Another wisp floated through outskirts of the Forest of Magic, looking for Rumia. The voice knew the darkness youkai lived somewhere in this area, partially because she'd seen her here, partially from the dents on the trees where she had run into them. Now though, there was no sign of her. She had been here recently, The Voice could tell by some disturbed grass and a fairy's remains, but Rumia herself was nowhere to be seen.
"Looking for someone?" Yukari walked out of a gap, a stern expression on her face. "You won't find Rumia here. I have moved her elsewhere."
Andy woke up, feeling oddly heavy. He rubbed his sore head, muttering curses against Para under his breath. "Honestly, who does she think she is, knocking me out like that? Still, I guess it got the message across." Yuuka was on her way, or so Elly informed him before he woke up.
"Guess Yuuka and Suwako can work out whatever their problems are now." He felt a little proud that he could have helped them, but this pride was stifled by the strange weight on top of him. He got up, knocking the thing off him in the process.
To his surprise, it groaned when it hit the floor. Looking over the side of the bed, he barely managed to suppress a gasp, one that could very well have ended his life. He slowly, very slowly, got out of bed, careful not to make any loud noises. "Why was Rumia in my bed?"
"I'm surprised you expected me to recruit her. She is, after all, just a weakling…"
"Don't try to fool me, you and I both know she is capable of far more than she shows. Still… I have to wonder why you're doing this."
"What do you mean? You know what I'm trying to do. I'm tired of simply being another resident of Gensokyo, so I'm going to take over!"
"Didn't I just say you can't fool me? Really, after all the years we've known each other…"
"…Well, it seemed possible. You're absolutely horrible at poker, I can see what you're trying to do right on your face."
"That may be, but I don't need to see your face to know how you act. You aren't the world dominating type, not really. You have far too much empathy and sense to try something like that. You're simply not the evil villain you say you are. So. What are you doing? First you gained power by having Tenshi slay those ghosts, then you tried to free my father to absorb his power as well…"
"I was doing everyone a favor. I needed his power, Shinki wouldn't have to watch him, the world would be better off, and you would finally have that eyesore out of your life."
Yukari's expression hardly changed, but her grip on her parasol tightened, almost enough to shatter it. "My father is NOT an eyesore!"
"Yukari, nothing can save him, you know that. It would have better if you hadn't stopped me, it would have been a merciful death, instead of what he is now. But I digress. You said you wanted to know what I'm doing, right? My plan was to absorb your father, then use that power to defeat Reimu. Now… I'm improvising. If I cannot fight her with power, then I will crush her with numbers."
"Yes, but why? Because of what she did to you? I know you're sore about it, but-"
"NO! This isn't about me, you stupid hag! Wake up! I am not fighting for myself, but for all that are oppressed throughout Gensokyo, Hell, and Heaven. There has been far too much injustice, all for a measly pack of humans! Because of them, youkai have been forced from their natural place, some merely forced into this forest, some expelled into the very pits of Hell, some sealed away inside lamps and other such trash by Reimu's accursed clan. Need I even bring up that poor girl who was sealed inside a chamber pot?"
"Well, that was horrible, yes, but-"
"And there are other miseries, as Tenshi has shown me. Those Celestials certainly need to be shown the error of their ways as well."
"In that, we agree, but as for the rest…"
"Yukari, you was the one who created Gensokyo, with the Hakurei's help. Tell me, is this really what you wanted? Really?"
"Well, no… but there had to be sacrifices along the way, you know that! At the very least, there has been peace."
"A peace bought with subjugation to our own prey is no peace at all. I don't seek to destroy the humans, simply restore the natural order. The youkai these days know better than to really hurt humans anyway, so why not? There will be true peace. Yukari, we shouldn't fight. We should be working together."
"Considering I could stop you in an instant, you would say that."
"I won't deny that is one reason, but you should stop denying what you know to be true. You know I'm right. I-" She paused, as though distracted by something. "And it seems your shrine maiden is ruining things, as expected. It's going to take all my strength to fend her off, so I can't talk any longer. However, you could stop her. With a few words. It would be easy. And we could fix all of Gensokyo's problems afterward, together. Or, you could keep doing what you've been doing. It's your choice."
The wisp vanished, leaving the conflicted Yukari alone.
None of them, except Youmu and perhaps the hat, had any real idea what Heaven would be like, just vague ideas of paradise. No matter what they imagined, though, they were all completely wrong. Fairies flew about, laughing and stealing things at random.
The celestials, for their part, mostly ignored them unless they tried to take something important; fairies, they soon learned, are very easy to intimidate. Cirno, on the other hand, laughed loudest, took whatever she wanted, and sat on a throne made of ice. The result was a very bizarre scene- Celestials going about their business like nothing was happening, while fairies flew around as though they owned the place, causing chaos.
