Date A Live - Volume 13 - Chapter 1
Chapter 1: Don't Panic. It's a Spirit's Trap
Zuuuuuuuuu..................along with the machine's low sound, the bed is gradually being sucked into a huge inspection machine.
There laid Itsuka Shidou, who slowly lowered his eyelids as he closed his eyes.
Up until now, he already received several inspections;as expected, the feeling wasn't really good. It was a primal fear in all organisms, the fear of being swallowed whole by a huge animal.
After Shido's body was entirely swallowed inside the machine, the light of the x-ray passed through Shido's body.
After few minutes later, the machine finally removes itself from the bed where Shidou had laid down.
’’Yes, it's done, Shidou’’
Upon hearing the voice that had come from above, Shidou slowly opened his closed eyes.
Next to the bed, there's a girl standing up with a concerned look. Her hair is tied up with black ribbon.
And, she is eating chupa-cups in her mouth. If you take a look at those characteristics, the only thing you can feel from her is that she was simply a cute girl.
She is wearing crimson military uniform;her expression was flat. It creates strange impression that the she looks too young for the clothes.
It should be it. This girl is none other than Shido's little sister, as well as <Ratatoskr>commander, Itsuka Kotori.
’’How's your physical condition?’’
’’Aah, there's nothing wrong. But........how long should I undertake this? Feels like it's already been half month..........’’
Shido's made a wry smile and got up. That's right, even until now, after sealing spirit's spiritual power he always had to go through this kind of examination;however, recently the period length had been more than usual.
So far now, he himself already understands the mechanism of this one machine. The MR1 equipment's machinery and tools gave it an appearance of a huge cross-ways cylinder. The big entrance orifice made it look like a serpent.
Seeing Shidou's reaction, Kotori exhaled.
’’Hey............Shidou, you already understand right? About how's your body condition is?’’
To be honest, Shidou hesitates to answer.
In the beginning of this month, there's something that interfered with the path between him and the spirits. Rather than Spirits' power going berserk, it was Shidou whose power went berserk instead.
It was thanks to the effort of everyone that the problem could be solved. Henceforth, so far Kotori is now paying more attention to Shido's body condition.
’’Sorry............thanks, because I can't remember anything about that time I don't know what to say.........’’
Shidou said that in apologetic manner, Kotori only went ’’Huh........’’ and then averted her gaze away from him. ’’............Fuu. That's right. I'm sorry.’’
’’Ah, no, that's not what I........’’
Seeing Kotori response, Shidou went into a state of silence and thought.
From then on, the conversation stopped for few seconds.
Kotori's is showing an unusual attitude. She didn't reply him back with a sarcasm scold like usual. That's because Kotori feels responsible regarding her role to put an end to him.
Somehow, it's feels uncomfortable. It's not like he wanted to make Kotori angry, but seeing Kotori look so depressed made him feel pain as an older brother.
Shidou changed his body position from the bed, and at the moment he began to move closer towards Kotori.
’’What~, don't be so sulky~. Onii-chan is lonely~.’’
’’Wha.............?! W-Wait, what are you doing!’’
’’What~, don't be so sulky~. Onii-chan is lonely~.’’
’’Ahh! Don't cling to me!’’
Kotori's face turned red, and then Shidou's head receives a chop afterward. Somehow, Kotori's usual mood has come back. Having felt the pain on his head, he strokes his head and laughs a little.
’’................What's that, so creepy. Don't you think there's something wrong with you?’’
’’That's not it;your hit just now means you're already back to your usual self. Thank you Kotori.’’
After Shidou says that, Kotori's face turned red again. It was extremely obvious. Thus, Shidou patted Kotori's head. Kotori's shoulders shook a little, but she lets Shidou continue to pat her head.
After that, a small sound of someone's call could be heard.
’’..............Sorry for interrupting you two.’’
Upon hearing that voice, Kotori's body started trembling. Immediately, she snaps Shidou's hand from her head.
’’A-Aah Reine, you're pretty fast. Is the result already out?’’
And then everyone's facial expression become serious, they come closer to the direction of the voice. Shidou and Kotori walk away together, there's someone looking at them over there.
During that time, there currently stands a woman wearing a <Ratatoskr>uniform. She has long hair put in a simply hairstyle and has an old stuffed teddy bear that she puts in her breast pocket. The stuffed bear has lots of scratches, and the woman's face looks so pale. Her voluptuous breast press together on the bear makes them look even bigger.
Murasame Reine, is an analyst here, as well as Kotori's companion.
’’.................Yes. This thing is similar to <Fraxinus>;this machinery has a realizer installed in it as well.’’
While saying this, Reine's hand pointing out to some documents on the clip board.
’’..................Look at it, Shin's spiritual energy value from the beginning until now has begun to fall down into the normal state. This equipment wasn't able to detect any abnormal Reiryoku. The current status of the route between you and the spirits now is normal too. ...........With this, you can go back to the usual periodic medical checkup like before.’’
’’Is it true? That's a relief.’’
Shidou while saying that, change his body's position and begin stretching his body.
Right now Shidou and the others are inside the underground facility own by <Ratatosk>. Because <Fraxinus>is still under repair, they had to go to the underground facility for the medical checkups instead.
In addition, half of a month has already passed since that day and now they were reaching the end of the month. Right now the school is in its winter's holiday, after this there's the New Year's holiday. There are various things they can watch. Starting from now, until the end of holiday, they can use their time freely for anything. Thanks to that, Shido can take care of the kitchen properly now.
And, upon seeing Shidou's reaction, ’’.......But’’ then Reine continued her words.
’’...............After this, we should talk something related to your body's condition.’’
With that worried tone, Shidou's facial expression unintentionally became stern.
’’What do you mean..............don't tell me, something happened to the Spirits too!?’’
’’.................No, that's not what I mean. .............. It's about your physical measurement's record you made when you were sick and your actions when you seduce Ai, Mai, Mii and Miss Okamine during the overheat, which we still have yet to create a story for.’’
Hearing Reine's words, Shidou coughed at that instant.
Right. When the path got disturb, Shidou's consciousness became vague. It's like he was half conscious. He heard from others that his behavior become very strange at that time.
’’...............About the unusual record of physical measurement, we'll try to deal with it. The 50 meters running record is quite troublesome.........we can say that it might be because of a strong wind blowing back then, or because you accidentally drank a cold medicine, which by any chance contained a extent of a dope inside the ingredients. I think we still have a chance to make up an explanation.’’
