"This is what the tengu told us" said one of the men, holding a paper in his hand "They were last seen walking into the Youkai Forest two days ago, where they found a yukkuri family. Then the tengu lost them" "And why does this concern us?" asked the Hunter. "You know what lies in that forest as well as I do"
The Hunter thought. Yes, he knew the rumours regarding yukkuris that came from that forest. One of the most worrying rumours detailed the existance of a mansion, buried deep in the forest, where several anomalies were reported (like Kimeemarus taking it easy). The very same girl who often delivered the newspaper told the Hunter about it, and how she got close to the place, but was kicked out by her yukkuri counterparts.
"Who are the missing children?" asked the Hunter.
The other man handed the papers to him. One of the children was the daughter of his younger brother. The Hunter remembered his face of despair and sorrow.
"And why are you telling me of this?"
"You are the best for the job. The Shrine Maiden and the Were-Hakutaku are too busy with the youkai to investigate. Without them (and considering the involvement the yukkuris have in this case) it is up to us to find out what happened to those children"
"And?" "You are the best living Yukkuri Hunter. If there's someone who's perfect for the job, that someone is you"
The Hunter thought. Yeah, he was one the best Yukkuri Hunters, as his father and grandfather were before him, but this job was tiring. He had been planning on quitting for many months now.
But once again the memory of his brother came to his mind.
"...Okay, I will do it"
The Hunter prepared himself. He had the finest armor, weapons and equipment made by humans and kappas. Yukkuri hunting was not as easy as everybody expects. It is not about just laying a trap and waiting for the yukkuris to fall in it.
Unfortunately, the Factory spreaded just the opposite information. They made everybody believe that even the most inexperienced of individuals could be Yukkuri Hunters. Those individuals often receive wounds, sometimes life threatening ones. The Hunter himself was almost killed, in his youth when a DosuMarisa smashed him.
That time he was saved by the Were-Hakutaku, who was taking a walk nearby. He knew that he wouldn't be as lucky if that happened again. New unsettling reports from the tengu arrived, speaking of an "unknown yukkuri never seen before". The Hunter set course for the Youkai Forest.
He found the footprints quite easily. They were quite visible, even though they were two days old.
After several minutes of tracking them, he found a disturbance. Circular prints that weren't left by human foot crossed the neat line of footprints leading to the center of the forest. Apparently, the children found a yukkuri family, and instead of killing them (as those children usually did) they let them go?
The hunter followed the circular tracks until he found the family. A Marisa, a Reimu and several koyukkuris.
With a swift movement he nailed the Marisa and the Reimu to a tree and trapped the koyukkuris in a box. "We can't chake id eajy!" "Mwommie! Sawe us!" "Let us owt, mistr!" The nailed yukkuris knew who that man was. His name was uttered in the same tone of fear and terror as the Factory he worked for.
"Yu! Drop dead easy!" "Let our bwawies go!" The Hunter took a couple koyukkuris from the box and put them in front of their parents.
"Mwommie! I can't ch-!" they screamed, before they were squished. "NOOOOOOOOOO, REIBU'S BWAWIES!!" "Two days ago, five children found you" He repeated the process with two more koyukkuris. "Where did they go?" "I DUNNO, I DUNNO! LET REIBU'S BWAWIES GOOOO!" "DROP DEAD EASY! GO AWAY EASY!" He crushed two more. "Stop screaming. I'll kill the rest of them" The yukkuris nailed to the tree fell silent. "Where did the children go?" "They went *sob* *sob* to the Yukkuri Mansion" said the Reimu
"I see" the Hunter said, and killed all the remaining koyukkuris. "NWOOOOOOO! YOU SAID YOU WOULDN'T KILL THEM!" "I didn't. But don't worry, I see you will join them soon" An army of red ants, most likely attracted by the bean paste leaking out the nailed yukkuris, was moving down the tree.
Their screams as they were slowly dismantled followed the Hunter in his path to the now not-so-mythical Yukkuri Mansion...
The size of the place was shocking. The entire Factory could fit inside the building. The Hunter could see many Remiryas and Kimeemarus flying near the ceilings, and could see movement through the windows. A lone Meirin was guarding the main gate. He knew they are effective guardians, if they are awake. They could scream very loud if they felt the are they are guarding was invaded, and there are reports of people being attacked by Meirin-types.
