Topic: Ephemeral Light of a Cherry Coloured Innocence - Now With 100% More Fuwafuwa!  (Read 24201 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Gappy

  • Oh...oh I was not ready for this.
  • It's only Logical....
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Mind The Gap
Ephemeral Light of a Cherry-Coloured Innocent <- A very touhou-ish title. It translates to 'The Melancholy Awesomeness of Satsuki Rin'.


^
|
That bum of an author was just lazy with picking pictures.

Blurb <- It's a story about me, the one and only Satsuki Rin. Enough said.
It sucks being human. It especially sucks being the Child of Miare, having to reincarnate, again, and again, and again. Does anyone appreciate how painful it is going through birth? Or puberty for that matter? And remembering each and every time for 9 consecutive lifetimes? Only Hieda no Akyuu does. And let's not get into the whole shortening lifespan thing. Well, this Child of Miare's had quite enough, thank you very much. Being a youkai must be so much better. They get to fly around and play around all day, living nigh forever without a care in the world. Well, enough is enough! Or so Akyuu thought...until an unexpected series of events and the meddling of a certain Satsuki Rin leads to her wish coming true. But there's no time to settle in. Gensokyo's on the brink of a youkai war, one that Gensokyo's usual human heroines cannot get involved in for fear of sparking an all-out human-youkai war. With Gensokyo in dire need of a new heroine, Akyuu has no choice but to learn on the job. Watch out, Gensokyo! It's Akyuu's turn!

Update Log <- A testament to that bum author's boundless laziness. It takes forever to update.
10/6/12 - Posted Rewritten Prologue
                - Posted Chapter 1
                - Posted Chapter 2
                - Posted Chapter 3
                - Completed 1st Arc

16/6/12 - Posted Chapter 4 part 1

17/6/12 - Posted Chapter 4 Part 2
                - Posted Chapter 4 Part 3

8/02/13 - Rewrote Chapters 2 and 3. Minor edits to chapter 1.
                - Posted chapter 5 Part 1
                - Satsuki Rin doodled all over the introduction page <- Now it is 100% more accurate.

9/02/13 - Posted Chapter 5 Part 2

10/02/13 - Posted Chapter 5 Part 3

15/6/13 - Posted Chapter 5 Part 4 <-- Oh dear Kirrin-sama, can you believe this?

17/6/13 - Posted Chapter 6 Part 1 <-- There might be hope for this story yet!

20/6/13 - Posted Chapter 6 Part 2

24/6/13 - Posted Chapter 6 Part 3

29/6/13 - Posted Chapter 6 Part 4

17/7/13 - Posted Chapter 6 Part 5

20/9/13 - Posted Chapter 7 <-- Two months! This story is fairy'd!

16/11/13 - Posted Chapter 8 <-- Another two months! Bring out the helium!

Table of Contents <- This may contain a lot of me, amongst other things.
Click to Jump straight to each chapter
Arc 1 - Afterlife's Sonata
Prologue
Chapter 1
Chapter 2 <- This one has my very own Gensokyo Chronicle Page!
Chapter 3

Arc 2 - Birth Shower Dirge
Chapter 4 Part 1
Chapter 4 Part 2
Chapter 4 Part 3

Arc 3 - Little Kitty Blues
Chapter 5 Part 1
Chapter 5 Part 2
Chapter 5 Part 3
Chapter 5 Part 4
Chapter 6 Part 1
Chapter 6 Part 2
Chapter 6 Part 3
Chapter 6 Part 4
Chapter 6 Part 5
Chapter 7
Chapter 8

OST Guide <- I like music. You should too.
Along the way you will find OST links in quotes before each scene. They are entirely optional, off course, but they do add that little extra something to the scene they're set for. Most of them are touhou themes too for the discerning doujin music connoisseurs amongst you. To use them simply click on the title in the quotes and the hyperlink should take you straight to the youtube page. :D

Author's Notes <- This is where that bum Author makes her excuses.


Credits <- The others who deserve some credit for my adventure.
Special thanks to the following:
Sakana - For help in proofreading chapter 1, 2, and 3 for being a real tuna for bouncing ideas off, and for generally being a brilliant Oniichan. :3
Totaku - For help in proofreading chapter 2, 4 part 1, 2 and 3, and quality-assurance with Seiga Kaku's characterization.
RDJ - For help in proofreading Chapter 4 Part 1.
Everyone - For your time in reading this and your kind comments.

ZUN - last but not least, for bringing us Gensokyo and its denizens.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 06:18:24 pm by Gappy »

Gappy

  • Oh...oh I was not ready for this.
  • It's only Logical....
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Mind The Gap
Quote
OST:  LUPINUS by Foxtail-Grass Studios

    Hmmm? Oh, why, if it isn't a human? At such a time and place too, my my. You realize you are deep in the Great Youkai Forest? That it is midnight on the eve of the new moon? Tonight, we youkai revel at the peak of our power. It is a time for youkai, not for humans, human. Except, perhaps....for meal time...hmmmm?

   Hmmm, why the scared look? Oh, yes, I am indeed a youkai. Sure we look a lot alike, human, but surely you noticed the glowing red eyes? The gleaming fangs? I'm sure the horns or ears must have given it away? Or maybe the cute fluffy tail?

Did you not come out here to exterminate me? Surely there is no other reason for a human to be so far away from the Human Village in the dead of the night? Otherwise one might start to think you are suicidal....though I suppose even coming here with youkai extermination in mind would be considered suicidal by even the most reckless of your kind. Here in this forest we have the...what do you humans call it? The 'Home Advantage', so to speak.

   What was that? You don't want to kill me? Hmmm, queer,...why else would a human be wandering these god forsaken woods at such an ungodly hour? What was that? You ran away from home? Dear oh dear, you ran the wrong way, young one. Come closer. I won't harm you, promise~

   Come now, what's that look for? I've decided I won't eat you. I don't eat humans....often~

   Sorry, sorry, I couldn't resist. Please excuse my giggling. Come closer, that way you will be safe. Why do you look at me that way? You are safer here in my presence than out there in the dark. How so? Well, I am known to most youkai around here, and they know well not to get between a youkai and her meal, especially me and mine. They will think I'm simply playing with my food a little~

   Come, come, I won't be making a meal out of you. I prefer sweets myself. I cannot get enough of anything with sweet bean paste in. I especially love the bean buns and all the other great things sold down at the store in the human village.

   Ah, but best I stop there. I can go on all night and I'm getting hungry already. Come, sit by my side. We shall wait out the night here and move at first light. It is a little too dangerous to be moving about with a take-away meal in plain sight on a night like this. Everyone we pass would ask for a bite.

   I am so very sorry, again, I couldn't resist. Yes, yes, I am finished giggling. And no, nobody else will be making a meal of you tonight. I will make sure of that. I promise you.

Sorry, did I say 'else'? No, you must have misheard me.

   Well, what a way to run away from home, is it not? One can argue you've only managed to climb out of the proverbial frying pan and land in the metaphorical fire. Yes, I'm trying my best to avoid figures of speech involving food ambiguously. Well, I'm sure you have your reasons. I sort of ran away from home myself, back when I was still a human.

   Oh yes, I was a human once, just like you. Oh, no, no, not all youkai start out as humans. How did I become a youkai then, you ask? Well, that's a story, a story and a half perhaps. You want to hear it, you say? Well, I suppose we have a plenty of time until daybreak....I suppose I can share a bit. What else is there to do over a meal?

   Yes, yes, I apologize, I promise that was the last one. My name is Rin by the way. Satsuki Rin. And this is my story....


From the east she rides
Sunlight and stars in her hair.
In her eyes an undying memory
A land that is magical and fair

Light the way, mane of gold
Crimson eyes and fiery soul.
Beacon of courage, summon us hope!
Our Lady Kirrin rides forth bold!

Although the skies may descend,
Fire and death may reign.
For the days that remain,
By our Lady's words, by her gentle hands
No shadow falls across this land
Before the storm and darkness She stands
And us Her children shall know no harm,
Enfolded in Her arms,


Why, thank you, it is a nice song, isn't it? Oh, you mean my voice? Well, I had lots of practice. All the time in the world too. Two close friends, that night sparrow and that yamabiko from the temple, taught me.

As for the song? This is the song of the Kirrin, and this is the song that filled the air that one, beautiful summer night.

- Prologue -
Quote
OST - ヤンメー節, Dark side of fate arrange,  by Seele,

"Kyuu~ Kyuu~!"

She was a little girl. It was a big festival. The expansive open air courtyard was thronged by a thick crowd of towering grownups. And yet she was more than at home here, amongst the bright, colourful paper lanterns and the masked dancers. She clumsily bounced along to the beat of the drums, her oversized yukata's hem and sleeves flapping about in the air behind her. The crowd cheered and clapped her on as she awkwardly danced along to the music of the procession, losing herself in the march of the dancers and palanquin-bearers. 

"Akyuu-chan? Akyuu-chan?!" Someone in the crowd called out for her. But she danced on, weaving between the legs of the palanquin-bearers, twirling around the kirrin-dancers at the head of the line.

The music stopped. The procession halted. The little girl almost stumbled as the music that had carried her thus far dissolved into the warm, night air.

"Kyuu?" She looked around, puzzled, and found herself looking up at the massive, colourful head of the majestic Kirrin leading the procession. It towered over her, golden mane ablaze in the firelight. Its bright red eyes gleaming in the moonlight, gazing down upon her.

It leaned in, close, slowly, tilting its head to one side, then the other. The little girl mirrored it, cocking her head from side to side, almost losing her balance from tilting too far. It leaned in closer...and closer. The little girl stared, open-mouthed, as the Kirrin slowly opened its own jaws wide. Then, before she knew it, the jaws had engulfed her head. It was stiffling hot in the darkness behind the jaws, but she could just about make out the bright eyes of the lead Kirrin-dancer wearing the head. It was an older girl, with soft, purplish snowy blonde hair that shimmered in the dark.

"Fufu, aren't you a brave little one?" The Kirrin dancer grinned a toothy little grin in the dark, "Haven't seen a child not break into tears at being bitten by the mighty Kirrin...till you, that is. Fufu, you'll become a fine Kirrin indeed, sure will."With a bright smile she pushed a sweet into the little girl's little hands.

"Kyuu?" The little girl looked up from the sweet bean bun in her hands in surprise as she felt a soft kiss grace her brow.

"See you soon, my little kirrin." The dancer whispered with a smile as she drew away.

And with that, the music suddenly started up again as the head withdrew. The world seemed to come to life once more all around her as the procession resumed dancing to the beat of the drums and the melody of the erhu.

"Akyuu-chan! There you are!" A steady pair of hands scooped the little girl up into the air.

"Kyuu?" The little girl found a pair of stern, worried blue eyes glaring back at her. She shrunk noticeably, realizing the trouble she was in. "K-Kyuu....?" She quavered, offering up the bean bun as a potential bribe to her captor.

Kamishirasawa Keine, were-hakutaku schoolteacher extraordinaire, sighed. Dealing with children is her lifelong job, but even with a lifetime of experience she still found this particular girl a real handful, metaphorically, and, now that the girl's almost 2 years old, almost literally too.

"Akyuu-chan, promise me you'll never run off by yourself like that again." The were-hakutaku said, before she fell under the siege of her little girl's beseeching gaze. "And no, you shouldn't accept sweets from strangers either. And no, you can't bribe people to get out of trouble."

"Kyuu?" The toddler cocked her head to one side. One finger shot out to point at the Kirrin at the head of the procession, "Kyuu!"

"...And no changing the subject either!" Keine added, following her finger nonetheless. "You got bit by the Kirrin, Akyuu-chan?"

"Kyuu Kyuu~" The little girl bounced in the teacher's arms excitedly as she pointed at the object of her curiosity. "Kyuu!"

"Kirrin, Akyuu-chan. Ki-Rin." The teacher said, slowly.

"...Riii~n! Rin! RinRinRin!"

"....That'll do for your second word." Keine sighed, inwardly giving up on ever being called mommy. "Yes, Akyuu-chan, that's the Kirrin, the divine goddess of hope...well, youkai goddess, but goddess all the same. She protects everyone, no matter who they are, what they are. She grants wishes and safeguards dreams, brings good luck, fortune, and happiness...and she's also the patron goddess of sweets."

"Rin~ RinRinRinRin~!" The toddler cried excitedly.

"Look at me chatting away to a toddler. You don't understand a word I'm saying, are you?" Keine held the toddler tighter, "Do you? You little munchkin?" She asked, snuggling the giggling ball of excitement. "And you got bit by the Kirrin. That means you'll become the next Kirrin, Akyuu-chan."

"Kyuu?"

"That means you'll get to wear the head and do that dance. You'll get to be what they call the 'Kirrin Rider'. And this Kirrin flower in your hair is proof of that." She said, clasping a peach-coloured flower in the little girl's hair, securing it with a bright red ribbon. "Now don't you look precious, little Kirrin?"

"Kyuu?" The little girl raised a curious little hand to touch the flower, her clumsy fingers tangling in the bright red ribbon encircling the flower. "Kyuu! Kyuu Rin!" She cried out suddenly, excited.

"No, when you grow up, Akyuu-chan."

"Kyuu Rin! Rin!"

"No, you have to wait, patiently. Don't worry, this shrine's not going anywhere anytime soon."

They watched the procession dance away the hot summer night. Before long, a long, wide yawn escaped the little girl. Sleep claimed its young captive, and, soon, that night was but a memory.

What shrine do I speak of? You wouldn't remember it as it was back then. Nobody does. Even then, many, many years have passed since that one, bright summer night. The festivals and music had long since ceased.

When our story begins, the shrine lies abandoned where it lay, not too far from here actually, by the old Genbu Marsh, with naught but the toads for visitors. None remember what the shrine was for, or who was once enshrined in it. And the once-great Kirrin statue that held the place of honour in the middle of the temple was nowhere to be seen.

And yet, the occasional passing youkai or fairy who wandered that far into the mountains might often pause on their way to check their hearing, often sure they could just about hear a soft, melancholic melody, barely a whisper in the wind. Few recognize it as a disembodied erhu. None however recall the lyrics to that song...
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 03:35:17 am by Gappy »

Gappy

  • Oh...oh I was not ready for this.
  • It's only Logical....
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Mind The Gap
     You chose such an interesting season to be out here, human. It is Spring, the season of rebirth, of life. Such a wonderful night for a flower-viewing festival....Kyuuuh, what I'd give for a snack to go with the flowers....

    Hmmm? What's a Kirrin? Didn't I just tell you? She's the all powerful goddess of sweets! The most important of all goddesses. How could you forget that? Alright, sure, as you say, there's the granting hopes and safeguarding dreams thing, and the whole protect everyone shtick. But, sweets! Isn't that all you could ever want in a goddess? Ah, you mean, what is a Kirrin specifically? Ah, you mean the adorably fluffy core beneath all that all-powerfull divinity? Aw, come now, that'd be skipping straight to the goods. Girls prefer some patience, you know?

   Now, what was I talking about just before you changed the subject so abruptly. Oh, yes, flower-viewing....if only I had a...what was that? Oh, yes, of course, I haven't finished my story, have I? In fact, I haven't even begun. What happened to that girl? Well, since we're talking about spring....

Chapter 1

Quote
BGM - Cattleya by Foxtail Studios


Akyuu-chan's Bucket List

[X] Dismiss assistants
[X] 'Empty' fridge of all sweets
[X] Check on sake stores for next incarnation
[X] Check on life insurance status with Kourin
[X] Write next incarnation into Will
[- ] Make sure all the sweets did not affect figure in funeral kimono
[- ] Organize Gensokyo Chronicle for next incarnation
[  ] Meet and greet visitors
[  ] Die peacefully, preferably not from diabetes
[  ] Bribe Sanzu ferryman, see if sweets are negotiable currency
[  ] Attempt to explain away all the sweets indulged in to the Yama
[  ] If all fails, likewise bribe the Yama

[  ] Become a youkai, cheat death and save on bribes

"....and so does death visit all the living, such are the four sufferings. But through the fourfold path shown by Lord Buddha, they are conquered."

   Hieda no Akyuu, prodigious young sage, had a thoughtful look on her face. Like most people faced with their impending doom, she was busy considering whether or not there was a little more room for more sweets in her life...or what's left of it. It was a Herculean task of too great a proportion for her to properly pay attention to her visitor, the Venerable Myouren monk, Hijiri Byakuren.

   A cool, sweet spring breeze, as sweet as molten liquorice, blew through the sunset-lit courtyard, bringing with it a few errant sakura petals. A few twirled down in a graceful spiral, light as rice floss, before coming to rest upon the wooden veranda upon which they sat, side by side, looking out into the courtyard.

The monk went on, "To face death without the burdens of attachment, the shackles of desire, is true freedom, the path to Nirvanna."

Burdens....The young sage absentmindedly gazed back down at her neat little bucket list. She sighed inwardly at the crossed-out items on the list before looking up at the wide, red sky above, red as candy apples. Birds courageous enough to brave the skies of Gensokyo rushed ahead of the fairies thronging the sky, who in turn rushed ahead of the youkai. Those flying up there, as light as cotton candy, probably don't suffer from silly things like burdens.

   Youkai sure have it great, she thought. They don't have to bother with much. It seems all the sake and sweets just happen to them without any apparent effort. They don't have to worry about the resulting excess burden on their bodies. They live practically forever. And, better yet, when they do finally 'die', they simply disappear without a trace, like the contents of sweets cabinets. They don't have to deal with people ogling at how their coffins are ten sizes too big for them or worry about how they look in their oversized funeral kimonos.

   "Like a butterfly taking flight, shrugging off the confines of the coccoon it has worn all its life, so shall the enlightened cast off the suffocating raiments of desire." The monk continued.
   
   That funeral kimono really does look suffocating despite being oversized, the young sage thought to herself. The youkai get to wear all the fancy western-style dresses too. And they always seem to fit perfectly like candy wrappers. For those who have had to wear kimonos 3 sizes too big for them all their lives, it's jealousy-inducing. It'd be nice to be able to fly and play about in a cute, frilly dress....without attracting strange looks*.

Quote
*You see, nobody gives youkai strange looks...at least not those who wish to continue having eyeballs.

   "Naught is eternal, but change. And you know the ultimate cycle of change, the cycle of rebirth, better than most, Hieda-san." The monk said.

   Does she ever. Here she was, a child of Miare, having to go through all the tiring motions of dying and reincarnating. Does anyone appreciate how painful it is squeezing out a birth canal? Or how annoying teething or wearing diapers is? Or the frustrations of enduring potty training and going through puberty...again? And again? And again and again and agai-...

   "We adore the sakura blossoms, moreso for they are fleeting. One breeze and they float, flutter, spiralling down in one final graceful dance. And yet, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, they will return next spring...and the next...and the next...." The monk went on.

   The young sage stared at the record spinning round and round on her gramaphone, playing a soft little tune, the needle sliding shorter and shorter with each rotation. Sometimes she wonders if her incarnation life spans will shorten enough to the point where she can do without going through puberty again. But then that would preclude her reaching the legal age to drink....

   Youkai get to eat what they like, wear all the pretty clothes and fly and play about without a care in the world forever and ever, never ever having to deal with silly human things like dying (lest off course they get forgotten, but youkai are good at being memorable). Youkai sure have it good....

   She looked up from the downed petal she had followed down with her eyes, back at the courtyard. And there the figure stood, bold as brass, underneath a cherry tree, blood-red hair gleaming under the dying sunset, deathly-cold steel of her scythe gleaming in the rapidly-draining daylight. Where she stood she cast no shadow, disturbed not the grass. There she stood, waiting, ever waiting, standing closer today than she has ever been, the clinking of the ferrywoman's coins clearer than ever before.

"Hieda-san? Are you alright?" The Buddhist monk's voice, full of earnest concern, asked.

       Akyuu counted under her breath, '3....2.....1 and a half....' WHOOOOOMPH....

       The little scholar allowed herself a little fist pump underneath her wide sleeves, a small grin of triumph spreading across her face. Where the grim reaper once stood there was now a sack of netting hanging precariously from the bough of a cherry tree above, bouncing meriily to the struggle of its very surprised inhabitant. Akyuu nodded with satisfaction. Not bad for a last prank. It wasn't her fault, technically. The grim reaper had practically asked for it. The thing with death is you know it's approaching*. When something is that predictable Akyuu could never resist the temptation for a well-orchestrated prank.

*In Gensokyo, this is quite literal.

      "What on earth....?" Byakuren gave a little gasp of surprise as she eyed the net. "Oh, dear.....Hieda-san, is that....?"

      "That? Just a red warbler that's been slacking off in my garden lots lately." Akyuu smiled, nodding at the shocked redhead fighting between getting herself untangled from the net and maintaining her modesty while upside down. "Looking forwards to working with you, sempai*." The little sage called out to her captive, "Don't worry, I will not tell the boss anything when I start work tomorrow." She gave the captive reaper a conspiratorial wink.

     *Sempai: Elder/Senior at a place of work.

     The reaper's face erupted in a flaming red blush before burning away into an ashen, stricken white of absolute horror. And then she disappeared.

    Most people get worried about little silly things like, you know, death. To Hieda no Akyuu it was just another job relocation, one she's already experienced 9 times over. It's a long term contract thing between the Hieda and the Yama, one with rather unique employment benefits including memory insurance. Sure 100 years is a long time, and 100 years in Higan is TOO long, plus her co-workers tend to be rather cold and stiff, her boss there took a rather dim view of wit and pranks, and GOOD offertory sweets* are a little difficult to come by. But Akyuu would literally be damned before she let silly things like death get in the way of her having her fun (especially at the expense of others).

    *It is human nature to not give away the best. This extends to offerings to the dead, much to Akyuu's chagrin.

   She only wished it wouldn't get in the way of her having a little more fun on THIS particular plain of existence, not so soon anyway. But hey, everyone has the same problem. Little Akyuu just had to face it earlier than most.

     "I don't know whether or not I should worry for your afterlife now, Hieda-san." Byakuren sighed, shaking her head with a little smile.

    "Perhaps. After all, all of you here will be missing out." Akyuu said with a mischievous smile.

    Still, deep down inside, a small yet niggling little feeling carried on nudging her. If only....if only.......

Another breeze blew. But with it came not sakura petals, but a soft scarlet-coloured mist. With it came not the clinking of coins, but the faint, forlorn sound of a distant, solitary erhu, playing a gentle, hopeful little tune.

And with it, a whisper....

'....found you.....Rin found you!'


Quote
ED Song
« Last Edit: December 26, 2013, 10:38:14 pm by Gappy »

Gappy

  • Oh...oh I was not ready for this.
  • It's only Logical....
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Mind The Gap
Quote
OST - World's End Garden, Touhou arrange by 魂音泉 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dY6YRRRAh7A

It is getting really cold, isn't it? Such are nights this season. Maybe I should start a fire? If only we had something to roast over a fire....

   What's that look for? I was talking about something nice and sweet like marshmallows or cherries. What? You've never had roasted cherries before? Hmmm, maybe it's for the best? It might give you diabetes. Then your blood might become just sweet enough for....

   Come now, I was only pulling your leg. Not like I want to eat it or anything.

   Eheh, sorry, sorry, really, that was immature of me. Then again, I am a youkai. The concept of maturation is beyond us, as is the very concept of change. Ah, speak of the devil, look over yonder. See the glowing red eyes in the darkness beyond? Oh yes, those are indeed youkai. They know I won't share though, so don't worry. Nobody else will sink their teeth into you tonight.

Did I say 'else'? Eheh~ Oh, the story? Yes, the story. Where were we?

Chapter 2

The Child of Miare(1)
Hieda no Akyuu(2)

Ability: The ability to the extent of remembering everything
Residence: The Hieda Residence, Human Village

The current Child of Miare and chronicler of the current edition of the Gensokyo Chronicle(3).

The Child of Miare is always very hard at work ensuring that information on Gensokyo is recorded accurately and truthfully for the benefit of all of Gensokyo's human citizens(4).

She may come across as being witty and charming beyond her age, but she really is still very young.

She may appear small, but often that is simply the result of her oversized kimono. This is something she can do nothing about(5).

Quote
(1) Strictly speaking, one of 9. But I feel the 'the' is deserved.
(2) That's me.
(3) Not to be confused with the Go Sweet Compendium of everything sweet, by the same. Highly recommended.
(4) Though lately youkai come by to read it too. At least the ones who can read.
(5) There is nothing much I can do about people's misplaced optimism on my growth.

Personality

Her friendly and easygoing demeanor makes her very popular amongst villagers and outsiders alike, but it belies her vast sophistry and intelligence, product of the experience and knowledge of 9 past lifetimes.(6)

She is not shut-in, as she can often be seen around the village and is very sociable.

She likes good black tea, particularly of the Earl Grey or Darjeeling variety, FM synth music, kittens, writing and sweets.(7)

The Gensokyo Chronicle

Her edition is called the 'Perfect Memento in Strict Sense' and is the most recent edition (8 ).

Despite the intricate title, it is a simple text that arms its readers with important knowledge on how to counter and exterminate youkai. It is the single most useful weapon in the defence of humanity against youkai and has saved countless lives since its conception.

Now supplemented with the Child of Miare's own beautiful and highly accurate art.

Quote
(6) It's true.    
(7) Useful if you ever need to distract her.
(8 ) As the name suggests, it is also the most extensive and accurate.
⑨ So I'd like to believe. The youkai, at least, agree.

Ability

She has the ability to remember everything.

Contrary to popular belief, she isn't forgetful and clumsy. Her eidetic memory ensures this.

This ability encompasses everything, from what she's seen, heard, smelt, tasted or felt.

She also has the uncanny ability to replicate anything she remembers in various ways. This perhaps underlies her stunning artistic prowess.

She also has the ability to reincarnate with her memories intact.

This is a result of her contract with the Yama. She spends 100 years in hell working for the Yama in between each lifetime.

She has, as such, very literally gone to hell and back. 9 times.

There is an unknown fault in the process that causes her lifespan to shorten with each successive incarnation.

She may be short-lived, but it is not a health issue, and definitely not a contagious one. The 'Curse of Miare'...


   The little scholar paused for a moment, calligraphy brush hovering hesitantly over the unfinished article. What could she say about the 'Curse of Miare'? That the villagers somehow believe a 1200 year old contract with the Yama is as contagious as the common cold? That as a result she had to give all her servants a holiday lest they catch a rather mysterious transmissible form of nervous breakdowns? That as a result most people are too afraid to come visit her to pay their respects on her death day? And, most importantly, does it necessitate another helpful annotation? Maybe an appendix?

   "You could write 'another product of ungrateful human ignorance'." A voice said behind her.

   Just how does she do that? Akyuu set down her brush and cursed herself for not ordering in those anti-Seiga rubber walls. She looked up and, sure enough, there was the azure hermit, Seiga Kaku, in all her obnoxious cerulean glory. As usual, judging by the receding hole in Akyuu's sweets cabinet, too good to use human things like doors...or common sense.

   "Perhaps as a footnote. Or in the bibliography. Or both. And not necessarily referring to my article..." Akyuu replied, being sure to insinuate as hard as she could as she cleared her throat and put away the article, "You do realize we are better equipped to welcome people through our front door?"

   "It wasn't equipped with the people to answer and do the welcoming." The hermit replied, sheathing her hole-opening hair pin back in her hair. "It would appear even your household fears that little curse of yours."

   "It is human to." Akyuu said, smiling, a little more icily than she wanted to let on. "Though I see you don't, Seiga-san." She added, leaving the unsaid hovering in the chilly air.

   "I do not suffer from ignorance." The hermit replied, with the briefest shadow of a frown from the little sage's quip.

   "Certainly not suffer, yes." Akyuu replied, with an edged smile. And judging by your hair, neither do you suffer from common sense, Akyuu thought to herself.

   Akyuu sighed inwardly. Why did she have to be here? When the one person she wanted to see hadn't visited her all day? Keine, where are you? I want to see you.


   "Come now, don't be that way, Hieda. Don't the Hieda always welcome the curious?" Seiga smiled what might have been a charming smile. Akyuu's seen less sinister smiles on snakes. Only those with enough sense, courage or fondness for her dared visit. She didn't expect Seiga Kaku, the azure hermit, to qualify for any of those. Plus using the words 'pay' and 'respect' with Seiga Kaku would be stretching their use.

   "Oh, certainly the curious. And sometimes the curious." Akyuu replied, waxen smile in place.

   "So, where are they?" Seiga asked, not-so-subtly shifting the topic away from the verbal joust. "Your kittens, I mean."

   "Somewhere pleasant, I'm sure." Akyuu replied. She had taken care to leave her kittens, all 5 of them, with Keine for safekeeping. But Seiga didn't need to know. She didn't need to know a lot of things.

   "Hmm...what's this?" The hermit asked, pausing by the young sage's desk and picking up a scribbled note. "Let's see...
'To-do-list for future incarnation

[  ] Acquire literacy to read this list
[  ] Reclaim old home
[  ] Make sure fairies did not get into home
[  ] Cash in life insurance from Kourin
[  ] Spend life insurance money on sweets supply for fridge
[  ] Use leftovers to hire new assistants
[  ] Check if sake in storage matured adequately
[  ] Achieve legal age to drink
 Note to self - nobody checks
[  ] Organize Gensokyo Chronicle'"

   "I see you have all your affairs in order." She commented airily, her voice oozing with condescending smugness as she traced a finger across the Gensokyo Chronicle volumes arrayed neatly across a nearby bookshelf. "Convenient, the gift of knowing one's time."

   "Indeed, Seiga-san." Akyuu smiled back, fixedly. "Especially when one isn't gifted with neither time nor convenience in abundance."

   "Though I sense that 'knowing' does not equate 'readiness'." The hermit whispered, almost with relish. "Do you still fear death, Child of Miare, after all this time?"

   Akyuu's surprise must have shown on her face, for the hermit smiled a devilish little smile. "I see. No amount of forced smiles and shows of defiance can hide such sentiments when you're this close to death. Is it fear? Or...is it regret, perhaps?" She asked, slowly pacing around the young sage, who, much to her apparent delight, had stiffened up.

   "No....I see...it is...desire? You wish for more. Much more. More than your pitiful destiny as the Child of Miare can offer. But here you are, dying this young, only to be reborn again, to die even younger, until one day you cease to exist altogether. You who remembers everything, who will remember you, Child of Miare? You will disappear beyond the cycle of rebirth, beyond mortal memory. And for what? For that pathetic little record of this over-glorified backwater youkai zoo at the edge of the world. Gensokyo Chronicle indeed."

   Seiga paused in her slow orbit around the frozen body of Akyuu to slowly lean in close, voice lowered to barely a whisper. "How would you like to....never have to die again, Child of Miare? No...rather...you, just you, Akyuu...chan?"

   The young sage couldn't help it. She looked up at the hermit, giving her cold, sapphire eyes a searching look.

   "How would you like to...become immortal? As my companion in eternity, Akyuu....chan?" The smile, suspicious as it was, was almost mesmerizing as the hermit caressed the young sage's cheeks gently. Akyu gasped at the touch, it was surprisingly warm, almost comforting. "Come with me, Akyuu-chan. I will....free you from death. I will grant you.... immortality."

   Akyuu gulped silently. Before her, held up daintily by the hermit, was a Jiang Shi paper charm, a devious product of Taoist arcane science capable of reanimating any dead body to serve its Master's will. That such devious power can be contained within such a flimsy piece of paper...

   A treacherous part of her mind was overcome with intrigue. To become a Jiang Shi? She was already bored stiff with life as it is. Surely she couldn't get any stiffer? But....wouldn't that mean becoming the hermit's servant? To forever lose her own free will? To become incapable of deciding right and wrong for herself? At the hands of Seiga Kaku, at the mercy of her whims? She heard the hermit's current undead servant was once a great sage herself, a poet of some renown in fact. Somehow Akyuu couldn't bring herself to find this flattering.

   Akyuu found her mouth open, an answer at the back of her throat. But what it was she never heard it. They were interrupted by a voice, sharp, cold, firm. "There is no such thing. You know that better than anyone, hermit." Byakuren had returned to the room with a tray of tea.

