Kotohime and the New Recruits
"Now," said Kotohime as she flopped into her chair, shifting a bit to accommodate the baton-like jitte stowed incongruously in the sash of her bright purple dress robes, "I'm sure you're both wondering why I called you to my offi..." She blinked and looked around for a moment. "To this tavern," she finished, absently brushing a strand of vivid red hair out of her face.
"And why she's here too," one of her guests added grumpily.
The two women sharing the opposite side of the table could hardly have been more different. One, Kaguya Houraisan, was a perfect classical princess in attire, poise and beauty. Her waist-length black hair was worn in a traditional Hime cut with level bangs and long side locks, and she looked around at the tavern's smoky interior with an expression of polite interest, drawing stares and whispers from the bar's other patrons as they marveled at how she seemed to glow despite the dingy lighting.
Fujiwara no Mokou, on the other hand, slouched in her chair with a surly expression on her face, ignored by and ignoring everyone not at her table. The woman's ankle-length smoke-gray hair was studded with ribbons and paper charms, as were her baggy red pants. The shirt she wore under her suspenders might have been white at one time, but was smudged and discolored and stank of ash and days without soap. She kept glancing suspiciously at the girl sitting next to her.
"I accepted Princess Kotohime's invitation just the same as you," chided Kaguya with a serene smile. "And I am sure she is eager to explain this summons."
"Yes, it is rather exciting," Kotohime agreed, bouncing up and down in her seat slightly before calming herself. She folded her hands on the table, regarding her guests like a professional conducting a job interview instead of a hyperactive woman with an interesting take on reality. "I was thinking - meditating, really - the other day, and decided that it's really quite ludicrous for Gensokyo to have only a single police officer to protect it."
"I thought you were a princess," interrupted Mokou.
"As well as a police officer," Kotohime explained. "And on some occasions I am forced to go undercover as a simple policewoman, or on others to disguise myself as a mere princess. But back to the topic at hand - well, I'm sure you can guess my proposition! How would you two like to join the force?"
There was an uncomfortable silence in which neither guest enthusiastically accepted her offer.
"Why us, in particular?" inquired Kaguya politely.
"Because we're all princesses, of course!" answered Kotohime with a huge smile.
"I'm not," Mokou said flatly.
"Oh? That's a shame..." Kotohime drummed her fingers on the slightly-sticky table. "An all-princess police force would be an unstoppable, gilded hammer of justice..." She looked up at Mokou again. "But you're at least a noblewoman, right? Fujiwara clan and all that."
The gray-haired girl snorted derisively. "I wouldn't say noble. And technically, yeah, I'm a Fujiwara, but I'm pretty sure I've been written off the family tree. It's been thirteen hundred years, after all," she added, staring moodily at a place centuries away.
The lull in the conversation was interrupted when a waitress brought the three glasses Kotohime had ordered. The red-haired princess nodded at the servant and immediately chugged down her drink. Then, before her guests could move, she sent the contents of a second cup down after the first.
"Mmmm..." Kotohime picked up the third glass, sloshing the amber liquid around a bit, and smacked her lips. "Good stuff. Anyway, as rookies you'll be paired with an older, more experienced officer, namely whichever of you I swear in first. You'll get to go on patrols until you learn your way around town and meet the locals, while I can get caught up on the paperwork and my sleep. Now I don't have any official uniforms or badges, so if anyone asks, you're undercover. And when there's a problem, we'll all rush in and beat seven kinds of hell out of it with our suspiciously phallic truncheons of office." She drained the third glass in a single gulp. "Sound good?"
Kaguya just stared at the three empty cups. "I'll be back in a moment," she said, gracefully rising from her seat and heading towards the bartender.
Mokou watched her leave, her eyes narrowed, before turning back to Kotohime. "To answer your question: no. There's no way in hell I'm 'partnering' with her. The only reason I'm not killing her right now is because I don't wanna burn this place down around us."
"Yes, yes, your feud," Kotohime said, waving a dismissive hand. "But that's why teaming up with her is the best idea ever! You get witty banter, sarcastic remarks, you can trade insults in the middle of a gunfight – or danmaku fight, whatever. But then it gradually becomes clear that you're beginning to respect each other, even starting to like each other, and then you move on to sexual tension-"
Mokou was still sputtering when Kaguya returned moments later with a pair of beers. She took Kaguya's offered glass with a grunt of thanks and quickly drained it to calm herself.
"-leave it up to you to decide who's the jaded cop and who's the young, wise-cracking firebrand," Kotohime went on, waving her hands animatedly. "And it's okay if you cause some collateral damage, because then I get to yell at you for being renegade cops who don't play by the rules. Though I can't say 'the mayor's riding my ass on this one!' because technically I'm the highest civil authority-"
"Your pardon, but what are those rules, anyway?" Kaguya interrupted as she slid back into her seat. At Kotohime's confused look, she added "I'm referring to Gensokyo's legal code. I would assume it's all written down somewhere, yes? As a Lunarian, I would need to familiarize myself with the local laws before attempting to enforce them."
"Oh, of course!" Kotohime said brightly. After several seconds passed without her producing such a book, she shifted in her seat, a guilty look on her face. "Well, I don't own a copy myself. You're right, though, they're probably written down somewhere... maybe town hall? Do we even have a town hall?" She tapped her chin and frowned with the effort of recollection, then shrugged. "Anyway, it's not like I need to know what the laws are to uphold them. You know what they say, crime is like pornography – you know it when you see it."
