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A guide to the sacred paradise in the East

Many years have passed since I read this book for the first time. That was a time where I watched cartoons before I went to bed. At that time books bored me, but not this one. I thought it was about a perfect world were magic still exists, where wonderful beings live and where those who are shunned in our society, those who are gifted with magical abilities, may seek for shelter.

In high school my parents introduced me to magic and I learned how to use basic spells and more importantly, how to cast spells quickly by reading codes and incantations from grimoires. This way I learned that this book was not fiction, it was reality: the writer was a rather famous magician and the ink was such that can only be seen by other magicians.

I asked my parents, hey, why don’t we all go there? At least we will be safe from the anti-magician extremists.
They laughed and said that those anti-magician extremists are nothing to worry about. They are sitting ducks if we use magic to eliminate them…
I believed my parents. Yes, I believed that those men could do no harm to us.

They were wrong.
While I was at my friend’s birthday party, thinking everything is alright, I learned that they burned our house and mortally wounded my parents and siblings… how? My father told me on his death bed that they reflected the very magic they used back at them. In his last words, he told me not to seek vengeance and to flee somewhere far, far away.
I knew exactly where to go – to the lost eastern paradise, also called Gensokyo.

According to the book, this is the abandoned shrine, the entrance to the sacred paradise. If I step forward, I’ll enter it and I will never be able to come back… but I have no reason to return. My family is dead, those extremists are still after me and they got friends in Japan looking for me… I am broke, too. I wasted all my money to get here.

There is no turning back anymore.
Let’s do this.

As I step forward, I feel chills through my body, my heart begins to race, I begin to feel cold, strange humanoid creatures appear before me and glare into my soul with their thousand eyes… all normal, according to the book. I simply have to close my eyes and make one more step… yes, one more step and the screams, dying cries will be silent. Then I will open my eyes and I will see paradise.

My step takes an eternity. It feels like hours have passed since I raised my foot… but this too, is normal. The time flow is different in the eastern paradise and to prevent a temporal collapse, I must be accustomed to this new time flow rate. Slowly, the horrible voices fade… this means I passed.
I am in Gensokyo now… in paradise.

As I fall on my knees from exhaustion, I open my eyes to see a blurry landscape… and there is something red approaching me and something white and black behind the red thing… oh, these are two girls. One has black hair, the other is blonde… I can’t see too well, so I can’t make out much. I want to move and greet them, but… I am pretty numb.

“Looks like another stray human accidentally got here, Reimu.”
“Human? I’m not sure… this girl smells like a magician.”

The girl in the red dress grabs my head and thoughtfully sniffs it… good thing I showered before I left the hotel, I don’t want to give any bad impressions.
Anyway, why is she sniffing me for so long and why is she messing with my hair?

“Yeah, it is definitely a magician.”
“Magicians still exist in the outside?”

“Apparently, they do.”
“She doesn’t look too good, though. Thousand yard stare…”

Ouch! I just got slapped… but in mere moments, I no longer feel numb and my vision recovers quickly. Now I can see the girls before me clearly.
The girl in the red dress resembles a Japanese shrine maiden, but with detached sleeves and a red top, while the other girl looks more like a Halloween witch with an apron. It seems like the fashion around here will be way different from what I am used to.

There is a sticker stuck on my cheek… and it is crumbling rapidly to dust. Did she slap the sticker to my cheek to heal me?

“That’s an invigoration charm, don’t mind it. You needed it after the whole barrier breaching.”
“Thank you for the charm… umm…”
“My name is Reimu and this is my friend, Marisa.”
“Nice to meet ‘cha! What’s your name, outsider?”

Now, why did the blonde witch just wink at me!" Is she trying to hit on me or is this just a custom I don’t know about? Well, I should expect many surprises. This world is cut off from the outside, after all. These two seem rather friendly… I seriously expected worse treatment for intruders.

“I am Helena, nice to meet you, too.”
“What got you here and more importantly, how did you get here, Helena?” the shrine maiden asks, puzzled. I bet they don’t see people like me every day…

“Well, I followed this book and…” damn, where did I put it? It was in my backpack only a moment ago… where did it go? My supplies are here, my grimoire is here, too…. no, it’s not there… did it simply disappear? That can’t be right…

“It can’t seem to find it.”
“Marisa, did you steal the book while I didn’t look?”
“I swear I didn’t! I bathe my hands in innocence!”

