February 2017 Announcements

It’s a little early, but Chinese New Year festivities mean that I don’t have much time.

Happy New year, time to pull the ears.

Don’t let Ul-chan see this.

Looking back at the past month, it has been pretty boring. I mean, I haven’t been doing a lot of random stuff at the moment, because I was focused on clearing out some stuff. (and spending a lot more time reading new series so that I can horde the karma on knowledge of newer series.)

What stuff were cleared? Oh, Magdala 3 and Kamimemo 7 are done. For those asking me where Kamimemo is, it’s on BT only, silly.

Again, my plan is to fill up the pokedex of Magdala till volume 6. The completion of the Kamimemo series can be considered a sidequest. *Time to the get the Ultima Sword*

Bokushinu is still…somehow alive (then again, we’re talking about reviving). I know baftn is translating volume 3 with huge embarrassment right now over the dialogue that is already sexual harassment…I’m not sure he’s gonna last the climax of this volume though.

Either way, I do expect to finish the Kamimemo series by August this year (which means it will be completed next year instead). On Baka-Tsuki, I am the supervisor for a few series (I’m the second default supervisor when Oni isn’t around, which is…since 2013), but honestly, the one way I want to supervise a series…is to get down to business and do the translation myself. Either I go completely hands off, or I go in 110%. Hey, I got other series to handle too.

And thus, I have one focus right now…

The Clockwork Planet.

I was banking on whether the series would be licensed last December, especially since the anime was announced to be aired this April. After I learned that it will not be licensed (yet), I’m expecting the series to be licensed in March…

So, time to continue my escape from the Chateau d’lf, until I get caught.

And finish Clockwork Planet 4 by the end of February.

…Of course, given that it’s me, this means I’ll end up completing it in February 2027.

Again, looking at the site in general, I’m still looking to revamp it, mostly because I (still) want to add some new series to the site. And yes, I’m still looking to have a horror series on the site.

I have spoken to a few guys in particular, but unless I do a barter trade by offering to pick up one series in exchange for it, I doubt anyone will be willing to redesign an entire website for me.

Now, speaking of what nonsensical stuff I want to talk about this time…

Switching between different series.

I know a lot of readers would rather I continue to focus on a single series (looking at the Clockwork Planet fans who have been bugging for volume 4 before I finished volume 3 last May.), but honestly, looking at myself in general, I take different series to take my mind off focusing on one series and narrowing my vision. Sometimes, when you keep working on the same series ala Hikaru, you’re going to be very melodramatic. This also gets me off my comfort zone of having preferences for certain genres, and

Personally, I do like to do slower series like Magdala. Boring, slow-paced, and I get influenced to translate at the same speed. If you ask me, I’ll say that I work faster in action series and comedy, but I don’t really get to trust the process and get comfortable with translating as I do with a slower series.

Of course, the main reason why I take so many series here is because I have what people call a ‘shopaholic’ symptom. I see anything interesting, I’ll take it. Of course, this means that I have a lot of backlog, but surprisingly, very few of the series are harem related, probably because I rather leave such works to other translators (and that I’m still twice shy over my girl losing in Hikaru). Hey, it’s because of this tendency that you get a lot more than just one series here (Bokushinu, wink wink, Clockwork, wink wink)

With all the series I have, I really have to refresh my memory on certain terminologies from time to time. And thus:

I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.
I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru.

Sometimes, I do wonder if I should do a few pages with the terms listed…

…Nah, too much hassle.

Anyway, translation of the month?

I shall not type Hikari as Hikaru. (Courtesy of baftn)

 

Chapter 1 Today I’m in Charge of Writing a Letter, and You Became the Editor

The holiday season is here, and with it came a slightly chilly October.

“If you promise me that you won’t get angry, then I’ll tell you the truth.”

“Where did this come from?”

When I got out of bed and flipped open the diary, this sentence was written at the top.

An ominous feeling made its way into my mind.

“You have to solemnly swear, that no matter what you hear, you won’t get angry.”

“Alright, alright, I get it. What kind of trouble did you get into this time?”

It was probably just another stupid mishap of hers anyways.

“You swear you won’t get angry?”

“I swear I won’t get angry.”

“Are you sure? Are you sure?”

“Yes, yes.”

“If you do get angry, then I’ll have to bring to light that [Hatsune Miku Striped Panties] search history on your computer.”

“If you dare bring that to light, then I’ll definitely get angry.”

Why would this idiot know about that? Please just get to the point already.

“I think it was Monday? Kasumi-chan asked you, ‘Let’s go out on our day off.’ Sorry, I forgot to tell you.”

“Wait, is that all?”

My fellow classmate, Kasumi-chan.

She was a young maiden who possessed large-breasts, talked with a lisp, and had her hair braided into pigtails. It looks like I have arranged a date with her.

“And then, since I have a very important promise that I must take care of on Sunday, I told her, ‘Then let’s meet up in front of the train station at 11 on Saturday!’”

Saturday. Isn’t that today?

So that’s what happened. Was she just worried because she didn’t tell me, and made an arrangement without my permission?

“But then, this is the important part.”

“Huh?”

This kind of trivial thing wasn’t that important——I thought in that moment, but what came next was the important part.

“On Wednesday after school, I was enjoying a sundae at Cafe Moonleaf, and then Misaki said, ‘I want to go buy some clothes for my little brother on our day off, and I hope that you’ll come with me.’”

“Oh”

Misaki.

An underclassman who worked at the coffee shop named “Cafe Moonleaf”. She was a two-faced witch, who would use her extraordinarily beautiful legs to take advantage of men. It would appear that she also invited me to go out?

“So then, what about it?”

A question mark appeared in my thoughts, but I continued reading the journal entry.

“I told her that I would be busy on Sunday, but at that time I had forgotten that I’ve already arranged a date with Kasumi-chan… and then I told her… ‘Let’s meet up in front of the train station at 11 on Saturday!’”

“………Huh?”

Ah, that previous momentary feeling of an ominous premonition, was coming back with full force.

“In other words, at 11’o clock on Saturday, an extremely exciting and thrilling scene will happen in front of the train station——Kasumi-chan and Misaki will both be waiting there for Sakamoto-san at the same time. And so, now then, um…”

“………”

“Uhm, as such…”

………

“Good luck with that❤”

“STOP MESSING AROUND WITH MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

I forcefully slammed the desk with both of my hands, and yelled towards the ceiling. This situation was completely distressing!

“Hikari Yumesaki, look at what you’ve done now.”

I directed my complaint towards yesterday’s me, and after letting out a huge sigh, I looked towards the window, gazing at the azure-blue sky, while also recalling another certain thought.

It must’ve been been half a year already.

On a certain rainy day in the beginning of April, the young girl named Hikari Yumesaki died in front of me.

For some coincident reason, I was there at the scene, and I encountered a mysterious figure wearing a long, black robe who offered, “Why don’t you share half of your lifespan with her?” I agreed to those conditions, and Hikari Yumesaki, who should’ve been dead, was revived.

As a result, Hikari Yumesaki would take control of my body every other day, and would use this miraculous method to live. And so, we would rely on the exchange diary to communicate with each other.

However, the problem is…

“But don’t you worry, all you have to do is tell them, ‘My heart is big enough to take in both Kasumi-chan’s large breasts and Misaki’s thighs!’, and then you’ll have a happy ending. I managed to think of such a good excuse for you, I’m so amazing aren’t I?”

“What do you mean you’re amazing!? What kind of two-timing, double sexual harassment phrase is that!?”

I continued raging towards the diary, and let out a painful groan. This idiot was still saying stupid things as usual.

Continuing on to the next page, she was still looking for excuses, “But the truth is, you’re actually really happy, right?”, and even included a group of illustrations after this sentence of me, with an evil grin, in bed embracing a completely naked Kasumi-chan and Misaki in my arms, and I couldn’t help but lightly click my tongue. You purposely scheduled an overlap in the times!

…Although I didn’t feel like there was anything to say, honestly speaking, this much was still within the range of my expectations, and for me, it had already become a common occurrence. However, this way of life has recently encountered a new problem. This was because…

“Sakamoto, I’m really sorry. But you won’t get angry, right? There shouldn’t be any reason for you to get angry anyways.”

“Hm…”

The entry emitted an ominous premonition, and I braced myself as I continued reading.

“Because Sakamoto is always such a tough guy, but for Hikari-chan… Kyaa! Kyaa! So you wanted to pet my head and hug me! Sakamoto is such a closet pervert!”

“Ugh… This idiot…”

Seeing those words, I could only tightly bite my lips, without being able to say anything. The reason was simple, it was just as she wrote, because of some unfortunate accident, the incredibly top secret that I like… like… like Hikari Yumesaki was exposed. Afterwards, that idiot would use this piece of information to tease me every single day.

“What should I do~ Should I be his girlfriend~ But the thing is, if he wants to be my boyfriend, then he’ll have to know that I don’t like people who get angry over these kinds of small things~ Who knows what Sakamoto’s response will be~ (glances over)”

“Dammit, stop getting so full of yourself.”

There were three choices below, “Forgive/Not Forgive/Tsundere”——What does the last one even mean——Dammit, give this idiot an inch and she’ll take a mile. I better steel my heart and scold her a bit. Steel my heart… steel my heart…

“………”

After racking my brain for a while, I circled the word “Forgive”, and this action unsurprisingly made me feel dejected. It wasn’t like I was afraid of her hating me. It wasn’t like that… Dammit.

“I’m always being dragged around on a leash by her.”

As such, I continued reading the ending of this incredibly long entry.

“I know for sure that Sakamoto will forgive me, so I’ll say good night for today! Don’t just mope around and yearn for me, but make sure to do your best for the day!”

Looking at that last line, I couldn’t help but retort, “It’s… It’s not like I’m yearning for you or anything.” and after playing the tsundere, I firmly closed the notebook. Aaahhh, I’m always being lead around in circles by her. Love is blind, just who came up with this phrase in the first place?

Ugh, even though at the end of the day I have to clean up for Hikari Yumesaki’s mess, the feelings of joy in my heart were also noticed by her.

“Sigh.”

I set the notebook down, and looked around the room.

My uniform was hanging from the clothes rack, my manga were arranged in the bookcase, the candy that was originally scattered around on the floor, everything was perfectly arranged nice and clean. It looks like she has slightly realized the the fact that she was a girl. So she has a cute side too after all.

However——

“My entire life span huh…”

——Are you willing to give up the rest of your life span to let her revive?

I suddenly recalled what had happened one morning a couple of days ago. I didn’t know what these words meant, but it probably had something to do with the problem that we were struggling with.

The problem of Hikari Yumesaki’s time——being reduced by thirty minutes.

After quite some time had passed, for the moment it hadn’t continued being reduced from thirty minutes, but who knows if it would still be like this in the future. Although Hikari Yumesaki pretended to not care, she was probably feeling afraid. Because of this, maybe I should tell her about the phone call from the black-clothed person…

“I can’t say it.”

Because the opposing side had been too vague and ambiguous, making it feel as clear as mud, and adding to the fact that it wasn’t any nice information, I decided to try to avoid causing any commotions.

And so in the end, I still have yet to tell Hikari Yumesaki, nor find any solutions. “Just what kind of solution would work,” in the end, each time I could only reach this conclusion.

“…Let’s just eat breakfast first.”

I may have been sweeping things under the rug. I also couldn’t help but feel disgusted with myself.

Our life of two souls sharing one body may appear peaceful, but there was trouble hiding in the shadows. I remained frustrated with this fact, but Hikari Yumesaki couldn’t possibly feel at place because of this. On this autumn day, I will obviously be drawn in another troublesome and more dangerous situation.

And so, two days later such a situation quickly occurred.

“I lost my memories.”

“You spent a passionate night with your girlfriend until you lost your memories? Now this is why you’re a delinquent.”

“I lost my memories…”

“Also, why are you not calling me Miss? Now this is why you’re a delinquent.”

“I lost… my memories…”

“Goodness me, why must you be born with such a terrifying face? Now this is——”

“Memories… sob… sob…”

“Ah, Akitsuki, what’s wrong? I’ll pay close attention to what you have to say, so don’t cry anymore.” (T/N: Try going back to Volume 1, Chapter 1…)

Sunday had gone by, and during the lunch break on the Monday after, I came to the nurse’s office, and I was crying manly tears in front of the school nurse, Higumo. The reason was because of the overlapping dates incident. Afterwards, I tried asking both of them to cancel the dates.

“I went to the beauty salon. It’s definitely not because I’m about to go out with Senpai by the way.”

First I received this text from Misaki, and immediately after came Kasumi-chan.

“I’m really looking forward to our date. I can play until whenever, even until tomorrow morning…”

Getting this kind of text, how am I supposed to ask, “Can we move the date to a later time?” Furthermore, I didn’t want to pass up theses chances for a date with a girl with big breasts and a girl with beautiful thighs, as any virgin male would hesitate when faced with a moment to act without restraint.

And so in the end, I took a risk, and thought up a battle plan to stall time.

“Sorry, since I have something to do afterwards, let’s just end at 4:00. I’ll make it up to you next time.”

Anyhow, first I’ll send this text to Misaki, and then for Kasumi-chan.

“Sorry, since I have something to do beforehand, let’s meet up at 5:00, so I can stay with you until it gets really late.”

After sending the texts, I would meet up with Misaki in front of the train station, ride the train into town, eat lunch together, and pick out clothes for her younger brother. Eventually the time became 4:00, and so we would return to the front of the train station and say goodbye, and then I would meet up with Kasumi-chan at 5:00——It was supposed to be a beautifully perfect plan.

I had terribly underestimated her. Kasumi-chan was a very innocent and kind-hearted girl.

I had clearly changed the meetup time to 5:00, but the true and steady Kasumi-chan unexpectedly came one hour early to the meeting place. As such, my plan was an utter failure, and so when I returned to the front of the train station with Misaki at 4:00, we bumped into Kasumi-chan and I was caught red-handed.

“Eh? Didn’t you say that you would be busy in the afternoon beforehand, so you changed the meeting time to 5:00…?”

Kasumi said, and when Misaki heard this, she had a similar response.

“Eh? Didn’t you say that you would be busy later this evening, so you could only stay until 4:00…?”

As Misaki said this, my face grew more and more pale.

Countless seconds of silence went by, and it felt like it lasted an eternity.

“ “Oh.” ”

The two maidens spoke in unison, and then they each tightly grabbed onto my arms, one on the left and one on the right. Both of them wore a cold smile, and as they walked they would add in a “Heheheh” and a “Huhuhu”, dragging me into a karaoke room. Then at the same time, both of them raised their legs——

“Sakamoto, hold onto the microphone♪”

“There’s a song that I want to sing for you, Senpai♪”

“Eh? …Wha… What song?”

“ “Scream❤” ”

And with those words, I immediately suffered two ferocious kicks directly below my hips, while also losing conscious. When I woke up, I discovered that I barely had any clothes on.

This pain apparently continued onto the next day, for written in this morning’s entry was, “Sakamoto, your balls are screaming out, what happened? Don’t tell me that you spent all night with Kasumi-chan…” and I could only tearfully retort back into the diary, “It was the complete opposite, okay!? You idiot!” Dammit.

I held back all of the pain that I’ve suffered to this day, which still hasn’t decreased, and ran back into the nurse’s office like before. It’s because if I had stayed in the classroom, Kasumi would keep showing me a scary look in her eyes.

“You boys have it rough too huh, but a crying Akitsuki is also quite cute. Hey, can I hug you?”

“What the hell are you talking about…”

After I responded, Higumo looked like she was ready to rush forward and comfort me, so I inspected Higumo’s appearance.

She had a tall, slender body figure, her black hair tied up into a ponytail, her well-rounded breasts bursting at the seams, and the thighs below her mini-skirt dazzlingly blinding. Anyone would rate it as a perfect body figure. If only her personality was more decent, then there would be nothing else to nitpick. It truly was a waste. What’s more, she wears a scarf all year round, not taking it off even during summer vacation, which really surprised me.

These pointless thoughts cluttered my mind.

“Now that I think about it, Akitsuki, how has your condition been lately?”

“Huh, my condition?”

“Didn’t you come crying to me in the spring about having multiple personalities? I’m asking about how your condition since then.”

Higumo held onto her mug, talking as she walked towards the nearby coffee machine. Oh, that did seem to have happened.

I remembered back when Hikari Yumesaki had just entered my body, I was completely terrified by how I would lose my memories every other day. It looks like Higumo is still worried about that.

“You don’t have to worry about it anymore, I haven’t been losing my memory since then.”

“Is that so…alright then. I can finally be at ease.”

I casually brushed it aside, and Higumo easily accepted it.

It was because of this topic that I remembered another thing.

“Oh right, there was something that I wanted to consult with you.”

With her back turned towards me, Higumo turned her head towards me as she poured her coffee and responded with a “Hm?”, and so I asked a question that I have always been meaning to ask. Although it wasn’t anything important, I still had to ask about it.

“When I was struggling with my multiple personalities problem, you told me about that one case right?”

“Yes, that’s right. What about it?”

“‘When the alternate personality gradually appears more frequently than the original, the body may get taken over by the alternate personality.’——that’s what you said, right?”

“……Mhm.”

Higumo became quiet. Eh? What is it? Is there something wrong?

“Afterwards, I became more interested in multiple personality disorder, but I couldn’t find this kind of case anywhere. Do you remember when this case happened?”

This question didn’t really have any significant meaning behind it, and I only brought it up because I was reminded of our previous conversation while we were talking. That’s all it was supposed to be.

………

But I didn’t know why Higumo was so stiff in place.

