Return to Mokuren
Ruukoto was sighing in frustration, a great part of her maid outfit was burnt and charred, even thought not embarassingly so; the four girls were laid out in front of her in a relatively safe place with lots of water. That was, of course, Cirno’s respawn point, so even if she went too far into negative Hps, there would be no problem, or so Ruukoto thought.
“Aaaaah...”, she moaned in frustration, “If only organic beings were born with USB adaptors...”, while hopelessly trying to fit a USB plug in Wriggle’s ear.
The four party members were all with greyed status, and none of their Hps were anywhere near positive; this would have been a moment to use phoenix downs, but the only person in Gensokyo that had anything to do with a phoenix was the one that ganked them, so resurrection magic was absolutely out of question.
This left Ruukoto alone with her medicine score of 0. Not the brightest situation she has ever been in; the other members’ Hps stopped dropping but did not increase, and how exactly do you heal a bunch of youkai?
Nevermind the fairy, these things have telepathic death mimes.
Morning came at the Hakurei shrine, the structure was largely overpopulated and has been like this for two consecutive days by now. Unheard of, especially given its occupants weren’t of the sort that used to stick together. Except for Yukari, who was always everywhere as long as it was the most inappropriate moment to be there, but Yukari is a haxx0r so she doesn’t really count.
Patchouili was one weird guest, she would be locked who knows where to read who knows what, but given the Hakurei shrine was an old-style japanese structure, there were no locks, so she was either in the living room or in the kitchen, doing weird stuff for that Toho StrikerS cosplay thing that, really, was starting to grow into epic proportions of wrong.
On top of that, Reimu had nobody to do the chores for her, because her personal slave girl was slacking off somewhere after having been cast away from the Hakurei Border. Why wasn’t she back yet? Well, she better be soon, otherwise her debt could be quadrupled anytime soon.
As she figured things couldn’t go worse and that, because at least there ought to be some quiet since they couldn’t do much without Meimu, Suika came to visit.
“Oss!”, she greeted, carrying her jug of endless whatsoever with her, “Nice to see you clean once in a while!”.
“I have come out to clean simply because I do not want Patchu’s geekdom to infect me, but I’m starting to reconsider my strategy now that you’re here”.
“Ah, don’t worry, I’ve come to play with Mocchan”, the little oni then started looking around, “Where is she?”
Reimu blinked. Oh sure, Mocchan, “This is supposed to be my house, why everyone keeps camping here because of my guests?”, guessing the fastest way to get rid of the oni was to be bluntly honest, she continued with “Meimu isn’t here, she’s been shot away from the Hakurei Border and we don’t know where she is now”.
“Really?”, said the oni with the expression of somebody who not only didn’t understand, but wasn’t listening anyways, “So when will she be back?”.
“She... I don’t know, she could be anywhere”, Reimu took a deep breath to avoid losing her (short) temper, “If you care so much, why don’t you do everyone a favor and bring her back already? She’s gone since yesterday”.
The clutch on the broom was becoming so strong it could snap at any moment, just looking at the out-of-focus stare and demented smile of Suika was enough to break her patience, let alone the whole situation in general. Really, wasn’t she supposed to be the main character anyways?
“I know!”, Suika said, “Let’s throw a party!”.
Patchouili left the building, book in hand and Koakuma following; she looked like she was set on something, and that something had to do with Reimu. Her expression was imperscrutable.
“It’s unusual to see you leave the house”, Reimu looked at the wizard of the week, trying to guess what was going on in her reclused and sociopath mind, “Where are you going?”.
“I needed some fresh air”, she said, sounding a lot like an execuse considering her habit of locking herself somewhere and never coming out, “And I wanted to check out who you aimed that Demon Sealing Ring at”.
“I just saved everyone lots of trouble, so don’t mind that”, Reimu paused for a moment, still holding the (somehow) intact broom in her hands, “By the way, why don’t you check out on Meimu while you’re out?”.
“Because you’re out already and need air. Promenades are good for your health, and a healthy body has a better air intake, which you need for your asthma. You want to get rid of that, don’t you?”
“I would love to see mistress in a healthy body”, was Koakuma’s comment, “It would suit her so fine...”.
“You’re just too lazy to do it yourself, aren’t you?”, was instead Patchu’s unimpressed answer.
“Just go, or I’ll let Suika throw a party”.
