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He had found himself in deep trouble. How he had managed to get himself surrounded, he'll never known, but the fact of the matter was that he was now looking up at a circle of hungry youkai. They're eyes shining in the darkness around him, watching his movements. He reached for the sword hanging at his side, drawing the blade quickly from the sheath and assuming a stance. His heart felt like it was banging against his ribcage, and even though his instincts told him to run he knew that if he did he would only be caught and eaten slowly instead of torn to pieces on the spot.
There was a rustle behind him, and he reacted by turned quickly using his heel as a pivot, and slashed his blade in the direction of the sound. He met a moments resistance, and was greeted by a shrill cry of pain as he caught sight of the source, a youkai girl who had just been cut through the chest. She staggered weakly back and stumbled against a tree. Murmurs flooded the area as the youkai in the trees began to move, shifting their stances, moving along the branches. Another rustle, beside him. A turn and a slash and blade parts bone, sending a stray arm to the forest floor. Another rustle, another cut. Two rustles, a wide swipe. A set of talons scored his back, and he grimaced through the pain, a red crack forming at the corner of his mouth. With a half turn and a swipe, he dispatches his attacker and turns back to deal with more aggressors.
With each slash, each stab, each cut, more cracks appear, and more cracks widen. The cracked flesh falls away in bloody chunks, dissipating into dust on contact with the foliage underfoot. As the pieces fall away, a new face slowly replaces a first. More angular, thinner than his normal face, a man with a scar on his cheek. As he lands his final blow, striking down the final attacker, the last of his face falls away taking his eyes with it. He's left with the face of another man, a man with a cold stare. A man who had killed an army of youkai on impulse, and lived an equally violent life among humans. He gives the sword a flick to remove the blood and slides it back into the sheath. A sudden impact from the back rouses Patrick from his dream.
A dream. Patrick opened his eyes groggily.
"What the hell..." he muttered to himself, fighting with both a headache and now a sore back. It was a dream, but it was still a pretty messed up dream. He chalked it up to the alcohol. What had started as a sort of guided tour of the town ended up with him and Mokou playing odd drinking games in a local bar. He could only faintly remember other details, but at some point Mokou obviously brought him back here, but where 'here' was he couldn't remember.
Fumbling around in the dark for a few minutes, Patrick found a section of wall that moved and slid it aside. He stepped through and slid the door closed behind him. He took a step forward and kicked a wall. It took him a few seconds to realize what this meant, and slid the door behind him open once more and stepped out of the closet. Well, good thing it was dark and there was no one else in the room, he didn't feel like quite such an idiot. He found another door and opened it. This time he could see another room, dimly lit from the outside by a window. Stepping through the door, he took a few steps into the room and looked around. It was still pretty dark, but from what he could see, it was some sort of living room. There was a low table in the center of the room, and a few alcoves along the walls where he could make out the outlines of various decorative items. Vases and the like.
His head throbbed, reminding him of his headache. If he wanted to find out where he was, he should probably do it in the morning when there's more light. He turned around and headed back to the open door when he spotted a door next to his. Out of curiosity, he slid it open a crack. It was another bedroom, and he could make out a bed and someone sleeping. So he wasn't in some abandoned house at least, whoever house he is in probably knows he's here too. At least, he hoped so as he slid the door closed again and walked back into his room. He fell back to sleep again quickly, but didn't have another strange dream.
The next time he opened his eyes, everything was brighter and his headache had faded some. He first noticed the door to the closet, still open. At least he had enough sense to close the door to the room behind him. He left the bed and opened the door, where he was greeted by the sight of Keine sitting at the low table with a sheaf of papers and a cup of tea. The sound of the door caught her attention.
"Ah, good morning Patrick," she said with a smile. "Did you sleep well?"
"Well enough, considering I fell out of bed in the middle of the night." Patrick replied with a grumble. He decided to leave out the part about his dream. Keine responded with a giggle.
"So, I take it you enjoyed sightseeing with Mokou yesterday? Considering you could barely stand by the time you two came back."
Patrick scratched his head. Now that he thought about it, he couldn't remember much about the day. He could remember having lunch, and something about a school. Aside from that and some random memories of the bar, there wasn't too much else he could recall. Not that he would care to remember, since if he could he'd probably realize he'd made an ass of himself.
"I only remember a few things now, everything else is still hazy." Patrick said. Seemed that having distant memories and hazy mental images was becoming something of a recurring theme he would be dealing with.
"Well, there's some tea if you'd like some," Keine said, gesturing towards a door opposite the bedrooms. "You can help yourself to anything here within reason, as long as you're a guest."