"Hmph...." The hermit lowered her hand from the young sage's cheeks and straightened up to her full, terrifying height. The Jiang Shi charm had disappeared into whatever dark recesses it had come from. "If I knew this house welcomed 'prophets', I would have given more care to my manners."

"As you should, hermit. I apologize but I wasn't aware of your visit. I prepared no tea for you." The Buddhist monk said, her voice level, calm, yet firm. Akyuu sensed that something, perhaps something Seiga had said, had offended the monk quite deeply, for her to be so openly cold, even to one she resented.

"I merely wondered whether or not Hieda-san would like to consider a future by my side. Surely you too agree Hieda-san deserves much more out of her life?" The hermit asked, almost innocently.

"If you are referring to the pitiful undead you have robbed of peace, Hieda-san definitely deserves more, I agree." Byakuren said, gazing upon the hermit, not with contempt, but a probing, almost penetrating gaze. The sun sank. The room darkened. A cold, almost bitter wind blew through the open sliding doors, scattering what fallen petals there were on the floor into a feeble flutter across the tatami.

The silence was oppressive, lasting almost an eternity, as the two figures towered over one another, neither glaring, neither blinking. The tension was almost palpable.

"Umm....Anou....May I suggest a Tie-breaker. I think what I deserve is that cup of tea." The little sage said, breaking the silence with her usual smile.

"I agree with Hieda-san, it is her decision to make. It is something I would like you to consider. My offer stands. Now I take my leave." With that, Seiga nodded at the young sage, and, without another look at the monk, strode out into the gathering darkness, vanishing as abruptly as she had appeared.

"I apologize. I left you to have a calm moment with your own thoughts. I did not expect such a...distraction." The monk said, setting down the tea and kneeling by Akyuu's side, her stern expression melting into one of friendly, compassionate concern.

"Barely." Akyuu's usual smile returned, almost as if it had never left. "Hijiri-san, either you have been fibbing or you have failed to notice the third cup of tea on your tray." She said, nodding at the laden tray.

"Ah, yes. This is for your other visitor." Byakuren replied, with a sudden smile.

"Other visitor?" Akyuu asked, not missing a beat, sighing inwardly in relief that her attempt at a change of subject succeeded.

"Yes. You can come out now." The monk told the ceiling above.

"I thought she'd never leave!" A light, dark silhouette swung down from the roof's edge, dark wings fluttering gently as it landed lightly on the veranda. A mess of bluish silver hair flaming red in the sunset crowned a face beaming with genuine happiness at seeing her. With a lunge, the petite youkai had engulfed the young sage in a tight embrace. "Hieda-san~!"

"T-Tokiko-chan...?" Akyuu gasped, winded somewhat, as the young crested ibis youkai buried herself somewhere around  her midriff.

"I was hoping you'd finally stop calling me that...." A muffled voice came up from below, a look of playful disapproval peeking up at her.

"Sorry, Toki-chan, your real name is a little too long. I'm afraid I might bite my tongue." Akyuu replied, giggling.

"And my name got even shorter? Better to hurt my feelings than your own tongue, huh?" The little youkai sighed, straightening up and reaching into her little satchel. "Well, prepare your tongue for something else. I brought you some more Ireisen." She said, excitedly, wings fluttering, echoing her excitement, as she produced a leather bag full of fresh flower petals. The unmistakable scent of the rare Ireisen flower filled the room.

"Oh my, aren't those Ireisen?" Byakuren gasped in pleasant surprise, "They're not in season in spring, are they? They cost a fortune apiece."

Akyuu bit her lip for the briefest moment.

"Yeah, and they'll make you all better in an instant, Hieda-san!" The little youkai said, expectantly.

The young sage sighed at her beaming youkai friend, motioning her to come close as she reached for her medical kit. "Let's treat those wounds." She said, nodding at the tears in the little youkai's one and only dress and the scratches, bruises and gashes underneath. "What did I tell you about climbing about the mountains in this season?"

"Kuuuu....that it's particularly beautiful?" The little youkai ventured, backing away under the young sage's disapproving glare.

"No, there's nothing particularly beautiful about melting snow, loose slush and earth everywhere, and your neck breaking." Akyuu snapped.

"N-no, H-Hieda-san, I-I j-just tripped over on the way here, that's all." The little youkai raised her hands defensively, recoiling at the sight of the ointment bowl.

"Tripped on your own little fibs, did you?" Akyuu reeled in the little youkai by her wrist into her lap and unceremoniously began dabbing foul-smelling medicinal ointment on her wounds.

"K-Kuuuuu, n-no, H-Hieda-san, p-please!" The youkai squeaked, wincing and shuddering under the stinging onslaught of the ointment, wings fluttering nervously. 

"And stop calling me that or I will really get upset." Akyuu threatened, holding the youkai still in a tight choke hold in one arm, waging a relentless war on her injuries with her other.

"T-then...K-K-K...K...Kyuu-neechan*...?" Tokiko stammered her childhood nickname for her adopted human sister.

Quote
*-neechan: A suffix short for 'Oneechan' which means 'elder sister'.

You haven't been eating properly either," Akyuu muttered, noticing how easily her arm encircled the little youkai's slight frame. "I know Gensokyo's short on food this season and things are more expensive, but that's no excuse to skimp on food. You have a steady job at Kourin's after all. If he's not paying you enough to eat properly then he will hear from me. Personally. Even if I have to go haunt him after."

A haunting silence fell as the unsaid hung in the air like the funeral kimono in the corner of the room.

"I will go see to the koi." The monk suddenly said as she beat a hasty retreat to the backyard, leaving the two to their silence.

"Y-you're....you're not going t-to...to die, right, K-Kyuu-neechan?" The little youkai finally asked.  "T-that physician said the i-ireisen would...would extend your life...right?"

"Toki-chan," Akyuu sighed, taking a deep breath, summoning her resolve.  "I've arranged for Hijiri-sensei to take you in. It'll be safer for you at the temple with all the other youkai."

"You p-promised..." The little youkai murmured quietly, trembling under her arms, "Kyuu-neechan...you p-promised we'd be t-together, f-forever and ever..." She said.

Despite all her preparations, now that she was faced by her youkai friend's big, watery eyes, Akyuu found herself barely able to speak. "I can't...keep that promise." Akyuu said, slowly, her voice trembling despite her resolve, "Not...anymore. Tokiko-chan." She took a deep breath, "Today, I..."

The words were never said. The village bell tolled urgently in the distance. A cold chill ran down their spines. They knew the sound of the bell all too well. They had heard it much too often in the season past. Much too many families had woken up on a chilly winter morning grieving for a son missing, a daughter lost. It was a youkai attack. Again. And the human villagers would take it lying down no longer. Right now there would be a search party forming outside. Torches would flare with anguished thirsts for vengeance. Sickles would be drawn for reaping blood.

Akyuu looked down at Tokiko. If they found her here....

"Hieda-sa-..." Byakuren stopped short on hastily stepping back into the room.

"It's alright, I'm done, Hijiri-sensei." Akyuu, feeling her resolve drain away through her broken heart, nodded at the monk, before looking down at the trembling little youkai in her arms. "Tokiko-chan, this is...irresponsible of me but...I wish you...No, I-I want you to find all the happiness in the world." She gave the speechless little youkai one last tight squeeze before releasing her into Byakuren's arms. "Now, go."

"K-Kyuu-neech-chan!" Tokiko croaked, finding her broken voice, "N-No! I-...I d-don't want to l-live i-if...I-I c-can't...n-not alone...I.."

"You're stronger now. Listen to me, you must live for yourself." Akyuu said, her entire being now trembling. "Go. Go, I said!"

"K-Kyuu-neechan, please...I want to....go with y-..." The little youkai began pleading before a glare from her adopted human sister stopped her short.

"GO!" Akyuu barked, tears streaming down her flushed cheeks, "If I ever see you again in this life or the afterlife I....I will...I will never forgive you! Ever! Hijiri-sensei, take her away! Now! Please!"

The shocked and silenced Tokiko lost all strength. Byakuren took the opportunity to shepherd her out through the backyard. With a quick nod back at Akyuu, she took flight, dragging the little youkai behind her into the gathering darkness.

With a soft little sob, the young scholar slumped to her knees as what little strength of will remained left her. All the forced smiles, all the false bravado, everything had come so naturally. 9 bouts of reincarnation had given her more than enough practice. But now all the masks she had so carefully crafted over 9 lifetimes had crumbled in an instant.

"How pitiful, Child of Miare." She murmured to herself, reminding herself of what she was. Before she was an individual, a human, a girl, indeed, before she was little Akyuu-chan with her love for Gensokyo, she was the Child of Miare, the observer, watcher, chronicler. But as the tears flowed freely down her cheeks, she found it more and more difficult to maintain that impartial indifference her station demanded. No matter how much she denied it, she was attached to this particular lifetime.

Why?

"Because...." She looked up through her veil of tears at the rising moon, claiming the dark velvet sky. "....this time....I love...I love Gensokyo..." she heard a voice answer her question. She almost gasped, realizing it was her own.

Gensokyo had become such a beautiful, fascinating place. The land itself had not changed for centuries and centuries, even from far before it became a sealed border world. But it had become beautiful through its residents. Finally, after centuries of strife, youkai and humanity were slowly reaching, if not an understanding, then at least a coexistence, a symbiosis so close and intimate it was breathtakingly beautiful. Through that she had gotten to know so many interesting, colourful people. Through their stories and accounts she had witnessed a vibrant new Gensokyo come to life. With each passing day, the wish to become a part of that colour and life grew and grew. Now it was an unbearable, burning desire.

But now....

Someone threatens to destroy the peace. Who? Who dares violate the unspoken pact? Why would the youkai so openly invade the village and destroy the fragile peace everyone has worked so hard to create?

That was another reason, another reason why she couldn't die. Not now. Not when innocent youkai like Tokiko suffer the brunt of humanity's anger for this youkai invasion.

"You love Gensokyo, Child of Miare?" She spun around, recognizing the voice almost instantly. A figure stepped out of the shadows in a corner of the room. Akyuu was sure there was a hole in her wall now sealing itself up, for there stood the azure hermit, Seiga Kaku, sheathing her wall-passing Taoist hairpin in her hair. "You wish to save it? Save those children? Save the humans? Save the vilified youkai?"

"Everyone has their place, Seiga-san." Akyuu replied, lifetimes of practice modesty speaking for her. She was quick to hide her tears away as best as she could. It's not like Seiga needed anymore help.

"Your place is to record the heroics after they are done, is that it?" Seiga asked, stepping up to the young sage. "You have given many lifetimes to chronicling this...these senseless acts. To what ends, Child of Miare? What purpose, I ask you, will the records of this backwater youkai zoo serve? What, I ask you, has changed in the 9 lifetimes you have recorded the Chronicle? Have we attained peace? Are we free from fear and strife? What, I ask you, have the chronicles achieved, Child of Miare?"

"...." Akyuu stared back, her expression almost waxen. "....e-...everything has its place....Seiga-san..." She managed, her words sticking at the back of her throat.

"You will reconsider that, Child of Miare. I found the lost children. As we speak, they are lying unconscious on the Nameless Hill. Why? I do not know."

"The children?!" Akyuu's face was a picture of sickly horror.

"Indeed. Some of whom are your students, I understand." Seiga added, thinly veiled delight in her voice. "In fact, one of the people taken by the youkai tonight..." The hermit paused for a moment, as if relishing the apprehension on Akyuu's face, "...that friend of yours, the Suzunaan girl."

"K-Kosuzu-chan?!" Akyuu couldn't help but let out a gasp of shock.

"Oh yes. Her parents are quite distraught, the poor things." The hermit sighed, "You know youkai. The more unique the person, the more power they draw through consuming them."

"Did....did you...did you save them?" Akyuu asked, hoping for some miracle, some divine intervention upon Seiga's whimsical ways.

"I tried." Seiga replied, sounding almost convincingly grim. "The Suzuran bloom abundantly this season and their nocturnal poison almost overpowered me. The best I could do was open up a small hole in the toxic fumes around the children to keep them alive a little longer. But as you have recorded in your chronicles, the softer the obstacle, the less effective my influence on it. The poison clouds are as soft as anything can be and it is consuming all of my powers to keep that small hole open. I cannot expand it any further. I don't know how long the hole will last."

"What do you need from me?" Akyuu asked, reluctantly resigning herself to Seiga's games.

"That is why I desire you so, Akyuu-chan. You understand my intentions well. Only one already dead, a Jiang Shi, or a poison youkai can withstand that poison. There is little hope in having that poison youkai cooperate so that leaves us with only one option."

"Don't you already have a Jiang Shi of your own?" Akyuu asked, anticipating the answer.

"I sent her out to assist the were-hakutaku. I did not anticipate her necessity. What I lack in foresight I hope you will make up in aid."

Akyuu understood full-well the azure hermit's intentions. Worst yet, she knew Seiga knew that she knew. It was Seiga's game, and she had to play, one way or another. She will die, one way or another. She will become a Jiang Shi, one way or another. No force will stop Seiga from prying her grave open and getting what she wanted. There was no point in asking if she'd accept help from Keine or Reimu...neither will the young sage be given the chance to seek them out...Except....Except if....

"I will come with you." Akyuu said, rising up to her full height, her silhouette framed by a sudden explosive burst of danmaku in the night sky above. "I will save those children." She declared, her eyes bright with determination, lit by the fiery flames above. "Or die trying." She said, as strange as it sounded.

"Good....very good, Akyuu...chan....very, very good..." Seiga said, her voice suddenly flowing with honey again. "Come with me. We have a Gensokyo to save."



Quote
ED Song - Infinite Nightmare by Tumeneco - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkkhGsPtZuw&feature=related
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 03:40:10 am by Gappy »

Gappy

  • Oh...oh I was not ready for this.
  • It's only Logical....
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Mind The Gap
Ah, speaking of honey, have you ever tried the honey apples at the shrine festivals? They are simply to die for. Hmmm, I'd kill for something sweet to eat right now. Say, are you sure you don't have diabetes? No?

   What's that? The Nameless Hill? Oh yes, you can see it from here. It lies on the far side of the Genbu Marsh. If you squint, you might just make out that purplish glow in the sky out there between the trees. That's the glow of the Suzuran, the Lily of the Valley, through the haze of their own poison.

   It is a strange place, lying out on the edge of the human map of Gensokyo, unmarked and unnamed, almost beyond knowledge, beyond memory. Being on the edge of living memory means it might as well not exist. This is true of a lot of things in Gensokyo. Gods, youkai, everything only exists if acknowledged, whether by faith or fear. As such, very strange things happen there, on the edge of existence. Rumour has it that those who fall asleep under the lull of the suzuran disappear without a trace. Some legends say they are spirited away by youkai. Some say they get eaten. Some say they themselves become youkai. Parents used to abandon their children there. Some were even left unnamed. Perhaps that is where the name originated. Maybe they ran out of food to feed their children and hoped their children might be able to live better lives as youkai? Who knows? Now, however, it lies forgotten by most of Gensokyo. You could probably even say it has become truly nameless.

    Goes to show how sad having no food is. Especially sweets. Absolutely lamentable, our current state is. If only....what's that? What happened there on the Nameless Hill? Oh, right, my story. Apologies, apologies, distractions abound! Well....

Chapter 3

   The dark violet haze glowed ominously over the dark crest of the hill beyond. Akyuu shivered. Between the biting frost of the cold wind billowing down from the youkai mountain looming behind them or the dark legends surrounding the Nameless Hill, she couldn't tell which was causing her to shiver more. It was her secret whimsical wish to come here, to test the youkai myth. But now that she was truly here, in person, feeling the full force of the cumulative sum of centuries of legends all in one place....

   The flight over didn't help either. While she had always dreamed of flying, there was a definite difference between flying freely and being carried through the air. The latter involved a tug of war between merciless gravity and the ruthless azure hermit with her in the middle, not a comforting thought when one was cruising a few hundred feet up in the air. While she was indeed going to die, leaving a splattered mess across half the great youkai forest was not the way she wanted to go.

   Well, neither is this, come to that. But here she was, climbing the up to the first hill overlooking the Nameless Hill itself. As she and her hermit companion reached the summit, a cold, bitter wind blew glowing purple pollen into her face. It was like liquid fire rushing down her lungs. She doubled up, coughing violently, as the fiery pain spread out from her lungs, suffusing every bit of living flesh in her body. Fear, cold, heavy, gripping fear took control. Her body froze. Her heart stopped. Here she was, on the edge. Before her, certain death. Behind her, certain death.

Quote
OST - Song of Storm and Fire - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Atc51MxhoAE

   "Are you ready, Akyuu-chan?" Seiga asked, snapping the young sage out of her stricken stupor, her voice breathless with anticipation she could no longer hide.

   "Yes." Akyuu was surprised to hear her own voice reply, "Yes, I am." She took a deep breath and...without another thought for the world, for herself, she straightened up, charging forwards into her plan, straight into the Suzuran field.

   "Akyuu! Wait, what are you...?!" She heard the azure hermit cry out behind her. But the rest of what she shouted was drowned out by her heart beating in her own ear drums. She ran. She ran and she ran. All of a sudden, she was free. The pain simmered into a seething roar inside her but it bothered her no longer. She was going to die. This was the end. And she was racing through it on wings of freedom, pure and fierce. For perhaps the first time in her short life, she was not acting as a Child of Miare. She would not die from the 'Curse of Miare'. She would die not with a pen in her hand, with the Gensokyo Chronicle by her side. She had chosen her own death, defying fate, defying Seiga, defying the kidnapping youkai, the Nameless Hill, everything.

   She ran, further and further up the hill, trampling down suzuran underfoot. She had lost her bamboo sandals somewhere behind where they had caught on a rootling, but she ran on in her tabi socks, now ripped and shredded beyond recognition. Just above, beyond, she could see the hole in the poison towering into the sky. There the missing children lay, waiting to be rescued. And she would save them, one way or another, so she told herself over and over, ignoring the painful beating of her heart, the heaviness setting in her limbs.

   But while her spirit was willing, the flesh was succumbing. Her heavy legs slowly gave way, felling her frail little body. With a soft thump, she found herself barely holding herself up by her hands and knees. Trembling feebly, even those gave way. The ground claimed her prone form. Thick, spring mud embraced her.

   Not here, she thought to herself furiously, thick hot tears streaming down her muddy face. She clenched her teeth, tasting blood in her mouth. Not HERE!

   Propelled by sheer will, she raised her face, threw an arm out forwards, clawing into the soft earth. And with a painful heave, she dragged herself forwards. Inch by inch, she moved on through the choking Suzuran. Blinded by tears, by death, she could only move onwards up the hill. Finally, she felt the ground level out. The summit! Was she there? Was she....?

   She felt her presence, looming up above her. She just about managed to peer out through her tears, a pair of feet, standing leisurely before her. Slowly, through a veil of tears and dying eyes, she looked up. Scythe gleaming in the violet glow, blood-red hair awash with moonlight, there stood...the reaper? Watching her? She blinked weakly. "Going somewhere, Akyuu-chan?" She heard the hermit's voice, both distant and close at the same time. "Why not hang around? The dirt suits you." As she blinked what tears she could blink out of her eyes, the reaper vanished, dissolving into the familiar form of the azure hermit.

"Sei...ga..." She wheezed, weakly, feeling cheated. Cheated of her brief, illusionary freedom. Despair set in, heavy and dark. "...Why...?"

   "Well....the suzuran really do overpower my poor little immortal hermit body...with laziness." The hermit yawned, before leaning in close. "Now, between the curse and the poison, what will kill you first, Akyuu-chan? Hmmm? Well, either way, you will die. Now, why fight? At the very least you can become my Jiang Shi willingly."

"Come, become mine, Akyuu-chan. Become my immortal servant, forever and ever. You will be able to face the poison, saving the children, even death itself. All you have to do is accept my invitation." She said, lowering a Jiang Shi charm to the dying sage's face.

   Akyuu gritted her teeth as she struggled to weakly raise a trembling arm up towards the proffered charm. She reached out, feebly, watching through her blurring vision the smile on the hermit's face widen.

   She reached the charm....and smacked it away out of the hermit's hands. The slap resounded through the silent night air.

   "Try...again..." Akyuu coughed, aiming a pained smirk at the azure hermit, "...next...lifetime..." She inhaled deeply. Burning pain flooded her lungs. This was it, but she'd rather die than become a Jiang Shi willingly. The wretched hermit could have her rotting body, but she'll never have her soul.

   "Here I was trying to be nice, respecting your freedom of choice and all that." The hermit growled, her face more impatient than angry. She took hold of the dying sage by her hair, lifting her up into the air. "Now look what you've made me do. Now I have to be all wicked and do it by force." She sighed.

   Groaning in pain, Akyuu could only watch, helpless, as another Jiang Shi charm flickering into existence in her captor's hand. "Aah, Akyu-chan, such a disobedient servant...looks like I will have to discipline you well..." She said, her voice silken with honey once more as she lowered the new charm towards Akyuu's forehead.

Quote
OST - Wind by FELT, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-8oA32Sq6Q&feature=related

   Akyuu closed her eyes. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. From one ill-fated life to another. Maybe she won't notice the difference? Maybe Jiang Shi don't notice much at all? And who knows...maybe...brains....can be...sweet?

   Her last slow, sluggish thoughts were interrupted by a resounding cry that pierced the deathly silence of the hill. "Let go of my Kirrin!"

   "Argh!" She heard the hermit cry out. She dimly registered the hermit recoiling backwards, letting go of her hair. But instead of falling to the ground, the little sage found herself floating up.   

   So, is this what death is like? Floating up in a spiral of....thick red candy floss? She felt a strong, sweet, flower-scented breeze clear her lungs. The burning pain crushing her entire body remained, but she found herself breathing freely once more. Just on the edge of her vision she saw Seiga hovering in the air, recovering from the violent blast that had sent her flying backwards. Seiga's look of surprise and anger quickly disappeared from view, obscured by the thickening scarlet mist now forming a tornado towering up into the sky above. It encircled her, carrying her up higher and higher.

   Akyuu's vision fought to focus on something, anything, in the spiralling crimson mist. It finally fell upon something....it was a shape in the mist...or perhaps a thicker bit of the mist itself?

   And it spoke. "Rin found you, Rin did~!"

   "....Ri-...n? Who...?" Akyuu just about managed to murmur weakly. Some old memory fought to surface in the young sage's sluggish mind. The name resonated with something deep down inside her, like a dream, a dejavu of sorts.
   
   "Rin's name is...Rin's name is....Rin! that's it! Rin!" The thickened mist drew closer, seemingly trying to come together to form something, but having some trouble trying to remember what it was supposed to form. "It's been so long since Rin spoke to someone...anyone...Rin's forgotten even Rin's own name!"

   "You're....a youkai?" Akyuu frowned, trying to focus on the being before her, but it was like trying to focus through water. The form swam in and out of focus, but she could just about make out something in the chaotic cotton-candy-like substance....a head, some hair, maybe limbs and a body? "But...you barely exist. You've been....forgotten?"

   "Y-yes, it's a bit embarassing, actually. Rin even forgot about Rin's self." The apparition replied, chuckling lightly with what sounded like relief.

   "Rin....Rin..." Akyuu fought to grasp onto the elusive memory, slipping through her hands like water. But slowly it grew clearer and clearer. As the memory surfaced, the figure before her swam closer and closer into focus. Purplish silver hair crowned by a frilly crimson bow, a light, peach-coloured dress laced with frills and ribbons, an ornate wooden string instrument and a bow, all slowly materialized out of the chaotic scarlet mist.

   "That's right....RinRin...Kirrin...." Akyuu murmured, "I never forget anyone, anything. And you...I remember you. I still remember you."

   "Y-you d-do?" The new apparition quavered, her voice full of hope. "You really really remember Rin?" She asked, her voice pleading, hands reaching out for the young sage as the two slowly drifted closer and closer.

   "Yes...." Akyuu reached out, mirroring the girl before her, "You came to me...you bit me...you made me the next kirrin..." She recalled.

   "Yes...Yes! You're....you're Rin's Kirrin!" The girl gasped, her eyes suddenly brimming with tears as she clasped Akyuu's hands in her own, drawing her close. "Rin's little Kirrin~Eheh~" She giggled through tears of happiness as their foreheads touched. "You still remember Rin~ Rin is...Rin is happy...so happy..."

   For the first time in a long, long time, Akyuu felt safe. Safe in the flower-scented warmth washing over, safe in the Kirrin's hold.

   They held each other close for what felt like both the longest time, the briefest moment. But it didn't last. The warmth dissipated. The pain returned. Slowly, the spiralling crimson mist slowed all around them.

   "We're...we're falling...?" Akyuu murmured, suddenly feeling gravity take hold of her.

   "Rin's....Rin's disappearing...." The youkai said, her form dissipating, "Rin can't hold on for long...But...but...Rin still wants to help! Rin wants to save you, little Kirrin."

   "Please...please save...please save those children." Akyuu pleaded. "I'm going to die, but...those children...they have to live! They must!"

   "Rin wants to...Rin wants to so much...but..." The apparition shook her head, helpless, "Rin can't. Rin barely....barely exists."

   "You have to try! I will remember! As hard as I can, as long as I can, until you get them to safety!" Akyuu gasped, clasping the youkai's hands tighter, willing her not to leave, not to disappear.

   "You remember Rin." The youkai echoed Akyuu's words, "So if Rin joins you and absorbs your memories of Rin, Rin can exist again!"

   "...You...you can...you can do that?" Akyuu asked, hope rising.

   "Rin will become one with you! And you'll become one with Rin!" The Kirrin said, excitedly.

   "I'll....become a youkai?"

   "Yes, and together we'll be able to save those children!"

   "...."

   "You...You don't want to become a youkai?" The Kirrin asked, suddenly seeming concerned.

   "...." Akyuu broke into a sudden mad smile of determination, "I...I want to become the Kirrin." She declared, embracing her companion tightly. "Let us do this, Rin."

   She felt Rin return her embrace in kind. All around them, the fiery crimson storm intensified as it drew closer and closer to them, engulfing them both, glowing ever brighter. Before the light blinded her, she saw Rin smile at her, "Thou art Rin and Rin art thou...."

   She felt life flood her very being. Something deep within surfaced, welling up like a fountain, permeating every bit of her, dissolving her pain, diluting her weariness, until all she felt was life, strong and fierce, flowing through her. She felt light. Lighter than she has ever felt in her life. She felt her very spirit lift up, inflated by some strange, newfound confidence.

Quote
OST - Japanese Saga - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRfZ85hLcf0

   Outside, the violent scarlet tornado burst outwards across the Nameless Hill, showering the entire hill with cherry petals. The swirling spire unfolded into a pair of majestic wings, shedding sakura petals as they waved gracefully through the air. Floating in the middle of it all was Akyuu. Slowly, the young sage opened her eyes, raising them up towards the adversary hovering above.

"Akyuu! What in the name of Tao has....?" Seiga demanded, before gasping in abject horror as their eyes met.

Glowing red eyes, diamond-shaped pupils, gazed intently back up at the hermit. "No....those horns....those ears...that tail....you're a....you're a youkai....how?! How is this possible?! Is...Is this...is this the power of the Nameless Hill?!"

Akyuu slowly curled and uncurled her hands, testing the unfamiliar new feeling coursing through her body. It was something alien to her once-weak constitution. It was strength, flowing, overflowing. It was in her. It was all around her in the scarlet mist spiralling about her. She felt the mist, the flowers, the very wind around her bend to her will like cotton candy. She felt something swish behind her and found, much to her astonishment, a long, fluffy tail glowing crimson in the dark. Something twitched in her hair. Through them she heared anything and everything, from the wind blowing through the sakura trees far, far away to the rustle of the Suzuran below. New fluffy ears? And what was this crackling above her head, almost roaring with pure energy? Horns? Flaming crimson horns?

So....this is it? This is how youkai felt all the time? So...in control? So overwhelming? So all-powerful? So much a part of everything as everything was a part of herself? It was almost....intoxicating, like a chocolate milkshake bubblebath.

"You....Akyuu....Child of Miare...youkai, whatever! You will die tonight. You will become my Jiang-Shi. You will become mine." The Taoist hermit declared, pulling a spellcard out of thin air with a broad sweep of one hand, pulling her prized hairpin out of her hair with the other.

"Kyuuu...." The little youkai wavered before the brandished card and hairpin.

"Quick! We need a snappy comeback!" A voice shouted in her head, setting her priorities straight.

"Uhh....Y-You! Yes, you! Ummm...You start learning to listen or....or....or I will come up there and clean your ears out for you with your own hairpin!" Akyuu was shocked to hear hearself shout. It was frightening, more frightening than anything she has ever experienced, including that one time she thought that kappa would steal her shirikodama from you-know-where. It was more so now that she was no longer just a human bystander - she had the actual strength to fight.

   It was also...exhilarating. Not only could she answer back to these beings, she now has the strength to back her own words. "Then...Then perhaps you might learn the meaning of 'NO'!" She declared at the top of her voice, swinging her arms out to her sides in a show of force. As if obeying an unspoken command, the scarlet mist all around her swirled and gathered, thickening as if flooding an invisible mould. As she pulled her arms out of the arc, the scarlet mist gathered in her hands exploded in a flurry of cherry blossoms, leaving behind some kind of wooden string instrument in one hand, its bow in another.

"What's this?" She asked the world in general.

"An erhu. Oh, and a bow." The helpful voice answered from somewhere inside her head. "Careful, you can take people's eyes out with those...and then some."

"Oh, Rin, you're still here?" Akyuu asked the open air.

"Of course, silly! What do you think Rin meant by becoming one?" The voice inside replied, matter-of-factly. "It's nice and roomy in here too. Rin didn't think there'd be this much empty space in such a small head, sure didn't."

"Err...I didn't think you'd move in and settle in my head. And what I meant was, what do I do with these?" Akyuu asked, waving her erhu and bow.

Quote
OST - Old Yuanxian Arrange by Demetori - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZO0dHKs2Ic&feature=related

"Evil Sign 「Yang Xiaogui」!" Seiga declared, raising her spellcard skywards. There was a flash. And then there were light beams. Massive menacing beams of light arching out from thin air, spiralling out towards the young youkai.

"W-W-What is that?!" Akyuu gasped, recoiling.

"Trouble!" Rin said, "Laser trouble!"

"What do I....?" Akyuu shut her eyes, instinctively flinching. As if following her queue, her wings of scarlet mist folded around her protectively. Just as the wings furled around her like a shield, the entire world shook violently for the little youkai as what felt like an oni battering ram slammed against her wings, sending her spinning head over heels, "Kyuuu.....UMPH!", until she crashed into something hard and familiar. She immediately recognized it as her arch nemesis, the ground. "Kyuuu...." She winced, feeling bits of her she didn't know she had protest in agony.

"Continue?" Rin asked, pleasantly, seemingly unperturbed, "10....9...."

"Yes Yes Yes!" Akyuu shouted, leaping onto her feet with a mighty flap of her wings, taking off across the field just as a laser blast incinerated the bit of suzuran she had just occupied. She rushed forth, the field rushing by inches beneath her feet as she sped faster and faster across the field. Just as she was getting to grips with flying straight, more laser bolts arced straight towards her.

The shrinemaiden and the witch make this bit look so easy but.... "How do I turn?" She asked, realizing she lacked the most fundamental of flight controls.

"Oh....err.. it's time to bring out some shot options, yes it is!" Rin declared.

"What's a...." Akyuu was about to ask before she was interrupted by her scarlet mist gathering together underneath her, growing denser and denser, glowing brighter and brighter, until the light burst into a storm of sakura petals, revealing underneath a golden mane crowning a massive crimson and gold beast.

The ground trembled violently as four muscular clawed legs dug into the earth at full gallop.

Familiarity struck the young sage. Memories of the massive creature leading the Kirrin dance surfaced. But this, this was...."Ah, that's a shot option." Akyuu observed, noting the massive, majestic Kirrin she was now riding at full gallop across the Suzuran field, trailing sakura petals in its wake.

