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Thread: [ Tokyo Ravens x Type-Moon x Touhou ] - Fate/Dream Ravens

  1. #21
    リビングデッド Living Dead kojiro kakita's Avatar
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    Legitimate I think. If you cannot be touched by the concept of death (Impurity of death in touhou terms) one would imagine you cannot enter a place touched and created by the concept of death.

  2. #22
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojiro kakita View Post
    It should be noted that while the lunarians have the name of Kami, they specifically have taken the name of the heavenly kami. Now the only heavenly kami we see in touhou is Kanako. If we then take her as a representative of heavenly kami then it is important to note that unlike the earth Kami such as Suwako, heavenly kami were not originally divine. Instead they were an object that was deified through worship. If that is the case, the lunarians would most likely be agents of Alaya while the earthly Kami would be agents of Gaea
    If you want to jump into semantics, Kanako is classified as a Divine Spirit - she once was a 'normal' person that ascended to Godhood, either during their life or after they died. This suggest that one can attain full Godhood while alive, or be one already before they die; possibly what happened to the Lunarians as they left the earth and began manipulating events such as the Yamatai unification.

    Suwako is a "Native" God, which means that she's a lot closer to Gaia as you pointed out. She's born out of pure faith, and once faith vanishes, she'll vanish too - one of the reasons why the Moriya as a whole moved into Gensoukyou.

    Objects reaching a sort of divinity through faith/worship are of another appellation - Shikieki Yamaxanadu is one such entity.

    It is highly unlikely that Lunarians would be agents of Alaya. Their mindset is very much like the one of people from the Age of Gods, and you can see clearly that Lunarians see humans as "below" them. Much in a sense how Caster saw the Magi of the current day.

    My explanation from before explained that if we're to meld Touhou and Type-Moon lore together, it'd make perfect sense for Crimson Moon to allow some of Gaia's greatest allies/servants to move onto the Moon so that they may persevere. To top it all, it's been said that Crimson Moon had a crumbling kingdom, and the reason he answered Gaia's call was to create a new one on earth. I don't think that it is a stretch to say that the Lunarians are the exiles from thousands years ago which inherited and rebuilt whatever Crimson Moon left behind him.


    Quote Originally Posted by YeOfLittleFaith View Post
    Also, if we're going on about Kami, what do you say about Eirin possibly being Ame No Yagokoro Omoikane No Mikoto?
    As I wrote above, Eirin is probably her. It's been stated already that Eirin is older than Tsukuyomi.

    Quote Originally Posted by YeOfLittleFaith View Post
    Speaking of which, is the thing about Hourai Immortals not being able to visit the Netherworld legit or is it just speculation based on a throwaway line? I don't recall.
    This is where ZUN dances around us with a mug of beer in his hand.
    In Imperishable Night's Ghost Team Ending, Eirin Visits Yuyuko in Hakugyoukurou.
    Eirin drunk the elixir, and thus, we can go by the lines that a Houraian can enter the Netherworld. However, it does make sense that if you take it under another point of view, a Houraian cannot "Naturally" enter the Netherworld since they can't die, and thus, their spirit will not be moved to that place no matter what happens.


    Finally, concerning Kaguya and wherever she is a Kami, there are Deities that are known to hold power over space and time in both Chinese, Japanese and Korean Myths. It wouldn't be far fetched to say that she might've inherited these powers from her unknown parent, or that there's another backstory that we'll cover some other time.
    Last edited by Ayakashi; February 7th, 2014 at 11:15 PM.

  3. #23
    この世全ての悪 ~ ♡ Renko's Avatar
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    You know, the very notion of Crimson Moon Brunestud as a Lunarian is really not convincing for me.

    Isn't he like, the strongest being in the moon?

    An Aristoteles?

    An Ultimate One?

    The progenitor of the True Ancestors? And possibly Dead Apostles?

    As much as I know in my own understanding, Crimson Moon should have existed before the Lunarians came to the Moon. And how will you fit him going vampiric ape-shit on everyone and causing the entire moon to crash down to earth? If it was going to get incorporated in the Touhouverse, wouldn't the Lunarians take action to stop him from his madness? But I thought Crimson Moon was only stopped by the Wizard Marshall?
    It really sounds.....weird. I really can't wrapped my head around it!

    And the existence of magic in Gensokyo. Magi will surely wet themselves if they learned about it. Dammit!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Scratch that. He uses "Mirror Moon". But still....
    Last edited by Renko; February 8th, 2014 at 02:36 PM.

    "......"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Renko
    "I really loathe Fanfictions that are so horrendously horrible, it makes me want to go get my massive NAIL BAT OF RAPTURE and swing it real HARD to any AUTHOR who will dare create such filthy and disgusting piece of literature!"

    "THEY WON'T SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY....THEY WILL SUFFER!"

  4. #24
    *bo~ing* *bo~ing* nununu's Avatar
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    Crimson Moon is actually the first moonbunny. She got the moniker because of her eyes.

  5. #25
    この世全ての悪 ~ ♡ Renko's Avatar
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    Crimson Moon Inaba?

    "......"

    Quote Originally Posted by Thedoctor View Post
    Why can't we all be as sexually devious as Renko?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Renko
    "I really loathe Fanfictions that are so horrendously horrible, it makes me want to go get my massive NAIL BAT OF RAPTURE and swing it real HARD to any AUTHOR who will dare create such filthy and disgusting piece of literature!"

    "THEY WON'T SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY....THEY WILL SUFFER!"

  6. #26
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renko View Post
    You know, the very notion of Crimson Moon Brunestud as a Lunarian is really not convincing for me.

    Isn't he like, the strongest being in the moon?

    An Aristoteles?

    An Ultimate One?

    The progenitor of the True Ancestors? And possibly Dead Apostles?

    As much as I know in my own understanding, Crimson Moon should have existed before the Lunarians came to the Moon. And how will you fit him going vampiric ape-shit on everyone and causing the entire moon to crash down to earth? If it was going to get incorporated in the Touhouverse, wouldn't the Lunarians take action to stop him from his madness? But I thought Crimson Moon was only stopped by the Wizard Marshall?
    It really sounds.....weird. I really can't wrapped my head around it!

    And the existence of magic in Gensokyo. Magi will surely wet themselves if they learned about it. Dammit!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Scratch that. He uses "Mirror Moon". But still....
    I use "Lunarians" to describe whatever being resides on the moon, although I suppose that it is not necessarily correct, since it could specify "Non-Moon Bunnies". The fact is that while we know beings on the Moon are called Lunarians, it's not that we're giving them a species as a whole; me calling them Lunarians is just like how I'd call Reimu and co. Terrans.

    Gensoukyou is beyond the reach of the Mage's Assocation. I wouldn't leave it out of place that Patchouli Knowledge went there because she has a sealing designation on her, while the Scarlet Sisters were tired of the Aylesbury Ritual's mess. She does have a very long lifespan, all while showing signs of constant sickness - a botched Philosopher's Stone perhaps?

    As concerning Crimson Moon, I did write above:
    My explanation from before explained that if we're to meld Touhou and Type-Moon lore together, it'd make perfect sense for Crimson Moon to allow some of Gaia's greatest allies/servants to move onto the Moon so that they may persevere. To top it all, it's been said that Crimson Moon had a crumbling kingdom, and the reason he answered Gaia's call was to create a new one on earth. I don't think that it is a stretch to say that the Lunarians are the exiles from thousands years ago which inherited and rebuilt whatever Crimson Moon left behind him.
    Quote Originally Posted by nununu View Post
    Crimson Moon is actually the first moonbunny. She got the moniker because of her eyes.
    Eirin might've been pleased with Crimson Moon's Power Level on a whole. I don't think it'd be behind her to actually create the Moon Rabbits, an army of "Lesser" Crimson Moons so that the Lunarians had an army whenever needed. It should be noted that Lunarians as a whole have a really big ego, and the pragmatic Eirin might've wanted to go around such ego via the creation of Moon Rabbits.
    Moon Rabbits of course weren't very succesful. Or, it is possible that newer generations keep losing the power of the older ones - just to compare Reisen Udongein Inaba and bland Reisen in the manga.


    Edit:

    The chances of Gensoukyou or other Touhou people appearing in this crossover will be very poor. I have one or two people in mind, but I'll keep that a surprise for now.
    Last edited by Ayakashi; February 8th, 2014 at 05:30 PM.

  7. #27
    ジュカイン Lycodrake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ayakashi View Post
    Edit:
    The chances of Gensoukyou or other Touhou people appearing in this crossover will be very poor. I have one or two people in mind, but I'll keep that a surprise for now.
    Patchi? Youkai-Jesus? ;w;
    Quote Originally Posted by Seika View Post
    Yes, excellent. Go, Lyco, my proxy.
    F/GO SUPPORT

  8. #28
    Are the Magus Association and the (secret arm dealing with the supernatural of the) Church public knowledge? Or are they still secret? Also how would the Church's sacraments fall into this world? After all according to Nasuverse canon the Church's own mystical system is the most widespread and above all stable in the world.

    Also how do the Five True Magics work in this new setting? I know that in Nasuverse canon they work by directly affecting the Root. Hence why Zelretch was able to use the Kaleidoscope to fight and kill Crimson Moon Brunested.
    Last edited by Jouaint; February 8th, 2014 at 08:44 PM.

  9. #29
    この世全ての悪 ~ ♡ Renko's Avatar
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    I want Crimson Moon Inaba to appear. A Bunny Girl with fangs!

    "......"

    Quote Originally Posted by Thedoctor View Post
    Why can't we all be as sexually devious as Renko?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Renko
    "I really loathe Fanfictions that are so horrendously horrible, it makes me want to go get my massive NAIL BAT OF RAPTURE and swing it real HARD to any AUTHOR who will dare create such filthy and disgusting piece of literature!"

    "THEY WON'T SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY....THEY WILL SUFFER!"

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Lycodrake View Post
    Patchi? Youkai-Jesus? ;w;
    I'm more curious to see if the Four Devas of the Mountain will be showing up, since Kakugyouki is Ibaraki-doji.

  11. #31
    Don't @ me if your fanfic doesn't even have Shirou/Illya shipping k thnx ItsaRandomUsername's Avatar
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    ITT 2hoo talk thread. Makes sense, given that there's so little story in comparison to the amount of setting backstory given.