“Sensei? Hello——”

“Eh? Oh, sorry. Uhm, you were asking…about that case?”

Higumo awkwardly moved about, turning around as she held onto her mug, with an embarrassed smile on her face.

“Uhm, sorry. I actually got it from an article talking about ‘Very Similar Rumors’. I don’t really have any reliable sources, so I can’t really give you an appropriate answer.”

“Oh, so it was just an urban legend huh?”

As I faced towards Higumo and responded, I let out a sigh, while also showing a dumbfounded expression. I had already thought that it would be this way. At that time, I was thrown around in chaos so I had blindly accepted it, but after I thought about it, it must’ve been some made-up rumor.

“I’m sorry about that. Did you take it to heart?”

“No. It’s just that when I thought about this, I felt like asking is all.”

Higumo was more apologetic and ashamed than I thought she would be, but just when I was about to return with a smile——

“Ah, the bell rang.”

The warning bell for the end of the lunch break rang at this moment. It’s time to continue suffering Kasumi-chan’s silent contempt…

“Akitsuki.”

I held onto that thought, and while dragging my heavy footsteps, prepared to leave the nurse’s room.

“Good luck.”

“Huh?”

Higumo spoke with a sweet, soothing voice. What does she mean?

“Ah, it’s nothing. Now that I think about it, why don’t you cut your hair?”

“If you take off your scarf, then I’ll think about it.”

“Ah, what a shame. Be sure to come again next time.”

“I’m not coming back any time soon,” and as I threw down those words, I closed the door and walked away. I better mentally prepare myself to get down on my knees.

I contemplated these things as I stride down the cold, empty hallway.

Five “I will never do it again”s.

Eight “I will be more careful next time”s.

Eleven “It was all my fault”s.

Nineteen “I’m sorry”s.

One “No matter what it is, I’ll obey”.

One “A virgin can dream too! He can make mistakes too (said with tears)!”

All of those things said above were lines that when a guy who has reached a dead end, who was willing to risk everything, thought up in an attempt to apologize. In the end, having successfully pacified Kasumi-chan after much effort, I employed similar appeasement tactics against Misaki, and finally obtained her forgiveness. Anyhow, by the time I got home, I was completely exhausted. Ah, I’m so tired.

After resting for a while, I gathered up my strength, and put the paper and envelope that I had bought from the stationary store on my way home on my desk. This was because of what was written in today’s diary entry.

“Your penpal, Miyamoto, has sent a letter you know. Sorry but I sneaked a peek!”

“Miyamoto huh.”

Harumi Miyamoto, the girl who wears a headband, was the one who, by a stroke of luck, saved me from drowning when we were little. We’ve been friend ever since, and after we separated, we became penpals. After entering high school, this was the second time I’ve gotten a letter from her, and I didn’t know how she was doing lately.

I had some feelings of nostalgia as I began to read the letter that was clamped into the notebook.

“Mr. Autumn Moon, how are you? The air has been quite cool and pleasant lately.

I feel like the people around me are beginning to worry about their college entrance exams.

Has Mr. Autumn Moon decided upon his future aspirations yet? I really hope you will tell me.

Please remember to return a letter. And also, I still remember about that promise you know.”

“Promise huh.”

Once I finished reading the letter, I shifted my attention back towards Hikari Yumesaki’s notebook.

“You better remember to return her letter! Hikari-chan here will personally help you edit this time, just be sure to clamp the letter into the notebook after you finish writing it. I’ll need to check whether this virgin wrote anything unpleasant!”

“Why don’t you just mind your own damn business.”

I knit my eyebrows, and cursed at that self-conceited entry. Although, it looked like everything was fine, with a playfully mischievous journal entry just like always in the past. The problem was what came next.

“Now that I think about it, if I’m taking care of Sakamoto’s daily life like this, then I’m basically like a newly-wed wife! Sakamoto, look at you, you can’t hide that smile on your face~☆”

“Dammit… She’s always using that against me.”

It looks like Hikari Yumesaki still wasn’t tired of using my secret crush on her.

Following it were things like, “What should I do~ Should I be his girlfriend~” or “I can’t feel like any dependability at all from Sakamoto~” and other kinds of self-conceited stuff. Sakamoto here is completely fed up with it. There was even an illustration of a newly-wed wife included on the side. A Hikari Yumesaki wearing an apron was showing off a flirtatious look saying, “Do you want a bath first? Or maybe dinner? Or perhaps brush your hair?”. That last part, what do you mean by brushing my hair!?

“Although, Hikari Yumesaki as a wife huh.”

I couldn’t help but blush at these provocatively suggesting words, while also beginning to imagine it in my head.

I didn’t know what a newly-married life would be like with that idiot. I’ll probably just get fed up with her. However, ignoring that side of Hikari Yumesaki, she was honestly just a girl who was afraid of being alone. At night, I might be able to catch a glimpse of her tender and affectionate side. For example, after she takes a bath with a bathrobe draped over her body——

——Sakamoto, I probably won’t be able to call you a virgin after today…

——Eh? Why?

——Because Hikari-chan is going to take away your virginity.

(※At this moment, the bathrobe needs to flutter down. It’s very important!)

——H-Hikari Yumesaki!

——Sakamoto, let’s warm up a bit…

“H-Hikari Yumesaki, we can’t! We’re still kids, it’s too early for us to do this kind of thing!”

But, but! If you really want to, then right now we can give birth to a son, two daughters, and become a happy family… Wait! Three children! Turning that around, the least would be——AAAaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!

Following my burst of excitement, I laid down on the ground, and rubbed the floor for around 10 minutes. My little sister entered the room and interrupted, “Brother, can I borrow some white glue… Oh… I see that I’ve disturbed you. I didn’t think that you would be in the middle of lying on the floor. Make sure to be careful so you don’t get white glue all over the floor…” Even though I’ve been subjected to such words, I didn’t care at all. Ahhh, marriage huh… What a beautiful thought…

——After wasting a huge amount of time, I finally recovered. With the piece of paper in front of me, I began to write.

“Uh, what should I write about.”

At first, I was going to write something short and simple, but taking Hikari Yumesaki into consideration.

“Any girl would find this kind of letter boring! This is why you’re still a virgin!”

She would definitely nitpick about it like this. But even so, even if I were to spice it up…

“It’s pretty obvious that you’re just pretending to be cool. This is why you’re still a virgin!”

I guess no matter what, I’ll still get chastised by her in the end.

“Whatever, I’ll just try to look nice.”

And so, I spent thirty minutes of effort trying to look nice.

“Dear Miss Harumi,

Long time no see, and thank you for sending me a letter, I was very happy to have received your letter.

College huh. Although I haven’t spent much time thinking about this question, it’s probably about time to face it.

If it’s possible, I hope that I can attend the same university as you, so we can share a happy college experience together.

However, before that, I’ll need to work hard to make it happen, haha LOL.

But if it’s for you, I’ll feel more motivated to work hard. Yes, I’ll try my best.

Well then, I’ll just stop here for now. See you next time.”

“This should do for now.”

Surely even Hikari Yumesaki, who understood other girls’ hearts, would approve of this letter. Yep, I did a good job.

After feeling a sense of satisfaction, I included, “I’m done, so I’ll leave it to you to edit.” and finally closed the notebook.

“Alright, let’s do some homework.”

And like that, I quickly and easily pushed this issue to the back of my mind, and returned to my normal life as a high school student.

…However, it turns out that I made a mistake at that moment.

Two days later, a heavy curtain would be drawn open on an unimaginable image of tragedy.

“Eh?”

Two days later on Wednesday, the image could be seen with a naked eye.

“My room is a mess.”

I said as I looked around my bedroom.

My uniform was thrown on the ground, my manga was disordered, instant ramen was left unfinished, and the TV wasn’t turned off. My room, which was only recently cleaned up, was quickly returned back into its memorable state.

“Why did this happen?”

In order to check the diary, I got out of bed, and flipped open the notebook. And then——

“Wha… what is this…?”

A shiver ran through my spine.

The letter that I wrote two days ago was clamped inside the notebook.

No, it “was” the letter that I wrote——that was the correct way to put it.

That letter was unrelentlessly marked over by a red pen, and I could clearly feel the marker’s annoyance.

“‘Miss Harumi’, why would you refer to her as that? Are you messing around?

‘So we can spend a happy college life together’ well isn’t that subtle.

‘Ha ha, LOL’ What is that supposed to mean? Are you trying to make her angry?

‘For you’… so even you can say those words huh.

What does this even…”

She left behind these kinds of comments. What? Why are you so mad at me?

“She’s just as vague as usual.”

If it was some other guy friend (other than Kazeshiro) they would definitely scold her——what the crap are you doing? Although this time, I’ll just take a step back, since that idiot’s impulsiveness isn’t exactly a rare occassion.

As such, I stuffed both the notebook and the letter into my backpack, and headed towards school. It didn’t matter if it was during class, during break, or after school, I would always be racking my brain on how to fix the letter, and the next thing I knew, it was already 11 o’clock at night.

“Dear Harumi,

Long time no see, and thank you for sending me a letter, I was very happy to have received your letter.

College huh. Although I haven’t spent much time thinking about this question, it’s probably about time to face it.

If it’s possible, I hope that I can attend the same university as you, so we can share a happy college experience that only belongs to you and me.

However, before that, I’ll need to work hard to make it happen, haha LMAO.

But I want to be with you, Harumi, so I’ll feel more motivated to work hard. Yes, I’ll try my best.

Well then, I’ll just stop here for now. See you next time.”

“I finished! It has to be perfect now!”

I completely revised the parts that Hikari Yumesaki marked for me. I think the reason why Hikari Yumesaki was angry is probably because I wasn’t being sincere enough. She’s always getting mad and saying, “I can’t feel any love coming from Sakamoto’s entries!” anyway.

I stuck the revised letter in between the notebook pages, and thought that would be the end of it. Surely with this Hikari Yumesaki’s mood will take a turn for the better.

…I carried this hope with me.

But it looks like I stepped on one of her landmines. Two days later, things took a turn for the worse.

“Whaaa…”

The following Friday, after I woke up, what entered my eyesight was still my mess of a room, and when I read the journal, I couldn’t help but let out a cry.

“That’s not what I meant! Sakamoto is an idiot! You dense male! This is why you’re still a virgin!”

“Sigh, why is she still angry…?”

She continued complaining.

“So you would go this far to play with Hikari-chan’s feeling… I can’t believe it! I was so excited too! I’ve been tricked! Hmph!”

She left behind these words full of indignation.

“Why is she so mad…”

Although I felt an ache of pain in my heart, thinking anymore about it was no use. I patted clean my uniform that was thrown onto the ground, and put it on. Sigh, this situation has become quite troublesome, but I couldn’t think of any way to resolve it.

In the end, I used “I’ll think about it later” as my excuse and pushed the issue aside.

…I couldn’t tell at that time just what kind of disastrous event would occur.

“Where is it… Where can it be… Sob…”

The time was 10 o’clock at night, the location was the changing room next to the bath. In order to not be seen by my little sister who was taking a bath, I was secretly looking through the panties that she had taken off with tears trickling from my eyes. Why? It’s obviously because of Hikari Yumesaki. That idiot was so angry, that when I got to school this morning, her revenge was already unfolding.

The homework notebook that I was supposed to turn in had 18+ BDSM illustrations drawn on it, and this wasn’t even the worse part. My desk was crammed full of moe manga, my gym shoes were decorated with Pr*tty Cure drawings, and there were even BL doujins that had textbook covers slipped over them.

“Sakamoto, please read aloud page 83 from the textbook.”

“Yes. ‘Yukio , we can’t! Two guys holding each other in such a tight embrace…’ ‘Akiboshi, no one will see us. Come, bring your delicate skin into my savanna…’ ——What the hell is this!?”

This kind of massacre occurred.

Once I returned home, the troubles still weren’t over. My mom had received a package sent from “me”. “What could it be?” I carried that thought as I watched from the side, and it turns out that there was a t-shirt inside with “Brother❤Sister Incest is Wincest” printed on it, and you can’t help but wonder where they even sell those at. There was even a letter included, which read, “My dearest mother, please forgive this forbidden love.” My mother turned ghastly pale, and a panic-stricken Yukiko stuttered, “Wha… What does this mean… Are you trying to tell me something…? Could it be that you want to declare our forbidden love to mom and dad!” and it costed me a lot of effort to settle and reassure those two.

As for why I’m now hiding in the changing room and playing with the panties that my little sister just took off, it’s because I was about to face an unprecedented crisis.

When I had just turned on my computer, there was a document on the desktop whose title read, “Time of Missile Launch: 00:00” and so I opened up it to inspect it…

“I’ve already set up an automatic email that will send shotacon BL to Kaoru Kinoshita. If you want to delete it, then you’ll have to figure out the password. I’ve secretly written the password on your little sister’s underwear.”

…and saw this utterly retarded advance notice for a crime.

Oi oi… I opened up my email box, and there really was an email. Using the automatic sending function, it was an email that would be sent to Kinoshita. But the most important part was…

“How long are you going to wait before you ambush me? I’m really looking forward to it. Hurry up and seize me already.”

…what was written.

“This is bad… This is bad…”

Seeing those disastrous words, a shiver suddenly ran through my spine, and even though I tried to delete the email, but then I discovered that because I lacked admin privileges, I couldn’t delete it without the password, which destroyed my spirit.

And so, since I didn’t have any other choice, I could only scrutinize Yukiko’s underwear.

Yukiko was in the living room watching TV, so I took advantage of this opportunity to sneak into her room and go through her wardrobe… but I couldn’t find anything.

My only option was to dump out all of the clothes in basket and look through them, but I was still unsuccessful. Because of it, I came to the conclusion that, “Maybe it’s written on today’s panties.” and so I returned to the living room. Yukiko, who was wearing a mini-skirt, sat on the sofa hugging her knees in an improper manner. I plopped down in front of her, and cautiously sneaked looks at her panties.

Where is it… Where is it written…!

——But I couldn’t focus on sneaking looks at her panties for long.

My dad who was reading the newspaper on the side increased his coughing speed, like he was trying to say something, and Yukiko was blushing as she pressed down her skirt, so I just gave up (although now that I think about it, my dad was technically witnessing an unbelievable scene of his son trying his best to sneak glances at his daughter’s panties).

“It looks like I’ll have to switch my target to Yukiko’s freshly worn panties.”

No one can blame me for coming to this conclusion, right? That’s why in the end, I was taking advantage of Yukiko being in the bathroom and sneaking around in the changing room.

“Just where is it written…”

After a series of events, now——

I flipped over Yukiko’s freshly worn panties, raised it high into the air, and brought my face closer to it, but I still couldn’t find any words. Dammit, Yukiko’s panties was the only connection to all of this!

However, only my mind was still calm and collected.

“Maybe the underwear wasn’t her panties, but her bra…”

Upon realizing that, I grabbed ahold of the small-sized bra. Where, where is it——Oh, I found it! Written on the inside of the bra was a small line of letters! This is great! Alright, now I have to quickly write it down——Kathunk——If I don’t quickly write it down, Yukiko will……eh? Kathunk?

“Sigh, the shampoo’s all gone, I really need to remember to replenish——”

“——————————!”

In that instance, a moment of silence fell upon us. Although it may be little bit too late, right now allow me to introduce my little sister, Yukiko.

Having just entered middle school this spring, Yukiko was nothing like me. She had a small, delicate figure, and that sour look on her face was probably a plus for some people.

Okay, what is Yukiko actually seeing right now.

She was obviously completely naked from having taken a bath, and water was dripping down her smooth, glossy skin, fully showing just how delicate and supple her skin was.

Her two legs which extended down from her small, cute buttocks seemed to have forgotten how to walk, as I only saw her remain frozen in place. The small towel in her hands and the steam covered up her most important parts, but that was her only saving grace, for the person reflected in the large pupils of her eyes was her dearest older brother.

In my left hand was her panties, and in my right hand was her bra.

Because I was extremely nervous, I let out a laugh, and in an act of desperation, I brought my face closer and looked at her——

“Yukiko, this is a misunderstanding. I have a reason for this that I can’t discuss.”

“~~~~~~~~~!”

“Listen, I just need to inspect your panties real quick.”

“~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~!”

“It’s true! I have some difficulties that I can’t say and I need your freshly worn panties!”

“~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~!”

“Yukiko! I have some difficulties that I can’t say but I must need your freshly worn panties——”

“You hideously perverted virgin of a brother, hurry up and get out—————————————!”

“Aahhh————————————————!”

With an incredibly violent tackle to my stomach, I flew out of the changing room and completely fell down onto the floor. This is a misunderstanding… I only wanted to inspect your panties for a bit… Although I lost any valuable dignity I had as an older brother, I finally found the password. I was saved.

And so after I returned to my room, I entered the password “I_Am_A_Virgin” (What kind of stupid password is this…) and finally deleted that email without a hitch. Sigh, I’m so tired.

“Not good, that idiot Hikari Yumesaki is really mad.”

I thought back over what happened today, and grew worried. Dammit, what should I do?

Maybe I could follow Hikari Yumesaki’s advice in fixing the letter. However, seeing how angry she is this time, I don’t think this would be enough. But even so, casually apologizing would only make her angrier.

“…I really have no idea on what to do.”

I tsked with a bitter expression on my face, and flipped open the notebook. Even though I really didn’t want to write these words if possible, I couldn’t take anymore of it.

“Please don’t be angry anymore. Making you angry is only causing me pain. You know how I feel about you, right? I’m begging you to please tell me why you’re mad. The one thing that I never want to feel is being hated by you, my beloved.”

