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Curiosities of Lotus Asia/Chapter 07

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Page 39-43

< Chapter 06   Curiosities of Lotus Asia   Chapter 08 >

Curiosities of lotus asia 07 01.jpg
Curiosities of lotus asia 07 02.jpg
The condition stated by Rinnosuke in exchange for his repairing of Marisa's Mini-Hakkero with crimson ore was for her to give him her semi-useless metal scraps. He had his mind on them for a long while... The conclusion to Chapter 4, “Drizzly Furnace”!
霧雨の火炉 後編 Drizzly Furnace Second Half
「魔理沙は確か……、ちょっと前にゴミの様な鉄くずを集めていたよな。何に使うのか判らんが」 “If I remember correctly, you were gathering iron scraps a while ago. I have no idea what for, though.”
「宝物の様な鉄くずだぜ」 “That's my iron scrap treasure.”
「どうせ、いつものようにただ集めただけだろう? そこで今回の仕事の条件は、その鉄くずの山と交換だ。どうだ? 邪魔な物も捨てられて良過ぎる条件じゃないか?」 “Anyway, you were gathering them just for the sake of it, like you always do, right? So, my terms this time are that pile of scraps in exchange for your request. How's that? Getting rid of bothersome stuff as payment is an excellent deal, isn't it?”
「宝物だって言ってるだろう? でもまぁ、そのくらいの価値は有るんだな。『ひひいろかね』は」 “Didn't I say that was treasure? But I guess crimson ore is pretty valuable...”
「もともと、その鉄くずには大した価値は無いだろうが、これはサービスみたいなもんだ。何しろそのミニ八卦炉(はっけろ)はだな……」 “Well, for starters, those iron scraps don't really have much value to them, so this job is almost a free bonus. As you know, that Mini-Hakkero...”
「おっと、蘊蓄(うんちく)はいらないぜ」 “Whoa, I don't need an in-depth explanation.”
 魔理沙の性格は判っている。小さい時からずっと見てきたからな。こいつは物が捨てられない奴なんだ。集めた物は整頓も行われずただ(ふく)れていくばかりで……、あれでは物の価値を平坦化させるだけである。今回の条件も散々渋るだろうが、内心では即決している筈だ。整理できるチャンスでもあり、ミニ八卦炉自体もなければ生活出来ないらしいからな。 I know all about Marisa's character. That's because I've been watching her since she was little. She's the type that can't throw things away. And everything she gathers just piles up with no hint of order... All that does is even out the value of everything. Although she seems terribly hesitant about my terms, deep inside she must want to agree right away. It would give her a chance to tidy up a little, and it seems she can't live without the Mini-Hakkero.
「私があの鉄くず集めるのに、どれだけ苦労したか知らないだろ?」 “Do ya have any idea of the trouble I went through to gather all those iron scraps?”
「持っているだけじゃ、その苦労を無駄にする様なものだよ」 “If you're just going to keep them, then all these troubles were for nothing.”
「集める事が目的なんだよ。使う事は考えてないぜ」 “Just gatherin' stuff was my goal. Never thought about usin' them.”
「じゃぁ、目的はもう達成済みじゃないか。その鉄くずは僕が有効に成仏させてやるよ」 “Then haven't you already achieved your goal? Just let these iron scraps rest in peace with me.”
「何か(あや)しいな。ひひいろかねは稀少じゃなかったのか?」 “Somethin's fishy here. Wasn't crimson ore a very rare metal?”
「君には頭が上がらない理由も有る。この程度の条件で手を打っておかないと、後が怖いじゃないか」 “There's also a good reason for you to agree. If you let such an opportunity pass, aren't you afraid of what's going to happen later?”
「遠慮なんか、しなくてもいいんだがな」 “Y'know, you don't have to hold back.”
