Spring has finally come, and on the forest floor shone by the warm sun, voices of yukkuri who has just finished their hibernation can be heard.
First they greeted the friends they hasn't met for a while, after that they go to look for food or to check on their friends living further away.
Patchouli, the leader of this clan, is glad to see many of the clan members survived. Reports arrived from the clan members, that the friends living to the direction of the river survived, or that the Chen who lived in place facing the mountain didn't made it.
Because the clan is taught about hibernating, the number of casualties has gone far lower than in the past. Even so, there will still be those who failed, that's just how life is in the natural world.
Nest of the survivors will then be secured by the clan members, given barriers and prepared to be new house for the young yukkuri who will leave their nest during this spring.
A Marisa run in hurry to Patchouli, reporting that they've found a Reimu who's still alive.
Reimu is dying. Her cheek falls inside, her hairs are a mess and even her accessories drooped. First, Patchouli ordered everyone to bring food and water. They bring it and Reimu finally returned to life.
Patchouli asked what happened, but she can already predict what happened. The highest cause of failed hibernation are insufficient food supply.
These days, yukkuri already know how much food is needed for each individuals, and they will also help their friends who can't get enough food. Sometimes there will be miscalculation, but overall, thanks to that there's not so many casualties of winter as it is in the past.
Patchouli then remembered something about this family. Marisa is nowhere to be seen. Patchouli remembered well that this is the family of a young Marisa and Reimu pair. Both has just left their nest last year and Patchouli is putting attention to them, so she remembered them.
Marisa's corpse is nowhere to be seen. Even if only Reimu survived, there should be Marisa's corpse somewhere. Or, although Patchouli rather not think about it, could it be that in her hunger, Reimu ate Marisa's corpse ?
Reimu cried and told them that Marisa went outside.
As taught by clan members, they had their preparation. Enough food in the nest, warm bed, toilet, and strong barrier to keep the cold wind from coming in. Even so, they miscalculated and their food is not enough.
After few days without anything to eat, Marisa said she's sorry and go out to look for food. Reimu tried to stop her, but Marisa still go out. That's why Reimu want to ask Leader to look for Marisa.
Patchouli agreed, but she's pessimistic. From Reimu's story, Marisa has went outside for some time. It's difficult to look for food during winter and unlikely Marisa would be able to return home. After this Patchouli will explain to the clan members to look for Marisa's corpse and to not crush Reimu's hope, bury the body silently.
After a while, the weather has became warmer. Patchouli remembered that case again. The clan yukkuri has been doing hunting since that time, almost all places in this area has been explored. Even so, nobody can find the corpse of that Marisa.
Neither Myon, Chen, or any other yukkuri who went out hunting ever saw the remains of Marisa.
That Reimu is given to Alice's care. After that time, Alice gave Reimu food to recover her strength, but while Alice is out to hunt, other yukkuri also came to visit and bring gift.
Thanks to that, Reimu has became fat from just eating and sleeping.
Seeing Reimu has recovered, even more than before, Patchouli woke Reimu up. Reimu rudely said she's still sleepy.
Reimu told Patchouli that Marisa has left the nest early. Hearing that, Patchouli then informed Reimu that probably the body has been blown away by wind or got eaten by something. It's better to give up on Marisa and face reality.
But Reimu disagree. Patchouli should look harder.
After calming the crying Reimu, Patchouli want to tell her another important thing. Reimu should return to her own home and continue with her life.
Reimu protested. She's so pityful for losing Marisa. She want to stay longer in Alice's house. Alice's house is larger than most yukkuri's, and that angry voice echoed inside.
When Patchouli left, it's already dark. She didn't realized it because of the glowing mushroom in Alice's house, but she has took a long time to talk with Reimu.
Before leaving, unconsciously Patchouli asked, "Reimu, do you really want Marisa to return ?"
In her house, Patchouli has an unpleasant thought. It's worse than the thought that Reimu ate Marisa's corpse. Could it possibly be that Reimu killed Marisa ?
In this clan, they don't do Punishment to yukkuri who eat their kind's corpse during winter. They fully understand that in dire case like insufficient food supply during winter, they have no other choice. But that's if the other yukkuri has already died. What about killers ?
Come to think of it, Patchouli has been too busy and don't have any time to investigate the case. She only listen to Reimu's statement and report from Myon and Chen who's looking for the body.
Now would be the right time. Rather than just sit and think, she'd like to investigate the sealed house. If her thought is true, then Reimu should be punished. If not, she would still need to tell Reimu to live on her own.
It's hard to imagine that Marisa would fail. The clan confirmed their food supply to be enough, so why should it runs out ?
The next day, accompanied by Myon, Patchouli went to that house.
Patchouli asked Myon to call someone while she investigate inside.
The food supply hole is empty, but the size is just right. Older yukkuri has checked the hole before and if filled with food, there should be enough to last the winter for two adult yukkuri.
The place for the pair's bed is covered with grass, but the size seems to only fit one.
Toilet is made by digging a hole. The soil from that digging is put to the side and used to cover the poo poo they made. Now, even though yukkuri don't excrete much during winter, there's no poo poo inside. The soil is still many, so it doesn't seem like the poo poo has been buried.
