NOTICE: Harsh language ahead!
The skies, the trees, the mountain behind her; Aya Shameimaru finds herself in a world where everything is black and white, including her iron armor with the pointy shoulders and plated skirt, her bladed kneecaps, her old black-feathers fan, and the many sharp combat knives on the belt going across her torso and waist.
She finds herself at the foot of the Youkai Mountain, though at its younger ages, where most of the area around it had limited numbers of trees surrounding it, unlike the present, and the Kappa Village was still hidden behind the hollow rocky walls that adorned the mountain's base.
She can hear the screaming of the youkai and humans that are being killed by her kin, the sound of the blood splashing all around her shocks her nerves, but her senses snap back when she hears the familiar voice of Tenma call out from the sky.
"Shameimaru, what the hell are you doing? Stop those thieves!"
The scene before her flashes, and she sees herself slicing the neck of a human who was trying to steal tengu treasures in the confusion of the battle.
The blood that splashes out of that man's new hole on his neck is bright red, unlike the scene around them, and that's when the warrior tengu takes notice that all the blood on the grass, rocks, trees and puddles of water becomes red to her, while the rest of the scenery remains colorless.
Another flash sends her to another scene, where she's opening the chest of a bear-like youkai, shredding its heart with her knife and painting her whole armor with its blood.
As the scenes flashes to the next set of murders, the tengu desperately thinks "why? Why am I here? This is the battle I fought alongside Lord Tenma after the oni left the mountain! These damned humans wanted to steal our treasures and weapons for money, and the stupid youkai were trying to take over the mountain. This is the battle that won Tenma his position. But why am I here? What happened to Satori? Was that just a dream? Where there really any zombies? Argh! Wait! What if THIS is the dream? Help! Somebody help! I don't want to be here!"
Even though she thinks that, her bloodthirsty smile can't leave her vicious face as she cuts her enemies and bathes in their splashing blood, and cackles as she terrorizes the humans before killing them in the most gruesome manner she can think of, and then the flashes stop.
She now stands on an open field near the exit of the Youkai Forest facing a hooded enemy, while all her allies battle vampires and ravens above, making it rain red.
Aya smiles viciously at her new opponent as she readies herself with two knives on each hand, and bends her body and knees to pounce the hooded figure, who remains standing tall, unmoving and threatening.
The tengu warrior slides her left foot, a glint escapes the enemy's hood, and the scene flashes forward once more, and now Aya stands on top of the figure's ruined body and clenching the chest tight.
She pulls with all her might until a disturbing crack and other wet noises grace her ears, making her grin wider as her opponent's blood splashes all over her face.
She finally rips the figure's beating heart right out of its chest and cackles in celebration.
The hooded being's whimper shocks the bloodthirsty tengu, she stops celebrating, loses her grip on the still-beating heart, pulls the hood off her victim's, then jumps off the body and falls on her back, holds her head as she starts to hyperventilate and foam at the mouth.
Her eyes loose all their focus as she starts to laugh, her tears begin to roll down her cheeks, then, after one hard, long and loud gasp for air, she screams "SAAATOOOORIIIIIII!"
The figure she had murdered was none other than Satori Komeiji, whom had saved her so many times from all those monsters and her very own mind in the present.
Aya's eyes begin to glow red and she wails for her fallen friend, watches with despair as blood starts flowing down the girl's mouth, and then she jumps to a sitting position as she screams "Satori!"
The frightened tengu finds herself in the cabin's room, naked under the sheets of her bed.
Her heart is beating so fast her ribs vibrate with every hard thump, and she's sweating so much, her sheets are getting transparent.
"I-it was... a dream," whispers the girl between hard breaths as she tries to convince her mind that what she saw and did just now was only a dream, but she knew better than that.
That battle was real, at least in her past, and she had taken several lives with those knives before mastering her magic, and thus killing many adversaries more effectively, becoming one of the most powerful beings in the world after surviving so many bloody battles.
She rubs her face with both hands as she recovers herself, slowly turns her head left, and squints her eyes when she notices something red on the sheets.
She pulls those sheets and screeches "SATORI," upon seeing her dear friend's mouth covered in blood in the same way it was in her dream.
She breathes hard through her mouth as she jumps off her bed, and fights with her own limbs when they try to fail her when they feel like thin strands of hay, instead of strong youkai bones and muscles.
She is completely naked, but even noticing this, her concern is her mind-reading friend, and saving her from whatever may be destroying her body.
She runs out of the room to look for some medical equipment; heads straight to the living room, but finds none, runs to the bathroom for some bandages, but when she opens the door, instead of the bathroom, she finds herself facing a large castle made out to look like one large coliseum after another, linked by a large orange wall that leads to one massive arena at the end, where three girls laugh as their shadows cast themselves on the thundering sky.
Aya turns around, screaming with despair, then sees Satori, bleeding through her mouth and with a large hole where he heart should be, and saying "Aya-chan, open your eyes."
The world around her spins, making her dizzy enough to want to vomit, then it all stops, and everything turns pitch black.
"Aya-chan, please, wake up! You're having a nightmare!"
Satori's desperate pleas finally reach the thrashing reporter, and watches as her black-haired friend slowly calms down and opens her eyes.
Shameimaru's darkened eyes open just slightly, and even so, the mind-reader can see they are bloodshot, possibly from the overwhelming stress.
The purple-haired girl sighs her stress off, and then softly says "finally. You've been having such a terrible nightmare and wouldn't wake up. I was starting to get worried you fell under a spell or something."
The tengu springs up and grabs her friend in a hug, sobs and sniffles as she tightens her grip, and whimpers "you're alive! I didn't kill you. I'm so relieved!"
Again, she realizes she is completely naked under those sheets, but again she doesn't care.
All she cares about is that her dear friend is alive and well, that she didn't go into a murdering rampage during her dreaming, and sobs away the stress built up in her body thanks to that nightmare.
Satori pats and rubs her tengu friend's back sympathetically, and softly coos "it's alright, it was just a dream. We are both alright Aya-chan."
Both girls are delighted to be holding each other like that, but they both know now it's not the time, and the purple-haired girl continues to comfort the anxious crow girl as best she can.
Day XX/XO, Right-side Room of The Cabin in The Void
Aya here. Going to make this brief. Last time this damned cabin landed, we found ourselves deep inside the Mausoleum that rests underneath the Myouren temple, and almost immediately after getting stranded there, we were attacked by the sky-like walls. Yes, the walls and the ground there came to life in the form of blobs. After we exit, we come across an ELECTRIC blob, and soon after, her friends, and a bitch in the shadows. That same bitch put a curse on Satori, and we couldn't touch each other because of that. She was still there, just translucent, transparent... whatever you want to call it. On top of that, one of the zombies there was particularly vicious, and guess who had to fight THAT crazy monster after having her wings forcefully grow back to normal after saving her satori from a spiritual trap? Oh yes, I had to fight her, but ended up getting bitten, and almost got my whole damned shoulder ripped off by metal-sharp teeth. I wake up a few days after that inside a dark room, where Satori was trying to nurse me, but couldn't, then we are attacked by MORE zombies the very moment we discover we are in Makai. One, a fire wielder, another just a bitch. Oh, but it gets even better! After beating those creeps and moving on, this large snake-like bitch comes in a block of ice and freezes Satori-chan. When I go and save her... she... My Satori-chan disappeared, and I thought that 'that was it'. I was gonna give up right then, but she managed to contact me. She was stuck in a world between the physical and spiritual. I couldn't take it. I rushed over to Pandemonium after having guessed who had that godsdamned pyramid, and who had placed that curse on Satori, I raised hell for them, I hit them with everything I had, AND THEN SOME! I made the little zombies scream, I made that Yumeko shiver in fear, and then I made Shinki CRY LIKE A BABY! And then Satori came back. Her voice brought me back from my madness. I realized what I had done to that goddess. I destroyed her unnecessarily, or... was it necessary? I still don't know, but she released Satori from that curse at the cost of her body and mind. I think... I'm becoming like one of them. I can certainly say I enjoyed doing that to her, and I would do it again, even if I didn't really have to. Well, maybe. After last night's dream, I'm not so sure. I mean, I was a murderous warrior back in those days of war, but now I'm just a peace-loving reporter... or am I really? I don't know what's going on with me. I'm thirsting for blood after that, and even after that failure against Ran, I feel... like I enjoyed trying to rip her guts open. Though, admittedly, I enjoyed having Satori bathe me and nurse me all night better than killing.
The entire cabin shakes and trembles after a loud thud, then Aya stops typing, stares unblinking at the last sentences she wrote, and whispers to herself "blood. I liked that... back then."
The door to her room gently opens, and Satori stands under its frame as she asks "we're here. Are you ready?"
She looks to the bed, where her tengu friend looks lost and confused as she aims her blank stare toward the curtains on the window.
Shortly after, she picks up on those thoughts, is overwhelmed by the bloodlust in them, and ends up gasping in surprise and running toward the spaced-out reporter.
The warm embrace she receives from the mind-reader is enough to snap her from those bloody thoughts, and to turn her head down to look at her friend.
Satori tightens her grip as she sinks her face in the tengu's belly, and says "no. Not now Aya-chan. We're so close! Don't break like that! You are better than that. You are kind, sweet, and you love peace, the very same peace we are going to get back! So please, stay as you are. Don't think on that anymore!"
Aya's thoughts slowly return to their present, peaceful ways, then upon realizing her satori friend is there, begging her to compose herself, the tengu ends up returning the hug, though her eyes remain looking blank.
"I'm sorry," she whispers. "It's just that, so much has happened, and something... inside of me, it's changed. I've changed. I am no longer sure if I'll ever be the same again."
She looks at her camera next to the typewriter, and says "journalism. I took that up after the war. I liked it. It was a quiet job, gave me a good excuse to leave the village for days if I wanted."
