Tasogare-iro no Uta Tsukai:Volume1 1st Play
1st Play: Etude of Red and Night
“Hey Kululu, have you decided which one to choose?”
Mio, in one corner of the general store, inquired loudly to the opposite corner of the room.
……Really, I could hear her fine even without the loud voice!
Kluele Sophi Net, the friend who trotted forward and gave Mio a half-reproaching look, shook her head.
The store was not very big, and there weren’t many people. After shrugging her shoulders, Mio showed off the emerald-green drawing paper held in her left hand.
“Hey, I’ve decided to use this one. Don’t you think the size is perfect?”
She gazed with moss-green eyes similar to the color of the paper. Mio Rentia — a girl with characteristic petit size who possessed an adorable doll-like face. Although she was also sixteen years old, the impression of her exterior appearance and her carefree tone of voice made her look one or two years younger.
“I’m still worried, but drawing paper is an alternate option for me.”
“I think drawing paper is wonderful. After you’re done, you can bring over the origami.”
With an innocent smile, Mio swung her short blonde hair.
“Are you going to use the frog paper that you called out to make origami……? I think that one’s kind of bad. It feels like it will become sticky.”
“Then, which one does Kululu want?”
That is where the problem lay. Kluele pretended to brush away the long hair that started to stick to her face and moved her gaze away from Mio, who questioned in an annoyed voice.
In the Recitation school that the two attended, there were only four days left until the recital contest assembly.
Recital contest – a competition where every student Recited, and called out the best object they could. Famous Reciters were invited as judges for this great event.
To students of their grade, most have the attitude of simply joining the fun. However, to students wanting to graduate, it is an important occasion that influences career choices.
“Mm, let’s just use this one.”
After hesitating for a long time, Kluele picked up a tube of red paint from a merchandise display basket.
“Eh… This kind of paint is commonly used in school!”
Mio puffed up both of her cheeks in an unsatisfied manner.
When entering high school, every student chose the color that they would specialize in. Mio chose Green, and Kluele chose Red. In the upcoming recital contest, students must use their specialized color to Recite. The problem was what to use as a catalyst.
Just like how Mio chose a green paper to use as a catalyst, the circumstances for a Red-color Recitation was the same. In brief, as long as the material was red, it could function as a catalyst.
As a result, Kluele chose red paint – However, Mio felt disappointed by this fact.
“It’s only because I always use it, that I can feel at ease using that. There will be a lot of people coming to watch, right? If I fail or can’t call out anything, I will feel humiliated.”
“Mm, what you say is right. However, don’t you feel like you’re missing something?”
The girl shrugged her shoulders…… Mio sometimes fusses over strange points.
“It doesn’t matter. After all, I still can’t call out anything truly extraordinary.”
Glancing at her incessantly complaining friend, Kluele continued to walk towards the front sales desk.
“Hurry up. After we leave, we are still going to check answers for tomorrow’s schoolwork, right? If you keep hesitating, isn’t that such a waste of time?”
“But I always think……”
Kluele grabbed the arm of the girl with the puffed up cheeks and dragged her outside.
“Stop complaining, let’s hurry and go back.”
They walked down a path to which the end couldn’t be seen. After walking for almost half an hour, their destination finally appeared.
Tremia Academy. It is the Recitation school attached to the Tremia research institute, and is widely known as one of the very best schools in the world. With consistent courses from junior high school all the way to senior high school, its facilities and equipment by far exceed other large-scale schools.
“Kululu, I was thinking……”
Using her arm to hold the folder of paper against her body, Mio came closer while talking in the tone of a spoiled child. At this time, most people could probably guess her next words.
"It’s too troublesome to return home. Tonight, can I stay at Kululu’s place?”
Sure enough, it was the same as before.
“Fine, fine. But you have to help me cook!”
Kluele raised the shopping bags that she held in the air to substitute for a nod of her head. Kluele was originally a student from another country. For the chance to go to Tremia Academy, she is now living alone in the academy dormitory. Every day, Mio commutes to school from her own house, but the round trip easily takes over four hours. Therefore, if it is too late in the evening, she would usually spend the night in Kluele’s room.
“……But, why is it this hot?”
Mio, who was walking beside her, complained futilely. Tiny beads of sweat appeared on her forehead.
“Because it’s summer.”
Because she didn’t know how to respond, Kluele also stated the obvious, most certain fact.
It wasn’t that she didn’t understand Mio’s mood. The asphalt road attracted the heat of the sun, and burned their feet through the soles of their shoes. Occasionally, excessively dry wind blew, which parched their throats after breathing it in.
In fact, she also wanted to wipe the sweat off of her forehead, but because of the shopping bag in her hands, she had to repress the urge. In comparison, Mio still had one free hand and used it to take out a hankerchief.
“But, what makes me happy is that summer vacation is coming up. Does Kululu have any plans?”
—After thinking about it for a few seconds, the faces of her parents appeared in her mind.
“I will probably go back to my hometown. Although I have sent letters, without seeing me in person, they can’t feel at ease.”
“At ease? That’s true, of course your parents will worry.”
“But I’m already sixteen years old. They still worry so much about me, but don’t they ever wonder if it’s annoying?”
The two continued chatting while walking towards the shadow of a tree by the roadside. The feeling of wearing clothes soaked in sweat was very uncomfortable.
……It was a mistake to wear such a thick jacket, wasn’t it?
Kluele wore long pants on the bottom half of her body. Because she didn’t like to wear skirts, there was nothing she could do about it. However, she should have worn a blouse instead.
“Are your parents worried about your grades?”
Mio grinned mischievously, while at the same time observing Kluele’s expression.
“How did Kululu do on this time’s combined test? Didn’t you say that you failed the guessing questions?”
“Ah… Don’t ask me about that!”
As if trying to escape, Kluele turned so that her back faced the girl at her side.
Before the vacation, a combined test had been held. Out of the combined one thousand six hundred people in four grades, Kluele’s score ranked one thousand three hundred seventy. Out of the four hundred and one people in her same grade, she ranked two hundred and fifth. The guessing questions that she had practiced with her friend the day before the test were all useless. She practically handed back a blank exam paper. The people in the ranks below her had pretty much the same situation.
