The day started like any other day typical of Gensokyo in spring, differentiated by it's peers only by the scream that rose from the Hakurei Shrine that morning.
“I've been robbed!?” Reimu shouted in disbelief, pacing the halls of her home on the property. Clothes and objects were strewn everywhere, laying haphazardly where they fell. Someone had infiltrated the house during the night. “What kind of disrespectful-- Suika! Hey Suika!” Reimu shouted,s tomping through the hall towards the common room, where the diminutive oni lay sleeping on the floor beneath the table, only slightly disturbed by the loud ruckus Reimu made as she tromped towards her and shook her violently. “Suika, wake up you drunk louse!”
“Guh- Reimu, wha-” Suika mumbles as her horns are used a handlebars to steer her sleep-drunken eyes to Reimu.
“I've been robbed, but I don't know what they took!” Reimu panics, “get up, get up! Help me look!” Reimu drops the oni's head, and the smaller girl drags herself back up to sitting at the table, rubbing her neck. As Reimu rampaged around cursing up a storm as she searched the building for whatever she was missing, Suika pats down the table top in search of her trusty gourd. Like a businessman with coffee, Suika needs at least two bottles worth of sake to roll out of bed in the morning. Her hand claps down on something round and hard, and without a moment to waste, raises it to her mouth and lands a rather awkward kiss on the face of a red and blue dressed doll hanging limply from her hand. Suika snaps back in surprise, dangling the doll by it's arm as her startled, waking mind starts to process what happened.
“Uh... huh...?” Suika groans, looking away from the doll to scan the table. That's odd, was this doll here before? It was right around where her gourd... should have been...
… Should have be-
Another scream pierces the morning air.
“Reimu! Reimu! I've been robbed too!” Suika shouts, jumping to her feet and sending the table crashing to it's top in the process. A storm of footsteps rush into the room as Reimu hurries to the scene, Suika spins around, brandishing the doll. “I was looking for my gourd and I grabbed this instead and, what is this even doing here? Did you have a doll like this Reimu?”
“What?” Reimu asks, stepping forward to inspect the object, taking it from the oni. Familiarity hits her instantly as Reimu's eyes take on a dark light.
“That's bitch!” Reimu barks, turning on her heels and pacing over to the door outside, left open by the sneak-thief. “I never thought she would be so bold, but it looks like I was too trusting,” Reimu says, looking out over the morning sky towards the Forest of Magic. “Come on Suika, we're going to go pay her a visit.”
“Wait, but Reimu~!” Suika whines, “I don't have my gourd, I need sake Reimu!”
“Deal with it!” Reimu barks as she crosses the room to her closet, throwing open the door.
“But Reimu, I don't wanna~” Suika moans, “I hate being sober!”
“Huh,” Reimu says, rummaging through the various piles of unseasonal clothes and accessories laying haphazardly in the closet. “I thought it was in here somewhere, where did I leave...” Reimu mumbles to herself, slowly trailing off as she notices something unusual. A shiny, expensive looking pocketwatch laying on top of everything...
… In place of her Yin-Yang Orb.
“Damn it all!” Reimu shouts, snatching up the watch in a huff and throwing it into the pocket of her skirt. “Come on Suika, we're going,” Reimu commands, storming out of the house and launching into the sky, with a dejected and still moping Suika following lazily behind her.
The two girls make their way into the Forest of Magic, with Reimu leading the charge with rage in her eyes, but the angry light is quickly replaced by a confused one as she draws close to the spired house in the forest, hearing a seven-coloured string of expletives seeping out of the open door.
“This is the last straw, the absolute last straw, figuratively and literally!” Alice's voice resonates from within the house, “I've had it up to my tits with this thieving witch and her complete lack of respect for my personal belongings. She will regret the day she crossed me, and she will weep and wail as she wishes-”
“Hey Alice?” Reimu calls out, having flown closer to the door and witnessed the spectacle of a half-naked Alice storming around her house, angrily trying straw dolls while picking up her own strewn belongings.
