Mondaiji-tachi ga isekai kara kuru soudesu yo:Volume 9 Chapter 3
Chapter 3 - Candle, Omelette Cake and Ghost Town
—North Side, Outer Gate number 678900, Pumpkin Street
A week before the Harvest Festival of [Underwood], Ayesha the Ignis Faatus was heading back with a light bounce to her steps.
This was due to her excitement about having completed the preparation of the Gift Game which would be hosted by [Will O’ Wisp].
(Everything will be in place after we complete the finishing touches on the decorations! And we will just have to wait for the players to come over for the start of the main event.)
Ayesha had a smile on her face as she swayed her green hair which was tied into twin tails. An assortment of different sized candle stands and azure flame lamps paved the sidewalks of the brick street. And these were made from the big pumpkin shells that were their Community’s farm produce. The pumpkin’s flesh had been carved out and the lighting was made by Jack and Ayesha herself.
(It would be great if we can have a lively hosting for this round……)
Ayesha gazed at the stage that she built.
The Community of [Will O’ Wisp] took the motto of “To enjoy hosting a Gift Game more than the fun from being a player” very seriously. If they were to win the Game that they hosted, that would be for the best, but it must be with the precondition of allowing both the host and the players to have a great time in the process. It is precisely because of the enjoyable games that they create, that leaves a good feeling no matter if one were to lose or win in the results, participants continue to return to participate in their subsequent games.
(But, this time, we have also sent an invitation to those [No Name]s. We should not only enjoy ourselves but I will have to show them the might of this Great Ayesha-sama! )
*FuaHaHaHaHa!* She puffed her small chest as she gave a loud silly laugh.
Returning to her Community’s main building, she entered through the main door with gusto and strode to her own room.
And standing before her room where she placed her hand on the doorknob, there was this strange sensation to the pressure exerted by her hand.
*Kacha Kacha*, she tried to turn the doorknob. But it was locked and would not open.
Reaching her hand into her clothes pocket to find the key. But she could not find it.
No, the key should still be in the room in the first place, but why would the door be locked in that case—-
“—Ah, Asuka. This plush teddy bear is so cute.”
“Ara, that’s right. On closer look, it seems to be handmade too. Could this be made by Ayesha herself as well?”
“Who knows? But her taste is quite interesting, right?”
“I agree. ……But let’s just place it aside for now, that snack box hidden behind the plush teddy bear is giving off a really good fragrance—“
The coloration of blood immediately drained from Ayesha’s face.
The two voices which she had no idea about how they could have gotten in there was giving Ayesha the intense chills.
—Just saying on the side, the snack box that Asuka was opening was one that contained the famous tarts filled with golden yam that was the local produce of the [Salamandra]’s territory. And it was the most popular No.1 high quality snack that any North Side girl would want to have a bite into.
“OiOiOiOiOiOi I say Oi!!? Barging into the rooms of other people and opening the box of the highest grade snack, where did you burglars come from huh?! I demand that you open the door right now you bastards!!!”
“Ara, I hear that it is a snack of the highest grade, Kasukabe-san.”
“Mhm. My anticipation is growing.”
“Open the door quickly nowwwwww!!!”
“Ara, it seems like someone’s outside and the door can’t open.”
“Mhm. Then, we can only finish it between us.”
The duo immediately set themselves to work on the preparation of their tea party. Whereas the one outside was still knocking furiously *DonDonDonDong* at the door and unable to stop the duo.
It was the epitome of wasting one’s efforts. Realizing that this method was not effective in stopping the problem children, Ayesha furiously rushed down to the safe located downstairs to get another spare key. But,
“Come to think about it, Asuka, where did you get the rope that is now tied in the doorway?”
“Aahh, I thought it would be useful when I found it while clearing the rubble in [No Name]’s territories.”
“How prepared are you guys to do things like thissss!!?”
Ayesha shouted in despair. And the sounds of loud munching traveled through the door.
With the dessert, which she purchased with the little pocket money that she had, taken from her, Ayesha hung her head in despair.
But that extent was not enough to stop the two problem children.
“There is this self-composed poetry collection with accompanying illustrations ……. At the bottom of this snack box.”
Hyea! Ayesha was immediately revived.
