Alright guys and gals, here we are again!
Took me a while, but here's the next chapter. Hope I didn't keep you waiting too long. I'm excited for the finale as well, but especially since we are that close to it each chapter is going to take a little longer.
…and that the RPG Maker distracted me for an entire week didn't help as well.. Sorry… hehehe… Blame Hexer04 for that! He showed me that thing! *points at Hexer04 as if to blame him*
Anyways, in the previous episode, Chôzen and his two women entered Mugenkan anew in order to find out Mima's ultimate plans. While not being able to do so, they did find out how Mima mutated Kurumi and Elly, the two innocent girls that turned out to be enemies after being transformed.
However, as Chôzen doesn't have much time left before he becomes a target as well, the group of three was forced to stop their search and instead focus on finding the entrance to the Dream World, where Chôzen could get rid of the Unfocused World's connection.
That was where Kurumi came in. In a final attempt to help the three, she showed them the gateway to the Dream World, only to seal herself off to prevent any more damage she could possibly inflict by turning into a beast again.
Sad about this sacrifice, our group, and especially Chôzen, swore to avenge Kurumi and Elly. Now more desperate than ever, the three entered the Dream World… And that was where we left off. And now begin.
Before we do so, though, here is Review Time…
Anonymous... Thank you very much~.
Don't worry about the fight scenes and everyone showing their new powers. There will be enough fighting going on very soon. And I hope that the great finale will be to your liking!
Never thought I'd see a short review like that from you. But thanks for pointing out that mistake with repeating "Elly" at the top. Should be fixed now. And please keep your fingers crossed~.
Hm... Maybe Remi was a little OOC... I don't think that's a problem, though. I think everyone is when it comes to a wedding of someone close to you. I always remember how a friend of mine was acting completely out of character when his older sister married... He behaved so much unlike him that it was scary...
And welcome to the club! My room is a mess as well... I can't deny that I am a messy person as well.
Tez7... The calm before the storm comes to an end now, I believe. And here's the lunatic storm you wished for! So please grab an umbrella and hold onto it, let the storm carry you with it, resistance is pointless.
And that's it for the review time as well for this chapter! So please, everyone, grab an umbrella (please no karakasa!) and hold onto it~ The storm is now unleashed, and yet we are far from the eye of the storm!
Let's start the chapter, shall we...?!~
*grabs an umbrella and jumps into storm* Weeeeeeeee~
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Touhou/Project Shrine Maiden, as it belongs to ZUN. However, Chôzen Gekido (and his responsible personalities), Nanatsu no Taizai, Ryoko Jigoku, Shiho Kumo, Kayako Saeki Henge, Minoue and Sly do belong to me, as for I have created them.
Chapter 2: Dreaming of the Sunset
20 hours, 47 minutes and 59 second remaining...
For a short moment, everything was a swirl of color, followed by nothing but black, then a swirl of color again. And then, with a sudden jolt, everything seemed to lose color but gained shape. And before I knew, I was floating within a nothingness of black, colorful dots swirling around me like the brightest stars on the night sky.
I had arrived in the Dream World.
Only seconds later, both Nanatsu and Rumia emerged from the swirling mass of purple behind me as well. Luckily, the swirling mass of purple, the portal from Mugenkan to the Dream World, remained open. So at least we could go back to Gensokyo if we needed to. That would be my secure death, though, unless I had finally cut my bond with the Unfocused World.
"That's the Dream World? Not necessarily a place I would like to dream about...", huffed Rumia as she looked around, taking in the large black nothingness around us. "I don't know, I think it's beautiful. Just look at all of those lights!", commented Nanatsu, looking around in awe.
I myself didn't know what to think of this world. I remembered that Reimu had told me about this world long ago, back when I had just arrived at thee Hakurei Shrine with amensia. She had told me about the incidents she had been through back then, and I remembered her mentioning the Dream World three times.
This mysterious world confused even Reimu, as she mentioned that it had changed every time she had entered it. During her first visit, when she was out to stop Mima from destroying Gensokyo, which had been the second incident she ever solved, the Dream World had apparently looked exactly as it did during my visit: Black with colorful lights dancing around.
When she went through the Dream World two incidents later, the incident in which she first met Yuuka, the Dream World had looked exactly alike, but other creatures had appeared before her to stop her. Furthermore, Yuuka had been inside the Dream World back then, apparently to just relax and sleep a little. Must have been before she sent her enemies in there, because I know I wouldn't be able to relax when I know that my enemies are around.
The third and last time that Reimu had ever been to the Dream World was after meeting Yuuka. And that visit was the most important for us: I can't believe I didn't think of that until the moment I was inside the Dream World itself, but Reimu mentioned that the Dream World had changed a little then, violet clouds moving around.
And then, two sisters had appeared, dressed in maid outfits, and one of them had claimed that she had created the world. And those were the two we were searching for, the ones Yukari and Shikieiki had called the 'demon maid sisters'.
"We are here now, so what now?", asked Rumia as she crossed her arms, still skeptically taking in the details of her surroundings. Or rather, the lack of actual details. "We have to find those two girls that your half-sister talked about. They are the only ones that can help me.", I replied, glancing around in hope to find anything useful.
"Easier said than done. Look around, there's nothing here, and no one in sight! This has got to be the loneliest place ever!", exclaimed the angel of death in clear annoyance. But I couldn't disagree with her. "Yeah. I should've rather retreated here than into Makai. And here I thought Makai was lonely.", I huffed.
"There is no point in thinking about that, Chô. We should rather focus on what is now.", scolded my first wife, softly hitting my shoulder. I nodded slowly, then turned to look around again. But the only thing I found was the black nothingness with colorful dots flying around.
"Great. I think this is going to take a while.", I sighed in annoyance, rubbing the back of my head. This was definitetly going to take a while. "I think that wasn't what Yukari and Shikieiki had expected. I bet they thought that the two sisters we are going to search for would be finding us rather than the other way around.", I added with a small growl, glaring around in this nothingness.
"No point in flying here. We are not going to find anything or anyone this way.", suggested Nanatsu. "But then again, we could fly around forever and lose the portal back to Gensokyo. And then we're screwed, lost here forever.", countered Rumia.
I rolled my eyes at them, but I couldn't really decide either. Both of them were right. If we stayed around here, we would not find anything, but if we moved out to find anything, we would possibly lose our only way back to Gensokyo. But then again, if we did find the sisters we were supposed to find, they would help us to find the way back again to Gensokyo.
Guess there was only one way then.
"We're moving out. If we do find the two sisters, they'll help us to go back to Gensokyo.", I decided, "I'm not sure which direction to follow, though. There is nothing that may lead us somewhere." "Let's just go nowhere. Because that is everywhere here.", huffed my second wife, shrugging.
Not wanting to argue about this any further, I just shrugged as well and flew away from the portal in no direction at all. Because there was a lack thereoff actually. Or not. You couldn't really know with a world with nothing inside. Nothing but colorful lights.
This would definitely take a while.
19 hours, 13 minutes and 38 second remaining...
It felt like an eternity, just darkness and colors passing by. But then, eventually, the world began to change slightly. Around us, floating blue tiles making the shape of pixelated diamond shapes hovered around and the colorful dots became brighter, looking like small stars far away.
In the distance, I could see a red formation of rocks hovering around, but there was nothing interesting about it. What was interesting, however, was the other formation that I saw eventually. It was a large, red gate that hovered in the distance, blue tiles shaping a platform around it.
And then, trapped in that gate was... something.
When I first saw it, I thought it was a large, bronze moon held by lightning in the middle of the red gate. When I came closer, however, the 'moon' turned out to be a disc, a bronze disc held by yellow lightning. And engraved onto that disc was some weird shape that I couldn't make out from the distance.
"What... is that?", asked Rumia, pointing towards the large gate and the disc held inside it. "Don't know, but it's the first interesting thing since we entered this world.", I replied, narrowing my eyes at the disc held by lightning, "Something is weird about it, though..."
The gate with the disc inside came closer. The closer we got, the better could I see the disc. It was fairly large, about Yuugi's or Ryoko's height, and the shape engraved onto it eventually turned out to be some kind of woman.
The young woman on the disc had long and wavy hair, her eyes and mouth were closed and her expression seemed pretty content. A glowing, light-blue orb seemed to hover in between her hands in front of her chest, but when I finally was in front of her, the orb turned out to be actually a hole in the disc with some kind of light-blue energy inside that made it impossible to see through.
"What the hell is this...?", muttered Rumia the moment that we flew right in front of the gigantic disc, the lightning sizzling in front of us. "Some kind of disc. It doesn't feel like some object, though...", mused Nanatsu, carefully approaching the disc. At least until I put a hand onto her shoulder and pulled her back. "Don't touch it. This is neither Gensokyo, nor Muenzuka, Higan or the Outside World. This is an entirely new world and we know nothing about it.", I advised, glaring at the disc before us.
"And besides... This is not called 'Dream World' for nothing. Nothing makes sense in here...", I added, pushing Nanatsu back a little. "What are you doing?", asked Nanatsu, frowning. "Just being careful...", I muttered, carefully approaching the disc on my own.
Carefully, I extended my bony hand, ready to take the risk rather than allowing Nanatsu or Rumia to take it. Besides, lightning had been channeled through my bony hand already, so it was not like it was something new. The best thing about my bony hand, though, was that it couldn't feel pain. So whatever would happen, the worst thing possible was that my hand would be blown off. And where was the difference between a dead hand and no hand?
The distance between my bony hand and the disc was eventually crossed and it laid onto the surface of the disc. At first, nothing happened. None of the lightning surrounding the side of the disc flew through my hand, so it wasn't conducting.
But only at first.
All of sudden, the disc turned out to be very well conductive. But not the way one would expect. Instead of channeling the lightning surrounding it into my arm, it accepted the negative energy that flew through my bones, which was in shape of green lightning. I watched in a state of shock how the green light flew through the large bronze disc.
The moment that the green lightning, which moved like a wave over the disc from the spot where I had touched it, met the lightning holding it in place, it vanished, was like it had never been. I pushed myself away from the disc in fear that anything would happen, didn't stop moving backwards until I was in between Nanatsu and Rumia, my arms extended to shield them.
But nothing happened.
As soon as the lightning that held the disc in the gate was gone, nothing happened, other than the disc still flying in it's place. "What... just happened?", asked Nanatsu after a few seconds of nothing following after the unsealing of that disc. "I don't know...", I whispered back, unsure about it as well. Nothing followed.
Until the disc moved all of sudden. In a single, fast movement, the disc was directly in front of me without that I had ever seen it move. A sickly, purple glow suddenly surrounded it. And then, the woman on the disc opened her eyes.
I cringed, pushed Nanatsu and Rumia back despite knowing that they were powerful enough to defend themselves. I set my right hand ablaze in green energy, glared at the woman on the disc. Of all the things I had predicted, I had not foreseen the disc to be actually alive!
"Hold on.", echoed an otherworldy voice from everywhere around me at once, the eyes of the woman on the disc suddenly upon me. "I do not mean you harm.", continued the voice, just as the disc moved away from me, as if to show me that it was peaceful.
"What...?", I muttered, narrowing my eyes, just about to summon Alastor. "I am Kikuri, the hellish moon. I do not mean you harm. I just want to thank you for unsealing me.", spoke the disc without the woman on it moving her lips. "Kikuri...?", I repeated, cocking an eyebrow. "That is my name.", confirmed Kikuri.
I glanced carefully over to Nanatsu and Rumia, both already with their responsible weapon in hand. "How can we know that you're telling the truth?", I asked, still unsure what to think about the living disc. "Please hear me out. Yuuka Kazami has sealed me within this realm during a battle. Apparently, I had stood in her way.", replied the disc named Kikuri. Or was the woman on it Kikuri?
"Oh you poor one! Yuuka turned you into a disc?", asked Nanatsu with great concern. But all of sudden, a sweatdrop appeared on the woman's head on the disc. "I have been this disc all my life. I rather meant what you just saw: She sealed me within the gate behind me.", explained Kikuri, turning around, revealing a woman that looked exactly alike on the other side.
"What you see behind me was once the gate to Mugenkan, Yuuka Kazami's mansion, before she and her gatekeeper Elly moved it to Gensokyo. But I am not from there. I, on my part, am from Makai, though I do have resided in hell for a long while for my body to harden within the fires of hell.", continued the disc or woman, whatever she was.
"Makai?", I repeated, my frown increasing, "You mean, like, Makai, the realm of the demons? The world that Shinki has created?" "You seem to know my mother. My mother Shinki has created me long ago, but my body was weak, so she send me to reside in hell after an agreement with the Enma of Gensokyo. In hell, my body hardened.", replied Kikuri simply in her otherworldly voice.
"Wait... I think Reimu mentioned something about running into a living disc once...", I muttered, rather to myself than to anybody else. But still, Kikuri heard it. "That Shrine Maiden. I've met her once, yes, back during my stay in hell. That was a few years before I ran into Kazami on her way into Makai.", commented the bronze entity.
"That makes surprisingly a lot of sense.", huffed Rumia, crossing her arms, dismissing Tyrfing during the motion. "Indeed it does. So you are another one of Shinki's daughters? I guess I know all of them now. Sara, Louise, Mai, Yuki, Sariel, Yumeko, Alice...", I counted. "You do not."
