InoBato: Volume 1 Chapter 4
Chapter 4: The Charm of the Black Dragon
“Hey, hey~ Ju-kun. What are you doing~?”
After school, at the Literature Club’s clubroom Hatoko called out to me casually like she always does.
As always, everyone was present today. Sayumi-senpai was reading a difficult-looking book she managed to excavate from [God off] , and Chifuyu was just sitting there hugging her plushie.
Tomoyo, as usual, was doing something on her laptop.
Nothing seems to have changed since her meeting with Kiryu-san. She was acting like her usual self as if nothing had happened at all. Maybe she’s processing the incident with her brother inside her mind.
“Hatoko, it’s getting to the good part so, don’t bother me.”
I held back my childhood friend and went back to my work, however, Hatoko didn’t give up.
“Isn’t it fine. Tell me~”
“Argggh really. Don’t shake my body! You’re ruining it!”
“Well. But you won’t tell me what you’re doing.”
“You can see it, right?”
“I’m asking because I don’t know what I’m looking at~”
I let out a sigh of disbelief, and showed her my left hand which had a pen in its grip, and my right arm with my blazer tucked up and explained something that was very obvious.
“I’m drawing Black Dragon on my right arm.”
I heard something shattering. Looking up, I saw that Tomoyo had dropped her teacup and her body was frozen in motion.
“You really are… You really are…”
“Snap out of it Tomoyo-chan. You must hold it together.”
Sayumi-senpai shook Tomoyo’s shoulder, and with smooth motion, she activated her [Route of Origin] and fixed Tomoyo’s broken teacup.
They weren’t even being discrete.
“Calm down please. Without a doubt, Ando-kun isn’t a resident of this planet.”
“Sayumi-senpai… Yes, that must be true. That idiot must be some kind of alien from somewhere.”
“No way! How did you know that I am a mix of an earthling and the leader of Rig Naan, a nomad space race of warriors?
“…… Can you not take an insult as a joke?”
Sayumi-senpai freaked out. Nuu, I thought I countered that quite nicely.
“I have no idea why you Chuunis like to be a mixed race.” 
Tomoyo gave harsh criticism. Well mixed blood is quite a basic scenario. Like a part devil or a part monster or a part vampire. How should I say this.. it makes it more exciting!
“It’s easier for plot progression when you’re a mixed blood. Because of being mixed blood you are in conflict or not being able to join either society and can be persecuted. It can be produced into any kind of sad drama. You can say that It’s a very easy concept to work with. So because of that maybe it’s been widely used in many works?”
Sayumi-senpai gave her realistic guess, one that was devoid of dreams and inspirations.
Well that may certainly be so… but please don’t say such things.
“So then Ando, what are you doing.”
“Didn’t I say it already? I’m drawing a Black Dragon on my right arm.”
“I mean, I would like you to explain the reason behind your eccentric behaviour.”
“It’s because I’ve got a right arm.”
“Stop with that ‘because mountain is there’ quote thing. Everyone’s got a right arm.” 
“What? Everyone’s got a right arm?! Hey you, have you forgotten the tragic story behind Edward Elric’s Automail?!”
“Why is FMA coming into picture here?! Stop being picky with my words!”
“Another reason is because I’ve got a Black Dragon in my heart [here]”
“There isn’t one! Also don’t write heart and read it as ‘here’!”
“Let’s talk seriously, I realised yesterday, that my dark personality cannot be limited to a human form.”
“… Sorry, but if that was serious talk, then I’ve got nothing more to say to you.”
“Now now, just listen. Our powers got awakened about half a year ago, right? At that time, couldn’t my dark personality that was nested inside me be fused with my power [Dark and Dark] and create the figure of an evil dark dragon?”
“Hmm, that’s true. There’s more to me than to reflectively criticise you every time, so it won’t be a good thing for me to deny Ando’s opinion from the beginning. That’s why I shall think this through… Nope! There’s no way that’s possible!”
My theory of the Black Dragon of dark personality had been shot down just like that.
It’s no use. Regardless of the age, theories that are far advanced for this time and age will always be criticised.
“Anyway, I’m in the process of conducting an important ritual that tames the dragon within me, so please don’t bother me.”
“Do whatever you want, Chuuni.”
Ending my conversation with Tomoyo, I went back to drawing my Black Dragon.
Hmm, but this is difficult. The reason it was so difficult, was because I’m right-handed, so that made it incredibly difficult to draw with my left hand.
Not only that, I’ve got zero talent for arts. How difficult would it be for my left hand when I can’t even draw with my useful hand.
Realizing my pain, Hatoko once again started a conversation.
“Ju-kun, Why don’t you just draw on your left arm using your right hand?”
“That won’t do, since [Dark and Dark] dwells in my right arm.”
“Is that so… Then you can’t draw on your left arm~”
“Nope, I can’t.”
Hatoko and I silently thought this through.
On the other side.
“I wonder why Hatoko doesn't criticise Ando…”
“When those two talk, the atmosphere becomes peculiarly loose..”
I could feel the kind of conversation that Tomoyo and Sayumi-senpai were having, but I’ll just ignore them.
For now, Black Dragon takes up most of my priority.
“Ah right, Ju-kun. I’ll draw it for you then.”
“What~? You will~?”
I didn’t like the sound of it, but since Hatoko said that I should leave it to her, I unwillingly agreed. I’m using water based marker that could be erased at any moment, so it should be fine.
“Hatoko, you know, right? It’s a Black Dragon, a Black Dragon.”
”Yup it’s dark dragon right? Leave it to me.”
