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From the private journals and notes of Patchouli Knowledge.
These seem to be a recent, but relatively widespread phenomenon. A brief word with the Child of Miare confirmed this, though it came with some cost and the conversation was kept short. As they had not ever been seen before during the seventh incarnation, but were noted to exist prior to the eighth, it can be assumed that either they were tremendously rare beforehand and only became known after breeding rates shifted and increased, or that they only first appeared within that time span. In essence, they are animated food items, filled with a soft and usually sweet interior held within a doughy shell. Their primary method of locomotion is by bouncing, which seems to give them some resilience and ability to endure blunt impacts, but only to a minor degree: if one falls from too high a height or if subjected to too much force, they will rupture and/or burst. This tends to involve messy clean-up afterward, and so is best avoided. As they have only one internal pseudo-organ, a core similar to that of amoeba and certain larger varieties off cavern oozes, they can survive a surprising amount of trauma without dying, so long as the core is not unduly damaged, and will slowly regenerate. I have made no effort to test the limits of this durability as yet, as it was discovered through fortuitous accident. Specimen in question attempted to leap to a stairway banister, only to find the surface ill-suited for landing on, and fell some distance. Following careful patching of its exterior with a mixture of damp flour and sugar, and intake of some quantity of dessert material, condition stabilized, though one eye seems to be permanently lost, and specimen now features heavy 'scarring'. Return of the specimen to the herd revealed immediate ostracization from the group, leading to the specimen's sullen withdrawal from the majority.
At best guess, they originate from magical interference. The most reasonable assumption would be that some young magician had to leave a meal abruptly to attend to some sort of business, and laid a spell to preserve the freshness of it, which either was botched and went horribly wrong, or went far too well, beyond any reasonable and logical expectations of it. It would not be unreasonable to expect that this error came from the random effects of putting Wild magic to this purpose, nearly unrestrained, although such would have likely been a flagrantly wasteful show of power indeed. In any case, none have stepped forward to claim responsibility for their existence, so it can be presumed that if this theory is correct, whoever this magician is is quite embarrassed by their existence, or desires not to be linked to them for other reasons. Previously noted specimen has exhibited traits of severe depression at its exclusion from the group, followed by an attempt to leap the banister again, deliberately. It has since been placed under closer observation for suicidal tendencies.
It seems that they are too slow-moving and, generally, too stupid, to hunt food normally but generally refuse to subsist indefinitely on mere vegetation either. To fill this hole in their diets, they appear to have somehow cultivated a mind-affecting aura, filling the heads of whatever views them with anger, such that beasts immediately rush out of the bushes to attack. In the case of animals smaller than themselves, this works out quite well, and the animal is promptly devoured. In the case of animals larger than themselves, it is a poorly thought out technique. Nearly all Youkai, and many humans, are capable of brushing this effect off without particular effort, however some find it more difficult, and some seem to simply delight in succumbing. In some measure of defense against this, they seem to pattern themselves, as years shift, after well-known and powerful figures, in an attempt at camouflaging themselves. This does not work particularly well against simple beasts, or humans, or more intelligent Youkai, but the duller sort are just smart enough to recognize the faces as dangerous, and avoid them. Currently, the most common sort are patterned after the Shrine Maiden, as they tend to be, and Kirisame Marisa, a witch of ordinary enough talent but decent power and effort. I secured a small number of both types to involve in my studies, as they were the most common and readily available, though 'most' common is a misnomer, as it took several days to locate a sufficient number to qualify as a reasonable sample of the population as a whole. Previously noted specimen's suicidal tendencies have been joined with homicidal ones. Specimen assaulted the herd as a whole immediately prior to feeding, with them at their hungriest. Its vicious attack apparently put them off momentarily, but upon return the situation had concluded: it had savaged two of the Yukkuri before being turned upon and torn apart beyond repair by the others. The two damaged ones seemed capable of pulling through with some intensive care, but with significant 'scarring' similar to the previous specimen. After some consideration of allowing the scenario to play out again or allowing them to return to the wilderness maimed, to play out a similar scenario under the different conditions should they be fortunate enough to locate another small herd, had them drugged and painlessly euthanized in their slumber. No further additions of wild specimens are necessary, population seems to now be sufficiently sizable, at two dozen.
