Teaser 3

I started to feel skeptical about my work as a detective’s assistant and my own future as I scrub the bathtub with sponge in hand. At this moment, a doorbell rang outside the ground glass.

“Alice, I bought all kinds of them!”

A boy’s hearty voice could be heard, followed by footsteps and the sound of a paper bag being ruffled. It’s Hiro. Most of Alice’s acquaintances were NEETs with no livelihoods, and amongst them, Hiro is one of the more approachable ones. I guess Alice requested him to go buy something?

I switched the shower on to wash away the cleaning fluid in the bathtub, and once I stepped out of the bathroom, I saw his back, dressed in a strap-jacket, taking out something from the bag and laying it out on the bed. Alice saw me standing behind Hiro-san, and immediately jolted.

“Hiro! Narumi’s here! Hide it!”

“Eh?”

Hiro-san turned around, spotted me, and quickly kept the thing on the bed back into the bag.

However, I saw it, even if it was just for a moment. Clothes wrapped in a vinyl pack. The coloring’s really bright too. Wonder what’s that?

“Oh? So you’re here too, Narumi?”

“…Clothes for Alice? Hiro?”

“Eh? Well, yeah.”

“Narumi! This has nothing to do with you!”

Alice said as she snatched the bag from Hiro’s hands, and stuffed it under the towel. Why’s she being so sneaky about this?

“You’re starting to get interested in fashion trends now? There’s no need to be so embarrassed about it now, right?”

“Stop spewing nonsense there. Once you’re done cleaning the bathroom, clear up the empty bowl!”

And so, Hiro and I were chased out of the office. What was that about?

“So now Alice’s starting to get interested in clothing other than pajamas? Did you select those weird clothes for her, Hiro?”

I tried asking Hiro as we descended the emergency staircase. This guy may be a NEET, but he’s a gigolo who would take advantage of his good looks and bluff women to maintain a livelihood, and he’s very sharp on current fashion trends. It’s hard for me to believe that those weird clothing were chosen by him.

“Ah…hm?”

Hiro finally gives off a snicker, but his answer was vague.

“Well, it’s Alice’s request! Don’t get too deep into this, please!”

Then, he patted me on the shoulder.

“Alice’s starting to think of how to attract looks from the opposite gender now.”

No, I don’t think that’s the case here.

If I had thought about it a little deeper as to why Alice’s actions were so strange, maybe I would have realized. Back then, what Hiro took was not a bag from a clothing shop, but a bag from Tokyu Hands.

However, back then, I forgot that I had to think deeply. As Alice said, my specialty is forgetting.

August 2016 Announcements

人間五十年、下天のうちをくらぶれば、夢幻の如くなり…

Well, certainly feels like it with how long I’ve been doing this.

Magdala is always a priority, I swear. I’m chipping in one chapter of Ireba per month starting from now (volume 1 only), one chapter of BMG per month, and Amaryllis.

Really hoping that you guys enjoy the slow-paced stuff, because next month, I’m going back to the classics.

Not the classics club. (I wish I’m doing that series, but you know me. I get distracted by various series easily). And I’m not intending to be scribe who faced God. If I face God, that means I’m dead.

Over here at hellping, I try to do slow series so that I’ll won’t be as trendy (I mean, they’re less likely to be licensed, right, right?)

>Looks at Clockwork Planet anime.

Nah.

Regarding Kamimemo, someone else is supposed to do Volume 5, and I started 6 already, so I’ll be focusing on volume 6.

Of course, given that I’m working on 4 series at one go (Magdala, BMG, Ireba and Amaryllis), why not add another?

It’s me. I’m called crazy all the time.

So, lots of you may wonder, how did I end up doing Ireba, when I already stated that Kantoku’s a sworn enemy?

Let’s go back to a while back.

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^Don’t mind this. Just passing through^

J: Yo, how ya doing?

Me: Being a NEET, what else? You think I’m going to open a detective agency or something?

J: Think you rather sleep in the library than do that.

Why, to be expected of a worst friend/best fiend I knew since we were 5.

J: How’s translations going? Need my help?

Me: Are you even motivated to do any translation when you can’t even be bothered to take your GCE ‘A’s?

J: Yeah, I’ll give it a go. No probs.

/Me checks J for fever

Me: Anyway, there’s a project that really needs help now, it’s called Kamimemo. A lot of pages, you sure you want it?

