Prologue (2) Glen !!IwLmyyA2R0 2014/08/17 (Sun) 20:13 No. 181550 ▼
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Right. Part of your new job is to help everyone come together, united under one banner. Byakuren is key to that, and although it seems like Reimu doesn't like her very much, she is among the few non-humans who have managed to make some sort of progress in regards to the always-frosty (hee) relationship between humans and youkai. She's a weird sort, always talking about Buddhism and the like, which flies right over your head, but even you can see that she means well. As you stand up and brush off your skirt, you hear the man's voice raise a bit, and Byakuren's gentle verbal ripostes. Ah, so that's it. Like many humans, especially the older ones, the man is terrified of the youkai presence, and wants it in precise terms that, during this time of crisis, the humans should be the ones in charge. After all, if the Hakurei miko is in charge, then that is proof enough that humans should be leading!
Which, by the way, even you know is completely stupid. Sure, the humans can use spellcards - you've fought enough of the village's children for fun to know that - but past that, they're fairly worthless, and lack any redeeming qualities in a war of this time. Oh, sure, if it was against other humans you could see his point, you guess, but Lunarians are basically youkai from the moon, and what better way to fight them than with other youkai? Obviously, it would have to be other youkai, because you're stronger, faster, and in many cases, pretty much all around better than humans.
You smirk as you walk up. You're not going to wave that in their faces. That would just cause more undue pressure on Byakuren's attempt to bridge the gap. As you walk up, the tiger youkai - was her name Shou? - gives you a nod, acknowledging your presence but saying nothing as she smoulders, watching as this man sums up, in his words, the fears and desires of the humans taking refuge here at the shrine. He seems pretty full of himself, but little does he know that your ego is way bigger than his! Wait, that didn't come out right. "What's goin' on here?" you ask as you hop up onto a villager's shoulder. You cross your arms as you look down at the man and Byakuren.
"What's this then?" he inquires, staring at you with narrowed eyes. "Dressed in the style of a shrine maiden? You plan on taking over for the Hakurei after your kind murder her?" You blink, completely lost. To his credit, the guy you're sitting on look equally confused. "Yeah, I know, 'fairies are harmless' and all that crap, but you're still youkai! You're gonna eat her one day, I just know it, and if it ain't you, then it'll be one of those monsters that those damn rabbits keep sending after us!"
You narrow your eyes. The... the nerve! He's suggesting that you'll eat Reimu! How insane is that?! You couldn't imagine taking a bite out of her. That would be... well it would be weird. Then again, you've never eaten a person, so you wouldn't know. Fairies aren't exactly the hungriest of beings, and even way back when you remember going weeks without eating, and even then it was usually something small like a frog or something like that. It's only recently that you've been... well, hungrier... but still, people?! People! You never understood how Rumia ate people, but she's creepy as hell anyway.
You go to respond but bite your tongue. No, don't be mean. Don't be mean. Reimu said be nice. "I'm not going to eat her," you tell the man. "She's my friend, and my teacher! I've become better because of her! You have to understand, Mister, we're all doing our part to save our home! I know you don't like working with me, but I'm the only thing that Reimu has to a voice out here right now, and she wants us to work together!" you bite your lip and think to something that Reimu said to you before, and try your best to recite it. "Y-you have to stop looking at... looking at youkai and humans as separate! We're... uh... we're all in this together! We're no better than humans, just like you're no better than us!" Nailed it!
The man scoffs at you, however. "Drivel, pure drivel," he answers to you, crossing his arms. "You're just repeating words without knowing what they mean! You might be the voice of the miko, but you have no idea what you're talking about! How can you call yourself a student in that regard? Is she just training you, and what for? We all know that no good can come out of more powerful youkai!" Behind him, you can see that Byakuren's pleasant smile is cracking a bit as her eye twitches. "Listen, fairy, until humans are at the top of Gensokyo's hierarchy, we'll always be in danger of your kind. I mean, just look around now!" he gestures outside the barrier. "Not only are there Lunarians out there, creating horrible monsters, but that damned vampire has recreated her mist! If Reimu had killed her instead of showing mercy, our situation wouldn't be nearly as bad!"