They are most aggravating. Generally, it is not unknown for a specific individual to be reasonably polite and well-mannered, but they are every bit as likely to be horrible little unrepentant wretches, and upon addition to groups the worst of them influence the others, until they are all uniformly vexing. Any outliers are targeted by the troublemakers for being 'uneasy', and are generally ripped apart and devoured by their brethren. Peer Pressure at its most vicious, one supposes. Efforts have been made to prevent this from occurring, but the creatures do not take well to isolation when they can tell that others of their species are nearby, and will make every effort to free themselves and return to the herd. In combination with the fact that any contact will begin shifting them towards the behavioral norms of the most aggravating individual present, mere preventative measures do not seem sufficient. Removal and euthanization of the disruptive influences may be successful in improving standards of behavior, however upon reflection such an endeavor would have to be taken with care. Simple and blunt destruction of the problematic specimen may cause undue shock and agitation in the sample group, skewing results. However, tact is a difficult concept for the things to grasp, and covering the specimen's removal with vague words and half-truths may lead to other individuals acting out, having drawn erroneous conclusions as to what they might expect in return. For now, will continue observing natural state of behavior.
When agitated, distressed, or fearful, they become noticeably more active. Small samples taken with some risk of hearing loss from the creatures wailing, but harmless in the end, were most illuminating when put to chemical and alchemical inspection. Among other things, the filling extracted in moments of greater agitation, or while wearing a 'scary' mask, proved to have a significantly higher concentration of sugars and flavorful compounds, and a taste test was prepared using the gatekeeper as a guinea pig. She confirmed that the sample extracted from the specimen which was in distress was by far superior in taste to the one extracted with soothing words, excessive gentleness, and promise of a candy to follow. Following the cessation or removal of the catalyst of the distress, the extra compounds are metabolized with remarkable swiftness, and the filling returns to a state of normality within minutes. It is clearly a function of the core, activated in distress, and the compounds and sugars seem to serve a similar function as adrenaline would in a human, providing energy and easing weariness to aid in escape or in driving off the threat. It is simply unfortunate that they also serve the purpose of increasing the creature's overall flavor-quality. This would go some way towards excusing the excesses which those who allow themselves to succumb to the creature's aura exult in, if it were not for the fact that in general they do not eat the creatures at all once they have finished their play, merely dispose of them. A baffling display of pointless sadism, as they learn nothing from the creature's torment and do not even derive sustenance from its consumption. Youkai, at the least, have the excuse that many of them do not feed so much on physical substance as on the emotions and death they inflame and inflict. Humans have no such reason or motivation.
They seem unsuited to survive at all in the wild, but some study shows them to make up for their numerous shortcomings with truly monstrous reproduction rates. There are, at my last count, four separate ways they use to fertilize one another: Rubbing cheeks together, intercourse similar to that of animals, mounted rubbing of one from behind by another, and simple penetration and injection of fertilization filling through any point of the skin on the mother's body. Likely, there are other variations, as these are simply the means that I have personally observed. As they are uniformly hermaphroditic, once one is impregnated it can immediately turn and impregnate the other via any of these means. This aside, young can be brought to term through multiple means, mainly variations of the primary two: growing the infants on a plant-like stalk, from which they drop once fully formed into a child, and which is devoured afterward as a first meal, and a mimicry of mammalian birth. I am uncertain as to how either is accomplished, without more than the single pseudo-organ which seems to serve all required functions. In any case, there is typically only a very short time between initial impregnation and birth, generally between sixteen and twenty four hours. As such, with a maximum litter of six from the stalk method, and one dozen from pseudo-mammalian birth, it is not impossible to seclude a pair of yukkuri and the next day find that their pen has been filled with three dozen children. One assumes, of course, that both partners do not become pregnant in the wild at the same time, as one would have to provide food an care for the other in the short between-period, and the process is taxing enough to leave them ravenous afterward. However, they seem to have no issue with eating one another and even their own young, should discipline be attempted through the withholding of meals. Neither will they show any guilt in the matter afterward. It would be possible, then, that they could both bear a full litter via both methods, and then sate themselves in the consumption of infants, and only raise those which are sufficiently strong and fast enough to keep out of their way until the hunger dies down. Having come to the conclusion that they will be fed as needed no matter what, population of the sample has exploded, increasing near-exponentially with the time that would normally be spent finding food and avoiding predators amusing themselves: most frequently with mating. There are simply too many to keep under control, and I must frequently cull the population to within limits both large enough to study properly, and small enough to keep restrained. I find myself occupied more with euthanizing the things than anything else. Some occasional mutations seem to appear, but only rarely, most notably the chance for one to form a full humanoid body, in addition to simply resembling the head. It seems this is an advancement of their protective camouflage, making them more closely similar to the being they mimic. Some study should be undertaken there, but initial testing proved their appearance to be sufficiently differentiated enough that, after brief consideration, the herd rejected them as they do 'Scarred' specimens. Have concluded that they judge a number of things regarding the tiniest variation of superficial differences, as they show no difficulty in differentiating themselves from one another, and the breeds are, as a whole, near identical. In any case, specimens with bodies seem to more easily get into trouble, though that may only be to be expected with a greater ability to manipulate surroundings. Having left them alone in a room with what I had determined to be simple and harmless toys to keep them occupied, returned to discover they had still managed to somehow kill each other and themselves, one of which had spectacularly made its way up some drapes to look out a window, only to fall several stories to the ground.
