It's late night over at Gensokyo, and at the Hakurei Shrine peace and quiet strangely reigns the night.
Inside the shrine, everything has been repaired, and not a soul could tell of the destruction that once was inside these walls.
In the middle of the living room of the shrine's living quarters, Budou, Sanae and Mima sleep on their rolled out futons quite soundly.
The little bat youkai sleeps between the Moriya Shrine maiden and the supposedly evil spirit, seeing as about a minute before, the girls were fighting over who slept next to little Budou.
Marisa is supposed to be sleeping on the futon set above the three girls' heads, but she has rolled all the way out of the futon and lies sprawled on the floor with a massive nose-bubble on her left nostril, and drool coming out of the right side of her wide-open snoring mouth.
A little farther away from the girls to their left, almost reaching into the kitchen, is one more futon, but this one is empty and undisturbed.
While the girls sleep away, Ail, Suzaku and Michiko are having a small conversation in front of the donation box.
Perching on top of the donation box, Suzaku looks a little tired and just about ready to drop.
Ail sits behind the donation box, resting his head on its left corner, and Michiko stands next to the small steps leading to said donation box.
Looking, and sounding a little tired, Ail asks "are you sure you don't want me to come with you? There are youkai roaming around at this hour, you know."
The old lady chuckles while shaking her head, then says "get some sleep young man. You can barely stand on your feet there."
Ail just hums, then looks at Suzaku and asks "and how are things now, Suzaku? Feeling anything different?"
Suzaku lazily ruffles her feathers, and allowing both Ail and Michiko to listen, she telepathically says "I am feeling much better, but master is still in pain. It's like she's inside a living nightmare."
Ail clicks his tongue and asks "what is Reimu doing? I though she went in there to protect Rika!"
Michiko, in a stern tone of voice, says "young man, there are things in the universe that nothing, and I mean nothing can stop. Fate is a fickle thing, and you just happen to be one of the ones lucky enough to fight against it without causing chaos."
Ail and Michiko look at each other, then Michiko casually shrugs and says "well... too much chaos."
The old woman suddenly pulls her walking stick out of her left sleeve, glances at Ail and Suzaku, then turns around to leave.
Before she is too far, Ail says "I don't get you. You came here, caused a mess, literally owned us all, and then suddenly, when Suzaku gets ill, you stop."
The woman takes a deep breath, then Ail continues "then you help us fix everything and I still don't know HOW you made it all look like new, and now you are going back home on your own like that! Who are you, and what do you really want?"
The old lady sighs, then turns around and says "ye' think too much, kid. I'm just an old woman who wishes to see this shrine return to its old splendor."
Ail and Suzaku stare back at the old woman, but neither says a thing.
Michiko sighs again, approaches the donation box in the blink of an eye, surprising the boy and the bird, pulls out a yin-yang symbol from her left sleeve, then says "that lazy maiden even forgot to give this thing some maintenance. Really, and it's even getting donations now, so there's no excuse."
She smacks the symbol on the center of the box like a sticker, giggles, turns around precisely when a cloud covers the little light from the moon for a second, then disappears, leaving behind an echoing cackle.
After it stops, feeling a little spooked, Ail asks "S-S-Suzaku... did she do something to us just now?"
Suzaku ruffles her feathers more vigorously to calm herself down, then replies "I don't know! I felt no magical aura around her..."
Ail jumps on his feet and walks around the box as he continues for Suzaku "and there's definitely no hidden powers inside of her, or I could have at least sensed something! Still..."
Ail turns around to look at the donation box, passes his hands in front of what he thinks is a sticker, and says "this symbol does look cool and... wait, what the hell?"
Ail freaks out, jumps away from the donation box, and not one to wait for consequences, Suzaku flies away from it while asking "what did she do?"
Ail nervously says "th-th-that, it's not a sticker! How the hell did she do that?"
The symbol on the donation box seems to have been carved in there and recently painted, yet it was not there just a moment ago.
As Suzaku lands on Ail's shoulder, the woman's cackle echoes around the night sky, making the boy and the bird both rush back inside the shrine, whimpering and squawking.
Over at Makai, where it is always daytime; even if the light is kind of dull; after clearing the large dining from of almost all the Makaians, Reimu ignores their cries of terror as she stares straight toward the Yama's eyes.
The crystal tables are empty, the benches have disappeared, but the main chairs remain, and Shikieiki has seen it fit to take one of the chairs and get herself comfortable, then looks at Reimu and Tenshi, who stands to the maiden's right, and asks "so, do you want to see, or not?"
Behind the maiden and the celestial, Kogasa, Yumeko, Mai, Yuki, Sara, Luize and Alice, with Shanghai and Hourai on her shoulders, as well as a handful of remaining Makaians, all seem to be eagerly waiting for Reimu's response.
Anxious, Yumeko angrily asks "so? Are you going to do it? Look, if you don't do it, I will!"
Alice looks curiously at Yumeko and asks "oh my, are you that concerned for Rika?"
Yumeko blushes, chokes on herself, looks away from Alice to try and hide her face, then says "I-I'm just curious! N-nothing else!"
Reimu silently stares back at Shikieiki, apparently hesitating when looking upon the Yama's serious face, then Tenshi suddenly touches the back of Reimu's hand with her own, and stares at the maiden with that serious and determined face Rika herself uses often, and knows that this stubborn celestial wants to see those "examples", and will probably get to see them with, or without Reimu's approval.
Reimu smiles back at Tenshi as her response, then turns her face toward Shikieiki and stares back with great determination.
The Yama looks at everyone in the room, their determined and concerned faces seem to be a sight worthy of a smile from this Yama. Shikieiki sighs, her smile vanishes, then says "alright then. Let's start easy and show you something good, but be warned, that girl's experiences have been far from 'good'."
All present nod in assent, save for four Makaians that, with saddened faces, turn around and head toward the door.
Yumeko turns to look at her brethren and asks "where are you going?"
Only one of the four turns around; a woman with golden hair, small white horns on each side of her forehead, yellowish skin and dressed in a black leotard, sounding saddened, says "only knowing this is more than enough for us. We do not wish to experience such things."
Yumeko nods and says "fine! You may leave, you cowards."
The yellow-skinned woman shoots a nasty frown at her sister, but then turns around and leaves without replying.
