Lieutenant General Hazama wasn't happy, he hadn't been for the last two months; two months prior he was planning to take some day off in order to properly celebrate his nephew admission to Tokyo University, thinking already about joining with his nephew parents at a mountain house they owned, when the unthinkable happened.

The Ginza Incident.

Once the dust had finally settled over the tragedy and people began to realize they have been attacked by an army that came out of a gate appeared out of nowhere, politicians were quick to plan what they called a mission in the name of justice, their opposition called a vengeful retribution and many in the international community thought of as a ploy to relive the glory of Imperial Japan; the only thing that meant to him was that he would be in charge of the JSDF soldiers deployed in what had been newly named as Special Region, he would have to take care all the trouble that came with the position and he never had a chance to join any kind of celebration for the success of his nephew.

The last two months had been a logistic nightmare after another, result of decades of Japan inactivity when it came to matters of war, and he soon found himself drowning in a sea of paperwork; of course it didn't help how his office was continuously assaulted by phone calls of every sort of nuisance, be it some army supplier trying to obtain some advantage in the upcoming operation or just weirdos confident to have invaluable piece of information. In the regard to the latter he was honestly surprised by the amount of occultists that claimed over the media that this wasn't an isolated case, citing as proof various unresolved case of missing people, old legend about hidden lands, some anomalies reported by telephone companies regarding the supposed momentarily disappearance of repeating tower and lastly some recent sightings of flash of lights and flying objects in the night skies that had been dismissed as alcohol induced hallucination.

While most sensible people had ignored such claims, there was always a religious fanatic or a conspiracy theorist who would gladly take seriously those questionable informations to add fuel to the fire of their own crusade and cause in turn an even bigger news-storm ready to strike them all; because of that there had been already three official announcement from their own expert that neither the apocalypse was coming nor was the military conducting any supernatural experiment, which repercussion only generated even more paperwork for him to deal with. In short his patience had been thinning each day a little more and he was dangerously close to snap at the first chance to relieve himself. That day could be closer than he expected.

"Yanagida, I must have heard wrong, so could you please repeat the content of that letter?" he asked barely restraining his irritation, while looking straight at one of his newly appointed officers.

"I believe there's no need for that Sir, said content it's exactly what it sounds like."

"So you're telling me..." he then had to force down a grumble "You're telling me that after stressing for so long how this operation will involve only the strictly necessary personnel, about how as of now there will be only a military presence with no other organization, be it national or international involved..." he suddenly found particularly hard to not shout in face of the sheer absurdity of the situation "You're telling that now they want us to take a scientist along with us?"

"Just as I told you, you do seem to have grasped the correct meaning of this letter Sir."

"But why? Why now of all time? I could understand if this was asked a month after we took a secure hold in the Special Region, maybe even a couple of weeks later, but why asking us a month before the whole ordeal even begins?"

"Well, according to the documentation that followed this request, they thought her field of study could be helpful in the upcoming operations."

"And what would that be?"

"Apparently she has graduated as anthropologist of religions at Tokyo University, with a specialization in polytheistic and animistic culture and their influence over the development of society. The thesis of her doctorate was the relationship between cultural changes and folklore in Japan between the Heian and Meiji eras."

"So why do the higher ups think we might need someone like that?"

"Officially they think that in order to fully understand the inhabitants of the Special Region we need to have first a good grasp of their cultural and religious beliefs, so that we may avoid any cause of friction between us before it can come up."

"And unofficially?" he asked.

This question seemed to have troubled Yanagida, since he took some time before answering it, going as far as readjusting his glasses on his nose more than a few times in a row. Finally he managed to talk back: "What transpired during the Ginza Incident has left some of them concerned and the reports of the scouts we sent trough the Gate didn't make them feel any more at ease. Surely, you are aware of how some of our troops are dealing with the news regarding our mission, Sir ."

