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I'm a lying bastard about the time, but I never gave up on this story. However, I will be on a trip to see my grandparents in a country that may or may not look like a communist chicken and will most likely not return until around mid-July. Sorry.
Well, here’s the update, Sorry for the long delay.
“Anyways, you hit a bull’s eye, so congratulations. More importantly, there are things I must tell you about Yukari.” Peter speaks without giving any hint towards his view on The Great Benefactor while he shifts a few rifles to the firing line.
“Yukari?” You instantly have a sinking feeling in your chest. Peter doesn’t like people looking over his shoulder, so you doubt that he likes Yukari’s stalking. You can only assume that conflict has opened between them.
“To put it frankly, I pissed her off because she was obstructing The Great Dream.”
You facepalm. How can Peter be so calm when he just screwed with The Lady of Borders? “And just what was so vital to the Great Dream that you had to piss off Yukari to do it?”
“T’was for comrade Reimu. I had limited time to pave the way for her freedom to express her love to you.”
You merely sigh in response. Your relationship with Yukari just got even more complicated.
“I suppose you have some tactical reasoning behind this act,” you say with resignation.
“No, but I have made it into an opportunity.”
You pause for a moment, thinking up a response, but decide that it would be best if you did not interfere with Peter’s plans, assuming that they are not extreme in a fascist direction.
“I’ll just leave you to your crazy plans then. Come on, we came here to shoot,” you say with a certain level of enthusiasm in your voice. Although quite morbid, the thought of shooting after a dealing with an exhausting day of these ‘relationships’ almost excites you the way flying in your plane does. Except shooting is certainly far more... ‘serious’ than the liberated feeling and freedom of simply flying with Sacchin.
...And that shooting is also far more necessary to protect the Communist Revolution from the Reactionary Bourgeoisie Counterrevolutionaries.
And so, you both return to firing. You shoot the bow a few more times, and you notice that the arrows it fires shine with bright, colorful light in the dark of the night, as if coated in a layer of magic.
Peter takes out a plain bow, smaller than your grand one, and joins you in firing. His archery is slow, but elegant and accurate. Your archery, on the other hand, is cruder, but faster and more passionate. Peter’s style most certainly matches who he was back in 1937: unruffled, perhaps to the point of being cold to others; calm, to the point you aren’t sure he’s aware of the severity of the situation, even though it’s most likely that he understands it the most; and collected, knowing exactly how he must approach the situation. Between each shot, he moves his body just enough to obtain slightly more power, adjusting the arrow’s landing by a few centimeters.
Bull’s eye. Bull’s eye. Bull’s eye. He moves from target to target, hitting the center again and again each time.
However, as his wartime comrade, you notice something’s wrong with him. Although he seems calm, small things give him away. His ear twitches slightly every so often and his brow furrows in such an otherwise insignificant measure that it would pass as normal by other people.
You reach into the deep recesses of your mind of all those repressed memories. What did a twitchy ear and furrowed brows mean?
Right, it means he is rather surprised. Or anxious. Or worried. It was something along those lines.
You note that this range behind Reimu’s shrine was set up this morning, so there’s no way Peter could have practiced shooting this setup and arrangement of targets before both of you arrived here. While it is within the realm of possibility that he took potshots at targets in his own backyard, you highly doubt that he mastered archery to this extent in the few months of time he’s been in Gensokyo.
“You tired of bows and want to move on to firearms, or are you blanking out on me again?” Peter asks, pointing out that you have been staring at him for a while.
“I’ll fire a few more arrows with this Glorious Bow before we move on.”
“Okay. This time, I’ll watch you, because it seems quite obvious you’ve only fired seven arrows.”
“I counted my own shots. I fired ten, and there are 17 arrows in all of the targets combined. Simple math from there. But anyways, back to your shooting,” Peter explains as he puts away his bow.
“Peter, before that, can I ask you something?”
“Sure,” he replies.