The Hunter couldn't afford to make his presence known, so he activated his cloaking device and charged towards the Meirin. He hid its corpse under a rock.
He moved towards the main gate, when his cloaking device suddenly shut down.
A Kimeemaru immediately landed in front of him. It didn't know who he was, for they have nothing to fear from Factory workers. "So, another ugly human invades the Yukkuri Mansion? Only yukkuris who want to take it easy can come here. Go away" The Hunter found that statement strange. Kimeemarus don't like to take it easy. He shot his arm forward to grab the Kimeemaru. It made the movement he expected it to do: he saw many Kimeemarus attacking other yukkuris by waiting for the yukkuri to headbutt the Kimeemaru. It would then dodge the attack and would charge from behind the confused yukkuri with great speed.
As he shot his arm forward, his other arm went backwards. That arm catched the Kimeemaru by its neck. "Clever, but predictable" said the Hunter before ripping the Kimeemaru in half.
He entered the Mansion...
He found many doors. He would have to search room by room to find the children. That is, if they were still there.
He chose the lone door to the right. A courtyard, full of trees and bushes. Sunlight flooded the place, and he clearly saw many Remiryas flying far above him. He noticed how the Kimeemarus were missing.
Perhaps the corpse outside was related to that observation.
An explosion startled the Hunter. He saw the neat line of lightning bolts moving towards him, opening great holes were they fell. He saw the makers of the lightning bolts: many Ikkuris were flying towards him.
The Hunter knew what do do. He took a thin, long cane, made of metal, and buried it in the ground. He then hid in the nearby bushes.
"Yu! Where did he go?" "I saw him moving there!" Bolts of lightning were shot in every direction, but the Hunter was pleased to see all of them were redirected towards the lightning rod.
He left his cover behind the bushes and appeared in front of the Ikkuris.
"There he is! Shoot him easy!" More bolts of lightning were shot, but he was left untouched.
The Hunter took one of the Ikkuris and impaled it in the lightning rod. The others kept shooting, frying the impaled yukkuri.
The screams made the Ikkuris feel a kind of fear they never felt before, as nothing resisted their lightning, and yet that man used it against them!
One by one, he impaled all the Ikkuris in the lightning rod. Continuing forward, he saw a piece of terrain that was charred, as if something big was hit with powerful electric attacks. Hoping that the victim wasn't one of the kids, the Hunter left the courtyard and returned to the room with the many doors.
The Hunter took the door to the front of the first floor.
His experience in the courtyard thought him that there might be traps scattered around the house, so he was very careful of where he stepped.
A long hallway, with what seemed to be Koyukkureimu in the other side were in the other side of the door he opened.
"Hey, missr! Do you want to pway with Weimu?" it asked.
The Hunter walked towards the koyukkureimu, but he felt part of the floor sinking below one of his feet. A trap had been activated. A metal wall blocked the exit.
He ran towards the door behind the Koyukkureimu, but found another, transparent wall. Both walls were moving towards each other, and unless he did something, he would be crushed. "You don't wanna pway with Weimu, misr? Is thewe someching wong?"
Taking a closer look, he identified the transparent wall as a magic-based device. He knew then what to do.
He took out a few wards. Those were very similar to the ones the Shrine Maiden used to fight youkai and other entities. In her hands, those wards were devastating. After placing a few wards on the transparent wall, he tried to calm himself down
The wards fell, as if nothing was holding them. He extended his hand towards the wall. It was no longer there.
The Koyukkureimu looked in shock as the Hunter's foot crushed it.
The door was either locked or fake. The Hunter couldn't kick it down or open it in any way possible. He decided to go back from where he came.
Just before climing the metal wall, he noticed it had blood stains. Human blood. At least one of the missing children was dead...
The Hunter opened a door to the left. A bedroom. An Alice went out from below the bed. "Another human? Oh, we will refresh ourselves so much! Be punished easy, for invading our mansion as the other human did!" Many other Alices popped from everywhere. They took down the Hunter and began to hump against his body.
He was caught unprepared, but once the shock of the sudden attack faded away, he acted. He diverted the energy from his cloaking device to the exterior of his armor. Electricity ran through it, without harming him, but frying the Alices humping against him.
A massive Alice came out from the closet. "YOU CAN'T DO THAT TO THE CITY SECT! DROP DEAD EASY!" it yelled, before leaping into the air towards the Hunter.
