Family (Chapter 19-20)

Chapter 19: Lessons

The next day was a Friday, meaning it was a school day. As Patchouli was the designated teacher she had set up a classroom and decorated it with school benches and chairs (along with a slightly imposing desk for herself).
When she walked through the door she stopped for a moment and took a few deep breaths. As Sakuya always cleaned the classroom before it was going to be used, there was basically no dust at all in the room.

Feeling refreshed, Patchouli sat down behind her desk and started her preparations for the day.
They were going to study magic today, something that Reimu had concluded that the kids had to start practicing early if they were going to be strong enough when the time came.
Everyone else had agreed after giving it some thought. Today was going to be the first time they did practical, hands on learning in this subject.
The plan was for the parents to attend as well. According to Patchouli, the children would not only need a demonstration by pros, but some extra guidance as well when they started down this path.

As she was shuffling her papers and putting on her small glasses, the door opened and Kazehana entered the room dragging her mother along.
She looked at her teacher with a cheerful face.
“Hi auntie Patchy, what are we gonna do today?”
The magician sighed.
“I told you, in this classroom you address me as ‘Sensei’, is that understood?”
“Sorry, my bad Sensei”.
Aya looked at her daughter.
“You always say that it’s important to tell the truth, if you were as diligent in a few other areas you would make a lot of people happy, including me you know”.
Kazehana grinned and stuck out the tip of her tongue.
“I could say the same thing to you mom, only reversed”.
Aya blushed a little. Her daughter had been badgering her for a while now to be honest and tell the truth.
This was because she had found a few old newspapers Reimu used to wrap things in and read the articles in them, then asked the adults if what was written there was true. When everyone had told her that it wasn’t, she had given Aya a little bit of a hard time over it. She was a girl who greatly valued truth.
As they sat down at one of the desks, Kazehana embraced Aya and smiled.
“It’s ok mom, I still love you”.
Aya’s face softened as she returned the hug.
“I love you too”.

After a few minutes everyone else arrived with their parents in tow.
Once they had all settled down Patchouli clapped her hands twice to ask for silence, then got up from her chair and made the chalk hover in front of the blackboard behind her.
“Magic” she said as she made the chalk write the word on the blackboard.
“It is something you are all born with, and therefore you need to learn how to use it. You have studied it a little bit, but that alone won’t make you advance much in the field”.
She paused for a second to look around the room. It was a bit quieter then usual as all the kids were waiting in silent anticipation.
“Therefore, I have come to a decision. Today you will be given a few demonstrations and then you will all practice it for real”.
She moved to the classroom door and opened it, then gestured to everyone in the room to follow her.
“We can not do that here, as this room is not properly prepared for such exercises. We shall be using the basement”.
At these words, all the kids got exited. They had all seen the observation bunker in the basement before, but this would be the first time they got to use the training area.
They all quickly got to their feet and marched in a line behind Patchouli as she led them out of the house.
They crossed the lawn to the large hatch in the ground and opened it. When you climbed down the ladder you ended up inside the observation bunker that was hanging in the middle of the ceiling in the basement. It offered a great view of the entire room with all it’s windows (most of the floor was also a large window).

Reimu, Marisa and Sakuya were waiting for them when they arrived.
After greeting them, Patchouli turned towards her class again.
“Alright, I know you have all witnessed our practices in here before, but today it is you who will make use of the room”.
She made a gesture towards the trio that was now opening the door in the bunker and spread out in the larger room.
“These three will demonstrate a few different kinds of magic in a more observable manner, as it can be quite hard to grasp the individual details when you are just observing practice from a distance. Then you will get to practice yourselves. Your mother’s will assist you and you can ask me any questions you want”.
Momoka, who seemed rather busy hugging Kazehana (earning a slightly annoyed look from her younger sister), raised her hand.
“Sensei, will you show us any magic? I’ve never seen you train in here before”.
Patchouli nodded.
“Of course, I will participate in your training as well. You can look forward to me kicking your behinds in the duels I’m going to test you with”.
Momoka’s face lit up as she flashed a big smile and waved her tail around.
“Awesome! I can’t wait!”
This didn’t come as a surprise to the others. Momoka always got exited about things that involved hard work for some reason.
Her usual docile, clingy behavior changed completely when she was given a difficult task or when she was watching others doing something hard.
At those times she became very active and upbeat, a rather strong contrast for anyone who didn’t know her well.

