Chapter 5: Dazzling Blossoming Light


Everything was lost under the everlasting snow. But the sun shone brightly for the one who didn't care about it.


In a western style house in the middle of a thick forest…

-Now, I shall explain the rules. Listen 'cause I will not repeat.

*nod*

The house belonged to a magician called Marisa Kirisame, who was also the owner of the Kirisame Magic Shop located in that very same building, and a small "youkai hunting business" If she actually did any of the two above, shop attending or youkai hunting, it was unknown to most residents of Gensokyo.

But now, the golden eyed girl was not doing any of her supposed "jobs". Instead, she was sitting in a room of her house explaining the rules of a special kind of duel only known in Gensokyo, the danmaku battle.

Her student was listening to her half-heartedly. Not a surprise, considering he had to endure three hours riding that accursed broom of hers. Wearing a tattered set of dark red blazer and pants, the uniform of his school, Seiji Hikami was sitting on a chair in front of her, both of his shoes on his feet. Unexplainably a pair of shoes which he recognized as his, were already inside the magician's house along with a lot of…eh… lets say that researchers of ancient history might weep if they saw this. He found his left shoe lying next to a heavily ornamented cup which had carved "Holy Grail" on it. A lot of legendary objects in human history like the celebrated weapons Excalibur, Tizona, Hrunting, the Sword of Death, Thuan Thien and the Kusanagi no Tsurugi were lying in the floor, some of them even being used to level the furniture. The thirteen treasures of the island of Britain, the Yata no Kagami among other holy relics of different cultures were scattered like trash on the floor of the house.

Sadly, for the high school student who had no clue of their true value, they were also little more than garbage.

-Now about the danmaku battle…

Since miss Kirisame is not used to long and tedious explanations, (in her words she is more of a "practical" person) allow me to translate what she is trying to say.

-…How do I start? Damn, its Reimu who…

It's mostly a game. It isn't wrong to think of it as a contest. And as such, it needs rules. The spellcard system was created in order to let youkai show off their power. Most of the youkai, ghosts, fairies, spirits, oni among other entities who dwell there have abilities which can actually destroy the land or wipe out it's inhabitants in the blink of an eye. That is something that couldn't be allowed, so in order to avoid the destruction of Gensokyo, or the decay of the power of it's mightiest inhabitants, the spellcard system was created.

-For starters… Argh, how am I supposed to explain this? First, you know what danmaku is, right?

Danmaku is, for the lack of better terms, a barrage of bullets. But of course everyone here knows that. Bullets which can be energy balls, youkai repelling charms, knives, laser beams, even shards of ice, being shot everywhere leaving little to no space to hide or run away, the true thrill of it being the excitement of surviving the barrage by dodging them. Our student here can't cast any bullets without the spellcard in his pocket, so he is already in a huge disadvantage. He can't just make appear balls of energy or laser beams just by wishing it. He has to do it the hard way. Every human has to. Though there are loopholes in this theory.

-Since it was too troublesome for both Reimu and the youkai here, they created the spellcard system… A spellcard is… er… well…

A spellcard is a catalyst of the power of the entity who is willing to take part in the duel. Each spellcard is the manifestation of a definite pattern of danmaku, usually a reflection of the abilities of the one who declares it. If one party succeeds in defeating all the spellcards of his/her adversary, he/she automatically wins, regardless of the strength remaining in the opponent. And of course it's forbidden to actually kill the opponent. Reimu Hakurei, the shrine maiden who guards the Hakurei Border was the one who created this system.

-Just the first one to hit wins! It's about beauty and of course showing off what you have. I don't expect you to understand.

That concludes the explanation. As I said before, miss Kirisame is not good with them. And the young man who listened to her half-assed explanation probably did not understand anything.

-So, having said that…- she said as she began to search for something in the mess.

-Excuse me.

-Yes?

-I was wondering if you knew where Kirisame-san is.

(In front of you, you retard.)

The magician stood up and proudly introduced herself. -My name is Marisa Kirisame. I'm the one you're looking for!

