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- Return to Fiction by Valesta
“Teehehe!” Reimu extends her arm and fires several blasts of white energy at us, which we dodge.
“Reimu!” I yell, “I know who you are… what Gensokyo is!”
Reimu’s eyes narrow, “Oh?”
“You’re a mental product of a girl named Reimu Kiribayashi! She was knocked into a coma and dreamt of Gensokyo. So was, I, making this place into an actual realm!”
Reimu claps her hands slowly, “Very good, Marisa... My ‘co-creator.’ You’ve done your homework, I see. Yes, I am the persona of Reimu Kiribayashi, age 17, from Japan, only daughter of an ordinary working-class family, and student at Yumakura High School, senior class. Soon, all those things shall be mine once again. Soon this lie that I’ve been living will be erased forever.” Reimu glances at Yukari, “I take it you revealed that to them, Yukari. You certainly are an unusual figment. One in an infinite, I’d say. I’m amazed I created you.”
“Lie?” yells Sakuya, “Is that truly what you think of all you’ve gone through here? What do you think of me?”
Reimu answers, “A foreign element.” She glances at Kaguya and Mokou, “You two as well. You never should have come and lived here. Everything you’ve loved about this place was nothing more than a result of an active imagination. You shall be condemned for performing such unnatural acts.”
“Even if I am,” yells Sakuya, “I won’t just write off everything about this place I love off as an untruth! Even if Remilia-sama and the others were figments of Kiribayashi’s imagination, they were precious to me! What I felt with them… what I experienced! It was real! The feeling I had could not be faked! And you, Reimu! For you… I’ve felt no different… no… you were special to me in a different way… Reimu Hakurei was a kind person who didn’t take herself too seriously, wanted to live life her own way, easygoing, yet genuinely caring for her friends, was compassionate enough to understand what others were going through, and was powerful, yet endlessly forgiving, even becoming friends with those that were her mortal enemies! Before I met her, I was considered to be Remilia’s mindless follower, and before that, a cold-blooded hunter, but she were the first to acknowledge me as a real person! She was also the only other person I’ve felt so strongly about, other than Remilia-sama…” Sakuya looks intensely at Reimu, blushing slightly, “I… I really like you, Reimu! You may act different now, but behind all of that, I know there is the one…”
Reimu stares at Sakuya for a few seconds. Even though Sakuya was always obedient to Remilia, Reimu was the one subject where the two of them had differences regarding. Remilia had an adorable crush on Reimu since we defeated her when she unleashed the mist. Apparently, Sakuya, in spite of knowing how her mistress felt, also developed feeling for Reimu herself, causing the normally inseparable pair to clash on occasions.
A smirk crosses Reimu’s lips, “How moving, Sakuya. You’ve clearly poured out your heart and feelings. However, that doesn’t change the fact that… Reimu Hakurei was never a real person. Your feelings are directed toward nothing more than an illusion. Something inexistent. Still, those were rather entertaining sentiments. Teehehe!”
“Ugh!” Tears pour out of Sakuya’s eyes as she grips her chest tightly. I glare at Reimu. Even if what she said was true, she had gone too far and Sakuya’s affections were truly pure. How could she look down on us to such a degree? I can’t believe she was once the kind girl Sakuya described.
Apparently, my disbelief was not just my own. Mokou yells, “Damn you, Reimu! How could you say that? Do you even understand what you are doing?”
Reimu smiles, “Of course. I’m having fun with a part of my dream world. Even if she is not of my world, she became a part of it and I can do what I want with my ‘toys.’ That includes you too, Mokou.”
“ARGH!” In her rage, Mokou sends a wave of fire at Reimu, who forms an invisible shield around her protecting her. Mokou’s fist ignites and she flies toward Reimu, preparing to throw a punch, “Go to hell!”
“Hmph.” Reimu warps a foot to the side, dodging Mokou’s attack, then grabs the immortal’s arm.
Reimu smiles, “My toy. So easy to break…” Energy flows through Reimu’s arm into Mokou’s.
“AAARRRGGGHHHHHH!” Mokou howls in agony as the energy flows through her right arm. Reimu lets go and warps a few feet away. In that instant, Mokou’s arm explodes in a gruesome explosion of flesh, bone, and blood. “UUUGGHH…” Mokou clutches the place where her right arm used to be with her left hand.
