and into the Earth. A large cavern opened up, the darkness engulfing me as it grew. I was consumed by blackness.

Then...

I woke up with a cold sweat. I screamed as I breathed rapidly, looking around frantically in the bright room.

"Woah! Calm down Tsumetai! Breathe... Breathe..." Reisen said to me as they held my shaking hand. "You're in Eientei now, you're okay."

"What happened? What was that dream?" I asked.

"Did you have a nightmare perhaps? Should I get you some water?" Reisen asked me.

"No! It was... I was underwater... Or something..." I said. "...And I was holding a knife... Or some kind of sword or something..."

"That definitely sounds like a nightmare." Reisen said. "You really should calm down a bit."

I took Reisen's advice, taking in a deep breath as I take a look at her. I notice that she isn't wearing her usual outfit but instead what looks like a nurse's uniform. It looks a bit short on her and a bit tight as well.

...And it's moments like these that make me remember that I am in fact gay.

"Um... You... You look nice in that outfit..." I say blushing.

"Oh thank you. Master prefers I wear an outfit for when I'm taking care of patients. It was actually Rinnosuke that made this for me!" Reisen said.

"I see..." I say. I'm a bit curious about this Rinnosuke person and their talent.

"Um... Why am I here?" I ask Reisen.

"Oh, you don't remember?" Reisen asked. "Your brother dropped you off here a few hours ago. He said that you were suffering from a hangover and needed medical attention."

"Oh..." I say. "I'm not feeling to great..."

"Well that's why you're here..." Reisen said, walking over to a tray of medicines as she took something and filled a spoon with it. "Here, say Ahhh~"

"Aaahhh..." I say as I take the spoon full of whatever it is.

"That should help..." Reisen said. "The medicine should get rid of any hangover you may be having. Is there anything else that's bothering you?"

"...Not particularly." I say.

"Alright then. I'll be back in a moment to check on you." Reisen said.

"Okay..."

I lean back on the bed, seeing as Reisen walks out of the door. I think about what she and Fargo have been up to since I moved to the village. It hasn't been that long but still. Then I raise my head back up when I realized that my phantom halves still aren't back with me. It's a bit strange that they haven't returned yet.

"Where are Marshmallow and Choco?" I ask myself.

Chapter Text

I get out of the covers of the bed, my bare feet landing on the familiar texture, as I head out the room, looking down both ends of the hallway just to make sure Reisen or anyone else noticed me. I began walking down the hall of the clinic, being reminded of how I did the same exact thing about a week ago.

It almost feels like deja vu actually, wandering this endless hall just to find 2 parts of myself. It's a bit funny now that I think about it. I walk along the hallways, my feet barely making a sound as I move forward at an incredibly slow pace. I look through a few open rooms, seeing other people inside the clinic. They did not seem to be too bad; bearing mild injuries or experiencing a minor illness. But I suppose some people just prefer to be safe than sorry, I once knew a friend who was paranoid with maintaining their health to the point they were a regular down by the local hospital at my hometown.

As I think about nostaligic memories, I felt a shoulder tap behind me. I turn around, seeing...

My phantom half. Well one of them at least. Based on the color of their form they look to be Choco.

"Oh, there you are Choco." I say. "Where have you been?"

*Ah, y'know. Here and there... Met some nice people along the way.*

"Really now, where's Marshmallow?" I ask Choco.

*Oh, they got lost wandering down the clinic, should we go look for them?*

"Yeah, we should-"

I stopped myself, something's not right.

*What is it?*

A chill ran down my spine, it felt almost as if a heavy fog were rolling in to fill the emptiness within my mind. I look at Choco again, getting closer while keeping my distance.

"...You're not Choco." I say.

*What? No... No you're jokin' Of course I'm Chocolate!!! You named me after all!!!*

"I never named you Chocolate... Also you never directly speak to me, nor does Marshmallow." I tell the phantom. "You're an impostor aren't you?"

*An impostor? Me? Why Tsumetai... How could you accuse a portion of yourself as an impostor? I'm literally apart of you.*

"...sigh..." I let out a sigh, as I pull out my gun and shoot the phantom. The phantom instinctively dodged the attack.

*OH FUCK!!! YOU LITERALLY WERE GOING TO SHOOT ME!?@!?*

The phantom is now bleeding from its shoulder. The rest of its face becomes distorted and twisted, as its cheeks turn into a horrible red color. It begins to look as if its eyes are bulging out with pressure. I saw it slowly take the form of a more humanoid person, long hair tied up with bands and a scrunchy, a striped dress reminding me of a prisoner's outfit somewhat, and a big long pair of handcuffs wrapped around her neck.

It breathed hard, gasping in pain, as it clenched it's wound that I inflicted on it. Their eyes shot towards me, showing off their shark-like teeth with a grudging expression. Then it let out a horrible demonic growl, as the fog of madness began rolling into the back of my head. I can feel it expanding within my skull, pushing all the goodness and thought from my mind.

"I only met you... And now I want to kill you." The figure said. "You'll regret attacking a vengeful spirit!!!"

As I tried to focus, I see the spirit charge at me, flailing their chained weapon at me. I ducked quickly just as the weapon in question slammed into a wall, destroying a portion of it. I turned around, sprinting down the hall to gain some distance. The spirit however, doesn't follow. Instead, it begins to scream at me.

"You're running away already!? You're just like that coward shrine maiden aren't you!?!?" The figure said.

I assume they're referring to Reimu. I wonder if she's connected to this somehow. I took this opportunity to try and escape before the spirit decides to attack. I began to run as fast as I could, but it still managed to catch up to me. It appeared through the floor, standing in front of me.

"Tsumetai, don't go too far! We need backup! HAHAHAHA!" The voice says.

I quickly turn around, but I then noticed something grab me around the neck. It was the chain that I avoided earlier, locking onto me tightly. The next thing I knew I was being pulled back by the figure. I felt my energy being quickly drained by this chain, as I see the figure look down at me from above, showing off a mischievous smile.

"My, you were a bit of a handful. But I dealt with folks more powerful than you." The figure said, mocking me. She slowly began drawing a circle on my forehead with her free hand. "Don't worry, once I finish an errand of mine I'll let you go... If you survive of course."

I had to do something, quick. I reach for the chain, trying to shoot it with my gun, but the figure snatched my weapon away from me, throwing it away.

"Nuh-uh, as if I'll let you have your moment once again. Now be a good girl and let me possess you already." The figure said more impatiently.

I gritted my teeth, my hands clenching on the metal cuff, as I feel it yanking on my neck. I felt more tired now, as if I could pass out at any given moment. But I can't just give up so easily, not like this. I had to do something...

Something...

some...thing...

s...om...e...th..ing...

I closed my eyes, and made my body shake.

...shake...

I took a deep breath, and let out a burst of absolute hatred. I reached into my other pocket, pulling out something that I used to break the chain with ease, surprising the figure.

"What the!?" The figure said. "How did you-"

I screamed, as I lunged at them, pinning them to the floor. I banged their head on the floor a few times before using the item I have as I lift it up in the air to send it down into their skull. They dodged last second, as the blade hit the chain on their neck instead. I took the opportunity to break the other chain, tossing down the remains. I looked up from the mess I made, and saw the phantom had already gotten up. It began running away frantically, but I knew I can't let them get away.

I began to sprint at them, letting adrenaline take over as I started to run as fast as I could. I don't know why but I feel faster, stronger even...

It feels g̴̽͜o̶̱̽o̴̦͝d̴͍́. I don't know why but I want more... more more more MORE!!!!!

I quickly catch up to the figure, grabbing their arm as I slam their entire body through the wall, sending them into an empty room. They winced in pain as I slowly approach them with the knife I hold in my hand.

"My my... How the turns have tabled... hahahhaha!!!" I laugh to my own joke. "Is it not funny!? You should be laughing!!!" I say.

"...What... what the fuck!?" The figure said. "You're insane!!!"

"Am I? Or am I just being reasonable after some just tried to possess me with a mere pair of handcuffs?" I said.

Stop it...

I take another step at the figure, letting a wicked smile be plastered across my face. I feel like I could do anything right now.

"Come on now, aren't you going to try and get away again?" I ask.

"...Fuck off." The figure said.

"Fine then, I'll give you a real challenge," I say. "Try to defend yourself."

"Against you? With what?" The figure says.

"Me?" I ask, raising an eyebrow. "You must have something in your possession that can harm me."

"Such as?" The figure asks.

"A broken heart? A shattered life? A shattered soul? An empty mind?" I ask. "C'mon, you're a FUCKING Vengeful Spirit! Surely you must have something that gives you strength!?" I shout. "...Or maybe you're just a normal spirit that just wants an excuse to hurt people... am I wrong?" I say in a creepy whisper.

All jokes aside, I need some way to kill this spirit. I can't do anything direct, or I'll lose my advantage.

Please... Stop it...

"Huh? What did you just say to me!?" I ask the figure.

"That... that wasn't me!" The figure said.

"HUH!? I can't hear you!!! I'm too busy preparing to dissect you with this knife I have!!!" I say again.

Stop it... Stop it... Please don't make me do this!!!

"SHUT UP AND LET ME DO MY THING YOU FUCKING-" I shout, only to be silenced by a pair of glowing red eyes that stare at me.

No... No... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOỌ̸̧̭̠̇̽̈̌̾̈́̿͛Ŏ̴̡̪̯̝̺̳̱̜͓̥̐̆̓Ọ̵̡̖͇͎̮̖͚̝̺̱͚̦̖̌̓̀̓̍͛͛̋͌́̐̓̚͝͝O̵̤̍͊̀͑͂͘͝͝Ǫ̸̛̖̹͖̰̩̣͎̱̣͍̹̒̂̄̎̾̈́͑̌͒̎̋͜͜͝O̶̢͍̬̰̫̹͙̙̤̾̓͗́̐͐͒̚̕Ȯ̶͇̖͇̺̙͋͛̿͑̅̕O̵̳͈̒̑͆̈͌̆Ȍ̸̡̼̭̗̞̩͎̥̮̗̯̱̯̗͍͛́͋̃̉͗͆͑̏̉̒͘͝͝Ó̶̺͈͐̄̉͋̆͒̓Ơ̷͚̪̼̜͚͈̗͈̙̥̤̅̄̀̾̊̍́O̵̝̼̖̾̔Ǫ̷̟̦̐̓̂̃͊͝Ǫ̷̢̡̺͉̙̳̖́̉O̴̢͉͚̠͇͑̋̋͗͊̆ͅO̵̤̍̅̾̚Ǫ̸̼̝͙̹͍̖̣͈͈̮̒̅̾͛͒̅͊͛̍͊̅͒̑͝O̴̲̎̆̅͑͊̓͑̓̚͠Ơ̸̢̳͛̑͌́͒̃̔̏͊̕͜͠͠O̵̡̨̩̣̦̰͖̲̣̽̚͜O̵̘̘̪̔́Ȍ̷͖̤̠̫͕͈̿͌͂́̊̔̇͘͘͝O̸̡͚̳̜̺̝̗͕͙̖͂͋̌̉̿͗̈́͂͌͆͂̀͊̓͌ͅƠ̵̯͕͔̻̊̑̇̆́͌̄̕͘͝͠Ơ̸̭̭͖̣̪͐̃̈́̈́́Ô̶̜̖̤̼̲̳̯̈̇̿̌̓̌͆̈́͆͋̍̏̚͘ͅÒ̴͉͔̩͕̙̳͚̈́͋̍́͗̄̄̓̕̕͜͠͠Ǫ̵̧̰͕̹̻̖͕͉̲͍͙͖̰̽́͐͌̇͂̓̍̚͝O̵̮͍̘̳̎͆̌͋͒͗͒͊͊͌̌̚͜͝O̴̡̨̢̢͖̩̰͔̰̰̘̳̠̳͌͛̇̀̊̽̃̕Ô̴̡̻͙̳̱͔̱̹̦̓̌̿̔̃̂́̈́̋Ō̶̗̽͐́̔̅̂͆͋͛Ỏ̷̰̤̼̺̩͔͈̖͈͐̈́̈́͆Ọ̴̝̱̣͖̲͎̪̳͇͊̀́́͒̿̎͝Ö̶̢̤̙̝̜̦̤̩̘̰́̈́̈̌͒̔̎́̈́̌̌̃͌Ǫ̶̛͕͇̭͍̰̘̟̻̟̳͚͚̳̓̀͋̈́͆̉͝Ơ̵̤̭̲͐͗̉͆̐͛́͜͠Ở̸̯̯̹̱̼̮͕̈͝O̵͈̲͉̝͕̱̭̳͎̜̠̺͉̚͜O̶̧̞̱͖̤͍͉͈̳̯̓͛͗͒͜͜Ȏ̶̳͌̈́͘Ǫ̸̙̫͓̰͎̯̻̮̘̫̮͍͎̓̈́̈́̌̎̇̊̓̆̈́͑͜͠͝Ò̶̫̞̜͈͚̪̬͚ͅͅO̸̬̣͛̅͂̎͠O̸̞̥̞͓͉̠̎̍͐͆̌͗͜O̷̠͍̹̬̜̲̺̲̓͆̄̑͛̂̆̾O̵̩̘̥͋͒̅̒̔̏͑̓̿Ó̸̹̝̩̂̽̑̋͋̀͝ͅO̶͔̹͓͓͇̍ͅͅÒ̴̼̿̓̽̐͛͌́͐̈̌̍͘͝͠Ơ̸̬̠͚̖̝̯͓͙̭̘̫̝̒̈́́ͅÓ̸̡̨͚̱̘̬͚̳͉͆͊̒̀̆͘͝O̴̢̹͈͛́̾̿̔̆͠O̴̼͔̓̉̓͑O̴̡͈͎͔̹̣̹̗̝̝̱̘̓̀̀́̀͂̕O̶̖̗̍̌̌̈́̓̽̍̈̐̈Ó̵̢̨͈͓̪̖̝̹̥̖̹̭̘͛̈́̊̆̈́̓̊̍̀̕͘͜͝O̶̡̢͍̩̜̥͍͎͋́̾̌̈́̚Ớ̷̞͙́̑̀͌̀̊̄̏̚̚͝͠Ơ̷̟̥̞̏̏͒̃͜͜͝Ơ̸̢̝̦̗̤̖̤̠̅̀̎̂͒̾Ö̶̡̰̺̯̞̀̐͑̕O̶̡̡͚͓͍̖̯͕̎̍̈́͒̾̒̅͊̂̀͑̓̐̄͘ͅ

 

---

I open my eyes... And once again, I am in the void.

The darkness. The utter void of nothingness.

It's so... Empty.

I don't know how long I've been here. Minutes? Hours? Days even? It may as well be less than a second and already I feel like I have been here long enough. I look around me, seeing nothing but a dim light and the sound of a constant echo. But why is there an echo to begin with I do not know.

I think about what I just gone through. I don't know why but it almost feels like my memory has been hazy all day long. First I was at home waking up with a hangover, then I was at Misty Lake with the ice fairy, then I was at Eientei only to face a spirit, and now...

What happened afterwards? And who was that voice inside my head that was controlling me? I shake my head trying to get rid of those thoughts. I can't think about that now. I need to focus on where I am and on how I got here. Now I remember.

