- Return to Fiction by Valesta
With a little help from Yukari and her transportation-be-damned boundary manipulation, we all met up on top of a skyscraper. The architecture of the busy city below, filled with cars and people on foot, indicates that we are still in Japan, but whether this is the same city we were in or not, I don’t know, nor is it relevant. Next to our building, there is a slightly taller skyscraper blocking the sun. By ‘we all,’ I’m referring to Alice, Reimu, who is standing by my side, Sakuya, Youmu, Yukari, Reisen, Eirin, Cirno, and yours truly.
“Well, we’re all here,” I say, “So what’s next, Yukari? You said you needed both me and Reimu here to open that boundary where Kaguya and Mokou are?”
“Yes,” answers Yukari, “I do require the presence of both of you…” Reisen walks around, circling around to the backs of Reimu and me “… however, one more condition is needed.”
“What is it?” asks Reimu.
“For this to work, both of you need to be more in tune with the dream world. In other words, I need both of you to be asleep.”
“Then why the hell are we here?” I ask, “It’s hot and humid out, and the surface is rough and hard. You can’t expect us to fall asleep with these conditions!”
“There are certain other ways of inducing sleep in individuals,” informs Eirin.
“Like a tranquilizer gun?” asks Cirno.
“There is that,” answers Eirin, “but there is also… … DO IT, REISEN!”
“Ack!” Suddenly, something connects with Reimu’s neck. She staggers for a few seconds, and then collapses.
Just as I try to comprehend what just happened, I feel an impact against the side of my neck as well, “Ugh…” I don’t know what the hell just happened, but soon after, I begin to black o_
Reimu and Marisa fall to the ground, unconscious.
Eirin asks, “Is that satisfactory, Yukari?”
Yukari nods in agreement, “Very.”
“What did you just do?” yells Youmu.
Reisen answers, “Some martial arts technique I learned at the Imperial Lunarian Military Academy. Probably one of the few things I had paid attention to…”
“…” Youmu stares at Reisen. During the moon incident, Youmu had caught wind that Reisen knew something about Youmu’s long-lost father. However, Reisen had since evaded telling Youmu the truth and she had been waiting for the right moment to force the truth out of her.
Cirno looks at the unconscious Reimu and Marisa, “Will they be okay?”
“Yes, will they?” asks Sakuya.
Reisen shrugs, “They should.”
Yukari claps her hands together, “Well, now that that has been taken care of, it’s time to open the boundary.” Yukari extends her arm in the direction where Reimu and Marisa are laying, and between them, a blue portal opens, “There. That should lead to a place where Reimu and Marisa’s consciousnesses are merged. Kaguya and Mokou should be just beyond that gap.”
“All we have to do is get them out?” asks Cirno.
“Yes. That is all. No special tricks here. Just find them beyond that gap, then bring them back with you.”
“In that case,” says Eirin, “Shall just Reisen and I go? Kaguya is our princess after all, so I feel it is only proper for her servants to save her.”
Reisen adds, “And Mokou… well, our relationship isn’t what I’d call… you know, friendly, but she is close to us too.”
“Go ahead,” says Alice, giving a ‘shoo, shoo’ gesture, “I, for one, have no objections. You just have to get them out, after all.” Everyone else decides to honor Eirin’s request.
“Thank you,” says Eirin, “Let us go, Reisen.”
“Okay,” responds Reisen.
Eirin and Reisen walk into the portal.
On the other end, they find themselves in a room, the size of a gymnasium, dimly lit by a light blue source of light above. Reisen looks up to see a sphere emitting the light. Inside it, there is a moon rabbit, like Reisen, with short red hair, wearing a black business suit, spectacles, and is almost six feet in height. Her eyes are closed and she appears to be in a state of suspended animation, “A moon rabbit like me, short red hair… Eirin-sama! Could she be this ‘Yumei’ we’ve been hearing about?”
Eirin also observes Yumei, “She really is a moon rabbit, but why would a Lunarian…? Never mind. We’ll have our answers soon enough.”