“-she never set foot inside my home and defiled my property with her shameful behaviour. She will beg for-”
“Alice!” Reimu shouts again, trying to catch the raving woman's attention.
“-forgiveness and I will just laugh! Laugh! She's earned this! She's so earned this! I'm going to call down the worst curses-”
“Alice!!” Reimu screams, at which point the blonde wheels around.
“What!" Oh!” she screams in response, but quickly recoils when she sees Reimu, “I'm sorry Reimu, I'm busy at the moment, can you-” she starts to explain, then pauses as her eyes fall to Reimu's hand. “Wait, what's that?”
“This is yours, isn't it?” Reimu asks, holding up the doll. Alice hurries over and takes the doll from Reimu's hand and instantly cradles it to her chest despite the handful of nails in one hand and a straw doll in the other hand.
“Yes! Yes, it is, thank you!” Alice sighs, pulling the doll away and giving it a once over, checking for damage, “where did you find this? Did you already beat up Marisa?” Alice asks, still bewildered.
“Marisa?” Reimu asks in return, “Suika found this on my table,” Reimu explains, and pulls the pocketwatch out, “and I found this in my closet.” Alice is silent for a while, calmly straightening out her hair as her face turns a shade of red.
“I see...” Alice says calmly, coughing a bit to clear her throat, then looks back at her house before finally settling her eyes on Reimu. “So... uh... how'd you like it?” she asks.
“Like what?” Reimu asks apprehensively.
“I borrowed a book from Patchouli, you see, a play,” Alice stammers, “and, well, I really liked it. These things are supposed to be acted out though, right? S-so I thought 'Hey!', you know? 'Why not try it out a little?'.”
“Oh, yes, that,” Reimu replies, coughing a little herself, then taking on a pensive expression. “It was... very convincing. Very into your role as a madwoman.”
“Right? I know,” Alice laughs, “I just, you know... I hope you didn't think I was, like...”
“Oh, no, I totally understand, Alice,” Reimu says, making eye contact again before placing her hands on Alice's shoulders. A remorseful air hangs over her face. “I know the role myself, you see.”
“O-oh...” Alice says, gently brushing off Reimu's hands, “I suppose... perhaps we could share... acting tips...”
“Yes...” Reimu replies, looking away as the awkward moment continues to unfold. “So... I'm going to be going now...”
“Wait! Oh, actually...” Alice interrupts, running off into her house and returning a few seconds later carrying the Mini-Hakkero, “I found this here, which is why I was... you know.”
“Oh?” Reimu says, looking back at Alice, then out through the trees. “Should we go bring this back to her then?”
“Well, we should, shouldn't we?” Alice says, turning the thing over in her hand.
“... We probably should, yeah,” Reimu confirms after a few moments of hesitation spend contemplating the world without Master Sparks.
“I'll come along then,” Alice says, pulling down a housecoat from a rack inside the door and throwing it on, filling the pockets with her gathered items.
“Shouldn't you get dressed?” Reimu asks as Alice ties off the waist. Alice just huffs.
“Come on, when was the last time you've seen a man outside of the village?” Alice retorts. Reimu can only answer with a shrug.
“Right, well, whatever, let's get moving,” she says, turning back to the increasingly depressed and sober Suika, currently occupied with drumming her knuckles. “You too Suika,” Reimu says.
“Are we going to find my gourd?” Suika asks, sounding very distraught.
“Yeah, maybe,” Reimu answers in an uncommitted fashion. Suika joins Alice and Reimu in flight with a sigh as they head over the trees in a short trip by air to the house of the local witch. Opposed to Reimu and Alice's homes, the door is shut, and there seems to be no sign of activity within. Without hesitation, Reimu tries the door to find it unlocked, and enters uninvited. Despite appearances, the sound of activity can be heard, and it doesn't take long for the three wanderers to happen across a disheveled Marisa wringing her hands while striding around her house. She stops with a start when she notices Reimu and Alice.
