Shimi and Yukari were arguing in his interview room. It was still covered in weapons, though a few of them were hovering in midair. Most of the chairs had been moved elsewhere. Shimi's eyes were glowing with anger, and Yukari was staring at him and his floating weapons in amusement. "So, you really want to fight me over this?" Shimi sighed, and the weapons clattered to the floor.
"No. It's just so annoying. How could you do a interview without me?" Yukari laughed.
"Quite well, I'd think. Besides, even if I wanted you to come with me, you can't. The target is dead, and is currently in the deepest part of the Netherworld."
"That doesn't explain why I can't go."
"Actually, it does. Living people aren't supposed to enter the Netherworld in the first place, but the border between life and death is a bit weak at the moment. Even so, there are certain places no one can enter, like where the dead are judged. If you try to go there, you die instantly." Shimi grumbled a bit, but admitted that made sense.
"Well, if I can't go there, how can you? Besides, I've died before. How is this any different?"
"I can go because I can alter the boundaries of life and death enough to let me in. However, even my power has limits. I'm only strong enough to do this for myself. As for why you can't come, a death in the Netherworld is permanent. Shinigami live there, and can appear instantly to separate your soul and body. Even you can't recover from that. Now, I must leave. I don't have much time to do the interview." She disappeared into one of her gaps, leaving Shimi alone. He paced back and forth, putting the weapons back on their shelves.
"Well, what do I do now?" Then he glanced at one of his weapons, and a eerie grin practically split his face. "Well, having a little chat with you seems like a good way to pass the time. A nice heart to heart. Maybe even soul to soul." He reached out and grabbed one of his swords, if it could be called that. Oh, it had a blade and a hilt, like any sword, but no other weapon had black flesh instead of metal, or blood vessels running down it. If that didn't set in the fact that this thing was a abomination against nature, the pulsating, demonic eye in it's center would. It's tempted all who saw it, both through legend and… temptation, to grab it's hilt and become a mighty warrior, a king, nay, a god among the mere mortals around them. It had once been known as the Sword of Heroes, the Sword of Salvation, The Ultimate Weapon, but it's true name was Soul Edge.
Yukari flew through the Netherworld with her friend Yuyuko leading her. "Are you sure we are going the right way, Yuyuko?" The ghost girl just grinned, but a few minutes later it was clear they were at the right spot when they saw Higan in the distance. It's where the dead stay until they are judged. Yukari rarely came here for obvious reasons, but Yuyuko came around occasionally to cheer up the waiting souls, to show that the afterlife probably isn't as bad as they think. Higan itself is a endless flower garden where there is no night or day, no way to judge the time. A warm light eternally shines on it's inhabitants, but it couldn't possibly brighten anyone's mood. The sheer silence and stillness of the place brings the reality of death crashing down, and you can only hope for a merciful afterlife. Yukari desperately tried to ignore all of this as she searched for her target, but all the souls were just sitting there, and if you stared at them long enough they seem to blur together. "There are thousands of them!" Yukari muttered. "How am I supposed to find that girl in the middle of all this?" Yuyuko flew over, looking a bit solemn. "Is this place getting to you too, Yuyuko?" Yuyuko nodded sadly and said,
"She isn't here. I think she has already been judged." Yukari groaned in rage.
"I traveled all the way here, and she's already gone!" Yuyuko was about to say yes, but then she grinned. A giggle escaped her, and it quickly turned into hysterical laugher.
"I'm just kidding, Yukari! She right there." Yuyuko pointed to the woman sitting next to her. She had blond hair, blue eyes, and was wearing a black dress. She was holding what seemed to be a cross between a sniper rifle and a scythe. Yukari relaxed and tapped the woman on the shoulder. The woman didn't respond, but kept staring into the light above her. Irritated, Yukari was about to shake her awake when the woman spun around and pointed both of her guns at Yukari. She asked,
"What do you want?" Yukari grinned.
"Are you Margaret Moonlight?" The girl nodded. "That's good. I have a few questions for you." Margaret lowered her weapons.