’’Well, I don't think it will be that easy, though........’’
But, rather than letting others know about the Spirits, Shidou choose to agree with this plan. However, the real problem is the other one. Reine also understands about this as well. Even until now, this problem is still unsolved.
’’As for the Ai, Mai, and Mii case, you can say it was simply a joke. Now there's only one left to be explained. That person is Miss Okamine. In short, we were able to cancel the wedding ceremony reservation..........’’
Upon Reine's unexpected sentence, Shidou started coughing once more. ’’W-Wedding ceremony reservation.........!?’’
’’...........Yes. Somehow, we can explain the condition to her, now she already understands the situation, but still, she wanted to make it clear that it was a mistake right from your mouth. I'll arrange a place for you to meet her and try to fix this problem within this winter holiday.’’
’’..............Kuh, this is pretty difficult..........’’
A lot of possibilities begin appearing inside Shidou's mind.
After that, a voice can be heard coming from Reine's uniform pocket. A pipipip, sound came from an alarm that was ringing.
’’..........Ng, so it's already time.’’
’’Do you have another business?’’
’’..............Yes. Let's meet again later;we'll meet in the next appointment.’’
’’Is that so? Well, I'll be excusing myself to apologize to that person.’’
Shidou excuses himself, as Reine assents his plan, while Kotori waves her hand.
’’..........Aah. I'm sorry.’’
’’Perhaps me too, I'll be returning home during dinner time. Do you need a car?’’
’’Ng..........., I don't think I need one. I'll go shopping before I go back to home.’’
’’Is that so? Then see you later.’’
Shidou waves his hand, and left the room.
After that, he went next door to the locker room to change his clothes. Then, he walks along the hallway in a relax manner.
On the way, he takes out his cell phone from his pocket to confirm the time;it's not yet 2:00 p.m.
’’Ng..............there's still some time left. Well then, what should I do now..........’’
While walking, Shidou's mind is being filled with what kind of menu he will cook for tonight's dinner. His footsteps echo in the hallway.
While he's walking, there's sound of footsteps coming from the opposite direction approaching Shidou.
’’Ooh, Shidou-kun. Are you returning home now?’’
’’Is the examination finished already?’’
The man was wearing gloves and glasses, and while the girl had shoulder's length hair. The woman was the one who had called out to him. They are <Ratatoskr >members, Nakatsugawa Munechika and Shiizaki Hinako. They seemed to have just got back from shopping, as they were both holding white vinyl bag on their hands.
’’Yes. I'm finally free because my condition has gone back to normal.’’
’’Haha, that's good. The body is our most important feature.’’
’’I think so too. Treasure your body properly.’’
’’Haha....... I'll will. Did the both of you just come back from shopping?’’
’’Yes. In <Fraxinus>, it's really hard to be able to go out, but in this underground facility, we can go out a lot easier.’’
’’Aah, sure it is.’’
Agreeing, Shidou nodded at them. Near the exit and entrance part in this underground facility is Tengu City's main section. It is surrounded by many buildings in every spot of the street, as well as civilian homes. The two of them seems to be much happier staying in this place because they can go out easier.
Of course, as <Ratatoskr>members, they can't let civilians know about the organization. So, Nakatsugawa and the others right now aren't wearing their <Ratatoskr>uniforms. Instead, they put on a coat which looks more like an ordinary company's uniform. They also have a name tag on their neck to prove that they're a company employee.
This way, no one would even think that they're part on a secret organization at all. ’’But, somehow I feel a little bit lonely. As a man, I missed the sensation when I'm doing my duty in the airship. Pushing myself into my own limit! I hope <Fraxinus>will be finish repaired immediately!’’
Then, Nakatsugawa gripped his palm to show his fist and his glasses started to glitter. Shido made a wry smile when he sees Nakatsugawa act.............But as a boy, Shidou can understand what Nakatsugawa means by that.
’’So.........what the two of you buy then?’’
When Shidou asked, the two smiled and showed the contents of the vinyl bag on their hands.
Inside, there's a lot of sweet stuff that Kotori probably asked them to buy.
’’Ah, you know already?’’
Hearing Shidou's guess, Shiizaki gave a smile. ’’As expected from Onii-chan.’’
’’I too bought some sweet stuff for stock and this one!’’
Next, Nakatsugawa took out a book from the vinyl bag.
It's a Shōnen manga magazine around B5 size paper. The front cover illustration is a boy set up a pose with a sword. On top of that is the printed logo of <Weekly Shōnen Blast>.
’’Ng? This is..........Blast?’’
’’That's right. This is the latest issue they have on sale for today. Has Shidou-kun ever read it before?’’
’’Of course. That's obvious. In our era, there's no one who has never read this popular magazine.’’
But, what is that? Shido inclined his head in wonder. Seeing Shidou's reaction, Nakatsugawa pointed out his finger to the bottom left side of the front cover.
’’What's do you mean, this is...........Eeh?’’
Not believing what he just saw, Shidou took a closely look once more.
Seeing his reaction, Nakatsugawa nodded in satisfaction.
’’Right. After hiatus for a long time, Honjou Souji's series [SILVER BULLET], has just resumed publication this month!’’
’’Ah, you're right. I used to read this one too. For some reason several years ago, this series suddenly stopped publishing, and after that it has never been publish in the magazine for a long time. Right?’’
’’Right! The author and the publisher picked up the series again. It said the reason for the hiatus was because of the sudden illness of the author, but in fact, that was only a makeup thing created for Honjou to get to work again! For this kind of thing to be happening........ I too still can't believe this, for me to be able to read the continuation of [SILVER BULLET] is an unbelievable thing that I've never even thought of before.........!’’
’’Ha~, Uwaah~, How nostalgic.’’
Interested, Shidou and Nakatsugawa continue with their heated discussion, Shiizaki knits her eyebrows, and then took out a cell phone from her pocket and brought it closer to her ear.
’’Yes, this is Shiizaki speaking........Aah, yes, understood. We'll be there right away.’’
Shiizaki ended the call. She apologize to Shido says that they have to leave.
’’I'm so sorry, we have to go now. Here, can we leave this to you for commander?’’
After saying that, she raised her hand, and hands the shopping bag to him. Shido took the bag and agreed to give it to Kotori.