I frowned, glanced towards the disc flying in the distance before me. "One of my sisters is sealed within this realm, too. She isn't too far from here. I had been able to hear her cries almost every night over the past years.", finished Kikuri, once more turning around.
"Years? Just for how long have you poor thing been here?", asked Nanatsu, pushing past me. She approached the large disc, looked up to the woman on it with a sad smile. "I don't know, I stopped counting. But ever since the day that the shrine maiden, the evil spirit and her disciple, as well as Kazami entered Makai one after another, complaining about demons pouring into Gensokyo.", answered the disc.
And then, all of sudden, the whole disc was enveloped in the sick, purple glow that surrounded it. It had been so bright that I had to close my eyes for the few seconds that it lasted. And when it was gone and I had opened my eyes again, the disc was empty, the woman on it gone. But instead, the woman I had seen engraved onto it hovered in front of the disc. (1)
"I believe you are much more comfortable with this shape. I cannot uphold it for too long, even though this is the way my mother actually intended to create me.", spoke Kikuri, looking exactly like she had done on the disc, except for now possessing a lower body. She was still completely bronze, though. "May I request something of you? Could you please come with me to unseal my sister YuugenMagan? I don't want her to suffer any longer."
"YuugenMagan? That's a weird name.", grumbled Rumia, cocking an eyebrow at the bronze woman. "My mother has a weird idea of naming her daughters.", smiled Kikuri sheepishly. "I don't know. I like the names 'Alice' and 'Yumeko'.", I shrugged, earning a smile from the bronze woman and confused glances from my wives.
"Would you please help me and my sister? We shall then help you as well, of course.", asked the woman anew. "Of course we will, don't we, Chô?!", exclaimed Nanatsu, clenching her fists, with a determined expression. "Sure. And I do already have in mind how you two could help us.", I smiled, glancing at the bronze woman, "You resided here for a while now. Do you know the whereabouts of the demon maid sisters?"
Kikuri rose an eyebrow at this, but then nodded. "Of course I do. Mugetsu and Gengetsu came to visit me several times, but they have been unable to help me and my sister. However, they have delivered messages in between us, which was already a great help. Apparently Yuuka had sealed my sister here as well.", replied Kikuri.
"Good to know. Mugetsu and Gengetsu, you say? Are those the names of the demon maid sisters?", I asked, a nod being the reply. "Good. Where can we find your sister then?"
Kikuri slowly turned to look over her right shoulder, pointing past the gate she had been sealed in. This also gave me the chance to look at the other side of the coin, which turned with her. It was empty. So despite the two sides both showing faces, Kikuri had merely one and was both sides at once. Made me wonder if she could see with both faces.
"Alright. Then it's settled. We help freeing your sister and you'll show us where to find the two demon sisters.", I declared, pumping a fist into the air. "Agreed.", replied Kikuri in a whisper that reminded me a lot of her sister Sariel. Without a further waste of time, as I had none to waste, I gestured Kikuri to show us the way and followed her as she began to fly into the direction she had pointed in before.
"While we are on the way, could you perhaps inform me of what leads you three into this realm? Some names would be nice, too. And I want to know how you...", her gaze stopped on me for a moment, "...know my mother and my sisters."
Deciding that there was no point in not telling her, I smiled and began to tell the little story. "First of all, I am Chôzen Gekido, and these are my wives Nanatsu no Taizai and Rumia Gekido.", I began, motioning to the wife in question when I mentioned her name. "Wives?", asked Kikuri, frowning.
"Long story.", I chuckled, but before I could start, Rumia intervened. "I don't know, Chôzen... It's nothing against you, and I guess I have yet to get used to it, but I'm much more comfortable with my original name... You know, Rumia Shisô.", muttered the angel of death, staring straight ahead.
Nanatsu began to giggle after hearing that. "You'll get used to it.", she smiled, waving sheepishly with her hand. "Tch. Funny hearing that from you. You still have your old name despite marrying him, due to it being a title rather than a name.", huffed Rumia at my first wife, making me smile as well.
"People tended to call me Nanatsu Gekido, though.", revealed Nanatsu, "And besides, I don't have a name that I could take on other than my title. There is nothing in before 'Nanatsu no Taizai, the woman of seven deadly sins'. No name, no existence."
"You people are weird.", commented Kikuri after watching this exchange. "I'll guess I just tell you the story behind this. To make the long story up to the point where it gets important for this short... We three are all exalted Youkai, I met Nanatsu first, married her, lost her, had amnesia, and didn't remember anything that had been until up to four years ago.", I began.
"Please the real short version. The way to my sister isn't that long and I have the feeling that the story is really long. I'll ask my mother to tell me the rest after we're out of this realm.", interfered Kikuri, glancing my way. "Alright, I'll keep it short. Anyways, next was...", I began anew, only to be stopped when Rumia spoke.
"Like a dumbass, he went around, unsealed an evil spirit, unsealed me, and then ran into people he had met before his amnesia. He learned a little about himself, helped to solve incidents in Gensokyo, then ran into his first wife.", continued Rumia all of sudden. Her choice of words wasn't cruel enough to hurt me, but I huffed nontheless, glaring into her direction.
"I had lived with Yukari Yakumo after I lost him, but then he was back all of sudden, though with no real memories of our time together. And to make it worse, he had fallen for Rumia here. We fought over him, and it ended with Rumia leaving Gensokyo. As she returned, though, she had become insane and saw only one way out: To kill Chôzen or die by his hands.", added Nanatsu, only for Kikuri to raise her hands.
"Woah, this is getting way too intense for my taste.", she spoke, showing a bit of a less relaxed character than before. "It was. I defeated her, though, and ever since then, she tried to live with me and Nanatsu. I'll jump over the next events, which involved me getting my memories back... After that, things got complicated, only for us to find out only recently that all has been set up by Mima.", I explained.
And at that, Kikuri actually stopped and her eyes widened. "Wait, you mean that evil spirit?", asked the bronze woman. "Exactly. She manipulated as good as everyone in Gensokyo. And that's the reason we are here: She is manipulating me by using the Unfocused World, and we cannot allow her to manipulate me when I try to stop her.", I replied with a nod.
"I see. That's all I need to know. I'll ask my mother to tell me more later on... We need to focus on getting to YuugenMagan to unseal her, and then we'll guide you to the sisters real quick. Seeing how urgent your mission is, it's best if we hurry up.", muttered Kikuri, and before I knew it, she moved with the same speed she had used before.
The large disc behind her followed her as she zoomed off, and I quickly followed her with Nanatsu and Rumia in tow. And only a very few seconds later, Kikuri's shape became visible again. She was hovering in front of a large wall of those red rocks, similiar to the one I had seen earlier. This one, however, had something very special about it: Five huge eyes, one on it's own as tall as Kikuri, placed in it, all of them closed.
"Impressing.", I muttered, staring at those eyes. "Indeed. Those eyes are quite impressive.", agreed Nanatsu, stopping at my side. "Where's her sister? Inside those rocks?", huffed Rumia. Ever since we had come here, she seemed to be in a bad mood. Can't blame her, though. After all we had married just the day before, and I could imagine a way better way to spend the day after it as well.
"YuugenMagan, sister! It is me, Kikuri! I have someone with me to help you! Please open your eyes!", shouted Kikuri, and a bad feeling immediately sled down my spine. "E-eyes? You mean like she is already here?", I chuckled uneasily.
Kikuri turned around at that and nodded, then turned back to the wall. With five eyes in it. Oh come on, really?!
Suddenly, one eye opened slightly and focused on Kikuri. And then, all of sudden, all five eyes shot open and stared down at Kikuri in apparent glee. "Oh come on, your sister is a fuckin' gigantic rock?! What the hell is wrong with your family?!", shouted Rumia in utter annoyance, waving furiously.
"Shut up!", snarled Kikuri in obvious anger, "And don't be stupid! My sister isn't a rock! She's merely trapped inside the rock!" Immediately, I relaxed. Oh man, for a moment I had really thought that those eyes belonged to her sister, but that was ridiculous...
I was quickly proved wrong when yellow lightning shot out of those eyes. The lightning met in front of Kikuri, but instead of just meeting there, created a shape. A shape that reminded of a girl in a kimono. "Sis!", exclaimed the girl made out of yellow energy in a young and high voice.
"Okay, I didn't see that coming.", commented Rumia with a cool and skeptical tone, her arms crossed an one eyebrow cocked. "You said there is someone to help me?", asked the new girl, which actually consisted of nothing more than a shape made of yellow lightning. Kikuri nodded, then turned towards Nanatsu, Rumia and me.
"I bet those two are the black sheeps in the family.", commented the angel of death, as bold as ever. "Rumia!", I scolded, glaring at my second wife. "Well, what? I've seen their sisters and they did look humanoid!", countered Rumia, shrugging. "As bold as she is, she is right. YuugenMagan and I am the least humanoid of our mothers creations. But we don't mind.", smiled Kikuri sheepishly, followed by the girl made of lightning nodding furiously. She seemed to be YuugenMagan.
"Please, could you help getting me out of there? Kikuri and I am strong, but I don't think we have what it takes to free me!", exclaimed YuugenMagan, pointing at the eyes still in the rock. It was kind of obvious that those were part of her.
"Well…", I began, scanning the large rock. "We promised them!", insisted Nanatsu immediately before I could say a thing. "We did, and we will help them. Relax.", I huffed, glaring at her. "I'd say raw power would be the best approach.", interrupted Rumia, apparently in thoughts, "But I don't think I have enough. Nanatsu, however…"
Both Rumia and I turned to Nanatsu, stared at the Shinigami. Rumia was right, Nanatsu was the strongest of us three. "Well, Rumia is right. I don't think that Alastor would sufficate, and neither would Tyrfing. They're not made for something like this, they're swords. Shi no Taizai's shape, however, allows a way more power during a swing…", I agreed.
Nanatsu nodded, having understood, and pulled the large scythe from her back. She swung it experimentally, then stopped. "You're right. This should do the trick.", pondered Nanatsu, before she turned to the large rock, "Alright, I'll try it!"
Together with Rumia, Kikuri and the girl named YuugenMagan, I watched as my first wife flew towards the large, red rock. She stopped next to one of the five eyes and turned to look over her shoulder. "One last question… Your body are those eyes, right?" YuugenMagan nodded shortly, giving Nanatsu all she needed.
She rose Shi no Taizai over her head, aimed closely, and then swung the scythe down. The blade hit the stone, immediately resulting in a large cloud of dust, debris flying everywhere. Well, Nanatsu was quite strong to begin with…
As the cloud of dust died down, Nanatsu hovered in front of a large crater right aside the huge eye, which was focused on her despite still sending lightning towards her other body. I watched as the eye began to move a little, wriggled around in the rock. And then, due to the crater aside it, it finally broke out of the wall.
"I knew it would work! Our Nanatsu is the best~", chuckled Rumia in amusement. I was quite proud as well to call a woman like that my wife. Nanatsu was definitely quite strong. "Thank you~ Please continue and free me completely~", sung the girl named YuugenMagan in excitement. With a curt nod, Nanatsu confirmed this and turned towards the next eye.
At the same time, I turned towards the two daughters of Shinki. "While Nana breaks you out of there, I could fill you in on what's happening. Basically, though, it's like this: We help you two, and then you'll lead us to the two sisters that rule this world. Mugetsu and Gengetsu, I believe.", I began. YuugenMagan nodded, turning to her sister for confirmation. At the same moment, I heard stone breaking for the third time.
"I'll tell you the exact story while you lead us to them. But all you have to know is that an evil spirit named Mima is currently threatening Gensokyo's existence, possibly also Makai.", I added, turning back to Nanatsu just as she smashed her scythe into the rock for the fifth time.
And with that, YuugenMagan was finally free.
"Yay! I can move again!", exclaimed the girl made of energy, the five eyes circling around her in glee, almost hitting us due to their quite enormous size. "The reunion of sisters. Touching.", chuckled Rumia. I don't know why she had been so annoyed before, but at least she was in a better mood.
"I don't want to break such a touchy moment, but we don't exactly have much time.", interrupted the angel of death eventually, though, "That means, Chôzen doesn't have much time. I don't know how much time he still has, but when we left at home a few hours ago, he had twenty-four left."
Immediately YuugenMagan stopped spinning and Kikuri turned towards us. "You didn't mention it was that urgent! Yuu, we have to go!", exclaimed Kikuri in shock, pointing into a direction somewhere past the rock, "They are in that direction. Let's show them where they can meet him, Yuu!"
Before either of us knew, YuugenMagan (also called 'Yuu' apparently) and Kikuri zoomed off, and we had to follow once more. It took me only a very few moments to catch up with them, my wives directly behind me. "I think this is a good moment to tell you how I came to know mother Shinki and your sisters.", I commented, realizing that this might take a while.
"Good idea.", replied the bronze woman with a curt nod. "I might as well tell you the short version of the story as well.", I added, glancing towards YuugenMagan. "Anyways... as for the first question: I met Alice first. It was just a coincidence that I met her, but we ended up hating each other from the first sight. However, lately we managed to get along. Somehow.", I began, turning back into the direction we were heading.
"I met your mother Shinki a while later during a party. It was also then that I first met all of your sisters, but it was just a short meeting. However, and that may be interesting for you, I did live in Makai for a while. The last two months, to be exact.", I added then after a short moment.
