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Dual Strife - Final Battle

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Return to Fiction by Valesta


In Eientei’s right inner sanctum…

“TAKE THIS!” Reimu, enraged over Sakuya’s death, materializes several magic circles around her, which release blasts of holy energy, which fire at Eirin rapidly.

“Wow…” Eirin quickly dashes, staying one step ahead of Reimu’s continuous attack. She jumps up and fires a volley of arrows at Reimu, who tosses an ofuda in front of her, which turns into small barrier, which blocks Eirin’s attack. Eirin continues her evasive maneuver.

Reimu tosses another ofuda in Eirin’s path, which also becomes a barrier, causing her to pause in her movement. Taking that opportunity, Reimu draws a spell card, “Spirit Sign!” Five large orbs of spirit energy materialize around Reimu, “Fantasy Orb!” The orbs fly at Eirin and the first one renders her airborne. The other four slam into her while she’s helpless in the air and she crashes to the ground.

“Ugh…” Eirin rises to her feet, “Not bad, but I won’t fall for that same tactic twice…” Eirin charges straight at Reimu and attempts to attack up close with her bow, but Reimu quickly draws her gohei and blocks the attack. Eirin materializes an arrow in her other hand as the two girls struggle to over power the other with their weapons and attempts to stab Reimu, who notices and dodges backward with ease, drawing a few needles and tossing them at the open Eirin, which sink into her right thigh, “Agh!” Eirin clutches where she was hit, “I guess the friendship you felt with that… individual is pretty strong. It’s not often that I’m at the disadvantage…”

“You’ll be at much more of a disadvantage soon enough!” declares Reimu.

Eirin draws a spell card, “You shouldn’t make such a broad proclamation so soon. After all, you’ve yet to see the true power that is unlocked by spell cards… Such a magnificent tool, I must say. In each of us lies a great power, but by ourselves, that power remain dormant, but these cards are the key to unleash a portion of that true potential in all kinds of forms. Truly wonderful… but at the same time, deplorable, that we need this power to harm others. Haven’t you ever thought about it?”

“I don’t give a shit what you think about spell cards!” yells Reimu, “All that I care about is the fact that you took our moon away, replaced it with a fake, took control of innocent people, and now you took someone very dear to me from this world! I don’t know what the hell you’re trying to accomplish, nor do I care. If you want my view, no, spell cards are not tools to cause harm. They are the extensions of ourselves that are needed to protect Gensokyo from menaces like you!”

Eirin pauses for a second, “Nicely put. For a human, you’re certainly more intelligent than your appearance suggests. Now let’s see what kinds of results your convictions can produce, shall we?” She raises her spell card, “Spacial Disaster!” The spell card changes shape, taking the form of an arrow, which Eirin fires upward.

“Huh?” Reimu, not expecting the natures that Eirin’s spell card displayed, anticipates the upcoming attack.

“Force Crisis!” At Eirin’s declaration, the arrow vanishes and in its place spreads a giant magic circle, looking down on the room. From the circle, large purple meteors pour out in rapid succession, aimed at Reimu.

“Whoa!” Reimu dodges the meteors, but they follow her movement and fall closely behind her, vanishing upon hitting anything but their target. Reimu charges at Eirin, who prepares to trap her by firing an arrow. Reimu breaks into a slide, but Eirin follows up and jumps away from Reimu, firing several more arrows in midair. “Ah!” Reimu get s back to her feet getting grazed by Eirin’s attack while still staying ahead of the shower of meteors. Reimu draws a spell card, “Holy Relic: Ying-Yang Sanctifier Orb!” Reimu raises her hand as her spell card vanishes in above her hand hovers a large Yin-Yang Orb, which she tosses toward Eirin, blocking her from the arrows. Eirin takes flight, trying to maneuver around Reimu’s attack, but Reimu alters the direction and it homes in on Eirin, unleashing a large burst of blue light, which sends her careening. The magic circle dropping the meteors disappears and Eirin hits the ground.

“Ah! Not a bad tactic…” Eirin quickly gets back to her feet but before she can counterattack, Reimu tosses a swarm of needles, which Eirin dodges to the side.

--

Meanwhile, outside Eientei, Mokou arrives at the front gate of the castle, “I’m here. This will soon end, Kaguya!” Mokou dashes into the castle, soon noticing the defeated rabbit youkai, “Has someone made it here before me? Can’t say I’m surprised or anything, as this concerns everyone. I just hope their fun hasn’t ended before mine begins…”

--

Elsewhere, in Kaguya’s chamber, the battle between Marisa and Kaguya begins.

Kaguya, still standing on her balcony, materializes a few magic circles, which fire bolts of energy down at Marisa, who jumps to the side and fires a volley of magical blasts up at Kaguya’s perch, causing it to crumble beneath her. Kaguya hovers in midair as Marisa hops on her broom and flies up to the princess’ level. A transparent sword forms around Kaguya’s hand as she charges toward Marisa and delivers a powerful slash, as Marisa narrowly dodges and prepares to counterattack by firing a strong blast of magic. Kaguya backs away as Marisa attacks, then cuts through her attack, afterward extending her other arm and firing a blue burst of energy, which slams into Marisa, who slams against the wall. Kaguya prepares a finishing blow, but Marisa is quicker to the draw as she gets back on her broom, declaring a spell card at the same time, “Comet: Blazing Star!” Blue energy flows into Marisa’s broom and she flies at Kaguya at a blinding speed, slamming into her shaft-first.

