“What are you doing now, Genbu? Wasting more time by keeping tabs on those worthless beings in Gensokyo? I thought the Empress told us to keep out of their business.” Suzaku’s angry voice lashed out at the protector of winter. Genbu turned from his work and looked calmly at his fellow protector. Suzaku folded her arms and grimaced impatiently, waiting for some reply.
“She just said not to monitor their conditions in accordance to the weather. I was simply checking to see what they’re up to. Apparently, two of them have the idea of defeating us in battle in order to bring back order to their world.” Genbu explained, pointing at the scrying pool that he had been looking through. “I find it interesting.”
“You would find rocks interesting.” Suzaku snapped, stalking up to the short, stocking young man. She grabbed him by the collar of his robe and shook him a bit, her anger flaring as Genbu maintained his calm demeanor. “Your damn passiveness makes me so pissed off. One kick to the crotch and you’d be rolling on the floor.”
“I really don’t think so. After all, we gods don’t have a gender, so technically, I might not feel any pain at all.” A slightly mocking smile appeared on Genbu’s lips as he pried off Suzaku’s hands off of his clothes. He adjusted his rumpled collar and folded his arms, looking at Suzaku appraisingly. “Do you think they have a chance against us?”
“Of course not! Two measly mortals from a land that was forsaken by us? I would be surprised if they even managed to get here, much less defeat us. If you honestly think they have a chance, I think you overestimate them.” Suzaku snorted, her flame-red eyes narrowed with anger.
“Perhaps.” Genbu shrugged, turning back towards the scrying pool. “If you are so confident, why not face them first? Don’t forget though, fire can burn brightly, but it can burn out quicker than you think.”
“Pah! I’ll show you how it’s done. They’ll die before they can even catch a break from the blazing sun.” Suzaku spat on the ground before turning on her heel, leaving Genbu to his magic. She grumbled to herself as she stomped around the Celestial Plane, her temper appeased only slightly when she made a nearby tree burst into flames. “That damned Genbu…I think he likes those mortals way more than he should.”
“So let’s see what you do, Shiwasu and Yayoi.” Genbu said, staring into the scrying pool. “Can you extinguish the flames or will you perish in them?”
Yayoi woke up with a gasp, her head pounding with an unexplainable throbbing. She put a hand to her head, wondering why she couldn’t remember what had happened in the latter part of the fight. She could remember when that demon had offered her power, but after that, everything seemed to be black. All she could feel now was just that throbbing headache that kept pounding at her skull.
‘What have I done? Why can’t I remember?’ Yayoi brought her hands down, staring as they began to shake uncontrollably. She didn’t even know why they were shaking. The nails seemed to grow out for just a second and suddenly an image of her with two, pointed horns flashed in her head, causing her to double over as pain flooded her body again. “Aaah…What was that?”
“Oh, so you’re awake.”
“Ah, Mistress Remilia.” Yayoi looked up at the voice and saw the vampire standing by the doorway, her arms folded. Remilia walked up to her and put a hand on Yayoi’s forehead, slowly pushing her back down on the bed. “W-What are you doing?”
“Do you remember anything from last night?” Remilia asked seriously.
“The battle? W-Well…Around half of it, I guess. Everything else is a blank. W-Why? What happened to me?” Yayoi said, starting to feel slightly nervous at the question. The only reason she would be asked that is if she had done something really bad.
Remilia toyed with the idea of telling her, wondering if it would be best to keep the whole demon fiasco a secret from the seemingly clueless girl. She could see a good reason for telling Yayoi however. If she did, there might be a way for Yayoi to control the power instead of going on a rampage. The chances of that were slim, however, and there was no guarantee that Yayoi could control the power forever.
‘Still, even if that demon managed to take total control, I could still defeat it in an instant.’ Remilia thought, settling for telling the young girl about her hidden strength. “Yayoi, before your memories disappear, do you remember anything about a demon within you?”
“Y-Yes.” Yayoi stammered, surprised. “How did you know that?”
“Because that demon took over your body and nearly killed Patchouli. I stopped it, but that still doesn’t mean it won’t be coming back. It was only because of your friend that I didn’t kill you outright.” Remilia said. “So, you have an insanely powerful demon dwelling inside of you and you never knew it?”
“No! How could I? I don’t remember ever learning about this demon. Is that the thing that was offering me power during the middle of the fight?” Yayoi looked at Remilia, her eyes wide with fear and guilt. “I-I nearly killed Patchouli? She was my friend…one of the first friends I had made out of Mt. Shuuyoujo. W-What have I done?”
“A lot, trust me.” Remilia said dryly. “Lucky for you, there might be a way to help seal the demon’s murderous instincts so that you can call upon the power at will and not go berserk. However, that will have to wait until you’re fully healed and when our darling miko Reimu arrives. I really did a number on you when you challenged me. Don’t try doing that again.”
“I won’t. But how can I be certain that I won’t go crazy if I try to call on the demon again?” Yayoi asked, looking at her hands again.