“Oh! Reimu, Alice!” Marisa says, bounding up to them, “sorry I didn't hear you come in, uh...” Marisa trails off in a very meek fashion, “can I help you?”
“I'm on a quest to strengthen my mystical psychic powers today,” Reimu declares flatly, “I've deduced that you are troubled and came to reveal my prediction. You have been robbed, and left an unusual item in return.” Marisa is visibly startled at the explanation.
“Wh- Reimu, I didn't- I mean, all this time?” Marisa babbles in a cross between complete horror and absolutely astonished.
“No, I lied,” Reimu says, maintaining her same tone as before, then turning to Alice with a nod. The latter produces the Mini-Hakkero from her housecoat pocket, as well as a straw doll figure, and Marisa's face lights up.
“Oh! You have it!?” she says, snapping it back. “Oh wow, I had no idea!” Marisa says, sighing with relief until her eyes come upon the straw figure in Alice's hand. “What's that?” she asks. Alice jumps with surprise and quickly rams the straw doll back into her pocket.
“A lucky charm,” comes the quick reply from the puppeteer.
“Anyway, what did you get?” Reimu asks, stepping towards Marisa and derailing her train of thought before it reaches the station. Marisa blinks and shakes her head as she comes back to the situation.
“Hold on,” she says, tromping off for a few seconds, then returning with... a stuffed bear.
“Uh huh,” Reimu mutters.
“I usually keep my Hakkero with me, even in bed. So when I woke up hugging this...” Marisa explains, waving the bear as a smile crosses Reimu's face.
“Hugging...” Reimu repeats, and Marisa's jaw drops slightly as she realizes the implications of what she's said.
“I mean, it's a stuffed animal, right? Isn't it normal to hug something like that?” Marisa hastily returns.
“Yeah, of course,” Reimu replies with a newfound mellow tone, “I'm sure it's nice and warm too.”
“... Yeah,” Marisa says, lowering her gaze slightly, “so, is this what you came here for?”
“Here, yes,” Reimu says, taking out the stopwatch again, “need to find out who this belongs to.” Marisa looks at the watch, tapping her nose momentarily.
“Didn't Sakuya have something like this?” Marisa says. Reimu lifts the watch up, spinning it idly by the chain.
“Did she? I don't really remembe-” Reimu says, until the chain slips fro her fingers mid swing and all eyes lock on the soaring metal object as it clears the room and bounces off the wall, clattering to the ground afterwards. A few seconds pass, and Reimu calmly walks over, picks up the watch, brushes it off and slips it back into her pocket.
“I'm sure she won't notice if it's a little scuffed,” Marisa says.
“Pocketwatches are pretty easy to fix,” Alice mentions.
“We're going to go now,” Reimu says, turning around to head back outside.
“I'm coming too,” Marisa says, rushing off and returning as she's pulling on her clothes, making her the only fully dressed of the four. The group makes their way outside, and Suika promptly collapses to her knees.
“I can't go on,” she groans, “I... I can't... my mouth tastes funny...”
“Marisa,” Reimu sighs, “could you get this girl some booze?”
“Okay,” Marisa says with a hint of confusion, heading back inside. A few seconds later, she returns with a bottle. “She can have this whiskey, I supp-” Suika is on her feet like a flash, and the bottle pulls a surprising disappearing and reappearing act as it goes from Marisa's grasp to Suika's, who throws it back with such vigor and gusto that she tips backwards and falls onto her back, burrowing a horn into the ground in the process. In only a few seconds, the bottle is dropped to the ground, losing only a drop of stray saliva, followed by a lengthy giggle from the now downed oni.
“Better~” Suika gasps.
“Right, now let's go,” Reimu says. Suika shuffles around a bit in her weird position, but ultimately fails to stand.
“My horn's stuck,” Suika says, followed by another giggle.
“Then stay here and... keep watch...” Reimu says offhandedly. Suika salutes none the less.