"Are you supposed to judge me or something?"
"No, it seems the judgment of your life hasn't happened yet. I don't know where you will be after that, so I'm just here to ask you a few questions while I can." Margaret considered this.
"Well, alright. It's not like I have anything better to do. It's boring to sing when no one listens."
Meanwhile, Shimi wasn't having much success in his interview. "Look, I don't want to kill anyone, Soul Edge. I just wanted to ask you a few questions." The blade tried to possess him again, but the boy's will was simply too strong. Maybe it was time for something more subtle…
"I'll make a deal with you, human. I will answer your questions-"
"Hooray!" The sword glared at him indignantly.
"As I was saying, I will answer your questions on one condition: You slaughter everyone in the nearest city."
"What? I'll never do that!" Soul Edge chuckled.
"Then I suppose you won't get your interview. But since I'm feeling generous, I'll make you another deal. You see, I don't want to talk with you, and you don't want to destroy a city. I'm proposing a compromise. I'll answer one question for every person you kill. How does that sound?" Shimi glared at the blade in disgust.
"How does it sound? It's barbaric! No, that an insult to barbarians. At least they have a reason for killing people!"
"Hey, you have a reason. You want me to answer your questions, right?"
"I swear, you're one of the worst people I ever met! Even Mima's better than you, and she wants "revenge against all of humanity", whatever that means." The blade blinked in surprise.
"You know Mima? She's one of my old drinking buddies! How is she?" Shimi looked surprised, but it quickly turned to annoyance. He was supposed to be asking the questions, not the other way around.
"She's sealed at the Hakurei Shrine. How could you go drinking with her anyway? You're a sword!"
"So? I just possess someone." Everything he said only made Shimi angrier. He'd met with plenty of villains before, but they all had some sort of redeeming quality, even if it was just that they were funny, like GLaDOS. It wasn't enough to make them good, he thought, but it at least made them likeable. This sword, on the other hand, seemed to be just sadistic and heartless. It makes me so angry! I need to calm down. I need to release some of this stress. I could play Mortal Kombat or something. That helps. Or I could break something. I could always fix it later. Or I could kill someone. I mean, no one will care, right? Just find some random bystander, cut him open, eat his soul… Shimi suddenly realized there was something wrong with that sentence. Figuring out what it was, he dropped Soul Edge, and his anger vanished.
"Nice try, Soul Edge. You'll have to better than that to control me. Now, how about I make you a new deal? I want you to answer my questions, and you want something to die. So here's my compromise: You answer my questions, and I'll kill you." Soul Edge looked around nervously.
"Don't you mean or you will kill me?" Shimi laughed.
"Oh, you're right! Sorry, that was a slip of the tongue there. So start talking."
Yukari wondered what to ask Margaret, then settled for the obvious. "So, why did you decide to become a assassin? Couldn't someone with your singing talents get a safer job?" Margaret shrugged.
"I guess I could have, but it doesn't have the same thrill. I enjoy singing, and I delight in fighting, but neither would be the same without the other. It's like they are two halves of the same whole." Yukari smiled and pulled Shimi's notebook out of a gap. Most of it was covered in notes, scribbles, and laughably bad drawings, but there were still a few pages left. As she wrote, she asked,
"So, I notice that your… weapon has scythes attached to it. Wouldn't it have been easier to just use the rifle part?" Margaret laughed.
"That would have taken all the fun out of it. It would have been easier if I just used the rifle, and I probably wouldn't have died like I did, but I don't regret it at all. It added another challenge, to fight people at close range. Also, it meant that I could still use my weapon even if I ran out of bullets." Yukari wrote this down and said,
"I notice that you avoided my first question. You never said how exactly you got into the assassin business." Margaret shrugged.
"There isn't much to say. A guy tried to kill me, but I got him first. It turned out that he was a ranked assassin in the UAA, the United Assassins Association. So I fought anyone who tried to take my rank after that, challenged a few people, and made it from 50 to 4 in two years. Any other questions?" Yukari closed the notebook.