Hazama simply grunted in response, he did heard about how there had been at the local stores surrounding the base a sudden spike in anything that could provide any kind of knowledge related to a fantasy setting, from classic such as Tolkien's books to more modern anime and manga. But to think even those sitting in the seats of power would go as far as fall into the same line of thought was unbelievable.

"You couldn't be possibly be telling me that they think someone who can list all the reason why people came up with the idea of a dragon can tell us how to kill them faster, do you?"

"Is not only that, each day more and more hints come up suggesting that what we saw here could have happened before. Based on their study on the POWs, our linguists think that the language spoken by them might be of indo-european roots, the first medical results seems to confirm that our shared genetic pool is the same there would be between people living on different continents and finally the fact that medieval Europe had been telling of legends of dragons, ogres and many other creatures similar to the one we encountered for century doesn't help either."

Yanagida took a moment to let those words sink in before pressing on: " In short they believe that based on this evidences there's the possibility that said legends might be what people witnessed when this Gate opened before and as such they think that having knowledge of those tales might be just as good as having a guide book regarding the local fauna. You surely can see the advantage of such a thing if it was to be proven true, Sir."

"If that's the case why employ only one of those scientist, don't they think having more of them would be a more sensible choice?"

"That would be surely a perfect scenario, unfortunately we don't have such luck. Despite recognizing the need, the higher ups are still overly cautious about this after all, if what we're facing internationally and even within our own homeland is anything to go by, the risk of a saboteur or a mole are quite high when it comes to civil personnel. Their candidate on the other hand, apart from being an exceptional Japanese citizen, didn't get involved with any known movement under the watch of National Security, never got the attention of the police forces and even got a recommendation from a enlistment officer from Nagano Prefecture. Of course they made even further research but they still believe it's the best they can get while still maintaining an acceptable degree of safety."

"And what about you?"

"I'm sorry Sir?" Yanagida replied seemingly confused.

"Yanagida, don't play dumb with me, you've been appointed as our intelligence officer, all about your dossier seems to indicate that you're too much of a perfectionist to simply blindly accept an order such as this without some research of your own and I known you're the kind of man that would be ecstatic if given the chance to point out a blatant mistake if committed by a superior officer. So I'm asking again, what do you think of this?"

For a moment he seemed to be gathering his thoughts, then he took a folder from the middle of the pile he was carrying, he adjusted his glasses and began to read from the pages in front of him.

"Nothing much really stands out about her, grown in a middle class family, the father was a employee of a local branch of a internet services society, nothing more than office work, the mother owned a small shop in the neighborhood. The mother family is more interesting since her grandfather was an American soldier stationed in Japan but even then there's nothing much of notice. Seems like she passed through high-school with good grades, although she didn't join any club activity, then she was admitted to Tokyo University and from there her story looks like the tale of every other model student." He closed the folder before looking at Hazama once again, wearing a slightly annoyed expression.

"So in other words there's nothing suspicious about her?"

"In other words Sir, western ancestry and academic success aside, she looks like a cardboard cut-out, nothing one should worry about but neither anything that can make her stands out too much; I know all the documents are alright and there's no sign of adulteration, but this looks so much like the profile one would give to an infiltrator that is not even funny."

"But you still decided to go with the flow." Hazama replied, pointing out something that didn't match with the outburst he just heard.

"Yes, I'm going with the flow because for each piece of information about her there are at least two witness to confirm it and because an officer of the JSDF took upon himself to make a written recommendation to open the door to her. She even went as far as going through our training just to prove her conviction and to be as less of a weight as possible once she will be deployed with us, the drill sergeant responsible for her evaluation said that if she did have more time she could become Ranger material, as I said everything about her seems to be handmade to fit with our need." He briefly made a wordless sigh before continuing "But as I said before I don't think we can easily have this much luck on our side."

General Hazama, briefly nodded, he could understand those concerns, however giving them any more weight could have been seen as being paranoid given the amount of proves that hinted against Yanagida's worries being anything more that conjectures. And so he finally came up with an adequate answer.

