- Return to Fiction by Valesta
I’m in a dark hallway made of gray bricks, lit with torches. Up ahead, there is nothing but darkness. How did I get here? The whole atmosphere is so gloomy; the feeling of fear over me can’t go away. My legs are shaking uncontrollably and anything that comes out of my mouth sounds like a whimper. I probably look as pathetic as I feel! Dang it! Snap out of it, Reimu!
“RRRRAAARRRGGGGHHHHHHHH!” I hear a loud roar behind me. It hits me so suddenly, I come very close to ruining a clean pair of undies. I turn around to face the noise as soon as I hear it. From the darkness, a giant creature comes into view. It looks like a hybrid of various animals: It has a long tail with a stinger, like a scorpion, it has forearms with long sharp claws, like a grizzly bear, it has large dark wings, like a bat, it walks on six legs, like an insect, and its head looks like it belong to some weird bug too, although its feet are orange and webbed, like a duck. It is about 20 feet in length, and it fills almost the entire height and width of the hallway. It lets out another fearsome roar.
“AHHHH!” I turn and run away as fast as I can. Not surprisingly, it flaps is wings, hovering off the ground, and then starts chasing me. I glance back and see it quickly gain on me. I look to the sides of the hall for doors to escape into, but there are none. Ahead, there is still darkness without an end. I’m trapped! The monster is gonna kill me!
I stop, accept fate, and tightly close my eyes as the creature thrusts its poisonous tail at me… but I feel nothing. I open my eyes and see its tail cut in half, orange goo spurting out. Just what happened? I suddenly feel a reassuring hand on my back. I look to my side and see a girl with long black hair, wearing a pink and red dress. A transparent blade is formed around her other hand, dripping with the orange goo, which soon disappears.
She says, “Don… rry… imu… we got it u… ontrol…” Her voice is broken up, not unlike the way static interferes with a message.
The creature lets out an anguished roar and gets ready to resume its assault.
“Mokou,” calls the girl calmly.
Another voice responds, “Yea… eah… I got it… incess…” Suddenly, the monster bursts into flames and vanishes. Another girl, with long aqua hair and red eyes, wearing a brown shirt and red overalls, a little scruffier in appearance compared to the first girl, shows up. With a casual pose and an expression looking only halfway concerned, she asks me, “Ya ok… eimu?”
I guess she was asking if I’m okay. I nod my head and say, “Thank you so much! I thought I was doomed for sure!”
The second girl looks away, “Hones… ly I… ember you being… re powerf… imu…”
The first girl says with a serious expression, “… sten, Reim… u mus… t… leas… us… ou und… and?” Their words are becoming more unintelligible, but it looks like she just told me something important.
All around us, there is a sudden high pitched voice calling, “Reimu-chan! Reimu-chan! Reimu-chan! Reimu-chan! Reimu-chan! Reimu-chan!”
The two girls and everything around me whites out.
I open my eyes. I’m in my homeroom in school, leaning on my desk, one of many, right next to a window. Around the room, there are fellow high school students: the girls wearing light-blue colored uniforms with mid-length purple skirts, like what I’m wearing, and the boys wearing dark blue uniforms with button up shirts.
Shoot, I must have dozed off again. What was with those two girls that I saw in my sleep? I’ve forgotten everything, except being saved, but those girls have shown up so frequently in my dreams since I got out of my coma five months ago, due to an accident, that they’ve left a permanent impression on me. What were their names? I heard one… it started with an M… or was it a G?
“Ah! You’re finally up!” I lazily look up and see a girl with short dark hair and blue eyes, Ayuki, my friend and classmate. She sent me a lot of flowers while I was out.
“Class is just about over,” a boy standing next to Ayuki speaks up. He has somewhat shaggy brown hair and dark eyes, aided by glasses. His name is Hiroji. He’s a friend and classmate like Ayuki. He used to muse about how I share a similar appearance and same first name as a heroine from a doujin series of shooting games he plays (what the hell is that about?)
Ayuki takes a closer look at my face, “It doesn’t look like you had completely woken up yet…”
“Ah, Kiribayashi. It seems you had been sleeping during class again…” A woman with long silver hair, tied into a large braid, wearing a pair of glasses and a professional-looking suit approaches.
I sit up quickly, “Oh! I’m so sorry, Yagokoro-sensei! I didn’t mean…” Yagokoro-sensei (I don’t know her first name) is my class’ homeroom teacher. She only started teaching at my school a couple months ago, at the start of the new semester.
Contrary to my expectations, Yagokoro-sensei just smiles and asks, “So do you remember what kind of dream you had?”
“Not a lot of it. All I remember is being rescued by… two strange girls. It was a really odd dream…”
“I see…” Yagokoro-sensei walks away. This isn’t the first time she’s asked me this. Every time, she’s been interested in knowing what I’ve dreamt about and never scolded me for sleeping. I honestly don’t get that teacher.
“I honestly don’t get that teacher,” says Hiroji, just as I’m thinking those exact same words, “I was sleeping just a few days ago during class, and she had someone wake me up, then made me the first to answer every question for the rest of the class that day, but she has no problem with you sleeping…”
“Yeah,” agrees Ayuki, “She’s a very unusual teacher… maybe she’s playing favorites? You’re pretty lucky, Reimu-chan…”
“Aw man…” whines Hiroji, “Don’t tell me you’ve become a teacher’s pet!”
“It’s not like that, Hiroji-kun! It’s…”
DING-DONG DING-DONG… … … DING-DONG DING-DONG
The school bell rings, ending the period.
A few hours later, school is dismissed for the day. I go my separate ways with Ayuki and Hiroji and head home, the sunset creating a golden glow among the cityscape.
