Touhou Doujin: The Epilogue

Time passes, even in Gensokyo- part 3

Back at the Dawitsu Mansion, during the latter of the former events

Reimu had spent about two minutes shaking the still-unconscious Marisa, frantically talking to her as if she was dead, "...come on, Marisa! Get up! You'd normally come back instantly after getting hit! Come on, snap out of it!"

Dawitsu's voice once again filled the room, this time not sounding quite as menacing, "...oh god, is she alright? I didn't think she'd get hurt during this experience. I mean, she never usually gets hurt in these things. I usually get down to my last two lives when doing a Marisa play-through, but never actually..."

"Will you shut up?" Reimu snapped, "What the hell do you want us here for if you don't want to hurt us?"

Chen knelt beside Reimu, and said, "Honestly, we didn't mean for anything like this to happen..."

"You can shut your pie-hole too!" Reimu added, "Honestly, this is so stupid... and now... and now..."

Reimu gazed at Marisa, and suddenly the reality of the situation struck her. Marisa could have actually died from this. The thought was now all the more real, and Reimu began to tear up, "...Sakuya, is there anything you can do to help?"

Sakuya shook her head, "...I'm so sorry..."

Reimu gulped, "...Marisa? Marisa... please... please get up... I don't want you to die. I don't want to see you go... I still have so many things I want to do with you, so many days I wanna waste with you... please... don't leave... I never thought I'd say this, but..." Reimu began to hiccough, and struggled to bring out her next words, "...I... I... I love you, Marisa..."

Reimu burst into tears, and cried into Marisa's clothes. Chen stepped away from the shrine maiden, as did Sakuya, so as to leave the poor woman in peace. However, shortly after the two did this tactful gesture of respect, the object of grieving began to take that respect right away from Reimu.

"That was seriously the gayest thing I have ever heard." Marisa mumbled, opening her eyes, "...lesbian."

Reimu picked herself up, and opened her eyes widely, her face full of relief, saying, "Marisa? You're alright?" before her face instantly reset itself to her default 'unimpressed' expression, "...I mean, oh. You're alright."

The sound of Dawitsu's laughter could be heard throughout the deranged surroundings, and after the laughter stopped, he said, "...oh, I'm so totally reporting that one to Aya! Reimu Hakurei: gently rebuffed by her homophobic true love!"

"Go to hell." Reimu muttered.

"My Chibis have been there, remember? It's quite a fun place, from the sounds of it!" Dawitsu replied, "...I'm sorry that Marisa just wants to be friends..."

Reimu growled, her face full of anger while Chen, Sakuya, and Marisa all stifled laughter behind her. Finally, she screamed at Chen, "OKAY, IF THIS WORM OF A YOUKAI IS GOING TO APPEAR ON THE NEXT FLOOR, TAKE US THERE!"

Chen sweat-dropped, "...y-yes, Miss Ha..."

"NOOOOOOOOWWWW!" Reimu yelled.

Chen rolled her eyes, flicking off the small droplets of spit Reimu had expelled onto her face, "Okay, okay, honestly, keep your hair on..."

Chen walked along the floor, and somehow located a button on the already hard-to-locate wall, and after a short wait, a rectangular hole in the current space's reality, or so it would seem, appeared to the three visitors.

Chen smiled a small cat's grin, "I'm sure you're familiar with the lifts here, right?"

Reimu, who was still red in the face from her shouting, simply said, "...don't talk if you don't need to, cat."

Reimu and Chen entered the lift first, and Marisa and Sakuya walked towards it a little slower, so as to not be heard whispering to one another.

"Yeah, maybe calling her gay wasn't the best of ideas..." Marisa admitted.

Sakuya smirked, "Yeah, she's scary when she's angry..."

"Are you two gonna get in the lift or what?" Reimu shouted, causing the two to scramble inside for fear that they may get punished by the clearly enraged Shrine Maiden.

The lift doors shut and the silent ascent began. Due to the fact that there were now four people within the lift, the lift ride was somehow even more awkward than the first time Reimu and Marisa had rode it.

Chen smiled to herself somewhat calmly, as if trying to emulate her 'Aunty' Yutaka, and when the lift doors opened, she said, "This is where I stop escorting you. The video game villain party will begin soon..."

Reimu sighed, "...I'm tired and I'm bored. Can't Dawitsu just give me the damn sword and save himself the humiliation?"

"No, he can't..." a new voice called, and the three 'heroines' of the 'adventure' turned their heads towards the voice, and saw a certain kitsune, decked up in relatively skimpy-looking clothes. A simple bikini and a pair of jeans was just about all that was on her, that and a far more conspicuous-looking piece of attire- a square box on her back.

Marisa smirked, "...ah, Miss Yandere herself. How's your kidnapped husband doing? And why don't you put on some clothes while you're thinking of an answer that won't turn any heads?"

Ran blushed, before composing herself again, "...I haven't kidnapped anybody. And you'll find that my so-called 'kidnapped husband' actually forced me to wear this attire for the purposes of this event..."

"What do you mean?" Sakuya asked, despite already sort of knowing the answer.

Ran smiled to herself, "...let me show you humans... I've been practising a few new attack routines... let me ask you, Marisa, do you like lasers?"

"I thought you'd never ask..." Marisa replied, "...of course I do!"

Ran folded her arms, and leant backwards, at which point six robotic arms extended from the box on her back. One supported her weight, while the rest activated what seemed like laser swords from their ends. Ran redistributed her weight, and allowed her lower 'arm' to carry her upwards, so that she stood above the three humans.

"...allow me to show you... my latest routines..." Ran said, almost as if she was trying to sound insane.

Reimu decided to suck all the grandeur out of the situation, and said, "Okay, what's the point of having things to make you taller when you can already fly?"

Ran scratched her head, and finally shrugged her shoulders, "...I... don't know, I guess Dawitsu was just making me wear this revealing outfit for the sake of it..."

Sakuya smirked, "...yeah, that sounds like him..."

Ran suddenly snapped back into her 'villainous' act, and said, "Enough talk! Chen, attack!"

Chen nodded, and said, "My job as an escort is over, so now I'll be fighting you again. Sorry about this. And try not to get hurt this time..."

Reimu rolled her eyes, and began to float upwards, "This is just stalling, isn't it?"

Ran answered the shrine maiden by slashing at her with one of her swords, and left a trail of purple bullets in her wake, which proceeded to bombard the floor, forcing Marisa and Sakuya off the ground also. Slashing upwards, left, then right, Ran sent wave after wave of bullets, Chen spinning and orbiting Ran the entire time, sending a bullet spray of her own.

Marisa switched her attack style so that she was firing large, powerful green stars from her hakkeros as opposed to illusion lasers, and allowed them to trail behind her every movement.

Reimu widened her eyes, "...hey, I haven't seen that attack style since..."

Marisa nodded as she shimmied to the right to avoid a large wave of bullets, "...yeah, since I climbed up that mountain and kicked that arrogant Kanako's butt!"

Reimu's expression became stern, "...excuse me, if I recall, I was the one who climbed up the mountain to kick Kanako's butt..."

Sakuya gave the two a puzzled look as she threw approximately sixty knives in Ran's general direction, and said, "...um, excuse me, but I don't remember any sort of trek up the mountain..."

Reimu sighed, "...that's because you weren't part of that adventure! And Marisa, I can switch attack styles too!"

Reimu proceeded to prove herself right, and hid her yin-yang orbs within herself, and fired some kind of strange purple talismans in a wide arc. Ran was not even flinching from the damage she was receiving, and finally said, "Chen, get out of here, and report to Dawitsu. Tell him I may need his assistance..."

Chen stopped spinning, and saluted Ran as if she were some kind of military commander, saying, "...yes, Ran-sama!" before speeding off towards the next lift.

Marisa kept in front of Ran, and said, "What's the matter, Ran? Can't take the heat?"

Ran smirked, "...ah, you're actually getting into it now, aren't you? Okay, I'll show you something fun... Combination Sign: Telekinesis Blade Rotor!"

Ran fired the five laser swords out of her robotic hands, and closed her eyes, as if concentrating somewhat nonchalantly, and the hilts of the purple swords began to glow an odd florescent green. The swords temporarily deactivated, and began to orbit Ran. Reimu sighed, "Okay, we're going to have to get close to her if we don't want to be cut into a million pieces..."

The three got up close, and Sakuya got out a set of knives in preparation for close combat, before Ran decided to vanish from the situation, and left the three in her spinning sphere of sweeping strobes. The large sphere moved along with what felt like Ran's presence, and the three moved accordingly.

However, this in itself provided no challenge. What did, however, was the various bullets which came into the 'safe spot' from all around them, seemingly coming from the slashing swords that surrounded them. The bullets were forming a dense, slow-moving sheet, so much so that there were a mere five places that the heroines could go without having to put an effort into dodging.

Reimu and Marisa had got their head in the game, and sat still in mid-air as the attack completely bypassed them. Sakuya looked at the two, and grinned. It was her opportunity to throw them off guard, and she subtly moved to the left, and said in a false sounding tone, "...oops!"

She thus used this terrible attempt at feigning a mistake to fly into Reimu, and push her into the fray, where she'd have to move around to evade the bullets.

"Damn it, you did that on purpose, didn't you, Sakuya?" Reimu shouted.

"Did what?" Sakuya asked in a faux-innocent voice.