“Mokou!” yells Kaguya.
I float in place, completely appalled. Sakuya, in her own despair, didn’t even notice. Alice covers her mouth, retching in disgust. Yukari’s eyes narrow at Reimu.
Reimu floats in place with a guiltless smile, “That will show you your place.” An invisible force pushes Mokou back.
“D-damn…” whimpers Mokou.
I float over to Yukari, whispering, “Yukari, take Alice and Mokou and go ahead to Hakugyokurou. The rest of us will keep Reimu distracted so she can’t control the boundary at the same time.”
“What about you?” asks Alice.
I answer, “We’ll go the long way. With luck, maybe we can get Reimu to revive Gensokyo. We may have a chance.”
“Okay,” says Yukari.
I tell Mokou, “Mokou, you’re hurt! Go with Yukari. The rest of us can handle this!”
Mokou responds, “No way, Marisa! I’m still fighting! I can deal with it. I’ve lost my arm before and I’ve still beaten Kaguya.”
“That’s a lie,” says Kaguya with a pout.
“Well I’m sure I came close…” responds the exposed Mokou.
I yell to Reimu, “Reimu! We’ll do whatever it takes to save Gensokyo, even if it means forcing you from leaving!”
Reimu spreads her arms, “Try it! Know that I am Gensokyo and Gensokyo is me! If you cross me, you cross every force Gensokyo has to offer!” Reimu draws a spell card, declaring, “Remilia Sign!” An aura shaped like Remilia Scarlet’s silhouette surrounds Reimu.
Sakuya snaps out of her trance, “What? Remilia-sama?” The rest of us are surprised as well.
Reimu, appearing to be amused by our reactions, smirks and draws a second spell card, “Scarlet Sign: Scarlet Shoot!” Reimu extends her right arm and fires a volley of blood-red orbs at us. We barely dodge. I counterattack by firing a large blast of green magic, but Reimu fires one last orb, intercepting my attack. During that time, Yukari closes her portal, escaping with Alice.
Sakuya looks at Reimu, wide-eyed, “What was that, Reimu? That was one of Remilia-sama’s techniques!”
Reimu says, like she’s proud of herself, “I told you, didn’t I? I have every force Gensokyo has to offer! Everyone, who had vanished, returning to my mind, have powers that I now wield! I would have loved to have added Yukari and Alice to that repertoire, but oh well, I have more than enough to render all of you powerless against the might I wield.”
Mokou draws a spell card, yelling, “Screw you! I can handle anything you can deal!”
Reimu says calmly, “If that’s so, Mokou, then why did you foolishly attack me, losing your arm in the process?”
Mokou stammers, “Sh-shut up! You won’t catch me off guard again! Immortal!” A fiery aura, in the shape of a bird forms around Mokou, “Fire Bird -Flying Phoenix-!” Several flames, in the shape of birds, materialize around Mokou and fly toward Reimu, who pulls two spell cards from her pocket.
“Nitori Sign!” the shape of Reimu’s Remilia-aura shifts into that of Nitori Kawashiro, a kappa engineer responsible for building a massive shrine into Youkai Mountain, who can control water. “Water Sign: Hydro Camouflage!” Using one of Nitori’s techniques, several magic circles appear around Reimu and each fires out a sizable jet of water, extinguishing Mokou’s firebirds. At the same time, Reimu blends in with her surroundings.
“Dammit!” growls Mokou.
Kaguya provides support for her rival and prepares a spell card of her own, “New Impossible Request: Shining Trapezohedron!” Several blades of light appear in front of the princess and fly all around, searching for the hidden Reimu. Finally, one hits Reimu’s shield, revealing her location. “There!” The other blades change course and home in on where the first blade hit.
At the same time, Sakuya and I back up Kaguya’s attack.
“Love Sign: Master Spark!” I fire my massive magical laser at Reimu’s location.
“Illusion Sign: Killing Doll!” Several knives materialize around Sakuya and fly toward Reimu’s location in a concentrated formation.