The room had been filled with practice dummies for the day (courtesy of Alice) and they were set up in a few different ways.
The ones in front of Reimu moved around erratically, the ones in front of Marisa were really big and those in front of Sakuya had shields.
Patchouli tapped her foot against the floor and started speaking again.
“Right, you will now observe how each of our demonstrators deals with their targets. Watch closely and then describe to me what you deduce”.
She looked out the window and made a ‘go ahead’ gesture to Reimu.
The shrine maiden nodded, turned towards her targets and conjured up her yin-yang orbs. As she started shooting at the target dummies, they quickly scattered and started moving around fast. Reimu calmly threw out several amulets that started to chase after them. Some where hit and fell to the ground, others evaded the amulets only to get hit by Reimu’s needles and join the others on the floor.

The whole thing lasted only a few seconds, after which Patchouli turned to her class and adjusted her glasses.
“Now then, tell me what you saw happen”.
“Mama shot them all down” Momoka answered.
“And what kind of bullets did she use?”
“Um, needles and homing”.
“That’s right, and how did she combine them for best effect?”
At this question, most of the kids scratched their heads. Then Sachi raised her hand.
“She made them try to dodge the homing amulets, then aimed for where they were going to be after the dodge”.
Patchouli extended her index finger and pointed straight up.
“Precisely. In order to use magic properly, you need to learn not just how to do different spells, but how to best combine them”.
She then turned towards Marisa and nodded. The witch grinned, took out her mini-hakkero and began charging it up.
As this was something she had not yet shown any of the kids, they all leaned closer trying to get a better look at it. They never got the chance though as at that moment, a giant, massive laser erupted from it and lit up the room with it’s brilliance.
All the kids were staring at it, awestruck, until it expired. Only then did they notice that pretty much nothing was left of the large target dummies.

Patchouli asked her next question.
“So, can you tell me what that was?”
“A really big laser” Rena said.
“Far bigger then any I’ve seen auntie Marisa do before” Izumi finished.
Patchouli nodded. “And do you know why it was so much larger?”
Noriko raised her hand.
“Wasn’t it because she used that round object we saw her holding? Like, channeling her magic through it or something?”
Patchouli nodded. “Indeed it was. This should show you that magic can not just be cast as is. You can also use other ways to wield it, like crafting objects that you can use as a medium”.

Patchouli turned to Sakuya and gave her a wave.
The maid quickly produced a number of silver knives that she threw at the dummies. They responded by turning their shields towards the oncoming blades and a clatter was heard as the knives bounced of their metallic surfaces.
Sakuya put her hand into her pocket and pulled out her watch. Like Marisa’s mini-hakkero, this was something none of the kids had seen yet and their curiosity was almost comical to watch.
The only thing they did see however, was Sakuya moving slightly and a circle of knives appearing around the dummies as if from nowhere.
The shining blades quickly closed in on their targets, who could only guard in one direction, and pierced through their backs.
As the kids stared, unable to yet comprehend what they witnessed, Sakuya turned towards the last dummy. She produced a single knife and held it in a firm grip, then charged towards her target.
It placed it’s shield directly in her path and it looked like she was going to slam headfirst into it, but just as she got within about 3 meters of it, she made a small movement with the hand that held her watch. The next moment, she was behind the dummy and quickly closed the distance, stabbing it.

