Hello everyone, this is SorrowfulReincarnation, and I am happy to inform you that you have just found the first chapter of the second book in the "Negative Bullet Project"! Congratulations!

It's been a while since I finished I-Negative Bullet (you should read that if you haven't, otherwise you won't understand too much in this book), and even though there was 1.5 - Negative Interest (which I highly suggest you to read since it may be referred to in the future), it didn't continue the plot too much, rather than that, it was meant to be a humorous one-shot.

Now, we have reached the second book. For those who haven't read 1.5 - Negative Interest, there is one thing you should know (Spoiler, even though Chôzen said something like this at the end of I-NB!): At the end of 1.5 - Negative Interest, Chôzen, Nanatsu and Rumia left Gensokyo, and their house was surrounded by three barriers to prevent anyone from Gensokyo to enter the house, as a gateway to the outside world was opened in their basement. The three barriers each represent one of the three lovers elements: Negativity, Hellfire and Darkness.

I still advice you to read 1.5 - Negative Interest if you want to read this book, but it is not necessary with the information above. Now, I'll move on to "Review time" of 1.5 - Negative Interest, which I promised to do here. There are two reviews, and I'll make it real quick:

First of: I know that the title says: "1,5 - Negative Interest", but the problem is that you cannot use a "period" in the title, so I replaced it with a comma. I tried over and over again, but it didn't work. Is it happening just for me?

Second: Mistakes pointed out are fixed. Should be by now, at least.

Third: I'm thinking about splitting 1.5 - Negative Interest into a few chapters to make it easier to read, even though I see no difference. If there are a few people who say I should, I'll do it.

Fourth: Insanity prefers free dance over ballet.

Fifth: Nicolas Crossworth pointed out that I should try to change the dialogues a bit... I'll try that next chapter (This one was almost done already when I read his review). If you guys and gals think it is easier to read my chapters then, I'll go back and edit this chapter. See it as a way to compare the styles.

Sixth: Is it just me or are some words lost when you upload a document? The hell, when I read through 1.5-NI to find some of the mistakes pointed out in Moriyaism's review, which included some of these "missing word mistakes" by the way, I found three more words completely missing! In my document, though, they were there...?

Phew, that should be it. Alright, I know this is different from the usual "review time", and by next chapter, we'll be back to the old kind of review time, where I respond to each review as it's own. But before that, we'll start the book juuuuust below! Are you excited? I am!

Let's start this second book, shall we~?

Oh, and I'm using the old disclaimer, just for the heck of it.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Touhou/Project Shrine Maiden, as it belongs to ZUN. However, Chôzen Gekido (and his respective personalities), Nanatsu no Taizai, Ryoko Jigoku, Shiho Kumo, Kayako Saeki Henge, Minoue and Sly do belong to me, as for I have created them.

Negative Bullet Project II: Negative Mind

Prologue Arc (Arc 0): Gensokyo's Future

Chapter 1: Abandoned

Somewhere in this world exists a border. A border that you cannot touch. If you touch it, you walk straight through it, you will not even feel it is there. Some say that this border can be found in Japan, others say it is somewhere else.

Not many know that this border can be found in several locations at once, and not just one specific. That is because it protects a world next to ours, a world consisting of only one single land. Sometimes, in your dreams, you enter that world. It is unknown how this is possible, and many believe that this is not even true, but those who have heard of this land know better than that.

In this world next to ours, this land, that which we know as fantasy is real. Magic, for example. Creatures we have never seen, creatures from folklore, nightmares, dreams and fantasy live within it... Youkai, creatures from Japanese folklore, above all, even though western creatures like vampires had shown up in that land as well, seeking refuge from the world that no longer believed in magic and fantasy. Interestingly, they live along humans in that world. In peace.

While there are always some that do not follow the rules, Youkai that eat humans or humans that hunt Youkai, Gensokyo has managed to exist for more than 1200 years. The peace in this land has become especially stable during the last twenty four years, beginning with Reimu Hakurei creating the so called "Spellcard Rules", which ensured that conflicts could be solved in sort of a game... A game, called spellcard battle, in which it's participants throw weak, non-lethal, colorful magic at each other until they become too tired.

