Chapter 1 – This Device Makes it Rain Tonkotsu. (1)
Chapter 1: Part 1
July 3rd (Monday). Test day.
It seemed that Dai-sensei was in a huge hurry, so I was expecting that whatever she wanted to give me would get here pretty quickly, but nothing of the sort had arrived yet.
Shutting myself in on Saturday and Sunday to study… it really didn’t seem like a very healthy way for a high school student to spend his weekend.
I had immersed myself in studying with the aid of unlikely, eccentric teachers: a self-proclaimed genius masou shoujo and an honestly multi-talented necromancer. But the results of that studying were amazing.
Up until now, I had no interest in things like tests, to the point where I even thought about how strange it was that people would actually study of their own free will.
But, this time I had studied of my own free will, and I ended up looking forward to the test. This was the first time in my life where I could fill out the entire answer sheet in just half an hour.
All the educated guesses Haruna had made about what was going to be on the test were right on, and I had Sera and Yuu carefully explain those sections to me.
It was perfect. A perfect battle formation. I felt completely triumphant, but also completely perplexed.
How was I supposed to get home alone at this hour?
It sounded like something a high school girl would have said a long time ago, but I was being serious.
Dammit, the weather was just too good. Rainy season, can’t you come back? Are you trying to kill all the zombies or something?!
As I thought about whether someone would come to get me, I gave out a deep sigh.
Maybe I should phone home and call Sera over or something. Sera was a vampire or something, and yet she had no problem walking out in the middle of the day… I’m so jealous.
But, if I just called her over all of a sudden, she might get angry. What should I do?
Nobody liked selfish, stubborn people.
I was of the belief that you should hold yourself back from saying and doing impulsive things. After meeting Haruna, I truly believed that.
Ugh, but honestly, I couldn’t think of any other way. I’ll just prepare myself for the anger and make the call.
Brr, brr, brr, brr, brr… brrrrrrrrrrr… brrrrrrrrrrr. Click.
“Shut up! Die!”
Click. Beep, beep, beep. … The call was cut off before I got the chance to say anything.
… Haruna was the one who had picked up, right?
If someone else had made that call, they’d be in a complete daze right now, you know? I leaned my chair back, and once again dialed home.
Brr, brr, brr, brr, brr… brrrrrrrrrrr… brrrrrrrrrrr. Click.
“… Is this a scam?! Die!”
Click. Beep, beep, beep. … What should I do?
Maybe I should call out Haruna’s name?
Yeah, I should. If I did that, she would probably know it was me.
Alright. Getting a grip on myself, I called once more.
Brr, brr, brr, brr, brr… brrrrrrrrrrr… brrrrrrrrrrr… brrrrrrrrrrr…
Hm? She’s not picking up.
brrrrrrrrrrr… brrrrrrrrrrr… brrrrrrrrrrr…
How many times did I hear that sound? Tapping my foot unconsciously, I undauntedly continued to wait for Haruna to answer.
If I cut off the call at this point, I would just feel an indescribable sense of defeat and my skull might explode.
As if I’m going to give up now!!
brrrrrrrrrrr… brrrrrrrrrrr… brrrrrrrrrrr… click.
“Hey, is this Haruna?”
Click. Beep, beep, beep. Yup, I give up. What the hell was that just now?
Oh, right. While I’m at it, I should give Dai-sensei a call. At the very least, I had to get her to clarify when exactly she was sending me whatever she was sending me, or else it would grate on my mind.
Brr, brr, brr, brr, brr… brrrrrrrrrrr… click.
“Hellooo, this is Matelis Magical Academyyy~.”
She was talking really fast, but I immediately recognized Dai-sensei’s voice.
“Ah, Dai-sensei? It’s me.”
“Ayumu-san? What’s wrong? I’m reaaaally busy right now…”
“Ah, sorry. It’s about that thing you wanted me to keep for you… I wanted to know when you are going to send that over…”
“There are a large amount of Megalo we have to take care of now, so I’m quite busy, buuut I’ll definitely send it your way eventually. Ayumu-san, it’s fine if you just don’t think about it and accept the item. Was that all you wanted?”
“Ahh, I guess.”
“Well then, let’s chat more lengthy next time theeeen~.”
Click. Beep, beep, beep.
… Why did I feel so lonely right now? Maybe I should have just held off on the phone calls.
I leaned back on my chair, and took a look around the room.
Even though school had ended at noon, there were still quite a few students left over. Tests didn’t come that frequently, so when they did they naturally stimulated conversation.
The people around me that were smiling were probably pretty happy with what had been on the test.
A single male student rushed into the classroom that was filled with an almost post-festival atmosphere. So excitable, young folks are, I thought as I stared at that student from afar. The student took almost all the students remaining in the classroom with him, and they left into the hallway.