You open to mouth to retort when Byakuren stands up, her smile still present. "Please, sir, you're getting too passionate," she says clearly. "The path of Buddha is one of virtue. Instead of begruding the past, we must instead look toward the future. Reimu could not know that the events that have transpired occurred because she showed mercy one day. That is beyond the scope of even someone like myself. Certainly, the consequences of her actions must weigh heavily on her mind, and to ask her to further complicate things is unfair to her. You are being unreasonable, though not incomprehensible, in your desires, and I understand you. However, you must come to terms with the fact that supremacy over another species - human or youkai - is a false path. The only supremacy one should truly strive for is the supremacy of yourself. I suggest you-" Byakuren pauses, looking toward the direction of the Misty Lake. "Cirno, Shou, do you feel that?"
And you do. An immense magical source has just made itself known. You float off of the villager's shoulder and toward the edge of the barrier. You touch it, trying to stare through the magic as Shou floats up next to you. "What do you suppose it is?" asks the youkai, her keen cat eyes searching. "It feels like it's coming from the direction of the Scarlet Devil Mansion..." she continues. You know where to look; from here, the mansion is quite a ways away, but the Hakurei Shrine is high up enough that you can still figure out about where it is, especially when you consider the giant red beam of light that's been coming off of its rooftop. A beam of light that's suspiciously absent.
You hear a crash from the rooftop of the shrine. Turning around, you see Suwako staring up into the sky. "The mist!" she shouts. "The mist is disappearing!" Dozens of eyes look up as you all see that she's right; the scarlet mist is indeed evaporating like clouds on a windy day. You look back toward the mansion in time to see a massive explosion come from its rooftop, followed by a terrifying sight as two massive, red, glowing bat wings stretch from the top of the mansion, stretching so long and far they extend above the Hakurei Shrine itself. A screech of epic proportions assaults your ears, and you cover them as the wings lift up, then down, then back up again. From the mansion, a sphere of red light rises up, attached to the wings and expelling rings of energy that seem to cut down into the mansion, then across at an angle. One of those rings seems to be headed- oh no. You turn to face the humans.
"GET AWAY FROM THE BARRIER!" you scream, and, despite their mistrust of you, the humans comply. You turn back around, raising your hands into the air and channeling your magic. Next to you, Shou does the same, and Byakuren pulls out her scroll. From your fingertips, shards of ice pour down, slamming into the ground and quickly erecting a fifty-foot high, three-inch thick sheet of ice that covers the barrier. Shou puts her hands on the ice and growls, strengthening it with her own power, and Byakuren enchants the wall with her enhancement magic. Scant seconds later, the red ring slams into the wall, burying itself into the ice and threatening to break through... but it holds. The ice shatters into snowflakes, but it holds long enough for the energy wave to pass. You collapse to the ground, breathing heavily. The sheer power in that energy wave would have killed you if Shou and Byakuren weren't there to help.
"What... what was that?" You ask, looking at Byakuren. The priestess sits back down, her eyes closed. You can see the turmoil on her face as she processes what she saw. "Miss Hijiri?"
"It was... intense," she says. "It was powerful. It was a message to everyone in Gensokyo, whether they be Lunarian, human, or youkai," she opens her eyes, looking at you intensely. "Remilia Scarlet has returned to Gensokyo... and she is very, very angry," you stare at her in disbelief. Remilia?! But... isn't she the bad guy?! Isn't she the one who created the mist, let the vampires invade, and weaken the barrier?! And she's still alive?! You stand up, running for the shrine and calling Reimu's name, ignoring the cheers of victory around you as humans and youkai alike celebrate the dispersal of the mist, despite not knowing how or why. The barrier she's erected still had to take much of the attack, despite your efforts, and you don't know if she was able to handle it.
