Maou na Ore to Fushihime no Yubiwa:Volume 1 Chapter 3
Chapter 3: The assigned mission
The Ghoul that was suddenly delivered to my house — Zonmi Ra McKenzie.
The one that suddenly confessed to being a Nephilim — Kurose Kyouko.
Being currently trapped between the two of them, I was in a very dangerous position.
It was no joke, though it's not like I could tell how serious it was. If I found a green mushroom lying around, I'd pick it up and eat it.
Since I had to sleep soundly at the infirmary's bed until a while ago, the contents of the History lesson went totally over my head. Giving a quick glance at my surroundings, there was one female student giving me a glare as cold as ice. It was Zonmi.
It seems like my previous fleeing had somehow offended her.
Hu~m, I should do something about this. Nonetheless, this problem was already not something I could solve by myself. Surely, besides the fact that the conversation steadily grew out of proportion like that, the information was very scarce from the start...
I took a deep sigh.
Then, I remembered the conversation we had right before at the infirmary.
International Monster Association.
Quite a suspicious organization... But it piqued my interest. Giving it careful thought, that was the source of it all — it seems they are pulling the strings.
Maybe there I can find some kind of solution...
A ray of hope from the Heavens. I immediately looked for it, cell in hand. When in trouble, ask Google-sensei.
Results: 12,400 hits — It was faster than I thought.
It seems that the International Monster Association... In short, IMA, doesn't have a single head office, but instead they have set up a number of branch offices. Frankly, though I wondered if it was good to have all this information so easily accessible, I was thankful nevertheless.
After looking for the nearest branch office, I saved the address on my cell's memory. It seems that the place was in the area.
"Good! With this it'll be OK."
"... What's with it's 'oh-key'?"
Of course, this voice belonged to Zonmi. The umbrella she carried was sparkling.
With the point dripping red, I wonder whose blood it is.
"I think that this is not good too, I pondered about some things... A plan to overcome this situation."
"Hoho, you will finally make a contract with me, won't you?"
"How did you arrive to that conclusion! Nobody said so!"
No matter how many times you repeat it, I don't plan on getting such a shady job like monster tamer. Rather than that kind of job, I'd even wash corpses part-time.
"Or, how should I tell you? Why are you carrying an umbrella even if it's not raining?"
I'd been trying to ask it since a while ago. The water-blue umbrella in Zonmi's hand, it doesn't matter how you look at it, it's not one you could buy at a convenience store for 500 yen. Is this what you call "made on order"? It doesn't matter from where she brought it, in any case it's surely pretty expensive.
"What a foolish question. We ghouls are weak against sunli — any light-based attack. This is a necessary tool to protect ourselves."
In order to avoid saying "sunlight", she corrected herself like that.
"Hu~mpf. Then, when you face one of those... light-based attacks, what'll happen?"
"When the corruption advances too much, our life is in danger. For the same reason, heat is also a hazard; the season known in the Human World as summer sends to hospital 100,000 ghouls each year."
How should I put it, there are 100,000 ghouls?
That's a scene I don't want to picture.
"Ah! Could that be the reason why Zonmi, in the beginning, came to my house in only her underwear...?"
"Wha-wha-wha-what are you saying so suddenly!?"
"Wasn't that to reduce the body heat?"
"... Yes? Isn't that obvious!?"
"A~h, so that was it, like I thought. This solves another mystery..."
Seems like that cleared all the doubts in my mind.
Even ghouls have their problems. Surely, if they are confined in an airtight space for long periods of time, their body temperature would probably end up rising.
"... By the way, I'd like to ask you something as reference; until now, what did you think was the reason?"
"Hu~mph, I thought it was simply your hobby..."
I received a strong hit on my shin with the aforementioned umbrella.
A soothing nice sound resounded through the classroom.
"Ouch... Why, you idiot Chiharu... I got hit too."
Though I had the feeling that I could hear my buddy's moans from behind, I'd like to think it's the air.
That, wouldn't it hurt if it wasn't really a joke?
A lot of things happened and the end of classes drew near.
It was heart-breaking. I didn't know if mayhem would break before reaching there.
And in addition to that.
I was currently trapped in a real game of tag with two monsters that faced me each time with a "let's make a contract".
Once the lesson ended, I rushed to the toilet even though I didn't have the need.
At noon break, the lunch I ate while sitting on a toilet had a strong smell of ammonia .
This kind of moving endeavor, if I don't stop that trouble by today, will end up being the norm.
