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Redefined Fantastic Object: Chapter 2

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It wasn't very long before they had trouble incoming; fortunately, it was the ordinary kind of trouble that was no trouble at all. Swarms of fairies were flying toward them — some of them alone, some in groups, some of them one foot tall, some of them about the same size as a ten-year-old girl. And every single one of them was about to throw danmaku.

It worked like this: the very simplest form of magic was to create little balls of light, usually about the size of a baseball, called bullets ("dan"). If you touched one of these bullets, it popped and stung you. Get hit too many times, and it could be hazardous to your health. Just about every species of magical creature could naturally do this as a defense mechanism, and it had been weaponized by humans and youkai as what might well have been the very first martial art. It had been refined over the millennia, and now it was all about making pretty patterns of multicolored bullets; the word for barrage, "danmaku," used the characters for "bullet" and "curtain," which pretty much hit the nail on the head.1

"Why do they attack people?" said Sanae, as the first wave of fairies got within firing range and started shooting out miniature patterns of bullets. It was easy to dodge at the moment, however.

"Their brains are too tiny to think of anything else to do, I guess," said Marisa. "Don't slow down, now!"

She and Reimu began returning fire with danmaku of their own, Reimu using her gohei and Marisa with an odd magic wand. Strictly speaking, such things weren't necessary, but they gave you an edge. Marisa's bullets looked like neon-colored five-pointed stars, and Reimu's were stylized paper amulets. You could make the bullets look like anything you wanted, though there were a few different "natural" shapes. When they struck the fairies, they vanished with a pop, and the fairies staggered back, fell out of the sky, or simply exploded in a puff of smoke. Sanae had previously been worried about this for a while, until they'd explained that fairies "reincarnated" a minute later, none the wiser.

Sanae began firing danmaku-amulets with the aid of a ceremonial rod with a paper seal at the end. "That wasn't an 'instead of something else' question," said Sanae, "but okay." She'd sworn off being surprised shortly after she'd come to Gensokyo. It only slowed everyone down.

One of the fairies seemed to be having some sort of difficulty. It was wobbling around dizzily; the fact that its aim was just as good as that of the other fairies seemed to be a coincidence. And then Sanae realized that it was glowing a faint reddish color ...

"The heck is that?" said Marisa, shooting a star directly at it. It vanished in a puff of smoke ...

... and in its place was a small red UFO.

"There! See?" said Sanae, feeling rather foolish.

"Yeah, I see it," said Marisa, flying towards it.

A large yellow square of light shot out, seemed to snatch up the UFO, and flew back over to Reimu. Hovering at either side of her was now a pair of basketball-sized orbs, with a pattern that looked like a yin-yang. It was from these that she had fired her homing amulets.

"Is this one of the UFOs you saw?" said Reimu, looking it over. "It's exactly how you described it."

It was a disk about eight inches wide, with a dome on top and three smaller domes on the bottom. It was red, and glowed faintly. "Yeah," said Sanae. "You think there's some connection?"

"Incoming!" said Marisa, as the next wave of fairies drew nearer.

Reimu slipped the UFO into her sack, then flew forward to join Marisa, amulets flying out. Sanae followed hurriedly, launching her amulets into the swarm; it seemed that over the years, they'd gotten fairly quick on each other's uptake. It was going to be a while before she could react to them as fast as they did each other.

Marisa suddenly exclaimed, "Look out!" Sanae whirled around; there was a fairy right behind her! She yelped and blasted several dozen danmaku-amulets out from her staff. It vanished in a puff of smoke before the third one struck it ...

... and a green UFO popped out.

Sanae grabbed it and stuffed it into her own sack. There was no change in its weight; obviously, Marisa planned on using them to carry a lot.

The swarm continued. There seemed to be one more of the UFO-fairies in the current wave; Marisa blasted it with a narrow laser, then flew over towards the blue UFO that was released, snatched it up —

It suddenly began to glow brightly, shaking wildly in her hand. So did the one in Sanae's sack. She had just enough time to realize that the same thing was happening to Reimu's before there was a loud, strange buzzing noise between the three of them.

A much larger UFO appeared in a gray crackling haze. It was about five feet wide, and it appeared to be flashing through all the colors of the rainbow, wobbling back and forth.