“Does your own bulls-eye streak surprise yourself?”
“Did I really become that easy to read in the last 2 or so months?” Peter sighs.
“Yeah, it’s been bothering me. I can take potshots at tin cans in my backyard and nick them with a few solid hits, but this is genuinely ridiculous, even by my standards,” Peter continues with a tone that is a mixture of slight confusion and disappointment.
Peter then mumbles something about not putting in the effort or time needed to achieve this level.
“Look, I love archery and all, but I suck at it. Some greater being is clearly at work here,” Peter ominously tells you.
He silently stares at you, as if you hold the answer.
You decide to break the silence.
“Comrade, I think the Great Benefactor has helped you, whether you want it or not. She is genuinely looking out for you and trying to help you, even after you bloody spited her. It wouldn’t kill you to be a bit friendlier to her.”
“I don’t think so Alek. Why would she help me? I mean, seriously—”
You stare Peter in the eyes and then hold him by his shoulders.
“I’m not sure what kind of reactionary crap the GuoMinDang taught you, or what kind of purely violent, undemocratic, pseudo-Maoist crap you think is ‘communism’, but do understand,” you take a deep breath as you face Peter with a serious look on your face and grave tone in your voice.
“Communism...Violent Revolution, yes. But you, privileged with information of both the ‘future’ and of the Stalin suppressed history of the past, should have known this of all of us: ‘violent uprising against the Oppressors’ does not equate to ‘destroy your leaders and betray your comrades’. A traitor to his proletariat comrades—”
“Yukari’s not a proletariat, she’s among the bourgeoisie. Can’t you tell by her mannerisms, her view of everyone else as inferior, her bloody clothing stained with the blood of the proletariat who, enslaved by her and her bourgeoisie business partners, forged the cloth but still cannot feed their families despite working three jobs?” Peter cut you off and counters.
“Remember...Argh, I don’t remember his name, but he was against the Russian Revolution but was readmitted to the Communist Party after the Russian Revolution because he was such a significant political non-Tsarist figure? Well, Yukari’s like that except her cloth isn’t made from the blood of the prolet nor is she really a wealth obsessed person on the aristocratic-bourgeoisie axis.” You had attempted to counter with specific examples from Peter’s beloved history, but you forgot his name.
“I’m quite sure that she got ‘wealth’ either through the expropriating of the real aristocratic-bourgeoisie axis, or, more likely, via the manipulation of the border between thought and reality,” you rationalize to Peter. He seems to understand as well that Yukari, in his negative point of view, would at least be too lazy to manage a business or curry the favor of rulers to get simple material wealth.
“So can’t you see that Yukari isn’t this evil, putrid fascist you think she is? Are you so blind as to be unable to see that maybe, just maybe, she wants a friend, a comrade?” When you conclude, you let go of Peter and let him sit on that. He needs some time to process these things. You sure aren’t too terribly inclined to get into others’ affairs, but, although he attempts to justify it for Reimu, his arrogance towards Yukari is simply too much for you.
As Peter contemplates about Yukari, you return to shooting the bow.
You work with the bow, and it works with you, as if the goddess were there helping you again. The string is, once again, not drawn back by your will alone, but instead glides backwards with your arm and the arrow, cooperating with you.
You release your hold, and the arrow flies and pierces the center of the target.
You start firing the bow faster and with more passion, but don’t become reckless, continuing to hit close to the center with each shot.
Still, it doesn’t feel natural to you. It’s as if something else were moving your limbs and helping you along as you shoot. You despise the feeling; true Communists do not like being controlled, despite what all those silly westerners think.
When you finish, you gently lean the bow against the shrine, along with the bucket filled with arrows. You make a mental note to ask for a quiver, as well as a sling for the bow, or whatever its equivalent is.
You have been rather...rather...tense recently. Archery does not really help you relieve such tension. In fact, it continues to remind you of her, only exasperating the problem that causes your tension to worsen.
Taking a deep breath, you let all your tensions dissipate.