Akyuu looked up towards the oncoming laser bolts. She took hold of the creature's mane and, as if reading her thoughts, it leapt aside beyond the laser beam's reach. No, she realized, more than simply reading her thoughts, the being was a part of herself, an extension of her own body. She felt every motion, every powerful paw striking the earth, every bit of velvety fur bristling in the breeze.

The next moment they were galloping on the other side of the field, watching the lasers strike empty ground. They went on dodging volley after volley of laser blasts, leaping from side to side across the field as they closed the distance in a flash.

"G-Get closer so I can...ummm.....swing this erhu at her?!" Akyuu shouted into the wind.

"The Kirrin protects!" She heard Rin reply inside. With a lunge, the Kirrin leapt off the summit of the hill, straight up towards the hovering hermit above. Akyuu felt her stomach drop away as they sailed up, and up.

"Evil Sign「Guhun Yegui」!" Seiga declared, waving another glowing spellcard at them.

"Kyuuu!" Akyuu cried as a barrage of Akyuu-sized orbs, glowing threateningly like holes in the fabric of the night itself, rushed out of the air at her. She struggled, pulling up a ton of kirrin out of the way of the first wave. She herself just about managed to evade it, but her poor Kirrin erupted into a mass of sakura petals under the onslaught of the glowing orbs. She kicked off what remained of the Kirrin, propelling herself skywards.

"You stubborn, childish little horror!" She heard Seiga shout, hurling more orbs down at her.

Akyuu ignored her. Her wings of scarlet mist and sakura petals flapped mightily through the air as she weaved through the rest of the barrage, rising higher and higher. An orb came hurtling straight for her. Still lacking the ability to turn, she did the next best thing - flinch, with bow in hand. The orb and bow collided, resulting in an explosive burst of flower petals, grazing her arm. "Kyuuh!" But, limp arm trailing blood through the air, she flew onwards, upwards, determined gaze trained on her target.

"Now!" Rin cried in her ears excitedly, "Shout out a really cool technique name!"

"Akyuuuuuuuuu!" Akyuu cried, as she began to spin round and round through the air, "Rider....Rock Candy" She declared the first thing that came to her mind, putting all her momentum behind her one final blow, "KIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK!" She roared, sailing across the final distance between her and her target.

There was an almighty twang as erhu met hairpin, showering the sky with magical sparks.

"That wasn't a kick!" Rin pointed out, urgently, as the young youkai and the hermit clashed, both propelled further skywards by sheer momentum. The erhu, glowing crimson, swung through the air once more, leaving a trail of glowing scarlet mist in its wake, before clashing with the hairpin yet again. Akyuu held onto the erhu tight, hands shaking, as she struggled to force the instrument down upon her foe.

Locked in a fierce deadlock of erhu on hairpin, the two vied for supremacy, fighting to stare down their opponent. "You...you hard-headed little...." Akyuu heard Seiga growl at her.

"You're right." Akyuu agreed, a mad idea dawning, courtesy of Keine "I do have a hard head." She nodded in agreement, putting all her strength behind her nod.

Their foreheads met. Violently. The crash boomed across the Nameless Hill.  Something cracked. Something gave.

For a moment, the world was still. Two figures spun away from each other in the night sky. One spun around and righted itself, dizzily. The other flew on into the darkness.

"Kyuu....come back...if you think you're...hard enough...." Akyuu said, dazed, watching the limp, unconscious form of the hermit spiral away towards the youkai mountain, "I'll...be....err...waiting...umm...here...yes...."

"That still wasn't a kick." Rin pointed out.

"I doubt...Seiga noticed...the...the difference." Akyuu said, shaking herself out of her daze.

"You pulled out of the spin at the wrong moment, Little Kirrin." Rin criticized, giggling.

"It was all just as planned." Akyuu shrugged, before wincing in pain, "Kyuuuh! That hurts!" She looked down at the wound in her arm...and found the deep gash the orbs left in her arm was already healing, leaving little but smarting pains. "Oh, that's convenient."

"Then how do you plan on solving that?" Rin demanded, drawing her attention down to the little circle in the poison cloud where the children were.

"Ummm....pi r squared....?" Akyuu blinked, trying to wave the Seiga-shaped stars out of her eyes.

"No, silly. The hole's closing." Rin pointed out.

"Oh....umm...I knew it was a problem with r." Akyuu nodded woozily. "Err.....Akyuu Rider Kick again?" The little youkai suggested.

"How do you plan on kicking miiiiiiiiiist....?!" Rin gasped as, suddenly, the young youkai dove towards the clearing. "No! Don't headbutt the ground! Pleaaaaaaaase!!"

She stretched her arms out. As if mirroring her, her wings stretched out behind her, catching the air as they fell. She rolled around in her descent, this time heeding the mental note to pull out of the spin feet-first. "Akyuu Rider Candy-Floss Kick!" She shouted as she began spinning round and round like a top.

As if following her queue, the wind and mist whirled around her, coursing faster and faster into a spiral of mist and flower petals. With a loud whoomph, she landed kneeling in the grass in the middle of the hole. An explosive burst of wind and mist arced outwards across the hill, expelling poison mist before it.

"....how...did you know that would work...?" Rin asked, in disbelief, as they watched the glowing poison mist clear away.

"You did it. I thought I'd be able to do it as well." Akyuu said, simply.

"....we can work on the naming later." Rin sighed.

"Note to self - when in doubt, Akyuu rider kick solves everything." Akyuu nodded to herself approvingly as she bent down to check on the children.

"That still wasn't a kick." Rin muttered.

"I don't see the poison mist complaining, do you?" Akyuu shrugged, turning her attention to one particular child dressed in a rather modern checker-squared wa-kimono, complete with a creamy frilly apron. "...Kosuzu-chan..." She sighed, brushing aside the bright red hair from the young bookkeeper's childish sleeping face.

"No big hurry, Little Kirrin, but the poison mist looks kind of lonely and eager to get to know you." Rin pointed out the circle of poison closing in on them once more. "So, no pressure and all that."

"It can be lonely all by itself." Akyuu said, her newfound confidence speaking for her. With a little flourish she raised a hand into the air and pulled her bow out of the air before waving it like a baton. As if heeding an unspoken order, the scarlet mist curled around the children, thickening and coalescing. They thickened to form the broad, muscular form of the Kirrin, climbing out of the ground, heaving the children onto its expansive furry back between its feathery furled wings.

"Your Kirrin-half isn't exactly a kiddy tourist bus." Rin added. "It doesn't have baby seatbelts for starters."

"Oh, I'm sure the children won't mind. They're still asleep." Akyuu said, making sure the children were nicely secured atop the Kirrin.

"Let's hope they remain that way. We don't want them getting airsick. Not on us." Rin muttered."Oh, this'll be your proper maiden flight, won't be, little Kirrin?" Rin suddenly giggled, "Go on, you take flight. Rin will take care of the Kirrin-half."

"....Wait a moment...you can drive the Kirrin-half?" Akyuu turned to face the Kirrin-half, an incredulous look on her face. "Then you could've...during that battle..."

"Rin'll race ya!" The Kirrin-half leapt into a running start before launching itself into the night sky. "Last one's cleaning up all the airsick bags!"

"R-Rin!"Akyuu panicked, willing her wings to spread out as she spread her own hands out wide. Her majestic wings of scarlet mist burst out to either side of her in a shower of crimson sakura petals. "Wait...I...How do I...?" She bent her knees and lowered herself. As if bowing to her whims, the wind swirled and gathered about her feet. "KyuuuuUUUUH!"It came almost naturally.  With an almighty beat of her wings, she launched herself into the air, leaving a blast of wind in her wake.

Quote
進め!万年置き傘調査隊, Arrange by Golden City Factory - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLk3alNiYGc

She soared.

The ground rapidly shrunk into nothingness behind her. With a few more powerful beats of her incandescent wings, she spiralled on heavenwards. Freezing cold air rushed about her, but nothing could stop her now. She burst through the canopy of clouds, trailing wispy sparkling condensation in her wake as she rose up, reaching up for the stars and the moon.

She was alive. She was free. And nothing could be better.

"Kyahahahaaah!" Her high-pitched laughter echoed loud and clear across the night sky. "I'm flyyyyiiiiiiiing!"

"No, really?" Rin asked as the Kirrin-half pulled level with her. "You're easy to please, aren't you, little Kirrin?"

"Kyahahahahah!" The little Kirrin trailed a hand through the clouds below. With another burst of speed she zoomed onwards towards the starry horizon. There was nothing to limit her here in the endless sky. It felt like all eternity, all infinity, was in her grasp.

"If only Keine could see me now!" Akyuu cried, giggling madly with euphoria.

"Hmm..." Rin murmured, suddenly thoughtful. "Well..."

"Thank you..." Akyuu suddenly said, "Thank you, Rin. Thank you for saving me...and...well...you know....all this..."

"Tehehe...well..don't thank Rin yet, little Kirrin." The kirrin said, sounding a little bitter all of a sudden.

"What is it, Rin...?" The change in tone didn't escape Akyuu.

"You should focus on finding the village first, little Kirrin." Rin prompted, "We don't want these children to wake up here in midair. We're not insured for that."

"Oh...oh yes!" Akyuu gasped, remembering their little passengers. "Uhh...the village... the village....Rin?"

"Yes?"

"....are signposts up here a little too much to hope for?"

"..." A moment of thoughtful silence, before, "Well, we just cleared a stage so a helpful subtitle with the next stage's location and bgm name will probably pop up soon."

"....Pardon me?" Akyuu blinked.

"Rin said to just look for the big random cluster of lights in the dark."

"Clusters of light that don't try to shoot you down?" Akyuu asked, recalling her first ever fight with a little shiver.

"That helps." The Kirrin conceded. "My advice is not to fly into them if they happen to be of the shooting variety."

Finding the human village in the night proved a greater challenge than the young youkai anticipated. Especially from a vantage point she wasn't quite used to -i.e. from the back of an airborne Kirrin galloping through the air, mighty fiery wings flapping, trailing glowing scarlet mist and sakura petals through the night sky.

Especially especially that particular night.

"I'm sure it's around here somewhere." Akyuu sighed, scanning the ground once more. Much to her frustration, despite her glaring at it with all her might, the ground below remained very stubbornly villageless.

"Maybe someone misplaced it?" Rin suggested, helpfully.

"Common sense says that's nonsense, but common sense is a weakness in Gensokyo. I guess Keine must have hidden the village during the attack." Akyuu said, finally deciding to land the behemoth of a beast. Much to her surprise, it touched down on the soft grass quite lightly, barely disturbing the grass, let alone make a sound. "...that's quiet."

"We at Air Kirrin believe people shouldn't have to suffer noise pollution...unless they deserve it, yep." Rin said.

"Hmm...? What's that?" The young youkai said as she touched down herself, noticing a small, dark patch on the ground.

"Whatever it is, that person over there is leaking it." Rin said, pointing out the trail of dark patches leading away from it, trailing off towards a tree against which a figure seemed to be resting.

Quote
Quote
OST - Hear Our Prayer by Yuki Kajiura - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ-CLKqFScg

"Wait...that's....Keine!" Akyuu gasped, breaking into a run towards the schoolteacher. "O-oh my...K-Keine!" she cried, kneeling by the were-hakutaku where she lay against the tree. "Keine...." She murmured, raising a hand up to brush hair out of Keine's face. She was shocked to the core on feeling something wet, sticky, and, most horrifyingly, warm, on her hands. Blood. It was everywhere, streaming down her face, soaking her bright green schoolteacher's dress, pooling about her on the ground. "R-Rin! W-we have....we have to....what do we do?!"

"Ummm....uhh....let's NOT Akyuu Rider Kick her?" Rin suggested in panic. "R-Rin doesn't know! R-Rin barely remembers anything at all!"

"Keine...." Akyuu murmured, tears welling up, "Keine...please...please be alright...." She pleaded, leaning in closer towards what was perhaps the closest thing she had to an adopted mother.

"Rin said NOT to headbutt her? Oh well..." Rin gasped, panicking, as Akyuu touched her forehead to Keine's.

"Please....please...you have to be alright....you simply must be alright..." Akyuu pleaded, in her heart of hearts. "Please....please..."

But the hakutaku remained seemingly lifeless. Tears brimming in her eyes, the little youkai reached out, clutching the blood-soaked hakutaku tightly. "Please...no...Keine..." She sobbed. "...I love you...you can't...you can't leave me here....not alone..." She hicupped, little hands clasped in desperation, "Mommy...please.."

A breeze blew across the empty plains, stirring the grass, ruffling the few sakura trees dotting the landscape. The wind picked up. The scent of flowers filled the air. Suddenly, the darkness receded, lit up by the flowers thronging the plains and trees. Glowing sakura petals flew up into the sky in the flower-scented breeze. Scarlet mist swirled between the trees, slithered across the grass, gathering together around them.

The mist and petals swirled around the hakutaku, glowing a bright crimson in the dark, before enveloping her, almost protectively. Akyuu gasped, recoiling backwards, as the glow brightened and brightened until it was blinding.

And then it receded. Another breeze blew what petals rested upon the schoolteacher away into the night sky.

"K-Keine...?" Akyuu whispered, hope rising.

"Hmmm, now Rin remembers. That is Kirrin Art No. 17 - Healing!" Rin announced, proudly.

Something flickered in the dark. The air about them seemed to shimmer. Then, as if colour began to flow into the world around them, walls and roads appeared. Where there was only an empty clearing, houses and stores now stood, an entire village alight with lanterns. And with them appeared the human villagers, all sharing the same worried, apprehensive looks.

There was a moment of silence as Akyuu found herself standing in the middle of the market square, surrounded by her once fellow villagers.

"That wasn't Rin." Rin was quick to deny all responsibility, "Rin did not just make an entire village appear out of thin air."

"That's Keine's spell wearing off." Akyuu murmured, cautiously looking about.

"I-Is that...K-Kamishirasawa-s-sensei?" One elderly man croaked shakily, pointing at the lifeless body on the ground.

"T-that...that stuff on the ground...i-is t-that b-blood?!" A woman shrieked. "Oh kami-sama...s-she's...she's dead!"

"Th-those horns...t-that tail....That's a youkai!" A man roared, pointing at the stunned Akyuu. "S-she looks...she looks just like..."

"It's the curse! The Hieda curse!" A woman screamed hysterically. "The curse got both her and Kamishirasawa-sensei!"

"She did it! She killed Kamishirasawa-sensei!" Another man shouted, pointing his torch at Akyuu.

"A-aaaah it-it's the ch-children!" A mother cried, pointing at the sleeping children atop the Kirrin-half. "T-that's...that's the youkai who took the children!"

"W-wait....I..." The shellshocked Akyuu squeaked, looking round in panic. But wherever she turned there were only looks of fear or anger or both. Cries of anger and calls for death swept through the villagers.

Quote
OST - Numb - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FAvWYv613I

"Nghh..." The Hakutaku stirred. She groaned wearily as she tried to move. Then, slowly, a pair of eyes opened up, blearily. A sudden silence drowned out the cries and shouts.

"K-Keine!" Akyuu gasped, relief flooding her...but only for a moment.

"Back for more, youkai...?" The schoolteacher suddenly laughed mirthlessly, before breaking into feeble coughs "Oh, you picked the wrong Hakutaku on the wrong night....heh....heheheh...."

"K-Keine...are you...?" Akyuu began.

"My sweet little Akyuu...gone...never...never even got to visit the poor thing. Because all you hellspawn...you all chose tonight of all nights. Get in line, I'll teach you some manners before the night is ov-..." Keine slowly looked up, blinking the blood and tears out of her eyes, until they fell upon the young youkai's form silhouetted against the moonlight "No....you...can't be..."

"Keine, I...." Akyuu began, reaching out.

"....foul youkai scum!" Akyuu had but a split second to dodge the bullet that just barely grazed her forehead, shaving off her floral hair ornament clean off. "You dare?!" Akyuu just barely evaded another blind shot, staggering backwards in the process, "You dare befoul my poor, sweet Akyuu's form?!" The were-hakutaku roared, staggering onto her feet, lobbing another fiery blast of magic at her own adopted daughter. Akyuu lost her balance, falling out of the way of the blast.

"Keine, it's me!" She cried, waving her arms out before her pleadingly. "Please!"

"My little Akyuu...she's gone now. Someone...something took her. Those youkai animals must have her. She was only a little girl. My sweet little Akyuu. She didn't deserve to die, not so young. You demons! All of you! She loved you all! She loved Gensokyo! And how did you repay her love?! Damn you all! Damn Gensokyo to the deepest pits of HELL!" The hakutaku spat, consumed by blind, passionate rage.

"Keine, look at me! Please! I'm just...." Akyuu pleaded.

"I wanted to see her! I wanted to see her so much! I was too afraid! She was going to die! But now she's gone! GONE! My sweet little Akyuu! Now you taint her memories, you...you...you demon!" The Hakutaku bellowed, her chest and shoulders heaving with rage, "My...my sweet little Akyuu would never...ever be a youkai. Never look so hideous. She'd never become one of you wild despicable animals! How dare you toy with her pure, innocent face?! How dare you speak in her kind, honest voice?! "

"Keine! I....." Akyuu stopped. It was true...she was now a youkai...was this how she wanted Keine to know her? To remember her? As an evil child-stealing, human-eating demon?

She took a step back.

The Gensokyo Chronicle....it was humanity's only defense against the youkai. More importantly, it was the only thing that might one day help them understand and accept youkai. It was Gensokyo's only remaining hope for peace now.

If the villagers found out she had become a youkai, all faith in the Chronicle would be lost. Where would that leave the humans then, especially in such dark times?

Another step back.

No.

Another step, knees shaking.

She can't.

She'd...she'd never be able to face Keine or the villagers again. Not like this. Not as a despicable, hideous animal...a youkai.

Her feet almost froze, rooted to the ground. This would be a step she'd never be able to take back.

Hieda no Akyuu must die a human. For Keine's sake. And the chronicle's. And the village's.

She was better off dead.

She staggered.

Hieda no Akyuu is dead.

She staggered backwards, before rooting her feet in the ground, straightening up to her full height. Determination filled her fiery red eyes, enkindling them like burning embers in the dark. She sighed, wiping away the tears, before taking a deep breath.

There was no turning back.

"H-Hmpph....f-foolish...Hakutaku....that a y-youkai l-like me would stoop so low....hah!" She laughed, "Know this, Hakutaku! The girl...she's dead! Died before we could even...sink our teeth in. Dead meat's...not even...not even fit for dog food...far from worthy of our palates....haha...hahaha...at least...at least her kimono's nice and warm...yes, oh yes," She laughed bitterly, her heart threatening to burst with each heaving breath.

"You monster!" Keine breathed, anger and hatred welling up on her face. Murmurs ran through the gathered crowd. Slowly but surely it built up into a low roar.

"Not...not just any monster. Fear me, Hakutaku, humans for I am...I am the Kirrin," The little youkai bellowed, raising her arms up to the moon, "The Capricious Benevolent Moon (Sa-Tsuki), Rin!" She waved her arms, causing the Kirrin behind her to dissolve into the mist, allowing the children to slowly float down to the ground, "Now take your smelly little spawn! That little brat begging and pleading for them as she died ruined our appetite for them."

"She....she...no...no no no..." Keine sank to the ground under the weight of her grief. "No...no...not my Akyuu...."

"Hieda-sama....she..." A mother in the crowd sank to her knees in tears.

"She saved the children..." A man murmured, "Hieda-sama saved them!"

"Oh, she did have some last words for you, Hakutaku." The young youkai added. She took a deep breath, steadying her trembling self as best as she can, "She said, 'Keine, you've always been the best mommy ever, I love you...always...forever and ever'."

The bereft mother reached a pair of trembling hands out towards the floral hair ornament resting in the mud before her, the very same one she had tied on her little girl's head so, so many years ago. She clutched the torn flower, holding it close against her bossom, crying into it. Suddenly, she threw her head back and roared at the night sky "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!" It was a hideous, ugly cry of a broken creature, of a tormented soul overflowing with anguish and pain, "AAAAAGH! AAAH AAAH AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!"

Unable to endure another moment of it, Akyuu took flight. She flew off into the thick darkness of the night, where nobody would be able to see the tears streaming down her face. She disappeared in a wisp of scarlet mist. The darkness claimed her. But she could not escape the screams. They went on and on, throughout the night, no matter where she ran. She never realized it was her own.


Quote
ED Song - Japanese Saga by Genmu (Vocal version) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei7g6y_9Idk&feature=related

EDIT: Quick little sketch of what I imagine Youkai!Akyuu looks like -

« Last Edit: December 26, 2013, 11:31:11 pm by Gappy »

OkashiiKisei

  • Still working on the Grimoire
  • It's all about devotion
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Okashii
Goddammit you almost made me cry at the Keine part. ;____; You're an evil, evil woman, Gappy... :ohdear:

But wow, this is amazing so far. The very concept caught my interest immediately (I always love youkaïfication~), and then it just kept going. Toddler!Akyuu is simply adorable~ Though, why does Akyuu still shout 'kyuu' and 'akyuu' even as an adult? Unless you're implying Akyuu is half-Pokemon.

I really liked the method you used to transform Akyuu. It caught me by surprise, as based from one of the earlier versions of this story I thought Byakuren was going to make Akyuu a youkai, and a humanish one at that. But this new version is way cooler, if slightly familiar. Though, why all these jokes about eating humans if kirin are supposed to be creatures that respect all life? They even float over grass to avoid squashing it. Making them man-eaters kinda goes against their nature, unless I'm missing something here.

Seiga's a curious choice for a villainess, but damn is she a great one. Seductive, manipulative and chilling~

All in all, a great fic so far, and I can't wait to see more~

Oh, also:

Quote
It was an older girl, with soft, purplish snowy blonde hair that shimmered in the dark.

I'm a bit stumped on this one. Rin looks more like she has regular blonde hair, if a bit light. Then again, artistic license.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2012, 10:03:36 pm by OkashiiKisei »

BT

  • I never talk to you
  • *
  • People say that I should
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Dan
  • Gender: Male
Sharing the sentiments of the above poster. More greatness por favor.

Totaku

  • The Traveling Otaku of Gensokyo
  • I want to be a little NEET moon princess
Welp finished catching up. I know you had me give you some feedback on a chapter before publishing, but now that I had full look at the whole thing, I'm rather pleased with the whole thing and how it's going. It's a rather unique little story you have building up here for Akyuu.

Most of what OkashiiKisei said fits what runs though my head since I read the whole thing. You know how to pull of drama and it shows.

Being Kirin Akyuu is suffering.
That's one small step for man, one giant leap for Otaku Kind.
Tsunami Channel Home of  Japanese webcomics Artist Akira Hasegawa.
My Deviant Art site gallery
Now I Twitter

Gappy

  • Oh...oh I was not ready for this.
  • It's only Logical....
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Mind The Gap
Quote
OST - From a Distance - Child of Are - by spctrm, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5zdwq4eY_8&feature=related

   Ah, dawn is breaking, human. It looks like we've survived the night. Ah, stay your hand. Don't put out that fire just yet. We may still chance upon something to roast over the fire for breakfast.

   ....Please, this is getting rather old. The night has passed, human, and you might be surprised to find your backside is whole, ungobbled, and still in possession of all your limbs. You're going to need them, after all. I'm taking you home now.

   Yes, yes, alright, I'm done giggling. But you should have seen your face. Come, come, I meant I'm walking you back home to the human village. Yes, walk. I'm not carrying you back. I know firsthand how horrid it is to be carried around through the air like an oversized pinata, especially when your pinata players are passing youkai, so I'll spare you the experience and have you walk your way back. Worry not, I will walk with you. I need to walk off this meal after all. Hmmm? Oh? Nothing, nothing, shall we see if there is anything we can find for you to eat, human?

   What was that? You don't wish to go home? You wish to...? Become a youkai like me, you say? Why didn't you say so? You know all humans who are eaten by youkai become youkai themselves, right? Right?

   Apologies, apologies, human. I did not mean to giggle so, and it was not you I was giggling at. More at myself. I'm taking you very seriously. I of all people should know better. But no, it's not quite so easy, human. My becoming a youkai was an unorthodox affair. I've come to understand that it is normally a slower, more subtle process. A rare occurrence at that.

   Now come, I will take you home, human. Hmm? Help you become a youkai, you say? Sure, would you mind showering in some barbecue sauce while I put more firewood in? No? Well, maybe a little salt and pepper at least? Even steak tartar needs that little bit of spice, no? Oh come now, you're sweet, human, but not that sweet. Even youkai have standards.

   Alright? Enough jokes, you say? Well then, the answer is no, human. Why, you ask? Even after everything I've gone through I'd deny another human the same opportunity? Because I can tell you that becoming a youkai isn't the happily-ever-after. It's not even the once-upon-a-time. Now come, you are going home.

   You wish to hear what really follows becoming a youkai? Hmm...well...I suppose it is a ways to the human village, and there may be merit in telling you, that you may appreciate your lot in life more. Very well then, see that stream over yonder? Just beyond the woods? That stream is where I was baptised as a youkai. What sort of baptism do youkai receive, you ask? I suppose you can call it a baptism of fire. In my case, it was both figurative and literal. Such is Gensokyo's way of welcoming all newborn.

Chapter 4 Part 1

Quote
OST - Krone - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d10_sLHZNhA

   "KYUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!" The cry reverberated through the night.  A trail of broken trees and smashed rocks ended in a shallow stream by the Great Youkai Forest, where a figure lay on her hands and knees in the shallows.   

   The figure looked down at the shallows beneath her. A young, purplish silver-haired girl sporting a pair of flaming horns and fluffy ears peered back at her through glowing tearful red eyes. "KYUUUUUUUUH! KYUU KYUUU KYUUUUUUUH!" She flew into another fit of cries, driving herself hoarse, as she pounded her reflection with her little fists, sending water and broken river stones flying. Her little fists erupted into crimson flames, wrapped in flaming scarlet mist, letting off fiery steam with each bit of water she pounded.

   "....Kirrin-chan?" Rin began, hesitantly testing the waters, "Are you...okay?" before realizing that was about as stupid as dunking her head in a hell reactor's heat exchanger. 

   "Okay? Eheehee...Ehehehehehe....Nyahah...Hahah...NYAHAHAHAH!" The little youkai's cries suddenly gave way to hysterical laughter. "I....hahahah...I don't...nyahahahah...don't even know what...kyahahahahah...'okay' is anymore! KYAHAHAHAHAH!"

   "Okaaaay....good, you're...err...laughing....that's....a good start..." Rin murmured, before finally deciding this might be a good point to stop digging the hole. Figuratively, at least. Akyuu was already doing a good literal job pounding a hole through the riverbed.

   "I-I k-k-killed her!" The little youkai laughed bitterly, plunging her burning hands into the river one last time. Crimson steam erupted forth, filling the air with more scarlet mist. "I-I...I k-killed Hieda no Akyuu! I laughed in her mother's face! Ahahahah! Keine, you....you...." The laughter slowly dissolved into feeble sobs and pitiful sniffles, "What....what have I done, Rin....?" She wept, "Why....why did I do such a thing....I....I hurt her....I hurt Keine more......."

   "Rin doesn't know, little Kirrin. But you are not without wisdom. You did what you thought was best at the time." Rin said, reassuringly.

   "I-I've become a youkai...just like those who hurt Keine...who kidnapped the children...w-who...who attack and eat humans..... She'd....she'd never forgive me...nobody at the village would ever forgive me." She murmured, hot tears dripping into the cold stream. "I-its always just been a whim....an idea....I-I n-never r-really intended....n-never really thought....i-it w-was j-just to s-save t-the children! I...I never...never....N-no...T-they c-can't see me like this....n-not like this....i-it'd break t-their hearts...i-it's worse than d-death." The little youkai rambled on under her breath.

   "If what you say is true, then it was for the best, little Kirrin." Rin said, soothingly.

   "...Maybe....I....I really am...better of dead after all...." The rambling trailed off into silence.

   "...Kirrin-chan...." Before Rin could even begin to reply, reality interrupted quite abruptly, in the form of an enormous ball. A black and white one, straight to the face.

   "Kyuuuuuuuuuuuuu!" The little youkai cried as she was sent flying off across the stream, trailing water. "Kyuh!" She cried, as she bounced off the surface of the stream, "Kyuh!", another bounce sent her twirling erratically through the air before, "Kyu-blrblrbrlublublub" she was cut off quite abruptly by a mouthful of water as she came to a violent halt in a massive splash.

   Naught but a few feeble bubbles filled the silence as a pair of boots touched down on the water's surface, barely raising a ripple.
   
"Kyuuuuuh!" The little youkai gasped for air as she broke the surface, balancing herself in the shallows on her hands and knees, coughing and spluttering. Through the water cascading down her wet hair she just about managed to make out a figure in red and white stepping across the water's surface, barely touching it. Horror struck her as familiarity dawned - it was the Hakurei Shrinemaiden, in all her terrifying youkai-exterminating glory.

"Oh, it really is the little newborn youkai that gap hag spoke of. For a moment I thought you might be some lost girl....but the yin yang orb is never wrong." The shrinemaiden said, tossing her orb up in one hand. "That's good, otherwise I'd have thrown that orb at you for nothing. I charge by the bullet you know."

"Kyuuuuh....!" Akyuu gasped, wincing in pain as she raised a hand up to the burn on her cheek where the yinyang orb had hit her. "Th-that hurts...!"

"Feel the burn of the yin yang orb? It only burns youkai flesh, you see. Better get used to it, youkai-chan." The shrinemaiden said, stepping closer, until she was looming above the little youkai's kneeling form. "Cause this is the way things will be for the rest of your life, however short it may be."

"R-Reimu-san!" Akyuu said, panting, looking up imploringly at the shrinemaiden. "P-please, i-it's m-me, I..."

"Hmmm? You act as if you know me, little newborn youkai. Well, I'm afraid you must have me confused with someone who actually cares." the shrinemaiden said, indifferently, kicking the little youkai further into the stream. "Well, allow me to correct you." She said, kicking the little youkai once more, "I am Hakurei Reimu, shrinemaiden of the Hakurei Shrine," She declared, leaning in close as Akyuu just about managed to break the surface once more, fighting to catch her breath, "...and I don't care who you are, where you came from, who or what you were before you became a youkai. You are a youkai now and I exterminate youkai." She said, coldly, brandishing a paper talisman before Akyuu's shocked, tearful eyes, "Like this." She said, sticking the talisman to the little youkai's head.

"KYUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!" The newborn youkai screamed as pure, searing agony pierced her very being. Smoke rose up as the talisman smouldered away in a fiery scarlet flame before hissing in a cloud of vapour as the little youkai fell headfirst into the stream.

"Hmph, what a powerful youkai aura for a newborn, to consume my prized amulet so quickly. Maybe I should finish you off here before you become a real threat?" The shrinemaiden muttered, pulling the youkai up out of the water by her collar. "Feel that, youkai? That pain means you're still alive. But did I hear you say you are better off dead, little youkai? Well, I guess that's more air for the rest of us."

"...", Akyuu gasped, coughing and spluttering, eyes wide in shock, barely able to get a word out. "P-please....please...s-s-stop...i-it hurts..."

"What, were you expecting pity? Consolation?" The shrinemaiden demanded, looking down at the pleading eyes without even the slightest hint of sympathy. She whipped out her gohei, twirling it through the air, before pointing it at the little youkai's nose, "Sorry, not enough of that to go around in Gensokyo. In this dog-eat-dog world, you're either the survivor or the vanquished. Which are you, youkai?" She asked, touching the gohei against the little youkai's chin.

"K-Kyuuh!" The little youkai whimpered, as smoke began to rise up into the air from where the gohei pressed up against her skin.

"This is a gohei. It is divine. Everything divine burns youkai flesh. Got it memorized? Good, cause this will be the death of you, youkai. You said you want to die? Well, good timing. The human village is screaming for youkai blood right now and they want me to deliver. Guess you'll have to do for breakfast." The shrinemaiden said, raising the little youkai's chin up with the gohei. "Ready to die, youkai-chan?"

"....." Akyuu peered out through her tears. Just across the river, standing amidst the early morning mist, a figure in blue as dark as twilight, hair the red of dying soldiers, scythe gleaming in the waning starlight. She was watching, and she did not look pleased.

