Cage in Lunatic Runagate/Last Chapter

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最終話 二つの望郷 Last Chapter: Two Kinds of Homesickness

いつもなら年老いた自称棋士達の社交場となっている往来に人だかりが出来ていた。仕事の休憩に往来に出てきた兎も、対戦相手を捕まえる事が出来ずに苛立っている。

As always, there was a throng of people passing through the commons known as a meeting place for aged shogi and go players. Even rabbits would come here during their break times, but those who were unable to find an opponent would become irritated.

「何事だいこの人だかりは。喧嘩だとしたら余り穏やかじゃないねぇ」

"What's with that crowd? It seems like there's a fight going on, but it isn't nearly noisy enough for that."

年老いた兎は人だかりに群がっていた兎に声を掛けた。いつもの碁仲間だ。

An elder rabbit was talking to a group of other rabbits in the crowd. The usual group of go players.

「喧嘩? 違う違うそんなんじゃないよ。何でも見せたい物があるって話だ」

"Fight? No, no. That's not it at all. They're just wanting to see something."

「大道芸かい? 若えもんがあんまり騒がしくしてると、綿月の姐さんにしょっ引かれても知らねえぞ?」

"So are they street performers? The younger-looking ones are yelling loudly about 'Can't the older Watatsuki sister catch that crook?'"

綿月と言えば、千年近くも月の都の警備を任されている由緒正しい家である。元々戦闘に向かない月の兎達を訓練し、月の都を守ってきた者達だ。

The Watatsukis are a prestigious family tasked with the security and policing of the lunar capital for nearly 1,000 years. They are in charge of training the moon rabbits who are by nature unsuited to warfare and protect the capital.

特に妹の綿月依姫は、神々の力をその身に宿し敵に合わせて柔軟に対応できる力を持っている。

The younger sister, Yorihime, is particularly important to the cause, possessing the power to easily call on the power of the gods to deal with any situation.

基本的には外敵から都を守る事を生業としているが、素行の悪い兎を連れて行き、兵士として教育する事もやっている。兎の殆どが兵士になる事を嫌がっており、兎達にとって綿月の屋敷はさながら再教育の場といったイメージであった。

Their basic operative is to protect the capital from outside enemies, but they also take rabbits of poor behavior and train them into soldiers. Very few rabbits want to become soldiers, and they see the Watatsuki manor as more of a boot camp.

「いやそれが、綿月様ご本人が見せたい物があるってさ」

"No, what they want to see are the Watatsuki princesses in person."

「何だって? 綿月様が?」

"What? They want to see the princesses?"

人だかりをかき分け、好奇の目の向けられた対象を見た。兎ではない人間が何やら不思議な踊りを踊っている。その脇には綿月依姫と豊姫が立っていた。

Heads turned to look at something trying to make its way through the crowd. There, a human was doing a strange dance. Standing next to the human were the Watatsuki sisters, Yorihime and Toyohime.

「何でも、あそこで踊っているのが月に攻めてきた地上の人間だそうだ。謀反の噂の真犯人だって話だよ」

"That dancing human looks like one from Earth who tried to attack the moon. She's the real criminal behind those rumors about a rebellion."

謀反の噂とは、月の都の転覆を謀る者が居るという不穏な噂であった。

The rumors about a rebellion caused great unrest, as whispers circulated about someone in the lunar capital plotting to overturn the government.

誰が流した噂なのか判らないが、噂が出始めた頃から身の回りで不思議な事が続いていた。

No one knows who started it, but around the same time it did start, strange occurrences began to happen regularly.

まず、表の月に刺さっていた人間の旗が抜かれて、跡形もなく消えてしまった。これは、地上から何者かが侵入してやった事を表している。

First, the flag that the humans planted on the near side of the moon was removed, vanished without a trace. This was seen as a sign that someone from Earth had invaded the moon.

そして、月に住む神々達が何者かに喚ばれ、使役されているとの事。これが出来るのは依姫くらいである。

Then, someone was invoking the gods that live on the moon, using them for their own ends. Something like what Princess Yorihime could do.

それ以外にも綿月家が疑われるのには理由があった。

And there were other reasons why everyone suspected the Watatsuki family.

綿月姉妹の役目は元々別の人間が行っていた。その者とは月の賢者とも呼ばれた八意様である。

The Watatsuki sisters' roles were initially performed by someone else. This person was called the sage of the moon, Lady Eirin Yagokoro.

八意様はありとあらゆる薬を作る事が出来、信頼も厚かった。その八意様が月の都を裏切り、地上にお隠れになってしまったのである。

Lady Yagokoro could make any and all kinds of medicine and was highly dependable. But she turned her back on the moon and went into hiding on Earth.

空席となった月の使者の座に急遽選ばれたのは、弟子である綿月姉妹であった。

There was an emergency election to fill the vacant position in the lunar emissaries, and her pupils, the Watatsuki sisters, were chosen.

その綿月姉妹に命じられた最初の使命とは、八意様の捜索と連れ戻すことである。しかし、千年近く経った今もその使命は果たされていない。その理由は、表向きは八意様の罪が晴れていない事(月の都にとって地上は監獄である為、罪人は罪が晴れるまで地上に幽閉されるのである。つまり八意様は月に戻ってくる資格がまだ無いと見なしている)だが、本当のところは綿月姉妹が未だ八意様の事を信頼していて、自分の手で捕らえたくないのである。

Once appointed, their first order was the search and retrieval of Lady Yagokoro. However, after nearly a thousand years, they have nothing to show for their efforts. They claim that she has not yet earned the right to return to the moon (As the moon sees Earth as a prison, criminals are incarcerated on Earth until they have served their sentence. Therefore, it appeared that Lady Yagokoro had yet to atone for her crime.), but the reality is that the Watatsuki sisters still had trust in their mentor, and did not want to be the ones to bring her back.

その地上の罪人との繋がりが原因なのか、綿月姉妹は余り月の都では信頼されていない。

Possibly because of this connection, the Watatsuki sisters were not entirely trusted by the rest of the lunar capital.

地上から何者かが侵入してきた痕跡、それと不可解な神々の召還。こういった出来事で綿月姉妹が疑われるのは当然であった。

Traces of an invader from Earth and the inexplicable manipulation of the gods. It was only natural to suspect the Watatsukis.

「——さあ、このぐらいで良いでしょう。貴方が神々を召還していた事が十分伝わったでしょうし」

"All right, that's enough. You've demonstrated well enough that you can summon the gods."

依姫は群がる兎達の前で不思議な踊りを見せている霊夢に向かって言った。

Yorihime spoke to Reimu who was performing a mysterious dance in front of a crowd of rabbits.

霊夢は「こんなんで良いの?」と言うと、何故か兎達から拍手がわき起こる。さらに小銭が投げ込まれた。まるで正月のお賽銭のようだ。霊夢は微妙な面持ちで兎達に手を振る。

Reimu said "That's enough?", and the rabbits broke out into applause for some reason. Some even threw coins like they were giving New Year's donations at the shrine. Reimu waved to the rabbits with a befuddled expression.

「他にも廻る所が沢山ありますからね」

"You still need to exhibit your talents in many other places."

