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A Different Story of an Eastern Wonderland: Chapter 2

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Ran peered down at her shikigami. Chen looked back up at her, ears flattened against her head, giving the impression of a schoolgirl who just knew she was in detention for a month and grounded for at least the next century. As far as Ran was concerned, this impression was approximately the correct one.

"So let me get this straight," she said, with a calm that only made things worse. "Two outsiders — that is, two humans from the outside world whose grasp of magic was only marginally greater than the average insect — wandered into Mayohiga shortly after Orin did. After you dispatched Orin, you ... helped them settle down for the night?"

"Ummmmmm," said Chen, although this textual representation does little justice to what, essentailly, is the universal note of nervous uncertainty expressed by the young and terminally in-trouble.

Ran sighed. She really should have known better than to let Chen go off on her own by now. It nearly always led to Chen either getting beaten up by someone who was stronger than she was,1 or making exceptions to the rules over someone weaker. Well, at least she hadn't helped them set up shop in Mayohiga ...

There was a soft whoosh of displaced air as Yukari leaned out of what Ran vaguely assumed was a gap in the boundary between here and there. "Ah, good work, Chen," she said. "They seem to have gotten settled in just fine."

Ran was startled. "Er ... Miss Yukari?" she said. "You put Chen up to this?"

"No, I just told her Orin was scaring the fairies at Mayohiga, and counted on her behaving like Chen," said Yukari cheerfully, winking to the young nekomata. "Those particular outsiders are a special case."

"I ... didn't do wrong?" said Chen, ears perking up hopefully.

"Of course not," said Yukari, grinning impishly and reaching out to ruffle Chen's hat.

Ran frowned. "Mistress, you could have told us."

"Well if I did, she might have let on that I knew they were here," said Yukari.

"What," said Ran, glaring.

"My plan requires that they not know of it yet," said Yukari. "So I thought, why not just go with the way things would happen already?" She poked Ran's nose. "Can you imagine Chen keeping a straight face if she knew I had plans for them?"

Ran gave an exasperated sigh. Oh well ... whatever this "plan" was, this kind of behavior was certainly par for course with Yukari ...

"Anyway," said Yukari, "I'm off to begin the next part of my plan ..."

Maribel dreamed.

She dreamed she was back in the outside world (in the dream, she "knew" that it was wrong say "back on Earth," since Gensokyo was on Earth, wasn't it?), several years ago, in the early days of the Sealing Club. For no discernable reason, Maribel's hair was brown in the dream, only a slightly lighter shade than Renko's, and tied in a braid behind her.

Truth be told, she'd been skeptical of this strange young woman who wanted to form a club in search of magic. She was a physics major, for God's sake. Shouldn't it be the other way around, in which case everyone could just write her off as a nutty foreigner who still hadn't perfected speaking Japanese?

But now, she was holding a blue crystal in her hand. It seemed to have a faint glow, and gave the impression of vibrating even though it was perfectly still.

"Wow," she said, turning it this way and that. "I can feel the magic inside it! I shouldn't have doubted you, Asami-san ..."

"Usami," corrected Renko.

"Er ... er ..." Maribel hurriedly tried to remember the word for "sorry" in Japanese. "G-gomenasai!"

Renko nodded. "Daijobu," she said.

Maribel hurriedly tried to remember what that meant — oh, something like "it's all right." "Um, so, what did you think of doing with it?"

"Experimentation, of course," said Renko cheerfully. "Try to see what incantations we can try from those old books to see what makes it tick."

The dream shifted. Now they were sitting around a magic circle, with the crystal in the center.

Renko held up an old book with spells on discerning the nature of magic crystals. She cleared her throat and began to incant. "Rukusu Aeterunia ... " She seemed to have a bit of trouble with the pronounciation. "Er ... Rux ... um ..."

Oh shit, thought Maribel. She's trying to pronounce an L-sound! She doesn't know how to do that!

The crystal began to glow even brighter, emitted a soft whine ... and then began to crack.

Renko blinked. "That ... wasn't supposed to happen," she said, a note of dread in her voice.

And then the crystal exploded

The next thing Maribel knew, she was surrounded by utter blackness, with red demonic eyes staring at her in all directions.

Then, when she woke up, she could see boundaries.

Maribel bolted up as she awoke.

She was in her bed in her small apartment off-campus.

