Curiosities of Lotus Asia/Chapter 32

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第五話 春の自由人と、良心的な悪夢 Chapter 5: The Free-sprits of Spring, and the Upfront Nightmare
私の住んでいる街は雪が積もることは少なく、積もったとしても根雪になることはまず無い。だから春によって街が目覚めるということを理解しづらく、春はただ、桜と花粉の季節となっている。 The city I live in doesn't get much snow, and what little there is doesn't linger on into spring. So when spring does come, there's not much sense that the city is waking up from winter or anything like that. It's just the season of flowers and pollen.
春休みと言えば、長期休みの中では一番開放的な休みである。進学先、就職先の決まった者達が学生の身分を捨て、苟且の自由人を味わう期間であり、進級生も、うやむやにされる形だけの宿題を享受するだけで、自動的に先輩という絶大な権力が付加されるのである。上手くいかなかった一年をリセットし、再チャレンジの準備期間、それが春休みである。それだけに、意識の低い者達が遊んではしゃぐだけの期間になってしまっている。 Of all the long holidays, spring break is the most liberating. Those entering university or new jobs toss aside their identity as students and savor their temporary freedom. Even those simply moving up a grade are granted all the prestige of being an upperclassman simply by accepting the homework that's only even assigned for the sake of appearances. It's a chance to reset a year that didn't go so well and prepare to retake the challenge. That's what spring break is. And yet despite all that, it's become nothing more than a time for the narrow-minded to make merry.
春に起こる生命の目覚めは、浮かれた似非自由人によって穢されてしまったのだ。そもそも、何故学校は4月から始まるようになってしまったのだろうか。多くの国がそうしているように、一番長い夏休みの後からでも、何なら暦どおり一月からでも、良かったのでは無いだろうか。 The reawakening of life in spring has been corrupted by the partying of the pseudo-free-spirits. Why does the school year start in April anyway? Most countries do this, and while there are others that start after the long summer break, why can't we just follow the calendar and start in January?
だからといって、私は春休みが嫌いなわけではない。春休みにだけ現れる似非自由人とは違い、私は本当の自由人である。SNSで他人の行動を監視して嫉妬する事や、自分のお気に入りの作品を貶されて作者でもないのに何故か憤慨してしまうような、そんな共感を必要としていない。人々が浮かれる春休みの間、別世界に行って本来の春を味わう事が出来るのだから。雪深い幻想郷では、さぞかし生命力に満ちた美しい春が待っている事だろう。そんな期待を持って幻想郷に行ったのだが、実に不思議な出来事が起きたのだ。 That said, it's not like I hate spring break. Unlike those pseudo-free-spirits who only show up during spring break, I have true freedom. I don't waste my energy being jealous of other people on social media, or getting angry on the author's behalf when someone insults a work I really like. While everyone else is partying away spring break, I can simply travel to another world and enjoy spring the traditional way. The snow-covered Gensoyko I know will have the most beautiful spring, overflowing with life. Or so I thought, but in reality I was greeted with a strange occurrence.
「――で、外の世界ではもう桜が咲いているのか」 "So, are the cherry blossoms in the outside world already blooming then?"
「そうねー、今年は冬が寒かったけど、三月に入ってから急に暖かくなったからねぇ」 "Yup. Winter was pretty cold this year, but it suddenly warmed up as soon as we hit March."
「いいなぁ、いつか外の世界で花見をしてみたいぜ」 "Nice. I wish I could go see the flowers in the outside world someday."
神社で、霧雨魔理沙と宇佐見菫子が話していた。 Marisa Kirisame and Sumireko Usami were talking at the shrine.
「やだやだ、外の世界の花見なんて、そんなに楽しい物じゃないわよ。公園で似非自由人達が昼間から酒呑んで騒いでるだけで、花見だなんて風流な呼び方は花に対して失礼だと思う」 "Oh, no you don't. Outside world flower viewings aren't any fun at all. It's just pseudo-free-spirits getting smashed and making noise in a public park. Frankly I think calling it anything as elegant as a flower viewing is just rude to the flowers."
