NOTE: This chapter is very light, and has light comedic elements. I still hope you enjoy the Extra chapter of this horror story.
This is Marisa Kirisame, Date: xO/XO/Xx
It has been exactly one year since the incident I caused was solved, and exactly nine months since Reimu administered my antidote after Aya and Satori gave her permission for it. I still find it ironic that they gave the 'ok' so easily, considering all the crap I put them through. Yes, I am very conscious of what I did now, unlike before, when I chose to pin the blame on others. Ah, but now I'm just rambling. Oh, right, an update... Well, as you'd expect, Gensokyo looks like it used to again, though, at the same time, it's different. I... changed many things. And I don't mean physically only. I'm talking full-blown changing of this place's way of life. Others might think otherwise, but this is really starting to eat at me. This guilt won't lift, and I can't blame anybody this time. What would Mima say if she saw me like this, I wonder? No, she still hasn't come to see me, and I'm too afraid to go outside for too long to look for her. As I expected since before the incident got solved, I am a target. Everybody knows what I did, and everybody that attacks me does so with lethal force. Reimu, my dearest friend, sticks up for me whenever she can, and enforces the use of spell cards, saying that it is more satisfying to beat me up rather than kill me. I know what she means by that, though. She's angry at me too, and for good reasons. But still, I know I could just spark the living hell out of all those attackers, but whenever I am reminded of what I caused, I lose my will, just like that. That's not the worst part of it. The worst part is my being unable to live by myself. I only have a few scraps of food left from the leftovers Reimu, Byakuren, and Suwako at the mountain shrine, have given me. This is hell for me. I know Reimu told me to quit being so damned proud, but it's just not in my blood to be taken care of by others... so I try to live on my own. That's why I almost got killed at the village, the mansion, and even what few fairies are out and about have tried to kill me for real. I've never seen fairies act so hostile toward anything. Ah, but that's all I'll be writing here today, because I am damned hungry after having fasted for two days straight. I'll go see Reimu, I guess. I wonder if today is the day she'll forgive me? Oh, and speaking of forgiving, I've come across Aya and Satori at the Moriya and Hakurei Shrines a lot. I don't see that hatred in their eyes anymore, but I know they haven't forgiven me either... And I very much doubt they ever will, not after all they went through because of my selfishness.
It is a peaceful spring morning when the witch in black and white exits her home, and takes flight on her broom with a grumbling stomach that is demanding some sustenance.
Her hair has finally grown to a length she's comfortable to be seen with; down to her shoulders; but her skin remains pale and stretched due to the lack of food, as even with Reimu's pleas for the witch to act humbly, she still wants to play the tough girl as she always has, and constantly starves.
She flies over Alice's house and looks down at puppeteer working on her garden with her own hands instead of her dolls.
Alice takes notice of Marisa's presence, stands and turns to glare at her neighbor from the ground, but her face looks far more ominous and dark than the black and white one expected.
A very dark aura emanates from the short-haired blonde on the ground; her eyes seem to glow with intense hatred, yet spits no threats, which feels far more threatening.
Instead, she secretly sends Shanghai with a ridiculously long spear, and Hourai with a dark beam readied, both aimed at the hated witch's chest.
Understanding the message, Marisa quietly bows, and then quickly takes off toward the Hakurei Shrine, saving herself from the puppeteer's wrath yet again.
She would love nothing more than to make peace with that girl, but even after a year since the incident was solved, it doesn't seem she'll be able to approach her.
She arrives to the shrine fairly quickly, and as she lands in front of the donation box, she comments "still so few fairies. I'm starting to miss the little buggers. They were fun to blast out of the... Well, what a surprise."
During her lonely commenting, she keeps looking around the shrine grounds, and her sight comes across Aya and Satori, whom are currently standing in front of the Moriya Shrine's extension, and, as it's been the entire year, they are holding hands.
The left corner of her mouth lowers as she looks at them with disgust, and thinks "geez, these girls are still acting all creepy," then smiles and waves at them as she walks to them, and happily shouts "hey you guys! How's it hangin', ze!"
The tengu and satori turn to face the blonde with neutral faces, Satori's looking as particularly unfriendly as ever, and then said mind-reader says "I don't really care if we do look creepy to you, I'm not letting her hand go."
Aya frowns; understandably upset; and loudly says "we don't really give a shit about what you think, Kirisame, so just keep your thoughts to yourself!"
The human raises her hands defensively, thinking she might be attacked again, and says "ara, ara~ Take it easy. Besides, it was just my personal, private observation. It's not my fault she can read my heart!"
The two girls just sigh and roll their eyes, then turn around to resume their joint prayer to Kanako and Suwako.
Marisa sighs, slumps, and then says "whatever. Just stop being so creepy all the time. You're filling the atmosphere with something strange," and as she turns around, she snickers and covers her mouth, then whispers "maybe pheromones..."
The girls both grin mischievously, let go of their hands to clap and bow, then hold hands again as they turn around with wider grins.
Aya sighs, then casually says "so, Satori-chan, how many gratitude gifts did you get last week?"
Satori coos, and then says "oh, I lost count. They just won't stop coming. So many portraying their gratitude in gifts and letters... I must say, it's almost overwhelming."
The tengu girl chuckles playfully, and says "it's the same for me. I just can't keep up. Though, I have to admit, Byakuren's manjuu is just delectably delicious!"
The mind-reader giggles, and adds "but Miss Miko's and Miss Futo's cookies and cake are to die for! You must try them when you come over again."
There is a quick pause, then she quickly adds "er, if Koishi hasn't eaten them all again."
"Ah, but that's alright," continues the reporter more casually. "The air conditioning is more than enough."
"The heating during winter was just perfect," replies the purple-haired girl. "Remind me to send Nitori a really big 'THANK YOU' letter."
"Could you guys shut up please?" mutters Marisa through gritted teeth.
Aya points at her dear friend and smiles as she exclaims "oh, and how about that dress you had. All silk. Must be worth a fortune. I even heard you got some youkai trying to earn your affection..."
"They better keep away, though~" mumbles the tengu to herself, while still smiling.
Satori giggles playfully, then says "but what about that beautiful new kimono you got? That combination of red and twenty-four karat gold threads got those wolves and crows fighting over who got to speak to you. Even the girls..."
"I'm glad they didn't win, tough," mumbles the satori to herself, smiling to try and hide her annoyance.
The girls suddenly stop the teasing when they see the witch crouching low to the floor and tracing her finger in a circle to her left, lowering the brim of her hat to cover her face, and twitching every time she suppresses a sob.
Being the type of youkai she is, the mind-reader gets closer to her dear girl's ear and whispers "we overdid it. She's crying again."
The tengu reporter sighs and face palms, then moves herself and the purple-haired girl to the witch, and says "sorry, didn't mean to go that far, but we're not even close to being even yet, Kirisame."
Marisa lifts her glowering, tear-filled face, and angrily cries "that's not fair! It's been a year since all of that! Come on, we should be even after all the shit I've been through all this time!"
Satori nods, and then softly says "maybe someday. I really do not believe you have learned your full lesson yet."
"But she will," says Reimu from the donation box, smiling at the girls as she waves, but that smile quickly vanishes when she lays her eyes on her black and white dressed friend.
She sighs and walks over to the blonde, helps her up, realizing she's actually too weak to get up on her own, and wraps the girl's arm around her shoulder, while sadly saying "how many times do I have to tell you? Stop being so damned proud. Your body needs food to work. Just look at you, you can barely stand."
The witch looks away, then is met by two genuinely worried tengu and satori, then narrows her eyes as she looks forward, and says "it's just... more fun to mooch off of you so casually, rather than beg, Reimu."
The shrine maiden clicks her tongue and grunts, but is far too busy making sure Marisa doesn't fall on her face while stepping up the veranda to care, though with Aya and Satori's help, that task becomes a lot easier.
As they eat a surprisingly hearty breakfast, the witch can't help but notice how nervous those two girls look while eating, and while observing how close they get, she asks "so, what's wrong with you-?"
"It's nothing. Please, don't mind us. Just enjoy your meal, and let us enjoy ours."
Satori's interruption was clearly defensive, and not wanting to cause any trouble the black and white one simply looks down at the food before her, and wolfs down everything on her plate, and pick at Reimu's as well.
"Quit that. I served you plenty," complains the maiden in red and white, doing her best to suppress her own urge of stabbing her long-time friend's hand with her chop-sticks.
There is a short moment of silence between them, so Reimu takes the chance and asks "so, how are things over at the Youkai Mountain? No problems, I presume?"
The jittery tengu drops her chop-sticks on the table when she tries to answer, but it's not until her satori friend places her hand on hers that she sighs and calmly replies "ahem, y-yeah, things are ok. Um, actually, since the shift, the hermit's dojo is now closer to that of that prince girl Miko's. Nothing serious, but you might want to look into that."
The mind reader scratches the back of Aya's head, making her smile blissfully and glance upward, as though being in another world, then says "I've been there many times now, and I can tell you, it's not exactly like Aya-chan remembers. The gods are starting to walk around and mingle some more, but most of the youkai and fairies keep hiding in their houses, and the kappa seem a little too aggressive still. I heard that white wolf tengu complaining about getting Aya's mail being a hassle for her."
The crow girl giggles after the satori youkai stops scratching her, and adds "yeah, even though the Kappa have that mail service, they are still being very aggressive to anyone getting too close to their village."
