It happens now and then. Horizon unexpectedly drifts through an unknown, dangerous region. It was one such day that I carelessly entered the forest to talk with the Saggessphaur. It was me this time, not a creature outside this planet, that was surprised by this fateful encounter.
Unknowingly, I’ve ventured into the Bamboo Forest Of The Lost surrounding the Eientei, The House Of Eternity.
As I was frantically searching my surroundings for any clue that would help me get out, I was trembling, knowing that overstaying my welcome in this deep forest could very well cost me my life. And I was right to think so, as not a minute later, she has already found me.
Caught by her gaze, my vision blurred melting away in the ocean of red. There, the moon reflected in her eyes; deep red as the eyes themselves. And there, right there, in her eyes, a single world has opened.
A world of madness.
Madness of the Lunar War.
Rabbits forced away from their home. Helplessly trying to fight their way. Hopelessly protecting what’s theirs. Screaming. Melting away in red.
No stone left unturned. No home left unscratched. There were no place left to defend, but one. The capital; seen only by the eyes of red. And she; who stood right there in the midst of this war; she fled. But her mind could not escape the madness that took her to this place.
As hopeless as I was, right then, unable to fight for myself.
I froze not able to look away. Seized by her vacant stare. My eyes begging to be closed. To get rid of all this red!
I lost my strength to stand; I fell on my knees before her silhouette. She raised her voice and spoke.
Don’t stare at it. Leave it alone. Leave the moon right there.
In my eyes. Leave it right there, where no human belong.”
She blinked releasing me from the shackles of her gaze.
The longest of stares.
She blinked, and the moon withered away.
The deepest of red.
I knew it was right there, yet I have never looked again. She was there to prevent me. The corner of her eye was there.
Threatening me. Forcing me to turn away.
So as not to see again the madness of her gaze. I was never as frightened as I was right then, right there.
The past, that I saw in this rabbit’s eyes was simply horrifying. The pointless war of humans and rabbits. You know how it started? It was obvious to see. It was greed, like always. Once humans planted their flag on the moon they were eager for more. And quickly sough to flood the whole moon with their kind.
For them, earth wasn’t enough.
Battling for their homes, rabbits quickly toppled feeble humans, forcing them to fall back. And unsurprisingly so; the rabbits that live on the moon are unlike any of the rabbits found on the earth. They take human shape and empower their body with their own mind; enfeebling weak, human minds with the power of their hollow, red eyes.
The strength of a single rabbit matched this of a hundreds of humans. Despite their difference in firepower. Difference, that was quickly aided, as Lunar Defense Corps were swiftly learning to handle the weapons fallen humans provided.
And the war was long and exhausting. Rabbits needed every bit of their strength. Why, you ask, if they were so powerful? Why didn’t they quickly snuff out their enemies?
Simply put, humans were too many.
They marched with a sheer number as their only strength. And when the tables finally turned in their favor, Reisen, who was just a common soldier of the Lunar Defense Corps, was overwhelmed by this strength.
„What is that?” she asked. „They say rabbits multiply like fire. What are they, then? How come there’s so many of them? So many… our eyes can’t handle?”
And she stood there, to the last bullet of the arms in her hands, protecting her village hand to hand with her friends.
And humans couldn’t do a thing. To this day, not a single rabbit fell in this war.
This. This is the madness that started it all. You see, no one sane would do that. No one! The humans were simply senile! They marched and marched, like they didn’t care. Without a single victory in their hands, they just marched and trampled everything on their way.
While no rabbit fell, many villages had to be abandoned anyway. Because while humans could not harm them, rabbits could not stop them either.
This strength of a human race. This is… insane.
„Why?!” asked Reisen once more standing right in front of them „What for? Go away! This is not your home!”
She screamed as she could not stand the defeat. The village she was about to give up was of her own. And she could not bear herself to leave it. After all, she was giving up from the very first day of this pointless war. She could not bear to do it again. Not, when her own home was about to be raised to ground.
At this time, the war was over. She know that very well. With this last stand, they had no more strength. The human weapons rabbits procured were not many. During first few days of the battle humans ran in terror discarding the heavy arms they carried. After that, they only marched forward.
