The Shrine of Gensokyo: Gensokyo No Ginja

Chapter 44: Epilogue, Or is It?

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Original Concept by: ZUN & Shanghai Alice

Written by: wrathie


Author's Notes: Yeah, I'm not sure if it is epilogue or the starting of an epilogue


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[…]

Feeling someone's hand on mine, I slowly gripped it tightly with my returning strength and opened my eyes.

[… Good Morning…]

Winking and smiling at the person beside me, Suika, I put a hand over her mouth before I hugged her with all my might.

[R-REIMU?]

I heard her scream as I smelt her hair while burying my face into it, she smelt of sake, stench of sake… but she was Suika, my family, my Suika and she was in my arms, crying and babbling while I hugged her.

I never felt more alive… but it was only a matter of speech as I looked around me, everyone was shell-shocked at my sudden revival.

[… Reimu, is, is that you?]

I turned and saw Remilia, her mouth wide open and her fangs looking like it was going to drop off in amazement and I nodded my head.

[… Yes, it's me… Remi…]

[It's you, right? Really you, Reimu…]

She wiped away tears of joy and then promptly stamped the ground in anger.

[I TOLD YOU!]

In a childish and playful manner, Remilia grinned up at Sakuya, who herself was blinking her eyes repeatedly, trying to convince herself it was real.

[My Reimu will not let die so easily, right? AHaha~]

Crowing proudly, Remilia was promptly tackled down by Suika as they started another verbal fight.

[Reimu is mine you vampire! Who said she was yours!]

[Oh yes she is! I saved her, so she's mine! She's Mine you stinking Oni! Get away from me!]

[Oh yea? Well let's DANMAKU!]

[Heh, you fool… I will not danmaku with a low life like you!]

[What? Are you scared of me? Are you, VAMP!]

[why you little…]

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The resulting explosion meant the two of them had probably gone off to do just that while I shook my head and looked around.

No one else has taken it in face value like Suika or Remilia, they were all looking at me, unsure if it was true that I had came back to life. Particularly so was Sakuya, who was rubbing her chin.

[… thank you, for worrying about me…]

[… you're not… Reimu… are you?]

Appearing beside me, Sakuya peered all over me. Her suspicion is understandable, I was a person who just a few hours before was dead to the world…

I smiled at her, leaned over and winked at her.

[I am Reimu, Sakuya… I know your…]

Whispering into her ears, Sakuya turned pink in the next moment as she grabbed my shoulders and angrily demanded an answer.

[H-How do you-]

[Sakuya, I've seen many girls who do the same thing…]

Winking at her, I slowly stood up and bowed to everyone solemnly.

[… Thank you… and I'm sorry… for making everyone worry…]

My remaining words were drowned out by the cheers that the people gave me and I blushed immediately.

[N-No… please… d-don't do that…]

No matter how I shook my head, people came over and hoisted me on their shoulders and lifted me out of the Shrine, with Sakuya, shaking her head and wiping the tears from her eyes following behind me.

[… Reimu… Welcome back…]

[EH? Reimu?]

[Reimu!]

[She's alive!]

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Various cries alerted the rest of my revival and they all gathered in front of the Shrine to speak to me, everyone I remembered was there… everyone, from the ones I met during my journey here to a few I never… but all of them helped me to save Gensokyo as well and I flew off to hug them.

[You're all fine… Thank… thank the gods…]

[Tsk, looks who's talking…]

There was going to be a celebration at the village tonight again, this time celebrating the day where Gensokyo was saved… and for the first time… youkai were invited too! I was so glad and touched when the villagers personally gave invitations to everyone, every youkai that was present at the Shrine.

[Remila-san, would you be willing to grace the event?]

[Princess, would you be willing to partake in the event?]

Everyone was invited and as I listened to the Elder from the village, what he told me was astonishing.

[… ahem… we've decided… upon your immediate death… or was your immediate death, that we would be from now on, be willing to view the youkai as the same as us.]

[Eh!]

I was not the only one who was shocked, a few of the villagers assembled as well as Keine covered their mouths.