’’It's alright. You can focus on your work.’’
’’Thank you very much. We're saved. Well then..........’’
Shiizaki bowed to him, then she walks in a hurry to the opposite direction and vanished from his sight. Seeing her off, Nakatsugawa also bid his farewell to him.
’’Then, I'll excuse myself too. Before the break time is over, I'll finish reading the [SILVER BULLET]!’’
’’Haha........Then, see you later.’’
After Shidou said good bye to him, he walks to the opposite direction with Shiizaki already gone by now.
’’Then~ let's hurry up deliver this to her.’’
Because the shopping bag Shidou bring in his hand is light, he came back in no time at all;the door of the room is already opened.
’’Oi~, Kotori. This is your order from Shiizaki-san,............Eh.’’
Instantly, Shidou's body froze.
But that reaction is normal. Inside the room there's Kotori and Reine, but was also a girl being gripped tightly.........Kotori abruptly threw the girl into the bed and was violently trying to remove the girl's hospital clothes.
’’You! Be obedient.........! Take off your clothes!’’
Right in front of his eyes now, there's a flower garden, Shidou's heartbeat started beating faster then Kotori begin to notice Shidou's presence. Recognize him, Kotori's shoulder started to shake.
’’S-Shidou!? Didn't you leave already?’’
’’W-well, just now I was about to deliver your ordered goods.........’’
Shidou averted his gaze away from her.
’’How should I say.........sorry. But, forcing against someone's will isn't a good thing, you know.........’’ ’’You're completely misunderstanding!’’
Kotori tries to explain. She fixes the girl's cloth that is lying on the bed. She draws her hand from that girl and get up until Shidou can see the girl.
That girl looks like around Kotori's age. Her hair tied up into one ponytail, and there's a small mole below her left eye.
She wears the same hospital cloth with the Shido had worn previously. There's only one reason for her to wear that. The girl's physical condition must not be in good terms.
Looking at the figure, Shidou widened his eyes.
The girl responded with a surprise tone.
Right over there now, there's a girl who self-proclaimed herself to be Shidou's blood related little sister, her name is Takamiya Mana.
’’Yes. There's nothing in particular. Right now I just think that we should do a detail examination on her, but this girl keeps refusing.’’
’’There's no need, because Mana didn't feel sick anywhere~ that's all! That's why I'm alright!’’
Kotori glared at Mana. Mana made a wry smile and sweat ran down her cheeks.
Come to think of it, he begins to remember. Back then when Shidou's spiritual energy went berserk, DEM came to attack him, and he heard that Mana managed to come just in time before anything could happen.
’’I see.......You helped me too. Thank you, Mana.’’
Hearing Shidou's word, Mana made a *Nii* smile before she stood up.
’’What are you talking about? Mana and Nii-sama aren't strangers;there is no need to say that!’’
Shidou replied with a smile.
Then Mana, who was smiling brightly, suddenly changed her facial expression into very serious, slowly walking, advancing while staring at Shido.
’’By the way, Nii-sama. There's something I always wanted to hear if I were to meet Nii-sama.........’’
’’Ng, what is it?’’
’’Yes. About what Nii-sama said back then-’’
But something interrupts Mana before she could finish her sentence. Kotori went ’’Ngh.............’’
Kotori laughed in strange way and placed her arms on Mana's shoulders.
’’Maaaanaaaa? Why are you running away like that while you're talking with Shidou?’’
’’Eh? Ah, no, I didn't mean trying to escape or something........’’
Even though Kotori is acting very friendly, somehow there's something really cold that can be sensed between her words. Mana's face became pale. Despite Shidou not being able to see Kotori's face from his current position, somehow he knew that Kotori right now must be having a very scary expression.
However, Kotori only sighed.
’’Don't misunderstand. It's not like I'm angry or such. Right now, if you weren't there at that time, I don't know what would happen then. And I'm truly grateful for that.
Mana can feels Kotori's feeling behind her words, Mana relaxed herself a little bit upon seeing this;suddenly Kotori put so much strength to her grip on Mana's shoulder.
’’That's why, there's no need for you to be afraid. So don't be so scared. About the fact that you went out without caring about your body, or about recklessly using a Realizer, or the fact that you went uncontactable after, and yet exchange contact with Reine without me knowing, I'm not bothered by it even a liiiiiiiiiitle bit.’’
Kotori's fingers gripped onto Mana's shoulder tightly. Tears started to flow down from Mana's eyes and she swings her head repeatedly.
’’H-Hey, Kotori.......Don't worry too much, okay?’’
Hearing Shidou, Kotori turned back and glared at him.
’’To hear such a thing from you, how can I put this, I don't know anyone who would do reckless things like you siblings do.’’
Both Shidou and Mana cannot deny that and stopped their sentences. With this, they are back to the previous matter.
Looking at their reaction, Kotori can only sigh. Then, she turns back to staring at Mana again. ’’Anyhow, don't try to escape this time, okay. You should finish this examination, and you'll receive proper treatment. Be prepared. We'll examine you even to places that you didn't even know about yourself.’’
While saying that, Kotori continued to grab Mana's shoulder. Mana's feet began to shake and she starred screaming.
’’Nii-samaaaa! Save meeeee!’’
’’No, it's not good to running away........... See you later.’’
Despite of Mana's screams, Shidou takes the shopping bag nearby, then he walks out from the inspection room and rides the elevator. He passes three layers of electronic doors and finally appears inside a public building. Compared to interior design of the secret underground facility, the outer part looks ordinary.
Then Shidou remembers what should he do right now.
A certain place came up in Shidou's mind as he continues to walk.
Even though it's only one day after Christmas, the shopping district street decoration has already changed from a western-style into a very Japanese-style. The Christmas tree which was lined up in front of the stores has already been exchanged with a row of New Year's decorations, hinting that the New Year is almost here. Not only that, even Santa Claus and his Reindeers are also nowhere to be seen anymore. Only packages of cake on the top of shelf are still left, even though it does not suit the mood right now.
This instant change isn't something that has happened for the first time. In fact, this happen every year, but then again he thought it's an interesting phenomenon. After all, various people who had been celebrating the holy night until the other day are now already back to their daily lives and waiting for the New Year. Although there are several national festivals that don't relate with Japanese religions;until now, those festivals have been included in a big event for about one week so far. At that time, everyone will be quite busy. That is inevitable.