Nobody had taken their book bags, so it didn’t seem like they had gone home.
Did something happen? I had a bad feeling about this… creases formed on my brow.
“Really noisy, aren’t they?”
Acting in concert with my words, Orito stood up.
“I’m going to go check it out.”
Having had his curiosity stoked, Orito headed for the hall. But the minute I saw him go out, all of a sudden he came tumbling right back to my seat with the agility of a ninja.
His breathing was ragged. Did something really happen right after the test that got him so excited?
“… Huhhh?” Sounding stupid and flustered was easier than I had imagined.
“Aikawa, did you call her?”
Well, I had tried, but Haruna had put a stop to that. Or so I had thought. My eyes widened and I turned to look at the classroom door.
The students who had crowded near the classroom entrance parted to the side, and a beautiful ponytailed girl walked into the room. Her sleeveless turtleneck and jeans naturally stood out like a sore thumb amongst the sea of school uniforms. So it can’t be helped that she would attract attention. But, even before that, she was just a beauty that would easily turn your eyes. With her supple body, it was hard to prevent your breath from catching or your eyes from staring.
Thinking that I could smell her sweet scent wherever she walked, I unconsciously stuck out my nose and sniffed.
Just like Orito did.
Almost as if they were watching a golf game, the high school students surrounded Sera at a distance as she calmly walked forward with her ponytail swish-swishing behind her.
Perhaps she was used to the response that she was getting, or perhaps she just didn’t care, but Sera just continued towards me with a commanding air.
Now that I looked closely, I saw that she was holding a bento box. The moment she stood in front of me, she thrust the bento box in front of my face.
“Ayumu, Haruna entrusted me to send this to you.”
I should have already told Haruna, that I didn’t need a bento today. She seriously didn’t listen to a word other people said, did she?
“You honestly came all the way here just to give me a bento box?”
“No… it was on the way.”
“On the way?”
“An old friend of mine is here at this school.”
Oh? She was friends with an ordinary human?
Or no, there might be a vampire ninja hiding incognito here at school. I mean, a zombie was coming to school, after all.
Following that logic, it’s possible a masou shoujo might be here at school as well. If I was going to receive something that Haruna didn’t know about, it might be at school.
I took the bento box with both hands.
“Oh, yes, Haruna wanted me to tell you something. ‘You can’t eat my cooking? Die. You’re disgusting.’ … That was her message.”
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to eat her cooking, just that I didn’t need to have her cook for me today… but I see, I didn’t tell her that.
Also… that last “you’re disgusting” definitely didn’t come from Haruna, but was just something you tacked on yourself, wasn’t it? But I restrained myself from saying anything like that.
I couldn’t put her in a bad mood right now. She actually came here, so I should ask her to bring me home. What a time-saver. Haruna’s misunderstandings could be helpful once in a while too.
“Well then, I’ll take my leave…”
I called out to Sera as she began to leave the room.
“Sera, you got here at a good time. Let’s go home together. I don’t have any more classes today.”
At my words, Sera stopped in her tracks and turned just her head towards my way. Her eyes were filled with disdain.
“… You didn’t have classes, but you made me bring you your lunch?”
“Tell that to Haruna.” I gave a glance in Orito’s direction, and whispered into Sera’s ear.
“I can’t go home by myself at this time of the day. I don’t care if you drag me back… just please.”
Sera pushed my face away with her hand.
“I understand.” She spoke in a somewhat casual tone.
“Alright… then let me also go with you-“
Orito raised his hand in the air as he timidly spoke.
“Hey hey, Aikawa, that’s not fair! Just because you live with her…”
The spectators let out a unified yell that would surprise the most skilled of boy’s choirs. In no time, all eyes were focused on us. Chiefly, on Sera.
… This is what I’ve been afraid of all along. I was a cowardly zombie, after all. I wanted to live out my school days without inciting any strange rumors about myself.
Because of Orito’s extraordinary declaration, now I would be labeled as the guy who had a reaaaally pretty oneechan (2) living with me at home, wouldn’t I?
Orito grabbed me by the shoulders and violently shook me.
“Hey, Aikawa… there’s Sera, but also Yuu and Haruna… how the hell did you manage to meet so many beautiful girls?!”
He deliberately yelled in my face, his eyes filling with tears and spittle flying from his mouth. With the glassy eyes of a dead fish, I nonchalantly responded.
“Yuu came because I managed to seduce her, Haruna fell out of the sky, and Sera just appeared in my house one day.”
“Are you an idiot?”
“… Yeah, probably.”
I was just telling him the bare truth, but… well, in Orito’s position, I probably would have responded the same way.
“I was trying to protect Yuu, when Haruna suddenly made me exterminate monsters, and then before I knew it Sera came to protect Yuu.”