Our attacks hit, blocked by Reimu’s shield, which soon shatters, revealing her form at the same time. Her aura vanishes and she rears back, stunned.
Mokou grins, “Got you now, bitch!” Her entire body ignites (probably to make sure there are no accidents this time) and she flies straight at Reimu, delivering a flaming left-handed punch to the side of her face.
However, Reimu’s reaction to the attack was minimal and as Mokou’s fist presses against her face, her eyes turn toward her attacker, indicating no signs of pain. After a few seconds, she laughs, “Teehehehe! You’re so weak, Mokou… all of you! You’re fighting Gensokyo itself!” Reimu’s body pulses with energy and sends Mokou flying back again. She prepares another two spell cards, “Suwako Sign!” Reimu’s aura appears again, this time in the form of Suwako Moriya, a goddess from the other side of Gensokyo, who was sealed until recently. “Divine Tool: Moreya's Iron Ring!” Disks of red energy materialize in Reimu’s hands and she tosses them at us.
Kaguya draws another spell card, “Divine Treasure!” Five small objects materialize around the princess as she flies in front of us, each glowing with silver energy: A stone bowl, a jeweled branch, a red cloak, a rainbow-colored shell, and a necklace of many valuable stones, “Buddhist Diamond!” A massive clear shield forms in front of Kaguya, which the disks harmlessly bounce off of. Magic circles appear on the shield and fire lasers at Reimu, who dodges to the side, drawing two more spell cards.
“Meiling Sign!” The Suwako-aura takes Meiling’s shape, “Colorful Flower: Rainbow Taijiquan!” Colorful chi gathers in Reimu’s hands and legs as she flies around Kaguya’s counterattack, with enhanced speed, preventing the rest of us from backing Kaguya up, and toward the shield. She delivers a series of powerful punches, then kicks, creating large cracks in the shield, and finally finishes her combo with a final punch, breaking through the shield and sinking into Kaguya’s gut.
“ACK!” Kaguya coughs out blood, as she slowly backs away from Reimu.
“Princess!” yells Mokou.
Sakuya says, “Forgive me,” then tosses several knives, but Reimu, still under the effects of Meiling’s spell card, skillfully deflects each knife.
Reimu draws another spell card, “Colorful Sign: Colorful Rain!” Reimu fires a blast of chi upward, which bursts above us can comes raining down as small blades. While we try our best to dodge, a few still manage to hit all of us, leaving us somewhat weakened as a result.
Sakuya admits, “She’s too powerful! She’s not the same Reimu at all…”
“Yeah,” agrees Mokou, “She’s nothing like the one we’ve come to know, personality OR ability…”
Kaguya says, “We are completely within Reimu’s clutches while we are here. Reimu has complete control over this realm! THIS is the power of an awakening dreamer within her mind?”
Reimu draws two more spell cards, “Keine Sign!” Reimu’s Meiling-aura shifts into that of Keine, a school teacher who lived in a human-populated village, who transformed into a monster on full moons. A friend of Mokou’s. “Shroud Sign: Rain in Showa!” Reimu follows through on her aerial attack and several magic circles appear high above and many laser pour down.
I draw a spell card, intending to counter Reimu’s attack, “Light Blast!” Several magic circles appear around and below me, “Shoot the Moon!” The magic circles fires lasers upward as an attack that is similar to Reimu’s technique, but goes up instead of down. The lasers clash with one another, canceling each other out. Only a few of Reimu’s lasers pass through, but we dodge them with ease.
Sakuya follows up with a spell card, “Silver Sign!” Several knives materialize around the maid, aimed at Reimu, “Perfect Maid!” The knives fly toward Reimu, who teleports through the swarm.
Mokou readies a spell card of her own as Sakuya’s attack was in progress, “Exalted Personage!” Mokou’s bird-like aura appears, “Advice of St. Germain!” Several wisps of fire fly from Mokou’s hand and home in on Reimu, who takes evasive action. However, Mokou’s flames are too numerous and Reimu gets hit and stunned by one, then bombarded by the rest. “Gotcha!”
Kaguya fires several blasts of silver energy at Reimu as she’s stunned by Mokou’s attack.