Shidou, while walking on the street, looks at the store's decoration that is filled with New Year's mood, and then made a *fuu* sound while exhaling.
’’Even though this is something happens every year......This instant change still feels impressive. People's moods sure change so fast.’’
Even if he says so, it's not like Shidou is complaining about it at all. No, rather, he's also welcoming this event anyway.
Seeing the town being very lively is a good thing, and above all in this period, there are lots of rare ingredients being displayed in front of the stores. There are also so many discount offers during this time. Just by looking at it, he feels that he can have much more fun with his cooking.
’’By the way, what should I do now.......’’
Shidou placed his hand on his chin while thinking. He thinks that he should make something less than he made during Christmas for tonight's dinner. Besides, New Year's Eve and the New Year will arrive in few days. Even if <Ratatoskr >said that they will pay for the cost of food, eating too much will not be good for the body either.
He decided that he won't cook too much, but Shidou makes up his mind that he will cook some delicious menu for today as well.
’’Perhaps a Japanese menu will be good...... Recently I haven't eaten fish at all.’’
Speaking to himself with cheerful tone, he nodded and before saying it was okay.
The time is already 2:30 p.m. The sun is still rising towards the highest spot. However, the temperature is rather low due to the fact that it is now the last week of December. Thanks to the last summer, he already knows some ingredients that he must buy. He goes to a store that is familiar to him, when looking around;he collects everything he needs to buy.
’’........Okay. It's here, isn't it?’’
About thirty minutes later, Shidou finished buying all the ingredients for dinner. After that, he heads back to home from shopping district by walking.
Suddenly, Shidou stopped around the corner of the street.
But that's normal. In front of Shidou right now, there's a girl that has fallen unconscious on the street.
Looking at the unexpected situation, Shidou's shoulder trembled.
’’A, Are you alright!?’’
He rushes to the girl's place, placing the shopping bag on the street he tries to help her stand up.
But, Shidou stopped his hands. It is said that if you happen to find someone fallen on the street, then it is better not to move their body recklessly. If this girl is victim of traffic accident and had hit her head somewhere, changing her posture will likely become very fatal.
Then, while Shidou wonders what he should do, the girl unexpectedly moves her fingertips.
After that, she slowly raises her head up unsteadily. Thereby, the face of the girl who had kissed the ground began to show.
From her appearance, she might be one or two years older than Shidou. Her eyes look tired and her lips look dry. Looking at her face, the color of fatigue can be seen clearly. Her eyes bags looks heavy and dark circles surround her eyes. Rather than being hit by the car in traffic accident, it's more convincing to say that she has collapsed due to overwork.
Realizing that the girl is still consciousness, Shidou tries to support the girl's shoulders, and tries to help her stand up.
He can't tell very well because he can only see her back side, but apparently the girl was only wear a coat on top of her room clothes. That's how she dressed up. In addition, under this cold weather, the girl only wears pair of sandals without wears any stocking at all.
Perhaps she's someone who lives nearby, because this girl dares to go outside in this kind of style without worrying about the cold, Occasionally Shidou also dresses up in the same style when he goes to a nearby convenient store in the middle of the night.
Then, the girl focuses her eyes to look at Shidou's face and moves her lips to speak. Then, she lets out a voice that sounds similar to a crying tone.
’’ mach, ty.....’’
’’Eh? W-What did you say? What happened?’’
While Shidou is listening again, the girl once again repeats the same sentence.
’’..........My stomach is empty..........’’
Upon hearing this, Shidou widen his eyes unintentionally. Then, from the girl's stomach came out a sound, *Guu, *Kruuuu.......... That's how it sounds.
Then a few minutes later, Shidou is supporting the girl who had fallen on the ground. They walk along the path guided by Shidou.
’’...........Ng~, so sorry~, boy........’’
The girl that Shidou is piggybacking on his back let out a voice without any vigor.
In the end, although her consciousness has returned, she insist that she cannot move due to her empty stomach, so Shidou has no other choice than to escort her to her home.
’’Don't mind it....... Besides, are you really alright? Is it alright for you to not go to the hospital instead?’’
’’Yes~, Alright~ Alright~. I'm not sick at all. Moreover, wouldn't it waste so much time only to get there?’’
After saying that, the girl waves and flutters her hands.
’’By the way, no need to use honorifics like that~ I don't like being too formal~’’
’’Aah..... I understand.’’
’’Hey~, you still haven't change the way you speak.’’
With that tone, Shidou replies to her while sweating.
Contrary to the girl's slender appearance, her personality is quite bold, such an unpredictable girl.
Besides, collapsing from hunger in advance country like Japan nowadays is an uncommon thing. However, this unpredictable scene was just too surprising;he has not even heard her circumstances yet. It makes him wonder what in the world had happened to her.
’’Ah, please go to the mansion over there.’’
While Shidou is thinking, the girl raises her right arm and points to the opposite direction from where they are now.
Shidou widens his eyes once his gazes follow the direction that the girl's fingertip pointed just now.
Over there, there's a high building, which height seemingly twice taller than any other building. It was a high-rise mansion.
’’Eh? Over here?’’
’’Hmm.....That's right...... Ah, don't tell me you were expecting me to live in a more worn-out apartment?’’
’’N-No, I didn't think......’’
Shidou hesitates to answer for a moment. In fact, her guess was correct.
Basically, the higher the mansion height is, the higher the price will be. Looking at this girl's appearance;in truth, he cannot match her appearance with the luxurious image of the mansion before his eyes.
’’Ehehe.....Come on, that's nothing. How should I put this? You see, it's a gap. Something like that also happen to you, right? Just like any other ordinary teenager.’’
’’.............Uhm, that's, I'm not quite getting it.’’
Shidou knitted his eyebrows while replying to her........Somehow, talking about the gap, he still cannot grasp this girl personality at all.
’’ Ah, boy, I'm sorry but can you please bring me to my room? I don't know why, but for some reason my legs cannot move~. Is it because I rarely use my legs that they got some kind of degeneration~?’’
’’Aah, I think I can......Are you sure it's okay for you to not go to hospital?’’
It's not like he has another urgent matter to do, so he doesn't have any reason to refuse anyway. And moreover, if he leave this girl in this place, there's a chance that she will collapse and die on the street and he will feel bad if that happen............Normally thinking, such a thing should be impossible to happen. Something like this would only happen in Manga, even though such a Manga situation did happen to this girl. Sometimes such a thing could be happen in real life as well.
