Horizon:Kimitoasamade 3A Prologue

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Prologue: Drunk Girl at a Place of Washing Away Impurity[edit]

Horizon Kimi3A 005.jpg

Drunk

Or sober?

It’s less about which is better

And more about which is more fun

Point Allocation (Avoiding the Issue)



Morning came early at the Asama Shrine.

Supposedly.

Asama woke at 6 in the morning. She normally woke before 5 to perform her purification and to work with Hanami on the early-morning ether management that served as the foundation of Musashi’s management. But…

“…Hanami?”

Hanami was sleeping on the pillow with Uzy.

That meant no job requests had arrived from the Asama Shrine.

My dad did it for me, didn’t he?

He likely understood what had happened the night before and had let her rest.

She was lying in her futon with Kimi on her left and Mitotsudaira on her right. Kimi always slept in the nude and hugged things in her sleep, so her yukata was almost entirely removed and she clung to Asama close enough that her body heat tickled her.

On the other hand, Mitotsudaira was sniffing at Asama in her sleep, which was quite cute in its own way.

The Cerberus on her head was about to slip right off, which was also cute.

But once they woke, she told them the band name she had thought up during the night and they spent their time smiling both bitterly and otherwise.

“Then let’s go with that.”

“It certainly is a perfect description of us right now…”

It really is, thought Asama as she submitted the divine transmission document with their names on it to the Gagaku Festival HQ.

While she did not take a full morning bath, the Asama Shrine practice was to purify oneself in the morning. In order to hold the first “Kimitoasamade Planning Meeting”, Kimi and Mitotsudaira accompanied her. But…

Yes, I should have known this would happen…

Kimi had no trouble at all in the wooden spring bath, but Mitotsudaira…

“Cold! Th-this spring always is absolutely freezing!”


Mitotsudaira made a temporary retreat and sat on the edge of the bath. Her pride insisted she at least keep her legs soaking in the spring and she naively thought she might get used to the temperature.

The wooden frame felt warm below her butt, but that was probably only an illusion. The heat below her chilled skin was only warming her skin due to the pressure from sitting on the frame.

That’s the Asama spring for you!

The water was unusually clear.

That was likely because the Asama Shrine was the foundation of Musashi’s ether management.

The Asama Shrine managed the ether pathways and the ether fuel that was refined by the Musashi.

That meant highly pure water was sent to the Asama Shrine where it was purified before being sent to the different ships. The purified water’s role was to absorb the ether stagnations and inconvenient “impurities” that occurred in the different ships. It circulated within the Musashi and was purified again below the Asama Shrine and other shrines so it could be reused.

The water in this spring had been tuned to the highest level within the Musashi and had then been given a high-level purification divine protection by the Asama Shrine’s techniques.

The Shirasago brand logos seen here and there were proof of that. During the great remodeling at IZUMO nine years before, Okutama had been remade into the main ship for Musashi as a whole, and the Asama Shrine had been strengthened as Musashi’s Shinto representative at the time.

A structure as large as the Musashi could only “last” due to the purification of the “impurities” that was only possible due to that strengthening.

That meant the water they were casually soaking in was literally the water of life that supported the giant city ship. It would remove the impurities from everything that touched it and it would tune anything. But…

“It even negates the hair grooming divine protection I have as part of my species,” complained Mitotsudaira.

“No, I think it technically overloads that divine protection.”

Asama gave her a bitter smile from the spring. She let her hair swim through the water and moved as if to pour water over her head.

“Mito, your divine protection is an inborn thing. …That means it’s a part of who you are and it can’t be purified away. Instead, I think the divine protection is able to relax inside this purifying spring, so it absorbs the water and tries to expel the excess inside your body.”

“You’re saying my divine protection knows this water will help with my ‘grooming’?”

“That’s right,” said Kimi as she placed her elbows on the edge of the bath and lay face down in the water. She traced her fingers along Mitotsudaira’s thigh. “It’s like your pretty-pretty divine protection is rejoicing that it’s found a shampoo that suits it. So, Mitotsudaira, it isn’t that your skin is repelling the water; it’s licking it.”

