It is already midnight when Reimu hears the door to her and Rika's room closing as quietly as possible.
She immediately sits on the bed, revealing to be wearing a short rose spaghetti strapped sleep shirt that reaches her lower abdomen and pink panties, and slides to the edge, letting her legs hang from there, then sighs and says to herself "ok, she's gone to do whatever it is she's going to do. Now comes the tricky part. Should I risk war with the robots and follow her, or stay here and trust her like I said?"
She looks at the polished white floor between her dangling feet, sighs, and thinks "ok, maybe I can just go outside, fly a bit, have a glance at the place, then come back to sleep. I don't bother her, I don't fight the robots, and panty shots are avoided. Everybody wins."
Somewhere in Gensokyo, Aya Shameimaru, whom has short black hair, red eyes, pointy ears, and wears a white blouse, black skirt, red sandals, and a tokin (tiny red hat), shrieks as she grips her ample chest as though in pain, then screams "I JUST LOST A SCOOP!"
Back at the resort, only minutes after Rika is gone to the beach, Reimu cautiously walks out of her room, wearing a white robe over her lack-of-clothes, closes the door behind herself, then the cross-armed Mokou right behind her says "don't try it, or we're both going to get it."
The shrine maiden yelps, and even her hair stiffens and stands on ends from the shock, then after a sigh, she turns around to face the immortal girl and innocently says "try it-try what? Um, no, I'm just going to enjoy the sights from a safe distance."
Upon realizing how easily she just spilled the beans, she smacks her forehead with her palm while saying "dammit, I'm still sleepy."
The immortal girl wraps an arm around the maiden's shoulders, walks her over to the rails, and as they look down at the eerily dark and quiet courtyard, she says "don't worry about Rika. Keine said she would take care of that girl, and if Keine said that, it should be good enough an indication that everything will be alright."
Reimu just moans as she eyes a single red-eyed robot dashing through the courtyard, apparently heading toward the kitchen, then softly says "but I'm still worried. And I want to know what she's doing."
Mokou laughs softly while patting the maiden's shoulder, then says "to think that the scary Reimu Hakurei is breaking under pressure, all because of one lovely maid girl. If that yamabiko and baton girl catch you, there will be no end to it."
The fiery girl finds herself raising her hands defensively after the black haired girl breaks free from the friendly tug, and with furious white scowling eyes, threatens "so you wanna fight, huh? Come and get some! I'll teach you who's breaking under pressure!"
"Easy, easy," softly says the light-lilac haired girl with a nervous smile. "I'm just trying to help us both here."
The shrine maiden quickly relaxes and stares at the immortal with a quizzical look, then Mokou sighs with relief and says "look, Keine swore she'd punish us both if any one of us even took a peek at what they were doing. And I don't really know about you, but I rather not get caved."
Reimu winces and shivers, then says "ooh, that sounds painful."
"It is," sadly replies the fiery girl before letting out a long sigh that tells of painful experiences. "Getting caved is not even the slightest bit funny. Even watching such an event hurts."
The Hakurei Maiden sighs along with the immortal as they look down to the ground, then the maiden says "then I guess there's no use. Better just go back to sleep. Jeez. I'll just have to ask Rika all about it in the morning."
The girls' attention turns toward the direction of the beach, where Nitori is running from one of her own robots while screaming "but I created you, you stupid bag of bolts! You can't shoot me!"
The machine shoots a couple of sparks at the kappa, and coldly says in a robotic voice "you are not allowed past the designated point! Please return to your station, or be forced to retreat!"
"But you are already forcing me, you idiot!", furiously shouts the kappa girl, before looking away from her attacker and crying "Julia~, make it sto-ho-hoooop!"
Mokou can't help but laugh at the little girl's misfortune, then says "that little pervert is still at it, I see."
Reimu grits her teeth as she growls, then says "she's been trying to take lewd pictures of my Rika since we got here. It's getting annoying. *Sigh* At least she hasn't been successful."
The immortal looks at the shrine maiden in disbelief, then asks "are you serious? Reimu, she took those photos of your maid when she lost her swimsuit at the slides. Man, talk about spacing out. I thought you knew."
Blood hangs from Reimu's nose as she suddenly holds her gohei and jumps over the rails while furiously saying "I'm going to have a word with that perverted little kappa!"
Fujiwara watches as the shrine maiden intercepts the crying kappa and demands "GIVE ME THOSE PICTURES, YOU PERVERT! THEY'RE MINE! I mean..., I'm going to destroy them!"
The onlooker chuckles, rests her elbows on the rails, her cheeks on her hands, then says to herself "yup, it was definitely worth coming here. A perverted kappa running from a perverted shrine maiden and a lunatic robot. *Sigh* Eternal life does have its perks sometimes, maybe if only every few decades."
She lifts a camera from the pocket of her pants, clicks away, then says "sights like these are rare, and missed if short-lived. Heheheh, I'm keeping this for future reference."
Meanwhile, at the beach mountain's top, Rika kneels in front of Keine with her dark sword set sideways on her lap, and with a steeled look in her eyes, she says "alright, let's go over this one last time before we start."
Above them, there is a large window that's allowing the full moon to shine through, though the yellow leaves of autumn cover part of it, so there are robots working diligently on cleaning it.
The were-hakutaku stares coldly at the angelic girl, and nods while saying "good idea, though let's hurry."
The angelic maid nods back, then begins "you will place the two flows of my history close to each other while I meditate and go inside my heart. I need you to try and merge those together while I'm in there, and not stop until it's done."
The half youkai woman narrows her red eyes, hums with doubt, then says "don't take too long, or I'm pulling you out, by force if I have to."
Rika smiles at the woman's concern, and says "I don't think that will be necessary. She's ready, Keine. She wants this too. I know she's stubborn, and convincing her might take a bit, but I can do it. Trust in me."
Keine sighs, her eyes become softer and a little less tense, then more calmly says "alright, I'll trust in you, but if I even feel something funny going on, I'm pulling you out."
The angelic maid smiles and nods, to which the history teacher nods back, then the former girl closes her eyes, while the were-hakutaku begins to focus her thoughts, looking straight at Rika with dangerous eyes.
To the angelic maid, all she can hear is an annoying whirring ringing in her ears, yet she focuses on clearing her mind, then everything stops.
She opens her eyes again, looks around, then covers her mouth as she gasps in surprise while still glancing all over.
She is in a large circular room with many carvings on the walls, a glowing crystal ball floating on the center of a polished blue floor with red and black spikes adorning the center area around said orb, and a tall dome-shaped ceiling that's adorned with carved angel wings on blue tinted marble.
She stops looking around when her eyes fall on the glowing orb, then whispers to herself "the ruins. The ruins where I learned my family's history. Where I earned my sword, my wings, my name, my abilities as an Onkamikami, and where I first met... her."
She walks closer to the glowing crystal ball, and as she does, she hears a somewhat familiar raspy voice inside her mind, saying "I am your very soul and darkness, and will be until the end of your life!"
Rika smiles, chuckles, a tear escapes her right eye, and as she sniffles and flicks it off, she says "to think I didn't believe her, thought I was better than her. That poor thing."
She ignores the ball of light and concentrates on looking around the room for a door, but then her attention is taken again when she glances over one of the room's carved paintings, saying "wait... Not as I remember it."
She walks to the right, straight toward that massive carving that shows a cloud of black and purple smoke with glowing purple eyes widening itself before a light-blue mist cloud with a glowing center, and on the bottom, what look like the tails of the both seem to be swirling around together and merging at the center.
The girl smiles again, closes her eyes as she turns her head down, then says "I remember the fight I had here. I almost died. And then I went blind for quite some time. To think all these trials up until now were nothing, compared to the one trail I failed to notice playing its part in the background."
She places her hand on the painting and is surprised when she can feel its texture, but then sighs and turns around, saying to herself "alright, now where is that exit again..."
Her face turns pale and her body gets cold, then she hears her own voice in her mind, angrily saying "you are fake! You are evil!"
