Cage in Lunatic Runagate/Seventh Chapter

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第七話 半身半義 Chapter 7: Half-body Half-loyalty

海水が不思議な力により上下している。波だ。

A mysterious force created oscillations in the seawater. Waves.

水が海岸に押し寄せている様に見えるが、実際の水の流れと波の方向は無関係であるという。

Although water appears as if it surges towards the shore, in reality the flow of the water is unaffected by the direction of the wave.

音もまた、空気を伝わる波である。勿論、風上にも音は伝わる。空気の流れとは関係無く音を伝える事が出来るのだ。

Sound is also a wave that is transmitted through air. Of course, sound can be carried against the wind as well. It can propagate regardless of the direction of airflow.

では、波とは何なのだろうか。物体を移動させないで、一体何を伝えているのだろうか。

Then, what are waves? What are they conveying without displacing matter?

考えれば考えるほど判らなくなる。ここ半年くらい、波長の違う人達に振り回されっぱなしで頭が痛いというのに。

The more that I pondered about it, the more confused I became. It did not help the headache I had from dealing with people of many different wavelengths for the past half a year.

ここは月の海の上。海面は静かに揺れている。

Here above the moon's sea, the water surface silently wavers.

音は殆ど無い。自然の音も人工的な音も殆ど聞こえない。まるで彼岸の様に穏やかで優しかった。

Almost no sound, natural or artificial, can be heard. It is as peaceful and gentle as Higan was.

死後の世界と言っても色々あるが、死んで三途の川を渡り、最初に訪れる場所は此岸である。彼岸は閻魔様に現世での罪を裁かれるのを待つ場所である。そこは昼も夜も、夏も冬もない世界で、ただ静かに花が咲き生気のない風が吹くだけの場所である。

There are many worlds that come after death, but the first one to be visited after crossing the Sanzu river is Higan. Higan is the place one will wait until their sins are judged by the Enma. In Higan, there is neither night nor day, winter nor summer. Higan was just a quiet place where flowers bloom beautifully in the lifeless winds.

何故か月の海はそこを彷彿させた。

For some reason, the moon's sea closely resembled it.

生の匂いが感じられない。この海から生きとし生ける者全ての業因、業果が感じられない。それの意味するところは何も棲んでいないか、もしくは死なない者しか棲んでいないという事である。

There was no scent of life. This sea didn't have any trace of karma nor its effects that all life had. What that meant was either nothing lives in these waters, or only whose who never died live here.

何故私がこんな所に居るのかというと、実はよく判らない。私と波長の異なる者に流されてきただけである。今年の夏から周りで起きている事が理解できなくなっていたのだ。

I didn't really understand why I was here. I was only carried here by people of different wavelengths. I never understood what was happening around me since summer.

——夏の冥界。

--Summer in the Netherworld.

冥界は転生待ちの霊達が住まう場所である。転生が許されているという事は、比較的善良な霊達ばかりであるが、転生先は人間とは限らない。獣や猛禽ならまだマシな方である。百足とか下賤な虫に転生するかも知れない。

It was where spirits dwell as they await reincarnation. Since they were spirits that were allowed to reincarnate, most of them were good-natured, but they weren't assured to reincarnate into humans again. However, even birds or beasts would be preferable, since there was the possibility of reincarnating as a caterpillar or other lowly insect.

そんな転生先の心配も感じられない幽霊達は、今日も暢気に冥界観光をしている。暢気なもんだ。

As spirits never seemed to worry about their next life, they just relaxed and took in the sights of the Netherworld as usual, being carefree by nature.

本来なら白玉楼の庭で手入れや警備をしている私だが、今はお屋敷の座敷で接客をしている。かしこまった席で話を聞くのは苦手だ。

I was usually in charge of Hakugyokurou's garden and security, but right now I'm handling the reception of a guest. Listening to conversations while remaining seated attentive and upright is still one of my weak points.

「話聞いてますでしょうか?」

"Were you listening to me?"

「え、ああ。えーと……」

"Er, yes. Ummm..."

急に質問されたので戸惑っていると私の隣にいる私の主人、西行寺幽々子様が代わりに返答してくれた。

While I was baffled by the abrupt question, my mistress, Lady Yuyuko Saigyouji, seated right beside me, answered in my place.

「勿論聞いてなかったわ。私も、妖夢も」

"Of course, we weren't. Neither I nor Youmu."

「そうですか……そんな気がしてましたが。ま、細かいいきさつとか割とどうでも良いという事ですね?」

"Is that so...? Well, I sort of assumed that. I'm guessing that means you don't care about the fine details, correct?"

実際に聞いていなかったが、そう解釈して貰った方が格好がつく気がする。幽々子様は恐らく本当に聞いていない。

I really wasn't paying any attention at all, but I wondered why our guest accepted that answer so easily. Perhaps Lady Yuyuko truly wasn't listening in the first place.

「端的に言うと、あなた方には吸血鬼達の監視をして頂きたいのです」

"To get to the point, I would like for you to keep the vampire and her underlings under surveillance."

「監視……?」

"Surveillance...?"

私達は冥界の管理、監視は行っているが、顕界の妖怪の監視を生業とはしていない。当然、今まで誰からもそういう依頼を受けた事など無い。

All that we are supposed to survey is the Netherworld, and what the youkai do in the world of the living is none of our concern. It was the first time we'd received such a request.

私達の元に不可解な依頼を持ちかけてきたのは妖狐、八雲藍である。

The one to bring up such a strange request to us was the fox, Ran Yakumo.

「……監視って何故ですか? 月に行きたいのなら勝手に行かせればいいじゃないですか。前から行きたがっていたみたいですし」

"...Why do you want us keep them under surveillance? If they want to go to the moon that badly, why not just let them do as they please?"

「そういう訳にも行かないのです。これは紫様の命令なのですが……」

"We cannot allow that to happen. This is Lady Yukari's request, and...."

藍はそういってお茶を飲んだ。言葉を選んでいるようだ。

Ran sipped her tea. She seemed to be choosing her words.