The shrine maiden hums and holds her chin while she analyzes what's been told, then asks "and the Moriya Shrine? How are things there?"
"Things are as fine as ever," says Sanae from the open entrance as she glances around the room until she sees Marisa, and mutters "oh, she's here," then quickly clears her throat, and with a scowl says "things are just fine over at my shrine. It's the mountain dwellers themselves that are still getting used to the new layouts."
Marisa heard that muttering clearly, and at first, she thinks "I'll get you, you bitch. I'm going to Spark that spoiled-rotten, self-absorbed brat straight to hell."
But then she looks at Aya and Satori, her anger becomes guilt, her eyes hide under the shadow of her own hair, and without finishing her second meal, she springs on her feet and says "thank you for the wonderful food, Reimu. I have to go now."
The shrine maiden watches quietly while her friend leaves, and notices how the tengu and mind-reader wish to say something, but neither does.
Instead, to everyone's surprise, Sanae coldly says "hey..." waits for the witch to look at her, and more calmly says "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that."
Marisa smiles, feeling so much gratitude for Sanae's apology, and exclaims "what? Oh, don't worry about that! I'm used to it by now. Besides, I forgot I have these experiments to take care of..."
She mounts her broom before leaving the veranda, lightly kicks off the ground, waves at all present, and says "anyway, I'll be seeing you all later, ze. Reimu, it's ok if I come by tomo-?"
"Please do. I'll be making eggs, so look forward to that," quickly says the Hakurei Maiden, to which the blonde grins to, nods, then takes off to the air, thinking "man, she apologized. For some reason, that felt really good."
Instead of heading home, Marisa decided to take a more scenic route, and is currently flying around the Misty Lake as she heads over to the Youkai Forest.
As she looks down and takes notice of the lack of fairies trying to get in her way, she thinks "the lake's finally thawed out completely. Those icebergs took a whole year... Ahh, the fairies should be out already, trying to attack me, or something, but there's nothing. Not a youkai in sight either. I wonder...?"
She raises her flight height so much, she starts feeling cold enough to freeze to death, but by doing so, she is able to safely fly over the Scarlet Devil Mansion, where Meiling, Koakuma, and a legion of fairies seem to be waiting for her, ready to attack the moment she's in range.
As she looks at those hateful glaring faces, she thinks "they're still this pissed, after all this time? But look at them all, ganging up on me like that. Is this...?"
She moves on as fast as she can, and descends when far enough from the mansion to avoid getting frozen to the death, which is much more prone to happen due to her lack of body fat from lack of proper eating.
She quickly finds herself flying above the Youkai Forest, looks down to the ground that is empty of all but grass, dirt, some rocks and a few flowers, and thinks "it's like a ghost town. Seriously, where are the-"
A mischievous grin takes her face when she hears the giggles from some naughty fairies headed her way, eager to attack her as part of their usual pranks, but the second one of the fairies recognizes her, she screams "it's the monster girl! GET AWAY FROM HER!"
Marisa's smile quickly becomes a sad frown, and then she tries to call for the stupid little fairies, and scowls furiously when she realizes what she is doing.
She then takes notice of the changed Youkai Mountain, and again frowns as her guilt escalates.
The Moriya Shrine remains at the top, as it's always been, but now it's higher up than before, almost reaching Heaven, making accessing it from there a breeze.
The entrance to the Tengu Village is now hidden behind the small forest surrounding Kasen's Mansion/Dojo, and the water that made the waterfall now trails through said forest from the north, enters a cave where it turns to the east, and falls where it always should, though now it covers the Kappa Village even better, thanks to the new shrubs and rose bushes that grow behind where the water crashes on the river.
She swears she can even see Miko's Dojo a mere fifteen feet to the left of Kasen's, but she's not certain of that, since she can't really tell if she's looking at a building, or a mirage.
The world suddenly flashes before her; the trees are dead, the ground is dried and has taken a purple color, the fairies running away from her have become decaying little monsters with their eyes covered in some black slime that oozes all the way down to their open, rotting mouths.
The shock of the sight causes her to lose her control of her magic and her broom, and falls hard on the ground, where she first rolls like a ball after trying to soften the crash, but ends up rolling sideways before crashing against the thick root of an ancient-looking tree.
She winces and groans as she gets up and holds her back from the pain, then stops everything when a realization hit her.
She's sitting in the undead world once again, and the tree she just crashed against is swinging its branches around.
Before the witch can react she is smacked by a flinging root, then is caught in mid air by two of those zombie fairies, and before she realizes this, a third one comes out of nowhere and tries to bite her neck, but gets her shirt's collar instead.
The human blonde whimpers and her body starts thrashing on its own when her mind desperately screams "they're eating me! THEY'RE EATING ME! I need to run. I need help!"
In her desperate thrashing to escape being eaten by zombies, the little monsters grip her shirt and black vest tighter then rip both off with ease after the biting zombie fairies tear through the fabric with their teeth.
Her white brassiere is on full display, but her mind is too preoccupied with running away to safety and the fear coursing through every inch of her body, and now her limbs seem to be working on their own, taking her somewhere safe; or at least she hopes that's the case.
Marisa runs for her life, whimpering with every desperate pant, and then finally, after gathering enough will power, she loudly calls "HEEEEELP! SOMEBODY! REIMU, PLEASE! Zombies! Zombies are after me!"
She falls on her face and skids to a halt, moans as she slowly lifts her head back up, then her eyes become filled with terror upon the sight of the zombies Minoriko and Shizuha Aki, both dripping yellow ooze from their mouths, standing naked before her with holes on their chests and stomachs, displaying their shriveled rotten hearts and stomachs, and moaning out loud as they reach for the blonde witch.
Kirisame yelps with every desperate breath she takes as she gets back up on her feet, pulls her Hakkero out of her pocket, and desperately shouts "get back! Get back the both of you! G-get... b-ba-"
Her miniature reactor spits a mere cloud; she being too nervous to properly use her own magic; and upon seeing this, all her hopes of survival fade, tears start rolling down her cheeks, she unconsciously drops the octagonal object, and she desperately whimpers "this is madness! S-someone help me. Reimu... Aya... Satori."
And now that she finally understands what she has truly done, her tears come mixed with her fright and a frightfully terrible realization.
But she's strong, and as frightened as she is, she thinks to herself "you have to survive! You have to survive this, so MOVE YOU BITCH! MOOOOOOVE!"
She quickly takes off on her feet, manages to summon her broom to her hand, her skirt gets tangled in the hand of one of the thousands of undead creatures with sharp teeth, rotting exposed, brains and massive sharp claws digging their way out of the ground, yet she ignores as it is ripped off her waist, and jumps on her broom as it seems to take flight on its own, not caring that she's now flying around an Undying Gensokyo in nothing but a white bra and a pair of bloomers.
Meanwhile, back in reality, where the naughty fairies hold Marisa's plucked shirt and vest as they stare to the sky in shock, the short-haired brunette fairy in green says "all that just form holding her by the shoulders? Man, we've gotten good."
Shizuha and Minoriko, whom are perfectly fine and clothed, raise an eyebrow as they look up to the sky, then the goddess of bountiful harvest sighs, and angrily says "what's her problem? We only came because she was crying for help. That was really rude of her."
The goddess of turning leaves smiles and coos as the gets Marisa's shirt from the fairies, hums a tune while going for her skirt, which happens to be stuck on a low tree branch, then looks at her sister and says "come on sis, let's return these things to her."
"Yeah, yeah," reluctantly replies Minoriko as she picks up the Hakkero from the ground, stares at the wooden octagon, then grins and says "hey, maybe if I kept this, I could assert my dominance over all those pathetic gods that keep getting in my way to becoming the most loved and powerful god in the world!"
Shizuha punches her sister on the head, and angrily says "we are not thieves, little sis. Come on, that poor human was scared. She probably needs our help, and her clothes."
The little sister rubs her own head as she takes flight after her older sister, while angrily muttering under her breath "stupid onee-chan. It's not even autumn. We shouldn't even be out here."
Marisa continues her desperate flight for her life, and reaches the Myouren Temple grounds when something strikes her from above and sinks its claws on her shoulders, cutting her delicate human skin and making her bleed immediately.
The unseen creatures seems to be a rotting sparrow with a stretched, purple curved beak, sharp curved claws, and is oozing some green slime on the human's bare skin.
The witch cries out in pain and tries to grip the claws causing her discomfort, but when she does she loses control of her broom and falls to the ground, where she rolls several times before crashing to a halt against the right-side wall of the Myouren Temple's grounds.
She breathes through her teeth as she holds her right shoulder after such an impact while keeping her eyes shut for her own mental preservation, wanting to ignore the undead world trying to kill her, then something small climbs on her shoulder and screeches next to her ear, causing her to scream like a frightened child.
"Miss Marisa! It's alright! Please, calm down!"
The unsettled witch in underwear holds her head after Byakuren removes her hand from the girl's shoulder, pops her eyes open as she continues to breathe and whimper through her teeth, and looks around with unhinged eyes, still unable to notice the magician monk and Nue standing in front her.
"Heheheh. Look at that. She's like some sort of nervous little rabbit just begging to be eaten," mischievously says the undefined one, getting a scowl, and a forehead-flick from Byakuren; though she just chuckles while holding her head after her punishment.
The Youkhrist turns her attention back to Marisa, kneels in front of the unsettled girl, and while waving her hand in front of the blonde, she softly says "Miss Marisa, you are at the Myouren Temple. This is Byakuren speaking to you. Please answer me of you acknowledge what I am saying."