That’s bad. That’s really bad. That was the treasure trove that she hid her maiden secrets and her dark histories of embarrassing pubescent thoughts. If it were to be seen, it would be a dark grimoire that would surely send the readers into a fit of laughter.
“You…. You guys……!!!”
Ayesha used her last ounces of strength to grip the door knob tightly as she cried out with tears streaking down her cheeks.
“You guys just get out of there okaaaaaaaayyyyy—–!!!!!”
To have caused Ayesha to cry for real, even if it were Asuka and Yō, they were currently reflecting upon their actions in earnest.
Ayesha had joined the tea party with Asuka and the others in the living room but her cheeks were still puffy.
Exchanging a glance with each other, Yō and Asuka gave a troubled smile at this current headache-inducing situation.
“Really now, we were only playing around. No matter what the case might be, we wouldn’t be that boneheaded to go to that extent, right?”
“What we were eating were only our packed bentos you know. See, Ayesha, your snacks are still in intact and safe in the box.”
Hmph, puffing her cheeks as she turned her head aside.
After that, the duo had taken a long time to coax Ayesha to return to her calmness as they started the discussion on the game details.
“Come to think of it, Ayesha, regarding the game that you have extended the invitation to us, what sort of activity is that?”
“…….Hmph. Before arriving at our main building, there is this Pumpkin street right? That is a land that was originally a waste land that we renovated into a Ghost town.”
“A small town for wandering spirits?”
Asuka and Yō exclaimed in doubt at the same time and Ayesha who was satisfied by their reactions, finally got herself together to smile as she taunted the duo.
“I can’t tell any of the details…… but the main portion of the game is to find me or Jack-san. Just that it will be too difficult for you guys. Till date, there hasn’t been anyone who could do that. Thanks to that, the luxurious prizes that we always prepare beforehand is now covered in a layer of dust.”
HmHmph. Ayesha gave a haughty throaty laugh.
But hearing Ayesha’s words, the gazes of the duo took a turn as they exchanged a look with each other.
“Is that so…… we can keep the luxurious prizes, is it?”
“Hehe. Sounds like a good thing.”
They gave a confident response to Ayesha’s taunt and Ayesha was motivated to stand up,
“The Game will begin tonight when the moon is at the zenith of the sky. Just wait at the main building before the time and you will be fine.”
“Got it. Then let’s stay in Ayesha’s room,”
Ayesha rejected immediately.
For a while, Asuka and Yō enjoyed the company of each other in silence as they sipped at their red tea and they sighed before speaking up once more.
“A luxurious prize…… what could it be?”
“No idea. But [Will O’ Wisp] is a Community of the six digits. For her to praise it that much, it would be a prize that matches their worth. And if we can get that, it will definitely count towards the efforts to attend the Harvest Festival in advance.”
The duo exchanged a glance and nodded their heads.
That was their goal.
The Community that the duo belonged to, [No Name], was currently holding a game that pitted the battle prizes of the comrades against each other. According to the results that are won in the next few days allocated to them, it would determine the number of days for them to participate in the [Underwood] Harvest Festival.
“Surprisingly, Izayoi is still without a prize so far…… this game might just be our biggest chance.”
“……Mhm. That just leaves the battle where it will decide who of us will get through.”
Yō nodded her head nervously. Asuka was puzzled by the nerves that Yō was feeling as it was never shown that explicitly before, but that was something that she had to put aside for now as she had to save her energy and recharge during the wait for the upcoming game.
—Stage area in Outer Gate number 678900, Pumpkin Street
It is one of the few territories of [Will O’ Wisp]. After all, there exists multiple [FloorMaster]s in the North Side and hence most of the lands were directly under the charge of the [FloorMaster]’s territory.
Originally, [Will O’ Wisp] possessed the might to be active as a six digit [FloorMaster], but their territory only comprised of this stage area, the main building and the glass treatment work rooms. And because of the location of this Outer Gate being closer to the West of the North Side, the veil that blocks the cold is slightly weaker and the warmth from the autumn temperature inducing chandeliers is a far way off from here, leading to a cool breezy day throughout.
And the abandoned houses were also the result of the residents who shifted away for the same reason.
