Touhou Meme Icons and Other IconsOther Lists:
Rapeface & Trollface
General Touhou memes
Expression IconsOther Lists:
Rapeface & Trollface
Memes and Other Icons
Touhou Expression Icons
___ is happy
Rapeface and Trollface IconsOther Lists:
Memes and Other Icons
Character IconsOther Lists:
Rapeface & Trollface
Memes and Other Icons
Character Icons and a couple of random "I don't know where to put them otherwise" icons.
Eiki really loves chocolate pudding. Trying to bribe her with it is useless, though.
A chill breeze swept Reimu's hair as she strode up the familiar winding path, her beloved yin-yang orbs trailing lazily behind her. Her three other charges were sullen, their eyes downcast as they clambered up weathered stone stairs and stepped longingly over delicious patches of andesite. And fell flat on their faces.
"Can't you untie just one of us? I mean, this is madness!" protested Kuichiko, while Hakiba whimpered and tried to wipe her bloodied nose on her shoulder. "You're making this much harder than it needs to be. I mean, you're going to seal us anyway-"
"Shut up. We need to keep moving," said Reimu, without so much as a glance backwards.
"We cannot climb a bloody mountain with out hands tied up!" insisted Kuichiko.
"Then fly," said Reimu wearily.
Hakiba groaned. "Ohhh, why did't I thig ob dat?!"
She and her sisters took to the air. Realising what a good idea she'd struck upon, Reimu did likewise.
A few minutes' flight brought them to what remained of the Hakurei Shrine. Reimu alighted in the shallow square hole that was all that remained of the courtyard and tried to pretend she hadn't almost tripped over half a flagstone.
"Okay. Right. Hakiba, if you would care to take a seat on, um..." Reimu contemplated the ruin of her shrine. "...On the donation box. It should take your weight."
Hakiba seated herself, glaring at Reimu all the while. Reimu stepped solemnly in front of her, her gohei at the ready. She took a deep breath.
"Well, get on with it. There's no way you can do a better seal than that straw hat lady did last time," Hakiba prompted.
"I wouldn't be so sure. This is one of the most powerful seals in existence, if not THE most," said Reimu darkly. She thrust her gohei into the air, letting golden rays of sunlight set the tassels aglow. Reimu's hands trembled as the energy flowed into her. She thrust the gohei into Hakiba's heart.
Hakiba let out a strangled gasp. Her hands flew to her chest. Her mouth opened and shut as she tried to scream, but no sound would come. Slowly, she toppled backwards and fell to the ground, draped like a doily over the wooden box.
Kuichiko screamed with rage. Naruwaru just generally screamed. As one, they lunged towards Reimu and crashed face-first into a Duplex Barrier.
"What the Hell are you playing at?! That was no seal! You killed her!" roared Kuichiko. Lightning flowed from her skin to tear at the barrier while Naruwaru stabbed it repeatedly with her tusk, neither of which had any effect.
"If I'd told you I was going to exterminate you, you'd have escaped," said Reimu matter-of-factly. "Marisa, Keine and Alice are watching the mountain, so don't try anything."
"Don't try anything?! You expect us to just die?! That's never going to happen! I'd rather-" Naruwaru caught herself before she said 'die' out of habit. "I'd rather, um, eat my own spleen!"
"Well, you don't have that option. If you don't let me kill you, my friends and I will do it the messy, complicated way," Reimu reasoned. "Still, it's up to you."
The lighning and the barrier winked out. Kuichiko and Naruwaru shared a long look.
"Oh, please, please don't kill me! Please!" Naruwaru fell sobbing to the ground in front of Reimu. "I'm to young to die! I never lived! You can't do this to me, Reimu! I don't want to die! I don't want to! Please!"
Kuichiko groaned. "Must you always show me up?"
"I DON'T WANNA DIE!" sobbed Naruwaru.
"...Fine. Look, Reimu, what right have you to decide our fate? Are we mere animals to be slaughtered at your lightest whim, for nothing more than seeking our favourite food as everybody does?" said Kuichiko, readying herself for an epic rant. "Our lives are not your playthings-"
Reimu held up a hand. "Let me just stop you there. When you invaded Kappa Valley and the Human Village, did you ever think about whether the people there wanted to die?"
"I'll take that as a no." Without so much as a twich to betray her intentions, Reimu drove her gohei through Kuichiko's heart.