J: Oh? Is that the one with the loli as the heroine? I’m in!

Me: You sure you aren’t just going to analyze her and make an ero Custom Maid 3D mod or something?

And yes, my friend’s a gone case.

J: But though you say you want to kill lolis, you have a lot of lolis in the stories you choose…

Me: Not my fault that the authors wanted to pander to lolicons like you. I’m guessing you still have that Shimakaze dakimakura.

J: And what do you have? A library for a bedroom.

Me: Better than you with your R18 doujins.

J: You got a problem? Fine, match later, Poland vs Portugal, we’ll have a bet. You lose, you take top in a poll on Facebook. I lose, I take Kamimemo 5.

Me: Well, not like I got much time to do everything, but your options?

J: Just include 1 with little sister, you can add everything else.

Me: Right, I’ll take Poland. They were impressive with their penalties last time.

 

 

Kids, when you have a problem, voice it out. Seek help when necessary. If you are living in USA, and especially Las Vegas, this helpline for Problem Gambling should be a necessity:

1-800-522-4700

 

Well, luckily for me, the bet’s only valid for a single volume. I don’t plan to continue with the rest of the series because risque stories aren’t my thing. (Yes, I’m a shy boy, why you ask?) And the proper reason is that I got better things to do. You might not like it, but deal with it. (Let’s face it, RL’s the biggest Yan-Yan).

Due to the new updates for FGO, I began looking around for alternatives (I got PGO installed, but there’s no pokemon available on the GPS in Singapore, and I’m not that hardcore to modify where I am)

So, I started playing IM@S Starlight.

I’m terrible at rhythm games, so I thought it’s something I can try to work on.

End of first week, I rolled the gacha. (All singles)

I didn’t know how the gacha works, so when the gacha blacked out, I was like…wait, did I break the phone?

And then, the next image:

 

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>Sees image

>Proceeds to rage quit

I should have broke my phone there and then, even though I later found out it was an SSR. Well, it turned out my phone was still able to play FGO (I had to unroot it though.)

Btw, I’m still playing that iM@S game. If anyone’s asking for the SSRs I have, so far I have that Futaba Anzu SSR, Shiburin’ ‘Stage of Magic’, and Kanade’s ‘Endless Night’.

Punchline of this? That’s still better luck than what I have with the FGO gacha.

Then again, rolling for Serenity in a 10 roll was good enough for me. (Never mind that I got two Saber Lancelots in the same roll.) Thinking of making a crits team with normal Jeanne (with 2030 and max revelations), Kintoki Rider and Lancelot. (If I do this right, I think I can get at least 40+ stars per turn).

Before anyone ask me why don’t I just roll for a Jack, this is the loli-butcher you’re talking about.

And I was really glad that there’s no 4* loli added to this chapter, because…I have a history of drawing them months after they debut.

1. Orleans – Drew Lancer Elizabeth
2. Rome – Drew Stheno
3. Okeanos – Drew Lesbians (one of them is a loli)
4. London – Drew NR…twice
5. America – Drew Helena
6. Camelot – Drew Lancelot twice…wait.

Other than that, I got a lot of family business to attend to recently. Lots of sending offs and such.

And for the random talk of the month, to tie in on madness, let’s talk about something I think many can discuss about.

The funniest (craziest) moments you have experienced reading light novels.

For me, since I got too many to count, I’ll limit it to the series I worked on.

Not like it’s helping much, but I did work on Baka Test, so of course that’s going to be a sore point of hilarity.

 

Counting down, the top 3 funniest (or as you will say, ‘…wut’) moments I’ve encountered in the LNs I translated. This part assumes that you read through the stories, so spoilers ahead.

3. Baka to Test to Shokanju

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– Offending moment, Volume 10.5 Black Magic Chapter

– Setting, School, and

– Context, Freaky Friday plot.

You know Freaky Friday, the one with lots of Shenanigans of people swapping bodies?

Next door at Famitsu Bunko, there was one neighbor writing such a series. It’s called Kokoro Connect.

And this chapter of Baka Test shows exactly why a crossover with Kokoro Connect would be downright impossible.

Never mind that the principal would have invested in a DADA department if this fiasco was known to all.

Remember that I’ve been using the best fiend/worst friend concept? I was influenced by this series. Halfway through the story, I was half-expecting the gang to be wearing signs like what the Straw Hats did on Punk Hazard.

