Chapter 1: Washio Sumi
Taisha Literature and History Department - Miko-sama: CENSORED
When I heard that we were chosen by the Shinju-sama, I thought that was an amazing
thing, but exactly how it was amazing, I didn't really realize.
Just that, once I heard that the enemies that were coming would destroy the world, I
thought, I must fight.
In the beginning, I lost myself in that feeling.
At that time, that I would end up turning ■■■■ into ■■■■ to keep fighting on, it
never even occurred to me in my dreams.
Hero's Memoir  298.4.25
Washio Sumi wakes up at 5 o’clock every morning and goes to the well in her backyard. Using that well’s water to cleanse her body was her daily routine. It’s cold, but thanks to that, her mind and body become tense. After that, she walks for several minutes to a shrine, and gives her prayer. She gets along well with the cat on the stairs in the shrine’s ground. She even gave him a name in her mind. After she comes home, she starts making breakfast. Cooking was her hobby.
[I won’t be satisfied if I don’t get to eat rice in the morning.]
While saying that, she skillfully handles the kitchen knife. In the Washio family, the parents prefer Western-style breakfast. Their daughter, Sumi, can’t stand that fact. To her, a breakfast with rice and miso soup is supreme.
“I’m dissatisfied with what my parents make, so I will take up the responsibility of making breakfast myself”.
She, who is so diligent, came up with that clear policy. For a while now, Sumi’s parents have been enjoying her breakfast. Her plan of converting their taste from Western-style to japanese-style has been a success.
[Thanks for the meal.]
After finishing breakfast and getting ready, all that’s left is going to school like always.
Shinju-kan, 6th year, class 1. That was the name of Sumi's school and class. Like everything in this world that had "Shinju" in its name, this school had a high prestige. The building's structure was not different from a normal school. However, its security was very strict, and every nook and cranny was thoroughly cleaned.
Sumi greets with a calm voice and enters her class.
Also having good upbringing and dignity, the classmates returned her greeting properly. Sumi liked her classmates. She talks with both the boys and the girls in the same way. Even though she doesn’t have a lover, it’s still a fulfilling school life.
...Nonetheless, even though Sumi is an honor student, she is still a child. Among the 30 classmates, there’re two people that she just doesn’t know how to deal with... Both of them are girls. One of them, right this moment, was laying her face flat on the desk next to Sumi.
[Zzz... munyamunya... my bacon...]
It’s such a clear morning and yet, that classmate is sleeping. If you asked Sumi what she thought of it, she would make a face and say “such a slug”.
(... B-but there’re times when you’re sleepy in the morning... it can’t be helped...)
And so, Sumi told herself.
She doesn’t want to nitpick about her classmate’s behavior. Sumi felt ashamed for scolding over such a trivial matter. Because this classmate, who is sleeping next to her, makes her feel that way, she isn’t fond of her.
Suddenly, that classmate’s body starts to move.
[Awawa! I’m sorry, mom!]
Screaming, she abruptly stood up.
The class went silent.
[...huh? I’m not at home?...?]
While still half asleep, the girl talked to herself.
[This is the classroom, in the morning, before homeroom starts, Nogi-san.]
Sumi calmly retorted and... At that, the class busted with laughter.
Being laughed at by everyone, the girl next to her turned bright red and sat down. In contrast to her refined features, that clumsy girl is Nogi Sonoko. Even within the organization that supports this country - Taisha - the Nogi household’s voice holds an unimaginable influence, and yet, that girl was always spacing out.
[Ahh... I’ve gone and done it, huh?]
Sumi glanced at an embarrassed grinning Sonoko.
Sonoko noticed her gaze.
With a voice like she’s out of breath, she greets.
[Ahem. Morning, Nogi-san.]
Sumi properly returned her greeting.
In any case, greeting is important. If you don't greet people, Sinju-sama will get angry. The children are all brought up with that teaching.
[Say, Nogi-san, my nickname is not Sumisuke though.]
