Topic: The White Rose of Chireiden  (Read 46932 times)

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Sakira Rurouni

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The White Rose of Chireiden
« on: April 25, 2009, 12:20:32 am »

Now back from the old forums! And the reason I waited so long was because I was involved with AD5B and busy finishing my doujin.

Or I was just lazy.

Based on this fairly old idea:

The throne of Chireiden requires a satori, and only a satori may sit on the throne.

Unfortunately, the satori have decreased in population dramatically, to the point that there may only be two remaining satori still living in Chireiden with a claim to the throne and have not retreated further into the depths of the former Hell... and those two are the Komeiji sisters, Satori and Koishi.

Though Satori has since taken the throne of Chireiden, and administered over the Hell of Blazing Fires with a benevolent hand-- which is the purpose of having a satori on the throne, because with their ability to see into the hearts of their subjects, it is difficult for these satori to act contrary to their people's best interests-- the fate of her younger sister, Koishi, is the one in question.

Satori Komeiji is a responsible, reasonable ruler, if not an especially attentive one... but Koishi Komeiji is a prodigal. When it surfaced that Satori wished to have her sister Koishi alongside her on the throne, Koishi seemingly panicked, and she closed her Third Eye. Koishi threw away the gift of the satori race, and took off to the aboveground, becoming the runaway satori maiden of Chireiden.

However, the time may soon come when Koishi may be forced to return to Chireiden. For now the Palace of the Earth Spirits faces the greatest threat it ever has faced: Shinki, goddess of Makai, has returned to impose her will on her rebellious former kindgom.

Satori has issued a summons to her sister aboveground, sent via hellcrow, but Chireiden will not last much longer under the extended siege Shinki has imposed onto it. The fate of Chireiden could possibly depend on Koishi. Will the prodigal daughter agree to returning belowground and saving her kingdom, her home, and her sister?

Now, REHASH TIME! But first, I shall advertise. Allow me to use the worst of it to advertise this story:


I have no idea why I am doing this. I'm tempted to make the working title Zolst Ligen in Drerd ("You should lie in the earth!"). But no. Though Tanasinn (aka Betty) actually gave me the idea of Satori Eye Z as the alternate title, so it stuck in my head.

Shall we?

The White Rose of Chireiden

Chapter 1 - Before the Former Hell

Beneath the land of Gensokyo, Hell blazed.

This itself was nothing notable, but the problem was that now, Hell was blazing-- and so was the rest of the Underground City. The forces of Makai had broken through, and led by the Vermeil Devil's maid, they stormed into the Underground City, and Chireiden.

Makai's troops were all demons, fitting for the goddess Shinki, lady of Pandaemonium. Chireiden had incurred her wrath by their desire to gain independence. So Shinki had of course sent her troops into the capital, the Underground City, and its federal district of Chireiden. And after taking Chireiden, it would only be a matter of hours before the seat of local governance was taken -- the Palace of the Earth Spirits. It was the perfect opportunity, too; Shinki had ensured that there was a distraction of the highest caliber, one that required the attention of Chireiden's entire army. The otherwise fighting youkai and satori of the Underground City were, in other words, miles away when Shinki began her offensive. She had sent a small contingent, a battalion or two, to supposedly poison Chireiden's water supply, and let a bit of false information slip that she had sent her entire army there, to begin a surprise attack on the Underground, which had merited the attention of all of Chireiden's forces, but left their capital wide open to attack.

And attack Shinki did. Yumeko laughed uproariously as, preceded by hordes of spiny, bristling demons, she strode confidently through the smoke into the first of five rings of defense surrounding the Palace. The rings were successively higher and higher, and their entrances were not all in one row. It was a maze of sorts, giving any defender ample time and area to be able to repel attack as invaders fought their way through the rings. But whoever had designed the castle's defenses had not counted on the invaders' sheer, overwhelming numbers. Yumeko had decided, with the help of the strategist Mai, that she could sacrifice ten of her demons for every one citizen of hell and still come out victorious.

Smoke was billowing everywhere. The houses of the Underground City were sprawling, strewn in a vaguely circumscribed pattern, which surrounded the federal district of Chireiden in a protective sphere. And even further in was the Palace. But Yumeko's troops had taken the Underground City unawares, marching quickly through a back tunnel, a service pathway to Hell, which Shinki's daughter Alice had found one day by pure chance while playing with her dolls.

So they were able to storm at least the outskirts of the city and quickly start torching the outer ring of houses before anyone was even aware of what was going on. And because all the houses were built of wood and thatch for the most part, the fires quickly spread, engulfing half the city in flames and slowly making its way from the eastern half of the Underground City to the western half, destroying everything in its path and devouring everything with its flame, homes and the youkai living in them alike.

Making her way through the blazing embers of the inner city, she had been shocked to see her advance force suddenly disappear into the ground. She saw that it was a trap... a spider trap. The Kurodani clan of spider youkai were protecting their city the only way they knew how. And as the trap behind her suddenly sprang, leaving Yumeko and only a guard of about twenty demons at the head of the invasion force, fireballs rained down from the cavern's ceiling.

The Underground City was, after all, an immense cave, all lit up by the Hell of Blazing Fires. All sorts of creatures lived here.

Yumeko grit her teeth and jumped to the side, straight into one of the burning houses. Yoriko, the leader of the Kurodani clan, followed her with her sight, surprised. Behind her, her small troop of spider youkai, all members of the Kurodani house, tried to maintain order as youkai ran to and fro in and out of the flames, hauling buckets of water back and forth to their burning homes-- or if they were wiser, fleeing the burning city entirely. Of course, Yoriko could not have known that Yumeko's forces were so many that by this point, they had encircled the entire Underground City. They were only waiting on Yumeko's word to strike--

And there it was. Yumeko had made her way to the top of the water tower, and while Yoriko's attention had been divided between wondering where she was and trying to keep calm, Yumeko had climbed to the top of the tower and set off a signal flare. It was one of the new spellcards, a minor one by modern standards; but in those days, when spellcards were just getting started, this one was magnificent; a sparkling green flame that rocketed upwards to the ceiling, visible for miles around.

At that point, the entire demon army let out a simultaneous roar and began stamping their feet. Shrieking, cawing, bellowing, squawking-- Shinki's troops began their march into the burning city, their feet and claws thudding against the ground in such a way that the earth shook beneath them. The tremor passed through the entire city, making its residents scream even more than they had been before.

"What is going--" and then a knife thudded into the back of Yoriko's neck and went right through. She didn't even have a chance to scream. She fell, headfirst into the hole she had herself helped dig to trap the soldiers. Yumeko landed lightly on the ground, and the Kurodani clan shrank back from her, their backs to the pit.
Yumeko smiled at them and took out a dozen knives from her apron.

In less than thirty seconds, Yumeko's personal invasion force was marching on, stamping on the corpses of the Kurodani clan as they went. Only Yoriko's daughter Yamame saw, hidden in the shadow of a large rock in the middle of one of the streets of Chireiden. Yumeko walked past and her eyes looked over her; if she saw Yamame, she gave no indication of it, and she continued her march into the center of the city.

Yamame trembled, then turned back down the street and ran as fast and as far as she could to one of her little spider-holes, where she would end up hiding for the rest of the invasion.

Despite this display of power from Yumeko and her guard, the other residents of the Underground also put up some resistance. After marching on from the Kurodani clan's massacre and fighting their way past the armed citizens who had hastily formed a militia of sorts to stop her progress, Yumeko encountered the princess of the bridge, the only stone bridge that united the living area of the Underground City with the federal district of Chireiden, spanning the Mizuhashi Chasm. Pandora Mizuhashi, the hereditary keeper of the bridge and recent mother, saw her approaching. She looked down at the stones beneath her feet, the bridge that she had spent her whole life guarding, and the bridge which her daughter would have otherwise inherited, had it not been for this.

Pandora raised her lance, the spear of the Mizuhashi family. With just one blow, the cornerstone of the bridge would shatter, and the entire thing would go down. She whispered a final prayer for her young daughter, then brought it down, seemingly not noticing the knife in between her eyes that Yumeko had just thrown. Her eyes still looking down, the lance slipped from her hands and Pandora toppled over, falling to an inglorious final resting place at the bottom of the chasm, the lance falling with her, clattering against the sides of the chasm as it fell.

And so it came to pass that Yumeko had made it to the outer, fifth ring of defense, blocked by an enormous stone door which had been closed to her. Her huge army was busy looting and torching the city, slowly making their way inwards. Yumeko was poised to start marching on the Palace itself. Fireballs that were still raining down from above had taken out a good amount of her demons, though, which was worrisome.

Still, she decided to march on. First mistake. Yumeko had taken all of two steps when suddenly, a wooooooshing sound was heard, and a purple-brown-white flash appeared--

"I'm Suika the strong, and now I'm going to kill you for destroying this city!"

"That's just Suika?!" Yumeko whispered aloud in her hiding place. As soon as the oni had appeared, Yumeko had dived to the side again, letting her men take care of it. This would have worried her if she had thought that they had the slightest chance of winning, or else they might have lived to tell the tale. Suika was now at least twelve meters tall, swinging into the hordes of demons with her chains and fists, devastating them with each blow. Yumeko turned her head slightly, peering over the stone gate behind which she was hidden, and watched as Suika wreaked havoc. "If that's just Suika, then I really don't want to meet Yuugi--"

"Vermilion Sign - Last Moment of the Corpse!"

"Cerulean Sign - Traitor's Honor!"

Yumeko turned all the way around just in time to see two shadowy figures divebomb from the darkness above Suika and release two devastating blasts of energy, one red and one blue, straight at the oni. Caught unawares, Suika was sent flying back at least five meters. Her hair was set on fire at the same time that her legs were now frozen. The confused oni saw that she had been defeated, and she tried to flee, but instead, Suika toppled over and was summarily overrun by hordes of demons. Still, she managed to dissolve herself just in time before any of the injuries, minor though they may be to an oni, accumulated.

And just like that, Suika was defeated.

Yumeko emerged, making sure to do it from behind her troops instead of the stalagmite she had been hiding behind. "Well done, Yuki and Mai."

The two magicians turned to look at the maid and smiled as one. "We just got lucky," Mai said simply, brushing her blue hair back with a hand. "Most people down here have never seen or heard of a spellcard, our reports said. I just came down here to the field to see if it was true."

Both Yuki and Mai were early adopters of the new spellcard system. Yumeko hadn't approved, until she saw what they could do for Alice's rather destructive tantrums, at which point she had agreed to let Yuki and Mai practice their new techniques so long as they promised that once they got the hang of it, they would teach Alice how do use them. But Makai had been rather forwards for its time; very other few places in the aboveground had adopted the new spellcard system. It seems that the Underground City hadn't even heard of them, much less how to defend against them, which meant--

"They don't know that they have to graze or dodge, you see," Yuki continued, in line with Yumeko's train of thought. "If we catch them unawares, we can take down the castle's defenders fairly easily, I'll bet. What do you think, Mai?"

Mai nodded. "What do you want us to do, then, Yumeko?"

Yumeko considered-- or was about to, when she saw one of her demons fall to a well-aimed fireball from up above. She glared upwards, up to the roof of the cavern. "Up there. We've been pelted by fireballs ever since we got here. Take them out, and more importantly--" here she looked at Yuki-- "Take their place. Rain down fireballs upon the Palace of the Earth Spirits. As for you, Mai, help Yuki take the place of.... whoever the hell it is that's throwing fireballs, and after you're done, circle above me and my men and rain down icicles on whomever crosses our path."

Yuki and Mai backed up, put their feet together, and saluted. "Understood." And then they took off, into the air. She looked to the task at hand; breaking the stone door that blocked her path. With a wave of her hand, she put her demon forces to the task, and waited behind them as they systematically demolished the door.

In the meantime, Yumeko kept her head up, watching Yuki's ascent into the darkness. Keeping focused on the small flames beneath Yuki's feet that propelled her upwards and through the air, Yumeko watched as Yuki finally reached the top of the ceiling, and was now going along, half floating and half maneuvering around the enormous stalactites that portruded from the roof of the cavern. She made a mental note, wondering why these defenders from the roof weren't using the stalactites as weapons, and she concluded that they must not be terribly strong, or at least not strong enough to lodge these stalactites from their place.

And they weren't. Yuki finally found them. They were a horde of Tsurube-otoshi, riding up to the roof in buckets attatched to a rather complex pulley system, and they were throwing fireballs at the demonic horde, taking potshots at them. Yumeko noted, dryly, that they might have been spreading even more flames, but then she reasoned that they could probably shoot a fireball down at her troops and still manage to hit one; such were their numbers.

Yuki advanced on them, hiding in the shadow of a stalactite. Up there, the smoke did not reach, but the flames of the city were the only thing lighting up the cavern, as the Hell of Blazing Fires' magnificent obsidian gates were being shut against intruders. The progress was slow, and Yumeko could tell that they were preparing to barricade themselves in, or at least keep the Hell of Blazing Fires out of the hands of Shinki's hordes.

But then she heard a shout; Luize the observer had noticed. Carried aloft by two spellcards grafted to the bottom of the soles of her shoes, Luize was the most adept flier in all of Makai, and with her arrows, she struck down an enormous amount of youkai, fleeing the Underground City and not realizing that she was bearing down upon them in the air. It seemed that most people in the Underground City had never seen anyone fly.

In any case. Luize was now alerting the demonic hordes to the obsidian gates, which were slowly, inexorably, swinging shut. A mass roar, and then the entire western half of the demon army swung to the right, rushing at the obsidian gates to keep them open.

While all this was going on, the eastern half was still getting struck down by fireballs. But then they stopped. Yumeko turned her attention upwards again just as a scream resonated from the roof of the cavern. Yuki had, with several slashes of a blazing dagger, begun to cut down the tough rope that kept the tribe of Tsurube-otoshi suspended in the air on their pulley system. One yank, and the Tsurube-otoshi screamed as they shook on the rope. Three of them tried to make their way to the witch, and several of them aimed fireballs at Yuki, ready to shoot her down.

But they never got the chance, because Yuki had finally made the rope break. It was rapidly tearing apart, strained by the weight of so many Tsurube-otoshi in their buckets. And then it gave out entirely. Yuki quickly released the rope, to not get rope burn, as the Tsurube-otoshi, still attatched to the rope and otherwise unable to keep themselves above the ground, plummeted to the stalagmite-covered floor below. Some of the Tsurube-otoshi died from the fall; some of them were impaled on the stalagmites; some were smashed against the rocks.

Not a one of them got back up.

Yumeko flashed a congratulatory thumbs-up at the ceiling, and Yuki noticed it and gave a strained smile in reply. Then she disappeared into the maze of stalactites, to carry out the second phase of her orders.

Just then, the maid heard a crashing sound. She turned just in time to see the five-meter-tall door, as well as the surrounding wall, crumble entirely at the claws of her demon guard. The outer wall had been fortified to the point that it was about six feet thick, but now she had breached it.

"I doubt the rest of the walls are as fortified," Yumeko said aloud to herself. "Usually, the outermost wall is always the strongest, because it's made to withstand barrages of all kinds." She stepped over the rubble, her boots crunching against the broken rocks. Inside the wall, she found that breathing was a bit easier, because embers from burning houses weren't flying in the air every which way, and there wasn't much smoke in the fifth ring yet, though it was still hot.

Behind her, her demon hordes swarmed into the breach, spreading around the ring, torching everything flammable they could find. It seemed that in comparison to the Underground City, which had been attacked unawares, Chireiden itself had had plenty of time to react, and everyone there was gone, doubtlessly having barricaded themselves in the center. Yumeko raised her eyes, eyeing the towering turrets and palisades of the Palace of the Earth Spirits.

A flash of pink. Yumeko blinked and squinted. Was that just a stray ember she had seen?

But she didn't have enough time to consider it any further. Because a new threat had arisen. Sudden screeching was heard to her left; Yumeko wrenched her attention away just in time to see the enormous Yuugi Hoshiguma emerging from around the corner, armed with chains on her arms, a grin on her face, and an enormous mace in her right hand (not to mention a sake dish in the other).

"Aah, you're Shinki's maid, ain't ya?" Yuugi laughed even as she smashed a demon's head into the wall. "It's a nice day for fightin', ain't it? I don't suppose you're strong, eh?"

Yumeko grinned. Yuugi was a bit taller than she was, though Yumeko was over six feet tall. They shared the same hair, too. And the same lust for fighting. Though she had a horn in the middle of her forehead... Yumeko figured that this was Yuugi, the other oni she had been warned about. 'Yuugi The Strong.' The maid drew some knives from her apron. "Of course I am!"

Yuugi winked, kicking a demon into the air as she did so with as much effort as Yumeko would use to lift a feather. "Good! I would invite you to get drunk with me, but when I have an opportunity to fight someone strong..." Yuugi yawned as she set her dish of sake down and thrust her fist into a demon's skull. She wiped her hand clean of gore on the wall. "You understand. I hope you're stronger than these guys, though."

Yumeko took a deep breath, then smirked. If Yuugi, an oni, was putting her sake dish to the side... then she was deadly serious. She drew a longer knife, a falchion, from the inside of her right boot.

"But of course I am, oni!" And with that, Yumeko threw herself into battle against Yuugi.


Next installment: Yuugi vs Yumeko! The main character actually shows her freakin' face! And no, I'm not even done with this chapter yet. It's already 25 pages in Microsoft Word and still going strong. orz

Man, I love Spring Break.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 07:21:18 am by Sakoakuma Rurouni »

Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2009, 12:22:12 am »
I haven't been screamed off with arrows and pitchforks for writing this? Darn. I must not be doing a good enough job.

Well, let's continue with this.


Chapter 1 - Before the Former Hell (continued)

"What are you doing there? Get away from the window!" The young satori suddenly felt herself forcibly pulled away from the windowsill. It was rough, not the way she was used to being treated.

She turned and stared at her father questioningly. "Quisto? What is it, papá?"

Tetsuji Komeiji looked worried. Really worried. His third eye looked her over, rolling in its purple socket. "Sorry for scaring you, but we have to get out of here. We have to evacuate the Palazzo. Where's your sorella? I can't hear her thoughts."

The pink-haired girl pointed upwards. "She went upstairs to see what was going on."

"Di sopra?!" Tetsuji's forcibly calm expression gave way to visible panic. "Perché-- tch." Tetsuji cut himself off and looked at the nearest staircase. "Principessa, listen to me." He kneeled down in front of his daughter and put his hands on her shoulders. "Koishi, I want you to go downstairs to the fourth floor as fast as you can. Remember that little hollow tunnel-thing behind the painting of your mother in Miyani's study?"

Koishi nodded dutifully, her pink hair swishing as she did so. "Buono," Tetsuji said. "Go there and hide. Be sure to bring some food or something, maybe an orange or some rice. Go there, and stay inside the tunnel. I'll be there in less than ten minutes with Satori. If we don't make it... then lock the entrance and don't come out until you hear that everything's quiet. Capisce, Koishi? Stay in there until everything's quiet outside, then you can come out. Capisce?"

The little satori nodded. "Capisco." Her father released her and got to his feet. "I'll be down there with Satori in ten minutes, okay? Dieci minuto." He bent over and kissed his daughter's pink hair. "Andare! Correre!" he said, and took off running up the stairs.

Koishi stood there, her little feet not moving. She had seen the fear in her father's thoughts, but she didn't understand it. Still, she was about to head downstairs, just when--

An uproar from outside, down below. Koishi ran up to the windowsill again and looked down to take in the sight.



Metal struck metal as the maid met the oni on the battlefield. Her falchion slammed down onto the bar of the mace, shock waves running through the hands of both women. Digging in their feet, they bent to the task of trying to push one another backward.

Both were youkai in their prime, well-matched. Yumeko allowed herself to be pushed back a pace, then she retaliated with a roar, sending Yuugi skidding across the ground, plowing two furrows into the stone ground.

Suddenly the oni whipped her chain about her opponent's feet, catching the maid unawares and crashing her to the rock.

The falchion came thrusting and slicing through the chains, its point punching a small hole in Yuugi's chest. "First blood," Yumeko hissed, not wanting to waste her precious breath, but Yuugi tore the chain's link to her manacle off and leapt backward, a hand covering the bleeding hole in her chest. Yumeko tore the chain from her body and came after her adversary, whirling it.

She flung the chain and Yuugi jumped to one side, the metal weight whacking her side painfully as it sailed by. She stabbed downward in an attempt to crush Yumeko's foot and lame her, but the maid moved quickly, a spike of the mace tearing the side of her foot. Ignoring the wound, she stamped down on the mace, trapping it against the ground.

Flicking up the huge falchion, she laid Yuugi's right hand bare to the bone. Yuugi fell down, but only to get a favorable angle to aim her second chain. Whirling it about her hand, she came up, battering the maid’s face with the chain links. They broke and circled, the mace probing, the falchion seeking.

Then the chain shot up, enveloping Yumeko's head, followed by a fistful of gritty dirt which the oni flung into her eyes. Yuugi had no time to swing her huge mace, so she hit Yumeko hard on the side of her head with the mace butt.

The maid fell heavily, blinking and trying to rip the chains from her face. Yuugi raised the mace for the kill, but the maid rolled over. Folding her body into a curled-up position, Yumeko hauled sharply on the chain and Yuugi stumbled forward, her back bent.

As she fell toward Yumeko, the maid lashed out with her uninjured foot, smacking her metal-tipped boot into the oni's nose with a sickening thud. Yuugi fell backward.

Yumeko struggled upright, tearing herself free of the chains, and quickly wiped the grit from her eyes. From flat on her back Yuugi saw her opponent bearing down on her, falchion upraised. She shoved the mace out in front of her to counter the weapon's swing, and Yumeko’s blade sheared right through three of the spikes, which zinged off elsewhere.

Yumeko towered over Yuugi like a giant oak. As the oni tried to rise, she kicked her flat again.

The pandemonium which had rung through the area when the maid and the oni had first begun to fight fell hushed. Every eye was on Yumeko, standing over her enemy, her eyes lit up with the glow of someone who was about to take a life, and more importantly, enjoy it.

Kicking the chain to one side, she stamped down hard on the mace shaft. It broke with a loud crack, leaving Yuugi with a handful of splinters. Her eyes bright, she smiled down at the oni and licked her lips.

"It seems I won, oni."

For the first time in her life, Yuugi Hoshiguma felt cold fear. She tried to drag herself backward, but Yumeko's powerful hands seized her and hauled her up until their faces were almost touching. The maid's voice rang in her ears.

"What's your name, oni?"

Yuugi grit her teeth. "... Yuugi Hoshiguma... the strong."

"I see. My name is Yumeko, head maid to Shinki, goddess of Makai. Will you surrender?"

Yuugi finally looked into Yumeko's eyes, flinching as she did so. One word escaped the oni's lips and echoed around the silent fifth ring. One word that Yuugi wasn't likely to forget anytime soon.

"... yes."

The next thing everyone heard was the thud of Yuugi's body being tossed to the floor as an aside, like a doll. Yumeko picked up her falchion from the cold rock of the ground, pointing with it at the Palace of the Earth Spirits.


The spell over the Palace's guard was broken. They had been stunned into a pause, as had the demons, but now the fighting resumed with a roar. The arrow slits suddenly burst out of their camouflaged coverings and began to cut down the hordes of demons. For their part, a hail of arrows and slingstones shot out over the crowd of demons as they slowly made their way around the ring and to the next gate, which the guard tried to keep closed. With every charge at the gate, the defenders braced themselves against it. Though it was only a matter of time until her troops made it through the fourth ring's gate, and pushed their way into the very heart of Chireiden.

Yumeko realized that though she could sacrifice ten of her demons for every one citizen of hell and still come out victorious, these rings of defense against the Palace were quite a good idea in that they funneled her armies into six-meter-wide streets where numbers meant nothing. In these rings, a few could easily defend against a many. Yumeko settled on the idea of a pyrrhic victory at best. But she was still going to win.

The maid turned to look at the fallen form of Yuugi Hoshiguma. Yuugi was bent over, her face in her hands, her right hand a bloody mess, and her arms on her knees. She couldn't see her face. Her dish of sake lay there, ignored; her mace lay broken in two pieces as well. Her chains lay at her feet, though the manacles were still attached to her arms and legs.

"..." Yumeko felt something akin to pity, though the feeling didn't last long. She realized that she had effectively shattered that oni's pride, that she had stripped her of her honor.

The maid considered this, even as her roaring army charged the almost-splintered gate.

"... get stronger, Yuugi. Then you can come back and fight me again someday, and reclaim your title of 'The Strong'."

And with that reassurance, Yumeko was able to push the idea out of her mind. She distracted herself by turning her attention to other pressing matters. "... actually, where the hell is Mai? I could use her help right now." She looked up, but instead of seeing the witch's blue hair, she saw a flash of pink again. Yumeko focused on it, eyeing it and seeing that it was actually the hair color of one of one of those satori living in the Palace of the Earth Spirits.

And Yumeko's orders had been to exterminate every satori in Chireiden.

The maid picked up a javelin, which had doubtless been left lying on the ground by some demon in his rush to charge the gate. She brushed the dust off of it and tested its weight. Acceptable. Yumeko made her way outside of the rings entirely, to a small clearing which was now devoid of any Underground life right outside of the entrance to the fifth ring. She kept her eyes on the pink head she had spotted, poking above the windowsill, on the seventh floor of the Palace.

One hand out straight, the other wide outstretched, balancing the javelin, the maid did a hop-skipping sideways run right across the ground. Her boots thudded against the stone ground as she gained momentum, one eye centered firmly on the high target, and she let out an almighty yell as she hurled the weapon with all her strength. It whistled up through the cool undergound air, up, up, with breathtaking speed, directly at its target.


Italian Koishi makes her first appearance!

Next installment: OH GOD SOMEONE'S DEAD, Mai proves to be little more than a plot device, and Yumeko is freakin' crazy. This is fun to write~

And props to E-Mouse for teaching me how to mix n' match hiragana while I was flailing around for help.

(I love Yuugi, so please don't think I made her lose because I hate her or something like that.)

Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2009, 12:26:16 am »

I haven't been trolled or flamed for making Yuugi lose, which shows me that I cannot possibly be doing it right. Let's kill off some more characters, eh?


Chapter 1 - Before the Former Hell (continued)

Koishi saw it coming. She was paralyzed. She couldn't move. Realization invaded her senses just then with a shock of terror as her awful position dawned on her. But she still could not move.

"Koishi? KOISHI!"

A scream. Miyani Komeiji, Koishi's older cousin -- and more importantly, the Queen of Chireiden -- had heard the murderous thoughts of the maid. Miyani was the queen for a reason; her Third Eye was the keenest in all of Chireiden, and it was said she could detect the thoughts of a firefly from a mile away. But now, here she was. Miyani, who was Koishi's older cousin, who sometimes took her and her sister Satori on cat-cart rides through the streets of Chireiden, laughing and hollering as they went. But now, here she was. Miyani, who was the most compassionate ruler of Chireiden they had had in centuries, who had first conceived the idea of officially splitting apart from Makai and ending the oppression of her people.

But now, here she was, a javelin growing out of her neck on either side, having pushed Koishi out of the way. Miyani turned her weak gaze to Koishi and raised a trembling hand to Koishi's cheek, brushing aside a strand of pink hair.

"Principessa, get out of here."

And then Miyani fell dead on the carpet at Koishi's feet, her hand clipping the young satori's shoulder and bringing her tumbling down as well. Koishi looked at Miyani, not understanding. She poked Miyani with her finger. "Miyani? Come on, andiamo. Let's go. Get up, get up. Come on. Andiamo. Wake up."

Miyani didn't move.

It was then that Koishi saw Miyani's Third Eye. Bright yellow, with a golden iris in it. It was the most powerful Third Eye any satori had possessed in centuries. Miyani used it expertly and effortlessly, and her Third Eye was always whizzing around in its socket, taking in everyone and everything, evaluating everyone's thoughts and intentions simultaneously and making according judgments, always acting in her people's best interests.

Now that Third Eye was bleeding. It was still open, of course, but the nerves and delicate blood vessels within it had burst, engorging it with blood. The iris was literally swimming in it. Koishi poked it. The Third Eye burst, exploding with blood, caking Koishi's hair, shirt, skirt, and Third Eye with Miyani's blood.

With a sob of horror, Koishi heaved her cousin's body off herself and fled.


Yumeko grinned. The pink head had gone down. Her javelin had met its target, or as far as she could tell. Once she got inside the Palace, she would be able to confirm her kill. The first of many, of course. She was looking forward to slaughtering all the satori, and wondered how good of a fight they would put up. They were apparently quite good at evading direct attacks, so Yumeko wondered vaguely how she would defeat someone who could read all her moves in her mind and act accordingly.

A roar of joy. Somewhere within the rings, Yumeko's eastern half of the army had taken the third ring and were now swarming into it. Yumeko had no real desire to throw herself into that particular fray, so she stayed outside, waiting for them to take the first ring before going in. Still, she wasn't going to run out of demons anytime soon; even now, they kept pouring into the fifth ring, and thousands more were still pillaging the Underground City.

"Yumeko, Yumeko!" Mai alighted in front of the maid and gave her a short bow. "Sara wanted to send word to you!"

Yumeko nodded. "Speak."

"Well, the obsidian gate has been halted. The Hell of Blazing Fires remains open to our men, though they're being attacked rather brutally by the hordes of hellcrows that are striking at them. Still, it's only a matter of time. Commander -- er, Sara -- waits for your orders."

The maid considered for a moment, her mind piecing together what she would need. "Hmm... I have it. Mai!" Mai stood up straight. "Yes, Yumeko?"

"Tell Sara to keep going until the entire Hell of Blazing Fires is securely in our hands except for the Palace entrance to it. Then when I give the signal, attack the Palace from the eastern side and block all the exits. Then go in and go down, make sure there aren't any escape tunnels or something. I don't want a single satori to get away. In fact--" Yumeko grinned-- "I want no prisoners."

"But what about the satori themselves?" Mai asked, breaking protocol a bit. "They can read our minds! Heck, a few of them might be able to hear us right now!"

Yumeko shook her head, repeating something she had heard from Luize's observation reports. "No satori can hear the thoughts of a person at a large distance. We're at least two miles from the Palace, and they've doubtless holed up in their hiding places hoping that we won't find them. We're fine. As to that, though... let me take care of it. While you take the ground floor and the dungeons, I'll go in with my men and climb upwards. Make sure they're all trapped above the first floor. Tell Luize to be on the watch and shoot down anyone who attempts to fly-- though I doubt that'll happen. These people are completely backwards; I'll bet they've never even heard of spellcards. I'll even send my men to climb on the outside and barge into the fifth floor, so as we push them upwards, they get killed even more quickly."

Mai put her feet together and saluted. She was just flying off when Yumeko called out for her again. "Oh, and Mai!"

The blue-haired witch turned in midair. Yumeko noted that though her wings were largely vestigial, they were slowly becoming visibly stronger to anyone who was good at observing. And Yumeko was very, very good at observing. "Mai, go tell Yuki to start raining down stalactites on the Palace. And after you deliver your message to Sara, you're going up there to help her. I want complete aerial support while I march in. And besides..." Yumeko winked. "Stalactites can't think. No satori will ever be able to see them coming."

Mai nodded and flew off. Somewhere in the distance, a roar. Yumeko figured that her men must have broken through into the second ring. Soon, all of Chireiden would be theirs. Then a rocky plain, and finally--

"The Palace of the Earth Spirits," Yumeko said aloud to no one in particular. She looked up at the open windows of the Palace and smiled. Soon, her master would be in control of Chireiden again, and Shinki's great power would be feared throughout all Gensokyo.


Koishi ran. Or tried. Several times, she stumbled in her haste to get away, to put distance between herself and Miyani's corpse. As she came down the stairs from the sixth floor, she tripped over the cords of her Third Eye and fell face forward into a drapery, pulling it down with her. The hyperventilating little satori took the chance to burrow into the drapery, cleaning off as much of Miyani's blood as she possibly could. Then she came out, looking and feeling slightly better.

But then the memory of Miyani with her throat ripped open by that javelin came back to her, and Koishi reeled back onto the drapery again, holding her head and moaning softly.

"Miyani," Koishi murmured. "Miyani, Miyani. Wake up." She wrapped her arms around her knees and curled up. "Per favore, wake up..."

Shouts from around the corner, at the bottom of the staircase, pulled her out of her murmurings. Koishi got to her feet and stepped down, now on the fifth floor. Satori were running back and forth, adding verbal shouts to their mental screams. Koishi heard them both simultaneously, and was rather dazed at all that was going on. The Palace of the Earth Spirits was largely a quiet place, as entire conversations could be had between the satori nobility and royalty inside their heads, by each satori reading the other's mind. Rarely was there a need to use one's voice around this place, but now, the entire Palace was in chaos. Dozens of satori ran to and fro, sometimes accompanied by their youkai servants, trying to get all their possessions in order, their Third Eyes whirling in their eye sockets as they tried to make sense of the matter.

Koishi was part of all of this. She heard someone thinking, "Oh, but what will happen to my furnishings? My furnishings, which I've spent so much time on..." Someone else, she heard thinking, "Gotta find a way to get out of here. I'm not going to trapped with the rest of these!" And still another, she heard thinking, "If I can just make it to the thirteenth floor of the Palazzo, I might be able to use that parachute thing to get out of here..."

She blinked. Looking down at the red stains on her shirt, she instantly blanked her mind out and passed unseen through the crowd of rushing nobles. She didn't want them to know about--


She froze in her steps.

"Miyani's dead?" Someone asked aloud.

Koishi looked at the ground.

"Miyani's DEAD!" someone shrieked. "She's dead, oh my god, what are we going to do?!"

"The queen is dead?" "Dannazione! The queen is dead!" "What do we do now?" "Surrender! Arrendersi, it's our only chance. Maybe this way, we won't get murdered in our own palazzo!" "NO! We have to stand and fight. We can't let them take the Palace without a fight!" "Says you!" "Look who's talking. 'Maybe this way, we won't die?' No, we have to take a stand." "Oh, just get us out of here, someone!" "Andiamo, there's got to be a way out of this..." And all of it aloud, in very loud voices. The turmoil within their minds was even worse, especially as most of the young nobles didn't seem to understand the gravity of the situation. The few older nobles that were amongst this crowd did their best to calm everyone down, but to no avail.

Koishi quickly wove her way through the crowd and past them to the staircase leading to the fourth floor.

"What are you doing, Koishi?" A male satori, one of her many cousins, came up the stairs and passed Koishi. "Why are you going downstairs? The demon army's coming up! We have to climb as high as we can!" He grabbed her hand and tried to pull her upwards and along with him.

"No!" Koishi resisted, pulling her hand out of his grip. "Papà told me to hide on the fourth floor!"

The young man looked at her, panicked. "Suit yourself!" he declared, and let go of her.

Koishi took her chance to push downwards, past the sudden rush of satori running upwards, away from the invading army. Though tiny, she refused to be trampled, and she pushed -- "scusi" -- her way downwards -- "pardon me" -- through the influx. Buffeted on all sides, she squeezed her tiny frame through the rush, and made it down the stairs. It was the fourth floor.

"Miyani's study," Koishi said aloud, and looked around frantically. There were still many satori on this floor, packed in around the staircases and the stained-glass windows. And not only satori, but a ton of youkai from Chireiden too. Koishi heard their thoughts and paid them no heed. None of them were a threat to any good satori. But where was her Satori? Her older sister.

"Papà will find her," she said aloud. Then she raced down the hallways, bumping into refugees and refusing to stop even to beg pardon this time. She maneuvered her way past a group of mouse youkai and rattled the doorknob to Miyani's study.

"... no! It's locked?!" The little girl sighed and gave up. There was no way in--

No, there was, Koishi realized. The head cook's keys. He had a set of keys in the kitchen, for getting into all of the rooms of the palace to deliver room service to the satori nobles that preferred to dine in their apartments. She and her sister had borrowed them before to pull all sorts of pranks on the adults. Failing that, she could always grab one of the knives in the kitchen and force her way in, she figured.

The kitchen was on the first floor, but what did that matter? Koishi immediately turned and raced back down to the main staircase, but instead of fleeing as high as she could up the palace stairs, she pushed her way downwards. Again she had to brave the crushing of youkai and satori alike as they shoved past her. But Koishi was small, and squeezed into every crevice she could find until she was on the third floor landing.

The third floor was even worse than the one before it. It was packed with satori and youkai, all yelling and demanding. The youkai must have come from outside, from Chireiden and the rest of the Underground City... how far had the invaders come, anyway? Koishi had seen them, led by that red maid, all the way into the fourth circle, but surely they had been stopped by their imperial guard?

Either way, she had to get those keys. Or a place to hide. Here, she wouldn't find either one. So she plunged into the crowd, ignoring the pain and crushing, paying no attention to the occasional person who tried to hold on to her and say, "You're going the wrong way!" and the nagging echo of her name being yelled after her.

She reached the stairs to the second floor and heard even more screaming and shouting. Koishi was sick of being crushed by now, so she forced her way through the bars on the staircase and slid down the railings, skipping the crowd. She looked down, and realizing that there was no clean landing, she simply dropped and hit a karakasa youkai heavily, forcing it to break her landing. "Sorry!" she yelled, and kept going.

She wondered how her father would get into Miyani's study, if the door was locked. That meant that she had to find those keys as fast as she could. But the second floor was terrible. There was a mad rush for the stairs here, shoving their way into the stairwell and trampling small youkai underfoot.

Still, Koishi doggedly pushed her way through. Past the screams of "Oh, please, for the love of god, hurry UP!" and "Madonna mia, aiutami!", wrenching her shirt free from the hand of an elderly satori who yelled at her, "No time for running downstairs! You'll die!", and sneaking her way through the crowd, she reached the final flight of stairs--

Just then, a tremendous crash. A tremor ran through the crowd of youkai and satori, and there a mad rush towards the stairs, panicked screams ruling the atmosphere. What was going on? Koishi did her best to not get trampled, then reached a hand out to the railing of the final staircase and clung to it as satori and youkai swept past her. Gathering her determination, she walked over the railing and slid down on the banisters again.

But she only got halfway down. Good thing, too. But from here, Koishi could still see everything happening on the first floor.

The crash had been the obsidian front gate to the palace shattering into a million pieces. The mad rush had been in response to the swarming in of all these demons, who laughed gleefully and set about the task of slaughtering everyone in the palace. She registered, dimly, that shapes were climbing up the sides of the palace from the outside, but that was a problem for everyone else up there. Right now, she was seeing youkai and satori alike being butchered by the demons of Makai. And more horrifyingly, the satori's final thoughts were coming straight at her through her Third Eye with such clarity that it almost seemed that she was the one thinking them. The abruptness of the end of those thoughts was haunting.

"Oh god I'm going to die please don't let me die please I don't want to di

"Don't kill me don't kill me don't kill me don't

"It cannot end like this! Where is the army, where are our defenders, oh god claws into my face my eyes oh god it hurts it hurts it hur

"My blood, I'm losing so much please let it end quickly let it end quickly let it end qui

Koishi shook with fear, more from the thoughts of the satori than the screams of those being killed. She clamped her hands over her ears and squeezed her eyes shut, waiting for it to end, begging for it to end. She didn't even notice that slowly, all those thoughts were ceasing. She didn't even notice that slowly, the noise level began to go down.

But when she opened her eyes again, she saw a maid smiling at her.

"Aah!" Koishi screamed and tried to scramble backwards. But she was only on the landing of the first staircase. Upstairs, the floor was strangely quiet. An enormous demon blocked her way up, to her left, and before her was...

"Hello, little miss," the maid in red said pleasantly. Koishi saw that she had a sword of some sort in her right hand, to her side, and blood was dripping off of it, along with other assorted pieces of... Koishi shook her head.

"What's your name, little miss?"

Koishi shook her head. The maid laughed and kneeled down in front of her.

"My name is Yumeko, and I am head maid to the Vermeil Devil, Shinki of Makai."

The little satori shook. The maid grinned happily, seemingly not noticing the coppery smell of blood hanging in the air.

"You're pretty young, aren't you?" Yumeko went on, not seeming to care if Koishi responded or not. "Funny... I thought satori didn't reproduce except maybe once every three decades or so... guess that means you, eh?" The woman -- she had to be a youkai -- ruffled Koishi's hair affectionately. Koishi suddenly wished she was wearing a hat or something to keep this woman's hand off.

"Huh," the maid said. "I didn't know that satori have streaked white hair."

Koishi didn't know what she was talking about, but she wanted to squirm away from the woman. Still, if she moved... she eyed the bloody knife in Yumeko's hand. She may not have understand all the mechanics of death, but she did know that she didn't want her throat ripped open--!

"Funny," Yumeko mused, still playing with Koishi's hair, "You remind me a lot of Alice. Shinki's daughter. You're around her age... I wonder if you wouldn't make a bad playmate for her."

Koishi looked up quickly. Yumeko laughed. But before Yumeko could continue, there came a screeching growl from upstairs. It was at that point that Koishi noticed that there were no more echoing, panicked thoughts coming from the second floor, and no more screaming. The maid looked up at the demon who was delivering the report.

"Yumeko, we have taken the first, second, third, and fifth floors. The fourth floor--" The screeching growl, so loud that it made Koishi wince in pain -- "It is ours. The sixth floor upwards is still packed with refugees. I can smell the fear on them."

The maid smirked. "Wonderful. I'll be right there." She turned her attention back to Koishi, her yellow eyes filled with mirth.

"Well, I know you'd love to be friends with Alice," the maid said, wiping her sword on the carpeted stairs. "But..."

Koishi gave a small start as she saw the knife's gleaming. It matched the light in Yumeko's eyes. Cold terror suddenly made its way into her, like a freezing hand had suddenly reached into her chest and squeezed her heart as hard as it could.

She knew she was going to die. Right here. Right now.

"N-no," she murmured, trying to crawl backwards.

"Ah! It speaks," Yumeko smiled triumphantly. But the smile did not reach her eyes. "I would love to take you home to Makai to be Alice's toy. But, you see, I've been ordered to kill every satori in Chireiden. And you, my dear, are a satori."

Yumeko brought the knife to Koishi's eye level.

"Alt," Koishi asked numbly, getting her languages mixed up. "Please stop. Alt. Per favore, stop. Stop."

The maid smiled. That smile, combined with the sudden thought in Yumeko's head about how perhaps this girl's throat would be rosy red on the inside, made Koishi start sobbing.

"AIUTO! HELP ME! AIUTAMI! HELP! HELP ME!" Koishi screamed, knowing that she was only a few moments from becoming what Yumeko's mind already looked foward to.

"No one is coming to save you," Yumeko said simply, bringing her knife down and closer to Koishi.

"AIUTAMI!" Koishi yelled as loudly as she could, feeling a cold metal on the side of her throat. "I DON'T WANT TO DIE!"

Yumeko's smile was now as cold as the knife. Koishi heard the words in her mind before the maid said them aloud.

"Buona notte," was what Koishi heard in her mind. "Good night," is what Yumeko said aloud as she pulled the knife across Koishi's throat.


Next installment: FUCK YEAH, YIDDISH! Who the hell needs saykhel, you goddamn shmendrick?! S'brent! S'brent! I've gone insane.

Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2009, 12:28:08 am »
I think I've drawn out the tension long enough. Shall we proceed, then?


