Topic: Making Miracles  (Read 2673 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

HaLire

  • Neophyte
Making Miracles
« on: December 18, 2010, 01:22:45 pm »
So like, I started writing this story about two years ago, just for kicks and giggles. I got swamped with work from school at the fourth chapter, and then sort of lost my way. It's been two years, but suddenly I got the urge to write and I'm pretty free from work lately, so I decided to continue it.

After re-reading it, I'm pretty sure I can see the ending, so wish me luck. I'll be posting each chapter in a separate post, along with some blurbs I wrote at the start and end of each chapter. It used to be posted on these forums too, but that was before everything got blown up, so here I go. Oh, and the story tends to jump between scenes a lot, so I'm going to be using a bunch of hashes to signify that, unless I mess up the formatting, in which case it'll probably read really confusingly.

Without further adieu...

######

Chapter 1: Fetching Sanae

######

Author's Notes: oh god i'm writing why am i writing i hate dreams

######

Reimu and Marisa glanced nervously at each other. Tension(and electricity) filled the air, raising the hair on the back of their necks. Black clouds loomed overhead, and the sky goddess looked, no, glared down at them. Even though her avatar stood on the ground, she did not use her mouth to speak. The blue and white shrine maiden stood across from the two, next to her goddess.

"You two!" shrieked the sky. "Are you here to harass my Sanae again?"

"Talking to gods... let me do it," Reimu whispered to Marisa.

"Twice have you come up my mountain," boomed the thunderclouds. "Each time, you've attacked her!"

"Well, to be fair, she attacked us the second time, saying something ridiculous like 'You can't let yourself be trapped in common sense in Gensokyo!'"

The sky roared back, "Clearly she was shocked by your first attack!"

Reimu tried to reply, but Marisa had covered her mouth by then. "My dear lady," she said, flashing a flawless grin, "I'd like to rectify that." Turning her grin on Sanae, she continued. "Sanae, let me take you out," she said with nary a wink.

The sky cleared up, and for the first time Kanako's avatar reacted. She blinked twice and turned to look at the young girl standing next to her.

"Wh-wh-what?" said the green-haired girl, blushing furiously. "I don't know what it's like here in Gensokyo, but I d-"

"No, no, no, my dear! You misunderstand me, although that idea is not terrible," continued Marisa, smiling pleasantly and ignoring Reimu's glare. "We realize that prior experiences," with this, she looked towards Kanako "may have clouded your view of our fair land."

The goddess looked back and forth between Sanae and Marisa, but didn't say anything. Taking this as approval, Marisa continued. "So Reimu, charming girl that she is, wanted to show you around Gensokyo, to expand your view of the world."

"It's not like I spend all my time in the shrine," Sanae said, frowning. "It's not like I'm an introvert or anything."

"No, no, no," said Reimu, frowning. "There's a difference between going around and trying to gather faith in your shrine and going out and really meeting people. They treat you differently when you're doing that sort of thing."

"I'm really not too sure about this."

Marisa smiled warmly, and walked forward. Sanae took a step back, raising her gohei defensively. "Stay back!" she said, frowning. Kanako took a step forward, between the witch and shrine maiden.

The witch just looked up and continued to smile. "Don't worry, Kanako," she said, addressing the goddess by name. She continued to walk forward.

Kanako bristled at the idea of a mere human talking to her like this. The sky darkened again, and she stepped towards where the witch had been.

But Marisa was no longer there. "H-h-how did yo-" shried Sanae, and Kanako turned to her shrine maiden.

Marisa had reached her arm around Sanae's back, holding her warmly. Ignoring Sanae's question, she walked, gently pulling her along. She leaned over, whispering quietly in her ear. The two girls walked to the border of the shrine, to the peak of the Youkai Mountain. She gestured out towards the horizon, pulling Sanae closer to her. "This, Sanae! This is our beautiful land, full of wonderful, beautiful people. There are sights, sounds, and smells out there, every one exquisite in its own way. It is almost a crime, certainly a pity, to not go out and experience it all."

Sanae looked over the sprawling land of Gensokyo, then over to the golden eyes and the brilliant grin under the hat.

Marisa gave her one more squeeze. "How about it, Sanae?"

"I... I'm not sure.."

"I've got approval from your goddess," Marisa said, looking back at the shrine.

"What?" shrieked the sky god, eyes flashing.

"No, no," said a new voice. "She means me."

Reimu yelped and jumped to her feet as the rock she'd been sitting on sprouted a pair of grinning eyes. Thusly unburdened, the rock rose into the air atop a similarly smiling face. "How else do you think she got around you earlier?" asked the earth goddess. Taking on a motherly tone, Suwako continued. "Sanae, go with these two. The shrine can manage without you for a little bit, and the most important thing is to know your place and your neighbors."

Kanako glared at the woman who had subverted her, but was startled by a flash of movement from the red and white shrine maiden. Reimu made a quick somersault over the sky goddess, landing next to Sanae and Marisa. "Well, well," she said, smiling pleasantly back at the two gods. "Looks like there are no objections. Let's go, girls."

Grabbing Sanae by the shoulders, Reimu leapt off the cliff and flew towards the lowlands of Gensokyo. Marisa turned back and smiled once more at the goddesses. Waving her broom, she shouted back, "Don't worry, Reimu and I are mostly good girls." With that, the tail end of her broom ignited and she took off into the sky, quickly catching up to the two shrine maidens.

######

"My my, this is going to be interesting," Remilia Scarlet said to nobody in particular. She made her way down to the library, slamming open the doors as she went.

Barely looking up from her book, the librarian still managed to acknowledge the vampire. "This is a rare, albeit noisy sight. What brings you down here, friend?"

"What's with the funny talk? Besides, it's not like I never come down here. It's been a few days at most."

"A few days makes you a pretty rare sight if we live in the same house."

"Maybe it's because I always have to come to you."

"Maybe that's because there's nothing interesting upstairs."

"Oh ho ho ho! That, friend, is where you're wrong." The vampire hovered in the air, looking down on Patchouli. "Miss Knowledge, I've got some pertinent information for you. Some juicy, wonderful information for you."

"Is Sakuya making flan for dessert?"

"Information that doesn't pertain to your sweet tooth."

"Oh, then you've seen something interesting in the future?"

"That's a pretty big jump in seriousness."

"Well, you have to aim for the stars."

"Pretty good aim, Patchy. I've seen that it's probably a good idea for you to go to Youkai mountain. Something important will be waiting for you up there."

"Hmm." Patchouli looked at her friend, magically manipulating the air infront of her eyes to provide greater clarity. Years of living with the impulsive, mischievous vampire had made Patchouli a master at figuring out when the vampire was and was not being serious. It was a point of pride for her that she could read her friend better than even the head maid could.

Today, Remilia was being perfectly honest.

"Doesn't seem like bad news. Still, did it have to be all the way at the top of the mountain?"

"Sorry, but that's fate for you. You're pretty slow, so you should probably get going soon."

"I'm not that slow," the magician fumed. "Still, it's good to take a relaxed pace, so I suppose I might as well head out early."

"Do you want an escort?"

"No, no, I'll be fine by myself. Besides, I'm sure that you'll see if I'm in danger and come rushing to my rescue." The magician smiled, and started to tidy up her reading area.

######

"You directly subverted me." said Kanako.

"Yeah, pretty much." replied Suwako.

"When did you even arrive?"

"You love theatrics too much, so it was pretty easy to sneak up on you guys."

"Do you really think this was a good idea? We haven't exactly been the nicest to the people in Gensokyo so far."

"You mean you haven't been the nicest, right?"

"Regardless, we probably don't have the most credit right now."

"Those two girls she's with, and Sanae herself, I think, should be able to smooth that over. It'll be good for the Moriya Shrine to be doing something other than subverting the natural order of Gensokyo."

"Still, I worry for her."

"Me too, Kanako."

######

"Oh ho ho, pretty slow today, aren't you?"

Marisa slowed as she caught up with the shrine maidens. Keeping pace, she waved to Sanae.

"It's not my fault, I've got to carry her!" Reimu shot back, hoisting her arms, which she had hooked under Sanae's armpits, for emphasis.

Sanae blushed and wriggled free. "I can fly on my own, you know."

"That's good, that's good," said Marisa. "Well then, where to first?"

######

Author's Notes: Well there's a prologue. Where to first?

HaLire

  • Neophyte
Re: Making Miracles
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2010, 01:29:43 pm »
Chapter 2: Kourindou

######

Author's Notes: Dishonesty is a strong gimmick.

######

"Where to first?" asked Marisa.

Reimu, having recently been unburdened of Sanae, stopped and stared at Marisa. Sanae and Marisa both quickly backpedaled(or at least, backpedaled as much as one can be said to do so in the air) and rejoined Reimu. "I can't believe that you're even asking me that."

Marisa furrowed her brow, slightly puzzled. "How so?"

"There's no way we could just lollygag around with her." Reimu punctuated this statement by grabbing firmly onto Sanae's left arm. "It's amazing that we even managed to get her away from the Moriya goddesses, you know."

"Hey... that kind of hurts," protested Sanae.

"Ah. Of course, you're right," Marisa replied, ignoring the new girl. She grabbed Sanae's right arm just as tightly. "Strict business, then?"