Her eyes start glowing red as she releases her friend and continues "but now... there's no village. Everyone is against us. They want to kill you and me, and I can't allow that!"
Satori grabs Aya's face, pulls her close, kisses her on the lips, and just like that, the tengu's thoughts become blank.
With that mind restored into a clean slate, the purple-haired girl slowly pulls her smiling lips away from the shocked reporter's soft and warm lips, grins, and in a somewhat energetic tone of voice, she says "you are Aya Shameimaru, age 17, you liar, and you are the pure and honest reporter of the Bunbunmaru Newspaper!"
The winged girl remains silent, while her friend continues "you will have your peace back, you will write stories for your paper again. You'll get the chance to see those tengu, to escape the village for days and hide at the Hakurei Shrine again. But to reach that goal, we both need to go a little farther through this terrible nightmare of a land that was our home. You cannot do it without me, and I definitely can't do it without you. Stay with me, Aya-chan."
The winged girl's eyes return to normal as she looks into her friend's purple eyes, gently touches her cheeks, then gently smiles as she whispers "alright. Heh, let's get Gensokyo back to the way it should be, so I can rid myself of these stupid thoughts of war and blood, and take back our peace."
The girls smile at each other, get off that bed, walk through the cabin, all the way to the door leading out, and as that door opens up, Aya says "Satori-chan. Thank you, for everything."
The purple-haired girl chuckles softly, and says "you're welcome."
And now they stand on soft soil, surrounded by a few, brown, withered sunflowers that seem to be looking up at the dark, night-like sky, apparently knowing where the sun should be.
They notice how the flowers in the area they are on appear harmless, but further in the flowerbeds ahead, where more of those brown flowers are accompanied by several other types of foliage, they can see roots and vines wriggle around.
Their creepy tips are covered with blood and the rotting organs of their prey, and it becomes apparent those things are well aware of Satori and Aya's presence there.
To their far right stands a dark, cozy, two-story house that is covered by seemingly withered plants that have peeled the purple paint off the walls, and have broken several windows to get inside.
As they look around the area around them for the safest road to the Nameless Hill, the tengu's senses tick, and she looks away toward the derelict foundation that used to be Yuka's house, and says "there's something watching us."
The elder Komeiji glances around, trying to feel any presence, but when she fails to find, or sense one, she looks to her friend, then opens her eyes wider in surprise before asking "wait, wha-what are you doing?"
The reporter holds one of her divine water bottles up to her friend's face, and smiles when she says "you've used many of yours on me already. Take this one so we may both have four."
The purple-haired girl is going to protest, but Aya pushes the bottle on her hands and says "please. Take it."
Satori reluctantly accepts the forced bottle, nods to her dear partner, and now they both look toward the horizon, where they can see more clouds rising to the sky; a good indication that the cauldron is there, waiting for them to arrive.
The girls waste no time in making their way toward the rising clouds, all the way over to the Nameless Hill.
As they run through the seemingly dead garden, they shoot their flashes to the ground to scare away the roots coming from the sentient flowers all around them.
The farther they move toward their goal, the more violent the roots and vines become.
"Hey, Satori-chan?" questions Aya after scaring of a cluster of roots. "Is it just me, or are those damned flowers getting closer?"
Satori looks around and takes notice of what she thinks are rotten bluebells, decaying sunflowers, and melting amaryllis surrounding them, then says "Yes, you're right. I'm getting a very bad feeling about those. Maybe we should deal with them directly."
The tengu reporter flashes a few roots away from herself and her friend's feet, then says "maybe, but there's also that presence that's running around us. It might be waiting for us to make the first move."
The mind-reader takes a sudden turn and pushes her friend away from a cluster of thorny vines that are surrounded by a purple slime, flashes the offending things away, and while Shameimaru flashes a thick root away from both their feet, the satori says "well at least there aren't any zombies around. That, at least, accounts for something, right?"
The girls look at each other and smile, while Aya nervously thinks "wait, why are we smiling? There's probably something so very bad in here that the zombies are keeping away from!"
Satori chuckles, swing her hand under her nose, and comments "oh, you're just being paranoi-iiieeeEAAAA!"
The purple-haired satori finds herself dangling upside down from her left leg, which is being lifted off the ground by a sunflower's root, and quickly finds herself overwhelmed by several other vines and decaying roots.
"Help ME!" calls the youkai girl, igniting Aya's spirit and getting freed almost immediately after that tengu cuts those roots and vines with her fan with impeccable skill and precision.
She catches the mind-reader before she falls, holds her like a princess, even after landing, and softly asks "are you alright?"
Satori nods, then both girls flinch when the flowers to their lefts screech loud enough to cause the soil to vibrate.
The girls quickly stand on their own feet and begin their run, knowing all-too-well that whenever a monster screeches like that, hell breaks loose somehow, and it does, yet again.
Behind and besides them, countless withered and decaying flowers rush through the earth like hungry sharks in the water, their stems swimming trough the soil with ease, wriggling their roots and vines around, threatening to impale the girls as they rapidly surround them.
Shameimaru grabs the mind-reader around the waist, stretches her own wings, and with one mighty flap and a strong kick off the ground, both girls are airborne and safe from the undead, wilted, brown flowers.
"Aya-chan, wait! The seal! What about the seal?" questions the youkai girl.
The tengu reporter sighs, suppressing the burning pain coming from the seal on her chest, and says "you're not paying for my mistake this time! Don't worry about me, though. I'm used to this stupid seal's burning by now. We'll be alright."
She may not like the idea of sacrificing the dear tengu's comfort for her own well being, but upon laying her eyes on the ground below and all around them, she takes notice of the thousands of flowers swimming silently on the soft soil while trying to keep up with their pray.
Even in that night-like darkness, the sight is not hard to miss, and it becomes more frightening when she cannot even tell if those flowers are trying to reach for them or not.
Satori, then, looks up at her friend's face, and without looking into her thoughts, she can see the pain she's holding behind those stiff eye.
After reading those thoughts, the satori maiden panics, and anxiously exclaims "Aya-chan, just land! You're going to faint!"
"I can take it! Just a little more!" shouts the brave tengu, keeping her eyes locked on one large boulder, big and tall enough to keep them away from the monster flowers.
"Guh! SATORI-CHAN! HELP!"
Aya's sudden shriek unsettles the mind-reader further, and she nervously looks around for whatever may be causing that black-haired girl's discomfort, though it doesn't take her long.
There is a two-headed figure hiding in the darkness, and it's flying around both girls at great speed and swiping what looks like claws close to the crow girl's butt and thighs, and what's worst, it has already landed two hits.
The mind-reader gets furious when she sees the dark blood flowing out of those two deep cuts on that girl's tender areas, and doesn't question the use of fifty percent of her own power with every flash she shoots.
Flowers, flowers and flowers; that is all she keeps knocking out as she is unable to see where that creature is, and her beams keep going after the flowers below, while her flashes just plain miss, and somehow she feels it has gotten darker, making it even harder for her to see.
Aya's painful scream echoes in Satori's head over and over, making her forget the fact that they are both falling to the ground, down to those flowers, and that there's a monstrous creature after them.
She grabs the tengu under the arms, uses her will to push herself and the reporter with her magic "AIIEE," and her seal burns and pulls her down with enough force for both girls to feel a jolt of pain.
The mind-reader plans on using her body as a cushion for her partner, but Aya grips her tight and turns over, using herself as the cushion instead, softening the fall on the flowerbed for her dear mind-reading friend.
They slide ten feet on that soil, which releases a vomit-inducing smell as it is broken through, and when they stop, the girls quickly find themselves surrounded by those flowers, but immediately realize they aren't being attacked.
"What's going on?" softly asks the tengu, looking around while trying hard to get up on her feet, and adding "they aren't attacking. Why aren't they attacking?"
The purple-haired satori, still in pretty good shape, hops over to the hurt crow girl, and points toward that figure that slowly gets closer, and whispers "that presence you were talking about. It's right over there."
The clouds above soften up a bit, shooting yellow bolts to the ground around the large flower garden, to reveal their ample, bumpy surroundings, and the face of their attacker.
Lily White and Lily Black have become one sickening zombie fairy with very long and sharp claws, and an odor so foul the girls cry as they hold their noses to try and prevent that horrible smell with a taste from reaching their sense, to no avail.
The disgusting zombie's Black head on the left is dead, the skin on her face rotting away, leaving only a part of her right cheek with a bit of brown, slimy flesh, some dull strands of yellow hair hanging from the back of its skull, and the rest, a skeleton with an eye dangling from a thin tube that comes from within.
White's head is in complete control of the body; her eyes are two swirling red vortexes, her black, rotting teeth are broken and sharp, her rotten purple gums secretes grey puss, what little remains of her hair on the left of her head is covered with Black's rotten face flesh, and her body is bulky, her skin is greyish-brown, pruned, sagging, and slimy, the top of the black and white dress has a massive hole on the torso, the white parts of the skirt are covered with something yellow, and like its hands, the feet have large claws, but by the looks of things, they appear to be for balancing, rather than attacking.
The girls gulp when that zombie fairy swings her arms around without effort, meaning she can move her body with ease, then Satori nervously whispers "d-don't move. I-I'll take care of this," leaving Aya looking at her with confusion, and nodding quickly, accepting her friend's request.
The purple-haired mind-reader stands up, takes a few steps toward the zombie Spring Fairy, then commands "cover your eyes!"
Aya scrunches up into a ball and hides her face behind her knees, and then the satori girl raises her spell card and loudly declares "Light Sign, Luminaire!"
The girl pushes herself a little harder, and summons ninety-two percent of her power when that spell card activates, and soon after her entire body is covered by pure light, so bright it makes the light form the sun look like a dim bulb in a black room.
That light reveals to the girls they are getting close to the Nameless Hill, as the road before them has some rocks taking the fields, and growing in numbers further ahead.