Marisa laid back on her broom, enjoying the safe-spot, "...you totally stole Reimu's blind spot!"

Sakuya took the excuse where it stood, "...er... yeah... I kinda did. Sorry about that, Reimu."

Reimu scowled as she ducked to dodge yet another bullet, "...screw you, Sakuya! You always make these thing less fun!"

Marisa laughed, still safe and sound, "...yeah, remember when you tried to solve the fake moon incident? Remilia was carrying you all the way!"

Sakuya turned red, "Th-that wasn't true! I was perfectly capable to play on my..."

However, before she could finish her dubiously true statement, she got hit by a bullet, the safe-spot she was in not being so safe any more, and she began to fall towards the ever-shrinking saber-sphere's edge, but before she hit the menacing sight, she teleported herself back into Reimu's safe spot, and said, "Phew, that was close..."

Reimu air cartwheeled to the right, "...damn. I was hoping for a second that you'd fall into there..."

Sakuya turned to Reimu in disapproval, "What the hell do you mean by that?"

"Hey! You were the one who pushed me out of my safe-spot! Why the hell didn't you get your own?" Reimu yelled.

Out of the blue, the attack stopped, and all one thousand and five imminent threats to the heroines disappeared, in exchange for the creator of the attacks appearing in front of the trio.

"...okay, you two, let's calm down..." Ran said, smiling as if trying to be condescending without much feeling.

Reimu folded her arms, "She started it..."

Sakuya suddenly became defensive, "...yeah, well, it wasn't fair that those two had a safe spot and I didn't!"

Marisa, who was still rather relaxed, said, "...in fairness, Sakuya, there were other safe spots. You didn't really have an excuse..."

Ran cocked her head, "...really? I left that many blind spots?"

Marisa remained calm, "I'm afraid so..."

Reimu growled in a high-pitched voice, as if she was regressing back to her petulant, teenage personality, "...we're getting off topic! Sakuya deliberately pushed me into fire! She isn't an ally! I think I should kick her butt right here and now!"

Sakuya readied a knife, "...oh, incident solvers don't think... they do."

"Oh, that's it, you're getting it..." Reimu yelled, and began to summon four yin-yang orbs to her aid.

Ran sweat-dropped, "...um... just so you know, Dawitsu will be arriving shortly..."

Sakuya turned to Ran quickly, just to shout, "...shut up! This is between me and Reimu!"

Ran sighed, and muttered, "...look, Sakuya, I thought you were clear on what we'd planned..." before covering her mouth after noticing her error.

Sakuya suddenly stopped what she was doing, and said, "...um... Ran..."

Reimu and Marisa looked at Sakuya, before they turned to each other, and nodded.

"This makes much more sense now..." Marisa mused.

"...everything's falling into place..." Reimu added.

"You're in on this fiasco too, aren't you?" Marisa concluded, pointing at Sakuya.

Sakuya smirked, and whispered to Ran, "...this is where you improvise..."

"...okay." Ran answered, before addressing the two 'true' heroines, "...yes, Sakuya is here, helping us with this incident! With her time warping skills and your trust, our aims are far easier to attain! AH HA HA!" Ran stopped laughing maniacally to cough a little, and let the others speak.

Reimu cocked her head, "...but... Sakuya, why? Flandre is the nicer one of your mistresses!"

Sakuya shuffled, trying to come up with a ridiculous, convoluted story, "...uh... well... I have decided to ally myself with Dawitsu, so that when he takes over the world, I can... uh... be honorary advisor to him!"

Ran turned to Sakuya, seemingly having forgotten the story was completely false, "...hey, if Dawitsu takes over the world, I'll be his honorary advisor!"

"Wouldn't you be his Queen?" Sakuya parried.

"That is an honorary advisor in my eyes!" Ran shouted.

Reimu and Marisa looked at each other with confused faces as the maid and kitsune continued to argue pointlessly, not sure whether they should interrupt the two or not.

Finally, as an automated version of the former of their choices, the lights in the room dimmed and spotlights began moving around the area as a booming voice filled the hall, "...ladies and ladies, girls and girls, the one you have been waiting for all this time has finally arrived! It's the one, the only... Mateyuu Dawitsu!"

A lift door opened, and Dawitsu walked out of the lift, accompanied by Chen and the two magicians who were obviously responsible for the over-the-top special effects. He looked like he was dressed as some kind of metallic pirate, as did his 'assistants', and he limped towards the four girls, who were now silent in wonderment at what on earth he was supposed to be dressed as.

"Yes! It is I! The great Dawitsu! Here to kick your butts for a non-specified purpose that's undoubtedly evil and a threat!" Dawitsu declared in a ridiculously brash-sounding voice.

Ran's eyes began to gleam, "...oh, honey-bunch, your outfit looks spectacular!"

Reimu face-palmed, "Honey-bunch? Seriously?"

Dawitsu sweat-dropped, "...it's... just a thing we have." Dawitsu stepped back into his false charisma, and said, "...anyway... Reimu! Marisa! I see you have come to fight me! Have you enjoyed your trip up here?"

Marisa smiled to herself, "Admittedly, yes..."

Reimu turned to Marisa, "You're not supposed to agree with him!"

Marisa shrugged her shoulders, "...well, I had fun, at least? Didn't you? It's been a while since I've fought a big extra-level boss like Ran..."

Dawitsu laughed to himself, "Excellent! Then my plan is almost complete! But first, I must do something for myself! Yutaka! Have you got Laevateinn ready?"

Yutaka nodded enthusiastically, and brandished the flaming sword as it was mentioned, "Yes, sir!"

"Patchy! Have you got the blue-prints I instructed to you memorised?" Dawitsu asked.

Patchouli nodded in a far less enthusiastic manner, "...yes."

"Chen! Have you..." Dawitsu scratched his head as he thought of a line "...got something else to do?"

Chen saluted Dawitsu, "No, Dawi!"

Dawitsu sighed, "...then... go upstairs and play video games or something!" Dawitsu continued to shout every line he said, as if he was trying to be an over-the-top loser, "...or sit and watch us, whatever you want! Yah!"

Reimu half-closed her eyes, "Are you actually going to fight us?"

Dawitsu suddenly laughed to himself in a slightly robotocised voice, "...I don't suppose you know who I'm mimicking, do you? Well, I guess I'll just have to show you... Yutaka, extend the ceiling, would you?"

Yutaka held up her arms, and as she did, a shuffling sound was heard, however, the current lighting made it difficult to ascertain whether any change actually occurred. However, Dawitsu's next step would certainly accomplish such a feat.

"...thanks, Yutaka. Now, Patchouli, assemble... the Grolgoth!" Dawitsu yelled, clearly trying to ravage his vocal cords as much as possible.

Patchouli sighed, and said, "...one moment..."

Marisa whispered to Reimu, "...what the hell's stopping us just shooting the idiot now?"

Surprisingly, Reimu replied with, "Shhh... this fight could be good..."

Patchouli raised her arms and began to transform the various paintings on the walls, as well as the tables, into yellow metal plates of different shapes and sizes. Some things she formed resembled functional parts, such as a head which sported two antennae-like aerials, a gun-cannon, an arm, and two legs. Once the pieces were formed, Patchouli concentrated as she made the parts float together, finally assembling one fully-sized giant robot.

Dawitsu smirked, and limped towards the robot, saying, "Now, Yutaka, be a dear and put Laevateinn in the Grolgoth's hand..."

Yutaka nodded, and walked towards the gargantuan robot, and caused the large, flaming sword to levitate into the metallic monster's hand. Dawitsu stopped limping, and floated up towards the robot's head. Dawitsu looked at the robot's head, and laughed anxiously, before turning to Patchouli, "...um... you did form the remote for this thing, right?"

Patchouli stopped in thought, and then said, "...no. One moment..."

After a brief wait, Patchouli created a small remote control, and threw it at Dawitsu, who caught it, "...thank you. Right, prepare for your doom!"

Reimu smirked, "...we've had plenty of time to prepare, trust me..."

Dawitsu pressed a button, and the head of the robot lifted up. Dawitsu slipped underneath the head, and descended into the robot's body. After a brief pause, the head lowered itself back into place, and the robot finally began to move, seemingly inheriting Dawitsu's spazzy gestures as it began to play Dawitsu's voice through some speakers on its chest.

"This is it! The ultimate fight! Most danmaku games involve giant robots of some sort, and this series is no exception! Evil Eye Sigma, eat your heart out!" the Grolgoth bragged.

Reimu grinned, "...isn't that reference a little obscure?"

Marisa turned to Reimu, "...he was making a reference to something?"

Reimu shushed the relatively inexperienced witch, "...now, now, I started my incident solving career a little earlier than you. I know some things you haven't even heard of..."

Marisa's face became blank, "I see..."

The giant robot standing in front of Reimu and Marisa began to stamp its feet, and shouted, "ENOUGH DISCUSSION! I'M STANDING RIGHT HERE! LET'S FIGHT!"

Ran scratched her head, "...in fairness, you have been wasting the most time, muffin-cake..."

Reimu and Marisa both turned to each other, at first only giggling, but then breaking out into full-blown laughter, causing the sword-wielding mech to face-palm with its cannon arm, "...Ran, was there really any need?"

"Honey, I'm just trying to be..." Ran began to say, before her husband interrupted her mid-speech.