After the door closes, Shikieiki says "whenever you guys are ready."
Yumeko turns around to look at Shikieiki, then nods and waits with a brave face.
The Yama's face becomes completely emotionless, and after glancing over the remaining people in the room, she raises her right hand, points her finger at Reimu's head, then the maiden, and all present, close their eyes as though falling into a sudden state of standing sleep.
Immediately, their minds are filled with an image that feels to them as though it's a memory of their own.
It's a bright morning at the zoo, when the young Rika, with short brown hair and wearing a white robe with black and gold shoulder pads, same as her parents, enters through the zoo's main gates with her mother holding her right hand, and her father her left.
Her mother, a woman with long brown hair and glistening sky-blue eyes, and her father with short light brown hair and bright blue eyes, both bearing a pair of large angel wings, giggle along with their wingless daughter, then the father asks "so, how do you feel being away from the compound for the first time?"
Rika looks up to her father, lets out a happy giggle, and says "thanks for bringing me to the zoo papa, mama! This is great!"
The father and mother look at each other and chuckle, then the family of three heads straight toward the monkey cages.
After two hours, little Rika and her parents are only a few feet away from the larger animal cages, and that's when they hear some commotion.
Being the kind and servicing people they are, Rika's father and mother approach the center of the commotion in hopes to help out if needed.
It is the tiger who is causing the commotion, roaring furiously while pacing around her cage and swinging her claws at any zookeeper that gets too close.
Rika's mother bends down to meet her daughter's eyes and says "sweetheart, stay here. We're going to help these people."
Little Rika pouts and says "hey, I'm five years old! I can help!"
Her father pats her head and says "stay put little one", then he and his wife rush toward the cage to assist the zookeepers.
Little Rika remains in place, standing next to a stone bench next to a red trash bin, crossing her arms and pouting, then jumps on the bench for a better look, and after seeing the tiger's blur, she gasps, jumps off the bench, and walks straight toward the large cage.
Without anyone's notice, little Rika enters through the wide bars of the cage, and the raging tiger immediately notices her presence and heads straight to her.
From the other side of the cage, a man asks "what's she doing now? Did she calm down?"
Very suddenly, the voice of Rika's mom can be heard clearly when she screams "Rika! She's in the cage!"
By now, the tiger is too close to little Rika for anyone to be able to do anything, but the zookeepers and Rika's parents are surprised when the tiger just sniffs Rika, and even allows the little girl to pat its head.
While she pats the tiger's head, little Rika asks "what's wrong?"
The tiger answers with a soft purring whimper, then Rika looks toward her parent's voices and says "mama, papa! She says her cub is missing! Please, find it for her!"
Her parents, the zookeepers, and the Onkamikami in the area all look around in awe, then Rika's mother gasps and exclaims "find that cub!"
The people around the cage scatter to look around for the tiger's cub, and it's Rika's mother who finds it shivering behind a trash bin that sits between two old wooden benches.
Excited, Rika's mother raises the cub above her head and exclaims "I found it!"
From the cage, Rika calls "mama, hurry up, please!"
When Rika's mother, the Onkamikami and the zookeepers get close to the cage with the cub, the tiger starts pacing around in a quickened pace and roars furiously.
Rika jumps on the tiger mother and wraps her tiny arms around its neck and exclaims "no, they're not taking it away!"
The tiger mother calms down, purrs softly, then Rika takes the chance, runs out of the cage, then raises her little hands to her mother, saying "give me the cub so I can take it to her!"
Her mother stares back with concern, then Rika says "she won't let anybody else get close! Mom, I can do it!"
Rika's mother hesitantly kneels down and gives Rika the cub, and Rika immediately heads back to the mother tiger.
The little girl slows down when close to the tiger, places the excited cub next to its mother, then takes a step back.
The cub lets out a tiny roar while the mother tiger purrs while licking her cub's face, and Rika is so overcome by the sight that she forgets to get out of the cage.
By the time she remembers this fact, the tiger mother rushes to little Rika, causing the people around to gasp, but even Rika is surprised when the tiger simply rubs its head against Rika's cheeks, then lies down to let Rika ride on her back.
Little Rika giggles, take the tiger up on her offer, and when she's on its back, she says "you're a good girl."
Rika suddenly realizes that her parents, her clan mates, and the zookeepers are all applauding and cheering, making her blush and bashfully sink her head into the tiger's fur, thinking "th-they're clapping for me. I... I want my mommy."
And so, the memory ends with little Rika smiling why shyly wanting her mother's embrace to sink her blushing face into.
Back in Pandemonium's dining room, Reimu opens her eyes and looks at Shikieiki, who looks back at her without showing emotions.
Tenshi suddenly says "well... that wasn't bad at all. Not like those times after we met."
Kogasa suddenly adds "I wonder if I can do that with miss Shou?"
Before anybody else says anything, Reimu scowls and says "I take it you showed us that one to help us understand where Rika's affinity with animals came from, or perhaps, show us when she first revealed this affinity, correct?"
Shikieiki nods, then says "I have also shown you the last good memory that girl had from those times. I just want you all to understand her a little more before showing you the real example."
Mai stretches her small angelic wings, takes a step forward, then exclaims "we are NOT weak! We are proud children of the goddess Shinki! Show us, what exactly happened to our sister that has her shivering like a cornered human child!"
Even Yumeko is surprised at Mai's sudden outburst, but she too wants to cut to the chase, so she quietly takes her sister's side and places her hand on Mai's shoulder to show her support.
Shikieiki, still holding that neutral face, lowers her head slightly as a bow, then says "right, how could I forget? And I'm sure miss Reimu and miss Kogasa would love to see more, right? Even you, miss Hinanai, would like to see more."
Kogasa shyly hugs her closed umbrella, even squeezing its tongue, then nervously asks "e-heh, um, is it alright if I say no?"
Ignoring the karakasa youkai, Reimu sternly says "you do what you must."
Shikieiki nods, then says "alright then. Here is a real example.", then raises her right hand once more, points it at Reimu, and even the reluctant Kogasa closes her eyes to live through another of Rika's memories as though being one of her own.
The memory begins with seven-year-old Rika and Tenshi, who at the time was named Chiko, spending their days together, Chiko beating up other children for trying to attack Rika in any way, and getting healed after her fights or after a stupid stunt, which were common by her, or having all of her stories listened to by little Rika.