The light expands and stretches away from her as a massive dome that rapidly takes the entire garden, and successfully pushes away zombie Lily, while it disintegrates all the decaying flowers.
The dome of light goes as far as the remains of Yuka's house, where it stops after surrounding the entire cabin, and disappears shortly after.
What remains of that cozy house is a single broken piece of the west-side wall, and a single dirty, white window on the first floor, the only parts of the house that weren't covered with withered plants.
Back at the smelly flowerbed, Satori drops on her knees, exhausted after having used so much of her power, and chocking when trying to breathe in the oxygen needed after such exertion.
Before she passes out from breathing so much of that foul smell coming from the soil and the zombie, a small and gentle tornado appears below her face and graces her nose, mouth and lungs with purified air.
Aya steps in between her friend and the zombie, and then says "rest for as long as you need. This bitch is mine now."
Zombie Lily stands up again and glares, though is undoubtedly weaker, and struggles to keep steady on her rotten feet.
The tengu isn't at her best either, and struggles to keep steady as those cuts on her butt and upper thigh begin to burn her, though at least she knows that means she's healing.
The weakened monster snarls, and the tengu girl takes off, shooting a flash from her camera straight into those evil eyes and blinding the monster, then landing a vicious knee on that rotting stomach, sending that monster fairy roaring to the air.
As soon as Lily lands, Shameimaru rushes in after having locked on a few beams, and intends to cave in that face with the platform of her geta sandal, and blast the hole with those beams, but her plan fails.
The zombie fairy gurgles "ssspriIng!" and a thick concentration of red and blue bullets blast Aya all over the underside of her body, sending so many painful jolts to her brain, she loses her bearings as she stumbles backward, but somehow remains on her feet.
The tengu finds herself on the ground after feeling a pressure on her shoulders that doesn't let up, but it doesn't take her long to figure that the monster fairy is on top of her, so she takes her camera, lifts it near her own face, and shoots a flash that forces the weakened zombie to roll away while screeching in pain.
Aya takes the chance to get up, but still needs time to recover from those dizzying jolts of pain, while zombie Lily rolls backward to her feet and prepares to attack again.
The tengu maybe be a bit shaken, but she can still fight, and she takes one step back, winds her right hand back, and throws a powerful punch at the fairy's face the very moment the decaying monster rushes in.
That punch lands right on the mark, but on the wrong head, and Lily Black's rotten skull is sent flying away to the distance until it becomes a star, then, in the confusion, Lily White grabs the tengu's arm and takes a furious bite from that forearm.
The tengu reporter screams out loud when those teeth tear her skin and break her muscles, but manages to lift her left hand with her camera and flash the eyes of that monster, freeing herself, quickly follows with a kick that sends zombie Lily a few feet away, the roars in pain while retracting her bleeding arm and nestling it between her breasts.
The zombie fairy starts to roar, and runs around in a circle on one same spot over and over when the bit of vertebra left from Black's neck begins to bleed profusely.
Shameimaru quickly lifts her camera, locks all ten beams on that bleeding stump on the monster girl, and shoots without mercy, and even smiles vilely when her target drops on her knees and screams to the air after those beams touch that bone.
The crow girl takes a deep breath after all those pained spots on herself throb at the very same time, and although she manages not to fall, she still ends up on the ground when that vicious monster decides to go for the immediate kill.
Zombie Lily roars and snarls furiously as she tries desperately to take a bite right out of the tengu girl's chest, while Aya grunts as she pushes the monster away from her skin and fights the dizzying pain jolting her brain repeatedly.
Satori wants to move, but merely lifting her arm proves to be a very taxing chore, and can only watch as her friend struggles for her life on her own, yet again.
"This isn't good. This fucking bitch is going to bite me. Satori is still recovering! I can't lose! I won't let this thing win!"
As brave as her thought's may be, Aya's strength keeps waning, and in her hopelessness, anger starts to take over when she realizes that a warrior of her stature is losing to just one weakened fairy monster.
Her eyes begin to glow bright red, then zombie Lily grunts questionably, relaxes her body, then the reporter quickly pushes her away, stands on her feet, and readies her camera.
She stops her attack as soon as she takes notice of Lily's hesitance to move, then looks up at three black zombie fairies flying in a circle above her head, then whispers to herself "what the hell?"
Her thoughts turn on defeating all the monsters in one quick and easy blow, and right after that, the fairies above her fly to Lily, grab her arms and head, fly in front of the tengu, and wait in a still pose.
Aya stares, dumbstruck at the sight before her. Three zombie fairies grabbing hold of zombie Lily and waiting, as though having read her thoughts for an easy kill.
The mind-reader manages to lift her head long enough to see the questionable miracle unfold, then notices her friend's glowing red eyes and gasps.
"Just do it, Shameimaru," commands Tenma's voice at the back of her head, and without further hesitation, she lifts her camera, locks her beams on the targets, and clicks that shutter to finish the job.
The monsters don't even grunt, and just drop on the ground and close their eyes while the eerie glow slowly fades from the reporter's own eyes.
Aya walks over to Satori and can see there is fear hidden behind her friend's eyes.
After sitting next to the youkai, she also takes notice that the mind-reader has recovered considerably, though still looks a little tired.
She reaches for her friend's head, wanting to hold her before taking off and getting away from the smelly flowerbed, but the twitch from her partner makes her take her hand away, and think on what happened.
She thinks on how those fairies reacted to her own thoughts, and how they even posed the same way she saw them in her mind, then feels confused.
Satori reads the girl's thoughts, analyzes everything that happened in that moment when the zombie fairies came, then gasps and says "you really did control them. Even the Spring Fairy stopped attacking!"
The tengu looks to the ground, takes notice of the black soil she and her friend are sitting on, then looks away to ignore it and says "I don't know. They just came and held her in place. I don't really know what happened there!"
"But Aya-chan," insists the satori maiden, taking hold of her friend's left forearm and touching it lightly.
"No, I don't think you're becoming one of them, but you have to think of the possibilities! Maybe, if you master this, we won't have to fight anymore! We could have them escort us to that cauldron and help us end this faster!"
The reporter hides her face, not wanting her dear friend to see her crying out of fear and frustration while she admits "b-but I don't know how I did that. I c-*sob* can't do it again!"
Satori weakly reaches for, and grabs her friend around the neck, and with Aya's help, manages to give her a light and warm embrace, and while holding the unsettled tengu, she says "it's alright, it's ok. You don't have to feel guilty. It's not your fault."
"Bu-ut if I had *sob* known this before, buh-we would be done, and, Satori-"
She tries to say more, but she breaks down after the memories of their horrific adventure crash inside her mind, and place a terrible weigh on her very heart.
The mind-reader tries to remain strong, but seeing the story repeating itself in her friend's heart makes her share those heavy feelings, yet she steels herself and manages to speak as clearly as possible through her cracking voice.
"It's alright. I don't blame you. Aya-chan, we've been through too much, and we're almost done! Please, don-don't think of the past, and focus on now. That cauldron is there, where those clouds are rising from. Don't think on what could have been. Try to focus, so we can use it now."
The sobbing tengu manages to look to where the purple-haired girl is pointing to, carefully thinks on her friend's words, and slowly calms down enough to nod and reply "you... you're right. I'm sorry. Let's just get up, go there, f-fight our way to that cauldron and..."
She finally calms down enough to stop sobbing, and then starts to look around the dead Garden of the Sun along with her satori friend, and after a sniffle and using her right shoulder to wipe her nose, she says "there's something else watching us."
Satori nods, and then calmly says "I felt it this time as well. We better get out of here."
She stands up, wobbles a bit before getting her full balance, then gently grabs her friend by the hands and says "we move to that place at the Nameless Hill, Aya-chan, and we better not stop unless it's crucial."
Aya accepts Satori's help, winces when her right arm throbs as she gets up, then looks toward that goal, squints her eyes, and says "wait a minute. Satori-chan, that's a castle. The castle I saw in my dreams!"
Over in the distance, even in the darkness, a castle with several arena-like sections and large walls linking each section can be admired, though it's hard to make out for Satori.
Some of the sections have roofs, others are open-air arenas, but what's most impressive is how that large architecture manages to stretch on and around the Nameless Hill, and reaching the very end, at the highest point of the hill, is a castle-like building where the clouds keep rising from.
Before either girl can add another comment, a dreaded and familiar call reaches both girls' ears.
"SHAAAAMEEEIIIMAAARUUUUU, YOU BIIIIIIIIIITCH!"
Both girls remain stationary for some time before both simultaneously gulp out loud.
Now they know they are being watched by something from nearby, and dread reaching that castle where Hatate is most certainly waiting for them.
Once again, the odds are against them, but they must press on, or they'll have to remain where they are and wait to be killed, or worst, turned into one of those creatures.
Aya continues to hesitate on whether to move on or turn back, especially after having heard Hatate's 'sweet' voice again.
"We've dealt with her already, we can do it again," confidently says Satori, snapping the tengu out of her hesitation.
The winged girl smiles at her friend, nods, and then softly says "yes, let's go then. Um, but are you sure you can move now?"
The mind-reader smiles confidently, punches herself on the chest very lightly, and says "I am quite alright. I have recovered quite a lot of my strength already," then grabs her armored third eye, looks at it curiously, and continues "might be thanks to Miss Nitori's machine thing on my third eye."
The girls smile at each other, share a few needed giggles, and then take each others' hand before moving on toward the dark architecture over in the distance.
After five minutes of walking, the girls feel they haven't made any progress, but at the moment, they are more concerned with the figure sitting on the ground deliberately getting in their way.
"And here's the next annoyance," grumbles Aya, looking a little tired and annoyed. "Satori-chan, don't get close to that one."
"I see. Do you think we can get her from here?" questions Satori as she narrows her eyes in an effort to see the dark figure for herself, instead of through the tengu's mind.