[Before, we were afraid of them but after this incident… seeing how they fought, how they helped us, endangering themselves, although it was not for us but for their friendship with you and to Miss Keine and to many others, we feel that we should… be the one to extend a hand of friendship.]

[… Elder.]

I stopped myself from saying anything more as the Elder looked out at the evening sky, his face looking more aged than before.

[We have the right to be afraid… to want to protect ourselves… but if the result of such thinking is the destruction of this land we love… we do not think it to be worth it.]

Stroking his beard he spread his arms wide out, gesturing his fellow villages to Gensokyo, reborn as it is before putting a hand down on the ground and bowing hard.

[We owe all of this to the Youkai of Gensokyo, they, unlike us… were willing to sacrifice their lives for this land, this land that we call home.

Not many of us can do that… we look at ourselves in the mirror and declare us to be the rightful owner of this land… after all, we told ourselves that we created this land with our hands, we sealed this land away… we rightly deserve dominance of this land.]

The elder was clearly shaken and ashamed of himself, likewise the other men were too, they kept their heads down and their hands clenched as the Elder told everyone present, even the youkai were moved by his speech as they kept rapt attention to him.

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[But, we were the ones who abandoned this land… we were the one who refused to fight for this land… and we rightly should… No matter what cost it was… it is not about if we could… it is about why we did not? Why did we not protect this land? Was if fear?

Or was it selfishness… we brand them, the youkai as demons who should be exterminated… we were afraid of their powers, their strengths… but did we ask ourselves… are we any different? Are we any better than the youkai? We are powerful in our own way… but we… we did not even try… how can we claim ourselves to be the rightful owners of Gensokyo?]

Throwing his hat on the ground, the elder stamped on it angrily while Miss Keine looked away, the expression on her face was unreadable.

[Years ago, many many years before… we started the campaign to rid Gensokyo of youkai… we banished them from our lands, killed any we saw near us… it was a result of fear, of prejudice… and most likely… miscommunication…]

[we have lost many lives to youkai… but youkai has lost many lives to us… what are we to judge them? We hate them for their powers… but they in turn hate us for our inventions… it is a cycle, a vicious one…]

The elder took a deep breath while looking at Miss Keine and he shook his head and bowed to her, his forehead touching the floor to me and Miss Keine's surprise.

[I apologize to you, Miss Keine… all of us should… we did not heed your words…]

[…]

[We, did not ask questions… when we are the same people who invented questions… did not ask ourselves what could have gone wrong? We did ask… but did we ask the right ones? Did we ask ourselves… could it not be the youkai? We did not… we… we acted on impulse… what we did, could not be forgiven…]

I looked at the two of them in confusion, I was unsure what was going on but Miss Keine shook her head before bowing back and running away. The mere gesture was enough for her to leave the room… I wonder what was going on and I shot a look at Mokou who looked uncomfortably away.

[we wrongly judged you, Miss Keine… and him as well… you were right and we were wrong… apologizing now is… something that would not help…]

The elder sighed, got up and turned to me.

[Miss Reimu…]

[Y-yes…]

[… would you be kind enough, to take over as the Elder?]

[EH?]

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I voiced my shock but as soon as I thought about it, I politely declined.

[… No… I am sorry, elder… I am the servant of the spirits… I would not abandon my post.]

Pushing his hand away, I smiled politely as he nodded and turned to his fellow villagers.

[… we should be ashamed of ourselves… we pride ourselves as the people who can think, who learns, who innovates and who adapts… and yet, we did not consider or even try to differentiate between us… and them.]

Gesturing towards the youkai who were with us, Remilia Scarlet, Kawashiro Nitori, Shameimaru Aya and the rest, the elder bowed to them and asked them for forgiveness.

[…we, we could not accept someone else.. someone else who have different views from us… we were proud, arrogant but most of all, deaf. We could not, we would accept the voice of reason telling us that you were different… that some of you were indeed like us, who shared thoughts, emotions and the same love for your fellow youkai… we were foolish, thinking that every youkai is a brainless, emotionless monster freak of nature… for that, we apologize…]

Bowing again, I saw the elder reluctant to get up even as the whole group of them bowed deeply to the youkai, who were a little miffed and amused.

