Prologue – Faint Inanimate Dream
She was blinded. With her sight gone and the rest of her energy depleted, Yuuka could only lay back and wait for the end. Everything was a ruin, and the last thing she saw was the black sun spreading darkness throughout the land. Gensokyo was finished, maybe even more.
Something crashed next to her, the force of the wind nearly moving her from her spot as she waited and listened.
"I'm sorry," the voice said beside her, "I couldn't stop them."
"You tried." Yuuka said, reaching out to touch their face one more time, though she paused when she felt them reach down to pick her up.
"Disappearing like this isn't so bad," she continued, holding herself close as she was carried away from the battlefield. "At least… I actually met a kindred spirit such as yourself."
There was nowhere to run. She could feel it in her very being. Nature was dying around them, the flowers themselves crying out as they returned to the only place left that could escape the destruction. There was also another skirmish, though Yuuka wouldn't even know what was happening anymore as her Servant fought through.
Upon reaching the Hakurei Shrine, they paused, and Yuuka noticed the disappointment in her Servant's demeanour. It was too late for this place too.
"Put me down," said Yuuka, relaxing herself as her request was granted. She found herself laying back against a stone pillar and though she felt her life force fading away, at least she wasn't alone in this.
"There's still something I can do," Her Servant told her, "But then you'll…"
Yuuka let out a weak laugh and then shook her head. "Does it really matter? I don't even know what you intend to do but if it can change anything, there's no further harm in trying, right? It's fine, don't worry." The flower youkai smiled. She reached out again, and she felt her Servant lower their head so she could caress their cheek.
"I had a lot of fun, you know?" Yuuka said, her lips brushing against their own before she pulled away. "Now go, do what the world requires you to do. I wasn't a very good Master, but I will help you as much as I can."
She couldn't see their response of course, but she knew them well enough at this point to know what they were probably contemplating. That was fine. Both of them had been rather unsure since the very beginning in the first place. They met by accident, and they built up on it. But right now, they had greater responsibilities rather than to themselves.
"We will meet again, I promise you that." Her Servant said and a wave of relief flooded through Yuuka. "Now and forever, I am proud to have you as my Master. Please, just rest. Leave everything to me."
They walked away and soon, a tremendous amount of magical energy began to leave her. Freely given instead of being drained against her will, Yuuka felt even her own life force ebbing away more rapidly than ever. It won't be long now.
"This evocation is the breath of the stars…"
She heard their voice one last time, Yuuka smiling once before everything disappeared in a flash of light.
Chapter 1: The King
Yuuka opened her eyes. If she had been dreaming, then that must have been one of the strangest things she saw in a long time. As vivid as it was, she couldn't help but feel it was something that couldn't have happened.
She looked around her and saw the typical surroundings she had always surrounded herself in. The field of sunflowers in the Garden of the Sun… and yet, there was a disturbance she could feel. How much time could have passed since she napped anyways?
Yuuka didn't really think much on that. It was a wistful thought, and she could really only be bothered when there's something directly in her path. Or in this case, someone.
She frowned. There was a clump of sunflowers, ruined, and at the center of it was a body facing the sky with their eyes closed. From what she could sense, this wasn't any common youkai. A human perhaps? Regardless of who they were, she raised a hand, a small ball of glowing magical forming by her palms as she prepared herself to blast this intruder away from this garden.
She loosed the magical bullet. And then… it dissipated in a flash of golden light. Like some kind of portal, something like a sword appeared in front of her, dispersing the blast.
"Oh my, you're a feisty one aren't you." She smirked, looking at the male figure laying on the ground.
He twitched ever so slightly before opening his eyes, the crimson gaze staring back at her with an irritated expression.
"A rude welcome like that is unbefitting for one such as I. Do that again, and I will repay that injustice a hundred-fold." The man said, more of the golden portals appearing above him, all with strange weapons that pointed straight at her.
She counted twenty in total and for a moment, she actually stepped back. Yet…
"Oh, don't be like that. I was just teasing." Said Yuuka, brazenly approaching without much concern over the apparently dangerous objects that continued to point in her direction. She went down into a crouch, staring oddly back at the man who had just threatened her life.
"I should let you know, you are technically trespassing over my territory. But I'll let that slide if you tell me who and what you are. You don't look so good." She said, her eyes drawn towards the man's missing arm, almost as if something sliced it off.
"Oddities may just be a regularity for you." He replied, chuckling lightly. "Rejoice though. You are in the presence of the King of Heroes, Gilgamesh. Though I may be in a state of defeat, I am using the latent magical energy of this land to recover." he continued. His gaze never wavered, though Yuuka felt that he was somehow making an appraisal. Of her, perhaps? Flattering, but awkward if one were to think too much about it.
