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Reimu frowned at the liquid in her cup. Others would have tipped it back without complaint, but five-sixths full wasn’t full to her. She looked up at Yukari. “Hey, Mom! Get some—!” She slapped a hand over her mouth in realization.



“‘Mom?!’” everyone said in unison.

Technically, it wasn’t a drunken tirade, but that didn’t mean she would be taking prisoners. Human and youkai, friend and foe, weak and strong, all felt her wrath in the form of her gohei, ofuda, and even throwing needles until they were all gone.

Reimu had hoped she wouldn’t wake up tomorrow, or at the very least, she would never see another soul ever again, but she didn’t get through half the morning until Marisa opened the door and greeted her with a teasing “Morning, big sister!” She scrambled to grab whatever was near and flung her gohei at the girl as hard as she could.

The witch side-stepped the throw easily. “C’mon, it’s time t’ get up!”


“Oh yes, it is!”

“Aren’t you supposed to be in bed with a hangover?!”

“So should you, but someone cut our drinking party off early.”

“Shut up.”

Marisa rolled her eyes as Reimu rolled over. “Well, get up; there’s somethin’ I wanna do today.”

“And what’s that?” the other girl mumbled.

“Eat your cooking, of course!”

“Will that make you leave?”


Reimu groaned as she pushed herself up. “Let me get dressed first.” Marisa gave one deep nod and stepped back outside. Once the shrine maiden was ready, she moved into her kitchen. She looked at her supply of rice and scowled.

Reimu set her food down at her place at the table and said, “If I hear a single word out of you, I’m kicking you out, got it?”

Marisa smirked cheekily. “Mm-hm!” she hummed with an overexaggerated nod.

The shrine maiden wasn’t convinced, but she gave her her food anyway. She stared the witch down as the two ate in silence. Occasionally, Marisa would suck in a breath like she was about to speak, but thankfully she stuck to Reimu’s rule.

Marisa set down her chopsticks and leaned over onto an arm. She gave Reimu a wide smile.

The shrine maiden glared harder. “…What?”

“Welp!” the witch started as she pushed herself up. “I’m off!”

“Where are you going?” Reimu asked before she remembered that she didn’t care.

“Patche’s! See ya!”

She grunted in response as Marisa flew away. She cleaned up the mess, then looked through the door that the witch had left open. She frowned and closed it.

Reimu lay down in the middle of the floor, frowning at the ceiling as if it would make whatever bad thing that happened next be unable to. It came a lot quicker than she anticipated when Yukari’s face appeared over her own. She snapped herself upright, pushing the youkai’s face away. “What the hell are you doing here?!”

Yukari pressed a hand to her cheek and made a dejected face. “How can you say that to your poor mother?”

“I’ll exterminate you! For real! Future of Gensokyo be damned!”

The youkai chuckled. “Then who would help me eat all this manjuu?”

Reimu glared at her. “…What’s your angle?”

“My ‘angle?’ Reimu, does everything I do have to have some mean-spirited motivation behind it?”


Yukari sighed and rolled her eyes before taking a seat at Reimu’s table. “Come. Sit. Eat.”

“Why should I?”

“Because if you don’t, I’ll eat all the manjuu, and you won’t get a single bite.” Reimu stood there just staring at the intruder casually eating her snacks. “Could you put some tea on?”

Reimu stormed out the door.

She couldn’t find a hole to crawl into even if she tried, so long as Yukari existed. Somehow, that old-as-the-Earth youkai just knew everything about everyone at every time. Everyone did, especially those—

A camera clicked.

Pesky tengus…

She threw a fistful of ofuda at the source of the sound, but Aya dodged out of the way easily. “Ooh, is the little girl in a bad mood? Seems you’re off your game today, too!”

Reimu didn’t reply. Words wouldn’t teach this youkai a lesson, only her gohei and throwing needles. She threw three of them at Aya and charged her right after.

The tengu’s eyebrow shot up before she slipped out of the way of the purification rod’s swing. “Jeez, you really are in a bad mood today.” The shrine maiden tried again with the same results. “You know, I don’t think this counts as a spellcard duel. In fact, if you tried this against anyone else—” Aya strafed again and—“OW!”—looked down to find a needle sticking out of her skin. “What the hell is your problem?!” Reimu smirked before trying the same strategy again. Aya dodged a longer distance away this time, but that didn’t stop the thrown needles from seeking out her flesh. She quickly moved her arm down to prevent them from going into her stomach, but she really should have just dodged again. She did a short dodge again, and when the shrine maiden swept past her, she used her hauchiwa fan to knock her out of the sky and into the forest below. “If we weren’t friends, I’d kill you, you know!” Aya called out before flying away.

Reimu hit the ground, unfortunately still breathing, but thankfully not too injured. She rolled over, and a raindrop landed in her eye.

It was official: The Hakurei shrine maiden was a barbaric, mannerless, evil, attacker-of-innocents and breaker-of-spellcard-rules.


Less visitors to laugh at her. Less visitors to donate to the shrine, but it was a small price to pay if it meant there wouldn’t be any youkai to mock her.

“Reimu,” a voice spoke.

“Yukari,” the shrine maiden growled.

“Do you have any explanation for your behavior?”

The girl fixed her jaw for a moment. “No. I don’t. In fact, I think I was justified in what I did.”