Seiji was a bit slow, so it took a while for him to digest the information. He expected Kirisame-san to be this girl's father, a master, or a neighbor or something like that… So it was this girl… Then, the pain in his… because of the damn broom. Seiji was not someone who took practical jokes lightly. His pride was hurt, not to mention his… Well, you understand.

So it's just natural that he exploded.

-COULDN'T YOU HAVE JUST TOLD ME THAT BEFORE?!!

-Eh…?

Certainly the magician wasn't expecting this kept silent while Seiji kept raging.

-…THREE DAMN HOURS IN THAT WEIRD BROOM!! I ALMOST FELL MORE THAN ONCE! IF YOU WERE KIRISAME-SAN THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME BEFORE!

-Now, now, please calm down…

-…AND YOUR DAMN HOUSE IS A MESS. YOU SHOULD BE SWEEPING THE FLOOR WITH THAT BROOM, NOT RIDING ON IT! I ALMOST KILL MYSELF WITH THAT WEIRD METAL ROD IN FRONT OF THE DOOR…

By the way, that weird metal rod was in fact the Spear of Longinus.

-…COULD YOU PLEASE THEN TELL ME WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU? I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING HERE. DAMN I'M NOT HERE FOR VACATIONS!

After the sudden outburst he suddenly stopped. His stomach growled at the same time.

-Shall… shall we have dinner then?-said the magician, clearly uncomfortable.

He nodded, lowering his head.

That didn't solve the fact that her house was still a mess, but it helped him to calm a bit. They had miso soup, pork cutlets with tempura and yakitori.

-Yakitori… wait… He remembered what Mokou said before… A yakitori stand…

Well, no matter either ways.

-Are you satisfied now? Seiji nodded. He felt calmer also.

-Good.

She smiled happily as she was taking off her hat. Humming, she took a small object out of her hat and pointed it towards Seiji.

-Well, as I was saying before, are you…?

He felt a horrible quantity of power gathering in the small object. He tried to escape, but sadly he reacted too late.

-MASTER SPARK!!


GAME OVER

NAME: S E I J I _ H _ _ _ _ SCORE 48294

Now try it in an easier difficulty.

.

.

.

As if.


-Dammit!

In the Forest of Magic, two silhouettes could be seen between the trees. The familiar scenario was being unfolded again. Truly a pity for the unlucky drifter, Seiji Hikami, who was doing his very best to not be fried with the witch's light beam aimed at his direction.

Running with all his might, he cursed his lack of common sense again. Why did he have to trust that girl? She was clearly beyond common lunacy. He should have understood that already, besides she wasn't hiding it or anything like that. Her being insane would be okay by itself, but…

-Why does she has such dangerous attacks?!

-Don't run away!!!

When she heard the news of the newcomer from the tengu, she forgot everything about the incident of the Hakurei Border. She wanted to test her abilities with the boy who was able to defeat the nine tailed fox (Though the tengu's information isn't known for being always true) The lights on the sky of yesterday worried her a little, but in the worst case scenario, Reimu would solve it as always.

Besides, she had created (Reads: stole) a new spellcard, and wanted to try it on someone. But if the boy doesn't counter her fire, it would be boring. Not to mention that she might actually kill him (accidentally of course).

So, she warned him.

-Don't you have a spellcard or something? Quickly, counterattack with something or you might end up seriously hurt.

This witch was annoying, but she had a point. He had already proven that he could defend himself. He only had to create those white stakes again, and he might be able to win… At least he'd manage to escape.

-No! I have to stop being a coward!

(Though running for your life isn't exactly cowardly)

-I can do it! Here I come!

Good. Here I come! This'd better be good!

Marisa Kirisame approved him. Seiji lifted his hand, holding the very same card from last time, and then he declared, with no doubts in his heart. I should be able to do it. I must do it! I'm not going to lose like this…

Not like this.

He still had to do something here.

She might know! No! She has to know!

He was getting a little carried away… The image of the one he came looking for burned in his eyes as he shouted for the second time in his life.

