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Dual Strife - The Beginning-Youmu's Side

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Return to Fiction by Valesta


In Hakugyokurou, where the flow of time is identical to Gensokyo, at the same time as the events taking place in Scarlet Devil Mansion, Youmu, Yuyuko, and the Prismriver Sisters stroll through the gardens, surrounded by sakura, looking to the distant sunset.

Yuyuko says excitedly, “It’s that time of year again. The long day and the pretty moon!”

Youmu says, “Father and I used to watch the moon together every year.

“I see,” says Yuyuko, “Yukari always pays surprise visits. After what happened last spring, I’m sure it will be extra special this time.”

“Well…” says Lunasa, “I wonder what song we will play to celebrate…”

“Hey, how about…” Merlin and Lyrica both enthusiastically give Lunasa some song suggestions.

Youmu silently looks at Yuyuko, Yuyuko-sama… I’ve lost track on how long it has been since father had vanished, leaving me as your sworn protector. Father… Youmu thinks back to several years ago on the same day of the year when she and her father, Youki, were watching the beautiful full moon…

“Father… Why do we have to protect Yuyuko? What’s so special about her?”

“Well you see, Youmu, half-ghosts like us are never completely welcome among humans, nor youkai, nor are generally welcome among the living, nor the dead. However, Yuyuko allowed us a place in existence and we are indebted to her for that. Thanks to her, we have Hakugyokurou as a place to call home.”

Youmu thinks to herself, I understand. Thanks to her, we found a place to call home. I remember your lesson well and that full moon always reminds me of what you taught me and strengthens my convictions.

The sun disappears behind the horizon. Yuyuko claps her hands together in anticipation, “Yes! It’s almost here!” Several surrounding ghosts wandering the gardens also look toward the sky excitedly.

Suddenly, like at Scarlet Devil Mansion, the sky flashes red and the mysterious moon appears.

Youmu says, “What was THAT? There was a flash and… that moon’s not full! What’s going on?”

Yuyuko says, “Full moons are great, Youmu, but why are you making such a big deal about it? After all, we’ve got Kaguya and that’s all the greatness we’ll ever need!”

“’Kaguya?’ What are you talking about Yuyuko-sama? Who is Kaguya?”

“You don’t know?” asks Merlin.

“Where have you been?” asks Lyrica, “Kaguya is JUST the single greatest person to have ever existed!”

“What is this all the sudden?” asks Youmu, “First there’s a flash, then an incomplete moon, and now you are talking nonsense!”

“Don’t be that way,” says Merlin, “how about we sing a song to honor our great and powerful mistress tonight.”

“Great idea!” exclaims Lunasa, “Let’s do it!”

Excitedly, Yuyuko says, “This is going to be great!

The Prismriver Sisters start playing a song. Lunasa and Lyrica play their respective instruments while Merlin’s trumpet hovers and plays on its own while Merlin herself, having the most beautiful singing voice of the three, sings lyrics describing Kaguya’s greatness as Yuyuko listens attentively.

Only getting more and more confused, Youmu mutters softly, “What the hell is going on? This happened right after the flash and the incomplete moon. Do those have anything to do with it?”

A portal opens nearby. Yukari, wearing a pink blindfold over her eyes pokes her head out, “Yuyuko? Yuyuko? Are you here?”

“Youmu asks Yukari, “Yukari, do you know what’s going on? Something weird is up!”

Yuyuko noticing Yukari, says, “Ah! Yukari! Have you come to listen to this great song about Mistress Kaguya? Why the blindfold?”

Yukari says, dismayed, “So I am too late! Darn!”

Youmu asks again, “Do you know what’s going on, Yukari? Who’s this Kaguya everyone suddenly started talking about?”

Yukari asks, “Wait… Is that you, Youmu? Does this mean you’re unaffected by that moon?”

“That moon’s the cause of it? Then apparently so, I’d say.”

“But how?”

“I… don’t know…”

Yukari smiles behind her blindfold, “Well regardless, this is very good. Before coming here, I ascertained to the source of that moon.”

Youmu’s eyes widen, “Really? Where?”

“From Gensokyo. Not too far south of the area where the two realms connect, there is a bamboo forest and a large castle in the middle, radiating white light. THAT is the source.”

Youmu looks in the direction of the endless stairs, “I see. Gensokyo… In that case, I shall take your advice and head there.”

Yuyuko happily approaches Yukari, “You want Youmu to send her regards to Mistress Kaguya? Great ide_” Yuyuko suddenly rushes into the shade of one of the sakura trees, where the moon’s light doesn’t shine. She suddenly breaks out of her trance, “Wh-what happened?”