The memory moves as though being fast forwarded until it suddenly stops with little Rika standing in a vast playground surrounded by tall and bushy trees, and adorned with flowers and small ornamental walls that were used to separate some parts of the playgrounds into segments.
Rika is alone where most of the swings are, and seems to be waiting for someone, probably Chiko, to arrive, and that's when she gasps after laying her eyes on the group of five children, three boys and two girls, that make it a habit of bullying her daily.
One of the boys has short black hair and wears a red shirt, brown shorts, and a pair of large brown boots, the second has blonde hair that reaches the back of his neck, and wears a dark-green shirt, long black pants, and black boots, and the third has short dark-brown hair, wears a black shirt, black shorts that reach his knees, and a pair of sharp-looking black shoes.
One of the girls has long black hair and wears a long pink dress with wooden sandals, and the second one wears a white shirt with a red ribbon around the collar, a pink sash for a belt, a short pink skirt, and brown knee-high boots.
Rika wants to run and hide, but she has already been spotted, yet none of the children move from their spot.
They seem to be plotting something amongst themselves and just ignore little Rika, and being the curious little girl she is, Rika decides to sneak around and get closer.
She pretends to go to the swings, which are hidden from the group's view thanks to one large tree, and when she believes they aren't looking, she risks getting closer, using the small walls for cover, before getting to the hedges that sit just beside the children.
There, she can hear one of the girls saying "then, when Chiko gets here, you distract her, and you three come from behind."
The other girl, with a softer voice, says "fine, but if she uses those wrestling moves on me again, I'm looking for some new friends. Those hurts!"
Little Rika gasps and thinks "they're going to hurt Chiko! I have to stop them!"
Without even thinking about her own well-being once, Rika gets up on her feet, runs toward the bullies, then says "you leave Chiko alone, you big bullies! Go do something good for once!"
The children immediately surround Rika, four of them sneering, save for the boy in black, who throws a very dirty and hateful look at little Rika, then says "then I guess we'll just have to teach you to stay away from the good kids, you worthless little defect!"
Before Rika knows what happened next, she finds herself curled on the ground, covering her face with her hands while the bullies continue to hurt her.
While this happens, she thinks "it hurts... but it's for Chiko! I'm protecting Chiko! Endure... I must endure!"
Later that day, young Chiko, with her long blue hair, wearing a small black hat, a long white shirt with long sleeves, a long pink skirts half-covered by her shirt, and a pair of large dark brown cross-laced boots, arrives at the appointed area where she is to meet with Rika.
She looks around the tree near the swings, and when she fails to see Rika, her heart starts racing, then she calls "Rika? Are you here, Rika?"
She instinctively looks toward the next area of the swings area and notices an odd lump on the sand, and as though knowing what that lump is, she shouts "Rika! Please tell me you're playing some weird game!"
Chiko runs toward the lump, slides on her knees besides it, then starts digging the sand away, revealing little Rika curled up into a ball and shivering.
Chiko breathes rapidly through her mouth, shoves Rika's shoulder, and nervously whispers "Rika, are you alright?"
The little girl opens her eyes and raises her head to look at Chiko, revealing various bumps and purple bruises on her forehead and her cheeks, then smiles and whispers "Chiko... you're alright. Those... mean bullies didn't hurt you. I'm so glad... I helped Chiko, at last."
Chiko panics and says "no, don't move! Dammit, those bastards! Uuu, I need to get you home!"
Taking a deep breath to muster up enough strength, Chiko manages to grab the whimpering little girl by her shoulders, helps her stand, then kneels down so that Rika could fall on her back.
She takes the long walk back to Rika's home, trying to move faster than her feet can take her, and when she's at the door, she knocks hard on it, calling "Mister and missis Onkamikami, please! It's an emergency!"
The moment she hears the door open, Rika can hear her parents panic and ask what happened, though with all three of them speaking at the same time made Rika think there was more than three people there.
Everything becomes black, and when the scene bears light once more, little Rika is in a bland white hospital room on a metal framed bed with white sheets, being held by her parents while her mother asks "and who did this to you, sweetie?"
Her father, sounding stern, asks "what kind of monsters would do such a thing?"
Rika smiles and whispers the story to her parents, ending her story with a smile and tears.
Chiko approaches Rika, grabs her bandaged left hand, then says "you idiot, you don't HAVE to be strong like me! You are not a burden! I LIKE protecting you, so... so..."
Little Rika knows Chiko is now blaming herself for what happened, so the takes her little hand, places it on her friend's head, then whispers "it's not your fault. You did what you could..."
The memory suddenly speeds up, showing Rika's enraged parents arguing with the bullies' parents, who shoot the same dirty looks their kids shot at Rika, Chiko protecting little Rika on later days, even protecting her from flying leaves that got too close, obviously affected about what happened to her friend.
Back at Pandemonium's dining room, the room echoes with the sniffles of some of the Makaians, and becomes tense with their rage as well.
Shikieiki sighs, then says "Tenshi, you should not blame yourself for what happened anymore. That girl sacrificed herself for you, so turn those thoughts away, and honor your friend's sacrifice."
Both Tenshi and Yumeko share the same face of anger and disgust, but Tenshi's face suggest more, as even a bit of drool trickles down the left corner of her mouth, which comes from the foaming that's formed around her gritted teeth.
Reimu, as well as the rest of the people there all have their eyes covered by a dark shadow, their heads lowered, and some, like Kogasa, seem about ready to start crying.
Surprisingly enough, it's Sara who raises her head and says "well, I'm convinced! Our sister is strong! To have survived all that on her own is more than enough proof."
The tension in the room seems to lift, and one by one, everyone in the room start raising their heads and smile.
Reimu and Tenshi are the only ones there that do not smile at all, but seem to have relaxed a little, and both keep their eyes on Shikieiki, who says "yes, that's what I like to hear. The past is gone, there's nothing you can do about it, but you can make sure that girl's present becomes her bliss. Exchange those hellish memories for bright and cheerful thoughts of today, and allow her to enjoy this paradise she's come to love so much."
Shanghai raises her little left hand and exclaims "I'm giving aunty Rika a kiss on the cheek whenever I see her!", then Hourai stands up and says "I'm singing a song, just for her!"