Especially this new rule ensured that problems were solved somewhat peacefully. This stopped many pointless killing sprees, pointless deaths in general, and ensured a harmonic coexistence of humans, demons, Youkai and Yurei, Fairies. But not only Reimu Hakurei helped with the peace that now existed within that land of fantasy by the name of Gensokyo.

Though the spellcard rules existed, peace wasn't always present. The so called 'incidents', events in which Gensokyo was thrown into chaos, destroyed peace temporarily over and over again, only for peace to return until the next incident. Also, it was not a written rule to use the spellcard rules for each fight. If not called upon, the fight would still be a real, lethal fight. Even though those became less and less as the spellcard rules gained popularity.

However, there was a time shortly after the creation of the spellcard rules when those lethal fights became more frequent. And just because of one individual, which had returned to Gensokyo after a mysterious absence of three centuries. With no memories and no place to return to, this walking enigma was unwillingly pulled into a chain of events that not only returned his memories, but also returned things he had long lost.

Fighting against everything that Mima, the evil spirit of what had once been the first Hakurei Shrine Maiden of Gensokyo and it's creator, had put in his way, he had to fight for love, friendship, his own memories and Gensokyo itself.

And until the day twenty years ago, the day the he left Gensokyo along with his wife, Nanatsu no Taizai, and the woman that had become his second wife, Rumia Shisô, those lethal fights did not stop. After he left Gensokyo, things finally calmed down, and the lethal fights became less frequent, almost completely forgotten. But his tale was not.

It`s been twenty years since he has defeated the evil spirit Mima Hakurei, then long Mima Kazami, and has last set foot into Gensokyo, and it's been twenty years since anyone in Gensokyo had seen him, Nanatsu no Taizai and Rumia Shisô, now long Rumia Gekidô-Shisô.

But things had changed. Gensokyo was not yet aware of it... But the changes he had gone through would eventually come down to haunt it.

Someone else was aware of it, though. Someone knew that things were about to change.

She always knew.

Gensokyo is a land of many different biomes melting into one. With green meadows, smaller deserts, giant mountains and forests, a bamboo forest, poisonous areas, valleys, and even swamps. That is one of the reasons that Gensokyo is inhabited by so many different kind of beings. Many of those beings inhabit the area that suits them the best, while others have adapted to the area they live in over time.

However, not all areas of Gensokyo are inhabitable. The so called "Nameless Hill" is the best known area to be completely uninhabitable, due to a special kind of flowers growing all over it: Suzuran, otherwise known as Lily of the Valley. These poisonous flowers make it impossible to live there, the air is full of their poison. Only one being is known to survive there over a long period, and this being is not even an organic being.

Medicine Melancholy, a Doll Youkai, is the only being living on Nameless Hill. Being born from the doll of a little girl that died on Nameless Hill and remained there for a hundred years, Medicine has become one with the very essence of that hill: Poison. With the ability to manipulate poison and a deep contempt towards humans, and somewhat towards other beings, Medicine is also known to be a very dangerous individual, making Nameless Hill even less of a friendly place, as she roams and kills there.

But Nameless Hill isn't the only place that cannot be inhabited. Especially dangerous, but less known, is a swamp far away from any life, on the very border of Gensokyo. Not much is known about it, other than it is one of Gensokyo's darkest and deadliest areas. Those who have wandered in, both on accident and foolishness, have not been seen again.

And they cannot be seen again.

What most do not know is that the swamp is filled with a deadly amount of miasma. The reason for that is that the border that separates Gensokyo and Makai is thin there. The miasma that pours through the thin border from the realm of demons turns into something dangerous and deadly as it comes into contact with the magic of Gensokyo... It mutates, so to speak. Interestingly, though, the miasma has never gone further than to the edge of that biome. It just can't.

This miasma is, different from that inside Makai, deadly once it is breathed in. Like acid, it burns through the lungs, eats you up from within. Once your lungs are damaged enough, the next breath will be your last, as you can only choke once your lungs rip apart. The air is like acid. It is acid.

Speaking of acid... The miasma has changed the area completely. The swamp has turned into something else, something neither swamp, nor realm of demons. The plants, once full of life, have become different. Nature has become different.