"Oh," she murmured, and rubbed her eyes. Well, it was an interesting dream while it lasted. Gensokyo ... youkai ... a guitar-playing kasha ...

She got up and wandered blearily into the bathroom. Damn, she needed a good cold splash of water to shake her out of her mood.

She got her hands wet under the tap and splashed her in the face. Her body promptly began disintegrating into a blue smoke.

Maribel let out a yelp as she really awoke this time, in a sleeping bag in a two-person tent in a clearing near Mayohiga in a forest in Gensokyo.

"Mmh? Wha ...? Mari ...?" Renko sat up blearily. "You okay?"

Maribel shook her head, rubbing her eyes. "Just ... The Dream," she said.

"Mm." Renko settled back down.

Maribel sighed and rolled over. They were damn lucky that all the explosion had done was given them each a rather strange and idiosyncratic ability. They were practically used to the nightmares about what if it hadn't been that way, but the dreams where the explosion instantly did something worse had nothing on the possibility that something worse had happened, they just hadn't found out about it yet ...

She suddenly froze as she glanced out.

The tent had "windows" on the sides, made out of a rather ingenious type of fabric. They were sheer enough that you could see through them from the inside with reasonable clarity, while still managing to be waterproof and block the view back in. From her position, Maribel could see into the shadows of the trees. The light of the nearly-full moon didn't dispel the darkness so much as accent it.

About twenty feet away, she saw a pair of glowing red eyes. They were apparently flanked by a pair of rows of rainbow-colored glowing crystals.

"R-renko," said Maribel, her throat dry.


"Come over here," whispered Maribel, "and do it quietly."

Renko frowned at the urgency in her voice, and carefully snuck out of her sleeping bag and sat next to Maribel, looking out the tent-window.

"What the hell is that?" she muttered.

"I ... don't know," whispered Maribel. She focused, looking at the borders, and flinched back. "Ghh —! It ... looks a lot more powerful than Orin ..."

"Um." Beads of sweat were forming on Renko's forehead. "By how much?"

"Orin was in the middle of a ten-foot sphere of reddish light," murmured Maribel. "This aura's about twice the size of the building we were in." Adrenaline worked wonders for the haze of sleepiness.


"Well, either that or it's really small and a lot closer than it looks."

Renko furrowed her brow. "Would that confuse you?"


"Um, right."

Maribel peered out again. "Should we try scaring it away?"

"Well, if you're right, I don't think something that powerful would scare easily," said Renko.

"Um ... hello?" a voice called out from the darkness.

It was a little girl's voice. In fact, it sounded younger than Chen.

Maribel exchanged a glance with Renko. Did it ... she know they were awake? If she did, was that good or bad? Actually, come to think of it, how did they know the voice wasn't just some sort of illusion designed to make them lower their guard? Maribel wracked her brain for what little Japanese mythology, trying to remember if there was anything like that —

"I know there's someone awake there!" said the voice, sounding childishly petulant. There was rustling in the underbrush, and the lights grew nearer, accompanied by a jingling sound.

Renko took a deep breath. "Sorry," she called out. "You sort of ... startled us."

"Oh." The movement and jingling stopped. "Um ... sorry. Don't worry, um, I probably won't hurt you ..."

"Probably?" said Maribel, frowning. The only thing she wanted to avoid more than running into an ... "Ex-Boss" with no compunctions about eating humans was to run into an unstable one.

"Um ... right," said the girl nervously. "Sorry, I've been getting way better, I've just been kinda paranoid about all that." Maribel could now see a smallish humanoid shape, and that the multicolored lights seemed to be arranged more or less like wings.

Renko frowned. "Er, is it all right we get out a light?" she said, crawling to her backpack. "We can't see in the dark."

"Oh, right, sure," was the response. The lights of her eyes seemed to dim slightly. "Um ... what's that thing you're inside?"

"A zipped-up tent," said Maribel, as Renko got out a largeish flashlight.

It was almost an industrial-strength one, somewhat expensive. It could light up an entire backyard if they wanted. It would certainly make creatures of the night uncomfortable. Renko pulled out the flashlight, unzipped the tent, and then —

— accidentally dropped the flashlight as it switched on.

