Twenty Years Later- Reimu's Successor

Chapter 1- Hakurei Miko Number Fourteen

Hakurei Shrine, around twelve midday

Reimu Hakurei the thirteenth. Former youkai hunter, incident resolver extraordinaire and currently the highest-ranking miko of the Hakurei Shrine... now the sort that slept in whenever she could. However, many a year had passed since those days, days when Gensokyo seemed to be filled with chaotic incidents and various peace-disrupting youkai of all sorts...

...however, Gensokyo was a strange area indeed. Just like every law of physics, the laws of thermodynamics were twisted into a veritable mess, and entropy seemed to be working in the opposite direction to usual. Instead of things breaking down into chaos over time, Gensokyo seemed to be approaching sterility, and peace seemed to covering the place.

...it was enough to make Reimu prefer sleeping to real life. While she had always complained, the fact was that she truly enjoyed going out and resolving incidents. In fact, it had gotten to the point that a certain concerned youkai neighbour that occupied her shrine's airspace had created a false incident just to give her a nostalgia rush.

Reimu curled up in her sleep as the thought passed her by... the youkai man was patronising... such an attitude implied he was thinking she was getting old...

...who did he think he was? Reimu was only thirty-six, and she wasn't thirty-seven any time soon. Opening her eyes in a huff, she decided to get out of bed to check up on her adopted successor... in all honesty, she was surprised that her successor hadn't woken her up yet.

Walking out of her bedroom, she walked down into her living room, and while she saw evidence that her successor had been here in the form of a half-empty bowl of Miso Soup, there wasn't a sign of the successor herself.

Finally, she stuck her head out of her door, and checked outside the building. There, her successor stood... it was bizarre, considering she was an adopted child, Patricia Hakurei bore an almost uncanny resemblance to her adoptive mother- short, black hair, and maroon eyes with an almost unnatural shimmer. It was almost as if fate was reminding her that soon, Reimu would have to leave most of her duties to the thirteen year-old kid.

"Hey, Patricia!" Reimu called out, walking out of the shrine's main building to talk to her successor, "What do you think you're doing?"

"Just looking at the forest..." Patricia mumbled, pointing to the charred, skeletal trees that grew beyond the shrine's grounds, "...what was it that happened here again? Forest fire?"

Reimu folded her arms, "...a human did this. An upstart called 'Fujiwara no Mokou'. You'll recognise her immediately. She's the one with all the burns on her clothing. Apparently this was a side effect of one of her bickerings with her rival."

Patricia sighed to herself, "It'd be nice to see some trees around here, instead of having to go to that creepy Youkai Forest in the mountains... that place scares me..."

Reimu tutted to herself, "For pity's sake, Patricia, you can't be scared by every feral youkai you come across. Now, we all prefer the civilised sorts, but if push comes to shove, you need to be able to exterminate the bitches... remember what I said?"

Patricia rolled her eyes, "Yes... if I get in trouble, hold up my spell card, and unleash 'Evil Sealing Circle', I got it... I'm allowed to be scared, aren't I? I mean, I'd still go there if I have to... bravery's got to count for something, right?"

Reimu stopped, and thought for a moment. Suddenly, her default 'unimpressed' expression changed to a slightly warm one, "Yeah, I guess it's fairly smart to be afraid, makes you work harder. Just don't freeze in fear, or you're a goner."

"Of course..." Patricia mused, "So, how was that 'fake incident'?"

"Unfulfilling." Reimu bluntly replied, "Your Aunty Marisa seemed to have fun, but honestly, that loser needs a hobby. I want you to stay away from him, got it? He's a creep. Anyway, I kinda wish a real incident would happen, you know what I'm saying?"

Patricia smirked a little, "Really? Because you seem to be happy enough sleeping in your bed. I came in at seven o'clock to wake you up, but you were so asleep I couldn't bear to wake you... you would just have shouted at me anyway..."

"You're too savvy." Reimu muttered, "You know, maybe no incidents are happening because you're no good at finding them. You know, a good incident solver is one that looks for unrest in every nook, every cranny, and..."

