The Empire of the Rising Floof
Excuse us! Do you have a moment to talk about the Empire of the Rising Floof and the wonderful plan it has for you?
The Empire of the Rising Sun started off as a joke by Ran Yakumo that totally caught on with the Forest Foxes in Gensokyo and became an official thing almost immediately after she mentioned it. Since then, the Forest Foxes have quickly organized and made it a reality, establishing themselves as a kind of "nation-within-a-nation" inside Gensokyo. The formation of the Empire of the Rising Floof preceded an unexpected incursion by hostile Kumihos from Korea and their invasion (which resulted in the deaths of a score of Forest Foxes) was quickly put down by the combined might of the "300" (a.k.a Momiji and the White Wolves re-living their "300" fantasies), a detachment of Imperial Guard, Fujiwara no Mokou, Reisen Udongein Inaba, and Reimu Hakurei (once she realized that the Kumihos were NOT at all friendly and constituted a genuine threat).
Since then, the Forest Foxes have worked vigorously to enmesh themselves even further within Gensokyo, clearly trying to make it into a home for themselves. They can be frequently seen roaming, playing, and otherwise getting into mischief throughout most of central Gensokyo, including the Human Village, the Bamboo Forest of the Lost, the Misty Lake, the Scarlet Devil Mansion, the outer reaches of the Forest of Magic, and Youkai Mountain. Not surprisingly, the highly-intelligent animals have semi-domesticated themselves in order to improve their relationship with Humans and other Youkai. This is partly due to their generally docile and friendly nature, but also because they seek protection from hunters who'd kill them for their pelts.
Little is known about the Forest Foxes' existing government structure or how it will develop now that the Empire exists. They seem to have a Clan/Tribal structure, with "Elders" holding leadership roles along with Queen Fluffina. Other than that, the Forest Foxes seem to have a highly good-natured Anarchy in place. This isn't surprising since the Forest Foxes are quite playful and friendly in general.
So far, the Forest Foxes have done little to disrupt anything else within Gensokyo (other than completely infest the Scarlet Devil Mansion to create the "Super Fluffy Mansion"). If anything, they seem to have become rather industrious and eager to make themselves helpful to everyone around them.
Pluralism: Monolithic (one set of cultural values seems to be dominant).
Toleration: Cordial (Foreigners are actively welcomed, and those who are consistently helpful to them are considered "Friends". "Friends" almost seem to be idolized.)
Solidarity: Collectivistic (Altruism is a strong value and Forest Foxes seem to go to great lengths to help each other and other species they consider friends.)
Tractability: Semi-Submissive (Forest Foxes seem very easy to govern, following direction without complaint. Culturally they seem very stable.)
Aggression: Semi-Pacific (Violence seems to only be used as a last resort. The viciousness in which the Forest Foxes showed in their fight against Leona Morimoto's forces on Planeta del Agua in late 2017 is the only thing preventing the Forest Foxes from being classified as fully Pacific. They are capable of genuine ferocity, but clearly only in extreme circumstances.)
Pragmatism: Moderate (The Forest Foxes seem to use a combination of instinct and observation in learning and experimenting with new methods. Though bestial in nature, they're clearly more than mere "animals".)
Innovation: Progressive (The Forest Foxes are actively experimenting in creating a new society and culture.)
Providence: Semi-Reckless (Forest Foxes are rather capricious as a whole and don't seem to bother all that much with long-term planning past a span of a year or so at most. Then again, they ARE simple in their outlooks.)
Yep, the Federation's Explorators completed an analysis (much to the delight of the several hundred Forest Foxes that participated).
Physical Science: TL 1 (VERY simple engineering and architecture in the form of well-made burrows and other shelters made from gathered materials. Astrology used in keeping track of timed seasonal activities (seasonal plant growth, for example).
Material Science: TL 0 (Use of "found" materials in any construction.)
Energy Production: TL 0 (Muscle power.)
Information Tech: TL 0 (Communication by runner. Oral tradition. Whole-number math.)
Vehicles: TL 0 (Walking only. Besides, there are no buses in Gensokyo.)
Weapons: TL 0 (Fangs and claws only, although some Forest Foxes MIGHT know magic.)
Biological Science: TL 0 (Very basic principles of animal husbandry and agriculture in that they keep track of where the best animals and plants to eat are located.)
Medical Tech: TL 0 (Shamanistic medicine, herbalism. They know that pleasant tactile sensations can relieve stress and use their fur and tails to provide it to others.)
Environment: TL 1 (Primitive agriculture in that they actively bury seeding plants and fruits in soil in an attempt to cultivate them. They seem to have a decent grasp of the basics.)
So far, the Forest Foxes' incursion into Gensokyo has been met with minimal upset from the Youkai or Humans (and everyone's glad that Reimu stopped freaking out like she was). Life in Gensokyo has gotten back to normal, except that there's a LOT more foxes playing around...and these foxes not only talk but enjoy involving themselves in everything they can. Fortunately, they actively try to help as much as they can.