The smoke clears, however, only Reimu’s clothes show signs of harm. Her expression and posture show no signs of wear. She laughs, “Teehehehe! It’s no good. I have all the energy of Gensokyo in and around me! My wounds only take mere seconds to heal from those tenth-rate spells…” She’s right. Whatever damage we had inflicted on her had shortly disappeared. Hell, even as she’s talking, her clothes start to mend themselves “… and my stamina is unlimited! I can use all the spell cards I please, but not get tired. As for the rest of you…” Reimu notices how worn out the rest of us have become. Between the battle, getting damaged, and using spell card, we’ve started to become pretty weary. Is Reimu really invincible?
“Damn it…” whispers Mokou under her breath, “No matter what we do, we’re completely outclassed…”
“Within one’s own mind…” observes Kaguya, “It’s like confronting a god…”
Sakuya says, “We have to get OUR Reimu back somehow! Is this solving anything?”
I point out, “Well, if we knock her out, Gensokyo’s crumbling may stop. Or we could weaken her somehow. She’s too caught up with her awakening to listen to us…”
Kaguya asks, “But how do we weaken her? We’ve used so many of our best techniques… and…” Kaguya seemed to realize something. “Hold on, we have one last shot: Our most powerful techniques, surpassing everything else we’re capable of. It’s a long shot, but it’s worth a try.” Kaguya nods at Mokou and Mokou nods back, both with solemn expressions on their faces. They both pull spell cards out of their pocket. I have a guess on what they’re planning.
Reimu says, arrogantly, “So what futile attempt should I expect this time? Have you not realized that it’s worthless the way I am right now? After all, you’re only my toys while you’re here!”
Kaguya retorts, “Well each ‘toy’ is known to have a share of hazards to children, Reimu!”
Reimu raises an eyebrow, “Hm?”
Kaguya and Mokou both raises their spell cards at the same time, declaring, “Last Word!” Last Words are the coup de grace of spell cards, vastly surpassing all other spells and techniques a person can cast or execute. The difference is noticeable right away as the casters’ appearances change slightly after the initial declaration. Two flaming wings emerge from Mokou’s back, spanning several feet. Kaguya glows with brilliant golden light. When the light disappears, her clothes change to a white gown with blue and silver highlights, long sleeves, and complete with a silver tiara, making Kaguya look more like a princess than she normally does. Last Word was originally a mystery, but after its discovery, many of us sought to master these spells in order to counter the invasion of the Lunarians, who didn’t know of such powers. While these spells represent the ultimate power of their respective wielders, there is a major trade-off: the caster dies. It makes little difference to people like Kaguya, Mokou, and Eirin, who are immortal and only come back to life an hour after using their Last Words, but everyone else needs to drink a potion, created by Eirin, prior to casting the spell, which barely preserves the person’s life, leaving them temporarily unconscious afterward. Considering Last Words operate on a person’s life force, rather than their physical energy, like with all other spell cards, they are strictly a last resort.
Mokou declares, “Phoenix Rebirth!” Intense flames envelop Mokou, taking the shape of a large firebird with long blue feathers extending from its head and glowing white eyes, potentially becoming like a phoenix..
Kaguya declares her spell too, “Rainbow Facet!” A bright stone materializes in Kaguya’s hand her body radiates rainbow-colored energy.
Mokou, as a phoenix flies toward Reimu as Kaguya hold her hand out and sends fires a salvo of massive energy bursts, leaving trails of multi-colored light in their wake.
Reimu raises two spell cards as Mokou closes in on her, “Yuka Sign!” Reimu’s aura takes the shape of Yuka Kazami, which, by now, we know indicates she’s about to use one of Yuka’s spell cards, “Duel Spell: Twin Spark!” Reimu suddenly splits into two images of herself, one being fake. Mokou, during her pass, breathes a stream of intense fire at one image, which only passes through it, making it the fake. Kaguya’s attack also passes through. The two Reimus turn toward Mokou and extend their arms, releasing two massive lasers, slamming into the phoenix.
“Ugh!” Mokou reels as the attack hits.
“Gr…” Kaguya sends another flurry of bursts at the other Reimu, who dodges the first few, but gets hit hard by the subsequent attacks.
