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Cage in Lunatic Runagate/Fourth Chapter

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第四話 不尽の火 Chapter 4: The Eternal Flame

妖怪の山は静かに煙を上げていた。山の噴火は荒々しさは無いが、常に上空を(くゆ)らしている。

Smoke silently drifted from within Youkai Mountain. The mountain's eruptions were never severe, but they served to fill the sky above it with fumes.

里では山の煙は本物の煙によるものではなく、天狗や河童達が動かす工場が吐き出す煙だと言われていた。

In the village it's said that the mountain's smoke isn't real smoke, but rather fumes that spew from factories run by the tengu and the kappa.

何故なら、妖怪の山が活動していたのは伝説上の話で、煙を上げるようになったのは百年ほど前だからである。その時期と言えば、丁度山の妖怪が持つ優れた技術が、里に知られるようになった時期だった。

This is mostly because the mountain's activity was once mere legend, and the rising smoke only started in the past hundred years or so. This was about the same time that the advanced technology the mountain youkai possessed became known in the human village.

妖怪の山が今も活動しているかどうはさておき、火山であるという事は事実である。それは魔法の森の近くにある玄武の沢を見れば明らかだ。玄武の沢とは、底は亀の甲羅のような六角形のひびが入った岩、周りの崖は垂直に切り立った六角柱で出来ているという不思議な沢である。

Whether the mountain is active or not is beside the point, as it is, in fact, a volcano. This is obvious on inspection of the Genbu Ravine close to the Forest of Magic. The Genbu Ravine is a mysterious place made up of a six-sided rock formation covered in cracks so it looks like a turtle shell with the surrounding cliffs forming a hexagonal prism.

自然に出来たとは思えない不思議な地形は、実は溶岩が冷えて固まる時に出来る地形であるという事が判っている。妖怪の山から流れ出た溶岩が玄武の沢を作ったのである。大昔の妖怪の山は荒ぶる火山であった。

This bizarre rock formation, seemingly artifically formed, was made when a lava flow cooled and hardened. Flowing lava from Youkai Mountain created the Genbu Ravine. In days of old, Youkai Mountain was a raging volcano.

当然、妖怪の中には山が噴火していた頃を見てきている者もいるのだが、山が活動停止してから長い時間が経っているので、もう再び噴火する事は無くなったと思っているのだろう。

There are even youkai who have seen the mountain erupt before, but since it's been a long time since it was active, most of them probably think that it won't erupt again.

しかし、竹林に住む人間——藤原妹紅(ふじわらのもこう)は知っていた。今の妖怪の山が燻らしている煙は、河童達の工場の煙なんかではなく実は本物の火山の煙である事を。

However, the human that lived in the bamboo forest, Fujiwara no Mokou, knew. She knew that the smoke that came from Youkai Mountain wasn't from the kappa's factories, but from the dormant volcano.

「さあ、ここまで来ればもう迷わないだろう。このまま真っ直ぐ進めば里に着くはずだ」

"Go on, you shouldn't get lost anymore now. Just go straight down this path and you'll reach the village."

私が護衛した迷い人は安堵の表情を浮かべ何度も礼をすると小走りで去っていった。

The villager I'd escorted thanked me time and time again as a look of relief swept over his face, then jogged off into the distance.

迷いの竹林は地名の通り道に迷う人間が多い。目印になる物が少ないのと、ここに住む妖精の悪戯が絶えない為だ。にもかかわらず、里の人間はよく竹林に足を踏み入れる。筍や茸、兎などの食材が豊富な為だろう。

Just as its name suggests, many people lose their way in the Bamboo Forest of the Lost. That's because there's not much to serve as landmarks, so the fairies that live here love playing pranks. And still, the humans find reasons enough to set foot here all the time. That's probably because food like bamboo sprouts, mushrooms and rabbits are plentiful here.

私はこの辺の妖精に顔が利くので、道に迷わされたりする事は無い。だから道に迷った人間を見つけると里に帰るまで送るようにしている。この辺は飢えた妖怪も多いし、迷い人の亡骸を見たくないからでもある。

Since I know the fairies around here pretty well, I don't get lost. So, whenever I find a lost human in the forest, I guide them back to the village. After all, lots of youkai hang around here, too, and I don't want to stumble across the remains of any lost villager.

気が付くと迷い人の姿が見えなくなっていた。暫く私は迷いの竹林の入り口で佇んでいた。

Before I knew it, the lost man had walked out of sight. I lingered for a while at the entrance to the Bamboo Forest of the Lost.

別に迷い人の姿が完全に見えなくなるまで見送っていた訳ではない。妖怪の山から立ち上る煙を見ていたのだ。あの煙を見て、昔の出来事を連想せざるを得ないからだ。

It's not as if I was waiting until that person was out of sight to make sure they made it back safely. I was watching the smoke rising from Youkai Mountain. I couldn't help but remember events long past whenever I gazed at it.

今から数年前の事である。私はどうしてもあの山の煙が気になり、里に住むある人に相談した事があった。

It was something that had happened a few years ago. For some reason I wanted to know more about the smoke coming from that mountain, so I went to talk to someone who lives in the human village.

幻想郷の歴史に詳しく、数少ない私の理解者である獣人——上白沢慧音(かみしらさわけいね)にである。

She was someone who knew a lot about the history of Gensokyo, and one of the few people who really understands me: the were-beast Keine Kamishirasawa.

「——貴方はあの妖怪の山の真実の姿を知りたいのですね?」

"You want to know the truth about the smoke coming from Youkai Mountain?"

「そうだ、里の人間は河童の工場だとか天狗の狼煙(のろし)だとか言ってるけど、どうも腑に落ちない。私はあの煙に見覚えがあるのだけど……」

"Yeah, the villagers say it's the tengu's signal fires or the kappa's factories or something, but that doesn't sit right with me. I think I've seen smoke coming from that mountain before..."

「……そうですか。見覚えがあるというのなら、私も貴方に山の歴史を伝える必要があるでしょう」

"...I see. If that's the case, I suppose I should teach you about that mountain's history."

「そうして貰えると助かるよ」

"That'd be a great help."

「あの煙……工場の煙でも勿論狼煙でもありません。あれは火の山が吐く不尽の煙なのです」

"That smoke... of course, it's not factory smoke or signals of any sort. It's the eternal smoke of a volcano."

慧音は私に山の歴史について説明してくれた。彼女によると山にはある神様が宿っていたのだと言う。その神様とは石長姫(いわながひめ)と呼ばれる神様らしい。

Keine told me about the mountain's history. According to her, the mountain had been home to a certain god. It seems this god was called Iwanagahime.

「妖怪の山の煙はその神様が出す火山の煙なのです。貴方が見覚えがあると言うのならその神様を知っているのではないでしょうか?」

"The smoke from the Youkai Mountain is produced by this god. If you can remember that smoke, perhaps you know something of that god?"