Her knees give in to gravity and she falls, using her hands to remain upright, then quickly wipes her face when she feels her tears flowing uncontrollably on their own, and weakly whispers "wha? Why did I say such things to her?"
The painting behind her starts to make a loud ringing sound as it shines bright, and although the sound doesn't seem to bother her, Rika feels she's unable to move, and can only whisper incoherently as she is engulfed by the light.
She finds herself falling softly through the darkness, and around her are Keine, Mokou, Kaguya, Reisen, Eirin, and all the great friends she's made so far, all asleep as they softly fall head-down towards nothing, and then they start to giggle with her.
When she looks around again, all she sees is her Mistress Reimu multiplied several times, giggling while standing cutely upright, and to this, the shrine maid can't help but close her eyes and smile while saying "so that's how it is. She does care too."
The giggling stops, and Rika feels solid ground under her feet, so she opens her eyes and finds herself in a narrow room with a narrow stone bridge over a pit of sharp rocks, and small arrows flying left and right over said bridge.
She stares at the room before her, sighs, then says "I don't remember this particular trap room. Oh well, might as well be care-"
She yelps along with a very loud clang that comes after taking a step forward.
A dented silver washtub falls to the girl's right, said girl falls to the floor, and with tears in her white disks for eyes she groans "hauuu~ I still fall for that silly trap," then falls unconscious."
Rika moans as she wakes up again, tasting dirt in her mouth as she does, and unconsciously asks "um, how... where am I?"
A faint, soft music starts playing around her as she looks around with surprise.
Around her, the trees, grass, and the festive people are all grey colored and frozen in time, even though she can hear them cheering, laughing and playing gentle music, though she can barely hear the tune.
In front of her, the Misty Lake's surface dances with the unfelt wind blowing through its glistening waters, and then she notices the bright reflection of the full moon turning darker with each passing second as it is eclipsed.
The girl holds the left side of her head, whimpers as though in pain, then she hears herself saying "maybe I can take it off guard and kill it."
Inexplicable tears start rolling down her eyes as she holds her head yet again, then softly cries to herself "I can't believe I thought that. I didn't even give her the chance to explain herself. No wonder she took over, and so aggressively too."
The tears stop on their own and Rika's sight quickly normalizes, then watches from the ground as her Mistress Reimu flies off in the distance, calling for her with a worried tone.
The shrine maid gulps, slowly takes her hands away from her head, and says to herself "she was so worried. She went looking for me, and even after seeing what I had become, she didn't care. And there I was, calling myself a 'horrible monster' and running away for fear of rejection, or fear of harming My Lady."
She sighs, calming herself down, nods to herself and says "right, I need to keep going. I have to find her," then instinctively covers her eyes with her forearms when the lake starts shining brightly enough to blind all who look upon it.
The scene dims down again, and Rika slowly opens her eyes to find the lake has split itself in two, and now there are a set of stairs going down toward a dark door that looks like a crude mine entrance.
Determination fills her eyes and moves forward, showing no signs of hesitation as she makes her way to the dark doorway.
She reaches the door surprisingly quickly, and soon discovers she's like a grain of sand when compared to the colossal door, and yet she remains firm, says to herself "no stopping now. I have to find her. She needs me," then runs inside.
Instead of the dark tunnel she expected to see, she finds herself at a clearing at the Forest of Magic, where the moon is half-covered, signaling the eclipse is coming to its end.
She gulps as she looks around, then sighs and says "this is where she almost killed Shanghai and Hourai... or at least pretended to try. That's right, she also fought Rumia here, after that battle with Yuka and Yuugi..."
The girl closes her eyes and wraps her arms around her waist, while thinking "at that moment, I just wanted to leave Gensokyo, after what I did to poor Kali... I failed that, so I tried to let myself get killed. How stupid."
"Mama, she's good! Don't be mad at Rika! She saved me!"
She can hear Shanghai's cries on her mind and sighs as she closes her eyes, then starts hearing Yuugi as she says "hey, don't talk about yourself that way. From here, I don't see a monster, just a really kind girl in a lot of pain. Let me help you out, Miss."
Rika gulps, but before she can arrange her thoughts, she hears Yuka saying "so, you took over a body that doesn't belong to you, and just to spite me. Well done! Well done indeed. ...Now be a good little evil spirit and return that body to its real owner."
The shrine maid starts to whimper, then says "some saw her for what she truly was, and others attacked her on sight, even me, but it's n-not our fault. She gave that aura... those nasty vibrations."
The world around her suddenly shines bright, changes its shape before the girl's eyes, then she hears Reimu calling for her, and then hears her own voice in her mind, replying "get away! I'm a hideous monster!"
She is now surrounded by caves as far as the darkness lets her see, yet she doesn't care, and smiles as she looks to the pebble-ridden ground and says "I remember. She gave me the order to stand and look at her. I can never refuse an order from My Lady."
She closes her eyes, a warm breeze blows through, soothing her entire body, and as she breathes the air in, she hears her mistress in her mind, softly saying "there, you see? You're not really a monster, are you?"
She smiles, the world around her vanishes, and she falls softly through the darkness once more, headed straight to a bright white star, and says "my Mistress saw it. She knew from the start that she wasn't a monster. That's what turned me back, I'm sure. At that moment I understood, yet I quickly forgot."
Upon getting close to the star, her feet start to vanish, turning into square pieces of confetti that blows with the wind in the dark, yet she continues to smile as though nothing is happening.
As her torso starts to disintegrate, she thinks "well this time I know. I wronged her, hurt her, thinking I was right about her, but I was the one that was wrong. I finally reached you. Welcome me with open arms."
As her head starts to disintegrate, she opens her eyes and mouths some words, yet no sound ever comes, and she vanishes from sight, consumed by the light of the star.
Meanwhile, at the Kappa-Pa resort, Reimu's robe has been turned to a mere cloth that hangs from her left arm, though her sleep garments are still intact, and her face and arms are full of burn marks, but she smiles widely, regardless of the damage.
On her right hand she holds four photographs of Rika after she lost the swimsuit in the slide, and on her left hand she holds the moaning, burned bruised, and dazed Nitori by a boot.
She drags the kappa all the way inside the room, closes the door, locks it, then turns to face her prey with a vicious smile, and says "now hand over the rest of the pictures, and I won't torture you!"
The little girl manages to sit up straight, crawl toward a corner in the living room, and cry "no! I went through hell to get those bikini shots!"
The maiden's eyes sparkle for a second, and with a vicious smile on her face, she says "oh, now you KNOW those belong to me, right? GIVE THEM HERE," and extends her right arm, expecting to receive those photos.
Nitori's frightful face becomes a smug grin as she pulls a black box with two silver switches and several buttons of different colors, and sinisterly says "heh-heh-he~ You forced my hand, you pathetic human! Take THIS!"
She presses a series of buttons and flicks one of the switches really fast, and the pictures on Reimu's hands start to get warm, the shrine maiden shrieks, then exclaims "ACK! What did you do?"
With that vile crescent smile on, the kappa says "heh-heh-he~! All the photos will now turn to ash in fifteen seconds! You lose, Hakurei!"
Reimu shrieks, takes the pictures on her hands, then looks at each one two times before they all become dust and get sucked into the filtering ventilator.
With pink cheeks and a triumphant smile, the shrine maiden places her hands on her hips and says "HA! I memorized those GORGEOUS pictures! I still win!"
The evil little kappa's eyes glow aquamarine as she flicks the second switch, and says "that's what YOU think, human! Despair as the memory of those pictures is erased from your very mind, thanks to my brain-wave editor!"
Reimu shrieks and holds her head, grips her hair, then screams "NOOOOO! I CAN'T REMEMBER THE PICTURES!"
"Muahahaha~ Take that, you stupid girl!", confidently taunts the mean kappa.
The shrine maiden suddenly grabs that girl by the neck, pushes her to the ground, easily pins her down with that one arm, and coos "ohh, you'll be so~ sorry you did that."
