Chapter 6: Fairies
Taisha Literature and History Department - Miko-sama: CENSORED
I received a lot of gifts sent from the Taisha. My family also gained more power in the
Taisha, it seems.
This special treatment surprised me then. But, after looking into it, it wasn't anything
In any era, ■■■■■■■ receive kindnesses.
Hero’s Memoir 298.8.12
Sumi and Sonoko went to Taisha's training facility. From the fundamental disciplines to spear swinging practice, after finishing everything from start to end, Sonoko was now left gasping for breath.
[Haah, haah, haa...]
[Sonocchi. You should drink some water.]
Sumi put the cold drink against the back of Sonoko's neck.
[Ahyan~ It's cold~!]
[Fufu, your voice's amusing.]
[Thanks, Wasshii... gulp gulp, puhah, mm~ I live for this drink!]
Sonoko busted out a smile befitting summer.
[Just now, you looked very much like Gin; it takes skill to talk like a middle-age old man.]
[I see, guess I still need to practice more~]
After continuing to cry over Gin, Sumi and Sonoko’s tears finally stopped. Gin’s soul had been embraced by the Shinju-sama, and was now watching over their efforts. That was what Sensei told them. Moreover, if they closed their eyelids, they could always see Gin in their heart. Since they realized that, the two girls had pressed down their sadness and returned to their daily life.
[...it's summer, Wasshii~. It's August already.]
[I wonder how hot it will get today.]
The two looked up the sky. A big self-assertive cumulonimbus. An endlessly extending blue.
[It really is summer...]
Sonoko said again.
[The cicadas are also in their top forms. You can hear them from every direction]
[Do you know the way to tell whether the cicada-san that has fallen to the ground is still healthy or not?]
[...I'm not very good with bugs.]
[The cicada-san who has his legs opened is the still healthy one~]
[I don't think people who are bad with bugs would go and stare at fallen cicadas in the first place.]
[Ahaha, I guess you're right~]
[Let's resume training and master the new power that we've finally been granted with.]
[Yeah. There's no point updating the Hero system when we ourselves are not competent, right~?]
The girls faced the duty with all of their energy.
"It's summer holiday, let's go somewhere to play". That would be a natural thought for an elementary 6th grader to have, but not for the current Sumi and Sonoko.
During break times, the two would chat about summer as much as possible, to at least ave a bit of the season’s taste.
[But But, I wonder what we'll look like with the new Hero system~ Maybe like those warriors in the old era~]
[! I would be quite happy if it turns out like that]
[Happy~!? Why are you blushing~?]
[But Sensei said that unlike the efficiency, our outward appearances wouldn’t change much from the current Hero system.]
[Oh~ Did she?]
[She also said that our weapons would change a little bit, and be attached with supports... I wonder what she meant by supports]
The two’s new power. Intending to put it into actual combat, they were now entering the final adjustments stage. In order to master it right away, Sumi and Sonoko were building up their bodies. Since it was right in summer holiday at Shinju-kan, the school that the girls were attending, they had plenty of time for training.
Maybe out of a bit of consideration, the Vertexes hadn’t come attacking since Gin’s funeral.
[Ahh, when I said supports, I was talking about the fairies.]
In the staff room, the homeroom teacher answered her students' question smoothly.
[Fa-fairies... you say~?]
Sonoko started hurriedly.
[Do-don't tell me, you mean those that go around and curse... uwawa~]
[That would be ghost. Calm down, Sonocchi.]
[Huh, you're so cool. Are you fine with ghost Wasshii~?]
[Yes. Instead of air-conditioning, I often read or hear ghost stories.]
[So cool~ You're a hero.]
[From my point of view, you being fine with bugs is much cooler, Sonocchi, You are the hero.]
[Well, about the fairies... It's hard to explain them through words alone, so please look forward to when you get the new Hero system.]
[Sensei's met up with a hurdle~]
[I understood. Thank you for telling us as much as you can.]
[Leaving that aside, there's this special duty for you two.]
The homeroom teacher spoke formally. Sumi spontaneously stood at attention.
[I command you two to go and have fun at the festival tonight.]
Sumi unintentionally let out her voice at the unexpected words.
[You know, right? A festival is being held today.]
[But the duty of us heroes is...]
The homeroom teacher interrupted Sumi’s words and looked at her intently.
[Since what happened with Minowa-san, I understand and feel reassured that you have always been training to prepare for an emergency... But isn’t it fine, to rest once in a while...? Rather, I think it’s better to rest moderately so that when something happens, you can pull out your full power.]