Kuichiko let out a pained grunt and lurched forwards, screaming without noise, her teeth bared as if to bite Reimu's nose off. Trembling, she turned to look at Naruwaru one last time. A tear rolled down her cheek. "N-Naru, I... love..." Her eyes rolled back in her skull. She fell, almost pulling Reimu's gohei out of her hand in the process.
Naruwaru screamed again, her face distorted with fear and grief. She fell to the ground, tears streaming down her cheeks to pool around the small, deep hole she'd made with her tusk. "Kuichiko, Hakiba... I love you both so, so much." Her whole body was trembling, her face a waterfall of tears. "I swear, on my honour as a daughter of the Agohaka dynasty, I will avenge you. I'll tear Gensokyo apart with my bare hands, then I'll come and break you out of Heaven."
"Um, there's very little chance-" began Reimu, but she was cut off by a sudden sharp tremor. The ground beneath her feet was shaking hard. Balefire flowed over Naruwaru's limbs, singeing the spell-tags that bound her. Reimu's eyes widened. She leapt forwards, bringing her gohei down on Naruwaru with all her strength.
It never connected. A blast of cyan-hot balefire sent Reimu sprawling on the former flagstones, flailing wildly to put herself out. Naruwaru rose to her feet in a shower of burning golden paper, wisps of divine power fluttering away in the breeze. Reimu sighed. Maybe she should've just given them a jolly good telling-off over a nice, hot bowl of tea.
"I'll get you, Reimu. Someday, I will murder you and all your friends and feast on your hearts!" roared Naruwaru. Streams of fire swirled around her as she rose into the air. "You may have won this day, but-"
"Magicannon: FINAL MASTER SPARK!"
By the time the laser had finished, there was nothing left of Naruwaru but a huge charred crater and a slender, twisted tusk.
"She may have won this day, but magicannon: Final Master Spark. Great timing, me!" grinned Marisa. Her cheeks reddened. "Aww, shucks, Marisa... I mean, I have been practising my comic timing these past few days..."
All was calm in Kappa Valley.
"Don't you dare lie to me, you traitor! I know those solar panels are your doing!"
"Well, so what if they are?! Unlike you, I happen to know about a thing called 'projected growth', and your geothermal generator is never going to cut it!"
"What, we're only allowed one geothermal generator?! As soon as we start running out of electricity, I'll build ten more! Before breakfast!"
Several kappas looked up from their work as Shigeru Kawashiro came storming along the mostly-paved riverbank, his sister in hot pursuit. It was just under a month since Kappa Valley had heard the news, and already their two finest engineers were at each other's throats. That had to be a record; normally they'd be trying to kill each other in less than a week.
"Nitori, your brain must be made of Swiss cheese if you think geothermal power is the way forwards. There's a massive fusion reactor right up there in the sky! All we need to do is make a whole bunch of photovoltaic cells, and the energy is ours for the taking!" ranted Shigeru, almost tripping over a cucumber-monitor robot. His leg had mostly grown back, but the clunky aluminium foot still made it hard to navigate.
"For the last time, we cannot afford solar panels! You might not have noticed, lazing around in your swanky new mecha-pilot's penthouse, but our mineral reserves are gone. No osmium, no orichalcum, no niobium, no beryllium, no titanium, no mithril, no cobalt, no palladium, no tungsten, no demonite, and it'll be months before the hihi'irokane blooms again. We're down to our last bucket of copper, and I'm not gonna let you waste our supplies!" bellowed Nitori.
Shigeru dove into the river, ignoring her completely. Nitori dove after him with a scream of rage, grabbed his intact foot and yanked on it with all her might.
"Aaaargh! You stupid, self-righteous-! I'll show you!" Shigeru lashed out with his artificial foot. A twelve-kilogramme lump of metal smashed into Nitori's face. Clouds of pink blood bloomed from her nose, polluting the river a mere three days after it had been declared fit to drink from.
"Never knew I had such a strong blood-flow to the nose," muttered Nitori. "Look, Shigeru, there's only one way to settle this."
"Agreed. Five cards each, first to go 'pichuuu~n' three times loses."
"You got it!"
Marisa was surrounded by tents as she followed Keine's winding steps through the small, gravelly field. In the weeks since the village had been destroyed, the field, so long considered unfit for planting, had found a new lease of life as a refugee camp. Most of the now-homeless villagers were silent as they passed, apart from one small child who eagerly tried to show Mr Kirisame her seashell collection.
"Not bad," he commented. "Reimu, you like seashells, don't you?"
"Yeah, when there are fresh oysters in them."