Somehow, Shameimaru can clearly see Medicine Melancholy sitting on the ground, grabbing clumps of dirt and rubbing them on her bare chest and limbs, and a sick-smelling poison cloud swirling around the poisonous zombie, taking at least five feet around her.
The zombiefied doll youkai herself is a mess. Her clothes seems to have melted off, leaving only her bloomers on her, which are stained by blood and purple slime, her messy, unkempt hair seems to have been bitten off on three places, leaving some slightly bald spots on her head, the skin around her eyes has been broken, yet her eyeballs, grey and dry, hang in the middle of the sockets, and seem to be held by a fleshy string from behind.
Her skin remains looking normal, but the poison she sweats out of her pores seems to be dangerous enough to cause her to want to rub it off with dirt, and that's when the reporter takes notice of the several little red spots on her skin; irritation from her very own poison.
"Aya-chan!" softly calls the mind-reader, tapping her friend on the right of her hip and alerting her of the hundreds of spirit-possessed dolls surrounding them from all possible angles, including the sky.
Said dolls vary in shape, color of hair and dresses, but all share eyes that look like light-green fireballs that seem to stare straight into the soul, and a ghoulish green flame that surrounds their heads.
From the distance, zombie Medicine hisses loudly "I am sorryyyy. I cannot moveee. Massster forbids it."
Aya frowns, raises her camera, and coldly says "we understand. Please don't hold it against us after we beat the living hell out of you and your liberated dolls."
The poisonous girl smiles, opens her mouth as a creepy hiss escapes her crescent-shaped lips, and without moving a single muscle, she hisses "then pleasssse, don't hold it againssst meee for turninnn your bodiesss to burning heaps of poisonous ashhhh. After all, it isss what Master commandsss."
In that very instant, the tengu takes her maple fan from her back and swings it in a wide arc in front and above herself and Satori, cutting at least fifteen of those possessed dolls in half, and releasing the ghoulish, flaming-green, formless spirits from within.
The girls immediately take their flashing weapons on hand and shoot the formless spirits to prevent them from running away toward a specific spot, and after scanning the defeated spirits' destination more carefully, they can see more dolls lying in wait to zombie Medicine's right.
The poison youkai's red crescent smile becomes a perfect frown, her grey eyes start to clack as they spin in place, then she angrily hisses "leeeave them aloneee, bulliesssss!"
Su-San slowly flies out of hiding from behind the zombie, her blonde hair and eyes seemingly normal, while the rest of her body looks like the bark of a petrified tree, her little dress is stained with what looks like oil, and after glaring at the girls, in Medicine's same, though echoed voice, she demands "sssstop picking on my friendsss!"
Obviously not listening to the monsters, the mind-reader takes a spell card out of her pocket, raises it above her head, then the tengu grabs that hand, pulls it down, and says "don't! I can't take them on my own!"
Satori nods, pockets the spell card and readies an orb of light in front of her third eye, then says "you can count on me."
After a quick nod, Aya swings her fan forward and slices ten more dolls in half, allowing her partner to shoot her beams to finish off those spirits within.
Medicine and Su-San snarl, roar pathetically, and then angrily hiss "sssstop hurting my friendsssss! The fight is with meee!"
After a furious hissing roar, the poison around the zombie expands several feet, and both living girls are immediately caught in it.
They immediately feel the poison take effect, and now their bodies feel like they are full of thorned clumps of lead, particularly inside their very joints.
"S-Satori-chan! Kuh! We have to get out of here," grunts the black-haired girl as she slowly moves away from the poisonous gas.
The purple-haired girl yelps softly and groans lightly as she moves her legs, then grunts in a high-pitched tone "hurts... like hell. D-do something, please."
Aya lifts her trembling right arm with great effort and tries to swing her fan, but her body is too sluggish to make nothing more than a mere whisper from the swing, so the poison remains where it is.
"It's no use. Our only chance is to get away from this," grunts the winged girl as she fights to keep on her legs.
Satori suppresses a sob after taking another step away from the poison, then turns her shaking head to look at her struggling partner, and weakly grunts "don't give up. We can-AAH! ...AAIIIAAAAAAHHHH!"
The mind-reader's continuous screaming fills the tengu's heart with despair, causing her own poisoned blood to flow fast through her veins, and make her body twice as heavy.
Unknown to the reporter, underneath the thick poison cloud, several possessed dolls have cut the mind-reader's left calf and ankle with sharp razors, and are currently biting her head and sticking their sharp hands in her shoulders and hips, opening holes in her skin that allow the poison to seep into her body and make her own blood feel like magma is flowing below her very muscles.
The girl's screams of pain makes Aya so anxious, she unknowingly moves her entire body effortlessly while inside that cloud of poison, and she rapidly dives below the cloud, then all grows silent.
Blades of light and bright flashes break through the thick purple mist, followed promptly by the blurs of Aya with Satori on her back after they jump away from it.
"*Pant* Th-*pant* thank you, A. Aya-chan," manages to say the bloody and out-of-breath girl.
The tengu's eyes glow red once more, and after a furious growl, she says "don't thank me yet! The bitches' are coming after us!"
Zombie Medicine and Su-san fly after the live girls with that creepy red crescent smile glowing in the darkness on the large doll, those disgusting eyes spinning in place, and her poison following after her.
The little monster hisses long and loud, then sings in a hiss "I am going to kill youuuuuu~", while Su-San scowls and demands "ssstay PUT, you two!"
The remaining forty dolls rise from the ground in front of the girls, and fly straight toward Aya and Satori, making the tengu groan in defeat after she realizes she cannot even dive to save their lives, then both girls gasps when all those dolls fly past them and head straight to their masters.
Zombie Su-San grunts as she fights against the dolls, while zombie Medicine grunts and roars furiously, then hisses anxiously "n-no! There can't beeee two MASTERSSSSSS!"
"Two masters?" question the girls at the same time right after landing.
They quickly look up to the sky and watch as the possessed dolls hold the poisonous zombie and her pet doll six feet above the ground underneath their poison cloud, giving Aya and Satori clear shots at the monsters' eyes.
Though the mind-reader is hurt, she raises her flashing weapon alongside the crow girl, but stops herself from flashing when she reads her friend's mind.
The reporter takes two steps toward the trapped zombie girls, raises an eyebrow, then her eyes glow brighter as she furiously asks "what the hell did you just say? What did you mean by 'two masters'?"
Zombie Medicine begins to laugh, and progresses to hiss a frightening cackle, then faces the reporter, smiles that creepy crescent smile, and asks "wouldn't youuuu like to knowww?"
As the monster continues her cackle, she spits out green poison fumes and thick orange slime from her mouth, then is quickly joined by Su-San, who laughs and spits bits of orange drool that appears to home in on the tengu as they drop from her lips.
"MOVE", commands Satori, snapping Aya from her confusion so she moves away from the poisons, then both shoot powerful flashes without stopping, until Medicine and Su-San die, and their poison leaves with what little wind blows from the east, or gets absorbed by the dirt below.
The possessed dolls release the poison youkai and her tiny counterpart, slowly descend in front of the girls, then all the spirits leave the possessed bodies, and wait in mid-air.
The girls look at each other, and although a little frightened by the tengu's glowing eyes, Komeiji nods along her friend, then they face the obedient little spirits and shoot their flashes without question.
After tending to Satori's wounds, using a few drops from one of her divine water bottles and a small cloth, Aya helps her partner on her feet, and they resume their walk toward their goal, being cautious as they walk through the seemingly dead dolls and zombie girls.
After passing through, the mind-reader sighs with relief, then glances over to the tengu and hesitantly says "um, I think I'm healed up, s-so it's ok if you let me go now," but then thinks "please say no! Please say no!"
Shameimaru wraps the mind-reader's arm around her neck tighter, she grips her friend's hip more securely, tightening the embrace, and softly says "no way. I have to make sure you're a hundred percent before I let you go, Satori-chan."
That satori youkai can't believe how happy she feels right now, but hides her excitement by turning her blushing face away and speaking as calmly as possible. "A-alright. Um, thank you very much, Aya-chan."
That reporter is as delighted as the mind-reader, and is quite glad her friend can't read her mind right now, or she might get slapped, especially if she sees herself naked in that crow's thoughts.
Regardless, she manages to block some of her thoughts as a blissful feeling fills her entire body, healing her wounds and woes, probably doing the same for the satori girl, and for ten whole glorious minutes, the girls walk toward their goal in an elated state.
The castle on the hill suddenly becomes more visible to Aya, and just like that, her elation leaves her.
Her eyes begin to glow blood-red, her limbs and her stare become cold, and the crow girl comes back to the harsh reality that she and her dear girl are walking down a death road, surrounded by undead creatures, and are headed toward an eerie and probably dangerous castle, where that accursed cauldron and hated 'Master' awaits them.
The purple-haired girl quickly notices how stiff the crow tengu has become, and turns worried eyes to her friend's face and asks "are you alright? ...Hey, what's wrong?"
That winged girl slowly begins to tighten her grip on Satori's wrist and waist, and though at first it seems like harmless toying-around, the youkai girl begins to grunt when she starts feeling pain.
She quickly notices their difference in strength when she tries, but fails to break herself free, then desperately calls "Aya-chan, stop! That hurts!"
When the mind-reader gazes upon that dark, cold face, she gasps with fright and tries to break free with all her strength, but all she manages to achieve is to make that tengu turn her full attention on her.
No matter how loud and often Satori calls, it seems Aya is in a complete trance, in a completely different world, and now she holds the mind-reader by both wrists and appears to be ready to do some damage.
Komeiji manages to pull the crow girl's body easily, but that grip is impossible to break for her, and left with no more options, she screams and shoots a flash from her third eye, startling Shameimaru and finally breaking free.
