"Did you find it yet?" Nue called out to Mamizou while looking into a bush.
"Nope," Mamizou replied while paying close attention to a river bank. "I'm starting to think that it may have fallen into the river and got washed away. Or maybe it sank to the bottom… You should be more careful next time when you sneeze… Dropping something from a height like that not only breaks it, but can even injure someone."
"Okay, okay… I'm sorry for sneezing, okay?" Nue said while looking at her with a frustrated face. "Let's see you try not to drop something when you sneeze next time!"
"Doing that is as easy as saying it," Mamizou said while continuing to scan the river bank. Suddenly, she noticed something lying on a flat piece of rock up ahead, so she quickly approached it. "I found it, Nue!"
Nue looked up from the bush and then rushed over to the tanuki. "Really?" Mamizou showed her the iPhone-sized device that she picked up. "It really is the one! Good job finding it!"
Mamizou inspected all sides of the device and tapped it with the back of her index finger. "Not a single scratch or crack on it… This thing's pretty durable! But what is this anyway?"
"You're from the outside world, so shouldn't you know what it is?" Nue asked her.
"Well, this thing does remind me of a smartphone, but there's no screen on it…" Mamizou said. "There are no buttons on it either… Perhaps an incomplete one? Maybe we should show it to the kappas and see if they can figure out what it is."
Nue snatched the device away from her and said, "No way! I found it first, so I have the right to keep it! This is my souvenir for making it out of that mad scientist's grasp alive!"
"You do realize that you stole from that place, didn't you…?" Mamizou asked her. "I'm very sure that Yumemi was looking for you to get this back…"
"Too bad for her that she completely forgot about this," Nue said as she put the device into her bag. "It's mine now! Anyway, let's go back home now. They probably won't expect us to be back so soon. This will make a good surprise for them!"
"Maybe," Mamizou said with a shrug, and then they both flew into the air and headed for the Myouren Temple.
A Game2002 Production
BGM: A loud, orchestrated version of the beginning of Captain Murasa
Minamitsu was busy shoveling the snow covering the path that led to the Myouren Temple's entrance. Thanks to her strength, she was able to pick up a large amount of snow using the shovel without slowing down at all. After clearing the path of the snow, she sighed and then wiped her forehead with her hand. "Well, that's that," she said. "Even in cold days like this, working can still make you sweat. A little warmth during this time of the year is always a good thing! By the way, I hope Nue and Mamizou are having a good time out there."
She then looked at the sky and noticed two spots coming in the direction of the temple. She looked closer to see what they were, and when they came closer, she smile and said, "Well! Sure didn't expect them to come back so soon!"
"And then I pointed that device at him at the last second, and then… BANG!" Nue said excitedly to the residents of the Myouren Temple. "With that, everyone who got turned into nues changed back to normal, include the mad scientist himself! Just like that, we managed to save the day and become famous!"
"Though for people like us, being famous in the outside world probably isn't a good thing, so we made our escape fast," Mamizou added.
The others looked at those two in silent, not sure whether or not to believe them. "Well, you have quite a story out there, don't you…?" Nazrin asked.
"Wow! I can't believe that you managed to save the outside world!" said an excited Kyouko. "You both are awesome!"
"Yeah! We're great, right?" Nue proudly said.
"The both of you did a great job saving humanity out there!" Byakuren said. "This will surely be a huge step forward towards establishing relationship with humans and demons! However, I understand the fact that the people outside are not ready to accept the existence of our kind yet, so perhaps quickly leaving at the end was a good decision. For now, simply letting them know that demons do exist is a good enough start!"
Mamizou then let out a yawn. After that, she stretched her arms and said, "I feel sleepy… Saving the world sure took away a lot of energy…"
"Go ahead and rest! You both deserve it after saving the world! We'll be sure to whip up a tasty dinner for the both of you!" Byakuren said, and then she looked at Nue. "I'll be sure to prepare shrimp tempura, your favorite, too!"
Hearing this, Nue threw her arms into the air and exclaimed, "ALL RIGHT!"