    I'll have to wait and see how the story content itself holds up before I can render a better opinion of this, but the sheer amount of thought going into the lore alone is enough to give me a worldbuilding boner. Good news, that. It's hard enough for fanfiction writers to write together two mechanically different settings and make it work, let alone touch the can of worms that is the three-way/multiverse crossover. And many of them don't even bother putting in a level of thought as far reaching as this goes, trying to cover all their bases when it comes to a setting with an extensive, finicky metaphysical system. That alone is commendable, and worth sticking around for a while for.

    I'm interested in seeing where you take this. The speculah within me thinks expects more easygoing slice of life on the Ravens' side and more seriously toned dimensional interference most likely involving Rin the Crimson Magus and any members of the Gensoukyou crew, as well as going into the significance of what Headmaster Kurahashi's observation of the invisibility in Rin's presence means. The obvious answer to me is that it's not unlike what happens in Archer's /Unlimited Codes ending, but I'm hoping for something against my expectations (even if the former would still have the potential to be a satisfying reveal all the same).

    Also
    Quote Originally Posted by Ayakashi
    (I'm not a native English speaker after all)
    Don't worry too much about this. This reads more than passably in my book. Keep it up.
    Last edited by ItsaRandomUsername; February 8th, 2014 at 09:57 PM.
    McJon01: We all know that the real reason Archer would lose to Rider is because the events of his own Holy Grail War left him with a particular weakness toward "older sister" types.
    My Fanfics. Read 'em. Or not.



  12. #32
    *bo~ing* *bo~ing* nununu's Avatar
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    Speaking of F/UC, what if this Rin is F/UC!RinEnding!Rin and her familiar is ChibiArcher.
    Last edited by nununu; February 9th, 2014 at 05:38 AM.

  13. #33
    Don't @ me if your fanfic doesn't even have Shirou/Illya shipping k thnx ItsaRandomUsername's Avatar
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    Kon has someone to pal around with now?

    (Dark Pulse, we need more emoticons, we don't have a vanilla Archer. Get your ass in gear.)
    McJon01: We all know that the real reason Archer would lose to Rider is because the events of his own Holy Grail War left him with a particular weakness toward "older sister" types.
    My Fanfics. Read 'em. Or not.



  14. #34
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    ACT 1 - Coming Storm



    Chapter 1 : Present Shaman of the Past Paradise


    Part 1


    The corridors that made up the 'theory' section of Onmyou Prep always happened to be busy during break-time –what else to expect from one of Onmyou Prep's major “arteries”? To top it all, they were fairly wide, giving students a lot of room to have their own personal chit-chat here and there. There was also the warm lighting of the sun, its rays filtering through the transparent glass panes spread evenly across the corridor's walls. It all gave Onmyou Prep an air of openness and freshness -quite ironic seeing how closed the Academy was in reality.

    A very small percentage of Japan's inhabitants could potentially make it in here, and an even smaller amount actually did have the luck of actually making it.

    Enjoying the refreshing break of midday though and leisurely strolling down towards the canteen, Harutora had since long forgotten about how lucky he was to be even standing on the grounds of this establishment. The pact he made with Natsume probably had a play in raising his chances of success for joining, since becoming her Shikigami gave him abilities like sensing spiritual pressure.

    Still, Harutora was still left to balance on the delicate line between remaining a student and being kicked out.

    As mentioned earlier though, none of these curricular issues were on Harutora's mind. Rather, he just wanted a good breather from the 'torture' class had been giving him. It was really a cruel thing that is, to be seated next to Natsume. While Harutora did want to become an Onmyouji to serve Natsume at his fullest, the young man didn't really have the most attentive of spirits, and easily found himself drifting astray from the ever so complex and deep subjects being taught. The equally ever so watchful Natsume would then notice his inattention, and begin chiding him for being inattentive. Then the intensity of the cram courses Natsume gave him every evening would be cranked up, to the point that “sleep”would turn from a possible reality to an idea of fantasy.

    Harutora had cultivated the skill of “forcing oneself to do what one doesn't like”, but it was quite straining for the welfare of his mental health. Moments of respite like this break were more than welcome for him, where he could be himself to the fullest.

    “Ah man, this feels so good!” he thought, stretching out his arms.

    Slack was permissible here, as Natsume,Touji and the others had gone ahead of him to the canteen. There would be no one reprimanding or teasing him because of his tiredness;after all, that is why Harutora had willfully stayed behind to help Tenma do the usual cleaning up.

    “Thank you for staying and helping me, Harutora-san.”

    The bespectacled boy who had the fortune of being on duty today spoke with utmost gratitude. He would've never have expected that Harutora, out of all people would've stayed behind and offered him his help.

    “Haha, don't worry Tenma. This works out for both of us, so I should be thanking you too.”

    “Huh? What do you mean?”

    “Don't bother yourself with the details. Come, let's just enjoy this little, stress-free stroll to the canteen."

    Tenma never had been a very decisive person. Even if there was a subtle suggestion of what Harutora meant within his carefree attitude, Tenma decided to not make assumptions. He saw that Harutora was smiling though, and thought that it'd only be proper for him to smile too. Well, if appetite came by eating, did happiness come by laughing? The reverse psychology didn't really click in with the boy, but being downbeat never was too much of a good idea at any rate, or so Momoe Tenma thought.

    The duo walked on, eventually going around a corner. At the end of that path, they would reach the elevator, the last step before the canteen which was far above the current floor – nearly to the top of Onmyo Prep's skyscraper structure.

    Something caught the eye of Harutora as he walked around the corner though - someone. He had forgotten her, and how that was even possible, he didn't know, for the impact she left on her entry was one of a kind. As Harutora tried to recall what had happened to her after she had introduced herself, he couldn't really think of any time she made herself prominent. He didn't even see her leaving the lecture room as the bell rang...

    “Isn't this... Hakurei-san?” Tenma asked, having noticed the transfer student too.

    “Yes, I wonder what she's doing here?”

    Hakurei Reimu was seated in a lone corner of the corridor, leaning against the window and looking outside, probably enjoying the scenery that Tokyo gave her from this angle. The endless concrete buildings rising up towards the heavens,the roads filled with pedestrians and cars which looked more like a sea of ants and matchboxes from this high-up... this was probably a novelty for her.

    Students walked by her, each of them staring at the lone girl with curiosity - yet none dared approach her or ask her questions. It really was strange; why was everyone afraid of approaching this girl? Harutora couldn't understand, he thought that it was cruel. None should be shunned into loneliness like that. Nowhere did the young man read 'leave me alone' on this girl's expression, but even then, people that did show that kind of message were those that needed someone to accompany them the most.

    ... could it be that everyone was just afraid of tainting this beautiful sight worthy of a painting? It was true that in her current pose, with the play of lights and shadows valuing her beautiful and refined visage, comparable to the beauties of myth... Hakurei Reimu really was a sight to behold.

    Yet Harutora felt the duty to speak to her. Once again, he saw something in her eyes, something that he himself had been trying to avoid at all costs, even though what that was precisely, Harutora had no idea.

    “Uhm... hello there?” he began hesitantly as he approached.

    The girl took some time before reacting to Harutora. Her gaze lingered on outside for a moment, before slowly turning towards the young man that had come to address her.

    “Hello,” she answered dryly.

    Reimu's eyes were blank, but not cold. She had a light smile, but it wasn't a happy smile. Harutora couldn't understand what he was looking at, but he did understand that just stopping and looking at a girl with no words coming out of his mouth,would make him look like quite the fool.

    “You're Hakurei Reimu, aren't you?”

    “Yes, that's me.”

    “Ah, nice to meet you. My name is Tsuchimikado Harutora. We're from the same class and year.”

    “Tsuchimikado?”

    Reimu repeated his surname, her tone undergoing a slight inflection. It still wasn't enough to remove that image of a speaker vaguely interested with the conversation, but Harutora thought that he might've at least given a hook to Reimu on which they could build up a conversation.

    Even if talking about his bloodline never had been something Harutora liked a lot.

    “Uhm, yes, Tsuchimikado. You've heard of us I guess?”

    “One of the last clans to have held power over Japan's Onmyoudou before its downfall, am I not right? So you're one of Abe no Seimei's distant descendants.”

    'Wow, you know a lot for a girl from the countryside', was the very first sentence that popped up inside Harutora's head. It nearly slipped out of his mouth, but he luckily was quick enough to recognize that letting it out would be rude and disrespectful. He himself after all, was from the countryside.

    “Uhm, yeah, that's right.”

    “If that isn't quaint. You must be some kind of great exorcist like him then? Might sharing some pointers to a novice like me? ”

    Reimu didn't sound as if she was kidding, but there was a lack of seriousness in her voice that made her sentence feel hollow. That was no condescending behavior though, or at least not towards Harutora. She was still however making the very same mistake that someone else had done before: expecting that a good bloodline necessarily meant good heritage. A ghost of the past nearly grabbed onto Harutora, but the young man managed to brush it off – he had moved on after all.

    “Huh, did I offend you somehow?”Reimu asked, tilting her head.

    “No... don't mind me. I just spaced out a moment, ahaha...”

    Harutora laughed out to knock off any hesitation, and probably, also to give himself a moment to think on where he should take the conversation to now. Talking about his Tsuchimikado heritage was again, not very pleasant, and he didn't want to repeat that talk he had had before – that talk with the same 'someone else'.

    Reimu watched with curiosity as Harutora laughed. Maybe then was it that she picked up his uneasiness. That would at least explain why she changed the subject, asking:

    “So, Tsuchimikado Harutora, any reason as to why you came to talk to me? Or was it just to greet a new classmate?”

    Harutora figured that it would be best for him answer truthfully.

    Not that it was an easy thing to say.

    Actually, maybe that it was best for him to not be so direct?

    “I was just wondering what you were doing here all alone. Don't you want to come along to the canteen?”

    Something happened the moment the word 'canteen' left Harutora's lips.

    Reimu's expression changed totally. Her eyes widened open, her demeanor and the ever so 'distant' aura that had been surrounding her vanished, replaced by the presence of an enthusiastic and excited girl, no different from the one of the other girls in general that were around.

    “C-canteen? There was such a thing here? You mean that thing where one goes to buy food?!”