“………”

Although I wrote those words myself, looking at them still made me blush red in embarrassment. Eh? Do I really have to do this?

All things considered, Hikari Yumesaki has a kind and sweet personality, so if I write this honestly, she’ll probably forgive me. But the thing is… Ugh~

After racking my brain for a while, I ended up erasing the ending “my beloved” part. This action would probably cause her to ridicule me as a virgin again, but it was really embarrassing. My cheeks were still burning red.

“Please don’t be angry anymore.”

I carried this plea in my heart, and got into bed to sleep and end this day.

Two days later, seeing my room and tidied up and cleaned, I couldn’t help but let out an “oooo” in amazement, and then opened up the notebook. What entered my sight was a tiny handwriting that lacked any self-confidence.

“………It’s because the letter you wrote for Miyamoto sounded like you were writing to a girl you liked.”

“………”

Uh… What does this mean?

Although I didn’t expected that letter would make her feel this way, what did this have to do with her being angry?

“Eh————”

As I pondered that, I continued reading the next line.

Once I saw those words, I couldn’t speak for a moment.

“I don’t know why, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.”

“………”

Eh? Uh… Does this mean that…

I immediately felt a smile grow on my face. Could it be that Hikari Yumesaki had a bad taste in her mouth because I was being friendly towards Miyamoto? In other words——

“………”

Crap, my smile won’t stop growing.

“Heheh…… Heheheh.”

I even let out a disgusting laugh.

I don’t know why but my mood became a lot better, and I threw myself onto my bed. And then, while holding onto Hikari Yumesaki’s hug pillow, I laughed like an evil overlord for no less than ten minutes. My little sister entered the room at some point, “Brother, I’m sorry for ignoring you for all of yesterday………. Oh…. I see that I’ve disturbed you. I didn’t think that you would be in the middle of humping your hug pillow… I’m sorry for getting angry at you over my insignificant panties…” and even though I’ve been subjected to such words, I didn’t care at all. I was at the height of the moment. Banzai!

“What, she was only mad because of this?”

I smiled as I bowed my head and apologized to yesterday’s me. Hikari Yumesaki, I’m really sorry.

Once I finished apologizing, I sat back into my chair, and laid back as far as I could.

I gazed up into the sky outside my window, and immersed myself into the dawn’s light blue sky. Aahhhh, I feel so happy.

It must’ve been because I felt completely relaxed, but I suddenly spoke:

“…It’s already been half a year, huh.”

It’s already been half a year ever since my strange encounter with Hikari Yumesaki. At the same time, I remembered something else related to this.

One morning——I received a strange phone call, and words the person in the black robes said at that time.

“………My entire life span.”

Hikari Yumesaki’s time was reduced by thirty minutes, along with the meaning behind the black-robed figure’s words.

Not only did this lend to what they meant, but it also hinted at what was to come, which the current me had no clue on. However…

“I really do hate not being able to do anything and just waiting like this.”

I definitely don’t want to lose Hikari Yumesaki like this. Furthermore——

“I’ve already made a promise with Miss Hinako.”

On the night of the fall equinox, under the light of the full moon, I made a vow to Hikari Yumesaki’s mother, Miss Hinako.

I will definitely let Hikari Yumesaki revive, and definitely let her come see you.

“…….Alright.”

For some unknown reason, I felt strength course through my body.

Afterwards, I kept searching for a clue that would help allow Hikari Yumesaki to revive, but I couldn’t find anything at all. But even so, I still shouldn’t think about giving up. I definitely can’t give up.

No matter what I must do, I must allow Hikari Yumesaki to revive.

“We’ll definitely go see Ms. Hinako together.”

There’ll definitely be some solution, a solution that will allow Hikari Yumesaki to be saved.

That’s right, I carried this impossible hope with me——

And clenched my fist at the sun rising above the cloudy sky.

>
>
>
>

CHINESE NEW YEAR DOUBLE SPOILER SPECIAL!

 

 

“–Terrible.”

Marie muttered unhappily, and cut off the trunk of the ‘Cylinder Train’.

The air was humid, and even after loosening the collar, it was still unpleasant. The sweaty blond hair felt disgusting when clinging onto the forehead, and the stench of waste was all the more nauseating.

Through the bottom of her sunglasses, Marie scanned the ‘Platform’.

The floor was sticky due to some unidentifiable dirt, and the walls were covered with wanton graffitis and advertisement posters on the wall. The ceiling lights were dim, and the display board with the station name wiped out was dangling.

It appeared to be an abandoned station, and did not appear to be managed by anyone, but the ‘platform’ was filled with passengers who just alighted from the ‘Cylinder Train’ that arrived.

“Absolutely horrible.”

Marie again noted, removing her sunglasses.

Shown from beneath the black sunglasses was a thoroughly peeved face.

“It’s to be expected for a trash of a city to have a trashy smell. Disgusting, absolutely disgusting! Even I’m getting pissed off, damn it–can’t I just burn everything to the ground?”

“Hey hey. That’s the first thing you say, Princess? This is the most popular tourist attraction in the world, you know? Can’t you say some happier thoughts about this?”

A voice of comfort could be heard from behind, and Marie turned around.

Right in front of her eyes was Vermouth, giving a cold sneer.

His appearance was that of a smoking hot blonde babe of an automata–but the voice was that of a frivolous man. It was a strange existence of the expression, voice and gender being completely disoriented.

With much impatience, Marie said,

“Tourist attraction? More like a garbage dump, right? You can say it’s a cockroach nest.”

“–Maybe, but don’t forget. To the world outside, we’re pests living in the toilet–large ones too.”

Vermouth said as he curled his smile.

And he inhaled the air as though he was tasting the smoke, and exhaled.

“–Phew~this sewer-like air…feels nostalgic here, doesn’t it?”

“More importantly.”

Naoto Miura interrupted.

It seemed his ears were hurt by the ‘Cylinder Train’, for his face winced in pain.

“Can someone please tell me where are we already?”

“Anyway…you can change out of that disgusting outfit now.”

Marie narrowed her eyes, and coldly stated.

Naoto was wearing a local traditional dress made of layers of colorful cloths–a female outfit that could cover the curves of a body.

Naoto, who had a petite body and some adolescence in his voice, clearly looked like a girl.

Of course, that outfit was not his fetish–

“Listen up. You were the one who said my appearance was revealed, and I’m now wanted as an international terrorist–and also!!”

Naoto opened the paper he was holding with one hand, and shoved it before Marie.

“There’s a report that we kicked up a fuss with the Thai navy port. So I said, you’re the one who told me to disguise myself and avoid attention, right?”

Naoto laid out a little English Tabloid.

Right in front of Marie’s eyes was a photo of the Thai Navy docked at a port, and an eyecatching headline.

 

“Second Epsilon (Y) hijacked a boat! Thai Navy Port Devastated!”

 

It was a report on the ‘Second Epsilon’, terrorists currently on the run–who devastated the Thai navy base, fought off the local military and police, and terrorized the Thai people.

Marie slapped away the Tabloid that was pressed at her nose, and growled,

“I told you to disguise yourself–not dress yourself up as a girl!”

“Master Naoto, you do not have to mind the suggestions of the lowly peasants.”

Interrupting with a refreshing chirp was the automata RyuZU.

She went forth to shield Naoto,

“Master Marie, it appeared that you have an inferiority complex to Master Naoto with regards to the score of your appearance, to a point where it goes beyond gender, but it is understandable. Throwing a tantrum to escape from your inferiority complex is the final privilege of the vulgar, foolish ones. Before your final rights are taken away from you, please do not–”

“You’re the one who got him to crossdress, okay! Half of those words can be directed at you, you piece of scrap metal!”

“–I say, Milady.”

Interrupting was Halter, the cyborg.

This hulking figure bent down to get off the train, and sighed, saying,

“That’s enough already. Do you guys really want to be chatting on the ‘Platform’?”

“Before you ask me, how about you ask that flawed automata who started any ruckus without a second thought? Do you want me to tell you how many times I took insults over the past 2 weeks?”

“Oh my. Are you trying to boast that you can count to more than ten? You may, you know? You can boast all you want–”

“16 times!! Your! Fault! For causing so much trouble!”

Marie raised her voice, and glared at RyuZU.

It had been 2 weeks back since they were discovered in the Indian Ocean by the Thai Navy and fought back into the Navy port at Grid Phuket.

They chose to take the land route after that, and though they tried their best to maintain a low profile, and moved about quietly and discreetly, they were pursued by the police, military, and even the paparazzi.

Whenever a gun–or any suspicious item was pointed at Naoto, as befitting of her nature as an automata, RyuZU would eliminate all malice, killing intents or hostilities.

And so–this ended up being the case.

Whenever they attracted some attention, there would be commotion.

Whenever there was commotion, the pursuers would figure out where they were.

And whenever they tried to evade their pursuers, they would continue to change destinations, and wander around.

They went from Chumphon to Bangkok, Pataya, made a detour to Cambodia, returned to Thailand through Ubon Ratchathani, north to Khon Kaen, and Nong Khai.

They went through practically all the main cities of this country, went through the Laos border, and finally arrived at this nameless station.

During this long escapade, they were discovered 16 times.

If they were able to evade from their pursuers, their journey through local transportation would be no more than 3 days, yet they spent 5 times the duration.

And as for the reason–

“Isn’t it because you’re always being so obvious?”

“…But Milady. Unfortunately, it is difficult for us to be moving around discreetly, isn’t it?”

Halter coaxed, and Marie remained silent.

Even if Marie was completely left fuming, she had to admit that Halter’s words were reasonable in this context.

Halter and Vermouth had no issues, and so did Marie and Naoto, the latter in crossdress. They would not be spotted easily if they disguised as foreigners.

The probably however was RyuZU. Her alluring appearance, and radiant, glittering silver hair would surely garner much attention.

Furthermore–

“Papa? Where, is this place?”

“Ohh, AnchoR, sorry~ that annoying shitty old hag–ah, I just said something bad for a kid’s education–that blond landmine of a girl wouldn’t speak, so papa can’t answer you.”

Naoto tenderly answered the automata with the appearance of an adolescent girl, AnchoR.

Her adorable appearance consisted of black irises were flickering uneasily, the round cheeks tender, and the pink lips. Coupling that with insufficient repair, and she was swaying around.

Her appearance at this point garnered a desire of anyone around her to protect her.

As Halter said, it was a little difficult for this group to move around discreetly–

“Those guys there! Stop giving AnchoR weird thoughts!”

“Mama, where is this place?”

AnchoR tilted her head in confusion, and the latter rid herself of her displeased look, beaming as she answered,

“Grid Chiang Mai, AnchoR.”

“That’s right, but Missy, you’re the only one still using this place.”

Vermouth interjected with a grin on his face.

Those words left Marie displeased as she pouted and argued back.

“International law-wise, this is Chiang Mai.”

“Even though Thailand used to have such a place, they don’t use this name in official documents. Right now, they seem to be calling it something more official.”

Hearing this, Naoto asked in surprise,

“…? What is the common name?”

“‘Paradise’.”

Vermouth answered, and Naoto looked around with more skepticism.

“..You’re referring to this torn down place of a station?”

“There’s nothing that’s not sold here, and nothing money can’t buy. Arms, weapons, automata, illegal parts, drugs–and even humans or human rights. It’s a haven for criminals, terrorists, armed forces, and radicals. Later one, someone called this place–”

With a smirk, Vermouth revealed the answer,

“The premier crime capital of the world–Grid Shangri-La.”

January 2017 Announcements

Well, looking back at the year 2016 as a whole…

Finished Hikaru, worked on Clockwork, Magdala, Strangled, Amaryllis, BMG, handed off Bokushinu to Baftn, start jobs, changed job classes, leveled up, became more snarky than before…

I was told to keep this one interesting, but honestly, I’m not a funny person, so I don’t really know how to make this one interesting…

…Well, I’ll try.

First off, some random musings for the year.

There’s a lot I want to do. Sometimes, I wonder if I should go about earning money from translations.

There was a time when I had to implement donations for certain reasons, but that got settled for the time being.

Then again, I realized that no, I don’t want to do this, simply because I don’t see myself being the type of person devoted to earning money from passion.

Of course, looking elsewhere, I do see a lot of sites with ‘donations’ and such. I can’t say anything about them because I already tried it, but for those that try to profit from fan translating elsewhere, I suppose all I can express is disdain.

Why I’m saying this is because I recalled that when I first joined a particular Discord server, I had someone literally PM me, asking me if I want to work with him (though in technicality, I suppose he just wanna leech profits). Conversation basically goes this way.
X: Want to help me?

Me: Help with what?

X: Idk, what can you help with?

Me: Well, I got my own series. Probably some editing.

X: Oh. I see. What’s your series

Me: Everything on this site: https://hellping.org/

X: What a beast. You TL all of that?

Me: pretty much

X: …What are you? Alien?

Me: Just a restless guy

X: Plz. Btw. Why’d you buy your own domain. If there’s no ads?

Me: Just a fan doing what he wants, I guess

X: …Plz

 

Naturally, he asked a few others on discord, and their opinion of him isn’t exactly of the highest regard either.

Well, I am of the impression that if someone doesn’t have the right passion to do this, he/she won’t last in any field. Burnouts are frequent, even for me, who has decided on this as a hobby. Hey, translating takes time, effort, neurons, and morons trying to decipher what’s going on.

Some people are going commercial with translations. That’s fine with me, assuming that credit goes back to the author. Personally, I don’t think I’ll like to do such a thing, given how ephemeral I am with my interest in series.

…And yet I didn’t decide to pick up Gamers.

 

Next, my experiences of running the BT social media groups.

Most of the time, I’m the one providing the content and commentary. I swear, sometimes, it feels like I’m talking to myself on the wall.

…Whether it’s about random translations on discord

…Whether it’s about licensing news

…Whether it’s about me being a savage with all the banner changes

 

Yeah, the DMCA still traumatizes many.

Hakomari got licensed by Yen Press, so I really do have to congratulate EEE (and his editors) for really doing so much to get such a quality series out for people to read and spread the word.

Evil Overlord: Tell the truth, Ping.

Well…erm, I mean, after having so many of my series licensed, I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there.

I haven’t had the opportunity to mutilate many lolis this year, so I’m kinda having withdrawal symptoms from not translating Black Bullet in particular. Enju will die horribly, mark my words.

 

 

BT project plans.

For BT wise, I’m planning to finish the Kamimemo series, and after that, I’ll probably go back to one of the series I dropped back then. Time to finish up some loose ends.

Next, for Hellping

…Hellp, please?

Anyway, let’s list down the series.

Magdala is at 3 volumes, and since the original series is discontinued in Japan (in favor for Spice and Wolf), I suppose I can catch up…in 3 years?

Bokushinu…that will depend on Baftn. As I said in the last announcements, the SS went from Xmas 2016 to Xmas 2017.

And speaking of baftn…

“Happy holidays, how’s everyone enjoying their break? That volume 2 chapter 6 was a doozie, but I’ve already started volume 3 so look forward to that. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get that out soon (and much quicker now that I don’t have college applications to worry about…). Anyway, let’s enjoy what’s left of 2016 and have a better 2017!”

Still doing his best Hikari Yumesaki impression.

Amaryllis will be done in June or so…

Strangled will be done by April…

BMG…still in limbo.

And as for Clockwork…

…Wait. Is that a license? No?

Starts translating:

 

 

At first, the universe had nothing, and then, the world was suddenly born.

 

Till this point, there were all kinds of fables depicting the creation of the Earth.

God created it in 7 days. Or a Mother God consummated her love with a Father God. Or a giant or a dragon was slayed, and the contents of the corpse spilled out, creating everything.

But while fables described how the earth was formed, they never described why the world was born.

Eternity, infinity, chaos—it was said the world appeared without reason, amidst these mind boggling massive concepts.

Even the fable called science defined it simply as the creation of heaven and earth, the Big Bang.

That was a massive expansion, suddenly born of the ‘void’ that differed from time and space.
And so, such Gods, love, monsters, singularities, and massive energies appeared from this ‘void’.

In the end—was there a special reason to it?

None.

…No, perhaps there was a reason, butt at the very least, while people asked for no reason, they couldn’t find the existence that was the answer.

The crucial point is, was there really a purpose to this question?

For example, the creator of this ‘Clockwork Planet’.

The latest creator who replicated this world using gears.

In other words—as for ‘Y’.

 

“Why did you create this world?”

 

If ‘Y’ were to be asked this, how would he answer?

For humanity? To save the Earth from destruction?

Would a living creature giving such an answer of common sense create something way beyond common sense?

It was likely that he would probably tilt his head and wonder,

—But I never thought about it.

 

In fact, it need not be a god alone who could create a world.

Just write poems, draw paintings, say stories. Music or sculptures are fine too.

If not, there’s no need to force oneself to create; one could simply imagine freely in the mind.

With that, we shal be able to create the universe that belongs to uss.

Also, there’s no meaning or meaning to doing this. Because there’s no need for it.

Those in the profession of novelists, manga illustrators, musicians, creators might answer: doing this is an expression of thought, to please everyone.

However, those were simply lies, merely pretentious.

“I just created because I want to create.”

—Any reason other than that would be superfluous.

 

In the beginning, there was nothing, and then, the world was suddenly born.

There was no significance to this at all.

Of course, it is the freedom for us common folk to fantasize about some highly exalted will, intentions, that brought about this miracle…

But in any case, this, like the creation of the world, had no significance at all—

In the past, a genius called ‘Y’ recreated the world using gears.

 

And so, 1000 years later…

 

—Vainney Halter never believed in fate.