“Were you good at drawing?”
“I am not sure myself, but my friends call me an artist.”
“Eh? In what sense?”
Originally it should be a praise, but I feel like the meaning had been changing as of late..
Not being bothered by my concerns, Hatoko played around with her pen joyfully.
“Now it’s all done~ Wow~ It’s a masterpiece.”
When I looked down at my right arm, There was a Long body of a dragon drawn on my skin. The dragon’s head, difficulty of which was the hardest, was done with flying colors.
“Why is the body drawn in as a straight line?!”
The Black Dragon on my right arm was lying down from the back of my hand to the elbow in one straight line! It was as if it had a ruler nailed to its back!
“Dragons should have a body that bends all the way around. If the body isn’t flexible, then it’s not a dragon.”
“Wha~? But it’s hard to draw bendy bodies. Also, that’s a bad posture.”
“Bad posture you say… that doesn’t matter. Dragons are beings with bad attitude .”
“Is that so~~ Dragons are delinquents, huh~”
“…Well, yeah. Dragons are delinquents. Anyway Hatoko, next time try to draw them with a bendy body.”
Because of that we started to draw again.
“No, wait you, it’s the same as before! its body is still straight!”
“That’s not it~ Look closely, that body is all bendy and tangled.”
“You call this bendy?”
I couldn’t see it clearly since it was all pitch black, but Hatoko must have thought about a dragon twisted like a drill bit and drew the new picture. It looked the same as before as it was still a 2-D drawing.
“It’s twisted like a tightly squeezed mop, see?”
“A mop?! Is this dragon alright?!”
“In all honesty, it’s dying.”
“So it was dying!”
“Because it’s twisted so much its body fluids came out.”
“This is its body fluids?! I thought it was spewing fire or something from it’s mouth! Why have you committed such a terrible deed!”
“But Ju-kun told me to make it bendy.”
“Bendy and twisted are two separate things.”
“Hmm, but If I want to make the drawing bendy and not go out of the arm, then should the gap be really small?”
“It’s fine if it goes out. It doesn’t matter if your drawing goes to the underside of my arm .”
“Ah really? Come on~ you should have told me earlier then.”
It looks like she had limited the canvas to the back of my hand. So I guess the reason behind the dragon having a straight body was because she wanted to stay within this limit.
Hatoko started to draw again.
“Ju-kun, I’m going to draw on the back side, so turn your hand~”
“One more time.”
“Yup…… Ah wait. I only turned my arm once, my shoulder joint is already starting to hurt.”
“One more time~”
“Wait wait! My arm can’t turn anymore! My Joint is bent! It looks like some kind of Yoga pose! However many times I turn, I can’t shoot Gomu Gomu no Rifle!”
“Wait don’t move~ I’m still drawing here~”
“Ouch it hurts! I told you to stop! I don't have a tender shoulder joint that could pitch a moving fastball like the protagonist of Ace of Diamond you know!”
“HEEEEEEEY! Just now, what was that dreaded ‘Ah’ for?! What have you done?!”
“Ju-kun. You have a mole here~”
“A mole! That’s got nothing to do with this!”
“A Mole is important~ Even JUMP has basketball manga like that.”
“That’s [Kuroko no Basket]! You read that as Kuroko.” 
“Now, Ju-kun. Once more.”
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARG! My arm’s breaking! Something crucial inside me is being crushed…….!”
“AAAAAAAAARG! IT BROKE!”
It gave off a terrific sound!
It was a sound that a body couldn’t have possibly made!
I started to regret thinking ‘I wasted my right arm with this joke’, But then I realized that my right arm didn’t hurt. Oi oi, did my pain receptors just die on me too?
Suddenly Sayumi-senpai started to laugh.
She was holding a pair of broken chopsticks in her hands.
“I-I’m so sorry… Coincidently, I’ve accidently broken my chopsticks…. Fufufu!”
“WHAT KIND OF COINCIDENCE IS THAT!”
Was that just the sound of chopsticks breaking?
She hasn't eaten anything that required chopsticks so far. To fetch something just to mess with me, Sayumi-senpai’s personality is too mean.
When I was glad that my right arm wasn’t damaged at all, Chifuyu started to walk towards me.
“What’s up? Chifuyu.”
“Chifuyu wants to draw too.”
“Eh? You want to draw Black Dragon on my arm?”
“Yup, I think it should be fun.”
It seems like conversation with Hatoko looks entertaining to her.
“Chifuyu. I’m thankful for your thoughts, but we aren’t playing around, okay?”
I said that with sudden serious tone. Others looked at me as if saying ‘What is this then…’, but I kept my serious expression.
“That’s okay. Chifuyu is good at drawing.”
“I’ve been referred to as ‘Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso of Heisei’ by the teacher at school.”
“How are you even able to say Picasso’s full name?! You can just say ‘Picasso of Heisei ’!”
That’s the name which was so long that even Picasso himself couldn’t remember it all!
Chifuyu’s amazing! And so is her teacher!
“Ah, I’m wrong. It was ‘Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Chrispin Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso of Heisei’. I forgot Chrispin.” 
“You don’t have to correct fine details that no one will ever notice! That line just now is something the readers will definitely overlook if this was a novel or a manga!”
“Anyway Chifuyu will draw Black Dragon.”
She firmly clutched her tiny fist. It seemed she was full of motivation..
Chifuyu got a pen from me and without any hesitation started to draw the Black Dragon. I guess it was true that she could draw well.
“Black Dragon, it’s done.”