「えー、他の場所でもこんな事をしないといけないの?」

"What? Why do I have to keep doing this?"

「貴方は私に文句を言える立場じゃありません」

"You are in no situation to complain."

「というか何か意味あるの? この踊り」

"And what's the point of doing that dance anyway?"

「貴方が神様を呼び出していたという事を判らせられればそれで良いのです。月の都では殺生は余り好まれないから貴方を気軽に罰する訳に行かないのです。それが終わったら地上に帰って貰いますから」

"It's the best way to show that you are able to summon the gods. We don't like killing here so it's the most serious punishment you will receive. Once you've finished, you may return to Earth."

「ふーん。月の都じゃ踊って神を呼ぶのねー」

"Hmm, so you dance to summon the gods here?"

霊夢は投げ込まれた小銭を拾いながら言った。気が付くと人だかりはまばらになっていた。依姫は霊夢に「お金なんて拾わなくても良いの」とたしなめ、手を引っ張った。

Reimu spoke as she collected the thrown coins, then she noticed that the crowd was beginning to disperse. Yorihime pulled Reimu's hand back and chided her. "I wouldn't worry about money right now."

「ああもう、何で私だけ月の都に残ってなきゃいけないのよ。みんなはお咎め無しで帰っていったのに、私だけ損をしている気がする」

"This is silly. How come I'm the only one who has to stay here? You let the others go back without so much as a slap on the wrist, but I'm being punished like this."

「お咎め無し? そうではありませんよ。地上に落ちる事、それが最大の罰なのですから」

"Without a slap on the wrist? You are mistaken. Living on Earth is the worst punishment you can receive."

「私からみれば帰るだけなのに」

"The way I see it, they just left for home."

霊夢は口を尖らせて言った。

Reimu retorted.

——大きな東洋の屋敷の円い窓から桃の木が見えている。

She looked at the peach trees through a round window from the large Oriental-style manor.

窓にはガラスのような物ははめ込まれていない。開けっ放しの状態なのだが、虫が入ってきたりはしない。そもそも虫のような蒙昧な生き物は月の都には存在しないのか。それに気温も常に適温を保っている。

The window was not made of anything like glass. It appeared to be wide open, but bugs aren't able to enter, likely because such uncivilized beings such as bugs did not exist on the moon to begin with, but it also kept the room at a comfortable temperature.

研究者は自分の研究に没頭し、存在しうる理想について論じ合う事も出来る。食に不自由することなく、死を恐れることなく永遠に研究が出来るのだ。

Researchers immerse themselves in their research and debate about what can or cannot possibly exist with others. If they did not have to worry about food or other things to remain alive, they would conduct research for eternity.

月の都はなんて快適な所なのだろう。

Maybe the lunar capital is something like that.

ここに住んでいたら、地上が監獄に見えるのも当然かも知れない。

If one lived here, maybe it would be natural to see Earth as a prison.

アンティークなテーブルに上品な料理が並んでいた。

A gourmet spread was laid out on an antique table.

テーブルには霊夢と、綿月姉妹が座っている。

At this table, Reimu and the Watatsuki sisters were seated.

霊夢は見たこともないような見事な料理を前にして、機嫌が良くなっているようだ。

When presented with splendid dishes the likes of which she had never seen before, her mood improved considerably.

「さ、今日はお疲れ様」

"This is in return for your efforts today."

豊姫が労いの言葉をかけた。霊夢は早速料理に手を付ける。味は見た目ほどではないようだ。

Toyohime gave her words of gratitude, and Reimu immediately set into the food. Its taste was even better than how it looked.

「でさぁ、私はいつまで月の都に残っていればいいの?」

"I was wondering, how long am I going to have to stay here?"

「そうですねぇ。依姫の疑いが完全に晴れるまではいて貰わないと・・・・・・ま、その間のんびりして」

"That's a good question. At least not until you've helped prove Yorihime innocent, but for now, just make yourself at home."

「何か調子狂うわねぇ。月の都ってもっと都会で忙しいところかと思ってたわ。もぐもぐ」

"Something seems kind of weird though. I thought it'd be a lot busier here. *chomp, smack*"

「口に物を入れたまま喋らない。これだから地上の人間は」

"Refrain from speaking with food in your mouth. Your Earthling manners are a disgrace here."

依姫が厳しく叱ると、霊夢は恥ずかしそうに黙って食べ物を飲み込んだ。

Yorihime rebuked her, and Reimu abashedly swallowed her food.

「で、貴方に残って貰ったのにはもう一つ理由があるの」

"And there's one more reason why we need you to remain here."

「あん?」

"Huh?"

よく見ると依姫は食事に手を付けていない。霊夢はそれを見て一瞬警戒したが、豊姫は同じ物を食べていたので安心した。

She noticed that Yorihime had yet to touch her food. She was nervous for a moment, but relaxed when she saw Toyohime had eaten the same things she had.

「貴方が何故住吉三神を使役して月を目指すようになったのか。そのいきさつを教えて欲しい」

"You called upon the power of Sumiyoshi Sanjin to take you to the moon. I want you to tell me how this came out."

「ん? んー、そう言えば何でこんな事になっちゃったんだっけ?」

"Huh? Hmm, now that I think about it, what exactly happened again?"

霊夢は箸を置いて月に至るまでの出来事を思い返した。

Reimu put down her chopsticks and tried to remember the chain of events leading to their arrival on the moon.

まず、月に行きたがっていたのはレミリアである。始まりは竹林に住んでいた月の民に出会った事だった。そこで月にある都に興味を持ち、自分でも月に行こうと考えたのだ。それから一年以上も月を目指すロケットを作成していたらしい。

The one who wanted to go the moon in the first place was Remilia. It was after they first met the people from the moon who lived in the bamboo forest. She took an interest to the city on the moon, and thought to go there herself. That's why she worked on building the rocket for over a year.

霊夢はそれについて特に興味はなかった。どうせ月の都なんて行く事は出来っこないと思っていたからだ。だが、もし行けるのであれば話は別である。やはり一目見てみたいとも思っていた。

Reimu wasn't nearly as interested, mostly because she didn't believe it would be possible to go at all. However, if there was some method available, that was a different story. She wanted to go see it at least once.

レミリアから何かと協力を求められる事も多かった。レミリアというか咲夜からだが、ロケットの材料となる物を求められた。

Remilia had come calling often, asking for her cooperation in doing something or another, although it was Sakuya rather than Remilia. One day, she asked about something that could be used as rocket fuel.

「ロケットの材料って訳の判らない物ばかりでねぇ。何か (かめ) の乾いたものとか持って踊ってたりさぁ。あんなんで月に行けるとか思わないでしょ? 吸血鬼も五百年生きたっていっても頭は悪いんだから」

"I don't know the first thing about rocket fuel. Something about doing a dance with while holding a dried turtle. How would that get you to you moon? That vampire's brain must have gone crazy from being alive for 500 years."

霊夢は調子に乗ってきた様子で二人に同意を求めた。

Reimu, starting to get caught up in her recollection, asked the sisters if they agreed.