The Incident-Resolvers and shopkeeper filed past the small stretch of newly-built palisade at the border of the village, then over the rickety plank bridge that stood in for North Chicken Tempura Street. A few houses were being raised from the rubble-strewn crater on stilts; even as they walked past, a man was roping his shack to the bridge to keep it from sinking as the rain gathered down below.
"It is starting to feel villagey, isn't it?" Keine commented. "I mean, people are letting their children play outside in the camp, having their lunch in the square, even getting drunk and sleeping in the rubble like they did before... The youkaiophobes are up in arms over pretty much everything... Ruined or not, this is still our home." Keine slipped in the mud and almost went flying head-first into pile of logs. "Th-then again, there's still quite a way to go..."
"Yeah. Quite a way," said Reimu quietly.
Marisa frowned. Reimu had been worrying her lately. It was nothing new for her to turn all dreamy between Incidents, spending all day napping in the sun and watching the clouds drift by, but Reimu hadn't so much as glanced at a cloud since that day.
Marisa nudged Reimu in the ribs. "Hey, Reimu, are you still upset about the Agohakas? Like, is your innocence gone and stuff? Do you wish you could just pretend all youkai were nice, pretend you could always solve problems by talking them out over tea, but you know those days are gone for good?"
"Shut up, Marisa," said Keine dangerously.
"I'm just trying to help her..." muttered Marisa. Noticing the tears welling up in Reimu's eyes, she added, "Oh, no, Reimu, it's not that bad! I mean, most youkai are still nice, deep down inside! This was just an anomaly, y'know?"
"I... I just wish I hadn't had to kill them..." sniffed Reimu. "I thought all the killing was behind us. I invented the spellcard rules so no-one would have to die, and those sisters killed hundreds of people. So I killed them." Reimu sighed. "I'm sorry, I... I never wanted-"
The pounding of feet set the bridge trembling. The Incident-Resolvers and shopkeeper turned as one to see a young man sprinting towards them. His hair was bright yellow and a long naginata was strapped across his back.
"Why, it's Hayato! What's wrong, another spider in the guardhouse?" asked Keine.
"No, it's Taro, his twin brother," the man said patiently. "You're not doing anything important, are you? Only there appears to be an Incident in the town square."
Keine and Mr Kirisame shared a worried look. "Not the Taoists and Buddhists at it again?!" (Ichirin and Futo had come to blows several times over who was the best counsellor.)
"We're going to lunch, then Reimu was going back to her shrine, and then... Rebuilding and stuff, I guess," said Marisa. "What's the Incident, though?"
"Shikigami! Hundreds of servants of evil!" said Taro. "Yoshirou, you'd better hide."
"Hide? Me? The hero of the Swamp of Despair?!" Mr Kirisame drew himself up to his full height.
"Define 'hero'," said Marisa, giving her father a generous helping of side-eye.
"If I hadn't got that splinter out of Sakuya's finger, we'd all be dead now," Mr Kirisame sniffed.
"Shut up! If we don't do something, they'll burn the whole village down! Come quick!" Taro turned on his heel and sprinted off down the bridge.
Reimu watched him disappear round the corner. She turned slowly and carefully back to Keine. "It's probably nothing, right?"
"It's Taro, so, yes. Absolutely nothing. On the offchance that it actually is something, though..."
"You're right," sighed Reimu, unlimbering her gohei.
"Buck up, Reimu, will you? If it's local shikigami we're dealing with, they're bound to know the spellcard rules," said Mr Kirisame encouragingly. "If they're not, we'll shoot them before they can blink, of course."
At the north side of the town square, a handful of villagers were busy cementing the first few cobbles into the soft loam. It had been forced out of Kuichiko the day before the execution; it still smelled a little, but they were used to it by now.
"Doesn't look like there's a vicious gang of vengeful demons tearing the place apart," observed Marisa.
"I don't see why there would be. Most of the youkai work at night, right?" said one of the builders, a portly woman in her thirties. "Honestly, I didn't believe it until I saw it. Youkai must be pretty nice after all."
"Sure we are," said Keine meaningfully. "Don't worry about any vengeful spirits, now. Just Taro overreacting again, you know?"
"Oh, of course." The woman retrieved another stone from the pile beside her and laid it carefully in the ground.
Keine and Mr Kirisame lead the way into the town square, treading carefully around the freshly-laid cobblestones. Marisa stepped on one and fell flat on her face. The usual lunchtime crowds were waiting for their rations outside the large marquee that served as the town hall. All the families with their own groundsheet were spread out through the square while a few brave souls dined in the first few burgeoning houses. A gaggle of laughing children were playing at being shrine maidens. There was no sign of Taro.