“You do…?” Yukari asked. There was neither amusement nor confusion in her voice. “Do you truly believe that what you did was right? That there won’t be any repercussions? Any consequences? If you do, then I’ve truly never, in all my life, met a bigger fool.”

“What about it?!” Reimu snapped. “I’m supposed to just take it?! All the insults, all the digs, the—! the—! the—!”

No, Reimu,” Yukari interrupted. “But what you did—that one action you took—!” The ancient youkai took a deep breath. “It is likely possible that one attack undid every effort you made to—”


Yukari took a silent, deep breath. When she spoke, her voice was quiet, measured, and steady. “I understand. And I am sorry.” A moment’s silence passed. “Youkai will come for you. I will not let them take your life. I will let you take time for yourself. I suggest you think about the consequences of your actions and what you will do to fix this.”

Another leaf fell to the cobblestones, and Reimu swept it away. It was peaceful. Everyone was leaving her alone, and no one was making fun of her. It was nice. She looked up at the sky. Not a cloud in sight. She set down her broom and went inside. It was only as she was about to check her supply of rice that she remembered that she was bordering on having none left. Still, though, she had enough for one meal. Then she’d go get more. She opened it up and found that it was full. Yukari had probably filled it, she figured. And if that was the case, then she may have put a few sacks of rice in her storeroom. That’d be nice. But she’d check later. For now, she’d make herself a meal and eat alone.

Another leaf fell to the cobblestones, and Reimu swept it away. It was quiet. No one had come to the shrine in a week. It was… nice. She…

She’d had a dream last night. It was about… when she was younger. Before she met Marisa. She was always alone. Just like she was now. Before the youkai would come bother her every day. She was tired.

She set down her broom, went inside, and laid down for a nap.

Her mother wouldn’t be coming home, the priests said. Something happened to her, and now she…
Her bottom lip trembled, and her eyes hurt. She looked down, gripping her dress tightly. She felt a hand on her head, and she batted it away. The priest tried to console her, but she yelled at them to go away. She retreated into the shrine.
“Rei—” one started. A small clay pot was flung from inside and shattered on the cobblestones, the water inside escaping into the cracks of the path.

She heard the retreating of footsteps as she lay in the middle of the room, sobbing. She’d been sobbing for some time when a hand touched her hair and began caressing her. The voice that spoke reassurances was so familiar, yet so foreign.

Reimu woke up with wet eyes. She wiped them dry with her sleeve before she realized that the smell of food was in the air. She pushed herself up and looked towards her kitchen.

“Good morning,” the gap youkai spoke, her voice clipped.

The shrine maiden’s voice was hoarse from disuse as she started, “Yuk—” She cleared her throat. “Yukari… What are you doing here?”


Reimu was silent as she stared at the woman’s back. “No, you… What are you doing… here?” she asked, unable to find better words.

Yukari turned back towards her. “I came here to check on you. As I typically do.” She turned back to her task.

“…You… don’t usually cook for me.”

“How observant. I’m glad you’re keeping your wits sharp.” In a louder voice, she said, “No, I don’t.”

“So… why are you?”

Yukari continued cooking in silence. “Did you do as I asked?”

Reimu fidgeted for a moment.

“Do you remember what I asked you to do?”

The shrine maiden continued to stay silent.

The youkai began plating the food. She set the cookware and utensils aside and grabbed the meal. She entered the main room and set it in front of Reimu. The girl stared down at it before flicking her eyes back up at the woman. Yukari took that as an opportunity to continue. “I asked you to reflect on your actions and what you would do to fix them.”

Reimu crossed her arms. “I’m not a child, you know.”

The aged woman leaned in. “You may be a 16-year-old youkai slayer, but you are a 16-year-old youkai slayer. Everything that you know is not everything there is to know. And when there is so much to know, can you truly say that you know anything?”

The girl squirmed under her gaze.


She tentatively picked up her chopsticks and began picking away at her meal.

Yukari sighed silently as she watched her eat. She opened her mouth to speak but thought better of it.


“Nothing.” The woman’s eyes drifted away. “It’s nothing.”

A/N: Am I layin’ it on too thick?
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I don't know why Yukari is so peeved, who wouldn't want to give Aya a good whacking? Lord knows Yukari is experienced in whacking animals.
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I enjoyed it, I think this will work as a short story. Though It does make me question how will you develop the plot further, as the title suggests that there will be more to come.
Internal conflicts is just my thing, yknow. Love it when characters confront their personal problem and have the resolve through it.
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The big question for me is why Reimu’s reacting this strongly. Reflexive drunken youkai extermination right after the slip? Sure. Still being grumpy and aggressive the next morning? Fine. Being out of sorts a whole week later? I’d need a bit more explanation for that. Still, I’m curious where this will go.
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I'm quite surprised that Aya's taken so strongly by Reimu trying to turn her into a youkai pincushion.

She did the same to Kogasa just to get out of paying her bills, and there's no way that Aya's not had Reimu try and murder her before, not when she regularly writes articles calling her a fraud and a drunk. Half of Gensokyo's gunning for Aya and practically no one likes her, so I can't see anyone batting an eye if she's finally annoyed Reimu into killing her.
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I wouldn't say it's ever laid on too thick, but there's a point or two where it escalates a little fast, to my eyes. That said, I'm another person for whom this story is my kind of jam, and I wanna see where it goes. You have this anon's interest and attention.
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I like this story and I like to see the interplay between an old mysterious youkai and a young youkai slayer. Hope we get to make choices soon though.
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I'm striking a delicate balance between "slow burn" and "all killer, no filler." And by delicate, I mean the complete opposite because I fumbled the Aya scene so hard that we're not even playing football anymore.