 

A long time ago, back when he was a youth, not converted into a cyborg, from the day he first entered the battlefield, he had always—no, it was likely that he had been like this, even long before then.

He went through countless battlefields, and created a countless number of deaths.

There was simply the bare truth.

An unshakeable belief that was affirmed through experience and realism, and when faced with a simple chain of coincidences, he would simply deny them and eliminate irrational thoughts.

There was no meaning to the world.

There was no value to Life.

There was no significance to the truth—

Those would simply vanish easily from time to time, sometimes expended in a manner inferior to that of paper shreds.

For comparison, it would be like a currency with a loss of confidence losing all its value in an instant..

The ‘fate’ devoid of belief would instantly lose its value, and simply end up as an existence as a type of ‘situation.

And because of this—that so called ‘fate’ would always come to an end without much effort.

If I’m to say that I have the talent to be a soldier, it’s because I understand the reality of this cruel truth. Halter thought.

 

Eastern Bazaar of Grid Shangri-La, Chang Klang District.

The stalls on that messy road was called the night bazaar, and in the past, it was a tourist attraction that had many traditional artistic pieces there.

At this point, the stalls were freely selling illegal stuff that anyone in possession of would have a hundred years of prison—they included dangerous weapons, armaments, suspicious drugs, kids pornography and murder movie albums.

Halter was shopping at one of the stalls, eyeing a massive transformable handgun that was showcased there.

A slightly plump shop attendant greeted from the other hand.

“Interested in this one? You have a fine eye, sir.”

The attendant rub his hands eagerly, ready to sell, and upon seeing that, Halter could only grimace, and answer,

“Hand-made? Looks really powerful.”

“It’s a work from a famed maker here, one of a kind. The gun name is ‘Monarca’. It uses a transformable structure that includes everything from sniping to scattershot. At maximum output, it can fire 20 rounds of 15mm hardcore armor piercing rounds. I had some idiot of flesh only broke his arm while test firing it, but you can relax about that, sir…”

The attendant continued with the business talk, but it was not out of courtesy.

Halter was a complete cyborg.

He’s not of the latest model, but he was a fifth generation model that incorporated many of the the actual armaments the ‘military’ used. Also, looking at his massive body frame for a man that was beyond standardization, it was obvious that it was not a stealth type meant to suppress the power output, but an assault type, specially designed to handle the high powered weapons the body of flesh and blood couldn’t handle.

47cm long, 17 kg heavy—this ‘massive item’ was ostensibly a challenge to the dimension limits of a portable weapon.

But it was to be expected why the attendant would expect Halter to be able to wield it easily.

Halter’s fingers slid across the gun that was as shiny as a mirror, and nodded, saying,

“I see, it’s interesting. I’ll buy this then.”

“”Yes, thank you for your patronage. Please head to the ‘arsenal’ shop for test firing. You can have an hour of free service as long as you state your name.”

“Thanks.”

Halter paid up, took the specialized holster, and inserted the gun he just bought.

That gun was more akin to a mini cannon than a handgun, but it was terrifying small when paired with the waist of a massive hulk like Halter.

Halter tidied his suit, and turned to leave.

Darting through the alley between the open-aired stalls, he arrived at an area selling various products. The stretch of stalls mainly sold weapons and armaments and illegally modified automata.

—And in a corner of that road, there was a bunch of misfits letting out a commotion.

Halter recognized them, and nonchalantly approached them.

“—Naoto! Didn’t you boast that you already understand AnchoR’s structure completely!? Do I take it as a declaration of defeat that you say you don’t know the parts needed!?”

The one shrieking—with some childishness in the voice was a blond girl.

She was dressed in a thin white shirt, a white and black striped camisole underneath and a denim culotte pants, quite a freestyle fashion.

And in contrast to that outfit, the tool belt that looked exceptionally old was really eyecatching.

“How many times must I tell you, Marie! It’s not that I don’t know what parts to use, I don’t know the name of the parts!”

And the black-haired boy called Naoto growled back at the girl.

He was wearing a cheap floral print T-shirt and light blue overalls.

Also, he had neon green noise cancellers holding down his loose, messy hair.

While the duo didn’t look too obvious for a boy and a girl, they really stood out in this shopping street of suspicious goods.

“I’ll know once I see the real thing. It’s fine, right?”

Naoto hollered, and the blond girl—Marie snorted in a condescending manner.

“Oho? So this means that you’re going to walk down this street to check out each stall, one by one for parts, young master Naoto? Do you know how many parts do you need about that?”

“As I said, we can do the basic repairs with 68,323,405 parts.”

“So even if we take a second on average to find a part, it’ll take about 790 days, you know? Are you planning to stay in this stinky sewer of a place? Are you an idiot?”

Marie’s emerald eyes glared up, and Naoto’s light grey glared back in return.

If he was to leave them be—just like this, the two kids would continue glaring at each other all day long. With an amicable tone, he spoke to them,

“Yo, kept you waiting?”

And Marie continued glaring at Naoto, answering,

“Not really—still okay. Done buying your stuff?”

“Yeah. Got something decent. As for you guys…what, disagreements?”

“No, I suppose their little squabble simply cannot be described in a an exalted manner.”

Calmly answering was a silver-haired girl of an automata standing beside Naoto—RyuZU.

Her beautiful face was so intricate, her body obviously alluring under the black dress—even though it was not the appropriate place, she would really attract the attention of others.

“It is to be expected that Master Marie would let out an outburst of crude, inferior envy despite seeing Master Naoto eke his mind and yet unable to obtain an answer. I do hope that Master Marie is able to understand the notion of hiding her envy—for it is really noisy.”

“Who do you say is envious here!?”

RyuZU let out a long spiel of vicious words, and it agitated Marie enough to spite back.

And the latter pointed at Naoto—

“Listen up, this, guy, here, if he’s as amazing as that mouth of him, I wouldn’t be yapping away here—”

“Erm…mama.”

While Marie was in the midst of her outrage, the automata taking the appearance of a little girl, AnchoR, tugged at Marie’s sleeve.

Her black hair and innocent expression looked really adorable, and even the best of the toy automata paled in comparison to her when it came to cuteness. Compared to her head though, her body was utterly damaged. It was startling to see that under her usual clothes—including a one piece dress that covered her entire body, there were patchwork parts attached to her.

AnchoR stumbled over to beg,

“Don’t argue. Okay?”

Marie immediately hugged AnchoR, beaming away.

The displeased growl became a sweet purring used to coddle a kitten.

“What are you saying, AnchoR—mama wasn’t quarrelling♪”

“…But you’re angry, right?”

“Not at all not at all. I’m not angry at all. Feeling great.”

Marie lifted the little mechanical body, rubbing her cheeks on the girl as she said.

It appeared that she had already cast off the attitude she had a few seconds ago.

“Right right, better get down to buying the parts for AnchoR. No time to waste—shall we go?”

“Well, whatever…I got to be impressed by that sudden mood swing of yours.”

Naoto gave a blank look, and walked out.

 

Halter though.

—How many people will be cuddling their head after hearing this?

This would be the true state of the Second Upsilon, the masterminds and culprits of the ‘February 8 incident’ that shook Japan to the core, an armed terrorist group that the world viewed as an enemy. They started off with a terrorist act announcement on Akihabara a month again, triggered an EMP crisis there, and also a skirmish at Sakuradamon.

Or that would appear to be on the surface.

But in fact, that wasn’t the case. They willingly took the blame to destroy all conspiracies, and prevented a world crisis. They were not terrorists, but could be considered saviors.

For those who had a little understanding of the workings of the world—this level of knowledge would be public knowledge.

However…

“…Anyway, where did that uncle Vermouth go to? He hasn’t been back for two days.”

“Who knows? Probably off to some dirty shop somwhere.”

“In that body? What kind of a pervert is he?”

“You already know that little hoodlum is a pervert.”

At this moment, RyuZU hissed,

“—Master Naoto, I do apologize for cutting you off when you’re revaling your unique fetishes, but please lend a ear.”

“Papa, mama, there are dangerous people here…”

AnchoR, resting in Marie’s clutches, scowled, warning.

Naoto pricked his ears warily, and muttered,

“We got people aiming at us…”

“—What’s going on? Halter. Didn’t you greet the local militia here?”

“I did. But there’s a whole lot of idiots on this streets who refuse to abide commands and work in groups, thinking that they’re outlaws. Do you think those guys will obey the rules nicely?”

As he answered Marie, Halter drew out the gun he just bought.

Marie and the others were the most dangerous faction in the world at this point. Just a dead or alive bounty on them was alluring enough; there would be as many criminal organizations as there are stars yearning for the technology.

Halter never explained these matters beforehand, and sighed.

He thought, this is the problem—

No matter whatever the truth everyone knew of, these two automata had combat abilities beyond common sense, and the two teenagers once easily grasped the core structure of the country.

In the face of such an unshakeable truth, the facts, good and evil, and accomplishments did not matter.

 

—If only there is no god.

If everything was driven by an omnipotent ‘miracle’, tacky ‘magic’, or inevitable ‘fate’, then nobody would be able to refute, nobody would be able to grumble.

But the reality was that they were simply humans on the surface. The massive ‘power’ they contained remained unrestricted by any systems.

No matter what the duo themselves might think, that would be an overwhelming ‘authority’ equivalent to God.

However…

 

—Vainney Halter didn’t believe in Gods.

At the very least, he definitely wouldn’t believe in an absolute, only, and all-knowing God.

For Halter knew—

He knew the cold, hard truth, that no matter how powerful a force—there was nothing in the world that was absolute.

Ever since that incident in Tokyo, the police, ‘military’ and all kinds of criminal organizations came swarming on Naoto and the others to capture them with full force—but they were all completely mistaken.

The simple thinking of trying to challenge the Imaginary Gear and Perpetual Gear with brute force alone was a mistake on their part.

They shouldn’t be battling the ones they couldn’t beat—they should eliminate them.

 

—Vainney Halter wasn’t a Meister.

He didn’t have the supernatural talent to grasp the world like the two kids in front of him, and didn’t have the skills of those specialists in the ‘Meister Guild’. Even after stripping him of the disadvantageous condition of being a cyborg, being a Gazelle—the knowledge and expertise an ordinary person could obtain from working hard, that was his limit.

But that was enough.

No matter how amazingly intricate a clock was, as long as a part was faulty—everything would stop.

No matter the talent, this truth would never change.

 

—Thus, he just had to do this.

 

In a natural motion, Halter grabbed Naoto by the back of his neck, and pressed the gun at the latter’s temple.

The atmosphere froze.

“…May I ask what you are doing, you scrap metal?”

RyuZU slowly turned around.

Halter took on the killing intent from RyuZU’s stare that could possibly kill anyone, and smiled, saying,

“That’s how it is, Missy. To quote a third-rate movie, do as I say if you want this guy here to live.”

“Uncle?”

“Halter, what are you—!?”

Naoto muttered in disbelief, and Marie widened her eyes in shock, unable to say anything.

Halter held Naoto hostage, and slowly pulled his distance from RyuZU, thinking,

I’m still alive—

This could be considered a victory for him.

He was simply an old military cyborg, and normally, given the terrifying capabilities of the opposing automata, he would be dissected at a speed he wouldn’t be aware of.

Given this position and timing, even if she couldn’t slice the bullet with the gun before he could squeeze the trigger and shoot through Naoto’s skull…

RyuZU herself had another backup.

She could instantly reverse this situation by using the Dual Time—Mute Scream.

But RyuZU didn’t do so. She couldn’t.

For she understood that it would be a waste of effort.

“Thank you for being so alert.”

Halter maintained his smile, and continued,

“If you think I’m the only one aiming for Naoto, well, that’ll be a big mistake. Both Naoto and I will be dead for sure.”

“…”

“Just to be safe, I’ll say beforehand that there aren’t just snipers set up around us. I know your capabilities and Naoto’s ears, and it’s not difficult for me to set up a stage to seal off everything.”

Right, it was not difficult.

RyuZU needed a few seconds of lag before she could enter ‘Mute Scream’. Assuming that the few seconds could be lagged, that would still be only one problem solved.

Once she enters ‘Mute Scream’, the power generated from the spring would run out.

If she were to enter the Dual Time without knowing of the enemy’s positions—the threats, positions and numbers, if she was to missed out of just one, Naoto would be defenseless, prone to danger.

RyuZU naturally could not make such a risk.

“What do you intend to do after this?”

“Scram, of course. Those black scythes of yours are terrifying.”

“Very well—please do so then. Even if you are to escape into the latrine—my apologies for an uncouth word. Even if you are to hide under the cover of a toilet bowl, I will drag you out, even if I have to reduce this entire city to scraps…”

“That’s fine. I hope that you’ll try—a sisterly battle will start then.

“!? That’s—”

Naoto struggled in Halter’s clutches.

However, Halter remained poised turned the gun towards Naoto.

“Sorry Naoto. No suggestions or questions. You say anything, and I’ll squeeze the trigger immediately. Yap some more, and this plan might fail.”

“…Ugh.”

The icy feeling of the gun at the temple caused Naoto to shut up before he could speak.

And on the other hand, Marie was shouting with a trembling voice,

“…What’s going on here? Halter, what are you doing?”

Halter saw the girl show confusion and anger, two emotions that went beyond extreme glaring at him, and grimaced as he answered,

“Sorry Marie, this is a job too.”

“Job…?”

“Some valued customer has a large bounty for this guy’s head and ears. He’s able to grasp a Core Tower, and you know how valuable this talent is without me saying, right?”

“Why—did you betray us!?”

“Betray?”

Halter blankly repeated, and was left aghast.

“—Sorry Princess. I don’t remember signing a contract with you, nor do I remember getting a salary from you. I merely helped you out of goodwill—as a member of society, I can’t let my emotions get in the way of work here, right?”

“HALTER—!!”

Marie let out an intense yell from her lips that were quivering in anger.

One could also hear some malice from those words, it seemed.

—But in any case.

The talent and capabilities that shook the world were sealed off just like that.

And in this volatile atmosphere that was on the verge of exploding, Halter smiled nonchalantly—recapping the meaning of the ‘job’ this time.

 

It all started two days ago—-

Clockwork Planet gets an anime.

Naoto Miura: Yoshino Nanjo
RyuZU: Kakuma Ai
Marie Bell Breguet: Onishi Saori
Vainney Halter: Matsuda Kenichiro
AnchoR: Senbongi Sayaka

Producer: Xebec

 

Hello Clockwork my old friend, I came to talk to you again.

It’s been nice knowing you. Having picked you up before the NGNL hype and the KonoSugoi rankings, I knew you would be something the moment you started off with a terrorist attack in the prologue.

Personally, I do find quite a few faults, whether it is my disgust with the lolis, some plot issues I can’t spoil here, or…I don’t know, I hate you because you’re getting popular?

But in any case, it has been a fun ride working with you. Going from Kyoto, to Tokyo ala Kenshin, and wherever it may be, there’s never a dull moment, especially when the expletives start showing up with frequency.

With great power, comes great responsibility. With great exposure, comes great pressure. The pressure will come from everywhere. Fans, corporate, strangers, hecklers, whatever. I do intend to continue, until someone else does express the desire to take over.

If possible, see you at the New Year, steampunk.

 

CP_v02_006-007

December 2016 Announcements.

Well, the year’s ending, and it’s time to review some stuff for the year.

Almost 0 progress on 3 minutes BMG and Amaryllis.

Only 2 volumes of Magdala done.

Bokushinu outsourced to baftn, Biblia outsourced to Erebea of Nanodesu.

Clockwork Planet stuck at 3 volumes. As for the 4th volume. (Wait? Is that the license? No?)*Hammers away

Strangled limited to just one volume release a year. If I ever worked like that IRL, I would be fired.

Did I just mention that I’m still working on Magdala 3?

Guess not.

 

I didn’t manage to get much done. Distracted by work, RL, and most importantly, new series.

I did new stuff for fun, like Tada, Sore Dake de Yokattan Desu.

I went back to old series for fun.

Yeah, I’m pretty bored. Bored enough to awaken the no chill mode within me.

I guess, having done this for quite a while, I’ve been too grizzled to be hyped over novel series. And so I somehow decided to hone my craft on banter (or roasting, as you may call it).

 

Here are a few for example:

 

Lolicon: Yo, how have you been?

Me: Working at Wagnaria.

Lolicon: So you’re the straight man there?

Me: And you’re Takanashi Souta.

 

Staff-san: Hey, you know that Nisemonogatari’s getting an official translation?

Me: We’re at the age where toothbrushing has to be licensed…

 

Fan: But, but the Oda Nobuna translation is still going on.

Me: Yeah, it’s as alive as the Japanese Catholics during the Tokugawa Shogunate.

 

And of course:

black-bullet-10-2

This will be on the test.

 

At this point, I’m thinking about changing the appearance of the site. Might need to outsource the design though. I’m not a programmer.

I’m kinda glad that I’m not exactly a fashionista, or I would be changing the site appearance every single day for no good reason.

It’s the rainy season now, so I guess I probably want something similar in design.

 

And speaking of rain, I remember good old Yuu Kanai back in Australia. There’s still some melancholy over the Hikaru series, but I guess it’s time to move on.

Sometimes I do wonder what my signature series is, having translated for so many years. For js06, it’ll be Index. For zzhk, it’ll be Campione!, for Eusth, it’ll be Hakomari. I do wonder if Hikaru is my signature series, or something else.

Well, none of that matters anyway, just something I can mention when I introduce myself, “Hello, this is Hell_ping, translator of the OOOOO series”.