「……知っての通り。紫様は一度月の都に攻め入って敗北しています。それでいつか月の都に復讐しようとその時が来るのを待っています」

"...As you know, she has attacked the Lunar Capital once, but it ended in defeat. Ever since then, she has been awaiting her chance of revenge."

紫様とは、藍の飼い主、八雲紫様の事である。幽々子様の古い友人で、幽々子様と同じくらい理解できないお方だ。私と波長がずれているのだ。

'Lady Yukari' was Ran's owner, Lady Yukari Yakumo. She is Lady Yuyuko's old acquaintance, and is just as incomprehensible in her doings as she was.
They were on completely different wavelengths to me.

紫様はその昔月に攻め入った事があるという。何百年も前の話で、当然私はまだ生まれていない。藍が「知っての通り」と言ったのは、幽々子様はその出来事を生で見た事があるからであり、その事からこの台詞は、私に向けて語られていない事が判る。

Lady Yukari once tried to invade the moon a long time ago. As it was several centuries ago, I had naturally not been born at the time. When Ran said "as you know," she was referring to when Lady Yuyuko witnessed this event herself. From that line, I knew that this conversation was not directed at me.

「次は吸血鬼達の力も借りて戦力を磐石なものにしようと話を持ちかけたのですが、やはり、自分たちの力だけで月に行こうと考えているようです。現状では、紫様の協力無しでは月に行く願いは叶わないと紫様は仰ってますが——」

"We had sought out the vampire's strength to solidify our own, but as we suspected, they were planning to go to the moon under their own power. Lady Yukari spoke of not wanting to go without any sort of cooperation, however, under the current conditions..."

おかしい。紫様の考えている事は大体判らないが、吸血鬼の力を借りてという所に違和感を覚えた。しかも幽々子様に相談する前に、である。

That was odd. I normally do not understand Lady Yukari, but something seemed unusual about her asking for the vampire's cooperation. And before requesting help from Lady Yuyuko, at that.

「無策では吸血鬼達に勝ち目はないでしょう。それほど月の民達は強力なのです。地上からの侵略者があれば月の都は再び警戒します。それが紫様にとっては喜ばしくない事なのです——」

"Lacking any sort of strategy, the vampire's house has no hope of success. That is the extent of the Lunarians' strength. And once they attack the Lunar Capital, the Lunarians will be all the more vigilant against further intrusions. That is most inconvenient for Lady Yukari."

思えばこの妖狐の訪問辺りからだった。私の周りで起こっている事が理解できなくなったのは。

Now that I think of it, it was around the time when that fox came calling when the circumstances starting to bewilder me.

私は理解できない事はすぐ訊く癖がついていた。訊くは一時の恥聞かぬは一生の恥、と教えられてきたからである。

Whenever I cannot understand something, I tend to ask for an explanation as soon as I can. I was taught to live by the adage "Asking makes one appear foolish, but not asking makes one foolish indeed."

だが、それが理解を阻害している様な気もした。何でもかんでも誰かが教えてくれると思ってしまい、真剣に自分で考えようという気を失わせるからだ。

However, I was beginning to feel it was inhibiting my comprehensive ability. If I am merely taught everything, I may eventually lose the ability to think for myself altogether.

私がいつものように幽々子様に質問をしていると、こんな教えを頂いた事があった。

Once, I asked Lady Yuyuko as I usually do, and she replied...

『妖夢は口を開けば、それは何ですか? どういう意味ですか?って。その辺の喋らない幽霊の方が含蓄ある話をするわ』

"Whenever you open your mouth, it's to ask "What is that?" or "What does that mean?". Conversations with you are less meaningful than those with the mute spirits around here."

『すみません。ですが、訊くは一時の恥聞かぬは一生の恥、と』

"My apologies. However, what about the saying, 'Asking makes one appear foolish, but not asking makes one foolish indeed.'?"

『ふふふ。妖夢、貴方は訊く事を一時の恥だと感じているの?』

"Hmhmhm. Youmu, do you ever feel foolish when you ask a question?"

『えっ?』

"Huh?"

『恥を感じる様な質問というのは、知っていて当然な事を知らない時だけです。そのような質問は大いにしなさい。知ったかぶりは大きな損をします』

"Foolish questions are only to those you should already know the answer, and normally about very important matters where pretending to know can bring great loss."

『……』

"......"

『しかし、自分がただ知りたい事を訊くという事は恥ではありません。恥を感じない質問は、必ずしも答えを得られると限らないのです。自分が知りたい事は自分で考えなさい。いつでも知りたい事を聞く事が出来る環境は、知りたい事を減らしてしまうのよ。知りたい事を失った人生は、不幸以外の何物でもないわ。そう……長く生きていると特にね』

"However, there is no shame in asking about something you simply want to know. Shameless questions may not have a definite answer either. If you want to know something, think about it for yourself. If you ask a question every time you want to know something, the things you want to know will gradually lessen. A life without anything to learn can only bring unhappiness. Especially to those who have long lifespans."

言うまでもないが、幽々子様はとうの昔に亡くなって、亡霊として冥界に留まっているのである。しかし、幽々子様は『生きている』という表現を多用する。

Needless to say, Lady Yuyuko died a very long time ago. She remains in the Netherworld as a ghost. However, she uses the expression "life" quite a bit.

私は幽々子様の言っている事をどれだけ理解できているのか自信がない。判っている事なのに教えてくれないのは、ただ意地悪しているだけなのではないかとさえ思う。

I did not have any self-confidence in how much I could comprehend what Lady Yuyuko told me. If she knew yet did not tell me, I thought it was nothing more than her teasing me.

しかし、最近は誰に訊いてもまともに教えてくれない事が増えた。もしかしたら、質問に答える事を面倒に思っているのかもしれない。そう考えるとやはり恐縮してしまう。

But lately there the number of people who would not answer my questions increased. Perhaps they thought answering questions was a bother. In that case, I am sorry to have caused them trouble.