Little by little, the people in the room cheer up and talk amongst themselves about how to help Rika bare those old memories of hers, and even Yumeko joins on the conversation with quite a bright smile.
Shikieiki stares at all of them, points at them with her right finger, then motions her hand toward the door, and just like that, everyone starts to leave the room, save for the two standing straight in front of Shikieiki with stern looks on their faces.
Tenshi and Reimu do not move an inch, and stare at the Yama as she uses her powers to remove the Makaians and the youkai from the room, and when the door closes behind Kogasa, Reimu asks "so what is it you want to show US that you don't want the others to see?"
Shikieiki lifts her head high as she says "so you understand, as expected."
Tenshi raises her left eyebrow in confusion, then Shikieiki says "regardless of anything, you two are the closest to that girl, so I want you to see something very important..."
The Yama pauses, links her fingers under her chin, alternates her eyes between Reimu and Tenshi, then says "I want you to see the day Rika's dark self first came into being. Mind you, what you are about to see is strong, even for someone me... but you have to know, for her sake."
Both Tenshi and Reimu stand firm and stare with determination at the Yama, then Reimu says "the faster you do this, the better."
Tenshi quickly adds "let's get on with it already."
Shikieiki nods, unlinks her right hand, points her finger between Tenshi and Reimu, then they both close their eyes to, once again, live through one of Rika's memories.
This memory beings right back in the playground, exactly one year after the events from the previous memory.
Little Rika is once again fending for herself by the swings.
She is being pushed around by the same bullies as before, and this time they brought more friends from around the park, though all they do is edge them on into torturing the girl.
Rika has had plenty of chances to fight back, but even having the opportunity, something inside of her prevents her from attacking; a strong feeling of pain that prevents her from harming others.
The leader of the bullies, who is wearing his usual dark clothes, grabs little Rika by the arm, kicks her behind the knees, knocking her to the ground, then the two girls jump in and start kicking Rika, making her curl up into a ball once again.
After what feels like an hour, which in truth is about fifteen minutes, little Rika has stopped crying, the bullies let her rest, then one of the agitators asks "is the devil-girl dead?"
The bullies' leader steps forward, forces the little girl up, then says "nah, she's fine, but it seems we broke something."
From around, the agitators ooh, boo, and hiss, making fun of the little girl.
The thing the children did not notice was the vicious and hateful look on Rika's face, and long before anybody notices, she rushes toward the leader and shoves him surprisingly hard to the ground, where he stays holding to the back of his head, then Rika looks down on him as though looking at a pile of vomit.
Suddenly, the boy starts screaming and crying out in pain.
Rika's face returns to its normal, kind state, and when she looks down, she gasps and exclaims "oh no! I'm so sorry!"
Her caring instincts take over, and Rika bends down and tries to help the boy up, but moving him makes him scream out as though in agony, and that's when Rika notices blood on the boy's hand.
Rika gasps, and backs away, thinking "oh no! What did I just do? I hurt him! I made him bleed!"
Rika starts to shiver, thinking it's all her fault for shoving the boy, and doesn't notice a stray sharp rock under the boy's head getting swallowed up by the sand.
Rika's legs lose their strength and she falls on her knees, where she remains staring at the bleeding boy, his blood now staining the sands, while the other children start screaming and crying for their parents, one of them clearly saying "mama, the demon girl killed him!"
Rika blinks once, and now the boy's parents are all over him, his mother embracing him and lifting him off the ground, while his father glare at Rika as though looking at the devil itself.
To Rika, everything happens too fast, and all she can hear are the insults flying her way, while the rest of the screams and speeches sound slurred and muffled.
She has to move; the boy's father has now been joined by two more men from his clan, and all walk slowly toward her with murderous intent in their eyes.
When the man is but a step away from Rika, everything becomes dark.
Later that day, little Rika can hear rain, but she doesn't know where she is.
All she knows is that it's very dark, and her entire body hurts.
She can hear her mother is close, calling "Rika! Child, answer me!"
Loud sobs is all Rika manages to do to call her mother, and shortly after, there is light form above her, as well as cold water striking her skin.
The adults had beaten the child and left her to bleed to her death inside a wooden box next to a pile of burnable trash, but Rika is only aware of this when her mother picks her up from the box and lifts her up, crying as though sharing her daughter's pain.
Now she dangles on her mother's shoulder semi-conscious, and her blood is mixing with the rain and washing away.
To Rika, her parent's voice sound muffled, but she can hear her father furiously arguing.
He has taken the family sword from her mother, and after finally recovering her senses, Rika can see herself covered in blood on her mother's arms, staining her mother's clothes with her blood that mixes with the rain, and her mother now stands in front of the father, screaming "killing them will not solve anything! Sweetheart, Rika needs you and me now! Revenge will have to wait!"
With the rain falling furiously from the sky, their voices sound faint, but Rika can clearly hear how her father furiously replies "NO! They have gone TOO FAR! This wasn't done by those children, and I know DAMNED WELL who did this too! I will make them SUFFER for this! Now step aside!"
Rika starts to sob again, and just like that, her father drops the sword and rushes to his family, recovering his senses and whispering "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Y-your right! L-let's get her to the hospital and deal with this later."
His wife sighs with immense relief, then after picking the sword from the ground, the family of three braves the furious rain to head straight towards the hospital.
When the memory ends, both Tenshi and Reimu drop on their knees and breath as though breathing for the first time once again, then Tenshi screams "what the hell? Why didn't they tell me?"
Reimu places her hand on her forehead to recover herself, then asks "all that just because they thought she was a demon?"
Shikieiki is once again linking her fingers under her chin while looking at the maiden and the celestial, then says "that poor girl kept asking herself 'what did she do to ever deserve such treatment', and in doing so, she gave strength to the darkness in her, allowing it to take over, to defend herself, just because her own pure soul prevented her from causing others pain."
Shikieiki closes her eyes, then adds "mind you, attacks like those happened often, before and after meeting you, miss Tenshi. And thus, each and every attack led to the strengthening of that darkness, until it exploded the way you saw there."
Tenshi gasps, while Reimu keeps her temper in check, though her eyes intensify, showing her anger.
