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Part One: Resurfacing Memories

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A few weeks following Sakuya’s encounter with the mysterious entity that had the ability to assume the forms and powers of the Gensokyo residents that vanished along with the dream, the ex-maid meets up with Yukari to discuss the matter.

That night, the two of them stand on the roof of a skyscraper and look out at the illuminated cityscape.

“Indeed a far cry from our former home,” notes Yukari, referring to the city, “If Gensokyo lived on, would it look like this someday? I can only imagine…”

Sakuya asks, “Yukari, what do you think of that figure that attacked me? She seems interested in reuniting Reimu and Marisa and setting Kaguya and Mokou free. I don’t know why. It just seems that she has something to gain out of that…”

“Anything else worth noting? I never met that person, but I find her fascinating. From what you described, she most certainly is a link to the non-existent Gensokyo…”

Sakuya recalls, “Before she left, she turned into a rabbit youkai. Not the kind that Tei and the other Gensokian rabbits are, but more like Reisen. She also referred to Kaguya with a tone of familiarity…”

“Sounds like a Lunarian,” says Yukari, “But what do they have to do with Gensokyo. Sure, they wanted to invade it, but…”

“At any rate, our objectives seem to coincide, so I doubt we’re enemies. She really wants us to hurry in reuniting them…”

“We’re in no rush, Sakuya. Kaguya and Mokou are immortal. They can stand to wait…”

“Are you sure we can’t just take them to you and reuniting them by going through the boundary?”

Yukari shakes her head, “Theoretically, we could, but humans of this realm are shallow things. They are terrified of the unknown. As they are, I doubt they will cooperate that way, plus they don’t remember who they once were…”

“Whoever the rabbit was, though, something tells me she may have different ideas…”

“Just keep watching over Marisa, along with Alice and Cirno. The time will come. You’ll see.”

“Understood…”

==

CONCEALED THE CONCLUSION, part 2: Embodiment of Dreams


I rush out my house and head en route to school. Yeah, I am late! It hadn’t happened before moving, when I could just wake up, get dressed, and head to school, eating breakfast there. Now it’s waking up, getting dressed into a school uniform, which has more pieces of clothing than casual clothes do, eat breakfast, because my new school doesn’t serve it there, then head on over! Damn it! I run as fast as I can, my wavy blonde hair riding the wind my speed produces.

My name is Marisa Starr. I recently turned 17 and my life is pretty typical… well, from anyone else’s viewpoint, that is. About a year ago, I was in an accident, which caused me to fall into a coma for a few months. Not too long after, my dad, who I don’t see often as it is, got a new higher-paying job, which caused us to move. I used to attend a public school, but because I don’t fit in well with anyone, mostly due to my tomboyish nature, they decided to transfer me to an all-girls private school, hoping that I’d be able to make some friends, which is even worse, because most of those girls are stuck-up bitches, not to mention that, and this is between us, I tend to be attracted to girls, rather than guys, which makes me all the more awkward! I guess you could say that I’m a lesbian, not that I outright announced that to the world. It’s my secret, and now yours too.

The town I live in… well, there is not much to say about it. It’s pretty typical. There is a LOT of green. Green grass on the ground, green leaves on the trees, green bushes seem to be a popular decoration around buildings. All in all, it’s a pretty secluded place, peaceful even, not that I’m complaining. At least I prefer it to the big city, so it’s all good, despite being a little boring.

I rush up to the front gate of the school after dashing through a few blocks. The outer walls of the main building are white, and the roof is blue. It was built only a few years ago, so it’s pretty tidy, as opposed to my old public school, which was basically a hellhole from a cleanness standpoint, so even if I’m awkward around all the other snobs that attend this place, it’s still a fresh environment. All the students there wear the same kind of uniform: A white collared button-up shirt under a blue wool vest with a pocket on the front of it, a medium-length skirt, which is blue and green with a checker-like design, black dress shoes with blue socks that come up just below the knees. Finally, a gold badge (or shiny yellow plastic that is supposed to pass as gold) with the school’s insignia on it.

