This is a 'prototype' version of an actual story that I am going to write in the future. Feel free to comment on my work. This prototype will most likely last for a few updates.
The protagonist of this story goes by the name of Li Yun Ning, if you are curious about it. _______________________________
Is this heaven? Or am I in hell?
I had no idea. I can't even feel my hands. Nor my legs, now that I think of it. I don't think I can even feel any part of my body. It felt strange -- a strange, float-y feeling. Like as if I were floating around in the sea, minus the feeling of water pressing against my body. Although this new experience was interesting, I would much rather have my body back. I wouldn't want to be just a consciousness floating in the middle of nowhere, after all.
Willing sensation back into my body, I try to feel. Feel anything, really. It's scary not being able to feel anything, at least physically.
A faint reaction.
I have to will harder. Maybe if I will hard enough, I will be able to feel my body again. Focus. Focus on your left arm. Just. . . try to feel something. Feel something, please!
Is this death? I don't know. I don't want to know. A wave of cold entered my system. Even though I can't feel my body, I could still feel my senses turn cold. The harsh cold that accompanies a blizzard. The icy cold feeling that accompanies fear.
I cry. I know I have. Warm tears slid down my face, drop-by-drop. I cry because I don't want to die. If dying felt like this, I don't want to die. I don't want to stay in this space, this void, this infinite darkness. I want to escape this abyss.
But then, I felt it. Those tears I cried, sliding off the side of the side of my face. Upon that realisation, surge of warmth seemed to travel from my neck down to my arms, then my feet. It was as if blood started pumping through my body again. I feel alive, so very alive. Like the warmth of the spring wind reviving the barren, snowy land and causing it to burst into life. Except that it was really cold wind that I am feeling.
Probably not-hell, I conclude. Mother had told me that hell was a horrible place. Wherever I am, it was probably not hell -- it did not feel like it was burning hot. Rather, it was cold. A frigid heaven, perhaps?
Or maybe, just maybe, I did survive that fall -- and am actually alive.
The gentle breeze winds caressed me. It whispered into my ear, telling me to wake up. I obliged -- I could sleep no longer when I had slept for so long. I try to open my eyes, only to find myself lifting a finger instead. Maybe it is due to the fact that I had been sleeping for so long that I am confused about which muscle being which. I don't mind, though -- sensation returned to my fingertips.
A soft, waxy feel. I wonder what I am sleeping on.
Putting that thought aside, I try another muscle. This time, my eyelids opened.
Almost immediately, I squeeze them shut. The light was too painful for my eyes. Maybe I had slept for too long, so my eyes were unable to take in the light, I reasoned. Nevertheless, I try again, opening my eyelids slowly and letting the light shine in. I try to lift a hand -- an achievement, I managed to do it on my first try -- and hold the hand over my eyes. With the extra filter blocking out excessive light, I managed to focus my vision.
The sky. The clear, blue sky. The same cloudless sky that was my last view before I fell into the long rest I had.
Though, I must have hit the ground already. The sky's not expanding any more, and I don't feel like I am still falling. By some miracle, I must have survived.
. . .I should go home now, I guess.
Placing my hands on the soft, waxy material that covered the ground, I heave myself up into sitting position. Looking down, I look at the grass covering the ground.
So, I have been lying on top of grass all along. Maybe I survived the fall, because I landed on grass. Amazingly, my clothes aren't dirty in the slightest. I expected at least some blood on my clothes-- I did fall from thirteen floors, after all -- but my limbs, back, neck and head feel perfectly fine. How miraculous. Ah well, at least I will not be having problems trying to explain to my parents about my fall.
Brushing my blouse and skirt with my hands -- merely a reflex, since my clothes are completely clean -- I stand up. Expecting the building I fell off from before me, I was greeted instead with the scene of a dense forest before me. A dense forest that was enshrouded in mist, too.
It did not look one bit like where I lived. Singapore doesn't have such dense forests, especially in the housing estate areas! I must be hallucinating. Rubbing my eyes, I try looking around again. The scene of dense vegetation and thick mist continued to surround me from every direction I turn to.
Where is the building? Where are the people? Where are the cars? Where is the parking lot?
More importantly, where am I?
I check my breathing, bringing a hand up to my mouth as I breathe heavily into it. For one, I am still alive, so I must still be somewhere in the country. The mist could be haze instead, due to the recent incident the cross-boundary haze by Indonesia floating into Singapore. Furthermore, I could have been saved by someone right before I landed, thus all my clothes are not soiled. Maybe I am brought my whoever saved me and put into this clearing.
Reaching into the pockets on either side of my skirt, I fished for my handphone. Since I am still in the country, I can call my parents -- no, the police would be a better choice -- to come and get me out of here. I'll be saved, alright!
The first thing I fished out from my pocket was my set of house keys. Those don't matter right now, so I pass them to my other hand and continue to search my pockets. The second item that was fetched from my pocket was a packet of origami paper. Opening the packet, I briefly flip through the gold, silver and coloured pieces of paper almost on instinct. Like any other school-going girl my age, I enjoy folding origami -- except that I am a fanatic about those things, since my mother had thought me the art since a young age. However, more pressing matters were at hand, so I re-sealed the packet and placed it back into my pocket as I continued to search for my hand phone.
Finally, I felt a rectangular object in my hands. Grabbing onto the object, I retrieved it from my pocket. Immediately, I flip my prize open, punching numbers into the dial pad. Holding it up to my ear, I listened for a response.
A solid, consistent beep served as the reply.
Removing the phone from my ear, I felt my legs go weak. The same icy fear invaded every inch of skin on me.
There was no signal.
"If so, then where am I?" "In what forsaken land have I ended up in?" "I may be alive, but where am I?"
The barrage of questions hit me like multiple darts hitting a dartboard. All are aiming at that one red circle, asking me the million dollar question.
"Where am I?"
I shrink my frame, curling myself into a ball. In this clearing, there is no one other than myself. So, this is what it feels to be truly alone. For some reason, I fell off a building, ended up in some unknown land -- with nothing other than my origami papers, a handphone that cannot function and my set of house keys. How ironic to have a set of house keys on me when I cannot even find home. Maybe fate is implying that I consider this my new home? This, surely, must be a cruel joke.
The more I think about the situation I am in, the more I feel like screaming. I have to let it all out. I have no idea what to do. There is nothing that I can do. There is no one to tell me what to do. My parents are not here to help me. No-one is here to help me.
Finally, I give in to my feelings. I allow myself to collapse to the ground, crying.
"M-mummy. . . Daddy. . . please! Help me. . ." I sniff between sobs. Since young, my parents have taught me that nothing can be achieved through crying. But what else can a nine-year-old girl do other than cry in this situation? I let it all out. I feel tears running down my face, dripping onto the ground.
Instinctively, I reach for my pocket for the packet of coloured papers that I have. “When all else fails, fold one hundred lucky stars,” my mother said, “and any one wish will come true.” Folding a piece and tearing off a strip of paper, I started to twist the paper, forming a small, gold star. Placing it on the ground, my fingers found them entwined around another strip of paper as another paper star was manufactured.
Of course, even nine-year-old children knew that the 'magic' that lucky paper stars were said to have is a lie, but I cannot help grasping onto this thin thread of illogicality when all other ropes leading up have been cut off. It feels as if I were dangling in that void again, except that I have something to hold on to.
Just as I finished the third star in between multiple sniffs and sobs, an icy cold object landed on my shoulder. Reflexively, I turned around, wiping off my tears with the back of my hand. Before me stood a blue-haired girl about the same height as me, albeit dressed outlandishly -- white outlines lined her dress with blue filling in the middle, and she seemed to wear a blouse below the dress, with puffy sleeves no less, and a red ribbon tied to her collar. An oversized green ribbon sat behind her hair, and behind her floated six crystal-like objects. When I traced her figure to her feet, I found her wearing lacy socks, intricately decorated with patterns.
Must be one of those 'cosplay' things that I see the older girls do all the time, I concluded, though my parents tell me to avoid doing that. I have no idea why -- the girl before me looks rather cute, after all.
Even though I continue to cry, I could not help but notice how cold her hand is.
I blinked. Whatever the girl was saying to me, it definitely wasn't in English. Why do I even understand what she said? There are too many things that are illogical.
"Hey, are you even listening to me?"
This time, I paid more attention to the words she said. For whatever reason that girl is talking to me in Japanese -- I knew, for my father had thought me the language since he was half a Japanese as well. However, why would anybody speak Japanese in Singapore? She may be a tourist, though considering her outlandish outfit she is probably not one. Besides, no tourist would visit a forest like this. However, he can't be a native either -- there is no way I could have ended up in Japan from a vertical fall. This. . . is just too strange! I don't get what's going on at all! I looked back at the blue-haired girl who simply looked at me wide-eyed like I were an animal in an enclosure -- observing, waiting for an action. The crystal-like objects behind her bobbed up and down in the air as she bent down towards me, continuing to scrutinize my movements.
Wait. Bobbing up and down in the air?
I squeezed my eyes shut and rubbed the tears off my eyes before looking at the girl again. The crystal-like objects continued moving of their own accord behind the girl! Are those things alive? Where in the world am I?
I close my eyes and take a deep breath, focusing my thoughts on the air rushing into me. I had to take a moment away from this madness. Those crystals moved like wings on her back, as if she could control them. It even moved in sync with her body's movements! A human with things that look like wings!
I exhale, then look at the girl before me again. Now that my thoughts were clearer, I can think proper. For one, at least I no longer feel like crying -- there was someone with me now, and I know how to speak her tongue. Also, I am alive. That is a definite plus.
Still, the same question keeps nagging at me. Where am I?
"I'm talking to you, you know!"
I feel the texture of something familiar slip out of my hand. Looking down, I find the half-folded paper gone -- it is now in the hands of the girl before me. Her eyes met with mine as she descended to a half-kneeling position. Her gaze, however, was with childlike innocence and wonder -- I can see it from how wide-eyed she is.
"So, tell me," the girl picked up the completed stars on the ground as she spoke, "why are you making these?"
Now that I realised, her eyes are actually sparkling with a brilliant shade of azure. It is as if the whole of winter could be seen from within those eyes -- it seemed almost unearthly in how they looked. Nobody I knew ever had eyes that had that sort of colour, definitely.
A strong push to my right caused me to lean over to the left. When I fell over, my attention was brought back to the girl I just met. Judging from how she simply stood up and pushed me over, she must be annoyed with me.
"You aren't listening to me, are you!"
With that said, the stars on her palm froze into small blocks of ice. Throwing them onto the ground, she stepped on them, grinding them with her feet in between angry stomps. I could hear the cracking sounds coming from the ice being shattered into oblivion by the repeated blows she dealt to my frozen stars. Surely there was going to be nothing left of them now.
To think that the girl had just taken whatever I folded and destroyed them before me made me want to deliver hell to her. However, seeing how she simply froze my stars in a split-second I am most likely no match for her. This girl's not a human at all -- humans can't just freeze things like that! Humans don't have wings, either!
She must be a monster.
I reached for my stack of papers with a trembling hand. I must make my escape. If this girl froze my stars and destroyed them like that, who knows if she will do the same to me. I sealed the packet of papers and stuffed them into the pocket of my skirt as I stand up, backing off slowly from the girl.
It is now or never. I'll turn tail and run now!
Praying that the girl will not notice me, I run away from her. I don't care where I am going, as long as I am running towards any direction that was away from her. With each step I took, the landscape of the dense forest closed in to me.
That's it! With how dense that forest is, that girl can never catch me. Sure, I get myself lost there but I'm lost to begin with. Might as well get as far away from that girl as possible.
Three hundred meters. Two hundred and fifty meters. Just a bit more before I can escape! It is the final stretch already, I can't be caught now!
One hundred meters. The forest was right before me. Just a bit more. Just a few more seconds. C'mon, I can move faster than this! Wider, faster steps! Just a bit more! Move, move, move!
. . .
The forest stopped getting nearer. All momentum of my feet stopped in an instant. I squeeze my eyes shut as I lose balance from the sudden loss of movement. I was falling. All over again. I flail my hands in the air, trying to grab onto something for support, anything.
. . .
Wait. This doesn't make sense. Why are my hands touching the ground?
"You were trying to run away, weren't you," questioned the voice of the ice-manipulating girl.
I open my eyes. The ground stopped right before me. Both my hands were outstretched towards the ground, holding onto it for support. A lucky save, I guess.
My legs don't seem to be able to move, though.
"Stop looking away from me, you idiot!"
An icy grip on my head made me look at the girl before me.
"I froze your feet, just in case you were wondering. You must be one of those outsiders who get lost here pretty often.”
An Outsider? What is this girl talking about?
"Cirno! Didn't you promise me that you were not going to abuse your powers over ice again?"
I looked towards the left. Yet another outlandishly dressed girl ran towards my direction. This time, this one wore a blouse and skirt with gold trimmings at the hem. More notably, though, she had two wings -- unmistakable, unlike the 'wings' the girl apparently called 'Cirno' had. They were barely visible -- they were transparent, bar the two brown structures that hung from around shoulder length.
What in the world are these people?
Updates will become more frequent for the next five days.
Right, so we're a nine year old girl who's been dropped into the middle of god knows where, has no way of contacting anyone or anything we're familiar with and her one (meager) hope of getting home has just been frozen and crushed by some kind of ice monster. When we try to escape said ice monster it freezes our legs. The monster starts talking about outsiders while manhandling us. Then what may very well be another monster shows up.
In summary, we're a cold, confused, lost and terrified little girl.
I honestly can't think of anything else that would be in character. I dunno, maybe try to crawl away? Plead with our captors?
Whoever -- no, whatever they are, if they have wings and can use magic they are definitely not human. That other girl that's running towards me doesn't look as hostile, but she seems to be acquainted with the ice-girl. Furthermore, she has wings too! She must be one of them, no matter how I look at it! I have to do something, anything!
Run. That's right. I have to run. I am no match for two of them. That is basic. I have to run.
. . . But my legs won't move.
No, they can't move. Even my toes barely have enough room to move with how my shoe is frozen to the ground. I can't slip my feet out of it either: my ankles were frozen together with the shoes as well.
"Don't run away from problems, Yun. Sometimes, you just have to stand up to it."
How I wish I could slap Mom across the cheek for that. How am I supposed to not run away from two monsters? Who knows if they can kill me? If that blue-haired girl can freeze my stars just by seemingly thinking about it and appear right in front of me and freeze me ankle-down, how am I supposed to stand up to it? Also, that other green-haired girl: What can she do? I don't care, I don't want to take my chances with those two!
"Hm? Is that you, Dai?"
The girl loosened her grip on me as she turned towards her friend. It was an opportunity! I bend my arms, then push myself up. Flailing my arms, I try to balance myself. It was a good thing that my frozen feet acted as a stand -- I would never truly fall down, so I had many tries to right myself.
I look at the girl who manhandled as I try to stand up for the sixth time. Thankfully, she is still engaged in the conversation with her acquaintance. I push myself off the ground again, this time with more controlled force than my last attempt.
Just a little bit more. . .
I swing my arms towards the left, trying to counter-balance myself.
Almost must be one of the saddest words one can ever find herself using. I found myself back to square one again, my hands supporting myself.
Actually, it's square minus one, now that my handphone is on the ground. It must have fell out of my skirt pocket during my previous attempt to right myself. Thank goodness Mom bought me a shock-proof handphone.
A Shock-proof handphone?
That's it! This would be a good time to test if my phone is really shock-proof. If it is, I'll be able to use it as a hammer and smash the ice around my feet! That's right!
Leaving one hand to support myself, I try to reach for the handphone. Stretching a little, I find it just a centimetre out of my finger's reach. I retract my hand, resting it a little before delivering a lunge at my target.
Fortunately, my finger landed on the handphone.
"What are you trying to do now?"
Unfortunately, I realised that girl had already turned back. My blood felt as if it were freezing up, the icy wave paralyzing my whole body. With my fingers also stiffened, my handphone fell once again to the floor. This must be the work of that girl! She must have frozen my blood. . . frozen my body. . . frozen my skin or something! It must be!
It is only then I noticed that my legs are shaking uncontrollably. Soon, my hands were, too. In fact, I was trembling. If the girl really froze me, then my body should be unable to move completely. She didn't even do a single thing. She was just looking at me.
It wasn't her. It wasn't her magic. It was my fear.
It was then I felt it again. That same sinking feeling, as if the ground was trying to suck me in. The freezing cold seemed to be amplified, my breathing hastened into short, quick breaths. This feeling -- as if someone were strangling my neck, not willing to letting go. I can't breathe. My hands numbed, and my legs felt like they would give way at any moment. It was as if all the warmth was drained from my body drop by drop from my eyes, the hot tears nearly streaming down my face.
I squeezed my eyes shut, awaiting the girl with icy wings to enforce punishment upon me. I repented upon my sins. I shouldn't have run away. I shouldn't have tried to run. I shouldn't have even thought about it! Worst of all, my accursed timidness! If only I were not so afraid, so afraid that I am about to collapse any moment now. If only I had tried to talk to her instead earlier. Maybe I wouldn't have angered her.
But now, my fate lies in her hands. I cry.
For the first time in my life, crying felt so good. It was a good way to take the attention off whatever I may be facing next. Crying gave me hope -- that she would pity me and let me go.
I waited. I anticipated. I was almost hoping for something to happen.
I was answered.
"What is there to cry about? Did something happen?"
I dared to open my eyes. I definitely did not expect those words. I mentally went over the words again.
What is there to cry about? Did something happen?
Almost instantly, warmth surged back into my system. My body seemed to thaw from its frozen state, every nerve ending, every inch of skin, every finger, every limb. The surrounding air seemed to rush into my lungs, reviving me as I took deep, long breaths. The steam subsided from my vision, and I seemed to be able to see clearly again. I looked forward, at where the voice came from. The green-haired girl, the one acquainted with her blue-haired counterpart from earlier, was kneeling before me. I found myself only able to watch as she brought up her hand and wiped my tears aside. Her hands were gentle, much unlike the earlier girl.
