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Jan 4th, 2014
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  1. Spring.
  2. Once again, that time had begun.
  3. Marisa knew how to tell when it became spring. The trees would change, the grass would change, people's moods would become lighter and more carefree, but above all, the air would start filling up with that wonderful smell of blooming nature.
  4. Sitting on the beaks of the Hakurei Shrine again, she thought about this and came to the conclusion that spring had begun.
  5. A lot of things tended to happen at spring. Flowers would sprout, the birds would come out of the trees again to sing, and of course there was the big Hakurei Shrine Festival that noone in Gensokyo wanted to miss.
  6. A cold breeze brushed over the shrine grounds and reminded her that it would still take some time until the cherry trees would blossom again. Behind her, the wood started to creak as Reimu came out with two cups of tea in her hand. Year after year, the same procedure. Even though she usually was an energetic girl, she somehow liked sitting here, at Reimu's shrine, drinking tea with the miko. During all those years, Reimu had always been the one she could talk to with full honesty.
  7. "Marisa...", her voice called out, silently, as she sat next to her, handing her the tea.
  8. "I... know."
  9. She just continued looking into the woods, looking into the distance, where the last of the winter's snow blanketed the trees. She would have to leave. There was no denying it.
  10. "Where... where does the gate behind your shrine lead?", she asked with a dry mouth.
  11. "It's... a similar looking shrine... A few hours north from Fukui."
  12. Fukui. Marisa faintly remembered the name of that city. Must've been... - what, 20 years ago? - when Keine had tought her and the other students about the outside world. How they were actually part of a big island called "Japan" and that the human world was parted into 5 continents, of which she remembered "Asia" and "Europe". There was probably a lot more that Keine knew about the outside, but the days where she had taught Marisa in the town school were long over and the witch hadn't been too interested in the outside world herself.
  13. Until now, that she was standing on the breach towards a new life.
  14. A life outside of Gensokyo.
  16. Marisa averted her gaze from what was left of the winter landscape and tilted her head downwards, looking into the hot, dark tea in her hands.
  17. "You know... I tried everything I-"
  18. "No, it's okay Reimu, really. You-", Marisa let out a long sigh, "You don't have to blame yourself for this. It's my fault and my decision."
  19. Upon this, Reimu kept silent for a while, saying nothing, only occasionally sipping from her tea. Marisa still hadn't touched her cup as the miko started speaking again.
  20. "I... got some things together for you... So you... wouldn't feel lonely outside."
  21. Reimu pointed to a loosely sealed bag with a few things in it, lying in the back of the shrine.
  22. Marisa looked up from her cup, smiling a little. "Thanks." She set down her tea and walked over to the bag, carefully dragging it over to where Reimu sat and opening it. Inside were a few things she had seen in Kourindou's shop before, things from the outside world, like that weird thing that Yukari called "iPod". There were also a number of bows and good-luck charms, one of them undoubtedly from the Moriya Shrine.
  23. "B-but how did you get this? I- I thought Sanae wanted me to leave as fast as possible?", Marisa asked confused, turning around and holding the pendant in the air.
  24. Reimu gave her a slightly embarassed laugh, then replied: "It's a charm she gave me... About 4 years ago. I thought... you might have a better use for it than I do."
  25. A long silence filled the air.
  26. Marisa's grip on the charm tightened as her arm began to tremble.
  27. Then she let it out. Tears started rolling down her cheeks as she fell into Reimu's arms. Her breath that she had held in before came out in heavy and loud sobs in between her words.
  28. "R-Reimu... I... I don't want to l-leave---"
  29. The miko softly put her hand on Marisa's head and stroked her hair backwards.
  30. "I know, Mari, I know."
  31. There it was again. Mari. Noone other than her mother and Reimu had ever called her Mari. The name alone evoked the memories of the past 20 years in her.
  32. How her mother had left her.
  33. How she had been found and cared for by Rinnosuke.
  34. Her first school years, being teased for her golden hair, later being the head of class, her first date with a boy, how he left her, how she had sat in her room crying, and how Rinnosuke had comforted her... And how she had met Reimu for the first time only days later.
  35. Only now, she realized: she wasn't only about to leave Gensokyo, but also her mother and father. The people who had cared most about her, and the people she had cared most about. The people who had shown her life, the people who had raised her, been her family, for so long, the only family she had ever known.
  36. Her breathing became heavier as these memories floated away in front of her closed eyes while she was lying there in Reimu's arms, not wanting her to ever let go of her.
  37. She wanted this moment to last forever, it had to last forever, she just couldn't leave!
  38. She didn't dare to open her eyes, for she feared that if she did, Reimu would let go of her, or she would let go of Reimu. Her body started becoming limb, she lost all sense of touch, and the only thing telling her that Reimu was still there was the flowery scent that enclosed the entire shrine.
  39. Don't let go...
  40. Never let go...
  42. None of them said anything. Reimu too, had closed her eyes and leaned her head on Marisa's shoulder. But even so, the miko knew that she would have to let go.
  43. Sooner or later, they'd all have to let go.
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