Nitori tries to push herself up and free herself from the strong girl's grip, though fails and cries "waahh~ What the heck are you? So strong! Let me go! Let me GOOOOO!"
When she looks at the shrine maiden's face, she can see glowing red eyes, a glowing scarlet crescent smile, then fear starts coursing through her entire body, and she cries "waaaaah~ I'm getting eaten by a demonic maiden!"
Reimu chuckles vilely, takes a purple and indigo talisman out of her pink panties, then places it on Nitori's forehead, getting delicious screams of horror from the girl.
Before long, the screams of horror stop, the kappa's eyes cross, then she grabs her twin tails and screams "n-noooooo~ My memories! What have you done! I can't remember what I saw! My pictures! ANYTHING ABOUT RIKA-CHAN IN BIKINI! WAAAAAHHHHH!"
The evil shrine maiden with the glowing red eyes and the spaghetti strapped sleeping shirt starts to cackle like a maniac, even going as far as raising her hands over her head, then declares "suffer at the hands of the Mighty Wonderful Shrine Maiden of Paradise!"
The little kappa girl snarls at the human, slips out of her backpack, then jumps on the girl and clings on her hair, growling "that's it, I'm taking your shirikodama right now!"
Reimu grabs the girl by the twin tails, throws her over her head, and slams the girl hard on the ground, but gets her own head caught by the little kappa, then gets thrown to the bed, where her thin rose shit rolls to her head, exposing her panties, to the kappa's secret delight.
Nitori rushes to attack that raised maiden's defenseless butt, but gets a talon kick to the nose, then the human girl turns around, jumps on the blue haired girl, and pins her to the ground, ripping her shirt open in her rage, and revealing a blue swimsuit beneath.
The little kappa struggles against the human, pushing her by the shoulders to no avail, then shouts "get off me, you fat demon!"
The black haired girl grips her prey by the neck, and shouts "I'm sealing your head and sending it to Makai for a WEEK!"
The door bursts open, Mokou, who wears a thin long white burned shirt that reaches her ankles, stares groggily at the fighting girls, who simultaneously shout "BUTT OUT, IMMORTAL!"
The girl simply lowers her door-kicking leg, walks over to them, looks down, kneels besides them, heavy struggling is heard, and now Mokou has Nitori in a figure four leg lock, Reimu in a sleeper hold, and groggily, yet angrily says "I am trying to sleep! Keep your damned voices down!"
The kappa screams and the shrine maiden croaks, but then all three widen their eyes at the same, look at each other, then scramble out to the courtyard, where many youkai onlookers in their pajamas are already flying about, looking toward the light energy coming from the beach.
Reimu sighs as the overwhelmingly soothing energy calms her down, then says "wow, what's going on? I'm feeling so light. Um, N-Nitori, I'm so sorry. I don't know what came over me."
The kappa girl shakes her head, and while looking toward the beach she says "I'm very sorry too. I, um, invaded your privacy. I've been a terrible host. I apologize deeply, Miss Hakurei."
Mokou sighs as though with relief, then says "whatever those two are doing, it appears they are succeeding. Eh, I'm going to bed. Somehow *yawn* I'm feeling very, very relaxed."
As if mentally linked, all the onlookers murmur their agreement, and one by one, they all make their way to their rooms, while the little kappa merely snaps her fingers and has a few green-eyed robots pick her up as she jumps over the rails.
The soothing light that emanates from the beach becomes stronger, but also dimmer, and before long, even the recently agitated Reimu finds herself snoring softly on the comfortable bed.
"It's dark..." thinks Rika inside a deep darkness.
She can feel herself blink, she can feel her limbs; "so I am standing," she thinks before touching her face, then sighs and says "get it together, Rika Onkamikami. You just need some light, so~"
She takes a deep breath, holds it in for seven seconds, then she exhales.
As she does, petals of light start fluttering all over the endless room before her, and as they rise to the dark sky, they start outlining what looks like a field divided by a small, long, and shallow trench.
More and more petals keep rising from what looks like the outline of the field, and as they do, they turn light-blue, and the field starts turning green, the trench fills with water and widens, beds of flowers and carpets of grass start rising all around her, and trees, bushy and healthy, grow almost instantly, all because she wills it to be.
As she marvels at the beautiful sight forming before her, she keeps in mind that the sky still looks pitch black, and refuses to take light, regardless of her will trying to brighten it.
After the last petal flies away and hides in the dark sky, Rika chuckles to herself, and says "what a beautiful paradise, yet it's only half finished. I guess the rest is up to her."
She takes a step forward, then the sound of the river begins, and it's soothing song fills the angelic girl's ears, making her feel lighter than air, and then she takes the second step, a soft and warming breeze begins, making the many flowers, the grass, and the leaves on the trees dance in a beautiful rhythm.
She giggles to herself, twirls around with her arms extended, then stops, places both hands flat beside her cheeks, and says "ahh, if my Mistress, Tenshi, and the Hakurei Shrine were here, I would want to live here forever."
Right after she says that, one more tree grows next to the river, to the right of one of two beds of red tulips that stand between the crystalline waters separating the land.
This tree grows taller than the rest, bushier too, but it's leaves droop and look dull, and the bark seems sickly, which makes Rika feel sad for some inexplicable reason.
Sitting on front of the tree is a dark female figure with wings, that's sinking her bare feet into the water, and upon revealing herself, she looks to the angelic maid, but says nothing and resumes staring into the water.
Rika's smile vanishes for a moment, her wings flap involuntarily, yet her eyes remain bright, and as she lifts her head and straightens it, she sighs, smiles, and says to herself "this is the last place we met. I don't blame you for staying here."
The figure breathes through her mouth, seemingly hissing at the girl, but after a quick cough, the hissing breathing stops, and the figure, in a sad, raspy voice, says "yes, it is. It's a wonderful place to be forever, but we both know something this wonderful can never last that long."
The maid sighs, places her hands on her chest, and softly says "you poor thing. You've been in the dark for so long."
"Yes," softly replies the dark figure as she takes her feet off the water, lifts herself up, and pushes her back against the tree. "Yes, I have, but I do like it there. It gives my life meaning."
"Oh, don't say that. You're not fooling me anymore," exclaims Rika as she walks closer to the figure, though stops when close enough to make out her appearance, yet far enough to escape any sudden attacks.
Dark Rika's wavy, pale-brown hair tangles with her black wings as she pushes herself back against that tree, then threateningly says "you talk as though you know me. You don't know what I am, girl!"
After saying this, the dark girl pushes herself away from the tree, walks over to Rika and crosses her arms over her chest after stopping, then stares straight into the angelic girl's light-blue eyes.
The angelic maid takes a better look at her dark self, whom is dressed in an outfit similar to her own, only hers is grey and red, her skin is dark, her eyes glow purple, and then she looks at that belt that holds all four dark swords.
She can't help but widen her eyes with surprise when she notices those terrifying swords are not in any of the sheaths, nor is she holding one on her hands.
A soft breeze whooshes by the two, while an awkward silence looms over them as they stare at each other, then Dark Rika clicks her tongue and angrily asks "what? Do you see something you like? Bah! Why the hell did you come here, girl?"
The angelic maid quickly snaps out of her confusion, then says "hey, I just wanted to pay a visit to myself, you know. See how I'm doing."
She's about to continue her trivial conversation, but her dark self stomps the ground, making the sky rumble, then furiously exclaims "WHY ARE YOU HERE! ? What did you come here for?"
Rika sighs, a bit sore that her dark self is so impatient, then looks at the angry girl in the eyes, and says "I am ready."
She notices some doubt in the dark one's eyes, then raises an eyebrow, and somewhat jokingly asks "what? Didn't you tell me I could come to meet you when I was ready? Well here I am."
Dark Rika scoffs, steps back once, then nods and asks "and... are you really sure you are ready, Rika Onkamikami?"
The angelic maid smiles warmly, yet her eyes show strength, determination, the will to move forward, and shine with a certain knowledge that's been painfully forced into her very being.