“Do you think she’s trustworthy?” asks Reisen.
“I don’t know, but we were informed that she’s a prisoner while the princess and Mokou are here. Regardless of whether we can trust her or not, we still must rescue Kaguya. Whether she’s friend or foe is irrelevant.”
“Got it.” Reisen looks ahead. On the other end of the room, there are two figures barely illuminated by the light from Yumei’s sphere. Eirin and Reisen immediately recognize them.
“…” Kaguya says something, however, something is strange. Her lips are moving, but there is nothing but dead silence.
“…” Mokou tries to say something also, but she too doesn’t produce a voice.
“I’m sorry, Princess Kaguya, but I can’t hear you,” says Eirin.
“…” Kaguya continues to speak with a serious expression on her face, but Eirin and Reisen still can’t hear anything.
“Weird,” says Reisen, “I can’t hear anything either.”
“I wonder if they can hear us,” wonders Eirin.
“I’ll check…” Reisen looks at Mokou, “Um… Hey, Mokou! You suck, you bitch!”
“…” Mokou says something with an irritated expression and flips Reisen the bird.
“… I think she heard me.”
“Interesting method,” says Eirin, “but it seems our question is answered. For some reason, they can hear us, but we can’t hear them.”
“I don’t get why this is happening,” says Reisen, “but we can at least communicate with them one-way.”
“That should be good enough,” Eirin turns her attention to Kaguya, “Princess, we’ve come to get you and Mokou out of Reimu’s subconscious. Please come with us.”
“…” Kaguya shakes her head, and then speaks to no avail, “…”
“…” Mokou adds some mute words, with an unusually melancholy expression.
“What? They don’t want to escape with us?”
Eirin tries to read Kaguya’s lips to the best of her ability, “’I’m… sorry… Ei… rin… We… must… re… main… here…’”
“They want to stay,” says Reisen, “What will we do, Eirin-sama?”
Eirin pauses for several seconds, and then says, “Regardless of Princess Kaguya’s will, I am NOT going to let her remain in Reimu’s mind for eternity!” Eirin walks over to Kaguya and forcibly grabs her arm, “Forgive me, Princess, but I can not let you stay here, even if it is on your orders! I care too much about you to_”
A blade of rainbow energy extends from around Kaguya’s hand, which she swings at Eirin, who lets go of Kaguya and jumps away, receiving a moderately deep wound on her flank, “Ugh!”
“Eirin-sama!” Reisen looks at Kaguya, then Mokou, “Damn it! They REALLY want to stay!”
A bow materializes in Eirin’s right hand, “This changes nothing! I absolutely will NOT let Kaguya spend an eternity in this place! I will drag her out, even as a corpse! Get ready for battle, Reisen!”
“I see…” Reisen pulls her handgun from its holster, “I’m sorry, Princess… Mokou…” She turns her weapon’s safety off.
Eirin pulls back the cord of her bow, and an arrow materializes, ready to be fired, “Reisen, I will handle the Princess. Can you take care of Mokou?”
Reisen looks at Mokou’s whose body ignites, “I… I’ll try…”
“You don’t try. You just do it.”
“…” Kaguya, with a sad expression, points her sword at Eirin.
Eirin says, “I don’t know what drives you to battle your own friend, but with all due respect, Princess, you don’t stand a chance of defeating me. Still, if you are so determined, you are perfectly welcome to try.”
“…” Kaguya extends her other arm at Eirin and fires a dazzling beam of light.