I hear a laugh all around me, a familiar laugh that I have heard many times in the past. I only look forward, speaking.

"Yukari." I say.

...

I see a gap portal open up, as a hideous figure appeared before me.

"Greetings Tsumetai... You've gone on such a trip today haven't you?" Yukari asked me. I feel rage and hatred surging through my blood.

"You... If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be here now." I say.

"My, no need to be so agitated Tsumetai, it's only me." Yukari said. "Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed or something?"

"You're a fucking bastard." I growl.

"Well, I'm sorry that you feel that way, but I can't help it."

"You... You fucking bitch!"

I approach them, pulling out the item I had before with the intent to harm them, only to have my arm be grabbed by none other than Fargo.

"Tsumetai!" Fargo shouted.

"What are you doing!? Let go of me!!!" I shout at Fargo.

"You're not acting like yourself!!! Calm down!!!"

"I'll fucking calm down when I cut off this bitch's face!!!" I shout at Fargo.

"I don't think that would be a good idea, Tsumetai. You're acting like a madman."

"Am I? Then let me show you what a real madman is!"

I turn around, preparing to strike Fargo with the blade, when I felt by entire body go limp when I stared into their eyes. So much that I dropped the knife, hearing it clink to the floor. And immediately I find myself turning to normal once more.

"...W...What happened?" I said, blinking a bit before looking around, seeing the knife next to my feet. I quickly stepped back away from the knife and Fargo. "W-what is that thing?" I say.

"Aw... And just when things were starting to get good..." I hear Yukari say. "I was going to make popcorn and everything."

"Well excuuuuuuuuuuuse me princess." I hear Fargo say. "But I can't let my friend stab me just now."

"...Well alright then." Yukari said. "I suppose there's no need for me right this moment... I'll be back at 11 from now, give or take." She said as she disappeared through one of her gap portals.

"...What...What just-" I say, but find myself freezing when I look back at the knife, now being held by that bear...

That same bear, staring at me with those beady eyes.

I felt myself freeze, shiver, turn solid unable to move. I wanted to cry and scream, but can't do either as my breathing stopped.

"Tsumetai? Are you okay?" Fargo asked me.

I wanted to tell them about the bear, but I couldn't. I tried pointing, but they wouldn't look the other way. I tried to speak, but all that came out of my throat was "bear..."

"Bear? What bear?" Fargo asked, looking around. "There's no bear."

I was shocked, so much that I blinked as the bear got closer. I could only whimper as it moved up close each time I blinked.

"This is a bad dream. This is a bad dream. This is a bad dream." I told myself repeatedly. "Please let me wake up. Please please please..." I cried. As the bear moved even closer to me, I found myself losing hope. I had no strength left. It felt like I had been fighting this thing for days. I...

*SLASH*

It saw something, jump out of nowhere, and strike the bear, sending it a good distance away as I see the stuffed animal fly.

I look to my right, so does Fargo, as we both see a strange figure, standing with it's feet on the ground and one hand in the air, with the other also on the ground. I notice what seems to be a tail, and a pair of ears on top of their head. I also notice what looks like some kind of ribbon that's on them... Their back was facing me, so I can't tell who they are.

"Who... who are-"

*ERROR*

System's data bugged!!!

Debugging system...

...

...

---

Switching POVs

---

*Marshmallow, Choco and Miyoi were walking down the forest, down the trail that leads to Misty Lake*

Choco: Are we there yet?

Marshmallow: No.

Choco: Now?

Marshmallow: No...

Choco: How about-

Marshmallow: Look, do you honestly expect the walk to go any faster by repeatedly asking me the same question over and over?

Choco: I just want to know if we're there yet!

Marshmallow: God, you're annoying.

Choco: And you just have a short fuse!

Marshmallow: What was that!?

*To them, it looks like they're arguing, but to Miyoi, it looks like a pair of phantom halves that are butting heads while expressing faceless anger.*

Miyoi: Um... Are you two fighting?

Marshmallow And Choco: NO!!!

*Marshmallow and Choco face Miyoi, causing her to step back a bit.*

Miyoi: Woah, calm down you two.

Marshmallow and Choco: We are calm!!!

*Miyoi was able to gather the idea that the two were saying yes to her response.*

Miyoi: Good. Now, I don't know how this has happened, but you've been walking in this direction for hours, and we're just about to reach the lake.

Marshmallow: We are? Oh well that's good.

Choco: Ha! I knew asking over and over will help us get there closer!

Marshmallow: No it was not.

Choco: Yes it was.

Marshmallow: No.

Choco: Yes.

Marshmallow: No.

Choco: Yes.

Marshmallow: No.

*Miyoi could tell that the two phantoms were arguing again, so she grabs both of them by their tails and drag them along.*

Miyoi: Geez, stop arguing you two, must I do everything myself? Okay, we're going to proceed at a normal pace, no faster, no slower, no hurries, no delays, and no more arguing over a minor detail. Got it?

Marshmallow: Got it.

Choco: Fine...

Miyoi: Great! I don't know if you're agreeing with me but I'll take it as a yes!

*Miyoi continued to drag the phantoms along happily, walking down the path.*

...

Chapter Text

*suddenly a floor potato fell from the heavens, landing next to Miyoi, shocking her.*

Miyoi: Whoa! What the heck!?

*Choco and Marshmallow were in shock too, staring at the mysterious object, with their tails and bodies twitching nervously.*

Marshmallow: Geezus, what happened?

Choco: Someone lost their lunch? Why is there a potato?

*beep...beep...beep*

Miyoi: Um... Why do I hear beeping?

*Marshmallow goes to check the potato, only to find that there's a timer on the back, and it's counting down.*

Marshmallow: This might be bad...

*The potato leaps into the air, landing on Choco's head.*

Choco: Ahhhh!!! hot hot hot hot!!!

*Choco quickly passes the hot potato to Marshmallow.*

Marshmallow: Don't just hand it to me, that's hot!!!

*Marshmallow and Choco pass it back and forth to one another, until the potato lands on Miyoi, slipping into her shirt.*

Miyoi: AAAAAAAA!!!! GET IT OUT!!! AAAAAAA!!!!

*A few moments later, the potato falls out of her shirt, and lands on the ground with a thud.*

Choco: Well that was uncomfortable.

*beep... beep... beep beep beep beep bebebebebebebebbebebebebebebebebebe-*

Marshmallow: Oh no...

*An explosion explodes!!!!! Sending the trio up into the air in a comedic fashion!*

Choco: Woah! I think I lost some skin!

Marshmallow: I think I lost some vision!

Miyoi: AAAAAAA!!!

*The trio flew high up, eventually landing into a surface of water. Marshmallow was the first to pull Choco and then Miyoi out of the water and onto the shore.*

Miyoi: I'm so hot! And wet! And covered in potato chunks!

Choco: Yeah, well we made it to the lake. So you're welcome.

Marshmallow: Calm down Choco, the girl just went through an explosion.

Choco: Well I'm sorry, who's the one that wanted to head to Misty Lake again?

Marshmallow: ...Look, all I know is that Tsumetai's presence was here a while ago, she could still be here right now in fact.

Choco: Well if she is, she must've already left.

Marshmallow: Maybe, but if you want to look for some sign of her...

Choco: ...

Marshmallow: Hey, you okay? You're awfully-

Choco: Shhh!!! Be quiet!

*Choco shushed Marshmallow, pointing behind them as they look at the trees, seeing a figure, walking with what looks like a pair of bodies being dragged.*

Marshmallow: Oh... This... This is not good...

*Marshmallow and Choco immediately look at Miyoi, who was still lying on the ground, about to get up. They quickly grab her, running into the trees away from the figure so they would not see them.*

Miyoi: Hey, what are you- mmmph!!! MMMPH!!!

*Marshmallow covered Miyoi's mouth so she wouldn't draw any attention to them. They make their way into the trees, a good distance away from the figure.*

*They look from afar, seeing the figure...*

---

S̸̨̢͇̜͈̳̘̲̘̳͐̈́̈̎̎̽̉̕͝w̵͈̒̍̕ĭ̶̢̨̗̫͎͔͕̟͈̭̟̖̗͔͐̊͗̐̐̑͆͊͆͜͠t̴̼̲̝̮͉̞̭̱̰̀̅͗̉͘͝c̵̛̱̞̀̎͐͒̉͝ḩ̸͖̻̭̺̳̰̠̋͆̓͆̒̈̿͐̇́͆̋̑̚i̵̹̫̯̜̘̝͔̝̞̻̊͝n̵͙̗͙͛̃̄̓g̴̟̃ ̷̜͈͉̗̣̒͂̒͆̈̎͌͝P̷̟̲̤̏̈́̑̐͐̚O̸̮̒̈́̓̾́͐̏̊̌̋Ṽ̷̨̧̢̠̮͍͓̳̞͕͓̹̱̖̑̄̐̌̋̓̅́͗̚ͅș̶͉̘̲͖̩̀̊͛̒̌̎̏̂̒̎̚

---

I walk towards the lake, with the bodies that I have killed. The trip took a while to do by foot, but flying was not an option for me, especially if I do not wish to get caught. My master wouldn't want me to be exposed too early, else their plan would be in shambles.

I arrive by the waters, tossing the bodies down to the ground. The first one was a girl, I think their name was Yuzuki or something... They were a sweet kind girl, almost made me not want to kill them. But my master wanted me to do so... I didn't complain however, she died for my master's sake. The other I believe to be a homeless person. I found them last night outside the human village, they looked like they were about to embrace death... A shame, someone like them would've been perfect for my master's cause.

I took both of them, throwing each one into the lake. Their bodies floated on the surface, where the can be visually seen. I watch as the bodies float further down the lake. I wonder if they would be found... That would mean the end of this plan, and I hope not.

"..."

"Hmph," came a female voice.

My eyes shot towards the direction of the voice, my vision looking at the trees. All I see was bark and leaves, but I knew there's more than what meets the eye. I listen with my ears, trying to get an idea on what that voice may be... But I hear nothing. I turn my feet, my body, my head, at where the voice came from, and slowly walked forward.

Each step I take, I got closer to my goal. I walked at the trees, listening, looking, feeling. I let my sword drag on the ground, getting it covered in dirt around its bloody stains. I let out a deep, ragged breathe, calming down. The voices of my master and the others were still present in my head. I let them in, I let them guide me. I found the voices calming, I even stopped trying to block them out.

I walked back to the lake, my feet stepping on the muddy ground. I looked at the bodies, sitting at the edge of the water. I look back at my stained blade, catching a glimpse of my reflection by the water. Water can mean many things: Be it going with the flow, or even purity...

...My master does not like purity, I should fix that.

"Sex Regnum Gladius "Individual Cogitatio et Infinitus Kalpas"" I chanted.

I cut the air around me, the water, the dirt, the grass, even the trees closest to me. I cut each and every one of them into a million different pieces. The bodies too, cut up down to the very blood that remained in their corpses. Their skin was torn off, their muscles were chopped, their hair was sliced, their eyes popped, their bones broken and their brains smushed. I cut them to the point where their very molecules would be blown away by the wind.

And the bodies were no more. The area around me turned into a dead land, lacking any life besides my own. I draw my sword back into its sheath. The dead bodies turned into dust, which in turn turned back into the air. And so began a cycle. I turned away from the dead bodies, and headed back to the village. I put my cloak back on, walking back down the path once again.

---

Switching POVs

---

*Marshmallow, Choco and Miyoi shivered, still hiding behind the tree that barely got hit by the person's attack.*

Marshmallow: ...W...W...W...What in the blazes was that? That can't be- I mean... It looked like her but-

Choco: The creature... I saw them too... I saw that creature... Wait, Marshmallow, what do you mean it looked like her? Did you know them?

Marshmallow: I-I-I don't know... Their hair was all dark and they were wearing a completely different outfit... But why was their-

Miyoi: Um... What's w-with the phantom over there?

Marshmallow: What phan-

*Marshmallow froze, staring at the dark phantom that was watching them. It didn't move, but it floated in place. It looked like it's been watching for a while. And it simply stared.*

Choco: Wait... Who is that?

Marshmallow: ...Is... Is that you?

*Marshmallow moved close towards the phantom half, while Choco tried to make them stop.*

Choco: Hey, what are you doing? We don't know if they're friendly or not!!!

Marshmallow: But they just... Watched us, didn't they?

Choco:...

Choco: I'm...

Marshmallow: It's going to be okay, just let me talk to-

*Suddenly, the phantom darted off, going deeper into the woods.*

Marshmallow: Ach! Wait up!!!!

*Marshmallow begins chasing after the phantom, leaving Choco and Miyoi behind.*

Choco: Guys, stop! Don't go so fast!

*Choco attempts to catch up to Marshmallow, but fails horribly.*

Miyoi: You morons! Why are you both moving so fast!!!

*Marshmallow zips through the trees, playing catch up with the dark phantom. They swerve around branches, trying not to get hit. While the dark phantom in front was dodging them with ease, Marshmallow kept on hitting one after the other. Behind Marshmallow was Choco and Miyoi, who were trying to keep up with Marshmallow. But Choco was having a hard time since Miyoi was dragging them behind.*

*It slowly begins to rain, with the area starting to get dark and misty. The dark phantom was slowly evading Marshmallow's sight, but they wouldn't give up just yet. They kept on going as fast as they can, moving around the trees while keeping themselves low to the ground.*

Marshmallow: Hey!!! Hey!!!!! Can you hear me!!! It's me, Marshmallow!!! I just want to talk, that's all!!!

*Marshmallow tried to communicate with the phantom, but the phantom didn't say anything but kept on moving through the trees.*

Choco: I think it's going to rain!

Miyoi: I bet so, we're getting really soaked!

*The area gets really dark as the rain started to heavily. It got so misty that Marshmallow could barely see in front of them. The phantom ahead kept getting further and further away from Marshmallow, making them more desperate in trying to keep up.*

Marshmallow: HEEY!!! PLEASE, I JUST WANT TO KNOW ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU!!! WHY WON'T YOU REALIZE THAT I'M TRYING TO-

*Marshmallow didn't notice where they were going and ended up hitting a tree branch, causing them to slide across the ground, landing in a more open area. The rain continued to pour even harder now, while Marshmallow expressed pain.*

Marshmallow: Ow... Ow... Ow......

Choco: Geez, finally! We caught up to you! Hey, you okay?

*Choco and a tired Miyoi moved over to Marshmallow, who was wincing in pain.*

Marshmallow: Yeah... Ow... Hopefully Tsumetai didn't feel that one.

---

Meanwhile, Tsumetai lets out a moan, right as Reisen gently placed a stethoscope on her chest to check her heartbeat.

"Urrrgh..." Tsumetai winced in pain.

"My apologies... Perhaps you would prefer I do your back instead?" Reisen said, unsure of what to do.

"No, it's fine. Just check my pulse, and make sure it's fine." Tsumetai said, speaking in a tired voice. "God... What the hell are Marshmallow and Choco even doing right now?"

---

*Miyoi helps Marshmallow up a bit, making sure they're doing alright.*

Choco: Still, what were you thinking chasing after that phantom. What did you think you were going to accomplish if you caught up to them?

Marshmallow: I just... I was hoping... Look, I know you haven't been around as long as I have... But I thought that the phantom I saw was Myon-Chan.

Choco: Myon-Chan? Is that-

Miyoi: Um...

