Disclaimer: Touhou is the property of ZUN. All additional references and parodies belong to their respective owners.
It all started when a child got too curious for their own good.
Countless horrors, both mundane and fantastical, surged forth from within the box. The child that had opened the box, too terrified to even blink, merely stood like a slack jawed puppet.
"Let's scare the humans!"
"Forget that, I'm hungry!"
The child was joustled and knocked to their rear as a particular massive beast, with three heads and the figure of a massive dog, pushed past and happily shouted and cheered along the others. Several of the beasts turned and eyed the child ravenously. Fortunately, the box remained steadfastly within the child's hands.
They began to flee once they felt the subtle, but powerful pull of the container even from afar.
"I'm not going to get sealed yet!" One of the monsters, a woman with slithering and hissing snakes for hair, fearfully cried before slithering away.
That was the queue for the army of beasts to run. Moments later, the grassy hill was completely emptied of all life except for the child.
"Zzz..." And something deep within the box.
The child fearfully drew the box closer to eye level so they could peer within. The motion was enough to jar awake whatever was left in the bottom of the box.
There was a shuffling sound.
A set of brown human eyes met a pair of reddish brown non-human eyes. An awkward silence passed between the two for a few moments before the darkness surged upwards.
The child was ready for it this time, though. With swift motions they slammed the lid of the box down on the final monster that was attempting to break free into the world. They weren't prepared at all for the force that the monster would exert in its attempts to bash their way out of the box.
The child was knocked on their back as the box jerked above their head. Their vision briefly burst into points of light and darkness as their head slammed down onto the grassy ground.
Yet the child still clung onto the box despite the pain pulsing on the back of their skull. The box itself twisted in their grip as the young human was treated to the ride of their life. The child rolled to and fro as the box kept trying to tug itself out of their grasp.
The tide began to change once the blank surface of the marble box began to shimmer.
"N-no! I don't want to get sealed again!" The child was shocked to hear the cry of a young woman from the depths of the box. "This isn't fair!" The monstrous beast went down in the human's estimation as it – or rather, she – began to whine.
Blessedly familiar scribbles began to form on white surface of the marble box. The child thanked every god on Olympus for their mercy. The fight began to be drained from the creature as the scribbles along the surface of the box continued to spread.
"Please let me out, human!" The creature within the box began to beg. The child winced at the note of primal terror within her voice. "I can't make it on my own!"
"I-I'm sorry, but I'll surely be killed if I let you out too!" The child stuttered. They would have no hope of pretending the incident hadn't happened if the box wasn't like it had been before they opened it.
"What...what if I get rid of them for you?" The woman desperately offered. "I bet they took on all kinds of scary forms, right?" She continued on a babbling stream of thought. "They're going to use the forms of monsters that already exist to kill and get away from it scott free! Do you want that on your conscience?"
The child lightly bit their lip.
Somehow, the creature within the box seemed to have picked up on the child's hesitation. "...only one of us can fight the others."
The child trembled. "H-how do I know you won't just back out and join them?" Their grip on the box tightened like the lifeline it was at the moment.
"I'll...I'll enter in a contract with you!" The child could see that the dark scribbles along the box had nearly finished completely covering the box. "I'll even swear by my name!" The woman within the box screamed.
Such overwhelming fear couldn't be staged. With a swift motion, the child ripped off the top of the marble box for the second time that sunny morning.
The shadow which had been resting within the box sprang from within like a coiled tiger. With a cry of shock, it came crashing down onto the ground behind the child. The human scrambled onto their feet and turned to face the shadow.
That was all that the child could do, though. Their eyes refused to even register the figure before them. All they could see was a hazy, indistinct gray and black blur of variable height. One thing that seemed to be pretty consistent were the six coiling limbs, three on each side of the figure, that occasionally twitched before the child's vision.
"...thank you." The creature – young woman spoke up. "My name is Nue."
The child, with her dark hair and brown eyes let the box tumble from her hands. "My name is Pandora."
The storm had struck without warning.
The deck bucked hard beneath their feet as the bow of their ship sliced through the sea as it was violently churned below them. More than a dozen hardy sailors desperately tried to pull down the sails of the ship as the winds howled around them.
