[AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than Never

Locations: Moriya Shrine, Tengu Village, Kappa Village, Giant Toad's Pond, The Waterfall
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Youkai Mountain is easily the most massive mountain that can be found in Gensokyo. The mountain is so large that the beings inhabiting it seem to be largely segregated. At the base of the mountain live the peaceful Kappa, an semi-aquatic race with a fondness of engineering and architecture. Further up the mountain, one can find the airborne Tengu, who live in a village near the incredible waterfall. However, the most notable structure that can be found on the youkai mountain lies at the very top. Relatively new to Gensokyo, the Moriya Shrine simply appeared one day along with a sizeable lake. This shrine is home to the Goddesses of snake and frog, Kanako Yasaka and Suwako Moriya. Suwako, the original goddess of the shrine, has recently been lying dormant while Kanako roams free, a result of Kanako subverting her in battle. The keeper of the shrine is a girl named Sanae Kotiya. Sanae serves a similar role to Reimu Hakurei, and in fact attempted to establish the Moriya Shrine as the dominant place of worship in Gensokyo before being stopped by Reimu and Marisa. Both the Kappa and Tengu, however, to seem to be starting to recognize the sovergnity of the Moriya Shrine.

Re: [AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than N

Postby Keine Kamishirasawa » 13 Jul 2013 19:24

"Nice to meet you, Shizuha. I'm Keine Kamishirasawa, historian and the teacher from the village." Keine gave their guide a friendly smile, accepting the small bag. "You're the sister of the goddess of harvest, right?" At least she was pretty sure she remembered the Aki name from that. After all harvests were important to the villagers, so the name would come up at times.

Picking out a few nuts, the hakutaku chewed them before continuing. "And I can imagine that long hibernation would be boring. Disorienting as well, with that much time out of contact with everybody."
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Re: [AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than N

Postby Shizuha Aki » 20 Jul 2013 16:21

Shizuha, though still smiling, shook her head. "I honestly didn't think of it like that." she said as she started to lead the way up the mountain. "When I woke up, I knew that my divine role would be there. Few humans sought me out, which to me back then was fine. And my sister, the only person I cared about, would be the same year after year."

She looked up the mountain. "So, what's awaiting you at the top? Normally, I'd assume you were just going to see the shrine up there, but you two seem like you have something different in mind."
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Re: [AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than N

Postby Fujiwara no Mokou » 26 Jul 2013 06:55

As Keine talked with Shizuha, Mokou looked quizzically into the bag of food. The last time a god gave something to her care a lot of good people died, and the phoenix girl became unable to. If Sakuya-hime wanted that damn thing to get to the Youkai Mountain, she should have taken it herself. And that Emperor, the demented old man--where did he get the fool idea to burn the damned thing on a mountaintop? He should have just poured it out on the ground, that's all the consideration a gift from that Lunarian brat deserved.

And yet here she was, carrying that same jar--now empty--up the slopes of the Youkai Mountain.

"Don't blame the goddess or the Emperor," sneered a little voice inside. "You killed Iwakasa. You drank the poison. You got the curse that you deserved."

Shizuha's question shook the immortal out of her melancholy reverie. "I'm... making a pilgrimage," she answered, looking up at the goddess again.
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Re: [AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than N

Postby Keine Kamishirasawa » 01 Aug 2013 15:40

Keine nodded. "I can see that. I guess I took too much of a human perspective before, imagining what it would be like for someone who is used to having other people around them and who only sleeps for a few hours a day." Even if most people slept more than the eternally busy hakutaku. "Still, there must have been something that made you want to expand your divine portfolio, since you chose to do so." She picked a maple syrup candy from her bag and began sucking on it. "These are really quite odd things. Outside world snacks?"

Mokou's hesitant words, got a small worried glance. This was really preying on the introverted hermit's mind and Keine wasn't quite sure what she could say. She gave her a small, encouraging smile before turning her attention back to Shizuha. "And I'm keeping her company."
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Re: [AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than N

Postby Shizuha Aki » 15 Aug 2013 19:18

Shizuha knew that she'd be doing most of her talking to Keine, rather than Mokou, almost from the first time she saw them. Clearly, Mokou didn't want to talk about herself. That was fine. "I'm pretty sure these candies are made in the outside world, but I didn't get the idea from there. It's actually the result of a lot of trial and error.

"And to answer your question, Keine, what happened was Reimu and Marisa. They were flying up the mountain to fight Kanako, I got in their way, and they blew me out of the sky in less than a second. But when I finally crawled out of the crater I left, I realized that so much had changed in the world, and I hadn't. And I resolved not to miss anything else."