“Never mind… I read the book so many times that I know the contents in details. It was a book about this world, Gensokyo. There it was referred as the “Lost Eastern Paradise”. It has a full guide on how to find the one entrance – this shrine. That’s how I got here… why I got here? That’s a more complicated story.”

“We got plenty of time. Why don’t you come inside and have some tea with us?”

--- --- --- --- ---

I explained the situation… more or less accurately. Actually, I told them the truth, but I omitted details about my parent’s murder – they simply passed away. I hope my narration was not too emotional… I usually show too much of my soft side when talking to friendly strangers, but I rarely meets friendly people away… well, at least after that fateful day. It was nice to talk with someone friendly for a change and to sip tea with no hostility…

“Very well, Helena. You did the right choice to come to our little world!”
“Indeed. I will make sure those assassins don’t ever cross the border.”
“Thank you. I don’t think they’ll ever find the entrance, though.”

I try to smile and Marisa, the witch, smiles with me, but the shrine maiden remains serious, as if she is still in deep thought. What is she thinking about, I wonder… something about me, perhaps?

“You are a strange fellow, Helena.”
“Well, I guess I am a little weird.”
“No, I don’t mean that way. You are a strange magician.”

“I don’t understand, Reimu… I am a magician, so?”

“There are two types of magicians. There are those who are born human with magic potential like Marisa and those who are born as natural magicians, who are a class of youkai.”
“I’m a youkai? Aren’t youkai oni, kappa and the like?”
“No, everyone who isn’t human is a youkai.”

“Okay, so I am a youkai. What now?”
“Well, you don’t act like a youkai at all…”

Now that she mentions it, I was always the black sheep in our family. My siblings were taught magic at a young age, while I got my first magic lessons in high school. My family loved me, there is no doubt, but why would they hide magic from me for so long? Was I not mature enough? Did I have too many human friends? I left with so many questions left unanswered…

“Youkai feel natural superiority over humans. You, on the other hand, said you feared the humans that were after you. I could feel the fear in your voice… you display a wider array of emotion, unlike other natural magicians. Youkai are meant to be mischievous and to cause trouble, but you seem so peaceful…”

“I think I get it… I am stuck between being human and youkai.”
“Yes, that’s the problem… you are an irregular magician.”

“That’s not a big problem, don’t get worried, ze~!”
“It might be hard to categorize you, but it is nice to meet a friendly youkai once in a while.”
“Thanks… I really appreciate your understanding.”

“You are welcome. Anyway, I, as the shrine maiden, must introduce you to the spell card rules.”
“There was something mentioned about spell cards in the book. They are a way to duel in a non-lethal way, used mostly by apprentice magic users to practice their spells.”
“That’s a little outdated. Spell cards are now used to solve any conflict between two parties.”
The shrine maiden straightens herself and prepares to give me a lecture… oh boy.

“Spell cards are not about power – they must give thought, shows your inner beauty and you artistic skill. Each spell card needs a meaningful name, one to make others think about it for a moment. Rely on your reason, your intellect and experience and not on your physical and magical force. Do not attack without reason, too.
You must elegantly evade the pattern and defeat the spell card by either draining your opponent’s barrier or by outlasting it. After all your spell cards are defeated, you are defeated, regardless of your remaining power.”

“I understand…”

“Furthermore, if you defeat a human, you may not kill him or her. Actually, nobody has ever killed their opponent after the duel.”

“Now that Reimu covered the basics, let’s get to business, ze~!”
“A live demonstration for Helena would be great. Go easy on her, Marisa. It is her first time~.”
“I’m gentle on first-timers, ze~! Well, not always.”

Was that supposed to be without any innuendo? I don’t think so… anyway, went outside. There is enough room for the spell card duel here.
Marisa gets a broom… is she really supposed to be a classic witch?

“Can you fly, Helena?”
“I can fly well, but I’m pretty slow…”
“Doesn’t matter, as long as you can stay in the air, you’ll be alright!”