"ENOUGH! Ran! Yutaka! Patchouli! Assemble! And... Sakuya, you might as well help out seeing as your act clearly failed." the Grolgoth shouted, and allowed time for his assistants to float to his side. Finally, he initiated the first attack, "...Mechanical Sign: Bomb Cannon!"

The robot aimed its arm-cannon at Reimu and Marisa, who both instinctively began to move under its aim. The cannon shot out three large, black bombs with a strange mechanical-themed skull and crossbones emblem plastered on them.

Marisa began to fly out of the perceived path of the bombs, but the bombs altered their path accordingly so as to home in on the witch.

"What? That's not fair!" Marisa shouted.

Reimu, who was lucky enough to have had no bombs aimed for her, yelled back, "Try shooting at them!"

Marisa fired her typical green shots, and to her surprise, the shots deflected the bombs back towards the mechanical monstrosity that fired them. The Grolgoth saw the attack coming, however, and lifted one of its legs so it was facing sideways, and a rocket propulsion device on the bottom of its shoe allowed the massive mech to slide cleanly to the side, avoiding the attack.

Reimu decided to begin firing talismans at the robot, but, as she expected, she couldn't do any damage herself, "...hmm. Marisa, it seems we have to deflect the bombs back at him..."

Marisa smirked, "...well, that's okay. With these things they never learn to just stop using the technique that allows you to hurt them... they'll always give you opportunity, right?"

The robot proceeded to prove them wrong, however, and ran up towards the pair of heroines before performing a massive leap, making the confused shrine maiden and witch look to the seemingly infinitely high ceiling in an attempt to keep an eye on the mech. Marisa finally spotted it, and said, "Reimu! Right above you!"

Reimu flew to the side as fast as she could, and marginally avoided the great mass of metal and oil that came down onto the floor with such force that it seemed to be a structural miracle that the Dawitsu Mansion was at all in one piece.

At this point, the robot ran back to its original position, and said, "Sakuya, do you want to be useful?"

Sakuya sighed, "I guess being a boss counts as nostalgia, so yeah, why not..."

"Right, when I say, stop time!" Dawitsu's voice demanded, "And when you do, touch the Grolgoth, so I can move... feel free to add any Danmaku you wish to the mix..."

Sakuya smiled, "...sounds like a plan!"

"Okay then... STOP TIME!" the Grolgoth yelled, and suddenly yet seamlessly, Reimu and Marisa had found themselves surrounded by several homing bombs and various criss-crossing lines of knives.

Reimu feverishly fired as much as she could to deflect the incoming explosives while simultaneously avoiding the much harder to deflect knives, while Marisa, who had this time been let off the hook in regards to bombs, concentrated her fire on Sakuya.

The bombs flew off at random angles, and the sheer number of them rendered it nigh-impossible for a robot as large as the Grolgoth to successfully avoid. The robot got pelted by two bombs and fell to the floor, nearly crushing the allies of his who were simply standing and watching.

Sakuya flew backwards, and decided she'd take over, "...I have no reason to continue this fight, but you know what, I'm sure having fun! Illusion World: The World!"

Sakuya fired out several waves of fire, and then stopped time, causing a curtain of randomly moving daggers to appear instantaneously on top of the fire.

Reimu dodged to the left, and said, "...look, we've seen this before. It's kinda old. In fact, it's incredibly old. What's the point in rehashing this crap?"

Sakuya face-palmed, stopped time to add more knives to the pattern, and resumed time before replying, "...don't you get what this whole experience has been about?"

Marisa bombed, sending stars outwards from herself, and clearing the area easily, "...huh? There's been a point to all this?"

Yutaka and Patchouli floated up to where Sakuya was, and the former said to the witch, "...isn't it obvious? Also, Patchouli said that you've been attempting to steal from our library again. We can't forgive that, can we, Patchy?"

"...yes, we certainly can't let you off lightly..." Patchouli somewhat nonchalantly agreed.

Sakuya looked to the magicians, "...I see. You want me to take a break, right?"

Yutaka and Patchouli nodded in unison, and the latter said, "...I wouldn't want you to get hurt, Sakuya. This spell-card is quite the power-house..."

Yutaka grinned her usual unsettling grin, "...so much so that it takes two magicians to perform it..."

Marisa and Reimu, who were once again floating and waiting for their enemies to get it together and actually do something, yelled simultaneously, "...just do the damn attack!"

As if their minds had also melded, Patchouli and Yutaka held each others hands, and said together, without fail, "Very well. Sun, Moon and Water Sign: Refractive Tidal Wave!"

The two magicians concentrated intensely, and as if they were not instrumental to the spell-card's being at all, blue water-type bullets began to rise up from the floor, while yellow lasers shone in from the ceiling. As the lasers hit the water-bullets, they refracted into many thinner lasers, forming an intricate cobweb of lasers that quite easily confined Reimu and Marisa's movement.

Marisa was taking it slowly, and studying the attack carefully, "...hmm. There's water... there's the sun... alright, where does the moon come into this attack?"

Reimu pinched her own nose, "...you're just tempting fate by saying that, you know..."

The water bullets were raising uniformly from the floor, and nature of the attack was becoming more and more predictable. Finally, the water bullets stopped moving altogether, meaning that, although trapped within their own little laser sections, Reimu and Marisa didn't even have to move to stay safe.

Marisa was in the wrong place to fire any bullets towards the magicians, and Reimu was only able to hit them with her relatively weak homing amulets. The situation was currently a stalemate. However, Yutaka would soon tip the match to be in Patchouli and her own favour, and said to the two, "...you know how you were wondering how the moon was involved in all of this?"

Marisa gulped, "...um... yeah?"

Patchouli smirked, "...well, Yutaka will be glad to show you..."

All of a sudden, the 'bullet pool' that the two were in rose at the end closest to Yutaka and Patchouli, and descended once again, only for a section of the bullet pool closer to Reimu and Marisa to rise in its place. To put it shortly, a transverse wave was travelling right towards Reimu and Marisa, skewing the refractive angles of the sun-lasers, and forcing the two to move around frantically, hoping that they didn't accidentally run into a stray 'droplet' that flew at an off angle from the main 'wave'. The wave 'crashed' at the other end of the room, causing certain 'water droplets' to reflect back towards Reimu and Marisa.

Marisa backed into a sun laser, and felt a mild singeing sensation on the back of her top before she flew forwards in a manner similar to a knee-jerk reflex, "Ow! Man, those are hot..."

Reimu, who was beginning to rediscover her insanely good luck from days gone by, realised that the easiest way to dodge the lasers was to relax and only move when she needed to. But despite this, she still managed to get a laser to pierce through her hair, setting it alight.

"AH! MY HAIR!" Reimu yelled, and began to fly around in panic, hitting about thirteen water bullets before her hair-fire was put out.

A certain robotic voice muttered from the floor, "...I wish I wasn't in a robot suit, 'cause it'd be funny to see what it's like when you are the one with the hair on fire..."

Reimu cocked her head, exhausted from all the successive bullets she had hit, "...eh? What are you talking about?"

The Grolgoth got itself up, and the head rose upwards, so that Dawitsu could show his face momentarily, "Yutaka, just stop the attack for a moment..." Yutaka nodded, and thus, the only bullet pattern that seemed anywhere close to beating the two disappeared, and Dawitsu continued, "...don't ya remember? From the golden days? When you sent an evil sealing circle my way and singed my hair? Wasn't that fun back in the day?"

Reimu stopped and thought, and said, "...actually... yeah, it was kinda fun, wasn't it?"

Marisa suddenly raised her arm, "AH-HA! I've got it! I've got it! I know what this whole damn thing was about!"

Dawitsu turned to Marisa, "...eh? You've figured what out?"

Marisa chuckled to herself, "You sly dog, Dawitsu... you're trying to make us have a little fun, aren't ya? You think we're old fogeys who want to relive the good old days..."

Reimu's eyes widened, "...wait... come to think of it... that does make sense... you said you didn't want to hurt us, were always asking if we were having fun... and... that's why Patricia wasn't welcome... why Sakuya was on our side at first... Patricia must have left because... oh, she's good... Patricia figured it out quicker than I did!"

Dawitsu smirked, "...your thought processes must be superhuman... well, more superhuman than my own, I mean. I thought my plan was flawless. Yep. You're right. This is all a sham. Flandre even let me have her Laevateinn... this was all a set up for nostalgia's sake..."

Reimu smiled, "...heh, you had us going, I gotta admit..."

"Now, I guess you're gonna just give us the sword back nice and easy and we'll just go back home, right? I mean, there's no point continuing now that the act is ruined..." Marisa added, but Dawitsu quickly contradicted her.

"NO! No... not yet." Dawitsu replied, laughing a little to himself, "...well, it's been forever since I've been in control of Laevateinn... and well... I only used it the once last time, so... how about I use it this one last time right now?"

"But boss, we were in the middle of our attack..." Yutaka pointed out before being senselessly interrupted.

"Hey! This was my idea, let me do it my way!" Dawitsu shouted, somewhat surprising most of the onlookers.

"Oh no... he's lost it..." Reimu remarked.

"Nope. I'm just finishing the act I started..." Dawitsu replied, and descended back into the Grolgoth's body, and after the head descended once again, the robotic voice of the mech said, "...Combination Sign: Grolgoth impersonating Glastonbury!"