A bright beam of light shined at the girl, who had blonde hair and wore a red dress and a poofy pink hat. She let out a yelp, stumbling back and thrusting out her hand. A giant ring of red and white light shot forward into the sky, followed by a trail of reddish danmaku-bullets. "Oh no!" she exclaimed, and her hand shot towards the lights and clenched her fist. They vanished with a soft pop.

There was a moment of silence.

"Um ... sorry ..." the girl said nervously. She looked a bit older than her voice had sounded, possibly in her mid teens.

"It's all right," said Renko shakily as she picked up the flashlight. Maribel was still waiting for her heart to start beating again. She stared for a moment at the girl's wings, which seemed almost artificial, especially with the strange ... shards hanging from them. They looked almost like Christmas lights. She didn't look Japanese, either; in fact, if not for her bright red eyes, Maribel would have sworn she looked practically Aryan.

The girl sighed. "Well, um ... yeah," she said, and shrugged. "Um, my name's Flandre."

A gap opened and then shut ...

Maribel got to her feet and bowed. "My name is Maribel, and this is Renko."

"Nice to meet you, Flandre," said Renko. "If you don't mind me asking, er ... what are you, exactly?" She set the flashlight down so that it lit up the whole clearing.

"Oh, um, a vampire," said Flandre. She gave a sort of shrug with her wings, which jingled a bit.

"A vampire?" said Maribel nervously. "Do most vampires have wings here?" Something was mildly bugging her ...

"Um, I guess," said Flandre, glancing over her shoulder. "They're usually bat-wings, though. Like my sister Remilia," she added. "We live in a mansion by the lake."

"We're still kind of shaky on the geography around here," said Renko.

"Oh, you're from the outside?" said Flandre, perking up a bit, then frowned. "Well ... I'm still getting used to just being outside in Gensokyo."

Renko hesitated. "Do you really ... drink ... it?" she said delicately.

"Huh? You mean blood? Nah." Flandre shrugged. "In fact, my sister's just about stopped drinking it. I asked our head maid Sakuya about it, and she said it was like cigarettes and alcohol." She shrugged again.

"So it's more of an addiction than an actual need," said Maribel softly. This was food for thought. At least it would mean she was a bit less likely to be food for someone else. Still, though, something Renko had said was slightly bugging her, and she wasn't sure what it was. The fact that Flandre's aura was huge wasn't very calming, either.

"Yeah, I guess," said Flandre cheerfully. "At any rate, I get by on cakes and ice cream just fine!"

"But you also eat more healthy foods, right, Flandre?" said Renko, with the air of someone trying to humor a psychotic. Flandre frowned as she noticed the tone of voice, and —

"Hang on," said Maribel, staring at Renko, "did you just pronounce her name properly?"

"Huh?" Renko blinked. "Furan ... er ... Frandre ..."

"Huh? What?" said Flandre.

Maribel continued watching Renko. "Well, I've never heard her pronounce L's properly until she said your name just now."

"Darn it, Mari, now that you've said something and got me thinking about it, I can't do it," Renko complained.

"Okay, um ..." Maribel realized that she didn't think about it much either. "Try ... putting the tip of your tongue against the back of your front teeth."

"... Lllllll."

"Well, everyone in Gensokyo can speak Japanese and English," said Flandre in English.

"Well I definitely can't!" said Renko.

... in perfect English.

There was a longer pause.

"I know Renko couldn't understand English this afternoon," said Maribel.

"That's weird," said Flandre, nodding evenly, as if this was explanation enough.

"We met a fairy that couldn't speak it, either," said Renko.

Flandre made a dismissive gesture. "Oh, fairies," she said. "Hmm ... I don't have that forbidden template ..."

"Forbidden template?" said Renko.

"Never mind, it's not important," said Flandre.

"Try saying 'Maribel,'" said Maribel.

Renko blinked, turning to face her. "M ... Maribel," she said softly.

Maribel felt a sudden rush of ... of something that made her blush ...

"Well, um, how did you get here?" said Flandre. "Into Gensokyo, I mean."

"Er, magic," said Maribel.

"I didn't know they had magic in the outside world," said Flandre thoughtfully. "Is it common, or are you guys special? Do you have any special abilities?"

"It doesn't seem to be that common," said Renko. "I always know the time and where I am." She glanced upward. "It's 46 minutes past midnight," she added.

"And I can see the boundaries of other worlds, and peoples' auras if they're a ... Boss," said Maribel. "Um, you're an Ex-Boss, right?"