……However, even though she had said it like that, after the scores were announced, in the classroom crying piteously beside her was only the girl currently at her side. Mio had been smiling only before she received her school report.
“How did Mio do on the test?”
“Me? About the same as last time, I just barely made it into the top one hundred. Compared to the people in my grade, I’m ranked second!”
“Wow, you traitor! The same as last time? How are you able to do so well?”
Because it was so unexpected, Kluele couldn’t help but raise her voice. However, the girl in question had an aloof expression on her face.
“Eh? Because the questions this time were really easy. All you had to do was to remember the color reactions in our textbook to get three questions correct.”
……But I remember that the textbook was a lot thicker than a dictionary!
Even though Mio spoke in a relaxed voice, she was probably the only first-year student who had read that book from start to finish.
“Hey, it’s because if I don’t do well, I won’t get as much pocket money.”
“……Next time, you have to treat me to dinner.”
Really, what a sly person.
Half amazed, Kluele turned her head away. Even though she did that, Mio immediately circled in front of her and stared intently into Kluele’s face.
“But I really did read the book. Because I really admire Xin-sama!”
“Xin-sama is…… that Rainbow Color Reciter?”
The Reciter equal to a legend, it made the girl’s face turn even redder and she nodded slightly.
“Because, can you believe it? He’s not even thirty years old. He’s only a little more than ten years older than us, and he is already proficient in all of the Recitation Colors. Even though I’ve only seen pictures of him, he looks really handsome! I really hope to meet him one day. Ah…… If I could, I wish that one day I could become his apprentice—”
Mio’s eyes sparkled as she portrayed the scene in her head. ……She’s really unbearable. Although she sighed and laughed bitterly, she herself hadn’t noticed that she had already entered the vain world.
“Yes, yes, I understand. That’s why you’re—”
It was just when she was about to stop Mio’s endless monologue.
About twenty meters ahead of her, at the point where the road split into two, Kluele spotted a person that she had never met before.
It was a young child. Although it was hard to see from a distance, he couldn’t be older than them. His hair was a dark purple, able to be called the color of a grape. He didn’t wear a Tremia Academy uniform, but rather everyday clothes. Because he wore a black children’s coat, he was especially eye-catching. Even though it was midsummer, it was surprising that he wore such thick clothing – But what made him even more intriguing was the bird-like creature perched on his shoulder.
“Eh, who is that child?”
It seemed that even Mio had realized. Because she wasn’t carrying much in her hands, she jogged over.
“Hey, what are you doing? This is considered to be the school’s campus, you know.”
“Eh…… Ah, yeah. Oh, were you talking to me?”
The boy asked, looking startled. It seemed that because he had been so concentrated on gazing down each fork of the road that he hadn’t noticed us until now. He had a gentle, androgynous face brimming with a childish nature.
He was…… a child, no matter how you looked at it.
To Kluele, he looked about twelve or thirteen years old. He was exactly the same height as Mio.
[I don’t know which way to go. I heard that the student dormitories were down this road, but I wasn’t told that there was a split in the path. Just which way should I take?]
The one who answered to the words above wasn’t the boy—
“Wah, Arma. I told you clearly, you can’t just suddenly open your mouth and start talking!”
The boy hastily covered the mouth of the creature on his shoulder. It wasn’t a bird. The skin covering its body…… The proper way to call it would be scales. It resembled the dark purple color of the boy’s hair, but the color and luster were even stranger. That appearance seemed like……
Mio shrieked in an off-tone voice. At that sound, the enigmatic creature on the boy’s shoulder narrowed its eyes.
[Not a lizard. Little girl, don’t you recognize me?]
The thoroughly astounded Mio shook her head. How could she know! First of all, based on just the outward appearance, it didn’t look like anything other than a lizard. Even more important was that its size was similar to a cat’s. It was the first time that Kluele had seen a lizard that called itself ‘I’.
“Ah, idiot Arma. I’ve repeatedly reminded you that you are not allowed to talk!”
[You don’t have to worry, Neight. These two little girls seem to have the same interests as you. The fact that I can talk isn’t a very significant matter.]
Similar interests? For a moment, she was bewildered by his point, but in other words……
“Hey, you. This interest isn’t Reciting things, is it?”
Kluele moved her gaze from the reptile animal to the boy. She saw the boy’s expression relax slightly.
“Yes, yes, that’s right. But I didn’t mean Reciting…… Ah, right, are you two both studying to become Reciters? Because when Arma started talking, common people would be very startled.”
To conceal his embarrassment, the boy shyly scratched the back of his head.
……No, we were extremely startled.
Kluele swallowed the words that were about to come out of her mouth.
Although calling out a living creature wasn’t difficult, being able to call out a high-level creature capable of human speech was a different matter. Based on the degree of difficulty, it should be equivalent to the second stage — a Recitation of the second scale. In other words, even high school teachers would have trouble with this type of Recitation. How many children in the world would walk around freely with such a rare creature called out?
But that was not our problem. It wouldn’t make a difference no matter how curious we were.
“Then, you are Neight-kun, right? The guy on your shoulder said — you were looking for the dormitory?”
[Hey, little girl, to call me ‘that guy’……]
Before he could finish his sentence, his mouth was once again covered by the boy.
“Ah, yes. You can just call me Neight. I transferred from another school. I just arrived here today, so I don’t know where the dormitories are……”
“Yeah, the dorms are just up ahead. Because it is divided into girls’ dormitories and boys’ dormitories, that’s why there are two roads here.”
Still holding the drawing paper, Mio raised her left hand.
“This way is the girls’ dormitories, and to the right are the boys’ dormitories.”
“So it’s like that. Thank you!”
Mio smiled at the boy, who bowed his head in gratitude.
“You’re welcome. I’m Mio, and she is Kulu—”
“I am Kluele. Since we go to the same school, perhaps we can meet again sometime.”