「……そうですか。幽々子様は月面戦争を見たことがあるからすぐに理解するはず、と紫様は仰ってましたが」

"I see. So Lady Yukari said that since Lady Yuyuko saw that lunar invastion, she should be able to understand the situation immediately, am I right?"

藍は「紫様の言っている事と違う」とぶつくさ言いながら帰っていった。

Ran muttered, "This is not how Lady Yukari said it would be," as she left.

私が考え事をしている間に、幽々子様は依頼を断ったようだ。

While I was thinking, it appeared that Lady Yuyuko had already declined her request.

私には紫様が吸血鬼の監視の話を持ちかけてきた理由も、幽々子様が断った理由も判らなかった。判らない事だらけだった。

I could not understand the reason why Lady Yukari wanted us to keep the vampire under surveillance, nor the reason why Lady Yuyuko turned it down. I could not understand any of it.

「紫様は何故、あのような話を幽々子様に持ちかけてきたのでしょう?」

"Why did Lady Yukari bring a request like that to you?"

何気なくそう質問してしまって後悔した。もっと自分で考えろと言われてしまうのではないか。

I instantly regretted asking that question, nonchalant as it was. Had I not been told to think for myself?

「聞いての通りじゃないの? 紫は困っているのよ」

"Is it not as you heard? It seems to be troubling her."

「そ、そうですかね」

"Y-Yes, I suppose."

私は決めた。ここ白玉楼の庭師、魂魄妖夢として単独で行動する事を。吸血鬼達の監視、及び何が起きようとしているのか調べる事を。勿論、誰にも訊かずに、自分で理解する事を。出来るだけ……。

I, Youmu Kompaku, gardener of Hakugyokurou, have decided to act independently. I would survey the doings of the vampire and her servants while investigating the underlying scheme they were plotting. Of course, I would not be asking anyone for help nor answers, and understand things on my own. As much as I could, at least...

「——これでさらにロケットは完成に近づく。咲夜、ご苦労様。下がって良いわ」

"...With this, the rocket is even closer to completion. Splendid work, Sakuya. That will be enough for now."

「はい」

"Yes, ma'am."

本棚の後ろに隠れていた私の脇をメイドが通っていった。

The maid passed the bookshelf behind which I had hidden myself.

私は紅魔館の地下にある大図書館に忍び込んでいた。月に向かうためのロケットはここで製作されているからだ。

I sneaked into the underground library at the Scarlet Devil Mansion. A rocket built for moon travel had been in production here.

目立たないように未完成ロケットに近づき、じっくりと観察した。

I was able to familiarize myself with the incomplete rocket without drawing attention to myself.

外壁は木製で、強度面は難あり。

The outer wall was made of wood, and there were issues with its strength.

形状は桶を適当に三段積み重ねた様な物であり、連結部分はどうなっているのか不明。

Its shape was like that of three buckets stacked on top of each other, but their exact connection to each other was unclear.

外壁に取り付けられた窓は外開きの普通の窓だ。その窓から覗く内装は、レースのカーテンに三日月形のテーブル、無駄に華やかである。

The windows fitted into the outer walls were normal windows. I could see the interior through them, pointlessly gaudy furnishings such as lace curtains and a table shaped like a crescent moon.

気になる事は、このロケットはただの小さな変わった家の様で、飛ぶ為の機能が一切見当たらないという事だった。

What I was most concerned about was as the rocket looked more like a small, odd house, I could not determine its means of flight.

……これでは、ただの別荘ではないのだろうか。

...Maybe this was nothing more than a summer house or the like.

ロケットを造って独自に月に行く、というのはただのはったりで、実際はロケット型の別荘でお月見をするとかそんなオチなのではないだろうか。

This business of building a rocket to go to the moon independently was nothing more than a bluff. Maybe they were actually just building a special house for moon-viewing parties.

「……ロケットの外観は出来つつあるが、今すぐに月に行ける状態とはとても思えないっと。メモメモ」

"...While it appears they are building a rocket, I do not believe it is in any condition to leave for the moon anytime soon. I should make a memo of this."

「で、そこの侵入者はいつまで見つかっていないと思っているのかねぇ」

"I wonder how long our little spy will continue to believe she has not been spotted."

「およ?」

"Oh?"

「——それで、ロケットはいつ完成するのですか?」

"So then, how long will it be until the rocket is complete?"

「ふん。何で私がコソ泥のあんたにそんな事教えなければいけないのよ」

"Hmph, why should I tell an intruder like you anything?"

「あ、そうだ。訊かないで自分で考えるんだった」

"Oh, that's right. I wasn't going to ask questions for now. I was going to think about things myself."

「?」

"?"

私は図書館の中央にある三日月形のテーブルに着いていた。図書館の主、パチュリー・ノーレッジと対峙していた。ロケットに近づきすぎたのか、見つかってしまったのだ。

I was seated at a table shaped like a crescent moon in the center of the library. There I was being confronted by the owner, Patchouli Knowledge. It seems I had approached the rocket a little too closely and had been discovered.

「忍び込んだ最初からバレバレだったわよ。面倒だから無視していたのに、声に出してメモを取り始めたから……」

"I knew you were here from the moment you entered. I decided to ignore you since making you leave would have been too much trouble, but you kept muttering something about memos..."

「あれ? 声に出してました?」

"Huh? I was muttering?"

「ま、別に良いけどね。何か持っていったり壊したりしなければ」

"Well, I do not particularly mind, so long as you are not intent on stealing or breaking anything."

そう言って、机の上に置いてあった鈴を揺らした。

As she spoke, she rang a bell placed on the table.

「⁉ 捕まえる気?」

"?! Are you going to imprison me?"

「ふん。捕まえるなら最初から捕まえているわよ」

"Hmph, if I was going to do anything of the sort, I would have done it a while ago."

「じゃあ今の鈴は……」

"So why did you ring that..."

「咲夜にお茶を持ってきて貰うのよ。私の分の一つ。で、何よ」

"I called Sakuya to bring some tea. Only for me though. Now, what is it?"