[Ah, maybe Shiosumi is better?]
[That's not the problem here...]
[You also don't have to call me Nogi-san, just call me however you like. For example, Nogii?]
[It's too English sounding...]
Sonoko’s just peacefully grinning. Looks like she means absolutely no harm when giving other people strange nicknames. Because of that, it’s hard to deal with her. Being with such a peaceful girl in you daily life is not a problem.
Another reason why Sumi is not fond of Sonoko is that Sonoko has the same "duty" as herself. She's worried that Sonoko can't carry out that holy duty with her personality.
In the meantime, the homeroom teacher finally arrived. The teacher was a cold woman in her mid 20s, she was usually strict and was feared by the kids. However, the students didn't hate her because they understood her love for them. The usual morning class activities is about to start.
Exactly when the person on duty was about to raise commands...
[Marniiiing! I-I made it!]
A student rushed in after the teacher.
[Minowa-san, no, you didn't make it.]
The homeroom teacher lightly tapped the attendance record on the girl called Minowa's head. It's what she always does when warning students. It's a bad habit. A long time ago, her action might have raised up the corporal punishment issue, but it was no problem now. In this era, as long as it is not excessive, corporal punishment is allowed.
Again, everyone in class busted out laughing.
The girl called Minowa quickly went to her seat. Minowa's seat was a bit away from Sumi's. Right after she sat down, Minowa started talking with the other classmates.
[Hey, why are you late, Gin-chan?]
[Well, after became a 6th year, a lot of things happen]
[Ehh, what the heck?]
The place around where she sat suddenly became cheerful. This is Minowa Gin's appeal, abysmal cheerfulness.
[Awah! This is bad, I forgot my textbook.]
[Ahaha, Gin-chan, why did you even come to school?]
"Even if you say abysmal, isn't this still too much?" or so, Sumi always think. Her looks was like it's saying, "Pull yourself together already."
It would be fine if Minowa was just another classmate. Rather, she would even like her cheerfulness.
However, Minowa was like her and Nogi, she's tasked a very, very important duty, the three of them were like one. Just like the Nogi household, the Minowa household also had great power within Taisha, she wanted her to be more self-aware of that fact.
Now that the accident had end, the person on duty pulled themselves together and raised commands:
The students stood up.
The students bowed their heads.
While keeping their heads down, the students clasped their hands together.
[Thanks to Sinju-sama, we're alive today.]
They offered words of gratitude to Sinju-sama.
With that, the students finally sit down.
The school timetable contains lots of morals and Shinto lessons, that’s the unique feature of this era. The ever so serious Sumi took each lesson earnestly, and sometimes reminded her neighbour, Sonoko, to stop spacing out. In break times, she chatted with her friends, played the recorder with them, sometimes, she went to the library or the computer room, etc. She spent her time in a relatively mild way.
Incidentally, Minowa Rin belonged to the sports-oriented community. She was always playing in the schoolyard. Speaking of Nogi Sonoko, she was always dizzying around. She could talk with anyone, and could suddenly sleep anytime. It looked like she was enjoying her slow life to the fullest.
Lunch break was about to end. To prepare for the next class, Sumi stopped chatting with her classmates, and returned to her seat.
(In order to fulfill my duty, I have got training this evening... Ok, let's do my best.)
The moment she thought that...
Boom! A big shock wrapped up her surroundings. At the same time with the shock, her classmates' movements suddenly stopped.
For a moment, Sumi couldn't understand what was happening. She tried to call out to the classmates in front of her eyes. However, there were no answers or any stupid reactions.
[This is... don't tell me!]
Standing up with a clank, Sumi looked around. As expected, all movements had been stopped. Falling chopsticks were staying still in mid air. Even the clock's second hand was completely halted.
[It's here, the time to carry out my duty...]
Time stop signaled the start of the duty. Everything was according to what she had been taught.
[Hey, hey, are the enemies coming now!?]
Running from the schoolyard, Gin's expression changed as she jumped in.
