Cloud: The base is having an exercise, so I'm stuck on twelve hour shifts and randomly putting on my gas mask. I won't be getting much writing done, but I am determined to finish this story, so onwards!

Chapter 5:A Succubus' Love

With Magan and Yuugen's help, Reimu had found herself outside of the eternal village. She would have taken a deep breath in relief, except for the fact that the air was now stale and bitter. They were clearly at the entrance of the village, the gate rose tall above them, wide open. A single individual guarded the gate from passerby, shooing away ghosts who ventured too close as if they were mere insects. This gate guard was clearly not human, several times their size, he looked to be some sort of oni, an ogre type, green in color, a massive jaw, and horns sticking out of his forehead to further drive the point home. Beyond the gate Reimu could see only complete darkness.

She knew what this was.

Where souls never ventured lest they be lost forever.

But... what did Sariel gain by going out into purgatory?

Reimu and her party approached the gate, ready to speak to the oni in question. He held up his hand abruptly, "You don't wanna do that!" he scolded.

Reimu frowned, "Listen here ogre, I don't know who you are, but you're speaking to the Hakurei shrine maiden."

"I don't care what shrine you hail from, if you go in there you'll be lost for an eternity."

"And?" Growled Reimu, crossing her arms impatiently.

"And uh... you could never come back."

"...And?"

"And you would never be reincarnated?"

"AND?"

"Listen lady, it's my job to keep you restless souls from wandering through this here gate, right now you are preventing me from doing my job."

Reimu stepped towards the oni, glared up at him, and with one last disapproving frown...

Kicked him right in the shin.

The oni bit his lower lip and keeled down to the ground, "Argh!! You little brat!!"

Reimu smirked, "Serves you right trying to down talk me, now you're gonna let us through this gate or I'm going to obliterate you right here!!"

She could hear Yuugen lightly giggling behind her. "It's your ass!" Shouted the ogre, flailing his arm as if her were casting them aside.

"There," said Reimu happily, "Was that really so hard Mr. Ogre?"

"Grr..."

Proceeding through the gate itself was easier said than done. Now that she had bartered for the oni's permission to proceed Reimu was not absolutely sure of herself. When she looked past the gate, all she could see was pure and utter darkness. Suffice it to say she had never seen anything of the sort before. Even during the new moon with no candles she could vaguely make out what was directly in front of her, but this...

This was different.

Much different.

So, she did what any good shrine maiden would do...

She took a deep breath and jumped right in.

------

Darkness...

Reimu took this darkness in as if it were her own. It was not unpleasant, in fact, it was a rather peaceful feeling. It felt as if she were floating outside of herself, as if she were in a dream. There was nothing around her, but then again, maybe that wasn't so bad. She knew she had come here for something, but at the moment she could care less what that something was, and she could very well worry about it later.

Suddenly, as if it were never there in the first place, the darkness retreated in on itself...

And before her was her shrine, still intact, on a beautiful summer day. She saw herself, a small six year old girl. She was tossing the Yin Yang orb up and down, smiling wide at the simple thing. She saw her father standing in the doorway, watching her with a large grin plastered on his face, arm wrapped around the Hakurei shrine maiden,
his wife.

Reimu knew she wanted to cry at that very moment, but she was no longer even a spirit, she did not know what she was.

All she knew was that her parents were below her, and she was floating above them, much too far away to reach out and so much as touch them.

The image faded, her parents were gone, and the little girl was left alone in front of the shrine.

The Yin Yang orb fell to the ground, and the little girl began to sob.

Reimu supposed that was how she felt, she just hadn't much time to think about her own feelings, as the shrine she had grown up in was destroyed around her.

It was then that something particularly interesting happened.

Reimu saw a figure approach the little girl. She couldn't quite make out the distinctive shapes of this person, but she could tell it was another girl. The stranger laid her hand on the girl's shoulder, and when the girl looked up the tears had ceased, and she smiled again, as if her parents were watching her play with the Yin Yang orb. Then, as Reimu's life had been flipped upside down naught but a day ago, it seemed the little shrine maiden was in for a special surprise as well. Suddenly, she was surrounded by dozens upon dozens of individuals.

They were all a blur, indistinct, and just as quickly as this had happened, Reimu realized why she could not make these strangers out.

She had not met them yet...

------

"...iemu!!"

"...Reimu!!"

"Ms. Reimu!"

Reimu's eyes fluttered open at the third shout of her name.

The person shaking her...

"Yuugen?" muttered Reimu.