「はい?」

"Excuse me?"

「あんたの用事。ロケットの事で何か気になる事でもあるの?」

"What brought you here? Was it something about the rocket?"

特に私を捕まえる気は無い様子である。思えば、吸血鬼達は自分達でロケットを造って月に行きたいと前々から公言していたし、紫様から私達に監視の依頼があった事など知らないのである。むしろ、自分達が行っている大事業を誰かに伝えたいとすら思っている様である。

It seemed as if she had no intention of imprisoning me. When I thought about it, the vampire had made the fact that she was making a rocket to go to the moon public quite a while ago, and they had no idea that Lady Yukari had asked us to keep them under surveillance. In fact, it seemed as if they wanted everyone else to know they were in the middle of a huge undertaking.

この際だから色々訊いてしまおう……と思ったのだが、やはり自分で考えた方が良いだろうか。

I should take this opportunity to ask them as much as I wanted, but then I reconsidered as I thought it was best for me to think about everything for myself.

「先ほど、ロケットを拝見したのですが……どうしても気になる事があるのです」

"Earlier, when I was looking at the rocket... there is something I could not quite figure out."

「何よ」

"What is it?"

「このロケットの動力って、一体何なんですか? あ、これは独り言で」

"Just how is this rocket supposed to fly? Oh, that was just me speaking to myself."

「独り言?」

"Speaking to yourself?"

「ああ、独り言で質問では無いのですが、答えて頂いて構いません」

"Right, meaning it was not a question, so you do not have to answer if you prefer."

「あー? 何を言っているのかよく判らないが、ロケットの動力は——」

"Huh? I am not sure what you are talking about, but this rocket moves though..."

その時、メイドの咲夜が図書館に入ってきた。手にはお茶を持っている。さっき鳴らした鈴で呼ばれたのだ。

Just then, Sakuya the maid entered the library holding a cup of tea. She must have been called by the bell.

「お茶をお持ちしました……ってあら」

"Here is your tea, ma'am... Oh my, who have we here?"

「お邪魔してます」一応挨拶をした。

I thought it best to greet her for now. "Sorry to intrude."

「まだ帰っていなかったのね? でも良かったわ」

"You had yet to leave? But I am so relieved."

「良かったって何がですか?」

"How are you relieved?"

「パチュリー様と一緒にテーブルに着いていて。まさか、あんなにバレバレで隠れているつもりだったらどうしようかと……」

"To see you seated with Miss Patchouli. If not, I was wondering what you were doing by hiding in plain sight like that..."

「ふん。こいつは最初から私を訪ねて来たみたいだから心配無い」

"Hmph, she came here to see me in the first place so there was nothing to worry about."

今更、実は隠れていましたとは言えない。

I could no longer claim that I was genuinely attempting to hide.

「一応、お茶を二つ用意してきた。まだ帰っていないと思いまして」

"I decided to bring tea for two. I did not believe you had left yet."

「あ、ありがとうございます」

"Th-Thank you very much."

メイドはお茶を二つ置くと、一礼して下がっていった。このお茶の香りは、うちのお茶より香りに品が無いような気がする。うちのお茶は、香りは細く長く続くのに対して、この紅茶は香りが強すぎるのだ。

I bowed as the maid placed two cups of tea of the table. Judging from its scent, I felt the quality of the tea here cannot begin to compare to the tea at Hakugyokurou. The scent of our green tea was so delicate yet long-lasting. It was in sharp contrast to the overpowering scent of the black tea that sat before me.

パチュリーが口を開いた。

Patchouli opened her mouth.

「で、何の話だったっけ?」

"So, where was I?"

「ロケットの動力です」

"About how the rocket moves."

「ああ、ロケットの動力ね。それが未だに判らないのよね」

"Ah, the propulsion. At the moment, I do not understand it works yet."

判らない……? なーんだ、紫様が心配する程の事でも無いじゃない。

She doesn't understand? Well, it looks like they're nothing for Lady Yukari to worry about after all.

「どうやら、動力は三段の筒状のエネルギーらしいの。今、咲夜に探させているけど、貴方も何か思い当たる物があったら教えて欲しい」

"It seems we need some form of energy source that comes in a three-stage tube. I had Sakuya search for more information just now, but if you know anything about it, I want you to tell me."

「……何故、私にそんな話を? 私が協力するかどうか判らないでしょ?」

"...Why would you ask me? And how do you know if I would cooperate with you?"

「あら、貴方だって月を見てみたいと思っているでしょう? 月の民達に一泡吹かせたいと思っているでしょう?」

"Oh, but did you not want to see the moon? Do you not want to help with the surprise attack on the Lunarians?"

月の民……。二、三年ほど前から月の民と名乗る者達が竹林に住み着いている。

The Lunarians... About two or three years ago some others who called themselves that took up residence in the bamboo forest.

私は、あの者達が幻想郷では異質な者であるようにしか思えない。

I could only think of them as not entirely suited to Gensokyo.

吸血鬼の監視をしようと思っているが、それは紫様の真意を知る為である。決して、月の民の味方になりたい訳ではないのだが……吸血鬼のロケットの完成を邪魔する事は、結果としてあの者たちの味方になってしまうのだろうか。

I had thought to survey the vampire doings, but that was so I could understand Lady Yukari's motives. I would never want to be branded as an ally to the Lunarians, but if I did interfere with the rocket's completion, that just might happen as a result.

ひとまず、何か思いついたら協力するとだけ言って、紅魔館を後にした。

For the time being, I merely told her I would let her know if I came across anything, and left the mansion.

——博麗神社へ続く道。

-The road that leads to Hakurei Shrine.

夜も更け、夜目が利かない人間の姿は殆ど見あたらない。

The night had only deepened, humans, whose eyes were poorly suited for seeing in the dark, were scarce to be seen here.

この辺りは住んでいる人間も無く、適度に生えた木が不気味な陰影を作り、格好の肝試しスポットだ。

As no humans lived in this area and the trees that grew here created ominous shadow, it was a popular spot for tests of courage.