With the signal of the end of classes, because of the aforementioned, I rushed out at full power.
"Ah! Hey, Chiharu! Why are you fleeing, you coward!?"
"Oy, Chiharu! You promised to come with me to catch monsters after classes!"
However, I didn't look back. I had the feeling that I shouldn't look back.
Let's follow what my father told me. Let's head once and for all to the International Monster Association. Though it'll be good if I find some kind of valuable information... The timely end of the noon break + the full speed I came with till here = not a soul around.
I was careful that Zonmi and Kyouko didn't chase me. I ended up quickly leaving the school.
I hurriedly finished changing into my outdoor shoes by kicking the ground.
Then, as I approached the school gate, I was struck by a heavily uncomfortable feeling.
There were trucks piled like bricks.
I blinked once. I rubbed my eyes.
It can't be, recently my eyes must be playing tricks to me.
Hahaha... It seems that somehow or other, the scene I'm seeing right now is not a hallucination.
The countless piled trucks were packed right before the gate, as if someone intentionally put them there to obstruct the exit. What a nonsensical view.
I looked at the source of the voice.
It came from far above. From the top of the piled trucks.
There, squatting slightly, was a slender girl. Blown by the wind, her ponytail swayed right and left.
I couldn't do nothing but stood with my mouth shut.
Unbelievable. Could this all be Kyouko's doing...?
"Sorry, Haru. It's a dead end."
"Hey, hey, this better be a prank."
Is it because of the mood? This girl... gives a different feeling than usual.
The atmosphere froze from the tension.
"... Haru is a bad kid. Since you won't make a contract with me. That's why you ran away."
"Wait a minute! What are you planning to do!"
The time, after school.
Here and there were students going back home, it seemed that they would notice something strange going on.
"Though I think that Haru will somehow be somewhat fine, please don't die. Perhaps, since I can't go easy... I'll obligate you to make the contract by force!"
This is bad.
Though it seems she has a reputation in the school of being an angel, right now her expression was, no matter how you look at it, that of a demon. She'll use any means to reach her goals... That's what her eyes were saying.
Then, as if she had thought of something, Kyouko removed her bracelet from her wrist and threw it to the sky.
I wonder what will happen.
The bracelet changed in a flash into a rod, isn't that her weapon of choice?
That shape... It's something you usually see in games.
Its design was like a mix of a spear and an axe. Perhaps it's what they call a halberd.
I think Kyouko won't hesitate to thrust it from the top of the trucks,
"Secret technique: moonsault."
I had a hunch she muttered something like that.
The truck revolved in mid-air. Something incredible revolved in mid-air.
Though I don't think I know what to say, Kyouko, making use of her abnormal superhuman strength, as she started to make a piercing attack, she tossed with force the truck she was standing on.
Describing a beautiful arc, she turned in mid-air. She fell onto me like that.
Along with a thunderous roar as if the earth was splitting, a cloud of dust danced in the air.
I managed to narrowly dodge that. If my reaction was one second late, by now I would have become as flat as her chest.
"Ah~! Why did you avoid it...? Had it hit, you wouldn't have need to suffer."
Hey, hey. You must be joking... What ridiculous strength.
"What the heck! Didn't you want to make a contract until just now!?"
"... Maybe it's Haru who doesn't understand anything. To monsters, what the meaning of the contract with a tamer is... If it continues like this and that ghoul girl fetches the contract, I'll act like this."
That's right, Zonmi also said the same thing before.
But because of that, is it good this contracting by force...?
*GURUN*, Kyouko wielded the aforementioned truck.
That's bad, her reach is too long. I don't think I can avoid being hit.
And if I try to stop the attack, both my arms will end up totally smashed.
Like that, I had a single option left. I kicked the ground and dashed at full power.
*GOTSUN*, a dull sound echoed through my bones. It seems like I couldn't avoid it by a paper-thin margin.
It seems that my left leg ended up taking serious damage. I don't think I can keep standing very long.
"Sorry, Haru. I really didn't want to show such violent behavior..."
"Why do you... Show me something like this, Kyouko!"
Or perhaps, could it be that it's bad manners to ask that?
However, I couldn't help but ask.
It's like that, after all? Till now, I was thinking of Kyouko as a human. I don't know nothing about Kyouko as a Nephilim...
"Right... For starters, why don't we talk about our clan?"
While looking from above me, my leg broken, Kyouko told with a serious tone.