[As I said, that’s an order. Please go to the festival. Taisha has also given their permission. Actually, the shrine that this festival’s held at has the same meaning as Taisha. It feels much easier if you think of it that way, right? “I have got to go to the festival”, okay?]
The homeroom teacher knew that she had to be this overbearing to make the stubborn Sumi agree.
[Sensei, thank you very much~]
While basking in the evening sun, Sonoko and Sumi walked the road to the shrine. From the strait, the salty wind blew in with a nice sensation.
[...Is it fine? To go play at a festival like this...]
[Even though you said that, Wasshii, you're properly wearing a yukata~]
[My parents made me wear it. That's said though, I actually also enjoy it myself.]
Sumi honestly admitted her feeling.
[Yeah yeah, it looks good on you, Wasshii, you looks like a doll. Can you try spinning around~?]
[Waa~ You're in high spirits~ Time for a picture.]
Sonoko quickly took out her terminal.
[Hey, hey, photograph is prohibited, it's embarrassing!]
[Ehh~ And I was thinking to use it as my lock screen...]
[It's embarrassing so don't!]
[But my current screen is also you, Wasshii, see, this one when you were eating udon.]
[Whoa, stop, it really is embarrassing.]
[It's my phone, I can use it however I like~]
[Jeez... Then I will use you as my lock screen, Sonocchi. Since that yukata looks good on you, it's going to be an award-winning picture, fufu.]
[Waa~ Is it fine to use me~?]
Sonoko smiled back at her sweetly.
[Don't you feel embarrassed at all...!?]
In a red dyed world, the girls innocently played about cheerfully.
The shrine's ground was packed with several stalls, and crowded with a great number of people.
[This scene, this heat, it really feels like we're at a festival~ I'm glad I've been able to protect this world.]
Looking at all the parents and their children having fun, Sonoko nodded while going "Yes, yes".
[Ah, Yachou-kun is at the reprinting stall.]
[Tsubaki-san is over there~]
[At this rate, all of our classmates will be here]
[This is a festival after all. I'm so glad that we came~]
[But do you know, Wasshii? Festivals in the old era were never as lively as this. Seems like it was impossible for everyone in a class to all come~]
With a flash of light, Sumi's eyes glittered.
[Of course I know. As I have said several times, I'm... very well-informed on things in the old era.]
[Ohh, as expected~]
[Because the Shinju-sama didn't exist back then, things like offering your gratitude through prayers, or even the act of worshiping itself weren't established for each and every citizen.]
[Wh-what's wrong, Sonocchi?]
[Nah, I'm just watching your speaking face, Wasshii, it's kinda become a habit now.]
[How should I response after being told something like that? Jeez.]
Sumi blushed slightly.
When she looked around her surroundings, Sonoko had been swept away to the front by the wave of people. Taking your eyes of her for a moment and this happened.
[Seriously, what are you doing?... Where has your battle sharpness gone to in this kind of situation?]
Sumi took a firm hold of Sonoko's hand.
[You better not let go of my hand.]
[Yeah, I almost became a lost child.]
[If you get lost, then I will ask them to broadcast the following: "Lost hero, Nogi Sonoko-san, your friend is waiting"]
[Uwaa, I absolutely won't get lost~]
Sonoko tightly squeezed back Sumi's hand.
Faint light emitting from hanging paper lanterns, along with tuneful sounds of the festival's naruko . Immersed in a literal festival mood, the heroes entrusted with a heavy duty, Sumi and Sonoko, became normal children again.
At the shooting stall.
[That giant anteater plushy is what you want right, Sonocchi?]
[It's an armadillo, Wasshii.]
[Anyway, I understand, just leave it to me.]
[Yeah, but... it's hard to aim with that gun. I just ended up hitting the shopkeeper old man~]
[That old man is not a prize, you know. So we have two bullets huh...?]
The first bullet, instead of hitting the targeted plushy, flew to somewhere else.
[It really feels like the impact point is slightly off. Then in advance, if I shoot here...]
The second bullet splendidly hit the plushy.
[Ohhh, as expected of an archer, you're so good at shooting~]
[I'm glad I got it...]
At the cotton candy stall.
[Ahh, this taste, so good~]
Sonoko totally got addicted to the cotton candy.
The two were sharing one cotton candy at first, but Sonoko just kept glancing at the stall.
[It's fine to buy more if you want to. The order is to have fun, after all.]
[ Right~? Holding back is bad for your body, right~?]
[Excuse me~ I'd like another cotton candy. Ah, that flower shaped one would be fine~]
Sumi was watching over Sonoko's smile.