"Alright, if they think we should do this I don't see any reason to not do so. However..." he added cutting off Yanagida reply "I want you to keep an eye on her, maybe even ask further about her past. Just because they didn't found anything wrong, it doesn't mean we can't practice some caution."

"Very well. If that the case I don't think my presence is required for the moment." He then left the folder in his hand over the desk before making his way out of the office, still wearing a satisfied smirk.

Just as he was about to resume his work Hazama realized he didn't even ask the name of the woman he just accepted within their ranks; curiosity getting the better of him he took the folder that had been left on his table, most likely her dossier, and opened it at the first page, getting a look at the personal data listed near the picture of a lovely young lady.


Two months before, somewhere within Nagano Prefecture, 11:20 A.M.

Within a quarter of hour the Gate would open and unleash in Ginza an army followed in its track by an horde of creature that looked like something a Dungeon Master would have arranged for a quest of Dungeons&Dragons. However it would be a mistake and an act of presumption to think such a western metaphor was all the people of Japan could draw upon to describe the upcoming hell in the streets of Tokyo.

Despite what many people would have thought in a day and age where technology and science overthrown religion and superstitions, even Japan had its tales of gods and demons, of spirits and monsters, of miracles and magic.

Youkai. Once this word would have struck fear and worry in the hearts of peasants and nobles alike, for it was the name of all that lurked within the shadows of the night, of the very incarnation of the deepest of human fears, the manifestation of those who were free of flimsy concepts such as morals or common sense, since it was the name of the supernatural itself.

Of course any self-respecting man from our modern age would simply laugh at such thoughts, labelling them at best as genuine folklore of the old times. People like these would often forgotten that the reason why their front doors wasn't facing north was to ward off evil spirits and that the reason why they were told to not venture out after the twilight as children was because it was the hour in which the demons would wander the earth. These were the same people that when they still were children would wake up in the middle of the night because of a nightmare and call to their help Baku-san to eat away the bad dream, and the same children that would told their amused parents that no, it wasn't just an old legend, they too saw, if for just a moment, a woman hiding in the gap between their furnitures and the wall.

The truth was much more baffling than that however and if those people were ever to learn it they would be consternated. Youkai were very much real and the reason why nobody saw them anymore wasn't because they didn't exist, they simply went into hiding. If the world refused to aknowledge them, if people were to make them fade away through sheer force of disbelief, then they would make their own world to live in.

And so with a collective effort they all gathered in the same stretch of land now known as Gensokyo and encased themselves in a barrier that kept them and the world outside separated entities while still linking them, the same way a thread would link two piece of clothes sewn together. Such was the power of the Hakurei Barrier, the result of the combined effort of a talented bloodline of priests and one of the more powerful and influential youkai of Gensokyo, although some went as far as claim that in the creation of the barrier they even borrowed the power of the Dragon God.

Whatever the case they managed to build a barrier that served as a boundary between fantasy and reality, keeping the supernatural denizens of Gensokyo safe from the sterile world spreading on the outside. On the outside people wouldn't see anything but mountain range and wouldn't be able to get through unless they were fortunate enough, as much as ending in a land of monsters can be fortunate, to find one of the momentarily weak spot that could appear. Meanwhile those on the inside were unable to get out but lived in the sure knowledge that their existances were safe as long as they followed the rules established by the creators of that realm that they called home.

Knowing this it wasn't a surprise why the imminent disaster that would fall upon Ginza would shake their life and set in motion a series of events that no one in the rest of the world could expect.


11:25 A.M.

Even in a place as secretive as Gensokyo there were places of which most inhabitants didn't know anything of, much less could hope to find, and one of those places was an apparently traditional Japanese house, such as the ones movies would show to be the residence of a samurai, were the sword master would spend his days looking through an open sliding door at the blossoming cherry tree in the middle of his garden. However if one was to try to locate the whereabout of said house, he would soon find out that it was no easy task, for the moment he would leave the ground of said house, he would end up in the middle of an empty road, no such building near him. If he was to look around for a while maybe he could have reached and old abandoned village, no living beings in sight except for a mysterious pack of stray cats, then, just as he would give up all hope to find again such place, he would walk away only to realize he was once again on the building grounds and then hear the mistress of the house asking him amused where he thought he was going.