「石長姫……?」

"Iwanagahime...?"

私はその神様の名前に聞き覚えがなかった。

I'd never heard that name before.

「そんな奴聞いた事がないけど、それがなんで私に見覚えがあると?」

"I've never heard of anyone like that before, so why should I know her?"

「そうですか、でも石長姫は貴方とは無縁ではありません。石長姫は永遠の命……つまり不死を司る姫だからです」

"I see. Well, it's not as if Iwanagahime is unrelated to you. You see, Iwanagahime is the spirit of eternal life... meaning, immortality."

「不死の神だって……?」

"So she's the goddess of immortality...?"

不死……か。それならば関係は大ありである。私はとある理由により不老不死の身となってしまったからだ。

Immortality, huh...? In that case, that's a pretty big relation. After all, I'd attained immortality after a certain incident.

「そしてその石長姫は浅間(せんげん)様の姉に当たるのです。浅間という言葉は元々はあさまと読み、その言葉は火山を意味します。浅間様は木花咲耶姫(このはなさくやひめ)の事を指している為、今では火山の神様は咲耶姫の事とされていますが、本当の咲耶姫は火山を鎮める水の神で——」

"In addition, this Iwanagahime was the older sister of Lady Sengen. The name Sengen was originally read Asama, which means "volcano." Since Lady Sengen is another name for Konohana-sakuyahime, Sakuyahime is considered the goddess of volcanoes now, but Sakuyahime is actually a water deity who calms volcanoes-"

「ちょっと待って、今、咲耶姫と言ったね」

"Hold on a second. Did you just say Sakuyahime?"

「ええ、石長姫の妹で大変美しい神様です。性格には少し難がありますが、花が咲くように——」

"Yes, she's Iwanagahime's younger sister, and a very beautiful goddess. Her personality is said to be a bit difficult, but like a blooming flower-"

慧音は一度解説に火が付くと話が長くなるので強引にでも切った方が良い。

Since Keine's explanations tend to get extremely long once she gets started, sometimes it's best to just cut her off before things get out of hand.

「咲耶姫なら知っている。いや、知っているなんてもんじゃない。私はあの時——」

"Well, I know about Sakuyahime. No, that's not exactly right. Back then-"

今の境遇に陥った原因となった山を思い出した。

I remembered the mountain that was the cause of my present condition.

「——あの時、彼奴さえいなければ!」

"If only she hadn't been there then...!"

私は迷いの森の中にある小さな隠れ家に戻っていた。

I returned to a small house hidden in the Bamboo Forest of the Lost.

帰る途中、数年前の慧音とのやりとりを思い出していた。妖怪の山の煙には私しか知らない秘密があるのだ。

On the way back, I recalled the conversation I'd had with Keine several years ago. There's a secret behind the smoke coming from Youkai Mountain that only I know.

最近は暗くなるのが早く、既に家の中は薄暗かった。雪がちらつく季節となりめっきり寒くなってきたが、まだ暖を取る用具を準備していない。

Lately, it had been getting dark early, so by the time I got back, the inside of the house was already dim. It was a season of light snowfall, and it had gotten quite cold, but I didn't bother with anything to provide warmth.

部屋の中は生き物が住んでいるとは思えないほど冷え切っていた。だがそれも慣れたものだ。いくら寒くても私は死ぬ事は無いのだから。寒いのを少し我慢すれば、また暖かい季節がやってくる。

It was so cold inside the room you wouldn't think that anything lived there. I was used to that, though. After all, no matter how cold it got, I wouldn't die. If I can just bear the cold for a little while, the warmer seasons would return.

不死になってからもう千三百年くらい経つだろうか。

It must have been more than 1300 years since I'd become immortal.

不死になってから最初の三百年は人間に嫌われ、身を隠さないと自分にも周りにも迷惑を掛けるという悲しいものであった。

For the first three hundred years, other people hated me, and I lived a sad life who only caused trouble to myself and those around me if I didn't stay in hiding.

次の三百年はこの世を恨み、妖怪だろうが何だろうが見つけ次第退治する事で薄っぺらな自己を保つ事が出来た。

The next three hundred years I spent harboring a grudge against this world, and was able to preserve the faintest sense of identity by immediately dispatching anything that crossed my path, youkai or otherwise.

その次の三百年はその辺の妖怪では物足りなくなり、何事に対してもやる気を失う退屈なものであった。

For the next three hundred years the youkai in the area couldn't hold my interest anymore, and I lost all motivation towards anything, surrendering to tedium.

その次の三百年、ついに私は不死の宿敵と再会し殺し合う事に楽しみを見い出す事が出来た。

But during the next three hundred years, I was finally reunited with my immortal archrival, and we discovered the joys of killing each other, over and over.

そして今、私の存在も人間の社会に適応しつつある。今は永く生きてきた知識と長く闘ってきた力を使い、人間の護衛を行っているのだ。竹林に迷い込んだ人間——それは外の世界から迷い込む人間も含めてである、を竹林に棲む妖怪の手から守る仕事を行っている。

And now, humans know about my existence again and I've readjusted to their society somewhat. I use the knowledge I've gained from centuries of existence and the strength I've gained from countless battles to escort the humans from the village. I spend my time protecting humans that wander into the bamboo forest from the youkai there, including some people who wander in from the outside world.

昔は決して有り得なかった人間からの感謝が、今の私の生きる支えである。不死を恐れない人間のいる幻想郷はまさに楽園の様であった。

There was a time when I never would have imagined being thanked by another human being, but now it is what I live for. Finding Gensokyo, where the average person wasn't afraid of an immortal being, was like stumbling into paradise.

私は片膝を立てて床に座り、背中を壁に押し当てた。いつからだろう、私はすぐに起きられる体勢で眠る癖が付いていた。この体勢でいると深い眠りに付く事が出来ず、色々考え事が出来るからである。

I sat on the floor, my back against the wall, one leg folded upright. I wonder how long it's been since I started sleeping in positions like this that made it easy to wake up. It made it impossible to fall into a deep sleep, and easy to spend lots of time thinking.

「——あの時、彼奴さえいなければ!」

"Back then, if only she hadn't been there!"

咲耶姫の名前を聞いて封印された記憶が脳裏に蘇る。私が不死になる原因となった、我が人生で最もセンセーショナルな出来事である。

Long sealed-away memories surfaced again in the back of my mind at the mention of Sakuyahime's name. She was the cause of my immortality, and was at the heart of the most sensational event in my life.

「あの時、咲耶姫さえ出てこなければあの男を殺す事も、あの薬を飲む事も無かったのに——」

"If Sakuyahime hadn't showed up then, I wouldn't have killed that man, and I wouldn't have drank that elixir..."