The witch manages to move her yellow eyes to meet with the monk's light-brown eyes, and suddenly the world around her is back to normal, with some green grass on the side of the healthy-brown roads, the trees have leaves, her body is clean, save for some dirt stuck on some sweaty spots, then she jumps on the gradient-haired woman and embraces her tightly, knocking her own hat off and not noticing.
As she does, Hijiri can feel the blonde shivering while suppressing some whimpers, and then the mischievous Nue laughs and says "wow, I never thought I'd see the day when this little bitch acted like such a scared and spoiled little child."
Instead of the expected punishment, Byakuren sternly commands "Nue, get back inside and inform Shou Marisa is with us, and is in desperate need of sustenance."
The woman turns her body to glare at the youkai, and darkly says "and another remark like that to our guest, and I'll have you give your share of lunch to this human, you understand?"
The undefined girl smiles to hide her annoyed embarrassment. After all, she hates getting scolded so coldly by Lady Hijiri, but still, she pushes her luck, and nonchalantly says "you do know she's the one that caused so much grief to every-"
"You all have to learn to let those unneeded feelings go. Forgive, and forget," sternly interrupts the magician monk before turning to look at the witch's right shoulder, and softly adds "she's already been punished enough for that, even though you don't see it that way. Oh, and please have Ichirin prepare the first aids. Her shoulder is hurt pretty badly."
Even the youkai girl winces when she notices Marisa's bleeding right shoulder, all swollen and black; maybe even broken; and without saying another word, the girl rushes off, but stops halfway to the temple when she hears a loud "HEEEYYY~"
The Aki sisters have reached the temple in record time, and as they land, Minoriko loudly says "there she is! Seriously, running off like that, and naked to boot. How indecent can humans be!"
Shizuha lands behind her younger sister with Marisa's clothes on hand, stares at the scene before them, and then says "how lovely. A mother and daughter bonding so well.
Byakuren can only giggle after that odd observation, then happily says "welcome to my temple, young deities. I see you have this human's clothes with you."
The sisters aren't really sure if that woman is being sarcastic or not, and just stare at each other quietly, each wondering when the other will comment on that.
An hour later, inside the temple's guest room, Marisa has finally calmed down, though not enough to keep her shaking left hand steady, spilling lots of her green tea on the floor and her skirt before it can reach her mouth.
She winces when Ichirin taps her shoulder with a cotton ball to get the last bit of blood cleaned off, and then continues her shivering and attempted drinking afterward.
The hooded girl is obviously treating the blonde against her own wishes, evident in her disapproving frown, and while she applies the bandages, she says "you know, you are veeeery lucky you fell down here, AND with Lady Hijiri present. I would most certainly be doing something else rather than being here treating your wound like this. I'm only doing this at her request."
The blonde girl moves her shaking head to meet with Ichirin's eyes, shows the youkai the painful sorrow of new forced wisdom in her own, and softly says "I'm so sorry. Please... f-f-forgive me."
The sincerity in the girl's voice catches the youkai girl completely off guard, and she is currently unable to think of what to say, then she remembers how easily Byakuren forgave the witch, even when she didn't really mean those 'I'm sorrys' from before, then sighs and says "I see. Well, I suppose I can forgive you now. I mean... it's been a year."
Marisa smiles, her shaking hand relaxes a bit, then she nods, but before she can speak, from the door Nazrin says "well, I guess we can really forgive her now that she means it. It was pretty uncomfortable sharing a body with Master, but I guess that's back there in the past."
The tiger youkai pats her subordinate's head and says "at'ta girl," then aims her smile at the witch and says "it's just like Lady Hijiri said. You have experienced the pain you've caused to the others. Then again, maybe you're just being a crybaby from all that lack of nourishment, yes?"
The witch scowls, but for some reason remains silent and turns her head to look at the ground beside her thigh, then her gaze is presented with a cutely-wrapped-in-pink container and her Hakkero, both held by one hand, and when she looks up, the Bishamonten representative graces her with one of her best smiles.
"Here, some leftovers from today's lunch. Murasa said she doesn't mind. You know, she's been working non-stop on fixing that new flying ship of hers. *Sigh* But you don't care about that, do you?"
Marisa gulps lightly, shakes her head, then softly says "sorry. I'm really sorry, for everything I caused."
Shou sighs, gently pats the witch's head twice, and leaving her hand on the girl's head she sighs and says "it's not us you should be apologizing to. We have forgiven you. It's those two. You have to apologize to them, or you'll be feeling trapped for a very long time.
A few minutes later, the blonde witch is fully clothed and on her broom on her way straight home. No more detours for her until she's sure she's perfectly fine.
Before reaching the Human Village, she can see Seiga still treating Yoshika carefully at the outskirts of said village, gently touching her zombie-servant's shoulder while saying "come on, it's been a year. How can you still remember that?"
The Jiang-Shi looks at her master with a puzzled gaze, and then asks "remember what?"
The blue-haired girl smiles and asks "so you're not angry at me anymore?"
The jumping zombie glowers, then says "oh yes I am! Seiga Nyan Nyan is MEAN to me! Yoshika is mad again!"
"ARGH! But I've apologized so many times! But wait a minute, you just said you don't remember me biting you, so why are you mad?"
Yoshika looks at her master with that confused stare, and asks "you bit me? Really? KYA~ Seiga Nyan Nyan loves Yoshika~"
The sudden change in the undead girl's mood leaves the blue-haired hermit rubbing her own head in confusion, though accepting the sudden rush-hug with a smile, and the blonde witch chuckling softly at the sight, then both onlooker and blue-haired master gasp with shock and surprise when the jiang-shi bites her master on the shoulder, and coos "I love Seiga Nyan Nyan!"
It is obvious the wicked hermit wishes to speak, but her eyes go blank, and she's suddenly jumping around with her hands raised.
Marisa wisely decides to ignore them and continues on to the village.
As she flies over the village, she notices how empty the roads are, and what few people, whom are currently on the market area, keep glowering at her; those that can are taking flight and preparing bullets; stop buying food and supplies to keep their eyes on her, and will probably head straight home after she's gone.
She remembers how busy that particular area used to be, and how many stores there should be, and this knowledge starts taking its weight in her heart as she remembers what Eirin and the others said about many of the humans dying; some after having had the antidote injected, but had lost all their food and died hours later due to starvation and thirst.
She lowers the brim of her hat to hide her face, then speeds on over to the Forest of Magic, saving herself from the imminent attack from the hateful humans, whom, to her, have every right to strike her and take her life.
She flies over Kourindou and thinks of going down, but she is yet to muster up the courage to meet Rinnosuke eye-to-eye, and like always for the past year, simply keeps on going.
As she flies home and has calmed down enough, she thinks "Hakurei, Moriya, Myouren, Aya and Satori. The only places and people I can show my face to, and yet I wish I didn't have one to show anymore. More and more I wish I had died, spare myself of this living torture. ARGH! What the hell am I thinking? No, these people have taken care of me. Morbid thinking is not a good way to repay them. I owe them, especially those two! Even when they haven't forgiven me, they still help me. Haa~ I better stop thinking these things before I go mad... Ah, home sweet home! Can't wait to get on my bed and sleep away the rest of the day."
After landing in front of her home, she promptly heads on over to the door and enters the safety of her house as quickly as she humanly can.
The inside of her house is depressingly empty, save for a few scattered, useless toys, precious stones, a stone tablet, and other collected items lying on the ground or her couch. (The house is empty, Kirisame.)
As she looks around the inside of her home, a painful memory takes her mind; something that happened a mere week after Eirin had administered the antidote:
A group of villagers and fairy maids led by Alice, Koakuma, and Sakuya, stormed into the witch's house while she was struck by a strong hunger fit that left her immobile on the floor.
Without allowing her to ask, they pushed her against the farthest wall of the living room and nailed her to it with a magical sword she had conveniently lying next to her.
Alice gave the order to all to take everything that belonged to them, and all Marisa could do was watch as they took so many of her collected items.
At the time, she was still as arrogant and possessive as ever, and demanded her things to be returned, but nobody listened, and Sakuya even placed a charm on her lips to shut her mouth after the tenth claim.
After half of the things "borrowed" were taken back by their owners, including the innumerable amount of books from Patchouli's library, Sakuya pulled the sword out of Marisa's shriveled stomach, allowing the zombie-like witch to fall, and said "and if you come back to the mansion, we will not hesitate on using lethal force."
Her wound healed almost instantly, but she remained on the ground, hungry, thirsty, and still feeling the pain of the sword on her stomach, and the pain of her shattered pride in her heart.
Marisa closes her eyes and shakes her head, probably attempting to forget that memory, then starts remembering images of herself, only three months after she had been cured of that zombie effect and lost her immortality for good, returning every other item she had stolen back to their owners at the village in a desperate attempt for redemption.
She got glares, rocks thrown at her, but she still returned the items, and that's when she went to the Moriya Shrine to return some figures, books and CDs, where she was accepted by Suwako and Kanako, and saved from starvation once again.
She drops on her knees and whispers "I'm sorry...", then thinks of Reimu, Patchouli, Nitori, Aya, Satori, Alice, and soon finds herself going mad when her mind is filled with images of Satori and Aya looking desperate, filled with bloody cuts everywhere, running around in their underwear and screaming for help.
The silence in her house isn't helping, and feels as though its forcing itself inside her brain through her ears, and all she can do is grip her hair and pull hard, hoping the pain will distract her mind.