「地上と月を行き来するには様々な方法があります。まず、空間を移動して行き来する方法。貴方達みたいな地上の人間が乗るロケットや、月の兎が使う月の羽衣がこれに当たります。」

"There are many ways to go between Earth and the moon. First, by travelling through space, like in the rockets you and those other Earthlings did, or the lunar veils the rabbits use."

依姫の言葉が求めていた返答と異なり、霊夢は言葉に窮した。

Reimu was disappointed at Yorihime's answer, being different than what she expected.

「月の民はそれとは異なり、地上と月の間の距離を縮めて扉を開けるように移動します。三途の川を隔てたこの世とあの世の様に、常に隣り合わせなのですよ」

"But the people of the moon are different. We can move through a door that greatly decreases the distance between Earth and the moon. It's just as how the Sanzu River separates yet connects the world of the living to Higan."

「あの世……それはそれで遠いような気もするけど。でも死ねば一発だからやっぱり近いのかな」

"Higan... That certainly does seem far away, but if you die, you go there in a flash so it must be close, too."

「月の民にとっては地上は監獄のような所。月の都の一部と考えていますから。行き来も意外と簡単なのですよ」

"And the people of the moon see Earth just as you see Higan, because the nobility here sees it as that. It is unexpectedly simple to go between the two places."

「ふーん。でもさ、私達が居る幻想郷はちっちゃいけど地上はもっと何倍も大きいんだってよ? 月の都なんて幻想郷より小さい位じゃない。それを一部なんて傲慢じゃないの?」

"Hmm, but you know, Gensokyo is pretty tiny. Earth is much, much bigger. But it seems like this place is even smaller than Gensokyo. Just where does that arrogance come from?"

「大きさなんて問題の内には入りません。月の都の方が優れている、それだけで十分です。それで話を戻しますが、貴方達のロケットは空間を移動する方法と距離を縮める方法の両方を使っていましたね」

"Size has nothing to do with it. We are simply superior, that is all. Now, returning to the subject at hand, it seems you used both methods of moving through space and contracting distance."

そういえば、霊夢は月までの距離が想像してたより短く感じていた事を思い出した。

When she said that, Reimu remembered that the distance from Earth to the moon felt shorter than she had imagined.

「それがどうしたっていうの?」

"How did that happen?"

「そんなロケット、地上の人間が作れるとは思いません。誰かの入れ知恵があったんじゃないかしら?」

"We don't think that rocket was built by Earthlings. Maybe there was someone else who lended their knowledge?"

——ロケットの完成には幾つかの偶然があったと霊夢は言う。

Reimu said that it took a few coincidences for the rocket's completion.

まず、暫くなりを潜めていた吸血鬼のロケット計画が急激に動き出したこと。

First, someone who had been hiding their knowledge for some time helped greatly advance the progress of the vampire's rocket project.

幽霊である妖夢がロケットの原動力を教えてくれたこと。

It was the half-phantom Youmu who had told them about the rocket's driving force.

そして、何故か霊夢が神々の力を身に付けられるように修行していたこと。

And then, there was the matter of Reimu training to call upon the power of the gods for some reason.

これらが並列して同時期に起こったことで、吸血鬼のロケットは完成した。

With these happening almost simultaneously, the vampire's rocket was able to reach completion.

これらは全て本当に偶然だったのだろうか?

But was this all mere coincidence?

いや、偶然ではなかった事は誰の目にも明白であるだろう。全てある妖怪が裏で動いていた筈だ。

Of course, it wasn't. That was likely clear to everyone. It all had to have been the doings of that youkai, behind the scenes.

だとすると、月の都で流れた謀反の噂も、月の旗が抜かれたのも偶然ではないのだろう。

This made one wonder if the rumors circulating around the Lunar Capital about someone staging a coup were also a coincidence.

「入れ知恵……? うーん、住吉三神の事を思いついたのは私だしー」

"Lending their knowledge...? Hmmm, but I was the one who came up with the idea of using the Sumiyoshi Sanjin."

「では、その住吉三神をどうやって呼び出したのですか?」

"So how were you able to call them?"

「それは、たまたま神様の力を降ろす稽古を付けていて——あれ? なんでそんな稽古をしていたんだっけ?」

"Well, I just happened to be training to call upon the powers of the gods and... wait a minute, why was I training for that anyway?"

依姫は地上の人間の曖昧模糊とした記憶に軽い苛立ちを覚えた。

Yorihime was becoming slightly agitated with the Earthling's vague memory.

「誰かに稽古を付けて貰ったとかじゃないですか?」

"Weren't you training at the request of someone?"

「あ、ああ、そうだったわ。確かに紫が私に稽古を付けてたのよね。何故かは知らないけど」

"Oh, that's right. It was Yukari who told me I needed to train. I really don't know why, though."

「紫、八雲紫ね」豊姫は会話に参加してきた。その名前を聞いて何か納得したようだ。

"Yukari... Yakumo, am I right?" Toyohime joined in the conversation. It seemed she understood something upon hearing that name.

「知ってるの? あの幻想郷一駄目な妖怪を」

"Do you know her? She's the worst youkai in Gensokyo."

「知ってるも何も、月の都に住んでいて知らない者はいないわ。地上にいて自由に月の都と行き来出来る厄介な妖怪ですから」

"Naturally. There is no one in the Lunar Capital who is not aware of her. Her ability to travel freely between Earth and the moon makes her quite a nuisance."

「へぇ、有名なんだ。って自由に月の都と行き来出来るだって?」

"Wow, she's pretty famous. Wait, did you say she could freely travel between Earth and the moon?!"

「ええ、それで昔に妖怪を引き連れ乗り込んできた事もありました。勿論、みんなコテンパンにしましたけどね」

"Yes, and she used that ability to bring a throng of youkai here long ago. Of course, we sent them back much worse for the wear."

「いやさあ、じゃあロケットなんか作らなくても月の都に行けたんじゃん。何で紫は手伝ってくれなかったのかなぁ」

"I don't care about that. So we didn't even have to make a rocket or anything like that to get to the moon? Why didn't she help us?"

豊姫は大きな甕から何やら魔法の液体を掬い、グラスについだ。それを出された霊夢は、一瞬警戒した。

Toyohime used a ladle to fill a glass with some variety of magical liquid from a large clay pot. Reimu momentarily increased her vigilance when she saw it.

「これは永遠の時間をかけて漬けたお酒です。地上では味わう事が出来ないお酒ですよ」

"This is a special kind of alcohol that has been fermenting for eternity, through magical means. It is not like anything you have ever tasted on Earth."

「毒とか入ってないよね」

"You didn't poison it, did you?"

「月では殺生は好まれないですから」そう言って、豊姫は霊夢に差し出したお酒を自分で飲み、代わりに自分のお酒を差し出した。

"We dislike senseless killing," Toyohime said as she drank the cup she had offered to Reimu. She offered her own cup in return.

それを見て霊夢は警戒しつつも、お酒を手に取る。洗練され過ぎた香りは、地上で飲むと何か寂しく感じそうであった。

Still pensive as if doubting her eyes, Reimu took the cup. The overly refined fragrance might have felt somehow desolate if consumed on Earth.

「貴方達は、紫にうまく操られていただけですよ」

"Yukari did an excellent job in pulling your strings."