-WEST SIGN!- TREASURE OF A FORGOTTEN KINGDOM!

As there was no jewel to shine this time, the white stakes appeared without any introduction, yet again out of nowhere. Sprouting from the earth and being formed in the space around him, in a greater number than last time they appeared, all of them pointing towards the magician, who was flying above him. Whatever repulsion he might have had towards beating girls was instantly pushed out of his mind, and replaced with a savage urge to show to this girl he wasn't playing around. Not worrying about the outcome, he pointed with his finger towards the blonde girl and shouted.

-GET HER!

And just as last time, the stakes followed his order and began to head towards her. Some of them bigger, some of them smaller, coming from every direction, all of them seizing their objective.

-I was expecting this! Not bad! Now allow me to introduce you my new spellcard!

However the white stakes didn't let her prepare. The ones which she was able to dodge exploded behind her and the fragments of the dodged stakes resumed their chase. Though you'd hardly call this "elegant" it was certainly effective.

For an outsider, this pattern was very well made. For an instant, Seiji thought this was over, however the magician was displaying a smile on her confident face.

-CURSE- HANGED MAGICAL DOLLS- she shouted.

The same as Seiji's stakes, small clay beings of the size of a little girl's doll, all of them resembling the magician herself began to appear out of nowhere.

-Dolls?

-That's right. This is the new spellcard I came up with after a long and hard training!- she shamelessly lied- Prepare yourself!

All the dolls began to shine as they raised their little hands in unison. Several rainbow colored balls of light began to appear above the little dolls heads. He prepared himself for the worst.

Then, a sudden shout broke the silence.

-MARISAAAA!!!!

Another weirdo showed up.

Another blonde girl. But unlike the witch, this girl seemed fragile and defenseless. Vivid green eyes shining with an emotion difficult to explain, the girl had appeared out of thin air, the same as his stakes and the magician's clay dolls. Her light blue dress adorned with frilly pink ribbons and the red ribbon in her short blond hair made her look like a character in a children's fairytale book Several rainbow colored threads were linking her with seven dolls, all of them were looking towards their clay counterparts in the sky commanded by the magician.

-Alice? What are you doing here?

Alice? Why her name doesn't surprise me?

-You thief! That's my spellcard!

-I don't know what you're talking about!- said the magician with feigned innocence.- Anyways. Alice, you're interrupting me! Go away, unless you want to be humiliated by my new spellcard.

However the girl didn't budge.

-You asked for it! Mini-Marisas, attack!

The clay dolls pointed their hands towards the two who were in the ground and released a danmaku barrage towards them. Rainbow colored bullets attacked them mercilessly, greatly overpowering Seiji's stakes.

-Dammit! Back!

The stakes left returned to his side and shielded him from the bullets. Otherwise he couldn't have survived that insane barrage, which was by far worse than the ones the nine tailed fox used against him. He wanted to protect the girl who had stepped between their fight, but…

He opened his eyes astonished.

With her eyes closed, the girl effortlessly dodged the bullets. Skillfully controlling her dolls, she wasn't doing any rash movement and the bullets were not even close to hitting her. Her dolls were also dodging the bullets, taking specific locations as they waited to the magician's danmaku to end.

Marisa was also surprised, then she smiled uncomfortably.

-Guess I pushed the wrong switch?

-Correct. You can't expect to hit me with a pattern I devised.

Then without warning, the girl pulled a spellcard out of her clothes.

-CURSE- HANGED HOURAI DOLLS

The seven dolls fired the same barrage of bullets that the clay dolls were shooting a while ago. Even so Seiji could feel a tremendous difference between both. Graceful, dangerous and breathtakingly beautiful, he saw the bullets enclosing the magician and attacking her, cornering her.

Up in the sky Marisa Kirisame had troubles dodging the bullets which should have been her own. Alice was pissed off. She remembered the time when she showed Patchouli her own version of the Non-directional laser. Both of their reactions were so similar that it was scary in a way.

POW.

-Not good.

