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Return to Tythanin Sakshi
“Why are these stupid fairies getting in our way?!” Shiwasu yelled angrily as she tore through one with her claws, the small pixie dissolving into sparkles. A small lance of pain hit her from behind and she spun on her feet, swinging her left claw in a wide arc that killed another fairy. She heard Yayoi give a little laugh that was accompanied by the sounds of multiple explosions. Shiwasu turned to see what was so funny and she gaped at the little pile of fairies that had fallen at the half-demon’s feet.
“And you said this wouldn’t be fun! I haven’t had this much fun playing until now! The only thing that attacked me in the mountains was the occasional youkai and it wasn’t much of a problem wiping them out. Oh man, life down here is so much more energetic! We should move!” Yayoi said excitedly, clapping her hands. “Maybe near the shrine girl. She seemed interesting. I’ve always wanted to visit a genuine shrine.”
“No!” Shiwasu said firmly. There was no way she would ever move down into this hellhole. The closest she would get to that was the rare visit and those visits would be very rare indeed. She flung her hand back carelessly, swiping another fairy across the wings. “And don’t talk about that stupid shrine girl! She was a pain in the neck. I swear, throwing seals at me for no reason…”
“Those are the two I told you about, Daiyousei!” A loud, and sadly familiar, voice echoed through the air and Shiwasu and Yayoi turned at the sound of the voice. Shiwasu gave a groan when she saw who it was and she scratched her head exasperatedly. Floating above a crystal clear lake was the ice fairy from earlier, Cirno, and another fairy that was apparently named Daiyousei.
“Not you again. Didn’t that last thrashing teach you a lesson?” Shiwasu groaned.
“It wasn’t a thrashing!” Cirno yelled petulantly, folding her arms in a childish fashion. “See, Daiyousei? They’re being mean!”
“B-But Cirno…” Daiyousei murmured, exchanging glances between Cirno and Shiwasu. “Can’t-”
Before she could say anything else, Cirno was already charging towards Shiwasu, her hands covered in an icy mist. Daiyousei let out a little sigh and flew towards Yayoi, her own hands glowing with a green aura. “I’m really sorry…But I need to help her out.”
“No problem! Shiwasu’s the same way!” Yayoi returned, lengthening her nails to half-sized claws. “Let’s just have a practice spar. Is that okay with you?”
Daiyousei nodded and soon she was flitting around Yayoi, flinging sharp blasts of wind down at the half-demon. Yayoi quickly sprung to the side, where her feet got trapped in a deepening pool of mud. Daiyousei quickly took advantage of her opponent’s momentary weakness and darted behind Yayoi, pelting her repeatedly with wind. The blasts weren’t particularly painful, but the sheer number of attacks made up for that.
Yayoi finally managed to get out of the mudhole, her clothes and skin nicked with hundreds of small wounds and cuts. She looked up at the nimble fairy, who was still hitting her with her wind slashes. ‘Oh man, I think the elements are starting to get jumbled up again. This isn’t good…’
Almost on cue, she felt a rumbling beneath her feet. She jumped in the air just as a tree burst out of the ground, the newly-forming branches nearly skewering her. As she landed, the dirt beneath her began changing to water, causing her to land into another mud puddle. Wiping the mud out of her eyes, Yayoi coughed and climbed out of the pit. She was tired of falling into mud and just the act of getting out of that thick, sticky mud was sapping all of her energy.
“Um…Do you want to stop?” Daiyousei asked, her hands clasped in front of her. Her bright-green eyes shined with worry and she was about to say something else but then she stopped herself. Brushing back her bright-green ponytail, Daiyousei extended a hand out towards Yayoi, offering to help her up. Yayoi looked at the hand and laughed softly to herself as she took it.
“It looks like it’s my loss. You fight very well, much better than your friend.” Yayoi said as Daiyousei helped her up. “Why do you let her boss you around?”