「似非、自由人?」 " spirits?"
「あ、いや、普通の人って意味よ。普段は社会的通念が邪魔をして、昼間から外で酒を呑んだり出来ないような普通の人が、一時的に許されてそれをやっているという意味での自由人」 "Oh, I mean normal people. Normal in the sense that they know that society wouldn't normally let them just drink all day, so they're getting their taste of freedom during the one time they can get away with it."
「なる程、よく判らん」 "I get it. Well, no I don't."
「社会的通念が放棄されているから、みんな騒ぐわゴミをそのままにするわ、酷いもんよ」 "They've been liberated from society's norms, so they just make noise like the garbage they are. It's awful."
菫子は愚痴を言っている様だが、何故か嬉しそうである。 Sumireko was complaining, but seemed happy for some reason.
「幻想郷の花見はきっと美しいんだろうなー」 "I'm sure the flower viewings in Gensokyo are exquisite."
「つっても、外の世界の花見を知らんからなぁ。何処も一緒じゃないのか? 花見って言ったって、花なんて誰も見ていないぜ。みんな酒と肴に夢中だからな。花より団子って奴だ。それにもの凄く騒ぐぜ、バカみたいに」 "Eh, I don't know how they do things in the outside world, but I don't think it's much different anywhere, is it? I mean, they call it a 'flower viewing' but it's not like anyone cares about the flowers. It's all about drinking and eating. Dumplings before flowers, y'know? Plus, just making a crazy ruckus, like idiots."
「あら、思ったより外の世界と大差なさそうな」 "Oh. That sounds closer to the outside world than I thought."
菫子は少し残念そうだ。 Sumireko looked disappointed.
「神社はまだまだだが、麓の方は少しずつ春めいているぜ。まだ花見をする時期じゃ無いけどさ、幻想郷の春を見たければ、色々見てきたらどうだ?」 "Spring's still a little late at the shrine, but it's been getting there at the foot of the mountain. This ain't really the season for flower viewing, but if you really wanna see spring in Gensokyo, why not take a look around?"
――雪が溶け、少しだけ地面が見えている。古道具屋、香霖堂には、神社より一足早く春が訪れようとしていた。 ...Little by little, the ground was becoming visible under the melting snow. Apparently spring had come to the secondhand store Kourindou a little earlier than the shrine.
「もうそろそろ、ストーブの季節も終わりだな」 "Looks like I won't be needing to use the stove much longer."
香霖堂の森近霖之助は、必然的に引き籠もる事が出来る冬が終わるのを寂しく思っていた。だが、春になったとしてもやることは変わらない。居心地の良い自分のお店に引き籠もり、趣味である読書を堪能するだけだ。 Kourindou's Rinnosuke Morichika was already missing that winter gave him an excuse to hole himself up. However, spring changed nothing for him. All that remained was to shut himself up in his cozy store with a good book.
霖之助は、お気に入りの小説を手に取った。現実に起こりえないような殺人事件が描かれた小説、推理小説だった。外の世界の小説のため、法律や職業、生活様式、小道具にいたるあらゆる部分で理解が困難であったが、それがファンタジックで楽しいのだ。 Rinnosuke had gotten a hold of a type of novel he liked. They would describe a murder that could never happen in reality, also known as detective fiction. It was difficult to understand because he wasn't at all familiar with outside world laws, professions, lifestyles, or even the props used, but that itself made them seem fantastic and therefore enjoyable.