Chapter 1 - Before the Former Hell (continued)

Yumeko's thoughts were so filled with the idea of cutting off small strips of the neck-flesh of this satori girl and slicing each piece apart in front of her eyes, then rubbing her knife into the cuts, and slowly, ever so slowly, relishing the pain in the girl's eyes that she forgot that she was in a rush to take the Palace. And it was only after she remembered that, that Yumeko realized that Koishi was no longer actually there.

Instead, what was there in her hand, across which she had her knife, was a grinning blue skull, sheathed in blue flame. Not a pale pink-and-white-haired satori girl.

Yumeko had no time to react before the skull detonated, sending her flying into the air and into the chandelier of the first floor of the Palace. Her troops didn't fare so well, either, being thrown every which way by the blast. But she didn't care about them. Ignoring the shards of glass and torn metal digging into her body, she sat up in the chandelier, screaming, "WHERE DID SHE GO?! DID ANYONE SEE WHERE SHE WENT?!"

Then the chandelier's support cable, strained by Yumeko's weight, snapped and dropped the chandelier, and Yumeko, straight onto the floor at least ten meters below.

And then the base of the chandelier fell too.

Yumeko's howl of pain was heard from miles around.


"Geez! That was a close one, sis!"

"RIN!" Koishi yelled excitedly, opening her eyes to see the grinning catgirl in front of her. She had closed her eyes, presumably for the last time, right as Yumeko had begun to draw the knife across her throat. And then she had smelled the scent of smoke and a faint trace of something decomposing, and had felt the shaking, rattling, and rolling of a wheelbarrow beneath her.

And indeed, that's where she was now. Riding in the cat-cart Rin Kaenbyou-- or as she preferred to be called, Orin -- was pulling along behind her, up the side of the wall on the outside of the Palace.

"How are -- come--" Koishi tried to ask how they were doing this, still in shocked happiness that she wasn't dead at Yumeko's hands. "É possibile?"

"It has NOTHING to do with logic and EVERYTHING to do with being fast as HELL ITSELF!" Orin yelled back cheerfully. "Now, hold tight, sis, 'cause we're goin' for a RIIIIIIIIDE!"

Koishi let out a yell of exhilaration and relief as Orin kicked in a stained-glass window, smashing it into a million pieces of colored glass, and charged right onto the fourth floor, blazing right past the shocked demons and tossing a ton of her little blue skull heads -- which were, in reality, bombs, as Yumeko had figured out three floors below -- into the hands of the demon guard, who were too startled to do anything else and too stupid to figure out what she was doing.

"ZAY GESUNT!" Orin hollered happily as she raced to the other side of the room, seemingly unbothered by all the corpses her cat-cart was bumping against as she went. Koishi tried not to look any more, but she couldn't keep her eyes off of the unseeing eyes, normal and Third eyes, that she saw scattered all over the floor.

The sound of glass breaking startled her out of it, though. They were on the other side of the palace, again racing their way up the impossibly vertical wall. Since Koishi was sitting in the cat-cart away from Orin, holding on so tightly her knuckles were pale white, she saw the windows of the fourth floor all simultaneously break and blue flame burst out from within them.

"WHOO-HOO!" Orin cheered as she continued her impossible climb.

"ORIN!" Koishi cried out. "COSA SUCCEDÉ?!"

"WHAT THE HELL DID YOU JUST ASK?" Orin yelled in reply.

Koishi cursed herself for forgetting that only the satori nobles spoke that language. "WHAT IS GOING ON?!" she repeated, just as Orin kicked in another window, this time on the fifth floor. Drawing more of her skulls from within her dress, Orin repeated the toss-and-run process she had pulled on the floor below, this time throwing a few at the heads of the demons who had congregated on the staircase to the fourth floor, wondering what had happened. Then she made a run for it and emerged on the other side once more.



Orin spared a split second to turn back and smile crookedly at Koishi. "BESER TSU SHTARBN SHTEYENDIK VI TSU LEBN AF DI KNI!"

It was Koishi's turn to stare blankly at the kasha. "WHAT?!"


"Isn't that comforting," Koishi murmured. She knew exactly what Orin would do with her corpse after she died. But still, she felt a bit better. She could have died right there, an inglorious, meaningless death like everyone else in the Palace-- but now, if she was killed, it would be in open defiance, resisting until the end. Below her, the BOOM of the fifth floor bombs going off only seemed to confirm her decision.

The thought of living just a bit longer like this put a smile on her face. Just in time for Orin to kick in the next floor's windows, breaking them in a shower of colored glass shards, and repeat the process. Koishi noticed that there were actually a few satori and youkai still alive, but that was only because Yumeko's demons hadn't attacked this floor yet. Orin took care to toss her bombs all to the other side of the room, where the demons actually were, and trust that the satori and youkai would come out safely.

But this time, when they came out, someone was waiting for them.

She had a smile on her face, to be sure. She was blonde, wearing a rather meaningless white summer hat on her head and a mostly white dress with a purple sailor cape at the neck. More importantly, she had a huge crossbow in her hands, and at least three arrows nocked on the taut string.

"ATTENZIONE!!" Koishi screamed, and this time, Orin didn't need a translation.



Yumeko screamed full-force into Mai's ear, who winced. "Ow. Fine, fine." Then she continued yanking the particularly large pieces of glass out of Yumeko's legs and arms.

The maid leaned back, gritting her teeth against the pain. "Oh good gods DAMN that hurt!" she hissed as Mai unlodged another shard of glass. She was a youkai, and she could heal herself quite easily and quickly, but she couldn't do that if the glass was still stuck in there. She was a bit lucky that Mai had chosen that very moment to come down from the air for a status report. Yumeko would not have trusted any of these huge, scaly demons with so delicate a task.

"It would be a bit easier if you would stop-- SQUIRMING!" Mai declared as she rather unceremoniously pulled out another piece. "Jeez, Yumeko, how did you get yourself flung into the chandelier? No spellcard has the ability, or the force, to do that."

Yumeko shook her head. "Who the hell cares? All I know is-- AAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!!" She screeched again as a glass shard touched a vein. She tried her best to resist the urge to plunge a knife into Mai's forehead. "AAAAAUGH!"

The blue-haired witch sensed that Yumeko's self-restraint was at its limit and quickly backed off. "That's all for now. Too bad, but it looks like you won't be able to walk for a while... or move any hand other than that throwing hand of yours."

Yumeko put her hand on her forehead; the only hand she could move. The other one was still studded with shrapnel and glass. "Aaaargh... that's what I was worried about. God damn--" She closed her eyes.

"Torch the place," she said. Mai blinked, not sure she knew what Yumeko was talking about. "What was that, Yumeko?"

"I said TORCH THE GOD DAMN PLACE! BURN THIS PALACE TO THE FUCKING GROUND!" Yumeko screamed, her nerves finally strained to the breaking point. "BURN EVERYONE ALIVE UP THERE!"

"Ye-- yes," Mai stammered, backing away. "Shall I--"

"NOW!" Yumeko screeched, sweat visibly breaking out on her forehead. "Tell Luize to be on the guard for anyone who tries to throw themselves out a window and tell her to SHOOT THEM DOWN!"

Mai nodded up and down rapidly and ran out to deliver the message to Luize, only to be stopped by bumping into--

"Yuki? Luize? What are you doing down here?"

The black-white witch hurried past her, ignoring Mai's question entirely, and went straight to Yumeko. Luize, behind her, looked just as worried.

"Yumeko, Luize's seen something bad."

Now Mai and Yumeko were looking intently at Yuki. The witch gulped and met Yumeko's gaze.

"We've just seen the Chireiden army returning in the distance."

For a moment, there was silence, then a huge BOOM was heard from far above. Maybe the fifth floor? Whatever the case, it galvanized Yumeko into action. The maid cleared her throat. Yumeko the commander was back. "Yuki, use your magic and set this Palace on fire, and you, Mai, carry me out and then go knock down some stalactites. Luize, go shoot anyone down who might want to escape by jumping out the window. The rest of you... it's time for some actual WAR!"

The sound of their cheering must have echoed for a good ways around even as Yuki began to light the first few sparks.


Next installment: The Palace of the Earth Spirits, aflame! Orin vs Luize! Koishi's hair is... what? And where in the Hell of Blazing Fires IS Satori?!
Find out next time on SATORI EYE Z

Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2009, 12:30:21 am »
There was an intermission here.

It's gone now.

Have a Koishi instead.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 10:28:06 pm by Rurogi Shiki »

Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2009, 12:34:04 am »
I love my cliffhangers.

( ≖‿≖)

But you can still have Orin vs Luize, eh?

Chapter 1 - Before the Former Hell (continued)

Koishi understood their terrible position. They were standing almost entirely horizontally to the ground, only held up by Orin's exceptionally strong grip on the wall and an insane speed that only a hellcat would be capable of. But dodging would slow them down immensely, and quite possibly finally upset their precarious balance. And moreover, they couldn't dodge, because the flying youkai woman was right in front of them.

To her credit, Orin did her best. She swung the cat-cart around so that Koishi was now in front, being pushed by Orin from the back. The woman let off her crossbow bolts, and with Orin now the closer one, they grazed her back and left huge gashes in the back of her shirt.

"ORIN!" Koishi yelled. Orin grit her teeth against the stinging pain and began to increase her speed upwards.

"She's putting more bolts to her crossbow!" Koishi yelled, turning to look back at the woman.

The redheaded kasha scowled, her fangs showing. "... aaah, I didn't want to have to do this!" She suddenly gave a burst of speed, which disturbed Koishi. "What is it?" Koishi asked Orin, who only replied with a wink and one last kick against the wall--

"Hold on to the wheelbarrow for as long as you can!" Orin hissed into Koishi's ear.

"Wha-- what are--" But Koishi didn't have time to finish her question. Because Orin had given her wheelbarrow, and Koishi in it, a tremendous kick upwards, shooting her vertically up as high as she could. Koishi looked down, and saw that Orin had launched herself off of her own wheelbarrow downwards, straight at the woman's head. With that natural blind spot, combined with the wide-brimmed summer hat, the woman didn't stand a chance; she didn't even see the catgirl's claws coming at her face.

"GESHAAAAAAAAAAAKT!" she screeched, startling the woman and making her look up, just in time for Orin’s unsheathed claws to lunge at her face.

Orin dug her claws deeply into the woman's shoulders and back, forcing her to carry her weight. The woman, doubtless another youkai, screamed so painfully that it hurt Koishi's ears. She swiped at Orin, but she was too fast, twisting around the woman's very frame to get a better grip.

The woman flew to and fro to try and shake Orin off, but the kasha wouldn't come off. She screamed, feeling the sting of Orin’s razor-sharp claws digging into her flesh. Then, when she saw her chance, Orin drew another blue skull bomb from her dress and dropped it down the front of the woman's shirt. Then she kicked off from the woman's shoulders, back up vertically, just in time to catch her almost-falling cat-cart, which had reached the apex of its original kick and was starting to come down. She took hold of the handlebars and continued to run upwards like mad, this time not stopping to enter any of the floors.

"Sorry about that, sis," Orin said to Koishi, a grin on her face. "I was a bit harsh, but... nayn garhene." She shrugged.

"That was AMAZING!" Koishi declared happily. "Orin, you're wonderful!"

"Heh," the catgirl responded, blushing faintly. "You think?"

And suddenly, there was a huge rock next to them. It grazed their wheelbarrow slightly, then plummeted downwards. It was at least eight meters long. Koishi stared down, watching it until it hit the floor and broke into a million little pieces.

"Was that... a stalactite?" Orin asked just as she looked up and saw a dozen more, each pointed with a razor-sharp tip, falling right at their faces.


Oh, Yiddish Orin is so much fun to write that it should be illegal.

"INSIDE!" Koishi screamed, and Orin didn't argue. She charged right in, breaking into the closest window and diving in, not seconds before the first of many stalactites shot down beside them, shearing some of the skin off of one of Orin's tails.

They had to be on the eleventh floor or higher, yet-- "Where is everybody?" Koishi asked aloud, wondering where all those people were that had been trying so desperately to reach the roof were. Hadn't they made it all the way up?

"We should go downstairs," Koishi said, just as a stalactite ripped through the ceiling and shot straight down through the wood flooring at Koishi's feet.

Orin and Koishi looked at each other, then blanched.

"Better outside than inside where we can't see them coming!" Orin yelled, and took hold of the cat-cart again, wheeling it to the opposite side's window and breaking through it. More stalactites tore through the upper floors of the palace as if they were tissue paper, with no warning. Orin dodged them as well as she could, but the only reason she wasn't impaled by a stalactite was sheer luck.

"KOISHI!" Orin yelled up as she resumed her running on the side of the palace.

"WHAT?" Koishi yelled back, sitting in the wheelbarrow and holding on tightly to its sides.



Orin swung to the right, narrowly avoiding an untimely death at the pointed end of a stalactite. "YES! PERFECT!"

"ANOTHER ONE TO THE RIGHT, BUT--" Orin moved quickly -- "ANOTHER ONE RIGHT AFTER IT, TO THE LEFT!" The kasha maneuvered right between them, narrowly missing them both. "A SERIES OF THEM COMING AT US RIGHT NOW!" Orin grazed them all, her clothes torn but otherwise untouched. "SWING A HARD RIGHT, THE ENTIRE AREA IN FRONT OF US IS FULL OF THEM!" And Orin did so, dodging the entire wave.

Then they were in air. Koishi felt herself being carried upwards, and looked down; they had reached the roof. The roof of the palace was still a grand affair, with balconies and patio tables for any satori who wanted to survey their marvelous city. The floor, however, was full of gaping holes where stalactites had ripped their way right through. The view was of the once-luminous Underground City being consumed by flames. Only the flag of the Palace of the Earth Spirits, on a flagpole on the corner of the palace roof, was slightly encouraging. Koishi and Orin were finally restored to a vertical base and landed as gently as they could, though the wheelbarrow was less lucky, clattering against the stone floor.

"We cannot be the only ones here," Koishi said, looking thoroughly worried. "The stairways were all packed; where did they all go?"

The catgirl pondered, then narrowed her eyes. "Isn't there... a major door or something at the ninth floor?"

The satori girl froze. "Yes... there's a locked door at the top of the ninth staircase, leading to the tenth floor, because the military uses that floor..."

Orin saw the look in her eyes. "... no, Koishi, we can't go down there. It's way too danger--"

"My FATHER is down there!" Koishi retorted. Orin became quiet.

"Mishegoss... Well, can't we go down there later, after the stalactites stop falling?"

Koishi kept her eyes up for sign of any more falling rocks. "No, because he could always get killed by one of tho--" Her brow furrowed. "Orin, do you smell--"

Orin's eyes looked haunted. "Burning... flesh... but I don't smell that away from the Hell of Blazin--" Realization and shock came across Orin's face. "Gevalt s'brent! Koishi, they're setting fire to the Palace!"

The satori and the kasha looked at one another and simultaneously made a dash to the staircase to the thirteenth floor.


"Put me down here," Yumeko ordered Mai as they came to a stone bench. Mai obediently put the maid down so she could rest.

Yumeko nodded and blinked. Now she was staring upwards, so she saw everything when a red-haired woman in a long green dress suddenly jumped out from the building, clawed and otherwise beat up Luize, then shoved a blue bomb down her dress. It was much the same as the one Yumeko had had in her hands before it detonated.

"Lui--" But the maid wasn't able to finish, as she was cut off by a horrible explosion. Right against Luize's body... Yumeko winced. But she kept her eyes on the red-haired woman. "Mai!"

Mai stood at attention. "Yes?"

Yumeko raised her good arm and pointed at the ceiling. "Stalactites on the palace. Now."

The blue-haired witch saluted and shot up towards the ceiling, obviously relieved to be out of Yumeko's presence.

Yuki was still there, of course. She now approached Yumeko. "Yumeko, what should I do?"

"First--" Yumeko briefly closed her eyes, and one of the major gashes on her arm abruptly healed itself. "Get me some water and some bandages. Then send someone to find Luize; we can't lose the best flier in Makai, can we? And then..." she was cut off by Yuki offering her a flagon of water, which Yumeko quickly drank. "Ahh, thank you. And finally... lead the troops to Sara. She can take it from there. When you're done with that, torch the upper floors."

The black-white witch still looked worried. "If we've taken the palace, then why are we marching out of it?"

Yumeko looked to her side, where her demon troops were exiting the five rings and pouring out into the city again.

"First off, we've set the palace on fire," Yumeko pointed out. From where she lay, she could see clearly that flame had eaten up the first eight floors and was about to consume the ninth. "And more importantly, if we don't defeat Chireiden's army, holding the Palace of the Earth Spirits would be meaningless and we'd just get driven out anyway."

"Aah," Yuki nodded, passing Yumeko a roll of bandages. "Is that all, then?"

"Help me sit up," the maid said, and Yuki obliged. Now Yumeko was in a position where she could pull out more glass shards out of her legs. "Thank you. Now go."

Yuki saluted. "As you wish!" Then she took off, guiding the demon horde through the streets by the use of flaming arrows directing them to Sara's eastern half of the army. Yumeko saw this, as well as the renewed wave of stalactites tearing through the palace. The flames were visibly licking at the bottom of the ninth floor.

Soon, the entire Palace of the Earth Spirits would be consumed by the roaring flame.


As to the Yiddish... I raided my home library and the local library for any guides on Yiddish and I've found only one book (but several online guides too, I guess.) And after studying all of it, I feel like I was born to kvetch. So maybe I'll actually do a good job from now on.

Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2009, 12:37:09 am »
In the original version of this thread, there was a poll about whether or not Utusho should have a gangsta accent. Yes, I'm serious. At this point, the thread was locked, and Gangsta Utsuho was a go.

Anyway, this installment was hard to write.

You'll see why in a moment.


Chapter 1 - Before the Former Hell (continued)

Satori heard the burning before she smelled it.

It wasn't as though she could hear the flame, of course. Fire wasn't sentient, and it thought no thoughts. But the satori and youkai it was consuming did think thoughts. And through them, she was living every moment as though she were the one who felt flames licking her skin, who felt their hand turn to ash, to slowly be burned up like a candle--

Screaming. Screeching. So painful that it felt like Satori was being cut in half. The last cries of people dying left and right, everywhere, downstairs, cutting through the floor just beneath them. The anguished screams were so horrifying that she wanted to tear off her Third Eye. She had a brief thought of doing just that, when her father looked down at her. He looked pale, but he tried his best to put on a brave face. "Per favore, Satori, don't do that."

The pink-haired little satori nodded dumbly. But nodding didn't block out any of their mental screams as slowly, youkai felt their flesh burn--

Suddenly, more screaming, and a great flash of light. The fire had made it to the ninth floor!

Satori was crushed right up against the partition door which divided the tenth and upper floors from the lower floors. She had been up here back when the red maid and Yuugi had been fighting, and was bowled over by the influx of youkai and satori that were trying to climb up as far as they could. But they had been stopped by the door. Some brave youkai had broken through the windows and tried to climb their way up to the tenth floor to open the door, but they had been shot down by crossbow bolts and, for some reason, stalactites. When her father arrived, Satori thought she was safe, but still... they could not escape. They were all simply waiting for the demon horde to march all the way up here and hack them to pieces.

The thoughts of despair then had threatened to crush Satori. All these young youkai and satori nobles had been suddenly confronted with the idea of their own mortality, and realized that climbing up here was only a way to prolong it. The waves of hopeless thoughts then had nearly buried her, but she shook them off as much as she could. She still wanted to live. Which is why, even now, she still held on to the hope that somehow, the door would give.

But she knew it would not. That wasn't a problem until the first person had smelled smoke, and before long, the acrid smell of burning flesh had made its way upwards, stinging Satori's eyes and filling her lungs. Before long, it was so hot that beneath her father's protective arms, she could hardly breathe.

Across the room, she saw a spark land on a satori's shirt. In seconds, the satori was aflame. Satori could hear everyone's mental and verbal screams, but she thought she could hear that satori's screams above all others. The satori pushed his way through the crushing crowd and slammed into one of the stained-glass windows. No-- slammed through. The satori had thrown himself out of the window.

We're on the ninth floor, Satori thought, and she froze with panic and fear. Now, sparks weere flying throughout the room, landing everywhere. Anyone could be next.

"What will we do?" Satori asked. It was so hot now that her words felt like flames themselves, scorching her throat and tongue. Tetsuji gave her a sad smile.

"I'm so sorry," he said quietly, tears shining in the light of the flames, which had begun to consume the entire back of the room. "I'm so sorry, Satori."

Satori nodded. She looked over to the other side of the room, already beginning to be enveloped in flame. She didn't want to stay still why the flames slowly licked their way towards her, but she did not have a choice. By this time, the air itself seemed to be on fire, the flames feeding on the fear and despair in the room. The shrieks that came every time a stalactite zoomed through the room and crushed people left and right were almost a joy compared to the feeling of fear in that room.

A spark landed on Satori's shirt sleeve. She watched in horror as it shimmered and burned straight through. She could feel it burn her skin.

Tetsuji slapped his bare hand onto Satori's arm, extinguishing the flame.

"Thank you," Satori said, briefly imagining, wishing that she could do the same with the entire palace. She wished she could simply make the fire die...

When the flame had begun, she had heard people scream that they would be fine. "Stop panicking! This is a fireproof building!"

"But we're flammable," Satori said aloud to herself. It was now so hot that the words "FIRE!" and "FUOCO!" now seemed utterly meaningless. She wondered, briefly, if satori could melt. She remembered the image of wax dripping down from flaming candles.

My flesh, my life, just melting away... a living torch, gone in a flash...

Now satori and youkai left and right were flinging themselves out of the windows, preferring the fast death of splattering against the ground over the slow death of being consumed by flame. Some were even being skewered and crushed by stalactites, which were still tearing through the building as if it were paper. But hemmed in as she was, neither she nor her father had that choice.

"Not me," Satori whispered to herself, the thoughts of those burning almost literally searing into her mind. "Not me. Per favore, I don't want to die this way..." She saw flames spilling in through the windows now, cutting off even that chance of a fast death. The back of the room was now a wall of fire now, sweeping closer with each second. Her own name echoed through her mind, meaningless next to the flame that danced in front of her only a meter or two away, and the distance between them was decreasing with every moment...

"Papà," Satori gasped, the air so hot that it felt as if the flames were reaching right down her throat. "I don't want to burn!"

Tetsuji was openly crying now. One of his tears hit Satori's forehead and rolled down her face, though it quickly evaporated. "I know... Satori."

Satori saw the flames begin to consume the row only two people back. She knew that the end was near. Very near. Tetsuji dropped his arms. The door wasn't going to budge. He wrapped his arms around her and drew her into a hug. Satori was drawn into his embrace, packed in with everyone else. Everyone who was still alive by this point had slumped down to the floor because there wasn't air left anywhere else. They were all lying together.

Around Satori, everyone was screaming out prayers and curses alike, screaming and whispering, then just moving their lips soundlessly, their words only heard by Satori as they echoed through her thoughts. Satori realized she was shaking, sobbing without tears. The only thing going through her thoughts was still, "I do not want to die..."

In front of her, Tetsuji was crying and gasping for air. The flames had his feet, and before long they would take the rest of him. Blinded by smoke and tears, Satori held on to him as long as she could, not caring now if the fire came up her arms. It would get her anyway. The flames were now only inches from her skirt and there was nowhere left to go. The air was nothing but smoke now. She squeezed in tighter against her father, hugging him as she always wanted to hug him. Someone near was screaming how they weren't dead yet, but it was a false hope. They were all lying together on the floor now. Everyone was dying.

And now. Satori heard her father's final thoughts before he spoke them. Tetsuji nodded, the scent of burning flesh coming right off him.

"I love you, Satori."

He was dying. Around them, everyone else was dying.

She choked on her own breath, but still managed to get it out--

"I love you, daddy."

He heard only that, and nothing else. She leaned back, letting the flames lap up at her, lick her throat and her clothes. Now, she too was dying, burning just like the rest of them...

And then, the door--

"YOU'RE NOT DEAD YET!" Koishi screamed, hauling her sister up by her shirt-collar and pulling her back up, up into life--

"Why are we not just going down the side of the building?" Orin asked Koishi as they whirled around the bannister and scaled the second half of the stairs. Koishi was faster, so she was the one who didn't notice that the stair beneath her didn't exist; it had been torn through by a stalactite.

"You know, that is a very good questio--," Koishi responded, cut off by her own yell as she started to fall. Orin leapt forward and caught her before she fell, setting down on a still-solid area of the floor.

"You were saying?" Orin winked.

"The tenth floor doesn't have windows," Koishi finished. "I remember because Satori and me would try to sneak onto that floor through the windows, and we failed."

"Satori and I," the catgirl corrected automatically, but she nodded her head in understanding. "But that doesn't mean we can't climb down to the eleventh floor on the outside. Then we can avoid getting killed by a stalactite."

"Sure," Koishi agreed, and they were both halfway out of the nearest window when, from beneath, a huge arrow made of flame came flying into their faces.

"DRECK!" the catgirl swore as she slammed a hand into Koishi and pulled them both back in. Orin and Koishi both reeled back into the Palace just as the flames licked the outside of the window, and they ducked as the fire burst through the window and lit the curtains on fire.

"Never mind!" Orin yelled hurriedly, tearing out the curtain, tossing it out through the window to avoid further spreading the flames, and pushing Koishi to the next staircase, this time to the twelfth floor. "MACH SHNEL! GO!"

The two ran as fast as they could, swinging over the railings and sliding down banisters when they could, dancing over huge holes in the ground. Koishi looked down one of them, and saw nothing but flame. Her heart felt frozen with fear again. Were her father and sister dead already? Was she already too late to save them?

And then, clearly, as if her sister were standing right next to her:

"Per favore, I don't want to die this way..."

"SATORI!" Koishi screamed. "SATORI!! WHERE ARE YOU?!"

No answer. Orin seized Koishi's hand and continued pulling her down. Now they were on the eleventh floor. Skipping past the steps at a leap, Orin held Koishi to her chest, her wheelbarrow held securely in her left hand behind her. In two bounds, they were already zooming down the stairs to the tenth floor--

Which was locked on this side, too. "NO!" Koishi screamed. "APRIRE! APRIRE! OPEN! OPEN!" she smashed her fists into the door angrily. Only this -- those damn stupid military freaks -- and its sister door on the other side separated Koishi from her own sister.

And again, as if Satori were standing right next to her.

"I do not want to die..."

"YOU WON'T DIE, SATORI! SATORI!" Koishi cried out helplessly.

She was yanked back onto her back by Orin, who was pulling the fuse from another blue skull bomb and flinging it at the door. "This is my last one!" Orin warned. "DUCK!"

And then the door blew. Only its hinges remained. Koishi dove into the breach, Orin fast on her heels. They quickly descended the staircase, and-- There! There was the only door separating her from her sister. Immense waves of heat were coming from that side of the room, and they would have blown Koishi back if she hadn't been charging at it at full speed. The glow of the fire on the other side was perfectly visible in the crack beneath the door, where Satori must surely be waiting to die--

A whisper this time.

"I love you, daddy."

"SATORI!" Koishi screamed, pleading, begging, hoping that her voice could reach her--

Orin zoomed past Koishi and pulled what appeared to be an immense meat cleaver from the side of her wheelbarrow. "IKH HOB DIR EN DRERD!" she screamed at her target as she cut through the door's hinges in one overwhelming swipe. Koishi barreled into the door and swung it open to reveal--

A familiar pink-haired girl, lying listlessly on the floor, waiting for the flames to wash over her and take her life. Koishi did the first thing that came to her mind. She yanked her sister up by her bazing clothes and screamed, "YOU'RE NOT DEAD YET!"

Satori didn't even reply; her eyes still saw only flame--

"Not yet!" Orin agreed, patting off the flames on Satori's clothing. "Quick, put her in the cart! Now the only way to go is up!"


Next installment: To the roof of the palace! But time’s running out. How will Orin, Satori (yes, she is alive, I didn’t kill her off, though it was tempting), and Koishi escape from the Palace? Where is Utusho? And can the Subterranean Kingdom be saved, or will it simply burn away?
« Last Edit: April 25, 2009, 12:44:03 am by Sakura Rurouni »

Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2009, 12:39:56 am »
Giving my eyes a bit of a rest from drawing and editing a doujin, I can at least post this update that I managed to squeeze in between lunches and drawing/editing sessions. And I managed to get my Yiddish guide back from the library, since my mother actually returned it before I was done using it. (I'll probably be renewing it for months on end now.)

Where did I leave off again? Oh, yes. To the roof of Il Palazzo degli Spiriti della Terra...


Chapter 1 - Before the Former Hell (continued)

Flames. Nothing but flames. They were dancing in front of her, playing. In front of her, the flames were bounding from one person she knew to another. Her mother, long dead-- she burned, her skin melting off like wax. Her father-- he burned like he was made of wood. The kasha, the yatagarasu, everyone, everything around her-- all burning, being swallowed up by the flame. And now she was burning too! She was burning! She looked down and saw the flames dance up her frame, then stop right before her face was attacked, then wrapped all around her and never let go--

But the warmth of the embrace was odd. It wasn't searing hot, like a blazing ember. In fact, it was soft, almost comforting.

She opened her eyes.

Koishi grinned back. "Satorin!" she exclaimed, using her childish nickname for her older sister and hugging her to her chest tightly.

"Satorin, you're alive! You're ALIVE!" Koishi yelled happily, verbally and mentally.

It was then that Satori noticed where she was. She was in a clattering wheelbarrow with her sister, racing upstairs, with a red-haired kasha pulling them along. Was it Orin? Had to be. But right now, all she could see was Koishi's overjoyed smile.

"Satorin," Koishi said, breathing hard, not seeming to believe what she was seeing. "Satorin," she repeated, hugging her even more tightly than she had been before. "I was so worried... I thought you were dead..."

"Koishi," Satori choked out. "You came for me..."

"Of COURSE I did!" Koishi cried, pulling Satori away so that Satori could see the unbelieving look in her eyes. "You're my SISTER! How could I leave you behind?!"

Satori breathed. It was a breath of air, not of smoke or of burning embers. She felt a bit woozy from the heat still, and she felt... tired, somehow.

But Koishi was here now. Koishi, the only member of her whole family that she still had--

"Koishi," Satori repeated, still in her sister's embrace. "Papà... Miyani... everyone, everybody--!"

"Ssh," her sister said aloud. But in her mind, Satori heard Koishi's last bit of hope die away. Koishi had wanted her father to live, had been hoping against hope that perhaps, somehow, her father was still alive...

Koishi must have read Satori's mind in turn, because she suddenly began to hold her fiercely. Satori turned her head so that she was buried in Koishi's -- eh? why was it so white? -- hair.

"It was the shock," Satori reasoned aloud, reading back through Koishi's thoughts. "Koi--" She saw one of the most glaringly frightening ones, right after Yumeko grinning at her. A throat, completely torn in half. "Miyani-- she--"

The white-haired satori swallowed grimly and stroked Satori's back. "Yeah... everyone's dead."

"... but not us," Satori replied after a moment.

Koishi smiled, but it had lost all its happiness. Still... "Yes. Not us."

The two sisters held on to each other like they were the only things the other had. And it was true. Because now, without the Palace, without her large family, without her mother, without her father-- all that Satori had left in the world was her sister, safe and secure in her arms...


"Mm," Koishi said as she held her sister tightly. Satori was silent for a while, thinking of what she had been through. Orin was pulling them up the stairs, and the wheelbarrow pounded against a stair every moment. They had to be on the twelfth floor.

She continued to play with her sister's hair a bit as she read her lingering thoughts. Her clothing was still faintly smoking, so she put those last remaining embers out as she probed her sister's mind. First and foremost, sorrow. Everyone and everything she had ever known was dead and burned; Koishi could sympathize.

Then, despair. The paralyzing terror of a slowly approaching death, a death that took the person closest, dearest to Satori except her sister, right before her eyes... the memory of Tetsuji's face burning was something Satori, and Koishi, wished she could forget. Koishi shivered, feeling a cold shudder come up from her spine and travel all the way up to the base of her skull. That crushing despair... it was horrible.

But even then, there was one more thought. Not as painful, not as overwhelming as the others, but it was there. And it was "I'M ALIVE! I'M NOT DEAD! I'M NOT BURNING TO DEATH, AND I'M NOT SLOWLY BLEEDING AWAY! I'M ALIVE! AND KOISHI IS ALIVE, TOO! WE'RE BOTH ALIVE! I'M NOT DEAD YET!"

The feeling warmed Koishi up slightly. Yes... despite everything, despite their world falling apart around them... they were both alive. Koishi had to remember that for later. She still had life, and she had her sister... those were two things that Shinki hadn't taken away from her. Koishi exulted in that, and nothing else. She had nothing else.

Then, air. Not fresh air by any standards, unless you had been yanked out of a burning, smoky room. Regardless, it was still air. Orin had reached the roof, above the thirteenth floor.

"Our situation has not improved," Koishi remarked dimly as she looked back down. The smoke was blowing out into the sky, and the flames were beginning to crawl up from the tenth floor, which had already been aflame when Koishi and Orin had rushed out and back up to the roof, Satori in the wheelbarrow.

Orin shrugged. "A bi gezunt," she said. "Besides, it seems the stalactites have stopped falling, and we have a little bit of time to think of something."

"Satorin," Koishi told her sister. "Time to get up."

Satori clambered out of the wheelbarrow and pulled her sister up. The two satori and the kasha stood there, alive, on the roof of a burning palace, surrounded on three sides by an immense demon army with as many troops in it as there were stars in the sky, and on the fourth, the Hell of Blazing Fires.

"Oy vey," Orin said, mostly to herself. "We're... how are we going to get out of here, again?"

"I don't know," Koishi admitted. She walked over to the edge, the east side of the palace, and saw-- what? "Orin, take a look at this," she said, waving over the catgirl. Both she and Satori came over to the edge, where Koishi pointed out the blonde woman in the purple and white dress that Orin had previously clawed, scratched, and bombed out of their sight.

"Tch," the kasha growled, biting her nail. "Running down that side... we'd get shot with crossbows before we even hit the ground."

Satori had in the meantime gone over to the south side of the Palace and peered over the edge as well. When they joined her, Orin and Koishi saw a white-black woman hovering above the ground, making immense arrows and designs of flame in the air. "That must be the one who tried to hit us with a flame arrow earlier," Koishi realized.

"On the north side, the Hell of Blazing Fires," Orin said aloud, pondering. "That leaves only the west side..." The trio looked at one another, then rushed over to the edge. The west side was teeming with demons from edge to edge, stopped only on one side by the Hell of Blazing Fires.

"We are running out of time and options," the kasha said simply as the eleventh floor caught flame.

Koishi rubbed her dirty, ash-covered face with her hands. "Arrgh... what to do?"

"I don't want to burn," Satori said quietly as she watched the rising smoke on the side of the building.

"You won't burn," her sister responded, walking over to her and wrapping her arms around her. "I can promise you that. You won't burn."

"..." Satori held on to Koishi's hands, letting Koishi hear her thoughts of despair surfacing again.

Koishi peered into the distance. "... is that the army coming back?" she asked aloud.

Satori whirled in her arms and turned to look. Koishi pointed where she was looking, down one of the larger tunnels, off in the distance, illuminated by the brightness of the magma of the Hell of Blazing Fires. A dark mass was moving towards the Undergound City. "... it looks like it!"

"But they're still far off," the white-haired satori observed grimly. "They're not going to make it here before the flames do."

Satori closed her eyes. Koishi sank into silence, trying to think of a way out of this mess--

"EUREKA!" Orin exclaimed suddenly, slamming one hand into her open fist. "AY-YAY-YAYA!"

Koishi stared at her. "You're not a crow, Orin."

Orin shook her head. "No, no! I have an idea!"

"What is it?" Satori asked.

"This." The kasha motioned to her wheelbarrow. "I'm going to ride you in my wheelbarrow and then I'm going to leap off of the Palace, straight into the Hell of Blazing Fires."

"... what." Satori said flatly, in that monotone voice of hers that caused Koishi to giggle involuntarily. "Jumping into the Hell of Blazing Fires. Really. Orin, you've snapped."

"No, no, no!" Orin swung around her wheelbarrow and motioned to it. "I'm going to aim as far as I can to the other side of the Hell. You see, this wheelbarrow is fireproof."

"Yes, and so is that, supposedly," Satori retorted again, pointing down at the blazing palace, the twelfth floor of which was currently being consumed by flame. "Besides, fireproof does not mean magma-proof. And last I checked, the Hell of Blazing Fires wasn't frozen over."

"I don't need it to last for a long time in the lava!" Orin said in her defense. "I just need the wheelbarrow to last long enough to pick you up and jump off. You know how far I can jump, and if I get as close as I can... it's not much, but it's still a fighting chance at living. And besides--" pain flashed on Orin's face -- "it's better than burning."

Satori winced. The words "Anything is better than burning..." flashed through Koishi's head from her sister's head, and Satori looked up at her, thinking that her sister had heard it. Koishi had, and nodded.

"... then we'll try that," Koishi declared, putting her hands to her side. "It may not be the best plan, but we don't have much else--"

"There's just... two tiny problems," Orin interrupted.

Koishi froze. "What two problems?" Satori asked aloud for her sister.

"Well, first..." Orin looked to the side, carefully not meeting Koishi or Satori's gaze. "... Well, there's also the problem of those two women ready to shoot us if we come down, yeah. We'll need a good distraction for that..." She shut her eyes. "... but more importantly, there's no way I can jump that distance with the two of you on me."

The sisters looked at each other. Both knew what the other was thinking, but Orin put it into words nonetheless.

"That means... only one of you can go with me."


Next installment: Who goes? Who stays? Who lives? Who dies? Will Orin even be able to make it? Where's Utsuho? (You and me both...) And what of the army approaching? Will Makai ultimately win, or will our heroes pull out a miracle and save Chireiden?
« Last Edit: April 25, 2009, 12:43:47 am by Sakura Rurouni »

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2009, 12:43:15 am »
Whoo-hoo, new material! My AD5 doujin is done, so now I have time!
... if I procrastinate on studying for my IB tests, that is.

Chapter 1 - Before the Former Hell (continued)

"You cannot possibly expect me to sign my own sister's death sentence," Satori gasped. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Orin, telling her to leave her sister to die? There was no way she could do that...

Orin shrugged helplessly. "Oh vez mear." She didn't say that little bit out loud, but she thought it. Satori was less restrained than Koishi was about poking into the minds of her pets.

"What happens now?" Satori asked her sister in a low voice. Koishi didn't even respond. Her sister tried to listen in on her thoughts, but Koishi... wasn't having any. "Koishi?"

Koishi opened her eyes.

"Satori, you have to go with her."

"Wh--" Satori stammered. "What? No, I couldn't--"

Her sister glared at her. For the next few seconds, neither sister seemed to see that Orin was standing there; they spoke as if they were the only things in all of creation, one sister to another.

"Koishi.... it's shameful, but I want to live..."

"I know. So I'm giving you this chance."

"But-- It's at your expense! Because I want to live, you have to die! And I... I want to live, desperately! I want to live, Koishi! And it's overriding... my love for you..."

Koishi smiled. Satori was already wiping her eyes.

"It's fine. I want to live too, but... I want you to live more, Satorin. So please, go with her and escape from this awful place."

"I would not... give you the same chance. You know that, right?"

Even from here, Satori could hear how deeply her words stung her sister. But it was all true... Satori wanted to live. Having come so close to death -- Satori shivered, holding back her memories of that burning room -- she wanted to flee from it, to hold on to life as long as possible.

And it was disgusting, but... that desire to hold on to her life was overriding her love of her sister. The very sister that had pulled her from the flames! Did Satori want to live... that badly, that she would willingly, selfishly extinguish her sister's life?

"If there was a chance, a way you could escape that would let me live as well, Satori, would you take it?"

Koishi interrupted Satori's reverie-- on purpose, of course. It wasn't as if Koishi couldn't read her sister's thoughts.

"Yes!" Satori exclaimed, rushing to her sister and throwing her arms around her as if she would die if she stopped hugging her. "If there was a way for you to live, too, of course I would do it! I love you, Koishi! I want you to live with me, too!"

The white-haired satori smiled again and ruffled her sister's hair affectionately.

"Then you're innocent. You're not killing me with this decision. You still love me."

"I..." Satori tried to respond, but instead of words, only a choked sob came from her throat, and she began to cry. She buried herself in Koishi as far as she could, holding on to her tightly. Koishi laughed softly and rubbed Satori's back as gently as she could.

Beneath them, the thirteenth floor began to blaze merrily.

Orin cleared her throat. "Satori... come on, we have to go."

"What?" Satori asked. "Isn't there any more time?"

"No, there isn't," Koishi answered for Orin, starting to pull her sister off of her. "You have to get going."

"There's one more thing," the kasha said, looking straight at Koishi. "You... you're probably going to have to jump off first and draw attention away from me and Satori."

Koishi nodded, but Satori looked horrified. "WHAT?!" she screamed into Orin's face. Koishi took this opportunity to pull her sister's hands off of her. "How DARE you ask that of my sister!"

"To be quite honest, I've killed her twice," Orin responded, a grim look on her face. "When I said that only one of you can come along, and again now that I'm making her die so we can live."


"It's fine, Satori." Koishi ruffled her hair. Satori could feel the trembling of her arm. "If that's what it takes to make sure you get out alive, then I'm fine with that."

Everything inside Satori was screaming no. She knew it was wrong to want to have her own life and happiness over her sister's corpse. She knew that the right thing to do was to stay here with her sister and let Orin escape. She knew that it would be right to let Koishi escape, and stay here herself. She knew all this, and yet--

"Survivor's guilt, and you haven't even survived yet," Koishi interrupted, her voice lilting a little bit, playfully. "Save that for later, okay?" She took hold of Satori's hands and clasped them inside her own. "Please... make sure there's a later."

Satori looked at Koishi with tears in her eyes. "I... I promise. I will survive this."

"Live for the both of us, Satorin. And don't ever, ever forget me," Koishi said, her voice starting to choke. "Please, never forget me."

"I will never forget you," Satori promised, staring into her sister's eyes for the last time. She mentally committed her image to memory: Koishi Komeiji, the young satori, pink-haired with a shock of white starting to reach down into her hair, blue-green eyes, a warm smile, a blue Third Eye that was focused only on her--

Koishi nodded, silently accepting the vow.

Satori wrenched her gaze away from Koishi, rubbing her sleeve across her eyes hastily. "O-- Orin!"

"Yes?" Orin replied, not wanting to interrupt the two sisters' last moments together.

"Le-- let's go."

Orin nodded, and reached out a hand to steady Satori as she tottered uneasily over the holes in the ground, debris, embers, and her own dazedness. She led Satori around to the cat-cart and sat her down. Then she looked at Koishi.

Koishi was resting her hand on the flagpole that still proudly bore the flag of the Palace of the Earth Spirits. She pulled the string down and began to lower the flag.

"What are you doing?" Orin asked, keeping an eye on the rapidly-approaching fire beneath them.

"A small little girl won't draw too much attention," Koishi explained, unhooking the flag. She swung it around herself and rested it lightly on her back, where it cascaded downwards, way too big for a cape or a tunic for her. "With the flag, though--"

Orin paused, and Satori took the moment to lean her head over and watch her sister with the flag of the Palace on her. Representing the various races of the Underground, youkai of all kinds, Tsurube-otoshi, oni, kasha, yatagarasu-- and of course, the Satori Third Eye in the center, surveying all.

Koishi winked, noticing Satori. "I guess this is goodbye, then."