Sorry to say, but there likely won't be any choices to make. I've had this idea rolling around in my mind for a while, and I'm really looking forward to the places I plan on taking it. That is and will be the case for a lot of my fics. Also, I'm new to the site and even posting on forums in general, so the idea of CYOA fanfiction is almost completely foreign to me. But I do have an idea for a story that will be completely audience-directed once I'm used to posting on this site! And then, once I'm older and wiser, I might even be able to write something that can strike a good balance between the two.
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>>44635 Here. I just want to emphasize that I don't think you fumbled anything terribly bad, and you've written your story well enough to have me looking forward to more.
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Oh, no, no, no, definitely not! In fact, the better analogy is that I tripped, dropped the steak dinner on the floor, and when I looked up, it was filet mingon. See, now I realize that it jumped off the rails when Yukari requested tea because Reimu was never supposed to leave the shrine; she was supposed to sit down and they would talk about her calling Yukari mom, but Yukari realized that she wasn't going to be sitting down so she took the opportunity to make a playful little request which set Reimu off. So they both went off script, so I had to come up with another scene—

AND I should explain that scene! >>44634, you better be paying attention! Reimu's ofuda home in, right? Well, they didn't because she was indeed off her game because, canonically, the more effort she puts into something, the less likely it is to succeed! Then the reason Aya gets mad at her for stabbing her is because, in addition to such an unexpected attack, her needles hurt more than usual because of the additional emotion-based damage on top of the spirit-based damage! (Also, the reason it was a melee instead of a spellcard duel was because I don't trust my ability to write something like that. There's only so many ways you can write "character shot at character, and character reacted." Sure, it's awesome as a reader, but I just can't do it as a writer.

Call me St. Paul with these run-on sentences.

So, me adding Yukari’s faux pas actually improved the story by adding more drama than if everyone had just been adults and played nice!

Man, I really am just the best writer I know (with about two handfuls of exceptions)(also I'm on mobile atm, so I can't be bothered, but pretend there's a smug Cirno). Regrettably, though, I am not Gene Wolfe; I can guide you on this journey, but I cannot help you understand my every footfall. Read Book of the New Sun.
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“I’m afraid I can’t do that,” a voice spoke. Marisa whipped her broomstick around to the woman behind her. The gap youkai was sitting on one of her rifts with her fan hiding half her face.

“Why not?!”

“Because she has not yet fulfilled her obligation.”

“What obl’gation? I didn’ hear anything ‘bout ‘n obl’gation!”

“Hm. How curious. I wonder why.”

“Don’ ac’ dumb with me!”

“The word you’re looking for is ‘coy.’”

“Whatever! Where’s Reimu?! What’d you do t’ her?! Why aren’ you letting me ge’ t’ the shrine?!”

“So many questions from such a little girl,” the youkai murmured to herself. She closed her fan and rested it on her lap. “Reimu is at the shrine.” She continued before Marisa spoke again. “I haven’t done anything to her. And the reason I’m not letting you near the shrine is because I don’t want her to be distracted right now.”

Marisa crossed her arms. “So she can f’fil her obl’gation…?”

“Precisely,” Yukari spoke with a nod.

“An’ jus’ what is this obl’gation?”

“That’s not something for you to worry about.”

“Like hell it is!” The witch whipped out her mini-hakkero and started firing.

Yukari fell backward into her gap and reappeared right behind the girl. “If you ever find out what’s going on,”—Marisa threw her elbow back, trying to hit the woman in the face, but the youkai caught it with a hand—“I promise you that it will be from Reimu herself. For now, I suggest you turn around and go play with another one of your little friends, alright?”

“No... way!” Marisa wrenched her arm away from her and fired a laser that the youkai dodged easily.

“Fine then. But don’t blame me for the beating you’re about to receive.”

Reimu didn’t know what she was supposed to do. The only thing she could think of was to apologize to Aya, but… well, that tengu deserved what she got! So… what?

She looked up at the sound of giggling and stomping feet. She moved to the door and slid it open. Outside, Chen was chasing a blue butterfly. She chased it as it zig-zagged, then in a circle, until finally, it flew higher than she could reach. The bakeneko jumped at it, but not high enough to be able to damage the fragile creature. Despite her failure, she continued to chase the insect into the surrounding woods. She disappeared into the trees, and then, after a few moments, her head popped out of a bush. When she spotted Reimu, she bolted towards the shrine maiden, calling out her name.

“…Chen. What are you doing here?”

“Lady Yukari sent me here to come check on you because you looked sad!” the cat said, chipper as ever.

“Did she now…”

“So she said to try to cheer you up, but try not to… uh… ‘let on that…’ ummm…”

“She didn’t want me to find out she sent you here, you mean.”


“Uh-huuuh…” Reimu frowned at the thought of Yukari being sympathetic. And why did she herself make her food? Wasn’t it always Ran that did the cooking? And everything else, for that matter? Wait, did that mean that Yukari lived in a house? Reimu always thought that she lived in that gap-dimension-thing-place.

Suddenly, she remembered that there was a guest in front of her. “I’ll go put on some tea,” she said, stepping back into the shrine.