As Reimu is stunned, Mokou takes advantage of her state and prepares a second attack. She wraps her wings around Reimu and her body flares up, burning her all over.
Mokou completes the attack by kicking Reimu in Kaguya’s direction and breathing another stream of flame into her back.
Kaguya powers up for one final attack, as Mokou follows through, charging at the reeling Reimu. Kaguya’s body becomes completely energized with rainbow-energy and she charges as well at an immense speed. Sakuya and I watch on in awe. C’mon, this HAS to do it! I’m not expecting them to destroy her or anything, but at least knock her unconscious! The two attacks connect and there is a large explosion, leaving a cloud of smoke too thick for me to see what’s happening in there.
Suddenly, at the bottom, I see Kaguya and Mokou falling, too weak to even fly at this point.
“Kaguya!” I ride down after them. They’re done for if they fall into the dark void below.
“Mokou!” Sakuya chases after them as well.
How could I have been so stupid? I should have known they wouldn’t have any power left to fly above the void, and I was ignorant of that fact until it was too late! They’re too close to the void for me to make it in time now! Sakuya can freeze time, but she’s never done anything that involved moving anyone or anything, so I don’t know if she’s capable of helping them, even with that ability. Even though it is futile, I continue to chase them and Sakuya prepares a spell card, even though it’s questionable if she could help, as they’re too close to the void at this point.
“Don’t bother…” says Mokou weakly.
“What?” yell Sakuya and I at the same time.
Kaguya says, “We’ll only slow you down at this point. If you want to help us, get Gensokyo back to normal! I’d imagine it would revive around us. We’ll be okay if you do that!”
Mokou says, somewhat unsure of herself, “Um… That’s right! Just get Reimu back to normal! Don’t worry about us!”
I don’t want to admit it, but they’re right. Their best chance is Gensokyo’s revival. Both Sakuya and I stop as both rivals disappear into the blackness.
I grit my teeth as we turn back in Reimu’s direction. Well, it seems their attacks worked. She’s bleeding in several areas and is breathing faster.
Reimu forces a smirk, “Heh. They should have known that wouldn’t defeat me… and now they are doomed to float in a non-existent space. What a pitiful waste of life!”
Kaguya! Mokou! I promise I’ll find a way to return Reimu and Gensokyo back to normal! Your sacrifices won’t be for nothing!
Sakuya attacks Reimu by charging at her, tossing several knives as Reimu prepares another spell card, “Aya Sign!” An aura forms around Reimu in the shape of Aya Shameimaru, a tengu reporter with power over wind. Her reports often poked fun at Reimu, so there had been a lot of enmity between them. It’s weird to see Reimu using her powers. I guess it’s clear who ultimately came up on top in their rivalry. Instead of using one of Aya’s spell cards in particular, however, Reimu simply sends a strong gust of wind at Sakuya’s knives, reflecting them back at the maid.
“AH!” Sakuya attempts to guard herself, but she still gets cut a number of times by her own weapons, and is left bleeding in several places, blood dripping into the void below.
I draw a spell card, “Comet!” Blue energy flows into my broom, “Blazing Star!” Moving rapidly, I fly toward Reimu, intending to ram her.
However, Reimu reacts very fast and has enough time to declare a spell card, “Wind Sign: Wind God’s Fan!” Reimu releases a powerful gust of wind, which I manage to break through, though it still severely minimizes the power of my attack. I crash into her, sends her reeling, but she recovers very fast and knocks me back, near Sakuya, with a blast of wind.
Reimu prepares another spell card, “Wind God: Storm Day!” Chilly wind starts to spiral around, soon to result in a tornado. I grab Sakuya’s hand and try to get us to the outside of the wind’s zone, when suddenly, the wind stops.
We look toward Reimu, who has a serene expression on her face, “It’s… almost time…”
I ask, “What are you talking about, Reimu.”
Reimu says, “The time is not far off, Marisa. I’m recovering. My awakening is mere hours away. It’s the end for Gensokyo, and Marisa, no matter where you go, you will wake up the moment I do. You may believe in who you are right now, but it’s not your true self. Do accept that fact in the time you have remaining. Farewell.” With that, Reimu disappears into thin air. Frigid winds blow around in the now-desolate Gensokyo. The piece of land we were above starts to crumble.
