Chapter 3 – You Better Not Forget! Potatoes are Nightshade Plants!
Chapter 3: Part 1
Haruna was cowering, but I didn’t blame her. What we were seeing was so terrifying that I wanted to cower too.
I hadn’t ever seen the students crammed so neatly into the hallway like this… Not even during fire drills. But right now, the narrow hallway was packed with students who had cat ears or bunny ears sprouting from their heads.
What in the world was happening? What kind of event was this?
“I’ve been done in! Completely! Everything is that damn woman’s fault!”
I had no idea what Kyouko looked so angry about.
Considering Kyouko had both her hands and feet bound right now, I lifted her up with my arms. First, we should probably get away from this place.
“This is… one of Dai-sensei’s curses. It may be the most terrifying curse she can use.”
Haruna’s body was shaking as she held onto my clothes. It was different from the way she shook when we faced Megalo. Was she traumatized by animal ears at some point in her past?
“This is Dai-sensei’s spell?”
“Yes… A masou weapon is something that allows a man who can’t use magic, or anybody else, to use high-level magic without a problem.”
Kyouko mumbled out her response.
“So, this is the masou weapon’s power?”
That wasn’t what I expected from people who were victims of a masou weapon…
“Yes. We were fooled. She told us that she would make a weapon that indiscriminately attacked people, and this is the failed weapon that resulted. To think she would do something like this…”
So this wasn’t what they had wanted to happen. As expected from Dai-sensei.
“But this curse is still pretty vicious.”
Still, I didn’t really feel too terrified. The curse was just animal ears, wasn’t it?
“This curse… gradually turns people into animals.”
“Sounds pretty cute.”
“Idiot! Right now it’s just their ears, but eventually they’ll become actual animals, and once that happens there’s no bringing them back! But for now, let’s run, Ayumu! We’ll be infected too if we touch any of them!”
“It’s that bad? How do you fix it?”
“With the parts of human culture that even animals can understand. We have to make them listen to music! We can make them laugh too, but if even one person is left infected, the infection is just going to spread again. So in the end, music is probably the best way.”
What the hell… Well, I didn’t have a choice but to do as she said.
Taking a look around, I saw some of the male students begin to fight. They growled with their arms outstretched and began to attack each other in a way that really fit their animal ears.
I carried Kyouko, and Haruna and I ran to the music room.
Animals instinctively run after things that were running away, so we found ourselves being chased by these students with animal ears.
“Watch it! Aikawa-san! You’re touching my breasts too much!”
Shut up a bit.
“Ayumu, you hentai! Eronbear’s gatekeeper!” (1)
Stop attacking me.
“Dammit! How many people got turned into animals?!”
“I activated the weapon on the first floor. Everyone on the first floor was probably affected.”
“But we were on the second floor.”
“The spell particles get lifted upwards by air currents. Classes on the second floor that had their windows open were probably also infected.”
Virie’s spells sounded awfully like biological weapons. The music room was on the fourth floor. I really hoped it hadn’t also been contaminated.
We got up to the third floor, and I headed for my own class.
Hiramatsu should be in the wind ensemble. Please, everyone, still be safe.
I opened the door and shouted.
“Is everyone safe?!”
Everyone in the room looked at me with their mouths opened blankly.
“Ah, Aikawa-kun. Please sit down in your seat.”
The spectacled, white-haired teacher pointed at my seat with her chalk.
A wave of laughter suddenly broke out.
Why did I feel so embarrassed…?
But, well, it seemed that my own class was still safe.
“Hiramatsu! I need you for a second!”
Perhaps she was alarmed that such an embarrassing person had called her, but Hiramatsu flushed red and seemed on guard.
“If this keeps on, everyone’s going to turn into an animal!”
Another wave of laughter rang out at my explanation. I hadn’t come to get laughed at.
With Kyouko still held under my arms, I went over to where Hiramatsu was sitting in front of the teaching stand and grabbed her by the arm.
“Just listen, please… Hiramatsu.”
My serious expression made things even worse, and nobody could stop laughing.