“Well…It’s my duty to help out other fairies.” Daiyousei said softly. “And Cirno is my friend. I can’t abandon her, even though she might do some pretty foolish things. One day she’ll become more mature…hopefully. By the way, why are you so close to the Scarlet Devil Mansion? Unless you know the master of the Mansion, I don’t see how you’re going to get inside.”
“You see…” Yayoi pointed to the tree that had magically sprung out from the ground. “For some reason, the elements and nature are starting to act all weird. Water will turn into fire, earth into wood, stuff like that. Shiwasu and I are just trying to figure out how to stop it and we heard the Scarlet Devil Mansion has a library with all the books in the world in it.”
“Oh…” Daiyousei nodded. “I see. Although I haven’t been in the mansion myself, I can tell you that it’ll be tough to get in. The front gate is guarded by a youkai named Hong Meirin. She’s pretty nice though, so you might be able to get past her without a fight.”
“Thanks for the info! You’re a really nice fairy, Daiyousei! Well, unlike those others that attacked us out of the blue…”
“O-Oh, I’m sorry about them. A lot of them are like Cirno and think it would be fun to attack passerby.” Daiyousei said apologetically. “I’ll try and see that you aren’t attacked again.”
“Freeze Sign ~Perfect Freeze~!”
“Mountain Sign ~Stalking Prey~!”
The two of them spun to see Cirno and Shiwasu charging at each other for one final attack. Cirno launched series after series of ice crystals towards Shiwasu, which froze anything it hit on impact. Shiwasu, on the other hand, had split into afterimages, jumped around the grass, hiding behind trees, and leaping from the air. It was hard to tell which one was real until all of them merged into one image in front of Cirno, a claw raised to strike her in the chest. Before it could connect, one of Cirno’s ice crystals (one of the ones that didn’t randomly change elements in mid-flight), collided with Shiwasu’s fist, encasing it in ice. The now-ice fist hit Cirno directly in the chest, sending the ice fairy flying off in the direction of the lake.
“Gaaaaah! That’s cold!” Shiwasu screamed, pounding her ice fist repeatedly on the ground in the hope that the ice would shatter. “Get it off! I hate freezing temperatures! This is killing me!”
Cirno, when she realized she was going to hit the lake, had the bright idea of freezing it so that she wouldn’t get wet. As such, she bounced off the icy surface and was about to land on it again when the water slowly began transforming into bamboo shoots. She would have gotten impaled on the sharp stems if Daiyousei hadn’t already been flying towards her. With a quick blast of wind, Cirno landed on solid ground instead of the new bamboo field.
“Daiyousei!” Cirno said as she stood up, uncomprehending of how much danger she had just been in. “Why did you do that?!”
“You could have died, Cirno!” Daiyousei shot back, her voice stern and commanding. She pointed towards the former lake, whose new bamboo shoots were now growing a relatively nice pace. “Please, don’t be so reckless next time.”
Cirno was about to shout back a retort when she saw the concerned expression on Daiyousei’s face. Stifling her protest, Cirno nodded, ashamed. “I understand, Daiyousei…I’m sorry.”
“Good…Just as long as you’re safe.” Daiyousei replied.
“Isn’t that sweet?” Yayoi sighed, looking at the two fairies. “She cares so much about Cirno…It’s so touching. Why can’t you ever be like that, Shiwasu?”
“You…shut up.” Shiwasu choked out, her right arm trembling as she continued to try to pry the ice block off of her fist. “Help me find a way to get this off. I think I’ve lost all feeling to my hand already.”
“Tsk, tsk…This is why you shouldn’t be so eager for a fight.” Yayoi said as she used her claws to slowly shave pieces of ice off of Shiwasu’s frozen hand. After a couple of minutes, the ice was off and Shiwasu was beginning to get feeling in her fingers again.
“Come on, let’s go.” Shiwasu said, looking in the direction of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. “We wasted too much time here. And…thanks a lot, Yayoi.”
“No problem!” Yayoi replied cheerily, skipping up to her friend’s side. “You’re a lot more fun to hang out with when you’re nice, Shiwasu.”