Back in her room, Nue emptied her bag to put the items inside back to their proper places. She noticed the iPhone-sized object again, so she picked it up to look at it. "Just what exactly is this thing…?" she wondered. "Mamizou says it looks like something from the outside world, but at the same time, she doesn't know what it is…"
She looked at all sides of the device, tapped it with the back of her index finger, shook it, and placed it next to her ear to see it was capable of making sound. After a minute of tinkering around with the device, she said, "This looks a piece of stylized board… There's nothing special about it… Why would they place keep it in a container anyway? It's not like this thing is anything important or dangerous…"
Suddenly, there was the sound of an insect buzzing next to her ear, so she used her hand to try to shoo away what she thought was either a fly or a mosquito, but when the insect flew in front of her face, it turned out to be a wasp. Freaked out by the sight of it, Nue crawled back from it while swinging the device at it. Doing so made her accidentally throw the device at the wasp and pushed it to the wall, crushing it. When the device fell to the floor, the circles and lines on it started to glow with blue light, a sight that made Nue surprised. A blue vortex suddenly appeared in front of the device.
Nue stared in awe at the vortex for several seconds, and eventually, the vortex disappeared, revealing a large insect-like creature that resembled a dragonfly with pincers on the wall, and it was the size of a street dog.
Nue was shocked by the appearance of this creature. Fearing that the creature might be dangerous, she slowly approached her trident and picked it up to point it at it. She stared in silence at the creature for several seconds, waiting for it to make a move. When nothing happened for a while, she said in her head, "I think I better go and tell the others about this… Its appearance doesn't scream friendly whatsoever… It's probably very dangerous too…"
She moved in the direction of the door and reached for the handle. When her hand touched the handle, the creature turned its head to Nue and revealed that it had no visible eyes and a head that was somewhat reptilian in appearance. Nue smiled nervously and said, "Hi…"
The creature suddenly let out a screech before flying in her direction. Nue shrieked and then ducked, and the creature went through the paper door. Nue quickly moved back from the door, and the creature came back inside through the hole it created. Nue thrust her trident at the creature when it charged at her, but to her surprise, the creature dodged it and then caught the trident's handle before flinging it away from her hand. Nue quickly ducked and then ran underneath the creature when it swung its pincer at her neck, and then she rushed out of the room while crying for help.
"What's the matter?" Minamitsu asked as she walked in from around the corner.
"MONSTER BUG!" Nue screamed while running in her direction. The nue ran around the corner, leaving the ship ghost to face the approaching creature by herself.
The creature swung its pincer at Minamitsu's neck and cut off her head in a single swipe. However, both her head and body turned into water immediately after that and then moved underneath the creature in the form of a puddle and past it. The ship ghost changed back to normal after that, this time with an anchor in her hand. "What is this?!" she said with a look of shock.
The creature screeched and then flew at her to swing its pincer at her, but with a single blow from her anchor, she managed to knock it into the wall. The creature fell to the floor, and Minamitsu looked at it and curiously said, "What is this thing?"
The creature shook its head and then got back up. It looked at Minamitsu and screeched angrily before quickly flying at her to swing its pincer at her waist. The attack created a gash "made of water" on Minamitsu's body, but it healed right away. When the creature flew at the ship ghost again, she instantly changed into a puddle to avoid it. The puddle moved underneath the creature, and then a pair of hands made of water came out from the former and caught it from below, instantly pulling it underwater.
Just then, all the residents of the Myouren Temple except for Kyouko came rushing down the hallway, but all they saw was the puddle. "Where's the bug you talked about?" Byakuren asked Nue.
When the puddle started bubbling, they looked at it and knew that Minamitsu must be dealing with things herself. Several seconds later, the bubbling stopped, and then the creature was thrown out of the puddle and onto the floor. The puddle changed back to Minamitsu afterwards.
The others ran up to her and the creature. "Minamitsu! Did you drown this… bug?" Byakuren asked the ship ghost.
Minamitsu looked at the creature and replied, "Almost drowned it… I threw it out when it lost consciousness. I'm sure it's still alive…"
To make sure that the dragonfly-like creature wouldn't go anywhere or harm anyone, its pincers and wings were bounded by ropes, and then it was placed inside a box that had air holes.
After the residents of the Myouren temple were done doing this, they gathered around to talk about what happened.
Nue showed them the device she brought back from the outside world and said, "And after it hit the wall, a swirly thingy appeared, and when it disappeared that thing was seen on the wall. I assumed it was the wasp transformed by that swirly thingy at first, but when I went back to my room, I found the wasp's dead body on the floor, so that monstrous-looking bug actually isn't the wasp…"
"Perhaps that swirly thingy is actually a portal of sorts that leads to another place," Mamizou said. "When I was living in the outside world, I saw movies and TV shows that have portals resembling what you described, and those either led to a faraway places, another time period, and even alternate dimensions…" Then she looked at the device. "Perhaps this thing is capable of creating portals that lead to other places…"
"So that monstrous-looking bug… It's not from Gensokyo?" Ichirin asked.