To join up with the realm of control that was exerted by the larger and stronger Alliances of [Salamandra] and [OniiHime].
[Will O’ Wisp] then renovated those abandoned houses into their stage area.
The buildings of the North Side were highly resistant brick houses, were not easily eroded and it was only natural to put them to good use.
The small Ghost town was lit with the azure glow of the candles which complemented the atmosphere of the game.
Walking to the location as stated in the invitation card, Asuka and Yō followed the other players to the doors of the game stage.
And it was then that the question floated up in their minds as they noted the characteristics of their rivals.
“A total of two hundred contestants. Although the player count is much more than I expected…… but they are mostly youths.”
“Rather than calling them youths, you might as well call them the young.“
Yes. The players averaged around the teenage population and there were even children who were younger than Yō, waiting to participate in the game. The oldest contestants were most probably only two to three years above the duo’s age.
Although there were many different species living in the world of Little Garden and it was not necessarily possible to determine the age based on appearances alone, it can be seen that the population that appeared to be youthful weren’t in the small numbers.
Asuka scrunched her eyebrows in suspicion but that soon melted away when Ayesha appeared atop the gate of Pumpkin Street.
Ayesha held a large stack of [Geass Rolls],
“Sorry for the wait everyone! We will be passing around the [Geass Roll] of [CandletheTown] now, please get a copy for yourselves!”
*Pashaa* Asuka and Yō who got a copy of the [Geass Roll] immediately focused their gazes at the contents.
“— Name of Gift Game: “CandletheTown”—
Requisites for Participation::
*Cost of participation is a bronze coin issued by the [ThousandEyes] mint. (Free for those below the age of 10.)
*Participants must be below the age of adulthood.
*Participants must possess an invitation card from [Will O’ Wisp].
Conditions for the players’ victory::
*Obtain a gem from the wandering lantern shikigamis in this Ghost town.
*Different Gifts will be rewarded in accordance to the type of gem. (One Gift per participant only.)
*The special Gift will be presented to the individual who obtains the gem from Jack O’ Lantern.
Conditions for the player’s defeat::
*Being unable to obtain a gem in the time limit of an hour.
Oath: Based on our glory and flag, and respecting the above content, [Will O’ Wisp] hosts this Gift Game.
“Stamp of [Will O' Wisp]"
Reading through it once, the duo blinked and exchanged a look.
“Erm, I guess we now know the reason for the large numbers of children…… but what is it referring to by the term lantern shikigamis?”
“It’s probably those bipedal walking candles or lanterns that we have seen during the Birth of the Fire Dragon Festival……?”
The duo tilted their heads in confusion.
And seeming in the attempt to dispel their confusion, Ayesha lifted up a lantern of the size of a head as she introduced it to the players.
“This is a common foot soldier of the bipedaled walking lanterns. There will be a gem placed within each of them and there’s a total of five different types. Basically, the bigger lantern heads will have better Gifts prepared for you, so try your best to catch them.”
The kawaii lantern shikigami waved at the crowd and Ayesha fell silent.
After a short pause, Ayesha gave a pointed look at Asuka and Yō—
“— Just saying this in advance, regarding the individual who successfully get hold of the gem that is held in Jack O’ Lantern’s hand, he or she will be presented the highest Gift that we have prepared— the Gift with the flag of [Will O’ Wisp] carved upon it that has the capability of storing and providing fire.”
Looking toward the huge candle lamp that Ayesha pointed out to them, the crowd of contestants erupted into a roar of cheers. Asuka and Yō were also starting at the lamp with sparkling eyes.
“That is a lamp capable of storing fire……!”
The lad who stood beside the huge candle holder placed the firewood in upon receiving the cue to do so and a blaze was soon burning away in the candle holder.
The region that was supposed to be a little chilly was simultaneously warmed up by the blaze of the candle.
Although the heat was incomparable to the chandelier of the enormous Veil boundary, but it was evidently able to store a comparatively good amount of heat. Asuka clasped her hands together as she stared at the candle holder like a predator who had spotted its prey.
“Not only is it able to store, but if it is able to provide as well…… that will be a much needed source of heat for the Community. It will be enough if we can get even one of those.”
“Mhm. This Gift is surely the best pick for our competition of war trophies."