Of course much of those mysteries would find an easy explanation the moment the identity of said mistress was revealed as the self-proclaimed watcher and one of the founder of Gensokyo, the youkai of boundaries Yukari Yakumo. At the moment said youkai like many others of her kin was spending the light hours sleeping until the sunset was to come, however unlike many other times this wasn't a peaceful sleep.

Truth be told she had felt at unease for the last few days, however she couldn't find the reason of her discomfort and yet she felt as if something was nagging her in the back of her mind. She thought it must have been the daily fluctuation of the barrier power, she was afterall pretty sensitive in that matter, however they never lasted this long and her own instinct, honed through centuries of experience, told her that something unexpected was coming and she didn't like to be caught off-guard.


11:35 A.M.

Then she felt it.

All of a sudden it was as if someone had stabbed her with an icicle, for a quick fit of pain was washed away by a shiver that spread through all of her being before stopping all of a sudden.

And then she saw it.

The barrier had suddenly weakened, with no telling sign at all it just lost a chunk of his power, not any different than a sand castle which surface had just been peeled away by a wave coming from the sea. At first she thought some of the restless residents might have tried to mess with it, it wouldn't be the first time someone played with forces they didn't fully understand, and that was before taking into account all the outside parties that had an interest in getting through the barrier. She soon realized however that it wasn't the case, since the barrier in itself wasn't damaged but it lacked power; like a light bulb would emit a fainter light if one didn't provide enough power to make it properly work, the barrier had weakened because its source of power had become weaker.

That in itself was worrying since as long as humankind would reject unscientific beliefs the barrier would be able to sustain itself, so that left only two possibilities: either the human race had suddenly disappeared or something had shaken their mind enough to begin once again to believe in the unexplainable. Whatever the case she had to take a look for herself.


Ginza, 11:40 A.M.

In all honesty Legionnaire Flavius Arcarius was bored out of his mind. When their commanders gathered all of them on the holy hill of Arnus they promised them the glory of conquest and battle in the land beyond the Gate, but so far he had saw none of them. Whoever they encountered once they emerged from the Gate had been slain without any fight at all, like cattle brought before the butcher. Now they were spreading through the streets, pushing further into this nation territory and going in any building they came across in search of treasures or hidden barbarians. He was with one of those groups right now, he and another dozen of soldiers going through what he could only suppose was some kind of merchant shop if the amount of exotic objects surrounding them was any clue.

"There's nothing but rubbish here, not what I would have expected from a building big as this" said a soldier on his left as he went through the items on a shelf.

"Nothing in this land is as one would expect, you would think folks who managed to build a city this big would at least have some guards in their streets, instead we found nothing but scared peasants" another one chimed from behind him.

At the same moment another soldier, one of the most recent recruits, got out from a door leading to the storage room and turned to his fellow legionnaires: "Nothing but junk there, seems like they don't even have a single copper coin in this place, how the hell do they buy stuff? You think these savages still barter goods?"

The legionnaire going through the shelf huffed before turning to his less experienced counterpart and said: "The only thing I think is that this is too easy. Once we will get back to the Empire they'll say we went to take a stroll instead of fighting a war. My brother was with Prince Zorzal during his campaign against the Warrior Bunnies, what I'm supposed to tell him about this? I wish we could see some more action."

"Why don't you shut up instead?" replied annoyed Flavius "Gods have a strange sense of humor when it comes to wishes."

"Your words couldn't hold more truth than that boy."

He along with everyone else froze hearing the feminine voice speaking those words and turned around looking for the speaker. Sitting on the counter was a woman with long blonde hairs wearing a long purple dress and holding a laced parasol above her head with her left arm. She looked different than the people they encountered up until that point and the fact that she managed to get there without being noticed, together with the calm expression she had despite being surrounded by a dozen armed men was enough to set him on edge.

