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A Yukkuri paradise

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Chapter 1Edit

“Marisa isn't tasty!! Go away!!  Yugyaaaaa!!!”
“Uu~ Uu~~ Going to eat you~!”


A common sight.  In the heat of the summer, a scampering Marisa is darting and weaving amongst the shrubs and bushes, desperately trying to escape a predating Remilia. Marisa's happy and gleeful return to her family's nest from the hunt was shattered by the scene of horror in her own home.  A family of Remilias have found their nest and  made quick work of Marisa's beloved Reimu and their three little ones. Reimu has been ripped in half, her eyes frozen in a blank horrified stare as the baby Remilias munched on her innards.  The little koyukkuris were strewn about the room, some splattered on the walls and others a streak of red on the floor.  The Remilias must have used the koyukkuris as hunting practice, and flung them like toys when they were too tired to run. And so Marisa quietly fled.  There's nothing she could do.  It was her misfortune that the mother Remilia just happened to turn around and see her.


“Yu~!! Yu~!! Can't... dage... id... eajy....” “Uu~!  Uu~!!”


Marisa was quickly running out of breath.  After all, yukkuris are not known for their athletic abilities.


“Yu...!!! YuGAAA?!?”
“Uu~?!”


Not looking at where she is going, Marisa jumped through a shrub only to find that there is no ground under her feet.  Instead, she found herself hovering above a steep decline into a grassy valley.  The sides of the valley are so steep that it would probably be more accurately called a ravine. “Yu!! It feels like.... YUGAAAAA WHERE IS MIZDER  FLOORRR!??!??!!


“Uu~ Uu~~”


Marisa tumbled through the air like the ungraceful manju that she is, landing hard on her side before continuing her roll down the cliff side.  The Remilia hovered around for a little bit before going back to Marisa's nest to finish off her meal.  The ravine seemed to have proved to be too troublesome for her to fetch Marisa.


“Yu.... Yuuuu.... id... hurds..... Mariza's face...."


Through some miracle, Marisa seemed to have landed on a soft grass bed without splattering herself against a rock.  However, she's badly hurt from the fall.  One of her eyes has been poked out by a sharp rock on the way down, and she has cuts all over her body.  Her feet have been smashed from the landing, a large flash across where the bottom of her feet used to be.  Her hat has been torn up, its contents from the hunt earlier this morning spilling out on the way down.

Marisa is dying.


“Wanted... to... take... it .... eajy.... more.....”


Thoughts of her family flooded through her bean paste brain.

The first time she met Reimu, how her beautiful ribbon dazzled in the sunset.  And how Marisa was completely captivated at first sight.

Their little love nest in the dead tree trunk.  It was a bit small but it was warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

The happiness and feeling of content when Reimu was pregnant, a little green stalk on her head with three little cute koyukkuris.

Their beautiful little children, their little yells of “Take it easy!” are like music to Marisa and Reimu's ears.


Gone forever.


And with that, Marisa faded with them into the darkness.



“... asy.....”


Darkness.


“M... ***.... easy”


Something, someone is calling.


“Mar...... e... easy....”


Reimu?


“.... it easy....”
“Marisa take it easy!”


Marisa opened her eyes.  She is in a little cave, and it seems to be raining lightly outside.  The cave is dimly lit from the outside, and she can't get a good look at her  surroundings.  Marisa realized that she couldn't see anything on her left side, the dull throbbing pain in her left eye probably had something to do with it.  She didn't realize that she had lost her eye.


“Is Marisa ok?  Take it easy!  Alice was so worried!”

“A...lice....?”

“Marisa don't move!! The wounds will open up!”


Ah, that's right.  Marisa remembered that she was running away from Remilia... from her dead family.... and then the feeling of flying.... and massive pain.


“YUGYAAAAAA!!! Don't eat Marisaaaaa!!! Reimmuuuuu!!!!  YUUGAAAAA!!”

“Marisa!??!! Take it easy!!”


Marisa wailed and twisted about, and as she twisted about spurts of bean paste leaked out of her patched up wounds.


“YUGYAAAA!!! ID HURDSSSS!!!”

“Marisa!! Stop moving!! Take it easyy!!  Alice will lick-lick~ the pain away~”

“YUGAAAA!!.... Yu.... Yu.....”


With a few licks from Alice, Marisa finally began to calm down.  The hurt on her skin is leaking away with each lick.  Some deep seated memories bubbled up.

When she was little, she went out to play and hurt herself falling over a rock.  Mommy came and lick-licked the pain away.


Just like now.


“Yu... Alice....?”

“Yu! Alice is Alice!! Take it easy!!”

“Take... it... easy....”

“Yu yu!! Alice was so worried!! Alice found Marisa all hurt!! Alice dragged Marisa home before mister rain came!!  Good thing Alice found Marisa in time or Marisa wouldn't be able to take it easy anymore!!”

“Yu.... Alice... did... all that....?  For Marisa...?”


Alice grinned brightly and continued to lick Marisa's wounds.  The pain on her skin is almost completely gone, but something else still hurts.  Something deep inside.


Reimu's gone.

Little ones are gone.

Marisa feels like everything has ended.  Maybe it would've been better if Alice didn't save her.  Marisa curled up and faced away from Alice.

Alice fidgeted around a little bit.


“Yu... M.. Marisa.... Alice couldn't find Marisa's eye-eye... There's nothing Alice could do about Marisa's eye... sorry.”


Eye?  Marisa couldn't understand what Alice was talking about.  A sudden sleepiness came over Marisa.


“Yu... Marisa... would like some rest.... thank you Alice...”

“No problem! Take it easy!!  Stay as long as Marisa needs to!  This is Alice's easy place, it's really safe!!  Just don't move around too much!  Marisa's wounds will open back up!! ”


Alice gathered up some dried nuts and seeds and pushed it beside Marisa.


“This isn't much...  but Alice will look for food once mister rain stops!!  Eat it easy Marisa!”

“Take it... easy...”


And Marisa blacked out once more.  This time her dreams are filled with winter time with her parents.

There wasn't much food left, this winter has been extraordinarily harsh.  There's nothing left except for dried nuts and seeds.  Her father, Marisa, and her mother, Reimu, are at their wits end.  Her little siblings are shivering in a corner, half from hunger and half from the cold.

She vaguely remembers something her father said, about an easy place where there's a lot of food and no Remilias, where there's no misterwinter... a yukkuri paradise.


Chapter 2 Edit

The next day Marisa woke up much earlier (yukkuri standards) than usual, partly because of the dull pain in her left eye as well as having fallen asleep much earlier than usual.


"Yu...  Marisa... where did Marisa end up....yu?"


A quick shake of her head brought back events from yesterday.  Marisa was dragged into Alice's place after a fall off the cliff.


"Yu? Marisa ish udp awready? Dage id eajy!"  (mouth full)

"Yu? Alice take it easy!"


Alice came hopping in to the nest, her hair damp from the morning dew.  She opened her mouth and a variety of nuts, berries, fruits, and little insects spilled forth.  She couldn't carry as much as Marisa could, lacking a big hat to carry the fruits in.  However, it's still an impressive amount.


"Yu! Alice went hunting this morning!! There's enough breakfast for both Marisa and Alice!"


At the sight of the food, Marisa's stomach grumbled.  She remembered that she hadn't eaten anything all last night, and she unconsciously salivated at the sight of the feast.  Alice pushed half of the food before Marisa along with the untouched seeds and nuts from yesterday, and Marisa hungrily gobbled it up.


The berries were unlike anything Marisa had tasted before.  To yukkuris, berries are something that they can only enjoy in the Fall when an abundance of them ripen.  Being at the bottom of the food chain, usually the bigger animals and birds get a pick at the berries before yukkuris do.  These berries, however, were unusually large and sweet.  Plump and full of juices, the berries melted in Marisa's mouth.  Seeing Marisa eat, Alice contentedly scooped up a few berries herself with her tongue.


""Munch~ Munch~!! Happiness~!!!!!!""

"Yu!! Alice is amazing!! How did Alice find mister berries??  Alice is very city-sect, ze!!"

"Yuhehehe!! Alice has a secret spot for mister berries!!  When Marisa gets better Alice will show the place to Marisa!"


Not just the berries... the fruits were large and juicy and even the normally dry and bitter seeds seemed to be filled with more flavor than usual.  Marisa didn't pay much  attention to these small details, but just genuinely enjoyed her first large meal in a while.


"Yu... Alice, thank you for the food!... By the way where is Marisa?"

"Yu?  Marisa says where but... Alice just came here a few weeks ago!"


It's fairly common for yukkuris to move out and settle off in new places, and it seems that Alice has just moved in here a few weeks ago, towards the end of Spring.  Marisa looked around the little cave, and it does seem a bit unfurnished.  There's just a little pile of dried grass and a few large pieces of leaves that are used as plates, and there's none of the trademark trinkets and baubles that Alices are known to collect.


Marisa glanced at Alice, and she's one size smaller than Marisa. She's very healthy for yukkuri standards, and her shimmering hair shows that she's certainly been eating well.  This shows a certain degree of hunting/gathering prowess.   Marisa glanced at her wounds, and saw that the biggest cuts have been covered with some sort of medicinal grass, and her broken legs have been patched up with big leaves so the filling doesn't leak out.  Marisa flexed her legs a bit, and got up to slowly move around the cave.  It hurt a bit to walk, but Marisa knew that she would be able to move about if she wanted to, though she probably would not fully recover for another few days.


"Can Marisa walk?  Alice can show Marisa around!"

"Yu... Marisa should be ok.  Marisa can't see out of the left eye though..."

"Yu? Alice told Marisa yesterday... Alice couldn't find Marisa's eye- eye..."

"Yu yu??"


The realization of what the dull pain in her left eye meant finally hit Marisa.


"M... Marisa's.... eye-eye....Yu...YUGAAAAAAAA!!!  YUUUWAAAAA!!!!"

"Marisa?? Hang in there!  Marisa!??"


Marisa cried for the first time since her ordeal.

Her eye.
Reimu.
Little ones.

She's letting it all out for her deceased loved ones.


"Yuhehe... Sorry for letting Alice see that side of Marisa. "

"It's ok! Alice understands... it must be tough to lose something so important!"

"... Yu... "


One simple sentence, but two different meanings to the two different yukkuris here.


"Please show Marisa around, ze!  Marisa can walk now thanks to Alice, Ze!"

"Ok!!  Take it easy!"