Sakuya says, “We can think about this later! She said this is the end for Gensokyo! If that’s true, we have to get to the Netherworld NOW!”
I reluctantly nod as the suction from the void starts to strengthen. We fly up toward the sky into the point the clouds swirl around, entering a dark tunnel of clouds. At the end, we reach four pillars with a gate beyond them and a barrier in front of the gate. We fly up and over the barrier and through the gateway. At the other side of the gateway, the scenery is greatly different and improved from that of Gensokyo, like it has ‘stability,’ as we are now at the edge of the Netherworld, but we are not in the clear yet. Before us lies a very long stone staircase, which is the point where Gensokyo and the Netherworld connect, meaning this area is partly Gensokyo’s. We fly up the stairs as fast as we can, not knowing how much time we have before this area starts disappearing.
Along the way, Sakuya, sweating heavily from her injuries inflicted by Reimu, asks, “Marisa… Reimu said… she only had a few hours left… until awakening…?”
“Yes,” I answer with a nod.
“Where she disappeared to… could it be… that boundary between Dreams and Awakening… Yukari mentioned?”
“That would be a safe bet, I imagine. We gotta get to Hakugyokurou very soon and find Yukari.” Suddenly, we see something gaining on us from behind: a wave of darkness swallowing the area behind us, “Shit! This area is starting to vanish as well! We gotta hurry!”
Sakuya wearily pulls a spell card from her pocket, which has a slightly different characters than her others, “You go ahead, Marisa, I can’t handle this much longer. I’m fading fast…”
I grab Sakuya’s arm, “C’mon, Sakuya! Just hop on! I’ll take us up!”
“No, I’ll slow you down and we’ll get caught by that void for sure. Listen to me carefully, Marisa. You have to get to Hakugyokurou, find Yukari, and get Reimu back. We’ve lost too many to fail now. I’ll give you one last helping of my energy. You have 45 minutes! Please go!”
“Sakuya, you can’t_”
Before I can finish my sentence, Sakuya breaks free of my grip and declares, “Chrono Sign!” Silver energy swirls around her, which she then sends over to me, “Silence Elongate!” The world around me becomes monochrome and eerily silent. Everything had stopped in their tracks, except me. I realize what Sakuya had done: she passed the energy of her spell card to me, so I get the benefits of it. I’ve seen her use that particular spell before. According to her, it freezes time for a period of 45 minutes of the user’s time, an effective way to get ahead when under a time limit. So this is what it’s like when Sakuya freezes time, huh? That means she gave me 45 minutes to go ahead to Hakugyokurou. Even so, I refuse to leave Sakuya behind.
I put my arm around the frozen Sakuya and say, “C’mon, even though you want me to go alone, I’ll just take you with me anyway! We have time!” I try to move, but Sakuya won’t budge a millimeter, even though she’s flying like me. On top of that, her entire body is harder than steel. I realize why she can’t move anything, other than herself, when freezing time and why she didn’t just stab someone in their suspended animation during a battle. With no options at all, I can only do what Sakuya asked me to do. “… Thank you, Sakuya…” I fly ahead, my tears staining the stairs behind me, like Sakuya’s blood had been before. I can’t fail! I won’t fail! It’s like Sakuya said: We’ve lost too many to fail now… and now I’ve lost another.
It’s my most dramatic loss yet. Next to Reimu and Alice, Sakuya is one of my closest friends. It was two years ago, but it doesn’t feel that long. When Sakuya and I had entered this place for the first time, Sakuya was completely focused on her mission, which was to get spring back at the time, and the solution was in Hakugyokurou. She apparently felt Reimu and I were slowing her down, so she used the spell, which I am currently under, to go ahead and ditch us. I was pissed off about that. Yet now, Sakuya did something noble and used that same spell so I could get ahead. She had changed since then, and even acknowledged Reimu, Alice, Youmu, and me as her ‘friends’ after we defeated Mokou. I didn’t fully appreciate that change until now.
I zoom ahead, making the best of Sakuya’s final act. Goodbye, Sakuya…
- Return to Fiction by Valesta