A/N: The tale must go on!
Those of you reading this, I applaud your patience. (I also sympathize with you on the extreme boredom which must be plaguing you, for you to go as far as finishing all six chapters of this unassuming tale.
Oh... just five so far?
And they're under 2K words each?
You probably just jumped here and skipped all the nonessential stuff anyway. (And to arrive at stuff that is even more nonesse- let's move on...)
A gentle breeze cascades over an edition of Aya's Cardboard Box Photo Essay Special, turning the pages. Alice Margatroid takes heavy, deep breaths as she glances from page to page of Aya's magnificent artwork. She now stumbles awkwardly away from the tengu's treetop dwelling, the tengu reporter herself waving goodbye by the door.
That's right, there is a unique price one must pay to be allowed to subscribe to this, *cough* exciting, magazine, and that is having oneself appear in the publication itself. Initially, Alice was reluctant due to this. Now, after having stabbed stabbed through a human, all sense of morals has been lost to the doll puppeteer. The image of a male human dressed in a doll costume, his blood pooling on the forest floor and ruining Alice's dress (Aya had to offer her a change of clothes for her shining moments), had played over in Alice's mind so many times, she had become numb to the thought. Now, she humbly resorts to passing the time with some simple mental stimulation.
"It's no use," she sighs as she closes the magazine. "I thought there would be more of Marisa. Though Marisa does have a boyish figure. What if... what if I'm hotero... hetorosex..." It's as if she had forgotten how to say the word. No one in Gensokyo uses it anyway. Alice's face gives way to a nervous smirk. "S-So what if I'm different? Everyone is different. Being different isn't a crime. It sure can't be worse than murdering someone."
"Oh, and did you murder someone?"
Alice recognizes the voice as coming from a familiar ordinary witch. Asked in the tone typically used for asking about the favorite color of a friend's girlfriend's cousin.
"Oh, lookie! That's great, Alice. I can't wait to read the new issue!" The issue in question being none other than the magazine in Alice's hands, in plain sight. "I see you are teaching them to be role model citizens after all!"
"Eh?" But before Alice could ask another question, she feels a whoosh as her two dolls quickly hide behind her back. They seem to have been peeking over her shoulder.
Reimu Hakurei, Marisa Kirisame, and Tenshi Hinanawi are having a small picnic in front of the Kirisame residence, which looks to be undergoing renovation, tended to by Tenshi's celestial companions.
"It's a long story," Reimu says.
"No it's not," Marisa objects. "Hrm, basically... after we blew up Heaven by drinkibg love potions, I wanted to go to the library instead of cleaning up my house, but then we lost our T-Shirt, and then we decided the best thing to do is have a picnic."
"...Eh... Ah..." Alice smiles meekly and nods in acceptance.
Tenshi gives a nod of confirmation, looking too disinterested to be trusted.
"Hm... That might actually be the best way to put it," Reimu finally says after some serious consideration.
CRASH! Alice has fallen over backward.
Nightfall near the Hakurei Shrine. Human X trudges onward, dressed in his doll costume (having nothing else to wear). By now, he is sure that there is someone responsible for his helpless confusion. One evil lord responsible for every one of his miseries. Just like to how any author you find on the street takes responsibility for the misery wrought on their characters.
Ahem, excuse me...
Sorry, man. You're just experiencing an author's dilemma of having every ridiculous thing the author could think of thrust at you, then the additional dilemma of my having to think of what exactly I should do to you. Pity me.
"Oh yes, I pity you."
The voice is not of Human X. Standing before him is Yukari Yakumo, safely tucked beneath her moonlit umbrella.
"Aye, but it shall do no good to pity me," Human X adamantly replies. "I must seek out the One Who is Responsible and destroy him. Every misfortune I have experienced, and the pain and agony, not to mention the extreme boredom, of the person reading this right now, are attributed to such monster. A formidable opponent indeed. I doubt even the renowned Reimu-chan is of any match to him."
"...?" Yukari's simple response, as if she has just noticed him. "I do wonder. Who gave you those lines?"
"Eh?" Human X looks around confusedly. "Well, yes. Some strange utterances have just recently escaped my tongue..." All of a sudden, he breaks into a fit of rage. "I see. It must be him! I swear, I will mash him up like grated cheese!"
Yukari pauses to finger-count something. "Four things," she says, holding up the respective fingers. "First, When I spoke about pitying, I was not talking to you. Second, you are assuming that it is one person. Quite the arbitrary integer, hm? It might very well be the Negative One Who is Responsible, or the Three Million Who are Responsible. Third, why must he be a 'he?' An innocent girl might be equally likely. In fact, before you know it, you are launching your extreme hatred at three million cute, little girls. Would you, then, still mash all of them into grated cheese? Fourth,"
WACK! Yukari has just walked up and flicked Human X's nipple with youkai strength, causing him to give a shrill howl.
"That's for using an honorific on Reimu that even I hadn't even gotten the chance to use."
Seeing Human X being reduced to a quivering mess on the ground, Yukari softens up.
"But still, there's one small thing you can take pride in," she says. "One thing for which you should keep your chin up."
"...Go on," he grunts angrily.
"There is but one reason you are brought into this world. And your villain you wish to defeat so much knows very well what it may be. It is the key to resolving this disaster, and you must be the one to do it."
"You know something, do you, Yakumo-san?" Human X narrows his eyes.
"Why else should I lower myself so much as to inform a puny human of my deepest revelations?".
"I see," he says slowly, after regaining composure. "I may be of value after all. My suspicions that I may be the only one who can end it all between me and the One Who is Responsible is true. Fare thee well, my Youkai of Boundaries." Human X gives a wave, then continues towards the shrine.
"MY youkai of boundaries...?" Yukari murmurs confusingly.
A fox-resembling girl pops out from a hole in midair. "Just curious, Yukari-sama. Do you happen to know what exactly is this noble act he must do, to challenge the One Responsible, and also prove his cause in Gensokyo?"
After the human is out of sight, Yukari gives Ran a serious look. "Well, you see..."
"The Hakurei armpits aren't there for nothing."
Ran tilts her head curiously, still not understanding what her master is trying to imply.
-The next morning-
The blue-and-white apparel tastes of golden sweetness to T-Shirt X. She savors the apparel down to every last button sewn on the holy fabric before diving back into the bucket of water from which she came from.
"A free lunch!" T-Shirt X happily exclaims as she reverts back to T-shirt form, just in time for a mysterious figure to arrive to do the laundry, humming a tune. T-Shirt X is promptly picked up by the sleeves dripping wet, stared at, wrung dry, then clipped to a cloth-hanging wire tied between two trees.
As the clothing youkai drifts off to slumber, she had already forgotten about her lunch of Yama apparel.
A/N: And just like T-Shirt X, this fic had been wrung dry a long time ago.
Now, as I secretly wish for you to accept my cheesy metaphors, I am going to think of a way to end this fic. (Gah, why are my armpits itching.)
Speaking of which, Lady Rinnosuke still hasn't made an appearance yet, has she?