The Unexplored Summon Blood Sign:Volume3 Opening1
Opening X-01: Let’s Settle This Once and For All
“Oh, Onii-chan. I’m cooking a meal for-…”
“Oh, honestly!! This is already leading to my death, isn’t it!?”
(Opening X-01 Open 05/20 12:30)
Let’s Settle This Once and For All
It was midday on May 20.
Once Golden Week ended, May grew much duller.
That may have been why Shiroyama Kyousuke, the skilled summoner also known as Freedom Award 903, Alice (with) Rabbit, had let his guard down.
(Honestly, why do I need all this money to retire? Now I’m stuck getting help from Aika as a middleman…)
As soon as he opened the door to Aika’s apartment like usual and caught a whiff of that odor, he should have turned right around. No, he should have noticed when he placed his hand on the doorknob. And he should have run out of there as quickly as possible, even if it meant jumping down the elevator shaft.
(Nothing good ever comes from the jobs that Government hires Freedom for, but this will be the last one. I can put up with just a little more.)
But he carelessly stepped inside.
He heard a cheerful girl humming some kind of tune down the hall.
When he walked on in, he found Aika wearing an apron over her white and green striped bikini that looked mint-flavored.
She looked back from the large kitchen area and spoke.
“Oh, Onii-chan. I’m cooking a meal for-…”
“Oh, honestly!! This is already leading to my death, isn’t it!?”
He could hear it. It was a bizarre sound like gas bubbling up from the depths of a horrible bog. He heard something flopping on the chopping block and heard hard bones being cut with a thick knife. What was that? What was she doing? Kyousuke’s eyes were already bulging and something other than the name of a dish came to mind: Oh, come to think of it, didn’t the firefighters find an old man who had turned to soup after he died while reheating the bathwater?
“Ah!? C-come to think of it, where’s Lu-san? She can cook like a normal human being. If she was supervising Aika, then this should still be within the acceptable limits of mankind!!”
“Yeah, she was supervising me…”
“Oh, I see. Good. Tell me that sooner. Now there’s nothing to worry-…”
But he trailed off.
She “was” supervising her? Why was that in the past tense?
He found the answer before long.
With no warning, the cupboard’s large door opened outwards. No one had touched it, so it had to have been pushed open from within. Then something fell out. The person who collapsed to the floor and stopped moving was Lu Niang Lan in her modified China dress.
There is no response. It is merely an empty shell.
But in all seriousness, Lu Niang Lan’s look of peaceful rest had grown ashen. People called that a pallor of death. Something red dripped from the corner of her mouth, but it may have been ketchup. However, he could not help but see it as blood.
“Y-you fool. Did you start feeling sorry for her as you watched, Lu-san? Did you decide to taste Aika’s cooking…no, test it for poison!?”
“Tch. You noticed. Anyway, yours will be ready soon, Onii-chan. Take a seat and wait.”
“You’re not even giving me time to collect the body!?”
Kyousuke reached into his hoodie’s pocket. Instead of an Incense Grenade for the Summoning Ceremony, he pulled out a military stun grenade used as a smokescreen. It looked exactly the same, so it was useful for cruelly blinding a careless summoner and then pummeling them the old fashioned way.
He pulled the pin.
A carnivore larger than a tiger or lion caught the airborne hairspray-sized explosive in her mouth. A stun grenade created intense light and noise, but it was almost entirely nonlethal. In some cases, there were accidental deaths when they detonated while in contact with someone, but that was when the fragments of the exterior case hit them. When using a metal case made for repeated uses, the lethality dropped even further.
It detonated inside the white liger’s mouth, but no light escaped. After it exploded like crackling gum, the liger spat out the remains. Aika’s pet, partner, and sofa slowly approached Kyousuke.
He turned tearfully around, but it was too late.
Before he took his third step, she grabbed the back of his hoodie in her mouth like he was a kitten.
“W-wait, liger!! Let’s make a deal. I’ll give you twenty kilograms of angus sirloin red meat, so can you please let me go!?”
As if to say “shut up, get over here, and do as you’re told”, the animal placed Kyousuke in the seat of honor at the dining table.
Then the time of his execution arrived.
In her swimsuit and apron, Aika placed a large plate of “it” in front of him.
That was enough for an unpleasant sweat and tears to well up on his face.
Aika sat across from him, placed her elbows on the table, rested her small chin on her clasped hands, and smiled.
She would not let him escape until he ate it.
“I made omurice today.”
“I can already smell something really raw from here.”
“It’s an egg dish, so of course it smells raw.”
“That you think that is enough reason to worry right there! There’s no way this can have a happy ending!!”
He struggled, but it was no use. The white liger growled behind him to demand he continue.
Kyousuke grabbed the silver spoon with a trembling hand as if he were picking up a handgun on the second or third round of Russian roulette. He squeezed his eyes shut, tensed his lips, and prayed to god, but when he opened his eyes, the yellow mass was still there. Perhaps a summoner who used the gods of legend as a stepping stool would not receive their blessings.