"Yup!" said Flandre, grinning, but then her face fell. "My power's just destruction," she said. "I didn't get anything ... helpful, or anything. Like, Sakuya can stop time, and Remilia can manipulate fate ..."

"Manipulate fate?" said Maribel.

"Destruction?" said Renko.

"Ehh." Flandre shrugged, idly picking up a small stone. "I can see the stress-point on any object. It looks sort of like an eye. And then ..." She tossed the stone into the air and clenched her fist at it. There was a flash of reddish light, and then two much smaller rocks fell to the ground.

Maribel felt a chill. "Um, I could have gone without knowing that," she mumbled.

Flandre sighed. "Sorry," she said softly. "It's just ... I dunno. Everyone's scared of me, and —"

Someone screamed, from quite a long way away.

All three turned toward the sound. "What was that?" said Renko nervously.

Flandre straighened up. "Why don't we find out!" she said, grinning. It wasn't a very nice grin.

"Is it safe?" said Maribel.

"Maribel," said Flandre archly, "I'm the scariest thing in Gensokyo."

"We kind of figured that," said Maribel, rubbing the back of her head. Renko ducked back into the tent.

Flandre grumbled. "Can you fly?" she said.

"No," said Renko, returning with a first-aid kit and picking up the flashlight.

"Nope," said Maribel.

"Pah." Flandre walked over, grabbed each of them by the arm, and took off into the night sky.

It was ... very strange. The minute Flandre had grabbed her arm, Maribel felt completely weightless. Even now, as they travelled along above the treetops at tens of miles per hour, she barely felt any breeze. She could hear the wind rushing around her, and didn't want to try to speak up over it, but it might as well have been nothing more than a sound effect.

Maribel tried looking at the borders, then flinched and let out a yelp as all she could see was brightness for an instant.

Flandre slowed. "What?" she said.

"Sorry, I got blinded by your aura, I think," said Maribel. "Uh ... could you hold me out that way?"

Flandre did, frowning curiously, and Maribel looked around. "There!" she said, pointing towards a gap in the trees. "There's an Ex-Boss down there!"

Flandre swooped down and landed nearby. As she came in for a landing, Maribel heard a soft whimpering, as of someone in pain.

"Oh no," Flandre suddenly whispered, and rushed through the trees. Maribel and Renko, not knowing what else to do, followed.

Sprawled on the ground in a clearing was a young woman, looking to be about the same age as Flandre, with short grey-green hair and a yellow shirt. She lay faceup, gasping and whimpering with her eyes squeezed shut, twitching gently as if she had a broken bone that someone was hitting over and over again. There was a pair of slender tentacles wrapped around her body, the color of a livid bruise, all connected to an orb that rested on her chest, with a giant eye that slowly opened and shut as if in agony.

Flandre knelt next to her. "Koishi!" she exclaimed in a panic. "What happened? Are you okay?"

The girl groaned, turning her head weakly towards Flandre. "Ah ..."

"What's that thing?" muttered Renko as the two walked over.

"It's her Third Eye, she's a satori," said Flandre weakly. "What the hell happened?" Tears were in her eyes.

"She can read minds?" said Maribel, trying to remember her Japanese mythology again — Flandre certainly wasn't talking about enlightenment.

"When it's open," said Flandre. "When it's closed, she can mess with the subconscious ... Koishi! Can you hear me?"

Koishi just gave another whimper. It was obvious that her Third Eye was hurting her, both when it was fully open and when it was fully closed.

"Let me try something ..." Renko walked over, getting out a cloth wrapping from her first-aid kit. When the eye was partlially open, she started wrapping the bandage around it.

Koishi groaned, her eyes fluttering open. "F-Flandre ..." she whimpered, one hand reaching up to the vampire's face.

"Koishi, are you okay?" said Flandre, grasping Koishi's hand tightly.

"No," mumbled Koishi. "I ... can see everyone in Gensokyo ... ahh ... ahh ..."

The eye began glowing under the bandage. All three turned to look at it —

There was an explosion that felt like like getting punched in the face by the color red. Maribel couldn't think of any other way to describe it. There was a throbbing sensation, and she couldn't see anything excpet redness.

Her vision began to clear. She'd been thrown to the other side of the clearing, up into a tree. Her left leg hurt. The flashlight had turned off — probably broken.