I turn my head toward my arm. There, an impressive-looking dragon was drawn. I was really surprised at the quality of the drawing. Actually I give up, this child could easily become artist or manga artist in the future.
“This is Western Dragon!”
It’s more like winged dragon!
It was a fatty looking dragon with wings on its back.
This dragon was also charming, but if I had to get a tattoo of a dragon on my arm, then Eastern Dragon would be the best.
“Chifuyu… This is Black Dragon as well, but if possible, instead of ones like Dragonite, can you draw something like Dragonair or Dratini…”
“Was that too hard to understand… or maybe It’s the wrong generation… I wonder how can I get it across to her… Ah~ that’s it. Can you draw one like in the opening of [Nippon Mukashi Banashi]?”
Chifuyu made a big nod and returned back to drawing.
“Nippon Mukashi Dragon. Done.”
“Oh~ this is, this is…”
“Umm… It’s good that it’s faithful… but you even drew the kid riding the dragon…”
There was a kid with a pellet drum riding on that dragon. It was that child in red who was perhaps the history's youngest dragon rider.
This drawing had quite a bit of tension to it.
“Chifuyu, if possible…”
“I’m done, Ando no fun.”
Chifuyu just spat those words out and took a distance from me. Such free spirit.
This feels like that situation, maybe this is how one feels like to be with a woman who uses you all she wants and throw you away when she’s done…
While contemplating in vanity, my eyes met with Sayumi-senpai’s.
“Sayumi-Senpai can you draw?”
“So-so. It's just a hobby .”
Humble like always. She’s was the x-men who says things like that but ends up giving us high level results, so those words of her shouldn’t be taken seriously.
“If that’s the case then I humbly request one Black Dragon here!”
“That frivolous tone is quite annoying. … Well whatever.”
Sayumi-senpai skillfully ran the pen across my arm.
“Well it’s done. Fufu, it’s embarrassing to show my drawing to someone else.”
At first, I noticed its sharp eyes, it’s gaze that overwhelmed the opponent.
And neatly trimmed slick hair, white suit that covered it’s toned body…
“… Isn’t this [White Dragon] from that Yakuza anime?!”
“Ara my goodness. I don’t know what happened there, but instead of Black Dragon, I’ve drawn [White Dragon].”
“How the hell did you mistake them! You’ve clearly done it on purpose!”
Scaaary. On my arm there was now a drawing of Kurosu yakuza’s second in command, Shirakawa Tatsuya.
He was glaring at me…
But Sayumi-senpai’s drawing was so good!
“I’m so sorry Ando-kun. I’ve fixed it.”
“Ah thank you… but wait, this is now actor who plays the White Dragon in movie! It’s still scary as hell!”
What is up with her obsession with Yakuza.
I don’t want an arm that I wouldn’t even be able to look at.
“Sayumi-senpai… Let’s stop with humans now. Normal cool looking dragon please.”
“Charismatic dragon. Got it… Fufu.”
Sayumi-senpai agreed with warmest smile, however, maybe because of that ‘fufu’ at the end, My feelings about this are all but good.
“All done. A cool Black Dragon.”
Just as she said the dragon on my arm looks quite cool. My feelings began to run wild and my soul started going out of control. There was no man who could help but be excited after one look at this dragon.
That’s because, that’s because… This dragon was the...
<真紅眼の黒竜 [Red-Eyes Black Dragon]>
Red Eyes which is well cooler than Blue Eyes~!
The coolest point about Red-Eyes is that instead of [Red-Eyes <赤眼>], it uses [Crimson Eyes <真紅眼>]~!
Not only that it was also breaking hellfire!
“Woah… it’s [Red-Eyes Black Dragon] which has less attack power compared to other Level 7 monsters, not only that, it hasn’t got any additional attributes, so it became one hell of a bad idea to summon after Tribute Summon became a thing.”
“That excessive commentary wasn’t needed.”
“It’s [Red-Eyes Black Dragon] where in the anime this card was originally belonged to Dinosaur Ryuzaki and Jonouchi took it from him, but as the story progressed, it became something like his partner…”
“That commentary was also not need.”
Compared to me who’s deeply moved by the drawing, Sayumi-senpai was like the very cold itself. it seems like she was freaked out by the fact that I was enjoying her little prank quite a lot.
But I didn’t really care about that, my right arm had become super cool.
If you were to ask me, the Red-Eyes is Western dragon so it’s not the dragon I wanted, but this was still fine.
When I was bewitched by the drawing, Sayumi-senpai took few pieces of tissue out and silently approached me.
“’Burst Stream of Destruction’!” 
Shouting that, she wiped the tissue on my arm.
“NOOOOOO! R-Red-Eyes have been destroyed!”
I’ve been defeated by the Blue-eyes!
The difference of 600 attack point was demonstrated clearly!
“Sayumi-senpai, what the hell was that!”
“I’m sorry. The scene of Ando-kun being happy was stringently disgusting.”
“So cruel! You can’t say everything that comes in your mind just because you’re saying it politely!”
“It really doesn't feel good when you are enjoying my prank.”
“So it was a prank.”
“Of course it is. But I was sorely mistaken. To draw Red-Eyes which contains things that chuunis would love like [Red Eyes], [Black] and [Dragons], I have finally seen the extent of your chuunibyou Ando-kun.”
Sayumi-senpai was strict on herself when It came to messing around with me.
When I was about to start redrawing the picture that was long gone, I realised that Tomoyo was looking toward me with sympathetic gaze.
“Just thinking how stupid you still are.”