“Okay!” the cat chirped.

Once the tea had been brewed, she put two cups on a tray and set them down next to Chen. Reimu sat beside her as the bakeneko grabbed her drink and brought it to her lips. “NYOW!”

“It just came off the stove, you know,” Reimu deadpanned before she blew on her own tea.

“It’s hot!”


The two sat there sipping their tea. It was just like before, the shrine maiden reflected. The perfect amount of chaos and calm.

“Hey!” Chen spoke. “Lady Yukari said you called her ‘mom.’ Is that true?”

Reimu’s grip tightened on her cup. “…Y-yes. …I did.”


“I… don’t know.”

“You don’t? Humans are weird…”

“…They sure are.” The shrine maiden took a sip of her tea. “Hey…” When the bakeneko made a curious sound, she continued. “What’s Yukari to you?” The cat cocked her head at the question. “Like… Is she more than just your master? Do you consider her a friend?”

“Lady Yukari is like a granny!” Chen spoke happily.

A puff of air slipped out from Reimu’s lips before she sealed them again. “‘A granny,’ huh? And how about Ran?”

“Ummm… Another granny!”

Reimu started chuckling until it grew into full-on joyous laughter. “H-her, too?! Ah-HAH!” She snorted. “Ah! I don’t—! I don’t usually do that!” she defended.

Chen, giggling along with her, asked, “Do what?”

“N-nevermind that!” the shrine maiden explained, covering her smile with a hand.

Like anything else good, the day had to come to an end. Reimu bid Chen farewell and returned to her duties. As she swept, she pondered who’d come to visit next, a smile on her face. The day continued on as it had since she had wounded Aya, but the sun shone just a little bit brighter, and the breeze blew just a little warmer. When dusk turned to night, she retired to her bed, thoughts of Marisa walking up the shrine steps in her head.

Marisa did not come that day. Or the next. No one did. Yukari, however, showed up at the end of the week. And she brought with her an out-of-place dish: A steak, mashed potatoes, and grilled asparagus.

Reimu’s eyes flicked from the plate to the youkai. “Doesn’t this seem a little… heavy for breakfast?”

“I thought you liked free food,” Yukari said before sipping her tea.

The shrine maiden sighed before sitting down and beginning to eat.

“Ah, I was right!” Yukari spoke quietly and playfully. “More importantly, did you consider what you were going to do to fix your mistakes?

Reimu’s next bite stopped just short of her mouth. “Ah… That…”

“Yes. That.”

“Uh…” The shrine maiden’s eyes drifted away. She set Yukari’s fork down and let a long breath escape from her nose. “The only thing I could think to do was apologize to Aya, but…”

“‘But…?’” Yukari pressed when the silence grew a little too long.

“But is that really… it? That’s not going to work. …Right?”

The youkai let the girl sit in suspense as she took a drink. “No, of course it won’t.”

“Oh…” Another silence filled the room.

“Truth be told…” Reimu looked up at those words. “I couldn’t think of anything either.” The shrine maiden’s eyes widened, and her head tilted slightly. Yukari closed her eyes and smiled. “I think this a wound only time can heal.”

“You’re serious…? Wait, wait, wait! What about Keine?! Can’t she erase history or something?! Or any other youkai?! We can just make it so that night never happened!”

“It’s not that simple, Reimu,” Yukari spoke.

“How?! It’s dead simple!”

No, it isn’t.” It was. But it wasn’t. The problem was that they were both right. But Yukari, being older and wiser, was more right. “Reimu, please… just… trust me…”

“What? You said we need to fix the spell card system! …Or something.”

“No. What needs to be fixed is something else entirely; I just…” Yukari closed her eyes and shook her head. “Nevermind that; you’re free to go.”

“‘Free to go? What does that mean?”

“That I’m no longer holding you captive. Anyone and everyone may come and go as they please to and from the shrine once more.”

“Since when were you holding me captive?”

Yukari cocked her head. “Since Marisa tried to rescue you, I suppose.”

Reimu cocked her own in turn. “Marisa tried to rescue me?”

“Oh yes. And she failed. Not that you needed rescuing, of course.” The woman took another sip, and the shrine maiden blinked at her.

“…I’m so confused.”

“By what?”

“By everything!”

“Ah, I see. Well, none of it’s really important, so don’t think about it and eat.”

Reimu stared at the woman for a while before sighing. “Fine…”

“So then I said, ‘Nex’ time ya wanna tussle with me, ya better rethink it!’”

“Really…” Reimu drawled.

“Yep!” Marisa lied. “‘Course, I still couldn’ ge’ close for some reason.”

The shrine maiden rolled her eyes. “I wonder why…”

“But anyways…!” the witch started as she plopped herself down beside her friend. “How’ve you been? As Yukari’s prisoner, I mean.”

“Fine, I guess? Nothing really happened. Chen stopped by once, but that’s about it.”

“Chen did? I thought Yukari said you weren’ taking visitors…”

Reimu shrugged a shoulder. “She said she was giving me time to think or something.”

“Oh yeah! An’ she said you’d tell me what that was all about.”

The shrine maiden closed her eyes. “She wanted me to think about ‘the consequences of my actions.’”

“You mean stabbing Aya.”

She winced. “Yeah…”

“Wha’ was with that, anyway?”

“It’s… nothing.”

“Didn’ seem like nothin’. Ya sure y're okay?”