Before Rika has she chance to answer, her dark self raises her hand and says "wait, I know those eyes... I see. So you really are ready? What painful, yet powerful wisdom you have gained, girl. Well, whatever. It worked, so let-"
"Please, just a moment," exclaims the angelic girl, cutting her dark self off, then quickly asks "may I please ask you something first?"
Dark Rika raises an eyebrow after being taken aback by the sudden question, yet sounding calm about it, she nods and hesitantly says "err, s-sure. Um, go... go ahead."
Rika's resolute face turns into a soothing smile, and bows her head slightly as she mouths the words "thank you," which makes the dark girl blush uncomfortably.
There is a long and awkward pause while the girls only stand and stare at each other, but before Dark Rika gets too impatient, Rika closes her eyes, and says "first and foremost, I would like to apologize to you."
The dark girl's raised eyebrow rises a little more, almost making herself look funny, while the maid continues "I am so sorry I called you a fake before. It took me some time, but I finally understand that you are part of me; that you are me. You are that part that was created for the task of locking away all those horrible memories and nightmares that would have destroyed me."
There is another short moment where the two of them stare at each other in silence, and after allowing her dark self to settle, the angelic girl adds "I was afraid; scared of those memories, and even though I've confronted them, I was never able to accept them as the truths they are. I was... afraid that if I had accepted them they would have changed me, and made me turn into someone dark and undesirable."
She takes a deep breath to calm herself, then continues "after our last meeting, so many things happened, and many of those precious to me were hurt greatly. There was nothing I could do about any of it. I was too weak to help, too weak to protect those I hold dear, and because of that... Because of that weakness, ...I ..."
Rika sniffles and her eyes water as the fresh memory of Kali, the shadow's shadow, appears before her mind, stabbed through the chest with a godly sword covered with her own "white" blood, blood poisonous to youkai-kind, sobs, then softly says "I lost one of them, even though I was supposed to protect her, to support her! She needed me, and I failed her!"
She stops herself and gulps, takes a deep, sobbing breath to effectively calm herself down, then more calmly continues "I was supposed to protect and support her, I trained hard, learned all that I could, yet I still couldn't protect my family from that, ...that single-tracked minded fool of a man that called himself a god!"
Dark Rika takes this moment when Rika is regaining her breath to observe the angelic girl, thinking of ridiculing that pathetic crybaby with some well-aimed insults, but instead remains silent and waits.
The angelic maid places her hand on her chest, takes one relaxing breath, then says "in the end, he was stopped in his tracks and subdued, but even in his defeat he failed to see, to realize his own mistakes, and that's where I lost it. My anger... it rose, reached its peak, so I laid out all his faults right on his face. I just... couldn't forgive him for everything he had done, and I don't believe I ever will be able to forgive him. For some time, I even denied his godhood."
She finally opens her eyes long enough to look around, and quickly notices the sky has become light-blue and bright, though it still lacks what she thinks is spirit, and then she notice her dark half staring back at her in a strange way.
Regardless of these facts, she continues "when I confronted him, though, I saw his own sorrows haunting him, and quickly realized those are what led him astray for so long. You see, he was making a grave mistake, and that was to hide behind those sorrows in order to justify his own actions, dark as they were."
She takes a soft and deep breath, noticing her dark self reacting strangely, yet still glaring, and continues "he became a murderer who used his past pains as a shield so as to remain blind to his own actions, even though he knew the wrong he was doing. That really sickened me..."
There is another moment of pause, where Rika is clearly arranging her thoughts and searching for a way to make them into words.
To this, Dark Rika, surprisingly enough, remains silent as she patiently waits for what's next.
Rika's face harbors a pained smile as she looks at her dark self, then says "but then I realized something while basking in my own sorrows. True, he and I are nothing alike, and yet I was doing the same as him. I hid away behind my own pains instead of facing them head-on; instead of taking the challenge to become stronger. Heh, what a hypocrite I was."
She starts tightening her hand into a fist, and clenches it so tight, the skin starts turning purplish as she says "I thought about it for some time, and I soon realized the reason of my own weakness. ...I failed in accepting myself fully. More importantly, I failed in accepting you, the one who deserves much more than what she's gotten. You, who took such a heavy task and set it selflessly on your own shoulders. You... my missing half."
She takes another breath, but Dark Rika raises her hand, signaling the maid to stop talking, and with a more calm, and soothing voice, almost similar to Rika's own, only a little more raspy, she says "don't say another word. I understand, Rika. I was there, and I saw everything."
She lowers her hand, looks at the maid's feet for a moment, then looks back up and says "what I need to know now is... Rika Onkamikami, what do you think of me now?"
The question was expected, and yet the maid can't hide the surprise in her face, and simply stands quietly while looking back at her dark self.
Rika's confusion stops, and immediately she giggles, getting her dark self's cheeks to turn red with anger and shout "that's not funny, girl! It was a serious question!"
"I'm sorry, please forgive me! I didn't mean to offend you," begins the maid, bowing repeatedly to Dark Rika, and stopping to say "I just feel so glad you asked. I didn't know how to begin, so, um..."
The dark girl crosses her arms under her chest, sighs, then says "whatever. Just..."
Her voice softens again as she says "just answer my question. What do you think of me now?"
The angelic maid's face turns stern, and with bitterness, she says "well, while all those things you said to me before were wrong, you were only looking out for me. You wanted me to become stronger, and by saying those things, you reinforced my resolve, indirectly, but effectively."
"You think this, even though I tried to kill you! ?" quickly barks the dark girl, making sure the angelic girl doesn't have time to speak more.
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger! You were only fighting to make me grow," instantly replies the sweet girl.
Dark Rika glances around herself, then says "even though I tried to kill your beloved mistress Reimu?"
Rika smiles sweetly and quickly answers "you were only trying to help me achieve a new level of strength," activates her Soraogan blood limit, and smiles while saying "see? You succeeded too."
The dark girl seems to start getting a bit agitated, yet calmly, with a more soothing voice, says "even though I tried t-"
"You only wanted to make sure I kept walking forward with my beliefs strengthened, my head held high and proud of who I am," quickly says the shrine maid, cutting the dark girl off.
Dark Rika panics, and nervously says "e-even though I-", then Rika cuts her off again by rapidly saying "you only wanted me to believe in my friends."
The dark one looks away and says "b-but I-I even-"
The dark girl is so flustered, she fails to notice how the angelic maid is getting closer to her with every answer, and said maid fails to notice how the sky is slowly turning brighter.
Rika giggles when Dark Rika cuts herself off, then says "you just wanted me to see how much those I love care about me."
"Bu- ...I attacked that oni and that flower youkai to-" tries to add the black-winged girl, not noticing her own voice sounds just like the angelic girl's.
The angelic maid, whom is already within hand's reach, quickly says "you wanted me to see whom I really was, while using your appearance to make that lesson clear to me. I'm sorry I failed to notice that before, even when they laid it out to me so clearly."
The dark girl places her hands on her cheeks while glancing around, still looking for something, but remains muttering incoherent things, feeling desperate and out of place.
She suddenly notice the angelic maid is too close, and can't react in time when said maid grabs her right hand and holds it gently with both of her own hands.
The two girls end up looking into each other's eyes, then the white-winged girl softly says "it's alright. You can stop now. You have protected me for so long, taken all that pain, all that sorrow from me, and took it all by yourself. You always looked out for me, wanting what was best for me..."
She rubs that dark-skinned hand gently with both her hands, and sadly says "too bad I only just noticed all of these things you have done for me. You are so wonderful."
She takes her dark self's hand to her face and caresses herself with it, shocking the dark girl a little as she enjoys a feeling of peace, then sweetly whispers "so warm. There is no way a hand as warm as this belongs to someone evil, or fake."
The panic Dark Rika was feeling suddenly vanishes, a weak little smile takes her face, and merely watches as the angelic girl plants a gentle kiss on her forearm and softly ask "will you be able to find it in your heart to forgive me for getting to this point so late in our life?"