I threw in that follow-up to see what would happen.
“Aikawa, you’re gross.”
“… Yeah, probably.”
No matter how you thought about it, the story was just absurd. There’s no way people would believe me. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if people thought I was delusional. Such an outrageous, true story would just go unbelieved and would probably just eventually vanish.
“You’re seriously gross. To think you can eat together with Sera-san every day… seriously… you… why at your house?!?!”
You really don’t need to cry… resisting the urge to tear off that spiky, spiteful head of his, I quickly packed my textbooks, and began to leave the classroom with Sera’s hand in mine.
“Hey, wait, Aikawa!”
As if I would. Zombies shied away from attention and sunlight, no matter how little.
“Ayumu, there really isn’t any need to be in such a hurry, is there?”
“Sera, are you really alright with this? Everyone’s staring.”
“Ahh. I’d really like to tear them all limb from limb, but if I pay them any attention that would just attract more attention.”
That’s true. Also, you would attract attention no matter where you went. I took a deep breath, ruffled my hair, and calmed myself down.
“Phew…. Hey, Sera. Could I ask you something?”
“How long do you think you can stay at my house?”
“… Until my task is completed, I suppose?”
Right now, my house was a giant mixing pot of bishoujo and I was happy with that. To the point where I wanted to stay like this forever… but how long could we really stay like this?
At one point, I had a more pessimistic view and complained about all of us having to live together, but that would end at some point.
At some point, it would really end…
“Well, with Hellscythe-dono as she is, it doesn’t seem like anything will move forwards at present.”
Sera looked somewhat disheartened, and gave a quick snort of laughter. Sera was ordered to get Yuu and help her revive the vampire ninja chief, and that’s why she was living with us. If Yuu actually felt like doing what Sera asked her to do, at that point Sera would return to the ninja village.
If… If that really happened, what would I do?
Almost as there was a daimyo procession going through, or a professor starting his daily inspection, Sera walked serenely and confidently through the students lined up against both walls, and I trudged after her. Next to me, a spiky head ran past like a hurricane.
“Sera-san! It’s been a while!”
Orito was within arm’s length of her, and threw his words at her with a smile.
But, he got no response.
“Ahh, but you look quite beautiful today too!”
Not losing heart, he continued to toss words at her, but Sera wouldn’t play catch.
“Ah, on that quiz show that was on TV yesterday-“
“An annoying fly in May, aren’t you?” (3)
That was a pretty cryptic way to put it, but it was the inevitable response.
“Fly? Where? I’ll knock it down for you!”
She’s talking about you, so I don’t think you can knock it down. But also, don’t underestimate the agility of flies.
Perhaps partially because of this bespectacled, excited guy next to us, people were definitely staring at us strangely.
Even then, Sera paid them absolutely no mind and headed out of the school building. She was walking a bit faster than usual… probably because Orito was so annoying.
I put my shoes into the shoebox and stood stock still.
Because, there wasn’t a single sliver of shade between here and the school gate. If I took a step out of the building, there was a possibility that this first stretch would leave me wriggling around like a fish out of water, and ultimately I would collapse. That was the first obstacle.
But even if I got past that obstacle, there was the challenge of waiting under the blazing sun for a traffic light to turn green. I feel like I’m going to faint before I even go outside.
I looked up at the sky, wondering what I should do.
“Aikawa, we’re leaving you behind!”
Orito called out to me. The two of them didn’t seem to show any signs of wanting to wait for me, and walked towards the school gate.
I had to go. Sometimes… sometimes, you just had to do what you had to do!
Steeling myself, I covered my head with my hands like a boy venturing out into a hurricane, and walked out under the sunlight.
It’s so hot!
This is impossible. I can’t even get past the first obstacle. Before reaching the school gate, all the power had gone out of my body.
I can’t run anymore. I felt like half of my organs were screaming out at me in protest.
“What’s wrong, Aikawa?”
That normal high school student, who knew nothing of the hardships of being a zombie, sounded worried for me.
The vampire ninja, who did know what I was going through, grabbed my collar and began to drag me along the ground as if she were dragging a piece of baggage. You really don’t have to drag me that harshly…
Ah, no good. I can’t walk. My heels ground against the floor.
Naturally, people were staring at us funny.
Ahhh… the sun is so bright…
It’s been a while since I’ve been in direct sunlight like this… it sure is warm.
Getting a bit of sunlight once in a while might not be a bad thing.
(1) Broth made with pork.
(2) Older sister, but can also be used to generally refer to slightly older women.
(3) In Japanese, the word “urusai,” which means “noisy” or generally “shut up,” actually derives from “May’s fly.” May refers to May in the old Japanese calendar, which is actually July. In July, flies are the most annoying.