The Yama sighs and says "neither of you can change the past, but you can alter her present. Now that you saw this mere glimpse of her memories, I hope that you understand that girl needs support, still, to this day. Reimu, Tenshi, you are the closest to her, and you two are the ones to help her balance that darkness!"
Reimu and Tenshi recover themselves, stand up and look at the Yama, then Tenshi says "even if I have to move under that shrine's donation box, I'm making hell sure to stay by Rika's side."
Reimu angrily whispers "move somewhere else", then looks sternly at Shikieiki, and coldly says "I will do what I can."
The Yama smiles, then says "I will not hold you any longer, Reimu. Go to her."
Reimu bows rapidly, then makes her way out the door to look for Shinki's room.
Once the door closes, Shikieiki smiles while looking at Tenshi, then says "that was the past, and you know that. Rika is happy where she is, finally. Allow her to enjoy that peace and happiness, and you will have changed that girl's life for the better."
Tenshi stares silently at the Yama, something even she herself is impressed at, then turns her face toward the door and says "yeah, I think I know what you mean."
The celestial cracks a wide grin, then says "oh, that girl will smile so widely when I teach her how to play pranks."
Shikieiki's eyes spread open in surprise, then Tenshi, noticing the Yama's expression, turns all the way around to look at the windows and says "hey, playing pranks on others is a perfect source of lightening laughter and joyous hilarity."
Shikieiki stares at Tenshi with surprise, then after about ten seconds, she finally asks "how in blazes did you even get to enter Heaven?"
Meanwhile, using her luck and intuition, Reimu finds Shinki's room in just a few minutes, and as soon as she enters the room, she lays her eyes on the bed, which has its frame made of the same crystal as the palace itself, and has red sheets and two large feather pillows.
Rika is sleeping on the bed, while Shinki sits by her side and softly combs her hair with her hand.
Shinki raises her head to look at Reimu, smiles, then gets up from the bed and walks toward the maiden while Reimu closes the door behind her.
There are two comfortable-looking chairs against the wall to the right of the door, and next to those chairs is an ornamental potted plant in the corner.
Next to the plant, on the right-side wall, is Shinki's amazing vanity, with a large, wide mirror on its top, eight drawers all over it, but surprisingly plainly adorned on the tabletop.
Before the goddess can even think a word, Reimu looks at her in the eyes and says "I want to ask a favor of you. Please, don't take this lightly."
Almost dumbstruck, Shinki silently nods and waits.
Reimu closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, and after forming the words in her mind, she says "I want to ask you to keep Rika here with you. I am certain that she will be more than happy in here, between her newfound brethren... and her adoptive god of a mother."
Shinki looks at Reimu with insult in her face, and sounding both surprised and annoyed, Shinki replies "Hakurei, I can't believe you. Don't you ever say something like that to her, or I'm going to hunt you down!"
Reimu looks back at the goddess in surprise, but before she can reply, Shinki continues "that girl loves and admires you very much, Reimu. More than anything, she wishes to help you carry your burden as shrine maiden for as long as you have to bear it!"
Reimu, though scowling, calmly asks "and how do you even know all this?"
Shinki sighs, then replies "I guess you'll have to see for yourself, and I have prepared something for such a thing."
Rika suddenly starts moaning and moving her arms and legs around, as though in a nightmare, so Shinki rushes to her side, kneels, then whispers "it's alright child. Calm down, calm down. Everything is fine."
While saying this, she brushes the side of Rika's head, helping the shrine maid calm down.
After calming Rika down, Shinki sighs and looks at Reimu while saying "she's been like this the whole time. I hope those memories don't affect her too much..."
Reimu places her hand on her face and rubs her left eye with her palm, and after a long sigh, she looks at Shinki and asks "so, what is this thing you have prepared?"
Shinki looks at Reimu, raises the left corner of her lips, then says "come closer. I'll explain everything."
A few hours later, Rika wakes up, but feels completely disoriented.
She can't make out where she is, so she moans and asks "wh-where am I? Mi-miss Reimu?"
She hears the muffle sound of a woman's voice that is clearly not Reimu's, then suddenly remembers what happened; what she asked of Shikieiki and everything she now remembers from her past.
She takes a deep breath, rubs her eyes, and when she opens them again, she realizes she's still in the crystal palace of Pandemonium, lying on the most comfortable bed she's ever been on, and with Shinki sitting by her side, smiling motherly at her.
Rika immediately smiles back and softly asks "miss Shinki. You... you've been here with me the whole time, haven't you?"
Shinki nods, then Rika surprises her when she almost jumps off the bed to give the goddess a hug while saying "thank you so much for everything! You have treated me with the same care as my mother would."
Shinki is left in a state of awe, and when Rika pushes herself away from Shinki, she smiles at the goddess, flaps her little wings, and says "thank you so very, very much."
Shinki places her hand on her chest while smiling back at Rika, then says "I am so glad to hear you say that."
There is a short pause, then Shinki says "I meant what I said before, Rika. You are welcome here in Makai as one of our own, so don't be shy and call me 'mom' if you'd like."
Rika playfully jumps and hugs Shinki again, excitedly saying "whatever you say, mom!"
Shinki giggles and holds Rika's head against her own, and for that moment, Rika finally had the chance to feel a motherly touch once again.
Rika and Shinki return to the dining hall, where Tenshi, Kogasa, Shikieiki, Alice, Shanghai, Hourai, Yumeko, and of course, Reimu, are all waiting impatiently for news on Rika.
When they see the shrine maid and goddess enter through those doors, all but Shikieiki and Reimu rush straight toward them, all asking Rika how she was feeling, but doing so at the same time, making it into an unintelligible babble.
A bit surprised at first, Rika just smiles back at them to try and appease them, but it's no use, so Shinki gets in front of Rika, raises both arms, and with authority and kindness, she loudly says "silence! Girls, let her speak!"
Once the girls quiet down, Rika bows to Shinki as thanks, then says "yes, I am fine. Kogasa, it's true, these memories hurt, but Yumeko, Alice, they won't hinder me in the least. Rest assured, I am still Rika. The same one you knew before."
She then looks at Tenshi, who has a longing and worried face, then says "my old friend... I remember everything! Thank you so much for being with me all those years... Momoko."