"Move, you worms!" The captain, an elderly man with a prominent scar across his face, barked his demands at the harried crew. His grip was tight enough on the wheel of the ship to turn his hands bone white as the last rays of the sun were consumed by the pitch black skies. "I won't have us joining our ancestors yet!"
The man turned in the direction of the shout in time to see a massive pillar of water begin to rise. The seas beneath them almost capsized their ship as a massive ripple spread outwards as the black and gray pillar of water began to return back to the sea.
Leaving behind a massive figure standing thigh high in the seas. With a beard of sea weed and a crown of coral, the muscular titan that stood before them wielded a trident composed of pearl and stone that shone against the backdrop of the skies.
The crew, with the exception of the Captain himself, screamed and began to prostrate themselves at the sight of Poseidon. The elderly man's reasoning for avoiding repeating the same was less of a matter of faith and more of practicality. He could hear the mast straining; the winds were about to crack it.
"You fools! Bring the sails down or we're going to die!" Spittle flew from the Captain's mouth, but those damn fools were still prostrating themselves to the god that was staring down at them with clear amusement in his eyes.
Rapid footsteps answered the Captain's demand as two men, new sailors they had picked up at their last port, raced up from below deck.
"We secured everything below, sir!" One of them, an effeminate looking thing with an equally soft voice, had to shout to be heard through the raging storm. His partner in all things, a tall and powerfully built man with a booming voice to match, placidly began to nod.
However, before either of the three standing sailors could speak, the two newcomers caught sight of the god of the sea. The titan and the well built man both had equally shocked expressions on their faces as they looked upon each other, but it was the effeminate man's reaction once he saw his partner's look that was the most surprising to the Captain.
"Kill him, Nue!"
"On it, Pandora!"
Both of their forms rippled as men transformed into dark haired women.
Pandora's body, having already been pretty effeminate to begin with, merely lost the majority of his – now her – height and retained a lean and healthy appearance beneath her uniform. Nue on the other hand, lost both bulk and height in massive quantities as she shrunk down to five inches below the Pandora, who had been at chin size for the Captain after her transformation. Furthermore, her outfit also shifted to a black open backed dress with dark leggings up to mid-thigh.
"Catch!" Pandora tossed a black sphere at Nue, who easily caught it. Six twitching and organic limbs smoothly slid out of her bare back, three red and three blue. Nue levitated into the skies above with a mighty beat of her new limbs and began to fly towards Poseidon.
Shadows began to expand from her dress to cover her.
"What sorc..." The Captain began, but realized that Pandora still had a blade holstered into the belt of her uniform. His words were also stolen as the wood of the mast loudly cracked, the sound echoing in the hearts of the crew like a curse.
Pandora ignored the elderly man as she drew the blade and began to race across the sopping wet deck of the ship with the weapon.
"Wait, what are you doing?" The crew-members began to try to struggle to their feet, but the fools were too late to do anything as Nue flew off the ship completely and Pandora took a blade to the thick ropes wrapped around the mast. With loud snaps, she cleaved through the ropes she could reach and began to suicidally ascend the slippery wood with no hint of fear.
"I'm saving your lives, fools!" Pandora shouted down as she began to tear through more ropes. The crew's retort was lost in the howl of agony that assaulted their ears. With their heads ringing, the men turned towards the noise and stared in slack jawed terror.
Two versions of Poseidon, one with the crown and trident and the other with six pointed limbs on his back, grappled with each each other. The unarmed version of the sea god was burying the limbs on his back into the flesh of the trident user. Countless amounts of blood poured into the ocean in large quantities; the storm around them whipping up a pink foam out the of a pink foam on the surface of the choppy waters.
"I don't want to die!"
"I still haven't slept with enough women!"
"W-what do we do, Captain?"
"Back to your stations!" The Captain roared. The panicking crew calmed down once the elderly man drew his own sword. "I want two of you going up with Pandora and cutting that damn sail off the mast before it causes the whole thing to come down on top of us!"
"Is still a member of our crew until we get to port." The Captain interrupted. There were more important things at stake right now. At least until they survived. "Now go!"