They both fall on their backs to the ground, then the reporter springs back up on her feet, looking nervously all around and asking "what? What happened? W-where are we? Satori-chan, what happened?"
She quickly look upon the satori's terrified face, notices how her own friend crawls away from her, then, when the realization hits her, the tengu grips her own cheeks, grinds her teeth, then screams "what happened? Satori-chan, are you alright? Ugh! What the hell did I do?"
The mind-reading girl manages to calm herself down after a gulp, and then nervously shouts "I don't know! Yo-your mind went blank, a-and then you started to-to squeeze my wrists. I-I had to flash you to get away."
The glow in Aya's eyes fades as the girl takes two steps back, starts to breathe hard through her mouth, then finally whispers "I... I'm sorry. Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. I didn't know; I didn't notice."
She holds her head with both hands by the sides and exclaims "argh! I'm going mad! I'm so STUPID! I just saw that castle, and started thinking about that dream this morning, and then..."
Both girls' attention turn to the road behind them when Su-San's furious roar breaks the desperate and awkward moment, to both girl's luck, and as she flies closer to her killers, she angrily threatens "I'll break a hole in your necks and poison your very bloodstream!"
Satori stands up, shoves Aya out of the way, shoots a pair of beams straight at the doll's eyes, and then jumps out of the way.
Su-San screeches as she falls, crashes against a purple barrier, and her head blows up, spilling a vile-smelling orangey purple liquid, and sending bits of plastic-like skin flying to the sides.
Her eyeballs bounce twice on the ground before rolling away from the body, and then a small gap opens up underneath the little monster, sending it and its bits and pieces elsewhere.
The girls blink twice, look around themselves, then realize they are inside a large dome made out of Yukari's purple barrier, then the tengu groans and says "oh great. Now comes Yukari! Awful timing, don't you think?"
The mind-reader winces when her friend looks over to her, causing the girl to frown sadly and say "I... I'm sorry. I'll, um, just be over he-"
"No, I'm sorry Aya-chan! I was just a little frightened, b-but I'm alright now. Really!"
The urgency in Satori's voice matches the anxiety she feels toward her friend's sad face.
It hurts her to be the cause of such pain, and she can see it in Aya's heart, that she is also hurt for having caused the satori maiden such pain and uncertainty.
Both girls remain as they are, not saying a single word to each other for a while, then very suddenly both rush to each other for a tension-releasing embrace, where the reporter says "we're losing it, Satori-chan. The closer we get to that place the worst we both get."
The elder Komeiji nods twice while pushing her head between the tengu's chest and stomach, and then softly cries "I'm scared that after all of this, we'll end up killing each other instead."
The winged girl can't think of anything to say about that, for she too has been thinking the same, especially after that dream.
The girls remain holding each other in the center of that barrier, waiting for the inevitable intervention by zombie Yukari, while at the same time, trying to comfort each other and maybe raise their hopes, somehow.
A few minutes after getting trapped, the girls sit on their knees on the ground, having gotten tired of waiting for that gap zombie to appear.
They are now at the entrance of that rocky road they saw before, and sit with their backs against one of the smaller rocks, which is as tall as their torsos, and wide enough to be a base for a sturdy house.
They sit three feet away from each other, still feeling uncertain of what might happen between them, and keep looking to the ground in front of their knees.
The silence between them is unnerving, and the slow and constant whooshing of the wind outside that barrier is making them feel more tense by the minute.
Aya takes notice of her rising tension, and fearing what she might do if she loses control again, she takes a deep breath, looks to her friend, and asks "so, how are we going to deal with that 'master' gal; whoever she is?"
Satori slowly raises her head to meet with the tengu's gaze, sighs while closing her eyes to think, then says "if it's that girl you are thinking of right now, I would say we'll have to put extra effort on both our parts."
Both girls remain staring at each other for a whole minute, though it feels more like thirty to them, then the mind-reader sighs and asks "what are we doing? Something strange happened back there, so what? We shouldn't push each other apart like this."
The tengu reporter gulps, smiles weakly, and says "it's this whole thing. It's so confusing. The more I try to forget those memories that awoke in my dreams, the harder it gets for me to keep up with reality!"
She starts to shiver, and her eyes start to glow again, though dimly, then she grasps her black hair and tip of her ears as she anxiously hisses "it's like, that cauldron, those clouds, they speak to me! Their voices come through clearer whenever we take another step forward! They tell me I'm at war, and I have to fight, or I will die. YOU will die."
The cold chill on her winged back is quickly overwhelmed by a soothing warmth, a funny, fuzzy feeling tickles away the anxiety in her heart, and she subconsciously places her right hand on Satori's own after she realizes the mind-reader is embracing her from behind.
"If you ask it of me, I will lock those memories in the deepest parts of your mind, and throw away the key in the hottest parts of hell."
Aya wants to speak up, ask what is going on, but her friend's words reach her quickly, and so she rearranges her thoughts.
After the purple-haired girl presses her cheek against the tengu's, the reporter girl sighs, and softly says "no. I don't want to forget those days. They were rough, but I learned a lot from them, and without them, I could go back and repeat those mistakes."
Satori closes her eyes as she lets out a long sigh, and says "a good choice, my friend."
The girls finally take notice of how quiet everything is around them, and while looking around, the winged reporter says "it's quiet. Shit's gonna rain down!"
Both girls quickly stand straight with their flashing items raised and readied.
Shortly after, they can hear slow steps and endless moans of what may be human zombies, coming from all around the barrier they are in.
They anxiously wait for the monsters to enter through those purple walls, and then Yukari's ribboned gap opens up before them.
Yukari Yakumo pops right out of that gap with just four bits of hair remaining on her head and wriggling around like snakes, the left side of her face appears to have been recently blown up by an explosive danmaku bullet, leaving an empty eyes socket and half of her skull visible, her dress is a tattered mess of holes and wounds, yet she still coos and giggles happily as she waves that burned right arm around as though greeting the girls.
Aya gasps at the sight of the zombie gap youkai, and concernedly asks "Yukari? What happened to you? Did... you get punished for helping us?"
Satori gulps, gently pulls her partner's arm to get her attention, and says "I understand your concern Aya-chan, but I think she's not here to chat."
The zombie in the broken border giggles and coos happily, acknowledging the youkai's guess, then lifts her fan, opens it in front of her face, and hisses threateningly, forcing those girls to get into attack position as she prepares herself to attack hard.
The old gap youkai thrusts herself between the girls with her fan in front, apparently trying to split them in half with it.
The tengu and the satori shoot flashes as they jump away, only to watch how zombie Yukari pulls another fan from a gap, and blocks both flashes from reaching her face, which is obviously the only weak spot on her.
Not sure if that is true, Aya locks several beams on the many holes on the zombie's dress, one to her face, and picking up on her friend's idea, Satori does the same.
They shoot those beams, and move away, just to watch Yukari bat the two beams headed to her head with her fans, and the other beams hit her body, but doing nothing that indicates the monster's weakening.
"What do we do? She keeps blocking that head of hers with those fans," complains Satori from one side of the enclosed battlefield.
The tengu roars from the other side, then angrily exclaims "damned bitch had to have a body immune to flashes! FINE! We'll HIT 'ER WITH DANMAKU!"
Before the mind-reader's advice against bullets can even begin, then angry tengu girl furiously swings her fan around and sends a shower of blue and red bullets in ring formations at the gap zombie.
Yukari giggles and coos, flies away from the bullets, and swings her fans around herself, while black gaps open up around her and absorb those overpowered bullets.
The moment those gaps close up the reporter starts stomping the ground while grumbling loudly and incoherently, not taking notice of the several white gaps opening around her.
The mind-reader tackles her friend the moment ten white bullet streams fly out of each of those gaps, and pulls her partner along while shouting "we have to work together! You distract her, and I'll shoot, deal?"
Aya nods, pulls Satori to her arms, holds the purple-haired girl princess style, and then flaps her wings as she jumps away from the rest of those homing bullets.
The mind-reader looks back and watches as those bullet streams explode more violently than she expected, gulps, then says "um, let's do this quick, ok."
The tengu smiles, flaps her wings once to gain some altitude, turns before crashing against the purple barrier, then throws her friend to the air as she attacks zombie Yukari directly.
Once at point-blank range, Shameimaru swings her fan and generates a strong gale that makes the zombie flinch, then roars as she shoots several flashes, at the monster's face, but somehow finds herself being sent flying backward to the ground after getting struck on the face by one of the closed fans.
Immediately after opening both fans, the zombie woman opens several gaps around herself, then starts blocking beams of light with amazing skill, and trapping heart bullets with ease.
The falling satori maiden gasps and flaps her arms around when trying to fly back up, but ends up getting hit by the back of a closed, flying fan on the nose, and falling to the ground like a screaming, spinning star.
The girls lift their heads to watch that zombie gap hag catch that tossed fan without breaking a sweat, then both gasp and scream when the white gaps open up to return the heart bullets in the form of spark bullets.
Those bullets explode violently on the girls' bodies, and all they can do is curl up into balls and scream as they are smothered by continuous explosions from returned bullets.
When the explosions stop, both girls stand up to the playful giggles of zombie Yukari, and soon discover their damage is minimal.
Aya explores her burned arms, dusts of the black sooth, and angrily mutters "this bitch is just toying with us."
Satori dusts her butt and hips, and then causally says "yes, I think she is, but I prefer that, than having my limbs chewed off."
The tengu snarls, raises her right fist, then furiously shouts "hey, you old hag! If you're just playing around, then why don't you just lie down and let us flash that ancient skull of yours!"
The purple-eyed girl doesn't really know Yukari that well, but even she knows that reporter's angry taunt went too far, and gasps loudly to let her partner know of the mistake made.
"What? If she's just here to piss us off, the job's done. She should let herself get killed already," casually replies the black-haired girl.
