Chapter 1: Part 6
Sunlight was streaming down between the clouds. It seemed that I had lost consciousness.
I tried to move my body, but… hm? I couldn’t move at all.
All I could see was the water’s surface. This was… I guess I was right next to the flowing pool?
I blinked a few times and shook my head back and forth. I thought hard, trying to understand my current situation.
It felt like something was draped over my entire head. My head felt strangely heavy… like my face was stuck through one of those holes in those photo-opportunity cutouts at amusement parks. My body was restrained, and I felt humid and hot.
“As expected, you’re quick to wake up.”
I heard a voice and desperately moved my restrained head in search for the speaker. It was then I saw a bikini-clad Sera looking down at me.
“What’s the meaning of this?”
“Have you not figured it out?”
I looked towards where Sera was pointing, and felt goosebumps on my flesh at what I saw in the distance. I saw Nessie strung up upside down with rope by her tailfin, almost like she was the biggest catch in a tuna-fishing competition. That was… Orito?!
“Sera, what’s the meaning of this?!”
“Ayumu, do you remember what Hellscythe-dono said earlier?”
Sera looked quite refreshed.
“What are you talking about?”
“She said you could rule the world if you acquired the Hidden Dragon or the Young Phoenix.”
We were talking about that back when we had nabe. What of it?
“In other words, Haruna believed that Nessie was the Hidden Dragon.”
Nessie, the dragon hidden beneath the lake… I see. In other words, Haruna heard she could rule the world if she had that so she was desperately searching for it…
She was desperately searching for it…
Wait, she was just playing, wasn’t she?! She threw a beach ball at Orito, causing him to just swing around like a pendulum.
“How did Orito get like tha- Sera, this was your doing, wasn’t it?!”
“Yes. That guy is more useless than the Decelerate spell from Dragon Quest, and he was acting in a disreputable way, so I decided to make him into a living sacrifice. Ayumu, you will share his fate.”
So it was like that?! In other words… I was wearing a stuffed Nessie costume right now?! And I was just going to get thrown into the pool and become Haruna’s prey… and she had probably asked me to swim with her just so I wouldn’t realize she was the one who turned Orito into Nessie!
“I see. I think I more or less understand things. But, there’s one thing that still isn’t clear.”
“What is it?”
“Why are you helping Haruna look for Nessie?”
Sera let out a deep, resigned sigh.
“Do you not understand just by watching Haruna?”
Haruna? I looked closely at Orito, who had now been turned into Nessie. Haruna was acting as high-handed as always, tossing him around like a sandbag.
“I have no idea. What are you trying to say? … Hey, sto-”
Sera remained silent but just released me into the flowing pool.
I slowly got carried around by the current. Every time the water swayed, I felt my heavy head starting to sink.
“Ah, it’s another Nessie!”
And then, Haruna discovered me. Uwahh… what’s up with those sparkles in her eyes?
“Look look, gloomy necromancer! It’s a blue Nessie! This one mainly eats plankton, and her favorite food is okonomiyaki! (1) Let’s pull her up!”
Nessie sure has a really bizarre diet! I felt my head being dragged, and the Nessie costume bit into my jaw.
“Haruna, it’s me. Stop it and save me.”
“Hueh? Ayumu, what are you doing?”
The minute Haruna figured out it was me in the costume, she soon gave me a teasing smile, almost as if she was happy about this. It seemed she had no intention of helping me.
“That’s what I want to know. Yuu, help me out here.”
Yuu was about to save Orito from his upside-down state. She unfastened the zipper behind the costume, and found a tied-up Orito inside. She began to untie the ropes.
Dammit! It looked like I’d have to wait a bit more before help arrived.
When I had been pulled up from the pool to around chest height, Haruna figured out that Yuu was trying to help Orito.
“Agh! What are you doing to my Nessie?!”
Splash! I slipped back into the pool, and began to cough at the sudden influx of water into my mouth.
“Haruna, you… why… why are you so obsessed with Nessie?”
“… I mean, the gloomy necromancer wanted to find one!”
Haruna didn’t want to find Nessie for herself, but for Yuu?
“You did it for Yuu? Really?”
Haruna began to mumble, almost as if she had something in her mouth.
“I… wanted to come here to play…”
As I thought. She was just acting spoiled.
“You could’ve just said that in the first place.”
Although, if Haruna said that it’s not like I would have taken her here.
“No way! I couldn’t… say I wanted to come here to play with the gloomy necromancer…”
I doubted my ears a bit when she said that. Haruna had wanted to come here to play. But that was because she had wanted to play with Yuu. That’s why she was so stubbornly trying to get Yuu to join her.
Considering Haruna always called Yuu a gloomy necromancer, I had always thought that Haruna didn’t like Yuu, but it seemed like that wasn’t the case.
When I chased her off too, she acted like a brat not because she was angry at me, but because she couldn’t say that she wanted to play with Yuu.
I see… Sera decided to help Haruna in her Nessie hunt when she saw how Haruna was behaving. She had also invited me to swim not because she didn’t want me to figure out what had happened to Orito, but she wanted to give Haruna and Yuu a bit of time alone to play.
“So, that’s why you wanted to catch a Nessie?”
“If Nessie is here, then it gives us a good excuse to play together, right?”
I can’t really applaud them for the way they were playing though.
“You should’ve just asked her to her face.”
“N-No way! If she turned me down… then that would mean it’s my loss.”
“Don’t worry. Yuu also wants to play with you, I think. If you don’t want to ask her to play because you’re embarrassed or something, then just make up something. It doesn’t have to be rare monster hunting. And just ask her to do it with you. You say that all the time to me, don’t you? And anyways… just help me out of this thing.”
Haruna gave me a halfhearted nod. This girl also could be cute occasionally.
“Funnyaaahhhh!!” Haruna desperately tried to get me out of the water, but she didn’t seem to be able to do it very well. But then Yuu (who had finished rescuing Orito) came over, and they both pulled me out together, until finally the entire upper half of my body managed to make it up above the pool rim.
“Yuu, aren’t you happy? Haruna said she wants to become friends with you.”
I wanted to alleviate Yuu’s worries as fast as possible, so I said that, but then I heard the sound of something shattering from Haruna’s head. Her face flushed a deep vermillion and she began to shout.
“The gloomy necromancer is just my underling! A henchman! There’s no way I’d want to be friends with her! Only zombies want to be friends with someone like her!”
Why was she trying to bluff this late in the game? I really hope Yuu didn’t take her words seriously.
Stop glaring at each other. Hey… come on, don’t let me go!
Come on, look at me! I’m… I’m falling!
And thus, the rare monster known as the Water Corpse Zombie was born.
(1) Kind of like a Japanese pizza, grilled tableside.