"...then steals every valuable item they can from the scene!" a voice from behind the pair decided to take Reimu's sentence in a completely different direction.

The two shrine maidens turned around, knowing exactly who it was. A blonde-haired woman in a black, puritan-styled outfit stood just about taller than the very-much still growing Patricia and a good four inches shorter than Reimu. She was holding a broom over her shoulder, and standing next to her was a slightly older-looking man with an almost identical outfit, albeit one more suited for his own gender, and just like the woman, was in possession of a broom. Unlike the woman, his hair was very much greying, and his face had a rather unkempt, stubble-like beard covering its underside.

"Uncle Jean! Aunty Marisa!" Patricia said enthusiastically, hugging the man while the woman folded her arms, slightly disappointed she wasn't the recipient of a hug.

"Oh. It's you guys..." Reimu muttered, less than enthralled by the two's visit, "What do you want?"

"That's no way to treat your old pal Marisa, now is it?" Marisa remarked, earning a disapproving look from Reimu.

The man let Patricia go, and ruffled her hair, as if she were a much younger child, and said, "Ah, Patricia, it is good to see you... and of course, Reimu..."

Reimu rolled her eyes, "Okay, Jean, seeing as Marisa doesn't want to answer my question, can you please tell me why you're visiting so early in the day?"

"It's twelve-fifteen in the afternoon..." Jean pointed out, "...anyway... I was just thinking that perhaps we could take Patricia off your hands for a little while... we have some things we wanted to show her, and we figured..."

"...you figured that I would be cramping your style?" Reimu somewhat accusingly asked the male magician.

"No, it's not that at all, it's just..." Jean began to say, but was quickly cut off by Reimu somewhat angrily conceding.

"Fine! She's thirteen, she can take care of herself, hell, she should be able to take care of a decent incident when one finally comes around..." Reimu said, shrugging her shoulders, "But I warn you, if you're trying to indoctrinate her with that magician crap, remember she's a shrine maiden first and foremost!"

Patricia put her hand on Reimu's shoulder, "Don't worry, Mum... er... Reimu, I'll be fine. Besides, I'm interested to know what they have to show me..."

Marisa jumped up with a glee befitting of a woman half her age, and boarded her broom, "Ah, excellent! Come on, Patricia, we're going to go flying!"

Jean grinned a slightly wonky smile, and boarded his broom himself, before calling, "Allez, ma brosse!" and rocketing away.

Marisa suddenly turned away, rolling her eyes towards... seemingly an invisible audience, "...twenty years, and he still occasionally throws in his frog-language..."

Patricia cocked her head, "Huh? Who are you talking to, Aunty Marisa?"

"No-one." Marisa lied, "Now, get flying, Patricia! We'll race to see who can catch up to Jean first... he's the slowest broom-rider you'll ever see."

Clicking her heels, Marisa sped off into the distance, and Patricia, before briefly looking back at Reimu, decided that she may as well take off herself, and floated into the distance, waving back at Reimu as she did, "See ya later, Reimu! Have a fun day!"

Reimu simply looked on as her protégée trailed behind her token bad influences, and finally turned around, saying, "Yeah, I'm gonna have lots of fun sitting around in a house on my own..." Reimu suddenly looked upwards, and took note of the massive floating house that now took up her airspace, "...hm, maybe I should torment him for a bit..."

Somewhere in the Forest of Magic, immediately after

Marisa, Jean, and Patricia were speeding through the still-recovering Forest of Magic, flying at speeds enough to make normal humans somewhat nauseous.

Casually air-rolling out of the path of a crisp-black tree, Patricia asked, "So, what is it you had to show me? It's something Reimu doesn't like, isn't it? That's why you're taking me away..."

Marisa cackled gratuitously, as if she had been working on her laugh, "Aren't you smart... well, yes, I need you for something..."

Jean proceeded to fire a green shot in front of him, removing a tree in his path, before saying, "...honestly, I do have something to give to you, Patricia, but Marisa insisted that I had to make you earn it..."

"Earn what?" Patricia asked.

