It's that day of the year again, so enjoy your non canon.

Utsuho stretched as she landed on the floor of the Palace of the Earth Spirits. She'd been busy regulating the reactor for some time. In fact she'd kinda lost track of the day. Orin had been too good at bringing over food while she was working. But the reactor was running smoothly now, and her new senses were telling her that she could leave the place alone for a month without directly interfering. It was time to take a break and go see her mistress.

The odd mismatched echos of her footsteps as she walked down the long corridors reminded Utusho to unsummon her godly regalia. The items helped her channel the Yatagarasu's power, but they were a little clunky just to have around. She kept the third eye as a shiny ornament of course. Shiny things were always nice. Besides the hole it left in her shirt when dismissed was a little questionable.

She found Satori in the library as usual, though instead of reading or writing Satori was pouring over some hand-held item.. The master of the underground palace gave Utsuho a polite nod before returning her attention to the device. Whatever it was it must be quite interesting for Satori to be so focused on it. Utsuho floated over to look over Satori's shoulder.

The think looked a little like the camera that one tengu had brought, but it was larger and it wasn't showing what was in front of it, it was showing a small moving picture. Satori seemed to be controlling the picture by tapping various buttons and the lower screen. Utsuho wondered where Satori had gotten the item. Things from the outside world didn't drop into the hells often.

"Ah, I got it from... an admirer of my literary work." For some reason Satori leaned closer to the screen when she said that. "She thought it would help me if I was more up to date on current trends, so she gave me this device. The kappa modified it to work off magic. Though it needs some calibration."

"Unyu?" Utsuho peered at the device. She could feel the flow of power through it with her connection to the Yatagarasu, but it was too far removed from nuclear power for her to sense anything wrong with it. "Well if you say so Miss Satori. So what does the device do?"

"It's a tool for presenting interactive stories," Satori replied. "Apparently this is replacing books among some people in the outside world."

"Really?" Utsuho looked at the screen again. She wasn't well read, but she couldn't see how these pictures could replace a book. Though she did like how bright the screen was. "So what's this story about?"

Satori hummed in thought for a second. "It seems to be about a human who trains lesser youkai to participate in danmaku duels. This is a big event in the world of this story. Of course the human also faces and defeats villains who misuse the powers of the lesser youkai, but the main goal seems to be to win a dueling tournament."

Utsuho was considering the intricacies of that idea when Satori started. Then she smiled. "Ah. Finally. I left those two in the daycare center for so long I was beginning to think they were incompatible. Now to see what the egg hatches into."

"Egg?" Utsuho blinked.

"Yes. You can leave two of these lesser youkai together and they might produce a child combining their strengths. Pairing off my stronger youkai is an interesting exercise." Satori nodded as she cycled through some screens, then closed the device and stood up. "Well that doesn't matter right now. It's nice to have you home Utsuho."

Utsuho leaned down to catch Satori in a wing enfolding hug. It was good to be back for a bit. Satori threw her own small arms around Okuu's waist and patted Utsuho on the back.

"Ah, you're wondering about Orin are you?" Satori said as Utsuho loosened her hug. "I sent her up to give a message to the Yakumos, which means she's probably fighting with Chen. She should be back in time for dinner."

Utsuho smiled happily. Today was a good day.

Orin showed up late, scratched up and smug. To Utsuho's surprise Ran was accompanying her friend. Ran wandered off to talk to Satori about political matters, leaving Utsuho and Orin to chat and make dinner. To Utsuho's surprise the kitsune was still there when they brought the meal to the dining room.

Satori nodded in thanks as she took the plates. "Yes, Ran is here to discuss the details of our surface trip. I felt it best to go through proper channels this time."

"A surface trip?" Utsuho tilted her head as she tried to think why they'd need to go to the surface.

"Come on Okuu, we talked about this before. Since you're a god now those two punks up on top of the mountain need to start telling you how to use your powers better," Orin replied. "And I need some miko lessons. 'Specially since that girl shot down the human sacrifice idea."

"Mmm. That'd be hard, since there aren't that many humans," Utsuho replied. "But why do you need to go too Miss Satori?"

Satori looked away for a moment. "I... need to get the device I was using earlier fixed. And I should speak to those gods as well."

Utsuho peered more intently at her mistress. Satori was obviously hiding something, but Utsuho couldn't figure out what. Maybe Orin would know. Then again maybe not. Satori rarely hid things from anyone, but she was really really good at it.

