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You guys like to read my mind, aren't you? Anyway, sorry for the delay, so here it is.
[c] Just what exactly happened to my country since the war? One of the things SHE taunted was the Motherland’s fate. If it’s coming from you, I feel I can come to peace, whatever the case is.
[c] May I ask what the story between you and Mokou is?
- [c] Do you have similar powers to Mokou and HER? Regardless, you are still the same dear comrade I’ve come to value.
“Just… what exactly happened to my country since the war? One of the things SHE taunted was…” You struggle to find your words before you manage to. “…the Motherland’s fate.”
“Are you sure about this, Yuri?” Kaguya asks.
You nod. “The longer I remain ignorant, the longer SHE will make fun of it. Besides… if it’s coming from you, I feel I can come to peace, whatever the case is.”
“…alright, if that’s what you wish.” She takes a deep breath; maybe she doesn’t like this idea as much as you do, either. “Before I can tell you the answer, let me ask you this: what year you think you’re in now?”
“Nineteen forty-three… why?” You have an inkling suspicion, but…
“Well, let me welcome you to the twenty-first century; to be more exact, two-thousand-and-nine.” She offers you an assuring smile. “But don’t believe what you seen here; this place’s been sealed since the eighteen hundreds, so you may find some things a bit backward.”
Sixty-six years. You have travelled far into the future and not known the fate of your country after the war, not counting many of your comrades you have left behind. “What happened to Mother Russia after I left?” you ask.
“You guys won the war, that’s what happened,” Kaguya answers. “One of your comrades raised the Soviet flag on top of the Reichstag back in forty-five and the Germans surrendered some days afterwards. Congratulations.”
You can’t help grinning widely over the remark. Too bad you weren’t there to celebrate the victory, because you know for certain you’d celebrate the victory with your comrades, probably getting smashed in the process.
“That’s one story done,” Kaguya says. “And now to the next: what happens to the Soviet Union after the war. Everyone thought that Stalin would behave as a victor would. Instead he declared the West as the enemy of the Motherland and ordered that Berlin be from the outside world. That almost sparked a THIRD world war, but thankfully it didn’t happen.”
“What? No way! Comrade Stalin wouldn’t turn his back against his allies,” you protest.
“Sadly he did,” Kaguya tells you. “The incident would mark the beginning of the Cold War, where East and West confronted each other in the war of ideologies, and most often it’s the Soviets who would provoke the Westerns with their propaganda…”
And so Kaguya begins the lengthy story of Cold War-era Soviet Union, and every word she speaks changes your view on the country you love with heart and soul. At first you want to refuse this truth, but as the story continues you feel the walls crumbling around you before they collapse to the earth: atrocities done to the people, excessive paranoia towards the Western society, overspending of the national treasure for military programme, and finally the fall of communism itself.
“And that brings us to the modern Russia,” Kaguya concludes. “Sure she doesn’t have the glamour and glory of the Soviet Union, but people are starting to look up at her.” You still remain speechless over the revelation, only to realize she doesn’t like seeing you in this state. “Come on, Yuri! At the very least, you live. You should be proud of that, being able to continue living for your Motherland’s sake.”
“I… I don’t know what to say.”
“Things like this are very hard to digest, but you’ll come to accept it,” she assures. “Besides, I don’t think soldiers of the Red Army would allow themselves to be overwhelmed by this issue, would they?” You try to smile. It’s a forced effort, but eventually you manage to. “That’s it. I know you have confidence in your strength. No matter what happens, please don’t lose it,” she tells you.
“…thanks, I guess.” You shift location and head to the boulder to lean on it. She does the same, only taking place at its opposite side. “I just hope I can live with this… inconvenient truth.”
“I know you will,” Kaguya says. “Oh, I seem to recall a person very similar to you.”
“Similar to me? A soldier, you mean?”
“Yes. She stays at with the vampire’s servant. We got introduced to each other last summer. A bit shy, but very fun to talk to,” she says. “She’s more composure when it comes to her nation’s post-war fate, though she still complained on not able to fight the war with the rest of her sisters.”