Her light-blue eyes fill with anticipation as she looks at Dark Rika, and says "I promise you, you won't be alone ever again. ...EVER!"
Rika Onkamikami's hearts jolts, yet she uses all her will to hide her surprise, when for the first time ever since they met, Dark Rika smiles visibly warmly and peacefully, though with a twinge of pain still evident on her.
With that smile so strongly present on her face, the dark girl softly says "I'll forgive you, but only if you think of yourself a little more often. You are too selfless, and that can make you weak. I promise, thinking more of yourself can make you stronger. You'll be able to protect all those you love with ease, because you yourself are already strong enough to care for yourself and others!"
The angelic maid brightly smiles back, feeling warming love from that acceptance, and says "I promise, from now on, I will take better care of myself, for my family, for my friends... and as importantly as them, for you."
She suddenly drops her dark self's hand and embraces her with a strong and warm hug, and says "I accept you! I accept every single part of who you are! You are me, after all. A very important part of me. You will never be alone again. It is now my turn to take care of you as you have cared for me."
She tightens her hug when she feels the dark girl twitching, then says "you can now have a well earned rest. I love you, Rika Onkamikami, with all my heart."
Dark Rika suddenly drops to the ground and Rika kneels with her, then is surprised when the dark girl returns the hug and begins to sob out loud.
Before she can speak again, the dark girl's sobs get stronger, she start to cry out loud, and yet she manages to say "alone...! So alone! *Sob* So long... being bad, hurting others! It hurt! You called me fake. Hurt... so much! That hurt! That hurt so much!"
The angelic maid combs the crying dark girl's hair with her hand, rubbing her back at the same time, while cooing soothing words of comfort to lessen her loud sobbing, then says "I'm here. You're not alone anymore," then silently begins to cry along the black-winged girl.
Five minutes pass, and Dark Rika continues to sob and cry, though a little softer, while Rika herself cries silently, while softly saying "I'm so sorry... I was too fixed on seeing light... Please forgive me."
The dark girl shivers strongly, gulps out loud, effectively stopping her sobs, then cries "it's ok. I forgive you *sniffle*. Just don't leave me alone again. Please. *hic*"
The angelic maid softly shushes her dark self while combing her hair and rubbing her back, closes her eyes, and whispers "it's alright, I won't leave you. We're leaving this place together."
Dark Rika sighs with great relief, her sobbing and tears stop, she softly says "thank you so much," then her body starts to glow.
Rika notices this and holds her a little tighter, and feels as that body begins to shrink very slowly, so she opens her eyes, though makes sure not to let go.
In a matter of seconds the glowing stops, and frightening Dark Rika reveals herself to be young, 7-year-old Rika Onkamikami, with her hair combed straight and reaching all the way down to her knees, wearing a cute little white dress with puffy sleeves, and a cute pair of bloomers visible under the skirt.
She looks at Rika's face with those shiny light-blue eyes, that cheeky and innocent smile that makes her pink cheeks puff a bit, then eagerly says "come on then! Let's go, let's go! I want to go see our friends, Chiko, and Miss Reimu!"
The shrine maid slowly releases the hug while thinking "so this is her true form; where it all started. So young. I must never leave her alone. Never again!"
She then sits back on her knees, rubs her little self's head, smiles dearly, and chuckles "alright then. Let's get out of here," and then they both take notice.
The large tree Dark Rika was sitting by before has become more vivid, its leaves shine bright with life, its bark looks healthy, the field itself has taken more vibrant colors, and the sky is a beautiful bright light-blue.
Rika suddenly picks up her younger self and holds her like one would a young child, smiles at the surprised little girl, then says "would you look at that. It's not so dark in here anymore."
The little Rika pouts cutely, puffing her pink cheeks again, then says "no way. I'm not staying here. I'm going with you! I wanna hug Miss Reimu, and Shanghai, and that blonde girl with the black sword, the oni, the flower-"
"Alright, alright, I get it," begins the angelic maid, flapping her wings as a bit of sweat rolls down her cheek, and then she looks at her younger self and asks "I'm just curious, but why do you want to hug so many people?"
The child yelps, hides her blushing face behind Rika's neck and hair, then nervously whispers "err, um, b-because I, um, well I tried to hurt them, and I, um... want to apologize..."
Rika chuckles, gives her younger self another rub on the back of her head, and sweetly says "alright, alright. I get it," then a large door of pure light opens up in front of the two girls, making them both gasp with admiration.
They stare at that door for a few seconds, then the maid says "come," and starts walking toward it with her young self on her arms.
On their way there, the angelic girl giggles and says "you will never be alone again. I will hold on to you and care for you for as long as you live in me. Let us join now, for I will need you as much as you will need me. Let us take on the odds as one, as it was intended to be from the start."
Young Rika giggles, nods, gives her older self a hug on the neck and a kiss on the cheek, then says "it's a deal!"
The light begins to consume to two girls, then the little girl suddenly says "oh, and big brother Ail touched the dark sword when you were helping out with those ice twins, so he knows a few things."
Rika's sudden yelp is muted when the whirring sound rings again, then the door of light vanishes with the two girls holding each other tight.
Rika wakes up atop of the jagged beach mountain, still kneeling in front of Keine, who is currently standing up.
The angelic maid feels serene peace inside of herself like never before, and feels as though she's found some missing part of herself, which is now filling that void that once tormented her in secret.
As she moves to stand up, she realizes that her dark sword is nowhere in sight, but understanding why this happened, she just keeps getting up, noticing that she's feeling a lot stronger now, and feels as though she's not even trying to get herself up as she gets on her feet.
After finally standing up, Rika notices Keine is still in her hakutaku form, which means it's still night, and that the mentioned woman is looking at her with awestruck eyes.
Before she asks, she realizes that she is in her Soraogan form, yet wonders when exactly did she get like that, and also wonders why she doesn't feel like she's expending any energy to keep herself that way.
To Keine, the angel before her looks so radiant, it takes her breath and her senses away, replacing all with a sense of immense bliss, and without realizing it, she has walked over to the angelic maid, and has started to caress her wings.
Rika yelps softly, but looking at the teacher's blissful face, she can't help but smile, then closes her eyes when she feels the soothing sensation from the attention her wings are getting.
When Keine realizes what she is doing, she immediately, though hesitantly, takes her hands back to her chest, and nervously says "R-Rika, I'm so sorry! I-I don't know... wh-what came over me."
The maid just smiles sweetly, slightly tilts her head right, then says "it's alright Miss Keine, but why did you stop? I don't mind."
The were-hakutaku blushes with some slight embarrassment, due to both the way she acted, and secretly wanting to touch those wings some more, then quickly grabs the angelic girl's right wing and starts caressing the soft and firm white feathers.
She even goes as far as to press her face on that wing, while moaning contently as she enjoy the angelic silky softness.
Rika only closes her eyes and smiles while her wing is being so thoroughly petted, and feels as a sense of immense peace fills her up and overflows all around her.
After a while, Keine has had her fill of the soft feathers, though remains smiling blissfully towards the radiant angelic maid as the humble girl bows and says "thank you so much for all you've done for me, Miss Keine. I know it must have been a bother, so if there's any-"
"Oh, no. No-no-no-no," repeats the peacefully happy woman while waving her hand left and right before sopping and saying "thank YOU for everything. I got to see Mokou in her swimsuits, had a lot of fun, and had a very lovely time with those soft, soft and lovely, silky soft feathery feathers of yours. Did I mention how soft they are? Ahh~ So soft."
The history teacher holds her blushing cheeks while thinking about Rika's feathers, and doesn't notice when said girl lunges forward and gives her a powerfully tight hug, making said teacher blush brightly and smile twice as much.
She starts petting the were-hakutaku's head, the woman moans and hiccups, and a beautiful silvery-green tail with soft flowing hair rips right from the back of her skirt, and starts wagging around, and although Rika seems a little surprised, the awaited reaction from the teacher never comes.