One of the bullets hit Marisa's broom. She then fell down all the way down from an altitude of 6 meters. Luckily for her, she landed in some bushes which softened the fall.

-Ouch… Alice… Why did you have to appear like this?!

-That's my line! Why do you always, always do the same things all the time?!

-What I do has nothing to do with you, Alice.

-That was MY spellcard, isn't it?

-Not anymore. Anyways it looks better while I do it, don't you agree?

-Youuu…

As the two magicians were arguing. Seiji found out his chance. In a "normal" situation, he would escape for dear life from the magician. But, this was a duel, and if he fled, she would surely chase him to finish it.

So I have no choice he assured himself.

And by the way, since when my concept of "normal" has twisted that much?

His stakes were beginning to disappear. He had to act quickly.

-How troublesome.- he sighed, as he picked a reasonably sized white stake from the ground.

-… And why are you always like this?- Alice kept raging.-Just for one time in your entire life, be reasonable!

-I am reasonable- Marisa snapped- Come on, it's only a spellcard, It's not like it was something precious or something like that.

Alice blushed.

-O…of course not! But that doesn't change the fact that you stole it.

-And what are you going to do about it?!- she taunted.

Both magicians were so immersed in their argument that neither of them noticed the human who was sneaking behind. Walking in the most silent way he could, synchronizing his breathing with both of them, his steps were lighter than an ant's. Gripping forcefully the stake, as if it were a bamboo sword, he prepared to hit her.

-Eh?

Oh no!

Alice saw him. Pretty obvious since they were arguing face to face and he was sneaking only behind Marisa.

Please, keep quiet- he implored mentally.

She smiled!

Seems she doesn't mind. Or maybe she is expecting him to execute her revenge. Either ways Alice kept talking in order to distract the magician.

Now you're going to pay for this!

A silent scream of victory. Seiji slashed the air with the stake in it's trajectory to the magician's head.

Maybe it was because Alice never thought that he was going to hit her with all his strength, but she changed her mind and her scream warned Marisa. But she did it too late. With a thunderous crash, he hit her head with all his might leaving her unconscious with a thread of red blood dripping from her forehead…

…Not.

She is a girl after all.

He stopped halfway and lowered the white stake which was starting to disappear. Marisa reacted because of Alice's warning, but Seiji used the stake to make her trip and fall. Then, before she could counter, he hit her gently in the shoulder.

-One hit is all I needed to win, right?

-…Tch…Aargh…Okay. I lost.

She seemed rebellious but accepted defeat.

-If only Alice hadn't come…

Or not. What a sore loser.

-Did you say anything?

-Don't mind me.

Marisa sit on the grass in a very unladylike fashion and then asked.

-Okay, you won. Now, what did you want to ask me?

-Yeah, about that…

He managed his first objective.

-Marisa-san, you're a human, right?

-I don't know what you're trying to say, but for the sake of the conversation, yes I am.

-So there are others besides the ones living in the village.

She nodded and then she spoke.

-There's me..., Reimu who lives in the Hakurei Shrine...- she said as she counted with her fingers- and the maid of the mansion in the lake…

-Reimu and the maid… Where do they live?

-And what do you want to do once you find them?- she inquired smiling.

-I want to check something…- he said without elaborating his answer further.

-Not my business, eh? Well, I won't insist.- she said with a face of "This is interesting"

Incidentally, that expression on Marisa's face is really dangerous, but then again there is no way he would know. Seiji felt a murderous aura coming from the blonde girl next to Marisa. His survival instincts told him to ignore that.

He waved Marisa and Alice goodbye and began walking towards the horizon. He would have looked cooler if it weren't for the fact that...

-Hey, wait!

-What?

-That's not the way.

-Eh?

Ah, that's right. I don't know where am I.

He looked sadly at the pitifully tattered and torn book which had been new not long ago. Now it was unreadable. His only guide had been reduced to this.

-Aha, I'm sorry.-said Marisa uncomfortably- I'll give you mine in return.

-Tha…, or I would say that if you weren't the one who destroyed it in the first place.

-Did you say something?