   After all that. After everything she's gone through. After cheating death, surviving Seiga, after killing Hieda no Akyuu with her own hands, watching Keine lose her only daughter, only to die here?

   The embers of her earlier resolve lit up once more. NOT here. NOT now. NOT yet. Youkai or not, she wasn't dying here.

"...No..." She breathed.

"What was that, youkai-chan?" The shrinemaiden leaned in closer.

"...I want...to live..." Small hands balled into fists, scraping up river mud.

"I can't hear you over the sound of you dying." The shrinemaiden taunted.

"I want to LIVE!" The youkai raised her face up towards the shrinemaiden, grasping the gohei with her little fist. Thick red smoke erupted from her hands as it smouldered under the gohei's power.

"Louder, Youkai. The world can't hear you!" The shrinemaiden barked, the gohei trembling as the fiery scarlet mist around the little youkai's hand began to burn more ferociously.

"I WANT TO LIVE!" Akyuu declared with a roar, pulling herself up by the gohei, just as it was consumed completely by her own scarlet flames. She rose up, her clothes smouldering, letting off hot steaming vapour, eyes glaring with re-enkindled determination.

"Oh, that's a good expression you have there, little youkai-chan. You want to live then, do you?" The shrinemaiden smirked, drawing back across the stream. "Then you'll have to fight for your life, youkai. Come, I declare a danmaku duel."

- To be Continued Below -
« Last Edit: December 26, 2013, 11:41:04 pm by Gappy »

Gappy

  • Oh...oh I was not ready for this.
  • It's only Logical....
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Mind The Gap
Chapter 4 Part 2

"Decide your terms." The shrinemaiden demanded, fanning out 3 spellcards in one hand, whipping out yet another gohei in the other.

"Terms...? But..." The little youkai flinched at the sight of spellcards and the gohei.

"If you don't decide then we will default to 3 declared spellcards each. You might just live today if you're still alive by the end of the last spellcard...maybe."

"Quick! Snappy comeback time!" Rin said, excitedly.

"...ummm...a-a-alive? Wh-when I'm done w-with you, shrinemaiden, you'll be lucky to still be..." Akyuu began.

"...playable..." Rin whispered, gleefully.

"...playable!" Akyuu finished throwing her arms out, her bow and erhu materializing in her hands. An awkward silence followed as both she and her foe tried to process her comeback. They failed. "Wait, Rin, what was that for?" She hissed inwardly. Her protest was met with nothing but uncontrolled giggling echoing all about her head.

The shrinemaiden stomped. The ground shook in fear. "Enough." She said, throwing an arm out, glowing spellcard in hand. "First spellcard - Divine Art「Demon Binding Ring」!" She declared, taking flight.

Streams of red and white paper talismans flew out across the night sky, glowing brilliantly in the dark, crisscrossing all around the little youkai, forming a dense octahedral cage of streaming paper.

"...oooooh..." Akyuu gasped, staggering backwards, her eyes widening with awe.

"Those look like they'll do more than give you a papercut, sure do." Rin murmured, sounding similarly awed. "Oh, by the way, if they touch you, you die." She added, helpfully. "A long and excruciatingly painful death. So...no pressure." She said, cheerily.

"Thank you for telling me that. We're still alive though." Akyuu said, noting with apprehensive relief that she was still in one piece. "None of those hit us."

"No, she wasn't aiming for us." Rin said. "And Rin doesn't think she plans to." The shrinemaiden was but a mere speck in the sky, floating behind walls upon walls of talismans, needles and yin yang orbs, all arrayed in octahedral layers all across the sky, as secure as the ghost princess' fridge. "So...Rin notices you have knowledge on her. Care to share?" Rin asked, conversationally.

Quote
OST - Maiden's Cappricio by Kota-rocK http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joXfnhovtiY&feature=relmfu

"U-uum...G-Gensokyo C-Chronicle, V-Volume 9, Ch-ch-Chapter 9, P-pa-page 66," Akyuu read out the back of her eyes, trembling all the while, "Hakurei Reimu, the lazy shrine maiden of hel-...I mean, paradise. Her ability is to fly through the sky."

"That looks a bit fancier than just flying through the sky. I think she owns it too." Rin noted. "At least her laziness shows in her spell cards. Rin thinks this demon binding circle is just the funnel for the actual meat grinder. So...any hope she'll just drop dead from her own laziness?"

The first wall erupted in a flurry of activity, unleashing streams of glowing needles, talismans and orbs flying out in every direction, rushing forth like fairies on a sugar high.

"Nope, nope." Rin grinned, grimly.

"T-the meat wants s-some h-help, p-please?" Akyuu squeaked in panic.

"Graze graze graze!" Rin suggested, quite emphatically.

"How?" Akyuu's eyes widened in terror as the gigantic wall of needles and talismans drew closer. "P-Please t-t-tell me, Rin!"

"You start with two cows. They graze." Rin said, dead serious.

"RIN! Please!" Akyuu gasped, staggering back across the stream in fear.

"Focus, Little Kirrin, FOCUS!" Rin shouted in her ears. "Shift Shift Shift!"

"..." Akyuu paused in her absolute panic to check that she understood that. No, she didn't. Not in the slightest. "...Rin? How do I Shift?" The little youkai demanded urgently, feeling the urge to go to the loo rising.

Akyuu drew back, scarlet mist gathering up behind her. With a flash, a pair of misty wings unfurled and filled the air. "O-oh w-wait, I see an opening!" She aimed for a shrinking gap in the oncoming wall of needles, orbs and talismans. It was about as tight as a shrinemaiden's budget but she should just be able to make it! With a burst of wind, she took off, folding her wings in tight around her as she aimed for the opening as narrow as a Celestial's mind.

She shut her eyes tight, willing herself to squeeze through the narrowing gap. She felt her erhu and bow hit something and explode into their constituent cherry petals. But suddenly, the strange happened - she felt power, light and fierce, creep in her from outside. Even stranger, she felt a strange sensation flood her chest, spreading out into her belly. It was exhilaration, excitement, but of a sort she had never experienced ever before. It rose up and up. Her breath caught. Her heart skipped.

It was amazing.

She opened her eyes to find she was trailing sparks through the air as she squeezed through the narrow opening in the barrage. She was still alive. Not only that, she survived feeling more powerful than before. The shots exploded harmlessly as they impacted the stream behind her, blossoming into bright little blooms of light surrounded by splashing water.

"You did it! You grazed, sure did! Feel that power you're absorbing from her bullets?" Rin gushed with approval. " Looks like your hitbox is the same size as your chest, little Kirrin."

"I'll take that as a compliment for now. We need to talk. Later." Akyuu said, inwardly, looking up at the next glowing salvo of needles, orbs and talismans heading for her. "Rin! I need to learn how to turn and dodge, now, please!"

"...err, Rin will deploy the shot opti-..."

"Rin! Now! Please!" She repeated, more firmly.

"...eheheh...well...this is...a little embarrassing, actually..." Rin began, casually, as Akyuu took to diving down towards another opening.

"What is it?" Akyuu demanded, making a mental note to find out if she can make mental forehead-flicks. Worry set in as she found that the dive had cost her altitude and distance to her foe. "Please let this be more important than me learning how to survive certain death..."

"...ummm...Rin just remembered. You see, the whole maneuvering in midair thing...? That's not really a Kirrin thing..." The sudden admission almost sent Akyuu facefaulting into the ground below. "Kirrins are land creatures by nature, you know. In fact, we're the fastest land creatures in existence." She declared proudly.

"What are the wings for then?" Akyuu demanded, exasperated. "My Kirrin-half has wings."

"Oh, Kirrin can fly when they need to. We're really really good at flying straight." Rin said, earnestly.

"And...when they need to turn?" Akyuu pressed on.

"...We don't?" Rin did a mental shrug. "Don't you know the shortest distance between two points is a straight line? Honestly, you young people and all your...unstraightness." She sighed. "Well, if you really must." She said, feeling Akyuu aim a teary glare at her, "...then do a barrel roll?"

"Come, little youkai!" The shrinemaiden shouted, launching another spiralling salvo of talismans and needles out with a wide swing of one arm.

Akyuu gritted her teeth, eyeing the oncoming barrage spiralling through the air, trailing divine glow, straight towards her. Learn how to fly or die trying. Rolling...How do birds do this again? One wing up? One wing down?

The world suddenly spun. Akyuu realized too late that she had a little too much wing up, a little too much wing down. She rolled sideways abruptly as a barrage of talismans just about brushed her sides, striking the stream below. She spun round and round drunkenly like a bucket youkai in a sake barrel, weaving between a storm of needles. With a massive groan she righted herself, leaving the barrage behind in the stream along with what's left of her last meal.

"That worked." Rin commented, approvingly. "More a sake barrel roll, but a barrel roll nonetheless."

"I-is...is t-there a b-better w-way t-to dodge and g-get c-closer?" Akyuu groaned, feeling, for the first time in her life, the inelegance of motion sickness. "W-we n-need to g-get closer"

"Why do we need to get closer?" Rin asked, puzzled, "Do you at least have a plan, little Kirrin?"

"Oh...ummm...use my erhu to poke her until she gives?" Akyuu suggested, woozily.

"...a plan?" Rin repeated, raising a mental eyebrow.

"...use my bow to poke her until she gives?" Akyuu quavered.

"...any sort of plan?" Rin asked, almost pleading.

"...maybe use my head...?"

"...to poke her until she gives?" Rin finished for her, sighing, "What about shooting?" She suggested.

"How do I shoot?"

Meaningful silence.

"You Z Z Z." Rin finally replied, deadpan. "And then you X, X and X some more until you..."

"RIN! PLEASE!"

"..." Rin sighed in defeat, "...okay, fine, let's poke her with [insert inappropriate object here] until she gives u-." Rin's muttering was interrupted by a sudden volley of Akyuu-sized yin yang orbs hidden behind yet another wall of talismans descending upon them. "Oh balls..."

"Eeep-..." Akyuu's squeak was cut short by one ball smashing straight into her small frame, before crushing her into the stream. The next came down, then the next, crushing her blow by blow, deeper into the stream.

Water surged in to fill the sizeable impact crater left behind by the onslaught. The shrinemaiden hovered up above, watching intently. The cage of streaming talismans and walls of paper charms, needles and orbs dissolved into the waning night as her first spellcard expired.

Bubbles rose forth to the surface of the stream. More and more bubbles joined them. Even more bubbles burst forth, until thick crimson steam erupted, gushing forth into the air, blanketing the stream in a thick, dense scarlet mist.

"Tsk, cunning." The shrinemaiden muttered, drawing back beyond the reach of the fog, glaring eyes scanning the edges of the mist for activity.

Something big and furry rushed out of the gathering mist, straight towards the safety of the forest. With pinpoint precision, the shrinemaiden shot a set of homing amulets at the escaping foe, blasting it away into...scarlet mist and cherry petals? "That wasn't her. A shadow clone?" She muttered to herself. More shadows rushed out of the gathering mist, attracting more homing amulets.

Just as the shrinemaiden overwhelmed herself with firing upon each and every mist shadow, the little youkai rushed forth from the mist, frayed kimono sleeves and skirt flapping behind her as her little feet worked furiously, thrusting her at high speed across the stream, leaving nothing but ripples on the surface. Her flaming horns and fists trailed fire and sparks as she picked up speed faster than a tengu escaping from a bathhouse.

"R-Rin, I-I'm running on water! Water!" Akyuu gasped excitedly, feeling light as she propelled herself onwards effortlessly.

"That's cool." Rin said, airily. "Wait till you see Rin's other trick with fairies and helium."

"I knew it, decoys!" The shrinemaiden declared, opening fire on the youkai with a rapid barrage of homing talismans.

"Steady, little Kirrin, steady...stay the course..." Rin whispered softly as the homing talismans drew closer...and closer...and closer...so close that the gleam glinted off the little Kirrin's eyes, until... "NOW!" She barked.

"Kyuh!" Akyuu kicked off the surface of the water, launching herself in a sharp turn as the homing talismans struck the water left in her wake.

"Tsk, she's fast on the ground!" The shrinemaiden muttered under her breath as she launched salvo after salvo of homing talismans, only to watch them be dodged and grazed by the little youkai now running across the surface of the water.

"Shoot shoot shoot as fast as you can! You can't hit us, we're the ginger-sweet Kirrin-san!" Rin cackled. "Go, little kirrin, GO!"

"Kyuuuuuuuuu!" Akyuu cried as she launched herself up into the air, timing her jump as the shrinemaiden was preparing to throw another barrage out. "Akyuu Rider Candy Cane Kiiiick!" With a swipe of her claws she slashed the talismans out of the shocked shrinemaiden's hands. She spun around through the air above the shrine maiden, erhu materializing in one hand. trailing burning scarlet mist behind it.

"Dream Sign!「Fantasy Dimensional Rift」 !" Reimu declared, throwing a spell card out in Akyuu's surprised face. As she brought the erhu down on the shrinemaiden's body, the shrinemaiden seemingly exploded in the little youkai's face. A multitude of radiant paper charms erupted forth, flying in all directions.

"K-Kyuu!" The little youkai cried as she was blasted backwards head-over-heels through the air by the exploding charms. "W-wha-what was that?" She cried, coughing up smoke as she righted herself out of her spin.

"Not a kick!" Rin pointed out.

"RIN!"

"It was a body double!" Rin shouted, "Watch out, she must have teleported behi-..."

"Dimensional Rift Ascension Kick!" A cry resounded from behind them. Akyuu was just about look behind her when a sharp blow sent her flying further up into the sky. As she spun round and round through the air, she saw the shrinemaiden behind her, one foot high up in the air, trailing a strange golden glow, just before she blinked out of sight?

"S-she disappea-..." Akyuu began, just before a flash of light brought her attention back up towards the sky above where the shrinemaiden had reappeared, gohei at the ready. "Oh..."

With a graceful overhead swipe, the shrine maiden brought the gohei bearing down on the little youkai. "Kyuu!" Akyuu gasped, as she raised a hand up to block. The bow materialized into Akyuu's hand just in time to meet the gohei. Red and gold magical sparks filled the air as the two clashed.

With another blink, the shrinemaiden disappeared.

"Behind us!" Rin shouted, guiding Akyuu to raise her erhu defensively behind her to block yet another blow. "It's always from behind!"

"Eyes behind your head too, I see." She heard the shrinemaiden mutter, before another flash told her the shrinemaiden had teleported away once more.

"...she was just behind me! Where would she go now?" Akyuu cried inwardly in panic.

"Uhhh...above!" Rin guessed.

But the lightening skies above were sadly shrinemaidenless.

"Try again." Four voices echoed. "Dimensional Rift Youkai Buster!" Too late did the little youkai realize that she was surrounded on all four sides by incoming barrages of glowing Hakurei amulets.

"Kyuu..." She could only whimper, before the four-pronged amulet barrage met their helpless little target in the middle. A brilliant rainbow-coloured explosion of light and colour consumed her, showering the sky with light and sparks.

The shrinemaiden blinked back into existence above the radiant explosion, hand raised up into the air where a yinyang orb the size of a Gensokyo hangover floated. "Dimensional Rift Fantasy orb!" She declared, bringing her hand down, and with it the immense yin yang orb that eclipsed the full moon itself. The ball roared down, blew through the dust and debris from the explosion, before crushing everything into the stream below with a resounding boom as deadly as a hakutaku's caving.

- To be Continued -
« Last Edit: December 26, 2013, 11:54:39 pm by Gappy »

Gappy

  • Oh...oh I was not ready for this.
  • It's only Logical....
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Mind The Gap
Chapter 4 Part 3

"Not bad...to make me use my trump card..." The shrinemaiden said to herself, hovering above the scene of absolute carnage. She wouldn't admit it to anyone alive (or undead), but she was in fact panting a little from the exertion, something that didn't happen all that often. "Still, a newborn's a newborn...maybe I overdid it a li-...what?" She blinked.

Quote
OST - A.Q.N. Child of Are by Alice Music - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEXa5ecurig

The air stirred. The night itself woke up. A fierce wind blew through the trees, raising cherry petals and blossoms up into the early morning air. Flowers, blossoms, within a mile of the stream, glowed brilliantly with a crimson light.

Thick scarlet mist rushed forth from beneath the yin yang orb. They swirled up into the air, caught in some spiralling air current that rose all the way up into the sky. It trembled and groaned under some superhuman demonic force that shook the very earth itself.

Reimu instinctively drew back, beyond firing range. She didn't make it this far as the shrinemaiden of the biggest danmaku-and-sake-fueled youkai zoo on this side of the earth by gawking at everything flashy.

With an explosive boom that shook the very youkai mountain nearby, the yin yang orb was blasted up into the air by a spiralling tornado of mist and blossoms. Without a moment's pause, the little youkai launched herself out of the dissipating spiralling mist, landing on the stream's surface, almost instinctively, on her hands. With a powerful pull of her little claws, she drew her entire body flying forwards, landing on her now-bare feet, before similarly launching herself forwards powerfully across the stream's surface. The little youkai ran on, almost kitten-like, across the stream, little hands and feet leaving nothing but the faintest ripples in her wake. A mane of golden flames embraced her torso, the smouldering remains of her charred clothes barely clinging onto her. Her horns and lengthened hair similarly trailed flames through the air behind her, leaving a blazing film of golden sparks. Her tail was a radiant streak of flaming mist and blossoms that left afterimages glowing in the air.

Reimu looked into the youkai's eyes and saw blazing red infernos glare back at her, saw not the trembling newborn youkai from before but a ferocious beast now beyond the control of human consciousness. Without hesitation, she launched an all-out barrage of homing amulets, youkai buster talismans, demon-sealing needles and yin yang sanctifier orbs. But they all hit nothing but water as the youkai blazed a wild trail between the impacts, approaching faster than she could retreat.

"KYAAAUUUUUUUU!" The little youkai roared, thrusting herself up towards the shrinemaiden, claws gleaming dangerously in her own firelight.

"Cautionary border!" The shrinemaiden shouted, tossing a light blue amulet into the air. It quickly expanded into an ethereal bounded field, shimmering in the dark. But it was as effective as Tengu newspaper before the little youkai's unstoppable fury, cracking and shattering explosively under her onslaught.

She raised her gohei defensively in a last-ditch attempt at defending herself. But it was too late. The little flaming youkai was upon her, claw and fang. She attempted a thrust with a gohei that was met with a resounding crunch of burning razor-sharp claws on flimsy twig. An attempt at another Ascention Kick was met with steel-vice claw gripping on leg. Sharp fangs and serrated jaw bore down upon an expression of absolute terror.

They fell, earthwise. Blow after blow after burning blow landed on the shrinemaiden. One blow pinned the shrinemaiden into the ground, crushing her mercilessly. More blows came. "KYAAAAAUUUUUUUUUU!" Blood curdling beastly roar filled the waning night sky.

Something else filled the night sky - A pillar of light, explosive and bright. "...Flying Mysterious Shrinemaiden..." a booming, almost ghostly echo declared. The final spell card was declared. What followed was a furious exchange of blows, explosive blasts, pillars of fire and streams of talismans, but, mainly, divine fist upon flaming claws.

The rest was but a blur of violence and carnage that lasted for what seemed like an eternity so thick the rest was lost to memory. The dying night wore on before finally succumbing to morning.

Quote
OST - Child of Are by Boxell - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dxf44f0Kpqo

When she finally came to the little youkai found herself on her back, partially floating, partially resting on thick, ashen mud. Everything in her body almost immediately rushed up to her head, demanding her attention, even bits she didn't know she had before. She winced in pain as she fought to open her eyes. Dawn light rushed in. She groaned.

"Awake, youkai-chan?" She heard the shrinemaiden ask, with what felt like a boot nudging her in her side. She just about made out something red and white looming up above her, framed against the light of dawn. "I shall admit, I am surprised you managed to make me use that." The shrinemaiden said, "Not many manage to push me that far. Fewer still survive. I am surprised to see you're still alive. Still, that was my victory, youkai. "

She blinked the pain and stars out of her eyes just enough to look up at the grave expression on the shrinemaiden's face. There wasn't a flicker of triumph, a trace of satisfaction there. Only grim thoughtfulness.

She finally managed to coerce enough of her protesting muscles to raise herself into a kneeling position. From there she surveyed the scene about them. Where there was a stream and the edges of the Great Youkai Forest before, there was now but a scene of wanton destruction, as if some walking natural disaster or some drunk oni had decided to take a casual stroll through the stream. Water had filled the series of impact craters dotting the riverbed and the banks. Smouldering trees let off dismal plumes of smoke into the lightening sky.

There, standing above it all, towering in all her fearsome majesty, was the Hakurei shrine maiden, hakama and gi now somewhat worse for the wear with tears and gashes all over. Akyuu considered for a moment whether or not offering to pay the repair bill might save her life.

Before she could find out, a talisman stuck on a twig was aimed down at her face, probably in place of a proper gohei. "Do you know what happens to losers in danmaku duels?" The shrine maiden asked. "Want to find out?"

"Kyuu..." Akyuu whimpered, trembling pitifully, noticing for the first time her own state as she knelt in the freezing stream. Most of her clothes had burned off, leaving what few scorched rags that managed to cling onto her now mostly bare body for dear life...and maybe some decency. A few bumps, bruises, cuts and gashes were already efficiently mending themselves underneath, leaving naught but flawless bare skin. She trembled even more as a cold, morning breeze blew by, biting into her exposed skin.

"Hmph...You're so pathetic that beating you down here would just ruin the taste of my sake." The shrine maiden huffed, turning away. "You'd probably expire all by yourself even without any intervention on my part. Nevertheless, never mind how briefly you take up space upon this mortal plain, remember that fight, youkai. Remember those basics. Remember that fighting is the youkai way. Remember that youkai fight not only to survive, they fight to live. Fighting defines them. Fighting sustains them as much as the next meal. Still...youkai with raw power as uncontrolled as yours would probably have no problems finding trouble."

She was surprised at how talkative her foe was all of a sudden. But before she could puzzle over it more, she found herself under a pile of what felt like soft fabric tossed carelessly over her trembling body.

"At the very least, the loser must follow the winner's orders." She heard the shrine maiden say as she wrestled with the fabric, "Listen closely. Wipe yourself, youkai. All that blood will only attract other youkai. I'd rather not have a youkai fest upstream of the village. It'd be such a chore washing all the blood out of the river. And while you're at it, make yourself decent. I'd rather not have half the morons in the village run after you only to get burned to a crisp by the very object of their idiotic lust."

Akyuu, nothing but grateful for something, anything, to cover herself, quickly rinsed off the blood and dirt in the frosty ash-strewn water of the stream before drying her trembling body with the rags provided. She then picked up and slipped on the proffered clothing. It was an old, musty, dark blue dress, bearing upon its back a yellow symbol reminiscent of a rising sun...if the sun was just a circle with only 3 light rays. It came complete with a frilly white apron and headress. While she wasn't going to be choosy at all, she was stunned by her foe's sudden turn of generosity.

She listened carefully as the shrine maiden went on, "Look around you, what do you see?" The shrine maiden asked, gesturing at the land laid to waste around them, "The product of uncontrollable power gone wild, little youkai. A weapon not under your control will only kill you sooner or later. While 'sooner' would do the rest of us a favour, it'd never be soon enough to save the poor environment. So..." She threw the little youkai another length of red and white fabric, "Tie all that excess hair with this amulet. I'd rather not suffer some youkai's bad hair day shedding burning hair all over Gensokyo. That battle has at the very least revealed this much - your power is drawn from the flowers, wind, fire, and, most importantly, the scarlet mist in your surroundings. That charm will keep their influence out, thus keeping your bothersome youkai powers in check."

Heeding her foe's words, Akyuu pulled her hair, straightening it out. She was rather surprised to find how long it had gotten all of a sudden but kept it to herself as she focused on gathering half of its mass and tying it into a smart long ponytail, allowing the rest of her hair to flow out underneath the ponytail over her back.

"I care not if you remove it of your own free will, but unless you learn to tame them, your powers will be the death of you." The shrine maiden went on brusquely "Not that I care for your suicidal tendencies. Why should I care at all? You're so young and weak you'd probably disappear the moment you slip out of people's memories. Even I wouldn't bother remembering a youkai as weak as you. Real youkai have partners and familiars they can trust. Real youkai have human companions to help them change and develop. Real youkai go around causing incidents and spreading fear, becoming truly powerful youkai, or go about achieving great feats and gathering faith, becoming divine goddesses. Only that way can they be remembered, respected. Only then can they survive here in this dog-eat-dog-world of Gensokyo." The shrine maiden said, waving her makeshift gohei imperiously like a pointer. "Now hurry up and straighten yourself out, you sorry little shower." She barked, before turning away with a huff to look out at the dawn.

"Tsk...youkai attacking the human villages and kidnapping children...how troublesome." She muttered to herself, but just about loud enough for Akyuu to hear, "Must be some nonsense brewing amongst the youkai...but youkai issues are not the concern of a human like me. That's for some youkai with some sense about her to sort out somehow. Till then, I'll just continue exterminating youkai around here...so you watch out, little youkai." She said, suddenly turning around and poking the little youkai's nose with the makeshift gohei. "Got that? Say 'Understood, Hakurei-sama'!"

"U-u-understood, H-Hakurei-sama!" The little youkai squeaked.

"One last thing." the shrine maiden said, "Real youkai are mysterious. Any youkai who were human once would do well to keep that a secret, especially if they failed to die as a human, for that knowledge would only weaken them. Now, tell me your name, little youkai, that I may save you having to utter it with your last breath next time we meet."

"A-Aky...I-I mean, R-Rin." The little youkai replied, nervously. "...Satsuki Rin."

"Hmph...well, Happy Birthday, Satsuki Rin." The shrine maiden said, with a dour little smile, framed by the cresting dawn. "Welcome to your first day in hell, poor little youkai-chan. Know that nobody else will celebrate your birthday so warmly." With that, she took off and, without another look at the little youkai, zoomed off into the rising dawn.

They watched her until she banked east of the morning star and went straight on to morning, disappearing in the soft daybreak glow. Then, quite noticeably, the little youkai relaxed, collapsing into a little pile on the bank, breathing a long, slow sigh of relief.

"...so tsundere." Rin giggled. "Even carrying a maid costume around with her. She could stand to be more honest, that one."

"Pardon?"

"Oh, surely you noticed?" Akyuu felt Rin grin. "At any rate, these clothes will do until we can find something more fitting...and fire-proof too perhaps."

"...wait a moment...how did she win? She used up all of her spellcards so wasn't that my victory?" Akyuu cocked her head to one side, puzzled, before realizing this was the author of the spellcard rules and the youkai exterminator extraordinaire to boot, so arguing with her would be paramount to teaching nuclear physics to the hell raven - futile and volatile.

"Now you've gotten a good feel for battle, little Kirrin. Besides, that was a real cutie, and we even got her to show her dere side. Rin wouldn't consider that one a loss at all." Rin said, cheerfully.

"Battle...huh? I've...witnessed...no, rather, remember a lot of fighting, a lot of violence, over the last few centuries." Akyuu said, a little thoughtful, "I remember some things...like...ummm... sword-wielding, for example."

"Explains your natural tendency to get in close and bash people repeatedly with whatever implement you have to hand."
Rin sighed. "Rin's erhu wasn't designed for causing blunt force trauma like some common...common...nailbat."

"I only remember what I recorded in the Chronicle though...so they are mostly accounts of heroic legends and powerful youkai, their techniques as well as countermeasures." Akyuu said. "I'm sure at least one of them involved a musical instrument. I think it was a western instrument known as a piano."

"Rin has yet to see one, but already it sounds like a formidable technique. It must have been for it to be memorable to the likes of you, little Kirrin." Rin said. Before Akyuu could protest, Rin went on, "Most importantly, now you know you did the right thing. She's right. You live off fear after all. The more people know you were human, the weaker you will be."

"Hnn..." Akyuu murmured in reply, before giving way to a somewhat peaceful little silence. "...Rin?"

"Hmm?"

"I...I did this?" The little youkai asked, voice trembling a little, raising her head a little to look out at the decimated surroundings once more.

"So you did." Rin replied, offhand.

"I...I don't remember it...all too clearly."

"You wouldn't." Rin said, "Meet Ms. Instincts, your friendly caretaker when you're not home or when you're in, say, juju of the worst kind imaginable...or in the case of Gensokyo, the unimaginable too. She takes over and brings out the very best manners in you." Rin explained, "But even she alone only did half the damage. The other half was you chowing down on the life force out of the environment far more and far quicker than normal. We're talking hungry ghost gate crashing quick."

"Oh..." The little youkai could only murmur, "...so...she can come out and harm people in the future...?"

"Hmmm...about as likely as you are to come up with good attack names."

"H-hey! T-they were good names! Sweet too!"

"The charm in your hair is stopping you from absorbing too much power from outside. Little Ms. Instincts can't come out running on empty. Even if she does, she won't be able to do much with that on." Rin said, "Let's just hope it really does come off when we want it to. Would be troublesome if we had to climb in the washing machine with it."

"Hnn..." Akyuu twirled the charm in one finger, feeling not entirely reassured, but resigned all the same. Silence returned.

They watched as the sun rose, washing the verdant hills with a soft, golden glow. It was daybreak in Gensokyo, but it was a sight she could have sworn she had never seen before. It was a new day and she was alive to see it. She hadn't expected to see another dawn, much less out here, far away from home...if she could still call it home.

"...Rin?"

"...yeah?"

"...am I not scary enough?"

"...on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give you a...loincloth."

"...loincloths are pretty scary, you know."

"In a different way entirely, I suppose yes."

They broke into a sudden fit of giggles that rang across the hills. It came so suddenly, it was simply infectious. It was relief, pure and simple. Relieved that they had survived, relieved that the sun still rose to shine on them, relieved that they were capable of laughter at all. Tears of joy and relief sparkled in the dawn light as the little youkai and her mind companion giggled off the night's events.

"...Reimu's right. There's still something I have to do. Something only a youkai like me could do." Akyuu finally said, some newfound determination in her voice, after the laughter had died away. " Until then...I...I can't die yet."

"Well done, little Kirrin. That's the spirit."
Rin said, approvingly. "You have yet to learn how to kick and name said kicks properly for one thing."

"So, I need to be more scary, I need to find some friends, and I..." Akyuu began listing the things Reimu said on her fingers, before she was rudely interrupted by the loudest rumble the earth has had to bear that day.

"...am quite hungry..." Akyuu noted, ignoring Rin's fit of giggles. "...I...I guess I need to find something to eat, don't I...?" She huffed as she tried to weigh up hunger versus the need to NOT move a muscle.

"Not a bad place to start. Rin hasn't eaten in decades."
Rin said, with a grin. "Rin's so hungry Rin could eat up all of Gensokyo. And then some."

"...G-Gensokyo...?" Akyuu blinked, sudden horror dawning on her face, "...uhh...wh-what exactly do youkai eat...?"

Quote
ED Song - Brightness Green by Girl's Short Hair - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDFef2XhD1g&feature=related
« Last Edit: December 27, 2013, 12:09:38 am by Gappy »
this is awesome.

I really like your reimu.
I have...a terrible need...shall I say the word?...of religion. Then I go out at night and paint the stars.

OkashiiKisei

  • Still working on the Grimoire
  • It's all about devotion
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Okashii
An amazingly epic battle, with some more good humor and Gensokyo lore thrown in. I especially liked 'Ms. Instinct'~

I find the violence and lethality of your danmaku duels rather jarring though, since the entire point of them is to avoid man and youkai alike from tearing each others' throats out. Clothing damage is one thing, killing is one hell of another. I mean, how often has Reimu killed in the games?

And why did Reimu pick a fight with Akyuu anyway, with full intention of destroying her? Did she just go "the villagers want youkai blood, and you're the closest one I can find so you're shit out of luck"? Sure, Akyuu had a connection to the incident but Reimu didn't have any proof it was Akyuu. Yukari apparently pointed out to Reimu a new youkai was born, and her first reaction is to butcher it? I can imagine it's a test to see if the new youkai's worth existing, but considering how powerful Reimu is, 99% of newborn youkai would die in a day. :/ What use is that? Isn't this place, as you put it, a 'youkai zoo'? There's no implication of overpopulation and it was stated earlier that humans and youkai were at peace until the incident. What the hell kind of peace is killing the newborns of the other side frequently?