"What the hell's that!?" exclaimed Marisa. Without waiting for an answer, she took off her hat and pulled out a small metallic octagon; Sanae knew it was her mini-hakkero, or elemental reactor, and on it was etched the eight trigrams of the Taoist ba gua, the eight fundamental principles of reality. Marisa pointed it at the big UFO, and exclaimed in English,2 "Love Sign: 「Master SPAAARK!" A blinding blast of rainbow light the size of a freight train burst from the device, and engulfed the UFO with a sound which made Sanae think of an entire string orchestra playing a single sustained note, and all the players were bees.

This was technically a Spell Card. Spell Cards were a particularly powerful and complex type of danmaku-pattern, and they tended to have colorful names.3 Marisa, however, believed that "danmaku was all about power," and when dealing with anything more than fairies, she preferred to concentrate her power such that dodging her bullet patterns wasn't as big a problem as withstanding it.

There was the sound of an explosion. When the Master Spark cleared, there was a small cloud of red and blue crystals, plus a few smaller UFOs.

The trio moved in to collect the UFOs. Reimu grabbed a blue one, Marisa grabbed a red one, Sanae grabbed another red one and a green one, Reimu grabbed another red one ... "What was that?" muttered Marisa.

Sanae shivered slightly. "M-maybe we would have found something out if you hadn't gone all-out and ..." There was a movement out of the corner of her eye. She glanced up and blinked. A huge shadow was looming out of the clouds. "Um, incoming!" she shouted.

Marisa glanced up, saw the shadow, and suddenly zipped forward in an extra burst of speed, catching the last red UFO in her sack. The trio then took off in hot pursuit, following the giant shadow.

But then suddenly, a smaller figure seemed to detach itself from the bigger one, flying towards them.

The newcomer was a mouse-youkai with short gray hair. She wore a dark faded-brown dress with a blue brooch and a pale blue-gray shawl with golden trim, and held a basket in her tail. The dress seemed to have a sort of perforation around the hem. She was carrying a long bent metal rod in each hand.

The three paused. "Hello," said Reimu evenly.

"Hi there," said the mouse-girl. "Name's Nazrin. Whacha up to?"

"N'much," said Marisa. "I'm Marisa Kirisame the ordinary witch, this is Reimu Hakurei the Shrine Maiden, and this Sanae Kotiya the Wind Priestess."

"Yeah, I know all about you guys," said Nazrin. "We've been around for, oh, about a year by now."

"We're just hunting down that treasure ship," said Sanae, her heart pounding in her chest.

Nazrin smirked. "Treasure ship? I wouldn't call it that," she said. "At least, not anymore." She narrowed her eyes, gesturing with the dowsing rods. "The question is, why I'm getting a treasure-response from you three guys?"

"Treasure response?" murmured Reimu, eying the metal rods. They were some sort of dowsing-rod, Sanae realized; of course, that sort of thing didn't work in the Outside World, but when you had real magic ...

"Hmmm." Marisa opened her sack and pulled out a blue UFO. "Lookin' for these?"

Nazrin seemed to tense up, and the rods turned towards Marisa. "Yes, actually, I am," she said. "Care to hand that over?" She held the basket out forward with her tail.

Marisa slowly and deliberately placed it back inside the sack. "Nope," she said. "I found it fair and square."

"I don't think you know what you're getting into, girl," said Nazrin sharply.

"The feeling is mutual," said Marisa. "Just to clarify: you are connected with that ship, and you are after these UFO-thingies?"

"UFO ...?" said Nazrin with a frown. "Um. Yes to both, I guess. Why?"

Marisa nodded, breaking into a grin. "Good, that means I can fulfill my promise to Sakuya."

"What promise?" said Reimu.

And who's Sakuya? Sanae nearly asked, before instantly remembering the youthful but silver-haired maid who worked and lived in the Scarlet Devil Mansion, the home of two vampire sisters on the edge of a lake near the middle of Gensokyo.

Marisa grinned. "I promised her during the Catness Incident that the next time there was an Incident, our first fight should be with someone who's directly involved. Instead of, y'know, the first girl we run into ..."

"Oh, so it's a fight you're after," Nazrin, straightening up. "Sounds good to me."

Marisa's grin widened, and then she paused, turning to Sanae. "Actually, why don't you take 'er on? Be good experience, y'know, this bein' yer first youkai-hunt with us and all."

Sanae blinked. "Hmm? Um, all right," she said.

"We didn't do that with Sakuya in the Long Winter incident," said Reimu, frowning.