"Of course. I don't know if those two gods are watching us, but the longer we take the more likely it is that they figure out something's up." With this, Reimu started to drift off in a new direction, pulling Sanae along. Marisa quickly adjusted to the new path and matched Reimu's speed. The two of them carried Sanae along in silence for a while, who, for her part, struggled valiantly.

"Hey, it's better to not waste your energy like that," Reimu said, looking down on the blue shrine maiden with sad eyes.

"We don't really want to do this," said Marisa, "but between the two of us you're not going to get away. It's easier to just come along."

Sanae sagged, and then stopped struggling.

"Excuse me, but what exactly is going on?" asked Sanae, visibly uncomfortable now.

"Do you think we should tell her?" asked Marisa, her face a reflection of Reimu's quiet "I'm sorry" expression.

"Would it make a difference?"

"For her? Maybe."

"For us I mean. What if he gets mad?"

"He?" asked Sanae, a little scared now.

"Can we trust her?" asked Reimu.

Marisa looked to Sanae, still sad. "I don't know. I want to think so." She stared into Sanae's eyes, deep into her eyes, and took a breath. "I think so. I don't think I could live with the guilt if we didn't at least try something."

"Do you promise to not mention a word of this to anyone?" asked Reimu, eyes steely and serious.

Now truly frightened, Sanae looked between the two girls. "I promise, I promise."

"Alright then."

"Our hands are more or less tied," Marisa said, "but..."

"But," added Reimu, "I think we can at least do this much for you."

Slowing down, Marisa and Reimu began to tell Sanae about the situation that she had gotten caught in, that they had gotten caught in. They told her about the man they were taking her to see. As they spoke, Sanae began to wonder exactly what kind of world she'd gotten caught in.

######

Patchouli left the Scarlet Devil Mansion shortly after talking with Remilia. She'd packed up a few provisions for the road and eaten a quick meal with her friend and the head maid, and now she leisurely crossed the bridge over the lake.

The sun was shining, and just above the treetops of the Magic Forest she could see the peak of Youkai Mountain looming. She pulled her hat a bit forward in an attempt to keep the sun out of her eyes and off of her pale skin. Flying directly to the mountain was a possibility, of course, but Patchouli had set up a magical barrier around the border of the lake, quietly separating the airspace above the lake from the rest of Gensokyo.

It wouldn't be too hard to take down the barrier, but it would be wasteful, she had thought.

She decided that she would walk through the Magic Forest. For a sorceress of her calibur, there wasn't much that could threaten her, and she could simply take flight after exiting the other side of the forest.

Unfortunately, the denizens of the forest didn't quite understand that. Two men, each brandishing knives, confronted her as she passed through the forest. "Ah, how unfortunate," said one of the men, grinning wickedly. "A pretty girl such as yourself walking alone in the forest? You should know to be more careful, miss," he cackled.

"That is unlikely," responded the magician. She continued to walk forward, mostly ignoring the two men.

The other one laughed wildly. "It seems that we'll have to teach this girl a lesson, bro! We can take more than just your cash and goods," he threatened, gesturing with his knife. "Putting on a brave face won't do anything!"

Patchouli looked him in the eye. "I would like to warn you two with words, but I do not think that you would listen to me. Please accept this: A warning shot." With those words, a tiny blue bolt flew from Patchouli's vicinity and tore through a nearby tree branch.

"She's a witch!" shouted the first man, adopting a more defensive posture.

"It doesn't matter!" said the second, leaning down. "That's the sort of thing even scrubby mages can do! Just get her!"

With that, the two men rushed towards Patchouli.

She continued to walk forward, and the two men dropped to the ground, victims of another quiet spell. "To be flashy is to be wasteful," she said. "Remember that."

The bandits lay on the ground, shin bones shattered by the return of the first bolt Patchouli had fired.

As she reached the edge of the forest, Patchouli could barely hear the cries of the crippled men. She spotted a woodcutter getting ready for a hard day's work and approached him. "There are two injured bandits somewhere in that direction," she said, gesturing towards the path she'd come. "Please deal with them however you see fit," she said.

With that, Patchouli produced a great blue bubble around herself. Whispering quietly to the elements, she floated gently towards the Youkai Mountain. Flying directly had its merits, but this was less wasteful.

######

The green haired shrine maiden held up her gohei, visibly shaking in the doorway. Reimu and Marisa stood outside, but only Sanae came in. Rinnosuke looked up at her, putting down the artifacts he'd been examining up until this point.

"Ah, so it's a new face. Hello, and welcome to Kourindou." The grey-haired man stood up and took a step towards Sanae.

"Stay back!" she shouted.

"Pardon?"

"Stay where you are!" Sanae looked around the room nervously. A casual glance revealed mostly junk, but a few objects of clearly sexual nature stood out to Sanae. "I won't let you touch me!"

Rinnosuke stepped back, and noticed the bottom of Reimu's outfit waving just outside the doorway. Slowly, he started to piece things together. "Are Reimu and Marisa outside?" he asked, visibly agitated.

"Damn!" exclaimed Marisa audibly.

Sanae steeled her gaze and looked him in the eyes. The tip of the gohei began to glow, and the room was bathed in a pale blue-green light. "R-r-release those two and cease your activities here p-p-peacefully, or I'll have to be violent!" she shouted, voice quivering.

"What a bother," said Rinnosuke, sighing. "Whatever it is those two have told you, you shouldn't believe. I'll deal with them later, but for now, please do not fire." Rinnosuke smiled and took a step towards Sanae.

The next moment was a hurricane of action. Sanae shrieked and fired, the bolt sizzling towards Rinnosuke. To his credit, he reacted quickly and hit the floor. To her greater credit, Reimu leaped through the doorway and extended a set of seals to contain and dissipate the energy from Sanae's attack. To no credit at all, Marisa waltzed into the room casually and laughed before anyone else had realized exactly what was going on.

"Sorry, sorry," said Marisa. "Rinnosuke's right, it was all just a little white lie."

Sanae fell to her knees, not exactly sure what had just happened.

"It was too tempting," said Reimu, extending a hand to her. "Especially since you don't really know Rinnosuke yet. He's definitely a bad person though."

Rinnosuke got up less than elegantly and brushed off his clothes. "I am in no way a bad person. What exactly did they say to you?" he asked, adjusting his glasses.

Sanae took Reimu's hand and stood up. She looked around the room again. Her eyes settled on the objects she'd seen earlier. She blushed, and didn't say anything.

"What did you tell her?"

"Nothing terribly important," said Marisa, grinning. "Sanae, welcome to Kourindou. It's a junk shop or something that doubles as Rinnosuke's house."

"We're not a junk shop," corrected Rinnosuke. "Kourindou is a store that specializes in the oddities that fall through the border, the things from the outside world. I have but a vague idea of the real function of most of these things, but sometimes merely being a curiosity is reason enough to buy something."

"Isn't that convenient?" asked Reimu. "Sanae has relatively recently arrived from the outside world, and so I'm sure she could help you with something or the other."

Sanae thought about the objects from before. "Um... for now," she said quietly, "I'd rather not. Sorry for being unable to help and misjudging you, Mr. Rinnosuke." Sanae bowed apologetically.

"Don't worry about it, this is more the fault of those mischievous girls than you," he said, frowning and Reimu and Marisa. "If you ever change your mind, then Kourindou would always appreciate any new information you have for us."

Sanae smiled politely.

Reimu grabbed her hand, grinning. "Well, well, this is Kourindou, the first sight, or something like it. Sorry about the joke, the place felt too lackluster without something like that."

"I'd like to protest that," interjected the shopkeep.

"Too bad," said Marisa. "It's more or less the truth. Anyway, with this out of the way, where shall we go next? The Scarlet Devil Mansion?"

"Eientei?" suggested Reimu.

Realizing his objection would be ignored, Rinnosuke decided that he might as well make a suggestion. "What about the Human village?"

"Isn't that place boring too?" asked Reimu.

"Far too ordinary, I think." said Marisa.

"Actually, I think that would be a nice place to visit," Sanae suggested quietly.

"Really?" asked Reimu, frowning.

"It'd be nice to see how they live here, I guess."

Marisa shrugged. "Well then, let's go."

######

"Remember, Chen, that above all things you must have pride in your family."

Chen looked up at her master's stern expression, listening intently.

"No matter what comes against us, no matter who tries to oppose us, we will persevere, we will flourish, we will succeed, because the bonds between you and I and Lady Yukari and invulnerable."

She walked out onto the balcony of the Yakumo residence, which jutted out of a sheer cliff face. Ran gestured above and below the mansion, smiling. "No matter what, the house of Yakumo is stronger than anything. If heaven and earth were to come together and throw their combined rage at us, we would not waver, because the bonds between us are stronger than that."

Chen contemplated these words quietly.

"Even if Lady Yukari and I are not by your side, Chen, remember that the house Yakumo stands behind you always. Bow to no one." With that, the kitsune vanished.

"Lady Ran?" asked Chen, suddenly all alone.

######

The three girls arrived at the Human village without event.

"Hey," asked Sanae. "Is it just me, or was there a girl in a bubble floating by earlier?"

"I didn't see anything of the sort," said Marisa. "But I can hazard a guess at who that could have been."

"Hello hello, Miss Shrine Maiden and Miss Witch," said a kindly looking old man. "It's not often that you two come here to visit," he said. "And who is this young lady?" he asked, noticing Sanae.