"I'M SORRY! FORGIVE ME ALREADY!"
She knows she's screaming at the top of her weak human lungs, but she can't even hear herself nor feel the vibration of her scream, and all of a sudden her house starts spinning around her, flashes, and becomes other locations.
The zombie-infested Human Village, the deserted Tengu Village, Byakuren's Monster Ship, Kasen's small, but dangerous monster-infested forest, the darkened Scarlet Devil Mansion, the disgusting zombie-filled Underground City, and so on do the images continue changing, until the human magician can take no more and collapses, thus her house turns back to its normal state.
The next morning, the pale witch flies desperately straight to the Hakurei Shrine, and almost crashes when she lands at such insane speeds.
Because of the momentum, she runs straight to the back of the shrine, heads directly toward the gazebo, but stops abruptly, falling on her face after doing so, when she fails to find the expected girls there.
She lifts her head, mutters incoherent words, looks around with terrified eyes, and then whimpers "Satori? Aya? A-anyone there? ...Reimu?"
Though scared, weakened from the hunger, and seemingly uncertain of her actions, Marisa pushes herself on to her knees, blinks twice as she looks around, takes a deep breath, then softly says to herself "no zombies. I'm not dead. Nobody's here. Someone say something..."
The blonde witch whimpers desperately as she crawls away from the source of the voice, corners herself against the gazebo, then turns around to face Reimu as said maiden looks down with a confused and very concerned face.
The shrine maiden quickly takes notice of what is going on, and knowing how to treat the situation from her experience with Aya and Satori, she bends her knees, raises her hand at the girl, and looks her straight in the eyes.
"Marisa, this is Reimu, the real Reimu Hakurei. I am not going to bite; I am not going to kill. You have to trust me. Now listen to my voice, ignore everything else, and look at me."
The terrified girl slowly lifts her shaking head to meet with her friend's eyes, and after locking sights, the black-haired girl softly says "good, good. Now listen carefully. I want you to reach for my hand, and hold it. Trust in me and hold my hand."
Marisa continues to stare at her friend, slowly reaches for her hand, then launches herself into the arms of the shrine maiden, and loudly cries "REIMU! I'm *sob* so sorry! I did it! I really did it! I didn't know! Those girls *sob*! One day! *Hic* How could they survive so long? I have *sniffle* apologize, and-"
"There, there," Reimu coos softly, gently wrapping her arms around her friend's neck while combing the back of her head with her fingers.
"You went through what they did, but only for a day, and you almost lost your mind. You have felt their pain, but the most important thing is you learned your lesson. I am sure they will forgive you now. Now, calm down. You are strong my friend, but you have reached your limit. Calm yourself and remember where you are."
As she holds the crying witch against her chest, Reimu looks up at the tengu and satori youkai standing behind the black and white, holding each others' hands, then smiles while thinking "same as you two. She's definitely lived through your experiences. I just wish I knew how."
Satori smiles, whispers to Aya what the maiden had just said, then both nod, and the mind-reader softly says "I'm not sure, but... yes, I can see some form of subconscious tampering in there."
Marisa opens her eyes wide, quickly turns around to meet the two girls she's been looking for, then launches at them and holds each by the hip to stop herself from falling between them, and blubbers, cries, whines, and generally tries to apologize through desperate tears, which happen to be staining their skirts.
Reimu looks at the whole scene with both pity and disgust, and says "geez, I never thought I'd see Marisa acting like this, and only because she's really living what you girls lived."
The youkai girls just look at each other, sigh, then Aya says "jeez, and she's only experienced it for a day? Well, if that's the case, then I think we can forgive her."
The blonde witch stops her crying, looks up at the girls with those bloodshot eyes, while Satori pats her head as she would her pets, and says "yes, now that you have lived what we lived thanks to your greedy experiment, I also believe we can forgive you."
Marisa cannot believe what she's hearing, and with every breath, her attempted smile becomes stronger, and stronger, until she finally lets the girls go, drops on her hands and knees, and while looking at the ground, she shouts "you forgive me! THANK YOU! Thank you so much!"
The shrine maiden face palms, sighs out loud with frustration, and says "oh boy, what a mess this girl is. I can't even tell if this is really Marisa anymore."
The mind reader clears her throat, bows her head when the red and white dressed girl looks at her, and softly says "she was seeing you, me, and Aya-chan as zombies until just now. She needs to unwind, or I fear she'll break."
Reimu composes herself, gets closer to her friend and rubs her back, causing another set of shouted "Thank yous", and loud sobs to escape the mentally struggling girl.
After a much-needed breakfast of eggs, rice and vegetable soup, the tengu and satori convince the blonde witch to walk with them to the Human Village, and after they wave at, and say their goodbyes to Reimu, the two girls take the lead, while the ordinary wreck of a magician slowly follows after them.
After the long and awkwardly silent walk down the shrine's stairs, Marisa seems to finally snap out of her morbid world, and softly asks "so, why are you taking me to the village? Are you... going to kill me there?"
"Goodness. What kind of talk is that? Of course not," replies the genuinely surprised Satori, who moves closer to her friend, and whispers "she actually wants us to finish her off."
The two girls suddenly twitch, grab each other's hand, and after a sigh, Aya says "no, Marisa. We don't want to kill you. We want to help you."
There is obvious confusion in the blonde's voice, and then the mind-reader says "we meant it when we said we forgive you. Now, we want to help you regain your life, to some extent."
The tengu chuckles, and quickly adds "we know you like being the tough girl; the individual that can take care of herself, so we'll use our small influence, and try to convince the humans to at least let you shop for food. That's a start, right?"
Kirisame lowers her head, looks to the ground to her left, and mutters "well... since the mushrooms I... still not growing... And I miss my favorite snacks..."
The two girls in front chuckle, causing the blonde to blush, and now continue their way to the village through the dirt road, which now has a few newborn trees and bushes growing to either side.
After a few minutes pass, the curious witch stares at the girls' held hands, then asks "say, um, I was wondering. Why are you two holding hands so much? Are you a couple now, or something, ze?"
The youkai girls look at each other, blush a bit, start to giggle, then Satori says "heh-heh, maybe."
They can both see the confusion on Marisa's face through the corner of their eyes, gasp softly after realizing she's genuinely curious, then they stop and turn around, and not letting go of each other for even a second.
They look at the human before them with a serene, yet stern gaze, lift their held hands up to face height, then Aya begins "It's been a real pain in our asses trying to readapt to our old life, Marisa. We, to this date, are still scared of everyone."
Satori hums with a nod, and continues "like you, we are having visions of that world you created. We can't sleep when apart, too afraid to close our eyes without having each other to watch our backs. No, I still cannot trust my own family, or my pets, to this day."
Guilt starts creeping back into the witch's heart, evident by the look of sorrow in her eyes; not that that guilt ever left her in the first place.
Before long, the tengu girl continues "the hallucinations, or what we HOPE are hallucinations, won't stop unless we are holding hands like this. We feel safe, just as you felt safe when you were holding on to Reimu."
The blonde human lowers her head, completely covering her face with the brim of her hat, while thinking "she's right. When I held on to Reimu the images all stopped, and I felt so warm. So... it's the same for these girls too."
"Yes," begins the purple-haired girl. "That's how it is for us as well. If we let go, like say, right now, we'll see you as a zombie with a whole army of zombies behind, trying to eat us alive. That, *shivers* has never left our minds, even after a year."
Marisa drops on her knees, bows until her forehead touches the ground, and cries "I am so sorry. I will never be able to make it up to you, but I promise, no more world-scale experiments, so please, accept my apology!"
She suddenly feels two pressures on both sides of her head, and when she looks up with that dirty forehead staining her face, she sees two clawed hands with decaying skin, patches of flesh torn off, dripping brown-colored bodily fluids, and closes her eyes tight and whimpers.
Instead of the expected mixture of cold pain, she feels warmth as those supposed claws start rubbing her head very gently.
When she lifts her head again, she is greeted by the smiling Aya and Satori, both which are treating her as one would a scared animal, and then the mind-reader says "we already told you, we forgive you."
The tengu chuckles and says "that's right. Now get up. We're not some gods looking for followers."
Marisa manages to smile, gets up on her own and dusts her skirt, knees and forehead, then gulps the rest of her tears down and softly says "hai. Sorry about that. J-just can't seem to get a hold of myself z-ze."
The purple-haired satori pulls the blonde next to her as they resume their walk, and softly says "we know, Miss Kirisame. We both know how all of that feels as well."
It's been so long since Marisa was able to set foot safely inside the village, she hadn't noticed the many changes in the buildings, which now look far more clean, neat; maybe the word should be modern; and the large gaps between said houses, a fact that's reminding her of her foolishness, and what it cost the humans.
She is kept right in front and between Aya and Satori, and can see how the smiles of the villagers greeting said girls from the safety of their houses turn to hateful glowers when they notice her in the middle.
Regardless, the two girls wave back and reply to the greeting, while pushing the nervous human toward the market area while whispering at her "trust us, they won't hurt you."
The blonde magician has no choice now but to trust the girls, seeing as she's too far inside the village to make a safe escape, but continues looking around with fright, knowing well what would happen if those two decide to betray her.
The mind-reader places a gentle hand on her head, simulating a mother's touch and calming the human down, and says "we won't do that, so just relax. Trust us, from today onward you'll be living your life again, just how you like it."
Before Kirisame has a chance to analyze what she's just been told, she's pulled to stop after reaching the market area.