"Us, the Nephilim clan, while being from the giant tribe, are a heretic breed born from crossbreeding between humans and fallen angels... In other words, we are incomplete beings that don't belong to either of the two.
Though our ancestors originally barely subsisted in a corner of the Netherworld, that became a good pretext. The persecuted Nephilim were chased off from their territory and ended up migrating to the Human world."
"... Really, to me it seems like other people's problems."
"They didn't have any other way. When I was born, the Nephilim clan had been already chased out of the Netherworld. That's why I don't know what the Netherworld looks like."
"Neither monsters nor humans, we are in between. If, once again, we had a chance to regain our place in the Netherworld... That would only be by making a contract with a monster tamer and attaining some achievements... Although that's my father opinion."
Kyouko laughed bitterly.
Ah, somehow I'm absolutely pitiable.
Kyouko shouldered the destiny of the entire Nephilim tribe.
On one hand, I felt like I was under a kind of joke... About contracts with monsters, that much I understand. Though maybe I noticed it too late.
"Well, then. Haru... This is the finishing blow. You'll be sleeping soon."
*FIUU*, the wind blew. The truck was swung mercilessly.
This time I definitely won't be able to evade. When I closed my eyes with resignation...
"You are truly a useless master, indeed."
Silver hair gently brushed by the wind. A dignified appearance.
Opening my eyes, a slender girl had stopped the truck with an umbrella.
She was Zonmi. Had she blocked this forceful contacting? Her umbrella blown off to nowhere, her arm bent in an impossible direction with a snap.
"Hey, you, is your arm OK?"
"Don't make light of a ghoul. A wound of this degree is only a scratch."
That's probably true. I don't think she's bluffing.
"I was holding back. Quickly, move from there... Or do you have a plan?"
What she said back then... I was reminded of it.
I ran. I ran at full speed.
Luckily, it seems like my injured left leg has recovered considerably. Really, I'm grateful of the seemingly magical constitution of my body.
"Ha-Haru... Don't escape!"
She swung the truck downwards.
However, this time I wasn't that scared... I felt an inexplicable calmness.
Moving as nimbly as a cat, Zonmi blocked the descending truck with her body.
"... Thank you."
"It-it's nothing, you don't have to thank me. If you want to repay me, do it with actions!"
I looked at Zonmi, whose skull had sunk; let's keep a secret what those bits that could be seen were.
I sprinted towards the gate. Looking carefully at the crudely piled up trucks, there is a gap I could pass through by bending myself a little. Praying that it wouldn't crumble, I quickly passed through the trucks.
This... It's seems like I won't go home empty-handed.
As I sensed a heavy pressure, I headed to the station as fast as I could.
Though I was curious about the course of Zonmi and Kyouko's battle, nothing good would come for me.
International Monster Association. Though that's quite a suspicious name it has, I couldn't help but feel that it had the key to the problem.
I was running with a speed that wouldn't lose even to that of Melos when he wanted to save Selinuntius.
I boarded a train that arrived with good timing.
After reaching my target destination, I was speechless.
If I thought that it'd be an easily recognizable place... There was the indispensable necessity for a home's dinner table, the local based retail shop "Sakurazaka butchery".
Seriously...? Is this my hometown...?
Looking at "Sakurazaka butchery" like the map told, it was a run-of-the-mill tattered and inconspicuous building. It seems that the International Monster Association's branch office was located on the third floor.
Since I asked... I hope I can get some results.
Filled with anxiety, I went up the stairs. While I was going from second to third floor...
... A pink snake appeared before my eyes.
With its swollen belly, it looked like a never-before-seen species.
Is this... A monster?
Twirling it's tongue, it seemed to be saying "follow me" without words.
What the heck... Could this be some kind of trap?
But, even if I worry, it can't be helped. As if following the snake, I passed through the door of the branch office. Inside there was such a mess that it resembled, for example, a so-called "jumbled bedroom of a college student". There were so many books and documents scattered everywhere that it was difficult to find a place to stand.
Taking a look inside, there was a person collapsed on top of a slightly large desk. It was a woman.
She had long eyelashes on her narrow eyes. A well-proportioned nose. Long, glossy and slightly wavy fair hair.
With an overall composed atmosphere, a person that gave the feeling of an unbelievably pretty young woman.
"You were... Let's see... Chiharu-kun, if I'm not mistaken?"
"That's right, but... Who are you?"
Though having one's own name disclosed gave a tinge of uneasiness... That much was crystal clear.
Knowing my name, this person surely... is somehow related to monster tamers.