The Grolgoth proceeded to wave the once inactive Laevateinn in its only true hand around as it were nothing, effortlessly spraying wave after wave of red, flame-type bullets. However, it was clear Dawitsu was not content with just one combination of mimicry, and thus the Grolgoth began to lift itself into the air with the rocket propulsion devices on its feet.

The robot then declared, "LONDON MISSILE! ATTACK!"

This call, for whatever reason, caused a whole fleet of missiles to be fired, adding fast, unpredictable projectiles on top of the slow, dense sheets of fire that were being formed from the still-frequent slashes of the legendary Laevateinn.

Reimu smirked, "...if this is what he's doing just for fun, I'd hate to see him when he actually tries..."

"We did..." Marisa pointed out, "...and he was just as easy. He must just take his silly little games seriously. Come on, let's finish this off..."

Reimu turned to Marisa, "...duplex spark?"

"Duplex spark." Marisa confirmed.

Reimu pulled out a spell card, and within moments a bilayered border surrounded the giant robot. The Grolgoth's speakers shouted petulantly, "...oh, you have got to be kidding me! Since when did this thing form around me? Oh, crap, I know what's coming next..."

Marisa grabbed her hakkero, and said, "I'll try my best to sound like how I said this as a kid, just for you, you nostalgia-seeking weirdo! Master... SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARK!"

The hakkero released its annihilation of love, and the giant robot, unlike most targets, took about three-quarters of the total energy of the laser rather than the usual one-thirtieth, and began to fall apart, its torso being ripped clean from its legs. Once the attack was over, the torso fell to the floor, and the head of the mech gently broke off the robot's body.

Dawitsu crawled out of the Grolgoth's wreckage as Ran almost instantly ran up to help him up, grumbling as he did, "...if I were a human... I'd probably have several broken bones and severe brain damage. Maybe I should have let Yutaka and Patchouli continue..."

Yutaka, who had been floating at the side of the fray somewhat sheepishly, concurred, "...yes. If you wanted to win, we were your best gamble..."

Patchouli smirked, "...yes. Intelligence always outshines raw power."

"No pun intended." Yutaka added with a rather childish giggle.

Dawitsu, who was finding it difficult to stand, let alone talk, muttered, "...but... it isn't about winning... it's... about..."

Dawitsu staggered a little, and Ran decided that she had to keep hold of him to make sure he was steady, "...are you alright, darling?"

Dawitsu grinned weakly, "...yeah... I'm just gonna... retire from consciousness for a while, okay?"

Ran didn't have time to reply as Dawitsu's body seemingly gave up on command, and the mimicker fainted, Ran catching him in her arms.

Reimu looked at Marisa in a somewhat disconcerted manner, "...wow, he's devoted to this crap, isn't he?"

Marisa nodded, "Yeah... I guess we should stick around and thank him when he wakes up."

Reimu folded her arms, "Hmph! Why should we do that?"

Marisa rolled her eyes, "...oh come on, don't act like you didn't have fun. Plus, you managed to get out all your suppressed feelings thanks to this experience..."

Reimu began to blush, "...look, I thought you were dead, alright! I was just sad, that's all! I don't really..."

Marisa danced around Reimu, mocking her in a childish fashion, as if Dawitsu's scheme had at least succeeded in regressing them into the mind-states of teenage girls, "...la la la! Reimu's in love! Reimu's in love!"

Reimu sighed, "...I'm so gonna kill you when we get outside..."

Marisa smirked, "Don't you mean you'll almost kill me, take me for dead, and tell me how much you loved me and didn't want to kill me?"

Reimu snapped, and began to chase Marisa, "That's it! You're dead, Marisa!"

Marisa rode her broom, effortlessly out-running the Shrine Maiden, and said, "You're too slow!"

Sakuya floated so that she was next to Yutaka and Patchouli, and said to the two, "So, I guess the plan was a success, eh?"

Yutaka nodded, "Well, yes. It's a shame the Boss isn't awake to see it..."

Patchouli thought to herself, "...surely, if the plan was successfully thought-out, then he should know that the plan was a success. Plus, you heard them... they're staying for him..."

Yutaka looked down at the unconscious body of Dawitsu, who was being cradled by Ran while Chen watched helplessly. Feeling the compulsion to check on him, Yutaka floated back down to the ground, signalling to the others to descend as she altered the ceiling so it was back to normal.

Standing over Ran, Yutaka said, "He'll be alright. He's survived far worse."

Ran nodded, "...I know. It's just... seeing him like this is a little upsetting, that's all..."

Yutaka thought back to the last major injury he had sustained, and sighed to herself, "...we should have included Alice in our plans..."

Chen cocked her head, "How would she have helped?"

Sakuya smiled, "I know how she could have helped. If we happened to be able to get that Yuki-Onna, the Prismrivers, Youmu Konpaku, and Yuyuko Saigyouji in on the act, then we could have re-enacted the cherry blossom incident..."

Patchouli sighed, "...things have changed since all those years ago, haven't they? Sakuya...do you think that I could visit the Scarlet Devil Mansion for the night?"

Sakuya's eyes lit up slightly, and she replied, "...I... thought you'd never ask. It's been ages. Koakuma's really missing you, you know."

"It's strange, isn't it? How when someone leaves a place, you suddenly remember how they made you happy. Koakuma and I rarely spoke when I lived in the Scarlet Devil Mansion, yet... I've missed her, too..." Patchouli remarked.

Yutaka smiled wryly, "...and I think... that I've been missing the Dawitsu Mansion... I see the boss all the time, but I think tonight, I want to sleep in my old bed. Talk with Ran, play chess with Chen... I want to go home for a little while."

Chen jumped up and down with glee, "...Yutaka! You... you're going to stay the night? Yay! I'll have to show you how good I am at the x-box! And play Othello with you! Dawi loves playing Othello with me!"

Ran looked down at the unconscious Youkai in question, and said, "...I'm sure Dawitsu will appreciate you staying here for a little while longer..."

Yutaka looked towards the two fully functional, adult humans that happened to be chasing each other around the floor and had now upgraded the threat to firing projectiles at each other, and said, "Be it ever so humble... there's no place like home. Even if it has been ages..."

The Dawitsu Mansion, nine o'clock post-meridian

The Dawitsu Mansion, after all of the heavy alteration it had been put through, had finally been returned to normal, and the owner of said mansion had been placed on a sofa in the mansion's foyer.

Ran had decided to put on some proper clothes, and the residents of the Dawitsu Mansion, along with Yutaka, Patchouli, Sakuya, Marisa, and of course, Reimu, had spent their time mainly drinking tea and reminiscing the past. It was strange... as if there was an eerie finality to this meeting, as if there was something slowly withering away.

Reimu took a sip of what was now her third cup of tea, and said, "...you know, everyone's changed so much over these years... I bet that a human's lifetime is nothing to you youkai... I bet you haven't even noticed how much everyone's changed."

Yutaka sipped too, as if to concur with Reimu, "...unfortunately, that truly is the case. A life of a human is... but a blink of a youkai's eye. I... I grew up with a human. She was my best friend... yet, when she grew old, I stayed this way... forever young. But... that isn't to say you don't have much to live for. Humans, knowing their time is short, can be far more careless..."

Marisa looked at the magician somewhat disapprovingly, "What do you mean by that? Youkai are just as stupid, and they have a longer lifespan, so they should be smarter!"

Patchouli shook her head, "...that's not what Yutaka meant. Yutaka was referring to how humans live with few, if any, regrets. A human never has to worry about long-term repercussions of their actions, at least, not to the extent that we youkai do. For example, Yutaka converted a large amount of smoke into water vapour to save the Forest of Magic a while back. The air in Gensokyo is far more humid, and the carbon content of the forest is now far lower than it ever has been. This in itself will not affect any humans of this generation. You, Marisa, and Sakuya... none of you will ever have to worry about the consequences of these actions. You'll be long gone before the full effects of Yutaka's actions are known... you'll be... wherever it is that humans go when they die. What I'm trying to say is, you have much more freedom to enjoy yourself than us youkai."

The room stayed silent for a moment, and finally, Marisa asked, "...um... does anyone else not know what on earth Patchouli just said?"

Patchouli sighed in a slightly irritated tone, "...never mind."

Ran shrugged, "...well, I understood every word of it. And I can't help but feel that in one way, humans are blessed."

Reimu looked to Ran, not quite believing what she had just said, "...huh? What could possibly be a blessing about having reduced power, a short lifespan, and being more susceptible to disease and..."

Sakuya interrupted Reimu, "No... Ran's right. We as humans have something Youkai don't have. We can grow old together... we change so quickly, we pass on our knowledge, our hopes and dreams... while small, are a great achievement when made a reality in such a short time. We truly can be who we want to be with our short lives, because, when we die, there's nothing left to catch up on! We can live without any regrets if we truly want to, because... in the end, we only have eighty measly years as a mortal, probably less. We humans... we're like a youkai, but in fast forward. And because of that, everything is much more fun!"

Chen drank from her tea, and mumbled, "...my head's beginning to hurt."

Marisa shrugged her shoulders, "Well, I still don't get why you youkai are all acting like we humans are special or something. Don't you guys usually treat us like animals?"

Ran smiled to herself, "...there are always rungs on the hierarchy according to your logic, am I right? Animals are inferior to humans, humans are inferior to youkai. Well, isn't it strange that animals can become youkai, in one step of long life? Why isn't there a step from animal to human, and human to youkai? That is the flaw in your reasoning. The reason is because humans exist outside of that hierarchy. They are neither better nor worse than either Youkai or animals. They are merely... another form."