Moments of silence passed, in which Koakuma stared at Patchu’s body, making fantasies on her “healthy” body, which ended in getting her a stupid expression and a bleeding nose.
“Fine, fine”, the wizard said in the end, “Koakuma, let’s go look for Meimu”.
Koakuma was shocked, blinking in disbelief, “M-mistress, you really are going to...”, dramatic pause, “... Exercise?”.
“It can’t hurt, can it?”, and she meant as much irony as her low-on-iron body allowed.
“Waaaah! Mistress!”, the devil glomped her mistress, her ero-grade fantasies taking over her body and feeling the need to explore her mistress’ supposedly healthy body for... Research purposes, “Mistress, you’re so wise! I can’t believe you finally did this for m-”.
One Rage Trilithion High Level later, Patchouili clarified: “It’s not for you. It’s for my asthma”.
Meanwhile, Mokuren was doing morning exercise just in front of Keine’s house. Haedonggum, Keine and Meira were slightly behind, looking at him like he had become some sort of alien while they were sleeping.
“Shouldn’t we... Tell her?”, Meira mused. Keine winced, biting her fingernails as if she was worried about something.
“Naah”, said Hae with a shrug, “She’ll be fine, she’s a good girl”.
Meira blinked. Sure, Mokuren seemed to have recovered pretty well considering she was supposed to be on the brink of death just yesterday, but still... “Are you sure it’s ok? I mean, how come she didn’t even notice?”.
“She can be pretty stupid when she needs to”, Hae nodded, giving Meira a pat on the shoulder, “Come on, we’ve got to go back to the HQ”, she then took a deep breath and called with her powerful voice: “Oi! Meimu! Let’s move!”.
“Eh? Already?”, he blinked, “Move where, by the way?”.
“Hello-o? Did you get hit too hard? To the Hakurei Shrine, of course!”
“Oh”, he paused, “Oh, true”, he nodded, “Sorry, it’s just that so much happened lately... I was in hell just yesterday, you see”.
“Tsk, execuses, execuses...”.
Ignoring his talking and sentient (and sexy) sword, he walked over to Keine, “Look, I don’t know how to thank you for being my walking respawn point...”
“Ah, no need to worry. I didn’t do much, really”, her eyes were so THIS IS A LIE, INQUIRE MORE AS TO EMBARASS HER that Mokuren felt sorry for just having asked, “Mokou seemed to count so much on me, I just couldn’t say no...”.
“Mokou?”, he blinked, Mokou? Mokou cared for me? Mokou actually cares for me?, he blinked again, Are we sure I’m not in an alternate Gensokyo?.
“Yes. She’s a good girl at heart, she’s just a little shy...”
“It’s good to know”, he smiled genuinely, that was some good news, “Then I’ll make sure to thank her as well, if only I could manage to find her when I’m up and healthy...”
“You really should train your hps more”, said Meira, “Everyone knows the miko class isn’t high on them, you should let me tank from now on”.
“Well then, Keine”, Mokuren kept ignoring his followers, “I’ll be seeing you soon”.
As he returned, thought, he noticed nobody but Reimu was there, and Reimu didn’t look all that happy to see him back.
“So, you’re finally there”, her voice was dripping ice-cold venom, and her eyes were those of a murderer, “Just where have you been while us honest people have been working and waiting?”
“Shot away in Gensokyo, deep in the forest after a double spark to the face, amongst 4chan memes and then to hell and back. Sorry I didn’t call home”, he looked around, noticing the presence of the small oni, “Oh, hi Suika!”
“Mocchan!”, she ran towards him and dived head-first in his lap. Good thing her horns weren’t straight forward, or he might have got holed up. And sent to hell again.
“By the way, Reimu”, he said while petting Suika like a small kid, “I was wonder-”. He blinked, noticing she was pretty interested in the scene, “... Reimu?”.
“So, you’re the mother”, she muttered, nodding at her own genius as she contemplated what good mother/daughter pair the two could make.
“... Eh?”, he blinked, “Wait, no fuckin’ wai. I can’t be Suika’s mo-”.
“I was talking about you and Wriggle”, Reimu explained, “I figured that of the pair, you’d be the father when I reprimanded you last time. Guess I was wrong”.
Of course Suika was all into her “Mocchan Cuddling” mode, and so she didn’t care, but Mokuren was starting to feel pretty pissed of this gender distortion situation. He opened his mouth as to talk back, but then remembered he had something better to ask.