It all seems incredibly jarring to me. I'd greatly appreciate it if some of these matters were further explained...

Totaku

  • The Traveling Otaku of Gensokyo
  • I want to be a little NEET moon princess
An amazingly epic battle, with some more good humor and Gensokyo lore thrown in. I especially liked 'Ms. Instinct'~

I find the violence and lethality of your danmaku duels rather jarring though, since the entire point of them is to avoid man and youkai alike from tearing each others' throats out. Clothing damage is one thing, killing is one hell of another. I mean, how often has Reimu killed in the games?

And why did Reimu pick a fight with Akyuu anyway, with full intention of destroying her? Did she just go "the villagers want youkai blood, and you're the closest one I can find so you're shit out of luck"? Sure, Akyuu had a connection to the incident but Reimu didn't have any proof it was Akyuu. Yukari apparently pointed out to Reimu a new youkai was born, and her first reaction is to butcher it? I can imagine it's a test to see if the new youkai's worth existing, but considering how powerful Reimu is, 99% of newborn youkai would die in a day. :/ What use is that? Isn't this place, as you put it, a 'youkai zoo'? There's no implication of overpopulation and it was stated earlier that humans and youkai were at peace until the incident. What the hell kind of peace is killing the newborns of the other side frequently?

It all seems incredibly jarring to me. I'd greatly appreciate it if some of these matters were further explained...
I'll think I'll talk here since I had assistance in per-reading this. When I read this segment, I originally had this initial thought regarding Reimu, and worried too if she was being too brutal, but as I read on, I realize Reimu was really just putting Kirin Akyuu in her place. And considering the events that been playing out in the previous chapters, it's almost certain Reimu was bound to investigate. And since it was Yukari who told Reimu about Kirin Akyuu, I have this hunch she probably told Reimu to "go easy" on her. But if we known Reimu through the games, and such, her idea of "easy" when it comes to "youkai extermination" isn't exactly the most pleasant approach. We have to remember, that even with the spellcard rules in place, Gensokyo is still a pretty rough place. (And I think with some of the newer character that appeared in the Gensokyo verse, it's going to get more intense in due time...)

I treat this event between Reimu and Kirin Akyuu as a "special case" cause I really doubt Reimu simply goes out daily to grind newborn youkais to the ground. But I suppose your right that the matter might need to be further explored. I'm certain Gappy will come up with an explanation for it in due time.

But anyways, from what I see, I'm glad to fixed up the excessive meta phrasing from before hand. It's always good to have humor, just not to go overboard with it like I said. ^^ So I'm pleased with how the story turned out thus far, I'm looking forward to seeing how Kirin Akyuu will handle her new youkai life....
« Last Edit: June 19, 2012, 03:42:06 pm by Totaku »
That's one small step for man, one giant leap for Otaku Kind.
Tsunami Channel Home of  Japanese webcomics Artist Akira Hasegawa.
My Deviant Art site gallery
Now I Twitter
I'll think I'll talk here since I had assistance in per-reading this. When I read this segment, I originally had this initial thought regarding Reimu, and worried too if she was being too brutal, but as I read on, I realize Reimu was really just putting Kirin Akyuu in her place. And considering the events that been playing out in the previous chapters, it's almost certain Reimu was bound to investigate. And since it was Yukari who told Reimu about Kirin Akyuu, I have this hunch she probably told Reimu to "go easy" on her. But if we known Reimu through the games, and such, her idea of "easy" when it comes to "youkai extermination" isn't exactly the most pleasant approach. We have to remember, that even with the spellcard rules in place, Gensokyo is still a pretty rough place. (And I think with some of the newer character that appeared in the Gensokyo verse, it's going to get more intense in due time...)

I treat this event between Reimu and Kirin Akyuu as a "special case" cause I really doubt Reimu simply goes out daily to grind newborn youkais to the ground. But I suppose your right that the matter might need to be further explored. I'm certain Gappy will come up with an explanation for it in due time.

But anyways, from what I see, I'm glad to fixed up the excessive meta phrasing from before hand. It's always good to have humor, just not to go overboard with it like I said. ^^ So I'm pleased with how the story turned out thus far, I'm looking forward to seeing how Kirin Akyuu will handle her new youkai life....

Alternatively...
In the GRIMDARKness of the GAPPYFIC, there is only ANGST and SUFFERING.
Who needs words when you have capslock? :P

Gappy

  • Oh...oh I was not ready for this.
  • It's only Logical....
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Mind The Gap
Goddammit you almost made me cry at the Keine part. ;____; You're an evil, evil woman, Gappy... :ohdear:

But wow, this is amazing so far. The very concept caught my interest immediately (I always love youkaïfication~), and then it just kept going. Toddler!Akyuu is simply adorable~ Though, why does Akyuu still shout 'kyuu' and 'akyuu' even as an adult? Unless you're implying Akyuu is half-Pokemon.

Well, I am mad with a side of megalomania, so I guess I can work with 'evil' too. :3

The Keine part sort of happened by itself for some reason. XD Originally I had planned on Akyuu leaving the human village on good terms, but...this turned out more interesting somehow. XD

I've always found youkai fascinating. Their lifestyles range from pale imitations of human civilization (e.g. Tengu and kappa) to feral and nomadic (e.g. Rumia) and has always been something I've been keen on exploring.  Akyuu point of view is a very interesting window to view this through, considering her human knowledge of youkai. Exploring the gap between her own knowledge and the reality of life as a youkai is my main goal in this story. :3

More importantly, we've all at one point or another probably wished we were a part of various amazing fictional worlds. I will admit this is true of me and touhou, and I'm sure there are some people here in the fandom who have at some point shared that sentiment, that wish, to visit Gensokyo, become a magician, goddess, fairy, or, like Akyuu, a youkai. I wanted to emulate that feeling in this story, creating a character that some if not most of us can relate to. Akyuu was the perfect candidate - she was perhaps the most mundane canon character in Gensokyo, and had all the right motivations to aspire to become a youkai.
 
As for why she goes 'Kyuu Kyuu', it is relatively common for Japanese people to develop speech quirks centered around their own name. Considering their own names are often one of their first words and a variety of other language factors unique to the Japanese language such as the complexity of their onomatopoeia, basic emotional explications, etc. that I won't go into now, it makes sense. One other fanon touhou example would be Kaguya whose fanon speech quirk is 'Guyaaaa~'

I really liked the method you used to transform Akyuu. It caught me by surprise, as based from one of the earlier versions of this story I thought Byakuren was going to make Akyuu a youkai, and a humanish one at that. But this new version is way cooler, if slightly familiar. Though, why all these jokes about eating humans if kirin are supposed to be creatures that respect all life? They even float over grass to avoid squashing it. Making them man-eaters kinda goes against their nature, unless I'm missing something here.

Seiga's a curious choice for a villainess, but damn is she a great one. Seductive, manipulative and chilling~

All in all, a great fic so far, and I can't wait to see more~

This has always been the intention, though I admit that original version was very lacking.

And I agree, Seiga's one of the best things to ever happen to touhou canon. :P

Thanks for your comment, Okashii. :3

I'm a bit stumped on this one. Rin looks more like she has regular blonde hair, if a bit light. Then again, artistic license.

Just wanted to make it easier to match Akyuu's own hair colour. I'll admit I took liberties there. Considering her original circle cut was colourless, well....


Sharing the sentiments of the above poster. More greatness por favor.

Thanks for the comment. ^^

this is awesome.

I really like your reimu.

Thanks. Reimu was an interesting one to write. She is supposed to be laid back, impartial and indifferent to most things, but I wanted that drive for her to be impartial to conflict with her own personal interest in Akyuu, particularly her wellbeing. That sort of resulted...in...well...this rather tsundere outburst you see here. :P

An amazingly epic battle, with some more good humor and Gensokyo lore thrown in. I especially liked 'Ms. Instinct'~

I find the violence and lethality of your danmaku duels rather jarring though, since the entire point of them is to avoid man and youkai alike from tearing each others' throats out. Clothing damage is one thing, killing is one hell of another. I mean, how often has Reimu killed in the games?

As far as I understand it, canon has never really defined danmaku as truly non-lethal. It is non-lethal in the sense that the objective is NOT to kill your opponent but to win the duel, and it provides a set of winning conditions that does not require death on the part of any one participant. This is similar to duel rules developed in western society in the medieval ages for sword duels - the winning condition is to touch the opponent a certain number of times with your own blade. They still make use of lethal weaponry, i.e. swords, lances, etc. but they compete to win, not necessarily to kill. Touhou canon states that danmaku duels can similarly be won by exhausting your opponent's reserves of spellcards while having remaining spellcards of your own. It also specifies that anything can be used in a danmaku duel, from spiritual bullets, to melee attacks, to various other physical projectiles including punches, anchors, missiles, exploding dolls, etc.

And there are instances in canon where danmaku does deal serious and injurious damage. One that readily comes to mind is the extra stage in IN where Mokou gets mauled over in a rather graphically violent manner.

In essence, while I can't say how often people get killed in canon, I can say that one can interpret canon both ways. I realize the popular interpretation is that it is entirely non-lethal, but I personally believe canon leans in the other direction. That's just my own personal interpretation however, one that I find most interesting to explore in this story.

And why did Reimu pick a fight with Akyuu anyway, with full intention of destroying her? Did she just go "the villagers want youkai blood, and you're the closest one I can find so you're shit out of luck"? Sure, Akyuu had a connection to the incident but Reimu didn't have any proof it was Akyuu. Yukari apparently pointed out to Reimu a new youkai was born, and her first reaction is to butcher it? I can imagine it's a test to see if the new youkai's worth existing, but considering how powerful Reimu is, 99% of newborn youkai would die in a day. :/ What use is that? Isn't this place, as you put it, a 'youkai zoo'? There's no implication of overpopulation and it was stated earlier that humans and youkai were at peace until the incident. What the hell kind of peace is killing the newborns of the other side frequently?

It all seems incredibly jarring to me. I'd greatly appreciate it if some of these matters were further explained...

Again, this is me appealing to the authority of canon, but:

A) Reimu has always been quite random in her approach to creatures and beings she encounters - she may beat up people for no real reason. This has been exemplified in the games quite often - An example off the top of my head would be Miko. When asked why she wished to fight Miko, Reimu replied 'No reason at all!'.  And in CoLA where she attacks Tokiko who was quietly reading a book for no real reason.

B) Putting them in their place through a battle has always been Reimu's way of greeting newcomers. This includes Byakuren, Miko and Mamizou. She doesn't necessarily kill them, of course. I personally think of it as her introducing them to the Gensokyo culture of danmaku battles. I personally imagine her putting newborn youkai through similar inductions. The latter's of a personal interpretation on my part though.

As for why she did it in Akyuu's case, I was trying to imply that Reimu really was interested in Akyuu's wellbeing and that this battle was a tough lesson on how harsh surviving in Gensokyo can be. If Reimu really wanted to wipe Akyuu off the face of the earth, she would have just gone straight for one of the deadlier variations of Fantasy Heaven instead of a purely straightforward no-trick non-homing spellcard like Demon Sealing Ring. I tried to further emphasize this in Reimu's little ending monologue where she speaks at length about what youkai must do to survive. Plus, why else would she be flying about carrying a spare set of maid clothes? (I also hope I gave enough hints as to who said maid uniform belongs to :P).

But anyways, from what I see, I'm glad to fixed up the excessive meta phrasing from before hand. It's always good to have humor, just not to go overboard with it like I said. ^^ So I'm pleased with how the story turned out thus far, I'm looking forward to seeing how Kirin Akyuu will handle her new youkai life....

Thanks again, Totaku. I always appreciate a good hand in proofreading.  :3

Alternatively...
In the GRIMDARKness of the GAPPYFIC, there is only ANGST and SUFFERING.
Who needs words when you have capslock? :P

Come now, it's not always that grimdark, is it? XD

And I really do hope I'm not delving into too much angst. Well, unreasonable angst. I honestly do try to avoid that.

Life really will be difficult for newborn youkai like Akyuu, and I'm sure that's not an unreasonable assumption, but not entirely without hope. I tried to drop some hints of hope in Reimu's monologue at the end, a little something to suggest she might be bound for better things if she plays her cards right.

Hanzo K.

  • White Tiger Shikigami
  • Whoa, this YF-29's awesome!
Just popping in to say this.
You did good. Looking forward to the future chapters. (And at least it's not crushingly grim, just a little dark. Which I'm okay with.)
Essence RO
Eiji Komatsu L1xx/6x CritsinX | Ryoshima Nanbu L7x/4x Crafting Blacksmith

Arbitrary Gaming~!
Youkai Quest: Unknown Adventure
Don't take my comment too seriously, I was just dropping a silly 40k reference. On a take this seriously note, this is actually really awesome and I'm looking forward to more. Good job! :D

Gappy

  • Oh...oh I was not ready for this.
  • It's only Logical....
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Mind The Gap
Akyuu in all her youkai glory!

Quote
Komeiji Week By Hatagoya Spring - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwpSS3OcZ0I

   That over there, just beyond that stream, is, indeed, Mt. Genbu. Surprised? You've wandered this far into youkai territory, human. Up there is the Giant Toad's lake, the once abandoned shrine of the Giant Toad.

   Ah, so you do know of it. Yes, as you say, it is now home to the Lady Kirrin and her clan.

   Hmm? Watch out, you say? Ah, yes, yes, as you say, her shikigami and retainers don't take too kindly to people from outside the clan, especially humans. But no, not for the reason you might suspect.

   You see, the Lady Kirrin suffers from insatiable curiosity, especially when it comes to humans. While she will have you for lunch, you can not only expect to leave unharmed, you will leave rather spoiled and pampered.

   She showers humans like you who wander into her domain with much attention...something that begets a lot of jealousy from her followers. So, while it is indeed daylight, you would be wise to steer clear of her mountain.

   Hmmm? Oh, daylight? I don't mind it, but being a youkai I suppose it's only natural to prefer the darkness of night. As the shrine maiden rightly said, youkai thrive on fear, and fear thrives best in the absence of light. Only those who are either firmly secure in their existence or are so powerful that being in their presence alone instils bone-chilling fear make their form visible in the light. That said, I enjoy strolling out in the light on occasion and I do not mind my true form being seen. Hmmm? Eheh, makes you wonder, doesn't it?

   Hmmm? My true form? Am I that Lady Kirrin, you ask? Ufufufu...what makes you think that, human? Because I'm a Kirrin too, you say? Why...you've heard my story so far. How would a helpless little youkai like me become the great Lady Kirrin, leader of the Genbuyama no Hyakki Yakou*?

*Mt Genbu's 1000 youkai

   Still, it may be daylight but this forest provides just enough shade for the discerning youkai. Come, this way, human. Path? What path? Don't you know the shortest distance between two points is a straight line? All you young people and your unstraightness. You can walk a bit, I'm sure. I still left you two legs, didn't I? Hmmm? Oh, no, no, nothing.

   The first time I walked through here, I had to do so barefoot. Yes, that shrinemaiden may have left me a musty old maid costume....yes, off course I noticed it was a maid uniform. Who wouldn't? I didn't just put it on thinking how great it was to finally be wearing the frilly western dress of my dreams. Course not. Ahem...Anyway, yes, she might have left me that uniform, but she didn't help much in the shoes department, amongst other things. What other things, you ask? Hmm...well, to ask a lady such a thing, eheh....well, I suppose I can say food for one thing. But now I'm happy to say I have both. Yes, both shoes and food. What food, you ask? Do you really have to ask?

   Lamprey eel, off course.

   What? What is that look for? This river here is a magnificent place to catch lamprey eels. Now, let us catch ourselves some and settle down under the shade over there. I am a youkai after all. Daylight and direct sunlight does at least make me drowsy.


- Chapter 5 Part 1 -

Quote
Wonderful Heaven, Catastrophe in Bhava Agra, Arrange by Foxtail Grass Studios - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yr0wrD1tlPU


   "Munyaaa...."It was delicious, the most delicious thing she had ever tasted. It was soft, warm, and fluffy, practically melting in her mouth. It was....

   "....ke up! Wake up!"

   "Unyuu...?"

   "No! Bad little Kirrin-chan! No snacking on your Kirrin-half!"   

   "Hakyuu....best candy floss eveeer..."

   "No! That mane isn't candy floss! No! NOO!"

   "More please....munyuu munyuu...."

   "For the last time, Rin said, wake up, little Kirrin!"

   "5 more munyuu...."

   ....

   "No more munyuu for you! Lyrical Lovely Soul Genocide Crasher Smash!"

   SMACK

   "Kyuuuu!" The little kirrin yelped, falling over from where she had been lying against her Kirrin-half's side, wrapped up in its big, bushy tail. "That hurts..." She complained tearfully as she curled up in a fetal position, nursing the throbbing bump on her forehead. She opened her eyes slowly, blinking out the cotton-candy-shaped stars out of her eyes as she tried to focus through her tears at whatever the Lyrical Lovely Soul Genocide Crasher Smash was.

   "W-What is that?" Akyuu groaned, pointing at the object gripped in the Kirrin-half's jaw. Whatever it was, it was now bearing a smoking dent on its smooth surface, courtesy of the little sage's hard head.

   "Oh, Rin just found it floating round and round the Kirrin-half earlier." Rin replied, "...Rin wasn't testing for edibility or anything, nope. Now we have worked out that it is harder than your head, little Kirrin."

   "No, I mean...what IS that?" Akyuu asked, eyeing the object warily.

   "Well...." Rin paused for a moment as she tried to work out what exactly it was she had clobbered the little Kirrin on the head with. "Well...it's...Undefined..." She began, voicing her uncertainty.

   "...Fantastic..." Akyuu murmured, suddenly mesmerized by all the flashing colours and lights as she reached out for it.

   "...Object?" Rin finished. It was the safest possible description. It was spinning, and flashing in different colours, red, blue and green, and spinning some more. How else would you define something like that? “Gensokyo sure has changed. Even plot devices have evolved flight now?”

   "...So....what is it?" Akyuu asked, for the third time, cradling the object in her lap. "It is rather cute, whatever it is."

   “It may be edible.”

   “Just because it’s cute doesn’t make it edible.”

   “Well, you haven’t tried, have you, little Kirrin?”

   “Don't try to change the subject to hide the obvious fact that you don't know what it is you clobbered me with."

   "Well, an Undefined Fantastic Object, obviously." Rin said, nodding sagely. "U.F.O. for short."

   "Giving it an acronym doesn't make it any less obvious either." Akyuu said, subconsciously hugging the UFO.

   "Oh, Rin thought Rin made that clear. It's Rin's Lyrical Lovely Soul Genocide Crasher Smash." Rin replied, proudly.

   "And you tell me I've got bad naming sense." Akyuu sighed, petting the UFO. "There there, ignore the silly Kirrin." She said, soothingly.

   "Look, it even comes with a free snack." Rin said as a black, furry little creature rose up out of the Kirrin-half's mane and leapt atop the UFO on the little Kirrin's lap.

   "Kuro-chan?! What are you doing here?" Akyuu gasped in surprise. The little kitten was quick to nuzzle up against her, purring fondly.

   "You know this appetizer?" Rin asked.

   "Silly Rin, he's not an appetizer. He's my little kitty~" Akyuu giggled as the kitten snuggled up against her cheeks, mewing affectionately.

   "Appetizer until proven otherwise." Rin said, blankly. "Though Rin sees someone's tied your Kirrin flower on his collar."

   "....Keine...." Akyuu murmured, caressing the flower gently. "Just how did you get out of Keine's hands, you naughty little kitty?" Akyuu asked the kitten, holding him close. She received a yawn in reply.

   "Yes, how indeed." Rin murmured, "Your kitten caught a flying UFO to hitchhike on to get all the way out here too. How...convenient..." Rin raised a mental eyebrow as she aimed the Kirrin-half's gaze across the forest suspiciously. "At least it smells like a kitten and acts like a kitten."

   "Mew!" The kitten replied, looking indignant.

   "You think someone sent him here?" Akyuu asked as Kuro climbed up her dress before finally settling on the summit behind her headress.

   "Rin doubts it's a simple coincidence." Rin said, "Someone who not only knows your true identity, but is also tracking our movements."

   "It doesn't seem like something Seiga-san or Reimu-san would do...." Akyuu reasoned, "It could be Yakumo-san. Reimu-san suggested she already knows of what's going on."

   "Oh, that gap youkai. Rin wouldn't be surprised."

   "You know her?"

   "Unfortunately. While her motives are always questionable, Rin sees no immediate harm in this...furball." Rin muttered, darkly. "Anyway, What's his name?"

   "KuroKuro Kusuriya Kurotamari Kiku" Akyuu said, proudly.

   "Mew!" Kuro added, helpfully.

   "That furball isn't a kick either." Rin said, "Did you have trouble deciding on one name?"

   "That is one name."

   "Nyaah!" The kitten agreed.

   "You do have bad naming sense, little Kirrin....."

   "Says Miss ' Hysterical Lovey-Dovey-Hadron-Side Crasher Smash Thing'." Akyuu pouted.

   "Why were they all 'kicks' anyway?" Subtle change of topic.

   "They are all names of my special secret Kemari* moves." The little youkai huffed, indignant.

*Kemari: Traditional Japanese game, similar to hackey-sack, played using a ball.

   "....so you suck at Kemari too then?" Rin asked, "That was a rhetorical question. Don't answer it."

   "Nyaaa..." The kitten sighed, betraying her mistress.

   "There are people in the village I have never lost to in Kemari." Akyuu replied, defensively.

   "You can't claim victories against the old, the infirm and toddlers unable to walk, sure can't." Rin said.

   "The elders never want to play with me and the toddlers always cheat." Akyuu pouted more.

   "In short you suck at Kemari too, sure do." Rin summarized succinctly.

   "So...What did you wake me up for...?" Akyuu yawned, pretending she didn't hear what Rin just said.

   "The sun's setting, Kirrin-chan." Rin announced, indicating the bright red sky beyond the tree boughs above, "We should get moving soon."
 
   "What's the hurry, Rin?" Akyuu mumbled, crawling under the Kirrin-half's big bushy tail with the kitty and UFO in tow, too comfortable to move. "I thought you said we wouldn't move till it's properly dark." With all the excitement and energy spent the day before, the little Kirrin wanted nothing more than to just curl up and snooze on in their surprisingly comfortable little makeshift camp in the shadow of the Genbu Forest. That is, if you could call a semi-circle formed by the Kirrin-half's curled up body a camp site.

   "Rin felt someone...or something...watching us." Rin murmured. "Whatever it is, it's out there and it hasn't moved for the past few hours."
   
   "Could it be one of the Tengu?" The young youkai whispered, ears twitching as she peered out from under the big bushy tail cautiously, "You said they'd be on patrol for intruders on the mountain, especially after all the damage we did." She whispered, gazing out at the darkening forest beyond the little clearing they were camping in.

   "No, Rin is sure that's no tengu. Tengu might play hide and seek, but not for hours at a time. They don't have the patience...or the attention span. Besides, they leave intruders on the mountain to the local youkai at nightfall. Saves on the cost of taking prisoners." Rin said. "Rin's kept your Kirrin-half's eyes trained on its position for half the day. Just so you know, we know it knows we know it's there, you know."

   "What should we do, Rin?"

   "What do you think we should do, little Kirrin?" Rin asked, sounding surprisingly gleeful and expectant.

   "Hmm....." Akyuu thought carefully for a moment. Common sense would dictate running for the hills like a pansy. But that was human common sense, and this wasn't a human setting, or a common one at that. She's a youkai, she should start thinking like one. She had youkai powers aplenty now, enough to level rivers and turn shrine maidens dere. What would a youkai do?

   ...short of destroying everything, that is?

   "Waiting so patiently implies some sense, some sentience, a very cautious one at that. It didn't attack earlier while I was still asleep, so if it does plan to attack at all, it probably will not attack now that I'm fully awake." Akyuu reasoned.

   "Excellent reasoning, little Kirrin." Rin agreed, "Out in the wild it's natural to be territorial and we might just be encroaching on its territory. It may let us be once we begin moving." Rin seemed thoughtful for a moment, "Or, you know, you could just mark your territory here."

   "How do we do that?"

   "Oh, the usual. A little piddle here, bit of piddle there, piddle piddle everywhere." Rin shrugged.

   "Mew!" Kuro added enthusiastically.

   "....do we have to?" Akyuu yawned, stretching her arms, twitching her ears...before curling up inside the big bushy tail once more. "Move, I mean...not the...other thing."

   As if answering her question for her, her tummy rumbled audibly for all the world to hear.

   "Oh, by the way, Rin forgot to mention, Ms. Instinct considers food a matter of life and death and wouldn't hesitate coming out if your tummy doesn't stop rumbling." Rin said, offhandedly.

   The hunger pangs struck. And they struck deep, deeper than ever.

   "You're not listening to Rin, are you?" She asked, watching as the little Kirrin plucked off a clump of scarlet mist from the Kirrin-half's mane and proceeded to nibble on it. "What did Rin tell you about eating your kirrin-half?"

   "But...itsh shweet~" The little Kirrin replied through a mouthful of scarlet mist. "Plush, it'sh food, right~?"

   "Your scarlet mist will turn itself into whatever you want it to. That includes tasting like whatever you want it to, but that's beside the point." Rin sighed, "It won't fill you up. You need to feed, little Kirrin, sooner or later, sure do."

   The hunger practically roared, as if to drive home the point.

   "...." The little Kirrin pouted, gulped, before hiding under the big bushy tail once more. "Dun wanna." The bushy tail said.

   "..." Rin raised the kirrin half's tail, raising the little Kirrin clinging onto it into the air. "Now, little Kirrin, you're a youkai now." She said, pointedly.

   "No, really?" Akyuu muttered in reply, releasing the tail and dropping onto her knees on the forest floor.

   At that moment something fluffy waved on the edge of her vision. "Kyuuu!" In the great tradition of all young furry things, she spun around and pounced on it.

   "Specifically a beast youkai. This roomy mind of yours is now a big ball of furry clawing instincts bigger and meaner than that miko’s balls, something we may call your tsundere little friend, Ms. Instinct, wrapped in a straightjacket thinner than said miko’s sarashi, that flimsy thing that passes as your conscious thought." Rin went on.

   "Is that so?" Akyuu replied absentmindedly, more preoccupied with her newfound prey. She lowered herself into the grass and peered around. Then she saw her elusive quarry again, just at the edge of her vision once more. "Hakyuuuh!" She spun and pounced.

   "…Or what’s left of it." Rin sighed, " You used up a lot of youkai spirit mojo yesterday 'kicking' and barrel-rolling your way through two battles. Kirrin arts are really cool and all but very costly in energy. Your energy tank is about as empty as that miko's donation box, sure is, and, unlike the penniless miko, you can't live off eating danmaku." Rin said, "You need to feed, little Kirrin. Little Ms. Instinct considers feeding a life and death issue and, as you and the miko have seen, little Ms. Instinct has enough issues as she is." After a moment's thought, she added, "Also, Rin has absolutely nothing against that miko. Absolutely nothing, nope."

   "That....Thing....Kyuuh!" The little Kirrin crouched low on all fours in the sparse grass covering the little clearing, carefully eyeing her elusive prey carelessly wiggling about in the open air. With yet another loud Kyuu she leapt out, little kirrin claws fully extended, another relentless attempt at pouncing her unwitting target.

   It slipped right through her paws. Again. That slippery little…fluffy…thing…!

   The little Kirrin landed in an explosive burst of dandelion snow that flitted wildly across the crispy evening air.

   “Tail 3, silly little Kirrin 0.” Rin sighed. “It’s your own tail, little Kirrin. It is nature’s holy design that your rear be specifically separate from your front, sure is.”

   “It is fluffy! I will have it! Kyuuu!” The little Kirrin's warcry echoed across the clearing as she about in circles after the elusive fluffiness.

   Rin did the mental equivalent of a facepalm.

   “Little Ms. Instinct is taking over, little Kirrin, and she likes chasing tail, sure does. We must do something about your hunger before your attention span shrinks to the size of your puny hitbox, sure must.” Rin said, urgently.

   “Munyuu…?” The little Kirrin rolled onto her back as she tilted her head to one side, murmuring through a mouthful of her own flaming red tail.

   “Your attention span already IS smaller than your hitbox, isn’t it?” Rin sighed in despair, “And what did Rin tell you about snacking on yourself, little Kirrin? Wait, how’d you even catch your own tail to begin with?" Rin did a double-take on herself, "How'd you make Rin run off topic this far?"

   "Munyuu~" came Akyuu's contented reply.

   "Sooner or later Ms. Instinct will take over and she's a pretty messy eater. Not very picky either." Rin said. "There were mornings when Rin woke up and felt like something died in Rin's mouth....or was that the sake?"

   Akyuu sighed, in defeat, letting her tail go. "Can't you at least guarantee I won't need to eat humans?" Akyuu was almost pleading, ears drooping, "Youkai don't eat humans that often nowadays, right?"

   "Not from the human village, no." Rin said, "But you can't be so naive as to think youkai don't eat humans at all. You obviously realize that there are other sources for humans."

   "...." The memories surfaced before she could even stop them. The Vampire pact. The youkai expansion deal. They were there, in writing in her books. Not to mention the recent attacks on the human villages.

   "Youkai kill humans. That very threat defines youkai existence, little Kirrin."
Rin said, gravely. "Rin can't guarantee anything either way, no. But Rin can guarantee one thing - You must not allow fear to control you, not even fear of your own self. You will embrace your fears or be overwhelmed by them, little Kirrin. Youkai cannot live any other way."

   "But....I can't...." Akyuu murmured, uncertain. "What do I do, Rin....?"

   "You're a youkai now. You're free, but with that freedom comes responsibility. You need to make your own decisions, little Kirrin, sure do." Rin said sternly.

   "...." Akyuu looked up at the mountain shouldering the Genbu marsh and the youkai mountain, Mt. Genbu itself, a deeply forested mass shrouded by mist and darkness. She gulped. But Rin was right. She had to call her own shots from now on. That includes decisions like these. She took a deep breath. She decided. "We're going deeper into the mountains, away from the human villages, Rin." Akyuu declared, with as much determination as she can muster. "If we find nothing to eat on the way, that will be that."

   "Very well, little Kirrin."
Rin said, "Still, Rin's so hungry Rin could eat an entirnRINNYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

   "Nyaah?" Akyuu cocked her head to one side. "What's a nyaah? I don't think I have had the pleasure of eating one of those before."

   "TOAAAAAAD! RINYAAAAAAAAAAAAAH"

   "...Oh, toads? I have heard of people eating frogs, but toads...hmmm..." Akyuu looked thoughtful for a moment, "....there is something behind me, isn't there?"

   "RUNYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! BEHIND YOU!"

   Akyuu turned round cautiously and found herself face to face with a massive pair of bulging eyes overlying the largest mouth she had ever seen, not to mention the biggest expansile chin. It was the toad. The Toad. With a capital T. The Giant Toad.

   "Silly Rin. It's alright." Akyu tried to make herself heard over the hysterical screaming in her head.

   "TOAD TOAD! RUNYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

   "It's only the giant toad." Akyuu pointed out.

   "GIANT! GIANT TOAD! RUNYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

   "Please, please don't scream." Akyuu said, comfortingly, "There is nothing to be afraid of. I wrote about him, you see. He only attacks those who've defiled his pond. Otherwise, he is completely harmle-...."

SMASH

   The tree that was next to them was no more. It had been snatched up by the beast's whip-like tongue.

   Silence fell, filled with only the sound of the poor tree being chewed and chewed and chewed some more. The two winced with each painful crunch, each excruciating mastication, before unconsciously shivering as the remains of the poor little tree was spat out unceremoniously into the undergrowth.

   "Something's marked its territory in his pond, obviously."
Rin said. ".....So...is it okay for Rin to scream now?"

   "Ribbit." It said. It didn't croak. It said.