As the last target fell to the floor, Patchouli put her hands behind her back and asked her last question.
“Now tell me, what happened?”
All the kids were dumbstruck for a moment, then started to think hard.
Kazehana raised her hand. “Did she speed herself up to super-speed?”
Patchouli shook her head. “No, she moved at the same speed all the time”.
“Did she create that circle of knives out of thin air?” Akane asked.
Another shake of the head.
Sachi went next. “Did she use a teleport technique? That would explain how she first moved those knives then herself”.
“Close, but not quite right. You had the correct idea though, she did move both her knives and herself using an advanced technique”.
Patchouli pointed towards Sakuya’s watch.
“She can temporarily stop time for everything around her. When time is stopped, she can move around freely and even throw knives so that they form a pattern that starts moving once time starts flowing again. Things that are close enough to her are not affected though, so she can’t hit them directly when time is frozen”.
A collective ‘wow’ echoed through the room as all the kids turned to look at Sakuya again. She smiled and waved to them.

Patchouli continued. “The lesson to take away here, is that things are not always what they seem. Always keep this in mind”.
The class nodded in unison.
“Well then, head down there and listen to your instructors. Now it’s your turn”.
They nodded again and went through the bunker door into the main room for the first time.
They had all learned how to fly, even if they could not do it very well yet, but it was enough to drift down safely to the floor in the large room. Their parents all landed behind them once they were down.
The three instructors greeted them and divided them between themselves (Rena and Izumi with Sakuya, Kazehana and Akane with Reimu, and Momoka, Sachi and Noriko with Marisa.

The rest of the lesson was filled with noise. Most spells the kids attempted didn’t turn out the way they intended and a few didn’t even work at first.
Reimu, Marisa and Sakuya all told the kids the same thing whenever they got it wrong.
“It is alright if you fail, each failure brings you closer to your goal. That is what training is”.
They kept at it for longer then any of the adults had expected. All the kids were eager to learn and kept on going, even when they showed sings of getting tired.
Eventually though, Reimu decided that it wouldn’t be productive to keep going any longer.
“I think that’s enough for today everyone. What do you say we all get something to eat now?”
The sounds of half-failed spells was replaced by the sound of cheers from hungry people with a meal to look forward to.
When the mothers all held their children in their arms and drifted up towards the ceiling, Reimu took a moment to look at them.
It was rather remarkable to think about how much they had all changed since becoming parents, they were all still the same people she knew of course, but their manners had changed and they now seemed to carry themselves with more pride in their steps.
The two scarlet sisters had visibly grown more mature. They still had the same height but their features had become decisively more feminine and adult-like.
Their boobs and wings had grown a little larger, their hair was longer and their faces a little more mature.
Okuu and Orin were a lot calmer and often played with the kids, but made sure to not let it get out of hand.
Alice was more honest with herself now and pleasant to be around. Watching her practice sewing or doll making with Noriko was very sweet.
Even Suika and Aya was showing more restraint and acted in a more ordered manner.
Reimu smiled as she closed her eyes.
I have probably changed a lot as well” she thought.

As everyone exited the basement they began moving towards the shrine entrance.
Sakuya, Reimu and Remilia had prepared a meal earlier, and it was waiting for them when they all got to the kitchen. Everyone quickly sat down around the table and dug in.
While they all sat there eating, Reimu noticed that Okuu seemed to be whispering something to Orin. As she wondered what it could be, Reimu saw the cat’s ears twitching a little and her face stiffen.
She continued watching them and eventually saw Okuu close her hand as if holding something and make a pulling motion. This gesture, along with whatever words she was whispering, made Orin’s back stiffen in a straight pose and her hands clasp into tight fists.
Reimu smiled a little to herself as an idea of the nature of their conversation formed in her mind.
An idea that was all but confirmed when Okuu looked at her and waved with a smile, while Orin nervously glanced in her direction briefly before looking away again.
Reimu waved back to the raven and decided to have a little chat with them later.

Said chat happened later that evening. All the kids had gone to bed early (they were all really tired) so Reimu decided to pay a little visit to the pet’s room.
When she reached the entrance she decided not to knock. Playing a hunch, she discretely opened the door just a little bit and peeked into the room.
Since their back were turned and they didn’t notice her, she carefully levitated an inch of the floor and snuck up behind them.
Their conversation was made up of whispers, but as she got closer she realized that Okuu, just like she had suspected, was retelling last night to Orin (who was listening intently and asked for details every now and then).