[Minowa-san... you can move.]
[Since you can also move, Washio-san, I guess it's really time to do our duty.]
While the two were talking seriously...
They heard an unconcerned voice.
[So sleepy... Did I fall asleep again...?]
Nogi Sonoko woke up from her nap.
[Huh? Huh, huh, huh?]
Sonoko sensed the strange atmosphere of her surroundings.
[Am I dreamiing?... Munya~]
To the air-headed Sonoko who was about fall asleep again, both Sumi and Gin retorted at the same time.
[Time's stopped, after this, if I remember correctly...]
[Due to Shinju-sama's power, the earth will be transformed to "Jukai".]
Sumi calmly answered Gin's question.
Her heart was pounding like it was going to leap out but... this was just a phenomenon that her parents and Taisha had told her about many times. Even though it came surprisingly sooner than expected, the three of them were the beings that Shijun-sama had chosen to do this duty.
In that case, they just had to do what they had been taught.
[All we have to do is becoming "heroes" and intercepting the "enemies".]
To encourage her trembling self, Washio Sumi clenched her fist tightly.
On the school's rooftop, three persons stood. However, right now, it was impossible to tell how far the school's premises stretched to. The scenery stretching out before the girls' eyes, to describe in a few words, was like a strange space from fairy-tale. Humans, buildings, almost everything had turned into trees and shrubs. Originally, this land had already been covered with many trees, but in this moment, it had completely changed into a tree land.
Gin surveyed her surroundings and muttered.
[Umm, I can't tell where is where anymore, everything is trees... I don't even know where my own house is. Hey, Washio-san, do you know where Ines is?]
Ines, a huge shopping mall in front of the station. They said that you could buy anything and everything at Ines. Many families also spent their weekends there.
[You don't need to worry about Ines at a time like this.]
Reflexively, Sumi retorted.
[But it'd be a huge problem if Ines disappeared; even the public hall is inside there.]
[It's okay. After we repel the enemies, Jukai will return to normal.]
As if to persuade herself, Sumi said. Looking at the direction where the Washio's house was. That place, naturally, was also just a part of the sea of trees.
[So beautiful... so this is Jukai created by Shinju-sama's power~...]
Nogi Sonoko was always an airhead no matter the time.
[This is beautiful...? Well, I guess you could say it's beautiful, but not a fascinating scenery. I might have actually become panic if I hadn't heard about it first...]
[Right, I think so too...]
For once, Sumi shared the same opinion as Gin.
[Ah, hey. The big bridge is still there in one piece~]
Sonoko pointed at the town's symbol, a super-gigantic bridge.
[You're right. It's rooted to some degree but the pattern is still there. Maybe it's because it's connected with the other side?]
[Well, it's easy to tell this way. Our duty is to protect that big bridge so we just have to go there.]
[It's easy to tell where Shinju-sama is too~]
At the back of sea of trees, stood the Divine Tree (Shinju), it was a big tree glowing with a godly light.
[Now, it's about time...!]
As Minowa Gin took out her portable terminal, her expression stiffened. As they’d planned to win since the beginning, the girls froze their expressions. Sonoko and Sumi nodded. Despite their abnormal situation, the three didn’t complain or show any sights of discontent. Because the adults had told them countless times that “This is a very honourable duty which you should be proud of”. "You have been chosen by the Shinjusama, you have nothing to fear". Believing the adults, the three children started the operation written in their portable terminals. From training, their bodies knew how to do it.
Even though their training was insufficient, the three could still start up the app that had been distributed to them. In order to fight against the enemies, Taisha borrowed the Shinju’s power and created this app, the Hero System. All at once, the three tapped their transformation icons. Simultaneously, the girls were enveloped in light. Using the Divine Tree’s power, the hero forms were patterned after plants. The tree girls all bloomed into different flowers.
Washio Sumi, so to speak, was the flower of Prim.
Nogi Sonoko, so to speak, was the flower of Elegance.