She felt that perhaps that subject was depleted and went mining for another one. "You know, I've seen you in passing in the village. That hat is honestly hard to miss. So what is it you do there?"
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Re: [AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than N

Postby Fujiwara no Mokou » 16 Aug 2013 10:35

Mokou curiously inspected one of the maple candies candies, slowly spinning it between her thumb and forefinger. A delicacy from the Outside World? Made by a goddess? This was already the most interesting day she'd had in a very long time. The novelty of it all distracted the phoenix girl from her gloomy thoughts. She slowly took a bite, hesitant not from fear--what could poisons do to her anyway?--but from the thoughtful stupor so much strangeness had put her in. Meeting new people was a lot for her to take in, not to mention a goddess, and the sudden gift had made the situation more awkward than usual.

Intense sweetness spread across her tongue like liquid fire. "Sugoi," she murmured in surprise. It was by far the sugariest thing she had ever tasted.

Mokou's ears pricked up as the goddess described her feelings after the fights with Gensokyo's most famous trouble-making youngsters. It seemed they had a bit in common. "It's strange what time can bring when you aren't looking, isn't it?" she mused aloud. "Go into the woods for a few centuries, and when you come back out again, so mush has changed. Yet the more things change, the more they stay the same, as they say..."
The spectacle of two immortal beings talking like old women going on about the good old days and other nonsense was averted as Mokou trailed off, a new wave of bitterness causing her to withdraw once more into her thoughts.
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Re: [AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than N

Postby Keine Kamishirasawa » 23 Aug 2013 15:12

"Interesting." Keine sucked a bit more on the maple candy. Gods weren't known for their creativity or taking a proactive stance on the world, though maybe the example of the two on the mountain had inspired more of them. "They're quite tasty, regardless of where the idea came from. They're sweet, but the flavor's more complex than ordinary sugar."

"It always comes back to those two, it seems. Or at least to things they got involved in, you can't really hold them responsible for the path to the Netherworld getting opened or the evil spirits of the underground seeping to the surface. They still have a tendency to force people into contact with the rest of Gensokyo, whether they want to or not." She paused for a bit, eating a few nuts while listening to Mokou, before continuing. "Still, major changes have happened. Gensokyo being cut off from the outside world in Meiji 17 is an obvious example, but the gradual intrusion of technology and food from the outside world is hard to remember as well. And if we look at the outside world, it's almost indistinguishable from how it used to be. They have weapons able to blow up an entire city with the press of a button and they drive everywhere in carts that require no animals to pull them. You can try asking the gods of the mountain more about it when we reach them, they lived out there until just a few years ago." Really, she couldn't help but wonder just how big the changes to the outside world really were and how much she had missed due to the limited number of outside world books reaching Gensokyo. And how much she misunderstood due to lacking a proper frame of reference.

Shizuha called her back to the present in Gensokyo. "You're right. I work as the teacher for the children of the village, as well as being the official chronicler of Gensokyo and events that happen here."
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Re: [AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than N

Postby Shizuha Aki » 01 Sep 2013 01:45

As Mokou talked for a bit, Shizuha got the irrational image in her head of a turtle peeking outside its shell for a bit, grabbing a bite of fruit, and hiding again. If she were asked, she'd say it was cute and that it made her want to see the immortal open up more. However, talking to her directly would just spook her more. Better to entice her with conversation.

To Keine, though, she said, "I noticed at least Gensokyo being sealed. Mostly because it was a reduction in the area I had to visit each year. But... when I look back, it's kind of like looking back at a set of mirrors. Each year is the same as the year before that, and the year before that, and so on into a dim infinity. And for most of history, the humans were the same too. But... if all that has changes since Gensokyo was sealed away, was Gensokyo sealed because of the change, or did the change happen because we were sealed?"
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Re: [AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than N

Postby Fujiwara no Mokou » 02 Sep 2013 18:04

Mokou followed the conversation with seemingly little interest as she contentedly savored the maple candy. Of course this appearance was incorrect; she was always interested in what the teacher had to say, and was intrigued by these further tidbits about the new gods. She had no idea they were so busy, and idly wondered why she hadn't heard much about them yet.

The immortal suddenly stopped rolling the fantastical confection around with her tongue as talk of violence piqued her curiosity. "I thought the Outside had forgotten magic," she said, characteristically either oblivious or uncaring of the fact that she was speaking with her mouth full. "What is there beyond the Boundary that can do something like that?"

Again, Shizuha's recollections sounded familiar enough. The years had all been the same for so long, and humans never seemed to change. Of course, Keine had offered hera chance for a new perspective, and her days had become more interesting of late. As for humans... that remained to be seen.