“Don’t cry, dear, don’t cry.”
Although she seemed to be no older than the other girl, her tone suggested otherwise. It was as if she were an older sister used to taking care of her siblings. I could almost feel warmth just by being near her. I stifled a few sobs, swallowing my tears as I did.
The green-haired girl only continued to kneel before me, waiting.
Cirno is still there, she didn't leave. She's just standing there, beside Daiyousei or something. Also curiously looking at a pink rectangular object on the ground that dropped from Yun's pocket.
And yeah, I am enjoying myself a lot more writing this story. I just I should stick to short, 1k updates. Also, this one seems more natural so far. Thanks for asking.
I may be moving this to. . . well, I have no idea which board this story would belong. /th/ would be nice, but I am afraid that it would be overlooked if I put it there. Perhaps when the fifth update comes about I'll go ask the mods if they can move this.
Selected options: [x] Hugs. I think we need it. -[x] Ask who she is. -[x] Ask where we are. -[x] Tell her everything that's happened. ________________________
I throw myself at the unsuspecting girl. She seemed to be the only one that understood what I was going through, even though I had not exchanged a single word with her. I wanted to hug her so badly, cling on to her forever, even. She seemed so secure.
The girl stood up and complied, allowing me to land in her embrace. I clamp my hands around her as hard as I could, as if I would fall if I let go. I stifle my sobs as I pull her as close to me as humanly possible, allowing her to run her fingers through my hair.
"There, there. . . just let it all out."
I cry. I squeeze my eyes shut, driving out all the tears from my moist eyes. I couldn't help it. I'm lost, I cannot find home and I don't even know if I am still remotely near home. It was that falling feeling all over again -- no one was there to hold onto me. I wanted to scream. I did. I had to. I can't hold it in any longer. I feel my chest flailing as I cry, like air was being pumped out of it in short, consecutive bursts -- pumping out my sobs, my tears. It's. . . horrible. I can't breathe. I feel light-headed. I want to faint, to faint out of this nightmare I fell into.
"Mama. . ." I cried. The girl only ran her fingers through my hair while she patted my back. I knew she wasn't my mother, but I can't help feeling that she was.
"Wake me up, please!" I murmur as I drew in another short, shallow breath. Naturally, I choked. I didn't care. I continued to wail, interrupted by constant coughing. I cling myself even more tightly, drawing a wince from the girl, but I don't care. I want to get out of this place! I want to return back home! I don't want to be lost here!
It was then I feel my feet able to move again. Maybe the girl had called her friend to unfreeze me. Maybe it just thawed on its own. I don't care. I fell to my knees, my strength seeping from me in the form of tears and cries. I was grabbing onto that girl's waist now, but I didn't care. I sob into her skirt, wetting the material as I let out muffled cries. The girl didn't complain -- she only lowered herself to the ground, allowing me to cry into her lap. I felt my body collapse onto her of its own will as I continued to weep, resting myself on the pillow that was her lap. I only felt the warmth in her breath as she crooned into my ear, stroking my hair as she did.
"Everything's going to . . . e . . . ine . . .ow, I'm e. . . re. . ."
That scene. It's that building again.
I'm looked over the parapet at nothing in particular. The same sky, the same buildings in my estate. Definitely, there was nothing amiss.
I raise myself to ball of my feet, looking down at the people below. Everyone's going on their daily routine -- walking towards the market, taking a stroll home, playing games in the estate playground.
It was then I felt it. That. . . thing, grabbing my by the leg. I flail my arms as I find myself in the air, my waist well over the parapet. I scream, I kick, I cry. However, the unknown force continued to lift me and put me over the parapet. Suddenly, the ground seemed so far. I try to grab onto the outside of the parapet -- not that there was anything to grab onto for the walls of it were smooth.
It was then whatever held onto my legs let go.
I fell. I knew, for the sky kept expanding as air rushed past me. The parapet I fell from quickly disappeared from sight as the building seemed to grow rapidly upwards. I close my eyes. I scream.
I feel myself shoot upwards. The scene of the dense forest before me was not very interesting, but I found myself staring at it intently. Sweat covered every inch of my body. Reaching into my pocket, I fished out my handkerchief, wiping off the perspiration dripping from me.
Wait, forest? Why am I not in my--
That's right. I have been dropped into this. . . place after that fall.
I looked around, sighting the blue-haired girl holding onto a pink, rectangular object as her friend pressed its buttons.
Yeah, and that too. I encountered those two girls earlier on. The blue-haired one can manipulate ice, and even froze me. She was called Cirno, wasn't she? And of course, the green-haired girl too -- her acquaintance. I must have cried till I slept on her.
Wait. A pink, rectangular object?
I take a closer look. The object let out a faint glow from the screen -- the girl was holding it in reverse now. It must be my handphone! Summoning unknown courage (and forgetting what that girl had done to me in the process), I shouted at her.
"Don't touch my phone!"
How I wished I could take my words back. I was shouting at that same girl who froze me and left me crying in that wretched state a while ago!
I choked on a pocket of air as the girl turned towards me, blinking in response. As she advanced towards me, phone in hand, I found my hands instinctively pushing my body backwards, moving me away from the girl.
It was then that girl threw the phone towards me. Raising my arms, I brace for impact, only to find my phone landed beside me.
"Here, your. . . ph. . . ph-- whatever it was," the girl pretended to turn and look away from me, even though the pupils of her eyes were clearly trained on me.
"I'm sorry for doing that to you back then."
I jumped slightly at her reply. Did that ice-manipulating monster just apologize to me? Shifting my attention back to the girl, I found her closing her eyes and taking rapid, deep breaths, with her face reddening. I giggle a little at how cute she looked. She must have found it hard to apologize to me, I conclude.
"There, Cirno. See? I told you it'd be fine. Saying sorry wasn't that hard, was it?"
My sights shift to the same green-haired girl as she turned towards her friend, patting her on the head. The girl with the icicle wings only flailed her arms over her head in reply.
"Stop that! It's embarrassing! See, even the Outsider is laughing."
I could do nothing but find myself giggling at the scene before me. Even I was surprised about myself still having the capacity to laugh even when I am. . . lost. . . somewhere. . . alone. Flipping open my phone, I looked at the wallpaper. My mother had always insisted that I choose a photo that had the family in it for the sake of feeling 'together' all the time -- one of the weird traditions that has originated from my mother's constant hounding and strange beliefs. Sure, the picture of me standing with my parents in front of the Singapore Zoo did satisfy her demands for what the wallpaper had to be like, but now, my image seemed to drift so far apart from my parents'.
As if they were separated by an invisible boundary.
I found a pressure building up behind my eyes. Tears welled up within them, and the moment I closed my eyes the floodgates burst. I found myself crying once again. I cursed the world for being so unfair. I cursed the heavens for having put me into this predicament. I cursed myself for being so weak.
Why do I feel so far away from them, as if I were from a different world now? Why? Tell me, why!
I scream mentally at everyone. What did I do to deserve this?
It was then, that familiar warmth wrapped me from behind. Two arms found their way across my chest, hugging me tight. I turned towards the side only to find the same green-haired girl resting her head on my shoulders, eyes closed as she did. I could only find myself asking her one thing.
"Who are you?"
The girl released me from her embrace, helping me up.
"To be honest, I don't really have a name," the girl looked down at her feet as she crossed, then uncrossed her fingers. "Most of the other fairies call me Daiyousei, so I guess you can call me that too."
Dai-you-sei. I mentally translate her language, subconsciously noting down her name. Daiyousei, huh. Without me noticing, I speak my thoughts aloud, "That means 'Greater Fairy', doesn't it?"
The girl looked at me, cheeks flushed. "W-well, yes. Not that I am really 'great' in any way or form. It's just that I am one of the more senior fairies about here. Nothing much, really."
I nod my head, processing what she said before going over it twice. My mind immediately stopped when it hit the word 'fairy'.
That girl's a fairy? I thought fairies don't exist!
I soon found myself blurting out my thoughts. "What do you mean, 'fairy'?"
"Well, you see, fairies are the embodiment of an aspect of nature," she paused, looking beckoning for her friend to come over. "For example, Cirno is the embodiment of Ice." I nod at her explanation. So that explains why she has icicles for wings and can manipulate ice!
"What about you, Daiyousei?" I question, curious.
"Frankly, I have no idea what sort of fairy I am. I suppose I possess the basic qualities of a fairy, like using magic. But here in Gensokyo, almost everyone can use magic, so that doesn't really tell much." Daiyousei lowered her head even further with every word she spoke.
It was then another question came to mind.
"So," I ask, wide-eyed now, "you are saying that I am now in this place called Gensokyo where everyone can use magic? Which country is this place part of, and why have I never heard of it?"
'Well. . ." the girl paced around a little as she answered me. "How shall I put it. . . I do know that this place is part of Japan, but this is a sealed land, so by right no-one should be able to get in. In addition, this place is actually invisible to people who are not here, so that is probably why you have never heard of us. Also, not everyone can use magic. The people -- and things -- that can use magic are mostly non-human. . . Also, technically you are in a part of this place called 'Misty Lake'!"
I looked at Daiyousei intently. She seemed to be struggling with the words, alright. Maybe she couldn't really explain whatever she was trying to say to me properly. Nevertheless, I could see that she was trying her best.
"Well then!" Daiyousei turned around as she stopped pacing. "Tell me about you! How did you end up here in the first place?"
It was my turn to struggle with words. What should I tell this girl? The whole truth, part of the truth or just lie about my being here? I did not know.
The whole truth, then. That is easier to manage. Or, at least as much of the truth that I knew.
"Well," I crossed my fingers and flexed my palms, trying to get myself into condition, "as far as I remember, I fell from this building from the thirteenth floor--"
"The thirteenth floor?" Cirno chipped in, slack-jawed in awe. "Did you hear that, Dai? We don't even have buildings three storeys tall here!"
"Yes, the thirteenth floor," I replied the ice fairy's query. "I thought I was going to die when I fell, but apparently I ended up in this place. When you found me folding stars, I was just really scared. My mother told me that if I folded one hundred of those stars, any wish I had would be granted. So I wished to go home and started folding stars."
"Then she found you, didn't she," Daiyousei added as she pointed towards Cirno. "And she froze you."
"She did, alright. I was so scared; I thought you all were monsters!"
"No, we aren't powerful enough to be monsters. Even if we were, we wouldn't be monsters. We are fairies by genus."
I look at her, puzzled. Somehow, whatever Daiyousei said didn't make sense at all.
"Not powerful enough to be monsters?" I asked.
"Yes. The real monsters are out there. Some of them are good, while some of them harbour bad intentions. All of them are man-eating in general, though."
I blinked. Man-eating? Furthermore, why is Daiyousei using the Japanese term for monsters, Youkai, like as if it were a name?
"Speaking of monsters, I suppose they would be out now," Daiyousei pointed up towards the sky, which was already dyed a bright orange. "Monsters are most active at night, and we are already approaching dusk now."
"You have monsters in Gensokyo?" I ask in utter disbelief.
"Why not? Anyways, it is not Cirno and me that I worry about -- it is you. If anything happens to us, we will just be reborn somewhere, but not you -- you are a human." Daiyousei simply answers matter-of-factly.
Alright, this is off the 'Crazy' reading on the scale. I am now lost in some sealed part of Japan, with severed communication to the outside world, a place where fairies exist and monsters prowl the night. What exactly is going on? How can I enter this place. . . Gen-so-kyo, was it? How can I enter here just by falling off a building?
Most of all, dusk is approaching and I most certainly do not want to meet with those man-eating monsters she is talking about. What are we going to do?
"So, what are you planning on doing, Daiyousei?" I ask worriedly. There is no way I am going to take my chances in this clearing.
"Well, for one, we could go to the Human Village. It is rather safe there, and a lot of humans live there, as its name suggests. Keine also lives there to, and she is the safest person to be about if you are a human. However," The fairy stalls, and then continues, "the trip is rather long and we will probably be risking meeting the monsters we want to avoid, since we'll be cutting it rather close to dusk."
"So our situation is bad, huh," I conclude, letting out a sigh. Nothing is going to be easy for me, it seems.
"Or, we can go to the Scarlet Devil Mansion!"
I turn towards Cirno. Did the Ice Fairy just suggest I go to a Devil's mansion? She really wants me dead, doesn't she?
"Don't be mistaken! The Scalet Devil Mansion is much nearer to where we are, and there is one human there. She's pretty strong, too!" All of a sudden, Cirno's voice started to become fainter as she spoke. "However, you'll also be dealing with two vampires. . ."
I look at Daiyousei, who simply nods. I guess I'll have to make a decision.
A dilemma, though I wished for a different kind. This was a fork on a path where I couldn't see where both paths lead. Two signboards point to each path promising me that it is the safer route, but each has strings attached. This is way too crazy. It can't be real. Maybe this is just a bad -- and sadistic -- joke.
I rub my eyes, only to find the two fairies still standing before me. This was not a dream. I suddenly feel the urge to cry once more. It was that situation again -- I feel as if the ground below me collapsed, and I am threading on a line thinner than a thread. I squeeze my eyes shut, and my tears start to flow down my cheeks once more.
>And yeah, I am enjoying myself a lot more writing this story.
I'm glad. Enjoying yourself is perhaps the most important part of writing.
>Also, this one seems more natural so far. Thanks for asking.
Definitely, and no problem.
>/th/ would be nice, but I am afraid that it would be overlooked if I put it there.
Don't worry too much about voters and readers. If they come, they come. If they don't, they don't. All you can do is your write your best and enjoy the journey.
>I may be moving this to. . . well, I have no idea which board this story would belong.
Hmmm... well depending on how the next choice plays out and your plans for the future, /sdm/ or /shrine/ would seem the most fitting.
/sdm/ does include Misty Lake in it's portfolio, so if you're intending to spend a significant portion of the story here it may be your best option. Likewise, /shrine/ includes the village and Myouren temple, so if you intend to use them significantly you may wish to move there.
Do remember that the various boards can be about characters just as much as locations. For instance, if you intend Daiyousei and Cirno to be major characters you might wish to place this story in /sdm/ regardless of the actual location.
Or you could just put it in /th/. That's fine too. Or you could just leave it here. I don't think anybody would notice. I think there's only like, four guys who even check /Shorts/. I might be the only one who checks regularly.
>Perhaps when the fifth update comes about I'll go ask the mods if they can move this.
Personally, I recommend starting a new thread in whatever board you choose and putting a link at the top of that thread leading back here. Moving threads changes the post number to fit in with the new board, which messes up the quote function. For instance if you moved this to /sdm/ I'd end up quoting whoever had 1111st post in that board.
Which is whoever this lucky fellow is >>/sdm/1111
That's how you link across boards, just in case you don't know. Two arrows/BoardName/PostNumber.
...I think I might've talked too long. I'm gonna take a break.
I'll be back later to vote and comment on the update.
I too started my story in /shorts/, realized I wanted to write it "full-length," and decided to move it. At the time, I had three updates. I ended up deleting the thread and reposting it in /others/. Those who regularly stalk these boards can probably tell which story this is.
Of course, I'm just rambling by this point. Do what you think best, bro. Keep up the good writin’.
Right, I'm back now and ready for whatever you throw at m-
>The girl looked at me, cheeks flushed. "W-well, yes. Not that I am really 'great' in any way or form. It's just that I am one of the more senior fairies about here. Nothing much, really."
Ahem, moe overdose aside, that last bit of the update seemed a little too... expository? Eh, maybe I'm just tired, I can't quite seem to pinpoint what makes it seem that way. Don't worry too much about it, explaining the situation to a clueless protagonist is usually one of the hardest parts to write in a story.
Also, I didn't really notice until rereading for the fourth or fifth time, but you seem to be having a little trouble with tenses? It's not really intrusive nor does it bother me, but I figure I should point it out anyway. It could be that I'm imagining it because I'm tired and my head is spinning a little.
Now as for my vote... ...Hmmm. Trekking through the forest at night seems like a bad idea, yet going to a vampire's mansion isn't much better. On a more meta level, both the mansion and the village are appealing. I'm not sure what would happen if we went to see the Scarlet Devils, but it will probably be interesing no matter what happens. If we go to the village, Keine or even Byakuren, if this is set post-UFO, might take us in for a while.
Hmmm... Hey Ran, is Yun a buddhist? If she is (and if this is indeed set post-UFO) she might be happiest staying at Myouren temple.
It's a hard decision but in the end my answer is;
[x] "...Can't I stay with you?" -[x] If not flip a coin/authors preference
Not what you were expecting, huh?
On an unrelated note, I wish I had more decent pictures of Daiyousei. I have like three, compared to dozens for everyone else. Why are they so hard to find? Oh right, because she's just some random midboss nobody cares aboutIsn't it sad, Daicchin ;_;
Most Chinese are stuck between Buddhist and Taoist hybrid.
And also, let me just give you a preview of what's going to happen.
Either route, you are going to arrive at the Hakurei Shrine the next day, after spending the night at either place.
If at Human Village, then Yun will be introduced to Spell Card Rules through a direct confrontation between Keine and Byakuren.
If at SDM, then a meeting with Remilia, Sakuya and Patchouli. Followed by doing household chores (Remilia doesn't want other fairy maids feeling unfair that two other fairies can just stay in SDM without doing anything.)
And you can't stay with Cirno + Daiyousei. Though they will follow you around. I have yet to get Yun discussing about going home with them. Yun will be trying whatever she can to get home, so yeah.
This isn't a slice-of-life story, just so you know. Though it can be requested that it be at some parts.
>And you can't stay with Cirno + Daiyousei. Though they will follow you around. I have yet to get Yun discussing about going home with them. Yun will be trying whatever she can to get home, so yeah. >However, you cannot stay at misty lake and must seek shelter for the night.
I was actually asking whether Yun could stay at Cirno's house at least until morning, then head to the village but okay. I'll just have to mentally chalk it up to Cirno not having rebuilt her house since Fairy Wars.
[x] Human village
I'll just go with the flow on this one. It's nice to see I'm not the only one voting anymore.
