Return to Mokuren
In the end, Genji returned at the shrine without Meimu. Or Mokuren, whichever he/she is.
It was because of a sudden attack of “Sleepover at Marisa’s” that struck everyone inside her house. Of course, being that Marisa didn’t even have a guest room, they were all sleeping in the same one.
And while Ruukoto, Shanghai and Hourai were fine enough sleeping on the floor, none between Mokuren, Marisa and Alice wanted to. No problem, there was a pretty large bed anyways.
And this is how Mokuren got stuck in a bed with two other girls, three more in the same room, and absolutely no way he could close an eye. Especially because those girls talked in their sleep.
“Nnnmh... Reimu... I won’t *snore* lose to you...”, and she grasped Mokuren’s hand firmly, more than before at least. Marisa was in the middle, and she was sprawled so much that she took almost half the bed herself; Alice was more cuddled (against Marisa) and while Mokuren tried to stay as close to the edge as possible, he was overlapping with Marisa’s legs. That, and she grasped his hand at a certain point, and didn’t let go.
Can’t sleep, he thought, can’t sleep. They’re too cute, and I get the feeling that if I fall asleep, I’ll miss some hot sleepwalking yuri action.
“Ah! Marisa!”, was Alice’s whispered shout in her sleep, “Don’t... Take my precious thing away...”, and she clinged closer to her, “... I wanna give it to you, myself...”
Mokuren got up, I’ll get my coat...
He didn’t really have a coat, just his non-conventional chihaya, but somehow he didn’t really feel cold outside when wearing it; and even if he did, his body temperature was high enough from the previous situation that he could’ve survived a snowstorm. He also didn’t really have anywhere to go, just wanted to take a walk and relax until he got tired enough he could sleep until next morning even in that kind of situation. It’s not the first time I sleep with girls, damnit, I just need to get it together.
Getting it together in Gensokyo, however, was the most difficult thing since Java programming, and the nights fell so fast it was almost as if darkness swallowed him.
Wait, whatever happened to starlight? As a matter of fact, he should have been able to see something, but it looked like a globe of darkness swalloed him for real, he could barely see where he was going. Until he stopped, because it was a bit too strange.
“Yay! I found a miko-san!”, came a childish voice, somewhere above, “Is this how they turn when the night falls and the full moon is in the sky?”
The image of a were-miko embedded itself in Mokuren’s brain. It wasn’t coming out.
“Uh, I’m like this even when the sun is up, you know”, he answered, boy, which is the piece of equipment that quadruples my random encounter chance? I better get rid of it, now, “By the way, who are you? And why is it so dark?”
“Ah!”, she came close enough that he could see her... It was a small girl, dressed in a plain black gown with a white shirt under that; her bright blond hair and red eyes spoiled the chamaleon effect of her dress, but she was still hard to spot from afar, “You’re not bird-eyed like the other miko-san! You must be a better person”
“I definitely am”, he drew his sword as pure reflex, you can never be too sure around weird girls, “You know the other miko?”
“Of course! Everyone does!”, her smile was far from pure and innocent, but it did look good on her, and she was cute anyways. Well, at his fourth day in Gensokyo, Mokuren’s Moe Overload Antibodies(tm) were probably pretty hardened anyways. “She is very strong, are you very strong too, miko-san?”
“Name’s Mokuren, and let’s say I’m learning”, honest enough, “So, are you too wandering because you can’t sleep?”
“No, I’m wandering because night is when I live”, the unnatural darkness faded, he could now see her much more clearly, “And I also take a point in testing the strength of those I haven’t met yet”
“Very well”, he readied his sword, poising and pointing it at the child youkai, “I won’t disappoint you”.
Crap, crap, crap, he thought, I still can’t fly, I’m going to be pwned! Only chance I have is to hit her before she can pull anything strange...
“BEEEEEEEEEEAAAM!!!”, suddenly, the girl fired a powerful red eye beam, lighting the forest in a whole creepier light.
WTF? thought Mokuren, before aiming his own sword and going “BEEEEEEEEAAAM!!!”.
The red and blue beams clashed against each other, sending off sparks and violent bursts of air and also lighting the forest like an 80s’ disco in broad daylight, the sheer DBZ effect could have sent the two contestants flying away in opposite directions if they weren’t each putting all their mights into the fray.
As if under implicit agreement, both beams eventually faded at about the same time, the two were looking at each other, carefully studying their next move.
“Wow, you’re really strong miko-san!”, she looked happy, “You’re a worthy apprentice of red’n’white”
“Well, thanks”, omg somebody just made me a compliment! “You’re not bad either. May I know your name?”
“Sure!”, she giggled, and yes, she still had her arms spread open like a cross, “I am Rumia, the youkai of darkness”
“Very well Rumia”, he was a bit more relaxed now, but still felt it was a bad idea to let his guard down, “Shall we have another go at it?”