Yō clenched her fists tightly and Asuka was growing more surprised by the moment at the range of unusual emotions displayed by Yō. But, Asuka assumed that it was because of Yō’s growing enthusiasm about the event.
Ayesha who leapt down from the frame of the gates turned to look up at the thin crescent moon in the sky as she counted the time for the start of the event. And perhaps as the time was getting closer, Ayesha broke away from the crowd of contestants to walk into the Ghost town where she raised her right hand.
“—Okay, the time is now, Jack-san! Let’s run with all our might from the contestants tonight!”
And that was the announcement to flag off the event while a huge fire ball had simultaneously appeared from a previously empty space.
The spherical inferno narrowed at the front like a spinning top and pulled Ayesha’s hand, helping her to scramble to the top of the ball of fire. Following a dispersion of fiery particles, a loudly laughing pumpkin appeared from within.
“—Yahohohohohoho! Welcome everyone to the Community Decreed festival of [Will O’ Wisp] tonight! The kids can chase after the small lanterns while the other contestants are invited to chase after the larger lanterns and me, this pumpkin head!”
“Mah, just that it will be very difficult for you guys to catch me!”
The tattered cloth around Jack’s body flapped in the wind as Ayesha stuck out her tongue to taunt the others.
Soon after the taunt, they surrounded themselves with flames and disappeared instantly without a trace.
Realizing that this was the signal for the start of the game, the contestants started to sound the alert to set off with their shouts.
“Don’t bother with the small lanterns! Those will only give sweets to pacify the children!”
“The target is the biggest lanterns! As long as they are of a diameter of 10 feet and above, it will be well worth our efforts already!”
“Targeting the Jack will be a waste of time and energy! Just look for the slowest moving lanterns!”
The participants were hollering an exuberant start and if Jack is honest about it being a Community decreed event, it would mean that there would be veterans who have participated in this challenge in the previous times that it was hosted too. And in the chilly North Side, the Gifts that Jack created would be highly enticing. But this was also true for the [No Name]s as well.
Having the upper hand in mobility, Yō whipped up a whirlwind to leave Asuka behind.
“Sorry, I will make a move first!”
“Ara, that’s fine by me! Because, I will be catching up very soon!”
Asuka raised her wine red Gift Card as she summoned the Gift that she possessed— The red sacred iron giant.
And the red metal doll, summoned from the magic circle without runic symbols, gave a majestic roar .
“We will only be targeting Jack! Let’s go, Deen!”
Following its master’s orders, Deen broke through the gates as it moved into the playing field. And the other contestants were frantically running to give space to this red metal doll that scared them with its sudden appearance.
Asuka was having cold sweat as she prayed for the carefulness of Deen’s step to not crush any children by accident but having Yō gain a head start on herself, there was no reason for Asuka to dally any longer. With Asuka giving constant command to the doll to pay attention to its footing, they charged into the Ghost town.
Yō’s actions were very fast. Searching for Jack in the skies, she started to use her overwhelmingly potent five senses to track her target. The Gift that she possessed, the [GenomeTree], allowed her to utilise various abilities of the beasts. The disappearance of Jack in an instant did not mean that his presence was hidden.
Yō’s sense of smell soon discovered the location of Jack and Ayesha.
Watching from above, Yō dropped sharply in a direct descent to launch an attack at Jack and Ayesha.
“Jack, I found you……!”
Maintaining the velocity of her descent, her kick made direct contact and passed into the ground of the brick laid streets. The sense of accomplishment swept through Yō’s mind as she successfully pulled off the ambush.
But the opponent is not someone who would be done in so easily.
Although the pumpkin head was violently knocked off, a closer look would have made it clear that he was not hurt at the slightest. If that pumpkin head was not bashed in, the gem would still be hidden within. And that led to a sense of anxiety that welled within Yō.
“How is that……! Even with that force just now, it’s still undamaged,”
“Hng, Hnghng~ Jack-san won’t be that easily damaged by that level of attack you know?!”
“Yahoho! Although the attack really came as a surprise to me! But that level of attack will just be instantly repaired!”
Even after being sent flying, Jack continued to laugh cheerfully while Ayesha did seem a little more humbled in her tone.