"I'm Luka. Everybody calls me that. I'm the monster tamer entrusted with the protection of this area... It's fine if you call it a kind of recognition."
The monster tamer that guards this area... I've heard that there are many IMA branches throughout the world. Could it be that each one has a monster tamer in charge of each section?
"This is the branch office of the International Monster Association, isn't it? Isn't the public information about it a bit too open?"
"That's right. It seems like in the olden days they liked to be a little more concealed, but now it's different. Wouldn't you understand by looking at the situation outside? That's not something you can hide for long."
"... How did the world end up like that?"
"That's what we want to know, Chiharu-kun. Before long, the world will approach an unprecedented crisis. That's why this time we assumed the risk of recruiting a large number of Monster tamers. We expect your participation."
Though she is talking about a risk, even I knew that she meant the Monster rebellion or the reports.
Softening the traffic through the Abyss Gate that connects the Netherworld and the Human World.
Is that the extent of the risk we must assume...?
"Then, did you want to ask only that?"
".. No, I came here to day to ask something."
"Fu, fu; what do you mean?"
Luka-san showed a captivating smile.
I told her the whole story.
My election as a Monster tamer. Being stuck in the middle of a conflict between the Ghoul and Nephilim clans. The scattering sparks of the confrontation those two had just a while ago.
'Ah, this person must be consulted about things like this a lot.'
Luka's attitude while listening to my talk was enough to make you think like that.
However, only a little.
If there was something that piqued my attention, was the manner in which, in the middle of my speech, Luka-san contained her laughter... I wasn't saying anything funny.
"Yeah, I more or less understand... Chiharu-kun is still a child."
"I'm... a child?"
"Yeah, a child. Specifically, the kind of child that eats his hamburger with ketchup."
"What's with that evaluation standard!?"
"Adults eat plain oroshiponzu."
"What, I didn't know!?"
I was worried to be told that my common sense didn't resemble the common sense of the world.
"Then, in the end. Which monster do you choose?"
"Which one... Would it be a problem if I don't choose?"
"Yeah, I'd say a big one. You are seriously a good-for-nothing."
Those words hurt deeply as if they were arrows.
How do I say it... Luka-san is someone with a mysterious atmosphere.
Rather talkative and loving to joke, it was like her eyes could see through anything as if it were totally transparent.
"Well, why don't you try to change your way of thinking? Which one would you like as a girlfriend?"
"What's with that kind of twist?"
We're not making any progress... Concluding that, I tried to get right to the point.
"Frankly, I'd like that you taught me a way so that no one gets injured. Please teach me a way so that Zonmi, Kyouko and I will all be happy."
"How sweet. Don't you think you are asking for something unreasonable?"
"... I suppose."
"There's one way."
Looking at her eyes, I understood. She's like Manami... Someone born under the star of extreme sadism. Perhaps, making fun of people is her only way to have fun.
"However, though it would be fine to teach you, there are conditions. Will you do me a favor?"
Luka-san let out a captivating laugh.
Sincerely, even though I was annoyed because I felt like I was dancing on the palm of her hand, I nodded reluctantly.
"In short words, since about three days from now I want to go on vacation, I'd like you to guard this area in the meantime. Could you? You seem like a reassuring comrade. You see, since while I'm entrusted with this task, I don't have the chance of traveling afar..."
"Wa-Wait a minute! Is it OK leaving that kind of serious duty to other people to do!?"
"Don't worry, don't worry. It's a special situation."
Even when you talk about it incredibly lightly, isn't that quite a serious duty...
"If something important happens like having to guide a newbie tamer, as long as you don't act unstylishly, that's fine. Be at ease."
"A newbie tamer... Hey, I haven't agreed to become a Monster tamer yet..."
"Is that so!?"
Luka-san began to talk like she had just remembered something.
Are you ignoring what I say...?
"I'll kindly give you some advice. As you know, newbie tamers have to choose one out of three monsters given that match their own aptitude, who will become their chosen partner. Do you understand the meaning of this?"
"Eehm, what's the meaning?"
"Right now, there are two monsters before you. Those two were both proposed as choices to you. As far as I know... Should there be one other more?"
"And that one... has yet to appear?"
"You should take that possibility into account. It seems... That your misfortune has only just started."
"... Don't say something ominous that seems like a line from a cancelled manga."
Though I was curious about the words Luka-san had said, I feel we should follow the track we were on for now.
To guard the area while Luka-san is gone... I don't understand well, but should I try to ask Zonmi and Kyouko to collaborate for the time being...?
