10 The Scarlet Mist Incident.

Without regard for my safety, I ran down the stairs of the Hakurei Shrine without slowing down for a second.

At this point, I was basically falling down uncontrollably, gravity accelerating my top speed further.

Skills the system considered worthy enough to register were indeed incredible. Instantly accelerating like that. My muscles would have slowly broken down if I didn't have the body enhancement skill, which in fact...


...made me able to land on the ground without completely shattering my bones and rupturing my internal organs.

Still, I couldn't afford to stop for a second.

Playing the game, seeing things through the screen, reading about the story through a screen...

...nothing could have prepared me for feeling the actual threat of an incident at hand.

The Scarlet Mist Incident, which I definitely will rename the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil in the future, was the first incident where the Spellcard system was officially used for the first time.

Before that, it was a 1 to 1, honest-to-goodness, heart-to-heart, man-against-youkai extermination session.

Now with the introduction of Spellcard Rules...

Not that it really mattered knowing about them right now. Even with them in place, that didn't change the fact that the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil incident was an incident that threatened the very foundation of Gensokyo.

The Scarlet Mist was a curious substance, driving Youkai to high states of excitement and being highly poisonous to humans.

Inhaling it can lead to symptoms of headaches, loss of balance, hallucination, delirium, and even death. At most, an ordinary person could only survive half an hour after inhaling the mist.

If I had to compare it, it was similar to getting poisoned by a belladonna flower, also called deadly nightshade.

And all that was only the tip of the iceberg, after all...


...the perpetrator of this incident was rampaging around thanks to the Scarlet Mist.

Thinking about the entire situation filled me with deep worry. Even with the knowledge that Reimu and Marisa were on their way to solving the incident.

Even knowing that only one of them could resolve the incident by themselves.

Even knowing all that, my body couldn't help but tremble with worry because this wasn't a game.

Akyuu, Reimu, Marisa, Keine-sensei, and all the human villagers I got to meet during the past week.

Listening to their worries, their stories, they were all real. They were all real people.

I made a promise to myself in this life. The promise of not treating everything as a story that I am just reading. The promise of acknowledging everything in front of me as it is.

And because of that, I couldn't help but be worried. Worried about the lives of everyone in Gensokyo. About the lives of the people in my new home.

The Scarlet Mist had more wide-reaching consequences than just shaking up the balance of Gensokyo. Since it's an inanimate object without consciousness, it could easily pass beyond the great Hakurei Barrier.

Once it leaks into the outside world and people get affected by the mist, the authorities would inevitably take notice of the mist, develop countermeasures, and try to find its source.

Following the source, it's only natural for them to discover Gensokyo, and once they did...


That's why it was necessary to stop the incident. Not to mention that I didn't know which version of Gensokyo I was inside.

For all I know, there was the possibility that even with the combined might of Marisa and Reimu, they won't be able to end the incident.

Finally arriving at the human village, I couldn't stop fast enough, resulting in a nasty collision with a wall. The skill only said that I could instantly reach my top speed. It never said that I would also have perfect control over it.

Thanks to the commotion I created, a certain teacher came running toward me.

[Lvl. 25 Plain Teacher, Keine Kamishirasawa]

"There you are, Rin-sama! I have been looking for you all over the place!"

It seems that she was going to ignore me crashing against a wall upside down.

Standing up again, I dusted the dirt off my clothes, straightened them, and like her, acted as if my colliding against a wall never happened.

Keine-sensei was even nice enough to wait for me to finish.

"I am sorry for all of that."

"Ah. It's of no big concern. Rin-sama didn't damage anything, so there is no need to worry."

How peaceful~

Now wasn't the time for that!

"Keine-sensei, you must have already noticed the scarlet-colored mist, right?"

Keine gave me a nod for my question.

"Of course. That's why I was looking for you. People have been falling sick one after another after they inhaled the mist."

"Did you call for a quarantine yet?"

Once again, Keine gave me a nod.

"It was the natural course of action. Still, some people were slow and inhaled some of that mist. I would be grateful if you could go and check up on them."

"Thank god. I was worried about the state of the village once I returned. But as expected of Keine-sensei, you have the situation expertly under control. I'll look after the other villagers, but I have to check on Akyuu first. After all, she-"

"It's understandable. Akyuu-sama is the one who pays you. Nothing wrong with looking after your superior."

"That's not it, Keine-sensei. Still, how are you feeling right now? Are you alright running in the Scarlet Mist like this? Shouldn't you seek shelter like the others?"

Keine jumped when I asked her that question. Of course, thanks to my last life, I knew that she was a half-youkai. But the current me had no way of knowing.

"Haha. This is nothing. You have to know that I have a strong vitality!"

I just gently laughed at her excuse. Technically, she was telling the truth.

"I could ask you the same question! Rin, are you sure you are doing alright running in the mist like this?"

Oh shoot, now it was my turn to give an excuse.