私には宿敵がいた。その名は蓬莱山輝夜。私の家族の人生を狂わし、身勝手な行動で多くの人間に迷惑をかけた不死の人間である。勿論、今でも宿敵である事は変わりない。今ではお互い父子という事もあり、定期的に壮絶な殺し合いを行っている。

I had a very old enemy. Her name was Kaguya Houraisan. She was an immortal human who disrupted my family's lives, and selfishly used her wiles to bewitch countless other people. Of course, she's still my greatest nemesis. Now, we're both immortal, and every once in a while we engage in epic mutual murders.

勿論、若い頃の私は殺し合いをするような事もなく、輝夜に嫌がらせが出来ればそれで溜飲を下げる事が出来た。今思えば、他人の悔しがる姿が見たくて行動していたんだから歪んでいたんだと思う。でも、復讐の心は他の何よりも行動力を生む物であるという事も事実である。

Of course, when I was young, I wouldn't have thought about mutual killings. Finding a way to harrass Kaguya would have been enough to bring me some satisfaction. Looking back on it, I think spending that much time nursing my bitterness against others probably bent me. However, it's true that nothing brings a sense of motivation the way a lust for revenge does.

嫌がらせをする為に行動する事は苦痛であったが、その苦痛が大きければ大きいほど復讐としては価値があった。今味わってる苦痛は輝夜が私に与えている苦痛だと思う事で、さらなる大きな行動力を生んだ。つまり、私が復讐するのは完全に輝夜の所為だと思い込んでいたのだ。

It was painful spending all of my days in search of a way to spite her, but that just made the revenge I sought all the more valuable. Since I think the pain that I taste today was that pain bestowed upon me by Kaguya, it's made it easier for me to keep going. In other words, I believe that Kaguya is completely to blame for the fact that I desire revenge.

不死になるきっかけとなった日の私は、輝夜に復讐をする為にある人物の後を付けていた。岩笠という名前の男と思う。その男は数名の兵士を引き連れて壷を持ち、山を登っていた。その壷は輝夜が大切な人の為に残したという代物である。私はその壷を奪おうと企んでいた。その壷を奪う事で少しでも溜飲が下がるのならそれで良かったのだ。

The day I became immortal, I was following a certain person to seek my revenge against Kaguya. He was a man with a name something like Iwakasa, I think. He was leading a group of soldiers up a mountain carrying a jar. The jar was said to contain something Kaguya had left behind for someone important. I was planning to steal the jar. If I could gain even some slight amount of satisfaction from stealing the jar, then that would be fine.

一行が登っていた山はこの国で最も高い山と言われ、一部の修験者しか登らない霊山、今でいう富士山であった。

The mountain that the soldiers were ascending in single-file was said to be the highest mountain in this nation, a spiritual mountain that only a few ascetics ever climbed, which is now called Mount Fuji.

山はある程度登る時の高さは低くなり、次第に植物自体も無くなって岩ばかりになって行くものである。それの意味する事は、姿を隠して尾行を続けるのが困難になるという事だった。

Once you reach a certain ways up the mountain, the trees become shorter, and gradually the vegetation disappears altogether, leaving nothing but rocks. That meant that it became much harder for me to stay hidden as I tried to tail them up the mountain.

さらにもう一つ尾行が困難になる致命的な要因があった。それは私の体力は限界に近づいていたという事だ。この山の麓に着くだけでも何日もかかり体力を消耗していた。その上、この山は一人で登れるような生易しい山では無かったのだ。

There was one other thing that threatened to deal a fatal blow to my plans. Namely, that I was reaching the limit of my physical endurance. Even reaching the foot of the mountain had taken several days and sapped me of much of my strength. To make matters worse, this was not an easy mountain to try to climb alone.

兵士が背負った壷をどうやって奪えばいいのか全く判らないまま、八合ほど登った所でついに力尽き、その場に座り込んでしまった。

With no idea how I'd steal the jar the soldiers were carrying on their backs, I ran out of energy about four-fifths of the way up the mountain and lied down.

「あの男は私が付けてきている事にとっくに気が付いていた。座り込んだ私の方に引き返してきて、そして疲れ果てた私に水をくれたんだ。最後は数名の兵士と共に励まし合いながら山頂まで一緒に登ったんだ……だというのに」

"He'd realized I'd been following him long before that. He turned to watch when I lied down, then came back to where I'd collapsed from exhaustion to bring me some water. In the end, we all reached the summit together, cheering each other on... but..."

「貴方は何故その男を殺し、壷を奪って逃げる事になったのでしょう」

"Why ever did you kill that man and take the jar?"

そうだ、私は岩笠には何の恨みもなかったのだ。それどころか、岩登りを助けてくれた命の恩人でもあった。壷の事だって本当はもうどうでも良かったのかも知れない。輝夜に対する復讐もただの幼稚な意地だったのかも知れない。

That's right, I had no grudge against Iwakasa. As a matter of fact, he'd probably saved my life. At that point, I don't think I even cared much about the jar anymore. Even my revenge against Kaguya was probably just a childish whim.

「……山の登りは山頂が常に見えていると、逆に歩みの遅さを思い知らされてしまう。残りの山登りは体の疲れと精神力の低下で大変なものだった」

"...When you're almost to the top of the mountain, it makes you realize just how slowly you're travelling. The last leg of the climb is very difficult due to your exhaustion and the drain on your motivation."

私達は山頂に辿り着くとその男になぜこの山に登っていたのかを訊いた。

When we reached the top of the mountain, I asked him why he'd climbed all the way to the summit.

「おかしいね。どう考えても山に登っていた不審者は私の方なのに。でも男は勅命である、と答えてくれた」

"It was odd, because no matter how you look at it, I was the one who had the most suspicious reasons for climbing the mountain. Still, he answered my question and told me that men have to obey orders."

私は山賊で貴方達を付けていたが、とんだ失態を見せてしまった、と言った。壷を奪おうとしてたのだから、あながち間違いでは無いと思う。それを聞いて兵士たちは笑っていた。どう考えても私一人では兵士一人にも敵わない様に見えたからだろう。

I told them the preposterous tale that I was following them because I was a bandit. I didn't think it was that far from the truth, since after all, I was trying to steal the jar. The soldiers laughed when they heard that. I'm sure that being by myself, I didn't seem like much of a threat to even a single one of them.

兵士達は岩笠の命令で、担いでいた壷を地面に置いた。何をするのかと思って見ていると、壷に紐を結びつけ始めた。

On Iwakasa's order, the soldiers placed the jar they'd been carrying on the ground. Just as I started to wonder what they'd do next, they started tying a string around the jar.