 

XMas is coming around the corner, and I had plans to have Bokushinu finished on a Christmas. Due to RL commitments however, the release will be on Christmas 2017.

Meanwhile, a few words from the other translator of the series, baftn:

“Hey guys, sorry for being a lazy bum. I’ll be cranking out the rest of Chapter 6 this Thanksgiving break or die trying. In the meantime, anyone else enjoying Sun and Moon? These Z moves make me feel like a Jojo character…”

And this is where I’ll like to retort by saying: “Sun and Moon? Or Autumn Moon?”

To quote our heroine: “Autumn moon (LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL)”

 

Assuming that there are licenses for my series, yes, I’ll drop them.

But I never said when, did I?

And of course, another trick to this is, when I do drop a series, what do I replace it with?

I got one in mind, and it’s a long one.

 

You know, one disadvantage of translating series with unique terms and names is…I always end up translating a different name down the road. If you see mishaps like Weyland or Wayland, this is the reason why. Note to self, just choose already.

 

As for what I’m doing for the rest of the year?

Here we go.

kamimemo07_004

Having lived for 17 years, I lost a lot, but never did I once thought of myself as unfortunate. Those things that hurt me were all failures I caused, damage caused by my bones piercing through my skin, caused by me scratching my parched throat. These aren’t considered misfortune. What really forces people down the abyss of misfortune is something more realistic, a flaw in reality that renders people powerless. Simply put, it’s money, health, and the loss of family.

That 17th Winter, I spoke with quite a few homeless folk.

“Some call us wanderers, unemployed, or beggars. Some stand up for us, saying that those are words of prejudice, that we should be called street buddies.”

One of the homeless ones said to me.

“But I think calling us ‘homeless’ will be the most accurate in this case.”

He pinched the cigarette that’s as short as a fingernail, staring at the smoke as he mutters.

“There’s also those without a house, but that doesn’t refer to us.”

“What’s the difference?”

He rolled his sleeves, showing the red pellet marks on his arms. Those were the scars caused by the BB bullet attacks.

“Whether we have a home or not, we don’t have a place to go back to. Those brats are the same. That’s why they can only wander the streets at night, and shoot us with the air guns. I really want to beat them up really good, but I can’t say that I don’t understand the feelings of those brats.”

“You…understand?”

“Of course. The part that they have no place to return to.”

That’s what it means to have no place to return to. His mutter vanishes into the cigarette smoke, drifting with the wind to the metal fence opposite, crushed by the incoming train.

I could not imagine how it felt to have no home to return to. It was because we have a place we belonged to that us NEETs could easily give up on ourselves and run away, lost and not knowing what to do. For those who lost the place they belong to, what environments do they enter dreamland, and what are the scenes they see in the dreams?

“It’s not that hard. That’s just all.”

His voice sounded as though it came from a distant place.

“It’s just that we have no place to return to. That’s all.”

I recalled the words of my employer, the detective when we first met, what she said to me.

Just as earthworms do not fear darkness and penguins are not ashamed of their inability to fly. That’s the meaning of life, is it not?

At that moment, I could not answer.

 

Early Winter, everyone was busy preparing for the change in weather, and even the NEET detective who heads in the dark, server room that had air conditioning blowing all day long was no exception.

A certain day after school in late November, I received an order from my employer to head to Tokyu Hands and some electronics shop to purchase a large amount of stuff before heading to the office. The office’s a fair distance away from the bustling area near the station, located at the 3rd floor of a building crammed with all kinds of shops. One of the doors had the display ‘NEET Detective Agency’ on it, and that would be my workplace. No matter the season, the air-conditioning would always be switched on, and once I entered the corridor, I felt my nose would crash into something cold. The 6-tatami sized room beyond that was crammed with computers and all kinds of gadgets. The three walls were filled with shelves of cases, monitors and cables that reached the ceiling, and the place was way beyond cyberpunk, almost a religious place even. However, the most eye-catching thing was the petite girl in pajamas seated at the center of the bed.

“Watch the windows; don’t let a single flea jump in. Put up 3 layers of soundproof curtains, and amplify the speakers! Play Haydn’s Oratorio The Creation, an Oratario by the Austrian composer Joseph Haydn all day long, make sure it’s loud enough for the brain cells to shrink!”

The girl continued to command me on the bed. She has sickly white skin, black hair that flows like a river at night, and was dressed in teddy print pajamas and white socks on her slender legs. She’s my employer, Alice.

“Hey, why must you lock yourself in that much?”

I asked as I pasted duct tape at the narrow space behind the shelves.

“Why? You ask? I’m a NEET.”

Alice proudly lifted her chest as she answered.

She declared herself as the NEET detective, and would rather keep herself confined to this cramped detective agency than to head outside due to her fear of doing so. But what’s the reason for her being so wary?

“Tomorrow’s November 23rd. Got to increase the thickness of the wall.”

“So I say, what’s November 23 about?”

“It’s Labor Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, of course! That’s when everyone start praising each other wildly, the day where NEETs are robbed of their rights to even breathe.”

“Ahh…” Labor Appreciation Day wasn’t some major festival, so I often forgot about this vacation.”

“Us NEETs end our year on this very day, so we have a duty to spend this most important day praying, like the Jews celebrating the Passover. After enduring this Labor Appreciation day, the next day will be a new beginning.”

“Stop enduring and express your thanks to the laborers.”

“Shut up and get working!”

Yes yes, but it’s way too much of an exaggeration to say that it’s the end of a year. The moment I had such a thought, you’re an idiot, Alice gave me such a look, and said,

“What’s exaggerated about this? You’re the one being ignorant. For the Japanese, Labor Thanksgiving day is supposed to be a festival to celebrate the end of a year.”

“Really?”

With duct tape in hand, I turned my head around.

“The reason why November 23rd was chosen as the Labor Thanksgiving Day was due to it being a Royal Family festival, the New Rice Tasting Festival. As to why the weird name of Labor Thanksgiving was given, it was because the Allied General Headquarters after the war wanted to lower the Royal Family’s Shinto influence.”

“Rice Tasting Festival…” I seemed to have heard of it, or not.

“Simply put, when the harvesting season ends, that’s the Rice Tasting festival. Even someone as royal as the Emperor himself can’t taste the rice harvested this year before this day. Using the Lunar calendar, most of the time, the New Rice Tasting festival is around winter or so. That’s why the timing of this festival is as implied as its name, a New Year festival. It’s also an important festival for Japan, so dependent on the harvesting of rice, to celebrate the end of a year, and the beginning of a new one.”

“Haa.”

“So us NEETs have to stay still and not do anything for the entire day.”

“You don’t work at all for the entire year anyway.”

“Who do you think gives you your pay!?”

 

The following day was November 23rd, and naturally, there was a school vacation. I was summoned by Alice early in the morning, and I rode my bicycle to the office.

Alice’s room was located in a building with many shops, and at the first floor of the building was a ramen shop called ‘Hanamaru’. The owner’s a young woman called Min-san, and before she inherited the ramen sop, it was said that she was aiming to become a ice cream maker, so her ice cream was of professional standard. Even till this day, she has been researching on it. The ramen shop enjoyed a rare holiday due to the Labor Thanksgiving Day, but the electricity in the kitchen was in use, and the ventilation fans were spinning as there was a sweet fragrance coming out from the back door. It looks like Min-san’s busy making ice cream this year.

“Excuse me..”

I opened the back door and sat on a round seat. Min-san, with her hair tied in a ponytail, turned towards me.

“Oh, it’s you, Narumi. You’re early today.”

Min-san said as she placed the bowl she was holding onto the table. On this day, Min-san wasn’t wearing a tank top, just a sarashi wrapped around the breasts, and I didn’t know where to look as a result. Like usual, she’s really defenceless. This lady with G-cups should at least know that just wrapping a cloth around her large chest will show a huge cleavage that’ll really garner attraction.

“The ice cream isn’t done. You can come by at evening.”

“No, I’m not here at 10am in the morning just to eat ice cream.”

“You came to help too, Fujishima-kun?”

A girl with short brown hair suddenly popped her head out from the kitchen corridor. She’s Ayaka, my classmate, an employee of this shop. The ramen shop’s closed today, but the boss and employee are both here, and I really don’t know for what purpose they’re closed for. The only thing different is that Ayaka’s wearing a purple one-piece dress. I guess Min-san has no interest other than making ice cream.

“I’ll go to Alice in a while.”

“Why do you have to go to her at such an early time?” Ayaka tilted her head in scepticism as she held onto the blender.

“Ah, because it’s Labor Thanksgiving Day, right?” Min-san said. “Oh yeah, thank goodness we have Narumi starting this year.”

“What about Labor Thanksgiving Day?”

Min-san started to explain to Ayaka how on this day, Alice would shrink up in a corner of the room or on the bed and not move at all. She typically would not eat much, and would rely on the potent carbonated drink Dr. Pepper alone as nutrition, but on this day, she would not drink any. Thus, she would end up as a living corpse, and for every trivial matter, she would call Min-san for help. Starting this year, this would be my job.

“So-so that means Fujishima-kun gets to spend the entire day with Alice on the bed?”

“Well, that’s right—wait, what do you mean on the bed? I can’t do anything if I get onto the bed, right?”

“You can comb her hair and keep it nice.”

“That’s your job, Ayaka.”

“Or you can hug her and take a nap with her.”

“That’s what you want to do, Ayaka!”

Min-san gave a mischievous smirk as she interrupted,

“Alice today is very interesting; she’s as obedient as a cat with flu. If you hug her today, she’s not going to make a fuss. You can try, Narumi.”

No way. What’s interesting about that?

It seemed that if I continued to stay in the kitchen, we would be getting further away from the topic, so I hurriedly climbed the emergency staircase towards the detective agency office on the 3rd floor. Alice was dressed in mourning clothes, knelt in front of the bed as she prayed. Why’s she wearing mourning clothes? Because it’s a rest day and she wanted to create a Church-like atmosphere? Also, the newly installed 5.1ch amplifier was playing Haydn’s Oratorio. My head ached as I heard it, and I hurriedly got onto the bed to lower the volume.

“What are you doing?” Alice lifted her black veil, raising an eyebrow as she asked.

“Nothing much. It’s noisy, that’s all.”

“Can’t you hear the lamentations of all the NEETs outside the wall?”

If I could, I wouldn’t be here. I’ll be looking for an ENT doctor.

“I was downstairs, and heard that Min-san had been taking care of you up till last year?”

“Master’s different from you. She pressed the air conditioner remote without me having to say a word.”

That’s because you’re so demure compared to usual that Min-san found it amusing.

“Or are you going to ask Min-san for help? I’ll just call her in then.”

Like usual, I returned with a sigh, and right when I was about to leave the bed, I found the sleeve of my shirt being tugged at. Shocked, I turned around to look, and saw Alice give me an earnest look.

“Are you really serious about going back?”

“Eh? You wish for me to go back, so I will. I’ll get Min-san up.”

“Did anyone ask you to do so!?”

“Nope, so you prefer me?” Was she really scared of being played like a fiddle?

“I didn’t say you’re better!”

I placed my hand on my forehead. What in the world.

“So you want me to go back without calling Min-san up?”

“How did you end up deriving such a conclusion!?” Alice slammed the mattress hard as she yelled. At this point, I started to feel that nothing mattered.

“Erm, then, what do you want me to do?”

Alice puffed her cheeks, pulled the hem of her mourning skirt, and pointed at the computers behind her.”

“Start shopping on the internet.”

 

I had been Alice’s assistant for almost a year, but I was not sure how Alice would spend her days if there were no cases present. Until this Labor Thanksgiving day, that was.

Alice shoved the keyboard to me, and ordered me to search information on all kinds of dolls on the internet, and post on the forums. She really reviewed the designs of the dolls, the feeling when she hugged it, and the sewing.

Following that, it was to collect all kinds of information regarding Dr. Pepper. I had to search through everything about Dr. Pepper, and even spend wildly on it. Thus, Alice did not like the band Guns and Roses, but she had 5 copies of the ‘Chinese Democracy’ album. If she found any message criticising Dr. Pepper for not being nice or too medicinal, she would refute him in a logical manner (on first glance). Of course, Alice only narrated this today, and I was in charge of typing at the keyboard.

“…You do this every day?”

I asked in a worn out voice, and my fingers on the keyboard were already trembling.

“Of course! I have to protect the reputation of Dr. Pepper no matter what!”

Isn’t the beverage company protecting that already? I really wanted to retort back, only to swallow my words back in. Even if I did say the appropriate things, it did not mean that people would be happy. This was a fact I learned, having worked as a detective’s assistant for a year.

But even so, why did I have to type instead of Alice?

“God decreed that nobody is to work the Sabbath, so we can’t operate any machinery. It’s said that the Jews can’t press the elevator buttons.”

“…Isn’t commanding me verbally about the same thing?”

“Actually, the work here refers to the ‘Assembly of the Tabernacle’ mentioned in Exodus Chapter 35. The only taboo the Bible originally stated was that we cannot create fire, and not much explanation to anything else. Thus, the scholars are confused about this explanation. However, the chapters listed after the Sabbath records lots of work about setting up the Tabernacle, so the scholars felt that it’s a ‘job’ forbidden by God. Of course, after 3,500 years, the definition of work expanded, sometimes stricter, sometimes looser.

“Ah…” And so?

“Work doesn’t include talking. I’m just talking now.”

“You really can wiggle your way out of this!”

And with Alice bombarding me, I left my mark on various websites. At this moment, I decided to seize the opportunity to ask something I had always been curious about, but was unable to do so for some reason.

“Alice, are you a Christian?”

“Impossible.” Alice shrugged. “I’m an Atheist. This so-called religion is something created to answer the doubts of little children, like why we can’t kill, why we can’t steal, why do we go to Church on Sunday. Belief can give a clear answer to these questions. In other words, we’ll be lectured by a certain Someone stronger than we are. But when our adolescence, we need to bid farewell to religion.”

“I see.”

It was an ironic viewpoint, I felt, but really how Alice would look at things.

“So why are you going about with that Sabbath?”

“Because I’m a weak kid too. I need to make use of it from time to time.”

“Make use?”

“Right. The definition of religion is ultimately to get us to relax, to entrust our thoughts and frustrations to an Absolute Entity. Even you probably had someone you prayed too.”

“Hmm…I did, actually.”

“So I say, my definition of religion is the same as most Japanese. I don’t think religion is something special. God should be an absolute existence, but both of us aren’t so free that we can be caring for each other all day long.”

“So today’s the day we pay attention?”

“Right, just as how you will only care about God on Christmas and Hatsumodethe first Shinto shrine visit of the Japanese New Year, I spend November 23 living in purity.”

I felt that I was forced to listen to an answer completely unrelated to me, but I mostly agreed. However, there was something I was curious about.

“Speaking of which, Alice, you don’t seem to care if what form God appears in, do you?”

“I don’t. Even if it’s a sardine head.”

“But you really use a lot of Bible scriptures.”

Hearing that question, Alice immediately quit down, and averted her eyes. It was a rare reaction.

“Back when I was at my old home, I was forced to recite them.”

Old home. Alice’s old home…

I had no idea about how Alice end up coming to this room on the 3rd floor of a building filled with shops, and she only indicated that she wanted to leave her family. In the end, I was unable to clarify about it, not simply because Alice showed a smile as gloomy as a cloudy day in November, and also because Ayaka suddenly opened the door.

“Alice, Fujishima-kun, here’s some ice cream!”

Bursting into the office with life was Ayaka, holding the tray of ice cream with one hand, her round eyes widened as she stood at the bedroom room.

“Fujishima-kun, you said all that, but you spent the entire day on the bed, you know?”

“Eh? Ah, ahh, no, Alice asked me to do a lot of things.”

“W-well, how do I put it.” Alice pushed her aside, and ducked under the bed to hide from Ayaka. “I didn’t let him smell me, didn’t let him sleep with me, didn’t let him touch my underwear, socks and pajamas. You don’t have any reason to lecture me.”

Those words really hurt my pride as a human. Can you please don’t refute to that specific level…

“Really? Not even a cuddle?”

“O-of course not!” Alice kicked my leg away, avoiding me. Even beyond the black veil, I could tell that she was blushing furiously.”

“Then I’ll cuddle you instead!”

With tray in hand, Ayaka got onto the bed, left it on the side table, and rushed towards Alice. Before the latter could resist, she was turned around, and seated on Ayaka’s thighs.

“Why do you have to hug me every single time?”

“Because this is the only position I can feed you ice cream.”

“I can eat it by myself.” Alice was furious.

“And when I’m hugging you, Fujishima-kun won’t come over to hug you.”

“What’s with that weird reason!? And why do you look like you accept that explanation, Alice!?”

I slammed the bedsheet a few times, but the two girls had already diverted their attention towards the ice cream.

“This ice cream is made from rice.”

“Hm. It’s really rice. I never thought that I would one day be move by the taste of rice.”

Alice muttered, I can only be amazed by Master’s techniques

“You see, today’s that new tasting day or Rice Tasting day or whatever, right? That’s why Min-san made this rice flavoured ice cream.”

“So it’s thanks to that that we get this nice Eve?”

kamimemo07_028

“Eve?” Ayaka looked confused, and Alice turned around to meet Ayaka in the eyes, repeating everything she had told me.

“I see. That means you can’t be a detective today, Alice?”

“That’s right.” Alice shrugged. “For a Sabbath, any work that result in reward is a taboo.”

“So what happens if a customer visit?”

“He’ll have to return for the day.”

“Ehh? But isn’t that a pity? Isn’t there Fujishima-kun? He’s an assistant.”