Taking a look at their surrounding closely for the first time, Marisa understood how far down the ravine she had fallen, and just how lucky she is.  Surrounding the valley on both sides are two towering walls of rock, both completely impassible to normal yukkuris and impossibly high to yukkuris.  The walls are sparsely covered with plant growth and moss, and there's plenty of sharp jagged rocks that could've impaled Marisa like a kabob.  The area she landed in is covered in grasses, shrubs, and a small patch of forest is nearby.  Various alluring smells of flowers, fruits, and berries came from that direction, that must be where Alice goes for the berries.  Alice probably found Marisa while out foraging.  Further down the side of the valley where Alice's nest is located, is an area that's similar to a smaller riverbed filled with smooth rocks of various sizes.  A good amount of trees, grasses and plant growth sprouting from between the rocks and alongside the riverbed.  The water is clear and cold, and refreshing to drink.  Parts of the stream are shallow enough for a yukkuri to bathe in, a luxury denied to most yukkuris because of location.  A bigger dried riverbed is next to Alice's nest, the forces of the current probably shaped the little cave that Alice now lived in.   A big mountain can be seen off in the distance, this is probably where the stream came from.


Overall, an ideal place to live in for yukkuris.  The food is close by and plentiful, this place can probably support at least 4-5 families of yukkuris or a small clan.  Even if they run out of berries to eat, the place is crawling with insects and there is so much grass that it is impossible for anybody to starve.  With a little planning, a yukkuri can gather enough food for a long winter here in less than a week.


Taking a look at Alice's nest, it's also very well laid out.  The entrance to the nest has been smoothed out with sand and dirt by Alice, and she lined the entrance with smaller stones and packed them with dirt and grass, presumably as a dam to keep the water out.  The cave is small, but large enough for 2 adult sized yukkuris.  As expected of Alice, the nest is nice and clean.  The lack of decorations only means that Alice has been hard at work with the foundations of the nest the past few weeks.


"Yu... this place is...  How did Alice manage to get here?"
"Yu.... Even if Marisa asks... Alice can't remember too well... A few weeks ago Alice slipped into the river while washing her face and ended up here..."


Marisa contemplated deeply.  Was she actually dead and this is actually yukkuri heaven?  But she doesn't see Reimu and the little ones...


"Alice was surprised when Alice found Marisa too!  Ever since coming here Alice hasn't seen any other yukkuris!"

"Yu? Really?  So strange..."


Marisa tried to think a bit harder.  This is such a perfect place... but why is there no other yukkuris?  Are there terrifying mister bears or mister dogs around?  But a bean paste brain is after all, a bean paste brain.  She soon gave up and settled for accepting things as they are.  If there were so many dangerous things here, Alice wouldn't have been able to make it for the past few weeks.


"Well.... Anyway, Alice will show Marisa the secret berry spot!  It's a very city sect secret place so don't tell anybody!"
"Yu! Marisa is looking forward to it, ze!"


Chapter 3
Edit

Summer left and the Fall season brought about a plentiful harvest in the little valley that Marisa and Alice lived in.  Despite the healing powers of yukkuris, Marisa could never see out of her left eye again and she could not run and jump as she used to.  The deep gash in her feet never fully healed and the damage to her hat is irreparable.  As a result Marisa cannot easily take care of herself, and instead she helps Alice to gather and carry the food.  Marisa's bountiful knowledge of foraging and hunting were passed on to Alice. While Alice couldn't exactly perform them as well as Marisa once could, she was fairly skilled for a yukkuri.


Throughout the summer Marisa and Alice explored the valley, looking for a way out.  Following the dried riverbed has led them to the edge of an impassable cliff overlooking the sea, and the source of the river that carried Alice in seemed to have culminated in a similarly impassible waterfall.  However, the waterfall was so small that it seemed almost impossible for Alice to have been carried in.


They're isolated.


However, there's no wild animals, predators nor mister humans around, so this is a safe place to take it easy.  In a sense, this is a perfect yukkuri paradise.


Today, as usual, Alice brought home a lot of food.  A bountiful harvest from the fall... Caterpillars, various types of dried nuts and seeds, wild grapes, gooseberries and huckleberries... an amazing feast for any yukkuri.


"Take it easy Marisa!"

"Take it easy! Yu! As usual, thanks Alice!"


Alice dropped the food into the storage compartment in the cave and began to rub-rub with Marisa.


"Yu! Little ones take it easy too!"

"Take it easy little ones!  Marisa will sing a song~ yu~ yu yu yu~"


Marisa and Alice called out to the little fruits on her stalk.  They couldn't speak yet, but they shook gently at the sound of their parents voices.

Marisa has decided to take it easy together with Alice.  Reimu is gone, and her little ones are gone too... but Marisa is still alive. Marisa swore she will take it easy for the sake of both Reimu and the little ones whose lives were cut short.

Maybe Marisa saw a shade of Reimu inside Alice's attentive and caring nature... even if the roles are now reversed.  Since Marisa can't do much hunting herself, of course she ended up being the mother. Normally yukkuris only have babies in the Spring time, but Alice and Marisa decided that since there's so much food around, it won't be a problem to prepare for Winter.


"Marisa, eat lots for the little ones!"

""Munch~ Munch~~! Happiness~~!!"


Several days later.


"Yuyu~ Alice ish gedding born eajy~!"

"Marisha choo~~"


Towards the end of Fall, five little koyukkuris were born.  Three Alices and two Marisas.


"""Chake id eajy~!!"""


A big chorus of 'take it easy'.  Alice and Marisa's faces lit up with joy and happiness.  Five cute little ones.  Little ones that reminded Marisa so much of her long gone offspring, little ones that she can take it easy with forever.  She will teach them to sing, and when they get older she will teach them her old hunting tricks.  How to catch mister butterfly, and where to look for the most tender berries...


"Yufufu... Take it easy little ones!  Alice is daddy!"


The little koyukkuris immediately swarmed up to Alice and began to rub- rub with Alice.  The warmth of the first rub-rub with Alice's parents bubbled up from her memories, and Alice rubbed back with her cheeks, overflowing with happiness.  Marisa moved forth, bubbling with excitement.


"Little ones, take it easy!  Marisa is mommy!"


"""Chake id....YUGYAAA??!?"""


In contrast to the beautiful Alice, Marisa is full of old scars, and her beautiful hat is a shadow of its former glory.  Her left eye is covered by an eye-patch made from leaves and vines, and her feet are full of scars from her fall months ago.  Without the knowledgeable Patchouli to properly mend her wounds, Marisa's healing left many scars.  Needless to say, this is a frightening sight for the little koyukkuris who have only heard Marisa's voice up until they were born.  They screamed and darted behind Alice.


"YUGYEEEEE!!! Alice ish scared!!!"

"Can't dage id eajyyy!!"

"Daddy sabe Marishaaa!!!"

"What are little ones saying?! Marisa is mommy!!  Go rub-rub and greet mommy easy!"

"Alice doesn't wanch choo!!!  Alice ish scared~~!!!"

"YUUUOOOOOOOO Why would little ones say thattttt??????"


But the little koyukkuris cried and hid behind Alice, terrified of the torn up Marisa. Marisa's happiness from giving birth dimmed considerably.

Her own little ones with Reimu never acted this way.  They happily rub-rubbed with Marisa the moment they were born, and looked up to Marisa as figurehead and hero.  In complete contrast these little ones won't even look at her.


A single shred of resentment tainted Marisa's heart.


Only after much coercing from Alice did the little ones went up to Marisa.


"Little ones, take it easy~ Marisa is mommy..."

"Yu... Mommy...?"

"Yu! It does sound like mommy!"


The little koyukkuris remembered the singing and the gentle voice that called out to them when they were still little fruits on the stalk.

But the figure before them doesn't match the melodious voice at all. It's still a bit scary... in the end only the eldest Alice went up to rub-rub with Marisa.


"Dage id eajy mommy~..."

"Take it easy little one..."

"Yu yu... big sis...?"

"Yuwaaaaa.... so scary..."


Almost as soon as Marisa could feel the rub-rub and began to rub back, Alice was gone.  She barely felt it.


"Yu? Little one, come back! Rub-rub more with mommy, ze!"

"Alice doeshn't want choo!  Mwommie's rub-rub is scary..!  Alice wantsh choo rub-rub with daddy!!"

"YUUOOOOOOOOO WHYYYYY!!!!"


Alice, desperate to change the situation, remembered about the food.


"M..Marisa!  Little ones haven't eaten yet, lets feed the little ones easy!"

"T...That's right!  Marisa totally forgot, ze!"


Marisa immediately knocked off the stalk and pushed it before the koyukkuris.  The koyukkuris swarmed to the little stalk and gobbled it up in no time.


"Munch~ Munch~ Happiness!!"

"This is a very eajy meal~!"


After the meal the koyukkuris went up to rub-rub with Alice, but Marisa's anticipation of rub-rub was going to be a letdown in the end.  The koyukkuris never came back to rub-rub with Marisa.


"Daddy rub-rub~"

"Alice is so full!  What a city sect meal!"

"Yu... little ones should rub-rub with mommy too!"

"Mawisha doesn't want choo!  Mommy ish too scary!!!"

"... Marisa is going for a walk easy, ze..."

"Yuuugyaaaaaa!! Little ones stop being so stubborn!!!  That's not a very city sect...Marisa wait easy..."


Suppressing her anger with all her might, Marisa quickly left the nest before she could burst out in anger and squash the little ones.  The only thing preventing this from happening was Marisa's solemn promise to take it easy for the sake of Reimu and her lost little ones.  She won't be able to take it easy anymore if she breaks down and kills her and Alice's little koyukkuris.


Nevertheless, a second shred of resentment.


Normally when koyukkuris are born, they stay at home with the mother until they are big enough to start hunting with their parents. However, these little koyukkuris decided to follow their father (Alice) out to hunt instead of being at home with Marisa.  With nothing else to do at home, Marisa decided to go with Alice and the koyukkuris to help hunt, as she did before her pregnancy.  However, the koyukkuris kept far away from Marisa.  Nevertheless, Marisa continued to help gather the food for the little ones.  The little koyukkuris are so voracious that Alice and Marisa had to gather several times the amount that they normally eat.


"Munch~ Munch~ Happinesss~!"
"Awice wantsh more mister berries!"
"Sho good! Dis shit's sho goooood!!"


Being the only yukkuri family in the forest, the yukkuris are privy to all that the forest has to offer in the fall harvest season.  However, koyukkuris have a weaker body and thinner skin, and a lower immune system.  Even with the plentiful nutrients and food, the inevitable was bound to happen.


One day on their way to the forest to pick berries, a sudden storm swept through the area.  If this was normal rain, they'd be able to reach the forest in time, but fall storms are known to be short and violent.  The sudden downpour caught the yukkuris off guard.


"Yu yu!? Mister rain ish coming down!!!"
"Yu!?  Mister rain sdop eajy!! Marisa won't be able to dage it eajy!!"
"Yu! Little ones, come hide in the forest easy!!"


Alice quickly darted across the open area with the three biggest koyukkuris, but the two smaller ones were falling behind.  Even though Marisa has been injured and moves slower, she's still much faster than the koyukkuris.  She looked back and noticed the koyukkuris lagging behind her.


"Little ones! Come hide in mommy's mouth!"