Reimu hovered behind them until Okuu got to the part where she threw her arms around herself and said “And then, she held me in her warm arms as I snuggled up to her. Ah, it felt so good”.
Orin began talking in a dreamy voice.
“Wow, that sounds so amazing. I wish Reimu was here to hold me right now…”
At this, Reimu leaned close to Orin’s ear and whispered in a sultry voice.
“Your wish is my command”.
The cat’s ears stood right up as her back stiffened and she let out a loud “Nyaaaa!”. Before she could move Reimu had pulled her into a hug from behind and rubbed her cheek against hers.
Even though Reimu only saw a bit of her face she could tell the cat was blushing furiously.
Okuu turned towards her with a surprised look on her face.
“Oh, Reimu. I didn’t hear you, how long have you been here?”
“Since about the point where you talked about how good it felt to get pinned down and fucked while having your leash pulled”.
The raven clapped her hands together and happily chirped “Ah yes, that was so much fun!”
Reimu moved her face a little so that she was looking at Orin from the side, gave her a seductive gaze and stroked her chin with two fingers.
The cat’s whole face was frozen like a statue, only her eyes moved as they hastily jumped between Reimu’s face and a point somewhere straight in front of her.
The shrine maiden smiled.
“Shall I extend the same courtesy to you, my little kitty cat?”

Very slowly, Orin’s lips parted. She gradually increased the distance between them until her mouth was about half open.
Reimu gently grabbed her chin and turned her head so that they were face to face, then opened her own mouth.
They stopped moving and just breathed, each feeling the others hot breath on their faces. Then Reimu put her hand behind the cat’s head and pulled it forward until their mouths met.
Orin’s face was still red when they started kissing, and Reimu quickly went deep with her tongue and made an effort to really devour her partner.
As she twined her other arm around Orin’s body, she could feel how stiff she was. A stiffness that gradually melted away the longer they kissed.
Reimu pulled back and quickly started liking Orin’s neck. She got a couple of loud moans as a response.
She then moved up and took the tip of one of the cat ears into her mouth. Orin let out a meow, closed her eyes and quickly covered her mouth with her hand.
Reimu continued to suck on the ear and lick it everywhere she could reach. The muffled moans her partner was making set a fire in her chest that quickly increased it’s intensity.

Before it got unbearable, Reimu stopped her licking. She turned towards Okuu (who had both hands on her breasts and was caressing them) and smiled.
“Where did you put that nice leash?”
The raven quickly jumped over to a drawer, opened it and pulled out the blue leash and collar.
“Here it is” she proclaimed happily as she brought it to the shrine maiden’s waiting hand.
“Thanks, now let me just put this on here”.
Reimu adjusted the collar a bit so that it would fit properly without getting uncomfortable, then put it around Orin’s neck deliberately slowly. The cat’s ears moved up and down in eagerness.
“There, all done. How does it feel?”
Orin touched the collar with her hand and let her fingers feel it’s texture.
“It feels, kind of n-nice”.
“Good, because we need to take a short little walk. This room isn’t soundproof after all, and we don’t want to wake up the children”.

With the little implication that the activities that followed would definitively generate enough noise to wake up the kids, both the pets became even more exited.
Orin whispered something in Reimu’s ear and the shrine maiden nodded and turned to Okuu.
“You go ahead and keep a lookout so we don’t run into anyone in the hallway, I would imagine Orin wouldn’t want to be seen by anyone else right now”.
Okuu nodded and went ahead of them while Orin got down on all fours and gave the leash to Reimu. She grabbed it and started walking, leading her friend by the leash.
Okuu took her job seriously and quietly flew back and fourth to check for any evening strollers, while Orin followed Reimu and stroked her head against her friend’s leg with a happy look on her face every time they stopped to listen for footsteps.