With my chest filled with determination, I left that place.
Zonmi appeared when I was changing out of my outdoor shoes at the entryway after returning home.
On top of the worn-out clothes I gave her, for some reason she was wearing an apron, but it was OK.
That's... Supposed to be a gag?
There was a large knife stabbed into Zonmi's forehead.
"Hey... Is your head OK?"
Zonmi raised her voice with her mouth open wide.
"What do you mean!? I'm normal, as you can see; don't lump me together with a pervert like you!"
"... No, it's not that. I mean this, this."
*JAM*, I extracted the knife that was stuck into Zonmi's head.
If I remember correctly... The one stuck on Zonmi's head was my favorite.
"I mean, how couldn't you notice that you had a knife stuck in your own forehead...?"
When I pointed that out, Zonmi puffed her cheeks.
"It cant be helped, can it!? Since us ghouls don't bear such an illogical system like what's known as sense of pain!"
She rebutted angrily.
No, no, the sense of pain is something important. It's an important signal that our body sends us as an SOS... Though we could say... That ghouls were seemingly immortal from the start, they have no need of such a function.
"Well, who was the one who did such a horrible thing?"
Surely, that must not be self-inflicted.
While I had a hunch about who was the culprit, I had to at least ask.
"It was Chiharu's little sister. I don't know why, but she suddenly stabbed me."
Had Zonmi not been a ghoul, what did she plan to do?
Fiuu... I had been on the verge of shouldering a crime that would have haunted me my whole life.
"Well, I still have many questions..."
"After that, how did you end your battle with Kyouko?"
Though I'm worried by my sister's insurgence, that comes first.
I couldn't see any big injuries on Zonmi's body, with the exception of her forehead, and since she has returned to my home, does that mean she had won?
"I have no excuse. I managed to corner her, but... In the end, she managed to slip out at the last second."
"... Is that so?"
More than enough.
That Kyouko that boasted such a superhuman strength as being able to wield a truck with one hand managed to slip out. Zonmi's true ability is probably more than I expected, though.
For some reason, I could hear my sister shrieking.
"Hey, Zonmi... By the way, what did you do with Manami?"
"If you mean your sister, didn't I restrain her with ropes so she didn't act violently?"
She calmly told me. What are you doing with other people's little sisters, you punk.
When I was about to voice that, Manami appeared tied in a turtle-shell bondage...
She probably tried to mutter "Onii-chan!", but I couldn't understand it due to the towel stuffed into her mouth.
Even if I was curious of where Zonmi could have learnt to tie a turtle-shell bondage when there's no chance for that within a normal lifestyle, right now that didn't matter.
"Wait, I'll help you right now."
"... Please, stop. Once you unbind her, what if she goes on a rampage again? To contain her brutishness, isn't it better to leave her like that?"
"Is my sister some kind of beast?"
Come to think of it, the transfer student introduced herself like that on her first day.
Zonmi truly hates humans...
I thought about that while I removed the towel from her mouth.
This situation... Rather than your run-in-the-mill teasing, somehow I got the opposite feeling.
"... Haaah! O-onii-chan! Who is that!? She didn't die even though I killed her, she's totally weird!"
"Calm down, Manami, aren't you the weird one? For starters, it isn't ethical to kill someone."
I don't know why, but I seem to be surrounded by people without a speck of common sense. Crap, now my head is hurting.
"You zombie girl! Don't get near my Oniiiii~-chan! Scram!"
"I'm not a zombie. I'm a proud ghoul, Zonmi."
Zonmi muttered a complaint.
Ah, of course she'd fuss over that.
"Well, about stabbing kitchen knives in people's foreheads... it's bad, OK?"
"Bu-but sheee~! She came all of a sudden and said 'I'll live together with oniichan'! I won't allow that!"
"Did you say that... Zonmi?"
"Yes. So that something like today doesn't happen again. At least until the end of our agreement, don't leave my field of view."
Certainly Zonmi could also help me with other things when going out of the house. I don't know when Kyouko will try to make a contract by force again.
"Listen, Manami... We don't have another option. Even though I don't want to go along with that, but the circumstances don't allow us to not live together..."
"Wha-what? You have to cohabit even when you don't want to go along?"
"We~ll, there are some deep issues..."
"Onii-chan... Could it be that she's your sex friend?... That's it! I won't allow it! Kill, I'll kill her! Onii-chan, untie me! I have to kill her!"
"What things are you saying?"
I poked Manami in the forehead.