Instead, you think about the things that went well today. You’re not completely magic ‘illiterate’, not only did you make a half decent ‘spellcard’ thing, you managed to fly, if just hovering a few inches above the ground. You are sure that they were all exaggerating when they said your ‘spellcard’ was awesome because you were just some beginner who they’ve never seen, but it is still good to know that you are on the right track.
You should talk to Comrade Youmu a bit more. Although you had forgotten in the midst of the madness of this day, you know her sword style and she definitely knows a bit more about your last mentor. Mima also appeared to know something about him, making you her drinking buddy regardless of your input. Your last mentor in Eastern Asia...
He was like another father to you. Definitely seems like he’d be an acquaintance of your father, but you are almost certain his name was not on the list when you left and that no one human besides you ever held your list. Only no one human, of course, for you do have your suspicions that a certain blonde haired, purple dressed Lady of Borders had her hand in your trip. Possibly the suppression of those memories as well, but you don’t blame her too much. You’re probably going to have a nightmare about her tonight...
Best lay off the Vodka tonight.
Thinking about her, you should finally take that flight you always wanted to: a flight without any imperative combat objective, but rather just a flight to let her breathe and be free in the sky with just her and you.
You also need to ask someone more adept in magic about this whole ‘form item out of magic’ crap ability you have. Is this by some chance related to your ability to magically produce vodka out of seemingly nothing? Thinking about that, you were never able to do that back in Mother Russia.
And then there is her, the OTHER, more purple dressed her and the S-S-R Triumvirate. It is imperative that you let them know...that you technically still have a girlfriend. No, more than just ‘technically’. Sacchin has been beside you, is still beside you as you think this very thought, and will remain by your side. Whether or not she or Hakurei can perceive anything in this dimension besides your own mental ponderings, if that, is another question entirely. However, there is absolutely no doubt in your heart that they will come back.
In the end, you were unable to think only about the things that went well, but the reflection on the day was well enough for you not to feel so uptight about the relationships.
You feel like you are forgetting something though...
“Hey, Alek,” Peter speaks, breaking your mental train of though.
You notice that Peter has cleaned up the course while you were thinking to yourself.
“Take these gloves, keep them safe, and return them to Nitori ASAP,” Peter says as he takes a pair of gloves off his hands.
You hadn’t noticed them before, but now that you do, you remember that he didn’t have them earlier in the day.
Peter shoves them into your hands, and you tuck them away in your bag.
“I suppose I shouldn’t ask about those gloves, Comrade Peter?”
“If they disappear, we have an answer. If they change into something else, we have another answer. If they stay the way they are, we have yet another answer. I don’t know the answer, Alek. Not yet, but we will soon.”
“I see. Tell me, should I be using them, or just keeping them safe?”
“Use them as you see fit if they change, don’t if they don’t, and if they disappear, well, you won’t be able to use them to say the least.”
You sigh. Once again, you have been dragged into Peter’s crazy schemes.
“As you can clearly see, my Russian Comrade, I am clearly and by far the junior ‘partner’, really just assistant, to Nitori, Gensokyo’s local super genius. If you think I’m smart, well....the difference between her and I is equal to the difference of a 3rd grader that comprehends the four basic operations of math and a rocket scientist.”
“Rocket? As in what a Panzershrek, Bazooka, or my Sacchin fires?”
“That’s right, you don’t know anything past nineteen fouty...?”
“Nineteen Fourty Three, Battle of the Kursk. M.I.A., assumed to have been Killed In Action.”
“1943? Wow, you never even got to hear the Soviet anthem!”
“Comrade, I know the Internationale by heart,” you reply. The Communist international anthem, one of your favorite songs.
“Not that one, there’s another one, the one that blared over Berlin and the Red Square in Moscow in 1945, it came out in 1944. This one’s dedicated only to the USSR and not to the Global Communist movement. Eh, I’ll show you later.”
