Disclaimer: Team Shanghai Alice owns Touhou.
A noisy night in Gensokyo.
Magical disturbances were upsetting the usual peace, especially wreaking havoc on the area near Hakurei Shrine. Although the sun had set, the glow of fairies lit the nearby forest. At this time, Reimu Hakurei was strolling towards the Shinto shrine she called her home, having gathered the materials for dinner. Up until now, the day had passed by as any uneventful day, but the shrine maiden dressed in red-white suddenly noticed the commotion ahead.
"It's getting late."
"I have a bad feeling about this mess."
The truth is, there had been quite a lot of incidents in Gensokyo with similar phenomena. Of course, a bit of commotion would be nothing out of the ordinary. In addition, Reimu had gotten herself involved every time an incident occurs, always ending up punishing the troublemaker behind everything, making her the most famous incident solver in all of Gensokyo. The poor shrine maiden must have been feeling tired to not be in the mood for solving this one. Perhaps it was because this incident was not like any other, and Reimu's intuition was already making her reluctant.
"Someone came! C'mon let's party!"
That instant, Reimu had managed to grab the surrounding fairies' attention, and they began showering her with danmaku. As Reimu began levitating, a few yin-yang orbs floated nearby, becoming her energy source.
"I guess it's fun to exterminate once in a while."
She found reassurance in the familiar recoil of the rectangular charms and giant orbs emerging from her gohei. Some fairies made contact with the bullets were knocked back from the explosion. However, more fairies emerged from the forest to replace them.
"What's with them tonight? They're more active than usual."
The battle continued for a few more seconds, with repeated bursts of fire and explosions illuminating the area.
"I really should be going now—time for a Spell Card. Dream Sign 'Evil Sealing Circle,'" Reimu called, brandishing a slip of paper.
The Spell Card created a dark-red aura which expanded to encompass the surrounding area. A giant spinning yin-yang symbol floated beneath her and the fairies. Her gohei launched a complex danmaku pattern of charms, restricting the fairies' motion before another set of charms finished them off.
Magical patterns of bullets produced from spiritual power intended for both combat and spectacle, both of which seemed to complement one another. Reimu, as any other lucky denizen of Gensokyo, lived in a place where the aesthetics of combat played a major role in determining power. Magical combat would have appeared pretty boring otherwise.
After the Spell Card's effect ended, Reimu was hovering above a patch of crushed trees, some of which had fallen over the road she had been following.
"I'm hungry," she realized. Her attention shifted to a sack of uncooked food she was holding.
As she resumed her journey, a new wave of fairies could be seen approaching.
"I guess it's fine. The sooner I wipe them out, the sooner I get home, and the sooner I can eat and rest."
But all of a sudden…
"This is bad! This is bad, Reimu!"
The voice came from Reimu's orbs, which was known to double as a communication device.
Reimu recognized that voice right away. It belonged to none other than Yukari Yakumo, the youkai of boundaries. Like many other youkai, Yukari had lived long enough to see a thousand years. Nevertheless, she still possessed a youthful, carefree nature. Due to this, the fact that Yukari expressed concern meant something has gone completely wrong.
"What is it, Yukari?"
"Hakurei Border. It's suddenly weakened, especially in your shrine's area."
She was referring to the all-powerful charm separating mythical Gensokyo from the Outside. Reimu was supposedly its protector, and accordingly, her shrine was located right beside the Hakurei Border.
A strange incident indeed. The mechanisms of the Hakurei Border were known to few, so Reimu knew next to nothing about maintaining it, despite her shrine being next to it. After all, Yukari was supposed to be in charge of borders. Subsequently, the border had always been taken for granted, and its existence basically entails the existence of Gensokyo. But for this kind of thing to weaken, that could only mean…
"Reimu," continued Yukari from the orbs. "You're near the shrine, right? Would you mind investigating for me? It would be bad if the border disappears altogether."
"Wait a minute—You can't just come here now?"
Surely, as a youkai of that ability and power, Yukari could simply create a portal out of thin air.
"Oh my. There's no need to become impatient. I just woke up, so I need time to get ready. I'll be there in a few minutes. Well, good luck, Reimu!"
Then she cut the connection.
"Lazy old hag. I'll going to make her pay."
As she began to engage the fairies, Reimu detected a powerful concentration of spiritual power in the distance.