"Heh-. You are underestimating me quite a bit, aren't you? I am an expert alchemist. It's only natural that I already set up countless countermeasures against the effects of the mist."

I shouldn't have said it that way.

"What? That's great news! As expected of our village doctor. You've already found a way to cure-"

"STOOOP right there."

Looking at me with surprise, Keine seemed unsure what action of hers warranted a reaction like this.

But seriously? Everyone saw me as the village doctor already? It's nice knowing that everyone had so much faith in me, despite me only living here for a week, but how often do I have to say that I am just a nurse!

"Countermeasures are just that, countermeasures. You can't call it a cure in any way, shape, or form. Not to mention that I, or at least my body, is quite abnormal. If I had to say it, I'd refrain from using what I did to myself on a normal person. Understood?"

At first, Keine looked at me with an expression of skepticism. It was as if she was trying to pick apart my words. Trying to find a hidden meaning behind them.

After a while, it looked like she gave up figuring out what I meant. I noticed because she sighed heavily.

Acting as if I was annoyed, I started digging in my bag as if I was searching for a specific plant.

Once again, Keine was patient enough to wait for me until I finished. In the end, I pulled out a familiar flower.

Seeing said flower, Keine looked at me in shock.

It was a Lycoris Radiata, also known as a red spider lily and a flower that embodied death here in Gensokyo.

"In the first place, I am highly resistant to death. What I did was quite a reckless attempt at saving myself. Honestly, the odds of success for the method I used were zero. It only had a chance of working because of my innate constitution. I wouldn't recommend this treatment method because the result would be just death."

What I said wasn't a lie. After all, while my body was living thanks to my strong vitality, my soul still wasn't connected to it. That means that even if my body were to die, I could continue to work. Thus I am highly resistant to death.

I wouldn't recommend anyone to do the same as me. After all, I was the only person this method would work on. Still, being vague like this would only lead to more questions.

What was Keine-sensei going to...

...ask next.


As I turned around, I saw a pained expression on Keine's face. It was a face full of empathy, love, and care.

"Rin-sama had it difficult, hasn't she?"

Why did my heartstrings pull when I saw her crying face?

"Now isn't the time for things like that. The problem will only get more difficult to handle as time passes."

Wiping her tears away in one fluid movement, Keine-sensei gave me a final nod before we hurried to the Hieda estate.

While Keine continued to follow proper etiquette as a guest, I threw all that away as I haphazardly changed into my indoor shoes, leaving the entrance behind in devastation.

Running with all my might (indoors allowed), I barged into Akyuu's office. As I entered, said person I was concerned about seemed to do well. In fact, the most harmful thing that happened to her today was probably barging into her room like this.


Akyuu was in the same state I left her in this morning. Full of health, going through mountains of scrolls while servants were attending to her.

Seeing her do well, I felt that a weight was lifted off my shoulders as I stumbled towards the cute, embracing her.

"R-r-ri-rin-san! What are you doing all of a sudden? T-this is embarrassing! Stop it!"

"I am so glad you are doing well, Akyuu. While running here, countless images of your usual stroll flashed through my head. While you were taking your usual walk in the village, you were caught by surprise by the scarlet mist and... and..."

This... This was the first time I saw Rin in this much distress. This was different from her usual self. Different from the usual Rin, who was calm and composed. Who took control of the situation and calmly dealt with her stressed-out patients and the patient's family.

The usually smiling and bright Rin, who didn't show an ounce of worry on her face.

Seeing her like this, I didn't want to see her like this.

"There, there, Rin. I might be frail, but I am not that frail, right?"

"Considering that the symptoms of the Scarlet Mist are similar to a Belladonna flower, I assume that everyone who inhales it has Belladonna poisoning. Thinking about it, I imagined how much pain you'd have to be in now if either of those things happened to you..."

For some reason, Akyuu stopped patting my head.

"You know the effects of the mist?"

"Isn't it natural? After all, I am a pharmacist. I mean, shouldn't you have already figured the symptoms out? Since the village was put in a state of lockdown, I just thought that you already figured things like that out."

"Not really. Some people were in the unfortunate position of inhaling the mist. But we didn't get to record something more than a severe headache. An experienced, retired, old youkai hunter in the village kind of just spread the word that the mist was giving him "the same feelings when he encountered a strong youkai during his peak." Things followed after another and before we knew it, the village was in lockdown."

Wow, the way things were set in motion sounded...


"Anyways, that's not what's important right now. How did you find out that the effects of the scarlet mist are similar to Belladonna poisoning?"

"I experienced the effects on my own body."



"As I said, I know the symptoms because I inhaled the mist myself. Then compare it with other known-..."


Out of nowhere, Akyuu suddenly slapped me across the face. It would be a lie to say that I wasn't shocked. But despite my shock, one feeling was more intense than the shock I experienced.

"Akyuu, your wrist-"



"Akyuu, what are you-"

"I understand what kind of person you are. After all, I had a week to observe you..."

Huh? What? Me? Really?