“ACK!” Surprised and interrupted in mid-spell, Kaguya staggers back, but Marisa doesn’t stop there and fires a thin white laser at her. However, Kaguya quickly recovers and her hand radiates silver light. She swings her protected hand against the laser, deflecting it.

Marisa sighs, “Damn. I thought I had you on that…”

“…” Kaguya glares at Marisa.

Marisa continues, “You’re pretty fun, I admit, Kaguya, but right now, I don’t have the time to be pussy-footing around!”

Kaguya smiles slightly, “I’d rather you do, in fact. With a little more time, my moon will permanently dominate the sky and Gensokyo will have an Imperishable Night.”

“Well that won’t happen as long as I can kick you ass and spot it!” declares Marisa as she draws a spell card, “I will make you return our moon! Magic Sign!” Purple energy flows into Marisa.

Kaguya smirks as she draws her own spell card, “It’s not as simple as that, Gensokyan. I can’t just make it disappear. I created the moon and my powers are sustained by a charm created by a brilliant servant of mine. The taking of my life and the destruction of that charm, both, are the key to your success, so you are in the process of eliminating one half of your problem.”

Marisa says, “I’m not worried. I have friends elsewhere. I’m sure they are getting rid of that charm if they found it.”

“Then you have to kill me. It’s common for anyone to take the life of a low-level youkai, but how many humans have you taken from this world?”

Marisa flinches, “I…”

“No one, I suppose. Do you think you have it in you to do the unthinkable?” asks Kaguya in a mocking voice.

Marisa makes a fist, “Damn it! I don’t like this, but if you don’t die, everyone would be rendered mindless puppets! I have no choice. I have no choice! I will end you, Kaguya.”

Kaguya smugly says, “So you say, but do you have a heart that can handle it? Can you stand the guilt of the taking of another’s life? Is it worth it for Gensokyo?”

Marisa looks toward the floor, “I’m not doing this for Gensokyo, Kaguya…”

“What?”

“I'll admit I’m not the most noble person alive. I wouldn’t put myself on the line for many people I don’t know…”

“Then what are you trying to accomplish if you are not fighting for Gensokyo?”

“I’m fighting for my friends. Right before my eyes, I saw my friends falling under the control of your servant. Alice, Cirno, Suika… They mean a lot to me. I may not give a shit about everyone else, but for them to be themselves… the ones I acknowledge as my friends, I will do what it takes…”

Kaguya raises her spell card, “Fine then! If it’s your friends you choose as your justification to step outside your ethical boundaries, allow me to test how far your convictions take you, but I won’t go down so easily! Impossible Request!” Five tiny objects materialize around Kaguya: A bowl made of stone, a necklace made up of rare jewels, a red cloak, a branch with jewels on it, and a shell consisting on the colors of the rainbow.

Marisa, not taking any chances, casts her spell, “Stardust Reverie!” Marisa thrusts her hand in Kaguya’s direction, and star-shaped shots of magic spray toward her.

“Buddha's Stone Bowl!” The stone bowl floats in front of Kaguya as the other objects vanish. The bowl becomes transparent, and then expands to a size larger than its wielder in the form of a barrier, blocking Marisa’s attack.

“Tch…”

“Surprised? Well that’s not all, I’m afraid…” Magic circles form on the barrier and each shoot out a series of lasers. Marisa wildly dodges, though some still manage to graze her left shoulder, left leg, and the side of her face. Marisa fires a volley of green magical blasts at Kaguya, but the bowl protects her, “That’s useless! This bowl effectively defends me and attacks!”

Marisa draws a spell card, “Ha! I was just testing the effectiveness of that barrier anyway. My REAL specialties can shatter it! Loving Heart!” Golden energy flows into Marisa.

“…” Not taking any chances, Kaguya thrusts her hand in Marisa’s direction and her magic circles fire off a larger series of lasers.

“Useless!” Marisa fires a giant beam at Kaguya, swallowing her lasers and it clashes against the bowl. As its power fades, there are several cracks, but it hadn’t shattered.

“Not bad, but that was still no use…” says the relieved Kaguya.

“Oh, I’m not done! Double Spark!”

“WHAT?” Marisa fires a second beam at the shocked Kaguya, which breaks through the defensive weapon and slams into the princess. Marisa’s beam has a short duration, however, and it soon vanishes, leaving Kaguya with some injuries.

Marisa smiles, “Not bad, Kaguya, but you really gotta know who you’re dealing with!”

Kaguya draws another spell card, “Thanks for the reminder…”

Marisa observes the situation, How much time is left is anyone’s guess, but I feel we’re pushing it. I must end this fast. I have something that should cut her down by a shitload, but for it to work best and fail-proof, I gotta get above her. If I screw this up, I will be left too weak to put up any decent resistance afterward… Just as Marisa plans her strategy, Kaguya increases her altitude and looks down on the witch. Fuck…

Kaguya declares, “Impossible Request!” The five objects reappear around her.