Kluele replied hastily, in order to interrupt Mio’s words.
With Mio’s personality, she was definitely planning to use ‘Kululu’ to introduce me. When Mio calls me that, I don’t take offense at the nickname. But when other people address me, I want them to at least use my official name. Although she thought that, the truth was that the name ‘Kululu’ seemed too childish and unsuitable.
“Mio-san and Kluele-san, right? Thank you very much! Well then, I’ll go and take a look. Arma, let’s go.”
[Little girls, thank you.]
……It makes me feel sad, to be called a ‘little girl’ by a lizard.
Although she really wanted to complain, what use would it be to scold a lizard?
Stifling the dissatisfaction in her heart, Kluele nodded lightly at the boy who bowed his head in gratitude.
“Sorry I took so long, Mio. It’s your turn to take a bath now.”
Did it harm her to wait for such a long time? Kluele yelled out from the bathroom while using a towel to wipe her wet hair. She glanced at the clock in the change room. Woah, it was already so late…… Did she bathe for too long?
After eating dinner, Mio had let her go first, and because of the sweaty afternoon, she had subconsciously bathed for such a long time.
Nobody answered. She should have been in the dining room beside the bathroom. Kluele stealthily opened the door and took a look, to discover Mio sitting with her elbow on the table, propping her cheek and staring at the ceiling.
“Hey, are you there…… Hey, are you listening to me?”
Just when she was about to walk up to Mio and block her line of sight, the girl finally opened her mouth.
“Let me ask you, Kululu, was that thing really called out?”
But apparently she seemed to react slowly. She seemed like she was talking to herself, with a dreamy expression.
“By ‘that’ you mean?”
“Didn’t we meet a kid today? I meant that thing standing on his shoulder.”
She seemed to be thinking about it. When Mio pondered over something, it was usually about something Kluele couldn’t see.
“That lizard, I don’t know whether to call it purple or black. Or maybe it wasn’t a well-known color. What type of Recitation did it take to call out such a thing?”
“……Hm, you’re right.”
Thinking about it now, perhaps it really was like that. That was a hard to describe color. If she had to take a guess, it would be red or blue. But to classify it as one color, there were many aspects of it that didn’t fit. It was something unable to be called out by either red or blue, with a mysterious dark hue.
“No matter what color it was, I wouldn’t want to call out such an arrogant lizard.”
She laughed bitterly while toweling her hair.
“Sure enough, a bird is better. I think I’ll just decide on a bird. A bird is much better than that kind of disgusting reptile.”
After saying that, Mio, who had been expressionless up until now, raised the corners of her mouth.
“I heard that birds are the most popular in the recital contest. About three hundred people have the goal of calling out a bird, so it’s totally insignificant.”
“At least I heard it was like that last year.”
Even though Mio raised the mug to her mouth, her expression remained blank. Listening to her carefree tone of voice, does she plan to call out something different?
“What will Mio choose?”
“I will be calling out an animal, but I’m still hesitating. Should I call out many small animals, or one larger one?”
Out of all the Green creatures, which ones are considered big? Although she was curious, the reason Mio wasn’t explaining in detail was probably to give her a surprise.
“Let’s not talk about it anymore. Mio, if you don’t go take a bath now, the water will be cold.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Kululu, you’re too slow!”
“I came out a long time ago. It’s because you were so lost in thought that you didn’t notice. If you have time to stay here and complain, you might as well hurry up and go.”
From behind, she pushed the complaining Mio into the bathroom. I still have my club’s morning practice tomorrow, so if you don’t hurry and take a bath, I will be very annoyed.
“Your limit is ten minutes. When the time is up, turn off the lights!”
“Eh…… What, you cheater…… Wait a moment, Kulu—”
Ignoring the talking girl, Kluele closed the door of the change room.
“Thank you for your hard work. Well then, please excuse me.”
The bell declaring the arrival of the morning class resounded. After greeting the seniors at the club activity, Kluele charged full-speed into the first year’s school building.
The space occupied by Tremia Academy was about three times the size of an average school. Walking from the clubroom to the first year’s school building took at least half an hour.
“Woah, it’s already this late……”
Shooting a glance at her wristwatch, there were two minutes left until class started. She gasped for air as she climbed the stairs of the building. After that— the sign of her classroom ‘1-B’ came into her field of view. Putting her hand on the door handle, she maintained a running posture as she opened the door.
Because she exerted too much energy, the door swung incessantly, shaking as if in an earthquake. However, the students did not find this unusual. If she did not do this, she would be late for class. All of the students in the class already understood this.
“Kululu, good morning. Your record is pretty good; it was seven seconds faster than last month’s average.”
Mixed with a bitter laugh, Mio, who held a stopwatch in one hand, declared in a carefree manner.
“……I don’t have time to care about that kind of stuff. Where’s the teacher? Isn’t she here yet?”
“Mm, she’s not here yet. It looks like you’re on time today.”
“You mean, I’m also on time today.”
Moving her gaze away from Mio, who seemed to still want to say something, she opened the backpack in her hand. Just when she was about to take out an energy drink, the door in front of her eyes opened.
Wearing a soft green outfit and with shoulder-length blonde hair dazzling in the sun, a woman walked smoothly into the classroom. She was the homeroom teacher, Kate.
“’Morning, everyone…… Ah, Kluele, you aren’t late today.”
The teacher taunted gently. She twitched her cheek for an instant.
“Is, Is this natural?”
Kluele pretended to calmly sit down. Those words caused Kate to shrug her shoulders.
—I…… Am I wrong?
I’m confident that I arrive at school earlier than anyone else, but because the club’s morning exercise lasts almost until the preparation bell, I’ve earned the disgraceful title of ‘King of arriving late to class’.
“I look forward to you continuing to arrive on time tomorrow…… Ah, it looks like all the other students are already here.”
The teacher held back a laugh while beginning to take attendance of the students.
“There are also no special announcements today. We will conduct catalyst experiments in fifth block, so please gather at Laboratory One after finishing your lunch. This is the one thing you cannot forget. Next……”
Kate stopped and coughed lightly.
