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Welcome to Gensokyo

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A pleasant mountain community immersed in nature where the sky is blue, the grass is green, seasons are relative and youkai and humans live in harmony.  Welcome to Gensokyo.

Hello, listeners.

Yesterday's Quarterly Season Battle Royale was probably a stunning sight to behold, as winter representative Letty Whiterock fought spring representative Lily White to determine whether or not spring would come a few weeks early this year.  While the Battle itself cannot be directly observed, as spectators run the risk of being killed by stray curtain fire, we received word this morning--by way of an intern with a terrible case of frostbite--that it was just as spectacular as it is rumored to be, and that the winner was in fact Lily White.  Gardeners, get gardening!  Farmers, get farming!  Spring is here a few weeks early.

*

I would like to take this opportunity to deliver a public service announcement regarding the Gensokyo city limits which are clearly marked by colorful, otherworldly glowing in changing hues and yield signs.  As we all know, approaching the city limits is a foolish--and fruitless--activity that will end in nothing but tragedy for all involved parties.  Remember, the edge of Gensokyo is the edge of the world.  Attempting to reach the outer limits and subsequently go beyond them is a fool's errand that will probably take you nowhere, or somewhere unpleasant, so it's better not to try. 

For the skeptics among you, we've even prepared some statistics.  Everyone loves statistics.  They are indisputable.  

Ten percent of those who approach the Gensokyo city limits vanish, only to reappear later severely dehydrated and very confused.

Three percent of those who approach the Gensokyo city limits become lost in time and space.  This number is purely hypothetical, due to the impossibility of actually counting the number of people displaced between dimensions, but our statisticians insist that it is close enough to be taken as fact.

You will notice that this only makes up a small fraction of all those who have ever gone missing near the boundaries.  We don't know what happens to the other eighty-seven percent.  If we had to guess, they probably just cease to exist.

*

One of our interns, Cirno, has just rushed into the studio in a panic, breathless.  She is claiming to have seen red mist rolling in over the horizon from the direction of Misty Lake at the speed of storm clouds.  She is reporting that the mist carries the scent of blood and dark, ancient magic, and that it blocks out the very light of the sun, sucking the life and hope out of all that it smothers.  She says that it will reach Gensokyo tonight.

I've just had Cirno escorted out of the studio.  Listeners, I assure you, Cirno is a great intern, always enthusiastic and ready to contribute, but we all know that her zeal can work against her at times.  It's such a nice day out today.  Have you seen any red mist?  Neither have I.  She probably just saw one of the three weather balloons released from an undisclosed location every morning, one of which happens to be red.  It's an easy mistake to make.

*

Breaking news, listeners!  We've received numerous phone calls throughout the day about a stranger flying into town by broomstick.  This stranger was last seen stopping by the human village's bookstore, examining a number of magical tomes.  This stranger is unquestionably an outsider, and you are advised to be polite and professional when dealing with them, accepting a handshake if offered but being careful to avoid prolonged eye contact and maintain a distance of two meters from the outsider until their motive has been established.

*

The Bunbunmaru, Gensokyo's top newspaper, is going electronic starting Tuesday.  The decision to make digital copies of the Bunbunmaru available along with the traditional media was made recently by producer, designer, journalist, editor, opinion columnist, senior and junior community producer Aya Shameimaru, who is interested in making the fastest news delivery method even faster.  Those with a subscription to the newspaper will begin receiving access to an electronic copy in addition to their physical copy.  

This is a big step forward for the Bunbunmaru.  Think back to years ago, when there was just a small newspaper press building on the edge of the forest at the base of youkai mountain and one determined tengu.  Now, there is still just a small newspaper press building on the edge of the forest at the base of youkai mountain and one determined tengu.  Things haven't really changed much.

So give the electronic Bunbunmaru a try!  It's all the same news as the regular Bunbunmaru, but...electronic.  It's not as though you have many options, since the Bunbunmaru is the only newspaper in Gensokyo, so you might as well mix things up a bit.

*

We've just received word that the outsider has been deemed "safe" by City Council.  Her motives have been established as non-dangerous and her demeanor as friendly.  You are no longer required to maintain a distance of two meters from the outsider, and are encouraged to hold eye contact.  Let her know she is welcome.  Let her know we mean no harm.  Let her know that she is in Gensokyo, and warn her against trying to leave.  Cite statistics if you have to.  Statistics always work.  Everyone likes statistics.  They are indisputable.

One of our reporters has also dropped off a photo of the outsider.  The back of the photograph has the name 'Marisa Kirisame' written in black marker.  I can only assume that this is the name of the outsider.  Let's have a look at the face of this mysterious outsider so I may describe them to you.

The outsider can be described as a young woman with long, golden hair and eyes that reflect joy and mischief.  She is wearing a costume witch hat and smiling, posing, for the camera, and that smile....

It's....