The moment rabbits shoot their last bullets were near, and Reisen shoot the last of them just about now.
So here, standing in front of them, rabbits looked at each other, scared, trying to figure out what to do next. Although, to be fair, they knew from the start, they will have to give up anyway. Give in to the humans way.
„Why?!” shouted Reisen dropping last of her guns to the ground.
Which met only smiles on the human faces.
„Why!” she screamed masking her eyes with the hand, giving in to the anger.
„Come on, it’s pointless. Let’s fall back” some rabbit suggested, retreating from the field.
They were just as sad as her, that they had to give up again. But, you see, if you withdraw again and again… what is left? Rabbits knew, that their only hope is the capital, that humans cannot see and don’t know how to find their way in. Not without any help.
And there was no one to help them. Why should anyone help them anyway?
The capital was their last stand and they were ready to defend it with their lives. But not Reisen. The loss of her home was too great for her.
So then, right there, where she shoot the last bullet, much to the triumph of the human race, she raised her red eyes pointing just her finger in front of herself.
They snickered, that rabbits could only fight with the weapons they gave them, not having ones of their own.
They laughed at her finger saying that she’s trying to scare them. And this ignorance showed well how rotten their prideful minds were. They measured her by their own standards. So Reisen, unarmed, just in front of them, was no threat to them.
Her finger was the laughingstock of the century.
Why was I not surprised to see in the vision in the depth of her eyes, how stupid they truly were? Because that day humans learned the true power of the Lunar Defense.
Her firepower was like nothing else in human world. Hundreds of thousands of bullets, scattered everywhere, drowning them in despair.
„How is that even possible?” they shouted to each other, hiding behind their shields. „She has a gun in her finger, man! In finger!”
That was exactly what they thought right there. As they couldn’t comprehend what happened, they substituted reality with the one of their own. It’s typical, really. Humans tend to make up their own truth about this what they cannot understand.
And the truth was Reisen wasn’t nearly as strong as they thought. It was her eyes that got them, multiplying the few bullets that she shot into hundreds and thousands. Humans scattered, cowering in fear, but only few of them fall to the ground. After all, the other rabbits had already retreated. She was fighting them on her own.
She defended her village for a whole day, until finally, she collapsed left with no strength.
„No… way…” she mumbled resting on her knees.
This strength… she could not comprehend. They screamed, fell back, stood still, moved just a step forward, and dashed, and fell from her bullets. They groaned frightened of her finger pointing right at them. They hid behind they shields and tried shooting away. They fell, they tried again, and died by the order of their own commander. On and on again.
Ten thousand humans could not stop Reisen.
And yet… she fell.
If you ask what I saw in her soul, reflected in the depth of the red of her eyes, is this madness. This, what she could not grasp. How these powerless humans, with a petty goal of invading the moon just to have it, could defeat her with just their will to stand. Not the will of the one, but the thousands. After all, so many of them died right there no one would be able to count them.
For what? Just to drive rabbits away from their home?
She could not comprehend.
So she fell to her knees and lied there with her eyes wide open as the humans finally marched into her village. And when she saw a single human smiling right in front of her, the image before her eyes suddenly melted away.
Exhausted from illusions that she used to keep them at bay, her own mind sunk in the depth of the red of her eyes. Surrounded by a nameless, shapeless mass, this human, right in front of her, was now the same as every other man. She shoot him, another popped up in his place. She shoot him too, without even a flinch, yet the smile and his face did not disappear.
Another one stood in his place.
„It’s true. Ha… so that’s how you become immortal.”
She mumbled in her delusion, making few steps backwards. And she fled, away from this whole mess.
But she did not choose to defend the capital, like the other rabbits of the Lunar Defense. After all, humans managed to achieve this one – they broke her will to fight.
To this day, she’s still afraid.
Every human she sees seems immortal to her.
She knows, she can kill him in a single breath.
Yet she fears, in his place, another one pops up.
Other rabbits have never forgiven her this betrayal. After all, if humans were to find the capital, no one knew what would happen next. Every single rabbit was needed to defend against them.