The colors of the water, grass, leaves and vines are much darker than in any other swamp. Earth within this area is not of a brown shade, but rather gray, pale as ash. The lily pads are a dark gray, their flowers pale white, but not a clean white, rather of a dirty shade. The trunks of the trees have become ash-gray, and touching them reveals that they are warm, like a living being. Cutting a tree reveals pulsating, red lines within the tree, almost like veins, but there is no blood flowing within them.

These red lines, pulsating and glowing, can be found if the dark grass is moved aside. They are everywhere within the swamp. They connect the trees. They move through the ground, sneak under the grass. Even at the bottom of the pits of water. At night, those lines are clearly visible. They trace the shores inside that swamp, leave it in an eerie, red light, not bright enough to illuminate the entire swamp, but not dark enough to become invisible.

Those who have entered the swamp, even though they did die later on without ever leaving it again, swore to themselves that something was not alright with it. The whole swamp does not feel natural. You feel watched all the time. Paranoia is making it's way to your head even before the first hour has passed. Something stalks you, something invisible, something not natural.

Also, once night falls, there is something else. Something horrible. The whole swamp is eerie by day, but at night, in darkness, the swamp feels... There is no word for it. Those who have entered and survived until night tried desperately to tell themselves that they were alone, that they don't have to fear anything.

But if they were alone, what about those whisper and moans one can hear as night falls? It sounds like something huge is breathing in and out. A soft, cold breeze hits your face ever so often, in perfect unison with a sound that resembles someone breathing out.

Most of those who later died within the swamp went crazy before their death. The pain of their lungs slowly dissolving, the sounds and the atmosphere drove them mad. They lost their mind before they died. And most of them had the very same thought before they died: The swamp itself is alive. Is a sentient being.

But it has never been confirmed.

Those unfortunate enough to experience thirst and drink the swamp's waters have experienced the most shocking and lethal secret of the swamp. The waters inside it, dark in color and yet clear like glass, have undergone the greatest change.

Even though they still contain what appears to be normal, dark colored water, it is not. The waters inside the swamp have become acid. Acid that burns through the stomach. Acid that burns through the gullet. Acid that eats you up from within, leaves you gasping for air and fighting on the edge of your life. You cannot escape death, though, once you drank it. If you used your hands to drink it, they`re gone within half an hour.

Aside the miasma and the water, there is another danger within this lonely swamp, this abandoned area of Gensokyo: The thick, white fog that coves the area and makes it hard to see further than fifty meters. Because of that alone, the area is quite dangerous due to several large ravines that split the swamp apart, the large pits of acid and thorny plants. But the fog is actually also a manifestation of the air full of miasma mixed with the acid waters, making it one of the most dangerous things inside the mutated, uninhabitable swamp.

But that isn't the only thing that lurks there.

No being can survive in there, aside the plants that have mutated. No insect, no animal, no human, no Yurei and no Youkai has ever set foot into the area and came out alive again. As a side note: Aside Medicine Melancholy, which can breathe in any kind of poison without hurting herself. The acid doesn't hurt her body as well, why not, even she herself has yet to figure out. It could be the poison-like aura of hers that makes her similar to the swamp, but she doesn't care.

In case that the swamp was indeed a sentient being, it could also be recognizing and accepting her as one like it's own due to her poison.

But Medicine had no interest in that corrupted area, which the humans in Gensokyo had dubbed "The godforsaken land", while it was known as "The land no god wants" by the Youkai, and just "The area" by the fairies. Because even they were smart enough to avoid it. Just not remember it's name.

And inside that godforsaken land, the place abandoned by everything alive, lurked one thing.

Because, in the end, there was such a thing that could live within it. And just this one thing.

It's natural powers negated the dangers around it. Either that, or the godforsaken land recognized him as one of it's own, recognized him to be just as dark, wicked and twisted, dangerous and abandoned as itself. Gensokyo was not aware of his arrival within it. Nobody had seen him yet. He didn't want to be seen. Not after all that had happened.

Twenty years had passed since the great battle for Gensokyo against the evil spirit Mima, but he didn't remember it. Didn't want to. He had been inside Gensokyo back then, had left, and had returned to it again. How, he did not know. How, he did not want to know. Why, he never knew, and would never know.