That old nickname Rika herself gave her hits Tenshi hard, making her smile wide as she excitedly says "you do remember!", then rushes to Rika, grabs her under the arms, throws her in the air, making Rika scream in surprise, then catches the shrine maid before she hits the ground and twirls her around with a tight hug.
A little dazed, Rika says "whoa, I'm happy to be with you again, my old friend."
Tenshi places Rika back on the ground, and while the shrine maid recovers herself, Tenshi laughs, pats her on the back, and says "welcome back, my old friend!"
Rika takes Tenshi's hat off, messes her hair a bit with her left hand, places the hat back on and says "it's good to be back."
That's when Shikieiki clears her throat to call on Rika's attention.
Shinki gives Rika a light shove towards Shiki, while signaling to the other girls with her hands to step aside, which they immediately do.
Reimu, in the meantime, remains silent as she stands in the middle of the dining room, away from Rika and the other girls, watching everything from the sidelines.
When Rika is close, Shikieiki smiles and asks "so, you're feeling alright?"
Rika nods with a sweet smile and says "you were right. Those memories sure were something. I... I almost lost myself back there, if it hadn't been for lady Shinki and Kogasa's words."
She pauses for a moment to think, then says "of course, the memories of all my new friends... that memory alone saved me from the precipice of darkness when everything else seemed to fail me."
Shikieiki smiles and nods while saying "good", then points at the dark sword stabbed on the ground next to the long crystal tables and asks "and how exactly did you manage to seal the rest of your memories into that sword?"
Rika looks at the sword, and her smile immediately turns to a frown.
Without realizing it, she walks over to it, pulls it out of the ground, and while holding it sideways on her hands and looking at it, she says "these are not just my dark memories, miss Eiki. This... this is my dark self."
Shikieiki opens her left eye wide with surprise, but not widely enough to let the others in the room know of her surprise.
Rika continues to look at the sword and barely smiles as she says "she said that when I am ready, shell return the rest of my memories to me. So, for now, she resides in here... She and all those dark memories."
Shikieiki closes her eyes and nods, acknowledging everything that Rika said, while thinking "I see. She managed to defeat that darkness thanks to the love she has for her friends. That alone caused the darkness in her so seek a new refuge. I guess I did the right thing after all."
Later, with the help of Shinki, who summoned some of her children to get Rika some materials from all over Makai, the shrine maid synthesized herself a new sheath she integrated to the back of her belt, and now has the dark sword sheathed horizontally with its hilt to the right.
Now Reimu, Tenshi, Kogasa, Alice with Shanghai and Hourai, and Rika stand close to the door while Rika says her goodbyes.
Rika holds Yumeko's hands as she says "see you later sis. And please, don't feel bad anymore. I don't blame you for protecting your... I mean... our mom."
Yumeko smirks, then says "hey, who do you think I am? I'm already over that."
Rika chuckles, then suddenly looks around and says "what a shame the rest left so early. Oh well, I'll come visit and bring them some of my dumplings. They'll love them."
Shinki giggles and says "I'm sure they will.", then glances over to Reimu, who stares back without showing a single bit of emotion.
Walking backward toward her friends, Rika says a few more goodbyes until she bumps into Reimu, who purposely moved to get in her way.
Rika turns around and chuckles nervously when she realizes she bumped on her mistress, but before she can apologize, in a low tone of voice, Reimu says "Rika, I can see how happy you will be with these people, so please stay here in Makai with your new family."
These words fall like a bomb on Rika, and after staying in place while staring at her mistress in shock, Rika chuckles and says "my lady, please stop teasing like that. Come on, let's go-"
Reimu suddenly and loudly says "Rika, I order you to stay here!"
Rika hops away from Reimu and looks at her mistress with frightened, glassy eyes, then trembles as she lowers her head.
Outraged, Tenshi grabs Reimu by the collar of her shirt, and through gritted teeth, she angrily asks "what the hell is this about, Reimu!"
Alice gasps, but remains silent when she manages to glance at Reimu's, then Shinki's eyes.
Hourai and Shanghai fly around Reimu, both shouting at the same time, Shanghai saying "how can you say such things, you mean red and white!", while Hourai shouts "I want my aunty in Gensokyo, you big red bully!"
Kogasa walks over to Reimu, who shoots one of her most vile and dangerous looks at the celestial, making Tenshi drop her, then Kogasa takes she chance, pulls on Reimu's skirt, then sniffles and says "but Rika-sis' home is Gensokyo."
Reimu ignores the others and continues to stare at Rika, who lifts her head just at that moment, and with a serious face and tone, she says "sorry my lady, but that is one order I refuse to follow. Sure, I love my family here, and I'd love to get to know them all better, but Gensokyo is my home, my lady, by your side!"
Reimu returns Rika's serious stare with her own, expelling a dangerously ominous aura as well, then coldly says "I order you to kill yourself, right here in front of me!"
Everybody gasps in shock at Reimu's sudden request, then scream when Rika pulls her family sword and rapidly places it on her chest to stab herself.
Rika's eyes are resolute, and without hesitation, she lifts that sword and thrust it toward her chest.
Reimu shouts "STOP!", and Rika stops her sword when it is but a mere inch away from her chest.
Reimu suddenly rushes to Rika, pushes the sword away from the maid's chest, then asks "Rika! You'd go to such lengths for me?"
Rika firmly responds "whatever my lady Reimu wishes, I will see it becomes a reality!"
Reimu sighs, grabs her shrine maid, gives her a hug, causing Rika to twitch a bit, then says "you are just so... so incorrigible! Stupid, stupid Rika, never follow an order like that again! For as long as you stay with me, NEVER take your life for granted! Now let's go home!"
Rika recovers herself enough to return Reimu's hug, and sounding a bit tired, she says "a-as you wish, my lady. I'm sorry to have scared you like that, miss Reimu."
Hiding her face with Rika's hair, Reimu lets out a single thankful tear as she calmly says "no, I'm the one who's sorry. I promise to never doubt you again."
Right after saying that, without anybody's, save Rika's notice, the jewel on the colorful sword on the ground glows pink, making Rika smile, return a more natural hug, and say "thank you for everything, my lady Reimu."
After breaking away from the hug, Reimu looks at Shinki and Shikieiki, both whom return warm smiles at the maiden, then Shinki winks and mouth the words "I told you so.", while Shikieiki bows her head and silently stares at the maiden.