"YUEENNNN!! DADDY SABE MAWISHAAAAA!!!"

"Awice ish scaredddd!!!! Mommy go awayyyy!!!"

"YUUUGYAAAAA!!! Now's not the time to argue!!! If little ones stay in mister rain too long little ones won't be able to take it easy anymore!!! Don't take it easy and hurry up and hide in mommy's mouth!!!"


Marisa tried to scoop up the little koyukkuris into her mouth but they darted away from her in separate directions, crying and scared. Fall tempests are known for their power.  A huge amount of water can deluge an area in seconds, but they clear up extremely quickly.  Even humans will get soaked if they get caught out in a tempest for mere seconds.  While that's an inconvenience at most for people, it's downright deadly for yukkuris.


"YUEEENNNN!!! Dadddddyyy!! Sabe Mawishhaaaaa!!"

"Little ones listen to mommy easy!!! Pleaaaaseeee!!!!  At least hide under mommy's hat!!!!"

"Yu....?? A...Awice's misder foot!!! Please move eajy!!!  Mommy sabe Awiceee!!"

"YUEEEENNNNNN!!!! Mawisha's feet!!! Mawisha's eye-eye!!!! Mommmmyyy!!!!"

"YUOOOOOOOO LIDDLE ONEZZZZZ!!!!"


But it was too late.  The koyukkuris have already absorbed a lethal amount of water, and Marisa would die herself if she stayed out in the open for much longer.  She had to choose between the two koyukkuris, and then run to safety before she melts.


"... Mommy is sorry... only if little ones weren't so stubborn..."

"YUGGYAAAAA?!?!? MOMMMY DON'T LEAVE ALICEEEEE!!!  Alice... wanted... choo... dage id eajy.... more...."


Marisa darted into the forest, where Alice and the other koyukkuris were waiting anxiously.  A mixture of tears and rainwater has soaked Marisa's face, which has turned semi-transparent from all the water. She opened her mouth and the little Marisa flopped out.  Alice immediately rushed up to the Marisa to lick her, but the little Marisa squirmed in pain, unable to talk.  Alice would only notice later that Marisa's face has all but melted, her eyes missing and Marisa's cheeks sloshing over her mouth, covering it up completely.


"Yuuuu!! Liddle shish ish missing!!  Mommy??"

"Alice? Come out~! Alice~!!"

"Daddy!! Where's Awice??"


Alice looked around for the ko-Alice, and panicked when she couldn't find her.


"Yu?? Where's the other little one???  Marisa??"

"..... Little one couldn't make it... Marisa... Marisa is sorry..."

"Yu.... YUUUUUUU!?!!?  Yugyaaaa!!! Awicez babieeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!"

"Liddle shish!!!! YUEEENNNNN!!"

"YUAAAAAAAA!!  Marisa's liddle shishhhhh!!!"


The tempest had come and gone, but the little Alice's dying words will never leave Marisa.


Two days later, Alice's sister little Marisa would follow in her footsteps.  Her facial features melted and her feet effectively destroyed in the rain, little Marisa couldn't eat or walk, and died a slow painful death from starvation while her family surrounded her helplessly.  She could only twitch and cry with her eyeless sockets, and eventually that stopped too.  Alice buried little Marisa in a little grave not too far from her big sister's.


Chapter 4 Edit

There's a reason why yukkuris often wait until their offspring are big enough before taking them out for hunting lessons.  When the koyukkuris are still only a few weeks old, their athletic abilities are very weak because their skin has not had time to grow, so the skin is very thin and not very eslastic.  Normally, their outer shell would be made thicker by their age, much like shellfish and trees.  The skin would be compounded by new layers, rendering the yukkuris' skin lexible, stretchy, and more durable.  This in turn would allow yukkuris to jump and hop without hurting themselves. Alice's offspring, terrified of their mother, opted to go out foraging with Alice.  Of course, another inevitable event is waiting to happen. One day while hopping around in the yet unfamiliar surrounding areas, the remaining little Marisa tripped and sliced her feet open on the
rock.


"YUGAAAAAA!!! ID HURDSSS!!! Mawisha's foot-foot!!!!"

"It's ok little one, here mommy will lick-li-"

"YUGAAAA!!! Daddy come lick-lick Mawishaaa!!! Mawisha doesn't want mommy to lick-lick!!!"

"Marisa!! Don't be so rude to mommy!!  Marisa needs to be more city- sect like mommy!!"

"YUEEEENNNNN!!! Dadddyyyyyy!!!  It hurdddssss!!!"


It's Marisa's first time to be completely ignored.  Something inside Marisa snapped, and she almost felt as if she lost herself momentarily.


"Alice, bring the little ones home... Marisa will go hunting alone."

"Yu?  But Marisa can't move well..."

"Marisa will be fine! Marisa is the strongest, ze!"

"Yu.... Marisa..."
"... Marisa doesn't want to lose anymore little ones..."

"Alice understands... please be careful..."


Not wanting to lose little ones was the truth, but the reality is that Marisa wouldn't be able to take much more of the acidity from the little koyukkuris.  She was afraid that she'd kill the little koyukkuris, and Marisa thought that the best thing to do was to be left alone, and she was right in some sense.


However, in the next few days and weeks, the little koyukkuris grew more and more distant from Marisa.  Since Marisa had to hunt overtime to make up for Alice watching the little ones, she didn't have much time to spend with the koyukkuris.  Often she'd come home to drop off the food, only to make several more trips.  On top of not being able to hunt as well as she used to, she couldn't carry the fruits and nuts in her hat either because of the damage.  Therefore Marisa has to make multiple trips with her damaged legs to the same foraging area, wasting extreme amounts of time.  On top of this, Marisa had to search and gather hard nuts and seeds for the winter as well.  But this is just fine for Marisa.  She was deathly afraid of more acidic comments from the little koyukkuris, and feared she wouldn't be able to control herself the next time.  However, this also meant not much time to rub- rub with Alice.


Converse to what Marisa and Alice had before the little koyukkuris came about, Marisa couldn't take it easy at all... but it beats being ignored by the little ones.  Maybe if Marisa proves herself enough, the little ones will accept her for who she is instead of how she looks.


However, it never seemed this tiring when she was caring for Reimu and the koyukkuris

She'd come home to a chorus of "Welcome back daddy!" and a round of rub-rubs.

Gentle Reimu waiting at home, full of smiles.

Sometimes the little ones would make little presents for Marisa,

little circles made out of flowers and grasses.


These little koyukkuris never did anything like that.  Maybe to them, Marisa is just a food transporter.  Alice is the only shining beacon in this dreary life, her smile the only fuel for Marisa to keep going.  Resentment keeps building.  Yukkuris are not used to hard work, after all.

Marisa's initially high spirits from having new koyukkuris were all but gone.




Pretty soon, the Fall season was coming to an end.  The abundant harvest have slimmed down to just leftover nuts and seeds, with a few insects in between.  The wildflowers and tender grasses have mostly died, so today Marisa resorted to picking mushrooms for their main meal to make up for the lack of berries.


Today, Marisa found a treasure trove of wild mushrooms.  One of the trees in the forest has fallen and decayed in the past few months, and a variety of mushrooms were growing around the area.  Puffballs, morels, even some oyster mushrooms.  Normally this would be a feast for any yukkuri family...


"Mawisa wants misder berries..."

"Alice wants misder sweet-sweet flowers and butterflies!!  Mister mushrooms isn't city-sect at all!!"

"Munch~ Munch~ YUBLEEHHHHHH!!!"

"YUUOOOOOO WHY WOULD LIDDLE ONES SAY DATTTT!!!!"


There's another reason why most yukkuris have offspring during springtime.  It gives the koyukkuris ample time to grow and adapt to the various edible foods before the winter, so that they will not starve in the wintertime when only non-perishable foods like nuts and seeds can be stored.  If koyukkuris start off their lives by eating the spring harvest, then the fall harvest will seem like a feast. After all, knowing hardship is the best way to learn to appreciate what you have.


The little koyukkuris have had nothing but the sweet berries and nectar filled flowers from the fall harvest, and they have never known the different edible foods from Spring nor Summer.  Yukkuris by nature are attracted to sweet foods, and as a result of overindulging on berries, they've become accustomed to sweet foods.


"Yu yu~ Little ones should eat mister mushrooms too! Mister mushrooms are a very city-sect meal too... see? Munch~ Munch~ Happiness~!!"

"Munch~ Munch~... ptooiee!!!  Marisa can'd dage it eajy with misder mushroom!!!"

"Alice wantsh a more city-shect meal..."

"Yu yu.... little ones, mister winter is coming soon... there will be no more mister berries until mister winter is gone, so hang in there!"

"Yu, Alice can't take it eajy like this!!!"


Alice tossed a look at Marisa, who is equally clueless on how to get these fussy koyukkuris to eat mushrooms.  The supply of berries is gone and there's no way to get them anything else other than nuts, berries and mushrooms.  The winter supply stock is ready but the problem is getting them to eat it.


"Little ones need to eat mister mushrooms or little ones won't be able to take it easy anymore!"

"YUEEEENN!! Why would mommy shay that!?!?  Alice wantsh to dage it eajjjyyy!!!!"

"Marisa wantsh to dage id eajyyy!!!!!!"

"Mommy go find misder berries!!!!"
"Don't be so selfish little ones!! Mommy went through a lot of trouble just to find mister mushrooms!! Mommy and daddy are eating the same thing!!"

"Marisa wants schweet-schweets!!!"
"Alice too!!"

"It's not very city-sect to complain about such a little thing!! Mister winter will be here soon so little ones need to be ready too! Mommy is going to get angry if little ones don't eat up!!"

Begrudgingly, the little koyukkuris finally ate the mushrooms under the glare of their parents.

"Y...Yuuueennnn.... munch... munch.... not happiness.... at all.."


The lack of berries dramatically brought down the kinship between the parents and the koyukkuris.  A few times, the koyukkuris even threw up from eating a few particularly bitter pieces of mushroom.  However, slowly but surely, they were adapting to the taste of something other than sweet berries.  Marisa and Alice sighed with relief when they first finished a mushroom meal without complaints.  Even though the situation eventually turned out to be for the better, if Marisa and Alice had other yukkuris to consult before having koyukkuris or for parental advice, this might've been avoided.  Alas, the isolation costed them dearly.


The final days of Fall were spent gathering last minute provisions and sealing up the cave entrance.  Although Alice and Marisa thought that it was unusually warm for mister winter, they continued to prepare for the winter by carrying dirt, mud, grasses and various sized sticks and rocks to seal up the cave entrance.  Alice double checked provisions, and made extra bundles of grasses for the bedding.  Marisa labored tirelessly to seal up the entrance.  This would be her second Winter, the first was spent together with Reimu in that little nest high above this valley.  It seemed like it was so long ago that she met Reimu... but Marisa shook the thoughts from her head.  She needed to seal up the nest for her second family.