その中で、特に気に入っていたのが、探偵や刑事がよく口に咥える描写がある、煙草だった。煙草を咥えて思考を整理するシーンは、事件の難しさを想像させるには十分だった。もしこれが煙草ではなくて、千歳飴や焼き鳥ではとても格好が付かないだろう。 And what especially interested him was how the cops and detectives were often portrayed with a cigarette hanging from their mouths. Those scenes of them putting their thoughts together with a cigarette clenched in their lips perfectly depicted just how difficult the case was. It certainly wouldn't be the same if they were sucking on candy canes or chicken skewers instead.
しかし幻想郷にある煙草はキセルであって、かろうじて香霖堂には水煙草の道具がある程度である。紙巻き煙草と呼ばれる、シガレットというものが流れ着くことは殆ど無い。何故なら完全な消耗品であるシガレットは道具ではない為、不要になってもタダのゴミとなるだけで、幻想郷には流れ着きにくいのだろう。 However, while in Gensokyo there are tobacco pipes, and Kourindou had somehow managed to obtain a hookah, the little rolled up version called a cigarette hardly ever turned up in Gensokyo. He assumed it was because they were too disposable to be considered a tool, and would be more likely to end up in the trash than Gensokyo.
それでも、ごく稀に何かの荷物に紛れて流れ着くこともある。香霖堂には、何本か本物のシガレットをストックしていた。これは売り物でもあるが、非常に高価であり、それゆえ売れることは無かった。霖之助はその高価なシガレットを一本手に取り、マッチで火を着けた。 Even so, sometimes even extremely rare goods wash up in Gensokyo, and Kourindou stocked a number of authentic cigarettes. Technically they were for sale, but their price was so high that they couldn't be sold. Rinnosuke grabbed one of these expensive cigarettes and lit it with a match.
「煙草の煙で目が染みる中、お気に入りの小説を読む。これが、贅沢な時間の使い方って奴だ。春が来た記念だな」 "Reading a good novel while my eyes are stinging with tobacco smoke. This, my friend, is a life of luxury. It's time to welcome the spring in style."
――チリンチリン。 Ding-a-ling.
「いらっしゃい。おお、菫子君か」 "Welcome. Oh, is that you, Sumireko?"
「どうもー。思ったより寒かったわ。春が来たと言っても、まだまだ雪だらけねぇ」 "Hi there. It's colder than I thought here. It's supposed to be spring, but the ground's still covered in snow."
「残雪、は春を意味する言葉だよ。春だからといって、雪が全てなくなる訳では無い」 "Unmelted snow is just another sign of spring. It just wouldn't be spring without any snow."
「へえ、知らなかったわ。こっちは都会育ちなんでねぇ……」 "Oh? Is that how it works? I've always been a city girl."
菫子は店内を漂う煙をかいで、眉をひそめた。 Sumireko then smelled the smoke wafting through the store and furrowed her brow.
「……この匂い、もしかして煙草?」 "This smell... is that a cigarette?"
「いかにも。誰も客が来そうになかったから、高尚な時間を過ごそうと思ってね」 "Indeed. No one seemed to be coming, so I figured I would pass the time in luxury."
霖之助は自慢げに、煙草を吸って見せた。余り慣れていないのか、少しむせていたが。 Rinnosuke proudly took a deep drag on his cigarette. He must not be used to smoking them, as he started choking a little.
「えー、煙草吸ってるのー? ダサーい。今どき煙草吸って格好付けても、学がない様に見えるだけなのにねぇ」 "Seriously? You smoke? Laaame. You can try to act as cool as you like, smoking these days just makes you look ignorant."
「な、何だって!? と言うことは、君は吸わないのかい」 "Wh-What?! Really?! So you don't smoke then?"