"Remember, Yun, nothing can be achieved by crying."
I wipe the tears from my eyes with the back of my hand. At least my parents are right this time around. I'll have to stop crying and make a decision. I go over the choices once more.
Right now, it IS getting rather dark, so going to the Scarlet Devil Mansion or whatever it was called would be safer than if I went to the Human Village. However, what do they mean by vampires living in that mansion along with a human?
"What do you mean by there being two vampires living together with a human at the Scarlet Devil Mansion?" I post the question to the Icicle-Winged Fairy.
Cirno raised a hand to her chin, supporting the raised arm with another arm placed across her chest, deep in thought. "Well, those two vampires are probably European aristocrats--"
"I remember you saying that this is part of Japan, so how are those two vampires European?" I interject, puzzled. A European in Japan, a sealed part of it at that, completely doesn't make sense.
"If I remember it right, the magician lady transported their mansion forcibly into Gensokyo," the Ice-Fairy replied, the crystals on her back floating slightly floating upwards. "I am not very sure how it worked, but that is what I heard."
A magician lady? What is Gensokyo, some land of people who are either mythical creatures or people wielding magic? And also, if one can forcibly enter Gensokyo, what sort of way did I enter Gensokyo through? Definitely, I do not wield magics that allow me transport myself to here.
The barrage of questions hit me like darts to a dartboard. I close my eyes, giving myself some space to think. Dad had always taught me to 'prioritize', or whatever he called it, when I had multiple things to ask about. He just told me that it was the act of organising things to find which is most important and which is the least.
Alright, prioritize. The magician lady isn't really that important to me right now, so I'll ask about it later. Whatever Gensokyo is doesn't really matter right now either.
However, knowing that there were others that came into here is. Now that I know that there are other people who entered Gensokyo like me, I should inquire about that first. Right.
"So, are they like me?" I asked, "Like, they fell in too?"
This time, Daiyousei stepped forward to reply. "Well, they are like you in a way -- they came from the Outside -- but they are also unlike you."
I knitted my eyebrows. Unlike me?
"You mean, they are vampires and I am human, right?" I interrupt.
To my surprise, the fairy shook her head in reply. "No, not that. I mean," Daiyousei twirled a lock of hair between her fingers as she looked upwards. Probably looking for words, I conclude.
"Let's put it this way: I suppose we can call those who are living in that Mansion 'migrants', but we use a special term for people like you," releasing her fingers from the spiral of hair she was twirling, she pointed towards me.
"We call people that enter Gensokyo the way you did 'Outsiders'."
So, that was what Cirno called me! She knew that I was an 'Outsider', a person that fell into Gensokyo. Also: If they actually had a name for people who came in this way, surely, they must have dealt with them before!
Immediately, I inquire the fairy. "You mean, there are others like me? What happened to them?"
Cirno answered my query almost instantly. "Most people that enter Gensokyo simply get eaten by the monsters we told you about. If you are lost in Gensokyo and you don't happen to land in places that are inhabited with humans, or human-helping Youkai, that's it for you." The fairy only let out a short sigh of regret as she threw her hands into the air.
I found myself only able to stare in shock. How did she deliver that so easily, as if it were an everyday occurrence? This is crazy. This place is crazy. What is wrong with the people here?
I turn towards Daiyousei for confirmation, and she merely nodded silently. I close my eyes, counting my blessings mentally. Suddenly, I feel so much gladder to still be alive, to not be one of those eaten. Maybe the stars that I folded did have magic within them. Maybe the heavens sent me help in the form of these two fairies before me.
"I must be very lucky, huh," I remark.
"Of course you are!" Cirno pointed to herself, her eyes closed in complete arrogance. "After all, you are with two of the strongest fairies around here!"
They are the strongest fairies 'around here'? That must mean that they stay here too, right? That's right, why don't I ask if I can simply stay with them?
I looked down at my feet, thinking of a way to talk about it. After all, just telling people 'Can't I stay with you' is rather. . . impolite, to put it nicely, and embarrassing, too. How should I phrase my question, though?
. . .
Never mind, out with it! I'll just say it! Those two fairies probably wouldn't mind either, I hope. Breathing in deep, I close my eyes and try to draw all the courage within me. Alright, here goes nothing!
"C-can I stay w-with y-y-ou?"
Almost immediately, the courage that I had melted away. My head felt light. I try to clench my hands -- only to find that my hands had no strength in them. My legs could not move, like they had taken root, but they felt as if they were about to collapse like jelly.
I felt my cheeks -- they were flushed, surely, from how hot they felt. The cold seemed to bite harder into my skin as I feel my heart beating faster, my skin feeling warmer than usual. Why had I never felt like this while waiting for reply? The quivering, the anticipation -- like on the verge of a cliff.
Then came the reply from the Ice Fairy.
"Well, to be honest, I would love to take you in, but. . . t-they--" At this point, the girl clenched her fist tight, her brows knitted together. The veins on her arm became visible as her breaths became short and rushed. Must have hit a nerve, I conclude.
"Her house was destroyed by a group of fairies while she wasn't at home." Daiyousei added quickly. "Apparently they decided that it was a great way to start an incident. I believe Cirno would have loved to take you in for the night, but we really cannot do so. Thus we told you about the Scarlet Devil Mansion and Human Village, you see."
I nod at the explanation. Looks like I would still have to choose from those two. The Scarlet Devil Mansion would be the 'safer' choice in terms of route, and is technically more attractive but after what Cirno had told me. . . I think I'll pass.
That only leaves the Human Village, I guess.
Looking at how dark the sky is now, I'll definitely have to get going if I want to get there before any of those monsters attack.
"So, Daiyousei, how long does it take to go to the Human Village?"
Fishing my phone from my pocket, I flip the screen open. Glaring at me were the digits "5:29" were printed behind the LCD screen, Singapore Time. If the phone did not suffer any damage while I fell into Gensokyo, I would be four hours past the time I was to get home from school.
Would they have started searching for me? Maybe not: Mom and Dad are always out at work till nine, so they probably haven't noticed yet. When they realise that I have disappeared, Mom will go hysterical, definitely. Hopefully I don't worry them too much.
Knowing Japan Standard Time is GMT +9, it should be 6.29 PM now. I look up to the sky -- a delicious particle-filled sunset greeted me. Most likely, I'll have only thirty minutes left before the sky darkens. Better go ask Daiyousei how long it will be before we reach the Village.
"Daiyousei, how much longer will it be?"
"Probably not longer than half-an-hour once we get through the forest," the fairy replied as she pried apart a curtain of dense vines. The forest around Misty Lake is indeed rather thick, I remarked mentally. It has been roughly an hour since we left off, and I've given up counting the trees I pass already. There are probably thousands of trees here, and with how numerous they are they seemed to tessellate -- though I am not sure what it really means. Now that I think about it, if I ever get out of here I'll promise myself to listen more attentively to maths class.
For now, though, it's back to my phone. Come to think of it, I had been flipping my phone open and closed almost every minute, staring intently at those white digits that told the time. Time actually seemed to slow in this world -- every second felt like it lasted longer than it should have. I wonder if it is the same at home.
Decidedly, I must be bored. Whenever I find myself staring at the time, I know I must be bored. Almost instinctively, I retrieved the packet of papers that I had. Unsealing it, I run my finger on the side of the papers, counting it. I packed forty pieces into this, and since I tore a piece into strips to fold stars, I had thirty-nine pieces left.
Picking a plain piece of paper -- not the origami variety, those were for my but just a normal square piece of paper I had -- and stowing away the rest into my skirt pocket, I started folding the paper into half lengthwise, running my finger across the fold and creating a crease. I picked up a corner of the resultant rectangle next, folding it down towards the crease as I did. Now, all that was left was to do it for the other side, then fold it down twice to form a paper--
"Stop paying attention to that thing you are holding! You're going to bang into a tree like that!"
Oh, the Ice-Fairy. She probably doesn't know that I fold paper aeroplanes on the way back from school every day. There wasn't a need to worry, really -- I have a rather good track record for not bumping into things while I--
Okay, maybe just this once.
Taking a few steps back, I look at the rough bark that I bumped into. Nothing interesting, I conclude after a brief examination. What mattered right now was to find Cirno and Daiyousei. I look around as I rubbed the sore on my forehead. If she could shout towards me just like that just now, they should be around here.
Right, if they are not in front, I must have strayed slightly off the path or something. With that thought in mind, I turn towards the left -- not there either. The right? Nothing of interest. I turn around, and only the dense forest greeted me. They must be hiding somewhere, huh.
The all-too-familiar chill set back in. Reality started sinking in now. I was lost again, wasn't I? The same pressure builds up near my eyes, tears threatening to burst forward agai--No. I cannot allow that to happen. Slow that breathing: easy breaths, slowly. Stop the palpitating. Don't let the mind cloud up. THINK.
That's right. They cannot be too far. I couldn't be too lost. Yes. That's it. If they are not too far, just calling out should get them towards me. Yes, it should work. I breathe in deep, and then. . .
"CIRNO! DAIYOUSEI! WHERE ARE YOU TWO?"
Rustling. Leaves rustling in reply. There must be something moving.
Immediately, the familiar chill ran up my spine, assimilating every part of my body as it did. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Why did I just shout like that? I look up -- the sky was already a shade of red fading into dark blue. It is already rather late. What if I attract the monsters that Cirno and Daiyousei were talking about?
More rustling. Even closer now. Crunching of leaves. Footsteps, definitely. Whoever it is, he or she must be close.
Yun, you complete idiot! What if one of those monsters are really there? What could you do if that happens? Did you even think of the complications?
The wave of cold seemed to wrap around my heart. It felt as if I could not breathe -- my chest was rising and falling quickly, alright, but no air seemed to get in. I want to close my eyes, but the anticipation -- how morbid, I thought, anticipating what might cause my own death -- forced me to open my eyes wide and stare in front.
The rustling was closer. Any moment now--
"Why are you standing there like that? We have to keep moving, you know. It's getting dark now and we are almost out of the forest already!"
I exhale deeply at the sight of the familiar crystal wings on the blue-haired girl. She pried apart a wall of vines, holding them with one hand, revealing a foreign landscape -- it was no longer the sight of trees or dense vegetation. She thumbed towards the opening, beckoning for me to go through. Naturally, I obliged, stepping through the opening.
To the left, a single, wide dirt path extended downwards in the form of a gentle slope. A single fenced structure stood at the base of the slope, ending the path. What surprised me, though, was the fact that within the fence stood many of what seemed to be houses built in the architectural style of the traditional Japanese. Smoke even rose from the village, signalling fire being used.
This place must be primitive, I conclude. As to why so, I think I'll ask later -- a quick flip of my phone revealed the time to be 6.50 PM. Furthermore, only a few remnant streaks of dull red light remained in the sky.
"Well, that's the Human Village. Not too far away, is it?" Daiyousei chirped.
I nod in agreement. Indeed, the village was near --
Wait. What are those two people in the air doing? Why are they floating before the village gate?
"Are those two people there floating in the air in front of the village?" I pose the question to no one in particular.
"Huh?" the Ice-Fairy walked before me, looking towards the village. "That is Keine, isn't it Dai?"
I turn towards the transparent-winged fairy. Her expression turned grave, her eyes opening wide. "Cirno, I think Keine is about to duel with. . . someone that I have no idea of. We should get there quick," she urged.
"Duelling?" I blurted out the question immediately. "Isn't that like what ancient people do to settle disputes? It's fatal!"
Cirno yanked my hand. . . in reply, I guess? It wasn't really a reply, but I suppose it qualifies as one. Before I could retaliate, though, immense pain shot into my arm. I dropped my half-completed paper aeroplane immediately. It was like as if it was being yanked out of its socket oh wait it was why are my legs dangling freely in the air why am I even in the air I don't care.
I scream in both pain and horror, "LET GO OF ME! IT HURTS A LOT!"
Maybe I shouldn't have used 'Let go'. I feel the grip around my hand loosen, and I fall. Cirno seemed to rush further away as I fell. I flail my arms to grab something, anything.
I felt my body sink downwards before being lifted up again. I definitely did not fall onto the ground -- I could feel two arms supporting my back.
"I hope you are not afraid of heights, because we're about to fly you there."
Oh, so Daiyousei caught m-- What do you mean, fly me?
"Fly me?" I ask, curbing the twisted temptation to look downwards.
"Well, people can fly here in Gensokyo. It is pretty much a universal ability of the residents of Gensokyo who even have basic magical abilities--"
"Everybody can even fly in this part of Japan?" I interject. I know it wasn't the time to ask questions, but I didn't really care. I want to know what is happening before I allow myself to be air flown like cargo.
"Well, it was actually--" Daiyousei paused, shaking her head. "I'll explain to you all this later. Right now, we’ll go check in on Keine first."
Daiyousei settled me onto the ground gently, removing her arms from under me. With a small bump, I landed on the ground. I could hear what seemed to be a heated argument, but for me it did not matter right now. I could not even get myself to move. My limbs seemed to be frozen in place -- not even a muscle twitched when I commanded them to move. I lay on the ground, staring blankly into the sky. I will never try flying again. Never.
I try to move again -- good, my hands are responding now. At least I was no longer subconsciously in shock. I heave myself to a sitting position and turn myself to the commotion before me.
A woman with two-toned hair appeared to. . . stand, for lack of better word to describe her posture, in the air. Donning a black-and-white dress, her left hand held what seemed like a golden rod-like object.
"I told you, Keine: I am only building the temple at the Human Village to promote inter-racial relations between humans and monsters. I solely desire peace -- I trust that you are a woman of much intellect, so you must see my intentions too, no?"
That woman supports monsters, yet desires peace? What is she thinking? Didn't Cirno say that monsters were man-eating?
Either way, I turn towards her opposition identified as 'Keine'. The woman wore a surly expression as she adjusted her. . . hat, I think, in response. She had silver-coloured hair -- her hair wasn't grey and old, but rather shining golden in the light from the lanterns hung from the village gates. I could not make sense of her blue dress she wore -- it had this weird interloping pattern cut on the blue layer above what seemed like pleated white material below.
"How many times must I tell you?!" She shouted exasperatedly, "Humans. . . cannot coexist with monsters like you. Monsters like you should stay exiled where you are, away from my village! Do you really think that monsters like you can make peace with humans?"
Her hazel-brown eyes seemed to burn with a fire within them as she spoke with an air of authority. I could not put a finger to it, but she felt superior in a way. Maybe it was the way she spoke. Maybe it was from the words she picked. Maybe it was her tone. My father did tell me that there were people who were able to convey themselves as commanding from the way they conduct themselves after all.
However, what does Keine mean by that other woman being 'one of them'? Is she also a monster? Between the two women staring at each other, I could almost smell gunpowder in the air, like as if a war were about break out. Call it intuition, but I felt that I have to leave this place now. "Always trust a woman's intuition", my mother always says. I suppose this is the time to follow that saying.
I look towards my left, finding Cirno and Daiyousei standing towards my left, fixated on the conversation between the two. Giving a quick glace back towards the two parties involved in the conflict, an angry Keine, fist clenched met eyes with her opponent who was gritting her teeth. Either way, it did not seem good. At all.
"I suppose there is only one way to settle this, huh," the woman with the two-toned hair questioned her opponent.
I turn my glace towards the woman named Keine, who held up her hand. As if by magic, her hand glowed bright yellow. When the light had faded, a single rectangular object seemed to appear in her hand.
"I don't think there is a need to say more, is there?"
A 'rhetorical question’ or at least I think that's what it is called. That 'Keine' person seems more and more like my English teacher the more I listen to her speak. Is she a teacher herself?
Also, what is that card-like object doing in her hand?
"Land Sign 「Three Sacred Treasures -Sword-」!"
As soon as I heard Keine utter that line, the card I was looking at in her hand seemingly vanished into sparkles of yellow, like a magic trick, only to be replaced by what looked like a sword which was about a metre in length.
The gold-yellow light of the lanterns hung from the village gates only served to show how real the sword was. The blade glittered around its edge as she brandished it, holding it above her shoulder in a stance ready to attack.
Reality had sunk in. It was real, sharp sword. A lethal weapon. Someone was going to have their blood spilled over this. I had to stop it. I’ve been on the verge of death too many times for me to allow another to experience the same.
Then again, why should I even intervene? If I intervene, who knows if I’ll be the one that is caught in the crossfire? I don’t want to be the one cut by the sword – definitely not. Besides, isn’t she a monster?
I-I don’t know. I have no idea. My mind is blank. What should I even do in this situation? I mean, no nine-year old ever gets taught what to do when this happens. Are nine-year olds even supposed to be involved in this? I chuckle at myself, laughable as I was.
What should I even be doing?
I think I am going to leave this pretty much open to you guys as to what you guys want to see happen next. Anything is viable, Yun only provided two of the many possible options. Go ahead and do a write-in if you'd like, or give an option that would be good.
I didn't want Yun to cry so much, but I think that crying will be quite a lot of what she is doing throughout the whole story/at least before she gets used to Gensokyo's customs.
Also, we are working towards spending the night at the human village for the next two updates. We'll go to the Hakurei Shrine for the third next update, and then that's where the story truly begins. Route splits will happen too, so be careful of your choices.
The aim is to allow Yun to escape Gensokyo as much of a 'Human' as possible through this run. You can choose to go under negative influence, but that will cause Yun to become more like a Youkai. One alternate route even involves her starting an incident if she were to follow that route split.
Also, the amount of papers she has left will be mentioned at some point. It will become a mechanic as soon as *something* happens. Meanwhile, feel free to comment and vote. This update was a little heavier than usual, I think.
I'll be re-doing some parts of the last update. It will be written out of continuity soon. I will be deleting that post. Meanwhile, just tell me what you would want because I have no direction for the moment.
Perhaps tell me what you people would like to see.
No worries Ran. No need to rush, you don't have to have an update a day. Take some time to think about where you want to go. Hell, write your updates spread out over a few days if it helps you get each part of the update the way you like it. If you're having trouble with inspiration and/or burnout, taking a break to do other things you enjoy may help you get back in the groove.
