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Hifuu Club Investigations No.1 - Prologue: A Scattering of Dreams

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Prologue: A Scattering of Dreams

I dreamed that I was wandering along the edge of a deep ravine with a river at the bottom — narrow enough that the sunlight had trouble reaching the water, but not narrow enough that I could jump across. I could faintly make out the hexagonal shapes of columnar joints, suggesting that it had been formed by volcanism. I looked around, and saw a great big mountain over to the northwest, almost directly behind me. Or maybe it was the southeast, and it was the morning instead of the afternoon? Within the dream, I tried to interpret why I was dreaming about such a deep, dark crevasse, but my mind only produced incoherent gibberish.

Eventually, I heard voices coming from below, speaking in Japanese. I peered into it, and thought I faintly saw four figures in the darkness — three smaller girls with wings, and a taller girl with a pointy witch hat.

"... the sunlight only reaches the river at certain times of day," the witch was saying. "Then it reflects off the water and into the caves, and that makes the moss glow. It's too late to see it today."

"Aww ..." The winged girls seemed disappointed.

"But wait!" One of them perked up and poked at one of the others. "You could make it shine, couldn't you, Sunny?" The name 'Sunny' was in English.

"Huh? Oh! Right, Star!" ("Star" was in English, too.) The second girl stood up straight. "Yeah, I can make it shine right now!"

"It won't work, it's only natural sunlight that does it," said the witch.

"Natural sunlight it is, then!" said Sunny. She pointed at the sky, and suddenly seemed to have a spotlight shining at her. I could now see that the three smaller girls were younger children who looked exactly as I'd imagined fairies would look, and the witch was a teenager with blonde hair. The three fairies all started oohing and ahhing at something at something I couldn't see in a nearby cave.

"Whoa, what?" The witch laughed. "You didn't tell me you could do that!"

Sunny beamed (figuratively this time). "Surprised, Marisa?" she said. "I can refract sunlight wherever I want!"

"That is totally awesome," said the witch. "I bet you could pull off all kinds o' pranks with that!"

"Ooh, you getting ideas, Marisa?" said Star.

"Hah!" Marisa shot them a cheeky grin. "Star, the day a group of fairies need help from a human for comin' up with a good prank ..."

"Oh, yeah, good point," Star said seriously.

"Fairies, that explains it," I murmured, completely spuriously. (Whenever I remembered speaking aloud in these otherworld-dreams, I always thought I sounded sleep-deprived, or slightly drunk.) Equally-spuriously, I got up and started walking away.

Eventually, the crevice veered off in another direction. I found myself approaching a large forest that seemed to have an uncanny atmosphere. I woke up before I reached it, though.

I dreamed of an old city with a red sky. The inhabitants took no notice of me as I walked down the street, or at least no more than they paid attention to each other; most of them seemed humanoid, but I just knew in the dream that they were all demons and monsters. Most of them walked, or rode in coaches that seemed to be propelled by magic, but a few of them flew above the ground. Not all of the fliers had wings, either.

My wanderings took me into an old library. I came across a table stacked with books, where a little girl in blue and white with short blonde hair was studying and taking notes with her back to me. In the dream, I thought she looked exactly like a short-haired Alice in Wonderland.

Presently, an older Asian woman with golden hair walked up behind her. She looked over the girl's shoulder, and whispered, "You misspelled 'Murgatroyd.'"

The girl guiltily shoved a few papers aside. "W-what are you talking about!?" she stammered in hushed tones. "That's, that's my name!"

"Sorry, I didn't mean to pry," said the older woman.

"Um ... r-right!" said the little girl. "Um, hey, didn't I see you playing that fiddle on the street there?"

"Oh, yes, I think I remember seeing you, Miss Alice," said the woman. "It's called an erhu. My name is Rin, by the way."

"Oh, hey, nice duds," said someone right next to me.

"Hmm?" I turned; the speaker was another blonde girl in a white sailor uniform with purple trim.

She smiled, gesturing vaguely to me. "I said nice duds," she said. "Pretty snappy outfit you got there."

"Oh ... thanks." I glanced down at myself, then blinked as I realized I was wearing a white shirt and a dark purple skirt.

Wait, hang on. Was this the exact same combo I'd been wearing when I'd ... fallen asleep? How had I fallen asleep in the first place?

"Name's Luize," said the girl. "Is this the first time you've ...?"

I stared down at myself. What did all this mean? Wait, now that I was aware that I was dreaming, I could try to lucid dream! No, wait, don't wake up! Don't wake —

I woke up.

I groaned and pushed myself up into a sitting position. My head was uncomfortable where it had been lying on my computer's keyboard, which fortunately hadn't been damaged. I knew I'd had an otherworld dream, but it seemed that something had surprised me awake, so I couldn't remember it now.

I looked down at myself blearily. Oh, right, someone had said something like "nice duds", and I'd been surprised awake by the discovery that I was wearing the same thing in the dream as I had in the waking world. And ... I'd tried to lucid dream, and failed? Damn it, I couldn't remember ...

I dreamed that I was wandering along a sandy beach on the Moon, with the Earth hanging above me in the star-filled sky. To my left, there was a perfectly still and silent ocean; to my right, there were artificial trees and elegant brick walls. The presence of water and a breathable atmosphere didn't seem particularly strange to me in the dream.

Presently, I came across a group of soldiers with rifles, marching back and forth in formation. They all looked like young women with rabbit ears, wearing black formal jackets and pale red skirts which looked for all the world like some sort of school uniform. One of them wore a white helmet, and barked orders in Japanese.

The group happened to swing around to face me, and a look of terror briefly crossed the leader's face as she saw me. "Company, halt!" she said. "Who's that?" The entire group degenerated into chattering chaos as they all tried to get a good look at me at once.

"Is that a ghost?" "Can't be, death can't touch the Moon!" "That looks like a nightgown!" "Why's she transparent?" "Is she from Earth?"

"Fall back into position!" shouted the leader. The rabbits slowly and reluctantly started getting back into some semblance of order.

"What's going on here?" A princess with silvery-lavender hair in a ponytail approached from inland, one hand on a large katana at her hip.

"L-Lady Yorihime!" squeaked the rabbit-leader. The other rabbits moved back into formation as fast as they could, and saluted. "This ... this 'being' just showed up all of a sudden!"

"Hello," I said. "... I'm Maribel."

Yorihime gripped her katana more tightly, and gave me a Look. It wasn't exactly a glare, but it was clear that she'd already formed opinions about whether I was friend or foe. "And just how did you come to the Capital of the Moon?"

"Dunno," I said.

"She looks like she's dreaming," said one of the rabbits.

Yorihime turned to give her a sharp look, but her expression softened as she turned back to face me. "Hmm ... yes, that sounds about right," she said, letting go of her sword. "I'm afraid you're dreaming at the moment, Miss Maribel. I think it would be a good idea if you woke up right away."

"Oh, okay," I said, and immediately woke up.

I started giggling uncontrollably. That was going to be a fun entry in my dream diary ...

"Oh, okay," said the ghostly blonde girl, and then immediately vanished.

Yorihime snorted. "Well, that was anticlimactic."

"Who was that?" said the rabbit squad leader.

"I don't know," said Yorihime. "But it seems your subordinate was correct: she was somehow astral-projecting to the Moon while she was asleep. How troubling ..."

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