Maria-sama ga Miteru:Volume11 Chapter8

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Things I've recently seen from my window:

Ants walking across the screen door.

Small black and orange caterpillars on the leaves of the tallest tree near the house.

White-eye birds come to eat them.

Completely unrelated to them, noisy crows.

A stray cat taking no notice of any of this, and having a leisurely nap atop the fence.

Akebi fruits, fully-grown, about the size of a pinky finger.

– At any rate, it's peaceful. The rainy season has yet to arrive.

Hello, this is Konno.

The previous book, "Rainy Blue," ended with Yumi in a tragic spot, so I'm sure there were a lot of people that thought, "Huh, you're cutting it there!?" Actually, I got a lot of letters about this. Sorry for causing you distress.

– Start with something like that.

This book, "Holding a Parasol," could probably be called a conclusion to "Rainy Blue," as it's intended to settle the debts from the previous book. I'm sorry for making you all wait so long. No, I suppose the wait was longest for Yumi, frozen in place with the rain pelting down on her.

That troublesome final scene. It's not like the pages were all there and the manuscript arbitrarily chopped at that point. From the outset, that was how I thought I'd end it.

So, while they may form a continuation, for some reason I thought they were also independent. Or maybe I formed that conclusion just because I wanted them to have different titles.

In "Rainy Blue," there were three stories in the one book. And, obviously, I didn't want to continue the negative connotations of "blue" forwards into the next book.

So, while they aren't Part 1 and Part 2, the two books have an inseparable relationship. Basically, they're like soeurs, I suppose. Looking at it that way, I'm grateful. The symbol of "Rainy Blue" would be the rain umbrella, and, for "Holding a Parasol," it's the sun umbrella from the title. Even if they're the same umbrella, the damp and the dry are completely different. That's the kind of feeling I wanted to evoke. Just having the word 'parasol' has a forward-looking feel, and the writer can write with more energy.

Now then.

The story is not over, so I'm sure there will be plenty of speculation from the readers about the current developments and mysteries. This time around, the largest volume of responses was undoubtedly about "Sachiko-sama's secret." (I haven't really solicited responses. These were all from people taking the initiative). Speculation about why Sachiko-sama was standing Yumi up, and just what on earth Touko-chan was doing.

Here's some examples:

#1: "Is Sachiko-sama taking driving lessons so that she can drive to the amusement park?"

… Satou Sei got her license while she was still in high-school, so it's worthwhile considering. In that case, if Sachiko had her provisional license then she could practice on the road with Kashiwagi Suguru's support. That's how Touko's added. But, if she were the one driving, she wouldn't get carsick, usually.

#2: "Sachiko-sama's been practicing so that she can ride the roller coaster."

… Just what type of practice has she been doing? Riding a roller coaster non-stop? I laughed, and this may be letting the cat out of the bag, but I'm not sure the readers were laughing. That's putting the cart before the horse. And to abandon Yumi in "Rainy Blue" for that, it's just too sad.

#3: "I don't know the reason, but I'm sure Sachiko-sama has a good one."

… There were a lot of people who immediately thought that. Surprisingly, there were an equally large number of people booing, saying, "Sachiko-sama's horrible," and that she shouldn't be trusted. When my supervisor read "Rainy Blue," she got angry, saying, "What's going on with Sachiko's personality?" (lol)

Receiving the jeers alongside Sachiko was Touko. But I don't think Touko really did anything wrong. Despite this, I got a huge number of letters begging me, "Please don't make her Yumi-chan's petit soeur." Reading the letters I'd quip, "Well, how about Yoshino then?"

Just to be clear, everyone, I am in no way thinking about having Yoshino and Touko become soeurs. Since, as Yoshino said herself, their characters collide. Hmm.

I had considered adding the full story of the blue umbrella and white parasol to this book if there was space, but I had to pass that up. I do have some provisional material, but what I'll do with that from here on out is undecided.

It might get written some time, some place. But, like Yumi said at the end, I don't think there's any reason to force it.

Konno Oyuki.

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