Eventually they reached the bedroom door and quickly slunk in, locking it behind them. They all moved over to the bed and sat down on it.
Orin looked at Reimu with a shy smile.
“M-master, could you please continue where we stopped?”
Reimu placed herself behind Orin and embraced her.
“Of course we can, especially since you asked me so sweetly”.
As she resumed her licking of the cat ears, she also started groping Orin’s breast with one hand and gently pull on the leash with the other. It did not take long before the room was filled with hot moans and Okuu started touching herself again.
Reimu beckoned the raven with a sultry smile.
“Come here little birdie, help your friend out with her sexual needs”.
As Okuu crawled towards them Reimu lifted up Orin’s skirt and pulled her panties to the side, exposing her dripping wet pussy.
She rubbed a finger against the clit slowly as she spoke her next words.
“Make sure to lick her good while I attend to her breast and mouth”.
Okuu extended her tongue and poked the entrance, then put her whole mouth around her friend’s pussy and inserted her tongue into the slit.
As Orin meowed loudly, Reimu moved her hand back and grabbed her breast again, then pulled on the leash to make the cat turn her face towards her and sealed her mouth with her own once more.

Once again the fire in her chest increased it’s intensity when she heard Orin’s muffled moans. This time it got so strong she couldn’t contain it any longer.
Pulling her head back and smiling lasciviously, she told Okuu to get the elixirs from the drawer and sat there cuddling Orin while they waited, making sure to keep a firm grip on the leash.
Once they had all swallowed their drinks and Reimu’s penis stood erect, she patted the cat’s head.
“Attend to my dick, cover it in your naughty saliva and make it ready for penetrating your delicious, wet cunt”.
Orin got down on her knees and smelled the hard, stinky penis that was standing in front of her face. Her face turned into a dreamy expression.
“Ah, I can’t get enough of this smell, it’s turning me on so much master”.
She then twined her fingers around the base and put the tip in her mouth.

She alternated between rolling her tongue all over the tip and swallowing the whole length, doing her best to slobber as much sticky saliva as possible all over it and feeling the smell fill her mouth and nostrils. Her free hand moved down to her crotch and she began shamelessly touching herself, feeling her fingers get soaked as she did.
While she received this wonderful service, Reimu put one arm around Okuu’s neck and pulled her into a kiss (the other maintaining a firm pull on the leash). Feeling both their tongues on her body turned her on even more and her dick soon stiffened and began to throb.
When Orin noticed this, she began sucking harder on it and made sure to never let more then half it’s length out of her mouth. She desperately wanted to taste the sweet cum that she knew was on the way and did everything to speed up it’s arrival.
Her efforts were rewarded by a large amount of sweet, sticky semen that quickly filled her mouth.
She did her best to swallow it but she could feel it dripping down her chin from the corners of her mouth.
When she finally pulled back, gasping for breath, one last spurt landed on her face.
Reimu looked at her with an expression of ecstasy.
“Look Okuu, she really did her best there. Help her out will you? Clean her face and the inside of her mouth for me”.
The raven smiled and got down on her knees, then grabbed Orin’s head and started licking up the cum on her face. When she had licked it clean she went to work on the inside of her mouth, licking everywhere she could reach.

When she finally pulled back and swallowed the semen she had licked up, Orin’s face was flushed and her tongue was hanging out while she breathed heavily.
Reimu pulled on the leash to make her stand up, then ordered Okuu to lay down on her back on the bed.
The raven complied and Reimu next told Orin to get down on all fours, straddling Okuu.
She then pushed down on Orin’s back so that the two pet’s chests where pressed together and whispered “Now, kiss each other good while I prepare you for my dick”.
Okuu threw her arms around Orin’s neck and started kissing her passionately. As the cat returned the kiss Reimu pulled of their panties and put her index fingers into their pussies.
She rolled her fingers around and gently scraped at their inner walls while alternating between licking their clits, getting more and more turned on by their cute moans.