You are once again surprised by all the things you miss. Imagine that: a Soviet Anthem. You find it interesting, but also slightly disturbing: how many praises of Stalin taint it? How much Russian only nationalism that strayed from Lenin’s self-determination taint it? You love Mother Russia, but The Proletariat Revolution and the Great Patriotic War against Fascist aggressors was a world wide effort.
“Wait, you’ll show me later on your ‘CD’ player thing? Would there be a chance that you have a Red Choir disc as well?” You ask Peter in hopes of being able to listen to some Russian Music again.
“Yeah, actually the Soviet anthem’s on that pair of discs that make the ‘album’.”
Peter did explain to you his portable music playing machine, a ‘CD’ player. It is like a phonograph except ‘digital’ with the use of lights on the player ‘reading’ the ‘coded’ information on the disc. He also told you that there are next generation music players, called ‘pods’ made of apples and ‘i’ as well as ‘disks’ made of ‘san’.
More ominous was, despite telling you that there have been significant developments in the field of aeroplanes, he refused to tell you what. If it is anything like small arms, where the assault rifle is a noticeable improvement over the submachine gun and rifle squad combination (in which the SMG seem to have actually gotten worse over the past 60-70 years), you are rather...bothered. Did they find a way for propeller planes to break the speed of sound? What if it is like small arms, where the submachine gun is essentially replaced by a combination of short assault rifles and automatic, ‘tactical’ pistols?
Is there still a ground attack role for aircraft? Or is Sacchin an antiquated aircraft in an obsolete role?
No matter. You can shoot down the Fascist Scum in the skies with your ‘ground attack’ aircraft. You’ve done it before, what...3 times? Yeah, in the last battle you managed to shoot down one, in your first ‘training’ mission you managed to take out the bastard on your commander’s tail, mostly because of Sacchin, and the other was in another ‘training’ flight. Training was really fighting fascists in squads of trainees paired with trainers. Obviously, Soviet war machine can’t spare valuable resources to flying around aimlessly.
Besides your trio of air kills, you were relentless on the Fascist Steel Coffins. Anti-tank rifles did indeed become more and more obsolete as the war went on, because as much as you hate to admit it, the Fascist machine was quicker at implementing newer tools of Death, in particular the updated Panzer tanks. However, the Fascist ‘tanks’ became tanks of fire to Sacchin, the Nazi tank destroyer.
You vividly recall your bombing and strafing runs, raining death on the tanks...
“As a demon, it uses its power to rain death upon the land”
Wait, who said that?
You look around. Peter, tired of trying to communicate to you lost in thought, seems to be tinkering with the ‘CD’ player. He doesn’t seem to notice anyone saying anything, and of all the people that should have noticed a cryptic message, he should have.
A feminine voice giggles in the background.
“Oh, so it is just you, Yukari,” you mutter to yourself, hoping she hears it without alerting Peter.
“What? Yukari? Yukari! Where? Hide! Must take cover,” Peter exclaims, the very word being a red flag to him. He jumped as soon as he heard the name and dived behind one of the sandbag bunkers that litter the shooting course.
You hear a shout from Peter in the direction he tried to go.
“I’m right here, Alek~” Yukari speaks as pops out of a gap, holding Peter by the collar.
Peter looks at you with pleading, defeated eyes.
“Awww...isn’t my little Peter so cute when he’s about to be screwed~”
“Was that really just a horrible English pun with my name, Yukari? Also, don’t screw me. Seriously, don’t. I mean physically. Don’t. Go physically screw Alek or Yuyuko if you need to satisfy your sexual urges. You don’t want me, no, no, no, no. Be logical with me here, Yukari. Don’t be a rapist, trust me, Alek would NOT approve. He never got to Berlin or Budapest.”
“Hmm~” Yukari eyes you with lustful eyes. You make a mental note to slap Peter in the back of the head for whatever he just did.
“Well, I certainly DO like Alek.” Yukari continues to look at you funny, as if though appraising you like a piece of jewelry.