「吸わないわよ。そもそも未成年だもん。今どき若い人で煙草吸っている奴なんて、不良でも殆どいないわよ。煙草を吸っているのは、時代に付いていけないおじさん位よ。このお店、分煙してないでしょ? 古道具が臭くならないように、外で吸ったら? まあ、最近は条例で外でも全面禁煙になってるところが増えてきてるけど。煙草の煙は、受動喫煙の方が害があるんだって。だから嫌われて当然なのよ」 "Of course not. I'm underage anyway. The youth these days hardly ever smoke, not even delinquents. The only people who smoke are old men who can't get with the times. And this store doesn't have a non-smoking section, does it? If you don't want your merchandise to stink, maybe you should take that outside? Although I guess with all the laws these days there's nowhere to smoke outside either. There are all sorts of harms from secondhand smoke you know. No surprise that everyone hates it."
霖之助はショックだった。格好良いと思って我慢して吸っていた煙草が、小娘にここまでぼろくそに言われて、全く優雅に感じ無くなってしまった。明らかに落ち込んでいる霖之助に気が付いて、慌てて菫子はフォローを入れた。 Rinnosuke was stunned. He'd been able to handle the unpleasantness of smoking because he thought it looked cool, but now that this girl had been so harsh on it, he didn't feel elegant at all. Noticing that Rinnosuke was obviously feeling down, a flustered Sumireko quickly backtracked.
「ま、さっきのはネットでよく見かける禁煙家の言い分ね。そいつ等は喫煙家ならどんなに叩いても正当化できると思っている奴らだから。私はそこまで嫌ってはないし、一人で吸って健康を損ねても何にも文句はないけどね。あー、でも病気になって、高額な健康保険使われるのも癪かなぁ」 "Er, uh, that's what I've read on the net anyway, from the people who want to ban smoking. They'll look for any excuse to beat up on smokers. Personally, I don't mind it that much, and if you want to ruin your own health then go right ahead. Ah, but I guess if you get sick then you're putting a burden on the universal healthcare system..."
フォローにならないフォローも、落ち込んでいる霖之助の耳には届いてなかった。 The downcast Rinnosuke hadn't even been listening to her inept attempt to smooth things over.
気まずい雰囲気にいたたまれなくなり、逃げるように菫子は店を後にした。 Feeling awkward, Sumireko retreated from the store.
――人間の里は、殆ど雪はなかった。 In the human village, not much snow remained.
菓子は里の街道を歩きながら反省していた。 Sumireko reflected on her actions while walking down main street.
「あー、しまったわー。なんであそこまで強く言っちゃったんだろう。私、そんなに煙草を嫌ってたっけ?」 "Aw, crap. Why'd I have to go that far? Do I really hate smoking that much?"
花見で浮かれた学生が、その場のノリで酒や煙草に手を出している似非自由人と、姿を重ねてイライラしていたのかも知れない。 Perhaps it irritated her because it brought to mind the image of the pseudo-free students of her hometown using flower viewing as an excuse to party with alcohol and cigarettes.
「霖之助さんは、未成年じゃ無さそうだし、そもそも自分の家だし、別に煙草を吸っていようが何だろうが、私が文句を言う筋合いはなかったのになぁ。外の世界の煙草もこっちでは貴重だって言ってたのに、気分を害しただろうなぁ。そうだ、今夜、煙草を持っていってあげようかな」 "Mr. Rinnosuke doesn't seem like a minor, and it's his own house, so if he wants to smoke it's his own business. What right did I have to scold him? He's even told me before how valuable cigarettes are over here, so why'd I have to ruin his mood like that? Oh I know, maybe I should bring him some cigarettes tonight to apologize."
そう言っても、彼女は煙草の買い方を知らなかった。今は、未成年が買うことは出来ない事も。 That said, she had no idea how she'd be able to purchase them. Minors can't buy cigarettes.
『気にすることはないわー。煙草なんてそこまで貴重では無いわよ』 [Don't worry about it. Cigarettes aren't that valuable anyway.]
心の底で誰かが囁いていた。 Someone was whispering deep in her heart.
「それもそうね。気を取り直して幻想郷の春を満喫しようっと」 "Yeah, that's true. I should just forget about this so I can get back to enjoying Gensokyo's spring."