On the final day of Fall, Marisa peeked outside for one last time and sealed up the entrance with a small loose stone.  This stone could be removed from time to time to double check to see if Spring has come.


During the long months of winter hibernation, most yukkuris keep their activities to a minimum to avoid expending unnecessary energy.  By nature, most yukkuris will sleep for days at a time to conserve energy.  Food stores can't be replenished during this time, so any yukkuri that wind up running out of food will for certain die.  Most yukkuris use the time that they're awake to strengthen the parent- child bonds and teach them anything that can be passed down.  In the long winter months, it can get boring for the normally active yukkuris, so chatting is an essential way to pass the time.


This nest is a little different though.


During the winter, the koyukkuris have nowhere to hide in such a small nest.  Marisa's snuggled up next to Alice, leaving the koyukkuris nowhere to go if they want to sleep with daddy for the winter.


So scary.


Mommy's so scary.  Mommy's hat is not beautiful like little Marisa's hat.  Mommy has weird looking marks all over her body, and the big eye patch seems to be covering up something even more mysterious.  On top of that, mommy can't seem to jump and run as fast as daddy.  Compared to daddy, mommy is a whole world away in terms of the definition of "yukkuri".  How can daddy possibly take it easy with mommy?  Mommy is just.... so different.


After sealing up the entrance, mommy feels like such an overwhelming presence in the cave.  Mommy's much bigger than daddy, and it feels like mommy's presence alone could suffocate the koyukkuris.


"Yu, little ones, come next to daddy..."
"Yu.... "
"But... mommy is..."
"It's not very city-sect to keep avoiding mommy.  Little ones, come closer..."

The koyukkuris reluctantly came closer, and Marisa closed her eyes.

"Yu, little ones... mommy will teach little ones a song."
"Yu?"
"Yu~ Yu Yu Yu~~"


A gentle melody flowed throughout the cave.  A stirring melody for yukkuris, this brought up a bubbly feeling from deep within the koyukkuri's memories.


That's right.


A long time ago, when they couldn't see or talk yet, this melody was the only thing that would let them take it easy.

Mommy's constant voice.  Constant reassurance.

Mommy's song.

This easy easy song.


No matter how anxious the little koyukkuris were for one reason or another, this song would always accompany them and calm them down. A deep melodious voice that brings them nothing but ease.


For Marisa too, this is a song that's full of memories.


Reimu used to sing this to the little koyukkuris.  A song she said was passed down from her mother, and possibly from even longer back.  A song that would always calm their koyukkuris no matter how big of a temper tantrum they are throwing.


A song that Reimu taught her so long ago.  For some reason, Reimu's image floated up so clearly through Marisa's bean paste head.  As if she was approving of her singing.


Before they realized it, the little koyukkuris have gathered next to Marisa and Alice, and were quietly rocking back and forth with the song, gently rubbing up against Marisa unconsciously.

It's not that they hated mommy.  She's just so intimidating.  Looks so different, with all her scars and her scarred legs.

But come to think of it, mommy has done nothing but to try to help them take it easy.

Giving little Alice the most beautiful flower she could find. Fishing little sis Marisa out of the water when she slipped and fell.

Catching mister butterfly even though she can't move that well.

Come to think of it, mommy's reflexes are a lot sharper than daddy, and daddy would always ask mommy for advice on what to do or what they should eat.

What have they been doing all this time?  Screaming and crying whenever mommy came close to them, refusing to eat the hard picked mushrooms and demanding sweet berries and fruits.  When they had some time to calm down and sleep during the hibernation, some of these things became so clearly obvious. That's not a very city-sect way to treat their parents at all.

When the song was over and the little koyukkuris opened their eyes...


...maybe they saw mommy in a better light.


Just a little.


"Yu... little ones, take it easy~"
"""Dage id eajy~"""

Marisa smiled.

"Daddy has a story... little ones listen easy..."

For the first time in a long while, the little koyukkuris were close to Marisa.  Not quite close enough for a rub-rub, but close enough to feel Marisa's warmth.  A different warmth compared to daddy, such a familiar feel.

Marisa and Alice smiled at the little koyukkuris.  The winter is long, there will be enough time for them to get to know Marisa.

But first, Alice will let the little koyukkuris know how Marisa got her scars.

That night, the little koyukkuris matured a little.  Maybe.




The koyukkuris, now a bit bigger and spending more time with Marisa, aren't as afraid of her anymore.  Together they spent the rest of winter inside the cave singing, hibernating, and occasionally checking for the coming of Spring.


The strangest thing is, every time Marisa removed the stone to check the temperature outside, it was rarely cold.  The temperature remained at a brisk degree, never reaching the freezing temperature that she once knew.


One warm sunny day, Marisa again removed the rock to peer outside. What greeted her was the sight of small sprouts peeping up from the ground and small green buds of leaves forming on the trees in the distance.


Spring is here!


Marisa looked back at the koyukkuris, who have grown a bit larger during their winter hibernation and at Alice, who has now reached the full mature yukkuri size.  She went up to Alice to rub-rub her awake.


"Yu.... five more minutes..."

"Alice! Alice, wake up ze!! Mister Spring is here!"

"Yu.... really?  Little ones, wake up! Mister Spring is here!"

"Yuuuu.... Marisa can't eat anymore..."

"Good morning daddy!"

"Little ones take it easy!"

"""Take it easy!!!....zzz"""


A big round of groggy 'take it easy' to start off their glorious spring.  Alice and Marisa eventually removed the blockage of their cave to find something profoundly different.


There's a small stream before their cave.  The small stream previously further down the valley is now connected into the formerly dried riverbed.  Although the stream should be more properly labeled as a river now. Still, the cave is situated above the stream and is largely unaffected, this is still a rather surprising turn of events for the yukkuris.


"Yu?  Why is mister river here?"

"Yu yu?  Mister river?"


Alice and Marisa were confused by the recent change in topography, and they looked at each other and shrugged.  There's nothing to worry about, after all the stream is pretty far away from the cave entrance.  If anything, this made it more convenient for the koyukkuris to bathe themselves... although they need to be careful or they'd get washed away into the ocean.


"Well... It doesn't really matter if mister river is here! Little ones, lets go for a walk!"

"Yuyu~! Walk easy~ easy~"

"Marisa wants to sunbathe!!"

"Yufufu, little ones take it easy!"


The first thing to do after a long winter is to double check the vegetation around the area.  Marisa and Alice walked towards the direction of the forest, and found to their relief that the patch of forest where they used to forage was still accessible.  The forest was starting to bloom with early spring life, and little sprouts of flowers, grasses and tender leave bud were everywhere.  Although these are no berries, after a winter with just nuts and seeds, the koyukkuris were eager to try just about anything.


In a few weeks, there would be enough fresh delicious food for the yukkuris.  Marisa looked around, surveying the land.  She found a tree that had been cut, and some sweet sap was leaking out, attracting some insects like caterpillars and beetles.  It's a bit out of reach for the koyukkuris though.


"Yu yu! Little ones, come ride on Mommy's hat, ze!  There's some sweet- sweets here!"

"Yuyuyu!?!? Mister sweet-sweets!!"

"Alice wants sweet-sweets too!!"

"Wait in line little ones, there's enough for everyone, ze!"


Marisa bent low to prop the little koyukkuris up to where the sweet sap from the tree is flowing out.  As a bonus, the little koyukkuris could eat the bugs that are also feasting on the sap as well.


""""Munch~ Munch~ Happinessss!!!""""


This was a great meal after a long winter, and Marisa enjoyed a long- awaited parent-child time.   The koyukkuris have finally understood what their parents were trying to teach them during the fall.  Indeed, hardships do make the rewards ever sweeter.  The koyukkuris went up to both Alice and Marisa to rub-rub after the meal.  Marisa, surprised by the gesture, almost cried with happiness.


The koyukkuris just needed some time to adjust, Marisa thought to herself.   Her heart warmed up to the koyukkuris rubbing up against her, whom a few months ago were so deathly afraid of her that it seemed impossible that they'd ever rub-rub with her.  She rubbed them back vigorously, the long awaited rub-rub from the little ones, perfected with a delicious meal of tree sap and mister bugs.


Everything will be ok now... Marisa will bring these little ones to the forest when they're a bit bigger and teach them how to hunt. Marisa has so many tricks that she wanted to show the little ko- Marisa.  How to cross the river, how to carry food in her hat... even if she can no longer do those things, she can still pass on the knowledge.  Alice can teach the little Alices how to be city-sect and where to find the best berries, how to make a circlet out of flowers and where to look for the medicine grasses in case anybody got hurt. Eventually the koyukkuris will leave the nest and form little nests of their own, and this valley will be populated with yukkuris... and they will be amongst family always.


Harboring happy thoughts about the future, the yukkuri family sunbathed and played near the stream all day.  The parents taught the koyukkuris the dangers of mister river and how to clean themselves without absorbing too much water.  Little Marisa was especially excited about hearing how she can cross the river on her hat when she's older.




The next day the yukkuris awoke to the sound of rain.  Heavy raindrops fell throughout the day, and the bored little koyukkuris could do nothing except roll around the cave and try to keep themselves occupied with rub-rubs.


"It sure is raining a lot, ze..."

"Yu, Alice hopes mister rain stops soon... There's not too much food left."


But the rain didn't stop for three days.  By the end of the third day, most of the food they've stored has run out.  The next day Marisa peeked her head out, enjoying the refreshing air for once.  The koyukkuris piled out of the cave, eager for a meal.

However, another unexpected event.


"Yu?  Does mister river look bigger?"

"Yu yu!! Mister river has gotten bigger!!"


Maybe it was from the rain for the past three days, but the river has swollen up and has gotten much closer to their cave nest.  Before it was more fitting to call this a stream, but now the dried riverbed is for sure, a large river.  Looking around the area, Marisa could see the little stream that she and Alice used to bathe at has turned into a wide river, swallowing the shrubs and grasses that used to surround the stream.   The river flowed into the dried riverbed, which is now just a few meters away from the cave.


"Yu... what do we do?"

"Yu... le...lets go look for food first, ze!"


The yukkuri family walked away from the cave nest, uncertain about the ramifications of the river.  They foraged into the forest again, and gathered up the food they needed plus more just in case it started raining again.  That night, Alice and Marisa decided they would go searching for another suitable place to live as soon as possible.  The day was unusually warm for spring, but the yukkuris never noticed, being the dull creatures they are.


That night, in their sleep, the yukkuris were jolted awake by a rumbling sound.


"Yuyuyu?? What's going on?? Why is mister floor shaking?"

"Yuyu! Marisa will go out and check!!"

"Yu yu yu!! What's happening?  Mommy?"

"Stay here with daddy little ones, mommy will YURBBURRLEGUEGUGU!?!?!?"

"YUGYAAAA!!! MISDER WATERRRR GO AWAYYYYYY!!!"