W-well, it's not all that nice.  She looks quite average, really.  Completely average.  Sub-par.  Nothing to write home about.  Not-not that nice.  Not cute, certainly not.  I would never use that word to describe her or her slight, crooked smile.  My heart is not beating faster than usual.  It is not pounding against the inside of my chest, seeking escape like a bird beating itself against the inside of a cage, wanting nothing more than freedom and the object of its affection.

It's not like I like her or anything.

*

A mysterious red mist began to roll in from the east just a few hours ago, blocking out the remaining sunlight and sending the populace into a panic.  This situation was brought to our attention by top reporter Aya Shameimaru, who apologizes for her oversight, claiming that there was simply no way to see it coming before it was right over us.  We can't be upset with Aya.  She is the fastest-moving tengu in Gensokyo, so if she couldn't report something ahead of time, then the phenomenon must have simply been impossible to track.  Or maybe invisible.

Mayor Yukari Yakumo did her best to calm the terror-stricken residents of the human village, assuring them that there is nothing to worry about during a press conference in front of city hall.  "This is Gensokyo," she said from the podium, "Stranger things have happened.  Do you remember the time it started raining snakes?  Red mist is nothing to worry about."  When asked what she intended to do about the situation, she claimed that "one of her people" was already investigating the case, although if that person is local shrine maiden Reimu Hakurei, we can assume that nothing will be done for at least several more hours.

I'm not saying that Reimu is lazy.  I'm saying that she is apathetic when it comes to the concerns of the community.

*

City Council representative Chen addressed the recent protests occurring in the human village regarding the lack of progress made in the missing tax collector case.  As you probably recall, tax collectors have been going missing in the vicinity of Misty Lake for months now.  The investigation has been hampered by the constant darkness afflicting the forests surrounding Misty Lake, unaffected by day and night cycles, and the friends and loved ones of the missing individuals have become restless.  Chen took her position at the podium, then crawled on top of it and perched precariously as she turned in circles for a full minute, apparently trying to make herself comfortable.  She then began meowing at the assembled protesters.  The address continued for ten minutes before the protesters dispersed in shame and returned to their homes.

Chen is the first member of the City Council to acknowledge the public's growing unease in the missing persons case.

*

Something unprecedented is happening right now in Gensokyo. 

Shrine maiden Reimu Hakurei's slow response has prompted another to step up and investigate the red mist, and this person is none other than outsider Marisa Kirisame.  Marisa approached Mayor Yukari Yakumo for her permission to find the source of the mist, claiming that she is a registered magician outside of Gensokyo, and after a brief licensing exam, was granted a danmaku license.  Top reporter Aya Shameimaru has agreed to follow Marisa into the heart of the mystery and give us updates on the story as it happens.  

That should be me out there, listeners.  That should be me flying through the sky with Marisa the magician beneath moonlight filtered through opaque clouds of blood, gazing into her eyes and receiving her wonderful, wonderful smile.

...

Just kidding!  Just kidding, haha, no, I didn't mean that.  That was satire.  That was comedy.  That was irony.  That was a blatant lie.  I don't want to leave the studio, listeners, not for anything.  Not for a walk through the warm spring rain, not for shaved ice in the summer, and certainly not for Marisa the magician.  That's ridiculous.  Stop looking at your radio like that.

*

Marisa and Aya are currently flying through the eternally dark forests lining Misty Lake where the outsider claims the mist is originating from.  At this point, the sun has set, and the night sky has been tinged a dark red.  Visibility is poor and there have already been several accidents on the main roads, so residents of Gensokyo are discouraged from leaving their homes for the duration of the mist.

Aya has just reported that they have breached the darkness and are hovering over Misty Lake, but the lake is not all that they see.  There is a building on the other side of the lake, a mansion, in fact.  There are no records of a mansion ever being built in that location.  We at the studio are advising Aya to proceed with caution, because nonexistent buildings are treacherous and the cause of many accidents, non-lethal and otherwise.

Aya says she is going to continue to follow Marisa.  They are approaching the mansion now.  I am on the edge of my seat, listeners.  I have a direct line to the scene of the action, but I am not there myself, and the anxiety is eating away at my normally calm and composed disposition.  She's only an outsider.  She doesn't realize the danger mysterious, undocumented buildings present.  Oh, if only I could warn her!  If only I could tell her that she is already a hero!

Not that I would do that.  I was merely presenting a purely hypothetical situation.  It's not like I'm worried or anything.  Because I'm not!  L-let's go to a word from our sponsors.

*

Rinnosuke's General Store!  If you need it, he's got it.  From antiques to zebra-print clothing, there is literally nothing that Rinnosuke doesn't have or can't order for you.  Major appliances, silverware, frozen frog statues, furniture, produce, fresh-cut flowers, frozen frog statues, sports jerseys, soft and coarse fabrics, record players, frozen frog statues, precious metals, figurines, seasonal clothing, herbs and spices, frozen frog statues, and much, much, much, much more can be found at Rinnosuke's General Store!  If you buy any sale item, you will receive a complimentary frozen frog statue or two or sixteen because he's currently overstocked with them, so come on down to Rinnosuke's General Store, located just outside the human village!

