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There's a lot you want to ask your dear Aunt. A lot that you don't think you could ask rest of your family, or even your friends. Your Aunt has always been very level headed and wise, so you don't think you're making a mistake by asking her all this. You just hope you aren't overloading her with so many serious questions. There's just so much on your mind though, you feel that if you don't unload it all now, it'll crush you under it's weight and make progressing through this ordeal impossible. You'll just have to take it one thing at a time. First of which is an important, serious matter relating to the now and there; where this current situation is gonna go and how to deal with it.
"Well, first of all, this whole political war thing going on in the city. How the Hakurei Clan and the Youkai Faction are always at odds because of the ongoing civil war between humans and youkai... how would you go about fixing that?"
"Fixing the problem between humans and youkai? That's a toughie. Feasibly, I dunno if it's really even possible."
"But it has to be!" You try very hard not to snap at your Aunt, even though you're quite adamant about this. "I mean, we're already co-existing now, right? It can be taken farther..."
"We're co-existing in a really broken state. This might be the extent of it. While there's humans and youkai that are willing to live together peacefully, there's just too much difference between 'em to where either can fully accept the other." You give off a deep sigh as the weight of the situation bears down on you fully, making you realize how hopeless it truly seems. "... although, I guess if I were in charge... first I'd do something about the youkai."
"The youkai?" You look over to your Aunt as she continues about her plan.
"Yeah. They're the main problem. Humans like us are stubborn but are also weak and easily swayed under the right circumstances. After all, it was us that came to the sudden conclusion that gods existed long before they even introduced themselves as such. Youkai on the other hand are powerful and lack a certain understanding that would help them socialize with humans. I'd probably put all the problematic youkai elsewhere away from the city and give them special treatment as compensation so long as they didn't cause a rukus in town."
"You really think that would work?" Sango just shrugs her shoulders in the bath in response.
"Who knows? I'm just an iron worker, I prolly don't know half a rat's ass." After turning back to the mirror you give it a little though. She says she probably doesn't know anything, but you know her for being unusually wise like that. There's likely some sort of merit behind what she would do. "Is that all you wanted to ask?"
"Uh... no, not quite." There's a few other things you feel the need to ask her as well. Although your heart is heavy thinking about it, and you can't bear all of it at once very easily. There's one thing bigger on your mind right now though so you'll have to prioritize a bit, at least to save your heart the trouble, if nothing else. "Uhh... have you ever lost a friend or loved one before? You know... in death."
"Eh?" Sango suddenly expresses genuine concern after you ask that question straight out of the blue. "Why do you ask something like that?"
"Ah, well a friend of mine in school lost a friend of theirs recently, so..."
Ugh, who the hell are you kidding? You can't just segue into that kind of question so easily, nor could you get out of it. It's a really heavy topic that Sango doesn't deserve to be burdened with when you're already putting so much pressure upon her. Your own heart isn't taking it too well either, but you're trying your best to hide it from her.
"I see, sorry to hear that. Can't say I really have much experience with losin' someone like that." Your Aunt then looks up at the ceiling, contemplating something. "But as much as he drones on about our folks, I don't think I could take it if I lost my dear brother so suddenly... 'course, same goes for you, Satoko, so don't think about dyin' anytime soon, huh?" You shake your head, adamant on knowing that at least you intend on surviving, if only to try and repent for the sins that stain your hands.
"Don't worry, I won't." There's a brief moment of silence as you try to think of what else to say. There's only one thing truly left that you want to ask...
"Is that it, Satoko?"
"... Aunt Sango. Do you know about... my grandparents? Your parents... you know, the truth about them." You can't get yourself to even look at your Aunt right now, but you can tell she's having difficulty with this one too.
"Jeez Satoko, you sure like asking the hard questions, don't ya?"