-Never mind.


***


Girls are dreaming.

A long lost story in a fantastic white paradise.

What is hidden behind her enigmatic smile?


Yukari Yakumo was climbing the long stairs which lead to Hakugyokurou. Since it was already spring, she was carrying her usual parasol. The seemingly never ending fog Reimu Hakurei complained about a year ago was nowhere to be seen. In spring, the path to the palace of the netherworld was full of cherry blossoms which is a very beautiful sight, pleasing to the senses.

However no mortal comes here. Not alive at least. And Yukari wasn't here for sightseeing. She had another objective in mind.

-I don't have much time left.

The barrier incident was grave. A lot more than she assured Reimu. This was something the shrine maiden wouldn't be able to solve by herself. Only the border youkai, one of the most powerful in Gensokyo (her), could do something about it. Her visit to Yuyuko's house wasn't exactly that either.

But an aura of excitement and anxiety could be felt in the air. Yukari had always wanted to do what she was about to, but she lacked a solid reason, and, therefore the half ghost gardener had begged her to refrain from doing so. Not once, but several times.

Since Yuyuko was fond of that.

That cursed tree.

-In order to gain some time to repair the border, I have to destroy any interferences with the flow of souls.

And the interference was something she loathed from the bottom of her heart, and she wasn't the least bit hesitant to crush it. She could already sense the pestilent smell of death in the air. And the dark clouds in the sky of the netherworld signaled the thing she must and wanted to destroy.

She smirked- Here I come…

The biggest and most sinister tree located in Yuyuko's garden and the origin of many regretful memories.

-…Saigyou Ayakashi!!


Gooot youuu!!

-Eh?

The scenario changed. The long and endless stairs melted in a sea of grey and green, the sky changed it's beautiful crimson of the spring's afternoon to a depressing wintery grey. Finally the soil stabilized and the environments changed into a plateau with a mansion in the middle of a seemingly dead forest. The trees, vegetation and her own clothes were covered with snow.

Snow in spring?

-We've warned you not to come here anymore, Yakumo!!

She suddenly found herself surrounded by three priests with familiar robes… Attires she hadn't seen since...

-Your days on this land are numbered, you filthy youkai!!

-In the name of our god and our clan, I, Hidehiko Saigyouji will exorcise you!

-We'll not let your villainous demeanor hurt our noble clan anymore. I, Koyoi Saigyouji will put and end to your miserable existence!

-Is that all you have to say?- Yukari's words escaped from her mouth.

In the blink of an eye, a violet slash shone in the lonely plateau and the two priests and the priestess laid dead before her.

This… Something similar happened...before.

THIS IS!!!

She tried to open a gap to the mansion. But an invisible force prevented her from doing that. Not a border… Something more unreal was stopping her from going. Instead she found herself surrounded with more priests and now with ninjas and samurai aiding them.

-Don't bother trying to escape. Your boundary gaps had been sealed by us the priests and we won't let you go away from us!

-We'll never forgive your atrocious deeds, Yukari Yakumo!!

-Die! You won't reach our only way to seal the Saigyou Ayakashi!

-You monster! Kill her!!

I KNEW IT!

-I can't waste my time with you, vermin!!

Yukari now knew where she was, and who those people were. And since she had already done it before, she felt no remorse in killing them again. As she opened and closed gaps she cut some of the priests in two, she stopped barehanded the samurais' swords and the ninjas' shuriken were lost in black holes only to reappear behind them. Yukari wasn't holding herself back. She had to finish them quickly and reach the girl who needed her the most now.

But even more priests, now accompanied with archers and horsemen were blocking her way.

-DON'T SCREW WITH ME!!

Her eyes lost completely their calm and playful nature. With a half mad smile she summoned a gigantic golden cross spinning with a hellish speed which obliterated them in the blink of an eye, leaving nothing more than bloody and torn down corpses in the withered grass. She prepared to go, but a greater number of priests, now aided with a whole army were in front of her, preparing themselves to fight.

