Senkai, home to Toyosatomimi no Miko and her (admittedly few, but they'd get more!) followers, was an infinitely expanding pocket dimension anchored within the Great Hakurei Barrier. It was a fantastic bit of spellwork that Miko had initially assumed to be impregnable.

Then one morning she had woken up to find that her impregnable stronghold was absolutely pregnant with fairies, as you do. And a very annoyed Hakurei shrine maiden trying to clear them out while also fending off an equally annoyed Mononobe no Futo, who from the shouting seemed to have taken the (very weak) implication that she couldn't clear them out herself as an insult.

That had been a very rough morning.

Since then, Kaku Seiga had dropped by for tea multiple times and that gap youkai Yukari Yakumo had invited herself in for dinner to discuss how Miko was going to fit into Gensokyo, including about a baker's dozen of not-so-veiled threats to not upset the apple cart.

And while nothing could be done about keeping the gap youkai or the wicked hermit out, Miko had updated the enchantments to keep the fairies out. All of this being a very longwinded way to say that when she heard an aggressive pounding at the dojo's front door, she… well, she startled quite badly. Forlornly, she stared at her spilled teacup, the tea – a welcoming gift from Hakugyokuro, and so of the highest quality – pooling on the table.

Another pounding came from the front door. Miko frowned. What were Futo and the last current member of her household, Soja no Tojiko, doing? It was unseemly for herself to greet visitors, with a few exceptions. Idly using a bit of magic to remove the spilled tea, she eased her earphones off just a tad.

And was assaulted by a veritable wall of sheer frustrated anger. No words were audible, nor were they necessary. "I'm going to have to talk to them about not getting caught up in their arguments," Miko muttered to herself. "Again."

Really, her followers' constant bickering was so tiresome. Especially since she had long floated a solution that should've satisfied all parties, but no, they had to get possessive. Sighing, Miko stood and floated out of the dojo to the door, opening it.

"Greetings, my prince!" declared the strange youkai in the doorway with a happy wave. Miko blinked, taking in the hat. And the black, feathered wings. And- good lord this woman's thighs. She could probably crush watermelons between them.

"A thousand pardons, but though you present familiarity with myself I'm afraid I do not recall ever meeting you," Miko politely replied.

The woman blinked, before slapping her fist into her palm. "Oh, right, I look human now. I forget sometimes. Anyway, it's me, Kurokoma, your faithful steed!"

Miko frowned, looking the woman up and down. Carefully, she eased back her headphones a bit.

"It's her! She really awoke! Oh, this is great!"

"Man, I was really bad at telling human genders apart when I was a horse…"

"Okay, I've got twelve hours before I have to return back to the Animal Realm."

"I wonder if she has any sugar cubes?"

Letting her headphones rest, Miko smiled a genuine smile, though she hid it somewhat with her shaku. "So it is! It is good to see you again, Kurokoma. I did not even consider that you might become a youkai."

"Bein' part of a legend is always a plus for youkai-dom," Kurokoma smirked. "And please, call me Saki. Kurokoma is what my underlings call me."

Miko bowed her head slightly in acknowledgement. "Then you may call me Miko, for you have earned that right." She stepped back, indicating the interior of Senkai. "Would you like to join me inside? I have a pot of very high-quality tea, and yes, sugar cubes."

"Sweet!" Saki crowed, stepping inside and shucking her boots. "And then after we catch up you can ride me all over Gensokyo!"

"Fucking what?!"/"Who hast assaulted mine ears with such frippery?!"

"Oh no," Miko groaned, abandoning all pretense of being a cool and collected ruler by letting her forehead rest against her shaku.

Futo and Tojiko tumbled out of one of the sliding screen doors, fire and thunder written all over their respective faces – and hands.

"Vile harlot!" Futo declared, jabbing an on-fire finger at a confused-looking Saki. "Keep thine grubby hands off of mine prince!"

"Oh, your prince, huh?" Tojiko sneered, lightning crackling up and down her body. "Whatever. I'll pay you back for that line after we punish this thieving wench."

"… Okay, clearly I said something wrong but damned if I know what," Saki remarked, before grinning and crouching forward. "If it's a fight y'all want, though, I'm game any time."

You didn't have to be an astute general and politician, though Miko was both, to see what was about to happen. She knew that it often took drastic measures to break Futo and Tojiko out of one of their moods, and Saki had taken a lot of work to break into the bridle as a normal horse. Youkai did not, as a matter of course, become any less stubborn in becoming one.

So very drastic measures were required indeed. Thank goodness no outsiders were present. Taking a deep breath, Miko let loose a cry of "OI!" that echoed through the courtyard.

All eyes turned to Miko, Futo and Tojiko's in shock and Saki's in curiosity. With a dainty cough, Miko reasserted her princely demeanor.

"Ladies. 'Twould be most appreciated if you could all fight according to spellcard rules," she stated.

"Not gonna try 'n stop us, Miko?" Saki asked almost eagerly.

And all at once the princely demeanor fell away again, this time into narrow-eyed deadpan. "Please. I know a losing battle when I see one."

No sooner had Miko said that than Saki took to the air, Futo and Tojiko following an instant later. And an instant after that the sky was alit with patterns of danmaku.

To her well-trained eye, the outcome was apparent from that first clash. Tojiko and Futo were good, solid danmaku fighters. But they were new to it and it showed sometimes. Certainly they never could beat Miko. Saki, on the other hand, was more than good. Watching her patterns, Miko came to the disquieting conclusion that she might not be able to beat Saki at danmaku.