“I’m fine!” Reimu snapped. When she realized that her friend had jumped back slightly, she turned away and mumbled, “Sorry… But I’m fine. Really.”

“Uh… Okay.” Marisa slowly tapped her finger against the wooden porch. “Hey! We shoul’ go do somethin’!”

“N-no, that’s… alright.”

“Why? Y’know, y’re acting real weird lately…”

“I just… don’t think it’s a good idea…”

“Wha’s not a good idea?”


“‘Leaving?’ What are y’ talkin’ ‘bout? Y’ve been stuck at th’ shrine fer two weeks now!” The witch pushed herself up. “Fer all you know, there’s some new youkai runnin’ around!”

“Is there a new youkai running around?”

Marisa started running away, broom in hand. “Le’s go find out!”

None of the humans of the village reacted to Reimu’s presence, besides the usual amount of fear and respect. The youkai, on the other hand, fled from her faster than ever. “Maybe I shouldn’t be here,” Reimu spoke.

“Whaaat? O’ course not! You bein’ here is the best thing you can be doin’!”

“What makes you say that?”

“Well, where would you rather be?”

“I don’t know…”

“Then this ‘s where y’re meant t’ be!”

“I’m not so sure…”

“It’ll be fiiine,” Marisa said as she ducked into Geidontei.

“Wait—!” Reimu started as she followed the blonde girl.

“Miyoi! Two orders of tonight’s special!”

“Marisa!” the shrine maiden hissed.

“Ah, hello, Miss Marisa!” Geidontei’s centerpiece spoke. “And Miss—!” Miyoi blanched. She bowed her head until it was nearly touching the counter. “Greetings and good tidings to you, Lady Shrine Maiden of the Hakurei Shrine,” she said to the wood.

“Uh, you don’t have to…” Reimu spoke as she held her hands up.

“Please! Forgive me for my insolence!”

“Miyoi…!” Reimu hissed as politely as she could. “Stop shou…!”

“I shall now commit ritual suicide if it pleases you!”

“No! Just—!” The shrine maiden looked around the bar. Seeing all eyes on her, she turned around and hurried out the door and out of the village.

Reimu had another dream of a woman stroking her hair as she lay in her lap.
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I sincerely hope at some point that Reimu informs Yukari that Chen thinks of her as a grandma.

Also, what's up with Miyoi? I haven't read the print works with her, so is this normal-ish for her character, or is it meant to be a sign something's off?
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“You know, many would describe that as a pleasant dream,” Eirin spoke, her head resting against her propped-up fist. “In fact, I sell some villagers that dream pill.”

“Can you help me or not?” Reimu asked.

“Of course I can. If you’ll only stop being rude.”

The shrine maiden sighed. “I’m sorry. Can you please help me?”

The pharmacist nodded. “Yes, I can. What kind of dream would you like?”

“I don’t know… Normal?”

Eirin smirked. “What on earth could that possibly mean?”

“Just make me a dream pill! …Please.”

The older woman opened a drawer in her desk and pulled out a purple pouch. “Here. This one will turn you into a butterfly. That should work.”

Reimu’s red-white wings carried far and high over the countless flowers that she couldn’t hope to name. She settled on a violet flower and began drinking its nectar. When she had her fill, she fled from it. She continued on her journey, passing through a torii gate. She flew over a river that she was unable to see the other side of. Over a bustling street filled with wisps of white. A woman with a scythe set out, banished from her post.

She stopped in a town to rest her wings. She drank from a blue flower. A young girl was writing something as a woman sitting next to her lectured her. A man set down a cup of tea for each of them. The woman picked up her cup, and the girl snatched a note from underneath it. Once she had finished reading it, she tore it in two and let the halves fall to the ground. The woman asked what it had said, and the girl replied that it was nothing of value.

She reached a giant door. A prince and a jiang shi were waiting in line to be let through. An ox managed to get loose and charged through a shrine. Something shining red danced in the sun’s light before crashing into the dirt. The shrine turned to ash on the wind as flames licked its corpse clean.

She flew underneath another torii gate and into the queen’s chamber. She landed on her finger. Peace took her as her endless journey came to a close.

“It didn’t work.”

Eirin frowned. “How? That drug has worked on everyone who’s ever taken it. What makes you any different?”

“That woman was still in my dreams.”

“What woman? The one you complained about last time? How do you even know it was the same woman?”

“I just do, alright?! Make her go away!”

“Ah, so that’s what this is about. Still, it’s a strange request.” The pharmacist reached into the drawer again and pulled out another pouch, this one red. “You won’t have an easy time falling asleep taking this, but you’ll wake up instantly if there’s an intruder.”

“You think there’s an intruder…?”

“If you’re dreaming of laying your head on a woman’s lap as she strokes your hair even after taking a pill that gives you a completely different dream, then it can only be caused by an external source.”

“You mean someone’s breaking in every night. …Yukari…!”

Every single little noise kept Reimu up. In fact, it felt like every one of her senses were heightened to some degree. Nightvision was certainly a handy thing, but not when she was trying to sleep.

There was nothing for it, though, so she decided to take a walk. As she went down the steps, some of the noises got louder than she expected them to. Whatever they were, they sure were an annoying racket. Maybe if she got rid of whatever was making that sound, she could finally fall asleep. So she started flying towards their source.