Minowa Gin, so to speak, was the flower of Passion.
Each of the three changed into her own unique combat gear. At the same time, enormous power overflowed from their bodies.
Since their power came from the Divine Tree that gods dwelt in, it was a matter of fact. It could be said that the Hero form was the embodiment of the gods’ power. The three in Sumi’s group were chosen to use this power by the Divine Tree
[Let's go, to the bridge.]
Crossing dozens meters in one leap, three girls headed for the bridge. The enemies would come from the other side and pass by this bridge.
The enemies would come to this town which was right at the entrance of Shikoku. And so, it was natural for humanity to station people chosen by the Divine Tree... in other words, the three Hero girls at this place.
The three girls positioned themselves at the middle of the bridge.
[Well then, it should come here soon.]
To warm up, Gin swung her weapons, the two axes, around. Sonoko's one was a spear. And Sumi had a bow as her weapon. Conveniently, their weapons' ranges were close - mid - long, and so together, they formed a balance party.
[You two, let's fight calmly.]
Sumi instructed the other two. Contrast to her calm voice, Sumi was fired up.
To protect this beautiful country.
To protect her important family.
To protect her irreplaceable friends.
Her weapon type was the one with the lowest risk. She didn't want to be a burden to her two comrades who used axes and spear. Maybe when she could control the arrows properly, she would be able start attacking at the front. Practically, Gin's eagerness was dangerously high while Sonoko was always spacing out, so she couldn't rely on them.
(I will do my best. I will defeat it! I will protect them...!)
Sumi fired herself up one more time.
It appeared from the other side of the bridge. With a very strange and huge body. Neither a life form nor an inorganic object. A nearly inorganic, 10 meters high grotesque silhouette was crossing over the bridge.
[That is the thing that come from the other side... the enemy... "Vertex".]
She had been told about the format of Vertex's actions.
1. They attack human
2. They don't attack anything other than human
3. Normal weapons almost don't have any effect on them
4. Heroes with the god's power are able to go against them.
5. The enemies' goal is the Divine Tree. They're planning to destroy it.
To mankind, no.5 was the most dangerous.
The Divine Tree, that Taisha worshiped, blessed everything in this world. If the Divine Tree was destroyed, it would be the downfall of mankind. It was early to say, but if they couldn't stop the enemy's advance now, it would be the end of everything. When time froze like this, Sumi's group, the chosen heroes, were the only ones that could move. They definitely couldn't be allowed to let the enemy reaches the Divine Tree. No matter what happened, they had to stop it here.
Sumi nocked an arrow to the bow, and took the firing stance. But before her, like a gale, Gin charged at the enemy. At that time, from Gin's body, red flower petals danced in the air. Sonoko was unintentionally fascinated by that sight.
[! You can't, we have to check its power first...]
Panicking, Sumi couldn't provide covering fire before Gin reached the enemy.
Roaring, Gin gave the enemy a big cut.
[Wahh, you're so amazing, Mino-san!]
Impressed, Sonoko clapped her hands.
[Mino-san uh... stop calling me like that! Anyway, this thing is surprising fragile, I can do it!!]
As if dancing, Gin swung her axes and in a blink, the enemy was sliced.
[You can't neglect your defense, Minowa-san. That is-]
For just a moment, her vision was blurred. In that moment, the slashed part on Vertex's body was completely regenerated. Without a moment of delay, Sumi shoot the arrow.
Gin took a big jump back. However, like it wanted to devour Gin, the enemy also pressed forward. As a result, Sumi's arrow missed the target.
[Why is it so fast...!?]
Furthermore, as its first attack, the Vertex sent out one of its huge water balls pressing after Gin. Gin ended up getting trap in it.
From the inside, Gin attempted to break the ball with her battleaxes. However, it wasn't even shaken. When Sumi tried to shoot it, the water ball just repelled her arrows. At this rate, Gin would drown to dead. Yet again, the enemy sent out its other water ball after Sonoko.