"You lived in Makai? With mom and our sisters? Is everyone alright?", asked the girl made of energy, the five eyes, which seemed to be able to move indepently from each other, circling around her as she flew. "I lived in Makai for two months, like I said. I needed some time alone, and Makai is a bit more lonesome than Gensokyo. And yes, your mother and sisters are alright.", I replied smiling. "Alright. That's good to hear.", sighed Kikuri in relief.
"And now for the part about the story...", I began then, about to repeat what we had told Kikuri earlier. And that would take a while again...
17 hours, 27 minutes and 7 seconds remaining...
"There!", shouted Kikuri all of sudden, pointing to a large area of blue tiles. I glanced from the bronze girl in front of the large disc over to her sister, the girl made of yellow energy in front of five large eyes, and then towards the area Kikuri had pointed to.
Just in that moment, her disc was surrounded by that sickly purple glow again, followed by the bronze girl vanishing. And as soon as the glow decreased and returned to a mere purple shine, Kikuri was once more engraved onto her disc. "I cannot uphold the other form any longer. I am still too weak after being sealed for so long.", she explained immediately, though I could hear disappointment in her voice.
"It's alright, sis.", smiled the energy-like being YuugenMagan. The two of them were definitely the weirdest of Shinki's daughters. And here I thought Yumeko had been weird with her obvious fetish for short swords and her creepy 'doll of misery' rhyme…
"Where are they?", asked Rumia in her usual impatient manner, her eyes darting around in search of the two maid sisters we were supposed to find. "They should be around here. This is the 'place of birth', the place the younger sister has created this world from.", replied Kikuri, her disc turning once. "I know I don't see them anywhere…", grumbled my second wife in reply, almost as if she had completely overheard Kikuri.
"In case you are meaning us… We are behind you, visitors."
Reflex kicked in and I twirled around, the sudden rush of adrenaline getting the best of me. Like I had used to thousands of times before, I summoned Alastor during the motion, sensing danger even though there was none.
When I stopped, I ended up holding Alastor to the throat of a girl in a maid's outfit.
"Chôzen Gekido. We have already wondered when you would arrive.", commented the other sister, the one I didn't threaten. "So you have awaited me?", I asked coldly, still not entirely assured that there was no danger.
I know that my reaction was unjustified. Neither one of them had threatened us, nor did they look dangerous in any way. However, due to the recent events and my already sore nerves, I kind of overreacted a lot more often. You can't really blame me, there was someone out to kill me, and I kind of had been through a lot lately.
"Y-You can lower your sword now, you know…?", mentioned the sister I was threatening. "Chôzen, calm down. They are no use to us if they are dead.", spoke Rumia, approaching me. Seeing reason in her words, I nodded and lowered Alastor, dismissed it. "I'm sorry. Have been through a lot lately.", I merely spoke, apologizing to the sister I had been threatening. "No problem…?", she replied, though unsure.
"I see you managed to free Kikuri and YuugenMagan. That's good to see. Those poor ones have suffered long enough.", spoke the other sister, looking past me at the large bronze disc and her sister.
It was then that I calmed down entirely and backed up, bringing some distance in between me and the two demon sisters. Once I was flying aside my group, I took a closer look at the two girls before me. The one I had threatened with Alastor seemed to be the younger one, but I couldn't be really sure. It was just a feeling that I had, the feeling that she was the younger one.
The one I had threatened had yellow eyes, short yellow hair and wore a pink and blue maid outfit. Come to think of it... She did look quite similar to that poltergeist I had met on the Hakurei Shrine Festival. Kana Anaberal had been her name, hadn't it?
The other girl had yellow eyes as well and had medium-length yellow hair with a red bow inside it. She wore a pink and white dress and a red vest, so it looked nothing like a maid's outfit. This led me to the conclusion that Yukari and Shikieki had used the name 'demon maid sisters' based on the younger sister's outfit. The last thing that was interesting about the older sister was that she had white wings that resembled those of an angel.
"I think we should introduce ourselves. There is no need for you to introduce yourselves... We know all about you.", spoke the one with angel wings. "I am Gengetsu, the older sister.", she added then, before her younger sister nodded. "And I am Mugetsu. I am the creator of the Dream World.", revealed the younger sister, the one in a maid's outfit.
After their introduction, I shared a glance with the four girls behind me. I was just about to ask them if they trusted the two demon sisters, but was interrupted when the younger demon sister began anew.
"To return to the task at hand… I believe your desire is to cut the bond with the Unfocused World? My sister and I have been watching your actions as well, Chôzen. Everyone has. Especially Mima.", spoke Mugetsu, her voice more serious than before.
I nodded shortly. "Indeed. I need to cut my bond with the Unfocused World.", I replied. "Hey, if you two knew about the whole crap, then why didn't you just cut his bond with the Unfocused World? Would've saved us all the shit here.", snarled Rumia from the side.
Gengetsu turned to her, a soft smile on her lips. "I am sorry, Rumia Gekido, but we cannot do that. The only one to cut the bond with the Unfocused World is the person that wants to cut it. The Unfocused World itself prevents intervening from the outside.", explained Gengetsu softly, before she turned back to me.
"And we couldn't welcome you to this world because of how it works: You have to find your way on your own.", she added with a short nod into my direction, which I repeated. "Now then, Chôzen, before we lead you to face the Unfocused World there are some things you need to know.", began Mugetsu from my left, and I turned to her.
"First of all, once cut, you cannot restore the bond on your own. You should know that your bond to the Unfocused World may have been triggered by Alice Margatroid, but it has been there before. You merely chose to never use it.", she continued, before turning to her sister.
"Once cut, the Unfocused World will decide when to restore the bond. This may be caused by some outside influence, but merely the Unfocused World can restore the bond. It will take a while, though. The Unfocused World can be a very moody being.", added Gengetsu.
"Wait wait wait! The Unfocused World is a being on it's own?", intervened Rumia, shaking her hands. "Yes. The Unfocused World is alive due to the components it is made of: Minds.", explained the younger sister.
"Which leads us to the next point: The Unfocused World will definitely try to stop you. Once you've become part of it, it will not let you go. Not without a fight. I cannot help you, though, as the Unfocused World is not only a shapeshifter, but always takes on a different form depending on who tries to end it's 'contract' with it.", added the older one, nodding.
"However, it will always chose the shape of something you associate with it. Merely a little… twisted.", Gengetsu continued with a shudder. "Twisted? Like what?", I asked, narrowing my eyes at her. "Uhm… You'll see. I can't tell you.", she replied. "Oh hell, just great!", I growled, rolling my eyes.
"I'm sorry we can't help you against it.", sighed Mugetsu. "And that's where we will come in! This will be one piece of a cake if…!", began Rumia excitedly, only to be stopped by Mugetsu getting louder, "He will have to face it on his own! The Unfocused World will accept if we send him to it, but since it is his Unfocused World, it will not allow any interferrance!"
Rumia slumped her shoulders and let out a groan. "I'm sorry. Furthermore, we can't send anyone in there who is not an active part of the Unfocused World. It may be possible that both you, Rumia Gekido, and Nanatsu no Taizai do have an unaware bond with the Unfocused World, but it seems not to be active. Otherwise, you would have ended up there at least once.", spoke Gengetsu.
"Shit. Good to know, though.", I growled, "Is there anything else I need to know? I'll be on my own against some weird impersonation of the Unfocused World… What about it? How powerful is it?" Gengetsu and Mugetsu shared a short glance that made me worry. "We can't say for sure. It depends on the shape it takes on and the current number of minds it is made of.", replied Mugetsu.
"A last thing you should know, though, before going up against it is… That you should never trust it. It will not only try to seduce you into trusting it, but it will also not give up. Don't trust it even if it's lying on the ground , apparently dead. You will know when you've won against it.", added her sister then.
"Ugh. Just great. This is getting better and better.", I grumbled, bitting my lower lip. "That should be all, though. Just don't underestimate it. It's a powerful and sneaky foe that will do anything to keep you part of it.", commented both sisters in perfect chorus.
"Yeah, I'll keep that in mind. Anyways, I'm ready. Just send me to it.", I growled. "That is actually the easiest part of the whole thing.", informed Mugetsu, turning around. She waved her hand once, then moved it up, then down. And just like that, the nothingness before us swung open, revealing that it was a door.
"Once you go through, you'll find yourself in what we call 'the higher plane'. It is the place that the 'mind' of the Unfocused World resides, it's heart.", she added then. "But wouldn't result killing the heart in the destruction of the Unfocused World?", asked Nanatsu.
"No. The Unfocused World and it's heart are invincible. However, they can tire out, and that is what Chôzen will have to do. It's pure torture for the Unfocused World to be tired. So if Chôzen can tire it out, it will eventually have suffered so much from it's torture that it gives up and abandons him. It will be a little angry at him for a few years, but eventually will pull him back.", explained Gengetsu.
"May I butt in?", asked Kikuri all of sudden, "There is something you have not spoken of. What are the risks of facing the Unfocused World? This man seems to be a good friend of both my mother and my sisters, and it would be a shame if he'd die."
At that, Mugetsu and Gengetsu shared a worried glance, only for them to turn back to us then. "There are a few risks. The biggest of them is death. Dying in the Unfocused World means the death of ones mind, leaving back an empty shell. However, since going up against it isn't inside it but on the outside, you can very well die, as you are still in your body.", explained Gengetsu.
"Furthermore, the next risk would be that the Unfocused World is not willing to let you go. Depending on how strong your mind is, it may be addicted to the power your mind gives to it, so it would try to bring you on the verge of death, but would not kill you. If your mind is too weak, of no worth and you can't tire the Unfocused World out, however, it will kill you for being insolent enough to attack it.", added her sister.
"The third risk is that the Unfocused World is in a good mood. I can only advice you to piss it off at you, Chôzen Gekido. If it's in a good mood and lets you go while it has a good memory of you, it may restore the bond in only a few days.", Gengetsu continued.
"And the last risk would be to piss of a Yama for interfering.", her sister finished. "That's no problem. Shikieiki was the one who told Chôzen to cut the bond in the first place.", sighed Nanatsu in relief. "There are a few more risks, but those are unimportant and won't affect someone like Chôzen.", muttered Mugetsu then, waving her hand a little.
"Good grief, I see already where this is going…", I groaned, holding my forehead, "…I'll end up winning or losing with a murder headache." A few smiles were the reply, but I just shook my head. "Let's get this over with."; I growled, turning towards the door that Mugetsu had summoned.
"Good luck, Chôzen. You'll need it.", I heard Mugetsu say. "And please remember our advices.", her sister added. "I will.", I reassured them, then sent one last glance towards Nanatsu and Rumia, who flew in between the two Makaian sisters.
"Hey, Mugetsu, Gengetsu.", I spoke, turning to the demon maid sisters anew, "Could you send those two home? I think their family reunion is long due." At that, the two demon sisters shared a glance and nodded. "We will, don't worry. We'll have to send them through the dream of someone in Makai, though, so I can't say for sure. We'll have to see if someone's asleep and dreaming.", replied the older one.
"Thanks. Nanatsu, Rumia, please go with them. Inform Shinki that I am inside the Dream World and am currently fighting against the Dream World. Tell her to inform the others as well. A new meeting has to be held as soon as I am back in Gensokyo. I need the blessings ready then so that I only have to take them. And then, we'll go and hunt Mima down. We don't have time to waste.", I snarled, glancing towards my wives.
"Sure thing.", huffed Rumia with a big smirk. "We trust you. You won't lose, I am sure of it.", added Nanatsu, serious as ever. "Good. Meet me here then. It will take a while to defeat that damn world, so it should give you enough time to return here through Mugenkan once more.", I finished, then turned to the door.
"Wish me luck.", was the last thing I muttered before entering the door.
Much like the Unfocused World, I would not go down without a fight.
17 hours remaining…
The change in scenery was sudden. The moment that I had taken one step through the door, I was standing in an entirely different area, and as soon as I had entered it completely, the door behind me swung close and vanished.
I was standing in the ruins of what had once apparently been some kind of throne room. Behind me lay a gigantic wooden door, beneath my feet a long red carpet with yellow trimming. However, the carpet was stained, and the smell in the air made clear what exactly those stains were: Blood.
Two gigantic pillars towered before me, both several times my height and wider than I could extend my arms. Bricks had fallen out of them and lay aside them, small parts of them completely missing. Two smaller pillars were on each side of the room, but nothing I could hide behind in case that there really was a battle about to begin.
Following the carpet, there were some stairs on the other side of the room, leading up to a throne. On each side of it hung a banner, but they were ripped and burned, the sign on them long gone. A single chandelier hung from the ceiling, but the color had faded, rust having taken it's place. Some arms were missing, lay somewhere in the room, and the candles on it had burned down, emitting no light.
On each side of the throne stood a large pedestal with a four-armed candelabra on it. Their candles were burning, but had burned down to the half, leaving the room in a very dim light. The only other light sources in the room were two torches, one on each side of the door behind me, and eight more torches, four on each of the thick pillars.
The throne itself looked objectively bad. Not only was it made of nothing more than light-gray bricks, but the red cushion on it was ripped, some of it's inside scattered around the throne. And then, there was this… THING hanging above the throne.
It looked a lot like some wasp hive or something, only organic. It made some disgusting noises as it moved, the noise enough to almost make me throw up. "Chôzen Gekido…", hollered a distorted voice not two seconds later, causing me to flinch.