As for giving you ideas, I'd be glad to help you out... just not today. Weekends always hit me hard, and I'm having enough trouble making this post coherent let alone anything else. Don't worry about the lack of votes either, I'm still here, just feeling unbelievably shitty.
Commentary and votes tomorrow maybe. Or perhaps the day after. Sorry if this post was too rambly.
Honestly in hindsight I found that to be a rather bad update of mine lol. Nothing to do with you guys, and I just wanted to see if you guys would like specific stuff to happen. More fun to write stuff that way.
Anyways, I'm fine don't worry about me. I was just saying that that update would be a 'placeholder' of sorts. Since this is a prototype and all. It is not the 'actual' actual per se, so yeah.
Right, weekends over and I'm feeling somewhat better. On to business.
Since you're going to be rewriting it anyway, I won't spend too much time commenting on the update.
>"Stop paying attention to that thing you are holding! You're going to bang into a tree like that!"
This would probably flow better if it was more like "If you don't pay attention you're going to walk into something"
>"LET GO OF ME! IT HURTS A LOT!"
Might work better as "AHH, It hurts! Let go, let go!" or something to that effect.
Also the dialogue between Byakuren and Keine seems a little.. I don't know, wooden maybe? Fake? Something like that.
Oh, and remember when I mentioned how you seem to be having tense trouble earlier? Well it's definitly noticeable in this update. You also don't seem to use contractions very much, but that's acceptable, if a little hard to read.
There's also a lot of little grammar errors scattered across the update, but I won't elaborate on those for fear of going back on my word to not spend too much time on this.
In summary, the past update was a bit painful to read at places, so I'm glad you're going to rewrite it.
Anyway, you may want to go on IRC and get someone better at proofreading than me to help you out, though if you return to your previous level of quality it may be unnecessary. Still, it tends to be helpful to have a second person going over your updates to notice anything you miss, and it will probably help fix up the small errors I've noticed in previous updates.
As for things I'd like to see, hmmm...
Well if there's anymore information you want Yun to know, then Keine is your ticket to exposit to your hearts content. Other than that I'll leave Keine up to you.
If Yun somehow ends up with money, it would be nice to have a scene of our trio relaxing and enjoying themselves, perhaps buying some food and talking. It would also be good to have Yun thanking Dai and Cirno for their help.
You could have Friendly!Kogasa show up if you're keeping the whole Byakuren/Keine monster showdown to show that not all youkai are bad.
When we get to the shrine, it would be pretty amusing to see how Suika deals wih kids. Especially crying kids, if and when Yun finds out she can't go home.
So yeah, I'd like Suika to show up.
Finally, I'd like some interaction with Byakuren of some sort. I've been on a bit of a Byakuren roll ever since I watched this.
The Suika interaction seems extremely interesting. I think I'll have to do some research into her, though. Like how Onis behave and all, and all her dialogue.
Byakuren is pretty much the sub-antagonist of the Human Village route, though I will open a chance for her to interact with Yun as a route split later on.
And how did you realise that I was using Keine as my character for exposition? (Ah well.)
Look forward to the update as soon as I get this week over with. After Friday I should have much more time to work on the update. I thank you very much for the support, you're a can of excellent ideas (and a good motivator)!
Meanwhile, feel free to ask me anything and I will try to answer as much as I can.
They love alcohol, fighting and partying. Usually all at once.They are hyper-competitive, but fun-loving. They are forward, honest and forthright. If you can get their loyalty, they'll be the most stalwart companion you can imagine. They never break a promise. They absolutely hate dishonesty, cowardice and underhanded trickery. Some say they can sense when they are being lied to.
Suika... is a bit of an oddball when it comes to oni, but you should read up on that yourself.
Also, like most japanese words the plural of Oni is Oni i.e Five oni strode into the village laughing.
>And how did you realise that I was using Keine as my character for exposition? (Ah well.)
Well, as a teacher she's ideally suited for expositing. It's her job after all.
>I thank you very much for the support, you're a can of excellent ideas (and a good motivator)!
I... ur... um... thank you. I don't think i've gotten such a sincere compliment in at least two years. So, thanks.
>Meanwhile, feel free to ask me anything and I will try to answer as much as I can.
Will do. Can't think of anything at the moment, but I'll ask if I do.
Uh. The choices might change in the end, because I just thought of another direction for the story to go in. I sort of want to make Yun's ability apparent, somewhat. And the encounter is a little 'fake'. Also, test week gave me new descriptors of fear so I wouldn't be sticking to using cold to describe it all the time.
Also, I forgot that the focus is on Daiyousei and Cirno around Yun. I forgot about them by the time I reached Keine (she was the protag of my previous story). So yeah. Might be better if I rewrite everything.
Please wait warmly. I need about 2 more days to get over with my Project Finals and I will be able to get back to writing. Thank you!
There's nothing wrong with Pacifist Yun actually. I have even devised a route for her that involves her not fighting at all. You'll miss out the battle with the person that killed her, though.
Though, if you decide to make her REAL AGGRESSIVE (Or follow Youkai Route), she'll start an incident herself. Do not expect most of Gensokyo to side with her then, though.
>>1152 I would love to have you as a co-writer. My research revealed almost nothing on Oni. Are you a walking encyclopedia?
Anyways, thanks to you I can characterise Suika better, I hope. Probably very candid and straightforward, and sends Yun straight to Reimu. Will probably follow Yun around too when she finds out that Yun is unable to return to the Outside (but eventually will/or not, depending on how you characterise her throughout the whole story.)
>I forgot that the focus is on Daiyousei and Cirno around Yun
Isn't it sad, Daicchin ;_;
>the battle with <spoiler>
...Oh, well I have a question now. On a scale from "You never found the body. You should know better." to "Hey Mima, let's be ghost bros", how dead is Yun?
>I would love to have you as a co-writer.
...I wouldn't mind that. But I'd have no idea what to do except what I'm already doing, and maybe telling you what I'd write in your place. I'm not sure the latter is all that useful honestly.
>My research revealed almost nothing on Oni.
A decade of compulsory Japanese classes, a healthy interest in mythology, playing an extremely large variety of video games and having read almost half of all the stories on this site really helps.
>Are you a walking encyclopedia?
I've never really thought of it that way, but suppose I am a little. I think I'm wrong too often to truly take such a title. Anyway, when in doubt I tend to look to the touhou wiki to make sure the information in my head is correct. Just type in a keyword like "Oni" to get all the pages dealing with them.
Right, first thing you need to do is look at the top right of the site. You should see a link labeled "Home". Click on it and you'll be at the sites front page. There are four tabs to switch between. Read both FAQ and Rules.
Yun's a dead spirit that has form. And still think she's human. Her spirit basically fell into Gensokyo while her body fell down the building and died. So she is just a spirit, really. Thus she can go Youkai route, because she is technically somewhat Youkai already. Only her mindset is still human. Also, since she is no longer human she has gained the ability to use magic, and her magic happens to deal with the paper folding skills she has. I'm not sure how you'd put that on the scale, though.
Once again, my tears were wiped away by the green-haired fairy. The warmth of her hands travelled down from my eyes to my cheeks, stopping for a moment, then to my shoulders as she whispered into my ear.
"There's nothing to be afraid of when I'm here. I'll get you home safely, I promise."
Clasping my hand tightly within hers', she looked into my eyes. I soon found myself only able to look wide-eyed at her in return, seemingly robbed of my ability to speak, my ability to cry. However, it wasn't because she stared me into submission. It was the lack thereof.
I looked into her azure eyes. They were firm, but they held no anger, no irritation. In fact, whatever I saw was an unlimited amount of patience, like the blue that stretches across the cloudless sky. However, determination blazed within those gentle eyes. I could almost see -- feel the warmth emanating from it, even -- the immaterial fire burning within her.
Is this what they call the communication between souls, when one looks through the window -- the eyes -- of a person's spirit? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Either way, the thin ice below my feet felt like they solidified into hard earth. With her, with Daiyousei, I felt more. . . secure.
That's right. With her around, I've nothing to fear. I'm going to make it out of here!
I wiped the last of the tears that have gathered by the corner of my eyes, returning my attention to Daiyousei. She only gave me an affirmative smile in reply, though that was already enough for me to get back onto my feet.
"I'm sorry to break up your little gathering over there, but we really, really have to go now."
Instantly, the ice-fairy became the recipient of the gazes of Daiyousei and me. Obviously, Cirno wasn't too good with timing, alright!
As if on cue, the ice-fairy retreated swiftly, jumping three steps back.
"Fine, fine! I shouldn't have interrupted your little wordless conversation -- I mean, I know since Dai does it to me all the time when I was younger and all, but really, we should get going."
That's right. I have not decided where to go yet. Even if we have the drive, having no direction added to the equation would still bring naught. I should make a decision about now.
"Hey, Outsider. The ball's in your court now. If you don't decide quickly, it'll be hard to fend off the monsters of the night even with the powers of the Twin Fairies of Misty Lake combined," Cirno prompts.
"I thought you'd never admit that, Cirno."
With that, the ice-fairy throws a punch at her friend, only for her to bound to the side in a sidestep, dodging the attack and returning playful giggling to the aggressive girl.
"Why you. . .!" Cirno shouted, going for another hit.
Should this have been under different circumstances, I would have actually played with those two. This would've been a nice fantasy-land, the sort in the storybooks I've read. If only. . .
"Take it easy, Cirno!" Daiyousei teased, sweeping aside a second strike from the ice-fairy with her elbow. Holding up her hands in a 'T', she turned her attention back at me. "Come to think of it, you haven't told us your name, have you?"
Well, that snapped me out of my thoughts.
"I'm Yun Ning," I answered reflexively.
"Yun Ning?" Cirno looked, puzzled. "Doesn't sound like a Japanese name to me."
"Well, fact is that it isn't. I'm Chinese, you see." I replied.
"That must mean you are from China, then! Wow!"
"Well, actually, no. I am a Chinese that lives in this place called Singapore," I correct her. "Probably known as Temasek during the 16th century, just in case you've never heard of it."
"Well then, Yun, welcome to Gensokyo! Though, it would have been better if you did not literally drop by here, I suppose," Daiyousei chirped at me, in which I smile in reply. "I would've taken you on a tour of Gensokyo, though. It's actually a land full of scenic places and interesting sights, if not for the high amount of monsters living in here." She paused, taking a quick glance at the skies before turning back to me, "I guess we have been talking for too long. Seeing that the sky is about to darken, mind telling us where you'd like to stay for the night?"
So, it boils down to this again. The million dollar question -- which path to take?
Looking up, the sky is dyed a deep red. Any moment from now, and the light will vanish from the horizon. Maybe I should go for the Scarlet Devil Mansion. After all, I'll be pretty much avoiding most of the monsters. . .
. . .Only to send myself into the lair of two vampires instead. I definitely wouldn't want to meet any of those! If Gensokyo is where all the supernatural reside, then those vampires must consume humans for their blood! And besides, who knows what would happen to me if I do spend the night there? They could easily kill me in my sleep if they wanted!
I'm not going to deal with that, definitely. I'll take the other way -- the Human Village it is. I rather risk it and spend the night in the midst of humans rather than monsters.
"Daiyousei, I think I'll go for the human village. It is safer there, isn't it?" I ask.
The green-haired fairy paced around a little before she answered. "I don't know about you, but if I were a human, Keine alone is reason enough to say that the Human Village is safe. She is extremely strong, after all." She tapped her feet, looking towards the ground as if recalling something, "I heard that she has even fought against the strongest of monsters during an incident, and survived it. It was on the night of the full moon, too, when monsters are at their strongest."
"Well then, what are we waiting for? To the Human Village!"
With that said, Cirno grabbed my arm, yanking it as she ran forwards into the dense forest.
"Hey, stop that!"
My words fell on deaf ears as the ice-fairy continued to pull me along with her icy clamp around my arm. Decidedly, not protesting was a better option. At least it allowed me to gasp for air as I run to catch up with that girl. I still have no idea whether she was trying to kill me all along -- first, freezing me for no rhyme or reason, then, suggesting a Devil's Mansion of all places to spend the night at. And now? She's yanking my arm out of its socket with the speed she's running at.
I turn towards Daiyousei, who was similarly running beside me.
"Does she always do that?" I ask, pointing my free hand towards the ice fairy.
The fairy shrugged as she replied, "I got used to her long ago. It's fairly normal, alright. Her sudden burst of enthusiasm lasts only about three minutes, anyways. For now, please bear with her!"
I give my attention back to the path which Cirno pulled me along, desperately trying to balance myself as she pulled me along. Keeping balance while one side of the body is pulled towards the front is indeed hard, alright! And if I even trip on the roots. . .
No. Stop thinking about that. Focus on the things to avoid, not the things that will happen if you do not avoid them! Hopefully whatever Daiyousei said about Cirno is right.
She should stop any time now. . . there!
Cirno slowed her footsteps to a stop, dropping my arm from her icy grasp.
"Yun, you're too slow! We're not even halfway there yet! You're lagging behind too much; You're slowing me down, you know!"
I ignore the ice fairy's complaints, instead rubbing the abused parts of my arm. She gripped it real tight, alright -- the red imprint of her hand on my skin proved the point. My muscles were all stiff from that pulling too. At least, I have my arm back now, so it is all fine.
Though, I really have to get back at that fairy sometime.
"Cirno, stop blaming Yun. She's already exhausted from the 'falling into Gensokyo' ordeal, and you dragged her along for a run. Isn't this an expected result?"
I turn towards Daiyousei, her tone completely surprising me. Where had the loving elder sister gone? Why is it replaced with this lecturing tone? Whatever it is, though, I'm glad that Cirno now hung her head in shame before her friend.
"I was just trying to get us there fast. . ." The ice fairy murmured, looking towards the ground as if it had a sudden sort of appeal that warranted it more attention over her friend.
"Well, we'll still move fast, but at least not at a rate that will twist Yun's arm. Go apologize to her."
Cirno looked at me begrudgingly as her lips parted, then came sealed. With another stare from Daiyousei, however, Cirno made sure she looked away, avoiding the gaze of both Daiyousei and me.
"Fine, fine! I apologize! I'm sorry, so spare me the staring already!"
Perhaps Daiyousei's was too harsh against her -- the few teardrops that slid down her cheeks gave away her emotions. She doesn't really take being told to apologize well, huh.
Reaching my hand into my skirt pocket, I retrieve a piece of plain paper from the packet of papers I had. Running my finger across the piece of paper lengthwise, I create a crease along the middle of the piece of paper. With the image of the construct I was folding in mind, my hands did the work without my conscious thinking of it, and soon I was left with a winged structure in my hands.
"Apology accepted," I reply, offering the paper construct in my hand to her. "Let's continue now, shall we?"
Cirno looked the item sitting upon my palm cautiously, as if it were a bomb. She even looked at it from below, bending down, then above, tiptoeing a little. Completing her visual inspection, she capped off said inspection with a question as she received the construct from my hand.
"What is this thing?" She asked, flipping the object around with her hands, observing the item in curiosity.
"It's a paper aeroplane."
"A paper e-ro-pu-ra-ne? What's that?" Daiyousei tried, pointing towards the paper aeroplane.
"No, it's pronounced e-ro-pu-ra-ne," I reply, converting the English word into Japanese Katakana. "You mean, you have never heard of this thing called an aeroplane before?"
The two fairies nodded her heads.
Oh, right. This place is sealed from the outside world, so they probably never seen one before.
"Well, basically, humans of the Outside World also have ways to fly, too. Daiyousei, you did say that everything in Gensokyo can fly, yes?" The fairy nodded, gesturing for me to continue. "Well, this is the human counterpart. We fly using these huge machine shaped like a bird."
"You mean, you step on this thing and you can fly on it? This paper aeroplane doesn't look huge, nor does it look like it can support someone and fly though," Cirno questioned as she dropped the paper aeroplane from her hands. It crashed onto the ground as expected -- you don't make the plane fly like that, silly!
I pick up the plane, holding it within my hand as a visual aid.
"Well, you see, the actual plane is made of metal--"
"But metal is too heavy to fly!" the ice fairy exclaimed. Daiyousei nudged her, signalling for her to listen. Cirno cooperated, falling silent.
"Honestly, I am not sure how the plane flies even when it is made of metal. My father pilots one of these things, and he told me that these things fly because they are made of a light but strong metal and have this special structure that allows the plane to glide along with the winds," I hold the plane high above me, moving it through the air as if it were flying. "It also has these two things called engines, which propel the plane forwards. The paper aeroplane is just a model of the actual thing, so there are no engines. The force you throw the plane with let's it move instead," I bring my arm back, then throw it forwards, however I do not release the plane. "Something like that. Here, try doing it."
As soon as Cirno took the plane from my hands, she lobbed the object forward. The paper plane took flight, gliding in the air.
"Wow, it really flew! So far, too!"
It was a common occurrence to me that a paper construct could fly, so there wasn't anything that bothered--
Wait. Why is that plane flying straight? It's. . . not dipping at all! It's cruising, like a real plane!
"It's not supposed to fly like that!" I blurt out. The two fairies only gave me a puzzled look.
"What do you mean?"
"It isn't supposed to fly straight all the way. It's supposed to dip down. . . eventually crash onto the ground after a short distance! It's flying like it has an engine on it! Like a real plane! This doesn't make sense!" I opened the floodgates, letting everything I thought flow out like a river of words from my mouth. This isn't normal, alright.
"Well, I suppose maybe this works differently when it is in Gensokyo. Gensokyo is basically a land of the forsaken -- of the things that are forgotten, of the things that are thought impossible. I suppose that caused the paper plane to work differently than it should," Daiyousei explained, pointing towards the plane as she did. It vanished from the horizon, seemingly speeding up like a real plane does.
"But. . ."
"I think we can leave that to later. The sun is about to set in about ten minutes time, Yun. Maybe we should get a move-on now," Daiyousei interjected. "We can investigate that when we get to the Human Village."
I welcomed the sense within Daiyousei's words. Yes, we should move on now. At least it was something to distract me from the lack of common sense of what just happened.