Could it be that because of hunger, Reimu ate them ?
Patchouli returned to the place where Reimu is found in the middle of the house. The soil colour there is a little different. Some facts like the size of the bed and the lack of poo poo bugs Patchouli.
Outside, Myon returned with Alice and a Chen who's Reimu and Marisa's close friend.
Chen told Patchouli that she's friend with Marisa and Reimu. They're all born last spring and grow playing together. It's common for yukkuri children here to play in one of their friend's house while their parents are out hunting.
By autumn, they've grown to adult. Marisa proposed Reimu and they formed their own family. They can't wait until spring.
Both gathered food enough for winter and wait until spring to start making little ones.
From the story, seems like a pair of nice yukkuri.
Next is Alice. This Alice is an old member in the clan. Although not part of the council, Patchouli entrusted many matters to her. She's also Marisa and Reimu's instructor for the winter preparation.
As their teacher, Alice is saddened by the fact that they failed the winter. But this is no time to blame anyone, Patchouli want to know why they failed.
Alice did warn the couple many times, after all, they're young and this is their first time. Patchouli has seen the food storage hole, the size is enough. Alice and Chen who's there also has confirmed the family had enough food prepared.
It seems that there's no way this incident would happen from lack of preparation.
Myon came to Patchouli. She found something inside the nest and asked everyone to check it too.
Inside, Myon dug a hole in the middle of the house and found a dirty Marisa type's hat buried.
Soon after, an assembly is held. Alice dragged Reimu out to the opening where Patchouli and the council members has waited. The clan yukkuri also came to watch.
Reimu said she's busy so she want to return to her house as soon as possible.
After confirming the audience, Patchouli asked again, why did Marisa left the house ?
Reimu is surprised, and she told the story.
Reimu told that same story. A while after winter, their food runs out and from her sense of responsibility, Marisa went out and never returned.
That's why she asked everyone to look for Marisa. Reimu believed Marisa is still alive.
Words of sympathy came from the audience.
The report is still the same. Nobody has found Marisa. Hearing that, Reimu cried.
Patchouli is untouched by that. She showed something they have found in Reimu's house, the dirty hat.
The crowds starts to get restless. They understand that it's Marisa's hat. If like Reimu said, Marisa went outside, there's no way Marisa would leave without her hat. Many starts to suspect that Reimu killed and ate Marisa.
Reimu admitted. That time, Marisa did went out, but because of the weather she can't find any food. To let Reimu live, Marisa did Please Eat Up.
Eating other yukkuri who do Please Eat Up is not a crime in yukkuri's common sense. Besides, the act itself is to sacrifice yourself to be eaten by your family or friends. That way, the corpse won't give out uneasy smell. It's not a rare case.
Reimu lied because she's afraid everyone will think of her as uneasy yukkuri.
If this is true, Reimu won't get any punishment. This is very different from if Reimu killed Marisa.
Marisa's hat doesn't have uneasy smell, but considering it has been buried for a long time, that can't be taken as evidence.
"Reimu is an uneasy yukkuri, but Marisa is also an irreplacable life. Reimu will live for Marisa's part too!"
Followed by another cries. The clan starts to become sympathetic with Reimu. Patchouli also understand, if Marisa did Please Eat Up, then Reimu is innocent. Even then, she still feels like she can't trust Reimu.
That feeling when she checked Reimu's house. She forgot about it when talking with Chen and Alice, but now, connected to their stories, she can think of something that's been bugging her.
The decision, Reimu will be Punished.
True, eating yukkuri who did Please Eat Up is not a crime. But Reimu has killed her own little ones.
The clan is shocked by the revelation.
Patchouli asked again, why did their food supply runs out ?
Reimu answered, because Marisa didn't hunt properly.
Alice and Chen gave their testimony that the food supply is enough. They have confirmed that and Reimu should remember that too.
Reimu defended herself, she said Marisa ate too much.
Reimu and Marisa refreshed during winter. That's the only reason. Running out of food because of accident happens often, but from eating too much ? Moreover, from the beginning of winter ? Unimaginable.
Reimu can't deny they're having children. But the fact stands, there's no little ones in the house when Reimu was found.
Reimu still plead innocent, so until another investigation is done, Reimu will be moved to the prison.
Prison is a hole under a tree. This is where scums are thrown in. The hole is not too deep, so a yukkuri won't die when fallen inside. But without help, they won't be able to get out.
Apparently, there are clan members who believed Reimu. They bring her food in the prison. Other than being denied going outside and food problem, the prison is actually a rather safe place protected from the rain.
When visited, Reimu demanded to be released.
Few days after, Myon finally found accessories of the little ones. Two pairs of little hat and ribbon, must be from baby yukkuri. Those are found under the toilet.
Reimu is already back to the state when they found her. Instead of the food, these days clan members throw her with poo poo.
Patchouli won't execute Reimu, instead she will spend the rest of her life in the prison.
Myon is worried, but Patchouli stand in her decision. If they bring this to trial, Reimu might try to escape again by saying the little ones do Please Eat Up. Besides, this will surely be more torturing for Reimu.
Reimu died, dried up under the prison and buried with poo poo.