*Marshmallow and Choco stopped their conversation, looking at Miyoi's hand, which was pointing towards what looks to be...tombstones. There's at least 5 of them, all with different designs and coloring. They're spread out in an uneven pattern.*

Marshmallow: ...A graveyard? In the middle of the woods? But why... Was Myon-Chan trying to guide us here or something?

Choco: Um... I-I don't like this Marshy... Plus, it's getting dark and I really think we should go look for Tsumetai.

Marshmallow: But... There's something about these graves... I just... Can't help but feel...

*Marshmallow floats towards the graves, while Choco and Miyoi stay where they are, feeling unease. But Marshmallow feels curiosity and some form of interest in these graves.*

...

Chapter Text

*Marshmallow approaches the tombstone in the middle, getting close enough so that they can read the words engraved on them. It was barely readable, likely due to the grave not being properly taken care of for who knows how long.*

Marshmallow: It... It says here... 'Forgotten before they could even be remembered. Date of Birth Unknown.'

Choco: Unknown. So was it a body that no one could recognize or something?

Marshmallow: No, there's a name... It says... Rin... Satsuki-

*Suddenly, a flash of light enveloped the area, blinding Choco and Miyoi. While Marshmallow let out a yelp turned scream.*

Marshmallow: AAAAAAA!!! What is haaaaaaapaapweopappaw;oehfaenfawjenfaw;eofih;l ja; n11111111111110010010010010010100001001010100101010100101010100101001010101001010101000101-

*ERROR*

Not enough space for newly added data.

Removing Marshmallow.exe...

...

...

...

Marshmallow.exe successfully removed!

Installing Satsuki.exe

...

...

...

Installed!!!

Updating World...

Updating Characters...

---

The area around Miyoi and Choco switched from a rainy forest to a cold snowy one. It was sudden, instantaneous even. It was like it was supposed to be like this from the very beginning but the world forgot and patched itself up so it would remember. It was chilly, Miyoi shivered as they woke up covered in a layer of snow piled up on her. Choco however was already active, looking around desperately, in a panicked state.

"Marshmallow? Marshmallow!? Hey!!! Marshy!!!" Choco cried out.

"...Huh?" Miyoi said, raising herself from the snow pile. It was heavy and her body was already cold, yet she still got up in the end. She slowly walked over to the person crying out someone's name.

"Marshy!!!! Where did you go!!!" Choco shouted. "C'mon, this is so not funny!!!"

"...Who... Are you?" Miyoi asked the person in question.

The person turned around, facing Miyoi.

"Huh? What do you mean, it's me Choco don't you- Wait... You can hear me?" Choco asked. "But... But I thought only other phantoms can hear each other..." Choco asked.

"...Phantom?" Miyoi asked. She looked up and down at the person in front of them, seeing their appearance be that of a human that lacks legs, instead having a dark grey tail. They were wearing a dark brown outfit, with a square checkered pattern that would remind one of chocolate bars. Their face was small and round, squishy too even, and their hair matched what they were wearing. "But you don't look like the phantoms I was following earlier."

The person smiled, though it looked unnatural and forced. "Gee, thank you. I am flattered that you already forgot about me." Choco said to Miyoi.

"No, I'm serious, you look different from-"

"Uuuugh..." A voice rattled from the lump of snow that was next to Choco and Miyoi.

"Wait, Marshy?" Choco said, quickly moving over to the snow pile. "Hey, you okay? I thought that I-"

Choco removed the snow that was covering the person, expecting it to be Marshmallow, but it was not. Instead it was someone else.

Her outfit was white, with a red skirt and a matching ribbon tied her short blonde hair, looking similar to Reimu's Miko outfit in a way. she also has what looks to be an erhu laying next to her. She slowly opened her eyes, staring up at Choco's.

"...Gah!!!!" The person yelled, kicking Choco in the face.

"Oh you mother!!!" Choco yelled, covering their nose. "...Wait, why am I bleeding?" They asked themselves as they look at the blonde haired girl.

"W-w-w-w-who are y-y-y-y-you?" The blonde girl said, pointing and shivering. "S-ss-stay back!!!"

"We're not gonna hurt you, I promise!" Choco assured her, moving over. "Just talk to me, my name's Choco."

"Liar!!!" The girl said, kicking Choco again.

"Ack!!! Why is she so freaking strong!?" Choco yelled, clenching their stomach as they look down. "...Wait... I...I have a body!?!?!?" Choco asked themselves as they look at their hands and felt their own face. "AAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!! HOLY HELL I HAVE A BODY!!!!" Choco yelled.

"C-calm down Choco!" Miyoi said, still shivering. "W-we're all c-confused at the moment so lets all just t-t-take a deep breath and-"

The ground started to shake violently, as the other 4 graves stared to sink into the ground around them, submerging into the earth.

"What is going on!?!?" The blonde girl asked. "Where am I!?!?"

It shook, trembled the trees and the snow... And then it all stopped...

...Until hands started coming out of the ground of course.

"AAAAA!!!!" Miyoi screamed, as one of the hands tried to grab her. She stepped back, still shivering as the hand rose, revealing more of a body as the sight of what looks to be a man with purple/yellow hair looked at her, with eyes that glowed purple.

"Ý̷̬̣̅͑o̶̢͚͚͠ų̶͌̆ ̸̼̔̔̈́s̴͉̼̮͑͌͠h̷̨͚̝̿̈͝o̸̫̭͈͋̽͝ũ̵̹̹̍̚͜l̷̬̹͋̀́d̵̺̋̇ ̷̨̹̐͋h̴͓̟̃̅͘a̷̘͎̥̓̔v̵̹̉ͅe̷̹͒̇̉ ̸̟͊ṡ̶͚̒ͅạ̷̼̀̊v̸̞̯́e̸̡̛̦͂d̸͎̀́ ̴̦̼̦͒̅m̶̯̽̑͝e̷̙͍͕͆.̸̟͇̝͐͊̊.̷̣̝̑̆̒.̷̬̀̅ ̸̲͔͊͑̽N̴͍͉̞̄̔̒ọ̸̞̿̔w̶̼̺̠͒ ̷̘̮͋̈́͜I̸͇͉̼̔ ̷̘͌͜w̶̙͑̑ǐ̸̳͓̘̍̄l̷̘̥̞̿̚l̵̡̼̺̑͘͠ ̷̝̈́ē̸̠̥̊n̷̦͙͈̋d̸͈̳͒ ̴̢͓̰͛y̵̺̦̠̿̈́͠o̴̼̦̹̾̚͠u̸̦̍̃̈.̵̛̤̖.̶̬͝.̷̪̽" The figure said.

Other figures started to rise from the ground also: One of them being a girl with green hair, an old man sporting a pair of swords, and what looks like a girl with the ears of a rabbit. They all have eyes that glowed purple, and they all moved stiffly, like they were npcs of a game that lagged often.

"M̷̤̝̞̈́͝ỹ̴̧͉ ̴̤̓̋̍ŝ̷̲̯͚͋́i̸̪̹͗͆s̵̬̀͑͊t̷̬̬̾e̸̬̓̕r̷̼̣̘̋s̸͎͇͑͌.̵̤̼̎͜.̴͈̪̇̾̀.̸͚̑ͅ ̸̼̀̏̑I̴̼͇͗ͅ ̵̈́̃ͅẅ̸̧̥̙́̄̐a̷̎̅ͅn̵̼̣͗̕t̵̪̼͔́̂ ̴̨̟̭͗͐t̴̻́͌o̶̺̗̹͗ ̷̧̤̒̀s̴̭̙̘͌e̶̙̭̦̓e̴̻̯͗̄͝ ̷̻̔̃́m̷͓̙̋͛͛ÿ̸̡͖̤̈́ ̶̡̤͖͗s̶̩̗̘̊i̶̯̮͖͌s̷̠͙̋̽̊͜t̵̹̬͂̈́̕ë̸͇͎ṙ̶̭̰̕͘s̷͚̣͖̍͝.̵̩̱̀.̸̛͚̱͎͒.̴̜̌̿̇" One of them said.

"Y̷̨̛͛u̶̼̹͒͜.̵̺̐ͅ.̶͉̫̓̑ͅ.̷̝̩͋͊Y̸̢̒u̸̗̓͝.̴͚̃̚.̷̫̀.̵̖̂K̶͂̄̀͜ó̴͔̹̭͝.̸̥͎͍͋̃̃.̶͕̜̓̓.̸͇̞̀͜" Another said.

"P̶̨̘͛͋̚l̶̜̏e̷̛̘͌a̴̲͎̓͋̍s̶͎͛͝ē̴̪̯̤.̴͍͇͈̊́.̷̱͈̿͜.̸̮̊̒̀ ̷̹̲̊͂R̶̽͆͜ữ̷̪̿ͅṋ̶̎.̴̗̈́͜.̷̯͒.̶̥̟̂̔ ̴͉̲͗S̷͍͔̞̋͗̚h̴̫̖͈͝e̶̤͑͝ ̶͎͇͈͊i̷̙̰͑̂ṣ̶͎͈̀͠.̶̧̙̈́̇͌.̸̧͖̳͂͘.̵̫̊̌ͅ" The last one said.

Choco, Miyoi and the blonde girl stood frozen, as they were circled by the 4 figures. Things were starting to look bad.

"...Grab onto me!!! NOW!!!" Choco quickly yelled to Miyoi and The blonde girl.

"W-what!?" The blonde girl said. "What are you planning on-"

Miyoi grabbed onto Choco and the blonde girl just in case. Choco quickly leapt into the air, attempting to fly.

"So... Heavy..." Choco said, trying to move with the added weight, but they quickly fell back to the ground, laying on the snow. They looked back, seeing the smiling figures with their glitchy faces.

"...Run." Choco said, grabbing on the pair and pulling them back up. The 3 started to run, just as the other 4 started to pursue them quickly through the trees. Choco managed to keep them moving, but the others had a lead on them.

It was a long way to the village. They could run on the ground, run on trees, run through the water. But no matter how much they run it was obvious they will be caught, and they would not want to find out what happens when they do. Choco didn't need to run, so they have plenty of energy, but Miyoi and the blonde girl were both cold and tired. Miyoi was starting to get exhausted, their body still cold from the snow, eventually falling behind. The blonde girl noticed this, reaching out a hand as they try to make sure Miyoi keeps up.

"We need to alert someone..." Miyoi said, losing breath. "Reimu... Or someone near we need to tell them about this."

The blonde girl was tired on the inside, crying while losing breath.

"We're going to die." She said.

"We're going to make it." Choco said, trying to keep her positive. "If Marshmallow was here right now I know they would figure out a plan or something."

"Who's Marshmallow?" The blonde girl said.

Just as Choco was about to answer, they quickly stopped, keeping Miyoi and the blonde girl from running into a wall of bullet hell. They look up, seeing the purple/yellow haired man smiling as they casted a spell card.

"That... That's one of Byakuren's Spell cards!" Miyoi said.

The 3 quickly turn left, hoping to lose the pursuers in the woods. The blonde girl couldn't get her breathing to normal, and she was starting to panic.

"We're going to suffocate out here!" She yelled.

"We'll be fine." Choco said, trying to keep them calm. "We just need to-"

*Shing*

"Get down!!!" Miyoi said, pushing the 2 down along herself to the snow just as all the trees in the surrounding area were all chopped down into a million pieces, as they look to see the old man displaying their sword, imbued with a purple glow.

"That's one of Youmu's!!!" Miyoi said. This time it was her that took the lead as she picked up the blonde girl, running while Choco kept up with her.

"I...I'm so scared..." The blonde girl said, clenching onto Miyoi's arm. "I'm so confused... What is going on?" She said.

"D-don't worry, w-w-we'll figure this out once we find a place to-" Miyoi said.

*Bang*

Miyoi felt a bullet graze her hair, as she looked forward to see one of the other pursuers holding what looks like an old fashioned musket, reloading slowly, as if they were purposefully stalling for time.

"Right!!!" Choco yelled, as the 3 move right, but were stopped as a sudden arrangement of notes and chords suddenly wrapped around their bodies, binding them in place. They see the final pursuer, holding what looks like a conductor's wand as gentle, yet horrific music played in the air.

Choco tried their hardest to break free, while Miyoi focused on comforting the crying blonde girl.

"I-I wanna go home... I don't wanna die..." The blonde girl said, letting out the tears. "This has to be a nightmare I'm having..."

"Hey hey, i-it's okay." Miyoi said. "W-We'll figure something out... R-right Choco?" Miyoi asked Choco.

"..." Choco didn't know what to say, as the 4 pursuers finally arrived down. They smiled, laughing in unison as their wicked faces showed what they are thinking right now.

"What should we do with them? Kill them? Mangle them? Let their bodies dangle over a cliff perhaps?" The purple haired man said.

"Why would we bother with that? Just leaving them here in the snow is enough for them to be killed. Then when they're at their lowest point, only then may our Master come and do the deed." The green haired girl said.

"Ah... But we should be patient, not rush things else we will lose our advantage." The old man said. "Isn't that right?" He looked at the girl with rabbit ears.

"..." The rabbit girl remained silent, as if they were conflicted at the moment.

"...What's the matter with you huh?" The purple haired man said. "Cat got your tongue or something?"

"..." The rabbit girl continued to say nothing.

"Hey, I'm talking to you! You should listen to what I have to say!!!" The purple haired man said, approaching the girl with a hateful tone.

"I'm sorry, but I really think we should just kill them. I don't think we should bother with them, they are weak and pathetic. I don't want to be tempted to cut off their heads." The rabbit girl said. "We should just go, our Master can take care of the rest."

"...You seem to be sentimental for someone who should be a l̴̖̰͋̉̕o̴͉̣̳̊̓͘s̶̘̄͐̂ṭ̷̲̞͂ ̸̹̹̳̃̓̑c̴̲̄a̷͖̩̓͝u̵͉̰͆ṡ̶̫͓̜ë̸̫̰́͘͝ͅ." The purple haired man said.

"Easy now..." The Old Man said. "We are getting out of hand, we should be-"

"Fuck off Old Geezer!!!" The purple haired man said, unleashing a flurry of deadly and buggy bullets towards the man. This caused the old man to react by cutting all the bullets with their sword. As the 4 were distracted, Choco and Miyoi tried to think of a plan to escape.

"Damn it... These bindings are keeping us in place." Choco said, trying to break free. "Got anything Miyoi?"

"I-I don't know... I never been involved in danmaku before, I wouldn't even know how to slip through this kind of thing." Miyoi said.

"C'mon... Break free... Break free... Just break free already!!!" Choco yelled, mustering their strength into the bindings.

"...I...I need to do something..." The blonde girl said to themselves. "I... I must... I must try and.."

The wind around the 3 started to change, blowing in a circular pattern. The blonde girl closed their eyes, mumbling something to themselves as the wind grew stronger and stronger. Choco and Miyoi were confused, but didn't say anything while the 4 others were too busy fighting one another.

The rabbit girl looked behind her, seeing what was going on as the wind grew so fast that it formed a tornado around the 3 they captured. The tornado started to spin, twisting and folding over itself as the 3 were lifted into the air. They opened their eyes, and saw that they were heading towards an opening in the sky.