A torrent of water flooded through the cave, instantly slamming Marisa into the backside of the cave and back outside.  Alice was spun through the cave and washed out along with another little Alice was submerged in water.  Both big and small Alices were carried out by the same torrent that washed her father away.


The little pebbles, shiny rocks, other little treasure that Alice and the little koyukkuris collected over the months were washed out as well.  The warm bedding that Alice spent many days and nights perfecting, the little stone table that they ate their meals on, and a fairly quaint little cabinet made out of sticks and dried leaf coverings.  The little medicine bag made of big leaves and filled with remedies for cuts, bruises and food poisoning; the little grass buds, bugs, and the first flower that they found for the spring.  The carefully preserved dried nuts and flower seeds that they were saving for an emergency.


All gone forever.


One of the little ko-Alice was slammed into the back wall brutally by the force of the torrent.  She splattered against the back wall without ever knowing what was going on, leaving a little custard stain with the skin sloshing down to be swept away by the raging river. Maybe she was the luckiest of all the yukkuris.  Her big sis was not so fortunate.


Big sis Alice was dragged around the bottom of the cave by the torrent, which carried her out and scraping her against the various sharp rocks of the river bed.  Alice has never felt such unbelievable pain ever since she was born, and she screamed into the flood, the only conduit being little bubbles that streamed to the surface.  She tumbled about the bottom of the river, screaming into the water, each tumble cutting open huge gashes in her skin and spilling forward lethal amounts of custard with each second.  The last thing that flashed before her eyes was a huge flat surface approaching her, her plans to make a little flower circlet for mommy and daddy later in the Spring smashed along with her entire body against the unforgiving rock.  A split second later, the water washed away the flapping skin, and the custard that made up the essence of the artistic little yukkuri was dispersed throughout the river.


Little Marisa gurgled in the water, and remembered about her hat and how mommy told her she can cross the river in it.  She flipped her hat upside down and she floated to the surface, wet and soaked to the core but alive.  Little Marisa gasped for air as she was carried out along with the current, and saw her father Alice struggling in the flood.


"YUGRUGRUGRGEGEGEGEE!!! MAWIZA SABE AWICEEEEE!!! YUBRUBRBUEUEU"

"Dadddyyyyy!! Mawisha will sabe youuuuu!!!  Yugyaaa!?! How does Marisa moveeee!?!?!"

"YUGRURGURGEGLEGELGE!!! MAWIZAAAAAA!!! WHERE ARE YOUUUUUUGRUGRUR"


While it's true that Marisa can float in the water using her hat, but she never learned about how to control her actions in the water. Without a peddle or leaf that she can use to redirect herself, all she can do is float with the current.  She floated right past her father Alice, screaming and looking on helplessly as Alice flapped and gurgled in the raging torrent, eventually sinking to the bottom of the river to melt away into nothing.


Less than 5 minutes has passed since the raging river swept through the little nest.  Father Alice has melted into the river along with her two little Alices, and mother Marisa is nowhere to be seen.


"YUUU!!! MWOMMIEEEE!!!! DADDIEEEEE!!! Big shisssssshhhh!!!! YUEEEEENNNNN!!!"


Little Marisa wailed as she floated down the river, carried by the whims of the now calmer river.  Slowly she began to hear a sound she has never heard before.  A much louder rumble, like water falling through the air... A shiver shook Marisa to the beanpaste core.

When the riverbed is dry, the end of the river ended in a cliff overlooking the sea.  When there's a river, the river ended in a tremendous waterfall leading into the same sea.


"YUGYAAAAA!!! ITS MISDER WADERFALLLLLL!!!!"


---


"Yu yu! Why is misder water flying?"
"Yu! This is called "mister waterfall!  It's very dangerous so don't go near it!!  Little one should be careful near mister water or little one won't be able to take it easy anymore!"
"Yuhehehe!! Mawiza will never be caught in a misder waterfall, ze!!  "


---


Marisa frantically tried to wriggle herself to change the direction that she was flowing in.  Even humans have a hard time fighting against the current, how could a small manju even attempt to fight the forces of nature?

Marisa lost her balance and sank into the water, losing her hat in the process.  She gurgled and tried to scream, but only bubbles came out. All of a sudden, she was thrusted into the air, her little hat trailing behind her.


"Yu yu!! It feels like flying~!"


And indeed she was flying.  The end of the waterfall.


"WHERE IZ MISDER FLOOORRRRRR!!!!!!!! YUGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-"


Splat.


Little Marisa all but disintegrated when she hit the floor of sea water.  Her little hat trailed behind her, falling with much more grace than a flying manju ever could.


Chapter 5 Edit

Yu... where.... is Mawiza...”


Not too far from the river, mommy Marisa laid on the riverbank.  The bring morning sun stung her eyes.  Her whole entire body was covered in gashes, small cuts, and her hat is missing.  Marisa struggled to sit up straight to get a better grasp of the situation, and with great difficulty managed to do so.  Her mouth dropped open when she saw what was before her.


She was laying on a riverbank, a familiar riverbank that she and Alice had walked on the way to the forest.  Back then the riverbank was completely dry, but before Marisa was a wide river that completely enveloped the dry riverbed that they made their home.  Where Marisa landed wasn't too far from where their cave nest was, and she frantically looked around in an attempt to gather her bearings.


There was the throng of bushes where Marisa and Alice found the sticks that covered up the cave entrance.  A bit further down, a small hole dug by Alice and Marisa in order to gather enough dirt and mud to seal the winter cave.  Judging by the distance to the forest, the nest should be very close by.


Yet there was only a small whirlpool where the nest should be.  The riverbed is completely flooded, leaving absolutely no trace of where the little cave would've been.


Marisa screamed.


“YUGYAAAAAAAAA!!!! ALICEEEEEE!!! BAWIZZAAAAAA!! LIDDLE ONEZZZZZ!!! Where is everyoneeeeee?!!?!”


They must've been swept away by the river.  Marisa looked at the direction of the river flow, and a terrifying fact flowed slowly through her bean paste brain.

There was a cliff at the end of the riverbed.

What happens when a river heads over a cliff?


Mister waterfall.


Mister waterfall.


Mister waterfall.

Mister waterfall.

Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall.

Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall.

Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall.

Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall.

Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall.

Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall.

Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall.

Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall. Mister waterfall.


“YUGYAAA!!! ALICEEEE!!!”


Marisa darted along the riverbank with strength she didn't know she had, completely oblivious to the fact that her hat was missing.  She yelled and screamed with all her might, cutting herself open in several more places on the sharp jagged rocks covering the riverbank. She ran up and down the riverbank several times, screaming and yelling Alice and the little one's names.


Until she noticed something lying on the river bank.


A small red barrette.  Alice's barrette. What was it doing there?  How could this have gotten separated from Alice?  Where's Alice?


Where are the little ones?


A suddenly realization beamed through Marisa's head.


Gone.


The sudden flood took everything from Marisa.  There was no way anybody could've survived that surge of water.


The only reason Marisa even survived was due to sheer chance.  Since Marisa was at the entrance of the cave, she was not swirled in by the whirlpool that formed when the water entered the cave.  A wall of water flung her against the wall of the caves and back out, and she was tossed across the river and onto the not yet flooded riverbank, where she landed just out of reach of the water.  Alice and all the little ones were completely inside the cave when the surge hit, and thus they were all dragged under when the conditions of the cave and the raging water formed a whirlpool.


Marisa could not have known or understand these natural conditions.


All she knows is that nothing could've survived that.


She's right, of course.


Just when things were finally warming up between the koyukkuris and Marisa.  Just when the winter was finally over, and Marisa was able to gain the acceptance of the koyukkuris.  She hasn't had the chance to teach the koyukkuris how to hunt, where to look for mister berries, and she hasn't had the chance to teach little ko-Marisa how to use her hat and a paddle to cross the river.  She would not be able to play bounce-bounce with the koyukkuris on her tummy or lift them up high on her hat so they can feel like they were flying. The koyukkuris never had a chance to see the beautiful blooming flowers of spring, nor taste the humid air and observe the awe of a summer monsoon.


They would never be able to head out to form families of their own, learn how to build a home, nor marry and have little koyukkuris of their own.  All these things that make a yukkuri yukkuri, they never will experience.  It would not be too harsh to say that they have died without taking it easy.


All the easy things Marisa has been looking forward to are now gone.


Alice is gone.

Little ones are gone.

Reimu is gone.  Little ones are gone.

Both times, Marisa has been the sole survivor.

Everything she has cherished has been taken from her a second time.


“Yu...Yuhee.....Yuhehehehehe.... Marisa.... is all alone again... ze....”


Marisa dragged herself next to a tree, and sat down.  She never noticed the trail of bean paste behind her from all her running.  Her mind foggy, thoughts of her yu-life flashed before her.  How did it come to this?  Marisa didn't do anything wrong... She worked hard to provide Reimu and her little ones with food and shelter.  She worked hard to regain her abilities to move and hunt so she can help Alice take it easy.  She did everything she could for the little koyukkuris in hopes of being able to take it easy with them.


Come to think of it, she never really took it easy.


Her vision was getting darker.  Is it night already?


“Marisa... is so tired... ze.... Marisa will take a quick nap.... and then look for Alice... and ... little ones....ze...”


Convincing herself, Marisa closed her eyes. She will not have a third time to lose everything.


“...risa...”

“....sa...”

“....Ma....sa...”

“...Marisa....”

“....Marisa!!!”

“Yuyu!?”

“Marisa is such a sleepy head!! Reimu has been calling Marisa for the past ten minutes!!”

“Yuyuyu!?!? Reimu!!??”

“Of course Reimu is Reimu!! Did Marisa oversleep and fry her paste!?!”


A pigtail across the face.


“NHOOOO REIMMUUUUUU BAWIZA MISSED YOUUUU”

“M..Marisa!?!?! Little ones are watching...!!! Stop it easy!!!”

“Mommy... Daddy is acting strange, ze....”

“Daddy....?”
“Ohohoho... Perhaps Alice should come back later?”

“NHOOOO ALICEEEEEEEEE BAWIZA MISSED YOU TOOOOO”

“M..Marisa!?!?  Alice is happy that Marisa feels this way but...”

“Yupunnnn!!! Sdop id eajy!! Uncle Bawiza is hurding mommy!!”

“Marisa!?! What is Marisa doing to Alice!??!!?  Marisa you dirty dog!!!”

“....!!”

“...!??!”

“.....”

“...”


And Marisa's bean paste finally stopped leaking.



The dry riverbed that Alice and Marisa lived in was not truly a dry riverbed.  There are many such instances of these type of riverbeds that only get filled up during early spring, when the mountain snow melts from the warm spring temperature.  The stream that Marisa and Alice initially saw during the summer was a small stream that fed on melted snow cap water from the mountains, so the riverbed dries up during summer when the snow cap reserves on the mountain has all melted.  During the winter time, the cliffs and mountain absorbs most of the snow, and thus they build up large reserve of frozen water. The winter was unusually warm because not much of the cold air makes it down to the bottom of the ravine, due to the cliffs and mountain blocking most of it.  Eventually during early spring, the snow will melt and be fed into the stream, which will expand to several times its normal size and completely fill up the dry riverbed.