"I am Kochiya Sanae, the shrine maiden for the Moriya shrine." Sanae bowed politely.

"Er, wait here, Sanae," said Reimu. "Marisa and I are gonna go fetch the guardian of the village."

"Just small talk or somethin'," said Marisa, walking with Reimu.

"I don't think I'm familiar with that shrine," said the old man.

"It's located on Youkai mountain, so I'm not terribly surprised."

"Hmm. Why is it that the shrines of Gensokyo insist on being so difficult to visit?"

"I'm not sure, to be honest."

"Perhaps the difficulty is meant to be a test of devotion," he said, chuckling.

"Perhaps." Sanae's attention was caught by a pair of little girls bickering nearby. "My, my, children sure have a lot of energy," she said. She approached the pair, smiling kindly. The old man followed her.

"Hello there," said Sanae. "It's not good for people to fight, you know."

"Why?" asked the girls in unison.

The old man put his arm on Sanae's shoulder, stopping her from saying anything. "Children, there is a reason that we humans in Gensokyo stress community, a reason why we don't encourage any sort of division between ourselves.

There is a great and old youkai who makes Gensokyo her home. Her ability is extremely abstract. This great youkai is the youkai who lurks in the boundaries. Wherever there is division, she has power. She lurks in the horizon, between heaven and earth. On the shore, between land and sea. On the cliffsides, in any great schism. The power of 'gaps' is mighty indeed.

But that is not the limit to her power. The Youkai Sage can lurk in the gaps between peoples hearts, in the schisms of society. She works to encourage those gaps and increase her power. Division simultaneously weakens mankind and strengthens her. Monster that she is, she preys easily on the unprepared, spiriting them away with little to no warning.

Protect yourselves from the monster of Yakumo, girls, and do not fight."

"Hmm..." said one of the girls, considering the old man's story.

Sanae looked at the old man, frowning. Embellished fairy tales were not the way to teach children life's lessons. "More importantly," she said. "Friends should be cherished. The world is large and scary, and it's terribly easy to become lonely."

The girls both looked at Sanae, contemplating her words. "Ah, there you are," said Reimu. "Keine, this is Kochiya Sanae, the resident shrine maiden of the new shrine on the mountain."

"Sanae," said Marisa, "This is Kamishirasawa Keine. She is the guardian of the village."

"I'm a Hakutaku," said Keine, smiling. "Protecting humans is my duty."

"Ah, hello there, Miss Keine. I was just talking to these two girls," Sanae said, gesturing to the pair.

Keine looked at the girls. "Excuse me, children," she said calmly. "What are your names?"

######

Author's Notes: Reviews are nice to get. I'm not sure how well I'm doing the character personalities. I thought the first part was too Marisa-centric, so there's less of her in this one. Sorry.

HaLire

  • Neophyte
Re: Making Miracles
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2010, 01:38:34 pm »
Chapter 3: The World Within The Border

######

Chapter 3 : The World Within The Border

######

Author's Comments: I actually intended to go quite a bit farther, but then I got carried away and I felt like I should split it into another chapter. Oops. Also, I'm not fond of honorrifics, but I couldn't think of a proper substitute for "Kamishirasawa-sensei." Sorry.

"What are your names?"

"Ah, how rude of me," said Sanae. "Sorry for not introducing you, miss Kamishirasawa. The one on the left is Arima Senka, and the one on the right is Arima Senne."

Keine's expression hardened. The old man gaped at her. "Miss shrine maiden," said the old man, eyes frantic, "Kamishirasawa-sensei is the protector of our village! Her very nature means that there isn't a soul here who she doesn't know! If the name of these two girls is unknown to her, then that means..."

"That means that there is, at best, something quite suspicious about these girls." Reimu pointed out matter-of-factly. "What, exactly, remains to be determined, but..."

"It would be best for you two to start explaining," Keine said.

"Ehehe." Senka gripped her sister's hand tightly. "Senne, what should we tell her?"

Senne gripped her sister's free hand with hers. "What about the truth, Senka?"

"Hmm. Miss Keine, miss Reimu, we don't know exactly what is going on, to be honest. Senne and I were just playing outside. We didn't go far from our home..."

"We were only playing tag," continued Senka. "I was chasing Senne, and she ran into the forest nearby our house. When I finally caught up with her, I jumped on her, and we went tumbling through the forest..."

"But unlike the other times, we just kept on tumbling. Senka and I just fell and fell and fell. After a very long time, we stopped, but the forest floor we found ourselves on..."

"Wasn't the forest floor we started on! Everything here was so unfamiliar, and we didn't know what to do. I was scared, and mad, so I blamed Senne, and we started fighting, and walking, but mostly fighting."

"That's when we arrived here and met miss Sanae."

"Ah, so these girls are more from the outside world then," said the old man, rubbing his chin.

"From the outside world?" Sanae asked. She thought about what it had to have been like as one of those two children, who barely looked over the age of nine, suddenly finding themselves lost. Not just the terrifying sort of lost that came from being disconnected from your mother, but the unimaginable sort of lost that came from being disconnected from your whole world. "Oh, you poor girls..."

"Yes," said Keine. "Every once in a while, people fall through the Hakurei barrier, and if they find their way here, we try to take care of them at the village."

"That's quite fortunate then, girls." said Sanae, smiling and patting Senka on the head.

"Yes, we try our best for those humans from the outside world. However," Keine continued, suddenly changing to a severe tone, "it's impossible for humans from the outside world to know Reimu's name, especially because we never introduced her."

Reimu stepped forward. "I could feel something wrong from the start, 'Senka,' 'Senne.' You're both definitely youkai. The jig's up."

"Oh, we've been found out, Senka. What should we do?"

"I don't know, Senne." The two girls clasped each other's hands closer, looking like a pair of dancers.

"Hohoho," the old man said, patting Sanae's shoulder. "Kamishirasawa-sensei is really amazing, isn't she? You two," he added, glaring at the girls, "aren't good enough to sneak by her! You need to work harder, hohoho!"

The pair didn't respond except to somehow grasp each other's hands even more tightly.

"Something's up here," shouted Marisa, tensing up. "Watch yourselves!"

"Those girls are tricky, hohoho, but not nearly as tricky as I!" shouted the old man. Dramatically, he ripped his face off and threw it to the side. As the mask clattered to the ground, his voice changed to that of a young woman.

"Senne, Senka, you still need much more work," declared Ran Yakumo. With those words, the space between the girl's arms gave out a terrible, otherworldly tearing sound. A deep purple schism stared out at Sanae, hanging impossibly in the air. Senka and Senne leapt into the hole, childish voices laughing out apologies. Ran grabbed Sanae and leapt in behind them.

Reimu, charms already out, leaped after Sanae, but she was a moment too slow. As suddenly as it had appeared, the gap was gone.

######

"Welcome," said a new voice, full and majestic.

Sanae looked around, trying to get her bearings. The woman who had grabbed her and pushed her into the mysterious gap was gone. The children who had opened and vanished into the mysterious gap were gone.

The place she found herself in did not have any immediately obvious light sources, but somehow she was able to see. The floor she was lying on...

Is this a floor?

The floor she was lying on was wavering before her eyes. It seemed to want to be in five different places at once, disagreeing strongly with the solidness Sanae felt beneath her. The effect, coupled with the mysterious illumination, was dizzying. Still, she staggered to her feet. Looking around, she realized that everything around her had the same uncertain properties that the floor did. The area in front of her was somehow simultaneously also to the right and the left of itself.

Forcing herself to focus, she thought she saw mocking eyes in the world around her. The chaotic atmosphere was further enhanced by a sound that Sanae couldn't quite figure out. It almost sounded like distant, vile laughter. It almost sounded like nearby, quiet whimpers. It almost sounded like everything in between.

"Where am I?" she asked, not seeing a source for the voice.

A woman stepped out of the nothingness in front of her. A bright, frilled parasol somehow covered the top half of her face in shadow. Her mouth, well illuminated, gave a pleasant smile. "Welcome, Sanae Kochiya," she said. Somehow, her feet placed her a good foot above where Sanae stood although to Sanae's eyes the ground beneath their feet was level.

Bowing slightly, Sanae asked again. "Thank you, but welcome to where?"

"This," said the woman, making a grand gesture to the swirling nothingness around the two, "is the World Within the Border."

"The... what?"

"The World Within the Border is exactly what it sounds like," the woman continued, walking away from Sanae. "Come, let us take a walk."

With no other options presenting themselves, Sanae followed the stranger.

######

Reimu frowned. "Missed."

"This... could be pretty bad," Marisa pointed out.

Keine sighed. In all the time she'd spent around humans, she could never quite figure out why they needed to state the obvious so often. Sometimes, it was charming. This time, it wasn't, nor was it really doing anything productive. "What do you plan to do?" Keine asked.

"Well..." Reimu crinkled her brow. "I'm not really sure how to approach this."

"Spirited away by Yukari. Pretty bad situation." Marisa added.

Still useless, thought Keine. "Sanae is the shrine maiden for the Youkai Mountain shrine, right? We should at the very least tell the residents of that shrine.

"I think that's likely to get Reimu and I into more trouble than we're due. We should try to find a way to solve this that doesn't involve getting us into trouble period."

"Angry gods are pretty mean. Besides, don't you have the protect the village?" asked Reimu.

"I'm supposed to protect humans," corrected Keine. "Mokou can watch the village while I'm out."

