A Golden Intruder?

Such a glorious morning, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, there wasn’t a greater morning possible to catch a scoop. From the mouth of the Tengu village she started off in a sprint before gracefully leaping up high into the air, her wings spouting out like the early bird ready to catch her worm.

It was to be expected of a Tengu that she travelled at some speed, kicking up a light spray off the river, her smile intensified when she caught a glance of the prismatic colours that reflected the light behind her. She felt like she was the creator of rainbows before coming up to the river’s edge. The fall has brought a vibrance of colours to contrast, a warming fire of nature illuminated the mountain, blurring into lifelike flames as she went.

Further ahead was the legendary Waterfall of Nine Heavens, one of many waterfalls which were the boundary of Tengu society. Following the flow of water she blasted off the edge of the waterfall, only to drop like a brick towards the deadly plunge pool. A tuft of white fur caught her eyes as she was met by the sighs of patrolling guards, in retaliation she at least tried to look sincere as she accelerated towards the bottom of the waterfall, hardly hiding her enjoyment.

You could often find Kappa trading at the bottom of the fall, but they must have otherwise been occupied as Hatate landed on a nearby rock for but a moment before launching off into the sky. Where could she go to get news? She was relying upon other people wanting to go out on this fine day, but her past experiences had been shattered when another rival Tengu always seemed to get there first. It could have been said that Aya Shameimaru even created the events, but what evidence did she have to shame her?

She was lost in thought as she rocketed onwards, but something golden, something shiny caught her eyes. Gold was such a rare commodity in Gensokyo, but as she continued to stare the features of the object began to reveal it’s self to her. The figure hadn’t noticed her, but it stood tall and dignified while wearing golden armour. He is a young man with golden hair standing up like a blazing flame, handsome with an elegant face. His eyes, crimson like blood, are visibly not those of a human, and as Hatate continued to stare, she found herself mysteriously withering away from his radiance.

In a sudden wave of realisation she gasped, it was the very same man who Yoshika had described as ‘Golden Easter Egg’, they’d met only once, but their last encounter had been violent. From an unreliable report from a local Kasha, his short temper had lost them the celestial’s challenge. Her gasp had betrayed her as he came to a halt, his piercing red eyes glaring back at her.

“Are you going to continue to gaze upon me with such unfit eyes?”
His voice was firm, there was an atmosphere of command coming from him as she flustered around trying to find words to reply with. Remarkably his face remained patient as if he’d spoken to one without the knowledge to speak back. Mustering up her courage she finally managed to whimper out a reply.

“G-Gilgamesh, would you…. would you be interested in an interview?”
She then continued to stumble around looking for a notepad; surely someone of such royalty would love to show off their ego. But, his reaction was not what she expected, with a rupture of laughter he

“Fool, do you think I care for the gossip that this realm has? For no matter what article you shall write, it will not even show a glimpse of my glory. You are no different to that other heavenly dog, now be gone from my sight!”
At Gilgamesh’s conclusion, the space around him distorted in a haze― the next instant, the glow of beautiful blades started coming out of the empty space.
There are bare blades as well as spears. Each of them is decorated with eye-catching ornaments, and emits a fierce magical power.
Twenty, forty, eighty – a swarm of Noble Phantasms deployed from thin air, shining like so many glittering stars.

There wasn’t a moment’s hesitation as the weapons coming out of nowhere shot without warning, Hatate didn’t have time to react, but much to a surprise it was a single sword aimed only to brush past her. If this was a terror tactic, it surely was working as she squealed in fright, backing off only to hear the explosion behind her. The destructive power was enormous. The nearby trees were blown up like they were hit with an explosive blast, and the scene was shrouded by the dust of the foliage pulverised into particles.

The King’s face didn’t seem to show any delight in firing his weapons, but that quickly changed once Hatate whipped out her camera and instinctively took a photograph. Normally her camera works to her advantage in a danmaku battle, eliminating danmaku and capturing them into a photograph. But nothing changed, the weapons still loomed overhead and the danger was still there. But, her action was the signal to the King to attack. It must have been the magic that he had sensed as his attitude changed in an instant as if accepting an unwillingly presented challenge.

“May your death provide me some modicum of entertainment, mongrel!”
With haughty growls, the rain of stars approached. Incessantly, mercilessly, the impacts smashed the picturesque scenery without a single thought. Hatate blasted off with all her speed as the flurry of weapons continued to track her down like an anti-aircraft gun. She struggled with the camera, furiously hitting the capture button, but it had no affect on such powerful weapons. She had no change but to retaliate with her own attacks.

“Continuous Shooting「Rapid Shot」!!!”
With a yell her spell card activated, a high speed volley of danmaku sent itself towards the Hero King, with an ear-splitting collision their attacks met in mid air. It gave her a moment to breath, but not more than a second later his attacks pierced through and narrowly avoided her, tearing through her thigh-high socks.