依姫はそういった。

Said Yorihime.

「どういう事?」

"What's that supposed to mean?"

「判らなければ別に良いのです。貴方達に悪気がない事が判りましたので……」

"You do not have to completely understand. Just know that we bear no ill will towards whoever came aboard the rocket."

「さ、積もる話はその位にして今日は飲みましょう。明日もありますから」

"Now, that's enough talk for today. Let us enjoy the rest for drinking. We shall continue tomorrow."

丸窓の外はすっかり暗くなっていた。

Outside the circular window, it had completely darkened.

もう桃の木を視認することは出来ない。しかし、そこには見えてはいけない存在が見えていた。

It was no longer possible to view the peach trees through it. However, there were two figures who should not have been there watching.

月の都では決して存在せず、地上の人間なら多くの人が見たことのある存在。

Something that could never exist on the Lunar Capital, but had been seen by many people on Earth.

夜の神社、柳の下、かつては人が集った廃校跡、廃病院……。慣れた人なら昼間でも街中や自宅などで、そこかしこで見ることが出来るだろう。

In shrines at night, under the willow trees, or in abandoned schools and hospitals. Some people are even able to see them in the middle of the day, out in the cities, or in their own home. They can show up just about anywhere.

亡霊である。

Ghosts.

窓から覗く亡霊の姿に、綿月姉妹は気付く事が無かった。月の都には亡霊など存在しないからだろうか。

The Watatsuki sisters did not notice the figure of a ghost watching them through the window, likely because there are no such things as ghosts in the Lunar Capital.

「幽々子様。何でここに霊夢がいるのでしょう?」

"Lady Yuyuko, why is Reimu here?"

妖夢は小声で話した。幽々子も何か考えているようだ。

Youmu spoke in a whisper. She knew Yuyuko was planning something.

窓の向こうに見える霊夢は、すっかり酔っ払い豊姫と依姫に自分の武勇伝を語っている。

Reimu, who was facing the window, told Yorihime and Toyohime of her own war stories, all thoroughly drunk.

依姫は地上の話に、興味があるようで、食い入るように聞き入っていた。自分の師匠の話が出て来ることを期待しているのかも知れない。

Yorihime was interested in the doings on Earth, and listened intently. She might have been hoping to hear about her former mentor.

「妖夢。羨ましいわね」

"I'm so jealous, Youmu."

「え? 何の事ですか?」

"What? Whatever for?"

「うちでもあのぐらい豪勢な料理が出ればいいのに。毎日」

"How I'd love to enjoy such sumptuous feasts like that every day."

「いや、あんなには食べきれないです。それより霊夢の事ですが、何故この屋敷にいるのでしょう?」

"No, I don't think even you could eat that much. But please never mind that. Why is Reimu here?"

「遊びに来たんじゃないかしら?」

"Maybe she just came calling?"

「まぁ、吸血鬼のロケットで来た事は知ってますが、一緒に乗っていた他の人たちはどうなったのかとかそういう意味でして」

"I know she came here on the vampire's rocket, but I wonder what happened to the other passengers. That is what I meant."

「私もずっと妖夢と一緒だったのに、そんな事判る筈が無いわ」

"I have been with you the whole time, so I have no way of knowing."

「まあそうですが……。もしかして他の人達は捕まったのでしょうか」

"I suppose you're right... Do you believe they have captured the others?"

「どうみても霊夢が捕まった様に見えるけど」

"But it seems like Reimu is the one they have captured."

「捕まったというか、接待されているようにも見えるんですけどねぇ」

"In one sense of the word. However, it appears more like a reception than anything."

月の都に亡霊の姿など、誰が想像しただろう。

Did anyone ever imagine seeing a ghost in the Lunar Capital?

だが、秘密裏に行動するのにこれ程便利な組み合わせもなかった。

Regardless, as they were meant to be acting in secret, one could not ask for a more convenient form.

亡霊は元々浄土に住む者である。つまりは生死に関わる穢れが少なく、その結果そこに居たという痕跡を残さずに行動出来たのだ。

Ghosts inherently reside in a Pure Land. This meant they have not been tainted by life nor death, and as a result they were able to act without leaving behind any traces of their presence.

その事を知っている者は余りいない。かつて妖怪が月に攻め入った頃、偶然気付いた妖怪が居たくらいだ。

Very few were aware of this fact. Even when youkai invaded the moon long ago, there were only some youkai that noticed by sheer coincidence.

その穢れの少ない亡霊が、ここの屋敷に居る事も偶然なのであろうか?

But was it a coincidence that this untainted ghost was here at this mansion?

いやこれも偶然ではなかった事は誰の目にも明白だ。ある妖怪——八雲紫が導いていたのである。

No, it's clear that this was not a coincidence at all. It was all due to the guidance of that youkai, Yukari Yakumo.

無事月の都に潜入した亡霊はどういう行動を取ったのか。

What exactly was the ghost's plan now that they had safely infiltrated the moon?

それが紫の計画の総仕上げとなるのだが、はたして。

That would be the final step in Yukari's master plan.

——幻想郷の境界に存在する神社。

The shrine on the border of Gensokyo.

紅く染まった林は、彩度が失われ暗くなり、次第に白く染められている。その光景が白粉婆が白粉を塗りたくる行為に似ていたので、いつの間に雪白粉と呼ばれていた。

The trees dyed in red began to lose their color, gradually turning white. As it mimicked white powder falling on the leaves, the trees were eventually came to be called "powdered trees."

博麗神社は、長い間掃かれる事の無かった落ち葉の絨毯の上に、雪白粉でうっすらと白く化粧されていた。

At the Hakurei Shrine, the fallen leaves had formed a carpet due to the lack of upkeep, and the leaves from the powdered trees were turning this carpet white.

住んでいる者が居なくなるだけで建物は一気に寂れるものである。こうして廃墟は自然に帰っていくのだろう。

With its lone tenant absent, the whole building felt desolate. It seemed as the ruins of an old building reclaimed by nature.

そんな風化を拒むのか、落ち葉を踏み、僅かに乗っていただけの白粉を蹴散らす者が居た。

As if refusing the weathering state of the shrine, a girl showed up, walking across the leaves, kicking up the newly-fallen white-speckled ones.

「今日も来てないみたいだな」

"Guess she ain't here today either."

その者は冷たくなった賽銭箱の上に腰掛けた。

She sat down on the cold offertory box.

「何で月の都の奴らは霊夢だけ地上に帰さなかったのか。今頃拷問でも受けてるのかも知れん」

"Why didn't those Lunarians let Reimu come back with us, huh? Are they still givin' her the third degree or somethin'?"

暫く誰も居ない境内を眺めていたが、流石に退屈だと思ったのかその者は神社を後にした。

Watching for a while to see if anyone else would come, she grew bored of waiting as she expected and left the shrine.

黒い魔法使いの次は悪魔のメイド、風の天狗と、持ち回りで神社の留守を預かったかの様に誰かがやってくるが、肝心な主は戻ってこない。

The black magician, then the devil's maid, then the wind-wielding tengu, the shrine had many visitors who came to see if the shrine was still empty in turns, but the shrine's occupant did not return.

