Chapter 1 - Back in Japan old times
"Come my child…Come to the world of illusion…Come now…"
"What…? Who…What are you saying…?"
"Come now my child…That world awaits you…Come now to Gensokyo…""I…don't know…Should I…But…I…"
It will be that time of year again. Where the sun will rise from the east and set in the west. Watching the spring to come where the flowers start to bloom once more. In no time, spring will go to summer, then to autumn and to winter once again. Repeating the cycle of the four seasons here in modern day, Japan. Wearing my long, buckle coat, a pair of long pants tucking in with my trusty worn, leather buckle boot and carrying a sling bag on my shoulder, I step into a city somewhere in Japan at long last. How many years have it been I wonder? Two? Three? Four? I did not keep track of time that much but I am certain it sure has been a long time. As always, nothing changes in this place when I first came here. Every building, pathway and streets look the same old thing. It is not that I am complaining or what. It just that the feeling of nostalgia feeling is getting to me. Something I long for after so many years. Talking about where I live? I manage to find a cheap, rented apartment somewhere in this city. Kind of cosy even it is not really that attractive. But as long there is a roof and a room to sleep in, anyone is more than happy really. Finding work in here is something not to mess with. It was a challenging time I had but eventually, my hard, patient work finally paid off. But it was nothing special. Just a service crew in helping out cooking of eastern to some western food as well. Sooner or later, I might be a reliable cook rather than having to buy my own food most of the time. It is a tiring job still but I have to remember this, I should be thankful for what I have given. Remembering those words told by a precious person. My mother. Whom she went missing when I was still a boy. Not knowing a thing of what happened. Where she is. If she is alive, what is she doing now? But that is not my concern now. Time flies by fast. Forgetting her like sand being blow away by the gentle, soft wind. After taking a look around the city, I finally take a step and walk down the pavement.
"Aruto-kun?!" A voice of an old lady called me.
"Huh?" I turn to look who called me. "Ah! Landlady! It's been a long time! How cya doing?!"
Yes. I'm Aruto. Aruto Izumo. Just a normal young man living in this city. I have known her even since I move to this city. I do not remember what her name is. But it is not that I do not concern such thing. It is just that she did not tell her name to me. Since then, I call her landlady. Since she is the landowner of the rented apartment I rented back then. She looks cheerful as always. Never cease to amaze me till now.
"Never been better my boy. I didn't know you've arrived. You should've called me and the others to fetch you at the station. How are you by the way?"
"I'm doing fine. Anyway, I'm sorry about that but I don't wish to cause so much trouble for fetching me. Besides, I'm a grown man already. Don't worry about me too much."
"But of course my boy. You were just a young, cute boy when I first met you." She let out her smiles, before I too did the same. "Oh yes, ever since we received the letter you mail to us that day, everyone were shocked to hear you hurt your spine during one of your military operation?"
"Yeah…" I say without any interest in them. "But I manage to recover and got discharged nonetheless. I was then honourable discharged from duty afterward. It's not a big problem since I can work part-time here like last time. If you were to ask me why not the admin work, I would rather do some labour work rather than sitting on an office chair all day long."
"Hahaha! I'm sure you would say that." She laughs away. "Anyway, it's nice talking with you my boy. I have to do some grocery shopping. See you later."
"I should help you with that landlady. Allow me." I smiles at her.
"Don't trouble yourself. I'm stronger than you think boy. But anyway, are you heading anywhere later in the evening?" She asked me.
"Urmm…not at all. Why you ask? Is there something of me to help you?"
"You are so helpful no matter what." She reaches out her hand to my cheek. Patting them gently with her warm, smooth hand. "Nothing at all. Just asking only. See you later Aruto-kun."
She left the place and cross the zebra crossing to the other side of the road. Kind of suspicious if I have to say for myself. But I just forget about it and head straight to my apartment. While walking down the pavement, some of the people knew who I was and they will wave at me while others will bow at me. I would do the same thing to them and it is somehow lifting my spirit up. Such happiness from it. I take a turn to the corner of the pavement. Strangely, after all these years, I knew my way around. Maybe I am attach to this city. Unlike back my old home. Nothing fancy at all. Living up to the rule and regulation of that place. Eventually, I let it slide. Not wanting to remember that dreadful memories. Then, I came upon another turn at the corner. Just as I turn to it, I saw a lady standing in front of a vending machine not far from where I stand. It is kind of normal for anyone to look at the machine as they may be choosing what drink they will be having. But strangely for me, whoever that lady is, she merely just looking at it without any interest in buying one. As for her dressing, she wears a beautiful decorated dress, a mob cap while holding a large parasol, shading herself from the sunlight. She has long, blonde hair and that add the beauty of that person. This is something I do not see every day around here. Then, her eyes make a contact with mine and turn to look at me. She stares with her sharp, yellow eyes of hers. I did not panic or surprise of her to look at me likes that but I simply pay my respect by bowing at her. Instead of her bowing back at me, she curtsy right back at me and truly that is something I do not see every day.