[… well well, so they finally admitted it. And there they were, calling me a spoilt brat.]

Grinning, Remilia looked at her fellow youkai who seemed a little overwhelmed by their actions.

[… so, what do you propose, human?]

Before he could speak however, I heard a voice towering above them all.

[well, for starters you could worship me.]

Grinning, the form of the goddess, Yasaka Kanako blinked over them all.

[Like hell they will… They will serve me!]

Throwing a red spear at the goddess, Remilia along with the goddess disappeared as they chased one another in the skies above the shrine.

[I wanna play too, Onee-chan!]

[Y-Yasaka-sama!]

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The companions for the two followed swiftly after and after the tense speech, all of us were left staring as the skies were filled with danmaku, one a shade of scarlet and the other a shade of green.

[… it's beautiful…]

Standing up and heading towards the paper doors, I pushed them open and allowed the remaining rays of the sun illuminate the dark room, making it seem more friendly than before.

[… we'll have to take this… one step at a time… I guess…]

[Miss Shrine Maiden?]

[… we don't like to change… and we hate to be wrong… … but as long as we remember… as long as we really want to… we will achieve what we want to achieve…]

Turning to face them again, I bent a little before winking to all of them.

[Be it… youkai or human… we all love Gensokyo… with all of our hearts… what is the difference between us? What is the similarities between us? I… I don't know…]

I admitted honestly as I stepped outside, taking slow steps to the torii gates of the shrine. It really is a beautiful sunset, it reminded me of the day when I was leaving the shrine for the first time… Gensokyo was and still is so beautiful…

[we'll find the answer slowly… I'm sure the youkai too… they want to know… we'll find the answer ourselves… each and everyone of us… and we'll tell each other… no matter how…]

Breaking into a smile, I leapt forward and caught the two dears, whom had left me for a while…

Behind them was a group of similar fairies who danced around me cheerfully. The sunlight reflected from the wings and it was so, so beautiful…

[… so, do you have faith?]

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A few weeks had passed since the incident and now, it seems everything is back to normal…

[I'm going out, Reimu!]

Nodding as Suika flew off, I smiled and shook my head at the unwashed bowls of rice and proceeded to the back to wash them.

[No, not now… watch over the Shrine now… will you two?]

Telling the two dears, whom I had christened Ran and Chen in memory of my old friend, Yukari, I smiled as the nodded and flew off. They were gaining power every single day, they could even speak now, albeit a little incoherently and in limited syllables but it was… a miracle…

[… bless the spirits, bless the gods… thank you, for the kindness and generosity you had shown us…]

Saying a small prayer to the Great Hakurei Spirit, I continued with my mundane task like I always did. Tidying up the shrine, cleaning the grounds and making my rounds… it was, back to normal… with many differences…

[Ah, good morning!]

Greeting a visitor from the village, I bowed to them as they dropped donations into the Shrine and prayed to the gods.

[how is everything at the village today?]

People came regularly now not daily but it was enough to show their faith, either together or even more surprisingly, with youkai. The elder has kept his promise and youkai who could speak and understand language were not prejudiced in the village… I am thankful but I felt for those little fairies that were still chased away by the people…

Still, it was a start… and I feel… proud, yes although it is sinful, I feel proud that I was one of them who made it possible.

Miss Keine has even started taking youkai in her classes, Rumia is living at Miss Keine's home now and she is learning much, even learning to turn off her own power if she didn't need it.

She was unrecognizable from the average children of the village till you saw her large fangs. What need rectification was that she still could not resist the temptation of human flesh sometimes…

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[… mm? Remilia…]

As I was preparing lunch, I saw Remilia landing at the Shrine with Flandre in tow, the two of them were here to visit…

[Reimu!]

[Remi…]

Catching her as she threw herself at me, I patted Flandre's head as she too clung to me.

[Reimu!]

[Flan… did you pay attention to Miss Keine today?]

[Yes I did!]

