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
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
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?
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?
…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.”
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—”
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.
—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.
“…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.
—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.”
“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.”
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.”
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.”
“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!?”
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?”
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—-