Chapter 2: Part 3
Once I recovered from my dead faint, I continued training with Haruna, but according to her, I was so talentless that I probably wouldn’t be able to use any magic at all, let alone attack magic.
I hadn’t even managed to reproduce that kenchinjiru spell after that first time.
Haruna went to take a bathroom break, and while she was gone, I tried one more time to produce more kenchinjiru, but I failed.
That’s when it happened. Ding dong! It was very rare to hear our doorbell ring, but someone had just rang it.
Was it someone selling newspapers? A religious solicitation? Actually, the last time our doorbell rang, there was a trench-coat-wearing dog out there… Was it a demon? Was it a snake?
“Yeah, yeah. I’m coming.” I walked down the stairs and headed for the front door. I tried to keep the chainsaw and the katanas in the umbrella stand out of sight as I opened the door a crack.
But nobody was there. When I looked down, though, I saw a cardboard box.
I looked around, but there was no hint of anyone else. Did they just ring the doorbell and run? And they left a really strange package, too.
I checked the packing slip, but there wasn’t a sender listed or any explanation of its contents.
I thought long and hard about what to do with such a suspicious-looking package, but in the end I just shut the door.
It would have been crazy to take such a clearly shady thing inside. I knew that wouldn’t end well.
On the way back to my room, I saw Haruna come out of the bathroom.
“Huh? Didn’t my package get here?”
“Did you order something?”
So that package was something from Virie?
“Yeah… I mean, that leaf woman has gotten pretty hopeless, so… I thought I would teach her how to cook personally.”
“Ahh… So these are ingredients?”
“Yeah. It’s something from this world and it looks pretty easy… Umm, stratti, I think? Or no, it was spa-something-tee…”
“You mean spagetti?”
“No! Ayumu, you’re seriously an idiot! The book I was reading said that people who forget the ‘h’ are dumbass fakes!”
“Ah, my fault. So you mean spaghetti.”
“Yeah, that, that. Yeah, that sounds about right.”
Seeming quite pleased with herself, Haruna threw open our front doors.
And who would have the heart to try and stop her when her ahoge was bouncing and she looked so happy? I could only watch her with cool eyes as she brought the cardboard box into the house.
Well, if it was just ingredients for spaghetti…
Haruna peeled off the packing tape and opened the package. There was a violin inside.
“What the hell.”
I accidentally spoke what I was thinking out loud.
“Making something like this into noodles… The people of this world sure are crazy.”
“Exactly where do you see noodles in that?”
“Ah, there’s dried noodles here on this part? Hm, there isn’t very much at all. What a high-class ingredient this must be! Fits me perfectly!”
Now that she mentioned it, she was always using high-class ingredients… But those were just the violin strings.
“No, this is actually-“
“Ayumu, did someone come?”
That was when Sera appeared with her arms crossed.
When I saw that her eyes were a bit red, I guessed that she had still been crying.
I tried to cheer her up, laughing as I showed her the violin.
“Take a look. It’s a violin that Haruna mistook for spaghetti-“
“It is spaghetti! Ugyahh!”
Haruna thrust out both her hands. She didn’t seem to want to back down on that point.
“Oh? It’s a Stradivarius replica. That sure brings back memories…”
I probably looked pretty confused when Sera said “Stradivarius replica,” because she gave me a scornful look.
“Please tell me you’ve at least heard of Stradivarius.”
“Ah, umm… Something like Romanée-Conti?” (1)
“…What a disgusting way to think.”
“Well, they’re similar right? They’re both really high-class things.”
“This is a normal violin that was modeled after the Stradivarius violins. But they’re very good violins. The coating of varnish is very carefully done, and it isn’t immediately obvious, but if you played it, you could see that the craftsmanship is just lovely. It’s quite a violin.”
Sera softly cradled the violin in her arms and nodded as she inspected it.
“Ukyaahh!! They sent me the wrong thing!”
Haruna let out a weird shout. Well, in the end, she probably made a mistake with the name and ordered the wrong thing. I mean, spaghetti and Stradivarius did sound simi… Wait, no, they didn’t. They didn’t at all. At best they sounded vaguely alike.
“Nyahahaha! Look at this! I asked them for ‘Antonio Spaghetti,’ but they sent me ‘Antonio Stradivarius’!”
Haruna laughed and showed me the packing receipt.
The price was… sixty thousand myan. What kind of currency was that? Sounded kind of cute though.
Also, I really wondered what “Antonio Spaghetti” would taste like…
No matter how I thought about it, it was probably Haruna who made the mistake during the ordering process. But when I saw her mumbling things like, “Geez, what should I do…” and “Well, this isn’t good…” I decided to not be tactless and point that out.
“So, Sera can play the violin?”
“Yes. Back in the village, I was in a band with my comrades…”
Sera looked truly sad. Crap. Bringing up anything that had to do with her vampire ninja companions was taboo.
Perhaps she saw my worried expression, because Sera gave me a bright smile. But I could tell that her smile was completely forced.
Don’t be silly, Sera… If she wasn’t cooking, Sera never smiled like that. Instead, she always had a beautifully commanding and stoic expression on her face.
That’s why I could feel a tightening in my chest.
“Well, it was just for fun. I wanted to train my blade, but a superior invited me, so I couldn’t refuse.”
Sera traced the violin strings with a finger. Her expression was gentle, almost like she had found a kitten in the street.
I passed Sera the bow.
“Ah, I was wondering if you wanted to play.”
“I refuse. Those hopeful eyes of yours have made me lose my will to play.”
But this flow of events was clearly leading to her playing… Well, whatever. If she didn’t want to, then she didn’t want to.
I returned the bow to the cardboard box, a slightly sour expression on my face.
Haruna was still poring over the documents. Actually, I wondered if she could play an instrument too.
“Haruna, can you play any instruments?”
“O-of course I can! Like keyboard harmonicas…”
“Can you play anything other than stuff like ‘Chopsticks’?”
“Don’t make fun of me! I can play ‘Monkey Gorilla Chimpanzee,’ or ‘The Demon’s Underwear,’ or anything else!”
“Learn the real names for those songs, dammit.” (2)
“Well, I can also do ‘Cool-Headed Continent’!”
Put some passion into it, dammit! (3)
“Ah, ‘Cool-Headed Continent’… I can do that one too.”
You too, Sera?! Well, granted, the name did suit her pretty well…
“Well, how about you play it for us then?”
(1) One of the most famous and expensive wine-producing vineyards in the world.
(2) These are all Japanese parodies of famous pieces. “Monkey Gorilla Chimpanzee” is a parody of the Colonel Bogey March, while “The Demon’s Underwear” is a parody of Funiculi Funicula.
(3) This is a reference to a song. The song’s title is actually “Passionate Continent” (情熱大陸 - you can see a performance here). Haruna changed the name, leading to this situation.