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The first I noticed when I woke up was that it was warm and I was lying on something soft. A bed? Where was I? I opened my eyes to see a wooden roof above me. The piercing voice of a child sounded out next to me, "Mommy, he woke up!"
A soft voice belonging to a woman spoke up from a nearby room, "He is? Go find the village protector. Tell her he woke up."
I sat up and saw a small boy running out of the room. A moment a later, a middle-aged looking lady entered with a bowl of broth and handed it to me.
"Here, drink this. It's an herbal remedy that should give you your strength back."
I accepted the broth from her and drank it gratefully. As I drank, she told me what had happened. How the village protector had come back with me; how her family had volunteered to care for me. As I finished the broth, the same girl who I had seen before I fainted came in through the doorway. The village protector. Keine Kamishirasawa.
The woman who had given me the bowl of broth took it back and left the room. The little boy followed Keine back in, hiding behind her yet peeking curiously from time to time. The first thing she said to me was a repeat of the last thing she had asked, "Are you alright?"
The herbal broth I had just finished seemed to be working, and quickly too; my headache and sore feet were no longer hurting as badly. I sat up as Keine approached the bed and replied, "Yeah... thanks for rescuing me. I thought I was a goner."
"Well, I couldn't just leave you. The two fairies who were playing that trick on you would've probably left you to die..."
Two fairies? I guess Star got away like usual...
"...But what were you doing in the forest anyway? Don't you know that it's dangerous for those with little magical powers? And when I found you, you had no supplies for traveling. It's like you were trying to get killed..."
I laughed bitterly and said, "I can assure you that I wasn't. I had no choice but to try to go through for a certain reason."
"What is this reason? ...If you don't mind me asking."
"... Can I tell you privately tonight? Outside of the village?"
It was going to be a full moon tonight, assuming that I was only unconscious for a day. I had watched the moon every night since I had realized I was in Gensokyo. Watched for and dreaded the moon for the night it was full was the night many of the creatures here received overwhelming power. And that was the night that Keine might be able to change history and make my arrival in Gensokyo never happen. But Keine seemed hesistant to speak to me tonight.
"I... I cannot meet you tonight."
The little boy who had followed Keine in after calling her here spoke up again, "Keine is never here on a full moon. She goes out to fight bad youkai to protect us!"
She smiled at the boy. It was a smile that showed her affection for him yet it also seemed to show something else. Regret? For what? But of course it was obvious: she regretted that she had to hide the fact that every full moon, she transformed, growing horns and a tail. She probably told no one of this in fear of being rejected as a monster. Perhaps I could convince her if I told her that knew her secret already. And showed that I didn't reject or fear her. I got out of the bed, already feeling strong enough to stand and walk again.
"Then perhaps I can talk to you privately right now then. If you don't mind."
She still looked hesitant, but relented.
"Then... let's go outside... outside the village."
The whole walk outside, I thought about how I should tell her that I knew her secret. I couldn't find a good way so I decided just to wing it.
"You have the power to hide history, right?"
"Yes. And I only use it to help humanity."
"But, don't you also have the power to change and create histories?"
This question seemed to catch her off guard and she denied it with great haste.
"W-What are you talking about? I have no such ability!"
"There's no need to lie to me. I know that every full moon, like tonight, you gain those powers."
"No, I... I..."
She seemed to be searching for a way to deny this and after a few seconds, she seemed to give up.
"I see. Do you know the cost of those powers, too?"
"Yes, your transformation. Don't worry I won't tell anyone if you don't want me to, but I ask for something in return. Please help me tonight."
"... I do not know why, but I feel that I can trust you... Meet me in the forest tonight, if you are not afraid of the night of the full moon. I will tell you where later."
As according to Keine's instructions to meet her, I waited for the house I was staying at to be silent before I got up and crept outside . The village was completely still as I walked to the meeting spot. Past the edge of the village, past the first line of trees, and into the forest I went, with only the moon's eerie glow to guide me. I trusted that Keine knew what she was doing when she made the meeting point inside the forest - trusted that no youkai would find me as I was utterly defenseless. Finally, I reached the clearing that she indicated and sat down on the grass. The wait wasn't very long.
I turned around and saw her silhouetted outline dropping lightly to the ground in her transformed state.
"But of course."
As she alighted on the grass, the moon lit up her features in detail. In place of her hat, two horns were poking out of her hair with a bow tied around one of them. Her clothing had changed too, from blue to green, and a furry tail was plainly visible coming out of her dress. Her face showed mixed feelings: hesitation, a hint of worry, and a great deal of curiosity.
"You are the only human, save for one other, that has seen me like this. Yet you don't look surprised. And on top of that, you knew of my secret though I've never seen you before."
"I suppose you can call it my ability. I know more things about this world than I should. So will you listen to me and help me?"
"That is the reason I agreed to this in the first place, isn't it? Let's walk as you explain what needs helping. I must meet someone else as well."
So we walked as I explained my situation. My origins in the outside world, my sudden shift into Gensokyo, my lack of even basic magical powers, and lastly, my request for her to change history so that this would have never happened... and as I talked we walked deeper into the forest until even the light from the sun would've been blocked out.
Long after I finished my long-winded explaination, as we were walking in silence, Keine raised her hand to signal for me to stop and wait. She walked ahead through some bushes, probably into another clearing, and started talking to someone.
"Oh, Keine. Is it a full moon again already? You're later than usual so I thought I saw the moon incorrectly. It's good to see you."
"Sorry, I decided to walk tonight. And... I brought someone else along with me."
"Yes... You can come out now!"
I barely heard Keine call out to me. I was too busy dreading who I was about to me.
Oh no... Keine took me to meet her?
Her beckoning broke my brooding and I fought my way through the bushes and found that there was indeed a clearing past them. And in it, Keine was standing next to another person who was sitting. Both of them were looking at me now.
"Keine... You brought another human?"
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