"Well, thanks." Patrick said, crossing the room and passing through the mentioned door, finding himself in a kitchen. It had a very western looking design as opposed to the eastern design of the rest of the house so far. A teapot sat on a counter, and a small tray of bread sat nearby. Taking Keine's advice, he helped himself to some bread as well, and faintly remembered doing much of the same back when he was at Kourindou. He poured himself a cup of tea as well when he heard a knocking sound. Sounded like it came from further into the house, away from the room Keine was in. The knocking sound came again. He wondered if Keine could hear it, and idly walked in the direction it was coming from. Another knock, and Patrick deduced it was coming from a door that appeared to lead outside. He slid the door open, and was greeted by a flame haired young girl with a grey button up vest, her shoulder wrapped in bandages. Her red eyes changed from surprise to anger in the span of a second.
"You!" she shouted, baring her fangs at him. Patrick took a few steps back before the girl pounced him, tackling him to the floor by the collar of his shirt. "Of all the places for you to turn up, why-"
She was interrupted by a flash of light, and leapt off Patrick just in time for a coloured bolt of light to sail just inches from his face.
"That's enough Tsukiko," Keine said from somewhere out of sight. The girl landed next to Patrick, facing towards Keine. Patrick craned his neck to see Keine. "What do you think you're doing attacking my guests?"
"Guest?" the girl, apparently named Tsukiko, replied. "This guys just scum. Look what he did to me!" she said, indicating the bandages on her shoulder. Keine simply scoffed.
"Maybe if you weren't always causing trouble for people you wouldn't get hurt," Keine said, rather directly. "It was only a matter of time before people got tired of your games."
Neither of them said anything else for a few seconds. Tsukiko was visibly annoyed by the situation, but seemed to suck it up as she pulled a folded paper from he pocket. Patrick started to get up off the floor when the wolf girl looked down at him with burning eyes. Maybe just a few more seconds was okay.
"I came to drop off my history homework for the other day," Tsukiko said, walking towards Keine. Patrick took this moment to sit up and get to his feet. "I'm getting sick of your headbutts."
Keine smiled at the girl, then reached out a hand like she was going to ruffle her hair. Instead, she gave her a swift headbutt anyway.
"Oooww~! Jeez. What was that for!?" Tsukiko whined.
"I appreciate your efforts, but you're still late. This was due in yesterday." Keine said, smiling at the girl. Patrick wondered how common it was for teachers to headbutt students anyway, or why Tsukiko didn't do anything about it. Tsukiko turned away from Keine. Patrick could see a red mark on her forehead where Keine collided skulls, and her eyes looked like they were watering somewhat. She noticed Patrick looking at her an started turning red, storming towards the door.
"Outta my way, stupid human!" Tsukiko said, pushing her way past Patrick as she walked out the door and slid is shut hard behind her.
"What a problem child," Patrick said, looking towards Keine, who simply sighed. "She always like this?"
"Yes," she replied, looking at the sheet of paper in her hand. "She comes from a large family of wolf youkai. They're a pretty popular family around town, with the father running a food stand and the mother is a seamstress, the kids of the family earn the most attention for the family with their work around town doing odd jobs or hunting. Tsukiko though, she's the only one that's still wild at heart."
"She sure seems to believe herself some kind of powerful being." Patrick said, recalling the few times in the past he's encountered her. Keine responds with a nod.
"She's a youkai, so it's a bit natural for her to have power, but she goes overboard with it. She's the youngest child of the family and she's grown up on folktales of dangerous youkai. She's almost as bad as that ice fairy that claims herself to be the strongest in Gensokyo."
Patrick smirks at that idea, Tsukiko and Cirno having duels with each other. He briefly considers trying to find out if Tsukiko has an equivalent of Icicle Fall -Easy-, but dismisses that idea when the idea of failing at danmaku when it's a genuine threat dawns on him. On that thought however, he realizes he should probably find some kind of time to learn more about the way various things work, from flying to actually creating danmaku.
"I need to get going now," Keine said, looking out the window. "School will be starting soon and I have to be in my class. You're welcome to stay here if you like, I'll be home by the afternoon." she said, heading back into the room she came from. A few moments later she stepped out with a large bag and strode past Patrick to the door.
"Have a good day." she said, stepping through the still open door and closing it. Once he was alone, Patrick realized all to suddenly that he didn't have anything to do, and had no idea what there was to do in the first place. He cursed to himself at this realization, since he'd always run into someone or inadvertantly found something to do. Now though, he's alone and has nothing to do. His mind turns to his bag, and he considers spending some time playing one of his portables, but decides against it, having no way to charge them if they should die on him.
Patrick walks back to the kitchen, where his cup of tea has gone from hot to warm, and picked it up. He wandered around the house aimlessly, drinking tea and looking at things. After a few minutes, he found a book case filled with an assortment of history books. He noticed as he looked at the titles printed on the spines, despite being written in Japanese, the text would transform itself into English. He remembered mention of Yukari's borderhax on language and understanding, but he never really saw how much it applied to even writing.