I like how the guys have no problems betraying and taking advantage of anything they can get. And even better, all their actions come back to haunt them.

 

2. Baka to Test to Shokanju (Yeah, it’s a repeat, you got a problem with that?)

Baka

– Offending moment, Volume 7, 5th Question

– Setting, baseball match, with summoned beasts.

– Context, summoned beasts gaining the power of a Punishment Inspector

Now, anyone who read the series (or at the very least, watched the anime) will know that being a Punishment Inspector means that you can gain better control of your summoned beast, a miniature version of yourself, while feeling all the pain feedback from your beast (within). The higher your test scores, the more powerful your summoned beast is! And remember, kids, a summoned beast typically has around 10 times the strength of an ordinary human!

Well, let’s have everyone suffer that effect!

And do it in a baseball game!

I love this part.

For all your baseball fans who know what is a HBP, Hit By Pitch, you normally know that this typically result in a bench brawl. Normally, I’ll sit back and enjoy the show, but this one is high on the schadenfreude scale.

First, you take the girl with the second best scores, one who has no athletic ability. You give her a baseball to pitch, and she has no control! Great idea, this pitching game!

Next, you take the ⑨, our idiot protagonist and harem lead, whom said girl has a huge crush on, and have him be the catcher! Great idea, this pitching game! Best thing is? This idea is pitched by the protagonist’s best fiend. (typo intended)

Granted, both sides were already on bad terms with each other (and that’s putting it lightly), and they’re kinda out for each other’s blood. If it had been RL, our pitcher would have been wanted for homicide, killing 4 players, including her teammate, the first baseman.

To quote:

Everyone knows of a fruit called pomegranate that blooms in the beginning of summer? It’s a sweet and sour fruit that’s bright red. It grows on the tree, and when it ripens without anyone picking it off, it will drop because it overripes. Once it drops onto the ground, the crimson red flesh and juice will spill out all over the place.

Right now, the image of the batter that’s shown into my mind started to remind me of the terrible state when the pomegranate drops for some reason.

Never before has a description using fruit been so enjoyable (for my sadistic tastes) since Franky got castrated by Robin in front of everyone at Water 7.

I’ll recommend that you read the entire series to get the context, if not for the fact that I translated most of the series on Baka Tsuki, and honestly (no sarcasm intended, really), my translations could use more work. Reading through some of my earlier translations really show how terrible I’ve been in the past, to be honest, but I don’t have the time to go back and work on them.

 

1. Tomorrow I will die, you will revive

 

Ashita.Boku.wa.Shinu.Kimi.wa.Ikikaeru..full.1423837

 

– Offending moment, Volume 1, Cut 6

– Setting, 4.55am in the morning (who wakes up at that time? Not me, I don’t sleep)

– Context, a dramatic faceoff of a boy wanting to set himself on fire, and a ‘delinquent’ with the soul of a girl inside him.

To those who read this series, I suppose you had difficulty maintaining your poker faces.

When I noted in the disclaimers that ‘This series is infamous amongst Japanese and Taiwanese readers for smashed computers. Viewer discretion is advised.’ I’m only half joking.

The boy who wanted to set himself on fire felt guilty for driving the girl in the ‘delinquent’s body to suicide, so after all the dramatic breakdown, the girl decides to come out, literally. No amount of description I have here will adequately convey the mood in the original, so I shall quote the girl (or at least, what she wrote)

“I’ll tell you the truth here.

Actually.

On the day I died, I actually passed by Sakamoto at the crossing, where the accident took place.

At that time, Sakamoto was showing a really terrifying face, and the passers-by were shunning him. That’s the reason why he was shedding tears.

It’s really cutttteeee!

Moe~!!

Like a guy appearing in a young girls manga

Like the antagonist that appears in games, one that you can’t bring yourself to hate!

And then…and then!

I’ll be honest here, the trending BL sensor within me was beeping away!

I finally found the ‘Uke’ character I was looking for.

A perfect contrasting match to the ‘seme’ eyes of Kazeshiro!

It’s moe if the timid delinquent is to entangle together with the handsome Kazeshiro~

When Kazeshiro pushes down the teary eyed Sakamoto and do things like this, right?

And then I walked on without seeing my surroundings…and then I died.☆

It’s possible LOLOLOL.”

Alright? Done with your swearing?

Sighs, why do I take the weird series again? Don’t answer that.