Ran seemed curious as well, but seeing no answer was forthcoming the kitsune continued with her message. "Unfortunately due to some recent incidents, we can't let you all come above ground together. One or two lone youkai are to be expected, but one of the pact holders and her two strongest servants heading to the surface at the same time will draw far too much attention. Especially if you travel through tengu territory. My master agrees with the necessity of this meeting though, so she'll sneak you into the mountain. She's making arrangements with the Moriya gods right now, so matters should be ready in the morning."

"Thank you, Ran." Satori turned back to her meal. "We'll leave at ten then, just to make sure everything is settled."

Utsuho nodded and returned to her meal. Tomorrow was going to be a fun day as well it seemed.

The place Ran led them too was almost a perfect example of a newly abandoned village. The homes were just starting to show signs of wear and moss growth, and the streets had only an occational weed or sprig of grass breaking the rock paths. The only thing it was missing was animals. While the cold marble and glass edifice of the palace of the earth spirits was filled with spirits and animals of all sorts, Mayohiga was still.

"This place ain't so bad," Orin said looking around. "The kid has a nice home."

Utusho nodded. Less powerful creatures might be scared off, but youkai had nothing to fear. "Lots of good places to roost." The Palace of the Earth spirits could be a little barren at some points. Fortunately, it had a number of cozy rooms too.

A tear opened up in space and a woman with a parasol and a sour expression walked out. The woman frowned even deeper as she saw Satori, Orin and Utsuho standing looking around. Ran bowed to the woman. "The delegation from Chireiden is here."

"So I see. Welcome to Mayohiga and all that." Yukari sighed. "There's been a slight change in plans."

Utsuho watched as Satori leaned forward. It was something her mistress did when she wanted to focus on a particular person's heart. "I see. The Moriya gods want us to wait a day before seeing them. And they insist that we wait outside of hell. How annoying." Satori then smirked. "Well, that shouldn't be a problem. I can leave Utsuho and Orin in your care while handling my personal matters then."

"That will work. Ran can lead you all to a guest house while I get ready." Yukari quickly turned and walked away.

Ran's ears twitched beneath her hat. "Sorry about that."

Satori politely waved it off. "I'm well aware that Yukari hates having her actual feelings known." Utsuho was always impressed at how quickly Miss Satori was willing to forgive people's stupid complaints about her powers.

Ran began walking into the center of the village. "Well then, let's get you two settled. Do you have any preferences?"

"A place with an internal bath'd be nice," Orin said. "So we don't get cold walking outside."

Utsuho nodded. "Ah, and a house with a large closet would be good too." She prefered small areas to roost in. Above ground crows might like more open areas, but hell crows tried to get caves for their nests.

Ran considered the requests. "That shouldn't be a problem. The house is a little small, but you two have no issue sleeping in the same room right?"

"Nyahaha, shouldn't be an issue no," Orin said with a wave.

"Then this should do nicely." Ran walked up to a small house and opened the door. Utsuho peered inside, Orin right behind her. It was a single main room, with a bath and pantry in the back, and a large futon closet to the side. It looked like there was only the one door, but the place was clean and had a few lanterns to keep it bright.

"Ah! This will be great." Utsuho let her wings flutter in appreciation. She preferred her own nest with it's array of shiny objects of course, but this would do nicely.

Orin simply nodded. "It'll do fine. Thanks." Cats were less openly attached to spaces, even when they obviously really liked them. Utsuho never really understood it, but she'd learned to work around a lot of Orin's eccentricities.

"This does look like a fine place." Satori bowed to Ran. "Thank you for providing so well for my pets."

"It's no problem," Ran replied. "In any case please feel free to make yourselves at home. Chen will be by to bring you meals." Ran and Satori both gave Orin a dark look as the kassha's tails started twitching in anticipation.

Utsuho internally sighed and moved to scratch Orin behind her cat ears. Her friend pouted

a little, but deflated as her thoughts of mischief slowly vanished. Utsuho didn't know how her feline friend managed when she wasn't around to stop the kassha's more feral moments.

The matter settled Ran continued on as if nothing had happened. "While I know it's a bit much to ask, it would be best if you stayed inside the village, and preferably inside this house."

Utsuho blinked. "Eh? Why?"

Ran looked slightly embarrassed. "Well, uh, the border around this area isn't entirely secure, and it would be a big problem if you two were spotted. After all that's sort of the point of all this..."