In front of the gate, my two friends wait for me: Cirno Izayoi and Alice Margatroid. I was half-lying when I said that I didn’t fit in the private school. Not long after I attended, those two joined at the same time. They instantly wanted to be friends with me for some strange reason. Unlike all the other girls at the school, they are actually pretty nice. The three of us always stick together, plus we have all the same classes. With my personality, it’s not easy to make friends, so I treasure the ones I do make.

“Heeeeey!” Cirno is 12 years old and has blue eyes and short blue hair complimented by a green ribbon. While my school is high school level, Cirno was allowed in because she’s some kinda “child prodigy.” The school board can believe whatever the hell they want about her, but I think they screwed up. Cirno isn’t really all that bright. In fact, one would say that she’s a little… stupid. Most of the time, she has to peek at Alice’s or my test papers to pass. She also wears a large backpack ALL the time, even when she’s sitting at her desk. She sometimes gets bullied by the other girls because of that. Still, we often play games together and that’s always a good time.

“Good morning, Marisa!” Alice is 18 years old and has bright blue eyes and short blonde hair with a red headband. She’s a bright girl, but she really doesn’t talk to anyone besides me and Cirno. During class, she’s usually off in her own little world. She likes dolls; probably too much for someone her age; something she gets made fun of sometimes by the other students, but she usually ignores those bitches. She’s really cute when she smiles, seldom as that is.

“What’s up?” I ask, “You two didn’t have to wait for me. I’m late and if you’re waiting for me here, you’ll be late too!”

“Whatever,” says Cirno, “We’re always together! If you’re late, then we’ll be late too.”

I turn to Alice, “Are you okay with that?”

Alice says with a slight shrug, “I really don’t care…”

“Anyways, let’s get to class.”

We enter the school building. While there is a lot of green on the outside, there is a lot of blue and white on the inside. As this is a new school, there are empty racks reserved for whatever prizes this school is bound to win. All there is so far are some plaques for academic achievement and a few chess championships, as well as a couple trophies for ranking in some fencing tournaments.

On our way to our homeroom, one student passes going the opposite direction and sneers, “The loser trio is late again. You’re so pathetic!”

Alice pretends to ignore her, Cirno gives her a mean look, and I extend my arm in the bitch’s direction, and extend my middle finger, “Fuck you, Ashley.”

“My name is Melissa!”

“Whatever. Your name is Shitbitch for all I care.” We get bullshit like this a lot. This is why I hate my schoolmates outside of Alice and Cirno: Everyone acts like we’re inferior because our families aren’t quite as distinguished. In fact, the three of us are probably the only students here that don’t act that way, which is all the better that we hang around each other all the time: We can always reassure one another.

Cirno smiles at me, as if to say, ‘Yeah, you sure told her off!’

Alice says, “Honestly, Marisa. You could have picked a better way to resolve that scenario…”

I respond, “Sometimes, you just have to do what I just did. If you don’t stand up for yourself, they will just pick on you some more. You have to prove that you’re not the kind of person to just stand there and take that kind of crap.”

Another student passes by, saying to Alice condescendingly, “Nice headband, bitch! Did you get that out of a dumpster?”

“…” Alice grits her teeth in annoyance, but says nothing.

I stand up for Alice, “No, she didn’t. Is that where you got your face?”

“Ah!” The girl looks at me, genuinely insulted, and stomps off in a rage.

“And don’t come back!” yells Cirno in a way that, honestly, makes me look less cool.

Alice pauses, smiles, and then giggles a little. She’s so cute like that! “Hahaha!”

“What’s so funny?”

“Nothing! You are just exactly how I remembered you.”

“’Remembered?’”

“Oh… It’s nothing. Forget I said anything.”

“Anyway, you should have said something like I just did. People like her pride themselves on their appearance and look down on others in that regard. You have to hit them where it hurts!”

Alice responds, “Garbage like her is not worth wasting my words on.”

“Ouch!” exclaim me and Cirno at the same time, impressed by Alice’s logic.

We arrive at class and promptly receive our third tardy in a row. One more and it’s detention. Damn. We sit at our desks, in the back of the class, me sitting in the far right corner, facing from the front of the room, Alice in front of me and Cirno to my left. Every class is the same: a lecture where I sit bored, Cirno, being the smart one for once, reading comics, hiding them from the teacher’s sight with a textbook, and Alice daydreaming or asleep. She usually has to ask the teacher to repeat herself when asked a question. That is how each class goes.