“Yes Commander!” she replies with a laugh, and the group of now three leaves their fallen comrade behind, making their way towards the large red house in the distance.
Their arrival finds a much more normal situation, with Remilia and Sakuya enjoying the garden in the morning light. Naturally, their reactions on sight of the two half-dressed girls and one witch caused quite an exchange of confused expressions.
“Good morning, Reimu,” Remilia says, looking over the miko, “are you alright?”
“Just fine,” Reimu says, “we're investigating something. Did you lose anything, or find anything unusual?” Remilia takes a moment to sip carefully at her tea, before loosing a drawn out sigh.
“Please take no offense, but I'm an aristrocat,” Remilia says.
“Aristocrat,” Sakuya says quietly, eliciting quite a sudden coughing spree from Remilia.
“Aristocrats are much more careful with their valuables, as they are often the highest quality gods and quite difficult to replace, you know,” she says, pausing for another sip of tea. “Quite simply, it's completely absurd for me to have lost anything.”
“Alright then,” Reimu says, turning to Sakuya, “how about you?”
“I did notice that my watch was missing,” Sakuya says before producing a small carrot pendant from her pocket. “I found this in it's place.”
“I see,” Reimu says, producing the pocket watch from her own pocket, “well then, let's swap.”
“Ah! Thank you!” Sakuya says, walking up and taking the watch and handing over the pendant. She turns the watch over a bit, until she notices something. “Oh? Has this dent always been here?” Sakuya asks herself aloud.
“Yes,” Reimu replies without missing a beat, as Alice and Marisa take a moment to admire the garden. Sakuya looks up with a slight look of confusion, then her eyes wander to Marisa's hand.
“Say, isn't that Hugsworth?” Sakuya asks with slight wonder, followed by a sputtering cough and a spray of tea originating from the vampire behind her.
“Suh-Sakuya, what-” Remilia chokes, putting down her recently spilled tea.
“It is, isn't it Mistress?” Sakuya asks, turning to look at Remilia.
“I- don't- I never- Saku-hyah!?” Remilia stamers until her ending cry, as she's mysteriously inverted in her chair in a moment, as Sakuya turns back to the trio with a wide smile as the upside-down vamire and her chair topple over.
“Hugsworth is quite a dear treasure of Remilia's, but she's really quite embarrassed by it,” Sakuya explains, gently taking the bear from Marisa and swinging it behind her back for only a split second before returning her newly emptied hand to her front. “I thank you for returning him.”
“Sakuya~!” Remilia whines, trying to hide behind the leg of the table, “how could you!?”
“Oh come now, my lady! Your pure and innocent child's heart is one of your endearing traits!” Sakuya coos to an increasingly reddened little girl.
“Oh, you've made a mess!” Sakuya says, interrupting Remilia before she can get a word out, quickly hurrying forward and bending down to collect her mistress. The two flicker momentarily, and only Sakuya remains, now with a small box in her hands. “Sorry about that, Mistress Remilia is bathing at the moment,” Sakuya explains, opening the box. Inside are a number of other random items; a camera, a neatly folded cape, a red lacy ribbon, a frog shaped hair clip and a pair of striped panties. The three investigators exchange looks, then turn their eyes on Sakuya. “These are the various out of place items that have been recovered here. I'm sorry, but could you see them returned to their proper owners? Of course, I'll await your return with our missing items as well.” Reimu takes the box from Sakuya and starts to rifle through the contents a little.
“I guess we could, but-” Reimu says, looking up from the box to notice that Sakuya's already vanished. With a sigh, Reimu drops the pendant into the box and closes it, tucking it under her arm. “Whatever, let's deliver.” The two blondes nod in unison, and the trio set off on their task. First stop, the carrot pendant.
The Bamboo Forest of the Lost is an easy place to navigate when you do it from above. Finding the clearing where Eientei sits is fairly easy, and the three descend to the building to find the entire place is a total madhouse. They also discover that everyone is also up in arms about being plundered as well, with an unusually calm Eirin sitting outside, smiling as the three girls approach.