“Commissar Yukari, please stop looking at me like I am some item, some material for your sexual pleasure. Your staring is far beyond obvious, and I have enough complications with the United Suika, Shinki, and Reimu group. Just for your information, even appearing to be acting like a promiscuous harlot tends to give The People a negative image of you.”
“All business with you, my Alek? Well then, a few things before Yukarin makes her grand escape: One, that line’s from a poem, I’ll send the rest of it to you later. Poem really means prophecy in this case. Peter, you can rip its rhetorical devices to shreds all you want, but that won’t really help you.
“Next, Peter, I know what you’re thinking. Or rather your state of confusion. Is Yukarin your enemy or is she your friend? Well, let’s just say I manipulated the gloves that were actually intended for Alek, to ‘help’ you shoot some nice shots with the bow, yes? Let’s just also say I am about 99% of the reason you are here in Gensokyo, safe from the war, safe you’re your step-parents, and safe from Flandre. Be pragmatic with me here, Peter. Here-”
Yukari waves her hand over Peter’s head, inducing some strange occurrence that may or may not have involved the manipulation of the border of knowing.
“You understand now? She only has feelings, not this crazy full blown love crap you spout. Notice the charismatic, personality, and physical difference between you and Alek here, the kind, fun, loving communist Russian that only wants you to help out a bunch of poor people get back on their feet, and romantic things like freedom, justice, and equality. He’s a great person to be around because he makes our lives and that of his so called ‘People’ better.
“Now look at the filthy things you demand, all this ‘complete change of ‘The People’’ and ‘destruction of the old world’ crap. See how Alek has none of your, ahem, ‘fascist’ humans-first crap. It doesn’t matter if you are consciously thinking about it that way, but it manifests itself in your ridiculous demands for concessions from people like me to ‘help’ humans. ‘Help’ humans have no moral punishment and moral consequence for bringing upon war. You are the cruel but ‘pragmatic’ ‘Stalin’ to the idealistic ‘Lenin’ over there called Alek, you of all people should understand that the murder of women and children in the Outside’s current society is one of the strongest deterrents to war there is. That’s why I can not save them, the humans must save them; the humans must be able to save themselves. I can help, but to let madmen wage war without recourse is simply wrong. Plus, what the heck happened to Communists that don’t want concessions but real change? And I thought you liked the Buddhist Byakuren, too! She, Keine, Akyuu, and even the entirety of the SDM are part of your so-called ‘Old Society’ that you intended to destroy. Add that to the fact that you’d ‘get Red Square painted on your chest’, as Alek would say, if you met Flandre again the way you are now assuming she’s merely over-enthusiastic... You’d be dissolved to particles if she’s angry or sad, you must be able to see where I’m coming from in not letting you know, no?” Yukari’s tone is strangely and vaguely...motherly, a far departure from the promiscuous looks before. She acts as if though Peter was her child in a strange way. Her combination of scolding, eliciting sympathy, and use of Peter’s own logic is has all but silenced the poor kid.
“Also Peter, I did choose you for a number of reasons, among which includes your ability to create tactics. Consider this your ‘by’, your ‘homework pass’ if you will. You need to be better than this to outsmart the real enemy, Peter. 36th Stratagem of Ancient China, Peter, ‘走爲上’. You need to know when to retreat, Peter. You can’t beat me, no offense Peter, I love your effort and your furious lil’ pouting, but being agitated by a ‘more-friend-than-enemy’ just wanting to play? Then you threw a bunch of insults? That’s quite a poor strategy, Peter; especially since I am quite sure you know the extent of my power. I do commend your ability to ‘pave the way for Reimu’ though under time constraints while being thrown into someone else’s relationship issues.
“However, solving other peoples’ social issues isn’t your domain and won’t of much use on the battlefield. The Battle forced Communists and Capitalists against the Fascism even though the West still did have anti-Bolshevik feelings up to the Invasion of the USSR, The War can force a bunch of disparate groups in Gensokyo together.
