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Dual Strife - The Beginning-Reimu and Marisa's Side

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Return to Fiction by Valesta


At the Hakurei Shrine, on the morning of the day before the fateful night, Reimu Hakurei wakes up in her futon, sweaty from the summer heat, muttering to herself, “Tonight is gonna be the night of THAT moon… Can hardly wait… Maybe I’ll sleep a little longer…” Intending to go back to sleep, Reimu rolls over, but hits something soft, “Shit… don’t tell me…” With a feeling of déjà vu from the couple times Marisa Kirisame had snuck into bed with her a few months ago, she takes a deep breath, then demands, “Why are you in bed with me THIS time, Marisa?”

“Hooya callin’ Mareesah, Raymoo?” A drunken slurred voice comes from the other occupant of the futon, but it’s not Marisa’s. The other girl in bed is a young-looking youkai girl with long orange hair, brown eyes, and, most distinguishingly, two long horns extending out of her head. She wears a kiddy-sized version of Reimu’s regular miko uniform.

Reimu sighs, “Oh, it’s you, Suika. I should’ve figured as much. So why are YOU in bed with me?”

The youkai girl, an oni, one of the last believed to exist in Gensokyo, named Suika Ibuki, answers, “Dunno. Feld like it…” No one would have guessed it, but about a month before, Suika, using her ability to affect people’s moods, caused people around Gensokyo to repeatedly have feasts in an attempt to attract other oni. However, she was defeated by Reimu, Marisa, and Alice Margatroid. Afterward, she was taken in by Reimu to become her first and only miko apprentice. However, all she mostly does is freeload off Reimu, but seeing as she’s the only person in Gensokyo to show even a remote interest in becoming a miko, Reimu has no choice but to train her and hope she takes her lessons seriously one day. Suika always carries a gourd around, which contains an endless amount of sake, which she frequently drinks out of, thus she is constantly under the effects of alcohol. She is usually tipsy, if not outright hammered. The only way Reimu has been able to see Suika sober is by hiding her gourd, but that’s usually not worth it as Suika is surprisingly good at finding things and the gourd extremely heavy, and Suika, possessing monstrous physical strength is the only one who can easily carry it around. Other than the ability to manipulate the moods of others, she can control her density, becoming very large at times, or becoming several smaller versions of herself, and even turning into mist. Other than that, she can create small black holes. She is among Gensokyo’s oldest and most powerful youkai, and thus, is friends with Yukari Yakumo.

“Just because you feel like it, Suika, doesn’t mean you can sneak into other people’s beds without permission…” Reimu notices that Suika is wearing her miko uniform, “… and why are you sleeping in that? Don’t disrespect those clothes like that!”

“But yoo sleep in yer’s all de tyme…”

“Well, yeah, but…”

Suika, hung over, puts her hand against her forehead, “Ugh… I don’t feel soo good…” She picks up the gourd, lying alongside the futon, “Well, nutin' a liddle sahkay can’t ficks…” She chugs down several mouthfuls of sake. “Ugh…” She suddenly drops the gourd.

Reimu has a good idea of what’s about to happen next, “No Suika! Not on the…!”

“BLUUUURRRGGGHHHH!” Suika vomits on the futon’s covers.

“Aw shit!”

Suika apologizes, “I’m soree, Raymoo… I’ll wash de footun...”

“Don’t bother…” says Reimu, staring at the pile of vomit, “How about you just… I dunno… burn it…”

“Okay!” responds Suika cheerily.

“That wasn’t meant to be taken seriously…”

They wash the futon and Reimu gets dressed. Suika asks, “So… whut are wee gonna do tooday?”

“Nothing until this evening, which by the way, isn’t happening until 10:30 tonight. We are going to see the full moon.”

Suika recalls Reimu mentioning those plans the day before, “Oh yeh. Weeth Mareesah, Reenoskay, Cheerno, and Aliss, rite?”

“That’s right!”

“I lyke dat fol moon! Grait ta drink to!”

