Chapter 4 – Die.
Chapter 4: Part 1
June Twenty-Sixth (Monday), 5AM. There was no variety show showing on the television this time, but rather a mail-order program hosted by Japanets Takahata (1) or something. Like always, Yuu was watching the program. Seeing that her hair seemed wet, I gathered that she had at some point taken a bath. Sera was also there, kneeling and staring fixedly at the same television program.
“Ayumu. I’ve been thinking about something quite a lot lately…”
As always, I was seized by those beautiful, frank jade-colored eyes. She looked at me without breaking her serious expression, and my nerves began to attack me.
“In the end, all things need names, right?”
“Eh? Well, it wouldn’t be good to not have a name, I guess.”
“So things really do need names, right? In truth, I thought of a new technique. I want to attach a name to the technique, but I can’t think of any words that end in ‘kaeshi’… won’t you help me think of some?”
What, it was just that? Now I really felt silly for having gotten nervous…
“Do you really have to attach ‘kaeshi’ to the name?”
“If at all possible. Because it’s a Hiken (2) technique.”
So, all the Hiken techniques had to be “something kaeshi”?
Ah, right. It’s probably just because she loves her Tsubame Gaeshi. That’s probably the only reason.
“Hm, but I’ve never really seen what the technique looks like…”
“Well, first I glide down like this…”
She gestured with her hands in an attempt to show me, but I honestly had no idea. But I have to admit that she was pretty cute, sitting there and thinking seriously like that.
“Hiken, Tsuru no Ongaeshi. (3) How about that?”
Wouldn’t that be repaying someone through injury? (4)
“That’s no good, I think.”
I smiled wryly and rejected her suggestion, upon which she gave me an “I see…” in a somewhat disappointed voice.
“Well, how about Ether Chabudaigaeshi? (5)”
“Eh? There are names you can rip off and names you can’t. That’s one of the latter.”
“But, nobody would understand the reference, would they? Only people who know the reference would understand.”
“No, that’s no good. Also, that’s not a sword technique. It’s a magic technique.”
I held my head and rejected her suggestion, upon which she gave me an “I see…” in a somewhat disappointed voice.
“Just show it to me next time. After I see what kind of technique it is, I’ll think about it more.”
Well now, shall I prepare to head off for school? If I don’t go while the sun is down, I won’t even be able to make it there.
When I stood up, Yuu looked up at me. She tap tapped her ballpoint pen on the table.
Stay here today. = “Oniichan! Please don’t go!”
Her pretty eyes focused on me. Was something up? I asked, but she seemed resolved to stay silent.
But even if you tell me to stay here… if an enemy shows up, I’m sure Sera would be able to do something about it, right? I’m a zombie, but I’m also a high school student. Unfortunately, I have a duty to go to school.
“I’ll try to be back as soon as possible then.”
Absorbing my words for a short moment, Yuu gave me a slight nod of consent.
I rapidly ascended the stairs and passed by Haruna. Today, she was wearing a no-sleeve polo shirt along with a pair of short pants with the pant legs folded up. (6) It definitely suited her.
“Hm? What? Something wrong?”
Her big eyes blinked twice in surprise, and I told her everything I had talked about with Dai-sensei. I also told her about how her errand to find the artifact had been completed.
“You talked with Dai-sensei?! Dai-sensei is not someone you can just talk with so freely like that! She’s amazing, you know! Dai-sensei is!”
For some reason, as she yelled at me, Haruna grabbed my arms, swept my legs from under me, and simultaneously backhand chopped me in the head, throwing me down repeatedly like that over and over. When I asked her how Dai-sensei was amazing…
“Dai-sensei is a hero, a martial arts expert, a warrior, a priest, a magician, a merchant, a thief, and what’s more, a complete hedonist! (8)”
Those last few were bad, weren’t they? A merchant, a thief, a hedonist… what a crazy life that must be.
“Anyways, she said that you should focus on recovering your magic. You can’t go back like you are now, right?”
“That’s true, but… I guess I was thinking that things are fine the way they are… at any rate, I would have to come to this world to exterminate Megalo, and it’s not like there’s anybody waiting for me back there…”
For just a moment, Haruna had on a sad expression that didn’t fit her at all. I placed my hand on Haruna’s head.
“If you stay here, you’ll have to make lunch for me, you know?”
“Well, ‘s no helping that. Oh right! I made something incredible today! I’m sure it’ll be great!”
She banged on her petite chest and showed me a smile. It was the same refreshing smile she showed at mealtimes.
As I watched Haruna bounce down the rest of the stairs, I returned to my room. I changed into my uniform and took up my backpack. There was nothing in it. All of my textbooks and notes had been left in my locker at school.
Oh right, there was PE class today. I need to pack my jersey. And then I need to get my lunch from Haruna.
I hope that today will be a boring, uneventful day.
Of all the zombies in the world, I was probably the only one who wished so much for peace.
(2) Hm, so Hiken means “Secret Sword Technique” basically, and I haven’t really been translating it up to this point since I thought it sounded snazzier in Japanese. But I guess you need to understand the translation to appreciate the exchange here.
(3) Roughly, Crane’s blessing.
(4) Kaeshi or gaeshi means “return,” and can be used in the context of “returning a favor.” Ongaeshi actually does mean something like “returning a favor.”
(5) Chabudai is just the word for dining table (what?). Ether is ether. This is also apparently a reference to Super Robot Wars. Wut.
(6) If I fail at descriptions of clothes every now and then, it’s not because I’m bad at Japanese. It’s because I’m a guy. So shut up.
(7) There is some reference here to the Praying Mantis style of martial arts.
(8) The last word she uses here, “asobinin,” which translates literally to “person who plays,” does carry connotations of being sexually loose, but it is used that way more when it is used to refer to men.