    It dawned on Harutora that Hakurei Reimu was a transfer student from the countryside. Maybe that her school was one of these old ones of the Stone Age where canteens didn't even exist? How one of these persevered along though, Harutora wanted to ask, but before he could inquire any further though, a pair of hands eagerly grabbed his, and their owner, Reimu, asked of him:

    “Please show me where it is!”

    Had Harutora over-thought it all? Was it that this girl was really just shy inside, and never dared to ask about where she could find food? Ah yes, maybe that she didn't want to be associated to the generic “poor” people from outside of the city. To appear uninformed... it'd be quite the humiliation.

    Harutora began to make sense of the scenario as he was half-leading, half-being dragged along by Reimu to the elevator.

    Tenma who had been observing the whole scene, forgotten by the world, was not really sure wherever he should join in or not. In the end, he contented with following the two,smiling as he watched on.


    |[]|


    “So.”

    “So.”

    “So?”

    Two people curiously looked at Harutora, said people being none other than Touji and Natsume. He had barely gotten the time to sit down, and here they were already weighing him down with their inquisitive stares. He really wished that he could catch a break – in fact, wasn't this period of free-time made to allow for rest of the body and soul?

    Being dragged around and having all kinds of questions asked to him weren't very inductive to rest, nor was that ominous shadow Harutora could pick up in Natsume's voice. While she did simply say “so” just like Touji, the latter's was intoned with pure curiosity and maybe, just maybe, a little bit of teasing behind it as one would expect of Ato Touji. Very different from Natsume's, which felt like the silent wind before the gale and storm.

    “I guess that you went to say hi to the newcomer? How was she? She's surprisingly a lot livelier than what I'd have expected.”

    “She... didn't know that there was a canteen here.”

    “Huh? Say what?”

    Touji was slightly incredulous, but Harutora didn't bother explaining further. He just glanced from the side of his eye at the subject of their discussion – Reimu was at the counter, looking at all the dishes on sale with the same big eyes she had used to look at Harutora earlier, happily going from one meal on display to the other. That girl really was devouring them with that gaze of hers.

    Why wasn't she buying anything though? It had been a while since Harutora left her, after having made sure that he had explained all of the procedures she had to go through to get the food she wanted. Not that they were complicated – first, select a meal, second, order it, and last, wait for it to be ready.

    If Reimu took too long, it'd be already time for the classes to resume by the moment her food was prepared.

    Had she heard his silent question from afar? That looked like the case, as Reimu finally made her mind up on a dish.

    “Well, looks like she's chosen her meal. I guess that she's going to come sit here now?” Touji asked, having followed Harutora's gaze.

    “Huh? Why would you think she'd do that?”

    “Do you really believe Hakurei-san would have a reason to sit anywhere else other than next to the guy that showed her the way to this lovely place? That guy's a student from the same class too, so someone interesting to talk to as well.”

    Touji winked while having a sinister smirk on his face. Harutora really didn't like it, nor did he enjoy the atmosphere ominous surrounding Natsume, said atmosphere having gotten worse after Touji's comment.

    Nevermind that Touji's prediction soon became reality, as Reimu walked over to Harutora's table, dish in hand.

    Her meal was a bowl of Kitsune Soba, and as Reimu brought it close to the table, the steam and fragrance rising up from the bowl's content flooded Harutora's nostrils with a wonderful scent. It was so good that he felt like eating one more meal... yes, it'd be a really good alibi too for escaping from this volatile environment... but then, the fear that it could turn worse while he was away kept Harutora from making a decisive movement.

    “Do you mind if I sit here?”

    “S--”

    “Certainly not! Come and grab a seat.”

    Harutora didn't even have a moment to answer back – the Tiger had been too slow, and maybe too weak-willed. Touji invited Reimu before Harutora had any chance of reacting, taking control of the situation.

    “Oh, thank you.”

    The transfer student seated herself next to Harutora, occupying the vacant space there.

    Reimu didn't speak a word after that. She merely contented herself with consuming the Kitsune Soba, and did it in quite the peculiar way too – she was eating inhumanely fast, but there was nothing gross or unkempt about her method of eating. It wasn't noisy nor messy, yet the noodles and beancurd were just... being drawn into her mouth as if there was some magnet for these aliments in that throat of hers.

    The most absurd of all, is that this all somewhat looked dignified.

    Harutora was at a loss of what to do. From the strange girl next to him, eating, to the other strange girl which was also sitting next to him, posing on her side an actual threat to his life. Then, there was Touji who was simply having too much fun with this ongoing scene. A scene that conveniently seemed to have been taken out right from a random and generic manga.

    For a minute, everyone kept silent, and for a minute, Reimu soundlessly sucked in her meal at an incredible cadence.

    Eventually, or rather, inevitably, she was done.

    “Mmmm, that was excellent!”

    “You're quite the fast eater,” Touji commented.

    “Hot noodles lose their taste when they get cold. Logic, wouldn't you think?”

    “Hmm, quite true.”

    “Anyway... you two are Harutora-san's friends? Sorry for not introducing myself at first, since I got a bit carried away by how much good food there was here. My name is Hakurei--”

    “Hakurei Reimu, right? We were there when you introduced yourself in front of the class, you know. No need to tell us your name.”

    “Ah, right.”

    Touji and Reimu seemed to be going along quite well. Harutora on the other hand had no words, and frankly, he dared not try saying anything, by fear that it could have aggravating properties on Natsume's already dangerous state. While she had kept silent, her eyes remaining hidden behind her bangs, the fact that this had been going on ever since Reimu had joined the table was precisely why Harutora knew that none of this boded good for him.

    'What have I done to put Natsume in such a mood?'

    He didn't really understand, nor did he really want to know.

    Unfortunately though Touji didn't share his interests. Like a devil manipulating the strings of misfortune, he did not take long before pulling both of Harutora and Natsume into the conversation.

    “My name is Touji. This blonde guy over here, I think that you already know his name... and as for the one sitting next to him, this is... Natsume?”

    Touji's call woke Natsume from her silence, and she finally lifted up her face, speaking with a radiant smile. So radiant that Harutora could see the word 'forced' illuminated in capitals behind it.

    “It is a wonderful pleasure to meet you. My name is Tsuchimikado Natsume heir of the Tsuchimikado family. Harutora-kun here happens to be my shikigami, so he is bound to serve me and do all that I request of him.”

    'Why did you even need to add all of these details?!' would vaguely be Harutora's unheard cry as he listened to Natsume's 'friendly' introduction. These fervently possessive statements were far from being the most comforting words Natsume had ever said about her dear Shikigami... and also, when Natsume got possessive to a level like this one, it generally meant that Harutora was already neck-deep into the Higan.

    Reimu was quite different from Harutora, showing no particular reaction to Natsume's unnatural behavior. Perhaps that somehow, she didn't understand how much faked Natsume's happiness was? It was too good to be true, that this girl could be so dense.

    There was a glimmer of curiosity in Reimu's eyes though, but it was there not because of Natsume's demeanor, rather, it was because of her words.

    “Huh? Shikigami? Tsuchimikado? Did he get the name because he became your shikigami, or are you two actually related? Married? He did seem human, last time I checked.”

    “M-Marr-- he's a cousin of mine!”

    At the question, Natsume turned red like a tomato. Harutora didn't understand why such a thing happened, but she had gone from terribly angry to terribly flustered, to the point that Harutora would think it was steam that he could see rising above her head. Maybe that it was a good thing for him, or at least, it was better than bathing in such a horribly dreadful atmosphere. It somewhat made Natsume look cute too, reminding him of when she used to be a harmless, innocent child.

    The good old days.

    'Wait, did she just ask wherever we were married?'

    Harutora soon joined Natsume in the tomato club. Apparently, there was a saying that potatoes would potate.

    Did tomatoes tomate?

    Reimu once again though was unlike the two clowns, not bothered at all by the human reactions of those she spoke to.

    'Did she have any common sense?!'

    The girl was interested in what these people were, rather than what they acted like. Reimu sought more details on what had caught her attention - the Tsuchimikado bloodline, and the relationship between Nastume and her shikigami.

    “So... two Tsuchimikado, one the shikigami of the other. That's quainter than quaint now.”

    Reimu's tone had changed.The happy and lively girl which had pulled Harutora around like a child leading their parents in the playground had vanished, giving place back to this... indescribable entity.

    A transient butterfly that floated above reality. Kindness, gentleness, nostalgia, sadness, a blend of it all could be sensed vibrating in her voice, leaving not only Harutora, but Natsume and Touji also wondering who really was this girl, and how such a personality shift could be possible.

    Was it the food that had allowed for the 'human' part of hers to appear?

    “What about you? Maybe you could tell us a bit more about yourself,” Touji asked.

    “Me? I'm just a girl from the countryside.”

    “Come on, that's a little bit too simple of an answer.”

    Reimu let out a small laugh at Touji's comment.

    “True. Well, I guess that telling you a little bit more wouldn't hurt. I've come here to actually learn being a proper exorcist, since I never had any formal training.”

    “Exorcist?”

    “Formal training?”

    Harutora and Natsume were trying to understand what Reimu meant. Well, Harutora for the greater part, as Natsume already understood what all of Reimu's words implied; but then, it seemed everything but realistic to the latter. Never had she known someone as young as Reimu who happened to be a practicing exorcist – Dairenji Suzuka, the Heavenly General, being a once in a lifetime exception. Could Reimu have been a freelancer of some sort at such a young age? Even, how did one become an exorcist without going through Onmyou Prep?

    “I used to work in a place far from here. So far and backwater you probably don't know about it .At any rate, I did all the things Onmyouji do there, as in exorcising spirits and hunting down youkai...”

    Reimu paused, lingering unnaturally on the word 'youkai'. In time though, she resumed:

    “... but then I found out that I just wasn't fit for it. I was too lazy. Too arrogant. Have you ever hunted down a youkai? Have you ever felt the rush, the adrenaline, and gotten drunk on the achievement of having defeated it? I was too late in realizing all that, that I had gotten too big of an ego.”

    To answer Reimu's words was for the moment, impossible for the three friends. Harutora had a hard time piecing the puzzle together, while Touji and Natsume just couldn't believe what they were hearing.

    “You mean... do you mean that you've actually handled a spiritual disaster before?” Natsume asked hesitantly, disbelief still plaguing her.

    “That's quite the feat for someone that enrolled as a first year student," Touji added.