*

The red mist story has taken an unexpected turn with the discovery of a mansion on the other side of Misty Lake.  During the break, Aya reported that Marisa the magician was met with hostility when attempting to enter the mansion and a danmaku battle ensued.  Aya's equipment was partially damaged, and reports are now coming as bits and pieces, constantly interrupted by static and the sound of distant danmaku fire.  I'm afraid we won't be able to bring you any updates until the incident has been resolved.  As per normal broadcasting protocols, if neither Marisa the magician nor Aya return to the studio in the next forty-eight hours, the incident will be handed over to Mayor Yukari Yakumo to solve at her discretion.  

But I could care less about protocols.  Not only is our top reporter out there, but so is the outsider and magician, Marisa, who offered to solve this mystery for a town she hardly knows, for a people who are not her own.  How can we bring ourselves to wait two days before responding?  How can we sleep at night without knowing her fate?  How can we remain so far away, locked in our houses in fear of a blood-scented mist when someone is still out there, risking their life to bring us the truth?  

I...I never even got to talk to her.  All I have is this picture.  She's smiling in this picture.  It's a nice smile.  There, I said it, it's a nice smile!  It's nice, and I want to see it in person!  I want to see her in person.  I want to meet Marisa the magician and gaze into those very mischievous but nonetheless endearing eyes and be interested in whatever she says even if it's nothing I even remotely care about.  I don't want her to vanish into a mysterious mist like people are so prone to do.  I don't want to have so many regrets, so many things I wish I would have done.  I don't want it to end like this.  

But all I can do is wait, and all you, Gensokyo, can do, is wait with me.  So let's wait together, biting our nails down to the quick as we huddle together, not in body but in spirit, and pray to whichever deities we choose to worship that Marisa the magician will return safely.  And while we wait, let us go to the weather.

*

♫  Let's Dance in the Scarlet Devil Mansion by Floating Cloud  ♫

*

What could have ended in tragedy ended instead in a satisfying resolution this evening, as the red mist dissipated and the moon and stars were free to shine in their natural silver once again.  Top reporter Aya Shameimaru and Marisa the magician returned to city hall with one of the mansion residents and reported that the mist originated from a magic spell that she had cast.  The resident identified herself as Remilia Scarlet, a vampire, who cast the mist spell with the intention of blocking out the sunlight in Gensokyo so she could walk outside during the day.  Mayor Yukari Yakumo awarded Marisa Kirisame a medal for resolving the incident in a timely manner, and awarded Aya Shaimemaru for her excellence in reporting, agreeing to pay for new equipment for future ventures.

Remilia Scarlet was charged with tax evasion, as she has apparently been living beyond Misty Lake for quite some time without anyone's knowledge.  It is not the fault of the tax collectors who stopped going out there at all as of late, nor is it the fault of the City Council, which refused to investigate the disappearances of the tax collectors that occurred in the vicinity of Misty lake.  "Disappearances do not necessarily mean that anything out of the ordinary is happening," Mayor Yukari Yakumo said at a press conference after Marisa's return, "Youkai are known to eat humans, and there are plenty of youkai living in that area.  It could even have been cannibalism.  Nobody likes tax collectors, after all."  She then reminded everyone that cannibalism is illegal and told the gathered press not to "get any ideas."  The bereaved families of the tax collectors were reimbursed for their loss and subsequent protests were dissuaded by Chen, who again meowed cutely at the crowd instilling feelings of guilt for things they did not do.

But that's not even the best part, listeners.

The best part is that Marisa the magician stopped by the studio on her way back from the press conference, and we spoke.  We actually exchanged words.

"Are you the radio girl?" she asked me.  I told her I was.  She smiled at me, and this smile made the photograph look like a grotesque cartoon caricature that inspired me to burn it.  She told me that she would be staying in Gensokyo for a while somewhere in the Forest of Magic, and told me I could drop by sometime if I liked.

"I don't have time to waste visiting people," I told her, and turned my nose up at her, but she was not discouraged.  She laughed.  She told me I was funny.  And then she waved, jumped onto her broomstick, and flew off into the beautiful night sky, golden hair streaming out behind her.

I have been invited to Marisa the magician's place of residence, listeners.  

Not that I'm going to go or anything.  I just thought, you know, that it was interesting news.  And my job is giving you interesting news.  Still, it did bring a certain warmth to my chest and make me feel once again as though my heart were a hummingbird stuck in an enclosed space, unable to cease movement despite injuring itself on all adjacent surfaces.  I might have to get that checked out.  But for right now, I think I'll just bear with the feeling, because it's strange and novel and almost pleasant.

B-but not really!

Stay tuned for a special on appropriate shrine donation etiquette.

*

Today's Proverb is: A single arrow is broken easily, but if you bundle three together, you'll run out of arrows three times as fast.