Maidens of the Kaleidoscope

~Hakurei Shrine~ => Patchouli's Scarlet Library => Topic started by: Tengukami on April 25, 2009, 02:31:02 AM

Title: Ennichi
Post by: Tengukami on April 25, 2009, 02:31:02 AM
This is the first part in what will be a series of tentatively indeterminant length. I welcome any and all constructive criticism. Thank you.


?So, where do I stand, here?? asks Marisa as I raise my camera for her portrait shot, looking for once unsure of what to do with herself. Marisa Kirisame is normally very self-assured, she's the one who calls the shots. But this morning, as the subject of a day-in-the-life profile for Bunbunmaru Newspaper, she's now acts uncertain of herself.

?There is fine,? I tell her, and she leans against the doorway of her home. I raise the camera, and just before I take the shot, she gives me the cocky smile she's known for.

?Anyway, you're wasting your time,? she says. ?I mean, to tell you honestly, my life's pretty boring.? She turns, and I follow her into her home. It actually looks smaller on the inside than it does on the outside. Maybe because the walls are thoroughly covered with books, sometimes two or thee rows deep per shelf, from floor to ceiling, vertical columns of stacked books, some of them teetering ominously, some even leaning against each other. Pushed into the corners are crates of different sizes, filled with a number of things from the human village ? an umbrella, a bolt of dark green fabric, a rake, a weather vane ? but also items clearly taken from farther afield. These artifacts were piled high in their boxes. In fact, I have no idea what color her walls were. The only interruption in books and boxes along the walls were three windows; one in the front room, one in her kitchen (albeit small) and one in her bedroom. From the outside of her home, you can see a lot more windows. I follow her into kitchen, where she takes down a larger wicker basket. ?But if you're happy sitting quietly and watching me read for hours, that's your business. And you're going to help me pick mushrooms.?

I comply. It's a beautiful day in the Forest of Magic. Humans often seem like delicate things to me; it's easy to see why one would choose to live in a gentle place like this. I'm not really sure what mushrooms I'm supposed to pick, and when I ask, Marisa tells me that I'd probably just slow her down having to ask her each time if a mushroom was fine or not, so to forget about helping. Fortunate enough for me, as far as I was concerned.

?So tell me? I begin ?What would you say was the most interesting thing you've ever learned in the course of one of your investigations.?

?Investigations.? she chuckles ?You make it sound like work. Alright, hm ...? After a moment's consideration: ?Ha, alright. I can tell you one thing you probably didn't know already.? Taking a conspiratorial tone, she smirks and says, ?There could be a new arrival in the Human Village, from elsewhere in Gensokyo.?

She has my attention there. ?Oh? And who would that be??

Marisa laughs, picking up a mushroom and casually tossing it into the air over her shoulder, where it lands flawlessly in her basket. ?That I can't tell you. It's liable to get me in plenty of trouble just telling you this much. What I can tell you is, it's a very powerful person, and not one you'd expect to move from where she's living right now.?

I'd be lying if I said I'm not filled with the desire to go immediately to the Human Village and forget all about this interview. But a good journalist sticks to her assignment, after all. And it is entirely possible that Marisa's just throwing me a red herring. So I pretend to shrug it off.

?Well, that's not really a lot to go on, is it? Sounds more like that sort of rumors that get circulated around the village all the time,? I say.
Title: Re: Ennichi
Post by: Tengukami on April 25, 2009, 02:31:52 AM
Marisa chuckles lightly. I can tell she sees through me. It's one of the things about her that I think makes a lot of people uneasy. No one's fooling Marisa. She sees your ulterior motives, plain as day, but what's most disconcerting of all is that she doesn't care. You could be plotting to kill her and she'd not only be able to tell, she'd laugh it off. I don't exactly know what made her this way. Maybe it's a defense mechanism; after years of being able to see peoples' hearts, the pain of all that truth became too much to bear, and so she switched to laughter as a way of dealing with it. Or maybe she's just always been like that. Aloof, independent, maybe even a little arrogant, but never maliciously so.

Marisa can see I'm distracted, thinking about this rumor she gave me. And so perhaps out of mercy (to herself or to me, I can't be sure), she suggests we go to the Human Village under the pretense of needing to ask Keine a question about Gensokyo history.

?Maybe while I'm talking to her you can do your own little side-investigation,? she suggests. Again, is she trying to get rid of me, or is there a real story here? I can't take the chance of missing this lead, if it is real. And she knows it.

?Maybe I will.?