In panic, Sonoko dodged it, but then, the water ball increased its speed and homed in her. They could feel the killing intent coming from the enemy very clearly.
[Nogi-san! Fall back further!]
Sumi shouted. However, Sonoko was...
[Ah! I've got a good idea!]
And so, she came charging back at the water ball. Then in front of the water ball, she held up her spear and quickly rotated it. As the embodiment of the gods' power, it was easy for the girls to create a tornado by just rotating a spear. The water ball got blown up by the wind.
The moment Sumi got astonished by Sonoko's clever action, the enemy behind her was blown faraway.
[Hah... Hah... Uhh~ I feel sick.]
It was Gin who had splendidly hurled it away.
[D-don't tell me, Minowa-san... Did you drink up the water that you were trapped in?]
As the embodiment of the gods' power, it was possible for them to drink up a large volume of water... though, no one would do it normally.
[Mino-san, are you okay?]
Sonoko ran up to Gin.
[Yeah, it tasted like Cider at first but then suddenly changed to an Oolong-like flavor, so I got tired of drinking it.]
[Ah, I didn't ask for a drink review... but I'm glad that you're alright~]
[Watch out, you two!!]
Sumi shot an arrow at each of the two girls who were trying to catch a breath. Before they were shot, the two jumped out of the way. Where the girls just were, the enemy came crashing down with all its strength. Again, a clear killing intent.
[So close... Thanks, Washio-san. You enemy...!!]
Gin and Sonoko attacked from both side. Sumi immediately supported them.
While firing rapidly, Sumi was being struck with admiration. Like a raging fire, Gin's rush of assaults was amazing, but Sonoko's spear-work was also something worth watching. She mostly aimed and thrust at the enemy's joints, or rather, its tender spots. The large body started to sway.
(Minowa-san and Nogi-san are both so skillful!)
Because their weapon types differed greatly from each other, all of their training for the duty up until now had been done individually. The three would only start training together after this, so Sumi had no idea that the other heroes were this good.
The three girls' assault was like surging waves. Receiving that, the enemy drew faraway. However, it immediately regenerated the damaged parts completely.
[Uwaa, this is endless... but I won't lose~!]
[Me too, I can still do it! But honestly, I'm about to get tired!]
[Keep up that spirit, you two. Minowa-san, don't tell the enemy what you really think!]
Even then, it was the girls' duty to not let the enemy pass this place, so they kept at the guard and remained at the center of the bridge. Then, the huge enemy started to turn it back from the advanced route and returned to the way it came from. It seemed like they had been able to send it back.
In the first place, the girls' mission was to intercept the enemies, not defeat them. Holding back the invasion was their victory condition. Of course it would be better if they could defeat the enemies but... Right now, with mankind's current experience, it was impossible to do so.
The three girls kept glaring at the back of the enemy until they couldn't see it anymore. And soon, it completely disappeared from their vision...
The girls had successfully repelled the enemy, their victory had been ascertained.
[We did iiit!!!]
The three hugged each other. Just like a kid her age, Sumi also shouted with all her mind. They had fought desperately, and had been able to protect the Divine Tree and mankind. It was a great joy to the girl.
[Well! Honestly, I was really scared, but I still did it somehow!]
[Eh, was that how you act when scared, Mino-san? Actually, my heart was pounding so hard too~]
[Me too... I was actually very worried...]
It was only until now that the three finally let their true feelings came out. Even if they had been prepared for it, they still were little girls.
[In any case, we won so it's all good!]
Gin jumped up happily.
[Ahaha, Mino-san's jump is so high!]
Sonoko and Gin high-fived in high spirits. Meanwhile, Sumi was,
(Aren't they being too noisy...? I-isn't this... a bit disgraceful...?)
Now that she had finally cooled down, Sumi pressed her hands to her cheek, feeling embarrassed.
They didn't defeat the enemy. They only drew it away. However, the victory this time was still a huge first step for humanity. They had been at their wits end up until now.
