Maribel stared at the moons reflection in the pond. The ripples in the pool seemed to flow out across her vision. Her mind seemed to blur, pushing the boundaries of her own thoughts. She reached out and took her friends hand. "Well, Renko. If the Moon Tour is too expensive, shall we go there another way?" And then she stepped forward into the pool, towards the vision of the true moon that only her eyes could see...
There was a dark field, one that seemed to be full of red eyes. But Maribel wasn't scared. She knew they weren't looking at her to judge her. They were looking at her to tell them what reality was.
Then they were outside.
Maribel could only stand in awe. Fortunately Renko managed to pull herself together quickly. She stared at the sky for a few seconds before turning to her friend. "How did you do that? We're actually on the moon!" Looking around she said, "But this moon seems..."
Different was probably the word her friend was looking for. Behind them a pure blue sea lapped at the beach. In front of them was a grove of peach trees. The gravity seemed to be the same, and there was no lack of air. Yet Maribel's heart and Renko's eyes both agreed, they'd crossed over to the moon.
"I think this is the real moon Renko. The one where the rabbits pound mochi and the celestial maidens live." Maribel walked towards the orchards edge looking around. "Though I don't see anyone here."
Renko looked back over the ocean, then towards the sky again. "Hm... I guess I wouldn't be able to know the difference between the moons without having been to both. Still, how did we get here? And how will we get back?"
Maribel paused. She tried to think about what had happened. Her memory seemed to swirl around her actions. It was like trying to think about walking, it was so natural your brain didn't remember it, despite the fact that she had no idea how to do it again. The only thing that popped into her head was, "...the boundary of truth and lies."
"So up to your old tricks again?" came a stern voice from between the trees.
Striding from amidst the trees was a woman is fine robes. However unlike the celestial maidens of her boarder visions, this woman was not dancing happily but frowning while carrying a sword openly. To make the scene even more surreal there were a number of rabbit girls standing behind her, each armed with even stranger archaic weaponry. It looked like they'd pulled rifles out of a museum. It was wondrous, humorous, and terrifying all at the same time.
Still they couldn't just stand there. They should explain who they were at least, even if they could explain why they were there. Maribel wondered if she'd run into this woman in one of her boarder hopping dreams. "I'm sorry, my name is Maribel Hearn. I don't think we've met before?"
Renko moved to stand somewhat in front of Maribel. "And I'm Renko Usami. We're sorry to drop in on you, but we were talking about taking a trip to the moon and..." Renko looked at me and shrugged.
The lady frowned deeper, but lowered her blade. "You seem to be human. And the old Yakumo is supposed to be dead. Hm..." She seemed to think a bit then sighed and shrugged. "A little stranger then the normal spiriting away but whatever. I'm afraid I cannot let you stay on the moon. I'll take you to my estate, and my sister can send you back."
The two friends looked at each other. It seemed strange to have their hopes dashed once again after accomplishing the impossible. "Excuse me, but why can't we visit here? Is it dangerous for humans?" Renko asked cautiously.
The noble looked at them with a surprised expression. "Because you are impure humans. We left the Earth because of the deadly impurities that infest it. If you stayed here too long you would bring death to our lunar capitol." Maribel saw Renko's face twitch. It was really quite annoying to hear those words said so matter of factly. "Besides, with your tours and colonies on the fake moon, humans aren't being viewed too favorably right now. You're lucky me and my sister Toyohime are used to sending people like you back to Earth. Now if I could just find her quickly..."
"No need for that Yorihime. I'm right here." Another well dressed woman carrying a fan walked out of the treeline. "Though I can't send them back just like normal."
Yorihime raised an eyebrow. "Why not? We can't keep them here."
Maribel blinked as Toyohime pointed her fan directly at the girl. "Because I'm quite sure that the young lady there did get here by her own power, and because they know they've reached the moon." Toyohime sighed. "So while I'm fairly sure these two girls wouldn't be able to convince anyone they actually found our home, they do have the ability to return with more people. And you know that we'd come under suspicion for letting them go."
Yorihime seemed to be struck by that reasoning. "Hm... So then. Do we have to kill them?" The casual tone in the lady's voice stung Maribel. Then she realized the lady was serious and she began to shake. Were they really going to kill them just for accidentally stumbling onto the moon? Perhaps they would. There had to be something she could do? Her eyes fell on her friend who seemed to be similarly panicking.
Maribel dropped to her knees. "Please. I'm the one that has the power that worries you so much. I brought Renko here without telling her, so she's innocent of any crime. I beg you to let her go."
Renko whirled on her in surprise. "What! I'm not going to just leave you alone here! Neither of us have committed any crime!" Her friend pointed at the two Lunar nobles. "You're the ones plotting to kill us for something we might do! How is that not 'impure?'"
Yorihime had the decency to look embarrassed at Renko's rant, but Toyohime just laughed. "You don't need to be so dramatic. I can't return you to your world. However dropping you in Gensoukyo should be fine. It's borders are sealed much tighter then our own these days, and you're unlikely to make an alliance with the youkai. That should do nicely."
"Hm... Some people won't be happy with that either," Yorihime commented.
Toyohime shrugged. "Some people are never happy with our work these days. Anyways if you two would like to leave this place..." She glanced at the girls.
Maribel's breath caught. At this point the emotional roller coaster of the conversation finally hit her and she teared up. She couldn't tell how much was from relief that they wouldn't be killed, anger over their helplessness, and happiness over finally reaching Gensoukyo, but she wasn't going to hesitate now. She moved up and grabbed Renko's hand again before nodding her acceptance. Renko looked more angry then relieved, but she nodded quickly as well.
There was an odd feeling, like they were moving very quickly despite not moving at all. Then they found themselves in front of a wrought iron fence. In front of the gate in the center of that fence was a woman wearing chinese garb. Her hair was silver, and her eyes green. At their abrupt appearance she dropped into a fighting stance, but before Maribel could even worry about being violently rejected again, the woman relaxed, then bowed.
Renko and Maribel hesitated for a moment then bowed politely in return. The woman straightened up, then said in a low, calm voice, "Greetings honored travelers. I am Izayoi Huian the Gatekeeper of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. I offer you sanctuary in my lady's name."
Author's Notes: This is probably my second largest project to date. It started out as a simple idea, but then it snowballed into something much larger, but it's something I'm also a lot happier with. Some of the earlier segments are a little rusty due to the fact that I was still forming the ideas that would come later, but I've tweaked them enough that I'm happy with them for the most part.
Also the first "book" is done in it's entirety, so worry not about update speed.
As for more general notes: The first spoken lines come from the last CD Maribel and Renko appear in. While this story is far enough in the future to make "canon" something of a weak statement, I will reference CoLA later as well.