Shidou, while piggybacking the girl, walked through the mansion's entrance. Then, they arrive in front of the auto locked door.
In such a high class mansion, they have auto lock that must be unlocked beforehand. But, the pin number should only be known by those who reside here, and the person in question couldn't type the pin number from Shidou's back.
Perhaps, peeking over the security isn't something very admirable, but the current situation made him have no other choice. Then, Shidou talks to the girl that he brought on his back.
’’I will close my eyes, so during that moment......’’
’’Ah, the room number is 1801, and the pin number is 1234, okay.’’
Dumbfounded by the girl's word, Shidou unintentionally let out a strange voice.
’’Eh, what's with that shout just now? It's super amusing. Do it once more, once more.’’
’’Forget that! You shouldn't let others know stuff like that so easily!’’
The girl asked back in a surprised manner. Shidou scratched his head in stress and continued talking.
’’That's not good for security, isn't it!? If someone else other than the residence knows the password, then he can come in and out freely! We just me for the first time, and I'm a boy you know!’’
Shidou explains his theory in a high pitch;the girl then went ’’Oh’’ and covers her mouth with her hand.
’’Will you do that, boy? No way, that's so surprising.’’
’’I won't! I'm only telling you the common thing!’’
’’..............Ah~, I see. Even though you looked like an herbivore, you're actually a carnivore ........Perhaps this is what you call a gap. I'm a bit wiser now.’’
’’Are you even listening when others talking to you!?’’
’’I'm listening, I'm listening. I'm super listening............ Anyway, I only wanted to know for reference, if a boy went to a girl's room, what's the first thing they would do?’’
’’You really are not listening, aren't you!?’’
Shidou raises his voice to the girl while shouting, suddenly he feels like someone's currently watching over them somewhere place.
And over there, there's someone glances at him with a sharp gaze......Because of that, his body began shaking.
There, stood up a figure of a woman. That woman is this mansion's manager.......Seemingly, she's the mansion caretaker. Because Shidou and the girl are making a ruckus in front of the entrance inside mansion's lobby, she looks at them with suspicious glance. The woman seemingly intends to call the police, because she's gripping the phone right now.
Shidou made a feeble and insincere smile, he input the room's pin number he heard from the girl earlier, then immediately the automatic door opened.
’’........I'm coming in.’’
The girl responded with a carefree tone. Shidou exhaled, and then he walks away from the lobby and towards the corridor.
After that, he took the elevator. He can see the wonderful decoration of the room below before heading to the designated room.
’’...........Hey, we arrived. Is it okay if I put you down here?’’
’’Ng~, thank you. But if you leave me like this, I'll surely be dead later.’’
’’...........Ha. Well then, give me the key. I'll open it.’’
’’Roger that. Ah, but the key is inside my butt pocket, so please take it gently~’’
’’Why did you put it there!?’’
Shidou shouts as the girl tangles her arms to Shidou's neck.
’’I didn't mean anything bad you know. I only wanted to show my gratitude for helping me on the street, so I think I should give you a little service to refresh you. Even if you put your hand into the wrong place like the inside of my clothes, I'm okay if it's in the upper part of my pants.’’
’’What are you even saying!?’’
’’Ng~, No~ Well~, I think I wanted to show my gratitude at least, so I keep 'pushing' mine to you this whole time, but you didn't show any reaction at all~. Oh, perhaps this boy has butt fetish? That's what I thought.’’ ’’Your concern has exceeded common sense!?’’
’’Ah, or maybe boy is only interested on huge breasts? You're not interested on a bust below 80 cm? I'm sorry about that~. I really can't do anything about this~’’
’’Can you not put someone else into your strange fetishes?’’
Shidou shouts for a while, and then once again, he lets out a large sigh.
’’Forget that, just handover the key. Or I'll leave you here.’’
’’Aw, Seems like I have no choice~’’
After saying that, the girl put her hand into her butt pocket.
’’Ah........., Out of sudden.......Kya.....’’
’’Don't make a strange voice behind someone's back, okay......’’
’’What's that, your no fun.’’
The girl puff her cheeks, then she handovers the key. Shidou opens the door and came inside the room.
’’I'm sorry for disturbing.’’
’’I forgive you for disturbing~’’
’’Eh, you're not acting as Tsukkomi anymore?’’
Ignoring the girl's voice, Shidou take off his shoes and enters the room.
From the entrance way, there is a long corridor. Over there, the room is dotted with mountains of magazine and Manga.
’’Then, where's the bedroom?’’
After the girl pointing out the direction, he walks towards the room.
Again, the girl's bedroom is covered with tons of Manga. Almost the entire wall has transformed into bookshelves, but still in the very end, the books only piled up high inside the room.
The girl's bed is even worse. There's a bed in the middle of the large room, but it seems to have space for one person only. On top of that, the room is scattered with volumes of books. Overall, she seems to harbor a great liking towards books, since her bed looks like a prepared a casket specially made for a deceased person to use books instead of flowers.
While Shidou stands in front of the bed for a moment, the girl moves her body from his back to the bed. Falling down just like slime, in a manner of a puzzle piece;she lies down on the bed lovingly.
’’Ng~, finally we arrived.’’
Then, after finally laying down the girl, Shidou exhaled. He looks around the interior of the room and discovers something inside.
Even though it's rude for looking around a girl's room he just met, he can't win against his curiosity. He walks forward to a certain place;over there he sees something unbelievable. That is quite a large work space. There's various painting equipment lining, also a big fluorescent lamp which could illuminate the whole table surface.
On top of that, there is a thick B4 size paper on the center of the desk. Its coma script, there is not only already a drawn character and background, but also there's some text written on it. It seems finish and almost ready for the inking, since the rough sketch drawn by pencil hasn't been erased yet.
Right This is the first time Shidou sees this directly, no doubt about it.
And what's over there is the so called Manga paper manuscript.
’’Eh, perhaps, are you drawing Manga?’’
Shidou asked the girl who was sleeping peacefully on the bed like a corpse. Then, she raised her hand.
’’Ng ? That's right. I was a pro.......I got too focused with my work that I forgot to eat~......I thought I had no choice other than to go to nearby convenient store or to supermarket. Then, I realized that the earth's gravity became stronger.’’