It's a warm, sunny day, the first in nearly a week, and the Human Village is bustling. I can't help but have my eyes and ears open for any sign of a new arrival - vacant houses being cleaned, for example. A little voice kept telling me I was going to end up feeling pretty silly after pursuing this wild goose chase, but I can't risk the possibility Marisa was telling me the truth.

Before long we're at Keine's school. The small, single-room school is in disrepair. She somehow always manages to have a class of at least a dozen or so students, all of them human. Even in Gensokyo, humans are fascinated with what they consider supernatural. I know from personal experience. You get used to the stares, the unexpected camera snaps (a bit of shoe-on-the-other-foot for me), even the occasional request to have my wings touched. On a few occasions, I've even had humans who wanted to be close to me, physically, in a much more intimate sense. Whether this was out some sort of genuine attraction, or curiosity, or a desire for cross-species conquest, I nonetheless always felt sort of put off by the entire idea. Well, except on one occasion, but that's a whole other story for another time.

Keine appears at the door, looking bothered. She always looks bothered, though, so I don't really know if this is because she's actually in the middle of something, or because she's opened her door to find Marisa standing there. Her sigh is long and audible.

?Marisa,? she says, not even pretending to be happy to see her. ?What brings you here??

?Heya, teach,? Marisa chirps. ?Aya has a question about Gensokyo history.?
Title: Re: Ennichi
Post by: Tengukami on April 25, 2009, 02:32:19 AM
I don't like Marisa's sense of humor sometimes.

?That's right,? I bluff. ?Do you have a moment??

Keine pauses, and looks as though trying to make her mind up about something. ?Um, sure, Aya. Can't say I've had you come by for a while. Is this a follow-up or something??

Taking advantage of the opening, I agree. And it wouldn't be a bad idea, actually, to see what's going on with the ?secret society? of humans bent on setting Gensokyo out of balance. I hadn't heard much of them lately.

?Come on in then,? she steps aside for me. I turn to Marisa, smiling at me like the cat that swallowed the canary.

?Marisa,? I tell her, ?please be sure to come back once you've finished visiting the stalls, OK? We still need to finish our interview.?

?Sure thing,? she says, already walking away. ?See ya, Keine.?

I watch her go, fairly certain our interview is over for the day, and step into Keine's history classroom. It's sparse, doesn't seem as though class size has really grown over the years.

?So, what's on your mind?? she asks, getting right to the point.

And for some reason, I freeze up. I can't actually think of a question to ask her about Gensokyo history. I'm used to having prepared answers, and Marisa really caught me off guard. Marisa. Nothing but trouble the whole morning.

?I bet she's even lying about someone moving to the Human Village,? I think outloud.

?What?? Keine is startled. Inordinately so. My instincts kick in.

?Wait, you know something about that?? I ask her.

?What did Marisa tell you?? she asks, urgently.

?Nothing really.? Why does she care so much? ?Just that it was someone powerful, not someone you'd expect.?

Keine pauses, studying me. Then sighs. ?Fine, it's true. Ugh, word was bound to get out, sooner or later. The way people talk around here.?

?And who is it then??

Keine considers it for a moment. I know what she's going to say.

?You cannot -?

?I promise not to breathe a word of this until you say so -?

?Because so help me on the next full moon I will find you and I will do worse than erase your history.? Her tone, the hard grip of her eyes, are enough to convince me.

?Understood.? I assure her. I plead with my eyes anyway. She waits.

Then she leans against one of the desks. ?Eirin.? She says matter-of-factly. ?Eirin is moving to the Human Village.?
Title: Re: Ennichi
Post by: Dizzy H. "Muffin" Muffin on April 25, 2009, 02:50:12 AM
? That wasn't something I was expecting. Also, was that an implication of Aya/ZUN I saw there?

Hmm. Does the title have any particular significance? At least, is it something that should be visible already?
Title: Re: Ennichi
Post by: Tengukami on April 25, 2009, 02:57:54 AM
? That wasn't something I was expecting. Also, was that an implication of Aya/ZUN I saw there?

Hmm. Does the title have any particular significance? At least, is it something that should be visible already?

The title does fit into the main event of the story, later on. And if by Aya/ZUN you mean the "side story" then no, but the person in question is human.
Title: Re: Ennichi
Post by: Dizzy H. "Muffin" Muffin on April 25, 2009, 04:46:27 AM
I meant the "whole other story for another time"
Title: Re: Ennichi
Post by: Tengukami on April 25, 2009, 12:50:12 PM
I meant the "whole other story for another time"

Ah, then we're talking about the same thing. Nope, ZUN won't be making an appearance. There will, however, be at least one PC-98 character.