All was quiet in the library, as libraries should be. The only noises were the shuffle of books being shelved, and the occasional page turn of the book currently being read by the librarian. It was located inside a mansion, a magnificent building many stories high, with rows upon rows of books stacked to the ceiling. Certainly, a place like this would make a lovely study. The tranquility made it an ideal place to spend time alone. But the silence was about to be broken by an unwelcome guest.
A young girl quietly slipped in through the door. She made sure the coast was clear before heading into the many rows of books ahead of her. Before long, she made it to the depths of the library. It had taken her a while to figure out how to get back there unnoticed, but it had been well worth the effort. This section held the rarest and most valuable books. The girl browsed through them a bit. It didn't take long for her to find something interesting. It was an old, beat-up book, without a doubt older than the girl herself. She discreetly slipped it into a sack. Then she prepared to make her getaway.
The girl ducked through the poorly lit alleys, on the lookout for any library personnel. Lucky for her, the library wasn't very populated. Well, by the living, anyway. She made sure to stay away from areas where the librarian usually occupied. As she turned a corner, she was spotted by one of the assistant librarians. Suddenly, several of the books left their shelves and rose up into the air. The girl started running. A book to the left shot a plume of fire at the girl. She was ready for it and threw a green canister at it. The canister exploded, and nullified the original flame. Books from behind started to shoot shards of ice at the girl. Anticipating this, she hit the floor, and the shards flew through where she had been standing moments before. A book flew out in front of the girl and fired a huge laser. The girl grabbed a wooden token out of her pocket and aimed it at the book. It responded by firing a laser of its own. By now, the entire library was aware of the intruder. The librarian was approaching her quickly, launching more waves of books that sent the girl dodging shots left and right. But she was far from worried. In fact, she was enjoying herself.
Welcome to Gensokyo, a hidden land of fairly tales and legends of old. A land where humanity and monsters coexist side by side. A land where common sense may just as well not exist. And a land where anything and everything suddenly becomes possible.
The girl had almost made it to the end of the library. She caught the door in her sight. As the girl scrambled for the door, the books' heavy fire intensified. Then, suddenly, the books stopped shooting at her and fell to the floor. The girl figured they must have run out of power. She opened the door and walked out as if nothing had happened. The librarian was furious. The girl thought it was hilarious. Laughing, she hopped on her broomstick and started leisurely flying through the air. She passed through dimly lit hallways with old paintings. There were few windows in this mansion. This was courtesy of the unusual owner, who hated light with a passion. The girl thought they should at least light some more candles. This much darkness was simply unhealthy.
Something caught the girl's attention. A small, faraway shadow cast itself on the candlelit walls. It appeared she was being followed. But this was no ordinary shadow. It was humanoid, with two jagged, unnatural obtrusions glowing in the different colors of the rainbow. And running into it was a visitor's worst nightmare. The girl picked up her pace. So did the shadow. Despite the girl's best efforts, it was rapidly catching up to her. Just as capture seemed imminent, the girl spotted an escape route. One of the few windows in the mansion had been opened slightly to let in the breeze. In a risky move, she dove her broom through the window. Most people in Gensokyo would have smashed into the window or lost control of the broom trying this technique. But this girl was an expert broom rider. She executed the move perfectly. The shadow stopped chasing her. Now outside, the girl let out a sigh of relief and headed elsewhere. As the girl went on her way, the shadow cried out at her, beckoning her to stay and play. But the girl pretended not to hear, and flew out of sight.
The shadow stood at the window crying. It wanted to have friends and play with them, just as everyone else did. But nobody would play with the shadow. Nobody would even give the shadow a chance. Everyone always ran away. It just wasn't fair. Heartbroken and lonely, the shadow slumped to the floor. The other inhabitants of the mansion would be looking for her soon. And when she was found, she would be thrown back into the dungeon, a place she was told she belonged. But she hated the dungeon. It was lonely, and nobody ever came down to see her. Even the maid assigned to bring her meals had learned how to slide food to her unseen.
Consumed in her misery, the shadow almost didn't notice the piece of paper that had fallen on the ground. It seemed to have fallen out of the other girl's pocket during her flight. The shadow picked it up. It appeared to be a poem. It was handwritten, and part of it had been torn off. She became aware of movement echoing in the far off part of the hall. It wouldn't be long until they found her. The shadow started to read the poetry fragment.
"... will always remember you…"
"…the times we shared…"
"…stay in your heart forever…"
Mystified, the shadow stared at the words written on the paper for a while. Then, all of a sudden, she had an epiphany. She began to formulate a plan…
Yes, she had come up with the perfect plan. It was dangerous. It would have dire consequences. It was the sort of thing that got her locked up in the first place. But she would finally get the friend she so desired. The movement down the hall was getting closer. She stopped sobbing. Her tears were replaced with a lunatic smile. And she tucked the paper in her shirt just in time to be captured once again.
Thus goes daily life in Gensokyo, a land of fantasy and make-believe. A land of hopes and dreams and wishes. And a land where innocent desires all too often spark a major catastrophe.