“En garde, then!” Eirin jumps over the beam and, as the boundary has the magic that allows flight, hovers in midair and fires an arrow down at Kaguya, who steps back to avoid the attack, then jumps up after Eirin, attacking with her sword. The Lunarian doctor blocks with her bow, then quickly counterattacks, smacking the princess across the face, stunning her. “Forgive me,” Eirin then kicks Kaguya to the floor and declares a spellcard, “Esoterica!” Around Kaguya, who is hunched over on the ground, several magic circles surround her in a dome-like formation. Eirin pulls back the cord on her bow, but an arrow doesn’t appear, “I have no desire to prolong this fight with you, Princess, so I will put a swift conclusion to this bout. Astronomical Entombing!” She releases the cord, and arrows emerge from the circles, poised to bombard Kaguya from all directions. Just as they hit, though, they all bounce off of the area around Kaguya, revealing a shining shield around her. Magic circles form on the barrier and fire off volleys of lasers, which Eirin attempts to dodge, but they become so constant, one finally hits and she is knocked to the ground. Eirin observes to herself, “A spellcard… I couldn’t hear her declare it… If I can’t tell what spell is coming, I can’t tell the nature of her technique… That is an unexpectedly effective handicap for her…”
At the same time, elsewhere in the room, Reisen battles Mokou.
Reisen dashes toward Mokou, her gun extended toward the immortal, and fires two shots, which Mokou dodges by rolling to the side, followed by slamming her open palm against the ground, sending a running blaze of fire raging across the floor in the moon rabbit’s direction. Reisen jumps over the attack and takes to the air, firing her gun again, which Mokou barely dodges by jumping up after her, the bullet grazing her pant leg, but not hitting any flesh. Reisen fires again, but Mokou swings her ignited left hand in front of her, deflecting the bullet, which ricochets off one of the chamber’s walls, and then delivers a flaming punch with her right arm, which sends Reisen flying back against the wall.
“Damn…” Reisen recovers, points her weapon at Mokou again, and unloads the entire ammo clip. Mokou spreads her arms and a pillar of fire rises around her, emitting heat so intense, the bullets completely melt and vaporize before hitting the immortal. Mokou then dashes toward Reisen with intense speed, leaving a trail of fire in her wake, and wearing a grin, which says, just as well as words, ‘Who sucks now, bitch?’
With Mokou approaching too fast for Reisen to reload, she draws a spellcard instead, declaring, “Force Sign: Menacing Threshold!” Several small missiles, made up of psycho energy, form around Reisen and home in on Mokou, who stops dashing as the missiles appear, but the inertia to too much for her to dodge in time.
“…!” The missiles slam into Mokou and burst, sending the immortal sailing through the air, but partway, she recovers and tosses a small fireball at Reisen, as she is about to reload.
“Tch!” Reisen dodges it, but Mokou presses her assault and sends more fireballs in Reisen’s direction. Reisen ejects her empty ammo clip, then returns the gun to its holster, “It takes more energy, but I’ll have to do this the other way!” Reisen positions the fingers on both of her hands in the shape of guns, then fires several psycho-bullets to intercept the fireballs.
They tear through Mokou’s attack, leaving clouds of smoke left over, which clears quickly enough for the moon rabbit to see Mokou declaring a spellcard with her mute voice, “...” A bird-like aura of fire surrounds Mokou as she moves on to the actual casting of her spell, “…” Mokou stretches her arm out toward Reisen and blue flames gather into her palm. Reisen had seen this technique several times when watching Mokou duel Kaguya, remembering its name as ‘Honest Man’s Death.’ Mokou fires a blue laser of concentrated fire at Reisen, who moves into a continuous sidestep, as the laser follows her.
Reisen, attempting a countermeasure, looks straight at Mokou and their eyes momentarily meet, at which point, Reisen’s eyes glow red and, in Mokou’s vision, several Reisens appear. Reisen backflips over the laser and takes to the air, attempting to blend in with the illusory Reisens. Her plan works as Mokou becomes confused and moves her laser haphazardly through the false Reisens, failing to hit the real one before she loses the energy to continue her spell. At that point, Reisen draws a spellcard. However, as she is the only one out of her copies doing that, Mokou immediately realizes she’s the real one, but it’s of no consequence on the moon rabbit’s part, “Phantasmal Rabbit!” Reisen’s copies all glow with red psycho energy, extend their arms and fingers toward Mokou, and fire off salvos of psycho-bullets, which Mokou tries to dodge, but it is not long before she get bombarded. Even though they are copies, the spell allows them to use very real attacks.