In the deepest darkness of Gensokyo, not too far from Nameless Hill, he lurked in the godforsaken land. Only he was able to withstand the toxic miasma, the acid and the fog. Only he would ever be able to roam within the godforsaken land without dying. Only he could negate it with his own power. He could leave whenever he wanted to. Not that he wanted to leave, though. He was fine with the darkness and the loneliness. After all that had happened to him during the last twenty years, he had all reason to.

Just when he had thought that he had found his peace, just when he had thought that he was with those that he loved and could finally live a life in happiness, it ended. The two people he loved the most were long dead. Long dead. No longer at his side to back him up. And he made himself responsible for their death. Because that was what he could do best ever since the fateful day of his downfall: Blame himself. Himself, the abandoned enigma.

Everyone else that had ever tried to enter the swamp that he hid in ever since his return to Gensokyo had become that which he had been staring at since... Hours? Days? Maybe even months? He had lost all sense of time due to the darkness in the swamp. His only clock, the time he lived by, was his hunger. But he couldn't even trust that. The craving he felt, the pain in his stomach, could never stop. Had never stopped. Would never stop.

Because that which he craved for was nothing material, and nothing that could be satisfied by food or water. Okay, so maybe it could. But only temporarily. Never completely. He craved for love, but not the love or warmth that a woman would give. No... The kind of love that only a family could give.

But he had lost that, too.

He continued to stare at the pile of bones before him, the only thing left of those who had entered the godforsaken land aside him. And it was mocking him. No, it was pitying him. Because they were alike. The pile of bones was worthless, long forgotten... And so was he. Abandoned.

So he sat there, hugging his legs with pale hands. His stomach growled, and he knew he'd soon have to find something to eat. When had the last time been that he ate something? Something normal, that filled his stomach? Those tasty berries a few days ago... Or was it weeks? He had forgotten that too. No sense of time. The berries had filled his stomach a little, and though they were poisonous and had long absorbed the water-like acid, they didn't hurt him. He had negated the power of the acid.

He leaned back a little, hid his face in the shadows of a tree. Hid in the deepest shadows that Gensokyo had to offer, silent and waiting. Waiting for the end to come. Waiting, like he had been many times over the past centuries.

He pondered a little. Maybe the idea of going to the human village on the other side of Gensokyo wouldn't be too bad. He had no money on him, but stealing wasn't too hard. It wasn't the first time, either, he had stolen many times over the centuries he had existed.

Closing his eyes for a few seconds, he let out a deep sigh and let every thought vanish. As he opened them again, the green light of his glowing eyes illuminated the dark grass before him again. He swallowed, then let his tongue trail over his teeth and rolled his shoulders.

Lowering his gaze even further, he took in the details of his black shirt with the green lines at the front, then pulled on his right shoulder to straighten the black shirt, and then dusted off his blue jeans, which he had stolen from a store in the outside world during one of the past years. Had been quite easy. Placing one hand on those gates that would raise the alarm rendered it useless, and he was past it hours before one of the security guards would see the theft on the tape that the security cameras recorded.

"Oh? Are you okay?"

The voice of female made him cringe and he let his emotionless, and yet green glowing eyes trail up two slender legs and a rather petite and slim body until they reached a beautiful face, the face of a female. She had wavy, black hair with violet highlights and silver eyes, clear as glass, a beautiful and yet shy and uncertain expression on her face.

"Leave me alone.", muttered the lonesome being with a husky voice, a voice that made even death take a run for it. He lowered his gaze and rested his chin on his knees as he hugged his legs again.

"But why? You look so alone...", she asked, worried and confused. "Because I do not deserve living, nor do I deserve being looked at... I am lonely and abandoned... It was fate that I am.", he replied, looking back to the ground. "But everybody deserves their chance! Everybody deserves to live!", countered the girl, and he snarled under his breath. "Leave me alone.", he hissed, causing the girl to frown at him.

"But...!" "You shouldn't be here. The toxic gases will kill you if you stay any longer than necessary.", he grumbled, figuring out that the girl before him was a Youkai rather than just a human. And Youkai could survive for a short time in the godforsaken land, given that they left it before the acid in the air was damaging their lungs. Miasma was not that much of a problem for a Youkai, after all, as long as it was not exposed to this miasma for several days.