He rolled sideways, narrowly dodging the DosuAlice's attack, and buried a knife in the massive body. "YUGYAAAAAAAAAAAAA! THE CITY SECT CAN'T BE TREATED LIKE THIS!" The Hunter made a big cut through the DosuAlice's body, and made it larger and larger with his bare hands, until the DosuAlice was ripped in two parts.
The room was filled with charred corpses and custard. Knowing that the children weren't there, the Hunter left the room.
"Another human..." The Hunter thought. The Alices mentioned "another human". That was an aobvious reference to the children. One of them found the Alices, and considering the size of the DosuAlice he just killed, that one was certainly dead...
The door he chose apparently led to the basement. He saw many cells there. The basement was in fact a dungeon. A large blood stain was on the floor. "Oh, God... no..." "Who's that?"
A human voice sounded in the pitch black darkness beyond. Turning on his IR googles, made by the Kappas, the Hunter found the source of the voice. It wasn't one of the children, as he had hoped, but a very thin human with ragged clothes and plae skin. "Who are you?" asked the Hunter. "What are you doing here?" "I was investigating the rumours. The yukkuris caught me and keep me alive as a prisoner. I have been here for more than I can remember! Please, get me out of here!" "Where are the children?" "The children? They are dead. They are all dead! Get me out of here! Please!"
The Hunter felt shocked. His mission was over. The lives he was sent to save were no more...
He made a movement towards the cell, when he heard a soft thump in the dark. "DIIIIIIIIIICK!" Startled, the Hunter looked around, searching for the source of that scream. He found a Myon nearby. He crushed it.
Several more soft thumps and a loud bump were heard. The prisoner gave in to panic. "Oh, no! They are coming! Run! Leave this place! Go!"
A huge DosuYuyuko appeared in the Hunter's line of sight.
"DROP DEAD EASY!"
It started to shoot Myons at great speeds, with a force far greater than anything the Hunter had ever seen. Of course, he knew Yuupis often do that as a defensive strategy, but even then it was a small Yuupi, scared like hell, and it was a "worst case scenario", with little stones as projectiles.
He noticed the delay between shots. He moved forward, towards the DosuYuyuko, as he dodged the Myons it shot. Soon, he was in front of it. With a fast movement, he plucked its eyes out "YUUUUUUUUUU! I CAN'T SEE!" The giant Yukkuri entered a frenzy, shooting the Myons as fast as it could, but completely losing accuracy. The Hunter run in circles around the Yuyuko, slashing it with his knife and crushing the Myons surrounding it.
Eventually, the Yuyuko was covered in deep slashes, and all the Myons were crushed, either by the Hunter's feet or the Yuyuko's desperation. He then made the final movement. With one hand he grabbed the upper jaw of the defeated Yuyuko, and with the other, the lower jaw. One moment later, the Yuyuko was dead, ripped in two.
The Hunter remembered the prisoner, and looked towards the cell. The prisoner was dead. One of the Myons struck him. "He's dead! Oh God, he's dead!" shouted the Hunter. He almost broke. Despite his best efforts, the one life he could save was there, laying in the cell's floor, brutally terminated.
He had to pull himself together. As long as that Mansion and its deadly traps and inhabitants existed, more humans would find a gruesome end there.
With one last look at the lifeless body of the prisoner, the Hunter left the dungeon. He cliimbed the stairs to the second floor...
As he climbed the stairs, the Hunter felt fear. This wasn't his own fear. It was as this fear, this terror, came from the air.
The stairs appeared to be endless. He climbed, he climbed, yet the stairs didn't end. It was as if a powerful, hostile will wanted him to go.
He thought he was dead, and those were not the stairs to the second floor, but the stairs to heaven...
The landing of the second floor shook him awake of those grim thoughts. The steps were finally over. A door called his attention. It was slightly ajar, and it moved, as if something just entered the room.
When he peeked in the room, all he saw was an empty closet. The Hunter took a step inside. A metal cage dropped from the ceiling, trapping him, as a strange, purple gas began to leak in the room. His strenght left him, as he kneeled and dropped to the floor.
Perhaps those were the real stairs to heaven after all...
The Hunter woke up. A bright light temporarily blinds him. He finds himself in the same cage, and in front of it, there are thousands upon thousands of yukkuris, all looking at the cage and its content. The room was massive. It was larger than anything the Hunter had ever seen, included that room in the Scarlet Devil Mansion, where he had to fight an infestation of Remiryas. Compared to this room and the number of yukkuris, that one felt like a small shack inhabited by two Wriggle-types.