“…” Mokou uses her flame pillar defense again, though in this case, they minimize the effect of Reisen’s technique instead of completely defending against it. Although Reisen’s handgun is a deadlier weapon, her psycho energy is more effective at breaking through magical defenses. After a few seconds, Reisen’s attack ends, though the copies are still present, and Mokou’s pillar disappears, both the moon rabbit and immortal breathing faster than before from loss of stamina. However, Mokou is the first one to assert herself enough to use a spellcard, “…” Her phoenix aura appears again, which then flaps it wings, releasing a swarm of flames.
“Damn…” mutters Reisen, “I can’t dodge that!” The flames engulf all the Reisens, including the real one, who loses focus over her technique, causing the images to vanish.
Meanwhile, Eirin and Kaguya’s battle continues. Though the princess managed to put up a better fight than Eirin predicted, the doctor still gained the upper hand. Eirin looks out of the corner of her eye at Reisen’s predicament, I hope Reisen can handle this. Maybe I let my personal feelings interfere with my better judgment. Still… I may have to intervene if it gets to that point…
As Reisen is knocked to the ground, brushing off embers, Mokou’s hands ignite and she advances on Reisen. Reisen looks into Mokou’s eyes, intending to use her copying technique again, but, wising up, Mokou covers her eyes with her left arm and extends her right toward Reisen’s face, releasing a blast of smoke, which stings the moon rabbit’s eyes, causing her to squeeze her eyelids shut in reflex. After a second, she squints her eyes open and sees Mokou releasing flames in her hand, which form into the shape of a sword. Mokou charges at Reisen who manages to get to her feet in time and dodge Mokou’s first slash, which leaves a trail of fire in its wake, and barely avoid all subsequent attacks, not given enough time to deliver a counterattack.
Between dodging attacks, Reisen yells out to Eirin, “Um… Eirin-sama… I know you’re… having fun on your end… but the only mortal here… IS IN TROUBLE! Help!”
As Reisen calls out, Eirin, who has an arrow ready and aimed at Kaguya, turns and fires it at Mokou instead. However, the immortal is prepared to defend against Eirin’s attack. However, with Mokou distracted, Reisen release a small burst of psycho energy, which stuns Mokou long enough for the arrow to pierce her through the gut and knocking her to the ground.
However, as Eirin was distracted, Kaguya charged in and ran Eirin through with her sword, “Ugh!”
“I’m… not through, Princess…” Eirin wraps her right arm around Kaguya, so she won’t get away, and she drops her bow so an arrow materializes in her left hand, which she rams through Kaguya’s throat.
“…” Kaguya’s eyes widen in pain as she dies.
“The rest… is up to you, Reisen…” With that, Eirin falls dead as well.
As Mokou is on the ground, writhing in pain, Reisen takes her handgun out of her holster again and a new ammo clip materializes in her hand, which she inserts into her weapon.
“…” Mokou tries to get up, but Reisen forces her down with her foot.
“It’s over! Time to get out of here, Mokou!” With those words, Reisen fires a few shots down into Mokou’s head.
A soothing noise fills the room after the gunshots. Reisen looks up and sees Yumei disappear from inside the sphere, “Yumei? Whatever. First I should worry about everyone else…” She looks at Kaguya’s body, and then Mokou’s, “It’s time…” She kneels down, pulls Mokou’s body onto her back, draging her toward where Kaguya and Eirin’s bodies are, blood dripping from Mokou’s head into Reisen’s hair. The moon rabbit rolls her eyes, “How bloody annoying,” rolling her eyes again at her bad attempt at humor. Having seen all three of them die and resurrect enough times, she know they will be okay. She grabs Eirin and Kaguya around their waists, and drags all three of them toward the portal, straining from everyone’s combined weight. Finally, she makes it out of the combined boundary of Reimu and Marisa’s subconscious.