Before long, it’s lunchtime. As expected from our ‘mindblowing’ popularity, we get a cafeteria table all to ourselves. After each of us eats a meager mid-day meal, Cirno’s food of choice being ice cream, Alice lifts her book bag onto the table and pulls out a miniature chess set. We decide to play a game. We only have 20 minutes left to play, and most people would probably not be able to finish a game in that time, but not Alice. Either she’s too good or I suck that badly, probably both, but she always beats me in a timely fashion. The game ends in 17 minutes with my king’s escape route cut off by two of my own pawns and opposed by one of Alice’s rooks.

“Checkmate.”

“Dammit! I lose again!” I’ve never beaten Alice at chess. To make matters worse, I always lose to Cirno at VIDEO GAMES!

Cirno gives me a reassuring pat on the back, “You did good, Marisa.”

“Do you even know HOW to play this game, Cirno?”

“No…”

“Then don’t say anything.”

Alice puts the chess set away, “Well, class will be starting again soon.”

Shit! I lost to Cirno at IaMP over the weekend and I lost to Alice at chess today! The score will not go unsettled! “Alice! Fencing! After school! Be there!”

There is a few seconds of silence between us. Finally, Cirno asks, “So… um… what will we do when we graduate?” She gives Alice the sort of glance that indicates something that is just between two people, but whatever.

Alice says, “Personally, I want to study abroad in Japan.”

“Me too! It’s like you read my mind!” says Cirno.

Alice and Cirno both look at me longingly. I respond, “Wh-what?”

“I want you to come too,” says Alice, somewhat direct.

“We won’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” adds Cirno.

“Well…” Going abroad with my friends? It doesn’t sound like a bad plan at all, still… “I’ll think about it…”

Before anymore words can be added, the bell rings.

A couple more hours pass. At long last, the final bell rings. Cirno decides to head straight home, while Alice, who accepted my challenge, and I head to the gym, then to the locker room to change into white fencing clothes and masks.

The school prides itself on two things: chess and fencing, so obviously, the team is practicing, the sounds of their clashing blades echoing through the gymnasium. Still, Alice and I get our own strip to play on, as no one wants to be anywhere near ‘losers like Marisa Starr and Alice Margatroid.’

We decide to do epee, the ‘anything goes’ style. Without anyone to referee the match, we’re left to our own devices, but we stay as close to the rules as possible, though the team members occasionally mock the way we play.

“En garde!” The ‘battle’ begins! I take the initiative and advance toward Alice, who attempts to counterattack, but I feint my move, retreating out of her range, then quickly advancing again and performing a lunge, twirling my blade so it connects with Alice’s left thigh, “Touche!”

“I won’t fall for that twice!” A new round begins and Alice goes on the offensive. She attempts a straight on attack, which I parry, then attempts to strike at my right knee. She’s using her strategy, but unfortunately for her, I’m faster. I quickly step back and riposte, my blade connecting with her mask, around the right eye area. Good thing fencing has this equipment.

We keep playing well past when the team leaves. Needless to say, I won. Alice may kick ass at chess, and Cirno may kick ass at video games, but I kick ass at fencing. After my two previous losses, I feel pretty good to have won a round, even if it is within my area of expertise. Also, Cirno never played us at chess or fencing, probably because she’s too dim to win at chess and too short to win at fencing. I like fencing. It emulates a fight and that’s always a good way to let off steam. I’ve probably only been in real fights twice in my lifetime (surprisingly not against other students here), but part of me felt good at those times.

We change back into our school uniforms. Alice wipes the sweat off her forehead, “Good game. Are you satisfied?”

“Hell yeah,” I respond, wiping off some sweat of my own. That was quite a workout.

We head home. We walk out of the school and it’s already dark out, the full moon shining down from above. We walk toward the school gates. There aren’t any homes around for quite a ways, but the street lamps give off plenty of light. The coolness of the night and the gentle breeze refreshes us after those furious hours of swordfighting.

We walk out the gate and turn left onto the main road, which passes in front of the school.

We walk a few steps, when suddenly, a figure appears before us. Huh? Where did it come from? I didn’t even see it. It’s like it came out of nowhere.