    “Spiritual Disaster? Is that how Youkai are called here?”

    “Well, Youkai do appear during Spiritual Disasters...”

    Harutora limited himself to listening as the three others spoke. Unlike his two companions, he hadn't been so startled by Reimu's outlandish claims, rather, he was already considering her question, of wherever he had felt all these sensations she had described.

    “Yes,” Harutora suddenly said, interrupting the discussion between Reimu, Touji and Natsume: “we've fought against a youkai before. An Oni.”

    Not a long time ago, an agent that served a group of fanatics captured Natsume. He belonged to a faction of “Yakou Fanatics”, people that blindly committed the most dubious and cruel of acts just in the name of this antiquity that Harutora had come to both reckon and hate so much – Yakou. Tsuchimikado Yakou, the genius who revitalized Onmyou Magic, and at the same time, the man that caused the defeat of Japan during the Second World War. He left this school, Onmyou Prep behind him as heritage, a new form of Onmyou magic, and then, a curse on Japan – Spiritual Disasters, occurring in Tokyo on a regular period, never truly leaving it in peace.

    And then, last but not least, Yakou left the shadow of his 'reincarnation' looming over Natsume, thus why every single Yakou fanatic was after her.

    “Harutora, it was a fake though,” Touji slid in as Harutora was explaining to Reimu what had happened during the last incident.

    “Yes, we'd have stood no chance if this was the true Kakugyouki,” Natsume added.

    Harutora felt a little bit like an idiot. Everyone, even Reimu, was looking at him with the same eyes one usually had when they were staring at a hopeless case, or maybe, some sort of sensationalist that overly dramatized and distorted real facts.

    “... whatever.”

    “I'd be surprised too, if you people managed to survive being hit by an Oni. It's alright when they're holding back because they're playing or being restrained by spellcards rules, but the real deal usually just leaves nothing more than tidbits of what a human body used to be.”

    “Spellcards?”

    Harutora repeated after Reimu, curious as to what these were. Was she speaking about some sort of Onmyou magic he didn't know about?

    “Oh... nothing. It's a novelty from where I come from...”

    'Where exactly do you come from?'

    Things were just getting more and more mysterious about that girl. Who was Reimu in truth? What was all the meaning of this strange talk that she was having with them? Harutora had questions after questions piling upon each other, and the others too seemed to be feeling in a similar way. People were entitled not to speak of themselves, to keep their background ambiguous and it wasn't like Harutora and the others happened actually to be agents from the Onmyou Agency scouring for evidence here... but...

    There were things they had to know.

    “... but Yakou's reincarnation you said? How is that possible, since she's a girl? Not that I haven't seen a case where someone that was supposed to be male turned out to be female - that emperor--”

    “Wait, repeat what you just said?”

    Something was wrong there,Harutora knew it.

    “How someone that was male turned out to be female? Yes, I was quite shocked too--"

    "No, the beginning..."

    "Oh? How it's possible, since Natsume-san is a gir--"

    Harutora threw himself at Reimu and covered up her mouth with his hands. The world had no need to be aware of what Reimu had said, nor of how true the statement she had uttered was.

    “Don't say it. Please, pretend that you don't know anything,” Harutora quickly whispered to Reimu's ear, hoping that she'd listen, and mostly, that she'd stay calm even though a random man had quickly muffled her and had ended up rather... close to her by this point of time.

    Harutora realized it eventually, but a bit too late - that he had been too energetic in his leap. Now, there was but a mere centimeter between the tip of their noses touching.

    The young man could see Reimu's beautiful, ruby-like eyes in full detail. These red irises held a sentiment unlike any other he had seen before, one which he had no words to describe. He thought that it was beautiful, but also, incredibly painful to see.

    Harutora averted his eyes, but his body didn't move, his muscles didn't respond. Without doubt, he had been captivated by Reimu's scent, one that reminded him of a lane filled with fragrant cherry blossoms - a scent that was intense and heart-lifting, yet at the same time, soothing and relaxing, lulling him to peace like a lullaby. Looking aside didn't help Harutora either from being charmed, since if he didn't look in Reimu's eyes,he would then have to appreciate her smooth and fair cheek, the texture of her skin so fluid that being observed sufficed to convey its softness.

    A warm sensation ran through Harutora's body. His heart skipped a beat. His brain suddenly felt all fuzzy.

    This was too close.

    'Way too close.'

    Why was she just staring at him like that, not moving? Why wasn't she reacting like how any girl of her age should react when a man suddenly invaded her personal space with such aggression?

    'Get away from her, get away now!'

    Somehow, his body finally--

    --maybe not. Such a powerful killing intent could only come from Harutora's dear master, Natsume.

    The bell signaling the end of the break rang.

    Harutora felt as if he was being dragged to a dark corner of the world. He had no need to turn around and check why Natsume was doing this – he was fully aware that revising everything he had done in life and making a prayer to God if such a being existed, were two good prospects.

    Touji sighed as he watched the daily opera. When he had enough of this silliness, he turned his eyes turned towards Reimu, who like him had been looking on as the “couple” was doing its antics.

    “We'll talk again. There's a lot of things we have to finish discussing about.”

    “Is there?”

    Reimu gave Touji a light knowing smile, before standing up and starting her way out of the canteen, heading towards the elevator.

    As the dreamy butterfly fluttered away, Touji couldn't help but feel a bit uneasy about this new transfer student. It was all a source of uneasiness: what she talked about, how she seemed to speak without any signs of delusion, the knowledge and interest that she had, and most of all, that supernatural aura which surrounded every single one of her movements. It was a little bit too much for someone from the countryside, just a little bit too much.

    Last but not least, how had Reimu managed to figure out that Natsume was a girl? They had theoretically just met for a few minutes, and even then, if one wasn't aware of prior information, one would always be fooled into thinking that Natsume was a boy judging from her spiritual pressure. She had the one of a male, or at least, that's what she could fool the world into seeing - more Yang as what was characteristic of boys, standing in opposition to the more abundant Ying of girls.

    “A mystery this Hakurei Reimu is,” Touji whispered to himself as he slowly got up from the chair, being the last one to leave the table.

    Conveniently, there was a practical course right after the break. Maybe that this was the good time to test out a few supposed truths, and a few expected lies.

    Not that suppositions and expectations were always a hundred percent correct.



    ------

    Author's Notes:
    Formatting screwed me over big time. If you see something strange, please point it out to me.
    Last edited by Ayakashi; March 13th, 2014 at 08:04 PM.

  15. #35
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Part 2

    The hall leading to Onmyou Prep's training grounds. This underground area as a whole held a much different atmosphere when compared to the rooms that stood above it. No windows, no elaborate and modern architecture mixed in with classical Heian-era designs – it was just bland stone walls, bland ceramics covering the floor till the next corner, and bland panel-lights filling the entire place with an equally bland artificial whiteness.

    As aesthetically boring as the place was though, its designs had merits. A closed environment like this one with no living organism was excellent to prevent mana from flowing out or being consumed unnecessarily by a third party. Gathering and preserving all this spiritual essence allowed for students to perform their exercises with greater ease – it made up for their handicap as their control over onmyoudou was for the greater part limited during their first few years.

    School break had just finished, and next to have their practical exercises were the first years. The passage was filled with noise, courtesy of all their rowdy chatter.

    “I wonder what we'll be doing today?”

    “Ah, Ohtomo-sensei will get to show us how cool he is again!”

    “Hey, we're here to learn Onmyou Arts, not to look at handsome guys...”

    “... but you do admit that he's handsome!”

    A group of students were having their girl's talk right in front of Natsume, the latter who silently walked amidst the crowd, somewhat downcast.

    Natsume wasn't really in the mood to appreciate the airs of the students all around. She thought that their excitement and immature talk was quite childlike – but then, weren't they just that, children?

    The girl exhaled deeply. She really wished that she could have a moment of silence to herself, to think of what had just happened, and why she had acted that way earlier.

    Jealousy was it? That word crept into the corner of her mind every now and then, but Natsume didn't really want to call her attitude towards that transfer student 'jealousy'. What had she even done? It was Harutora's fault, as he had gotten overly enthusiastic in his attempt to silence her.

    No, Natsume was certain – Harutora's eyes actually took their time to appreciate Reimu's eyes and her beauty. He had seen the girl's beauty, and he had come to fall under its charm – that, Natsume could tell without doubt from what she had seen.

    'Stupid-tora.”

    Harutora's nickname, bestowed on him by none other than herself – or that other persona of hers which was now 'dead'.

    Why did he always get close to some other random girl? Why was he always so oblivious? Why did he never realize that 'this someone' wasn't dead, but standing next to him everyday?

    Natsume stroked the pink ribbon that floated over her heart. It was light, it was pleasant to caress – but every time she touched it, there was a little bit of sadness that hid in the shadow of the mirth Natsume felt. A stinging reminder that the very one that had brought this ribbon didn't notice what it was as it dangled before his eyes every single day.

    Or was he even a bigger of a liar?

    'Did he know, and just pretend not to notice?'

    “Stupid... stupid-tora...” Natsume repeated once again, whispering plaintively to herself.

    The thought crossed Natsume's mind. She began to ponder it: that Harutora had noticed, but didn't react for some reason... that possibility was a fairly real one. It'd give a lot of sense too to all of the 'stupidity' he had displayed... and that made it all the more frustrating for Natsume. Still though, she couldn't push out the idea that him being dense and naturally uninterested when it came to solving relationship-based questions... was everything but abnormal.

    They were childhood friends. Even if they had grown up as humans and gained in maturity, the changes from back then weren't that big.

    But then--

    “Natsume-kun?”

    A voice pulled Natsume back into the physical world. It felt somewhat familiar.

    Natsume looked to her side. There was a girl with long light-brown hair tied up in rather pretty locks, her strands falling down in a slightly curvy fashion. Her uniform was stylized, making her undoubtedly one of the more remarkable students, and she was no slouch either in the looks department. If one were to put this girl next to Natsume... it'd be pretty much like putting two sides of the same coin next to each other – Natsume was a girl pretending to be a boy, even wearing a boy's uniform, while this person, Kurahashi Kyouko, accepted and embellished her femininity at its fullest.

    “Ah, Kurahashi-san. Hello there,” Natsume said, making sure that she put up her tomboyish accent. It was a necessary facade to uphold the tradition of her family after all.