"Yes," she responded. Her throat felt like sandpaper. It was like she was in the burning room all over again, like she couldn't breathe, like every breath she took in was a flame--

"You're not going to burn," Koishi said softly, so softly that Satori wasn't able to hear her aloud. She heard the voice in her mind. "You're going to live."

"Thank you," she said, not knowing what else to say.

Koishi turned her attention to her Yiddish-speaking pet kasha. "Orin."

Orin looked up at the little white-haired satori from watching the fire.

"... take good care of her for me."

The catgirl smiled ruefully.

"Ikh ungabluzum," she said quietly, laughing slightly. Satori heard that, and then she heard the echo in the kasha's mind: "I look like I'm about to cry."

Orin went on. "I can get her out of here safely, Koishi. I can land right, and then we can escape from here, and we'll live, Koishi, I promis--" Her voice broke at the very end. She looked like she was physically in pain, and Satori wrenched her Third Eye's gaze away from Orin's mind, which had already dissolved into feelings of guilt and sorrow, self-condemnations over sending this girl to fall to her death--

Koishi smiled graciously. "I'm glad to hear that." Then she turned and began walking away, over towards the ledge. She picked up some rubble along the way, then walked over to the edge where the black-white witch was standing down beneath. She lifted her arm back.

Satori knew what she was going to do. Throw the rock down at her, then lure her around to the other side where her companion was, then throw herself down so that the way for her and Orin would be clear. She knew what was going on.

She had to stop it.

"Koishi!" she called out at her sister's back. It was like she had already walked into death's embrace, Satori thought with a chill. Koishi's face was resigned to death, her eyes had lost their normal spark. But she still had to say at least this--

"I just want to say, Koishi, that I love you very much," Satori said, embers swirling in her vision as she looked at her sister. Orin was close enough to hear her, but not Koishi, so Satori thought it in her mind with all her being, trying to convey the depth of her emotion in her thoughts. "... just wanted to say that."

And then, somewhere in Koishi's thoughts, a flicker of happiness through the sorrow--

"I love you too, Satorin," she said with a sincere smile that was all too quickly overshadowed by her previous look of despair. "... But I don't want you to stay a moment longer. You have to go."

Then she raised her arm and flung the rock with all her might.

Satori felt tears rolling down her cheeks now. The fire, determined to go out in a blaze of glory, was now here, and Satori felt the floor begin to give out from beneath her. Orin, startled back into coherency, purposefully wheeled her cart around and gave herself a good area to begin a running start.

She paused for a moment, and Satori took her last chance to turn in the wheelbarrow to see her sister standing at the ledge. The heat haze was already unbearable, and the searing heat from beneath seemed to be lifting the flag that Koishi was wearing as a cape, waving it in a breeze.

Koishi turned in that moment, winked, and then, through her mind straight through to Satori's Third Eye--

"Go on, get out of here, and live a great life. I love you, my dear sister, my companion, my friend. Satori."

Then she turned and stepped off the ledge, the flag of the Palace fluttering behind her for a split second before it was gone, too.


Next installment:
Well, looks like Koishi's screwed. But what about Satori? Will she make it? Can Orin manage that jump? And what of Chireiden's army returning? Wait... is that even Chireiden's army?
Oh dear, I should study.

Thanks to emka for letting me use her Touhou pop pictures for my informational notes.


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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2009, 03:55:32 am »
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire reference? I haven't seen that mentioned in years. My family went to a memorial service for it one Labor Day.

Love your name, by the by.

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"The past days are infinite. That's why it won't have a meaning if we don't have fun now. A thousand years or ten thousand years, there's nothing in them matching this moment."

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2009, 04:27:34 am »
I just depressed myself into an early bedtime. Hold me.


The cloth was flying in Koishi's face. She reached up-- or rather, down-- and pulled it away.

The wind feels nice against my face.

The Palace of the Earth Spirits was zooming past her at a dizzying pace. She plunged down faster and faster, the flag wrapped around her small frame and adding some wind resistance. But she was still falling at a terrifically fast pace.

It's kind of a weird idea, since I'm about to splatter against the ground here. But it does feel nice.

Koishi fixed her eyes firmly downward, to the already bloodstained ground outside of the Palace. Before her, the blonde woman in the white dress and the black-white witch with the flames rushed into her vision, but she zoomed past them as she clamped her arms tightly to her body to cut down on wind resistance.

I wonder what Satori will do? I bet Orin has already made the jump. She's definitely alive. They can get away through one of the back entrances to Hell. As long as they just keep running and don't look back, they can make it to the surface. And then they can be free--

The ground. There it was. Getting closer with each passing moment.

I'm about to die. That makes this the end.

She winced slightly. She felt her heart thudding against her chest. Her fingers began to twitch, hoping for some kind of a grip, and she knew that she would not find one. Her breathing was also becoming loud, too loud, like cymbals crashing, like waves smashing into rocks at the edge of the ocean. Her blood pumped quickly through her veins. Her hands heated up. She couldn't breathe, couldn't do anything but keep her eyes open, as the ground got close, too close--

I don't want to die.

Satori would grow up. She would get tall, she would get longer hair, she would have long legs and a big chest. She would become a grown up. She would perfect her studies, learn the fine art of statecraft that Miyani had insisted on her learning, she would become mature. She would visit the Aboveground and be able to see the wide blue sky above her--

That could have been mine--

She would meet some nice satori guy and make him happy, so happy. She would have little satori kids, little pink-haired kids running around the rebuilt Palace, in the Aboveground. She would teach them how to use their Third Eyes, watch them grow up, watch them become grown-ups themselves. She would sit on a porch somewhere with Orin on her lap, tickling the hellcat's ears and looking up at the night sky.

That could have all been my life--

She would be looking up at the night sky, and then remember once, long ago... she had had a younger sister, way back when they still lived as royals in the underground, that had sacrificed herself for her sake. She would breathe deeply, whisper a quick prayer, and then go back inside, and forget all about her--


Koishi was openly crying now. Her tears were sliding quickly off of her face, flying behind her, even as the ground got closer.

I wanted to live. I wanted to escape from this tomb underground. I wanted to be a grown-up, to be tall and pretty. I wanted to be smart, I wanted to be a good ruler, I wanted to visit the aboveground and see the wide blue sky. I wanted to meet some nice satori to marry and have kids, I wanted to teach them how to use their Third Eyes, I wanted to watch them grow up and be adults too, I wanted to be relaxing in a chair in a quiet home and look up at the white stars against the dark sky. But--

10 meters. 9 meters. 8 meters 7 meters 6 meters 5meters 4meters 3meters2meters1--

...Wasn't there a way I could have lived, too?


Arrivederci, Koishi. It was nice knowing you.
But what about Satori and Orin? How are they doing? Did they make it? Have they survived? And who the hell is leading that army? Find out next update, after I drag myself out of bed and reflect on my sins in hell.

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire reference? I haven't seen that mentioned in years. My family went to a memorial service for it one Labor Day.

I've just barely been getting into the history of the American Labour Movement. Specifically, my interest was sparked when I first heard of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. It has had a bigger impact on this story than most people would realize at first glance, namely that: This is the reason why Orin speaks Yiddish and Koishi and Satori speak in Italian. Those were the languages that were mostly spoken by the women who worked there, since most of them came from Italy and Eastern Europe (though there were some German women working there too.)

Good night for me. Ow, my heart.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 07:29:41 pm by Kana Ruroberal »


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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2009, 06:11:01 am »

Dammit, why did you have to write that so well ;_;

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2009, 06:15:45 pm »
It doesn't help that I did what I did yesterday then reading this ;_;

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2009, 05:44:04 am »
I has continuation for you.


Something soft brushed her cheek. It lay there for a moment, caressing her face, then drifted off in a warm breeze. The wind was intoxicating, warm and sweet. The smell of sakura drifted in the air.

Koishi slowly opened her eyes.

Cherry... blossoms?

Her eyes unfocused for a moment, then focused once more. She was looking up at some immense colossus, which reached up, up into the heavens, branching out into the sky, and though it wasn't blooming entirely, it was losing so many sakura petals to the wind that the air was literally swirling with pink radiance.

She slowly pulled herself up to a sitting position, shaking off sakura petals as she did so. She was practically swimming in them. Here, at the base of what she now recognized as a huge cherry tree, she had been laying, buried in sakura.

.... when did I get here? This is aboveground, isn't it? But the last thing I remember was--

It all came flooding back. Watching Yumeko fight Yuugi from the window, and seeing that awful spear cut Miyani's throat in two, then fleeing downstairs, pushing through crowds of desperate people, making it to the first floor, the stench of blood, the stench of the dead, the stench of fear coming from her that so aroused Yumeko, the feel of the cold steel on her neck, the horror of seeing her own death a few seconds in advance through Yumeko's overly detailed, graphic imagination, the relief that flooded her as Orin arrived out of nowhere and carried her away, the thrill of running and fighting her way up the walls of the Palace, the tremors that passed through her body as the cat-cart rattled upwards, the rush downstairs to open the door and save her sister from the flames, the desperate struggle to think of some way that they could have all lived, the disappointment when she realized that there was none--

... and the final leap from the roof of the Palace of the Earth Spirits, one last act of defiance, before she crashed onto the ground below.

"I'm dead," Koishi said aloud to no one in particular. She was actually quite surprised to hear the sound of her own voice. She coughed once, just to be sure. "... but I don't feel dead."

"How would you go about feeling dead?" a cheery voice asked behind her. Koishi gave a small shriek and lurched forward, turning around to see who it was.

"You don't need to worry about me," the woman said. She had pink hair-- a bit lighter than Satori's, and like hers before the shock of seeing Miyani's torn throat had visibly turned her hair white. She was wearing a light blue kimono, with a blue obi wrapped around it, and a bandanna of sorts on her arabesque, overly frilly hat.

More important than all that, though; she had a smile on her face as she gazed at Koishi. That, and her feet weren't touching the ground.

Koishi self-consciously looked down at herself. Her expansive yellow shirt was stained with splotches of red, lots of dirt, was lightly singed in places, and was in generally shabby shape. Her skirt hadn't fared much better.

Oh, and her feet weren't touching the ground anymore. She blinked. Hadn't she pulled herself up from beneath a sea of cherry blossoms just a few moments ago?

"Ehehehe... it seems that you're dead. Of course. Everyone who comes here is dead. Well, most people."

Koishi looked up at the woman with the shockingly pink hair. She was smiling. "Well, it is very nice to meet you."

"You're... I'm... dead," Koishi said slowly, not really comprehending.

"You are dead, yes." The pink-haired woman nodded, confirming her statement. "May I have your name?"

"Komeiji, Koishi." Her eyes narrowed. "Is this... the aboveground?"

"Aboveground? Ah... you're one of those satori youkai that live beneath the earth's surface," the pink-haired woman rationalized aloud. "This isn't aboveground, per se... Oh! Many pardons. I asked for your name, and I did not give you my own. How uncouth of me." She gave a deep bow. "I am Yuyuko Saigyouji, Princess of Hakugyokurou, caretaker of the Netherworld."

"The... Netherworld?" Koishi asked slowly. "... how am I in the Netherworld? I thought souls went to Higan first to be judged...?"

Yuyuko nodded. "Understandable. I shall answer your question shortly. But first..." the wind blew, and a swirl of sakura petals drifted through the air as Yuyuko fixed her gaze on her. "I ask you to confirm this for me, Koishi. Did you... when you were alive, I mean... did you..."

Koishi tilted her head. "Did I... what?"

Yuyuko shook her head. "When souls come here to the Netherworld, they arrive in one of various locations. At the gates of Hakugyokurou, there appear the souls of old humans and youkai who died peacefully in old age. Within the pagoda of Hakugyokurou itself, there appear the souls of small children who died when they were very young. In a certain garden, there appear the souls of those who died in battle, and beneath a given tree, there appear the souls of those who died in accidents..." She pointed upwards. "This tree... it is called the Saigyou Ayakashi. Only one particular kind of soul ever shows up here, and that is..."

Koishi waited, not saying anything.

"... suicides." A flash of pain on Yuyuko's face; it was gone in a second. "Under this tree, the demonic Saigyou Ayakashi... there appear the souls of those who took their own lives. Not accidental deaths. Intentional ones." Yuyuko pulled her gaze away from the tree and looked at Koishi, unknown emotions swirling behind her flawless pink eyes. "Did you... You took your own life, didn't you?"

The satori looked down and away from her, looking at the ground, wondering how she would explain herself.

"I..." She breathed deeply, and closed her eyes, savoring the lingering scent of sakura petals. "I... I was on the roof of a burning palace with my sister, my beloved sister Satori Komeiji, and a hellcat, a Kasha, Orin... Rin Kaenbyou. Shinki was -- or rather, is -- laying seige to the palace, and we were stuck up there, thirteen floors up, surrounded on all sides with no salvation in sight. The floor was being consumed with flame, and we had only a little bit of time... and then... ahahahaha." She laughed slightly, humorlessly. "Orin... gave us an idea, a crazy idea. She would make the jump to safety over the immense lava pit of the Hell of Blazing Fires... but she could only take one of us along. So..."

"You and your sister..." Yuyuko said quietly.

Koishi nodded, raising a hand to wipe her right eye. "I... decided that I wanted her to live. To the point that... I would throw myself off the roof of the palace, wrapped in the flag of the Palace of the Earth Spirits, and in my last moments draw any attention away from them as they made their insanely desperate escape. So..." Koishi wiped her eyes. "I... I did just that."

"Koishi," the princess murmured. Koishi was sobbing now, wiping her eyes, making no move to walk towards Yuyuko as the wind picked up, and more and more cherry blossoms drifted in the air.

"I... I gave up my chance... I gave up my chance to do anything... to grow up, to live into old age, to have kids, to take back the kingdom, to see the aboveground and its wide blue sky, to live out my life with my sister by my side..."

She was now hiccuping between tears, almost yelling. "I ga-- gave everything up! I sacri-- sacrificed everything! I gave up-- my life! For my sister! For my sister, Yuyuko!"

The cherry blossoms around them were caught up in a devilishly fast wind, swirling around and around, faster and faster. Koishi wiped her eyes one last time and glared at the princess. Raising a trembling finger, a fierce glare in her eyes, a declaration, a shout of defiance--


Yuyuko remained silent.

Koishi breathed hard and lowered her hand. She didn't raise her hand to wipe away her tears anymore.

"It doesn't matter... if you're not the Yama," Koishi gasped as she caught her breath. "I gave up my life for my sister. It was suicide, yes... but I did it to save her life. And for that... I will never, ever repent."

The princess of the dead smiled faintly.

"I think... the Yama would agree with you," Yuyuko said softly. "However... now I must explain myself to you."

Koishi tilted her head.

"You asked me if you were in Higan." Yuyuko raised her arms. "This is the Netherworld of Hakugyokurou, not Higan. One of the duties of the caretaker of the Netherworld-- that is, myself-- is to take in all dead souls as soon as they die, and hold them here, until Death returns to her post."

"Until Death... what?" the satori asked, confused.

Yuyuko smiled again. "Death is currently not performing her duties. It is not that she is lazy... far from it, she is the hardest-working shinigami in centuries in Higan... but she has decided to do something... something most people might consider illegal, but something that is also right."

Koishi said nothing, her face confused.

"Eiki Shiki, Kawaxanadu of Higan, has invaded the Suberranean Kingdom in a humanitarian effort to save you and your people. Not Yamaxanadu, mind you. She is just a shinigami. But she has taken the entirety of Higan's armies on a march belowground to save you. The current Yamaxanadu has declar--"

"Wait, WHAT?!" Koishi interrupted. "She... what?"

"Allow me to finish," Yuyuko chastised gently, waving her finger. "The current Yamaxanadu has declared her actions to be, technically, illegal, but it is in her best interests to check Makai's imperialistic moves, so she has turned a blind eye to Eiki's activities. Of course, this means that there are no souls being ferried across the Sanzu no Kawa, so for now I have taken the task of sheltering them all until Eiki returns. She marched off a few days ago, tipped off by a dead soul, warned beforehand that Shinki had invented some ruse to draw Chireiden's army away from the city, and has not sent a messenger back since. This means, of course..."

"... that Eiki is leading Higan's troops against Makai's... in order to save Chireiden," Koishi finished, relief in her voice. "Oh, yes! Satori... she can live! Shinki will be defeated!"

Yuyuko smiled benevolently. "Precisely right. Eiki is a brilliant strategist and a great commander of armies. I almost never want her to get a desk job as Yamaxanadu, because then she will not be able to pursue her idea of justice as easily... but regardless. Eiki will surely win this war with Makai. And being the sort of person she is, she will restore the former system of order in Chireiden. Yes... you have saved your sister, and she will lead a long, happy life."

Koishi's shoulders heaved. "I... Yuyuko... so, my sacrifice..."

"Even if she hadn't lived, Koishi, your sacrifice wouldn't have been in vain. You gave up your life in order to save the one you loved. When someone's life ends as a result of self-sacrifice, that is technically suicide, and while that is a grave sin, there are a few exceptions to that rule... and giving up your life to save someone you love is one of them." She smiled, and a flicker of that pain from before crossed her face. "I know... from personal experience."

The satori smiled at the princess. "Thank you, Yuyu-- er, Saigyouji-hime."

"Just 'Yuyuko' will be fine. Actually, I prefer it," Yuyuko responded with a laugh, coming closer to Koishi and offering her arm. "Well, for now, we have nothing better to do in Hakugyokurou until Eiki finishes saving your land. Shall I lead you through the gardens, or take you on a jog up and down the Endless Stairs, or go visit my friend Yukari in her house, or go see the poltergeist musical trio playing, or torture my gardener by dumping sakura petals onto her head while she works?"

She winked at Koishi. Her good mood was infectious; Koishi found herself smiling back, and her chest felt lighter with each passing second as she realized that her sister would live. She linked her right arm through Yuyuko's and smiled up at her. "Somewhere where I can enjoy the hospitality of the Netherworld, please. Preferably with good food, good drink, and a place where I can rest." She shook her head. "I feel very tired, still. A lot has happened... I just want to sleep for a bit first."

"That is perfectly fine," Yuyuko agreed, floating away from the Saigyou Ayakashi with Koishi floating on her arm next to her, leaning her head on Yuyuko's arm as the Hakygyokurou pagoda came closer over the horizon.

She breathed deeply, taking in the scent of sakura petals, and drifted off contentedly to sleep, with just one thought lingering in her head:

"I shall sleep well tonight, knowing that my sister is safe and happy... that my sacrifice to save my sister, Satori, has saved her, and that she will always remember me, and carry our legend on."

Ending no.1 - The Great War beneath the Cherry Blossoms

Thanks to Aratta for the original idea for an alternate ending, and to Ephidel a Nameless Fairy for the idea to "Call it Sakura Taisen, and make the Saigyou Ayakashi really prevalent for some reason."

What you have just read is an alternate ending in which Koishi dies.
Below, however, is the REAL continuation of the story...

"IKH GAI AVEK!" Orin yelled at the top of her lungs as she began to run. Satori turned around in her seat, tears obscuring her vision as Orin raced as fast as she could to the opposite ledge, her legs pushing, her feet thudding against the ground, her hands holding the rocking of the wheelbarrow steady, her eyes focused, her body tense, waiting to reach the edge so she could spring off--

And with a crunch of gravel, the entire Palace of the Earth Spirits went up in flames, first floor to the thirteenth, sparing nothing. And Orin and Satori leapt into the air, propelled forwards by the tremendous explosion of the collapsing Palace, covering an enormous amount of distance, soaring high in the air over the invaders, and straight into the Hell of Blazing Fires.

For a split second, Satori was in a melting wheelbarrow, boiling, searing-hot magma bubbling all around her and instantly overpowering any reason she had. The heat was all that existed, the burning of her skin, the heat haze that gave her such a horrible feeling inside, as if she had been the one to walk off a building to her death, as if she was the one that was going to burn and just melt away--

But only for a split second, because then Orin got a good grip on her rapidly-melting wheelbarrow, scooped Satori up in her arms, and made the safe leap over to the opposite side of the Hell of Blazing Fires. It seemed that they had been lucky enough to land exactly where they would have the shortest distance to jump to make it to free land.

Satori closed her eyes as she landed, her vision still swimming and seeing black, red, orange hazes.

And then they barreled into someone right as they landed.

"Wh-- what--" Satori cried out, not expecting anyone to be over here. And then she became aware of the sound of hundreds, thousands of fairy wings beating and youkai feet thudding against the ground, marching back into the Subterranean City.

"The Chireiden Army made it!" Satori said excitedly, turning to see Orin. The kasha was still on the ground, looking up at the person she had careened into with her eyes shining with unshed tears, breathing hard, a look of terror on her face.

"... so, you came too, eh, shinigami?"

"Shinki's war is not just, so of course I had to come." the shinigami responded, her voice feminine, dressed in a blue hakama with a white coat over it, and wielding the scariest scythe Satori had ever seen in her left hand. The shinigami turned her face to Satori and smiled, but because she was wearing a helmet, all she could see was the smile. Behind her, countless waves of soldiers dressed in blue and black livery marched on, crossing the short land bridge connecting this side of the Hell of Blazing Fires to the city, accompanied by hordes of black and blue uniformed fairies.

... huh? This isn't Chireiden's army...

The shinigami reached out her hand to Satori. "Come on, I would like you to see something."

Satori looked at her, hatred in her eyes. "You... you're a shinigami. You're a death god. You bring death to people. You take their souls away. You throw them in Hell."

The shinigami laughed, her voice warm despite the army marching on behind her. She lowered her arm. "Hell is not for those who die just deaths, Satori Komeiji. And one thing I can assure you, your sister did not die a just death."

Satori felt her heart nearly leap into her throat. She knew what the Shinigami was going to say now. That she was the one that had killed Koishi, had sent her to die so she could live. And she would not be wrong.

"... no, Komeiji Koishi did not die a just death," she repeated with a hint of a smile as Orin angrily got to her feet.

"HEY! She died to save our lives! She was innocent! She didn't kill herself out of selfish reasons, she killed herself so that we could live!" the kasha screamed. Tears were visibly shining in her eyes. A thought shot through Koishi's Third Eye from Orin's mind, a yell-- "If anyone is guilty here, I am the one guilty... of murdering her!" But Orin didn't say it aloud, and Satori didn't want to call attention to it.

After all, she too had forced Koishi to kill herself so that she could live.

"You are not listening to me," the shinigami said, sounding exasperated. She turned back to Satori after meeting Orin's gaze. "Your sister did not die a just death... because she did not die." She reached a hand up to her helmet and pulled it off, letting her hair come loose.

"How do you know that, Kawaxanadu?" Orin asked warily, eying the woman's long green hair and addressing the Shinigami by her title.

Eiki Shiki, the Shinigami of the Sanzu River, grinned back and re-extended her arm to Satori.

"Why don't you come with me and find out?"


Falling to her death hadn't taken very long for Koishi.

Thankfully, it took even less time for a hellcrow to do the same thing.


The satori's heart skipped a beat.


She opened her eyes.

Utsuho was smiling. Relieved. Koishi could see her own reflection in Okuu's red eyes. She was holding on to the very end of the flag of Chireiden, which was in turn held in Okuu's tight grip. She was in humanoid form right now, so the flag was held in her right hand, wound about her arm various times, so that it was cutting off the circulation to her hand and her knuckles were visibly white. But she was just a little hellcrow, so her wingspan was no more than a meter. Her raven wings beat desperately, straining to keep her and her new passenger up in the air.

... which meant, of course, that she wasn't dead.

Koishi's heart gave a little leap.

"You're alive," Okuu breathed, a happy grin on her face as she zoomed upwards. "You're alive!"

"Yeah, I am," Koishi said, raising one trembling hand up to her head to untangle her hair slightly. "... I'm alive."

So, now, that life can be mine...

"All righty then! Hold oooooooooooooon!" Okuu exclaimed, not seeming to notice the complete whiteness of her right arm. Koishi obediently held on to the fragile cloth as if it were her escape rope to life-- and it was.

Okuu zoomed upwards, trying not to rattle Koishi, avoiding stalactites, flame arrows, and knives as if they were child's play. She weaved in and out of dangerous bullet patterns and slowly, but surely, made her way out of reach of projectiles from down below. And up there--

"Who the hell is that?!" Okuu demanded in her usual brusque way.

"I don't recognize her," Koishi responded, clinging tightly to the flag.

"She's the one shooting down the stalactites!" the hellcrow discerned, pointing dramatically at the blue-haired witch who, of course, was startled into awareness. She quickly raised her fists, ablaze with blue flame of sorts. Koishi groaned. She'd lost the element of surprise, this hellcrow...

"Are you that satori girl Yumeko was with?" the blue-haired woman yelled out, still in a defensive position. Koishi tried to hide behind the flag.

"Who's askin'?" Okuu replied, her cockiness showing as she put her free left hand on her hip. Young though she was, Okuu was still quite strong, Koishi realized. But she had all the strategic sense of a gnat.

"I am Mai, retainer to Lady Shinki and ice with of Makai! Come on, hellcrow, let's see if your pitiful little heat can stand up to my ice!" Mai gestured at Okuu in a 'bring it on' motion with her hand as she hovered there, next to a stalactite.

Utsuho came further upwards and took hold of another stalactite. "Sure!" she yelled back, a bit too excitedly, Koishi thought.

And then she thought some more.

"Uh... Okuu... you're physically pretty strong and all... but you're not too good with magic."

"Of course I'm good with magic!" Okuu grinned down at Koishi. "I'm the strongest!"

"... uh," was all Koishi said as a reply. Okuu was her personal pet. It was she who had raised her up from being a little baby hellcrow after she had lost her entire family in a freak wave of lava from the Hell of Blazing Fires. She knew her feeding habits, her likes and dislikes. And she also knew that Okuu was, while terrific at dodging danmaku, and physically strong enough to hold her own in an arm-wrestling match against Yuugi Hoshiguma herself... she also knew that Okuu was, at best, subpar at shooting bullets. And in a duel, she'd always, always lost. Against other hellcrows, mind you. Not demons from Makai who were experts with ice magic.

Koishi looked down at the blazing city below. It was a very long way down.

"... uh, Okuu, maybe I should take care of this--"

"What?! No, I want to--" Utsuho looked down at the satori clinging to the flag. A grin slowly spread across her face.

"... what. Oh god what," Koishi stammered. She recognized that gleam in Okuu's eye. It was the same kind of gleam that she got whenever she came up with an idea to prank someone, like the time when she filled the Palace's swimming pool with lava, or that time that she had replaced the cooling system of the palace with steam directly from the 130-degree-centrigrade-on-a-cold-day Hell of Blazing Fires.

In other words, the gleam she got in her eye whenever she had a very, very, VERY bad idea.

A split second before she could start screaming, Koishi heard Okuu's plan echoing in her mostly empty mind.

Her eyes widened.

"What are you up toOOF--" was all Mai was able to say before Utsuho had swung the flag of Chireiden, with Koishi on it, around like a slingshot and flung it straight at Mai's face with insane speed. The screaming Koishi cannonballed into the blue-haired witch, sending both of them reeling. Mai lost her balance, and beneath her right foot, a little strip of paper fell out and fluttered upwards towards the ceiling of the cave. The left one alone wasn't enough to keep her aloft, so Mai fell, screaming, down to the ground below, her fall punctuated by short moments of slowdown.

As for Koishi, she was thrown upwards from the impact, and she was unconsciously holding on to the flag of Chireiden again for dear life. She caught it in her other hand and held it over herself like a parachute, slowing her descent only barely, until the charm from beneath Mai's foot floated upwards and was caught in the net. Koishi held on tightly, kicking her way from stalactite to stalactite, held aloft by the charm and grateful for being so tiny compared to Mai.

She made her way to Utsuho, who was grinning.

"See! I beat her! I'm the strongest!"

"L' insano idiota," Koishi hissed. "Now hurry up and help get me down from here!"

Okuu laughed sheepishly and flew up to Koishi's level, at which point the satori girl let go of the ends of the flag and dropped down safely into Utsuho's arms.

"What do we do now, then?" Utsuho asked as she held Koishi securely in her strong arms.

Koishi leaned over and looked down. Below, the demon armies swarmed out of the palace and regrouped on the eastern side of the Hell of Blazing Fires. On the other side of the Hell of Blazing Fires, making their way across the narrow land bridge that split the lava pit in two was an army, an opposing army, in... blue and black? But where were the red and black colours of Chireiden's army? Had they been the ones she had seen from a distance from... she looked at the Palace; it was nothing but bare bones now. The flames continued, but by now they had consumed the majority of their fuel. Soon the flame would go out.

Then a horrible deep, rumbling sound echoed throughout the cavern. The sound of immense machinery, gears, creaking to life again and slowly beginning to turn. The noise invaded Koishi's chest and became almost a second heartbeat, thudding along with her heart against her ribs. The sound had to be coming from machines, of course-- were they... could they possibly be--

"The gears that control the Hell of Blazing Fires' flow into the lava pits," Koishi gasped. "Those haven't been used in decades... they're always open.... they're trying to dam up the lav--"

"Down there, then," Utsuho interrupted, getting a firmer grip on Koishi's legs and holding her securely. "Hold on tight, Koishi."

"Aspettare," the satori interrupted, remembering that she was mortal. She figured that she might not get this chance again, especially if they went down there. "Wait a moment, Okuu... Utsuho."

"Yeah?" the hellraven asked just as Koishi leaned up and put a kiss right on Utsuho's cheek.

"... oh," was all she could say as she felt the lingering warmth of Koishi's lips on her face. The satori in question smiled ruefully, still remembering that her time now was only thanks to her pet who had saved her.

"Thank you, Utsuho, for saving me. Grazie, grazie, grazie, a million times over." The pale-haired girl closed her eyes and smiled again. "I just figured... we might die if we go down there. So I wanted to thank you before that happened."

... Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for saving me.
Now, I can live too...

Okuu returned the smile. "You're welcome. Now--"

The two girls fixed their gaze down below.

"Let's go take our kingdom back."


Next installment: Higan has come to fight! Will Satori and Koishi be reuinted? What will happen now that the two armies will soon have a clear fighting field to clash on? A six-winged silhouette... could it be--!
And much love and adulation for whoever guesses the event in history that Koishi's leap from the Palace with the flag of Chireiden wrapped around herself is based on.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2009, 06:23:44 pm by Rurogetsu »


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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2009, 05:45:49 am »
I saw Okuu coming tee hee

Although I did a double take at the first ending.

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Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2009, 05:50:20 am »
I saw Okuu coming tee hee

Although I did a double take at the first ending.

Ah yes, I forgot. Utsuho's gangstaness doesn't come into play just yet. That comes later.

And really, what else was I going to use her for than to save Koishi? Orin got a similarly awesome entrance. I had to do the same, or better, for Okuu.

I hope SURPRISE SHIKIEIKI wasn't as predictable, though.


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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2009, 06:08:00 am »
No, that took me totally off-guard.

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2009, 05:40:04 am »
IB tests start in earnest tomorrow please kill me

The woman in the blue and white robes was still looking down at her, some of her fairies flanking her at her sides. Her chainmail-covered arm was still reaching out to her.

"Why don't you come with me and find out?"

Satori felt as if her heart had leapt into her throat when she heard those words. She looked up at Eiki's hand and narrowed her eyes, turning her Third Eye on Eiki's thoughts--

Please, my dear Satori, there is no need to look in my thoughts. I am not lying to you.

Satori reeled back, embarrassed at having been caught eavesdropping on someone else's thoughts. It was customary in the Palace of the Earth Spirits to be listening to the thoughts of multiple satori at the same time, and more depending on how far a given satori's casual range was, and other satori would be listening to one's thoughts as well, but it was considered immensely embarassing to call a particular person out on it, and moreso calling them out in your thoughts, because then everyone would hear.

Eiki gave her a smile. "Well, you are a satori after all. It's what you do. I forgive you, my dear." She ruffled Satori's hair, the chain mail on her arms jangling as she did so. "Well, would you like to come along? We must get to your sister before Shinki gets here."


Satori almost winced at how loud Orin's mental scream was, but thankfully the kasha followed it up with an audible exclamation. "Shi-- SHINKI?!" Orin stammered, looking horrified. "Wh-- why would Shinki co-- come here herself--"

Eiki's gaze became cold. "Shinki is drunk on her own arrogance. She has been expanding her kingdom as far as she dares, and then she goes further. At first, Higan overlooked her powergrabbing, but now..." She clenched her fist. "Appeasement was never the way to deal with tyrants like her! I should have attacked when she still had the chance of being checked... but no matter." She released her hand. "Long story made short, this is Shinki's latest grab for land. She hopes to expand the Makai throughout the entire underground, so that she may rule an empire comparable to all of Gensokyo, and quite possibly declare war on Higan itself, which must not happen."

"Why?" Orin asked, getting to her feet, her eyes questioning.

"Because we shall lose if it comes to that," Eiki responded with a grim smile. "Higan is powerful, yes, but we cannot hold a vast army from an empire the size of all Gensokyo at bay for very long, much less actually defeat them. This is my perfect chance to effectively destroy half of Shinki's forces, though," she said, waving her hand across the lava pits to where Shinki's army roared at them not one hundred meters away. "If I can defeat her here, I can teach her a lesson by destroying at least a quarter of her forces. That is... I hope to do that before she herself gets here."

If that happens...

Eiki shook her head, dismissing that thought from her mind and not finishing the sentence. But Satori still heard it.

"Well, if that happens, then I shall have to find another way," the shinigami shrugged. The sentence did not convey the stark fear Satori had heard underlying Eiki's thoughts a moment before. "In any case, Satori, we have to get moving. We must get to the hellcrow and your sister before the battle begins in earnest."

"The hellcrow?" Orin said, looking up at the green-haired woman again.

Eiki nodded. "Some time ago, I received a message from Hell in the courts of Higan. It was a little yatagarasu, exhausted from its long, hard flight through the thousands of tunnels of the underground in which it had gotten lost... and it told me a story about how the Queen of Makai had drawn Chireiden's troops away from its capital to attack some diversionary force, while she went in and gutted the city. And I..." she laughed aloud, remembering.

"... I have had enough of sitting idly by while Shinki sends her vast armies to kill thousands! Just think about it for a second, you kassha, you satori; what would you do if you were so in love with justice and all around you, humans and youkai alike were sent to the Yama, who was sitting right behind you and did nothing about it? The Yama who actually had the authority to DO something about Shinki's injustice, but did nothing except judge the hordes of souls whose lives were taken away by the very injustice that Yama is supposed to condemn? What would you do then, when faced with the opportunity to do what you truly believed was right, even if it was technically illegal to do so?"

"... you betrayed the law," the catgirl said, her mouth hanging open in shock. "You, shinigami... you broke the law? Eiki Shiki, the shinigami famous for following the law to the letter... broke the law?"

"... yes," Eiki responded, almost laughing again. "Yes. I've betrayed the law. Because if that law is unjust, and it prevents me from doing what I know is right... then I would prefer to obey, not the word of the law, but its spirit. If nothing else, then by breaking the law, I have at least saved you two," she said with a smile, indicating Satori and Orin. "And that is a confirmation that in breaking the law, I have done the right thing."

"Now come," the green-haired woman told them. "There is no more time. We cannot delay any longer if we want to have any chance to reach your sister."

Satori stood, looking up at the tall shinigami in front of her. She didn't know about shinigami the same way Orin did, and she didn't know what it meant for this particular one to break the law. She didn't know what it meant to be a servant, or what it meant to be a servant who wanted to do something she thought was right while her master prevented her from doing so. She didn't know know much of anything about Eiki.

But she did know that if this woman had saved her, had saved Orin, and wanted to keep on saving the rest of the city... then she could not be all bad.

Satori took Eiki's hand. Orin also nodded.

"If you have taken the extreme step of bringing Higan's armies here just for our sake, to save the lives of people that you don't even know, to save strangers to whom you have no obligation... then you're... ah, you're all right in my book, you haimisher mensch," she laughed, slapping Eiki on the back and seemingly not noticing the fairies and youkai by her side suddenly bristling with weapons all pointed at her.

"...What did she call me?" Eiki asked Satori, who shrugged. "All I can tell is that it was a compliment," the little girl answered.

"Then that's fine," the shinigami nodded, then turned around to face a group of about seven fairies and youkai who were dressed in more elaborate outfits than the typical soldier of Higan. Orin came to Satori's side and hugged her while Eiki issued her orders to her generals.

"So what do you think?" the kasha asked her young charge, who hugged her back. "Eiki doesn't seem like a gonif or a macher to me, but you can read her thoughts."

Satori watched as Eiki gestured to various areas while her generals nodded. "From what I can tell... her motives are completely pure. She doesn't want to hurt us or take anything from us. I think we can trust her."

"Bissela balabusta," Orin murmured, shaking her head as she watched Eiki issue a reprimand to the youngest of her fairy generals for some reason or another. "But... I still think that she's a good person." She hugged Satori tightly to herself, so that the little girl could smell the smoke in her clothing. "I am... still happy that we're safe."

"Yes," Satori replied, lowering her eyes. Maybe Orin was happy that she had made it out alive, but she... even though her sister had survived in the end, Satori was still guilty of killing her. She had condemned her sister to die, and it was only by pure chance that she hadn't died; if she had had her way, Koishi would be nothing more than a bloody splatter on the ground right now. She would be forever guilty of killing her sister for her own selfish reasons. The stain would never go away.

"Ready to go?" Eiki said, interrupting Satori's thoughts. She had just dismissed her generals, all but one, and she stood with her hand on her long, curved scythe. "We must find your sister ere long."

"How are we going to find her?" Orin asked, puzzled. "It's not like we can simply send her a message. And we can't see her from here."

"Not yet," Eiki replied, tapping the floor twice with the wooden staff of her scythe.

"What are you-- aah--" the kasha stammered as the sound of splashing suddenly broke out. A flash of green and blue light, and--

"Bu-- but--" Satori tried to explain what was happening before her. "The-- the nearest river is--"

"This doesn't need a river to ride on," Eiki laughed, waving everyone into the riverboat that had literally washed up on a wave of water out of the wall in front of her. "The Titanic can go anywhere. Now, hop in! Sumire, make sure the boat doesn't rock."

The fairy captain, Sumire, saluted her boss and leapt into the boat, holding it steady. Orin testily stepped in, tapped her foot against the oak wood, and settled in, taking a seat on one of the two benches. She reached out for Satori, who obliged and sat in Orin's lap. Eiki was the last to get in, and she stood, holding her scythe upside-down as if it were an oar. "Everybody settled?"

"Yeah," Orin replied with Satori. "Yes, boss," Sumire answered.

"Well then--" Eiki turned back to grin at them. "Let's GO!" She began to move her scythe back and forth in a rowing motion. Before Satori could figure out where that rumbling was coming from, a stray spout of water caught her in the face, and she sputtered, blinking away the water as the ship rose into the air, carried aloft by a waterspout coming out of the very rock. Eiki was apparently directing it with motions of her scythe, and as Orin wiped off Satori's face, the ship rose further and further in the air, to the cheers of Higan's army.

"Excellent," the shinigami said with evident satisfaction. "The manipulation of distances only does so much, but what it does do is amazing."

"Your ability is the manipulation of distances?" Orin asked, holding Satori in her lap and trying to stop her from leaning over the edge too much.

Eiki shook her head. "Well, that too, but it's not an inherent ability. It comes with the position of Shinigami of Higan. No, my ability is to see things in black and white. To see what is right and wrong, pretty much."

Orin frowned. "I thought that came with being a Yama."

"Permission to speak, my lady?" Sumire asked, raising her hand.

"Granted," Eiki responded, and went back to steering the ship as the waterspout began to extend.

Sumire, a fairy with short purple hair and the emblem of Higan emblazoned on her shako cap, pushed her cape aside and explained. "When someone becomes a Shinigami, be they youkai, fairy, or human, they are bestowed with the power to manipulate distances. Similarly, a Yama is granted powers, too, except they are endowed with the power to see black and white. They can see absolute right and wrong, which ordinary persons are incapable of. But in Lady Eiki's case, she can naturally see the difference between absolute right and wrong, something that should not naturally belong to anyone. It is like... she is a natural Yama."

"Wow," Orin blinked. "I have the power to carry away corpses, but that doesn't honestly mean much... Satori has the power to read minds, but that's something all satori have."

"I have the power to change the colors of anything," Sumire added. "More important to my job is this naginata." Sumire rattled the long sheathed pole strapped to her back. "But Lady Eiki did not inherit her powers. In fact, the abilities of a shinigami or a Yama cannot be inherited. Yet it is Eiki's natural ability. Granted, it's not terribly useful or even practical in combat, bu--"

Sumire ducked as the blade of Eiki's scythe whistled over her face, splattering Orin and Satori with water droplets.

"That will be all, Sumire," Eiki said, not even looking behind her as she continued rowing. Sumire grinned and fell silent once more as Orin giggled behind her hands.

By now, the water spout was arching over the lava pits, extended through Eiki's manipulation of distance. The water splashed against the sides of the boat all around them as it continued to lift them higher and higher, well out of the reach of enemy slings and arrows. They were at eye level with the lavafall, a huge hole in the far stone wall from which the lava poured and splashed down into the Hell of Blazing Fires, carrying lava in from deep within the depths of the former hell.

"Stand up," Eiki commanded. Sumire stood without question, but Orin and Satori were rather shaky on their feet and leaned on the side of the ship as they stood. "Look around for any sign of your sister."

"I can't see anything," Satori said disappointedly as she looked around, her eyes straining to see anything in the light of the flickering flames that were still consuming a good portion of the city. "Are you sure she's alive?"

"Believe me, you would have been able to tell if she had died," Eiki replied, also scanning the skies. "Most siblings do, I hear."

"And I would have been able to tell you where her corpse lay so I could carry it away," Orin added.

Satori winced, picturing Koishi's entrails splattered all over the ground.

"A wonderful bit of comfort," Sumire muttered, whacking Orin's tail lightly with her naginata. "Hey, that's the only thing my ability is good for!" Orin yelped, protesting and rubbing her tail tenderly. "Don't blame me for being a little bit morbid!"

"Look at the girl. She's all worried for her sister. Learn to be more tasteful."

"A shvarts yor," Orin muttered darkly.

"What did you say?"

"You should have a miserable year."

"Hey, you stupid kash--"

"Both of you, shut up!" Eiki roared, glaring at them both and pointing into the distance. "Tell me, do you see anything down there?" she demanded, pointing a finger down the tunnel from which the forces of Makai had emerged. "Do you see anything at the far end of the tunnel?!"

Orin and Sumire fell over each other leaning over the ship trying to see. "I can't see a thing," Orin complained, squinting. "I can't either," Sumire admitted reluctantly as she lowered her hand from above her eyes.

"Look more closely," Eiki ordered, and Satori heard the faintest bit of nervousness in her tone.

".... nothing," Orin said again, sighing. "What is it?" she asked, putting her hand on Eiki's shoulder to pull herself up. "... Eiki, is it just me, or is your heart rate increasing...?"

"... I think I see something," Sumire began. "But only if I turn everything to red filter color. It's... a litter? A litter like the kind that rich people are carried around in when they're lazy."

"Yes, that!" Eiki said excitedly, the excitement of nervousness. Orin frowned. Satori's eyes widened as she heard what was going on in the shinigami's mind.

"A litter, and the person in it..." Sumire continued. "... four, no, six. Six wings."

Satori's mouth went dry.

"Shinki," Eiki said aloud, her grip on her scythe turning her knuckles white. "Shinki has come."