Sure enough, the water dripping down her skin seemed to stretch out and slowly spill down. But…

“I don’t think it had this much of an effect when I’ve been here before.”

“That probably means you’ve grown and your species divine protection has grown stronger. Also…”

“Maybe you’ve started a lazier lifestyle, so you’re more used to relaxing. C’mon, c’mon.”

Kimi tugged on her ankles in the water. She was clearly going to pull Mitotsudaira in if she ignored her, so Mitotsudaira breathed in and prepared to enter the water.

“Oh, if it feels cold, exhale and then imagine you’re continuing to exhale as you get in,” advised Asama. “If your body is tense and you have your body-heated breath in your lungs, it will only feel colder. Just relax.”

“R-relax?”

Should she really be using the English word in a Shinto spring? wondered Mitotsudaira as she did as told. She hesitantly exhaled and slowly entered the water by lowering the back of her thighs instead of her lap.

Wow.

The word “cold” itself seemed to enter the areas where her skin had been touching.

“Nn.”

She sat down so the water rose to her shoulders. She felt like nothing else would count as fully soaking her body. And following her pride and efforts, the cold enveloped her body and she shivered.

Kimi immediately spoke up.

“No peeing.”

“N-no one would do that!”

“Don’t be so sure.” Kimi waved a hand as she spun her body toward Mitotsudaira. “Back when my foolish brother began his contract, he suddenly raised his hand and said, ‘Sorry, I just made an offering. A pee offering. Know what I mean? Hm?’ This spring’s purification device wasn’t isolated at the time, so for a whole day, no one was allowed to ingest any water and the Musashi was brought to an emergency stop.”

Before thinking “that idiot”, Mitotsudaira found herself thinking “I should have known”. But then Kimi moved close and whispered into her ear.

“That means my foolish brother marked us back then.”

“Wh-what does that mean!?”

“Heh heh. Do you want him to do it to you too?”

She felt like such a fool for briefly hesitating in her answer, but the idiot sister relaxed her legs below herself in the water and rested her cheek on her hand.

“I understand, Mitotsudaira. You want some kind of proof of the master-servant relationship with your king while you play and frolic with him, don’t you? You want to be covered in your king’s scent as proof that you belong to him and have no other king. Frolicking and licking him isn’t enough for you and only receiving his adoration doesn’t satisfy you, so you want him to defile you like animals playing in the mud. …C’mon, you want to get cutely down on your knees, bow down, and then lick him while you beg for it, don’t you?”

“N-no, um…”

Her body temperature rose as she imagined it, but the chilly water held her thoughts in check.

“N-not even a Loup-Garou does that!”


“Hee hee. Dear? We pulled an all-nighter ‘studying’, but it looks like that wasn’t enough for you. …Now, now. I can tell even if you bury your face in the pillow and sob. You want to do more for me, don’t you? But you think you’re too awkward and don’t know what to do so you always just let me guide you. But you know what I want you to do now, don’t you?”

That being…

“If we view what we just finished as the midpoint of the battle, then I want you to mark me now. C’mon, get up. Your cute wolf…um, who is still very cute. Yes, she’s still got her cuteness. Anyway, your cute wolf is bowing down begging for it. Yes, please don’t hesitate. I’ll lick you until you’re ready. Hee hee. You can hold back if you want. But you don’t get to say no in the end.”


“I-I’m suddenly feeling much less confident in that assertion, but w-we really don’t do that!”

She decided to leave the “probably” in her heart.

Asama then nodded between Kimi and Mitotsudaira.

“Th-that’s right, Kimi. Mito wouldn’t do that.”

“Judge! I wouldn’t!”

“Yes, rumor has it the Loup-Garou species can share and circulate their bodily divine protections and thoughts with their partner, so once they start frolicking, they can keep going for days. And they’re apparently super willing to beg in a doggy pose, so it isn’t a conscious desire like you were suggesting, Kimi. …Probably.”

“That’s even worse! And what was that ‘probably’ for!?”

However, Mitotsudaira had heard pretty much the same thing from her mother, so she was a little worried on a personal front. She silently begged her future self to restrain herself and Asama told her to calm down.