As I head home, I hear someone call me from behind, “Heeey! Reimu!” I turn around and see a girl wearing the same kind of school uniform as me run toward me. She has platinum hair, which reflects the sunset’s light, with a black hair ribbon, and blue eyes. With her, she’s carrying a kendo weapon wrapped in blue cloth and a blue gym bag, which she NEVER parts with and is very protective of. Her name is Youmu Konpaku. She’s a fellow student at my school, who also joined at the start of the new semester. Word about her spread fast when she joined the school’s kendo team and practically destroyed everyone there to such a degree that they are afraid of her, despite her being shorter than most other students. She seems antisocial, as she isn’t interested in talking to anyone, but she seems to have taken a shine to me the second she saw me. One thing that’s annoying, though, is that she never adds an honorific when referring to me by name. “Um… How was school today… did you learn lots?”
“Not really,” I answer, “I mostly slept during class today. I don’t know what’s wrong. I’ve just feel sleepy nowadays...”
Youmu responds, sounding as if she’s out of her element, “Um… well, that sucks. So… did you have any interesting dreams?” Again! A student and teacher, both of whom joined my school at the same time and both are interested in what I’ve dreamt about. I haven’t seen them together, but I’m practically convinced that they are mother and daughter. Heck, I can even see the resemblance… sorta…
I might as well take this moment to ask why she’s so interested in what I dream about, “Why do you want to know what I dream about when I sleep? People usually don’t care.”
Youmu flinches like she was caught on the spot, “We-well… I’m just… interested in dreams people have?”
Youmu sits in a nearby bench, her kendo sword leaning against her shoulder, “Dreams are like an extension of our reality. Here, we go to school, hang out with friends, and do all those normal things. Dreams, however, offer us a temporary chance to live a life that exceeds the limitations of everyday life in this world. It offers us to create a world of our own, one that goes beyond anything here. I guess I’m just wondering how far your own world goes beyond this one…”
I sit next to Youmu, “That’s an interesting way of looking at it…”
“Are there any other dreams you can recall?”
“I often don’t remember my dreams,” I answer, “However…”
“Until five months ago, I was in a coma, due to a traffic accident…”
“… I’m… uh… sorry to hear that…”
“… When I woke up, things became weird. Since then, I’ve been frequently seeing two girls in my dreams, saving me from danger and telling me something I can’t make out…”
“Kaguya and Mokou…” mutters Youmu under her breath.
“Huh? Did you say something, Youmu-chan?”
“Uh… er… It’s nothing, Reimu…”
“Anyway, there is also something else… It’s hard to explain. It’s like I’m… longing for someone… someone important. Someone without a name, face, voice, or gender, but someone close to me… someone I’m waiting for… someone I might recognize all the sudden if I saw him or her… Pretty weird, huh?”
“Maybe, but it might mean something. I hope you find that someone…”
“Yeah… I guess so…”
Youmu gets up, “Well, I’ll see you tomorrow. Take care, okay? I gotta study for an English test…”
I point at Youmu gym bag, “Um… if you don’t mind, could you tell me what’s in your bag?”
“Ah!” Youmu tenses up. At the same time, I see that bag move slightly, like there something alive inside of it.
“Oh! It moved…”
“Er…” Youmu is getting more nervous.
“Are you… keeping a pet in there?”
Youmu’s eyes turn away from me, “Um… Yeah. Something like that. Please don’t tell anyone.”
“I won’t. Your secret is safe with me, Youmu-chan.”
“Thanks. I owe you. Well, see you tomorrow…” With that, Youmu walks away. Strange girl. Still, I feel like I met her somewhere before… Nah.
Those girls… the unknown person I’m seeking… Could Youmu be right? Could they mean anything…? Damn, I’m confused… I’ll try to make sense of it some other time…
In a park in Reimu’s hometown, at midnight, lit dimly by lamps, Yukari emerges from a portal. Alice and Reisen meet up with her after a couple minutes.
Reisen sits on the ground and takes some deep breaths, “… … … It’s not easy living here… I gotta keep my ears hidden… And it doesn’t have the magic in the air the way Gensokyo and the Moon does. I can’t fly or make new spell cards… I gotta WALK everywhere…”
Alice glances at Reisen, “The Moon has magic similar to Gensokyo?”
“Not just similar… Almost identical!”
“Wow! That’s an amazing coincidence.”
“Yeah, it kinda is…”
Yukari speaks up, “What a strange place Gensokyo was… Still, I wonder how it came to be?”
Alice asks, “Huh? Didn’t you say that Gensokyo became a realm due to combined energy from Reimu and Marisa’s dreams?”
Yukari closes her eyes, “That was my… uneducated guess, but that’s impossible… it’s not even logical. Coincidental accidents occur all the time across realms, and no new realms get created...”
“Then what could have created Gensokyo?” asks Reisen.
“Yukari’s eyes open slightly, “It was Reimu and Marisa’ dream. Not doubts there, but how it managed to gain such a status… I don’t know! Could it be some other power I don’t know about?”
“…” There is silence between all three of them to the creepy revelation regarding Gensokyo’s existence.
Reisen breaks the silence and changed the subject, “A-anyway… We’ll find some way to get Reimu and Marisa together, right? Eirin-sama and Youmu are keeping an eye on Reimu and, at the other side of the world, Sakuya and Cirno are keeping watch of Marisa. Sooner or later, we can bring them together…”
“If only this world were that simple,” says Yukari… “But yes… sooner or later…”
As Alice and Reisen express a positive outlook to the future, Yukari starts to think about what the unknown force behind Gensokyo’s existence is.
One year later…
TO BE CONTINUED…
- Return to Fiction by Valesta