But that didn't matter much, because Koishi was surrounded by a bizzare reddish sphere of light, which expanded and shrank at the same rate her eye had been opening and closing. It was ten feet wide at its biggest, and barely large enough to contain Koishi at its smallest. Her voice wasn't audible anymore.

"Ow," muttered Renko, getting up from the ground, several feet away to her left. Her right sleeve was torn, and there was a nasty-looking scrape on her arm. "What was that ...?"

Flandre groaned as she got up. "Ugh ... K-Koishi," she whimpered. Tears streamed down her face. Whoever Koishi was, Maribel thought, she was obviously important to Flandre ...

"Flandre," said Renko, "can you make a bright light above us? It'll let people know we're here, and someone's in trouble." She started bandaging up her arm.

"Uh ... I g-guess ..." stammered Flandre. She rose up into the air, flew up into the sky, and began unleashing several waves of danmaku patterns, more or less straight up. She began to float back down, and the bullets began flying around and orbiting each other, forming a crimson column that was probably visible for half of Gensokyo.

"You okay?" said Renko as she walked over to Maribel with the first aid kit.

"I think so," said Maribel, trying to shift her position.

"Do you realize that you're hovering in midair?" said Renko, eerily calm.

"I'm what?" Maribel looked down, and realized that, while she was up against a tree, there wasn't anything actually supporting her. "Uh ..."

"I think that explosion must have done something to us," said Renko. "Can you move?"

Maribel floated away from the tree. It felt strangely as natural as walking. "Yes," she said nervously.

"That's not quite what I meant," said Renko slowly. "Though now that I think of it, I'm not sure what I did mean." She concentrated, and then rose a few inches above the ground. "Hmm." She experimentally moved back and forth.

Maribel settled to the ground, then yelped and collapsed as a sharp pain ran through her leg.

Renko rushed over, landing inches away. "Mari, are you okay?" she said.

"Ow ... I think my ankle's sprained or something," muttered Maribel.

"That's not good," said Renko, getting out a different set of bandages. "I should probably splint it, make a crutch out of branches ... Take off your shoe."

Flandre watched them, sitting just outside a safe distance from Koishi. "Humans are so ... brittle," she muttered, looking immensely shaken. Her face had gone several shades toward grey.

"It's a fact of our mortal life," said Renko. "Mari, where does it hurt?"


"Okay, er ... hmm, we'll need to get this looked at by a doctor ..."

"Eirin'll do it," murmured Flandre. She looked like she wasn't all there.

"Who?" said Maribel. Flandre only shrugged, letting out a little whimper.

There was a brief fiery glow above them and to what Maribel sort of assumed was the west, and someone dropped down from above. It was a girl with red overalls and long blue-white hair. There was a smell like a woodstove around her. "Holy hell, Flandre," she said. "What the crap did you do!?"

"I didn't do anything!" wailed Flandre.

"We were half a mile away when we heard Koishi scream," said Renko.

The newcomer shot them a look. "That's Koishi?" she said. "Okay, couldn't've been Flan, then." She looked at Koishi's glowing form. "What the hell did happen?"

"I d-dunno," stammered Flandre, sniffling. "Sh-she was laying there, and ... then there was this sort of redness when we looked at her, and ... and ..."

"Something was up with her third eye," said Maribel, wincing as Renko inexpertly applied a splint. "And ... well, then there was this blast of light that knocked us across the clearing. And, er, then Renko and I could fly ..."

The girl gave them a look of incomprehension, then shrugged expansively. "Oh, well," she said. "Name's Mokou. I'm sort of one of Flandre's tutors, despite the fact that I'm only human, because we're the only two people in Gensokyo who can shrug off one of her rampages."

"Mokou!" yelled Flandre, indignity added to her panic.

"Eh ... sorry," said Mokou, ruffling her hair. "I know you practically don't need the two of us anymore."

"I'm Renko Usami. And this is ... Maribel Hearn," said Renko.

"Pleased to meet you," said Maribel. Hmm, the first actual human we've met here. Too bad we're a bit distracted at the moment ...

Mokou smirked. "Well, welcome to Gensokyo, since you don't particularly look like you're from around here," she said.

A silver-haired young woman in a blue maid uniform appeared in a blur of motion. "Flandre?" she said.

"S-Sakuya!" said Flandre. "Something happened to Koishi!"