As you see, Manami has a tendency to easily go on instant rampage, but if you talk things with her, she has good sense... Though even I wasn't sure if that's really the case.
"Mmmph~~~! Onii-chan, how cheeky. For this, I'll whip you later a hundred times as a punishment."
As I expected, she has always been like this...
For some reason, Zonmi's face was as red as a tomato and muttering something under her breath.
"Hurry, untie me quickly! Onii-chan is being tricked by this demon! I must open your eyes!"
"If I untie you, you shall listen to the circumstances."
I unbound Manami's ropes.
I'd wish that once I'm done no more troubles arise, but maybe that's wishful thinking...
Later. After wasting a whole hour persuading Manami, we went to have dinner. Over the round table there was a menu of karaage accompanied by salad and miso soup that, while simple, suited our tastes.
I was surprised that Zonmi made all of this without help.
Something that was bothering me, it seems that Zonmi was wearing an apron earlier because she was preparing to make dinner.
The sweet oily aroma of the deep-frying greatly aroused our appetite.
"Ooh, this is delicious."
The outside was crispy while the inside was juicy. At the same time, a nice spicy flavor filled my mouth.
"Is that so? I learnt how to make it to suit your tastes."
"Mmm~. Onii-chan exaggerates! When he's in front of a beauty, he just makes a stupid grin! You glutton!"
"If that's so, try to eat too."
Showing her dissatisfaction, my sister threw the karaage into her mouth.
"How's it, delicious?"
"Hmph. It's really not a big deal! The food onii-chan cooks is a hundred times more delicious!"
Despite saying that, Manami moved the chopsticks with amazing speed... This fellow's not honest.
Since we have no father and mom has been living overseas because of work forever, I was usually in charge of cooking. It wasn't my intention, but something inevitable.
It's not like Manami couldn't cook... But if I let her, I don't know what she would mix with it. No, I'm not joking.
"That was surprising. Zonmi, you cook really well."
"Of course. That's because to us monsters, food is an indispensable source of magical power."
"Eeh~, so it's like that."
It seems like magic replenishment works like normal nutrition.
"This miso soup, in particular. It doesn't lose to the one I usually make, even though the ingredients are all the same... Huh?"
"That miso soup alone was done by your sister. She stubbornly kept telling me 'I'll make it'..."
What the heck. I had a very unpleasant premonition.
"... Sorry. I'll go throw this out the sink."
"Ah! Onii-chan, meanie! This time I didn't put anything weird!"
"As if I would believe you! You have too many antecedents! Be sincere, have you put anything dangerous in it?"
"I really didn't put anything this time... Well, except for a handful of love..."
"... As I thought, I'm throwing it out."
"Uwaaaaaaaa! Time out, onii-chan! It was 30,000 yen for ten grams! I used up my meager savings to buy it!"
"As if I know!"
I had to take advantage of this momentum to get rid of the miso soup.
Manami emitted a strange sound like that of an uprooted mandragora.
Zonmi stared at us siblings' usual behavior with such a cold gaze that could almost freeze.
No, what am I saying? Really... what was that?
"... Well, then, have you come up with a plan to overcome that?"
"Yeah, about that..."
I told her about what happened earlier with Luka-san.
"Is that so? If that's what Luka said, we can trust that information."
"Eh, you know her? Is Luka-san a celebrity?"
"The Snake charmer monster tamer... Luka the Snake tamer. A competent monster tamer that's first in the list to become the next Maou. Having accomplished innumerable achievements, she's a charismatic celebrity even in the Netherworld."
I see. I thought she was someone with an extraordinary aura around her, but was she such an amazing person?
"To protect the area... Is it? Since, in the first place, it's not like anything big will happen, the degree of difficulty of that mission should be very low."
"... There shouldn't be any big incidents in this area."
"That's why, we shan't be negligent. For that, from tomorrow onwards, we have to successfully guard this area."
"Eh, but school..."
"It ended half destroyed during my battle with the Nephilim. It will be closed for a while."
I take back what I said.
Police, help! Something big has happened!
My chest is filled with feelings of guilt.
Incidentally, when I looked at Manami, 'Mph!', with her lips pursed, she looked displeased for some reason.
"Hey, in other words, isn't that a date?"
"Absolutely not, why don't you listen to what people say?"
"Liar! Even if you give this or that pretext, isn't that two people spending all day together? That's a date, after all!"
"Ha, ha, what things you say, Manami. Hey, Zonmi, say something..."