"There's probably nothing wrong whatsoever," Keine repeated.
"You know how Taro gets, though..." sighed Mr Kirisame. "If we make a few discreet enquiries-"
"Hey, anyone seen any shikigami?!" called Marisa.
"It might just be Taro overreacting as per usual!" added Reimu, who was a fast learner.
"Give me strength," said Mr Kirisame.
At that moment, Taro came barrelling through the crowd, knocking a couple of people aside with the butt of his spear. "They're holding up the town hall! For Raijin's sake, what took you so long?! Hurry!"
The Incident-Resolvers and the Hero of the Swamp of Despair took off after him, sharing looks of alarm as he kicked a woman out of the way and barged in front of the lunch queue. A pair of colourful women with tails were talking to the elderly man at the window (a hole in the canvas reinforced with sticks), who was handing out the rice and fried pork.
"Chen! And Ran!" cried Marisa.
"Wha-? Marisa?! Reimu?! Other assorted people?!" cried Chen.
"You won't get away with this, you thieves. Taking food from a village on the edge of destruction..." Wisps of energy danced on the blade of Taro's naginata. The ration-doler-outer looked up in alarm. "Unforgiveable! On my honour as a guardian of the Human Village, I will punish you!"
"Whoa, hold on! We're not trying to steal anything!" protested Chen, raising her hands.
"Yes, we thought the free food was for everyone! It was an honest mistake!" said Ran urgently.
"Not only thieves, but liars too. Prepare to meet your graves! Attack Sign: Spear the Heart of the Night!"
"Shut up," said Keine, clonking Taro on the head with a history book. (She never left home without one.) "Vicious, Taro? Practically hundreds? Loitering with intent?! You're a nutjob."
Taro cringed, gingerly feeling his bruised noggin. "I-I was just... I thought they were stealing! It was an honest mistake, all right?"
"Well, certainly. No harm done, right?" said Ran.
"None whatsoever," smiled Chen. "I'm confused, though. Why would you need food rationing? I mean, it's not like there's been any major disasters lately..."
Taro's eyes narrowed. "Are you being insensitive to the plight of my fair village?"
Chen shot her master a nervous look. "Am I?"
"Unforgiveable!" Taro continued. "If you have but an ounce of honour in your shrivelled youkai heart, you will be ready to put some strength behind your words. Meet me outside the gate. We duel for the honour of the village!"
With that, he stormed off in the general direction of the gate. Everyone breathed a heavy sigh of relief, except Chen, who was by now convinced she'd done something wrong.
Noticing Chen's rising discomfort, Marisa stepped in. "You don't need to worry about him, you two. He was right, though; the village was destroyed by Terrafirmavores just a few weeks ago. The food rationing is for anyone left without an income-"
"What?!" gasped Chen. "W-we didn't know! Miss Ran, we've gotta do something! Like, a charity concert or something!"
"Um," said Ran.
"Lady Yukari would never forgive us for not helping! I'll go get Raiko, Benben and Not-Benben. You get Lady Yukari's snack and tell everyone about the concert, okay?" Chen went on.
"Um," repeated Ran, but it was too late. Chen was off like a shot. Ran breathed a deep, heartfelt sigh and launched herself after her.
"Something to look forward to, I suppose," muttered Mr Kirisame.
"Yeah, assuming they actually do it, which is basically never gonna happen. Nothing like a concert, right, Reimu?" smiled Marisa. Reimu said nothing. Marisa sighed.
Keine turned her attention to the doler-outer. "While we're here-"
"Back of the line," he said firmly.
"Great pork," said Marisa approvingly, plonking herself down on the loam while somehow not dropping a single grain of rice.
"It's a masterpiece!" agreed Mr Kirisame, seating himself beside her.
"Couldn't the two of you wait until we found somewhere to sit? Or at least keep your mouths closed while there's food in them?" said Keine archly.
"Shut up," the House of Kirisame said as one.
Reimu took a bite of her unsampled rice. "Not bad, I suppose."
"Not bad? Jeez, Reimu, no need to go overboard with the praise..." said Marisa, a faint look of concern on her face.
Rolling her eyes, Keine set about her own frugal-yet-tasty meal. She was halfway through it when a child's makeshift yin-yang orb ended up in her lap. Keine calmly finished her rice, staring deep into the child's eyes all the while. He ran away in tears.
"My, my, Keine...! Clearly, you have quite the reputation!"