"Nah, don't be... you're a big girl now, so I don't think my brother will mind. Just don't tell him I told ya all of this, okay?" You look over at your Aunt curiously and notice her staring up at the ceiling again. Only this time, with a much more solemn look... an expression very much unlike her. "They had a lot to do... I remember being left with Alice a whole lot, and Miss Keine too whenever I couldn't go see Alice after school 'n' all. They were always busy, so I always held a grudge against 'em for that."
"Busy trying to bring humans and youkai together?" Sango just scoffs as she closes her eyes, relaxing a bit more in the tub.
"Yeah, that's what I thought too... but yak now, what can some random guy with his bad luck girlfriend really do?"
"Your grandmother was a kasha. 'Course, you already know this, otherwise ya wouldn't hang out at the graveyard so much. So what do you think that means, Satoko?" You look down a bit. She does have a point. A youkai known for grave robbing would sound like a bad omen. It's a necessary evil, but not one people are ready to accept, you guess.
"... so, what happened?"
"What happened? What do ya think? They got chased out." Ouch. That really stings. Sometimes you wish your Aunt weren't so blunt at times. "Well, maybe chased out is a little too harsh. They just couldn't take the heat from their oppressors and just up and left so that it could die down. Didn't do much, obviously. Especially from the tengu..."
"Wait, the tengu?" You give it a bit of thought before Sango continues, realizing what it may mean. "Are you talking about grandfather's companion...?"
"Haha, yeah, no one likes talkin' 'bout her though... for good reason." You feel a little confused. Sango is right about one thing, no one does talk about her. You've asked about her, but the truth is that you really know nothing about her, unlike your grandparents. Well, than again, considering this conversation, you don't think you know much of your grandparents either anymore.
"She was a deserter, abandoned her duties at the tengu camp to further her own goals with Dad. Tengu never forgave him for that. Though, lotta tengu are just vindictive like that. I can't stand them." Whew, it might be a good thing that you haven't told her about Souya yet... "But Aunt Momi, that's what I used to call her, she was pretty alright. I got to spend one day with her, but while my useless brother slept the day away when we were left with her, I stayed up and talked with Aunt Momi all day. I wanted to be a lot like her... rebellious, but dutiful, different, but acceptable, strong, yet kind hearted... she was like my role model. She told me all about her time training with the tengu, her companions, how much she loved Dad..."
"..." It takes a few moments to register. But something about that suddenly clicks. The wrong way. "She loved...?"
"Yup. I didn't really understand it then either. I told her to take Dad away from that woman and make him her own, but she of course refused."
"... do you hate grandmother?" Sango shakes her head as she sits back up.
"Nah... I just didn't realize how awful what I said was at the time. I was young and impressionable, gimme a break eh?" After a brief sigh, your aunt continues. "Still though, she was clearly really troubled by it. I can't help but think that the compromise they came up with wasn't the right thing to do. Or, well, maybe it was, but it still just wasn't enough."
"Did she go with them when they left a while ago?"
"Yeah, 'course. She vowed to protect him at any cost and she was the type a girl who wouldn't break a promise like that, under no circumstances." A few things run through your mind at this point. Did she hate your grandmother deep down for stealing her love? Did she even think to actually take your Aunt's advice and take him back? How did your grandparents deal with her, you wonder. Your Aunt seems to catch onto your expression though and reassures you. "Hey, if it makes ya feel any better, Aunt Momi and Mom were really great friends, despite that. I used to think that my Mom was just putting on an act for her, but now that I've grown older and thought their situation through a lot more, she couldn't have put on an act without still actually trying. She didn't like it anymore then Aunt Momi did but like her, she lived with it and didn't make a fuss over it."
"I see..." Before you're able to say any further pieces though, you notice Sango standing up in the tub and stretching, before putting her hands on her hips, standing proud...
"Ahh! What a great bath! Just what I needed."
"That's nice Aunt Sango. Now put some clothes on. Please."
"Don't let him escape!"
"Get back here!"