After saying that, she raised her hand before dropping it back down onto the bed. Shidou makes dumbfounded face and smile bitterly.
’’So, that's what happened......But if you are a pro, don't you have an assistant......’’
’’Ng Generally, that's how it is but, I like doing everything just by myself until it's finished~ Well, if you feel comfortable doing that alone, then it's fine. Though sometimes, I feel as if I'm going to die.’’
’’But I think it's a fatal mistake......’’
Shidou scratch his cheeks, he take a look at the Manga manuscript on the desk once more.
It's not like Shidou read the whole Manga book wildly just like a mania or such, but Shidou also likes to read Manga just like any other normal high school students. He even bought Manga books that he likes. However, this was the first time he has seen a raw manuscript, so it is a pretty exciting experience.
Guessing from the artwork, this is a Shōnen Manga. Even though it's still not completely finished, he can tell that she truly is a pro-
Then, Shidou knitted his eyebrows;he bends his body forward and brings his face closer to take a look at the manuscript more closely.
Because the script hasn't been finished yet, he's not so sure, but he recognizes that style somewhere.
’’...........Eh, this is, don't tell me [SILVER BULLET]!?’’
Shidou shouted at that instant. Right. Over there is, the Manga Nakatsugawa talked about earlier [SILVER BULLET].
’’Oh? You know very well. Perhaps, you're one of my readers? Thank you~’’
The girl waving one of her hand again, Shidou become even more curious. He turns his body's direction and continues asking.
’’No, wait a minute. Does that mean you're Honjou Souji......?’’
’’Y-You're not a man?’’
’’Ah~, that? It's a pen name, a pen name. My real name is Nia. Honjou Nia. Nice to meet you~’’
Say that, the girl named Nia flashes a smile that made a ’’Nii’’ sound, and then continues.
’’It's pretty common, you know. There are quite number of female writer doing that when writing Shōnen manga. For example, Takajou-san of [OTHER FAKE] is actually a woman too.’’
’’Eh!? I-Is that true!?’’
Upon hearing this information, Shidou widens his eyes....... Then he continued thinking.
Other than about the gender issue earlier, he found something even stranger still left. ’’No-no-no......It's still strange. Because [SILVER BULLET] is a Manga that has existed around the time when I was still elementary school, you know? That means Honjou Souji's debut work is even older than that.....’’
Shidou shouting again makes his throat shake. He looks at Nia's appearance again.
Her possible age is about 18 or 19 years old...... No matter how successful her makeup is to make her looks younger, being in her twenties is the limit. If this girl actual age really is 30 years old, that youthful appearance is something that everyone would always wish for. There's no mistaking that every beauty's company and TV Channel would approach her to take advantage of this.
In this case, she must be Honjou Souji's daughter who has the same perfect drawing style and inherited the same name with him as the second generation...... There are also some people who are doing the same thing.
However, Nia can see through what Shidou is thinking, she then says *fufu*, while shrugging her shoulders.
’’I'm sorry but, since the beginning until now, Honjou Souji and I are the same person. By the way, it's already about ten years since my debut work.’’
Shidou is dumbfounded by her explanation, Nia's truth echoes like the sounds of a drum;Shidou turns his face wondering about such a theory.
Normally thinking, such a thing should be impossible. The possibility of this entire theory is only part of Nia's random speech is pretty high.
But, the manuscript placed on the work desk is obviously Honjou's drawing style. Of course, there's also possibility that those are only copies of the original drawing. However, if this Manga really got published by [BLAST], it will be evidence for this girl's manuscript originality.
While Shidou was thinking about that, Nia went *Oh, well~* and exhaled.
’’Uhm~......The sequence is a little bit different from what I wanted, but oh well, it's alright. ~I'll tell you. My secret is-’’
Hearing Nia's words, Shidou shrugs his shoulder a little.
It's true that he is curious about it, but...... Whatever is it, will it be alright to tell it to a complete stranger like Shidou? That question is what popped up inside his mind.
However, a moment later...
That voice came out from Nia's stomach louder than before.
Furthermore, since she was about to talk a serious matter, she creates such a serious face to show that the situation earlier is becoming pretty surreal.
Nia called Shidou in a weak voice. Shidou exhales and scratches his head.
’’Okay, okay....... I'll borrow your kitchen for a while.’’
Then, Shidou walked out from the room, but he quickly turns back to Nia.
’’.........I only wanted to hear this to make sure. You can eat ordinary food, aren't you? You're not sucking blood in order to maintain your youthful appearance, right?’’
’’Eh? You'll let me suck your blood?’’
Then, Nia tries to imitate carnivorous animal by bending her finger from both hands, ’’Gaah~’’ and then she flashes her teeth. But, soon she loses her physical strength and falls down.
’’..........For now, I'll accept that answer as a yes.’’
Shidou said that with his eyes half-opened. He leaves the room and walk alone to the kitchen.
Looking at Nia's manner, he expected the sink to be filled with dirty dishes. However, apart from the dusty tableware, the kitchen is unexpectedly well-organized.
’’Heee. How surprising......I know it's rude to say this but, this is pretty well-organized.’’
But, a moment later, Shidou changed his earlier impression. Looking at the surface of kitchen's table pretty confirm it. In the corner of the room, he can see instant foods rubbish from a convenient store.
In other words, instead of Nia never tidying up this place, it seems she never used the kitchen in the first place. She must always be eating outside or buying a box lunch from a convenient store;in short she must always eat instant foods for every meal.
Shidou kept his silence and put his hand on his forehead, he soak the table and begin wiping the surface of kitchen's table with some kind of cloth.
After finish cleaning the dirt, he looking around the kitchen and walks to open the refrigerator,
Shidou voices his disbelief at what he just saw, and then he pulls the vegetables drawer to take a look.
There are only bottles of sake inside, and also several books covering them.
Shidou silently closed the refrigerator. He goes back to the entranceway and takes the shopping bag he brought earlier, and decides to choose some suitable ingredients and return to the kitchen. Originally, these are meant for Spirits' dinner, but...........since the quantity he bought is more than usual, it should be alright. And more importantly, he can't let this Nia girl starve to death.
Shidou washes his hands, and then start cooking like he usually does.
Though, there was not much kitchenware he could use, so was it's impossible to make a delicious meal. Also, there's not much time left for cook because he cannot let Nia wait for too long.