“Hah, is that all you can muster!?”
His mocking voice could be heard, as the hailstorm continued, she’d made a single mistake. Slowly she looked around; the volley had formed into a vortex. He unleashed yet more fire, throwing out a continuous attack of six Noble Phantasms. Sparking with blinding brilliance, spears and blades charged to meet Hatate like comets, trailed by light. Only the nimbleness of a Tengu spared her as she narrowly grazed the attacks, the very air scratching her skin as they passed.

However, Gilgamesh’s Noble Phantasms did not lose their lethality simply because they were avoided. Three out of the six – an axe, a scythe, and a scimitar – immediately spun, changing direction and closing in on Hatate from behind.

Time stopped, she was trapped, he’d funnelled a tunnel of weapons around her, and behind her yet a new threat came closer, while in front a spear lunged forwards. She couldn’t advance in any direction without being skewered, in the matter of three seconds she would become Tengu kebab.

That was until the clashing sound of metal on metal was heard as Hatate felt a hand grasp around her waist, yanking her through the rain of weapons, a second deflection was heard as her saviour thundered towards the floor.

A red maple shield? White shirt? It couldn’t be… It was Momiji! The white wolf Tengu guard had charged down from the waterfall upon hearing the commotion and had saved Hatate’s life. At least for now, there was no time for celebration as the direction of fire shifted itself to aim towards the pair.

If only her camera could work against these weapons. Most inhabitants of Gensokyo who could use danmaku followed the rules, but it would seem this King’s version was above them. It was as if the rain of weapons was actually his ability, rather than actual danmaku.

It was to be noticed that his attacks came with some hefty flaws, so far she hadn’t seen him move once from his position while firing, and perhaps he could only attack while stationary. Even more so, the direction of fire, for the most part, seemed to travel in a single direction.

As Hatate leapt up once more into the air, Momiji did the unthinkable. With her shield raised up and her sword in the ready, the two forces met with unbearable sound. Taking on the brunt of the force she set about deflecting and defending against the storm. Clearly she had underestimated the attack as every blow slid her backwards on the soft ground.

But this must be the only chance they will have against such an indomitable foe; she flew around in a perfect arc before dashing forwards on his rear flank. She was going to tackle him right into Momiji; she would have a way of finishing him off.

At least that’s what Hatate had hoped as he halted his attack, pulling out a long halberd swinging it around at her. Her eyes widened, like the grim reaper the King held a weapon of death aimed directly at her. Her heartbeat stopped as the halberd came in for the kill, only to be disarmed out of his hand.

“Bastard!!!”
His tongue spat out an insult as the maple shield bounced off his armour. Momiji had tossed it and in those few seconds of concentration loss, she was almost on top of him already. They’d got him, his weakness of not being able to move and fire was his downfall. In one foul swoo…..

“Chain of heavens!”
What? His voice interrupted their sure victory. From out of his golden portals came lengths of chain, they fired out with tremendous speed. Just before Momiji swung sword could reach, her blade, her limbs, her shoulders, and her abdomen were wrapped around by a tough chain; a bark of anger escaped her lips as she was defenceless against this attack.
Enkidu – the secret among secrets contained in the King of Heroes’ vault. The restraint that captured even the Bull of Heaven.

Hatate was no fighter and the encounter had left her defenceless, she only had enough time to realise the bludgeon that slammed into her skull.

The world went blank, everything was out of proportion, and such a blow had knocked her senseless. She was powerless in such a daze; she hardly felt the golden hand clasp themselves around her neck.

Sprawling around like an insect she was dragged over to the river, something cold, something wet… Then something dark…

Not a single flicker of thought or life came from Hatate’s limp body as she floated downriver. It must have been hours as when she awoke the stars had come out to shine. Such vibrant stars that once filled her heart with joy made her scream in fright as they reminded her so quickly of those volley of weapons.

Her head hurt, her body hurt, small cuts and bruises plagued themselves across her as she was saturated in water. Standing up wearily she looked around, a faint mist shrouded the waters. Her hopes were restored slightly as not too far away loomed a dark mansion, the lights shone brilliantly as a reddened clock tower stud majestically challenging the water.

She looked around in confusion as she stumbled up the rocky embankments, the name of this mansion was in her mind, but she couldn’t quite put her tongue on it. Her confusion only intensified and the pain grew as she dragged herself across the causeway.

It was too much, she fell, the rocky floor came close to her as she was caught by a firm pair of hands. Looking up she saw her saviours face, scarlet hair, aqua eyes, an elegant green Chinese dress. Hatate was too confused and in too much pain to say much as she began to recall the event that had just happened.

But… What about Momiji? Was that walking doom heading towards the Tengu village? Hatate whimpered out one last word as she fell into a deep sleep.
“Mom-iji….”

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About Hatate

I'm Hatate Himekaidou, A Tengu reporter who uses thoughtography to make my newspapers. Be sure to check my Facebook, and Twitter.
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