"Just trust Ran on this you two." Satori said. "I'm sure you two can find ways to pass the time together."

"Hm... I suppose." Orin's tails swayed a little, but she shrugged then smiled at Utsuho. "It's been a while since we sat down and had a good long heart to heart right?"

"Yeah." Utsuho smiled in return. Her time in the reactor wasn't going to be that interesting to Orin, but she could at least talk with her friend about all the interesting oddities above ground. And maybe she could give Orin a bit of below ground gossip too.

Satori nodded and patted them both on the head. Utsuho leaned in to rub against her master's hand. "I have to go now, so be good girls while I'm out. We'll all go see the gods tomorrow, okay?"

"Mhm!" Utsuho and Orin replied.

Satori petted the two for a few more minutes before finally pulling away and waving goodbye. Utsuho returned the wave as Satori and Ran walked away. As they did Satori turned to Ran and said, "Thank you again for the accommodations. I'm sure those two will enjoy this little daycare center while I'm out and about."

"Unyu~?" Something about Satori's sentence started rattling around in Utsuho's head. She couldn't quite place it though. Maybe if she thought about it-

"Hey, Okuu!" Utsuho jumped and fluttered in surprise as Orin waved a hand in front of her face. "Don't space out on me here."

"Ah sorry, Orin." Utsuho tossed the thought into the back of her mind and shut the door. She turned to her friend with a smile. "So anything interesting happening that you forgot to tell me last night?"

"Hm? Not really," Orin moved to the closet and pulled out a kotatsu. Utsuho moved to help her friend set it up. "I told you all the really interesting stuff before."

"Is that so?" Utsuho thought for a moment as they set up positions opposite each other. "Then I don't suppose you know what Miss Satori is really doing on the mountain?"

"Eh, so you think that machine's a cover story too?" Orin stretched. "I dunno. I'm really curious though. I heard some interesting rumors about the mountain from Momiji, but the only thing that's happening up there is one of the young reporter's gone kinda crazy. She's been swapping between getting really drunk and asking weird philosophical questions and conducting really strange interviews. But I don't really think that's got anything to do with Satori."

Utsuho considered the matter. "Unyu... I remember hearing Miss Satori had a visitor and then got really drunk after they left, but she does that whenever someone gets really mean about her powers." Utsuho had considered heading above-ground to beat up the person responsible, but she'd been distracted by other matters. She made a note to remember it again when she was less busy.

Orin seemed to think on that for a moment then shook her head. "Nah. No way a tengu would..." The kassha's ears twitched as she dismissed the idea. "Well maybe we can figure out more tomorrow. Anyway Okuu, why don't you tell your 'priestess' what's been happening on the god front will ya?"

Utsuho smiled at that. "Maybe if you prayed to me I'd be able to answer that." She sighed and started preening her wings. "Honestly, I'm still having trouble with it. Especially the being in two places at the same time thing. I just don't understand it."

Orin yawned. "Hm... Normally I'd call you a birdbrain, but that kinda makes my head hurt too. Maybe it's like dream walking or whatever they call it..."

The two chattered back and forth for some time about dozens of inconsequential things. Orin usually led the conversation, but neither of them were bored. It really had been too long since she'd spent a day with her closest friend.

Their conversation was finally interrupted by a loud rapping followed by the door sliding open abruptly. Chen stood frowning in the doorway, holding a platter of various meats. "Here's dinner," the nekomata said, all but dropping the plate on the table.

Utsuho gave Orin a worried glance, but while Orin's tails were lashing about she seemed to be smiling in sadistic pleasure. "Thanks for the service kid. We'll take it from here." Chen simply grunted in reply and quickly left the house, slamming the door behind her. Orin chuckled. "Oh that kid's too easy to rile up."

"Just don't do it too often," Utsuho chided. She didn't understand Orin's need to tease other cats. Crows were usually friendly with one another. Well unless the other crow was a jerk.

"Sure sure. Anyway let's eat!" Orin tore into the meat with her usual abandon. Utsuho was more picky, carefully using her fingers to pick at the foods, grabbing the softest parts first.

They'd just finished up the meal when the atmosphere in the room shifted. Both of them stiffened as the power of a minor seal flowed through the room.

Orin hopped up and leaped towards the door. "A seal? Is that stupid kitten playing around?"