"We... we should get down from here soon," Sumire suggested, her face as pale as Eiki's, just as a yell burst out from Satori's throat. Orin turned her head around as fast as she could as Satori began to bounce up and down in the ship.

"Utsuho!" Satori yelled aloud, pointing. "I see her in the far distance! Near the ceiling! There was just a flash of blue, and--"

"Utsuho is the name of the hellcrow that came to me up in Higan," Eiki said, looking like she was trying to calm down and failing miserably.

"I think that's Mai who's going down," Sumire commented. "None of the rest of Makai's generals is that outrageously terrible at flying. Except maybe Yumeko."

"But where's Koi--" Orin's question was interrupted by an immensely loud rumbling sound. It sounded a lot like boulders thudding down a mountainside, or an avalanche plowing its way down an icy slope. The thudding hurt Satori's ears, and invaded her chest, overpowering her heartbeat, drowning it out, echoing in her ribcage and shaking the satori from head to toe. Next to her, Orin was having the same reaction, and was breathing hard. Sumire was on her knees, holding her chest tightly. Eiki had her hand on her heart and a nervous look on her face. Beads of sweat rolled down her forehead, but Satori didn't think it was because of the heat.

And then the rumbling increased in intensity. There a metallic edge to it that had always been there, but now there was a screech, as if a door that hadn't been opened-- or closed-- for a hundred years was moving again, on hinges that hadn't been oiled in decades. The sound had to be coming from a machine, of course, but there were no machines that large in the Underground... except--

"The gates. The gates that regulate how quickly and how abundantly the lava flows down into the lava pits," Satori realized, looking to the lavafall to their side.

"The gates haven't been touched in decades," Orin added, shaking all over.

"Shinki would not allow the lava to overflow and sweep away an entire quarter of her army," Eiki frowned. "So that means that she must be--"

"She's stopping the flow of lava," Satori finished, noticing as the lava flow from the lavafall began to decrease ever so slightly. "The gears are deep within the rock, so it will take a few minutes to close entirely, but..."

"The gates work in a set of twos," the kasha said, reciting what she remembered of what she had been told about the gates. "As the lava flow closes, another gate opens beneath, redirecting all the lava from the Hell of Blazing Fires deeper into the ground, draining it of all the lava. It was only ever used when the Yamas wanted to make repairs."

Eiki snapped her fingers.

"She's draining the lava pits so that her army can meet mine directly," she concluded. "And with me out of the way, Chireiden will be theirs. She must know that with the pits between us, my flying army will decimate hers. So she's getting rid of our advantage."

"She is?" Satori asked. "She's going to win?"

"Not if I have anything to say about it." Eiki smiled grimly, turning to Sumire, who was pulling the long wrapped rod off of her back. "Sumire! Give the signal. We attack this instant."

"Yes, my lady!" Sumire replied, pulling the last wrapping off of her naginata. Her hands danced over the staff and blade, and they changed from brown and silver to bright neon red instantly, flashing in the darkness. A roar came up from the armies of Higan.

Sumire stood on the helm of the ship, raising her naginata to the crowds, then swung it around to point at Makai's forces. "FAIRY DIVISION!" she bellowed, her voice still halfway overpowered by the booming of gears deep within the rock. "TAKE FLIGHT AND OBEY YOUR YAMA'S ORDERS! CHAAAAAAAAAAARGE!"

Instantly, thousands of fairies took to the air, their wings lighting up with glowing colors. They zoomed over the slowly-draining lava pits, getting close enough to hit Makai with slings and arrows but not low enough to be hit by their arrows in turn. They began to wreak havoc on the roaring armies of Makai, who raised their shields in an attempt to guard themselves.

All the while, the rumbling continued, and the silhouette of six wings began to get clearer and clearer to Satori. She looked at Eiki, who was nervously crossing her arms, and at Orin, who was sitting down in the ship, not really wanting to look down.

And just then--

"SATORIN!" a familiar voice exclaimed, snapping Satori out of her reverie.

"Eh?" Satori began, just as Koishi leapt from Utsuho's arms at her.

Several things then happened all at once.

First, Koishi's fingers brushed Satori's shoulder.

Next, Eiki screamed.

Last, an enormous yellow laser smashed into them all.


Yumeko looked at Sara, confusion on her face.

"... what do you mean, Shinki is going to fight Eiki Shiki herself?"

Next installment: is coming god knows when. I have my insane IB tests all this week. Tomorrow is my English Paper 1. I'm so dead. Shinki help me. Or don't. Whatever she prefers.

And as a response to the question of what historical event Koishi's leap off of the Palace is based on, it's based on a patently ridiculous uber-nationalistic Mexican military story. Specifically, the story of the six Niños Héroes (the "Boy Heroes") who died defending Mexico at Mexico City's Chapultepec Castle from invading U.S. forces. Specifically, Koishi emulated Juan Escutia, one of the six cadets, most famous for climbing to the top of the castle, wrapping himself up in the Mexican flag, and jumping from the roof to keep it from falling into enemy hands.

Also, Sumire's name is flagrantly ripped off from the Flower Division's Sumire (from Sakura Taisen), which I considered to be a halfway decent naming scheme for the generals of Higan.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2010, 09:31:28 pm by Black★Ruro Shooter »

Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2009, 06:41:59 pm »
About time this got updated.


"Mommy, who is that?"

"Who is what, dear?"

"That woman in the blue and white!" She pointed. Her mother followed her gaze, squinting.

"You must have much better eyesight than I do, Alice. I can't see anything."

"The one on the boat on the waterspout with the green hair!"

Alice was almost rocking the litter with her excited jumps. Shinki leaned up from her reclining position, her features changing from a relaxed mother to the terrible demon Queen of Makai.

"... I see her. Alice, where's your Shanghai?"

The little blonde girl handed Shanghai over with a sad look on her face. Shinki noticed this and ruffled Alice's hair affectionately. "Don't worry, she won't get hurt. I promise. I just need her to deliver a small message for me."

Shinki held Shanghai in her right palm. Narrowing her eyes, she drew her left hand over the doll in two circular motions, clockwise and then counterclockwise.

"The gift of life to be given freely," Shinki murmured, "by those who have the gift to give the gift away."

The blonde doll glowed gently from the inside, radiating a faint blue light. The little doll stood up on its weak legs, then gave a small jump, hovering in the air above Shinki's palm and staying there.

"Shanghai!" Alice cried out happily upon seeing her doll move on its own. Shanghai turned slightly to acknowledge Alice, then back to Shinki.

"Shanghai, go on ahead of us and tell Yumeko that I'm going to fight Eiki Shiki myself. She'll know what I mean."

The small doll saluted and hovered off of Shinki's hand, then zoomed off towards the end of the cave down which Shinki and Alice were traveling on a litter carried by half a dozen honor guard of demons. Shinki narrowed her eyes as the litter came closer.

"... it is against the law for Eiki to be here," Shinki observed, her frown turning into a smirk. "It seems that Miss Morality there only obeys the law insofar as it is convenient. Well, no matter. So do I. Then again, that's my job..." she spoke aloud, mostly to herself.

Alice looked up at her, not seeming to want to interrupt her mother in the middle of one of her mutterings. She fingered another doll in her hands instead. It was another doll, a new one she had painstakingly sewn just a few days earlier with Yumeko's help before she left to war. Its name was Hourai.

Shinki, for her part, continued to smile as she made an arcane hand motion with her right hand, cutting the air in two with a fast slash-- and pulling a bright yellow rod out of the ether in its place.

"Stay back, Alice," she ordered in her most commanding voice. "I'm going to send my old green-haired pal a gift." She stretched out her right arm, palm downwards, while the yellow rod hovered above her arm, shaking, radiating power while Shinki murmured a few more incantations.

"Demon Arrow - Meline!" she called out, and instantly the rod shot forth from above Shinki's arm, like a taut crossbow releasing its bolt, but the yellow rod widened and widened until it was the size of their litter. It crashed straight into the boat, and straight into Eiki Shiki.

"Excellent aim," she complimented herself, then turned to Alice. "Are you sure you don't want to stay home?" she asked, a faint tone of worry in her voice. "I'd rather leave you back at Auntie Yuka's mansion or even Tsukuyomi Castle with Gengetsu and Mugetsu. I don't want you anywhere near a war."

Alice shook her head. "I'm not a little kid anymore!" she protested, sticking out her lower lip. "I can take care of myself!"

"But..." Shinki looked down and to the side. "I should have never let you have 'anything you want!' for your birthday."

"But I'd rather be with you," Alice pouted, looking sad. "I'll be safe if I'm with you."

"Ohh--" Shinki covered her mouth. She was blushing bright red to the tips of her ears. She extended her arms to Alice. "Come here, you adorable little girl!" Alice happily ran into her mother's arms. Shinki stroked her hair as she held her daughter, keeping an eye on the approaching opening to the cavern of the Underground City.

"Don't worry," she said softly, kissing Alice's head. "We'll be back in Pandaemonium just in time for Yumeko to make supper."


Yumeko looked at Sara, confusion on her face. She lay on a soldier's cot in a hastily-erected tent, apart from the main army, atop a small rock outcropping that the officers of Makai's army had taken up residence on. Next to her, Yuki was tending to her wounds, as well as Mai's. Luize was on her other side, looking up nervously at Sara. Sara had a doll in her hand that Yumeko recognized as Shanghai, the first doll Alice had sewn (mostly) entirely on her own.

The maid looked halfway between puzzled and shocked.

"... what do you mean, Shinki is going to fight Eiki Shiki herself?"

Just then, a thunderclap. It wasn't a thunderclap, of course, but the sonic boom made by one of Shinki's laser arrows smashing into the unbreakable hull of the Kawaxanadu's ship echoed and rang in Yumeko's ears. She would have raised a hand to cover her ears, if only her right hand hadn't been pierced through with a glass shard the size of a gohei. Irritated, she grit her teeth and pulled the shard out in a flurry of gore, specks of her blood flying everywhere.

Yuki frowned at Yumeko as she took her hands off of her ears. "I was going to get to that one, you know."

"That sonic boom hurt my ears," Yumeko explained. "It somehow seemed more expedient to be in pain for two things at once."

"You could have permanently messed up your nerves," Yuki continued.

Yumeko flexed her fingers, did a sleight of hand, and threw a dagger into Yuki's hat.

Yuki frowned again and pulled the knife out, laying it on a table with other assorted medical supplies on it. "Fine. Next time you get crunched in two by a chandelier, don't come crying to me for help."

"Sorry," Yumeko laughed, some of her good mood returning now that she wasn't in direct hostilities any more (and was missing a few pounds of glass). She turned to Sara again. "What do you mean, Lady Shinki wants to fight Eiki herself?"

"That's what Shanghai said," Sara shrugged, handing the doll over to Yumeko. It balanced on Yumeko's right-hand fingers, not wanting to step on the enormous gash in her palm.

Yumeko looked into her palm; she could see the brown of the ground in one of the cracks. "Don't worry, Shanghai. I heal fast. Shinki's almost down the tunnel?"

Shanghai nodded, not wanting to step on Yumeko's gaping wound. Yumeko laughed again. "See, Shanghai?" She moved her hand to the doll's eye level, showing it all the capillaries, veins and arteries linking back together, the muscle healing, the bone restoring. "As soon as the object is removed from where it cuts me, I start healing fast. I'm fine."

She offered her palm again to the doll, and, shyly, the doll took it, still taking care not to put pressure on the wound. Yumeko smiled and looked up at Sara.

"Sara, please go to greet Lady Shinki, and then accompany her to me so that I can explain the situation."

"Wait," Yuki interrupted. "Shinki is here?"

Yumeko nodded. "She is indeed."

"Well... what's she, er-- DOING here?"

The maid shrugged. "It is always a whim with her. But since she has decided to join in this fight--" Yumeko looked at Yuki, winking. "Then we will not be here for much longer, and soon we can go back to Makai for a rest."

"What about that shinigami?"

"The shinigami can be disposed of--"

"No, no, no," Yuki protested, shaking her head. "Shinki may be a goddess, but the shinigami of the Sanzu is death incarnate. Eiki Shiki will not hesitate to kill Shinki, and she has no reason at all to not want to do so."

"She will hesitate-- if we request the rules of the Spellcard System," the maid responded in a cool, level tone. "If Eiki agrees, and there is no way she could not, then Shinki can move quickly to strike her down."

"Ah," the black-white witch responded, nodding. "It will force Eiki to fight on equal ground with Shinki. And after Shinki defeats her--"

"I move in for the kill," Yumeko finished with a wink and a flash of silver in her hand. She motioned to Sara. "Now go on. Bring Lady Shinki here."

Sara left the tent, a bit hastily, Yumeko observed. She turned to Yuki. "So, how drained is the pit of lava?"

"According to our instruments... I don't know."

Yumeko raised an eyebrow.

"Did you just tell your superior that you don't know the answer to a question that you should know?"

"We-- well, everything melts before it hits the bottom, and our sonar isn't doing too well, and neither is the magic, and--"

The maid looked at her and laughed again.

"Out of curiousity, what would you like to eat once we get back?"

Yuki blinked. Probably at the abrupt shift in topic. "Uh-- I like pastries. Maybe... oh, something sweet."


"Like a chocolate cake covered in melted chocolate with swirls of dark chocolate and milk chocolate icing on top, or chocolate truffles with chocolate inside, decorated with white chocolate--"

"Understood. You shall have it all waiting for you as dessert tomorrow night."

"Eh?" Yuki blinked again. Yumeko had never indulged her sweet tooth like this before. "Wha--"

"I will also invite you and Yuki to dine with us from now on."


Yumeko silenced her by putting her knife to her lips. "Ah, ah. No buts. I always invite the best-performing general of a campaign to dine. In your case, you've been serving for a while as my magic specialist. As head maid of Pandaemonium Mansion, I am all too happy to invite you and Yuki to sup with us whenever you will, and to welcome you into the household as Lady Shinki's personal guard."

"Ah, I guess--" Yuki looked at Yumeko, a quizzical look in her eye. "That's why you asked me about what I liked to eat."

"Yes," Yumeko answered, looking out through a gap in the tent to watch for her master. She turned back to Yuki and gave her a sly wink.

"Shinki is here to win the battle all on her own, so from this point I know that all I have to concentrate on is preparing tomorrow's meal."


Out of nowhere, from the darkness of the dark cave. Satori had been occupied with embracing her sister, Utsuho and Rin had been watching happily, and Sumire had been concerned with staring down at the opposing army's formation. Eiki was really the only one that had had even a hint. And even for her, that hint came too late, because she only realized what the huge yellow laser WAS mere seconds before it smashed right into her with the force of a train rolling downhill on a smooth track.

The blast had flung Satori out of the Titanic. Her sister was suddenly a blur, and so was her vision, but she heard the piercing of everyone else's thoughts coming from around her. No one was thinking in full sentences, thanks to being panicked, but--

Isn't the lava... right below us?

Satori flung her arms around wildly, feeling a dizzy sensation in her head. She was still spinning in the air, the wind rushing around her ears. Her eyes were closed to prevent more dizziness, and her limbs were all over the place, scrambling desperately for a hold. Beneath her, the Hell of Blazing Fires was burning along at god knew how many degrees centigrade. She could feel the waves of heat coming off of it--

And more importantly, she could feel that sinking feeling in her stomach, the one she got whenever things got really bad.

In this case, though, the sinking feeling was literal. Satori was falling through the air to her death in the warm embrace of the Hell of Blazing Fires. The hot wind buffeted her face as she turned downwards; in only about twenty seconds she would close the gap between herself and the suface of the boiling lava.

She was all ready to panic, and then--

... Is this how my sister felt when I forced her off the top of the building, knowing that she was going to die?

It occurred to Satori that she had no idea how it felt, to smash into the ground from more than ten stories up. Even a little girl the size of Satori, who weighed a bit over a hundred pounds, would end up hitting the ground with the force of a ton. It was just basic physics. So Satori would have ended up smashing into the pavement, maybe a little bit through it, her bones crushed, her still-warm blood seeping into the cracks all around her, her Third Eye flickering for a moment before it ran out of blood and died, too.

No, that will not be how I meet my end.

Satori remembered that the surface of lava was not solid.

It will be similar, but not quite. The force might hurt, certainly, but it would be quickly replaced by the feeling of uncontrollable burning. Scalding my body, scathing every part of me, literally beginning to devour me with a heat that will never cool down. I will feel my skin burn, like it had been before, trapped beneath the tenth-floor staircase, but hotter than I have ever felt before. The flames cooked me; this will devour me entirely, swallow me up, reduce me to ash. Back to nothingness.

Of course, I will be screaming the entire time.

It will be similar, but not quite.

Satori felt a drop of sweat drop from her forehead into her mouth. She tasted the salty drop, even as the distance between herself and the lava was now in the single digits.

... but it's not like my sister's ending might have been any more pleasant... in fact, maybe with what I was going to make her do, I deserve it--

--Satori's position was reversed. All she saw was a blur of light blue, and suddenly, she was moving upwards, away from the choking heat.

“Eh?” she blinked.

“Hold on,” the small body she was holding onto said. Satori did so, a bit too dazed to do much else.

Is this how Utsuho saved Koishi when I could not?

Satori held on to the small being tightly as it climbed up a bit in the air. The hot air wafting upwards from the Hell of Blazing Fires began to peter out, and before long, Satori could breathe again without feeling as if she were tasting flames again.

... where is my sister, anyway?

Solid ground. Satori had been set down on stone. She was next to the Hell of Blazing Fires now, where she had run into Eiki Shiki earlier.

“Where is my sister?”

The small person, a youkai by the looks of it, did not bow deeply as she might have, but instead looked around in the air. Satori tried to follow her gaze, but the flames in her eyes and the lingering burning images in her retinas would not let her see much.

“I think she's safe,” the youkai responded.

“Thank you for saving me,” Satori said awkwardly, not knowing how to thank her.

“It is expected of me.” The youkai brushed off the compliment, though Satori could hear the echoes of her words in the youkai's thoughts. The other girl was pleased. Satori smiled.

“What is your name, youkai?” She noticed that this was one of the generals that Eiki Shiki had been talking to. But her uniform was a bit different from the rest of Higan's generals. Light blue patterned with sakura petals instead of dark blue, and an emblem of sakura emblazoned on her hat instead of the red-petaled lycoris radiata of the fields of the dead next to the Sanzu River.

“Sakura,” she responded, and Satori bit back the urge to facepalm. “Commander of the special forces of Hakugyokurou, under the special orders of Saigyouji Yuyuko, Princess of the Netherworld.”

“Saigyouji Yuyuko?” Satori asked.

“Princess Yuyuko of the land of the dead,” Sakura responded. “The other queen of the dead. While Eiki is down here, the dead are currently being detoured to Hakugyokurou because there is no ferrywoman to take them across the Sanzu.”

“So... Eiki is not the only one fighting Shinki?”

“Not entirely,” Sakura returned. “Princess Yuyuko has sent a force of elite soldiers of, well, ghosts to fight.” She raised her hand so that if Satori looked closely, she could see how pale, how... transparent it was. “I'm not a youkai. I'm just a dead human. But we can still fight, you shall see.

“Hakurei, however, is staying out of it, and so is Mayohiga, Eientei and the Scarlet Devil Mansion. You see--” She gave Satori a pained smile. “Higan is an exception, but no one else in the aboveground even knows you exist.”

“Good,” Satori replied. “And it should stay that way.”

“Even now, while you're being attacked?” There was a tone of irritation in Sakura's voice. “You'd prefer to die out down here, beneath the earth's crust, already buried, while there are people who are willing to help you?”

“Bu-- but I have been taught that if invaders from the Aboveground come, that they will destroy our way of life.”

“And this isn't?” Sakura waved her hand across the lava pits, indicating the clamoring, screeching forces of Makai. “Perhaps I am not your teacher, but my Princess has deigned to help you out when she has no real obligation to do so. And perhaps you should appreciate that.”

“Your words are as scathing as the lava,” Satori observed, but inwardly she was repentant. “Sorry.”

Sakura blinked. “I didn't expect her to apologize,” Satori heard in her thoughts, and frowned slightly. “You didn't expect me to apologize, then?”

Satori was rewarded with a flush of red to the dead girl's cheeks. Sakura looked almost alive for a moment. “I-- I'm sorry! I'm a bit stressed out...”

“s' fine,” Satori laughed. “I have learned my lesson, you have learned yours.”

“Yes,” Sakura said in reply, bowing slightly, then returned her attention to the skies. “Aah-- where is Eiki? Where is Sumire?”

During the whole conversation, Satori's eyes had been healing, but she still probably would not see much peering into the dark, even with the illumination of the Hell of Blazing Fires. She raised her hand to the air. “Allow me.”

Satori could hear the thoughts of other people in passing and without any intention to do so, but it had been a while since she had actively cast her Third Eye's gaze over a large area to hear the thoughts of everybody there without focusing on any one person. She steeled herself for the burden. Whenever a satori strained their Third Eye too much, a roiling headache would be the first thing to come, and then in succession, other problems such as shortness of breath, increase in heartbeat, lack of feeling in their extremities-- even an experienced, powerful satori like Komeiji Miyani had suffered from this from time to time. Satori could not hope to maintain her web of Third Eye perception for very long. Which meant that she would have to find them fast.

First, Koishi. Satori could hear only intermittent thoughts. What was going on with her? It was like her Third Eye was half closed or something. But she was alive... somewhere. Even if what came through from her thoughts was the thought equivalent of mere static...

Next, Orin.

Oh vez mear, fermisht, fershlugina--

Orin was obviously fine. In fact, her thoughts were astoundingly close.

“Sakura, mind looking around for a hellca--”

“Bubbala, I am here,” Orin purred next to Satori's ear. Satori jumped slightly. “Orin!”

The hellcat hugged the satori tightly. “Are you all right, Satorin?”

“Yes, I'm fine!” Satori returned the hug. “But where is everyone else?”

“I don't know,” Orin admitted. “I just jumped as far as I could to the edge of the pits. I don't know about anyone else.”

“I will keep looking for them, then,” Satori said, and turned back around, raising her hand. “Let's open up my Third Eye wide...”

Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2009, 06:46:04 pm »

Next, Utsuho. Where was she? Of all the people in the ship, she would be the one most likely to have survived and not fallen into the lava--

Bullshit fuckin' lazer beam fuckin' messin' up mah STYLE, man.


Imma go bust a cap in that Shinki bitch's ass!


Imma rape her bitch ass from here to Higan--

Satori quietly turned her Third Eye away from the source of the thoughts.

That... could not possibly be Utsuho.

… could it?

Yet the thoughts had carried Utsuho's distinct voice, her... flavor was the best way to describe it. It was Utsuho.

“... That blast must have done something to her,” Satori determined, and opened up her Third Eye once more to scan the skies.

“Sumire, Eiki, where are you,” she murmured to herself.

Thankfully, it was at that very moment that Sakura leapt up beside her. “Sumire! SUMIRE!” she called out--

“Sakura!” It was Sumire, illuminated by the light given off by the Hell of Blazing Fires. Sumire was fluttering over the lava pits, which seemed to be diminishing in their brightness. In her right hand, she had her naginata. In her other hand, impossibly intact and dragging her own ship, was--

“Eiki Shiki?” Satori called out. “EIKI!”

Sumire came to the shore and pulled Eiki out of the lava. The unbearably hot lava dripped off of her like it was mere water. Eiki lay there for a few moments, and then--

“... Ow ow ow, my body hurts,” Eiki said, wincing and sitting up on her hands. “How are you all? Safe? Sorry I didn't see Shinki coming.”

“Ho-- how are you--”

“Oh, this?” Satori watched as Eiki stood up and brushed specks of lava off of her skirt with her bare hands. “Death cannot die,” Eiki explained. “That would be redundant. And I don't even have permission to,” she said. “And this is not a strange eon, it's a normal one. Basically, I cannot die.” She motioned to her fairy captain, who was still breathing a bit hard. “Sumire, of course, being a mortal fairy of Higan, can. But she'll just end up in Higan again.”

“I respawn, yes,” Sumire finished, smiling. “So, Eiki. Shinki is here.”

It wasn't a question, Satori noted.

Eiki's eyes narrowed. “Yes... Shinki wants to fight me.” The Titanic bobbed in the lava behind Eiki, sinking further down. “That laser was aimed at me, I promise you that. Regretfully, it isn't the worst she has to throw.”

“So... what happens now?” Orin asked.

“I would normally attack right now, but there's no point in it.” Eiki turned around. “The lava pits are almost entirely drained. I was being dragged along the bottom when Sumire pulled  me out of there.”

“The la--” Satori pushed her way past Orin's legs and looked.

For the first time in living memory, the lava pits were going dry. The Hell of Blazing Fires was draining away, deep into the earth. Already, spots of dry land were beginning to surface.

“In a minute or two, the land will be cool enough for Shinki to charge,” Eiki observed.

“Shinki-- is going to--” Satori stammered.

Eiki looked at her, regretful thoughts echoing through her mind. “Sorry, Satori,” she apologized. “But now you're going to have to get out of here. This will be a bloody battlefield in a matter of minutes. Get to high land as fast as you can, and my generals and I shall take it from here.”

“Bu-- the lava--”

“The lava pits are almost entirely drained. Soon it shall be a plain upon which Shinki and I will command our troops against one another.” Eiki looked down. “I hope Shinki will come to terms before then, because even though I am willing to fight, I don't want to shed any more blood than I really have to.”

“So, get on,” Sakura said to Orin and Satori, waving them away. “We'll take it from here. Go!”

“But wait!” Satori protested. “We-- I lost track of Koishi and Utsuho!”

“Where are they?”

Satori waved her hand helplessly into the darkness above them.

“Sumire, Sakura, if you will.”

Sumire and Sakura both saluted. “Yes, ma'am.” Then they lifted Satori and Orin into the air-- and in Sumire's case, Orin's wheelbarrow too.

The mental equivalent of static.

Satori opened her Third Eye as wide as she could.

... what does that say about Koishi's mind?


“Where be that skank ho Shinki! Imma gonna fuckin' give her a piece of mah MIND!”

Koishi wanted to cry.

Shinki's surprise attack had flung Utsuho and Koishi far upwards, into the rocky wall. Koishi had scrambled for a foothold, frantic, but had unexpectedly found a strong ledge wide enough for many people to stand or sit on.

Okuu had not been so lucky. She had been thrown into the wall head first, and the impact had clearly done something to the poor girl's mind. It seemed that she was now behaving like the infamous “gangstas” from the aboveground. Eientei had especially been a haven for this sort of vulgarity.

And now Okuu was insisting on describing, in pathetically bad detail, how she was gonna kick Shinki's “bitch ass” into fine powder and rape Yumeko.

Koishi placed her hand over her Third Eye, blocking its range so that she could not hear Utsuho's perverse thoughts, and looked far, far below her, seeing Satori being caught by a ghostly-looking character and landing safely. She yelled out for her sister, but was drowned out by the ungodly screeching of the ten thousand or more demons of Makai's armies.

“We have to get down there,” Koishi said determinedly. It was an odd subversion of what she had done literally less than an hour ago. She had flung herself downwards, but now she was going to do it again, and willingly too.

“We gonna head down to the crib?” Okuu asked.

“I bet you don't even know what that means,” Koishi returned. She touched her Third Eye, trying and failing to shut off Okuu's immensely dirty thoughts concerning Yumeko.

Partly out of curiosity, she closed the lid to her Third Eye halfway.

If seeing the thoughts of all creatures around her was staring through the minds of people as if it were a pool of crystal clear water, peering into the minds of people through a halfway-closed Third Eye was like being roughly shoved forward, pushed into the water itself, causing a huge splash, disturbing the calm surface, and being forced to keep one's eyes open in the now-murky pool.

It was something Koishi had never seen before. She had playfully closed her Third Eye before, of course; so did every other satori when they were children. But never had her vision been changed so dramatically. All that had happened was that their Third Eyes' range had been decreased; it had never shifted entirely.

“Wat 'chu doin', my nigga?” Okuu asked, fluttering into Koishi's range of vision.

Before Koishi could chastise her for her completely out-of-line vulgarity, her Third Eye caught sight of Okuu's thoughts.

First, the usual.

Fuckin' skank-ass ho Shinki, imma beat her ass into the ground, an' that Yumeko bitch too, imma rape her in the ass with a fireplace poker, an' mebbe that Mai bitch too, imma shove some lazers into her bitch ass--

But things were different this time. She plunged deeper into Okuu's mind, past the profanities and vulgarities, past the visions of rappers with gold-capped false teeth and the gyrating, jiggling women wearing little more than two rubber bands-- Past all that. She dove deeper into Utsuho's thoughts, past the thoughts reflecting onto the surface, into the murky depths of her deeper mind, the less substantial thoughts, more instinctual, more reactive, the subconscious--

eat food. eatfood. eateatfoodeat. eateatfoodeateatfoodeateatfoodeateateat
flap wings flap fly keep flying fly maintain fly flying
bling shootemup raperaperape beat down show superior rap pickupline gangstacreed
watchdanger. shinki laser. watch keep eye out
koishi friend feed me satori thought read feed me foodeateateatfoodeatfooooooooood

Koishi looked at the fourth thought, her own mind observing it from a distance. It was not like the others; it was brand new, and carried the faint aura of being... foreign to Okuu, somehow. She reached out and wished it would turn off.

And it did. It lost power and stopped rotating in Utsuho's head, and dropped lifelessly to the bottom of her mind.

Koishi blinked, feeling somehow strangely detached from it all. She turned her eye to the rest of Okuu's head, peering through the murky waters that clouded her vision.

“... why don't you think of getting us down from up here?” she said slowly, deliberately. She was going on a hunch, curious--

climbdown koishi onshoulders flydown findsatoriorinrin eikisumire to safety safety security

-- it had worked?

By all means, it had. The idea had taken root in Okuu's head, circulating amongst all the other subconscious drives in her behavior. It seems that the idea of “safety” had appealed to her inner drives, the basic desires for food, water, shelter inherent in every creature.

Before Koishi could say anything further, though, she felt a tug at her chest. She looked down and saw a cord reaching out of her heart, coruscating serenely around her body. She pulled it experimentally, and felt a responding tug. She looked up, and besides seeing a second cord attached to what felt like her brain, she saw a gigantic green Third Eye – her own – looking down at her from above the surface of Okuu's mind. From her own body.

“Pull me up,” Koishi said, more on instinct than anything else. The Third Eye complied, reeling her up, and she zoomed out of Okuu's head, going up, up, past the murky base thoughts, past the half-formed ideas, past the sights of outside that were transmitted from her eyes, past the surface thoughts--

And back into her own brain. Koishi felt a sudden rush in her ears and twitched instinctively, and she was surprised when she saw that her fingers responded.

“So, uh, Koishi, are we going to get down now?”

“Get down?” Koishi asked, a bit absentmindedly, still a bit dazed-- and blinked. Utsuho was standing before her, in the air, her wings beating behind her, maintaining her in the air. She had a quizzical expression on her face, of course, as she always did, but her previous, short-lived macho cool exterior was entirely gone.

“Go kick Shinki's bitch ass,” the satori prodded.

“Uhh... what?” Okuu asked, tilting her head to one side.

“You heard me, ho,” Koishi responded, trying to evoke some response in Okuu.

“... you lost me,” the hellcrow replied.

“... huh,” Koishi murmured. It seemed that what she had just done in Okuu's mind... WHATEVER the heck it was that she had just done in Okuu's mind... it had turned off the vulgarity of Okuu's thoughts. She wasn't a wannabe gangster anymore, and she had no desire to inflict violence upon helpless bystanders in the form of countless perverse insinuations.

She knew that some older satori with literally centuries of experience could do it, but... had she manipulated Okuu's thoughts? No, she hadn't even done that; simple mind-manipulation wouldn't have stopped those ideas entirely. What she had done was something no satori in their histories had done, she had broken through the surface and manipulated Okuu's mind, not in her conscious, but her subconscious...

“Are you feeling all right?” Okuu asked, coming closer. “You look a bit confused.”

Il Palazzo sarà mai sconfitto,” Koishi muttered to herself again, reassuring herself that her own mind was intact. “I'm fine,” she said aloud to the hellcrow, standing up. She touched her hand to her Third Eye and found, not surprisingly, that it was wide open like it always was.

She made a mental note to find out more about what had happened to her from Satori. In the meantime... she extended her hand to Utsuho, who obligingly took it.

“This is the second time you'll have saved me from falling to my death,” Koishi said with a smile. “I owe you a lot, Okuu.”

“In that case, can you feed me soon?” Okuu responded with a pained grin. “I'm hungry!”

“Of course!” Koishi responded as, behind Okuu, two important people became visible.

“Satorin!” the white-haired satori exclaimed as her older sister smiled back.


And yet, there was something wrong with that smile, Satori saw. Koishi had been a bit slower to smile this time, and it was vaguely... forced.

She didn't want to think that at all of her precious sister. She was guilty of so much already! And now was she going to think that secretly her sister didn't love her?

Koishi did seem a bit slower now, though, Satori observed as she watched Orin and Okuu embrace one another. Not by much, and not so much that most other people would notice.

At that moment, Koishi's gaze moved to her sister, and Satori self-consciously dropped her thoughts where they were and obscured them. Any mind-reader would be able to tell that she had been thinking of something else, so she brought up a problem she did not want to think of; the fact that in a few seconds, now that the Hell of Blazing Fires was completely drained, that the armies of Higan and Makai were to meet head-to-head.

“Satori...” Koishi blanched a few seconds later. “They're... going to fight?”

“Yes,” Satori responded, her heart sinking. It had taken Koishi a measurable span of time to read her mind. She would have to talk with her about this later... if there was a later.

“Hooray hooray happy family reunion,” Sakura interrupted, a hint of irritation in her tone.

“You're done now?” Sumire asked, her voice strained. Satori could tell she was trying her hardest to be polite.

“Yes, we are safe now,” Orin responded, grinning at Sumire because she knew it would irritate her.

The two generals, ghost girl and fairy alike, bowed deeply. “Then this is where we bid you farewell,” Sakura said, doing her best to smile.

“We shall probably not see them again, will we, Sumire?” she said, trying to laugh.

“No, probably not,” the fairy captain responded, pulling her shako cap down over her eyes.

Satori and Orin looked at them, then at each other.

“Time for us to go, then,” Sumire continued, her face obscured. “Let's go...”

But Sumire didn't finish that sentence, since she was stopped by Orin's fierce hug.

“Let go of me, you annoying hellcat!” Sumire protested, flailing wildly. She was so much smaller than the kasha that she was a full meter off the ground.

“Aaah, you were practically made to kvetch me,” she said happily. “But bei mir bist du shayn... gai ga zinta hatte.”

“... that better have been a compliment,” Sumire objected, trying to sound irritated and failing to do it. Orin laughed again and hugged her.

“She seems to be enjoying it,” Sakura observed.

“She is,” Satori said, turning her Third Eye's gaze from Sumire to Sakura. “And you want a hug, don't you?”

Sakura smiled. “It's not like I could hide it, Miss Komeiji.” So of course Satori hugged her, the ghostly girl she had known for such a short amount of time.

Ahh, so soft, so cute, so tiny-- even if I get killed here, at least this was worth it--

“Thank you for thinking I am cute,” Satori said, and Sakura froze, stiff as a board for a second, and then sighed and ruffled Satori's hair.

“If I'm going to die, then I am at least going to have ruffled your hair,” Sakura said determinedly, and gave Satori one last squeeze. “I'll put in a good word for you with Princess Yuyuko.”

“Thank you,” Satori said again, and let Sakura go. Sakura and Sumire backed off.

“Will we see you again?” Orin asked.

Sumire laughed. “We are but minor characters! Just generals, Orin. No, the one you should be concerned for is Eiki. Eiki will lead us to victory over Makai, I promise you.”

“And we shall do our best to help,” Sakura said, taking a step off of the ledge and hovering in midair, her feet dissolving into a ghostly tail. “Shall we exeunt?”

“We shall,” Sumire said, tossing Satori a small salute. “May the Palace of the Earth Spirits rise again!”

And then they fell through the air, zooming off to the far side of the battlefield. Satori peered over the edge to watch them go, and was unprepared for what she saw.

“... the Hell of Blazing Fires is gone?”

Orin also looked over the edge. “... looks like it, Satorin,” she said softly.

Satori could not believe it. Never in her life had she ever even heard of such a thing. The Hell of Blazing Fires... gone? Not even in history had this ever happened. The gate was permanently open for a reason; never before had someone drained the lava pits.

And yet, there it was before her. Swiftly-cooling land had surfaced at the bottom of the pits, hissing with steam as it was exposed to the cooler underground air for the first time since its creation, ages ago. No more lava, no more Hell of Blazing Fires.

“It's already so much darker now,” Orin said, her cat's eyes narrowing. “Even for me. The only reason it's not pitch black is because of the burning city.”

Satori was starting to realize how important the Hell of Blazing Fires was to Chireiden. Already she could feel a chill creep into her body; the ever-present heat from the lava pits was gone, after all.

Without the Hell of Blazing Fires, we shall all surely die, Satori realized. Eiki had to have realized this too--

She saw that Sakura and Sumire had reached their green-haired commander. She stood firm on the far side of the Hell of Blazing Fires, her expression unreadable from this distance. Satori got the feeling that she was just waiting for Shinki to show her face, and from there choose to either charge head-on with her troops or fight Shinki hand-to-hand.

“Fairies may respawn,” Orin said, apparently thinking exactly what Satori was thinking. “But that doesn't mean it won't be painful.”

Satori winced as soon as her Third Eye scanned what precisely Orin was thinking of; it wasn't pleasant.

“Eiki should fight Shinki one-on-one,” Okuu commented, and Satori gave a slight jump. Okuu had been quiet the entire time, since she hadn't had any relationship to Sakura or Sumire earlier. And Koishi--

“Oh wow, I've never seen that before!”

It was like she had dropped off of Satori's radar, she realized, her mouth going a bit dry. She had turned around to look, and Koishi wasn't there. And then her words.

... Koishi had been next to her the entire time.

“Eh?” Koishi asked, her face innocent, looking at Satori. Satori's look of shock must have been evident. She shook her head, willing herself out of the surprise.

This is bizarre. It's as if she's always been there, right next to me, but I just hadn't noticed her... What's going on...?*

*Apologies to the Nameless Fairies. For all of this. But for that bit especially.

“'s nothing,” Satori said, her tongue feeling like it was made of lead.

At this point, any satori would have looked at her and read her rampant thoughts with barely any effort at all, they were that apparent. They weren't even surface thoughts; Satori was mentally screaming it out.

Koishi! Koishi, my dear sister! What is wrong with you?!

And yet--

“Okay,” Koishi accepted, and continued to watch.

... Koishi. Please, tell me what is wrong.

If Koishi heard it at all, she gave no indication.

Koishi, can you hear me? Can you hear me, Koishi?

“Oh, look,” Koishi said, pointing excitedly at the red tent on the Makai side of the field. “That red maid is coming out with that woman with the red clothes!”

Listen to me, sister! Why aren't you listening to me?!

“Is she gonna go talk with that Eiki person?”


Koishi gave a start, and Satori gave out a small sigh of relief.

What is it, sister? You don't have to be so loud...

You weren't listening.

I was listening! ... I think.

I wonder about that.

Satori sat up and reached out for her sister, feeling a wave of relief wash over her when she felt that even though Koishi seemed to be fading in and out of her vision, that she was still solid, that Satori could still touch her without feeling like she was reaching for water and simply falling through.

What shall we do now, Koishi? Whether or not Eiki wins--

She felt sick, all of a sudden. Sick. Like her throat had suddenly gone dry and she wanted to vomit up everything she had eaten, and then her organs and heart too.

-- whether or not Eiki wins, we are probably the only two left of the entire satori race of Chireiden.

She was all alone now. All alone but for her sister. They were the only satori left. No matter who won, Shinki or Eiki, nothing would ever be the same again. The government of Chireiden was gone, dead with Miyani. The system was completely uprooted. Even the city itself had not survived; it would be reduced to mere ash and rubble within a few hours.

Everything they had once known was now gone.

Except for the sisters, the lone kasha, and the ditzy yatagarasu, Satori had no way of confirming if anyone else had even survived. She knew that someone out there had to have survived, of course... but it was hard to believe that when she was in this position, far up on the rock face, hiding on a ledge, watching the demon goddess of Makai that had destroyed everything stride across the battlefield, accompanied by her unspeakably cruel red maid, to meet the tall and noble green-haired ferrywoman of the Sanzu River.

In only a few hours... everything she had ever known was destroyed, and now her fate lay in the hands of an imposing, beautiful shinigami of the Sanzu, who had never even had an obligation to help her, but had come anyway, to rescue complete strangers that she had never once met.

Satori drew her sister close, almost into her lap, as Utsuho took a seat on the other side. Now Satori was leaning against Orin, Koishi in her arms, with Okuu on the other side.

They were all watching attentively to see what happened next. Satori idly played with Koishi's hair, feeling the silken white strands on her fingers.

... Eiki, good luck. Please come out of this victorious, for all our sakes...

Sakira Rurouni

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  • Nickname: Sakura Rurouni
Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2009, 06:47:02 pm »

“My Lady!”

“Lady Shinki...”

“Your Majesty...”

A low murmur swept through the unruly demon horde as the woman in red walked through the crowd, a path clearing at her feet. At her side walked a little blonde girl, holding her hand.

The woman in red made her way to the red tent, pitched atop a rocky outcropping off to the side. Her head turned briefly to observe what was going on at the other side of the soon-to-be battlefield; her powerful eyes a pink-haired little satori, a ghost, a fairy, a hellcat, and a green-haired woman she had noticed earlier... the Shinigami of the Sanzu River. Of course she would not have died at Shinki's surprise attack; she was Death incarnate, after all, and she would probably not even be able to die unless she had special permission to do so.

But it was the little pink-haired satori that caught her attention, too...

“Welcome, Lady Shinki.”

Shinki turned her attention back to the tent, only a few paces from where she stood. Before it, a woman in white and another woman in red with pink hair bowed deeply.

Well, of course they would bow deeply. She was not only their queen; in creating them, she was effectively their goddess.

The little blonde girl let go of her hand, so she extended her hand to the pink-haired woman, who kissed the ring on her hand. She did the same with the white-clothed woman. In unison, they stood.

“Good afternoon, Sara. Good afternoon, Luize.”

Luize and Sara looked at each other.

“It's... afternoon?” Sara asked uncertainly.

“It is,” Shinki replied. “Fighting underground presents such a complex set of problems... but let me reassure you, you will not have to tolerate them for long.”

The two women smiled at one another and bowed their heads. “Thank you, Lady Shinki, and welcome.”

Shinki swept past them. Sara was faster, so she opened the flap to the tent to let Shinki enter.

Trailing behind Shinki was the little blonde girl. She smiled up at Sara and Luize. “Heyas!”

“Hello, Lady Alice!” Luize said, happiness evident in her voice. Sara ruffled Alice's hair and opened the tent flap for her as well. Alice bowed respectfully and went inside after her mother.

Inside the tent, the two witches, Yuki and Mai, were kissing Shinki's imperial ring. She raised them up, with one hand below their chins. “I trust the battle has gone well for you?”

“... fairly well, in some ways,” Yuki shrugged, playing with a torn portion of her sleeve. “We heal fast thanks to magic, at least. We haven't met any magical resistance, but we have gotten beaten around a bit--”

“A BIT?!” Mai scowled.