[Good girl…]

Life goes on, the youkai and the people were living peacefully again, it almost felt… like nothing had changed but things had changed… little by little… the youkai and the humans… the border between humans and youkai… was being destroyed…

Even if Yukari had said it was impossible, even if everyone else said it can't be done… I am sure we would manage it one day…

[…]

As Remilia and her sister left, I walked towards the side of the shrine where the statue of Yukari stood. I had requested for this when the villagers pressured me to have them present a gift to me.

At first the villagers were shocked and outraged at me wanting a statue of the harbinger of death but I told them the truth, that Yukari, Yakumo Yukari was the one who loved Gensokyo the most.

That she was the one who had kept the peace, kept the border and kept the people alive with her powers…

Yes, she was mischievous… yes, she was selfish and yes… she could be somewhat crazy… but deep in her heart, no one else could say they loved Gensokyo as much as she did.

Even at the end, she did not give up, she truly wanted the best for Gensokyo…

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[Miss Shrine Maiden… she was trying to kill all of us…]

[… … she still loved Gensokyo… what she did was wrong… but how many of us had not made mistakes? She… she truly loved us… if not she would not have done what she did… she would not have tainted this land if she was not sure of her love… I am sure of it.]

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She was pushed over the edge… the border of insanity and sanity was indeed hard to find and even hard to differentiate…

But I knew, even if the others did not believe me… I knew, I believe that Yukari did all this for Gensokyo… surely… she had a reason for this…

[… Yukari…]

Punching the statue, I lamented out loud.

[… why… why didn't you say anything… why keep everything to yourself, Yukari…]

[Likewise, that's the same with you, Reimu da ze.]

I spun around to see Marisa sitting on her broom looking at me, her trademark grin and one hand resting on her hat.

[So, what's up da ze?]

[… N-Nothing…]

[Oh c'mon, we've known each other for ages ya know?]

I looked down in guilt, till now I could not tell her that I had remembered her only at the end… I felt very guilty, forgetting her till the last…

[… the potion was suppose to suppress the fondest memories till the last ya know?]

Smirking as she headed off to the Shrine, Marisa winked at me.

[You coming?]

[Y-yes… I'm sorry…]

Offering her some tea, I sat beside her as I watched the fairies fly above the shrine.

[Amazing how two little guys like them could make this place seem so different… like those guys were… friendly to begin with. AHAHA]

Chuckling, Marisa told me about her patrol in which she spotted nothing in particular.

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[Oh yea, the kids are coming later, they say they wanna play, so you better prepare more food!]

[… oh, will you help?]

[NAH… you know me… I only know how to cook mushrooms.]

[… that's true…]

[… say.]

[yes?]

[… here.]

[?]

[It's from… Yukari.]

[!]

Marisa never did told me what Yukari did to her or where she was or how did she manage to find me so easily, I'd figured she will tell me when the time is right… but how did she…

[I found it, at Mayohiga… I went over there for a look. No one was there… but I found this…]

Taking the letter, I opened it and read…

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[Dear Reimu

If you are reading this… then you've won… Congratulations, your way was right after all... rebuilding is going to be tough but I am sure you and the rest will succeed. I am sorry that I did not tell you of my plans, neither did I explain to you in detail what my plan was.

Forgive me Reimu, I do not wish for you to be tainted by me, one who has, even now when writing this letter is struggling with myself.

I have looked over this land for thousands of years, Reimu and I wish to be able to see it through even more years.

I… love Gensokyo, Reimu… but it seems you might have known all along.

I wonder, at this point of writing… how would you feel and how would you look as you read this letter. No, do not cry.. victors do not cry. It is, a case of the old paving the way for the new.

Do not regret what you did Reimu, if anything else, I would want to thank you.

Either I killed you or you would have killed me…

Nothing is set in stone… but surely, the day would have came… the day where I would destroy Gensokyo with my bare hands. Those hands, they are tearing at me, Reimu, they are tempting me, reminding of my power… I did not want this power to grow but grow it did…

As the distance between me and you grow, as the distance between the people and the youkai grow… My power grew as well… I am the border youkai, the gap youkai… the more gaps there is in this world… the stronger my powers are…

And more or less… the more separated I am from the world.