“Anyway, Kimi and Mito? That story about Toori-kun marking us? That happened when everyone was here. We were staying here for a school event during elementary school.”

“Eh? R-really?”

Mitotsudaira suddenly recalled staying at the Asama Shrine then. He had not been her king back then and Horizon had been with them. She vaguely recalled Horizon punching the idiot, but that may have been a memory she was inventing now.

She wanted to ask Asama about it, but then Kimi nodded.

“We were lucky your dad acted as the investigator back then. I was questioned alongside my foolish brother and, when your dad asked him ‘why did you do that?’, he answered ‘I couldn’t hold it in!’ without missing a beat.”

“My father said ‘I completely understand’ and immediately released him, didn’t he?”

Is that really an acceptable reason? But Asama only smiled with lowered eyebrows and said more.

“My father was apparently glad that he was able to prove the deficiencies in sharing divine water between the Asama Shrine and the Musashi. That allowed the basic structure here to be given its current shape during the later great remodeling at IZUMO.”

“I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing…”

“It might have been a bad thing, but we turned it into a good thing. That’s how Shinto works.”

Asama stood up. Water splashed down from her body, droplets trailed along her curves, and dripped down from the points.

“Reversing good and bad is a characteristic trait of Shinto. There are stories of a god asking to be given a corpse or something impure and having the offering turn into a hunk of gold the following day. There are also stories of tilling and caring for bad land to have it turn into good land. The most important part of turning bad into good is to never doubt and to remain honest. Toori-kun is stupidly honest and keeps things simple, so my dad really likes him.”

Asama’s tone of voice made it sound like there was a “so” coming.

So…

So when Horizon was “lost”, he did not doubt and honestly tried to do the same to himself.

But that was a mistaken form of “honesty”.

If he was truly honest and without doubt, he would not have chosen that method. If he viewed death as impure, he should have taken time to accept it so that it could be turned into gold.

So, repeated Mitotsudaira in her heart.

So Kimi forced him to do that.

He was on the verge of “dying” himself, so she essentially killed him again to change him. He could not transform Horizon’s loss, so she had transformed him.

That was why Asama’s father had such a high opinion of the two and why Asama could never thank Kimi enough.

Relationships really are continuous things, thought Mitotsudaira.

Asama then approached her.

“You too, Kimi.”

“Yes,” said Kimi as she also approached.

As Mitotsudaira wondered what they were doing, they lowered themselves into the water up to their shoulders on either side of her.

“If you’re between us, our bodies will warm the water for you. See?”


In response to Asama’s invitation…

It’s not like the water warms up right away.

But Mitotsudaira did find relief in having someone next to her. It told her she was not being abandoned or ignored.

So…

“You’re right.”

That was all she said before taking her position between the other two.

It was cold, but…

Judge.

Their bodies and the bath’s inner wall blocked the slight current in the spring. The barely moving water absorbed the heat from Asama, Kimi, and her.

“It really is warming.”

“It truly is being done ‘Kimi to Asama de’.”[1]

Asama laughed and narrowed her eyes. That laugh and her action brought a thought to Mitotsudaira’s mind.

She really is the motherly type.

Or was she more of a dedicated wife? Her long history with the Aoi family had taken the “caretaker and helper” aspect of a shrine maiden and amplified it to an extreme degree.

Her ability was probably enough to cover Kimi and the other one on her level. Mitotsudaira had to be much less difficult than that “other one”, so she had a feeling she knew where Asama’s pleasant laughter came from:

She can handle this with ease.

How did her own mother view it? She would send a divine mail every once in a while, but their last instance of physical contact had been almost 10 years before. And it had not been a pleasant experience.

But before that…

“Should I move a little closer?”

Asama must have interpreted her silence as feeling cold, so she moved close enough to directly feel her heat. Kimi did the same.

They’re huge…

This voluminous attack forced all of her thoughts in that direction, but their heat did reach her.

Yes.

She recalled when her mother had carried her long ago.

She wondered what her mother was doing now.


