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I had the biggest headache. With every heartbeat, I felt as if a sledgehammer was slamming into my head. I opened my mouth to groan and got a mouthful of dirt. Flipping over painfully, I spat out the crap in mouth and tried groaning again. It came out almost like a whimper. I opened my eyes and was greeted by the brilliant noon sun, shining from in between countless tree canopies. As I got the feeling back in my body, I realized that my legs were cushioned by something that probably shouldn't be there - something... soft.

Curious and somewhat fearful, I rolled over again and tried to get to my feet. However, the best I could do was get to a kneeling position. Looking over, I saw a girl. Judging from the position of everything, I seemed to have fallen from someplace up high and landed on her. She was lying unconcious on the floor in a spread-eagle position, with a white, shapless blob next to her and had pale blue, almost white, hair and wore a dark green and white dress with a little black bow and matching hair ribbon. I recognized the girl immediately.

What the hell? Youmu? This has got to be a dream. Yeah... 'cause I'm still unconscious. I think...

Something metallic was sticking out of the ground next to the girl. One of her swords? ...No, both of hers were still sheathed from what I could see. It looked like the sword I tripped over before this dream started. Painfully and very carefully, I got up to inspect it. Half the blade was imbedded in the dirt next to Youmu's head. The handle was very badly wrapped in a red cloth and the blade was unsharpened; it was definately my own. I pulled on the handle to get it out of the dirt and it came rather easily.

And then a sort of a groan came from Youmu, and she woke up. With my blade in her face. Her eyes opened and she looked from my face to the sword five inches from her throat and I realized just how badly this could be misunderstood. Before I could do or say anything, she drew Hakurouken, her shorter sword, deflected my katana, and sort of flipped backwards from the ground to a standing position several meters away, all in a single flowing movement. Then, she slowly and deliberately drew the longer sword, Roukanken, and positioned herself into her familiar stance. Myon, the white blob that was her ghost half, was hovering close by.

"What a folly to challenge me! I'll make you regret that you didn't kill me earlier!"

Oooooohhhhhhhhhh, crap...

I had enough time to lift my horribly unbalanced and most likely useless sword before the battle "officially" started. Youmu attacked first, but not in the way I expected. I had expected her to run and attempt to slice me with one of her two blades, but instead she held her ground while her swords started glowing. Then, with speed faster than my eyes could follow, she slashed the air in front of her in a star-shaped pattern and hundreds of bright blue and yellow spheres of pure energy poured out of the tip of the weapon towards me. I was unfortunately enough for this to be my first battle where death threatened me and so, I froze when I saw the overwhelming power heading in my direction.

Without thinking, I dived to the side behind a tree. Countless blasts shook the tree I was hiding behind. Clenching my own sword, I repeated in my head over and over, It's just a dream. I'm not going to die. It's just a dream. I'm not going to die. and jumped out from behind my shield. Again, Youmu seemed to slash open the air and orbs of destructive energy poured out at me, but I was ready for them this time, sorta. Using what little agility I had gained from my high school P.E. classes, I avoided the strangely familiar... bullet pattern?

This is just like the Youmu's first attack in Perfect cherry Blossom... I can do this...

Or not. A searing pain in my arm told me that I had just jumped right into some of the energy. It was the end of that particular volley and I was able to see Youmu as she prepared for another attack, her sword glowing pale blue. She smiled menacingly at me and I decided it would be best if I sought cover this time and went behind another tree, and out of her view. The place I was hit was still burning. I looked at the spot and didn't see any wounds of any sort.

I was hit and it hurts. This isn't a dream after all. Now that I think about it, I was hurting when I woke up...

As I thought, I heard Youmu's voice echo thoughout the forest, "Are you going to hide all day?!"

How am I supposed to reply to that?

"I'll end it now if you want!"

She was toying with me. I could hear her voice getting louder as she got closer and closer. Her footsteps were more and more apparent with every step she took, accented with crunching leaves.

She's going to find me! I've got to move!

But too late, she came from behind a tree a meter away from me and spotted me.

"There! Human Sign 'Slash of Present'!"

I held up my blade in a futile attempt to block her attack but realized it was a spellcard a moment later - a moment too late. There was a flash of light as she accelerated forward with blinding speed and put all her strength behind her slash. Somehow, it only hit my katana, but the impact made me lose my grip on it and sent me flying through the air. I saw the world upside down and my sword flying up to the ground in two pieces. After what seemed an eternity, I hit the dirt and rolled to a stop. My attacker was already over me with her sword at my throat when my mind finally made sense of what just happened.

"Now... who are you?"

What should I say? I can't find a way out of this!

I was about to stutter a reply out honestly, hoping that maybe I could straighten the misunderstanding that started my ass-kicking (I wouldn't call it a fight). However, something else happened before I could even say my name. A voice called out in the forest,


Youmu was very careful to keep me trapped against the dirt while she turned to see who it was. A bush on her left was shaking and a moment later, a strange-looking girl tumbled out of it. She wore a frilly blue and white dress and a night-cappish hat with a symbol that reminded me of the Dreamcast, which was sitting on her pink hair. Of course, I knew right away who she was since I cursed her many times before while playing a certain game... Youmu seemed very suprised to see her.

"Yuyuko-sama! What are you doing here?"

Yuyuko's here? I'M SAVED!

"Because you weren't here to make lunch. I could have starved to death if I didn't go looking for you. Oh... did you catch lunch?"

Both girls looked at me. Then, Youmu realized what her master meant.

"No! That's a human! I was held up because he attacked me... So what should I do with him?"

Again, both looked at me. Then, Yuyuko spoke up.

"We could invite him over for lunch."


"WHAT?! I don't mean to disrespect your wishes, but this person tried to kill me."

"But, you don't have a scratch on you... this person obviously can't hurt you."


"You could at least let such a harmless person go," Yuyuko looked at the remains of my sword, "Look his weapon is broken too."

"...if that is your wish."

Youmu finally sheathed her blade and let me up. My neck was stiff from lying on such a hard surface and my jeans were covered in a somewhat thick layer of dust. Yuyuko smiled at me.

"So would you like to join us for lunch?"

I thought for a moment and remembered where they lived.

"In the Netherworld? I'd rather not go there until I actually die..."

The moment I said "I'd rather not...", Yuyuko flew up into the air holding Youmu's hand and in the midst of her servant's protests that she could fly by herself, I heard her say, "Hurry up, Youmu. Let's get back quickly so we can eat."

I watched them fly away over the trees and realized something. Where the heck was I? It looked like a generic forest from any game I've played.

I should have asked for directions...

And as I thought to myself, my stomach growled.

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