After Shidou decided, he pours some water into the only available small saucepan in the kitchen. Then, he also put in uncooked rice into the water, and he lit the fire to start cooking.
After that, he places some scallions into the place where the fire was lit, as well as some bean paste. He also added some Japanese sake that he borrowed from refrigerator to add some flavor;at the very last step, he drops some eggs into the mixture to complete a simple soup.
In this case, right now the food had finished cooking in only a short time. He brought the food to Nia, who currently starving to death. Despite the fact that this is only an ordinary menu, he thinks this food will be good enough for that girl.
’’Okay, I hope this is enough.’’
After Shidou says that, he returns to the previous room to deliver the bowl filled with Zousui.
’’Here, I finished. It's still hot, so be careful.’’
’’Waa! I'll have some~!’’
Shidou put the Zousui on the table near the bed, Nia then *Pan!* clapping her hands. And with a bit of vigor she takes the Zousui.
Of course, the food is still hot. Nia's body shook a little.
’’I already told you right........’’
Learning from her earlier mistake now, Nia blew the spoon with her breath before transferring the food into her mouth.
After that, she tastes the Zousui while chewing it inside her mouth, and then she let out a voice.
Nia made a voice that sounded completely like an old man in a hot spring. Tears started flowing down from her eyes due to being overwhelmed by the sensation of the food. She kept moving her spoon.
’’So delicious......What did you just let me eat......What......’’
While saying these words, she continues eating the remaining Zousui. After five minutes had passed, the Zousui's bowl was already empty.
’’Fuh~ Thanks for the meal. No~, that was delicious. It's been a week since the last time I ate a warm meal.’’
Shidou made a wry smile and then cleaned up the tableware. He turns back as he is about to open the door to return to the kitchen.
’’Well, I'll wash the dishes, after that I'll go home. Starting from now on, please eat properly before you collapse again.’’
’’Ah~, wait a minute.’’
Then, as Shidou was about to walk out from the room, Nia let out a voice.
’’Is that not enough? I'm sorry but, those ingredients are originally for the dinner in my home, if you want more, just order from delivery.’’
’’Ah~ That's not it! That's not what I meant.’’
Then Nia made a *Bung-Bung* sound while waving her hands, she raise her right hand and pointed to the unfinished drawing manuscript that was placed on top of the desk.
’’Like I said before, I didn't hire any assistants. Is it alright if it's only a simple task, would you help me? Please! I'll pay you extra for that.’’
Being asked an unexpected request, Shidou widens his eyes.
But he should refuse Nia's unreasonable request right after just cooking the meal.
’’N-No-no-no. What are you talking about? That's totally impossible.’’
’’Eh~, isn't that fine~. Do you have anything else to do?’’
’’No, that's not what I'm trying to say.......I've never touch a pro's manuscript before, I can't take the responsibilities if I made any mistake.’’
’’It's alright~, it's alright~. I'm only asking you to do the erasing. You only have to put some strength to do that.’’
’’Even if you say so.........’’
’’Please, please, please! Currently my hands already full with important jobs to be done~. In this case, I won't be able to finish the manuscript on time...........’’
Nia keeps pleading to him, Shidou makes a large sigh.
’’........Haa. Okay, but only a simple task, alright?’’
After Shidou gave into her argument, Nia then started smiling gladly.
’’Got it~, got it~. Well then, let's go to the workroom. As expected, this place is too small to be of use for the two of us~.’’
While saying that, Nia get up from the bed, then ’’Nggggh........’’
She scratched her body. After acting lazily until just now, the girl is already gaining back her energy extremely fast.
’’The work room......do you have another place other than this one?’’
’’Yes. I prepared everything like this, so whenever I feel like I'm going to die while working I can collapse right away, but I also have another workroom to use~’’
’’Even if you say it as if that was a normal thing, it's still strange.’’
Shidou half closed his eyes when he said that, Nia seemingly doesn't particularly pay attention to it. After that, Shidou follows Nia to the other workroom.
’’Well, come in, come in.’’
Nia asks Shidou to enter the workroom, the scenery made Shidou widen his eyes.
Inside the room, there's a big work desk placed;on top of it, there's various stationery prepared. The wall still looks the same with the previous one, where the whole surface of the wall was turned into bookshelves. Other than that, there's drawing materials, books of paintings, as well as book of photographs and etc. all lined up.
Inside the room, there is a stoic atmosphere somehow. The appearance of this place surely is just like an artist's workplace.
’’There, you can use that desk.’’
’’Eh, is it alright? Somehow the atmosphere makes it feel like this is an artist's sacred place......’’
’’That's fine, that's fine. Ah, or perhaps you like the desk in the previous room better? Do you want to smell my scent while working?’’
’’Ah, this place is fine too.’’
Shidou refused instantly, the girl seems to be dissatisfied and her lips made a ’’Buu~’’ sound as she pursed her lips.
’’Well, which part should I erase?’’
’’Aah, then please erase this part.’’
After Shidou asked, Nia wears her glasses and began marking the upper part of the paper. She's pointing out several sheets of manuscripts that had already been inked.
’’After you finished erasing the draft, please fill up the blank space with black ink.’’ ’’.............Ng?’’
Nia said those words naturally, Shidou inclined his head.
’’W-wait a minute! Didn't you want me to do only Gomu-kake!? Even if it's Beta-nuri, you shouldn't let an amateur do it!’’
’’Fine~, fine~. Since you're pretty skillful, you'll somehow be able to do it. Anyhow, as long as you paint them with black color, you can freely use any painting tools. The trick is to paint small corners with fine tip pen first, and then do the larger part with something quick.
’’No, wait, are you listening when other people are talking.............?’’
’’I'm listening~. But as I said, it's alright. Boy, you've used painting tools before, right?’’
’’Huh.........? Wh-What, out of the blue.......’’
Hearing those sudden words, Shidou's face suddenly turned pale.
Then Nia lift up the tip of her lips and continue speaking.
’’You know? Boy. For those who don't know anything about Manga, They won't call erasing as [Gomu-kake], or black as [Beta].’’
Whispering, Shidou held his breath.
’’Perhaps that's it, right? When you're still around middle school, you drew an illustration of your own original character that you created. No~, I get it, I get it. At first, you drew that on your note book using pencil. Then, one day you decided to go to a stationery store to buy a Manga pen as well as the ink, but then you found it pretty difficult to use.’’