The four, as well as everyone else sitting near them, jumped at the familiar voice of Gensokyo's most famous mob cap wearer.
Keine was the first to get over the shock. She leapt to her feet. "I've got a multitude of bones to pick with you, Yukari. What were you playing at, dumping us in the Swamp of Despair?! You-"
"Saved you from certain death at the hands of the Devourers? You're quite welcome," smiled Yukari. "Really, it's no trouble at all. Where would the Human Village be without you?"
"I... Well, um... That's not the issue at all! You were meant to gap me and Flandre after Reimu!" snapped Keine.
"Reimu handled herself pretty well, I thought." Yukari's shimmering purple gaze alighted on Reimu. "You didn't need any help at all, did you? It was all completely under contr-"
A barrage of spell-tags struck Yukari's chest. She gasped in pain and stumbled backwards.
"I'm not going to play games with you, Yukari. This whole Incident was nothing more than you messing around, wasn't it?" Reimu's glare was strong enough to floor a lesser youkai. "I want the truth. Why did you let the Agohakas free? Why did you gap Keine and Flandre into the Swamp of Despair?"
"I..." For a moment, Yukari seemed almost flustered. "My dear Reimu, I'm almost offended. If I had not gapped my hitbox out of the way, that might have been mildly painful. As it stands, I did not let the Terrafirmavores loose. I had nothing to do with it, and in case the memory escapes you, Reimu, I helped you. I told you they were loose, I told you you needed stop bathing, I even gapped you right to them. I knew precisely what I was doing," she said firmly, raising a hand to ward off the cries of protest which were surely coming. "In fact, I cautioned them against devouring Gensokyo. It is their own fault that they, like so many others, failed to heed my advice. My poor, dear little friends... Anyway, would a spot of gratitude be too much to ask for? Do you honestly believe you had a chance of prevailing without my aid?"
"Yep," said Reimu.
"Well, yeah, I guess..." said Marisa, staring at Reimu in amazement.
Yukari sighed patiently. "Then I should like to know how you planned to discover the identity of the true culprit, Yuuka Kazami."
Nitori took a miserable sip of her soya milk. "I guess it's a draw."
"S'pose so," grunted Shigeru. "Oi, bartender, more sushi over here!"
"Y-yes, Captain!" the bartender squeaked, sprinting back into the kitchen.
Nitori stared at her, then stared rather more fiercely at her own darling brother. "Captain?!"
"Of the Mecha Regiment!" said Shigeru proudly. "Twenty titanium warriors, each one taller than a smallish mountain! Nothing will dare to threaten my limbs- I mean, threaten the valley now."
"Twenty?!" yelped Nitori. "But...! But how?! Our resources-"
"If you must know, Kuichiko unearthed a massive seam of titanium, but she was too full to eat it," said Shigeru. "It's kind of hard to get at, so only Mecha Corps engineers know where it is."
Nitori's eyes narrowed. "Really? On who's authority?"
"Ummmm..." Shigeru cleared his throat. "It depends on how you define 'authority'."
"Oh. That kind," sighed Nitori. "Shigeru, you should really-"
She was interrupted by the bartender arriving with a plate of sushi and a small dish of soy sauce. "Here you are, Captain."
Shigeru's eyes narrowed. "Is that salmon?"
"What do you think I am, a Norwegian?! Take that away!" roared Shigeru, leaping to his feet and upending the tray into the bartender's face. "You stupid, useless piece of working-class offal! Don't you know how to treat your superiors?!"
The bartender ran away in tears.
Shigeru winked. "You've got to know how to deal with-"
A wooden mop-handle struck Shigeru's head with a sharp crack. His eyes rolled back in their sockets as he collapsed slowly into his bowl of lemon tea.
"That takes care of him," said Kyouko, with a satisfied nod.
"I daresay it does," said Nitori shakily. "What are you doing here, though?"
"I'm a captain in the Floor-Mopping Corps!" said Kyouko proudly, pointing to the badge on her collar.
"Floor-Mopping Corps?" said Nitori faintly.
"I started it as an offshoot of the Mecha Regiment! I'm the first and only member!" said Kyouko, glowing with pride. "It was Tsukiko's idea, though. Did you know she's a captain?"
"Of the Mecha Regiment."
"Wait, there's two captains?!"
"No, there are twenty," said Kyouko. "The rule is, if you pick a sunflower from the new titanium mine high on the clifftop, you can be a captain."
"...Oh. Who's in charge, then?"
"I have no idea!" smiled Kyouko.