And as expected, reactions varied. Here is a list of comments after that particular moment.

[Bokushinu V1] CUT 6 – Tomorrow, I will die, you will revive.

Regarding what to expect about this series however…this is an emotional rollercoaster. The first two volumes are set up for your freefall, while the last one will have you begging for Kleenex. And then the side story…man, the side story.

Personally, I do find it interesting that I’m typing out such announcements…starting from weeks in advance.

 

Teaser 2

That night.

In a house that was a 20 minutes bus ride from Itsuki’s house–the Hashimas’ bathroom.

Hashima Chihiro was in a bath, recalling everything that happened in the TRPG she played on this time.

–Today was really fun…

Chihiro never thought she would have a chance to play a game with brother and his friends. Everyone was interesting–though being a ‘future stepbrother’ really left Chihiro a little troubled.

And then–

“I’ll protect my imouto!”

“Fufu…”

The brother’s words appeared again in Chihiro’s mind, and the lips loosened for some reason; at the same time, Chihiro felt a gripping pain.

–Imouto, huh…

Chihiro looked down at her bare chest.

They were a little smaller than average compared to those of the same gender…no, a lot smaller. However, Chihiro’s chest certainly had lumps unique to girls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

p-252-253

Hashima Chihiro is a girl.

The older brother Itsuki has yet to know about this secret.

 

If only I have a little sister (Imouto sae ireba ii). I don’t have one though.

Once Hashima Itsuki’s world is toppled over, how will the story develop.

At this point, nobody knows.

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July 2016 Announcements

Well, I hope that you enjoyed Volume 2 of Strangled. (Normally, I would ask if you enjoyed the first 3 volumes of Clockwork Planet, but you guys would have done so without me, so…)

Regarding the issues about being unable to post comments, apparently, on the ‘pages’ section of Hellping, the function to post comments is switched off for some reason. (and worse, it affects all posts since last July…). You should be able to comment all you want now. (Announcements is different though, since it’s under the ‘posts’ section)

I decided to quit my job, so I’m being a NEET while translating. Translating takes my mind off things, but I don’t necessarily enjoy it as much as I used to be, probably because I probably yearn for the spotlight somewhere within…and when I do get the spotlight, I’ll end up shrinking back. I’m practically Mikorin.

Health wise, I’m breaking down more than before. Still feeling the effects of a heavy concussion years back, to a point where I can’t sleep as much as I want to for fear of getting severe migraines. Well, this is what happens when you play sports with no regard for anyone’s safety. (Carry on, 小さな冒険者)

At this point, with I start with a mysterious next volume, I suppose it is time to look into the archives and start picking up stuff that were in the graveyard. If translators are trailblazers for picking up new series, I must be an undead Necromancer. (Well, I did translate the afterword of Zero no Tsukaima. It’s out there somewhere…)

 

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^Wrath of the Lich Queen^

 

Given my itchy fingers, I do have a propensity of overdoing myself with the new series. Hikaru was a miracle in that I somehow managed to finish that one. There was once, a few years back, when I thought of starting at least 24 series in a single year.

So as I sit in a cafe and type this relaxing afterword, for the random talk for the month.

Novels with authors as protagonists

In the light novel industry, this refers to the act of putting the protagonist as a self-insert.

Currently, as far as I know of, there are 5 particular series that have this as a them (though not necessarily central)

1.Ero-manga sensei (Dengeki Bunko, Fushimi Tsukasa)

I’m going to be blunt.

Setting up the premise that the heroine is the little stepsister clearly shows that you’re only slightly learning from your previous work that had such a controversial theme to begin with. I had a feeling from Oreimo’s very first chapter that the ending would be as such, and disappointingly for me, I was right. Then again, a leopard can’t change its spots. And if it sells, it sells.

It might be critical of me to be so dismissive of this author’s works, I know, but perhaps I have been jaded into thinking that most authors would only stick to genres or themes they’re familiar with. Then again, not all authors can easily switch from one genre to another easily, notable authors being Iruma Hitoma (harem to action to yuri to bloody seinen) or Akira (action to fantasy to horror). Many authors have notable signature quirks in their works that you can figure out belong to them, and for Tsukasa, I have a stigma of him being the siscon author. (Not like he’ll care about my opinion.) But well, ‘if the formula works, why change it?’ Is what my idealistic side would say.