"Can't you protect us from potential punishment by not making us go to the shrine?" asked Marisa.

"The protection offered by making a stronger attempt to rescue Sanae outweighs the protection lost to the two of you owning up to your own mistakes. In the same fashion, it's fine for Mokou to protect the village in my stead for a little while."

"I still don't like the idea of getting in trouble, and I don't think you can catch me." Marisa grinned and hopped on her broom. Without letting Keine respond, she shot off into the sky.

"Marisa!" shouted Keine exasperatedly. "Honestly, Reimu, how do you deal with such a pe-"

Reimu raised her hand, silencing Keine. "She's heading towards the Youkai mountain. If we don't hurry up and catch her, she'll take all the credit."With that, Reimu took off behind Marisa.

Keine frowned. "Well then, it's all you, Mokou." With that, she took off after the pair of humans.

######

Patchouli floated along. The sun was beginning to set, turning from a bright yellow to a ruddy orange.

Turning away from the sun, she saw three figures racing towards the mountain. At the front was Marisa's distinctive outline. Trailing her slightly was a pair of people, one of which had to be Reimu. The last one was unknown to Patchouli personally, but based on what she had learned from others, the woman had to be Kamishirasawa.

For something to convince her to leave the Human Village, it must be important indeed. What could it be?

The three also looked to be headed towards the mountain.

Patchouli quietly urged the spring winds to carry her to the shrine just a little bit faster.

######

Sanae followed the woman in silence for a while. Even if she couldn't make sense of her surroundings, she felt like hundreds of eyes were watching her. Somehow, she always stood below the woman, even if she copied her steps exactly.

"The World Within the Border," said the mysterious woman again, "is exactly what it sounds like."

"I... I don't think I understand what you mean," said Sanae, frowning.

"The World Within the Border," repeated the mysterious woman, "is exactly what it sounds like."

"I said I don-"

"What is a border?" asked a voice from the mad turbulence around the pair.

"A border... A border separates things."

"The World within the Border," repeated the mysterious woman, "is exactly what it sounds like."

"What is a border?" asked the voice again.

"A border separates things." answered Sanae.

"What is a border?" asked the woman. "What happens at a border?"

"..." Sanae thought about the question for a while. "Nothing. Nothing happens at a border, it's merely the meeting of two separate objects."

"That is the wrong way to look at things."

"That is the wrong way to look at things," cackled another voice from the violet mists.

"A border is where one thing ends and another begins," said the mysterious woman. "That is the wrong way to look at things."

"I am sorry," Sanae said. "I don't understand."

"You are a child of the outside world, of a modern world. Your scientists have discovered, or hope to discover, this: Everything in the universe is interchangeable. Electricity, light, motive force, heat, all are the same energy. Matter and energy are merely different forms of the same thing. Time and space are intertwined on a fundamental level. There is no such thing as separate objects. Nothing exists in a vacuum. There is a grand unity for everything, from the impossibly small to the unimaginably large. What happens at a border?"

"I... I don't know."

"Have you ever seen a rainbow?" asked the woman suddenly.

"Of course."

"What happens at the border between red and orange? Orange and yellow? Yellow and green? Green and Blue? Blue and Violet?"

"One color slowly becomes another."

"What happens at a border?"

"..." Sanae mulled the question over again. After a great deal of time, she spoke up again. "If everything is interchangeable, if everything is made up of the same things, then that means that borders don't separate things."

"What then, does it mean?" asked the woman.

"What then, does it mean?" echoed yet another voice from the darkness.

"It means that a border is where one thing becomes another."

The woman stopped. She turned around, smiling at Sanae. "Yes. A border is where anything becomes anything else."

"That means that the World Within the Border..."

The woman stopped and turned to face Sanae. She tilted her pink parasol up, revealing brilliant golden eyes. "Welcome to the World Within the Border." She smiled and nodded her head. "I am Yukari Yakumo, the youkai that lurks in the boundary."

######

Yukari had walked off into the mists with the blue shrine maiden following her. Ran had vanished into the swirling purple chaos beneath Sanae, confident that the human could never find her there unless Ran wanted her to.

Looking up, Ran sighed. Orchestrating that whole event was just the easy part of her day. With the ease with which her master could gather information, it was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Keine and Reimu had even politely done exactly as Ran had guessed they would. Everything had gone over smoothly. Unfortunately, Ran could not be comfortable with that.

Senne and Senka had vanished into the mists, ideally off to hone their skills. Ran mulled over the orders she had been given.

"Pull the shrine maiden of the Moriya Shrine into my domain."

That was a simple enough order. Things like that were not at all difficult for someone of Ran's calibur, even if the target was a shrine maiden and a supposed "living god."

"Make it extremely obvious that she is here. The action must be bold and extremely visible. Preferably, do it right under their noses, and taunt them while doing so."

That was the tricky one. Why would her master insist on that? It was still doable, but there wasn't any obvious reason as to why except to irk Sanae's companions (and the hakutaku). Youkai of Yukari Yakumo's caliber were usually far and above those sorts of unnecessary actions.

"Stay here when you're done. No one else is to know about this."

This was the frustrating one. Secrecy was not foreign to Ran, but taken to the extent these orders meant that she had to leave Chen at House Yakumo alone, with nothing but her wits about her. Besides, why should Ran be required to stay in the World Within the Border?

Chen is a good girl. She should be fine by herself.

Deep in thought, Ran ignored the cacophony of voices around her.

######

"Sakuya, it's time for you to go."

"Yes, my Lady."

######

Author's Notes: Concerns: I don't know if I'm getting the characterization quite right. I don't feel I have the best grip of Sanae and Remu especially. I don't know if Yukari's domain has the right "feel" to it. I don't know lots of things, but that's why there's reviews, right?

HaLire

  • Neophyte
Re: Making Miracles
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2010, 01:47:04 pm »
######

Chapter 4: We're Sorry, Really

######

Author's Note: Sorry about getting off schedule, I had a paper to write last weekend.

######

"How do you want to do this?" asked Marisa.

"I don't." replied Reimu.

"With her here, we don't have a choice."

"I can hear you," reminded Keine.

"Straightforward, I guess."

######

"Something's in the sky, coming this way."

"How many, Kanako?"

"Just three. Over that way."

"Ah, the girls must be back already. That was pretty fast. I hope that nothing went wrong."

"Like?" Kanako's tone betrayed mild panic.

"It's nothing like that," reassured her friend. "Something small, like an argument or something. It's a shame, I was hoping Sanae would make some friends. In any case, I'll go greet them."

The earth goddess headed towards the direction Kanako had indicated. Naturally cheerful, Suwako flagged down the girls. "Reimu, Marisa, Sanae, odd to see you back so soon. Wh-"

She stopped, realizing that the third girl was not Sanae at all.

"What happened?" finished Kanako, voice hard, eyes stern.

######

For the time being, Sakuya decided to stay hidden. There was, of course, nothing for her to fear, but at the same time, it did not seem too terribly necessary for her to reveal herself immediately. Furthermore, even if Remilia did send her, it was not always a good thing to stick the Scarlet Devil Mansion's nose in whenever they could.

Those concerns aside, the idea of jumping in front of a pair of angry gods was not exactly Sakuya's idea of a good time.

"You what?" raged the sky goddess, storm clouds gathering.

"Goddess, we may have temporarily lost Sanae," said Reimu, formally.

"Lost how, exactly?" demanded Suwako. "Sanae is a smart girl, a grown woman, even. These are not the sorts of people you just lose." The earth rumbled, revealing the anger not quite evident in the earth goddess's words.

"Ah, that." Marisa said, laughing nervously. "Well, that is a little bit complicated. You see..."

"She was kidnapped." Keine cut Marisa off. Noting Reimu and Marisa's angry glares, she continued. "They have a right to know, as Sanae's guardians."

"Kidnapped?" shrieked Kanako. The clouds boomed, and the sky managed to somehow darken further. "Kidnapped?" she repeated, voice filled with disbelief.

"Well, let's not just put it in the worst possible interpretation," Marisa continued. "While it's true that she isn't with us, and it's true that she wasn't exactly taken willingly..."

"Oh, Sanae, Sanae!" cried Suwako. "What can we do, Kanako?"

"The best way to solve any problem..." came a new voice from above, "is to gather up as much information as possible." A large bubble floated amidst the gathered people, alighting gently on the ground next to Marisa.

The witch frowned. "You're not one of the usual meddlers," she said, and popped the bubble with the bristles of her broom. "But in any case, all help is probably welcome."

"Who are you, and what do you have to do with Sanae?" demanded Kanako.

"Who is Sanae?" asked Patchouli.

######

"I am Yukari Yakumo, the youkai that lurks within the boundary."

That was what the woman had said to her. The woman didn't move, or say anything more. She merely looked down on Sanae from where she was, toothy smile glittering underneath the shade of her parasol.

What is the World Within the Border?

Sanae mulled this question over. She had received a sort of answer from the mysterious woman, but still didn't quite understand everything. Were there better questions to ask?

"Where am I?"

"The World Within the Border," replied the woman, looking disappointed in Sanae.

"What is this place?"

"The World Within the Border is exactly what it sounds like," repeated the woman, still disappointed.

Sanae frowned. She wasn't getting anywhere. The immaterial voices kept laughing at her. Every once in a while, one voiced a comprehensible taunt.