Nitori put her head in her hands. "Of course you don't." She sighed deeply, and was about to drag Shigeru out of the restaurant and stuff him into a washing machine when something made her pause. "Kyouko... Did you say 'sunflowers'?"
"Um, yes. There's a whole bunch of them growing all around the mine," explained Kyouko. "Apparently, Kuichiko burped while she was facing that particular bit of cliff, and one of the chemicals that was inside her is making lots of sunflowers grow."
"Chemicals?" said Nitori faintly. "These Terrafirmavores really take the biscuit..." With a sigh, she rose to her feet. "Kyouko, can you show me this mine?"
"So you can make sure everyone benefits from it, not just a rich elite?!" cred Kyouko, her eyes shining at the thought of an honourable kappa stateswoman.
"No, I want to pick some sunflowers," admitted Nitori.
"I don't know, Reimu... Yuuka never likes it when we barge in and start asking questions," said Marisa, edging her broomstick closer to the grim-faced shrine maiden. "Fair enough, I do it all the time, but this isn't like you at all!"
"We need to confront Yuuka. Until we've dealt with her, this Incident won't be resolved in the slightest," said Reimu firmly.
"Guess so. I wish Meiling was here, though. Yuuka's always understood her." For the seventeenth time that afternoon, Marisa checked her hakkero; it was, of course, still full. "What's she been doing, anyway?"
A half-hour's flight saw Reimu and Marisa soaring over the rather stumpy ridge of hills that stretched east and west (but mostly east) from Youkai Mountain. As the ground rose beneath them, the forests gave way to grass, then to a vast bowl-shaped valley of radiant yellow.
The two friends glided down into the Garden of the Sun, watched by flocks of curious faries and a couple of sunbathing youkai. A small clearing among the ranks of sunflowers would do for their landing site.
"We don't often visit the northern half of Gensokyo, do we?" Marisa commented, touching down with a rustle of disturbed grass.
"Yes, I hear it's quite boring," said Reimu. "That, or they've got their own Incident-Resolvers who keep everything quiet. Or we're just not meant to see much of it until the next few games." She shrugged. "Anyway, we need to find Yuuka..."
"YO, YUUKA! WE'VE COME TO PLAY!" screamed Marisa.
"I-I brought tea and cake!" Reimu added quickly. "Marisa, for pity's sake, that's the second time you've-"
"What kind of cake?"
The gentle, friendly voice of the Flower Master of the Four Seasons made Reimu jump. Marisa grabbed her hand and squeezed it tightly.
"Orange and almond," said Marisa firmly. "It's orange and almond, right, Reimu?"
"Um, yes." Reimu cleared her throat. "Orange and almond. The tea is my own special blend, though, so I can't guarantee the alcohol content."
Yuuka raised an eyebrow. Reimu and Marisa both flinched. "Alcohol content? But Reimu, it's tea. How can there be alcohol in tea?"
"Um-" began Reimu.
"What worries me more is the plant-based nature of the drink. You did use free-range leaves, right?" said Yuuka sweetly.
Reimu blinked. "Well... They're plants, aren't they? How do you farm free-range tea bushes?"
"By letting them run wild and free in the sunshine." A hard edge crept into Yuuka's voice. "Do you think plants live just so they can be mercilessly slaughtered and devoured by people such as you?"
"Um-" repeated Reimu.
"Then I must punish you." Yuuka's eyes flashed red. The air around her grew warm as she filled with energy. "We will duel. Seven spellcards each, no bombs or defensive magic. We fight to incapacitation. If I win..." Yuuka smiled. "You must allow me to tickle you for up to one hour with thirteen different feathers of my choosing."
Marisa's eyes widened. "But that's a fate worse than death! Reimu, you can't accept it!"
"I accept. If I win, you must explain everything, and no quibbling over what 'explain everything' actually means. Do you accept?" said Reimu solemnly.
"Of course," replied Yuuka.
"Then let's begin." Reimu rose into the air, the yin-yang orbs circling her waist.
"Let's." Yuuka had no way of hiding the sparkle in her eye as she unsheathed her parasol. "Petal Sign: Flower Shooting!"
Fifteen minutes later:
"Aaaghhhh... Everything hurts..." groaned Yuuka. Her clothes were torn and her skin was dotted with spell-tags. "Marisa, I believe there was tea?"
"Here you go." Marisa handed Yuuka a bowl of tea, which she downed in a single gulp.
Yuuka smiled faintly. "Thanks, Marisa. Now, about the cake..."
"Sure." Marisa stuffed a slice of cake into Yuuka's mouth.