Unfortunately, I was hoping for a little more on the ‘being the author’ part when I first looked through the story for something different (it’s hypocritical for me to be reading his works despite hating it, but for the sake of this discussion, I have to do so.) I don’t think this will hit the highs Oreimo did because the gimmick does get stale soon. In fact, the only ‘sequel’ work I can think of that’s an improvement over an old work that’s animated…’Seishun Buta’ series, and that’s because the Sakurasou series, well, the anime’s much better than the LN.

If you want a siscon series, this one is for you. If you want something more informative, not this one.

2. Danshi Koukousei de Urekko Light Novel Sakka wo Shiteiru keredo, Toshishita no Classmate de Seiyuu no Onnanoko ni Kubi wo Shimerareteiru  (Dengeki Bunko, Keiichi Sigsawa)

Danshi Koukousei de Urekko Light Novel Sakka wo Shiteiru keredo, Toshishita no Classmate de Seiyuu no Onnanoko ni Kubi wo Shimerareteiru.

 

Did you bite your tongue reading this title?

I did.

Back when I visited Osaka, I entered their bookstore at Osaka Station. I was looking for the last volume to this series, volume 3, so I read the title.

In my hastiness to get the title right (and I’m a terrible speaker IRL), I bit my tongue lol. I guess I managed to get a few chuckles from the sales girl.

Well, I got my 3rd volume. (Which turned out to be the last when I read the afterword)

So, ‘Strangled’, the deliberate long title aside, is basically an excuse for Sigsawa to show readers the inner workings of the LN industry from an author’s perspective.

One particular reason that I may gather, and which is hardly mentioned anywhere else, is that this series serves not as a story for entertainment, but as a story to educate. You may not know it, but Sigsawa, along with lolicon writer Sagu Aoyama, are veteran judges at the Dengeki Prize Award, often writing reviews to encourage the prospective authors. In fact, the latter’s recommendation is the reason why Bokushinu gets to be translated on this particular site. Of course, this doesn’t count into the fact that Sigsawa originally had this idea as a joke chapter from Gakuen Kino (or somewhere, I forgot), so either he did this for fun, or did this to prep prospective writers. I’ll like to think of him as a nice guy and say it’s the latter.

Another thing that is neglected from the others, I feel, is the mentality of an author required to write a story. Sure, you can think of interesting ideas, but you need to develop them, you need the discipline to expand them into paragraphs, you need to spice them up to make them appetizing to the readers, and you need to be bold with what you choose to write on. Too many times have we seen authors come up short because they lack any one of these factors. Granted, no writer is perfect, but having a high benchmark to aim for is something, I feel, everyone should strive for.

Of course, while Tsukasa has his signature siscon tendencies, Sigsawa has his signature gun porn tendencies.

With that being the case, this is mostly an excuse plot for Sigsawa the author to pen his thoughts on the current LN scene. Don’t think too much about the characters. You’ll get a headache.

3. Imouto sae ireba ii (GAGAGA, Yomi Hirasaka)

^The person on the right side. Lemme spoil it for you. It’s a guy (wait, it’s a girl! Yukimura strikes again!)^

Before I start on this topic, let me talk about illustrators.

Yes, illustrators.

I did mention that my 3 favorite illustrators are H2SO4, Miho Takeoka, and Saki Utai.

Now let me talk about the 3 great LN loli illustrators. (Yes, it’s subjective)

They are Shino (Clockwork Planet), Tinkle (RKB) and this guy, Kantoku (and also Henneko)

Why do I mention them?

Because lolis are my mortal enemies, so by extension, these guys are targets of my hatred. As I said, I was devastated when Black Bullet was licensed because it meant that I couldn’t go around butchering lolis.

(Never mind the fact that the 3 illustrators I mentioned earlier do draw lolis)

And now to be a little professional (attempting)…

Yomi Hirasaka’s known in circles as an eccentric author. It says a lot that Kodaka of Haganai fame is one of the more subdued characters he ever created. (well, when you compare it to everyone else on the set, probably not a good indicator of sanity)

Imouto Saeireba ii is where our protagonist hopes to have a little sister. It’s because of this lack of this little sister (so he assumed) that he’s working hard as a siscon writer, but if he does have a little sister, he won’t be writing anything, right?

The story does try to balance between plot and work a lot more than the previous two works, but lets face it, of the four series mentioned over here, this is the one with the most ‘wut’ moments in the story. I consider it the most comedic, but lesser on the romance part, and when the protagonist, a siscon author, is one of the tamer characters in this story, you really have no actual bastion of sanity in this story.