Alice’s eyes widen and she steps backward, “It can’t be…?”

I look at the figure: It’s a girl, about 14, with blue hair, and wearing an elegant pink dress and a pink hat that no one around here would be caught dead wearing… But screw that! On her back, there is a pair of bat-like wings, and it’s more than a costume, because she’s slightly hovering off the ground, and red claws extending from her fingers. She also has eyes that are a red as blood. She smirks slightly, giving me a view of her teeth, which have fangs like those of a cat.

I say to the girl what is on my mind, “What the hell are…?”

Alice cuts me off, saying, “You’re… Remilia Scarlet!”

“Do you know her?” I ask Alice.

“…”

The weird girl, ‘Remilia’ says, looking at me, “We meet at last, Marisa Starr.”

“Wh-who are you? WHAT are you?”

Remilia smirks deviously, “I’m a vampire and I vant to suck your blood. BLAH!” As she makes her cliché reference, she flies at me. However, Alice steps between us and a few things that look like dolls appear around her. That’s right, APPEAR, as in materialize out of thin air! As if that wasn’t weird enough, the dolls, moving on their own, hold out their arms and circles that seem to be made completely of light appear in front of them. From those circles, multicolored ‘shots’ pour out toward Remilia, who deflects a few with her claws, then backs off, putting some distance between herself and Alice.

I back away from Alice, shocked and scared of what I just witnessed. My heart starts to pound so hard, I can hear it. Tears stream from my eyes. Just what the fuck is going on? “Alice, just what the fuck ARE you?”

Alice says after a long hesitation, “Stay back, Marisa…” She pulls something that looks like a piece of paper with a weird symbol on it out of her uniform’s front pocket “… I’ll handle her.”

Remilia smirks at me, “Funny, Marisa. I recall you having more bravado than this…” Her eyes turn to Alice, “Alright, Alice Margatroid, entertain me!”

‘Recall?’ What the hell? I never saw her before in my life!

Remilia lunges at Alice and strikes with her claws, which my now-mysterious ‘friend’ dodges to the right, jumps backward, raises her piece of paper, and declares, “Magipulation!” The slip disappears, and in its place, a doll radiating some kind of blue light appears. “Return Inanimateness!” She tosses the doll at Remilia; it connects and explodes in a large blue burst. The weird winged girl is sent reeling backward and crashes into the school’s outer wall, leaving a sizable dent. Damn! I didn’t think Alice could fight like that!

Even though I’d imagine the blow Remilia just received would hurt like a bitch, she just grins, not showing much pain, “Pretty good, Alice! Now…” She stretches her hand out in Alice’s direction, “Red Magic!” From her hand, several round ‘shots’ fly out, quickly escalating from a volley to an outright salvo.

Alice won’t dodge in time. Hell, I have faster reflexes and I couldn’t. In defense, Alice raises her arms in front of her upper body and face. She gets hit by several of the blasts, each one appearing to impact her like getting hit by a baseball flying from a pitching machine, also, even from where I am, on the side, it felt pretty hot when Remilia started using that attack. The shots that fly past Alice keep going into the woods behind her, either crashing into trees or knocking off branches.

Remilia’s attack ends, then, as the weirdness can’t possibly end where it is now, SPLITS into a swarm of bats, which disperses. I guess she really IS a vampire!

Alice, appearing to be in a bit of pain, and small amounts of smoke emerging from the places where she had been hit, lowers her defensive stance, looks where Remilia was, “Where…?”

The bats gather again behind the unsuspecting Alice and Remilia completely reappears and prepares to slash with her claws.

“Alice! Behind you!” I cry out.

“Ah!” Alice glances behind her, and, noticing Remilia about to attack, ducks down and avoids the attack, then jumping back, putting some distance between them.

“Haha!” However, Remilia presses her assault, and dashes toward Alice, slashing her across her upper chest.

“Ah!” Alice staggers backward, holding where she was just struck, blood streaming down the front of her school uniform and dripping onto the ground, making this whole thing look even more intense. I think I’m going to be sick…

Remilia delivers a kick to Alice, knocking her off her feet, and then turns her attention toward me. I’m shivering in fear and thus, I don’t have the reflexes I usually do, which explains why I didn’t react when Remilia leaps toward me, tackles me, and pins me to the ground. She tries to wrestle me down and she’s succeeding. For someone who looks to be 14, damn she’s strong! “Stay out of this! I’m going to shut you up!”