“So you really want to draw the Black dragon on my arm? I really can’t help you.”
“Did you hear me?!”
“You were looking at me with sad gaze.”
“I didn’t! That’s not an excuse I really didn’t!”
“If you don’t practice religiously you won’t get any better.”
“There’s nothing that can come good even if you know how to draw dragon.”
“You can draw it on the greetings card for Year of the Dragon.”
“That’s only once every twelve years.”
“… There’s no other human to ask over here so please I’ll be in your care.”
“So weak! Why are you so obsessed!”
Well, how can I say. Since we got this far it’s all for naught, all the things we’ve done until now, what were they for.
Tomoyo deeply sighed and picked up the pen.
“Ah fine. Give me your arm.”
“Tomoyo… I’m sorry, I’m indebted. I will not forget this even after multiple reincarnations. I will work to repay even in my afterlife.”
“Repay within this life. Damn it, why am I doing this…”
Tomoyo grumbled and started to draw the dragon on my arm.
“Hey, one like Hiei from YuuHaku is fine right.”
When she looked up from my arm and asked so, I just replied with ‘yes’.
My sublime thoughts have been perfectly transferred to the former chuunibyou Tomoyo. from such perfect communication my feelings were moved slightly.
“It’s done. Don’t complain about it.”
The dragon that Tomoyo had drawn, hadn’t got a flair like others, but compared to them, it was the closest to the image I that had in mind.
In other words, it was the most Hiei-like.
On my cursed right arm, one dragon had been born.
Its body was wrapped around my arm that was dyed in black, like it was condemning me.
… Me with the Black Dragon on my right arm, so cool.
“Oh my [Dark and Dark], you have finally shown yourself. The wildness of your nature which would even burn my own body if I let my guard down, has fried my hand countless times until now. fried, with double meaning......Fufu.”
“Can you not laugh at yourself at your own word play? It’s disgusting.”
“Ku, Aaaaarg! Calm down, [Dark and Dark]! This is not time for expiation yet!”
“Oi, if you’re gonna play with that right arm being in pain go to the corner and do it, you’re bothering me.”
“Now that the Black Dragon is done, next is bandage! Wrap it up, seal it.”
From my bag, I took out a bandage which I brought from home just in case.
“Tomoyo. Wrap up my arm for me. I don’t think I can do a decent job if I do it myself.”
“So why should I….”
“Kuuuu! H-Hurry! I-If you don’t….”
“Why don’t you just be consumed by your own power.”
Although she shouted insults at me, Tomoyo eventually wrapped the bandage on my arm.
She plays along really well.
“So, Hiei’s Iju Taihou like that?” 
It was great that she could catch on fast. I might fall for her.
Squatting beside me, Tomoyo was wrapping some bandages on my arm. If this was a scene from Supernatural fight scene it would be heartwarming scene where Heroine is applying first aid onto hurt main character, but this right now was just a low quality joke.
Hmm, even I started to get critical on myself.
What the hell am I doing right now…
But what of it. We can’t back off now that we’ve come this far.
“Anyway Tomoyo, you seem quite used to this.”
There won’t be many occasions when normal people would use bandages.
“I’ve been doing this to Hajime-nii-chan back in the day.”
“Ahh. Now that i think about it, I remember you saying that Kiryuu-san used to be in Field and Track club. Or maybe, although he acts like that, he’s got short temper?”
Tomoyo seemed to be struggling to say something.
“… He used to say something similar quite a bit.”
Oh my kindred spirit.
Well bandages are cool, it’s good for covering your arm, or you could act cool by covering part of your face and eye like Takasugi from Gintama.
“Thanks. Now… I can fight once more!”
“… Just do a suicide attack..”
The bandages wrapped around my arms were not aligned. Of course it was not because Tomoyo was hurrying and didn’t do a good job, but rather, it was because she didn’t put much pressure, so it didn’t feel bad.
So cool, part of the bandages being snug fit looked so awesome.
Now that Seal had been finished, what’s next is to use it.
“Chifuyu~ Make ‘Field’ for me, a ‘Field’!”
Suppressing my impatient heart, I asked Chifuyu.
“Right… one of those wasted field that were background of near end of DragonBall just because they were too lazy to draw a city.”
“I don’t know.”
“Just normal wasteland then.”
“Was that really necessary?” And Tomoyo’s criticism .
Chifuyu raised her hand towards the outside window.
Space in front of us began to warp inwards. The wall had disappeared and the scenery was changed. Instead of the normal scene of the school yard, a total waste land had appeared before us.
Her power [World Create] even has an ability like this. She first created a wasteland, then using her powers she turned the wall into the entrance to this world.
It’s an enormous power that could create literally anything and everything, but for us, we just use it to play around by creating ice skating rink or baseball arena.
“Nice. Hatoko, come here for a sec. let’s have a sham battle.”
With Hatoko, we changed to outdoor shoes (there are spares in the club room) and step into the waste land.
Endless wasteland, with no human in sight. The bright sun in the sky above had brought down the scorching heat and dry wind was blowing on the ground.. In the rough wind of the wasteland my bandages fluttered.
Fluttering bandages, so cool.
Stopping like a villain, I turned around to face Hatoko.
Creating sorrowful, almost grief atmosphere, I opened my mouth.
“How long has it been since we faced each other… You…”
“Go Laser Beammmmmmmm!”
In middle of my line laser flew toward me.
One of her [Over Element]’s power, the power of light. The attack of heavily condensed photons!
Dodging the attack with desperate sideway dive, the laser that passed me only by 5cm went further ahead and destroyed a huge rock mountain.