    “You seemed as if you were spacing out. Is there anything bothering you?”

    When did Kyouko get here? Natsume thought that it'd be so strange for her to show up so suddenly, when she just vanished after class had finished earlier.

    “Huh? No, I was just thinking about something... namely, where did you go?”

    “M-me?”

    “Yes, we were wondering where you had gone to. It was a bit strange since you usually eat with us.”

    Kyouko's cheeks were flushed slightly as Natsume asked 'his' question.

    “O-oh, sorry Natsume-kun, I didn't tell you, but the Principal wanted my presence to discuss about a few things. Ahahaha...”

    Principal? Natsume didn't really think of why Kyouko had a light red tint of her cheeks, nor why she was laughing and rubbing her nape so apologetically. Rather, she was just curious to know as to why the Principal, Kurahashi Miyo, would call her own granddaughter in.

    Before Natsume could ask though, Kyouko's attention drifted away towards someone else that had been walking ahead of them.

    “Hey, there she is,” Kyouko said as she began hastening her pace to join up with someone up ahead. Natsume felt inclined to follow... not that she didn't wish to know what all of this was about.

    As Kyouko excused herself, weaving in between the students, the crowd began to scatter a bit as to make room for her. She was the closest thing to being a class rep here, so the others recognized her authority – that and without knowing it, Natsume contributed a lot to the situation, since she was following Kyouko closely behind. When the two top students from the 1st Year were trying to get somewhere, the rest was pretty much obliged to let them through out of respect, even if Natsume nor Kyouko never really asked for it.

    That wasn't their main concern right now though – rather, it was this woman walking ahead of the crowd. With her black hair let down past shoulder length, and a crimson coat that undulated from friction, it was quite hard to miss such a peculiar sight amidst Onmyou Prep's sea of students.

    “Kyouko-san, who's that?”

    “The person I was supposed to lead down here. We kinda got lost though in the crowd... ah... Tohsaka-sensei! Can you hear me?!”

    'Sensei?' From the way Kyouko addressed this woman, Natsume figured that she was a teacher of some sorts. A strange thing, since Natsume never recalled having seen this person before during all the time she spent here at Onmyou Prep, far more than half a year by now.

    “Ah, Kyouko-san. There you are,” the teacher in red noted as she turned her head around, but keeping on the walk, “I was wondering where you had gone off to.”

    “My apologies Tohsaka-sensei, I lost you from sight, out of my negligence, ” Kyouko excused herself as she caught up with the teacher.

    “No need to make such a fuss about it. I found my way here anyway, so it's no big deal.”

    The woman spoke with a fairly relaxed voice, but unlike the 1st year's homeroom teacher, Ohtomo-sensei, this woman did not let out an air of banality, of detachment from work.

    Tohsaka had a professional feel to her. She was being courteous not because of laxity, but because of etiquette. Willful politeness rather than a natural one – perhaps that if this wasn't Kyoukou's first time making a mistake, there could have been a bit more reprimand mixed in with the teacher's words. Even Tohsaka's demeanor was upright – she stood straight, her hazel eyes piercing with a noble gaze, like the ones of an eagle. Her bright crimson coat had some sort of dignified nature to it, resembling more like a statement of her rank than simple casual clothing.

    Natsume's eyes lingered on profiling the teacher, until their gaze met from one of Tohsaka's quick glances over her shoulder.

    “You must be wondering who I am?”

    Kyouko remembered that she hadn't introduced the teacher to Natsume yet.

    “Oh, right! Natsume-san, this is Tohsaka-sensei. She's an assistant teacher that will be overseeing our practical exercises from time to time, maybe giving us a few lessons too from what I heard?”

    Tohsaka let out a chuckle.

    “Who knows? But you say that this boy's name here is Natsume... Tsuchimikado Natsume that is?”

    The conversation was about to go somewhere. Natsume expected them to inevitably board the subject of how she was the famous heir to the Tsuchimikado family... but before any more words could be added, the group finally arrived within the precinct of the training grounds.

    A massive square-shaped room, its walls reinforced by seals in expectation of the heavy activity that usually went through here. The facility was also so large that one could fit an entire football field in here... quite the sight to behold for newcomers – that such a thing existed in the depths of Tokyo.

    “Oh, we'll continue this chat later, as I'd better go introduce myself to your teacher. Do work hard, Tsuchimikado-kun and Kurahashi-san. I'll be looking forward to see from the first year's top students.”

    On this note, Tohsaka departed to Ohtomo Jin's side.

    Natsume didn't really know what to say or feel; she never was that good at talking to strangers. Even the last step that she took to open up to Kyouko and Tenma was still an ongoing endeavor.

    In the end, all that she did during the conversation was keep her dignity as the heir of the Tsuchimikado house.

    Tohsaka-sensei's expectations though, Natsume would meet them without a doubt. She had to, as her pride was on the line.

    Kyouko, who was next to Natsume, shared a similar mindset.

    Far away in the corner of the room, emerging from another one of the access corridors, the transient butterfly fluttered into the training grounds.


    |[]|


    'Ohtomo Jin'. Such was the name of the man she'd have to work with for the remainder of her stay here. It wasn't hard to pick him out from the sea of students.

    A gangly individual with unkempt hair. He wore an old shirt adorned by an equally old tie, the fading colors proof of the increasing age of its textile. A cheap suit and worn trousers topped the man's outfit, and these didn't help to detract from the image of a person that took no care of themselves, lacking any form of seriousness or organization when it came to actual work. A slacker bureaucrat... the appellation perfectly fit Ohtomo Jin.

    Then, there was this wooden leg that reminded Rin of pirates of ancient times... which was a total mismatch when added to Jin's portrait. It stood out as an oddity of an oddity, really.

    As weak and frail as he seemed though, Ohtomo Jin had an unusual warm life to his words and stare. The man smiled lightly as he caught sight of her approaching.

    “Oh, my, what a lovely teacher has joined us on this day~? You're Tohsaka Rin I presume?”

    A surprisingly live welcome to her.

    “That is correct. A pleasure to meet you, Ohtomo Jin.”

    “The pleasure is mine. But hey, what do you say that we talk about important matters now?”

    Jin spoke with a light, whisper-like voice, like a man discussing secret matters. Truly, was he going to bring up that subject right as the class was about to start?! The secrecy of that 'job' of theirs wasn't something that could be freely discussed in public. Tohsaka Rin would see that no such idiocy would ever happen – had she been stuck with some sort of crazy amateur? The reports suggested otherwise--

    “Don't look at me like that. I know just the perfect place where we can have a small drink and chat together about our future, so I just need your consent for a little outing~”

    --ah. That kind of matter. So she had stumbled on 'that kind' of guy. Not that she hadn't dealt with womanizers before, seeing the renown Rin had in the Mage's Association.

    “I'll have to kindly decline.”

    “Awww, that's no fun,” Ohtomo childishly complained.

    “Do you even have some sense, hitting on a woman like that in front of your students?”

    “How sad to hear that of you, Tohsaka-san.”

    "You don't even deny it?!"

    Rin sighed as she came to realize what she had signed up for. Well, she knew vaguely the mess she had plunged herself in the moment she accepted the job, but to think that she'd be paired up with someone like that... the future looked as if it would be filled with hardships and trials.

    The Crimson Magus threw a glance at the students that were gathering.

    “Anyways, shouldn't you be taking care of these kids, Ohtomo-sensei? I believe that the lesson was scheduled to start not so long ago.”

    “Ah right, first things first.”

    Jin's cane, which he used to help support himself, tapped the ceramic floor a few times. The noises were sharp and reverberating, clearly audible throughout the entire room, so much that they conveniently overpowered the loud chatter which was going on inbetween the youth.

    It was the telltale sign Ohtomo-sensei always gave to his students, when class was about to begin.

    Everything quickly died down into silence.

    Tohsaka Rin was eager to see it this time with her own eyes – the “science” shunned by the Mage's Association. The New Onmyoudou that had become the first, and still remained the only magecraft to be acknowledged by the world, acknowledged by Alaya. A feat which no magical school had dared to do, yet one simple man had: Tsuchimikado Yakou, the prodigy, the revolutionary.


    |[]|


    “Alright everyone, first of all, let us welcome this wonderful person here – Tohsaka Rin, our new assistant teacher! ”

    The young woman in red smiled lightly to the students and gave them a small wave. It seemed that just like them, she really didn't know what to do of Ohtomo-sensei's awkward behavior today. Even with his worn out apparel, the man looked quite lively, quite a lot more than the usual Ohtomo-sensei Natsume knew.

    “Ohoho... I think that it's spring again for Ohtomo-sensei.”

    “Huh?”

    Natsume was rather clueless, not understanding what Kyouko was trying to say, or why the girl was so excited. Well, it took her some time, but her thoughts were somewhere else for now.

    'How is Harutora?'

    It was strange. Natsume just had that moment where she contemplated so many deep subjects concerning her relationship with Harutora. Speculations, deductions, she had done it all, yet in the end, she was as uncertain, if not more than before she had walked down into Onmyou Prep's training grounds.

    Natsume had caught a glimpse of him as she came to take her usual placement for exercises, but they exchanged nothing, except one awkward stare. It was true though that Harutora wouldn't be his usual self when she had just assailed him with a volley of reproaches, having then left him no time or opportunity to respond as she was quick to walk away in anger afterwards, not responding once to his calls.

    It was really rude. But he deserved such rudeness!

    'Jealous'.

    The voice once again whispered, the daemon of her conscious self.

    Natsume shook her head to reject it, telling herself that she was just making sure that her shikigami would remain her own... that Harutora would not go anywhere else... yes...

    'Liar'.

    The word she used to call out Harutora when he showed no sign of remembering their promise... why were they suddenly turned against herself? What was she lying to herself about?

    Everything, really.

    But the truth was something that scared her. She really didn't want to know it. It was a Pandora's Box that she'd eventually have to open, but right now, Natsume dared not even touching it with a six feet pole.

    This was not the time to further reflect upon herself though – Ohtomo-sensei was about to give instructions concerning today's exercises.

    “Today's exercise will be you putting into practice what you've learned through your most recent lectures,” Ohtomo-sensei began, before motioning piles of empty paper and bunched up calligraphic brushes, the two resting on the table behind him “These are what you'll be using. I want you to show me a little bit of what you've mastered when it comes to the touchy subject we've begun not so long ago – spiritual disasters.”