Maybe it’s just me trying too hard to be grounded.

4. Manuscript Screening Boy and Manuscript Submitting Girl, The Story of the Bashful Seas Watched by the Gentle Skies, (Famitsu Bunko, Mizuki Nomura)

Well, you can thank Sky for having some translations of this particular work on his site. Go to the popular site, not mine please.

Given that Mizuki Nomura is the author, I think many would have expected me to continue working on her series after I was done with Hikaru, but natch. There were a few series I could have picked from her works on Hellping, but the one series I really wanted to go back to working on was Riku and Chise, if you remember from the Hikaru translator afterword.

Now, for her in particular, her specialty genre would be the romance department. It can be a rehash of the Genji Monogatari department, drama club, pastries, traditional harem, the basic genre of her stories has always be romance, romance and romance. This story is no exception.

Well, there’s only so much you can do for one volume, but having a prospective write try to submit entries, and work her way into being an author does give the feeling of achievement when you finally make it.

The story ends on a much happier note than Hikaru and Bungaku Shoujo, probably her happiest ending along with Riku and Chise.

Of course, I shall let Sky continue to present this delightful, short little story that is 317 pages long. (Not like I got a choice in the matter, I don’t go around telling everyone which series to translate.)

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5. Ra. Nobetsumanashi, (GAGAGA, Ryuichi Itsuki)

Let’s face it, how many of you ever heard of this one?

Show of hands? None, of course.

The publisher, GAGAGA Bunko, wasn’t as famous as the others back then, and even now, it’s still not as prominent, at least until Oregairu came around. There are several little tidbit series like GJ-Bu! and Sasami, but even those series aren’t exactly mainstream.

Furthermore, this series was published in 2009. In internet timeline, that’s as far back as the rise of the Ottoman Empire. (I mean, look at the art. It’s beautiful, but in a different way compared to 2010s art.)

As for what this story is about.

This one is about a man who wanted to write modern literature,  but despite his misgivings on anime art, ended up becoming a light novel author. Well, that’s considered modern literature, if you can trust me on this. (Cue Izaya).

And of course, romance becomes a main theme, so you can expect a writer falling in love with a fan (no, not an electric fan). Any more of these kinds of stories, and it’ll remind me of the deaths of Touko Amano’s parents again. Sighs.

 

And, back to reality.

As I mentioned before, I have twitchy fingers. So here I go: (Warning, the following will be the beginning of what is an NSFW story)

 

 

 

 

It sounded as though someone fell onto the road.

When I heard that, I stopped my hand from rising upwards, and lifted my head to see the clear blue sky dazzling away. The thick black shadows covered everything between the buildings, and only the sky was blue.

I felt as though I heard something drop.

But I suppose that was a hallucination

Besides, there was nobody around beside me.

I continued to insert the silver coin into the vending machine, and at the next moment, the coin went to the change slot. Sweat soaked my body, and my throat let out a dried voice…that’s strange, why am I so thirsty? I feel like a fish washed ashore. I bent down, picking up the 100 yen coin, only to hear a splat. I turned fback, and found something crimson red laying on the steaming asphalt road, a thoroughly black object giving off a bloody scarlet, like a cat carcass that was knocked down by a car.

Ahh–that’s a uterus.

I confidently thought as I watched that bloody slab of flesh. There was raw meat cooking on the burning road, giving off a foul stench. Seeing this, I felt like drinking some water again.

Someone seems to be watching me. Again, I look up at the sky, and seem to find someone standing at the roof of an abandoned building. However, that person’s hiding under the strong sunlight, and I couldn’t see that person. I want that person to see me, so I continue to wave my arms frantically. That person remained unmoved no matter how I tried to get that attention. I tried calling out, but my parched throat could not let out a voice. Thus, I wanted to use the vending machine, and turned around.

But the 100 Yen…

Trailer #1

Two days later, she left me.

I had a feeling when I reached the office after school. Alice was packing up the dolls on the bed, and it shocked me.

“Hurry up and help me! Uu, it’s depressing thinking about how I have to to stuff so many of my friends into this small box…”

Even though Alice was somewhat teary, she stuffed the dolls, numbering more than a hundred, into the cardboard box. She asked me for help, so I could only do so. But no matter how I did it, it made her unhappy. And she continued to grumble “The back of the dolphin’s bent!”, “The Capybara’s no different from burnt bread if you squash it like this!” “Don’t put the puppy together with the monkey! They’re not on good terms!”