If I must add a sound effect it’s [BOOOOOOOM---------!] literally.
“Hatoko! You trying to kill me?!”
“Eeeh, But Juu-kun said to have a sham battle.”
“Sham battle! Sham! We don’t fight for real, this is just a play!”
“Ah, no. it’s not really playing. It’s like simulation, yeah a simulation. A grand simulation. To say like in SAO it’s ‘This is a game, but it's not just something you play.’. We can’t be lazy with training just in case of emergency.”
“Uuuu~ Too difficult~”
“But most importantly. What’s up with attacking me in the middle of my line.”
That’s what I’m most angry about. I’m angrier about that than nearly being destroyed by that laser.
Read the atmosphere will you, the atmosphere.
“Did you understand Hatoko. We learned that we must pay attention when someone else is speaking right?”
“Yeah I did… But, isn’t it bad to listen to the enemy while fighting?”
Couldn’t say anything back at that.
Damn it. This Hatoko is quite prudent.
“You idiot! The war never ceases in this world because there are lots of people who say same things as you do!”
“That’s right. Even in the middle of the battlefield, if you’ve got a heart big enough to listen to your enemy, how should I put this, this world would be a more peaceful place.”
“I-Is that so~….”
Just say whatever sounds grand and let the story progress .
it was a Hatoko Kushikawa counter measure.
“Listen well Hatoko. I will explain in a way that you can understand.”
“For example, in old animation [Sore Ike! Anpanman] at the end when Anpanman changes to new face, if Baikinman ruins his face again… that won’t do right?”
“it’ll be like “Wh-, you, read the atmosphere for real.” right?
“Also in [Mito Koumon] when Kaku-san bring’s out the Seal case, if the villains say I know no such thing!’ then… It feels wrong somehow, doesn't it..”
“It's wrong! Koumon-sama would be like "E-Ehh......?"!”
“This is what they call ‘Promise’.”
Her eyes were shining with life. Her comedy lover blood must be resonating.
“So you understand right? Just like they’ve got a promise in your favourite comedy, in this battle based on Anpanman we’ve also got a promise.”
“Anpanman. Was that supernatural battle too?!”
“Of course. What else could it be? Anpanman is Homunculus created by Uncle Jam’s Stand ability didn’t you know?”
“That uncle, whenever he makes a bread dough he keep repeating ‘Gold Experience! Be Born, new life!’.”
“I don’t like that Uncle Jam~!”
“Anyway just keep the promise now.”
“Yup I understand. I won’t attack in the middle of a sentence.”
“… And also please don’t attack so seriously.”
I didn’t forget to add a disclaimer at the end in small voice.
Everyone here except me had God-like abilities. This is something I don’t want to say but even 1/10th, no even 1/100th of their power would be enough to overwhelm me.
Among all of them, Hatoko’s [Over Element] had highest attack ability. If we judge in terms of sheer destructive power, it was the greatest of us all.
For Hatoko, the most gentle and pacifistic person, to be able to gain the most destructive power here. What an irony.
We’ve been trying to figure out the relationship between our awakened powers and person’s personality but we haven’t made any progress yet.
But this isn’t time for difficult words, it’s time for the simulation.
“Kuku, how long has it been since we fought…”
“Been a day~”
“I have been waiting for this moment, ever since i’ve laid my eyes on you...”
“It's time to settle this once and for all.”
“That’s because I’m a girl and Ju-kun’s a guy.” 
…… Can’t she just be quiet.
Whatever. Unsealing the power of my right arm takes priority.
I reached for the bandage on my right arm. In order to experience the coolness of the bandages to my hearts content, this time I told bye bye to the release chant. In that area, my ability had great adaptability.
“There's no going back anymore, it’s been so long that I forgot how to seal it back.”
I started to remove the bandages as an evil grin floated on my face.
And what came out was the shape of a sinister Black Dragon that acted as a proof of my power [Dark and Dark], carved on my hand──
Black Dragon had been smudged all over the place.
it was awfully messed up.
Right… Now that I think about it, we’ve been using water-based marker all the time, so wrapping some bandages on top would smudge it.
“Eh? Ju-kun, why are you wrapping it again? Didn't you say you forgot the way to seal it?”
“Is that so, that’s good~”
“Yes, really! Seriously my memory is so good it can be so awkward!”
I tried to hide it from Hatoko but it’s so hard to do things with left hand. The more I struggle, more bandages get loosened and my Black Dragon slowly fades away.
It’s all done for.
This killed the mood.
Trudgingly walking back to the classroom I slumped down and faced the sky.
“… I wonder if I’ll hit a jackpot from lottery I didn’t even buy.”
“So what did you want out of this in the end?!”
Tomoyo slammed me with criticism at full force. Looks like she had been building up stress by listening to mine and Hatoko's lenient talk.
Actually, it might have been building up ever since she heard me say ‘I’m drawing a Black Dragon’.
“Fu. I wonder what was it that I wanted to do… Perhaps I wanted to be stopped by you guys afterall.”
“Stop saying things like final boss turning into a good guy at the very end!”
“Anyway I’m really sorry… That Black Dragon you drew for me… It’s gone now…”
“Really stop with that apologising! I don’t really care about that!”
“Really?! Then will you draw it for me once again?!”
“… Cheapskate. Ah~ at least all weren’t for naught.”
I muttered while looking down on my right arm. I was able to feel the cool sensation of bandages once more.. Maybe next time, I’ll seal my [Dark and Dark] with ‘curse suppressing bandage ’ instead of ‘Sealing Bracelet’.