Youmu’s eyes widen, “Yuyuko-sama!”

Yukari, blinded to the recent turn of events, but fully aware of what she had heard, asks, “Huh? What happened?”

“She’s back to normal!” declares Youmu.

“Hm?”

“She ran into the shade of the tree and was no longer affected!”

“I see,” confirms Yukari, “That explains why nothing happened to me when Ran and Chen started acting weird. I was relaxing near a tree… Still I shouldn’t relax too much…”

Yuyuko hears the Prismriver Sister’s song about Kaguya, “What are they singing?”

“You see, Yuyuko-sama,” Youmu explains what little knowledge she had gained over the last few minutes.

“I see. In that case, Youmu, you should head to Gensokyo and do something about that moon.”

Youmu nods, “I will.”

Yukari informs, “By the way, Sakuya Izayoi is headed there too, so you won’t be alone…”

“Sakuya too? I see. In that case, I’ll be going now.”

“Good luck!” yells Yuyuko.

Yukari says, “I will investigate this matter further and get some more help. I only hope THEY haven’t been affected too…” With that, Yukari disappears into her portal.

Youmu runs across Hakugyokurou and dives down the Netherworld’s stairs, drawing a spell card, “I must save some time! Focused Motion: Yojana Journey!” With a burst of concentrated energy, Youmu jets down the stairs. She makes it to the bottom in a matter of minutes. Afterward, she leaves the Netherworld and ends up in the area above the Forest of Magic, from where she pauses briefly, “Alright. So in a forest south of here is the source of that weird moon. Who was that ‘Kaguya’ everyone was talking about? The mastermind perhaps? Whoever it is, she’ll pay for doing that to Yuyuko-sama and the Prismrivers… But to change the MOON? What kind of being has that power?” Youmu stops and pauses for a moment, and there is complete silence. Suddenly, she notices a very low humming sound coming from around her lower back, “Huh? What is that sound?” The Hakurouken’s sheathe hangs where the sound is coming from. She grabs the sheathed blade and pulls it out a little, noticing that the blade is emitting a green aura. The humming sound grows a little louder as well, “Huh? The Hakurouken? Why is it…?” Suddenly, Youmu recalls a lesson she had learned from Youki when she first received the Hakurouken:

“Youmu, this blade is known as the Hakurouken. There is more to mastering swordplay than just being more skilled than your opponent. Some have the power to confuse you, create images in your mind, or even take control of you. This sword cuts through whatever illusions could be played on your mind, protects you, and reveals the true nature of what’s around you.”

A younger and more immature Youmu complains, “But it’s shorter than the Roukanken! What a gyp!”

Youmu chuckles to herself, “I understand now, father. That moon takes control of my mind, but as long as I have the Hakurouken, I will be protected. Thank you for entrusting such a wonderful weapon to me. Under its protection, I will find the one responsible for taking control of Yuyuko-sama!” Youmu flies southward. In the distance, illuminated by the pink moonlight, she sees a large castle in the distance, faintly radiating white light, “So that’s it? There awaits my destination!”

She flies for several minutes, the castle not seeming to get any closer. Eventually, below her, she sees something out of the ordinary: A large red dome, appearing like half a bloody bubble. It is about the size of a small human town, “What the hell is THAT? I’ve never seen it before!” Youmu takes a deep breath, “Well, Gensokyo is still a mysterious place for me, but last time, when I flew over this location, looking for spring essence, there was a village there, so what’s that? I wonder if it’s related to the moon…” Operating on that hunch, Youmu floats down to giant dome. She unsheathes the Roukanken and tests the surface by waving it along its surface, which is simply passes through without any resistance, like all that’s there is empty air, “Strange… I wonder…” She flies into the dome and passes through easily. Inside, far below, she sees the village she remembers. Up above, where she just passed through, there is a clear night sky and a crescent moon, “Huh? What is this? What happened to the moon? I guess I’ll ask around a little…”

Youmu slowly descend down to the busy village below and asks one of the human villagers, “Excuse me? Can you tell me a little about this place?”

“…” Suddenly, everyone pauses what they were doing and stares at Youmu, or more specifically, her ghost-half. Finally, after several seconds of silence, one of them yells, “Y-YOUKAI!” With that, all the villagers run away frantically.

Youmu calls out, “Wait! I just…” Suddenly, something hot grazes her shoulder from behind, seeing it is a laser as it goes past. “Ow! What the…?”