I saw everything. As if I were a spirit or a deity, I watched the battle between Eirin and Reisen and Kaguya and Mokou. After Reisen dragged everyone into the portal, though, everything became black again. I really should be pissed off at Yukari, Eirin, and Reisen for pulling that cheap-ass stunt on Reimu and me, but they got everyone out of our heads, so I can’t complain. Besides, I have that embarrassing ‘bloody annoying’ line under my belt to use against Reisen, as I’m sure she thought she was alone when she said it. I guess all that’s left is to wake up.
No sooner do I think that, though, when Yumei appears before me again, “Hello Marisa! Did you enjoy the show? I know I did!”
“The only one that needed to survive survived, so I guess I can’t whine much. But more importantly, why are you still here, Yumei? Kaguya and Mokou are out now.”
Yumei says sarcastically, “What? You mean you don’t want to have one last private conversation with your good buddy, Yumei? Besides, I can leave whenever I want.”
“’Buddy.’ Riiiiight. You know, Yumei, before I was reunited with Reimu, I thought you were annoying, but okay, but now that I remember, I think you’re pretty damn shady. Can we trust you with reviving Gensokyo?”
Yumei laughs, “Hahahaha! I’m sure I’m shady and mysterious to a lot of you, and I know that Sakuya doesn’t like me, at least. You can think of me however you want, but I certainly will help with reviving Gensokyo when you and Reimu are awake. On that, you have my word.”
“Talk is cheap, you know.”
“Fine, how about we pinky swear on it? If I’m lying, I will eat a thousand needles, okay?” Yumei extends her pinky finger toward me.
I roll my eyes and walk toward Yumei, “If you are willing to go this far to prove that you are not lying, Yumei, I guess I’ll try to believe you. It’s not like we have another hope anyway.” Our pinkies interlock.
Yumei begins to vanish, “I will keep my promise, okay? Well then, I will see you on the other side. Sleep well until then, Marisa.”
Elsewhere, 238,403 miles away from Earth and across boundaries, there exists an advanced civilization that covers the entire surface of the moon. This civilization is known, and feared, by many of Earth’s different boundaries, as the Lunarian Empire, a superpower at constant war with one of Earth’s particular realms, and conquering other realms to increase its power, as on each full moon, Lunarian facilities can shift over boundaries. Gensokyo had been one of the Lunarians’ targets, though they couldn’t get an invasion underway before Reimu and Marisa’s awakening.
Tsuki no Miyako, capital of the Lunarian Empire…
While the moon is covered with various high-tech facilities, in the capital, one building stands out. It is bigger and taller than any other structure on the moon, but its design is even more unique, as it is ancient by comparison. It is made of wood, and there are no mechanical devices within it. It is an ancient Japanese-style castle, the home of Empress Lunariya Houraisan, the Lunarian Empire’s absolute ruler, and Kaguya’s mother.
Inside the castle, in one of the rooms, where the walls are covered with wallscrolls displaying martial arts fundamentals, two figures kneel on cushions in meditation.
One of the figures is a man, appearing to be in his early forties, though he is really much older. He has long silver hair braided at the end and a two-month-old moustache, wearing a green cloak over a white robe, and has two long swords sheathed at both of his hips. Nearby, a ghostly wisp floats near him.
The other figure is a girl, 20 years old in appearance, though once again, looks deceive, with long purple hair tied into a ponytail extending down to the backs of her knees. She wears a white shirt under a red vest, and baggy white pants with red flame-like designs at the edges of the legs, and has a katana sheathed at her right hip.
A door to the room slides open. The man opens his blue eyes slightly, and then says calmly, “Defend yourself, Meira.”
A figure enters the room and tosses a knife-like envelope opener at the girl, Meira, whose dark eyes burst open as she draws her sword and blocks the projectile with her weapon, then returns it to her sheathe.
The man stands up, “Wonderful work, Meira! I’ve taught you well!”
Meira also rises to her feet, saying, “Thank you, Master.”
The figure that tossed the knife comes into view, a girl with yellow eyes and short blonde hair, wearing a pink and blue maid outfit, “Um… Did I do okay, Master?”