She pushes the woman away gently and notices the glowing red face and the blissfully peaceful smile, giggles, then says "you are a very kind woman, Miss Keine. Come, let's go back. I'm sure Miss Mokou and Miss Reimu are waiting for us."
With an airy nod, and still smiling ever so goofily, the half youkai nods once, then the angelic maid nods back, and understanding the situation, Rika wraps an arm around Keine's hips and says "allow me to help you," then they both take off with the were-hakutaku moaning contently and wagging her exposed tail madly.
Rika, whom is still in her Soraogan mode, opens the door to her and Reimu's room, expecting to see her mistress still sleeping, seeing as it's just hit one in the morning.
She closes the door behind herself as quietly as possible, turns around, and effectively finds her mistress sleeping contently under her covers with the right strap of her thin shirt slipping off.
She stares at the shrine maiden as she slowly makes her way to the girl, and thinks "my dear Mistress Reimu, you look so peaceful. I better not disturb you," and upon reaching the black haired girl's side, she bends down, gently moves some strands of hair from her forehead with her thumb, then kisses the maiden's forehead.
Reimu moans contently and mumbles Rika's name, but continues sleeping as contently as ever, though looking twice as peaceful as she did before.
The angelic maid giggles to this, then whispers to herself "she looks so comfortable. I would join her in a heartbeat, but I'm just not sleepy at all."
She looks all around herself, as though looking for something, then smiles and says "well, might as well get to it," and with that, she walks over to her luggage and rummages inside of it, intent on finding something.
The next morning comes quick, and Reimu moans on the bed while a sizzling noise somewhat disturbs her sleep, though not enough to wake her, until a nice smell reaches her.
She begins to sniff, increasing the intensity of the sniffs every time, smacks and licks her lips, then mumbles "mmm, breakfast from Rika," as she gets on her back and slowly sits on the bed.
She looks around the room with those groggy eyes until she finds the kitchen, and her eyes almost burst right out of her face when she finds the radiant Rika, still in Soraogan, placing the plates on the table while humming a soothing tune that seems as though it's being sung by an angel from the heavens.
The maid looks at her mistress, smiles and giggles sweetly, and in a soothing tone of voice that almost sounds like she's singing, she says "good morning Miss Reimu~ Tee-hee! I made you breakfast again. I hope you don't mind. It's just something I wanted to do. Please come and enjoy~"
The Hakurei Maiden is left completely dumbstruck at the sight, and although she can clearly see her maid standing there, for some reason she can't seem to believe she's looking at Rika, and softly asks "is that really you... Rika?"
The girl tilts her head slightly right, and asks "well of course I am. Why would you ask such a thing, My Lady? Are you still sleepy?"
Reimu quickly jumps out of the bed, rushes to the maid, and gets her face as close as she can to the angelic girl's.
Before her inspection is done, she finds herself being crushed in the loving embrace of a sobbing maid, and all she manages to say is the maid's name, before said girl sniffles and says "I'm so sorry Miss Reimu."
She pushes herself away from the dumbstruck mistress, who can only manage to ask "Rika, what's the matter? What happened? Why are you apologizing?"
The angelic maid smiles back, shakes her head, then says "it's nothing, My Lady. It's just something I needed to get out of my chest. I apologize if I confused you."
The shrine maiden's face remains quizzical for a few short seconds, then she launches herself on her maid, holds her tight, moans contently while rubbing her wings, and says "I just can't be mad at you right now! There's something about you today! I just want to rub your wings all DAY if I can!"
Rika blushes and twitches a bit when her mistress' hands touch the base of her wings on her back, but she manages to remain firm and allows Reimu to touch her wings all she wants.
When the shrine maiden stops and pushes herself away, she has that same blissful, peaceful red face and smile that Keine had before, and feeling satisfied with the outcome, she rubs her mistress' head and says "come, My Lady, let's eat. We have time for one more swim at the beach, and then it's off back home to the shrine."
The blissful girl just sighs and nods, walks like a happy zombie towards the table, sits down, and as she picks her soup bowl, a thought crosses her mind, and her eyes becomes intense, lose focus, and her hair stands on its ends.
In her mind, the image of Rika in her bikini appears right before her, her perfect pale skin shining brightly as the little covers do minimal effort to confine that wonderful figure, and now steam starts to puff right out of the black haired girl's ears and nose.
"M-my lady?", concernedly asks the maid.
Reimu Hakurei, of the Hakurei Shrine, demonstrates her skill, speed, and endless talents by eating all her food in half a minute, doing her morning stretches in five seconds, brushing her teeth and combing her hair at the same time, ripping her little sleeping clothes off, including her panties, and putting on her sporty red bikini before the peeled clothes touch the ground, then she jogs in place and eagerly exclaims "come on Rika, you slowpoke! Hurry up and get ready! I wanna see y-err, go to the beach immediately!"
The shrine maid stares at her mistress while those clouds in her eyes appear to start moving a little faster, then she starts to giggle, and progresses to laugh, then tears start rolling down her eyes, frightening the black haired girl.
"Whoa, Rika, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to make you cry," desperately cries the shrine maiden while running towards her maid.
She holds the laughing angel by the shoulder, looking a bit scared, then Rika simply taps the maiden's hand with her own, and says "you misunderstand, My Lady. I am just so happy right now, it's overwhelming! Thank you so very much!"
Reimu looks into the angelic girl's eyes with worry at first, but after looking long enough, she begins to understand something, then smiles sweetly at the maid, kisses her forehead, then says "you achieved your goal, didn't you. Rika, I'm so glad for you. You are finally whole. ...Take your time eating. We'll go to the beach when you're good ready."
Later that morning, at the beach, Keine, who wears her lilac swimsuit, and Mokou, who wears her orange bikini, look to the entrance and wave at Reimu and Rika, the teacher calling for them while the immortal just keeps silent.
The shrine maiden waves back, doing so quite cheerfully, but it's not until Rika, who is in her suspiciously-adorned bikini, enters the scene with her Soraogan blood limit still active, that things get strange.
Every person in that beach go to great efforts to turn their heads to look upon the radiant, goddess-shaped bodied shrine's maid with the gorgeous wings and beautiful eyes.
The shrine's maid takes a deep breath of the salty air, looks to her friends, waves while calling "Miss Keine, Miss Mokou, good morning," and causes her chest to bounce a bit and her wings to stretch out slightly.
This causes the multitude of youkai and humans to gather close to the angelic girl, though instead of lewd faces, she's surrounded by many peaceful smiles, and some even cry from the overwhelming sight before them.
Rika looks around with surprise, then suddenly giggles as she waves lightly at the crowd, and softly says to herself "so this is what it's like to be free. I really like it."
Reimu shakes the maid's shoulder and calls her name, getting her attention, then says "come on, it's getting too crowded here. Let's go and enjoy the beach somewhere else."
The angel girl bows to her mistress, and just follows after her while waving at the crowd, and making a few drop to the sand in bliss, while others just stand in place like smiling zombies.
The girls reach Keine and Mokou, whom are acting just like the other youkai and humans, and upon seeing this, the Hakurei Maiden sighs irritably while throwing her arms to the air, then says "just go ahead and get it out of your system so we can get on with the day!"
She only feels their essences when they pass by her, so not bothering to ask, she turns around to gaze irritably upon Keine and Mokou hugging and rubbing one of the angel's wings each.
Noticing the shrine maiden's irritation, the angelic maid with the peaceful face opens her arms in a welcoming manner, making her generous chest jiggle, and says "there's room here for you, My Lady."
Reimu doesn't hesitate and walks over to accept the angelic-warm hug offered to her, and both she and Rika close their eyes as they hold each other close.
Keine and Mokou respectfully back away, having had their fill of feathery softness, while Nitori, who looks as though ready to cry out of happiness, walks closer to the girls with her spy camera on hand, and softly asks "um, m-may I?"