“I rather have them do a phone call consultation than leave Narumi to the customers.”

For Alice, this level of spite was courteous of her. For Alice, that is,

“First, a detective’s assistant is only an assistant, and not a replacement detective, just like how the moon can’t replace the sun. I told Naurmi 500 times or so that he’s not suited to be one.”

“Then, then, someone just needs to be the replacement detective, right?”

“…Hm?”

“I want to be a detective for a day!”

 

And so, on this day, Ayaka was in charge of being the substitute NEET detective, and my first order of business was to stick a ‘fake’ label at the front of the ‘NEET detective agency’.

“If the customers come by thinking that I’m a real detective, it’ll be fraud!” Ayaka said, “I’ll be a detective, you’ll be a doll, Alice. Try your best not to talk or mouth.”

“Mmmm.”

Alice, dressed in mourning clothes, sat obediently on Ayaka’s lap, really resembling a doll. As for why Alice would agree to this proposal obediently, it was because Ayaka threatened Alice, that if she didn’t get to be a detective for a day, she’s going to make Alice take a bath.

“Well, whatever. I decided to have a rest day today. Customers won’t come by that easily.”

“Then, Fujishima-kun, how about making a few promotional calls?”

“Promotional!?”

Both Alice and I exclaimed in madness.

And thus, I exited the office, down the emergency staircase to the first level. The first one I called was Tetsu-senpai. He dropped out from the high school I was studying at, and a Pachinko pro now, an undisputed NEET.

“Ahhn!? A request? ” senpai’s disgruntled voice could be heard from the cellphone.

“Yeah. If you got any troubles right now, fake detective Ayaka can solve it for you, it seems.”

“Hey! What day do you think it is today? It’s Labor Thanksgiving day, you know? The day us NEETs stay at home and shiver. Tell Ayaka that I’ll play with her tomorrow.”

I could only hang up the phone and give up on Tetsu-senpai. Up next was a call to Hiro, a gigolo who specializes in conning girls for a living.

“Eh? Now? I’m in a hotel. Yes, I won’t be going out. Ahh, that girl’s bathing now. No, I met for the first time today. She asked me out. Right, it’s Labor Appreciation day, so I won’t take the initiative to ask girls out, I’ll just accept.”

I sighed, and hung up the phone. Next was a phone call to Major. He’s a college student, but always skipped classes, so he’s partially a NEET.

“I won’t take a single step out of the house. Of course? If I’m to accidentally do some labor, I’ll be thanked. Then I’ll lose my right to be a NEET, right?”

I had enough, and hung up. Finally, after much deliberation, I called Yondaime. He’s yakuza.

“Idiot, a holiday’s a holiday.” Guess it’s a holiday.

He hung up on me. I exhausted all my options. Whatever, not having any customer now is a sign of peace. I laid down on the large wooden stool placed at the empty space outside the back door of the ramen shop, staring at the greyish skies. The atmosphere of Winter appeared as though it’s going to fall from the clouds. As Alice said, I should be spending my time peacefully on such a holiday.

But after the sun set, there was a customer who came by. It’s Meo.

 

“Excuse me!….Huh?”

I heard a girl’s voice from the entrance of the ramen shop. I put the broom and the dustpan at the door, and went to the road. The thick bouncing braids and the coffee-colored skin were coupled with a beaming smile that got bigger once she saw me.

“…Meo?”

“Assistant-san!”

Meo turned towards me happily, and hugged my arm. She’s wearing a thick jumper on top, but like usual, she’s wearing denim hot pants. It’s already November. I started to worry if she’ll be cold.

“Why is ‘Hanamaru’ closed? Did something happen?”

“Ahh, it’s closed for today. Min-san went out to drink.”

“Mmm, too bad. I wanted to have some ramen and ice cream.” Meo curled her lips, staring at the pulled shutters of the shop. Suddenly, she tugged my arm towards her, “Good thing you’re already, assistant-san!”

Meo’s two years younger than me, born in Thailand. Her mom remarried a Japanese, so she came to Japan in her youth. Her Japanese’s a little weird at times, but there’s no real communication problem. Because of a certain incident, she came to request us, and after it was solved, she occasionally dropped by at ‘Hanamaru’.

“What about papa?”

Meo’s papa wasn’t really a member of the yakuza, but he got some involvement. His main job was to take care of the foreigners working in the brothels. To be honest, I’m not willing to meet him.

“Papa has to go around to all the shops he often goes to today and have some thanksgiving feast. Because of that Labour Thanksgiving or something? Right now, he’s going around to the shops Meo can’t enter.”

I see. So the world of yakuzas too have a Labor Thanksgiving day.

“I want to meet detective-san! Let’s go! Let’s go!”

Meo dragged me by the arm towards the emergency staircase. I didn’t even have the time to say that Alice wasn’t available.

“Chairman-san’s here too? Wah! Why’s detective-san dressed in a blac, pretty dress? Meo wants to hug too!”

Once we entered the detective agency, Meo got really excited. Alice, in her mourning clothes on the bed, was on tenterhooks like a cat, and Ayaka inadvertently hide Alice behind her.

“Meo-chan, you need to wash your hands before hugging Alice!” Ayaka said, “Okay!” And Meo went straight for the basin.

“Don’t say it like she can hug me just because she washed her hands!” Alice was furious, but Meo was already running back and got onto the bed.

“Chairman-san, did you comb detective-san’s hair?”

“I did. It’s my job after all.”

Their first encounter was during the basement match back then, and ever since then, Meo often came by to play, so they’re on very good terms. The reason why Meo would call Ayaka ‘chairman-san’ was because Ayaka proudly introduced herself as “I’m the chairman of the school gardening committee!” In Meo’s imagination, it seemed all the plants in school would greet Ayaka whenever the latter stepped into school.

“But chairman-san, why do you have detective-san’s pajamas on you today?”

Very good question, Ayaka immediately leaned forward. The blue bear pajamas on her shoulders fell off.

“I’m going to be a detective for an entire day. Though I’m just pretending.”

Meo’s eyes dazzled.

“Then, chairman-san, please do something like detective-san!”

Ayaka opened her legs wide and stood on the bed, tugging Alice under her armpit like a doll, and lifted her chest proudly saying,

“I’m the NEET detective, the shitter of the dead.”

“Speaker.” The dead can’t poop anyway Pooping in kanji is 大便, taiben, while 代弁者, taibensha, is more as a ‘messenger’, but given that Alice’s role is basically ‘Speaker of the Dead’ by Orson Scott Wells…

“And you’re remarking on this, assistant-san! This is great!”

She’s actually delighted…Alice too was unable to speak due to shock and despair as she remained limp under Ayaka’s armpit. I guess there’s no point for me to be here anymore. As the kanji infers, 3 ladies coming together causes a lot of noiseWoman: 女, chaos (or raping): 姦). I felt that it was time for me to go home, and so I stood up, only for Alice to lift her head and lament.

“Narumi, why are you trying to go home!?”

“No…well, right now, I don’t feel okay staying around.”

“I’m the same here. You’re planning to push all the suffering to me and run away? Who’s going to stop these two from going crazy if you go back?”

I shrugged, and sat down on the icy floor in front of the friend.”

“So, Meo-chan, what’s your request?”

“Anything goes?”

“Leave it to this fake NEET detective!”

“Then, I wanna get married to papa!”

“You’ll need to ask stork-san.”

Why ask the stork? Isn’t that too much of a leap!?

“Then, I want to get married to assistant-san.”

“There’s only one Fujishima-kun around, so no.”

“Ehh!”

Don’t you feel there’s something strange with the whole conversation!?

 

Meo and Ayaka returned home, and I stayed behind to handle the duties of the assistant. Thus, the sky was completely black when I left the office, and even the breath exhaled was solidly white. I checked the time on my watch, and found that it was already 1am. I heard an entire day of ‘Oratario’ and ‘The Four Seasons’By Vivaldi, of course, so I was feeling groggy, so much that I couldn’t describe it other than suffering.

I walked down the emergency staircase, and casually looked over to the train station beyond the low buildings. On the other end were bustling streets, and the shop lights continued to dazzle, the passers-by moving about. The lights shone upon an actress on a building billboard, holding a chocolate product and smiling at everyone. The red and green lights hanging on the trees by the road flickered, and Jingle Bells could ostensibly be heard.

November was coldly forgotten by the city.

It was to be expected. Once Halloween was over, the merchants waved their flags, directly everyone’s attention towards Christmas. Well, Winter was beginning.

I brought my bicycle between the buildings, and tugged at my duffle coat.

I pedalled my way out of the alley. Once I got out, I found a group of people huddled around, seated on the road, chatting furiously. The wine cups and cans of beers dazzled in their hands, and at the center of it was an oil can lit with leaves and newspapers.

“…So I say, that old man’s inside intel can’t be trusted.”

“Shut up, you idiot. I was winning until the fourth race.”

“But didn’t you believe in that weird level 6 information and run around since morning, Tetsu?”

I found that one of the 4 men was Tetsu. Leaving aside his physique, there weren’t many who would wearing just a short-sleeved shirt in this weather of howling winds. The other three old men were dressed in a worn out jumper, a thin dean’s jacket or an oil-stained trench coat.

“Oh? Narumi, you’re still around?”

Tetsu-senpai was the first to find me, and raised the wine cup towards me. The others too turned to look at me. They’re all tanned rather dark, and their untrimmed moustaches had some white in them. I suppose I saw their faces before.

“What are you doing here? The fire department might be called here because of you setting a fire in the middle of the night.”

“Don’t be so stuck up. Labor Thanksgiving Day is over, and we’re having a party here. We were betting at the race tracks. Pe-san took a huge loss, and Mori-san got a huge win, so it’s like we’re celebrating and consoling here.”

“Heh, why do I have to toast with gutter water in such a cold weather?”

The Pe-san Tetsu-senpai mentioned was dressed in a Hiroshima CarpBaseball team cap, grumbling softly. On a closer look, I found that the PET bottle that was supposed to contain tea was completely clear.

“If only ‘Hanamaru’s open, we’ll be able to have some ramen.”

Mori-san was a strange looking man with a few band-aids plastered on his bald head. He had a beer can in one hand, and grilled chicken in the other.

These guys are the homeless ones close to Tetsu-senpai and the rest of the NEET detective agency. I remember they stayed at a nearby park, but I had not seen them recently.

I was not too familiar with them, and nodded, ready to cycle off. However, “Come here for a while, Narumi.” Tetsu-senpai suddenly grabbed me by the collar.

Left with no choice, I could only park my bicycle by the road, and crouch down beside Tetsu-senpai, looking around at the trio. Pe-san didn’t looked happy, while Mori-san’s completely drunk red. What did he want me to do, asking me to join in on their drinking party when I couldn’t drink?

And they’re all homeless, the kind of people I didn’t want to get close to. Tetsu-senpai, Major and Hiro’s always able to chat with them so easily though. What were they talking about?

There was an awkward atmosphere as nobody spoke up, so I broke the silence.

“…E-erm, it’s been a while. I thought you moved somewhere else.”

“We did.”

The 3rd person spoke quietly. He had glasses, messy hair, and a whisky flask in hand. If he had a white coat on, he would resemble a reviled college professor. I remember this man as Ginji-san, one of the leaders of the tent city.

“Some weird people came to the park and forced us out. Construction should be starting.”

“Construction?”

“Don’t you know, Narumi? You see, that place’s about to be renovated into a ‘Hercules Park’. Looks like the entire park’s going to be rebuilt into futsal courts.

“Ah…”

I remembered. So it’s that park?

That incident warranted a fiery discussion in the media. The multi-national sportswear company ‘Hercules’ bought the park from the town council, hoping to rebuild the place altogether—or so it was reported, “But what about the homeless living there?” and the residential committees began to protest.

“So, what’s the outcome of that?”

“None.” Ginji-san curled his lips, and took a swig of whiskey. “Can’t do anything about it. All we could only do was wait and get chased away, that’s all.”

“Didn’t you all go protest or something, Ginji-san? Something about human rights.” Senpai asked.

“How can we possibly do such a thing?”

Ginji-san stared back at Tetsu-senpai, and took another swig.

“What’s the point of protesting? It’s just adding on to our troubles. All we can do is wait and have others kick up a fuss for our sake to delay the construction instead. We don’t have to do anything.”

I felt that he seemed to be talking about someone else’s matter entirely. No, maybe I should have said that he’s being rational. He’s right anyway,

“And there’s some conmen amongst the volunteers.”

I looked at GInji-san’s face.

“Conmen?”

What could the conmen gain by scamming the homeless? They don’t have money anyway.”

“We don’t have an address, and are unable to obtain living protection fees.”

Mori-san smiled at us saying that,

“Some people pretended to be kind to us, saying that they’ll provide a place for us to stay, but actually, they’re planning to trap us and take the welfare money that was supposed to given for our sakes. A few of our buddies got duped, and it’s thanks to Ginji-san keeping an eye on those conmen that they’re finally gone.”

“Su-such things actually do exist?”

In this world, there are such people who would come up with such devious ideas.

“There are also those who wanted us to take up queuing work, but instead, we end up paying for stuff.”

“Ginji-san’s very familiar with such matters, so he negotiated these for our sakes.”

“It’s because you’re too ignorant that you’re duped by them.”

This queuing work refers to the people who are called in to queue up on the day some popular game or product’s being released However, there are some scam companies who wouldn’t pay the homeless money to buy. Just hearing everyone mention this caused my heart to feel heavy, and even the saliva stuck deep within my throat was in lumps.

In any case—they’re homeless, so the weight they bear is obviously much more than the happy-go-lucky bunch of NEETs. I felt that there were a lot of things I couldn’t ask, and just approaching them was causing me to feel depressed.

“It’s late. I’ll make a move first.”

And just when I said this, a strong light shone in from behind me.

“You guys already gathered!? I want a toast too!”

The light vanished, and there was a diminutive person entering the softer street light. He has a baby face of an elementary school kid, wearing goggles and a helmet with camouflage colors. It’s Major.

“Captain GInji! Pe-san! Mori-san! Vice Admiral Fujishima too! This painful day of November 23rd is finally over, so let’s get down to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Wealt and bombard it with 21 cannons!” Somebody, hurry up and arrest this guy.

“You’re carrying a lot of stuff, Major.”

Tetsu-senpai noted as he stared at the large backpack Major was carrying. That backpack seemed large enough to stuff another 3 of him.

“Our team’s going to Mt. Fuji this winter for a month to engage in a large scale gun battle, so I’m starting my training now.”

He’s talking about survival games. Just to note.

“Is it really okay for a college kid to not show up for classes?”

“That is that. This is this.”

“Hitoshi, didn’t you say that you’re planning to become a technician? Did you take the exam this year?”

Ginji-san’s sudden words caused me to turn around in shock.

“That’s too troublesome, so I gave up on that. The professor has been telling me to study, but setting up a business is better than doing research.” Major came to my side and reached out for the fire.

“Well, that’s right. You’re still in your 3rd year, aren’t you, Hitoshi? That professor will just use you as a free maintenance worker, and you’ll just be his servant when you enter the lab. That professor won’t help you, and will steal the authorship of your thesis.”

“I’m not so terrible that I need you to lecture me, Ginji-san. I won’t be going to work though.”

I looked back and forth between the duo. Hitoshi’s the Major’s given name, right? I didn’t know they were on such good terms, and though I couldn’t understand their conversation, Ginji-san might have done some research related matters before, right?

“Major, didn’t you say that you want to make a missile or something?” Pe-san then interrupted.

“I want to invent a fighter jet nobody can see or touch.” Then nobody’s going to sit on it.

“Then help us uild a machine that’ll kill those damn brats for us when we sleep.”

Mori-san, seated on the other side of the fire, leaned forward, looking serious as he told Major this.

“…Did something happen?” Major asked.

“Didn’t you hear? It’s about the attacks on the homeless. Didn’t the news report about them?”

“Ah…”

Major glanced aside at Tetsu-senpai and me. Speaking of which, I supposed I saw it on the internet. I hardly watch the TV, so I’m not so familiar with the current news.

Inquiring further, we learned that the homeless around the station had been bullied by some scoundrels. Splashing cold water or throwing rocks into cardboard houses would be child’s play of a prank; others threw firecrackers, sparklers, or even scatter nails and thumbtacks. It’s said that some were already seriously hurt.

“Didn’t you call the police? You can’t just let it go on like this.”

“The police did do something, but we’re homeless, and the police can’t be patrolling for our sake for entire nights. The pranks have been escalating recently. I went to the area below the railway as it’s getting harder to stay in the park, and then 7-8 of them attacked me together. I heard some really loud sound, and then my head seemed to be burning.”

Mori-san said, and Major lifted his goggles, moved around the fire, and went to Mori-san. He reached his hand, and grabbed Mori-san’s bald head.

“O-o-ouch! What are you doing, Major!?”

Major peeled off a bandair on Mori-san’s head, and touched the wound with his hand. He licked his fire, and we’re unable to say anything.

“…This is probably the 031g semibio super fine bullet sold by the ‘Hiraya Model shop’.”

“What are you saying?”

Tetsu-senpai stared at Major’s face worriedly.

“I’m talking about the bullets that hit Mori-san. Production of these bullets stopped two years ago. This is unbelievable.”

What’s unbelievable is your observation skills. No, that’s not the important part.

“…Bullet?”

“Probably fired from an air gun, looks like it’s a wound from a modified gun.”

“Hey, stop touching my head already.”

Mori-san shook off Major’s hand.

“Those homeless guys should be armed, right? What about your numbers and equipment?”