"Looks like dinner will have to wait."
"You're the one behind all of this, aren't you?" asked Reimu, though she was fairly sure of the answer.
She was standing before her shrine's stone stairs and could see an unknown girl, who looked a few years younger than Reimu herself, standing on the steps. She had silver hair and wore a black robe. At last, the one behind everything had been found. All it took now to end the incident was a quick battle, and everything should go back to being normal.
"I guess you can say that," was the nonchalant response.
"You…" Reimu said, her annoyance ignited by the girl's disinterest. "You're nothing but trouble."
The unknown girl's expression changed to reflect both anger and curiosity.
"Do you know how I deal with troublemakers?" asked Reimu mischievously. "I exterminate them. Then I make dinner without a second thought!"
"Wait, this is…"
Reimu suddenly stopped talking and took a few steps back.
"I've never seen this kind of spiritual power. You seem to be pretty strong…"
As if in response, the girl's aura of energy suddenly expanded.
Reimu paused a second time, taken by surprise.
"Wait… Your power, why is it untame? Raw magic. That means your spells won't be in the form of danmaku. I never thought anyone with untamed spiritual power still exists in Gensokyo. Where did you come from? You're not human, right?"
Reimu sounded a bit more anxious now.
"I'd like to think of myself as one."
"You seem strong for a youkai," said Reimu. "A Shinto goddess? Or maybe a Lunarian. But even they don't use raw magic. And your name?"
Followed by silence.
"I tend to forget unimportant things," she finally answered.
For a moment, Reimu looked dumbfounded. But she then grinned in realization. By now, she had forgotten entirely about the weakened Hakurei Border, Yukari's concern, or the strange commotion caused by fairies. Her annoyance had reached peaked levels and her focus was on defeating the enemy in front of her.
"I see. Looks like your job here is to piss me off."
She launched into the air along with her orbs.
"Do you really think you can fight someone as strong as me," said the stranger, her face still failing to register any emotion.
"O gods of the pure, lend me thy spirit," Reimu muttered in response. "Divine Art 'Demon Binding Ring!'"
An aura similar to the one before began forming around Reimu and the stranger. It had been a while since Reimu last used a hard-leveled Spell Card, but she decided to not take any chances with this opponent. Streams of fast-moving charms dotted the air red and yellow, cutting off any escape routes around the stranger. A second wave of charms formed expanding spheres that rushed out towards her. An attack just as hard to evade as it was beautiful.
None of the bullets had reached the stranger yet, besides the ones cutting off her escape.
Reimu glanced briefly at her opponent, but she showed no signs of countering.
With utter surprise, she discovered something completely unexpected.
On the stranger's face was… a hint of a smile?
Reimu shook off that vision and poured as much energy as she could into her spell, flooding the air with more fast-moving projectiles. After some time, she discovered that she could not produce any more, probably from fatigue.
From the stranger's point of view, the night sky was lit up with colors. Dancing before her eyes were patterns red, yellow, and white that were far too complicated for her to keep track. It was her first time viewing such a spectacle, and she could not suppress a slight, submissive grin.
But she had said it too softly for anyone to hear. For the next few seconds, she was left speechless as the colors descended upon her, bathing her with light.
"Reimu, hurry up with the stew, will you?"
"I know, I know. Don't forget that I'm cooking for three people here."
In the cramped space of the Hakurei living quarters, Suika Ibuki was fidgeting impatiently on the tatami while Reimu was stirring raw materials in boiling water. Although Gensokyo was filled with many kinds of mythical creatures, oni like Suika were strangely rare. Perhaps most of them were banned into another realm due to their destructive power.
Reimu's thoughts drifted back to her encounter with the stranger. To her frustration, she had many unanswered questions about the incident, but none of which she had a clue about.
"Hey, Suika… did anything weird happen before I came home?"
"Before you came home…? Hmm, it was all blurry. I don't think I was sober," replied the two-horned oni. "If anything did happen outside, I wouldn't have gone out anyway."
"Heheh. Whatever happens is not mine to worry about. This isn't my household after all."
That was met with silence.
For a moment, only the clatter of cooking could be heard.
"Wow, someone here looks really tired… Hey! Since you've got nothing else to do, how about some quality time with me during dinner?"
Even without looking, Reimu could tell that Suika was brandishing that sake gourd of hers.