"That's cuz we were scared stiff wonderin' how she fed the two vampires," said Marisa. She grinned at Sanae. "We didn't find out until we got to Alice's house that Remilia just pesters people, and Flandre doesn't actually drink blood ..."

"Um, you can tell me the whole story later," said Sanae, turning back to face the impatient-looking Nazrin. "You know the Spell Card Rules, right?"

Nazrin nodded. "Of course," she said. "How about, oh, let's say we do two normals, two Cards. If I win, you gimme yours, if you win, I won't get in yer way anymore."

Sanae tried to refresh her own memory. She knew that Reimu took credit for coming up with the Rules, which had been created to reduce the risk of people getting seriously injured and killed, and they boiled down to: 1. all combat must be non-lethal danmaku, 2. don't use the same bullet-pattern twice, 3. if you win, you can't kill your opponent if she's a human or seal her away if she's a youkai, and 4. be generally nice and polite to each other (people tended to ignore this one). They were called the Spell Card Rules because in practical terms, the only way to be a seriously effective combatant under them was to use Spell Cards at least half the time.

"That works for me," said Sanae. "I accept." She placed her hands together with her staff in between them, closed her eyes, and called on the power of the Gods. Specifically, of Suwako Moriya.

It was an electric feeling. She had power now — she'd already had power before, but now she could feel it, as if there was electricity coursing through her veins. She felt alive.

She grinned towards Nazrin, suddenly feeling more cheerful. "Okay!" she said brightly. "Why don't you go first?" The change in mood was Suwako's influence. Calling a god into her body didn't just give her that god's powers. In a certain sense, for a little while, she was Suwako Moriya.

Nazrin hesitated. Sanae could see that the mouse-girl was now getting a faint inkling that she was in over her head. However, this deterred her for precisely three seconds. "Right!" she said. "Let's see how ya like this!" She swung the dowsing rods in a wide arc, and a wall of purple arrowheads of light appeared, flying straight towards Sanae.

Suwako Moriya was a frog-goddess, although this only tended to manifest itself in stylistic ways. More to the point, she held the element of water (and metal, but this wasn't quite relevant at the moment). She simply let herself flow out of the way, not particularly dodging the bullets, just happening not to be where Nazrin sent them. She waved her rod and responded with a wide, pentagram-shaped wave of amulet-bullets, accompanied by glowing frogs of light.

"Are those frogs?" said Nazrin, smirking as she sent out another wave of arrowheads. She did a midair backflip as she avoided one of the "arms" of Sanae's pattern, then swooped down to avoid a beam of frogs.

Sanae grinned, simply shifting from side to side. "You just go with the gods you got," she said. Once you'd started up the pattern, it was fairly easy to maintain it. This allowed her to get distracted with thinking, My first real youkai-hunting duel!4 This is exciting!

Nazrin did some more fancy flying around the bullets. "Yes, but if it turns out that a god isn't doing their job properly," she said, "wouldn't it make sense to replace 'em?" Surprisingly, she actually seemed interested in hearing Sanae's answer, but at that point she collided with one of the frogs with a yelp. All the bullets in the area shattered into green sparks. There was now a smallish rip in her sleeve.

"This one seems to be doing just fine," said Sanae.

Nazrin snickered, righting herself. "Yeah, okay," she said. "Well played." She produced a small sheet of paper from her basket, and announced, "Search Sign 「Rare Metal Detector」!"

The air around Nazrin darkened, and a pattern like a gray stained-glass window appeared behind her: her Spell Card Background, which everyone with Spell Cards created according to their own preferences. The mouse-girl extended her dowsing-rods to the sides, and fired a group of long beams of light off to the left. They struck some invisible barrier off to the side and shattered, oversized sparks flying away towards Sanae, who simply ducked and continued shooting her own pattern in return. Nazrin then fired a second set of beams off to the right, and Sanae dodged s—

She was hit. It was like getting smacked in the face by a big pillow stuffed with rubber balls, except that it started in her leg. Her ears rang for several seconds as she shook her head to clear it, just in time to see the last of the green sparks fading away.

"Will you learn to dodge," yelled Marisa in exasperation. "Don't just look at what's in front o' ya, be aware of the bullets around you!"