“Whatever you say, Suika…”

Later that day, Reimu and Suika, changed into a pink shirt and purple skirt, complete with chains, fly over to the summit of a nearby mountain, which provides a great view of the sky all around. Marisa Kirisame, Alice Margatroid, Cirno, and Rinnosuke Morichika are already there. Marisa yells, “You guys are late, but then again, the moon isn’t up yet…”

“Sorry,” says Reimu, “But hey, better late than never, right?”

Cirno complains, “Why does this have to be during the summer? It’s so damn hot! The full moon during the winter would be much better…”

“Deal with it,” says Alice, “complaining about it won’t change the facts…”

Rinnosuke, sitting against a tree, facing away from where the mood is supposed to rise, examining a mysterious gadget, says, “Well, the fairy has a point. It’s hard to focus on this stuff…”

Alice, whose previous infatuation with Rinnosuke had diminished over the months, asks Rinnosuke, “Why are you sitting there, looking at that thing anyway? The moon is supposed to rise over here!”

Marisa says, “Let Kourin do what he wants, Alice. The moon ain’t going anywhere.”

Alice, who had become more reserved around Marisa, on the other hand, responds, “That’s true…”

Cirno, recalling something from a week ago, asks Alice, “Hey, how’d I do on my test?” Alice had recently become Cirno’s teacher, but has not had a lot of luck in getting her to learn.

Alice pulls a piece of paper out of her pocket and hands it to Cirno, “See for yourself…”

Cirno looks at the paper, a multiple choice test sheet covering various subjects, and looks at her score of 9, in the middle of a large red circle, “Dammit!”

Marisa shrugs and says, “And once again, Cirno scores JUST above being legally retarded!”

“That’s not funny!” protests Cirno.

Reimu laughs, “You all seem to be getting along! Never a dull moment between you!”

Suika holds up her gourd, “I brawt us sum drinks! Who wawnts sum?”

Alice says, “You really should stop drinking that, Suika. Too much alcohol will potentially kill you someday.”

Reimu says reluctantly, “Alice, she’s been drinking out of that constantly for the thousands of years she’s been alive. I don’t think it’s affecting her health at all… Her mental well-being on the other hand…”

Marisa rolls her eyes, “How can someone constantly drink the same thing all the time like that? The thought of it makes me sick!”

“Shaddup, Mareesah! Aneewon else?”

“I’ll have some,” volunteers Cirno.

“No, you may not!” yells Alice.

“Awww…”

“…” Rinnosuke silently examines his gadget.

Suika gulps down a hefty amount of sake and says, “Well, eef yoo gyes don’t wawnt anee, den it’s ALL MYNE!”

Reimu shrugs, “It was ‘all yours’ to begin with…”

Reimu and Suika sit down with everyone else and the minutes fly by. The sun disappears behind the horizon.

“Cut the fucking suspense!” yells Marisa impatiently, “Show us the moon already!” Suddenly, like at Scarlet Devil Mansion and Hakugyokurou, the sky flashes and the incomplete red moon appears, “Wow! That was fast… Uhhh…”

Reimu notices something glowing inside her shirt, “Huh? My amulet? It’s supposed to protect me from supernatural forces, but…” She looks at the incomplete moon, “That’s not right… but…”

Alice says to Cirno, “Pop quiz, Cirno: Who is the single greatest most beautiful, omnipotent, and all-around important being in Gensokyo?”

Cirno confidently answers, “You really think I’m that stupid, don’t you? It can’t be anyone except the one and only Princess Kaguya Houraisan!”

“CORRECT! You get your first 100%!”

“Yay!”

“What the hell are you guys talking about?” asks Reimu, Wait! Could it have something to do with that moon, but what’s the significance of that?

Suika, in a clear voice, says to Reimu, “How could you possibly NOT know what they are talking about, Reimu? It’s KAGUYA they are talking about! She’s the best thing since the discovery of sake!”

Reimu stands up and takes a step back, “Suika? Are you feeling okay?”

“AARGGHHHHHH!” Slumped on her knees, Marisa clutches her head tightly.

Reimu runs over to the anguished Marisa, “Marisa? Marisa!”

Sweating heavily, but recovering, Marisa says, “I’m… okay… it didn’t work on me…”

“Huh?”

