What is something if it isn't yours? As the number of people in Gensokyo, so too are the number of responses.
"Something to be treasured." "Another worthless piece of trash." "Control." "Retaliatory grounds!" "I...don't think about things like that." "For me, it'd be something only those groundlings enjoy." "Inconceivable, I own everything anyways!" "Crystals...and I wouldn't have much need of those." "Everything I want is right here beside me."
But for me, if something isn't mine, that something is one word: "Mine."
Alice Margatroid, having bid farewell to Reimu and company, started on the path towards her house. It had been a long day. While she hadn't been in the know about what had happened recently, Yuuka Kazami being put to death in a public demonstration in front of many of the power players of Gensokyo for the death of Marisa Kirisame (her best and closest friend) was almost too much for her cold and calculating mind to take in one setting.
As proof, when she entered her home, nobody welcomed her back home. An Hourai doll lay listfully on the counter next to the door instead of happily greeting her master. Two Shanghai dolls and one London doll sat on the table in their respective positions, none of them writing about how much fun they were having. Another Hourai doll sat close to the light button, unable to turn on the lights. And Alice knew about the other ninety-five dolls in her house, all having a unique function in welcoming her home. She didn't bother with any of them.
Upstairs, in her bedroom, she changed her clothes in an almost mindless manner and then set herself down on her bed. So much had changed in the past seventy-two hours. Everything she had been working for was gone. She had set herself on making an autonomous doll, not for her own sake but just to help Marisa with cleaning her house. The few times Alice had visited the mess seemed to take control of her mind, almost beckoning the puppetmaster to clean them up. She had restrained herself each and every time, though it was never easier the next time.
But just like that, Marisa was gone. What was she supposed to do?
Alice awoke with a start. She had sensed something was wrong in her sleep, and her instinctive self-awareness trumped her depression - at least for the time being. She got up, and immediately started activating the dolls using her power to see through the dolls' eyes what was going on. However, she was in for the shock of her life.
Her grimoire was gone.
Quickly, she rummaged through her clothing to find something more respectable than her sleepwear, then rushed downstairs to find the dolls picking up papers scattered all over the floor. More specifically, pages of her missing grimoire. Most disturbing of all, however, was that when she followed the trail with her eyes from the place where the Grimoire rested, it was clear that it was the only thing the thief wanted: the door was open, and the trail led outside.
Her first reaction was to fall to the ground, crying. Not for her mother, Shinki, who would be forever lost to the world, but for Marisa. She had inscribed on some of the pages the things that Marisa had done that she felt were inexcusable, and admittedly she had mentioned a wish there too: a wish that either Marisa stop doing those things or that Marisa herself would disappear. The memory of writing that flooded back into Alice, and for a while she and her dolls, who had been busying themselves with tidying the place up, stopped. Alice cried her heart out, and slipped back into depression.
Alice looked up. The very first Shanghai doll she had ever made, unwisely named Shanghai I, looked back at her, a sad smile seeming to resonate with her former master. But it wasn't the fact that she had finally an independent doll in front of her that made her stop crying.
It was a card of the public event. Something like this would normally have been even more depressing for Alice, but, as depressed as she was, she noticed the large indents on the card signifying a signature and writing on the other side. She took a look, and her eyes widened. She opened her mouth for the first time since she had gotten up, and muttered the words she wanted to say out loud to herself. "Silly Marisa." The tears started flowing again, but this time, they were tears of joy. "You're still alive."