“By the way, Reimu, I was thinking... Since I have a lot of people, you included, to thank for having saved my ass over and over and over...”, he smiled at his own genius, “Why don’t we throw a party?”.
If silence could kill, Gensokyo would be dead by now.
“Ara, ara, my daughter has such tasteful ideas!”. Suddenly, the Yakumo family! Three of them!
“Yu... Yukari? Since when you have a daughter?”, for some reason, Ran was the only one who took her seriously, she looked about to fall into the same deep shock as she did when she faced the Gensokyo StrikerS.
“Yukari... I... I’m not your dau-”
“So, the oni is Yukari’s granddaughter?”, Chen’s question was posed with the childish innocence that made Ran go into Glass no Kamen face mode, and Yukari laugh off the sensation of being old. Which she was, by the way, being over 1200 years old and stuff.
“For the last time, Suika isn’t my-”
“At any rate, Meimu”, Reimu brought the talk back on track thanks to the power of her pulsing forehead vein, “We can’t throw a party here. Period”.
“Awwww...”, was the generic reaction, to which Marisa added “Why not?”.
Completely ignoring the fact the witch wasn’t there before and yet managed to piss her off already, Reimu showed everyone her wallet, and then turned it upside down. To absolutely no effect.
“We’re broke”, she then explained since nobody seemed to figure out why she did that.
It still didn’t work.
“How should that be a problem?”, asked Mokuren, “I mean, I thought we would all contribute with something and throw a party anyways. It’s not like you really go into town much anyways. Also, it’s supposed to be a thanksgiving party of sorts so even if you don’t pay it’s not a problem”
“You don’t know the kind of parties Suika can throw”, Reimu honestly answered, “And anyways, my position stands. We’re broke, and I’m sure this applies to everyone else as well. Now execuse me but since Patchouili left, I have to purge the geek germs out of my house”.
“Ara, ara, this is a problem indeed”, Yukari’s hand laid a comforting hold on Mokuren, “Do not worry, my young Meimu. We will have more chances”.
“Thought, now that you make me think of it, how do we actually earn money here?”, he blinked several times, looking at each one, “I mean, seriously... You three are youkai, Marisa is a thief and Suika... Nevermind Suika. The five of you don’t even need the concept of money”, he turned to his two companions, “Hae is a sword, Meira, from what I understand, lived alone in the forest. So what does Reimu actually do to live?”.
“Ask for donations”, Marisa quickly answered, “But she never gets any”.
Pause, some gears and wheels started clanking loudly inside of Mokuren’s head. Mmmmmh... Donations, eh?. He turned to his party, “Hae, Meira, can you please wait here at the temple with me? Keep the Yakumo family good company while I’m gone. Suika, you come with me”.
“What do you plan to do?”, Hae sniffed something in the air, and wasn’t sure whether she liked it or not.
“Trust me”, was Mokuren’s answer, followed by a happyfun smile as he picked up the donations box, “Let’s go, Suika!”.
“And every time I get back to positive Hps, I grow stronger!”
“Is that so~?”
Rest-based HP recovery was by large the most slow and ineffective way to heal up, but if time wasn’t lacking and the other options were out, it wasn’t really that bad of a deal. By now, everyone was active again, althought patched up like it was Rei Ayanami cosplay day.
“So, Cirno”, was Wriggle’s unimpressed comment, “Does your hair turn yellow if you gain too much power?”
“I think she’ll just overload and blow up”, Mystia was amongst those that took the most damage and her eyes didn’t look too good, but it didn’t crush her spirit, “And then burst into icicles”.
“Oh!”, Rumia probably didn’t have one intact rib, but youkai are evidently built tough, or too stupid to play along with the pain, “So we have to stick to her to dodge the fall!”.
And as the situation went downhill with Rumia glomping Cirno, then suddenly realizing her chest hurt and clinging hard to the fairy and bringing both down with nonindifferent pain, a pair of figures in the distance were watching undisturbed.
“Mistress, what does the scouter say about their level?”
Patchouili took her scouter off, and with the most seriously steroided expression, she crushed it in one hand shouting “IT’S OVER ⑨ THOUSAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND!!!”
“What?”, Koakuma was shocked at the sheer amount that was just registered, “⑨ thousand?”
“Indeed, it is impressive”, Patchu stoutly observed, “But I do not see Meimu”.