You don't really have time to look back at your pursuers as you wildly run back and forth between all the bystanders towards the other end of the lobby. You can feel it though. The murderous intent. They're not out to capture you, they're out for blood. It becomes apparent when you accidentally trip half way and roll around just in time to dodge a fist that drives itself into the floor just inches away from your head... brutally breaking it. It's at this point you realize, not only from looking at your chaser but from the sheer strength of their hook into the floor, these are daitengu! What are they doing here?! No doubt about it, the tengu camp is absolute in killing you dead for escaping. Had you not rolled over, your head would have been instantly crushed. You would have died on the spot. You don't have much time to have your life flash before your eyes though as you quickly escape before the massive lug can grab you. It's too late though. The long reach and surly arm of the daitengu that nearly murdered you wraps it's huge fingers around your small body and slams you brutally into the wall, nearly toppling it over with the weight of your body alone. Needless to say, it's extremely painful.
"Gyuuhh--!!" You don't have time to react. You can't react. Not in this state. With the steel muscles of the daitengu about to lay waste into your as it pins you to the wall, you realize it's all over.
"Lights out, kid."
You distinctly hear the agonizing scream of your captor's partner suddenly, causing them to hesitate clocking you into oblivion. You open your eyes back up and look over the giant's shoulder to see a sight to behold. The woman you saw before, the one who distracted you with her intense beauty... she is now looming over the subdued body of the other daitengu, having successfully twisted it's arm into a highly unusable state. After dropping the large arm and leaving the poor bastard in a twitching, pained state, she starts walking towards you and your attacker, a masterful death glare painted on her otherwise stunning face.
"Let go of him." The daitengu, who keeps his grip firmly planted around your tender frame, seems quite angered by this approach.
"And what if I don't?"
"I will make you."
"You and what army?"
"I don't need one."
In the blink of an eye, suddenly the woman vanishes. The next thing you know, you're nearly cut in half as a sudden blade almost dismembers the daitengu's arm. No, wait, that was her foot. A few explosions take place. No, those are her attacks. Wait, just what is going on here? Before you know it, just as you hit the floor from being dropped, you're watching the woman pick the daitengu up by the collar, brutally beaten and in dire need of medical attention. The woman herself isn't scratched, and just merely looks rather pissed off.
"I trust I won't find your kind disturbing my kind and destroying my property again."
"Who... who do you think you're dealing with...?!" With a single glare shot back at the rebelling daitengu, she continues.
"I know full well who I am dealing with. I think it's you that fails to realize it." Just to demonstrate the sheer power she's imposing on the daitengu, she picks their partner up and casually flings them out the door. Despite how easily she did it, the hulking beast is sent outside at an alarming speed, destroying the sheer brick wall on the other side of the street. "You can go on about your pathetic little quest for power all you want, but never forget who's truly in control here." With those parting words, the woman sends the one she was holding flying just the same, creating havoc outside the doors of the tower. Ironic given why she was punishing them in the first place... "You." You snap back to attention when you realize the woman is referring to yourself. "Come with me. There are a few words I wish to have with you."
Oh boy. Here we go.
"I see. You made the right choice then. Well, for yourself anyhow."
You're sitting in a highly lavish room, in a highly lavish chair, having highly lavish tea with none other then Chen Yakumo, the great and powerful leader of the Youkai Faction. You knew it was her all along, but you couldn't help but be repeatedly stunned by her sheer brilliant beauty. You heard she comes from a line of extremely powerful and exceedingly respected family of youkai, known only by their name; Yakumo. In fact, it was a legendary youkai named Yukari Yakumo that created the Hakurei Barrier, separating Gensokyo from the outside world and keeping it's youkai, gods and faith alive and well, along side an equally legendary member of the Hakurei clan. The barrier is probably why both the Youkai Faction and the Hakurei Clan share such extreme amounts of power, because if not for the ancestors of either power, Gensokyo, and Risou by extension, would not exist. Of course, true to her family name, Chen displays such a ridiculous amount of strength, power and beauty that it would be no exaggeration to call her the most influential, if not the most powerful youkai in all of Gensokyo.
You wonder what the road to this point for her must have been like.