“Ah, nn, Dear? Did you have to aim for when I was trembling and unable to move because you earned a full score by marking me with such a wonderful scent? Ahee. Y-yes! Keep studying! You can keep going, can’t you!? Hold the teaching aid so you can perform the test. Y-yes, this pose supported by my chest and knees is called a three-point support. And then…ah, w-wait. That’s outside the scope of the current lesson… Ah, n-no. Pull the cylinder out now and you’ll only score 80 points. Wait until the end…yes, yes, that will get you a full 100 points. Hee hee. …Now, let’s continue practicing until we both remember everything. Should I score each one separately? Ah, full points! Full points, papa!”


“Mito!? You look really lost in thought. Are you okay?”

“Oh, um, I just had a feeling that reality is a terrible thing…”

“I see,” said Asama, clearly not seeing at all.

She then twisted backwards a little.

“It looks like Mito is used to the water now…”

Mitotsudaira looked back as well and saw Asama opening a box next to the wall.

“Would you like some pre-breakfast sake?”

Simultaneously filled with a surprised “don’t tell me” and a resigned “I should have known”, Mitotsudaira asked a question.

“Why do you have sake prepared?”

“Offering divine sake up to your god is one of a shrine maiden’s jobs. And you of course have to drink what’s leftover afterwards.”

Asama quickly smiled and placed a largish sake cup and bottle on a tray floating in the spring.

“Heh heh,” laughed Kimi. “You make your offering by drinking it, don’t you?”

“Some people think so, but no.”

Asama looked somewhat discouraged and Mitotsudaira tilted her head.

“You don’t?”

“N-no, I don’t! What kind of person do you think I am!?”

“But in elementary school, you cried when our homeroom teacher confiscated your sake bottle during lunch.”

“Sorry, that was for an offering as part of my shrine maiden job and I was crying because something my father had given me was taken away. I wasn’t a drunk crying because her alcohol had been taken from her.”

“Really…?”

Learning more about your friends was a good thing, but Mitotsudaira had to wonder if she was imagining the stiffness in Asama’s smile.

At any rate, Kimi gave a quiet nasal laugh.

“True enough. People think you drink it as an offering, but the process is actually the reverse, isn’t it?”

“Th-that’s right. Yes.”

Asama entered her usual explanatory mode. She did not seem to realize it herself, but she seemed to quite like doing this.

And so Mitotsudaira played along.

“How does the offering process work for you?”

“Eh? Oh, right. The process is the same for a shrine maiden like me as it is for a priest like my father. In other words, after the offering is made, any leftovers are a ‘return offering’ from your god, so the process is completed by taking it for yourself. There are different types of offerings. The simplest is the Official Offering where you provide the offering and receive the return offering. There is also the Substitution Offering where you provide something other than the original offering item. Then there are the offerings where you receive your god’s divine protection instead of a return offering of what you offered. We do this regularly using Blessings and it’s technically known as a Substitution Return Offering. In that case, your god often rents out the divine protection of another god. But in the case of an Official Offering, the return offering is a divine artifact. So if it’s food or drink like rice or divine sake, you gain a divine protection or Blessing by consuming it.”

“For example, if you offer up a sword to a sword god, it will have that sword god’s divine protection when returned as a return offering, right?”

“That’s right.” Asama nodded toward Kimi. “So I drink the divine sake to accumulate Blessings, but it’s only part of the ‘make offering, receive return offering’ process. If you only see that final step, it does look a lot like I drink to power up. And when I have an unplanned drink, I make it into a substitution for one of my other offerings.”

As expected, she gave a detailed explanation.

I see, thought Mitotsudaira before asking about something regarding their new band.

“What about with Gagaku?”

“Oh.” Asama seemed to understand what she was getting at. “I don’t have to worry about singing normal songs. The gods understand when you are or aren’t singing to them. If they like it, they’ll listen, but they won’t get mad even if they don’t like it.”

But…

“Even when Gagaku is used as an offering, it’s a pretty low-level one. You can think of it as currying the favor of your god…that is, confirming and strengthening your connection to them. So if you’re really after a return offering through music, you have to physically offer a recording of music instead of making a live performance. With the exception of Dengaku meant to improve the results of the agricultural harvest, you don’t have to worry about any other songs.”