“Aikawa-kun, we’re in the middle of class right now…”
I was relieved that this teacher was so soft-spoken. As things were, I didn’t have the time to listen to all the voices around me.
“You know, it’s pretty hot today…”
The boy who sat behind me, who was in charge of curtains, said that and opened the window.
“Idiot! Don’t open that!”
Before Haruna’s warning could reach him, he had already opened the window.
Bop bop bop bop. Ears sprouted from the students’ heads with a popping noise.
And just like when a corner was taken in Othello, their ears transformed into cat ears from their tips. Afterwards, the cat-eared students attacked the students close by, and the curse spread at a menacing speed.
“Not good! Ayumu, hurry up!”
I took Hiramatsu by the hand and ran out of the classroom.
“Gyaaahhhh!! M-my trademark!!!”
Orito’s scream echoed through the classroom. His spiky head had turned into a pair of giraffe ears.
…That didn’t look bad on him at all.
Perhaps because I was forcefully pulling her by the hand, Hiramatsu fell after her skirt got caught in something.
I tried to grab her by the hand again… but I found myself distracted by the pink flash of her panties. Crap!
“Ayumu!” Perhaps because Haruna was also pulling me by the hand, I never was able to grab Hiramatsu again.
It took all our strength just to get out of the classroom. After Haruna forced the door closed, we could hear the cute cries of various animals coming from the other side.
“Haruna, would whistling work?”
“If you could keep whistling for a few minutes on end, it might be all right…”
“That might be difficult.”
“I’d be able to do it!”
Kyouko chuckled. She was probably trying to get us to let her go, so I just ignored her.
There wasn’t really another choice: we had to head for the music room on the fourth floor. I could only pray that there was no music class today.
When we started walking, the door to the class next door opened.
And what came out was… A cat-eared Tomonori. I could see that her hands had already become paws… Dammit, the symptoms were getting worse.
“Tomonori… You too…”
A bear-like Anderson-kun and a Mihara who had sprouted a tail also emerged into the hallway. Next, from my own class, giraffe Orito, bunny Hiramatsu, and the teacher (who had become a monkey) jumped out.
“We don’t have much time! Hurry, Ayumu!”
God dammit! As if I’d let you all turn into animals! I hurried towards the music room. I didn’t look to the side, I didn’t look back; I just dashed with all my heart and soul.
The door to the music room was shut. It was locked, which meant that it wasn’t being used.
I felt a tinge of hope.
I forced the door open with my zombie power and escaped inside.
The music room was deserted. There was only a blackboard and a piano, along with a few portraits that were rumored to have moving eyes at night.
Where were the instruments again? In the preparation room next door?
“All right. Haruna!”
“Where’s the keyboard harmonica?!”
“The keyboard harmonica!! It’s… That’s…”
“Ahaha! I can play the piano, you know!”
“Nobody’s asking you.”
“I’ll look in another room!”
It seemed Haruna wasn’t able to stand still; she went out of the music room.
“Ayumu! Don’t open the door! I’m already-“
“Ayumu… I’m about to lose my mind… But first, there’s something I wanted to say to you.”
“You better not forget! Potatoes are nightshade plants!”
“Huh? Ahh, okay.” So they were nightshade plants…
It really seemed like it was just something she had wanted to say.
“Also, firefly squids are in the pseudo firefly squid family!” (2)
“Eh? What is that supposed to mean?” What happened to firefly squids?
“Also, the ‘negi’ in ‘negitoro’ doesn’t mean the vegetable… U-unyaaan~.”
Haruna! Please tell me what negitoro means!
“Looks like you’re going to have to negotiate with me, doesn’t it?”
The last thing I wanted was for things to go her way. What should I do? What could I do here?
There was another way. Yes, that’s right: there was one more person I could call on.
I took out my cell phone and dialed out.
“Hello, this is the Aikawa household.”
I had phoned my own home. And Sera had picked up.
Sera could play the violin well, and for better or worse, the violin was back home.
I explained the situation and asked Sera to lend me her strength.
A surprising response came back at me.
What the hell. She was the hero who always showed up with spectacular timing, but now she was telling us that she wouldn’t help.
“My comra-… There are conservative faction vampire ninjas at that school.”
