The ominous gong of the church bell sent vibrations through the slim, tensed body of the blonde heroine. Her journey would end inside the cathedral before her: one of black, spike-like towers and cold, metallic trusses — a holy place captured and twisted by the legendary demon, Melog. It was a fate she had been prepared for ever since she took up the blessed sword, Fortuna, said to slice through all probability. There was always a price to be paid for defiance.
A firm hand slapped her back, sending a wave of force through her leather armor and into her shoulder blades. She steadied herself and looked up at the offender: a man whose shell of gray plate armor revealed only his cold, dark eyes.
“Don’t lose your nerve,” he said through his visor.
She forced a smile as her heart fluttered in her chest. “You should know by now that my nerve has only ever faltered once: when we first shared a bed, and I gazed upon your—”
He turned away. “That’s precisely what I mean.”
She silently apologized. Even as a heroine, inappropriate humor seemed to be her only talent. Perhaps if she had any real skills — sorcery, medicine, peddling, or even farming — she would not have been forced to take up the holy sword. He would also have been spared.
Her legs pushed her forward, to the large double-doors. There were no locks, no barricades. She placed her hands on the door and struggled against its size.
Then he appeared beside her, adding his own weight to her efforts. “I have never regretted my decision.”
The heroine smiled, took a breath, and shoved against the door with all her might.
The foreigner erupted from his slumber and jolted upright. His light kimono had allowed the cool night to seep into his bones, and his head felt as if it were swimming in the open air. The alcohol had been unusually strong tonight, or perhaps he had drank an unusual amount — he could not remember.
“O Fortuna of purity, my body be cleansed.”
His spirit called upon his homeland’s goddess of probability, but the drunkenness didn’t subside. The alcohol’s haze was so potent, no parallel self of his could resist it — or perhaps, the Fortuna had given up on him.
Regardless, the foreigner had to fend for himself. Slowly, he focused his eyes, which revealed unto him a dark alleyway in the human village that was barely lit by the hovering moon. A nearby building proved to be a reliable support when it came to standing and walking, and it didn’t take him long to make it out to the street. It was chillingly quiet, except for the very building he had been hanging on: the Geidontei.
However, before he could enter, a young woman in a blue apron and a purple skirt stopped him. “Oh, it’s you! I’m really sorry, but the pub is closed now. Please be safe going home, mister.”
She seemed to recognize the foreigner, which confused him. Had he been here earlier? He couldn’t remember ever being served by a girl with pink hair, but maybe he had. Nevertheless, the lights were on and there were definitely people inside. “Could I please get some water so I can sober up? It’d be a pain to return to my sponsor like this, but then again, I wouldn’t mind spending the night with a lovely girl like you either.”
The pink-haired barmaid blinked a couple times. After all, in the foreigner’s drunkenness, he forgot to smile and laugh to offset his gloomy expression, robbing himself of what little charisma he had.
Another woman cut in from behind the foreigner. “Perhaps we could make an exception here, lil’ missy? I saw this young’un use some kinda spell earlier. I reckon he’d fit in jus’ fine with us youkai. Wouldn’t that be alright? I think it’d be awful fun.”
The foreigner glanced at the green-robed intruder. Her hair was long and brown, with a leaf curiously affixed to one of her bangs, and her rounded spectacles caught a faint bit of the moonlight.
The pink-haired barmaid sprouted a grin. “Really? Hmm, then it should be fine. Welcome to Geidontei! Err, again.”
After giving the foreigner a bright, business smile, she returned inside the pub.
The green-robed lady nudged the foreigner in the ribs. “Well, young’un? Didn’t ya wanna go inside? Or would ya like me to be yer escort for the night?”
O Fortuna of hopeless promiscuity, guide the foreigner.
 He must buy this lady a drink to repay her for convincing the barmaid.
 He must be wary of this youkai, who spied on him and so conveniently aided him.
 He must be aroused by the barmaid he cannot seem to remember.
Welcome to my second story. Special thanks to Bee for typing !touhou on the Discord server to give me Mamizou as a starting point.
This will be a much shorter, more experimental story to get me back into writing and Gensokyo in general. City of Harsh Fantasies is not dead (though it is certainly a bit of a mess, to be honest). In a related note, this story has absolutely no connection to City of Harsh Fantasies.