It's so empty, compared with how it used to be, before her selfish experiment.
The number of kiosks can be counted with two hands, several of the larger stores are boarded up, two have been completely destroyed, but there's no sign of either even being attempted to be repaired, while the rest, which can also be counted with just two hands, look far more modern and sturdy than before.
Still, as nice as they look, there is a looming sensation of sadness and anger in the whole market, and that's when she notices the many people there glaring at her, some preparing bullets, while other grasp whatever they can in preparation of an assault.
Both Aya and Satori let go of their hands to stand between Marisa, acting as though nothing is happening, then they wave at the people while Aya casually asks "well hello everyone. Say, what's with those faces?"
A young man in a brown, long-sleeved kimono shirt and light brown pants approaches the girls, and in an anxious tone says "Miss Aya and Miss Satori, you know you are always welcome here..."
He points at the blonde between them and apprehensively says "but SHE is another matter entirely! Thanks to her, our numbers have dwindled! If it weren't for youkai like you and Miss Keine, our village would have been wiped clean of all humans by now. Please remove this monster from our sight, or we'll remove her by force!"
Angry cheers rain down on the girls and their "guest", but a quick raise from both girls' hands quiets the mob, then Satori bows and says "we understand you concern, and most definitely understand your hatred toward this girl, but you should listen to what we have to say."
Aya coos playfully, taking the attention of the whole village, and says "look, let's cut to the chase already. People, it's been a year. This girl has been punished long enough. True, it took the both of us this long to forgive her, but if we can do that, so can you."
Confused murmurs surround the girls, and now Marisa, who was crouching and covering her head with her hands, slowly uncurls and looks around at the confused humans.
The mind-reader chuckles, and then says "I know it's very surprising, but it's the truth. We feel this girl has learned her lesson well, and would like to ask you to forgive her, and, at least, to let her come and buy some supplies."
The tengu pulls the witch up on her feet, holds her by the hip while rubbing her head like some kid, knocking her hat off in the process, and says "that's right. This poor girl has been living like a starving wanderer for a whole year now. She's truly sorry for what she did, and has promised she will never do something so stupid again; will you Marisa?"
The terrified blonde doesn't even notice she's being treated like some child again, and shakes her head hard, nervously saying "noma'am! *Gulp* I won't do it again. I... really am sorry."
Even the more upset-looking humans seem to have a change of heart when looking upon that pathetic, fearful expression in Marisa's face, that unhealthy pale skin that's literally on the bones, and those glazed and distant, bloodshot eyes.
"I... guess I can ignore her. I mean, it has been a year," says a woman at the back of the crowd.
"No way! She cost me my SON, and my grandfather! She can starve for all I care," quickly shouts a young man from nearby.
"Ah, but just look at how pathetic she looks." "But it's all her fault!" "Gragh! Maybe we've been too harsh." "We're better than her. I say, let her come."
Finally, after some debated words, the majority of the present villagers agree, then Kotohime walks out of the crowd, walks toward Aya and Satori approaches the blonde witch, though does so without raising suspicions or alerts, and stares at the magician.
She raises her arm, sliding her long-sleeve back to present her hand, and remains looking sternly at Marisa, who stares at that hand for a bit, until suddenly accepting the shake, and cautiously taking her hand forward.
The shake becomes solid when the two girls meet eye-to-eye, then the self-appointed police princess declares "Marisa Kirisame, the words of Aya of the tengu, and Satori from the underground have reached us. You are allowed into the village, BUT, for the time being, you are only allowed into the market place to purchase food and supplies."
The redhead looks at the tengu, then at the satori, then back to the witch, and sternly adds "take too long, or try going somewhere else without my supervision, and I will put your ass in jail faster than you can say 'Master Spark', you got that?"
Marias's eyes water as a smile suddenly takes her face without her notice, and while still holding Kotohime's hand, she looks around and suddenly cries "I'm sorry. I know it's not enough, but I'm so very sorry for what I did."
The police princess just sighs loudly, then says "right, right, just cut off the waterworks, jeez," causing the witch to cry some more, then shouts "no, seriously, this is getting awkward! ARGH! STOP IT! Everyone's looking at us!"
Aya and Satori watch the scene unfold before them, smiling as they do, blissfully unaware that they aren't holding hands, and that the world around them isn't changing so drastically before their eyes.
That evening, Aya opens the door to her house, turns around to wave at Momiji, who stands some several feet away from the crow tengu, and calls "thanks for the company. I really appreciate it."
The white wolf girl sighs as she forces an awkward smile, and says "y-yeah, it's nothing. Um, any chance you'll start acting like your old self again? I mean, I like it that we're getting along so well and all, but I miss my trying to bite you now and then."
A jolt of fright curses the black-haired girl again, but this time she manages it well, smiles nervously at her friend, and casually says "erm, please don't bite. I-I don't think I'm ready to react properly to that."
A large drop of sweat rolls down the back of the white-haired girl's head as she chuckles nervously, places her hand on the back of her head, and nervously says "uuu~! Right. Let's not forget how you almost tore my arm off just because I bumped on you in that Hallow...thing feast."
Shameimaru sighs, slumps, and says "right, right. I'm sorry about that. Anyways, I'm heading in. Bye."
Momiji's goodbyes are muffled after the crow tengu closes the door behind herself, and said crow can hear her friend leaving in a hurry.
Aya turns around and presses her back against the door as she releases a long and loud sigh, then feasts her eyes on the two large brown sacks on her light-blue couch on the living room, and the surrounding, beautifully gift-wrapped boxes that sit neatly around the bottom on that couch which, along with a whole living room set, was gifted by the Myouren Temple and Human Village.
She smiles at the sight of the gifts and sacks, and walks straight to them, thinking "more apologies and gifts. Somehow, seeing this makes me feel all we did was worth it. I mean... who could have thought humans, youkai and gods would be so grateful to us."
She opens one of the sacks and pulls out several letters, some pastel blue, some made to look like flowers, some are pictures of how harvests have been progressing, and there is one letter made to look like a sunflower with Yuka's handwriting on it, reading "I'M SORRY, SO STOP BEING ALL SAD."
The tengu girl chuckles after recognizing Yuka's letter, and says "I never knew she had such a loud conscience. It wouldn't surprise me if she came over to beg for forgiveness one day."
She processes the though while holding her chin and looking up at the ceiling, then chuckles while shaking her head, and says "nah! She's too proud for something like that. Maybe Satori-chan and I should go visit her soon."
She sighs again, drops the letters, grabs one of the gifts wrapped in white paper and a sparkly ribbon, stares at it with glints in her eyes, tears it to shreds in an instant, and discovers a bath set with scented oils.
Her smile widens when she sees this wonderful gift, and is quickly in her bathtub surrounded by bubbles in a sweet-smelling tub filled to the brim with soothing hot water.
She sighs with delight as she raises her left leg over her right one, turns it around as if exploring it with her eyes, giggles when thinking about Satori, maybe doing the same as her, then lifts her other leg and lets her entire upper body sink underwater.
After her bath and dinner, Aya walks into her rebuilt room, wearing a white bath robe that's open over the chest and right leg, exposing bits of her bare body through slits.
The room has been painted light-yellow with brown leaves fluttering to the bottom, she's got new drawers and a cabinet, elegantly designed and painted in white and gold, a beautiful dresser with a large mirror, her new bed is full-sized, dressed with beautiful silky pink sheets and red covers, all gifts from the Scarlet Devil Mansion, and because of Nitori's air conditioner cooling the air inside the house, for the first time in an entire year, the tengu girl feels compelled to try out the unused new bed.
She walks closer to it, passes her hand over the silky-soft sheets and covers, smiles, and says to herself "that's right. Since Satori-chan isn't here, I cannot sleep... and yet, I'm feeling *yawn* a little relaxed. I wonder..."
She thinks of the day she had, remembers Marisa's face when she and Satori forgave her, the gratitude in the witch's eyes when they helped her with the villagers, and smiles.
Aya sighs, sits on the bed, and whispers "I felt such a weight leaving me then. Maybe it's that."
The world around her flashes, her room is still a grey, destroyed mess, bits of her clothes are still scattered around, that dead-looking Momiji is standing by her doorway, then everything flashes again, and her room is back to its remodeled state.
She rubs her eyes, sighs, and then says "well, that didn't affect me that much this time. I think..."
The crow girl drops on her bed, her eyes start to close on their own, and she softly says "I think I can *yawwwwwwwwwn* ...I can finally sleep a few winks." (But don't forget to keep your senses sharp!)
She ignores that voice in her head as she drifts to the world of sleep, and even though the world flashes and becomes an undead wasteland for a second, her dreams go undisturbed.
At the same time, at Chireiden, Satori arrives home and upon opening the door to the mansion's living room, her favorite spot, she is greeted by two open sacks of letters, and several opened gifts, sitting around the large red couch in the center of the room.
She smiles, chuckles softly, and says "her third eye may be opening up every day, but she still acts like such a child. Heh-heh, but I wouldn't have her any other way."
The world flashes before her eyes, the couch and gifts are gone, replaced by decaying animals glaring at her, snarling softly and readying themselves to pounce.
She stares nonchalantly back at the monsters, casually lifts her third eye, closes her own, and when she opens them again, she finds Koishi standing before her, smiling and waving while calmly saying "welcome home onee-chan."
Satori lowers her eye, takes a deep breath, and as she sighs, her little sister says "wow, you didn't shoot. Onee-chan, your mind is finally healing! I can see it! WE SHOULD CELEBRATE!"