その時、大きな声で呼び止められた。 At that moment, she was stopped by a loud voice.
「あーこんなとこにいて! 神社で大人しく待っていて、って言ったのにー」 "What are you doing here?! Didn't I tell you to stay put at the shrine?!"
「あれー、レイムッチの行き先ってここだったんだ」 "Oh, huh? So this is where you were heading, Reimers?"[1]
博麗神社の巫女、博麗霊夢だ。菫子の監視役でもある。 It was the Hakurei Shrine Maiden, Reimu Hakurei. She is also in charge of monitoring Sumireko.
「大人しくしてくれないと困るんだよねー。貴方があちこち往くと何が起こるか判らないから」 "You've really gotta listen to me when I tell you to stay put. Who knows what'll happen to you if you just wander all over the place?"
「だってさ、マリサッチにあちこち行って春を見てきたらどうだ、って言われたんだもん」 "C'mon, Rissa[2] practically told me to go exploring and see spring."
「あー、魔理沙も神社に来てたのね。あいつ、余計な事を言ってくれるわねぇ。まあしょうがない。じゃあ、買い物に付き合って」 "Oh right, Marisa was at the shrine too. Can't she just keep her mouth shut? But fine, whatever, I can take you shopping with me."
「あいあいさー」 "Aye aye, ma'am!"
――煙草の煙が漂う香霖堂。 Smoke wafted through Kourindou.
霖之助は何本目かの煙草を吸いながら小説を読んでいた。作中の探偵さながら、時折、難しい顔をして目をこすっている。煙草の煙が目に染みたのか、それとも別の感情なのかは本人にも判らない。 Rinnosuke had gone through more than a few cigarettes while reading his novels. Just like the detectives in the stories, he would sometimes make a complicated expression and rub his eyes. Even he himself wasn't sure if it was just the smoke stinging his eyes or some other feeling.
「外の世界の人間はつまらなくなったもんだ。嗜好品が楽しめないなんて」 "The outside world humans sure have gotten dull. They can't even enjoy a luxury like this anymore?"
貴重で高価だから、一本だけで辞めようと思っていた煙草を、何本も吸っていた。 Given their price, he'd intended to stop smoking after one cigarette, but instead he'd smoked one after another.
「ははは、今日は豪華だな。これだけで大赤字だけど、すこしは心が落ち着くよ」 "Ha ha ha, it's such a nice day. Maybe this puts me in the red, but it's worth it for the peace of mind."
「――霖之助さんを傷つけたって?」 "You hurt Mr. Rinnosuke?"
里で食料を買っていた二人。菫子は霊夢に相談していた。 Sumireko had consulted Reimu about it after they bought groceries.
「そう、ちょっと煙草のことで言い過ぎちゃってねぇ。調子に乗って死ねば良いのに、とか言っちゃったかも」 "Yeah. I said a bit too much about his smoking. Like... I might have implied that he should just die already."
「あの人、ああ見えて繊細だからねぇ」 "Hm, yeah. He may not look it, but that guy can be pretty sensitive."
「それで、謝らないで出てきちゃったもんだから、何かお詫びしたいと」 "So anyway, I left without apologizing, so I want to do something to make up for it."
「繊細だけど、放っておけば良いと思うけど」 "Eh, I just said he's sensitive, but I think he'll be fine if you leave him alone."
「いやでも、私がスッキリしないから。ねえお願い、何か力を貸して。幻想郷で頼りになるのはやっぱり貴方だけだからー」 "But I'd still feel bad. C'mon, please? Can't you lend me a hand? You're the only one I can turn to here."
「……あんたもそうとう自分勝手ねぇ。まあ良いよ、何か考えるわ」 "...You're pretty selfish, you know. But fine, I'll think of something."
「やったあ、やっぱり頼りになるー!」 "All right! I knew I could count on you!"
調子の良い菫子だが、頼られて満更でもない霊夢だった。 Sumireko was ecstatic, but Reimu didn't mind being relied upon either.