The voice seemed to be female, but then again it was hard to say since it was so distorted. It sounded a lot deeper than a normal voice should. "Yeah?", I called out, looking around the room, "Where the hell are you?" "You have guts to come here. Definitely.", I heard the voice call out anew, coming from everywhere at once.
"I'm not here to argue with you, nor am I here to talk with thin air. Show yourself, coward. I'm not interested in your damn speeches. Bet you pulled that on everyone who came here.", I called anew, still on guard in case it would appear from somewhere.
The short but simple answer surprised me. But before I had much time to think about it, the impersonificaton that the demon sisters had talked of did appear.
The hive-like thing above the throne began to move faster, the disgusting noises picking up speed. And then, eventually, the lower side of that 'hive' opened up, something slipping out of it. I couldn't make out what it was until it hit the throne and sled down on it, rolled down the stairs and eventually landed at the feet of the stairs.
I watched in both disgust and horror how the thing rose from the ground, a thin and slimy substance on it's skin and clothes. Even before the impersonification stood upright, I knew who I was seeing before me. I saw who the Unfocused World was impersonificating. And I saw what the demon sisters had meant with 'twisted'.
The girl standing before me wasn't tall, but then again taller than Reimu and Marisa. Standing about 1,70m in height, and thus about 20 centimeter smaller than me, the person the Unfocused World was impersonificating had pale skin and dark blue eyes, seemed fragile and was yet strong. With pink lips, she smiled sinisterly at me.
She had short, black hair, which was one of the few visible differences to the original, as the real one had short, blonde hair. Inside her hair was a red band, however, that was just like the one the original had. She wore a black dress with long, red sleeves and a long pink ribbon around her neck and another one round her waist. While wearing the same boots as the original, she wore no socks.
Without a doubt: The person that the Unfocused World was impersonificating was none other than Alice Margatroid. The only difference between the Alice before me and the real one were the black hair and the clothes.
But aside that, they looked exactly alike. The same face, the same expression, the same height and figure. But the feeling I had around this Alice wasn't the same. No hatred for her, no twisted love. The Alice before me was merely a bad copy.
Just a bad copy. She wasn't Alice, looked nothing like her, and yet almost the same. She looked like she was Alice's shadow, a black replica of the puppeter I hated with all my heart. But what really enraged me was the one thought that echoed through my head: There was someone who dared to copy my hated rival Alice.
And that thought drove me insane.
"You don't seem to like what you see. Or is it just that I am not appealing to you? The original Alice sure seems to be…" "Shut up.", I snarled, taking a step forwards, clenching my fists. "Ha. Don't think I didn't notice that sick lust you two have for one another. Your lusty gazes, soft touches. I bet you would have enjoyed the thought of her pinned to the bed, you atop her… Or the other way around."
"I said shut up! I'm not here to talk with you about Alice. What's going on with me and her is entirely our business.", repeated through clenched teeth. Who did that damn impersonification think it was?! "Fine. But don't think I don't know about that as well. I am well aware you are here to cut our bond, Chôzen. And all just because Mima, who I am also bonded to, manipulated you by using me."
I narrowed my eyes, and even though I was more than ready to just jump at that damn copy of my Alice, I held myself back. Myself, and Insanity. "You know… It makes me feel sad. We had something special, Chôzen. Our bond was special, was it not?" "It was not. Now stop pretending to be Alice and just surrender. Otherwise, I have to defeat you."
I cringed as a cruel, dead voice began to laugh. It sounded just wrong, especially considering that the voice came from the dark Alice's mouth. "You? Defeat me?", she hollered, before she took a few steps back, ascended the stairs, "Let me tell you something… Don't even try. Not only will you fail, but I can give you something better."
"Which would be?", I asked, raising an eyebrow at her, skeptical of what she could be possibly offering to me. I had everything I wanted, was not interested in Alice (at least not enough to have my way with a copy) and like hell was I interested in staying part of that messed up world!
"Control. Revenge. I could give you the chance to do the same to Mima that she did to you. I can allow you to control her through me, can let you enjoy as she experiences fear.", replied the dark Alice, still stepping backwards.
I waited until she had reached the throne, sat down on it. My anger increased as I saw how her smirk became even wider, and I watched as she summoned a glass full of what seemed to be wine out of nowhere. She turned on her throne, let her legs dangle over the armrest of the throne, then took a sip from the wine in her glass.
"Now then… What do you say? Can you possibly resist that what you are made of? That was makes you similar to Mima?" "Well, I say… Fuck you.", I replied with a loud snarl. The Unfocused Alice (which I decided to refer this impersonification to as) rose an eyebrow, but continued to smirk. "I'm doing this by my rules, and not yours."
"Hm. Hm. Very amusing. But I think we started off the wrong way. Let's try again, what do you say?", chuckled the Unfocused Alice, tauntingly waving the glass into my direction before she took a long sip from it. She then lowered the glass, licked the red liquid from her lips, revealing sharp canines as she grinned at me.
~ Music cue: American McGee's Alice – Main Theme ~
"I am the Unfocused World, the very being you have been in several times. I can hear everything you say inside me, know everything you do and think, but I cannot respond or communicate to you in any way, as I have no control of what happens inside me.", began the Unfocused Alice in an amused tone.
"As I have no shape on my own, I take the shape of something that the one that approaches me associates me with. In your case, this would be Alice Margatroid, the girl which is responsible for the connection between you and me being active. We had it before, but I could not reach you, and you didn't call out to me.", she continued, taking a sip from the glass in her hands anew.
"I know who you are and how it can be that you look like Alice. A bad copy of her, at least.", I snarled, seeing this as my chance to say something as well. "Oh goody. But please don't insult me like that... Nobody is perfect. I always give a little touch on my own to the shape I take.", chuckled the Unfocused Alice, her blue eyes now focused on me.
"Stop babbling now and finally let me go. You are nothing but a problem to me now as long as Mima is this much of a trouble.", I growled, merely one step away from calling onto Alastor. "How amusing. You think you can tell me what I should do and what not?", laughed the Unfocused Alice, waving with her free hand, "Well, please go on. Amuse me. You're doing a good job at it."
"Listen, this is not a joke. Let me go at this instant and I won't hurt you. We can solve this without violence. Try being a little more like the person you impersonate.", I snarled. "No, this wouldn't be any fun. Besides, my offer is still open: Stay part of me and I can allow you to take revenge on Mima. I can't manipulate my insides or anyone inside me, but I could tell you where Mima's part of me is. Enter it, and you can manipulate her to your hearts content."
"I have a better idea. Let me go at this instant and tell me where Mima's part in the Unfocused World is. In return, I allow you to restore the bond after I defeated Mima.", I offered. The Unfocused Alice rose an eyebrow at my offer, but then huffed. Any signs of the smile she had before was gone.
"I'm not wasting my time with negotiating with you. You are of too much worth to me. Your mind may be twisted and weak, but it radiates some power I've never felt before. Your mind is weak and twisted, but the power hidden within is too great. I can't allow it to go for even one second. Especially if you want to negate Mima... Her mind is just as twisted. It may not be incredibly powerful like yours, but it is more powerful than many other minds I'm made of."
Seeing how unamused she was didn't exactly make me happy. It meant that a fight was about to begin. On the other hand, it was the thing the two demon sisters had adviced me to do, as it made sure that the Unfocused World would repel me for a while. A time I would need to defeat Mima without her being able to manipulate me through it.
However, the worst case did happen: My mind was of worth to the Unfocused World, something all of us had hoped would not be the case. I had even denied it to myself, thought that, since I was so much of a wimp, my mind would not be strong and thus, of no worth to the Unfocused World. But apparently, there was some great power in it.
"In case you're thinking about that insane personality being the strong power in your mind... You're wrong. In fact, I am very sure he is a lot weaker than you. He can only be as strong as you are, but seeing as you've been the personality in charge since centuries, he cannot be stronger than you are, let alone be on par with you. You are the strongest part remaining of the original Chôzen Gekido. There is no doubt."
I froze, which brought an amused smirk onto the lips of the Unfocused Alice again. "I see... So I was right. You were thinking about him probably being the strong power I'm feeling." I immediately caught myself, narrowed my eyes and glared at the blackhaired Alice sitting upon the throne. "You're real business, hm?", I growled. "You could say that, Chôzen Gekido. Stop underestimating me."
The Unfocused Alice laughed a bit, moved her legs and crossed them, however, still let them dangle over the throne's armrest. "You shouldn't understimate me, honestly. I am just as strong as the minds I am made of. And at this moment, I have minds being part of me that should make even you tremble in fear. Mima Kazami, Yuuka Kazami, Kanako Yasaka, Utsuho Reiuji and the Yatagarasu she ate, Suwako Moriya... And even Yukari Yakumo, your very opposite."
I cringed, well knowing what the Unfocused World was playing at. There was only one way to know that Yukari and I were the exact opposites of each other, and it was if you were aware about her being the one to create and me being the one to destroy. The Unfocused World knew about me being the so-called 'Destroyer'.
"Is that enough for you to stop being stupid? Or do you still wish to oppose me? I remind you one last time: The only advantage you can get from this conversation is that you agree with me. The best way out of this is just to agree with me, to which I would allow you to manipulate Mima. Think about it." I snarled, bared my teeth, grinded them on another.
"I already did. And it's getting me nowhere. If I'd manipulate Mima, she'd send Yuuka after me. And that would mean my end.", I bellowed, baring my teeth as I increased my snarling. At this, the Unfocused Alice cocked an eyebrow.
"Hm... Perhaps I should show you once more how well informed I am about everything going on...", she muttered, a sick smile passing her lips. "What do you mean?", I grinded out, anger getting the better of me. "Have you not noticed? Lately, you've had unexplainable anger, anger that always got the better of you. Shall I tell you why?"
This caught me of guard, made me take a step back. The Unfocused World knew of that, too?! "That was because of Mima, I know that already! Mima has been messing with my mind, and thus I...!" "Wrong." I cringed at the sharp hiss, took another step back, however, did not stop being in a battle stance. But now, I eyed my enemy carefully. She knew more than she let me believe at first.
"In fact, Mima does have nothing to do with this. And neither does your insane side. If Mima would've really triggered what is happening to you, she would've given you that which would lead to her downfall. So no, the anger you are constantly feeling has not been triggered by Mima, your insane side or anyone else. In fact, the only one responsible for it is you alone." "WHAT DO YOU MEAN?!", I roared, taking a step forwards again.
"Oh my. Nice canines you got there." I cringed, immediately moved my left, healthy hand to my mouth and put it against my right upper canine. Only to hiss in pain as I cut myself on something sharp. I pulled my left hand back, glared down at it in shock. Blood was flowing from a clean cut on my thumb. A deep cut.
Impossible. I had a human set of teeth, meaning no extreme sharp canines. People like Momiji, who were more of an animal, had, but I was a humanoid Youkai, so I never had those.
A low chuckle pulled me out of my thoughts and let me stare up in shock at the Unfocused Alice sitting upon her throne, laughing to herself. She swung the glass with wine a little, watched it's contents swirl around during her laughter, before she eventually turned back to me.
"Surprised? Don't tell me you didn't notice your changes?" "What are you talking about? What is happening to me?", I hissed, taking yet another step towards her again. "It's actually quite simple. You're turning back." "Back into what?!" "The Insei no Youkai."
I frowned. "What do you mean? Stop talking in riddles! I am the Insei no Youkai, the Youkai of negativity, Chôzen Gekido!", I roared, one step away from running up the stairs and beating the shit out of that copycat. "I don't deny that. You are Chôzen Gekido, the Insei no Youkai. However, you are merely a weaker version of him. You are like a shard of a window, a piece of the puzzle. You are not the complete one, but you are returning to be him."
My eyes widened, and even though my body felt numb for a moment, I quickly tightened my fists again and grinded my teeth again. "What is that supposed to mean?!", I growled, though I felt unsure now. I was returning to be Chôzen? How? How was I supposed to become one who was not only broken, but long dead? Being a shard of the original Chôzen, he was no more. Instead, I, Insanity and my Flame-Soul were. And since we weren't becoming one again, how could I of us three become the original one again?
"You won't become the original again. That's impossible. However, due to being the biggest shard of him, you are slowly turning more and more into what he has once been. Or rather, you become more like him." "There is something I want to know, and I think you are the one most likely to tell me. Shikieiki and Yukari wouldn't but you...", I began, only to be interrupted as the Unfocused Alice chuckled.
"You want to know what everyone of us 'higher beings' like Yakumo, the Yama and I are talking about, right? You remember your time before the path of nihilism now up to when you first started to remember things, but you remember to be never someone else like you are now, right?", asked the Unfocused Alice, amused. She then took a long sip from her wine, enjoyed the pregnant pause she was creating.
"Hm... I am in a good mood. I tell you.", she replied eventually, turning to me. "The original Chôzen was a higher being. Someone as powerful as the Yama, if not even more powerful. He was on par with Yukari Yakumo in her original state, being born as part of the same matter that would later on become Yukari Yakumo. In fact, the original Chôzen Gekido was something almighty enough to be considered a Youkai of the species god... Just like Yasaka, Moriya, Hakurei."
I watched the Unfocused Alice as she chuckled anew, her grin becoming wider. "You are wondering what a higher being is, right? Well, I am, for my part, a higher being. I get power by making others a part of me. Yukari Yakumo is a higher being, but chose a more mortal existence than others. But the probably best known higher beings are... Yama."