My fear is reaching such a point that I’m starting to feel dizzy. I whimper, rather pathetically, “Alice… help me…”

“Zero Sign!” A familiar juvenile voice cries out from behind.

“Hm?” Remilia stops wrestling me down and sits up on top of me.

“Ice Vulcan!” Suddenly, several small sharp crystals, which look like ice fly into Remilia’s chest, the force knocking her off me and onto her back.

Alice returns to her feet, “Whew. You made it!”

I look behind me and see Cirno standing with her right arm stretched out, light blue smoke rising from her palm.

“Cirno?”

Cirno calls out happily, “Heeeey! Marisa? Are you okay?”

I get back up, “Ye-yeah…” I never thought that my life would be saved by CIRNO, of all people!

Alice says, “She has to be the one that_”

Suddenly, Alice’s words are cut off as Remilia returns to her feet. Blood is running down her front, but she’s alive. No fucking way! No one could have survived that (although I’m a little relieved, as I thought I was going to faint if she was killed before my eyes)! She looks over me shoulder at Cirno, “Another annoyance! Die!” She dashes past me and toward Cirno.

Cirno, who seems to be almost as scared as I am, not that I feel she has a right to, raises her arms in front of her reflexively, “EEK!”

SWIP! Suddenly, an object shoots down in front of the vampire, stopping her in her tracks. I look at the ground. It’s a knife, which has to be pretty damn sharp as it just pierced through concrete. I look beyond to who I assume had thrown it. Past Cirno, standing on a branch extending out from a tree is a girl with mid-back length silver hair and blue eyes, wearing a pretty standard baggy white t-shirt and blue jeans, holding a few knives between her fingers. She’s Sakuya Izayoi, Cirno’s mom… or at least that’s what Cirno CLAIMS she is, although I call bullshit on that, as that’s just wrong on too many levels. She and Cirno live in a cheap apartment and I visited a couple times. She has fantastic cooking and she’s equally skilled at keeping the place tidy. I swear she could easily become someone’s maid.

With a rather dynamic pose, Sakuya says, “Hold it right there!”

Remilia responds, “Sakuya… you dare attack your own mistress?”

“My mistress disappeared with Gensokyo! You are nothing but an imposter!”

Remilia makes a fist, “You may be right, but my powers are very damned real!”

Alice runs past, stopping by Cirno’s side. Sakuya jumps down from her perch and lands next to Cirno and Alice. Cirno throws off her backpack, revealing a pair of crystalline WINGS! Well, hell. Why not? There isn’t much left to be surprised about.

“Remain at a safe distance, Marisa,” advises Sakuya.

“Okay…” I take a few steps back.

“Try me…” Remilia raises her arm into the air, “Spear the Gungnir!” A large spear-shaped object, made completely out of red ‘energy,’ for lack of a better term, appears in her hand.

“You were right, Sakuya,” says Alice, “She can use spells without a spellcard. She did the same thing before you arrived too.”

“We can discuss this later,” says Sakuya, “Get ready!”

“HAAAAA!” Remilia charges at Alice, Cirno, and Sakuya. Alice nod at Cirno and both of them retreat several feet while Sakuya holds her ground. Remilia gets within range to attack ‘Cirno’s mom’ and swings her spear. However, Sakuya dodges the attack by jumping away and ascending so high off the ground, she puts pro basketball players to shame! She performs half a midair back flip to the point where she’s upside-down and twirls 180 degrees so she’s facing Remilia, and tosses two handfuls of knives (which just seemed to come out of nowhere, like Alice’s dolls) down at the vampire, who parries all of them with her spear. “Hm?” Around the same time, though, a knife materializes in front of Remilia and flies toward her (where the hell did THAT come from?) Remilia sidesteps at the last possible second, the blade just grazing her hip.

Sakuya flips back upright and lands on her feet at the same time that Alice draws another slip of weird paper, “War Sign!” About five dolls armed with swords and two dolls armed with lances appear, “Doll’s War!” As Remilia’s guard is lowered by Sakuya’s attack, Alice’s attack flies in and the sword dolls spin and pass the vampire, cutting her several times. Finally, the lance dolls shoot at her like rockets and skewer her at the same time, then disappearing.