Kaguya and Mokou traded a glance that said We're a pair of immortals that kill each other for fun, and yet neither of us is the craziest person at this table.
"What about those 'Incident' solvers," said Kaguya after taking a sip from her drink. "They're already doing unofficial police work, so why not make them part of the, ah, 'force?'"
"They have their uses," Kotohime grudgingly admitted. "But the witch is more concerned with breaking the law than upholding it, and the miko... well, she's a loose cannon, and not the good kind. I've tried to be a moderating influence on her, disciplining her when necessary, but I'm saddened to say it hasn't worked. That's why I'm looking for recruits with the character to succeed as policewomen, and who better than those with royal blood?"
Mokou made a dismissive noise somewhere between a grunt and a hiccup. Kaguya glanced at her rival, then back at their host.
"It's an... intriguing idea," the Lunarian said carefully. "Though I must point out that things have been relatively quiet, as of late."
"The calm before the storm," said Kotohime ominously. "Mark my words, this is just the lull before the next batch of six to eight troublemakers shows up for the next Incident. That's why we need a bulwark of princesses – and Mokou – to stand, armed and armored with justice, against the tide of shenanigans and comically violent misunderstandings, to... is something wrong with her?"
Mokou, whose skin had turned an unnatural shade of green, abruptly collapsed face-first onto the tabletop, making the empty glasses jump. An alarmed murmuring rose from the tavern's other occupants as she gurgled and foamed at the mouth, twitching slightly.
"It is all right, everyone," Kaguya said, rising to her feet and holding her hands up in a calming gesture. "The food and drink are perfectly safe; I merely poisoned her cup."
This, strangely, did little to help.
Kotohime ignored the growing hubbub and frowned in contemplation as she stared at the stricken woman. "I was about to say, it sure was surprising for her to chug down something from her blood nemesis like that. So, is she dead?" She didn't wait for an answer, and gave Mokou a good poke in the shoulder. "Yep, looks like it. Guess we don't need to send for that nurse of yours after all. Now where's that cat with the wheelbarrow?"
"She'll be fine in a half-hour," Kaguya replied.
"Oh, right, Hourai immortal." The other princess furrowed her brow. "So is it technically murder if the victim can recover from it?"
"I'm sure you'll figure something out," Kaguya said easily, still standing and looking down on her rival's corpse (for the moment) with satisfaction. "As for your offer: I am intrigued, and shall consider it, but I am not sure I can live up to your expectations."
"Yeah, this might not work out after all if you two will be killing each other while on duty," Kotohime concluded glumly. She gave Mokou another half-hearted poke. "Well, if you don't want to be a cop, we could go into the detective business," she offered. "'Two Princesses Detective Agency,' eh? Trench coats, nice hats, dreary rain, talk to ourselves a lot. Investigate crimes like this one, figure out how the victim died."
"She died because I poisoned her."
"And like, use forensical sciency stuff to deduce the poison used."
"I'll have to ask Eirin, but I can give you an answer by tomorrow." Kaguya bowed politely. "Thank you for your invitation."
"Yeah, thanks," Kotohime murmured without looking up. She didn't notice the other princess taking her leave, and was instead fixated on the charms on Mokou's legs and hair. Reasoning that there wasn't any law about stealing from dead people, Kotohime yanked one of the slips of paper from Mokou's hair, pocketed it, left some change on the table, and whistling cheerfully, exited the tavern.
She stepped outside, scarcely noticing the horrified cries of the bar's owner, who had finally emerged from the kitchen to see what was making his customers quit the place. Kotohime reached into a voluminous sleeve and pulled out a notebook and pencil, scratching "Police Princesses" off her list of ideas. It had been a long shot, she admitted, but it would have been awesome if it had worked.
That left her with... hmm, she'd written "Red-Headed League," but couldn't recall what she'd meant by it. A club? Some sort of sports team? That could be fun. They could challenge the Green-Headed League to a tournament! Once they'd figured out what they were competing in, anyway. And who the Green-Headed League was.
Kotohime snapped her notebook shut with a decisive nod. So, redheads. She set off for the Scarlet Devil Mansion, trying to think of other potential recruits beyond the manor's Chinese gatekeeper. That slacker shinigami, assuming Kotohime felt up for a trip to the Sanzu.. maybe Marisa, on a technicality...
This isn't the first Kotohime story I worked on, but it was the catalyst to get this fic started. There was a conversation on the TV Tropes forums one day, reacting to the latest chapter of TakerFoxx's Imperfect Metamorphosis: Rhapsody of Subconscious Desire, and it led to the idea of Mokou and Kaguya starring in a buddy-cop movie with Kotohime as the chief. The result was this short story which, being too large for a forum post, prompted me to make an account on this site to share it. So here it is.
I envision this 'fic as more of a collection of self-contained Kotohime stories than a single narrative. This is not to say that there won't be continuity, but I intend for every chapter to stand on its own, which is why I'm labeling it as "Complete" despite intending to add more chapters in the future.
Standard fanfic warning time: I own nothing, this is intended solely for entertainment purposes, etcetera and so forth, all glory to ZUN. Also note that my personal fanon may not be the same as yours, so forgive me if I get characterizations or facts "wrong."
Thanks for reading!