I regret this but there is nothing I can do to stop this… it is, regretfully beyond my power.

I do not have the charm, nor the will to stop this from happening… I am feared Reimu, I am held in awe by some… but… above all, I am misunderstood.

Reimu, do not weep when you read this. For if you are reading this, I know Gensokyo is in good hands… Take care of it, nurture it… be patient Reimu… time is the strongest healer… over time, you will forget me and forgive yourself…

But with it, time brings with it change… I wished I can see the future of Gensokyo in your hands Reimu, I truly wished to… but it seems, I would not be able to do so.

Thank you too, Marisa, who I know is reading over your shoulder. Despite all the pain and suffering, you too helped preserve Gensokyo as it is…

You made mistakes but who have not? Marisa, you have a pure heart and the power you weld… I believe in it, I believe in your strength, in your determination and in your claims. You will not break like me, Marisa… you are the strongest individual I have ever seen.

Never lose sight of your goal nor your dreams… you know what is right for Gensokyo and I trust you to remember it. You and Reimu, are the saviors of Gensokyo more than once… how it does not matter, why… it does not matter… you followed your heart and that is what counts, why I have faith in you, why I believed out of all the powerful people in Gensokyo itself… that if it is you two, you can bring Gensokyo to new heights.

Reimu, Marisa… Gensokyo is in your hands now and I love the two of you…

Yakumo Yukari]


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Putting the letter down, I looked at Marisa to see her wiping away her tears.

So I was right… Yukari she… was fighting with herself all along and she had finally lost… I was right… but I felt hollow now, unsure what to do… She is Yukari, the most powerful being in Gensokyo… if she could not stand the pressure… how could I?

[… stop crying, she won't want us to cry over her…]

[W-What do you know…]

I was crying too, I just did not realize it till Marisa wiped my tears for me.

[It's Yukari… if she was here… she'll be giggling somewhere while looking at us… remember?]

[…]

I looked at her, struggling not to cry and I hugged her tightly, she being the only other person that would possibly understand what it is like. She had taken my role for over 14 years… she knew… besides Yukari, what was burdened on my shoulders…

[I don't care… I am not going to care, Marisa… I would prefer if she would tease me now…]

Clutching her clothes, I cried my eyes out as the truth came to light again, just a little bit too late…

[Ma-maybe I could have stopped it… maybe I could have stopped her from going… from going…that way…]

[… shut up… there is nothing we can do. Nothing at all… so stop playing the blame game or I'll master spark you, Reimu or no.]

I looked up at her, strict and firm and I nodded my head. It is so strange, before she was the one who was the weak one, I was leading Marisa through crisis after crisis with my blind confidence… now it was I who was questioning myself and she was the epitome of confidence…

Funny how things work…

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[… She left it to us, Reimu… we gotta do it… if you won't, I will. This is what I promised you… and I'll keep it, you aren't… afraid… are you?]

Grinning, Marisa took out another package before shoving it to you.

[Here, this is from her too.]

[Reimu, this is the manual that depicts how one can maintain the barrier, take this. It will help.]

[Y-Yukari…]

[… Reimu, you're still my rival, you know that?]

[Marisa…]

Looking up, I saw Marisa sitting on her broom and grinning at me. She seemed to have something to say to me and I stood up and floated to eye level with her, just like she would want me to.

[… took the hint, eh? Ahahaha, just like you, Reimu.]

I nodded wordlessly as she sighed softly.

[… all those years, I've waited for ya, Reimu like I promised I would… I kept Gensokyo safe… even if it went messed up a little you can't blame me. I just did what I thought was right… and don't try to say I didn't… if I didn't Yukari would not have flipped out on us.]

Marisa lowered her head but she raised it just as quickly.

[But, I'm not guilty and I shouldn't be. I did what I could, I did what I felt was right… I couldn't have known what was wrong but even if I did, I wouldn't have changed a damn thing. Hell, if you hadn't come along I would have stopped her myself…]

Grinning, Marisa winked before pointing at the manual in my hands.