Some measure of curiosity rises regarding their accessories. As they are formed and grow with the Yukkuri itself, it would be presumed that they are of the same material, but in testing it is quickly proven that they appear to hold none of the characteristics of the creatures themselves, and indeed appear to be only so much inert cloth. Further study is required to reach a conclusion about how both this and the accessories noted growth is possible. With them being simple cloth, of course, it goes some distance to explain the Marisa-type's ability to use their hats to keep the rain off and prevent their melting, and similarly to float on them in water, if need is desperate. Removal of accessories from their owners causes an outbreak of shrill fury, some further study suggests that they tie their identity up into the object, and taking it away is as shocking and traumatizing as if someone had reached into a human's body to pull out and then inspect its interior, but without causing actual physical damage. Have hypothesized that the creatures differentiate each other primarily by accessory details as well: thread count and weave, slight fraying, pattern of lace, etc. Have not, however, determined a means of testing this hypothesis without risk of causing undue mental stress and trauma to the herd.
Studies are currently on indefinite hold, as a particularly obnoxious Reimu-type led the herd on an assault against some of my books, to amuse themselves. None were particularly valuable or irreplaceable, but the sight of the creatures happily chewing away at the torn-free pages of arcane tomes caused anger the likes of which their piffling aura could not hope to match, and I found myself in the midst of a tranquil, almost zen fury. I led them all out to the lawn, with promise of a cake waiting there, and as they rushed forward to eat and fight over who got to eat it, I immediately crushed every single one of the specimens beneath a tremendous flat boulder, killing them all instantly. Temper cooled, I found some vague cause for regret in that, but what is done is done. In any case, these studies may resume at some point, but with, hopefully, a more sedate breed. I do not believe I will be willing to work again with these types unless they are exceptionally well behaved specimens. I am given to understand there is some manner of breeding-factory located somewhere in Gensokyo, established for purposes and by persons unknown, though I have been unable to pinpoint its exact location, and none I speak to will admit to either keeping Yukkuri as pets or to knowing where to find it. More direct means of transport there are also turned away: it can be presumed that this place does, then, exist, but they have a sufficiently powerful Youkai or Magician on staff to ward against such attempts at entry. Well, I am in no hurry, at any case. I am given to understand that the half-youkai shopkeeper also stocks the occasional Yukkuri, but in general only the more common breeds, and typically only until they aggravate him sufficiently for him to give into the Youkai portion of his heritage, or their purchase is negotiated and bartered for. It seems that he does not go out deliberately searching for them, but limits his stock to those he happens upon by chance. As previously mentioned, however, I am less than willing to return to study of the more common breeds.
Sakuya has briefly been the owner of a Remilia type, which seems less common than the others, but not sufficiently rare enough to satisfy the real thing's ego. However, following an incident which culminated in the destruction of a rather expensive set of fine china, she chose to chastise it with the denial of sweet food it craved. Following this, it threw a brief tantrum. Following the completion of that, it assaulted a maid unfortunate enough to have been in the kitchens and making sugary pastries, leaving her dusted in the sweet powder and on the way to the baths. She was thereafter punished for the destruction of Sakuya's pet, but it was also agreed that she could not reasonably have been expected to not defend herself, and so the sentence was lenient enough. In any case, Remilia types seem only mildly more suitable than the others, and the other type I have noted, patterned after the other notable magic user of the forest, are too interested in breeding to the exclusion of all else to be worth the trouble of keeping them. Painlessly euthanizing the many spares from the original attempt was troubling enough, I cannot imagine the hassle this type would bring.