Mokou gestured to Maribel and Renko. "These kids said it had something to do with her Third Eye."

Sakuya turned to face them. "Hmmm." She glanced at Koishi and Flandre, let out a soft sigh, and turned back to Maribel and Renko. "How do you know?"

"It seemed to hurt the most when it was fully open or fully closed," said Renko. "And then I put a bandage around it —"

"It started glowing, then sort of exploded into ... that," said Maribel. Oh, yes, Flandre had mentioned a maid named Sakuya earlier ...

At that moment, Orin flew in from another direction, accompanied by a girl in white with large raven-wings and what appeared to be some sort of arm cannon, and a lavender-haired woman in pastel colors with a Third Eye of her own, though this one was red and had more tentacles. "What the crap!?" exclaimed Orin as she saw Koishi's condition.

"Awright, step away from the little sister, or everything gets it!" said the winged girl, brandishing her cannon and staying about five feet above the ground.

"They don't know what happened, Okuu," said the woman. "They're all innocent. Please don't nuke the forest. And you can put that knife away, Izayoi-san," she added, turning to Sakuya.

Maribel realized that Sakuya had produced a silvery knife, and she was eying Utsuho cautiously.

"Oh, hi, uh, Satori," said Mokou uncomfortably. There was a slightly different inflection from the word Flandre had used earlier. She turned to Maribel and Renko. "Uh, this is Sakuya Izayoi, the head maid at the mansion Flandre's from. And this is Satori Komeiji, Koishi's older sister. Her hell-raven is Utsuho Reiuji, also called Okuu, she's kind of in charge of this nuclear furnace underground. Also here is Rin Kaenbyou ..."

"We've met," said Orin.

"Really?" said Mokou. "Well, okay. I guess you know them already twice over, heh."

"Indeed," said Satori.

Twice over ...? Oh, she must be able to read minds, thought Maribel.

"Yes," said Satori, nodding to Maribel and Renko.

"Ah," said Renko, who must have been thinking approximately the same thing.

"I hate it when she does that," muttered Sakuya. "Satori, can you see what's causing the problem?"

Satori frowned, looking at Koishi. "It's her Third Eye," she said softly. "She's ... in so much pain. She is seeing into the hearts and subconscious of ... what feels to her like everyone in Gensokyo. I can't see what another satori sees with their Third Eye, but I can see what she thinks about it."

"How c-can we help her!?" stammered Flandre.

"First, calm down," said Satori. "Panic will solve nothing."

"Yeah," said Mokou, patting Flandre's shoulder. "Just remember what Kaguya and I told you."

Flandre whimpered as she sat there, glancing off to one side, as she tried to calm herself down. "R-right," she muttered.

"Yeah, see?" said Mokou, stroking Flandre's shoulder reassuringly. "We're gonna help her. Eirin's gonna be here soon."

"Who's Eirin?" asked Renko, helping Maribel up and supporting her. "Flandre dropped the name earlier."

"Eirin Yagokoro is Gensokyo's greatest physician, and a Lunarian," said Satori, then rolled her eyes.2 "Yes, I said 'Lunarian.' Yes, there is an actual Capital of the Moon — it's sealed away much like Gensokyo is. Yes, the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is true, except that Kaguya-Hime stayed on Earth."

"What?" said Renko and Maribel.

"Oh yeah, I didn't mention," said Mokou conversationally. "Ever heard of Fujiwara no Fuhito? In the Tale, he got called Kuramochi no Miko, he's the guy who was supposed to find the Jewelled Branch of Hourai as one of Kaguya-hime's Impossible Requests. Anyway, he was my dad."

"Wait, huh?" Maribel exchanged a glance with Renko, still astonished at the velocity with which they'd gotten to this topic from how to help Koishi. So, the myths and legends were ... somewhat true in Gensokyo ...

"Mokou stole the Hourai Elixir which was supposed to have been burned atop Mt. Fuji," said Satori. "Kaguya Houraisan had taken it, too, which had gotten her exiled to Earth in the first place. Now both of them are immune to death, and —"

"Wait, I've got it!" said Flandre, suddenly brightening. She turned to Maribel and Renko. "Can you guys use danmaku?"

"No," said Renko.

Flandre shook her head in annoyance, getting up. "No, I mean ..." she said. "Have you tried since you got zapped by the spell-thing?"