"It's a secret! Jean, don't you dare tell her!" Marisa said, her exhilarated laughter seeming to show that her age meant precisely nothing to her, "First, you've got to overcome... uh... a trial of guts! Yeah, a trial of guts!"

Patricia smirked, "Oh yeah? What's kind of scary thing will I have to face?"

Marisa grinned back to Patricia, ducking to avoid a stray branch before saying, "Well, I was thinking that we fly all the way to the Youkai Forest... there's... um... a... haunted house that I want to take you. Yeah, that's it! A haunted house!"

Jean rolled his eyes, "...I cannot believe that you're..."

"Shush! No more from you, Jean!" Marisa interrupted.

Jean sighed to himself, and the three continued their highly erratic, dangerous flight in silence, before they finally got to the foot of the Youkai Mountain. A Goddess in a farmer's outfit, wearing sunglasses and holding some kind of gem to boot, floated into sight, before spotting Marisa and quickly leaving again,with nary a word.

Patricia turned to the witch and asked, "What was up with her?"

"Ego problems. She's still sore after the spanking I gave her's." Marisa explained somewhat vaguely, "Don't worry, as long as you stick with me, Goddesses won't bother you here."

"Well, if even the deities won't bother us, this isn't gonna be much of a trial of guts, is it?" Patricia pointed out.

"Oh no..." Marisa calmly continued, "...the youkai in this haunted house... they do... horrible things... horrible things to little human girls..."

Jean rolled his eyes, "Yes, like not letting them steal books from their..."

"Will you be quiet, Jean?" Marisa asked, "You're spoiling the fun..."

Patricia was beginning to get an idea of what was going on, but decided to play along anyway, "Well, I'll take Aunty Marisa's word for it... so, let's go to the Youkai Forest!"

The trio sped up, and within minutes, they had reached their destination. The Youkai Forest was a wild, untamed area, the trees almost as tall as the Youkai Mountain itself. Unlike the destroyed Forest of Magic, which had mainly grasses thriving from the ash-ridden soil, the Youkai Forest had a healthy population of carnivorous plants among the leaf litter, which gladly demonstrated their capabilities on any creature foolish enough to wander too close.

Eventually, however, the three stopped at a suspiciously tamed area, an area which had almost certainly been cultivated. The house was beside a river, and had a far more aesthetically pleasing set of plant life surrounding it. The house itself also seemed fairly well-looked after, and almost certainly didn't belong to a feral youkai.

"This is your haunted house?" Patricia asked, her tone more than a little unconvinced.

"Yeah... I mean, such a prim and proper house in the middle of this spooky place... creepy, huh?" Marisa weakly replied, her smile barely containing her awkwardness.

"Huh? Isn't this the place where that short magician woman that comes on the shrine grounds often lives?" Patricia premeditatedly asked, deliberately trying to make Marisa squirm.

"N-no, of course not! It's a pair of human... uh... human-raping Youkai! You'd best hope they're hungry, because you don't want to be kept alive by them!" Marisa began to wave her arms around in an attempt to work up Patricia, "Ooooooh..."

Patricia decided to just cut to the chase, "...okay, let's do this thing. What do you want me to do?"

"I want you to go into the house, find the library, and then steal a book on Quantum Mechanical Magic. And if you get out with one, then you pass the test! Seems simple enough, right?" Marisa asked.

"What a surprise..." Patricia mused, "This certainly seems like something you'd come up with."

"What do you mean?" Marisa asked, "You can't be implying that I'm just using you to steal something from some people who are too wary of me breaking and entering for me to do it myself, are you?"

Patricia sighed, and decided to walk towards the door. She tentatively reached for the handle, and once she grabbed it, turned her hand. To her surprise, not only was the door unlocked, but after she instinctively hid, no-one came to the door to investigate.

After waiting in fear, Patricia finally decided to go in. If her hunches were correct, she didn't really need to fear the inhabitants of the house, however, she also knew they were ridiculously powerful. And unlike most residents of Gensokyo, at least one of the residents did not use Danmaku, rather altered the environment itself.

Walking down the dimly-lit hallway, she came across a door aptly labelled 'Library'. Patricia smiled anxiously, and opened the door, now more nervous than before. Walking down a set of stairs, she tried her best to remain calm as she heard the sound of people talking at the bottom.