Sanae laughed nervously. This had been a problem of hers since she'd first come to Gensokyo. "Yeah, aheh ..." She quickly glanced down at herself (okay, nothing actually injured, but there was a slight tear in her skirt) and gave Nazrin a self-depreciating grin. "I'm the new girl," she said cheerfully. Reimu sighed.

Nazrin gave her a knowing smile. "I get ya," she said.

"Will you get on with beating that youkai already?" muttered Reimu.

"Okay!" Sanae herself had a collection of Spell Cards — not all of them her own. She withdrew one of Suwako's, striking a hyperactive pose. "Party Start 「Two Bows, Two Claps, And One Bow」!" she exclaimed. Her own Spell Card Background was a golden-brown haze of Oriental shapes and patterns, like the ghost of an ornate wallpaper, and it currently had a silhouette of Suwako on top of it. By a coincidence, this Spell Card more or less complemented Nazrin's: a pair of thick beams shooting out to the sides, with various blue bullets firing straight ahead.

"Whoa, that's a bit ... thick, isn't it?" said Nazrin, now practically bouncing around in midair to avoid Sanae's danmaku, which she then failed to do. "Augh!" Another brief shower of green sparks, and Nazrin's Spell Card background vanished.

"Well, it is a Spell Card," said Sanae. She realized that she was sort of hopping from side to side in midair, and stopped herself. She waited patiently until Nazrin had almost righted herself and adjusted her shawl (which now had a visible slash through part of it), then immediately started up another wave from her card.

Nazrin squeaked in alarm. "Gimme a chance to recover, will ya!" she exclaimed as she began dodging Sanae's bullets once more, and then let loose her previous pattern, with a slight variation on the positioning of the bullets. "Does this have to be this tough!?" she yelled.

"Like I said," said Sanae, "Spell Cards are generally superior over — awk!"

She got hit again.

When she recovered, she realized that Nazrin was also recovering.

"That was unusual," said Marisa.

"Don't see a double-KO like that very often," said Reimu.

"Yeah, uh," said Nazrin, "what was that about Spell Cards?"

Sanae shook her head, dislodging a few strands of hair which had come loose from the last hit, and began giggling uncontrollably as she readied her next pattern. This time, the pentagrams would explode at the corners, the individual bullets curving outward ...

Nazrin activated her next Spell Card. "Vision Sign 「Nazrin Pendulum」!" she announced. Sanae barely heard her.

Sanae suddenly felt a mental touch — the equivalent of someone placing a firm hand on her shoulder. Hey, now! Calm down, girl! said Suwako Moriya's voice in her head.

"Suwako?" she murmured, blinking in surprise as she let loose the pattern.

Don't completely spazz out, now! said Suwako's. I know you're excited, but if you don't want this to end like it did with Yuka, you gotta concentrate, okay? That one wasn't your fault so much, but this mouse is actually fighting fair.

"Right!" said Sanae, straightening up. She looked Nazrin squarely in the eye, sent out the next wave of stars, and got hit upside the head by a giant metallic crystal.

The setup seemed to be a trio of big crystals were orbiting around Nazrin, leaving behind thin trails of danmaku, and occasionally launched out a sort of bubble of light with a red interior.

Reimu was exclaiming something in protest when she recovered. "I mean, really!"

"Nah, that's definitely acceptable danmaku," said Marisa. "And anyway, if it wasn't, it's got the right feel for options, right?"

Reimu grumbled. "Fine," she muttered. "Uh ... Sanae?"

Sanae realized she was curled up in a ball. She decided it was time for something dramatic.

"You okay?" said Marisa. "Yo, Sanae!"

"Did I hit her too hard?" said Nazrin, hesitating.

"Native God," intoned Sanae, and suddenly uncurled, striking a dramatic pose with her staff raised. "「Long-Arm and Long-Leg!」"

"Oh. Drama," said Nazrin, trying to look bored.

Sanae launched out a large ring of bullets, as well as four beams: two were green, and each went out about twenty degrees from straight ahead; and the other two were red, aimed away at much wider angles, before they abruptly changed direction and went straight at Nazrin, who had just enough time to gawk at the beams before they hit her.

There was a loud thunderclap and explosion of multicolored light, and Nazrin's spell simply disintegrated. Without another word, she flew as fast as she could towards the receding ship. A red UFO fell out of her basket.

Reimu and Marisa began applauding. Sanae grinned nervously and bowed. "Thank you, thank you ..."