“Yo Tomoyo. Which is better, the curse suppressing bandage or the Sealing Bracelet?”
“I don’t really care.”
“Yes every one. ‘I don’t really care’ have been said now~ how will you feel when you go shopping with your boyfriend and he says that? You won’t like it right? So don’t say that will ya.”
“Shut up you damn chunni. Anyway, With that all ink seeping in, are you really going to be fine with that bandage being dirty?
Damn it. I didn’t get permission from home to take this!
“This is bad! My mum’s gonna kill me for this!”
I hurriedly ran towards the wasteland.
“Hatoko! quickly Create some water”
Using [Over Element] to create water, I hurriedly washed the bandages. Water coming out of Hatoko’s hand are being absorbed by the desert floor.
Thanks to this wasteland I didn’t have to go all the way to the faucet. After thoroughly washing it, I brought a chair from the club room and set it there for it to dry. Hopefully the weather over there would help it dry quickly .
“this is the combined effect of [Over Element] and [World Create], the [Union Skill] … [Launderette Weather (Rising Sun)]!”
… Even though it was me, but that’s a shitty name.
It sounds like I’ve wasted the God-like ability on this.
When I returned after washing the bandages, Tomoyo said to me.
“ If you were to keep the Black Dragon and such, can you change your [Dark and Dark]’s shape?”
“Eh? What do you mean?”
“I’m talking about shapeshifting. Changing your flame’s shape. Can you do it?”
To change the shape of the flame eh.
Normally when I activate [Dark and Dark] I just let it out as normal flame on my hand, since that’s the natural shape the flame should have. It just has that shape without any type of manipulation .
“I’ve never tried.”
“Really? I thought since you were drawing Black Dragon I thought surely you will create [Dark and Dark] in a shape of a Black Dragon.”
“No, I really didn’t think that far ahead… I just thought that it would be pretty cool to have a Black Dragon tattoo or something. I just thought it’ll be cool to have something like that.”
“… You really can’t think of anything but setting that’s in front of you.”
“W-What? S-Setting? I don’t know what you’re talking about…”
Thanks to that heart-piercing criticism I couldn’t say anything.
But shapeshifting. I might just try that.
In reality my [Dark and Dark] was useless but, it’s true ability might be in shape shifting.
“Okay, let’s try it then.”
Raising my right arm, I activated my [Dark and Dark] normally. The Dark flames danced around my right arm.
“Where is your release chant?”
“… Ah. T-That’s… today’s day when my power increases to it’s fullest potential that comes once a year so it’s fine.”
“Yet another forced scenario… Anyway just don’t shove that [Dark and Dark] near me. how can I say it, your flame is too warm, or lukewarm. It gets too warm and uncomfortable.”
“What? Don’t underestimate the power of my [Dark and Dark]! This guy had the power to give me a low temperature burn when I touched it for a long time thinking ‘Ah, this guy’s pretty warm’!”
“Hot water bottle level?!”
Focusing all my mind, I manipulated my hot water bottle… no my [Dark and Dark].
Drawing destructive and chaotic Black Dragon in my mind.
Fantasise, Dream, imagine, create and materialise!
Focusing on my right arm only, I manipulated the flames on it. But it doesn’t work out the way I want . Even if I concentrate all my strength, I am only able to move the tip of the flame. Even then if I relax a bit it goes back to the way it was .
But I won’t give up.
While raising a war cry, I repeated the adjustment of both delicacy and boldness over and over.
Like that, the black flame slowly changed its appearance.
“H-Hey Ando. I think you should stop…”
“K-Kuuu. D-Don’t stop me Tomoyo. I understand you’re looking out for my body, but I can’t just stand back now!”
“No…. You’re too loud so I would like you to stop actually.”
“Chifuyu- this idiot’s being too noisy so please insulate him. Soundproof, yeah thanks.”
“Rin, Pyo, To, Sha, Kai, Jin, Retsu, Zai, Zen! Rin, Pyo, To, Sha, Kai, Jin, Retsu, Zai, Zen!” 
“What’s up with sudden Kuji”
“[Spiral Staircase]![Rhinoceros Beetle]![Ruins Street]![Fig Tart]![Rhinoceros Beetle]![Via Dolorosa]![Singularity Point]![Giotto]![Angel]![Hydrangea]![Rhinoceros Beetle]![Singularity Point]![Secret Emperor]!”
“Why are you chanting 14 words needed to reach heaven?!” 
Flame that’s dancing on my right hand was slowly changing into a shape that I imagined it to be.
Flame… is born as a free spirit.
It does not like to be confined to specific shape thus it changes its shape constantly. To restrict that ‘freedom’ might be harder than I had thought.
But something that resembled a dragon had started to appear.
“Little bit more…. If I just change a it little bit more…”
Thin dragon shape was waving on my hands.
Only one more step to go, but I began to struggle.
“Damn it… only it’s thin whiskers is left… it’s too difficult because it’s too thin to make…”
“Can’t you just let that part go?!”
“No way.. Dragon isn’t a dragon until it has a whisker… without them it just look like a snake… Hiei’s Black Dragon Wave also has whiskers …”
Although I said that, it was too much for my current level so I compromised. Even without its whiskers if it’s got a horn then you would be able to distinguish it from a snake.
“… Alright. It’s done!”
A Black Dragon had manifested on my arm. Its appearance was so fiendish and sinister that it would send shivers to anyone who saw it
… S-So cool, Black Dragon’s so cool.
“… it’s small.”