It wasn’t just sounds that revealed themselves to her; it was lights, too. Reimu squinted at the sight, trying to make sense of it. “Oh, it’s those annoying screaming girls…” she realized. She was about to turn back when she spied a shock of purple hair with a flower in it. She landed just behind the crowd and started muscling her way towards the girl. She tapped her on the shoulder.

“Reimu?!” Akyuu gasped. “What are you doing here?!”

“What?! I can’t hear you over that racket!”

The chronicler opened her mouth to try again, then closed it before rolling her eyes. She leaned in close and shouted, “This is their last song of the night; we’ll talk after!”

The shrine maiden frowned and crossed her arms but let the girl have her fun. After just a moment, that turned into her plugging her ears. A minute more, and the song ended, thankfully. She tapped her foot impatiently as the pair on stage thanked the crowd for coming.

“Phew, wasn’t that great?!” Akyuu spoke.

“Awfully noisy…” Reimu murmured in response. At the same time, they both asked, “So, what are you doing here?”

“Ah, you first,” the purple-haired girl insisted.

“I couldn’t sleep,” the brunette replied with a shrug. “How about you, Child of Miare? What are you doing outside of the village at night?”

“Oh, come on! We both know I’m protected by the rules; nothing’s gonna happen!”

“You know not every youkai follows those rules, right? Also, that doesn’t answer my question.”

Akyuu sighed. “I like their music, okay? Besides, it’s fine! Miss Keine escorted me here.”

“Hmmm. Alright, whatever.”

“So, what about you? Don’t tell me that sound nullifying spell doesn’t work.”

Sound nullifying spell…? Oh, I guess someone talked about that when I told them to knock it off. “Eirin gave me some medicine so I could… I’m trying to catch an intruder.”

“How do those things correlate?”

“They’re drugs to help me stay awake. I think they improved all my senses.”

“Oh, I see. Any idea who it is?”


“But isn’t that normal?”

“No, no, this is different! She—!” Reimu sighed before relenting. She explained what had been going on, and Akyuu nodded along thoughtfully.

“That is disturbing… Is she trying to become your mother or something?”

“You think so…?”

“It would make sense, wouldn’t it?”

Reimu thought about it for a while. “But why would she start doing that?”

Akyuu shook her head. “I don’t know, but you might want to do something about it.”

“Right. I’ll take you home, then I’m going to find Yukari.”

She wouldn’t be able to for the better half of a month. When she did, the youkai claimed she was “just visiting.”

“Whatever, just leave me alone.” Reimu pointed her gohei at her. “And I swear, the next time you touch me while I’m sleeping, I will kill you.”

“‘Touch you while you’re sleeping?’ Just what are you talking about?”

“The dreams I’ve had about a woman stroking my face while I sleep in her lap! The reason I’ve been having those dreams is because you’ve been doing it, haven’t you?!”

“I have not.”

“Don’t lie to me!”

“It’s the truth. I’ve been busy; ask Ran.”

“…Where is she?”

“Not here. Maybe next time, then. Listen, Reimu. I want what’s best for you. Because what’s best for you is best for Gensokyo. Best for the youkai, and best for me.”

“Then leave me alone!”

“No. I suppose your claim that I’m trying to be your mother isn’t entirely inaccurate. But of course, I’m not your mother; I’m more like… your boss. And as your boss, I need you in the best condition that you can be in. How about this? I’ll fetch that baku, and she can tell you what’s going on.”

Reimu crossed her arms. “Fine.”

For whatever reason, it took some time for Yukari to retrieve the youkai. So long, in fact, that Reimu went in to make some tea. Only after it was done did the dream-eating youkai enter the shrine. She sat down at her table and stole her teacup before taking out a small leather-bound book. She thumbed it open and murmured, “So, let’s see… Ah, here it is! Yes, mysterious woman stroking her face, she looks relaxed—at peace even… Rather odd for you to be hostile over such a thing, isn’t it?”

Reimu grabbed a new tea cup and sat down opposite of her. “Whatever. Who is she?”

“I’m a baku, Miss Hakurei, not a fortune teller.”

“Just tell me what you can about her then.”

“Well, she has dark brown hair, red clothes—kinda like yours—and a featureless face. If you ask me, she’s supposed to be your mother.”

“What? I don’t have a mother.”

“Miss Hakurei, I may not know much about humans, but I’m pretty sure they don’t appear out of nowhere.”

“That’s not what I mean!”

“Oh, you’re one of those orphan things, aren’t you?”

“Y—! …Yeah… I am.” It happened so quickly that she didn’t even realize what was going on. Her vision blurred, and tears slid down her cheeks. Her breaths were shaky, and her chest ached. Her heart felt hollow. She put her hands to her face, trying to stop the tears from falling.

A pair of arms wrapped around her, and lips kissed the crown of her head. Yukari’s voice spoke, “You’ve been saving your tears for so long that you’ve forgotten you’ve had them, haven’t you? Cry hard. Cry long. Cry until you can cry no more. I’ll be here for you.”

The shrine maiden’s sorrow redoubled itself as she gripped the woman back, her face pressed against her collarbone. She wanted to push her away, but she couldn’t find the strength to. When at long last she had stopped crying, she murmured, “Why are you doing this…?”

Yukari was silent for a moment. “What do you mean?”

“You’re after something,” Reimu murmured into the youkai’s clothes. “What do you want from me?”

“Your success.”