"Damn, no wonder she only wanted two cards," said Marisa. "She was only a stage 1 boss." She got out her wand and pointed it at Sanae, repairing the slight clothing damage she'd incurred.

Sanae laughed helplessly. "I still haven't gotten used to that terminology," she murmured. In Gensokyo, talent with danmaku was measured in "stage" and "magnitude," with "stage" being a number and the highest magnitude was called "boss" ...

"Okay, let's keep moving," said Reimu. "Feel free to grab that UFO, since you won." She and Marisa started flying towards the shadow.

"Right ..." Sanae moved forward. "Um, what would you have done if I'd lost?" she said, grabbing the red UFO. It began to glow and shake.

"Beaten her, of course," Reimu said promptly. "Wha!?"

Their UFOs began glowing again. Actually, it was just the most recent ones they'd each gotten. Another of the five-foot-wide UFOs appeared between them, this one a flat red.

"Okay, let's wait and see what it does this time," said Reimu.

Their sacks suddenly started moving towards it as if pulled by a magnet, as did the UFO in Sanae's hand. "Oh no you don't!" exclaimed Reimu. Her yin-yang orbs glowed brightly, and both of them flew at the UFO, smashing into it. It exploded into green sparks, scattering a few more multicolored UFOs.

"Why was that one different?" muttered Marisa.

Sanae thought about this a moment. "Marisa," she said, "is there any way to get the last thing you put into the sack?"

"Hmm?" Marisa blinked, reaching into her sack. "Uh, yeah. Just think 'I want the last UFO I put in here' while you're reachin' in, and it'll get it for ya, ze. I shoulda mentioned it."

She pulled out a red UFO. Reimu pulled out a red one as well.

Sanae looked at the red UFO in her hand. "I thought so," she said. "They're all red, aren't they? And the first one was rainbow-colored because the first ones we got were all different colors, right?" She looked over at the six UFOs that were still floating around. Three reds, two blues, and a green. "Reimu, you grab two of those red ones, and then Marisa, you get the last one."

They both looked at her questioningly, and Marisa looked like she was about to object, but Reimu flew forward and grabbed two of the red ones, slipping them into her sack. Marisa shrugged, and grabbed the third.

Nothing happened. "Hmm. Okay," said Marisa, grabbing one of the blue ones. "I guess we all need to be gettin' a different one."

"And we all need to get them in succession, I think," murmured Reimu.

Sanae grabbed the remaining blue one and then the green one; nothing continued to happen. "It looks like you're right," she said.

"Interesting deduction," said a slightly muffled girl's voice behind them.

They turned. Hovering behind them was a purple umbrella with one eye and a giant tongue sticking out of a mouth directly below the eye. Actually, it looked similar in design to an eggplant: it seemed to have a green "stem" at the top.

"What?" said Marisa, taking off her hat.

"Oh, pardon me," said the muffled voice. Then, out from the umbrella dropped what appeared to be a young woman with turquoise hair, dressed in a white shirt, a bluegreen vest, and a light blue skirt. There was a pair of geta-style sandals on her feet. Oh, and one of her eyes was red, while the other seemed to be the exact same color as her hair. "My name is Kogasa Tatara. If you hadn't guessed, I am a karakasa." She did an elaborate bow, which she suddenly interrupted by somersaulting in midair, grinning like a child who was pulling off some sort of prank that she just knew was going to land her in almost as much trouble as it was worth.

"A cursed umbrella?" said Sanae.

"Approximately," said Kogasa, winking so that all could be seen was her red eye. She said the word in English with only a faint accent.

"That's a ... surprising way of putting it," said Reimu, with a touch of amusement in her voice.

"Indeed," said Kogasa, straightening up. "Though it is the raison d'être of a tsukumogami5 such as myself to surprise human beings, I've found with the help of a friend of mine that one generally gets away with more if it's an entertaining kind of surprise."

They worked their way through that awkwardly-formal speech. "What friend would that be?" asked Marisa flatly.

"Flandre Scarlet," Kogasa said cheerfully.

Sanae blinked. That was the name of the younger of the two vampire-sisters. "That's a surprise."

"Surprise this," said Marisa, suddenly whipping out her mini-hakkero. "Love Sign 「Master SPARK!"

"Is that your solution to everything?" said Sanae, once the noise had died down.

"Hey, it solves everything, ze," said Marisa brightly.

Sanae frowned. "Really?" she said.