Zonmi was looking down, her cheeks dyed red for some reason.
... Hey, why didn't you deny it.
"Mmmmph. See, like I said! I definitely won't approve it! It's too early to go on a date with oniichan, how audacious!"
"And what would you expect me to do, spending all day sleeping at home?"
Even if I conceded and called it a date, I don't know why I would need approval from my sister.
"I will also go with you. It's only fair."
"Sorry, I don't understand. First, there's no benefit from your tagging along."
"There are benefits."
"Isn't that at best a punchline with something like a low-acidity shampoo?"
"It's not... Or should I say I have doubts of your sense of humor..."
While she threw me a scornful glance, 'Ahem!', Manami cleared her throat and continued.
"Onii-chan, wouldn't it be bad if you somehow ended up shopping for clothes or underwear with this zombie?"
The moment she heard Manami's words, Zonmi's body twitched.
"Ah~. Now that you mention it, her clothes are indeed worn out. As expected, we should buy her new ones."
"Don-don't worry, I don't need them. These clothes are more than enough."
"... Now that you mention it, it seems that somehow you were able to wear our school uniform, from where did you get that?"
"That... I got it from Luka. She also helped me with the school admission."
"Eeh, so it was like that...?"
I had been wondering till now, but that cleared it.
During the two days I hadn't seen Zonmi, she was at Luka-san's place.
"I mean, you zombie there, do you have a change of underwear? You don't perhaps keep wearing the same, right..."
When Manami asked that with scornful eyes, Zonmi's body twitched like a golden fish out of water.
"Hey... Could it be... You..."
"I-I didn't have another way! I couldn't ask anyone to buy me underwear! I-I simply kept wearing those I like... Hey, Chiharu! Don't look at me with those eyes!"
This means tomorrow we three will end up going shopping.
Of course, about guarding the area, however... I'm certain even a monk would be worried.
Zonmi decided to take a bath, and meanwhile I secretly slipped out of the house.
My aim was, of course, to see how things were going on at Kyouko's side.
Leaving behind a note that said 'I'm going to the convenience store', I went out.
Right now I could be easily attacked but, nevertheless, I couldn't simply leave it be. Even assuming that Kyouko is a monster, it didn't change the fact that she's my childhood friend.
Walking by the street at night, after a short while I saw Kyouko's apartment. It was made of wood and you couldn't call it nice even as flattery. When I was a kid, I often came here to play, but recently I didn't have many chances to visit.
Will she be fine... that girl?
Don't worry. Even if she gives an impression of stern behavior, she's unexpectedly softhearted...
While turning a corner on the road, I ran into a jersey-clad Kyouko.
Kyouko held a supermarket bag. At this hour... Perhaps she aimed for the last-minute discount goods I know since I often also do the same.
Same as before, There was an awkward mood, but since it was this time, I loudly greeted her.
"What a surprise. You are a shocking idiot... You won't live long."
"Yes, I'm an idiot, did you notice it at last, you idiot?"
Of course it's not like I didn't feel uneasy.
But, right now, I shouldn't leave Kyouko, her eyes full of doubt, alone. That's why,
"Hey, do you want to talk for a bit?"
I made up my mind and broke the ice like that.
I hadn't been to Kyouko's place since elementary school, it really has been five years.
"Ha, ha, ha, it hasn't changed in the slightest, your house."
"Stop it! It can't be helped if since the start we didn't have many things!"
Kyouko's room had only the necessary minimum furniture, living with a simplicity you wouldn't expect of a girl her age. At school, Kyouko gives a gorgeous impression. If those guys in class knew, they'd surely faint.
"Would you like something to drink?"
"No, I don't like the calpis you serve here because it's watery!"
Silent kick (omitted).
"Barley tea, please."
As we conversed like that, I was relieved.
Good, Kyouko hasn't changed.
At least it seems I don't have to worry being suddenly attacked.
Unintentionally, I remembered the times I came to this house to play in elementary school.
When was it?... Since playing with girls was embarrassing, my relation with Kyouko ended up straining. Also, could it be because of the deep memories this place held?... As this house hadn't changed in the last five years, I felt a strange sense of security.
A while later, Kyouko returned with cups on both hands.
"Say, don't you think I could attack you?"
Muttered Kyouko while lowering her back to the floor.
"Did you plan on attacking?"
"Well. You've seen my battle with that ghoul. There's no reason for that kind of thing. Sorry, Haru, that time... Somehow it ended like that."