Tomoyo, who was observing my hand, gave a complicated expression.
Black Dragon was small. Small enough to fit in one hand. Small enough that if we tried, it could go inside a capsule. Its figure was really chaotic without a doubt, but due to its size, it became too cute.
Might as well call it Palmtop Dragon. 
“Hey Ando, can’t you make it bigger?”
“D-Difficult… This is the limit… no, I am already at my limit just maintaining this…”
The moment I gave in, the little dragon was released and it reverted back to normal flame.
“Haaa~ I’m tired. I feel like 5 years have been shaved from my life.”
“Shapeshifting. It looks like it’s possible… no, I don’t know if we can call this shape shifting right?”
Looking at me who’s exhausted, Tomoyo put her hand on her chin and analysed what just happened.
“Even if you make it into a shape of a dragon or a Phoenix. if you want to shoot a fireball I think you need to put in more effort.”
“… Effort huh, it sounds troublesome.”
Shapeshifting even that much is too tiring. If I want it to be of a bigger size(bigger than normal human body) then I think I would need to train a lot more.
In reality I can’t be bothered with that .
Maybe that laziness looked offensive, Tomoyo shot me a condemning gaze.
“Oi you lazy bastard. It’s fine if you want to give up on making a Black Dragon, but at least show some motivation.”
“You say that, but putting effort into things isn’t in fashion lately is it?”
“No I understand, the importance of putting effort into things. But it really isn’t popular right now. You really can't find main characters in either manga or anime that actually puts in any effort, can you?”
Maybe something came into her mind, Tomoyo didn’t talk back and closed her mouth. Right then, Sayumi-senpai said ‘There’s some reasoning in Ando-kun’s words’ and joined the conversation.
“it is true that in 2D works such as Manga, Anime and Light Novel, thing such as ‘effort’ has been put out of fashion.”
“That’s right. Main characters these days are like ‘Your typical High School student’ but that person has gained some kind of ridiculous power since he/she was born, or suddenly have gain this ridiculous power one day and so they never put in any effort.”
In supernatural battles, we can see a lot of scenarios where our brand new main hero who just started to fight will beat his enemy character who’s been training rigorously ever since he was born.
Tremendous effort that the enemy character had put in through blood, sweat and tears, gets blasted away by the main character’s talent and improvisation.
This is the contradiction of supernatural battles, but it's a charm at the same time.
“It’s not that there aren’t any works where main characters don’t work for their abilities but… they normally just cut off the training arc. Or become digested. ” Said Tomoyo.
“Unless they create some fun way of training, it gets too boring for the readers. After using their brand new final move, they say things like ‘I’ve been practicing this back then’ like they do in [Men’s Private School] and [Prince of tennis].” Said Sayumi-senpai.
“There are works where training get cut short too right? Suddenly the enemies charge in so things get cut short.” I said. .
I guess they aren’t objecting my opinion that ‘effort’ is out of fashion these days.
“Must be that the things readers want has changed.”
Sayumi-senpai gave her hypothesis.
“[Want a girl to like me], [Want to save the world], [Want to be recognised by everyone[, [But I don’t want to put in much effort ]. these are the things that readers want… I think current negative climate towards ‘effort’ came in due to responding to their ‘I want a result without putting too much effort in’ attitude.”
“As someone who has mainly read shounen manga and light novels I really want to rebut that claim but, I really can’t.”
It feels like I’m being called a lazy ass but her reasoning was so accurate that I can’t even say anything back.
I got little bit gloomy, but seeing that Sayumi-senpai tried to cheer me up saying ‘I’m not saying that’s bad or anything to wish.’
“Humankind always has a desire to ‘achieve without effort’, so it’s not something to be embarrassed about. It’s just that to achieve their end goals without putting any effort is next to impossible so that’s why humans work.”
Even if it’s an effort that you don’t even want to waste.
Sayumi-senpai then continued her talk.
“That’s why it’s not enjoyable if even manga or light novels make you read about ‘effort that you don’t want to put in’. You don’t need to read a lecture about effort to know the importance of them.”
Everyone should know that there aren’t any result without effort.
Even if you aren’t being told every second, we already know.
But it’s not like we can just put in effort all the time. We don’t like painful experiences, and if there’s something I don’t want to do, then I can’t force myself.
There are times when you want to take it easy, and be lazy.
“Well, then there’s the charm of words like ‘Natural Talent’ and ‘Awakening’ that is part of the problem. Ando-kun can’t resist them right?”
“… your devotion to these things is so unsightly. please get out of my sight.”
Sayumi-senpai defiantly showed her dissatisfaction, but I didn’t care.
“Main characters are normally all geniuses. Even when they are training, they are like ‘Oh for normal people this will take normally a year, but this guy will take a month…’ and show how much of a genius they are.”
“'Geniuses' are always subjects of everyone's admiration, not to mention anything about 'Awakening’ . Compared to characters who gain their power through endless amount of training, it’s self-evident that there’s more charm to characters who suddenly gain ridiculous amount of power in crisis. Even for the authors it is easier to have their characters awaken their powers and cast aside the backstory they had until then.
I really didn’t think her realistic hypothesis was necessary, she’s someone who would say things that destroys one’s dream.
But it’s amazing, this ‘Awakening’.
Not only the authors can deal with scenarios without much hassle, but the ones who are receiving them are made happy.
This isn’t just a mere dream-maker.
No wonder this kind of thing is popular.
“Men find it more charming to achieve something without effort when they are young. It’s hard to grasp the charm of ‘effort’ unless you grow a bit.”