At the colored chicks stall.
Cheeep, cheep, cheep, cheep*
[Th-this level of cuteness is atrocious, Wasshii.]
Sonoko was staring at the chicks with hearts in her eyes.
[Jasmine is the cutest, right~?]
[Looks like you have given it a name already, but to keep an animal, you need to be prepared.]
[Yeah, but I want to be with it~ See~]
Sonoko swiftly placed the chick on top of her head.
[Wai, what are you doing, Sonocchi? It's shaking terribly!]
Sumi reflexively took a spectacular photo with her terminal.
[Ehehe, I want it to be on my head like this forever.]
[Sonocchi. It is going to become a chicken, you know?]
[Hauah! That's right~!! It's not going to be like this forever~!]
[Seems like you were blinded by its cuteness...]
At the goldfish scooping stall.
[Goldfishes... are nice, aren't they? They are elegant.]
(It's rare to see Wasshii wanting something! She didn't react at the colored chicks, but response to goldfishes. This kind of refined taste is just so like her.)
[Let's challenge it, Wasshii!]
[But because of our duty, I don't have time to take care of animal...]
[I think goldfishes are pretty simple though. You can just ask your parents to feed them for you]
[...You're right, thanks. Then, for just a bit]
Sumi tried to have a go at goldfish scooping...
The paper got torn right away.
[Ahh... It's unexpectedly hard to adjust your strength.]
[Wasshii, is this the one you want? You aim pretty high... Here!!]
With a refine move, Sonoko swiftly scooped up the targeted goldfish.
Her skill was as fascinating as always.
[This is my present for you, Wasshii.]
[Thank you, Sonocchi.]
Sumi took the vinyl bag that had the goldfish in it.
[You got this plushy for me after all~ It's a draw.]
[Still, you really are skillful. Those stalls over there must also be easy for you, right, Sonocchi?]
Sumi pointed at stalls such as super ball scooping and water yo-yo fishing.
[Okay, watch, it's my time to shine~!]
Sonoko magnificently broke the records of all stalls.
Beeeww*, they heard.
And with that exclamation, *boom*, a big shock reverberated through the shrine.
The two looked at each other.
[The fireworks' already began~]
[We were too entranced by these stalls.]
[What do you want to do now, Sonocchi? Move to a quite place and watch the fireworks? Or stay...]
Sonoko had already been captivated by those large colorful flowers in the night sky.
[...Staying here is fine, huh?]
Sumi also looked up at the sky.
One by one, the fireworks were launched at the sky, and disappeared, dyeing the night sky with various colors.
[Let's ascertain the pyro-technician's craftsmanship with our eyes.]
[Ohh~ There's nothing but rapid fire now~ My stomach is shaken~ But I'm glad, it seems like we don't have to do our duty~]
[If they fail to read the mood and come this time, too, I will dismember them.]
[Ahaha, that's a nice one~]
This time, their happy time wasn't interrupted. The fireworks were free to color the summer's night sky.
[...Ahh, the fireworks are over~]
[So exciting, and, after a while, so sad - cormorant fishing .]
[Oh, that's by Basho-san from the Matsuo-san household, right, Wasshii? It's lonely when the fireworks are over~]
[Well, we can just watch it again next year.]
Sumi said, as if to convince herself.
[! Yeah, let's do our best for that too~]
[You're right... After we're back, let's start training right away.]
[After all, we've been completely refreshed now, right~?]
Sonoko hit her loot, the water yoyo, repeatedly.
[For now, let's gather again after dropping off our luggage...]
Looking at the goldfish in her hand, Sumi bitterly smiled.
The end of the festival signaled the ending of summer. Sumi and Sonoko had dedicated that season to training. For the two, it was a summer full of severe drills. But in a way, it was also fulfilling. Even the adults had to admire their earnestness.
And now, that summer was ending.
[Since I will be at a training camp for a short while, please look after this goldfish for me.]
Sumi politely bowed to her parents.
[Sumi... you're still so distance. In time like this, it's fine to just say "Mother, I'll leave the goldfish to you". That's how parent and child are, right?]
[...Yeah, thank you.]
[It's an important duty. Do your best, Sumi.]
[Yes! I swear on the name of the Washio.]
["From now on, in order to synchronize your breathing, you two will start cohabiting..." they say~ Please take care of me, my deal]
[We're not married, though.]
[Ehehe, but... I don't have a single life skill so you might have to spoil me, Wasshii.]
[It's okay, Sonocchi. Because I've decided to discipline you, I'll teach you about lots of things.]