[Reimu, that is Yukari's legacy. It belongs to you now… you're the one Yukari choose. Don't let her down-]

[I'll do whatever it takes, Marisa.]

I cut her off and she looked for a moment, surprised.

[Good da ze… Now, for the thing that you promised me.]

She smiled and I laughed cheerfully with her. Yes, the thing that I had promised her… I would honor it… just like the promise I will make with Yukari now.

I will keep Gensokyo safe, peaceful… just like you wished… I promise.

[… Let's…]

[Danmaku da ze!~]

…..


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The Epilogue

[Miss Reimu!]

Looking out of the shrine, I smiled and at the children as they ran up the steps to the shrine with Miss Keine and Mokou running behind them and I hurried out to greet them.

[Hello dears…]

Bending down, I tried as best as I can to give all of them a hug at the same time but it was futile as there were simply too many of them… Reason being the child-like youkai were together and stuck with them.

Look at them; smiling happily like all the other children… one could not differentiate one from the other, can we?

[Reimu!]

Tugging at my arm, Cirno, Daiyousei and Flandre threatened to pull me down with their combined strengths while the other children just crowded around me.

[Hi dears… did you listen to Miss Keine today?]

[Yea!]

They chorused and I ruffled their hair to show my affection for them. They really are like children, not my children but they are adorable children nonetheless… They are as affectionate as kittens, one might say and well… I love them, all of them…

[I prepared some sweets for all of you, it's in the kitchen.]

Smiling at them I laughed when they all cheered happily and straightened my back to welcome the other two who were slowly ascending the steps.

[Suika!]

Calling for Suika, who I knew was taking forty winks, I shook my head as instead of her running up, it was the Ran and Chen who came flying from the Shrine, both of them squeaking in joy and speaking simple words which the children could understand.

[welcome!Welcome!]

[… Mm mm…]

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Patting the two of them, I laughed lightly as the children gathered around the two of them too, giggling and laughing as the two of them circled around them in joy, making happy, squeaky noises as they ran into the Shrine.

[Well, wadda ya know… those two are really… incredible… no?]

Grinning, Mokou winked at me while Miss Keine just looked on in concern.

[Those two… is it okay for them to handle the children… they are still faeries, Reimu…]

Pursing my lips, I started lecturing Miss Keine.

[Miss Keine, if they don't start being independent… must I take care of them forever? If they don't learn, slowly and to do the things they want to do, to learn the things they want to learn… I will be restricting them…]

[Oh… Reimu… you really like those two… don't you?]

Miss Keine giggled while putting a hand on my shoulder and smiling warmly. Her smile was lonely but she was happy too… the children must make life exasperating and rewarding at the same time.

[They are just like your children now, aren't they?]

[Ah… well…]

I blushed, Miss Keine was Miss Keine, she could read me like a book and I slowly nodded my head.

[I… I guess in someway… yes…]

I smiled wistfully but I paled when I heard the sounds of plates crashing and breaking.

[Chen! Ran!]

I was about to run off when I heard Suika's voice calling from the kitchen.

[I GOT IT!]

Looks like Suika was with them…

[… Thank goodness…]

[Geez Reimu, you should let them handle it themselves, like cha said?]

Grinning, Mokou stuffed her hands in her pockets as she turned and took to the air, her bluish silver hair streaming behind her.

[I-I know… but…]

[You're being too protective… man, those kids won't ever grow up… Ahaha~~]

Mokou grinned again before she waved goodbye.

[Y-You're going back?]

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..

I called her, disappointed that she was not staying for a while longer.

[I'll come back later…. Won't miss it for the world, Reimu. Besides, you're coming tomorrow right?]

[Yes… I am.]

[Well, catch ya later then.]

And Mokou disappeared in the blink of an eye, soaring towards the human village like a flash of lightning while me and Miss Keine looked on. Miss Keine, she must be lonely, with Mokou being more friendly with the people now.

[… it's lonely… … isn't it?]

[…]

Standing beside her and watching her get swallowed by the forest surrounding the village, I waited for Miss Keine to speak.

[… it sure is.]

