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"I'm back, Reimu. I'm back," Marisa sighed, "and I don't know why. It's been so long since I was last here. I'm confused, I'm lost, and I just continue to waver back and forth. I'm looking for closure and I can't find any. I'm filled with questions and there's no one to answer them anymore. Did I make the right choices? The kids at school turn to me for answers, Reimu. Who do I turn to?"

Killing yourself is the only answer.

The Hakurei Shrine was completely desolate, surrounded very closely by trees. Unlike the shrine Marisa was all too familiar with, there was no grand clearing. No sturdy walkway. No. Reimu.

"It's been so long, you probably don't even know what happened. You probably heard about my 'execution'. Everyone did, I'm sure; everyone came to watch Yuuka's judgment. Shiki knew everything, you can never hide from her eyes. Yuuka's innocence, the actual culprit, and where I was hiding. I'm talking too much, again, aren't I?"

Ignorance of the law excuses no one.

Marisa took the pause in the air as an opportunity to sit down on the corner ledge of the shrine. While the rickety building appeared old and worn-down, the well-kept stone ledge provided plenty of room to just sit down, look up at the sky, and...reminisce about old times.

"All of this was my fault, and I felt it was best if I left that land forever. Yeah, I had rescued Kana from the mansion, and she was now under my watching...okay, I wasn't there all the time, but I looked out for her. I couldn't just take her away from the land that had given her life, Reimu. I just couldn't. It'd be too selfish of me. But..." Marisa trailed off, her eyes starting to wistfully tear slightly. She closed her eyes and forced a smile, reacting to no one in particular.

"She bonded to me. To me, Reimu. That land really knew what I was. From that moment forward, no matter where I went or what I did, I was gonna be like her protector, guardian, savior. Her mother."

Suffering is your pride of life.

"Shiki gave me an out. Yukari would open the portal as a favor to Yuuka, and then grant me freedom. The spellcard system would not save me due to my actions, so I reluctantly accepted, and brought Kana-"

A vehicle, though faint as it was, interrupted Marisa's monologue, and as its skidding marks indicated a close encounter, Marisa began to laugh. Her unknowingly tense shoulders relaxed, and she put her hands down on the ledge to rest.

"That reminds me, Reimu, of our first few days here. Did you know that this land has wagons here too? There's also metal wagons called cars. It's got horses like those the normal humans use but they stuff a lot of them inside a small metal box. Magic's more practical here instead of flashy, but at least they haven't forgotten the good stuff."

Many things you do will go unnoticed by everyone.

"Kana's doing fine. Technology here is quite wonderful. A simple visit to a doctor and some vitamins and everything turned out great. She's having her first day of high school this year, and growing up with her has been great. I now work at the local University as a Magic Science Teacher. They call it Chemistry, but that's too much of a mouthful. I'll have to tell you that one another time."

Marisa stopped talking. She once again looked up at the sky, but despite the lack of notable changes she had to squint, feeling a pressure from within that suddenly made everything bright and painful, and she gripped the ledge as hard as she could. The slowly building tears finally found a gap and began to trickle, forging new paths down the trail of skin. The separation from what had been Marisa's world was calling, and nostalgia began to set in.

Everything you've worked for can be taken from you with a simple bullet.

"I miss all of you."

It was true. Seeing Kana's face today, grown up as she was, smiling and radiant as Marisa dropped her adopted daughter at school. That was all that it took to break the Ordinary Witch. Years of bottled emotions and memories cracked and broke free from their prison, at first calmly approaching, then slowly drowning Marisa in a sea of nostalgia.

Standing up, Marisa walked over to the shrine's donation box and curled her right hand.

"How much, Reimu? How!"













Silence. Her raised fist was caught in the air, stuck by an unknown force.

"You can't afford it, Marisa." Marisa, startled, looked up to try and find the mysterious voice. Only one gasp could escape her lips.

Tell me, who will save you from despair?

Holding her hand still, was one of Yukari's portals. She recognized that purplish hue with eyes looking at her.

"You never really thought things through, did you? You escaped for your life, and this is what you're doing five years later?"

Yukari, or certainly someone who had access to Yukari's portals and voice, was coming out of one right now in front of her.

"Yukari, you don't understand," Marisa cried. "I love it here. It was a chance for me to start anew, and I did. I made new friends, new companions, and even have family now. But nothing here feels like I want to go on an adventure. This world is too suffocating. It bears on you and limits you when all you want to do is explore and be free."

Marisa paused as she looked at who she thought was Yukari. The blonde-haired girl in front of Marisa stood in silence, her eyes unblinking as they always had. Dressed in a traditional slightly purplish-hued dress and a white bonnet, her clothes certainly looked similar but different than what she had remembered Yukari wearing.

Marisa continued. "I miss the days of being able to explore, be carefree, and do experiments in peace. I miss borrowing Patchouli's books, annoying Reimu, digging holes for Alice to fall in. I miss all of it."

Instead of answering Marisa's concern, however, 'Yukari' ignored all of it. "Marisa, it's way past time for you to pick up Kana." Panicked, Marisa looked at the magic sundial on her wrist. Quickly, she took off, darting quickly through the trees and brush to get back out onto the road.

As she disappeared into her portal, Yukari sighed and smiled at Marisa. "You've done a lot of things, Marisa. Perhaps I'll tell you about back home next time you visit.

"You'll be back. Your family and life will drive you back here. It's fine to think about the past, but for now, your love and determination are needed here. Take care of Renko for me."

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I was following you up to the last paragraph. I think there's some names where they shouldn't be?
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It's been a while since I last posted on here. I wanted to give this story closure, since it was part of an 11-part short story that weaved within each other. The other 10 parts were written in 2010-2011.

The entire thing about Renko is my allusion to the other short, FISH, I posted in 2012.
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Talk about a blast from the past! Thank you for giving us closure.

- Took 0.02s -
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