“How do I know? I suddenly something stinging on my head in the darkness, and when I got up, I found the others rolling about, yelling that it’s painless and such. Didn’t see anyone other than us.”

“Long ranged sniping, huh? If it’s the 0.31g, it’s possible. Looks like they got some nightvision scope ready too. I need to have a look though.”

“Hey, Hitoshi, this has nothing to do with you, right?” Ginji-san said, and Major turned around, sliding his goggles down again. Under the lenses were a contorted, icy glare.

“It has something to do with me. This concerns the pride of a soldier.”

“What’s that about?” Tetsu-senpai muttered, and Major continued,

“Attacking non-combatants is the worst sin a soldier can commit. As someone who also wield guns, I never, ever forgive them for this.”

 

However, I’m not a soldier (and there’s doubt as to Major can be considered one), and I don’t really have deep ties with the homeless.

For me then, the real start of the incident was a phone call that occurred a few days later—after school, on the first Wednesday in December. I was in ‘Ramen Hanamaru’ when that happened, and I parked my bicycle at the back of the shop, taking out my cellphone with my hand that was holding the handlebars before this.

Calling me was a rare customer. I took a deep breath, looked up at the clear winter sky, and opened my cellphone.

“Boy? It has been a while. How are you doing? I sent you a ticket for our October performance, and you didn’t show up. We’re lonely, you know.”

“Ah, so-sorry about that. I’ve been busy.”

In the prior Summer, I was asked by Yondaime to coordinate a concert event, and the one calling this time was the vocalist of that band. She’s an interesting lady, but when she continued to yap on, the listeners will be easily brainwashed by her, so I really had to exert a lot of effort just to talk to her. Again, I took a deep breath, and switched the phone to my left hand.

On the other hand of the phone, she lowered her voice, saying,

“It’s another investigation request from me this time. For my friend.”

I parked my bicycle with my other hand, and returned to the back door of ‘Hanamaru’, sitting at the pile of old, worn out tires.

“Eh? For someone in the industry?”

“Yes. She heard rumors about you, and want to ask you about something.”

I drew a few circles on the dirt with my foot. Because of rumors about me.

Once, I was introduced by this person to solve another artiste’s problem. It involved a threatening letter and some illicit photographs taken, and it was an incorrigible event. In the end, I had to solve with a last resort, but I’ll leave the details to another day. The most important matter at this point would be that the detective agency’s famous in the entertainment circles for some weird reasons.

“Hey, someone once said that the industry’s filled with cold, bright lights and sounds. In this world, all pleas for help will be drowned out painfully, and nobody can hear us.”

With bated breath, I heard the voice over the phone. Her voice’s really unique, and not limited to her singing alone; even when talking, I could feel her voice as being akin to snowflakes seeping into skin before they melt.

“That’s why we need someone like you guys, who are willing to listen to us.”

 

The requestor she introduced to us dropped by at ‘Ramen Hanamaru’ at midnight. The shop was about to close, and both Min-san and I were cleaning the kitchen. There’s a polite knocking on the shutters that were halfway down, and when I lifted my head, I could find a slender figure.

“…Erm, is this Hanamaru?”

I could hear a female voice from beyond the glass.

“We’re closed—” “Ah, that’s likely to be my customer.”

I cut off Min-san’s voice, and went off to open the door. I ducked under the shutters, and found a face right in front of me. Stars scattered as we knocked into each other.

“…Ouch.” “Oww.”

I fell on my butt, and rubbed my forehead. Seeing that she too fell onto the floor, I realized that we knocked into each other because we wanted to duck under the shutters. The young girl put on the sunglasses that slid off, “S-sorry, are you oka—” Saying that, she wanted to stand up, only to stop on her own muffler and trip over again.

“A-are you okay yourself?”

I pulled the girl up, and she blushed as she picked up her sunglasses, lowering her wool cap to hide her face.

“I’m really sorry. Really sorry. I really am.”

The girl lowered her head about 7 times or so, and after that, she kept rubbing her hands together, not looking at me at all. Her fluffy hair’s dyed a bright brown, and I couldn’t tell the age due to her lowering her head and wearing sunglasses and the wool cap, but I guessed that she’s probably the same age as me, or a year older.

“I heard on the phone. Erm, you’re Natsuki Yui-san, right?”

“Y-yes.”

At this moment, she finally lifted her head. She was wearing a pair of light brown sunglasses, but when our eyes met, I felt a sugary pillar hitting at my chest. She’s an idol. I could tell on first glance. She’s not just an ordinary beauty, she exudes a glamor that could only be refined under the stares of thousands of people, at least.

Also, I had an impression on her face, but where exactly? Normally, I hardly watch TV, and I only learned of her name on this day.

It’s probably because I was brazenly staring at Yui-san’s face that she lifted her jacket collar and hid her blushing face and retreated. At this moment, Min-san’s voice could be heard from behind me.

“Hey, Narumi, what are you doing? Oh, a customer?”

Min-san pushed the shutters up, “Huh?” and muttered upon seeing Yui-san. “You…have been on the posters at the station recently.”

“N-no, no no no, that’s not me.”

Yui-san jolted in shock, her hands raised to her face as she flailed them about. Even her face was increasingly red.

“No, well, that’s actually me, but please don’t say that to me directly.”

And so, I recalled. Recently, there has been posters on the station’s pillars and walls with her photos on them. They’re probably from a certain sportswear manufacturer. No wonder I knew despite not watching any TV or reading magazines.

“I’m not too used to being recognized on the spot. Erm, can you please pretend not to know me?”

Yui-san’s voice was so soft. Min-san and I exchanged looks. She’s an idol, right? Was such a bashful person really suited to be an artiste?

“E-erm, may I enter the shop? If others are to find me now, I might cause you much trouble.”

“Ah, yes. Please do so.”

Min-san stared at me surprise. I clapped my hands together in apology, and brought Yui-san to the back of the shop. Climbing up the emergency staircase in the darkness, I heard interrupted footsteps behind me. The silence made the atmosphere unbearable. Before bringing her to Alice, I was hoping to explain to her the agency’s background and ask what her request was about, and thinking that, I turned around at the stairwell.

“Erm.” “E-erm.”

It was at that moment that Yui-san lifted her head as she wanted to ask me something. As we spoke in unison, I could tell, even in the darkness, that her face was turning red, flailing her hands wildly. Thus, she lost her balance, and stumbled backwards, nearly falling over. I hurriedly grabbed her hand, and pulled her back.

“So-so-sorry.”

Yui-san grabbed my arm firmly. I had been wondering if this person was fine all this while. Once I pulled her up to the stairwell, she hurriedly let go of me, and retreated to the handrail.

“Erm, I guess you think, tha-that I’m a strange one, right?”

“Yes, definitely.” Oops, I actually let loose what I was really thinking. Yui-san covered her face with both hands, and collapsed on the spot.

“I-I-I‘ve always been prone to getting nervous. An-anyway, well, I heard that the Fujishima-san I’m going to ask later is some really amazing freeter.”

“I’m not a freeter. How exaggerated have the rumors spread?”

“Eh? Eh?”

“Ah, no, well, sorry for the late introductions. I’m Narumi Fujishima.”

The weak lights from afar shone upon the emergency staircase, and a cold silence immediately enveloped us.

And immediately, Yui, squatting on the floor, finally lifted her head, asking me with a look of one seeking the Pole Star.

“You? Erm, Fujishima-kun, I heard that you’re able to summon about 500 men on a single command, right?”

“That’s just a completely baseless rumor!”

“B-but, I heard a lot of things about you, like how the hoodlums who came to mess up a concert ran away terrified once they heard your name, that you crushed a Chinese mafia bank, and managed to figure out a drug trade before the police could—”

“Please use some common sense. I’m just a high school boy!” I slapped my own blazer. I heard a little of the details, but I was sure what she was referring to, and it really troubled me. Now there’s an additional tail to the story, and also a whole lot of feathers, propellers and machine guns added to it.

“I-is that so?”

Yui-san grabbed her ears with her hands, and took an exaggerated deep breath, allowing herself to calm down.

“Sorry, I’m completely confused. I’m always…prone to panicking so quickly.”

“All the time? And to think you’re able to work on TV.”

I really tried to endure the urge, but I let out an annoyed tone. Yui-san shrank back once she heard that.

“During live shows, my head will always blank out. I have to perform in front of a large group of strangers during concerts, and sometimes, I would faint.”

There has to be a limit as to how terrified you can be, right? Why’s such a person working as an idol that requires more people to look at her? Was it that the job request was to change the bad habit of her being easily tense?

“So, the freeter we’re going to find isn’t you, but someone else, Fujishima-san?”

“As I said, it’s not a freeter. A detective.”

“Detect…ive?”

Right when I was about to ask how the NEET detective agency was introduced to Yui-san, I could hear a frenetic sound of the door being opened above me, and so Yui-san and I were quiet. Soft footsteps stopped at the stairs before they could descend. Appearing in front of us were blue pajamas and glossy black white reflecting the weak street lights. It’s Alice; her eyes were widened as she stared at Yui-san and me, her face showing the gradation of a sunset.

“—Wh-what are you dithering for? You should hurry up and bring the customer up to the office.”

“Ah right, doing so now. You don’t have to welcome us.”

Hasn’t she been coming out more often recently? So I thought.

“Who’s welcoming you now?”

“Am I wrong? Then why did you come up?”

“It’s because you didn’t bring the customer up that I came out to call you.”

Wouldn’t that be welcoming us?

“U, uu, anyway, hurry up.”

Alice swung her hair, turned back to return to the office, and slammed the door hard. I sighed, and turned around to look at Yui-san.

As I expected, Yui-san was rooted to the spot, slack-jawed.

Following this would be the one most important job for me as a detective’s assistant, even though it’s really, really stupid.

“Erm, I know it’s really impossible to believe, but she’s the detective.”

“I’m not just a detective. I’m the NEET detective.”

I could hear Alice’s voice from behind, and I turned around in shock. A tiny slit was opened at the office door, before it closed.

“…E-e-erm, that little girl?”

Yui-san finally spoke up, pointing at the door with the number 308 on it.

“She’s little, but she’s reliable in her work, so don’t worry.”

Explaining this, I thought,

If Alice’s willing to wear the Sherlock Holmes outfit as she did on Halloween, the customers will be more inclined to believe her.

 

I led Yui-san into the office, into the bedroom located deep inside the office, and she removed her sunglasses, widening her eyes. However, her gaze was not stuck on the air conditioning howling cold winds like Mount RokkoLocated near Kobe, not the monitors that filled up three different walls, but at the pile of dolls on the bed.

“…Woah, this is a Steiff Peter rabbit! I-is it authentic? Woah! This white bear! Is that a new product by Kosen? It’s supposedly not sold yet!”

“H-hm? You know?”

Alice was seated on the bed, and put down her keyboard as she stared at Yui-san’s face.

“My room’s about the same too! But you have a lot of dolls I want but can’t get! This is great! This black cat is a limited edition product by Jellycat, right?”

“I got it by using an automated bot on an auction. A prize I won after 7 days of continual battles.”

Alice proudly puffed her chest.

“How nice. Can I touch it?”

“Sure, of course. Get on.”

Yui-san got onto the bed cautiously, and raised the rabbit, kitty, bear and dolphin dolls, hugging them firmly in order.

“This doll here has a tag, and is old. It’s pretty expensive, right?” “Fabrics invented after the Sixties are really rough. I don’t like them.” “A serial number!? Ehh, how do I buy one?” “I got a Norwegian buyer…”

The two girls started to get excited over something I couldn’t understand. Can I just go home already?”

“I got a new color version from this bunny series.”

“Hmm? How did you get it? I didn’t know they released a new color.”

“A coordinator I know has a relative who designed this bunny. Do you want one?”

“Of course!” Alice was jumping about. “If you have any dolls you want, just tell me. As exchange.”

“Then, I want the same owl doll here!”

“I’ll contact you when the goods come in. If there is, it’ll reach me directly.”

“Great!”

Yui-san rolled about on the bed. Seriously, what’s she here for?”

“Ohhh, I always wanted to live in such a room! Having a pile of dolls, rolling around on the bed, with bear-san, cat-san and rabbit-san…” “L-let go! I’m not a doll here!”

Ah, she ended up hugging Alice after all. I thought she wasn’t that kind of person.

Finally, Alice noticed my stare, and calmed down, deliberately coughing.

“You didn’t come all the way here for the dolls, but something else, right? Let’s hurry into the issue.”

“So-sorry.”

Yui-san got off the bed with a teary face, and again stepped onto the her skirt, tripping over. “Woah!” I hastily went forth to support her, and she kept apologizing as she slid down my body, sitting on the floor.

“I-I really do trip often…”

Isn’t it better for you not to go out? I nearly let slip those words. And to think she’s able to make it to the entertainment industry. By the time I realized it, I found Alice glancing aside at me, giving me a cold glare.

“You’re usually so dull, so what’s with that reaction?” Alice puffed her cheeks.

“Wh-what are you being angry for?”

“I’m not angry. Get Dr Pepper for the guest and me.”

No, she’s angry, right? But I knew that if I said it, I would just make her angry. I moved away from Yui-san, and went to get the drinks from the kitchen. Yui-san saw the red can of 350ml liquid, “Ah, I don’t need it.” And smiled as she said it. It’s to be expected.

“If not, I’ll drink both. Tell me your request.”

Alice drank the two cans of carbonated drinks, and Yui-san fidgeted about, putting her hands together, and opening them. I suppose she was sorting out her thoughts. Only when Alice finished the second can of drinks did she finally speak up.

“…There’s a town park around here, right?”

I sat near the door of the room, leaning my back onto the fridge, and cautiously listened to the conversation.

“The park near the railway, that place is going to be built as a ‘Hercules Park’. I came by a few times for photo shoots and activities.”

“Um. You’re the campaign girl for ‘Hercules’ this year, right?”

“Y-you know?”

“Of course I do. Even though I’m not a NEET detective who can survey all three thousand years, just a simple search on the name Yui Natsuki gets me thousands of sportwears poster images.”
“Ah, ahh, p-please don’t look.”

Alice was shocked to see Yui-san blushing and waving her hands.

“What are you saying? It’s your job to be watched. Stop dancing, keep talking.”

“O-okay. Right, and then, when I passed by my park that day, I saw dad…or at least, someone who looks like me dad.”

I stared at the back of Yui-san’s head that was covered by the wool cap, and I couldn’t understand what she was saying. What happened to her dad?

But Alice seemed to realize what Yui-san was getting at, and coldly stared at her, asking,

“So you’re saying that one of the homeless folk is your father?”

Yui-san nodded quietly. I gulped, and looked back and forth between the brown hair under the wool cap and Alice’s black eyes.

Yui’s father was one of the homeless…?

“…He left home when I was very young, and I didn’t see him for a few years. It’s only a while back that I so happened to spot him at the park.”

Yui-san grabbed the leg of the bed, and her words were filled with sobbing as she got agitated.

“I went to look for him several times, but the homeless in the park are gone, and I couldn’t find him. So….”

Yui-san’s unable to continue, and Alice stared at her for a while, before saying,

“Can you please tell me the reason why your father left home?”

Yui-san’s eyes were wandering in the cold winds, seemingly seeking the lead cast by Alice.

“My dad once ran a spare parts company, and that company went bankrupt…I guess it’s because of this, and all the creditors kept coming to our house, even stationed here long after he vanished.”

“I see. You’re from Aichi prefecture, right? So your father came to Tokyo to escape from the creditors, and there’s a high chance that he’ll become a homeless, but is that really your father?”

“I can’t be mistaken. That’s really dad.”

“And so?”

“…I want to talk to him. Please look for him.”

Alice stared at Yui-san’s face, and turned her face to the keyboard by her hands.

“Do you have a photo of your father?”

“From more than 10 years back.”

Yui-san took out a large, old photo from her handbag, and on that photo were a few men in uniforms, standing side by side. Yui-san pointed at the man in the middle, and I peered in from behind.

“Ah…”

I let slip a voice.

I did see that person before. I etched the face of a middle-aged man with healthy skin color and brimming with a rational mindset upon the gruff, arduous image of a man who wandered and suffered for more than 10 years.

“…Ginji-san?”

Yui-san was shocked, and turned around to look at me. Alice too lifted her eyes slightly, and turned around to face the screen. The slender fingers danced upon the keyboard as she used the hi-specs application to find the specified person in the images. There were 6 surveillance cameras set up near the office, so the fortress of computers shielding Alice could search 2 months worth of images.

“…This man?”

Alice turned around, and pointed at a crude, enlarged figure on the monitor.

Ginji-san and his homeless friends at the park would occasionally drop by at ‘Hanamaru’ to eat, so there was such a distinct image left behind.

I compared the image on the monitor to the photo crumpled by Yui-san. Are they realy the same person? Looks similar, but might not be the same. But Yui-san nodded several times.

“…Dad….”

Yui-san’s murmured vanished in the strong breeze of the air-conditioning.

Alice set the keyboard again, hugged a large bear doll and turned to Yui-san.

“Before I accept this request, there is something I need you to decide on.”

The ball of wool on Yui-san’s cap sook uneasily.

“…What is it?”

“How much do you want us to help? The homeless call this man Ginji, and he’s one of our friends’ acquaintances. If you simply need me to find him today and tell you where he is, I can do so with a snap on the fingers.”

“Really?”

Yui-san leaned forth, her hands on the edge of the bed, and she sounded optimistic.

“But if you want to bring him to you, that’ll be a different case.”

Alice’s eyes were pointing right at Yui-san’s eyes, and the latter’s eyes lost luster due to her perplexed emotions.