The dismayed Marisa asks, “What are you up to this time?”

“Dragon’s Necklace!” The objects, save the necklace, vanish. The remaining object rises above Kaguya’s head and expands, then lowers and shrinks around Kaguya’s neck.

“Pretty piece of jewelry,” Marisa sarcastically compliments Kaguya, “How much is THAT worth?”

“More than your life. A fact I shall make you realize all too well!” Kaguya’s necklace starts to glow and her hands along with it. She thrusts her hand down in Marisa’s direction, firing down numerous bolts of light.’

“Whoa!” Marisa quickly dodges Kaguya’s attack, but the princess doesn’t stop there, as she drops down even more bolts keeping Marisa on the defensive. Finally, one slams into Marisa, forcing her to the floor, “UGH!” Marisa recovers fast enough to avoid the following beams, but the distance between the two girls is too wide for Marisa to effectively follow up on her strategy. Damn it! This is not good… Kaguya has me in the worst possible situation right now and now she has me against a wall! Looks like I can only defend myself right now… Marisa draws a spell card, “Love Sign!” She dodges another volley of bolts, and then thrusts her hand toward Kaguya, high above, “Master Spark!” Marisa fires her massive laser, but Kaguya has more than enough time to react and dodge.

“Amateurish!” Kaguya floats to the side, out of the Master Spark’s path, which keeps going and slams into the moon on the ceiling, causing a chunk of it to fall toward the unsuspecting Kaguya and slams into her from above. “UUGGHHH! What…?” Distracted, Kaguya’s necklace vanishes.

Marisa pauses and blinks a couple times … Wow… That was lucky for me…

Kaguya recovers, pulling another spell card out of her pocket, “Ugh… You’re quite clever…”

Marisa stammers, “Um… well… Damn right I am, bitch!”

“But I’ll be aware that you have cheap tricks like that in store from here on…”

Marisa stares at Kaguya’s spell card, What’s next?

--

Meanwhile, Mokou approaches the fork in Eientei’s hallway, taking the left path without a second though, “Hmph. Amateur.”

--

Back in Eirin’s chamber, Reimu and Eirin’s duel rages on. In her rage, Reimu viciously attacks Eirin, who is kept on the defensive.

Reimu jumps at Eirin and swings her gohei, but the doctor blocks with her bow and quickly repels Reimu with a surprisingly powerful kick, causing her to slide across the floor. Wasting no time, Eirin draws a spell card, “You are a dangerous adversary! I’d best be done with you as soon as I can. It was a mistake to give you the chance! Curse of the Heavens!” Eirin’s spell card morphs into an arrow, which she aims upward.

Reimu quickly recovers, “Tch. What now?”

Eirin fires the arrow and it flies above Reimu before she declares, “Apollo 13!” Eirin’s arrow bursts into a rain of several smaller arrows.

“Damn…” Reimu pulls a spell card out of her pocket, preparing a countermeasure, “Divine Arts!” Her card glows with golden energy, “Omnidirectional Demon Binding Circle!” Reimu slams the card on the floor and a magic circle spreads below her, which then releases a massive pillar of holy energy, vaporizing the arrows. Eirin’s attack ends, “Nice Tr_Huh?” Reimu looks in the direction she remembered last seeing Eirin, but the doctor disappeared from her location. Reimu looks around, but suddenly feels a threatening presence and steps to the side, with an arrow flying through her left shoulder from behind. Reimu, upon feeling the sharp pain, grasps her wound with her right arm, looking in the direction the arrow came from. Eirin appears, ready to fire more arrows, Reimu quickly evades to the side, tossing a needle, which Eirin fails to notice until it sinks into her left hip.

“Ugh…” Eirin staggers backward and Reimu, taking advantage of Eirin’s few seconds of hesitation, flies at her adversary and delivers a powerful knee-strike, knocking the doctor away several feet.

“I’m not holding back anything on you!” declares Reimu as she draws another spell card, leaving only one remainder in her pocket.

Eirin looks wearily at Reimu, She’s at a major advantage… but I must persevere! If I can hold on a little longer, it won’t matter what happens anymore. If the clock hits five, everything will be a success… Eirin pulls a pocket watch out of her dress and looks at the time, 4:30AM. Damn… Not at the rate this is going… Kaguya, you’re Gensokyo’s last hope…

--

In Kaguya’s chamber, Kaguya declares her spell card, “Divine Treasure!” The five objects appear once again, but this time, they are radiating silver energy, “Salamander Shield!” All the objects, except for the red cloak, vanish. The remainder expands and wraps itself around Kaguya’s body. The princess flexes the power of her new weapon, causing the temperature in the chamber to increase by at least 50 degrees.

Marisa, breaking into a hot sweat, complains, “I know you wanna get rid of me and everything, but this is just cruel! It’s already damn hot outside. Shit, I could REALLY go for another elongated winter right about now…”

Kaguya’s cloak erupts with fire, “With this, the element of fire is at my command!”

Marisa monotonously asks, “Um… aren’t you hot wearing that?”