“Ugh! Fuck!” Remilia staggers back.

“It’s my turn!” Cirno charges at Remilia and draws her own piece of paper. I guess Alice isn’t the only one who can use those. “Cryo Si_” However, Remilia recovers amazingly fast and swings her spear, knocking Cirno to the side and headfirst against the school’s outer wall, “Whaaa! Why am I the odd one out?” The impact caused Cirno to let go of her paper and a passing breeze causes it to flutter to my feet.

I kneel down and pick it up, “How do these…?” Somehow, I feel stronger by holding it.

The battle rages on. No matter what kind of punishment Remilia receives, she always recovers like nothing happened. The vampire lifts off the ground and into the air. Cirno, being the one with wings, follows her up, but is promptly kicked back to the ground. Moving like lightning, Remilia strikes at the nearby streetlamps, causing everything to go pitch-black.

“I can’t see anything!” screams Cirno.

“But I can see you with my vampire eyes,” taunts Remilia.

I hear a sound like a blade tearing through flesh, followed by a yell from Sakuya, “ARGGGH!”

The scream is followed by the noise of a blade cutting through empty air. Remilia’s voice, now a considerable distance away from where Sakuya screamed says, “Nice try, Sakuya, but face it, you can’t win against what you can’t see.”

Alice says, confidently, “You really think that beat us? Think again, vampire!”

“What?”

“Flame Sign: Luminous Candle Dolls!” Suddenly, several dolls holding candles appear all over the place, providing light. Granted, it’s not as good as the lamps, but whatever. We can see again.

“Gr…” Remilia swings her spear at one of the dolls, but it moves back, avoiding the attack.

Alice yells, “Sakuya! Cirno! I need to focus to make this spell last! I’m sorry, but it’s up to the two of you now!”

The battle continues, now with Alice having about as much physical participation in the battle as I am.

Before, it seemed like they had a good shot at defeating Remilia, but now with Alice out of action, it look even, with the odds tipped slightly in Remilia’s favor. I tremble again. Shit! If they die, will I be next? However, my pessimism is interrupted but some weird… visions. They feel spontaneous, but also… somewhat nostalgic: Battles, not unlike the one I’m witnessing. From the point of view I’m in, I’m also a part of them. A lot of them have people I haven’t seen, but also some I have seen. I see Alice, though she is wearing a long blue dress with red ribbons, Sakuya, though she’s dressed like a maid. How appropriate. There is also a platinum-haired girl with swords I see several times in the visions, but who I’ve never seen before, and… a girl in white and red, though her face is blurred. Who IS she? What the hell am I seeing?

The battle rages on. I look at the piece of paper Cirno dropped, focus, and suddenly, two words spontaneously escape my lips: “Love… Sign…” The card disappears and suddenly, I feel intense energy inside me. It feels like it’s pressing against the inside my right palm, begging to be unleashed. More illogical visions. I look at Remilia right ahead, not suspecting anything from me. I direct my open right hand in her direction, with my left hand around the arm to control my trembling. Finally, I utter two more words: “MASTER SPARK!” Out of my palm, a massive beam flies out.

Remilia instantly turns her head in my direction, wide-eyed, “WHAT THE HELL?” The beam slams into her, knocking her head-first through the outer wall.

My attack ends with scentless smoke rising from my hand. Despite the power I felt before, I suddenly feel weak. I slump down, “What…? What did I just…?”

Alice looks at me, the candles flickering slightly, “Marisa! You just…?”

Sakuya asks a question I don’t get, “Are you starting to remember?”

Cirno also look impressed, “Is Kirisame back?”

“What the hell are you talking about? You know something, right? What did I just do?”

Before anyone can say anything, Remilia emerges from the hole in the wall, “Heh… heh… Well done, Marisa. Looks like you’re starting to recall some things…” Suddenly, her form changes, her injuries as Remilia disappearing: She turns into a girl, who looks about 25, with red eyes and short red hair, who wears a black business suit, black slacks, and a small pair of glasses. However, like her previous form, something isn’t entirely human about her: She also has a pair of rabbit ears extending from her head “… I hope you reunite with HER soon.”

