Yay, I actually updated something that hasn't been written in the last two weeks~
I'm planning this plan in my head, and it's either the best thing or the worst thing I've ever thought of. Oh, one last note before the chapter…
I wrote this chapter because it stars the Myouren crew. I'm doing this in celebration of the Touhou 13.5 that has recently been announced. If I go offline for a while, it's because I've dedicated myself to clearing UFO for the exact same reason. I WILL defeat Byakuren before this game is released!
Count on it! :D
Oh, also, you may wanna re-read the last chapter again if you're a little fuzzy on the details. It's important to know what was going on in this chapter~
"What? Did I do something wrong, Hijiri?"
"You know, that wasn't very nice to do. Not to Murasa, and not to Nue."
"She won't mind. I know her~"
"Still, do try to be a little less subtle so that at least somebody knows you're you when you're taking the shape of a youkai known to change her shape, won't you? For me, Mamizou?"
"Aw, alright. I should go find Nue."
"And I'll inform Murasa of what really happened…"
"Quite a story, huh?"
Not long before the "true form" thing last night; Dream Palace Mausoleum…
"There are some things about you I just don't get," Nue said to the jiang shi that was the center of her visit to the mausoleum. Nue didn't get why Yoshika preferred the old monstrous cooking over Nue's new and improved dishes. "You know that, Yoshika?"
"Heh-heh, even a jiang shi is entitled to a little mystery~"
"Yeah, got that-" RUSTLE! "Hm?" Nue's eyes went over to the bush that just made the noise. That particular bush wasn't there when Nue got here. Probably just somebody's cheap camo to spy on Nue. Best to deal with them. Stepping over to the bush, Nue grabbed the top, and pulled. It didn't come out. Nue pulled harder. It still didn't come out. "Okay," the youkai said to herself. "On three. One…two…"
"Hold it," the bush shouted.
"It's me," the alleged plant said, shifting into a more humanoid form; growing ears and a tail. Then the final touch; a pair of glasses nestled skillfully upon this youkai's nose. "It's just me, Nue."
"Well, I'll be! Mamizou! Aren't you a sight for sore eyes?"
"Aren't I ever. So, tell me, how come you're hanging out with these Mausoleum folks? You know, the ones you called me out for to be used against them?"
"We'd better get comfy. It's quite a story."
Back in Byakuren's office; currently…
"I figured I'd pose as Nue for the night, since she decided to sleep over there last night, and I did everything like Nue did. I saw Murasa spying on me, and decided to have a little bit of fun by toying with the sailor."
"I can sort of understand where you're coming from, but I have one question."
"What did you use as Nue's fake true form?"
A little later; Eientei…
"My bad," Mamizou said, watching Byakuren get rushed off. "I understand a sailor having a massive nosebleed over this kind of stuff, but I didn't think it'd work on you, too."
SLAM! "I came the second I heard," Murasa shouted. "Everybody else isn't that far behind!"
"Oh, Murasa. Perfect timing. I've gotta tell you something."
"Oh yeah? What's up?"
"When you thought you saw Nue's real form last night…that was actually me. Sorry."
"W-Wait," the sailor said, the green in her eyes occasionally flickering to the red more characteristic to the real youkai. "Y-You…" In the blink of an eye, Nue let it be known that it was indeed Nue, and finished "You showed her my true form?"
"Nah, I just made up a fake true form. Nice to see you too, by the way."
"Here's the part where we laugh."
"HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA! That's freaking hilarious!" Now Murasa had the wrong idea of what Nue's true form was! She couldn't wait for Murasa to start spreading the word, only for Nue to confirm the sailor's claims as wrong! "How do you think she'd react to my real true form?"
"Your true form? I think…she'd be scared. Very scared." It scared Mamizou, but was oddly captivating once one got past its horror factor. There was good reason Nue didn't use that form. It led to bloody noses and soiled trousers the world over before she arrived in Gensokyo, so she decided to massively tone herself down shortly after arriving, which led to the commonly recognized six-winged form people identified the undefined girl with. The same one Mamizou utilized last night.
"But she'd also be head-over-heels wild for me. Maybe it's best to not use that form where she can see." Inversely, maybe she would show that form to Yoshika sometime.
Marisa Kirisame's house…
"Thank you for letting me spend the night," Shou said, hand on the doorknob. "It seems the rain has stopped, so I can go search in earnest. Just so I know I've got the facts right, though, could you please tell me what happened again?"
"Sure thing, ze," the black-white witch said. She didn't have the pagoda anymore; she was misusing its power shortly after stealing it, and she eventually lost it. "After I took your pagoda, I went over to see what it could do…"
"I bet the reporter's heart is WAY wicked," Marisa said mischievously to herself. After speeding past the Myouren Temple, Marisa had flown around a little to lose anybody that might have been on her tail. She'd landed not far from the Hakurei Shrine, but not AT the shrine in fear of Reimu forcing her to return her newest stolen item. "I wonder what the Bunbunmaru would look like if I used this on her, ze." Only one way to find out. So, hopping back on her broom, Marisa took off!