’’!? N-No, I........’’
’’Then, you thought that you wanted to use screen tone too but, 'It can't be, how the price for one sheet could be so expensive even though it can only be used once!' Then you gave up after said that.’’
’’After that, once you found out that there's a method to use a computer for drawing, That way I can draw as much as I like! That's what you though, but you got really shock once you found out the price for the pen tablet and the software, right?’’
Shidou's body started trembling as he scratched his head.
’’Ok, I got it! I'll do it, no need to say more. Please.’’
’’Then, I'll count on you boy! And I'll be working over there.’’
Shidou says that with a displeased tone, Nia started laughing upon seeing that and gives him a thumbs up while walk back to her bedroom.
Shidou let out a sigh, *Phew*.
But, it can't be helped. Then, he sits down on the chair;he grips the eraser on his hand and carefully begins to erase the pencil trace.
After that, he takes the Fude-pen on his hand and begins working on Beta-nuri like she instructed.
He begins painting the part given an x-mark using Fude-pen with the direction from inside to the edge part;after that, he began painting the entire surface.
Even if he is only repeating the same work, but the shape and range to paint is various.
Overwhelmed by the pressure that he shouldn't ruin a pro's manuscript had made Shidou somehow feel nervous. As he was completing the work, he tries to finish it as soon as possible.
After sometimes has passed, Shidou brought the finished beta inking manuscript in his hands, then goes to Nia' place.
’’Oh, are you done already? Hee~, Aren't you quite skillful?’’
’’................Aah, somehow I was able to manage it. Man, it's been a while since the last time I've handled such a delicate thing like this.’’
Exhaling, he continues moving his body slowly and turns his shoulders.
Then, when he looks over there, Shidou face turned pale as his body started trembling.
There's no mistake. Over there, Nia already change her room clothes she was wearing until now. She changed into a maid cloth which had lots of exposure. The skirt is really short, and parts of her breasts are exposed a lot. Looking at the sensational appearance, Shidou gulped down his saliva.
’’W-What are you wearing..........’’
’’Eh? Aah, I bought this for my job's reference;I decided that I'll give you service for your assistance. Look, doesn't the extra salary look quite lustful? How is this? Even though my breasts are flat, my style isn't really that bad, right?’’
’’I didn't think that this is what you meant by extra?’’
Placing her hands on her hip, Nia raise her voice. After that, Nia fluttered the envelope in her hand.
’’I'm joking. This is only fan service. Here's your salary.’’
Then, Nia went to hand over the envelope to Shidou, but something popped up in her mind.
After that, a prankster smile appears on her face, she pulling the breast part of her maid cloth, and put the envelope between her breasts.
’’Well, boy. Here's your salary.’’
’’Wai.........What are you doing!?’’
’’It's fine~, it's fine~, look-look, take them.’’
After saying that, Nia joins her shoulders to emphasize her breasts.
Then, *suton*, the envelope slipped and fell down through her skirt.
Shidou spoke in a small voice, Nia got so shocked that she collapse onto the place she was standing.
’’Ku........., is having small breasts really a crime.........!?’’
’’............Err, I should go home right now.’’
Shidou excused himself while sweating, he start preparing his stuff before going back. Somehow at this rate, he won't be able to get back to his home anymore.
’’Eh? What about the salary?’’
’’That's fine, there's no need. I also got to have a precious experience anyway.’’
’’Eeh~ You can't do that~. Look, buy more delicious food using this money.’’
’’It should be Nia who should properly buy food to eat, regardless if it's delicious or not.’’
Shidou said that with half eyes closed, Nia widen her eyes in surprise.
’’Uwah, I didn't see this one coming.’’
’’I didn't particularly mean anything........Well good bye. Next time, don't collapse on the street again.’’
Then, Shidou waved his hand and made his way to leave the room. Nia not knowing what to do began pulling Shidou's shirt.
’’Wa-Wa-Wa-Wait a minute. I feel it can't be settled just like this.’’
’’Even if you say that.........’’
Shidou creates a bothered face. Then Nia made a *Pon* sound as she clapped her hands.
’’Ah, well how about this. Boy, are you free this Saturday?’’
’’Ng......? Why so suddenly.’’
’’I'll have a one day holiday after finishing this manuscript. Let's go on a date. Aah, of course I'll be the one who pay everything.’’
After hearing the unexpected words, Shidou widens his eyes. Who knows, he didn't expect that he would get that kind of proposal.
’’Ah, but in exchange, let me decide the location. Since I haven't gotten any chance to go shopping this lately, I want to go to Akiba~’’
With nonchalant tone, Nia is smiling. Shidou let out a sigh and scratches his head.
’’.............That's, are you saying that you wanted me to carry your luggage?’’
Nia shocked expression was displayed in an over the top reaction and then she paused for a while. This is the first time Shidou ever heard a ’’Giku’’ sound come out from someone's mouth.
’’Haa..........I'm sorry, but can you ask someone else? How about asking your friends instead?’’
After Shidou says that, Nia's facial expression becomes cloudy instantly.
But she returns to her usual tone right away and she swings her head.
’’No...haha. That's because I have no friends anyway~’’
After saying those words, Nia narrowed her eyelids.
’’ But are you really okay like that?’’
For some reason, there's some hidden meaning behind those words, Shidou knits his eyebrows. Then, Nia lifts the tip of her lips and continues speaking.
’’ Isn't it your job to make the Spirits fall for you boy? No.........Itsuka Shidou-kun?’’
For a moment, he couldn't understand what she said, and then Shido let out a ridiculous voice.
Translation and Reference Notes
- ↑ Manga aimed at a young male audience. The age group varies with individual readers and different magazines, but it is primarily intended for boys between the ages of 8 to 18. For copyright reasons Blast is used here instead of Jump.
- ↑ Boke and tsukkomi are loosely equivalent to the roles of ’’funny man’’ or ’’comic’’ (boke) and ’’straight man’’ (tsukkomi) in the comedy duos of western culture.
- ↑ A Japanese rice soup dish made from pre-cooked rice and water
- ↑ Beta-nuri is a process in manga-making that involves filling in blank spaces with black ink. Gomu-kake is erasing the pencil marks from the rough sketch.
- ↑ A district in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo, Japan. The go to place in Japan for anime and manga content.