“It really is you again!” yells Sakuya, “Just what do you hope to gain from this?”

“Do you need to know? What the hell could you do with that information anyway? Our objectives are the same. Quit fucking around and see for yourself.”

Cirno charges at the rabbit-girl, “I’ll beat what you know outta you!”

Suddenly, a spear materializes in the rabbit’s hand. It’s not made of ‘energy,’ like Remilia’s, but rather, more like a plain metal spear, though with a somewhat large blade. She points the weapon mere millimeters away from Cirno’s throat, “Touch me, and you’ll be breathing from THREE places, fairy. Comprende?”

“Uh huh…” Cirno backs away.

“At any rate, I’ve done what I came here to do. Looks like all is well. Ciao!”

“Wait!” Alice calls out, “Just who are you? WHAT are you?”

The girl answers, “You can call me Yumei. That is all. Remember, Marisa. This is not a dream… not anymore.” With that, she vanishes into thin air.

“’Yumei…’”

I get back up and walk over to Alice. I would have grabbed her by the collar if I didn’t know that she is capable of cutting me down with an army of armed dolls, “Okay, just what the HELL was all that about? I almost got killed! Out with it!”

Sakuya hesitantly says, “You’ve seen everything. There’s no use in hiding it anymore…”

“Just fucking tell me!” I’m not angry. Not really. I’m just frightened and confused. However, those feelings are intense enough right now to be interpreted as anger.

Alice explains, “Marisa… a year ago, when you were in a coma, you were leading a very different life than you are now.”

“What? What life? The only life I was leading was ‘being asleep and depressing.’” I don’t know why I’m saying this. I just feel the need to joke, usually in a vain attempt to keep me from going overboard with emotion.

“You were dreaming,” says Cirno.

“What?”

Sakuya picks up, “You… and a certain other girl who met an identical mishap were dreaming the same dream. However, it was no ordinary dream.”

“How so?”

“It was more than a dream world. It was a dimension. I don’t know how that got to be the case, but it was. A lot of people… including Alice and Cirno, were born from that dream. Also, there have been some outsiders that became a part of it… like me.”

Cirno gives another small tidbit, “That dream world was called Gensokyo.”

“Gen… so… kyo…?”

Alice says, “Right. It was a dream that transcended time, and had thousands of years of history. You lived there for 18 years as a witch named Marisa Kirisame.”

“What? You’re shitting me, right?”

Alice answers, “I’m not ‘shitting’ you, Marisa. I know it’s a farfetched story, but it’s true. When you woke up, Gensokyo was no more. Only a few of us escaped.”

I want to protest more, but after what I’ve seen, can I argue? Right in front of me, there is a girl that controls battle dolls, a girl with wings, and a girl… well, I don’t even know…

Alice explains, approaching me, “Marisa, we need your help. Two of our friends are trapped in_”

“Stay away from me!” I shove Alice away.

“Marisa?” says Cirno.

“My coma is done and over with and I want to forget that ever happened! It was just a dream and its over! This is a dream too! It HAS to be! None of this is possible! Nothing is realistic about it!”

Sakuya speaks up, “I know it’s hard to_”

“SHUT UP! You’re nothing but fictional characters! You shouldn’t even exist!” Alice and Cirno both look deeply hurt by my words, but I’m more concerned about myself right now “… Just stay the hell away from me! I never want to see you again!” I run away, frightened and thoroughly freaked out.

==

Cirno starts to chase after Marisa, “Wait! Marisa!”

Sakuya puts her hand on the ice fairy’s shoulder, “Let her go for now. Yukari was right, humans in this realm are terrified of the unknown. I think what we should do right now is let her be for awhile, let her calm down, and confirm that all of this is not a dream.”

Alice looks crestfallen, “Marisa…”

==

I run home. I pass by some people out for a late night stroll, asking me what the matter is. I don’t answer. Why should I? This is nothing but a dream! A fantasy!

I return home. I don’t even eat dinner, brush my teeth, or get changed. I just jump into bed. When I wake up, it will be a brand new day. Alice and Cirno are just ordinary classmates and we will have fun as always!

… Right?



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