I see. If she met with other vampire ninjas she might be killed.
“Sera… I can’t ask anybody else but you. Please save me… and save Haruna.”
“…Excuse me. Please let me think for a bit.”
“Sera, please… Sera…”
The phone call cut out.
Dammit… No, she would definitely come. She would definitely…
“It’s certainly hot in here. Won’t you help me take off some of my clothes?”
“Just deal with it. It’s a good time to sweat a bit.”
Was she seriously trying to seduce a zombie? After all, her breasts were way too big and didn’t match her looks otherwise. For someone who was used to the superior breasts on Sera, this was… Gulp. But, my my, breasts sure are nice things… No, bad bad bad! Get a hold of yourself and think! What was a good pair of breasts?! Everyone was getting turned into animals and breasted! I had to breast something before it was too late!
…All right, maybe I should let her take some clothes off. She looked so sad, after all. Yup yup. Breasts breasts breasts.
“More importantly, there are a mountain of things I want to ask you.”
“Don’t you think that information shouldn’t be given without something in return?”
“Well, in terms of information I can give you… The masou weapons aren’t actually physical objects, right?”
“Of course not. After all, they do not obey the laws of ‘science’ of this world.”
“But you thought that it was something you could take with you and walk around with, right?”
“Yes. If you don’t contain it in a vessel, wouldn’t it just activate?”
“Vessel… I see, so she was a vessel.”
I was a bit hesitant to tell her, but I decided to answer honestly for the sake of the information I wanted.
“Yes, the masou weapon you were looking for before is inside a girl named Tomonori.”
“It was hidden in this world… But you’re saying it was hidden in a human from this world?! And that damn woman told us that we shouldn’t do anything inhumane to humans!”
It seemed that the “damn woman” she had been referring to over and over was Dai-sensei.
“So even if you search for it, you won’t find it. It wasn’t being carried by someone, but was placed inside someone… I see. Well then, what does Aikawa-san want to know?”
“I want to know about Dai-sensei.”
“Ah, that. Fine, then. After all, I was completely done in by that damn woman and was utterly defeated.”
“You were completely done in? What do you mean?”
“Ariel-sensei came with us because she wanted to collect my Gems of Life! And then, after she passed me this good-for-nothing weapon, she even stole him from me! Agh! It just makes me so annoyed!”
“Wait just a second. Why does she need to do that?”
“All that woman thinks about is overthrowing Virie, so it probably has something to do with that.”
“Wait, wait just a second again. What do you mean ‘overthrowing Virie’?”
“Hm? Haruna is just a small fry, so she probably doesn’t know, but I would have expected Ariel-sensei to speak about this with Aikawa-san.”
“Virie is the name of the world you masou shoujo come from, right?”
“Yes, precisely. Ariel-sensei has been scouting strong humans, making Gems of Life, and producing weapons, all so she can overthrow the current queen. She didn’t want those weapons to be discovered, so she hid them in this world.”
Scouting strong humans… Now that I thought about it, when she first met Sera, Dai-sensei had suddenly tried to recruit her.
And if all these ridiculous weapons were being made in order to beat other masou shoujo, then I couldn’t say I didn’t understand. After all, the masou shoujo were the strongest out of all the species I knew.
“And why do you have the power of a vampire ninja? And why were you working with the King of the Night?”
Kyouko gave me a lonely look that made it clear that this wasn’t a topic she wanted to talk about, but then her expression became calm.
“I had a dog, you know. And that man, he was working at a pet shop. Isn’t that strange? Well, in any case, that was how we met. My dog’s leg wasn’t doing well; he was always sick and seemed to be in constant pain.”
I really felt that Kyouko looked very sweet when she talked about the past like that. If she hadn’t gone down the wrong road, I’m sure she would have ended up as just a normal, cute girl.
“And what do you think that man did to my dog?”
“He desperately tried to nurse him back to health?”
“He killed him.”
“Because life is more painful than death.”
“That’s what he said. Of course, I was very angry at him and asked him why he killed something that was trying so hard to stay alive. But that was just my own ego talking. Wanting that dog to live was just the desire of someone else. That dog… He probably didn’t want to continue living on like that.”
