Author Topic: Yuki-Onna - The Gensokyo Addition  (Read 1652 times)


  • White Mage with a Twist
Yuki-Onna - The Gensokyo Addition
« on: May 28, 2013, 02:09:30 AM »
In 1903 Lafcadio Haern published Kwaidan - Stories and Studies of Strange Things. A collection of Japanese Myths and horror stories. Within is what appears to be the first recorded tale of the Yuki-Onna, the Snow Woman, told to him by a farmer.

Here, we have the work of another Haern more than a hundred years later. A similar story to the original. Beyond the border, between reality and dreams, a scene painted on the back of closed eyelids. Harken unto a tale from Gensokyo.

What do you think Renko?
The Yuki-Onna ? Gensokyo Addition

In the hidden country of Gensokyo there lived a Shrine Maiden and a Magician who were good friends. Over the years they had known each other they had embarked on numerous adventures together. So it was that when the Magician, whose name was Marisa suggested to Reimu, the Shrine Maiden, that she had a wonderful idea that would be beneficial to both of them, there was little objection. Though the early winter winds were cold the trip was not be a long one and so little additional preparations were made.

Marisa recounted a tale of a fabulous type of leaf. This leaf was said to guarantee the effect of a magic potion and was also supposed to make a fabulous tea when stewed. The stories of these great leaves led Reimu and Marisa to the steep slopes of the Youkai Mountain. It appeared they had miscalculated somewhat, however, as flying proved to be a very inefficient method of finding small plants on the ground.  Forced to walk travelling was slow on the rough terrain. Nightfall arrived much quicker than they had anticipated and both were made to seek shelter.

A fairly deep cave provided the cover they were looking for and soon a small fire was burning. Having not prepared provisions the two went to bed hungry. For Reimu this was not an uncommon occurrence, and as it so often did hunger woke her in the dead of night. The savage winds of a snowstorm howled outside the cave, far stronger than could be expected for this time of year. The air was colder than she remembered as well, the fire smaller.

A soft silvery mist of snow trickled, like droplets of water, into the cave. It began to slowly take the form of a woman. Tall and beautiful she was completely white, as though made from the snow itself, even her hair was as pale as her skin. She began to walk forward; the bitterly cold winds swirling around her bare feet extinguished the fire as she came. Her body seemed to admit a pale light, as if she stood framed by moonbeams.

Walking past her the woman completely ignored Reimu, and instead crossed directly to where Marisa lay, sleeping on the cold ground. Leaning over the unmoving body she breathed, a cloud of icy vapour poured from her lips and covered Marisa in a layer of ice. Unable to see whether her friend was still breathing, Reimu longed for her trusty Ofuda talismans, currently lying next to where she had been sleeping. Fear forming an icy lump in her stomach she lurched forward as though to dash to her side.

Her heart skipped a beat as she met eyes with the woman. The cold gaze seemed to chill her to her bones, for a moment she feared it may have. As the bitter winds circled the two, she gathered her courage and opened her mouth to ask for this stranger?s identity. But an icy finger touched itself to her lips and stunned her to silence with the woman?s proximity. Instead it was her who spoke.

?I had intended to freeze the two of you and leave you here to die.? The woman?s voice was as cold as everything else about her, slicing the air. ?Though there is something about you that makes me stay my hand, you are very pretty and such beauty should not be lost so easily.? Drawing back from Reimu she raised a hand in farewell. ?I ask that you tell no-one of our meeting. It is the season of winter, should you speak of this you will lose something of value.?

The woman vanished as quickly as she had appeared, taking the icy winds and chill with her. Freed from that paralysing gaze, Reimu rushed to her friend?s side and ran her hands along Marisa?s frozen arms. The ice was not thick but she doubted the warmth of her hands would be enough to melt it. Starting the fire again proved difficult, but some effort and a little time yielded a small flame. Dragging Marisa?s body near the fire she settled down to wait. As the night wore on sleep overtook her and she awoke to a pool of sunlight shining through the entrance to the cave.

Marisa was awake to, cold and shivering, her clothes sopping wet but she was awake. Reimu feared she would catch pneumonia or another such condition but Marisa laughed and said she was made of tougher stuff than that. She had no memory of what had happened last night. The return trip was uneventful and the only conclusion they had was that they did not have magical leaves from their trip. The two parted ways, each to return to her own home.

It was only several days later that the Shrine Maiden received an odd visitor at her Shrine. It was a young woman dressed in blue and white. Pale lavender hair curled just above her shoulders and eyes of the same colour sparkled like uncut diamond. She carried in her hands a small wooden box, a donation she said to the one who worked so hard to keep the Shrine standing. Inside the box were leaves of pure white. The guest said her name was Whiterock, but to call her Letty. She instructed Reimu that the leaves were for making tea, and made sure she used the correct temperature water to produce the best results.

The tea was fantastic, Reimu had never really tasted anything like it. She could not determine what its actual flavour was but it didn?t seem to matter. The two sat together, not speaking much but neither minding the quiet. As night began to fall Letty left the shrine with her box of tea leaves. She returned the next day however and the box was full again. For a second time the two sat and drank tea together, bonding in their mutual respect for the silence. As the winter progressed, each day Letty would return to the Shrine with her box and would sit with Reimu and drink.

The weather this winter was particularly bad, storms and heavy snows common. Without the ability to travel far from her Shrine, Reimu felt as though she and her guest were the only ones left in the world. Time passed as weeks became months and the snowstorms continued unheeding of the calendar. As winter finally drew to its close Reimu broached a subject that had been on her mind as of late.

She told Letty about her frightening encounter in the mountain cave, ending with a recitation of her white woman?s last words. As her tale came to an end Letty Whiterock stood up, taking her box and walked down the Shrine?s steps. ?Of course she and I are one and the same.? She called over her shoulder. As she watched, the dress Letty was wearing faded from blue to pale white. Turning to face Reimu, her back to the snow the very image of the woman from her nightmares looked her in the eye for the second time. ?Did you not believe what I told you? You will never see these leaves again, neither will the Magician. Their properties are forever denied you.? Without any sound Letty Whiterock ? the Snow-Woman faded to nothing as Reimu watched. She was not seen for several years and no one ever heard tell of a fabulous leaf on the mountain again.

- Maribel Haern
A/N - I wrote this after finding a copy of Kwaidan on my bookshelves and reading the original. I couldn't stop thinking that something like this could totally have happened in Gensokyo before. I hope you've enjoyed this.
"The eyes are the windows that let us gaze upon the soul"