"I was gracious enough to let you know my identity. Now respond in turn. Who are you? Certainly not any normal human. The magical energy of your aura is quite… overwhelming, for that to be the case." Gilgamesh continued.
Yuuka grinned, staying quiet for a moment. "You are correct on your judgment oh king, but this land isn't in any shortage of "magical auras" as you call it. I am simply one who presides over the flowers of this area, Yuuka."
"Indeed. This is unlike any place I've been to. Once I recover, I may just decide to explore myself." He said, turning his gaze away as Yuuka stood and stepped back. They were silent for long moments and as she continued to observe, she saw no real change in the man's arm. At the very least, he's not dying from blood loss or anything of that sort. She also took note of the injury at the center of his forehead but that seemed to have mostly disappeared as well.
"Hmmm…" she sighed. "How long is your recovery going to take? If you landed at any other spot, you would have been swarmed by other youkai and been eaten already if you take this long." She wondered.
"Oh? You are one of them are you not? Why have you not done just that?" Gilgamesh replied.
Yuuka winced. Did he figure out what she was already? And did that really matter? "I limit what I eat. I may not look like I need to maintain a figure, but I don't overindulge in eating humans." She said.
"A shame. We are likely to be enemies then given your nature. But I suppose I shall let that pass for now. Recovering as I am now should take a few more hours. With a proper contract, it would be more efficient, but I am in no rush." Gilgamesh continued, closing his eyes once more.
"Contract?" Yuuka wondered. That word caught her attention. "I'd rather not have you stay here for longer than necessary. Such an incident would attract the attention of more people I'd rather not deal with."
Gilgamesh was silent, and then he opened his eyes once more. "It would take minutes with a proper contractor. If you are willing to be one temporarily, then I may consider leaving." He said, their gazes meeting each other again as Yuuka considered her options.
She didn't know what the requirements of this contract are, but she doubted it was anything serious. What will be, will be, isn't it?
Yuuka shrugged. "Whatever speeds things up I guess." She shrugged. "Eh, why not? This at least should ease my boredom."
"Ha! The same goes to me as well, girl. I can assure you though, this Heroic Spirit is someone you will not find boring." He laughed, holding his working hand up towards her. "Very well, let us start. I may not be a mage, but I can guide you through a condensed process. Take my hand." He said.
"I guess it's something new." Yuuka replied, doing just that.
Moments later, the pact was finished and a small pillar of light shot up to the sky as if signaling the beginning of this new contract. Gilgamesh stood in front of Yuuka, more dignified than how he looked earlier.
They were communicating mentally with each other and without any warning, they leaped back away. Both had a smile on their face.
The area behind Gilgamesh distorted in a haze as the familiar ripples of his weaponry filled the empty space around him.
Yuuka herself brought her own firepower to spare. The flowers around her swayed, seemingly staring at her newest opponent as she readied her magical bullets. Whatever the agreement between Master and Servant was, it seemed to involve a fight of some kind to test the worth of one's capabilities. And both wished to test out what the other can do.
"Don't disappoint me, my Servant." Yuuka said, pointing her umbrella at Gilgamesh.
"Do not be so eager. Whether or not you see all that I can offer depends on how long you can hold your own." the King of Heroes replied, one arm raised before letting loose his judgment of blades. The various weaponry collided with the magical bullets Yuuka sent out, each explosion filled to the brim with energies reacting violently with each other.
Minutes later, the sudden ripple of space itself seemed to distort. From a distance, one could see a tremendous beam of light aimed below before someone responded in kind with a spiralling wave of crimson that dissipated the attack. A whirlwind of destruction that could have destroyed more than just the landscape if the combatants weren't careful. But as threatening as it was, both seemed to stop near immediately before any more could be done. Everything became quiet, and at the Garden of the Sun, something unexpected occured, known only by one of the pair.
It was a light that could be seen from all over Gensokyo… but it also wasn't the only light either.
Reimu Hakurei, at her Shrine, took just one look at a distance before the Hakurei Shrine itself shook, the appearance of another being crashing through the roof of the building.
A pillar of light was brought forth in the Bamboo Forest of the Lost, right in front of Eientei.
Another was at the forest of magic.
And three odd ones crashed together close to a Misty Lake.
Seven Heroes, maybe more, brought to the land of illusion for an unknown purpose. There was no War for the Holy Grail, but that did not mean there was no Holy Grail.
In the depths of the Netherworld, something stirred. The dead could feel it, and the authority of one who had lain dormant for so long was about to be unleashed.
(The chapter has now been rewritten. Enjoy... hopefully.)