“Morning, girls,” Eirin chirps.
“You look in high spirits,” Reimu says. Eirin responds with a lilting chuckle.
“How could I not be? I'm always happy when I'm thinking about science,” Eirin says with a slightly sing song tone.
“That's good, I suppose,” Reimu mutters, scratching her head. “Thinking of some kind of new miracle pill?”
“You could say so,” Eirin says cheerily, “a miraculous pill that increases the potency of stomach acid to the point it begins to burn through the stomach lining, melting through flesh and muscle painfully. Or maybe a super potent poison that brings unfathomable pain before it kills...”
“... Right,” Reimu says, hurriedly entering the building with the other two on her heels. Reimu scrounges up the carrot pendant as she walks the halls, stepping around panicking rabbits until she finds on in particular barking orders around trying to get everyone organized for war.
“Reimu! Just in time!” Tewi calls out, “you're my new General, welcome to my army!”
“No thanks,” Reimu says, dangling the carrot pendant. Tewi's eyes soften as she reaches for it, and Reimu drops it into her hand.
“Put whatever you got in the box and I'll be on my way,” Reimu demands, lowering the box. Tewi fishes out a small gold earring and goes to drop it into the box when she stops.
“Oh, I know who this belongs to~” Tewi sings as she pulls out the striped panties.
“Then take them,” Reimu says matter of factly. Tewi exchanges the earring for the panties.
“Are you collecting the lost items?” Tewi asks.
“Just returning what we've found so far,” Reimu states.
“I don't really have much of an idea who these things belong to though,” Marisa admits, “I'm just more curious about who got what, or who lost what.”
“I don't know these items either,” Alice says, looking a bit embarrassed, “I wish I was a little more helpful.”
“Yeah, I don't really get it either,” Reimu says, closing the box and tucking it back under her arm. “Though, I did just get a good idea...”
“Oh?” Marisa asks, but Reimu turns away silently and heads back the way she came, with the two witches falling in step behind her. “What's your good idea?”
“Take care of the ones I know first, the rest will work out as well,” Reimu declares.
“Process of elimination?” Alice asks.
“Yep,” Reimu replies. The three continue along, pausing only when a very nervous looking Reisen crosses their path, hands nervously pressing down the hem of her skirt.
“Reimu! Can you help me?” Reisen asks as she approaches, keeping her voice down.
“Lose something?” Reimu asks, a grin slowly growing. Reisen tries to answer, but her growing embarrassment is hindering her ability to get out what she wants to say. “Tewi's got them,” Reimu states, then returns to her stride, passing the moon bunny as she thanks her quietly and heading back out the front of Eientei. “Next delivery, Youkai Mountain,” Reimu declares. And deliver they did.
Straight to Aya.
“What's this?” Aya asks, opening the box after Reimu hands it off to her.
“Your problem,” Reimu says, as Aya removes her camera from within.
“You returned my camera, but I don't see why I-” Aya starts to argue.
“Because you have pictures of everyone, you can just cross reference what you get with a picture and then you're off!” Reimu say with a smile.
“I don't really have time for this...” Aya says, wrapping her unbuttoned shirt tighter, “I've got a deadline.”
“You're the fastest in Gensokyo, right?” Reimu asks, picking the frog clip out of the box and pocketing it. “You should be able to get it done befo-”
“Aya!” a new voice shouts as it bursts in through the door. The four girls look back to see a very flustered Hatate, messily dressed, fuming in the doorway, “sabotaging my work like this!" You think you can just steal my camera!?”
“I don't have it!” Aya complains, but Hatate's eyes fall onto the camera still in Aya's hand.
“But you have yours!” the other reporter shouts, dashing towards them and trying to snatch the camera, “I'll take yours until you return mine!” Hatate's mad advance is cut short however by a sharp jerk on one of her pigtails, bending her over backwards as Reimu looms over the tengu at her mercy with a broad grin.