“Here we go! I am Marisa, the Ordinary Black Magician! Announcer yourself and make yourself a nickname!”

Her name and title appear before her in a glowing, neon-tube like fashion. I can do that, too! Now I must announce myself in a similar way… well, judging by the way these two girls perceive me – as a youkai with a human heart – I think I must find a nickname that will tell this to my opponent.

“I am Helena, the Most Irregular Magician!”
“Okay! We shall use each one spell card. I shall announce mine first, Magic Sign [Stardust Reverie]!”

Our surroundings change. A sphere surrounds us, protecting us and the environment from damage. It is translucent and violet in color… Marisa appears blurry… naturally; she is protected by the barrier. Suddenly, a kaleidoscope of miniature star-like projectiles appear, each wave represents a different wavelength.

I manage to navigate through the first few waves… but my speed severely hampers my ability to evade. These stars may not be fast, but they waves are dense and each next wave forces me to quickly find a new exit.

Now I summon my prized grimoire to my hand and select a simple, spam spell from it. It was called Arcane Arrow back in the outside world and it creates a slate blue arrow that travels in a straight trajectory and has moderate power.

“Open fire, Helena! It is no fun if you simply evade!”

The witch giggles… she must find it amusing that a magician has problems maneuvering though the relatively simply pattern. Alright, Arcane Arrow barrage, commencing… fire! As I point my finger a barrage of slate blue arrows fly towards Marisa. Is it just me or is the projectile speed much higher than outside Gensokyo?

Each arrow makes a distinct sound as it hits the protective barrier- ugh! That star was pretty close! It cut my sundress at the hip!
Focusing on your target and on the spell card pattern is not easy, especially if you are as slow as me!

“You are doing a good job grazing projectiles, Helena!”
“Thanks for the encouragement, Reimu.”

“Only ten seconds to go, Helena!”
Steady, steady, steady… huh? I heard something crack. Is it the barrier protecting Marisa breaking apart? Yes, it seems it is. Doesn’t matter right now… I am going to outlast the spell card anyway… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! I automatically stop firing once the spell card vanishes… as if an invisible force prevents me from firing anymore arrows.

“Alright, announce your spell card, Helena! It must be something to reflect your skills.”

Something to reflect my skills from the outside…

[] Plasma [Synchrotron Unit]
A physically incorrect depiction of a synchrotron: the main projectile is a ring surrounding the opponent, which glows light green and emits radiation – projectiles varying in size and speed – towards the opponent. Some projectiles bounce off the main projectile and are reused in the pattern.
Uses: Lighting, Wind magic

[] Art Class [Utopia Disillusion]
A pattern resembling a picture you once painted in art class. It pictured a glowing neon scythe – technology – reaping a beautiful flower – nature. The flower projectile conglomerate is cut by a large, but evadable, scythe. Next, the vanishing pollen slowly homes in on your opponent as the flower is recreated to be cut again…
Uses: Wood, Arcane magic

[] Prank [100 Water Balloons]
A spell card reflecting your personal experience with a particular prank played on you. Larger, red balloon projectiles wobble through the border and four slow needle projectiles that burst the balloons, creating several small, very fast projectiles with very limited range. The water quickly disappears.
Uses: Metal, Water magic

Hint: Everything can be categorized in science, liberal arts and athletics.
[x] Prank [100 Water Balloons]
[X] Art Class [Utopia Disillusion]

True art is volatile. And awesome.
[X] Prank [100 Water Balloons]
[x] Plasma [Synchrotron Unit]
Sounds cool.
[x] Plasma [Synchrotron Unit]
[X] Art Class [Utopia Disillusion]

This will do
[x] Prank [100 Water Balloons]
Voting closed.
Prank [100 Water Balloons] wins.
Update will be finished tomorrow.
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[X] Prank [100 Water Balloons]

There is no time to think about the motive… it must represent an experience, right?
The first personal experience that springs to my mind is that one prank they played on me way back in elementary school. It was a nice little field trip and we all had fun… until the boys decided to bombard all the girls, including me, with water balloons, hundreds of them.