“You’re right”, Koakuma sighed, the sightseeing of four badly injured idiots playing around was worth 1d8 SAN at the very least, “Her maid is there, thought, why don’t we go ask her? I am sure she has some sort of master sense for-”, she blinked, noticing Patchu was quivering, “Mistress, what’s wrong?”.
It became clearly evident what was wrong, crushing the scouter in her own hand resulted in having all the glass shards in Patchu’s hand; she returned Koakuma’s look with teary eyes and a simple but very telling “Ugyuuu...”
SO- SO MOE IM GONNA DIE!!!, “There, there... It’s all fine, mistress, let me heal your hand...”, she produced a handkerchief out of her pocket and proceeded to take the shards off and bandage the hand, trying to absolutely ignore the blood she was dripping on there from her nose.
Back in town, the villagers had yet another helping of Magical Mokuren Cosplay Show as “the other shrine maiden” flied into town, with her trusty oni assistant and a donation box in her hands. Most of the attention was being attracted because of that, actually; said box never really left the shrine for long, especially not to go this far.
“O-saisen!”, he started, the welcoming smile of a young shrine maiden and the waving motion of the donation box to attract attention, “O-saise~n!”
“O-saisen!”, was Suika’s enthusiastic follow-up. Even thought at first Mokuren had doubts on whether an oni would have been good or bad to make an impression, he just now remembered that not only nobody really knew how to deal with an oni in Gensokyo, but as long as he was with her, everybody would think of her as his assistant.
Generally, to the lowly humans that composed this village’s populace, the fact that flying people was the norm sort of slipped past, but Mokuren had won their trust already some time ago, and now everyone knew him as “the other shrine maiden”, which was good, since it’s just normal to give money to shrine maidens, isn’t it?
Back at the Hakurei shrine, the population remained more or less the same, the Yakumo family (sans their newest member, at least according to Yukari) was slacking off in the front, with Yukari and Haedonggum talking about Mokuren while he wasn’t there, with Ran silently watching and trying to absorb as much information about this supposedly new member.
Chen was sleeping curled in the porch, like an ordinary cat, and Meira was about to go take a walk to familiarize with the surroundings. However, as she saw the nekomata sleep peacefully with such a contented expression on her face, she stopped.
She took a quick glance around and noticed she was out of sight from everyone, althought she could still hear the voices of the others. She focused back on Chen, who was sleeping the carefree sleep that only a domestic cat can sleep.
Losing her serious expression, Meira slowly extended a hand, then stopped. Maybe the cat didn’t want to be disturbed? Yet, she was so cute... As her face went into moé mode, she extended her hand again, closer, then stopped again. Is it ok to pet a cat even if she clearly is a youkai? Such questions that can only arise in Gensokyo...
Deciding for the better of her cute side, she went to pet her on the head.
And that’s when Chen opened her maw and trapped Meira’s fingers inside.
“Yeah, like, Meimu couldn’t take two steps outside the house without me. She even needs a maid for stuff and often forgets about who is present in a scene and who isn’t”, Hae was clearly bragging, sitting on another side of the porch with the others, “Really, I could be a better main character, but there’s this prejudice against equippable items...”
“My, my, thanks for taking care of my daughter. I feel safer to know there is such dependable people with her all the time, I also feel a bit guilty that she has not been introduced to the rest of the family, I am sure Ran and Chen will be happy to welcome her”.
“Ah... Yukari-sama”, Ran looked like she was forcing herself a bit, as if both afraid to ask and afraid to be answered, “A-about her... If I may ask, wha-”.
“Well, good luck. Meimu is one spineless twit when she wants to, she’s just pretty good at pretending she isn’t, from time to time, and she’s horrendously weak”. Hae paused, looking at the horizon, “Oh, look who’s back”.
Not Meimu, evidently, just Patchu and Koakuma, along with Ruukoto and the ⑨ team.
The troupe all landed in the courtyard, with Patchouili and Koakuma going forward, at which point the wizard of the week raised her bandaged hand in salute.
“Recon Patchu reporting, Meimu has been separated from the rest of the batallion and is still MIA, I have found a bunch of suspicious folk who claim to be part of her clan, thought their levels and equipment are low and have just suffered a sore defeat at the hand of unknown mobs”.
“W-What?”, Ren didn’t keep up with what was being said, and that made her nervous because she felt like she was the only one.