"I'm fine. What you see right now is not my real body, rather something like an artificial copy of it that I can control from afar to see the world without being influenced by the terrain's dangers. Like this poison and acid you speak of. This body will dissolve soon due to those problems, but I am not affected. My real body is elsewhere.", explained the girl, and he snorted. "I don't care. Just leave me alone."

She frowned again, crossed her arms in beneath her rather ample chest, and tilted her head a little. "Are you sure? Look, if you need somebody to talk..." "Leave me the hell alone.", he hissed and leaned his head against the ash-gray trunk behind him. She watched as he moved a hand through his raven hair with the three vertical, green stripes at the front. "Leave now, and better do not return.", he repeated.

"I think I know you...", she began, but he just bared his teeth. "I TOLD YOU TO GET LOST, YOU BRAT!", he roared all of sudden, his emotionless eyes blazing with fury. At that, the girl puffed her cheeks, almost causing the lollipop to fall out of her mouth. "You're really mean. Besides, it's not brat, but Yume.", she informed him with her melodical voice, only for him to point his right hand at her.

The girl watched in shock as the waters around them reacted. Green energy shot out of them, curled into streams of what looked like green water, which gathered around his right hand, creating an orb of green energy. She gasped, sidestepped, no second too late.

The orb shot past her in what looked like a green, boiling stream. As it hit a tree and the ground, it began to sizzle and steam. And as the liquid-like energy finally faded, the tree had a large hole in it, and the ground was missing grass. But what shocked her the most was the pile of bones that had been hit as well by this green energy... It was gone completely. No trace left of iit having ever existed. Just gone.

"You were lucky. I almost erased that body of yours.", snapped the male as he reverted into his depressive state and lowered his gaze. She watched as he hugged his legs again and buried his face in them. "Alright, no need to explode like that... Geez, what did I do to you?!", grumbled the girl as she turned around and began to leave.

She took a few steps, then stopped and glanced over her right shoulder, one eye glowing silver as she watched him for a second. She saw something before her inner eye, something that wasn't too shocking to her, and yet made her feel bad. She knew his secret. And hated herself for that. She left. He was best left alone after all the pain he had been through. But she knew that it would eventually come back to haunt her.

Meanwhile, he secretly watched her leave. He didn't know her, had seen her for the first time, and yet there was something that made him feel that there was more to her. Something that he should know. But he didn't care. Not about that at least. Despite seeing her for the first time, he felt like a bond had just been awoken that had laid dormant. This bond felt similar to the bond he had with the two people he had lost just recently. But why?

He rose his gaze, rose his right hand and looked down at the pale palm and the scarred wrist. Something the girl, she had called herself Yume, had said confused him. She had said that she thought that she knew him. But why would she...?

And even if...

He closed his hand, balled it to a fist and closed his eyes as he sighed. "I am no longer... Gekido...", he whispered to himself.


Courtroom of the Shikieiki Yamaxanadu

One month earlier...

"Another sinner...", murmured a teal haired woman as her eyes scanned the document before her, then placed it aside. She scanned the next, neatly sorted document as well, then shook her head, but not at the document, but something she felt. "You may enter, Yukari.", she called out into the large, empty, barely lit courtroom, but never rose her gaze once.

If she would've looked up, she would've seen how a large line appeared in midair, a red ribbon at each end of that line. Finally, the line opened up, revealing a large hole in reality, a purple mass with red-glowing eyes flying inside it. The teal haired woman shook her head in disbelief, waited a few more seconds, then rose her gaze to look at the rift. "What do you want, Yukari?", she repeated.

The hole remained where it was, flying in the middle of the room, the eyes inside it watching her intently. But nothing happened, which made Shikieiki frown. Why would Yukari Yakumo open up one of her famous gaps without coming out of it? "Yukari?", repeated Shikieiki Yamaxanadu, the Yama of Gensokyo, anew.

Suddenly, the doors to the courtroom flew open and Yukari Yakumo stepped into the room, waving enthusiastically. "Fooled you!", she exclaimed as she hastily stalked past her gap and patted it like a little puppy. "I don't think that this is funny, Yukari. You know that I do not have time for your shenanigans.", grumbled the Yama and lowered her gaze again, the document gaining importance as she returned to her work.