Zombie Yukari's gaze becomes dark, her coos and giggles become eerily cold and ominous, and she begins to rise to the air while easily holding above her head a tiny black orb with purple lightning bolts scattering around it.
Both living girls gulp, then the mind-reader nervously says "a death spell. Anything that touches it is sent to the void as a spirit, to wander around infinity for an eternity."
The reporter clicks her tongue and scoffs, then says "calm down, it's tiny. We just have to dodge it and keep an eye open in case it's homing."
Yukari's next giggle is sinisterly chilling, then, after reaching twelve feet in the air, her right eye glows scarlet, the dark orb grows to twice the size of a large beach ball, and the power around it is so much, gales form inside the barrier.
When the girls lay their eyes on that insanely powerful orb of death, both open their mouths, but cannot comment, their skins turn pale, their faces turn blue, and just stare.
They both snap out of their shock, and quickly begin shooting danmaku bullets of all shapes and sizes they know, but the border manipulator opens those gaps, and the bullets become fodder for the void.
As a final desperate attempt, Aya grabs her camera and tries to shoot one beam after another toward the gap zombie's face, but the monster deflects them with her fan without showing the slightest bit of effort from her part, and so the winged reporter lets her arms drop in defeat.
She looks at Satori, who looks back to her, and then both girls share a weak smile.
They reach and grab each other's hand, then the tengu gulps and says "well, we tried. We gave it our best shot."
The mind-reader chuckles weakly, and then says "I see she was powerful before. I guess we did give it our best, Aya-chan."
Zombie Yukari starts to cackle as she prepares to throw that orb, and on the ground, the nervous satori asks "will you stay with me in the void?"
The crow tengu nods once, and softly says "I'll take good care of you."
The girls close their eyes and face up to the gap zombie, then hear a dreadful buzzing noise, and think they are going to die soon.
The magical winds get stronger with every second; they can both feel a heat source getting warmer as it gets closer, then the winged girl sobs and cries to herself "I'm sorry Reimu. I failed you."
Satori's call makes Aya open her eyes and gaze upon a beautiful thick beam of multiple pastel colors breaking through Yukari's barrier, and consuming the death spell with ease.
The girls follow the beam's source to cheer Yuka on, then shriek and gasp in surprise when they see Marisa in the sky, who shouts "I'll keep Sukima busy! You aim those flashes to her ears, you understand?"
The living girls look at each other with confusion, then the zombie-like witch shouts "trust me! Now get to it, before she recovers!"
The girls raise their flashing items, though can't shake off their shocked face, and immediately head toward the gap zombie to finish her off.
Marisa's Final Spark ends, but the witch continues to shower Yukari with every spell she can come up with to keep her focused on the sky.
Meanwhile, Satori and Aya run closer to the gap youkai from below, aim their beams at the old zombie's ears, and then shoot ten beams each.
Zombie Yukari takes notice of the attack and readies her fans, manages to block three beams from each side, but is caught off guard by the rest, which sway around the fans while trying to hit those ears, though hit the eyes or back of her head.
The monster woman roars in pain, whines while fanning her eye and socket with both fans, and then snarls when laying her eye on the grounded girls.
She swings the right fan and sends a shower of blue kunai with poisoned tips at the girls, then roars when Marisa's green sparks and explosive bottles strike her on the back, and turns her full attention on the grinning, bald, zombie witch.
Both gap zombie's eye and empty socket glow red, then she starts opening square borders from where beams spread toward the witch, and roars with frustration when they crash against her own purple barrier.
In her rage, Yukari quickly dispels the top of the barrier, and Marisa yelps when she realizes what happened, however, she hides a smile from the border youkai as she flies higher to the air after succeeding in getting rid of that barrier.
The angry zombie woman is about to give chase, but she stops, opens her fans, deflects two beams, then gets struck on the face by the grounded girls' attacks.
The half-faced woman's roars and groans have completely replaced the giggles and coos, and now she starts opening up random gaps on the ground that lead to the outside world, hell, and the void.
Aya and Satori hold hands tight, and pull each other out of any gap the other may fall into, while running away from the desperate attack, then the zombie-like witch dive-bombs the zombie, getting the woman's attention, and saving the mind-reader from plunging into a busy street in the outside world.
That poor purple-haired girl drops on her hands and knees and breathes hard and fast through her mouth.
The tengu pats her friend's back to help her relax, and asks "are you alright? What happened? I didn't see anything hit you."
The purple-haired youkai takes one final deep breath, and then says "hoo-boy, what the hell was that? The moment I fell in that world, I felt my very spirit getting weak and try to leave my body."
Shameimaru sighs, and with disappointment in her tone of voice, she says "oh yeah. That world lacks faith and magic."
"OI! If you don't stop kissing down there I'm outta here!"
The girls look up at Marisa, and marvel as she sways, dives, rolls, and does all in her power to dodge Yukari's furious attacks; even goes as far as dropping from her broom and swinging around it like an acrobat.
The gap zombie has filled the entire sky with beams that split into more beams in specific spots, rice-shaped blue bullets, violet orbs, and purple arrows that home in on the witch, all while chasing after that human zombie herself, in an obvious attempt to eat her.
Aya and Satori quickly stand up, then aim their flashing items to the woman's ears again.
Twenty beams spread from the girl's items, and swivel around as they fly fast toward zombie Yukari.
The gapping zombie enters the gap she was sitting on, then appears right in front of Marisa, grabs her arms tight, and takes a bite right out of her elbow, breaking her left arm off.
The witch feels nothing, save for an odd sensation of wanting to, but not being able to move her hand, which seriously annoys her.
"Augh! Dammit, there goes my arm again," curses the zombie witch while trying to shoot a spark at Yukari's eyes with her other hand, but stops struggling against the gap zombie's grip, grins, then says "finally! See you later, old gappy."
The zombie woman shrieks and screams when all twenty beams of pure light strike her head from all angles possible, then lets Marisa go and falls off her gap as she plunges to the ground.
Her danmaku disappears, what little hair remained on her head flutters away with the wind as it falls from her skull, but she's not about to give up.
Zombie Yukari opens another gap below herself, then appears right in front of the girls, snarls as she grabs both by the necks, pushes them both on the ground, then stares.
The girls are still unsure of what just happened, and Yukari has already chosen who to bite first, throws her face straight at Aya's breasts, but shrieks and rolls away while holding her right ear.
The tengu looks around, wondering what happened, while Satori springs up and furiously shouts "leave her alone already!"
She flashes Yukari and sends her rolling away after kicking her on the ribs, then shouts "your damned master thinks this is all so damned funny! Well it's not!"
She shoots another flash right in front of the zombie's eyes, sends her rolling farther away after kicking her on the face, and shouts "that poor girl and I have been through enough of all your crap, and now you try to bite her breasts because it's funny? GOT TO HELL!"
Zombie Yukari moans as she tries to get back on her feet, but all she gets are several beams to the head and eye, and another hard kick on the shoulder, then Satori continues "and what about me? My life! My sister, my pets, what few friends I had! They are all brainless monsters that follow that damned master's orders around now!"
The zombie woman groans as she shakes while pushing herself back up, spits out dark blood, and then yelps when she gets another flash to the face and a kick on the eye that sends her flying three feet away, and ends up with her back smashing against her own barrier.
The furious mind-reader quickly chases after the zombie, lifts her third eye, gathers light in front of it, then shouts "I know you can hear me, you good-for-nothing master! We're coming for you, and when we get you, we're bathing you in that damned cauldron before spilling it all to the ground!"
She readies to shoot, and then Yukari lunges forward, grabs the mind-reader by the shirt, and thinks "well done sweetie. Tee-hee. You picked up on that naughty thought of mine. How thrilling."
Satori gasps when the ghostly image of the deceivingly beautiful Yukari; her long blond hair flowing naturally, and her purple eyes shimmering with power and life; appears before her in a semi-physical manifestation, and smiles.
Yukari giggles in her mind to calm the purple-haired girl down, and then thinks "you did quite alright; both of you, but rage can only take you so far. You need to keep your cool and think. things. through. You left that girl alone, and doing that inside the castle will cost you. Those inside may, or may not be as powerful as me, but that doesn't mean they aren't dangerous. Some will be more dangerous than myself, though none as dangerous as that cauldron itself. Please, remain together. Don't get separated. Watch over each other, and clean my Gensokyo of all this garbage that witch spread."
"Satori-chan!" Aya's call comes at the same time as the ten beams that knock Yukari off the mind-reader, and finish her off for good, leaving that corpse on the ground, where the beautiful image slowly disappears.
The tengu quickly inspects the mind-reading girl, sighs when she sees no physical damage, then says "I'm so relieved! Satori-chan, you had me worried there for a moment. Don't go off on your own when we're dealing with such dangerous monsters, please!"
When her friend fails to answer, the reporter gets her face closer to the youkai's, and softly asks "Satori-chan? What's the matter?"
The barrier around them vanishes, revealing to them that there were no zombies outside of those purple walls, but before Aya makes that obvious observation verbal, Satori grabs her shoulders and says "she was trying to help us all along! She wants us to defeat the master and spill that cauldron!"
Both girls remain where they are, staring into each others' eyes, unaware that the fully-recovered witch has just landed to their right.
Shameimaru grabs her friend by the shoulders, gently pushes her away, nods to acknowledge what was just told, then asks "what I really want to know is, why did you run off like that? All those things you said to her... It's like I was talking through you there."
The mind-reader turns her blushing face away, and hesitantly says "um, she was, er, g-going to bite you there, to, erm, hurt and tease you, and that pissed me off."
The tengu chuckles, happy that her friend would go to such extents to keep her safe, then, as if all is right with the world, she says "thank you for taking care of me Satori-chan. Now..."
Her face turns dark, her eyes begin to glow, making her face look cold and ominous when she turns around with her camera held tight, and coldly says "I think we better deal with the godsdamned witch from hell, before she tries to harm either of us."