神社が留守の間に月に向かった吸血鬼達の興味は、既に別の方向を向いていた。月で見た海が忘れられず幻想郷にも海を作ると言い出したのだ。

While the shrine was silent, the vampire's interest changed from the moon to some other subject. She was unable to forget about the sea that she saw while on the moon, so she said she wanted to make one in Gensokyo.

海とは塩化ナトリウムなどの塩分が溶け込んだ膨大な量の水を湛えた、言わば大きな湖である。地表の七割を覆う海水。そんな物をどうやって作るというのだろうか。幻想郷で岩塩が見つかった形跡はない。そんなに大量の塩なんていくら人間の血液を集めたって……いや、そんな塩分の問題ではないな。

Making a sea required dissolving sodium into a massive body of water, like a large lake. The surface of the Earth is covered in 70% saltwater. How would it be possible to create such a thing? There was no source of rock salt to be found in Gensokyo. However, it would be possible to collect the salts found in the blood of humans... But salt wasn't the problem.

幻想郷で再現したい海は地球を形成した海でも、生物の母である海でもない。一人の妖怪の目に見えた青い景色。魚もバクテリアも何も棲んでいない静かな海なのだ。海水である必要すら無い。

Even if the Earth would return a sea to Gensokyo, it would not be a host to living things. It would be just like the blue expanse a certain youkai saw not too long ago. It would be a sea without fish or bacteria or anything. There was no need for seawater.

「そこの本をどかしてもう少し広くできない?」

"Can we not widen it a little if you just move those books over there?"

レミリア・スカーレットは自分の屋敷の地下に在る図書館に海を作り出そうとしていた。

Remilia Scarlet was in the library under her mansion making her own personal sea.

「もう、本を積む場所無いわ」図書館の主、パチュリー・ノーレッジは呆れた様子でそう言った。

"There is nowhere else to move them, you know," said the exasperated librarian Patchouli Knowledge.

「使ってない部屋に移動させておいてよ」

"So we shall move them to an unused room in the mansion."

「えー。また分類し直さないといけないじゃん」

"What? But then I will have to sort them all over again."

図書館の本は片付けられ、床には大量の砂が運び入れられていた。

Many of the books in the library had been moved to make room for the massive pile of sand that now covered the floor.

海といってもなんて事は無い。ただの室内プールである。これを期間限定で作り出そうというのだ。

This could not truly be called a sea; merely an indoor pool. It would not be a permanent fixture either.

冬だというのに、何故水遊びをするスペースを作ろうとしているのだろうか。

Why was she creating a space to play in the water in the middle of winter?

それは、吸血鬼なりのお礼のつもりらしい。彼女の希望通り月まで行く事が出来たのは、巫女の力のお陰である。本人が戻ってくるまでに海を作り、月から戻ってきたら誘おうと思っているのだ。

It seemed to be how the vampire was planning on expressing her thanks. Her desire to visit the moon was fulfilled thanks to the shrine maiden's power. She thought to build the sea until the shrine maiden returned to Earth, and then invite her to enjoy it.

幻想郷にはない海。それを用意する事で人間は喜んでくれる、そう考えたのだ。

A sea in a Gensokyo where there had been none. She imagined any human would be pleased by this development.

彼女が巫女が戻ってきた事を聞いたのは、それから数日後の事だった。

It wouldn't be until several days later that she received word that the shrine maiden had returned.

「——海に行く格好ってこんなのかな」

"I guess this kind of outfit is okay for a day at the sea, right?"

約一ヶ月ぶりに月から生還した博麗霊夢は、吸血鬼から誘われて海に向かう準備をしていた。

Reimu Hakurei, returning home after being held for nearly a month on the moon, was preparing for a trip to the beach at the vampire's invitation.

「海ったって紅魔館の地下だぜ? ただの水遊びだと思うが」

"But the sea is under the Scarlet Devil Mansion, ain't it? Seems more like splashin' around at the hot springs to me."

霊夢の問いかけに魔理沙は答える。いつものやりとりだ。誰かしら人は居ても主だけが居なかった神社は、すっかり廃墟のようになっていたが、主が戻ってきただけですぐに日常を取り戻した。やはり神社には彼女が必要なのだ。

Marisa answered Reimu's question, the usual exchange. The shrine which had many visitors but no residents had appeared to have completely fallen into ruin, but once the resident returned, it immediately returned back to normal. She was vital to the shrine, after all.

「そもそもこんな寒いのに水遊びってねぇ。あーあ、月の都は暖かかったなぁ。まさかこんなに神社が冷えるなんて……」

"So why are we splashing around in this chill anyway? Ahhhh, it was so warm back on the Lunar Capital. I didn't expect the shrine to get this cold..."

「人が住んでいないと建物は一気に冷えるらしいな。何だろう、何か人間が建物を暖める力を持っているのか」

"Buildings with no one in 'em are the coldest. That's 'cause people give buildings their warmth."

「ふん。誰も居ない建物には幽霊が住み着くから冷えるのよ。あーあ、掃除もしないといけないし、すぐに正月の準備もしないと」と言いながらも霊夢は水遊びの準備を続ける。何だかんだ言ってまだ体が日常に馴染んでいないようだ。

"Hmph. They're only cold because of the phantoms that have moved in. Ahhhh, and I still have to clean up and get ready for the New Year ceremonies..." She complained as she continued to prepare for the sea. It appeared her body had yet to accustom itself to the weather.

「ところであいつら、月旅行を実現できた癖に海は作るんだな。地上の海の在る所まで何とか行く方法を考えたりしないのかねぇ」

"I still can't believe they made a sea despite that whole fiasco on the moon. Why don't they think up o' some way to go to a sea here on Earth?"

「それはねぇ、海は、月より遠いから」

"Well, that's because that would be even further than the moon."

海は月より遠い。そんな事あるのだろうか。

The seas are further than the moon. That just may be true.

地上に住む我々は、種子島宇宙センターだってケネディ宇宙センターだって海の上に浮かぶようにあるぞ、と突っ込んでいる所だろう。

It might be appropriate to make a retort about how the Tanegashima and Kennedy Space Centers float on the sea.

だが地上の幻想郷には海はない。月まで行っても幻想郷の結界を越えようとしなかった妖怪に、自ら外に行こうなど考えつく筈もない。海が存在しないと言われているのなら作るしかない。幻想郷の妖怪達はそう考えるのだ。

But within the confines of Gensokyo, there were none. For those who had went to the moon yet did not cross the boundaries of Gensokyo, the thought to go outside the boundaries should never have occurred to them. Where there was no sea, all they could do was make one. That's what they believed.

しかし流石に海を作るのに図書館は小さすぎた。

However, the library naturally proved to be too small for the construction of a sea.

地下の図書館は水浸しで、申し訳程度に置かれたシダ植物、カラフルなパラソル。真夏の太陽をイメージしたというのなら記憶力が足りなすぎるランプの灯り。そもそも、吸血鬼に太陽に似たものを作らせるのは無理があったが、それにしても暗くて寒い。

The underground library had been submerged, and they took that excuse to further furnish it with palm trees and colorful parasols. A lamp had been placed to imitate the midsummer sun, but the memory of it was too vague to recreate convincingly. It would have been impossible in the first place for a vampire to willingly make anything resembling the sun, but at any rate, it was dim and cold.