“Even though we are close to summer vacation, ‘1-B’ has a new student. He is thirteen years old this year, and the youngest member of the class.”
The atmosphere in the class immediately became friendly. A boy sitting in a nearby seat made a small noise of surprise. In a seat a little farther away, the usually absent-minded Mio was also surprised.
Because learning to become a Reciter isn’t compulsory education, everyone all studies the same common subjects before twelve years old. After that, each decides what to focus on studying. Recitation school is merely one of the specialist schools.
As a result, there are no boundaries based purely on age. After finishing third year of middle school, and completing the fourth year of high school, one is able to obtain the qualifications to become a Reciter. Taking high school at only thirteen years old, means that at ten, he attended normal school and Recitation school at the same time? Although it wasn’t unprecedented in history, it was undoubtedly a rare case.
“Let me introduce you to everyone. Neight-kun, please come in.”
……Eh, Neight? Where have I heard that before?
As soon as the door opened, a boy wearing the white uniform of Tremia Academy came in.
He had dark purple hair, with height average for a thirteen-year-old boy. Although he was nervous and somewhat stiff, it was still possible to see his innocent, childish face. When their eyes met—
Before Kluele could speak, Mio, sitting in the corner of the classroom, cried out. For a split second, he was startled because someone suddenly called out his name. However, he soon said:
“Ah…… Eh…… It couldn’t be Mio-san?”
“Mm, you still remember me. Ah, Kululu is here too!”
Seeing Neight’s puzzled expression, Mio voluntarily pointed over this way —Mio, that idiot.
Kluele couldn’t help but lower her shoulders while sighing. She had purposely introduced herself as ‘Kluele’ yesterday, but in a split second, her words were made futile.
“……Good morning, Neight.”
“Ah, Kluele-san, good morning.”
To be able to receive such a serious response made her thankful, but because of this, the gazes of all the students in the class were on her.
“—Well, Kluele, do you know this kid? Doesn’t he look cute?”
The friend sitting behind her poked her in the back with a pen. Students around her also said things like, “Eh? I didn’t expect Kluele to know him. How unexpected!” ……It really was humiliating.
“Ah, Mio and Kluele, do you know this student?”
At hearing their conversation, question marks surfaced in Kate’s mind.
“Yesterday, we met him near the dormitories.”
Mio answered right away.
“I see. It’s good that you already have people you know. Ah, but Neight-kun, because the other people aren’t familiar with you yet, could you please introduce yourself?”
“Ah…… Yeah, okay.”
Standing up straight, the boy on the stage bowed his head.
“Eh…… I am called Neight Yehlemihas. I used to go to a school in my hometown, but because my mother is a graduate of this school, I have always wanted to come here……”
The teacher gently put her hand on the boy’s shoulder, surveying the classroom.
“There is still time before the first class starts. Does anyone have any questions for him? It would be tiring for him to answer questions individually, so please ask any questions that you have right now.”
“Ah - ! Me, I have a question!”
The one who immediately raised her hand was the girl who had poked Kluele with a pen, Ada.
“Um, what color of Recitation do you want to specialize in?”
After hearing that question— the boy suddenly looked at the teacher in dismay.
“Um…… That…… Mine is…… a little different than normal.”
The teacher urged the embarrassed, mumbling boy to continue speaking.
“It’s called Night Color Recitation…… I’m…… studying that field.”
The boy lowered his head in an embarrassed manner and said those words.
Rather than saying she had tilted his head, her whole facial expression was dumbfounded as Ada pondered those words.
“Night as in Day and Night. Should I call it blackish-blue, or purple…… Either way, it’s that kind of color of Recitation.”
“The school that Neight-kun previously went to, did they teach that type of color?”
Looking at Ada, who had an unbelievable look on her face, he replied uneasily:
“Um, I don’t think any place teaches it…… Because that is the original creation of my mother.”
Original creation. Those words caused Ada to let out a small sigh.
“In other words, it’s a new Recitation Color?”
However, he hurriedly waved his hand.
“No, it’s not that amazing, and no application has been sent for a new Recitation Color…… And plus, I myself still haven’t…… fully mastered it yet.”
His voice became quieter as he spoke. Well, having just transferred, it was only natural.
Just when Kluele, who sat propping up her chin, was about to help him out of his embarrassment, the bell signaling the end of homeroom rang.
The sun began to slowly climb up to the heavens, and the temperature in the room rose accordingly. Like a being in a sauna, it was a humid heat that stuck to people’s skin. Now, the inside of the air-conditioned school cafeteria should have been overflowing with teachers and students without class. Those who had no class should have ordered themselves a cup of iced tea and gracefully passed the time there.
—But, that is based on the condition that students have no class to attend.
A sigh was about to escape her mouth, but Kluele stiffly swallowed it back.
In the Recitation school, foundation courses were taught in the morning while the afternoon was filled with classes of practical drills. High school first year students spend approximately one year studying the basics of performing a recitation.
“Has everyone arrived?”
Wearing a white gown over her clothes, Kate walked around the laboratory.
Basically, recitation experiments were conducted in groups of four people.
One was the Reciter, one was the record keeper, and the other two were assistants to prevent an emergency situation.
Kluele’s female partner was Mio, and her male partner was Alsem. —He was a tall student with an earnest nature, and specializing in Yellow Recitations. Finally, there was also Neight. Because he was a new student and currently studying an unclear Recitation, he became a partner that every group fought to get. But because she recognized the situation, Mio successfully half-forced him into her group.
“So, let’s decide who will go first.”
After she had finished making the straws, Kluele let the other three members of the group draw first. Although it was called an experiment, in general terms, it was simply conducting a Recitation of one’s specialized color that served as a trial run for the recital contest three days later.
“Ah, I’m second.”
Mio said in an unconcerned voice.
“I seem to be fourth.”
Following Alsem’s words were Neight. ……In other words……
“……Ah, I’m first.”
“Being first must be nervous.”
Kluele shrugged her shoulders as a reply to Mio’s teasing.
