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Trudging through the forest was definately not fun. The undergrowth wasn't very thick so I could sort of tell where I was going, but that didn't stop me from getting several cuts on my arms and legs anyway. My feet were sore from walking for several hours and my stomach still had no food in it. I really had no idea where I was going but staying in the forest wouldn't do much good, especially since I had no survival skills whatsoever. If I really was in Gensokyo, I could be in the Forest of Magic and maybe find Marisa's or Alice's house... though who knows what they would do if I tried to get help. Of course, since I'd never seen a map of Gensokyo, I could be in any forest and be near anything or nothing at all.

After about another half hour of fruitless walking, I finally decided to take a long overdue break. I sat down with my back against a tree and rested. My feet were hurting pretty badly, probably because I developed some blisters. As I sat, I pondered my situation.

If I don't find someone to help me soon, I'll pass out in the middle of nowhere and die... but I wonder if there even is somebody around here...

A small noise brought me out of my brooding and I turned towards it hopefully. A strange creature seemed to materialize before my eyes. It looked sort of like a human besides the fact that it was half my size and had transluscent wings, a fairy perhaps. We stared at each other for a couple seconds before I noticed that several more of them were appearing. Looking around, I saw maybe ten of them that looked almost identical to the first one. I stood up slowly, sensing that nothing good could come of a horde of fairies. After all, they did randomly attack the heroines in the game.

And I was right. At the exact same time, all of them (for lack of a better term) fired some bullets, each of which burning with an intensity that hurt my eyes. I, of course, was already running for my life in whatever direction there seemed to be the least things trying to kill me. Energy was flying in all directions, past me fortunately, and I could do nothing but keep running. A tree root snagged my foot and I ended up on the floor for the third time since I was randomly dropped into Gensokyo. A bright red blast flew right past where my head was a moment before I tripped as another hit the ground a few inches to the right of where I was. I scrambled to my feet and kept running.

Suddenly, there were no more trees and I was running up a ridiculously long flight of stairs. Turning back, I saw the tree line I just pasted along with a great deal of fairies still pursuing me. I looked towards the top of the stairs and almost yelled from frustration from the huge amount of steps still left from the top. I was steadily getting slower from weariness, but just then, several red talismans flew from the top of the stairs and seemed to home in on the individual fairies. As they hit their marks, the talismans shined a bright white and seemed to burn their targets and disintegrate them.

And looking back for the source of the life-saving attacks, I saw a shrine maiden walking down the steps.

"Haven't you heard that the best defense is a good offense? Running away only makes the situation worse when these sort of things are attacking you."

I was still sitting on the steps when she reached me, resting from the ordeal of traveling in the forest, not to mention the attacks and seemingly endless stairs.

"Well, what's the best defense if you have no good offense?"

She laughed and I was somewhat offended.

"What's so funny? I almost got killed like three times today."

"Nothing... it's just that everyone here must have some sort of magical power. Are you saying that you have none?"

I got up and started walking up the stairs, not looking at her. She walked just a little behind and to the side.

"This is Gensokyo, right? I'm from the outside world."

"... Seriously? That means I'm going to have to pay a certain someone a little visit again."

The way she said the last sentence made it sound like I messed up her plans for something... but that certain someone she was talking about...

"...Yukari Yakumo, right?"

She grabbed me to make me stop and asked, "Yes, how did you know? Are you truly from the outside world?"

"Oh, I know a lot of things about this place that I'm stuck in. I know the history of Gensokyo, as well as the residents, the youkai, the supernatural events that have happened almost every year, and probably most of the powerful people. I know that Yukari is one of the oldest and strongest and probably got bored and opened a boundry somewhere to see what would fall through. I know that the only chance I have of getting back is through another of her boundries which is not possible now because this is winter! And in case you're wondering, I know who you are too, Reimu."

The miko just stared at me during my little rant. Finally, she continued to go up to the courtyard of the shrine and I followed. The whole way up the stairs was silent. Finally, at the top, she remarked, "There's a part that you messed up back there. I'm stronger than Yukari."

I laughed, "Haha, you're right," but in my mind I thought to myself, Not according to my games. I suck at them...

We walked past a donation box and Reimu seemed disgruntled that I didn't put anything in.

"Sorry, but I don't have any money that you would be able to use," I said as I emptied my pockets and found a dollar bill and some coins, "Unless you want me to put this in anyway. It's no use to me now."

I dropped them in and she seemed at least a little satisfied with that and just said, "Well, this is the Hakurei Shrine. Do what you want here as long as you don't make me do any more work that I have to."

My stomach growled and I realized that I still hadn't eaten since last night (at home).

"Well I hope this isn't too much work then. Do you have anything I can eat? Any little bit is fine... And a bed for the night too...?"

She sighed and made a gesture for me to follow her into the shrine.

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