"Reimu, you know she's right," Yukari's ho-hum echoed inside Reimu's head, and it annoyed the shrine maiden.
"Get out of my head, Sukima."
"Oh, what a mean, mean, shrine maiden. And here I was, thinking of actually bringing you to her myself!" Not really. Anyone who knew Yukari well, and there weren't many people who could claim this, would know that teasing Reimu was for her like breakfast was to most humans. Necessary.
"Look, Marisa's always alive and kicking; I can see her any time I want. Besides, I don't feel like going anywhere." The red-white's hand clasped the gohei strongly. "And you're not making me."
Quiet. Yukari didn't bother to retort, and Reimu preferred it that way. Peace. Suika was out, presumably gathering herself after last night's drinking. It was a bothersome affair, and even thinking about it was too tiring.
The early hours of the morning came to an end. Reimu was now asleep.
Marisa and Reimu had talked on their way back from their latest adventure about many things. However, the conversation turned sour quickly when Reimu reached her home shrine. Marisa had asked Reimu why the shrine maiden never visited the witch's home. Reimu's usual retort hadn't lightened the mood, and before Marisa flew off, she left a cryptic message: "It's just that I feel lonely sometimes. When you've used the power of love as much as I have, you sometimes wonder what it'd be like to feel it someday, you know?" Reimu caught on instantly to what Marisa meant, and it had been bothering her for the past two weeks.
Reimu awoke with a start. It was evening now, but she had heard her shrine's silent alarm in her head. It meant something bad had just happened. Mima had fashioned a special spell card of her own to the shrine. Phantom Sign 「Evil Spirit Field」, it was called. Its main function was to keep a part of Mima around in case that the shrine decided to reject her, while its secondary function was to find major youkai atrocities and locate where the incident took place. It was this latter function that roused the shrine maiden into action. Reimu took off instantly towards the Scarlet Devil Mansion. Something had happened, and she had this horrible sinking feeling in her stomach.
Reimu had no way of knowing this early, but her worst fear had already happened: she wasn't ever going to see Marisa again.
As Patchouli would a few hours later put it, "Reimu, I can't comfort you. I may know a lot, but all of it is just knowledge. I can't help you. Your pain is indeed immense, but it is one you have to experience. It's your calling. You're going to be the saviour of Gensokyo. So, for now, learn what it means to be human. To draw strength from your misery. To pick yourself up and continue." How ironic it was. Those same words, learned by Patchouli from a certain blonde witch, were now being used to comfort the originator's best friend.