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Perfect Memento: Monologue

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I first began compiling the materials for the Gensokyo Chronicles about the time I turned 18 as Aichi, which was over a thousand years ago.


Literacy was not as wide-spread in those days, so the Gensokyo Chronicles were more something to be left for later generations than something that was to be read by my contemporaries.


It's hard even for me to read the writing of the Chronicles from that era, so it didn't serve much use as materials for this compilation.


Since then, I've reincarnated as Ani, Ami, and so on, and am now in my ninth incarnation.


Normally, the process of reincarnation results in an almost total loss of memory, but it has preserved the power of Gumonji, which my ancestor Are had - that is, the power to remember anything you've seen.


Of course, as Akyuu, I have this power as well, and it has been extremely useful in compiling the materials for this book.


Somehow I know about things that happened during my life as Aichi, and even as Are, but unfortunately my memories of Gensokyo in ancient times are not very clear.


Just like a normal person, I have to read about the past to know much about it.


Still, it's quite obvious that Gensokyo has changed drastically over the past hundred years or so.


The days where humans live in terror of youkai, or in desperation to exterminate them, have passed, and the world has become a place where youkai come to the human village to play, and humans are invited into the houses of devils.


This edition of the Gensokyo Chronicles is the first of these books to be written in the new Gensokyo.


Nowadays, humans are almost never eaten by youkai.


As a result, I spent a lot of time worrying what to write about, and the usual warnings about youkai and descriptions of how to protect yourself from them followed as a result, but I spent some time arranging them a bit(*1) to try to provide a new youkai-centric viewpoint.


I even tried picking out specific youkai and delving a bit into their personal lives, as I wanted to help build up new relationships between humans and youkai.


In addition, I got a great number of requests from youkai(*2), so what started out as a guide to help humans defend themselves from youkai was, before I knew it, a manual for youkai to help others learn about them.


In fact, a number of the youkai threat levels have been inflated somewhat in this volume.


This probably isn't too much cause for concern, as humans are almost never kidnapped and eaten by youkai in today's Gensokyo.


At this rate, I may have to completely rethink the audience of the Gensokyo Chronicles and the purpose of their existence.


If not, the purpose of my continued reincarnation may be diluted.


Once this edition of the Gensokyo Chronicles are finished, I should have as many people read it as possible and ask them if there's a point to my continued reincarnation.


Still, the fact that we've entered into an age where there is practically no more use for the Gensokyo Chronicles means that this is a new, ideal era for both humans and youkai.


There are few threats to humans' lives, and they can have peaceful duels whenever they please.


Youkai extermination continues in name only, and abductions are only carried out for show.


These peaceful, yet stimulating times are surely a golden age for humans and youkai alike.


There's no doubt that Gensokyo has become the way it is thanks to the isolation brought about by the Great Hakurei Barrier.


About the time humans outside began to become more powerful and deny the existence of youkai, Gensokyo was already in danger of destruction(*3).


The solution endorsed by the sage of the youkai was to isolate Gensokyo using a great magical barrier.


This barrier is the so-called barrier of common sense and the nonsensical.


This barrier kept the outside world's common sense outside, leaving what defied that common sense inside, in Gensokyo.


It created a world which embraced the youkai and the world of the night that the outside world denied, a world into which things and powers flowed as they were denied by the outside world.


It was a truly passive, yet ground-breaking innovation(*4).


Of course, the construction of the Great Barrier is almost an implicit statement by the youkai that they're no longer a necessary part of human society, isn't it?


It's just the same as if they'd said, whatever, we'll do as we please in here.


One could say this desperate last resort was a smashing success.


Or, perhaps it was the best possible plan, and not a simple act of desperation.


However, there was a flaw in this plan, as well.


That flaw was that the youkai's inability to attack humans began to weaken their powers.


That meant that if a new and powerful youkai ever ceased to exist in the outside and passed into Gensokyo, its denizens would be unable to resist if it decided to subjugate them.


In this light, the Great Barrier can also be seen as a harbinger of Gensokyo's end.


Of course, there was a plan to avoid this happening, as well.


That plan was to have humans and youkai continue to battle each other in mock duels(*5).


This is how today's pattern where youkai create disturbances every so often, and incident resolution specialists resolve them was born.


This edition of the Gensokyo Chronicles also has a treatment of this phenomenon, which serves as a conclusion to the section which deals with youkai who attack humans.


Youkai attack humans, and humans eliminate them. If even the appearance of this natural order were to vanish, Gensokyo's future would surely become a dark one.


