Welcome Readers! Please relax and have some tea, for the story of 'The Chords of Paradise' is about to begin! Please enjoy!
A/N: Chapters 1-6 were redone, so it should be immensely better. I hope everyone likes it! :)
Touhou belongs to ZUN. If you didn't know that, shame on you!
Chapter 1 – Intro to Paradise
Just another day on the move. Just another day getting by.
This morning looks like it's going to be the same as the mornings in the past. I wake up in the apartment I have been staying in for the past month, looking around the empty place I know I am not going to miss any. I rise from the floor, never bothering to buy a bed or furniture, and prepare the remaining food I have on hand. Once done, I go to the washroom to, well, wash myself before I grabbing my clothes and putting them on.
Once I finish making myself decent for the public, I view myself in the reflection of the only window I have, scratch that, had. What I have on is an outfit I usually wear, consisting of a green, long sleeved shirt and my favorite black vest, a pair of tan cargo pants, and black shoes to finish the look. I have my long, black hair held back in a low ponytail that went just past my shoulder blades, though my bangs frame my face since they are not long enough to tie up.
Finished with looking at myself, I look outside to view the town in which I have been staying in for this short month. I never really have stayed in one place for long, not because I could never afford a place, but because I never wanted to stay. Not since the incident years ago...
For the past few years I have just been traveling across the country, renting a cheap apartment and just living with what I have. Which isn't very much really, considering all I own is my clothes, preserved food, and other minor stuff all in my bag. That, and my trusty guitar by my side. I could never think of going anywhere without it, it's the only memorable thing I have left.
I'm losing my train of thought here... I need to get going. Let's see... I packed up my things last night, so all that's left is to slip on my bag, grab my guitar case, and get out of here.
Leaving my old apartment, I head down to the managers office one last time to say goodbye and to return my key. When I arrive, the manager is sitting at her desk like usual, working on some mundane thing. I have to wonder if she ever sleeps sometimes...
She looks up at me from her work, giving me what looks like a sad look. "So you really are leaving, huh? I told you that you can stay longer if you want, I wouldn't mind any."
I swear, she's way to generous. Not exactly good for business, but good for being humane I guess.
"Sorry, I just don't like staying in one place for too long. But thank you very much for letting me stay here all the same."
"How many times do I have to say it? It was a pleasure having you living here. I don't get much guys like you staying here, and your music is great to listen to too." She comments offhandedly, accepting the key I'm handing to her.
"Thank you for saying so. Anyway, I really should be going now. Take care of yourself, will yeah?"
"I will. Now don't be a stranger Dash!"
Heh, that's all I was to you a month ago. Ah well, time to get out of here.
My full name is Tadashi Rizumu. Having a Japanese heritage can do that to you sometimes, even though I reside in the States. It was my parents idea to give me a name like that, just like parents usually do to their kids. One day, a friend of mine decided to call me Dash as a nickname, thinking it was amusing. However I actually came to like it, so the name just stuck.
Currently I am trying to make my way to the bus station, so I can hop on the next bus out of town. I honestly don't really care where it will lead me, just as long as I keep moving.
I have to admit, this place has some charms to it. I might want to come back some time for once. They have trees growing in places I wouldn't have figured they would grow, and there's barely any liter anywhere. That's really surprising now that I think about it...
As if just thinking about it has summoned it to me, a piece of paper flopped directly into my face, causing me to flinch back in surprise. I flail my hands blindly around my face, failing to grasp the offending scrap, until I finally manage to actually remove it from my face.
Stupid, little piece of... What the heck is this, some kind of flier? Let's see... -Musician Wanted for Party. Any Instrument Welcome! Experience is preferred. Information provided at the following address...- Well now, this is interesting. The date is recent, so this possibly tore off from a wall somewhere? I wonder how much they would pay?
Pocketing the flier after quickly reading the address, I proceed to the destination with gusto, using the little knowledge I have from living here. I don't get jobs like this often, so I take every opportunity that is provided to me. Not to mention parties are just plain fun in general...
I wonder what kind of bash this is going to be? If it's fun enough I may just...huh?
I pause from my trek to new employment when I get a creepy feeling running up my legs. It's a weird feeling, like I'm being watched from behind...and I've learned to trust my feelings.
Crud, now what? Could it be some kind of mugger? I hope not, the only thing I have of value is my guitar, and like hell I'm letting anyone take that from me!
With a quick show of footwork on my part, I try to surprise my stalker with my sudden movements by spinning around. Normally this would be clever, if there was someone to startle. "Who's there? Get out here, I'm in no mood for this!" I exclaim to the emptiness, hoping to draw out my pursuer.
...I think that anyway, but I don't see anything out of the ordinary. Not even a stray cat chasing after some rodent.
Odd, I know I felt something behind me. My instincts aren't usually wrong when it comes to these things. ...Come to think of it, I've been having this feeling for a while now. What is up with me lately?