"It's pretty good, isn't it?" said Reimu, who was halfway through her own slice.
"Mmflmffmf." Yuuka swallowed noisily. "Yes, it's brilliant. Did you make it?"
"Alice made it," said Reimu. "Anyway, time for your forefeit. Did you free the Agohaka sisters?"
"Yep," said Yuuka matter-of-factly.
Reimu stiffened. "You... You did? And you admit it?"
"HOW COULD YOU?!" roared Marisa, barging past Reimu to grab Yuuka by the scruff of the neck and scream right in her face. "How could ever do such a thing?! DO YOU REALISE WHAT YOU'VE DONE?! They killed hundreds of people! You turned half of Gensokyo into Hell, and for what?! Why?!"
"That sounds like five questions. I shall answer them consecutively," said Yuuka levelly. "With a spade, with a spade, yes I do, for the sunflowers, because I needed some decent compost."
"...Um." Marisa's eyes glazed over as she went back over her rant and cross-referenced it with Yuuka's response. "Compost? You mean like...?!"
"That," confirmed Yuuka. "I will admit that I made a small error in judgement-"
"Small error?! They could've eaten the Garden of the Sun!" snapped Marisa.
A flicker of fear crossed Yuuka's face, but was swiftly quashed by her usual placid terrifyingness. "They'd never do that."
"They won't now. I killed them," Reimu reassured her. "It took about ten of us to defeat them the first time, though. How would you have kept them from eating your sunflowers?"
"None of your business," sniffed Yuuka. "Now, if you don't mind, I'm long overdue for my nap. Good day!" She leapt to her feet and stormed off in the direction of her favourite napping-site.
Reimu and Marisa breathed a deep, heartfelt sigh in perfect harmony.
"Do you see what I have to deal with?" said Reimu heavily. "And you wonder why I'm not cartwheeling around the place, patting fairies on the head and sniffing flowers and stuff." She sighed. "I doubt I'll ever cartwheel again."
Marisa blinked. "Not even at Flandre's birthday party next week?"
Reimu stopped in mid-angst, her eyes widening at the thought of all that delicious ice-cream and chocolate cake. "W-well, um..."
"I get it, you just need some space. Gods know, you deserve it, saving Gensokyo and all that. You can't be miserable forever, though, can you?" Marisa smiled. "Come on, let's go back to the shri-" She winced at the memory of the ruined shrine. "...Uh, back to my place. Or Alice's."
"No, I should go to my shrine. I've been away too long," said Reimu quietly. "Maybe Genjii'll be there..."
"I'm sure he's fine, Reimu," Marisa reassured her, biting down a remark about Genjii lounging on the beach in Acapulco with a dozen or so turtles in bikinis. "I've got a sleeping-bag you can borrow until you get a new shrine. I'll drop it over tonight, okay?"
Reimu took her time as she clambered up the winding path to her shrine, stepping carefully past the familiar slippery rock that had given Tenshi a broken ankle some two years past. (She hadn't really minded; apparently it was a treat to get your first broken limb.) The rice and pork still filled her stomach with warm comfort. There were sure to be more Incidents, but right now, all she wanted to do was curl up in bed, put everything behind her and dream about flower-viewing.
She could learn, though. If anyone else tried to eat Gensokyo, they'd have her to answer to. And Aya. Making sure Aya was on the right side would be essential.
Reimu picked up her feet and strode up the last shallow slope before the torii. She smiled. "Don't worry, Gensokyo, no-one's eating you on my watch."
Reimu yelped, then clamped her hands over her mouth and tried to pretend nothing had happened. After a few seconds, she carefully removed them. "Wh-who's there?!"
"Well, me, of course!" said Cirno, stepping out from behind a large bush. "You really are jumpy, aren't you?"
"Well, I've just got back from the Garden of the Sun... What're you doing here, though?" asked Reimu, endeavouring to look in-control.
"Rebuilding your shrine!" grinned Cirno.
"Oh, right," said Reimu, relieved. "Wait... What?! I- I mean- WHAT?!" She pushed past the chilly fairy, ran through the torii, screeched to a halt, walked sheepishly back to the gate, bowed deeply, resumed running and then screeched to a second halt. Her jaw fell almost as far as her voicebox. "Cirno... What've you done?!"
"What've we done, I think you mean," said Rumia petulantly, stepping out from the silvery-blue sliding door at the front of the all-new Hakurei Shrine. The walls, the roof, the floor, even the flagstones beneath her feet were pure ice.