From the paint stacked beside the table, she took out the red can of paint. A Recitation must come in contact with a catalyst. Kluele unwillingly squeezed out some paint from the can and smeared it on the fingertips of her left hand.
……Although the catalyst that beginning students used was convenient, the action of smearing it on her hand felt uncomfortable no matter how many times she did it.
“Neight, I’m ready.”
With the stopwatch grasped in his hand, Neight made a signal.
“Alright, please begin.”
While he spoke those words, Kluele closed her eyes.
In her mind, she pictured the thing that she wanted to call out and imagined constructing it right now in her left hand.
Red, flower petals that were a color deeper blood.
Even more important was that inside the complete perception, at the same time existed an illusion that would disperse at just a touch.
Resound from within the deep red
[—sheon lef ped-l-clue rien-c-soan]
Affection, arrogance, loveliness.
What she portrayed in her mind was a flower able to be described by many words.
Beyond (you) praise your name
YeR be orator Lom nehhe
Crimson, Sharp, Lovely
Lor besti redi ende kele-l-lovier
Devilishness of beauty and flicker of a sharp knife
Lor priidia rigveshi lovi, kele ledg
<OratorioSong of Praise>
It is used when calling the thing described in one’s heart, the songs of praise composed from the Untouchable LanguageSerafeno Musical Language).
By praising the name of the thing one wishes to call, it is invited. —This is the origin of the name Recitation. Using sound to send out information externally is to entice the ChannelRecital Gate to open.
She slowly opened her eyes. The paint adhered to her left hand began to emit a red glow.
Changing visible light into energy.
In other words, the energy wavelengths of the red paint and the material being called right now produced the SynchronizeSame Tune Phenomenon. Using the common energy wavelength as a medium to call out the target — that is the structure of a Recitation.
The time that the ChannelRecital Gate is open isn’t long at all. Without even blinking her eyes, Kluele stared fixedly at the red light blossoming in her left hand. The radiance gradually increased…… Resembling the shattering of glass, the rays of light suddenly began to break.
This represented the moment when the ChannelRecital Gate was completely open.
The breaking light fragmented and then gradually disappeared. Kluele very carefully opened her left hand. From between her fingers, a scarlet petal gently fell.
Relieved, she let go of the breath that she had been holding in.
On her left hand bloomed — A scarlet flower.
“Oh, so it’s a flower! It’s very pretty. What kind of flower is it?”
Mio clapped her hands lightly.
“This is called an amaryllis. I really like this type of flower.”
She had originally planned to speak in a nonchalant voice, but she couldn’t stop the smile that appeared on her face.
“Exactly thirty seconds. Kluele-san is amazing.”
Kluele accepted the stopped stopwatch from Neight’s hands. The time limit of the recital competition was about one minute. Thirty seconds was considered in the safe range.
The second person to step up was Mio. Using the green paint that she had bought yesterday, she called out a small turtle. She used fifty-five seconds. She had originally planned to call out two turtles, but because her concentration wasn’t strong enough, she had changed it to one. The third person was Alsem, who attempted to call out a canary. However, a bird was different from a turtle or a flower; it was a moving animal. Because of this, the visualizing stage was considerably challenging. After two minutes of trying, he proclaimed to give up.
“Neight, you can begin any time.”
Taking the record sheet and stopwatch, Kluele signaled to the partner in front of her.
“Ah, okay, I’ll give it a try.”
It seemed that Neight also used paint.
Night Color Recitations. It wasn’t a Recitation written in the school textbook. Although Kluele’s heart was half filled with doubt, it seemed that Neight was serious. He poured black paint into the mixing tray, and then coated it over his fingertips.
A commotion burst out behind him. When he realized this and looked around him, he was amazed to find that all the other groups had temporarily stopped their movements and concentrated on watching this one group.
Under the gaze of so many people, wouldn’t that make him unable to concentrate?
You guys should just continue to do your own work — If he had noticed sooner, he could have chided everyone. However, it was a pity that Neight had already commenced the Recitation.
Descend, dark curtain of twilight
[—cart lef dimi-l-shadi denca-c-dowa]
I praise the distant (your) name
YeR be orator Lom nehhe
Dark, courageous, pitiful (sorrowful)
lor besti bluci ende branousi-l-symphoeki
Master’s single wing (transient master)
O she saira qersonie Laspha—
The surrounding atmosphere began to become noisy. Obviously, the reason was that nobody knew what this boy would call out.
As long as one is somewhat familiar with Recitations, they are able to use someone’s Song of Praise chant to speculate on the thing being called out.
Kluele had already gone through the studies of middle school third year, and was familiar with the basics of Recitations. If the thing being called was a common object or creature, it could be recognized simply by hearing its Song of Praise. It should be like that.
Dark and majestic, as well as pitiful?
It was impossible to guess the true identity of the thing that Neight was currently calling out. The people beside her felt the same way. They could only gaze amazingly at the radiance arising from Neight’s hand.
Black light. Rather, it would be more appropriate to call it shadows. A dusky shadow appeared on the boy’s hand. Even though the laboratory was underneath the glow of the setting sun, the shadow did not disappear. It could be called a stagnant night that negated the sun.
Although it was impossible to immediately believe it, this boy was conducting a Night Color Recitation. The shadow began to become larger and stronger. Gradually, it shrank into a sphere……
After that, the night split open.
The boy said in a quiet voice, a sound that would have been covered by the wind if the window had been open.
In a split second, the room was full of black smoke.
The object being called out wasn’t solid—
“Eh? W-What is this! Wait…… I can’t breathe……”
After Mio’s scream, everybody emitted cries of pain.
What had been called out was simply some common black smoke.
“Eh…… How could that be…… Just that……?”
From within the frenzy, Neight’s bewildered voice could clearly be heard.
He had wanted to call out some kind of high-class creature, but had it come? This was the most common accident for beginners.
Although dust would appear when the object is burning, the fact that the more you wanted to breathe, the more dust you breathed in led to continual coughing. Eyes stung, and even eyelids felt like they could not be opened. If this was a material similar to the smoke created from a fire, then it was probably composed of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.