"Ah, don't be like that. Don't tell me you don't enjoy a joke once in a while.", smiled the Sukima no Youkai as she closed her gap with the movement of a hand, and then walked up to the Yama. Shikieiki paid her no mind as the Sukima climbed the tall judge's seat with the help of a gap and sat down on the desk, right aside the stack of documents.

"Pulling an all-nighter again, Eiki?", inquired the Sukima as she rose an eyebrow at her old friend. Even though the two of them had to act against each other ever so often due to Shikieiki being law-abiding while Yukari was doing whatever she wanted and often contravened with the laws of existence, they shared this deep friendship. And because of this, they knew that they always could rely onto each other, no matter the situation.

That aside, Yukari still was one of the higher beings and thus often interacted with the Circle of Yama, the organization of the judges of the dead of each world.

"You know that I have to.", murmured the Yama of Gensokyo and frowned as she spotted something confusing on the document before her. "Hey, Yukari... Do you see this?", asked Shikieiki as she pointed at a certain information. Yukari frowned and looked down at the document, then smiled. "No problem there. I know sounds weird, but the information is correct.", confirmed Yukari.

Shikieiki looked up. "It is? What a weird name...", she murmured and then returned to work. "That aside, do you really think it is okay that you pull an all-nighter again? Look, how many hours have passed since you last slept?", asked the Sukima, and the Yama groaned.

Yukari Yakumo watched as Shikieiki finally put the feather down aside the little ink jar and leaned back in her chair with the large backrest. The Yama closed her eyes and rose her right hand , was about to rub her eyes with the index finger and the thumb of that hand. "You should use the other hand. You've got ink on your thumb.", suggested Yukari, and as Shikieiki opened her eyes and looked down at her thumb, she found that Yukari was right.

"Ah, thanks.", she murmured, then used her other hand to rub her eyes. "No problem. Still, how long has it been?", continued Yukari, earning yet another groan from the judge. "72 hours... And I only slept three hours until then.", sighed Shikieiki, "But I am used to it already." "Ah, Eiki...", huffed Yukari and shook her head, "You know better than that."

"But I can't change it. I need to finish my work.", replied the Yama as she opened her eyes again and focused back on the document before her. "I know. But still.", commented Yukari, but then smirked, "On the other hand, your Shinigami sleeps enough for the two of you. Lazes around all day." "She's just like you, Yukari."

Yukari puffed her cheeks at the comment from the Yama, then glared over her shoulder towards the courtroom doors. She rose an eyebrow as they opened, but then smiled as she watched how a single green haired woman slipped into the room, carrying a tray with some food on it, and rose an eyebrow at her. "Ah, if that isn't Minoue.", chuckled Yukari silently, observing how Minoue bowed to her in respect and then walked along the wall of the courtroom.

"Time flies, doesn't it? Feels like yesterday when she was a little girl and was playing hide-and-seek with me. My, how she has grown!", commented the Sukima, her eyes still resting on the green haired Shinigami as she approached a heavy wooden door with a small, metal-grilled window. "Indeed it does. She's almost six centuries old now.", muttered Shikieiki as she looked up.

Minoue rose her golden scythe, turned it and placed the hilt into a small hole in a metal disc that was located in the middle of the door. Turning her scythe, it acted like a key and the heavy door swung open. "I'm here to give you your dinner, Abendsonne.", she called out into the dark, paved corridor behind the door. "He's still here, hm?", muttered Yukari and shook her head, then turned to her old friend again, "In the prison of Higan, I mean."

Shikieiki nodded slowly, confirming that the prison corridors lay indeed behind the heavy door, and confirming that the man Yukari was referring to indeed was inside that prison. "Oh, is that the lovely voice of Yukari Yakumo that I hear? Such sweetness for my tired ears.", laughed a male voice, echoing out of the dark corridor. Minoue nodded once, but then shook her head. "Don't even try it, Abendsonne."