That's right. The Saigyouji Clan had a lot of influence on the feudal lord of that epoch. Yukari thought Japan in that time had idiotic governors.

She raised her hand and a white gap opened. The whole army began their attack.

-You're the last ones, right?- Yukari asked with a cold look as she used her parasol to shoot balls of blue fire scorching soldiers and priests alike. Then she opened a black gap and entered in it, only to appear behind the army.

Images flashed in her mind. A lonely teenager being protected by her only guardian, an old swordsman, who tried to resist his best against the sneering priests who had hired assassins to kill him and take her to the tree.


-Yuyuko-sama... Why?- The old man said and his body finally fell due to the sleeping medicine the girl secretly put in his tea.

-Youki, stay there…And thanks.

And then she addressed to the members of her clan, her supposed family.

-You only want me, right? Leave my bodyguard alone. I'll go with you.

She could hear the sneering voices of his supposed family.

-What a conceited monster. Saying we want her.

-Why are you protecting the old fart? He'll be dead soon, anyways.

And one of the priestesses said in a mocking voice to the brave girl.

-Don't misunderstand, the only reason you're still alive is because you're necessary to seal that damn tree. You cocky brat!- and slapped her in the face.

Then the priestess fell in the cold ground. Her heart had stopped.

The other priests were shocked by this, but soon recovered and tied the girl with a sacred rope.

-We forgot your powers, damn monster. How you dare to kill our sister!

And they forced her to walk to where the ceremony would take place.


The sudden outburst of images stopped. There was hardly any time left. Time she couldn't waste with the likes of those humans.

-REGRET YOUR SINS IN HELL! SAIGYOUJI CLAN!!

And opened another black gap which moved towards the white one. The white did the same thing, attracted by the black one.

Both gaps clashed in the middle of the army which resulted in a white vortex whose sound made the cries of pain and curses of the army trapped in the middle almost inaudible in the cloud of dust formed by the explosion. When the dust finally cleared Yukari saw, without a hint of pity, the result of her attack. She then turned away and disappeared in a black boundary gap. A huge crater stained of red was what was left of the foolish humans who tried to stop her.

-Yuyuko… I won't let you sacrifice yourself again.

She had already gotten to the place where the ceremony of sealing would take place. If it was the same as the last time, she had already eliminated the last obstacle…

No, there was one more.

-Yukari-sama!

Ran…

The nine tailed fox blocked her way, her arms outstretched.

-I can't let you go further than this. You've told me before. If the Saigyou Ayakashi keeps cursing the land, every living thing will die.

The ceremony had already began.

-Daughter of Fujimi. Your death will not be forgotten by our clan. We give you our deepest thanks for your noble sacrifice.

The speech already began. Yukari knew those were empty words nobody there believed in.

-Ran! I'll say it only once! Stand aside!

But her loyal shikigami refused to obey her.

-I can't let you pass, Yukari-sama. Please let's go back- The fear betrayed her legs which began to shake slightly- Do you know?...I…I've acquired a shikigami for myself….and I want you to…to meet her.

Ran was doing her best to stop Yukari. Indeed, that time it had been her who instructed Ran to not let anyone disturb the ceremony. That was before she met Yuyuko.

-Ran…- she said with a calm smile.

-Let's go back, Yukari-sama- Ran said half relieved.

-I'm sorry.

And the shikigami was sucked in a boundary gap.

-There is still some time left. I can save her. There shouldn't be more interferences.

- I can't let you pass!

-What?!

This shouldn't be happening. There shouldn't be any more Saigyouji priests left…

The man blocking her path had black and messy hair and a solemn expression on his face. His attire was different from the one the Saigyouji clan used. His reddish brown eyes stared fixatedly into Yukari's dark golden ones. He was holding a seemingly old metal shield in front of her.

That won't protect him from me...

That person shouldn't be here. Well, it matters not. I'll pierce his shield and his bones with a single attack.

She slashed the air with her parasol which formed a black fissure in the air, heading towards the strange young man who didn't budge at the sight of it.

A sound of crashing. This is over…

However the shield was intact. Not only that, her attack was repelled with a border which was similar to the ones she used!