"Woah!!! Is this your doing!?" Miyoi asked the blonde girl. "How are you doing this!? I thought only the Tengu can-"

"Rin." The blonde girl said. "Call me Rin Satsuki." The girl named Rin said.

"WOOOO!!! Hell Yeah, Keep doing whatever it is you are doing!!!" Choco said.

The trio were flown high up in the sky, with the area below them practically a hurricane as their pursuers could not handle the sudden gusts of wind from the tornado, being blown away before they could react.

The musical bindings around the 3 broke eventually, probably due to the green haired girl's magic wearing off somehow. The 3 are now spinning inside of a tornado.

"HELL YEAH BABY!!!" Choco yelled, expressing excitement and relief in their voice. "Okay! We just need to make our way to the village and then we can hopefully alert Reimu or something!"

"...Reimu?" Rin asked. "Did you just say Reimu?"

"Um... Yeah, you know her or something?" Choco asked.

"Reimu... Reimu Reimu Reimu REIMU REIMU REEEEEEEEIMUUUUUUUUU!!!!" Rin shouted loudly, the tornado now turning violent as it blew the trio around.

"AAAAAA!!!" Miyoi yelled, clinging onto Choco while Rin started going berserk inside the tornado while flowers started blooming in the sky.

"Rin!!! Calm down!!! Please Calm down!!!" Choco yelled, trying to get Rin to calm down before anyone gets hurt.

"Where are you Reimu!?!? Marisa!?!? Show yourselves!!! Face me! I'll show you how capable I truly am!!!" Rin shouted loudly.

"This is bad!!!" Choco said. "She's out of control! We need to do something!" Choco said.

"I-I know!!!" Miyoi said, letting go of Choco as they positioned themselves to grab onto Rin, facing them. She then pulled out what looks to be a tiny vial of liquid, forcing Rin to drink it.

"Ack! What did you make me... Uuugh..." Rin said, going from berserk into a more drunken state. "Why... Why am I so tired all of a sudden..."

"I am so glad I carry alcohol with me in case of emergencies." Miyoi said to herself, as the tornado started to dissipate.

"...Oh no..." Miyoi said.

'Crap." Choco said, as the 3 started to fall from the sky.

"Choco?!?" Rin said, with a slur. "Chock Choko!!!!" Rin said, with a burst of laughter. "Choko Choko!!!!" Rin laughed again.

"Choco!!! Do something!!!" Miyoi said, holding onto the drunken Rin.

"Um... Uh... Oh I know!!!" Choco said, moving towards the two, getting below them. "Marshy did this before, hopefully I can do the same thing!!!"

The 3 fell to the ground with a loud thud, snow flying into the air and falling down slowly around the trio. Miyoi and Rin were safe but Choco was more hurt than them due to breaking their fall.

"Ow.... Owowow... Damn I never knew having a humanoid body would hurt so much." Choco said. "You two okay?"

"Yeah..." Miyoi said. "I-I'm fine..."

"Wooo!!!" Rin said, standing up, dancing around. "I'm as light as a fluffy cloud!!! Weeeee~" Rin said, walking around and jumping in the air 3 times while spinning.

"Well glad to hear Rin is okay..." Choco said, rising up from the ground as they look at their surroundings, realizing they're in...

Chapter Text

The familiar shrine grounds was covered in a nice layer of snow, as the light coming from the shrine itself was still on. Commotion could be heard as the door opened to reveal Reimu herself, walking outside with her gohei in hand.

"Okay you fairies, now's not the time to go around and-" Reimu said, looking around only to see the trio that have landed at her shrine. "...Miyoi? What are you doing here this late?" Reimu asked Miyoi.

"Reimu... There's-"

"Reimu? Reimu!?!?" Rin said, glaring at Reimu. "You!!!!" She said while charging at Reimu with her hands out in a grappling position. Reimu readied herself as she was about to pull her talisman.

...But instead of being attacked, she got a big ol' hug.

"Take this! And that! And... And this too!!!" Rin said, bapping Reimu on the shoulders with her arms weakly. "And this is for... for... why... why am I mad at you again?" Rin said, hicupping.

"Um... Miyoi why did you bring a drunk girl over to Hakurei Shrine?" Reimu asked.

"It's a long story." Miyoi said. "But listen, I need you to-"

"Hey! Reimu! What's taking you so long!?" A voice coming from behind Reimu shouted. Reimu turned around, seeing Suika and Shinmy, who is currently the size of a small human. "And why does that girl look like you and Marisa if you ever had kids?"

"Kids!? There's no way!" Reimu said with an odd look towards Suika. "Besides, even if we somehow did I doubt that they would look like..." Reimu looked back at the drunk and sleepy Rin, resting her head on Reimu's chest a little, looking a bit peaceful. "...Shinmy you always said you wanted siblings right?" Reimu asked.

"Uh, not really. I never said that." Shinmy said, also giving an odd look.

"No... I don't want Reimu to be my mama..." Rin said, still drunk at the moment. "Reimu... Would be a terrible... Mother..." She said.

Reimu felt as if her heart grew heavy from Rin's words. Suika kept herself from laughing out loud while walking towards Reimu to get a closer look at Rin.

"Strange. I never seen her before in my life." Suika said. "Is she another outsider? We have been getting a lot of those lately."

"I don't think so. Her outfit looks native to Gensokyo." Reimu said. "But it is weird how she knew me from the moment we met."

"Maybe you fought her in the past?"

"No, I would remember. I still remember the day I beat up Remilia and that was years ago." Reimu said, reminiscing the past. She shook her head as she looked back at the worried Miyoi. "Where did you find her?"

"Um... We found her close to Misty Lake... I was following Tsumetai's phantom halves when we found a small graveyard and then-"

"Hold that thought, who's the girl that looks like Mima if she was short and wore brown?" Reimu asked, pointing at Choco.

"That's Choco... one of Tsumetai's phantom halves." Miyoi said. Choco waved.

"One of Tsumetai's? But that's impossible. Not even Youmu could be capable of doing something like that with her own." Reimu said. "Are you sure you're telling the truth?"

"Oh my god, yes of course I'm telling the truth Reimu! But I really need you to listen to me!" Miyoi said, expressing more panic. "Gensokyo's in danger!!!"

"Danger?" Reimu asked, now having more of her attention towards Miyoi. "An incident?"

"Yes!!! When we arrived at Misty Lake, we found a strange person, who was dragging human bodies and cutting them up! The corpses looked like they were from the Human Village Reimu!" Miyoi cried. "But there's more!!! We were attacked by these figures who looked like they were-"

*BANG*

A bullet flew the air, zooming past Miyoi, Choco, Reimu and Suika. It grazed through Reimu's hair, going right at one of the beams of the shrine, taking off a chunk of it. Everyone looked behind them, then looked at where the bullet came from, seeing the smoking musket as it was lowered by a girl with rabbit ears, looking with her purple eyes at the group.

"Oh no..." Miyoi said with fear in her throat.

"Wait, is that a moon rabbit?" Reimu asked, trying to get Rin off of her.

"Great, another Moon Rabbit." Suika said, clearly annoyed. "Are they another runaway or something?"

"I don't see the others." Choco said, looking around the area. "Why is it only them?"

"W-We need to run!" Miyoi said. "C'mon!"

"Run? An Oni never runs from a fight!" Suika said, warming up her arms as she dashes at the moon rabbit. "Prepare yourself!!!"

Suika charged towards the rabbit, expecting a response from her. Whether it was a fighting stance of their own or even an attempt to dodge. But the rabbit stood still, not even moving her gun or anything. Suika had hit the rabbit with a barrage of kicks, only for her to continue standing without even a scratch. Suika looked enraged, as she stomped her feet.

"Damn it!!" Suika shouted. "Take this fist!!!"

Suika clenched her fist, aiming for the face of the rabbit. But instead she was met with a palm, that easily stopped her fist, and her entire body from moving. The rabbit only looked down at Suika, giving an imtimidating glare. "What the hell, this is some kind of joke!?" Suika said with shock and worry, as the moon rabbit continued to stand.

"p̶̛̙̳̓͝a̶̳͔͈͋t̷̼̰̓̿̂ḫ̷̫̫̂e̸̫̥̹͑͐̽t̵̜̓ì̷̙̕c̷̢͕͖͠" The rabbit said. "You can't even muster enough strength to kill me." They said. They then used their own fist, punching Suika right in the face, sending her zooming directly into the Shrine, destroying the wall.

"That... What the hell was that!?" Reimu shouted, clearly aghast. "She just overpowered an oni!?"

Shinmy, who was concerned, quickly ran over to the shrine. "Suika!? Are you okay!?" She said.

"Y-Yeah... I'm fine..." Suika said, sitting up while her head bleed. "Ow... Never thought a Moon Rabbit would do so much damage..."

"...You... Shrine Maiden..." The rabbit said, pointing at Reimu.

"Me?" Reimu asked.

"...Have you killed someone before?" The rabbit asked.

"...Only when it's necessary." Reimu said. "Why?"

"...What would you consider necessary?" The rabbit asked.

"For example, if you threaten any resident of the human village." Reimu said.

"Ah, so if I go to the village and kill someone there, you will kill me?" The rabbit asked.

"If that's what it takes to stop you from killing anyone there, then yes." Reimu said.

"Well then, I guess this is goodbye, dear." The rabbit said, turning around to leave as they leapt into the air, only to be sent back down due to hitting some kind of barrier.

"What the!?" The rabbit exclaimed, seeing there was a barrier in place keeping her from leaving.

"I'm sorry... But if you're intentions are to head to the village, then I must stop you here at this shrine." Reimu said, having placed down a talisman on the grounds. "I won't kill you, just beat you to the point of submission. Afterwards I'll take you to Eientei and have you sent back to the moon."

"...The Moon..." The rabbit said with anger in her tone. "...Y̵̳̗͚͛̋̋ò̸͇̔u̴̮͊ ̶̭̈́d̴̼̯̍ä̵͎́̑͘r̸̨̥̈́e̷̦͈͕͑̕ ̷̢͚̈́͝s̴̜͊̋̏p̸̤̱͋e̸̺͉͐͐ä̵̫̮̥́k̸̨̦͕͌̀̑ ̸̦͈̳̒o̷̧͕̚f̵̼̬̃͂̊ ̸̳̠͒s̸̹̭̍̑͠ǘ̶̮c̴̢̚ḧ̷͙̀̾ ̸̪͉̎͐̆ͅa̶̡̱͖̎̆ ̵̨̛̰̑̋p̵̬̓̕û̸̮̎͘r̴̩̬̔͛̆e̸̾͗͜ ̵̛̖̄ͅp̷̰̿̑́l̴̤̝͖̑̚ă̵̟̦͖c̵̰̗͒̅e̸̢̹̱̍͑̔!?" They shouted, quickly charging at Reimu with blinding speeds.

Reimu, however, raised her gohei, blocking the punches as she quickly raised the rabbit up and tossed her into the barrier. The rabbit crashed into the barrier, falling as she was struck with a series of bullets from Reimu. The rabbit managed to escape the barrage, getting behind Reimu as they chanted a spell card.

"Mind Explosion." The rabbit said, firing what looks like a rocket-shaped bullet out of her musket. Reimu raised her own gohei, blocking it as she deflected the bullet back at the bunny, sending it into the barrier.

"Treasure Sign "Dancing Yin-Yang Orbs"" Reimu chanted, yin-yang orbs appeared around her, bouncing around at high speeds, using the barrier to their advantage. The rabbit had to focus on avoiding the attacks while keeping an eye on Reimu herself. Luckily, she's a quick girl, and manages to dodge the attacks, shooting a bullet of her own. It hits Reimu, and as the spell dissipates she winces and falls to the ground.

"Too easy. Here I thought you were-"

The rabbit was interrupted by a gigantic yin-yang orb that struck her in the back, making her crash down to the ground. Reimu stood up, brushing off the bullet like it was nothing.

"I have more lives where that came from." Reimu said with a smirk.

The orb was kicked out of the way, with the rabbit charging at Reimu with their musket, pointing the bayonet at her.

"I'm going to kill you!" The rabbit shouted, before firing at Reimu. She fired multiple shots into the air, the bullets freezing in place. She fired again and again, until there were hundreds of bullets all frozen in place.

"What's this? You're going to have me try and maneuver around the bullets to get to you?" Reimu asked.

"...No of course not." The rabbit said, snapping her fingers. Suddenly all the bullets that were frozen changed their velocity, accelerating at Reimu's position. Reimu quickly had to fly up into the air to avoid the bullets. The rabbit fired more, and as the bullets closed in on her, she was fired through the head. The rabbit stood over the corpse, panting.

"Not bad." Reimu said behind The Rabbit. The Rabbit was shocked as they turned around, only to be struck with Reimu's signature attack: Fantasy Seal. 9 orbs barraged The Rabbit, each of them hitting with precision. They were knocked back, sliding on the ground as they took a bit of effort to pull themselves back to their feet.

"...H...How!?" The Rabbit shouted, panting with exhaustion as she stood. "I shot you in the head!"

"You shot the paper doll that I made as a decoy." Reimu said. "You're quite strong for an opponent I must say, but you're still no match for the Shrine Maiden of Paradise."

"...Haha... Hahahahahaha!!! Hahahahahahahahahaha!!!" The Rabbit laughed. "Oh, of course. Of course you are... You're one of the most powerful people in Gensokyo after all... But that's only because of your ruleset, am I wrong?"

"...What do you mean?" Reimu asked.

"...I know about the Spell Card Rules... How they were made to prevent unnecessary deaths or fatal injuries. You yourself made them alongside the Sages of Gensokyo. That way, even if you're a god capable of ending the world or a tiny little ice fairy, everyone has a chance of winning. And then you all get to laugh it off, call it a day and then go home, drink sake, eat food, and get yourself wasted until you wake up the next morning with a massive hangover, causing yourself to stay in all day while a bunch of pestering people knock on your door over and over and over, asking for favors or if you like to hang out!!!" The Rabbit said, expressing exaggerated gestures with her hands and face.

"...I...What are you getting at?" Reimu asked The Rabbit, now getting a bit annoyed. "Are you saying the rules are flawed?"

"No. Of course not... They're perfect the way they are... But because people like you Reimu, those who always hold back, follow them... We never get to see their full potential..." The Rabbit said, holding their musket, reloading slowly. "...But what happens when someone breaks the rules? Are all bets off? Is there a penalty? Do we end the battle right there and then? I'm curious Reimu... What would you do if someone broke the rules?" The Rabbit said.

"...I would obviously punish them and reprimand them on the spot." Reimu said. "...Why?"

"Oh, nothing... I was just wondering..." The Rabbit said, finishing reloading their gun. "Because I just wanted to know..."

The rabbit quickly turned their gun around towards the shrine, sending out a bullet towards the spectators consisting of Choco, Miyoi, Rin, Aunn, Suika and Shinmy. The bullet travelled through the air, as if it was in slow motion to everyone but Reimu, while her eyes followed the bullet, widening with shock when she realized The Rabbit's intentions. She quickly tried to move, to catch up to the bullet before it could hit anyone, but she wasn't fast enough.

The bullet went straight through Shinmy's chest, knocking her a few feet away as she lied on the ground.

"...What would you do if I harmed one of your friends?" The Rabbit said with a smile.