As interesting as the conversation was, the phoenix girl was getting restless, and felt that it would be more enjoyable on the move. “Shall we press on?” she asked as casually as she could, looking up at the summit again. She didn’t want to sound pushy.
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Re: [AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than N

Postby Keine Kamishirasawa » 07 Sep 2013 14:53

"Gensokyo was sealed because of the change. Human science had already reached the point where steel ships sailed the waters and things such as weaving barely required people to do more than check for errors. But humans changed a lot, even before that. The rise of local specialization and trade of basic goods spanning Japan had been growing for centuries before, just like the political structures of the land had radically changed several times and literacy had been growing greatly."

Keine frowned slightly at Mokou's question, trying to think about what she really knew about outside world technology. "They burn some kind of oil to provide the power to move the carts. I imagine that there is some kind of complex mechanical mechanism, but I don't know how it works. All I know is that it does and that this oil is rare and only found in some areas so wars have been fought over it. And, yes, let's keep going." She looked up the mountain. It really was a long hike they were facing, so slowing down would make it impossible to manage in a day.
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Re: [AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than N

Postby Fujiwara no Mokou » 07 Sep 2013 22:21

"Oh, heh," Mokou replied sheepishly, "I meant the destroying cities thing." What, did Keine really think that when given the choice of violence, Mokou would zero in on any other topic?

The phoenix girl would look over at Shizuha after that, silently waiting to see if their guide was ready.
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Re: [AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than N

Postby Keine Kamishirasawa » 08 Sep 2013 02:06

"I'm not sure. It's some kind of bomb called a nuclear bomb, but I don't know how it works. All I know is that two were dropped on Japan ending what appears to have been the largest war the outside world has ever seen."
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Re: [AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than N

Postby Shizuha Aki » 12 Sep 2013 23:10

Shizuha was a bit abashed. "My reading on the outside world has been a bit more focused than yours has, more horticultural, but I've read that they can take the most delicate of fruits and ship it across an ocean, and it would still be fresh. Imagine, once food from other lands was a treat for kings, but now the poorest of families can have it in their kitchens."

She was then reminded that time was short. "Ah, yes, but this isn't getting us any closer to the Moriya Shrine." She gestured vaguely to her left. "I believe the Kappa Village is over that way, but I'm not certain, since they keep it hidden, and they generally don't stop travelers unless they're being unruly. Like Reimu and Marisa were that day." It always came back to them, didn't it?
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Re: [AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than N

Postby Fujiwara no Mokou » 13 Sep 2013 16:51

“Huh,” was the phoenix girl’s only reply. It didn’t mean a whole lot to her with so little context, and she figured that it would be better to continue learning about more distant history and work up.

“Amusing how 'Reimu and Marisa' needs no explanation,” she murmured with a slight chuckle, loud enough for Keine to hear, and possibly Shizuha as well. She smiled at how the goddess' reply revealed the differences between her companions quite clearly, even the odd topic of the outside world—a creature of nature and a creature of history and wisdom. What was she a creature of, the immortal wondered. Vengeance? Violence? Let’s not kid ourselves, she thought as her grin faded, more the latter really. Murder? Yeah, that was better. Or maybe just loneliness.

Instead of indulging further in this line of thought, she decided to ask their guide a question as they walked. “So, uh, goddess, Your Excellency…” she trailed off, genuinely trying and failing to think of the right way to address Shizuha. It was obvious from her tone of voice that she didn’t really feel the awe that such titles would suggest, but at the same time there was no hint of sarcasm.

“... Er, what’s it like, embodying nature and all?” Mokou felt like she may have some little bit in common with the goddess, having lived close to the land in the bamboo forest for many ages. The forest was her home in a way that few mortals could understand the word. She wondered what the goddess's perspective would be like.
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Re: [AskFirst] Pilgrimage of 1000 Years ~ Better Late than N

Postby Keine Kamishirasawa » 16 Sep 2013 14:52

"I haven't studied outside world cuisine much, but I do remember some older historical references talking about how it was a big day when a ship carrying foreign fruit arrived the harbor. And that was stories from decades ago, around the great war of the middle of the Showa period, I imagine it has only gotten more common since. The reason why later historical accounts don't mention it might well be that it is just too normal to be worthy of attention, especially since that's what it sounds like from what you've read." Really, Keine couldn't help but have a faint desire to see the outside world. As a historian trying to make sense of accounts of a world that different and cut off from your own was hard and as a person, it was simply fascinating to read about a place that alien.

Hearing the comment about the Kappa Village, she turned to look in the direction the goddess indicated, but like Shizuha said there was nothing unusual to see. "Reimu and Marisa do have a bit of a reputation, yes. I wonder if there is any corner of Gensokyo left where they haven't gotten into a fight yet."
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