Witches are now traveling…
"Almost there, ze. Just a little further, and-"
WHOOSH! A massive gust of wind, strong enough to almost tear Marisa off her broom, blew her right off course, and blew her hat right off her head. "MY HAT!" Marisa always flew with one hand on her broom, and if she let go with the other in these newfound windy conditions, she'd surely fall right off her broom and to her unpleasant demise. In the other hand…the jeweled pagoda. Damn. "Well, looks like I'll never find out, ze." And so, Marisa casually tossed the pagoda into the wind to let it go wherever it would, chasing after her hat instead.
"Not like it's gone forever, ze! It has to be somewhere, right?"
"…I can't believe you ditched it over a hat." There was only one jeweled pagoda, and it was priceless. In the world, there were dozens, if not hundreds of witch hats Marisa could just find and steal, or she could even make her own. Clearly, the witch had no sense of the true value of an object beyond what she could personally gain with it. The second Shou found the jeweled pagoda again (and after Byakuren's confiscation of it was finished) she'd have to come back here and massively cleanse Marisa's heart. Pulling open the door, Shou stepped outside into the no-longer rainy Gensokyo, Shou's extremely unenviable journey for the jeweled pagoda began…
Meanwhile, back at the lair-er, temple…
"Ah, I see you're trying out a new look," Byakuren complimented to the temple's one and only guardian; Ichirin Kumoi. It wasn't all that different from her usual look, though the impact of the one subtle difference was pretty large taken into account her usual appearance. "Any particular reason?"
"Nue said it would look better this way," Ichirin replied, shrugging a little in uncertainty. The only thing that really changed was that Ichirin's hood was no longer up all the time; Nue had told her to try wearing it down and tying her hair back into a ponytail. "I'm not sure. I think it's somewhat childish, which is rather unbecoming of a guardian."
"With the hostilities with the Taoists faded away, we don't have much need for guarding the place with such vigor any longer. I personally believe your new look is very fresh. Did Unzan give you his take yet?"
"He said it reminded him of when I was little. That seems to help my argument of it looking childish, though…" Maybe Nue, whose true form was an absolute mystery to all (except for Mamizou, apparently) wasn't the best person to take hair advice from. "Oh, also, I heard a rumor in the village. About you, no less!"
"Oh, really? What are the humans saying about little ol' me?"
"Well, I mean, it's just a rumor, but I've heard that you've got something big planned out. Like, really big." The exact rumor Ichirin heard was that Byakuren was planning to expand the Myouren Temple's reach without making it fly. The reason? On a general basis, humans didn't fly. "Is there any truth to the rumors that you've been planning to expand the temple's reach?"
"Ah, I tried that once before. It coincided with the incident with the Taoists appearing, remember?" Byakuren had set up a shrine, appointed a random youkai as the miko (this is a Buddhist temple, not Shinto, right?) and then the miko of darkness resolved the divine spirits incident. Then the shrine got destroyed, and Byakuren acted like it never happened to begin with. "But yes, I'm planning on erecting another branch, though it seems that shrines aren't quite the attention magnets I made them out to be. It will have to be a temple this time~"
"…" Ichirin didn't get Byakuren sometimes. More importantly, where did she plan to build this branch temple? And who would be in charge of it? She had to know! "Do you…I mean, have you already figured out who will be working at the branch temple?"
"Yes~" A crew of five - maybe six - youkai would be living in and working there. Byakuren saw them near the Human Village the other day and pulled them aside since she recognized a member of the group. "I think a branch temple will be a good thing. M-hm, it will certainly be a good thing for our goal of coexistence, won't it?"
"I suppose so. I worry though. You've got that look on your face." The one Byakuren got when there was more to her words than she let on. Was she up to something? Perhaps Nue or Mamizou would know more; both of them were excellent spies thanks to their abilities. Once again, the need to know overwhelmed Ichirin! "I'll just not worry about it, though. I'm going to find Nue…maybe Mamizou if I find her first." With that, Ichirin took off, still sporting her new look of the hood being down and the hair tied into a ponytail.
I think Ichirin has the potential to be one of the most beautiful Touhou characters, but the hood ruins it. All the fanart I've seen where her hood is down, even if it's just for a second, is wonderful, much like how I've never seen a straight-haired Nue I don't like.
And now on a totally unrelated note, I want to share the greatest conversation I've had in a long time. Me and a user on roleplayerguild (no, Sonanoka, it's not you) had it just yesterday. I forgot their username, though ^_^;
Them: I think your obsession with Touhou might be unhealthy.
Me: Nothing bad's happened yet, so it's okay :D
Them: Now I'll just wait for you to dye your hair green and smoke the souls of others or whatever you said.
I laughed, because I actually do plan on dying my hair green sometime, and yes, it's entirely because of Mima.
Now that that's outta the way, I really should get those Taoists back in the story. Like, NAO!