Two of the men on deck swiftly followed up the mast after the suicidal woman. The remaining sailors swiftly rushed back to their positions as the humans merely tried to survive.
"Why are you turning on your own kind?" Poseidon demanded. His coral crown had been lost in the last minutes of their melee. "You were one of the greatest." His six wounds, each deep and freely bleeding into the ocean, ached as they drained his strength with every moment.
"I cut a deal." Nue replied. Four of her wings had been ripped out by her fellow shapeshifter moments ago, but the ship far below them had somehow managed to avoid being crushed by them. Both identical gods paced around the other.
"Have you no shame?" Poseidon growled. "You even share the Seed of Non-Identification with that mortal."
Nue grinned, exposing sharp teeth. "I think all of you turned on me because I was the greatest." Her teeth gleamed in the minimal light as the winds batted at the giant's bodies. Poseidon's attempts impale Nue were blocked by other giant's arms or remaining wing like limbs.
Poseidon's trident was knocked away long enough for Nue to get into melee range once again. Nue's fists slammed into the other giant over and over again; echoing like thunderbolts for the humans below. Poseidon began to give more and more ground as he fell backwards.
"No! Why am I losing?"
"Pathetic poser! All of you have forgotten your pride in your attempts to be things you simply aren't."
Poseidon roared as he waved his trident; his form began to waver as a dangerous amount of faith was expelled from his body. "If I must die, then I'll take you down with my power. The power of Poseidon!" The seas themselves began to twist.
Nue let out a cry as her legs were torn right out beneath her feet. She hit the sea face first as the waters rose up in twisting spires that tore into her flesh and gored her from within. Her brief moments of struggle ended once she was completely pierced through.
Nue silently sunk beneath the sea.
Poseidon laughed despite the pain surging through his body. His powerful form began to grow hazy and indistinct. "See what you amount to, Nue? You're nothing!" The image and name of the god he had taken had been sacrificed for the killing blow, but it had been worth it for him.
A high pitched whistle reached the dwindling giant.
'What?' The former god glanced to the side and found himself face to face with the human – Pandora - that Nue had been conspiring with. She was standing on the crows' nest on top of the mast looking at him casually.
An empty leather bag rested in a corner of the mast. The marble box that had sealed his race away until a few years ago shone in her arms.
At this point, the shapeshifter had turned into a towering version of its natural state, and the black and gray being had no defenses left to avoid what happened next. "No!" He roared as Pandora opened the box.
The shapeshifter's form shattered and was remade into a black gas. The skies twisted above the ship as a tornado swept outwards from the marble box and snatched the former god. He howled and shrieked as he tried to resist, but it was ultimately futile as he was sucked into the box.
"I hate you!" He screeched upwards at Pandora. The woman merely smiled and slammed the lid down on him.
Returning him to darkness again.
After the nearly disastrous brush against the supernatural, the crew had tried to throw Pandora overboard. They would have done so if the Captain hadn't dared risk antagonizing the friend of a being that possessed the power to slay a god.
So it was much abused ship that limped into the port city. Pandora didn't even allow the boat time to dock before she leapt from the side of the ship and began to swim to the docks on her own power. The shouts of the confused sailors and staff working on the docks rose to her ears occasionally, but Pandora didn't mind them as she pulled herself out of the waters.
Once the woman was on wonderfully dry land, she immediately began to push past a growing crowd of slack jawed observers. She could feel her contract with Nue steadily pulse beneath the surface of her chest like a second heartbeat.
'South it is...' The woman slung her leather bag. The box within it dug into her left shoulder, but she didn't pay any attention to it as she began to race away from the dockmaster and the crew of her old ship.
A blonde haired woman stepped out onto the beaches south of the port city her partner had arrived in. Any bandit would be foolish to challenge her, despite wearing only the minimal amount of clothing possible over her body, due to the wickedly sharp trident she was holding in one of her hands.
Behind her, the open clam she had been riding in began to warp and lose its shape. The giant chunk of blue flesh which had been ripped from her back began to sink beneath the waves once again.
"Another one bites the dust..." The blonde hummed to herself. Her footsteps began to carry her to the north as she felt the beat of a second heart guide her.
It ended with hope.