The maid nods, Julia materializes besides her creator and softly says "I'll take the picture for you," the pushes the shy kappa toward the angelic girl.
While Rika and Reimu hug like a mother and child, Nitori shyly stands in front of them, while Keine and Mokou kneel under each wing, and start petting them from behind, the holographic woman smiles and says "one, two, three, and..." *click*.
The picture rolls onto a polished desk, showing the angel maid and her mistress surrounded with a light that allows only their faces to be visible, while everyone else looks brighter, though not consumed by said light.
Rika grabs the picture, places it in an album, closes it and stuffs it in her luggage, then calls "Miss Reimu~ It's almost time to go. Are you ready? Do you need my help?"
"No," calls the shrine maiden from the kitchen, "I'm just putting the last picture in the album. We can leave as soon as you're ready."
Both girls are wearing their usual outfits for they are preparing to leave back to the shrine, where Suzaku awaits for them.
After Rika hands her last bag to the service robot, she looks back inside at her smiling mistress, and thinks "this is our life now. No more jerks or bullies to torment us. No more monsters in nice outfits calling us names and threatening us. We are living a real life now, and even though they are not here, I am sure mother and father would be very happy for me."
After thinking this, tears start to roll down her smiling face, she takes a deep breath, wipes those tears off with a napkin, then Reimu walks by, places her hand on the angelic girl's shoulder, and says "come. Let's go home, Rika."
She looks into those light-blue eyes of the maid, smiles and adds "the home you belong to, my dear Rika."
The angelic girl lifts her large angelic wings and smiles with tears welling up under her eyes, then nods and happily says "yes My Lady. Let's go home!"
The girls arrive to the Hakurei Shrine in the early noon, and after Keine and Mokou fly over them and say their goodbyes, Reimu takes a deep breath in front of the living quarter's back entrance, and says "ahh, so nice to be back home. And everything seems so nice and peaceful too."
Rika giggles while holding her hand over her mouth, and says "somehow it seems lovelier and cleaner than I remember, My Lady."
The sliding door opens up, Tenshi reveals herself behind it, and angrily shouts "where have you been? Do you know how worried I was? I thought you said you'd be back today, Rika-cha-..."
The celestial's mouth hangs wide open when she gazes upon the shrine maid, who is yet to call off her Soraogan, and as though frozen in shock, she gulps ask "Hi-Hime? Hime? Rika-hime, is that... you?"
The angelic maid giggles, places her bags on the ground, opens her arms in a welcoming manner, then nods and softly says "I... I'm back, Momoko-chan."
Tenshi suddenly screams and jumps from inside the shrine towards Rika, lands right in front of her, and without wasting a second she wraps her arms around the maid, making sure her arms and under those wings, then lifts her friend up and spins her around, making the maid giggle and scream while shedding more happy tears.
Reimu puffs a bit of air out of her mouth, slightly annoyed at the sight before her, yet seeing the angel and the celestial crying and laughing so happily stays her desire to break things off.
Suzaku, still in her human form, walks out of the shrine, wondering what's going on, and watches as the celestial girl places her master on the ground.
She can physically see the new radiance the shrine maid is emanating, and looking upon her master's new light, an overwhelming surge of excitement and happiness fills her, then she runs to the angelic girl and screams "YOU DID IT! MASTER RIKA, YOU DID IT!"
In her excitement she loses her concentration and turns back into her bird form after crossing the veranda, and continues flying towards the girls, telepathically exclaiming "you did it! I'm so happy for you, Master! Mom, Master Rika did it! She really did it!"
Reimu lifts her arm up so that the bird and perch on it, while saying "yes, I know Suzu-chan. She's finally a whole, and at peace."
Suzaku can't help but flap her wings with excitement, while she and the shrine maiden watch those two girls holding each other as though reuniting for the first time after many long years.
After everyone has settled down, and Suzaku is being rightfully cuddled by her master Rika on said maid's chest, the angelic girl scratches her familiar's head and says "you have done a wonderful job with the shrine, Suzu-chan. Now I know you are truly dependable."
The inside of the shrine shines with cleanliness, and any traces from the party the night before have been erased completely, as if by some sort of miracle.
She looks over to the veranda, where Tenshi and Reimu sit beside each other with tea mugs on their hands, leaving a space between themselves, then the celestial looks back and asks "Rika, what's going on?"
The shrine maiden sips on her tea, then glances back and asks "yeah. Why did you asks us to wait out here?"
Rika giggles, places the vermilion bird on her perch, turns around and ignores the fact the blissful bird falls off almost immediately after being placed, then walks over to the veranda while rummaging through her pocket.
She sits between the two curiously confused girls, smiles happily, even coos with delight as she throws her Saboten Stock to the air and catches it three times, then sighs.
The two girls look confused at the maid, who wraps her wings around both, giggles, then gives Tenshi a kiss on the cheek, and quickly turns left to give another to Reimu.
With the girls shocked out of their words, she says "Miss Reimu, Chiko-err, I mean, Tenshi! I know I have been trouble for you for a while..."
The girls are about to complain, but the maid raises her voice and says "AND ALTHOUGH...", then more calmly continues "you say I wasn't, that you are ok with all of it, I still want to give you something to make up for my prior actions."
Her wings' softness keeps the girls blissfully seated in their place while she pulls something from her little cube.
It's a silver-colored gohei with sturdy-looking charms that hang from the tip, which she immediately hands over to her lady, and says "to you, Miss Reimu, this gohei specially made for you. It's made out of the branch of the Divine Oak Tree, Granda. I infused it with Oricalicum through synthesis, so it is quite sturdy, and nearly impossible to break. The charms channel divine power indefinitely, and are made from holy silver threads, so this will help you out greatly."
She giggles when she sees her mistress' face beaming with delight, and adds "I am glad you like it. I wish I could have made you something more personal, but... I couldn't think of anything that could serve you outside of battle. Um, n-no offense."
Reimu gives Rika a hug on the neck, and happily says "it's perfect. Thank you very much."
The maid nods and chuckles happily, then turns to face Tenshi, and her eagerly bight face, and can help but laugh at the sight, something the celestial doesn't mind one bit, though blushes to quite fiercely.
The angelic girl reaches insider her box again, then quickly pulls her hand out, holding a scarf similar to her own, then quickly wraps it around her friend's neck, where it quickly takes a pinkish-blue color.
The surprised celestial touches the scarf around her neck and smiles as her fingers caress the fabric, releasing Rika's scent, and whispers "thank you."
Rika smiles sweetly, and says "this scarf is special. It is made from Formell Fabric, and what it does is simple. Depending on the season, and how you feel, the scarf will change color. For example, if you were feeling cold, it would turn red and warm you up nice and quickly, no matter if you are even braving a snowstorm. However, if you are comfortable, it will turn blue, signifying it's winter."
Tenshi smiles as her cheeks turn pink, then says "it's already warming me up quite nicely. Thank you so much."
Rika giggles, then says "and because it's kind of blue, that means we are already in winter. Isn't that nice?"
Right after saying that, a cold wintery wind carrying bits of snow from the Youkai Mountain's top graces the Hakurei Shrine, blowing away the few remaining leaves on the ground.
Tenshi's scarf quickly turns red, so Rika wraps her wings around her and Reimu, warming herself up as well when the girls get closer to her, then sweetly says "ahh, so winter really is here. Maybe I should cook something special tonight."
When she fails to get a response, she looks at the girls beside her and giggles.
Reimu and Tenshi have fallen asleep under Rika's wings, so the maid simply sighs, closes her eyes, then whispers "I'll wake you up in a bit, ok."
Late afternoon, as the winter winds pick up outside, Rika, who still has her blood limit powers activated, enters the shrine's storage house to look for the ingredients for the night's meal.
She hums a sweet theme to herself, when she suddenly feels a tug coming from her waist, then looks to her family's sword.
It growls at her, her vision becomes blank, and she quickly sits on the floor with her legs crossed and her arms resting to her sides.