「紐を付けて遠くまで投げ飛ばし、壷を火口に入れて焼くって言うんだ。私にはその行動の意味が全く判らなかった」

"They said the string would make it easier for them to fling it far away, and that they were going to throw the jar into the volcano's crater to burn it. I had no idea why they would do that."

もしかしたら、岩笠に勅命を下した帝様も輝夜に嫌がらせをしたいのかとも思った。輝夜から頂いた贈り物をこんな高い山の火口へ投げ入れるって言うのだから。

I thought maybe the Emperor that had given Iwakasa his orders was trying to spite Kaguya, too. After all, he was going to the trouble to have someone take the gift Kaguya had left him up onto a volcano and throw it in.

「私はというと、壷を奪って鬱憤を晴らす為にこんな山の上まで来たのだが、もう壷がどうなるのか見守るしかなかった。でも、兵士達が火口に近づいた時、突然奇妙な女が現われて事態は一変した」

"I'd climbed to the top of the mountain to try to steal that jar and soothe the anger deep in my heart, but all I could do then was watch and see what would happen to it. However, as soon as the soldiers approached the crater, a strange woman suddenly appeared, and everything changed."

「その女の人がもしかして——」

"Was that woman, perhaps...?"

「そう、女は咲耶姫と名乗り、この山の噴火を鎮める女神であると言った。咲耶姫は、その壷を火口に入れてはいけませんと兵士達を恫喝したんだ」

"Yes, that woman called herself Sakuyahime, and said that it was her power that kept the mountain from erupting. Sakuyahime said that the soldiers shouldn't throw the jar into the crater."

咲耶姫はこの世の物ならぬ美しさと、何処か火口で燃え尽きてしまいそうな儚さを携えていた。突然の出来事に兵士達は動揺した。神々しい姿に反射的にひれ伏す者もいた。

Sakuyahime was possessed of an otherworldly beauty and a peculiar transience that made it seem like she'd been burned up in a caldera somewhere before. The soldiers were shaken by her sudden appearance. Some even prostrated themselves before her godly figure out of reflex.

本当に兵士達を動揺させたのはその後だった。岩笠は『私は壷をこの霊力のある神の火で焼かなければならない。これは帝の勅命である』と咲耶姫に向かって言うと、咲耶姫は軽蔑するような目でこちらを見ると次のように言った。

What came next shocked the soldiers even further. Iwakasa turned to Sakuyahime and told her, "I must burn the contents of this jar in the sacred fires of this mountain. This is an order from the Emperor." When he said that, Sakuyahime turned a contemptuous gaze upon him and said:

『その壷をこの山で焼かれてしまうと、火山はますます活動を活発にし、私の力では負えなくなってしまうでしょう。その壷は神である私の力をも上回る力を持っています。貴方達はその壷に入っている物がどのようなものなのか理解しているのでしょうか?』

"If you burn that jar in this mountain, the volcano will begin to resume its activity, and my power will be unable to prevent it. That jar holds a power even greater than that of a god such as I. Do you understand just what is contained within that jar?"

兵士達は沈黙した。中身に関しては誰も知らされていなかったのだろう。私も勿論、輝夜が残した物という事しか知らなかった。

The soldiers were dumbstruck. Probably, none of them had any idea about its contents. Of course, even I only knew that it was something Kaguya had left behind.

咲耶姫が『その壷に入っている物は……』と言うと、岩笠は『それは言ってはならぬ』と制止した。

As Sakuyahime began to say, "Inside that jar is...", Iwakasa cut her off, saying, "You can't tell them that!"

しかし咲耶姫は『いいえ、ここまで担いできた兵士達には知る権利があります』と言い、その壷の中身はなんと不老不死の薬だと言った。

However, Sakuyahime said, "No, these men have a right to know after making it all the way up this mountain," and said that the jar contained the elixir of immortality.

「兵士達は動揺したよ。岩笠の命令を遂行してきただけなのに神様が怒るような事をしていたという事。さらに自分達が運んできた壷が不老不死の薬だったとはね」

"Of course, they were blown off their feet. To think that by simply following Iwakasa's orders they'd done something to anger a god. Not only that, but inside the jar they'd carried up the mountain themselves was the elixir of immortality..."

「そして貴方も動揺した、と」

"And you must have been quite surprised, too."

「勿論、私も動揺した。不老不死の薬が実在する事、輝夜が不老不死の薬を残したという事、その不老不死の薬が何故か捨てられようとしている事——」

"Of course, I was surprised. That such a thing existed, that Kaguya had left it behind, that she'd had a reason for doing it..."

目の前の慧音は私の愚かな過去の話を聞いてくれる。愚かな人間ほど、他の人間の愚かな行動を嫌うというのに。

Keine stood before me and listened as I spoke of my foolish past, even though foolish people hate to hear about others' foolish exploits.

「——そしてその薬が目の前にある事に」

"...And that it was right before my very eyes."

——寒さで目が覚めた。部屋はすっかり暗くなっていた。軽く眠っていた様だ。

The cold woke me up. The room was completely dark. It seems I'd fallen asleep for a bit.

暗い家の中に月の明かりが差し込んでいた。月の明かりは暖を取るには向いていない。冷え切った躰をさらに冷やすだけであった。

The moonlight crept into the darkened house, but it brought no warmth with it. It only served to bring a chill to my already cold body.

不老不死の我が身は不摂生をするのに都合が良い。不摂生し放題である。

My immortal body is very convenient, despite how I neglected taking care of it. I could neglect it as much as I wanted.

まだ今夜の食事の準備をしていなかった。不老不死とはいえ、空腹は覚えるし冷えた躰は関節を痛めたりする。しかし、まめに躰を温めたり栄養のある食事を摂ったりして躰に気を付けるより、多少の苦痛を我慢する方が自分の性に合う。

I hadn't made anything for dinner yet. I may be immortal, but I get hungry and my joints hurt in the cold. Still, it better suited my personality to bear a bit of discomfort than to find a way to keep warm or eat a bit of nutritious food.

そう、何をしても死なないのだから。

Yes, because no matter what happened, I wouldn't die.

飽きるまで寝ようと、睡魔に喰い殺されるまで起き続けようと、躰には影響は無いのだから。

It wouldn't have any effect on my body at all, whether I slept until I was tired of sleeping, or whether I remained awake until I finally succumbed to drowsiness.

幻想郷の妖怪達も非常に長い間生き続けている。私より長く生きている者も少なくない。だが彼ら、彼女らは私とは根本的に異なるのだ。彼らは幾ら肉体が頑丈でも、必ず滅ぶ。

The youkai of Gensokyo also lived long lives. There were quite a few who had lived longer than I had. However, they were fundamentally different from me. No matter how strong they are, they would still waste away in the end.