Renko and Maribel exchanged a glance. Renko focused, and pointed upward. A lemon-shaped bullet of light with a brown halo appeared and began floating up. "Wha —"

Maribel blinked, also startled. "Wait ... Does that mean ..." She looked around, reached out in a direction that didn't seem to have anyone in it, and ... pushed out with energy ...

An orb with a blue halo appeared and floated away.

Flandre giggled eerily. "I knew it!" she said. Before anyone could react, she dived headfirst into the glowing light around Koishi.

There was a thunderclap, and Flandre was thrown backwards, followed by a trail of pink sparks. Mokou and Sakuya were immediately by her side. "Flan! What the hell were you thinking!?" exclaimed Mokou.

"Wahh ... I can see ... eyes everywhere," babbled Flandre.

"What? Eyes?" said Mokou, frowning.

"Like the sort she uses to destroy things," said Satori. Everyone else took a step back from Flandre except Maribel, who wobbled slightly as she leaned on Renko's shoulder.

Flandre blinked, looking around wildly. "There's ... other things ... like, eyes that aren't there ... it's ... it's like ..." She held her hand in a fist, held it out towards Renko and Maribel, ignored the sudden yell from Mokou, and suddenly flicked her hand open. Sakuya was grabbing Flandre's arm in an instant, faster than any human should have been able to move.

Renko jumped, nearly dropping Maribel. "What!?" she exclaimed. The bandage fell away from her arm, revealing that the scrape on her arm was gone.

"FLANDRE!" shouted Mokou, then hesitated as she saw Renko's arm. "What ...?"

"Did she just heal me?" muttered Renko, peering at where the scrape had been.

"She's destroying the destruction?" said Satori in confusion, staring at Flandre. "Wait, I see! She's actually manipulating the destruction! The spell on Koishi is some sort of enhancement!"

"Ah, careful, Renko," said Maribel, trying to keep her support against Renko, feeling a wave of panic.

Flandre giggled in an unsettling manner, and then pulled away from Sakuya and shifted her aim towards Maribel's leg. She made the same motion with her hand.

Maribel yelped. It felt like getting hit with a danmaku bullet, and the makeshift bandage Renko had given her fell off. The pain in her leg was gone almost instantly. "Er ..."

Flandre gave another giggle, and reached out towards Koishi.

"Oh no you don't!" snarled Orin, charging forward.

"Orin!" said Satori. "She's going to break the spell! Okuu, don't fire that off, you'll kill us all!"

Orin charged at Flandre, who smacked her aside without any apparent effort, and jumped over a fireball thrown by Mokou. Utsuho, brandishing her arm cannon, let out a yelp as she suddenly found herself confronted by Sakuya and surrounded by a cloud glowing knives, which promptly charged zipped forward, each one vanishing with a pop like danmaku; the hell-raven stumbled back. Flandre then simply reached towards Koishi and clenched her fist.

The sphere of light seemed to shatter, and Koishi bolted up into a sitting position. "Ow!" she exclaimed. Her Third Eye blinked.

Flandre darted forward, wrapping her arms tightly around Koishi. "It worked! You're okay!" she said.

"Oh — Flandre!" Koishi hugged Flandre close and kissed her lightly on the lips. "You saved me!"

There was an expression which Renko had once coined after Maribel had tried to translate an English phrase literally into Japanese. A state of complete and utter confusion, according to Renko, could be likened to "the aftermath of a tsunami in a china shop." They had decided it wasn't a very good one, however, because trying to figure out what it actually meant caused roughly half as much confusion as it was intended to describe. However, Maribel somehow felt that it was somewhat appropriate to this situation.

1Or at least better at dodging spellcards.

2But not her Third one.

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Keep up the good work with this, it's very interesting to read.


Muffin, you did it again! Full of epicness; I can't wait for the next chapter! As a fellow writter, I can say you're doing a great work (It's a shame my own fics are completely in Spanish)


Don't write too much stories at a time. You'll stop altogether. So keep going with this one! I wanna see shippings of all emotions!


I keep expecting the words, "JUST AS PLANNED" to appear in the dialogue, but they're not there! D:

Also, from here on, works with >9001 strokes of "genius" may be referred to as strokes of "muffiny"/"muffinity"/"muffinness"/"muffinism"/"muffishisminyinity"/etc.