She eventually put her finger carefully into Okuu’s butthole while continuing to caress her clit with her thumb (earning a cute yelp from the raven), while grabbing Orin’s tails and licking them (earning an equally cute meow from her).
She continued with this treatment until they both shrieked and their bodies shuddered, sweat now covering them both.
She smiled as she stood up and started to move her penis towards Orin’s quivering pussy.
When she grabbed the cat’s hips she said “Good girls, here is your reward”.
The next moment she plunged her dick as deep as she could into the soaking wet honey pot that eagerly accepted her inside.
Orin moaned and began to weakly thrust her hips, literally begging to be fucked hard. Reimu pulled on the leash and began thrusting at a brisk pace.

The cat let out multiple meows and her eyes filled with tears of happiness and pleasure. Her face was to cute for Okuu to resist and she greedily started to lick the tears of her neck and face, then kissed her deeply.
Reimu could feel her pussy doing it’s best to squeeze her dick and slowly increased her pace, making sure to savor everything from the feeling of soft, wet flesh caressing every inch of her member to the slopping, obscene sound they were making.
The sight of Okuu folding her wings around her friend as she kissed her was also exciting, and soon she felt the pressure reaching it’s boiling point.
She leaned down, licked Orin’s neck and said “Here it comes, take all of my love”.

As she began to ejaculate straight into Orin’s wet hole, the cat arched her back and shrieked loudly as her whole body shook violently. Even the feathers on Okuu’s wings that were wrapped around her rustled as if a wind was blowing.
Reimu continued her thrusting until she had finally shot her whole load, then quickly pulled out and plunged it into Okuu’s equally wet honey pot.
The raven let out a surprised yelp, then looked at Reimu and smiled.
The shrine maiden returned the smile and handed her the leash.
“Here, hold this for me while I fuck you and fill you up as well”.
Okuu nodded and lightly pulled on it to bring Orin’s head back down so that their faces almost touched. Reimu began moving again and soon the raven was the one who was moaning and squirming.

When Orin’s eyes regained their focus and she saw her friend’s face cutely contort below her, and feeling the warmth that was now spreading from her belly to the rest of her body, she was completely unable to resist.
She opened her mouth and began to caress Okuu’s neck and face with her tongue, completely letting her cat behavior take over.
The raven squealed and pressed their chests closer together, squirming to rub their breasts against each other.
When she felt Reimu’s dick stiffen inside her, she wrapped her legs around the shrine maiden and pulled her closer, feeling the tip of the dick poke the entrance to her womb. When she hot semen started to fill her up, a tremor went through her body and she let out several loud, pleasurable moans.

Afterward they all collapsed on the bed, Reimu in the middle holding one arm around each pet, and just laid there gasping for air.
When they eventually regained their ability to speak properly, all three soon started to laugh. It felt wonderful to just lay there, basking in the intimacy, warmth and aftermath of pleasure.
When they had all calmed down a little, Reimu pulled them closer.
“It’s going to be Saturday tomorrow, let’s make a little party for the kids to celebrate their first successful use of magic”.
Orin stroked her face against Reimu’s chest.
“That sounds like fun, I love playing with the kids”.
“Me too” Okuu said. “It’s always fun to see what they come up with”.
Reimu smiled as she responded.
“Then it’s settled then, let’s sleep on it so that we are refreshed for tomorrow”.
She kissed them both goodnight and as they snuggled up to her she could feel their love and affection.
As she drifted of to sleep she thought to herself that she could not remember a time before the forming of her family when she had ever been this happy.

Chapter 20: Life lessons

As is were, all of the kids showed a great enthusiasm towards learning magic. They trained both alone and together while asking the adults for tips all the time.
Aya said that she had to mark this as a new episode of their lives here since things changed quite a bit when they got so eager to train themselves.

Once they had all mastered the basics Patchouli challenged them to a seven-on-one duel. Feeling confident that they would pass her test easily with such a numerical advantage, they had all eagerly marched into the basement duel area and promptly gotten their asses kicked (just like she had promised) by their teacher’s powerful combined elemental spellcards.