“Ara, ara. Do not pull, they link. You have to teach children everything these days...”, Yukari nodded in understanding, which made Ren feel even worse.
“Sorry to interrupt...”. Oh, Ruukoto, sneaking up as always; everyone turned their attention to her, given it was rare for her to speak, and that she was an even rarer character to see in the first place, “But... I know what happened to the mistress, until she was spirited away”.
“Spirited away?”, Patchu looked unimpressed, “That’s not unusual at all for her. Care tell us the whole story?”
“... And that’s how things went”, Wriggle somehow had a very cool aura, with that broken arm of hers and the loose bandage around the head, like some sort of cool shinseigumi veteran, “At least until I was still standing”.
“That person was a bad, bad person!”, Cirno added, “I don’t even want to think what she could do to our Meimu-tan!”
Wriggle blinked, then tried to imagine what could actually have happened to Meimu. In her sick, sick mind, she was in the corner of a dark room, her clothes half ripped revealing ludicrous parts of her skin, with teary eyes looking up to a Mokou with a weird smirk and a strange lighting effect hiding her eyes.
“Don’t worry, little girl”, fantasy Mokou said in a box at the bottom of the screen, “I’m not going to do anything bad to you”.
“Are you ok, Wriggle?”, asked Rumia who couldn’t help but notice the bug youkai’s profused nosebleeding.
“Yeah, she’s fine, she’s fine...”, Haedonggum added, nodding with a clearly dishonest face and her hand trying to hide her own nosebleeding, “I can wholly understand her”; she chuckled at her own power to read minds. Good thing nobody could read hers, there could be material for more yuri dōjinshi than one could make in one’s life.
“Actually, thought”, Yukari intervened, “Mokou does seem to be a good person under her rough shell. After all, it only is Kaguya that ticks her off”, she smiled, “I don’t think my daughter is in trouble at all”.
And in fact, suddenly, Suika! Thousands of them!
Each one was carrying a bag of some sort, and the scent of food and delicacies could be smelled way before they were in sight; in the middle of them, like an Osaka in Chiyoland, Mokuren. Carrying a donation box that was tingling softly at every step, a sound most unheard in the Hakurei shrine.
“Hello everyone!”, he promptly greeted with the satisfied smile of one who saw his great charisma as main character recognized, “I’m back with enough supplies to throw parties for a week!”.
As soon as he finished speaking, he was glomped by his ⑨ friends, who tackled him down in a cute sea of snuggles and manifestations of relief and happiness.
The second later, the ⑨ team was actually unable to move, pinning down a dumbfound Mokuren as everyone else was struck down by the pain of whatever was broken inside of them.
“Uh... Girls?”, he blinked, not knowing why they were so particularly worried in showing him all their love right in that moment, and also not knowing why they were all broken up like somebody threw a road roller on their heads while making weird sounds, “What... Whatever happened here?”.
“Over ⑨ thousand fight in the forest of magic!”, said a merry voice as an Extra edition of Bunbunmaru news landed on his face.
“What?”, in shock, Mokuren snuck out the bodies of her friends and opened the newspaper, “Over ⑨ thousand?”, he couldn’t believe himself, or his own eyes; that was something really hardcore for this bunch of girls to do!
“Er... Execuse me...”, Ran said in a too shy voice for Mokuren to actually notice, “Are you... Perchance...”
“MEEEEIMUUUU!!!”, appearing from the nothing behind Mokuren, Yukari! Who grabbed him, making the newspaper fly, and snug him tightly to her chest, “Meimu! Don’t make your mother worry like this! I’ve been staying on the porch all night, waiting for you to come back...”
“W-WTF are you saying?”, was his muffled comment, at which, realizing his position, he wondered, Wait, are you seriously thinking of complaining about this situation?. A glance at Ran’s shocked and teary face, however, made him realize that it wasn’t the best moment to listen to his testosterone.
He pulled back from her hug, thought still smiling, “Ah... Y-yes, I mean, sorry about the trouble... I seem to get into it a lot, don’t I?”, the flash from a camera interrupted him several times, but he had the ability to deal with only one problem at a time.
“Ara, ara, you are one special child, Meimu”, she still didn’t let go of him, but at least he wasn’t face deep in her chest now, which also meant he could breathe normally, “Speaking of which, I still have to make you meet your family”.
“M-my...”, For some reason, I feel like I’m being introduced into some sort of mafia....