“Looks like it came in handy… That book I sto_ er… borrowed from Patchouli… There are some magical forces that can take control of a person’s mental state. It taught me how to resist such a force. Never thought I’d be in a case where I needed it though…”

“I see…” To confirm her relief, Reimu asks, “Do you know who ‘Kaguya Houraisan’ is?”

“Not a single clue, but it looks like those three suckers do… Wait… three… Kourin!”

“I’m perfectly fine,” says Rinnosuke, from behind the tree.

Reimu and Marisa walk over to him. “Thank goodness…” says Reimu, “Do you have an item or ability to resist whatever is going on too?”

Marisa observes Rinnosuke’s location to where Alice, Suika, and Cirno are singing Kaguya’s praises, “There was the red incomplete moon, and then everyone started acting weird at the same time. It almost happened to me too. The moon’s light must be causing it and Rinnosuke is in the shade.”

Rinnosuke looks around him, “I guess so. I guess I shouldn’t move from this spot…”

“That’s a good idea,” says Marisa.

Reimu says, “First that mist, then that winter, then those feasts, and now this… Well, let’s do it. A youkai may be it work here and we must straighten it out.”

“But where do we start?” asks Marisa.

“Well…” There is a long pause, “I have NO clue…”

Out of nowhere, a familiar voice asks, “Rinnosuke? Rinnosuke? Are you here? Oh… Don’t tell me you’ve been affected to?” The blindfolded Yukari pokes her head out of newly formed portal.

Rinnosuke says, “You know me well, Miss Yakumo. That I’m always here on this night. Kaguya sure is great, isn’t she?”

“Dammit!” moans Yukari in dismay.

“Just kidding,” laughs Rinnosuke, “I don’t even know who that is. I’m aware of what’s going on and I’m in the shade, unaffected.”

Yukari sighs in relief, “That’s not funny, Mr. Morichika. At any rate, so you know where the miko, Reimu Hakurei is by any chance? She’s not at her shrine and…”

“I’m right here,” says Reimu, “and no, I’m not under that weird moon’s effects. Do you have any clue of just what the hell is going on here? What is that moon?”

Yukari sighs with relief, “That saves me some trouble…”

“I’m here too, also unaffected,” says Marisa.

“Oh. You too? Great then. I was hoping this would happen. Yes, I have some information you may want to use.”

“Great!” says Reimu, “Let’s hear it, then!”

Yukari disappears into her portal, then emerges from another several feet up, “This should be a good height. Come up here!”

Marisa says, “Sit tight, Kourin. Everything will get better soon.”

“Not much else I can do,” says Rinnosuke.

Marisa grabs her broomstick from nearby. She and Reimu rise up to Yukari’s altitude. Yukari’s portal expands in circumference, “Hop in. There’s something you might want to see.”

“…” Reimu and Marisa enter Yukari’s portal. They emerge above a mountain overlooking a city in Japan at night. The skyscrapers are illuminated and the sound of traffic can be heard in the distance.

“What the hell IS this place?” asks Marisa.

Yukari, removing her blindfold, says, “Never mind that. Look at the moon.”

Reimu and Marisa look at the moon. It is completely full and emanating silver light. Reimu points out, “The moon is full here… and I don’t feel any energies coming from it like the one from before…”

“Let’s move on…” Yukari opens another portal. In the next place, there is a full moon. From there, they go to another place, same kind of moon. They go to a fourth place, hovering over a futuristic city. There, the moon is full as well, but it’s crystal-colored. Reimu gets a chilling feeling from it. Finally, Yukari puts her blindfold back on and they return to where they were in Gensokyo, same strange moon, “So tell me. What have you noticed?”

Marisa says, “Those places where we were. They all had full moons, but what was with those places?”

Yukari answers, “Those were alternate realms to Gensokyo. This planet has countless alternate worlds, but one thing is the same for all of them…”

“The moon is always the same?” guesses Reimu.

“Exactly! Time may flow differently, civilization may differ, but no matter what, they all look at the same moon. So what does that tell you about the moon we are under right now?”

Marisa guesses, “It’s fake and something was done with the real moon?”

“That sounds like the best answer,” says Yukari, “and there is only one person I can think of who could possibly do something like that…”

“Who?”

“The very person everyone is talking about: Kaguya.”