An hour later, the packing of the cardboard boxes were finally done. There was so many of them that it filled the entire kitchen; Alice and I laid side by side on the bed. Looking at the wide white mattress, I realized that it was so big, and it was a refreshing feeling.

“What do we do with the plushies?”

I asked as I looked at Alice. The sleeves of her pajamas were black, probably because the plushies in the corner of the room were covered with some dust. She stared at the ceiling for a while, her long black hair covering the bed like spilled honey.

“I’ll probably leave them to Kei nii-sama. The place I’m going to next might not be one where I can bring friends to.”

These words finally forced out an unbearable heat out of my chest. No, perhaps it had been there for a while, but only recently did I dare to admit it.

Alice reached her hand out, picking up a rectangular object the size of her palm from the gadget rack.

It was the remote control.

Her finger tapped at it, and the buzzing of the air conditioner, injecting cold air into this detective agency all year long, vanished as though it was sucked into the abyss.

It died. It was over. Such a lament surged up within me, unable to be held back.

Alice turned her face to the side, and I followed her eyes to look at the 6 security cameras on the monitor by her bed. There were two cars parked in front of the ‘Hanamaru Ramen Shop’. One of them was painted black and white, while the other was a reddish orange.

Several men in trench coats could be seen getting off the cars. Min-san left the shop to talk to them.

“…Looks like nee-sama surrendered yesterday.”

Alice muttered as she looked up at the ceiling.

I too nodded as I faced the ceiling.

“I never did pay heed to the laws of this country, and now I ended up like this. How laughable…but I guess I have no choice.”

Without the sounds of the air conditioner phasing us out, Alice’s words echoed in my chest mercilessly.

“Hey, Alice.”

“What?”

“Can I say something embarrassing?”

“Is there anything you say normally that isn’t embarrassing?”

I couldn’t laugh. Maybe this really is the case.

“I really don’t wish that you go with them.”

“Idiot.”

That might be the one time this detective ever told me off so lightly.

“This is the sin you chose to reveal yourself. Even if you’re the replacement, it is a case you solved. No matter how much it hurts, you have to bear it. I experienced this a few times already.”

I wanted to answer, but I didn’t know what to say. Alice’s voice melted in this thin air,

“But for me–I guess it’s a little easier for me now. I have an assistant who can shoulder some of my load.”

Don’t say this now. I can’t even look at you now.

“Narumi. If you repeat everything again while having remembered everything, will you choose a different path?”

Hearing this, I raised my hands to block the bluish-white lights, affirming,

“No.”

My reply was so clear even I was taken aback by it.

“I’ll definitely do the same thing.”

“Yeah…me too.”

I sat up, wanting to get off the bed, but my legs could not exert strength, and I sprawled back on the icy bed. Alice leaned over, sitting on the side of the bed, and this useless me couldn’t lift my head to look at her.

“Alice. So many things happened till now. It feels like–”

I said as I stared at her knees in front of my eyes,

“It feels like everything was written down from the very beginning, in a certain place, and that we’re following the script every day.”

At this point, Alice must be looking at me with her warm, fleeting smile. Soon after, the tender voice of the girl drifted to me,

“I suppose. However, it is a story belonging to you alone. Your courage, your exploits, your failures. No matter whatever you choose, whether you engrave it on a stone tablet, so what? In any case, I feel happy that you’re able to face me like this right now. What about you?”

I stared at Alice’s face, but suddenly, my eyes reddened, and I couldn’t lift my head.

“So, what will you do in the future?”

As for me–what will I do from now on?

I had decided.

It was the one thing worth doing.

“I’m going to write my story.”

With a trembling voice, I answered,

“I’m going to write everything that had happened to this point, so that a certain me in the past is able to find its path.”

This is also for the sake of allowing me to remember Alice forever.

A little hand reached out before my eyes.

Finally, I was able to lift my head. I felt that it was unfair that I was the only one crying, but I grabbed her hand.

“Now then, this is a present from the detective to the author.”

Alice smiled.

“I shall name this for you. “God’s Notebook” It shall be. Isn’t this a sharp title?”

 

–In other words, it is the book you are currently holding.

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