“This is Ran Yakumo, she’s my shikigami, she’ll be the one to care for you when I won’t be there”, Ran didn’t look too happy to be refered to as a shikigami, especially after a complete stranger received all sort of care and snuggling from her mistress, but she did her best to stop her tears and smile, offering a shaky hand.
“I am Ran Yakumo”, she said in her best voice, “Pleased to meet you, Meimu”.
“The pleasure is mine”, Moku tried his best smile as to reassure her, “So, we are like... Sisters? Cousins?”.
Before Ran could answer to say whatever she intended to say, Rumia had recovered and joined the conversation with an “Is that so~? Moku-oneesama is my big sis already!”.
“Well, this means you get another onee-sama”, he answered, ruffling her hair and hoping her head was safe to touch. It was.
“Yay! I have two onee-sama!”, she really did look happy, even among the camera flashes.
“Oh! But there is a lot I need to prepare for dinner if we are to party this night. There is a lot of you, after all”.
“It has been a while since Suika last used her power”, Aya nodded at herself, taking some notes, “So her call is particularly long-ranged now, it even distracted me; it’s only a matter of time before other guests will join”.
“Very well”, he smiled, taking the donation box back from the ground, “Let’s get ready then!”.
He made his way towards the shrine, but an Absolute Terror Field blocked his path, making him freeze on the spot. In front of him, the landscape changed, it became wind-blown and desolated, like the monsters’ lair of a horror movie, thought it was still the Hakurei Shrine. In front of her, Reimu Hakurei.
“You know”, she said with a voice that dripped radioactive liquid nitrogen, “This is still my house, in spite of all the liberties you are taking with it. Aside from ripping my main character status, I mean”.
“Ah...”, he carefully pondered on his multiple choices, trying to decide which of the three would have best fit the situation. Damn, he always sucked at dating sims, he always met the boring girls without sense of humor. He promptly discarded the JAM IT IN! option, but he was still unsure on the other two.
Oh, well, he thought, Why bother? I’ll just keep being myself, anything else wouldn’t be honest at all.
“Well, Reimu”, he then said with his best smile, “You see, I noticed you were a bit down lately, so... I figured that throwing a party would have cheered you up. After all you’ve done to me, I had to pay you back somehow”.
Moments of silence passed, and Mokuren never regret not picking the second presence excellency as hard as he did now, but in the end the AT-Field slowly crumbled and the shrine returned to normal. “Well... If it’s for me...”, Reimu looked like she was way better, mood-wise, and Mokuren could hear the familiar chime that meant Your relationship score with this girl just went up a point!.
Until she saw the donation box, that is. At which point, she realized it was not, in fact, empty.
“Ah, this?”, he said, not realizing his great mistake, “Well, since we were broke, I figured we needed money, so I went to ask for some donations and, you wouldn’t believe how friendly the villagers were! Really, and when Suika mentioned the party, they’ve been giving us all sorts of goods, wishing us good health and stuff”. He blinked, noticing the AT-Field was going back online, “... Reimu?”.
“Well, well, well...”, she said with a tense smirk, trying to hide a homicidal intent, “Look who’s getting cocky... So you got some donation money, eh? Maybe you think this is enough to run the whole shrine, eh?”. She had this face that was like, totally, the face of one who saw enough hardships in life that didn’t care anymore about anything, it was the superior smirk of those that go to talk shows to badmouth everything and everyone, on principle, “Well then, ms. Miko-san, why don’t you take my house over while you’re at it? I’m sure your housekeeping skills will hold it much better than a real miko could ever manage to tend a shrine, right?”.
“SHUT UP!”, she cracked her gohei like a whip, a smooth leather whip, “So you think like you’re the center of the world, huh? Well, fine, throw your party with your forbidden underage loves. This miko will go do something useful while you’re going wild”.
And without another word, she took off, Mokuren followed by foot, trying to find something to say, “Reimu!”, he called, “Where are you going?”.
“It’s youkai extermination night. This fucking night!”.
He sighed, watching her disappear in the dusk sky, “My, my, I think I really pissed her off for good this time”.
“Don’t worry, mocchan, don’t worry!”, Suika patted him on the shoulder, “She’ll be back, she can’t resist parties”.
“She just needs some time to cool off, she’s too proud to leave her house to you like this”, chimed Patchouili, her hand was bandaged and looked a bit limp, which made Mokuren blink, but he knew better than ask what happened, he screwed up well enough with girls for just one evening.