You run into the shrine, Byakuren and Suwako on your heels. Reimu... still floats. Her face is brimmed with sweat, her eyes squinting in pain, as her fairy attendants desperately try to keep her from passing out, channeling pure fairy magic into her body. Reimu opens her eyes, but they're unfocused, staring through you rather than at you. "She's returned," you hear her say. "They've all returned. I can feel it. That declaration of war against Gensokyo was the purest malice of Remilia Scarlet, but I can't... hold on..." she takes a deep breath. Outside, the barrier flickers a bit. "No, I can. I can feel their essence. Remilia Scarlet. Reisen Udongein Inaba. Marisa Kirisame. Sakuya Izayoi... and..." she pauses again. "That can't be right."
"What, what is it?" You ask. You deliberately lower the temperature in the room, feeling the heat of Reimu's body even from this far away. She's going to burn up! You've gotta get her cold air. Alice comes in with a cup of water, putting it up to Reimu's lips and letting her drink. The barrier flickers again as she does, but as she coughs and clears her throat, she's able to regain her focus. "That feels like Youmu Konpaku's energy, but... but it's not. It's as if it's... warped somehow. It's... damaged. But why is that? What could it be... could it be that I don't feel Flandre's presence over there? Then that... that's impossible, Remilia wouldn't let that happen, and yet, she wouldn't leave Flandre behind. Then it is so," Reimu closes her eyes. "Flandre Scarlet must be dead for her not to be with Remilia. It's the only logical answer, and explain's her anger," she furrows her brows. "I'm sorry. I need to concentrate on the barrier. Cirno, go investigate when you can."
"Yes, ma'am!" you say, saluting. You turn to leave only to see that Suwako is nowhere in sight. Odd, she was just here. You walk out of the shrine and close the doors. Byakuren is telling everyone that Reimu is okay, much to the survivors' relief, but Suwako isn't here. You resolve that she must have returned to her perch. You flutter your wings and head straight up to her, curious. It's been a while since you've checked in on Old Frog-Eyes, since the two of you don't really get along, but you've been willing to put that aside, per Reimu's orders. You think it might be why she deliberately avoids you when she can, but you haven't brought it up. Too many other things have been going on.
Suwako is laying back on the shrine's roof, staring up into the sky. She seems despondent somehow, reserved. Your face twists in concern, wondering what's going through her head. It's been a couple of months since the war began, and there's still been no word of either Kanako Yasaka or Sane Kochiya. You've met them both before, and while Kanako was a little bit scary, Sanae was a kind and reserved soul with a hint of a wild side that really meant she was willing to fight you whenever you wanted. You learned a lot watching her moves, and you're not ashamed to admit that you stole a few of her flight patterns for your own benefit. After all, part of being the strongest being in Gensokyo is applying what you know! At least, that's what Marisa told you after you fought her.
You sit down next to the goddess. "Don't you have a mission to prepare for?" she asks, looking at you with one eye. Her hat rests on her belly, its googly eyes staring into nothingness. It's quite disconcerting, actually. You instead focus on the girl instead, her curious face actually kind of cute. "Sitting up here with me isn't going to help you with that," she continues, and you can tell a part of her is longing to go out and do what she wants, but that choker on her neck prevents that. Your eyes linger on the offending object for a few seconds; it's actually quite beautiful, if its function wasn't so terrible. A blue chain holds on a purple gemstone, pulled taut against Frog-Eyes's neck, and a third blue stone in the center glows with what everyone has taken to calling "Anti-Magic Magic". Whatever it is, all you know is that it prevents people - humans, youkai, or otherwise - from accessing their magic and thus, their powers.