The young Komeiji's third eye is now open wide enough for the green iris to be seen, but it has stopped opening up, even though Satori wishes to ignore this fact, and now the young satori youkai is able to deal with both conscious, and subconscious minds.
She grabs her elder sister's hand and pulls her to the couch while excitedly saying "come, come! You have to tell me all about today! Shame Miss Aya isn't here. She needs to unload so much!"
A tear of overwhelming gratitude rolls down the purple-haired girl's cheek as she smiles and says "Koishi-chan, thank you so much for everything."
The grey-greenish-haired girl stops to look at her sister behind her, coos out loud with delight, grabs the elder Komeiji and holds her tight in a happy embrace, and happily says "I'm so happy! You've made me so happy onee-chan!"
Right after sitting on the couch, and before the conversation can begin, Okuu cheers "SATORI-SAMAAAA! Satori-sama is home! Orin, come," dives from the ceiling, and lands sitting next to Koishi.
She leans over to reach for Satori, grabs her hand and pulls her closer to kiss her forehead, then Orin suddenly appears sitting next to the elder Komeiji, hugs her from behind, pulls her away from Okuu, and asks "welcome back Satori-sama. How are you feeling today?"
Koishi is certainly annoyed, and grumbles "we were about to go into that before you two came in, and ruined OUR time together!"
The kasha scowls and quickly stands before the young satori and says "well sorry for being concerned about Satori-sama! Besides, she's not yours alone! She's our Satori too!"
The two girls crash foreheads together and push each other's faces back while growing, and the young Komeiji says "well you can go elsewhere for now! Let me help onee-chan today! You can have her tomorrow!"
Okuu steps up and stands besides the two girls, holds them both by the shoulder to get their attention, and with tears in her eyes and after several cute sniffles, she cries "don't fight in front of Satori-sama! You-you'll scare her again!"
Satori suddenly starts to cry on the couch, placing a finger on her lips while holding her stomach and scrunching up as though in pain, then all three girls panic and shriek at the same time.
"AAHHH! SATORI-SAMA, I'M SO SORRY, I DIDN'T MEAN TO SCARE YOU SO MUCH!" shouts the concerned-to-the-death Orin, while holding herself back from trying to hold the purple-haired girl and scare her more when trying to comfort her.
"I'm sorry onee-chan! Please don't cry anymore! Please, please, pleaaaaaaaase!" shouts the nervous Koishi, who bows repeatedly before kneeling on the ground and offering her hand to her sister.
"Waaaahhhhh~ We made Satori-sama cry again!" cries the hell raven while rubbing her teary eyes at a safe distance.
Satori goes on and on until she finally sniffles once, chuckles, flicks the tears from under her eyes, then giggles "no-ho, I wasn't heh-heh, crying."
She gulps to settle herself down, looks tenderly at the worried girls stepping around the letters and gifts; missing crushing them by inches; and after a sigh she says "I was laughing. I was... I was just laughing. Just watching you three go on and on like that made me so happy, I couldn't contain myself.
The world suddenly flashes, and instead of the tree youkai girls, Satori see three vicious zombies staring at her, drooling and dripping fluids from their open rotting bodies, but instead of freaking out, she sighs and says "oh my, I see you like zombies again."
After she blinks, the world returns to normal, and Koishi stands in front of her with focused eyes and her hands both hovering around her slightly opened third eye, and when she notices her older sister is looking at her quizzically, she asks "everything better now?"
The elder sister stares at her younger sister for a bit, smile, nods, then launches herself for a surprise hug that catches Koishi, Orin and Okuu so off guard that all three are knocked to the ground by the mind-reader.
The purple-haired girl resumes her laughing fit as she holds the confused girls pinned to the ground, then Orin looks at Koishi and softly asks "um, did her mind break completely?"
The little sister can only shrug while shaking her head, then the elder mind-reader breathes in a lot of air to calm down, sighs, then says "I think forgiving Marisa and helping her like that has lightened me up, girls. I think that's all I needed."
Okuu helps all the girls up with ease, Satori drops on the couch after her legs wobble a bit, then she looks up at her sister and pets, smiles, and says "it appears I've tired myself out. Um, could you please take me to my room, so that I may rest?"
The girls all glance at each other repeatedly before Orin leans over to help Satori on to her feet, and as she lifts her master up she says "alright, but I won't let you go to sleep without taking a bath first."
Koishi coos, and then happily says "try out the bath supplies sent from some place called Eientei! They make the bath so much better!"
After her bath, the mind-reader sits on her bed and watches as her kasha walks out the room, but before said girl closes the door behind her, she peeks inside and asks "are you sure you're alright Satori-sama? You don't need anything, right?"
The purple-haired girl gives her pet that old, warm, and missed serene smile only Satori can give, and softly says "no, thank you. I'll be alright. Thanks for asking."
Orin's cat ears twitch as she smiles back at her master, nods, then closes the door, leaving Satori exploring her own bed to admire the purple covers and lilac silk sheets gifted by the Scarlet Devil Mansion, as well as the new pink end table beside her bed, gifted by Miko and her followers, then the girl yawns loud and long and accommodates herself against the pillows.
The world flashes before her eyes again, and instead sees the colors of her room turning gray, scattered pieces of old paper floating around, a hole on her room's roof, then blinks once, and as she expected, the hallucination stops.
She glances around one more time after covering herself up, the cool air from the air conditioner starts working its magic, and as she drifts to sleep, she says to herself "this really is it. I am really back home." (Don't forget to keep your eyes peeled.)
The girl seems to ignore the voice, and quickly drifts to the world of sleep with a relaxed smile on her face.
Soon after the girls fall asleep, they both find themselves flying above Gensokyo, and although they recognize their home as such, it looks a little different; both beautiful and horrifying.
In front of them, the very ground shines with a wondrous light that seems to change at random, accenting the beauty of the grass, the flowers, the fairies giggling by, and their home feels like the paradise it really is, while behind them, the land looks bleak, the ground looks purple, the sky is black, and blood and rotting innards adorn the landscape.
They ignore that world that's behind them and look at each other in the eyes, then quickly fly toward each other, laughing happily as they do, and crash head-on to end up in a wonderfully gentle embrace.
As they hold each other tight, the terrifying world behind them gets pushed back, further and further away, a beautiful ghostly image of Marisa flies below them, repeating "thank you very much; thank you very much," and starts releasing a rainbow behind her broom.
The two girls look at each other, sigh, bump foreheads together, then both say at the very same time "we're back..."
The very next morning, Momiji is patrolling the area near the new caves behind the waterfall with a dull and straight face that would frighten all trespassers, when her right ear twitches, and she immediately moves toward the right side of the mountain.
Her face becomes intense as she unsheathes her large scimitar and approaches a moving bush that should not even be there, lodged between two stones, and after spotting such an eyesore, she snorts and quietly moves in for the kill.
She raises her sword and swiftly swings it after reaching the bush, then "Ayayaya! As sharp as ever!"
Aya's blur jumps right out of the bush the very second Momiji's scimitar was to touch it, and is now perched on the only tree behind and above the wolf, who sighs irritably, and darkly says "you. You are not allowed here. Don't make meeeeEEEEEEEH? AYA?"
The crow tengu's face reveals how free the girl feels; with that confident grin adorning her face and accenting her bright eyes, but now even the wolf can see the painful lesson learned through hardships inside those very eyes, and while looking at the black-haired reporter, she exclaims "a-are you alright? Wait, what am I saying? What happened? You look so radiant all of a sudden! Er, wait, you still can't be here!"
The reporter's gaze causes the white-haired girl to gasp when she sees both an old, annoyingly cocky and overly energetic Aya, and a more mature, wise and softer Aya.
The crow tengu smiles at her partner, then looks away toward the Hakurei Shrine, and says "I am not sure what happened. I just feel so... free. The visions, they're still there, but they're not really affecting me. They no longer have a hold on me!"
The shocked Momiji can only stare in awe at her tengu partner, not sure of whether she should be doing her job and scaring her away, or just let her speak some more, and that's when she notices the yellow messengers' bag to Shameimaru's right.
Aya chuckles softly, and without turning her gaze away from the shrine, she says "yes, I started printing again. The good, pure, and honest Shameimaru is back! I just came back to let you know we can start quarreling again if you like... and to tell you..."
She turns her gaze back to the white wolf, who blushes as her lips wriggles after feeling something warm and fuzzy tickle her heart the very second those eyes meet with her own, and says "thank you for everything, Momiji, and I am sorry I was such a pain to you all this time."
The white wolf's tail frizzles up for a second, but the girl manages to settle down, sheathes her sword, and after a quick nod she says "no, it's alright. I-I'm just glad you're feeling better."
A smirk takes Momiji's face as she straightens up, places her fists on her hips, and says "and I'll let you go without a fight this time, but next time you better bring some spell cards."
The black-haired tengu closes her eyes after a soft scoff, then takes off while shouting "I'll remember that, just don't take it to too seriously!"
Inubashiri can only smile as she watches that girl fly away, and then says "guess she broke free on her own, Hatate-san."
Hatate walks out of the nearest cave, chuckling goofily while rubbing the back of her head, and says "that's one heck of a nose you got there. But yeah, it seems so."
She stops when three feet away from the white wolf tengu, crosses her arms under her chest, and says "I saw her acting so energetic this morning I got worried, so I followed her here, and, like, what do you know, she's all back to normal again."