"Aruto-kun!" Someone yelled at me this time round.
"I know that…" Before I could finish my sentence, someone came hugging me from the back.
"Aruto-kun! Long time no see! Why didn't you call everyone you are coming back! I'm so angry at you!
"Huh? Well what…?" I said and turn to look at the person.
It was my best friend; Aya-chan. I am surprise to see how pretty she has become. Back then she was a rowdy, tomboy looking girl. I would say she was strong and fearless back when we were kids. Not that I am not strong but I have my forte so does she. It was a surprise to finally meet her which left me speechless for a second. She then let go of me and give her cute look. I went blush but eventually brush my mind off from such thought.
"Anyway, it's just that I can go home by myself. I don't wish to trouble all of you Aya-chan. By the way, you said you're angry at me but you sound more like you are worry of me after all these years."
"Id…Idiot! Both at the same time actually!" She cried and look to the side. "You have no idea how long I have to wait. Receiving your mail isn't enough for me…"
"Come on already. I'm back already so you shouldn't be worrying or angry at me. You should be happy don't you think?" I said, giving a patting on her head.
"Geez! Enough already! I'm not some kind of kid Aruto-kun!" She let out her annoy face. "But, why were you looking straight at the pavement just now? You seem to be daydreaming from what I noticed."
"Daydreaming? I was not. Actually, I saw a lady down over at that vending machine…" I said, pointed at the person for Aya.
But oddly, there was no one down there anymore. Where have that person gone to? I doubt she would have walk away from there that fast. Did she vanish into thin air? That's impossible. Or perhaps it is something I should not be seeing in the first place?
"Umm…whatever it is. I'm sure you are daydreaming Aruto-kun. Come on! Wanna go shopping with me at the local marketplace?" She said and gives me a happy look.
"Umm…some other time please Aya-chan? I'm kind of tired and miss my apartment."
"Okay. Someone like you to miss your small apartment sure is something. Alright then! I guess I'll be going alone for today only. See you later Aruto-kun!"
She then wave me goodbye and run off to the opposite direction of the pavement. That is really strange. Usually she would expect me to go shopping with her since she usually does not go alone. People sure change as time passes by. I then continue walking back to my apartment. After countless steps, I reach at long last and the apartment sure retains the same look just like when I first came here. Head over to my room and upon reaching at the door, unlock the door with the spare key I had with me. Enter the room and here it is. The same smell and atmosphere feeling in my apartment. The smell of home.
"I'm home." I said in a low, sad kind of tone.
Surveying around the room, I saw the photo of me and my family. Silent build on me as I gaze at it. Eventually, I smile after that and went to the curtain. As I draw it open, radiantly light from the sun shines in my apartment. So warm and pleasant. I then realize something and the room is sparkly clean. Even I have been out for a very long time. Maybe Aya-chan has been helping out with the housework when I am not around. Maybe later I should be thanking her for everything. My eyes then catch something at the corner of the room. It is an item wrapped with a tattered cloth and is bind with simple thread. I reach out for it and unwrap it. It is my mother's memento. My last gift from her before the day she went missing suddenly. My treasured memento. A long single-edged sword that was passed down from generation to generation since my ancestor time. A nodachi with its saya on. Till now, it still retains the sharpness and free from rust after all these years as I draw slightly from it. It is impossible as I thought about it. Perhaps someone has been taking my sword in polishing and caring it while I am away. I have to thank whoever that person for it.
"Do you miss me? I'm sorry I left you all alone after all these years…" I said as I place it to my chest.
Then, I heard someone knocking on the door. Heading over to it and open it and it was Aya-chan.
"Oh? That's fast of you to do shopping."
"Not really. I change my mind at the last minute. Besides, it's boring going alone."
"Hahaha!" I laugh at her.
"What? What's so funny?" She said.
"No. I knew you would say something like that. I knew you want someone to accompany you especially me." I said and give a smile.
"Hmph! Fi…Fine! I guess I need someone to accompany me after all. But enough of that, I hope your room and your sword is doing fine."
"Oh yeah! I wanted to say this. Thank you for everything you did Aya-chan. Especially taking care of my sword. I hope you didn't encounter any trouble when I'm not around?"
"Not at all. Ever since you permitted me to hold your sword and take care of it. Nothing bad really happen. Even I have to be super caution when I sent it to be polish. The swordsmith really had a hard time doing it. To the point I have to convince him it will be alright." She said and takes a look at my sword.
"Yeah. Only the master or mistress of this sword is allowed to touch it unless he or she gave their permission to touch it. I thought it was a bluff story until a lot of accident happened afterward." I said and begin to sheathe the sword back.