“I don’t feel anything,” answers Kaguya, “It only burns what it intends to burn! Observe!” Kaguya sends a wave of fire at Marisa, who narrowly dodges, though she feels the heat as the attack passes and hits the ground.

Marisa hops on her broom and hovers in midair. A large fireball grows in Kaguya’s hand and she throws it at Marisa, who easily moves out of the ball’s path. However, the fireball splits into several beams of flame, which quickly close in on the unsuspecting Marisa, “Shit…”

“Delusion Terminating Sword: Slash of Risening from Shore of Delusion!” A powerful blast of air repels Kaguya’s attack and knocks the princess back. Youmu appears at the bottom of the chamber, Roukanken drawn and breathing quickly.

“Youmu!” yells the relieved Marisa.

Youmu says, “Looks like I’m on time…”

Kaguya looks down at Youmu, “Another intruder? You don’t look so good…”

Youmu asks Kaguya, “I take it you’re Kaguya?”

“That she is,” answers Marisa.

“I see, so she’s the one we gotta take down to free Gensokyo and Hakugyokurou…” Youmu floats up to Marisa’s level.

“Yeah.”

“I told you before,” says Kaguya, “What we’re doing is for everyone’s own good!”

Marisa retorts, “And I told YOU before that what YOU are doing can’t be good for everyone! No good can come of taking control of everyone!”

“Our reasoning is far beyond the comprehension of someone like you, who has a narrow view on what exists around her. You’re nothing but a thorn in my side, and its time you got removed!” Kaguya’s cloak ignites.

Marisa whispers to Youmu, “Youmu! I gotta get above Kaguya. If I can do that, I can deal a crushing blow, but I’ll need your help to do that!”

“…” Youmu nods without a word.

Countless fireballs form from Kaguya’s cloak and they rain down toward Marisa and Youmu. Marisa tightly grips a spell card and declares, “Magicannon!” Intense magic flows into Marisa as she flies headlong toward Kaguya’s attack, “Now, Youmu!”

Youmu draws a spell card, “Human Sign!” Youmu focuses, slowing time around her, as the energy flows into her, then flies up at a blinding speed, passing Marisa, “Slash of Present!” Youmu slices through Kaguya’s fireballs wildly, clearing the path above Marisa, passes Kaguya and hovers, breathing heavily, as she had expended a lot of what little energy she has left.

Marisa passes Kaguya, desperately trying to keep her spell’s energy under control. She dives off her broom and toward Kaguya, who looks up at her in surprise, “Ah!”

Marisa holds her hands out in front of her, “Coup de grace, Kaguya! Here is my ultimate spell: FINAL MASTER SPARK!” Marisa fires a massive laser, roughly the circumference of the cylinder-shaped chamber down at Kaguya, who gets hit by the blast at point-blank, and with gravity working against her, is forced to the very bottom of the chamber. Marisa is propelled upward by the force of the blast and the energy violently erupting outward presses Youmu against the ceiling. Marisa feels her energy quickly draining from her body, That was close… but I did it… Finally, Marisa’s attack ends, leaving Kaguya, her cloak gone, laying in the middle of a deep crater at the bottom of the chamber, and, drained of energy and lacking a broom, Marisa plummets down the chamber, “Whew…”

“Marisa!” Youmu dives down after Marisa, slowly gaining on her and finally catches her at the last possible second. They look at Kaguya, “Is she…?”

“Dunno,” says the weary Marisa, “but we gotta make sure. Killing her is part of what’s needed to put this moon bullshit to rest…”

Kaguya slowly sits up, “You… This can’t be…”

Youmu draws the Roukanken, “Leave this to me, Marisa. You’ve done enough…”

“Oh, don’t you dare! This part is ALWAYS reserved JUST for me!” Mokou bursts into the chamber and lands in front of Kaguya. Youmu freezes in place at the unexpected girl.

--

At the same time as Marisa’s spell, the entire castle vibrated, which both Reimu and Eirin felt.

Reimu asks, “Wh-what was that?”

Eirin observes, “Apparently, quite the spectacle is unfolding elsewhere in this structure…”

Reimu smiles, “It feels similar to something coming from Marisa, which tells me something good. As for me, it’s time to wrap things up on this end!”

“Tch…” Eirin assumes a defensive stance as Reimu declares her spell card.

“Border World!” Several magic circles materialize around Reimu, “Take this! Hakurei Danmaku Bounded Field!” Several portal open up around both Reimu and Eirin as Reimu utilizes one of her most powerful attacks, a combination between her abilities and what she had learned from Yukari. Countless balls of holy energy of various colors emerge from the magic circles and fly into the portals, which soon play catch with the orbs.

“What… is…?” Eirin observes the attack, not knowing what to make of it, but soon gets hit from behind by an orb emerging from a portal. As Eirin is stunned countless portal open around her and she get riddled from all directions by Reimu’s orbs of holy energy. After a couple painful minutes, Eirin stands, stunned by the attack, “No… this is…”

Reimu draws her last spell card, “Divine Spirit!” Large orbs of spirit energy materialize around Reimu, “Fantasy Seal!” then they flow into her body, storing up the power. Reimu briefly looks at Sakuya’s body, which was slightly desecrated due to the battle, and recalls her last words: “Reimu… Bright sphere… destroy…” Reimu then looks at the charm, Might that be it? If so, I should destroy it!