吸血鬼はパラソルの下で日光浴をしているフリをしている。お友達の魔女はいつも通り本を読んでいた。

The vampire pretended to sunbathe underneath the parasols. Her witch friend read books as always.

「だから、今は冬だというのに水遊びはおかしいって!」

"Like I said, it's not right to be playing in the water in the middle of winter!"

霊夢が海から上がってきた。非常に寒そうである。どうやら水の温度は余り人に優しくないようだ。

Reimu came out of the sea. It seemed particularly cold, not hospitable to the human body.

「——お嬢様。何か来客の様ですが」

"Milady, it appears you have a visitor."

レミリアの近くにいたメイドがそういった。

The maid at Remilia's side informed her.

レミリアは面倒くさそうに首を振って「無視して良いよ」と言ったその時だった。空間が切れ、冷えた冬の海に生温かい風が吹き込んできたのは!

Remilia cocked her head and said "Just ignore them," in a tiresome manner. But at that moment, the air was cut by a lukewarm wind that blew across the chilled, winter sea!

——人工的な砂浜の上に上品なシートが敷かれた。派手なパラソルと水着姿だけが浮いていた。

An elegant sheet was spread out upon the artificial beach. A figure clad in a bathing suit and a showy parasol sat upon it.

空間の隙間から現われたのは幻想郷の妖怪、八雲紫とお酒だった。

Appearing out of a gap in thin air was the youkai Yukari Yakumo, bearing alcohol.

紫の用件は宴会のお誘いだった。この妖怪から宴会の誘いがある時は、まず何かを企んでいると思って間違いない。

Yukari had visited to extend an invitation to a party. If one were to receive such an invitation from her, it is only natural to wonder what ulterior motives she may have.

しかし、いつもながらの強引な登場の仕方に有無を言わせずに宴会が始まることになった。

However, upon her forceful appearance, she started her party before anyone could say a word in protest.

八雲紫は、自分の式神である藍と、友人である西行寺幽々子、その従者の魂魄妖夢を連れてきた。地下の砂浜は突如として大宴会の場となった。

Yukari Yakumo had brought her shikigami Ran and her friend Yuyuko Saigyouji, along with her servant Youmu Kompaku. The beach in the basement had suddenly become the scene of a big party.

「へぇー。変わったお酒だねぇ」レミリアが純粋に驚いている。

"Wow, this is an unusual variety of sake." Remilia was genuinely surprised.

それを聞いて紫は「失礼ね。毒は入っていないわよ」と、とんちんかんな返答をしたが、霊夢と魔理沙は毒が入っているのか疑い、メイドが呑んだのを確認してから口を付ける事にした。

Upon hearing this, Yukari replied, "How rude. It is not poisoned, I'll have you know." While nonsensical, Reimu and Marisa actually were suspicious of whether or not it was poisoned, but once the maid partook of the alcohol, they followed suit.

「あれ? この味は何処かで……」霊夢は少し引っかかる所があったが、それが何なのか思い出せない。何故か幽々子が霊夢を見ている。

"Huh? Where have I tasted this before...?" Reimu seemed to be unable to remember, and for some reason, Yuyuko saw Reimu in her puzzled state.

「何か純粋なお酒だな。材料が全く想像つかないというか……こんなもん何処で作っているんだ?」魔理沙が質問する。紫は再び「毒は入ってないわ」と答えた。

Marisa asked, "This sure is some pure sake. I dunno how they made it, but... where would they make somethin' like this?" Yukari reiterated in response, "It's not poisoned."

実は紫が持ってきたお酒に秘密がある。そのお酒は月の都で作られたお酒だったのだ。

Actually, there was a secret behind the sake Yukari had brought. It was sake made in the Lunar Capital.

亡霊には生死が無い。その事が、穢れの無い月の都と相性が良かった。幽々子は月の都にひと月ほど滞在し、誰にも怪しまれる事無く行動していたのだ。

Ghosts had nothing to do with life nor death. Because of that, they fit in perfectly with the pure nature of the Lunar Capital. During her month-long stay on the moon, Yuyuko's presence there did not raise any suspicions in the least.

そして堂々とお酒を盗み出すと、次の満月の時に紫に再び月面と地上の通路を開けて貰い、地上に降りてきたのだ。

This allowed her to brazenly steal the sake, and once the next full moon occurred, Yukari was able to open the way back to Earth.

幽々子がお酒を盗み出した理由はただ一つ。

Yuyuko had simply one reason for her theft.

月の民に喧嘩を売らずに、一度は惨敗した綿月姉妹に復讐をする為であった。

It was to obtain revenge on the crushing defeat the Watatsuki sisters levied on them so long ago without involving the rest of the Lunarians.

千年以上も昔に月に攻め入って惨敗したのは紫なのだが、紫はそれ以降目を付けられていて目立ちすぎてしまう。

While it was Yukari who led the invasion that had utterly failed more than one thousand years ago, Yukari knew that if she were to attack directly again, it would draw far too much attention.

だから、吸血鬼の襲撃を囮と見せかけて、更に紫自らが囮となる二十囮作戦に出たのだ。紫さえ地上に封じてしまえば、月と地上を行き来出来る力を持つ者は居ない。これ以上に綿月姉妹を油断させる方法は無いだろう。

So she devised a strategy to use the vampire's attack and even herself as decoys. If Yukari was confined to Earth, then there wouldn't be anyone else with the ability to travel between Earth and the moon. That would be the only way to have the Watatsuki sisters lower their guard.

しかしながらお酒を盗む事、それが、紫が考えた第二次月面戦争の正体なのだろうか?

But was the sake heist the true intent of Yukari's Second Lunar Invasion?

「月面に攻め入った時の話でも聞こうかと」

"Tell me of what happened on the lunar surface during your assault."

紫はそう吸血鬼に言う。

Yukari told the vampire.

「そんな昔の事、忘れたねぇ。あんたは千年も昔の事を根に持っているようだけど、私は未来に生きるからね」

"That was so long ago, I have already forgotten. You may harbor thousand-year-old grudges, but I live for the future."

「あら、私が根に持っている? そんな事、誰が言ったのかしら」紫はにやりと笑う。

"Oh my, harboring grudges? Who mentioned anything like that?" Yukari said with a sly grin.

「あれ? 半年前に今年の冬に攻め入るとか言ってなかったっけ?」

"Hm? Didn't you say something about invading the moon this winter six months ago?"

「そんな昔の事、忘れました」

"That was so long ago, I have already forgotten."

レミリアはクスリと笑うと、月へ行った時の事を話し始めた。

Remilia gave a slight laugh and began to recount the time of her trip to the moon.

ロケットの仕組みは殆ど理解不能な説明であったが、空中での武勇伝や月の海の色、綿月依姫との闘いに敗れた事を面白おかしく話した。

Despite her nearly incomprehensible explanation of the rocket's construction, her tales of the journey within it, the color of the sea and the defeat at the hands of Watatsuki no Yorihime were amusing.