One unusually warm day in spring is enough to melt the snow to a degree that it would trigger a flash flood, which flushed out Alice and Marisa's unfortunate family.  In reality, no large animals live here because of this unusual and deadly natural formation.


Only if the yukkuris had a more knowledgeable presence such as Patchouli, or a DOS to help them secure a safer place to live.


Isolation from the rest of the yukkuris was the first fatal step. This led to a deficiency of ideas and abilities, and ignorance. Ignorance of the dangers of the area was a second mistake.  Without the help from knowledgeable yukkuris, they would've never realized that this area could've been dangerous. Not realizing what the lack of large animals and predators meant. Only areas that are populated with a variety of wildlife could have signaled a stable environment to live in.


If one thing was out of place, it would start a chain reaction that leads to the destruction of the yukkuri.  This is the reason why yukkuris form large communities, because they cannot survive well on their own.


It was Marisa and Alice's misfortune to have landed in this Ravine.


The area is not a yukkuri paradise, it is a natural death trap.


They are not the first yukkuris to stumble upon this paradise.




They will not be the last.

Spring alternate path Edit

Want to take it easy.

Can't take it easy with little ones.

Want to take it easy.

Just want to be alone with Alice.

Where's Reimu?

Marisa misses the little ones.

Want to take it easy.

easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy easy.

Take it easy.

For Alice.

For Reimu.  For little ones.

Can't take it easy with these little ones.

Reimu.
Reimu.
Reimu.
Reimu.
Reimu.


Marisa misses Reimu.


Marisa will live for Reimu's sake.  For little ones.  For Alice.


Chaotic thoughts swirled through Marisa's head all throughout winter. Not being able to rub-rub with the koyukkuris and not being able to get away from the source of her uneasiness slowly chipped away at Marisa.


When Spring finally arrived one sunny day, Marisa all but burst out of the cave.  Peeking outside of the cave to a scene of green sprouts dotting the barren trees and the ground, Marisa eagerly unblocked the cave entrance and hopped outside with a speed she never knew she had.


Spring is finally here!


Marisa took a deep breath.  Such a welcoming sweetness compared to the stale bitter air in the cave.   Marisa looked around and was surprised immediately by sloshing sound of water so close to the nest.


Why is mister river here?


Sure enough, there was a small stream before their cave now.  What was a completely dry riverbed filled with rocks of various sizes now has a small stream running through the deepest part of the riverbed.  The stream is shallow enough that even a yukkuri can walk across it with no problem, but the little koyukkuris might have some problems.


Marisa shook her head.  Maybe it's better to get another opinion from Alice.  Marisa jumped back to the cave and called out.


"Take it easy!!"

"Yu.... take... it easy...."

"Yu... chake id... eajy..."

""Dage id eajy!!""

"Alice, come with Marisa, ze!"

"Yu....  What's wrong Marisa??  Little ones wait here easy... daddy will be right back!"

"Yu?  Whatsh wrong daddie?"

"Daddie dage it eajy!"


Marisa dragged Alice out of the nest, and motioned to the river.


"Does Alice remember mister river being here, ze?"

"Yu yu??  Mister river?  Alice doesn't remember mister river being so close..."

"So Marisa isn't going crazy, ze!!"

"Yufufufu, of course not Marisa!!"


A gentle spring breeze.


Marisa closed her eyes.  What an easy feeling.  She hasn't felt this way in ages.  She finally got some alone time with Alice, something she couldn't do ever since the koyukkuris were born, since Alice had to take care of the little ones.

Something that should've let Marisa take it easy turned out for the worse. Marisa couldn't take it easy with the little ones around at all.


All the constant rejection.


But they're not here right now?  Objects of Marisa's misery.


"Yu!! Alice, lets go for a walk, ze!!"

"Yu?  But the little ones..."

"It'll be a quick walk, ze!! Marisa and Alice should check to see if there's food, ze!"

"Yu... Ok but only for a little bit!"


So Alice and Marisa hopped off in the direction of the forest.  After a long winter, sometimes the vegetation around the area has shifted. Some trees may have died during winter, other shrubs may no longer be able to bear fruit, lots of little things that can change a yukkuri's foraging habits.  Of course, yukkuris don't think about something as complicated as the growth pattern of the local flora.  They're just looking to see where they can eat.


Pretty soon, they found something extraordinary.  Amidst the forest was a tree that had been cut, and some sweet sap was leaking out.  The sap attracted various types of insects, which made up a big part of a yukkuri's diet.  The sap itself is also attractive to yukkuris since it is naturally sweet, as well as containing a variety of minerals and nutrients.


"Yu yu!! Mister tree sap!!"

"Yu!! Mister sweet-sweets!"


Marisa and Alice hopped over to the tree happily gobbled up some of the insects that were too slow to get away from the yukkuris.  They happily licked up the gooey sap, which had such a sticky consistency that their tongues almost got stuck to the tree.


""Munch~ Munch~ Happiness~~!!!!""

"What a city-sect meal~!  Little .... yu? Right! Little ones!! Marisa, lets head back!"


Marisa made a disgusted face.


"Yu~! Don't give Alice that look!!  Little ones are still back at the nest!! Alice needs to check up on the little ones!!"

"... Marisa will stay out here longer, ze!! Marisa will look around to see if there are other things to eat!"

"Yu... come back soon, Marisa!  Alice will bring back little ones here to mister sweet-sweet!!"

"Yu..."



When Alice got back to the nest, she was greeted with a familiar "crunch-crunch" sound that she heard all throughout winter.  The koyukkuris were eating the last of the dried nuts and seeds that was leftover from the winter provisions.


"Yu~! Daddy ish back~!"

"Welcome back daddy~!"

"Yu~! Daddy is home~!  Take it easy~!"

"""Dage id eajy~!!"""


Alice went up to the little koyukkuris for a rub-rub, and they happily obliged.


"Yu yu?  What's that smell?"


One of the koyukkuris smelled something and began sniffing around. The koyukkuri sniffed all around Alice, and eventually stopped before some leftover sap on the edge of Alice's mouth.


"Yu yu~!? Daddy smells like misder sweet-sweets!!"

"Yu yu??  Misder Shweet-shweets?!?  Alice wantsh misder shweet-shweets too!!!"

"Daddy ish so mean!! Daddy ate sweet-sweets and didn't save any for Marisa!!!"

"YUGIIIIII!!~!! AWICE WANTSH MISDER SWEET-SWEETS!!!!~!!"


The rest of the koyukkuris squeezed up next to Alice and began whining and rolling on the floor, crying and screaming about sweet-sweets.


"Yu!! Little ones, there are lots of sweet-sweets in the forest!! Mommy and daddy found lots on mister tree!!"

"Yuuu.... really?"

"Marisha wantsh misder sweet-sweets!!"

"Yu! Follow daddy easy!! Be sure to thank mommy properly too!! Mommy put in just as much effort for little ones!!"

"Yu..."

"Understood easy..."


The koyukkuris reluctantly agreed, and then followed Alice out to the forest in a single file like little ducklings following the mother goose.


Having nothing besides dry tasteless seeds all winter has undoubtedly worked up the koyukkuri's appetite for sweet-sweets, thought Alice. Although mister tree sap is not like the plump juicy berries in the fall, it is still a welcoming change after a winter's worth of seeds.


"Yu~! Marisa wants to eat lots and lots of mister sweet-sweets!!"

"Alice ish the big shish so Alice should go first!!"

"Yu~! City-shect~ City-shect~"


The little koyukkuris sung all the way to the tree.  However, when they got there...


"Yu...yu....yu???  Alice is sure this is the right place..."

"Whatsh wrong daddy?"

"Mawisha wantsh misder shweet-shweets~! Don't hide and come out~!"


Alice looked at the tree that she and Marisa were at before, but there's no signs of the gooey tree from before.  The tree is almost completely clean of both sap and insects now, and Marisa is nowhere to be seen either.  Only a tiny bit of sap is still left, right on the cut, but it's way too high for the koyukkuris to reach.  Alice doesn't have a hat so it's hard for the koyukkuris to ride on her head and reach the sap as well.  Not to mention there is barely enough for any of the yukkuris here.


"Y...Yu..... there's only a little bit of mister sweet-sweet left..."

"YUUUUUU???"

"But... what about Alice???  Alice's misder shweet-shweet!!!"

"Only if Daddy didn't eat everything, ze!!  It's all daddy's fault~!!!"

"Little ones calm down!! There's some mister sweet-sweets left but there's only a little bit left..."

"Alice ish the big shish so Alice should have it!!"

"What about Alice!?~~ Alice wantsh misder sweet-sweets too~!!"

"Marisa should be the one to have misder shweet-shweets, ze!! Marisa is the youngest so big shish should pamper Marisa!! PUFF!"


The little koyukkuris puffed up at each other, refusing to back down. Every little yukkuri feels entitled to the sweet-sweets at hand, and with so little left they all know if their sister gets it, then there won't be any left for them.


"Little ones, cut it out!!!  Daddy is going to get angry!!!"


Alice puffed up too.  An entirely different level from the koyukkuris.  Puff-puff for yukkuris is used as a mechanism of defense, this increases their body size and makes the yukkuris look larger than they actually are.  Similar to a puffer fish, or a fan-throated lizard to scare off would be predators.  In nature, most smaller predators tend to shy away from things that are bigger than they are, and this is a similar mechanism that exploits those habits.


From the koyukkuris point of view, daddy just became several times bigger and much more intimidating.


"YUUUENNNN~!!! Awice ish scareeeed!!"

"YUGIIIIII~!!"

"Little ones take it easy!! Alice should be nicer to little sis!! It's not very city-sect!!  Little one will get mister sweet-sweets!"

"Y...Yuuuuuuuuu....."

"A...Alice undershtands..."

"Yuheheh~!! Thank you big shish!!!"

"Little one climb up on daddy...."


In reality, Alice is partial to the little Marisa because she so resembles her love, Marisa.  She always imagined what Marisa would look like without all those scars and wounds, and little Marisa gave a glimpse into how handsome Marisa was.  Alice beamed brightly and bent down as low as she could, and little Marisa scampered up on top of Alice's head.  Without a hat to balance little Marisa, Marisa slipped and fell off a few times, hitting the floor with a thud.  Tears came to little Marisa's eyes, but the allure of sweet-sweets is too strong.  Her sisters snickered at Marisa's inelegant falls, jealous that daddy is giving her such preferential treatment.


Eventually Marisa managed to climb on top of Alice's head, and she balanced herself carefully as Alice slowly stretched herself to where the big cut on the tree is.  Alice is not as big as Marisa is, and she has to stretch herself to the limit just for Marisa to reach the cut.