Determining that nothing is there, I decide to continue my walk to the job opportunity that awaits me. Getting a good look around me, I realize where I am heading is deserted. Double checking the address, I confirm I am heading in the right direction. On top of that, the odd sense of paranoia doesn't seem to leave me alone, but every time I check behind me I get the same results as before. Nothing.
Ah, whatever! This is getting ridiculous! I'm just going to ignore this until I get to...well hello~?
Just as I am at my wits end, I arrive at my apparent destination; A big, abandoned factory warehouse of some kind. From the outside it looks old and really run down, with a little rust and wear in some places.
Ah, I get it! Maybe a bunch of teenagers are throwing this party or something. I remember some guys who used to throw parties in weird places like this all the time! They were an odd bunch... Well, nothing to do but knock I guess.
I bring up my hand up against the large, sliding door of the building, rapping my fist against it a few times. My knocks echo inside, vibrating across the entire face of the wall. "Hello? Is anyone there? I came to apply for that job! Hello~?"
I'm going to feel real dumb if no one is there waiting for me. Or worse, if this is just a prank.
"One moment please! I'll be there in a minute!" A woman's voice calls out from inside, startling me when I thought no one was home.
Huh. Not quite the voice I expected, I thought I'd here a young guy or something. And now that feeling of paranoia is gone too. Was it really just in my head? I guess I'll never figure it out.
The big doors start sliding open in front of me, and once they fully open I find myself standing in front of...an interesting site to be sure. A women that looks to be in her mid thirties with long golden hair, who seems taller than me surprisingly.
...I guess that idea of teenagers throwing a party is out of the question now?
Anyway, what is more surprising than her height is her attire. She has a light pinkish, long sleeved dress that layered at the bottom, with the whole front of the dress covered by a long purple...drape? Not quite sure what it's called, but it looks Asian without a doubt, judging by the patterns on it. She had red ribbons in her hair, along with a light pink mop hat on her head with a huge, thin ribbon on it. To finish things off she's carrying a light pink parasol, though it doesn't look like it's going to rain anytime soon.
That's not what's so weird to me though. It's those eyes... They...they're golden, and they feel like they pierce right through me. They look ancient, but lively at the same time, even mischievous.
That's usually not a good thing if you ask me. Maybe I should just go...
"Well, hello there young man! Are you here for the musician position?" She greets me in a singsong voice, though it seemed underlined with...scheming? It's hard to place it.
"Um...oh yeah! Yes, yes I did. I am a guitarist you see, so..."
Here, see? This is my guitar. Eyes on it, not me.
"Oh splendid, this will be a very nice change! The usual group couldn't make it this time around, so I was at a bit of a loss..." She explains to me as she begins to mull things over to herself. I give her a questioning gaze, letting her know that I do not follow her in the least. "Oh I'm sorry about that! Yes, you will do just fine. Can you play some festive songs? That would be appreciated."
"Of course! I take great pride in my craft. You name it, I'll play it." I gloat wholeheartedly, but not without cause.
I'm not pulling it out of my ass here, lady. My guitar playing is no joke.
"Can you now?" The amusement in her voice is very apparent, though it looks like she believes me. "Well then, I'll take your word for it. I would like you to come with me, if you will. It will be starting soon, and you will need to prepare."
The party is already about to start? Either she plans poorly, very poorly, or she was expecting me to come. That...would be kinda creepy.
"By the way... The guests are, how should I put it, a lively bunch. I can guarantee that you have never seen anyone like them before. Are you sure about doing this?"
That's an interesting line of questioning. Should I be worried? Something doesn't feel right...
Despite my worries, I still proceed to follow her into the building. "...Sure, I've seen all kinds. There shouldn't be any problems."
"As long as you are sure about yourself. Ah, here we go!" She walks through some big double doors casually as I follow right behind. Apparently this is our destination, It certainly is big enough for a party.
...But there isn't anyone here.
What is this! This place is deserted! Something smells fishy here...
"Oi oi! What is this? There's no one here!" In response to my outburst, this increasingly creepy lady begins to walk towards me with that same amused smile, her golden eyes seemingly start to glow with her approach.
"Oh my! Whoever said that it was here, Dash-kun?"
Say what now!?
With my shock freezing me in place, the woman prods me backwards with her parasol, sending me falling backward with surprising force.
Whelp, this is going to hurt. Hello cold floor, coming to break my fall? How kind...
I close my eyes on instinct to wait for the inevitable impact of concrete, but when I felt nothing I open them to find that I have fallen into a weird eye shaped hole...and I am not stopping.
When was there a hole there? Wait, that isn't important! Where is she? Damn it, those golden eyes of hers are everywhere! What madness is this! Make them stop! Argh, I can't take this... I'm losing it... This is just too much...
My head pounds as I begin to wake up, with the sound of birds chirping to greet me and the bright sunlight hitting me square in the face. Not exactly the best things to awaken to, but considering lately I have been waking up on a cold floor, with a dreary ceiling and sounds of civilization, I can't complain. After rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, realization hits me; Why was I asleep? Looking back, the last thing I remember when I was last awake was applying for that job and meeting that golden-eyed...