"Hahaha…Those times…" Aya let out her nervous laugh. "But it is kind of scary thought. Only the chosen one can touch it.
"I don't think so. I doubt it doesn't anyone to touch it but it could be due to some reason? Maybe like falling into a wrong hand and misuse it." I said.
"Oh yeah…Never thought of that. Use it for the wrongdoing…But enough of that, I think you should really come with me. Come! Leave your sword and follow me."
Before I could say a word, she grabs my hand and pulls me away. I leave my sword and told it I will be back shortly. I talk through it as if that thing is alive and listening every word I said.
Somewhere in Gensokyo, Hakurei Shrine…
Another beautiful day for the shrine maiden, Reimu Hakurei as she sips quietly her cup of tea. Watching the clear, blue sky really somehow make her feels relax. She is treasuring this moment before anything were to happen. An incident. So far so good, there is nothing happening right here in Gensokyo. Then, a black gap magically appears in front of her and came out Yukari Yakumo. A youkai who is able to control the power of gap. Reimu was not surprise to see her and continue sipping her tea quietly.
"Beautiful day don't you think Reimu?" Yukari said when she smiles at her.
"What do you want Yukari? Do you have a business with me? If not please leave me in peace. Thank you." Reimu said without any interest in her tone.
"Oh ho? I'm disturbing you somehow? I just wish to see and perhaps have a talk with you. I'm sure you have time to spare judging the way you are in right now."
"Sigh…" Reimu sighted. "I guess you're right. What is it you want to talk about? Unless it is one of your lying stories to begin with."
"Really you. Why couldn't you appreciate my story for once? Anyway, I've just return from the outside world you see." Yukari said. Giving her smirk behind a cover of her sensu fan.
"Okay…Is that you have to tell me? Just finished visiting the outside world? What do you saw over there? Same old stuff for you?" Reimu said while putting her cup of tea away.
"Not really but I found something interesting. Do you want to hear?" Yukari grins at her.
Reimu raises her eyebrows at Yukari and silence broke down between them. Reimu then clear her throat and begin to ask her what she found.
"A sword." Yukari replied with these two words.
"A sword? That's it?" Reimu said without any hint of being impressed. "You are kidding right?"
"Not just a normal one but it's something magically you see. Something unparalleled…"
"Whatever!" Reimu interrupted her. "I've seen Tenshi's sword. Sword of Hisou if I'm not mistaken. Same old magical stuff to begin with. Conjure magic and such."
"You haven't heard this part Reimu. Not just magically but something that has soul in it and able to nullify any forms of magic. To protect the wielder from such harm."
"Eh? It can do that? Even danmaku I suppose?"
Yukari did not say anything and just grin away. Turning her back at her, looking at Reimu while maintaining that smirk look of her. Judging from that look, Reimu guess it could be true after all.
"That's some weapon alright. For something like that to exist at the outside world sure is…unique."
"You're right. As for that, I think I want to take the sword and test it myself. If my theory is right about it being able to nullify magic, then I have a powerful weapon add to my arsenal."
"…You are indeed crazy. You know that right?"
"I don't know about that. Seems fun to me. Anyway, look forward to see the sword. Bye bye."
Yukari then enter the gap she conjured it when it then slowly close up behind her. Then, a familiar voice calling for Reimu could be heard from above and it was Marisa. She landed near Reimu and adjusted her witch hat before striking a conversation with Reimu.
"Yo Reimu! What cya doing?! Did Yukari see you just now?" Marisa said with a smile.
"Yeah but it's nothing special. So what do you want?"
"Nothing special. Just bored really. So, can I have a cup of tea Reimu?" Marisa asked her.
"Yeah sure. Come on in. I think it's getting windy…"
"Really? Whatever! I don't care anyway!" Marisa said and both of them went inside the shrine.
Somewhere in Japan…
"Surprise!" Everyone yelled happily at me. Indeed surprising me out of the blue.
"Huh? What? You guys? What a surprise for you all to be here. Welcome back party I see." I said.
"Welcome back party indeed buddy! You look really mature after all these years huh?!" One of my friends said.
"Of course everyone! He's in the army after all! Well was now." His other friends said that.
"It's nothing really everyone." I scratch my head in embarrassment. "But, thank you so much everyone. Thank you for this party really."
"Okay everyone!" The landlady catches everyone attention. "The food will get cold if we continue talking like this. Let's dig in alright?"
"Roget that landlady!" Everyone yelled happily.
The bond with the resident of the apartment and me really are strong. Loving our neighbours and all. Everyone then start to dig in and it is really tasty. This must be Aya and landlady cooking and I am one of people of this place who really love their cooking. I went for a chat with the others after all this time and I must say I really miss them. Usually I am not such a talkative person but today, I seem like one. Strangely, this does not make my friends feel irritated but rather happy about it. Cheering on me. Hugging me. Patting my back hard. I have to be careful though. My back spine. Even I said I have recover. From time to time, I still feel the lingering feeling of pain in them. But of course I would not show it to them. Showing my sign of my strong, composure expression to them.