   "Did Rin mention Rin hates toads?
" Rin asked. "Well, there, Rin mentioned it."

   "It is alright. I know all about him. If we leave him an offering of food, he should let us go...." Akyuu suggested.

   "....What do you have in mind?"
Rin asked. "What aside from you looks edible around here?"

   "Kirrin-half, I choose y-..." Akyuu looked around but found a general lack of Kirrin-halves. Soft, misty remains of what might have been a Kirrin-shaped scarlet mist slowly dispersed into the air around them.

   "Sorry. Low battery."
Rin said. "Cannot process your suicide order now."

   "....Uhhh....alright, I humbly admit that would have been a bad idea." Akyuu said.

   "What about the furball?"
Rin suggested. "Sure it might give him diabetes, but..."

   "No, not Kuro-chan !" Akyuu replied, throwing her hands to her sides, "How about this?!"

   Nothing happened.

   "...how about what?"
Rin asked.

   "....Erhu! Bow!" Akyuu called out, throwing her hands out to her sides again, but to no avail. "Fly! Up up and away erhu and bow!" She cried, flapping her arms desperately. "Rin! How do I erhu?!"

   "Low Battery. Please plug in or find another power source or your Kirrin WILL DIE."
Rin announced.

   Akyuu opted for her last resort, "What do I do, Rin?" Akyuu appealed to Kirrin wisdom, all while carefully backing away slowly.

   "You need something to poke him with, right? If nothing sharp then something blunt will do."
Rin suggested. "In summary, just hurry up and do something to him! Anything!"

   "Umm...umm...blunt...blunt...." Akyuu ducked for the first blunt thing she saw and picked it up, raising it up in defense.

   "The UFO?"
Rin said, "But Rin already checked. It's not edible, nope."

   "I-It c-can do that Hysterical lovey-dovey-Hadron-side Crasher Smash Thing, right?" Akyuu quavered.

   "Err....Sure?"
Rin said. "And it's 'Lyrical Lovely Soul Genocide Crasher Smash' by the way. That's important."

   "It's blinking faster so it's doing something." Akyuu reasoned with flawless logic, holding up the broad, smooth circular object like a shield before her, flashing bits pointed at the toad. "I hope it's doing something."

   "Maybe it's charging some sort of really flashy finisher death laser attack."  Rin suggested, optimistically. "RIN'MA CHARGIN' RIN'S LAZAAAAH!" She declared.

   Next moment, it was no longer in her hands. The giant toad had snapped its tongue out like a whip, plucked the UFO neatly out of her hands, and ate it.

   "...it took the UFO....and ate it...." Akyuu murmured.

   "Oops...It swallowed Rin's laser..." Rin murmured. "Notoad eats Rin's little UFO and digests away with it!" Rin declared, rallying quickly. "Quick, we need a weapon! Anything that shouts BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA! Come now, gods, give Rin a sign!"

   And the gods answered. Akyuu dove down and picked up the next available object stuck in the undergrowth before hefting it up and aiming it at the amphibious threat. Only then did the two get a good look at it.
 
   "It IS a sign."
Rin observed.

   "'...don't feed the toads'" The little youkai read. "Especially ice fairies, lasers, youkai or UFOs." Akyuu looked thoughtful for a moment, "....what a thoughtful toad dietician...."

"Wait...did it say UFO?"
Rin gulped. "...Ooops."

   "...Well...it was only one UFO so...it cannot do that much harm, can it?" Akyuu said, backing away slowly. "You know...like...just one...cherry tart...?"

   "And Rin's laser." Rin added.

   "And your laser....uum..."

The giant toad had begun to glow red, green and blue, flickering in that order, like a rather bloated and misshapen disco ball. It began to swell and distort even further right before their eyes, its eyes bulging, its expansive chin bulging even further.

Then it settled. What was left loomed, towered, over the little youkai, bristling scales flaming in the sunset, razor-sharp Kirrin-sized claws gleaming, massive, serpentine body capable of crushing several onbashiras worth of wood, and, most importantly, enormous snout bearing large diamond-sharp serrated teeth that made Akyuu look like a toothpick, glowing menacingly in the fiery dragon breath.

"KYUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU" Akyuu screamed, ears and tail bristling in electrified horror.

"It's alright." Rin tried to make herself heard over the hysterical screaming.

"D-D-DRAGON! KYUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!"

"Look, it's only the giant thunder dragon."
Rin pointed out.

"G-G-GIANT! G-G-GIANT DRAGON! KYUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!"

   "Please, please don't scream. There's nothing to be afraid of."
Rin said, mock-soothingly, "Rin doesn't know much about him, but Rin knows this - He only attacks...everyone...and..."

   The two watched the dragon take a deep breath as it opened its expansive maw wide. Flickering particles of light gathered together in its jaws, coalescing into a glowing ball of light that grew brighter and brighter, threatening death by instantaneous vapourization.

   "...He breathes lasers."
Rin finished. "Seriously?" She asked the world in general. "Right, Little Kirrin, this is the part where Rin screams like a pansy and you run." The Kirrin suggested.

Quote
OST - The Importance of Fun, Arrange by O-life Japan - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPKWvRV9Fao

   But Akyuu was ahead of her. She had already sacrificed the poor sign and ran for the hills, little Kuro-chan holding on tightly onto her headress.

   "Kyuuun!" She squeaked, flinching as a crack of thunder boomed across the forest. There were few things the prodigious child of Are was more afraid of than a fridge devoid of sweets. One of them was thunder. The other was dragons. Put the two together and you get the worst possible thing, the cause of thunder, the thunder dragon. All of that combined with the lack of sweets made for the ultimate nightmare.

   "Shift, little Kirrin, SHIFT!"
Rin shouted in her ears.

   The threatened laser blast came, as big as a rampaging oni and about as destructive. With a desperate lunge, the little Kirrin leapt aside behind a conveniently-placed rock at the last moment. "Kyuuu!" She cried, holding her ears down tightly as she felt the laser miss her hair by but a hair's breadth, singing a few split ends as it ripped a burning hole through half the forest before eviscerating a hill in the distance.

   The air around her crackled with the fizzing heat of magic. "Nyahahah, the joys of a teeny hitbox! Fill'er up!" Rin laughed triumphantly while sparks of magical discharge glowed about the little Kirrin as she grazed the laser blast, absorbing much-needed energy. "Now, time to use that graze power to deploy shot options and counter atta-..."

   The little Kirrin let out a teeny squeak before running on for the hills once more, this time at full gallop atop her newly restored Kirrin-half.

   "....or...sure, we can just use that graze power to run like pansies, sure can..."
Rin sighed in defeat.

   "Is it coming after uuus?" Akyuu squeaked.

"Uhh...Rin doesn't know, do you want Rin to lie to you to make you feel better?"
Rin asked, "Rin could lie to you and tell you it's decided that roasted hill might taste better than your teeny hitbox."

"We ARE the fastest creature on land, right?" Akyuu was almost pleading, holding onto the Kirrin-half's mane for dear life.

"Rin said 'land'. Rin didn't say 'air', and this dragon's racking up frequent flyer miles like nobody's business."
Rin replied. "At the very least you'd qualify for fast food."

"Kyuuuuuuuuu!" Akyuu squeaked as they hurtled deeper and deeper into the forest, before rushing out into an open clearing. There they came face to face with...

"I'm the strongest and what is this?!" A loud, shrill voice demanded. Its pint-sized cerulean-haired owner, disproportionately small for her voice, fluttered her icy little wings indignantly as she tossed a toadcicle in one hand. "Hey! Noisy peeps! Can't y'all keep it down? I'm tryin' ta make da perfect lil' toadcicle here and yer all scarin' away da scardy lil' toadsies!" She swept her other hand out impatiently, indicating the clearing littered with more of her toadcicle handiwork.

"IT'S THE CULPRIT!" Rin declared, "She must be the toad-pond-piddler!"

"Please get out of the way, Cirno-chaaaaaaan!" Akyuu squeaked, recognizing the little ice fairy a split second before...

WHAM

"O-Ouchies...Hey hey HEY! That hurts!" The little ice fairy cried as she found herself pressed flat against what passed for the galloping Kirrin half's windshield, its expansive horns. "Ye picked da wrong day and da wrong fairy to fairy-nap, ye overgrown horny fuzzball!" She shouted at Kuro's unimpressed face, "Don't'cha know yer messin' with da big enforcher of Daidarabotchi-chama's clan?" She yelped. "Ya mess wi'me, I'll mess you up!"

   "Get in line." Rin muttered darkly, "Note to self. Need to install windshield-wiper function on shot option, sure do." Rin muttered. "Either that or an ice-breaker drill..."

   "Where are ye louts takin' me, hey!" The ice fairy grasped the Kirrin-half by the horns and pressed her forehead against Akyuu's, peering at her through icy-blue eyes.

   "Somewhere with plenty of helium." Rin replied.

   " What, eh, horny fuzzball? Yer tongue's just frozen British beef, is it? Ye got a problem with us pedes...pedos...pedos-tree-ants mindin' our bees-knees?" The little ice fairy demanded as icy cold air began to gather at her fingertips.

   "Away from that!" Akyuu peeped, pointing a hand in the general direction of the dragon. "Not a pedestrian problem, an amphibian one!"

   "Eh?" The little ice fairy climbed up to peer over the little kirrin's headress, earning her a mew of protest from Kuro. Cirno paid the kitty no attention. Her eyes and jaw widened perceptibly. ".Ummm...that's one big lizard problem ye got there." She summed up, "Whaddya do to get his knickers in a twist, aye?"

   "Rin would love to ask YOU that question." Rin snapped.

   "Cirno, I can't see where we're going...." Akyuu gave a muffled squeak through the ice fairy's billowing skirt. The Kirrin-half had long since given up vision to the ice fairy.

   "I can." The ice fairy announced, helpfully, "And yer headed straight for the waterfall."

   "We are?!" Akyuu squeaked in panic. 

   "No, just ye." With that, the ice fairy frog-leapt off Akyuu's head and launched herself into the air. But before she managed to gain any altitude, a big, red, whip-like tongue darted through the air, catching her clean about her midriff. Before she barely managed a yelp, the little ice fairy had disappeared inside the dragon's expansive maw.

   "You got that right." Rin said.

   "N-no! Cirno!" Akyuu cried, "Rin, we need to save her!"

   "Well, your intentions are sort of groundless at the moment, little Kirrin." Rin pointed out helpfully.

   Just then, the Kirrin-half treaded air. "K-Kyuuuu!" Akyuu cried, willing her Kirrin-half to take flight as she met her old enemy, gravity. Together they plunged over the edge of the crevice overlooking the Great Waterfall. Much to her dismay, the Kirrin-half only scrabbled at the air feebly before disappearing in a puff of scarlet smoke. It was all she could do to grab onto Kuro and tuck the squirming little furball safely inside her apron.

   An almighty roar alerted them both to the dragon plunging down through the air just behind them.

   "That's some commitment. You don't see that that often these days." Rin commented airily. "Aren't you going to return such passionate feelings, little Kirrin?"

   "Kyuuuh!" Thinking quickly, Akyuu reached out towards the waterfall and plunged one hand into the cascading water, using the force to spin herself mid-fall to face the dragon.

   The very sight of the dragon rushing towards them was enough to scare the sweet stuffing out of her. But there, in between the dragon's now-frost-ridden jaws, was the ice fairy, a look of mortal terror on her face as she struggled to hold the dragon's maw open with a feeble icicle. The sight of the helpless fairy seemed to spur something inside the little Kirrin, a taste of that selfsame strength of will that drove her to fight off the hermit and save the children.

   "Wait...little Kirrin, what are you...?" Rin asked, "Wait, no! NO! NOOOO!"

   The little Kirrin spread her apron and skirt out wide, trapping air beneath it, slowing her descent abruptly. The dragon could barely react to the little Kirrin suddenly hurtling towards its face. Kuro chose this moment to poke his head out of his mistress' apron and give out a mew of a warcry.

   Not many can claim to know what it feels like to have one's eyes poked with an erhu and a kitten. Fewer even live to tell the tale. If this dragon could tell tales, it would tell one of absolute, pure, unadulterated agony.

   It roared in pain, releasing, almost expelling, the little ice fairy from its mouth, launching her straight into the little Kirrin. Fairy cranium made contact with rock hard Kirrin head. There was a loud, hollow 'thunk', then silence.

   With an explosive splash, the Kirrin, kitten, fairy and dragon all broke the river's surface, in that order.

   While few survive having their eyes poked out by string instruments and felines, none have ever survived being sandwiched by a fairy, kitten, dragon and waterfall combo.

   ....Until now....

Quote
ED Song - Beloved Tomboyish Girl by Liverne - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z0NgbfO8b8
« Last Edit: December 27, 2013, 12:33:15 am by Gappy »

Gappy

  • Oh...oh I was not ready for this.
  • It's only Logical....
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Mind The Gap
- Chapter 5 Part 2 -

Quote
Quantum Vacuum, Arrange of Border of Dream and Reality, By Amo - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orrxYAlgqEA

Karasu-kun the crow was starting to regret coming back early that particular spring. It had been a very strange day for Karasu-kun. First he had this blue-white human woman come spiralling through the tree he once called home. Having worn out his beak trying to dislodge the woman's head from the trunk of his tree, he graciously gave up and moved homes to a comfy new tree.  3 hours into his new occupancy, it went up in flames spontaneously along with the rest of the forest around it. As if that wasn't enough, his latest residence got consumed by a rainbow-coloured beam of light. Now, Karasu-kun was an optimist, so, despite being homeless, hungry and nothing more than a convenient narrative device, he thought he had finally struck gold that night, gold in this case being a big yummy-looking corpse that had washed up by the riverside.

Unluckily for him, the corpse had a guardian. A very stalwart albeit somewhat small and fluffy one. If only Karasu-kun hadn't let his guard down, he might have noticed its eyes gleam in the dark full of ravenous hunge....altruistic devotion for its mistress. So as Karasu-kun began pecking at what probably passed for the corpse's head, said fluffy guardian was quick to pounce on him, intent on acquiring dinn-....bravely and selflessly protecting his mistress.

CAW

NYAH

CAWCAW

NYAAAAH

CAAaaaw...? *crunch*


Which is all fine, as if he had continued working on the corpse, which really isn't one actually, Karasu-kun would have met a fate worse than all of his previous homes combined.

The corpse stirred. "K-Kyuuuuu...." It groaned.

"Ah, it lives." Rin announced, cheerfully. "How does it feel to still have a head to breath with, little Kirrin?"

"Kyuuu....I feel like I just got run over by a giant dragon..." The little youkai groaned.

"And an ice fairy." Rin added. "And potentially a kitten too." She said, mentally aiming a look at the kitten.

"Nyah!" Kuro protested, pawing at a solitary black feather.

"Rin's been wondering, how are you able to hear Rin's inner voice, furball?" Rin asked.

"Mew~" Kuro licked his paws innocently before yawning wide.

"That wasn't a dream?" Akyuu groaned, as her body began to remind her of their recent meeting with the dragon a little more urgently. It hurt. A lot. "...Rin? Is...every single day as a youkai like this?"

"Well, there are days when it's a minion uprising, and there are days when it's ~*~~*~~*~the economy~*~~*~~*~...but yes, pretty much." Rin shrugged. "Getting run over by a dragon's considered pretty normal to be honest."

"...I really want to ask you what you consider 'normal' but I'm almost afraid to ask..." Akyuu muttered, slowly dragging herself out of the shallow mud before eyeing the darkness around them woozily. "Where...are we?"

"Downstream of the Waterfall of Nine Heavens, it seems." Rin said, "At least, that's what the subtitle said at the beginning of the stage."

"What?"

"Rin said we went over that waterfall so it makes sense that we're downstream of it." Rin said.

"I wonder where the dragon and Cirno-chan ended up?" Akyuu murmured, patting the mud off her face and clothes.

"Somewhere with plenty of helium Rin hopes." Rin said, darkly.

"...I hope she got away alright." Akyuu said, confirming that their immediate surroundings were devoid of ice fairies or dragons.

"Don't you know, little Kirrin? Fairies don't die, even if they're killed." Rin said.

A boom of thunder sounded in the distance.

"K-Kyuuuh!" Akyuu squeaked, putting her hands over her fluffy ears.

"...most of the time..." Rin added, quickly.

"N-now...I'm really worried about her." Akyuu murmured.

"You actually faced that dragon to save her earlier." Rin suddenly commented, "And Rin thought you're scared of thunder dragons."

"I...I am." Akyuu conceded with a little nod. "But....I don't know...it...it feels like it doesn't matter when I had to save her."

"Ufufufu..."

"What's so funny?"

"Ah, nothing, nothing at all, little Kirrin." Rin said, "Wonder why that toad turned into a dragon though, a flying one no less. Any ideas?"

"Oh..." Akyuu thought about this for a moment. Now that she had the breathing space (and, quite luckily, her head) to think, logic began nudging fear aside. "The UFO." She said, patting her palm as she leafed through her mental copy of the Chronicle. "It's a seed of the unknown attached to a piece of Hijiri-san's flying bowl. It turns anything it touches into that which we fear the most."

"Lemme guess, you fear thunder. And dragons. And thunder dragons."
Rin said.

"I used to be as a child. I'm a big girl now." Akyuu said, defiantly. Another boom of thunder found her hiding underneath her own expansive tail. "K-Kyuuu..."

"Your hitbox says otherwise, little Kirrin."
Rin pointed out.

"Umm...what do we do now, Rin?" Akyuu quavered, peering about into the darkness nervously. Her tummy chose that moment to give out a rumble that would dwarf even the Prismrivers' subwoofers.

"Gee...Rin doesn't know. What do you think, little Kirrin?" Rin asked, pointedly.

"Kyuu..." Akyuu became thoughtful for a moment. "Let's see...well...I'm...very, very HUNGRY..."

"Little Kirrin? Little Kir-..." The rest of Rin's words were drowned out by a shrill, deafening sound that flooded her ears.

"HUNGRY..." Her voice reverberated hollowly for a moment as a pale red sheen filled her vision. "...MUST..EAT...I..."

She felt something small and wet slide across her face. It was then when she noticed Kuro-chan perching on her shoulder, licking her cheek affectionately, mewing loudly  to her all the while.  And just as suddenly as it came on, both the strange echo in her voice and the pale red sheen disappeared, leaving her panting and blinking. "Uuh...I...Rin...?" She murmured, reaching up to pull the little kitten into a tight hug.

"...-in...Little Kirrin!" Rin's voice came through once more. "Ah...good, you're still here." she sighed in relief.

"Rin...I...I feel weird." Akyuu panted, hugging onto Kuro-chan for dear life with one hand, "I'm just...so...hung...HUNG-...no...musn't think...about it..." Akyuu clutched her tummy tightly with her other hand in the hope that it might suppress the hunger pangs. She met little success. "We're....low on...spiritual energy...aren't we?"

"You're practically running on empty, little Kirrin." Rin summed up, "Rin hates to say this but it won't be long before Miss Instinct takes over and you go feral."

"Feral...?" Akyuu panted, a mental image of a certain redwhite miko finding an empty donation box floating into her head, "That...doesn't sound like fun." She shook herself, slapping her cheeks as Kuro took up his rightful place behind her headress. "I-I'm fine. I'm fine. As for what to do...I think we need to press on. We can't afford to take time to camp."

"Besides we don't have enough energy to summon the Kirrin-half so making camp here would be as safe and comfortable as living in a ghost princess' fridge." Rin agreed. "It's cold and crowded, that fridge."

Akyuu had to resist asking why on earth Rin knows that. "We'll travel down the river and out of this forest. As for where to go...I-I don't like the idea of it, but I...I may have to go to the Myouren temple, find Tokiko-chan and ask her for help." Akyuu reasoned. "She...she must have a way of dealing with her hunger..."

"Myouren...?" Rin murmured, more to herself. "That name..."

"Do you remember something, Rin?" Akyuu asked, pulling herself onto her feet with the help of a convenient tree. She winced as more pain made itself known as she straightened herself up.

"...something...but not much." Rin frowned. "Whatever it is, it was really annoying. Like emotional failscrapering on Rin's cosmic soul sort of annoying. Like the very Nirvannah of annoying sort of annoying."

"That's nice." Akyuu was slowly learning when to ignore Rin, and at the moment it stood at 'most of the time'. "Maybe you'll remember more when we get there." She said as she stepped further into the forest. "You know, this forest is surprisingly bright." Akyuu commented as they ventured deeper.

"Think about it, little Kirrin. There is a reason why the Great Youkai Forest is the Gensokyo absolute standard for darkness." Rin said. "And it's not because we can never find enough fairies to change the lightbulbs."

"Ah....then....that means I can see in the dark?" Akyuu concluded after a moment's thought.

"It's Kirrin Art No. 6, night vision. Lamprey eels not included." Rin said. "Though it also helps that you glow in the dark...you know, like those fridge magnet things. And much like a fridge magnet, it tells all the hungry people where the fridge is, sure does."

"Ah...." Akyuu thought for a moment. Most of her powers seem to simply react to her will, so if she willed it hard enough maybe...

The luminous scarlet glow about her horns, hair and tail died down before extinguishing themselves completely, causing the surrounding darkness to rush in.

"Well done, little Kirrin. You're a fast learner, sure are." Rin nodded with approval.

"Well, yes, better than being fast food." Akyuu said, stepping on further along the river.

Quote
OST - Memory of Foregathering Dream (IaMP title theme), Arrange by Hamu, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43HhNnsm1Rw

   “Shhhh…” Rin suddenly hushed.
   
   "What is it, Rin?" Akyuu whispered after a moment’s silence. "Do you see something?"

   "Up ahead, little Kirrin." Rin replied, giving a mental nod at the forest beyond, "What do you see?"

   "The forest doesn't look right." Akyuu demonstrated her acute observational skills. "I think trees aren't supposed to grow that way up to begin with." She said, looking across the sizeable scar in the thick forest now strewn with uprooted trees and snapped branches.

   "Oh, and here Rin was thinking we found a new breed of upside down trees." Rin said, without the teeniest hint of sarcasm, "What do you think happened here, little Kirrin?"

   "Mmm…Something big." Akyuu murmured, crouching low, fluffy ears standing to attention, "Something with a very personal vendetta against all things green, maybe."

   "Wasn't Rin." Rin said, quick to defend herself. "Rin has nothing against greenies, nope. And Rin would have had the decency to stop at simply burning everything down to the ground."

    "What in Gensokyo could do so much damage?" Akyuu mused, looking about carefully in case the culprit was somehow still around.

   "Other than you, you mean?" Rin raised a mental eyebrow.

   “It wasn’t me either!” Akyuu replied with a hiss. She crept on forwards, her overwhelming instinctive kitty curiosity overcoming her apprehension. “Over there,” She pointed at an object at odds with the rest of the forest, “That looks like…” She began, creeping closer to it, “Mmmm...an upturned cart?”

   “Pushing grilled lampreys.” Rin observed, noting the neat sign now half-buried in the dirt, “Or used to. Probably only pushes daisies now.”

   “Mmm…Grilled lamprey stand…?” The young sage’s mind mentally flipped through her mental copy of the Gensokyo Chronicle, “The stand run by…”

   “Today's main dish” Rin mentally nudged Akyuu, indicating the small figure sprawled underneath the overturned cart, partially buried by pots, pans and various utensils, surrounded by a ravenous flock of crows, all of whom are, coincidentally, completely unrelated to Karasu-kun. "Looks like this is a yakitori* stand now."

Quote
*Yakitori: Grilled bird

   "Shoo! This stand doesn't serve breakfast! Shoo!" The little Kirrin charged into the flock, quickly dispersing them into the morning air. The crows voiced their anger at the rude interruption to their breakfast in a cacophony of caws as they aimed disdainful glares down upon the little Kirrin. She ignored them, quickly kneeling by the downed figure and clearing aside the landslide of crockery.

Quote
OST - Unexpected Visitor (IaMP Theme) by Foxtail Grass Studios http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9xFk4saBYk&feature=BFa&list=PL48983E4FD8FD9362

   "Pecking order sure has changed while Rin was away." Rin commented as the little Kirrins' efforts revealed a messy tousle of auburn hair topping a soft little face, one not unlike a young child's. The little figure was clad in what was left of her signature russet songstress dress, now a torn mess covering her small, slight figure. Beneath it all sprawled a pair of fluffy chocolate-tinged wings, its feathers ruffled and bent in odd angles.

   "This is...Mystia Lorelei?" Akyuu thought out loud, "She looks...so cute and fluffy..."

   "She also looks scrumptious and yummy, sure does." Rin voiced her opinion.

   "That's nice." Akyuu gave the wounds and bruises visible on the little night sparrow's fair skin a critical look. "She needs some honey or sake." Akyuu said, looking up the food cart. "I hope there's some in here somewhere."

   "Rin prefers mayonnaise." Rin said, "Though a good honey glaze might do, sure might. And your hitbox is nowhere near big enough to start  drinking just yet, little Kirrin."

   "For her wounds, Rin." Akyuu added, flatly.

   "That too." Rin agreed.

   "Can we use our healing power thing on her?" Akyuu asked, wincing a little at the memory of the last time they used it.

   "Depends, do you want her rare, medium or well done?" Rin asked. "Just saying." She added under the fierce glare of Akyuu's fearsome inner eye. "You're low on power, little Kirrin, and using anymore of your powers before you feed is a sure way to turn tsundere little Ms. Instinct all yandere. Now that..." Her explanation was cut short by a rattle.

   "...Rin."

   "...Yes?"

   "That…That pan...it just…rattled." Akyuu breathed urgently, eyeing the offending pan on the ground as if it had just mortally threatened her.

   "So it did, little Kirrin. Well observed."

   "Good little pans never rattle all by themselves...." Akyuu quavered.

   “Funny you should say that, little Kirrin, there was this one time Rin snuck into this quack doctor's place and found this suppository thing....” Rin began.

        "That's nice." Akyuu quickly interrupted, "W-what do I do, Rin...?"

Well…are you going to check and see if it contains anything edible? Pans generally do.” Rin nodded sagely, "It's not like it's about to sprout legs and run at us, nope."

   "I-It just did." Akyuu deadpanned, "All of them."

   The two watched as the pots, pans, buckets, boxes and upturned drawers sprouted four furry legs each. "Mew!" As one, the little army of crockery gave a muffled warcry as they leapt up at the little Kirrin.

   "K-Kyuuu!" The little Kirrin squeaked before dashing away behind the cover of the food cart. The assorted furry-legged utensils gave chase, little legs flapping madly underneath. Crazed muffled mewing filled the air.

   "Help me, Rin! I'm being chased by fast food!" The little Kirrin cried in panic as she completed another orbit of the food cart with a speedy legged wok quickly gaining on her tail.
   
   "So it's not only the plot devices, even the fast food have evolved speed." Rin observed, seemingly unperturbed, "What an amazing age you live in, little Kirrin."

   "I-I won't be l-living in it much longer if you don't heeeelp!" Akyuu squeaked in panic. "K-Kyuuuh!" She cried as a gutsy cardboard box leapt atop the speeding wok and landed on her tail. "I-It's on my tail!" Within moments she was brought to the ground and dogpiled by mewing kitchen utensils. "Riiiin!"

   "That's me." Rin replied, calmly, watching as the little Kirrin struggled helplessly under the assault of half a dozen padded paws. "And that's breakfast." She mentally nodded at the contents of the pots.

   "Kyuuuuu...." One last feeble squeak escaped her lips before the little Kirrin was smothered under the furry invasion.

   "Nyah!"

   "Mew!"

   "...." Akyuu slowly opened one eye. Her gaze was met by a myriad of large amber eyes one filled with 100% distilled feline curiosity. "...did I die and go where all good kittens go?" She ventured.

   "Depends. If that place is also an all-you-can-eat buffet, then yes." Rin replied. "Get in line, you lot."

   "Kyahahah, w-wait, t-that tickles!" Akyuu cried under the combined nuzzling and licking of half a dozen kittens.

   "You know these appetizers?" Rin asked, raising a mental eyebrow.

   "Kyahahahah! Nyahahah! W-what are you guys doing here?! Nyahahah! I-I left you all with Keine for a reason! Kyah! Nyaaaaah!"

   "You do. Great. More randomly-named furballs we can't eat." Rin sighed. "And Rin supposes you had nothing to do with this?" She aimed a mental glare at Kuro.

   "Mew~?" Kuro's face was the very picture of kitten-powered innocence.

   "We'll need to have a talk about our working relationship, furball, sure do."

   The poor little Nightsparrow lying nearby twitched uncomfortably in her now fitful sleep. Needless to say, the treating of her wounds was quite unduly delayed.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2013, 12:59:37 am by Gappy »

Gappy

  • Oh...oh I was not ready for this.
  • It's only Logical....
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Mind The Gap
- Chapter 5 Part 3 -

Quote
Futatsuiwa from Sado, Mamizou's Theme, Arrange by Higuma - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-LzjB5tP0Q

      There are few things one expects to find on waking up in the morning. A familiar ceiling and a nearby toilet normally feature high up on the list. An upside down face sporting a small pair of horns and fluffy ears peering curiously down at you on the other hand hardly ever features. Finding such things on waking up does wonders for one's heart. And for one's bladder too. More so when it is accompanied by the low rumble of what could only be a hungry tummy.

   "Eeeeeep! N-Nein! B-Bitte, d-do-don't e-eat meeeeee!" The little bundle of exploding nerves that was Mystia Lorelei squeaked in absolute horror. "T-the fried chicken stand is t-that waay!"

   Everything hairy and furry within a mile radius were already on a short fuse. The high-pitched shriek was all it took to set them all off simultaneously. This included the recently evicted crows who were quick to explode in a flurry of caws and feathers. All this didn't help the little Kirrin who chose to explode in her own unique way.

   "K-Kyuuuu!" Akyuu squeaked, leaping back in shock. Her mind instinctively leapt for her mental copy of the Gensokyo Chronicle. It took all of a split second for her to mentally look up 'countermeasures' under 'Nightsparrow'. While the contents were accurate enough, the world, the universe, perhaps even the very fabric of space time itself, on the other hand, found her execution lacking. None, however, felt this more strongly than the poor little nightsparrow who had to suffer the full brunt of Kirrin brand psychological nuclear warfare. 

With an almighty heave, the little Kirrin cried, "C-Chi tchi tchi t-to naku t-tori w-wa S-Shi-Shinaru- Shi-Shinagi no bo ga koishi ka? Koishikuba pan-tsu-to ichi uchi! Wa y-yo moki-ka-kaeri, Ise no k-kamikaze!*"

Quote
*A traditional anti-night sparrow incantation which is supposed to translate to 'do birds that cry chi chi chi yearn for a shinagi rod? If so, then let them be struck with a single loaf of bread! Please blow quickly, divine wind of Ise!' It is also a rather savage tongue twister in Japanese.

However, in her nervousness, Akyuu blurted it all out as 'Do birds that cry and die desire my tomb of love? Then they shall be slapped with my delicious panties! I will take you home, by an Ise-style suicide attack!'

   "T-tomb of...d-delicious p-pant..." The poor little night sparrow squeaked, teary eyes wide as saucers, "N-nein! B-Bitte, meine Frau, bitte, please vergeben me! A-anything b-but t-the tomb of p-panties!" She pleaded, curling up with her arms tight about her head in an attempt to defend her body and her honour. "I-It’s t-too sudden! I-I ap-appreciate y-your f-feelings b-but I-I’m allergic to l-lover d-double s-suicides!"

   "Rin suspects she's foreign, little Kirrin." Rin said, barely able to suppress her glee, "Maybe the incantation only works in her language?"

   Akyuu took a deep breath. The little night sparrow held hers.

   "...B-B-Birudo dat kurai chirupo chirupo..." The little scholar turned red in the face as she tried to heave out her best rendition of English as if her life depended on it. The night sparrow looked on in wide-eyed horror, breathless, as the little Kirrin turned from red to blue as she mercilessly massacred the second verse. "E-EYE W-W-WIRRYU T-TYAKKYU YOU H-H-HYOMYUUUU!" The last few words came out in an explosive burst of raw, unadulterated willpower. The echoes bounced about the forest like the last words of a gaijin haunted by unrequited love.