I swear – they really had at least hundred water balloons ready to throw at us. Since I was in the track team at the time, I could run pretty fast and they had problems adjusting their trajectory to my speed. I could stop, change direction or dash to evade the balloons.

I felt great evading them all… it was fun to be able to outrun all my classmates.

Even today, I can outrun most people. In high school I didn’t join the track team – my parents didn’t let me. They said such training is unfit for a magician, a being whose life is devoted to reading, studying, gaining and processing knowledge. I resisted, but in the end I gave up on being a professional athlete.

My sprint speed is almost funny, considering how slow I move in the air. Levitating is easy and I don’t even get tired from flying – it’s like walking, or rather, like breathing – a natural ability I was born with. It is something I mastered in mere hours.

Anyway, that field trip in elementary school was full of surprises.
There was a boy who liked to bully me, who was up a tree with an extremely large water balloon… he didn’t drop it on my head… he popped it with a needle. I was not quick enough to evade it the stream of water, so I got soaked wet… and now, I’ll try fill the field with balloons and make them pop!

“Alright, here it goes! Prank [100 Water Balloons]!”

The moment the barrier appears, I flip to page 241, as I can’t recall the exact magic code for rubber… as I chant the code, along with codes for ice cold water, my spell begins to create red rubber balloons filled with ice cold water begin. It is much easier to cast spells in this spell card border, so I can quickly fill the space with red water balloons.

And soon enough, they erratically wobble through the air and leave little free space.
Marisa will have to be extremely cautious not to touch any!

And here comes the surprise – the needles! Four metal needle projectiles move in a defined waltz rhythm in random directions, popping any balloons they pierce. The water inside the balloons gushes out as if it was under high pressure, but it also evaporates quickly. If Marisa is caught near a balloon when the needle pops it, then it will be game over for her and she will be soaked wet…

Unfortunately, her speed and maneuverability is amazing and my balloons don’t seem to threaten her at all. She started to move more focused when the needles appeared… but she is completely unconcerned. Furthermore, her green shots are pretty powerful and they hit the barrier real hard. I feel like it won’t last till the end… actually…

My barrier is rapidly falling apart, but there are only ten seconds to go! Nine, eight, seven, si-

Boom. The barrier breaks and explodes in a colorful fashion and all my projectiles magically disappear… and I get caught in the colorful boom. It doesn’t hurt that bad though, I had worse… bad news is that I am going to crash land-
Ouch! Goddamn, I landed face first!

“Hey Helena, are you alright?”
“Marisa, you should have gone easy on her…”
“I can’t help but fire at full power!”

Okay, I got a little mad right now, but it passed. I thought this would be… a little more civilized.
As I get up, I notice that my sundress is completely ruined. It has several cuts everywhere and it has many grass stains on it… worse yet, I have no extra clothes. They all got lost on the airport. I hope I can get some relatively normal clothes from the two girls.

“Hey, are you okay? Sorry for the spell break…” the witch asks, sending me a slightly worried look.
“I’m fine… don’t get worried. I would do the same if I were you!”

“Here is the spell card, Helena. I wrote the name on it and added my approval. It is a good one for a beginner, but I don’t think it is suitable for a direct duel. I would a similar pattern for spell card interruption.”
“Yeah, it works more like a bomb-type.”

“I didn’t mention it earlier, but you may use a spell card to interrupt an opponent’s spell card. The spell card is used as a ‘’bomb’’ to quickly break the barrier. Keep in mind that you waste a spell card this way and thus should only be used as a last resort, if you are about to be hit, for example.”

“If you created a defense with the red balloons or focused them at your opponent, then yours could be an excellent bomb.”
“One more thing – before the duel, you may agree to physical combat and non-spell card attacks between spell cards. Reimu doesn’t that, so she didn’t mention it, ze.”

“Thanks for the advice… and for the live demonstrations.”
“Don’t thank me, I made you crash face first in the ground! Hey, I ruined that dress, so how about I buy you some new clothes?” the witch smirks brightly. I can’t help but smile with her.

“That would be great.”
“She can’t go shopping with this dress. Come back inside, I’ll give you a fresh yukata.”

