The Shrine In-Between Two Worlds
Hello all! I know this is coming straight out of left field, but I've really been in a Touhou mood lately. On top of that, I've been trying to get myself interested in the Elemental Nations again (in case anyone noticed how much I've been focusing on non-Narutoverse content), so I thought I would use this opportunity to fix both. Anywho! Let's jump right in!
Chapter I: The Other Shrine
It was just another sunny day for the miko of Hakurei Shrine. She was a woman of about average height among Japanese females, with obsidian locks of hair styled in two tails that were kept together in white hair cuffs and wearing the traditional red and white shrine maiden uniform. Reimu found herself sweeping leaves from the pavement that led to the building she both lived in and worked from with more than a little contentment. It was good to see the sun out and about after such a cold, autumn week. The leaves continued to fall as was common in October, but she was more than happy to do the small amount of work to keep her pathways clean. All in all, it was a good day without any incidents and that made it even better.
Nearly as soon as she had that thought, she felt something happen. She wasn't sure if it was because she thought about it and her god thought to play a trick on her, or if it would have happened regardless, but it happened. Something had passed through her barrier. Oddly enough, she couldn't tell where it passed, though. It was this feeling she had, but couldn't locate. After the incident with Yumemi she'd strengthened the barrier. What could have gotten through something not even that woman's advanced science could? Would an incident actually happen today, after all? She prayed to her god, hoping that nothing would. It was such a nice day!
Meanwhile, far away from the Hakurei Shrine a certain silver-haired and blue-eyed woman walked. She wore a black dress with layers of white ruffles beneath it that could be seen at the hem, which swished around her ankle with each step. Over that was a white apron tied tightly around her. To finish her ensemble, she wore a cap atop her head that meant no one would mistake Sakuya Izayoi for anything but a maid. Sakuya was out to get some supplies that Patchouli needed for some spell or another. Magicians were very needy, after all. While thinking about how much simpler things would be if Lady Remilia had more competent employees, she felt something. The woman thought about it a moment before deciding to follow this instinct she had. She had long ago learned to follow these sort of feelings from the time before she was employed by the Scarlet Estate.
After some time exploring, she found a torii made of decayed wood, large holes and mushrooms decorating the rotten wood. It was actually kind of disgusting. The mushrooms weren't what disgusted her, but the disrepair it was in. Looking past the torii, she noted a cracked and eroded stone pathway led to a similarly ruined temple. Curious, the maid decided to investigate. Patchouli would have to wait a little longer for these supplies.
With that in mind, Sakuya carefully walked to the temple. In spite of its damage, she could still see one thing on the building. Above the large doorway, it had a red spiral emblem. She assumed that must've been the symbol of the god worshipped at this particular temple. She didn't know much about these eastern religions, honestly. She didn't care to learn about them either. That was more Patchouli's forte.
Finally, she arrived at the temple but stopped in her tracks instantly. The smell of blood was thick inside the temple. She immediately froze time in an effort to get a bearing on her surroundings. Scanning the inside of the temple quickly, she finally found the source of stench. There, on the floor, lay a boy who was surely no older than six or seven with blood coating his head and back, laying in a puddle of his own life that seeped into the rotting wood of the temple. He was blonde, or the parts of his spiked hair that wasn't stained with blood was, anyhow. The way his back bled told her that it was blunt damage rather than from a blade or arrow. Based on the bruises she'd wager he'd been stoned as he ran. He wasn't dead, or even dying, but just injured. That said, he looked like he should've died with those injuries. No normal human could sustain injuries like that, though he didn't feel like a Magician, a Fairy or a Youkai. He was likely human in that case.
Bending down to observe him more closely, though still slowing time, she wrinkled her nose as something new hit her. Foxes. She'd already assessed that he was human, so why did he smell like some sort of Kitsune? Pursing her lips, the Head Maid of the Scarlet Estate was left to decide whether she should do something or leave the boy be. What to do, what to do? As a child, there likely wasn't enough blood in him to sate her mistresses, and that fox odor would certainly disgust both Lady Remilia and Lady Flandre. Still, she didn't like the idea of just leaving him to die here. With that in mind, the woman glanced at his injuries once more. If she were to just erase the time behind those injuries, then it should be fine.
Sakuya left not long after that, with the blonde all alone and still unconscious, but healed. It was a single moment of kindness for a child she didn't know. If she had known what would come about because of it, would she still have done it at that time?
Some time later, the boy himself actually awoke. He sat up and looked around, trying to figure out where he was. He felt like he probably wasn't where he was supposed to be, but he didn't know why. Standing up, he noticed that he was in some sort of temple with two doors. Behind him was a door that led into some sort of forest based on what he saw out the window. Widening his eyes, he suddenly remembered where he was.
