Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Touhou characters, settings or any other original material created by ZUN or any other affiliates. All Touhou copyrights belong to their respective owners.
Hello, it's Solblight, once again with the start of a brand new tale.
Remember when I said I was considering a one-shot about Youmu x Sakuya? Well, it evolved into more of a one-shot.
Also, I just realized that this story is the first one to be tagged specifically for Youmu. HOW CAN THIS BE? THIS… THIS IS BLESPHEMY. Just kidding, but seriously? No fic centring around Youmu? No, I refuse.
So, I wrote. Welcome to the first chapter of "A Blade amongst the Grass". Enjoy.
Ch. 1: A late summer daydream
A gentle, cooling late summer's breeze blew through the garden, carrying with it freshly cut blades of grass. In the middle of the garden, an equally gentle, silver-haried, diminutive figure gave her katana a flick, shaking off the leftover grass blades still stuck on it. Wiping the entirety of the blade in one clean stroke on her sleeve, she then sheathed the blade in its scabbard with another unbroken, fluid movement.
Konpaku Youmu had just finished pruning the garden of the ghost mansion, Hakugyokurou.
Wearing her usual green dress and pinafore over a white blouse with a black tie, the young half human stood surveying her work. Next to her, her ghost half "Myon" surveyed the rest of the garden behind her. Myon promptly reported to the human half the satisfactory state of her gardening.
"Whew," Youmu sighed, when finally convinced that nothing else was needed to be done, "Alright then, Myon, Yuyuko-sama should be expecting tea by now."
Removing her shoes, she stepped onto the veranda of the Japanese styled mansion. The mansion was not one complete building like Western mansions. It was more like a complex. And the garden Youmu had just pruned was but one of the hundreds scattered in between the buildings.
As strange as it sounds, Youmu was afraid of ghosts, despite being half-ghost herself, and despite serving Saigyouji Yuyuko, the princess of ghosts. This should not come as a surprise however. Hakugyokurou was a huge but empty complex. And when something that big has that much space in it, even the tiniest sounds could produce a slight fear of the unknown in the hearts of the bravest. It did not help that Youmu had ultra-refined senses and reflexes, and it certainly did not help that the spirits of the palace were most active at night, when the darkness completely snuffs out any lingering signs of life in the land of the dead…
"Ack! Eh! Ah! Y-Yuyuko-sama!" Youmu jumped back, sword drawn instinctively, face red, knees bent inwards, hand covering the ear her master had just lightly blown into, looking cute and absurd at the same time.
"Hmmm? Hahaha, what's with that weird stance Youmu?" Yuyuko thrust her immaterial neck straight through Youmu's blade. "Has a little scare wiped your mind clean of the techniques you have learned, hmmm?"
"Ah!" Youmu yelped again, quickly pulling her blade away. "D-Don't do that, that's creepy. And really Yuyuko-sama," concern quickly replaced her fear, "My blade hurts ghost. You could have been in danger."
"Don't worry about that, Youmu!" Yuyuko smiled. "I'm a stage 6 boss! Remember?"
There are plenty of things Youmu's blades cannot cut, and she did not really like to talk about it.
Yuyuko may be rather airheaded at times (no jokes about her being literally immaterial), but not one little detail about her favourite servant could get past her. Youmu was almost like a daughter to her (despite Youmu being the one doing all of the chores), and Yuyuko could read her like a book. Right now, she saw that her little gardener was a little upset.
In fact, Youmu had been rather upset. Youmu was never a girl with a lot of self esteem in the first place. She was really humble to a fault. One of the few things she took pride in was her heritage: her swordsmanship. It was said that in Gensokyo, few could match her in terms of her skill with blade artes, besides her mentor Konpaku Youki. And who knew where that grand old man went off to.
So when Hakurei Reimu and Kirisame Marisa, mere humans, defeated her sometime back in a duel, she was a little shocked. But she always knew there were people out there much stronger than her. And they were magic users after all (a/n: yes I know Reimu doesn't use 'magic' as defined in Touhou, but this is from Youmu's pov). Magic was never a strong point of hers, Youmu had once told herself that excuse.
But no, she could not give herself any excuses. She had lost because she lacked strength. She lacked practice and she lacked skill. She had to get stronger. She would do better in the next danmaku duel.