The foreign word rolled out of her mouth anew, and Yukari just chuckled as she was reminded of the mass murderer called 'Abendsonne'. Minoue vanished inside the prison of Higan and closed the door behind her, and yet Yukari could still hear as the mass murderer known as Abendsonne began to talk with Minoue in a foreign language through the small, metal-grilled window.

Yukari turned back to Shikieiki. "Well, this actually leads me to the reason of my visit...", she smiled and watched as the Yama looked up from her document again, "I'm here to announce that Reimu and I are going to the outside world tomorrow."

She couldn't help but smile as she saw how Shikieiki's frown finally turned into a small smirk. "And what would the reason be?", asked Shikieiki as she narrowed her eyes, yet did not stop to smirk, "Perhaps a little visit to a certain someone?" "Is there anything I should tell him? Or his wives?", asked Yukari in return, and Shikieiki's smirk widened. "No. I'm content if you just tell me how they are doing once you return.", replied the Yama with a short nod.

Yukari nodded. "Right...", she smiled, then turned to look at the heavy door to the prison again as Minoue left it, "But it sure feels like eternity since we last saw them, right? Twenty years have passed... And Gensokyo has changed, has it not?"

The Yama looked up at Yukari and showed her a knowing smile. "Indeed it has. And yes, time has passed. I cannot deny that I am excited to see them again as well... I do care about them, you know? My subordinates are like my children...", replied Shikieiki, only to receive a mischievous smirk from Yukari. "All but one, huh?"

At this, the Yama blushed madly and averted her gaze "D-don't say things like that! It is your fault that the Circle of Yama found out in the first place!", stuttered the Yama, out of character for her. Yukari began to laugh, and her laughter echoed through the large courtroom, to which the Yama's blush increased.

Yukari waved this off, calmed down, and then stretched her tired limbs. "Perhaps so. Hm... Yes, I was the one who accidentally blabbed something out, and I'm sorry. Thought I share happy news, guess I was wrong.", admitted the Sukima no Youkai in a lazy tone, "Anyways, back to topic... You're not against this little visit of mine, right?" "No, go ahead. Not like I could stop you.", replied Shikieiki and returned to her work, embarrassed by her friend's words.

Yukari let out a squeal of happiness and pushed herself off the table. She landed in front of the desk, twirled on the spot, and then opened a gap. "Alright then! I'll see you tomorrow evening. Thank you very much, Eiki!", exclaimed the Sukima, and without another word, vanished inside the gap. "Say hello to Reimu and Kyôkai from me!", called Shikieiki after the Sukima, right before the gap closed.

Shikieiki let out a long sigh, shook her head in disbelief at the Sukima, and then focused on her document again. "What was the purpose of her visit again?", she muttered to herself, no one aside her in the courtroom anymore, "Not like I could stop her from visiting him. Was this a friendly visit, after all?"

Indeed, Yukari's visit had no reason at all other than trying a new shenanigan, and Shikieiki knew that somehow.

But also, little did she know that Yukari would be in for maybe not exactly a pleasant surprise...

And so ends the first chapter of my second book in the Negative Bullet Project!

It's not exactly long, but much like back then at the beginning of I-Negative Bullet, it is part of the prologue and just starts the story itself. But much like back then, there is already a mystery on the way. Back then, it was Chôzen himself. This time, there are a few more mysteries. What the hell is wrong with the thing with the swamp? Who was that silver-eyed girl and what does she know? What is Yukari up to and what surprise will she get? Still, who is Minoue? And "Kyôkai"?

Lots of things need to be explained, but we're still at the beginning of the book, so we'll take our time. Are you sticking with me again? I hope so!

By now, you should've noticed why exactly "1.5 - Negative Interest" had to happen before this. It was not part of I-Negative Bullet, and yet had to happen before II-Negative Mind... Because since the events of I-NB and 1.5-NI, twenty years have passed, a fifth of a century! Lots of changes have happened, both in Gensokyo and the world outside it. And we'll begin to focus on these changes very, very soon...

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this chapter and the beginning of a second book... I'll enjoy writing these, I hope enjoy reading these, and I'm definitely going to continue! Things may not go as fast as before, I'll have to focus on school quite a lot now, but my free time will still be spend on this.

That's it from me this time! Thank you very much for reading this, and I'm out!

So long~