"Wow~! Daddy can really stretch-stretch~!"

"Yuuuueee!!! So cool~!!!"


A small glob of sweet tree sap is still there, a sweet delicacy for yukkuris.  Marisa's eyes glittered at the glob, and she eagerly stuck her tongue out.  She licked the small glob a few times cautiously, and a gentle sweetness slowly spread throughout her mouth.


"H...Happiness~~!!!! Sho good~!! This shit's sho good~!!!"


Marisa eagerly licked the sap like a lollipop, and her older sisters looked on at Marisa with jealousy.  Meanwhile, Alice is doing her best to keep the little Marisa still, but yukkuris are not meant to stretch for very long.


"Y..Yu... Little one, daddy needs some rest..."

"....~!!!"

"Yu? Little one... daddy is going to stop stretch-stretch for a little bit...."


Alice slowly stopped stretching, but she felt little Marisa's body leaving the top of her head as she did.  Confused, she looked up.


Little Marisa is still there.


"Yu?! Liddle shish ish flying~!?"
"Yu yu~!?  Marisha, dage it eajy~!"
"Yu! Little one is flying~!?"
"Yusheheeehughuuuu---YUGIIII???"


Marisa got too greedy and stuck her whole entire tongue into the small ball of sap.  Ordinarily this is not a problem, as there is usually a lot of sap so the yukkuris can lick up the runoffs.  But there's so little sap left on this tree that whatever's left is fairly solidified and extremely sticky, so the result of Marisa sticking her whole tongue onto the sap was that she got glued onto the tree.


"YUGIIIII!!! THEB MWIEHAAAAA!!!!"

"YUUUU~!!! Little one!!! Daddy will save Marisaaaa!!!"

Alice stretched up and began to pull on little Marisa.

"YUGGGIIIII!!! ID HURDDDDDDDDDDD!!!"

"YUUU!! HYUUUU!! Hang in there little one, daddy will pull little one out!!"


Pull. Pull. Snap.


Little Marisa came loose with a wet ripping sound.  Alice lost her balance and fell backwards, cushioning Marisa's fall with her own belly.


"Yu~! Little one take it....YUGYAAA!?!?!"


Marisa is laying on Alice's belly, her eyes rolled back and twitching.  A mixture of her bean paste and drool slowly collected on Alice's belly.  Alice took a look at the tree and noticed a little flab still on the tree.


Marisa's tongue is still there.  It's been ripped completely out of Marisa's mouth.  She won't be able to speak ever again if she lives.


"YUGYAAAA!! Liddle one dage it eajjjyyy!!!! DAGE ID EAJJJYYY!!!"

"Yufufu!! That'sh what happensh to yukkuris that can't dage id eajy!"

"Yuheheh! Garbage little shish should just die eajy!"

"YUUUOOOOO WHAT ARE LIDDLE ONES SAYINNG TO YOUR LIDDLE SISDERRRR!!?!"


Marisa's big sisters gloated at the misfortune that befell their own little sister, while Alice kept on licking and rubbing Marisa in hopes that she will wake up.



That night, it began to rain hard.  Alice tried to nurse little Marisa's wounds but little Marisa kept fading in and out of consciousness.  Obviously there was not enough food left in the storage, the little koyukkuris ate it all during the day while Alice and Marisa were out.  So they cried and whined while Alice tried to feed little Marisa some herbs.


"Alice can't dage it eajjjyy!!! Want to eaaat!!!"

"Thish ish not a very city-shect way to treat Alice~!!"


For the very first time Alice is losing patience with her little koyukkuris.  Before she could scream at the little koyukkuris, Marisa barged into the nest, soaked from head to foot.


"Marisa is home, ze!  Take it easy!!"

""Chake id eajy!""

"Take it easy!!   Yu yu!! Where has Marisa been!?!?"

"Mister rain started coming down all of a sudden, ze!! Marisa had to wait until mister rain stopped for a little bit!!"


Marisa glanced at the unconscious little Marisa, and looked at Alice.


"A..Alice doesn't know what happened!! One minute little one was munch~ munch~ on the sap and then little one couldn't take it easy anymore!!"

"Yu... is that so, ze."

"Yu!!! Marisa help Alice!!"

"Yu... even if Alice says that, Marisa doesn't know anything about mister medicine, ze."

"Yu yu yu...."


Marisa shook the water off her hat uncaringly and went to sit down in her straw.  The little koyukkuri Alices looked at Marisa expectantly.


"Yu? What do little ones want, ze?"

"Alice ish hungwy!!"

"Alice wantsh mister munch-munch!~"

"Yu?  Sorry, Marisa couldn't find anything, ze."

"YUUUUUUU!?!?!"

"WHHYYYYYYYY!?!?!"

"Yuu...!! Mommy already said mister rain came down, ze!  Stop asking easy!!"

"YUUEEENNNNN!! BUT ALICE--"

" YUGEEEEEE!!!  Little ones be quiet!!! Daddy is trying to save your little sister!!!  "


Marisa and Alice both barked at the little koyukkuris, and they backed away, confused, scared, and hungry.  Alice was too distraught trying to mend little Marisa to notice the big fat lies Marisa was telling.


Marisa was knowledgeable enough with the medical herbs.  After all, she had lived so many months with her injuries that she had to have known something to be able to treat them properly. That and not being able to find food.  


Both lies.


Alice already had a big meal with Marisa earlier in the day, protein rich bugs and the sweet tree sap.  Marisa went back to clean up the tree after Alice left, and was able to find some early sprouting tender leaf buds, baby greens, as well as some rare morel mushrooms. She had a feast by herself in the forest, and started to head back right before it was raining, but got caught when it started raining hard.


As a result, Marisa and Alice had big full stomachs while the little koyukkuris were starving for food after only eating dried seeds and nuts.


But they also wouldn't know that the rain wouldn't stop for three whole days.  They didn't prepare the whole day, so they would be without food for the next three days.  Had they helped each other out, they would've had ample time to collect food for the rest of the day before it started raining.


But the inability to tolerate each other will cost them dearly.



Everyday Marisa peeked outside, her restlessness palpable.  When the rain finally stopped, the hungry and starving yukkuris piled out of the nest only to be greeted by a wide river.


"Yu yu yu!?! Mister... river!??"

"Yu... Marisa, does mister river look bigger?!"


A big wide river has replaced the little stream at the base of their nest.  However, the yukkuris were a bit too famished to care.  They slowly walked along the riverbank towards the forest, their one and only foraging ground.


"Yu yu??! Was mister river here before?"

"Yu... Alice is sure that mister river was further away...?"

"Yuuuuuu, who cares about mishter river... Alice wantsh to munch munch..."


Famished from three days without eating, the yukkuris gorged themselves on anything they could find.  Sprouts, grasses, and any budding plants in the area.  Tender leaves from the shrubs and the moss growing on the back of mister rock all made a meal for these hungry yukkuris.  As a result of not being able to eat for three days, the yukkuris took a lot longer than usual to forage.


By the time they finished foraging for food in the forest, it had already gotten late.  Marisa spent most of the time in the forest by herself, the little mute Marsia and the two koyukkuri Alices foraging alongside Alice.


"Yu yu, Alice wantsh shweet sh....yu?"


Alice noticed something.


A small rough, but shining rock.  Alice happily bounced towards it.


"Yu yu yu!! Alice found a treasure!!"

"Yu? Little one, don't go wander off too far... daddy still needs to gather food for tomorrow..."


A small rough gem, something rarely ever found in the wilds.  Some unknown force of nature has chipped away at some of the outer layer, revealing a shade of crimson red that would catch the eye of any yukkuri.  Alice happily picked it up and showed it off to her little sisters.


"Yu yu!! Look, this is Alice's city sect treasure!"

"Yuuuuu~!! Mister shiny shiny is so pretty!"

".....!!!"


Little Marisa seems especially intrigued by the little rock, and moved forward closer to it.  However, her big sisters rammed into her and bumped her away.  Marisa's tearful eyes and mute cry delivered more emotion than screams ever could.


"Country bumpkinsh don't ged to play with Alice's treasure!"

"Dirty Marisha is just like dirty mommy! Not city schect at all!!"

"...(WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAAAAT?!?!?)....!!!"


The two little Alices bumped little Marisa further and further away from the shiny gem, and then went back to rubbing and looking at the little piece of jewel.   Marisa's tears flowed freely down her cheeks, the bruises in her little bean paste heart hurting much more than the ones left by her big sisters.


"Little ones, daddy is back!! Yu yu?  What a city-sect treasure! Where did little ones find this?"

"Ishn't it pretty? Alice found it all by herself!!"

"Big shish ish sho amazing!!"


Alices are naturally attracted to gems and shiny things.  Seeing such a rare jewel for the first time, Alice didn't even notice little Marisa crying in the corner.


Meanwhile, the sky is getting darker and a small drizzle started coming down.


"Yu yu!? Mister rain is coming!  Little ones lets go home easy!! "

"Yuuuuu?  Misder rain go away!!"

"Misder rain go away or Alice will get angry!!! PUFF!!"

"Little ones don't take it easy and hurry!!  Little ones won't be able to take it easy if little ones stay out in mister rain for too long!!"



"Yu... Marisa is home....ze?"


The first thing that greeted Marisa when she trudged in was a little shiny rock.  A familiar looking rock.


"Yu, take it easy Marisa!"

"Take it easy Al...yu?"


Upon a closer look, the rock that little Alice is rubbing with looked almost too familiar.


"Yu? Little one, let mommy look at mister rock, ze!"

"Yu!! Mommy ishn't a city-shect at all!! Thish ish Alice's treashure!!"

"That's right! Mommy who can't dage id eajy just like liddle sis shtay away from big shish's treasure!"

"YUUUUUUU!!! What are little ones saying!?!?!?  Do-"


Before Alice could finish, Marisa rammed into the little Alice rubbing with the rock, and she was flung back into the ground.  Marisa became fixated on the little gem sitting on the floor of the cave.


"YUGIIIIIIIIIII!!!! Alish's fazzzzeeeeeeeee!!! Alish's cude-cude fazzzzzzzzeeeeeee!!!!!"

"YUUUUUUUUU!!?!? What is Marisa doing to little oneeeeeees!!?!"


There's no doubt about it.  This is the gem that Marisa always carried with her before she fell off the cliff.

What is it doing here?

What is it doing with these little ones that can't take it easy?

Marisa's treasure...



"Daddy~! Reimu found mishter pretty for daddy~!"

"Yu yu?  What an easy mister rock, ze!! Thanks little one!"

"This ish to shank daddy for taking care of everybody!"

"Yufufu, what easy little ones~ Daddy will accept this token of appreciation then, ze!"

"Lets dage id eajy forever~ daddy rub-rub~"



Something Marisa never thought she'd see again appeared, stolen by these little ones that can't take it easy even after everything Marisa has done for them.