She sighed softly, her shoulders slumping a little but the smile on her face never quite disappeared. It seems she had found another thing in her life that is just as important and I smiled understandingly at her.

[… A long…time ago… I already knew… why I am here… what I must do…]

Miss Keine looked at me and I could see my reflection in her eyes, I suddenly felt insignificant in front of her, her knowing eyes held many painful memories and experiences that I could only imagine.

[… For so long, I only have Mokou and… for the same amount of time… and Mokou… although she failed to acknowledged it, had only me…]

Sitting down at the steps, I looked down at her while she stretched herself and relaxed, all the while looking at the direction of the human village.

I could only imagine the things she had to go through… how could I, when I was never shunned by the village, had never experienced the fear of being discovered youkai… and the loneliness and helplessness she must have felt.

[… I…knew Mokou's history was mine… and mine alone… I would be the only one to record it down… the time I spent with her… will always be only a small part of Mokou's life.

But… all I wanted, was for Mokou to remember that she had me and I had her… I wanted her to know and to remember the time I spent with her and the time she spent with me… silly… isn't it?]

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..

Miss Keine laughed while I sat down beside her too. All I can do is listen… nothing else and I did just that, sitting beside her and listening to her open her heart to me.

[… Why I live, why I exist… I thought it was only for Mokou… but now… I don't know.]

Miss Keine suddenly rubbed her eyes, showing her tears and unease.

[… when you broke the barrier between youkai and humans… I was exhilarated but… I was afraid to… Mokou, she would leave me… slowly but she will leave me eventually. I… I love Mokou, Reimu, I do… just like how you love Suika. Maybe even more. I don't know… she'd gone through so much with me and… I love her Reimu, I can't bear for her to go. But… let her go… I must…]

Miss Keine rubbed away her eyes and laughed suddenly, taking me by surprise.

[… … there is someone else for her. Mokou… one that can share her immortality… someone, that I… can never compare to…]

[Miss Keine!]

[No… don't try to comfort me, Reimu. Thank you…]

Miss Keine stood up and headed towards the Shrine, her eyes twinkling as she nodded at me.

[… you have enough troubles of your own… and… besides]

Miss Keine smiled happily as she greeted the children who came running out at her call.

[I have them…]

Miss Keine did not just come for a visit, nor was it one of the days that the children came to have lessons at the shrine…

No, it was the day where the statue was going to be unveiled… I… I am going to tell them about Yukari… about what she did, what she wanted to do… and the responsibilities that was given to me…

… I, I could not forgive anyone speaking bad of Yukari…

..

..

Every time I went to the village… I would no doubt hear them, all of them whispering to themselves about how I saved Gensokyo… but… would speak ill of her…

Of Yukari, who was responsible for saving Gensokyo from disaster countless number of times…

All of them, they did not know… and they dared to label Yukari a monster… I… I just could not stand it…

Gritting my teeth, I stood by the Shrine at the statue that sat in the Shrine grounds, covered by a white loin cloth.

It was of Yukari when she showed herself to me, sitting aloft in a makeshift throne with Ran and Chen sitting beside her.

No trace of her was ever found, Yukari, Chen and Ran… all three of them disappeared… and… most likely I was the one who was responsible…

I did not remember what happened… none of it, I only remembered a blinding flash of light and a sudden surge of energy…

Nothing at all…

..

..

[... Yukari…]

Wiping the tears from my eyes, I looked at my hands in disgust… It was this pair of hands that killed her, killed Yukari… it was me…

[… Would… you scold me now, if I was here… I know Yukari… you told me to… take over you… to take over the border…]

I shook my head as I looked at the Great border just at the edges of the boundary of the shrine, it took my breath away but it too… will surely take my life away with it… it is just a matter of time.

The Border… the border that held so many lives with it… the lives of the youkai was in it's hands… and yet… the one that is tasked with protecting it… was destined to die by it's hands, either directly or indirectly… just like Yukari…

The power of the border… corrupted her and caused her death…

I was merely the one chosen to be her death…

But it did not mean it hurt less… in fact it hurt more.