Marisa stopped for a second, tried to take the information in, but her mind soon gave up, "...sorry, you've lost me."

Reimu sighed, "...you know, Marisa, you could have at least tried to take part in the discussion like a real adult. I don't know why that idiot bothered with the whole 'nostalgia experience' for you, you're clearly the same kid you always are..."

Yutaka turned her head, "Speaking of the boss..." Yutaka stood up to check on the sofa Dawitsu was lying on, however, he had disappeared, and suddenly her constant smile wavered, "...um... where is he?"

Ran got up and looked at the same sofa as Yutaka, as if that would somehow change the outcome, and said, "...he... perhaps he's got up?"

Marisa rolled her eyes, "He's probably cooking up some crazy scheme or something. He'll probably ambush us when we least expect it."

Reimu folded her arms, "Yeah, that's right. What a stupid idea. I mean, shock tactics and jump scares are about the least sophisticated tactic of..."

At this point, a certain individual phased into visibility, so that he was hovering behind Reimu, "Right behind you."

Reimu instantly jumped out of her seat and screamed, before calming down and turning to the clearly satisfied mimicker, "...damn you! Damn you to hell!"

Dawitsu seemed genuinely dumbfounded, and said, "...um... surprise?"

Marisa got up, turning to the shrine maiden, "...Reimu, that was a little overboard. He just shocked you a little. And compared to what he was doing a few hours ago, that's pretty tame, really."

Reimu glared at Dawitsu, a special, juicy kind of hatred squeezed from concentrate transferring itself from her eyes to his. Finally, she said, "...well, I guess that was immature of me. But still, what the hell? Why did you ambush me?"

Dawitsu twirled his seemingly overgrown hair a little, and laughed nervously before saying, "...because... you're the most fun to get mad?"

Reimu shook her head with mild contempt, "...oh, that's it. You're so getting exterminated."

"Oh please, so impolite..." Dawitsu replied, his faux-calm demeanour returning to him, "Instead of ineffectually threatening me with death, how about we play some drinking games? I have... about five bottles of sake."

Marisa cheered, "I'm up for that!"

Yutaka sweat-dropped, "...um... boss, I don't drink..."

Ran nodded, "Yes, and remember what happened the last time I got drunk?"

Dawitsu shuddered for a moment, as if remembering something horrifying, and muttered, "...oh yeah, that's the reason why there's still so much of that stuff unused..."

Sakuya looked at the mimicker's clearly frightened expression, and curiosity got the better of her, "...what happened last time Ran got drunk?"

Dawitsu and Ran both instantly replied, "It's none of your concern!"

Chen, who had herself gone pale, mumbled, "...you... you don't want to see... what I have seen..."

Patchouli failed to change her expression, but clearly was a little unnerved by the remark, "...perhaps the pursuit of knowledge is not always healthy. Let's drop it..."

Dawitsu seized the opportunity by the collar, and quickly said, "Yes! Just forget about it! So... who's for poker? Texas hold 'em rules?"

Marisa cocked her head, "...what's... poker?"

Dawitsu smiled, "...ah... well, I guess I'll have to teach you. Say, you wouldn't happen to have any money on you at the moment, would you?"

The Hakurei Shrine, about the same time

Jean was seemingly the only one awake on the Hakurei Shrine's grounds at the moment, and was feeling a little disappointed at being demoted to mere babysitter while Reimu and Marisa had fun solving an incident that was a mere 'play' to the causer. Both Flandre and Patricia had fallen asleep, and were sleeping on futons that Jean himself had gotten out for them. He looked down at the sleeping shrine maiden from where he was sat, and at that moment, something in his head flashed. Like he had seen this before... he smiled as he recognised the reason he was feeling deja vu... this was exactly like the moment that had changed his life forever.

Patricia, when reduced to merely a duvet-covered body, a face, short, black hair, and no head accessories of any sort, looked ever so slightly similar to her adoptive mother. So much so that Jean couldn't help but think of Reimu, back when she had stayed at his apartment in the outside world. Such a simple gesture, letting a stranger stay at his apartment, yet... it had changed so much.

When he was a child, there was no way he would have imagined he could be where he was now. Jean had once dreamed that he would be an astronaut... then he dreamed he would be a doctor, and in the end, he had gotten a meaningless job as a manager of a growing stationary manufacturing business. His only joy was his wife, and once she was gone, all of his joy naturally disappeared with it. His imagination, hopes and dreams had died with the first Patricia, yet... his hope was reignited once Reimu had brought him to Gensokyo. And with that, he had made something of himself. Being able to bring down a plethora of fairies in a single spell was one thing, but it was another to become a leading philosopher of Gensokyo... Jean had truly gotten what he had wanted from life... a satisfying position that he had achieved through hard work, without losing friends on the way, rather, gaining friends along the path. And... the shadow that the original Patricia's death had left upon his life had become something else entirely- her memory was now preserved with the name of yet another light in his life- the Patricia that slept in front of him.

Jean began to tear up, and he mumbled, "...la vie est belle..."

At this point, however, fate seemed to conspire to destroy the beautiful moment, and a certain drunken Oni punched the door of the shrine open, yelling, "...hey there mister human man that Reimu likes the pants... high low, jack-a-low, round and round it goes, where it points, nobody knows..."

Jean scowled, and pointed his finger at Suika, before muttering something inaudibly, the result being a shot firing and hitting the Oni, knocking her back and shutting her up, "Will you be quiet? There are two people sleeping here..."

"Sorry... mum... dad... child-minding... man..." Suika slurred, "...where's Reimu? She's not mad at me for not paying the rent, is she? Because I told her that my hard work is all the rent she could ever want! I don't want her asking for rent the next time I fix her shrine while she's all crying over a celestial and telling me I'm a drunkard and a slacker because I drink a lot..."

Jean face-palmed, "...you are not making any sense..."

"You're not making any sense!" Suika replied.

Jean sighed, "...do you want me to put out a futon for you as well?"

Suika stumbled a little, and nodded, "...yeah... I could do with some sleep. You know, you're nice... mister... mister... stubbly woman who calls herself Jean... the Frenchy from Frenchland... I... I owe ya one... I... I think there's something else I need to tell ya... something important... but... I can't remember..."

Jean went into the side room, and came back with a mattress, and finally replied to Suika so as to give her time to remember whatever it was that was 'important', "...what is it?"

"...something about... Frenchland... you know... that silly place you come from where they eat snails and frog's legs and uncooked shredded cow and stuff? Yeah... something about that... something I did there..." Suika stopped and thought a little longer, "...I think it was... oh yeah, that's it. I drank a nice-tasting alcoholic drink called wine there... yeah, that was it..."

Jean sighed. For a moment, he thought that Suika was actually going to apologise to him for how callously she treated the destruction of a restaurant and sectioning of a man in front of him... possibly the only grudge he had kept throughout his life.

Desperate for this to be the case, Jean asked, "Is there anything else that you want to say?"

Suika shook her head, "Nope. It was fun, was my trip to Frenchland. I wanna go again within the next two hundred years..."

With that, Suika threw herself onto the futon Jean had laid out, and almost instantly fell asleep, with Jean shaking his head in disapproval. He sometimes thought that perhaps he was too kind, and muttered, "Ivrogne stupide..."

It was at this point Suika increased her ability to irritate Jean tenfold, and began to mumble in her sleep, "...riding a box in Frenchland... seeing all the sights... eating at fancy restaurants..."

Jean tensed up, and became frustrated. He aimed his finger at Suika's head, and readied himself to shoot her, if only to shut her up once again. At this point, however, Suika sleep-talked something that stopped him.

"...those silly humans... thought I wasn't an Oni... so I blew them up... man... that wasn't good... I regretted that the morning after... but they were so stupid not to believe me... I never tell lies... but... I guess it's not their fault they're stupid... la la la... stupid humans... not their fault... I was mean to the stupid humans... la la la... sorry for hurting the stupid humans..." Suika muttered, causing Jean to lower his hand.

"...so... she... I guess that is better than nothing." Jean sighed, "...I guess it has been many years. I should probably stop being cold to her. She is just having a good time in the only way she knows how..."

Jean walked out of the room for a moment, and brought a duvet into the room, and put it over the sleeping Oni, whispering, "...good night, Miss Ibuki..."

"Night night cowboy helicopter wing man..." Suika replied to what may or may not have been the same person who said 'good night' to her.

Jean shook his head, "...where could Reimu be? It shouldn't have taken them this long to finish the incident Mister Dawitsu had planned... if I remember, an incident usually takes around thirty minutes to solve..."

Jean stopped, as if waiting for a response, but in the end, nothing replied. The human magician hung his head, and muttered, "...I truly am too kind..."

The man paced around the house for a while, and occasionally muttered to himself to check that he was still alive. He pulled an old, tattered book from his pocket, and read the Grimoire of Dawitsu to pass the time, even though he had covered all off the chapters years ago.

"...Fujiwara no Mokou..." Jean mumbled, "...the woman who can live forever..."

Jean sighed, and began thinking to himself once again. What was there to gain from immortality? Clearly the calm, good-hearted Byakuren Hijiri was willing to become immortal due to grief over the loss of her brother, the very person he supposedly once was, yet Jean had to think that perhaps she had rushed into a wrong decision.