“That can’t be. Where in the world is there an animal who wants to die?!”
“Well, you two are quite different people. But there are also people who would prefer the death penalty over life in prison.”
“How much of a coward do you have to be to think that death is better than pain?”
“I also don’t want to die. Rather, I want to live forever.”
“So why would you team up with such a-“
“I wanted to kill that man. But in the end, I couldn’t. Aikawa-san, this story applies to you as well.”
“Because I’m a zombie?”
“Yuu-san seems to have left you, hasn’t she? And yet you continue to chase after her like you’re a girl, thinking that she also wants to be with you.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“It’s the same story. She went through a few painful experiences and wanted to run away. But you wouldn’t let her. Isn’t this the same selfishness as wanting someone to live even when that person wants to die? In this world, people would call that ‘unwelcome charity,’ would they not?”
I… couldn’t argue back. Kyouko chuckled, seeming satisfied.
“As for the tornado abilities, it was… Yuu-san, I believe? Her immortal blood was also once given to him. So I just had to receive some of that. I guess I just wanted to live too much. That must be why I was thrown away… But, ahh, he sure was cool.”
“Cool? When? I really can’t follow you.”
“He was so childish.”
Kyouko laughed. Dammit, I just heard something disgusting.
“Thank you very much. I feel… a bit better after talking about that.”
I felt a bit conflicted after being suddenly thanked like that.
“…… Even if you give me that look, I won’t let you run away.”
“Aha, don’t worry. I plan to go back to Virie and receive my punishment.”
And that’s when I saw her. There was a single girl on the roof of the building next door.
A single girl with a violin.
It was the first time I had seen such a scene.
Well, that was natural; the only people I knew who went up on roofs are ninjas and Santa Claus, and neither of those had any reason to play a violin.
“Aikawa-san… What do you think you’re doing?!”
I opened the window and heard music.
I didn’t know very much about music, but I could tell at least that this was a classical piece.
Because I had opened the window, I heard a popping noise and my nose became an elephant’s trunk. And once you become an elephant, then you realize it: the long part isn’t the nose, it’s the upper lip.
I wanted to trumpet a roar out into the distance, but the minute that classical music reached my new floppy ears, ears that would put the Seven Deities of Good Fortune to shame, I felt a refreshing feeling blow through me.
Seeming to have noticed me, Sera leapt into the room. Before I realized it, my body had returned to its normal state, free of abnormalities. So the music dispelled the curse this fast… thank God.
“Thank you. I knew I could depend on you.”
“If you ask me using a voice like that… It will give me nightmares.”
The always-prickly Sera readied her violin.
I put my hand on the doorknob to the music room.
“I’m opening it, then.”
“I’m ready any time.”
The minute I opened the door, the crowd of people-turned-animal surged into the room. They were all entranced by the lovely music coming from Sera’s violin and stood still, tears streaming from their eyes.
And, like a deflating balloon, the animal transformations dispelled. Some people had already become more than half animal, but they seemed to still be in the clear.
Haruna bound into the room. It seemed that the people in the hallway could hear the music too.
“The leaf woman came!”
“Yeah, I called her here. Haruna, please take Kyouko to Virie.”
“…Nothing… And I worked so hard today, too…”
“Ahh, that’s right. Good girl, good girl.”
I petted Haruna’s head, and she leaned forward and rubbed her head against my moving hand. That girl really reminded me of a cat sometimes.
“Unyaaa~~ N-no, that’s not it! Ayumu you idiot!”
Why the hell was she angry?
“Ah, Sera. I’ll go with you. If the vampire ninjas try something, then I’ll do something about it.”
Sera had started off into the hallway and I followed her.
“Ayumu, you morodiot!”
For some reason, I had been insulted with a combination of the words “moron” and “idiot.”
(1) I think this is a reference to Dragon Quest III, and is a parody of Eginbear Castle.
(2) The technical English term for this family is Enoploteuthidae. The Japanese term for this taxonomic family actually translates roughly to “pseudo-firefly-squids,” which makes it a bit more punny.