That's right, time to hurry along. Stop thinking of the illogical.
Just as I began walking aimlessly towards the front, I was shouted at.
"Yun, that's the wrong direction! Where are you going?"
Looking towards the direction thumbed towards, I adjusted my course accordingly.
Stop thinking about that. Stop thinking about that. Focus on the path, put your attention on the path, think about the path ahead.
"Hey, Yun, don't daze off like that. You look as if your spirit left your body or something."
I stumble a few steps to the side, recoiling from the push that Cirno gave me.
"Y-yeah. Sure, I'll try not to."
"Well, that's the Human Village. Not too far away, is it?" Daiyousei chirped.
I nod in reply. The human village sat right at the end of the short path from the forest. In fact, the forest was the only thing that made the trek here so long. Almost getting lost in there didn't help, either.
I traced the path from where I was to the end of the village. Under the already-dim sunlight, I had to strain my eyes to even make out the village.
"So, this is how Singapore would look like if there were no streetlights everywhere. . ." I murmur to myself, oblivious of the fact that Cirno was just beside me.
"Streetlights? What's that?"
"Well, our country has lights installed along every single road, so it is actually rather bright a night. I was just remarking at how the Outside would have looked like if there were no streetlights." I explain.
"You mean lanterns are hung along all the roads in your country?" Cirno was now wide-eyed, staring at me intently for an answer.
"Have you heard of the electric bulb?" I ask, expecting the fairies to shake their head in reply. And as expected, they did not nod their heads.
So, this land has not heard of planes, and has not even heard of the electric bulb. If I remember correctly, the electric bulb was invented in the late 1890s. Assuming that news of the invention travelled to Japan in five years' time, then Gensokyo had been sealed for. . . about a century!
Though, for a land which has been sealed for about a 100 years, it sure has advanced technology in terms of fireworks. Green and blue spheres of light exploded, illuminating the sky above the village. How do they even create fireworks that burst into spheres? Either way, I must be more lucky than I thought. I actually caught a fireworks display while I am lost in some sealed land where people like me ma have been eaten before they could even find the way home.
This must be what they call the light at the end of the tunnel. The calm after the storm.
"Daiyousei, does the Human Village hold firework performances often?"
"Well, not to my knowledge, no. In fact, they hardly hold firework displays unless it is the New Year, really," the fairy answered flatly.
An unexpected answer. This must mean that I somehow lapsed through time while I dropped into Gensokyo as well? I am pretty sure it is early July back home. . .
"Anyways, why the sudden question?" Daiyousei asked, curious.
"Well, the village must be celebrating something. Look at all those pretty fireworks!" I pointed to the sky above the Human Village as I spoke, causing Daiyousei and Cirno to turn towards where I pointed.
I expected them to be in awe or something, seeing how the fireworks were of so many intricate patterns. However, Daiyousei's eyes widened instead, stopping short along the path.
"Why, what's wrong?"
"That's not fireworks, Yun."
"What do you mean?" I question the girl. What could a display of beautiful explosions of light in the air be other than fireworks?
"It's a form of offensive magic. When you see that, most likely there is a fight going on. The human village isn't safe at this rate!"
"What do you mean? Does curtain fire kill?"
"No, it doesn't. . . usually," the fairy replied hesitantly.
"Let's go and help out then!"
If this is a non-lethal fight, then it must be something like paintball. It would definitely be fun, alright. Why is Daiyousei even getting so worked up? I grabbed onto her hand, then started running towards the village.
Only to have my hand shaken away.
"You don't understand, Yun. Even curtain fire on a normal scale will injure the unconditioned human. Besides, you have no combat magic, and judging from the sort of magic whoever is fighting above the Human Village is using, they are far stronger than any of us are." Daiyousei's voice gradually faltered, reaching a point where it is barely audible.
"Whoever they are, they are fighting safety-off. The use of lethal weapons and lethal-grade curtain fire are allowed in that format."
I look at Daiyousei once again. This time, her eyes weren't a bright azure -- the dim light shadowed her face, and whatever was visible in those wide-open eyes was a dull blue. A dull blue of being lost, of helplessness. Like the tumbling waves within a stormy sea.
"If someone's going to be killed in that duel, then we should go and help out! We should go and stop them while we can!" I shout, shaking the girl with both of my arms on her shoulders. "I don't know if I have died while falling off that building, but I roughly know how dying feels like. So please! We have to help!"
Without another word, I drag the disoriented girl along. It's my turn to be the one dragging people with me now.
The sky from the village gates was indeed different. Now that the afterglow in the sky has faded, the projectiles became apparent. They were no longer the festive fireworks I have seen from a distance. Up close, the projectiles were sent all over the place, their violent glow declaring their belligerence. However, none of the projectiles ever did hit the village -- as if it were the eye of the storm brewing above it.
Within the storm, however, was a woman dressed in blue. Poised with both hands on the handle of the sword, she swung the blade, the edge of the blade constantly flashing as the light from the innumerable projectiles reflected of the blade. However, she was not cutting an enemy -- in fact, she was cutting air, sending waves of distortion through the air. Before her, a black figure strafed left and right, seemingly escaping from the sword-wielding woman.
How is she even doing that? Does that sword rupture space or something?
Said black figure took a steep dive to the ground, skilfully shooting down all the blue pellets shot from three shining objects that orbited her pursuer. It was then she landed before the open village gates, her legs digging deep into the ground as she did. The black figure placed her hand across her waist, as if she were about to draw an object from the other side of her waist.
"Keine! There is no need for us to fight to this state! Why force bloodshed?"
Soon after, the sword-wielding woman descended from the skies, her blade before her.
I closed my eyes. That sword. . . it's a real sword, alright. It's a real blade that can kill. Why are they even trying to kill each other in the first place? I thought this 'Keine' person was a protector of humans! Why is she trying to kill another human?
Whatever it is, with that sort of speed the black-clothed woman won't make it. She's going to die. . . going to die. . . going to die. . .
I could almost see the scene before me, blood spilling from the cleanly-cut waist, her body being sliced into two. Why am I even seeing this in the first place? I want to drive those morbid thoughts out of my mind. I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to shut the thoughts out of my mind as well.
Get out, get out, get out!
"Get out of there, Yun!"
A sudden jerking force on my arm caused me to reel backwards, falling onto the ground. I looked as the sight before me distorted before blurring back into focus. I could feel the current of air rush against my hair, blowing every strand astray. That was no normal wind. That was a shockwave of air travelling fast enough to completely distort vision!
"Yun, are you okay?" Daiyousei spoke as she helped me up, raising my back with an arm behind me. I nodded slightly, allowing the fairy to place her arm around my waist, bringing me up. Beside me stood Cirno, who held her hands forward, forming before us was a wall of transparent ice. Shaking off my injury, my attention was quickly brought back to the two people before me.
"Leg of Skanda! Sword of Vidudabha!"
Whatever those two lines were for, they must have been magic. The black figure suddenly flared purple, and the movement of her arm started to form a blur, producing a short, golden staff-like object before her. Said object then emitted a beam of light, and the black figure held it before her a fraction of a second before the steel of Keine's blade connected.
Another shockwave of wind expanded rapidly from the impact, forming cracks in the wall of thick ice that Cirno created before us. If even such thick ice cracked, the village walls must be made of some unnaturally strong material.
Before I could expand my thoughts regarding the material in which the village walls were made from, my attention was brought back to the battle unfolding before me.
"Dance of Hanuman!"
The black figure withdrew her sword of light with inhuman speed, then delivered a rapid swing from above. Her opponent immediately parried the blow, bringing up the sword before her and locking the swords together.
"Keine Kamishirasawa! I fight for the peace between humans and monsters! I am not trying to build a shrine near the Human Village to stir up trouble!"
Veins becoming visible on her arm, Keine forced her sword to come down upon her opponent's, forcing her to withdraw the blade. Instantly, she followed up with another strike to the side, releasing another wave of supersonic air from arc in which the blade was swung, stopped short only by the black figure's superhuman dexterity with the manipulation of her sword.
"This is no place for monsters like you to show up upon, Byakuren Hijiri! The peace between Humans and Youkai you talk of is delusional! Be exiled from the village like the monster you are, Hijiri!"
As I observed the two women in their heated battle, I started to feel a sinking feeling -- a feeling of utter helplessness. Whatever they were holding were real, sharp swords A lethal weapon. Someone was going to have their blood spilled over this. I had to stop it. I’ve been on the verge of death too many times for me to allow another to experience the same.
However, another feeling overcame me -- this time, the pain from my gut, as if it were being wrenched from the inside. The feeling of fear. How should I even intervene, even if I wanted to? If I intervene, who knows if I’ll be the one that is caught in the crossfire? I don’t want to be the one cut by the sword – definitely not. Besides, isn’t that 'Byakuren' person a monster? Why should I even care?
I-I don’t know. I have no idea. My mind is blank. What should I even do in this situation? I mean, no nine-year old ever gets taught what to do when this happens. Are nine-year olds even supposed to be involved in this? I chuckle at myself, laughable as I was. _________________________
This time, the situation has been revamped, and you can do anything you want. Also, there is no need to fear bad ends: they are not activated until stated.
This will also be the final version of chapter 3, so you can forget whatever was written in the earlier version.
>suppose that caused the paper plane to work differently than it should," Daiyousei explained, pointing towards the plane as she did. It vanished from the horizon, seemingly speeding up like a real plane does.
...This is going to come back and bite us on the ass isn't it?
>How is she even doing that? Does that sword rupture space or something?
>"Keine! There is no need for us to fight to this state! Why force bloodshed?"
Would probably flow better as "Keine! There is no need for us to fight. No blood needs to be shed this day." or something.
>"Keine Kamishirasawa! I fight for the peace between humans and monsters! I am not trying to build a shrine near the Human Village to stir up trouble!"
Hmmm... Might flow better as "Keine Kamishirasawa! I fight for peace between humans and youkai! I have no intention of causing you harm!"
I can't really see Byakuren calling Youkai monsters, but I suppose that's because of Yun's flawed understanding of the finer points of Japanese.
Anyway, do remember that it's alright for Yun to have no idea what's going on. Yun doesn't need to know that Byakuren is trying to build a shrine. Byakuren knows and Keine know, so why would she need to be so specific? If you really want Yun to know what caused this battle, have her encounter Byakuren after the battle and ask her why. The same for Keine.
Basically what I'm saying is that you need to keep in mind that dialogue should feel natural, and not necessarily be convenient for the protagonist or plot.
>"This is no place for monsters like you to show up upon, Byakuren Hijiri! The peace between Humans and Youkai you talk of is delusional! Be exiled from the village like the monster you are, Hijiri!"
My, how hypocritical of you Keine~
Again, it would flow better as "This is no place for monsters like you! The peace you speak of is only an illusion!". I'd cut the last line because it's practically just restating the first one. I wouldn't use Byakuren's name either, as Keine seems pretty dismissive of her and wouldn't bother to call it. Whereas Byakuren is entreating Keine to be reasonable and thus using her name for dramatic impact. If you really need Yun to know Byakuren's name for plot reasons, consider having Byakuren, Keine or some random bystander tell her it after the battle.
Anyway, Byakuren seems the more reasonable of the two parties, at least from what we've seen so far. Is that intentional?
Also, nice fight scene. You directed it well and it was interesting. It suffered in the execution and description a little, but fight scenes are hard to write compellingly. I've been told I can write good fight scenes, so I might try my hand at polishing it a little if that's alright with you Ran.
Regardless, this update is a big improvement over the last. Good work.
I'll hold off on voting until my head stops swimming. Tomorrow at the latest. Weekends are hitting me as hard as ever. Later Ran.
>...This is going to come back and bite us on the ass isn't it?
Hopefully it doesn't. But know that you say it. . .
>How is she even doing that? Does that sword rupture space or something?
Oops, accidental reference. I swear, I was not reading FSN while writing that! (laughs)
>My, how hypocritical of you Keine~
My Keine has some sort of identity crisis. She refuses to acknowledge her Youkai half, trying to devote herself to being a protector of humans to prove how human she is.
>I can't really see Byakuren calling Youkai monsters, but I suppose that's because of Yun's flawed understanding of the finer points of Japanese.
The person I am basing Yun on does only have rather basic understanding of Japanese as much as I know her before she passed, so yeah.
>Anyway, Byakuren seems the more reasonable of the two parties, at least from what we've seen so far. Is that intentional?
It is intentional, alright. Both have their grounds, actually. Byakuren seems more reasonable since she doesn't really have anything against Humans and is more for the welfare of Youkai, while Keine seems less so because she holds blind hate for Youkai (even in canon). She's just trying to hold true to her beliefs on Youkai, I guess.
>I've been told I can write good fight scenes, so I might try my hand at polishing it a little if that's alright with you Ran.
Please, go ahead and do it! I would like to read your take on it. Nothing wrong with making things better.
>Regardless, this update is a big improvement over the last. Good work.
Thanks for your compliment!
>I'll hold off on voting until my head stops swimming. Tomorrow at the latest. Weekends are hitting me as hard as ever. Later Ran.
Nobody's going to chase you to vote, so no pressure. Do take care of yourself though, seeing how heavy weekends are for you.
>Hopefully it doesn't. But now that you say it. . .
Oh dear. I can see it now, some poor youkai is just going to be flying along then BAM a paper plane to the eye. This is the sort of thing that starts Incidents, you know.
Seriously though, I think it would be interesting to see what happens to the Magical Origami Aeroplane. It could be a nice omake or sidestory sometime. Hell, I might even write it myself if you don't. Could be fun.
>My Keine has some sort of identity crisis.
Ouch, I know how those feel.
>Please, go ahead and do it! I would like to read your take on it. Nothing wrong with making things better.
Very well, I shall start working on it the moment I feel up to it.
...which might be a while.
>Nobody's going to chase you to vote, so no pressure.
I know. I just don't like leaving people hanging, that's all.
>Do take care of yourself though, seeing how heavy weekends are for you.
I do try. It would be easier if my insomnia didn't decide now was a perfect time to resurface. Hence why I'm up at almost midnight right now. I suppose I'll just hang around for another couple of hours or so. Not that much is going to happen. THP is pretty dead at this hour.
>Seriously though, I think it would be interesting to see what happens to the Magical Origami Aeroplane. It could be a nice omake or sidestory sometime.
The Way Home ~ Magical Plane Flight [Sidestory] does seem tempting. Maybe I'll write it sometime. It would make for a good light-hearted short in Yun's campaign.
On another note, I am thinking of opening another story on the /others/ board where The person who killed Yun is the protagonist instead. I would love to see two bands of people trying to outsmart each other in this story. (Though it is probably not feasible)
>On another note, I am thinking of opening another story on the /others/ board where <spoiler> is the protagonist instead. I would love to see two bands of people trying to outsmart each other in this story. (Though it is probably not feasible)
Probably not. As >>1168 said, it would end up extremely complicated, and there would probably be a couple of persistent metagamers who would ruin it for everyone. Don't spread yourself too thin Ran, it's sometimes hard enough writing a compelling story with some Anons strange decisions, let alone with two sets of them.
That being said, if you think you can pull it off and you're set on this idea, then go ahead.
I'm not sure they'll be able to hear us over the sound of their battle, but it might be worth a shot.
[x] You're a little girl with no way of stopping this. -[x] All you can do is hope and pray no one gets hurt. --[x] Fold paper stars or cranes while trying not to cry. ---[x]Daiyousei said Gensokyo was a land where the impossible could happen. Maybe, just maybe, it will help
Well, makes sense. Maybe I shouldn't embark on something that ambitious yet. Sound advice, alright.
I wonder which timezone you live in. You seem to be very tired all the time. Do take care.
>>1167 If I continue writing in this verse in future, maybe the plane could be found by that person. But for now, I am planning on that thing making some impact in future. At the very least, if I cannot find a way for it to make an impact later on, it will be the subject of a light and fluffy side story.
I will merge the choices if we do not get new choices next week. Sorry that the updates will take this long; I am going for a long hike this weekend and will probably be too exhausted to write.
By the way, Cirno and Daiyousei can actually act under Yun's requests (provided that they have the ability to do so). Hopefully that expands upon the choices you have. Feel free to edit your choices anytime.
Also: I am iffy about giving Yun low-level powers of calling upon a miracle, since it sounds Sanae-ish. I can give her low-level reality-warping abilities however, but just this once. Her stars are not going to be some sort of all-is-good button, so yeah.
Of note: Cirno and Daiyousei are incapable of defeating Keine and Byakuren. Think of it as the Player Character VS Mokou VS Kaguya battle in Mystical Chain. Even when Keine and Byakuren are fighting each other, they are still very strong and capable of killing all of you in the crossfire.
Meanwhile, feel free to ask anything. If you need to ask 'what will happen if. . .' I'll try to answer to the best I can without revealing anything.
Insomnia is the bane of my existence. As is Non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder.
>Do take care.
>Sorry that the updates will take this long; I am going for a long hike this weekend and will probably be too exhausted to write.
That's perfectly fine. Hell, you update faster than most writers in THP. Don't worry about it. Enjoy your hike.
>By the way, Cirno and Daiyousei can actually act under Yun's requests (provided that they have the ability to do so). Hopefully that expands upon the choices you have. Feel free to edit your choices anytime.
Well Cirno's probably doing the best thing she can in this scenario just by protecting everyone with her ice wall, and I'm not sure Daiyousei can really do anything in this situation, bar suiciding herself against the combatants to stop them long enough to calm everyone down. I don't think Yun would be willing to ask her to do that. Unless Yun finds powers she doesn't know she has, or the voters think of something clever, we're kinda outmatched here, even if we all work as a team. I mean, even if Byakuren's heart isn't in this fight, Keine is deadly serious so I can't see interfering in the fight ending well unless Byakuren is observent and fast enough to redirect any of Keine's attacks that head toward us.
>am iffy about giving Yun low-level powers of calling upon a miracle, since it sounds Sanae-ish. I can give her low-level reality-warping abilities however, but just this once. Her stars are not going to be some sort of all-is-good button, so yeah.