If they continued to breathe in these carbonic molecules and the substance arising from incomplete combustions, it would harm their central nervous system and any organs used for breathing.
I must open the window!
She remembered that there should be a window by her left-hand side, but Kluele immediately considered it once again. No, right now, there was no time to open the lock. Closing her eyes, she imagined the position of the window in her mind. After standing up, she used her right hand to grasp the chair that she had just been sitting on.
……I’m not in charge of the compensation!
Without the slightest hesitation, Kluele threw the chair at the glass window.
“It’s already so late……”
Glancing at the stars twinkling above her head, Kluele quickened her footsteps. After the club activities had finished, she was going to the store at school. After purchasing enough medical products and groceries, she was already somewhat late.
……It still hurt a bit.
Whenever she touched the bandage wrapped around her right hand, it would cause a paralyzed feeling like an electric shock. This was the injury she received a few hours ago from breaking the window and cutting her hand on glass shards. Although it wouldn’t hinder daily activities, after she had arrived at the healthcare clinic, it had been bandaged just to be careful.
The time it took for her to walk from the multi-purpose hall to the first-year school building was about ten minutes. Although the library and the gym towered in between, these two large buildings already had their lights turned out. Because they opened early in the mornings, their closing time was also early.
Her scalding body from during the day felt extremely cozy being caressed by the night’s cold wind. The seeping cold, clear air soaked into the depths of her lungs. This refreshing feeling felt like taking a bath in the wind.
……Speaking of this, what happened to Neight?
Suddenly thinking of this, Kluele dragged her gaze from above her head back to the pathway.
After she had broken the window, the dust that filled the laboratory quickly disappeared without a trace. The unstable substance that the originally failed Recitation had called out. Thinking about it now, that was a situation she should have been able to predict.
Even so, there were only a small number of students with an aching throat or pained eyes.
The inside wall of the laboratory was also smoked black, looking like the filth accumulated after a whole year. Although it included Mio and herself, while the remaining students proceeded to clean up, Neight continuously apologized to everyone throughout the next hour. He apologized to the teacher Kate, the headmaster, the students in the class, and also the one who cut her finger on the window glass, Kluele.
A Recitation failure was something that could not be helped. You were only thirteen years old, and it was also on the first day after transferring schools. Conducting a Recitation under the gaze of so many students, it would have been hard to succeed. Although they comforted him like that, they still couldn’t easily do anything to cheer up his spirit. Neight had hung his head for the entire day, until all the classes were finished.
At last, the first-year school building gradually came into view. Because it was currently forbidden to enter that laboratory, the lights were already out. The only ones with lights still on should be the medical room, office, and security room. That’s right, these should be the only places with lights still turned on.
……That is......our classroom?
It was the second classroom on the third floor. Although the curtains were closed, the light still leaked out from a small crack in the curtains. Who could it be?
These words rode the wind, and along with the light, disappeared in the black night.
“Neight, can you bring that over for me?”
Mother looked at the photograph that she wanted to put in a frame.
“Is it this one?”
The photo was hung on the wall near the ceiling, and no matter how he stretched his arm, he couldn’t reach it. After standing on a chair and stretching as high as he could, his fingers finally touched the edge of the photo frame.
—This picture, what is it?
Although it was said to be a picture, what was depicted inside wasn’t a person, and couldn’t be considered scenery. The whole photo was entirely black. Even if one took a picture of coal at close range, it couldn’t be said for sure whether this kind of photograph would be taken. However, he really couldn’t think of the reason for taking this kind of photo. Could it be because it was burnt? But if that was so, it wouldn’t be necessary to keep it. I have always been curious about this.
He handed it to his mother, who was lying in bed. However, she didn’t intend to take it.
“Neight, I give that photograph to you.”
Maintaining her position on the bed, Mother lifted the quilt slightly.
“What photograph…… is this?”
“It is especially for the purpose of the Recitation you are currently practicing, intended to be a catalyst.”
Rarely, very rarely, did Mother speak in such a soft voice. Even when her body was in good condition, it is rare for her expression to be so gentle.
“But, this isn’t a photograph of anything in particular.”
“Because it was taken at night, it is hard to identify. However, depicted in this picture is fire.”
Fire? It is obviously pitch-black, but this is fire? Neight hurriedly swallowed back the words that were about to leave his mouth, because his mother never lied or told any jokes.
“Neight, there is one more type of Recitation that I haven’t taught you.”
Not knowing whether he already knew about it or not, he had been originally staring at the ceiling and now watched Mother close her eyes.
“This is a Recitation created for your sake. Therefore, Neight, I will teach this only to you.”
[Why did you wish to call me out?]
The voice beside his ear wasn’t really questioning him demandingly. Transmitted in his eardrums was purely a tone of skepticism.
[In order to call me out, even your mother spent several years’ time. You shouldn’t have forgotten this, have you? I am not something suitable for you to call out at your present level.]
Neight lay on the table, listening silently, but his companion paid no attention to him and continued to speak.
[The dormitory I am located in is about two thousand meters away from this school. However, there isn’t a big relationship between the distance and the Recitation. But you ought to know, using Recitation to summon me is an extremely difficult thing in itself.]
……I know that.
Neight really didn’t want to start talking, and merely heaved a sigh in his mind.
But I wanted to challenge myself. I can count the number of Recitations I know with my fingers. Because of this, I want to try out new Recitations as much as possible.
“I’ve told Mother before. Arma, don’t you also know? I have to show my Night Color Recitations to the people Mother promised.”
As if it was an ordinary incantation, those words caused his companion to fall silent.
“Arma, let me ask you, was Mother really that powerful?”
[……Yes she was.]
Although his voice was so low that other than himself, nobody could sense it, it was rare for this Recited creature’s voice to seem so gentle. It was as if he was reminiscing, as if he grieved. However, the one who spoke didn’t notice this himself.
[She was the only Reciter who I acknowledged. In terms of talent, she far exceeded you.]
—I still have not received the approval of this Recited creature.
