Introduction/Chapter 0: Homeland of the Yokai
"Okay, I'll admit. I am hopelessly and utterly lost."
I don't know how long I've been here, but I must have been walking for a few hours. Before that, I found myself in this uncharted jungle of a bamboo forest with a throbbing headache with no idea how I got here.
The last thing I remembered was walking back home after finishing my part time late at night. I just left for home after finishing my part-time
Suddenly, all the lights went out. The street lights, the lights in nearby houses, even my cell phone. I tried to move, but then a blunt strike beamed my head.
I reach for my cell phone, but it was missing. Now I have little choice but to walk, and all the stalks look the same. And no matter where I go, everything looks the same!
I must be going insane. At this rate, I'll never get out! I'm gonna die-
I hit my head on bamboo shoot to keep my thoughts from going in that direction.
Stay calm, no matter what situation you are in. Acting on your emotions will only bring ruin. Breathe in, breathe out… C'mon, Seido! Get a grip!
I have to stay calm; I can't afford to panic now. Besides running around like a chicken with its head cut off won't do me any good.
I turn around in reaction to a sudden movement.
Am I seeing things, or is there really a Nagashi-Bina doll standing in front of me?
"Are you lost?"
There is a life-sized version of the said doll, shaped like a little girl and staring at me with a creepy grin on her face, asking if I am lost.
This has got to be some sick joke.
I reach out and began pulling off the doll's head. "Look, I don't know who you are, but I really don't wanna be bothered right now."
I expected someone's head underneath the silly costume. Instead, I get a gaping hole.
"Why did you tear off my head? That is very impolite you know."
I look at the head still in my hands, giving me a look that a condescending adult toward a misbehaving child.
"Would you mind returning my head? I'd rather have it back."
I shriek from the talking disembodied head in the hands. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" I shouted while tossing the head back at the body.
"No harm done." The doll said while putting its head back on. After it reattaches to the neck, the doll moves its head to test it. "As yokai, we're more durable than you humans,"
"Oh, that's good… Wait a minute, did you say 'Yokai'? As in those monsters and spirits in those old legends? They exist?"
"Of course, we exist. You're staring at one right now, aren't you?"
Then it clicks.
"So Yokai, as in Tengu, Oni, Kappa, Tanuki, Karakasa…"
"All of them, every single one of them exists."
… So, I've gathered.
"...Where am I?"
"You're in Gensokyo, outsider."
Wait, what the heck is a Gensokyo?
"You must leave. This is no place for your kind to be in. Follow me to the exit, please."
Left with little choice, I followed the doll as she led the way.
"Now, what do you want to know?" she asked.
"First, what is your name?"
She glanced behind me, "Of all the things to ask first, you ask for my name instead?"
"It's pretty much the first thing I ask when meeting a new person. Though there are a few exceptions like just now."
"… My name is Osamu, and yours?"
Osamu told me that before Gensokyo came to be, it was once a desolate, haunted region of Japan. The yokai here terrorized the surrounding regions, so humans with great, spiritual power were sent to exterminate them. The battle between the two continued until Gensokyo was sealed off from the rest of the outside world using the Great Hakurei Barrier.
"Wait, so the barrier was created to keep humans outside away instead of keeping the yokai in?" I asked.
Osamu chuckled, "Both, actually. Because of it, we yokai have gained a home while the humans will no longer trouble us. However, some humans have chosen to live here in their village."
"A win-win scenario. So how did I get here?"
"That, I am not sure. The Hakurei Shrine is the only known gateway between Gensokyo and the Outside World. Sometimes, humans wander in by accident. Despite that, it is supposed to be the only gateway to the Outside World. Some yokai have managed to create holes in the Great Boundary. We are the ones who strengthened it, so it is natural we know how to weaken it."
"But… why? Doesn't it go against the very reason the border was created?" I ask, even more confused by her explanation.
Osamu hesitates, "We have our reasons."
I frowned for a moment before shrugging, "Well if you say so, I'm in no position to pry about your business anyway."
"Thank you, Seido."
"No problem. So why did I end up in some bamboo thicket alone and dazed?"
"I do not know. Someone might have dropped you by accident."
Somehow, I doubt that's what happened.
"Ah. We have arrived"
Shielding my eyes from the glare of sunlight, I waited for my eyes to adapt to the brightness before surveying the landscape before me.
A large river in front me, a Japanese village on the other side and a huge mountain behind it, a large forest to my left, a lake with a mist hanging over it, what looked like a large garden way over to the right. Turning around, I counted… four huge mountains on the opposite side of the bamboo jungle.
As I stared at the view with mouth wide open, Osamu grinned, "What do you think of it?"
"Now, I must take my leave." Osamu says as she bows.
"I must scare away lost humans who come too close to the Youkai Mountain and collect their misfortune." She points at the large mountain in front of us.
That's pretty far… Why did she-
"Wait, what? You collect my misfortune?" I asked sounding skeptical.
"Fear not, all of your misfortune has been completely removed."
"Umm… thanks I guess."
"The human village will give you both shelter and aid. Should you still desire to return home, you may wish to speak with the Priestess of the Hakurei Shrine." She mutters the title somewhat darkly.
Curious, I ask, "Did something happen?"
"Not according to your face."
At my urging, Osamu finally consents, "Very well. She defeated our leader, Hina Kagiyama, while scaling Youkai Mountain."
I'm dumbfounded, "The Priestess beat up your leader for getting in her way?"
Osamu nodded. "Lady Hina insisted that the priestess misunderstood her intentions, and now they have cleared it up."
The looks on your face tells me you don't believe it one bit.
I place my hands in my pocket, "Well, thanks for taking me out of that place. Oh! And… sorry for ripping your head off like that."
Damn, that sounds so wrong!
Osamu chuckled, "Not to worry. And thank you for taking your time to listen to this old doll. Farewell, Seido and may you find your way home."
After waving goodbye to my new friend, I take a deep breath and head straight for the village. Hopefully someone there can tell me how to reach Hakurei Shrine.
And done! Hopefully, this chapter is a little better than the last one.
I've read and re-read all sources of canon information on Touhou while writing this. The description of the landscape is based on Onimaru's Canon map of Gensokyo. If there is anything I got wrong or missed, please let me know via PM.
EDIT: Added a few bits and made some necessary corrections.
Now to work on Chapter 1.