“You can’t.” Remilia said. “You just have to control the power. If you believe you can’t, then we shouldn’t even bother trying to seal up the demon. It would just be a waste of energy.”
“I…I see.” Yayoi whispered, too stunned over the recent revelations to say anything. Remilia gave a sigh and patted Yayoi on the head, mussing up a little of her pinkish-red hair.
“Think about it. You’re a lot stronger than you look.” Remilia got off of the bed and walked towards the door. Before she left, she said one last thing. “By the way, I might need some of your blood later. Please be a dear and get healthy by then.”
“Huff…Huff…” Shiwasu wiped the sweat off of her forehead, looking satisfactorily at the remains of the log she was practicing on. Wood chips were lying everywhere and her arms ached with pain, blood slowly dripping off of the numerous cuts on her fists. She heard a sound come from behind her and she turned, frowning when she saw who it was. “Oh, you’re that shrine maiden. What the hell are you doing here?”
“Patchouli asked me for help with something. I don’t know why I’m here myself.” Reimu sighed and shrugged. “All I know is that it’s something to do with you and your friend. Once again, you disrupt me from my shrine duties. And I had so much work I planned to do today.”
Shiwasu snorted, disbelief written on her face. “I’ve only visited your shrine once and I highly doubt that you do any work at all. So, why are you here instead of talking with that librarian witch?”
“I thought I might take a walk around. I haven’t visited the Scarlet Devil Mansion in some time and I wanted to see if Remilia had made any changes.” Reimu said loftily, a careless smile on her face. “Ah…I forgot. Remilia invited me for tea. I should get going.”
“Perhaps you should.” Shiwasu replied noncommittally as she turned back to her training. She was halfway through her exercises when she realized that Reimu was still standing behind her. The youkai suppressed a groan of irritation and faced the shrine maiden, who was acting like she was doing nothing wrong.
“What are you still doing here?”
“Oh, I thought it would be interesting to watch you.” Reimu said, twirling the wooden rod she carried around. “I just wonder why you’re training so much. Why, you defeated me quite easily.”
“Hmph. One doesn’t grow stronger without training.” Shiwasu muttered, giving up on her training and wrapping white linen bandages around her hands. She looked up at Reimu, suspicious. “Besides, I don’t even think you were fighting at full strength then. A human who has lived alone in this world? And for some time, apparently? There must be some hidden strength within you.”
“I’m just a regular old shrine maiden.” Reimu said. “Not old, though. Anyway, I might as well take up Remilia’s offer of tea. Since you’re finished training, why don’t you join us?”
“I don’t like tea.” Shiwasu said, tying the last of the bandages around her fists. One last tug and she was done. “Besides, I’m worried about my friend.”
“Okay, whatever suits you.” Reimu raised a hand in farewell as she left. Shiwasu sighed and ran a hand through her brown-black hair, wondering what the maiden’s purpose was in searching her out.
‘I’m probably just thinking this out too much.’ Shiwasu shook her head and walked back into the mansion.
“So that girl has a raging demon soul within her?” Reimu asked as she looked over at Remilia. She took a small sip of the tea and set down the teacup down on the wooden table. “What do you expect me to do? I’m not even sure I can do anything to help.”
“I was afraid of that.” Remilia grimaced. “I could easily alter fate in order to quell the demon inside, but that would feel like cheating. Even if brute force usually makes everything all right in this world.”
“It might be possible…” Reimu looked at her tea thoughtfully. “But it would require some time. And it might permanently damage her mind, since this demon is a part of her. I can seal the demon’s power within her and by teaching her a couple of verses, she can unlock the power and still retain full control of her mentality. Of course, should anything go wrong, there’s a big chance that the demon inside her will take control of her body permanently. Ah, the difficulties of being a shrine maiden.”
“But it is possible.” Remilia said.
“Certainly.” Reimu said with confidence. “Ask the half-demon and her friend to see if it’s okay with them and tell me if it is. I have some ingredients to gather.”
“My maid can get them for you.” Remilia said, clapping her hands lightly. In an instant, Sakuya was at her side, bowing.
“How can I help you, Mistress Remilia?” Sakuya said quietly.
“Reimu here has some things she needs. I can count on you to gather them, right?”
“Of course.” Sakuya replied, turning towards Reimu. “Well? What do you need?”
“Let me write them down.” Reimu said, quickly finishing up a small list. She handed it to Sakuya and in a couple of minutes, the maid was back, all the ingredients in her hands. She quickly dumped them in front of Reimu and clapped her hands.
“Is there anything else you require, mistress?” Sakuya asked.
“Nope. Thank you for your work, Sakuya.” Remilia dismissed her head maid with a wave of her hand. “Feel free to do whatever you want until I require something else from you.”
“Okay, milady.” Sakuya bowed one last time before departing from the room, leaving Remilia and Reimu alone.
“Well, if you’ll excuse me, I have something I need to do.” Reimu said, carefully tucking each of the ingredients into separate leather bags. “Time for me to get to work…And after this I have to help Patchouli with her portal too. I know this is to help Gensokyo, but how depressing.”
