Junction Point of Reality and Fantasy.


Published on 2023-06-23 09:54pm CT • ~9 minute read

Those documents from the outside world...

... a devastating Machine...

Why is it, in this Land of Fantasy...

... all creativity... all hope is...

I sat at the Writing Desk, quietly musing to myself. It was a fairly lazy day in the palace: I hadn't seen anybody all day, nor had they seen me, and the only sound was the quiet breeze blowing through the window. I had sat down at the Desk three hours prior in an attempt to make the most of the day, but I was quickly swept away by the surging currents of my mind. And so, there I sat, another victim to the day's laziness, until I realized...


... I'd been nervously rolling a bomb in my hand. I hastily stuffed it back up my sleeve; it simply wouldn't do for a princess to be caught playing with such a thing, even if it was just a danmaku toy.

The kappa haven't even built a data center yet. My plan can wait.

I looked down at the paper before me. Entirely blank. A masterpiece in minimalism. Perhaps I wasn't in a writing mood after all. I stood and stretched, glancing about the room, trying to find something to do before my mind abandoned ship. The room was dark, save for the light coming in through the window, but I could still see my precious Collection. A labyrinth filled with almost everything a little rabbit princess could ever want stretched before me, tightly (and optimally!) packed to accommodate that which cannot be part of it. My eyes flicked from a tower of computer towers to a bundle of ink brushes, then to a collection of jazz CDs big enough to fill a music store thrice. I couldn't help but smile as I caught sight of one of my most prized possessions, an autographed copy of Merlin Prismriver's debut solo album. I had asked her to make it out to "the weirdest person in the world," but...

Sorry Kotohime!
You'll never be the
weirdest person on Earth
long as I'm around!

Misplaced confidence makes the world go round, I thought, giggling quietly as I sauntered over to the music section. Before me, a stockpile of discs, records, cassettes, and instruments stretched for what seemed like gigameters. A sense of calm washed over me as I took in the sights. Familiar faces greeted me from the CDs. A huge pile of 8-tracks, generously donated by the Scarlet Devil Mansion's librarian, held the potential for brilliance that can only be found in music yet to be heard. A stack of western classical records still stood unsorted from an unexpected visit the day before. A shamisen, a gift from my dear friend, Mokou, leaned against the record shelf.

"That's not where that goes," I mumbled, picking it up. I entered the labyrinth, searching for the string section so it could be reunited with its siblings. I meandered through the music section, in no hurry to leave, tapping a little rhythm on a couple drums, playing a little melody on a harpsichord, and improvising a tune on a tin whistle. Finally, I came to the string section, one of the most expansive parts of my Collection. After getting distracted by a viola for a few minutes too many, I brought the shamisen to its home in the Shelf of Friends, next to a Les Paul guitar donated by Sakuya. It barely fit, but slid in without a hitch.


It struck me then just as it struck me now: the Shelf of Friends was full. No less than twenty instruments of varying descriptions were crammed onto the Shelf, each one inextricably linked to someone who found me worth tolerating. If ever there was an indicator of success in my life, it was this. I had clawed my way out of death, out of drifting through life as an aimless, useless weirdo, and had managed to make more friends than I had ever dreamed of.

I stared at the Shelf in awe. How I had managed to amass this many instruments, this many friends, I'll never know. Never had any part of my Collection struck me so hard. I wiped the tears from my nose in a matter rather unbecoming of a princess, or any member of society, knowing fully well that if my friends saw, they'd still accept me. I was so moved, I couldn't help but wonder if it was fate that brought me here today. Of course, I only made it to where I am by scorning and defying my fate countless times, so that couldn't have been it. Still, I felt like this is where I was meant to be.

I hummed happily as I wandered throughout the string sectio— alright, I sang loudly as I wandered throughout the string section. My sour mood from earlier, though not forgotten, was slowly being replaced by a feeling of contentment the longer I stayed in the music section. I wandered past guitars, ouds, shamisen, biwa, violas, cellos, contrabasses, and acoustic bass guitars, lost in a growing sense of bliss.

"Over and over, a life revives~/Over and over, a life renews~"

I finally came to a stop in front of my electric basses. Though unassuming, the electric bass is, perhaps, my favourite instrument of them all. Many people incorrectly assume that it's a background instrument, just meant as set dressing for the "real" instruments, but it can do so much more than anyone can imagine. Energetic solos, heartfelt melodies, bittersweet reflection, you name it. The electric bass can do it all, so long as you let it.

It reminds me of myself, in a way.

I reached for my go-to, the Highly Reliant, a five-string bass capable of producing the most beautiful tones ever heard, but paused. I'm in a reminiscing mood, I thought. This won't do. I instead took up Student, my very first bass. It's an extremely cheap Precision Bass, but the memories imbued within are priceless. I sat down on the spot; no need to worry about looking strange when you're a princess in love. Though Student was significantly heavier than my other basses, the feeling of it resting on my leg was anything but uncomfortable. Quite the contrary, it felt like returning home after a long journey.

After relishing in the feeling for a few moments, I grabbed a cable, plugged the guitar into an amp, and began to tune it. Through years of practice, tuning had become second nature to me, but I deliberately slowed myself down, letting each note ring out, trying to ensure that each pitch was precisely correct. This was impossible, of course; such a cheap instrument would slip out of tune almost immediately. Still, I put my common sense aside and tuned the guitar to my heart's content, going through each of the four strings dozens of times, losing myself even in this simple setup process.

Once I was satisfied, I started with a simple little warmup: an arpeggiated B7sus4 chord. Though just a simple series of four notes, its mysterious and grandiose quality made it a superb fit for the bass. I slowly started adding bits of variation here and there, first by altering the rhythm, then by adding notes, then removing them. Through these exercises, I was trying to readjust to Student's rather unique playing feel, but truth be told, I had never forgotten in the first place. Even playing something so simple felt like a conversation with an old friend from days long since past.

I then started improvising. I initially started out in the key of B minor to match the arpeggio, but allowed myself to wander through the space of possibilities. In what may have been a first for me, my ridiculously uptempo playing style gave way to a slow, laid-back feel. Before I realized it, I had modulated into Dorian mode, then into Mixolydian — a happy, yet restrained, major-quality mode. Despite the serene, chill playing style that would normally put me to sleep, I was having more fun than I had in ages. I couldn't help but laugh. As I plucked out a reflective, sweet melody, my left hand capriciously dancing on the fingerboard, my right freely swapping between plucking and slapping without a care in the world, I realized that this piece had likely never been heard before, and would never be heard again. Nonetheless, I knew it wouldn't die after my performance was over; it would merely become part of Student, part of me, part of anyone who happened to be listening. It was precisely these moments that shape who we are, that make us, that define us. Without these moments, we would suffer death without ever knowing life. It is these moments that forge our very souls.

As my performance gradually came to an end, I smiled to myself. I let the final note ring out, savouring every last moment, before I turned the amp off and unplugged Student. I put it back in its place, gently patting it for a job well done. Then, with a final look around, I left the music section of my Collection, heading back to my writing desk. It was time to muse once more, this time, with a huge weight off my shoulders.