"Kyahaha," cackled one. "Stupid girl, why would asking the same thing change anything?"

"Stuck here with us forever, then," said another, laughing maniacally.

"Keep asking questions..." said a third, quietly.

######

Sakuya grimaced. It wasn't her place to judge Patchouli's actions, but she felt that just jumping into situations like this wasn't proper. She fingered her knives, ready to act if necessary.

"In any case, what I said earlier still stands. The first step towards solving a problem is to gather up all the relevant information. If that is not possible, then gather up as much information as possible, taking into account the missing information."

"Before that, we should make introductions," Reimu said. Patchouli Knowledge, this is Kanako Yasaka, the sky goddess of the Moriya shrine. The one over there next to her is Suwako Moriya, the former earth goddess of the Moriya shrine."

"Oh, a shrine with gods. How interesting."

Ignoring the jab, Reimu continued. "And the charming lady over there is Keine Kamishirasawa, the schoolteacher and protector of the Human village."

"I had guessed as much."

"And this," Reimu said, gesturing to Patchouli and addressing the other three, "is Patchouli Knowledge, the know-it-all shut-in librarian of the Scarlet Devil Mansion."

"Pleasure to make your acquaintance," said Patchouli, allowing herself a slight smile at Reimu's expense. Marisa returned the smile, although none of the others did. "Now, as I was saying before, if you want to solve a problem, you should know as much about the problem as possible. What, then, is the problem?"

Fuming, Suwako yelled at her. "Sanae has been kidnapped! Our shrine maiden is missing!"

"Well, that is a fairly interesting problem. Please calm down, it is easiest to misjudge things when stressed."

"It's only natural that we're stressed!" boomed the thunderclouds.

"Impressive trick," said Patchouli. "But I am not someone you need to intimidate. For now, all I need is details. Rather, all we need is details. Sayuri has been kidnapped."

"Sanae!" shrieked the sky god.

"Sanae has been kidnapped. What is the story?"

Marisa coughed, and stepped forward. "Well, Reimu and I wanted to take Sanae out and show her the sights of Gensokyo, you know? She and the goddesses here just arrived a few months ago, and Reimu and I were hoping to let her get to know the place better."

"Pretty honorable notions. Suspicious."

Brushing the comment aside, Marisa continued. "It was all going well, at least until we got to the Human Village. We dropped her off and went to fetch Miss Kamishirasawa."

"Hold it right there," interrupted Patchouli. "Miss Kamishirasawa, can you continue the story from here? Of the three, you are the most reliable witness, at least if stories about you are to be believed."

Keine nodded. "It's good to be trusted like that. Essentially, what happened is very simple. Sanae visited the Human Village. Yukari Yakumo's familiars, masquerading as a pair of lost children, snuck up on us. They opened a gap into Yakumo's domain, and Ran Yakumo, disguised as an old man, escaped into the gap with Sanae. None of us were fast enough to catch her before the gap closed."

"Yakumo!" Kanako roared. "That woman has been nothing but trouble for us since we got here!"

Patchouli shrugged. "Well then. Sanae is probably still in Yukari Yakumo's domain. At the very least, we can make that assumption."

"Where is she?" demanded Suwako.

"I do not know. However, were I to guess, she would probably be at House Yakumo."

"Where is that?"

"Over in that direction." Patchouli pointed.

The sky crackled with lightning, and Kanako was gone. The earth rumbled violently, and Suwako was gone.

"How do you know where it is?" asked Marisa.

"Sakuya told me," responded Patchouli. Sighing, she continued. "I disagree with these brash actions. I think that they are more likely to lock us away from the girl than they are to get us to her, and if we come off as too angry, we will be forced to try to break into the World Within the Border instead of finding a more diplomatic way in."

"I agree," said Reimu. "but they're leaving us behind. That's not good either, so let's hurry up and catch them."

"You can ride with me, Patchy," said Marisa, waving her broom.

"Reimu," continued Patchy, carefully seating herself on Marisa's broom, "You worked with Yukari during the Imperishable Night incident, correct? Please tell me everything you've learned about her border abilities."

As the four women flew off after the pair of goddesses, Sakuya sighed. Making sure to maintain her distance, she followed them.

######

"What... is the purpose of this place?" asked Sanae.

Yukari Yakumo smiled at her and turned away.

"Gensokyo is a land that is cut off from the modern world, your world, by the Great Hakurei Border."

She turned and looked over her shoulder at Sanae. The ground squirmed beneath her. Sanae let out a yelp and got to her feet. She decided to follow the woman with the parasol.

"Gensokyo is the fantasy village. It is, like many other mythic lands, filled with things that no longer exist in the outside world, things that have passed into fantasy."

"That means to pass into Gensokyo, they have to pass through the Great Hakurei Border..."

Yukari turned and smiled once more. "Yes."

"They have to pass through the World Within the Border."

"Do you remember what it was like when you and your gods passed into Gensokyo?"

Sanae mulled over the question. "Not... not especially. It was loud, and confusing, but I can't recall any details."

######

Ran breathed a sigh of relief. Sanae had managed to stumble forward a little bit thanks to her suggestion. As the strongest of Yukari Yakumo's shikigami, as the one who had earned the name Yakumo, Ran was entitled to a fair number of liberties in the World Within the Border. She wasn't entirely sure whether or not her mistress would have appreciated her gesture, but she felt that it was necessary.

With that task finished, Ran turned to another that demanded her attention.

Lady Yukari has forbidden me from leaving the World Within the Border, but I can still observe from here...

The chaos in front of Ran shimmered brightly, and after a few seconds, coalesced into a clear view of the Yakumo household. Chen was outside, sweeping the balcony and taking care of the household in general. Everything looked fine to Ran, but she'd had an ominous feeling just a little bit ago, and years of experience had told her to trust her gut.

As if on cue, the skies around House Yakumo darkened suddenly. A crack of lightning arced across the sky, and booming thunder reverberated through Ran's body.

"HOUSE YAKUMO!" boomed the heavens. The clouds began to twist, and lightning sparked violently. The angry visage of Kanako Yasaka could be seen in the sky. "I DEMAND AN ANSWER!"

A bolt of lightning raced to the ground, landing a few meters away from Chen. The ground where the bolt struck began to warp, thrusting upwards with a horrifying sound. The unnatural rock formation grew more so as a face appeared on it. "WE DEMAND AN ANSWER!" roared the earth.

Chen looked up at the divine visages, dropping her broom.

######

Patchouli, Reimu, Marisa, and Keine caught up. "This... this actually might be good," said Marisa.

"Explain," said Reimu, frowning. She'd been somewhat exhausted by the effort of explaining things to Patchouli, and didn't understand where Marisa was coming from.

"Okay, so the initial drawback is that the two angry goddesses over there, righteous as they may be, come off as too threatening, right? So Yukari straight up just seals everything and we're out in the cold with no easy way in, yeah?"

"We've already been over that. That is exactly the problem," said Keine, frowning. "What are you getting at?"

"This is our easy way in, then. The goddesses go in and scare up something big, which they're doing pretty well. Chen gets scared and tries to escape to Yukari's domain. We'll just hop on in when that happens. Easy as getting into Patchy's library."

"I don't think it will be that easy, for either situation." Patchouli frowned. "The last time that Yukari had a border open in front of you, none of you were able to get in."

"In Marisa's defense," said Reimu, "I think it's actually fairly plausible. Last time I wasn't too far behind, and we were taken by surprise. This time, we'll be waiting."

"If worse comes to worse," said a new, but familiar voice, "I can get in. There isn't anything in Gensokyo that's too fast for me."

Appearing in a flutter of playing cards, Sakuya smiled. Everyone here knew how she did it, but appearances had to be kept. "I don't know exactly why you're trying to get into Yukari Yakumo's world, but if you need me, Lady Patchouli, I am here to serve."

"So, Remi sent you too, then... I don't like the idea of sending you in there alone, as strong as you are, Sakuya. Still, if Remi's fate ability demanded that you be here, then it may very well be a necessity."

The maid didn't say anything to betray her feelings on the matter.

Keine frowned. "A mere human? Facing the youkai sage alone? Are you really sure about this, Miss Sakuya?"

"I'm no mere human, I assure you of that much," replied Sakuya, curtsying politely.

"I can vouch for that," said Marisa.

"Me too, although I don't think she should go in there alone," said Reimu.

"Hmm." Patchy thought about the situation for a little while. "The situation presents us a respectable opportunity, and one that we should not let pass. While hasty decisions are rarely optimal, we should prepare ourselves for rare ones such as this. When Chen panics and escapes to the World Within the Border, everyone be ready to leap into the gap. There will likely be very little time to get in there, and to be perfectly honest, the likeliest possibility is that not all of us get in."

She paused, and looked around at the other four would-be heroes. "You have all done, at some point in time, some form of combat with Yukari Yakumo. You know how strong she is. If you do not think you can defeat her by yourself, then try to bide your time in the World Within the Border. Those of us who do not make it will try our hardest to get in some other way, and we can rendezvous if the opportunity presents itself."

Keine cleared her throat. "I'd like to point out one thing. We do not necessarily have to fight Yukari Yakumo. It's possible that we could simply convince her to release Sanae."