"We have company!" shouted Magan, positioning himself in front of Reimu and his sister.

When the shrine maiden's vision cleared she attempted to take in her surroundings. It appeared she had been unconscious on a grey marble floor, but other than that she could make out nothing.

It was then she realized that they had successfully traversed into purgatory, nothing surrounded them but the cold marble tile that they stood on, the sky and the horizon were pure black.

Reimu hopped to her feet, now interested in meeting the 'company' that Magan had spoke of.

"You've sure got some guts for a little shrine maiden Reimu!"

Reimu's eyes narrowed, she knew that voice...

"It's been a while little girl, has all that training paid off?"

"Elis," growled Reimu, "A woman in the village said your name, but I didn't want to believe it."

The succubus seemingly materialized from the darkness, landing directly in front of the group, "Little Yuugen, what happened?" asked the blond woman, tweaking the red bow on top of her head, "I was super worried about you, running off like that, right into the arms of the enemy no less. As for the woman you spoke of, you must mean this one." In the blink of an eye Elis changed her appearance to that of the helpless villager Reimu had rescued from the fire, "Oh no! Help me!"

Reimu could do nothing but glare at the woman in front of them.

She reverted to herself and tossed Reimu a wink, "You were way to easy to trick, I was hoping that my fire would do the job, but I guess I underestimated you."

"My father sealed you away!" shouted Reimu, pointing an accusing finger at the succubus.

"Oh yeah huh?" Elis put a finger to her chin and frowned, "It's a loooong story honey, but the short version is that the angel of death had a task for me in exchange for my freedom."

"Some angel she must be!" shouted Magan, "Freeing succubi from their confines."

"Oh I'm really nice, you just have to get to know me. Yuugen, be a dear and shut him up will you, I've still got more treats for you little youkai."

"You tricked me!" shouted the girl, "You said if I was a youkai I could save my brother!!"

Reimu sighed and shook her head. Reaching into the small pockets on her robes, she pulled out the shrunken Yin Yang orb, and with a single thought from her it was once again as large as her head. "You really need to learn when to be quiet Elis, it's not good for your complexion when you talk too much."

Elis' eyebrow twitched, "Well at least I don't look like an old hag like your mother did!"

Reimu smirked, "Spirit of protection!"

The barrier hissed around the group, and then around the succubus that stood across from them. "Oh how sweet," said Elis, "Are you trying to protect me too?"

"For someone who wants me dead," said Reimu, "You haven't been paying much attention to what I've been doing, have you?"

"That's it! No more talking!"

Elis made the first move, charging Reimu with no hesitation, raising her arm to strike. Before Reimu could get the Yin Yang orb off Yuugen had already jumped in front of her. "Yuugen!" shouted Reimu.

The youkai stood her ground until Elis collided with her. A loud crack echoed against the barrier, and the miko was surprised when she saw that Yuugen had stopped Elis' blow with a single hand. Reimu had forgotten how truly strong youkai were until that very moment. "Now Ms. Reimu!"

Reimu nodded and tossed the Yin Yang orb into the air.

Elis' eyes widened in horror when she realized what the miko was planning.

With a solid hit from her gohei the orb went flying straight for the succubus. Yuugen let go and jumped to the side, having seen first hand what the Yin Yang orb was truly capable of. The orb hit Elis in her stomach before she could back away, and the succubus coughed up blood as she was thrown back against the barrier. The ball rebounded towards the ground, and then to the roof of the barrier. Reimu and Yuugen charged towards the succubus.

Elis was up in an instant despite the enormous blow she had taken. With a single wave of her hand fire spread in front of her, halting the miko and the young youkai in their tracks as they approached her. "Take one step forward," she taunted, "And you will be burned alive. You can't throw up a barrier inside of a barrier!"

"I suppose that's true," conceded Reimu, "But you're also forgetting that this is my area, my barrier, that you are in Elis, how long can you last against a shrine maiden and a youkai?"

"The shrine maiden and the youkai are both young," she said with a harsh laugh.

Reimu smirked, "Young yes, stupid... no."

Elis' eyes widened once more when the Yin Yang orb collided with the back of her head, sending her tumbling forward and causing her fire to dissipate as quickly as it had been conjured.

"Ouch!" said Yuugen, giggling, "That looks like it hurt!"

Elis pushed herself up and growled at the shrine maiden, "This is NOT over!! If you think some stupid little trick like that is gonna take me down!..."

Reimu smirked, "I wouldn't have it any other way Elis."