-This can't happening.

She realized it too late.

She was trapped inside a cage made of boundaries. Totally unable to interfere with her friend's sacrifice.

She could only watch…

…The same as last time…

-And now, with your death, please bring peace to this land again.


And the high priest ended Yuyuko's life with a stab to the heart. As if glowing, the tree began to glow with a violet light. The flowers in the tree began to fall and the Saigyou Ayakashi surrendered to the sealing. The blood dripping out of the sacrifice's heart wound formed the shape of a blood winged butterfly.

The cherry blossoms are beautiful.

It's in spring when my heart can be set at ease.

The endless sky is beautiful.

It's in summer when l'm grateful for the life that was given to me .

The falling leaves are beautiful.

It's in autumn when I can sip tea and relax without thinking.

The white snow in my hands is beautiful.

So tell me.

Why it's in winter...?

...Why does the pure snow make me realize my own...?

...tainted self...?


-No…

-I apologize for that…- said the stranger with a half regretful smile - My subordinate seemed to think it was the best way to stop you and…

Then he shouted.

- HEY YAMATO! YOU WENT TOO FAR!!

-And why should I care about her?!- said an sneering voice behind Yukari- Master of boundaries my ass… She couldn't even realize about the fake reality I put her in?-Then the boy behind Yukari added with a maniacal smile – Of course she couldn't! My illusions are more credible than reality itself! By the way, miss Youkai, how many years do you have? 800? 900?!

-Yamato! I told you to apologize!

-Why? If someone has to apologize Kouji, that's you. You were the one who interfered in miss Youkai's heroic rescue. I was planning to let her rescue her friend, you know?

The black haired boy seemed uneasy.

-Is that all you have to say?- Yukari muttered.

-What are you sayin'?- the voice from behind sneered.

The boundaries trapping her began to shatter.

-Damn! Yamato, step back! My powers are incomplete and hers are still the real deal!

The boundaries shattered and the enraged youkai aimed her bullets to the stranger's neck. First she would kill the one with the shield and then she would dispose of the one who was mocking her.

-You dare…?!

Then she fired a barrage of blue knives. Then she summoned her gaps which swallowed her first attack and changed it into energy balls which homed for the black haired boy's heart.

-Triple Boundary – Sealing of Spirits!

The bullets collided with a dark blue barrier and exploded in front of it.

-You are the strongest youkai of the visible spectrum. My "dark blue" might not be a match for your "violet" but at least I'll be able to defend myself from you.

-You're being too nice, Kouji! That's not like you at all!- the voice complained.

Spell…card?

Yukari was shocked. The spellcard system was created many centuries later… And that barrier was identical to the one she uses. A little weaker but the concept was the same…

-Hey, Kouji! You have confused miss Youkai. Now how am I going to ask her about her age?!

-You are not supposed to- the black haired boy answered hastily.- Remember our priority.

-But I don't care about that!!!- the voice complained, then it addressed to Yukari.

-Hey, hey… Miss Boundary Youkai- the voice behind her hissed- If you're confused about the spellcard thing, then I will kindly explain it for you. You see- The owner of that voice seemed to be trying to contain his laughter- You haven't gone back in time or something like that. As I said before, this is nothing more than a fake reality we placed to trap you. So don't be so sad- he jeered.

-Yamato! Cut it out! NOW!

-Sorry, sorry… But isn't it cruel? Not letting her know? AHAHAHAHAHA!

-Erase boundaries of existence…-Yukari muttered.

-What are you talkin' about?

She looked back to see who was the owner of such an annoying voice. Another young man was standing behind her. His high quality western clothes were covered with a dark green armor glowing eerily which somehow wasn't a burden in his movements, as he easily dodged an invisible attack Yukari made.

-Tch… Here comes the part when you say something like "I'm going to kill you" or "I won't forgive you" You'd better not overdo it. You might regret if you go too far- he said as he casually pulled out a dagger and threw it towards her.