    This was a first for the students, well most of them. Natsume already had been initiated in these ways since long, but if one had been following the 'normal' curriculum offered by Onmyou Prep School, then it'd be the first time that one would have to craft their own ofuda talismans, turn them into efficient mediums for their spiritual power, and to top it all, they'd have to select the appropriate spell for spiritual disasters.

    Not something too difficult for Natsume or Kyouko, but the others here were in for quite the test.

    Natsume had to wonder wherever Harutora and Touji were going to be alright. The two which had joined in half a year late... it was going to be tough for them.

    …....

    “Restrict, bind, limit, order!

    Under Natsume's command, the paper on which she had inscribed her writings flew towards the target dummy, an inanimate shikigami that Ohtomo-sensei had conjured to represent a weak spiritual disaster. The ofuda talisman glowed with the spiritual energy she had charged it with; as it came into contact with the target, the spell she had chanted alongside the spiritual pressure stored inside the charm... everything was released.

    A barrier made specifically to imprison spiritual disasters sprung to life, preventing whatever theoretical monstrosity was inside from moving, and gradually closing in to weaken it.

    The other students looked on at Natsume with amazement – she had been the first to complete her Ofuda, the first to cast a spell, and the first to succeed.

    “As expected of the Tsuchimikado prodigy,” some could be heard murmuring.

    Tohsaka-sensei, the assistant teacher, seemed to be observing whatever was going on with quite a lot of interest, and perhaps was it satisfaction glinting in the corner of the light smile her lips displayed? Natusme felt that she had lived up to her expectations, and as a result, she also felt a degree of self-satisfaction. She had upheld her duty as the Tsuchimikado's heir, to be a shining example for the rest of the world.

    To call such a thing conceit would be wrong though, since she did not linger onto her accomplishments,. This was just one of the many, many steps that she had to climb to achieve her selfless goal.

    Natsume noticed though that while Tohsaka-sensei was clearly paying attention to everyone in here and maybe sometimes, even giving pointers to some of the students, Ohtomo-sensei was nowhere in sight--

    --was he? Natsume eventually caught him in the corner of her vision – he was standing next to a familiar face, the very same one she had blamed Harutora for getting to close too: Hakurei Reimu, the transfer student.

    Natsume, seeing that she had already completed her exercise and that there weren't any further instructions for now, became curious about what was going on between Reimu and Ohtomo. Nevermind that the weird conversation which Reimu had with Harutora, Touji and her had been brought back to the foreground of her conscience.

    That, and the fact that she had easily discerned Natsume's gender. How had that been possible?

    Luckily, Reimu hadn't said a single thing yet, though was this out of cooperation and understanding? Or did she not care?

    Natsume's curiosity and concern were both on the rise.

    She began walking towards the duo, Ohtomo-sensei appearing somewhat confused as to what Reimu was asking him. The other students around too shared the same emotions as Ohtomo by the looks of it.

    “...huh? So you do want me to take care of this target as if it was a youkai?”

    “That's right. Wait, you mean, you don't know what spiritual disasters are?”

    Ohtomo was in quite the state of disbelief, but he never did totally lose his carefree tone, always leaving his sentences with a shadow of pleasantry.

    “The way you people call youkai, right?”

    “'You people'... oh dear, you're really from one special countryside, Reimu-chan~”

    Reimu was to everyone's surprise, absolutely unaffected by the affectionate way Ohtomo-sensei had addressed her. She just kept this strange indescribable expression up. Much like everyone else, Natsume had no real way to elaborate how it looked like, except that it was both beautifying and mystifying of the girl. It made her feel “above the others”, not in the same way as noble or ranked people... it wasn't an artificial status.

    Reimu just naturally was like someone that always floated above in the sky. As if she was a dream.

    “Well, I guess that it's been a while since I last used an ofuda. You might want to stand back.”

    Reimu spoke blankly. She didn't move yet though, her gaze still remaining on Ohtomo-sensei – was she really expecting him to listen to her?

    “Oho... well if that isn't the bold suggestion, Reimu-chan,” Ohtomo said with a chuckle before slowly taking a step or two back. “Go ahead, I look forward to what you're going to show us.”

    Natsume really wondered wherever Ohtomo was being serious right now, or if he was just playing around with Reimu. Was the latter's lack of control over Onmyou Arts so bad that she could accidentally fire her spells somewhere she shouldn't? Then if that was the case, what would such a person even be doing here?

    “Well, if you think that this is enough to keep you safe. I guess that we can get started.”

    Reimu held the ofuda in her hand, the piece of paper having secured between her index and major fingers.

    She closed her eyes for a second and...

    ...Natsume could feel it, the incredible spiritual pressure that poured into the single piece of paper, far from what any normal student could usually output in mere seconds – even, far greater than what Suzuka Dairenji, a Heavenly General, had demonstrated during her fight with Natsume and Harutora.

    To be able to quickly flood such a shabby spiritual medium with so much energy and not break it....

    'Impossible.'

    The impossible wasn't at an end though. As the paper glowed with spiritual power, it became overcharged to the point that one would not need anymore to be a spirit seer to observe the flow of spiritual pressure – the mana was taking on a manifest form in the physical realm... a violet aura.

    Part of the aura took a darker shade, and it imprinted a beautiful Kanji on the ofuda, without even needing a single stroke from the calligraphic brush.

    That is why Reimu hadn't even bothered picking one up.

    'Fantasy', the Kanji on the ofuda meant.

    It really was a fantasy.

    As Reimu flicked her wrist, a brief, small motion to perform, the paper was released.

    'The paper'? No, well over two dozens of them were released.

    The power of the original overcharged ofuda had somehow managed to create many, many duplicates of itself, and a swarm of violet was quick to rain down on the unfortunate shikigami serving as target practice. Every single one of these paper talismans had a spiritual punch that could be related to a grenade.

    A bright light blinded Natsume as the barrage of phantasms vaporized its target.


    |[]|


    “Whoops. I knew it, I've lost my shape.”

    The transient butterfly scratched her cheek, appearing somewhat disappointed by the outcome of her first exercise.

    She did not understand why everyone was looking at her with their mouth gaping, neither did she really realize how much damage she had done to this part of the training facility.

    The floor wasn't supposed to have a hole in it, nor the ceiling. The tiles of ceramics should've been left intact, not disintegrated into bits and pieces.

    This room was after all, a room meant for training students in their first year; the walls and the barriers covering them never had been calibrated for taking such a beating.

    All of this escaped Reimu as she turned to Ohtomo-sensei and tried to figure out why his stare was so... different now.

    “I guess that I should try again?”

    “Yes, you probably should.”
    Last edited by Ayakashi; February 12th, 2014 at 06:12 PM.

  16. #36
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Part 3

    Practical classes were over. All the first years had begun evacuating the training grounds, making their way towards the mass elevators that lead back to the surface. However, there was none of the usual loud chatter which filled these halls on late afternoons, instead, the groups of friends and acquaintances all talked to each other in murmurs. Speaking loudly would've been unwise at any rate, since the unanimous subject of discussion all shared was that one girl walking alone at the back of the crowd, minding no business other than her own.

    That so many people looked at her, all while gossiping... it didn't appear to bother the girl at all. She didn't even seem to take note of what was going on around her.

    Teachers and students alike, everyone had been surprised by the display of pure power and skill from Hakurei Reimu, the 'girl from the countryside'. Even Tsuchimikado Natsume and Kurahashi Kyouko couldn't believe what they had seen – as simple as the spell that Reimu had used was, they couldn't understand what she did, for she bypassed so many essential steps in onmyou magecraft. She didn't chant, nor did she prepare a proper medium. While some higher level onmyouji could theoretically have done the same, these would have to be Divine Generals, not some random girl that no one had ever heard of, may it be in deeds or in lineage.

    “That was amazing...”

    “Everything's amazing for you, stupid-tora.”

    “Come on now, Touji...”

    “Well, I guess you could say that it was quite the flashy display at the very least.”

    “Still the same as always, aren't you?”

    The half-serious discussion between Harutora and Touji was the sole thing animating their group. The others, Natsume, Kyouko and Tenma all stayed silent, without doubt in deep thought of what they had seen. Touji glanced at them after the talk between him and Harutora died down, since well, what was there to discuss other than 'whoa, this random girl really is the thing'?

    He figured that Natsume and Kyouko were the ones that should chime in... and if these two weren't planning to do so anytime soon...

    “Isn't it sad? Looks like our two top students are depressed because someone better than them just showed up.”

    Touji spoke in a tone that could be vaguely labeled as sympathizing. Hidden from the sight of the girls though, since he didn't turn around to address them, was that malicious smile he often had while pushing people's buttons for fun's sake. Harutora, the only one that could get a glimpse of it since he was by Touji's side, sighed in exasperation.

    “W-what are you saying! Better than me or Natsume-kun?! Destructive power isn't everything!” Kyouko suddenly fired back, flustered.

    Touji didn't need to imagine how red or agitated the girl was getting, since he already had figured out Kyouko's ins and outs. He had foreseen how she'd jump in not only to defend her pride, but also the one of her crush, 'Natsume-kun'. Touji's grin widened at his successful baiting, but as much as he wanted to hear from that other 'boy' though, Natsume didn't answer. He had a vague estimate on the reason why she was being so silent, so he preferred to lead the talk to somewhere else.

    “Well, if it isn't like the Principal's Grandaughter to boast that power isn't everything,” Touji said before pausing for a moment, turning his head so that he actually looked at Kurahashi this time: “Speaking of the Principal though, don't you think that you could ask her about this 'girl from the country side'? I'm pretty sure that she'll be much more inclined to share than Hakurei Reimu. We didn't get much from that mystery during our chat at noon.”

    “Huh? You actually spoke to her?” Kyouko asked in surprise.

    “Oh right, you weren't there to see the circus. Harutora asked her out for lunch.”

    “W-what? You mean invited!”

    Touji, being his usual self, decided to add some spice to the plain meal, much to Harutora's chagrin. Even if he tried to correct Touji's claims, Harutora was already too late, being scrutinized meticulously by Kyouko's stare, and god knows what kinds of strange fantasies were running inside that girl's head.

    “Already trying to go after students that transfer in on their first day... that's bold, Harutora-kun.”