Behind Reimu, Tenshi grabs Rika and exclaims "you crazy, crazy Onkamikami, don't you EVER do that! How am I supposed to protect you from yourself like that!"
When Rika tries to apologize to Tenshi, Kogasa cries out "Rika-sis, don't go! Who's going to cheer me up when I'm feeling down!"
Before Rika can reply, Shanghai says "stupid, stupid aunty Rika!", then Hourai lands on Rika's left shoulder and exclaims "and just when we were talking about being a big family now!"
Finally, Rika looks at Alice and Yumeko, both give her a stern stare, then shrug simultaneously, relaxing their faces.
Having being scolded by everyone, Rika finally says "I'm sorry, I don't know what I was thinking."
Tenshi wraps an arm around Rika's shoulder, then Rika twitches as though with fright, but forces herself to smile naturally at her long-time friend.
From the corridor just before the dining room, a girl screams a loud and bloody scream, then the door bursts open with a powerful bang.
Mai rushes inside the room with half her clothes burned off, screaming at the top of her lungs "MOM! SAVE MEEEE!"
Right after Mai comes Yuki, holding on to a transparent set of underwear she obviously wants Mai to wear, then Yumeko suddenly bursts into flames when Yuki smiles at her, and screams in horrible pain while Yuki's magical fire burns her, but doesn't consume her.
Reimu shouts "what the hell is going on?"
Alice face palms and shakes her head while saying "ugh, and there she goes."
Kogasa runs behind Reimu and nervously says "I-I-I-I'm not scared! J-j-just getting out of her way."
Yumeko shouts "OOOOWWW! Mom, do something!"
Shinki just laughs after Shikieiki says something to her and completely ignores her two girls' screams.
Yuki spots Mai trying to hide under one of the tables and flies after her sister, preparing the transparent brassiere for immediate equipping on her sister.
Mai screams and slides away, leaving her shirt on the floor and holding on to hear breasts so her half-burned bra doesn't fall off, then she and Yumeko run straight out of the dining room with Yuki silently flying after them.
On their way out, Mai and Yumeko burst through the door to the main hall, where Sara and Luize are running around in circles while fire surrounds and burns their clothes, but don't consume either, and now, Luize's hat has become ash by now.
Mai bumps against Sara and is immediately engulfed by magical flames, and now all four girls scream out loud while Yuki flies over their heads, smiling silently and swooping down on them.
Amongst the screaming, Luize manages to scream "why am I wearing a disgusting bikini now?", Sara screams "ew, ew, ew, ew, get the roaches off; get this FIRE OFF!", Yumeko shouts "Yuki, I'm sorry! Just stop making a mess of things already!", and Mai shouts "NOOOOO! Transparent panties? I DON'T WANNA GET MARRIED!"
Just like that, all four girl run away to the next corridor while Yuki silently smiles and flies after them, shooting fireballs at their bare butts, which present themselves through the flames when Yuki points at her sisters.
The girls manage to burst through the gates to the outside of the palace, run straight toward the lake, and without even thinking about the monsters in there, they jump in and dive to avoid more fireballs from Yuki's fingers.
Yuki stops her pursuit, shrugs while tossing away the lest of the transparent lingerie, then stares at the water with a smile while her sisters pop their heads out of the water one by one.
By now, Reimu, Rika, Tenshi, Shinki and Shikieiki are flying next to Yuki, who ignores the onlookers and shouts "that's for knocking me on the head with three-week-old bread!"
Mai looks furiously at Shinki and shouts "aren't any of you going to do something about this?"
Shinki giggles and says "stop whining and take your retribution."
Rika shrugs and says "I'd normally apply a good spanking, but I was told about what happened, so I letting this one slide."
Yuki grins at her sister, then says "hah, I told you, you wouldn't see it coming! Well now we are even, so..."
Without finishing her sentence, Yuki starts to whistle while flying away, then suddenly turns around, lifts her hand at Rika, then says "will be seeing you later, sis.", then continues on her way.
Moments later, the group from Gensokyo flies above the city of Makai, then Kogasa suddenly stops and asks "hey... do you guys hear that?"
From the comfort of Pandemonium's main hall, Shinki smiles, lifts her left hand, then gestures a sudden dive of her fingers, and at the same time as she does that, a powerful gusts blows Kogasa's umbrella from her hands and sends is straight toward the horrible, large statue, where it rams its tip on a large crack by the statue's left ankle.
Kogasa dives down, crying "my umbrella!", while everybody else seem to ignore her.
Once she reaches the ground, she finds the strong yellow-skinned muscular Makaian trying to pull the umbrella free, saying "don't worry little youkai, I got this... whoops!"
He pulls the umbrella out of the crack, but causes a reaction through the cracked statue that reaches all the way up to the last functioning flamethrower, and just like that, then entire statue explodes so violently, the vibration is felt all the way back to Pandemonium's main hall.
After feeling that vibration, Shinki happily sighs, then says "and finally, everything is back in its place."
It is morning at Gensokyo when the group finally arrives to the shrine, and Reimu is expecting to see her shrine turned upside down, and when she opens the back sliding doors, she gasps and screams.
Rika rushes to Reimu's side and asks "m-my lady, what's the matter?"
Reimu covers her own eyes as she looks away, points toward the living room through the kitchen, and says "my shrine is in one piece! Th-this is impossible! This is not my shrine!"
From the living room, Marisa springs up from the floor and angrily says "hey, what is that supposed to mean, you lazy shrine maiden!"
Sounding equally angry, Budou hops on the first counter in the kitchen and says "hey, papa is a respons... si.. sible... responsible adult!"
From the back of the living room, Reimu can hear Ail saying "you tell her, Budou!"
Rika sweats as she chuckles nervously and says "my lady I have to agree with them on that. That was a little rude."
Reimu angrily says "fine, fine, I'm sorry, jeez. Thanks for taking care of the shrine for us."
Tenshi pushes her way into the shrine, loudly saying "this was a VERY long night, so please let Rika", in an undertone she adds " and Reimu", then continues normally "through, so they can rest!"
Ail is sitting behind the small dinner table, and on top of said table is Suzaku, who squawks and telepathically exclaims "Rika-sama, I'm so glad to see you are well!"