"Y-yama...?", I repeated. "Yep. Higher beings are a group of beings with incredible powers. Beings like you, Yukari Yakumo and I... We are exceptions of that group. We are higher beings just because we are exceptions. You and Yukari are both exceptions of Youkai, born with powers strong enough to change everything as it is. You cannot die, Chôzen, because that is part of your existence.", explained the Unfocused Alice with a smug grin.
"I was born as a part of a ritual. I was never intended to be created, but just started to exist when too many minds started to create a bigger one. With that, I am an exception as well.", she continued. She was talkative. But what she was telling me was important, so I saw no reason to stop her from talking.
"Well... to get back to the topic... You are starting to turn into back into the Insei no Youkai, the higher being. However, you can not become that again, as you are merely a shard, and the other shards are not there to complete what you have been once. Because it is not time.", she started anew, turning back to her wine glass.
"As I said before, the original Chôzen had been a higher being. However, you cannot remember that, because you were born with his death. He died to become a 'mortal' being, and that is you. And that is where your memory starts. Well, a while after that." She shared a glance with me, madness spreading over her face, amusement. And I merely narrowed my eyes.
"And I am turning more and more into a weaker copy of him? Into him, just without being a higher being?", I asked. "Yeah. And it just happened that he was a little more Youkai than you. So expect some small changes to yourself in the next time. Those sharp canines you've got now are one of the changes you are about to experience."
"You knew me back when I was a higher being. What do I have to expect?", I asked. "Nothing much, like I said. You'll see. Your appearance won't change much, though.", spoke the Unfocused Alice, shrugging. "So that's why I'm changing? But why now?", I inquired.
"Why now? Well, the reason for that is actually a combination of several smaller reasons. You've regained your memories, which awoke the mind of the higher being left inside you, even though you won't notice, as it isn't an own personality. Also, you've become an active part of me, which gave you the connection to another higher being, which strengthened the mind of the higher being left inside of you. And lastly, you've connected your soul to that of Rumia Shisô, an angel of death that is, despite being a humanoid Youkai, a Youkai inside."
I swallowed the knot inisde my throat. Shit, that was a lot to take.
"You don't look so well. A lot to swallow, hm? But let me reassure you: It's good that this happens. At least if you're going to face Mima. It will make you stronger.", chuckled the Unfocused Alice, raising her glass to her lips once more.
This time, however, she let out a scream as a green flame knocked the glass out of her hand, sent it flying through the air. And eventually, the glass shattered on the ground before the throne, the wine inside spilling all across the red carpet.
"Good. Now that was all I needed to know. It's quite a shock, yes... But it won't stop me from challenging you over my freedom. I tried to reason with you. I tried to offer you something that would've been good for both of us, but you denied. Sorry, but I think there is no other way than to fight about my freedom.", I chuckled, grinning myself. Now this was satisfying, seeing the stupid look on the Unfocused Alice's face.
Her lips curled up in a snarl, displeasure clearly written onto her features. "And here I thought we were getting friendly with each other. I even gave you informations others refused to give to you." "Sorry, my friends are back in Gensokyo, waiting for me to return with no connection to you anymore so that I can save Gensokyo from Mima's wrath."
"So we are not friends, hm? Then this makes us enemies, you know? Do you still wish to fight me, a higher being?" "Now more than ever. I don't fear you, not anymore. Knowing that I have once been a higher being myself just opened my eyes: You're not as great as you pretend to be. If I could be part of your group, I'm seriously worried about just how exactly you are 'higher' than others.", I snickered, taunting the bad copy of Alice.
I watched how she rose from her throne, enraged. "You talk too much, you know? But thanks for opening my eyes. I'm more sure than ever that I can not only defeat you and gain freedom, but also can kick Mima's sorry ass around. She chose the wrong walking enigma to pick on.", I shouted, watching as her anger rose. I was making progress.
"Fine! Fine, you just want to be kicked around, don't you? Well then, let me fulfill your desire!", roared the Unfocused Alice as she jumped off the ground and hovered before the throne. "Please do that. I'll show you the opposite.", I chuckled, going back into the battle stance.
Yukari, Shikieiki... Somehow, I didn't feel angry at them for holding this kind of information back. They should've known, though, that I was about to find out eventually, especially now that I was changing back into a 'mortal', weaker copy of the original Chôzen they had talked about to much. His death had been my birth. Not exactly what I'd call the birth of something greater, but oh well.
"KYAAARGH!", roared the Unfocused Alice, throwing her hands into the air.
Before my eyes, she changed a little. The red band in her hair had black hearts on it after her shout, her clothes, which had been a black version of Alice's before, becoming longer. Her dress now reached beyond her ankles, turned into what appeared to be a black and red version of the dress Yukari usually wore, hearts of the other color scattered across it.
Two black silk gloves that reached up to her ellbows had appeared on her, she had black gems as earrings, and held a staff with a red gem at it's top, it's shape that of a heart. "And just like that, Alice became the new queen of hearts." "Sick thought, but that's a new version of the ending for that fairytale. I kinda like it, but fear what's to come."
I almost cringed when I heard my two other personalities speak after so long, but found myself agreeing with them. Especially with Insanity's last thought. I too, feared what was to come. I had foreseen the Unfocused Alice using the original Alice's attacks (which I still didn't know if it would or not), but I hadn't foreseen her becoming the queen of hearts.
"Prepare to be beaten into a pulp. I offered you to solve this in a way that would've helped both of us, but you refused.", called out the Unfocused Alice alias queen of hearts. "That's my line, copycat!", I retorted, taking a few steps back. Which turned out to be my best decision up to that point when the Unfocused Alice used her first attack.
I jumped out of the way of the three thick, red lasers and dove behind the pillar to my right, which shielded me from the lasers. "You brought that upon yourself!" "I can't disagree. I won't be able to help you with this, so don't expect me to do so. Good luck." "Thanks.", I thought with a chuckle. Well, as bad as the situation was, it was also kind of exciting. And what had Insanity said not too long ago?
...What's the point of life if you can't get excited?
~ Chôzen against Alice, the queen of hearts! This just calls for: Alice Madness Returns - Combat theme ~
16 hours, 33 minutes and 20 seconds left...
As soon as the lasers died down, I jumped out of my hiding place, made a somersault, and stopped in between the two big pillars on the red carpet, my gaze immediately focused on the Unfocused Alice. She dropped to the ground and rushed towards me, darkred energy flowing through her right arm.
She pushed the first forwards, which I blocked with my own right arm, covered in green energy. The different kind of energies created a small explosion, which threw both of us backwards. However, while the Unfocused Alice managed to land in front of the throne, I hit the large wooden doors behind me with a loud noise, pain shooting through me.
I fell to the ground and onto my knees, growled, but then stumbled to my feet again, ignoring the small moment when I lost my balance again. The Unfocused Alice stormed towards me with incredible speed, but a few coordinated movements were enough to avoid the punches she threw at me.
I grabbed her wrist during her last movement, pulled her towards me and made sure to hit my ellbow especially deep into her stomach, even lowering myself a bit to do so. During the moment of nausea she had after that, I smashed my fist into her chest with enough power to throw her through the room into the stairs in front of the throne.
She remained for a few seconds inside the crater, growling in pain. That was my chance to land another hit, but I had underestimated her regeneration and merely punched the ground when she rolled aside. A foot hit my ankles and knocked me over, causing me to fall forwards, my forehead hitting the edge of a stair.
I screamed out in pain as my head bounced off the stone stair, a deep imprint on it, which didn't get any better when the Unfocused Alice grabbed the hair on the back of my head and slammed it back into the stairs, this time with enough force for the stairs to crumble and blood to gash out of my forehead. And, if I hadn't known it better, I heard my skull crack a little.
Her fault with that move, however, was to let go of my head after she slammed it into the stairs. Because that allowed me to move, despite my sudden disorientation and nausea. I kicked, despite not seeing anything, and interestingly my foot did hit something: Her lower stomach.
When she doubled over, I swung my legs as hig as possible, hoping to hit her despite my disorientation. My left foot missed, but my right one did connect with her face, throwing her backwards and onto her back. I rose until I was on all fours, crawled over her and sat down on her stomach.
My sight had returned, but I still felt weird due to my head breaking into those stairs. In that moment, I could only hope that I wouldn't have any permanent damages from that attack, or the several ones I had been through over the last four years.
With her below me, pinned down, I was free to hit her as I wanted. Swinging my left fist first, I hit the left side of her head and knocked it sidewards. She glared back at me, which turned out to be another fault of hers, because she allowed me to hit the other side of her head with my right fist. My bony fist.
Even though there was a cracking sound, I knew that it was not from her head but from my fist. Not really exciting, but whatever. She glared back, allowed me to hit the left side of her head again, digging my fist into her cheek. And then, as my right fist hit her again, even she screamed out. Maybe more in shock than in pain, I couldn't say for sure, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Both her scream and how her head snapped sidewards as my fist, charged with negative energy, hit her.
This shock had been enough for her to act again, though, as she threw me off her with surprising strength. My back impacted with the ground first, but I luckily managed to avoid hitting my head again. When I looked up, I found the Unfocused Alice above me, glaring down at me.
She didn't seem to be hurt, which didn't surprise me: Gengetsu and Mugetsu had mentioned that the Unfocused World was an invincible being, which could only tire out rather than being hurt or being killed. But she didn't exactly show signs of exhaustion yet... It was a powerful being, yes, but if she didn't get exhausted soon, I would be the first one to get knocked out...
"You think that is enough? Pitiful!", growled my enemy, glaring down at me. And then, she surprised me by pulling out a knife from her dress. It was a simple butcher knife with a beautiful engravement... But definitely way more dangerous and sharp than a normal one!
"Off with your head..."
I gasped when she presented the knife to me, experimentally swinging it a few times. And when a murderous, mad grin spread across her lips, I snarled and only wanted to get the hell away from where I was on the ground. Unfortunately, she was faster.
By moving my head a little, I managed to avoid the knife she swung with incredible grace and skill by merely an inch, which caused it to embed itself in the stone next to me. And that assured me of the danger that this knife was: Strong and sharp enough to cut through stone.
With her being right above me, raising my right leg allowed me to burrow my knee deep into her stomach, and then, by moving my leg sidewards, I pushed her off me. I rolled aside and stumbled to my knees, my mind only set on getting away from her and the knife.
Now, of course, using Alastor would have made this fight 'fair' again... If Alastor was only a little faster and mobile. But as Alastor was a larger blade, larger than a simple knife, the Unfocused Alice could move faster and could avoid my sword easier than I would be able to avoid her knife. Of course, with Alastor being longer than the knife, I had a far greater reach... Not that this was exactly an advantage with her speed.
So no Alastor. In a fight against another sword, a sword like it's brother Tyrfing, Alastor was a great weapon and made a lot of things easier... And the fact that the chains were pretty long and flexible made it a great weapon to trap the enemy. That would make it a great weapon against that knife, on the other hand... But the fact that Alastor had a disadvantage against this knife was enough for me to decide against using it.
Then again, if the blade with speed or the blade with reach had the advantage depended on the wielders of both.
I brought some distance between me and the impersonification of Alice, not eager to get into the knife's path, watched as she rose and smirked at me, swinging her knife a little bit as if to scare me. And I was scared, scared to get cut with a knife sharp enough to cut stone.
When she rushed at me, holding the knife backhanded (which assured me that she knew how to handle that thing) I jumped backwards, avoiding the first horizontal slice of that thing, then the vertical one as she swung the knife upwards, missing my nose by a few inches.
I threw my entire weight backwards, backflipping out of the way of that knife. Sadly, not like I wanted to. My try to kick her during it, a move I had seen Rumia do a few times, ended with me missing the Unfocused Alice's face. And instead, her knife hit my left leg, slashed through it's skin, a burning pain shooting through my body. Enough pain for my left hand, the one I had shifted my entire weight onto during my backflip, to give in.
I snarled as I hit the ground and rolled on it, still focused on getting out of the knife's reach. Especially because I now had the disadvantage. "Pitiful, like I said.", sneered the Unfocused Alice, dashing towards me again, a trail of darkness following her as she moved.
I rolled out of the way as she swung the knife down, pushed myself off the ground with enough power to throw me into the air. I twirled, moved until I was in a position paralell to the ground, and rested my feet against the pillar I had hid behind before.
Pushing myself off it, I charged towards the annoying copycat, twirled again... And my right foot connected with her chest, forcing all air out of her. I pushed myself off, threw my weight back and backflipped in midair, making sure to pull my left foot up. It hit her wrist, send the knife flying... And before I landed on my feet, I heard how the knife embedded itself into the ceiling above us.
"Damn you...", cursed the black Alice, glaring shortly up to her knife. I grinned, relaxed after realising that the knife was no problem anymore. "Sorry, but I am just an insensitive asshole.", I commented, unable to hold the grin back as I charged at her.
She blocked my fist with her forearm, grabbed my collar and pulled me up into the air, before she threw me over her shoulder into the throne, which collapsed as I impacted with it. Dust was whirled up in the same moment that pain shot through me, but nothing compared to having your head slammed through stairs.
As I rose from the ground, I finally became aware of the red liquid that ran down my forehead, which I quickly wipped away before it found it's way into my eyes. But all the while, I had my eyes focused on the Unfocused Alice, not wanting to let my guard down unnecessarily.
She threw herself at me, just like I had predicted, but a quick movement was enough for her to fly past me. Getting away from the collapsed throne, I glared over my shoulder at her as she rose from the ground and focused back on me.