"Shinmy!!!" Suika shouted, looking back to check on Shinmy with everyone else. "Shinmy!!!" Suika shouted again.

Reimu stood where she stand. A distance away from Shinmy yet closer to The Rabbit. Her eyes were shaky, along with her hands and feet. The wind grew quiet, and the snow stopped falling. The sky was dark, yet there was enough light to still see. Reimu looked at where Shinmy was, being surrounded by her friends. She could see a glimpse of blood staining her dress from where she stand, and her trusty mallet lying next to her.

*crack*

There was something within Reimu's mind, that made a noise. Her eyes shifted towards The Rabbit slowly, but her body stood still.

*crack*

Her body twitched a little, moving a bit to also face The Rabbit, slowly yet surely. her pupils shrunk, the eyes shaking more violently. the crack getting louder, louder.

*crack*

The sound of breaking bone echoed.

The eyes bulged out, and blood bursted from them.

And then...

*SHATTER*

Reimu snapped. Her eyes bulged out, blood bursting from them and covering them entirely. Her mouth stretched wide open, as her screams echoed in the small clearing. The entire barrier around the shrine also shattered, as Reimu's screams could be heard all throughout Gensokyo.

"I'LL KILL YOU!!!!" Reimu shouted, dashing at The Rabbit near light speed. The Rabbit didn't even have time to react before they were sent high up in the air with a powerful swing of Reimu's gohei. They were thrown several yards, The Rabbit rolling in the air and stopping. The Rabbit quickly focused, aiming their gun towards Reimu.

"SHUT UP!!!" Reimu shouted, not even giving The Rabbit anytime to fire as they demolished their musked with a single grip of her hand. The other hand however was used to grab The Rabbit's neck, throwing them back down to the shrine ground, powerful enough to leave a small crater. Reimu did not stop there as they sent tens of dozens of yin yang orbs down to strike The Rabbit, trading accuracy for brutal power.

Reimu used spell card after spell card, not even giving The Rabbit anytime to breathe as her attacks kept on coming. They were bright and huge, lighting up like a beacon that marks Hakurei Shrine.

Miyoi and Choco were looking at what was going on, while Rin finally snapped from her drunken state.

"Huh... Ugh my head... Woah that the hell!?" Rin shouted, looking up in the sky to see Reimu in a unhinged state. "That's... Um... Y'know, I rather not face her right now." Rin said.

"cough cough..."

Rin looked back, seeing a wounded Shinmy struggling to stay awake as a crying Suika tried to help her.

"I-It's going to be okay Shinmy... W-We'll get you to Eientei as soon as possible, just hang on please." Suika said while sobbing. "I-I'll g-g-get you to Ei... I promise... I p-pr-pr-pr-"

"Move over!" Rin shouted, pushing Suika a bit as she checked on Shinmy's wound. "Ah... A bullet wound in the chest... Luckily it seems it stopped right at the heart, lucky you." Rin said in a clam state.

"Hey! Leave her alone! She's injured!" Suika said. "What do you think you're doing!?"

"Relax, I'm a nurse, I know how to treat patients." Rin said.

"You are?" Suika said. "I don't believe you."

"Would you rather trust me or let your friend die?" Rin asked.

"...How can I help?" Suika said, after giving it a quick thought.

"First, I need some alcohol to disinfect the wound. I also need tools to pull out the bullet, a needle, some stitches, and bandages. You got a first aid kit by chance?" Rin asked.

"I'm on it!!!" Aunn said, quickly running into the shrine to grab a kit.

Miyoi and Choco continue to look at the battle that is going on, clearly being one-sided.

"I never seen Reimu like this..." Miyoi said. "Sure, she can be arrogant and floats through life... But this..." Miyoi said. "...Even I think this is too far."

"Yeah, I agree." Choco said, nodding her head.

Aunn returned with the first aid kit, handing it to Rin.

"Thank you." Rin said, opening the kit and pulling out the necessary items. "Okay Shinmy, this will hurt a bit, but only a little."

Rin began by using the alcohol to clean the wound. Shinmy let out a hissing sound, tears coming out of her eyes. Suika held Shinmy's hand that was opposite of where Rin was sitting.

"It's going to be okay... I'm here." Suika said.

"T...Thank you..." Shinmy said weakly.

Reimu continued to attack the Rabbit, this time diving down, slamming her feet onto The Rabbit's body before bashing her with her gohei. She stood above The severely wounded Rabbit, breathing hard with a ragged expression on her face, as if she's barely pulling herself together.

"You... You dare... Provoke me... Attack someone I loved... And expect mercy?" Reimu said, clearly furious with the figure... "Give me one good reason why I should not end your life?"

"...Because..." The Rabbit Coughed. "If you don't kill me... Then your family died for nothing."

Reimu stared at The Rabbit, her expression remaining cold. She took a deep breath, before kneeling down on the Rabbit's body, dropping her gohei, pulling her sleeves back, as she proceeds to beat the everlasting life out of them. She dealt blow after blow, punch after punch, bash after bash, each time her hands would only get covered with more and more blood, some even getting on her clothes and face. Reimu's eyes would only stare at her target, with the only thing in her mind is one thing: h̸͇̊ã̸͍t̴̳̅e̵͍̓.

Choco looked at what was going on, getting an uncertain feeling of something bad that may happen if this continues, and decides to intervene.

"Reimu! Stop it! You're supposed to be the Shrine Maiden right!?" Choco shouted.

Reimu paused, standing up and looking at Choco with a shocked yet venomous look. Her body was stained with the blood of the clearly dead Rabbit, with her arms and face covered with the stuff. She looked as if there was nothing stopping her from going around and doing the exact same thing to someone else.

"...So what?" Reimu said with a tongue that spat. "Why should I listen to someone who I only just met?"

"...Be...Because..." Choco looked around. "Reimu... I-"

"Enough of this Reimu..." Miyoi said, walking towards the bloody Shrine Maiden. Her body was afraid but her mind was confident as she stood a few feet from her friend. She looked at Reimu right in the eyes, her pink hair and outfit blowing gently with the wind, and her eyes shining from the now visible moonlight.

"...Oh, now what Miyoi?" Reimu asked, looking at Miyoi with a hateful stare. "You're going to tell me how I should calm down? Be more reasonable? Not punish the rule breaker for what they have done?" Reimu said. "You're going to tell me that I am going too far? That a Shrine Maiden should not be someone who should be brutal or merciless? That I will be like the youkai that humans fear? Are you going to tell me that I'll become a threat?" Reimu said, showing visible negativity.

"...Reimu..." Miyoi said, taking a step forward. She took a step one by one, until being close enough to wrap her arms around her friend. "Please... Don't do this to yourself..." She said quietly.

Reimu immediately placed her hand on Miyoi's, locking eyes with Miyoi's. Aunn watched on the side, terrified of what would happen with the two of them.

"...You're going to wipe my memory?" Reimu asked. "So I can forget of what I just done?" Reimu asked.

Miyoi nodded her head no. "I won't wipe your memory this time. But know that we all love and care for you Reimu. We would not want you to lose yourself over something like this..." She said, her voice cracking. "Please... We'll figure this out. You don't have to act alone."

Reimu stared at Miyoi, tears in her eyes. "I'm... S-so afraid..." She said, her body going limp as Miyoi catched her. "...I-I... I never thought I would go that far... I never wanted to go that far... But Shinmy... She... She hurt her... She hurt my family..." Reimu said, barely composing herself.

"Don't worry... We'll get Shinmy to Eientei as soon as we can... Rin is treating her right now so she'll be okay... I know how much you care for her." Miyoi said, patting Reimu's back. "...How do you feel?" Miyoi asked Reimu.

"...I don't know... I just feel empty right now..." Reimu said, tears pouring down her cheeks and staining Miyoi's clothes with blood.

"We'll get through this together, I promise." Miyoi said.

"...Then What?" Reimu asked.

Miyoi paused, before nodding with a determined face.

"I'll treat you to a nice dinner back at Geidontei... Me and Tsumetai. We'll make as much food for you, Suika, Shinmyoumaru, and Aunn. We'll let you eat till your bellies are full and your faces filled with smiles and laughter." Miyoi said. "For now, let's focus on helping Shinmy. Okay?"

"...Okay." Reimu said.

Miyoi lets go of Reimu, seeing her stand shakily. The pair walked over to the others, seeing that Rin managed to patch up Shinmy's wounds.

"I managed to remove the bullet, but it's going to take a while before the bone heals. Good thing it wasn't anything fatal." Rin said.

"Thank you so much." Suika said. "I-I don't know what I would have done if Shinmy was killed."

"Auunnn... Are you okay Shinmy?" Aunn asked Shinmy.

"..."

"She's tired, let her rest." Reimu said, kneeling down to check on Shinmy. She reached her hand, gently cupping the inchling's cheek, as a warm smile formed on her face. She looked like she could cry any given moment, but kept herself calm.

"...Thank you Rin..." Reimu said. "How can I ever repay you?"

"...Let me resolve the next incident without you or Marisa interfering." Rin said quickly.

"No." Reimu said in a blunt tone. "Also, do I know you? How do you know me or Marisa?"

"You honestly don't remember me? Seriously?" Rin said with an annoyed tone.

"Uuuuuugh... My head..." A voice spoke from behind everyone.

Reimu quickly turned around, with a look of menace as she pulled out a pair of needles from her sleeves. Everyone also looked back, seeing the rabbit eared figure rise up slowly, without a scratch anywhere on her body.

"...No way..." Miyoi said with shock. "That's... that's impossible. She should be dead..."

"...Unless She's immortal." Reimu said. "...Damn it... To think they of all people have drank the Hourai Elixir!!!" She said, quickly standing up to face the rabbit once again. "I'll make sure you stay down for good!!!" Reimu said, charging at the rabbit.

"Wait wait wait wait!!!" The Rabbit said. "I surrender!!!" They raised their hands up high. "I surrender! I surrender!!! I'm not corrupted anymore!!!"

Reimu screeched to a halt, looking dumbfounded as she was not expecting that kind of response. "...Huh?"

"I swear, all my actions previously were not my own! I was being controlled! Honest! But I'm free now! You killed me, causing my corrupted state to be eliminated by the effects of the Hourai Elixir!" The Rabbit said.

Reimu took a good look at the Rabbit. Noticing they were wearing a traditional LDC combat suit. They know of this because Reisen once showed her her old tattered suit once. It resembled a normal military outfit, but it was grey, bearing multiple medals around the left side of her chest. She also wore what looks like a piercing on her left ear. Her hair was long, being a shade of silver, and her eyes were red like any other moon rabbit.

"You liar!!!" Reimu said.

"I can prove it!!! Just bring me to Fargo and they can vouch for me!!!" The Rabbit said.

"...You know them?" Reimu asked, now having The Rabbit's attention. "How do you know them?"

"...Because we were both part of the same unit back on the moon..." The Rabbit said.

"...What's your name?" Reimu asked. "You do have one right? Or are you one of those rabbits that have serial numbers?"

"I have a name actually... It's Shirai." The person named Shirai said.

---

Switching POVs

---

I don't know why... But I feel like a part of me went missing somewhere...

I stare up at the ceiling, unable to sleep. My eyes were wide awake with anxiety in my mind. My fingers and toes would not stop twitching or fidgeting, even when I mentally resist the urge. My back itches, laying on the soft bed. I hear the sound of a clock ticking. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. It echoes in my mind, accompanied by the creaking of the bed frame.

I am worried about Marshmallow and Choco. They haven't come back to me yet. They have been gone all day, leaving me here resting in Eientei after the actions I have committed before... I don't know what is going on with me. Am I ill? Am I being possessed by someone? Maybe that vengeful spirit from earlier did possess me but played dumb. Maybe I'm only thinking I am possessed so that I would not think I actually am. I remove my hand from the covers, looking at it. That hand was what held that knife from before, the knife that made me lash out. But I didn't do that. That's not me. That's not how I act. I didn't...

"Choco!" I shout, sitting up quickly. "Choco, answer me!!" I said, hoping that they would show up and greet me.

...But nothing happened. Choco nor Marshmallow showed up. I laid back down on my bed, groaning.

"Why... Why are they not here... I can't sleep without my phantom halves..." I said to myself.

*rustling noises*

I heard something come from out the hall. It sounded like something was moving. Was it Marshmallow perhaps?

Chapter Text

I get out of the covers of my bed, walking over to the table and pulled out the drawer a bit. I check inside, grabbing a flashlight so I can see in the dark. I move my feet towards the door, opening it slowly so I don't make too much noise. I look out, checking both sides of the hall to catch a glimpse of what may be out there, but I see nothing out of the ordinary. I step out of the door, closing it behind me. I move the flashlight in my hand, walking slowly down the hallway to look for whatever it was that was rustling. My feet lightly press on the floor, keeping as quiet as I can make them be. It is already quite late so I rather not disturb anyone else who may be asleep right now.

I shine the light forward, looking around the walls, floor and ceiling of the hall. The fact it is this dark makes this place feel more eerie than it usually is. It reminds me of a horror movie, where the heroine is walking down in a dark forest surrounded by trees and branches, knowing the only way forward is in front of them. It's funny to think about actually.

As I walk forward, I hear that rustling noise again, this time it sounded like it was in front of me. I start to get anxious as to what it may be. It should be Marshmallow or Choco right? "Marshmallow? Choco?" I spoke softly. "Is that you?" I waited a bit, wondering if there would be a noise or some kind of response, but I didn't get anything like that.

"Hah... I guess it was nothing then..." I say.

Mrrrow

"Huh?" I look forward, shining the flashlight at the noise in question. I look at the face of Ember the Cat.

"Ember? What are you doing here?" I say, kneeling down to pet her head. "I thought Kaurma was taking care of you... Did you come all the way here to see me?" I ask.

Ember purred a little, rubbing their head on the palm of my hand. They turned around, beginning to walk away.

"Hey, where are you going?" I ask, wanting to know where they are heading. I follow them down the hall, seeing them walk for a while as I look at the various rooms that we have been passing. Was there something that Ember wanted to show me? Or are they doing what cats normally do and act all mysterious? But since I now know what was causing that rustling noise, there's not really any need for me to stick around out here in the hall.

I stop, turning around to head back. I figured that Ember could leave or come with me if she pleases. I'll happily wait for her if she wants.

*rustling noises*

I heard that sound again, that same rustling noise that was in the room when I first heard it.

"Ember, was that youuuaaaAAAHH!!!" I yelped, tripping as I crash to the ground with a loud thud.

"Ow... owowowow...." I said, feeling a strange sense of deja vu go through my mind for a second. "What did I trip on?" I said, checking my feet.

I notice some kind of strange root. It was dark, looking like it was pulsing a little. I feel like I have seen that root before in the past, but not sure when. I look around me, seeing I was still inside the hall, but everything looks more distorted. The walls weren't parallel, the floor was bumpy, and the ceiling looked like it can stretch for miles on end. Everything around me also looks much darker, I am barely able to see. Fortunately I still have my flashlight, it rolled a bit away from me but I went and picked it back up again, turning it on after a few attempts.

The light shined forward, and I was greeted with even more roots. They were moving around, in a creepy fashion. Some of them looked as if they were watching me, waiting for me to get close. It made me uneasy, and I wanted to stay away. I turn around, looking back but was greeted by a wall of roots, looking like they were moving towards me steadily. I began to panic, as I couldn't tell which direction was forward or back. I was able to turn the flashlight on full, to see that the roots where moving closer and blocking my light. I had no other choice but to move forward.