    Kyouko had a wry smile. The kind that one wore when they thought they knew more than what was apparent.

    “Geez, I wasn't going after anyone or anything. Isn't it rude if you ignore a newcomer that you've accidentally bumped into?”

    “Excuses.”

    An ethereal voice interjected, its source coming from right next to Harutora, but the speaker itself remaining invisible. The voice was like the one of a female child; it did not surprise anyone as this entity, Harutora's shikigami, had already made quite the mark upon the class. Not a single person in Onmyou Prep was unaware of it, or well her – the Fox Spirit, Kon. The fluffy tail and ears were the source of much mirth from the female students, while Kon's physique happened to attract the teasing comments of the male classmates. Much to Harutora chagrin's, once again.

    Loyal and protective to her 'Lord', perhaps a bit too much, Kon easily got distraught when Harutora approached other girls, thus why she was mostly fanning the fires that Kyouko and Touji had started.

    'Perfect,' would be that one word resonating inside Touji's head.

    “K-kon?! Not you too... I mean, you were there, didn't you see that it was just--!”

    “I-i-i-i-f I may not be rude, my Lord spent a long while gazing upon the young woman's silhouette. There was also that time where they i-i-in-intensely gazed at each other, their noses nearly touching! My Lord seemed so t-t-thrilled!”

    Kon's stammering and the general shamed tone of her voice, like the one of a kid having seen something they weren't supposed to see, added even more to Kyouko's ongoing speculations concerning Harutora. Of course, girls at that age were fairly interested in romance. It was to them what video games and movies were to most boys.

    “Harutora-kun... I'd never imagine that you...”

    “Why do you people do this... listen when someone's talking, goddammit!”

    “Harutora, we're listening. It's just that you don't sound very convincing.”

    “Gah! Touji, stay out of this. Shouldn't you be helping me explain--”

    “I explained already, if you forgot.”

    Harutora remembered that Touji was the exact reason why this talk about Harutora trying to romance Reimu had begun. His shoulders slumped down, and the poor youth turned quite dejected, feeling that the entire world had abandoned him. The worst thing was that there was no credible way for Harutora to justify his jumping at Reimu and muffling her, since explaining that he did it to prevent word of Natsume being a girl from slipping out would defeat the purpose of the act itself. Only very few people knew that Natsume Tsuchimikado was female – Momoe Tenma and Kurahashi Kyouko weren't amongst these.

    Touji knew this, and this little malicious prank of his was mostly to lead to this question that now rested unanswered, more important than who or what Hakurei Reimu was – 'how will she use the knowledge of Natsume being a girl?'

    That couldn't be allowed to go public, but then, while Reimu had somehow figured out Natsume's secret in a flash, she hadn't uttered a single bit of it to anyone yet, or at least, that seemed to be the case so far.

    “Hey, Kyouko. You said that you didn't know anything about that Hakurei Reimu, but don't you think that your grandmother might know a bit more? You should go ask her.”

    “Huh? That's actually a good idea.”

    The rest of the group, even Natsume, brightened up at Touji's suggestion. Probably they were all wondering why they hadn't thought of that earlier.

    “Isn't it?”

    “I'll go do that right now. Meet you outside of the school I guess?”

    “Yes, and thank you very much for the hard work.”

    Kyouko let out a silent 'tch' before checking up whether everyone else agreed. Natsume, Harutora and Tenma all gave their acknowledgment. Seeing this, Kyouko hurriedly made her way ahead of the crowd of students, running to one of the doors that lead to the staircases and vanishing behind it.

    There was one more person here though that needed to go for a while – Tenma... actually, where was he during lunch?

    Touji recalled that he had come in at the same time as Harutora and Reimu, but then... he vanished. That could be because of other affairs related to his duty, Touji guessed. The boy was a busy one... and in a way, it was actually good that he hadn't been there to hear Reimu blurting out Natsume's true gender.

    “Tenma,” Touji said, wrapping his arm around him and speaking with an unnaturally friendly manner. Well, Touji could make it sound all natural and unforced, but Tenma and Harutora generally knew that for Touji to be so friendly, it meant that something suspicious was going on.

    “Y-yes?”

    The frail Tenma was quite shocked, understandably. From Harutora's perspective, it was like a poor villager being accosted by an Oni. Well, that was mostly the case in reality, not just in metaphor.

    “Why don't you go escort Kyouko-san? A proper gentleman should always offer to accompany a lady, wouldn't you agree?”

    “U-uh... I suppose so... but... why me?”

    “Ho, would you be looking for an excuse to escape your duties? How unsightly of you, Tenma, and I who thought that you were a better person...”

    Touji spoke exactly like how a disappointed father would address their son. How he managed to have such a convincing and persuasive persona on tap, Harutora never understood, and that somewhat scared him, every time he thought about Touji's acting skills.

    Tenma could only concede - the outcome had been decided before this discussion had even begun.

    “A-alright. Ahaha, I'll be on my way...”

    In no time, Tenma followed the same path that Kyouko had taken, running after her.

    “That was a little bit too easy, even for me.”

    “You should really stop bullying people you know? I thought that you had quit your job as a delinquent.”

    “I don't know Harutora, I find it quite nostalgic sometimes. Hah. But more importantly... shouldn't you two go to talk to her? That 'girl from the countryside'.”

    Touji's voice shifted, going from the half-serious, always joking friend to one that was invested and serious. Of course, it was fit and necessary for waking up the two Tsuchimikado.

    “Huh? You want us to go talk to her?” Harutora asked in surprise.

    “Do you really think that it'd be a good idea to let her be, since she knows the secret about Natsume's gender? That's the reason why you've been keeping silent, haven't you Natsume?”

    Natsume, who had not spoken since the group had begun walking, lifted her head and acquiesced. She had a grave air to her emotions, and seemed rather insecure. This without doubt would trigger Harutora's senses, making it only natural that in time, the young man would try to comfort and help his childhood friend with much devotion.

    Which'd probably lead to more drama.

    In a way, things were working for the best, much better than how Touji would've liked things to go.

    Why was he even poking his nose in others affairs?

    Probably because it was fun.

    “Partially that, and partially the fact that I've never seen the Onmyoudo this girl had used,” Natsume said.

    “Well, you and Harutora could use this opportunity to go ask her, don't you think?”

    Master and shikigami looked at each other, before nodding to Touji's suggestion.

    Right at that time, the transient butterfly fluttered by them.

    “Look, what coincidence.”


    |[]|


    A heaven made of a gradient scarlet. The end of the day loomed on Tokyo, and it was surprisingly more beautiful than what the girl had expected. The light smog which diffused the rays of the setting sun didn't have much of a heavy feel, rather, it gave the entire city a flair of mystery. While the spires rising towards the heaven all around were of steel and concrete, their silhouette melded in with the scenery to resemble the dusk once observable on the greater heights of Youkai Mountain.

    Of course, up there, one did not hear the rumbling of engines, the klaxons of impatient drivers, and the sirens of distant emergencies... but the girl wasn't really bothered by that. She just kept dreaming of her lost dream.

    Did she even have the right to dream about it, after what she had done?

    'That is a very special common sense you have, Reimu-chan.'

    These were the words of the teacher that had been supervising the exercise. What was his name... ah yes, wasn't it Ohtomo-sensei?

    He spoke freely and with a light-hearted tone. She felt no condemnation, no rancor in his words – why would he have such kinds of feelings at any rate? All that she did was follow his instructions.

    'Where is your common sense?!'

    Someone else had asked her this question too before, right after she had done the unacceptable. Funny, since that person which asked it had the weirdest of common senses – no one in Gensoukyou thought like her, like that energetic arahitogami.

    Now though, the girl felt able to relate to said arahitogami. The transient butterfly was after all in the same situation right now, though while not worried nor annoyed by the strange reactions of all those she met, the girl felt detached from their thoughts. She felt detached from this world... out of the loop.

    It was a short moment of self-awareness. But being her general self, she shunned her emerging thoughts deep into a corner of her mind... and just decided not to care about anything.

    That, and in hindsight, she concluded... that hadn't she always been like that, even back in the past?

    Never human enough.


    |[]|


    There were three living beings inside the canteen, Harutora, Natsume and this mystery sitting on one of the window's edge and dreamily staring outside. She was settled in the very same position as when Harutora had first met her face-to-face, back then in the corridor.

    One of her delicate legs hung aside of the window ledge, slowly balancing back and forth with perfect rhythm, like a pendulum. The other was propped up against the ledge itself, bent and forming a beautiful arch, with one of the girl's hands peacefully resting on it. She sat upright, the contours of her back melding with the unbent surface against which it rested. Her head was slightly tilted away, and her eyes wandered after the dying shine of Tokyo's dusk.

    Harutora couldn't move. He didn't feel at all like a student approaching another one, or even, a simple boy approaching a simple girl. He glanced to his side, looking for support in Natsume, but she too seemed rather hesitant to go forward.

    Every stool, every seat, even, every plant which stood in this large room, they felt like the subjects of this person. For Harutora, this was not walking into Onmyou Academy's canteen, but rather, this was braving the stares of a thousand retainers in the Imperial Court, for the sake of addressing the royal regent. Or was it, to address a deity?

    Perhaps that the vivid images still roaming Harutora's head were the reason why he was being drowned in such an atmosphere. Perhaps that having seen first-hand what Hakurei Reimu could do during the practical session, had left a mixed mark of wonder, admiration, and fear in his heart.

    Now, more than ever, the question 'who are you?' nagged him--

    “You two have been staring at me for a while now. Why did you follow me up here?”

    The transient butterfly had spoken, her head turning around to look at the two youth which had been at the cafeteria's doorway for a while now, hiding behind a pillar.

    Harutora wasn't very sure what to answer, since well... what they were doing was pretty much synonymous to being stalkers. However, unlike him, Natsume had gathered her courage, and stepping out from the pillar's shadow, she declared:

    “Can't the same be asked of you? School has ended, so why are you lingering around the cafeteria?“

    “Maybe because I don't have a home to go back to.”

    “Huh? What do you mean?”

    Reimu chuckled as Natsume stood puzzled.

    “Nothing, that was a little joke. But for people to follow me here... what do you want?”

    Natsume didn't take long to cut to the chase.

    “How did you know that I was a girl?”