Ending her lecture, using elegant movement Sayumi-senpai picked up her cup and quietly sipped on her tea.
“…… How old are you again senpai?”
When I thoughtlessly asked.
“I’m nearly 18 now.”
She replied with a bright smile.
“So we can conclude that .”
Tomoyo said with a composed expression.
“When you’re young, you think you’re a genius, so you’ll be more attracted to ‘I’M SO STRONGG!’ type of development of a genius character. But after getting older, maybe due to your own limitation, you realise that you’re just a normal person so you get out of that kind of phase…”
That hit home a little.
When something like this is coming from Tomoyo, who has already graduated chuunibyou, I can’t help but feel some mysterious sadness.
I… I think to myself that I might be special, someone amazing.
I want to think that, and I want to believe that.
But in a small corner of my mind, I’m always afraid.
Afraid that one day, I will learn that I can only be myself, and nothing else.
Looking at Tomoyo’s darkened expression, Sayumi-senpai added.
“No, in the end, I think it comes down to personal preference.”
Such blunt words without any sugar coating .
…Not that I can argue or anything!
I took a deep sigh and vacantly gazed at my right arm.
“Maybe I should practice a bit, that shapeshifting.”
As I said that, Tomoyo looked over at me with teasing expression.
“What, didn’t you say putting effort isn’t in fashion?”
“It’s not in fashion, and since I’m a type where I gain more power through real-action and my true powers awaken when I’m in a pinch so I really don’t need to practice. But… there’s no harm in practicing.”
“One day, I will create a Black Dragon that is transcending coolness. One that can easily become engraved onto my right arm.”
“… Although I can’t help but think that your effort is pointed towards the wrong direction.”
“I think it’s good.”
Tomoyo said while making absurd expression towards me, but Sayumi-senpai reasoned with her like a tone of enlightenment.
“There is no such thing as a wasted effort. No, if we stretch the interpretation then everything becomes a wasted effort. For example, you could say that those baseball club members who enthusiastically engross themselves in baseball are wasting their effort. But if you just dismiss them saying there’s no use of them trying, it is something to be frowned upon.”
“But… This guy’s effort feels quite different to those…”
Oh ho, Sayumi-senpai taking my side was quite rare . I’m actually quite happy.
“Tomoyo-chan. To give an easier example. If a child wants to become ‘Ultraman’ or ‘Kamen Rider’ it’s adult’s duty to just keep quiet and watch on.”
… I’m totally being treated like a child.
Hmpt, whatever. Effort won’t betray me.
In any case, today is the first step towards the everlasting journey.
I can’t even imagine how much of my life will pass before I can create the perfect Black Dragon in my mind, but if I strive towards it endlessly then I’m sure I would someday reach it.
When I was carving my burning resolution into my heart, I heard Hatoko’s voice from a distance. It seemed that she’s still in the wasteland.
That girl, what is she doing not coming back to the club room. When I turned around thinking that, I lost my voice.
“That dragon Ju-kun said you wanted to make. Is this it~?”
A blazing flame dragon is lurking around Hatoko with her body as its centre. Looking chaotic, but somehow holy. It was stupidly cool-looking dragon. She didn’t forget to add a moustache and horn too.
It’s body was easily over 100m long.
This scene of a giant crimson dragon shaking and wriggling its body, was like the very purgatory itself.
In the centre of that purgatory… there was a face smiling innocently.
“Actually I wanted to make it similar to Ju-kun’s black flame~”
Hatoko’s [Over Element] cannot create dark flame since [Over Element] was power to take control of one’s core property, and dark flame doesn’t exist in real world. 
So in the end my [Dark and Dark] had allure to it, but apart from that.
“… Hatoko. You. That. How….”
“I just did it~ it just worked when I tried it~”
I tried my damn hardest and only created a palmtop dragon, but Hatoko has managed to create a dragon of my ideals in this short period of time.
“Go~ Destroy with dragon~”
The moment Hatoko gave order, the crimson dragon flew up with a terrific speed, and crashed into the rocky mountain far across the distance.
I don’t know how high the temperature was, but the dragon swallowed the entire rock mountain and burned it down.
Intensity , output, destructive power, speed, or the beauty of it’s shaping. Whatever you picked, it was my total defeat.
Whatever motivation that I had in me, was totally and utterly destroyed.
It has shown me the difference between absolute talent and effort, which cannot be overcome.
Maybe this is how Yamcha and Krillin felt like when they gave up chasing behind Goku….
I slumped down on my chair and quietly started muttering to myself..
“……… I really can’t be bothered with effort thing anymore.”
Without any words, Tomoyo and Sayumi-senpai just gave me a gaze full of pity.
Translation Notes and References
- TN Also read as Second Hand Bookstore, but ando is mixing up japanese and english words apparently
- TN This is not racial joke, rather the fact that chuunibyou likes to represent themselves as part-devil or part-angel, etc.
- TN For more information go here and see 'quotes' https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_Mallory
- TN In Japanese Kuroko and Mole has same writing.
- TN actually. The first one was right.
- TN Attack from Blue-eyes White Dragon
- TN Taboo Curse Bind Method
- TN The way Ando said the previous comment can be mistaken for ‘to determine male and female’ hence Hatoko’s confusion
- TN Kuji-kiri (Nine symbolic cuts) meaning Power, Energy, Harmony, Healing, Intuition, Awareness, Dimension, Creation, Absolute
- TN Jojo reference. Don’t ask
- ED note:a reference to toradora
- TN Actually it does…
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