“Sure!”, and they were both ready to give all they had this time.
The 80s’ disco returned, but this time it was heavy on crack and determined to disco dance until the whole world fell down to hell to disco dance with the devil himself. Mokuren wasn’t surprised to hear the ground cracking beneath his feet, he wasn’t surprised to see the trees being this close to being uprooted either; it’s bad, thought, if I keep going like this, I’ll run out of energy, and I’m pretty sure she has more than I do, he eventually realized, I better give all I have now before it’s too late. So, he hardened his grip on the sword and burst out his last bits of magical power.
She sneezed, and he had a split-second to notice that her beam, of course, fell apart, and he was going to hit her, hard. Crap! and he somehow tried to disrupt his own beam.
It split and streaked into four nonlinear and much slower beams, homing lasers as Alice called them, and they erratically shoved past Rumia’s figure, grazing her but clearly missing her hitbox.
... That was a close one, he thought as he let a sigh of relief, but wait, why did I spare a hit anyways?
“Wow, you’re really very strong, Moku-oneesama!”, the child giggled and drifted down closer to his level, “I’m beaten, you’re stronger than my eye beam”.
Moku-oneesama? What is this shit? Was his first train of thoughts, but he felt his own feelings hurting beyond possibility and thus tried to not think about it, “Ah... I see. You’re not bad either”
“Moku-oneesama, wanna play with me tonight?”
“Ah...”, he scratched his head, “I’d love to, really... But I still can’t fly” because I figure she’d want to play in the skies, like any sane person in Gensokyo.
“Eeeeh? You can’t fly?”, she blinked, considering such confession beyond believability, “That’s bad, my Moku-oneesama can’t can’t fly!”
Ignoring her grammar, he tried to explain something in the lines of “Well, I’m still new to this, and somehow I haven’t found a way to fly. I don’t know what I’m missing, I just can’t”
She seemed to think about it, and Mokuren could clearly hear the creaking and squeaking of old, unused gears being forced to spin in her head, until there was a “clack”.
“I know!”, she said, taking Mokuren by hand, “I know what you need!”
And somehow, she pulled him along in the night sky.
“WHA?”, he was flying. No, he wasn’t really flying, he was just being carried, by hand, in the sky. At night. With a kid.
“Moku-oneesama, do you like flying?”, he had experiences with the feelings of flight already, but he was sitting on the back of a giant turtle at that time, and my life wasn’t in the hands of a retarded youkai!
“Eh... Well, yes, I do”
“Moku-oneesama, why do you want to fly?”
He blinked. Wait, this question makes sense, it struck him like a lightning for how incredibly strange it was, actually, it’s right on the spot. Wasn’t she supposed to be a joke character?
“Well... I’m not sure”, he tried to answer, “I guess... I guess I want to fly because I need to”
“That’s no good, Moku-oneesama!”, she looked honestly worried, “You need a reason to fly!”
A reason? He thought he had enough of a reason already. Being stranded in Gensokyo, having to learn danmaku and everything.
... Or not?
“Moku-oneesama, you’re good at danmaku for being a human”, and you call that DBZ thing a danmaku? “So you must be able to fly, you just haven’t found your heart to”.
It was clearly a childish argument. Or not? He couldn’t fly after all, in spite he had the power to fire and resist danmaku, so he really did miss something. Was that his reason to fly? The kid must be right, why do I want to fly after all?
He wasn’t aware of the face he was making while thinking, but whatever it was, Rumia approved, “That’s my Moku-oneesama!”, and she released the grip.
Gravity was happy.
WTF I’M FALLING! He was obviously thinking, but traces of I still wonder what is my reason to fly were hanging in his brain cells. They were being overridden, but quietly resisting. That stupid kid, why’d she carry him up there and then let him go to splat on the ground like a rotten peach from a tree? And that was a bad image, by the way.
I guess I just wanted to be able to do something for myself was his background thinking as that pesky girl called Gravity was gently asking him to come closer and closer, I don’t want to depend on Reimu, or Yukari, or Marisa. They’ve been very kind in letting me freeload and whatnot, I have to return something. Also, it’s fucking fun, and I want to have this fucking fun while I can.
“Rumia, you DUMMY!”, he shouted at her, “People fall if you let them go! And if they fall from this high they die!”
“Kyuuuuun! Moku-oneesama flies!”, and she hugged him like he really was some kind of big sister.
Oh, true, I’m flying, he realized. Somehow, he matched Rumia’s speed too, as if he felt that some part of his reasoning on how to fly resonated with hers. Well, now that I think of it, it’s as if I unlocked something in myself thanks to that, but wasn’t this the kind of not-mine feeling I tend to get when I wield my sword? Which instead was sheathed on his back.
“Now go, Moku-oneesama!”, said Rumia climbing on his back, “Go! Fast!”