But giving it more thought, this was only to be expected. The reason for Jack’s one-up on Yō’s rivalry scores is due to his immortality.
Jack, who is cursed to wander the boundaries of life and death by Saint Peter, did not have the concept of destruction to shackle him.
Although he was now materialized in the current plane in the form of a demon by Willa the Ignis Fatuus, he is still supposed to be unable to walk the lands of the living.
Yō who exerted all her strength to launch that kick was still unable to beat that recovery speed and she had an ashamed expression as she watched the two smiling opponents before her.
But in the next moment, a fierce roar erupted from the back of an abandoned house.
“Do it now, Deen!”
A thick wrist closed in from the opposite end of the wall. Initially it was thought that Jack was taken off guard once again but it was actually the reverse. He had pretended to be careless to lure the snake out of the hole, to get Asuka to reveal herself.
“Yahohohoho! That’s too naive, Asuka-san! Too naive!”
Jack gave a cheerful laugh as he dodged the attack and disappeared with the conjuring of a blinding blaze. Asuka gave a small click of her tongue as she searched her surroundings for his presence but to no avail.
Anxiety was growing within Asuka as she gave a small sigh.
“This is bad…… If he continues to weave around and flee around the town, an hour will just pass in the blink of an eye……!”
Moreover, Asuka had no means to track him down. The ambush just now was just coincidental with her prepared ambush location for Jack to fly by. And it is unlikely to be that lucky a second time.
Although searching for the blaze that would be swaying from side to side with the light of the candle was going to push at the feasibility of being a battle plan, there seemed to be no other better option open for her.
“I guess that’s the only way….. I will just have to find another place to set my ambush—”
Yō called out to the back of the leaving figure, who was preparing to chase after Jack, Asuka.
Wanting to ask what is it all about as she turned her head, Asuka noted the unprecedented serious and desperate look on Yō’s face which stopped her short and she could not help but to swallow her breath.
“What, What’s the matter, Kasukabe-san.”
“……I, have a plan. But for that, I would like to ask you for a favor.”
—Pumpkin Street. Old recreational plaza.
Jack and Ayesha nodded their heads in satisfaction as they watched over the progress of the game in the open area. This plaza offered no cover for an effective ambush and it was easy for them to escape. And this made the place their exclusive territory. Any brazen plan of waiting for the enemy to appear and chasing them down was never going to work against these two. This is because the spiritual forms of Jack and Ayesha were capable of the skilled technique of utilizing the gates created by Willa to escape to several other possible locations.
But talking about Willa herself, she had gone on a trip to wander around the region outside of the Community’s territory and has yet to return. The two members could only feel bewildered by the habitual carefree personality of their leader while enjoying the progress of the Community decreed festival.
“But come to think about it, the time has finally come. Contestants who dare to pick a direct battle with Jack-san.”
“Yahoho! That’s right! During the initial years that we held this Community decreed festival, there used to be many contestants who would come and challenge me……”
Talking up to that point, his words stopped abruptly. And there was this awkward atmosphere around the two of them that kept them from continuing the conversation.
For any publicly open Game that is hosted by a Community, only the initial attempts would be rather lively. Although this could be said to be a common phenomenon in the world of Little Garden, it was more symbolic for the first attempt in a game of a newly formulated concept with the promise of a Gift. This is fairly symbolic condensation of hopes and believes due to the motivation to break through the trial when there is little to no clues circulating for the other participants and the creativity that is needed to overcome it.
But this Community decreed festival was hosted over twenty times when including this current ongoing event and the participants had gradually reduced to a few regulars and children who participate for free. The earnings weren’t much as well.
Although it might be good to have a change in the game concept, but it would be a disgrace to the Community’s pride. As long as a Community launches a Community decreed festival Gift Game, it would be a difficult position for both the host and the participants to back down if there wasn’t a single person who could clear the Game.
“Mah, it’s not a bad idea to change the game if we win…… but it will just be a little lonely for the host.”
“That’s right. If the win leads to the promulgation of our Name, it would be an undebatable desire for us…… but it will not bring us any fame to change the Game when it is a win in a Community decreed festival. And the number of people who are willing to participate in our next game would surely be turned off by that.”