“Thanks, everyone”, he said as he set the donation box at the usual place, “Well, since we’re going to throw a huge party, I’m better get started already with the prepara-”
“MISTRESS!!!”, Mokuren was hit by a sudden glomp attack by his trusty robot maid, who has been hiding in the shrine, feeling the heavy air of something that was going terribly, terribly wrong. “Mistress you’re alive! I’m so glad! I’m so glad!”.
“Hey... There, there, calm down”, he comforted her, feeling more and more relaxed; it was nice to hug her robot maid once again after all his latest misadventures, “I’m fine. Don’t worry, I’m fine”. He then turned to look at the ⑨ team, flashing them a smile, “I guess I have to thank you, too, i it appears you saved me once again”.
“Is that so~ Moku-oneesama?”
“Yeah, I guess...”, Wriggle didn’t look too convinced, “I did it just because the others did”
“So, why don’t you, Rumia and Mystia go and help Suika gather more people to this festival? It’s going to be fun!”, Mokuren flashed his fresh bishojo smile, which gave him a +2 bonus to his Sway innocent girls checks.
“Yay! Let’s go, Mystia!”, said Rumia.
“Where? Where?”, answered the bird girl, looking around in her near-blind state, until Rumia took her hands and lead her along, and the two were apparently having lots of fun in spite they were pretty broken up. Wriggle followed the two, being the only one that had a bit of common sense, for how little a Gensokyo youkai could have.
“So...”, said Mokuren once he was alone with Cirno, “You are?”.
“I am Cirno, the fairy of the lake!”, she claimed in an extremely proud tone, “I am the icing savior!”.
“... Icing?”, wondered Mokuren, but then decided not to press with semantics, she is the leader of the ⑨ team aftera all, “Well, cCirno... Do you want to help me with cooking? I need all the help I can get with this. Can you cook?”.
“... Cook?”, she pondered idly, as if the notion was alien to her, until Mokuren had to intervene before her brain melt.
“I mean... Nevermind, I’ll teach you”, he smiled at Ruukoto, “It’s no problem, right?”.
“Absolutely not”, the robot maid smiled back, “In fact, she is the one who saved you. She froze you solid to buy us time”.
Mokuren blinked, so that’s why his silver cord stopped waning when he was in hell? “You did?”, he took Cirno’s hands and smiled a honest and thankful smile, “Many, many thanks!”.
It was so sudden, so shocking, and she was so not used to receive thanks, that Cirno simply stared blankly at him, until she turned all red and giggled idly, following Ruukoto inside the kitchen by hand, her head so full of these kind words that even her stupidity-born pride was unable to take over.
“I didn’t know you made little girls gay”, intervened Meira, joining him after she finished bandaging her hand, “I thought that was a robot thing”.
“In fact, I’m afraid that if she now spends time with Ruukoto, she’ll come out and realized she has been totally gay for Daiyousei, all the time. Hard gay”.
“You seem to think of it as a good thing”, she said, noticing his wicked grin.
“By the way, Meira”, he then blinked, “What happened to your hand?”.
“Oh”, she said, looking at it with a longing expression, “I guess... I guess she didn’t want to”.
Mokuren’s reaction was... That of a rather dumbfound person, I resurrected her from the PC-98 and she’s already getting into yuri affairs?, he shook his head, trying not to think about it, “Anyhow...”, he said as he turned to the others, “Patchu, you don’t have to help if you don’t want to...”.
“I don’t want to”, was her blunt answer.
“Uh... Well”, he chuckled uneasily, then looked at Yukari, “Yukari, can you help people get here fast and easy? I guess that some of the invitees may have problems reaching this place before night. Also... Could you go check on Reimu for me? Please? I have to apologize to her”.
“Ara, ara. Leave it to me, my little girl”, she ruffled his hair and waved as she disappeared into a gap, leaving a Ran feeling very, very lonely.
Mokuren felt he somehow had to repair for all he had done to her up to now, so he merrily stepped up in front of her, hands clasped behind his back and his best imouto-like face, “Will you too help me with the cooking, Ran onee-sama?”.
For the first time, Ran looked down on this complete stranger, this strange gothloli miko that her mistress took as daughter from one day to the other, and realized that she was not a rival, she was not an obstacle between her and her mistress.
She was a fresh new imouto for her tender fantasies come true.
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