“Oh. Yeah...”, he kept going, no faster than before, “Uh... How do I accelerate?”
“... Do a barrel roll!”
She was recovering, she didn’t feel as bad as she did before. Humiliated in front of a human, called a boy, comforted by a human... Eesh, better forget about that.
She was the mistress of the plains, by night all of the bugs were in her power; she was the mistress of them all, she could roam the whole plains as her legitimate mistress, the night would have known to fear her again!
In the distance, however, lied the threat. She could hear their voices already:
“Moku-oneesama, over here!”
“Aren’t we going a bit too far, Rumia?”
“It’s ok! I am the legitimate mistress of the night! I can go wherever I want!”
It’s quite clear that this wasn’t her night.
The two flying figures came closer, she recognized Rumia’s voice (that little brat!) and she thought she heard the other voice already, but where?
“Oh, let’s stop by and ask, there’s someone over there”, he said.
As she saw the two approaching, her eyes widened. Fear, horrible fear, the kind that can only come after seeing something terribly wrong. “M-M-MEIMU!!!!” she screamed, almost tripping over herself.
“Oh? It’s Wriggle”, said Mokuren.
“Hi Wriggle!”, said Rumia.
Wriggle said nothing.
The three just stared at each other for a long, embarassed moment; they were close enough that there couldn’t be any doubts on each other’s identity, but somehow the situation still looked odd.
“Well, what a coincidence. Hi Wriggle! Remember me?”
She blinked, Meimu was talking to her? Meimu even existed? And she met her already?
“Moku-oneesama, what did you do to her?”
“Nothing, uh...”, he blinked, looking at his own chihaya, “Oh, this? Ah ah ah... Long story. It’s me, Mokuren; don’t you remember?”, he blinked again, “Yukari, road sign... You brought me at Reimu’s place...”
It was him, the human that comforted her. And the human that looked good in girls’ clothes, too. Oh, yes, they were the same person. “... Mokuren?”
“Ah, so you do remember”, he smiled, “I’m glad to hear that. How have you been, Wriggle? I see you got back to your previous clothes”
She blushed, suddenly remembering what happened back then, “Of course I... I- I don’t know what you’re talking about!”, she turned, “And why’d you bring that Rumia brat?”
“Moku-oneesama is my Moku-oneesama now!”, yes, thanks Rumia, now I know Wriggle thinks I’m an idiot. And a pervert.
“I’m trying to make friends. I’m doing pretty good so far”, they landed, the fresh (actually pretty cold) early spring night breeze was blowing through the plains like the first day they met, wait, does this mean she’s some kind of Gensokyo childhood friend to me? I hope not, because that would mean only one thing...
“Well... It’s good you do”, she was still blushing, looking sideways at him as if fought between rooting for him and playing tough girl, “Because... It’d be a bother if you were to sulk to me everytime. Really, I’m not here to babysit you, you know...”
TSUNDERE! he realized, pseudo-childhood friend and tsundere! I’m done for!
“Don’t worry Wriggle, I’m doing fine. Besides, it’s good to hear from you too, it’s bad not to check on friends every once in a while, he he he...” what are you doing you idiot? You’re not helping!
“Ah... Uh...”, she shook the blush away, “Well, what did you want anyways?”
“We came here to play!” said Rumia.
“... Here? To play?”, Wriggle blinked, “Why here?”
“Moku-oneesama can do barrel rolls!”, Rumia gladly proclaimed.
“This... Doesn’t answer”, Wriggle sighed.
“Well”, Mokuren felt like he had to intervene before things got to make even less sense than they were already, “It’s not important since we’re here already. So, Wriggle, what do you want to play?”
“Why would I want to play with you?”
“Because we’re friends?”, he smiled.
“Friends!”, repeated Rumia.
“Friends!”, repeated Mystia.
The breeze was blowing through the plains like the first time they met, but this time it was also carrying rolling balls of dry grass.
Everyone turned to look at the night sparrow girl, who in turn seemed delighted to have everyone’s attention. “Hi!” she even said.
“Where’d you come out from?”, asked Mokuren.
“Are you here to play too?”, asked Rumia.
“Play? Yes!”, Mystia gladly answered.
Great, so this is how the (9) team works... he realized. Wriggle must have been thinking something very similar given the way they were looking at each other, but in the end he just shrugged and played along, “So, what are we going to play?”
“Let’s eat the bug!”
“Ah ah ah... Humans don’t eat bugs. Not cute ones at least”
“Let’s do a barrel roll!”
In the end, they’ve been just killing time together for the whole night; Wriggle had a vast knowledge of the most curious (and luminous) bugs that lived in Gensokyo, Rumia was so good at talking nonsense and looking like a perfectly cute idiot that she was entertainment incarnate, and Mystia had the most wonderful and moving singing voice ever heard to human ears.