"Who are and how did you get here?" he heard a soldier in front of him ask while unsheathing his sword.

"Didn't your parents teach you that is impolite to point a blade to a lady? The youth of these days truly don't have a grasp on etiquette" she chided in tune, still completely unperturbed by the turn of events. It was then that Flavius took notice of something obvious.

"How do you know our tongue?"

"Oh?" She immediately turned on him, seemingly intrigued by his question. He soon realized many other things that he missed at first; despite bearing more resemblance with the women one could find in the Empire than with the one they found in that land, there was something about her obvious beauty that made her looks exotic and almost unnatural, her purple eyes however, despite the playfulness of the rest of her face, showed a cunning and malicious glint, not unlike the one of a wild beast looking at her soon to be prey. She somehow reminded him of some of the more vicious Beastmen he had fought and yet she didn't have any of the foretelling signs of their might.

"Well, looks like not all of you are stone-headed. It's nothing special really, I just adjusted a bit the border between words and meaning."

"What?"

"Oh forget it, perhaps you're not as interesting as I thought. Now then..." she said while unfolding a fan in her right hand seemingly appeared out of nowhere "I would like to have a talk with you all, what do you say?"

Despite the uneasiness gnawing at him, Flavius managed to scoff at her before pointing his own sword at her and muster the more commanding tone he could manage: "I don't know who you think you're, but we're proud legionnaires of the Imperial Army and we will not be ordered around by a mere woman. Now follow us before our commanders or prepare to be slain like the savage you are!"

It was true that they knew nothing of her and his gut feeling was telling him to run away, but his training wasn't for anything and so he pushed forward. Besides, given her attitude and peculiar clothing maybe she was some kind of mage or maybe even a local noblewoman, if they were to bring back such a high-ranking prisoner they were surely to be prized by their superiors with more than mere words of praise. Worst case scenario he was sure that with a body like her she would have fetched a high-price at the slave market.

So he was surprised when instead of covering in fear or trying some last valiant effort to escape capture, she just put her open fan over the lower half of her face and let escape a soft giggle.

"Oh really?" she asked full of mirth "You and what army?"

Before he could ask her what she meant he noticed the sudden and eerie silence that had fallen within the empty building. He realized with fright that they were the only people left in there, all of his fellow soldiers vanished in thin air. Just as fear began to claw its way in his heart he turned around only to found the face of the woman so close that their noses could almost touch.

"Boo!"

With a panicked cry he made another step back, not even remembering when he made the first, before taking hold of his sword with both hand an raising it between him and the woman.

"What have you done to them? Where did you hide them? Answer me!"

"Did you know fear has a smell?" she asked him with the same casual tone one would talk of the weather "Because let me tell you, right now you positively smell delicious." She then sniffed the air before humming in satisfaction and taking a step forward.

"Stay back!" he screamed while taking more steps backward, his sword almost painfully stretched all the way toward the monster in front of him "I said stay back you monster!"

"Don't be so nervous, I don't bite. Well I could, but I'm far too refined to step so low as to use such brutish tactics. It seems like I can get the same result anyway."

He had no doubt about it, the creature in front of him was a demon from hell itself and he knew she could have killed him already, instead she decided to toy with him for her own perverse pleasure. As he took more and more step backward he still watched her approaching ever so slowly, a wicked smile on her face. He knew sooner or later he would be with his back against the wall, but at that moment the only thing his instinct wanted from him was to get as far as possible from that monster.

It was for that reason that he was surprised when his left foot didn't land on the floor and instead felt empty air underneath it. When he turned to find the cause he was horrified, instead of the wall behind him there was what looked like a tear in the air itself, opened to a purple void full of thousands of unblinking red eyes that were staring back at him. He was petrified by the fear for a few moments before he reminded of the threat in front of him, just in time to feel a push and begin to fall into the endless void.