It was his birthday, and the anniversary of the date that the Nine-Tailed Fox attacked the village he called home. Some drunk people had gotten rowdy and he yelled at them… then they started chasing him through the streets. They kept yelling something about him being a fox before they started throwing rocks at him. Good thing they were so drunk they couldn't even hit me. He thought to himself with a grin.
He ended up running through the streets until he found an old sewer entrance he knew about thanks to some of the delinquents from the orphanage. Following it, he ended up outside the village in a forest. He didn't stop there though, because it started raining as soon as he thought he was safe. While the sewer provided some cover, he didn't like how much the water was rising. He searched for anything to give him better protection from the rain and ended up finding an old, abandoned temple with masks in it. It looked like it was still raining through the window.
"Well, that sucks. I wonder where this is, anyways?" Turning around to look at his surroundings, the boy frowned as he noted something strange. He checked again just to make sure. Through the door he came from, it was raining. When he turned around to look at the back door, the sun was shining brightly. I don't remember that door being here when I fell asleep. The thought struck him and his curiosity got the better of him. Walking out the door where the sun was shining, he looked up and saw there wasn't even a cloud in the sky. Going back inside, he tried opening the other door, but was surprised as when he touched the handle the back door shut. Turning back around to look at it, he frowned. Opening the front door, he noted that it was definitely raining.
Shutting the front door once more, he headed to the back door and opened it again, seeing the bright sun once more. "This is weird…" He muttered as he walked outside the temple that had all the masks and into a courtyard that looked like it would fit in the neighborhood of his apartment. "Where am I?" He couldn't help but wonder once again. Walking away from the temple, he looked around at the grass which was so tall he would get lost inside, the broken-down pathway and the rotting tori. None of that existed on the other side of the temple. It was very odd.
"My, my. Isn't this interesting?" The blonde jumped at the voice and quickly turned to see a woman in a strange outfit. She was also blonde, though her hair fell loosely over her back. She wore some sort of purple dress with lots of ruffles down the hem, white gloves that extended past her elbows and carried a parasol that looked like it would be destroyed if it was taken to the other side of the temple. "I thought I felt something going on with one of the boundaries, but this is certainly something I didn't anticipate. It's been some time since one of you came into Gensokyo. I thought the passage through the barrier would've been sealed up from this abandoned temple, but I suppose even Reimu doesn't know about it."
"Who are you, nee-san?" The boy wondered as he looked up at the tall woman. Even though she was dressed oddly, something told him that she was powerful. He wasn't sure why or how he knew it, but he felt it might be best to follow it. "I'm Naruto, Naruto Uzumaki." The woman smiled at the boy as fingers tapped the handle of her parasol.
"Before that, do you know where you are?" Naruto seemed to think a moment but shook his head.
"I don't really get it. The temple has the forest outside my village on one side, but then I go through the other door and end up here. I think it's some sort of jutsu on the Temple but I don't know anything about it." The woman chuckled but shook her head.
"No, it's nothing like that. Do you know what boundaries are?" The boy seemed to think again, but when he didn't say anything she explained. "Boundaries are imaginary lines in between things. They exist in between countries to separate them, in between seasons to allow the year to know when to change and even in between things like the past and present. There is a difference between a boundary and a barrier though. While boundaries exist, they can be crossed. Barriers cannot. They are placed over boundaries to keep what they separate apart. This temple here is a boundary with a barrier between your world and this one. However when certain people go into it, they can cross the barrier as if it's a boundary. It takes a certain kind of person to do that, someone who is of both worlds. Not even the one who keeps the barrier going could cross that boundary without my help."
Naruto widened his eyes. "I'm in a different world? How is that even possible? What's it called?" The woman smirked as she turned her parasol slightly.
"This world is called Gensokyo and is mostly separate from all others. It is a place where humans, youkai, fairies and magicians all exist. A lot of strong people exist here and they fight, but no one dies from it thanks to our Spell Cards. I could tell you a little about Gensokyo, if you'd like to come with me?" Naruto nodded and was surprised as some sort of doorway appeared in front of the woman. He couldn't see anything through it aside from a dark purple background and an uncountable number of eyes that stared back at him, watching. "Oh, my name is Yukari, by the way. Yukari Yakumo, but you can keep calling me nee-chan if you'd like." I wonder what would happen if he is let loose in Gensokyo. What sort of incidents could I watch Reimu solve with him out and about? This ought to be entertaining.