It doesn't need to be a literal miracle. It could just be star/crane danmaku that interrupts the fight. At the very least it could serve as something that grabs their attention, letting the other write-in work. It would still seem a miracle to Yun.
>Of note: Cirno and Daiyousei are incapable of defeating Keine and Byakuren. Think of it as the Player Character VS Mokou VS Kaguya battle in Mystical Chain. Even when Keine and Byakuren are fighting each other, they are still very strong and capable of killing all of you in the crossfire.
Noted, and not unexpected. This is the reason why I'm not voting for Daiyousei or Cirno to throw some danmaku at the fight. The chance of them automatically going "Attacking Fairy = Exterminate" is too high. They might end up taking out Dai and Cirno by reflex before they even realise.
>Think of it as the Player Character VS Mokou VS Kaguya battle in Mystical Chain
Except we're not on the same level as Marisa, Patchouli or Alice. Individually. Or at all really. Even if all three of us are working against just one of them. Cirno's the closest, but she only beat Marisa because she didn't take her seriously from the beginning. This'll be tricky to perform without someone getting hurt.
>Veins becoming visible on her arm, Keine forced her sword to come down upon her opponent's, forcing her to withdraw the blade. Instantly, she followed up with another strike to the side, releasing another wave of supersonic air from arc in which the blade was swung, stopped short only by the black figure's superhuman dexterity with the manipulation of her sword.
I think you can omit one or both of the "others" in the second sentence. You could also describe what happened. It's kinda unsatisfying as the reader to see "The villain dodged the attack with his superspeed". Give a detail or visual for the reader to fill in the picture. By the way, what was it that Byakuren stopped, Keine's sword, or the wave of air?
Veins appearing on her arm, Keine ground/slammed her sword down upon her opponent's, forcing her to to withdraw the blade. She followed up with another strike to side, stopped short only by the black figure's superhuman dexterity, weaving her pinned sword around to defend her outer hand side. A burst of supersonic air flew from the arc left by Keine's blade.
What to do... what to do...
>>1169 I have this eery image of a little girl, oblivious to everyone and everything around her, silently folding paper cranes.
 React Stand petrified. With shaking hands, fold a paper dove and release it. Beg it to find help.
I think I'll need a little more time. I've got the main draft out now, but I think I'm going to scrap it and redo it. I think I'll need some help on how Yun is going to end the battle. I should have it done in the coming day or two, when I am actually left alone.
Just updating to make you guys know that this is still alive.
Picture somewhat related. Putting a Daiyousei wouldn't be right, and I couldn't find nice images of the Human Village nor did I have the time to draw Yun.
. . . That's right. How laughable I am, trying to stop two strong, magic-using women from slicing each other to death. What can I do, anyway? I don't have magic, I cannot fight and I doubt I can walk up to those two and tell them to stop without getting myself diced into coleslaw in the process!
There's nothing I can do, absolutely nothing to stop those two maniacal women from trying to drive their blade into each other's necks!
It's that familiar feeling again -- that same fear, that icy terror. This time, however, it crept under my skin. I grab onto my arms, trying to rip that feeling off of me.
"Get back here!"
Another swipe towards the right. The other person -- Byakuren, was it? -- hopped backwards, allowing the lethal weapon to cut at where she was standing.
Still, I had to do something! This is a one-sided fight: whoever Keine's opponent was wasn't even trying to fight back at all! It is only a matter of time before someone is sliced by that thing!
"You aren't going anywhere!"
My attention was drawn back to the sparks that formed as Keine ran her blade against her opponent's. For two full seconds, the blades stayed locked -- the two women were staring at each other, reading into either, groping through her opponent's conscious, trying to anticipate what was next.
Yun, for goodness' sake, do something!
That's right. Do something. I can't just stand here and watch. There was no time to stand here and watch. I'm already here, I can't simply watch from the sidelines. I must do something.
Do something, anything!
Do anything. That's right. Do anything. Something to start with.
My hands. Fingers. Move. Feel. Right, the fabric of my skirt.
I clench and unclench my hands, gripping onto my skirt as I did. I needed to feel something, to make sure that I was no longer in shock. Good, that's something done. Now, all I need to do is to do something that will stop them from fighting.
But what could I do to even stop them? This is a hopeless situation! I can't fight! Cirno and Daiyousei can't fight them either! We can't get them to stop! There is no hope! How I hoped that there would be something to be done, something that could be done!
"Gensokyo is basically a land of the forsaken -- of the things that are forgotten, of the things that are thought impossible."
That's right. Daiyousei said that this was the land of the impossible, so I can do anything! If there is no hope to this situation, I'll just create that hope myself!
I reach into my skirt pocket, retrieving a piece of paper with trembling hands. This was no time to be afraid. Half. Quater. Unfold. Fold along crease. Diamond. Fold again. The paper dances within my hands, rapidly being shaped into the construct I have in mind. If the theory I have about my earlier encounter is true, then this should work! Unfold. Flap to left. I move my hands in desperate speed, all the while keeping my eyes on the battle.
My eyes followed the trail of silver that fell to the ground. Did Keine just let go of her blade?
The black figure stopped moving. I can't see her eyes from how dark it was -- accursed place has no streetlights, and the dim glow of the lanterns hung at the village gate did not suffice -- but she must be shocked, no doubt. I bring my attention to the paper construct on my hand for a moment, just to make sure that I folded it right -- it should be done in about five more seconds -- before I continued observing the battle.
Blood. Surely, that red stain on the metallic surface of the sword was blood. Keine had used that move as a feint. She deceived that woman to slice at her leg while she was still stunned. She deceived someone to kill her.
I was amazed that that woman -- Byakuren, was it? -- did not even let out a sound, much less scream. Instead, she produced a long object -- a rolled up scroll, definitely, I've seen my Father's collection of those too many times to mistake that -- and dug it into the ground, then slammed down on the end that was above the ground.
Keine swept her hands frantically around herself -- expected, since that woman sent so much sand towards her with that move. As for her opponent, she turned and ran.
"I think we had enough for today. I wish to fight no further," the black figure ran with an awkward limp, all the while facing Keine. That cut must not have just been a superficial wound. I check my folding once again -- it's done now! All I have to do is. . .
My eyes were immediately drawn away from the construct I had in hand, towards Keine.
What was she doing, shouting with a card in her hand?
"I told you, I wish to fight no further! Why do you insist on fighting me?"
Keine brought an arm towards her eyes, seemingly wiping off the sand from earlier as she walked towards her now-captive opponent. Those three orbs around Keine from earlier -- they formed this blue pyramid around Byakuren!
"Tonight, it is either you or me. If you dared come to my village, you should have prepared yourself for the consequences that would follow."
She walked towards the pyramid, sword raised. The blood stains from earlier were still on the sword. No doubt there would be even more when she brings the blade down--
No! Stop thinking that way! Don't think about the things that might happen, think about the things that will happen! Think about what you will do, Yun!
I cup the now-completed construct -- a paper dove -- within my two hands and close my eyes. If Gensokyo is really the land where the impossible happens, then prove it to me!
"Please stop Keine!"
. . .
That's right. I did not release it. No wonder nothing happened.
. . .What is that feeling? It's as if something is pecking at my hands. From the inside.
I let go of my hands, dropping the paper dove as I did. The paper dove dropped, expectedly.
How naive. Why did I even believe that it would happen? Some things are just meant to be impossible! There's no way that thing could be alive. I must have imagined it pecking at me as well— Wait. Is that wing. . . moving?
I watch, mouth agape and eyes wide. This was definitely a page out of a storybook. There is no way-- No, that thing is definitely very much alive! Even its tail is moving! It's a miracle!
I watch as the life I created (or the lack thereof) flew towards Keine. . .
. . .and started pecking at her back.
"This must be one of your Shikigami, no? Don't you realize that it’s useless?"
Shi-ki-ga-mi? I mentally run the word through my mind, but it didn't ring a bell. I don't think I've heard this from anywhere, alright. What is she talking about, calling that dove a Shikigami?
Whatever it was, as due reward for its insolence, my paper dove earned a strike from Keine's blade. However, my paper dove was pushed aside instead by the shockwaves of air from the sword as it was swung.
This was good. There's no way that she could hit it at this rate!
I watched as my dove's assailant turned her back, swinging her blade repeatedly at my dove, trying to hit it. However, each strike only caused my dove to move towards either side of the blade, avoiding the sharp edge. It was almost funny seeing how the fabled Keine, the woman whom Daiyousei and Cirno made out so powerful, reduced to continuously swinging her blade at something she can't hit! I was winning against--
"This is a nuisance more than anything."
No. Just. No. You can't do that. No. Please, no. Please!
I could only stare helpless at my paper dove -- it faded into a ball of flame and ash. The woman just killed my dove.
My legs give way, and I collapse to the ground. That woman -- That woman just killed my only hope! She simply raised her palm towards it, and then this. . . this laser-like thing just hit it and burned it up! How could she do that to it?
Either way, there was no hope to this situation. The only thing left was to w-watch. . . Byakuren get killed.
I found myself looking at the Keine as she turned her back. Why am I even trying to look at how she would kill Byakuren? To find her stab Byakuren to death? To see her slice Byakuren cleanly into two? To find her beheading the unfortunate woman? I try to look away, but no matter how I try, I just couldn't. Humans must be morbid by nature.
Except that. . .Except that black figure was gone. The pyramid was still there, but she was gone. She was gone! Instantly, a wave of tiredness overcame me, and I allow myself to collapse completely, leaving myself lying on the ground. Never in my life had I been so tired. . . but happy.
I watch Keine stabbed her blood-stained sword into the ground – almost in rage – before the weapon faded with a burst of light, and those orbs exploded into bursts of white as well, vanishing from sight.
The wall of ice disappears as well, and the ice fairy turns towards me. I see her mouth open, as if she were about to say something, but I speak first anyways.
"Did that sword just vanish?"
The icy fairy looks at me, clearly startled, but I couldn't help it -- I had to ask. After her being startled wore of, however, she raised an eyebrow and gave me this incredulous look.
"What are you doing on the ground? Get up."
I stand, one arm supported by Daiyousei and the other by Cirno. Knowing that Cirno was never a good advisor, I turn my head towards Daiyousei as I righted myself.
"Do you think that we should go to Keine right now?"
"Well, honestly, I'm not sure," the fairy replies. "I mean, she just lost a battle and all--"
"I've seen you all from just now. Just speak to me if you have to."
All three of us turn towards the woman who interrupted our conversation – Keine.
"What are you two fairies doing over here? Up to no good again?" The woman spoke as if I were not there, the accusing tone bearing down upon Cirno and Daiyousei.
"W-well, you see, K-Keine, Yun h-here is an outsider who somehow l-lost her way, and she needs to get back there, so we brought her here," Daiyousei stammered, all fidgety – as if she were a student who committed an offence being interrogated by a teacher. I look as she quickly slaps Cirno's hand, as if she were passing the baton to her.
"Y-yeah, w-we were bringing her to the Human Village because it's safe, and she could s-spend the night here." As soon as Cirno finished, she quickly slapped her hand against mine as well, ‘passing’ the ‘baton’. As she slapped my hand, I noticed that her hand was full of perspiration. Looking up, I found Cirno perspiring fervently, as if she did do wrong. Has she been caught by Keine for doing something before? I don't see why she would be this nervous.
"Miss Keine, may I stay here for the night?"
Now that I could see her up close, I could understand why Cirno and Daiyousei were so afraid. The somber expression on her face -- with those dull brown eyes that seemed to stare right into my soul -- completely satisfied the criteria for 'if looks could kill'. The dim lighting didn't help either -- the fact that the candles flickered made her hair appear a somewhat-ghastly dull yellow -- and made her look all the more eerie.
Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to ask her after all--
My thoughts were interrupted by Keine's sharp reply.
"Well then, come into the village, then. Let's see what I can do for you."
This was the first time in my life I nearly collapsed from relief. __________________________
Now, Keine's features didn't seem so scary anymore. She had these hazel eyes -- very normal as compared to Cirno and Daiyousei's, which sparkle aquamarine -- and her hair was actually very much white, with a hint of pale blue. Not to mention that she is a good guide as well! It's nice that the interior of the Human Village is such well-lit -- there are lanterns hanging from posts stationed along corners, and each building hung lanterns from its roof.
"As you can see, we keep this place well-lit to ensure that there is no place for Youkai to hide," Keine swept her finger in an arc before her -- there was not a single patch of ground tha was not lit. "See? Absolutely no place for those scums to hide. Also," Keine pointed to two men walking past, armed with wooden poles, "The residents of the Human Village take turns patrolling the streets at night, so if any Youkai are spotted, the team on patrol will alert the village, and we'll exterminate the Youkai. I pushed for this initiative myself, so the village is safe."
I nod -- a meaningless nod, of course. I didn't really pay much attention to what she was saying. Instead, I was more attracted to the buildings that I pass by. They were of a unique structure that I've never seen before, likely the buildings of the Edo period buildings. It's nice to have a father who has the ancestry of a Japanese and a Chinese -- at least I know what's going on here.
"Say, Yun, have you eaten?"
That caught my attention.
"Uhm," I stop walking, trying to recall the last time that I had eaten, "No, at least since noon."
". . .noon, before I fell off that building," I mentally completed that sentence. Noon. How long has that been, I wonder.
Come to think of it, how long have I been in this place? Fishing my phone from my pocket, I flip the screen open. Glaring at me were the digits "7:29" were printed behind the LCD screen, Singapore Time. If the phone did not suffer any damage while I fell into Gensokyo, I would be five hours past the time I was to get home from school.
Would they have started searching for me? Maybe not: Mom and Dad are always out at work till nine, so they probably haven't noticed yet. When they realize that I have disappeared, Mom will go hysterical, definitely. Hopefully I don't worry them too much.
. . .Then again, will they ever notice? What if more things changed then just me falling in here? What if my existence was erased from my world as well? What if they forget me? What if I can never get back?
I swipe the phone once with my finger, unlocking the screen. That picture was still there -- the one with Mom and Dad.
What if I really cannot get back? I mean, Daiyousei did say that she'd get me back, but how?
. . Who knows. . . if she lied to me just to cheer me up?
I feel the tears gathering round my eyes, but I force them back. I can't keep crying like this. Just how many times have I cried today, even? I don't want to worry them any further. I-I can't c-cry.
"Hey, Yun, here," Daiyousei called, tapping my shoulder. "Keine told me to buy it for you, since you were just standing there, busy with that pink box-thing."
I turn towards her, only to be greeted by. . . what is this thing? It looks like satay, but I doubt that Edo period Japan had Indian food. Whatever, I thought, taking the stick of. . . something from her. I smiled at Daiyousei -- just a mere bit of courtesy, but still. However, she did not return the expected grin as well. Instead, she brought her hand to my eyes and wiped at it, forcing me to blink -- allowing the tears that have gathered there to fall.
"You were crying again, weren't you," the girl questioned, looking into my eyes.
"I-I was?" I quickly retract what I said with a wave of my hands. "Uh, something got into my eye. I'm pretty sure that I did not cry. I didn't. Definitely."
"You were crying. I can tell it from here."
My eyes traced her hand as it moved away from the side of my eyes, then pointed towards it.
"Just let it out if you have to. Nobody's going to mind, surely."
Sometimes, I wonder if that girl's ability is to know what I'm thinking. She may be a normal fairy, but she sure reads me like an open book. I raise my hand to push hers away from me.
"N-no, I'm not. I'm fine, really!" I force my brightest smile at her -- The smile that I have been using all this while to convince my parents into thinking that everything is fine each time I score badly for my math test. Hopefully this would work on her as--
The green haired girl walked up to me, then brought her mouth to my ear and whispered, "I promised that you will get home. A promise is a promise. You know, you are really, really bad at lying."
I don't know how she did it, but Keine must have heard our conversation. Somehow.
"You know, we send people back to your world from here often," Keine interjects. "There is no need to worry at all. But first, before we talk about this any further, I would appreciate if we walk faster. We need to settle your accommodation first, after all."
"Oh," Keine continued, pointing to the two fairies, "You two can come along as well. I wouldn't want you two going back this late. I'll let you stay for the night -- but just tonight." ________________________
Within a minute's worth of walking, we arrived at a fenced compound which, according to Keine, was her place of residence. The building within it looked larger than the normal houses. Is Keine the village chief here or something? If I am not wrong, the village chief is usually the one that has the largest residence.
As I bite off the last bit of meat on the wooden skewer, I couldn't help but wonder what it that Daiyousei bought me was.
"What is this?" I ask to no-one in particular.
"It's Yakitori, basically chicken meat on a skewer," Keine replied offhandedly. She walked towards a gate, and with the jingle of keys the lock came open. "Come on in."
I obey, walking into the compound. Just as I walked past the gate, however, I noticed a sign on the fence with the words "school" on it. A hasty translation, as I could not bother reading it in Japanese and read the Kanji in Chinese instead.
Wait. Keine's residence is a school?
"You live in a school, Keine?" I ask. "Are you the caretaker of this school?"
"Well, not exactly. I run this school, and thus I stay here as well."
"Don't you have a home? Like a proper place to stay?" She can't really live in this school. . . right?
"The school is my home. I work here, I sleep here. Is that clear enough for you? Oh, and just in case you'd think I'm the principal here: No, I am not. I am the teacher as well as the founder." Keine answered. I could sense the hint of impatience in her voice, alright.
With another lock undone, the door to the school opened.
"Enter," the teacher commanded, and I, Cirno and Daiyousei oblidged.
The hallways were dark -- they were only lit by what little moonlight could get into the compound. I could barely see Keine fetch. . . something that was conveniently placed at the side of the entranced. Within the darkness, I could barely see her hands disappear into the thing that she was carrying.
All of a sudden, a warm glow lit up the area around us. So, she was holding onto a lantern!
Wait. I don't think I saw her use anything to light that lantern up. So, how did she. . .
"How did you light that? I mean, I didn't see you use a match at all!" I ask, curious.