Mokuren himself didn’t knew what he did to contribute, but it looked like “being Meimu” was more than enough reason for the girls. It’s good they think I’m good company, helps me get my relationship chart more intricate.
He didn’t really have an idea of how much time was flying past, but he did have an idea of how much fun he was having, looks like youkais weren’t too bad once they weren’t thinking about eating you. Also, looking up at the night sky, so full of stars, while sprawled down in a grassy plains with three cute girls at one’s fingertips was priceless.
“It feels great out tonight”, he said.
“Uh-uh, it sure does”, Mystia inhaled deeply, releasing a contented sigh; she didn’t even bother asking who he was, she was happy enough with accepting he was either Meimu or Moku-oneesama. Go, go (9) team and stuff.
“I guess I’ll have to go back before it’s dawn thought, I have a tough day tomorrow”
“But moku-oneesama, you’ll come play again, won’t you?”
“Yes”, he smiled, “Yes, I certainly will”
He looked sideways at Wriggle, she looked sideways at him, and they just stared at each other for a while.
“... Just to make it clear”, Mokuren felt he had to say, “I’m not crossdressing because I have a choice”
Wriggle just nodded, “Uh, yeah, figured that”
He let out a sigh of relief. Then he stopped. Then he looked at her again, “... Wait, you mean you know I’m a man?”
“Uh?”, she looked confused, “Well, yes. You obviously don’t look like one, but you are”, she blinked, “... Or not?”
“Yes, yes, I am, just...”, he paused, “You have no problem with that?”
Pause. “... No”. She wasn’t sure if this was the good answer.
Another pause. Longer.
The moment later, he glomped her like she was the perfect cosplay of Mikuru, or Mikan, or Osaka, or...
“THANK YOU!”, he shouted out of pure joy, squeezing and snuggling her like there was no tomorrow, “THANK YOU! THANK YOU!”
“Whoa! Moku-oneesama is getting me a sister in law!”, Rumia smiled, “Kyuuuun! I have a bigger family now!”
“is this loli?”, was Mystia’s more straightforward question, but she was smiling sheepishly. The bastard.
Oh shit it’s true! he realized and reared back from Wriggle... Who still looked pretty shocked.
“Ah... Uh... Sorry, it’s just that...”
“... Get... Off... ME!”.
Whatever danmaku she shot, it sent him flying and landing heavily on his back. But his barrier jacket must have improved, because he could get up after that, “Ow... S-sorry”, he chuckled, mostly out of embarass, well, guess I deserved that.
“Now we have to get you married!”, Rumia’s enthusiasm was harder to kill than Yuyuko in Lunatic mode, “But wait... We need a miko to marry you, but what if Moku-oneesama is a miko? Can she marry herself?”
“I-I’m not getting married to anyone!”
“Y-yeah... Girls, you’re misunderstanding”, he had to try something out before it was too late, “We’re just... Very good friends”.
“Forbidden relationship”. The omnious tone in Mystia’s words sent the temperature way below zero, Mokuren could feel the heavy red string of doom being forecefully tied around him and Wriggle by the laws of Anime Relationships and Misunderstandings 101, “A secret love between a human and a youkai... Uh uh uh... I wonder what will happen if people learn this?”
“T-there’s no way that will happen... You’re getting it wrong I say!”, he was deep purple with shame, but in the end, I like this people, he thought, and smiled.
Far above in the night sky, while the four were talking and shouting and quarreling and having their great time, an unnoticed figure was taking note of everything. The camera was tight in her hands, but her eyes were lagging behind, shocked at the thought of what she has just witnessed; a little bit of blood was slowly trickling from her nose, dripping from her chin and to her white dress.
The morning later, Marisa and Alice were looking strange at the bed.
“... You hit her too hard, Marisa”, said Alice.
Marisa was scratching her head, “Uh... She looked fine until we went to bed, ze”, she stated, unable to tell what happened to the miko, “I guess she felt the aftereffects while sleeping?”
Mokuren was, of course, sprawled in bed, with the tired expression of one who didn’t get any rest at all in the night and was starting to just about now; after seven failed attempts at waking him, the two started realizing there was no way to get him back on his feet.
“Well, it can’t be helped. Ruukoto?”
“Yes, what can I do?”
“Please look after your mistress, ze”
“Yes, I will stay by her side until she wakes up”
“Thanks, ze!”, she grinned and put her hat on, “So, Alice, what do you want for breakfast?”
“Ah... Uh... Anything’s fine”
“Come on, ze!” and she patted her on the back, with energy and youthful enthusiasm, “I know what you like so why not blurt it out already?”
And their voices slowly faded as they went downstairs. But Mokuren couldn’t hear them, he was in his dreams, taking a break from all the adventures he has had in the meantime.
Return to Mokuren