「じゃあ、ちょっと奮発して多めに食材を買おうかしら」 "Then why don't we splurge a little and buy some more food?"
「何をするの?」 "What are you planning?"
「花見の予行演習として香霖堂で宴会するのはどうかなって。霖之助さんは出不精だから、神社まで花見に出て来る事は余り無いけど、宴会を嫌う人なんて居ないから」 "I was thinking of holding a rehearsal flower viewing party at Kourindou. Mr. Rinnosuke likes to stay home, so he hardly ever comes to the shrine for the banquets, but no one hates parties."
「え、あ、うん」 "Huh? Oh, I see..."
菫子は思う。幻想郷の人間は、お酒や煙草が好きな時代遅れな人間ばかりなのかも知れない。宴会よりも一人でネットと向かい合う時間、他人と体験談を共有することよりも蓄積されたデータに喜びを持つ現代の若者とは、精神構造が異なるのだろう。 Sumireko thought about it. Maybe everyone in Gensokyo was the old-fashioned kind of person who loves alcohol and smoking. They probably had a different way of thinking than the youth of today who'd rather spend time alone on the net than go to parties, or were happier accumulating data than sharing experiences with others.
「霖之助さんに謝りたいのなら、あんたが外の世界風の宴会を演出すれば、きっと喜ぶと思うわよ」 "If you want to apologize to Mr. Rinnosuke, how about you host an outside world themed party? I'm sure he'd love that."
「外の世界風の宴会、ねぇ……。と言っても私、未成年なんだけど」 "An outside world party, huh...? I'm a minor though."
「未成年? 子供って事?」 "A minor? You mean, like, a kid?"
「まあ、一応そういう定義で。だから、お酒とか煙草とか宴会とか良く判らなくて」 "Close enough. But it means I don't know much about alcohol, smoking, or parties."
「ふーん、じゃあいいや。私が知り合いに聞いて外の世界風の宴会を調べておいてあげる。それをあんたは、自分でやったって言えば良いから」 "Hmm.... That's fine, I guess. I'll just ask someone I know to look into outside world parties for us. You can just say you did it yourself."
「いいの? 助かるわー、やっぱり持つべき物は友ね!」 "Really? Wow, thanks! Friends really are the best thing to own!"
「任せておいて! ……って私、何でこんなに乗り気なのかしら」 "Just leave it to me! ...Wait, why I am getting so into this?"
霊夢は首を傾げた。しかし、いくら考えても菫子にここまで協力する気になった理由が思いつかなかった。 Reimu tilted her head. But no matter how hard she thought, she couldn't come up with a reason for her to be so eager to cooperate with Sumireko.
――数日後。 A few days later.
まだ雪が残る香霖堂の庭で、宴会が始まった。と言っても、参加者は菫子と霊夢、魔理沙に霖之助の四人だけだが。 The party began in the yard of Kourindou, still covered in snow. That said, the only participants were Sumireko, Reimu, Marisa, and Rinnosuke.
「これはまた……、豪華な宴会だな。これが外の世界風の花見なのか」 "This is... quite an extravagant party. Is this how they hold flower viewings in the outside world?"
「えー、っと。これはバーベキューと言って、アメリカのパーティーなんかで良く見る奴です」 "Uh, yeah. This is a type of American party called a barbecue. I see 'em all the time."
巨大な串に何かの獣の肉と野菜が交互に刺さっている。 Various meats and vegetables were roasting over a giant spit.
「この間は済みませんでした。これは、強く言いすぎたお詫びです」 "Sorry about the other day. I said too much."
「ああ、気にしなくて良かったのに。外の世界で煙草がどう扱われているのか知れて良かったよ。それにしてもこの肉、凄いねぇ」 "Oh, you didn't have to worry about that. I was just glad to learn more about smoking in the outside world. But, uh, wow. This meat is amazing."