"...hmm... so you think that this should be recited like this?" one voice said, before the other replied.

"...no, no, I think that the reciting isn't the important part... look, see, it's about manipulating probability. That's what magic entails..."

"When you put it like that, I guess we are making the infeasible spontaneous..." the first replied, seemingly able to understand something she didn't before.

Sounds of walking were heard, and the sound of footsteps became distant, which meant Patricia probably could continue her descent down the stairs. Entering the library, she saw two silhouettes walking away from her, their backs turned. After they went behind one of the many towering bookcases, Patricia decided to get to work.

She worked her search around where the two magicians went, and where she could search without them noticing. She managed to find books ranging in subjects from 'How to treat Alopecia Areata' to 'How to Yodel in Cantonese', however, the books on Quantum Mechanical Magic seemed to be the only book in the library that wasn't on a shelf.

...it was right about the time Patricia was thinking this that the two magicians passed the shelf Patricia was examining, and instantly spotted her.

One was fairly tall, and sported long, purple hair, with permanently glazed, purple eyes, while the other was much shorter, sporting a light salmon shade of hair, and sported a pair of completely closed eyes. Within the shorter one's hands, or, to be more accurate, overly-long sleeves, was a book titled 'The Magician's Guide to Manipulation of Quantum Particles'.

Patricia silently cursed to herself as she stammered in an attempt to justify her presence, "Look... I... I... I swear that I just wanted to borrow something..."

The taller one folded her arms, "...hm, that excuse reminds me of a certain human witch... Yutaka, do you know who this is?"

The shorter one smiled a particularly eerie grin, "Oh, I know who it is! It's the new Hakurei Miko. She can't be up to anything too suspicious... the Boss says she's a sweet girl..."

"Regardless of what 'the Boss' has to say, it doesn't explain why she's here..." the taller one replied.

Yutaka nodded, "Patchy does have a point... what are you doing here, Miss Hakurei?"

Patricia began to sweat, "Well... it's just... well... there's a... there's a book... I was... I was... interested in?"

"See, Patchy, she is just interested in our magic..." Yutaka calmly said, turning to the taller magician, who was still unconvinced.

"...okay, so why didn't she knock on the door?" Patchouli pointed out, "I can't believe she wants a book on magic for herself... I mean, she's a shrine maiden, she doesn't need to study for her powers... she must be working on behalf of someone..."

Yutaka nodded, "You do have a point... what book were you looking for, Miss Hakurei?"

Patricia smiled sheepishly, and pointed at the book in the vertically-challenged magician's hands. At this, the two magicians looked at one another, and nodded.

"Get out." Patchouli muttered.

"But I..." Patricia began to say, before Yutaka decided to invade her personal space, leaning up close to her.

"...Patchouli told you to get out, Miss Hakurei. We know who it is you're working for..." Yutaka calmly asserted.

"Uh... how about... how about... I fight you for the book?" Patricia suddenly declared, surprising herself, "...uh... yeah! How about we get into a spell-card based battle for the book! Is that fair?"

Patchouli folded her arms, and said, "Very well. It's two against one, so we'll go easy on you..."

Yutaka seemed a little surprised by her significant other's sudden competitive streak, and nodded, "Okay, here goes! Fire, Earth, and Water Sign: Hydrothermal Vent!"

The two magicians proceeded to summon three books to their aid, and the room began to shift so that the floor become covered in a rough, rocky layer. A sheet of blue, water-like bullets fired from Patchouli's books, and just as Patricia became used to avoiding the onslaught, Yutaka lifted her hands, causing plumes of steam and magma to fire from the ground.

Keeping as high up as possible, Patricia summoned two yin-yang orbs, and began to throw ofuda at the two magicians, who didn't even put a passing effort into dodging, instead taking the hits spectacularly well. They very belatedly responded to this by floating upwards themselves, and continued their attack.