“You did perfectly, Mugetu!” says the man with a cheery smile, “Do that every time you come to clean this room and we are present!”
“I… I’ll try…”
“Well, that concludes today’s training,” announces the man to Meira, “Do you want to come with me for a student and master drink?”
“I don’t drink,” states Meira flatly.
The man smiles awkwardly, “Oh, yes of course. I must be getting on in my years, even with all those mass-produced hourai elixirs.” He turns to the maid, “How about you, Mugetu? If you want, later I can buy dinner for just the two_”
“Stop flirting, Master. It’s embarrassing,” states Meira again.
The man shrugs, “Can’t blame a man for trying…”
“…” Mugetu stands in place, blushing and speechless.
The man says to the maid, “You can skip this room if you want. It’s not like Meira and I make a big mess of things, so you don’t have to clean it everyday.”
“Um… I understand. Thank you, Master.” With a bow, Mugetu leaves the room.
Despite the man’s unusual and carefree attitude, he is rumored by some in the empire to be even more powerful than the empress, though no one openly states it. Meira respects him greatly, though she occasionally gets humiliated by his tendencies.
The man says, “You’re a good student, Meira.”
“I am honored, Master” responds Meira with a bow.
The man explains, “I’ve only had two students. You are truly skilled and talented, though you have not yet surpassed my previous student.”
Meira’s face momentarily turns to that of dismay, but she quickly regains her composure, “How exactly am I inferior, Master?”
The man asks, “Meira, who do you dedicate your skills to?”
Meira unsheathes her sword and holds it in front of her, declaring, “Master! I swear by my sword that on my honor, I will serve Empress Lunariya, the immortal empress, and her great Lunarian Empire with the skills you have entrusted to me. I shall fight on their behalf to my final breath, risking great loss and torment. Of this, I vow.”
The man smiles, “Well spoken, Meira. That is the vow of a true warrior. You should be proud of such a quality.”
“I am honored, Master.”
The man turns to leave the room, “However, it is for that very reason that you will not surpass my former student.” With that, he leaves the room.
“…” Meira stands, frozen and dumbfounded.
Later, in a residential complex, not far from the castle, a girl with brown eyes and brown hair, tied into two braids, wearing a white dress, sits at a computer, rapidly typing in some notes for an assignment.
There is a sudden knock on the door. “Come in!” yells the girl.
Meira enters the room, “Hello, Rika.”
Rika responds, her eyes focused on her monitor, “Hi, Meira.”
“How are you doing?”
“We-well, I’m just about to finish my notes about Evil Eye Sigma’s specs. I-I haven’t been given any new scientific breakthrough notifications from Professor Yumemi, though, so once this is done, I’m… I’m looking at boredom…”
“Then perhaps I can provide you with something you may find… entertaining.”
“Wh-what would that be, Meira?”
“I understand that you are an accomplished hacker.”
“Wh-why yes, but why are you interested in that?”
“Everyone who joins the empire without being born into it is given a thorough background check. Rika, I want you to hack into the Lunarian Empire Database and get me whatever background information you can on Master.”
“You… you mean Master Konpaku?”
“Wh-wh-why do y-you want me to do th-that, Meira?”
“Calm down. You stutter too much.”
Rika takes a deep breath, “You’ve always obeyed the law down to the letter. This isn’t like you at all.”
“There is something I must know.”
“Even so, Meira, I could get caught! The punishment for unlawful entry into private information is death for mortals and 500 years of imprisonment for immortals!”
Meira sighs, “If you are afraid of getting caught, then use my access code. It’s JI0I7D3R44UVCR. Good luck.”
“But what if I get caught?”
“Then don’t. If you do, I’ll save you a place in Hell, where we can have a long talk about your hacking abilities.”
“I have absolute confidence in your skills. My life is in your hands.”
Meira walks out of the room, thinking, This is out of line for me, but I must prove myself to Master. On my honor, I will prove that I am superior to his old student by defeating him in combat!
- Return to Fiction by Valesta