 「修復には四日かかる」と言うと、魔理沙は「それまでこの本でも読むぜ」と言って売り物の本を持って帰って行った。うちは図書館ではないんだがな。 When I said “The repairs will take four days.”, Marisa replied with “I'll be readin' this book until then.”, and grabbed one of my books for sale on her way out. This isn't a library, you know...
 さて、これは久々の大仕事である。最近は滅多に仕事も無いし客も来ないので、このままでは自分の〝能力〟も(くさ)ってしまう。そう、〝未知のアイテムの名称と用途が判る程度の能力〟だ。普通の道具屋ではこの能力は()かせないかと思って、珍品も扱う店を開いたのだが……、珍品は奇人を集めただけだった。それにこの能力、ちょっと問題が有って……実は名称と用途がわかっても使用方法が判らないのだ。まぁ、道具なんて用途さえ判れば何とかなるもんだが。 Well then, this is the first big job I've had in a long time. I've had hardly any work or customers lately. If it keeps up like this, my “ability” will end up waning; my “ability to the extent of knowing the name and utility of any unknown item”. Since I thought that I couldn't make the most of this ability at a normal shop, I opened a shop dealing with curiosities and rare articles, but... curiosities only attract eccentrics. And this ability too has a small problem... The truth is that, even though I can know the name and purpose of something, I won't know exactly how to use it. Well, if I at least know an item's utility, I can find some way to use it.
 (きのこ)汁の(あや)しく良い匂いが(ただよ)っている。食事の準備をしながらミニ八卦炉のことを考えていた。このミニ八卦炉はただの八卦炉ではなく、いろいろな効果が出る様改良してある。炉の一角から風が吹き、夏には涼む事も出来る。持ってるだけで魔除けや開運の効果も有る(と思う)。何しろ外の世界のそういう〝用途〟のアイテムを溶かして混ぜてあるのだ。これらは僕のサービス(趣味)である。……さぁ、食事が終わったら早速取り掛かるとするか。 The mushroom soup's suspiciously good smell was drifting about the room. While preparing dinner, I thought about the Mini-Hakkero. This Mini-Hakkero wasn't just a normal furnace, it was made with a lot of improvements and special qualities. Wind blows from one of the reactor's corners, so you can also use it to cool yourself during summer. And just by holding it, it works as an amulet for protection and good fortune (I think). Anyway, it combines many of the “utilities” of outside world items. These are all part of my customer service (hobbies). Alright, I'll start on it as soon as I finish dinner.
 それから三日たった。今日は晴れだ。(あか)りを消して本を読むに限る、とはこういう日のことである。 Three days later. Today is sunny. It's the kind of day for reading a book with the lights off.
――カランカラン Knock, knock.
「香霖、出来たか?」 “Done, Kourin?”
「魔理沙か、ああ、出来てるよ」 “Marisa? Yes, it's done.”
 魔理沙が鉄くずを抱えてやってきた。しかも四日かかると言ったのに三日で来た。まぁそれもいつもの事だ。だから僕はいつも一日多く言う。 Marisa was carrying the metal scraps in her arms. And even though I said it would take four days, she came back in three. Oh well, she's always like that. That's why I always say it takes a day longer.
「おお、悪いね。これはここに置くよ。もし出来てなかったらまた持ち帰る所だったぜ」 “Great, thanks. I'll put these here. If ya weren't done, I would've had to take all this back.”
「一日早く来て理不尽(りふじん)な文句を言うなよ。それに、また持ち帰る理由も判らんな」 “You shouldn't make such unreasonable complaints when you come a day early. Besides, I don't see why you would have to take them back.”
「完成品と交換という約束だからな」 “Because the promise was to give them to ya for the finished product.”
「まぁいい、これが緋々色金(ひひいろかね)のミニ八卦炉だよ。多分世界に一つしか無い」 “Well, whatever. This is the crimson ore Mini-Hakkero. Probably the only one in the world.”