   "Runyaa...you actually said that last bit in English...." Rin murmured, awed.

   Panting, heaving from the heat of battle, the little Kirrin glared at her opponent's stunned form. The night sparrows' returned the glare with an unseeing swirly blank stare, her mouth foaming feebly. Somewhere nearby a rose withered, its once pure crown falling helplessly onto the tainted ground. Following suit, the night sparrow drifted sideways before passing out with a soft sigh. Her limp body twitched feebly, before becoming still, unable to take another syllable of the dreadful alien incantation threatening doom, destruction and inevitable tongue-biting.

   "Good, Rin thinks she understood you, little Kirrin, loud and clear." Rin said, cheerfully to the panting Kirrin. "Your English is so good you managed to Engrish her to death."

   "I did?" Akyuu panted. "Hawahaha...and Keine told me to stop practicing my English."

   "By the way, now that you’ve raped her, you’d better be prepared to take responsibility.” Rin added, giggling uncontrollably.

   "Hawahaha, off course I….” Akyuu blinked, “Wait, rape what?!”

GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG

Quote
Satellite Cafe Terrace Arrange by Foxtail Studios - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fn3vNJ7cXNY

Mystia Lorelei, 5 star restaurateur and rising star songstress (Self-proclaimed), was having a bad day. She had slept fitfully, dreaming of rampaging furry-legged kitchen utensils and evil gaijins cursing her in their alien lingo. Then she woke up and every bit of her body felt as if a certain Whiterock had tap danced all over her. In high heels.
And as if to pile the icing on the cake, both metaphorically and literally, someone had gone and layered her with honey and what reeked of alcohol* before wrapping her up in bandages like a mummy.

Quote
*What Mystia suspects was once her secret vintage stash of vintage 1858 vintage plum vintage wine.

"Jiiiiiiii...."

And this wasn't helping.

"Jiiiiiii..."

'Is she staring at me? Is she ACTUALLY making the staring sound effect too?' Mystia thought, staring hopelessly at the strange little apparition sitting on a convenient fallen tree across from her, surrounded by a small army of...are those kittens?

The strange creature was the right shape and size for a young human girl, if human girls stare out at you through flaming red eyes while hugging their own massive bushy tails. Is that really a tail? Can tails really grow out that big? And why is it wiggling so much?

The mass of fur that was the little creature's tail was massive, at least twice the girl's height and about as wide. It seemed to have a mind of its own too, wagging and swaying underneath the girl's protective embrace. Mystia had heard that you can tell a beast youkai's power from the size of their tail. If that is anywhere near true, this one was lunatic mode on steroids, extra-fluffy stage.

"Entschuldigen sie, but....have you never seen a Nachtkrapp* before?" Mystia ventured, feeling increasingly uncomfortable under the little creature's penetrating gaze.

Quote
*Nacthkrapp: German fairytale creature, commonly takes the form of a giant winged raven that terrorizes people at night. Literally translates to 'Night Raven'. And yes, they are about as badass as they sound.

"Yes, yes, Rin, I can tell she's foreign. No, I'm not about to try English again." The creature hissed quietly to herself. As if everything else wasn't enough to freak poor Mystia out, this creature had voices in her head. And she talks to it. Or them. She couldn't tell. But this much she knew - while the host seemed somewhat bright in her own right, the resulting total intelligence was less than the sum of its parts. At best it was short a few screws.

   More awkward silence. Mystia sighed as she returned to eyeing the mysterious creature more closely while doing her best to ignore the little army of kittens surrounding them. She was uncomfortable around anything of the feline persuasion but she wasn't about to let that on, especially when she was surrounded and outnumbered 6 to 1, maybe 7 if you include this creature before her that was already as kitten-like as can be in pretty much everything but name....and that's only because she can't figure out a name to put to this creature just yet.

   ....Those little horns atop her head, are they...on fire? Why isn’t the rest of her silvery blue hair on fire too? Does that mean she's on guard? And those fluffy things by her head…ears? Fluffy, twitchy little ears?

   A strange primordial urge overtook the night sparrow. It is an ancient instinct, that all things fluffy begets pettings. Driven by the sudden impulse, she reached out towards the little creature hesitantly, slowly. The little youkai girl seemed to recoil at first, fluffy ears flattening down in fear. She calmed down somewhat, watching the approaching hand intently, as her ears perked up again with interest. The night sparrow's heart gave a little leap as her hand made contact with the mass of fluffiness that was the little youkai's hair and ears. The little creature gave a little squeak, a 'Kyuu' of surprised delight, as the night sparrow slowly and gently ruffled her head.

   "Kyuuuuu~" The little creature's eyes were closed, her face a picture of a pure unadulterated bliss. Her entire body seemed to unwind, her ears twitching, her tail wagging with honest delight.

   "Aren't you a spoiled little Schätzchen*?" Mystia couldn't help but give out a little giggle. It really was fluffy...as long as she took care not to burn herself on those incandescent horns.

Quote
*German for 'Cute little one' or 'little sweetie', pronounced 'Shetz-shen'.

   "Kyuuu~" The little creature seemed to drop its guard entirely. It more than confirmed Mystia's suspicions. This little one's a newborn, still very much slave to the most primitive youkai instincts.

   Feeling she had achieved an opening, Mystia ventured forth. "Mein Name ist Lorelei, Mystia Lorelei, a Nachtkrapp." She said, placing both hands on her hips as she reared back with a flourish. "Might I say, THE Nachtkrapp."

   "It's alright. I feel that way sometimes too." The little creature said, in a genuine attempt at sympathy.

"Nun...In your language, 'night sparrow'." The night sparrow muttered, sagging a little. "Euer Name?"

   “Mmm…Rin." the little creature replied.  Her tummy rumbled as if joining in the introduction. "Kyuuh...a-and that was my tummy." She added, turning the shade of candy apples, "...sorry..."

   "She's hungry, is she?" The night sparrow sweatdropped. There's nothing worse than a hungry newborn. She slowly got to her feet, grimacing as she put her weight on her feet, "Well, then, my spoiled little Schätzchen, let's see what your elder schwester Mystia can do about it, ja? We are a lamprey stall after all." She gave the little Kirrin a wink before turning to face her upturned cart. As if to deliver the punchline, one of the wheels fell off with a clatter before rolling up against the night sparrow's foot. "Well, 'was'." She added, with a defeated sigh.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2013, 01:06:16 am by Gappy »
Huzzah, it has returned, the great power of kyuuuuuuu.
:D
:D
:D

OkashiiKisei

  • Still working on the Grimoire
  • It's all about devotion
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Okashii
Awesome, it's still alive!

These new parts were a great pleasure to read~ Lots and lots of great humor to balance out the darker moments from the previous chapters. Your descriptions, references and wit do wonders, Gappy. The dragon chase scene had me in stitches. :V
And oh my gerd Akyuu was so lethally adorable in this, particularly in at the sleepy and Mystia parts~ I'm still amazed you can make Akyuu so cute and silly. When I think of Akyuu I always think of her depiction as the mature, serious and slightly boring ol' lady in a child's body. But you help remind me that the Child of Are is, well, a child. An extremely cute and scatterbrained one. Her many, many kitties are too cute for words as well (I have a feeling they'll eventually be part of her youkai brigade though).
The other characters didn't lag behind in terms of hugability. Cirno's broken speech fits her perfectly, and I was surprised to see Mystia is German here (and to know English). Then again, her last name should indicate her European origins. Did you get pointers from Sakana for Mystia's lines in German, or do you know the language yourself?
And Rin is still extremely random, excessively violent and politically incorrect towards her fellow Gensokyans. :V She has the uncanny ability to break the fourth wall too!

I like the Akyuu drawing by the way. Are the robe and sash part of the Ruukoto dress or the remnants of Akyuu's kimono? She also seems to be lacking her giant tail. :ohdear:

Your choices for the BGM fit amazingly well too. When writing a scene, do you first pick a song and then write the scene in synch with it, or do you first write it and then pick an appropriate song?

Anyway, here are some moments I liked or have questions about:

Quote
"KuroKuro Kusuriya Kurotamari Kiku" Akyuu said, proudly.
It took me a while to realize what the 'Kiku' part meant. <___>

Quote
Just so you know, we know it knows we know it's there, you know."
* OkashiiKisei 's head explodes.

Quote
"Oh, by the way, Rin forgot to mention, Ms. Instinct considers food a matter of life and death and wouldn't hesitate coming out if your tummy doesn't stop rumbling." Rin said, offhandedly.
Is food a necessity for youkai or do is it just a means of keeping their feral sides in check? As in, do they need food to survive, or only to maintain their state of mind/for pleasure? Rinnosuke can get a week's worth of nourishment from just a cup of tea, and he's half-youkai. That's why I thought that youkai maybe did not need to eat at all. Then again, our cute lil' vanguard of destruction Akyuu has a way higher energy output than ol' shopkeeper Kourin, so need of nourishment could be proportionate to that.

Quote
   The tree that was next to them was no more. It had been snatched up by the beast's whip-like tongue.

   Silence fell, filled with only the sound of the poor tree being chewed and chewed and chewed some more. The two winced with each painful crunch, each excruciating mastication, before unconsciously shivering as the remains of the poor little tree was spat out unceremoniously into the undergrowth.
Just so you know, frogs and toads don't chew.  :derp: They don't have teeth, so they just swallow stuff whole. Though they can crush stuff between their lips, I guess.

Quote
The giant toad had begun to glow red, green and blue, flickering in that order, like a rather bloated and misshapen disco ball. It began to swell and distort even further right before their eyes, its eyes bulging, its expansive chin bulging even further.

Then it settled. What was left loomed, towered, over the little youkai, bristling scales flaming in the sunset, razor-sharp Kirrin-sized claws gleaming, massive, serpentine body capable of crushing several onbashiras worth of wood, and, most importantly, enormous snout bearing large diamond-sharp serrated teeth that made Akyuu look like a toothpick, glowing menacingly in the fiery dragon breath.
Giant Toad + UFO + Kirin magic = Thunder dragon?  ??? This part really confused me. Did the UFO turn into/summon the dragon and blow up the toad from the inside, or did the toad actually turn into the thunder dragon? How? Is this based off of something like the myth that carps who manage to swim all the way up a waterfall turn into dragons? Do toads/frogs have their own equivalent?

Quote
"Umm...what do we do now, Rin?" Akyuu quavered, peering about into the darkness nervously. Her tummy chose that moment to give out a rumble that would dwarf even the Prismrivers' subwoofers.
Guess the Prismrivers stopped with the 'all acoustic' approach.  :dragonforce:

Quote
"It's Kirrin Art No. 6, night vision. Lamprey eels not included." Rin said. "Though it also helps that you glow in the dark...you know, like those fridge magnet things. And much like a fridge magnet, it tells all the hungry people where the fridge is, sure does."
Sounds like there's a youkai food chain in Gensokyo. I can imagine some higher-up youkai would like to try something else than humans for dinner every once in a while.

Quote
"Wasn't Rin." Rin said, quick to defend herself. "Rin has nothing against greenies, nope. And Rin would have had the decency to stop at simply burning everything down to the ground."
Why would a kirin, a guardian of life and nature, be such a pyromaniac?  :ohdear:

Quote
GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG
...Wait, what?


And that's all. I'm looking forward to the next part~

Midnight_Splendor

  • Neophyte
  • Nickname: Traveler of realms
Just went through and read this story must say that I love how akyuu is being portrayed here can't wait for the next part to come out to see further interactions between her and mystia.

Gappy

  • Oh...oh I was not ready for this.
  • It's only Logical....
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Mind The Gap
OMG I WROTE SOMETHING!

- Chapter 5 Part 4 -

OST - 博麗の民 by Carrot Wine

" Ich verstehe, so you're a newborn, Schätzchen," The Night Sparrow nodded, throwing another finished lamprey fillet up into the air. She couldn't resist the urge to smile as she watched the little youkai leap up and snap the juicy morsel of meat out of the air with her mouth, fluffy ears twitching excitedly, bushy tail wagging happily. She didn't really need the little youkai to tell her she was a newborn. Her behaviour was telling enough. All newborns are invariably slaves to their own feral instincts until they learn to suppress it, making them oh so much fun to play with. Just like the cute little spoiled princess she is.

   "Yesh!" The little youkai mumbled through yet another mouthful as she knelt back down on the grass by the fire. "Whachever.... *munyaa*...dat meansh." She added. While 9 different upbringings had invariably taught her not to speak with her mouth full, the little Kirrin's hunger proved much stronger. She had long since dropped her guard around the nightsparrow. There was something disarming about Mystia, everything from the homely brown yukata and dark blue chef's headband she had donned to her beautiful, melodious voice. Just being with her was to mentally order a big bowl of warm milk to drown yourself in.

   "Interessant. Newborns are becoming as rare as blossoms in the winter." Mystia said, before pausing for a little, an odd look on her face. Akyuu watched on as the young nightsparrow suddenly whipped out a little red book and one of those newfangled western pencils and began scribbling, "....blossoms in the winter...Bonbons? Pompoms? bossoms? Hmmm....bossoms in the winter...." She murmured to herself thoughtfully, before looking up, noticing the questioning look on Akyuu's face. "Oh, it's what we call young youkai like you, youkai who have barely lived for a decade or two."

   "Why is there a distinction?" Akyuu asked, gulping her juicy morsel.

   "Because your teeny hitbox is still developing." Rin replied, offhandedly. "...hopefully."

   "Because there are only as many newborns that survive their first two decades as there are sober oni." Mystia replied, matter-of-factly as she returned to tending the make-shift grill set over the little camp fire. "....Sober oni? Big phony? Horny honey? Best pony?" The nightsparrow mused to herself, suckling thoughtfully on the nib of her pencil.

   Akyuu gulped again, this time without any food. "M-Mmm....w-why is that?"

   "Because we eat them. For breakfast." Rin said. "Speaking of breakfast, where did the furry buffet go? Surely hunting down some mice or fairies or stuff can't take this long?"

   "Most of us youkai are born into this harten, harten world as spontaneously as the fall of a sakura petal." Mystia explained, skilfully flipping another lamprey in the air with one hand, "Without parents or family, not knowing how to feed or survive, living off instincts alone for the first few years...we are not unlike petals blown about at the mercy of the wayward wind. Ooooh...that's a good one..." The little red book reappeared in one of Mystia's hands as she began scribbling with the pencil gripped skilfully in her mouth, her other hand busy tending the grill. "Mmmmh...wayward windsh...lord's hindsh? Bored Behindsh?"

   "But...youkai families exist, don't they?" Akyuu asked, recalling a few of the familial groupings she wrote about in the Chronicle, namely the Yakumo, the Scarlets and the Komeiji.

   "They do." Mystia gave a sigh and a wry smile, as she pulled the pencil out of her mouth, "A fortunate few are born into familien, some as warm as a midsummer meadow. But usually youkai familien form through adoption. If the fondness between two or more youkai bud and blossom enough they may bear the fruit of familie. I've also seen shikigamis and their masters form familien. I've even seen humans adopt young youkai and fairies as children...though that was in a time as immemorial as this land." A dark look overtook her face, "Some youkai familien grow big enough to become clans...though some are nothing more than youkai gangs, as much a ‘familie’ as Satori are privacy." She said, a note of bitterness in her voice.

   "Lorelei-san, are you part of a clan?" Akyuu asked.

   "Hahah, die great Lorelei, serving a clan?" The night sparrow laughed, hands on hips...before doubling up with pain, "Autsch, autsch....shouldn't...do that...at least for a while....." She grimaced, "Well.....I say that...hahah...with a clan like that, I might as well not be in one..." She shook her head slowly. Akyuu sensed that she had touched on a bitter subject. " Schätzchen, for a newborn, your knowledge is as surprising as ice fairies in a math class." The sudden change in topic confirmed her suspicions. "Oooh, that's another good one....ice fairies...in a math class....fluff sass...laugh ass...." Mystia murmured to herself, scribbling in her notebook once more.

   "Ah...that's..." Akyuu panicked for a moment. "Well...ummm....I-I sort of have...err.. had...a mentor." Mystia gave her a look over the top of her notebook which Akyuu slowly avoided, squirming uncomfortably. "She's....well..."

   "Cool." Rin added, helpfully. "20% Cooler."

   "The one you still speak to?" Mystia asked, raising an eyebrow.

   "Ah...uhm....euh..." Akyuu squeaked, breaking into a new bout of panic. Her tummy spoke for her. It said ‘RUUUMMBLLEEEEE’. “You mean my tummy....?” Akyuu said unconvincingly, smiling sheepishly.

   "Nun, I'll say this much, Schätzchen, your mentor's currently about as helpful as a vampire coastguard." Mystia said, sternly. "....oooh, vampire coastguard..." Scribble scribble.

   "Hey! Rin takes great care of Rin's little Kirrin! There's only so much Rin can do about her tiny hitbox, alright?!" Rin replied, indignant.

   "Nobody should let a newborn go hungry." Mystia continued, "Have you even fed for the first time?"

   "Hey, it's not Rin's fault she's a picky eater! She just won't eat her greens and her humans, no matter what Rin says about her five-a-day!" Rin retorted.

   "Ummm....if by feeding you mean...getting eaten by a giant dragon...then...I almost succeeded?" Akyuu ventured, with another sheepish smile.

   "Dragon? Ayaya...whatever, I won't ask for the details." Mystia sighed, shaking her head as she turned away to dig around the remains of her cart. "Hmm...maybe....I hope they spared....ah, here it is." She fished out a ceramic urn sealed with a piece of cloth from a little pile of crates. She brought it over to the fire, peeled the seal off and reached inside.

   "Food? Rin hopes it's food. Please let it be food." Rin squeaked excitedly.

   An ominous dread filled the little Kirrin. If that urn contained something even remotely human....

   "Here, Schätzchen." Mystia said, throwing something square and red to the little youkai. "Catch."

   Akyuu caught it before she could stop herself. But much to her surprise and relief, the object in her hand didn't seem in the slightest bit human, derived or otherwise. It was almost a perfect square and had the feel and consistency of mochi. In fact for all intents and purposes she would have thought this was mochi if only it wasn't red, inscribed with the western letter 'P' in white, and had come out of a youkai's storage urn. "What is this?" She asked, instinctively sniffing it. The smell was not only surprisingly inviting, it was almost mesmerizing. She barely noticed her ears perk up eagerly, her tail wagging excitedly.

   "They call this a 'power drop'." Mystia replied, frowning a little, her disagreement with the name obvious. "Eat it. It should make you feel as right as a tengu in a bath house."

   "NOM IT! NOM IT NOW!" Rin was practically shrieking.

   Akyuu didn't need telling twice. Her reservations on eating, human or otherwise, had taken the first flight out the window on air starvation. Few people have ever done the phrase ‘to wolf down’ much justice. Akyuu didn't bother with justice, going straight to putting the wolves to shame.   

The taste far exceeded the smell. It was an overwhelming explosion of flavour that tidal-waved through every inch of her being from the tip of her ears to the tufts of her tail. The little youkai found herself trembling as the most wondrous sweetness she had ever experienced washed all over her like a fizzy pop bubblebath.

   "Runyaaaaaa~...." Rin sighed with satisfaction.

   "Munyaaaaaa~...." Akyuu couldn't help but echo her.

   The all-enveloping taste slowly faded, leaving in its wake a refreshing new strength, a vigour almost as strong as the sensation she felt on becoming a youkai. She felt the flames surrounding her horns and tail enkindle with renewed energy. She could even feel the wind and the sakura petals it carried flow and swirl to her whims once more.

   “Wunderbar, isn’t it?” Mystia said with a smile. “It’s almost as good as the real thing….almost.”

OST - Oriental Dark Flight And Doll Judgement by Floating Cloud

   “…real…thing?” Akyuu asked, curling and uncurling her hands as she tested the newfound power surging through her.

   “Feeding on a live human, off course.” Mystia said, matter-of-factly, hands on hips once more. “Which, incidentally, you still have to do,  Schätzchen. I don't understand it very well myself. Something about newborns being like a goddess without faith, you’re not a youkai until you’ve fed. Until then you will continue burning spiritual energy just to continue being an...an un-youkai, I guess?”

   “..." Akyuu bit her lip. She couldn’t help but wonder now if Tokiko had to go through with her first feed. Did she go through eagerly or with reluctance? "But...I thought youkai can eat human food too...?"

   "We can...." Mystia replied, giving Akyuu a strange look.

   "I-It's...it's just that we're eating human food right now, aren't we?" Akyuu added quickly.

   "True in that humans also eat this." Mystia nodded down at the lamprey, "It helps us get by for longer without feeding on humans. It doesn't change the fact that we eventually must. Besides, the humans have been trading less and less with us, what with the poor harvests after that mysterious weather incident and the increased attacks on their villages lately." She looked around at the forlorn form that was Akyuu by the fire. “Don’t give me that look. Your first time will be a lot less scary than you think.” The nightsparrow said with a note of encouragement, leaning in while raising an instructive finger. "Until then you can live off these drops somewhat. They’re really convenient that way. It saves us having to feed for months at a time. However, they're becoming as dear as a shrinemaiden’s tears and as rare her care." She paused again as she straightened up, "Hmm...shrinemaiden's tears....hen hairs...pen pairs....".
   
   "..." Something fell into place in Akyuu's mind. The power drop and food shortages would explain a lot, especially the recent increase in attacks on the human villages. "Is there not enough for everyone?" Akyuu asked.

   "The power drops? There used to be as many as there are idiots. All of us became dependent on them. We became complacent, you might say." Mystia sighed. A strange look overtook her. She looked around, cautiously, before lowering her voice. "Listen, Schätzchen, be very careful around other youkai. These are very strange times." She took a deep breath as she lowered her voice further, "There are...rumours. They say someone seized control of all of the power drop production in Gensokyo."

   "Genius." Rin muttered.

   "....who is this person?" Akyuu found herself whispering as well.

   "...and why isn't it us?" Rin demanded.

   "..." Mystia gave the forest one last careful glance before turning a furtive look upon the little youkai, "They call her the 'Youkai Empress', leader of the Ancient Capital’s Hyakki Yakou*. She’s proclaimed herself ruler of all the youkai clans.”

Quote
*Hyakki Yakou: Lit. Night parade of 100 youkai, a gathering of youkai. Also refers to youkai clans and gangs.

   "You're saying this is deliberate? But...why? Why would anyone want to..." Akyuu thought out loud, before pausing. "....why are you telling me this?" Akyuu suddenly asked, "I mean....isn't there a chance you might get in trouble? What if I was actually one of them?"

   “There’s no chance of that.” Mystia said with a grim smile, “Because she’s hunting newborns like you. As a newborn you need to know this much, Schätzchen, don't be quick to throw your lot in with fellow youkai. It's a youkai eat youkai world, especially right now." Mystia suddenly gave a sardonic little laugh. "Nun, besides, I'm already in trouble with one of her lapdogs."

   "The one you're in trouble with...?" Akyuu asked, "Did they....did they do this?" She asked, looking over at the upturned cart.

   "Ja. Daidarabotchi's youkai clan." Mystia nodded with a bitter smile. "She holds sway over most of the wilds from her base at the Shrine of the Giant Toad."

   "Where'd I hear that name before?" Akyuu mused, mostly to herself.

   "In a snippet of exposition from a previous stage, coming from an ice fairy of all places." Rin said, again offhand.
   
   "What about your clan then?" Akyuu asked Mystia. "Why aren't they helping you?"

   "They are my clan." Mystia laughed another hollow laugh. "As I said, with a clan like that...."

   "Then...why? Why would they do this to you?" Akyuu asked, gesturing at the upturned cart.

   "Because I haven't paid my dues." Mystia shrugged, "Because I refuse to play a part in this sham of a youkai familie. Because I still have my foolish pride. Because to be honest I'm broke. Take your pick." She said

   "Difficult choice." Rin murmured, "How about you're just a little weakling?"

   "...it sounds like a gang of thugs more than anything." Akyuu thought out loud.

   "Tell me about it." Mystia sighed bending down to reach for a condiment jar.  “Autsch!” She gave a sudden cry and wince of pain as she clutched her side, letting go of the jar. The jar smashed at her feet, splattering the ground with its gooey contents. “Scheibe...that’s my last bottle of crabapple sauce..” She muttered, mostly to herself.

   “Are you alright?” Akyuu asked, reaching out for the little nightsparrow.

   "Never been better!” Mystia took a sharp intake of breath, nursing her aching ribs, “Ugh...that smarts more than a fairy to the face.”

   “Would you please let me help?” The little Kirrin asked. "I can heal you and..."

   “I already told you before, Schätzchen, I need your pity as much as I need a spring fairy's greetings.” Mystia grunted, "This...this is nothing....no, save your spiritual power."

   “Then....would you please hire me as a kitchen hand?” Akyuu said, determined, “At least until you recover?”

   “....” As if to press the point, another wheel fell off the cart and proceeded to roll up against the nightsparrow’s foot before clattering onto the ground noisily. “...alright, point taken.” Mystia sighed. "I already have someone working for me though so I might not be able to pay you much if at all. Still, I need all the help I can get." She gave the little youkai a sniff before wrinkling her nose a little.

OST - U.N. Owen Was Her by Floating Cloud

   "That wasn't Rin." Rin quickly chirped, "It was the little Kirrin, sure was."

   "Now that I'm boss, you have to listen to everything your elder schwester Mystia says, is that clear?" Mystia asked, cracking her knuckles as she slowly drew in closer, an ominous grin on her face.

   "....Yes...boss?" Akyuu squeaked, suddenly shrinking under the night sparrow's advance.

   "Starting with this." Mystia said, grabbing hold of the scruff of the little Kirrin's collar.

   "Kyuuuuuuuuuuh!" With an almighty fling, the little Kirrin was launched through the air, arms flailing madly in panic, into the nearest body of water, the nearby river.

   Splash....

   "K-KYUUUUUUUUUUH!" An even more high-pitched squeak filled the air, raising a cloud of flapping wings into the air above the youkai mountain. "I-I-It's f-f-fr-freeziiiiiiing!" Akyuu cried as she broke the water's surface.

   "Oh, good. Then you'll enjoy this, Schätzchen." The nightsparrow said with obvious glee as she descended upon the hapless little Kirrin, wooden bucket bearing towels, brush and various toiltetries in tow.

   "N-no...." The trembling little Kirrin's face turned the same shade as the river mist. "No! P-please!" She squeaked. "Anything but the brush!"

   "Anything but?" Mystia asked, looking between the brush and the little Kirrin. "Sure." She picked up the brush and tossed it aside. "That was for the laundry anyway. You said anything, ja, Schätzchen?" She asked, giggling, rolling up her sleeves and landing in the river beside the little Kirrin.

   "N-no, I-I meant...." The little Kirrin began before faltering under Mystia's relentless advance. "L-Lorelei-s-san, I..."

   "That's elder schwester Mystia to you, underling!" Mystia declared, grasping Akyuu's apron and dress. Before Akyuu could even say 'Kyuu' Mystia deftly spun her out of her clothes, sending her flying into the shallows once more.

   "E-E-Elder soy-sauceeeeeEEEEEEERRRRRR..." The little Kirrin's plea for mercy filled the air before...

   Splash....

   "R-Rin! H-h-help meeeeeeeeees!" Akyuu begged her one last hope as she struggled to half-crawl, half-swim away from the unstoppable hygiene-machine-terminator-thing that was Mystia.

   "What rapes around comes around." Akyuu's last hope said, nodding sagely. "Now, where's my popcorn?" Hope died.

   "RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN!" Akyuu gave out one last squeak before a firm, oni-like grip took hold of her shoulder from behind. "Y-Yes, b-boss...?" She squeaked, slowly turning to face the walking tower of gleeful determination that was the nightsparrow.

   "Not even she can save you now...." Mystia leered, raising a bar of soap menacingly in her other hand. "This seife is your only way out now."

   "...." Akyuu sniffled. Thus was the first day of the rest of her youkai life.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2013, 07:08:41 pm by Gappy »

Gappy

  • Oh...oh I was not ready for this.
  • It's only Logical....
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Mind The Gap
Quote
OST - Aisya Ye Ru Amma by Riverside - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVhQUZWRAEA

   Oh, you actually caught one, young human. Well done. Lamprey are quite slippery little buggers to catch with your bare hands at the best of times. Hmmm? Why am I just sitting here on the river bank, cooling my feet and not wading out there into the river and helping you with our meal? Do you reaaaally want me to go catch MY meal? No? Thought so. Carry on. Besides, the sun is out and if there's one thing worse than lots of hairy fur, it's wet hairy fur.

   You should be able to catch a few more. This is Gensokyo's best spot for fishing after all. The river that feeds most of Gensokyo begins its journey here at the Waterfall of Nine Heavens at the base of the youkai mountain. All the fish struggle each and everyday to swim up against the current, away from the human villages downstream, to avoid being caught and eaten. By the time they reach this place, they have toughened up considerably, aged to the point where they are about to become youkai. That's why they are all quite powerful....and delicious.

   Yes, indeed, they are closest to becoming newborn youkai. And yes, we will eat them. Cruel? It is more a mercy than anything. Have you not been paying attention, young human? To become a newborn youkai, to suddenly become sentient, all-powerful, maddeningly hungry, and, above all, alone in this youkai-eat-youkai world....has my story so far not given you a fair idea of what it is like? No, perhaps not. One cannot teach the blind the look of fire, only its warmth and power.

   Oh, this fire I'm making? You think it's too big for the lamprey? Who said we're  only roasting lamprey, hmmm?

   Teehee, come now, I was talking about the bamboo shoots I found. Now, focus on our lunch. Come now, don't pout at me like that. Catching lamprey was the first task I was given as a youkai too. Mundane, you think? Menial, you think? To be honest, being a youkai in many respects is not all that much different from being human. We still have to catch, cultivate, hunt, steal or work for our meals. The only real difference is that we have to live out in the lawless wilds and occasionally feed.

   The shrine of the giant toad? Ah, well spotted, yes, we do have our youkai settlements. They are generally a little less lawless but the law of the jungle still applies. And yes, you notice it wasn't always under the rule of the Lady Kirrin. It used to be a quiet abandoned place belonging to the giant toad. Then one of the youkai clan rulers, Daidarabotchi, forcibly claimed it as her clan's. What led to the famous Lady Kirrin and her clan taking over the shrine? Well, I suppose I can try and entertain you with more storytelling while you wrestle with the lamprey...

Chapter 6 Part 1

Quote
Forbidden Friendship by John Powell - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CJ96LGGP6w

   "Kyuuuu!"

   25 kilograms of grade A Kirrin dove into a magnificent belly flop. There was a splash, raising sparkling droplets that fragmented the late afternoon sunlight into many beautiful little rainbows. Then there was silence as the ripples slowly settled. 

   "Lamprey over 9000. Little Kirrin, Zero." Rin said. "Keep it up, little Kirrin. Rin thinks that last splash was wetter than the last, sure was."

   Akyuu blew disconsolate bubbles into the water as she lay on her tummy in the stream's shallows, having flopped yet another dive for her elusive prey. Her eyes, a pair of incandescent embers, narrowed perceptibly as she eyed said prey swimming about just beyond her reach, almost taunting her with the silky swishing of their serpentine tails. Her own flaming tail slowly broiled the water around her, raising a thick cloud of hot steam into the noon air.

   "Let me guess, in addition to having all the flight controls of a thrown rock, Kirrins aren't about to win fishing tournaments anytime soon either?" Akyuu grumbled, moodily.

   "Took too many points in sheer awesome to bother wasting any on fishy things like fishing." Rin shrugged.

   "Mew~" Kuro-chan patted her on the head consolingly from his rightful place atop the little Kirrin's head.

   "You know, we have enough furballs here to feed an army." Rin said, eyeing the kitty gallery on the riverside. "Fattened up nicely on whatever mice or fairy they managed to hunt down last night too. Can't we put them to some use and make this a grilled catfish stand instead?"

   "Nyah!" Kuro replied, indignant.

   "What he said." Akyuu muttered into the river.