He made up his mind and touched the yellow surface. The film of cooked egg split apart with a sticky sound. Like the abdominal cavity bursting to let the organs spill out, the chicken rice inside came into view with a color halfway between red and flesh-colored. The steam and heat reached his face, so he felt like he was staring into a colorful ditch on a summer day.
It was sticky and slimy.
The bizarrely sticky sheen confused his sense of sight.
“The fluffiness is the key to making a good omurice. That’s why I only half-cooked it. Eheh.”
“A-are you serious? The raw smell is hitting me like an invisible wall.”
The stomach acid rose up his esophagus, but he just barely managed to force it back down. He had yet to take a single bite, yet he was dying for some water.
The ingredients had to be the same.
It couldn’t have anything in it that would kill him.
He tried telling himself that, but it was not working. He recalled the peaceful look on Lu Niang Lan’s face as she lay pale and unmoving on the floor. He seriously doubted it was happiness that had caused that. He had heard that a type of gas weapon would relax all the muscles of the body, so the corpses would look like they were smiling when rigor mortis set in.
Perfect Dragon had ended up like that. That Illegal woman could defeat the average summoner barehanded even within the Summoning Ceremony that allowed free use of all sorts of monsters, but even her steel body had not been enough to save her.
Escaping unscathed was not possible. He had to give up on that.
Would he cut off the leg trapped below the rubble or would he stay there and die?
He had to make that sort of warrior’s decision.
“Two days…no, three. A short stay in the hospital might not be so bad!! Toryah!!”
If he hesitated, it would never end. And most likely, it would only grow more hellish if he let it grow cold. The spoon stabbed into the omurice with an indescribable sound and he felt the utensil tearing through something stringy. He forcibly suppressed the disorientation coming from his inner ear and brought the bite to his-
My, my. I didn’t expect you so soon. Have you finally given up on the world of the living?
He had believed people thought with their brain.
He was familiar with the folk belief that they thought with their heart.
In that moment, Shiroyama Kyousuke took a step into the unknown. All living creatures ate food to obtain nutrients and continue living. So of course, the stomach had to be central to people’s lives.
Something exploded in his stomach.
The surge raced along his spine, sent irregular wriggling movements through all his organs, and stabbed into his brainstem. All five of his senses flashed in and out. The outlines of everything before his eyes were filled with an oozing dance of psychedelic colors. It made no sense for food to mess with his vision, but people used more than just their eyeballs to see. They also analyzed it with their brains.
Shiroyama Kyousuke nearly entered an artistic trance and nearly had his soul taken away by a hallucination of the White Queen lazing around and enjoying some afternoon TV, but he used all of his strength to return to the world of the living.
It was all over if he vomited. He chugged three glasses of water to force it back down.
Finally, he could speak the human tongue once more.
“What…the hell!? Was this really an egg dish!? It tasted like licking the inside of a hungover old man’s stomach!!”
“That’s a little too poetic for me to understand.”
“There’s way too much ketchup in the chicken rice and it’s so salty I think it’s dangerous on a medical level rather than a culinary one!!”
“But if I don’t put that much in, I can’t get that beautiful blood red color.”
“And why is it all so gritty!? Is it sand? Or pebbles!?”
Aika cut him off and got to the heart of the issue.
“A little sister’s cooking can’t be delicious, can it? It’s perfect because it isn’t any good. The hopeless flavor is what makes it so charming.”
The boy heard the thin strands of his nerves snapping.
“I knew it!! I knew you had to know it was bad!! I can accept trying your best only for it to not work out, but purposefully making it bad is an insult to the ingredients!!”
Shiroyama Kyousuke roared just like the white liger.
Clear drops fell from Aika’s eyes.
And of course, this was nothing as cute as being sad that he had insulted her cooking. She was a skilled summoner known as Government Award 870, Hikikomori, and she worked as a top-class middleman who managed the distribution of jobs. She did not have a heart as soft as tofu.
“Onii-chan,” said the apron swimsuit girl. “You complain, but you noticed, didn’t you? You noticed how the world works, at least enough to have your own view of what a little sister’s cooking should be.”
“I’m happy. I’m so very happy, Onii-chan. I was right… I was right to continue my shock therapy for so long!!”
“I never said anything about that being ‘a little sister’s’ cooking, so stop trying to force it in that direction!!”
“I’ve spent so long waiting for this moment!! Liger! Today is Onii-chan’s first little sister day, so we need to cook some red rice!!!!!!”
“What a pain. Oh, what a pain in the ass!! Everywhere I go is a dead end, so I have no idea where to go next!!”
He struggled, but it was no use.
Round two of the insane home cooking had begun.
- Aika can cook, but a little sister’s cooking must not be good.
- Her deadly skill defeated Lu Niang Lan, the dreaded Perfect Dragon, in just one bite.
- As soon as Kyousuke took a bite, he saw a hallucination of the White Queen, but it is unknown what that means.
- As a form of shock therapy, Aika really just wanted Kyousuke to give his personal view of a little sister’s cooking.
- She will apparently be cooking red rice today.
- In the end, it is still unknown what Shiroyama Kyousuke thinks about “a little sister’s” cooking.
|Back to Prologue||Return to Main Page||Forward to Opening X-02|