'Something to strive for, then,' she decided.

The battle had been going on for about two minutes when Miko sensed a familiar presence, and a very unwelcome one. Frowning slightly, she strained her senses, waiting, listening – and then her hand darted out and plucked Aya Shameimaru out of the air, pencil and notepad in hand.

"Uh, hi?" the crow tengu offered.

Something inside Miko… snapped. The many intrusions, the stress of dealing with Futo and Tojiko, even Saki's arrival- it all boiled over and demanded to be let out. And though Miko had transcended death and was striving for a spiritual enlightment, well, to put it bluntly she was nowhere near close to achieving the latter and she'd long preached healthy expression of human desire anyway.

Which is to say, she howled, "How are you people getting in here?!" at the top of her lungs.

"I bribed Reimu to show me the way!" Aya cheerfully answered.


Miko tossed Aya none-too-gently to the ground, and sadly the reporter didn't take the rather blatant hint to leave. Miko was long past caring at this point. Her focus was on her two followers, currently floating down with concerned looks on their faces.

"Mine prince?" Futo asked carefully. "Art thou well? I and Tojiko heardst thine cry even amidst the sounds of battle."

Tojiko, for her part, eyed Aya like she would an especially disgusting cockroach. "If it's the reporter who's being the problem, I can eject her. Forcefully, if need be." A crackle of lightning around her hand punctuated the point.

"No, she can stay," Miko said coldly, her eyes shadowed. Off to the side, Saki touched down, her face neutral. "In fact… Miss Shameimaru, I'm going to need you to pay very close attention to what I say."

Needless to say, that perked her right up. "Of course!" Aya declared, sparkling.

Tojiko and Futo exchanged nervous glances. "Mine prince-"

"Both of you shut up," Miko snapped, drawing matching flinches from the duo. "I am absolutely sick and tired of you possessive asses fighting over every little thing as if it's some proxy for your fight over me."

If the previous flinches were noticeable, the ones that followed that statement were almost seizure-like. Both directed looks of absolute terror towards Aya, which didn't slow Miko's roll in the least.

"I've kept quiet out of respect for the both of you, and an apparently misguided belief that you two could act rationally and work something out. But no, you have to channel it into pointless, counterproductive rivalry! So I'm putting my foot down: you can accept the compromise I proposed, or neither of you will come to my bed until you either do so or come to a solution you're both satisfied with!"

Forget terrified; Tojiko and Futo were straight-up petrified now, and this without a gorgon in sight! Tojiko was half-transparent, shock and fear loosening her grip on continued existence. Futo had slumped to her knees, a shivering, wide-eyed wreck. And Aya? Aya was writing as fast as she could.

"This- This is a perfect scoop!" she muttered gleefully. "Front page material, easily! I might have to print an extra, even!"

"You will, of course, submit your article for review so as to catch any… inaccuracies," Miko interjected, her voice the approximate temperature of liquid helium.

Aya gulped audibly. "Y-Yes, of course!"

That seemed to break Futo and Tojiko of their terror. Both of them straightened their backs and mostly composed themselves, before bowing and intoning, "Yes, my prince." It seemed that the crisis was over.

"Out of curiosity…"

Futo and Tojiko turned pleading faces on Saki, who wore a shit-eating grin that showed she knew exactly what she was doing. 'Don't, please!' their expressions screamed. 'We'll do anything!' Saki's expression back merely asked, 'Anythin'?'


And then it shifted, subtly, to an expression of the purest contempt.

'Then perish.'

"What was the compromise you offered?" Saki finished.

It goes without saying that Aya, already wide-eyed and sparkling with eagerness, was now proverbially over the moon, and probably literally if the scoop of the century weren't about to land in her lap.

"A simple, oh what was the word…" Miko made a show of thinking, tapping her shaku against her chin. "Ah, yes, a 'polyamorous' arrangement between the three of us."

For a long moment there was only the sound of Aya's pencil sizzling slightly from the speed at which she was writing. And then-

"Oh, so that's why y'all got so upset when y'all saw me!" Saki declared, slapping her fist into her palm again. "It was the comment about you ridin' me!" She turned a pitying gaze on the tenderized corpses that had once been Tojiko and Futo. "Man, talk about projectin'."

A sound akin to a whoopee cushion with a leak oozed its way out of Futo's mouth.

"So!" Saki clapped her hands together. "One more thing and then I'm totally takin' you up on that offer for tea and sugar, Miko."

"Please," an exhausted-sounding Miko replied.

Nodding, Saki walked up behind Aya, who was busily writing in her notebook. She dropped a hand on the tengu's shoulder, and suddenly she wasn't writing anymore.

"So I know Miko already told you this, but I think it's important enough to repeat," Saki said in a cheerful, friendly tone. "Please remember to submit your article to her for review. Or we're gonna have a problem, capische?"

"Y-Yes ma'am," Aya replied.

Saki, still smiling, clapped Aya on the shoulder and walked away. "Glad we had this talk. Sooooo… tea and sugar?"

And finally, a genuine smile crept back onto Miko's face again. Partially hidden by the shaku, of course. "By all means, please follow me. What do you do as a youkai? Are you one of the ones who bums around, pretending to hunt humans?"

"Psh, please! I'm in charge of the Animal Realm! It's a pretty easy job, all things considered, the hardest part is figurin' out who I need to kick in the head…"