Then that will an unnecessary spilling of blood that will not give anything in return. Rather than getting a big crowd of participants to challenge their trial, it was their motto to allow a greater number of people to receive their fair share of enjoyment.
And for that purpose, they had decided to extend the invitation to the Community that has the highest possibility of defeating Jack— the [No Name]s, but it turned out to be a burden too heavy for them which they could only smile bitterly about.
“Although that is indeed the case, if we were to be lenient in this round, we would be betraying the participants who have challenged us till date. So we do hope that they will be able to obtain their victory on their own.”
“Even if you do say that, that lad hasn’t answered our invitation. Is it really going to work out with those girls alone?”
It wasn’t a conceited or exaggerated comment but purely factual in observation. Jack believed that he was stronger than those girls and he believed that in a duel with them, they would already be having a hard time catching up to his speed.
If that is the case, they will not have any other strategies to utilize……
“…….Ayesha, here I come!”
Ayesha gave a cry in her confusion. At the same time, a strong wind struck the both of them. Ayesha held down her twintails in the wind while Jack had his vision obstructed by the billowing tattered cloth that flew up to cover the eyes.
This time, Yō attacked from the rear with Asuka’s silvery white sword. Sensing the malicious intent that was embedded within the sword, Jack only managed to avoid it at the last moment.
And he reached out a huge white hand to grab Yō as he laughed in admiration.
“Yahohohoho! I didn’t expect you to have such a Gift up your sleeve! But if you had that sort of Gift, you should have used it in the first attempt and it would surely have pierced this pumpkin head of mine!”
Yō grinded her teeth as she stared at him. But having waited for this opening, Asuka shouted her command.
“Deen, it’s your turn!”
The stretchable metal wrist shot towards Jack from a distance away from the plaza.
That was a strength that possessed the power to shatter Jack’s pumpkin head if it were to land a direct hit. But Jack who leisurely dodged the punch pointed at the combination of the duo as he gave a loud laugh.
“That’s too naive! Too naive, girls. Your control of the game is still too naive! To attack in waves is only meaningful if you have the numbers on your side! With this number of people on your side, it is only a basic tactic to work as a pair you know?!” Laughed Jack at the efforts of the continuous attack that would be of no avail from the two girls and a doll.
But indeed, he did not possess the durability to surpass the strength of Deen’s punch. Perhaps a lucky strike might get though and it was best to escape the area.
Jack held Yō as he summoned the flames around them —-
“Now’s the time, Asuka!”
In an instant, Yō’s whirlwind surrounded Jack.
The flames were unable to condense into their linkage units and were conversely blown away by the winds. And it was then that Jack started to panic in earnest.
“Could, Could it be……!”
“Yes, it is what you are thinking, Jack. You needed the flames to surround yourself to engage in that instantaneous teleportation right?”
This is bad, Jack clicked his tongue in his heart.
From the start of the Game, Jack had disappeared from the people in his escape and those two times were with the common pattern of the precursor conjuring of flames around himself.
The Community of [Will O’ Wisp] was one that was based around the demon of ‘fire that stems from the borders of life and death’.
Hence it was possible to predict that the requisite for his disappearance would be to summon the fire to cloak himself.
Although that was the case, it was really a crazily thrown together battle plan and Yō was secretly surprised by the success of such a smooth execution but that was no reason for her to miss the opportunity.
Deen who broke through the pumpkin’s head under Yō’s command had revealed the gem that was hidden within its shell.
“Uu. I won’t let you succeed!”
Ayesha flew towards the gen while Yō who was gripped by the hand was slightly slower in her jump. But even though Yō was slower by a beat in the initiation of the action, she utilized the explosive powers of a leopard to leap over Ayesha’s head.
And grabbed the Azure gem tightly in her hand.
Yō looked down at the gradually mending body of Jack as she puffed her small chest,
“…….and that’s my win, right?”
To declare her victory to the host of the game.
—After the end of the game when it is announced by Jack and Ayesha that the Game <CandletheTown> is finally cleared, they held a formal ceremony to bestow the prize.
Handing over the letter that would give the [No Name] the rights to the candle lamp, they then announced the end of the game for the other contestants.