--

Kaguya looks at Mokou, “Mokou… how did you resist Reisen’s…”

Mokou smugly answers, “C’mon, princess! You should know damn well that I, of all people, won’t submit to your handiwork, let alone one of your sad excuses for servants!”

Kaguya realizes how flawed her scheme was, “Damn it, Mokou! Please, just leave me be this time…”

Without thinking, Mokou responds, “This is one time I absolutely can’t! It’s fine when it was just you and me, but now you got all of Gensokyo involved, so I’ve got all the more reason to take you down now!”

“…” Kaguya silently admits defeat.

Mokou turns to Marisa and Youmu, “Did she tell you how to get rid of that moon by any chance?”

“Yeah,” answers Marisa, “She said that killing her is a part of it…”

“I see,” says Mokou, turning back to Kaguya as she draws a spell card, “That’s easy enough for me. I might as well make this meaningful. Everlasting!” Mokou’s body emits a red aura in the shape of a bird.

“Ah!” Marisa and Youmu watch the mystery girl in surprise.

--

At the same time, Reimu aims at the charm and fires her concentrated Fantasy Seal attack.

“No!” Eirin recovers and jumps in the path of Reimu’s laser, but gradually gets push back, “Ugh! I won’t let you… destroy…”

“…”

However, the weakened Eirin loses her footing and the laser keeps going, with the doctor in front of it. Eirin crashes through the charms outer shell and into its core, “EEEEEAAARRRRGGGggggghhhh!” Soon after, the castle shakes violently.

Reimu guesses what’s about to happen next, “Oh shit…”

--

In Kaguya’s chamber, Marisa, Youmu, Kaguya, and Mokou also feel the shaking.

Kaguya assumes the worst by that sign, “No…”

“What was that?” asks Mokou.

Marisa says, “Well, there was ONE other thing that’s needed, but judging from Kaguya’s reaction here, I’d say we’re good!”

“I see…”

Kaguya struggles to her feet, though she can barely stand upright after Marisa’s devastating attack, “Damn it… I can’t die now… Just a… just a little longer and…”

Mokou’s eyes narrow, “No, Kaguya, this ends NOW!”

--

Reimu runs away as Eirin’s charm begins to explode. She stops to pick up Sakuya’s body, then keeps running, “Sakuya, I won’t let THIS be your resting place!” The charm then outright bursts in an explosion of fire and silver energy. Reimu approaches the exit as the explosion quickly gains on her and then dives through the doorway as the explosion’s force pushes her several feet forward, “Ahhhh!” Reimu and Sakuya’s body hit the ground hard.

--

At the same time, Mokou casts her spell, “Phoenix’s Tail!” Mokou releases a wall of fire, which engulfs Kaguya.

“AAAAAaahhhhhhhhhh_” Kaguya gets vaporized by Mokou’s attack.

“…” Marisa and Youmu stand stunned at Mokou’s actions.

Mokou floats over to the entrance, “If it’s all as you said, then I’d say we’re good.”

“Wait!” calls out Marisa, “Just who are you? Why have you been talking about Kaguya like you’ve fought, and killed, her before?”

“It has nothing to do with you,” responds Mokou, “You got what you wanted right. How about you go outside and enjoy the moon while the night lasts?” With that, Mokou leaves the chamber.

“This is all so unusual,” says Youmu.

“Maybe, but from the looks of things, it’s over. Let’s find Reimu and Sakuya and get the hell outta here…”

--

In the skies above Gensokyo, there is a bright white flash and when the light clears, the moon returns to normal. From all over, the beautiful full moon can be seen.

In Miyohiga Village, Ran and Chen see the transformation.

Chen observes, “Ran-sama! The moon is back to normal, nya! What went on, nya?”

Ran folds her arms in front of her and says, “I wonder…”

--

In Hakugyokurou…

Lunasa yells, “Look! The full moon’s back!”

Merlin tilts her head to the side, “If it’s as Yuyuko-sama said, we were… controlled, or something, then the moon changed back…”

Lyrica says, “What a strange night…”

Yuyuko happily says to the Prismriver Sisters, “Let’s not worry about it! This must mean that Youmu did it! I’m sure we’ll hear about it later, but for now, let’s enjoy the sight of the best full moon of the year!”

“Yeah!” agree the Prismriver Sisters in unison.

--

Hovering high above the surface, Mystia, Wriggle, and Rumia watch the moon return to normal.

Wriggle says sadly, “Yup, we botched it. We totally fucking botched it…”

Mystia shrugs, “Not that it matters anymore. We failed, so we are still 100% homeless. On the plus side, we get to see this moon again, which would have been lost forever if we had succeeded…”

“Who cares?” asks Wriggle, “We still have no decent meals to eat and no place comfy to sleep. For that, it would be worth sacrificing a moon or two…”

“I care!” yells Rumia, “Sure, I wanna home like you two, but I love the full moon. The absolute beauty of my beloved night!”