 魔理沙は、これがひひいろかねか、と興奮している。落ち着きなく嬉しそうにしながら、珍しくすぐに帰って行った。 Marisa became so excited and was all “So this is crimson ore, huh?”. She was so pleased she wouldn't calm down, and went straight back for home, oddly enough.
 ――数日後。魔理沙はまだ上機嫌が続いていた。 Several days later, Marisa's happy mood continued.
「何か目覚めが良い。空気が美味いぜ」と喜んでくれる。 “I feel so good when I wake up! The air's so great!”, she said happily.
 いや何、これだけ喜んでくれれば貴重な緋々色金を使った甲斐があったというもの。わざわざ交換条件にしなくても良かったかもと思った。 Well, then. I thought that if using my precious crimson ore made her this happy, then I could've gone without asking for anything in exchange.
 実は今回、魔理沙には内緒で〝空気を綺麗にするというアイテム〟を溶かして混ぜたのである。そのアイテムは、マイナスイオンとかいう謎の呪文が書いてあったりと、どうやって使用するのか判らなかったが、かろうじて機能している様である。アイテムなんてものは名称と用途さえ判れば、後はどうとでもなるものなのだ。 As a matter of fact, this time I secretly mixed in the power of an “item that makes the air cleaner”. This mysterious charm had “minus ion” or something like that written on it, and I couldn't quite fathom its manner of use. At least it seemed to be functioning. Knowing the name and purpose of an item, I can manage the rest later some way or another. [1]
「香霖。本当に良いのか? こんな効果もあるなんて、これ、かなり稀少な金属なんじゃ……」 “Hey, Kourin. Is it really okay? For it to work so well, this metal must be really precious...”
「緋々色金は稀少だけど、君の言う様な効果は無いよ。金属なんて()め込んだって、何かの道具にしなけりゃただの鉄くずさ。君にはその事が判らない様だね」 “Crimson ore is indeed rare, but it's not as efficient as you say. Metal is something that, if you just pile it up without ever using it to make a tool, is nothing but a bunch of scraps. This is something you don't seem to understand.”
「どうせ私は集める事だけが目的だ。使えるかどうかなんてのは二の次だよ」 “But my goal is just gatherin' stuff. Whether I can use it or not comes later.”
「使えるかどうか、じゃない。肝心なのは使うかどうかだよ」 “It's not whether you can use it or not. The important thing is whether you will use it or not.”
「じゃあ、私が持ってきたその鉄くずは使うのか? 放置してあるけど」 “So, are ya goin' to use the iron scraps that I brought ya? Looks like ya've barely even touched them.”
 僕が魔理沙に頭が上がらない理由。それはいつも、蒐集癖(しゅうしゅうへき)のある魔理沙が集めるゴミを〝不当に安い条件〟で僕が手に入れているからに過ぎない。どうせ魔理沙には細かい材質の違いなど判らないからな。この鉄くずだって、本来交換条件など成立するような代物ではないのだ。 I have a reason to be indebted to Marisa. It's nothing more than the fact that I always end up obtaining garbage that she obsessively collects through “unfair deals”. At any rate, it's not like Marisa would understand things like the small differences in the properties of materials. Those iron scraps normally would not have been worth bargaining over.
 ただ魔理沙が成長していく度に、いつかバレるんじゃないかと不安に思っていたのだが……。魔理沙は何にも変わらない。(いま)だ集めるだけだ。これだけ変わらない人間も珍しいと思う。 It's just that as Marisa grew up, I was afraid that she would end up finding out... But Marisa hasn't changed one bit. She's still just collecting stuff. A human that doesn't change even a little is a rare sight.
「何だよ、人の顔見て。使うのか? 使わないのか?」 “Don't just stare at me like that. Are ya gonna use 'em or not?”
「そうだな。記念に使わないで取っておいてやろうかな」 “I'm not sure. I guess I'll keep them there as a memento.”
「さっきと言ってる事違うぜ」 “That's not what ya said before...”
