Thanks for the comments! One of my favorite portrayals of Meiling was in Chado's Touhou Koumakyou, where Meiling found the strength and willpower to defeat Marisa in their rematch simply because Remilia said she believed she could. I guess I was just thinking of that scene.

Anyway, let's move on!

Let's Play Labyrinth of Touhou - Chapter 12

OK, this sucks. By today, we've already fought our way through 9 floors worth of random monsters and old acquaintances who thought it'd be funny to mess with us. And yet, despite all of our victories thus far, it still doesn't feel like we're any closer to solving this incident. I can't believe how much work this has been for me!

Hmm...funny. Now that I think about it, all those earlier incidences that I resolved also required me to waste quite a bit of time dealing with irrelevant people before I finally found where I was suppose to go. I guess as weird as this strange space is, it still feels like Gensokyo in some ways.

Today we finally found some people who might be more closely connected to this incident than all those earlier girls. Unfortunately, it only resulted in more work for me, not less. No more aimless wandering for us: now it looks like we've actually got a more defined objective.

Anyway, let me start at the beginning. As we approached the exit on Floor 9, we found none other than Ran Yakumo herself, the trusted servant of our prime suspect Yukari. Of course, fate wasn't so kind as to just let us detain and question her. As it turns out, she wasn't alone.

It seemed as though Ran had been fighting for some time now, and had quite a bit of difficulty with her opponent. As the shikigami of Yukari, Ran is one of the more powerful beings I know, so I must admit I was rather surprised that she would find a foe so strong. However, all my astonishment vanished as soon as I recognized who her opponent was.

Eirin Yagokoro, the pharmacist from the moon and mastermind of the Eternal Night Incident, looked like she had the upper hand in her battle with Ran. Of course, there was no way we'd let her finish off our only lead on Yukari's whereabouts, so we naturally had to intervene.

Eirin gave us the usual greeting of accusing me of neglect and blaming me for the incident (I'm REALLY starting to get annoyed by this), so I was more than a little bit ticked off by her behavior. Like she was one to talk! It didn't help her case that Sanae was suspicious of her activities as well. And given what she was talking to her apprentice Reisen about, that's pretty much all but confirmed.

Sealed chamber? That sounded familiar. Looks like now it was our turn to ask the questions.

Eirin wasn't in a talking mood. She instructed Reisen to hold us off while she goes to prepare something else. I guess even she knew it'd be a challenge to take all twelve of us on by herself. Although, I admit I was a bit relieved to see that we didn't have to fight her, given what she did to Ran. At least she was kind enough to leave someone else for us to interrogate.

She may have had spirit, but Reisen should have known that she wouldn't be a match for us if her master chose to depart. Then again, I suppose in the end all she intended to do was buy a bit of time. Either way, we quickly dispatched the useless little bunny.

Reisen was forced to beat a hasty retreat, but pursing her proved very difficult. Her illusions were already a pain back when we stormed the endless halls of Eientei, but I'd imagine her pulling the same trick in this labyrinth would have been even worse. Besides, Ran was still injured and needed our assistance, so we settled for questioning her instead.

Unfortunately, Ran knew less than we expected. She knew little about either Eirin's plan or Yukari's involvement in all this. Eirin had attacked her suspecting that she was part of Yukari's plot, but according to her Yukari had been acting on her own this whole time. Ran had a few suspicions, but not enough to confirm anything, so she entered the labyrinth in hopes of getting the answers from Yukari herself.

Ran did confirm that Yukari was indeed deeper inside the strange space. However, she believed that as pressing as Yukari's involvement is, right now Eientei seemed to be the more immediate threat. I wasn't so sure about this, but I guess it doesn't hurt to check it out.

It was getting late, so we decided to quit chasing Eirin and Reisen for today, and return to the Scarlet Devil Mansion to treat Ran's wounds. It might also be wise to pay a visit to Rinnosuke first-thing in the morning and let him know about all that just happened. Perhaps he would be able to shed more light on these matters.

You know, I kind of miss the earlier days when we just spent our time bickering amongst ourselves instead of actually having to worry about stuff.

~ Reimu Hakurei