"...but just because you don't care about yourself doesn't mean that you can use the well-being of others as an excuse to harm yourself!"

An excuse...

...to harm myself?

"Rin. Did you really think that just because I am easy to tease I would be too blind to notice? Or did you think so because I am still just a child in your eyes, despite my ability?

"Akyuu, I genuinely don't know what you are talking about..."

"That's the problem!"


"It's incredible how many self-destructive tendencies you have shown during the last week. Before I met you, I thought I was starting to come apart at my seams, barely holding myself together because of my sense of duty as the Child of Miare. But then I met you. I realized that things could be a lot worse. And you know what the worst about this is? The worst thing about all this is your lack of self-awareness of how much you hurt yourself and your tendency to act as if it's self-evident that it's alright for you to get hurt as long as it's helping someone!"


Knock, knock, knock.

"Am I interrupting something?"

Never before was I this relieved seeing the color blue.

Akyuu was surprised to see the teacher dressed in a blue uniform, her collar tied with a red ribbon.

Seeing her guest, Akyuu seemed to decide to have this discussion with me on another date.

"No..., it's alright. Did you find something new about the mist yet?"

Keine shook her head.

"I have to disappoint you. I have talked with numerous people. None of them knew anything worthwhile. I have also looked through the records we keep at the temple school, but the search was not fruitful, to say the least. How were things at our side, Akyuu?"

Akyuu also shook her head.

"I have looked through about eighty percent of the entire records with the help of my servants, but we have yet to see even the mention of a scarlet mist in them. Seeing our current results, I can't help but doubt that we have any records about the Scarlet Mist."

Seemingly developing a migraine over the situation, both women sighed in frustration at how helpless they felt during this situation.

"Well, thanks to Rin, we at least know about the effects of the red mist. That should act as our basis on how we should continue to proceed from now on."

Akyuu looked at me with conflicted feelings thanks to the way I acquired that knowledge.


The moment Akyuu called, a servant opened the screen door, sitting in seiza position as if she was waiting for Akyuu's command.

"Inform the villagers about the symptoms of the Scarlet Mist. That should deter them even more, to leave their homes and endanger themselves, reducing the number of victims."

"As you command, Akyuu-sama."

And before her presence properly set in, the servant already left the premises, informing the other servants about Akyuu's command.

"Well, now that that's dealt with. What should we do now?"

Both the chronicler and the teacher just shrugged at my question.

"I mean, even with the threat of the situation looming over our head, there isn't really much we can do in this situation."

"While this might be on the level of a grand incident, Gensokyo has always dealt with the threat of youkai in the same way."

"That is..."

"...the Hakurei Miko."

If Akyuu's words weren't lingering in my mind, I would be astounded at how much in sync both Akyuu and Keine were right now.


...even with the knowledge of my past lives. No, exactly because of my memories I couldn't help but worry.

"You two can't seriously expect me to take that answer and continue my life like normal. Hell, it's literal hell out there right now! Lethal gas is spread everywhere, youkai's are rampaging more than usual, and no matter how incredible Reimu is, she is only one person!"

What if...

"There is only so much she can do by herself."

What if this isn't the Gensokyo I knew?

Seeing my frustration over the situation, Keine and Akyuu looked at each other for a moment with an expression of worry.

"Rin, I know how difficult it is to accept the situation as it is right now, but..."

Meanwhile, on the other side of Gensokyo...

"...you really don't have to worry. The Hakurei Shrine Maiden is invincible."

...a Shrine Maiden was flying with incredible speed. Dodging and weaving between the gaps of what only could be described as a hail of bullets.

"Especially the Shrine Maiden of this Generation..."

Flying past the barrage of bullets, the flying shrine maiden spun around, getting a clear overview of the situation on the battlefield. Then...

"...the 12th Generation Hakurei Shrine Maiden, Reimu Hakurei..."

...without hesitation, she threw countless papers inscribed with Shinto blessings at her enemies.

"...is touted to be the Strongest Miko in history."

Without missing, all the pieces of paper hit their targets as if they were homing before completely obliterating them.


While I felt reassured at what Akyuu just told me...

"That's good and all, but..."

...there is only so much you can do when investigating something you don't know about from the beginning.

"...how fast do you think Reimu could solve this incident? A month? Maybe a week? A day?"

And from what I knew, Reimu took a month to resolve this incident.

"Call me foolish, but I'll help resolve this, even if my contribution to this situation might be only a second."


Taking a piece of fabric and covering both mouth and nose with it, I walked out of Akyuu's office.

"Rin! What do you think you are doing?!"

I just looked back at Akyuu, giving her a big smile.

"What? What would an alchemist like me do when met with a new substance? Guess once~."

The answer was, of course, investigating said substance.


I am sorry, Akyuu. You might be right about me being reckless, not caring about myself, and acting nonchalant about my injuries, all things I am guilty of. Yet, I won't change that part about me.

Just like an old childhood friend of mine, I'll walk down the path of self-sacrifice with a smile!

If I don't go to hell, who will!

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