“Ho ho.”

Mitotsudaira gently applauded to show her understanding and Kimi followed suit.

“Yes.” Asama nodded but then smiled bitterly as if she had remembered something. “That said, another common misunderstanding is that offerings are made through the shrine maiden. In addition to our normal rituals, we handle the process for the offerings brought to the shrine, but we are not actually a necessary part of that process. The ‘offer to your god and receive something in return’ process is the same for shrine maiden and normal person alike. Even if you leave it to the shrine maiden, the return offering needs to be returned to the original offerer.”

“Then what happens if you ‘make an offering to your god through a shrine maiden’ which is so commonly referenced in certain publications?”

“Hmm.” Asama looked up toward heaven as she thought. And after a while, “I suppose it must be returned to the offerer off-page. As a reverse injection. I don’t really know how that would work, but they would receive a divine punishment if they didn’t do it. But that would probably be really painful for the guy.”

“That makes me shudder…!”

“That’s why Naruze and the others always tell me they can’t make things strictly accurate. Let’s try to have some dreams.”

“Is there no other way?”

“Well, technically speaking, it would be as a spell instead of an offering. Kimi, you would know about this, wouldn’t you? It’s an Ootsubaki thing.”

“Oh, is it?” Kimi tilted her head and narrowed her eyes toward Asama. “I was talking about the references to food offerings in cookbooks. Are you sure we’re on the same page here?”

“Eh!? Um, yessss, we arrre. Definitelyyyy. Wh-what else could I have meant, Kimi!?”

“Do you two need to be purified first thing in the morning!?”

The other two held out their hands to calm Mitotsudaira and then Kimi pulled Asama’s tray over.

“Well, it’s no Oath of the Peach Garden.”

“Yes, it’s out of season for cherry blossoms and plums too.”

Asama sat down so the 3 of them surrounded the tray.

Yes, thought Mitotsudaira.

This is a drink to new beginnings.


Asama started to pour sake into the cup.

“Ah, no. All 3 of us need to pour it.”

Kimi can be pretty picky about these relationship details.

So Asama poured a bit first. Then…

“Mito, go ahead.”

“Judge, leave it to me.”

Mitotsudaira filled it halfway and handed it to Kimi.

“Wait, Kimi! Why are you pouring it right up to the brim like you’re testing the surface tension!?”

“Well, with you here, I figured we needed at least this much.”

“Oh, that’s a good point,” added Mitotsudaira.

“Huh? Huh? That answer doesn’t help anyone.”

At any rate, the sake was in the largish cup.

Kimi and Mitotsudaira looked to Asama. They seemed to be telling her to say something, even if it was cliché.

“Uhh…”

She thought for a bit. A ritual Shinto prayer would be fine, but…

“Ritually filling the sake cup is said to symbolize your fulfillment or your expectation for future fulfillment.”

So…

“So that we might be able to hold even more in the future and so that our individual capacities might increase, let all three of us share this cup here.”

Mitotsudaira and Kimi applauded, but Asama was so into the performance that she held out a hand to silence them. And…

“Who should go first?”

“Since you’re cold, Mitotsudaira, why not you?”

“But isn’t this really Tomo’s place to go first?”

“No, I…”

“That’s right,” said Kimi. “You want to go last so you can drink the most, don’t you?”

“You had to go there, didn’t you!? Didn’t you!?”

However, that was the truth. In these rituals, most people would take a single sip. But in Musashi’s Shinto weddings, the rules stated “you might receive divine punishment if you don’t drink it all”, so the husband tended to end up a victim.

So…

“Then I will go last.”

“That’s fine with me. You’ll stay true to yourself to the very end, so you need to finish things off yourself.”

“I’m not sure I’d put it like that… Wait, Kimi, the sake!”

She watched as Kimi poured the bottle’s remaining sake into the spring. She shook the bottle to get out every last drop and then gave Asama a grin.

“Now it’s a sake bath. I don’t know if it’ll warm us, but it should be nice celebrating with your entire body, right? And the purification effect will keep the smell from lingering on us.”

“That might be true, but not even I’ve ever done this before…”

“What’s wrong with it?”