She is now inside a white room, where her sword floats in front of her, and has a strange fiery dragon-like white silhouette all around itself, like a powerful aura.
"Kyuseiru," whispers the angelic girl as she bows respectfully.
The shape before her growls softly, and with a deep and roaring, yet kind and gentle voice, says "Rika. You are now ready."
The maid keeps looking down to the ground out of respect, while asking "ready? I don't understand. Ready for what?"
The sword remains silent for a moment, then says "you are finally whole. You are now physically and mentally fit. Rika Onkamikami, of the Onkamikami clan, because of this I have decided to teach you the Dragon Arts."
"Like Ail?", she suddenly asks, looking up at a pair of fiery blue eyes on what looks like the face of a bulky humanoid dragon.
The image doesn't move as it speaks its answers "similar, my dear. Though... in this case, I could say... it is closer to that of what you saw that godling do."
Before she speaks again, the dragon roars "DO NOT SPEAK HIS NAME, for doing so at the time might trigger unpleasant feelings. You do not need those now. Now, I want you to understand, I shall be your master, and you shall learn the arts."
He pauses for a moment to allow the girl to absorb the information, and after her nod, he quickly adds "know this. I will not teach you everything, for you are not a dragon. However, what I will teach you will help you protect all those you hold so dear to your heart, just as you wished so many seasons ago."
Rika smiles as she gasps for air, her excitement evident in her beaming face, then says "yes! That has been my wish for so very long! I am so grateful to you, Master! How can I repay this great kindness you have shown me?"
Kyuseiru closes his eyes and slowly shakes his head, then says "I will try to teach you how to harness my own powers through your sword, and if you insist on payment to me, then promise me this."
He opens his eyes and makes sure to be making contact with the girl's and says "no matter what you learn, no matter how powerful you think you are, always keep true to your heart, as you have always done. And... umm, not to sound rude, but could you introduce me to your cute dragon friends, Kimi and Meiling?"
The maid is not sure how to answer that last part, quickly notices the pink coloring taking what looks like the dragon's cheeks, then feeling all kinds of awkward, she chuckles nervously and says "um, I'll, err, see what I can do. Um, are you sure you don't have any ulterior motives for this? I mean, no offense, but they might get mad if... it... um."
The dragon chuckles, the room swirls like water being drained from a toilet, and now Rika finds herself looking at the concerned Reimu and Tenshi, and the casual-staring Suzaku on Shikieiki's shoulder.
Shikieiki Yamaxanadu has green hair that appears to be longer to the right, blue eyes, and wears a black hat with golden emblems, a white long-sleeved shirt under a blue vest with golden plates on the shoulders, a black skirt, and wears ribbons in white and red on either side of the head, waist, skirt borders, and her elbows.
Even the Hakurei Maiden stares with surprise at the Yama, and asks "hey, when did you even get here?"
The celestial rushes to her angelic friend, helps her to her feet, then looks to the visiting yama and says "I-I'm just here to be with Rika, nothing else. I'm not causing trouble. Y-you don't have to be angry or anything."
Eiki lifts her hand to calm the celestial down, then looks at Rika, smiles lightly, then says "you took on a hard challenge, Onkamikami, long before it's due date. I am very glad to learn of how well you handled that trial, and I am happy for you, for you are a complete soul once more."
The angelic maid smiles, bows, then says "my, thank you so much for you kind words, Miss Eiki. They mean a lot to me."
The yama lifts her hand once more and nods, then lifts her Rod of Remorse to hide her wider smile, and says "yes, well, I just wanted to congratulate you, and to let you know, you are now one step closer to-"
Rika gasps and Reimu holds her chest as though in pain, then the former girl hangs on Tenshi's shoulder for support as she whispers "b-big brother Ail."
"You felt that too?", asks Reimu, looking pained, though more concerned for her maid.
Shikieiki sighs irritably, pulls a small white circular object out of her pocket, stares at it as its inside glow red, then calmly says "so, his second failure. Took him long enough. Would have been remarkable if he had succeeded."
She presses a button on the circular item, the light inside turns green, then she realizes she has an audience, then pockets her item and says "so you felt it. No good. Going to have to fix that, or I'm going to have some angry acquaintances of his knocking at my door."
"Is Ail alright?", coldly asks Reimu, getting a confused look form Rika.
The yama nods peacefully, then says "he is fine. He just went through his second failure. But it is not your place to think on this. Please focus on your own daily lives, for they are filled with lessons and wonderful experiences that should enrich your spirits."
She taps Suzaku's wing and the vermilion bird flies to the shrine maiden's shoulder, then turns toward the door and walks away.
She stops before stepping outside, looks back towards the angelic maid, and says "oh, and Rika, since you didn't understand what the half ghost meant before, I thought it prudent to tell you directly."
When Rika's attention is fully on her, the yama smiles and says "you have been invited to Hakugyokurou to meet with someone new there, however you will be tried before you reach the mansion, so please be prepared for a fight or two."
"Um, wai-wait!" calls the shrine's maid, but Shikieiki is already out the door and ready to do her vanishing act.
When everyone's attention is back on Rika, Mima, a supposedly evil spirit with long green hair, green eyes, and wearing a blue hat and clothes, swoops down from the skies and takes the yama toward the lake at the back of the shrine.
Inside the storage room, Rika looks at Tenshi, then at Suzaku, then at Reimu, and asks "girls? What happened just now? Did she just say something about Ail? And then she invited me to the Netherworld? R-right? Um, guys?"
All three present can only shrug and shake their heads with their eyes open wide with confusion, then Reimu walks over to the maid, pats her on the head, then says "come on. Tenshi and I will help you with dinner."
Rika yelps, then hurriedly exclaims "oh no, I forgot I was to make dinner! My goodness, Miss Reimu, Tenshi, please forgive me!"
The shrine maiden and celestial can only smile sheepishly at the disturbed maid, then from the shrine, Marisa calls "heeeyyy! Hungry depressed failure here! Hurry up. Reimu, I want to hug you! Reimuuuuu~"
The Hakurei Maiden clicks her tongue in annoyance as she and the others look toward the shrine, then says "man, she gets so annoying when she's depressed."
Meanwhile, at the Moriya Shrine, at the top of the Youkai Mountain, two girls sit at the couch of the living room of the shrine's living quarters.
One has wavy green hair that's currently covering her eyes, which she adorns with a frog clip and a snake coil, and is currently wearing a sleeveless white vest with blue edges, and a blue skirt.
To her left are her two detached sleeves she usually wears, which she seems to be ignoring at the moment.
The other girl is a lot smaller, and has large brown bat wings the same size as her body, has purple eyes without pupils, long teal hair she adorns with a white and black ribbon, and wears a brown dress with a large black button on the upper left side of her chest, and an teal band she ties into a ribbon at the back.
The little bat youkai slides closer to the shrine maiden, and asks "mama Sanny, did you feel papa just now?"
Sanae Kochiya smiles, though keeps hiding her eyes under her hair as she says "yes, I did. Seems... he's alright. Although... No, I'm sure he's fine, Budou-chan."
Budou gets a little closer, hugs the girl's arm, snuggles her face on the girl belly, and whispers "I hope so. He didn't feel happy. Not happy at all."
Balance in the Dark, The End
...To be continued in Reset Sukima...
Characters, spell cards and scenarios belong to ZUN -Team Shanghai Alice-
Ail, Budou, Kimi, Kali and Julia were created by Willie G.R.
Original scenarios by Willie G.R.
Rika Onkamikami, Suzaku the Vermilion Bird, Kyuseiru, and the Ancient Ruins of the Onkamikami, were created by Snapshot 2010
MAY 22, 2012
And now I will finally begin with Reset Sukima. I am sure many of you are looking forward to that, more than for the Kingdom Hearts crossover. I might update that crossover after the second chapter of Reset, but there is also another project that begs to be written. We'll see where this all goes.
I hope you have enjoyed this simple, slice-of-life and personal growth spin-off, and don't worry Rika Onkamikami fans, this isn't her last spin-off ;).