"Well…" the hat spoke up. "This doesn't bode well."
Shannon asked, "I'm guessing this means there isn't usually fairies here?"
"No. No there isn't. Well, at least now we know why they were all flying up here. It seems they've taken over."
"So what do we do? Stop them?" Chelsea asked, looking a bit happy at the thought.
"Well, I guess we should… then again, the Celestials aren't exactly friends of mine, they're really quite… oh, what's the word? Snobbish. Always looking down on everyone."
"They live in Heaven, it'd be hard not to."
Youmu sighed. "I can't believe you're considering not helping them! How would you feel if these fairies invaded your home?"
The hat looked at her blankly. "They're fairies! I could remove these weaklings on my own, I don't see why they don't do it themselves! If they can't clean up something like this on their own, they deserve it!"
Shannon watched the fairies thoughtfully. "I don't know, it's not that they can't get rid of them, they aren't even trying. Maybe they wanted the fairies here for some reason? Or they're forced to take them in?"
"Hmph, I suppose… I still don't see why I should help these arrogant fools."
Para flew in front of him, indignant. "Hat, you said you'd show me adventure and excitement! Well, we got it right here! Heaven invaded! Mysterious stuff going on! I'm going to get rid of them, and you're going to help, got it?"
The hat backed up, looking flustered. "I- you- but- Oh, fine. I'll help. For you. What do we do first?"
Shannon looked at Para, smiling eerily. "Don't worry, I have a plan…"
Mystia flew as fast as she could to the Hakurei Shrine, trying to ignore the aching in her wings. She didn't need to use her wings to fly, but it helped her steer, and it certainly added speed. Speed was vital. It was a very long way from the Forest of Magic to the shrine, at least a few hours flight. She briefly thought of Marisa, whooshing overhead in the mornings, waking her up more often than not. She moved far faster than Mystia could, probably got to the shrine in a matter of minutes. Mystia wished she had that speed right now, but she reminded as slow as ever.
After what felt like hours, but she hoped was just a few more minutes, she came to the Shrine, but something was… different. She soon saw why; the shrine was filled to the brim with various youkai and even a few humans, all drinking and partying. She saw Suika at the front of the shrine, pouring out sake to people and wearing clothes identical to Reimu's for some reason.
What was missing was Reimu herself, she was nowhere to be seen. Figuring she must be somewhere in the crowd, Mystia was about to fly in, but a voice stopped her.
"Oh no, not another youkai! We couldn't stop this party, but we can certainly stop you." A giant yin-yang orb appeared, but it was completely clear in the white area, the dots on both sides were missing, and cracks ran through it. "Go on bird, leave."
"Huh? I-I'm not here for the party, I-"
The orb glowed, then changed into a demonic-looking woman with red eyes and horns. "We don't care why you're here, you're not getting in! Now get out before we blast you back into the forest!"
"Would you please just listen!? I came here to see Reimu! I have to tell her something!"
The demoness blinked, and changed shape again, becoming a priest sitting cross-legged, but he had the same eyes. "Oh, we see. We're sorry for the confusion. As you can imagine, today has been rather annoying. Sadly, Reimu isn't here to remove these pests, and Suika has apparently taken over in the meantime. We'd remove them ourselves, but our strength isn't what it used to be."
Confused, Mystia asked, "Who are you, anyway? Why do you keep changing? And where's Reimu? Answer that one first."
"Miss Hakurei has left on Yukari's orders to the underground, so I'm afraid you'll just have to wait till she gets back."
"Why? Can't I go find her?"
He frowned. "What do you mean, why? You don't know?"
"Well, it's complicated, but basically aboveground youkai, gods, and the like can't go underground, or the other way around. Humans like Reimu can, though. We thought everyone knew that, but we suppose you are young… anyway, as for us, our name is Shingyoku. We are the god of the Hakurei Shrine."
"R-really? I heard the shrine didn't have a-"
The priest changed back to the demoness, her eyes alight with barely suppressed rage. "Don't mention it. Please, just don't. As we said, our strength isn't what it used to be. The times have been hard on us."
"You keep using 'us' and 'we'…"
The demon changed back into the orb. "That is because, as you may have noticed, we are not one entity. The Yin-Yang Orb is the ancestral weapon of the Hakureis, and so we take on that form normally. But the other forms represent the founders of the Clan, a Hakurei priest and the demoness he married. From those two came all of the clan, and thus we owe our existence to them."
"Oh, ok… so Reimu should be back soon?"
"Well, if by 'soon' you mean eventually. Could be ten minutes, could be hours…" They sighed. "Hours with this rabble…"
Mystia looked around. "Did you see a boy here, wears glasses? Named Andy?"
"We can't say we have, why?"