The sheets of water-type bullets kept firing from Patchouli's books, and the rate at which they were fired increased exponentially, until finally, the spell-card was over, and Patricia wiped a sweat-bead from her forehead, glad the two seemed to have relatively merciful attacks. However, their apparent mercy was swiftly subverted, as Patchouli flew into the middle of the room in preparation for their next attack.

"Yutaka, are you ready?" Patchouli asked, and seemed to mouth something incredibly quickly to her partner, who floated nonchalantly to join her. Once she did, Patchouli continued, "...Sun, Moon, and Earth Sign: Gravitational Stability!"

Yutaka grinned, and moved outwards, so that she was orbiting Patchouli. Patchouli proceeded to form a great, glowing orb above herself, and Patricia felt herself being drawn towards the sphere, as if it was sucking her in. To make matters worse, Yutaka was firing bullets towards said orb, and was orbiting at such a speed that Patricia was finding it difficult to keep track of her. Eventually, pieces of the walls began to be drawn towards the miniature sun, meaning Patricia had to avoid both planned and unplanned attacks on her.

Although she was coping, Patricia was finding it exceptionally difficult to actually land a shot on either Patchouli or Yutaka... every shot she directed at Patchouli got sucked into her ever-growing artificial sun, and Yutaka was whizzing around at such an erratic pace that even her homing amulets were having a tough time hitting her.

Performing an aerial sidestep to avoid a piece of glass that was flying towards her, Patricia took a spell-card from her pocket, and was about to declare its name, however, the orbiting magician had clearly miscalculated her route, as she flew right into the miko, causing both the brunt of the assault and Patricia's futile attempts to harm Patchouli to stop.

The two fell from the air, moderately dazed from the impact, landing on the rocky ground, which due to the injury of Yutaka, swiftly reformed into the regular carpet. Patchouli looked towards the ground, and instantly stopped her attack, flying down to check on her partner.

Kneeling beside the magician, she asked, "Are you okay, Yutaka?"

However, instead of Yutaka answering, a young girl's voice spoke from above her, "...well, I don't know about her, but I'm just fine..."

Patchouli turned her head, to see Patricia standing over her with a set of 'persuasion needles' in her hand, and she knew full well what the next step was- to feel the same needles in her body.

Patricia somewhat mercilessly threw the needles at Patchouli at point-blank range, causing her to collapse, and she sighed to herself, "I wish I didn't have to reason with Youkai in such a violent way... but then again, Aunty Marisa wouldn't be impressed if I told her I just asked for the book..."

Prying the book from Yutaka's incapacitated body, Patricia began to walk towards the library's exit, however, she heard a muffled voice call out to her as she left.

"...Miss... Miss Hakurei... let me get the door for you." Yutaka mumbled, her face still stuck to the floor. After clumsily getting to her feet and dusting herself off, she mumbled, "...I was never one for the whole fighting thing... don't tell Patchy I did this, but I'll disable the never-ending stairs for you..."

Yutaka proceeded to catch up to Patricia, and the two walked to the exit together. Yutaka, who seemed to have worn her bizarrely static smile throughout the battle, continued to smile as she said, "Miss Hakurei, this library is outfitted with a system that means that if someone tries to leave with a book, the stairs leading you to the hallway become everlasting. We find confusion is the best way to outwit thieves..."

Patricia nodded, "...I see. So... you're just going to let me go?"

"My offensive magic is useless without Patchouli's help." Yutaka stated, her smile seeming to be somewhat genuine, "Plus, if it were up to me alone, I would have let you borrow the book anyway... it's good that Miss Kirisame is still so intellectually curious, if you ask me. But Patchouli is... well, opposed to freely lending out books. It's what it means to be married- you have to take the other side into consideration, you know what I'm saying? Okay, the system is disabled. Please leave as soon as possible, so I can put it back online before Patchy gets up..."

"Oh, of course." Patricia replied, and quickly said, "Thanks!" before high-tailing it out of the somewhat unsettling library and by extension, the somewhat unsettling house that contained it.

Marisa and Jean were waiting outside of the house, sitting on their levitating brooms as if they were bored. Marisa was the first to notice Patricia walking out of the house rather calmly with a book in her hand.