驚く事にレミリアは負けた事に対して特に悔しいとも思っていないようだ。最初から勝てると思っていなかったのかも知れない。何せ、紫が妖怪を総動員しても全く勝ち目がなかった事を知っていたのだから。

The surprising thing is that it appeared Remilia felt no particular frustration about losing. She may not have thought she would emerge victorious in the first place, as she knew the combined efforts of Yukari and the other youkai stood no chance either.

それなのに何故ロケットまで造って月に向かったのだろうか。

So why build a rocket and go to the moon at all?

紫が月に行って戦ったのはレミリアが生まれるずっと昔である。レミリアはその事が羨ましかったのかも知れない。

Yukari's skirmish on the moon was ages before Remilia was born. Perhaps she was jealous.

勿論、永遠亭の面子に出会った事も大きな要因だろう。そこで現実に存在する月の都の話を聞く事となった。

Of course, their encounter with the group at Eientei was likely a major cause. That is when she first learned of the existence of the Lunar Capital.

レミリアにとっての夢のフロンティア、それが月の都だったのだ。

To Remilia, that was frontier of her dreams.

「そうそう、今日は他にも誘ってある人が居るのよ」

"Oh, yes. I have invited other guests today."

紫がその言葉を放つと同時に、海と化した図書館に妖精メイドが入ってきた。その場にいたみんなに僅かに緊張が走った。

At the same time the words left Yukari's mouth, a fairy maid entered the library-turned-sea. Everyone became slightly nervous.

「何やら宴会に呼ばれて来たという方が来てますが……」

"It appears those you spoke of have arrived to the party..."

レミリアが頷くと、まもなくして二人が入ってきた。紅魔館には珍しい月の民の二人、八意永琳と蓬莱山輝夜だった。

Remilia nodded towards the entrance, where two figures had appeared. These rather unusual visitors to the mansion were Eirin Yagokoro and Kaguya Houraisan.

「え? 宴会って聞いて来たのに、温水プール……?」

"What? We heard there was going to be a party, but a heated pool...?"

「海よ」とレミリアが答えたと同時に霊夢が「冷水プール」と言った。

"It's a sea," said Remilia. "It's a freezing pool," said Reimu, both at the same time.

薄暗い地下にある砂浜、水、派手なパラソルにシダ植物、そして一部は水着姿で呑んでいる人間と妖怪。この光景に戸惑わない者など居ないだろう。

In the dimly-lit underground was a beach, water, colorful parasols, palm trees and a mixture of human and youkai, some in bathing suits. This scene would likely perplex anyone.

紫は行儀良く、「お待ちしておりました」と頭を下げると、永琳は瞬時に理解し豪華なシートの上に正座した。

Yukari properly greeted them. "Terribly sorry to keep you waiting," she said as she bowed. Eirin instantly understood the situation and kneeled in seiza on the elegant sheet.

永琳には全て判っているつもりだった。

Eirin had a complete understanding of what had happened.

ある妖怪は月の都に不穏な噂を流す為に巫女を利用した。

A certain youkai had used the shrine maiden to cause unrest through the rumors in the Lunar Capital.

巫女はその妖怪に言われるがまま神様を呼び出し使役した。それが許されるのは月の都にいる綿月依姫だけであった。それによって綿月姉妹は疑われ、その師匠である永琳も疑われた。これもその妖怪が仕組んだ事だ。

The shrine maiden did her part by summoning the gods as this youkai had instructed. The only one who had permission to do this was Watatsuki no Yorihime. This made her a suspect as well as her mentor, Eirin Yagokoro. This, too, was plotted by the youkai.

巫女が呼び出した住吉三神の力で、三段ロケットが完成するなど誰が想像できただろうか。

Someone would get the idea to use the power of the Sumiyoshi Sanjin summoned by the shrine maiden to complete the three-stage rocket.

確かに住吉三神は航海の神様で筒である。まさにアメリカが最初に月まで到達したロケット、サターンVの神様であった。

Of course the Sumiyoshi Sanjin, the gods of voyage, would be housed in a tube[1]. Surely, it was the same god of Saturn V, the first American rocket to reach the moon.

永琳が初め吸血鬼のロケットを見たとき、外の世界のロケットの本を見て吸血鬼が住吉三神に気付く訳が無いと思っていた。

The moment Eirin saw the vampire's rocket, she knew that it was built based on a book about rockets from the outside world, but there was no way they were aware of the Sumiyoshi Sanjin's importance.

そんな事に気付ける者は、外の世界にも幻想郷にも月の都にも明るい者である必要がある。その時点で誰が裏から操っているのか永琳には明白であった。

The only one who would have recognized that need would be someone well-versed in Gensokyo, the outside world and the Lunar Capital. At that moment, it was obvious to Eirin that someone was controlling these events from the shadows.

巫女に神様を扱えるように稽古した人物がその人物像と一致した為、永琳は確信していた。黒幕は八雲紫であると。

She was convinced that whomever it was also had the shrine maiden train to summon the gods. So it could only have been Yukari Yakumo.

たまたま月から兎が逃げてきたのでその兎を利用し、綿月姉妹に手紙を送った。もしその月の兎が居なければ、再び月を偽者と入れ替え、主犯だけを月に到達させないつもりでいた。ただ、それはまた幻想郷に不安をもたらす危険な方法ではあったが……。

By using a rabbit that had unexpectedly escaped from the moon, she was able to send a letter to the Watatsuki sisters. If it weren't for that rabbit, she had planned to once again replace the moon with a fake so that only the main perpetrator would not reach the moon. However, that would once again cause unrest throughout Gensokyo so it was a dangerous method...

だが永琳にも不安要素があった。その黒幕の目的がいまいち不明だったのである。そこまで手の込んだ手法で月に潜入したとしても恐らく何も出来ないであろう。それだけに不気味であった。

But Eirin was also uneasy. The one pulling the strings had a vague objective. Even if she felt she had to create a fake moon as a last resort, it was entirely possible nothing would have happened. That alone was ominous enough.

そしてその黒幕が目の前に居る。紫は永琳を酒の席に呼ぶという挑発をしてきたのだ。

And now she was face-to-face with the mastermind. Yukari was provoking Eirin through an invitation to drink.

「今日はどういう風の吹き回しかしら?」

"And what strange turn of events led to this?"

永琳は辺りを眺めた。一ヶ月前までここは幻想郷のケープカナベラルであったが、今は差し詰め図書館の伊豆と言ったところか。

Eirin gazed at her surroundings. Given the rocket launch not too long ago and the beach that now occupied most of the library, it could be said this was Gensokyo's very own Cape Canaveral.

「普段の労をねぎらいお酒でも、と思いまして」紫は不気味にお酒を差し出す。

"We just thought it necessary to soothe the pain of labor with some sake," Yukari said ominously as she handed some to Eirin.

永琳の頭の回転は速い。だが回転の速さは時として弱点ともなる。永琳は理解できない物に対してわざとらしい余裕を見せてしまう。動揺を見せたくないのだ。

Eirin's mind moved quickly, but this speed proved to have its weaknesses. Whenever confronted with anything she could not understand, she would pretend to purposefully act composed. It was to prevent revealing she was unsteady.