“So, this is the Scarlet Devil Mansion…” Shiwasu muttered to herself as she stared at the large, wrought-iron gates that barred their way into the mansion. What was odd, though, was that the mansion didn’t even seem that spectacular from the outside. In fact, it looked rather small for a building that was said to have a library that contained every book in existence. ‘Still, there must be more to this than it seems. You hardly get a title like the Scarlet Devil unless you have some sort of power.’
“Halt, who goes there?!” Suddenly, a girl of around medium height jumped down from the sky and landed in front of Shiwasu, her hands held out in a kung-fu type of stance. Upon seeing Shiwasu and Yayoi, she relaxed slightly. “Oh, are you here to see the mistress?”
“Uh…Right.” Shiwasu laughed nervously. “Of course we are, aren’t we Yayoi?”
“Yeah, yeah!” Yayoi nodded eagerly. “There’s something important we need to talk to her about!”
“But you two look suspicious…Why would a youkai and a human visit my mistress?” The gate guard tapped her chin thoughtfully, her cherry-red hair fluttering behind her. “I better go make sure you’re telling the truth.”
“Sure, go ahead.” Shiwasu said, motioning for the gate guard to do whatever she wanted to do. ‘Open the damn gate. Once you turn your back and that gate’s open, I’m plunging straight in. Come on, open it…’
Suddenly, appearing out of nowhere, a knife plunged right through the green beret the guard was wearing and a silver-haired maid softly dropped to the ground, more knives arrayed between her fingers. She kicked the guard once to make sure she was still alive. “Hey, China, what are you doing?”
“S-Sakuya…” China, as her name appeared to be, slowly struggled up to her feet, blood beginning to seep through her beret. “Why did you do that?! That really hurt!”
“Be quiet, China.” Sakuya flung another knife into China’s head. “Now, what do you intruders want with the mistress?”
‘S-She’s scary…’ Yayoi thought to herself, trembling slightly. “Um…We wanted to borrow some books in the library and see if your master knew anything about what’s going on…”
“Oh…borrow some books, hmm? You’re probably just like that black-white witch. I don’t think you two will be able to pass.” Sakuya said, seemingly drawing another fan of knives out of nowhere. “China, get up. We have to defeat these intruders.”
“Not be able to pass, huh?” Shiwasu cracked her knuckles. “If it’s a fight you want…I don’t think it’ll be too hard to beat some sense into a simple maid.”
“Oh really?” Sakuya grinned evilly as more knives appeared in her hands. “Unless you think you can defeat time itself…” Suddenly she vanished and appeared right behind Shiwasu, a knife at her back. “Then there is no hope for you.”
‘What the hell was that?!’ Shiwasu barely had time to move before the knife was plunged into her back. The wolf youkai let out a scream before falling to a knee, panting. Never before had she seen someone move that fast. She would have believed it to be an illusion if it wasn’t for the searing pain. Shiwasu painfully got back on her feet, bringing up her fist. Sakuya smirked at her, beckoning for her to attack. “A wolf doesn’t go down that easily!”
Ignoring the pain, Shiwasu sprinted towards the maid, her nails already lengthened into claws. Howling, she brought her claws down at Sakuya, who, strangely enough, was just standing there with a weird smile on her face. Before the claws could rip through her flesh, however, Sakuya disappeared again, only to reappear behind Shiwasu. Knives of every shape and size flew towards the wolf youkai, digging deep into her skin and toppling her to the ground.
“Haaa…Haaa…” Shiwasu panted, blood pouring out of her numerous wounds. She looked up at Sakuya, who was standing above her with a scornful expression on her face.
“If that is all you have, then you have no right to even be near the presence of my mistress.” Sakuya said. “You don’t even deserve the right to be fighting me.”