"I'll pass. You can have that all to yourself."
Leaving her cooking, she slid open the door and stepped outside.
"Yukari? How's everything going over there?"
On the moonlit shrine approach Yukari's two shikigami seemed to be performing some sort of ritual with their hands, with Yukari seated between the two of them. The border youkai did not turn to face Reimu when she spoke, apparently casting a spell of some sort. From Reimu's point of view, only her long blond hair and pink umbrella were visible. As of that night, Yukari was no longer the irresponsible, playful youkai that Reimu had known.
"Don't worry about the border. I'll take good care of it. By the way, did you learn what caused this?"
"Well… there was this stranger I met near the shrine," said Reimu. Both shikigami turned to look out of curiosity.
The two of them seemed to have it hard, working for such a powerful and erratic youkai. One might even wonder why Yukari would even need helpers, given her spiritual power and wit.
"I think I hit her pretty badly," confessed Reimu. "Anyway, she's in no condition to talk right now."
Ever since the battle, a sense of guilt had hung over Reimu, something the bigheaded shrine maiden almost never experienced.
"Reimu. One day your impulsiveness will get the better of you. And you will look even dumber than I give you credit for."
"It was partly her fault too!" said an exasperated Reimu.
"Is that so?"
Said more as an acknowledgement than a question. Reimu was someone Yukari could trust, after all.
"Well, now that she is in your hands, I guess you can have as much fun with her as you please. I'm jealous now."
Yukari's eyes narrowed.
"I'm sure she will have lots to tell us."
The stranger stared blankly into Reimu's face. She looked around, only to be greeted by the dim lighting of a small, mostly empty room.
"You could have at least made an effort, you know," continued Reimu.
"Hakurei residence. I'm Reimu Hakurei. There, now it's your turn to introduce yourself."
"I am… My name is…"
"Oi oi. Did I really rough you up so badly that you can't remember your name? Don't worry. I'm tired too, thanks to you. Hold on a minute while I make you some tea."
While she was heating the water, Reimu found it hard to ignore Suika's glare from behind her.
"Who is she?" the oni asked angrily, her face flushed a deep red, a sure sign of drunkenness. "I saw you bring her in before, but you never told me anything about her. What do you plan to do with her? Is she going to…"
Suddenly, she seems taken aback by something, and leapt in front of the Reimu's face, shrieking in fury.
"NO! I must not allow another person to leech off Reimu! This occupation is taken!"
"You're not really leeching, you know," said Reimu absentmindedly. "You've annoyed me for so long at my house that you've practically become a member of the household."
"S-Seriously?" asked Suika. "A-Am I officially a member of the Hakurei household?"
Suika blushed slightly as she stuttered. Unfortunately, this did not go unnoticed by Reimu, whose face had turned even redder than Suika's.
"GET OUT, YOU DRUNKARD!"
The sound of a blow, then of doors sliding shut. From below, Yukari could see Suika sail through the moonlight.
Author's note: And thus begins another incident in the tiny world of Touhou FanFiction. Huzzah… Actually, the main storyline was formed a long time ago, and I probably wasted too much of my time changing and mulling over it. But I can imagine plenty other FanFiction weirdos (forgive me) like myself doing the same, so no news there… In other words, yes—this is a planned story. I might take forever to update, though, but that's just due to me being hardcore on the revisions. And despite even that, my writing only comes down to this…
Just to clarify, in this particular story, before the events of this chapter, Yukari's not responsible for the Hakurei Border's strength. Yes, she might tamper with it every now and then to abduct humans from the Outside, but the Hakurei Border itself is being kept up by an unknown force. Not sure if this is what most people think, but just putting it out there.
Anyway, if you see ways in which I can make this more reader-friendly, or if you see any inconsistencies with the canon Touhou, any OOC-ness, etc., give me a warning.
Until next time.
Updated A/N: So writing's not my forte. I should've deduced this by all those disasters that were class essays throughout my years in school, and apparently storywriting's not that much easier. Anyway, chapters 1-6 have been revised as of now, and chapter 7 was written after the revisions.
Nothing major in the storyline was changed. I only added a bit more description to the scenarios and made the characters as canon as they could be... well, don't expect too much from that since it's only the work of a wannabe writer setting a lofty goal.
Now, read on!