“Eh, the event that has lasted for over a span of three years, <CandletheTown> has finally been graced by the appearance of individuals who will be receiving the special Gift. Hence this game will also come to an end today. If there’s another game that is hosted by the flag of [Will O’ Wisp], we will gladly welcome your support to grace our game next time.”
Jack ended the speech at that and stepped off the stage, to which the crowd gave a loud resounding applause in appreciation.
Having hosted it a total of twenty times, they gathered close to two hundred participants. Although more than half of the participant population were small children who did not need to pay the fee for participation, the rest were normal participants and that was proof enough to attest the support that the game had garnered for itself. And there were the sounds of regret echoing in the crowd of participants.
Having experienced the game hosted by [Will O’ Wisp] for themselves, Yō and Asuka gave a wry smile.
“I guess the essence of Little Garden is the hosting of Gift Games, eh?”
“Mhm…… Someday, I would like to be a host too.”
The duo watched the hosts with envious eyes as the hosts left the stage.
After the ceremony, the tea party organized by [Will O’ Wisp] for the post-game celebrations was started.
The young boys and girls were able to exchange the gems from the captured lanterns for the handmade cakes.
Asuka and Yō who were also welcomed to the party were given a slice of baked apple omelette cake.
Having seen a western cuisine for the first time in her life, Asuka’s eyes were shining as she looked at Ayesha warmly.
“This is a really delicious dessert……! The dessert with whipped cream and fruits wedged between the slices of crust, is that a cake of some sort as well?”
“How’s that possible? Although the crust of the omelette cake is similar to that of cakes, if it is the crust type of dessert that is used to sandwich other ingredients, it will still be an omelette cake. And besides, Asuka’s dish is a baked apple omelette cake while mine's a pumpkin and whipped cream omelette cake.”
And just when she said that, the pumpkin and whipped cream omelette cake disappeared from her plate.
For a while, Ayesha was confused by the sudden disappearance of her dessert but upon seeing the chipmunk like food pouches that were the cheeks of Yō, she immediately turned to stare angrily at the culprit.
“……Oi bastard. What’s that you have stuffed in your mouth?”
“…… Aie. Shuafs. Puan. Cake.”
“Aaaaah! Seriously?! Your rude and dirty personality is so bad that I can’t even think of the place to start a tsukomi, you baka!”
Ayesha started to rub that puffed up cheeks forcefully. Although it did make Yō nauseous initially, she utilized all her capability in that cavernous appetite of hers to hold it in and to swallow it down.
Ayesha was stumped for words at that point and could only droop her shoulders. It looks like there won’t be anything left of that omelette cake. And Yō who thoroughly cleaned the insides of her mouth of any remaining scrapes of the omelette cake started a conversation with Ayesha,
“And now what?”
“The pumpkin and whipped cream omelette cake was really delicious. And thank you for the invitation that you’ve sent to us.”
Ayesha pouted her lips as she left with her twintails swaying behind her.
Seeing that they were now alone, Asuka asked Yō about the Game details,
“Kasukabe-san. Regarding the things that we said during the game……”
“Mhm? …… You mean the sharing of the trophy of this game?”
Yō started on her own plate of omelette cake as she tilted her head to reply Asuka with a question.
They, who were competing with the number of trophies they could obtain for the game set by their Community, had worked together in the game and it was due to the agreement to share the results for the battle that the alliance was forged.
If they had not won anything in the game, it would have been a waste of effort. Besides, the thought of wanting to win the personal game of their Community was not to be confused with the greater good of an actual win in the Gift Games. Hence Yō had judged it to be efficient to work together in that battle and proposed the alliance…… And Asuka was feeling a sense of apprehension, or rather, she was very taken aback by the enthusiasm shown by Yō in that game.
“Perhaps I’m overthinking this…… but Kasukabe-san, is there a reason behind wanting to win the game no matter what? After all, for Kasukabe-san to propose an alliance with others for a team battle is quite unusual of you.”
“…….Well, that is…”
Opening her mouth but closing it soon enough. That was a strange behavior as well.
Yō who was very carefree on normal days would not have taken back her words like that. Saying things when she felt like it and not saying anything when she did not have anything to say was the true Kasukabe Yō.
Worried by the uneasy feeling about this, Asuka leaned closer.