I was answered with the Cirno, Daiyousei and Keine looking at me incredulously.
"Magic," they answered, deadpan.
Oh. Right. Gensokyo. Magic. I'd better remember this the next time I ask a question.
"If you could create flames, why didn't you just use it to light up the place straightaway?" I questioned.
"Would you light up a naked flame knowing that the floorboards are, well, wooden boards?" Keine replied to by question with yet another question.
I watch as Keine walked to a door and slid it open, beckoning for us to go in. Of course, we obeyed.
"Here, sit down."
The teacher walked to the four corners of the room, lighting up a lantern stationed at each corner as she did. Only when the glow of the lanterns filled the room did I notice that we were in a classroom.
Personally, I wouldn't have realised that this was a classroom from over 100 years ago -- there were modern desks (metal legs, plastic table-face) and blackboards (which my school still uses despite it being 2013). The only differences were that the floor was made from wooden floorboards and that they still used wooden chairs.
I pulled a chair and sat down beside Cirno and Daiyousei as Keine dragged hers from the teachers desk and sat before us.
"So, would you mind telling me what went on? I can only help you if you give me information."
My mind seemingly yelled at me in response.
What went on? How would I know what went on? I mean, I don't even know how I got here, much less what went on from all that that happened?
I looked up at Keine again. She doesn't look like the kind of person that would take easily to my less-than-courteous imagined response. I'd better be tactful if I do not want to receive retribution of any sort.
How should I even start? __________________________________________________________ [ ]Reactions (if any)
[ ] Questions -[ ] What is this place, exactly? -[ ] Why can everyone use magic? -[ ] How did you acquire metal desks and blackboards? -[ ] How did you make your weapons vanish like that? -[ ] How do I get home? -[ ] Did you see what I did (during the battle)? -[ ] Why are you so bent on killing those ‘monsters’? They look human to me. -[ ] ‘Curtain Fire’? -[ ] Spellcard duels? -[ ] ‘Monsters? (You-kai, I think it was called.)’ -[ ] (Your own questions, if any. Go ahead to ask as many as you’d like.)
[ ] After-question-session-activities -[ ] I’d like to go around the Village for a bit --[ ] Let’s treat Cirno and Daiyousei to something (I wonder if this place accepts Singapore Dollars.) -[ ] This ‘spellcard duel’ thingy might be fun. -[ ] I. . . think I’m tired already. . . -[ ] Do you know where the shower is around here? (Highly optional scene based on an experience I had with the person Yun was based on. This is based on that one time I had to stand guard at the shower on an exchange trip to China. The shower area had no walls, so it was extremely embarrassing when I had to stand guard and turn away people for her since I was a guy.)
[ ] (Write-in)
I didn't have much inspiration for this chapter, so I think it isn't as good. However, rest assured the next chapter will be better. It's pretty much free time until sleeptime, then we'll set off for the Hakurei Shrine next morning.
[x]Keine wants to know what happened. So tell her. Start from the beginning. You should probably leave out the part where you helped the lady in black......and the part where Cirno froze you, now that I think of it. We don't need to get her in trouble, she's already apologised.
[x] Questions -[x]All the questions!
...Except this one;
-[ ] Did you see what I did (during the battle)?
Unless Yun can ask it in a subtle way. I suppose if Keine did, or if she guessed it was us after hearing our story, we should spill on our motivation for doing it.
-[x] I’d like to go around the Village for a bit --[x] Let’s treat Cirno and Daiyousei to something (I wonder if this place accepts Singapore Dollars.)
We should do this, if not now, then tomorrow morning before we go to the shrine.
-[x] Do you know where the shower is around here? (Highly optional scene based on an experience I had with the person Yun was based on. This is based on that one time I had to stand guard at the shower on an exchange trip to China. The shower area had no walls, so it was extremely embarrassing when I had to stand guard and turn away people for her since I was a guy.)
Okay, you've got me curious now. Full steam ahead!
-[x] I. . . think I’m tired already. . .
...It's been a really, really long day. I suspect that Yun will collapse the moment the adrenaline runs out.
>(Your own questions, if any. Go ahead to ask as many as you’d like.)
I can't think of any at the moment, but if someone comes up with some good ones I'll amend my vote.
...Welcome back Ran. Life been treating you okay?
Anyway, you might want to get that proofreader I mentioned earlier. When you're having a hard time writing, it kinda shows in the grammar and flow. Having a proofreader might make it easier on you, as far as flow and structure go.
I'd offer my services, but you've already seen how my life goes sometimes. I'll do it anyway if you like, but expect your updates to take a few days longer to come out if you do. I'd recommend asking one of the fine gentlemen on IRC to proofread for you, as they'd probably be much faster.
...I feel like I'm forgetting something, but I can't imagine what. Oh, well. Later, Ran.
Hm, I really wonder who you really are, but nice to meet you again as well. Hopefully your life hasn't been too hectic. Do take care (I think I am a broken recorder by now).
>Anyway, you might want to get that proofreader I mentioned earlier. When you're having a hard time writing, it kinda shows in the grammar and flow. Having a proofreader might make it easier on you, as far as flow and structure go.
Well, I was having lots of trouble trying to make the story 'flow' alright. It just doesn't seem to be as good as it used to be, but I suppose now that I have enough for the next chapter hopefully I can write better. It's just that my hype for the Byakuren vs Keine battle wore off after I just couldn't figure how it would end. Well, at least I learnt something from it: Know how it would end before starting something.
Proofreader? Maybe, I'll see as time goes along. I tried to get my story proofread on IRC before, but I got redirected to /blue/, then /blue/ redirected me back to IRC. . . yeah, you get the idea.
>Okay, you've got me curious now. Full steam ahead!
Oh, you should've seen the time I grabbed this other male student and threw him to the wall because I thought he peeked. They thought there was a thief in the compound or something when they heard fighting noises, so the whole exchange group to come to the shower area thinking that they had a dangerous person to deal with. Turns out he was just picking up the watch he dropped, and I got into huge trouble for that and my friend in the shower was lucky enough that she was half-dressed by the time everyone arrived.
I think I know how I'll convert that into Gensokyo setting now.
Thanks for your vote. I was very sure this chapter was not of the usual quality you would expect. I really forgot to dramatize the character to character interaction like the previous ones, and that should be why the story didn't really flow well.
Nobody important; just an anon like any other. That might change if I can motivate my lazy ass to write something, but it doesn't seem a good idea to start something at present.
>Hopefully your life hasn't been too hectic
"Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment".
>Do take care (I think I am a broken recorder by now).
Your concern is appreciated, and I believe the correct term is "broken record". Speaking from experience, a broken recorder makes quite an ugly breathing sound. Pic related.
> I tried to get my story proofread on IRC before, but I got redirected to /blue/, then /blue/ redirected me back to IRC
...ugh, goddamnit guys get your shit together. Right, IRC is probably the best place to go. If anyone gives you shit about it, just tell them that you're tired of being bounced back and forth between /blue/ and IRC.
>I think I know how I'll convert that into Gensokyo setting now.
Looking forward to it.
>Thanks for your vote
And now for sweet blissful sleep. I hope I don't get woken up by any more random arseholes.
The fight was passably well done and in the scene afterwards characterized the "normal" side of Keine. I don't recall ever seeing a murderous/righteous village-defender Keine before.
[ ]Reactions (if any)
[ ] Questions -[X] What is this place, exactly? -[X] Why can everyone use magic?
>-[ ] How did you acquire metal desks and blackboards? >-[ ] How did you make your weapons vanish like that? You know the answer's just going to be MAGIC
>-[ ] How do I get home? >-[ ] Did you see what I did (during the battle)? >-[ ] Why are you so bent on killing those ‘monsters’? They look human to me. [x] Who was that person from earlier?
-[X] ‘Curtain Fire’? >- Spellcard duels? Yun doesn't know about Spellcard duels yet. To the unfamiliar eye, the battle wouldn't have looked like a duel. She'd be curious about the danmaku lights though for sure. -[X] ‘Monsters? (You-kai, I think it was called.)’
>[ ] After-question-session-activities >-[ ] I’d like to go around the Village for a bit >--[ ] Let’s treat Cirno and Daiyousei to something (I wonder if this place accepts Singapore Dollars.) >-[ ] This ‘spellcard duel’ thingy might be fun. -[X] I. . . think I’m tired already. . . -[X] Do you know where the shower is around here? (Highly optional scene based on an experience I had with the person Yun was based on. This is based on that one time I had to stand guard at the shower on an exchange trip to China. The shower area had no walls, so it was extremely embarrassing when I had to stand guard and turn away people for her since I was a guy.) If your selling...sure. >>1196 Oh you white knight.
Eeeh the next update is going to be four weeks later so there is enough time to find a plan that would fit both votes. I only have two votes, so it'll be easy to do.
Sorry, my finals exams come first on my list of priorities. It's a streaming year, so I can't take it easy for this one. However, rest assured updates will come in rapid-fire when I have nothing else to do after the finals exams. Maybe I'll get myself back to one-per-day, if I can somehow manage that again.
>I don't recall ever seeing a murderous/righteous village-defender Keine before.
As I said, she has an identity crisis. She wants to so much believe that she is human that she exterminates all Youkai. She also holds the belief that all Youkai are bad.
If Yun ever becomes a Youkai, I would believe that Keine would have no qualms about driving her sword into Yun, really. Of course, she may have hesitations and whether she ultimately does so would be up to what you do if we decide to go Youkai route. Youkai route is incidentally PC-98 route as well, though if we ever go on that route a ton of research will have to be done on my part. (Am I revealing too much?)
>You know the answer's just going to be MAGIC
Nah. If you do ask that question, Keine's gonna explain something about how she acquired them. Border or Rinnosuke, I'm not sure.
>If your selling...sure.
Don't expect an extremely detailed description of Yun undressed. No, I am not going to sell that. She was a friend I valued a lot while she was still alive, and I would like to keep my respect for her. This is not a fanservice shower scene, but rather just. . .let's call it wish fulfillment on my part, since I wish to incorporate some experiences I had with her, the interesting ones.
Besides, I've been childhood friends with her and we've been taken care off by the same caretaker when our parents were away so we know each other so well we really don't mind (well, at least she doesn't.)
Anyways, expect the next chapter in 4~5 weeks time. Meanwhile, go ahead and ask me anything if you need to. I'll try to answer as much as I can.
After a long hiatus, I'm back! To those that did see the earlier version, I apologize for accidentally posting the rough draft instead of the actual, edited version. I've decided to make the night 2 posts, though, so this would be the proposed part 1 of 2.
[x]Keine wants to know what happened. So tell her. Start from the beginning.
[x] Questions -[x] What is this place, exactly? -[x] Why can everyone use magic? -[x] How did you acquire metal desks and blackboards? -[x] How did you make your weapons vanish like that? -[x] How do I get home? -[ ] Did you see what I did (during the battle)? -[x] Why are you so bent on killing those ‘monsters’? They look human to me. -[x] ‘Curtain Fire’? -[x] Spellcard duels? -[x] ‘Monsters? (You-kai, I think it was called.)’ -[x] Who was that person from earlier?
[x] After-question-session-activities -[x] I’d like to go around the Village for a bit --[x] Let’s treat Cirno and Daiyousei to something (I wonder if this place accepts Singapore Dollars.) -[ ] This ‘spellcard duel’ thingy might be fun. -[x] I. . . think I’m tired already. . . -[x] Do you know where the shower is around here?
Well, it's not like I can't trust Keine. After all, she is a teacher and a respectable figure in the Human Village. There should be no reason I shouldn't tell her everything, really.
It was then I realised something: On what grounds can I even distrust her? I'm just a child, while she's an adult who can easily kill me with that sword she has. Then again, why would I even not want to tell her everything? I want her to help me to the fullest extent possible, after all.
Ah, but where should I start? From when I met Daiyousei and Cirno? Well, that would do, since it is where this crazy journey in this land started. Then again, it wouldn't feel complete if I didn't start from how I found myself waking up here. Still, if I were to do that, why don't I start from how I--
--ended up here.
As if I slipped backwards through a pocket of time, I found myself standing in front of that balcony again. The same sky, the same parking lot. The same me, looking down at the people below, wondering when my parents will come back with the keys. It was incredibly stupid of me to have forgotten my keys, yes, so I was left with nothing to do but wait for my parents while I thought about how small and distant the people below me looked.
Then, those two hands gripped my ankles and lifted me against the parapet roughly. I choked on a pocket of air -- the very air forced out of my lungs as my chest was pushed against the edge of the parapet while I was being lifted -- but I had more important things to worry about than the pain. As if someone told me 'sure, have a closer look', I was placed on the parapet facing down, a good portion of my upper body dangling in mid-air.
Then, as if someone had so cruelly hit the slow motion button on the controller, saying "Hey, Yun, go ahead and have a good long look", I felt the grip around my ankles vanish. The earth rushed up to me, like a long-lost lover dashing towards his partner for the embrace, but instead of a warm, romantic atmosphere, a chill invaded my body. Every single tissue in my body started to lock up, or so it seemed. There was this numbness in my head that soon spread to my toes as I witness myself falling towards the cold -- nay, it was the afternoon, so the ground had to be hot -- but no doubt hard ground.
I was going to die. The ground was closing in. 15 metres? Or was it 10? I'm no longer sure anymore. All I know is that I was going to hit the ground, alright. No kidding. There, my arm must have hit the ground--
Wait, my arm? How could I fall arm-first when--
"Yun, are you still there? Hello?"
I shook my head, and then blinked. The dull brown of the floorboards came back into sight, albeit jerking left and right from something pushing against my shoulder. I lazily raised my hand to rub at my eyes, waiting for my vision to blur into focus. In between the gaps which my hand left my eyes, I could see a beige-coloured object being swung repeatedly, up and down, in front of me.
Oh, yes, where was I. Ah, that's right, the class--
Immediately, I jumped, hitting my thigh against the metal grille that formed a small storage area below the desk. Ouch. The pain that shot through my legs caused my eyes to open wide, staring straight into the hazel eyes that the teacher had.
I must have shrieked, as the teacher suddenly took a step back from me, eyebrows knitted. The look on her face seemed to be telling me "Why are you even so worked up?", and I could feel blood rushing to my cheeks.
I must have dozed off. Oh, the shame.
"Ah, sorry about that. I must have been so deep in thought that I slept, haha," I smiled sheepishly at Keine, hoping that she wouldn't hold anything against me. Teachers likely wouldn't take lightly of students sleeping in class, definitely.
Unexpectedly, though, Keine simply waved off the matter.
"You must be exhausted from the day. I suppose you're too tired to think of where to start, anyways." Placing the strange, square hat that she was wearing (I've only noticed it now) on the table, she picked up the chalk and wrote a few Hiragana characters on the board. It read "Jiko Shoukai". Self-Introduction, huh.
"Tell us about yourself, then. We'll proceed from there. Mostly about your name and where you came from, though," Keine spoke in a kindly voice.
Well then, self-introduction it is. There wasn't much need to rack my brains over this one.
"My name is Yun Ning, and I am from Singapore."
As I spoke, the piece of chalk that Keine was holding moved in firm strokes, leaving two Chinese characters printed on the blackboard.
"Is it 'Yun', as in 'Luck', and 'Ning', a common character to add on to a girl's name?" Keine questioned, her chalk pointing at me.
"How did you know how my name was written?" I replied her question with my own inquiry, my eyes even wider open now. How does she know Chinese?
"Ah, you live in present-day Tamasek as well. I do apologize for how the Japanese had treated your people during World War II: That Emperor Hirohito's not fit to be an emperor at all," the teacher spoke offhandedly. Her casual remark though was enough to make me shocked.
"Keine, wasn't this place sealed more than a hundred years ago? How do you know about the Second World War?" I didn't even wait for her to reply before I fired off my second question, "How do you even know the characters of my name? They are in Simplified Chinese, which only appeared after the Cultural Revolution in China! You couldn't have lived that long!"
Indeed, she couldn't. She's a human, a mere human who looks like she's in her early 20s. She can't possibly have lived that long to have known that much!
"Well, Yun, let's just say that I can access all the History I want to know about. The entire history of Man, from the past to --" the teacher's voice trailed off as she turned towards the board wistfully, her wrist manipulating the chalk to print two more Chinese characters onto the board. Those two characters were 'Wei Lai' – Was she implying that she knows the future as well?
Turning back towards me, likely because of the amount of disbelief I expressed, the teacher chuckled. "You must be wondering how I could have known all this. Let's just say that I was cursed with this gift. A curse, because I would transform into one of –“ she stopped here, breathing in before she spoke (with heavy emphasis, of course) condescendingly, “them (those ‘monsters’ she hates so much, it must be) on the night of the full moon," Keine's tone changed the moment she landed on the word 'Youkai', which meant monster, as if it were distasteful. "However, it is a gift for I now know how history would go in all possible timelines. The past, future and present all known to me, and I use that knowledge against those wretched monsters."
Here, Keine had mentioned that word again. "Yo-kai." As usual, it was weird that she kept emphasising on the words like it was some special phrase. Did it mean something? Furthermore, that lady in black from earlier -- I think Keine addressed her as such as well. So, my first question is going to be. . .
"Keine, didn't you refer to the person in black earlier as a Youkai as well? She looks pretty much human to me--"
"Don't be taken in just by her looks. She may look human, she may have been a human but she isn't human. She's a traitor in every sense of the word!" The teacher slammed her hand on the blackboard, breaking the piece of chalk into half. Her actions were animated, alright. "She became a monster herself. How could she sympathise with the sworn enemies of us?"
I did not expect her to be agitated like such. I tried to move back, but realized that my back was already against the back rest of the chair. Why is she even so agitated? Whatever it is, it would be wise to change to topic – or so I thought before the thought was promptly forgotten.
"How does a person become a monster?" I asked, letting my burning curiosity get the better of me. This only elicited a more violent reply from the teacher.