Sumi took an examination at her school infirmary. It wasn't a normal infirmary. It was specially conducted so that the heroes could be given proper examination after fighting.
[Thank you, Washio-san. You did really well. Your memories about the fight would help us greatly in our analysis of the enemies.]
The normally strict homeroom teacher, now, was giving her a good petting.
[Thank you very much, it all thanks to Minowa-san and Nogi-san.]
[I'm sorry that the attack came much sooner than expected. From now on, we're planning to let you train with each other.]
(! That's right, to prepare for the actual fights from now on, I've to take training properly.)
[No abnormality, no injury. Minowa-san has ingested some liquid so she has to remain for some more detailed checkup, but Nogi-san and Washio-san, you two can go home now.]
After properly bidding farewell to the people that examined her, Sumi left the place.
Sumi and Sonoko walked side by side until the school's front gate. Normally, they would part way here. However, now that the enemies had started to arrived, there was a problem that needed to be addressed.
Namely, team work.
They had gotten into a pinch this time because at the beginning, they'd all acted on their own.
(Just completing the training properly is not enough. We have to have more control next time... We have to get along with each other normally. In order to defense this country.)
Seriously, like obligated, Sumi called out to Sonoko.
[Hey, Nogi-san, if you like, umm... Today, for having fulfilled our great duty, do you want to throw a victory party with me...?]
Talking like a teenager, Sumi invited Sonoko. Sonoko's face immediately lit up.
[Yes! Let's go, let's go!]
She took Sumi's hand and shook it firmly.
[Thank you. Just now, I kept thinking about inviting you all the time, Shiosumi, but couldn't actually say it... I am really happy now~]
[S-so you are the same, Nogi-san...]
[You know, Mino-san was amazing today! Exactly like a kamikaze officer! And then, your snipping was so precise, Shiosumi, I got all excited!]
[Alright, then let's go to the food court at Ines, and with Mino-san next time, of course.]
Sonoko kept pulling Sumi around.
Looking at the way that girl innocently skipping around, Sumi started to feel embarrassed herself. After they won the battle, Sonoko also said that she was nervous while on "duty". And that she was able to judge the spear skills she had learned in actual combat. She herself, took up the responsibility and faced her "duty" properly. A respectable kind soul. She was glad that she didn't to consciously forcing connection with a comrade. She thought they could become closer normally. Sumi regretted that she had thought of her badly before and hadn't talked with her sooner.
[I'm fine with going to the food court but Nogi-san, can you please stop calling me Shiosumi...?]
[Eh... then... then... How about Wasshiina...? Doesn't it sound like an idol's name?]
[Um, no, not that one... Nogi-san, you also would not like it if I called her Sonokorin, right?]
[Wah, so lovely.]
[I'm sorry, please forget it.]
[Ah, I know. Wasshii! How about that?]
[Umm. Well, I guess I'll just have to get used to it.]
[Please take care of me, Wasshii!]
Sonoko clasped her hands around Sumi tightly. Strangely, Sumi didn't hate that feeling. The two of them, skipping happily towards Ines. Not as heroes, but just as two girls their age.
This is a story about three heroes. A fairy-tale about the girls chosen by god.
At any time, there's a girl who will get to meet god for the first time and become purified.
And in many cases, the result is ______.
Translator's Notes and References
1. ↑ 神樹様 (Shinju-sama) lit: The Divine Tree. We leave the Japanese name since it is obviously a Japanese God. The English term will be used when the actual tree (Shinju without the -sama suffix) is referred.
2. ↑ 勇者御記 (Yuusha O-ki) lit: Hero's honorable record. This translation is mouthful, so we opt to "Hero's Memoir" instead.
3. ↑ 樹海 (Jukai) lit: Sea of trees. The anime translate the process of landscape transformation 樹海化 (Jukaika) as "Forestize", so one can also use the term "Forest" to translate it. To reduce confusion we decided to leave the term as is.
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