Another soldier lost in this strange land. You wonder if this person has to endure the hardships as much as you do. Maybe you can use the opportunity to let go off this problem and live this life.
“Anyway, I guess we’re done with Russia, so anymore question?” the princess asks.
You decide to let go off the problem for now and focus on the next topic. “May I ask what the story between you and Mokou is?”
“…Mokou?” Great. Either she’s flustered or she’s reluctant. “Did Mokou say anything about me, Yuri?”
“Not if I can remember,” you answer. “You don’t have to tell me if you can’t. I’m fine with it.”
“N-no, I insist. You have to know.”
“Okay. Spill it out. I’m listening.”
After a few seconds she starts her story. “I’m formerly a princess of the Lunarian people. We treated Earthlings with contempt because we were superior to them. My life on the moon was, at best, uninteresting. That is… until Eirin introduced me to the Hourai Elixir.”
Hourai Elixir. You recall the conversation you had with Eirin regarding this forbidden drug.
“I thought it would be fun to live forever by taking the elixir, until they found out about it,” she continues. Since they couldn’t technically execute me, I got banished to Earth and was forced to live among humans as punishment. Kind of like what the Kremlin would do to those who opposed of their ideals: sending them to gulag and let them disappear in the records of history.”
“At first I was afraid of living with the humans we had frowned upon, but they let me stay with them. For the first time in my life I had the chance to understand the aspect of humanity, and it was nothing like what the Lunarian aristocrats had taught to me.” She takes a deep breath before she lets out a chuckle. “I could’ve sworn that I finally had the chance to live a regular life, but news of my royal status started spreading out, and before I knew it, men were coming at me, trying to propose me into marriage.”
“So you rejected them,” you say.
“Not many wanted to marry me for what I was; everyone was only interested in their prestige for getting married to a princess,” she speaks. “But I didn’t really want to disappoint those hopeful men, so I told them that their proposal alone wouldn’t be enough.”
“What did you do?”
“I told them that whoever could bring me the Five Impossible Treasures would be eligible to become my wife,” she says. “Buddha’s stone begging bowl, jewelled branch of Mount Hourai, the robe of Chinese fire-rat, coloured jewel from a dragon’s neck, Cowry treasure of the swallows; those were the required items. Of course none of them could find the treasures, so I had to turn them down.”
“What about Mokou? What did she have to do with this?”
“Sir Fujiwara was among those who wanted to marry me. Politics, that’s how marriage was played in the past,” she says. “It was his daughter who had desperately wanted us to marry since marrying a moon princess would ensure the survival of his clan.” Another chuckle. “Hell, if I accepted his proposal, I would’ve become Mokou’s mother, but that didn’t happen.”
“So she was angry because her father got rejected, and tried to avenge the humiliation,” you make a guess.
“Yes. I was just surprised that she’d found the Hourai Elixir and took it. Only God knows how that drug got into her hand, but since then our fate was sealed.” She sighs. “So here I am, a thousand years later, killing and getting killed by Mokou on daily basis to the point I have lost count of it. But I suppose that’s the price both of us have to pay: getting rid of the very essence of humanity to embrace eternal life.”
“Yuri, most people would go crazy over immortality and were willing to forsake everything to achieve it. They thought being invincible is awesome since they could do crazy things without having to consider the consequences, but that’s not the case,” Kaguya continues. “I’ve seen people live and die, history written and rewritten, civilizations rise and collapse. It’s not fun seeing all things wither to nothingness, and knowing that you’re the only one who defies the cycle of time. Sometimes… sometimes I wish I didn’t drink the elixir in the first place.”
You have nothing to say about this. Hearing this coming from Kaguya’s mouth makes you wonder if she really intends you to not return to the outside world. You can worry about it later and decide to press on. “Do you have similar powers to Mokou and HER?”
“Hmm, would controlling time count as that?” she asks back. You’re a bit confused and ask her for explanation. “I have the power to manipulate eternity and temporality, meaning that I can control time to make it flow very slowly or even stop on its track. Like right now.”
“What about right now?”