    Harutora, who had moved out and now stood by Natsume's side, couldn't stop himself from mentally noting 'because it's obvious'. Really, while he and Touji did everything to make sure that Natsume's gender would remain a secret, the young man still couldn't believe how someone like Natsume could pass for a boy. She was beautiful, had a refined and sleek figure, and on top of that she had long silky hair falling down past her waist. No amount of 'family traditions' could justify that... and yet, somehow, the students around here bought all of this nonsense as an unaltered truth. Even the entire silly deal about Natsume's pink ribbon being a 'spiritual talisman'.

    “You know, I've been hunting down youkai for a long time. Youkai tend to be tricky, so I've grown an instinct that generally tells me wherever something's a trick or not. While I have to admire your ability to shift your Ying and Yang balance to a male's, it still is just that, a disguise. Disguises generally don't work against me.”

    “How is that...”

    “Possible? Because I have no common sense, apparently.”

    There was a strange self-derisive inflection in Reimu's words. For the first time, Harutora thought that he caught a glimpse of concrete regret in the downcast flash she gave to him and Natsume.

    “This... this doesn't explain anything! What are you?!”

    The Tsuchimikado heiress wasn't exactly happy. Harutora guessed that she thought Reimu was playing around with her... but somehow, he had understood that this wasn't the case. That this girl just really had a condition where she floated away from whatever common sense both him and Natsume had. Or in fact, that any living being of this era had. He could feel it in every single one of her words, in every single one of her movements.

    There was something about Hakurei Reimu which was totally out of sync with the world. That's why nothing rational could be used to explain her abilities.

    Even more irrational though, Harutora wondered, was how he could even feel or think of such things which wouldn't be obvious at all, yet they seemed like nothing more than the 'truth'. Was this really his perceptions or--

    “What am I?” Reimu repeated, interrupting Harutora's thoughts.

    That derisive smile hadn't left her lips. It was bitter, angry, filled with despair.

    “I sometimes wonder myself. A failure would be the easiest description.”

    “Fai...lure?”

    Harutora and Natsume both said the word at the same time, trailing after Reimu's blank speech.

    “What do you--” Natsume began, renewing her barrage of questions. Right as she was about to say more though, Harutora extended his hand in front of her, as to signal her to hush.

    “--Harutora? What is it?”

    “Natsume, let's not ask her more about what she is.”

    “But!”

    “Please, trust me. This isn't going to lead us anywhere.”

    Harutora spoke with strength and conviction. There was no doubt in the glimmer of his eyes, only the essence of pure certitude. It was very rare for Natsume to see her childhood friend appear so decisive, with such a strong will. Without knowing it, the 'lion' that she tried to show all the time to the world - her persona, was subdued. Natsume lowered her head and gently murmured back:

    “A-alright...”

    A scene not so far from their relationship when they used to play in the gardens as kids.

    “Thank you. We're here to mostly talk about that other thing, aren't we?”

    “Yeah.”

    Reimu watched on passively. She hadn't returned to her transcendent, otherworldly-self, which somewhat made it easier for Harutora and Natsume to look and speak to her. Right there, behind that stoic visage of hers, there was a concise hint of earthly humanity, one that they couldn't find before.

    Which didn't mean that her comments were spared from any lack of tact.

    “You're sure that you two aren't married?”

    “M-married?! What are you talking about?!!!”

    Both Natsume and Harutora shouted out at the same time, turning into human tomatoes. Even if Reimu had asked them the exact same question at lunch, the punch and shock that came with it had in no way diminished.

    “He-he's my shikigami, my shikigami!” Natsume repeated.

    “We're childhood friends, childhood friends!” the other tried to hammer down Reimu's head.

    Keeping her blank expression, Reimu answered, unamused:

    “Semantics.”

    “A-at any rate! Natsume and I are here to ask of you, what do you intend on doing with the knowledge of her gender?”

    “Nothing. Why would I want to give others more trouble? I'm here just to do one thing – learn being an exorcist.”

    “So you won't tell anyone about it?”

    Reimu's ruby eyes inspected Harutora and Natsume, scanning their profile as a whole while she remained silent, not answering. The butterlfy didn't grimace, nor did she grin. She just had that passive, impartial sentiment. Yet as she stared at Harutora and Natsume, it felt as if they were bare before her gaze, so pure and powerful were these red irises of hers.

    “W-what is it?” Natsume asked hesitantly.

    “Giving things for free to others can be a good act from time to time, but one also has to earn their grace. So in exchange of my silence I just want...”

    The butterfly suddenly pointed her finger at Harutora and Natsume, without warning. Both gulped down their saliva, fearing that they might've asked too much of a question.

    “... you to buy me my lunch every day.”

    Silence consumed the room. The Tsuchimikado cousins could only stare at Reimu blankly, wondering what on earth was going on, not even able to tell if this girl was being serious. No scratch that, Hakurei Reimu was absolutely serious about that claim, since there was a fire like no other burning in her eyes... and that was exactly why Natsume and Harutora were confused.

    “Eh?”

    Such was the only sound they could utter in response.


    |[]|


    Ebisu, a trendy neighbourhood in Shibuya, quite famous for being where the cheaper eateries happened to be bunched up. The man had led her into this rather modern building though, which had some sort of expensive look to it. The restaurant was mostly themed red and white, and the menu appeared to revolve around chicken.

    Rin had ordered a 'meal' where she'd get a soft drink, some fried chicken and a pack of french fries.

    “You have strange tastes, Ohtomo-san.”

    The one she spoke to, Ohtomo Jin, her 'partner' for her mission here, laughed softly at her comment. He adjusted his glasses before answering:

    “It's rare for me to come here. I just figured that it'd be as rare for one like you, Tohsaka-san, so I forgot about the sushi or local dishes and brought you to this nice place.”

    “How considerate of you.”

    “My pleasure to serve a charming lady like yourself.”

    Ohtomo smiled before bringing the cup of cola in front of him to his mouth and drinking some of it via its straw. Refreshed, and seeing that Rin wasn't really in a mood to play flirt, he continued:

    “But we're not here for pleasantries are we?”

    The man didn't lose an ounce of his playful speech, but something had changed, Rin could tell. This probably meant that they'd being discussing about the more 'serious' matters.

    “No, we're not.”

    “So tell me, how did you find it? Onmyou Arts? It's rare that we let someone from the Mage's Association even take a step within kilometres of Onmyou-based establishments, let alone show them how we work out the training of freshers.”

    “It might surprise you, but when I stood there, it felt a lot as if I was watching courses at the Clock Tower. Techniques that reputedly were incompatible don't seem to be so different in the end.”

    Rin commented honestly. The process that the students had to go through weren't unlike the basics of occidental magecraft. They required a medium through which to build up their spells, they needed a reference, to follow a system, to embellish their spellcasting by pre-determined steps.

    “Is that so? You should probably thank Yakou because of that.”

    “Well, he is the man that gave birth to the first magecraft ever that Alaya wouldn't work against.”

    “The first magecraft accepted by the Will of Humanity, eh? The guy was a wizard indeed, or let's just say that he did something no one ever dared.”

    It wasn't very clear wherever Ohtomo liked Yakou or not, but at the very least, he acknowledged that the man's achievements could not be ignored, and shaped the very being of what Onmyou Arts were nowadays, and by extension, magecraft as a whole in the world.

    The man took another sip of his drink before continuing:

    “It's not like the General-style that you see exactly represents Yakou's heritage though...”

    Rin frowned.

    “Yes, I'm aware of that. You should show it to me some day, that 'Imperial-style' of yours. Or should I say, Cursecraft?”

    Ohtomo returned grin to Rin's frown.

    “Very well informed, Tohsaka-san. Yes, Cursecraft is part of the Imperial-style.”

    “Part of?”

    “Aren't you the curious one? But with all the resources the old lady gave you access to, I think that you should have enough information to clear some light on that mystery. Telling you everything would be boring, don't you think?”

    “How cruel of you.”

    “Thank you,” Ohtomo said nonchalantly while reclining against his seat.

    Rin sighed, annoyed by how this Ohtomo Jin was having fun being vague and unclear. She did suppose though that spending her time delving into books to deepen her knowledge would be better than just hearing from mouth to ear information, and at the very least, she'd have something to do to kill time – books were handy because they could be carried around after all.

    “But I'm surprised... that girl in the practical class...” the man suddenly uttered.

    “You mean that Hakurei Reimu?”

    “Yes. Such a peculiar child. The old granny isn't helping either by not telling me anything about her. After I reported that a little girl has just blown a clean hole in the training facility's ceiling, that rotting Principal just told me 'don't worry' and sent me off. Hah, I should really ask for more pay.”

    Ohtomo seemed fairly relaxed about the case, even if such a case was one unheard of before... well, not exactly... prodigies emerged from time to time... but there was just something baffling about the magecraft that this Reimu girl had used.

    It was something far beyond modern magecraft of any sorts, similar to that one sample she had been able to observe during the Fifth Fuyuki Grail War.

    Sorcery from the Age of Gods.

    “It was Onmyoudou dating back from way before Yakou, wasn't it? She didn't use the same system, it wasn't a 'science'. What I saw there was her becoming one with Gaia.”

    “Not only well-informed, but perceptive. Hoh, how I wished I had a partner like that two years ago,” Ohtomo commented before grabbing one of the chicken drumsticks on the platter and offering it to Rin - "you should eat too you know, before it gets cold."

    Rin silently accepted the food and took a small bite out of the fried chicken. It was quite greasy and had a processed feel to it, but in a sense, it was different from all the instant noodles she often lived on for frugality's sake.

    Food was little of a bother to her right now though - somewhere else, her 'familiar' had been trailing a potential 'suspect' for a while.


    ======
    CHAPTER 1 - END
    ======


    To Chapter 2 - Part 1 >>>
    Last edited by Ayakashi; March 13th, 2014 at 07:51 PM.

  17. #37
    I enjoyed this, and look forward to more.

  18. #38
    この世全ての悪 ~ ♡ Renko's Avatar
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    Needs editing. But it's good so far....

    "......"

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  19. #39
    もぐもぐ Mashina's Avatar
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    Reimu's reaction to the food made me lol. Poor little binbou miko.

  20. #40
    Dapper Deathwing YeOfLittleFaith's Avatar
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    Hah. Well, this is entertaining.

    Oh Reimu, you don't even know or care that you're tripping over bombs, do you.



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