"So... you got a book after all? Well, I guess it was worth the wait..." Marisa remarked, and fired a shot from her finger to deal with an off-hand fairy before beckoning to Patricia, "Well, what are you waiting for? Show me what you got..."

Patricia gave the book to Marisa, and folded her arms, "I hope you appreciate this, getting it wasn't easy..."

"The Magician's Guide to Manipulation of Quantum Particles, eh?" Marisa read the title word-for-word, before continuing, "Hmm, seems pretty good. So, you took your time... did you need to to sneak past those horrible human-eating monsters of death?"

Patricia smirked a little, "I had to fight them for it..."

Jean turned to Marisa in shock, and suddenly spoke up in a rather angered tone, "MARISA! Patricia could have been seriously hurt! Why would you send her to do this just to steal a book for you?"

"But she'd be fine..." Marisa shrugged off Jean's understandable concern, "...I mean, she's the new Hakurei Miko! Reimu was always the 'boring invincible hero' type, Patricia over here is just the same..."

Jean didn't appreciate the witch's irreverent attitude, and muttered, "Just because you were not careful as a child does not mean Patricia should be casually put in danger..."

"Of course it does!" Marisa replied, totally ignoring the man's speech, "You didn't mind, did ya, Patricia?"

"Well, it was dangerous, but... admittedly, it was quite fun." Patricia said, smiling a little at the memory of her brief adrenaline rush.

"See, Patricia's totally cool with it!" Marisa gloated, "Thanks for sticking up for your cool Aunty Marisa, Patty!"

Patricia rolled her eyes at the fact she was being treated like a child, and Jean sighed, conceding to his somewhat obnoxious friend, "I guess if Patricia enjoyed it, there isn't an issue..."

Patricia looked to the forty-three year-old man... his under-eyes were creased, his cheek-bones emphasising his slightly wrinkled face. His hat and hair very nearly hid it, but the man's forehead had rather prominent frown-lines... however, the thing that Patricia noticed more than anything was the slight smile on his face- it was not much in terms of mouth movement, but his eyes seemed to do all the smiling for him- the smile which seemed to indicate that yes, he was rather proud of her. While Marisa clearly saw this experience as an opportunity to get a free book, Jean... he seemed to have genuinely bought the idea that this was some sort of coming-of-age challenge... to some extent. He silently gestured to Marisa, moving his arms towards the canopy of the Youkai Forest.

Marisa nodded, and said, "Come on, kiddo, let's get out of here. Your Uncle Jean wants to give you something for stealing the book- I mean, passing the trial of guts."

"What is it, Uncle Jean?" Patricia asked, now rather excited to know the two indeed were intending on showing her more than just a free fight.

The man tapped his nose, "Ah, it's a secret for now..." Jean clicked his heels, and pulled back on his broom, shooting himself upwards at break-neck speed.

Marisa smirked to herself, "Yeah, we have to give that slow-poke a head start so he doesn't feel too bad when we beat him home... I'll cook ya some bracket fungus soup when we get back, 'kay?"

Marisa then proceeded to set off on her broomstick herself, leaving Patricia to kick herself off the ground in silence, defying gravity at the highest speed possible for a human being of her stature.

The three zoomed through Gensokyo, occasionally shooting down the odd fairy, and made it to Marisa's house in the same three pieces they were in to begin with. Marisa instantly got to the kitchen, and shouted, "Okay, tea's on! Jean, get the gift, and then go and fetch me some bracket fungus with Patricia!"

Jean barely had time to take his shoes off, and he simply shrugged, "Okay... I thought you would want to see Patricia receive the gift, though..."

"Nah, you two need some alone time. It's okay, I know that Patricia likes you better..." Marisa's disembodied voice called from the kitchen.

Jean sighed, and looked at Patricia, "...I wish she wouldn't say things like that in front of you..."

Patricia shrugged her shoulders, "It's fine. You get the thing, I'll just wait here..."

Jean nodded, and quickly ran upstairs, and within a minute, returned with an object hidden under his cloak. He quietly said, "Let's go..."

Marisa, who seemed to have heard Jean despite his efforts to be quiet, shouted from the kitchen, "See ya later!"