"No, I think that's all." She was about to leave, but then she heard a strange sound. It sounded like a bell ringing. It rang only twice, and on the second ring, Shikieiki Yamaxanadu, judge of the dead, appeared. She nodded in vague respect to Yukari, but it was clear she wanted the youkai out of the way.
"You aren't dead, Yukari. You've asked your questions, now please leave." Yukari frowned.
"I don't want to stay here any longer than I have to, but I do have another reason for being here. Think of me as Margaret's defense attorney." Shikieiki shook her head.
"I must object to that. You can't defend her and she can't be prosecuted. I can see the truth, and that is all that is needed for my trial. Still, if you want to stay here, then I can't stop you." She turned her attention to Margaret and pulled out a crystal hand mirror. "With this, I can see your life. All of your hopes, fears, sins, and goodness. Everything will be laid bare in the mirror's light." Rather than look in it herself, she pointed the mirror at Margret. The second she looked into it, she saw her her life flash before her eyes. It was exactly as how she saw it when she was alive, but now her every action was somehow highlighted. She was stripped of any justification. What sins and virtues she had were painfully clear. A second later, the light was gone, but Margret had seen exactly who and what she was. "So? How do you feel, Miss Moonlight?" Margaret grinned.
"I'm fine. Let's get to the judging part." Surprised, Shikieiki said,
"You seem very confident for a assassin. I can tell you're not lying, so your life can't be too horrible…" She looked into the mirror herself, and her eyes widened. Her whole body she looked away, she said, "Sorry, it's just that the mirror always does that to me. Experiencing someone else's life can be very tiring. Now I know you completely, Miss Moonlight. To you, your own life is virtually meaningless. You wanted only to enjoy yourself, and you killed dozens of people in that pursuit. They were trying to kill you first, I will admit, but even so, when you're life was on the line was the only time you truly felt alive. You couldn't find happiness in ordinary life. You were a warrior with no real goal or passion. That's right, you enjoyed battle too much. Your singing was the only other joy you felt, and there is a good point. You loved for people to hear your melody, in good times or in battle. It brought joy or fear into people's hearts, and you knew it. You understand the true power of music, and when you weren't killing, you used it to brighten the lives of others. Yes, there are far better lives than yours, but also far worse. You had no ill intent, and that spares you from Hell." She seemed relieved to say that, but then frowned. "However, you are not virtuous enough to enter Heaven. My judgment is that you will reside here in the Netherworld." Two portals suddenly opened. "The portal on the left will take you to the Netherworld." Yukari grinned, knowing what comes next. Margaret asked,
"And where does the second portal go?"
"The second leads to the house of a man in Gensokyo, dying in his bed. I'm offering you a position as one of the shinigami, the reapers who take the dead souls here to be judged. They don't always come without a fight, so we need people like you. I'm hoping that by doing this, you will be able to make up for your sins and one day reach Heaven. I am not making any guarantees, and if you purposefully lead the dead astray, you will be sent to Hell. Since you know what I'm offering, do you accept?"
Relieved that everything worked out as well as she had hoped, Yukari left via a gap. When she back to the interview room, she saw Shimi writing something down. "Now, where did you say you were born, Soul Edge?" The demonic blade hissed in impotent rage.
"I told you, I don't remember!" Shimi chuckled.
"Well, I hope your memory improves, or this will be the last question, if you catch my drift. Oh hey, Yukari! How did the interview go?" Yukari handed his notebook back to him.
"It went well. She answered all of my questions."
"Ok, but how is she?"
"She was judged by Shikieiki."
"And the judgement was…?"
The old man was confused. A minute ago, he was surrounded by his family on his deathbed, and now he was in some kind of murky darkness. Was this death? Just emptyness? No, he seemed to hear something. Someone singing…
"Reaper, Reaper, that's what people call me,
Why? Cause they all die,
when I sing, I end their lives…"