“Don't move around too much, or the bandages will come off,” Yuki said quickly, pulling the bandages taut around Mai's head. “Forgive her, Lady Shinki. She's still in a bit of pain.”

“All is forgiven,” Shinki said easily, smiling. “I do not begrudge her her annoyance.”

“Thank you, Lady Shinki,” Mai sighed, sincerity evident in her voice. “I was out of line. You are merciful and just.”

Shinki closed her eyes regally and opened them again, smiling at Mai. “Allow me?” she asked, reaching out to Mai's head.

Mai probably knew from experience that Shinki wasn't ordering, she really was asking. So she consented, and Shinki ruffled her hair a bit.

“Aah...” Mai moaned, then quickly covered her mouth with her hands. “Aaaah-- sorry, Lady Shinki...”

“s' all right,” Shinki said, trying to restrain herself from smiling. “Alice enjoys it too.”

“Ahem,” a voice coughed from behind Shinki. Shinki recognized it, and had avoided looking at the person in question on purpose.

On the other hand--

“Miss Yumeko! Miss Yumeko!” Alice cried out, excited, and rushed to the tall, almost Amazonian woman, who caught her in her strong arms and set her up on her shoulders. Alice reached up, giddy with the experience. “Look, mommy, I can touch the top of the tent!”

“Yes, you can!” Shinki laughed, turning to the frowning Yumeko. “Hello, Yumeko.”

“Hmph,” Yumeko huffed, clearly annoyed.

“Come now, Yumeko, don't be like that~” Shinki said playfully, reaching up to tease Yumeko's hair, only to be rebuffed as Yumeko turned her cheek.

The goddess appropriately turned her head to the side as well, and covered her face with her hand. “... so jealous.”

“I am NOT jealous!” Yumeko objected, a bit too quickly. Shinki grinned. Yumeko flushed red and set Alice down on the ground. While she was bowed, Shinki ran her hands through Yumeko's hair, causing the maid to twitch faintly and perhaps let out a small moan as well.

“... not even war changes you much,” Shinki said, amusement evident in her voice.

“For you, Lady Shinki, I shall never change,” Yumeko replied, lowering her knee and bowing at Shinki's feet.

“That is good to hear,” her lady replied as Yumeko kissed her ring. She put her hand at Yumeko's chin and raised her up.

“How has this war progressed? Tell me everything.”

Yumeko turned away and pulled a map out from beneath some other stacks of equipment, all business now. She handed it to Mai, who obediently held it open for Yumeko to point at it.

It was a diagram of the Underground City, around which was circumscribed the federal district of Chireiden, the Palace of the Earth Spirits at the very dead center of the city. To the right, an elaborate compass rose pointed to the southern wastes of the cave, and to the north, the Hell of Blazing Fires, surrounding the Palace of the Earth Spirits entirely on its north face and extending halfway down the western and eastern sides of the Palace.

Apart from the city, there was not much to see. There were pipes and many caves reaching from the Underground City outside and upwards to the surface, connecting them with much-needed water and other supplies. There were also half a dozen auxiliary caves leading to other areas of the Underground-- Chireiden was not the only subterranean city beneath the ground, but it was the most densely populated, and the most powerful. And there were even more _hidden_ tunnels, most no better than small crevices in the rock, but some of them were long, winding caves-- like the one that they had used to get into the city.

“Down the rabbit-hole,” Shinki murmured as she fixed her eye on one of them. It was the one that Alice had found, the route Shinki's armies had followed. She had found it one day while playing near the hills around Tsukuyomi Castle in Makai, in the care of Gengetsu and Mugetsu. Curious, they had come with Alice deep into the underground, and stopped in shock when they saw the light of the Hell of Blazing Fires. When they got back, they reported it to Shinki, who sent Yumeko and Luize back with them to map out the entire route. When they returned, they had determined that yes, it really _was_ the Underground City of Chireiden.

So now Shinki had had a route to attack Chireiden with, which was crucial; her war with them would have to go like lightning to win, because even though Makai's armies far outnumbered Chireiden's, her men would be going into the dark, into a land they were unused to fighting on, and in tiny caves at that. Her superior numbers would mean nothing to these caves, down which she would have to funnel her men like rats through a maze. And the cave entrances were ideal for Chireiden's defenses; there, a few could defend against a many, and Shinki's troops were not as well-trained as she would like to think.

But now she had a route through which she could burst into Chireiden by surprise, and take the city. The only problem now was getting the army out of the way. And that was more easily accomplished than even she had hoped; by sending Yuka to destroy Chireiden's main water supply line, she was able to spread false rumors through the city using her spies. Her plan went off flawlessly; Queen Miyani of Chireiden sent half the army to confront the insane, overpowered flower youkai. After that, it was even easier than it should have been to direct the remaining army's attention to a supposed invasion from Tsukuyomi Castle. Miyani's plan had been to divide the army, but as soon as the Tsukuyomi forces had left, the Mugenkan forces (or what was left of them after playing with Yuka) would return.

What she had not expected was that Shinki had secretly gone about collapsing most of the main tunnels from Chireiden to Mugenkan, forcing the army to make a large detour to find their way back and delaying the return of the first half of the army and leaving Chireiden utterly defenseless for one, two days. Which was all she had ever needed.

Shinki now had her perfect window of time to attack. So attack she did. She sent a quarter of her army-- the full army would not even fit inside the cave-- from the hills of Tsukuyomi Castle to Chireiden, blasting their way through the rock as they went. Once they were only a few meters from the end of the cave, they set off a huge explosion and blasted the new cave's entrance wide open, shattering the eternal quiet of the Underground and sweeping into the city.

From there, Yumeko had taken command, torching the Underground City as youkai fled left and right into the darkness. She had then, as per the plan, crossed the bridges into the federal district of Chireiden, and taken the five rings surrounding the Palace, and then razed the Palace itself, killing every satori in the city and eviscerating the government. Then she had sealed off the Hell of Blazing Fires.

It was a trap, of course. It would not be long before the Mugenkan forces returned, and she intended to lure them into the huge lava pits of the Hell of Blazing Fires before releasing the lava once more, destroying that portion of the army. From there, it would be elementary to destroy the Tsukuyomi forces, because they would be caught literally within the rock, surrounded on both sides, on one by Yumeko's army returning to the surface, on the other by the rest of Shinki's demonic hordes.

And then Chireiden would be hers.

But something had gone wrong... As it turned out, Yakumo Yukari was not unwilling to overlook Shinki's activities, at least not entirely. She did not do anything herself, of course, and if she did, she covered up any and all traces of her involvement. But she did tell one very influential person about it. Her best friend. Saigyouji Yuyuko.

Yuyuko, however, had been all but confined to Hakugyokurou, on virtue of being a Netherworlder. Whenever a ghost from Hakugyokurou entered Gensokyo, it was considered a sin by the Yamaxanadu. However, there were no real restrictions stopping ghosts from entering the Subterranean lands. Yuyuko still could not go, because Hakugyokurou genuinely did need to be administered the entire time, and she could not simply leave her post.

But someone else could. And so Yuyuko had contacted the shinigami of the Sanzu River, Eiki Shiki. She, like any other shinigami, had not been born that way. She had worked her way up through the ranks of Higan's military, starting out as a mere foot soldier and eventually becoming second only to the Yama herself-- a somewhat irresponsible Yama who went by the name Hinanai. She had only obtained the position through her connection to Nai no Kami, not through any sort of merit. So it was Eiki that held the true respect of her position, and because she was not confined to a desk, she was free.

She was willing, too. Eiki had obviously not delayed in mobilizing the fairy armies of Higan and marching through Higan's secret tunnels to Chireiden. It seemed that Eiki's personal ideas of what was right and wrong had not dulled with time, that she refused to compromise even one of her principles. All the other heads of the households of Gensokyo that had known about Shinki's imperialistic moves hadn't cared at all. Hakurei refused to get involved-- fair enough, since the Hakurei shrine maiden was on her deathbed and the burden would soon fall to her young daughter-- but Eientei, despite its vast army of youkai rabbits, hadn't cared in the least for Chireiden's predicament. Mayohiga likewise stayed out of it; Remilia Scarlet famously disavowed the idea of intervention, even if that intervention were to save lives. The mountain kappa, the tengu, the wild youkai were no better; no one wanted to get involved at all.

Next to these, Eiki and Yuyuko stood in stark contrast. Upon deciding that Shinki's actions were sinful, Eiki instantly moved to stop her. And though Yuyuko could not leave Hakugyokurou, she sent her blessing to Eiki, along with a contingent of elite fighters from the Netherworld, loaded with some spring essence, courtesy of the sole fairies that wanted to help: Lily White and her sister Lily Black. These spring-powered ghosts were half-corporeal, and with these half-ghosts, Eiki's troops were now about half the size of Shinki's quarter-army. They were still far outnumbered, yes, but where Shinki had drafted thuggish, brutish demons into her vast armies, Eiki had recruited a volunteer army of highly trained fairies, soldiers by profession.

If it came down to a direct fight between Shinki and Eiki's forces, then, Eiki had every advantage. A small, enclosed space where Shinki's vast numbers meant nothing. A smaller, faster, more efficient, well-trained army. And as much as Shinki hated to admit it, Eiki carried the moral force of the right. As the only shinigami in existence who had the power to see the absolute right and wrong, her every action was just; and so her army not only wielded their weapons, their armor, their magic, and their will-- it also was filled with the righteous fury of the just. Shinki knew full well that it would be difficult to defeat a foe that was convinced of its own righteousness.

And behind all of this lay a tremendous problem. Even if Eiki's forces went head-to-head with hers, Shinki would eventually win. It was inevitable; despite all the odds, Shinki's overwhelming numbers would win the day. But it would take time, at least five days, to decimate Eiki. She knew that Eiki would not give up until she was the last one standing. And she could not defeat Eiki herself, either; not even she could bring death to Death herself. But because Eiki would fight until the bitter end, it would take time-- time she did not have. Within two days, maximum, the sizable, fresh army of Chireiden would return from Mugenkan, ready to destroy Shinki's enclosed forces. Assuming her hordes survived that, they would soon have to deal with the Tsukuyomi forces as well. And Shinki's quest to conquer Chireiden would end, her army devastated, her empire ruined.

Therefore she had but one option. She had to end this as quickly as she could. Eiki knew that even if she lost this battle, she would set off a chain of events that would end in Shinki losing the war. Shinki knew it too. So her only choice was to challenge Eiki to single combat. In one-on-one combat, Shinki was unmatched. Long ago, she had fought the demon sisters Gengetsu and Mugetsu to a standstill, fighting the two of them at once. Sariel had fallen at her feet; the Astral Knight Konngara had been left for dead after their battle. Kazami Yuka herself had once bowed to her, acknowledging her extreme skill.  And her power had since grown exponentially. Shinki would not lose this battle. Eiki, for her part, had to know that. No sane person in their right mind would therefore ever challenge Shinki to single combat, and by the same token, no one would ever accept Shinki's challenge--

-- that is, except for Eiki.

Shinki laughed.

The goddess of Makai was not concerned with matters of morality; she cared less about what was right than she did about what was expedient. But Eiki was the reverse, and she would pay dearly for it. It did not help matters any that Higan was an ardent supporter of the Hakurei Shrine and its policies. Therefore, if Shinki challenged Eiki directly-- not to a fight, but a magical duel using the spellcard system-- Eiki would have no choice but to accept in order to stay true to her own principles. And that was where Shinki would get her. Eiki's belief in righteousness would prove to be her downfall.

All this, and more passed through Shinki's mind as she stood there for a long moment, watching the map, unmoving. Yumeko evidently knew better than to interrupt her master when she was in the middle of one of her reveries, because she had walked off to fetch a hot cup of tea for her lady, Mai and Yuki, little Alice, and herself.

After a few minutes, Shinki came out of her trance and looked around. Yumeko was ready with a cup of tea, and she offered it to her. The goddess took one long draw on her teacup, wiped her mouth with a handkerchief, and said, “I know what I have to do, but first-- where is Alice?”

Yumeko pointed behind Shinki. Shinki turned and saw Alice sleeping on Yuki's lap, with Mai covering her with a blanket. The mother smiled, grateful, and then turned back to Yumeko. “Thank you. Now, Yumeko-- I have analyzed the entire situation. We will have to change our plans slightly because of Eiki's interference, but the day is not lost,” she said, trying to sound reassuring. “All that we must do in order to win victory is to push up the time a bit...”

She motioned Yumeko forwards, and whispered into her ear for a full minute. Yumeko then leaned back onto her seat, looking at Shinki.

“What do you think?” Shinki asked. “You're the proper military mind around here.”

Yumeko shrugged. “It's a solid plan, Lady Shinki. But if just one thing goes wrong, then in a flash, an entire quarter of your armies will be dead.”

“I know it's risky,” Shinki said, her voice low. “Too risky. But the success of this entire war depends on this sole battle. And if this does not go well, all will be lost. Even if this backfires, we would have lost anyway. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose.”

“I know,” Yumeko replied. “I am not the Queen. I do not have the privilege of a last word. The final choice is yours.”

“... we shall go through with it,” Shinki said, clenching her fist. “We don't have a choice. Eiki has forced me into an all-or-nothing contest... and as much as I hate being forced into this, I will win.”

Yumeko bowed slightly. “I expected nothing less.”

“You have your orders, then,” Shinki said, then turned to Yuki and Mai, who had managed to put Alice to rest on some stacked soldiers' cots and come over to listen. She told them their roles, asked them if they understood, and then walked to the flap of the tent.

At the last moment, she turned around. “You all have your orders, then?” Shinki asked.

Yumeko, Mai, and Yuki all nodded.

“Good. Do not disappoint me. The entire success of this campaign hinges on how fast you are.” She looked over to her sleeping daughter and smiled. “Yumeko, get Luize to take care of Alice,” she commanded, then turned back to the flap.

“... the die is cast, then,” she sighed, and then she walked out of the tent to go meet Eiki Shiki.


Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2009, 06:48:56 pm »
Eiki sat in her still-unscratched Titanic, contemplating. She was juggling her scythe from hand to hand when Sumire and Sakura returned.

“Lady Eiki, what sh--” Sumire was cut off by Eiki interrupting her.

“Sumire, how far is Chireiden's army from here?”

“Two days, ma'am.”

“I see.” Eiki stood up and climbed out of her ship. She stood before her two favorite generals, far taller than either one of them.

“That means I know what Shinki is planning,” Eiki deduced, a finger on her chin. “... single combat, eh?”

“You are going to challenge Shinki to single combat?” Sakura asked, shocked.

“No, I am not.”

Sakura sighed--

“She is going to challenge me, and I shall accept,” Eiki replied curtly.

“Bu-- but Shinki is merciless! Overpowered! I hate to say it, but she'll tear you to pieces!”

“Not if it's a spellcard duel,” the shinigami grumbled.

“If it's a spellcard duel, then--”

Sumire stopped in the middle of her tirade, looking upwards and considering.

“... if it's a spellcard duel, then you have a chance of winning,” she concluded.

“Exactly,” Eiki responded, a widening smile on her face.

“Eh? What are you talking about? 'Spellcard System'?” Sakura asked, confused.

“It's a new system of combat, recently instituted by the Hakurei Shrine in Gensokyo. News of it must have not made its way to Hakugyokurou yet... in any case. The Spellcard system is a... shall we say it? Radical system of battle.” Eiki grinned. “I should know. I helped write it.”

“You did?” Sumire said, eyes widened slightly.

Eiki laughed. “Have you never read Perfect Memento?”

“Eh... no,” Sakura admitted, her face turning red. Eiki wondered how it could, since she was a ghost and had no blood. “I... can't read.”

“I'll teach you,” Sumire said reassuringly. “But I haven't read Perfect Memento either.”

“You should,” Eiki said. “There's one part of it that reads 'although the shrine maiden decided on these spellcard rules, the original draft is written on the same paper as the youkai's contract. Was there any youkai proposing these rules to the shrine maiden? I wonder who could have written them.' I wonder.”

“... you?” Sumire chuckled.

“Who else?” Eiki nodded. “You see, the Hakurei shrine maiden and I drafted the spellcard system for many reasons. I think I wrote it down there... ah, yes. With every spell between youkai, there is the slight fear of Gensokyo's decay. However, if it is not used, a youkai's power will gradually vanish. Therefore, I proposed the Spellcard System.

“There are four basic tenets of the Spellcard System. One, that youkai can easily start disasters. Two, that humans can easily end disasters. Three, that the doctrine of absolute power is null and void. Fourth, that there are no things superior to beauty and thought.

“Even then, I didn't expect the spellcard system to have to resolve a disaster this soon,” Eiki said, trying to sound cheerful. “And by none other than its co-creator...”

“So... how do you know that Shinki will restrain herself to the confines of power inherent in the spellcard system?” Sumire asked, doubt evident in her voice. “Shinki is extremely powerful. She has leveled mountains, razed entire lands. She destroyed Gensokyo's ocean, for goodness sakes.”

“Because the Spellcard System is the only thing that will give her a chance,” Eiki winked. “Think about it. I am effectively immortal, unless I get special dispensation from the Yama to die. She cannot kill me, and she knows that. I am Death herself, after all. But at the same time, she has to get me out of the way quickly; her entire plan depends on blitzkrieg tactics. If she loses too much time fighting me, Chireiden's army will return and devastate her forces.

“At the same time, the Spellcard System explicitly states that 'If all your named spells are defeated, you are defeated, regardless of your remaining strength.' Yes, by consenting to use the system, she has lowered her own power dramatically-- but she has also lowered mine, and this will give her the chance she needs to beat me.”

“And... will she beat you?” Sumire asked.

“In all likelihood... yes,” Eiki said, looking down. “I am a Kawaxanadu. I am the Shinigami of the Sanzu River. I am Death herself. But unfortunately--” she winced-- “I am terrible at danmaku. And the way the Spellcard System is set up, it makes it so that even a mere ice fairy, for example, could legitimately defeat me.”

“So why?” Sakura asked. “Why would you limit yourself like that...?”

“Because it is the right thing to do,” Eiki said, a pained smile on her face. “Imagine a person who was so amazing, so infused with raw power, unbeatable. No matter that person's moral standing, they would be the ones to rule. They would let people live or die according to their own whims, and no one would have the power to take that away from them.” She sighed. “That is the purpose of the Spellcard System. To give everyone an even playing field so that anyone, be they Yama or Shinigami, fairy or ghost, satori or kasha, hashihime or yatagarasu, human or youkai-- everyone has a chance of victory.”

“And... you will hold to your principles? You won't break the Spellcard System, even if it would save other people's lives?”

Sumire glared at Eiki. Eiki merely smiled back.

“I will not relinquish my principles. If I cannot save people by doing the right thing, I would rather not do it at all.”

“Wha--” Sakura protested. “But how... you should know better--”

“I do,” Eiki said, that same flash of pain on her face. She pointed at her right eye. “See this? These eyes cannot help but see the absolute right and wrong. And I know that to break this System would be wrong. I can't even see any moral ambiguity.”

“But... you will lose,” the fairy general said, her voice soft.

“... No,” Eiki began. “I can win. But that's only as long as Shinki holds back and fights according to the Spellcard System. And I know she will not.”


“Because she really does want me out of the way,” Eiki said. “I... think I know what she's planning. Come closer.”

Sumire and Sakura came close to Eiki while she whispered in their ear. Then they backed off.

“I see,” Sumire said, rubbing her hand under her chin. “It is something she would do, yes.”

“I think she'll do it,” the ghostly girl declared.

“I do too,” Eiki nodded. “So remember, if you see Yumeko, Yuki, or Mai move, you know what to do.”

“Ah, yes,” Sakura said. “And we should make sure Satori and Koishi stay safe. If they die, there's nothing stopping Shinki from complete victory.”

“Yes, of cour-- what?” Eiki asked, her eyes widening.

“Well, we have to make sure Satori and Koishi stay safe,” Sakura continued. “It's crucial that nobody be able to see Shinki's thoughts, which is probably why she tried to kill them with fire in the Palace; after all, fire doesn't think. Even one satori is dangerous to her plans--”

“And we've just turned two of them loose,” Sumire interrupted.

A long moment of silence, and then--

“We've just made a horrible, horrible mistake!” Sakura exclaimed, finally getting it. “We have to find them as fast as we can and protect them--”

“It's too late,” Sumire said, her voice in despair. “Shinki is coming.” The fairy pointed over the field, where Shinki was descending down into the now-cooled drained lava pits, Yuki and Mai by her side.

“I have to go too,” Eiki said, pulling Sumire along. “Sumire, you're coming with me as my second. Sakura--” she spoke hastily-- “Go now. Find Satori and Koishi. Bring them back here as fast as you can, before Shinki gets to them first.”

“What will you do?” Sakura asked, strapping a long scabbard to her back over her cape.

“What will I do?” Eiki said almost playfully. “What will I do, oh what will I do...

“I will show her the power of the righteous, of course,” she said, and descended down into the former Hell of Blazing Fires.


“So, what shall we do?” Satori asked.

“Hm?” Orin grunted.

“We cannot stay here,” Koishi said. “Yumeko is still trying to kill us, isn't she?”

“Yumeko doesn't even know you're alive,” Okuu said, a hint of cynicism in her voice. “As far as she knows, Satori is burned to a crisp, and you're splattered on the ground outside of the Palace of the Earth Spirits.”

“OKUU!” Orin hissed and scratched her arm.

“Hey!” Okuu exclaimed, reeling back. “What? What did I do?!”

“You tactless, ditzy hellcrow,” Orin scowled. “Gai kakhen afenyam!”

“What?!” Okuu demanded.

“'s fine,” Satori said, her voice subdued. “It's true, after all.”

Koishi looked at her sister. Her Third Eye was working fine now, so she turned her gaze on her sister.

That's right... if it weren't for Okuu, Koishi would be little more than a bloody smear on the charred ground... and if it weren't for her, I would have burned to death.

Koishi suddenly didn't have the will to keep poking around in her sister's mind, and turned her gaze away. To distract herself, she looked down the rock face, where down on the battlefield Shinki and Eiki were meeting face to face, escorted by Yuki and Mai and Sumire, respectively.

“Hm,” Koishi said, turning her head slightly so that she could see where the hole in the rock was from which would normally flow lava to fill and heat the Hell of Blazing Fires.

“Where does all that lava go?” she asked aloud.

“Where does all what lava go?” Orin asked in reply. “Eh, it gets drained downwards into the deep.”

“No, I mean the lava that they stopped,” Koishi explained. “The lava that would otherwise be flowing into the Hell of Blazing Fires. From within this wall.”

“It... doesn't flow anywhere,” Okuu replied. “It just gets pent-up, right?”

“...When was the last time someone turned off the flow to the Hell of Blazing Fires?” Koishi pursued the idea.

“... never,” Satori said, her eyes widening. Koishi saw her mind for a moment and saw that Satori had heard exactly what she was thinking.

“So, wouldn't the mechanism be kind of rusty--”

“--And perhaps, with the pressure, the dam would burst?” The two sisters smiled at one another; they had finished each other's sentences again. Like they had in the old days.

“Nonono, that can't be right,” Orin shook her head. “Eiki's forces are a bunch of Higan fairies and half-ghosts. They're already dead, or they'll simply go back to Higan after they die here, which is pretty much like being dead anyway. There is no possible benefit to releasing the Hell of Blazing Fires on them.”

“But Shinki has everything to lose,” Okuu countered, in a rare moment of foresight for her. “Her men will actually die if they're killed, because they're not going back to any kind of Netherworld. Shinki will not release the Hell of Blazing Fires on them.”

“So long as her men are on the battlefield,” Satori said, continuing with the train of thought. “But even though Eiki's troops can't really die, they can't be recalled here either. They won't die permanently, but they won't be on the field anymore.”

“Whereas Shinki, while she has everything to lose, stands the most to gain if the Hell of Blazing Fires' lava is dumped on Eiki's troops, because then she can take over Chireiden entirely.” Koishi frowned. “I feel like there's something I'm missing.”

A brief moment of silence, and then Orin--

“Wait wait wait wait.” She stroked her chin. “... but what if Shinki... I hate to say this, but what if Shinki purposely throws her spellcard duel with Eiki so that Eiki will push her troops back, lead all her men into the lava pits while chasing Shinki out, and then releases the pent-up lava back into the Hell of Blazing Fires?”


“I... would need to read Shinki's mind, but...” Satori's mind was in tumult; Koishi could tell. Her own throat was going dry, too. “... that may be Shinki's plan. Either way, Eiki needs to watch out and not lead all her men into the lava pits.”

“Yes,” Koishi said firmly, getting to her feet. “We have to warn Eiki of Shinki's plan!”

And then--

“Yumeko's coming.”

“What?” Koishi asked. “I can't hear a thing--”

Satori had already gotten to her feet. “I hear her,” she whispered. “She's close. Really close.” She backed away from the edge of the ledge, her back to the solid rock. Her eyes were closed. Okuu and Orin were tense, ready to run at a moment's notice. Okuu had her hand on Koishi's shirt collar.

“But I can't tell where she is,” Satori said. “Something's blocking my vision... But I think I can see what she's seeing now... pink ha--”

Satori screamed out, but was stopped by a sudden gag wrapped around her mouth from out of the darkness.

“SATORI!” Koishi screamed, and Orin lunged at the gag. But then Satori was hefted into Orin's way, and she hissed and retracted her claws.

“Yumeko,” she snarled.

“There's no need for that hostility,” the maid said, smiling in the dark. All Koishi could see of her was her white teeth, gleaming in the dim light.

A metallic sound. There was a knife at Satori's throat.

Yumeko smiled again.

“Why don't you come with me and see what Shinki's plan for Eiki is, my dear Koishi?”


There are few things more troubling than Utsuho's raptastic gangsta mind. I hope you feel lucky that you were actually spared “Jamaican Stoner Utsuho”, or else those scenes might have played out something like this:

ah got all dem powa from eatin up da god ya. what bein if da world jus eat itself na? ::blows her own mind::

… Lord, I hate my friends.

(I can't really believe I wrote about “bustin' a cap in Shinki's ass” in a Touhou fiction...)

Anyway, /wall of text for now. The Great War beneath the Cherry Blossoms may be so last thread, but the Great War over the Lake of Fire has yet to begin! Which will blossom: the demon flowers of Makai, or the red flowers of death of the Sanzu no Kawa? Watch out! Danmaku and lasers fly everywhere as Shinki an' Eiki take the stage, next on Satori Eye Z! You better get ready!

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2009, 11:53:49 pm »
Fuckin' skank-ass ho Shinki, imma beat her ass into the ground, an' that Yumeko bitch too, imma rape her in the ass with a fireplace poker, an' mebbe that Mai bitch too, imma shove some lazers into her bitch ass--

But things were different this time. She plunged deeper into Okuu's mind, past the profanities and vulgarities, past the visions of rappers with gold-capped false teeth and the gyrating, jiggling women wearing little more than two rubber bands-- Past all that. She dove deeper into Utsuho's thoughts, past the thoughts reflecting onto the surface, into the murky depths of her deeper mind, the less substantial thoughts, more instinctual, more reactive, the subconscious--

eat food. eatfood. eateatfoodeat. eateatfoodeateatfoodeateatfoodeateateat
flap wings flap fly keep flying fly maintain fly flying
bling shootemup raperaperape beat down show superior rap pickupline gangstacreed
watchdanger. shinki laser. watch keep eye out
koishi friend feed me satori thought read feed me foodeateateatfoodeatfooooooooood

Koishi looked at the fourth thought, her own mind observing it from a distance. It was not like the others; it was brand new, and carried the faint aura of being... foreign to Okuu, somehow. She reached out and wished it would turn off.

And it did. It lost power and stopped rotating in Utsuho's head, and dropped lifelessly to the bottom of her mind.

Koishi blinked, feeling somehow strangely detached from it all. She turned her eye to the rest of Okuu's head, peering through the murky waters that clouded her vision.

“... why don't you think of getting us down from up here?” she said slowly, deliberately. She was going on a hunch, curious--

climbdown koishi onshoulders flydown findsatoriorinrin eikisumire to safety safety security

-- it had worked?

By all means, it had. The idea had taken root in Okuu's head, circulating amongst all the other subconscious drives in her behavior. It seems that the idea of “safety” had appealed to her inner drives, the basic desires for food, water, shelter inherent in every creature.

Before Koishi could say anything further, though, she felt a tug at her chest. She looked down and saw a cord reaching out of her heart, coruscating serenely around her body. She pulled it experimentally, and felt a responding tug. She looked up, and besides seeing a second cord attached to what felt like her brain, she saw a gigantic green Third Eye – her own – looking down at her from above the surface of Okuu's mind. From her own body.

“Pull me up,” Koishi said, more on instinct than anything else. The Third Eye complied, reeling her up, and she zoomed out of Okuu's head, going up, up, past the murky base thoughts, past the half-formed ideas, past the sights of outside that were transmitted from her eyes, past the surface thoughts--

And back into her own brain. Koishi felt a sudden rush in her ears and twitched instinctively, and she was surprised when she saw that her fingers responded.

“So, uh, Koishi, are we going to get down now?”

“Get down?” Koishi asked, a bit absentmindedly, still a bit dazed-- and blinked. Utsuho was standing before her, in the air, her wings beating behind her, maintaining her in the air. She had a quizzical expression on her face, of course, as she always did, but her previous, short-lived macho cool exterior was entirely gone.

“Go kick Shinki's bitch ass,” the satori prodded.

“Uhh... what?” Okuu asked, tilting her head to one side.

“You heard me, ho,” Koishi responded, trying to evoke some response in Okuu.

“... you lost me,” the hellcrow replied.
You know what?

I don't know if I should love you or hate you for this. For one this had me laughing for a good 5 minutes (tops), and second I already have a sore throat so you can't imagine how hard it is to laugh. Oh geeze it was painful but god dammit that was hilarious.

Good show~

Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z (and other stories)
« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2009, 03:42:16 am »
There was more intermission here. It, too, is now gone.

In exchange, Koishilegs.

« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 10:36:52 pm by Rurogi Shiki »

Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z (and other stories)
« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2009, 03:49:10 am »
Koishilegs, part two.

Your breather is now over.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 10:37:54 pm by Rurogi Shiki »

Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z (and other stories)
« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2009, 10:46:02 pm »
And finally, I'm pickin' up where I left off: Yumeko's knife at Satori's throat.


It was a small cleft in the rock that led to the insides of the Hell of Blazing Fires. It was such a small cleft, so well-disguised and camouflaged that on her own, Koishi would never have found it if she had been looking for it.

And it had been right behind her the entire time.

“Well, come on,” Yumeko grunted as she gave Satori a small kick in the shins. “Move along!”

Satori flinched, but she did as she was told and slipped in through the small crevice in the rock. Orin and Okuu followed closely, not wanting Satori to leave their sight for even a moment. Koishi made up the rear. Just before she went in, she cast her eye over the dry lava pits and saw Eiki and Shinki face-to-face.

Per favore, salva nos, Eiki,” she murmured as she followed them in.

From her place at the back of the line, Koishi could not see or hear much, at least not directly. The narrow walls of the tunnel through the rock constricted her from moving quickly, and all she could hear were the echoes of what was going on up ahead. Satori crying out in pain, Yumeko grunting, Orin hissing, Okuu cawing--

She looked around as far as she could; it was all solid volcanic rock. How deep were they going into the wall, anyway? They had been walking for a while now, or more or less, because apart from the Hell of Blazing Fires, Chireiden didn't really keep track of time, and here, the only light Koishi could see was the faint glow surrounding Utsuho, an attribute of a powerful yatagarasu.

Yumeko was not a mere human, it seemed. Koishi had been wrong to think so. She had to be a youkai to be that strong, to be that powerful, that ruthless.

“Ah, we're here,” Yumeko's voice echoed back to her. She nodded and caught up to the rest of the group as they stepped out of the tunnel and into a bright red-orange light.

At first Yumeko frowned. “... where is your sister? She didn't abandon you, did she?” she asked Satori, whipping the gag out of her mouth-- but Koishi was right there, wasn't she?

“I... don't know,” Satori admitted, and Koishi noticed for the first time how strained her face was. “I can't hear her heart very well...”

... why would Satori not be able to read her heart?

“... Koishi?” Orin asked, looking around. Okuu tilted her head, so that it looked like she was staring at Koishi, but she knew that Okuu was probably just spaced out.

“Heh,” Yumeko laughed. “Looks like your own sister abandoned you.”

“I have NOT!” Koishi exclaimed, angry. Yumeko whirled around--

-- whoosh. A knife. Several, actually. They zoomed right past her, so that Koishi could even feel the light breeze on her skin where they had passed by.

“Hmph.” Yumeko scowled and looked away. Maybe she was angry about being taken by surprise? Well, that was her fault; Koishi had been next to her the entire time.

... hadn't she?

“Welcome,” Yumeko's voice boomed, cutting into Koishi's thoughts. “... to this room behind the rocks.”

It was then that Koishi noticed where she was standing for the first time. Her eyes widened.

This was the enormous control room of the Hell of Blazing Fires. Over there, an enormous mechanism, connecting gears and other contraptions, controlled by a steering wheel-- it was the main control of the flow of the Hell of Blazing Fires. A small contingent of Makai's demons surrounded it, but Koishi was surprised at how few there were. Had it been so easy to close the gates of lava that were wide open for literally centuries?

Yumeko grinned.

“Welcome,” she said. “You live here, but I am I correct in assuming that you're never seen this room?”

“I didn't know such a thing existed,” Satori breathed.

“Fair enough.” She pointed at the grand gears; they had to be at least the size of large boulders. “See those? Turn that wheel over there--” she pointed to the steering wheel accordingly-- “And you can open and close, stop and increase the rate of lava flow.”

Yumeko laughed, a derisive smirk on her face. “It was stupid of you to put this control in the hands of only a few guards,” she said, indicating a heap of corpses in the far corner. “This one room alone can destroy the entire city in a matter of minutes.”

“... what will you do now, Yumeko?” Satori asked weakly, starting to perceive how dire, how hopeless the situation was.

“Me?” Yumeko chuckled. “I have been granted the privilege of destroying all of Higan's armies.”

“Hah!” Orin spat at Yumeko's feet. “I have seen that woman, Eiki Shiki. She will tear you apart limb from limb, tchotchka!”

The blonde maid laughed again. “Say that all you want. Eiki will lead her armies into the pits, and so will Shinki. However, Shinki will purposefully start to act as if she is beaten back, and retreat back to her side of the pit. Hence, all of Higan's armies shall be in the pits, at which point--”

She cast a meaningful glance at the lava gate.

“... we will finish Higan, Eiki, and the rest of the city, and have completed our mission.”

“You've forgotten something,” Koishi said with too-obvious relish.

“Hm?” Yumeko asked as from behind her, a blade met her heart and ran it through, sticking out through the other side, drenched in blood.

“Fairies and ghosts can fly above the lava,” a certain ghostly young captain said, suddenly rising up behind Yumeko. “We are too many. You can never defeat us!”


“Hello, Eiki. So good to see you in person,” Shinki said easily, a grin hovering around her face.

“It's been a while,” Eiki replied, bowing stiffly towards her opponent. She knew she had to treat Shinki with a bit more respect, since she had to show respect towards a worthy adversary, but she didn't really want to. But because it was right, she had to, and she bowed again, a bit more deeply this time.

“--uh, a few centuries, yes,” Shinki stammered as she watched this. She coughed, and next to her, Yuki jumped slightly.

Sumire and Mai, on the other hand, were having a stare-off, not even pretending to be civil.

“Ah, yes,” Eiki said. She stood up straight and met Shinki in the eyes. “Shinki, return to Pandemonium Palace.”

“What?!” Shinki exclaimed, looking livid. “What gives you the authority to command me, the Empress of Makai?”

“Righteousness,” Eiki shot back. “What you are doing here, invading, killing, conquering innocent peoples who merely want their freedom-- it is wrong, Shinki, and as one who knows it is wrong, I shall put an end to it.”

Shinki scowled. “The affairs of my kingdom are no concern of Higan's!”

“EVERYTHING that concerns the lives of people and youkai alike is a concern of Higan's!” Eiki replied.

“These are not your people!” the Empress of Makai objected.

“They are people nonetheless!” replied the Shinigami of the Sanzu River.

“They have NOTHING to do with you!” the white-haired woman declared.

“That does not make it right to kill them!” the green-haired one defended. “And for that matter, it does not make it right to abandon them to their fate!”

“Why have you come to war, Eiki Shiki?” Shinki demanded. “Why have you chosen to make war on an empire against whom you neither have a qualm against or have a chance of defeating?”

“I have told you before,” Eiki replied. “Because I must.”

Shinki continued. “Why have you come with your weak fairy armies against my demon hordes? In hopes of a reward, perhaps?”

“There has been no reward offered for doing this,” Eiki said.

“Are the leaders of Chireiden your friends? Your allies, your puppets?”

“I do not even know them.”

“Were you ordered to do this by the Celestial Courts?”

“Far from it. Once I return to Higan, I will likely be arrested on charges of insubordination by Hinanai-sama.”

“You mean, you disobeyed Hinanai Yamaxanadu?” Shinki looked at her, only visibly confused. Eiki knew that she must have been dancing inside. “But you're a Kawaxanadu. You're expected to follow orders.”

“But I must do what righteousness compels me to do above that.” Eiki smiled. “It is easy to tell the difference between what is bad and what is good. But it is a bit harder to tell the difference between what is good and what is better.”

“... Why have you come here?” Shinki asked again.

“I have already told you,” Eiki said. “Because it is the right thing to do. Nothing else.”

The two women regarded one another for a moment.

“... heh,” Shinki chuckled. “It is a sad day indeed, now that I have discovered that you have chosen your path for reasons that are much better than mine.”

“Then why do you not turn from it?” Eiki asked softly. “If you have realized that you have chosen poorly, then recant. Make the right choice. It is not too late for you to turn around and return to Makai in peace.”

“Oh, but it is,” Shinki sighed. “Such is the burden of empire.” And it seemed to Eiki that in that one moment, Shinki looked her age-- tired, exhausted, with the strain of centuries of warfare, battle, and conquest weighing down upon her.

“Eiki, have you not seen my armies?” Shinki asked, waving her hand behind her to point out her mass demon hordes. “They are the greatest army that has ever stood and shall ever stand again in Gensokyo. They are unmatched in number and power. They have been bred and created for one single purpose-- to conquer all of Gensokyo. Don't you see?” Shinki asked with a bitter smile.

“I have created an empire based on one desire only: To conquer all. If I stop, my empire will be destroyed, and Makai will dissolve into chaos. I must continue moving fowards, I must continue my conquest. If not, we shall be destroyed.”

“That will never happen,” Eiki said, shaking her head. “If you lose here, it will be devastating, and it really will destroy your country. But if you surrender--” Eiki put a hand over her heart-- “I promise, I absolutely promise that I will do the best I can to bring Makai under the temporary power of Higan, and we will take charge of making sure that no chaos erupts, that the transition from a mass empire into a smaller kingdom goes peacefully. You must believe me, Shinki!”

“Oh, I do,” Shinki replied, shaking her head sadly. “Eiki-chan, I know your heart. I know that you would fulfill that promise to me no matter what it took. You are noble and brave-- indeed, you always have been-- and I admire you for it. You have a position that allows you to put your principles above all else, and I envy you for that as well. But...”

“No, Shinki,” Eiki said, a pleading tone in her voice. “Please, do not make us go to war...”

“I am sorry, Eiki,” Shinki replied, a bitter smile on her face. “I truly am. But I have created this empire on the blood, sweat, and tears of millions of demons and youkai, and I will not let their sacrifices be in vain-- I cannot let down their faith in me. Such is the burden of a goddess.”

She closed her eyes, and when she opened them again, they were full of resolve, and at that point, Eiki knew she had lost Shinki's heart.

“Even in what you have said, you have given me the chance of victory,” she said. “You told me that if I lose here, it will devastate my land.”

Eiki remained silent, her heart breaking as she realized what Shinki was about to say.

“But that means... that if I defeat you, that if I win... then my empire will continue into the future. And that being the outcome I desire... then I will take the risk that it accompanies.”

Shinki nodded.

“I will go to war.”

Eiki sighed. She hadn't wanted to be forced into this, forced into war, but now it was upon her, and she would have to take a stand. So then she looked up at Shinki, and with a grim look on her face, she declared--

“And in the name of Chireiden, I shall fight for them, and you WILL lose this war.”


It had been only too easy for a ghost to get through to the cavern. She might have phased through the wall, or maybe she followed them in, silent as a spirit ought to be. In any case, Sakura was here, with her sword stuck through Yumeko's chest.

“Sakura!” Satori exclaimed happily, and even Okuu and Orin started to look around, trying to figure out how to take control of this room.

“I've got you,” Sakura said, twisting the blade in Yumeko's body.

--and then a laugh--

“And I've got YOU, my little ghost,” Yumeko laughed, her hand stuck directly into Sakura's chest. And she twisted it too, just to be equal.

“Wha--” Sakura suddenly spat up, appropriately enough, cherry blossoms.

But Satori knew the reason why. She was spitting up her equivalent of blood-- the spring essence with which the bodies of these ghosts gained some corporeal form.

“Please don't fret,” Yumeko said with a smirk, having whirled around at lightning speed and plunged her fist directly into the ghostly girl's chest. “Our spellcasters will weave a net of ice and flame above the armies of Higan. They will be trapped beneath the descending lava waterfall.”

“You-- monster,” Sakura gasped out as Yumeko plunged her hand even more deeply, emerging from Sakura's back with a fistful of cherry blossoms in her iron grip.

“It's a pity you won't be able to warn Eiki,” Yumeko scoffed as she pulled her hand back out, cherry blossoms and all. Sakura collapsed onto her knees in front of Yumeko, wavering for a moment, and then falling over onto her side.

“Say hello to Yuyuko for me,” the red maid said, turning away from the fast-fading ghost with a wave of her hand. “How nice of her to send me some spring essence to power up even more.”

But by now, Sakura was entirely gone.

Satori, who had also fallen to her knees next to her, watched as what was left of the spring essence rose upwards in the form of steam, and then dissipated. She wasn't dead-- not even Yumeko could kill someone who was already dead-- but lacking spring essence as energy, she was forced back to Hakugyokurou, without having been able to warn her commander of Shinki's plan--

Satori clenched a fistful of sakura petals -- spring essence -- in her hand and stood back up.

“In any case, what I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted...” Yumeko continued as if nothing had happened, as if she wasn't bleeding at all. When Yumeko had turned towards Sakura, Sakura's blade had managed to make a huge incision through Yumeko's chest, from her heart directly horizontally towards the left of her torso.

Satori at first regarded this news with some joy-- Yumeko's heart had been pierced and her body nearly cut in half. No one could survive that.

But when Yumeko rubbed the bones of her neck, saying how cramped it was in this cave, Satori realized that she was healing. And rapidly so. Already the flesh had sealed off the wound-- and inside, certainly, the sinews and organs within Yumeko's body were fixing themselves up just as quickly.

“Hm?” Yumeko asked as Satori stared at her.

“N--no-thing,” Satori stammered.

She made an important realization that very moment. Yumeko was a strong person, a strong youkai. A cruel one, who would plunge her knives into anyone that crossed her path. An arrogant one as well, but it was the arrogance born out of glorious successes in the past. But it was not these qualities that had made her the most powerful youkai in all of Shinki's armies-- it was her sheer stamina, her ability to survive. She could live through attacks that would have murdered any other creature-- and it was then that she realized that no one, no one had a chance of ever killing Yumeko, much less Shinki.