I walked down the hall cautiously, keeping my body stiff and maintaining my balance. I did whatever I can to not touch any of the roots that reached towards me. I kept my arms tucked to my body, with one hand close to where my gun is kept just in case I need to grab it. I heard a small "squeak" noise behind me, I turned around and was greeted by the sight of a root stretching down from the ceiling, reaching towards me silently. I backed away instinctively, but that was a mistake, as I pressed my entire back to a whole wall of roots. I physically and mentally shivered and shook, getting away from the wall as everything around me began to close in.

My breathing started to shorten, my level of room shrinking. I could not move because the roots will touch me. I wanted to speak, call for help but my throat would not do anything besides let air in and out. I wanted to grab my gun, but my hands were frozen in place. I started to feel pressure on my chest, and the pressure is getting tighter and tighter. I couldn't breathe. I began to choke, tears rolling down my eyes as the roots got closer and closer. Until...

They stopped, they moved back almost immediately, vanishing into the walls of Eientei, like they were never there. I collapsed on my knees, letting out a breath I held in while letting my tears fall to the floor. I could sense a blurry figure standing behind me, but I couldn't turn around, I couldn't look. The figure said something, but I was too absorbed in my grief to make out what it was.

"...Do...ve...Yo...ca...et...Inco...wi..." I hear the voice speak. My ears were ringing loudly, so I could not understand half of what they said. But the way they spoke sounded vaguely familiar. I wanted to turn around, I tried to turn around, but my whole body didn't respond. Every single part of me wanted to look, to see who was standing behind me. I hear the sound of footsteps turning away, I feared the figure was leaving now. I forced my body to turn around, even if it didn't want to, just so I can look at who that figure may be.

I managed to turn around, seeing a blonde girl wearing a purple dress just as they were enveloped in the shadow. Was that Maribel? I haven't seen them for a while, what are they doing here.

"Hey... Hey..." I say, standing up. "Wait up... Wait up Maribel!" I say, moving my feet towards where she vanished into. "I need to talk to you! Wait!!!"

I began increasing my pace, trying to run after the girl. I wanted to know what happened to them after we got separated in the void. Why are they here now? Who are they exactly? Are they an outsider like me?

"Maribel! Please! I need to-"

I stop my feet, being greeted by the sight of a door. It was different from all the other doors, looking to be made out of thick polished wood, styled to be a bit more modern compared to the traditional Japanese Design of the clinic I am in.

Why is this door here? Why am I seeing it? Should I go in? I suppose I could go in, maybe I can find some answers. I reach for the door slowly, turning the doorknob, as I gently open the door...

---

I enter into what may as well be a different realm. Inside I could only see pitch darkness, being greeted with only a single source of light that was far away from where I was. I blinked a few times, trying to adjust the eyes to the darkness. I shined my flashlight around me, but for some reason it would not spot anything but more darkness. It was as if this room was so dark, not even light can pick it up. So then why was there a light source in here?

I continued to move forward, hoping I can get some kind of answer. I step into the dark floor, hearing my own footstep echo throughout this void-like space. It was so quiet, I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. The light source that was illuminating this room started to flicker, as if someone were turning a knob up and down.

I got closer, noticing that the source of light was a screen, a television screen. It was flickering because it was emitting white noise. I continued to walk, noticing the walls were padded and the floors were covered with some kind of carpet. This is indeed different. This is a different world. This is... a manor? Some kind of Mansion?

I noticed a girl that suddenly appeared before me, sitting in front of the TV, starring at it. She looked like she was wearing yellow and green, and a black hat on her head. I think I have seen her before... But I am not sure when. I decided to say something to her.

"Um... Hello." I say, hoping for a response of some kind.

"..." The girl continued to stare at the screen.

"Uhhh, hey... Can you hear me?" I ask again.

"..." The girl still did not say anything. I was getting a bit frustrated so I decided to walk in front of her and get a look at her face.

"Hey, are you listening to me?" I ask. "I'm trying to t-"

I froze, getting a look at the white paled, wide eyed face of the girl. The way she looks gives me eerie vibes, like she is not someone who I wish to mess with. Her eyes shifted to greet mine, as well as her face with a smile that makes a shiver go down my back.

"Oh, hello... I didn't notice you..." She said. "Are you a friend of my sis?" She asked.

I took a moment to try and say something, eventually speaking.

"Your... Your sister..." I said.

"Yes... Have you two met before?" The girl asked, moving her face closer towards mine.

"Um... That... T-t-that would depend... What's her name?" I ask.

"It's... Um... Give me a moment..." The girl leaned back, thinking before speaking once again. "Oh, I remember now! It's Satori!" She said loudly, her voice echoing in the room. "She's such a great big sister! She always worries about me, always eats with me, plays games with me, lets me mutilate her pets when I please, add poison to her flowers, lets me cut her arms when she needs it... Are you two friends?" The girl asked.

The way she talked about those kinds of things so casually... I don't have any words that could be used in response. So instead I just respond with the best answer I could give.

"Um... Yes, I'm friends with Satori." I say. "I never knew she had such a... peculiar sister." I say, trying not to be rude.

"Oh, she never talked about me?" The girl asked.

"Oh no, she has!" I say. "Um... But just in case may I ask for your name?"

"I'm Koishi Komeiji. And this is Mr. Hat." Koishi said, showing off her hat to me.

"Nice to meet you, Koishi. I'm Tsumetai." I said, extending my hand out to her, which she took into her own.

"Say, say!" Koishi said, standing up above me. "Do you want to go see my sis right now?" Koishi said in a excited tone.

"Do I? Sure." I say in a somewhat cheerful tone. I haven't seen Satori in a while, even if my current predicament is absolutely terrifying. "Where is your sister if I may ask?"

"Behind you!" Koishi said.

"Behind me? How is she behind me?" I ask, turning around, only to be greeted by a pair of dangling legs. I look up, seeing a pair of arms, then a torso with a red third eye gouged out. And then I see a neck, being held up by a rope, with the face of a pink haired girl, her eyes and mouth open but vacant of life.

And all the previous spirit of hope that I had went out the door, being replaced with fear and despair.

... I'm going to end up in the same situation as Satori did.

No... I'm going to end up like that poor girl. I turn around, facing Koishi as a long smile stretched across her face, with her eyes looking at me with a psychotic gaze. She looked as if she was a rough drawing, created years ago by a very inspired creator who was more focused on storytelling than actual art.

"You... You... What did you do to Satori?" I asked Koishi, my voice filled with fear. I pull out my gun just in case, pointing it at her. "What did you do!?"

"...What do you mean? Sis was the one who did it." Koishi said in a calm tone.

"...You're lying... She would never-"

"She always talked about doing it... Always telling me about the voices she constantly has to hear every day. From when she wakes up, to going to bed. Add that with the voices she hears from reading people's minds and it only adds more to her own mind... One time I found her asking if she could borrow one of my knives, so I let her... And all she would do is stare at it, like she was contemplating... I never know what my sis is thinking about when she does things like that." Koishi said in a much more stoic way.

She continued. "One day I was walking with her when she started to talk about the voices in her head. I asked her what they were saying, but she wouldn't tell me. I was annoyed, so I tried to get her to tell me by making fun of the voices. I said 'Oh, I bet they're saying you're ugly or something.' I thought she would correct me, but all she did was look at me with a smile, telling me that I wasn't wrong."

I didn't say anything, I didn't want to believe what Koishi was saying was right.

"...Then one day, I came home after someone told me to do so. I think their name was... Fergo... Anyways, I came home, but sis was not home. Orin and Okuu told me that Sis was at Eientei, but they would not explain why... So I went there myself, and found my sis in a hospital room. And I saw her eye... It was like mine..." Koishi pointed to her third eye. "...That's when I knew what she meant by the voices... She wanted to shut them out for good, like how I did."

I didn't respond, I couldn't. I thought about how I first met Satori at Eientei. I never gave any thought as to why she was staying there, until now of course. I look back at Satori's hanging body, seeing the rope hanging from the shadow above. I could not see its end. Just the sight of this alone makes me feel...cynical.

Why...Why does this sight remind me or something? Why do I feel like I have been in this situation before?

Just then, the TV that was emitting the white noise from before suddenly shattered into a million pieces, and the only source of light in here vanished.

---

---

I tried to walk around, making sure I know where I am going. The area around me is dark, pitch black, like the void. This place reminds me of the void that I have been to again and again many times in the past. But it's much darker, too dark even... But I continue to move forward. I take more steps, holding my arms out so I know where it is I am going. But all I find myself at is at a wall, but that's good cause I can use that to maneuver.

I slide my left hand across the wall, walking down while keeping the other hand to look for any other walls I may hit. I continue to walk, until I felt something tap my foot.

I bend down, grabbing the item in question, lifting it with my hand. It feels like a lighter. Perhaps I can use this for light.

After a few attempts, I managed to turn on the lighter, lighting up the area around me with an orange flame. The wall that I was using looked familiar. It doesn't resemble the one at Eientei... but Hakugyokurou.

I don't know how exactly I got here, but I do know that I need to keep moving. I use the light to make sure I know where it is I am heading, while making sure I don't bump into anything again. I look to see if there is a way out of this hallway, a door would be nice right now.

I continue to walk, for what felt like hours. There are no doors. There are no exits. All I can do is walk, hoping that some sort of salvation will come my way...

"o."

I hear a voice behind me, making any other noise besides my own breathing stop... It sounded a bit familiar. The way they spoke too...

"...Snow..." The voice said again.

I wanted to turn around, to check on who that might be. But for some reason I was hesitant, scared even.

"...Tsumetai Snow... D o n ' t y o u r e m e m b e r m e?" The voice said in a much more eerie tone.

I had to check. I turned around.

I looked to see the familiar sight of Yuyuko. She wore her blue kimono, her cap on her head, and sported that familiar pink hair... But that was all I could recognize. Her eyes were all bloody inside out, leaking more blood as they formed tear stains on her cheeks. Her mouth was slit open all the way through, lacking lips and only showing off her teeth. Her back was hunched over a little, her arms dangling a bit due to being longer than they should be. Her clothes were ripped, torn up like she was in a struggle, and covered with bloody handprints. There was a gaping wound located around her stomach, like someone stabbed her there. The way she breathed was slow and battered.

"...Yu...yu...ko..." I said, feeling absolutely terrified.

The person who I believed to be Yuyuko slowly walked towards me, limping, using the wall to keep herself from falling.

"Why... You... Youmu-Chan... Why did you both leave me to s t a r v e?" Yuyuko asked in a scary tone.

"...I...I d-d-didn't know..." I say, backing away slowly. "Y-Youmu... Told me not to come back and-"

"Youmu never came home... She never did... No one to make or buy food... No one to talk to me... No one to say hello too... I was a l o n e. I was h u n g r y... And it's a l l y o u r f a u l t." Yuyuko said, pointing their finger at me.

"...Me?" I ask. "I-I didn't do anything... I-"

"Y O U T O O K Y O U M U A W A Y F R O M M E!!!!!" Yuyuko screamed, running towards me. I was scared out of my mind. I ran away, back the way I came. I was in some sort of void, some sort of out of body experience. All I could do was to run. I ran down the hall, using the lighter to know where I am going, but I can only see so much in front of me.

As I ran, I noticed the area around me started to change. The hallway morphed, the floor changed and the celiing shifted. Suddenly I found myself sliding down the floor as a big pit was formed. I found myself falling, landing on my feet as I quickly look around, trying to get an idea on where I am at before Yuyuko catches up to me.

But I had to keep on moving now, as Yuyuko just landed down, looking more unhinged as her jaw opened wide. "YOU'LL BE A NICE SNACK WON'T YOU TSUMETAI!?" Yuyuko shouted at me. I ran towards a random direction, hoping I can get away from her.

The hallway looked familiar again. I ran down it, until I could run no more. I collapsed.

"Tsumetai!"

I heard the familiar voice shout at me. I look up, seeing Kaurma.

"K-Kaurma!?" I asked. "W-what are you-"

"We need to move now!!!" Karuma said, pulling me up back to my feet just as Yuyuko was about to catch me. I could see her jaws close shut, like she intended on biting a chunk out of me right then and there, but I evaded her mouth as I ran down the hall with Kaurma.

"Hurry, there's no time to explain!!" Kaurma yelled.

We ran together, and I ran alongside him. We ran as fast as we could, until we saw the stairs.

"Down here!" Kaurma said, letting me go down first. I quickly ran down the stairs, but saw that they were extending further and further, keeping me on the stairs for as long as they can. I look behind, seeing Kaurma just behind me.

"W-what is going on!? Why are you here!?" I ask.

"We don't have time! Just go!!!" Kaurma said. "Hurry before-"

Kaurma's voice went silent, I look back and saw Yuyuko grab him, strangling him with her big, skinny hands.

"Oh... What a nice appetizer..." Yuyuko said, opening her gaping mouth.

"No... No!!!" I shout, pulling my gun out to shoot at her. I tried to fire, but my gun wouldn't shoot for some reason. "No nonononononon-"

*crunch*

I watched, in horror, as her mouth closed around Kaurma's head, his body breaking down into little pieces and dropping to the stairs. I hear her swallow loudly, while I was paralyzed with shock and horror, staring at the headless body.

"NOOOOO!" I screamed. "KAURMA!!! NOOOOOOO!!!" I screamed.

I look back up at Yuyuko, who was licking the blood off her fingers.

"Mmmmm... That was delicious... I wonder how you would taste?" Yuyuko asked me.

I couldn't do nothing, I only stayed where I am at as Yuyuko slowly approached me. I could only speak softly, with a broken voice.

"Kaurma... Kaurma..." I say. "...Why... why... Why is this happening... Why are... you doing this?" I asked. Just as I was lifted up in the air by Yuyuko who stared at me with those eyes of hers.

"I̵̜̾͂̃ẗ̸̤͎͆̑̂'̵̳͚̈́̍͘̚͜s̸̫̈ ̸̫̣̗̙̍b̴͔̀̈́͗e̸͖̫̐́͊c̸̥̜͘a̴͇͖̙̅̚u̷̱̲̎s̸̨̘̗̉́͋͝e̷͔͐̒͘ ̷͔̓̓̚I̴̱̰̫̅̀͐̕ ̷̘̾c̸̠͌́̈͂ą̵̝̙̪͌̽̚͝n̵̹̙̊͠." I hear a completely different voice say, as the entire area around me, including Yuyuko, started changing into a glitchy texture. Everything just vanished one by one, bit by bit until it was only me... Inside the void...

I could see a figure approaching me. The figure was a lot younger than I expected. They wore a black and red dress, sporting a pair of bat-like wings, and had bluish hair. The only thing that was off were their eyes...

"...Hello there Tsumetai... I've been meaning to talk to you personally for quite sometime." The figure said.

"...Who are you?" I ask. "...What do you-"

"You probably have a million questions at the moment, do you not?" The figure said. "You're probably wondering what all that nonsense was. You're probably asking who I may be. You're probably thinking about whether or not I plan on doing the same exact thing I tried doing to Reisen on you..." The figure said.

