A/N: Welcome to another chapter (part) of The Darkness Within! We'll see more important plot devices~

The Darkness Within
Part II ~ "Answer Me!"

Her day had started off perfectly; preparing for the Inter-Dimensional Conference by supplying Dolls and manpower to the Human Village to assist in putting up more fairy lights.

Before anyone knew it, the Sun had set, leaving the Village shrouded in darkness. The preparations were simplynotcompleted and the electricity Yukari had supplied them had been cut off for safety measures, forcing the Humans to wander around their land, praying hard to not be captured by the Youkai lurking in the Forests surrounding their 'sacred' land.

Alice Margatroid was set on helping the Humans complete their task, unlike her fellow Youkai, Kamishirasawa Keine and Mystia Lorelei. After all, shehad to win Marisa's bet – that she wasn't a bitchy Youkai who was only bothered by her own needs. Getting out of her sitting position from under a sakura tree, she gathered her materials and Dolls, sweeping through the poorly-lit Village.

Shanghai and Hourai were by her side, hovering in the air with an aura of anticipation and trepidation. Both Dolls felt something was wrong, but with their limited artificial intelligence, neither could tell their master.

Unhindered by the unusual darkness – the night in Gensokyo rarely bothered even the Lesser Youkai, Alice clutched her Grimoire closer to her before stepping into the cover of the Forest of Magic.

Something seemed to call out to her – the Forest itself seemed to be whispering her name, its magic seeping and drawing her in. Before she knew it, something grabbed her from behind, covering her mouth and muffling her screams.

"Hey, Reimu, I gotta head back home, ze~. I got that feeling that something's wrong there," Marisa started, picking her broom up from a dusty corner of the Hakurei Shrine.

Reimu sighed at the Witch's proclamation, before getting up to send her friend off. "Take care!"

She sped through the treetops, Hakkero in hand. I can feel it, ze~! Another incident! She nose-dived abruptly and landed near her house. Making her way in, she frowned as she noticed Alice's absence. She was supposed to be around to help out with a bunch of potions.

"Alice, Alice? Ya here? Alice!" she yelled, stomping through the mess in the cottage. She poked through every room, looking for the Magician, to no avail. The Youkai wasn't around. Deciding that Alice was probably late, she ventured out, and headed out to Alice's cottage, hoping to find her there.

Marisa's gut feeling had told her to stay away, far, far away from the dimly lit house in the clearing. However, being the impulsive girl she was, she made her way towards it, calling out, "Alice? Alice?"

She would soon regret doing so.

Alice appeared at the door, Goliath in hand.

"Marisa... play..." she rasped, Goliath, the enhanced Doll mimicking her words.

"Wha- What?! Flandre..?!" Marisa choked her words out as Hourai stabbed the Human with her poisoned blade. The poison seeped into Marisa's body, numbing her consciousness. Within minutes, she had fallen into the grasp of unconsciousness.

Reimu awoke with a start.

Something was wrong. Her Miko instinct told her that. And as if to add on to the sudden sense of despair, her left eyelid started to twitch.

If she had felt so... uneasy, then something must had gone wrong. Not only that. It gave her a sinking feeling she had never felt while solving incidents, or even in her whole life.

She had to investigate.

Thinking back, she thought of Marisa taking off into the shimmering moonlight, which was relatively weaker than usual. Even when the moon was waning, its light was enough to dimly illuminate the Shrine. With that fact in mind, she left out some food for Genji, and took off.

Bound by metal chains, Marisa awoke, pain shooting through her body.

It was dark, in wherever she was, and there was no trace of... whoever who had kidnapped her.

Deciding to recall what had possibly brought her into the musty space, she thought hard, until she hit a memory block. She winced involuntarily, and struggled, causing the chains to wrap themselves tighter into her torso. It hurt, and she knew it. With her stealing of Patchouli's books, as well as having read all of them, with some Outside World novels, she knew exactly how she was bound. The problem was, however, that she could not remember how she could get out of her... bind.

If only Patchouli hadn't demanded her books back via Sakuya, then she would've been able to get out of her sticky situation and kick some incident-causing ass. She sighed in defeat as the chains dug into her body.

She would have to wait, then.

As she waited, albeit impatiently, time did not speed up for her, and seconds crept by slowly. Would anyone get her out? Would she even survive this as Gensokyo's 'most loved' book thief?

Soon - she had no idea if it had taken a long time or not - she heard footsteps.

And a feral growl.

Something was coming to get her, and it was mad. She sure hoped it wasn't Alice setting up a prank just to scare the shit out of her.