‘Grrr…I can’t…I won’t let her speak to me that way. I am the wolf. I am the predator. I am the spirit of the hunt….I will not be defeated here!’ Shiwasu let out a fierce roar as she suddenly stood on her feet, ripping the knives out of her skin and tossing them onto the ground. She brought a clawed hand up to her face, obscuring part of her vision. “Watch out, human. It’s time to feed…”
“Oh? Perhaps you’re right. My mistress should be getting hungry soon. I wonder if your blood is good enough to satisfy her…” Sakuya pondered as she fingered another knife. “Let’s see.”
While Shiwasu and Sakuya were battling near the front of the gate, Yayoi and China were having a different sort of battle a little distance away. China was throwing various punches and kicks in Yayoi’s direction while the half-demon spent her time side-stepping, dodging the attacks as she asked China about the strange happenings with the elements.
“Is your name really China?” Yayoi asked as she ducked under a particularly fierce jab. “And since you’re the gate guard, have you noticed anything strange happening? Like dirt turning into fire…or trees spontaneously popping out from the ground?”
“My name is Hong Meirin, not China!” She shouted as she tried to hit Yayoi with a one-two kick to the stomach. “And while I have seen some things, every time I try to report it, I get stabbed! So I’m staying out of it and doing my job as a gate guard!”
“Well, okay.” Yayoi said thoughtfully as she jumped backwards, putting herself out of Meirin’s range. “We should play together sometime. See, this is my first time coming to the Scarlet Devil Mansion and everyone I’ve met has been so fun to spend time with. Besides, you must be lonely, right?”
“I am treated rather unfairly…” Hong Meirin stopped her attacks for a moment, looking thoughtful. “As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t mind leaving my job…” She shivered in fear as a thought rose up to her mind. “But then Sakuya would hunt me down. I think it would be better if I just stayed here doing my job.”
Yayoi frowned slightly, but shrugged. “If you say so...Shall we continue the fight, then?”
“Of course!” Hong Meirin brought a fist back, concentrating as she powered up her fist with chi. She went on the offensive again, sending a short-range chi blast towards Yayoi’s direction while following up with another kick combo that connected with the half-demon’s side. Yayoi toppled to the ground, surprised that she actually got hit. Before she could get up, Hong was above her, trying to hit her with a drop kick.
Yayoi rolled to the side, quickly scrambling upwards before she could lose even more momentum. She brought up her arms to block another punch to her chest, grimacing as she was knocked backwards. ‘Aaah…I can’t handle this. Hand-to-hand fighting has never been something I trained in. Shiwasu was the one that I would count on for close combad.’
“Flowery Sign ~Mountain Breaker~!”
China brought one of her fists back, a multi-colored aura surrounding it. In one swift move, she brought her fist forward, barely missing Yayoi, who had dropped to the ground. China’s collided with the tree behind Yayoi, breaking off the upper half of its trunk and toppling the tree to the ground. She immediately sprung backwards, shaking her hand painfully. “Owowowow….”
‘Damn, she’s stronger than she seems.’ Yayoi thought to herself as she sprung back up from the ground, finally deciding to go on the offensive. ‘I guess there’s no more time to play around.’
She charged at the gate guard, pink-colored orbs developing on her fingertips. Swinging a hand towards her opponent, the orbs flew off, exploding in a variety of colors as they came in contact with the guard. Hong Meirin brought an arm up to her mouth, coughing as she tried to see through the smoke. Her eyes widened as she saw Yayoi running towards her, an extended claw reaching towards her face. Before it could connect, however, Meirin let herself fall and the claw passed over her face. She proceeded to do a backflip, her feet catching Yayoi in the chest.
Yayoi staggered backwards slightly, a hand clutched to her chest. ‘If she excels in short-range combat, then I’ll just have to move farther away, right?’
Testing the leathery wings that grew out of her back, Yayoi lifted herself into the air, flying a short distance away from her opponent. Sometimes it was hard remembering she even had wings, but at moments like these, being able to fly was a huge boon. She flew circles around Hong Meirin, smiling as she saw the gate guard stamp the ground in fury, unable to reach her.
‘This game is over.’ Yayoi thought to herself as she summoned more orbs to her fingertips. Watching the orbs materialize into devilish pixies, Yayoi smiled and motioned down to the gate guard. “You know what to do.”