生者必滅——生きとし生ける者は必ず死ぬ、それが世の定めである。だとしたら私はあの薬を飲んだ時から生きていないのではないか。生きる為に行動する事は意味が無い事ではないか。私は何を目的に行動すればいいのか。

All life crumbles away. Each and every living thing must die. This was the law of the world. If that's the case, then maybe I haven't been living since I drank the elixir. Maybe there was no point in acting to preserve my life anymore. What should I be trying to accomplish?

窓の外には細い月が浮かんでいる。その月に向かって何かの光の筋が上っていくのが見えた。

A slender moon hung outside my window. I could see a ray of some sort of light tracing towards the moon.

それを見て何か嫌な胸騒ぎがした。

Watching the light, I had an unpleasant premonition.

先日、吸血鬼が月に行くロケットが完成したとはしゃいでいたが、その時にも同じ不安を覚えた。

The other day, the vampire had been going on about having finished her moon rocket, and I remembered having the same feeling then.

私は家の明かりを点しもせず家を飛び出す。

I sprang from my house without bothering to bring any light.

頭上には細い月と細長い光の筋。

Far above my head floated the slender moon and the long, thin ray of light.

行く先は竹林の奥深く、永遠亭である。

I headed towards Eientei, deep within the bamboo forest.

「——不老不死の薬が目の前にあると言われてその場にいたみんなが動揺した。兵士が動かなかった為、火口に壷を投げ入れる事も出来なかった。それでも岩笠は壷を燃やそうとしたのだが……何故か火が点かなかったんだ。仕方が無く、その日は山頂で一晩越す事にし、対策を練る事になった」

"Unrest seized the party as soon as they heard that sitting before them was the elixir of immortality. Because they found themselves unable to move, they couldn't throw the jar into the crater. Even so, Iwakasa tried to light the jar on fire, but... For some reason, it wouldn't catch fire. Seeing no other choice, they decided to spend the night on the summit, trying to figure out what to do next."

「咲耶姫は元々、火を鎮める水の神様でした。恐らく壷を燃やす事が出来なかったのはその為でしょう」

"Sakuyahime was originally a water goddess with the power to ward against flame. That's probably why they couldn't light the jar on fire."

私は岩笠に帝から受けたという勅命の詳細を訊ねた。何故、不老不死の薬をわざわざこの山に登って処分しようとしているのか。

I spent the evening wheedling the fine details of his orders from the emperor out of Iwakasa. I wanted to know why he had come all the way up here to dispose of the elixir of immortality.

岩笠によると、この壷は蓬莱の壷、中に入っている物は蓬莱の薬と呼ばれている物である。蓬莱の薬とは不老不死の薬の事で間違いないと言う。

According to Iwakasa, the jar was a Hourai jar, and its contents were called the Hourai Elixir. The Hourai Elixir was thought to surely be an elixir of immortality.

蓬莱山輝夜が月に戻る際に、自分を育ててくれた竹取の翁と迷惑をかけた帝にお礼として置いていった物だそうだ。翁はこのような薬は要らないと寝込んでしまい、帝も同じく輝夜無きこの世に不死となって生きながらえようと何の意味があろうか、と仰って最も月に近いこの山で燃やせと命令した。その勅使として目の前の岩笠が選ばれたらしい。

It was probably left by Kaguya Houraisan when she returned to the moon, as a token of thanks to the old woodcutter who'd raised her and the Emperor whose heart she'd stolen. The old man had said he didn't need to live forever and passed away, and the Emperor said there was no point in living forever in a world without Kaguya, so he ordered it to be taken to the point closest to the moon and burned. It seems that Iwakasa had been chosen to fulfill that duty.

不老不死の薬。その薬が目の前にあって手を出さない翁と帝。私には理解しがたい物であった。その疑問は岩笠も予想していた。兵士達が不老不死の薬の事を知っていたら、この勅命は遂行出来ないと思い誰にも伝えなかったのだという。

The elixir of immortality, and the old man and the Emperor who, when it was presented before them, wouldn't lift a finger. It was difficult for me to understand. Iwakasa had anticipated this sort of doubt. He was afraid his men would be unable to carry out his orders if they knew about the elixir of immortality, so he kept it a secret.

もし兵士達が不老不死の薬が目の前にあるという事を知っていたら何が起こるだろうか。恐らくその薬を奪って飲むなんて愚かな事はしないだろう。今の貧しく苦しい生活が永遠に続くなんて以ての外だからだ。

I wonder what would have happened if his men had known about the elixir all along. They probably wouldn't have tried something so foolish as to steal it and drink it themselves. It's unthinkable that they'd want to live a life as hard and poor as mine forever.

不老不死を欲しがる者は裕福で生活に不自由しない者である。しかし心の貧乏人にとって不老不死の薬は、それをネタに莫大な富と地位を得る事が出来る金の()る薬なのだ。

The people who want immortality are usually wealthy people who live life without inconvenience. The poor of spirit saw the elixir of immortality as a medicine that could bring them inestimable wealth and status.

兵士達は我こそがとその薬を奪い合い、最悪殺し合いを始めてしまうかも知れない。こっそり偽者にすり替えられたりするかも知れない。岩笠はそれを恐れて勅命の詳細は誰にも伝えなかったのだと言った。

Maybe they'd catch each other trying to steal it and kill each other in a horrible bloodbath. Maybe someone would secretly replace the real elixir with a fake. Iwakasa was worried about things like this, so he didn't tell anyone too much about his mission.

「その夜は異様な空気に包まれたよ。みんなで円陣を組み真ん中に壷を置いた。周りの人間が信用出来なかったのか、自然と誰か二人以上が順番に壷を見張るようになった」

"The night was cloaked in an uncanny atmosphere. We all formed a circle and placed the jar in the middle. The soldiers naturally fell into a pattern of watching over the jar in pairs. It seemed nobody trusted anyone else alone with it."

最初のうちは緊張で眠れなかったのだが、山を登った疲れから次第に口数も少なくなり、私は気を失うように眠っていた。

At first I was too nervous to sleep, but eventually the weariness of climbing the mountain set in and I fell into a deep slumber.

『……なさい』

"...Up."

私は誰かの呼ぶ声で目が覚めた。声の主はあの咲耶姫だった。

Somebody's voice calling to me woke me up. The voice belonged to Sakuyahime.

『……貴方とあの男が眠っている間にこの愚かな人間達は、壷を自分の物にしようと殺し合いを始めてしまいました』

"While you and that man have been asleep, these foolish humans have decided to take the contents of the jar as their own and have begun killing each other."

目が覚めた私は絶句した。辺り一面血の海だった。

Once I woke up, I was speechless at the sea of blood that surrounded me.