After a few minutes of enjoying the optical tricks of transforming text, Patrick spotted a book about Meiji Japan and decided that it was as good a place to start as any. One book turned into two, then three. It wasn't until he had moved onto the sixth book that he realized all these books had been written by Keine herself, and that some of the books detailing distant past were writtenw ith very specific details. He couldn't help but wonder if these books were written by Keine using direct historical stories from Mokou. After all, she would have been alive during many of the time periods found in the books. That made some interesting questions pop into Patricks mind, however.
Keine's power is the ability to influence history, either hiding or outright changing it. Keine could read Patrick's history at will though, so the need to use someone to recite history to her in order to write a book wouldn't make sense unless her knowledge of history was imperfect. On the other hand, he couldn't outright deny that having someone that actually lived through those times would be an invaluable tool to writing on the subject. It wouldn't be unusual for the books to be written for a general audience either, instead of books written specifically for people interested in history.
Patrick found himself back at the bookshelf, with all the previous books. The ones he was pulling were all from the same shelf, and most of the others were written by other people, though he noticed quite a few books written by Akyu, and previous incarnations. That's right, there was another person that was dedicated to recording history and events, which made Keine's apparently choice to record Mokou's version of history even more bizarre. Unless, of course, she was writing the books out of personal adoration for Mokou.
Patrick's train of thought was interrupted though by another knocking at the door. He briefly considers not answering it and continuing with reading the books, but then again it could be something important for Keine. As long as he's going to be here, he should at least try to be useful. He sets the books back onto the shelf and heads over to the door, sliding it open. The first thing he sees is a mass of tails. The Ran they're connected do doesn't register for a few seconds until Chen pokes her head out from a fluffy mass.
"Here he is Ran! I told you he was here!" Chen said happily, wrapping her arms around one of the tails.
"Chen tells me you want to meet with Yukari so you can leave Gensokyo?"
Patrick was stunned for a second. Well, it was true, but with the opportunity to go all of a sudden, he felt a bit bad about it. Still, he had a chance to go home.
"Uh, yeah, yeah, one second." he said, returning to the house to scrounge around for his bag. He figured Keine probably brought it back with her, and she did. He found it stuck inside a closet, along with the sword. For a moment, he considered leaving the sword behind, but since it would likely be a very pricely historical objec ton the outside, he took it anyway. He can go home and make money off his trip. Patrick returned outside, where Ran eyed the sword and the now faded bloodstains on Patrick's shirt, but said nothing. Patrick slid the door shut behind him.
"Okay, I'm ready." he said. Ran nods.
"Then follow me." she replies, and proceeds to float into the air effortlessly. Patrick took a step forward, and then no one moved for a few seconds.
"Well?" Ran said impatiently.
"Uh, what? Aren't you going to lead me?" Patrick asked, confused. Ran blinked, then sighed.
"You can't fly, can you?" she asked.
"No, but is it that important?"
Ran shook her head and took on a disappointed look.
"You can't reach where we're going on foot. The only way is by air."
Patrick looked down at the ground for a moment to think, then back up at Ran.
"Well, can't you carry me?"
Ran responded with laughter, matched by Chen.
"Carry you!? Who do the hell do you think I am!? Either you fly, or you're out of luck."
Patrick cursed his luck. He would have to fly to earn his chance to go home, but he had no idea where to start. All he knew was that he would have to believe enough that he wanted to fly, but that couldn't be the whole trick. Still, he had to take a shot. He closed his eyes, trying to clear his mind. He pictured himself floating off the ground and into the air, as if it was the most natural thing ever. He focused on the actual lift off itself, simply leaving the ground under a natural force of will. For a moment, he felt a flicker of wind and opened his eyes just in time for the breeze to die down. Damn it.
"If you can't fly, then I can't help you." Ran said, floating farther away. Patrick wanted to protest this, but knew it was useless. "Once you get the hang of it, you can try to get another message to me again and I'll see what we can do."
With that, Ran and Chen flew away with Patrick's chance out. He wandered back into the house, dropping his bag and sword next to the door. He had gotten a chance to leave, and had tried to take it, but he was denied because of his failure to get himself involved in this fantasy worlds rules. He had avoided getting too into it, because he knew that if he could fly and shoot lasers he wouldn't want to leave, but now it would seem he didn't have much of a choice, he would have to learn how to fly at the very least, which would bother him enough to attain something impossible that he would no doubt miss the second he leaves Gensokyo.
Once again, he considered practicing trying to fly, but brushed the idea off. He'd ask Keine later to try to help him out, but until then he still had to entertain himself. He walked back over the the bookshelf to find something else to read while he killed time, and noticed a book that seemed to be fiction rather than history. It occurred to him that a fiction story in a fictional world would be a little bizarre, but the historical books he read seemed to be accurate enough to reality in the first place.
Taking the fiction from the shelf, Patrick walked over to a rather large chair in the corner and sat down, opening the book.
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