Kimi took the sake cup with her right hand. The surface tension was at its limit, so the sake swelled up and wiggled like a soft object. Then Kimi brought the cup to her lips.

“Nn.”

And she drank.

She cleanly swallowed the excess sake and her own portion. Then she set the cup down and clapped her hands.

“Your sake is always so rough on the throat.”

“That makes it more satisfying after you swallow.”

“Th-then it’s my turn.”

Mitotsudaira clapped twice and then picked up the cup with both hands.

“Kh…n.”

She briefly paused, presumably because her Loup-Garou senses of taste and smell were not used to the smell of sake. But after she let the scent pass through her nose and she took a breath, she calmed down.

“…Nn.”

With the cup only half full, she held it out toward Asama.


Asama took the cup. Had the other two left half of the sake because they were trying to be nice?

But as she looked at the cup of sake, Asama knew she was not that fulfilled.

So I need to pray that I will be more fulfilled from here on.

Thus, she brought it to her lips.

“Nn…”

She drank it. She closed her eyes, gulped it down, and opened her eyes while still facing upwards.

Ah.

She saw the usual sky. It was the white sky of the stealth barrier.

She had looked up at that sky every day since she was a child. But…

Yes.

It looked different today.

It was the same as always and it was different. That “difference” would continue for a while. And even if it ended, it would only prove that she could choose a “different” path.

She would treat it with care.

With that in mind, she licked out the last drop, even though she knew it was gluttonous.

“Yes.”

She lowered the cup and her gaze.

She saw slight smiles on the other two’s faces. She naturally found herself returning that smile.

“Hee hee. This is the beginning, isn’t it?”

“Judge. Heh heh. It really is the beginning. Heh heh heh.”

Kimi took a breath and opened her mouth.

And she suddenly formed words.

“I join my voice with yours again and again.”

It was a song, albeit a somewhat altered one.

“That’s the Asama Shrine’s Sakuya Song, isn’t it?”

“It is. If you know it, sing along, will you?”

Affected by the sake, Kimi sang her alteration of the normal Gagaku song.


Mitotsudaira and Asama joined Kimi in the song.

“I send you this night of blooming flowers.”[2]

The Asama Shrine’s primary god, Konohana no Sakuya, was the Far East’s current god of love, marriage, and fertility.

“If I sing and dance of never-parting lives.”

In the lyrics Asama sang, Sakuya was sent with her older sister to the heavenly god Ninigi, but Ninigi sent back her ugly older sister and married the beautiful Sakuya.

“The great god Sakuya sings and smiles.”

There were many stories, but…

The next part is mine.

“The spray of the blossoming chain.”

As Mitotsudaira sang, she realized Sakuya had a very stubborn side to her. And as Asama continued to sing…

“When the never-parting sigh heats and cools.”

Sakuya was said to possess the element of both water and fire.

“Tilt the cup and pour her out.”

That sounded strange, but it was because water also connected to sake. It was almost like…

“Swing out from within the frame.”

This is just like Asama, thought Mitotsudaira.

“Raise a fire in the shrine of the heavenly god.”

When Sakuya was with child, she was suspected of infidelity by her husband. To prove her innocence, she set fire to the delivery room and gave birth without issue, thus proving that her child had the blood of a heavenly god.

“Raise it toward the red-hot mountain and the sky.”

From that, Sakuya was known as a god of fire and she was given Mt. Fuji by her father god.

“The child of fire becomes a flower in the spring.”

But Sakuya was actually the god of the signs of the spring season, such as cherry blossoms and plums.

“The cherry blossom, the plum, and the camellia in the Asama spring.”

That was why the Asama Shrine viewed her as a water god.

“I am drawn by your smile as you blossom and blow in the wind.”

The Asama Shrine was a shrine of women, but Asama’s mother had come from outside.

“Adorned by chains and a crown of flowers.”

Her father had fallen in love with her mother at first sight and made her his wife.

“Before you, I am a spring.”

That was different from the ancient legend, but did that matter?

“I’ve fallen in love on this night of blooming flowers.”

Mitotsudaira had a thought as their voices joined together.

What about the ancient Sakuya?