“…What are you talking about?”

“You never smile. You’re indifferent towards everyone. You feel that every moment that does not bring you satisfaction is an inconvenience. Your only pleasure is drinking and making money. I’ve let you get away with that for far too long. I’m… truly sorry.”

“You’re not… You’re lying…”

“Reimu, I— I’m… terrible at this, aren’t I?

“What are you saying?”

Yukari shook her head and held the girl away from her by her shoulders. “There’s no other way to do this, so I’m just going to. Reimu, I’m adopting you.”

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Imagine being poor Doremy, dragged on over to the shrine and awkwardly having to sit there while Reimu begins sobbing and her and Yukari begin having some deep and heavy emotional conversations. Poor baku.
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I'll headcanon this as Doremy's reaction because that's funnier in my head
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That's definitely not where I thought the story would go. Also yay, Akyuu appearance.
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File 171934813691.jpg - (192.64KB, 850x1217, __hakurei_reimu_and_yakumo_yukari_touhou_drawn_by_.jpg)
Sanae had once told Reimu and Marisa a story about a family of cannibals who appeared completely normal in front of others but would knock them unconscious once they had gathered enough trust. That was exactly how the shrine maiden felt now.

Yukari’s house may not have been normal by her standards, but it did seem mostly normal, according to someone’s. She expected… Well, she didn’t know what she expected, but she didn’t expect it to be suitable for a human. There were a lot of things that the kappa would want to get their hands on, but Reimu wouldn’t know what they were or their use. The décor was… purple. And old. Probably from a country across the sea, too. There was a white bear skin, complete with open maw, on the floor instead of a rug. And a dead animal skull was sitting on a shelf.

She carefully sipped her tea.

The only thing she could do in this situation was listen to the sound of Ran’s kitchen knife working on some vegetable. The idea of something so normal happening in the other room would have been comforting, but knowing that it was a youkai holding that sharpened object changed that. Of course, they weren’t going to eat her, but… they were youkai. And she was a human.

No, the worst thing was the adoption. What the hell did that mean? Like a pet or a child? She’d probably already know if this was anyone else, but this was Yukari. …Was she facing retirement? At this age? Did shrine maidens retire? Or maybe shrine maidens had to be young? She was only… actually, how old was she again? Sixteen? Seventeen? Her mother…

Her mother… What had happened to her…? When she died, it was before the spell card system was even an idea, so the likelihood of her having been… Suddenly, she realized that she didn’t want to think about that. It was odd; the idea of someone being killed by a youkai had never bothered her before—it was a somewhat regular thing, after all. But the idea of it being her mother… disturbed her.

“I’m back!” Yukari called out, making the shrine maiden jump a little. Reimu heard her shikigami greet her before the gap youkai entered the room. “Hello, Reimu!” she greeted as she sat down to the girl’s right. “How are you today?”

“Uh… good,” the shrine maiden replied, though it sounded more like a question than a response.

“Wonderful! I have a little gift for you!” Yukari spoke as she laid a box on the table.

“Oh. Oh great! How wonderful!” Her acting skills could use way more than a bit of work, but if the gap youkai wasn’t fooled, she didn’t make any indication of it.

“…Well? Go ahead and open it!”

“S-sure…” She picked up the box and started untying the red ribbon holding it closed. The last knot, however, was giving her trouble. She gave up on trying to undo the knot and instead gripped it in her fist, trying to brute force the obstruction away. It worked, but the back of her fist slammed into the youkai’s face. Reimu’s eyes widened as Yukari clutched her nose. When she waved her off, Reimu continued opening the box. Slowly, this time.

Inside were Ran’s clothes. The tabard was red, but there was no way this was meant for her. “Uh…”

“Try it on.” Yukari’s words were gentle—sing-song, actually—for a command, but Reimu didn’t want to anger her more than she already had. That smile she still wore was disturbing. She stood up and pulled the white dress over her head, then the red tabard. Yukari stood up and began messing with it until she was satisfied. “There! It looks wonderful on you!”

“Uh, yeah… …Thanks.”

“You’re more than welcome! After all, if you’re going to be living here, you have to look the part!”

“What?! What about—?! What about the shrine? And what if I want to leave?”

“Oh, it’ll be fine! Hardly anyone ever goes there anyway, right?”

“Gee, I wonder why!”

“Don’t use that tone with me, young lady!” Yukari scolded, pointing her fan at the girl.

Reimu hesitated and relented. “S-s-sorry… ma’am…”

“So long as you understand.” The youkai turned her head to the other room and called, “Ran, could you put on some tea?” then turned back to the girl. “You don’t have to stay standing; sit back down!” The shrine maiden did as she was ordered. “And just what do you mean by leave?”

“You know. Go? Like… rent a book from Suzunaan or something?”

“Oh, you mean play with your friends! Sure, just ask, and I’ll drop you off!”

“Drop me…? Wait, no! We can’t be seen together!”

“What do you mean we can’t be seen together? What’s wrong with that?”

“I believe what she means, Lady Yukari,” Ran spoke as she set down tea before her master, “is that if someone were to see you so close to Reimu, they will become suspicious of your relationship. Particularly your motives.”

“Nonsense! They have no reason to; I’m doing this for the good of everyone! Right, Reimu?”


“Lady Yukari, permit me to elaborate. An overwhelming majority of those living in Gensokyo believe you to be a nefarious manipulator. Some even believe that Miss Reimu is merely a soulless puppet that you yourself created to keep everyone in their place.”