"She was just an annoying youkai getting in our way," said Reimu dismissively. "Not more than a stage 2 boss either."

"Yeah, I guess that's reasonably surprising the first time around, but you get diminishing returns if you do it too much," said Kogasa, hovering directly behind Marisa with her umbrella over her shoulder. "Oh, put that reactor down, I'm not here to fight you."

"Then what are you here for?" said Marisa, keeping her mini-hakkero aimed at her.

That sounded a lot less formal, thought Sanae, narrowing her eyes at the karakasa. Is she doing that on purpose, or ...?

"For the purpose of giving you an infuriating hint," said Kogasa, her cheeky grin returning. "Show me one of the objects you've been collecting."

Sanae gingerly took out the last green UFO she'd collected. "These UFOs?" she said.

"UFOs?" said Kogasa. "You mean, like, flying saucers?" She chuckled. "If you like." She squinted at the one in Sanae's hand, then squeezed her eyes shut. "Flying saucers," she muttered.

"Watch it," muttered Reimu. "She might try to steal it or something."

Kogasa muttered, "Flying ... saucer ..." She abruptly opened her eyes, shook her head as if to clear it, blinked a few times, then put a hand over her blue eye. "Ah, yes," she said, grinning widely and lowering her hand.

"You got some kinda youkai-vision?" said Marisa, suddenly sounding interested. Sanae remembered that to Marisa, magical knowledge was not nailed down.

"No, my vision as a youkai is immaterial," said Kogasa. "You three could see it, too, if you looked at it right."

"See what?" said Reimu, peering at Sanae's UFO. "This had better not be something dangerous."

"Dangerous? Oh, no!" said Kogasa. "Quite the opposite, in fact. Those objects you're carrying have been ... redefined."

"Redefined?" said Sanae. It helped, but only slightly, that Reimu and Marisa seemed to be as confused as she was.

"Perceptions have been ... adjusted," said Kogasa. "Things are different from what they originally were."

Marisa snorted. "What, you sayin' someone or somethin' changed 'em from bein' regular ol' UFOs?"

"Mmm, nope," said Kogasa. "That's wrong in every way."

There we go again! thought Sanae. She's suddenly speaking a whole lot more informally ...

"Then what is it?" said Reimu.

"Just a change in appearance," said Kogasa.

"Could you phrase that more clearly?" said Sanae, as neutrally as she could.

"Sorry." Kogasa winked again, and stuck her tongue out. "That's the limits of the hints you're gonna get."

Reimu narrowed her eyes, and then suddenly flew forward and grabbed the front of Kogasa's shirt. "Okay, look," she said. "I am not feeling very well-disposed towards youkai at the moment."

"No kidding," muttered Marisa.

"You are not helping," Reimu continued, ignoring Marisa. "Now, if you don't start giving me straight answers right now, I'm gonna take that damn umbrella and stick it somewhere physically impossible, got it? Now, what the crap are these UFOs?"

"I don't know! I dunno!" yelped Kogasa. "I just know there's a weird appearance-changing thing! Lemme go!" She suddenly vanished, appeared on the other side of her umbrella, and started flying straight down in a corkscrew fashion. Marisa sent a few laser beams after her, but Kogasa started flying in a more erratic spiral, and the shots went wide. She left behind a green UFO, though.

"That was stupid," muttered Marisa.

"Was her 'I know more than you do' thing just an act?" said Sanae in disbelief.

Reimu sighed. "C'mon, guys," she said, "we have to catch up with that treasure ship!"


Nazrin landed heavily on the upper deck of the ship and promptly sank to her knees. "Ow," she announced.

"Nazrin?" Ichirin landed next to her. "Are you okay?"

"Three humans are coming," said Nazrin. "It's the shrine maiden, the witch, and that wind-priestess. They're starting collections of their own, but they dunno what it is they're really grabbing." She grinned sheepishly. "I challenged 'em to a formal duel and lost."

Ichirin was only half-relieved. "Hmm. And they're coming this way?" she said, helping Nazrin up.

"They think the Flying Palanquin is a treasure ship," said Nazrin. "They sure weren't interested in sharing their collections. Last I knew, they were getting pestered by a tsukumogami." She let go of Ichirin's arm, wobbling a bit.

"A tsukumogami?" said Ichirin. "Was that what you were picking up before?"

"Nah, it was completely different," said Nazrin. "Has the captain figured out what those big ones were?"