And the irony of her escape will hit you right there. She fled to Eientei, whose master is immortal human herself.
It was Eirin, the pharmacists who drank the elixir she brew herself. The elixir kept her alive for hundreds of years. She became the aid of the rabbits in this war treating the wounds of the weaker ones. Right then, seeing as humans have won, she was getting ready to escape.
She invited half-dead from exhaustion, half-mad from her last stand Reisen with open arms. And, of course, with cruel jokes. They were her trademark. She was never serious when she threatened to kill you if you disobey her. At least that’s what Reisen thought. Which was good for her sanity, I guess.
Reisen did not even knew where she was or who was standing before her. Eirin could not leave her like this, so despite her rules of not letting a stranger into her mansion, she helped her out and gave her shelter until she recovered.
As humans drove their way into the moon, Eirin sent her mansion, the Eientai, to the earth, hiding it in the deepest of forest. She made it so that no human will find its way in the forest without the guidance. This of course doesn’t concern people who happen to unwillingly appear before the mansion, like I did.
It’s funny that the perfect shelter from humans invading the moon was their own home, the earth itself. It took months for Eirin to nurse Reisen back to life. And growing fond of her, Eirin let her stay. She lives in the mansion to this day, defending it from the rare unwanted visitors, such as myself. Other than that, she has a peaceful life which she wishes not to be disturbed.
Eirin gives her the hardest jobs, the oddest requests and the most wicked punishments she can think of and yet, they are far from anything she went through in her past. After all, they are not meant to hurt her. More importantly, they serve as a good laugh. She accepts them with obedience, like a soldier would, and Eirin grins with every new prank that she is able to pull on her.
From the stranger’s perspective, it looked almost like she was being tortured. For her, she was finally at peace.
Nowadays, when she is remembered of her past, she laughs it off just to keep her cool or pretends not to know a thing. After all, there is nothing worth pondering about. No need to go back to these days.
But the depths of her eyes cannot lie. She remembers every bitter second of this war.
I am one of the few who now knows the depths of her soul. And so do you. I hope your curiosity is quenched and you’ll never be foolish enough to confront her by yourself. She is the Red Eyes of Madness, you know. That’s not only her second name. If she ever looks at you the way she looked at me that day, you’ll be scarred for life like I was.
Don’t try it. Believe me, the depth of her eyes is too much to handle even by her own kin, not to mention the humans. Even though she fears them, she will not hesitate to kill them if they try to force their way into her home once more.
After all, she is strong enough to suppress an army.
Mad or not, she’s the most frightening being I have ever met.
As I was led out of the forest, half-consciously making steps with my wobbling legs, I realized one crucial thing. First time in my life I have learned about the new element of human life from a being that is not human. In my ignorance, until I have met her, I sought such thing as infeasible.
And yet, I was able to find the second element.
The madness that fills our veins. The frightening power to overcome obstacles that no other creature would risk facing.
This power… What purpose it serves? What do we gain from it? What is its extent? To one thing there is surely no doubt. Like with any other power, it can be abused. I must learn how to avoid this. This I vowed to myself as I parted with Reisen.
She taught me something no human could. Her eyes spoke what I could not find in a hundreds of books. That is why, as bewildered as I was right there, I gathered myself to thank her.
From the depths of my heart.
I bowed deeply and vowed never to threaten her home again. And this scroll serves the same purpose. You may not yet know how to control this power, as I have not yet answered my own questions, but at least now you’ll be conscious of its existence. It is not the easiest one to grasp but do, in your rightful mind, remember… what horrors it can draw.
And as I pray may scrolls never reach the hands of the wicked minds, I trust you will never use this power. It may well lead to your own demise… and it might as well ruin the minds and lives of others. This scroll is a warning. I pray this war will never repeat in any world I encounter.
A doubtful outcome.
Still, I pray.
Reisen Udongein Inaba, The Red Eyes Of Madness
(Gensyoko, Touhou universe, ZUN)
Deserter of the Moon Defense Corpse
Guardian of the Eientei, The House Of Eternity
The madness of her past; the madness of human kind. I have learned it surpasses barriers that other elements can’t. Its weakness is the damage that it leaves behind.