“Oh, preposterous!”

“Please let me finish. From every angle, your reputation is not favorable. Miss Reimu is also feared by some. If the two of you are seen together, particularly by a village human, that will only decrease your respective reputations even further. They will jump to the conclusion that you plan to dispose of everyone in Gensokyo who does not fear you.

“That’s ridiculous, Ran! And you know it!”

“That is correct. But no less true. I will calculate the probability of my statement becoming true if it will help.”

Yukari glared up at her shikigami. “…Fine.”

“I will run the calculations three times.” Ran closed her eyes and let silence reign. “The average chance of one’s fear of the proposed conspiracy is 81.42%.”

The gap youkai shook her head as she pushed herself up. “I don’t believe you. And I’m going to prove you wrong!” she said as she left the room.

Ran sighed as she sat down where Yukari was and took a sip from her untouched tea. “I’m sorry you got dragged into this mess.”

Reimu’s head snapped to the shikigami.

“Oh, don’t act so surprised. If you’ve ever had the thought that Lady Yukari’s main motivation for anything is attention seeking, you’re more than correct. The only reason she has any subtlety is because she has to maintain appearances. Particularly in front of me. The infallible master with her bright-eyed student looking over her shoulder.” She took another sip of her tea. “Not Chen, though. The little tattletale is always telling me about the candy she got from ‘Auntie Yukari.’ Which reminds me! Never mention her age! Period!” The shikigami took a proper drink and then let out a bigger sigh than before.

“Er… right… Uh, hey… What do you think of Yukari?”

“How do you mean?”

“Well… like… your relationship.”

“I’m afraid I still have no idea what you’re asking.”

Reimu braced herself. “Chen called her a granny.”

The shikigami was unable to contain her laughter, so she decided to just let it all out. The shrine maiden didn’t expect it to sound so fox-like as she started laughing along with her. When they were nearly done, Ran wiped away a stray tear. “You should have seen her face when she first called her a granny.”

“Was she mad?”

“She was furious! She was so angry that she was crying! ‘Ran! You said your training was going well!’ ‘Lady Yukari, I said I had made a lot of progress, not that she was ready to be a Yakumo! It’s your fault, anyway! You came to see her when I told you not to!’” The shikigami massaged her jaw before she said, “She gave me quite the beating for that.”

“She beat you?!”

Ran chuckled. “Reimu, I’m a youkai—and a strong one, at that. There’s no reason to be worried about me. If you’re worried about getting beat yourself, don’t be; she’s always been worried about you.”

“Does… she… see me as a daughter…?”

The fox youkai nodded, but she wore a solemn look. “When she returned from that party, she talked my ear off about how happy she was. I don’t mean to imply that’s a bad thing, but she does not want her mask to crack, you know? And I hope you don’t think ill of her; she does want what’s best for you.” A beat of silence passed. “She’s mellowed out a lot over the years. She even tried to make friends with your mother, after all.”

Reimu frowned. “Were my mother and her close?”

“No. She was just the first Hakurei shrine maiden she had revealed to be so closely involved in the running of Gensokyo, is all. Your mother, just like you, tried to shoot first and ask questions after, but Lady Yukari just slipped away instead.”

“How… similar am I to my mother?”

Ran stared at the girl for a while. “Very. If the world had been as kind to her as it’s been to you, I think the two of you would have been nearly identical.”

“And… And what happened to her?”

“I don’t know… Yukari wouldn’t say.”

“What do you mean…?”

“Only Yukari knows what happened. I’m sorry I can’t tell you any more.”

“…It’s… It’s alright…” Reimu took a sip of her tea. “You know… you’re surprisingly easy to talk to.”

“Because Lady Yukari isn’t here.” Ran lifted her cup and said before she took a drink, “I can never relax with her around.”

“Neither can I,” Reimu chuckled, and the shikigami joined her. “That reminds me, you never answered my question.”

“About our relationship?”


“Well, if you’re asking if I see her as a mother, I don’t. Though I wouldn’t say our relationship is always a master-servant one. In fact, I more think of it as a mentor-student relationship at times, particularly when she’s helping me train Chen. And I don’t see Chen as a daughter, either, merely a particularly rowdy apprentice.”

“I see…” Reimu spoke. For some reason, it felt like her hopes had been dashed somewhat. Ran must have realized this as she put her hand on the girl’s shoulder.

“I understand that your lack of a family has been causing you a great deal of issues, but also that you’re suspicious of Lady Yukari. If you ever need refuge that you cannot find anywhere else, come find me, and we’ll escape for a while.” Ran smiled mischievously. “We can just tell Lady Yukari we’re picking up ingredients in the village.”

“A-alright. Thanks.”

The fox’s smile turned into a more honest one. “You’re more than welcome, Reimu.”
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So, how exactly is Yukari coercing Reimu to go along with this? Given how stubborn Reimu is and how violently she reacted to the idea, there's got to be something. Plus given what Ran just said about Yukari's reputation, it's likely half of Gensokyo is likely to see the current state of affairs as Yukari kidnapping Reimu. Including (or perhaps I should say especially) people like Marisa who might actually try to do something about it.

Like, this isn't a bad setup, I do want to see where this goes, but I feel like we need more justification for why Reimu's playing along, however reluctantly.
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