With an equally dark face and slightly glowing eyes, the satori youkai aims her third eye toward her dear friend's point of interest, and says "indeed. She's turned completely by now, I'm sure because I cannot read a single..."
Marisa stands several feet away from them in the middle of the road to the hill, with her hands raised above her head, her Hakkero and her broom on the ground, and somehow managing to show some form of determination in her eyes.
Satori stares at the witch for a little while longer, then gasps and says "a thought!? Aya-chan, she hasn't turned yet!"
"She's probably waiting for us to lower our guards to throttle us. I won't fall for that," coldly replies Aya, taking her fan on hand and pointing it threateningly at the zombie-looking girl.
"No, that's not it," insists the purple-haired girl, getting in the tengu's way and saying "we need to hear to what she has to say! Trust me, please!"
The tengu girl glares at the witch for a little longer, then lowers her sight to look at her partner, lowers her fan and camera just slightly, and says "just stay where you are while you speak!"
"Thank you mind-reader," begins the zombie witch, before sighing and saying "I obviously did not come here to fight with you, or kill you, or eat you, or I would have let Sukima there disintegrate your bodies."
She crosses her arms around her waist, shivers as she shyly looks away, and continues "no. I came here to apologize, and to tell you two something very important."
"The apology is not for the mess I have caused because of my desire for immortality. I apologize because, before my fight with Nitori, I thought you two were at fault for my appearance. I thought of sparking your asses to the next kingdom, because I truly believed that what I caused, this experiment of mine, the terrible effects they caused... I never dreamed they would have lasted this long."
Her exposed eyes start to water as she tries to look around to hide her face, while continuing "I thought this would last a month or two, and that everything would go back to normal, that Reimu would somehow solve the incident without having to sacrifice my immortality. Th... the burden I placed on you two. I am so sorry."
"Boo-hoo," mocks Aya, holding herself back from flashing that witch on the face, and then furiously says "it's too late for that shit! Your stupid human brain can't possibly imagine all the SHIT we've been through! The SHIT that so-called master has put us through, Suwako knows for what!"
"We've had limbs melted off, bones bitten through, seen friends turned to monsters, walked through dead villages, thrown to a hellish heaven, dropped into a true demon's castle, sent around Gensokyo, then Makai, where a bitch placed a curse on Satori; our fucking minds are breaking to pieces as we SPEAK, and you are apologizing for all of that now! FUCK YOU! When we spill that thing, I'm coming after YOU! YOUR LIFE IS MINE, KIRISAME!"
The satori youkai looks calm and serene as she gets closer to her friend and stares at the witch, but looking deep into her eyes, a slight glow can be seen, backed by an undeniable rage she's hiding.
She raises her right hand, a cold gust blows between the three girls, and the mind-reader shoots a heart between Marisa's eyes after the wind stops, and darkly says "you got the sap out. I suggest you say what you came here to tell us, before I personally rip your pathetic human limbs off."
The zombie-like witch stands firm and with a straight face, having expected this reaction from both girls.
She would have wanted a better reaction, perhaps a softer response, but she is now well-aware of what she has done, and though not fully knowledgeable of what those girls have gone through, she knows very well she sent them straight to hell.
She takes a deep breath and sighs hard and loud, then nods and says "alright. About the important information I have for you two."
"First of all, you two have to understand that the reason of your immunity to this 'virus', as you all call it, is because I used personal items from each of you as catalysts for the spell. Meaning, those two items remained linked to you in a way, while they helped me overcome the secondary effects of that concoction, though a mistake I made using only yours without adding Kanako's blood, because... well, you see what I look like right now."
She looks at the tengu girl and says "Aya, I asked Nitori for a crow tengu's feather. I don't know how she got yours, but that's what I used. I recognized it from the funny shape it took at the tip. Only you can fly fast enough to cause your own feathers to bend outward."
A prideful smirk takes over the reporter's face as she looks to the witch, and says "well, I'm glad you appreciate my greatness. But you are still in my Deadly Black shit list!"
Ignoring those words, Marisa walks to her left, and continues "I know what Reimu did you the both of you, and your having your wings fully grown, even with that thing between those lewd mounds of meat..."
"Jealous much?" angrily taunts the reporter.
"...Is proof enough that my theory that you are at least ninety-nine percent immune to the virus, spell, or whatever the hell you want to call it, is absolutely correct."
Before the questions arise, the witch lifts her left hand, as if shushing the girls, and continues "as for your item, mind-"
"HER NAME IS SATORI!" furiously spits Aya, making Marisa flinch.
The zombie witch recomposes herself, gulps, and then says "sorry. As for your item, Satori, I took that large Tiger's Eye you kept in the upper drawer in the little cabinet next to your bed."
The next thing that witch experiences is the sensation of something blunt striking the right side of her forehead, and her body flying helplessly through the air while she nonchalantly admires the dark sky above them.
The furious Komeiji holds her precious stone on her right hand, which she holds in the air after having struck Marisa with it held tightly on her hand, and glowering at the offending witch she angrily says "yeah, I know! Thieving witch! I happen to have found it in your house after you went berserk! You're lucky you can't die, or I would feed your spirit to my pets after having broken your damned skull this very instant!"
The immortal witch touches the caved spot on her forehead as she stands up, clears her throat and says to herself "hit harder than I thought," and after standing up, that wound heals unnaturally fast while she says "right. I guess I deserved that one. Moving on."
She starts to move around the girls, holding her hands behind her back, while thinking hard on how to say the rest, then, after the fifteenth step, she stops, clears her throat, and then looks at both girls in the eyes.
"Understand, what I'm about to say will be difficult to accept, but you must, for your own good."
"Out with it," demands Aya. "No more bullshit and just say it. What do you mean we are ninety-nine percent immune? Speak!"
The zombie witch lowers the brim of her hat to hide her eyes as she coldly says "I never said the both of you were ninety-nine percent immune."
She raises her arm and points at the reporter, and exclaims "I said that you were ninety-nine percent immune. I'm afraid no other has that gift."
Before either living girl can ask or comment, the witch points at the mind-reader, and says "you, on the other hand, are only seventy-two percent immune."
The satori maiden gasps, covers her gaping mouth with her hands, while the tengu reporter angrily exclaims "you're begging for an ass kicking, bald bitch!"
Before Aya gets busy ripping Marisa's rotting head off her decaying body, Satori stammers for a while, and then says "wh...what? Wait, but I thought... No, you must wrong! I-I've been struck many times, and-"
"You've felt it, haven't you. The symptoms of the pre-transformation. I know you have, I can see it in your eyes."
Marisa's words hit home, and like a flash of lightning, the memory quickly returns, and fills Satori Komeiji's entire being; the very first time she was hit by one of those monsters' claws.
She drops on her knees to the ground, and is unable to hear the call of her partner as she worriedly rushes to her side and tries to keep her up on her feet.
The mind reader turns her head to the tengu, and softly says "that time, the first time I got wounded, by that mutant rabbit at Eientei. Aya-chan, I felt it. For a moment, I felt like I was transforming. I was so scared. I thought I was going to turn and try to kill you and Kogasa. B-but it all just stopped, s-so I didn't tell you about it."
"No, it's ok. I understand," softly says the winged reporter while holding the satori against her chest, and gently combing her purple hair with her hand, then suddenly turns to face Marisa and furiously shouts "dammit, Kirisame! What's this? Some kind of sick, fucking game for you?"
"But I've been wounded several times after that," quickly interrupts the mind-reader, wanting to hear more from the witch.
Marisa shrugs, revealing confusion with some concern in her face after her hat's brim springs up, and then says "you've been lucky so far, and I'm glad. But Aya, Satori, I am not just telling you this so that you can lose your minds with worry. I truly wish to help."
"With this knowledge, I can now explain a little more to you. You see, first of all, the reason Aya is almost totally immune, is because her feathers come from her very body."
She turns her sight to the mind-reader, and says "you can see it in my mind, I know, but I'll say it. The reason you are less immune to turning, is because that stone is obviously not part of your body, but you still had a strong attachment to it, which is why it still gave you such high levels of immunity."
Satori stares at the shiny stone on her hand for a bit, then softly says "of course. Koishi gave me this before she... closed her third eye off."
Aya has already locked all ten of her beams in the zombie-like witch's face, while said girl continues "and the reason I'm telling you all of this now, is because you need to know, so that you two take better care of each other while inside that place. That cauldron is evil, and I swear to whatever god you believe in, I think it's sentient, though only to some extent."
"Because I drank from it, It whispers to me, drowning out whatever that master's commanding, which is why I believe is the reason I am still in control of myself. Now, and this is very important, so pay close attention..."
The witch stops to make sure both those girls are keeping their full attention on her, then she takes a deep breath, and says "when you enter that castle, your immunity will diminish, and the closer you get to that forsaken cauldron, you'll be more susceptible to transform via scratch or bite, although, as long as you don't get hit, I think you should be fine."
"Think? THINK? Be more concrete," furiously demands Aya after releasing Satori from her arms to get closer to the hated magician.
"In fact, let's do something even smarter, you bitch! Why don't YOU get in there, YOU knock that cauldron down, and YOU fix this mess YOU caused!"
Both girls take immediate notice of the sudden stern change in the zombie girl's expression, then Satori sighs and says "so, the closer you zombies get to those clouds, the harder is for you to control yourselves."
Marisa nods and says "that's right. I already failed against it once, and it is obvious I will fail against it again."
As she speaks still images run through her mind, of Remilia screaming and roaring while thrashing about the library, and says "it started when Remilia came into the room, screaming her head off about Sakuya being dead. By then, we had all mutated, but it was not as bad as it is now. Reimu had her hair all shiny, Alice had skin, Byakuren was still her sweetly strict self, Nitori was..."