Ail suddenly looks at Tenshi, gasps, then says "so you were with them after all! Wow, I guess we owe Mima fifteen thousand."
Marisa smacks her face with her hands, groans, then says "dammit, she somehow did it again! Bah, I guess I'll have to actually sell something in the village."
Ail rapidly adds "but you are so lazy when it comes to that."
Marisa kneels beside Ail, and with a dangerously murderous smile, she says "watch it, ze."
Alice is the last to enter the shrine, and her two tiny daughters immediately jump off their mother's shoulders and fly over to Rika, exclaiming "auntie!"
Ail suddenly asks "so what happened over there? Suzaku felt something happening to Rika, then suddenly recovered herself... after we got scared out of our pants by that... Michiko."
Alice sighs, then says "there was one surprise after another. Frankly, I am surprised this poor girl is still sane after all of that."
Alice places a hand on Rika's shoulder and feels when the shrine maid twitches, but manages to keep it secret.
After pulling her hand away, Alice shrugs and says "well, at least now I know I have another sister, and a good one at that. Not like Yuki at all."
Rika nervously chuckles, then says "oh my. Seems miss Yuki is high-spirited."
Alice immediately replies "more like an annoying woodpecker in your brain."
There is a short pause of words, and now everybody notice Tenshi has dropped on one of the table's cushions and has fallen asleep, so Alice sighs and says "well, I better get going now. Shanghai, Hourai, we're going home."
The two little girls let out a tired "aww", then jump off Rika's shoulders and join their adoptive mother.
Marisa chuckles and smiles, then says "well, everything is fine, the shrine's in one piece, and Reimu is back safely. I'm going home now, so wait for me, Alice."
Alice continues to walk toward the back exit while saying "just hurry up or I'll leave you behind."
Marisa rushes to the back, smiles when she passes by Reimu and Rika and says "I'll be seeing ya'", then runs after Alice, saying "hey, Alice, wait up! Really, if you're going to have a boyfriend, you better start practicing on your patience."
Even Rika lets out a weak chuckle when Alice's voice enters through the roof as she says "stop saying such disgusting things, you ordinary thief.", and Marisa replying "I only borrow things, not steal them!"
Ail suddenly gets on his feet, grabs Budou from the counter, then looks at Reimu, then at Rika, sees the exhaustion in their faces, and says "we better get going to the Moriya shrine. Sanae's probably starting to worry."
With that, he opens a gap to the Moriya shrine, enters halfway, then looks at Reimu and says "and that Michiko did something VERY WEIRD last night! Go and check the donation box out and make sure she didn't do anything funny to it."
He enters the gap and closes it immediately, not giving Reimu or Rika the chance to reply or say goodbye.
After lunch and a bath, both Reimu and Rika sit in their futons in their separate rooms, both looking out the high window with thoughtful faces.
Reimu sighs and thinks back to when Rika refused her first order, then thinks "that maid is so incorrigible. Bluntly denying my order like that... but..."
She then remembers when she said those horrible "kill yourself" words, and how Rika came so close to taking her life, then thinks "but she did it because she wants to stay with me. But what if she accepted to stay? What then?"
She now imagines a different scene, one where Rika accepted to stay with Shinki, and all Reimu can do is watch with a heartache as Rika vanishes in the distance with her new Makaian family.
She shakes her head to shake off that thought and says to herself "no, Rika is mine. She just showed us all she's devoted to staying with me, so forget about that, Reimu. Smile and be happy that she is here, and she's staying with me forever."
Meanwhile, over in Rika's room, Rika has gotten out of her futon and is now holding on to her scarf, reading the letters in kanji for "the will of fire" written in two halves, each on the end of the scarf, then thinks "what is this feeling... like I don't even want them touching me, or even near me?"
Rika remembers Tenshi's hug, and how she felt nervous and insecure, then thinks "but Tenshi is my friend. She would never harm me, not like those bullies from before..."
She then starts remembering Reimu's touch, and how that felt like the worst; like feeling her own mistress is suddenly going to attack her.
Rika starts breathing rapidly though her mouth, then yelps and tosses the scarf away into the left-most corner of the room.
She breathes through her mouth and waits to hear if Reimu would ask what happened, then completely relaxes when nothing of the sort happens.
The takes one last relaxing breath, then says "I can't wear that scarf, not when I'm feeling like this. But I can't let miss Reimu know either. I've already burdened her enough."
Rika gulps, lowers her wings, looks out the window, then says "I-I'll just tell her it's hot... yeah, that's what I'll do. Anyways, I'll get over this somehow, so I'll fight this feeling, for miss Reimu's, and all my friend's and family's sakes."
She walks over to her futon in the center of the neat room, kneels down and gets inside the sheets, then closes her eyes, whimpers for a second, then smiles and says "mama Shinki... thank you, my loving godmother from Makai.", then almost immediately falls to sleep, feeling as though Shinki herself is using her lap as a pillow for Rika, smiling motherly at her and combing the shrine maid's hair with her fingers.
My Loving Demonic Godmother The End.
Characters, Spell Cards and Scenarios belong to ZUN -Team Shanghai Alice-
Ail, Budou and Michiko were created by Willie G.R.
Rika Onkamikami, the Onkamikami family and clan, and Suzaku the bird of Vermilion were created by Snapshot 2010
Original Story by
FEB 25 2011
And there you have it. Honestly, this chapter was shorter than I expected, even when using all three memories. Anyway, now that I am done with this, I'm catching up on some reading, then working on that Touhou and Kingdom Hearts crossover, and on the Pirates fic as well. I have another fic on the works too (one that is original and does not link to any of my other stories), but now I am saying too much again, aren't I? Oh, that's right, for those of you waiting for the next Sukima, do not fear, as I will also be working on that one, making it my main target once the crossover is done.
It's not that I want to mess myself up... it's that when I get blocked on one thing, I use the other fics to continue writing, AND by doing that, I help myself in inspiring me to continue with the fic I stopped before. Oh, it seems I said more about random things than about this fic. Umm, well, to be honest, it was VERY hard to write for me (especially those last two chapters), and not because of Snapshot's notes, but because of the story. Somehow, I can' focus well on sad stuff. Oh well, thanks for your prayers, which helped me finish this chapter sooner. Thanks as well for reading this far. Take care, and see you on my other Touhou fictions *smile*.