"No," said Ichirin. "You just go and rest, all right?"

"Right!" Nazrin stretched, and headed towards the stairway leading into the ship. "I've got something that'll be particularly interesting to Shou once we get through. You be careful, all right?"

"Don't worry," said Ichirin. "I'm sure I'll be able to reason with them."

Nazrin frowned, pausing at the stairs. "They seemed more interested in fighting than reason," she said. "What if you can't?"

Ichirin smiled. "Then I'll let Unzan reason with them," she said.

1This had also inspired certain video games, although not many people knew this in the Outside World.

2Everyone in Gensokyo could speak both Japanese and English except the fairies. Or at least, that's what everyone except the fairies said.

3Sometimes more colorful than the bullets themselves.

4Technically, the previous year, she'd gone up against a somewhat notorious youkai named Yuka Kazami, but that didn't count. Yuka had merely punched her and run.

5An inanimate object which has become animated as a result of existing for 100 years.

14 Comments (auto-closed) (rss feed)

raak

So... Kogasa aspire to be the Cheshire Cat?
All in all, great story, I've been waiting for this for quite a while.

Bocaj

I've been looking forward to this chapter for a while. I like how you portrayed Kogasa as something other than a magnet for abuse.

Actually, Reimu and co.'s confusion with the UFOs was pretty much what I went through the first time I played the game.

And a question: did Sanae fight Yuka in a previous comic or fanfic? I've read them all but I can't remember if its a reference to anything.

Kimiko Muffin

Er, it's sort of giving away how Different Story of an Eastern Wonderland's chapter 4 is going to begin.

I felt that "the new girl without any useful experience to speak of" was too important a part of Sanae's character to change it. Beyond that, if she had gotten some interesting experience prior to this, it would create unnecessary backstory that would distract from this story.

CapedLuigisYoshi

Huh, so you've combined two stages into one chapter...

Kogasa is just plain weird, huh?

Well, anyways, good chapter, looking forward to seeing the rest, and... yeah.

(How do the UFOs work, anyways? I mean, I haven't actually played the game yet, but...)

KennyMan666

I feel the need to nitpick that Suwako's elemental alignment is earth, not water, despite the whole frog schtick.

Kimiko Muffin

I don't know how to fix that and still make "Suwako = froggy" fit. AAAGGHGHGAGHAGGHHHH.

Solais

Woah. This is the best and most canonically correct representation of a spell card duel I've ever seen in a written work.

raak

Actually, in UNL, Suwako has earth, water, flora, poison/dark-magic/something-evil based attacks. So saying she uses water isn't so outrageous. But yeah, she's ultimately an Earth goddess. An Earth goddess with a frog motif that controls an eight-headed snake... right...

KennyMan666

The poison/dark/evil/snake thing is Mishajugi, curse gods of the land that only Suwako was able to tame. Kanako's inability to control them was most likely part of the reason why a bunch of things got fucked up when she took over, and why she had to ultimately go with a two-goddess system.

KennyMan666

...er, that's supposed to be Mishaguji.

I SPELL GOOD DAMNIT

raak

Which bring into the table: what the hell was Kanako thinking when she adopted the snake theme knowing that Suwako could control a GIANT EIGHT HEADED SNAKE CURSE GOD?

Kanako's logic of Snake > Frog is ultimately flawed =/

So that means the attack where Suwako looks all evil and summons a dark cloud is also the doing of the curse god?

enlong

From what I understand, that's precisely it. Suwako has curse-powers, but that's because she tamed and subjugated a bunch of curse-deities, not any inherent power of her own.

Centari Klaar

Wow!
You've got the characters down perfectly!
Knowing that Kogasa got away without being beaten too harshly was a nice touch, since she is one of the more innocent Youkai who just wants to play around.

I can't wait for the next installment! Mostly due to the fact that I want to read the fight with Murasa! Her theme song has to be one of my favorites, which is actually amusing to me since Shou's theme song I almost find kinda bland, its nice and fit, but it just seemed alittle too soft like adding a percussion instrument in the back would have fixed that.

Centari Klaar

Oh my don't I feel stupid!
I felt like I had made a mistake with my comment about Shou's theme (I just hadn't listened to it in like two months) it does have percussion. Maybe the fact that after Murasa's quick quirky and ever so slightly sad theme you get hit with a bold mellow theme.

Sorry just wanted to correct myself before someone bit my head off.