The white-haired girl sigh, wraps her right arm around the brown-haired girl's shoulder, and says "you know, I'm actually very glad. I really missed her."
The crow girl chuckles softly, and then admits "yeah; me too."
Meanwhile, at Chireiden, Satori walks out to her backyard with a red wheelbarrow, potted flowers of several varieties; all with a seal of quality from Yuka pasted on each pot; a water pale inside said barrow, bright eyes, a relaxed smile, and new pained lessons forever imprinted in her eyes.
She stops in front of her gazebo to look around her garden, sighs at the sight of Koishi's, Okuu's and Orin's hard work at reviving and maintaining that garden, then softly says to herself "they are such sweethearts, all of them."
When she starts rummaging around the wheelbarrow for the spade to start making holes, the door to the mansion opens up, and Okuu, Koishi and Orin cautiously walk out of the mansion, all looking a bit sleepy and worried, then, after a heated whispered discussion, Orin snorts and says "alright, I'll go first, then you follow."
The cautious kasha slowly approaches her master, who crouches down with a potted bluebell and softly says "it's alright, Orin, I am alright. Sure, I still see that other world, but it's not really affecting me anymore."
Orin's lips force a smile on her face as she gasps with excited delight, then exclaims "so you're better? You don't hate us? You're really feeling better, right?"
Koishi approaches her sister, crouches beside the elder Komeiji, and then gives her a light hug while softly saying "onee-chan, I'm so glad. You're finally free of that. I'm so *sniffle* happy!"
The mind-reader turns her face to look at her little sister, stuns her with that new radiance of hers, and returns her sister's hug while saying "aww, please don't cry. I really am ok. It's the truth. You can see it, I know."
The young Komeiji can't help but sob and kiss her sister on the cheek repeatedly, then Okuu crash-lands to their lefts and cries "Satori-sama is baaaaack! She finally forgives Okuu! I'm so happy," then grabs both girls in a bone-crushing hug that leaves them breathless and groaning as they demand oxygen.
Orin watches the girls crying and giggling happily, quickly gets jealous of the other two, then jumps toward the group hug while exclaiming "hey, I want to hug Satori-sama too!"
She knocks them all down to the ground, but gets to snuggle against Satori's chest, then purrs "Satori-sama~ I really missed you. Welcome back!"
The purple-haired girl extends her arms, wraps them around Koishi and Okuu, pulls them together so that she can scratch all their heads at the same time, and while closing her eyes, and with a motherly coo, she softly says "it's good to be back, my dear girls. It's feels very good to be back."
That same day, nearing noon, Aya and Satori find each other above Eientei, where Reisen, Kaguya, and several rabbits wave at them while on their way to the Hakurei Shrine, grab hold of each others' hands, then speed up toward their goal.
Reimu sits by the steps to the shrine's donation box, and smiles as she looks up at the girls, and taking quick notice of their eyes, her smile widens, and she hurries to greet them as they land in front of the gate.
As soon as the girls land, the shrine maiden places both hands inside her sleeves as she holds them under her chest, and asks "so, how does it feel? Are you fully free, or...?"
The girls chuckle, then Satori says "it's just as you are thinking. We are still getting those flashes, and the voice keeps saying things, but ever since we got Marisa's weight out of our shoulders, we've been feeling so free."
Aya smiles as she nods at the shrine maiden, and says "maybe one day the hallucinations will go away, or maybe never. One thing's for sure. We both feel like ourselves again, and we are very glad for it."
Reimu smiles, turns around in a playful manner, and then says "I can see so many things in your eyes now. So much peace and serenity, even after all that had happened. I am very happy for you two."
She starts walking toward the living quarters, and then chuckles playfully before saying "come. It's been a while since you two, particularly you, Shameimaru, came to eat inside and chat about things, and I wish to speak with you. I've been wanting to talk to you two for a whole year now."
The mind-reader giggles, nods, and says "sure, we can tell you about it, can't we, Aya-chan?"
The tengu girl blushes as her eyes meets with her dear friend's, but manages to calmly say "right. I believe we can have a special interview with our Shrine Maiden of Paradise."
And so, the girls head inside the shrine, where they will talk about some special details of the horrifying adventure those two girls lived through; details Reimu is eager to learn about.
That night, at the Scarlet Devil Mansion, Marisa sits in front of one of the library's desk beside Patchouli, and has several books open before her, and even more fairy maids targeting her head from all around.
The mansion's insides, as expected, have been fully restored, but the fairy maids are still very aggressive, obvious in the glint coming from their vicious eyes, and yet they all manage to aim all that anger at the one human they want to viciously murder, and the one human they can't touch unless she does something to incite an attack.
The black and white witch is infinitely grateful to Remilia, whom, for some odd reason, let the blonde back into the mansion with nothing more than a burning flick to the forehead.
Marisa stops her reading for a moment, looks at Patchouli, places a hand on the purple-themed magician's shoulder, and says "you don't know how grateful I am to all of you for allowing me inside again; after all I have done to you."
The librarian can't help but feel uncomfortable and estranged by the new Marisa, whose eyes are filled with maturity hard-forced into her, whose face looks so serene and light she very well may be someone else, and whose attitude has changed from being an overactive, explosive, cocky nuisance, to a calm, collected, and thinking individual, it's like she was reborn after just a full-night's sleep.
The purple-haired magician wants to pull that hand away, but decides not to, and softly says "y-yeah, right. Um, are you sure you are Marisa? Even your eyes seem so different, it's like I'm looking at another Reimu. A blonde one."
The blonde blushes, turns to face the books with a straight, cold, and unnerving stare, then coldly says "I'm not sure anymore. I don't know who am I, why I'm still seeing these things, and who is this voice. I don't know anything anymore. Even though I'm no longer afraid of the visions, or that voice, I still want them gone, and I'm sure those three girls want that too."
Patchouli yelps softly as she stares at the blonde human with fright, and thinking she's not yet been seen, manages to compose herself then softly asks "three? Don't you mean two? Unless you're talking about Aya, Satori and yourself-"
"We are connected, Patchouli Knowledge. You should know that."
Marisa's voice sounds wise, serene, almost ancient, and though her eyes seem distant, they also reflect present knowledge, and by just turning her head slightly left, the robed girl can see there is no fooling this human as easily as before.
"I know you know of this. It's the reason she let me in here in the first place, and it's the reason you knew what books to fetch before I even asked. All four of us are having hallucinations. We can hear that voice, even in our sleep, we all know things we should not, and all of us have had the urge..."
Marisa's eyes glow red, at the same time as Aya's and Satori's, all the way over at the Hakurei Shrine, where they are having a friendly chat with Reimu, and somewhere in the darkness, another pair of eyes glow red.
The black and white witch notices the fear hiding behind Patchouli's seemingly calm eyes, and softly says "don't worry though, it's not strong, for any of us. We can keep it under control. I still want it gone, so please, I am asking you to help me find out what's causing this, so that we may rid of it."
Patchouli is not sure what to say at the time, looks around at the vicious-looking fairy maids all over the library, sighs, then looks back to her guest and says "alright. I will help."
The blonde grins and says "you were still going to do it, even if I didn't ask."
The purple-haired girl smirks, and softly replies "just make sure not to steal my books. I assure you, these maids aren't shooting your regular danmaku, particularly at you."
Again, the blonde girl grins as she tips her hat up, then says "hey, those days are over. The only way I'm taking a book now is if the need is too great. ...You do understand what I mean, right?"
Patchouli throws her eyes onto the book before her to hide her current confusion, then says "e-um, of course. I-I understand."
Marisa's grin widens, becoming as annoying as it was before, knowing she's just outwitted Knowledge without really trying to do so.
Meanwhile, at the rebuilt and fully restored main hall, the ever-elegant Sakuya Izayoi walks over to her mistress with a silver tray holding tea and a piece of cake, and neatly placed to the right of those, a rolled-up, slightly used newspaper; the Bunbunmaru, to be precise.
She reaches her mistress' side, bows and says "your tea, My Lady," then leans over to place the drink and treat on a small round brown table to the left of the throne, then personally hands over the newspaper.
"Sakuya, what is this?" asks Remilia in an unpleasant low tone of voice.
The chief maid narrows her eyes, making herself look motherly, and says "there is something there that is of interest to you, My Lady. I apologize beforehand for reading it before you, but the tengu delivered it directly to me, and-"
A simple raise of a hand from the vampire is enough to quiet the frightened maid, and then the young-looking mistress opens the paper on a page marked with a blood-red heart on the corner, and reads:
"This message is intended for Remilia Scarlet. Yes, I printed this one copy just for you, so don't worry about all of Gensokyo seeing this. ...I fought your sister and beat her up really bad, and she beat me up too. No, I'm not demanding anything; I just want to ask a favor of you..."
Remilia's eyes glow bright, betraying the calm look she's trying to put up as a front, and Sakuya, being directly connected to her mistress due to the Master/Servant blood ritual, can feel the rage boil up inside her lady's heart.
Regardless of what she's feeling, the vampire continues reading:
"That girl went through something horrible, Remilia. Flandre needs you, and from what little we talked I am sure you locked her up in that room of hers the moment you got home. Please, talk to her. She's not the little monster girl you think she is. Interact with her, get to know her, and help prevent something like this, like what happened a year ago, to happen again. That girl just wanted to prove to you how much she's grown, but the way she chose to do it was through power, and that backfired in a terrifying way, for her and all of us."