「私は余りの出来事に冷静に物事を考えられなかったんだ。咲耶姫は兵士達が殺し合いをしたと言ったが、今思えば現場の状態はそんな生易しいものではなかった。中には躰が焼け爛れたりしていた者もいた。壮絶な戦争が起こったか、もしくは何か得体の知れない怪物の様なものに襲われた感じだった。そんな中、私と岩笠だけ寝続けたなんて有り得ないじゃないか」

"At the time, I couldn't think too clearly about what had just happened. Sakuyahime said the men had started killing each other, but now that I think of it the scene of the incident didn't lend itself to such a simple explanation. Some of the bodies laying before me were burned to a crisp. It was as if some great battle must have occurred, or some mysterious creature had suddenly attacked. There's no way that Iwakasa and I could have slept through all of that."

「つまり貴方は咲耶姫が兵士達を殺した、と思うのですね?」

"So, you think that Sakuyahime killed those men?"

「そう。恐らく咲耶姫が私と岩笠を残して他の兵士達を殺したんだと思う。自分の山で不老不死の薬を捨てさせない為か、それとも誰かが飲んでしまわない様にか……。私と岩笠を残したのはこの後の咲耶姫が私達にやって欲しい事があったからではないか」

"Yes. I think she killed them all and left me and Iwakasa alive. Maybe it was because she couldn't let someone cast the elixir of immortality into her mountain, or she wanted to make sure nobody would drink the elixir... I'm sure she left Iwakasa and me alive because there was something she wanted the two of us to do afterwards."

咲耶姫は岩笠にも声をかけ起こした。岩笠はショックの余り言葉を失い、もう勅命を遂行する事は不可能だと悟って咲耶姫の言葉を鵜呑みにしていた。

Sakuyahime awoke Iwakasa in the same manner. The shock left him speechless, and realizing that he could no longer fulfill his mission, he finally swallowed her explanation.

咲耶姫は目の前が闇に包まれた私と岩笠に語り始めた。

Sakuyahime began to speak to Iwakasa and I where we sat enveloped in darkness.

『その薬は愚かな人間を狂わす物です。ほら、誰も口にしていないのに周りは不幸になってしまいました。この様な薬を供養する事は私も賛成なのですが……しかし私の手にも余る代物なのです。ですからどうかこの山で供養する事は控えて欲しい』

"The elixir is a tool meant to deceive foolish humans. See? Even though nobody said anything about it, everyone around it has fallen into misfortune. I certainly approve of you setting out to dispose of such a thing... but it is too much even for me to bear. So, please forget about throwing it into this mountain."

岩笠は暫く考え込んでいたが、咲耶姫に勅命の内容を伝え始めた。

Iwakasa was lost in thought for a moment, but then he started telling Sakuyahime about about his mission.

「私は月に最も近い所で、この薬を燃やしてこいと言われた。ここより高い場所などあるものだろうか、この山より高い山などあるものだろうか」

"I was told to take this elixir to the point closest to the moon and burn it there. Is there any point higher than this? Is there any mountain higher than this mountain?"

『そうですか。ならば良い場所があります。この山より北西へ向かうと八ヶ岳と呼ばれる醜い山があります。そこに私の姉が住んでいます。姉は不死、不変を扱う神ですから、供養して貰うには丁度良いでしょう』

"I see. Then, I know of a suitable place. To the northwest of this mountain there is an incredible peak called Yatsugatake. My elder sister lives there. She is the deity with power over the immortal and unchanging, so that would be the most fitting place to dispose of this elixir."

「しかし、八ヶ岳では高さが足りないのではないか。この山に比べたら随分と低いのではないか」

"But, Yatsugatake isn't high enough, is it? It's quite low compared to this mountain."

『いいえ。実は昔は私の山より高かったのです』

"No. In fact, it was once much taller than my mountain is."

「ええ? そんな話は初耳だが……」

"Really? This is the first I've heard of that..."

『その昔あの山とちょっと喧嘩しましてね……ま、そんな話は置いておいて、ともかく、山の格としては十分ですし、月までの距離はもしかしたらこの山よりも近いのかも知れません』

"Long ago, there was a quarrel between us... well, that's not important, in any case, I believe the distance to the moon may be somewhat shorter atop that mountain."

「そうか……。では早速下山し、八ヶ岳へ向かう計画を立てよう。うちの部下が迷惑をかけて済まなかった」

"I see... In that case, I plan to descend immediately and head to Yatsugatake. I'm sorry my men caused you so much trouble."

岩笠が震える声でそう言うと咲耶姫は安心し、山の火口へ姿を消した。

Iwakasa said this in a trembling voice, and it seemed to mollify Sakuyahime, as she disappeared into the mountain's crater.

「それからの下山は酷く暗いものだった。岩笠は重たい壷を担ぎ、私の方を見ようともせず先頭を歩いていた。何の会話も無かったね」

"Our descent from the mountain was incredibly gloomy. Iwakasa just carried the heavy jar and walked straight ahead, never looking in my direction. We didn't speak a word the whole way down."

重たい沈黙が続いた。変化の無い景色、達成感の無い登山。私は岩笠が背負っている壷と足下の岩場を交互に見ていた。それ位しか目に入ってこなかった。

The heavy silence persisted. The unchanging scenery and the pointlessness of our ascent weighed on me as well. I kept switching my gaze between Iwakasa, the burden he shouldered and the rocky expanse beneath my feet. I laid eyes on nothing else.

「小さな人間は魔が差すって事があるんだよね。ふと私は自分の目的を思い出したんだ。そもそも私はこの壷を奪う事が目的だった。そしてその壷は目の前にある。今なら——」

"They say little people are easily possessed. Suddenly, I remembered my original objective: that in the beginning, I'd meant to steal this jar. And then, it appeared right before my eyes. Now, I could..."

そう思ったが、岩笠には何の恨みもない。それどころか助けてくれたし感謝もしている。その男から壷を奪って逃げるなんて……。

That's what I was thinking, but I bore no ill will towards Iwakasa. I was even grateful to him for helping me. Could I really steal the jar from him and run away...?

しかし、私は咲耶姫の言ったある言葉が頭に付いて離れなかった。

Still, I couldn't get something that Sakuyahime had said out of my head.

その言葉は現実を非現実へと変える。

Those words would turn my reality on its head.

何か耳の辺りが綿のような物で覆われるような、何か小さい穴の空いた布を被って遠くを覗いているような不思議な感覚。

I felt strange, like the area around my ears were covered with cotton, and I could hear far away things through little holes in a cloth surrounding my head.

後先考えずに動いても永遠の時間でどうにかなりそうな魔法の言葉。

That magic word that made it seem like no matter how little care you gave for the consequences, everything would somehow turn out over the course of eternity.

——不老不死。

...Immortality.

「気が付いた時には、急な下り坂で岩笠の背中を思いっきり蹴飛ばしてたよ。そして壷を奪って逃げた」

"Before I realized what I was doing, I kicked Iwakasa as hard as I could down a sudden decline in the path. Then I took the jar and ran."