“Kasukabe-san. If there’s something that I can help you with, please tell me and I will gladly help you. So, would you please talk to me?”
Yō was troubled about where to begin.
And before she started to talk, Asuka was sitting really straight while waiting for Yō to begin.
Yō’s gaze drifted slightly as she finally gave in with a low mumble.
“……I, would like to contribute to the farmlands.”
“Well……That farmland is being recovered by the contribution of Izayoi’s water source and Asuka’s help in fertilising the soils, right? So, I was thinking that maybe I could help to secure the saplings…… and then I would be able to proudly lift my chest to say ….. ‘This farmland is the result of the labours from the three of us!’ or something like that.”
And for that end, she wanted to get the extra day that she can to arrive at the Harvest festival to secure the saplings.
Understanding Yō’s thoughts for the first time, Asuka swallowed her breath in her surprise as those words seemed to pack a punch. It was probably due to the unexpected realization that the solitary Yō would consider about such team play.
“……Is that so. I see. So that’s how it is.”
Asuka gazed quietly at Yō who had bent her head at this point.
Asuka understood Yō’s current feelings very well. After all, she had also been fretting about her ability to participate in the higher level Gift Games which would be difficult to secure victory during those times that she had yet to acquire Deen.
‘You shall cast aside your family, friends, possessions, everything in the world of yours.
And come forth to our [Little Garden].’
They who had been summoned over from their respective worlds were undoubtedly expected to fulfil the dream of resurrecting the Community. And if one were to be unable to meet that sort of expectation with a contribution to that goal, it would be the dismissal of one’s raison d’etre—that sort of uneasiness was one that she had experience with.
(I see……So everyone’s having that similar sensation of insecurity.)
Seeming to have realized something, Asuka closed her eyes and gripped Yō’s shoulders,
“I understand your feelings, Kasukabe-san. In that case, I will also lend you a hand in this.”
“Lend, a hand?”
“That’s right! Firstly, for you to get the chance to enter the Harvest Festival eve celebrations a day earlier, I shall give Kasukabe-san the accomplishment of today’s battle.”
Yō’s eyes widen in surprise.
But in the next moment, she anxiously shook her head.
“No, that won’t do, Asuka! If we were to use that sort of false testimony, it will be really unfair to Izayoi who is battling alone.”
“Ara, I don’t see it that way you know? The person who came up with the battle plans, saw through the special characteristics of the opponent and grabbed the gem, weren’t they all done by you, Kasukabe-san?”
“That’s, That’s with a lot of help from Asuka……!”
“Now, now, there’s no need to be that modest. And if we are talking about Izayoi-san, it might just be possible for him to achieve this standard of a war trophy you know? It’s hard to come by with a war trophy that can be on par with his standard and it would be much a waste to divide it between us.”
Asuka waved her hand as she commented jokingly.
Yō had a look that said that she was still skeptical about the ethical part of the agreement but her determination also provided a strong motivation. Seeing that turning down the offer might be a rude act on her part, she gingerly asked for a reconfirmation.
“….. Is it really, okay?”
“Mhm Mhm. If you feel bad about it, just remember to return the favor next time. Of course, you will have to gift something to Izayoi-san as well.”
“……Mhm, I understand. I will remember to thank Asuka and Izayoi next time.”
Saying that, Yō smiled softly.
Asuka was also contented by the first true smile of her friend as she guided another spoonful of baked apple omelette cake into her mouth.
The blessed sweetness that spread throughout their mouths relaxed their expressions and the duo exchanged a look with a smile of contentment.
- [magrefnotes: regarding the thin crescent moon in the sky, the actual translation would have been ‘the moon of the third day of the lunar cycle in the sky’, although it is also pointed out by jorgelotr that it is the same as the pun on Izayoi's name and may have been a double translation error. ]
- [magrefnotes: The Community decreed festival is so named because it is a festival that is made into a tradition and a law because it has yet to be cleared by the participants of the previous attempts and it is a Game that is specifically hosted by the same Community.]
- [magrefnotes: omelette cakes look really delicious. Basically omelettes stacked over each other to form a thick layered cake with fillings between each fried egg sheet. Google it for image. Don't know how to put the link here XD]