Jean and Patricia decided to go for a relatively leisurely walk through the Forest of Magic, a certain change in style to the antics of their day so far. Although there wasn't much in the way of beautiful scenery in the forest, there was certainly a lot of grass, and a lot of dead-wood. And wherever there was dead-wood, there was bracket fungus. It wasn't a far walk before Jean had found a large enough growth of bracket fungus to feed the three of them.

Jean snapped the fungal growth from the rotted log in front of him, and then sat down on said log, "Patricia, I think it is time I gave you the present..."

Patricia smiled, before quickly becoming respectful so as to not seem too materialistic, "...thanks, Uncle Jean..."

"Hey, you don't even know what it is yet!" Jean replied, laughing a little, before taking the object out of his cloak. In his hand was an octagonal prism made of wood, one face being blank, while the other had a blue, fluorescent circle in the middle of it.

Patricia took the object, and said, "...is this one of those things you and Marisa use for your more powerful attacks?" as she looked at the blue circle with curiosity.

"DO NOT LOOK AT THAT END!" Jean frantically said, turning the prism around in Patricia's hand, "...sorry, it's just... that's the end it fires out of. Yes, it is what Marisa calls a 'mini-hakkero'. It can release powerful lasers from it if you know what to do with it..."

"...but... but I don't understand... why are you giving this to me? What do you think I can do with this?" Patricia asked.

"Oh..." Jean mused, "...well, Patricia, you're very dear to me, and... and I think it would be good for you to have this... Marisa may have seemed like she didn't want to give this to you, but she was actually the one who came up with the idea..."

Patricia tilted her head slightly, "Huh? What made her think of doing that?"

"I think she is a little jealous of Reimu..." Jean said, putting her arm around Patricia, "...she sees you, and she probably thinks she won't have something like that... after all, you've grown up to be a fine young woman, Patricia... Reimu should be proud of you..."

"Mum... I mean, Reimu, she doesn't seem all that proud of me..." Patricia mused, "...she never seems satisfied with how much I do..."

"But she does love you..." Jean replied, "I know, because I love you, and I haven't raised you anywhere near as much as Reimu... remember, Reimu is very strange in how she cares for people..."

"Just like what that youkai wrote about her in his book?" Patricia asked.

Jean smiled to himself, "Yes, just like the youkai man says. She is a... what was it... a tsundere? Now, you don't have to show Reimu the gift I gave you, because she might take it off you, but at least you can go and tell her that you beat a pair of youkai in a fight today, eh?"

"Yeah... yeah, I can." Patricia said, squeezing Jean slightly, "Thanks, Uncle Jean. So, how does this thing work?"

"Well... I shall show you what Marisa first taught me, shall I?" Jean began to say, and then let go of Patricia, standing up and taking the hakkero, "...well, you have to treat the object with love, and mean it with all your heart... and then, when that's done..."

...Jean continued to explain the process required to unleash a one-point-twenty-one gigawatt, seven-coloured laser of love from a tiny wooden device to the young shrine maiden, who listened to the man intently, almost like she had totally forgotten that they had gone out to pick some food for Marisa...

...however, the two eventually did remember, and went back to Marisa's house with bracket fungus, rock-salt, and earthworms for taste, and Marisa cooked up the disgusting-on-paper, delicious-in-mouth speciality dish- Bracket Fungus Soup.

While Gensokyo seemed to be as lacking in chaos as ever, unbeknownst to Patricia, Marisa, and Jean, a little piece of the laws of thermodynamics was coming back into place... yes, a spark of entropy was about to invade Gensokyo, potentially restoring it to its former chaotic state, if only temporarily...

Author's Note: I'M BACK! AND WRITING A SIDE SERIES!

Yes, I said I'd quit the Touhou fanfiction circle. Yes, I said I'd quit. But... but... I just... I just couldn't leave it alone! Here you are, here's a new story. Hope you enjoyed the first chapter... this is gonna be fun to write, I've already plotted the entire thing ahead of time. That's what a decent hiatus does to you... clarifies your mind.

It's good to be back.