——夜の竹林は何か出てきそうなおどろおどろしさがあった。

In the dead of night, the bamboo forest had an eerie feeling about it, as if something were perpetually about to appear from the mist.

でも人食い狼が出ようと、怨霊が出ようと私には怖さは感じられない。

But I wasn't afraid of a man-eating wolf or a cursed spirit appearing.

私は死ぬ事を恐れなくなった。

I was no longer afraid of death.

私は飢える心配も必要無くなった。

I no longer had to worry about starving.

その私が、今、何かに怯え足早に永遠亭に向かっている。

I ran as if possessed towards Eientei.

そうだ、不老不死の私が退屈しないで生きていられるのは、宿敵(あいつ)がいるからじゃないか!

That's right, the reason I was no longer afraid of the boredom of immortal life was because she was here!

不老不死の恐怖は永遠の孤独。罪の意識にさいなまれる永い現実。

The terror of immortality is eternal solitude. An endless reality tormented by the consciousness of one's sins.

それを共感出来るのは、同じ境遇(不死)である宿敵だけだ。

The only one who could sympathize with that was my old immortal enemy.

私が不安に思っている事、それは『宿敵が永遠に居なくなってしまう』事だ。

I was afraid that she would no longer be at Eientei.

その宿敵は千三百年前に月に帰ると言っていた事を思い出した。だから、吸血鬼が月に行くって話を聞いた時から嫌な胸騒ぎがしていたのだ。

I remembered when I heard she had first returned to the moon 1300 years ago. That's why I felt uneasy when I heard about the vampire trying to get to the moon.

そして今日。その吸血鬼達のロケットがついに発射した。

And now, today. Their rocket has finally taken off.

地上の生き物が月に行く、いや月の民が月に帰る手段がまた一つ増えたのだ。

It was one more way for people from Earth to go to the moon or rather, for Lunarians to return to the moon.

永遠亭の明かりが見えてきた。その明かりを確認すると、少しだけ安心した。

In the distance I saw the lights of Eientei. Seeing them made me feel a bit more at ease.

「——不死になってから三百年位死ぬほど後悔したよ。まあ死ねないんだけどね。何であんな事をしてしまったんだろうと」

"...Three hundred years after becoming immortal I was so burdened with regrets I could die. Well, except I couldn't die. I wondered why I did something like that."

「辛い記憶を呼び戻させてしまった様ですね。私が咲耶姫の名前を出したが為に」

"It seems I've made you recall something quite unpleasant by bringing up Sakuyahime."

「いや気にする事ではないよ。もう大昔の話だ。ところで何でこんな話に……」

"No, don't worry about it. It happened long, long ago. Why am I talking about this anyway...?"

「妖怪の山の話から、咲耶姫の話になったのです」

"We started talking about Youkai Mountain, which led us to Sakuyahime."

「妖怪の山の話……? ああそうだったね。確か……えぇっとー」

"Youkai Mountain ... ? Oh, right. That's it... Umm..."

「妖怪の山は石長姫の山なのです。石長姫は咲耶姫の姉ですのでつまり」

"Youkai Mountain is Iwanagahime's mountain. Iwanagahime is Sakuyahime's elder sister, so..."

「咲耶姫の姉……? 何処かで聞いたようなって、そうかなるほど」

"Sakuyahime's older sister...? I think I've heard that before... Oh, yes, now I see."

私が奪った不老不死の薬は、本来は岩笠の手によって妖怪の山で供養される予定だったという訳か。

So the elixir I'd stolen had originally been destined to be put to rest by Iwakasa at Youkai Mountain.

「という事は、妖怪の山は八ヶ岳なのか?」

"So, that means Youkai Mountain is Yatsugatake, right?"

「単純に八ヶ岳、という訳でも無いのです。八ヶ岳は大昔、富士山と同じくらい高い山でした。あるとき、八ヶ岳と富士山はどちらが高いのか喧嘩になったのです。そして(とい)を二つの山頂に掛け、水を流して高さを測ろうという話になりました。水は低い方に流れるので、どちらが高いか一目瞭然という訳です。長い樋を掛けて実際に水を流してみました。そうしたら富士山の方に向かって水が流れ始めたのです。つまり富士山より八ヶ岳の方が高かったという事です」

"Well, not exactly. Yatsugatake was a mountain that was about as high as Mount Fuji, long ago. One day, an argument arose over which mountain was higher, Mount Fuji or Yatsugatake. So, someone decided to settle the question by setting up a water trough connecting the two summits. Water would flow downwards towards the shorter one, so it would be obvious which one was shorter. After a long time spent in preparation, they finally released the water. When that happened, water began flowing down towards Mount Fuji. In other words, Yatsugatake was taller than Mount Fuji."

「八ヶ岳ってそんなに高い山だったかなぁ」

"Huh, it was really that tall..."

「富士山に住んでいた咲耶姫は、最も美しい私より高いなんて許せないと、八ヶ岳を砕いて低い山にしてしまったのです」

"Sakuyahime, who lived at Mount Fuji, wouldn't stand for a mountain taller than hers, so she broke apart Yatsugatake until it was quite a small mountain."

「……豪快だねぇ」

"...Amazing."

「しかし姉の石長姫は咲耶姫の性格に嫌気が差し、八ヶ岳へ移住してしまいました。石長姫は不変を司る神様ですので、今の富士山には不尽の力はありません。富士山が噴火活動を止めてしまったのにはこういう理由があるのです。そして幻想郷の霊山、妖怪の山は咲耶姫に破壊される前の八ヶ岳本来の姿、だと思われます」

"However, her older sister, Iwanagahime, was tired of her sister's attitude, and moved to Yatsugatake. Since she had control over the unchanging, Mount Fuji lost its inextinguishable flame. This is why Mount Fuji is no longer an active volcano. And so, the Gensokyo's spiritual mountain, Youkai Mountain, is thought of as the original form of Yatsugatake, before it was destroyed by Sakuyahime."

「そうなのか……私があの煙に見覚えがあったのは、あの煙は元々富士の山の煙だったという訳ね。いつの間にかそんな山の近くで暮らしていたとは、これも因果応報……か」

"I see... So I remembered seeing that smoke because it was originally the smoke that rose from Mount Fuji. I guess it's part of my karma to spend so long living close to that mountain..."

慧音はこれが私の知っている妖怪の山に纏わる歴史です、と言って話を終えた。

Keine said "That is the extent of my knowledge of the history behind Youkai Mountain," and our conversation ended.

——永遠亭に辿り着いた。

...I finally reached Eientei.

勿論、私は表から堂々と入る事は出来なかったが、窓から様子を見てやろうと考えていた。

Of course, I couldn't just enter through the front like anyone else, so I thought I'd look inside a window to see what was going on.