“Aya, I think you just got a helping hand,” Reimu muses. Within a minute, Hatate and Aya depart with a box of items between them on a quest to return said objects to their rightful owners, leaving Reimu with only the frog clip left to return.
“Might as well bring this up to Sanae since we're here,” Marisa says, looking at the clip in Reimu's hand.
“Yeah, I kind of want to see what she lost myself,” Reimu says, a small smirk on her lips. With their last item on hand, the three depart for the summit. The short trip is uneventful, but the arrival is what they couldn't have expected. It was now becoming a somewhat natural idea to find others in a sense of distress over their lost items, but the weeping sounds coming from the Moriya shrine grounds was beyond even the loss of a simple object. The now curious three make their way into the living area, where Sanae is found in a back room, hunched over and crying, semi-quietly pleading for this all to be a bad dream.
If looks could kill, the glances exchanged by the three newcomers would leave them all dead as they see the source of Sanae's sorrow. Resting soundly in a bed before Sanae lies a perfectly preserved Suwako, frozen solid in a large block of ice. Only after a few seconds does Sanae realize there are others in the room, possibly after detecting the extremely dangerous aura of death radiating from the combined group.
“Reimu! Marisa, Alice! It's terrible! You have to help!” Sanae cries, walking on her knees in an ultimately pathetic display. “Suwako is...!”
“Yeah. I can see,” Reimu says, voice completely calm, “it's okay right? She's a Goddess, so it's not like she can really die from that, right?”
“But... but what if...” Sanae sobs. Reimu turns to Marisa, and issues a simple nod. The witch enters the room, and gets to work with her Mini-Hakkero, generating a large ball of light that quickly begins to melt through the ice.
“See Sanae? It'll be alright,” Alice says, the same calm demeanor as Reimu, “we've come to cheer you up.”
“We have this,” Reimu says, presenting the frog clip, “but we also have something more important for you.”
“Huh?” Sanae blubs as she begins to recover. A wide slasher smile lights up Reimu's face.
“Want to go youkai hunting?” Reimu asks pleasantly.
Cirno kicks her feet in the water at the edge of the Misty Lake, humming to herself and giggling happily.
“I wonder if everyone's surprised,” she chuckles to herself, flinging water from her feet out further into the lake. Soon enough though, even despite her being an ice fairy, a chill ran up her spine and caused her to look over her shoulder, towards the forest. Emerging from the trees were four figures, each smiling wide. Cirno's mischievous smile freezes on her face. “O-oh! Reimu! Marisa! W-what's going on?” she asks, failing to hide her weakening nerves.
“Having fun, Cirno?” Reimu asks, same pleasant tone she's maintained since the Moriya shrine.
“I was quite surprised, I was really made a fool,” Alice says with the same tone. Cirno doesn't move, ironically frozen to her spot.
“Haha, t-that's great!” Cirno boasts, “my prank worked! Right?” she asks, trying to maintain a proud, victorious air.
“It sure did, Cirno,” Sanae pitches in, along with her own melodic, pleasing tone, “you really got me.”
“So... you're all here to congratulate me, right? To tell me that I did a good job? It was just a joke! April Fools!” Cirno continues her boasting, clearly continuing to lose her cool.
“Oh, but Cirno,” Marisa steps in, “you didn't take it into account, did you?”
“W-what? I d-don't...” Cirno babbles.
“Gensokyo's time, Cirno. Gensokyo is in Japan,” Reimu continues, slowly advancing towards the petrified ice fairy, “it's already April 2nd.”
“... Ah,” Cirno gasps.
“As if that would be an excuse anyway,” Sanae chuckles, advancing alongside Reimu. Alice and Marisa join in as well.
“N-no! Wait! Pl-please, no! I-I'm s-sorry!” Cirno babbles, cowering before the slow advance, until the inevitable group lunge.
The morning continued as it had begun, with the screams of girls on the air.