 鉄くずの中から一振(ひとふ)りの古びた剣を取り出した。魔理沙が緋々色金を知っていた訳がない。何故(なぜ)なら、この剣は緋々色金で出来ているのだ。魔理沙はずっと昔から緋々色金で出来た剣を持っていたのだ。 From the middle of the iron scraps, I pulled out an old sword. There's no way Marisa would really know about crimson ore. That's because this sword is made of it. Marisa always had a sword made of the very metal she wanted in her possession since long ago.
 この剣、名前は「草薙(くさなぎ)(つるぎ)」という。恐ろしく稀少な品だ。何しろ、外の世界を変えてしまう程の品である。魔理沙は気が付かないうちに大変なものを手に入れていたのだ。そこで魔理沙に持たせていたらどうなるのか判らないから、僕が預かっておく事にしたという訳だ。我ながら正しい判断だと思う。 This is “The Sword of Kusanagi”, and it's a horribly precious item. One that could change the outside world, at least. While unaware of it, Marisa had a very precious thing right under her nose. Since I have no idea what would happen if I let her keep holding on to it, I wanted to keep it in my custody. Even if I say so myself, I believe this is the right decision.
「どうした? さっきからそんな汚い剣を持ってニヤついて。気持ち悪いな」 “Whazza matter? You're just smirkin' and holdin' that dirty sword. It's kinda creepy.”
「あ、ああ。この剣は良いな、と思って」 “Ah... uh, I just think it's a nice sword.”
「そんなボロい剣じゃ、大したもん斬れないだろ」 “A beat-up sword like that? I bet it can't cut anythin'.”
「この剣、名前が無きゃ駄目だなぁ。君の宝物のくずだったし、『霧雨の剣』にしておこうか」 “We can't keep this sword nameless, can we? It was one of your garbage treasures, so what if I name it ‘The Sword of Kirisame’?”
「なんだ? 嫌味か?」 “What? Are ya bein' sarcastic?”
「良い物だと言っている」 “I'm telling you it's a nice sword.”
「そろそろ香霖の名前が判る能力が鈍ってきたか。まぁ、良いけどな。ただ、私に遠慮しなくてもいいぜ、香霖の剣とかでも良いんじゃないのか? 私はもう実家には戻らないぜ」 “I think your ability to know names might be gettin' dull, too, Kourin. Oh well, whatever. But you don't have to be so reserved around me. Can't you just call it ‘The Sword of Kourin’ or somethin'? I'm not goin' back to live with my parents, y'know.”
「遠慮なんか……してないさ」 “I'm not... being reserved.”
 魔理沙を騙してばっかじゃ後が怖いから、予防線を張ってるだけである。魔理沙が成長して騙していた事がばれたとしても、返せと言われない様にする為だ。他にも命が短い方の名前を使わないと意味がない、というのも有るが……。 It's just that since I just fooled Marisa and am afraid of what may happen later, I'm putting my guard up. So that even if she finds out she has been fooled when she grows up, she doesn't come asking for it back. And besides, if I don't give it a short-lived name, then there's no point to it.
 ただ、香霖堂にまた一つ非売品が増えてしまった。店内が非売品だらけになってしまったら、魔理沙の蒐集癖の事を強く言えなくなってしまうだろう。僕も集める事だけが目的になってしまう……それだけが心配だ。 But then, Kourindou's collection of items not for sale has just increased by one. If the shop becomes full of these, I won't be able to speak up against Marisa's collecting obsession. It appears that collecting for the sake of collecting is becoming my objective, too. That alone worries me.


  1. "Minus Ion" is one of those pseudo-scientific fads that takes root in Japanese media from time to time. The idea is that air pollution has an excess of positive ions ("plus ions"), and that those consume the body's negative ions ("minus ions"), so the Japanese have a lot of trinkets in the market that are supposed to spew negatively charged ions to "clean" the air.
< Chapter 06   Curiosities of Lotus Asia   Chapter 08 >