Being unable to choose to terminate one's existence would always be the main issue with becoming immortal. The fact that, once immortal, there would be no way that one could age and die, nor be killed in any way. The ages would put a strain on the fragile human brain, and the memories would continue to pile up. Any dreams that one hoped to achieve during life would become meaningless, the motivation to make them a reality would disappear if one simply had all the time in the world to do them. Yet, at the same time, with an infinite life, one could become as wise as any youkai.

Clearly some people within Gensokyo could cope with the strains of long life, mainly Youkai. Yukari Yakumo, judging by how she behaved, could have well been as old as time itself, yet she didn't seem to be suffering from anything other than a perhaps justified superiority complex. What made it so that humans, like the case of Fujiwara no Mokou, could not cope with being immortal, or, at the very least, quickly come to regret their choice. Perhaps it was the type of immortality itself- the fact that while most consider immortality to being equivalent to not being able to feel pain, or die, or be physically harmed in any way, shape, or form, the fact was that Mokou still felt pain. She could die, and feel the full pain of that death, yet come back afterwards, most likely still stinging from her last life.

Jean then decided to cite Byakuren as an example- she was, according to her stories, once human, and indulged in black magic, hence how she came to attain immortality and thus eventually become a youkai. She had told Jean that when she pursued such a path that she was 'young and foolish', yet she didn't seem to regret her actions. It was as if she had accepted the past as it has happened, and did not desire to change any part of it because she knows that doing so is impossible. In fact, given how close she was to the Buddhist hope of enlightenment, it made sense that she would not desire something out of her reach.

So, what did this mean to someone like Jean? The man ran his hands through his limp, greying hair, and his mind turned to an important question- did he himself want to life forever? Recently, his mind had been preoccupied with that question, as if it was his current philosophical topic of the moment. What advantages were there to this weak body? He was pretty sure that he could learn how to attain eternal life via black magic from Byakuren, who had clearly stated on a number of occasions that she still practised it and that power is only as evil as its wielder. Clearly, Byakuren's brand of immortality seemed to be the more pleasant out of hers and Mokou's...

Suddenly, Jean's thoughts flitted to Marisa. The man shook his head, and he mused, "...I... don't want to live forever..."

Jean smiled to himself. He knew exactly why it was thinking of Marisa had made him take this stance- she was a kleptomaniac. A kleptomaniac who had used the same excuse on many an occasion- that she was only borrowing a person's books for life, and that as soon as she died, they could have them back. Marisa was clearly a fun-loving person who didn't want a single moment to feel boring. She knew her time as a mortal was limited, and she seemed to have no intention of changing that fact, merely maximising what she could do with that time. The more Jean thought about it, the greater his smile became.

"...yes, I don't want to live forever. Marisa... you are a genius, although you do not know that..." Jean muttered, "...I shall have to tell the Buddhists of the human village my thoughts. Perhaps Byakuren and I can host a philosophical debate session... but I have to make sure that the Taoists do not ruin it. I can see Miss Toyosatomimi doing that, or even worse, Miss Kaku..."

Jean got up, and closed the Grimoire of Dawitsu. It was at this point a voice asked, "What you reading, Uncle Jean?"

"Patricia?" Jean asked, looking down at the futon the young shrine maiden was lying in, "What are you doing awake?"

"...you were talking to yourself, and it disturbed me..." Patricia replied somewhat sleepily.

"And yet you slept soundly through Miss Ibuki's yelling?" Jean pinted out.

"Huh? Suika's back?" Patricia asked, before rolling over in her futon to see that not only was Flandre sleeping on the floor next to her, but so was the Oni in question.

Patricia got up, and shook her head so her hair was back in place, "...so, what were you reading?"

Jean looked at the moth-eaten Grimoire, and said, "This? This is an old guidebook that the mimicker man gave me. It did not come in handy as often as I had hoped, but it is always entertaining to read after a while..."

"Is it okay if I read it?" Patricia said rather than asked, and took the book before Jean could answer, "...where's the article for Reimu?"

Jean sweat-dropped, "Perhaps it is best that you don't read this book..."

"Why not? I want to know what Reimu was like as a teenager... Mr Dawitsu talks about her all the time..." Patricia sighed, "...sometimes, I feel like I've made things boring for her. She could be out there, having fun like Marisa, but instead, she's had to raise me."

Jean smiled, "...no. That's not true. Firstly, you couldn't help that. Miss Yakumo was the one who brought you here, and she obviously wasn't worried that you would make things boring for her. Reimu... Reimu had her hands full, but she certainly was not bored."

Patricia looked up at Jean, and said, "...Uncle Jean, can you tell me a story from when I was young? Reimu insists that those months were just a blur to her..."

Jean rolled his eyes, yet secretly wanted to tell her a story, "...I see no reason why not. I'll tell you about a time when I went to the Hakurei Shrine, and Reimu was trying to make you speak. You were only one year old at the time, so, as you can imagine, you weren't going to say anything any time soon. She was sitting in front of you, pointing at objects and slowly saying their names. She said 'Yin-yang orb', she said 'Gohei', and she said 'Spell-card', but you just looked at each object blankly. I told her that she shouldn't expect a child of your age to speak, and it was just at that time that you seemed to say the word 'Reimu'. She was... hyperactive, so happy. She picked you up, danced around in circles with you, and proudly declared that you had just said her name. However, she danced with you so much that you vomited onto her top, and the day after, you did not continue to say the word 'Reimu', so I assumed it was just a... is the word I'm looking for 'fluke'? I sometimes still have trouble with English, even now..."

"...so... so what was really my first word?" Patricia asked.

"...Aunty Marisa. Reimu was not impressed..." Jean laughed to himself, "...and from that point onwards Reimu kept trying to make you say her name, but you seemed to say everyone else's names before her..."

"It seems Reimu was a little bit different from a normal parent... but... then again, I don't know what that is. I mean, I know that, like, a guy and a girl usually raise a child together, and stuff, but what do they act like?" Patricia kept asking questions, as if she had woken up with her brain switched into permanent inquisition mode, "Do you know, Uncle Jean?"

Jean tilted his head in thought, "...well, my parents would always compete with each other for my affection, so they were by no means perfect... and Patricia... I mean, the Patricia that you're named after, she did not have normal parenting at all..."

Patricia's eyes widened, "...huh? How did she get raised?"

"By her mother and a homosexual man named Clement..." Jean replied, "Clement would always help her mother even though they were not romantically involved. Almost like myself and Reimu to you, wouldn't you say?"

Patricia's face seemed to be imply she was slightly confused, "Wait, wait, back up, guys can be homosexual?"

Jean became slightly red, "Well, yes, of course they can..."

"...b-but... but that's not fair! There are so many girls and not enough guys over here!" Patricia complained, "The guys can't just be selfish and be with each other, there are girls who want boyfriends!"

Jean face-palmed, "...Patricia, they cannot help it if they..."

"...okay, where are the gay guys? If there's some my age, I'm gonna force the most handsome one to be my boyfriend! It's only right, after all!" Patricia declared.

Jean didn't quite know how to handle this, "...Patricia, I think we've gone off topic..."

"Nonsense!" Patricia replied, "Hey, Jean, you're not gay, are you?"

Jean suddenly blushed, and sweat began to form all over his face, "...n-no... I was with a woman for years before..."

"Then why aren't you getting with someone like Marisa or Reimu or someone?" Patricia asked, "...you're being just as selfish..."

Jean sighed, "That's not how love works, Patricia... I must say, it has been a while since I have said that..."

"I've seen the way Aunty Marisa looks at you! And until you get with her, Reimu's gonna think she stands a chance with you, and will get herself hurt!" Patricia ranted.

Jean shook his head, "No, Patricia. The truth is, I have known Marisa since she was sixteen. I was an adult at the time. I could never get with someone who I've known as a child when I myself were an adult. It's... too strange. Also, I... guess I still think about the Patricia I once was married to..."

Patricia folded her arms, "No kidding, I'm named after her. Anyway, it's your loss. Oh... I'm not tired any more, Uncle Jean. I want to stay up with you. Is that okay?"

Jean knew there was no saying no to the girl, "If you want."

"...yay! I can't wait 'til Reimu and the others get home!" Patricia said, "...you reckon they'll come home soon?"

Jean walked to the door, and opened it, looking out into the night sky. The stars were clear and bright, and the moon was a shining, waning gibbous moon. Jean surveyed the scene, and for a moment, a silhouette blocked his view of the moon, and he shouted into the house, "Patricia! They're here!"

Reimu and Marisa landed, and the first to notice Jean was Marisa.

"Hey there, Mr I'm-too-responsible-to-go-incident-solving! How are you? Bored?" Marisa jeered, before walking up to Jean, and quietly saying, "You missed us, didn't ya? That's why you were looking out for us just then..."

Jean sweat-dropped, "...er... actually, that was the first time this evening. Patricia was asking..."

Reimu tutted, "...she's still up? She's gonna go crazy if she continues to sleep for such a short time... she was up at five this morning..."

Marisa shrugged her shoulders, "...heh, you're too uptight, Reimu! That's why she likes her fun Aunty Marisa better!"

Patricia proceeded to prove Marisa wrong, however, and ran out of the door, past Marisa, and hugged her adoptive mother, "...welcome home, Reimu. So, did you figure it out?"

"Figure what out?" Reimu asked.