Then came Izayoi Sakuya. The chief maid of the Scarlet Mansion blew away any comfort that Youmu had in her skill with blades. Her knives were so quick and precise, her movements so deft and agile. During their brief battle Sakuya appeared to Youmu to be dancing as she cast out wave after wave of beautiful danmaku. Sakuya was… Sakuya was…
"Youmu?" Yuyuko asked gently.
"Ah! Um… sorry, I was spacing out for a while," Youmu snapped back from her mental monologue.
"That's all right Youmu," Yuyuko said. Then, hesitantly, "You're… You're still thinking about getting stronger aren't you?"
"H-How did you…?"
"Youmu, you are a very dedicated girl," Yuyuko placed her hands on Youmu's shoulders, "And I'm sure you will get much stronger with that attitude of yours. But you should try to take things easy. There's no need to push yourself so hard-"
"B-But! Who will protect this place? Who will protect you?"
"Youmu! You say that as though I'm weak!"
"N-No! I'm sorry I didn't mean that-"
"Silly Youmu," Yuyuko grinned. "There's no need to be apologetic. You're here for me, and I'm here for you. That's all we need, isn't it?" Yuyuko beamed with all the radiance of a living, loving being.
"Y-Yuyuko-sama!" Youmu looked down immediately, trying to hide her blush and grin.
"See! You're all happy again!" Yuyuko hugged Youmu. Youmu tried very hard to shrink back into herself out of the embarrassment and happiness. She really thanked the gods everyday for being able to serve such a caring master.
"Th-Thank you, Yuyuko-sama!"
"There, there! Alrighty then, let's get afternoon tea ready, shall we?"
"Yes! Immediately, Yuyuko-sama!" Youmu started to leave for the pantry.
"Oh, and Youmu?"
"Remilia Scarlet will be here tomorrow. Just a casual visit and a chat, do make the necessary preparations please."
The head of the Scarlet Mansion was coming? Does that mean…?
"Um, Yuyuko-sama?" Youmu tentatively asked.
"Will uh… Will her usual servants be here as well?" Youmu held her breath.
"Mmmm… if you mean Izayoi Sakuya, I imagine so…" Yuyuko answered airily. "Yes, I suppose we have to prepare snacks for them as well…"
"R-Right…" Youmu felt her heart skip a beat. Then realized she had forgotten to both breath AND circulate blood through her body and promptly gasped for air.
"A-Ah, yes Yuyuko-sama?"
"Are you okay?"
"Y-Yes, Yuyuko-sama, I'm fine," Youmu replied.
Yuyuko stared at the face of Youmu for a bit. Youmu, catching her stare, started to feel a little uncomfortable. Had she done anything wrong?
"Um, is anything the matter, Yuyuko-sama?"
"… No, nothing's wrong. Well, just prepare for the arrival of Miss Remilia and Miss Sakuya please."
Youmu gasped a little again, before replying, "Y-Yes, of course, Yuyuko-sama."
Yuyuko turned away and drifted through the walls into one of the buildings, before allowing herself a little giggle. Youmu… she was not sure exactly what was going on, but she could make a pretty confident guess. The poor girl was so innocent and easy to read sometimes.
"Well, it is a mother's duty to ensure that her child is successful in all walks of life isn't it?" Yuyuko said to herself. "Such as in health, happiness and love…" Yuyuko giggled again, absentmindedly drifting through more walls as she let her imagination wander, exploring different scenarios on how things may develop… or how she may make them…
She blamed Yukari's bad influence…
Outside, Youmu was spacing out a little again, before she snapped back. What was wrong with her today? Youmu shook her head. She had to get the afternoon tea ready. Then she had to prepare for tomorrow.
Tomorrow… that human girl is coming… She had to be on her best! Youmu thought. She could not let her standard slip. Sakuya was a servant as well, and adapt at cooking. No doubt her visit tomorrow will surely leave an impression on her. And Youmu was determined to leave a good impression. Not after her defeat at her hands, not after she had lost so quickly.
Sakuya was… Sakuya was… Sakuya was so captivating, was she not?
And that was the first chapter. Did you enjoy it?
Well, I hope you did, because I know there was a HUGE amount of monologue and description. And honestly, this was what caused it to evolve into more than just a one-shot. Sorry about that.
P.S: I also just noticed that all the heart symbols I typed show up just as 3. So sorry about that as well, but every time you see a 3, it's supposed to be a heart.