A tear escapes the black-and-white's eye as images of the cauldron losing a single drop from within it after Remilia starts flying around the room appear before her, and sadly says "anyways, that stupid bratty bitch came at me, and spilled a mere drop from the cauldron, and that's when all started going straight to hell."
Images of herself shooting her master spark at Alice, then at Nitori, then at Remilia, though missing her miserably, slowly slide around her mind, as she says "I remember claiming the cauldron's power as mine alone, and started shooting at the others for it, but Remilia got more and more aggressive, knocked me out, tore my hand, and threw me out of the mansion."
"After that, I heard her fighting with others before Flandre challenge her for that same cauldron, then I started hearing bloody gurgles and screams, and last I remember before letting myself pass out on that garden of theirs, was Flan being shot out of the mansion with a Spear of the Gungnir stabbed to her heart."
The images stop rolling, and Marisa cries silently, then looks at the living girls with a fake smile on her face, and says "you understand now, what you are dealing with. That thing will test you two! It turned me into a power-hungry bitch that attacked anyone, FRIENDS, for no real reason, and two sisters who loved each other more than anything into brainless beasts of pure hatred, and all because of that power."
Her tears suddenly dry up as she raises her hand, as though trying to grasp the clouds above her, and coldly says "but how can you blame us? That power, that promise of control, of EVERYTHING, and EVERYONE! Nobody would question your commands, everything and everyone would be yours forever, no questions asked! THE WORLD WOULD BE YOURS!"
The witch's face twists with madness and lust for power as she passionately continues "I would challenge Reimu and COMMAND her to lose, and then nobody would question my powers again! Anything I'd ever want would be MINE! Ha, ha, ha, ha! Gensokyo would be mine to keep in my pockets, and nobody would EVER be able to stop me!"
Marisa's mad laugh quickly becomes an insane cackle, and she raises her hands to the air, making herself look insane with thoughts of power, then she slowly stops, her cackles become sobs and whimpers, then she drops on her knees, and cries "but Reimu. She doesn't deserve that. Nor do you two. Nobody does! That is why I'm begging you, please stop that master and spill that liquid from that cauldron! Even Yukari fought against the mind control and got severely punished for helping you, but she wants Gensokyo back to the way it was! You have to stop this! Please!"
Aya and Satori stare at the sobbing witch in front of them, and can finally understand she's not a hundred percent immune to the madness of the zombie illness.
Out of pity, the tengu girl sighs, and then says "fine. We understand, you weak little human. We are the only two that are actually free from the 'Master's' control, so we must undo what you did, for the good of all."
"But you must understand, you will get absolutely no sympathy from us, or anyone else. When this is undone, you will remain the public enemy number one, and I will make sure you stay as such for a long time!"
After Aya's speech, Satori walks over to the tengu's side, glares at the witch, then adds "and I'll make sure to back her up on that. You won't be able to show your face outside your house for a long time, so I suggest you gather as many provisions as you can before we are done here!"
Marisa's reaction is dull and emotionless when she nods, then, after sighing away her desire to pick up her Hakkero and sparking the two understandably ungrateful youkai, she says "then please, go, and destroy the world I created. But remember to stay on your guard, try to not get touched while inside those castle walls, if you feel you are turning against each other, take any measures necessary to keep from killing one another."
"I will do whatever I can to help from here, but don't expect to see me near that place, unless, of course, it's to attack you. As I explained, that cauldron, the concoction in it, is pure evil."
The girls nod, then the witch steps aside to allow them to walk through the rocky path, and so they do, but before they are too far away, without turning around, the satori maiden asks "is there an antidote? What will happen to the people after we spill that garbage? What will happen to you, and to us?"
The zombie-like witch grins with annoying confidence, and says "to my knowledge, there is none. I don't really know what exactly will happen when you spill the cauldron. And who knows what will happen to all of us. Perhaps we will remain immortal monsters; perhaps we'll disintegrate under the rays of the sun. Only one thing remains certain, and that is that peace will return, I can guarantee you two that much."
The youkai girls turn their necks just slightly, enough for their glaring, glowing eyes to become visible to the witch, and without saying another word, they leave, walking through that rocky path headed toward the Nameless Hill, and that dreaded castle.
Five minutes after they girls are gone, and she is sure she is all alone, Marisa throws herself on her hands and knees to the ground and lets everything inside of her burst out through tears and loud sobs.
The thoughts of what's coming to her after all she did take her whole mind.
She can see the hateful screams, the shunning, the inability to leave her house due to fear of death by someone's; be it a human or a youkai's hand, the faces of hatred she'll receive from all her friends, all these thoughts flows inside her like a mad storm, and the more they repeat, the louder her sobs, and the hotter her tears become.
She wants to brush this off, ignore it the same way she would ignore breaking a hole on Patchouli's wall with her Master Spark, but she finds it impossible to do so, and the heavy feeling in her heart worsens.
Suddenly she finds herself split in two, and while one half of her wants the youkai girls to succeed, the other half wants to grab that broom and that miniature octagonal reactor from the ground, chase after the living girls, kill them, and infect them before they get too close to the castle.
She now curls herself up and hugs her knees while pushing herself against a large rock, and looks away from the broom and Hakkero so as not to give in to those dark temptations.
Meanwhile, Aya and Satori have reached the long set of white stairs that lead straight to the front gates of that castle, and stare up.
After staring for at least three minutes, the mind-reader looks at her friend with worry, and sweetly asks "Aya-chan, are you feeling alright? Can you do this?"
The purple-haired girl finds herself tightly embraced again, but before she can even think of anything to say, the tengu says "Satori-chan, whatever happens in there, know that I love you, and that... I am sorry for the way I treated you when we first met. I was so afraid of you, but now I can't be apart from you. Please, let's both do our best in there. Let's stay together, and if it seems we're going to turn on each other-"
"I won't allow that to happen, my dear, dear Aya-chan. I love you too, and nothing like that will happen to us, I promise you, I won't allow it."
Satori's reply and tight embrace return settles the tengu girl's anxious heart, and after they are both satisfied, they let each other go, push each other away, but remain holding hands and take simultaneous steps up those very long stairs.
As they walk up those stairs, the whooshing wind blowing around them feels unwelcome and hot, the castle itself feels like it's pushing them away, but they press on, determined to finally finish the curse Marisa started, and for Aya, to finally fulfill her promise to Reimu.
After three long minutes of walking up those steps, they finally reach the castle's large brownish-red gates, sitting silently across an ample white-bricked floor.
The castle itself looks far more frightening and massive from up close, with its stained ivory bricks making up a massive round coliseum-like architecture that looks orange from a distance, a few, small, rectangular windows separated by three feet from each other, surrounding the last bricks of the walls, high above, before the dome-like ceiling takes over the rest of the building's design.
And that is just one segment of the larger architecture the girls will have to walk through to make it to the precise point where the clouds keep pouring out from.
At the end of several domes, and snake-like paths that link them all, is a frightening architecture made to look like a grand European castle, built with red and black bricks placed at no particular order, most stained with blood and pieces of bodies, the towers' metallic, pointy tips are made to attract and channel all the bolts shot from those evil clouds, and use them for some unknown purpose, but the most disturbing feature is how the clouds pour out of the castle's back, looking like a reversed, fouled waterfall filling a brown river in the sky.
The girls feel a bit intimidated of what they see, but steel themselves and approach the gates, determined to move forward, without regrets, alongside each other to the very end.
As they get closer to those massive gates, they become painfully aware of how diminutive they look in comparison, and know well that the spell placed on those gates will make it impossible to open them by force.
Luckily, they take notice of the small indentation between the two colossal doors that coincidentally have the shape of those two, seemingly unimportant adornments they had to work so hard to get.
As soon as they get close to the indentation, Aya pulls her storage box from her pocket, Satori pulls her own, and both girls simultaneously pull out a crystal pyramid from said little storage boxes.
They stare at them as they turn them sideways, just like the shape on the gates show, then they slowly push their hands closer to each other until both pyramids' bases touch each other, and make a loud airy screeching sound right after making contact, and merge together as though they were never two items.
Satori hands Aya the now-combined item, the tengu walks over to the door and places the key on the keyhole, then stands back.
The crystal pyramids begin to glow as they make a louder, glassy screech, followed by the loud clunk of a door mechanism opening up, and soon after, the gates split up, and the door slowly opens up.
The girls gaze inside, and gasp as they examine what is the final destination of their overly exhausting, and mind-breaking journey.
To be continued...
Characters, spell cards and scenarios belong to ZUN -Team Shanghai Alice-
Satori's Light Sign, Luminaire, was created by Willie G.R., derived from Chrono Trigger/Cross' Luminaire
The castled at the Nameless Hill was created by Willie G.R. (similarities are strictly coincidental).
JAN 2 2012
And so? What do you think? Was this chapter exciting? Did it make you feel anxious? Did you feel how the levels of stress increase as those two youkai get closer to their goal? I sure hope so. I worked hard with this chapter to make it as emotion-stirring as I could. Now that the girls have reached the true final destination, I wonder what will happen now...
Now take notice that I will not be posting the next U.G. chapter as soon, for I will finish with Icicle Sukima's last two chapters, then come and finish Undying Gensokyo. I know some of you might be waiting for me to work on the TH/KH crossover already, but I ask that you be patient on that one. Once U.G. is done, I'll work on that fic, and that fic alone (maybe make a few one-shots?)
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this chapter, and hope you stick around for the last chapters that look very promising :)!
A word of thanks to Kerreb17 for helping me with a snag I had with some confusing grammar, and to Captain Vulcan, for suggesting the use of war flashbacks for Aya, which added something very interesting to this story. Say, you should come to the Let's Danmaku forums. Full of crazy (no offense guys and gal) and interesting people, very friendly we lot are, and now we also have a suggestion thread and a community, "Patchouli's Library", so that if someone is looking for good Touhou fictions to read, they may find them suggested there.