"That is indeed a possibility. Do not take any unnecessary risks." Turning to Sakuya, Patchouli continued. "Sakuya, you will probably be alone in there. You are strong, and confident, but you do not know the situation fully yet. Let us go over exactly what it is we need to do."

"Actually, I've been eavesdropping on you for a while. I understand the situation," corrected Sakuya.

"Nothing left to do then," said Reimu, edging closer to House Yakumo. A roar of thunder and a rumbling earthquake pierced the uneasy silence. "Now to wait Chen out."

######

Remilia put down her cup, sighing contentedly. Her sister was busy relaxing somewhere in the mansion, probably playing with the door guard.

"I suppose I should be leaving soon," she said, looking at the setting sun.

The Scarlet Devil stepped out and spread her wings.

######

Author's Note: I feel we may have a little bit of a "too many chefs" thing going on, or at least a "too many heroines" thing, if only for this part, which makes some bits feel awkward and unnatural. Regardless, I'm more interested in what you think about it. More information, more reviews, can only improve things.

Hmm. Guess who my favorite character is.

Aside: I wonder how Mokou's doing...

HaLire

  • Neophyte
Re: Making Miracles
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2010, 01:53:39 pm »
######

Chapter 5: The Best Laid Plans

######

Author's Notes: I'm sort of amazed that this is here too. Actually, when I'd stopped, I was pretty sure that this just wasn't happening anymore, but I suddenly got the urge to write. I read over it, and I felt like I can definitely see the ending from here. Again, this is with like, a two year break, so there may be some discrepancies in writing style. OTL

######

Squish. Squish. Squish.

Sanae walked along behind the mysterious woman. The ill-defined world around her gave slightly with each step she took.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

The lady's footsteps were somehow not affected by the same phenomenon, at least as far as Sanae could tell.

"Keep asking questions," suggested her surroundings.

"What is the World Within the Border?" she asked, more to herself than to anyone else. At the border of red and orange, red becomes orange. "If a border is where one thing becomes another..." started Sanae.

The woman paused, but for some reason, the tapping sound continued in the background.

Sanae stopped as well. The squishing sounds stopped. "If the border is where one thing becomes another, than in the World Within the Border, something is transformed into something else."

The woman gave an almost imperceptible smile.

"Keep asking questions," whispered an ethereal voice.

Sanae frowned, deep in thought. She sank, a little, but didn't notice.

######

Chen shrank, a lot, and the gods noticed. The lightning cracked, the thunder boomed, the clouds dipped lower to the ground. A tornado touched down nearby, tearing the earth asunder, and the face in the clouds reappeared in the whirlwind.

"WHERE IS SHE?" it boomed.

The earth rumbled, the ground cracked, and Mayohiga sunk downwards. A river, birthed by the downpour, circled the household. The face on the cliff face shrieked.

"WHERE IS SHE?" it demanded.

"Wh-where is who?" asked Chen, fighting every instinct she had.

"YAKUMO YUKARI" cried the earth and the sky in unison.

"I don't know!" Chen wanted to answer. Rightfully, she thought that the answer would never be acceptable. She looked around, realizing that there was nowhere to run. The house was surrounded by a raging river, and the heavens and earth themselves were rallied against her. There was only one place to escape to. She readied the spell while trying to look thoughtful, and unsheathed her claws.

Before that happened, she heard Ran's voice, drifting in from somewhere. Memory?

"No matter what, the house of Yakumo is stronger than anything. If heaven and earth were to come together and throw their combined rage at us, we would not waver, because the bonds between us are stronger than that."

"I won't tell you." Chen said, determined. Terrified, but determined. I won't even show you, she thought, refusing to escape to the boundary. Whatever it was these gods wanted, she refused to lead them to her masters.

"USELESS" boomed the heavens. The tornado lumbered forward.

######

"Useless," taunted the shadows.

Sanae sighed. "If the World Within the Border is, as suggested, within a border, and a border is, as suggested, the place where one thing becomes another, than The World Within the Border is the place where one thing becomes another, right? So then, the proper question to ask is... What Border?"

The lady turned to Sanae, smiling proudly. She placed her hands on her shoulders and looked Sanae in the eye. Sanae stopped sinking, and the ground stopped squishing.

"Good job, my girl. I trust that, when you and your gods came to Gensokyo, you had at least an inkling of where you were going, correct?"

"A Fantasy land," Sanae answered. "We were going to the land of things lost to the outside world in the modern day..." Like religion... she wanted to add.

"Wonderful!" exclaimed the woman, visibly excited. "Gensokyo is where concepts lost to the outside world arrive. The fantasies from the outside world inevitably find themselves lurking in Gensokyo. Between Gensokyo and the outside world is..."

"A border," Sanae finished.

"Haha! And the World Within the Border lies within?"

"The border between Gensokyo and the outside world."

"Therefore, the World Within the Border..."

"Is where things from the outside world become things in Gensokyo." Sanae continued the thought. "So the things you would find in the World Within the Border are things that are lost to the outside world."

"Yes, yes, yes! Wonderful! Excellent! Cyber!" shouted the woman, bouncing around Sanae. Behind her, the miasma contorted. It twisted and tore itself asunder.

Suddenly, the World became clear to Sanae. She recoiled in horror.

######

"Sylphae Horn!"

The tornado reversed itself, moving away from Mayohiga. Chen had vanished, replaced by the purple magician in floppy clothes.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING" demanded the sky.

"We're done here. This will not help us anymore." Patchouli said, quietly and a little bit out of breath. She wouldn't be able to stop the wind goddess if she tried, but she doubted that the wind goddess would continue.

"HOW DARE YOU" rumbled the earth. The rumbling continued, intensifying gradually.

"Please calm down. We have a new idea, and this stands a decent chance of making it harder on us."

######

"We have a new idea?" Marisa asked, still hiding. "I thought that the old idea was really good, actually."

Sakuya reappeared in another flourish of cards. Appearances. "It's not tenable if she doesn't actually escape. Besides, I doubt we have anything that can force her to run if she stood up to that."

"Where is she anyway?" asked Keine, concerned.

"I released her on the other side of the new river. She doesn't know anything about us." Looking over at Mayohiga, Sakuya added, "I doubt she could get here even if she wanted to."

"Here's to hoping you don't have to save Patchouli as well," said Reimu dryly.

######

Before Sanae lay a ridiculous array of things. A broken guitar. A deflated basketball. Torn up papers. Shattered cameras. Shattered... shattered everything.

"What... what are these?"

"Lost dreams," answered the woman. "Unfulfilled aspirations. Everything which someone had once wanted to be but could never reach lies here. These are nothing but fantasies for their former owners now."

Melted chocolate lay in another direction. Trampled roses. Burning letters. A lake which somehow Sanae knew was filled with tears.

"Broken hearts," said Sanae, looking at this new sight. Rejection in all its forms filled her view. "Lost love."

"A sweet kiss, a tender embrace, it's nothing more than a fantasy for those who will be forever alone." The woman smiled at Sanae, not seeming to recognize the gravity of what she was talking about.

Something fluttered in the corner of her vision. A white sheet, flapping in the wind. As Sanae turned to it, she saw more white sheets. Thousands, no, millions of them, waving in some unfelt breeze. As she looked closer, she saw that each sheet was marred somehow. A deep red stain, a vicious tear, every sheet imperfect in its own way. What is that?" she asked.

"Lost innocence. Lost youth. Lost potential. The owners of these have nothing to look forward to, and can only find comfort in the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia."

"Why?" asked Sanae.

"Ah, what a good question!" exclaimed the lady. "Why indeed? Why are these things here? Because, like everything else in Gensokyo, they were lost by the outside world. Why are they here? Because things that are lost to the outside world try to make their way to Gensokyo!"

"Who... who are you?" asked Sanae, afraid to find out.

"Who am I? Why, my dear, I thought you'd never ask! I am Yakumo Yukari, the Youkai Lurking in the Boundary! As you have seen, not everything that is lost in the outside world belongs in or even really finds its way to Gensokyo. Of course, since I am the youkai who lurks in the boundary, the master of the space between, the duty falls upon me to make sure that everything that passes over the border is appropriate!"

"Then... if you determine what belongs in Gensokyo and what doesn't..."

"Ah yes, I suppose that makes me the boss, just a little bit, right? The master? The god?"

"And... and you brought me here..."

"Well, it's a little bit complicated, right? You've seen, I'm sure, that every once in a while Gensokyo undergoes a bit of conflict, right? I'm sure that you've even taken part in it from time to time. And of course, you know upon whose shoulders it usually falls to correct these conflicts, right?"

"Marisa and Reimu..."

"You saw, earlier, that they're somewhat... free-spirited. They're extremely good at their jobs, of course, but loose cannons are loose cannons."

Sanae frowned. She realized now where this was going.

"Now, you see, I want incidents resolved, of course, but I'd like a little bit of control over that. I have youkai familiars, of course, but there are certain things that you absolutely need humans for. Additionally, you need special humans, since just grabbing the average villager won't do. Even the above-average humans won't do. Despite my misgivings, those two are pretty hard to replace, since they're once in a generation talents, pretty much the only ones around here."

"Until I came along..."

"Aha, I knew you were a smart girl. Yes, until you came along. You seem like a good girl. Yes, all I'm asking from you is that you obey my orders when I call upon you. Simple faith and devotion."

Sanae needed no time to think it over. "No. My faith and devotion belong to Lady Yasaka and Lady Moriya. Now return me to them, or I will force you to."