“Before you, I am a spring.”

Had she enjoyed singing?

“I’ve fallen in love on this night of blooming flowers.”

And the song came to a close.



That’s a story, thought Asama as she considered those familiar lyrics.

The songs she had heard before had all been stories of the singer herself. They were about the singer and listener sharing their memories, lifestyles, and ways of thinking.

But this one was different. It was mostly fictional, a story one could read in a book.

Was there any reason to listen to that story as a song?

There is.

This was not just the result of her bias as she grew to adore songs.

A story was words.

What did it mean to turn it into music by making it a song?

The music allowed it to carry emotion and vision in addition to the words.

After all, music could rise and fall in pitch or include different intonations.

Short, low notes carried intensity. Long, high notes sounded refreshing. Notes that continued slowly felt stagnant. Notes that extended long but quickly were reminiscent of great speed.

Notes with the volume of a shout contained implications before even getting to the carried meaning. It aroused an emotional response before the listener could even contemplate the meaning.

Asama felt there was a great meaning in this.

When she had read the story in a book, she had no way of knowing if her interpretation and the emotions she felt were “correct”.

But with music, the emotions it brought were absolute. Especially when the speed was concerned, there was no mistaking it.

So, she thought.

It is important to read a story from a book, contemplate it, and understand it.

But songs helped you know if your understanding was correct. And more importantly…

A song brings you into the story and gives you a rough understanding very quickly.

That was an old, old story from a long distant time.

To read it as text required “research” and “interpretation”, but if you shortened it and put it to music, the characters involved and their emotions throughout were put into focus.

In that case, thought Asama. This song is doing more than just singing the story. It’s showing the scene at the time and the emotions of the people.

It was more accurate than reading a book. Faster too. And…

“…It’s catchy.”

“Isn’t that a good thing?”

Kimi understands this well, thought Asama with a small smile.

“Hee hee.”

It grew to a laugh and Kimi joined her.

“Ah ha ha.”

Next was Mitotsudaira’s turn.

“C-c’mon, Kimi, what is that vulgar laugh for? Eh heh. Heh heh heh heh.”

“Oh, but, Mito, you can’t seem to stop laughing either. Heh heh heh heh heh.”

“Ah ha ha ha ha ha.”

As she laughed, Mitotsudaira suddenly sank while still smiling.

“Kyaaaaah! Mito!?”

“Ohh, I’m drunk. I’m really drunk.”

Asama did not need to ask why: It was the sake bath.

“So basically, the sake’s divine protection is directly entering our bodies thanks to the spring’s purification, so the alcohol is going straight to us. Right, Kimi?”

Kimi too sank down. Asama look down at the two who had vanished to the bottom of the water.

This is like a crime scene!

She would have said it was like a mysterious phenomenon, but she decided that would be inappropriate for a Shinto shrine maiden. That said, it would be treated as a crime if she did not pull them up soon.

A drowning after turning the spring into a sake bath would have to be a first for the Asama Shrine. It would be a brand new kind of scandal.

Kimi was especially dangerous. Mito was dangerous enough while submerged with a smile on her face, but Kimi was using her last strength to strike a pose where she lifted up her own breasts. If the guards came to investigate this, who knows what they would say about Asama who had been with them. No, she could make some decent predictions, but she really did not want to think about it.

So she hurriedly tried to pull them up, but they were heavy.

“C-come to think of it, their hair has to get really heavy when it’s soaked up so much water!”

She had to quickly pull up the two human sponges.

“Honestly, this is not how I wanted to spend the morning of a new beginning!”

Asama sighed as she grabbed them and stood up. Despite the splashing water, she worked to pull Kimi and Mitotsudaira out.

You really lose out when you’re the only one that didn’t get drunk…

She heard the academy bell ring in the distance to indicate it was 7 in the morning.

“And we’re supposed to be at school early today for the health examination to prepare for the spring academy festival.”

Honestly.

“Why are things always like this!?”


Notes[edit]

  1. In this case, Kimitasamade is being interpreted as “By Kimi and Asama”.
  2. ”This night of blooming flowers” is pronounced the same as Konohana no Sakuya.