しかし賢い者が考えのない余裕を見せた時、その時が一番の弱点である。それは賢い者ならみんな知っている事だ。

However, the biggest weakness of wise beings are when they act composed without intending to do so. All wise beings know this.

「あら、有難う」と言ってお酒を受け取った。

"Oh, why, thank you," Eirin said as she took the sake.

「失礼ね。毒なんて入ってないわ」これはどうやら紫のギャグらしい。

"How rude. It is not poisoned." This seemed to be a running gag to Yukari.

「? 多少の毒は薬ですわ」

"Hm? But small amounts of poison can be medicine."

そういって、永琳はお酒を呑んだ。

Eirin said as she drank the sake.

そして彼女は固まった。

And the moment it passed through her lips, she froze.

隣では酔っ払った霊夢と輝夜が何やら話をしている。

Beside her, Kaguya and a drunken Reimu were talking about something.

「月の都って、思ったより原始的ね。建物の構造とか着ている物とかさぁ」

"But y'know, the Lunar Capital was a lot more primitive than I thought. Like the, the buildings and stuff..."

輝夜は笑った。

Kaguya laughed.

「そう思うでしょう? だから地上の人間はいつまでも下賤なのよ」

"Of course you would. That's why you Earthlings will remain forever inferior."

「どういうこと?」

"What are you saying?"

「気温は一定で腐ることのない木の家に住み、自然に恵まれ、一定の仕事をして静かに将棋を指す……、遠い未来、もし人間の技術が進歩したらそういう生活を望むんじゃなくて?」

"Living in houses built out of wood that will never weather away, blessed by nature, quietly playing shogi after finishing our standardized tasks... Is that not the lifestyle humans desire once their technology becomes sufficiently advanced in the far future?"

霊夢はお酒を呑む。

Reimu took another drink.

「もっと豪華で派手な暮らしを望むと思う」

"I think we'd like a more fancy lifestyle."

「その考えは人間が死ぬうちだけね。これから寿命は確実に延びるわ。その時はどう考えるのでしょう?」

"The only humans who desire that are those who are dead. But it is certain that the lifespan of humans will continue to lengthen. What do you think about that?"

「寿命を減らす技術が発達するんじゃない? 心が腐っても生き続ける事の無いように」

"Invent something to shorten the lifespan, right? It's not like you can keep living after your brain's rotted away."

その答えに輝夜は驚き、生死が日常の幻想郷は、穢れ無き月の都とは違う事を実感した。

This answer surprised Kaguya. She truly felt the difference between the pure Lunar Capital and Gensokyo where life and death was a part of their everyday life.

魔理沙はレミリアと話していた。

Marisa was talking to Remilia.

「いやぁ、もう月に行くのは懲り懲りだぜ」

"Man, I've had more than enough of all this moon business."

「なんで?」レミリアは首を傾げた。

"Why?" asked Remilia, cocking her head.

「だってさあ、帰って来られたから良いけど、あのロケット、片道ロケットじゃないか。あんなんただのミサイルだぜ?」

"Well, I'm glad we got back and all, but that rocket was just a one-way deal, y'know? So wasn't it just a missile?"

「あれは、住吉三神を使ったからだめだったんだよね。行く間に二神切り離しちゃってさ。六神くらい居なきゃ帰り分の神様が足りなかった」レミリアが人差し指を上に向けてくるくる回した。どうやら六段分のロケットを表現したらしい。

"That was because we used the Sumiyoshi Sanjin. On the way there, we lost two parts of it. Since there aren't any six-part gods, we did not have enough to both go to and return from the moon." Remilia waved her finger in the air as if drawing a spiral. It seems it was supposed to represent a six-stage rocket.

「お前は妖怪だから良いけどさ、こっちは生身の人間だぜ?もっと計算してから飛ばしてくれよな大体、お前くらい頑丈なら、大きなミサイルに縛り付けて飛ばせば辿り着いたんじゃないのか?」

"You shoulda done the math for the flesh-and-blood humans like me. On the other hand, you woulda been fine if you were just tied to the thing, bein' a vampire."

「ふん。あの程度ならロケットも何も無くても飛んでいけば辿り着きそうだったね」レミリアは両手を広げて天井を見た。

"Hmph. If it came to that, I would just fly to the moon myself." Remilia spread her arms out and looked toward the ceiling.

「その前にお前さんなら日光に当たって死ぬぜ」

"Better do somethin' about that whole "weak to sunlight" part then."

魔理沙は笑ってお酒を呑んだ。正直、月旅行はもう懲り懲りだと思った。

Marisa laughed as she took another drink. She honestly thought that even Remilia was fed up with the moon.

——永琳は再びお酒を呑んだ。

Eirin took another drink.

間違いない。このお酒はただの労をねぎらう為に用意されたお酒ではない。くだを巻いたサラリーマンが、誰も理解できない言葉を吐きながら呑む安い焼酎なんかではない。

There was no doubt about it. Whatever labor they went through to get this sake, it was no ordinary venture. This was not some cheap swill that businessmen would drink after hours, incomprehensible babble spilling from their mouths.

月の都で千年以上もかけて熟成した超超古酒である。そう、永琳が月の都に居た頃から寝かせていたお酒なのだ。

It was an exceedingly ancient sake that had been aging for over a thousand years in the Lunar Capital. Yes, it was likely sleeping even at the time when Eirin fled for Earth.

「こ、このお酒は……?」永琳は明らかに動揺した。考えのない余裕を見せた瞬間、つまり弱点を狙われてしまったからだ。

"Wh-What is this...?" Eirin was clearly shaken. She had shown composure without intending, meaning it was the moment Yukari had been waiting for to strike.

永琳がこのお酒の味を忘れる事はない。穢れの多い地上では味が変わってしまい作り出せない純粋さ、そして何年も寝かせたであろう奥深さ。

Eirin could never forget the taste of that sake. The purity that was impossible to obtain on the impure Earth, and the deep flavor that came from its millennium-long slumber.

「貴方も故郷を離れて千何百年か。そろそろ望郷の念に駆られる頃だろうと思いまして、月の都をイメージしたお酒の席を用意致しました」

"It must have been centuries since you left your hometown. I thought you were becoming distraught with homesickness, so I had some sake from the Lunar Capital prepared for you."

紫はにやりと笑った。

Yukari grinned.

その笑顔は永琳の心の奥深くに刻まれ、忘れる事の出来ない不気味さをもたらした。死ぬ事のない者へ与える、生きる事を意味する悩み。正体の判らない者への恐怖。

That ominous smile left a deep scar in Eirin's mind, something she would never be able to forget. To make those who cannot die question the meaning of living. To make them fear the unknown, what they cannot understand.

それが八雲紫の考えた第二次月面戦争の正体だった。

That was the true intention behind Yukari's Second Lunar Invasion.

Notes[edit]

  1. 筒 (tube) is in each of the three gods' names: Sokotsutsu no O no Mikoto (底筒男命), Nakatsutsu no O no Mikoto (中筒男命), and Uwatsutsu no O no Mikoto (表筒男命). Naturally, they would be embodied in a (vaguely) tube-shaped rocket.
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