“What do you know about ‘Kaguya?’” asks Reimu.

“That’s not important. However, I do know where she resides.”

Reimu’s eyes widen, “Do tell!”

“In the southern area of Gensokyo, there is a large bamboo forest. In the middle of that, there is a castle, a very big one. You can’t miss it. THAT’S where Kaguya resides.”

Marisa looks southward, “Then that’s where we gotta go.”

“Yup. I’ve been to other places earlier and Sakuya Izayoi and Youmu Konpaku are headed there as well.”

Reimu smiles, “They’ll be a big help.”

Yukari withdraws into her portal, “Well, have fun out there. Good luck getting the moon back. There’s not much I can do like this after all…” With that, Yukari disappears into her portal.

“Well, let’s not waste any time,” says Reimu, “Let’s get our moon and everyone’s collective senses back.”

“Yeah!”

Reimu and Marisa fly southward. Within a half hour, they see the forest in the distance. Marisa says, “I can’t believe we’ve never been here before. Anyone would have noticed a castle that big…”

“But it’s not like anything has happened around there,” points out Reimu, “Out of society, out of acknowledgement.”

“I guess s_” Suddenly, there is a buzzing sound coming from above, followed by two objects flying at high speed toward Reimu and Marisa. She dodges to the side. “Huh? Who just did that?”

Wriggle and Mystia descend from the sky. Reimu asks, “Who are you, youkai?”

Wriggle says, “It looks to us that you are headed to the bamboo forest. So what are you going to do there?”

Marisa answers, “To get rid of that moon that’s been making people weird, speaking of which, why aren’t the two of you acting the same way?”

Mystia answers, “Kaguya has allowed us to specifically be unaffected by that moon so we can consciously take care of would-be invaders, such as yourselves. By 5:00 tomorrow morning, that moon will permanently take its place in an unending night. Once we get that accomplished, we will have a new home in that castle!”

Reimu says, “So you two are in league with the one behind this? Get out of our way, or we will force our way through!”

“Try it!” challenges Wriggle, “You humans are not depriving us of our chance for a new home!” Wriggle extends her arm toward Reimu and Marisa. A small swarm of glowing insects materializes and flies toward them.

Marisa fires a laser, destroying most of the bugs, but one gets by and grazes her shoulder. It feels like she was just cut with a blade, “Tch. Not bad…”

“That was just a warm-up…” says Wriggle, drawing a spell card, “HERE’S the real deal! Firefly Sign!” The spell card glows at Wriggle tosses it toward the sky, “Heh. Comet on Earth!” The card bursts and several large glowing bugs appear, which haphazardly rocket toward the ground. Wriggle turns to Mystia, “Mystia!”

“Right away.” Mystia spreads her arms and starts vocalizing a mysterious tune.

A tingling sensation fills Reimu and Marisa’s heads, “Wh-what is this?”

Reimu looks up, “Huh?” The falling bugs start to multiply into a more impressive number.

Marisa draws a spell card, “Too easy! Magic Space!” The card turns into multi-colored energy, which flows into Marisa, who points her finger toward the rain of falling insects, “Asteroid Belt!” A magic circle materializes in front of her finger and countless large star-shaped projectiles emerge and spiral upward, intercepting and destroying the bugs, but some simply pass through some of the bugs, which fall, but harmlessly pass through Reimu and Marisa.

“What was that?” asks Reimu.

Marisa theorizes, “That song… My head felt funny, then we both started seeing those bugs multiply, right? Could that song be creating illusions?”

“That’s right!” says Wriggle, “Mystia’s songs will confuse you and make you see things that don’t exist. Still, there is no way you can figure out the difference. All you can do is defend against my every move. That first card was nothing. Now then…” Wriggle draws another spell card as Mystia’s song continues, “Butterfly Sign!” The card transforms into a magic circle in front of Wriggle, “Heh. Butterfly Storm!” Several butterflies fly out of the circle, which further multiply as a result of Mystia’s song.

Recalling a number of Yuyuko’s attacks from a few months ago, which also used butterflies, Reimu and Marisa back away with Wriggle’s swarm pursuing them.