So his words concealed this meaning. That was an unmistaken, unable to be concealed fact. But even so, Neight’s heart was still filled with an unwillingness that he couldn’t express.
[However, don’t forget that I am here to raise your ability.]
As if he was propelled by those words, Neight’s lifted his head. Right now, Arma was so close that Neight could almost touch him with his nose. Arma was neither standing on the table nor on his shoulders. Unfolding the wings on his shoulder that had originally been folded on his back, Arma hovered in the air.
“I haven’t seen you fly in such a long time.”
[Although it wasn’t bad to stay on the ground, I seem to have almost forgotten how to fly.]
“Don’t push yourself. You can only fly for a maximum of forty seconds, right?”
The way that the Recited creature floated awkwardly and concentrated so hard that he didn’t reply, made Neight unable to help but laugh.
“……But, if there’s no way for me to be as amazing as Mother, I will certainly be troublesome to other people. Even today, I ended up harming Kluele-san……”
[The little girl from yesterday? But from what you have told me, I think that if it’s only that kind of injury, the little girl will not think much of it.]
When talking about this, he was still a Recited creature. What Neight worried about wasn’t only the physical injuries, but also his responsibility and compensation.
“No. Arma, you don’t understand—”
“Just like you said, I don’t mind it, so you shouldn’t take it to heart. Originally, it was me who wanted to smash the glass. However, I was criticized by that arrogant lizard, which was what made my heart a little unsteady.”
“Sure, sure. Because you didn’t mind, therefore…… eh?”
He had suddenly heard the sound of a female voice. Not only that, it was also a familiar voice. Neight hastily turned around, and saw her standing directly in front of him.
A girl with a bandaged right hand was currently leaning against the door of the classroom.
“Like I thought, it was you.”
Thinking that it was possible and then coming over to see, sure enough, she was right. Kluele smiled wryly, let out a sigh, and walked to the seat directly in front of Neight.
“Um…… That…… Sorr–”
In that instant, the boy flinched and didn’t know what to do. Just when he wanted to open his mouth, Kluele used her forefinger to lightly poke his forehead.
“Don’t apologize anymore. Haven’t you been doing that the whole day already? Always hearing you apologize will make me feel ashamed.”
When he promised with a nod, the sound of his voice was still very stiff. Because he was very pitiful to look at, Kluele moved her line of sight away from him with no clear destination. However, she happened to end up staring at the lizard standing on the table.
[Little girl, like I have said many times already, I am clearly not an arrogant lizard—]
“Then, you’re just a lizard that is able to fly?”
[After clearly seeing me fly, you are still calling me a lizard……]
Arma immediately replied. But the lizard seemed to give up, and abruptly hung his head. This human-like action looked extremely ridiculous.
“Anyways, I didn’t eavesdrop on you guys purposely.”
Just when she was hesitating about how to talk to the boy lying on the table, Kluele had heard the conversation between the other two. Looking at the apparently pouting Recited creature, she asked:
“You just said…… This guy was called out by Neight’s mother?”
“……Yes. In order to call out Arma, the Night Color theory must be constructed. My Recitations are all things that Mother has left me.”
To be honest, this was the one point that Kluele couldn’t understand. Night Color Recitations. Using this creature who was almost falling asleep on the table as an example, although he was a little annoying, he had a considerably high level of intelligence. The Reciter who was definitely capable of conduction this high level Recitation, why didn’t she announce this sixth color of Recitation?
“Because Mother had let almost nobody see Night Color Recitations. And seemingly from the beginning, she hadn’t wanted to apply for Night Color Recitations as a new Recitation color.”
Was it because she wasn’t interested in becoming famous? But then why did she act like that?
“I’ve heard…… it was because of a promise.”
Neight, who had been sitting the whole time, now stood up. Holding onto the window frame, he gazed at the glass that separated himself from the outside world.
“Although she didn’t tell me that person’s name, she told me that she already had a promise with a certain person. I gradually learned Reciting from Mother, but…… one year ago, Mother……”
Because of the light in the classroom, it should have been impossible to see the scenery outside. The only thing he could see was probably his inverted silhouette in the glass.
“As long as I continue to study Night Color Recitations, there will definitely be a day when I will meet that person. That’s what Mother told me. Because it’s like this, I thought that I might as well attend the school that Mother had formerly attended.”
Shy and introverted, that had been Kluele’s impression of the boy until now. But now she was impressed to discover that she had been wrong.
To leave his home at only thirteen years old, just for the sake of coming to this school. This was an unfamiliar environment, without anyone he knew, and surrounded by students all older than him. —All of this was simply to fulfill the promise his mother had made.
……If she had to stand in the same position, could she do that?
At least at this age, her mind was merely focused on playing with her friends.
“—You’re really amazing.”
Following an involuntary sigh, she said those words.
“You are truly amazing!”
Because of her sudden exclamation, the boy appeared to be bewildered. But it doesn’t matter, because it was simply talking to herself.
“The only reason I wanted to become a Reciter was because I simply thought ‘It seemed interesting’. That’s all.”
After taking a seat, Kluele crossed one leg over the other.
—How boring! It was such a mediocre reason.
“There was nothing that I especially wanted to do. Even now, it’s the same. Generally speaking, everyone who attended high school all wanted to become Reciters. That’s why they worked hard. But, I still don’t know if I want to become a Reciter or not.”
Without much thought, she had selected the high school with the most outstanding achievements.
That choice had happened to be learning Recitation— Really, that was her simple reason.
She could have become a person who ran a freight transport business or someone who purely researched the theory of Recitations. A person with a Reciter qualification could, in reality, work in a variety of occupations. She didn’t know for what reason her classmates had the goal of becoming Reciters. But although she didn’t know, she sensed that everyone worked hard in hopes of achieving their goal.
However, she could not be classified among that. She simply attended class in a relaxed manner, day after day. In her heart, she had always been afraid, afraid that one day someone would find that out about her.
She couldn’t speak what she sincerely felt to either Mio or her parents…… No, that was wrong. She was simply unable to have those words leave her mouth. Perhaps she simply didn’t have the courage to say those words in front of people who worked so hard.
