MONSTERS IN PARADISE

Intermission No. 2

By: Curtis Wildcat

Pokémon and the Touhou Project are the properties of their respective owners and copyright holders.

You know, considering how many weird things have taken place in this story, I'm surprised y'all are still reading it. I can't complain, though; it just shows that you people have a good sense of humor. Thanks for your interest thus far, and here's to the end of the story, whenever and wherever that may be.

Anyway, that aside, there's a substantial number of characters and Pokémon that don't have any real bearing on this story. Here's what a few of them have been up to while the plot has been progressing. The floor's yours, Uncle.

"One more thing...!"

/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/

They came from out of nowhere, populating the Lunar Capital. At first there were only a few of them, but as the days went by more and more showed up. By the time the last of them arrived, there was an average of one creature for every eight people.

What were they? Clefairies. Lots and lots of Clefairies.

The Watatsuki sisters were seated at their residence as a group of Clefairies danced around them. Toyohime was taking their presence in stride, sharing a bowl of peaches with them; by contrast, Yorihime was feeling increasingly antsy. "Why do we have to put up with them?" she asked aloud as she stood up, just this side of irritated. "What are they lingering around here for?"

"Keep your cool, sister. Keep your cool." Toyohime patted one of the Clefairies between the ears. "None of the warning flags were triggered, so evidently they're of a pure race. The rabbits seem to like them, the rest of us even more so." She smiled, relaxed. "They're not doing anyone or anything any harm, Yorihime. Leave them be."

Yorihime closed her eyes and forced herself to sit back down. She was right, of course, but still... "If you say so. But there's still one that's bothering me about them..."

"And what would that be?"

Several of the Clefairies, deciding that Yorihime was good company, left Toyohime alone and gathered around her instead. They poked her face, tugged on her hair, and decided her lap was a good place to sit. It was when one of them started squeaking and nuzzling her arm happily that Yorihime finally vented her frustrations at the ceiling:

"JUST WHERE IN THE COSMOS DID THESE THINGS COME FROM, ANYWAY?!"

/-/-/-/-/

Sunny Milk and her friends weren't the brightest candles on the candelabrum, but there were a handful of things that they knew for sure. For one, there was only three of them. For another, none of them had large mouths growing out the backs of their heads. And for a third, they were fairies.

Not only was there one too many residents in their tree, but the intruder- - -something which was definitely not a fairy- - -had two mouths to feed, and it was helping itself to their food when they found it that morning.

For its part, Mawile had trouble believing what it was seeing. Three kids, no more than eight years old or so, had wings on their back and were hovering. Are the humans starting to evolve now? it was thinking. That's going to make escaping from trainers harder...

Sunny finally recovered and pointed a quivering finger at it. "Hey! You... whatever you are. Get away from our food! That's o-ours!"

Luna's fists tightened. "And stop drinking that! Do you think I hoard coffee beans just so someone else can steal it? Really!"

Star kept quiet. She was still in awe of the large mouth that the youkai, or whatever it was, had on its head and wondered if that meant that its appetite was equally great.

Mawile, meanwhile, felt offended. Who was it to obey anyone's orders? I'm a free spirit. I don't have to listen to anyone! Facing the fairies, it let its tongue hang out and tugged on one of its eyelids before promptly guzzling down the contents of the cup it was holding.

Luna's face turned a royal blue. Shocked and angry, she could do nothing but stutter for several seconds. "Wha... fwa... ha... me... shu... bwa... why... why you little...!" she finally shrieked, lunging at Mawile... and tripping, getting stuck in its second mouth.

The startled Pokémon was pushed off its feet, not fully prepared for that action. It waved its arms frantically, lost its balance and fell forward...

"LUNAAAAA!"

...and being caught off guard, it barely had time to register Sunny's overenthusiastic dive before the living light reflector plowed into it, freeing Luna and triggering an out and out brawl. The pair tumbled about, squealing and yelling as they both sought to evict each other from the tree. The fight intensified when Luna- - -still furious over the theft of her coffee- - -rejoined it.

And Star? She took a quick stock of their food supplies and decided to whip up a quick meal, sidestepping the brawlers whenever they got too close. "Winner gets dinner!" she declared.

Only the angry noises of the combatants answered her.

/-/-/-/-/

"Okay, so... no, that's not quite it."

"Don't worry. Remember, it's supposed to be noisy. Let's take it from the top, okay?"

"Alright. One, two, three, four!..."

Mystia and Kyouko were taking breaks from their respective jobs, discussing and practicing their next musical gig. Granted it was mostly noise from the villagers' perspective, but they were still working on that; it was the sort of thing to be expected from aspiring punk rockers.

No, dear readers: this is not a trick of the eyes. Punk rock really does exist in the Eastern Wonderland. Be very afraid.

After another half minute or so of practice, the song they were working on ground to a halt. Kyouko sighed. "This just isn't working. We need to find a backup singer."

Mystia huffed. "What do you think I've been trying to locate for the past month? No one wants to work with a band that doesn't sound 'coherent'."

"'Coherent'?" Kyouko fumed.

"That's what they said, not me."

