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Curiosities of Lotus Asia: Chapter 01

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Return to Curiosities of Lotus Asia or Fiction by ZUN


Translated by teru.

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Gensokyo, blanketed in winter's silver snow.
Rinnosuke, the owner of an antique store which goes by the name Kourindou, receives a visit from a shrine maiden once again.
Rinnosuke takes up her request to mend her clothes. However, he is deeply intrigued by the three books included in her belongings as well...
An original story based on the Touhou series finally begins!


幻想郷の巫女と十五冊の魅力 ~ Gensokyo's Shrine Maiden and the Allure of the Fifteen Volumes (First Half)


A silver Gensokyo in the early afternoon.
Pristine snow gently falls and swallows the earth, and transforms Gensokyo into a magnificent spectacle. The only thing that could be heard were the cries of youkai far off in the distance.
The road was enveloped in fresh snow, without a single footprint imprinted anywhere. Humans seldom travel through this path.
Beyond this roadless path, a mysterious building stands. While the owner absorbs heat from a nearby stove originating from the outside world, there is no doubt he is reading an incomprehensible book. Because of such hobbies, it always seems as if he has time to spare.
There is an abundance of goods and items from the outside world in this shop. Gensokyo is in what the outside world would call the Meiji Era (1868-1912), but there are many items here that belong in subsequent eras. The purpose of most of these items are unknown.
”Kourindou" is written on the shop's sign. That is where the antique store, Kourindou, stands.

"Mr. Rinnosuke?"
It appears that someone has arrived for the first time in a while. I wanted to continue reading, but customers are gods, I couldn't just pretend to be out.
"You're there, aren't you?"
The god dressed in red had no need to bother preventing my potential ruse as she was already behind me.
"Oh, it's just you, Reimu. Don't I always tell you not to just walk into my living room uninvited?"
"Forget that, just listen to me. I ran into some bad luck, so..."
This is her. The girl in red before my eyes who doesn't listen to a word anyone says. Her name is Reimu Hakurei. She's the only shrine maiden in Gensokyo, but from her actions one would doubt whether she's truly a shrine maiden or not. Pardon the late introduction, but I'm Rinnosuke Morichika. I run an antique store. As Reimu brushed the snow off her shoulders she started chattering away.
"I went out to the village to shop today. For what? I was running out of tea, so I figured I should buy some before the lack of tea gets bad enough to kill me. Well, I won't die, but-- Hey, are you listening to me?"
"You don't listen to me, so I'm not listening to you," is what I wanted to say but, "Yeah, I'm listening," is what came out.
"But you know, there wasn't any good tea... oh, this doesn't have anything to do with this but the village's traveler's guardian deity was completely covered in snow, I mean who the heck was in charge of the umbrella? Oh yeah, what exactly was that god again?"
Now then. If I don't give her a little push in the right direction, the conversation looks like it'll diverge into talking Shinto rites of the Emperor.
"The God of Harm, who prevents catastrophe from occurring in the village. You said you ran into bad luck, so what happened?"
"Well, the shopping ended without anything really happening."
Without anything happening.
"On the way back, a youkai was just sitting there minding its own business. And it was enjoying a book, too!"
I tried to say "Isn't that fine? It's not a big deal.", but I was ignored.
"I tried to exterminate it with a surprise attack, but it retaliated! It was pretty cocky and strong. I let my guard down, so I didn't expect shots to come from behind..."
One can only think that the youkai was the unfortunate one. But I wonder what happened, if she was the one who did the surprise attack yet let her guard down.

"Mr. Rinnosuke, are you listening?"
"Yeah, I'm not."
"...Well anyway, I beat the crap out of it and then came here."
Seems that no matter how I replied, I'd get the same response. Reimu turned her back to me and said, "See!" and puffed her cheeks.
"And I just got this skirt mended too..."
"A magnificent tear. I see very well why you want me to fix that."
"Right now."
Yes, ma'am. Reimu seemed cold, so I made space for one more beside the stove.
"I can't possibly mend it that fast. Just sit here for..."

  • Footsteps*

"I'm gonna borrow these clothes and change, so hold on a bit."
Gone. She walked right into the back of the store again. She really does whatever she wants.

Sheesh. I headed back to my seat and decided to continue reading my book-- but, my stretched out hand grasped nothing but air. The book was floating above.
"What'cha readin', Kourin?"
A black shadow spoke. Ever since I missed my morning tea, I've had a bad feeling.
"Hey, I always say this, but--"
"Don't just waltz in here. Right?"
Every single one of them... The girl in black before my eyes is Marisa Kirisame. A magician whose speech is a little unique. She gets along well with Reimu. She often comes to the store, but I can never tell if she has any business or not.
"What're you here for today, Marisa?"
"I don't really get this book. Hup! Nothin' much, but I ain't headin' home." Nothin' much, huh? She brushed off some dust on a pot for sale as she said that and sat down on it.
"...That's the 12th volume of a series, the continuation of the books piled up here. You wouldn't know just by reading that much."
"Oh, 'The Future of the Non-Neumann-Type Computer'? No way I can tell what that's about just from the title."
"A magic spell book from the outside world. You probably wouldn't be interested at all but I am."
"Hmm... magic from the outside world... What kinda magic is that, Kourin?"
"I'm still in the middle of reading it, but... they use calculation familiars called computers, and those do exactly as they're ordered. Of course, these are clearly shikigami. Well, I'm still not quite sure what their power is used for."
"Shikigami, huh. ...Hey, isn't this Reimu's stuff? Reimu's here?"
Either Marisa isn't interested in shikigami or just wanted to change the topic. I told her the details of Reimu's arrival. I said, "You're kind of like Reimu," or some other conversation filler while she poked around Reimu's belongings, and pulled out three books in them. I felt a light shock. Those books are a part of the same series as these 12 volumes I have here. Why does Reimu have them...?
"Hm? Interested in these books? Knowin' Reimu, I bet she thought, 'They looked pretty important to the youkai so I'll take them,' or somethin'."
With the 12 volumes I have on hand and the three volumes there, that's a total of 15 volumes combined. I have no doubt that this is a set of 15 volumes. The shikigami of the outside world are the same as the ones in Gensokyo after all. With computers, F represents 15 and F is the state wherein everything is compounded. It was written that when everything becomes F, the highest value is held. I think that it's natural for 15 to have power. Even in ancient times, 15 meant perfection in this country. The same reason the full moon is also known as the fifteenth night. Computers must be familiars that have resulted from the ideas of the East and the beauty of the moon.
Marisa asked me what I was thinking about as she lined up the three books. Through Marisa's nonchalant actions, I realized something else. The numbers on the books, "13", "14", and "15", when lined up, makes 131415. If the 1 in front is removed... it then depicts the number that represents a perfect circle, 3.1415. This also means a full moon. And thus my theory that the familiars of the outside world use the power of the moon becomes truth.
I wanted to research more in regards to the shikigami of the outside world, but to do that I required these books.
"...Kourin. You plan on makin' a deal with Reimu? Forget it, what she thinks is valuable is completely different from everyone else."
Indeed, Reimu is too detached from this world. Normal exchange conditions wouldn't suffice. However, I can still make a deal with Reimu. Reimu's values are different, after all.
It was then that I heard the returning footsteps of the owner of these books.



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