“Is this really the path that I will advance on? Is there a different path? I have always thought about this question.”
Although she wanted to smile, her expression reflected in the window seemed very stiff.
A self-deprecating feeling pressed down on her chest. Sometimes, to her eyes, Mio looked extremely dazzling. She wanted to become a Reciter, and truthfully, she did not hesitate to try her hardest.
……Compared to her, what am I doing?
“In the end, I am a person with high standards but little ability. I know a little bit of everything, but end up quickly becoming tired of it. Therefore, I only end up learning everything half-way.”
Attending high school without any goal whatsoever, and seeming like having achieved nothing at graduation —Although she has only attended this school for half a year, her head was filled with those kinds of thoughts.
She undoubtedly felt uneasy, unable to immerse herself in any one thing. Previously, she would have felt angry at herself, but she had become numb to it a long time ago.
“How could that be…… That’s not true!”
Suddenly, the boy shook his head with all his strength.
“Kluele-san is definitely suitable for becoming a Reciter. Your recitation today was amazing!”
“……No, that kind of thing can be done by everyone if they want to.”
Forcing herself to smile, Kluele calmly denied him. The Recitation of such a small and immobile object was not difficult at all. After all, having becoming a Reciter as a goal and then going to high school could be accomplished by everyone she knew.
Although she opposed his words, the boy still hesitatingly said:
“……I think that because the one doing this is Kluele-san, that’s why such an amazing result can be achieved.”
What was that supposed to mean? Just when she was about to ask……
“Oh, how should I say it…… Although saying it to the person herself isn’t very appropriate, but…… The fresh red flower that Kluele-san called out, I think that it suits Kluele-san very well.”
Although he stood with his head bowed and at a loss of what to do, the boy in front of her eyes with a face as red as an amaryllis flower spoke those words. That flower— does it really suit me?
“Ah, no…… sorry…… I had no other intention for speaking those words. That was simply what I actually think.”
Because she had stayed silent, the boy had though that she was angry. His expression finally jolted Kluele back into action.
There was nothing to explain. It was simply because it was too abrupt and the compliment was said to her face-to-face, which caused her to freeze. Unsure of how to respond, her mind became blank.
“Eh…… Ah, mm. I know, so calm down. I was just a little stunned, that’s all.”
She waved her hand in a flustered manner. That really was humiliating. He was only thirteen years old, but it was me who looked agitated.
“……But, thank you.”
Her smile reflected in the window was definitely not a fake one.
She had never thought about it herself, but here was someone cheering her on so seriously.
Not embellishing his words, and speaking in a simple and clumsy manner —But it was truly honest encouragement. Because of this, she felt sincerely happy.
……I should also try my hardest at something.
Although she didn’t believe that she could immediately find something that she wanted to study, even so, she must try hard to find it. Before she finds her answer, it would be good to try hard at Recitations.
“I will follow your example and try my best.”
Standing up, Kluele went beside him and opened the window. Through a small crack in the window curtains, she felt the cold wind blowing at her hair.
“W-What example? There’s no such thing……”
The boy hastily shook his head.
Seeing his expression, Kluele couldn’t help but smile while letting out a breath.
“No, you should feel proud! Because you let me experience that earnest feeling, after hearing you say that makes me feel considerably ashamed.”
……For some reason, I feel jealous.
Being the complete opposite of herself, the boy possesses a steady will, and faces forward wholeheartedly.
……Was there a time when I acted in such a way?
Disregarding feelings of love, perhaps I want to stay together with this child.
The reason being— the path he wants to walk is truly too dazzling. It wasn’t the harsh light that made others want to move away their gaze, but rather the kind of dazzle that made others want to stay by his side and support him.
After slowly blinking her eyes, Kluele said to Neight:
“Then, it’s almost time for us to go. Although it is in school, it is still dangerous to be out so late. Let me escort you back.”
“Eh? But Kluele-san is a girl!”
Although she teased him with a smile, the boy actually had a serious expression.
But you are only thirteen, your height is shorter than this girl, and your physique is skinny. If you want to protect me, don’t you have to wait a while longer? Just like protecting a princess, you don’t meet the standards yet!
“Ah, I usually exercise in club activities.”
“Self-defense. Because I live alone, ever since middle school, my parents have made me learn self-defense.”
After saying that, she used her bandaged right hand to grab the boy’s hand.
“Come on, let’s go.”
“K-Kluele-san…… your right hand! It’s injured, so don’t move it around!”
Although Neight hastily tried to shake off her hand, Kluele stubbornly gripped more tightly.
“This? It doesn’t hurt at all. The healthcare teacher made a huge fuss over it, and made me bandage it.”
Actually, it did hurt. But despite that pain, Kluele wanted to hold hands with him.
The presence of the setting sun faded away, and was replaced by the color of the descending night.
Just before the closing time of the visitor’s reception building, a man wearing a dry-grass colored coat entered.
Under the shine of the light, a calm and symmetrical face could be seen.
“My apologies. Has the headmaster already left?”
He had hair that could not be called neither gold nor brown.
—Mm, where had his face been seen before?
The man who worked both at the office and as a security guard concealed the amazement in his heart, and cautiously replied with a business-like response:
“Please wait a moment. No, I think he is still in his office. However, the time allowed for off-campus people to enter the campus is almost up. If you wish to stay for a long period of time, I suggest you come earlier on another day. If it is important, please leave your name and a message.”
“……No. It is not an important matter. Then, I will come back tomorrow after school. Please just tell him ‘Xin was here’ and that will be all.”
After saying that, the man turned over his coat and turned around to leave.
Following the man’s figure with his eyes until it could not be seen, the man who had received the visitor closed the window of the visitor’s reception building.
Who could that have been? Although he couldn’t remember, he was sure that he had seen that face somewhere before.
- Arma’s way of talking: Arma refers to himself using a formal word for "I" that makes him sound old and wise (我). He calls Kluele and Mio by the more derogatory term “little girl” (小娘).