That's right! Where is that woman, I have a few choice words for her! She has some major explaining to do! This is no time to just lay about, I need to find answers here. Eh...where am I anyways?
At that thought I quickly glance around the room, and from first observations it looks like I'm in some sort of Japanese building, which is odd. The walls, the floors, the ceiling, the futon...
How did I get here? ...No matter, I can figure it out as I go. Where's the exit?
I rise from the roll out bed I was lying on that is the futon, then make my way through the building to the outside. It isn't hard, the place is relatively small. But once I make it outside, my mind goes for a loop.
Well one thing is for certain. I'm not in Kansas anymore. Or North America for all I can tell! Where the hell am I!?
Looking from the outside, I see that I was just inside a Shinto shrine. Although a little run down, it looks perfectly useable, with a donation box and everything. In front of the shrine are the spacious shrine grounds, with a pathway leading up to a red gateway that I think is called a torii, and beyond that leads to the end of the grounds overlooking a hillside.
What I find when I walked past the gate blew away anything I could possibly imagine.
Rolling out in front of me is probably the most breathtaking views I have ever seen, from pictures or otherwise; a lush and expansive valley that almost expands past the horizon, surrounded by all sides by a thick mountain range with no way seeing anything past them. There really is no reason to try though, seeing that each and every portion of the valley looks like a painting from a museum. From what I can see from this spot, the first thing I notice is the huge, lone mountain, towering out there in the distance. At its base is a huge lake that seems to be covered in...fog? Mist? It is hard to tell, but it blankets the whole thing, almost hiding it from view. Sitting on the other side of the body of water, also hiding in the mist, appears to be a huge, red building, perhaps a mansion or castle of some sorts. Just down below the hill I'm standing on, there looks to be a village not to far from here, and near there is a huge forest that borders even near here. Further past the village, opposite from the first forest, is a thick foliage that seems like to be made out of bamboo, thought it is hard to tell from such a distance.
Truly, what I am seeing is a natural thing of beauty. It almost like it is all a fantasy, too good to be real. Maybe I'm in a dream?
"Well, it looks like you're awake." A feminine voice states just behind me.
Needless to say it startled me, and I almost tripped on my own feet turning around. "Gah! What the hell! Don't scare me like that!"
"Ah, sorry about that! Anyway, how are you feeling? You had a hard fall earlier."
Who is this I am talking to...a shrine maiden?
Taking a better look at the lady in front of me, I find she wears a red vest and skirt, with a yellow neckerchief, white detached sleeves, and a big, red ribbon tying her dark hair in the back. The outfit itself resembles that of a miko, but it's heavily personalized so the outfit itself looks original.
"Uh... I'm fine thank you..." My brain takes a moment to process the jump scare, leaving me feeling slow to processes things for the moment. "Um, if you don't mind me asking... WHERE THE HECK AM I!"
The roar that escapes from my being echos through the surrounding area, making the shrine maiden wince at the noise. "Hold on, will you?!" She rubs her ears with her hands, no doubt trying to get rid of the ringing that should be there. "Geez, so impatient... Anyway, you just dropped in out of nowhere, literally if I may add, and were passed out in the back not too long ago. I thought you you were hurt, but it looks like you're just fine."
"...Really? Well, thank you for the assist then. But seriously, where am I? And where is that golden-eyed lady?"
When I finish my questioning, the girl in front of me sighs, very deeply too. "...This may take a while to explain. Come inside so I can talk more comfortably, will you?"
"Err, okay then?"
Obviously she is annoyed about something. I guess I better go with her, best to make sure not to piss her off any more than necessary.
She leads me back into the living room, indicating to a kotatsu in the middle of the room, where I plop down besides and make myself comfortable. She walks off swiftly for a moment, and just as quickly as she left she reappears, carrying a tray holding what looks like two cups of tea.
That was fast... Does she have the stuff already made or something?
"Here, this will help clear your head." She hands me one of the cups, and I take it graciously in my hands. Taking a small sip, I can already feel my head clearing up as the tea enters my body, causing me to wonder what she put in the tea.
"Thank you. I suppose I should explain what happened to me?" She nods, signaling for me to continue. "Well... I was applying for a job earlier, and I met with this weird, blonde lady with a parasol and golden eyes. She pushed me into an eye shaped hole of some kind, and that is when I passed out, I think..."
Short, sweet, to the point. Good. No need to give unneeded details.
"I see... Well that explains a few things." Her face shows signs of irritation, most likely knowing what is going on. "How do I start explaining this... Ugh, I guess I should just tell you where you are first... It's best you get comfortable, because this will take a while."
I have a bad feeling about this...
And thus, for the duration I still have tea in my cup, the shrine maiden gives me a very mind bending, extraordinary explanation of this spectacular place she calls...Gensokyo.
Well there's the first chapter. Please read and review if you would. I'll have the next chapter up quickly!