Patricia smirked, as if she had gotten some kind of edge over her 'mum', and let her go so she could explain her 'exclusive knowledge', "...well, you'll be surprised to know that Dawitsu was putting on an act the entire time, and that the incident was truly orchestrated by Flandre Scarlet, who willingly gave her sword to Dawitsu, allowing him to put a show on for you so you could enjoy the good old days..."

Reimu looked at Patricia somewhat blankly, "Yeah, wasn't that obvious?"

Patricia sighed, "Oh... I guess I'm still not as good as you yet..."

Reimu ruffled Patricia's hair, "Don't worry. You're doing very well... but don't let that get to your head. You need to keep working at your techniques, and eventually you'll be as skilled as I was in my prime... maybe more..."

Marisa laughed, "Look who's talking, Reimu. Weren't you the same girl who never did any training whatsoever yet incidents mysteriously solved themselves once you went out to investigate while I studied day and night just to be on the same level as you?"

Reimu sweat-dropped, "...d-don't listen to Marisa. She's making up lies again. Remember what I said about the time the Enma lectured us all?"

Patricia nodded, "Yeah?"

"Well, she got lectured for lying too much." Reimu finished her brief story.

"Hey! That's not true!" Marisa shouted, "She just told me to stop enhancing the truth..."

"With lies." Reimu added.

"Hey, shut up!" Marisa replied, clearly giving up on out-witting her, "Anyway, didn't the Enma say that you were a jerk for not paying your God any respect, and the fact that you beat up humans?"

"But everyone does that from time to time..." Reimu dismissively said.

Jean butted in, "Actually, in fairness, there are more people that lie than people who beat up humans..."

Reimu folded her arms, "Oh well, I guess that what the Enma says is meaningless. Anyway, Sakuya's gone home, so we've got to kick Flandre out now..."

Jean sweat-dropped, "...that... may be a problem..."

Marisa cocked her head, "Why?"

"She's... asleep." Jean replied.

Reimu tutted, "Jean, you know what your problem is? You're too nice! You can't just get beds out for whoever comes in the house, you know..."

Jean smirked, "It's funny, I was just thinking that myself. I guess you are right. But if I did not, I wouldn't be here now, am I right?"

Reimu nodded, "...yeah, guess that is true..."

Patricia looked at the three adults, and wondered what kinds of thoughts must have occupied their minds. She knew that whatever it was, they were at the very least bitter-sweet thoughts, at best happy memories. Clearly Dawitsu's plan was a great success...

The Netherworld, nine ante-meridian the next day

It seemed that despite the general slowing down of all of Gensokyo, the Netherworld had remained unaffected from the inertia of the many years that had passed, and was still the same situation as always- dead and calm to the ears of a mortal and bustling and lively to the ears of a phantom.

Along the quiet streets of the Netherworld, however, there was always one house which proved to be noisy even to the ears of mortals. Of course, this house was the poltergeist-containing mansion that the Prismrivers called home. And across the road from this house was another particularly noisy house, a strange-looking home that was clearly had one side different to the other.

One side of the house was orientally themed, similar to the houses used by most of the phantoms of the Netherworld. However, the other half was noticeably western-style, similar in many ways to the Poltergeist Mansion, albeit with a less ramshackle outer appearance. The inhabitants of this half-baked house were similarly half-baked- they were, of course, the wholly half-baked band, Youmu and the Half-ghosts.

Although Youmu was officially the proprietor of the house, the house was actually designed by the bassist of the band, Demi. He had also recently gained popularity as he had become a singer for the band for songs that required a male voice, so in many ways, he was satisfied. It also seemed that hard work and satisfaction were directly proportional, as out of the five members, Youmu and Demi were by far the ones having the most fun with their careers at the moment, and were also the only ones awake at the time.

Demi was drinking a cup of black tea, sitting in the living room of the house, which had a kotatsu on one half of the room and a sofa on the other. While he was on the sofa, Youmu was sitting under the kotatsu, quietly drinking her green tea.

The room was silent for a while, and finally, Demi broke the aforementioned silence with a small sentence, "...so, ready for the concert?"

Youmu muttered, "...yeah. You got any new ideas for the new album's name?"

Demi scratched his head, "Uh... Dioecious Damnation?"

"I don't even know what that word means..." Youmu replied.

"What? Damnation?" Demi asked.

Youmu looked down a little, "...no. Dioecious. What does it mean?"

"It means able to have two genders... you know, they only can give one half of a kid to the equation when they... uh... you know, copulate!" Demi laughed a little at his remark, but soon stopped as it was clear Youmu didn't understand the word 'copulate' either.

"...I'm not going to ask what copulating means..." Youmu remarked.

"Thank goodness for that, man..." Demi replied, "...so, should we wake up the others?"

Youmu smiled a little, "...well, okay. What should we sing?"

"How about that duet we ain't released yet?" Demi suggested.

Youmu smiled, "That sounds like a plan..."

Demi began to sing in a surprisingly crisp-sounding, smooth voice, "...we once were looking for a mate..."

"...something to fill the empty space..." Youmu sang back.

Demi continued, "...that's when I found you singing there..."

"...that's when I found you standing there..." Youmu echoed Demi, bringing his notes a fifth higher, "...looking at my face..."

Demi finished her sentence, "...in total awe..."

"...you asked me where I learned to sing..."

"...like I'd say such a stupid thing..."

"...and then you took my hand and dragged me away..." Youmu held her last note, waiting for a none-existent musical break to finish, and then cued Demi for the 'chorus', where they'd sing together.

"We were once two halves alone, but now we're whole... you complete me, two half-humans and halves of souls..." Youmu and Demi sang in unison, "...and together, just you and I, we can take all pain in our stride, 'cause with you, we're one... and all..."

Demi stopped singing at this point, and blushed ever so slightly, "...man, the fans are gonna go crazy when we perform this tonight..."

Youmu giggled, "Yeah, I mean, the Bunbunmaru Spirit News is convinced we're secretly a couple, this should make the tabloids even more interested..."

Demi looked upwards, and shouted, "Hey! We're practising our singing! That means you guys have to get up up there!"

A muffled voice muttered above them, "Shut up, we're trying to sleep..."

"Well stop trying!" Youmu called back, and got out one of her swords, poking the ceiling with it.

"That's it, if you're practising that dumb duet, can me and Point-five stay asleep? You only need Semi, right?" the voice of what clearly belonged to Hemi replied.

Another voice, which was significantly more awake-sounding, replied, "No! If I'm getting up, so's everyone else! Plus, we do need you and Point-five. The drums kick in first chorus, and there's a guitar solo in the middle eight!"

Hemi groaned, "...stupid... fine! Whatever! Hope you're happy, Demi!"

Demi sniggered, "Yep. I'm happy alright."

Youmu turned to Demi and whispered, "Okay, now that they're up, I'm going to go out, that way they'll be fully awake for practice when I get back."

"Where ya going?" Demi asked.

"...does it matter. Don't worry, I won't be long..." Youmu replied.

Youmu slipped out of her house as quietly as possible, and left her unfortunate bassist to somewhat literally face the music when the rest of her compatriots got up.

She walked down the street a little, making a left, heading down a large road, then making a right, and then walked towards a noticeably large flight of stairs. She decided the her legs didn't need the exercise today, and began to fly, her human half hovering just above the stairs in an almost ghostly manner.

When she finally got to the top of the stairs, she walked a little further, to a large house, once that she once knew as home. However, instead of entering said house, she walked right around it and went to the gardens.

She stopped for a while, observed the various cherry trees, some that were in blossom and some that just working their way to blooming. Youmu smiled to herself for a small moment, then drew her sword. Turning to an overgrown section of grass, she stopped, focused, and somewhat jarringly, charged towards the grass in question, making one clean slash, and in one fell swoop, had mowed one human-sized line of the grass-bed she had turned her attention to. She walked into the next line's worth of grass, and repeated the procedure, and within minutes, she had mowed every grass-bed of the Netherworld's palace grounds.

She looked up at a hedge that towered over her nearby, and sighed to herself, knowing she would just have to trim it back, and before she knew it, she had mowed the lawns, trimmed the hedges, tended to the fruit trees, cut back the Leylandii, and removed any harmful fungi that were growing on the various older trees. Finally, Youmu looked over her handiwork, proud of her efforts, and walked away as if nothing had happened.

However, a certain someone was looking over the situation from her house, knowing that anything but nothing had just happened. She grinned to herself, and mumbled, "Youmu, you never change... you've always been so hard-working. I'm so proud of you..."

Yuyuko briefly considered walking out of the house to thank her, but before she could put that idea into practice, Youmu had already left, making Yuyuko feel a tad disappointed in herself. However, she realised something- what Youmu had done was a good deed, for no particular reason, not expecting to be thanked, nor even be noticed. She wished to remain anonymous, and so Yuyuko decided that not thanking her in person was probably for the best. She did, however, know where Youmu lived, and decided she would write her a 'thank you' letter.

Yuyuko sat down at her kotatsu, and got a piece of somewhat ghostly-looking paper from a disorganised pile of sheets on the floor. She began to write with her finger, which left a light pink imprint when it touched the 'paper', and read her message as she wrote it.