She giggles in a rather guilty manner. “I’d slowed it down, so people wouldn’t know that we’ve overstayed in here.” Sneaky, though you can’t make a guess on her intention of doing that. “Complicated, isn’t it? I’d figure that ordinary people wouldn’t be able to understand the concept behind it, but if everyone resorts to full power Gensokyo will be no more. That’s why we have spellcard battle.”
“Yeah, I’ve had one,” you answer. “Though I lost. Not in a good way, in fact.”
“I can imagine how it feels to lose a spellcard battle. Hmm~ I wonder what kind of spellcards you’d show me…” Kaguya murmurs. Maybe you shouldn’t have mentioned that, because you may be up against a moon princess who can basically stop time at her leisure and cannot be destroyed. You can only hope you can survive the ordeal.
“Regardless, you’re still the same dear comrade I’ve come to value.” You close your eyes. “I don’t think I’ll be able to continue living here if it wasn’t for you. Thanks.”
“It’s nothing, really~!” Kaguya replies. “I just want to help you getting over your problems. Say, I haven’t seen you carrying out training drill lately. Why aren’t you doing it anymore?”
You can only laugh. “I guess living in this peaceful land and taking it easy has made me forget a soldier’s essential need.”
“I think you need training of your own, too,” Kaguya tells you. “Eirin had spoken to me about the spellcard battle you had with Yukari, and she suggested that me help you with it. I’ll do my best, I can assure you.”
“Assuming you want me to fight you in spellcard duel.”
“Hey! That can’t be avoided, you know.”
“Why the response? Oh, I get it! You’re still mad at me for what I had done at the shrine, aren’t you?”
“I’m not mad!”
Both of you leave the hot spring, fully dressed and fully refreshed. She’s right about the her power of controlling time; you’ve felt like you stayed at the hot spring for the entire morning when the truth just ten minutes have passed. You appreciate it; at least, nobody has interrupted the quality time you have spent with Kaguya.
“Good morning, princess, Mister Ivanov,” Eirin greets as you and Kaguya stumble across her.
“Morning, Eirin,” Kaguya replies. “Has breakfast been prepared?”
“Inaba is preparing it as we speak,” Eirin informs. “And I see that you both have spent a splendid time at the hot spring. May I know why it took so long for the princess to come out?”
“Cut that out, Eirin,” you interfere. “It’s not right to barge in to someone’s privacy.”
“Of course, my mistake,” Eirin says with a chuckle. “Oh, may I remind you about the invitation to Moriya Shrine? They’re expecting you to attend the weapons exhibition today.”
“I already have a plan about it,” you answer. “And… tell Reisen to find Kogasa; I’ve promised that girl to train her on stalking people.”
“My, how sweet of you,” Eirin chuckles. “I’ll have the information conveyed.
“Thanks. I better get dressed up before going out today. Have a pleasant day.” You and Kaguya leave Eirin and head to your destinations before splitting up. You head back to your room and immediately dress up in the best Red Army uniform; first impression is very important, and even if Soviet Union has ceased to exist you still represent the heart and soul of the Motherland.
You sit down, and at that instant something heavy is pressing down against your shoulders. You look up and- oh, it’s just Tewi. “Good morning, captain!” You feel another weight on your lap and you look down to see Tatyana and Tesla looking up at you.
“Alright, girls. What is it?” you demand.
“Nothing~! Thought we could help you with the inventory,” Tewi says. “Feeling better now?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking of, Comrade Tewi,” you snort.
“Still ignorant, aren’t you?” The earth rabbit jumps off your shoulders and lands near the PPSh-41. “I think you should hear some of my advices, but-” Se snickers. “Nah, you’ll figure it out yourself. So, captain.” She throws the submachine gun at you. “What do you want us to do?”
[ ] Let’s do some warm-up exercise.
[ ] Quick shootout at the firing range wouldn’t be a bad idea, would it?
[ ] Nothing.
+ Date: November 3rd
+ Time: 0735 hour
+ Location: Eientei
I have erected a wall, I think. And- Alice, where did you get that Mark 14 EBR?