私は幽霊には慣れているが(そもそも半分幽霊だが)、暗いところは苦手である。

While I am used to ghosts (being half-ghost myself), I do not handle dark places very well.

そんな私が何故、夜道を歩いているかと言うとそれには訳がある。

So for those who are wondering why I am walking this dark path, there is a reason.

紅魔館近辺にてロケットの監視を行っていたら、メイドの咲夜が出てきたのだ。

It is part of my surveillance of the rocket being constructed at the Scarlet Devil Mansion. The maid Sakuya has left on an errand concerning it.

私は後を追った。

I am following after her.

尾行である。捜査の基本らしい。

In other words, tailing. It seems to be among the basics of investigation.

自慢じゃないが尾行は得意である。半分人間半分幽霊だから、それぞれの気配が薄いのだ。

I don't mean to boast, but I am skilled in tailing. As I am half-human and half-ghost, the presences of both are less noticeable than a full one.

パチュリーは「ロケットの動力は、咲夜に探させている」と言っていた。咲夜の後を追えば、何か掴めるかも知れない。

Patchouli said that she had Sakuya search for more information on the rocket's propulsion system, so if I follow her, I might be able to learn something myself.

なぜ、紫様は吸血鬼達の監視を依頼してきたのか。

Why did Lady Yukari request the surveillance of the vampire's house?

「——で、そこのストーカーはいつまで見つかっていないと思っているの?」

"I wonder how long our little stalker will continue to believe she has not been spotted."

「およ?」

"Oh?"

見つかってしまったので尾行は中断せざるを得ない。捜査内容を尾行から聞き込みに変更する事にした。聞き込みも捜査の基本らしい。

If I've been spotted, I have no choice but to stop tailing. I will have to change my methods of investigation from tailing to interrogation. Interrogation also seems to be among the basics of investigation.

「へぇ、なんで貴方がロケットの事を知っているの? ……もしかして」

"Oh, so how do you know about our rocket? Perhaps..."

「監視……じゃなくて、ええっと……」

"Surveillan... oh, wait. I mean..."

「貴方達もあの狐に月侵略の話を持ちかけられたのね?」

"Did that fox come to you with a story of invading the moon as well?"

「はい?」

"Excuse me?"

「うちにも来たのよ。一緒に月を侵略しないかって」

"Because she came to us, too. She suggested we invade the moon together."

「そ、それは……」

"W-Well, that is..."

そういえば、狐は吸血鬼に共同作戦を持ちかけたと言っていた。

Now I remembered. The fox mentioned wanting to form an alliance with the vampire and her servants.

そこも何か違和感を覚える。

There seemed something strange about that.

何故、吸血鬼に持ちかけたのだろうか。

Why would she ask the vampire?

何故、最初に幽々子様の方に持ちかけなかったのだろうか。

Why wouldn't she ask Lady Yuyuko first?

「でも、残念ね。うちはうちで別途月の都に侵略することになったの。オリジナルのロケットを造ってね。貴方達も月に行くと言うのなら、ロケット完成よりも早く行かないと、月の都はお嬢様の物よ」

"Regrettable as you may see it, we have already formed our own plans for invading the moon. We are even making an original rocket. If you say you wish to go as well, please refrain from going before we complete it, as Milady has already laid claim to the Lunar Capital."

「いや、私達は月に行くつもりはありませんが……それでロケットはいつ完成するんです?」

"No, we weren't planning on going to the moon, but when will your rocket be finished?"

「うーん。ロケットに必要な重要な物が見つかっていないのよ……って、何で貴方にそんな事教えなければいけないのかしら」

"Hmmm... There is something important that we have been unable to find. But why should I have to tell you?"

「重要な物が見つかっていない……」

"Something important you have not been able to find..."

「そんな事メモしてどうするのよ」

"Why are you making a memo of it? What are you going to do with it?"

「いやまぁ、何となく」

"Ah, um, nothing really."

咲夜は神社の方へ消えてしまった。夜道は怖いので深追いは避ける事にした。

Sakuya disappeared toward the direction of the shrine. I was scared of travelling at night so I followed quickly to avoid being left too far behind.

——香霖堂。

-Kourindo.

人里から離れた所にある古物屋である。

An antique store separated from the human village.

古物と言っても売っている物が古いとは限らない。その辺で拾った物を何でも取り扱っている店である。

While it is an antique store, it sells more than antiques. It deals in anything its owner has been able to scavenge.

拾った物とは建前で、本当は故買屋なんじゃないかと思う。

The scavenged articles lay in front of the building, making one think it might be more a place that buys stolen goods.

「え? 咲夜さんが買っていった物が何か知りたいだって?」

"Huh? You want to know what Miss Sakuya bought from here?"

「ええ。最近ちょくちょく訪れているのは知っています。そこで、何を買っていったのか出来るだけ詳細も」

"Yes. I know she has been frequenting this store as of late. I want as many details as possible."

「生憎だけど、このような店でも顧客のプライベートは守らないといけないのでね」

"I'm sorry to say this, but a store like this must respect the privacy of our customers."

「……ううむ。自分で探すしかないのね」

"...Hmm. I guess I will have to search for myself."

店内を見回した。

I looked around the inside of the store.

無機質な鉄の箱、ガラスの輪、緑色の薄い板。

Cold, iron boxes, glass rings and thin, green plates.

およそ商品とは思えない物ばかりである。

This store was filled with such things that could not be thought as desirable for purchase.

「……この店でロケットに関する物って何だろう……」

"...What could be related to rockets in this store...?"

「おや、君もロケットについて調べているのかい? それならアポロ計画の本が一番良いんだけど」

"Oh, so you're looking for research about rockets, too? In that case, a book about the Apollo program would be just what you need."

「アポロ計画……?」

"The Apollo program...?"

「アポロ計画とは、ロケットを月まで飛ばす計画の事だよ」

"It was a project that aimed to fly a rocket to the moon."

「そ、その本を見せてください!」

"P-Please show me that book!"