“Aaaagh!” Shiwasu flew backwards, crashing hard to the ground as another pair of knives embedded themselves into her chest. The wolf youkai was a sorry sight, with at least fifty large slashes and cuts across her body. Blood coated almost every inch of skin and Shiwasu could barely see through the haze of red that covered her eyes. She slowly, painfully, got back to her feet, barely able to keep standing. ‘I…can’t lose…I...’
Sakuya looked at Shiwasu with a mixture of pity and helplessness on her face. There was no point in fighting anymore. She must have hit the wolf youkai with at least one-hundred knives already, yet Shiwasu kept getting on her feet and attacking again. One had to admire such dedication, although she began to wonder if Shiwasu even remembered the reason as to why she came to the Scarlet Devil Mansion in the first place.
“I…will get past!” Shiwasu screamed, her claws lengthening even more. Ever since she was young, she had lived alone on Mt. Shuuyoujo. It was hard, living alone with no one to help protect you against the other youkai and youkai hunters. But she had persevered. She had gotten rid of anyone who would dare attack her peaceful haven, dare attack herself. She would not let herself be defeated by this human. “I…will not lose!”
“Resolute Sign ~Wolf Pack~!”
Shiwasu let out a fierce scream as her body trembled with uncontrolled power. The knives that were in her body popped out, clattering down to the ground as some force shoved them out of Shwiasu’s body. In a flash, she was in front of Sakuya, a closed fist coming up to her chest. The maid didn’t even have time to react before the fist connected, launching her against one of the walls.
‘H-How?!’ Sakuya thought as she fell against the stones, unable to believe that Shiwasu had managed to outrun time. Sure, there were some, like her mistress, who managed to figure out the secret behind her ability to manipulate time, but this youkai didn’t seem to even know about the time manipulation. So how…
Her thoughts were interrupted as Shiwasu appeared again, this time above her, to deal a crushing punch to the top of the maid’s head. Sakuya landed with a loud thud on the ground, her head pounding with pain as she struggled to understand what was going on. Slowly spinning the dial on the pocket watch she kept hidden, Sakuya caused time to freeze. She walked away from Shiwasu, taking care to send a couple of knives in her direction when time would turn again. With another twist, time moved forward again.
The knives that were previously placed in stasis moved again, driving towards Shiwasu. But somehow, while the knives seemed to strike the Shiwasu near the walls, another one appeared behind Sakuya and drove her claws into her back. Sakuya let out a pained scream that was suddenly cut off when Shiwasu appeared again and punched her in the stomach. Sakuya landed on the ground with a gasp, clutching her stomach in pain.
“Impossible…” She looked up and to her surprise, she saw three Shiwasu’s standing in front of her, each of them looking the same. “No way…”
“Huff…This is it…” Shiwasu panted, two of the doubles disappearing into thin air. She collapsed to one knee, unable to stand anymore. “Let us…through.”
“Aaaah…” Sakuya groaned, conceding her opponent’s determination. “You win…”
“T-Thank you…” Shiwasu whispered once before collapsing onto the ground, unconscious. Sakuya stood up, contemplating putting the wolf youkai out of her misery. She sighed, hiding her knives back under her maid’s uniform. Her gaze flicked to her gate guard, who was being bombarded by what appeared to be pixies.
“China! Enough fighting! They can come in.” Sakuya shouted towards her subordinate. She looked at Shiwasu’s partner, frowning as she watched the flying demon unload another barrage of orbs at China. “You! If you want to help your friend, you should stop fighting right now!”
"Shiwasu!" Yayoi immediately alighted to the ground, running past Sakuya to kneel at the wolf youkai’s side, horrified at the amount of injuries that covered her body.
“Don’t worry, she’s still alive. She fought very well. Bring her inside the mansion and I’ll see to it that she gets some treatment.” Sakuya said as she motioned towards the gates, which slowly creaked open. “Now, shall we go inside? I’m curious to see why you have come here.”
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