From my perspective, the power of today's youkai has not weakened; on the contrary, it's too much for the small area that is Gensokyo.


It's probably evidence of the outside world forgetting about youkai one after another.


However, no youkai ever try to invade the outside world.


Why is this?


I believe it's because youkai have no reason to attack the humans of the outside world.


To that extent, the outside world has become the world of humans.


Youkai are only mentioned in the context of stories in the outside world, and even in stories they only exist to be vanquished(*6).


Thus, even though Gensokyo is as small as it is, no youkai ever leave it to go on a rampage.


Being satisfied with the current state of affairs is the only path to happiness, but it is also probably the most difficult; this isn't just true for youkai.


Certainly, expressing dissatisfaction is related to self-improvement, and can be a good thing.


However, it can also be a sign of greed, and avaricious souls can only walk the path to their own destruction.


Enlightenment is knowing one has enough, and finding satisfaction in one's circumstances.


The youkai have finally reached that point in their existence.


This is the impression I get from today's Gensokyo.


I would like Gensokyo to continue to be the unselfish, happy, if cramped, place that it is. (*7)


Still, the humans called the Children of Miare -- to make a long story short, we are not able to live for very long.


I don't know whether this is because the reincarnation is imperfect, or whether we simply know too much, but I will probably not live much beyond 30.


Further, my preparations for the ritual of reincarnation must begin several years in advance of that.


As a result, I will likely not have much of a chance to experience life as a normal human being.


This is my one regret, especially as it is much easier to enjoy an easy-going, pleasant life in Gensokyo now than in the past.


The ritual of reincarnation involves petitioning the Yama for forgiveness during my lifetime; since it takes nearly a hundred years to prepare my body for the next reincarnation, I spend that time working for the Yama of hell.


So, even though it's become much easier to travel between Gensokyo and the Netherworld now, I won't be able to watch over Gensokyo.


The hardest thing about reincarnation has always been having all of my interpersonal relationships reset.


This time, though, I think that things may change somewhat.


This is because youkai and humans have become closer, so even I have youkai acquaintances.


It's not unusual for youkai to live for several hundred years.


Even if I spend over a hundred years in hell, all the humans I know will be gone, but the youkai will probably all look the same as ever.


So, the current state of Gensokyo has helped assuage the fear and loneliness I feel due to my reincarnation.


I wonder what the world will be like in the time of the tenth Child of Miare?


Contemporary Gensokyo has been preserved as a perfect world thanks to clever youkai.


In the current state of affairs, Gensokyo could continue to exist unchanged for quite some time.


Today's Gensokyo is heavily dependent on the outside world.


This follows fairly obviously from the fact that the Great Barrier is a boundary of common sense, but it is frightening to think that such an incredible power is unique to Gensokyo.


If the outside world were to be destroyed, I wonder what sort of action the youkai sages would take.


I suspect they would immediately dissolve the Great Barrier and begin their domination over the outside world.


Since the world of the night is the youkai's world, this could mean the world would once again regress to being a place of darkness.


For some reason, I can't imagine that happening.


Looking at the youkai of today's Gensokyo, I can only imagine the future of the youkai being a bright one.


It was the youkai who quickly came up with a plan to create such an intellectual world, not the humans of the outside, and not the humans who exterminate youkai for a living.


I can't think that those same youkai would do something so foolish.


We, the humans of the village, will continue our mock battles with the youkai in order to ensure the stability of their existence.


This is not the end of the current edition of the Gensokyo Chronicles.


I will probably continue collecting material for it until I must begin my preparations for reincarnation.


Until then, I would like to continue enjoying the black tea I(*8) love so much as I listen to Yougakudan songs.

九代目阿礼乙女 稗田阿求

Hieda no Akyuu, the Ninth Are Maiden


1: Like writing horizontally, Western-style, and adding drawings.


2: Such as, "make me sound stronger", or "What do you think of this power?"


3: In the time of Aya, the eighth Are Maiden, the power of the youkai of Gensokyo was weakening, and humans outside began to deny their existence, so we were already on the brink of collapse.


4: Though, we humans of the village who already lived in Gensokyo were unfortunate enough to get drawn into this plan.


5: These duels also involve mock kidnappings and youkai extermination parties.


6: Nowadays, there are many stories where youkai are simply small fry, and the real enemy is human.


7: Oh, but is that a form of selfishness? I suppose I'm still a ways away from enlightenment.


8: A taste I've acquired since becoming Akyuu.

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