"H-How did you-"

"I know you have questions, so I'll try to answer them all. I'll try to answer all the questions you have right now. First though, let me introduce myself. I am Inco. I'm currently using the vampire's body to interact with those around me. It's a bit tricky since I can't be exposed to sunlight else I will lose control, but it's nice to get access to delicious meals made by that time maid of hers." The person named Inco said. "Secondly, I am here because I want to ask you an important question..."

"What kind of question?" I asked.

"...How did you come here to Gensokyo?" Inco asked.

"...I...I was hit by a meteor... I tried to run away but I couldn't escape in time... Then I was greeted by Yukari and made my way to Gensokyo." I answer.

"...A meteor... Pffffft!!! Hahahahahahahha!!!" Inco laughed. "A METEOR!? SERIOUSLY!? THAT'S THE STUPIDEST THING I'VE HEARD!" She laughed.

"B-But it's true!!! I woke up in my bed, wondering where my family was at only to find a note from my father saying that there was a meteor coming to strike our hometown." I say.

"...Oh Tsumetai Tsumetai... The odds of a meteor hitting your home of all places is so rare, you'd win the lottery 3 times by then." Inco said. "...Though to be fair, the lottery doesn't give away how much the jackpot will be." Inco said.

"I-I'm confused... I remember specifically the day I arrived at Gensokyo and everything. I-"

"You remembered what they told you. But I however know the truth... And I'm willing to tell you if you're willing to listen." Inco said, just as an old fashioned TV popped into existence.

Chapter Text

"...Tell me..." I said reluctantly.

"Are you sure? It may be unsettling." Inco said.

"Just tell me please." I spoke again. I look at Inco, seeing her show off a smile across her face.

"Well if you say so." Inco said, pointing to the TV. "Your answers are located there."

"The TV?" I ask, looking at the TV. It turned on as I ask that, the screen filled with white noise while I find myself being drawn towards it. I step down, looking into the screen enveloping my entire vision, filling everything around me with white noise and static. It was painful to hear up close and loudly, it felt like my ears were going to bleed off. I tried to cover them, but I couldn't move my arms, or my face. I could only stare...

---

I open my eyes, noticing cloudy skies above me, and the feeling of mourning lingered around me. The world felt grey and the air was cold. I wanted to cry. I stood up, trying to get my bearings and decide where I was. I couldn't remember anything, nothing, not a single thing. I looked down at my hands, at my fingers.

But why was I crying? Why?

...Ah...That's why...

It's because I'm at a funeral right now. I am wearing a black dress, with a matching coat and hat. Everyone else around me is also wearing black, including my parents and my 2 other siblings. There were other people, some I knew through school or through another friend. There were people who were around my age, others being younger. There were people around the age of my parents and the age of my grandparents. There were people who I never met in my life, and people who probably travelled half across the world just to be here...

For the funeral of Aleksander Olek and Kaurma Snow.

"Tsumetai dear?" I hear a voice behind me call. A hand gently touched my shoulder, as cold as ice, thin like sticks of a branch. I turn around, looking at the teary eyed face of my mother. "Please sit down, your father is about to give a speech. It's rude to interrupt him now." My mother said.

"...I...I'm sorry mother..." I say, sitting back down. I look to my 2 younger siblings, who just sat in their spots, looking lifeless with their eyes staring forward where my father was. Everyone else around me grew more quiet as my father walked to the stand, preparing to speak.

"...Today, we mourn the loss of 2 wonderful people..." My father began. "Aleksander Olek was born on June 10th, 2002, the first born of Phillip Olek and Olympia Olek. His family moved here to Japan XX years ago, attending the local school. He was a very kind person, a loving brother and a caring son. He was very close with my daughter Tsumetai Snow, they have been great friends when they first met, bonding over their interests and sense of humor. I remember when his parents tasked me with taking care of him while they were gone for business trips. I grew to love him like he was my own son... I was proud to see him pursue his dream of traveling the world, exploring the Earth and everything it has to present. I wish he knew how many people have come here just to see him one last time..." My father paused. I looked around, seeing dozens of people in the area, around my family.

My father continued. "Kaurma Snow... He was so young... He was born on May 4th, 2005, the son of me and my wife, Kushina Snow. He always had a diligent personality, always working even when not being asked to... I remember the time when he polished the antique revolver that I always display in our living room... And the day when he cleaned our whole kitchen without being asked. He loved helping others and making sure everything is neat and tidy... I... I remember one time when I was sick... And though he was supposed to be at school... He took care of me. He wanted to make sure I got better as soon as possible because he said he lo-" My father chocked, tears rolling down from his eyes mid speech.

The funeral went by fast after the speech. Each of us took turns going to each casket to say our final goodbyes. I went to Alek's casket first, waiting in line behind a few people who I didn't know. They looked to be some of his rock climbing buddies he met during his travels, he would sometimes talk to me about meeting them over video calls and text. There was also his younger brothers, one of them holding a tablet that showed both of his parents on a video call. They weren't able to come to the funeral in person because their jobs kept them so busy. I think that's moronic of their bosses, not allowing them to attend their own son's funeral.

I eventually arrived at the casket myself, looking over at the body of my dead friend. He was wearing a nice suit, and his face looked peaceful, like he was having a good dream. But I know that they only made him look that way so people wouldn't have to look at the face of a man who fell off a cliff. I pulled out a small box from my coat, opening it to reveal a silver ring with 3 tiny diamonds on it.

It was a promise ring, one that he gave me the day he moved away. I remember when he presented it to me, promising to marry me when he returns. I never wore it, but I always kept the box with me wherever I went. But now, this ring held little meaning. Because what's a promise that never gets fulfilled? I closed the box, placing it in his hands so that he'll forever hold onto it.

I moved over to the other casket, seeing all my family members finishing saying their final goodbyes. I walked over, slowly, hesitant even. I could barely see his face before I stopped myself. I could not move any further, my mind wouldn't let me. My body shook and my eyes watered. I tried to force myself just to see his face but I couldn't... I just couldn't... I turned around, walking away from the casket. People around me were confused by my actions, but not my father, he knew how I felt...

After all, I was the one who discovered his death that night... The night he hanged himself... And I did not want to see those marks on his neck ever again.

---

Days have passed... Or was it weeks... I did not know...

I sat next to the wall of the dull empty room that used to hold my brother inside... The walls were painted grey, with a white dotted patten and dark brown wood that is used for the flooring. There was a window, the curtains open to let in the light that shined inside, illuminating with a mono color. I look at the center, staring up at the broken fan. It's blades were slighty crooked and one was missing, the rest was angled slightly off.

The room used to be so much brighter when he was inside of it. It was full of personality, with posters and furniture that filled up the space. There used to be a desk next to a large fluffy bed, an arcade system that had several shoot em' up games installed on one side of the room, a bookshelf full of various topics and stories on the other side. There was a television on the wall, a small kitchenette and a closet.

Now, it's just a dark room... My parents still haven't gotten rid of the desk, it's still there. It was dusty and old, untouched ever since my brother's death. The chair that he always used was still there also, a few inches away from the desk like it was waiting for someone to sit on it and use it again. I never touched it myself, not that I ever want to.

I look down at the floor, staring at one peculiar spot close to the center. It was slightly colored different from the rest of the flooring, a hint of red could be seen. No one bothered in trying to remove it or clean it up, so it just remained, a staining reminder of who once slept here.

I let out a deep sigh.

"I miss you, so much..." I whisper.

A few tears trickle down my cheeks, and I wipe them away.

I'm not sure how long I had stayed there, lost in thought. I only know that I snapped out of my daze once someone started knocking on the door of my room.

"Tsumetai dear? Are you still in here?" I hear my mother call to me. "We're having guests over, can you come down and show yourself?"

"...I'll be down in a minute mother." I said in a monotone way. I hear my mother's footsteps grow quieter and quieter as it grew silent once again. I got to my knees, looking over the spot where I found my brother dead.

I remember vaguely how it happened... How I was thirsty one night so I went out to the kitchen to get a drink of water. I remember heading to the stairs of my house when I heard a noise coming from Kaurma's room. It sounded like something snapped off or something, falling to the floor. It made me be curious, forgetting my original goal of heading downstairs so I can inspect the noise that came from my brother's room. I gave it a knock first, wondering if my brother was awake. But I didn't get a response. I gave another knock, waiting a bit longer, but still nothing came up. I grew tired and annoyed, so I turned the door knob, but it was locked. I thought it was odd, my brother was never the type to ever lock his door, he always left it open even if people would barge in occasionally, he never tried to keep anyone out. I thought it was weird, suspicious even, having a locked door keeping me from checking in on my brother as the responsible older sister. So I went and pulled out a pin, which I used to unlock the door after a few attempts. I managed to unlock it as I open the door.

And inside... I saw the hanging corpse of my brother. His legs dangling half a meter off the ground, his arms on each side, both covered in cuts, his chest covered by a black tank top, and his neck held up by a rope, and the face of someone who I cared for dearly, their eyes and mouth vacant of any sign of life. My knees buckled beneath me. I fell forward, my hands grabbing the side of the wall to support my weight. I stayed like that, leaning against the wall with my eyes closed until I felt someone grabbing me. I looked back to see my father, having the same look as I am having as he gazed upon his dead son.

"K...Kaurma..." He said silently.

...And that was the day I found my brother dead... After the funeral was held I visited both his and Alek's graves twice a week. Other people would do the same. I sometimes would talk to them, sharing stories involving either of the two and how much they missed them. There was even a time I remembered when I met Alek's parents after they finally found the time to visit his grave. They cried for what I assumed to be hours, saying sorry for not being there.

...But as time progressed, I noticed that the people who used to visit regularly stopped showing up as much. People who I became friends with over these grave visits stopped coming. Eventually I was the only person who ever took the time to do so. Not my friends, not my family... Just me.

I let out a sigh. It was an empty one, though. There was no one there to even hear it. I just let out a peaceful release of air, one that held no regret or sorrow. Right now, my family is having guests over. They're some old friends of my father, hoping to catch up. They're probably talking and laughing and eating who knows what...

Yet I remain in this room... Thinking deeply about what it is I'm going to do right now...

During my days of visiting my brother and my friend's graves, I noticed one thing that slowly came to my attention. When something or someone goes away, people will grow sad about it. They will mourn and feel lost without the person or thing that has left them. They will act like life cannot change without it. Yet it is expected that people get over those kinds of griefs and move on, hoping to impove and adapt so they can become better people. And in some cases, they do. People do move on, hoping to continue for as long as they can. But in exchange, they slowly forget those that made them sad in the first place. They stop thinking about them, pushing those memories back into the deeper parts of their mind with all the other memories they have... And eventually, they are nothing more than the past.

The same can be said about anything or anyone. When they are gone, we mourn and feel sad, but then we overcome that sadness and try to improve as human beings. But because we improve we forget, we forget and we stop caring. The things that we cherished before end up being nothing more than fragments of one's own life.

It is safe to say that it can be said about life in general. No matter what someone did, no matter how big of an event it may be, no matter whether or not it was meaningful, it will be forgotten. It can be put into any history book or encyclopedia and people are bound to forget it. They will stop caring, they will stop remembering, they will stop looking back and instead only forward.

...So why try to be remembered in the first place?

I look down at my hand, seeing the revolver, nicely polished and clean. I remember when my father showed it off once, always going on about how it was inherited from his father, who inherited it from his father, and so on all the way until 1885 when it was first manufactured by a man who was a friend of one of my descendants, a parting gift before they vanished into a land no one could enter, least that's how the story goes. I checked the barrel, seeing it was still loaded with bullets. This gun was so taken care of that it is fully functional.

I knew what I am about to do, and my body was heavy. It have been heavy for quite sometime. It's probably obvious that I had ⓓⓔⓟⓡⓔⓢⓢⓘⓞⓝ for a while. Everyday, it felt like gravity around me grew stronger and stronger. My movements got sluggish but I kept on moving, my feet were stiff yet I kept on moving, my body wanted to fall down but I still kept on moving... but the gravity has become so heavy now... I wanted it to stop and this is the only way I know how...

I took the revolver, bringing the front and sticking it in-between the bottom of my chin and above my throat. I pressed it towards me, hesitating as I stare back up at the broken fan.

"...I'm sorry... Everyone forgot about you Kaurma... Alek... They'll forget about me also..." I said, before pulling the trigger.

*BANG*

---

The screen went and turned itself off, showing only my shocked face as I stare into the blank Television set. My words that I wanted to say were stuck in my own throat, and my eyes were wide, wanting to let out tears but held themselves back.

"I...I...I-I-I... B-b-b-but... That's... I... That's... He... They..." I didn't know what to say.

I pull out the gun that I have, the same one I have been using ever since I came here to Gensokyo. It was the exact same one that I used to... to...

I drop the weapon, seeing it fall to the floor with an echo. I look back at Inco, who kept a smile on her face.

"...This can't be true... It can't... This must be a trick." I say, looking with desperation. "It has to be..."

"...You know... people sometimes make fake memories in hopes it can cover up the truth of what is real. Because sometimes the truth is so horrifying or so hurtful... You rather come up with the craziest of excuses to forget it, so in time, you do. Eventually, you don't even remember that memory anymore. It's as if you never had it in the first place."

"...You're lying... I-I remember when the meteor-"

"Again? With the meteor? C'mon Tsumetai... Do you honestly think that your life ended with a one in a 1,600,000 chance? That's so convenient it's almost like someone made it up just to move a plot forward." Inco said.

"But... The letter... My father-"

"You said it yourself... People mourn but they quickly forget soon after... You assumed that your family will just forget the moment they put you into the ground. So of course you would believe they would abandon you because you overslept."

"...No... NO!!!" I shout, staring at Inco. "You're lying!!! I know you are!!!"

"See? Already going through the stages of grief." Inco said causally. "First comes disbelief, then shock..."

"Why are you saying those things!?" I say.

"Then pain, bargaining, anger..." Inco continued.

"Shut up! Don't say those things!" I said more furiously.

"Depression, and finally... Acceptance..." Inco finished. "Wonder how far we are in right now?"

"...You...Why are you telling me all of this?" I ask. "...Why do you say these things?"

"...Because I can." Inco said. "...Because I know you better than you think. I know your thoughts, I know your doubts, I know your fears. I know your sorrows, I know your happiness, and I know your regrets."