“Ah...Yayoi, you’re all right.” Shiwasu walked into the infirmary, a relieved smile on her face when she saw her pink-haired friend sitting up in the bed. She immediately rushed to Yayoi’s side, where she tried to hide her concern by simply nodding when she saw that all of Yayoi’s injuries where healed. Changing her smile into a scolding frown, she hit Yayoi lightly on the shoulder. “You shouldn’t worry me like that.”
Yayoi managed to give Shiwasu a wan smile. “I’m sorry.”
“Is something wrong?” Shiwasu asked nervously, wondering why her friend sounded so depressed. “You’re not in any pain, are you?”
“No, no.” Yayoi shook her head. “It’s just…Do you know anything about some sort of demon inside me? Some bloodthirsty one?”
“Hahaha…” Shiwasu faked a laugh, her nervousness increasing. “You’re half-demon you know. The only demon inside of you is yourself. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Ah…Okay.” Yayoi looked at Shiwasu a little suspiciously, trying to see why the youkai was avoiding her gaze. “You really don’t know?”
“O-Of course not!” Shiwasu laughed again. “I mean, I took care of you for years. Surely I would know about something like that. Please, don’t worry about crazy stuff like that anymore.”
“You know something about it, don’t you? I’ve lived with you for the majority of my life and I know when you’re lying. Your tail twitches and your ears flatten.” Yayoi stated matter-of-factly. “So, since you know about it, why won’t you tell me?”
“Tch…” Shiwasu looked away. “The only reason why I didn’t tell you was because the only time I had seen this raging demon was long ago. You had forgotten all about the incident, so I thought it would be best to keep you in the dark about it. Imagine telling a child that she just slaughtered three people.”
“I-I see…” Yayoi said. “Then why did you continue to take care of me if you knew all of this?”
“What could I do? You were my friend and it was my duty to take care of you. I wouldn’t abandon you. N-Not that I really cared or anything. It was just nice having someone else around at times.” Shiwasu said, her cheeks flushing red.
The door opened and Remilia stepped in the room, a smile appearing on her face. “Ah, you’re both here. That’s good. I have something to tell you both.”
“What is it?” Yayoi asked, concerned. “I didn’t do anything else, did I?”
“No, no. You might even enjoy this.” Remilia said. “There might be a way to make sure that Yayoi doesn’t go crazy again and still be able to retain that power. There’s no guarantees that it’ll work, but at least there’s a chance. And I could always just alter fate just a tiny bit to help you. But of course we need your approval.”
Yayoi and Shiwasu exchanged glances. In one voice, they replied, “You got it.”
“So, you’re sure this is going to work.” Shiwasu asked apprehensively as she watched Reimu slowly etch an intricate magic circle on the ground, who was taking the utmost care to make sure that nothing was out of place. In the center was a wide pentagram, where Yayoi was positioned, each of her limbs positioned on a point in the star. At the tip of each star, a letter was inscribed, the letters being S, A, L, U, and S. Reimu let out a soft sigh as she finished the outer circle, wiping off some sweat from her forehead.
“I never said I was sure. I just said there was a good probability of it succeeding.” Remilia said, watching the proceedings with interest. “Ah, the five-pointed star. It’s been so long since I’ve seen it.”
Shiwasu groaned inwardly, knowing she wouldn’t get any exact answers from the vampiress. She could only watch as Reimu stood at the head of the circle, her palms together as she chanted rhythmically. Bringing them apart, she withdrew numerous seals from under her sleeves, spreading them in her hands as she threw them on the symbols on the outer circle.
“I call upon ye, powers of those who are immortal, to lend me your strength! A great power, one who seeks to destroy and harm, is amongst our presence. As one who dutifully fulfills her duties in maintaining the watch over this world, let me seal away this lust for havoc and chaos.” Reimu intoned as she finished slapping seals on each of the outer markings. Stepping over to the inner circle, she laid five different seals above each of the letters. She sprinkled a bit of incense over each of the seals before returning to her position outside of the circle. “Let the soul, one who has had to live with this demon writhing inside her, learn how to control this power by herself, without giving over to the lust. Watch over her, gods, and protect her as one of your own!”
Reimu withdrew one last seal, this one bigger than the rest with the Japanese characters for god written on it. She flung it to the center of the pentagram, where it hovered over Yayoi’s heart, rotating wildly. “Five Pointed Seal!”
The floating seal suddenly exploded in a pillar of blue-white light, each of the seals at the star’s points reacting to the light and sending up their own magic as well. Shiwasu could only watch as she heard the sounds of screaming from inside the pillar, trying to stop herself from rushing into the magic circle. The screams suddenly cut off, just as the light began to fade into small sparkles.
Yayoi was still lying in the middle of the star, the seals surrounding her dissolving into dust. She twitched once, smoke rising off of her skin. Her eyes slowly opened and a smile appeared on her lips as she stood up, brushing some of the ash from her body. She looked at Shiwasu, who, with a plummeting heart, saw that her once-blue eyes had now turned a crimson red.
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