“Your father left you on his own will, right? He might not be willing to meet you.”

“Uu…” Yui-san lowered her shoulders dejectedly.

“The price will be determined on the scope of the work. Decide then. What do you want?”

I could tell from the back that Yui-san was pondering with bated breath, and turned my eyes to Alice’s cold expression.

Alice today seem a bit like the day when Meo came running in with 200 million yen in her clutches, I thought.

Alice would only ease upon on the cramped jail or borders in her whenever she accepts a Alice. Despite this, she would cautiously swing the sword of words to avoid the blade from intruding upon a designated boundary. In contrast, even if some things would hurt certain areas within her, she would reveal the truth.

Alice wanted Yui-san to determine this boundary, but I guessed Yui-san probably couldn’t understand the intend behind Alice’s words.

She nodded, albeit in confusion,

“…I want to talk to dad. I have a lot to talk. Please bring him to me.”

Alice briefly looked at me, probably seeking my opinion as the detective’s assistant, I guess. Before nodding, I turned back to look at Yui-san.

The petite detective buried her chin into the head of the bear doll, and softly noted,

“Understood. I accept.”

 

The hour hand ticked towards a new day, and I sent Yui-san to the station.

The area near this place was the bustling area in town, but the East exit, where ‘Hanamaru’ was located, had no night attractions to mention, and only the lonely street lamps stood by the roads with few people. The weather was so cold, my ears were hurting, and I pulled up the collar of my duffle coat.

“E-erm, that girl.”

Yui-san, walking beside me, glanced aside at me as she said,

“Is a girl like her really a detective? Her room’s filled with dolls. Ah, but I too got excited about dolls like an idiot…also, why’s she wearing pajamas.”

“Hm, well.”

It appeared she really wanted to ask Alice, but never did, and held it in. But even though she asked me, I didn’t know how to answer.

“As you can see, she’s a NEET, and a hacker. She can infiltrate all over the internet to gather information, but this time, she can’t really use this ability.”

“Is…that so? I’m really surprised. A little girl like her…”

I understand.

“I saw a lot of beauties since entering the entertainment industry, but this is the first time I saw someone with such blazing eyes.”

“Huh?” I seemed to understand, and yet not.

“If the chairman is to see her, he’ll definitely scout her.”

You got to be kidding. No, Alice certainly appears interesting. I suddenly had an imagination of Alice appearing on Tamori’sA Japanese TV celebrity afternoon show ‘Iitomo’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waratte_Iitomo!, and if Tamori asked her, “Did you cut your hair?”, she would certainly snap back, saying, “I have never had my hair cut, not since I was born. You should at least consider my age and the growth speed of the human hair”, and all I could do was shiver in fear and laugh sarcastically.

Yui-san’s voice beside me interrupted my stupid thoughts.

“But why would such a little girl choose to be a detective?”

“Ah, erm…I’m not actually sure myself.”

“Aren’t you her assistant, Fujishima-san?”

“No, but, first,”

The saliva and disorientation swirled in my mouth in unison.

“Please stop calling me Fujishima-san. I’m younger than you, right?”

“But I heard that you’re the go-to freeter here, Fujishima-san.”

“I said I’m not a freeter! Are there really such rumors spreading in the entertainment circle? Did you mishear it?”

“Then…are you a boxer?” “I’m not a boxer!” Even though I did once!

“A victor?” “That’s the company releasing your CDs, isn’t it!?”

“Uuu, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. A minor character like me can’t play dumb in front of you, Fujishima-san.”

“I’m not an entertainer! Is that dumb act of yours just an act?”

Yui-san looked really terrified, probably because I went overboard with my retorts. Reflecting slightly upon it, I went silently, and turned to look at the dark street, where two long shadows shone upon.

“Actually, I’m just an ordinary high school boy. If you’re nervous, I’ll get nervous too. Just stay normal.”

“But if you’re just an ordinary high school boy, why did you become—her name’s Alice, right? Why did you become her assistant?”

“Let’s just say things turned out that way.”

If I were to really explain, the story would be long enough for Arabian Nights.

“Is that so?” Yui-san glanced aside at me, “…Good thing we’re of the same age. I thought it would be some terrifying place like a yakuza den, filled with scary muscular men.”

How much has the detective agency been misconstrued as? However, it’s true that I do know of such people.

“And that detective’s so cute. We even agreed to exchange dolls. I’m really looking forward to it! Oh yes, I forgot to ask for her contact!”

“Ahh, then, you can give me a call if you need something.” I stopped, and was about to fish out my phone, only to stop. She’s an idol. She can’t be exchanging numbers with ordinary people, right?

“It’s fine, it’s fine.”

Yui-san smiled, and started the infrared transmission.

“…Narumi? That’s a unique name.” Yui-san said as she stared at the data shown on her phone.

“Everyone calls me Narumi.”

“I see..Narumi, kun? Can I call you that?”

Woah. I’m embarrassed to be called that now. I kept my cellphone in my pocket, and continued to move down the dark pedestrian pathway towards the station.

The pedestrian pathway’s finally approached the railway, and the black trees in the park entered my eyes. Yui-san inadvertently hastened her steps, and walked in front of me. Her eyes remained upon the yellow, black fence in the forest, and in the shadows, one could see some abandoned sheds of cardboard and blue vinyl sheets. There were no residents to be seen from the sheds, and they probably would be torn down and redeveloped into futsal courts.

For me, that was a place I had some painful memories of. Back then, due to the issue over taking down the gardening club, I called out Tetsu-senpai and we had a fight on this futsal court to settle things. Thinking back about it, it was embarrassing, and I didn’t want to approach this park. Thus, I never paid attention to the homeless living here.

“I came here a few times, but after that, I never saw him again.”

Yui-san muttered.

“…So I’m a little worried, worried if he’s really my dad…”

The silhouette stopped at the stairs branching off from the trees in the park, and the ball on the wool cap shook and stopped in a forlorn manner.

“…Once you meet your father, what do you intend to do?”

I could not help but ask. The wool ball shook to the right.

“E-erm, I might, if you do meet Ginji-san and get a chance to talk to him, what do you intend to say to him then, Yui-san?”

“I earned a little bit of money.”

Yui-san said, her back still turned on me.

“I guess I can help pay off dad’s debts.”

So please come back, was it really such a simple wish? I kept hoping for Yui-san to continue, but answering me in turn was silence. The night wind brought over the exhaust sounds of vehicles from opposite the railway, coupled with the music from the late night bars and drunkards making ruckus, sounding really forlorn when they passed through the filter of the fence.

“—I don’t know.”

Finally, Yui-san spoke with a feeble voice that could be blown away by the freezing winds.

“I don’t know what I’ll do once I meet my dad. When he left, I was still in elementary school; we were harassed by the creditors, and pushed around by our relatives. Until the very end of her life, mom was badmouthing dad.”

Yui-san continued, her tone akin to dried dirt.

“So, I don’t know what I’ll do. I don’t know what I should say.”

Whether to hate him, or to reunite with him; that certainly applied to Yui-san’s predicament.

For some strange reason, I could understand her feelings. if I were to return home and find my dad there, if someone’s to ask me what I would say to him in such a situation, I probably would leave the living room without a word, and grovel in my blanket. After such a long absence, our hearts would have been so stubborn.

“…Ah.”

Yui-san inadvertently muttered, and looked towards me. Even with the backlight on, I could see her blushing.

“What happened?”

“it’s nothing! Let’s hurry!”

She didn’t look fine to me. Yui-san slammed my chest with both hands, but I looked over at where she was looking—the top of the fence separately the park and the railway, and I found my answer. Shown in my eyes was a huge billboard at the top of the building, and on it was a sidelong image of a determined looking woman bending down to tie her shoelaces and the logo of Hercules. There was no lighting, probably because it was not fully set up. Despite this, I could determine the female artiste on it.

“So-so I say, please don’t look at me!’

Yui-san grabbed my shoulders with both hands, trying to change where my body was facing. Despite this, I compared the hidden, bashful face under the wool cap with the determined face floating in the night sky. Though not to the point of misidentifying them as two different people, I was impressed that there was such a huge contrast in demeanour.

“There’s already a large-scale promotion activity near the station with lots of my photos. I’m feeling more embarrassed than ever.”

Yui-san covered her face with the muffler, even her mouth. Really, could she actually handle the work in the entertainment industry?

Suddenly, I realized something.

“…When did the promotion begin?”

“Eh? Ah, ahh, yes, it started around last month when the billboard was up there.”

If it started last month, it meant that Ginji-san could have seen it.

Did he find his daughter? They never met since her days in elementary school, so it’s a little tougher now, right? It’ll be great if he found out that it was his daughter. Even if he wanted to play dumb, he might let slip due to a moment of carelessness.

I instinctively realized that even if Ginji-san was Yui-san’s father, he probably wouldn’t be too willing to meet Yui-san. Thus, I had to cautiously ask him, but how? Was it really okay to ask about the homeless’ past?

While ponder and walking behind Yui-san, a sharp glare of light stung my eyes, and the shrill braking sound hit the guardrail.

“—Yui! What are you doing here!?”

A blue-purple car immediately parked right by us, and appearing was a tall, skinny man in his thirties or so. He shoved the door of the driver seat, and stormed out. A black shirt was matched with his leisure suit, and frosty eyes were behind the pale green glasses. He didn’t appear to be an enemy, but he was fuming, and I inadvertently took a few steps back. Yui-san cringed back, wanting to cover her face with her muffler.

“B-b-b-b-b-but I’m on leave today!”

“I said that you have a rehearsal early in the morning tomorrow. There’s a need to have a meeting!”

The man glared at me angrily.

“Who are you? Yui, did you…what are you thinking, having a boyfriend at such an important moment?”

“That’s not it! Erm, Narumi-kun is erm, well, Pixar?” Pixar’s an animation company, but this isn’t the main point here. I exchanged looks between Yui-san and the glasses guy’s faces, trying to grasp the situation as well as possible. He’s probably someone related to the animation industry, I guess? Is he Yui-san’s manager?

“Anyway, get onto the car! The chairman’s worried too! Hurry back first. We’ll talk on the car!”

The glasses guy grabbed Yui-san by the shoulder, and dragged her into the co-passenger seat. He then gave me a threatening glance, and went to the driver seat.

The blue-purple car drove off, leaving only the stench of car exhaust all over the place. I sat on the railing, and sighed.

I assumed it would be a very simple request, but at this point, I had an annoying premonition. The entertainment industry’s a messy world, putting billions of corporate funds into unstable personalities. This weight will unknowingly torment the idols, and then crush them at a crush point, an abrupt moment.

Thinking about how I didn’t want to get too involved with him, I couldn’t forget Yui-san’s helpless expression when she failed to close the co-passenger seat.

 

I returned to the office, and Alice kept her scowl as she went to the corridor, saying,

“Why are you here? Didn’t you go home?”

“Eh, eh? Why? My bicycle’s still parked here at ‘Hanamaru’, and I still need to report something to you.”

“And you were sending her off so happily…”

Alice immediately returned to the room. I just got the feeling that she was feeling under the weather, but why?

I too followed her into the bedroom, and reported about the glasses guy.

“He’s probably Natsuki Yui’s manager, called Washio Kazuto.”

Alice simply answered as she tapped at the keyboard, her back facing me.

“It’s this man, right?”

She pointed at the monitor at the top left. Shown on it was a crude image, probably a magazine photo. On the top left was an enlarged Yui, and there was a man in suit behind her, about to exit the glass door of a building. The sharp glare under his glasses really was unique, and I could identify him despite the crude image. I guess he’s Yui-san’s manager after all. Doesn’t look decent. Did he remember my appearance?

“Did you inform the manager of the request?”

“Of course not.” I answered, somewhat peeved. A detective’s most important duty would be to maintain a requestor’s secrecy.

“Good. Remember to remain so at all times.”

“right. Understood.”

“A noble NEET like me typically wouldn’t accept this kind of cases, but we’re looking for someone. I shall let you handle everything about this case. I don’t have any affinity with the entertainment industry, after all.”

Once she said that, I recalled what Yui-san said.

“Maybe you do have some affinity, Alice.”

“What are you saying?’

I stated how Yui-san felt that the chairman would invite Alice into the entertainment industry, and the latter stopped what she was doing, turning around to face me. She looked as though she had just swallowed a live chick whole.

“…Wh-what nonsense are you saying?” Alice uttered those words, “Even if I do reincarnate 7,000 times, I can’t possibly enter the entertainment industry.”

“Well, I thought so, but you might be unexpectedly suited for it.”

“Wh-what?”

She hugged the largest teddy bear, and buried her face into it.

“In other words, you’ll go buy idol magazines with photos of me, fill my A1 posters to the ceiling, and preorder limited editions DVDs of me being filmed for 90 minutes?”

“I don’t need to. The actual one’s in front of me.”

“Or are you going to bid for clothes I wore, queue overnight for a handshake meeting with me, and buy wax figurines of me?”

“I’ve never seen wax figurines of idols.”

“Y-y-you just said such a long spiel of shameless folly!”

“You’re the one talking about it!”

Alice hide behind the doll, huffing and puffing. She rubbed her palms onto her reddened cheeks, “Anyway, stop thinking about such stupid things.”

“I just thought of it though. If you’re to appear on TV, you might start some strange topic there…I wasn’t being serious there, you know?”

“Of course. I’ll be scared just thinking about thousands of anonymous people seeing me through the television. How am I able to speak out? A NEET detective’s words don’t exist for the sake of appearing on television.”

Alice’s words caused me to imagine her appearing on ‘Tetsuko’s Room’ A long running show hosted by Kuroyanagi Tetsuko, an esteemed actress. Think of it as a Japanese version of Oprah.r. If Kuroyanagi Tetsuko is to ask, “What interesting things shall we discuss today?”, Alice would surely reply, “A detective is the speaker of the dead, only able to hurt the living, and humiliate the dead. Are you willing to listen?” All I could do would be to break out in cold sweat and force a smile.

“Well, it’s not a good thing for you to show up in public, so you can continue being my detective, Alice.” I was saying that she would cause trouble for the likes of Tamori and Kuroyanagai Tetsuko and the other television network people, the hill of dolls suddenly collapsed. It was due to Alice rolling about on the bed.

“Y-your detective? Wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-what are you saying?’

“What I’m saying…just what I think.” If you’re going to talk to others with the same tone you talk to me, you’ll definitely anger them.

Alice looked up, a rare act in that, and tried to probe me, asking,

“…I-is that how you view me?”

“Well, sorry for saying the truth.”

“Why are you apologizing!?”

“Why are you angry!?”

Alice stuffed her blushing face into the dolls, and ducked under the blanket.

“Even without you saying, I’ll support you for the rest of your life with meagre pay! I don’t intend to increase the number of stupid assistants!”

“Alright, I get it.” It would be great if there were bonuses. Anyway, what were we talking about?

“If you understand, go home. I’m not giving any overtime pay.”

Alice lashed out as she peeked out from under the blanket. Sighing, I placed the scattered dolls back onto the bed, and walked out of the door. If I had to continue working and talking like this for the rest of my life, I guess it would be a wonderful life. At this point, all I could do was grimace and sigh.

November 2016 Announcements

Well, to summarize what happened over the past month on Hellping…

Nothing much at all.

Just that Bokushinu Volume 2 Act 5 got translated (and vetted).

That’s what happen when you spend 3 quarters of your free time working and the rest of the time procrastinating.

That, and I spent a lot more time translating a NEET series than focusing on the stuff here.

That, and I spent a lot more time on Discord than I like to admit.

That, and I spent a lot more time trying to reinvent myself as a translator.

I’ll liken my translating style to that of a chameleon; my translating style really vary from series to series.

Depending on the series, you might see one with formal language, and another with really informal one. Translating different series with translations done by other translators mean that I have to adapt and try my best to fit the translation style. (Note that I did minimal reading on this, and I’m not as versed on this aspect as Frog-kun on Nanodesu)

What is a translating style? In the context of fan translating novels, the bare minimum will be the removal of honorifics. The default style has been the ‘equivalence’ format, to make sure the lines are exactly the same, or at least have the same meaning. These are known as the Russian style and the French style respectively.

Then there’s the Skopos Theory, which is where the translator has to consider the context of the original text, the target audience, the setting, how it should be conveyed to the different audiences.

There’s a whole lot more to them, I believe, but I’m not an expert on this matter, even if I want to talk about this.

As for why I started mentioning this, it’s because I realized how much I changed from back when I started doing this translating thing. (That, and I’m feeling my age in this LN translating scene)

September 2009, I was preparing for my GCE ‘A’ Levels, and I took up translating as a hobby to improve my English skills. I always have difficulty in expressing myself, so in a sense, typing at least 250k words over a span of 7 years should have improved my literary skills. Comparing my translations for Shana Volume 7 back then (which I spent 6 months to do) to my translations for Kamimemo volume 6, I do feel that I’ve changed in style.

(It’s too bad Shana’s gone with the DMCA because I would have liked to show you how bad my translation was back then)

Honestly, a lot of times, I know I have to be ‘professional’, but I really want to make a lot of quips about the stuff I’m translating. There’s so much commentary I want to snark about in my translation here and there that I can fill a bookstore with the potential quotes I could have come up with.

Thus, the difference in the ‘Strangled’ translations on both Baka Tsuki and Hellping.

Afterword 1 English

Afterword 2 English

 

Right now, I’m back to working on Magdala again. Hopefully I’m able to do up volumes 3 and 4 this year.

Bokushinu however is a no go as baft’s stuck with his college stuff.

What else do I have at this point?

kami05_003

 

Oh not again…