"Considering that nobody ever saw something like that here before, I think we can safely assume that," Mamizou replied. "I dare say that it's not even from this planet, time period, or dimension… I have never seen a creature like that anywhere in my life before…"
"Wow… This device really is something to be able to bring life forms from places unheard of!" Kyouko said in disbelief while looking at the device. "The humans of the outside world sure are technologically advanced to create something like this!"
"I dare say it's probably not created by humans…"Mamizou said. "It may probably be created by aliens or highly advanced species that people have yet to discover… You'll never know… "
"Can that really be true…?" Shou asked.
Nue looked at the device and said, "So… what do we do with this? Now that we know what this thing does, do you think it's safe to keep it around?"
"Such a thing can indeed be pretty dangerous," Byakuren said. "However, I think it's also important that we find out what it's truly capable of. That way, we can prevent this thing from being used in the wrong way. Perhaps we should show it to someone like the demon of boundaries or the half-demon of Kourindou. I'm sure either one of them will know what it is."
"I think it's better to ask the former," Mamizou said. "While the latter does have a large collection of outside world stuff and claims to be able to tell what a thing can do just by looking at it, his explanations tend to be… Well, imagine someone from the Edo period trying to explain what a television is or something like that…"
"Well, if Master Hijiri says so, then I'll show it to either one of them," Nue said. "Since Kourindou is closer to this place, I think I'll go there first, and then we'll see if that four-eyed guy can explain what this thing is before deciding whether or not to go to that Yakumo demon."
Two fishermen were fishing at the edge of a lake that had its water flowing in from the river that came down from Youkai Mountain. Thanks to its size and deepness, the lake wasn't entirely frozen, despite it still being winter.
The fishermen were almost falling asleep from the long wait, and one of them said, "Slow day for fishing, don't you think so?"
"Yeah…" his companion said with a nod. "It isn't like this usually… I wonder what's keeping the fish from falling for our baits today…"
"Perhaps they're getting smarter?" the first fisherman jokingly said.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there was a fish demon living in there that could communicate with them and told them to avoid foods that are hanging onto hooks," his companion said.
Underwater, a fish swam in the direction of the second fisherman's bait and bit it. That fisherman felt his fishing rod being tugged, so he started reeling it in. "I got one!" The reeling went smoothly at first, but suddenly, there was a powerful tug that almost pulled him into the water. "Whoa! It's fighting back all of a sudden! Looks like a big one! This is going to be a big…" Before he could finish his phrase, he and his fishing rod were both pulled into the water.
"Jurou!" said the other fisherman in shock. He saw the surface of the water bubbling and knew that it was his friend. He kept on looking at the bubbling spot and called his friend's name over and over, and eventually, the bubbling stopped. "Jurou? Jurou?! JUROU! Can you hear me?! I'll jump in to rescue you at…"
Suddenly, a dark blue tentacle covered in fish scales shot out of the water, caught him by waist, and pulled him in underwater before he could finish questioning what it was. The part of the water he got pulled into bubbled violently for several seconds before becoming still again.
Then all looked peaceful at the lake, as if nothing had happened at all…
TO BE CONTINUED
Here it is! The third story "build-up" story! In case you haven't seen it in my Twitter account yet, the story that is being built up is called Universes' Finest. I'll eventually reveal to you all what that story is about, so please stay tuned!
And don't worry; there won't be any nightmare-inducing stuff in this story, so you can relax.
Also, Jurou is… Nah, I don't think I have to bring up the fact that he's an OC… Oh wait, I just did…
1. This chapter's title is named after the horror film series about man-eating crocodiles. I only saw the first one, mind you.
2. The dragonfly-like creature resembling Megaguirus from the Godzilla series is actually a coincidence… Only realized it after coming up with the former…
3. After the creation of an ASCII art made by someone (?) named Nikaidou that involves a shrimp tempura being thrown into a crying Nue's mouth, it became somewhat popular to associate her with that kind of Japanese dish. As such, I made it her favorite food here. I don't know if Nikaidou is the name of a person or a website, hence the reason I put a question mark next to the word "someone"…