“Do you understand me Peter?” Yukari notices a small red can of a capitalist beverage sitting by Peter’s stuff. Upon inspecting it, she has a look of disgust on her face.
“Peter, you’ll get cancer if you keep drinking New Coke without getting it filtered by magic. Seriously, you like that stuff, raw nonetheless? Try some real cola at sometime. Jeez; I can gap you some right now.”
Yukari catches a red-colored box from a gap and finally puts down Peter and hands him the box.
“Look Peter, I can’t hold your hand every step along the way from here on out. In The War, I’ll be fighting, so you’ll have to make your own decisions and choices. If you decide to meet Flandre as is, I won’t stop you. If you need to train, knock on the door of your dream tonight. Also, drink the Classic Coke already, Peter.”
Yukari opens the square end of the box and takes out two red colored cans, handing one to Peter.
“BEHOLD! This is Real Soda for The New Coke Enslaved People!” Yukari performs an extremely overdramatized imitation of your enthusiasm in speeches before breaking out into laughter. You can not help but laugh a bit at it as well. Since she is not making fun of Communism or its ideas, you have no qualm with her poking a little fun at politicians and speeches to relieve The People of the stresses of daily life.
Peter, who has been docile and listening this entire time, took a sip before chugging the entire can of liquid. As he does that, Yukari finally turns to address you after her mixture of caring and scolding to Peter. After gapping five or so more boxes of the beverage, Yukari speaks to you.
“Cola for all Comrades, right Alek?” Yukari gently smiles at you. This time, she isn’t parodying you or your style. Her gentle smile is quite pleasant and gives off an aura of happiness. She smoothly moves your hand to her face and gently guides you in stroking her cheek.
“Alek, Yukarin really likes you, so please just let me know whenever you want to spend some time together!” Yukari is extremely cheery and happy, almost on the level of Shinki.
You shake the thoughts out of your head.
Like a politician, you change the topic and avoid answering the question. First, you still need to inform the SSR Union about Sacchin in some greater form than that she is a plane and that she is actually a person.
“Yukari...I...my relationships are screwed up beyond recognition right now, but I promise I’ll spend time with you at some point in time, as comrades.”
“Alek, tell Peter when he’s done with his cola box to ‘communalize’ the rest and also that I’m sorry about his step-parents and his scars.”
You somehow didn’t notice, but Yukari’s holding your both hands and her lower half is in a gap already.
“And tell him that yes, I do read his diary-”
Peter glares over at Yukari while going through his second can.
“Excuse me, I meant journal with a ‘mole of NaCl’, so tell him he can’t make a bad chemistry joke, mm’kay?”
“Comrade, why don’t you just tell him yourself? He’s right next to us. Actually, he should have overheard this conversation,” you point out to Yukari, who shrugs.
“Alek, there’s about a 50% chance he’ll collapse within the next 10 minutes. Tell him when he has had a bit more sleep. Anyways, just also tell him to get a semi-automatic rifle to replace his sniper rifle I broke, and to stop wearing the Imperial Japanese Uniform he’s been wearing for the last... 2 years? I don’t care how many times he washes it; he needs to let his old war things rest.”
Yukari yawns gently.
“Alek, it’s long past Yukarin’s bed time and curfew-
“You have a curfew?” You ask Yukari, finding that such a thing is quite strange.
“Yukarin’s a 17 year old girl! Of course she has a curfew! Plus, Yukarin’s getting sleepy too!”
Yukari lets go of your hands and gaps in another of this strange new type of beverage, but this time it’s in a gold can and reads ‘no caffeine’ on its label. Popping the can open, she takes a sip before finishing her thoughts. She whispers quietly to you while holding the still mostly full can of ‘soda’.
“Finally Alek, I want you to know that I want to have Reimu too~”
“What,” you ask in confusion before everything goes chaotic.