「奮発して高い肉を買ってきました! お小遣いで生活している女子高生にはこれが限界です。お酒や煙草は買えませんし……」 "I splurged and bought the good stuff! This is the best you can expect from a high school student living off an allowance. I couldn't buy any alcohol or cigarettes..."
「お酒は私が用意したわ。今年の春が来た記念に、奮発して最高級の大吟醸!」 "I brought the sake. In honor of the new spring, I splurged and bought us a top-class brew!"
霊夢は、呑む前から何故かテンションが高かった。 Reimu was in a strangely good mood given that she hadn't drunk any yet.
「おお、今日は異常に贅沢だな。私も何か買ってくれば良かったか……」 "Ooh, wow. Living the high life today, are we? Maybe I should've bought something too..."
魔理沙もお金を使いたくてうずうずしている。 Marisa was itching to spend her money.
「いいだろう、今日は奮発してお店にある秘蔵のお酒も持って来よう!」 "In that case, might as well bring out the expensive sake I've been saving for a special occasion!"
つられて霖之助も今日は奮発するのだ、と言ったその時だった。 And right when Rinnosuke was hooked and decided to splurge today too, something happened.
『やったあー!』 [All right!]
菫子の心の中で誰かが歓喜の声を上げている。 Sumireko heard a voice in her mind cry out in delight.
『ついでに、煙草も欲しいなー』 [I could use a smoke too, while we're at it.]
菫子は心の声に違和感を覚えた。何で私、煙草なんて欲しがっているのかと。 The voice in her mind reminded her of something uncomfortable. Why in the world would I want to smoke?
『お前のお陰で、今日も贅沢出来たわー。ありがとうねー、外来人さん』 [Good job setting up another day for me to wallow in luxury. Thanks, outsider.]
「!? 誰? 私に語りかけてきているのは!? "?! Who's that? Who's talking to me?!"
菫子は叫んだが、辺りには誰も居ない。 Sumireko shouted, but there was no one nearby.
その様子を見て、霊夢も魔理沙も霖之助も、キョトンとしている。 Reimu, Marisa, and Rinnsouke stared at her in puzzlement.
『ほらほら、騒いでなんていると大枚はたいて準備した宴会が台無しになっちゃうわよ。もう使っちゃった物はしょうがないじゃない。みんなで楽しもうよ』 [Hey, c'mon now. Don't make such a scene, or you'll ruin this nice party. You can't take back the money you've already spent, so might as well let everyone enjoy it.]
菫子は気味悪くなって、見えない相手を探したが、何処に居るのか判らなかった。 Sumireko was starting to feel unnerved. She continued searching for the invisible presence, but had no idea where she could be.
『私の名前は、依神女苑 (よりがみじょおん) 。みんなにお金を使わせる疫病神よ。いま、お前に完全憑依しているの』 [The name's Joon Yorigami. The plague god who spends everyone's money. I've got you perfectly possessed now.]
「完全、憑依?」 "Perfectly... possessed?"
『そう。簡単に言うと取り憑いているって事よ。私の周りにいる人はみな、お金を使うことを幸せに思うんだ。お前がお小遣いを使い切って高級な肉を買ったのも、巫女がいつも買わない高級なお酒を買ったのも、香霖堂が秘蔵の品を放出したくなったのも……全て私の能力だから』 [Yeah. To put it simply, I'm haunting you. Everyone around me always thinks they'll be happier by spending money. You using up your entire allowance on expensive meat, the shrine maiden buying that sake she'd never dream of buying normally, and the man taking out Kourindou's treasured sake... it's all due to my power.]
「そ、そんな……。疫病神だなんて……」 "N-No way... A plague god?"
妄想と会話しているのか、本当に取り憑かれているのか判らなかった。霖之助達は贅を極めた宴会を楽しみ、菫子の様子など気にも留めてなかった。 The conversation was too crazy to keep up with, and she had no idea if she was really being possessed or not. Rinnosuke and the others were enjoying the extravagant party too much to pay attention to Sumireko.