Suddenly, she spun around and pushed her right arm forwards, sending a laser after me that grazed my shoulder and threw me off balance. I stumbled and fell, rolled over the ground, but eventually landed on my feet again in a crouched position.
"You won't get away with this, Chôzen Gekido!"
She spat my name with incredible anger, but I knew it still wasn't enough for her to be mad enough at me to just leave me be after I defeated her. If I managed to, that was...
She pushed her other fist forwards, send a new laser at me, which I avoided by diving behind the pillars again. In her anger, she summoned a few more, which was of course pointless due to me hidden, but their purpose seemed to be to blow off anger rather than to hurt me.
I waited until all of the lasers had stopped, then peeked around the pillar I was behind. Only to come face to face with her. The headbutt threw me off balance yet another time, and due to the open wound on my forehead, it wasn't really making anything better, the disorientation returning.
A neat little side effect was that her face was now stained with my blood, which didn't make it anymore appealing. Perhaps if it had been the real Alice, MY Alice, then the thought of her being drenched in my blood would've been more exciting...
...I know that this was a sick thought, but still...
"You can run, but you can't hide!", called out the Unfocused Alice as she threw herself at me again, pinning me to the ground as she landed atop me and pulled me down with her. Much like I had done before, she proceeded to hit my face... Or rather, pulled both of her hands back. And I could only watch in shock as they turned into icky red claws that looked like intestines.
"Go to sleep, Chôzen! I will await you there...!", she screamed in a high, distorted voice, right before she slammed her claws down... Missing my head on both sides. At first, I had thought that she had missed me... But then, it turned out that she had done that on purpose.
Her head hovered above mine, her face nearing it. And then, she opened her mouth. Wide. Wider. Several rows of sharp teeth became visible as her mouth opened wider than I had ever thought to be possible. And then, an oozing red liquid flew from her throat. Blood.
Not wanting to feel that blood on my body (since it also made a suspicious sizzling sound) I trashed around, tried to get her off me. And then, someone saved me that I had not thought of.
The blade of guilt appeared in my hand all of sudden, the heavy chains placing themselves around my arm. Heavy chains that would come to my advantage just a second later.
I swung my left arm upwards and closed my eyes, knowing what was to come. The heavy chain hit my face, landed right on my nose, but fulfilled it's purpose: It had been thrown over the Unfocused Alice's head.
Swinging my wrist, I let go of the blade and grabbed the chain, pulled on it. And as the chain was pulled backwards, it laid around the Unfocused Alice's throat and pulled her backwards, off me. And just as enough space was there, I moved my leg up and kicked her off me.
She hit the ground a good distance away from me, but didn't stay there. Instead, she rose in an eerie way, not using her hands to rise to her feet. And as she stood, her mouth closed again, she narrowed her eyes at me. And then, in a scary manner, opened her mouth, allowing the blood finally to flow free in a thick, disgusting stream.
"Ew...!", I heard my Flame-Soul comment, but didn't say anything about that myself. Over the past four years, and especially the last days, I had seen way more disgusting and scary things. Including the horrible illusions of Mima and Yuuka, and the horrible transformations of both Elly and Kurumi.
Eventually, as the red stream ended, she closed her mouth again, a thick pool of blood to her feet. Her hands still looked like claws as she took a few steps back, moved backwards to the broken throne, stood before it...
And then extended her arms to the sides, the mad grin returning to her lips.
I watched in utter horror and disgust how a long arm extended from the hive-like thing she had come out of, watched as it laid around her lower body and attached to it, enveloped her up to the hip in that disgusting matter it was made of. And then, pulled her up into the air, began to swing around with her at it's end.
She had attached to that thing. Why, I didn't know then, but I knew already that things would change from that moment on. I couldn't know if it was just to recover, to increase her strength or to do other horrible things...
...but I would never find out.
All of sudden, something fast and blue appeared in my vision, dropped through the ceiling above the hive-like thing and landed right atop her, slamming her into the ground. The blue thing moved again, pushed itself off the queen of hearts she stood on and dashed towards me.
I rose my arms to cover myself, but found myself surprised when the thing landed on my shoulders... And I found myself staring at white panties for a second, right before they vanished again. The blue thing backflipped after pushing off my shoulders, a pale and slender hand grabbing the knife embedded into the ceiling as it passed it.
And then, the queen of hearts, the Unfocused Alice, screamed in terror and pain.
Her own knife was stabbed through her head, stabbed into the back of her head with enough strength for it to appear at it's front, right in between her eyes.
Immediately, she trashed aroud, threw the blue thing off her as the arm she had attached to began to swing left and right, hit her into the walls left and right to the throne, then pulled her through the ground, leaving back a large gap in between the throne room and the throne itself, before it slammed her into the ground with her back first... And with that, slammed the entire knife through her head, blood splattering everywhere.
It was a sick sight, especially as she finally came to an end right in the middle of the pool of blood she had vomitted before, the knife now lying aside her in it... Right in front of the broken throne, beneath the hive-like thing she was attached to.
...but it was over. The Unfocused World was not dead, that was impossible, as it was an invincible being... but I had won this fight. No matter what, that must have been enough pain to make her suffer endlessly. And Mugetsu and Gengetsu had mentioned that she would give up then... It, I mean.
~ Music fades out ~
Meanwhile, I had caught the blue thing that had killed her after it had been thrown into my direction.
"...Sick.", I commented eventually, right before I placed the girl in the blue dress on the ground softly. "Maybe, but I did save you. You owe me now, Gekilldo.", huffed Alice, a grin upon her lips. She was now stained in blood, blood of the queen of hearts that had looked exactly like her...
"Now that is the ending I saw coming! A new Alice kills the Alice that has become the queen of hearts... It's an endless cycle, every Alice will become the queen of hearts, only to be killed by the next Alice, which then takes her place..." "I disagree... I don't think it works that way. It's cruel... Maybe that is how it would work, but we cannot say for sure... This part of the fairytale has been, after all, never confirmed..."
"What are you doing here, Alice? And how did you get here?", I asked the girl before me, unsure about her sudden appearance. Upon hearing my question, an unsure smile spread across her face, followed by a light blush.
"I don't know for sure...", she admitted, crossing her arms behind her back as her blush increased, "...I suddenly had this feeling that you needed my help. I immediately entered the Unfocused World, ignoring Marisa and... Found myself near here. And when I saw you fighting... this replica of me... I knew you need my help..."
I watched her for a few seconds after that, couldn't hold back the smile that suddenly spread over my lips. And then, I embraced her, ignoring that she was stained in blood. "Thanks. I guess I would've really lost without you... And you just did Gensokyo a great favor. Thanks to you, Alice, my bond with the Unfocused World is now cut... I can now hunt down Mima...", I whispered, unable to hold back my glee.
"No problem... After all, I hate you, Gekilldo...", replied Alice, surprisingly hugging me back. And that made the moment even better.
But as with every great moment in my life, it lasted only temporarily, made place for something worse than before. This time, in shape and voice of a dead Alice. "You think it's over, do you…?"
Both Alice and I flinched, let go of one another and turned towards the Unfocused Alice. But she still remained dead on the ground, not moving a little bit, the knife still aside her. "Be careful…", I muttered and pushed Alice behind me, wanting to protect her from anything that was to come.
Just as I was about to make a step towards the dead queen of hearts, the hive-like thing fell off the ceiling, impacted on the throne and crushed it finally, right before the wall behind the throne broken open, the hive-like thing rolling into the darkness of a giant hole.
Only seconds after that, the arm the Unfocused Alice had attached to moved again, rose and twitched, but the Unfocused Alice herself remained dead, even as the arm she was attached to slowly began to follow the hive-like thing it belonged to.
It was gross to see how it vanished inside the large hole, pulled the Unfocused Alice, still dead, down with it. And in just a few seconds, they were gone. "I don't like this…", I muttered, thinking of her last words. She had said it wasn't over yet…
"That thing is still alive…?", asked Alice, unsure about what she had just witnessed. "That thing, Alice, was the Unfocused World in your shape, a test for me. If I surpassed it, it would leave me alone for a while, would cut my connection to it. Which then would allow me to hunt down Mima without her manipulating me…", I explained, my eyes still on that hole the Unfocused Alice had vanished through.
"It seems it isn't over yet. I have to end this, though…", I grumbled, before I took a step towards the hole. Only for an arm to lay itself around mine. "Then I'll help you! As much as you want to, you can't win this alone!", she scolded me in her usual Margatroid-fashion. Which made me smile. "Fine. But don't die on me.", I chuckled, somewhat amused by Alice's behavior.
I had long given up to reason with women in Gensokyo. I had never won an argument, neither with Nanatsu or Rumia, nor with Reimu or anybody else. The only way to get on their good side was to agree with them… And in most cases, they were right anyways.
With Alice in tow, I dashed towards the large gap in the ground that divided us from the throne and pushed myself off the ground. Alice had jumped onto my back, which I first felt after I landed on the other side of the gap when the weight had increased compared to before. I glanced over my shoulder shortly, nodded, and then, with Alice still on my back, jumped into the hole that the Unfocused World had vanished into.
For a while, I was just falling into darkness, sliding down an endless tunnel, Alice on my back. Her soft breathing kept me calm as the darkness enveloped us, seemed to swallow us and everything around us. It was her soft breathing in my ear that prevented me from going crazy.
In the end, I found myself once more aroused by the thought of Alice being my mate, the only woman I should ever be with. But like with Koakuma, this was wrong. Desire, nothing more, no love behind it. Only sick one.
When the tunnel ended all of sudden, I almost lost my balance, especially due the actually quite little additional weight Alice was. Little, but enough to do so. However, after a front flip, I landed on what I thought to be ground, Alice still safely on my back.
I heard how Alice took a breath, apparently about to say something, but she never did so as I rose from my crouched position and glared around. I was standing on a flying rock in a large black nothingness, several more of those rocks hovering around around this one spot, creating a large circle around it.
"Hey, careful there, Gekilldo!", complained Alice as she glared at me over my shoulder, yet still held onto me tightly. "Quiet… Something about this isn't right…", I whispered, my eyes darting around, trying to spot a sign of the Unfocused Alice or the large hive-like thing she had been attached to.
I didn't know if I even had to look for her anymore, after all, she had appeared to be quite dead. However, as she was a part of the Unfocused World, I knew I couldn't abandon searching for her, as she could still be alive due to her orignal part being still alive.
"I know what you mean, but that is not an excuse for being rude!", huffed Alice, before she leaned past my shoulder and glanced around as well, "…Where is it? It should be somewhere around here…"
I agreed with her in silence. The Unfocused World had vanished through that tunnel, but I knew that it hadn't been fleeing. I knew it was luring us into a trap, or at least into an area where it had new advantages. But why was it nowhere in sight?
"Hold onto me tightly…", I muttered over my shoulder, but gave her no time to increase her grip on me. Instead, I pushed myself off the rock we flew on, jumped through the air onto the next one. Alice gasped slightly, but eventually tightened her hold onto me as I jumped off the next one. As I did, I glared at the lower half of the rocks, almost expecting the Unfocused World to hang from one of them, especially the one we had landed on. But it was still nowhere in sight.
But it's voice soon echoed anew.
"You think that was it, right Gekido? You think just because you and that pitiful woman have defeated my impersonification of her means that I am done with you? WRONG!", echoed the distorted voice, now no longer a hint of Alice's in it.
"Where is it?", whispered Alice into my right ear, her hot breath tickling my earlobe. "Alice is not pitiful!", I shouted back, ignoring the girl on my back. "She is, Gekido, and you know that. All those who are not one of us, not one of us higher beings, are merely pitiful, weak, easy to break…" "You're wrong!", I roared, my eyes still darting around in hope to find a hint of the Unfocused World's new shape.
I was sure it had one, now that the Alice shape was defeated. The changed voice assured me of that. But where it was and how it looked like now, I didn't and couldn't know. "Hey… I think it's… below…", breathed Alice eventually into my ear, pointing over to the edge of the rock.
Following her hint, I stepped up to the edge of the rock and carefully glanced over it, down into the deep abyss below. Darkness greeted me, in connection to a white swirl in the middle of this nothingness. And just as I stared at it, the Unfocused World's new shape emerged from it.
In nothing other than shock, I stared at the weird thing that left the abyss, a giant beast that looked like horrible demons fused together. It was completely black, some white and green stripes on it's body. It was huge, larger than the human village, it's head alone the size of the Hakurei Shrine. Even Youkai Mountain looked tiny compared to it.
It's right arm looked like a giant crab claw, black gears sticking out of it at the shoulder, while it's left arm looked like a giant arm with four fingers at it's hand. The lower body of the beast ended in a large amount of arms with crippled hands, and giant black wings extended from it's back, merely black bones without skin in between them.
It's head as plain gross. Not as gross as Elly's had been, but still pretty gross, since no neck was connecting the body and the head, the head just went over into the body at the chin. A single, black horn stuck in its forehead, sharp and pointy, a single curve inside it at the half. It's red eyes stared into my soul, glowing red lights that moved and acted like flames.
"What… is that thing?", asked Alice after a moment of silence, her mouth wide open. As was mine. "I think… that's the Unfocused World…", I muttered trying to find the upper end of the collosus, as the rock I stood on was flying at the height of the gross things chest.