"Yuyuyuyu. So it's you" A powerful voice is heard higher than the deafening yu-ing coming from all the yukkuris in the room.
The lines of yukkuris break, leaving a path between the cage and the other side of the room. A door was there, and the main gate could be seen through it.
However, blocking the way, there was a yukkuri never seen before.
The Hunter couldn't believe his eyes. In all his years, he met and fought almost every single type of those living, head shaped manjuus. Or so he thought.
The other yukkuris fell silent. The tension was palpable, as the Yukkuri Boss of Bosses, the Mastermind behind the Mansion and, ultimately, the murder that happened there, made it way forward.
It had a long, green hair, a large blue triangular hat, and an imposing presence, something the Hunter never felt from another human, much less a yukkuri.
"I know you too well, as I know your family, yu" said the Justakkuri. Its voice was marked with power.
"You are one of the worst enemies our proud race fought. Time and time again, our attempts to expand our limits were foiled by you. Once this Mansion has gathered enough yukkuris, we will turn the roles on the humans that bullied, tortured and killed us. And you will be the prime example of our victory over Humanity! DROP DEAD EASY!"
The Justakkuri inflated to many times its already considerable size. As it opened its mouth, an ominous yellow hot ball was growing larger inside it as if a sun was being born inside the Yukkuri
Trapped as he was in the metallic cage, the Hunter knew his time was up...
Dust covered the room for a second. After the deafening blast, silence was heard for a short while, then the Yu-ing once again covered the room.
"That's the best humanity could send? We, the proud race of Yukkuris, are truly superior!" shouted the Justakkuri. The shout was greeted with many "yu!"s "that's right easy!"s and "now we can take it easy as much as we please!"s from the surrounding yukkuris
"One day, one glorious day, we will subject the entire Humanity to this! The youkai will fear us, and we will take it easy not only in this Mansion, but everywhere we want! The death of the Hunter is the first step! Tomorrow, we will take the second! Once the Factory is destroyed, all of Gensokyo will be forced to take it easy!"
" 'The death of the Hunter'. I hope that's not me" "Yu?" The Justakkuri heard a voice near it. It turned towards the direction of the noise, and when it found the source, its eyes lost the glance of imposing power. Its expression changed from absolute pride to sheer terror.
It was staring at the Hunter.
"YUYUYUYUYU! HOW DID YOU ESCAPE?!" yelled the Justakkuri. The surrounding Yukkuris noticed the disturbance and adopted the same stare of fear their boss had.
"How did I escape. Well, that's an interesting story. For all your 'superiority', you didn't notice the weakened bars, or my cloaking device, or my gas mask. You still have much to learn from humans, filthy manjuu"
Several small spheres of metal rolled towards the yukkuris.
"Too bad you will never have the chance"
The spheres released a gas made of Yukkuri Repelling Incense. It had the ability of killing yukkuris through smell, while being an excellent harmless fragance for humans.
Within five minutes, the hundreds upon hundreds of yukkuris filling the room were reduced to slumps on the floor.
The only beings still alive were the Hunter and the Justakkuri, who was put inside a Magic Nullifier Box by the Hunter, taking advantage of its shock as it saw his Grand Army melt. That box wasn't anything special. It was a normal glass box, with several wards on it. It was designed to prevent its contents from using any magic.
"Looks like the Factory got itself a new study object. Don't you think, manjuu?" asked the Hunter to his prey. The Justakkuri responded with a soft "yuuuuu-". It was a shadow of its former self. The eyes lost all the glint of superiority and power, and tears cascaded from them. It was a completely defeated yukkuri.
"I bet they are eager to meet the first yukkuri who killed a human, aren't they?" The voice of the Hunter shoook with anger in this point.
"We shouldn't keep them waiting. Let's leave this place"
People who get too close say the screaming of the Justakkuri can be still heard in the now empty Mansion. The scream of denial, of fear, is still present in that place. Of denial, when it saw its masses of yukkuris melting away. Of fear, when it saw its most fierce, most powerful enemy, surviving the traps and defeating it. The fate of the Justakkuri is unknown. People say it is still being punished in the Factory for its murders.
People still rumour about the Mansion. They now say it is haunted by ghosts. I don't really know. I never returned to that place.