And thus, the people of Chireiden had no chance of ever taking back their kingdom.

Satori felt her heart sink with despair.


“I don't think so,” Shinki replied, a reckless smile on her face. “Yuki! Mai!”

Yuki and Mai, who had up until now been silent, jumped. “Y-- yes, Lady Shinki!” Yuki exclaimed, saluting as fast as she could. “What is it?” Mai asked.

Shinki held the silence for a moment, a smile hovering on her lips.

“... prepare the mystic squares.”

“Mystic squares?!” Eiki cried out in shock. “You mean--”

“This will be a spellcard duel,” Shinki said, grinning. “Oh yes. I am using the Hakurei system. Which YOU helped create, I might add.”

“Yes,” Eiki replied, still somewhat dumbstruck at Shinki's choice. She knew that this was a trap... but for a moment there, she had thought that perhaps Shinki's heart had softened, that she would not stoop to such underhanded tactics... but once more. Eiki saw clearly that Shinki was just as sinful as ever, and that she would have to defeat her if she wanted a chance to show her righteousness once more.

“What is it?” Shinki asked, a smirk on her face.

Eiki sighed deeply as she watched Yuki and Mai drawing characters in mystic squares around Shinki's feet. Vaguely, she noticed Sumire doing the same for her.

“... how did it come to this, Shinki?” Eiki countered, looking up with eyes full of despair. “You were not always like this. When you took the throne of Makai so long ago, when you had just put on the crown, you too were noble and good. And now, you are leading me into an obvious trap, with the intention of shedding the blood of thousands, just to get what you want.”

Shinki stood there, silent.

“The Shinki I knew all that time ago was never like this. What happened to the proud woman that never wanted to see her people bow to a foreign power? What happened to the young adult who wanted to set her people free from the tyranny of the Heavens? What happened to the scared little girl who saw her family die before her eyes? What happened to her, Shink--”

And then the sound of Shinki's slap echoed throughout the entire cave.

“How DARE you,” Shinki hissed, tears in her eyes. “How DARE you bring up those ancient memories?!”

“Don't you UNDERSTAND?!” Eiki begged. “You saw those two little satori as well as I did! What happened to you, Shinki? You have become precisely that which you once hated! What happened to you, you made happen to them!” She pointed to the burning city. “You became that which you once loathed! What Heaven did to you and your family was inexcusable, but you, you have REPEATED that same sin! There is no excuse for that, either!”

“You cannot see,” Shinki shot back, venom in her voice. “Eiki, I have a daughter whom I love. Alice. And no matter what, I cannot turn back from this path of war. For her sake, I must continue on, sacrificing my principles to do what I believe is right. And for her sake, I must remove all opposition to her rule. For her sake, I must not hesitate to do things I would like not to have to do, in order to guarantee her a peaceful empire.”

“A peaceful empire?! You will leave this land strewn with the skulls and bones of innocents! And then! You will have your peaceful kingdom!” Eiki screamed back.

“If that is what it takes, then so be it,” Shinki replied.

“Lady Shinki, we're done,” Yuki said quietly.

“I too am done,” Sumire added. But neither Shinki nor Eiki gave them a glance. They continued glaring at one another.

“May you enjoy ruling over the dead,” Eiki said.

“You do exactly that,” Shinki replied, beginning to rise into the air, carried aloft by the magical power of the mystic squares.

“I promise you, Shinki,” Eiki said, also rising into the air, “that your daughter will want nothing to do with ruling an empire that has been bathed in blood.”

“You say some good things, Kawaxanadu,” Shinki returned, not even flinching. “I'm happy to hear your true feelings. But if you are so passionate about stopping this, about putting an end to my sin--”

Shinki raised her arm to the side. From her sleeve, she pulled out a white spellcard, which began to glow red with Shinki's power.

“Then let actions outshine your words, and defeat me here if you can!”

Eiki also lifted her arm, drawing a spellcard from inside her robe.

She looked at Shinki, her eyes narrowed.

“So be it,” she replied, her spellcard beginning to glow with a bright green light.

The two opponents faced off.

“Let's go.”

And then the spellcards let fly--


“Anyway, as I was saying...” Yumeko continued, flexing her arm and watching with evident satisfaction as it performed flawlessly. “From here, we can control the ebb and flow of the lava river. From here, lava flows into the Hell of Blazing Fires via an enormous waterfall... er, lavafall. Of course, it's not doing that now-- we've stopped it up.”

The red maid looked over at the gears and then turned back to Satori and her friends, smiling. “Tell me, what will happen if we... let it go?”

“... th- the pent-up lava will overflow into the lava pits like mad and cover all the land in searing hot liquid, melting everything in its path with extreme vengeance?” Utsuho offered.

Yumeko blinked, obviously not expecting such a detailed answer.

“Er... yes. That is exactly what will happen.” She coughed once, and regained her composure. Then she looked at Satori, a devilish smirk on her face.

“And the only person in all Gensokyo who had the moral strength to stand up for you will burn.”

B... burn...

Satori felt her throat go dry.

My throat... so dry... as if the flames are right in my face--

For a split second, she was back. There, with her back turned against a door that wouldn't budge, with people turning into ash before her eyes, with smoke filling her mouth and lungs, with the heat searing her eyes, with screams deafening her ears, with the scent of burning flesh, with the feeling of death being all around her--


Okuu's worried voice broke through. Orin had her hand on Satori's back and had been rubbing her.

“Satori, are you all right? You're really pale,” Okuu said, her brow furrowed with worry.

Tutto va bene... I-- I'm fine,” Satori lied, hoping that the sweat breaking out on her forehead had gone unnoticed.

Yumeko was still grinning at her. But then her face turned serious. “So... Satori. You escaped the burning Palace of the Earth Spirits, didn't you? I see....”

Orin's grip on her shoulder tightened. Okuu scowled.

“... to be perfectly honest, I have no idea how one of you damn satori managed to escape that deathtrap. Much less two.” She glanced over at Koishi, who was simply standing there, spaced out. “Well, it is a mistake I hope to correct shortly. But first, I want to make you understand what is about to happen.”

She nodded towards the gears. “We shall release the lava flow and destroy almost all of Eiki's army. What is left, we shall butcher. Eiki herself will emerge unscathed, but that cannot be helped. And then we shall let it sit there, and we shall sit there, and when Chireiden's army returns, we shall decimate them.”

She chuckled.

“And to think, it was all because you refused to pay tribute to Lady Shinki one day.”

“Hm?” Okuu asked.

“The Makai Revolution,” Orin explained for her friend's benefit-- and as Satori heard from her mind, to keep Yumeko talking. “When Miyani-dono decided that Shinki was a farshtinkener and refused to let Makai suck us dry any longer, and rebelled against the kingdom.”

“More or less, yes,” Yumeko said. “And now, for your arrogance and disobedience to Lady Shinki and the crown of Makai, you will now face the consequences. You have watched your world fall apart all around you. You have watched as all the people you loved have burned in the flame. And lastly--” she smiled with a bit too much joy-- “You will now watch as Shinki defeats death herself, and fate punishes the only person who was willing to fight for you.”

“Eiki...” Satori murmured.

“Yes, the Shinigami of the Sanzu.” Yumeko shook her head. “A good woman. I regret that our paths were destined to conflict with one another's.”

“They weren't destined,” a voice rang out.

Yumeko turned to Koishi, surprise on her face. Koishi hadn't said much of anything. “... excuse me, what?”

“They weren't destined,” Koishi repeated, her arms crossed, her white hair flowing down and resting on her shoulders. “The decision to do wrong is a choice, after all. If Shinki had not chosen to make war, this would not have happened.”

“Lady Shinki does not do wrong,” Yumeko replied smoothly. “What she has chosen is right. You are scum that must be cleansed from the surface of the earth.”

“We do not live on the surface of the earth,” Koishi pointed out. “And even if we were, it would not matter. It is right that every person, no matter who they are, have a right to live-- and this cannot be taken away.”

“Lady Shinki is a goddess. What she says is therefore the mandate of God. God wills it, therefore it is right-- and God has declared that it is right to murder you all.”

“Then why has Justice herself come down to correct you?” Koishi shot back. “Why is Eiki fighting on behalf of total strangers? She has no reason to. She doesn't even know us. She will gain nothing from this fight, and she will probably be punished when she returns to Higan for disobeying her master's orders. She will lose many people she cares about-- her soldiers-- and she has made herself responsible for saving us. And yet, she has come. Why is that, Yumeko? Why would Eiki have done that if she didn't think it was the right thing to do?”

Yumeko could not reply for a moment.

“... because she is a damn fool,” she replied, her smirk returning as she declared what was going to happen next. “You may be wondering why I brought you here just to lecture to you about your wrongs, to tell you about Lady Shinki's upcoming victory over Higan. I brought you here for one reason, and one reason only.”

She leaned down to Koishi, an almost predatory element emerging in the cast of her face.

“It is because I want you to suffer more before you die.

“You see, you have not been punished enough.” Yumeko stood back up and walked slowly, reaching down into her apron. “You four... you continue to defy Lady Shinki. That will end. But death is not enough of a punishment. As such--” she smiled again, unpleasantly so-- “I have taken the task of telling you what is going to happen to your former life, to that Kawaxanadu, and to you. And then I shall tell you this: That you are helpless and you cannot do anything about it.”

She looked up for a moment.

“Shinki's danmaku match against Eiki has just begun,” she said aloud, pulling a long knife out of her apron. Then she looked back down at the kasha, the yatagarasu, the two satori sisters. “That means that in a few minutes, as the two exchange blows, Shinki will pretend to be pushed back. And then someone on either side, doesn't matter who, will shoot an arrow at the other, mob mentality will take over, Makai's forces will retreat onto the shore--”

Yumeko's eyes were almost glowing with sick happiness.

“And then the pent-up lava shall be released, turning Higan's army into dust.”

She chuckled again.

“It's almost a pity you won't get to see it,” she said, brandishing the knife. She took a rag out of her apron and cleaned it. “Because you will die right here. All of you. Without having gotten the chance to tell Eiki and prevent further bloodshed.”

The red maid walked over to Satori, the knife gleaming in her hand. Okuu growled, Orin hissed-- and then they were being glared at by at least three dozen pairs of eyes coming from the demons by the gear mechanism.

“It is a shame that I have to do this,” Yumeko mused, looking at her knife, and turning it to see its gleaming surface all over. “I don't actually like executions as much as you might think,” she explained.

Satori could tell she was lying through her teeth. She couldn't help it. She was a mind-reader.

Yumeko smiled at the knife again, then looked up, bloodlust in her eyes.

“Believe me, this hurts me more than it hurts you,” she began, just as a massively powerful fist connected with her left cheek and sent her sprawling.

“What a ZETZ!” Orin exclaimed as Yumeko went flying.

All around them, chaos. Suddenly the room had been enveloped with shadows, attacking the demons, but leaving Okuu, Orin, Koishi, and Satori safe.

Out of the dark, the person responsible for punching Shinki's strongest servant in the face emerged.

“I'll bet that did, too,” Yuugi Hoshiguma said, punching her fist into her open palm.


“Wings of Hell - 「Tears of the Damned」!”


Eiki reeled back in shock as without warning, six enormous white wings burst out from Shinki's back, and she lifted herself into the air.

How underhanded... taking flight when I'm stuck here in one spot!

She fixed her eyes on the shower of bright blue bullets of varying sizes that had begun to rain down upon her. She would have to graze each and every one of them, and narrowly. She had very little room to move horizontally, and moving vertically was impossible. Already her heart began to race as she moved through the shower, keeping her eyes up at all times, pulling her arms to her body to avoid being hit. Somehow, she made it through, though her clothing did not-- already she saw singe marks on the bottom of her dress.

“Ahahahahahahaha!” Shinki laughed from her superior vantage point, far above Eiki, in the dark where she could barely see her. “Can you continue, dearie?” she taunted.

Eiki scowled. “I will continue!” she replied, shaking her fist upwards. “Bring it!”

“Very well then!” Shinki yelled. "Demon Arrow - 「Meline」!" she called out, and instantly a yellow rod shot forth from Shinki's arm.

The attack from earlier!

Eiki panicked. She had nowhere to run. She needed vertical movement, desperately. Still, she waited until the last second, as the arrow approached closer and closer. And then, she jumped--

“AAAAAAAAAH!” she screamed as her foot fell, straight into the yellow beam. The pain was as if she had been dipped into searing hot lava; she had been caught on the tail end of the beam. She knelt, intending to take care of it--

“LADY EIKI!” Sumire yelled. “LOOK UP!”

Eiki did so--

M-- more beams--

She felt her heart begin to pound like mad. At least seven beams, all yellow, rising up around Shinki, all of which would shoot like well-aimed meteors at her.

All of which were turning downwards to do just that--

Eiki at least could dodge some of them. Leaping into the air again, she pulled her legs up behind her back to dodge the first one, and then dropped like a rock to dodge the second. The third and fourth were simultaneous, and so she dropped onto her back, still held aloft by the power of the mystic squares beneath her, which were acting as a magnetic platform for her, as if she and the squares were magnets of similar charge which were repelling one another. Not three inches from her, she felt the burning of the two yellow beams hissing above her face; sweat broke out on her forehead from the heat.

But she didn't think she could do much about the fifth, sixth, or seventh. She got to her feet again, and barely moved out of the way as the fifth fell like a stalactite from the skies, narrowly missing her right side. The sixth was coming from her other side, though, and pinned by the fifth, Eiki could do nothing except attempt to move out of the way--

Burning. Eiki had been hit square-on in the stomach by the sixth beam. It had hit her with the force of a stampeding rhino, and was drilling into her like it had a horn. She coughed up blood as she was sent flying--

And then the seventh, which had snuck up on her through her blind spot-- right above her head. It smashed into Eiki's skull with tremendous force.

“GAAAAAAAHH!” she yelled as the sixth beam finally ricocheted off of her and she fell onto her back, off of the mystic squares' support, onto the stony ground. She screamed once more as she felt herself bounce off of the rocks, and land on her face.

“Haah,” Eiki breathed, as she tried desperately to bring some air into her lungs.

“EIKI!” Sumire screamed as she rushed to her lady's side. “Lady Eiki!”

“Haah,” Eiki repeated, unable to do anything else; her lungs sucked in the underground air greedily.

“Ahahahahahahahah!” Shinki roared with laughter from the air. “What is it, Eiki? Find that your actions are not as strong as your words?!”

Eiki could not say anything back, so Sumire did it for her, holding Eiki's head in her lap as she glared upwards into the skies. “You cheating--”

“'s all right,” a raspy voice said.

Sumire looked down, shocked. “But-- Lady Eiki--”

“She is my opponent,” Eiki said, her face still pale from lack of air. “I shall defeat her with the power of righteousness. I shall be triumphant in the end.”

“But she's destroying you,” Sumire begged as tears stung her eyes. “Please, Lady Eiki! You cannot win against a cheating opponent! Please, just surrender!”

“And leave everyone here to die?” she asked, and coughed up blood. Eiki wiped it away from her mouth and continued to stare into Sumire's violet eyes. “I cannot do that. I cannot run, Sumire, and abandon these people to their fate. Now help me up.”

“Lady Eiki, you are infuriating!” Sumire cried out as she assisted Eiki in getting to her feet. “Shinki is too powerful, spellcard limits or not! You can never win!”

“Righteousness will prevail,” Eiki replied, slowly climbing upwards on the power of the mystic squares.

“But you will be defeated,” the fairy said softly, watching the noblest woman she knew quietly going to meet her destruction.

“Righteousness will prevail,” the Kawaxanadu repeated, smiling. “No matter what.”

“... then take this,” Sumire declared, tossing her scythe up to Eiki. “It is the tool of a Shinigami. You are still within your limits if you use it.”

“Yes,” Shinki yelled from the skies. “That is valid.”

“... thank you,” Eiki replied, smiling gently. “I shall not forget your faith in me, Sumire.”

“Please,” Sumire begged as she watched Eiki turn back upwards towards Shinki. “Just come out of this alive... that's all I want, Lady Eiki.”

“AGAIN!” Shinki crowed. She raised her hands to the heavens again.

Eiki tensed herself--

“Demon Arrow - 「Azure」!”

“Oh, not this again,” Eiki murmured to herself, hefting her scythe in her hands as she watched at least a dozen blue arrows spring out of Shinki's hand and begin to rain down--


“Yu-- yu--”

“RAAAAAAAAAAAH!” screamed a demon, just before getting clocked in the head by a young blonde lady swinging a bucket into his head.

“YUUGI!” Koishi exclaimed, exhilarated. “Yuugi Hoshiguma, you returned from getting beat by Yumeko!”

“Heh, yeah,” Yuugi replied, tossing her hair over her shoulder, turning around and socking another demon in the stomach, and winking at Koishi, all in one fluid motion. “I decided, even though she kicked the shit out of me... I didn't want to give up just like that. I mean--” she paused to deliver a devastating roundhouse kick at three demons simultaneously, then grinned back at Koishi. “I AM a Deva of the mountain, a proud Oni! I'm not going to lose to ANYONE, and even if I lose, I won't stay that way for long!”

“Excellent!” the white-haired satori cried out as Yuugi continued to fling demons left and right with her powerful blows.

She felt a sudden warmth on her left side, and when she turned, she saw that it was her older sister clinging to her, hugging her. Behind her, Orin was keeping a close eye on all the demons, some of whom had begun to try to run to the exit, only to be met by Okuu's equally powerful fists, and blows raining down from the dark ceiling.

“So, what are the shadows?” Satori asked Yuugi during a lull in the fighting.

“You didn't think you were the only guys to survive, did you?” Yuugi shot back in reply. Suddenly, before Koishi's vision, a young woman with short blonde hair and a brown-purple ensemble stumbled into the dim light of a few remaining torches around them. In her right hand she carried a lance; in the other, a bucket with what looked like green hair sticking out of it.

“A head?!” Satori cried out, but the young woman shook her head.

“No, just a Tsurube-otoshi. One of the few remaining ones.”

Then the green hair shifted and rose in the bucket, so that Koishi could see that it was indeed attached to a body. A very small body, belonging to a Tsurube-otoshi. She was smiling. “I'm Kisume,” she said in a childish voice. “Nice to meet you.”

“I-- I'm Koishi Komeiji,” she replied.

“And I am Satori Komeiji,” her sister added.

The blonde girl nodded. “I am Parsee Mizuhashi. My mother was Pandora Mizuhashi, the bridgekeeper of the Mizuhashi Chasm.”

“Didn't your mother just have a child?” Koishi asked, and immediately regretted it; she didn't need the ability to read minds to read the pain on that face.

“... yes,” Parsee replied, her head bowed. “My little sister Petra. But they're both dead now.” She flicked an enraged gaze at them. “I saw it from a distance. Yumeko knifed my mother between the eyes and knocked her into the charm she used to guard. As I watched this, my little sister was burning to death in our house, and by the time I was able to get through the smoke and the fleeing crowds, she was little more than ash.”

Satori flinched. Koishi looked at Parsee in shock.

“And now I have no one left. And that bitch Yumeko...” she spat at the ground. “How dare she take away what I love! I shall never forgive her!”

“Me neither,” Kisume added softly, sitting in her bucket.

Parsee hefted the spear. “And I lost the gift of my ancestors! The Lance of Mizuhashi! But in its place, even this spear will be enough to kill such a woman!” She looked over Satori and Koishi, and then back at them, eyes narrowed in suspicion. “Where... is she?”

Satori, Koishi, and Orin all whirled around to where Yuugi's first punch had sent Yumeko. Over on the ground there, she should have been felled entirely by that blow--

And yet, Yumeko was not there.

“Where is she?!” Orin cried out. “Where has that tsatskele gone?”

By now, the demons had all gone down. They were dead or bleeding on the floor. Around the bodies stood a variety of residents of the underground; the resistance. The creatures of the Subterranean City who had united under Yuugi's leadership to fight back against Shinki.

Over near the gear mechanism, Yuugi was looking at the tremendously large wheel that controlled the dam. In the dim light over on that side of the cave, it looked like a steering wheel, which it was. Leaning over, she took hold of two of the grips and began to yell as she exerted her great strength and began to raise the dam.

But something... something was wrong.

“What is she doing?” Kisume asked. “She's not supposed to do that yet. And her horn... where is it--”

“Yuugi!” Parsee cried out. “Why are you releasing the dam before we've warned everyone outside?”

“... Because she's not Yuugi,” Satori realized. “THAT'S YUMEKO! STOP HER!”

Yumeko flinched, her disguise given away, but she gave the wheel one final swing as she leapt away from Parsee's thrown spear. And that was enough. The chains that connected to the central wheel had begun to unwind-- the dam was being opened, the lava behind it released--

“NO!” the kasha yelled as she flung her wheelbarrow at the controls. She made a lucky shot-- the wheelbarrow got stuck between the handles on the steering wheel, and refused to turn any more.

“Tch,” Yumeko hissed as she leapt clear over the heads of the resistance fighters and made for the cave's entrance. But then--

“THERE'S PLENTY MORE WHERE THIS CAME FROM!” Utsuho cried out as she showed off her powerful fist to Yumeko, who was bleeding from the nose where the hellcrow had punched her in the face. But the maid was not going to take no for an answer any more, apparently-- she tackled Utsuho, and the two fell backwards into the cave entrance tunnel--

“Stop them!” Yuugi yelled out, getting up from the shadowed spot in the cave where Yumeko had knocked her out for a few crucial seconds.

“Yamame!” Parsee called out. “Have your girls tie up these demons so that they don't run!”

“Aye-aye, ma'am!” a young spider youkai saluted as her spiders, the rest of the resistance fighters, set to work.

“As for us,” Parsee continued as Yuugi came abreast of her, “Let's go hunt down that red maid before Shinki figures out that her plan is ruined!”

And then Parsee and Yuugi plunged into the tunnel, Orin, Satori, and Koishi right after them.

Behind them, with no one to hear, Orin's lava-weakened wheelbarrow gave an ominous squeak--


“GHAAAAAH!” Eiki screamed as she bruised her body on the rocks. Sumire raced over to help her up, trying to minimize the damage to her master's body.

“How long will you keep doing this?!” Sumire demanded, tears long since spilled over her cheeks. “How much longer will you be putting up with this?!”

“That's the second wave, Kawaxanadu!” Shinki roared from the skies. “Come up again, I want to keep playing with you!”

“SHUT UP!” Sumire screamed up at the goddess, not caring about whether or not it was respectful. “You tremendous BITCH! How dare you do this to someone like Eiki?!”

“Because I was willing,” Eiki groaned as she sat up on her elbows. “I permit her to do this, therefore she does.”

“How much longer?!” Sumire begged. “I can't stand seeing your body abraded like this!”

“Not much longer,” Eiki grinned. “Trust me.” She got back up and onto her feet with the help of her great scythe, and she nodded towards Sumire's naginata. “I may need that.”

“Weapons aren't allowed in a danmaku match, though,” Sumire replied, confused.

“They're not,” Eiki confirmed as she ascended on the power of the mystic squares. “But I won't need weapons for this. Sit tight and watch.”

“Oh ho!” Shinki laughed. “The great Kawaxanadu has agreed to be slaughtered once more! Well, be my guest!” she roared, lifting her hand again. “Now, we shall try this again!”

“Yes, try it again,” Eiki replied.


Above her, Shinki was summoning more Demon Arrows. Eiki looked down. And then Sumire realized, she noticed a particular look in her eyes. Not a pleasant, cheerful look like Eiki usually got when she was doing what she thought was right. No, this was a cold, calculating, brilliant gaze... the same kind she used when calculating battle strategy, the look of the soldier, the general that she was. Cunning and devious, almost cruel.

"She actually has a plan," Sumire said to herself, quietly.

“Come get me!” Eiki laughed up at Shinki.

“As you WISH!” Shinki replied as she summoned two waves at once of her Demon Arrows, fourteen in all. “Azure, Meline! GO!”

And down they went.

Eiki moved easily out of the way of the first one, a yellow one. She moved to the side, letting the arrow fall to her left. Then she leapt upwards, dodging two arrows that had been aimed at her legs. Instead of landing, though, she spun in midair, like a gymnast, and completely grazed the fourth, a blue one, landing smartly on the mystic square platform.

Four down, ten to go.

Eiki then dropped to the ground to avoid a fifth arrow, which passed right over her. Then she rolled to her side and avoided the sixth as well, which would have smashed right into her head if she had stayed. Rolling upwards at first, she flipped forwards onto her feet and out of the way of the seventh and eighth, aimed from either side of her.

And now, six more--

Sumire's eyes widened.

“SHE'S RELEASED AT LEAST TEN MORE!” She screamed. “That has to be against the rules!”

“No,” Yuki corrected her. “Shinki's declared her spellcard, therefore she can use it as long as she wants until Eiki defeats it.”*

*As per true PC98-style, timing spellcards out is impossible. At this point in time, the spellcard system is somewhat different from what it turns into later. It is only until major battles (like this one) occur that the need to have timers on spellcards becomes evident; another major discovery to be made later is that mystic circles are better than mystic squares at conducting magical energy.

Sumire hissed as she watched the already-tired, already-bruised Eiki now have to confront sixteen Demon Arrows. These were going much faster than the previous eight. Eiki would definitely be destroyed here--

But then, something completely unexpected--

Eiki turned her back on the arrows and stepped right off of the platform, into the Titanic, which had arrived in almost-complete silence, summoned from the waters of the earth, no matter where they were.

“Eh!?” Shinki exclaimed, obviously not having expected this. “I thought the Titanic was destroyed!”

“NOTHING can sink this Titanic!” Eiki shot back with a grin as she aimed the ship straight upwards, into the thick of the arrows--

“EIKI!” Sumire screamed. But she needn't have worried. Eiki had sacrificed her body twice now to see through the pattern of arrows, and as she aimed upwards, she found the spaces that she needed, and with her scythe, she steered the Titanic safely through the arrows, grazing each one of them, but untouched.

And then she kept going--

“AH!” Shinki reeled back as the Titanic came right up to her, its hull turned towards her. She didn't want to get hit, so she took a few steps back--

“ Lie 「Tongue of Wolf」!”

And she hadn't seen Eiki leap off of the Titanic and let it keep zooming upwards, to distract Shinki and throw her off. By the time Shinki noticed this, Eiki was right behind her, launching her spellcard right behind her, at point-blank range!

“GAH!” Shinki screamed as she felt the full force of the attack hit her in the back. She was shot forward and downwards, spiraling towards the ground.

“YES!” Sumire laughed as she watched. “A direct hit!”

Eiki, for her part, landed back in the Titanic, which directed itself according to her whim. She stayed there, hovering above the air, suspended on individual water molecules.

“Shinki!” she yelled down to the fallen goddess, who had landed hard on the rocks and was barely picking herself up off of the ground while Yuki and Mai lent their shoulders to her. “Isn't this enough, Shinki? Have you had enough?”

Shinki looked up at her, then turned in Sumire's direction and spat out blood.

“Not on your life,” Shinki said. “Wings of Hell!” she declared, snapping her wings open again, as Yuki and Mai were pushed away, thrown backwards by the force.

“ 「Laugh of Lucifer」!” She declared as she zoomed upwards, her wings glowing with a brilliant purple light, streaked with red. She was going much faster than Eiki could move in the Titanic. Eiki gasped and quickly moved out of the way, barely managing to dodge Shinki, who was rocketing upwards with incalculable speed.

But Shinki didn't crash into the cave ceiling. No, she turned around, completely agile, then shot back downwards at Eiki, following her as the Kawaxanadu tried desperately to maneuver out of the way.

She was too slow. Shinki smashed into the craft like a meteor into a planet, sending it and its rider flying. And she didn't stop there. When Eiki was flung into the air, Shinki turned towards her, and shot towards her like an arrow released from a tight string. Eiki tried to flip in the air as soon as she saw this was coming, but Shinki suddenly banked and rolled out of her way, spinning around and extending a fist and--

Yuki looked up into the darkness, her mouth open with shock.

"Mai, Sumire," said Yuki in a somber tone, "it looks like Shinki has... impaled Eiki with her fist."

"What?!" Mai and Sumire looked at one another in shock.

As Eiki's limp body fell down towards the mystic squares, Shinki zoomed even faster, landing on the platform below Eiki. She then retracted all her wings but one, and turned it slightly curved upwards, so that the sharp end was sticking straight up.


"Shinki-sama!" Yuki pleaded, "If you stay there, Eiki will be--"

But there was no need for her to continue, as the result was soon apparent.

Makai's army, which had previously been cheering, was now roaring in delight. And the Higan side of the field was now dead silent.

Mai shook her head. Yuki looked nauseated. Sumire's eyes were wide with shock.

Eiki gasped, still breathing, with Shinki's wing sticking out of her chest.

Shinki glared at her, then retracted her wing, dropping Eiki to the rocky floor with a suddenness that made Sumire want to cry. She raced over to her master and looked at her in shock, Yuki by Sumire's side; Mai stood by Shinki, but her eyes were looking over at Eiki, her worry evident.

“How can you CONTINUE?!” Sumire pleaded. “I know you technically can't die, but you can still be hurt, Eiki!”

Eiki spat up blood, staining her torn shirt even more. “I... have... to continue...”

“No, you do NOT!” Sumire begged, tears flowing freely from her eyes. “Shinki cheated just now, didn't she? She used a weapon in a spellcard match!”

“Technically, no,” Yuki admitted, her eyes downcast. “Her wings are a part of her, therefore it's valid... right?”

Eiki nodded, her face contorted with pain. She bit it back, hissing, and closed her eyes, concentrating on her wound. Sweat broke out on her forehead as she covered the big gaping hole in her chest with her somewhat-uninjured right hand.

But then Sumire lifted it.

“This is my job,” she said, putting her hands on Eiki's chest. Focusing her power, she tried to suffuse her master with healing energy. Her hands began to glow with a bright purple light as she pressed her hands directly onto Eiki's cuts.

"Amazing," Yuki said. "Her wound, her bruises, closing, healing..."

After a few minutes-- "I can do no more," Sumire said, collapsing backwards into Yuki's arms. "Injuries... too severe... takes too much of my own... power... to heal them all," she wheezed.

"I think you've done enough," Yuki said. "Eiki can continue now.”

Sumire looked at her hands, still stained with her master's blood.

Then she looked up at Shinki, who was smirking at her.

“Amused, my little fairy?”

“You sick FUCK,” Sumire swore, brandishing her naginata. On an impulse, she walked towards Shinki, holding it aloft with barely any strength to do so. “If I weren't bound by my master, I would cut you so damn BAD that you would BEG me to kill you--”

“Sumire, don't,” rang out the voice of the person Sumire respected most.

“No,” she sobbed, turning around to see. “You cannot be fighting again.”

Eiki grinned, spat out blood, and leaned on Yuki. “I still can fight.”

Sumire dropped her naginata, looking drained and exhausted. “How can you still say that...?”

“She's right, you know,” Shinki put in with a chuckle. “Injured all over and weak with fatigue. Your senses are all jumbled up, and your body is damaged. And my power! There is no way you can--”

“Lady Shinki?!” Mai exclaimed. “Why are you bleeding from the arm?”

“... eh?” Shinki blinked, looking down at her hand, which was dripping with blood.

Suddenly her sleeve fell off, cut off at the shoulder. From her shoulder, a single long cut snaked downwards all the way to her wrist. She winced, wondering just how she got cut--

Eiki waved her scythe. Its blade was drenched in blood.

“A severe cut at top speed,” she explained. “Even if I can't reach you, the second you come towards me, I can destroy you, because the spellcard rules do not apply in close-range fighting.”*

*Hence IaMP / SWR, wherein you can only use danmaku if you're fighting from a distance, and are forced to use melee attacks while fighting up close and personal.

“Heh,” Shinki smirked, waving it off. “Now I know why you became the best soldier in Higan. The ability to see someone's preferred attack only twice and already be able to outsmart it, the ability to anticipate a counter and be ready with one of your own... I cannot approach you carelessly,” she said, looking Eiki's bloody form up and down.

“Though another Laugh of Lucifer would certainly finish you off.” She shrugged. “That's fine. There are other ways to fight.”

Eiki narrowed her eyes.

“Then why don't you show me?” she challenged.

“Eiki!” Sumire exclaimed. “If you weren't death incarnate, you'd be dead by now, and not by Shinki's hands, but at mine!”

Eiki looked over and down at Sumire. The little fairy was panicked, her purple hair matted around her sweaty neck, her violet eyes pleading up at her.

She ruffled her hair. “Don't worry about me,” she said, smiling, feeling the taste of blood in her mouth.

She looked over at Shinki.

Shinki nodded.

And then the two of them leapt into the air again.

« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 10:50:09 pm by Gemini Sunruro »

Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z (and other stories)
« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2009, 10:50:52 pm »
Satori, Koishi, and Orin raced back down the tunnel they had come from. The way back was terrible; all they had to rely on were the yells of the people in front of them, since Utsuho and Yumeko in front of them-- one of them must have taken a torch, probably Yumeko, and the tunnels were pitch black. Still, the tunnel only had one shaft, so they didn't have to worry about finding a hole in the side and falling through the darkness into an auxiliary cave.

In front of them, Yuugi and Parsee raced down the tunnel, Yuugi leading.

“Hey, Yuugi,” Parsee asked. “Let me turn on a light.”

“Sure,” Yuugi grunted. Parsee nodded and from her right hand-- her left was carrying Kisume-- produced a bright green orb, glowing with an unearthly light.

“H-- how did you do that?” Satori asked, in amazement.

Parsee turned slightly to see who it was, then turned to look where she was running. “It's danmaku. The new Hakurei Spellcard System allows us to use our inner abilities and manifest them as bullet patterns, although usually you have to use a spellcard...”

Bravissimo,” Satori said, eyes wide. “So tell me, how did you do that without a spellcard?”

“Will to power,” Parsee replied matter-of-factly. “I enjoy using this too much to meticulously write out a spellcard every time, and in any case, I rather like it.”

“Really?” Koishi asked, not having the breath to ask much more.

Parsee nodded. “Unfortunately, danmaku was never popular down here, so I never have gotten the chance to use it.”

“What's so great about it?” Orin asked, not breathing very hard at all.

“Well... it puts everyone on an equal ground,” she began. “Anyone stands a chance of beating anyone else. If me and Yuugi were fighting hand-to-hand, she would destroy me.”

“I would never do that to you!” Yuugi objected in front of her. “You're way too pretty for that.”

Parsee giggled. “You say such embarrassing things in the weirdest situations without turning red... I'm so jealous. Anyway, you get the idea; Shinki would destroy me. But if we were fighting a spellcard duel, I would have a shot at beating her, by outmaneuvering her bullet patterns. The whole point, if I remember correctly, is to 'negate the doctrine of absolute power'.”

“We know,” Satori said. “It's why even people like me technically stand a chance against, say, Shinki.”

Parsee nodded slowly. “... yes... Technically.”

“Look out!” Yuugi cried out as they turned a corner and light flooded their vision. “We've made it out!”

By running through the tunnel, they had all made it out in less than half the time it had taken Satori, Koishi, Orin, and Okuu to come in. Speaking of... where was Okuu?

The three resistance fighters and the three Palace-dwellers came to a halt on a ledge-- the same one Satori had been snatched from earlier. Far below, they saw two blurs, one red and purple and white, the other green and blue and white-- Shinki and Eiki, respectively-- but that was all they could see. At times, they paused to exchange blows, but mostly, all they could see was was just a fast blur of movement between the two.

“THERE!” Parsee exclaimed, pointing upwards, further up the cliff face. Up there the wall was rocky, not smooth, with plenty of ledges to fight on. As Utsuho and Yumeko struggled to hit one another, gritty dirt tumbled downwards. They watched, and as they watched, Yumeko hit Utusho square in the jaw with a particularly strong blow, and Utsuho reeled back, kicking off small stones as she quickly got back to her feet and returned the favour to Yumeko.

“OKUU!” Orin yelled up as soon as she saw Yumeko go flying.

Okuu looked over the ledge down at them. “Oh, hey!” she said, dripping with blood where Yumeko must have kicked her in the face earlier.

Some of her blood splattered Orin's face, and she wiped it away as she yelled up instructions. “Okuu! Keep Yumeko from getting down to Shinki, no matter what!”

Okuu nodded, just as a fist collided with her head and she disappeared from Orin's vision.

Kisume, in her bucket, looked up at Koishi and Satori from where she had been set down by Parsee.

“You two are satori,” she said, her little-kid voice invoking smiles from the two sisters.

“Yes, we are,” Koishi confirmed. If she noticed Satori staring at her doubtfully, she gave no indication of it.

“Good,” Kisume said happily. “It's nice to see that a few of you are alive.”

“... yes,” Satori nodded, remembering the flames that had taken every other member of the satori race, the flames that should have taken her but didn't.

Kisume smiled sadly. “I know how that feels. I saw my family splatter on the rocks after Yumeko's guys cut down their pulley system on the roof of the cave.”

“Oh--” Satori covered her mouth with her hands. “Oh god, that's horrible.”

The bucket girl shrugged. “It's done. I can't change that. Though I can still miss them.” She looked at the two sisters, a flash of hope in her eyes. “Hey! I wonder! Can we rebuild the city later? And with you two as queens of Chireiden?”

Koishi and Satori looked at each other.

“Queens?” Satori thought at her sister.

Thankfully, she answered. “Give the kid a break. She probably just remembers that we're satori, so we're royalty. We don't have to take the throne...” Koishi's thought trailed off, and then continued. “.... do we?”

“I don't know,” Satori admitted. “I was just worried about getting out of this alive. But if we get back our kingdom... what will we do?”

“I don't want to be queen,” Koishi replied, panic surging through her thoughts. “I really, really don't want to be queen...”

“You won't have to be... right?”

A loud noise from above startled all three girls, and they looked up just in time to see Yumeko tackle Utsuho around her waist, sending the two of them falling off the cliff. Utsuho was trying to get her wings to flap, but it was useless, Yumeko kept pinning them down-- finally, she was free and flying, but Yumeko refused to let go of her, and instead of flying, the hellcrow and her unwanted passenger were careening through the air. Utsuho kept trying to smash Yumeko into the rocks and loosen her hold, but Yumeko was too tenacious. She held on tightly, and the two smashed into the wall, loosing a ton of rocks from their place, dropping them above the army of Higan--

The first murmurings of anger circulated around them as they looked up. All they could see were shapes moving in the shadows.

“Makai is attacking us with stalactites!” The cry circulated around the army.

Parsee's eyes widened.

“Oh no,” she said. “Yuugi, the army is starting to move--”

“WHAT?!” Yuugi exclaimed, looking over the ledge. Indeed, thinking that the rocks tumbling down upon them were sling rocks from the armies of Makai, they had roared and charged across the field at the restless demon hordes, who readily took the challenge, and raced into the lava pits of the Hell of Blazing Fires, ready to eviscerate the fairies of Higan--

“Damn it!” Yuugi cried out. “War has begun!”

“Well, look at the bright side,” Parsee tried. “At least Shinki's plan has been ruined. She'll take too long to beat Higan's army, since we stopped Yumeko from releasing the lava flood.”

At that point, a low rumble passed through the ground into their feet.

Satori felt her throat go dry.

“But my wheelbarrow,” Orin said. “My wheelbarrow is almost indestructible, it should hold--”

From within the cave to their side, an echo of a strange sound reached their ears.

“... I hope that's not the sound of wood snapping I just heard,” Parsee said, her face pale.

“AH!” Yuugi exclaimed, turning around and leaping off of the ledge, from one ledge to another, up to the gap that the lava river would be flooding out from shortly.

“YUUGI!” Parsee screamed. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”

“STOPPING THE LAVA, THAT'S WHAT!” Yuugi yelled back as she finally reached the ledge. And not a moment too early-- she looked in, and the first thing she saw was the glow of lava racing down a tunnel down towards her.

“Eh,” she winced as she reached down and, digging her fingers into the bare rock, she raised a final stopgap of the lava river. It was little more than a flat stone wall, smoothened by lava flowing over it, but it would hold the lava at bay for now. She tore it out of the rock and placed it over the hole, covering the lava flow, and preventing it from escaping. The pressure would soon become unbearable, she knew, but she stayed, holding the stopgap there. She turned and pressed it back with her powerful leg muscles, reaching out to either side and digging her fingers into the rock for a handhold.

“GO, PARSEE!” she screamed downwards. “GO AND STOP THE LAVA FLOW!”

“Yes!” her young companion said, just as Yumeko's boot came out of nowhere and kicked her in the face.

“Gaah!” she yelled, her nose turning into a bloody mess where Yumeko had hit her. The red maid, for her part, pushed Parsee to the side and dove back into the tunnel.

“Excuse me, terribly sorry,” Utsuho yelled as she zoomed into the tunnel after Yumeko. Parsee fell onto her knees, reeling backwards and still moaning with the pain.

“Parsee!” Kisume cried out, standing up in her bucket and reaching out towards her bearer. “Parsee, are you all right?” Koishi and Satori also looked at her, concern evident in their eyes.

The bridge princess shook her head and even as she covered her bloody face with one hand, she pointed down the tunnel with the other. Her thoughts were specifically directed at the two satori-- “Don't worry about me! Go and stop Yumeko from releasing the whole damn river before it's too late!”

“Ye-- yes!” Koishi and Satori yelled at the same time, standing up. They looked at one another, nodded, and then dove back into the darkness of the tunnel.


“AAAAAAAAAAAHHH!” Shinki screamed as she divebombed at Eiki, who was charging at her, scythe raised in the hopes of a blow.

The two were racing at one another, like knights in a fencing match, hoping to skewer the other, with spellcards in place of weapons. The two came closer, 50 meters, 40 meters, 30 meters, 20 meters, 10 meters, 5 meters--

“Judgment 「Bar of the Ten Kings」!”*

*For best results, go play Shoot the Bullet, 10-4.

“Gates of Hell 「Djiare Tutti Esperanza」!”

*For best results, go fight Shinki in MS. I dare you.

Two explosions of light. The first, an ocean blue light from Eiki as she fired the first of four waves of danmaku at Shinki with a swing of her scythe. Weaving through the bullets, Shinki danced through the larger blue shots and the bright blue lasers to Eiki herself, and with a swing of her wings, she hailed down bursts of dark red light that split into many smaller red arrows, aimed in streams at Eiki.

Eiki grazed accordingly, raising her scythe for the second wave. This time, it was green, and the waves came faster than ever. Shinki couldn't weave through these like she had before, so she was forced to quicken her pace and find the space in between Eiki's smaller inner barrages and the wider ring of larger bullets.

Once that wave was over, though, Eiki was once more open to attack. She turned the Titanic around and charged straight at Shinki again, and as Shinki threw out a second wave, she dove straight into the thick of the bullets, avoiding the red streams of arrow bullets to her sides. Seeing that Shinki had improved on this wave, she ducked into her Titanic at times to avoid being hit by the large purple orbs she was shooting out as well.

Eiki was in danger on two fronts, now; the red wave arrows on either side of her that would move closer and away from her every moment, and the large shaky purple orbs zooming at her. She swung her scythe, sending a small wave of energy at the orbs, since weapons could not be directly used against danmaku. Some of them exploded into a dozen smaller white bullets, which were even more dangerous than the purple orbs, so she grit her teeth, vowed never to do that again, and maneuvered her way through the thick of the bullets. Taking a few of them square-on in the chest, she grit her teeth and guided her Titanic along, arriving in a spot where she could do the most damage; a blind spot, directly beneath Shinki's range of vision.