"This shall be your end, Chôzen Gekido.", echoed voice anew, snapping me out of my shock. "You wish… Just because you became uglier doesn't mean I give up now.", I growled up to the beast, unsure if it could even hear me, considering how small I was compared to it.
"You think so, right? You think of yourself as too high, Chôzen Gekido! Just because you have once been a higher being doesn't mean that you are on one level with me! You'll never be!", shouted the giant thing, right before it rose it's right hand and swung it over all of the rocks to its right.
Just in time, I pushed myself off the ground, Alice still holding onto my back, and landed on the other side of the hand, safe from the swipe. "Hold onto me Alice… I'll fight that thing now, but I can't watch out that you're okay at the same time, so you have to wach out yourself.", I muttered over my shoulder, my glare still on the giant beast hovering before us.
"I won't let you go, Chôzen Gekido. Your mind is too powerful…", echoed the voice of the Unfocused World. I shared another glance with Alice, who nodded, and then, turned back to the Unfocused World in the state that Alice and I later called the "Hybrid shape" or "Wonderland shape", the later one a small hint towards it formerly being the "queen of hearts".
"I may not be able to beat you… Alone, that is! But with Alice, you will succumb to us!", I shouted, going into a battle stance, Alice's grip onto my shoulders becoming stronger. And just like that, my fight against the Unfocused World began anew.
~ Chôzen and Alice against Wonderland! Music: American McGee's Alice - Final Battle With The Red Queen ~
15 hours, 49 minutes and 50 seconds remaining...
The hybrid leaned forwards and a mouth opened right above the place where it's neck should have been, a giant laser errupting from it. Jumping off the rock I stood on, I brought myself and Alice out of the danger that this laser presented. I heard how the rock shattered behind me, debris flying everywhere, only to suddenly stop in their path and gather back into the rock they had fornerly been.
At the same time, Alice and I landed on the rock aside that, ready for another jump. I knew I had to be careful in that fight, more careful than I had been before, because I now had to protect Alice as well, not just myself.
I wouldn't allow Alice to be hurt. Even though she was now technically not "my" Alice anymore, but Marisa's, my feelings of hate towards Alice hadn't changed. She still was the person I hated the most. And as such, I would not allow any harm to befall her that I could prevent.
A second jump propelled me through the air, just in time to avoid a punch from the Unfocused World Hybrid. Alice didn't say a thing, didn't scream, she merely held onto me. At the moment, she couldn't help me, but I was sure that she would ulimately be the key to my victory against the Unfocused World.
As I landed again, I decided to return the favor eventually, and readied myself for an attack. Twirling around myself, I charged negative energy into my right arm, then stopped the movement and pushed my bony fist forwards, a green bullet flying towards the hybrid.
It found it's goal, hit the hybrid into the face, but the damage remained unnoticeable, the thing didn't even flinch. Instead, it reached back and swung it's left fist forwards. And I saw another chance for an attack there.
The moment that the fist hit the side of the rock and broke it apart, I jumped onto the arm and ran up on the giant, only focused on reaching it's head, which I believed to be it's weak spot. Alice had realised that as well, apparently, as she didn't protest and didn't declare me as a maniac for doing such a risky move.
I didn't stop as I reached the ellbow, but came to a sliding stop, a bulge in the way of my further movements. I jumped off the arm, landed on a bulge on it's chest, and jumped back onto the arm from there, landing on top of the bulge that had formerly blocked my way.
The Unfocused World hybrid tried to hit me with it's crab-like claw, but missed when I jumped onto it and used it as a platform to reach the head. And that was when Alice first became useful again. I threw her into the air, landed on top of the giant's head in meantime and punched my charged fist into it, causing the huge beast to growl and shriek.
At the same time, Alice summoned a whole army of lance-carrying dolls, which she then commanded to attack. They followed me, slammed their lances into the head of the hybrid, cheered a little… And then, exploded.
The shockwave of that explosion sent me high into the air again, where I caught Alice and placed her on my back again, only to then land back on a rock hovering around the hybrid. "Nice!", cheered Alice, grinning over her own shoulder at the beast behind me.
I nodded, but knew already that it wasn't over yet. Such a simple attack was nothing for the Unfocused World, it would just shake it off. And it did. Swinging it's arms a little, it waved away the smoke that the explosions of the dolls had left behind, and then swung her monstrous arms down. To my surprise, Alice jumped off my shoulders and into the air above, then landed on my shoulders and presented the knife the Unfocused Alice had formerly used.
She swung the vorpal blade horizontally, slashed into the monstrous arms with it. Blood rained down on us as the creature, the hybrid, pulled it's arms back and shrieked. And just like that, Alice dropped off my shoulders and held onto my back again. "Let's go!", she commanded, pointing to the next rock. I nodded, still surprised at what had just happened, and then jumped onto the rock Alice had pointed at.
"Damn you...!", I heard the Unfocused World scream, just before it bowed down and glared at us. In that moment, several arms broke through it's back, red stream emitted by their palms, and the beast opened it's mouth again. The same red steam left it's throat, a smell of rotten flesh filling my nose. I growled as I smelled the disgusting stench, but then focused more energy into my right arm and changed my course, now running towards it's face.
The hybrid shrieked when my fist impacted with it's face, reeled backwards and held it's face. Alice cheered and pumped a fist into the air, while I wasn't as excited. Just because it was hit once didn't mean it was beaten. And I was right.
As it opened it's eyes again, the Unfocused World let out an inhuman scream. It's body opened up and a thin, red laser burst forth, cutting right through the rock I stood on. Grabbing Alice's legs and putting them aroud my waist, I dashed for the edge of the rock and jumped onto the next one.
"That thing sure can take a lot...", murmured Alice into my ear as I dashed over the next rock and then jumped again. "What did you expect? It's a higher being!", I exclaimed, avoiding another one of those lasers. "Still...", grumbled Alice, before she swung her right arm forwards, summoning more dolls filled with gunpowder.
I waited until they impacted with the Unfocused World and stunned it for a moment, then jumped off the rock and towards the giant beast. "Alice!", I exclaimed, followed by the puppeteer swinging her arms forwards, thin strings flowing out, curling around the beasts arms. Using those strings, Alice pulled us towards the beast, and as we were near it, she let them vanish.
I landed on the beasts head, swung my fist down and discharged another bolt of negative energy into the beast, while Alice jumped off my shoulders and landed before me. She extended her arms to the sides, thin strings of magic appearing once more, which lashed out and cut through the arms that emitted the red steam.
As blood of the Unfocused World splattered everywhere, I grabbed Alice by the waist and placed her on my shoulder, then jumped back onto the rock nearby. As the Unfocused World trashed around, I placed Alice aside me and stared at her with the most serious face I could put on in this moment of glee.
I put my hands onto her shoulders, narrowed my eyes at her. "One final strike, Alice. We just need one strong attack that knocks it out cold.", I growled, glaring over my shoulder at the hybrid, "Do you have an idea...?" Alice shook her head, her right hand playing a little with the thin strings she had used to cut off the arms on the back of the Unfocused World.
And then, I got an idea. "That's it!", I exclaimed, grabbing Alice's right hand and pulling it to the height of my face. "W-what?!", she asked in shock, while I grinned. "You use those strings to control your dolls, right?", I asked, to which Alice only nodded. I let go of her hand and turned to the beast.
Alice gasped behind me, an unsure frown on her face. "What?", she asked, "Why?"
I turned to glance over my shoulder at her. "Do you know why I channel negative energy only through my right arm, rather than both?", I asked, to which she shook her head. "Overcharging my body with negative energy makes it numb and limp. Technically, I could discharge an incredible amount of energy into an enemy if I could control my body during the time I have it overcharged with energy, but I can't move.", I explained.
"I can charge my body to the point where it starts to glow with green light, but anything beyond that makes it numb and limp, no muscle moving anymore. And that's where you come in.", I added, grinning at her.
And her face lit up.
"So you want me to control your limp body like I would control a doll or a puppet?", she asked. And I nodded, the smirk on my lips widening. "Exactly. Think you can do that?", I replied. She nodded, the grin now appearing on her lips as well.
I nodded as well, turning towards the giant that now had turned towards us again. "Only one chance, Alice. Don't mess this up!", I called out, already channeling negative energy through my veins. "As if.", she called back, crossing her arms in front of her body, the magic strings attached to her fingers swinging wildly.
The moment that I jumped off the ground, I felt how the thin strings attached to me gently, totally unlike the brutal way they had cut off the arms of the hybrid before. Five strings attached per hand, one on each of my shoulders, two to my feet, my legs, my forearms and one to my head. Additionally, one attached to my lower lip, and one to each of my eyelids.
But I still had control. But not for long.
I gathered more negative energy from the area around me, growling as all of my muscles tensed, at the same time narrowing my eyes as my skin slowly began to give off green steam. And only seconds later, the steam vanished and was replaced by a bright green glow that blinded even me. I finally closed my eyes, well knowing that I would no longer be able to open them on my own.
And then, when I pumped even more negative energy through my veins, everything became numb and my muscles relaxed. I could still feel, but without seeing and unable to move, I felt pretty helpless. And the helplessness soon changed into another feeling. A feeling that was pretty weird.
~ Music change: Chôzen Gekido's theme song: A2 - Chosen One ~
My eyes opened on their own, my sight returned, and my body began to move on it's own. The green glow had vanished, instead, I was surrounded in a thin layer of darkness... because the light I now emitted was strong enough to negate any light around me. Not that there was much, but if you would've seen me, you would've felt weird, as if you were blind. I wasn't surrounded by black, but instead, I was surrounded by the absence of light.
My body danced left when the Unfocused World swung it's crab claw down, was guided by the strings that had attached to me. I felt like I was during a free fall, my limbs moving on their own as Alice guided them with the grace and skill only a puppeteer like her could move them with.
Even though I could not turn my head, I knew she still stood on the same rock I had jumped off, was focused entirely on moving me, her doll. My limp arms flailed around as Alice moved me, let me rush past the other fist of the giant, before she let me duck below a laser by letting the strings attached to my upper body loose.
A sudden pull made my body upright again, then pulled me up until I was flying high above the Unfocused World. The string attached to my lower lip kept my mouth shout and the ones attached to my eyelids kept my eyes open as every other string suddenly became loose. I was really in free fall that moment, my hands above my head, balled into fists.
The Unfocused World opened it's mouth and it's body, lasers grazing me and flying past me, followed by the right arm of it missing me by mere inches. Despite being in a situation of utter helplessness, unable to move my own body as long as it was overcharged with negative energy, I felt secure, felt calm. Because I trusted Alice. Because I knew that she moved me with ease and skill only she had. Every move she made me do was timed and precise, no centimeter too far.
And as such, the finisher to this fight was powerful and skilled as well.
My fists swung down, hammered into the head of the Unfocused World's wonderland shape as I landed atop it's head. I channeled all of the energy I had stored in my body through them, channeled the energy right into the hybrids head.
Had I been able to move and see it's face, I would've seen how green light shot out of it's eyes and mouth. But merely hearing it's scream of utter suffering satisfied me. Beneath me, I could feel how it trashed around, scratched it's own face as the energy inside it became torment.
And even before the last bit of energy had left my body, I knew that I had won. That Alice and I had made it.
Control returned and I quickly jumped off the hybrids head as it still trashed around. In midair, I felt how the strings tensed up, right before I was pulled backwards. Glancing over my left shoulder, I found Alice pulling me towards her, a satisfied smirk upon her lips.
Turning in midair, just as the strings detached from me, I landed in a crouching position next to Alice, grabbed her and carried her bridal style. And with her in my arms, I pushed off the rock we stood on and back towards the tunnel from which we had come from. Behind me, I could hear explosions, and upon turning my head to look over my shoulder, I found how the bulges on the hybrid's body exploded into a purple mass.
When I landed inside the tunnel, Alice still in my arms, I immediately started running, not liking the way how everything around us shook, nor how the rocks that had been flying around in that nothingness fell down into it. By the time I had reached the upper end, this time not focusing on Alice's breathing or the darkness around us, everything was shaking so intense that I had problems standing.
And just as I left the tunnel, the purple mass that the wonderland shape of the Unfocused World had exploded into errrupted from that tunnel.
I placed Alice on the ground gently, then turned towards the purple mass, which began to gather high above the hole into a giant cloud with a purple skull sticking out of it. "Damn you, Gekido... Margatroid...!", snarled the skull, before it suddenly descended onto the ground, turning back into the shape of the queen of hearts; the black Alice.
"Still not giving up?", I asked, raising an eyebrow at the Unfocused Alice. But she merely snarled at me and took a step back. "Even I know when I had enough...!", she growled, but the disgust was pretty obvious. "Great. I was just about to beat you again.", I chuckled, ignoring the pain and the exhaustion, mainly because I didn't want to show it to her. I wouldn't give her that satisfaction.
In reality, I was not able to beat her once more. I had problems standing upright, to be honest.
"Now, would you please hold your side of the deal?", I commented, even though I knew there was no such thing as a deal. "You're both free to go. In fact, I don't even want to see your disgusting faces inside me anymore! Get the hell out of me...!", growled the Unfocused Alice, raising her lower lip as her snarl increased.
"Just me. Alice has nothing to do with this. Release me, let me defeat Mima, and then you can make me part of you again.", I retorted, taking a step forwards. "Just you then.", was the reply of the Unfocused World's impersonification, "But like hell I will make you part of me again! I don't even want your goddamn power anymore! Get the hell out of my sight, Gekido!"