These little ones.  They stole her treasure.


Thieves.


Thieves.


Thieves that can't take it easy.


Marisa's eyes was shrouded by a red haze of hate.


"....dage...eajy~!!!!"
"....sa, ...sa..."
".........eajy!!!"


A bump, and a sharp pain.  Marisa snapped out of her memories, looked down and saw the two little Alices hitting Marisa with their little bodies.


"Give it back eajy!!!!"

"That's not mommy's treasure!! Mommy isn't city-shect enough for something like that!!  It's Alice's!!"

"Little ones, stop it!!! Marisa what has gotten into you!?!? Take it easy!!"

"YUGYAAAAAAA!!! Little ones that tries to steal Marisa's treasure will be punished!!!  Marisa doesn't need little ones that can't take it easy!!!"


Little Alice tried to ram into Marisa again, but found herself hitting air.


"Yu?"


A big black shadow is surrounding her.  By the time she looked up she only saw Marisa's foot coming down on her.


"YUBLEEHHH!!  MOMMY SDOOOOBLEHHH-"
"DIEE!!! DIEE EASYYYY!!!"
"MARRISAAAAAAAAAA!!! YUUOOOOOO LIDDLE ONEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!"


Marisa continued jumping on the little Alice, each hop flattening Alice more and more.  Each slam made Alice spit up custard in pain, and the other little Alice and Marisa shrunk back in horror.  Finally, a loud splat, and big sis Alice's custard exploded outward like a flower bloom, the koyukkuri's soft young skin unable to keep the vital innards in.  Daddy Alice knocked Marisa off balance with a body slam, and Marisa toppled backwards onto the cave floor.


"Wand....cho.....dage id... eajy.... mor..."
"YUUGIIIIIIIIII LIDDLE ONNNEEEE!!! HANG IN THEREEEEE!!!"


But Alice already faded away, her blank lifeless eyes looking at the same spot on the cave ceiling, her own inner fillings surrounding her like a flower.  In the lull of the moment Marisa dashed towards the other little Alice, reaching her in a blink of the eye.


Marisa, the famed hunter of the grasslands.

The little koyukkuris never knew about that Marisa.  All they thought was that Marisa was a sickly wounded yukkuri that couldn't do anything right.  Not even Alice knew about the swift huntress that Marisa used to be.

How else would she escape from Remilia?

But it's not their fault that they didn't know. Ironically, little Alice's first thought of admiration about her mother were also little Alice's last thoughts.


"So fast..."


Marisa bit into ko-Alice's face, ripping her whole entire face off. Alice's face was replaced by a jagged rip, her custard visible but her hair and the back of the head still intact.  Marisa tossed Alice's face and eyeballs against the cave wall, and little Alice toppled forward, spurting custard everywhere from the wound made by Marisa and twitching involuntarily.


"MARISAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!  WHYYYYYYY!!!!  YUOOOOO LIDDLE ONEZZZZZZZ!!!----------"


Alice, overflowing with grief, slammed into Marisa with all her strength.  Marisa was throw against the wall, and she threw up a mouthful of bean paste from the attack.


"YUGGGGGIIIIIIII!!! DROP DEAD EASYYYY!!!"


Alice jumped into the air and tried to crush Marisa beneath her in one shot, but all she did was slam into the ground with all her strength. Stunned by the lack of a soft cushion, Alice couldn't react fast enough to fend off Marisa, who had rolled off to the side and bounced forward to counterattack.


In all respects, Marisa truly had an athletic prowess that is rare for yukkuris.  Great reflexes, a terrific sense of danger and impeccable instincts.


As Marisa bit off the back of Alice's head instinctively, Marisa regained her senses and Alice toppled forward, hemorrhaging custard from the huge hole Marisa made.  Alice twitched and flopped around, spraying custard all over the cave.


"YUUUUOOOOOOO!! ALICEEEEEE!"


No matter how uneasy the little koyukkuris were, Marisa truly cared about Alice from the core of her bean paste heart.

The kind and beautiful Alice that rescued her from certain doom, and took it easy with her for all those months.  The Alice that showed Marisa her secret spot in the forest for berries, and the Alice that patiently applied medicine on Marisa every day while Marisa was recovering.  The yukkuri she promised she'd take it easy with for the rest of her yu-life, and swore would take it easy with for the sake of Reimu and the little ones that were long gone.


But the one that dealt Alice her death blow was her own self.


"ALLLICEEEEEEE! TAKE ID EAAAJJJYYYYYYY!!!"
"..........sy..."
"ALICE!!!  ALICE!?!?!"
"......sy..."


Marisa moved closer to Alice, knowing full well the wound she made was fatal.  Tears flowing like little rivers down Marisa's cheeks, and she moved closer to Alice to hear what she has to say.


"....drop...dead.....easy...."


With furious eyes that burned into the depth of Marisa's soul, Alice stopped moving, her eyes fixed on Marisa's own, full of hatred that remained even in death.


"Yu... YU...YUUUUUGYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!  DON'T LOOK AT MARISA LIKE THATTTTT!!!"


Marisa spun around the room and looked at her handiwork, her head dizzy from what just happened.   A giant splatter with a wrinkled flap of koyukkuri skin on top, a half eaten koyukkuri that's missing its face.  Alice, her eyes fixated on Marisa, burning hatred, and lying in a pool of her own custard.


Something's missing.


Little Marisa and the gemstone.


Marisa spun around and dashed outside, heedless of the rain coming down.  Off in the distance, she could see a little black shadow, hopping down towards the direction of the forest along the riverbank.


"LITTLE ONEEEEE!!! WAIIIITTTT!!!"


And Marisa gave chase.  She doesn't care about the gemstone anymore, all she wants to do is to say she's sorry.  Marisa just wants little Marisa back, the last proof of the love that once was.


Marisa has to save little one.  Mister rain will make little one not able to take it easy.


Everybody is gone.  It's her fault.  The last thing she should do is make sure the little one can grow up easy.  Atone for her sins.


So sorry.


sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry


Marisa quickly caught up with little Marisa, who is holding the gemstone in her mouth.  She spun around and saw mommy Marisa coming closer, and she backed up towards the river, her eyes full of fear.


"Yu!! Little one!! Go back inside, mister rain is coming down harder!!"

"....!!!!"
"Yu!!! Little one, mommy is sorry!!! Mommy.... "


Little Marisa shook vigorously, and backed up towards the river more.


"YUUUU!!!!! Little one, mommy... mommy just wants to take it easy.... mommy didn't want to kill everybody.... mommy worked so hard for little ones and little ones never wanted to take it easy with mommy...."

"...."

"Mommy just wanted to take it easy with everybody.... mommy just wants to rub-rub and lick-lick with everybody and take it easy.... mommy worked extra hard so everybody can have delicious munch~munch~...."

"..."

"So please just come home little one!!!  Mommy... mommy promises little one that we can all take it easy together!!!  Even if mommy can't take it easy... mommy will work for the sake of little one... so please...."


No matter what, little Marisa can't forgive mommy for taking away the rest of her family.  A yukkuri that murders another yukkuri can't take it easy.  This is something that's embedded into every yukkuri's system.

Of course, this goes for mommy Marisa as well.  But that won't matter in a second anyway.


The ground started shaking.


"Yu?  What's....YUGYAAAAAA MISDER WADERRRRRR!?!?!?"
".....!"


Both Marisas turned to look at the source of the rumbling, and they were greeted with a wall of water raging down towards them.  Little Marisa opened her mouth, and the gemstone fell to the riverbank with a clang.


Then they were swept away.



The next morning, Marisa awoke to find herself smashed against a tree.  She looked around, and struggled to pick herself up, hurting all over.  She has a few big gashes on her skin, and she's leaking bean paste from quite a few places.  She's also missing a lot of her teeth.  She found herself by a familiar riverbank, but next to a wide river she doesn't recognize.  Marisa picked herself up to get a hold of her bearing, but immediately noticed something was wrong. Here's the shrubs where Marisa and Alice collected branches to build their winter door.  Over there are little holes that they dug in order to collect dirt.  So where's the nest?  More importantly, where's little Marisa?


Marisa frantically looked around for the last trace of her kin.  


Then she remembered the giant wave that washed over both of them.


"YUUUUU!!! LIDDLE ONE!!! LIDDLE ONEEEEE!!! Stop hiding and come out!!!!!"


Marisa screamed at the top of her lungs, and she coughed as she threw up some of her bean paste.  Streams of bean paste squirted out of her cuts, but the only sound that answered Marisa was a gentle spring breeze.  She forgot little Marisa can't speak.


"LIDDLEEE ONEEEEEEE!!!!"


Refusing to accept what she knows to be true, Marisa ran up and down the side of the riverbank, looking for little Marisa.  A trail of bean paste signified the death sentence for Marisa is approaching fast.


A few minutes later, Marisa stopped next to the river.  Dizzy and delirious from losing her bean paste, she stopped and looked into the river in despair.


Marisa killed the only family she had left.


Nothing's left for her in this little valley.


Then, a shiny reflection caught her eye.  The small gem.  Stuck between two rocks in the middle of the wide river.


"Yu...Yuhehehe...YUHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!"


Marisa started to walk into the river.  A stream of bean paste was immediately washed away, coloring the water with a streak of dark red.


"Yuhehehehe, mister shiny-shiny, wait there for Marisa, ze!  Marisa will get you right away!  Reimu, Marisa will be home as soon as Marisa gets mister shiny-shiny, ze!! Yuhehehehehe!!!"


And Marisa waltzed into the river.



Meanwhile, a bit downstream, little Marisa is stuck in a dead shrub that is partially submerged in water.  Her body is covered with scratches but otherwise fine, but the force of the water that nudged her in between these branches is much stronger than what she can exert.  As a result, little Marisa is stuck.  Even if she could wiggle herself free, the shrub is half submerged by the river.  Marisa has nowhere to go.


Then, a voice.


"LIDDLEEE ONEEEEEEE!!!!"


(Yu!!! Mommy.... Marisa is right here!!! Over here!!!)

...
(Yu... mommy... where is mommy?  Over here!!  Please!!!!)

(Marisa is sorry.... Marisa will rub-rub with mommy... so please save Marisa...)

(Yu... Marisa... Marisa hurts all over... come lick-lick the pain away...)

(Yu... Marisa is hungry.... Anything will be ok....)

(...Please come back...Yu...)


But there are no other yukkuris in this valley.



Yukkuris are weak to the extreme, where any of them could be claimed by a simple accident.  For animals in the wild, any injury is potentially fatal.  A lion's pride will abandon any wounded lions, and wild cats that get injured while hunting will sneak off by itself to die alone.  It is for this very reason that yukkuris cannot exist without the help of one another.


Lacking the support of fellow yukkuris, Marisa and Alice were doomed from the start.




Even the trap of the valley is no match for a yukkuri's own ignorance.

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