The Vengeful Shrine Maiden of Crimson (Final Stage)
Having found themselves stopped from reaching the Soga shrine by Mariko Soga, the heroes decided to let Sanae battle against her, looking on as their ally finally won after a long and hard battle. While the heroes now approached the defeated youkai, Mariko herself was panicking as she had lost the Hōju when she fell to the ground.
But just as she was about to get up, Reimu pointed at the youkai's neck with her gohei before speaking out to her in a solemn tone. "Now, lead us to your sister and don't try anything funny on the way. Once we've cleared this incident up, you should also tell us where you hid the books Manami had stolen from you."
Though she hesitated for a moment, the girl nodded and said that she'd do this before getting up, looking on with a saddened expression and thinking as the heroes got ready to move on towards the final battle. "I couldn't beat Sanae, and I even lost the Hōju now. But I have to stop them from reaching onee-sama somehow!!"
Only a moment passed as Mariko hesitantly decided to lead the group towards Kuniko, though Alice and Patchouli wondered if she can be trusted due to the nature of the situation. While the heroes approached, Kuniko looked towards the direction they were coming from as she sensed that they had defeated Mariko.
While she thought on about the situation, Shikieiki noticed something going on and quickly stepped back as a huge pillar of crimson energy formed around Kuniko, causing the woman to grin wickedly as she spoke out to the yama. "The ritual is finally complete. Do you still trust the heroes beating me, Shiki-dono?"
Noticing the look on the former shrine maiden's face, she merely closed her eyes and shook her head a bit before speaking out to her in with a mix of anger and sorrow. "I still trust that they will set things right, but my faith in you is steadily decreasing, Soga. You are crossing terrible thresholds with these reckless actions."
Shiki's warning didn't seem to faze Kuniko, as she simply sat down and waited for the heroes arrive, not knowing that Mariko had stopped just as Kuniko's ritual had been completed. Just then, the girl suddenly placed her arms forward while yelling out to the heroes. "Despite what I had said earlier, I cannot and will not let you pass!!"
As the heroes noticed this, Reimu placed a barrier in front of the group as a massive spray of watery bullets shot out from all around the youkai, blasting holes into the surrounding wilderness as the shots were formed of condensed, high-pressure water. "She's gone berserk all of a sudden, but we have to get past her somehow!"
Noticing that Reimu's barrier was about to wear off, Marisa suddenly jumped past the group and placed her hands forward, having a devious grin on her face as she noticed her opponent suddenly turning to attack her. But just before any of her bullets could hit, they all vaporized as a huge beam shot out from the magician's hands.
"MASTER SPAAAAARK!!" As it became clear to Mariko that she couldn't dodge in time, the girl tried to shield herself with an icy barrier, but the beam shot through it with ease and engulfed her in the ensuing blast. Seeing this from a distance and realizing what had happened, Kuniko's grin turned into an angered frown.
The heroes looked on as the slightly burnt Mariko hit the ground with a quiet thud, left barely conscious after getting knocked down a second time and muttering to herself in a meek tone. "Forgive me...onee-sama..." Though Reimu suggested that they hurry onward, Sanae decided to pick her up on the way before moving on.
While the heroes moved on, Alice noticed a fairy following them, identifying her as Cirno but not bothering to pay any attention to her as she spoke out to Patchouli and Marisa. "I think this fairy might have noticed that huge pillar of energy shooting up, but I doubt she'd be dumb enough to pick a fight with anyone yet."
Overhearing this, Cirno yelled out to the group as she got ready to attack. "Hey, don't look down on me like that! I'm the strongest, you know!!" But just before she could attack, the heroes suddenly stopped as they arrived at the ruins of the shrine, noticing Kuniko floating a few inches off the ground and glaring at them as she spoke.
"You've arrived a bit late, heroes. The ritual is already complete, and now I need only to call down my divine judgement upon you before stepping over all of Gensokyo." Hearing this, Reimu responded to Kuniko's boasting while the others approached, not noticing that Cirno was closing in on the rasetsu at the same time.
"Why do you wish to go through with this in the first place? We heard that you were treated badly in the past, but taking revenge won't fix any of it. They will only hate you even more, actually." The woman glared at the shrine maiden as she had said this, giving her answer in an angered tone while gathering energy.
"They never looked at me in the same way after that damned day, ignorant shrine maiden. Do you really think that I did not try to be nice to them? Do you have any idea how much effort I wasted on trying to seem like the person that I was once, only to be rejected and hated time and again?!"
But before she could continue, Cirno suddenly called out to Kuniko with a confident look on her face. "I'm gonna prove to you that I'm the strongest, you showoff!" Hearing this, the woman turned to look at the fairy with a grin on her face as she slowly placed her right hand forward.
"I don't know what manner of insanity grips you, little fairy, but I'll gladly prove you wrong about that." Just then, a massive beam of red energy shot out from Kuniko's hand while the heroes and Shiki looked on in shock.