As he looked up she was standing on the other side of the tear, her outstretched parasol the likely culprit of his fall. Just as he notice the borders of the tear closing he heard her one last time.

"See you on the other side!"


Yakumo's residence, 11:45 A.M.

If one was to look at the scene unfolding in the garden, it was most likely that no meaning of it could be found. In the middle of the trees a dozen of men wearing armour laid unconscious, many of them stretched all over the ground as if they landed flat on it; looking at them from the porch with a confused expression was a woman which was herself worthy of attention if not for her peculiar outfit at least for the simple fact that she had various golden tails, not unlike those of a fox, and, if the pointy tips under her hat were anything to go by, fox ears as well.

To be honest with herself, Ran should had already be desensitized to a sight like that, one could chalk it up to be the end result of centuries of servitude under the eccentric anomaly known to the world as Yukari Yakumo, but even then it wasn't a common occurrence even for her master; in fact, that would only be the third time she found herself in such a situation.

Before she could muse any further on what she was looking at, a voice interrupted her: "Oh, you're already here. At least this save some explanation."

"Lady Yukari!" she said as she turned toward her master, hiding only with partial success the surprise in her voice; it wasn't a secret to anyone who knew her that she usually would sleep through the day hours, if she was already awake something big must had happened.

"Sorry Ran, I would love to tell you what's going on exactly, but I hate to repeat myself and I'm positively sure others will soon come looking for answers. Now, as you can see I ran into this lovely bunch a while ago and despite my earnest interest of a chat with them I'm afraid this isn't possible at the moment. So, since there are a couple of other things I would like to look into, could you keep an eye on them in the meantime? They might be a bit gruff once they wake up, but I'm sure it's nothing you can't manage. Oh, try not to mess them up to much though, it would be better if they still can compile intelligible sentences."

Just as Ran managed to grasp the words she spew out at lightning speed, Yukari had already began to walk away ignoring the confusion of her servant.

"And while you are at it, could you estimate the condition of the barrier every ten minutes? If you could also keep an eye out for whoever goes around poking their noses around any anomalies it would be just wonderful!" she added as she walked through one of her gap.

Then, just as the gap had almost completely closed, she poked her head out and said: "Oh, I may also need Chen for this so I'm going to borrow her." She then completely disappeared along with the closing gap.

For a few moments Ran stood still, probably still processing what had just happened under the spawn of thirty seconds, she then sighed resigned and sagged down in her shoulder. While it wasn't the first time her master dropped in passing a whole list of orders, that didn't mean it was any less frustrating; on top of that she had just decided to take along her own servant, meaning she had to shoulder the full weight of her tasks by herself. It was at time like this that she felt the full price of the contract she had with her master.

Just as she finished this trail of thoughts she heard a groan coming from the garden and she remembered of their temporary guests. One of them had finally woken up and groggily tried to stand up, only to stiffen once he noticed her presence. After a brief instant of confusion, he set his face into a menacing scowl, draw out his sword and pointed it at her before walking purposely toward her.

"Where am I? What happened and what is this place? You better answer me unless you want to be slain, beast!"

Feeling suddenly much more irritated Ran sighed heavily before locking eyes with the man in front of her. She did have to keep them under control, didn't she? So, as long as she hold back enough, there was nothing wrong with enjoying some stress relief, right?

"Well" she thought as she cracked her knuckles "this is going to be a long day."


A.N. So, i added this now because when i posted this chapter i was too burned out, but here i am! This is pretty much my first serious fiction, born from some musing i had while scrolling through some GATE crossover; to be honest i was surprised that nobody else thought of this before, but that's what writers like us are for, right? I hope you'll follow me on this journey, but first i'll like to thank the guys from the "GATE: Stories From the Special Region Troops" forum and their "Writer's corner" and those at "Thus the SBers Wrote There!" SpaceBattle thread, they helped me out a lot. Regardless, this isn't just a troll update to add the AN, i plan to publish soon the next chapter, until then see ya!