Whirling the Titanic around, she matched Shinki's pace. It was evident that Shinki didn't appreciate it, as she kept trying to shake Eiki off by making lightning-fast turns and twists. But Eiki remained right below her, in her blind spot.

With a swing of her scythe, Eiki released a third wave-- even faster, now, with ice blue bullets. Try as she might, Shinki couldn't dodge this. She tried, though-- Shinki quickly banked and flipped over onto her back, then turned over, this time shooting off in the opposite direction that Eiki was going. Unfortunately for her, she hadn't counted on Eiki's spellcard being so widespread, and she crashed headlong into one of the closest larger bullets. One of her six wings came out severely damaged, and in trying to regain control of her now-erratic flight, Shinki ended up falling, crashing hard into the stony rock below.

Eiki panted as she watched. That particular spellcard was now over.

“Haah,” Shinki breathed as she picked herself up from the dust, Mai and Yuki rushing to her side.

Eiki looked down at her, and then she collapsed, too, falling towards the floor.

“EIKI-SAMA!” Sumire yelled as she ran over to Eiki, hoping to catch her before she hit the ground.

Eiki landed right on top of the poor fairy, but at least it was better than letting her crash headfirst into the ground.

“Lady Eiki?” Sumire demanded as she fanned her master's face with her hand. “Are you all right?”

“Nnnrgh... I'm better now,” Eiki sighed as she took a deep breath.

“No, you're not, Eiki-sama...” the fairy murmured as she propped her master up so she was at least in a sitting position.

“Heh,” Shinki laughed as she got to her feet. “Despite the outcome of that last attack of yours... I'm still in much better shape than you are, Eiki.”

Sumire's gaze flicked up at her, murderous.

“How does that make you feel, then? By wearing you down, repeatedly hitting you, never getting too close to you... I can't get in a finishing blow, but I will gradually chisel away at your strength, so you can feel your body falling apart bit by bit... and in your present state, you can't do a thing.”

Eiki maintained a stony silence, blood dripping down onto the ground from her arm.

Shinki chuckled and licked her lips.

“How dare you,” Sumire began, her voice shaking, plainly struggling to keep her rage in check. “You monster... how dare you do this to Eiki! And using such underhanded tactics!”

The Vermeil Devil turned her sneering gaze to Sumire for a moment.

“So you think I'm a coward... well, there's nothing wrong with that. This is the strongest weapon any experienced fighter has. The greatest skill a fighter obtains after decades, centuries of combat, allowing us to outdo any new talented warrior. It is cunning.”

Sumire's eyes narrowed. Shinki's gaze now turned on Eiki once more.

“You don't have a chance of defeating me, Eiki. You never did. But you have fought well, regardless... so I give you the choice. Shall I continue chipping away at you, bit by bit, or simply end this with one finishing blow?”

Eiki didn't respond immediately. She kept her gaze neutral, staring into Shinki's red eyes with a calm look on her face.
And then she nodded.

“Eiki-sama!” Sumire yelled, accompanied by Mai's yell of “Shinki-sama!” The two women had raced into the air faster then the eyes could see; Shinki on her wings, Eiki on the Titanic.

Shinki raised her head so that she was looking down at Eiki. Eiki didn't react.

“So you choose an instant defeat,” Shinki said.

“An instant victory,” Eiki countered.

“Feh.” Shinki spat out one last bit of blood to the side. “And now I will teach you... that when it comes to war... everything is valid.”

Eiki smiled.

“And I will prove to you that no matter what, righteousness will prevail.”

“I am so sick of hearing that.” Shinki put her right foot forward, tense as a wound spring. “It seems you are ready for death... it will be my pleasure to introduce you to the bitter feeling of defeat. Or are you wanting to run?”

“Perish the thought,” Eiki said, bringing the sharp end of her scythe up to her mouth and licking the blade. "Or preferably... just perish."

“The time for talk is over!” Shinki snapped.

Eiki laughed.

“Then come, so I can kill you now!” she yelled, and the Titanic took off, charging at Shinki, who had laughed and zoomed at her, her eyes mocking, her hands reaching into her robe for one final spellcard.

Eiki, for her part, shot forth in the Titanic, watching as the distance between herself and her opponent halved every few seconds.

This is the last attack...

She reached into her shirt and pulled out... a small card, inscribed with mystic symbols, tailored to her soul itself, the final manifestation of her power.

If I lose here, then everyone will die...

“AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” Shinki roared with maniacal laughter as she drew more and more Demon Arrows from her wide sleeves. At this point, going at this speed... dodging them would not even be a possibility.

I have to make this count.

Eiki looked down at the card, staring at it one last time.

Good luck, Satori, Orin... Sumire... if I beat her now, you all have a chance of winning... please live on and enjoy this new era...

“LAST WORD!” Eiki yelled, her whole body esconced in an aura of green-blue battle energy. The amount of power in her body jumped to twice its normal amount, but her body was being pushed to its absolute limits. She would have to win this quick--

--this new era, one in which force of arms does not dictate righteousness!

They were now no more than ten feet away from one another, on a total collision course. Only a few feet in front of her, the Demon Arrows were bursting forth from Shinki's hands. Eiki swung her scythe, unleashing the last burst of energy needed to activate her spellcard.

“Ka-- LOOK OUT!”

Shinki's eyes widened as Eiki leapt towards her, dropping her scythe, swinging around on her shoulders--

And then, a sudden squelching sound.

Eiki's grip on Shinki's shoulders weakened. Shinki turned around, and the first thing she saw was--

Shinki had known that her troops weren't very well disciplined. She knew that they weren't highly trained like Higan's were. She had never expected this would apply to their aim. In firing a volley of arrows at Higan, they had shot arrows high enough to hit Shinki's back. Higan had both enough discipline to not shoot at Eiki, and good enough aim to shoot lower and still hit the target.

In other words, Eiki had just taken the arrows meant for Shinki.

The arrows were just wood arrows with stone tips, not enough to make them simply drop their attacks. But Shinki, who had been startled by Eiki's sudden switch in tactics, had accidentally launched her Demon Arrows upwards, towards the ceiling. Eiki's aim, thrown off by a slew of arrows embedded all down her arms, was unbalanced, and the explosive energy of her Last Word shot off, still not fully formed, into the darkness, temporarily lighting up the whole cave with the light of her green-blue comet. Without its rider, Titanic sped off, smashing into the wall, disintegrating into dust, ready to be reformed when its master needed it.

Eiki's face was pale, her breathing ragged, sweat glistening on her forehead as she looked up at Shinki, holding on to her robes as tightly as she could.

“Why did you do that?” Shinki asked quietly, noting the sheer amount of arrows buried in Eiki's back. Arrows that had been meant for her.

“Be-- cause,” the shinigami sputtered out as well as someone with two arrows through her throat could. “Because that... was... an inter... ference... accord-- ing to the spell... card rules.”

A giant roar drew their attention. The two combatants looked down, where their two armies had charged across the fields at one another. They were clashing, the armies of Higan and Makai, with one side using explosive green orbs as cannonballs alongside fairy arrows, and the other shooting slings and rocks at their opponent, with an archery regiment backing it up.

Eiki coughed up an arrowhead.

“Why would... you do that for me,” Shinki said quietly. “I'm your opponent.”

Eiki shook her head. “Our struggle... nrghh... is over... it is time to re--” Eiki hacked up a substantial amount of blood, and looked as if she were going to fall down at any moment.

Shinki looked at Eiki, evident pain in her eyes.

“Gaaah!” Eiki gasped as she slid down slightly, jostling one of the arrows that had been shot through her neck.

Shinki continued to look at Eiki with a strange expression on her face as she slowly let go of Eiki, letting her slide down her garments.

The shinigami looked up at her, blood dripping from the corners of her mouth. “”

“I'm sorry, Eiki,” Shinki said. “You really are a better person than I am, by far... You stopped my own army from shooting me, but... I would not have done the same thing for you.”

“Shinki, do-- don't,” Eiki coughed as she spat up even more blood. “If you do... your conscience--”

Shinki looked at her as she pushed Eiki's broken body off of her, now holding on to her by only her right hand. Eiki dangled above the battlefield as their armies commenced battle below them, severely weakened.

“I'm sorry... but being an Empress means that you can't always do what you believe is right.”

Eiki looked up at her, and for a long time afterwards, in her dreams, all Shinki would be able to see were her green eyes searching for the faintest bit of empathy, and finding none.

“I forgive you,” Eiki said quietly.

“--!!” Shinki's eyes widened, and with an angry snarl, she dropped Eiki over the swarming army of Makai, to be trampled, crushed, mauled.

“EIKI-SAMA!” a scream burst out from somewhere within the ranks of Higan's forefront. As the area cleared, cut down by the swing of a fearsome naginata, Sumire became visible. Her uniform was torn, and she had been injured by combat, but that wasn't going to stop her from reaching her commander.

With increasingly frenzied swings, she singlehandedly hacked her way through the oncoming rush of demons, followed by her legion of loyal fairies, joined by a regiment of ghosts. Cleaving a bloodstained path through the horde, she reached Eiki, who had landed on her back, so that the arrows that had been embedded in her back now stuck out of her chest entirely.

With her fairies holding the demonic forces of Makai at bay, Sumire did not stop for anything, and with a strength far beyond that which she should have had as a fairy, she picked Eiki up and slung her over her shoulder, her naginata in her left hand, racing back to Higan's side of the field, followed closely by her fairies and loyal ghostly troops.

Shinki saw all of this from her position above the battlefield, but even as she was making judgements about where to attack Higan's army for maximum damage, she could not rid herself of the image of Eiki's desperate green eyes looking up at her, and her voice... telling her that she forgave her...

Shinki shook her head. “How foolish... taking a volley of arrows meant for me... forgiving me for doing what I had to do... she deserved it.”

But as Shinki left the battlefield, flying back to her commander's tent, she knew in her heart that it was the exact opposite, that Eiki was the most upright person she had ever fought, and that on the battlefield that day, Shinki had comitted a grave sin, one that she would lose many, many nights of sleep over in the future.

Before she got there, Alice, who had been watching the whole thing from outside the tent, scurried inside before Shinki could see her. She pretended to be asleep, even as the image of her own mother dropping a weak, helpless person to her doom stayed in her mind.

If that was what it took to maintain an empire, then perhaps she could do without it.


Yumeko was by far the better fighter, Utsuho realized, a bit too late to save herself. She herself was strong, and agile, but Yumeko was overall better balanced and skilled.

She only started to get it after Yumeko had slammed her upwards into the rocks.

As Utsuho collapsed onto her knees, Yumeko came closer, waiting to finish her off. Utsuho brought her hand to her mouth, wiped away a bit of her blood, and got back to her feet.

Yumeko has a lot pf physical strength... and she's trained to take a lot of damage. At this rate, she'll be the last one standing...

“Hmm,” Yumeko hummed as she watched Utsuho pull herself up. “Are you going to continue?”

But even if she's going to win... I can't just lose to her! I have to stop her here!

“You bet,” Utsuho replied, putting up her fists. “Now come on! I won't lose!”

“You're a strong youkai, you know,” Yumeko said, her face serious. “I wish I didn't have to make you cry.”

“Oh, I don't know,” Utsuho laughed back as she walked closer to Yumeko. “You'll be the one to look sad.”

“You never learn,” Yumeko shook her head. “It's time to teach you what it means to be a proper fighter.”

Yumeko was ready. She saw Utsuho's fist move in a quick arc. Falling flat, she kicked Utsuho's feet out from under her, leapt upright and fled.

Ge-- geh, she knocked me down hard... and without even throwing a single punch!

Utsuho scrambled upright, flicking dust from her hair, and went after the maid like a charging bull. Yumeko skidded to a halt as she rushed by her. This time Yumeko stood her ground when she turned and charged once more, waiting until she was almost on top of her.

Again she went down, falling flat on her back, both legs shooting up like pistons. Utsuho's own weight and momentum carried her straight onto Yumeko. Air whooshed from her stomach as it came in contact with Yumeko's boots, and she went head over wings, landing hard on her back in a cloud of dust.

Argh, that hurt! Where did that maid go?!

Yumeko was already up and running again, calling out to Utsuho as she paced. “Now do you understand the difference between us, Utsuho? All you can do is throw your fists around. You're just an overly strong brawler, and worse, you're completely inflexible. I am a fighter, a warrior. You can't beat me.”

That... can't be... geh... she's going to win...

Utsuho arose, but not so speedily this time, one hand holding her stomach. She did not give chase, but circled around and cut off Yumeko’s escape as she backed her against the stone wall. This time it was Utsuho's turn to beat her, her powerful right fist lashing out at Yumeko.


Crack! Utsuho gasped aloud with pain. Yumeko had jumped upwards, hands gripping the stone wall, finding impossibly tiny crevices to hold on to, and the noise was audible as her opponent’s fists hit the solid rock.

She cleared Utsuho's head at a bound and casually walked to the center of the room. “Are you going to join me, Utsuho?” Yumeko asked as Utsuho's right fist bled. There were definitely a few bones broken there, and as Utsuho gasped in pain, she realized that her right fist would be useless, at least for a few moments. Hopefully, her youkai healing factor would work fast enough....

Utsuho took a moment to pull a stone splinter from her right hand, then she got upright and limped out to meet the maid.

They faced each other, Yumeko's breathing steady with no expression on her face, Utsuho breathing hard, eyes red with tears.

“Earlier, I fought that oni pet of yours,” Yumeko said, observing Utsuho reaching up, pulling off her hair ribbon, and tying it around her bleeding, broken right fist. “She was all fists and power, too, so I beat her at her own game.” She tilted her head. “But you, you're not as strong as she was. So I can afford to beat you without as much effort.”

“How... insulting,” Utsuho snarled. “Stand and fight me, fist to fist!” The yatagarasu lashed out with a vicious, surprisingly fast left hook.

Yumeko dropped into a crouch, as Utsuho's blow whistled overhead. She stayed stooped, beating the yatagarasu with her strong blows. Yumeko's powerful punches slammed into the crow girl's stomach.

Utsuho spat up blood, but she kept pressuring Yumeko. Her flailing right fist thudded against the side of the maid's head, and her left looped around her head and tightened on her neck. Utsuho had a fierce smile on her face as she wound her hand around Yumeko's throat, cutting off her breath.

“Ahahaha, I've got you now, Yumeko!”

But Yumeko was too experienced for her. Not skipping a beat, she swung her right fist, pummeling Utsuho's stomach, and as she gasped for breath, Yumeko slid out of her stranglehold. She found herself facing the crow girl's back, and shoved hard, knocking Utsuho facedown into the dust.

Yumeko took the brief pause to wipe some sweat from her brow.

Keh... I can't lose to this maid! I just can't!

Utsuho struggled up, spitting earth and wiping dust from both eyes. Lowering her head for a vicious charge, she hurtled forward.

Yumeko acted quickly, not looking in the least bit dazed by Utsuho's previous attack. Holding her position, the maid stood there as Utsuho's head lurched forward, intending to knock right into her. But then she leapt straight up vertically, as far as she could. The yatatgarasu's bowed head struck her fractionally, jarring her leg. She kicked her right heel into the side of the crow girl's head, sending her reeling, but still on her feet. Landing smoothly, she looked down at Utsuho. Clenching both fists, she brought them down in a sharp double blow on the back of Utsuho's neck.

Gah... no...

Still bent double, Utsuho carried on another three paces, staggering, crazily swinging from side to side.

Then she crumpled and fell, her hair falling over her face, her fists bleeding, her right hand broken, her expression despairing.

No... I lost... to her...

Yumeko walked across and stood over the fallen yatagarasu.

“Well?” Yumeko asked. “Now do you see the difference between us? You're nothing more than a glorified hatchling, dear. You're weak, and nowhere near enough to even land a hit on me. On purpose, anyway.”

“Then... kill me,” Utsuho demanded, more on impulse than anything else.

Yumeko shook her head. “That's another thing in which you and I are different. I don't usually kill an opponent who amused me during our fight.” She winked at Utsuho, but there was no warmth in it. “I much prefer to let them live and hate themselves forever for having lost to me.”

“Keh...” Utsuho gasped as Yumeko raised her open palm and with one swift blow, hit Utsuho in the neck, finding her pressure point with no trouble.

With the image of Yumeko's triumphant smile in her mind, the hellcrow passed out.

I need... to become stronger...


The battlefield was vicious. All around, the clank of armor, the clash of metal against metal, the scent of coppery blood mixed in with sweat and rust.

First the demons of Makai had pressed into Higan's forces, but with the help of the flying divisions of fairies, who had been attacking relentlessly from the very beginning, Higan began to push them back. Surging forward, the incompetent demons attempted to crush Higan through sheer force of numbers. However, Higan's fairies were too well-trained, and with the aid of the Hakugyokurou ghost division, they stopped an attempted pincer movement and began to envelop Makai.

Amongst the chaos of screaming, roaring, and screeching, Sumire pushed her way to the back of the army, carrying Shikieiki over her shoulder. Panting and tired, she hoisted the Yama off of her back and set her down as softly as she could onto a sitting position atop a rock near the medics. She couldn't let her lie down; the arrows sticking into her back would just run right through.

“LADY EIKI!” Sumire cried out as she saw the extent of her injuries. “Lady Eiki, are you all right?! Speak to me!!”

“Guh...” Eiki spat up blood. Her helmet had fallen off; her clothing was trampled and torn, and the arrows embedded into her back had been broken and twisted. It would be harder than ever to get them out. Her hair, once green, was now matted with blood, and she looked terrible.

She pointed to the arrow stuck into her neck, trying to make a coherent sound, but could not. She pointed to the back of her neck, and Sumire went around. “What do you want me to do?” Sumire asked, confused. Eiki made a motion of snapping a twig in her hands.

“... if you say so, Lady Eiki,” Sumire said, reaching up and breaking the arrow so that the fletch wasn't attatched any more. Without further ado, Eiki reached up and pulled the rest of the arrow forwards, out of her throat entirely, hacking, coughing, and spitting up more blood as she did so.

“EIKI!” Sumire screamed, horrified. “What are you doing?!” she demanded as Eiki rubbed her throat tenderly, stroking the hole in her neck as it sealed.

“Death can't die, Sumire,” Eiki said, breathing normally for the first time in a while. “But it still hurts...” She looked over her shoulder and down at the arrows portruding from her back. They hadn't gone all the way through, so they would be harder to get rid of...

“Sumire, pull them out,” she commanded.

“WHAT?!” Sumire reeled back in shock. “But that pain will be excruciating! I can't do that to you, Lady Ei--”

“Come on, Sumire,” Eiki replied, not wanting to pull rank on her fairy friend. “It's a soldier's duty to follow military regulations, isn't it?”

“Lady Eiki,” Sumire begged, tears in her eyes. “Don't make me do this...”

“Even when a superior officer makes an erroneous judgment... as a subordinate, is it your place to criticize or correct it?”

“You don't make erroneous judgments,” Sumire said quietly.

Eiki smiled.

“Just so. Now do it.”

“...Yes, Lady Eiki.”

For the next few minutes, the sound of Eiki's agonized screaming filled the air.


Over on the other side of the field, Alice covered her ears to block out the sound as she sat on a chair, swathed in army-issue blankets. Next to her, Luize stood, her hand on Alice's shoulder.

“We should have trained them better...” Luize scowled. Sara had always been the proper military mind, and from what she had mentioned earlier, she had loathed how she was in charge of such incompetent forces. It wasn't because of lack of motivation or funding; it just so happened that Shinki expected her armies to do too much. Sara had therefore been forced to perfect mob and swarm tactics, maneuvers that involved relying on sheer force of numbers rather than actual skill. Thankfully, there were simply so many demons that Sara could reasonably sacrifice ten of her men for one of the other army's and still emerge victorious.

Still, that was probably not going to save them this time. Eiki was simply too good. And Higan's army was the best-trained standing army in Gensokyo; made up entirely of professional soldier fairies, assisted by spring-powered ghosts from Hakugyokurou, they would not lose this battle.

... well, unless Makai did something drastic, of course.

Luize nodded, consulting her pocket watch. “Okay. It's time.”

Mai and Yuki, who stood in front of her, nodded. “Shall we, then?”

“Higan's army will devastate us from the air if this continues much longer... and we must give them no chance of escaping when Yumeko releases the lava river, which she should be doing in a few moments.” She saluted Yuki and Mai. “Go weave your net of magic over Higan. Make sure nobody can escape.”

“Aye-aye, ma'am,” the two witches returned the salute and flew upwards, high, high into the darkness of the cave ceiling, so no one would see them descending with a thick, well-woven magical net, made of intertwined fire and ice energies by their spellcards.

Luize watched them ascend, then looked back down at her young charge. Kneeling down onto one knee, she sat in front of Alice, looking up at her face. “Hey, Ali, what's wrong? Are you tired? You want to rest?”

“I saw mommy drop someone injured to her death,” Alice said quietly.


Luize remained silent.

“Why are we here, Lu-chan?” Alice asked, still using her childish nickname for Luize.

Luize attempted to smile back.

“For the glory of your mother's empire,” she replied, hoping to reassure the little girl.

“What did killing that girl have to do with mommy's empire?”

The blonde woman looked up at Alice, her eyes full of sorrow. Alice had just discovered the truth of an empire... that to maintain an empire, sins would have to be comitted, and that ruling the world was not worth losing one's righteousness.

She bit her lip.

“... absolutely nothing.”

“So why did she do it?” Alice asked, her eyes red with tears. “Why would mommy do something like that?”

“Because she loves you,” Luize replied honestly. “She wants you to become the ruler after her, so she wants you to rule over a peaceful kingdom. That's why we're here, since these people were rebellious.”

“What did they do wrong?”

Again, the little blonde girl had cut to the heart of the matter... but for some reason, Luize didn't find it hard to respond at all.

“... they wanted to be free.”

“That's wrong?” Alice gave Luize a questioning look. “That's why my mommy is killing them all?”

“It's for your sake,” the blonde woman replied, hating what she was saying, hating that it had to be said. “She's doing it for you...”

“... I don't want her to do this for me,” Alice said quietly, hugging her knees to her chest, her grimoire clutched in her hands. “I don't want her to kill people because they want to be free.”

“... Alice,” Luize said, and then she stood and turned away. Alice was just a little girl, but already she had figured out that this battle, this war, this power-grabbing, this empire-making, this entire premise... that it was inherently wrong. And if this continued, then Alice would soon find herself in conflict with her own mother...

“Oh, why did it have to turn out this way...” she whispered to herself.

The sound was drowned out by the roar of battle.

Suddenly disgusted by the whole thing, Luize turned away and walked off.

« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 10:58:03 pm by Gemini Sunruro »

Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z (and other stories)
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2009, 11:06:46 pm »

Stumbling on some rocks, Satori tripped not more than ten feet from the entrance to the cave. Koishi, who was behind her, caught up to her and came to her sister's side.

“Are you all right, Satorin?” the white-haired girl asked.

Satori was still kneeling on the ground where she had injured herself and with a cry of pain, she raised her right leg. In the light from the entrance, the deep scrape on her knee was visibly bloody. She winced and tried to smile. “I tripped... sorry, Koishi.”

“Well, come on,” Koishi said, trying to raise her sister up by the arm. “Let's go.”

“No, let me stay here,” Satori protested. “I'll go back outside with Parsee. I'd just slow you down. You have to stop Yumeko as fast as you can!”

“... capisce,” Koishi agreed, nodding. “Can you get back to the entrance?”

Satori shot her a thumbs-up, knowing that she would only be able to crawl back, but also wanting Yumeko to be stopped as fast as possible. “Yeah, it'll be easy. Now go on, get going!”

“Yes!” Koishi flipped her hair over her shoulder and plunged further into the darkness, leaving her sister bleeding on the ground behind her.

“Ugh... I shouldn't have just let her leave...” Satori groaned as she tried to move her leg. Slowly, she worked herself into a position where she could drag herself by her arms towards the entrance, which was only ten feet away but now looked like a mile. Her knee was in excruciating pain. It had been cut to the bone, and lots of small pebbles had found their way into her wound.

But still, Yumeko had to be stopped first and foremost. And with Satori having been the one who was so willing to let her sister die for her, what moral authority did she have even to demand that her sister stop to help her?

Deciding that she no longer had the moral authority to say much of anything to her sister, she grit her teeth and began to crawl forwards on her elbows, back out to the ledge where an injured Parsee was probably still bleeding out onto her face, watching the armies of Higan and Makai destroy one another down below.


The first time Koishi had made this walk, Yumeko had been holding a torch. The next time, she had been running behind Yuugi, the area lit up by Parsee's green orb, that “danmaku” she had been talking about.

But this time, she had no light to guide her in any way. So she had to walk slowly, groping her way along the stone walls so she wouldn't smash her face into solid rock.

Though she was set and resolved to stop Yumeko somehow, she wondered just how she was going to do it. She had no weapons on her, no knives or blunt objects. In terms of physical strength, she was a total weakling. She had no combat skills, no real knowledge of danmaku, and it was unlikely that Yumeko would have any mercy on her... or better yet, that she would even take a very long time to defeat her.

Koishi paused for a moment, her hand on the rock.

“I'm doomed,” she realized.

But wait, Okuu! No... not even she would last long against Yumeko. If not even Yuugi-- Yuugi, the undisputed strongest person in Chireiden-- hadn't been able to defeat her, then no one could. Not even Okuu.

Well... speaking of Okuu...

Koishi considered what she had done to her mind earlier. She had tampered with it, somehow. She had entered her mind and implanted her own suggestions. It was something different from mind-reading... it was mind-controlling. But how? How did she go about doing it? And more importantly, why was she capable of such a thing?

She suddenly remembered that her hair colour was changed, from pink to white in the space of a few hours. Maybe once she figured that one out, she would figure out why she could use this strange new ability.

She pulled a strand of her strange new white hair forward and looked at it, sighing, then realized that she now has enough light that she could see her hair colour. She turned the final corner, and found herself in the control room once more.

Utsuho was passed out on the floor, bleeding from her right hand. Mercifully, Yumeko was walking away from her, but then she positioned herself at the wheel. The wheel that controlled the flow of the lava river.

The wheel was turning, very slowly. Beneath it, the splinters that had once been Orin's wheelbarrow were still jamming the mechanism, preventing it from opening too fast. Yumeko kneeled over and in one swift motion, pulled out the largest splinter, tossing it into the lava river that had begun to flow down the canal in front of her. Tensing up her legs, she prepared to give it one huge heave and open the gates all at once--

“Yumeko!” Koishi called out.

The red maid turned at the sound of her name being called.

“... what?” she asked, squinting. Koishi huffed. Was she being insulting?

“What was that,” Yumeko continued, pulling out a half dozen knives from her apron. Koishi winced, confused. It was like she wasn't visible, wasn't even there--

At first Yumeko frowned. “... where is your sister? She didn't abandon you, did she?” she asked Satori, whipping the gag out of her mouth-- but Koishi was right there, wasn't she?

This wasn't.... the first time this had happened...

-- whoosh. A knife. Several, actually. They zoomed right past her, so that Koishi could even feel the light breeze on her skin where they had passed by.

“She can't see me,” Koishi thought. “She can't see me standing right here...”

“I would ask you to show yourself, but you obviously know my name and who I am, so I wouldn't expect you to actually show yourself if you wanted to live,” Yumeko said, her voice calm and even, as she walked through the room, stepping over Utsuho's legs as she lay on the floor.

Koishi stood frozen. Yumeko couldn't see her, and if she stayed motionless, she wouldn't be able to hear her, either. But could Yumeko... possibly smell her? She was a youkai, after all. And if she were to reach out and touch her, Yumeko would kill her instantly.

Oh god oh god oh god oh god what do I do...

“Hmm,” Yumeko began as she walked slowly to where Koishi was. “I wonder who you are...”

Koishi looked down, panicked, and then she saw her answer.

“Perhaps you're the cat girl? No, can't be, your voice was too young-sounding... perhaps you ar--”

With a cry of triumph, Yumeko flung her knives in the direction of the back of the cave, in reaction to the sound of a rock crashing into another.

What she hadn't realized was that Koishi had kicked that rock, and that now while Yumeko's back was turned, she was making her move.

By the time Yumeko had noticed that there was no sound of mortal agony from the direction of her knives, it was too late.

Koishi had reached up and touched her forehead, instantly invading Yumeko's mind.


It felt strange, entering someone's mind, and doing it forcibly was something very different from the usual. Koishi saw the same vision of herself, huge and looming above the surface of water, with the tubes of the Third Eye on her chest providing a rope for her to slide down and into Yumeko's mind.

I'll kill you... I'll kill you...

But that was as far as the resemblence went to her earlier experience with Okuu's mind. Okuu had been, if not entirely willing, not really sharp enough to figure out what Koishi was doing, either. She hadn't blocked Koishi's invasion. Yumeko, however, was untrusting by default, and as Koishi sank further down into the depths of Yumeko's mind, she saw the manifestations of Yumeko's resistance begin to materialize; knives, blue knives sheathed in a yellow glow, and lasers, fast ones.

I'll kill you and you will die!

Normally, Koishi would have been scared, but... Koishi was completely vulnerable now. And she did NOT want to find out what would happen if she died while invading someone's mind. She was petrified, and with renewed zeal, she pulled herself down, further down into Yumeko's conciousness.

Kill you! I'll kill you! Die! Die! DIE!

As she did so, though, she realized that those defenses were thickening, that more and more knives and lasers were materializing. She didn't want to let go of her Third Eye's tube. She was scared of getting lost in the increasingly dark depths of Yumeko's mind... but seeing those knives start zooming towards her was enough to convince her that she needed to get out of there NOW.

She kicked away from the rope of her Third Eye and swam off into the murky waters, drifting away until the knives and lasers faded from sight.

Far above, she would see thoughts reflecting onto the surface of the water; Yumeko's conscious mind. She was beneath that, but she hadn't gone as far as the subconscious yet. It occurred to her that she was grateful that Yumeko's mind, bloodthirsty though it was, wasn't outright insane. In fact, the waters of her mind were entirely still. As ridiculous as the idea was, it seemed that Yumeko was rational to the point of irrationality.

... but... something was wrong.

She lifted a hand in the water, to investigate a tingly feeling she had.

Her right hand was... dissolving...

Good news; away from the Third Eye's tube, she could no longer feel Yumeko's killing intent, and she could not be attacked by her mental defenses. But there was bad news also...

I'm... being absorbed into her mind...

She had to get back to her Third Eye. Right now.

Turning, she swam through the waters of her mind, making her way through a slew of thoughts of war, skimming past a cluster of thoughts about anatomy and how much people would bleed if cut in certain places. Shivering, she caught a glimpse of what Yumeko was going to do to her, and quickened her pace.

Part of Koishi's mind observed that somehow, time had stopped outside, above the water. Unlike her absorption into Okuu's mind, which had been instantaneous, Yumeko was putting up resistance... but more importantly, her physical body had not moved one centimeter. And it also occurred to her that she had no problem breathing in this water. But then again, it wasn't water, really... it was just the best analogy she had to describe the preconcious.

There! In the distance, she could see a green tube reaching down from the surface of the water and leading all the way to the deep darkness. But there, too, were the knives and lasers, waiting for her.

Well, she would have to risk it. It was either death by being dissolved into Yumeko's mind, or it was death to her mind by knives, and who knew what would happen to her body. But at least this way, she did stand a chance.

As she approached, she saw the knives begin to turn. Shooting forwards like stones from a slingshot, they zipped towards her. Concentrating everything she was on dodging them, she swam forward, turning and turning as the knives came towards her, but not slowing down one bit. Grazing some lasers now, she made a quick dive and then reached towards the green tube--

There! She felt a bit more substantial now. She was out of the immediate danger of being absorbed into Yumeko's mind... but now came more and more knives. She turned her body, now going facefirst into the darkness, and reached one hand over the other as she pulled herself downwards as fast as she could. Keeping an eye on the materializing knives and charging lasers, she sped down as fast as her arms could carry her, turning around the tube to dodge projectiles. But she was moving fast now, fast enough that she was mostly out of danger, except for some exceptionally fast-moving lasers or knives.

After being grazed by a laser, she looked at her arm, and saw it also begin to dissolve into Yumeko's mind. So she was still not out of that danger entirely. Koishi wondered, vaguely, what would happen if she was entirely dissolved into Yumeko's mind. She would probably become a second presence in her consciousness, a second personality. Scattered throughout her mind, but a second personality nonetheless. As it was now, there were some pieces of herself already in Yumeko's mind that would never go away, and that Koishi would probably never be able to get back.

And as for her own body, it would end up without a mind... at best, her body would fall asleep and never wake up. Without a mind, it could do nothing, except absorb nutrition, degrade, and die.

This ability was a powerful one, she realized. To enter someone's mind like this and go all the way down to the subconscious, and not only manipulate, but outright control someone's thoughts... but it was insanely risky as well. If she did not protect herself, she would disintegrate, lose herself entirely in someone else's mind.

Of course, this could, theoretically, be a good thing. She could implant her mind into whomever she wished... wouldn't that be what was called virtual immortality?

But now was not the time for such things. Here, the tube led her into pitch blackness. Now that she was near the “ocean floor” of Yumeko's mind, she saw the tube lead down directly into the subconscious. Here was where she had to perform her dirty work.

She had three choices at this point. She could float away from the green tube, and fade away into the water of Yumeko's thoughts. She could tug on the green tube and be pulled up back into her own body, only to die instantly at Yumeko's knives. Or she could keep going and go down into the subconscious, risking death and destruction, and succeed.

Vincere o morire... Victory or death.

Taking a deep breath, she dove inside.


This part, at least, was somewhat familiar, if a bit more structured than the last time.

It was the primary chamber of the subconscious. In the center was a sphere, radiating soft blue light. Around it rotated any number of subconscious thoughts, needs, incentives and motivations, ranging from anything from Yumeko's inherent desire for food to her warm feelings towards Shinki, from her her need for her subordinates to respect her, and her desire to always see her knives hit the target and succeed at anything she put her hand to.

Koishi stepped off of her green tube and landed quietly in the chamber, observing the sphere.

So... all she had to do was the same thing that she had done earlier. She had to find the thought that led to Yumeko's desire to kill. But it was not simple. It wasn't just a thought, it was a compulsion, and it would affect everything else if she tampered with it. When she had stopped Okuu, her raptastic thoughts had been rogues, foreign to her mind. It had been easy to kill them. But... Yumeko's desire to kill was buried deep within, and it motivated much of what she did. Disabling it would result in... quite possibly, Yumeko would lose her reason to live.

… wait, that was a good thing.

Koishi considered. Yumeko had tried to kill her and her sister, and had succeeded in killing her entire family, as well as the rest of the satori population of all Chireiden. She had personally killed Miyani Komeiji, and murdered people who had only wanted to protect themselves and their loved ones. What was so bad about someone like that losing her will to live?

In fact... why did she want to leave Yumeko's mind intact at all?

If she simply killed her subconscious, then her consciousness would also die, and then Yumeko would no longer be a threat in any way. She would be left, at best, a vegetable. And that was a good thing, because Shinki would have lost her best general, and not only that, have lost the entire war. And she would have gotten rid of the most bloodstained killer in all of Makai, and saved who-knows-how-many of her future victims.

It was very obviously the right thing to do. And all she had to do was reach out her hand and simply command the subconscious to die...

Koishi was about to step forward and do just that when she thought of what her sister might think, but that was easily dismissed. Her sister had no moral authority to tell her what to do or not do, did she? She had heard that particular thought in passing, overhearing it from Satori. Satori had been willing to sacrifice her sister to save her own skin... what right did she have to tell her what to do?

… but there was someone who did.

That beautiful, noble shinigami of the Sanzu River, who at this very moment was risking everything she had to save complete strangers.

What would she think, Koishi wondered.

Certainly, she would argue against what Koishi was going to do, and say that such a thing was wrong, cruel. But she was not here to actually stop her, was she? And besides... Eiki was also putting the lives of her all-too-mortal fairies on the line as well. Wouldn't Eiki approve of this path she was about to take, the path with least bloodshed? If she stopped Yumeko here and now, no one else would be killed by her anymore.

And everybody could be saved...

Koishi looked up at the sphere, with its dozens to hundreds of compulsions and motivations swirling around it, and narrowed her eyes. Somewhere in there, alongside the desire to drink water and the desire to be recognized for her achievements, there was a desire to kill. It would be hard to pick one single compulsion out of hundreds, which were merged with dozens of others at any one time.

But she didn't have to make distinctions, since she was just going to kill them all.

What had she done the last time? She had reached out towards one of the motivations and simply wished that it would turn off. And it had.

But that time, she had replaced it with another thought, the desire to get herself and Okuu to safety. She wasn't going to do any replacing this time.

Koishi looked at the sphere one last time.

“Die,” she told it. “Die now. All of you.”

At first, nothing happened. The thoughts kept swirling around the sphere, unaffected by her words. But just as Koishi was losing patience and was about to tell them to die again, she noticed something odd. One stray thought, the one connected to Yumeko's desire to discipline herself, was slowing down. She wondered why it was different from the past time she had done this, and she decided it was because instead of asking cooperative thoughts to turn off, this time she had commanded rebellious ones to die.

As she watched, the thought slowed down, and began to lose its glow. It turned a dull brown colour, and that colour spread throughout the thought, and because it was connected to other thoughts, the brown colour began to spread. The first infected thought was turning black just as Koishi felt a rumble beneath her feet. Yumeko's subconscious was fading, and she was in danger as long as she stayed here. Turning around, she rushed over to the green tube, where her own Third Eye linked to the main tube.

But she wanted to watch for a moment first. As she observed, the subconscious was dying at a rapid pace, the thoughts not only losing power but dying entirely. Already some of it was starting to rot, decompose, and as death encroached upon the sphere itself, the chamber shook once more.

She had to get out of there, she knew. But first...

As she watched, the sphere began to lose its glow and turn brown as rubble began to fall from the ceiling.

“All right, time to go,” she thought aloud to herself as she tugged on the green cord. The cable obeyed, pulling Koishi up and out of the subconscious. The last thing she saw of it was the sphere, turning brown and then black as it died, and the thoughts of the subconscious falling away from it to the floor.

Up, up she went as fast as her Third Eye could carry her. As she went up, she saw the subconscious collapse from the outside. A tugging now, but this time... downwards?! The preconscious was trying to fill the space taken by the dying subconscious, it seemed, but it was backfiring. The preconscious, too, was starting to be tainted by the death of the subconscious. It was a chain reaction, it seemed. With the death of the subconscious, so followed everything else.

She felt a slight twinge of guilt, but dismissed it. She had won, hadn't she! She had stopped Yumeko! But she wasn't out of danger yet. The death of the subconscious was tainting the preconscious, and death was spreading out through it much faster than it had the subconscious.

Koishi was going so fast that Yumeko's mental defenses had no time to materialize fully. Those that did were already being tainted by death. So quickly, death was reaching all parts of Yumeko's mind. If it caught up to Koishi...!

She felt fear then. What would happen if her own mind died within another mind? She would die herself, certainly. Her power was over the mind, but if it was dead, there was nothing she could do. She had to get out of here, quickly!

There! There was the surface. Her Third Eye was reeling her in. Breaking through Yumeko's surface thoughts, she held on tightly as she was pulled into her Third Eye--

Back. She was back. Again, she felt a sudden rush in her ears as she landed back in her own mind. The last thought she had heard was on the surface of Yumeko's thoughts, and it was repeating in her mind now--

No, actually. Yumeko was saying it.

“Aaah!” Koishi screamed as she saw Yumeko right in front of her. Yumeko was reeling forward, her hands on Koishi's shoulders as she convulsed, agony on her face.

“What did you do to me?!” Yumeko cried out, clutching her head now. Her subconscious was dead, her preconscious was almost dead. Only the surface remained, and that had already begun to die--

“I have brought you earthly justice!” Koishi hissed back, feeling her anger at this woman rise once more. How dare she! She had no right to demand anything of her! She had killed her friends, her family, and had nearly succeeded in killing her, multiple times!

“You got what you deserved--” she declared just as Yumeko let out an unearthly howl, falling backwards onto the floor and beginning to shake furiously.

“Aah--” she gasped as she watched Yumeko trembling, convulsing all over the floor. She was still screaming, but she was starting to punctuate it with other cries and growls, animalistic sounds.

“What is... going on?” a voice asked groggily.

Koishi turned and saw Okuu sitting up, one hand on her head, the other hand still covered in congealing blood. “Okuu!” she exclaimed, rushing over to her and hugging her head to her chest. “I'm so glad you're all right!”

“What is happening?” Okuu asked, her tone still distant, confused. “Why is Yumeko...”

“It doesn't matter,” Koishi said, hugging her hellcrow tightly. “I did something to her head. She's not any danger to us anymore!”

“What did you do?” the black-haired girl asked, looking somewhat scared. “What did you do to her to make her like that?”

“I killed her subconscious.”

Okuu swallowed.

“You did... what?”

“I killed her subconscious, and I killed the rest of her mind with it. She's as good as a vegetable now.”

“I see,” Okuu said, her voice toneless. As they watched, Yumeko writhed on the floor, knocking into the splinters left behind by Orin's wheelbarrow. Spittle began to fly from her mouth as she knocked into it over and over again, her arm beginning to bleed as a splinter embedded itself into it, driving inwards more and more with each convulsion. Her legs thrashed as she shook, uncontrolled, as she smashed her head against the ground--

“... I can't watch this any more,” the hellcrow said quietly.

“Eh?” Koishi asked as Okuu got up, shaking Koishi's arms off of her.

“She's an amazing warrior. I can't watch this happen to her.”

“You can't do anything for her.”


“Because I killed her mind,” Koishi repeated. “She's no better than a stone now.”

“But... her body is still alive.”

“And without a mind. She's useless.” The satori shrugged. “Just toss her into the lava now.”

The look Okuu gave her could have split rock.

“No,” she said.

“What?” Koishi asked, her hands falling to her side in shock. “Are you disobeying me?”

“You didn't fight her hand-to-hand,” Okuu said. “You didn't know her like I did.”

“She KILLED my family!” the satori yelled back, making Okuu wince. “Did you FORGET that, or something?!”

“She didn't deserve this!” Okuu countered, waving her hand at the convulsing youkai woman. “She didn't deserve being turned into a living shell of what she was before!”

“You're right,” Koishi scowled. “I should have killed her instead.”

Okuu snarled back at Koishi. “What would Satori have done?”

“Satori has no right to tell me anything!” the white-haired girl retorted. “She wanted me to die so she could live! What kind of sister is that, Utsuho?!”

Okuu reeled back, silent. Koishi continued.

“If it hadn't been for you, I would be a bloody smear on the ground right now, just because she wanted to live! I wouldn't have even had a chance at life!”

She shuddered, remembering what had gone through her mind during those last seconds, before she had been about to die. About how she wanted to live, wanted to live so desperately that she was angry at Satori for stealing her life.

Well, she had had enough of that. This life was hers. And she wasn't going to give it up, not for Satori, not for Okuu, Orin, or anybody. So of course she would have reduced Yumeko to this. She had been a threat to her life, so she killed her. Simple as that...

Speaking of Yumeko...


“Eh?” Okuu said, turning around.