That is… too kind.

We go back inside and the shrine maiden gave a fresh, plain, purple yukata. As I discard my ruined sundress, I notice that the door is not completely shut… is someone peeping? No, must be my imagination. Even if someone is peeping, I have nothing to hide. I’m actually proud to be in such a good shape. Besides, my measurements were always slightly above average.

Anyway, I get dressed and meet the girls outside. “I’m ready for the shopping, girls.”

“I see the yukata fits you well. Where should we go, Marisa?”
“Kourin has interesting stuff from the outside, why not there?”

For a moment, the shrine maiden thinks about her reply. She lowers her voice… “…don’t you think he is still mad about last time?” …for some reason, I don’t want to know about that particular last time. The way she stressed the words make me think something bad happened.

“No way, he gets angry when something happens and calms down real quick! You know him!”
“But last time we made a very large… never mind. Very well, let’s fly over there.”
“Are you sure I am not too slow?”

The miko holds my hand as we slowly lift off in the air… this is an interesting development and I like it.
“You can fly well, but I’ll pull you so we can go faster, okay?”
“Yeah, that’s a great idea!”

--- --- --- --- ---

It doesn’t take too long to get there. The summer sun is scorching hot, but at a decent flight speed you barely feel it – the air flow keeps you cool.
I’m not used to this speed, so my eyes are watery and I can’t see the landscape at all… what a shame.

“Almost there!”

Steadily, we descend down towards the shop. It is located near a forest from which I can feel strong magical sensations.
It must be the “Forest of Magic”, a place filled with animal youkai and magic phenomena.

The shop is the only building here and a small road leads to a village to the West. The village must be the Human Village… I can’t recall any records of a shop selling outsider stuff between the Forest of Magic and the Human Village. I guess my book was pretty outdated.

I wipe my eyes so I can see the shop better… oh, the shop owner is sitting outside and he is carefully observing us.
Judging by his yellow eyes and porcelain white hair, the man must have a magical lineage.

“Hey Kourin! How are ya?”
“I am exhausted from fixing the roof. It had a pretty big hole in it, you know?”
“Well, I hope it wasn’t the one from last time.”

“Oh no, it was the one you made with the stray Master Spark.”
“Well, um, good thing it didn’t rain, huh?”

“Indeed. Anyway, I see you brought someone new with you. Let me introduce myself, I am Morichika Rinnosuke.”
“I am Nowak Helena, an outsider. Nice to meet you! Is Kourin your nickname?”
“Yes, it is… I would rather be called by my name, though. Please, browse my wares as long as you like.”

The shop seems moderately large from the outside but on the inside… it is stuffed with antiques and items that belong to the outside. How did these get here, anyway? The border can’t be breached, except at the shrine. How could he get all this stuff?

“Hey Helena, the clothes are over here!”
Marisa points to some shelves where many clothes are neatly stacked… oh, the many colors and patterns. You can’t find such diversity in the outside world! I hope those aren’t only traditional Japanese clothes.

“Oh, so you are shopping for clothes? I am afraid I have no outsider clothes at the moment…”
Bugger. “That’s fine.”

“Choose something unique, Helena. Price doesn’t matter!”

Something unique:
[] Hakama – undivided legs: fit for a lady and it is not worn very often.
[] Hakama – divided legs: with these “pants”, I’ll be able to run as much as I like.
[] Komon Kimono – classy, both casual and formal enough, not too pricy

[] <write in: pattern>
Available colors: purple, white, black
Why purple? OP picture is MC without messy hair.

Result: You chose athletics.
Hint: The clothes make the girl.
[x] Hakama – divided legs: with these “pants”, I’ll be able to run as much as I like.

I'll leave it to someone more creative or the writer for the pattern.
[X] Hakama – divided legs: with these “pants”, I’ll be able to run as much as I like.
[X]Crimson Red Falling Flower Petals as pattern
[X]Black base color

Good enough?
[x] Komon Kimono – classy, both casual and formal enough, not too pricy
[x] Pattern like OP girl

It's pretty~
[X] Hakama – divided legs: with these “pants”, I’ll be able to run as much as I like.
[X]Crimson Red Falling Flower Petals as pattern
[X]Purple base color

Because it's my favorite color.
Voting partially closed.
Hakama with divided legs wins.
The crimson falling flower pattern wins too, but because the flower petals are “crimson”, I am adding another possible color to wear (crimson red) and I am opening voting for color again.