"I'm worried about him… well, if I can't tell Reimu I can at least tell you! I saw this spirit, and it tried to convince me to join her and take over Gensokyo, and the first thing they're going to do is attack Reimu! And she threatened Andy too…"
The orb pondered this. "We see… maybe it could be…" She glanced over at Mima, who was drinking with Suika. "No, she probably organized this little party, but she can do nothing outside of the shrine. It must be a different spirit. In any case, thank you for telling us, we will alert Reimu as soon as she returns."
"But what about Andy!? She said she'd kill him!"
"There is nothing we can do, we cannot leave the shrine. We are its last line of defense, after all… where is this friend of yours?"
"I-I don't know… I think he works for Yukari."
"Oh. That woman… well, if she is defending him there is nothing to worry about. We do not like her, but she does do her job of protecting Gensokyo. Well, when she bothers. Much like Reimu… anyway, she does take her Shikigami seriously, we assure you this Andy is in no real danger."
Mystia sighed in relief. "That's good to hear." Now that she knew the reason for her urgency was in good hands, she was starting to calm down, wondering what to do next. She looked at the party still going on, wondering why the god was so against it. More people means more followers, right? Then again, she wouldn't want a bunch of people to barge into her nest and start partying either. "What are you going to do? About the party, I mean."
"There is nothing really we can do. Had we our old power, we could smite them and cast them out of our shrine. But as things are, only the weakest youkai are beneath us."
Mystia considered this. "Maybe… maybe you don't have to smite them. I bet I could get them out for you." She wasn't sure why exactly she was helping the god instead of her own kind, it simply felt right. "My singing is really attractive, you see. As drunk as they are I can probably get them to follow me."
The demoness blinked in surprise, changing back to the monk. "That is most gracious of you. However…" The monk glanced at the people drinking, specifically at Mima, who was drinking twice what the rest were. She always did, the god knew. "I suppose letting them have their fun won't be such a bad thing, at least for now. If you could lead them out when the party's died down, that would be great."
Mystia nodded uncertainly. "Well, if you say so…"
Danmaku of all varieties rained down on the shrine. Hearts, lasers, spirits, and miniature suns were fired, but none hit. Reimu's barrier stopped the attacks completely.
Seeing the one who defeated her so recently, Utsuho backed up, looking uncertain. "No one said we'd be fighting her…"
"Well, I didn't expect this yet…" The voice weighed her options. She had many powerful fighters on her side right now, but Reimu had defeated them all before… of course, that was one on one. Besides, if they called off the attack now, Konngara would undoubtedly escape and plague them all later. No matter who stood in their way, there was really no choice but to forge on. "It doesn't matter that she's here, we have to save Issui. Or is that not important, Utsuho?"
Insulted, the raven was about to say something back, but Satori gave her a sharp look and she decided to keep shooting Reimu instead. Sadly, Reimu wasn't their only problem, as Meira was still very much active. Reimu's appearance had notably shocked her, but she quickly got back to firing danmaku from her sword, though not without many glances at the shrine maiden. So far the voice and her allies had managed to avoid the two's attacks, but as many of them as their was, they would get hit eventually.
Tenshi looked at her worriedly. "Umm, this really isn't working…"
"I noticed. We need a plan… I don't suppose any of you know how to break through that?"
Yuugi chuckled. "Well, there's something I can do…" She started to glow with power, tremendous power, as the very air around her seemed to distort. Weaving through the danmaku , she made her way to Reimu's barrier, which was a already starting to shake from her mere presence.
Reimu, realizing what she was going to do, flew in to stop her, but it was too late. Yuugi punched the barrier, funneling her power into it and shattering it completely. The others immediately opened fire, but Reimu stopped them with a spell card. "Spirit Sign: Fantasy Orb!" Her orbs flew out at her enemies, negating their attacks completely and sending Yuugi flying.
Taking advantage of the distraction, Meira slashed at the Oni, firing another wave of danmaku at her. Yuugi quickly righted herself and shot a large fireball back, blasting through the wave and smashing the samurai back into the shrine, ripping a enormous hole through it. The shrine shook a bit at the impact, but miraculously it didn't collapse.
Reimu didn't seem to care about the loss of her ally much other than to grimace and fire out more homing amulets. Rin waved her hand and evil spirits appeared to block the attack, while Utsuho pulled out a spell card.
"Explosion Sign: Giga Flare!"
She charged up energy in her control rod and fired an enormous blast of nuclear power at the shrine. Reimu, surprised it wasn't aimed at her, tried to intercept it with a barrier, but the fireball ripped straight through it and impacted the shrine, burning through the fragile wooden beams that held it together and burrowing below it into the ground. For a second, all was quiet save for the shrine itself finally collapsing inward, but then the blast exploded violently, sending everyone flying and utterly obliterating whatever may have been left of the Silent Shrine.