"Rumia?! W-what is this?! My... My shrine...! You- you- you- you-! It- it's made of ice!" Reimu stepped slowly forwards as if in a dream. Hardly daring to believe her eyes, she reached out and touched the door. It was as cool and smooth as, well, ice, yet neither damp nor slippery. "Rumia, Cirno, how did you ever do it?!"
Cirno took a deep breath. "The journey I undertook to unlock my true powers was both perilous and-"
Ignoring her, Reimu eased herself into the shrine, still half-afraid it would melt as soon as it felt her touch. An icy tatami mat crunched beneath her feet. She stared in amazement at the carved ice altar at the back of the room, the ice kotatsu sitting pretty in front of her, the ice shelves, the ice chandelier hung with glowing icicles...
"Cirno... Rumia..." breathed Reimu. "Um, thank you?"
"Oh, it was nothing! I mean, I am the Strongest," said Cirno, trying and failing to look humble.
"It wasn't just us, though. The whole gang was-"
The clumping of heavy boots followed by the thump of forehead upon low-hanging doorframe heralded a half-dragon in a dark green dress. "Aargh, stupid, bloody doorframe- Oh, Reimu! I-I had no idea you were coming!"
Reimu gasped. "Meiling?! All this time, you've been building me a new shrine?!"
"Uh, yeah. We all did," said Meiling, gently rubbing her bruised forehead. "Well, it wasn't the only thing we did. There was a Devourer loose in the mansion. It wasn't pretty," explained Meiling. "Anyway, do you want some tea? Flandre's brewing some in the parlour-"
"Yeah. In your new house," said Meiling blithely. "You had quite a lot of outbuildings before they got eaten, so Remilia thought we should sort of combine them all, make them into one big house."
"Yeah! The Red-and-White Angel Mansion!" said Flandre, bursting in through the side door. "Well, not really a mansion, more like a... Um..."
"Boysion?" offered Rumia.
"Womansion?" offered Meiling.
"No, no..." Flandre frowned. "That's a good point, actually. We're animistic, right? So if everything has a spirit, do all the spirits have genders and stuff?"
Meiling blinked. "I have no idea. Anyway, the tea should be-"
"Oh, my days, I forgot!" yelped Flandre, zipping out of the shrine. Anticipating an influx of hot steam, Cirno planted herself firmly under the freezing-cold kotatsu. She shut her eyes and breathed a sigh of ecstasy.
"Eheh..." Meiling smiled nervously. "So, want to see your new house before it gets blown up?"
Reimu's eyes were as wide as they could ever hope to go. Her mouth opened and shut without sound.
Meiling frowned. "Reimu? You okay?"
"I...! I LOVE YOU! I want to marry you and have your babies!" gushed Reimu, throwing herself into Meiling's arms. "Oh, thank you, thank you! My own town-house! And all I had to do was save Gensokyo from the forces of evil several times! This is the happiest day of my life! Thank you so, so much!"
"Um," said Meiling.
"You can't possibly know how much this means to me, Meiling. I didn't think any of you cared," sniffled Reimu. "Now I know you care. I feel so... So loved!"
"Oh, Reimu, of course we love you!" said Rumia, hugging her warmly from behind.
Meiling's eyebrows rose. "Since when did you-"
The words were knocked clean out of her mouth by a deafening explosion that shook the entire mountain. Remilia's voice came echoing in, "Flandre, you idiot! How could you think of microwaving tea?!"
Reimu sighed and set about untangling herself from her friends. In the distance, over the sounds of Flandre sobbing and Remilia panicking, she could just about hear Sakuya cleaning up and Patchouli telling everyone to keep quiet. Cirno was industriously stripping off her clothes and pressing herself to the coldest patch of floor, a delirious smile plastered over her face. No doubt she'd be having ice-cream for dinner. By now, Marisa would be raising brick walls by magic or arguing with her father over which way up doors were meant to go. Aya would probably be writing tomorrow's Bunbunmaru, Nitori and her brother would be laying down a huge strip of bird-lime for her, and if she knew Genjii, he'd either be having an epic duel with Konngara or lounging around with a dozen lady turtles in thigh-boots. A fond smile tugged on the corners of her mouth. "Well, who wants some tea made the proper way?"
I'm an amateur writer and Walfas-comic-doer who hopes some day to make stories the entire world can enjoy. I've always loved stories, both creating them and enjoying them in a wide variety of forms, and I'm always trying to hone my skills and/or have a laugh.
I also care deeply about equality, so expect to see many different kinds of people in any original works I write.