"Pity. Well, I guess I'll just have to change your mind." The miasma returned.

Sanae readied herself, taking a combative stance with her gohei. "Let's see how you match up against a living god!"

######

Kanako and Suwako had returned to their human avatars and joined the rest of the group. They glared at the girls.

Marisa, Reimu, Patchouli, Sakuya, and Keine looked back at them.

"No need for hostility," Patchouli said matter-of-factly. "As I said, we have a plan."

"What plan?" asked Reimu.

"You don't have a plan!" Kanako shrieked. "I knew it!" The thunderclouds began to gather.

Keine positioned herself infront of the three humans. "Now now, please calm down."

Patchouli frowned at Reimu. "No, no, we have a plan. Reimu doesn't have a plan, but it's okay because she was integral to forming the plan in the first place. Now if you would please calm down..."

"This would probably work better if you explained the plan to everyone," said a new voice, coming from the clouds.

Remilia Scarlet crashed down out of the sky like a thunderbolt, landing in the midst of the group.

######

Yukari Yakumo smiled. "All that confidence for naught. Geez, are you really worth the effort?"

Sanae fumed, but couldn't even glare at the youkai sage. She was bound, the miasma forming a sort of pillory around her, holding her in a bowing position.

"Oh, this is nice, I could get used to this. That was a little bit disappointing, but I have a little bit of an advantage, even over a living god."

######

Author's Notes: When I started writing this, I was like, "Oh, there's a fight," and since I'm into fighting games, I thought, "Hey, I can use their fighting styles to show some nice characterization." Unfortunately, Sanae had the gall to lose off camera, so there's nothing like that here. I was hoping for some cleverness too.

oh god, I was complaining about too many heroines and I added another one

Everyone probably knows this already, but a Gohei is Sanae's paper-on-a-stick thing. It's a tool used by Mikos(Miko?).

Cyber! Yukari isn't very cool. Sorry.

As always, comments are appreciated, even if they're something like "lmao you're actually continuing this?
Re: Making Miracles
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2010, 05:34:46 pm »
lmao you're actually continuing this?

It's interesting so far, though Yukari's reasoning for doing... whatever she's doing seems off. After all, in the games she seems to have an easy enough time directing Reimu to do whatever she wanted done (IN and SA, specifically). Plus, pissing off two gods seems like a poor idea. So, I'm thinking that Yukari is after something other than what she says she is (or, she's trolling Kanako, which seems like a perfectly normal excuse in Gensokyo).

Patchouli kind of confuses me: she's there to make sense of everything and act as a mediator between Reimu, Marisa, and the Moriya gods, she comes up with all of the plans, including one that she hasn't really explained concerning Chen... she seems way too convenient. Of course, Sakuya and Remilia are also looking that way right now.
Re: Making Miracles
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2010, 07:37:19 pm »
This looks like a pretty nice story.

capt. h

  • Only sane townie
Re: Making Miracles
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2010, 09:02:35 pm »
As a fan of the characters, I have to ask...

Yukari said she needed strong humans. What about Sakuya and Mokou? Has she already had this conversation with both of them?

Mostly curious, and I'm willing to ignore it completely for the sake of the plot, but I like to examine the logic of stories. Naturally, I want people to point out the logical inconsistencies of my stories as well, so that I can avoid plot holes and make them better.

edit: Nice story though. I like the plot. I like lazy Patchy, and that character is really well done. Actually, all the characters are. But you are right, there are quite a few chefs in the kitchen.

I was also wondering why Keine went to Kanako and had Mokou guard the village as opposed to the other way around, considering Mokou is generally considered the better fighter, not to mention that Mokou isn't known for socializing with the human village much. Did Marisa and Reimu need a more diplomatic person to tell Kanako and Suwako, or is it that Mokou wouldn't be willing to get involved? There's also the risk of leaving Mokou in the human village due to the constant death matches with Kaguya, but that threat depends on the interpretation of their relationship. And there's also the fact that if someone does attack the village, Mokou is likely to accidentally burn the village down. Not to mention that Keine has to watch her health, or the village will lose it's historian and teacher in addition to it's guardian. After all, she must have known almost immediately Yukari was involved, and the full moon doesn't appear to be out right now.

This story is good, but the way you select which characters are placed in their respective situations strikes me as unusual, since there seems to be other characters that fit the same role. Why did Keine go to Kanako and leave Mokou to guard the village, and not the other way around? Why did Yukari choose to recruit Sanae, when Sakuya could also fit the bill and has been around longer? And while I know Patchy is here because Remilia told her to be here, I'm a little confused about her role in the plot.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2010, 02:27:01 am by capt. h »

HaLire

  • Neophyte
Re: Making Miracles
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2011, 01:19:20 pm »
#####
Chapter 6: Reality
#####

Author's Note: Sorry about the delay, I've been very irresponsible lately.

Beware: gross misunderstandings of physics are incoming. Probably.

#####

"It's convenient that you're here, Remi," greeted the purple magician.

"Of course, I'm a very useful person. Still, I don't know why I'm convenient, so if you care to share, the inquiring masses would like to know."

"Okay. To help you all understand properly, I'd first like Reimu to explain to everyone what she knows about Yukari and her abilities."

Reimu shrugged. She stepped to the side and addressed the group as a whole.

"Yakumo Yukari's abilities are, to the best of my knowledge, still mostly in the dark. Still, I studied under her for a while and we have experience together from the Imperishable Night incident, and I've learned a little bit.

As those of you who have faced her before know, Yukari is fond of limiting space with border-themed danmaku. We know that danmaku patterns are modeled after the heart, and with Yukari it's no different. She thrives in the space between things, and her strength comes from that division, from the point wherein one thing is separated from another."

Reimu frowned. It was pretty weird, hearing it like that, even from her own mouth. Nonetheless, she continued. "More notably, she doesn't actually live at Mayohiga. Again, I'm sure that you are all more or less familiar with her ability to pop out of more or less anywhere in Gensokyo, hanging out of an awkward rift in nothingness. Yukari's title is The Youkai That Lurks in the Boundary. 'The Boundary' referred to is the border between Gensokyo and the outside world, the Great Hakurei Border. This is where Yukari spends her time, and the most likely place for her to be keeping Sanae."

Marisa sighed. "Of course, Chen opening a rift to the World Within the Border was the best chance we had, but she was too brave and Sakuya bailed her out."

Sakuya shot Marisa a dirty look, but decided to let it lie. "Lady Patchouli, Miss Reimu, that's all well and good, but if it is as Reimu suspects and Sanae is in fact held prisoner in this place, how do you expect us to rescue her?"

Patchouli smiled. "It's a daunting task, but we have a plan. Many books from magicians in the outside world have come into my possession over the years. They have some very interesting views on the structure of the universe, and I think that we can apply it here.

It's complicated, but please try to follow along, as it's a little important. The sorceror A. Einstein claimed that the fabric of the universe consists of intertwined space and time."

"Ah!" Sakuya exclaimed. "You explained this to me, right? That's how we managed to make Voile so spacious."

"Yes Sakuya, but please let me continue. More importantly, the fabric of the universe is not static. Rather, mass and energy exert their pressure upon it, causing the material of space-time to bend and contort, affecting the very masses that are causing the distortion. If you can, for a moment, imagine a cloth stretched out over an empty place. If we place a weight on the fabric, it creates an indentation, and other objects placed on the fabric are affected by the indentation.

Now then, we take this example to its logical extreme. If we were to place an heavy enough weight on the fabric, focused on a small enough point, then the fabric tears. A hole opens up in reality. The magical formulae in A. Einstein's book, when taken to these extremes, indicate such holes in reality. It sounds like a mere curiosity, but lately books have appeared with other wizards claiming that they've found real evidence of these holes in reality."

Keine sagged. "That's... that's a lot of things to think about. Holes in reality?"

"Yes, holes in reality. If you take what Reimu said earlier, than Yukari's ability to manipulate borders opens up holes in reality, allowing her to hide in the space between our reality and the reality of those books."

Remilia let loose a booming laugh. "Hahahaha!" she cried.

"What's so funny?" demanded Kanako, both confused and upset.

"It's just... Patchy, your plan is so not like you! What you're telling me is that my quiet friend's plan is to tear a hole in reality?"

Marisa grinned. "That's a plan with some oomph. That's a plan I can get behind. So Reimu scrounges up some poverty border power for us and we break and enter?"

"There's no way," Reimu corrected. "There's no way that my ability with boundaries even comes close to what Yukari is capable of. In that field, at least, I'm not strong enough."

"Ah. What then?"

"Geez, I thought that all of you magicians were really smart, but I guess it's just Patchy." Remilia laughed, and swooped over to the two goddesses. "This woman here, from what I understand, is the goddess of the sky, right? And the froggy here is the goddess of the earth?

What is the horizon if not a border between the Earth and the Sky?"

Reimu's eyes widened. "Wait, Patchouli..."

"Hey! I figured it out, you don't even need to ask Patchy for this! This cow," she said, flitting over to Keine, "has the ability to manipulate history, right? And for me, I have the power to manipulate fate, the power to manipulate the future.

What is the present, then, but a border between the Past and the Future?"

Marisa stared at Remilia, and then back to Patchouli.

"Hey. Don't give me that look," Remilia said, grinning triumphantly. "Patchy might be our bookworm, but I'm pretty damned clever too. Besides, I have a couple hundred years on most of you."