"Who's to really say it was right... I'm causing so much trouble..."
"You say that as if they haven't caused enough of it themselves." Chen puts down her tea cup as she looks at you seriously. Despite her mature, sternful look, she's actually very kind and benevolent, very rare for a youkai with as much power as she has. "I can't guarantee you protect again like earlier, but you have my sympathy. If it were me, I would have done the same, regardless of the consequences."
"Th-Thank you, Lady Chen. I can't express my gratitude enough."
"There's no need. It was convenient for me too. You merely gave me a reason to punish those I felt in need of such."
"Ah, do you hate the tengu that much...?"
"They have changed..." With a brief sigh, the magnificent lord of youkai sits back in her chair. She truly looks like a queen. "All they are concerned about is fueling their own power and controlling all that they see fit. It would not be entirely false to say that they wish to rule Risou for themselves."
"It's because the old Lord Tenma passed away..." You can't help but hang your head down in shame and regret, knowing that your once proud race has become so power hungry. "When the new Lord Tenma was appointed, she brought about several changes... a lot of the tengu approved, but every one else outside of the tengu camp..."
"Yes, I know of the ordeals the tengu have went through. Their poor reputation earned them the spite and malice of Gensokyo and I'm positive that they wish to exact their revenge by ruling over it. I'm certain that your current Lord Tenma is someone who was bitter about the way tengu have been treated... especially by oni."
"By oni?" You ask Chen curiously, not having heard of oni in a long time. You heard they were fearful demons whose names should never be mentioned. But you never were told that they had any relations with the tengu.
"Yes, in old times long passed, the tengu were subordinate to the oni. They were often used to do embarrassing and pitiful things, until the oni were slowly wiped out. There is only one oni living in Risou now and she is under my command at the moment, but the tengu likely still hold a grudge for the time they served them." That's so typical of the lord of youkai in Risou, having not only the supreme commander of Myouren Temple under her thumb but a legendarily strong oni as well. "So then, since you have told me your story, tell me why you were here in such a dangerous place for you. It must be something important."
"Ah, that's right... the Hakurei Clan..." Chen sighs in frustration, hoping that she didn't have to hear that name again.
"It's that again... I take it that since you are here, the news about the Hakurei shrine maiden dying is true." You blink a bit, looking over at Chen surprised.
"Someone assassinated the shrine maiden and her daughter last night. I was on my way out to see if it was true personally."
"Wait, w-who did it? Why would they do something like this?"
"That was precisely why I was going. They say the criminal always returns to the scene of the crime. Although, that said, that would only raise suspicion that it was my doing that caused this."
"But... you didn't, right?"
"Even with what they were planning, I was confident in my abilities to stave them off with my influence alone. I hadn't accounted for this to happen..."
"Who... who would do something like this..."
A brief silence hangs in the air. You can't help but wonder who would do such a thing. To murder the shrine maiden like this. It's not just a matter of why, but also how. They have to be very powerful to be able to assassinate someone so feared as to be the head of the Hakurei Clan as their shrine maiden. You heard that the divine powers of the shrine maiden of paradise were unparalleled and that they could detain even those of Chen's caliber. It scares you. Frightens you. Someone out there is trying to screw Risou up, big time. This was only their first move. There's no telling what sort of destruction they plan on doing next. Then, as if avoiding the subject, Chen proposes something to you.
"Souya, was it? It has been a long time since I heard of your kind defying the tengu so bravely, especially in conditions such as these. If you pledge your allegiance to me, I will tell you everything you need to know."
"Huh? R-Really? That's no problem, I've wanted to help from the very beginning. I trust you, Lady Chen." Part of you can't believe that you just submitted yourself to Chen's will so quickly and easily, especially when you already pledged your life to Satoko, but there's just some things a guy can't help in front of a beautiful woman you guess.
"Thank you, Souya. Feel free to ask me anything then. I trust that you will put it to good use."
You can ask Chen anything, but keep in mind who is questioning her.