   "Rin knew it! Rin knew you could hear Rin somehow, sure can! If you can hear me, come here and bring it, furball!"

   "Mew~" Kuro licked his paws innocently.

   "RINYAAAAAAAAAH!"

   Thusly she had settled into her second day as a youkai. After spending the rest of her previous night warming up by their fire after her impromptu baptism of frost (what Mystia apparently called a 'bath'), Mystia had tossed her a spare rug and told her to get some sleep as they'll be waking up quite early while the sun was still up the following day (which, by nocturnal youkai standards was the height of diligence). She recalled crawling off into a corner of the clearing, not too far from the fire's dying embers, and summoning her Kirrin-half to curl up protectively around her (Mystia herself had opted for a bough high up in one of the trees that had managed to remain upright). Her kittens crawled all over her occupying every comfortable niche they could find. And thusly she slipped off into her first peaceful slumber as a youkai, feeling somewhat if not entirely safe for the first time in her new life.

          She had woken up late the following afternoon feeling decidedly better, which by Akyuu's definition at the time was not dying, not about to get killed by hermits, shrinemaidens, or dragons, and above all not starving to death. Having readjusted her standards for mental and physical wellbeing to fit her new life, she started the day in relatively brighter spirits. And then she found the note pinned to the cart.

   'Need to visit kappa to get item repaired so we can open shop. Can you catch some lamprey? The river under the waterfall is best. Nets are all broken so use your hands, your head or your English. Good luck. -Mysty-'

   And with that the little Kirrin found herself wearing a serviceable thin yukata she had borrowed from the cart, wading knee-deep in the clear stream, and catching lamprey....at least in theory. The truth of the matter is she felt like all she was catching at the time was a cold.

   "Kyuu!" She cried, throwing herself after another elusive lamprey, only to get smacked in the face by its receding tail.

   "Why don't you follow that nightsparrow's advice and try Engrishing the lamprey to death, little Kirrin?"

   "You want me to 'rape' the lamprey too?" Akyuu muttered, blowing more bubbles.

   "Well, there's more than one way to chase tail. A lamprey is fine too." Rin replied.

Quote
OST - U.N. Owen Was Her by Floating Cloud - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jskVQQF4SDw

   "You suck." A voice said.

   "That wasn't Rin." Rin was quick to defend herself. "Rin puts more love into Rin's insults, sure do!"

   "Then who was that?" Akyuu slowly picked herself up and looked around for the source of the voice. It didn't take her long. It was standing, bold as brass in the afternoon sunlight, on the riverbank, wearing a long, tattered white and red dress and the haughtiest smile Akyuu had ever seen on a girl. She seemed quite small, until Akyuu realized it was because the girl was dwarfed by her own flowing locks of ankle-length silky black hair. She must have been about Akyuu's size, though shape-wise she was distinctively more human-like in that she lacked horns, fluffy ears or a tail. As for age, if she was human she'd probably be around Akyuu's age, the operative word here being 'if' and 'human'. In Gensokyo assumptions on both humanity and age could be very dangerous if not outright suicidal.

   "Last Rin checked, humans generally don't sport glowing blood-red pupils, little Kirrin." Rin said. "Either she's not human or somebody beat you to the poking."

   "Yes, I noticed, Rin." Akyuu nodded inwardly. "And she just insulted me knowing I'm a youkai. She's either a youkai too or suicidal."

   "Or both." Rin shrugged. Kuro chose to agree by hissing menacingly at the new arrival.

   "Yeah, you." The girl nodded at Akyuu, arms crossed,  "You suck."

   "Don't back down, little Kirrin." Rin warned, "Remember, snappy comebacks. You're a deadpan snarker. You can charisma-break the enemy's will before the battle even starts. That's the point of pre-boss-fight dialogues."

   "Sometimes I don't know when you're insulting or complimenting me..." Akyuu muttered inwardly, sweatdropping, before gathering her courage. She was surprised to find she had plenty more than she ever did as a human, just enough to find her voice and actually answer back. Must be the youkai guts talking, she decided. She raised her voice, "That implies you don't. What do you do then? Swallow?"

   "I bite." The girl grinned menacingly, barring sharp canines that glinted dangerously in the sunlight.

   "What, dirt?" Akyuu said, not faltering. "I can help you with that."

   "The only one that'll be doing any swallowing around here is you, first your words and your pride, then, if you're not careful, your teeth too." The girl countered.

   "I don't know if I'll have room for such a rich dessert after I'm done with you." Akyuu replied, "Your sharp tongue might make for a good toothpick after I'm done though."

   "Don't even think about it." The girl warned, fiery eyes glinting dangerously, "I'm about as human as you are."

   "About as flat too." Rin noted. "Is it some sort of fad to have small hitboxes these days?"

   "Won't know that until I take a look deep down inside you, will I?" Akyuu replied. "So why don't you come here and show me what you're made of."

   "I don't have to search far in your case. You look like you got pooped out by that kitten on your head."

   "Must've been one heck of a constipation, furball, sure must." Rin said.

   "Nyah!" Kuro retorted.

   "I have a head, which will be more than can be said of you shortly." Akyuu shouted back.

   "You're sure you've got enough tissues to wipe yourself off the floor afterwards?"

   "Don't worry about the floor. I'm sure that big head of yours will leave a nice big crater in its place."

   "You're....really getting into this, aren't you, little Kirrin?" Rin murmured. Akyuu herself found that, much to her surprise, she actually was. Now that she had the power to back up the words she felt like every jab actually carried real weight. She decided it really must be a youkai thing.

   "You're going to dig your own grave? I'm impressed."

   "You're going to need two dozen small ones so you'd better get started now while it's early."

   "Sure, after I turn your skull into a shovel."

   "Why bother? You like eating dirt."

   "You like to suck, you can go suck it."

   "Well, you swallow."

   "I bite-...." the girl stopped mid-retort. The two glared at each other for a while longer. Silence reigned....and was suddenly overthrown in an uprising of raucous laughter from the girl. "Rouhahahahahahah!"

   "Rin thinks you broke her, little Kirrin." Rin said. "Rin knew invoking an endless loop would be a bad idea."

   "But I didn't even use any English that time!" Akyuu protested.

   "Alright, alright, you're amusing, Fluffy." The girl said, wiping away tears of laughter, "This great and merciful Imaizumi Kagerou-sama will forgive your trespassing and let you keep your fluffy hide just this once." She pointed a commanding finger at Akyuu, "Be grateful, okay?!"

   "Says the fluffy one." Akyuu sighed.

   "Huh? Did you just call me hairy?" The girl demanded, "You DID, didn't you?! DIDN'T YOU?!"

   "You said it, not me." Akyuu shrugged, turning away to face her real enemy, the lamprey.

   "The only reason I'm not wading out there to drown you in your own fairypoop is cause you know what's worse than hairy fur? Wet hairy fur. Like yours." The girl shouted.

   "Speaking from experience, are we?" Akyuu replied, offhandedly.

   "ROUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU! No more little Ms. Niceynice! I'll get you now!" The girl roared in anger as a fiery reddish black aura surged about her petit body. A pair of pointed fluffy ears fanned out from under her hair. A long bushy black tail flicked out from underneath her dress.

   "Just as Rin thought..." Rin sighed.

   "It's a dog." Akyuu said, flatly.

   "WOLF! I'M A WOLF YAMADAMMIT! NOT JUST ANY WOLF, I'M THE BIG BADASS FRICKIN' WOLF." She was almost screeching. "Just sit there while I huff and puff and blow your fluffy butt down to Higan!" She reared back, burning red claws extending from her fingers, ready to lunge....

   Akyuu watched on calmly as the self-proclaimed wolf eyed the river warily, giving a thoughtful pause, before finally adding, "....Yeah...After you get out of my river..."

   There was a long, pregnant pause, that gave birth to more embarrassing little pauses. For Akyuu, it was an uphill battle against the overwhelming temptation to make the obvious snark. "Just do it, little Kirrin." Rin, shoulder angel extraordinaire, yawned. The battle was lost.

   "....my, grandma, what big amounts of hair you have." Akyuu hammered the last nail in the coffin.

   "ROUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!" The wolf howled, falling to her knees. "Just...just...please....get out of my...river...so...so...I can...I can actually do....stuff...to you..." She sniffled.

   "Your river? This is the youkai mountain and we're both youkai, are we not?" Akyuu asked, raising an eyebrow.

   "Well...this bit is mostly Mystia Lorelei's..." The wolf girl muttered, "But I work for her so it makes it mine too! And we pay our dues to Lady Daidarabotchi so this much is guaranteed!"

   "Oh...so you're the other one Mystia mentioned." Understanding dawned on Akyuu, "I'm here to catch the first batch of lamprey for her. Please don't mind me."

   "Wait, you work for Mystia too?" The girl blinked, "Wait a sec, where's Tokiko?"

   "Tokiko...?" It was Akyuu's turn to blink. For a moment hearing the name of her adopted sister came as a surprise. It was only a day ago she last saw Tokiko but it was already like hearing an echo from a past life. Then she reminded herself that she was in Tokiko's world now, the world of youkai, and that Tokiko led her own life out here in the wilds. It was almost natural for her name to appear at some point. "You mean the little crested ibis youkai?"

   "Yeah, Mystia runs the show with the two of us. Where do you fit in?" The wolf girl asked, seemingly puzzled.

   "Please, tell me, you work with Tokiko-chan?" Akyuu asked. What sort of life DID Tokiko lead out here? She never really managed to find out. But, perhaps, this was her chance...

   "No, I work with the three little pigs." The new arrival rolled her eyes, "No duh, Fluffy, I just said we both work for Mystia. Though....guess Tokiko's been missing a while. Hope she didn't get lost hunting for those medicinal plants she wanted or anything. That would really suck."

   "She's missing?" Akyuu gulped.

   "Maybe. Or worse, somebody caught her and turned her over to the youkai Empress. There's a big fat bounty on newborns like her after all." The girl shrugged, seemingly doing her best to seem impassive. But her eyes betrayed her concern, so did the droop in her ears and tail. "Tsk...I guess it means the boss really did hire a new hand."

   'No, she's just been with Hijiri-sensei where she's safe, that's all.' Akyuu thought to herself. 'Yes, that's it. No need to worry...I just need to go visit her when I get the chance.'

   "Mmm...knew I should've opted for that pension....tsk, why now just when I finally figured out this whole slacking off business...." Kagerou was muttering to herself, seemingly lost in her own thoughts.

   "Oh, don't worry, I'm only working for Mystia for a while until she gets better. I'm not receiving a salary or anything." Akyuu quickly added.

   "Oh? Really? Well, why didn't you say so, kouhai-chan*?" The wolf girl suddenly brightened up noticeably, "Well then, I'm your sempai*, the all-magnificent loup garou, Imaizumi Kagerou...but you can call me Imaizumi-sama, cause I'm generous like that."

Quote
*Kouhai: Junior at a place of work/study.    

*Sempai: Senior at a place of work/study.

   "Haaaaaa...." Akyuu replied wearily. "I'm the kouhai, Rin. But you can call me 'The Woodcutter', cause I'm sharp like that."

        "Ouch, too sharp and you might cut yourself."

       "All the better to cut you down to size with."

       "You'll be here forever then. Nobody can handle this much wolf." The werewolf huffed proudly, "Now, watch your sempai show you how it's done, the awesome way." she declared, patting her chest, "You'd better watch closely, okay?"

       "I'm watching as hard as I can, 'sempai'." Akyuu said, peering closely at Kagerou's chest. "I don't see much though."

       "Too blinded by my awesomeness? Don't worry, you'll get used to it soon. Just watch closely." The wolf said as she pulled up the sleeves of her dress.

   "I'm watching." Akyuu said, "Mainly because I'm wondering just how wet this awesomeness is going to be."

   "......" Kagerou seemed to give this some thought. "Awesomeness and wetness are mutually exclusive." She finally declared, cracking her knuckles, "Now, watch!"
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 09:11:29 pm by Gappy »
I love this, it gives me the warm fuzzies :3

MaJO

  • master of karate and friendship
  • Only Rumia can do it better.
  • Nickname: Pocky-sama
I love this little fur ball.  I will give you so much faith if you update at least twice a week.
This is the last time I buy weed from Tiny Pete.
This is the last time I buy shrooms from Tiny Pete.

Gappy

  • Oh...oh I was not ready for this.
  • It's only Logical....
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Mind The Gap
Author's Notes: As always, thanks for your comments, guys. I thought I'd give a little shout-out. As you know I was neck-deep in my final medical school exams till just a few weeks ago, hence the lack of updates for a long long time. I had planned on getting back to writing this sooner or later. Then a certain somebody gave me a very encouraging PM asking me about the state of the fic and whether or not I'd update anytime soon. As a result the update came sooner rather than later. So you've got this guy to thank for the updates actually updating. You know who you are. That was when I realized you guys (and Akyuu ofc) are what motivate me to carry on writing this. Thanks as always for your encouraging comments guys, I appreciate it. I always appreciate your comments, even if it's just a line or two. I love hearing about what you like and don't like, what you want to see more or less of, etc. Now, without further ado, more Akyuu!

Quote
OST - Beloved Tomboyish Daughter by Crow's Claw - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKyL2D2HCzs

Chapter 6 Part 2

   "ROUAAAAAH! GAROUUUUU!" Blazing danmaku shots flew across the morning sky.

   SPLASH....splash....splash....

   "ROUUUUUUUUUU!" More shots arced through the air.

   Splash.....

   "Huff...huff....huff...." Imaizumi Kagerou, self-proclaimed champion lamprey angler, stood back and surveyed her handiwork. The dark red aura about her hands slowly dissolved into the late afternoon air, leaving behind smoking palms.

   Akyuu turned to look from the direction the wolf girl was aiming towards the wolf girl herself. She gave Kagerou a look.

   "I'm...just warming up, okay?" Kagerou huffed, wiping away a bit of sweat. "Gensokyo wasn't built in a day."

   "Actually, it was." Akyuu pointed out, "But don't worry, you're getting there. You actually hit the river once." Akyuu said. "And I'm sure that tree deserved that. It was making faces at you, right?" She asked, nodding at a nearby tree that bore a smoking dent.

   "Oh, absolutely. That'll teach it to give me such a wooden stare. All bark, no bite, that one." Kagerou nodded.

   "What about that rock?" Akyuu said, pointing at a smouldering rock nearby, "Was it doing an offending impression of you behind your back or something?"

   "Well, I showed it who was harder." Kagerou said, dismissively, "Sod them cowardly human spellcard rules for fairypoop...putting good upfront man-to-man fist-to-fist people like me at a disadvantage." The wolf girl muttered under her breath.

   "Imaizumi, you're a girl." Akyuu pointed out flatly. "And this has nothing to do with the spellcard rules. You couldn’t hit the river even if you were swimming in it."

   "I'm a wolf. You'd never find me doing silly things like swimming. Sides, my werewolf vision's built for darkness and awesome, not sunlight and wussiness." Kagerou shrugged. “And it’s the great and magnanimous Imaizumi Kagerou…or Imaizumi-sama for short.”

   "That rock was behind us, grandma." Akyuu pointed out. She was secretly thankful she had sent off her kittens back to the cart. The way things were going she was surprised she hadn't been shot herself.

   "Look, if you're the danmaku 9-ball league champion, Fluffy, why don't you try it?" Kagerou crossed her arms indignantly.

   "Do or do not. There is no try." Akyuu replied airily, before turning away. "....psst, Rin, how do I shoot stuff?" Akyuu hissed aside.

   "Just hold down 'Z'." Rin shrugged. "Works for all playable characters."

   "Rin, this is serious!" Akyuu hissed again, louder this time. "I'm sure I've asked you this before! I am guessing shooting is another one of those NOT-Kirrin things?" Akyuu was beginning to suspect that of all the youkai types possible, she had been landed with the prize candidate for the Gensokyo Darwin award, the one who had all the turning, dodging and shooting ability of a suicide-bomb fairy.

   "Real men fight man-to-man fist-to-fist." Rin said, nodding sagely. "Sod them cowardly human spellcard rules for fairypoop!"

   "Rin, you're a girl too." Akyuu facepalmed, all her suspicions confirmed. This was going to be a very short afterlife, she decided.

   "Sexist!" Rin retorted. "It's not Rin's fault Gensokyo has a lethal overdose of X chromosomes!"

   "Need help with them training wheels, Fluffy?" Kagerou asked, raising an eyebrow. "Try taking your thumb out of your mouth, it helps."

   "You might want to remove yours out of your rear before you suck on it." Akyuu replied, stepping up. “Or was it bite in your case?”

   “Yeah, yeah, shut up and shoot’em up.” The wolf girl waved at the lamprey, “Go on, before we become mushroom food.”

   Akyuu gulped a little as she prepared. Surely it can’t be that hard if all youkai can do it? Well, all the living youkai she’s met anyway….which implies that there might be a subclass of youkai who can’t and who are, as a result, dead. She tried her best to ignore this little flight of logic.

   "First one wills one’s powers to gather while one strains a little like one is about to climax.” Kagerou said, airily. “Don’t mind me, I’m just talking to myself, Fluffy. And that's the best description anyone's ever going to get on danmaku.” She added, noticing the look from her kouhai. "Seriously."

   "But I've never..." Akyuu began, blushing.

   "Use your imagination. It's what it's there for." Kagerou shrugged, not missing a beat. “Then one pushes that feeling from side to side like the boobs on a drunken oni, make it whirl about inside one’s body like the hips on a drunken curse goddess, then bring it up and out to one’s hands like a drunken hell raven's third leg.”

   Akyuu wordlessly tried out the wolf girl's instructions, filling in the obvious gaps as best as she could, finding that her scarlet mist was more than willing to follow her will. Her fire, wind and flower petals, however, didn't seem all that partial to the thought of being sent flying and barely responded. "Silly Hakurei seal..." Rin muttered, "Limiting Rin's awesomeness to only one at a time....Rin'll show that tsundere armpit-miko what deodorant feels like next time Rin sees her...."

   Akyuu waited patiently for the next set of instructions, secretly thankful for Kagerou's surprising thoughtfulness. "Now..." Kagerou began. Akyuu hung onto every word. "....One gets down on all fours, barks 3 times, and chases down the big fluffy thing behind him or her."

   "Fluffy! I WILL have it! Kyuuuuu!"

   5 minutes of frantic tail-chasing later, the crazed Kirrin found herself rolling through the shallows with her tail in her mouth, again, and a Kagerou similarly rolling on the riverbank, her mouth occupied with more important things, like laughing her tail off.

   "Kyuuuuuuh!" Akyuu squeaked in anger, righting herself into a sitting position in the shallows, "That wasn't fair!"

   "Rouhahahahah....I-I didn't realize you were a n-newborn, Fluffy..." Kagerou, weak with laughter, fought valiantly to right herself into a sitting position herself. "Hahah, it suits you though." She panted, wiping away tears of laughter. "So does that wet look, by the way." She said, nodding with approval.

   Akyuu suddenly became painfully aware of just how wet she had gotten, with her long purplish silver hair now matted and dripping, glistening water droplets dribling and clinging to her skin, and, most of all, how much her thin gray yukata was soaked through to the point where it was practically hugging her, revealing all and hiding nothing. She blushed perceptibly at this as she quickly gathered herself.

   "I'd wolf-whistle but sadly there's not much to whistle home about." The wolf girl sighed, shaking her head. "Would you settle for a raspberry?"

   "Says the one with the flat hitbox." Akyuu said, getting to her feet and gathering her powers again, this time channelling it to her skin. Puffs of scarlet-tinged steam rose off her clothes and skin as she dried off in record time.

        "Oh, very creative, little Kirrin." Rin nodded with approval. "Might come in handy next time you want to iron the enemy's face, sure might."

      Then, gathering the newly made mist into one big turbulent orb in her hands, the little Kirrin took a step, reared back, before tossing it overhead at the nearest lamprey.

     All three watched as the misty scarlet orb traced an arc through the morning air. They watched, they watched, and watched some more. The wolf girl even took off into the air and began flying circles around the misty orb as it slowly trailed scarlet mist through the air.

   "Fluffy, you're breaking several speed limits and my very heart here. Any slower and this thing would break physics and travel backwards in time." Kagerou pointed out as she flew her 3rd orbit of the orb. Akyuu could only pout in reply.

   The orb slowly made is descent towards the river, at which point the wolf girl sensibly backed away, perhaps listening to some sort of literary-savvy instinct that dictates that horribly bad things happen to those who underestimate harmless-looking things like young girls* and flowers or both**. They watched, both holding their breaths, neither realizing, as the orb slowly, gently, settled onto the water's surface. It bobbed there in the current, gently, a picture of serenity.

      *A tried-and-tested mode of Gensokyo Darwinism.

      **People say that those who appreciate flowers must be gentle harmless people. These people have not met Kazami Yuka. Those who have don't say much afterwards. Dead people don't tend to say much.

   Kagerou breathed out, before looking around at Akyuu. "Rouhuhu...You're holding your breath, Fluffy." She giggled.

   "S-so were yo-..." Akyuu began. But before she could finish her sentence...

   BWHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMPH....

   They were both blinded by an explosive burst of danmaku that showered the river with both water and spiralling prismatic lights. A wave of hot air washed over them, carrying with it a torrent of water that soaked them through. It rained. It rained river stones, fish and lamprey.

   "YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH" Rin cackled. "Insert classy sunglasses here."

   "Dodge." The wolf girl muttered. Akyuu didn't need telling twice. They moved out of the way as rocks, fish and lamprey pelted the ground around them, some even crashing violently into nearby rocks and trees. As Akyuu dove for cover, she noticed the werewolf was glowing a bluish white, her form blurring as she seamlessly wove and dashed between the incoming projectiles. There was a strange little white glow somewhere in the region of her chest that she could barely focus on amidst the werewolf's blurred movements.

   Finally the forest around them settled once more, or, at least, as best as it could considering it had just been assaulted violently a third time in the space of two days. "D-Dudette." Kagerou muttered, finally poking her head out from behind a log, fluffy ears twitching nervously. "Y-You just killed the river....like...fatal K.O. sort of kill...."

   "T-that wasn't me....!" Akyuu said, poking her head out beside Kagerou, fluffy ears similarly twitching. "Y-you t-told me to strain like I was about to climax!"

Quote
OST - Boogie Boogie Swing Cat, Chen's theme, by Swing Holic - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qxu4k21KvqY

   "Climax my feathery arsch!" the little Kirrin felt a firm hand grasp the side of her head. Her head was unceremoniously brought into violent contact with the werewolf's.

   "Kyuuuuuuuuuuh!"

   "Roooouuuuuuuuh!"

   The two rolled about in agony, clutching their heads. Above them loomed their boss in all her I'm-your-boss-and-what-is-this glory, hands on hips, expression threatening impending doom on her face. "I leave you two dummköpfe for a while and I find my river blown to all nine heavens. Somebody explain. Now." She demanded, one foot tapping impatiently like the footsteps of death herself.

   "S-she du-dunnit!" Kagerou was quick to point an accusing finger in the general direction of anything but herself.

   "Yes, that dead lamprey did it." Akyuu nodded at the grounded lamprey Kagerou was pointing at. "I'm over here, behind you, Imaizumi."

   "I mean her!" Kagerou corrected her aim. "She double dunnit!"

   "....I caught you some lamprey..." Akyuu said, offering up a pair of lamprey she picked up off the floor as potential bribes. In Akyuu's experience it never hurts to try, considering it usually hurts either way. "But yes, I did it. I'm sorry." She admitted.

   "I don't recall asking for the whole river, Schätzchen." Mystia facepalmed, "RouRou..." She reached out an arm and grabbed the werewolf's collar just as she was quietly crawling away.

   "G-Good morning, b-boss," Kagerou squeaked, her voice an octave higher than normal, "I-I was just going to p-pick u-up some lamprey for the shop, s-see?"

   "What I don't see is why this happened on your watch. Rin's just a newborn as clueless as spring fairies. As the sempai, I expected more of you." Mystia huffed.

   "She was just teaching me how to shoot danmaku. It wasn't her fault. I overdid it." Akyuu spoke up. Kagerou's face was a picture of worshipful teary-eyed gratitude.

   "....Ich sehe." Mystia sighed, "Well....niemand got hurt, so it's fine I suppose. The lamprey will eventually return, I'm sure." she looked between her two employees, shaking her head. "What am I going to do with you two?"

   "Give me a raise?" Kagerou suggested. "....y-you asked, and y-you can't blame a wolf for trying..." She squeaked under Mystia's withering gaze.

   "Nun, es ist gut zu lernen how to defend yourself, seeing as you're a newborn, Schätzchen. But I think we'll put off the danmaku lesson until we find somewhere a little less fragile to practice in, you know, somewhere like a steel bunker, ja?" Mystia suggested. "We have some time before we have to set up for the dinner hour so let's go over something else. Before you learn how to fight, you must learn how not to fight, Schätzchen." Mystia said, "My own mentor taught me that a long time ago."

"By running away?" Akyuu asked.

   "Nun, I suppose that is a way to not have to fight." Mystia said, "But I'm referring more to the art of dodging. Shooting wins you battles. Dodging lets you survive them."

   "But....I can't really...turn in flight." Akyuu admitted, shifting uncomfortably.

        "Yeah, we're straight like that, sure are." Rin nodded sagely, "Darn straight."

   "Even if that were true, kein problem, what I'm about to teach you is focus shifting." Mystia said.

   "Oh...was that what I saw you do earlier, Imaizumi?" Akyuu asked.

   "Oh, that?" the werewolf nodded, "Yes, it was. I'm particularly good at it, if I do say so myself."

   "She gets plenty of practice." Mystia said, darkly. Kagerou only laughed nervously in response.

   "You know, you could teach me the important things like these, Rin." Akyuu muttered inwardly.

   "Rin did! Rin told you to shift shift shift before!" Rin protested, "Not Rin's fault if you couldn't find your shift button!"

   "Gut, you've seen it in practice. That makes it easier to explain." Mystia said, "Focus shift is....more a state of mind than anything, really. It allows you to make very precise movements and take accurate aim. This helps you not only dodge danmaku but also graze them to sap their spiritual energy."

   "Oh...then everyone's in focus shift all the time in danmaku fights?" Akyuu asked.

   "Nein, because it has two drawbacks." Mystia said, "Ein, you move much slower while in focus shift which makes it difficult to dodge bigger projectiles or get up close to your enemy. Zwei...." She paused, blushing a little. "Err....hmmm...RouRou, can you...erm...show her yours?"

"I'll show you mine if you show me yours, et cetera." Kagerou said, "Seriously? Why me?"

   "Alright, fine, I'll show you myself. Pay attention, Schätzchen, a-and don't think anything w-weird, alright? I'll only do this once because you need to see it." Mystia said. "You see, when you go into focus shift, this happens." Mystia took a deep breath, her gaze sharpening as her wings burst out behind her in a rush of feathers. A bright red glint shone in her youkai eyes. Her entire form began to glow a purplish white, blurring a little around the edges. However, what attracted Akyuu's attention the most was the bright white orb shining dazzlingly on her chest like a miniature star. "O-okay, d-don't look too much, it's embarassing, alright?" Mystia stammered, blushing considerably.

   "So...You get fiery heartburn?" Akyuu asked, innocently.

   "Hah, if only." Mystia laughed, as the glow and blur dissolved away. "Well, you got a good look, ja?"

        "I had trouble trying to get a good luck while not looking too much at the same time." Akyuu said, matter-of-factly.

        "Aye, that's where a pair of shades comes in handy." Kagerou nodded sagely.

        "Alright, smart-Ärsche, did you or did you not see what I had to show you?" Mystia asked, exasperated.

   "At the shiny thing? Yes, it was white." Akyuu said.

   "D-Dummkopf! W-we don't need the finer details!" Mystia snapped, turning a deeper shade of red.

   "It was a very beautiful and innocent white, boss." Kagerou added, helpfully, giving her a thumbs-up. "Insert wolf-whistle here."

   "You'll pay for the show out of next week's salary, RouRou." Mystia said.

   "NOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUU!" The wolf howled.

   "So it's in the centre and it's eye-catching like a bullseye. Is it one of those core-like weak points?" Akyuu asked.

   "Smart, Schätzchen. Ja, it is what they call the 'hitbox'," Mystia's expression betrayed her obvious disapproval for the terminology, "As you say, our 'core'. I don't understand it really well myself but it's where all our spiritual energy is sort of stored. We youkai are creatures of spirit so losing that is...."

   "...pretty much game over, forever." Kagerou finished for her. "Every time you get so much as poked by a fairy in your hitbox you lose whackloads of spiritual energy. Even someone as epically awesome as me would only be able to take 3-4 hits to my hitbox."

   "Whenever your physical body gets hurt to the point of dying it also revives and heals it." Mystia said, "....I didn't get hurt to the point of dying for it to revive me... I don't know whether that's fortunate or unfortunate..."

   "Eats up about the same amount of spiritual energy as you lose when someone huffs and puffs on your hitbox." Kagerou added, "So it's kinda like how many lives you've got."

   "So it's a bad idea to get hit in the hitbox." Akyuu nodded.

   "Lucky yours is so tiny, little Kirrin." Rin said.

   "Hahaaa..." Akyuu sighed. "But...what about danmaku fights and spellcard rules?"

       "Danmaku fights usually have a set number of spellcards or hits to win. The number of hits to win is usually short of the number of actual hits one's hitbox can take to prevent it being outright murder." Kagerou explained.

   "Besides, it only shows up when you're in focus shift so it's difficult to hit otherwise. In general danmaku fights hits anywhere else on the body usually count anyway." Mystia explained. "Though while you're in focus shift the rest of your body partially dissolves, making your entire body except for your hitbox immune to danmaku."

       "So while you're in focus shift you can graze like a cow and dodge like a box." Kagerou said.

       "Oooh, good one." Mystia said, taking out her little red book and jotting down some words, "Cow...box..."

       "Do I get a raise?" Kagerou asked.

       "No." Mystia replied without missing a beat.

       "Nouuuu...." Kagerou whimpered, "A-at least pause to consider it..."

   "Wait...if it's a weakness then....why did you show me yours, Mystia...?" Akyuu asked.

   "D-Dummkopf! I-it's not like I wanted to or anything, alright? I-I d-don't just s-show it off t-to j-just about anyone, alright? Wait, t-that doesn't m-mean you're special or anything! I just thought it's important that you...that you understood! That's all it is!" Mystia huffed, crossing her arms defensively as she turned the shade of mikos, "Now, hurry up and make yourself useful and collect all that lamprey! We're behind schedule!" She snapped as she turned to storm off. It didn't help that she stormed off into a tree.

   "Might want to focus dodge that tree, boss." Kagerou said, helpfully. "Or spellcard bomb it, perhaps?"

   "That's another week docked, RouRou!"

   "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUU!"

   "....So...." Akyuu said, a moment's silence later after Mystia had bustled away in the direction of the cart. "...sempai.." She began as she got down on her knees next to the werewolf's defeated form. She gave the werewolf's prone form a little poke.

   "....what?" A muffled voice heavy with despair replied.

   "How do I focus shift?" Akyuu asked.

   "Strain." The wolf muttered, "Like you're about to climax."

   "....why are all the danmaku tutorials of that ilk?" Akyuu sighed. 

   "Cause danmaku's easy, it's just like doing it." Kagerou said, "Literally."
« Last Edit: June 22, 2013, 09:21:38 am by Gappy »

MaJO

  • master of karate and friendship
  • Only Rumia can do it better.
  • Nickname: Pocky-sama
I imagine Akyuu to be as strong as Flandre but with less control and not bat shit crazy with a thirst for murder.  It would be very interesting to see how she reacts to flanflan-nyan. 

I thought I understood women but then this hitbox thing came up and everyone was freaking out about "showing their hitbox" like a bunch of school girls and getting all flustered.  I will never understand Youkai women. 
This is the last time I buy weed from Tiny Pete.
This is the last time I buy shrooms from Tiny Pete.
 

SMF 2.0.15 | SMF © 2017, Simple Machines
Theme based on ModernDark64 design by BlocWeb
Page created in 0.094 seconds with 40 queries.