At the conclusion of the duel they where all on the floor, sore all over (Momoka was the only one who looked pleased). Patchouli clapped her hands once.
“Excellent, you have all made good progress. So good in fact, that I decided to not go easy on you today. Now, can you guess why I made that decision?”
They all fell quiet for a short while, then Noriko slowly raised her hand.
“It’s because we got overconfident isn’t it? Our success made us think that we were better then we actually were”.
Patchouli did her characteristic ‘index finger pointing straight up’ pose that she did when someone gave her the answer she was looking for.
“Precisely. This is something that can happen quite easily when one trains herself in magic. Since you got no point of reference, you trick yourself into thinking you are strong when in fact you have a long way to go still”.
She made a slight pause, put her hands behind her back and smiled a little.
“I decided to do this now, because the longer you go with those kind of illusions, the harder they are to let go of when you are confronted with the truth”.
Kazehana raised her hand.
“Sensei, you went through the same thing didn’t you?”
Patchouli nodded.
“I did indeed. I studied magic for hundreds of years and fancied myself very powerful, then I lost to a human I deemed inferior. Hubris is like a disease, and those of us who wield magic are extra susceptible to it”.

She paused, put her hands behind her back and closed her eyes for a second.
When she opened them again there was a different look on her face.
“There is only one person I know who has avoided falling into the hubris trap. Someone who has been able to win against adversaries that vastly exceeded her own strength, precisely because she took the fights seriously and gave it her all, every single time”.
All the kids had gone quiet as they listened to those words. Nobody seemed willing to break the silence, but eventually Noriko took heart and slowly raised her hand.
“Um, Sensei?”
Patchouli’s face returned to normal and her eyes regained their focus.
“Yes?”
“Who, who is that person?”
The kids looked as their teacher gave them a warm smile, an exceedingly rare sight.
“Why, who else? Your mama, Reimu”.

Later that day, after practicing some sewing with Alice, Noriko went looking for Reimu. She found her sitting on the front porch just outside the main door.
As she approached, Reimu turned her head.
“Ah, hello sweety. What is it?”
The girl smiled shyly.
“Mother, can I sit with you for a while?”
“Of course you can honey, you don’t even need to ask for that”.

Noriko sat herself down on Reimu’s right side and kept her gaze on the ground. Reimu noticed her daughter’s gloom and put her arm over her shoulders.
“What is it? You seem bothered by something”.
The young girl turned her face towards her mother with small tears in her eyes. Seeing this, Reimu was surprised for a moment, then quickly put her arms around her daughter, promptly picked her up and placed her in her own lap.
Noriko’s face contorted, then she started crying as she grabbed her mother’s clothes and buried her face into the warm chest in front of her. Reimu held her in a firm embrace and slowly rocked back and forth, letting her cry as much as she needed.
When Noriko’s sobs eventually subsided Reimu used her sleeve to carefully wipe the tears away, then put her hand on her daughter’s cheek and smiled.
“Do you want to tell me what it is that’s bothering you?”
“*sniff*, Mother, please tell me how I can be better”.
A slightly puzzled look crossed Reimu’s face.
“How do you mean ‘better’?”
“I, I heard from Sensei about you. How you were before”.