Kyouko sat down on a nearby rock. "Well, we'll just have to start sounding more coherent, then... how are we going to do that?"

"Puff."

Mystia shook her head. "No, not a puff. I think we ought to- - -...wait. 'Puff'?" she asked, doing a double-take.

The little pink fluffball that had just joined them nodded emphatically. "Puff."

The two youkai were taken back at its presence. Mystia was the first to recover, having a bit more experience in dealing with Pokémon (primarily Creampuff) than Kyouko. "Look. I don't know what you are, but I don't care. If you're not here for an audition, don't bother us."

This seemed to anger the fluffball. It glared at the two of them, inflating itself while trying to make itself look intimidating.

"...On second thought, maybe we should give it a chance?" Kyouko tentatively suggested, more amused than afraid. "It looks like it wanted to answer your request..."

"Well... alright," Mystia decided. "It's not like we're going to get any other offers anytime soon. Let's hear you sing, fluffball."

Thrilled at the idea, the fluffball shrank back to normal size and smiled. It took out a small microphone-like object, cleared its voice and started to sing...

"Jigggg-ly puff, jigglyyyy-puff... jiggggg-ly puff jiggglyyyyyyyy... Jiggg-gly puff, jigglyyyy-puff... jiggggg-ly puff jiggglyyyyyyyy..."

...

On the downside, once Mystia and Kyouko woke up an hour later, they had to spend half an hour trying to clean the black moustaches, tic-tac-toe boards, swirls and other squiggles off their faces... and more importantly, they still had no backup singer. On the other hand, that hour's sleep was the best that they'd had in years.

/-/-/-/

"One, step, two, step, three, step, four be-low... one, step, two, step, three, step, four let's go..."

Down in the Underground, someone else was having more success in her music-related endeavors. Rin, who- - -as has been previously noted- - -had sought out a dance instructor to improve one of her Spell Cards, was progressing pretty well. Another week, she felt, and she'd be able to replace her old "Cat's Walk" card with an upgraded one.

Following the first session of the day, during a short break to allow Rin to rest, the skull-like monster ghost demonstrated another set of dance steps. This one got the kasha's interest as she watched it go backwards by going forward, humming something ominous. "Are you floating while you do that, or is there some trick to it?"

As it stopped humming, the monster held up both hands and nodded: it was a little of both. "Dus-clops."

"Huh... Stick around a while more, would you? I think I'd like to learn that, too."

When the ghost agreed, Rin was all smiles. This is going to be a fun day, she thought as she prepared to follow her teacher's example.

As for Dusclops, it hadn't planned on being stuck in this strange place, but as long as it was it figured that it may as well do something worthwhile with its time. Teaching this girl what it remembered of its former master's abilities qualified as "worthwhile".

Again, be very afraid.

/-/-/-/-/

"A word with you please, Kamishirasawa-san?"

Keine, who'd been out for a short walk around the village, turned when she heard that voice. She recognized Sekibanki, the youkai who passed herself off as a human and lived in the village proper. "Ah... yes. Something I can help you with?" Surprised blink. "... And might I add that your hat clashes with your clothes?"

"This isn't a hat," Sekibanki grumbled. She tried to remove it, but with no success as the bird had a tight grip on her hair. "It's a bluebird pretending to be a hat, and it doesn't want to leave. Mind giving me a hand?"

Keine raised her hand to her chin, thinking as she examined the sleeping bird. "It's not trying to hurt you, is it?"

"...Well, no... but it's the principle of the thing. How am I supposed to get any respect with this Pokey Mon- - -"

"Pomon," Keine corrected.

"Right... anyway, this looks just plain silly, and I don't want anyone laughing at me."

"Bluebirds with cloud wings are more cute than funny... but, I see what you mean." Keine gestured for Sekibanki to follow her, then headed for home. "Come on. Pie gave me something earlier that should be able to help."

"I never did trust that clown." Sekibanki picked up her pace a bit to keep up with Keine. "Putting him and this bird together will probably be bad news. I hope you know that."

"If you say so. I still don't see what's so silly about that bird sitting there." Keine winked at her. "It's not worth losing your head over."

Sekibanki sighed irritably. "If I had five yen for each time I've heard that sorry joke..."

"Sorry, sorry."

A wave of the hand. "It's alright, I guess. So, what did the clown give you?"

Keine smiled. "He found it while he was on patrol...I'm still trying to decide if I want to keep it. It's this little gray kitten with large blue eyes- - -"

"BLUUUUUU!"

The Swablu had been becoming more and more awake as they went along, to the point where it could follow the pair's conversation. Mistaking the kitten's description for that of an Espurr, it panicked; still holding on tight to Sekibanki's hair, it lifted off and began to fly in quick circles around the two, squawking all the while.

Keine started to speak, but Sekibanki held up her hand to stop her. "If you even dare to ask me if I've lost my mind," the youkai warned, her head glaring at Keine from the Swablu's tiny talons, "you and I will be mincing Spell Cards instead of words."

The schoolteacher expelled a sigh of her own. "You know, I'd probably be more tolerant of your kind here if you improved your sense of humor..." she told her, voice barely heard over the bird's frightened calls.

/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/

"Thank you for sharing, Angry Crow!"