Mystia’s eyes widen, “Wow, Rumia, didn’t think you were such a poet…”

“REALLY?”

“…” Wriggle closes her eyes in dismay.

--

At Scarlet Devil Mansion, on the top of the clock tower, Remilia is shortly joined by Patchouli and Meiling.

“Remilia,” calls out Patchouli in her usual low-key voice.

Remilia says, “The full moon is back…” She spreads her arms and wings, “HAHAHAHA! Patchouli! Do you know who did this? Who deprived me, a vampire, of MY full moon? I shall depart and teach that miscreant what happens!”

Patchouli says, “Well, I don’t think you have to worry about it… Sakuya went to look into the problem. Now that the mind-altering effects are gone, and now the moon is back to its natural state, I’d say she took care of it.”

“Nice!” yells Remilia, “Sakuya will get much of my gratitude!”

Patchouli nods, “A well-deserved award, I’d say.”

Meiling stretches her arms, “Well, The moon is back and I got to see it from the best place in the mansion after all!”

Remilia glares at Meiling, “What the hell are YOU doing here, Meiling? Get back to the gate!”

“Dammit…” Meiling walks away, Sometimes, I really hate you, Remilia-sama…

--

On the mountain, Alice, Rinnosuke, Suika, and Cirno gaze at the renewed moon…

Cirno yells, “Look! The moon! The moon!”

Suika gulps down a gallon of sake in approval, then says, “Ya! Dis iz whut tunites about! Drinkin’ tu de bestest moon!”

Alice looks around, “Where did Marisa and Reimu go? They aren’t here to enjoy it!”

Rinnosuke says reassuringly, “Don’t worry, Alice. They may be the reason we’re looking at this full moon now, and I’d say it went well…”

Alice sighs, “I see… I’m sure it would have been done sooner if they had my help…”

--

In Eientei’s right hallway, Reimu picks up Sakuya’s body, cradles it, and then walks saying gloomily to herself, like she were talking to a living Sakuya, “Hey… Sakuya… I did it. I beat her for you. Honestly, I didn’t mean it to be as it is, but at least I can say I avenged you and fulfilled your last wish, right?”

“…”

“Yeah, I know. You’d rather had done it yourself, but you know… these things can’t be helped…”

“…”

“You know, you really have changed since Marisa and I went to Scarlet Devil Mansion to stop the mist, then later to the Netherworld to get spring back… Oh, speaking of the Netherworld, I guess I should pay you a visit later. At least you’ll have Youmu, Yuyuko, and the Prismrivers to keep you company…”

“…”

“Yeah, I’m sure you rather be with ‘Remilia-sama,’ Flandre, Patchouli, and Meiling. Of course, they are good people, even though Remilia acts weird around me and Flandre acts weird around Marisa. Still, if you feel like serving someone, I’m sure Yuyuko will be happy to let you…”

“…”

“Heh… I know, not the same, right? Even though you told me Yuyuko tried to make you her maid once. At the time, Yuyuko was slowly killing you… That girl with the bow succeeded on that, it seems. Anyways, where was I? Oh yeah, you changed. I remember when you were all about you agenda and you ditched Marisa in the Netherworld because you felt she was taking too long, but when I collapsed in the forest, you waited for me this time. I think you’re feeling a bond with me and the others, am I right?”

“…”

“Haha! Deny it all you want, Sakuya, but I still think you’ve found people that are special to you OTHER than Remilia…”

“…”

“Like I thought. Oh well, no use talking about this. I’d better get you back to Scarlet Devil Mansion. I’m worried about how Remilia will take the bad news, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it…”

Reimu continues talking with the unresponsive Sakuya. Within a few minutes, she reaches the area where the hall branches off. Weakening, Reimu says, “Well, Sakuya… We still have a ways to go… but I’ll see you around. I’m sure that a few years later, we’ll be reunited…” Reimu slumps to her knees.

Marisa and Youmu shortly arrive. Marisa happily announces, “Good news, Reimu! We met and beat Kaguya! Some weird girl came and finished her, but we won, right? HUH? What’s wrong with Sakuya?”

The melancholy Reimu explains, “Sakuya… she was fighting someone… she was stabbed and…”

Marisa and Youmu gasp at the same time, then Youmu asks, “So she’s dead?”

“…” Reimu nods.

Marisa stomps the floor, “Shit-dammit! I knew this wouldn’t be an easy battle, but for this… DAMMIT!”

“…” Without another word, they advance through the hallway, headed out of Eientei.

They pass Tewi, who momentarily wakes up and asks, “What happened? Did you beat Kaguya? Was the charm destroyed?”

“…” Reimu and Marisa nod at the same time.

“Darn…” Tewi returns to sleep.

--

Meanwhile, Yukari flies through the bamboo forest, getting close to Eientei. She had noticed the moon returning to normal, and gets into a good mood, “Those girls are good! Well, I might as well be the first to congratulate them on a successful mission! Huh?” Yukari notices Mokou, flying in the opposite direction, “Hey! Fujiwara no Mokou! It’s been a long time!”

Mokou looks in Yukari’s direction, “Yukari Yakumo? Yes. It has…” Ever since Yukari first took Mokou to Gensokyo, their paths have only crossed a couple times.