Kimono color:
[] Black
[] White
[] Purple
[] Crimson
--[] <any additional pattern write-in>

Hakama (base) color:
[] Black
[] White
[] Purple
[X] Purple
I forgot yet another detail. The Hakama option won, so the "Kimono Color" refers to the kimono that will be worn with the Hakama.
File 131047289357.jpg - (252.10KB, 574x1000 , hakama_jacket_casual.jpg) [iqdb]
Kimono color:
[x] White
-[x] Tie the kimono sleeves up with tasuki cord

Hakama (base) color:
[x] Purple

If you start with simple solid colors, you always pimp it out later by dyeing or embroidery.

>Result: You chose athletics.

sporty girls in sneakers & traditional clothes = thatismyfetish.jpg
So I vote again for colors?
Kimono color:
[X] Black

Hakama (base) color:
[X] Black

When in the dark, the last thing enemy see is crimson red petals with red eyes...
Only if the crimson pattern actually glow in the dark, that is.
So, Here we go. The character is a Mary Sue so far; A magician (which is uncommon in the outside world), had potential to become a professional athlete, Got the hang of spellcards in half a second, Has a dark past, And we didnt even get to choose the name. Unless its a major plot point where knowing someones name is the most powerful weapon, which in turn would make this character a naive Mary Sue.

Seriously, What the fuck?

Kimono color:
[x] White
-[x] Tie the kimono sleeves up with tasuki cord

Hakama (base) color:
[x] Purple
Mary Sue? Alright, let me get some things straight.

1. The athlete part was not without great invested effort. I simply didn't mention that she trained so hard. She only had the potential to become a professional.
2. Her magic heavily depends on the grimorie, which is a 6/10 at best. The spell card vote also limited her expertise to water and metal magic.
3. Magicians have an affinity for magic, so spell cards (with some knowledge from the Gensokyo book she had) should be no problem at all. I also imagine spell cards can't be that hard if Cirno can use them.
4. The dark past will cause great internal conflicts. Wait for it.

If I put it in MMORPG terms, she is a hybrid class.
Sorry if I overreacted.

Anyway, voting closed.
Kimono color: [x] White
Extra: [x] Tie the kimono sleeves up with tasuki cord
Hakama (base) color: [x] Purple

Update in progress.
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Shitstorm deleted at author\'s request. If you have to endlessly argue over the definition and assessment of mary-sue-ness, at least keep it on /blue/.
Seriously people. What is with the hate on this story? I couldn't care if she is a Mary Sue or not, if the story is good why bitch and moan about the little things? If you don't like the MC don't read the story.

Lets just see where the story go's.

>If you don't like the MC don't read the story
>don't like
>don't read

That's why, probably. This is where I'd vote, but too late for that...
There have been other stories with mary sue protagonists that have ended up very popular. Why is this one suddenly getting hate for it?
I have a couple of guesses, but long story short? Both the writer and the accuser both got defensive and didn't let the argument die. The accuser defended his stance after a number of people called him/her for not understanding what a mary sue was. And it got worse cause the writer also defended his character. From there it became an argument of "I was only saying my opinion...jeez." and "constructive criticism finds faults and then recommends solutions." Usual internet argument basically.
I think it was a stray naysayer from the Wizard story choosing easier prey than Demetrious and his readers. Some people do enjoy shitting on other people's parades.

Honestly I find the whole thing stupid as it might have been said that many classic THP MCs are rather damn mary sueish.

But we should quiet down if not move all this talk over to /blue/ or /words/
I'll just leave this here to let you think about the board's quality and how you could improve it.

PROTIP: It's not as easy as you think.
Have fun.
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>/th/ having quality
Not sure, probably had. Since it is so full of muppets now.
Just look at /blue/. Pointless discussion about things that makes you facepalm.
Glad you're back!

Thread Watcher x