"Dear anonymous benefactor. Thank you for cutting back my hedges. And mowing my lawns. And tending to the garden in general. Are you the same anonymous benefactor as the one who tended to my garden last week? I would offer you a job at the palace, but the fact that you haven't shown yourself to me implies that you don't want a job here... I hope that this letter of appreciation is enough to satisfy you, but just in case it isn't, I've sent some food with this letter. An old favourite of the living... Tsukemono. I know that phantoms don't usually eat, but something tells me you're not quite a phantom. Yours truly, Yuyuko Saigyouji, Princess of the Netherworld." Yuyuko smiled, and signed her name at the bottom of her letter.

She proceeded to get out two glass jars from one of her cupboards, both of which contained pickled vegetables. After opening one of them to guzzle down the contents, she picked up the other one, and put her fingers in her mouth so that she could whistle for a phantom.

A phantom came at her call, and she handed it the full jar of Tsukemono and her letter, saying, "Deliver this to the strange half-styled house. Be sure to make sure only Youmu Konpaku sees it. Yes, you can get the others' autographs if you want, as long as they don't see the letter..."

The phantom took the items off of Yuyuko, and floated out of the house in silence. Yuyuko sat down at her kotatsu once more, and calmly said, "Hello, Yukari."

Truly enough, Yukari Yakumo had appeared behind the ghost, and seemed to be slightly disappointed that Yuyuko had noticed her so early on, "...hello, Yuyuko."

"So, why are you here?" Yuyuko asked in an overly absent-minded manner, "...have you got any earth-shattering revelations to make?"

"...no." Yukari admitted, "I'm just here to talk. So, was it all part of your plan?"

"Was what all part of my plan?" Yuyuko replied, still not having turned around to look at the Border Youkai.

"...you know, leaving your garden to grow, because you know you won't have to do it?" Yukari simultaneously answered and asked, "I must say, your subtle acts of manipulation do astound me, Yuyuko. I wonder what it would be like if we were enemies?"

Yuyuko giggled to herself, and finally looked at Yukari, "I would take over Gensokyo. There's no doubt. I can automatically conscript everyone into my army with ease."

"Yes, but I happen to be very powerful all on my own. I would simply encourage a rebellion within your ghost army. Plus, what's the point of expanding your reign into an area which will have no living residents left?" Yukari pointed out.

"Oh my, well it's a good thing I'm not trying to expand my reign then, isn't it?" Yuyuko replied with a cheerful grin, infuriating the Border Youkai ever so slightly.

"So, you don't want power because obtaining it would be pointless?" Yukari asked, "...well, that's a fair point. I don't think I'd ever want to expand beyond what I already am..."

Yuyuko stopped for a moment, and said, "I don't think you could. You are pretty much the final, greatest form of Youkai. I don't think anyone can go beyond your power..."

Yukari's face seemed to swell with pride, "Well, yes, that's true. So, how did you manage to inspire guilt into little Youmu without talking to her directly? Simply by leaving the garden alone? That is truly incredible..."

Yuyuko shook her head, "You don't understand, do you, Yukari?"

"Huh?" Yukari cocked her head, "What is there to not understand?"

"...I didn't do anything of the sort. This wasn't planned." Yuyuko answered, "You're giving me too much credit. I have simply been careless and Youmu has simply done what she considers to be the right thing. Even I leave things to chance every now and then..."

The concept didn't seem to exist in Yukari's head, and she asked, "So... that letter you wrote... that was genuine? No hidden agenda?"

Yuyuko nodded, leaving that alone as her answer.

"...and you're not at all feigning stupidity?" Yukari asked.

"Well, no more than usual." Yuyuko replied, "I've still written the letter although I don't know who did me those favours, but Youmu's smart enough to see from the way I've written the letter that I do know who she is, and she'll also know that I am genuinely grateful."

Yukari shook her head, "...I think you're giving Youmu too much credit."

"...she is a simple-minded girl. She won't over-think it like... certain people." Yuyuko winked at Yukari as she said this, covering her mouth with a fan in the process.

"...it doesn't take a genius to know who you're aiming that at..." Yukari replied.

"...who here is a genius?" Yuyuko asked rhetorically, "I'm pretty sure that whoever... whoever is telling the story of life is not a genius. And if such a person is not a genius, then how is that person able to comprehend genius at all? The person would simply count such characters as mysterious, or hard-to-write... thus, I am not a genius, and neither are you."

"It's been ages. I don't know who in particular it is who writes this world any more..." Yukari replied, "I guess that it is impossible for characters to escape the scope of the writer's thinking capabilities. And when a writer is unable to think any more at all..."

Yuyuko finished Yukari's sentence somewhat cheerfully, "Then he becomes a ghost. An influence, for want of a better word. When a writer of a universe dies, the universe becomes more alive than ever before, and all who read also define the characters, rather than it being limited to the scope of the original writer. In which case... genii may exist in Gensokyo after all..."

Yukari wasn't expecting that kind of a response, and she quietly said, "...you... you might be right... Gensokyo may not be dying after all..."

Yuyuko stood up, "Yukari, Gensokyo has only just begun in its life. It will stay alive for generations. It will be passed on... and will eventually become beloved folklore. And cultivated within the warmth of people's hearts, Gensokyo will thrive."

Yukari nodded, "...yeah. What you say makes sense..."

Yuyuko grinned, "...so, do you think that one era has died out? Or do you think that a new era has started?"

Yukari smirked, "It is like the two-faced God, Janus. Both have occurred..."

Yuyuko suddenly reverted back to her usual, absent-minded self, and said, "...I don't suppose you and Janus are related at all? He being the God of beginnings and transitions, and all?"

"...don't count on it." Yukari muttered, "It's over. It's finally over..."

Yuyuko giggled, "...you've still got the wrong attitude. This is a christening, not a funeral. So, let us approach this final border with a positive heart..."

Yukari nodded, "Yes. This is it..."

The room became quiet, and suddenly, as if she couldn't help herself, she began to sing.

"We'll... meet again... don't know where... don't know when... but I know we'll meet again, some sunny day..." Yukari stopped, beginning to cry, as if she was saying goodbye to a dear friend, forcing Yuyuko to continue for her.

"Keep... smiling through... just like you... always do... 'til the blues skies drive the dark clouds far away..." Yuyuko held her last note, trying not to get too emotional herself.

Yukari and Yuyuko held each others' hands, and began to sing together, finishing the first half of the song together, "So, will you please say 'hello', to the folks that I know... tell them... I won't be long... they'll be happy to know, that as you saw me go... I was singing... this song..."

The two older women's singing echoed far and wide, and for some peculiar reason, the essence of the song filled the hearts of all in Gensokyo. Every person, for few minutes, felt a bizarre, bitter-sweet feeling well up inside them, that they were about to disappear, but knew that they'd be back, one sunny day...

The various denizens of Gensokyo were all doing their own things when this song sounded within them, and as such, it held a special meaning for all...

Yutaka and Dawitsu played each other at Othello, discussing with each other what they had missed while they had been apart, discussing how married life had changed them and how, in general, time had changed them.

Hebiko was carrying flowers to a certain place in the Forest of Magic, and placed it down near a small, make-shift gravestone that read 'Bertrand Bimyouna; beloved friend.'. Tokage, on the other hand was writing at her usual, rushed pace, but this time, she wasn't writing for one of her novels. She was instead, writing an author's note for the beginning of her book, one that stated, 'I cannot do this any more. I cannot lie like this. Hebiko Bimyouna has been helping me this whole time. I want her to be beloved... I can't take the credit any more...'.

Alice and Medicine were playing with each other, their current game being putting on plays with other, less animate dolls. Their tengu associates, Aya Shameimaru and Hatate Himekaidou, however, were concocting altogether different stories- ones which were fictional, but intended to be taken as real.

Patchouli and Koakuma were talking with each other in her old library, and Remilia was insistently cutting in every now and then to tell Patchouli an interesting fact she had learned in her absence. Flandre and Sakuya watched on, satisfied that, at least for the moment, the Scarlet Devil Mansion was once again with a bookworm.

Fujiwara no Mokou was standing outside Eientei of the lost when the song hit her ever-beating heart, and she smiled to herself slightly as she took a pot shot at Kaguya as she left the house, killing her, but, naturally, the human and the lunarian soon 'met again', and a fight inevitably broke out.

Marisa and Jean were simply sleeping on the sofa together when the song spoke to their souls, and caused Jean to roll over, and held Marisa's hand as she slept. Marisa knew what to do, and simply gripped it back, smiling as the sombre song reminded her of days gone by...

But, of all the people in Gensokyo, the song hit Reimu the hardest. She, as well as Patricia, were simply sitting in their living room together, when suddenly, she burst into tears. Patricia became concerned, and asked her what was wrong, and Reimu took a while to answer. But when she did answer, she gave but one word.

Time.

Author's Note: This... is finally it. The end. It's over. This book series has finished. It's strange, I'm... not as sad to see it go as I thought I'd be.

Nonetheless, I must admit, I'll miss all you fans. You've made this whole thing worthwhile, and well... I couldn't do it without you. I really couldn't. You were the ones who motivated me, you were the ones who've made me go this far. And now, it's about to end.

But... we will meet again. Some sunny day.

Update: I have come up with an idea, given that some people express a desire for this series to continue in this future. I will give the Dawitsuverse to you fans. Manipulate it as you wish. In other words, I'm encouraging YOU to continue my story, should you wish. I would much rather be the reader than the writer this time round. Think of it as... Shigesato Itoi's attitude to MOTHER 4- you make it. And if you do, be sure to let me know. I'll be glad to read it :)

Until next time, my fans...