I was caught in the dilemma of what-ifs…

What if I had not killed her? Would I have to watch her succumb to her fate in the end as well…

And even if I did… what would happen to me? Would the same fate befall me… and who will end up doing what I did to Yukari?

It is an endless cycle… and I had inherited it…

..

..

[… …]

Yukari… she might be the same… behind that mischievous smile and those insane actions… she might be the same as me, a long long time ago…

[… … Yukari…]

… but now is not the time to mope… now… I have to rectify the wrong… to tell them the truth, to… do what I can do, to serve the people, to serve the spirits… to serve the Hakurei Spirit.

[… Yukari… I will clear your name… …]

Bowing to the statue, I turned and I my blood froze when I saw the impossible.

[!]

Sitting on the Shrine steps and brandishing a parasol… w-was it?

[Yukari!]

I ran forward, hoping to catch her as she stood up, her golden hair waving in the wind as out of nowhere a kitten and a fox ran towards her, yipping excitedly.

It couldn't be… could it?

I wondered to myself as I hastened my pace, it had to be here, no one in Gensokyo fit that description besides her.

[Yukari!]

I screamed again but she did not seem to hear me… w-was she deaf? And why does she seem smaller than usual… was my eyes deceiving me? And why, why can't I catch up with her… she was merely walking, talking with her two companions as she rounded a corner to the other side of the Shrine.

I ever felt as flustered as right now, I had to know… Yukari… please, please let it be true that she was still alive.

I still have many things to say to her, to apologize to her and to thank her for all she'd done for me…

Please, please let it be true! I'll give anything for it to be true!

Skidding to a stop, I caught a glimpse of Yukari as she headed towards the back of the Shrine.

[Yukari, Stop!]

Chasing after her, I hugged her from behind and was surprised at how small she is.

[Yukari!]

[Miss Reimu?]

..

..

Her voice… it had changed?

I turned her around and what greeted me was not Yukari, it was little Yuka.

[E-Eh… Y-Yuka…]

[? Is there something wrong, Miss Reimu? I heard you calling my name… but I am not Yukari…]

She tilted her head but she giggled too.

[If Miss Reimu wants to call me Yukari I can be Yukari too!]

[I… b-but where did you get the parasol, Yuka?]

W-Was I seeing things… but… but she…

[Oh! Miss Keine gave it to me, she said I looked cute in it!]

Letting her go, I watched as little Yuka ran by herself, chasing after the kitten and the fox who was waiting for her at the Shrine grounds.

For a moment there I thought it was Yukari… wasn-wasn't she?

I felt my legs weaken, was my imagination getting the better of me… I decided to run through the sequence of events in my mind again. Could I have mistaken Yuka for Yukari?

They did look similar… with their golden hair and everything… but… but they were different… weren't they?

I looked up again and saw her playing with the fox and the kitten. I sensed no youkai powers from either one of them and I was perplexed even more… could she… but how, how could she… little Yuka had spent years with me at the Shrine at the other side and she had a family…

[… … Maybe… I am seeing things…]

[Yuka, when you're done come over to the Shrine okay? I… I need to get something…]

Absentmindedly I stood up and after looking at her longingly, wishing she was indeed Yukari, I turned and walked away.

Yukari is dead… g-get a grip… she won't come back…

But, that doesn't mean I can't hope…

[…]

..

..

Sitting by herself, little Yuka just smiled as she played with the kitten and the fox, sheltered by the parasol and looking at Reimu walking away.

Above her, another figure looked down at the two of them, smiling and appreciating the scenery around the Shrine.

[… the Hakurei Maiden… many challenges await you… but, the strongest challenge of all… comes from your heart.]

[Now then… As I said to you, Moriya… the Hakurei Shrine Maiden, she never falls… but what about yours? Is it time for her to awaken? For her to embrace her faith? … the time is drawing near, Moriya… be wary… of who you are betting on…]


Author's Notes: That's the End, or is it. I really don't know. There's a Prologue for SoG and I might publish it, Might... but the most important thing is the continuation of the story~ Thank you for being with me for so long and perhaps, just maybe, we'll see each other again here.