Remilia's eyes settled down, and Sakuya can feel the Mistress calming down, and instead of rage, she starts to feel a very faint sense of guilt and sorrow.
The vampire lets out a quick sigh, then continues reading:
"You had control of that cauldron when it was weak, when it wasn't sentient. We were. Both Flandre and I succumbed to it, and It controlled us. I am not lying. Go ahead and talk to her, she'll tell you all about it. It was vicious; it made us feel terrible about ourselves, while at the same time made us feel powerful and indestructible. It played with our minds, filled it with images of grandeur, even when we ourselves could see the reality of things. We both fought hard against ourselves, but thanks to Flandre, I was able to defeat my own dark side."
"Sakuya," coldly commands Remilia, to which her chief maid bows and says "I understand. If you need me, I'll be waiting for your call."
The young-looking vampire smiles, lets out an almost inaudible chuckle, and then says "always so well prepared and ready. Thank you. I should be back by dinner, and hopefully in one whole piece."
With that, she jumps off her throne and makes her way to the basement on foot, while thinking on the rest of the letter from Aya.
"When she woke up, she was herself again, and I knew it; no, I felt it! She was scared! Just like me, she wondered what she had done, what had happened. She wasn't sure if she was herself or that other self. We were scared, Remilia, I know it because I experienced it, and she wanted you the most! She called for her father and mother, and you, many times. ...I promised her I'd help her somehow, and after all this time, this is the best I could come up with. Please, pay more attention to her. Talk to her. She needs you. She's probably going through hallucinations as you read this. Won't you go to her and comfort her?"
When the vampire comes back to, she finds herself in front of the door to her little sister's room.
She stares at the steel door with disinterest, thinks long before making her next move, then starts unlocking the new padlocks and undoing the sealing spells, all placed there as punishment for the blonde vampire's prior actions.
She slowly opens the door, making a light creak as she does, and can hear an accelerated heartbeat and a soft whimper coming from the room's closet, where a pile of dolls and stuffed animals lie.
As she closes the door, Remilia admires how surprisingly clean the dark room is, how nothing, not even the dolls and toys are broken, unlike before.
The large full-sized bed's sheets are placed neatly on the mattress, the small round dining table that stands to the left of said bed with its white chair properly placed next to it is in one piece and clean, the dresser's mirror is intact, there are no clothes on the floors, and even the walls have been cleaned of the usual moss that grows on them.
After admiring her nervous little sister's room for long enough, she calmly admires "wow Flan, you really have outdone yourself. You room, it's so clean. When did you do all of this?"
The toys in the closet shuffle, but the little sister doesn't reveal herself yet as she softly hisses "the fairy maids helped. I was nice to them, and they helped me without pausing until it was all clean. I helped too, and they were glad. I didn't break them. I was good, onee-sama."
Remilia twitches when she's suddenly struck by a memory of Flandre crying while desperately shouting "I have changed! I know how to treat our maids now! I swear, I won't break them anymore. Please, let me help you onee-sama! Just give me a few maids of my own so that I can show you!"
The blue-haired vampire growls inward while clenching both fists so tight, she cuts her own hand with her claws, and blood starts dripping to the floor.
She now feels the guilt of not listening to her sister when she had the chance, and thinks "she told me so many times, and I just brushed her away each time. Ironic that the last time we spoke of this, Marisa's stupid potion turned us into monsters, and then all of this happened. Grrr, that bitch. She better find that cure, or I'll-"
The mistress' thoughts are soon halted when she feels her sister's hands gently holding her own, and before she can ask what is going on, the little sister starts to treat the cut on that palm with a cotton ball, being surprisingly gentle at it, while softly saying "look what you did onee-chan. *Sigh* Hold still while I treat this. I don't care that we are vampires, we still need to take care of our bodies."
Remilia feels strangely warm, fuzzy, and very uncomfortable having her sister; whom she thought was a destructive force to be feared; treating a self-inflicted wound as gently as a motherly human would for her child.
"Come," softly says Flandre, breaking the awkward silence in the room, and then gently pulling her older sister to the bed, where it will be easier for her to get the first aid materials set on a white end table next to said bed.
This warm and fuzzy feeling is clashing hard with the mistress' cold and hard nature, and because of this, she's suppressing a snarl while breathing softly through her mouth.
Flandre notices this, and knowing about her sister's pride, she coldly says "don't get any funny ideas. I'm still mad at you. Just think of this as a 'sorry' for all the things I did."
Remilia snaps out of her own selfish thoughts, and immediately remember what she went in there for, and softly asks "Flan, are you still having those hallucinations? Is that voice still there?"
The blonde vampire smiles as sinisterly as she used to, her breath becomes a bit erratic, and even so, she keeps treating her older sister's cut hands very gently as she coldly hisses "they are always there, onee-sama. They never leave. True that, since yesterday, they have become more bearable, but they are still there."
She giggles after wrapping her sister's other hand with the bandages, and as she gently sets it next to the blue-haired vampire, she continues "that voice keeps telling me I have to be careful; of you, of Sakuya, of the maids, but I know better."
Tears start rolling down the girl's eyes and cheeks as she begins to hyperventilate and sob, but continues, crying and sobbing "but I know *sob*, I know it's lying! *Hic* It wants to set me against you, make me destroy what I've worked so hard to achieve! I won't attack you, or our servants!" (Don't you mean slaves, little girl?)
"SHUT UP! They are SERVANTS, not SLAVES!"
The little girl grips her head and sinks her own claws into the skin, and uses the pain to fight off the maddening, mocking voice inside her mind, and after she calms down she loosens up and slowly releases herself while saying "stupid voice, calling my family 'slaves' like that. I hate it. I want it gone!"
Remilia stands tall next to the younger vampire with a glare that could break steel walls in a blink, which frighten to blonde into thinking "oh no! I made her mad at me! She's going to punish me!"
Flandre starts to sniffle when she decides she's not going to defend herself from Remilia, then gasps and opens her eyes wide when, instead of the expected beating, she gets a gentle embrace.
The elder Scarlet has wrapped her arms around her sister's ribs and neck, and is pressing the little girl's face against her chest.
"Onee-sama?" questions the confused vampire, and then the mistress softly says "I am sorry Flan-chan. I didn't listen to you before, and look at what happened. You have grown quite a lot, and I just forgot about you, ignored you, belittled you. I have been... very unfair to you."
Flandre gasps and hurriedly says "no, wait *sniffle*, onee-sama, it's ok! Y-you're not-" but Remilia stops her with a gentle shush and a soft brush on her side-ponytail and says "no Flan, I have to accept this wrong, and fix it."
She helps her little sister straighten up, takes her to the bed and sits her there, then starts nursing the claw wounds on her head with the first aids while saying "you're right. We may be vampires, but we should take care of our bodies too."
The little sister remains silent from the shock, and after a minute of comfortable silence, and that warm and fuzzy feeling form her older sister caring for her, said vampire says "I haven't been there for you when you needed me, but that's all about to end. You can count on me from now on, Flan-chan. If that voice and the hallucinations keep bothering you, you tell me, and I'll do what I can to help you."
At first, Flandre is uncertain of whether she's in a dream, another hallucination, or something else, but the feeling of having her older sister caring for her, talking to her, spending some time with her, overwhelms her quickly, and she ends up crying like a lost human child.
Remilia closes her eyes and embraces her little sister, wondering why is she not scolding that girl for acting like such a weakling, but the guilt of neglecting the girl for so long prevents her from doing so, and just takes it all, and even holds the crying girl tighter against herself, hoping she will calm down soon.
The elder Scarlet sighs, gently shushes her little sister, and then softly says "come with me to my room. Sleep with me today, and tomorrow night, let's talk, and you will show me first-hand how much you have changed. Show me what a lady you have become."
Flandre sniffles once more, embraces Remilia in a bone-crushing hug; literally; then says "thank you, onee-sama. You won't be sorry, I promise."
(And so ends another day for all of you. How nice. Well, you know something? You are resting because I allow it! Keep your guard up, ladies, for you're in for one hell of a ride, and you get no say in the matter! But relax. I am patient. I will bide my time, wait for my chance to strike when you're all at your best. I am fair, so I'll give you a fighting chance. Ahh, but when I come, when I strike, you will wish for your deaths right off the bat, that much I promise you all!)
As the voice quiets down, and the world stops flashing, Aya, Satori, Marisa, and Flandre sleeping next to her older sister, all comfortable in their beds, inside the safety of their homes, the warmth of their rooms, sleep peacefully, all with smiles on their faces as they think on what to do on the next day, content on the fact that they are back home with their loved ones, safe from unwelcome monsters and zombies, never to be bothered by sentient cauldrons made to create horrifying immortals...
Or are they truly?
Undying Gensokyo, THE END.
Characters, Spell Cards and Scenarios belong to ZUN -Team Shanghai Alice-
FEB 14 2012
Sorry I took so long to post this, but after writing the ending for both Icicle Sukima AND Undying Gensokyo, one after the other, it appears I needed a break, and I took it. Read a few things, played a few games, had fun, and now I'm back. Now, I need to finish reading some more things, then it's off to work on the corssover, so rejoice, REJOICE I say, those of you that have been so patient to see how it all continues! Rest assured, I'll make SURE the wait was worth it. Oh, but before the first post of that, I have also been neglecting Almost Pirates, and after a surge of random comedic inspiration, I will tend to that quickly :D.
Thank you kindly for reading this far. Take care, and see you on the next story.