『あっはっは、でも、安心して。お前は学生の身だから、これ以上巻き上げる財を持っていないみたいだし、ここの宴会を楽しんだら出て行くよ。おっと、くれぐれもそこの巫女には言うなよ? 誰も幸せにならないからな……』 [Ah ha ha! But don't worry. You're just a student, so it doesn't seem like you have much else for me to take. So I'll just enjoy this party and be on my way. Oh, right, and could you not tell the shrine maiden about any of this? That wouldn't do anyone any good.]
「――大丈夫か? 良かった気が付いて、急に倒れたもんだから驚いたよ」 "You okay? Thank goodness you're awake! You just suddenly collapsed, we were all so shocked."
「あれ? 私、寝ていたの?」 "Huh? Was I... asleep?"
菫子が目を覚ましたとき、気が付いたら夜になっていた。 When Sumireko opened her eyes, it was already nighttime.
「ごめんねー。飲み物間違えてお酒渡しちゃったみたいで……。そんなにお酒に弱いと思って無かったけど」 "Sorry about that! Looks like you got our drinks mixed up and had some sake. Never thought you'd be such a lightweight though."
そう言って霊夢が持ってきた水を飲んだ。 Reimu brought her some water as she said this.
「私が、お酒を飲んだ……?」 "I... drank sake...?"
どうも記憶が曖昧である。そもそも、幻想郷は私の夢の中である。その幻想郷で寝るというのは、どういうことなのか……。 My memories were vague. Anyway, isn't Gensokyo supposed to be my dream? So what happens when I fall asleep here...?
「まあ、大丈夫よ。ちょっと記憶が曖昧だけど……。あれ? もう肉がない!」 "Well, I'm fine. My memories are a little fuzzy though. Wait... all the meat's gone!"
菫子が倒れていた間に、肉が無くなっていた。 The meat had vanished while Sumireko was out.
「楽しみにしていたのに!」 "Well you sure seemed like you were enjoying it!"
元気そうな様子に、霖之助達もほっとした。 Rinnosuke and the others were relieved that she seemed okay.
「大丈夫だよ、君の分は焦げないように取っておいたんだよ。何せ、君が買ってきてくれた最高級のお肉だからね」 "Don't worry, we saved some for you and set it aside so it wouldn't get burnt. I mean, you did buy us all this high quality meat."
最高級……そうだった。どうして私は分不相応の最高級のお肉なんて買ってしまったのだろうか、その答えを知りたくて、変な夢を見たのかも知れない。この時はそう思った。 High quality... right. Why would I go beyond my means and buy such expensive food like that? Maybe I saw that strange dream because I was searching for an answer to that. That's what I thought at the time, anyway.
この出来事から暫くしての事だった。 It's been quite some time since this happened.
後に『完全憑依異変』と呼ばれる、不可解な異変が幻想郷中を騒がせたのは。 Afterward, an incomprehensible incident known as the "Perfect Possession Incident" swept through Gensokyo.
今思えば、この時既に異変は始まっていたのだ。異変解決に関しては私は部外者だったのだが、小遣いを全て使わされたのだけは口惜しい。しかし、学生の身分だから小遣いだけで助かったとも言えた。課金制限があるとは、案外疫病神も良心的なんだなと思った。 Thinking back, the incident had already started by then. I wasn't involved in the resolution, but that didn't make it any less frustrating that I had spent all my allowance. On the other hand, you could also say I was lucky to be a mere student, who only had my allowance to lose. With account restrictions like that, I thought that even plague gods could be surprisingly reasonable.
次号へ続く To be continued


  1. Sumireko refers to Reimu as "Reimu-tchi" which is something like an overly cutesy/familiar nickname.
  2. Sumireko also uses Marisa-tchi