“I guess I should have figured you come to Kaguya’s place. You never get tired of fighting her, do you? Talk about hatred…”

Mokou says, “I don’t really HATE Kaguya, per se. I just like killing her, that’s all.”

“Whatever you say. Well, I have some friends that also came to take care of the moon business…”

“Might that include a girl with a large hat and black clothes and another girl with two swords and a spirit that follows her?”

“Yup! Seems like you saw them. So… Did you ever find out why Kaguya did what she did?”

“Nope, nor do I care.”

“I see. Well, I have some friends to meet up with. Still, you may have a chance to find out what Kaguya was up to, but whatever. Ciao! Fufufu~” With that, Yukari zooms ahead.

Mokou floats and thinks, Now that she mentions it, I was curious about Kaguya’s intensions earlier. Perhaps I should go back and get some information. This really wasn’t like Kaguya at all…

--

Reimu, carrying Sakuya’s body, Marisa, and Youmu approach Eientei’s exit.

Marisa asks, “So what should we do?”

“What else?” asks Reimu, “Take Sakuya back to Remilia. It won’t be pretty, but it would REALLY get ugly if we try hiding it. She’s bound to find out sooner or later…”

“I’ll go too,” volunteers Marisa, “I shouldn’t let you take the heat alone…”

Youmu shrugs, “I’ll go as well. Might as well see how it all goes…”

“Thank you,” says Reimu gratefully.

“Rei… mu?” There is a familiar voice. Reimu, Marisa, and Youmu stop in their tracks.

“Did you hear that?” asks Reimu.

“Hell yeah, I did,” says Marisa, “But… no way…”

“Uuuhhh…” Youmu starts to become frightened.

Reimu slowly looks down at Sakuya, whose eyes are filled with life again, “Reimu? What… just happened?”

“AH!” Reimu tenses up.

“EEEEHHHH!” Youmu screams, starting to feel faint.

Marisa stutters, “A… A f-fucking zombie!”

Reimu lays Sakuya on the floor, “There’s no way! I checked your pulse before and felt nothing! This shouldn’t be!” Reimu checks Sakuya’s pulse again, and feels a beat, “Sakuya… You’re… ALIVE!”

“…?”

Marisa, becoming confused, asks, “She’s not a zombie?”

Youmu stutters, “Of… of course not! There’s no such thing as zombies…”

“But there’s such a thing as ghosts and vampires, riiiiight?”

“I… don’t wanna think of it that way!”

“Er…” Reimu hesitates, then rips Sakuya’s shirt open.

Blushing heavily, Sakuya yells, “Wh-what are you doing, Reimu?”

Youmu hears a very faint sound, Was that… a camera shutter? Nah!

Reimu checks where Sakuya was stabbed, but sees no signs that it was ever inflicted in the first place, “Weird…”

“Just what’s going on?” asks Sakuya.

Reimu takes a deep breath, “Um… Sakuya… I… saw you get killed…”

“What?”

“You were stabbed through the heart. I confirmed you death, but now you seem to be alive with no signs that you ever got the injuries you did…”

Sakuya’s memory catches up with her, “Wait… I remember that. I was fatally wounded. I told you what you had to do with my last breath, then everything went black… but then I found myself here… and I feel as good as new…”

“This is all too weird,” says Reimu, as a happy tear rolls down her cheek, “but I’m really, really happy that you’re alive, Sakuya…”

“…” Sakuya blushes slightly.

Reimu gets off Sakuya and the maid gets back to her feet. Marisa says, “I don’t get what’s going on, but it’s good to have you back, Sakuya!”

Youmu, getting over her mix of fear and confusion nods and says, “Y-yeah…”

“Well done! Very well done! Fufufu~” Yukari enters the hallway and looks around, “So this is Kaguya’s place. I was the one that took her to Gensokyo in the first place. I thought of visiting her, but hiding deep in a forest… I figured she wanted her solitude…”

“Yukari!” yells Reimu.

Youmu asks, “Do you know who Kaguya was?”

Yukari answers, “Yes, but that’s a story for another night, I’m afraid. I came to say ‘good job, everyone!’ The moon is back and everything is back to normal. I think I understand how everyone felt when you defeated me. It’s… an oddly pleasant feeling.”

“Um… Thank you…”

Yukari opens a portal, “Well, shall I take everyone back home? It must have been a tiring battle!”

Marisa nods, “Yes, please! I’m totally exhausted and I wasn’t looking forward to the trip back…”

“Then let’s go!” Reimu, Youmu, and Marisa jump into the portal.

Sakuya looks back into Eientei, I came back from the dead, plus I’ve lived for many years without aging. Also, that girl, Eirin Yagokoro, knew something about me… Just who… and WHAT am I? With that thought burned into the back of her mind, Sakuya steps into the portal.

Yukari steps into the portal last and it vanishes.

--

Yukari first returns Youmu to Hakugyokurou, where is graciously welcomed back by Yuyuko and the Prismriver Sisters. Next, she drops Marisa off inside the Forest of Magic, close to where the gate to the Netherworld hangs. In Yukari’s subspace, where just Reimu and Sakuya remain, Yukari announces, “Next stop: The Hakurei Shrine!”