The dagger pierced her right lung. Being a powerful youkai, such a simple attack shouldn't even reach her. Yukari wasn't accustomed to pain. Spitting blood she endured it and managed to grab the boy's right arm.

-Boundary of existence! Obliterate the flesh!

Yamato screamed in pain. From the section of the arm she was holding, blood began to pour as the skin covering that part of his arm vanished, leaving his muscles and nerves visible. With a swift movement. Yukari cut a vein pulsing in the boy's agonizing tissue. The armor that covered that part had been torn apart like paper. With a thud, the mocking voice was silenced as Yamato laid unconscious from the pain in the ground.

The true power of Yukari. The manipulation of boundaries. She could easily deny an existence by erasing it's boundaries. Destruction and creation were simple tasks for her, and in her actual state, she was using that dreadful power in the same way she had used it in the invasion to the moon. Without any restrictions.

-Oho…

-Now's your turn- she said enraged, pointing her parasol to him.

-Seriously, you should calm down and examine your actual situation.- the other boy said uncomfortably.- Or else it will be too late…

She wasn't listening anymore. She aimed her parasol to his neck.

-This is a fake reality, remember…?- he sighed.

His voice suddenly changed into a female one.

-…Yukari.

The fake reality broke.


And in front of the boundary youkai was the ghost princess she had failed to save a long time ago, her clothes torn as if she had also been fighting an army alone. Behind her, in the place where the other one should have been, was Youmu Kompaku, the half ghost gardener lying in a pool of blood breathing with difficulty. Yukari looked at her chest. Instead of the dagger, Youmu's sword was piercing her.

-Yuyu…ko?- she asked tremulous.

-That's right… You've finally recognized me Yukari… I'm…happy.

And she fainted.

Yukari now was shocked beyond words. She had fell in the enemy's trap. She had hurt her friend and almost half killed an innocent girl.

-Even though I've told you…

She turned her head and saw the same black haired young man from the illusion. He was looking at her with pity, while making signs with his hands.

-Even though you did... Did you think I would listen?- she replied calmly.

-I hoped you would.

An spellcard appeared in front of him.

-Bonds- Origin of all Restrictions-he muttered.

Like snowflakes, white and shining spheres began to fell gently from the sky, gracefully fluttering with the wind.


-So you hibernate? Like a bear?

-How rude! I'd rather say that I'm a heavy sleeper.

-But you're a youkai.

-Indeed I am.

-Don't you have anything better to do than sleep during winter?

-Well I do, but that's why I leave Ran in charge while I'm asleep.

-You don't seem like a youkai to me.

-You don't seem like a respected shrine maiden to me either.

-Well, then I'm leaving. Don't forget to fix the border…

-I'm still sleepy you know?

-Can I ask you something?

-Go ahead.

-Why do you hibernate?

-Because I don't like snow... And winter has a lot of it.


-Snow in spring? You're too cruel…-said Yukari while contemplating the beautiful spectacle with a sad smile. She was too exhausted both physically and mentally to defend herself now. She pulled the sword out of her chest and hugged Yuyuko tightly.

-Sorry…

Then the white bullets began connecting themselves with beams of light, forming a pure white jail of light trapping the two girls inside.

-SEAL!!

The jail disappeared and so did both girls inside it.

-I'm sorry.


***


Seiji Hikami was running for his life again.

-FAIIIIIRIEEES!!!!

He had been running for almost half an hour. Since he left the Forest of Magic he became the prey of the mischievous fairies of Gensokyo whom, amused by his constant screaming and running began to chase him happily shooting bullets at him.

Tired of running all day he had tried to use his only spellcard, but it wasn't functioning anymore. He didn't have the time to wonder why.

So the only available option now was…

-RUUUNN!!

But his stamina was beginning to fail him again. Or it might be the result of metabolism… Either ways he wouldn't be running for long…

-Just a little longer… just a little longer.- he panted.

He was already reaching the Misty Lake, his second destination.

-Stop right there!

He and all the fairies stopped. The fairies suddenly retreated giggling.

-Not again…- he moaned.