「それがねぇ。残念だが、今は切らしているんだ。全部買われてしまってね」

"Well, sorry to say, but we're sold out right now. They've all been bought up."

誰が買っていったかなんて、火を見るより明らかだ。

Whoever it was that bought these books was clearer than glass.

「そ、そうですか……」

"I-I see..."

吸血鬼のロケットはその本を元にしているに違いない。

The vampire's rocket must be based on what is written in those books. I was certain of it.

なるほど、何故月ロケットが急激に進行したのか判った気がする。吸血鬼達は、外の世界のロケット計画を手本に月ロケットを完成させ、月を目指しているのだ。

I felt I was beginning to understand reason for the sudden progress on the rocket. The vampire and her cohorts had obtained those books about this project from the outside world and used them for their own rocket.

とすると、紫様の懸念は外のロケットにあると考えられないだろうか。

This means that Lady Yukari is probably worried if there were rockets in the outside world, too.

外のロケットを完成させられては困る何かがあるのではないか。

If they've completed a rocket that can go to the moon in the outside world, that might cause trouble for her.

うーん。ここでロケットの本が手に入らないのが悔やまれる。

Hmm, it was truly a shame I was unable to find any of these books for myself.

後もう一息で何が起きているのか判るかも知れないというのに。

Just a little more effort and I might have even been to figure out what was about to happen.

「ま、アポロ計画の本は殆ど無くなっちゃったけど、代わりに似たような本ならあるよ。内容はさほど変わらないと思う」

"Well, even though all the books about the Apollo program are gone, I have some books that have almost the same contents. I don't think there's much of a difference at all."

「え? そ、それください」

"Huh? Th-Then let me have one of those, please."

——白玉楼。

-Hakugyokurou.

「で、妖夢。何の本を読んでるのかしら?」

"And what would that book you are reading happen to be about, Youmu?"

「あ、幽々子様。き、今日は雨が降っていますので、少し勉学にいそしもうと」

"Ah, Lady Yuyuko. S-Since it was raining today, I thought I would study a little."

そう言って、読んでいた本を隠した。幽々子様は監視しなくていいと言っていたのに、私は内緒で吸血鬼達の監視を行っていたのだ。この本を読んでいる事は不自然である。

I hid the book while I told her. While she did not tell me I should not investigate the doings of the vampire, I still did it in secret. If she noticed what book I was reading, it would be unnatural.

「勉学! 呆れたわ。つまんないの。そんな事より、今日は中秋の名月だからお団子捏ねておいてね」

"Studying? I'm shocked! Do not bother with such dull things, and instead busy yourself with preparing the dumplings for tonight's viewing of the harvest moon.

私は頷くと、幽々子様は部屋から出て行った。

I nodded and she left the room.

再び本に目を落とした。

Then my eyes returned to the book.

「——ソユーズ計画。アポロ計画に敗れ、ついに月到達計画は幻となる。技術的にはアポロ計画より優れていたとも言われている。もし、アポロより先に月に到達していれば、世界は大きく変わっていたかもしれない」

"The Soyuz spacecraft. After the end of the Apollo program, any further plans to reach the moon also became nothing more than fantasy. However, rockets used for the Soyuz spacecraft was said to have been even more technologically advanced than the rockets used in the Apollo program. If it had reached the moon before the Apollo program, it might have had a significant effect on history."

香霖堂で手に入れた本には、アポロ計画とは別のロケット計画の事が書かれていた。

The book I bought from Kourindo was about the Apollo program as well as another kind of rocket.

ソユーズとアポロのロケットの形状には余り大きな差は無いらしい。

It appeared that there were no major differences in shape between the Soyuz and Apollo rockets.

上段になるほど小さくなる、三段の筒。間違いない、吸血鬼は外のロケットを参考にしている。

It was a three-stage tube that became thinner as it reached the tip. This confirmed my belief that the vampire had used the rockets from the outside world as a reference for hers.

つまり、仕組みもこれと大差は無いだろう。

This meant that the construction must be more or less the same.

専門用語が多く理解に苦しんだが、私が一番気になっていた動力が書かれている部分を探し出した。

I was worried that the abundance of technical terms would make it difficult to understand, but I was able to find the section about which I was most curious, the propulsion system.

どうやら、使い捨ての燃料を取り付け、火を付けて飛ばすらしい。花火のような物だろう。

It seemed to be furnished with disposable fuel that flew when ignited. Much like fireworks.

月に行くという魔術的な行為に不釣り合いな、しかし驚くほどシンプルな答えだった。

Going to the moon seemed to be something that would be difficult to do with magic, but the answer was surprisingly simple.

「そんなんで良ければ、火薬でも積み込めばすぐにでも飛ばせるんじゃないのかなぁ。余り乗り心地は良く無さそうだけど」

"If it's like that, then wouldn't filling it with gunpowder get them there soon enough? It might be rather uncomfortable though."

花火の上に家を載せて空を飛ぶ妄想を、私を呼ぶ声が切り裂いた。

While I pictured a house placed on fireworks flying through the air, my thoughts were interrupted by a voice calling for me.

「妖夢ー。お団子まだなのー?」

"Youmuuuu! Are the dumplings ready yeeeeet?"

「はいはい。今行きますよ」

"Yes, ma'am. I am coming."

今宵は中秋の名月である。暦上は。

Tonight was the night of the harvest moon. According to the calendar, at least.

しかし、このままでは名月は楽しめないだろう。雨は小降りになったが未だ止まない。たとえ止んだとしても、雲が晴れるかどうか。

However, it likely wouldn't be possible to enjoy its glow if this poor weather continued. It had been drizzling for quite some time and had yet to stop falling. Even if the rain stopped, it was unsure if the clouds would also break up.

ちなみに団子を捏ねるのは好きだ。

But regardless, I enjoy rolling the dumplings.

蒸した後のつるつるな触感を捏ねるのは気持ちが良い。触っているだけで幸せになる。

Feeling the slippery smoothness after they had been steamed felt good. Just touching them made me happy.