"Aruto-kun! Eat more of my cooking! You'll love it for sure!" Aya cried happily.
"Aya-chan, I can hear just perfectly. Anyway, yes I love them thank you."
"Ah…I'm glad you really like it. Thank goodness." She smiled.
Suddenly, I felt something amiss. Something disturbing stirring inside me as if like someone is calling out for me. My heart felt heavy for some reason. My mind suddenly thinking of something is happening in my room. I told everyone I need to relieve myself. But in truth, I rush when I am out of their sight to go back to my room. Once inside, my eyes were widen to see someone familiar. It was that lady I saw at the vending machine. How in the world did she end up in my room? On top of that, she is trying to grab the hilt of my sword away but having a hard time. As if some kind of powerful force is pushing her hands away from even touching it.
"What the!? Who are you!? What are you trying to do!? Wait!" I yelled at her.
"Oh? Something precious to you huh? I wonder why I cannot grab it away…Perhaps I should be doing that already." The woman said.
Then, some kind of black hole appears below the sword and it is sucking down to it. My sword then suddenly emits an electric shock around it and somehow it is trying to resist from sucking in. Knowing this must be stop; I quickly grab the hilt of the nodachi and pull it out of the saya. But unfortunately, it was really hard to do it since the black hole is pulling us down. Eventually, I manage to pull it using all my strength.
"Impossible…for a mere human to pull it out despise being suck into my power…" The woman said.
"Hatsuyuki! Calm down now! It's alright already! I'm here!" I cried over at my nodachi.
"What? He is talking to it…So it's true about being having a soul I see…"
"Ah! Lady! I don't how you get here but please get out of here! You'll get hurt if you stand near us!"
When I said that, my nodachi emits even more of its electric shock discharge and this sent me to let go of the hilt. Instead of dropping or sucking into the hole, it stays hovering in the air. The very next second, my room got affected by the shock as it started to destroy the room little by little. Slowly, it started to get colder by every second. She is awakening. I cannot let this happen again.
"Damn it! Not again! Lady! Whoever you are, get away from here! Before it start to destroy this whole place next! Go!" I said and went closer to Hatsuyuki.
I tried to calm down it down but still to no avail. It emits a freezing, cold air and is rejecting my hands from grabbing it. That is when I felt someone is behind him and it was the lady. I was about to look at her but her head is already by my side.
"You are something boy. Willing to put yourself into danger rather than seeing others in danger. I wish you could come to Gensokyo and bring that sword along. You'll have a lot of fun once you are there. See you later boy." She said and back away.
When she said that, my nodachi begin to calm down and slowly start to hover down to the floor. I quickly turn around and saw the lady is not behind me anymore. That really puzzles me by a lot and this misfortune event already happens to me for the second time. I eventually ignore about that and went over to my nodachi. My hands are cold. My body is suddenly weary from fatigue. My eyes are heavy suddenly. Just when I was about to grab the hilt, my head suddenly start to hurt really badly. It is that headache again where I sometimes felt it randomly these days. My vision start to get blurry and eventually, I went unconscious. My mind drift into darkness and there heard a voice speaking. A very, powerful voice talks to me about something. Something about going to a place he heard may time before. Go to a place called Gensokyo.
Somewhere in Gensokyo, Hakurei Shrine…
"Achoo!" Reimu sneeze while covering her mouth. "I'm so do not want to get a cold now…"
"Reimu? You alright there ze?" Marisa said.
"Yeah. It's nothing big. Perhaps it is getting cold outside so that's why." She smiles at her.
"Cold? Is Reimu catching a cold? Nah! Probably not!" Marisa said to herself.
The two of them take a seat outside the shrine porch and were having a cup of tea prepared by Reimu. Then, a couple of figure came towards their direction from above. They landed in front of Reimu and Marisa ad it is none other than Keine and Mokou.
"Well looking here. If isn't Keine and Mokou. That's rare of you two to come here."
"Yeah! Especially Mokou ze!" Marisa said.
"Okay enough of that both of you. We have a situation and we need to show you something." Keine said with her serious tone to them.
"That's right. We really need to show you two about it." Mokou too said with her serious tone.
"Umm…okay…that's serious of you two. If that's the case, let's get going then." Reimu said and got up.
"I'm coming as well. I wonder what you going to show us and serious about it." Marisa said.
"We will explain to you two once we get over there. Keep up with us." They said.
They left the place hurriedly. Reimu and Marisa were questioning themselves what is going on to make them so serious about it. Could it be something bad? An incident of something bad? That is what they are going to find out.