This actually surprised me. Before, the Unfocused World had sounded like a power-hungry maniac, but at that moment, it was so disgusted by me beating it that it didn't even want my power anymore. That wasn't a bad thing, in a sense, as the worst case scenario had been that the Unfocused World made me part of it again during a fight with Mima. But apparently, disgust was stronger that the hunger for might.
The Unfocused Alice rose her right hand, which by the way was still a pretty malformed claw, and behind me, I heard the large wooden doors of the throne room open. The exit was now open.
"Go. And don't ever come back."
I couldn't help but chuckle at that. But without any other comment, I complied and turned around, ready to pick up Alice and leave with her. "There is a last thing you might want to know, Gekido..." I turned back around, rose an eyebrow at the Unfocused World. "What?", I asked.
"Mima's part is north from yours. It's actually the next area. Leave your world through the only way possible, turn right and follow it's edge until you can see the sun setting right in front of you. You will be on the right path then.", growled the Unfocused Alice as she turned around, walked towards the hole behind the throne.
With a simple wave of her hand, the stone around it became liquid and the hole closed, then became hard again. The same happened with the floor in front of the throne, which rebuilt itself at the same time. I waited until she had sat down on it, her black hair waving gently as she did so.
"Why are you telling me this?", I asked. "I owe you that. It was part of the deal.", she explained simply, leaning her head onto one of her claws. "Thanks, but it won't help me anymore. Remember, the bond is now cut... Or is it not?", I inquired, narrowing my eyes.
"I've already cut it. You are no longer part of me.", she confirmed, followed by the slightest hint of a smirk appearing on her lips, "But your part of me is currently crumbling, breaking apart, only to then rebuilt as an own, seperate thing. But until the last stone of it has fallen, you can still move around inside me."
And that was the most important information I had gotten that day.
"Alice!", I shouted, turning towards the blonde girl sitting on the ground, which flinched ever so slightly as I turned towards her. "Thank you for everything.", I began, "Now, I need you to come with me. We are going back into the Dream World. Mugetsu and Gengetsu will then send you back home... From now on, I am on my own again."
She rose from the ground and nodded slightly, even though I saw the questioning glimmer in her eyes. I had no time to answer questions, though, but I had one more on my own. Turning back to the Unfocused Alice sitting atop the throne, I rose my eyebrow for a last time. "But why?"
The replica tilted her head a little, a sadistic smirk that rivaled Yuuka's suddenly upon her lips. "Because this is amusement for me... Even I want to see how the confrontation between you and Mima ends..."
I nodded slowly, having already guessed something like that, and then grabbed Alice by her shoulder. "We are leaving.", I announced, pushing the blonde girl towards the open doors. She complained a bit, but I knew that there was no time left.
The counter had stopped. I had enough time all along to cut my connection to the Unfocused World. But just as the old counter had stopped, a new one had begun. And this one was only pretty short. It represented the time I had left to move in the Unfocused World before my part of it had crumbled apart. But until then, I still had time to find Mima inside it.
The only problem was that I didn't know how much time I had left.
~ Music fades out ~
The moment that Alice and I had left the throne room through the large doors, they swung close behind us and we were enveloped in darkness. A weird darkness, as I could see Alice clearly, could see myself clearly, but everything around us was just black.
It remained silent for a while as we waited, waited to return to the Dream World. Unlike stepping from the Dream World into the Unfocused World, the way back was actually apparently quite long. And as such, the silence could not remain. Not after what I and Alice had just been through.
"What now?", asked the girl I hated so much eventually, holding her grimoire tightly to her side, Shanghai suddenly appearing behind her. I let out a deep sigh at this question. Because I knew that this was my last moment with Alice inside a world other than Gensokyo or Makai.
This was a goodbye, in a sense. Not a farewell, as we would see each other again. But no longer inside a world only for us. It almost felt like the end to something great, like the end of a relationship that lasted for so long and went so well. And this was the point where it ended.
"As my bond with the Unfocused World is cut, I can no longer enter it. Not unless it wants me back.", I began after another sigh, my eyes closing as I first became aware of the side effects, "And Mima can now no longer manipulate me by using it."
Alice tilted her head a little just as I opened my eyes. "No. I meant now.", she retorted. Because she knew I had been avoiding the question. But it was not my place to do so... So I had to tell her the truth.
"Now, I take Nanatsu and Rumia and enter the Unfocused World for a last time. I can now only walk temporarily in it, and only for a last time. I have to find Mima's part of it. Have to beat some sense into her. And maybe, I can find out something while being there. As soon as my mind has fallen apart, my part of the Unfocused World, I will be thrown out of it. And then, I will hunt Mima down.", I explained.
"But why can you stay only temporarily inside the Unfocused World? As far as I know, Shikieiki Yamaxanadu and her two Shinigami Komachi and Minoue have no own parts of the Unfocused World as well, and they can go through it!", countered Alice. And somehow, I knew the answer. Especially after meeting the being behind the Unfocused World now.
"Because the Unfocused World allows them to. And because they have the allowance of a Yama. I have no such thing. And I think that is good that way.", I sighed, "...Because I would only use it as an excuse to see you, Alice. And we both know that."
For a moment, it became silent again, my answer satisfying her, but also creating something uncomfortable. Recalling something uncomfortable. Like the way the night I had spent with her ended. How we had almost given into that sick love in between us.
"Right...", whispered Alice eventually, extending a hand, onto which Shanghai sat. Something sad lay in Alice's gaze as she stared at her doll, the doll that resembled her so much. And I knew that my gaze wasn't any happier.
Saying goodbye was always hard.
"So... This is it now, right? We will no longer see us other than in Gensokyo? And things will just return to how they were? I mean... with us hating each other? Not like we do now, but... Like... trying to kill each other again?", she murmured, rising her gaze to meet mine. "I don't think that is in our hand, Alice. We will see when the time comes.", I replied honestly, closing my eyes as I stepped closer to her.
Shanghai took into the air once more as I approached, watched as I put my arms around Alice's waist and pulled the woman into a tight embrace. "You know...", I whispered into her golden hair, "...I will miss seeing you whenever I want to." She chuckled slightly against my chest, and muttered almost inaudibly that she felt the same way.
But then, all of sudden, she stopped hugging me back and took a step back, breaking our embrace. She reached up to her right sleeve and pulled it up, revealing a darkgreen stripe just below her shoulder. It was the scar from when she had embraced me at that emergency meeting. Back then, I had accidentally inflicted that scar to her after going nuts on the others...
"Do you know that this thing has carried over into reality? Marisa has already asked me where I got that from, but I lied and said that I don't know...", she chuckled, softly tracing the green stripe with one finger, before she looked up at me.
"To be honest, I don't think that we will go back. This scar is evidence enough for what has been in between us. And I think that, while things in between us will change back to a more distanced way, we will never return to... being like we were. There was just too much in between us to forget it entirely.", she admitted after a few more seconds of silence. "And yet not enough to remain.", I added in a low sigh, before I took another step back.
"Thank you for saving my ass there, Alice. You showed up just in the right moment.", I spoke, taking in a deep breath. The sweet smell of her hair still lingered in the air. "No problem, Gekilldo...", chuckled Alice softly, a slightly dreamy look in her eyes, "...You would've done the same for me." "Without a doubt, Murdertroid."
She giggled softly, nodded slightly... And then, after Shanghai sat down onto her shoulder, slowly began to fade. And as she faded, the soft grin on my lips left. Because I knew that things would not exactly become easier from now on. Because I knew that something great had just ended.
Because I knew that I would see Alice for a last time like that.
But the memory of the time I had with her... It had a special place in my heart. A place not even Nanatsu or Rumia had, or would ever come close to. Alice and I loved each other with the sick love called hatred.
But we were just not fated to be.
Just not fated to be... together...
"There he is! He made it!", I heard someone call out, even before the black around me was gone. But when it was, I found Mugetsu and Gengetsu flying towards me, Rumia and Nanatsu in tow. And even though I was happy to see them, something inside me just couldn't allow a smile to make it's way onto my face.
"Did you make it? Is the bond cut?", Nanatsu demanded to know even before she had reached me. I nodded simply, not feeling like replying at all. "Then you're safe... Damn it, I really feared we wouldn't make it. Yukari and the boss would've kicked your ass around until you're gone for all eternity...", commented Rumia, even though I knew that she also felt relief.
"Probably.", I replied, but the word was lifeless and spoken with great exhaustion. But I knew I could not be exhausted now. We weren't done yet. We were far from it, actually.
I turned to the two demon sisters. Seeing that Kikuri and YuugenMagan were nowhere in sight, I guessed that they were back in Makai for the big reunion. And I hoped that Alice was there, too. As if she had read my thoughts, Gengetsu nodded. "They're back. We sent them through the dream of a demon called Louise. Nearly scared her to death, but everything went well.", she confirmed.
"Shinki is informed and has immediately called and informed Yukari. They are preparing everything for your return now.", added Nanatsu. "That will have to wait. We've got somewhere else to go first.", I interrupted her, but without an explanation, turned to Mugetsu.
"I need a gateway into the Unfocused World now.", I demanded. "But you just cut your bond with it! You can't enter anymore...!", countered Rumia, which I ignored. "He still can. It takes a while for the mind to become a world on it's own again. During this part, in which the mind crumbles inside the Unfocused World and rebuilts in an own layer of existence, he is still part of it.", explained the older sister.
"No time for explanations. I need a gateway into my area now. It's time for us to take this game to Mima's home. Let's see how she likes that.", I sneered, unable to hold the sadistic grin back. "Wait, are you telling me...?!", gasped Nanatsu, but never finished the sentence. I did for her, though.
"...Yes. This is the first strike. The revenge.", I confirmed, watching as Mugetsu moved her arms a bit, drawing a door in midair, which then turned into a real one. "Nanatsu and Rumia will be able to enter temporarily. I have the feeling that the Unfocused World agrees with that.", I muttered as I stepped up to the door, remembering the words of the Unfocused World.
"Then we wish you good luck. As soon as your part of the Unfocused World has completely fallen apart, you will be thrown back into Gensokyo... All three of you. If they really can enter, they will use your part of it as theirs instead of an own. A replacement, in a way.", explained Mugetsu as she stepped out of my way.
"Thanks... Thank you two for everything. You've helped us greatly.", I spoke as I turned towards the demon sisters. "Ah, no problem.", smiled Gengetsu. I nodded, gestured my two wives to enter the gateway. I waited until both of them had stepped through, then took a step in front of it as well.
But I turned a last time to the two sisters behind me. "And thanks to the Unfocused World as well.", I exclaimed, before I stepped through the gateway as well, unable to see the shocked expressions on their face.
But yes, I knew about that. I knew that the two of them worked for the Unfocused World. Somebody had given them their role as the "Keepers of the Dream World"... And the only logical explanation as to how they were able to open gateways to the Unfocused World's throne room, as well as it's inside, was that they had been given that role by the Unfocused World.
It made sense. But while it led to the wrong conclusion of the Unfocused World having allowed me to win, that was wrong. It hadn't. Maybe it had waited for me, had foreseen my arrival, but it had lost against me in a fair fight.
But maybe that wasn't important then. I had gotten what I had come for: The bond was cut. And even better, I had released two innocent prisoners from the Dream World, Kikuri and YuugenMagan.
But at that moment, the moment that I entered the Unfocused World for the possibly last time ever, I focused only one one thing.
I wanted revenge on Mima.
(1) It is currently unknown if Kikuri can really do that. However, in Highly Responsive to Prayer's Good Ending #2, Kikuri was shown to have taken a different stance on her disc, so it could be possible for her to move completely independent from her disc, and maybe even possible for her to leave it.
Alright, Ladys and gentlemen! That's the end of this chapter!
I am sorry it took so long... Really. But I was distracted... Damn RPG Maker...
Anyways, I think that this week away from Negative Bullet wasn't that wrong. When I returned to it, the words just appeared on the screen, I didn't even stop unless I had to go somewhere. My keyboard was about to light up, I swear!
So, now that the bond to the Unfocused World is cut, Chôzen can now move on to the next and final problem: Mima! And the best thing is: He is literally just a few steps away from her. Because he can now finally take revenge on her. And that by returning the favor: Invading her mind, much like she had done with his.
And he is more desperate than ever to get revenge on everything she has done to him, revenge for how she had ruined his life. Imagine how you awake with no memories, how you start a new life, and after four long years of endless pain and problems, you finally learn that all of it was set up, just how someone wanted it to be, just because someone wanted you to suffer. And Chôzen is just about to let his anger out on Mima. And he is about to repay everything he has experienced during those four years to her. Second for second.
By the way, I hope the thing with Chôzen and Yukari being part of this group of "higher beings" isn't too weird. I mean, we all knew that Yukari, Chôzen and Shikieiki were different from others before, and now you know why. All three of them, all with incredible powers, belong to this group of beings, beings with powers much like theirs.
Chôzen represents the destruction and the end and controls negative energy, Yukari represents the creation and the beginning and can break borders. And Shikieiki represents justice and has the power to judge. And just this chapter, you were introduced to another one like them: The Unfocused World, which represents collection and the mind, a being that can shapeshift and has the power to connect minds.
And now fear what the others of this group can. If we ever get to know more of them... lays in the future.
Alright. And with this, I end this chapter as well. I hope you enjoyed this chapter, the return of Kikuri and YuugenMagan, and I see you next chapter~