Youmu whirls around and sees a girl, hovering at the end of a row of structures, with brown eyes and light-blue hair wearing a blue and white school uniform and a blue hat with a red ribbon, “I don’t know how you managed to find this place, youkai, as knowledge of it should have been erased from the minds of everyone in Gensokyo, but since you are here, endangering the humans of this village, I, Keine Kamishirasawa, shall eliminate you!”

Youmu stammers, “W-wait a minute! I just…”

Not listening to Youmu, Keine draws a spell card, “Light Sign!” Red and blue energy surges through her as she extends her arm toward Youmu, “Amaterasu!” A flurry of lasers flies from her hand and quickly toward Youmu.

Damn! Looks like she won’t stop to listen to reason… Youmu draws her own spell card with her left and unsheathes the Roukanken with her right, “Four Births Sword!” Pink energy flows into Youmu. She momentarily focuses, then flies into the swarm of beams, deflecting them with her sword as needed, quickly closing in on Keine. “Resounding of the Restless Beings!” Finally, up close, she swings her sword, releasing a wave of power that knocks her back.

Keine, regaining her composure, says, “Hmph. Not bad. You’re not the average youkai, but I’m not through yet!” Keine quickly draws another card, “Ambition Sign!” The spell card vanishes and three magic circles appear around Keine, “Yoshimitsu Crisis!” The circles shoot out a swarm of small blue shots of magical energy. Near point-blank range, a few of the shots tear through Youmu’s non-vital areas before she falls back with the majority of the attack closely following her.

Youmu, constantly retreating with no room to maneuver through the openings in Keine’s attack, draws a spell card, “Soul Sign!” The card’s silver energy flows into Youmu’s ghost-half. She thrusts the Roukanken into her ghost-half, where it disappears.

Keine watches Youmu’s actions intensely, “What is she doing?”

Youmu’s ghost half, much smaller than her human-half, flies through the tiny openings in Keine’s attack, quickly advancing on her. Finally, it bypasses the magic circles. Youmu’s human-half smiles, “Get ready! Pain of the Living Ghost!” The ghost half turns into a transparent copy of Youmu, with the Roukanken in hand, which delivers a powerful slash across the torso of the surprised Keine.

“AAARRGGHHHH!” Losing focus over her spell card, Keine falls to the ground. Youmu’s ghost-half returns to its shapeless form and returns to the human half. She pulls the Roukanken out of the ghost half and slings the blood off before returning it to its sheath.

Keine says weakly, “I won’t give up… I must defend the people of this village from youkai like you…”

Youmu, now with a chance to speak, says, “Listen, I’m not here to hurt anyone. I just happened across this area and was curious. I thought it might have had something to do with that weird moon outside. What is with this place anyway?”

“Do you expect me to believe you?”

“Fine then…” Youmu tosses the sheathed Roukanken and Hakurouken to the side.

Keine pauses and says, “Alright. I’ll believe you for now. What I’ve done is hide this village’s history from Gensokyo to protect everyone from the threat looming above. That which is unknown to the past is unaffected by the present. Where we are is a ‘pocket’ of a separate history. Within this ‘pocket,’ there is an illusory moon. Now for my question: How did you find this place? Knowledge of this village was wiped from history, and thus, wiped from the memory of everyone in Gensokyo.”

Youmu answers, “I’m not from Gensokyo. I’m from the Netherworld.”

“I see. Of course you wouldn’t be affected by my powers of history manipulation…”

“By the way, I may be part youkai, but I’m also part human.”

“Alright, then. Sorry for the misunderstanding. However, I want you to leave this place immediately. That spirit that is with you still causes panic among the humans here.”

Youmu picks up her swords, “Okay. I’m leaving. I got the answers I’ve come here for.” With that, Youmu flies up and away from the village

Keine thinks to herself, This village is fortunate that I could prevent it from being affected by the crisis looming above, but I can’t say the same about the rest of Gensokyo. Mokou-sama… I hope you are safe from that threat… Keine lets out a slight chuckle, Of course she is. Only one person is capable of that and there’s no way she would let herself fall under HER control…

Youmu flies out of Keine’s historical space, and once again, the mysterious moon looms above. Someone that can control history? Gensokyo’s people are something else. Still, it seems that had nothing to do with that moon, so I was just wasting time in that place... Youmu looks ahead. She is not far from the bamboo forest and just beyond that is her destination. Not far now… I will get rid of that weird moon for sure!

Flying as fast as she can, Youmu approaches the outer edge of the forest.

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