「ねぇ、そろそろお供え物の準備は出来た?」

"Hey, is tonight's offering ready yet?"

「あ、幽々子様。いらしたのですか? あともう少しだけ掛かりそうです」

"Oh, Lady Yuyuko. How long have you been there? It will only take a little while longer."

幽々子様が急かしに来た。

She rushed over to me.

「早くしないと始まっちゃうわよ? 今日は中秋の名月なんだから」

"Don't we have to start soon? It's the night of the harvest moon, after all."

月見が始まると言うより、お腹が空いているだけの様な気がする。

I had the feeling she was not as anxious to see the moon as she was hungry.

「暦上ではそうですが……。最近の天気を見ていると、今夜も雨になると思いますよ」

"Yes, according to the calendar, but seeing how the weather has been lately, I believe it will be raining tonight, too."

私は窓の外を指した。二、三日前から続いている秋雨にお月見は絶望的だと思われた。

I pointed to the window. As the rain had continued for the past two or three days, I felt having a moon-viewing ceremony tonight was hopeless.

「そんなこと判っているわよ。大体、中秋の名月って言うけど、この時期って昔から天気が悪いのが普通なのよ。十年のうち九年は雨が降って見られない、と言われる程なの。つまり、実際は殆ど見られないのも名月たる所以……」

"Yes, I realize that. It is normal for the weather to be poor around the time of the harvest moon, and has been for many, many years. In fact, it has been said that for nine years out of ten, the moon would be hidden by the clouds. The way it would rarely show itself has made it all the more worthy of being special..."

幽々子様がいつになく饒舌である。お腹が空いているのだろうか。「じゃあ今、私は何の為にお団子を捏ねているのでしょう?」

Lady Yuyuko had become unusually talkative, likely because of her hunger. "So, why am I rolling these dumplings?"

幽々子様はさも当然といった様子で「お団子に食べる以外の用途があるのかしら?」と言った。

She told me matter-of-factly, "For what else are dumplings other than being eaten?"

——夜になって雨は小降りになってきたようだが、やはり月は見えなかった。

-As night came and the rain continued, the moon remained concealed behind the clouds, as I expected.

枯山水の中庭が見える縁側に、団子をお供えした。

We placed the dumplings to be offered on the porch facing the stone garden courtyard.

幽々子様は団子の隣に腰掛けると、早速一つ手で摘まんで口に入れた。

Lady Yuyuko sat beside the dumplings, immediately took one and placed it in her mouth.

「雨月と言ってね。特に雨が長引きやすい中秋の名月は雨が降って月が隠れても、雲の上の名月を想像してお月見を楽しんだのよ」

"This is what is known as 'ugetsu', or 'rainy moon', particularly when the harvest moon has been obscured due to the rain. But even in times like this, we can enjoy imagining what the moon looks like above the clouds."

「苦し紛れの楽しみ方ですね」

"That seems rather desperate to me."

お月見の時に月が見えなかったら私はがっかりする。それが普通ではないだろうか。

Not being able to see the moon during moon-viewing ceremonies leaves me disappointed. Isn't it normal?

「いやいや、その方が風流なのよ。昔から、名月そのものを見るより、丸い物を見て名月を想像する事が風流とされたの。昔の人は、実物より想像の方が何倍も大きく、何倍も美しい事を経験から知っていたのね。料理にお団子一つ付いているだけで名月を想像できたんだから、簡単で良いでしょう?」

"Not at all. It is more refined that way. Since long ago, it has been much more cultured to look at round objects to inspire the imagination and envision the harvest moon rather than see it directly. People would imagine the harvest moon to be many times bigger and beautiful than any they had ever witnessed before. All it takes is a single dumpling, so the simplest method is best, am I right?"

月見うどん、と言えば卵を月に見立てた料理だ。里芋の白煮なんかも、月に見立てて添えられる事がある。

Tsukimi udon, udon noodles with an egg to resemble the moon also comes to mind. Satoimo shironi, also resembling the moon, is a common side dish.

卵うどんの方が美味しそうではあるのだが、わざわざ月見に変えている辺りが風流なのかも知れない。

I enjoy udon with egg, so maybe preparing that instead of having a moon-viewing ceremony might be more refined.

「そして、その究極の形が——そこのある筈の名月を想像する、雨月と言うわけ」

"And then, being able to imagine the most breathtakingly beautiful harvest moon, the one that should be just beyond the clouds, came to be called 'ugetsu'."

幽々子様は指で摘んだお団子を空にかざした。本来なら満月が見える筈の場所である。

Lady Yuyuko took a dumpling between her fingers and held it over her head, placing it where the full moon should have been visible.

雲で隠れて見えない雨月も堪能したところで、お座敷に戻った。

Being satisfied with the ugetsu I couldn't see behind the clouds, we returned inside.

幽々子様が月見酒をしたいと言ったのでその準備をした。

Lady Yuyuko said she wanted to drink the moon-viewing ceremonial sake, so I went to prepare it.

私は、吸血鬼のロケットの進捗状況について、幽々子様に報告した方が良いのか悩んでいた。

As I walked, I thought about the best way to report to her the information I had gathered about the progress the vampire had made with her rocket.

あと一息で、紫様が私達に監視を依頼してきた意図が判りそうなのだが、私一人だけではどうしても考えが纏まらない。

I felt I was very close to understanding Lady Yukari's intention on having us monitor the vampire, but I was unable to put my thoughts in order just on my own.

お酒が入ったところで、私はもう一度、ふた月前の狐が訪問に来た事について話を振った。

After pouring the sake, I once again brought up subject of the fox's visit from two months ago.

「紫は念を入れ過ぎよ。いくら地上にスパイがいるからって」

"Yukari's just being overly worried. She thinks there could be some untold number of spies on Earth or something."

「何か、腑に落ちない依頼でしたね。紫様が直々に吸血鬼達を見張れば良いのに……」

"It was quite an incomprehensible request, was it not? I do not see why she could not have monitored the vampire herself..."