“OH NO!” she yelled, rushing forward as Yumeko hurled herself into the lava. Still shaking as she began to literally melt apart, Yumeko was face down in the shallow lava river as Utsuho, acting on pure instinct, reached a hand out to grab the back of Yumeko's still-intact maid uniform. But she underestimated how strong Yumeko still was. She was still shaking, and Utusho lost her balance. Trying to steady herself, Okuu tried to find her footing--

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!” she screamed as her right foot began to burn, melt in the magma.

“UTSUHO!” Koishi yelled, running towards her.

To her credit, Okuu did not totally lose her head to the pain. She grit her teeth and with one powerful pull, pulled Yumeko out, flinging magma left and right. Then she jumped away from the lava, her right foot almost entirely gone. If nothing else, the heat of the lava had cauterized the wound instantly, so she wasn't bleeding... but her right foot was simply gone...

Yumeko landed hard on the rocks, but she was intact. Koishi ignored her as she raced over to Utusho, bowling her over with a hug, crying. “Why did you do that?!” she demanded as she looked into Okuu's eyes, tears flowing from her own. “Why did you save her?!”

“Because... I want a rematch with her...” Okuu gasped, her own tears beginning to flow. “Please, Koishi... don't kill her... I won't ever win back my honor if you do...”

“For you, Utsuho, I won't touch her,” Koishi sobbed as she held the lame hellcrow.

“I'm a youkai... it'll grow back with time,” Okuu reassured her as she reached up and wiped a tear from Koishi's cheek. “And I can fly, unlike you. I'll be fine.” She looked over at Yumeko, whose charred black body was way too intact to have just come out of lava. “So will she.”

“Eh?” Koishi looked over at the red maid-- or what was left of her. She made a slight movement, and the black charred skin that had once been her fell off, revealing a perfectly unharmed Yumeko beneath. “What the-- how is that--”

“Her ability is instantaneous regeneration,” Okuu realized. “Even if she had gotten her arm cut off, it would grow back almost instantly. Her whole body never degrades, because as soon as any part of her dies, it grows back... except that only seems to apply to her body. Not her mind.”

“Does that mean... she's immortal?”

“More or less... but right now, she would be better off if she could die.”

Koishi looked down.

“Hey, Koishi, the lava river is still flowing, isn't it?” Utsuho asked. “Turn the wheel to the right, that should stop it.”

“Sure,” Koishi said, getting up and going over to the wheel. Small as she was, the wheel didn't turn easily, but as she pushed it clockwise, the lava gates deep within the rock creaked and groaned as they shut.

“Oh, excellent,” Utsuho laughed.

“We did it, Okuu!” Koishi cried, also laughing with relief. “We stopped i--”

A deep rumbling sound was heard.

The floor suddenly shook beneath their feet. The cave was rumbling, debris falling from the ceiling. Koishi lost her balance and fell to her knees. “Okuu! What's going on?!”

“Aaah!” Okuu screamed as she covered her ears. “The metal! It's shrieking!”

“What metal?!” Koishi asked just as a tremendous roar from deep within the rock echoed through her ears as well. Metallic and screeching, the sound was horrible, similar to the gears within the rock earlier, but so much louder and so much worse.

“The gates!” Koishi realized. “The lava gate mechanism is super-old! It must have broken, it couldn't take the strain any longer!”

“Then that's our cue to go!” Okuu yelled, spreading her wings. Hopping over to Yumeko, she picked her up and carried her in one arm, then offered her other hand to Koishi.

“We have to run for it!” Koishi said.

“You're the only one who can run,” Okuu replied. “And I don't think we have much time. The tunnel is too winding, I would crash if I flew.”

“So how do we get out?!” the satori asked.

“Come on,” Okuu said, scooping Koishi up into her arms and tossing her over onto her back. “We can get out through here!”

Koishi looked where Okuu was looking at. She was looking down the tunnel where the lava river flowed out into the Hell of Blazing Fires.

“We're not going through there!” Koishi cried out as the earth shook around them once more. With wide eyes, the two turned to see the lava flow increase with a suddenness that scared them both.

“It's do or die, Koishi!” Okuu replied, hoisting Yumeko up in her arms and hopping to a running start. Opening her wings as wide as she dared, she flew off down the tunnel, the light of the lava beneath them illuminating their path.

“You'd better pray there are no obstacles in our way, or we're gonna miss Yumeko's knives,” Okuu said.

“Go faster! FASTER!” Koishi cried out.

She was on Utsuho's back, so she turned to see behind them. As the rock rumbled ominously around them, she saw down the other end of the tunnel, all the way to the opening in the earth through which the lava flowed. She saw the flow suddenly increase, swelling higher and higher with every moment. The huge lava wave was moving fast, faster than they were. In a matter of moments, it would overtake them--

“Okuu! FASTER!” the satori begged. “Before we all die!”

Okuu grit her teeth and strained forward, beating her wings mercilessly as she shot forward, faster than she had ever flown before. Koishi didn't weigh much, but Yumeko's added bulk in her arms was weighing her down. But she was still zooming forward, flying as fast as she could. But even she could feel the heat radiating from the lava wave, rising up behind them--

“GO! UTSUHO, GO FASTER!!” Koishi yelled.

“I'M TRYING!” Utsuho screamed back, tears beginning to stream from the edges of her eyes. She was going at the limits of her speed, but she was already weakening. She was tired, but if she slowed down at all, she would die, and so would Koishi--

“THERE!” And suddenly, not ten feet away, the end of the tunnel. But it was blocked--

“No time!” Koishi yelled. “Shoot right through if you want to live, Utsuho!”

“Yes, Koishi!” Okuu replied, drawing her right fist back. Fatigue was entering each of her muscles, threatening to stop them from mobing, but she had to keep flying. Going at breakneck speed, she punched her fist straight through the rock, shattering it, and her fist, into a dozen pieces.

But she was going too fast to notice. Shooting forwards, Koishi, Utsuho, and Yumeko flew right out of the tunnel and straight into--


“I think we hit her,” Koishi observed dryly as Mai dropped out of the sky below them.

“That kind of hurt.” Utsuho shook her right hand, wincing, panting heavily. “At least we're in the clear...”

“Yeah, but they aren't,” Koishi pointed at the army of Higan, which was still down in the lava pits, fighting the army of Makai.

“... hey, where's... Satori and Orin?” Okuu asked, sweat dripping off of her pale face.

“Oh, they're back there, on the cliff... face...”

Okuu turned slowly in the air to see the lava begin to burst through the rock in a dozen places at once. The entire wall was leaking magma. Within seconds, it would disintegrate entirely... along with the five people still clinging to the cliff face: Satori, Orin, Kisume, Parsee, and Yuugi.

“We have to save them!” Koishi yelled, just as she nearly lost her balance when Okuu wavered in the sky. “Okuu? Okuu, are you all right?”

“Uhh,” Utsuho moaned as she passed out in midair.

“Okuu!” Koishi exclaimed. But it was no use. Exhausted and drained, Utsuho lost conciousness as she fell from high up above towards the ground, Koishi on her back, Yumeko still in her arms, and nothing separating them from a very, very hard landing--


Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z (and other stories)
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2009, 11:10:23 pm »
“Ugh... I wonder how much longer I can hold this here...” Yuugi muttered to herself. Bracing her back, she strained against the encroaching lava river, holding as much of it back as she could with her rock. But it was just going to melt through the whole thing soon, and then everyone would die.

“A yung mit bainer,” Orin's voice said, right next to her. Yuugi looked down to see the hellcat kneeling before her, eyeing the streams of lava that had begun to come through on either side. “But you can't hold that back forever on your own, you know.”

Yuugi grunted, the hot stone at her back starting to make her warm. “I'm fine.”

“Zai nit kain goylem!” Orin scowled. “I can help, if you like.”

“I'm an oni,” Yuugi laughed, sweat breaking out on her brow. “Feats of impossible strength are what I live for. Except maybe sake too.”

“Nar ainer,” Orin replied, shaking her head. “What can I do?”

Yuugi smiled, looking off to the side. “Make sure Parsee's okay, and then try to make some warning to Higan that they need to get out of the pits right fucking now.”

“Meshugeneh,” Orin said dismissively, but winked at Yuugi regardless. “Aye, that I'll do.” Jumping from one rock to another along the rock face, she made it to Parsee, who was kneeling down, bleeding from the face. Yuugi would have gone over to help her a long while ago if she could have, but she was stuck here.

Speaking of. She hissed in pain as a trickle of lava flowed out on the ground next to her foot, burning it on the side. She wondered how much longer she would last. But she had to last long enough to get everyone to safety while Utsuho, Satori, and Koishi stopped Yumeko from opening the gates entirely and flooding the pits with lava while Higan's army was still down there.

But the biggest problem was that they were simply too high up to be noticed. Because Chireiden was, effectively, a big city in a colossal cave, there was no light. The main light source there was came from the Hell of Blazing Fires, and that was entirely gone. Now, only the light of the still-burning city illuminated the area. And with the roar of war going on far below, it would be nigh-impossible to get the attention of literally thousands of fairies, ghosts, demons, and youkai all shrieking, screaming, and slashing at one another in a murderous frenzy.

Ironically, the one thing that WOULD draw their attention was that which she was trying to prevent; the flow of lava through the rock, down the “waterfall”, and into the pits of the Hell of Blazing Fires.

Digging her feet into the ground and trying not to notice the grooves her toes had made, she pushed back against the rock, holding back the lava as best she could. But it really was only a matter of time.

Even then, Higan would mostly be fine, right? She watched as Higan's flying fairies swarmed over the armies of Makai, attacking from the skies. They were shot down in droves by arrows and slingshots, but there were so many of them that it barely mattered. Surely, since Higan was a marching air force, being all fairies and ghosts... they could simply fly away, right?

“Well, yes,” she said aloud. “They'd all just escape...”

A flash of blue from above caught her attention. The emergence of magical spindle fibres from this blue flash, stretching far above, near the roof of the cave, worried her.

“The ice witch of Makai, Mai.” She identified her correctly. “But what is she doing? Shouldn't she be raining an icy death down upon all of these fairies? It looks like she's making a ne--”


Yuugi's throat went dry.

“... they're making a net over the army to ensure that no fairy escapes...”

She grit her teeth against the pain and shoved herself against the rock. She HAD to hold it back. Or else, many creatures were going to die.

“Ey, Yuugi!” Orin landed neatly on the rock ledge, between the trickles of lava that had managed to get out. “Parsee and Satori are fine. What now?”

Yuugi nodded her chin towards Mai. She couldn't point; her arms were holding the edges of the opening as hard as they could. “See that dim blue light?”


“It's Mai, the ice witch. She's making a magical net over the army so they can't fly away and escape, weaving it together with Yuki's, the fire witch. Shoot Mai down, or preferably both.”

Orin sighed. “With what?”

“Uhh... rocks?”

“You're going to have to teach me how to use that danmaku of yours one of these days.” Orin shook her pockets. “I've got nothing. Not even a skull bomb or my wheelbarrow anymore.”

“... well, damn.”

“Di velt is grois, ireh tsores noch gresser.” Orin sighed again. “Uhh... Yuugi...”

“Hm?” Yuugi asked, looking at Orin. Orin pointed downwards, at Yuugi's feet. Around her feet, a swelling in the amount of lava was evident.

“... I think you should let go of that...” Orin said just as a tremendous rumbling and shaking came from within the rock. The hellcat kept her balance, but Yuugi accidentally fell forward, and the lava began to flow out from within the gaps on either side.

“Yuugi!” Orin cried out, jumping forward and pushing the rock back into its place. Yuugi gasped, swallowing a full breath of air, then turned around and heaved the rock back, stopping any more from falling.

“Thanks,” Yuugi nodded, sweat soaking her shirt through, trying not to feel the burning of magma on her feet and ankles. “Think that got their attention?” she asked, nodding downwards to the armies, who must have felt the tremors and seen the lava dripping down.

Orin looked over the edge. “Well, some of them did... they're running now. I can only hope they'll tell Eiki.”

“... I think we've gotten more attention than we needed,” Yuugi said, her teeth beginning to chatter as another huge rumbling shook the rock, audible throughout the whole cave. Even on the battlefield, demons and fairies began to slow down, look around a bit.

“Eh?” Orin asked as suddenly, Mai floated in the air near them. In her right hand, she held a cluster of blue glowing tendrils of energy, woven high above the armies. Her left hand was rising, pointing at the helpless Yuugi.

“Die,” she said, shooting a volley of ice shards flying at the oni.

Behind the rock, the stop-up of lava was immense. Yuugi had to be holding back several metric tons by this point. But she couldn't stop, because it would release it all. She could not even raise a hand to defend hersel--


Orin's lightning-fast reflexes were all that saved Yuugi. With unreal speed, the hellcat snatched Yuugi by the collar and swung her away from the rock, and not a moment too soon. Through the exploding rock came a fist-- Utsuho's fist as she shot through the rock, and Koishi on her back!

Mai was hit by debris at first, and was sent reeling, accidentally getting right in Utsuho's path. Utsuho was flying fast, so fast that she was a blur. Her fist connected with Mai's head and Mai was instantly knocked out, spiralling down towards the ground. She dropped the blue tendrils of energy, breaking half of the net, leaving only a red half.

It seemed that she and Yuki had been holding on to it tightly, because as soon as Mai's half dissolved, Yuki's half flew backwards, utterly backfiring as the net landed on (and caught) Makai's army beneath its magic barrier, missing Higan entirely.

But Yuugi didn't have time to take all this in. The rock was shaking now. Something within the mountain had happened, she knew it.

Orin leapt from one rock to another, back to Parsee and Satori's ledge. “Come on, Yuugi!”

Yuugi bounded from one ledge to the next after her, landing in front of Kisume's bucket.

“Heyas,” Kisume greeted her. “You look exhausted.”

“I am,” Yuugi said, as another huge tremor shook the entire mountain. Even Orin was losing her balance this time; for her part, Parsee instantly reached out for Yuugi, holding on to her as tightly as she could. Orin also took hold of Parsee's arm, and with her other hand held on to Satori. Yuugi grabbed Kisume's bucket.

“What's going on?!” Parsee demanded, her voice shaking as much as the mountain.

“It must be the gears,” Satori yelled out over the increasingly loud sound of rock smashing against rock. “The huge gears that move the gates that control the lava flow. I knew they were too old to last!”

“We have to get down from here as fast as possible, then,” Yuugi said, holding Parsee around the waist. “Before the lava just bursts through the whole damn thing!”

“How do you suggest we do that?” Orin asked. “The cliff face below here is a sheer drop. We can't get down from here without flying.”

“Then I'll damn well punch holes in the rock as we go!” Yuugi shot back.

“Zai nit kain vyzosoh!” Orin scowled. “You will destabilize the mountian even more! It is only a matter of time anyway before we all burn.”

“B... burn?” Satori asked, fear in her voice. “Orin...”

Orin knelt down before Satori, ruffling her hair. “Aye. We can't escape from this one, it seems.”

“... I don't want to burn,” Satori said, terror in her voice. “I don't want to burn to death.”

“I can't give you much better,” Orin replied, hugging Satori to herself, ignoring the tremors of the earth. “I don't even have my wheelbarrow anymore, and there's not going to be a soft landing here. It is a sheer drop to the bottom. I would be lucky if I was able to get through that with no more than all my bones shattered.”

“Yes, but...” Parsee began. “She is right. I don't want to burn to death.”

“What do you suggest we do?” Yuugi asked, a smile hovering on her lips even as the earth began to shake more and more. “Fall to our deaths instead? Not even youkai can hope to walk away from a leap like this...”

Parsee paused, and then she took both of her hands and closed them around Yuugi's huge palm.

“... I'll be all right, so long as I can be with you.”

“Parsee,” Yuugi breathed.

Parsee smiled up at the tall blonde oni.

“My only regret is that it won't be for very long.”

Yuugi returned the smile, sorrow beginning to show in her eyes. Behind her, there was the audible noise of a crack spreading through their ledge. It wouldn't last much longer.

“Well, whatever we're going to do,” Kisume said nervously, “We'd better do it fast.”

“You're all right with this?” Yuugi asked her.

“'s fine,” Kisume replied, trying to smile. “It's how the rest of my family died, after all.”

Yuugi looked at her sadly as Parsee squeezed her hand and slowly wrapped her hands around her waist, giving her a fierce hug.

Orin glanced over at Satori. “You sure you want to do this?”

“Yes,” Satori said, hugging Orin tightly as she ruffled her hair. “Anything's better than burning.”

Yuugi and Orin looked over at one another.

“I'm ready when you are.”

“Tsum glik, tsum shlimazel.”

There was another sound of rock splitting, cracking. The ledge was about to give.

“It was really nice to know you all,” Parsee said quietly.

“Same here,” Satori replied. “Same here.”

Yuugi and Orin exchanged a nod.

And with a leap, the oni and the hellcat jumped off the disintegrating rock ledge.

Parsee held on to the front of Yuugi's shirt as tightly as she could, closing her eyes.

“Yuugi, I love you,” she whimpered as she felt the air begin to whip around them as they reached the apex of their jump and began to drop to the floor like rocks.

“How unfair,” Yuugi said. “Confessing your feelings before the other person is ready,” she said as Parsee looked up at her, green eyes wide. “I'm so jealous.”

Parsee smiled and hugged Yuugi again as gravity's inescapable pull took a hold of them and they all fell through the air more than three hundred feet to their certain deaths.


“Hey, Luize. What is it?” Sara asked, surprisingly cheerfully for someone who was supposed to be the toughest general in Makai. But she had always been nice to Luize.

Luize shook her head, forcing a smile. “It's nothing. I just wanted to check on you.”

The blonde had made her way to Makai's side of the battlefield. Very different from Shinki's small encampment, she noticed. To her left, medics treated wounded demons with horrifying wounds, many dying on the ramshackle operation tables. A pile of bodies and amputated body parts somewhere in the back was giving off a huge stink. Here was all blood and guts, not censored for the eyes of the monarchy. The true face of war.

She wondered, vaguely, if she should have brought Alice along to see.

“Oh, I am fine,” Sara smiled bitterly. “It's my men that are suffering.”

“I thought we were winning?” Luize asked, feigning surprise.

“... eh,” Sara replied, raising a pair of binoculars to her eyes as she cast her gaze over the battlefield. “Depends. We've still got more men. But... we're getting pushed back.”

“By an army less than a fourth of our size?” The blonde raised an eyebrow.

Sara lowered her binoculars. “Aye, we are. They're better trained, they've got an air force...” she looked over at Luize. “I warned Shinki-sama about this... that if we ran into an army with properly trained professional soldiers, that we would lose... I didn't think it would be so early, though...”

“But we can still win, right?” Luize asked, amazed at this small revelation that Shinki's army was not as invincible as everyone had thought it was.

“... yes,” Sara answered, throwing her scarf over her shoulder. “We can still win. But we will need to disable that air force of theirs. It's decimating my men.” She looked at Luize again. “Where's Yumeko?”

“She should be releasing the lava flow by now,” Luize replied. “And Yuki and Mai are taking care of your problem, don't worry.”

A tremendous rumbling resonated throughout the cave and echoed in Luize's ears, matching to her heartbeat. Luize nodded. “That must be the gears turning. Won't be much longer.”

Sara nodded and drew the scarf from around her neck. Holding it high, she gave the signal for retreat. No sense in getting your own troops drowned in lava, after all.

But there were so many demons that barely anyone moved, so crowded the battlefield was. Sara's demon generals had caught the word, but their demon soldiers, possessed with their anti-fairy bloodlust, did not move an inch. If anything, they pressed forwards against Higan.

“... fuck,” Sara snarled. “This is why we should have spent money on basic discipline training.”

“We're not going to be done in by an army of FAIRIES, are we?!” Luize said, incredulous.

“Fairies are extremely dangerous under the proper commander,” The pink-haired youkai replied. “And they have none better. You can see that her soldiers really care about her. Here, take a look.”

Sara passed Luize her binoculars and pointed at some place across the battlefield. Luize took them and looked through, watching as Eiki Shiki, the general of Higan, slowly got up from a bloodstained mat, her shirt torn to shreds. Next to her, one of the minor fairy captains, Sumire, gathered up a bunch of bloody arrows and arrowheads and packed them into a bundle.

“... that's devotion,” Luize said softly.

Sara nodded. “I wonder if any of our demons would do that for me?” she asked dryly.

Luize continued to scan the area, impressed by the night vision setting. It was as clear as, well, day. They were very good. The night vision filter equalized the light throughout the cave, boosting and dimming so that everyone was visible in the same light. She could see everything.

“Where on earth did you get these binoculars?” Luize said, amazed.

“Peace offering to Shinki when a nice scientific lady came to visit Pandemonium. Many, many years' worth of technology ahead of us. Invaluable. And the clever thing is that the filter reacts to bright light flashes as it passes through, so no more being blinded by bright light.”

Luize scanned the ranks of Higan's soldiers, startled at how few of them were actually being wounded and healed on their side as compared to Makai's. She said this aloud to Sara, who nodded. “That's competent leadership for you.”

“We're going to lose, aren't we,” Luize said dimly.

“Nope,” Sara shook her head. “Not if Yuki and Mai's plan goes over smoothly. We still do have sheer force of numbers on our side, you know.”

“Can't, you know, Higan SEE the net if they look?”

“Not from their angle, they shouldn't, I think,” Sara replied. “And they're distracted. Part of the spell is that you can't see it if you don't concentrate on it, is what Mai told me.”

“So we're relying on two witches to drop an invisible magical net on Higan so that none of them can escape when Yumeko releases the lava flow back into the Hell of Blazing Fires.”

“That we are,” Sara nodded. “I hate having to resort to these sort of tactics, but hey, this is war. I'm not one of those 'Honor before Reason' types.”

She paused for a moment as Eiki Shiki stood up, pointing over at the other side of the field, at Shinki's tent, above the battlefield, visible to all, yelling something unintelligible from this distance.

“... though 'Honor before Reason' has its benefits too,” Sara observed as Higan's troops roared with approval and threw themselves back into battle, morale boosted.

“I see,” Luize said as another rumbling of the mountain came their way. It was a tremor in the ground beneath them, nothing more, but soon it started to grow in intensity.

“... this doesn't sound like normal rumbling,” Sara said as the whining of metal echoed out from deep within the rock. “Wh-- Luize, look up there! With the binoculars!”

Sara pointed up at the cliff face. Luize looked up through the binoculars and watched. She didn't know exactly what was going on, but she saw a tall blonde woman with long hair holding a rock against the lava flow tunnel, holding back the lava. But with that rumbling, it seemed, she had lost her grip. Another woman, with a long green dress and braided red hair, leaped to her rescue with unreal agility, joining her in pushing the rock back to its rightful place. But lava had leaked through in that short time, and it dripped down off the cliff down to the lava pits where Higan's troops were.

“Here,” Luize said, handing her binoculars back to Sara, repeating everything she had observed. Looking up, she took the time to watch as near the ceiling, a web of red and blue light stretched out over the entire battlefield, ready to descend. The blue side started to come down, followed by the red side, and no one else on the battlefield had noticed this at all.

“Can no one else see this?” she asked as Sara sized up the situation.

“Not without these binoculars, they can't,” Sara replied. “As bright as lava is, these people-- they must be from Chireiden-- are just too high up. Wait, hold it,” she said, leaning in and focusing the lenses as she saw something else.

“What is it?” Luize asked.

“Mai. Mai, you idiot, get away from them, stick to the plan!”

“What is it?!” Luize reacted to the angry tone in Sara's voice.

Sara hissed and handed the binoculars over to Luize, narrating what she was seeing. “That idiot! She's going to see what they're doing over at the lava flow tunnel!”

“Well, we need it to flow, don't we?” Luize asked.

“Yes, but that's Yumeko's job,” the pink-haired woman scowled, shaking her head. “And there's no way anyone can manage to beat Yumeko in such a short amount of time.”

As she said this, Luize continued to watch the action unfolding up above. And just then, various things happened all at once. The red-haired woman hauled her blonde friend away from the rock, flinging her to the side, and just in time, too. Through the rock, a fist emerged, shattering the rock into a thousand pieces. A winged girl came out, flying at insane speed out of the tunnel. Her outstretched fist had the fortune to punch Mai in the face, and as the girl continued to fly, Mai was knocked out. She fell towards the ground, letting go of her side of the net. The spell interrupted, and with no source of power, the blue tendrils simply... dissolved.

Luize quickly turned her binoculars over to see Yuki, who had been holding the red side of the web tightly. Having no counterforce to balance it out anymore, Newton's Third went into full effect as Yuki flew backwards, dropping the net... on top of Makai's troops. And with a final tremendous rumbling, lava began to pour out of the tunnel, descending to the lava pits.

With a yell of shock, Higan's forces retreated as quickly as they could, and while a few fairies were caught in the lava and died instantly, they were still free to move. Higan's soldiers simply took flight and flew right out of the lava pits.

Makai... was not so lucky. Their plan had backfired utterly, and now the half of their army that had been down in the lava pits was caught beneath a web of red energy. Try as they might, they could not escape the fast-approaching waves of lava, which had already begun to fill up the lava basin, and it seemed that Yuki was not experienced enough with this spell to be able to undo it.

“... do you need your binoculars back?” Luize asked.

“... no, I can see just fine like this, thanks,” Sara replied.


“... That's the last of them, I think,” Sumire said, wrapping up the arrowheads into a bundle. “Eiki-sama, can you stand?”

“Yes,” Eiki replied, slowly getting to her feet. Her shirt was in tatters, but she was now fine. Her body could heal so long as the arrows were out of her body, and so now it was like she hadn't even been wounded.

“I need a new shirt,” Eiki observed.

“How's this one?” a voice asked from behind her. Eiki wasn't worried, even though she could not recognize the voice instantly; Sumire would have impaled this person a long time ago if she had actually been a threat.

This person draped a white gi over her shoulders. Eiki nodded in approval, and simply tore off what was left of her shirt, then shoved her arms through the sleeves and fastened it. Upon seeing the person's hands, she recognized them. “Thank you, Onozuka-kun,” she said, turning around and smiling at the red-haired captain.

Sumire was by far the better general, but Eiki got along quite well with the human captain Komachi as well. Unlike the vast majority of Higan's troops, Eiki and Komachi were both humans, so there was always that bond that drew them together.

Komachi threw up a salute. “Just doin' my job, ma'am.”

“Onozuka-taicho,” Sumire said, overly formal. Probably just to get Komachi back on track. “How are things on the field?”

Komachi straightened, all business now. “Sumire-taicho, our men are doing splendidly. Our flanks are strong enough to prevent being enclosed, and our flying divisions are making mincemeat out of the enemy. Though to be fair, it's mostly because the other side has hordes of undisciplined, untrained brawlers posing as professional soldiers.”

Sumire chuckled. “Would you like to see HOW undisciplined they are, Eiki-sama?”

“Oh?” Eiki asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Watch this,” Sumire said, pointing at the front rows of Makai's forces. “I discovered this neat little trick while you were passed out for a bit from the pain,” she explained.

Eiki watched, following Sumire's finger until she saw them, the front line, dressed in dark red and black uniforms. Against the mass of black, her own troops dressed in blue with black accents stood out. As Eiki watched, the color of Makai's troops' uniforms switched from dark red to blue. Before they realized what had happened to them, their own comrades had pounced on them, mistaking them for the enemy, skewering them all in seconds.

“... heh,” she laughed. So did Komachi.

Sumire blew on a finger. “Color manipulation. I don't get a chance to use it for something useful too often, but there you go.”

“... hey, Sumire, I've got an idea,” Eiki said.

“At your service, Eiki-sama.”

“Could you change our navy blue and black to ocean blue and gold?”

Sumire paused. “That's quite a change.” She looked down at her own black cape, and fingered the higanbana pinned to her lapel. “The entire army?”

Eiki nodded. “Aye, exactly. We need to distinguish ourselves from them in multiple ways. Besides, I'm going to lose my job the second I walk back up onto the surface. I want to enjoy being in command one last time, I guess.”

The fairy nodded dutifully and opened her arms wide. Everywhere, Higan's troops' uniforms changed colour schemes, from dark blue and charcoal black to the aquamarine of the ocean with golden accents.

Eiki saw her chance and took it. Jumping to the top of a large rock, she stood over the battlefield, speaking to her soldiers. “Higan! You have fought well! Accept these, your new colours, as my blessing to your battle!”

Higan roared with approval. Eiki smiled and clambered back down the rock, grinning up at Komachi and down at Sumire. “Well, what next?”

Sumire looked away. “Well, we're winning. But... we never got those satori back.”

“You mean...” Worry showed on Eiki's face. “Sakura is...”

“Sakura was technically already dead, but yes. She's been sent back to Hakugyokurou, the ghosts tell me.” Sumire shrugged, but there was a tone of sorrow in her voice that hadn't been there before. “She's long passed over by now. Yumeko must have destroyed her temporary body.”

“So... Shinki has yet to catch the satori?” Eiki stroked her chin thoughtfully, turning matters back to war. “I wonder...”

More rumbling passed through the rock beneath their feet. “What is that?” she asked aloud.

Komachi shrugged. “We think it's just some crevice in the earth. This is a volcano, after all. Lots of rumblin' activity, I guess.”

“... no, that's not it,” the shinigami replied, thinking. “I wonder... the lava pits are dry, but where has all that lava gone? It must have been stopped up somewhere... a mechanism... but that only ever gets used whenever the Yamas want to make repairs... I wonder...”

“You think it's broken?” Sumire asked.

“Very good, Sumire,” Eiki replied, nodding. “A mechanism as huge as that... no one ever interfered with it for centuries at a time. And in all that time, there's no guarantee that it's ever in proper working order.”

More rumbling again. Sumire ignored it, taking flight and hovering above the ground. Komachi kept her footing, and Eiki did as well.

“Sumire, where did you leave the satori with Sakura earlier?”

“Up there, on the cliff face,” Sumire said, pointing up at the mountainside. Eiki looked up, knowing that was where she would find her answer.

And she was not disappointed. From out of the darkness, lava began to pour down.

“Sumire,” Eiki commanded, but the fairy had beaten her to it. “Excuse me, ma'am,” she said as she raced over to the other generals and ordered them to give the call for retreat. It was to Eiki's credit that their discipline was top-notch; they didn't question Eiki's orders, as nonsensical as they were. Why retreat if they were winning? But it was Eiki, so they did it. Slowly, Higan's troops began to take a few steps backwards.

But Eiki only noticed this out of the corner of her eye. Far up above, though she couldn't see much of anything in the darkness, what she could see in the faint glow of the lava was enough. A fist punching through a rock somewhere, leaving the cliff side behind. Eiki kept looking, even as a shower of rocks fell down around her; Komachi obligingly covered Eiki's head with her own scythe.

“Utsuho,” she realized. And just then, a bright shimmering up above caught her attention. It was a hidden spell, she guessed correctly. She would have never noticed it if she hadn't been watching. But now the spell had been broken. An enormous net, like a spider's web, stretched out over the entire cave's ceiling. One half red, one half blue, ready to drop on the Hell of Blazing Fires.

But it had gone wrong; the blue half faded away into nothingness, and without the blue to counterforce it, whatever had been holding the red half in place slipped, and the net dropped almost instantaneously onto Makai's army, trapping them in place as the Hell of Blazing Fires began to fill back up with molten rock from the now-released lavafall.

Eiki noticed this second part only in retrospect. From the second Utsuho had flown out, she could see that she was flying way too fast. And keeping her eyes firmly fixed up above, she followed Utsuho's path as she flew on.

So she was not caught by surprise when Utsuho began to fall.

“Oh no!” Komachi cried out next to Eiki as Eiki looked up. “Can we even catch them from that height?!”

“We don't need to.” Eiki lifted her hand and raised the palm to Utsuho's falling body... bodies? Koishi, and... Yumeko? But that was none of her concern. If Utsuho had saved Yumeko, that was her problem. For now, she was going to save them all.

Komachi watched, stunned as she saw her master put her rarely-used manipulation of distance to good use. The distance that Utsuho had been going to fall, about three hundred meters, suddenly shortened to one meter. By compressing the entire moment into about half a second, Eiki just... cut the distance.

Komachi caught Yumeko in her arms; Eiki managed to catch Koishi. Utsuho, oddly enough, was still falling. Eiki had stretched that distance into eternity. With a wave of her hand, she shortened it, and Utsuho obligingly fell about a foot further into the safety of Komachi's arms.

“... how did you do THAT?!” Komachi exclaimed, setting Utsuho down alongside Yumeko on an army-issue mat.

Eiki smiled. “You'll find out later. For now, there may be a few more people to save.” She pointed up at a blue speck, which had been suspended in the air. “Open your arms, Onozuka-kun.”

Komachi did so and without further ado, Mai fell right into her arms as well. With mild surprise at Eiki's willingness to save her enemy's servant, she set Mai down and stood by Eiki's side as they watched all hell break loose while the earth trembled all around them.

“The cliff is collapsing?” she asked.

Eiki shook her head. “No, just crumbling on the inside. It's the mechanism on the inside that's breaking. The cliff itself should be strong enough, I think. But... can you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“Tsum glik, tsum shlimazel... I don't know much of the language of the necromata, but that phrase is an old one from Higan's ranks. “It means 'for better and for worse'... it's Orin.” She took hold of Komachi's hand. “Come on!”

With just one step, Eiki moved them from the far side of the battlefield to right beneath the collapsing cliff face. Komachi reeled backwards on instinct, but Eiki was ready. She stretched out her hand, grunting. “This is where it gets hard, Onozuka-kun,” she said, gritting her teeth.

“How?” Komachi asked, looking up at the falling rocks, down at Eiki, and back again.

“Extending the distance to fall for these rocks while shortening it for the youkai,” she explained, wincing. “There!”

She found the falling group all together. Parsee holding on tight to Yuugi, Kisume beneath Yuugi's arm, holding on tightly to her bucket with her eyes closed. Satori and Orin hugging one another, with Satori's face buried in Orin's chest so she couldn't see anything.

Sweat broke out on Eiki's forehead, but she held firm. “Hmm.” With a wave of her hand, she moved the rocks around them into eternity, and then made their own fall instantaneous. But Komachi didn't have time to catch them all, since Eiki was still weak from her earlier ordeal. Panting now, Eiki's grip on the distance of the rocks slipped, and stone began to crash all around them.

“EikI!” Komachi yelled, but Eiki yelled back. “Onozuka-kun, carry these girls to safety!” she ordered as the stunned group got to their feet, amazed that they had somehow survived their fall.

“Come on,” Komachi said, trying to pull Orin to her feet. Orin sprang up, a smile on her face as she ran from the cliff side, Satori in her arms. “Satori, open your eyes! We're alive!”

The red-haired captain of Higan tried to help Parsee as well, but a grinning Yuugi waved off her help. “No thanks, I won't let anyone else carry a girl as pretty as this one.”

Parsee smiled, turning the joke on her beloved oni as they raced away. “I didn't know you felt that way for Kisume!”

The group made it clear, but Eiki's control was slipping. With a gasp, she let the rocks fall to the ground, but before they made it down, Komachi had grabbed hold of Eiki and run away.

“Onozuka-kun! Put me down!” Eiki demanded as she was hoisted over her subordinate's shoulder.

“Yes, ma'am, just as soon as we're clear!” Komachi replied, running away as fast as she could. “Good job there, Eiki-sama. You saved everyone.”

“We're not done yet,” Eiki replied, looking over at the fast-filling Hell of Blazing Fires. “Shinki's not going to give up until the bitter end.”

“What do we do?” Komachi asked as they re-entered Higan's encampment.

“What can we do?” the green-haired shinigami asked mysteriously, turning the question back on her. “We have to push her to the bitter end, of course....

… And unfortunately for her, it promises to be a VERY bitter end.”

And that's it for this update.

Sakira Rurouni

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Re: The White Rose of Chireiden - Satori Eye Z (and other stories)
« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2009, 02:35:12 am »

Note: Even my computer is having issues rendering all the text so I'm going to try to fill more posts with less story. Believe it or not, this is a good idea. :V


Komachi ended up carrying her tired master all the way back to her tent. On the way, she passed her retreating soldiers, who had gotten out of the way of the falling lava as quickly as they could. Seeing their commander made them cheer; seeing her soldiers alive and well made Eiki cheer back. Komachi chuckled quietly to herself as Eiki sat atop her shoulders.

“Isn't this hard, Komachi?” Eiki asked. “To carry someone else on your shoulders?”

“You're small,” the red-haired general replied.

“I am NOT small!” Eiki huffed, crossing her arms. “You're just a giant, Onozuka-kun!”

Komachi nodded to the smaller general. “Conceded. You're not small, just smaller than I am, that's all.”

“Ah,” a voice said, surprised. “Eiki-sama, all divisions got out of the lava pits in time,” Sumire reported, turning around to face her. Flanked by various other fairy and youkai generals, she bowed to Eiki, who had jumped down from her seat on Komachi's back to accept the salute.

“Good to hear. What is going on now?” Eiki asked, though she didn't need to. She wanted to see if Sumire had sized up the situation as well as she hoped she had.

“It was a total rout,” Sumire said bluntly. “Their plan backfired in the most horrific way possible. The magical net they had woven as a trap for us landed on their troops instead, and while our fairies were able to fly out, they were caught as the lava literally cooked them all to death.”

“Hmm. No chance for any survivors?”

“Captain Yuri managed to round up a handful of demons, and they're in custody as prisoners of war. And Captain Tsubaki tried to save a few, but all she and her division were able to accomplish was to tear a hole in the magical net just as the lava reached them.” Sumire shook her head. “The Hell of Blazing Fires swallowed up at least... oh, at least eight tenths of Shinki's army.”

That number--! “That many?!” Eiki exclaimed.

“Probably more; she sent too many of her soldiers into the pits. In any case, our troops now outnumber Shinki's by around six to one.” She smiled at Eiki. “You are now in a perfect position to offer terms, Eiki-sama.”

“... that is excellent news, Sumire-kun.” Eiki breathed a sigh of relief. “What is Sara doing now?”

“From what my scouts tell me, trying to get her bearings, and figuring out what is going on and just how badly she is doomed.”

“And Shinki?”

“In her tent. She won't come out. I'll tell you when she does.”

“Mm.” Eiki nodded. “Sumire, so far, you have sized up the situation perfectly. One last question: What do you think Shinki will do now?”

“She doesn't have a choice but to surrender, but she's too prideful. She will look for any excuse to keep fighting here if only to make more of our men die. Do not give her that excuse.”

“Perfect assessment,” the shinigami nodded. “Please take care of matters until Shinki comes out  under a white flag, then let me know.”

Sumire saluted. “Yes, Eiki-sama.”

With Komachi by her side, Eiki made her way to her own expansive tent. Half of it was being used by the medics to treat burn injuries; in the back, the citizens of Chireiden were resting after Eiki had rescued them.

“So what are we doing now?” Komachi asked.

“If Shinki is to be brought to the negotiating table,” the shinigami explained, “I will need to make sure she is not deceiving me. For that, I need a satori's help.”

“How do you know she'll deceive you?”

Eiki looked at her, a ghost of a cynical grin on her face.

“It's Shinki, remember?”

Making their way past the fairy nurses and doctors, Eiki and Komachi went to meet the tattered remains of the Chireiden Resistance Movement.

Eiki winced upon seeing them.

Well, some of them were fine. Parsee and Yuugi would not stop hugging each other as tightly as they could. The tsurube-otoshi in the bucket had left her bucket for now to greet a young blonde girl with a brown and yellow dress whom Eiki was quite certain she had not saved or seen earlier.

Those were the good ones.

Satori was in a corner, her hands over her ears, her eyes closed tightly, tears running down her face as she shook. Orin, the hellcat, was trying to comfort her, but Satori was trembling too much. Okuu, the hellcrow, was apart from her two friends, and was staring at the still bodies of Mai and Yumeko, with no expression on her face.

And Koishi was nowhere to be seen.

Those were the bad ones.

“Ahem.” Eiki cleared her throat. The Chireiden Resistance looked up at her. “I am General Eiki Shiki, Shinigami of Higan. You are safe now.”

“Eiki-sama!” Orin exclaimed. “What's happened?”

“I was getting to that,” Eiki replied. “For whatever reason, the mechanism controlling the flow of the Hell of Blazing Fires has broken, and the lava is flowing once more. Makai's army was unfortunate enough to have their plan backfire on them and trap them beneath the boiling lava waves, and as such, our troops now outnumber Shinki's by six to one.” She smiled. “Shinki has no choice but to surrender. Effectively, this war is over.”

A long silence. Then--

“Boiling... lava waves?”


Satori, who had uncurled herself a bit to listen to Eiki, had now buried her head in her arms and brought up her knees to her chest. Shaking and trembling, she paid no heed to Orin calling her name and trying to get her to snap out of it.

“Like this,” Parsee said, coming over to Satori and rubbing her back. Gradually, Satori's grip on her knees began to loosen.

The rest of them could only stare.

“... I guess that was the wrong thing to say,” Eiki said. “Forgive me, Satori.”

“All of them, their voices as they died...” Satori said quietly. “I... I could hear them all screaming at once as they all burned to death... ohh--” she began to shake once more, but Parsee stubbornly held on to Satori's left hand so she could not cover her face with it. Reaching over and rubbing her stomach, she massaged Satori until she stopped trembling. Gradually, the traumatized satori girl began to relax.

“... I'm sorry.” Eiki bowed. “But Satori... I need your help.”

“... why for?” Satori asked.

“Peace negotiations. I am in the better position right now, so I am going to propose a series of agreements to Shinki and in exchange, not destroy what is left of her army. I need you there to read her mind and make sure she is not plotting treachery. Well, she is going to be plotting treachery, but I need to know just what it is so you and the rest of Chireiden can stay safe.”

Satori's face looked pained. Parsee took the chance to pick her up and sit her down in her lap, wrapping her arms around her.

“But I... I don't want to go near that woman...” Satori moaned. “I don't want to go near her mind... and you can't force me.”

“No, I can't,” Eiki admitted. “But tell me something, Satori.” Her heart ached, knowing what she was about to say. “All those people burning to death all around you... people you know, people you loved... you don't want that to happen again, do you?”

“Eiki-sama!” Komachi hissed.

“That was uncalled for, Eiki-san!” Orin scowled.

But Satori shook her head.

“No... she's right...” she said quietly, looking up at Eiki. “Because according to your thoughts, Eiki, 'such squeamishness is unbefitting of a Queen of Chireiden'.”

The general of Higan smiled.

“Thank you, Satori. And forgive me for having said that earlier.”

“But what about my sister?” Satori looked up at Eiki again, eyes pleading.

“Your sister?” Eiki turned her head. “Where is she?”

“Right here,” Koishi cut in with undisguised annoyance. She was standing right next to Eiki, arms crossed, but she hadn't been visible at all until just now--

“Eh?!” The general of Higan drew back instinctively; Komachi had a small knife at Koishi's throat. When both of them realized who it was, they went back to normal.

“Sorry, Koishi,” the shinigami said, regret in her tone. “I didn't even see you there.”

Koishi had a strange smile on her face. With her hair now white, her smiles didn't look charming so much as they looked frightening. “Don't worry. You're not the first one.”

Satori looked at her sister with worry in her eyes. “Eiki, what will happen to my sister?”

“Your sister?” Eiki turned her head to Koishi and then back to Satori. “What about her? Presumably, she would join you in whatever you so choose, maybe even become your fellow roya--”

Satori shook her head. “No. I mean, what will Shinki do to my sister?”

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