"She was a monk who studied demonic forms of magic after she had become a magician and she extended the teachings to the monsters -- That is what I heard. However, even though she is a monk and it is theoretically right for her to spread the teachings of the religions that she puts her faith into, does she really so naively think that they will really understand those teachings?” Keine sighed, then threw her hands in the air, “I’m really not sure if it’s her naiveté that lead her to taking in monsters. I really suspect that she has become one of them herself.”
This is getting interesting. Still, I was not going to continue this. Looking at how Keine was majorly upset (she must really love humans), I'd better not try to agitate her further, or so I thought.
"Why do you say the word 'monster' in such a weird way? As if it were a proper noun or something," indeed, I must have been fearless to have tried to ask her about monsters even after she's given me such a dramatic response.
"Ah, yes, you are new to Gensokyo. Here, when we say Youkai we do not mean 'monsters'. Rather, we mean 'Youkai' as a species of beings in Gensokyo itself, much the fairy and the human," the teacher spoke matter-of-factly, as if reading a word definition out of a dictionary while a broken half of the chalk had its tip rubbed away on the blackboard to form the Kanji "Youkai".
"However, they can be interpreted as monsters and are treated as such," Keine added, this time no longer using the calm and steady voice she used previously. She closed her eyes, exhaled deeply, then crossed out the Kanji that formed the word "Youkai" before wiping it away with a duster.
Now that I know that 'Youkai' in itself is a name, I think I'll interpret it 'as is'. They (or as much as I've seen of Youkai) don't really look monstrous, and I don't think I'd need to be as extreme as to call them monsters.
"Enough Youkai talk. Do you have anything else to ask?" Keine interrupted my thoughts with a rather abrupt sentence. Ah, yes, I do have questions. Let's take it from the top, then.
"Keine, I do know that we are in Gensokyo, but what is this place, exactly? Daiyousei and Cirno didn't really give me a clear answer." I posted my first question. Since she was a teacher, she must be well learnt and--
"Frankly, I don't know." That was the answer that Keine Kamishirasawa gave me.
"I thought you--"
Again, before I could finish, she interrupted me. "Even when I do have access to all of history, it doesn't mean I have access to the thoughts of the people who created that segment of history. I would never know why the people would have created this place, but from what I infer it is to preserve the supernatural. In other words, fairies, magic and," -- a pause, as if Keine ate something that tasted bad -- "Youkai."
'Preserve'? If it is to 'preserve', it must mean that it was at threat of being erased, right?
As if she read what I thought, she continued, "Basically this is a sanctuary for all things that don't happen in the 'real' world as you know it. As lesser people had faith in the existence of these supernatural things, they would have to find a place where they could exist. That would be a place where there is abundant belief in the supernatural. You could say Gensokyo is a condensed version of the world before humans put faith into themselves and technology."
"So, this is where all the impossible happen, huh," I summarized.
"You could say so," she turned her back towards me again, scribbling something on the board. "Basically we are sealed from the outside world by a barrier. It's not physical, though, and there are entrance points located in some places in Japan. Maybe you went through one of those barriers, and ended up here."
Ah, I see. I should tell her about how I came in. I was thinking about telling her that awhile ago, anyways.
"Ah, do you suppose the barrier has entrances in Singapore as well? I sort of fell down a building, and then found myself--"
Again, Keine interrupts me. This time, her mouth was agape, and she gasped once as her hand flew to cover her mouth. "My goodness! You fell off a building in Singapore? I would presume you fell off a HDB Flat, no?" I nodded, and she only shook her head thoughtfully. "That must have been a great height you fell off from. Most Flats are 13 stories high. How did you survive that fall? Where did you end up in, Yun?"
"We found her at Misty Lake," Cirno interjected, answering the question on my behalf. "At least I found her there. She was out cold when I found her."
"Thank your lucky stars that you survived that fall, really. If you didn't slip through a weak part of the border you'd be --" Keine pulled the chair she sat on earlier towards her, " -- forgive me, I'll put it bluntly -- dead." Finishing that sentence, she sat down, looking at me as she fingered the piece of chalk in her hands.
Huh. I'd be dead. Somehow, I've brushed death so many times in a day that I don't feel anything except for a dull numbness on my head when I heard that. I must be somewhat immune now. Next question, then.
"I'm still curious about how you could use magic like that. Is it simply because you believe in it? So, if I believe in magic I can create flames like you did as well?" I questioned Keine, who had progressed to tapping her piece of chalk against the teacher's desk.
"No, not exactly. Most humans can't use magic unless they have studied how it works. Magic isn't just a matter of belief, it is a study. Humans have to study magic in order to use it. Of course, basic magic like using Curtain Fire is taught in schools, so every Human knows at least enough magic to defend him or herself." Keine then held out her palm, gesturing for me to look at it as her lips formed silent words. A spark lit her hands for a brief moment, and then formed a flickering flame. "Basically magic’s something like self-hypnotisation. Proper magicians have their own chants for all of their spells, while for most of us learning basic magic we use simple phrases. The words you say are supposed to get you into the state where you can perform magic, but then again it's only easy if you do it in Gensokyo." Keine clutched her outstretched palm, leaving a trail of white smoke rising from her clenched fist. "Don't expect to be able to use magic when you get back. Even when I have told you the method to using it, you still can't use it, since the outside world has left magic behind for too long already."
Ah, so that's why my origami can move on its own. So that's what happened with the dove and the crane! I still can't help but feel that it's a pity that I will be losing my magic once I leave though. . . Maybe I should fold as many things as I can right now. Maybe I can even keep a whole flock of cranes with me or something, and bring them back home. Mom and Dad would be surprised!
I chuckled softly, but it was still audible. Keine immediately raised a brow, looking into my eyes directly, as if questioning me: "What are you even laughing about?" I simply shrugged my shoulders in response. Keine didn’t pursue, though, and instead decided that the walls were more interesting to look at while she waited for a question.
Oh, yes. Going home. That I must ask.
"Keine, may I know how I am going to be going home?" Keine shook her head in response, as if awoken from a daze, then turned back towards me.
"Ah, yes, continue," the teacher adjusted her posture, shifting her back against the chair.
"I've already finished my question--" Before I could finish (how many times has it been already, I wonder), I was interrupted by a stammering Keine.
"O-oh, I see. Now, where were we. . ." The teacher played with the chalk in her hands, as if my question were inscribed onto the chalk. It was a rather funny sight. Hardly would a teacher be inattentive, hm.
"Ah, it was about how I was to go home." I supplied.
"A-ah, th-that's right," Keine stuttered, but quickly found the words she was looking for. "I'll be sending you to the Hakurei Shrine in the morning, and the Hakurei Shrine Maiden should be able to send you home. I'll tell you the details when morning comes, so don't worry."
"Hakurei Shrine?" Of course I was too curious to abstain from asking. In fact I was curious about the 'Curtain Fire' thing she was talking about. However, the replay she gave me was vague: "When we get there, you'll find out." Very helpful, Keine. Whatever.
"So, Keine, what was this thing about 'Curtain Fire' you were talking about? Daiyousei was saying that you were fighting safety-off, and that it was lethal." I waited for a response from Keine, but instead she picked up her chalk and divided the board cleanly into three using the white lines printed on the contrasting background.
"This would be a little heavy, so listen up, though I doubt you'd need it since you're going home anyways," Keine warned, chalk pointing towards me. I immediately sat in attention. "Well, let us begin with the lecture. Before we can learn about Curtain Fire – oh, the word ‘danmaku’ is a term by itself, so please interpret it as such – and Spell Card Duels, we would have to look at when the Spell Card Rules were first drafted--"
"Spell Card Rules?" I interjected, only to have my left hand stung by a fragment of chalk. "Ow!"
"Keep quiet when the teacher is speaking," Keine curled her fingers inwards in a gesture that roughly meant ‘Return me the chalk’, which I did. "Now, the Spell Card Rules dictate that all conflicts were to be settled with battles of aesthetics known as Spell Card Duels, which is what we would call duels involving Danmaku --" Keine paused, reaching into the cabinet below the teacher's desk. Fetching a water bottle from it, she unscrewed the cap, took a sip of the liquid within, and then screwed it back on. "-- Excuse me. Now, these Spell Card Duels were designed with the purposes of protecting Humans from Youkai and allowing any being in Gensokyo to fight on equal footing against an opponent."
Snapping her fingers in an inwards motion, a card no larger than ones from the trading card games I’ve seen appeared in Keine’s hand. “This,” she paused, holding the card towards me, “is what you call a spell card. The most powerful of one’s spells are sealed into these paper cards then given a name.”
I pushed myself further towards my desk, trying to catch a closer view of the ‘Spell Card’. Is this one the one that she used during the fight against the woman in black from earlier on?
“Here, take a closer look at it.” Keine lay down the card onto my desk. Instantly, I picked up the card, running my finger over the surface of the card. It had a slippery feel, like waxed paper. I rubbed at the intricate patterns that bordered the card as well – it was embossed into the paper card, it seems. Six white orbs glimmered in the dark blue background (She must have used glitter glue or something) and above the graphic sat a box, only separated from the top border of the card by a few millimetres. “Spiritual Birth 「First Pyramid」. . .” I murmured, mouthing the characters printed in the box.
First Pyramid? Isn’t this the spell Keine used earlier?
“Each person has a different type of Spell Card, though, each with a personal flair. I’m a history teacher, so it makes sense for me to base my spells off concepts related to it,” the card in my hands was soon transferred into Keine’s, and – as if it were some magic trick – the card disappeared when she snapped her fingers. “You can ask Cirno or Daiyousei for theirs’ to get a better idea.”
“Here’s mine.” I received a light blue rectangle from Cirno, covered with snowflake-shaped patterns. Even the text was written in a different font – it did not seem as formal as Keine’s, which used what looked like Times New Roman for the title of the card. Placing the card back into Cirno’s hands, I gave her a nod in appreciation and turned towards Daiyousei.
“May I look at yours?” I asked with my hands outstretched, ready to retrieve her card from her hands.
The green-haired fairy replied with a fervent nod.
“Why not?” I questioned.
“I, uh. . . it’s nothing special. Not really worth a look,” she waved off my question, laughing it off. “Hahaha. . .”
“I would’ve loved to see yours, though, but I respect your decision.”
Turning back towards to Keine, I caught a glimpse of the green-haired fairy’s flushed cheeks. She must have simply been shy – I do that too when others want to see what I fold at school. It really annoys me when people press me to show them what I do (not to mention embarrassing if they laugh). Ah well, don’t do unto others what you wouldn’t want others to do unto you, Yun.
Swallowing my urge to know how her cards look like, I looked around. Anything would do, something that I could put my attention on long enough.
“I suppose you are done with checking out their cards?” The now-familiar voice spoke. I turned towards its source, only to find Keine having already made the blackboard more of a whiteboard – white scribbles covered the board, and surprisingly, they were in English. “I thought writing in this language would make it easier for you,” she explained.
“You even know English?” I spoke this line in English. If she did know—
“Why, yes. In case you were wondering, I did study the national languages of each country,” she paused, tapping the table for about two seconds, before speaking in fluent mandarin “’er wo ye zhi dao xin jia po yong de guan fang yu yuan shi--” she stopped again, looking at me intently, as if she were waiting for my next reaction, “—Bahasa Malayu.”
She probably expected it, for she wore a playful smirk as she received my response. I knew she was waiting for it, I knew I would be losing it if I submitted to her expectations, but having a person who has been locked away from the outside world for a century to speak so fluently – no, just to even know all this, was incredible. “How do you even do that?”
“Let’s just say that Gensokyo had many visitors in the past hundred years like the likes of you,” she answered. “Occasionally, some of those visitors may stay here for some time (like me, I mused), and we soon had this cultural exchange going on. I do take pleasure in interacting with humans from the outside once in awhile, and as a teacher, basic knowledge of foreign cultures are a must, no?”
I guess that really means that I am nothing special after all. So many people had been here before me, all having slipped through some mystical barrier. In hindsight, making such a big deal of me ending up in this place was rather silly.
Subconsciously, I lifted my fingers off the table and brought them down on the surface, listening to the 'tap, tap, tap' sound the plastic surface of the table made. It was just like back at home, where the desks of the classrooms were made of plastic as well—
“Keine, would these desks also be a result of those cultural exchanges as well?” I question, knocking at the plastic face of the table twice as I did.
“Well, you could say that. A person once told us about a material that was “hard, yet light” and showed us a photo of it,” there was a wooden sliding sound as Keine fetched a yellowing photograph from a cupboard below her desk. “A few checks through the historical records soon revealed this material to be something known as ‘Plastic’, but it was not strong enough to be made as a table on its own. As such, we merged our newfound knowledge of manipulating plastic and merged it with a metal frame to create a desk.”
Ah, I see. So, that’s how this place managed to keep a few similarities with the world it was sealed away from. If so many people have been able to arrive in Gensokyo before me, it must mean that the barrier surrounding it is weak. That means that I’ll just have to walk through one of these gaps formed from this weakness, and I’ll be able to reach home!
Then again, if I could go home on my own, why would Keine bring me to some ‘Hakurei Shrine’? There must be some underlying reason— I cupped my hands over my mouth, arresting the sudden yawn I had. Blinking my eyes, I realized how heavy the eyelids had become. It was then I noticed my fatigue for the first time in the day. I looked towards Keine, who returned me a hurt look.
“I bore you, right?” The teacher questioned me. Both of her hands were forced to the sides of her dress, but I could still see the halves of the chalk from earlier being strangled in her clenched fist. Immediately I responded, as if an animal reacting to its predator.
“Ah, n-no, no. I’m just spent from the day, really, or that’s what I think.” Keine’s feet shifted, her tightly clutched hand relaxing a little. She really doesn’t take offensive remarks well, I remarked (mentally, of course).
“Hm. Seeing that you are tired, whether from physical exhaustion or you getting tired of this, shall we end the session here?” Keine brought her hand down onto the table, setting the pieces of chalk unmoving on the wooden surface. ------------------------------------------------------ I am sorry for the really long hiatus. During that hiatus though, I've been reading some interesting books like Battle Royale (1997), so hopefully the quality of this update would have improved along with my reading.
This is the first part of the update, the questioning session. A little heavy, but it IS somewhat exposition. So yeah.
[X] Sleep. What time of day is it, by the way? Since "Looking up, the sky is dyed a deep red", there's been no timeskips, so it's well into night time. Toying around with Cirno and Dai can wait until tomorrow.
This update was noticeably better, there were few, if any, truly jarring sentences. Keep at it. There are some unnecessarily wordy phrases though.
--- Again, Keine interrupts me. This time, her mouth was agape, <and she gasped> gasping <once> as her hand flew to <cover> her mouth. "My goodness! You fell off a building in Singapore? I would presume you fell off a HDB Flat, no?" I nodded, and she only shook her head thoughtfully. "That must have been a great height you fell off from. Most Flats are 13 stories high. How did you survive that fall? Where did you end up in, Yun?"
"We found her at Misty Lake," Cirno interjected<, answering the question on my behalf>.
Immediately, I jumped, hitting my thigh against the metal grille <that formed a small storage area below the desk> on the underside of the desk.
Ah, so that's why my origami can move on its own. So that's what happened with the dove and the crane! I still can't help but feel that it's a pity <that> I'll <I will> <be losing> lose my magic once I leave though. . . Maybe I should fold as many things as I can right now. Maybe I can even keep a whole flock of cranes with me or something, and bring them back home. Mom and Dad would be surprised! --- There's a some nuance difference between "lose" and the stative "be losing", but I think it's a safe enough correction to make. Same thing for contractions. Especially since Yun's inner monologue is so prevalent, it's good to keep the overall length down. For the description, focus on telling us things we don't know and might like/need to hear about (from the writer's perspective).
>During that hiatus though, I've been reading some interesting books like Battle Royale (1997), so hopefully the quality of this update would have improved along with my reading.
Definitely seems that way, although it's a bit hard to tell with all the exposition. I'll be looking forward to seeing how you've improved.
As for the update,
>I've brushed death so many times in a day that I don't feel anything except for a dull numbness on my head when I heard that. I must be somewhat immune now.
Poor Yun. This really hasn't been your day, has it?
>I still can't help but feel that it's a pity that I will be losing my magic once I leave though. . . Maybe I should fold as many things as I can right now.
...I don't think magic works that way, Yun. the moment you leave Gensokyo they'll probably become inanimate again!
Anyway, voting for
[x] Agreed Post-Questioning Session activities
because they amount to eating dinner and having a shower before bed. Things I think Yun might need after the day she's had. If she goes to sleep like this she probably won't sleep well, and that's not even including the nightmares she might have from all this!
Glad to have you back Ran! I hope your exams went well?
>>1258 >What time of day is it, by the way? The last timestamp was when Yun flipped her phone open, I think. I'd say it's safe to say that it is around 8PM right now (around 9PM back at home). Just in case you'd like to know Yun's bedtime, it's about 10:30PM (Yes, I know her that well.)
>There are some unnecessarily wordy phrases though.
Thanks for the compliment! As for this, I'll try looking out for it in future. Reading books does help, it seems.
>>1260 >Glad to have you back Ran! I hope your exams went well?
They did go well. Thanks for the warm welcome!
>...I don't think magic works that way, Yun. the moment you leave Gensokyo they'll probably become inanimate again!
Indeed. Though, she is a child, so. . .
>because they amount to eating dinner and having a shower before bed. Things I think Yun might need after the day she's had. If she goes to sleep like this she probably won't sleep well, and that's not even including the nightmares she might have from all this!
I think her nightmares would be a recurring thing, as events go on and her memories become more vivid.
Riiight, maybe I shouldn't have been so quick to make promises. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the update will be pushed back. I will try to get it out ASAP, and it will be out by at least Sunday, that I promise.
Now hopefully this matter will conclude swiftly and let me get back to writing. . .
Alright, in order to stop myself from continuing to break promises due to how my life is going, I am going to put this story on official hiatus. Let me repeat: Hiatus, in other words, this story is NOT dead.
I am sorry that I am unable to update this story, because recently life has been trying to give me hell in terms of academics, people relations and whatevernot. So please wait warmly while I try to tide this over.