“No good,” says Marisa, “It will take me some time to use that same spell card again and I have little else that will be effective… I gotta know exactly what I’m trying to hit, which is no good with illusions throwing me off!”

Reimu draws a spell card, “I’ll give it a try! Spirit Sign!” The card split into several fragments, which turn to balls of multi-colored energy, “Spirit Orb!” The orbs fly into the swarm. Some tear through the butterflies, but others pass through.

Wriggle laughs, “To me, this is so funny! I don’t see illusions, so it looks like you’re shooting at empty air!”

Marisa growls, “Fuck this! I’ll deal with part of our problem at its source…” Marisa draws another spell card, “Love Sign!” Golden energy flows into her as she directs her hand toward Mystia, “Master Spark!” Marisa fires her massive laser, which quickly closes in on Mystia, who stops singing out of surprise. The illusory butterflies vanish and Reimu directs her remaining orbs to take out the real insects.

“Ah! Mystia!” Wriggle dashes in the path of the Master Spark and raises her arms in defense as it slams into her, “AARRRGGHHHHH!”

Mystia calls out, “Wriggle!”

Marisa’s attack ends. Severely weakened, Wriggle says, “I’ve about had it. It’s up to you now, Mystia… A home in Eientei… Remember that…”

“Yeah…”

Wriggle backs away to recover.

Mystia spreads her arms and long claws extend from her fingers, “It’s my turn now! This time, I will not take you lightly…” She draws a spell card, “Night-Blindness!” The card turns black, “Song of the Night Sparrow!” Everything around Reimu and Marisa turns darker and darker until they are the only ones hovering in a black void.

Reimu looks around, “Wh-what the hell? What did she do?”

Mystia taunts, “Hard to see, isn’t it? This is my best technique. That which is unseen is unpredictable…”

Suddenly, after a brief pause, claws tear through Reimu’s back and Marisa’s left arm, “Augh!”

“See?”

“Tch.” Reimu randomly tosses needles in various directions, hoping to hit Mystia, but has no luck.

Mystia crows, the direction of her voice constantly on the move “You fool! That won’t work!”

Reimu grits her teeth, “Dammit! She’s not holding still, so I can’t find her location!”

Wriggle yells to Mystia, “Stop playing with them! Finish them off now!”

“Good idea,” says Mystia, “No point in wasting time…”

Marisa chuckles, “Hmhmhm…”

“Huh? What’s so funny?”

“You idiot! Against MY spell, I don’t even NEED to see you!” Marisa draws a spell card, “Check it out! Love Sign!” A golden aura surrounds Marisa and Reimu, “Non-Directional Laser!” Several lasers shoot out from outside the aura and move around.

“AAARRGGGHHHHH!” Mystia screams as the darkness clears. One of Marisa’s lasers had run across her lower chest, creating a large burn, “Ugh… Damn it…”

Wiggle cries, “Mystia!”

Mystia stutters, “I… I won’t…”

“I think you’ve had enough,” says Marisa.

“No I haven’t…” replies Mystia, “We will keep going…”

“Fine then,” says Marisa casually as she draws another spell card. She declares, “Love Si_”

Wriggle and Mystia scream, “Okay! Okay! You win! No more, please!”

“A good answer. Well then, time to move on. You’ve wasted enough of our time.” Marisa flies ahead.

Reimu says, “Good luck in finding a home! Just make sure it doesn’t mean crossing us, okay?” Reimu follows Marisa.

“DAMMIT!” screams Wriggle in dismay, “We underestimated them… We underestimated this WHOLE situation! How could we have been so careless?”

“It’s my fault,” says Mystia, “I didn’t think it was possible for anyone resistant to figure out the source of the situation within the six-hour time frame and look what happened!”

“Tch…”

“Still, maybe Rumia is having better luck. We may still have a chance… Otherwise the search continues… We still have each other, right?”

“I guess you have a point. This is just another setback in our journey. We’ll find a place to call home yet!”

--

Reimu and Marisa quickly approach the bamboo forest.

Reimu thinks to herself, We’re almost there! I don’t know what manner of youkai has control over the moon, but regardless, this won’t go on much longer!

Marisa says, “I’d say we have five hours or less to find the source and do something about it. It will be tight…”

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