"I just thought I'd check in on you," you tell her. "It's been a while since we talked last, not since that mission at the Village," your eye twitches as you speak the words. What a failure! What should have been a routine scouting mission turned sour quickly when Fujiwara no Mokou, the immortal human from the Bamboo Forest of the Lost, suddenly appeared, demanding that the Lunarians hand over Keine to her. Of course, they laughed at her, and Mokou died dozens of times trying to breach their defenses. You also died from a few missed spells and wild shots, but you still managed to record it all with Aya's video camera - all that you've found of the tengu since the war began - before reporting back home. As much as you longed to join Mokou in that fight, you had your marching orders from Reimu, and at the time you were still too afraid of the Lunarians fantastic science to do anything about it. But now? You'd gladly join in.
That was a few days ago. Now, here you are, fully recharged and ready to strike out again. You just want to deal with this first. "Well, it's the same now as it was then," Suwako explains to you, sitting up and setting her hat aside. Despite her appearance, for once she gives off the feeling of just how immensely old she really is; her movements are slow and calculated instead of wild and energetic like they normally would be. "I'm still worried about Sanae and Kanako, and knowing that I can't do anything because of this stupid thing," she gestures at the choker. "Just makes me so, so mad. If we could just figure out how it works, then this wouldn't be a problem! I know Alice is working on it, but, sad to say, without some knowledge of the Lunarian science, we won't figure it out... at least, not at a rate I'm happy with."
The choker has a defensive mechanism, it should be noted. One wrong move in trying to remove it and BLAM! Off with your head! Since even most youkai can't survive decapitation for too long, no one has been brave enough to try it ever since Lily removed hers that way; being a fairy, after all, allowed her to revive not long afterward, though the image of the Spring Herald's head flying through the air is an image burned into your mind, and you don't think you'll be likely to forget it anytime soon. Of course, after that event, the Lunarians started simply capturing your kind and started forcing them to work as labor for some sort of project, but the results of that - nestled somewhere between one of Youkai Mountain's peaks and Heaven itself - have yet to be seen.
"Do you want me to keep searching for them?" you ask Frog-Eyes. "I will, even while I'm doing what Reimu asked me to," Its hard for you to be so professional, but the things that Reimu has taught you has helped immensely with controlling yourself. On the inside you think if you just beat Suwako up enough, she'll get over it, but Reimu has calmly reminded you that after all this is over, Suwako would probably chase you all of Gensokyo until the end of time itself, so it's probably best not to do that. The workout would be amazing, though.
"If... if you have time, I would appreciate it," admits the goddess. She smiles at you - a broken, sad smile. It kind of hurts to look at. "Even if it's just information, I would love to know where they are, how they're doing... and if possible, bring them to me. So please," she takes both of your hands in hers and gives you a look you could charitably call pleading. "Anything, Cirno. If possible, tell me anything you find out."
You grin. "Of course!" you reply. You stand up with her, hands still holding. "I'm the best fighter in Gensokyo, now! I'll be glad to find out anything I can!"
A few hours later, as the sun begins to set, you stand at the edge of the barrier. Still dressed in Reimu's miko garb, you stare at the only people who are capable of coming with you. Reimu aside, the only people without chokers capable of surviving out there are Shou, Byakuren, Daiyousei, and Lily. Byakuren and Shou would probably take over the operation, but are powerful enough that you would respect that, to a degree, so long as they don't run roughshod over you. Daiyousei and Lily are a lot weaker, and you can easily overpower them, but as mentioned, they're nowhere near on the level of strength that Byakuren and Shou are. They do have the added advantage of being able to revive though, which is pretty handy. A mixed party of one weak and one strong would probably be a good idea, but both pairs have a sy.. syn... synergy with each other that won't be met otherwise.
Due to the current nature of Gensokyo, parties of more than 3 are too risky to take for now. Pick two girls to travel with you.
[ ] ...nah. I'll fly solo for this one.
[ ] I'll bring with me...
- [ ] Take Daiyousei
- [ ] Take Lily
- [ ] Take Byakuren
- [ ] Take Shou