[So-somehow, your sense of duty's on fire~?]
From what their homeroom teacher said, it seemed like it had been decided that the new Hero system would be granted to them in September. Because this update requires highly delicate adjustments, it'd take quite some time to finish. They must be performing enhancement now in order to bring the war to an end, Sumi concluded.
At night, two futon were lined up for bedtime. Sumi turned off the room's light. Thanks to the hard drills before noon, it looked like she wouldn’t have trouble falling asleep. However, her partner Sonoko was in high spirits.
[It's our precious bedtime, Wasshii!]
[Wait, aren't we just going to sleep now?]
[But it's our long-awaited free time, let's chat~ How about continue the other day's love talk?]
[...Since then, have we ever had enough spare time to fall in love...?]
[...Ahaha, it's true that we haven’t~ Well, but even if we did have time... the result would probably still be the same...]
[Cough, didn't we promise to not say that out loud?]
[Don't you have any interesting stories, Wasshii?]
[Interesting... stories... huh? Deep inside a certain mountain, there was a hunter called Gosuke...]
[Just to make sure, it's not a ghost story, right?]
[One night, Gosuke was setting up a fire in the mountain, and before he knew it, a young woman was besides him.]
[Eh, this' not a ghost story, right~?]
[The young woman opened her mouth widely and said: "Are you hunting? How many bullets have you shot from that gun?"]
[You're lying, this is clearly a ghost story~!]
[There are even battles in it, so it makes for a fun ghost story.]
Sonoko pulled over her futon and rolled into a ball.
[...fufu, good night, Sonocchi.]
Thinking she could go to sleep at ease now, Sumi closed her eyes. She could talk to Sonoko at anytime; it didn't have to be now. The drowsiness came over her instantly. Little by little, Sumi fell into sleep.
Like it was about to disappear, Sonoko's voice reached the slumbering Sumi's ears.
[...? What's wrong, Sonocchi?]
[Because of your scary story, I can't sleep.]
[Eh? Are you in third grade, Sonocchi?]
[I'll be a middle schooler soon~]
[And yet you're still like this?]
[Can I sleep in your futon~?]
[Good grief. How can a hero get frightened by a ghost story?]
[Well then, if a big bug shows up in the room, I'm not gonna let you run outside, okay~?]
[Ugh...Here you go. Somehow, it feels like you got my weakness.]
Sonoko squirmed her way into the futon. Luckily, the wind was cool so it didn't get hot.
[This is the first time I sleep in the same futon with someone other than my parents~]
[It's the same for me.]
[But I feel totally relaxed. Wasshii's futon feels safe, like home~. This is a big discovery.]
It seemed like Sonoko's spirits were rising.
[Wasshii, your hands are warm, but your feet are a bit cold~]
[That doesn’t mean that you can cling to me, it’s hot.]
[Hm, I didn't know you've a mole here, Wasshii. It looks kinda cute~]
[Ahh, geez, stop squirming.]
Instead of sleeping, Sonoko just kept calling out "Wasshii, Wasshii".
Possessing a strong sense of duty, Sumi properly answered her every time.
[I'm wide awake now. Since it came to this, Sonocchi, you better keep me company thoroughly.]
Sumi was astonished, and planned to pinch Sonoko’s cheek, but she couldn’t bring herself to detest that defenseless sleeping face, and ended up acquitting her. While gazing at Sonoko’s sleeping face, Sumi thought about what would happen from now on.
(Even so, those Vertexes still haven't come to attach; I wonder what they are doing... Well, I can't help being pessimistic, but the new system's adjustment could be done in the meantime)
Sumi closed her eyes. The sound of bugs crying amidst a quite night. Summer is ending. That was what Sumi felt as she received the cold night wind.
(Next year, I'm going watch fireworks with Sonocchi again...)
...At the same time.
A messenger from Taisha came to Sumi's house. After hearing the words of the messenger, Sumi's parents burst into tears. The same thing also happened at the Nogi household.
At that moment, neither Sumi nor Sonoko knew the true meaning of their parents' tears.
Era of the Gods, year 298.
The calendar was heading towards autumn, towards the decisive battle.
Translator's Notes and References
1. ↑ 鳴子 (Naruko). A percussion used in Yosakoi festival. It is a small wooden clappers that are held in the hands of each dancer.
2. ↑ おもしろうてやがて悲しき鵜舟哉 (omoshiroote yagate kanashiki ubune kana). A haiku written by the poet Matsuo Basho in 1688. You can read more about the cormorant referred in the haiku here.
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