Reimu tried to figure out what it was that was bothering her daughter. The kids knew that they lived in a space that was sectioned of from the rest of the world (something she had thought would be best to tell them sooner rather then later), but they did not yet know the exact reason why (only that it was a necessity for now and that they would get to see it at some point).
Kazehana and Noriko in particular were always interested in hearing things about the outside world, and Reimu thought that maybe, just maybe Noriko had heard something about her past and felt like she needed to live up to it.
Her suspicion was all but confirmed when her daughter continued.
“I heard how strong you’ve always been, how cool you are”.
She paused and looked down.
“I want to be like you, for my sister’s sake. I want to be strong for them like I should be”.
Reimu smiled a little.
“And you don’t think you are strong?”
Noriko looked into her eyes.
“Today I learned that I am not nearly strong enough. But that’s not the worst part, I also let myself succumb to hubris, something you never did”.
Reimu put her hand on Noriko’s head.
“You are being to hard on yourself honey. When I was your age I could barely cast a spell properly, and not for the reason you’d think”.
As Noriko looked at her questioningly, she continued.
“Oh I had the talent, more then enough in fact, but I was lazy. So lazy that I could barely do something that should have been extremely easy for me”.
Noriko’s eyes widened in surprise. Reimu smiled and continued.
“It wasn’t until I realized my responsibilities as the Hakurei shrine maiden that I finally got my head on straight and actually started accomplishing something. There have been several occasions when I’ve doubted myself and thought that I was no good”.
She embraced her daughter again and held her close.
“So you see, you are just fine the way you are. You are a strong girl, and once you’ve figured yourself out you will be able to achieve your goals, because you have the tenacity needed to keep going until you do”.
Reimu heard a few quiet sobs and leaned a little closer.
“I’ll help you as much as you want. You can come talk to me anytime”.
Noriko could no longer hold back her tears. She quickly threw her arms and legs around her mother and clung to her tightly as she started to cry loudly.
Reimu held her with one arm around her back and one behind her head, slowly rocking back and forth like she did before.

Marisa smiled to herself where she was hiding, it seemed like Reimu had the situation well in hand at this point. She turned to the girl beside her and whispered in her ear.
“Everything seems to be fine here, maybe we should make ourselves scarce”.
Sachi, still looking worried, whispered back.
“Are you sure? She is still crying a lot”.
“Yes I’m sure, come with me and I’ll tell you why”.
They quietly moved away until there were a few walls between them and the front door.
When she was sure nobody was listening, Marisa continued.
“You don’t have to worry, when we left she wasn’t crying sad tears anymore”.
Sachi raised one of her eyebrows.
“I don’t understand what you mean, don’t people cry when they are sad?”
“Yes they do, but sometimes people cry when they are happy, or when they get a powerful feeling of relief. Put simply, it’s all the pent up tension that is released when you realize that you no longer need to keep it contained”.
Sachi scratched her head, making her beautiful black hair and feathers rustle.
“I guess that makes sense, but how can you tell the difference so easily? I cant see it at all”.
Marisa grinned.
“It is something you learn as you grow, especially after having experienced it yourself. Maybe you can ask Akane about it, she is rather sharp when it comes to these sort of things”.
Sachi’s face looked a little brighter.
“Ok, if you say big sis is alright, I’ll trust you. I can ask Akane about this later when she isn’t so tired”.
“Great, let’s go my room then. I’m sure the answer to the question you asked me before is hidden in one of my books somewhere, and if it isn’t I’ll just borrow one of Patchy’s books”.

Once Noriko had calmed down Reimu took one of her amulets and wrote ‘Come to the front door’ on it, then sent it of in the direction of Alice’s room. She didn’t have to wait long before the puppeteer showed up, her face turning slightly worried.
She quickly approached them and put her hand on Noriko’s head.
“What’s the matter? Are you ok?”
Her daughter half-laughed, half-sobbed before answering.
“I’m fine now mom, I won’t cry anymore”.
Alice looked at Reimu, who gave her a reassuring wink.
“She just needed to get something of her chest, that’s all”.
Alice smiled as she picked up Noriko and held her against her chest.
“Well, I’m glad it wasn’t anything to serious”.
The young girl hugged her and almost whimpered a single word.
“Mom”.
Reimu rose to her feet and put her arms around them both. They stood there for a while, just feeling the comfort of each others warmth.

Eventually Alice put her daughter down and grabbed her hand.
“Come, dinner will be done soon. Lets go wash your face so you can look happy again”.
Noriko laughed as she followed her mother towards the bathroom.
Reimu watched them from behind as she smiled to herself. Her children filled her with pride, so much so that she found herself looking up to them on more then one occasion.
She clenched her hand into a fist and held it in front of her chest.
“Alright, gotta do my best as well. For their sake”.
She turned and headed towards the kitchen to help out with anything that wasn’t done yet, feeling a warm sensation in her chest.

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