月の都に幻想郷の妖怪が向かおうとしている。

Youkai from Gensokyo were trying to reach the lunar capital.

あんなロケットで無事に辿り着けるのだろうか?

Would they really be able to get there safely in a rocket like that?

月の都に行ったってどうせコテンパンにされて逃げ帰ってくるだけじゃないのか?

Wouldn't they just get there in such a horrible state they'd have to come right back?

先日のロケット完成パーティではそんな事を考えていた。

That's what I was thinking at the rocket completion party a few days ago.

しかしその時は肝心な事を忘れていた。

But, I'd forgotten something terribly important.

唯一の宿敵である輝夜は月の民であると言っていた。そして私が不老不死になってしまうきっかけは、輝夜が月に帰ると言って不老不死の薬を残したからである。

My one and only rival, Kaguya, had said that she was a Lunarian. And, of course, I'd even become immortal because she had left the elixir here after returning to the moon.

つまり私が心配すべき事は、月に行く手段があるという事は輝夜が月に戻ってしまうのではないか、だけであった。

In other words, what I should have been worried about was whether the fact that someone had come up with a way to get to the moon meant that Kaguya was going to go back.

永遠亭の窓は他の幻想郷の建物とは異なり丸い窓をしていた。満月を表しているのだろうか。それとも月の都の建物はみんなこんな形をしているのだろうか。

The windows of Eientei were rounder than most buildings' windows in Gensokyo. Maybe it symbolizes the full moon. I wonder if all buildings in the lunar capital have windows like these.

永遠亭の窓から話し声が洩れてくる。どうやらみんなが集合しているようだった。

Voices drifted out through the window. It seemed everyone was gathered together.

空には吸血鬼のロケットと思われる光の筋が見えている。

In the sky, a trail of light of what seemed to be the vampire's rocket could be seen.

見つからないように細心の注意を払いながら、出来るだけ近づき聞き耳を立てた。

While carefully paying attention in a way I wouldn't be found, I raised and strained my ear as much as I could.

「……月の侵略者は、あの吸血鬼だったのね……」

"...So the lunar invader was the vampire..."

部屋の中から話し声が聞こえてくる。どうやら窓から外を見ているらしい。私は慌てて窓の下に身を小さくして隠れた。

I could hear a voice from inside the room. It seemed like whoever was inside was looking out the window. Quickly, I crouched down and hid under the window.

「……あんな付け焼刃のロケットで月なんて行って大丈夫かしら?」

"...Will they really be alright trying to fly to the moon in that shoddy rocket?"

輝夜の声が聞こえてきた。吸血鬼のロケットの話をしていた。やはり月の民だからロケットが気になるのだろうか。安全なロケットが開発されれば、月の都に帰ろうとか考えているのだろうか。

I could hear Kaguya's voice. She was talking about the vampire's rocket. Of course, she's a Lunarian, so she'd be interested in a rocket like that. If somebody built a safer rocket, would she think about going back to the moon?

話の内容からすると、吸血鬼のロケットは永遠亭の者が考えた代物では無く、吸血鬼に誰かが入れ知恵して完成した物らしい。

Judging from their conversation, it seems the rocket idea hadn't come from Eientei, but the vampire had gotten it from someone else.

その目的は月面侵略——の噛ませ犬といったところか。つまり吸血鬼達は誰かに踊らされているに過ぎないのだろう。

So, they were the lunar invaders, or would-be invaders. It seemed that the vampire and her friends were probably being manipulated by someone.

「……月に辿り着いたら後悔するでしょうね。あの吸血鬼達」

"...They'll probably regret it if they do make it to the moon."

「……ま、何の対策を取らなくても最初から戦力差は絶対だったと思うけどね。依姫とあの吸血鬼&三馬鹿トリオじゃ」

"...Well, no matter what sort of plans they have in mind, the difference in power between Yorihime and that vampire with her three stooges is absolute, I think."

三馬鹿トリオ? あの巫女と魔法使いとメイドの顔を思い出して吹き出しそうになった。確かに脳天気そうだ。

Three stooges? Images of the shrine maiden, the magician and the maid floated into my head, and I had to hold back laughter. They did seem pretty air-headed.

「……さあさあ、大きなロケット花火も見えなくなった事だし、月の話はもうおしまい」

"...Well, we can't see that big bottle rocket anymore, so let's stop talking about the moon."

「……そうね。私達はもう永遠に地上の民なんだから」

"...That's right. We're already eternal Earthlings now."

石長姫が不尽の煙を吐いているという妖怪の山。

Youkai Mountain, said to give off the eternal smoke of Iwanagahime.

私が咲耶姫の指示通りあの山に不死の薬を供養していたら、いったいどうなっていたのだろう?

Just what would have happened if I'd gone to dispose of the elixir of immortality in that mountain, just like Sakuyahime said?

罪業の深さに悩まされる事もなく、短い一生を終えたのだろうか。

I probably would have concluded my short life without having spent so much time consumed by my own sins.

輝夜に対する恨みを抱えたまま、暗い一生を終えたのだろうか。

I probably would've ended my miserable life consumed by my grudge for Kaguya.

ただ間違いなく言える事は、あれから千三百年以上経った今の時代を私が見る事は無かったという事。

But, I definitely wouldn't have lived to see these days, over thirteen hundred years later.

そして、同じく不死の人間が孤独な思いをしていたであろうという事。

And that means that another immortal human would have been lonely.

私は輝夜が月に帰るのではないかという心配をする事を止めた。帰りたいのだとしても私が何か言えた義理でもないし、何となく、輝夜はもう月の都に帰る事は無い様な気がしたからだ。

I stopped worrying about whether Kaguya would return to the moon. Even if she wanted to go back, she had no obligation to tell me, and it seemed like she didn't want to go back anymore, anyway.

それに、この幻想郷には他にも不死の仲間が居る事を思い出した。

Besides, I remembered that I had other undying friends here in Gensokyo.

——妖怪の山

...Like Youkai Mountain.

私はいつか妖怪の山に登ろうと思う。今は天狗や河童等の山の妖怪が占拠し、簡単には登れなくなってしまったが、あそこには不死を司る神様が居る。

I think I'll climb that mountain some day. The youkai of the mountain, like the tengu and the kappa, have made it their base now, so it probably isn't easy to climb anymore, but a goddess of immortality lives atop it.

そこに登り、私が不死に至った経緯を彼女に打ち明け、千三百年も登頂が遅れてしまった事、また岩笠の事を詫びようと思う。

I think I'll climb up there and tell her all about how I became immortal, and apologize for what happened to Iwakasa, thirteen hundred years after we should have reached the top of that mountain.

私は何か清々い気分で永遠亭を後にした。

Feeling somewhat refreshed, I left Eientei.


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