"Is that so? That's good. Since I also want my first time to be with the girl I like."
Playing dumb, Kyouko chuckled a little.
"Haru, please look behind for a moment."
"Why so sudden?"
Being told that, I turned back.
Let me see, I feel that recently things always develop like that... Especially today.
When I turned around after hearing a 'Now it's fine', I found Kyouko had removed her clothes.
Wearing nothing but her underwear, Kyouko's upper body, though unconsciously trembling, gave a sense of earnestness as she said the following:
"I'll show you from now on, my true form."
As soon as she told that, black things clearly sprouted from Kyouko's back.
Covered by thin hair, they became the shape of wings.
It would be difficult to compare them with something of this world, but if you force me to do it, they were closer to bat wings... They weren't things you could call lovely even as flattery. They were eerie wings that stirred up unpleasant and disturbing feelings.
"This is only a part, If you wish I can fully transform. Want to see?"
"No, that's OK..."
Better refrain from that. As what I'm seeing doesn't give a very pleasant feeling, if I see more than that my head will probably hurt.
"Since about when..."
As a shadow covered her face, Kyouko muttered:
"I was aware I wasn't a human ever since I was born... I didn't learn it. It was harsh. Even while concealing my true self, I couldn't become close to anyone..."
"... Why didn't you tell me until now?"
"I couldn't, this form... is revolting, right?"
I couldn't either deny or confirm it.
While one must be able to solve his own problems, I couldn't make an instantaneous decision.
"While it may seem a trifling matter to other people, I often pondered about what kind of person I was. Always wondering for what reason I was born."
"But, you know? Recently, at last, I had a chance to make good use of this power. That was when I knew Haru had been chosen as a monster tamer. I was glad. If I could display my power for the sake of someone close to me, I thought wouldn't it be a happy thing in the end?"
So she was thinking about those kind of things.
"But it's too late. It may be too late. Today, you know, when I gathered my strength and decided to open my heart, there was already another girl beside Haru. I was scared. I felt she had stolen the place I'd just found... that's why I made a fool of myself. Why did it end up like this?... In addition to this creepy things... I made myself be hated..."
Kyouko looked downwards, droplets dripping from her eyes.
... Now that I think, Kyouko has always been like this.
Really, who was it that she got this bad habit from, pretending to be tough with a composed face... She ends up shouldering all of her troubles alone.
That's why today I'm extremely happy.
This fellow has conveyed her true intentions to me.
I softly put my hand on Kyouko's head and gently stroked her hair.
"Aren't you always causing a ruckus? I got used to it long ago."
Worried about Kyouko, I said.
"Kyouko, the elementary school graduation album. On the column of our dreams for the future, do you remember what I wrote I wanted to be?"
"... A stag beetle."
Those were records labeled as 'Dark History' on my internal memory folder.
"Correct, they have it good. They are free to eat nothing but watermelon. Moreover, they are cool because they have horns."
"... What do you mean?"
"Don't you understand? My dream hasn't changed since then, I still want to be a stag beetle! That's why, don't worry, your wings are honestly cool. They are not creepy at all."
"... Aren't you stupid. Saying these kind of things even though you are in middle school..."
"That's it, you hadn't noticed until now, stu~pid?"
That day, Kyouko cried.
What's more, they were happy tears.
Because of that, I got home late and was severely tied by the two girls awaiting there.
I cried too.
Since those two's punishment honestly wasn't a joke. Saying 'Human, it would be best if you died.', I feel you don't want to know the rest.
Perhaps, I won't forget in my life what happened today.
What I'm saying, I feel this is the most dense time in my life.
References and Translation Notes
- Mario reference.
- i.e. he's using the browser function on his cell phone to use a search engine.
- 鬼ごっこ (onigokko) in Japanese, with 鬼 meaning "ogre"
- It said "Zonmitachi", but since they are 2 as for now, I'll better put both names instead of "the others".
- 全属棒 (zenshokubou) or all-[included/affiliated/belonging] cane. I don't know how to translate this and I haven't found no info on it.
- Both Melos and Selinuntius are characters of the story Run, Melos!.
- i.e. without honorifics.
- A Japanese sauce made of soy, citrus juice and grated radish.
- In Japan, supermarkets start giving discounts to unsold goods a little while before closing time in order to get rid of them. For more info, go see or watch the Ben-To series.
- The literal translations is "one must finish no matter what laundry", which I take it means "one must solve his own problems, no matter how difficult they are"; if you know an equivalent English expression, feel free to change it.
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