Forest Foxes can be seen hunting mice, rats, snakes and squirrels, thus helping to keep the rodent problems at bay, and they've recently discovered that Yukkuris make for good eating too (and great entertainment since biting a Yukkuri results in the Fox in question getting covered with liquid bean paste). In the Bamboo Forest of the Lost they often locate and spoil the worst of the traps set by Tewi Inaba (that little bastard), thus helping nor only Villagers gathering materials from there, but helping to make Reisen's life a little easier. In the Forest of Magic they help gather mushrooms and roots, often going into places where the Humans can't go. The Forest Foxes are also looking forward to winter and helping to prevent another "Running of the Turduckins" from taking over Gensokyo. In addition to helping keep the vermin population to a minimum, the Forest Foxes also assist the Humans of the Village by keeping an eye on the children, ensuring that lost children get home unharmed and injured children are quickly found. Gifts of food are all that are necessary to get a Forest Fox to help out with something, be it babysitting an infant, keeping a warehouse full of grain clear of rats, helping with hunting, or provide entertainment in the form of dancing and playing. Many of the Human ultra-traditionalists in the Village consider them to be actual messengers of the old goddess Inari, so quite a few of the Villagers make offerings of fruits, berries, and bird meat to the Forest Foxes as a matter of course.
Then there's FoxEx.
FoxEx, Gensokyo's First Postal Service
The name says it all. Recently the Forest Foxes have begun running letters and delivering messages within the Village and back and forth between Youkai Mountain, Kourindou, and Eientei, and in true Gensokyo fashion it seems to be catching on. Run out of a small building near one of the Village gates by a now-retired blacksmith (a former American Marine who'd been "spirited away" by Yukari back in the early 1990s) and a young man and woman (all of whom seem to have some close connections to the Langister family), FoxEx is a simple set-up reminiscent of the Pony Express: Forest Foxes happily and swiftly carry letters and messages to anywhere and whoever is requested. To send a letter or message anywhere in the Village (with delivery guaranteed in less than an hour), postage costs only one mon (for the paper and ink) and a small bowl of food for the "Mail-Kit" to deliver your message. Postage is doubled for a recipient outside of the Village and sending a small package costs a full shu. Once paid, you can dictate your message to one of the children from Keine Kamishirasawa's school (it's a good way for them to practice their kanji), then have the message placed in the pocket of the light leather coats worn by the Mail-Kits (which protect them from rain, sleet, snow, and hail). The Mail-Kit will then diligently scamper off, eager to deliver its cargo.
Upon arrival (they'll even bring mail out to farmers working in the fields outside of the Village with unnerving accuracy), all the recipient needs to do is use their seal on the wax tablet the Mail-Kits all carry, then take delivery. The Mail-Kits are supposed to return directly back to the post office, but they'll often bring back return messages, especially if they went out to Eientei or Kourindou (since they were likely sent out there to place a specific order with Eirin Yagokoro or Rinnosuke).
So far, the Mail-Kits are doing a brisk business. Already there are rumors circulating of the goddess Kanako starting a "faith-building campaign" and Mystia Lorelei sending out menus for her grilled lamprey stand (which is a favorite gathering spot for a lot of Forest Foxes anyway).
Overall, the Forest Foxes seem to be making themselves right at home, and the Empire of the Rising Floof might very well endure.
Winter is Coming!
As Gensokyo's winter approaches and Yukari prepares to go into "super narcoleptic mode" for the next few months, the Forest Foxes prepare to celebrate their first winter as official residents. Already there are signs that this year's winter will be a cold one, and nerves are already frayed in the aftermath of yet ANOTHER Incident (called Fantastic Danmaku Festival) which saw yet another new Youkai become a resident of Gensokyo (a darkness-dwelling girl now bearing the title "Messenger of the Night"), so the Empire of the Rising Floof has decreed to make this first winter the best their Human and Youkai Friends have seen in a long while!
Plans include (but are not limited too)...
The Halloween Festival, with Forest Foxes providing both tricks AND treats to everyone.
Contracting with Human families for groups of Foxes to sleep inside their homes during cold nights, thus helping to retain heat inside. That and quite a few children like the idea of cuddling up with a fluffy Fox or three for the night.
FoxEx now advertises and delivers pumpkin spice tea mix. A few enterprising Mail-Foxes have already begun acting as vendors. Traditional green tea is also available.
Some Foxes have begun taking it upon themselves to ambush, pounce upon, and stun groups of Faeries in and around the Human Village. Since winter is drawing near, Ice Faeries like Cirno tend to get ESPECIALLY active to the point of rowdiness. In the past this has led to massive snowball fights that have gotten so out of hand that they almost qualified as (or triggered) Incidents in their own right. The Empire of the Rising Floof may be mobilizing to prevent anything like that from happening.
Rumors circulate of plans for some kind of snow festival, but nothing's been officially announced.