Sakuya asks Reimu, “Um… Reimu, if you don’t mind, could you accompany me home? There’s something I want to talk to you about. Alone.”

“Er… Alright. Yukari! Could you drop me and Sakuya off together, and not quite at the mansion?”

Yukari shrugs, “Sure, if you want…” She opens a portal and Reimu and Sakuya walk out. They end up on the shore of the lake that surrounds the island on which Scarlet Devil Mansion stands.

Reimu and Sakuya fly across the lake to the island.

Reimu asks, “So what did you want to discuss, Sakuya?”

Sakuya get straight to the point, “Why did you cry?”

“Pardon?”

“When I ‘died,’ the last thing I saw was your face and… you were shedding tears… Later, when I ‘came back,’ you cried again…”

“…”

“Why? I’m just Remilia-sama’s servant. I’m not worth crying over…”

“Don’t say that, Sakuya! I’ll admit, when I first met you, you seemed like a very devout servant who would fight to her last breath for her mistress, but when you joined forces with me and Marisa to end that long winter, I started to see you as a valuable ally, then as another human being, then finally, as a dear friend.”

“…”

“You are an irreplaceable friend to me, Sakuya. I don’t think of you as Remilia’s blindly loyal maid. You are an important person in my life and I didn’t want to lose you. When I thought I did, I became angry at that girl and stopped at nothing to fulfill what you wanted me to do… I never felt that way before…”

Sakuya sighs, “’Friend,’ huh? It still doesn’t make sense to me, but I’ll admit… I felt… touched when you shed tears for my sake…”

“Sakuya…”

“Well, let’s head home, shall we? It was a tough and taxing battle, but we won in the end. We deserve a long rest, don’t you agree, Reimu?”

Reimu nods, “Indeed.” With that, the miko and maid go their separate ways. The darkness of night only has an hour remaining and when it happens, the evening that almost became an Imperishable Night, would come to an end.

--

In Kaguya’s chamber, Kaguya returns to life, materializing out of thin air, naked, as her clothes were incinerated by Mokou’s attack “… Damn it…”

“So, you’re finally back with us, eh Kaguya?” Nearby, Mokou is leaning against the wall.

Kaguya asks, “Why are you still here, Mokou? You won, so just go home already!”

Mokou replies, “I totally would, but I guess my curiosity is starting to get the best of me…” She seriously asks, “Kaguya, why did you do it? I’m sure you didn’t want to be noticed by everyone. What is the point in everything that you’ve done tonight?”

Kaguya pauses, shrugs, then says, “Fine. I’ll tell you. There’s not much of a point in hiding it anymore, but for the good of Gensokyo, don’t tell anyone else…”

Mokou casually says, “I dunno. Putting it that way, I feel more compelled to…”

“…” Kaguya reluctantly gets on her knees as to beg Mokou, “Please… I acknowledge you as a very powerful person, Mokou, so I guess you should know, but don’t spread what you are about to learn!”

With Kaguya’s pleading getting to her head, Mokou says, satisfied, “Well, when you put it THAT way, how can I refuse?”

“Very well. You see…” Kaguya explains in detail her reasoning behind the fake moon and the insanity.

Mokou is stunned by what she learns, “I… I see… I guess that’s a good enough reason… not that I support your choice to control everyone or anything…” Mokou floats out of the chamber with her newfound knowledge in the back of her mind.

--

In Eientei’s left hallway, Reisen regains consciousness, “Ugh… Damn, that’s smarts…”

A voice suddenly runs telepathically through Reisen’s mind, “Reisen!”

“Ah! Wh-what's up?"

“We encountered something… interesting earlier. Throughout most of the night, Gensokyo, the realm you’ve been assigned to, had been closed as the others have been open.”

Reisen comes up with a quick lie, “Are you serious? I didn’t notice anything wrong. Maybe it was a system error, or something?”

“That would be the first one in 700 years…”

“…”

“At any rate, try to keep an eye out of the cause. Don’t forget what we talked about a few months ago.”

“Yes…”

The communication ends. Reisen mutters, “This is bad… horrible…”

--

In Kaguya’s chamber, Eirin, Reisen, and Tewi rush to their princess’ side, “Kaguya-hime!”

“Oh, hey,” greets Kaguya, deep in thought.

Reisen explains, “I just got a communication! They’re onto us! Kaguya, we can try this again on the next full moon, can’t we? We’ll be prepared for ANYTHING this time! It’s still not too late.”

The humbled Kaguya says, “No. I underestimated the resolve of Gensokyo. Perhaps we were doing the wrong thing. Maybe this is a sign for this land to encounter fate head-on…”

“Kaguya-hime…”

“I think we should explain what’s going on to those girls. This may not be something that we alone can solve…”

Eirin, whose thoughts are on a different subject, thinks to herself, I found you at last. When we meet again, I have special plans for you, my weapon…

--

Outside Eientei, Mokou slowly walks through the forest, “This could be serious, but… Huh… Sorry, Kaguya, but there is ONE person I’m going to tell about this!”

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