"You're lying... You are-"

"I know when you arrived, confused when you met a little floating marshmallow. I know when you landed at Myouren Temple, and how you questioned your sexuality when you met the Taoist. I know when you slept inside a cave in the middle of a blizzard. I know when you met a hungry ghost. I know when you talked about the elusive ghost spider. I̷ ̵k̸n̸o̷w̵ ̵w̶h̴e̸n̷ ̵y̸o̸u̶ ̵f̸e̸l̷t̸ ̵s̵a̷d̸ ̵k̴n̷o̵w̵i̵n̶g̸ ̸y̷o̷u̸ ̴c̴a̴n̷'̸t̸ ̸g̷o̸ ̴h̷o̵m̶e̵.̴ ̴I̷ ̸k̸n̸o̵w̶ ̵w̴h̴e̴n̸ ̴y̶o̶u̴ ̸t̸r̶i̵e̵d̵ ̴t̴h̸e̶ ̸d̵a̶n̶g̴o̷.̷ ̴I̴ ̵k̷n̴o̶w̴ ̴h̷o̷w̷ ̴h̵a̵p̴p̷y̷ ̵y̴o̶u̵ ̴w̵e̷r̷e̴ ̶w̷h̴e̶n̷ ̴y̸o̷u̵ ̷s̶a̸w̶ ̶y̸o̶u̶r̴ ̵f̶r̷i̴e̵n̸d̴ ̵a̴g̷a̶i̵n̷.̶ ̴I̸ ̵k̶n̴o̸w̷ ̴ ̷w̶h̷e̸n̵ ̸y̸o̷u̵ ̷a̷l̷m̴o̵s̸t̸ ̸d̷r̶o̷w̵e̵d̶ ̵i̴n̵ ̸t̸h̷e̶ ̷l̴a̸k̷e̴.̶ ̷I̷ ̸k̴n̸o̷w̴ ̵w̴h̴e̴n̸ ̶y̷o̵u̷ ̷w̶e̴r̵e̵ ̵c̵h̵a̸s̷e̸d̸ ̸a̷f̴t̷e̷r̸ ̷b̵y̴ ̷a̸ ̴l̸u̸n̶a̵t̷i̷c̴ ̵r̵a̵b̴b̵i̸t̶.̷ I̴̬͊̐ ̵̰͈̒k̷̜̗͝n̸̺̫̈́͐ỏ̸͍w̸̨̄̆ ̶̝̀w̶̤͉͌h̸̘̽e̶̙̭͘͝n̸̡̊ ̶̻͆̔ͅy̴̗̽̐ȏ̷̳u̸̡͘ ̶̥͖̍̐s̶̮͓͝a̷̹͐v̷͙̫͝e̷̛̬͊ḋ̴̩̥ ̷̼̟̆t̸̘̕h̵͖̬́e̵͎̍ ̶̦̏̔͜ȍ̶͓̪n̶̫̿e̸̒͘ͅ ̸̀̚ͅt̶̮̓h̴͉̓͠ͅe̷͗ͅͅy̶͙̞͐̉ ̶̢̬͐͑c̸͚̓͠a̷̙̾͘ļ̴͚̚ĺ̴̻͝ ̷̫̆͌F̵̯̈́a̵̫͋̚r̸̲̾ģ̷̦́͝o̵̧͂.̶̘̊͂ ̵͚͖͂I̶͔͂͝ ̵̬̽k̸͚̈́n̸̹̟̈́̀o̵̜͌̕ẃ̶͕ ̶̙̄͠w̴͉̑h̵̦̍e̷͎͎͛n̶̦̒ ̶͉̘͑y̵̘̑ö̶̰͚́ů̸̞ ̴̥̦͠ş̷͇̔ť̵̪̬a̵̛͎̦r̶̳͔͗t̷̗̽͝ę̸̒͒d̴̬̫̿̿ ̷̧̽͘w̵̟͓̌ő̵̈́ͅṙ̴̟k̸͖͍̐̿i̶͓̇̓ń̶̮g̵̺̈̈́ ̶̢̈ȧ̷͍t̸̞̖̓̃ ̶̩̽̇G̶̙̐͝ě̷͉̯̑i̸̦͈̔͝d̸̹̃̚o̷͖͇͐͂n̷̟̈́t̸̰̪̐e̴̮̋͆i̶̛̯̿.̴̡͉̋ ̶͈̮͊I̷̢̔͠ ̶͍͝k̵͚̓n̸̞̱͗̚o̵̻̓w̶̡̖̅̊ ̷̻͒̾w̴̖̺̚h̸̨̺͂e̴͕̹͌n̶͙͋̑ ̸̖̈͜ỳ̶̮͂o̶̮͘u̵̓͜ͅ ̷̻̏͠ǻ̶̪r̴̗͑ŗ̶̍ȋ̷̦͂v̷̟̀̈ë̶̯͝d̷͚̬̈̚ ̸̜͑ǎ̷̫̤̉t̶̯͑͂ ̵̬̹͆E̵̡̫̋̉i̴̫̼͗e̷̢̗̓n̴̹̳̾t̸̝͠e̶̠̟͠i̴̧̟̽̃.̵̡̩͒̔ I̸̙̭̎̎͆͠ ̷̳̂k̸̮̒̍͜n̷̻͔̹̈́o̴̧͖̞̿͋ẉ̴̨͍̗̿͑͒̀ ̴̧̦̣̼͗͠a̶͔͉͛̔̌͝b̸̭͎̳̊́̏ö̸́̈́̈́́ͅü̷̟̣̈́̾̌t̶̥̲̹͝ ̵̤͈̌̈́y̴̲̩̒͂̂o̸̢̨̮͌͂ú̸͕̕͜r̶̡̻̝̐̆̿ ̸̢̙̠̇͝ị̸̧̐̀͠ň̶̗̘̰̣t̶̨́͌͝͝e̶̻͉̥̜͂r̶̟̦̦̍̎͒̎a̵͕̻̘̖̅c̴̹͒̈́̊t̴̫̆̂̓̐i̷͇̙̲̱̐͌o̴̻͈̰͛́n̶͖̞̺͗͆̄̃s̵̗̺̈ ̷͔̻̂̐͘͜w̶̛͍̪͋̂͗i̴̹̿t̶̡̛̞͖̄̀h̶̩̺̟̽͝͝ ̷̬̔͌Y̵̘̯͌̋̈́ų̸̛̛̦̇͘k̶̝̲̺̈́a̷̧̧͙͊͊̏r̷̮̄̈͊͝í̶͎̿.̵͓̊͋̅ ̶̡̮̤̞̅̿̌̏I̷͖̦̚ ̷̳̣̜̌̀͘k̸̼͙̀̈́n̸̤͜͝ǫ̷̤͔͋̍͊w̸͉̌̏̓̂ ̵̙͈̬̑̀̕̕ẁ̷̙̹̜͙̍̈́̿h̴͇͐͗̆͝ȩ̵̧̳̾̊n̵̝̳̦̞̎̆͌͂ ̴̖̦̘̈́͑ͅy̴͖͍̑̆͘͝o̵̢̖̙̾͜͝ù̷̗̹͓̩̓̽͘r̸̗̙̝̱̍̑͛ ̵̢͍̲̱̋̓f̶̨̜̌r̶̻̱͇̔̿̕ì̷̧̙̝͂͑ę̷̞̖͖̊̍̽͑n̸̖̱̂̋d̷̦̰͆ ̶̣̲̚Ý̶͎̣͜o̶̡͉̞̓̄͜u̶͚͙͍͈̇͌ṁ̸̦̋u̷͔̍̓͠ ̷̼̪̺̀͛̆̅͜l̵̡͛ḛ̷̤̔̍f̷̪̳̻͊̈́̇͊t̶̢͈͆̅͝ ̷̦͉͛̉̿͋y̷̲̤̓̽̚͜o̵̪͇̦̭͝u̴͓͚͖̲͐ ̷̮̳͓͑͑͑̔f̴̢͠o̸̼̥̎͂̾͛r̸͕̰̋ ̶͈̌̆̏y̷͋͛̒ͅo̴͖̙͌͑ứ̸̧̺͇͘r̷̺̈́ ̷̢̩́͗̏s̸̤̜̯̥̀͂̌ạ̸̫̘͑́̒f̶̬̹̋̄ę̷̬̪͉̒͒̌t̷̲͉̱̝̍͝y̴̥̞͚̒̉͗.̵̧̥̮̣́̓̕ ̷͈̯̜͛͐̀͝I̵͚̠̺̍̅ ̴̻̹̅̾͂͝k̴̢̯̀̓ń̴͎̋̓ò̴̬̠̘̆ẉ̵̭̇ ̷̰͇̟̚͜͠w̸̞̳̞̼͑̒̅͝ḩ̴̖͕̩̉͗̂̋ḝ̵̳̦̑̽n̴̛̺̜̄͛̂ ̶̝̗̗̓͋͝͝y̷̒͜o̷̢̎ū̷̳͊̕ ̵̦̿ẅ̴͔̘̼́̒͘ě̴̳̻̺̺̄̀͠r̷̙̘̲̝̐e̴̘͔͌̑̓͘ͅ ̴̟̱̭̈́͊̊͗c̵͈̥͔͉͐h̴̟͚̖̆̇̓͠á̸̝̊ś̵͕͎̠̝̏̋ę̶̤͕̰͝d̵̢̜̙͛̈́͐ ̷͚̾̅̽͝b̷̼̭̳̹̈̕y̸̠̗͌ ̶̨̲͑̍ṫ̴͈̗̰͓̒͐̒h̵̥̽̉̍̀ȇ̶̹͈̈́͝ ̸͎̗̾i̸̮͍̦͐c̶̪̳̹̬͘e̶̫͂̓͝͝ ̴̖̬̽̃ͅf̵̙̥̝̓͐a̷̖͗̽͛i̵͖̣̇r̴̨̻̜͑́̀ỵ̷͖̤̘͊̏͗.̴̳̄ ̶̯͛̎̋ͅI̵̡͎̘̼͋̈́͋ ̵̨̈́͛̊͐k̵̫͋̆̃̚n̴̎̓͐̌ͅo̷̧̧͓̱̍̌͘w̶̝͛ ̴̟̱̭̒͂͋w̸̻̳̽̌͘͜͝ĥ̸̰̱͌́͠ė̸̦͈̼̃̂n̸͇̈̕͜ ̷̙̥̤̎͝y̵͙͖̮̋o̷͇̓̋̇u̷͚͓͈̙̕ ̶̖͕̗̕m̴̝̭̰͚̕ȇ̸͉̪̏͗̾t̵̢̙̖̭͒ ̷̼͈̳̪̑̊S̴̯̞͕̀͜i̸̩̣̯̍̐m̷̡̜̊̾o̵̦̥̗̤̓̋̇̇n̸̢̰͚̣̒̿̄̌ ̶̟̈́̓̒͘f̴̢̠͖̾͂́̈́͜ö̶̯͙́̄ͅr̶̭͎͖̟̎̂̄ ̷̱̭̰̘̿̆t̶͎̬͉̄̐̇h̸͇͗ë̵̠́͒͐ ̸̼̟́f̷͖͕̫́̾͐i̴͎̾͛͒̔ͅr̶͚̼͓̜͐s̷̛͕͎̼̹̈́̉͌ț̸̹͈̣̉́ ̵̙̠͌͒ţ̶̝͍̩͠i̶̯̥̞̘͌m̴̫͇̬̒͜ẻ̴̪͋.̶̟͎̎ ̷̜̠̹̂͠I̶̙̍͗͜ ̴̬̆̈́ķ̷̼̿̑ň̴͎̰͙o̶̮̗̓̉͜͠w̴̼͎̯͓͋.̸͇͓̔̐͆̽ͅ.̸̜̻̹̭͒̆͒̈.̷̯̭̟͗̂ ̶̥̼̃͌E̶̞͛̚V̸̛͕̺͇̥Ê̵̱̽͝R̸̙͚̫͂Y̶̼̙͕̿ͅT̸͓̙̫̾͋͜͠H̴̫̓̆̈́I̷̛̪̒̈́̈́N̴͓̮̖͘G̴̲̽͛̈́.̶͎̺̃̈́͝"

As I stare at them with fearful eyes, the world around me started to change. The void that I stood in changed colors here and there. The ground turned a deep purple, and there were images all around me, glitching and buggy like they have been corrupted somehow. The person in front of me also started to change. The vampire that I first saw quickly changed into that of a completely different person before changing back with a more glitchy face.

I find myself stepping back, only to trip and fell on my back, landing on a pile of more revolvers that weren't there before. I quickly got off of them, only for my feet to step on the rotten corpse of Kaurma, as I scream before falling back again, this time landing on a chair that kept me strapped in tight. I was forced to look at the person who approached me yet again. And I saw her wicked smile and those purple eyes of hers.

"So... Let me ask you a question... Well, more specifically, I like to give you a choice..." Inco said, picking up the revolver I dropped behind. "...Either you can take this gun, pull it to your face, and do what you did last time and we can end everything here and now... Or... You can join me... And do my bidding without question..."

"WHY WOULD I CHOOSE EITHER OF THOSE CHOICES!?" I shout at her.

"Because you have nothing else to live for... Your friends and loved ones are gone... And those who you used to interact with are also gone... It's just you... Only you..." Inco said. "Don't you think it's coincidental?"

"...What is?"

"That everyone you ever met... Suffers?" Inco asked me. "Your friend, who you promised to marry, died from doing the thing he loves... Your brother hanged himself after everything he tried to make sure people wouldn't forget about him and they still did... Youmu... Poor, sweet Youmu... She knew what it meant to deal with you and she did all she could... But now..."

I hear foot steps arrive as the image of Youmu came up. But this wasn't Youmu... This was someone else who looked like her...

"Y...Youmu?" I said with a squeakish tone.

"She's is but my humble servant... Doing my absolute bidding without question... All because she met YOU." Inco said, pointing at me. "...And Even Yuyuko... Boy I wonder how she fared ever since her gardener left... She probably blames you for it."

"S-stop it..." I say. "You're lying... Youmu would-"

"Of course Youmu would not... But have you ever noticed how she acted around you? How she would be more aggressive as she spent more time with you? It was like just being close to you caused her suffering..." Inco said. "...Perhaps the real truth is that you make people undergo so much pain, they practically killed themselves just so you wouldn't bother them anymore."

"I...I...I-"

"Heck, even Miyoi... The girl who you went on a date the other day!!! She knew what it meant to tolerate you! And the first thing she did was wipe your memory because of it!!!" Inco shouted. "Don't you get it!? You are but a disease in Gensokyo. Everyone was happy until YOU showed up!" Inco pointed at me. "YOU, Tsumetai Snow! YOU don't deserve happiness because you're always taking it away from everyone else!!! And guess what? Even your younger self knew that when they took that bullet to the brain because no one cared if you were gone... I bet they celebrated at your funeral because they no longer had to fake smiles or pretend to laugh."

"That... That can't be true!!!" I said, struggling from the seat. "They... They..."

"Just admit it Tsumetai... You're a useless individual whose only purpose in life is be a hurdle everyone is forced to jump over again and again." Inco said.

I tried to speak... I wanted to say something to counter her argument... But I had nothing...

What she said... What I learned...

I think she's right... I think I am a burden to those around me, and I think I have only brought misery to those who should've been happy. I... I'm not sure what to feel... Everything is a mess... Everything is a mess...Ë̵̦́̔̽v̷̫̘̩̀̌ë̶͓̳́̾̈́͆ͅr̶̨͉̬̲͒y̷̪͚͌̆t̶̡̳̍h̸͇̼̃̇̊i̶̜̝͙̮̋̈́̊ń̵̬̭̓̐̈g̴̯̑̈́̀ ̷̛̣̽i̴̧̿̕s̸̟͉̑ ̵̡̝̬̽a̴̻̐͋͗̈́ͅ ̷͚̝̌́͜͠m̷͖̀́e̶̜̻̥̋̈s̶̙̪̬̃̃͌͠s̴̺̫̑̅̈́͑...

I look up again at Inco, seeing her holding out a hand just as the straps on the chair are released.

"So what do you say?" Inco asked. "Do you wish to join me?"

...

Chapter Text

*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.

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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...