幽々子様は笑っていた。私は鎌をかけて幽々子様の考えを遠回しに探ろうとしたが、全て空振りに終わってしまった。

Lady Yuyuko laughed. I had tried to determine what she was thinking through indirect questions, but it seemed I was being too indirect to elicit any substantial response.

いつもの事だった。幽々子様は何か判っている様に見えるが、実際はただその時の気分で行動を決めているだけなのだ。このままでは何か大変な事になってしまうのではないだろうか。

It was the same as usual. Lady Yuyuko always seems like she knows something, but in actuality, she is merely acting on whatever strikes her fancy. I wondered if anything serious would happen if we left things as they were.

私は意を決して、自分のしてきた事を告白した。

So I resolved my will and confessed about what I had been doing.

ここ二ヶ月、自分でロケットの調査を行い、吸血鬼達の監視を行ってきた事。

I spoke of my investigation of the rocket and the surveillance of the vampire's house for the past two months.

まだロケットは未完成で、飛ぶ為の動力が見つかっていないとの事。

I spoke of how the rocket was incomplete as they were missing a method of propulsion.

しかし、三段の筒状の推進力さえあればロケットは完成し、いつでも飛びだせるとの事。

And I spoke of once they completed a cylindrical, three-stage rocket, they would be able to launch at any time.

幽々子様は目を丸くして聞いていた。私は怒られる覚悟で報告を続けた。

Lady Yuyuko listened to me with her eyes wide open. I continued my report, prepared for her wrath.

怒られても良い。今起こっている事が私に理解できるレベルまで落ちてくれればそれで良い。

I don't mind if she is upset. As long as I am able to bring everything down to my level of comprehension, that will be acceptable.

しかし、幽々子様から飛び出した言葉は、私の想像を遥かに超えた物だった。

But the words that came from her mouth were far beyond my wildest expectations.

「——吸血鬼のロケットを完成させなさい。貴方は、私が言った事を巫女に伝えるだけで、後は自動的に事は進むでしょう」

"...The vampire will not finish her rocket. If you give that message to the shrine maiden, everything will progress on its own."

理解は絶望的になった。

I despaired of ever understanding what was happening.

そして、自分で考えて行動する事は諦めた。

And then, I abandoned the notion of thinking on my own.

幽々子様の希望通り、吸血鬼はロケットを完成させ、紫様より先に月へと向かっていった。

What Lady Yuyuko desired was for the vampire to complete her rocket and leave for the moon before Lady Yukari did.

これで良かったのだろうか。

Would that be wise?

——流されるがまま。私は今、月にいる。

-I surrendered to the flow. Now, I am on the moon.

月の地表は水で満たされ、四方から様々な波を受け複雑な凹凸を見せている。

The surface of the moon is covered in water. I could see waves coming from all directions, interfering with each other and making complex patterns on the surface.

これが海というものか。何という広さだろうか。視界が良好な分、三途の河よりも広く感じた。

Is this the sea? It is so wide. It even seems wider than the Sanzu River, likely because the visibility is better.

何より、想像より月は美しい場所ではない。

But most of all, the moon was more beautiful than I had imagined it to be.

幽々子様が言っていた雨月の事を思い出した。

I remember what Lady Yuyuko said about the ugetsu.

『実物より想像の方が何倍も大きく、何倍も美しい事を経験から知っていたのね』

"People would imagine the harvest moon to be many times bigger and beautiful than any they had ever witnessed before."

「幽々子様……」

"Lady Yuyuko...?"

「ううん? 月の都への行き方が判らないのね?」

"Hmm? Do you not know the way to the Lunar Capital?"

「まあ、判らないですが。それより何故……」

"Not really, but what I wanted to ask was why did..."

「月の都へは簡単には入れないわ。ある特別なルートを通らないと行けないの」

"It will not be easy to enter the Lunar Capital. We need to take a special route."

「幽々子様は、最初から月に来るつもりだったのですか?」

"Did you plan on coming to the moon from the beginning?"

「紫にそう頼まれちゃったからねぇ……。でもここから先が問題なのよー」

"Yukari had asked me to come. But the real problem lies just ahead."

私達は、紅魔館近くの湖に映った月に飛び込みこちら側に来たのだ。どうやら、その月は紫様が用意した入口であった。

We had sneaked into the moon from its reflection in the lake near the Scarlet Devil Mansion. It appeared to be an entrance Lady Yukari had prepared through some method."

幽々子様の行動には不明な点が多く、どうも信頼しきれなかったが、ここまで来たら幽々子様に付いていくしかなかった。

There was still much that was unclear about Lady Yuyuko's actions and I did not place too much confidence in them, but coming this far, I had no choice but to remain by her side."

だが、月に来られた事は少しだけ嬉しかった。

However, I was a little happy to have been able to come here.

私が吸血鬼の監視を独自で行ったのは、心の何処かで羨ましく思っていたのだろう。

As I conducted my independent surveillance on the vampire, I must have started to feel jealous for some reason.

私も自分の目で月を見てみたいと。

It was like a small voice in my head saying, "I want to see the moon, too."

むしろ、自分を置いて吸血鬼達だけが月に行く、という事が悔しかったのかも知れない。

In fact, if the vampire and her entourage were the only ones to go to the moon, I might have felt frustrated.

この時ばかりは幽々子様の自由な行動に感謝した。

In times like this, I was grateful for my mistress's whimsy.

しかし、その感謝した事が後悔に変わったのは、それから数刻経った後の事だった。

However, that gratitude turned into regret as my experience here began to erode my enthusiasm.

私は徹底的に自分と波長の異なる者達に振り回されただけなのだと、強く感じたのであった。

I had been thoroughly tossed about by others on different wavelengths from myself, and the interference felt stronger than ever.

Notes[edit]

  • The Title "Hanshin Hangi" is spellt as 半身半義 (Half-body, Half-honor), which is a pun to the Japanese idiom 半信半疑 (Half trusting, Half doubting).
  • It probably relates to the Half Body's (or Youmu's) hesitance to remain honorable to her mistress and trust in her.


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