"Is... is that right?" Suwako.

Patchouli looked from her friend to the frog goddess. "Yeah. Remi is old and wily despite her looks. We've got some preparations to do, though, and I don't think that we can really afford to waste time, so let's get moving."

#####

Yakumo Yukari looked down on the girl before her. She'd released the bindings holding Sanae in a prostrate position, but the Miko was still imprisoned in a cage that had somehow been congealed from the miasma.

"Are you willing to reconsider?" she asked, knowing the answer already.

"Never."

"So you'd rather languish here forever?"

"Why?"

"Why would you? I mean, if I were you, I'd just accept my only option."

"No, why? Why wasn't I able to do anything?"

Yukari bent down and looked Sanae in the eyes. "My my, even after all of that work explaining things to you, you still don't get it?"

Sanae averted her gaze, staring at the ground beneath her. The ground stared back with angry golden eyes. Sanae closed hers. "You're strong. You're in your element. It's not that I lost that bothers me."

She heard the rustle of Yukari's dress as the youkai stood up. "But I'm a living god!" she shouted, opening her eyes and glaring at the woman. "Why... Why wasn't I able to do a thing? How could all of my strength abandon me?"

Yukari laughed. It was a quiet laugh, but somehow it echoed back and forth in Sanae's head, getting louder with each repetition. "What makes a God?" demanded Yukari.

Sanae frowned. She didn't say anything.

"Is it power? I'm strong, probably stronger than either of the two women that you worship."

Silence.

"Is it followers? I have a myriad of shikigami, some of who I'd bed could go toe to toe with any miko."

Silence.

"I'm obviously a god, so it can't just be those two. You even call yourself a living god, so tell me, what exactly is it that makes a god? Rather, what is it that makes you special? I think... I think I heard you say it earlier, huh?"

"The ability to make miracles happen," mumbled Sanae.

"What was that again?" taunted Yukari. "I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you."

"I... I have the ability to make miracles!" shouted Sanae. Sanae leapt to her feet, and the cage extended upwards to match her height. She summoned her divine power, willing the walls of the cage to crumble to dust and free her.

Nothing happened.

"Oh, I guess I can't really do that, so I'm not a god," Yukari said, grinning from ear to ear. "Then again, that's not really that specific. What exactly is the ability to make miracles?"

Sanae didn't answer, instead gritting her teeth, focusing on the image in her mind's eye, the image of the cage splitting in two with a thunderous blast.

They didn't.

"Hmm. It's a little hard to answer, huh. Ah, here we go," continued the Youkai, pulling a book out of the miasma. "Let's see... here it says that a miracle is an impossible event, something that must be supernatural, the result of divine intervention. That's interesting, huh?

You're a god because you can create miracles, and miracles are miracles because a god creates them. Still, let's give you that. You're able to create miracles since you're a god.

How useless!" Yukari laughed again, this time a booming laugh, one that rattled Sanae's prison. "How useless! We figured this out earlier, didn't we? This is the World Within The Border! This is the place where any one thing can become any other thing! This is the place where anything can happen!"

She paused here to watch the color drain from Sanae's faces.

"In this land of infinite possibility, in this land where anything can happen, is there even anything miraculous?"

Yukari laughed. The miasma laughed. Sanae sank to her knees. She prayed again for a miracle, only now out of desperation rather than defiance.

#####

"Hmm. That's very interesting, very interesting." Satori stood in the entranceway of the Palace of the Earth Spirits, welcoming the rather large party.

"Oh, you made it very easy for us, huh?" Marisa said, grinning. "Hopefully you got it from Patchy rather than anyone else."

"Of course. I take it, then, that border between the conscious feelings in one's heart and their unconscious drives is our contribution?"

"Ego," Remilia gave a small but triumphant flap of her wings.

"Welcome everyone, please come in. I'll go fetch my sister and explain everything."

The party arranged itself. "It's too damned hot in here," complained Remilia. "Besides, the Old Hell is so... ugh."

"It's a good place otherwise," Keine said. "Even though the Subterranean Animism event made it so that the division between surface and underground youkai isn't really there anymore, not many of them come down here. If one of Yukari's shikigami were to look for us, it'd take longer to find us down here than it would anywhere else."

"More importantly," chimed in a new voice, "it means we don't have to leave the comforts of our own home." Koishi grinned at the guests, suddenly in the middle of everyone.

"Well then," Satori said. "We shouldn't waste any time. If you will, miss Patchouli?"

"Ooooh. Your sister really wants to help people, doesn't she?" whispered Marisa.

"Satori's the nicest!" Koishi answered, grinning from ear to ear.

Patchouli looked at the gathered group. "I'll explain it one more time. Yukari's border ability creates tears in reality that allow her to access The World Within the Border. We've gathered together, hoping to create the same thing. Does everyone know their places?" she asked.

Satori smiled at her. "Everyone seems to."

"Then, without further adieu," The purple magician stepped back and motioned to the others to take their places.

Koishi, Satori, Suwako, Kanako, Keine, and Remilia arranged themselves in a circle around Sakuya. Each pair stood across from each other. Reimu, Marisa, and Patchouli stood to the side, waiting nervously.

"With everyone's subconscious wishes to help each other out, to gain approval from the peers, with the undercurrent of goodwill even to strangers..."

"With the complete intent to unselfishly lend their aid burning brightly in their hearts, the conscious decision to risk themselves for someone in need..."

"The Ego!" cried out the two sisters.

"Above all the corners of the earth, the land stretched out as far as the eye can see, the oceans and lakes with their endless mysteries..."

"Below the great endless sky, the entrancing infinite depth of the night, the blinding brilliance of day..."

"The horizon!" rumbled the goddesses.

"Here we stand, hoping to learn from our history, from the pain of regret, to not repeat the mistakes of our past..."

"Here we wait, looking to the future, not hoping for the best but rather ready to flex our wills and make it happen..."

"The present!" shouted the mismatched pair.

"Forged from our will, this is Our World," whispered Sakuya. "Time Stop."

Everything froze. Sakuya closed her eyes, and carefully manipulated the flow of time, and in doing so slowly expanded space. The ring of women spread away from her, increasing in size rapidly.

Beneath her feet, she saw a faint purple light. As she spread space further and further, the light grew stronger, but kept its dark purple glow. Sakuya knelt down and pulled out a silver knife.

She stabbed.

#####

Author's Notes: Again, sorry for the delay, I got really irresponsible.

I'm glad I didn't have to write Satori much, since it seems like writing her would be really awkward. Or at least, I'd be very tempted to make it really awkward, since Satori can hear everything without anyone without saying anything.

I also think that my Remilia doesn't have enough swagger, but she didn't have much to say so I couldn't really get much swagger going for her.

My main regret for this part is that it sounds really technobabbly, but it seemed like a good idea at the time so I guess I'll just have to deal with it. On the flip side, I wanted to make some kind of string theory 11-dimensional tie-in, but it seemed to hard and I haven't read about String Theroy in a long time anyway.

Alfred F. Jones

  • Estamos orgullosos del Batallón Lincoln
  • *
  • y de la lucha que hizo por Madrid
  • Staff
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Sakura Rurouni
Re: Making Miracles
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2011, 07:56:51 am »
Yukari's motivation for kidnapping Sanae is flimsy for now, but I trust that all will be revealed soon enough.

This is quite good. The title made me think of a much more cheerful story, but now that I have actually read it, I liked it. I especially like the match between Yukari's powers and Sanae's; I have long since wanted to see the power of miracles go up against the power of boundaries, and while I prefer the former to the latter, your explanation for Yukari's power essentially negating Sanae's makes sense.

The only thing that grates on me is how up until this last update, Kanako has basically spent the entire story as a shrieking harpy. Every line from her is either "Kanako rumbled" or "Kanako shrieked" or "Kanako roared". And Marisa's tone in the first few updates is oddly formal, so it doesn't make Patchouli seem punctilious enough.

I hope we'll be seeing more development from Sanae soon. Look forward to more!

HaLire

  • Neophyte
Re: Making Miracles
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2011, 09:03:47 am »
Hmm. It did feel a bit like that when I was writing Kanako. I figure though that she'd have a really short fuse, and the gods in this story speak through their elements. Since Kanako is a sky goddess, she speaks with booming thunder and howling winds and that sort of thing. I guess there's a lot of serenity in the sky, but it didn't really seem like it'd fit here.Well, I guess the language we use to describe elements just makes the gods sound angry, doesn't it? It'd be rumbling earth and cracking ground and that sort of thing for Suwako too.

Looking back it seems like I should have toned it down a little bit.

Good catch on Marisa, I really like her and Patchouli, so I'll try to give them both a proper representation.

And uh, some other thoughts!

So I'm about ready to sit down and write the next bit, right? Or rather, I know what should roughly happen in the next bit, but I'm having trouble writing it. There's some gauntlets about to be thrown the hell down, and as someone who mostly read slice of life things and nonfiction books, the art of writing interesting, dynamic combat is something I'm not sure I'll be able to do well. That and I think that each character should be strongly reflected in how they try to fight, so that's another hard thing to figure out.
 

SMF 2.0.15 | SMF © 2017, Simple Machines
Theme based on ModernDark64 design by BlocWeb
Page created in 0.059 seconds with 22 queries.