"That doesn't seem right..." After all there was no way a minor seal could hold a youkai like Orin, much less her own god powers. There had to be another reason right?

Utsuho tilted her head and thought about the matter. She knew she'd set something aside previously. Something that might be important. She'd always had problems with her memory, but if she worked really hard at thinking things through sometimes...

Then that thought she'd put away finally rattled back to the front of her head. Satori had called it a daycare center. Just like in her story. Satori's words came to her. "Pairing off my stronger youkai is an interesting exercise."

The more Utusho thought about it the more things lined up. Satori had also been awfully evasive about how exactly they would pass the time. The daycare center comment. Finally someone had put up a seal to ensure they would have privacy. And it made sense too. After all, weren't Orin and her Satori's strongest pets.

Orin and her's child~!

It was a little scary to think about. After all she was breaking several hell raven taboos. But part of being a pet was suppressing your animal instincts to help your master, right? And she really really liked Orin. In fact it was almost a relief to not have to worry about such matters. Perhaps that was part of Satori's plan too. Satori was such a wonderful owner.

Orin was still picking at the door. Obviously her friend hadn't realized Satori's intentions. "Bah. That stupid kitten is way too good at black magic seals. I'm gonna have to summon up a ghost or two. Or I suppose you could just vaporize the door Okuu?"

Utsuho unfastened her top two buttons and dismissed her third eye gem, allowing her shirt to fall open. "We don't need to do that Orin. After all it's better if the door is sealed for this."

She felt another surge of fear and excitement as Orin's jaw dropped. Her feline friends ears twitched and tails stood up in shock, but there was no sign of panic. "W-what are you doing Okuu?"

Utsuho slowly stepped forward, making sure not to spook her dearest companion. "What we've both wanted to do for a long time Orin. Miss Satori thinks it's best for us too. So we shouldn't fight it anymore."

Orin blinked but she didn't move back. "Wait, you actually... but what about the whole mating thing? That's- And it's not the right season?"

And now the kassha was right where Okuu wanted her. She threw a wing around the kassha and drew Orin close before starting to scratch behind the cat ears. "It's all okay. Your goddess gives you permission, Orin~3"

As her friend started to purr Utsuho knew she had Orin in the palm of her hand.

"What were you thinking?!"

"But Raaaaan-"

"Don't you 'but Ran' me! These two are unique guests! We're on strained enough relations with the underground as it is!" Ran dragged her shikigami by the scruff of her neck to the house. Normally she overlooked Chen's childishness, but this was going to far. "I don't care how much that Orin girl pesters you, when she's a guest you have to be acting as a diplomat!"

She stopped in front of the small house and planted Chen in front of the seal on the door. "Now I want you to-"

A loud thump from inside stopped her mid rant. "Fine then 'my goddess'! But I won't hold back!"

"Ahn~! Orin, don't nibble my wings like that!"

Ran clapped her hands over Chen's ears. "We'll discuss this further later young lady. Now let's go back to your chores." She quickly turned and walked away. This seemed like something that demanded privacy.

Satori carefully composed herself as she stepped through the gap. It wouldn't do to have her true intentions known to all of Gensoukyo. She was pretty sure Yukari had figured it out, but the gap youkai knew better then to engage in a blackmail war with a Satori. Besides while Yukari hated her and her kind, it was an impersonal dislike.

To her surprise Yukari was waiting for her on the other side of the gap. Normally she simply opened the portal and let Ran close it. Satori's third eye focused as she tried to figure out why the gap youkai was here to greet her.

The answer left her open mouthed in shock.

She watched robotically as Yukari began her deadpan recitation. "Ah there you are. We were raising your youkai and boy were we surprised. Your youkai had an egg." Yukari reached into a gap and pulled out a foot long egg. "We don't know how it got there, but your youkai had it. You want it, yes?"

Satori could only nod weakly. Fortunately she had enough presence of mind to carefully grab the egg from Yukari and hold it to her.

"Take good care of it." Her speech over Yukari's eyes and voice both sharpened considerably. "And now please take that walking bomb of yours and get those damn stupid gods to teach her how to control her miraculous power before she does something dangerous instead of ridiculous!"

Satori blinked and simply nodded again. She had so many questions, but for some reason the only thing that formed into a coherent sentence was, "I wonder how many steps it will take to hatch."

Don't read pokemon stuff and aoshima comics at the same time kids.