Hagakure Sakura does not lament – Chapter 7

Chapter 7 – We have a few friends

「I have a strange feeling of a full stomach…..it’s pretty scary….」(Sakura)

「That’s not really a problem. In fact, isn’t it better this way?」(Bell)

「I wonder about that….」(Sakura)

She was in shock….that enormous mass was in her stomach…she didn’t believe that was strictly true, but she felt like she had ingested some type of energy. Are there really no adverse affects from eating a demonic being’s energy?

However since Bell had said「No problem」, she had no choice but to believe him.

「Then shall we return? You have no more use here right?」(Bell)

With that said, Bell broke the barrier.

The fallen trees began to change like a mirage, returning to their original state. The sight of all this was so miraculous, Sakura unintentionally let out a voice of admiration.

It was a magical world that she didn’t even know about until yesterday. She knew that it wasn’t all great, but she still wanted to immerse herself in this dream like world. She thought so.

◆ ◆ ◆

「—Even so, teleportation is really convenient. It’s magical to be able to appear in any place you wish!」(Tsugumi)

「I guess that’s true for you humans. Originally transportation means such as teleportation could only be used by high-ranking people who had been assigned special roles. Now that you have this skill, you should cry at your good fortune」(Bell)

After returning home and undoing the transformation, Tsugumi gave his impressions of the teleportation to Bell, who naturally returned these words.

It was okay because Tsugumi didn’t care that much, but was Bell like this with other humans too?

「I was a little worried, but if I didn’t have this teleportation skill, how would I be able to get to the demonic beasts?」(Tsugumi)

It was a simple question.

Unless you had a special skill like teleportation, it would be impossible to arrive at the demonic beast location within five minutes.

「At that time, I would have set up a teleportation gate in your room. However setting up the correct coordinates is troublesome and it has quite a burden, so can’t be heavily used」(Bell)

「What do you mean burden?」(Bell)

「Fumu. Specifically, 10 years of your lifespan would be consumed each time you teleport」(Bell)

「……I’m really glad my unique skill is teleportation, truly….」(Tsugumi)

He felt like he had been told something outrageous, what does Bell think of a person’s lifespan?

However it was true that Tsugumi was extremely fortunate. After what Bell had said, he really felt like crying due to his fortunes.

Whilst he was thinking that way, the chime of his doorbell rang.

「Has Yukitaka come? It’s still only three o’clock」(Tsugumi)

After all, it was currently time for afternoon class.

Tsugumi had a reason to be absent from school, but was it okay for Yukitaka not to attend? Well, he didn’t think that his cunning friend would drop credits though.

「Bell-sama, it looks like my friend has come. I will go meet him for a little while…..umm, will you not show your face please?」(Tsugumi)

「Idiot. Why would I appear in front of people? go quickly」(Bell)

Tsugumi felt like it would be troublesome if he showed himself, but he replied this way.

—Certainly when you think about it, he wondered why this high-ranking God didn’t want to be involved with people. Perhaps if he knew the answer, he would be stunned again. With those thoughts in mind, he walked to the front door.

He examined the other party using a monitor near the door.

The person who stood there, was just as he imagined.

「Yo, Tsugumi-chan, you’re looking well」(Yukitaka)

Yukitaka said as he waved his right hand.

「…..Maa, you’re here early. Did something happen at school again?」(Tsugumi)

「No, today I just skipped. There was no Tsugumi-chan, so I had nothing to do after school and my classmates were so noisy and annoying」(Yukitaka)

With that said, Yukitaka had a dissatisfied expression on his face.

Tsugumi was sure that his classmates had entangled him in something annoying, it was truly troublesome.

「Yes, this is the book you asked for—If you weren’t Tsugumi-chan, I wouldn’t forgive you for breaking your promise and running away. I don’t know what you were doing, but this debt is expensive, expensive」(Yukitaka)

「Ah, thank you, it really helps….I’ll pay you back」(Tsugumi)

Tsugumi had known that Yukitaka would notice it was a fake illness, so he was grateful that he didn’t ask any more questions about it.

Receiving the bag containing the book from Yukitaka, he checked the contents and confirmed it was the book he was looking for.

He took a quick look at the contents, but couldn’t see any noticeable stains or missing pages, it was a good quality. It would make a great gift.

But near the end of the book he noticed something.

「Eh? What is this envelope?」(Tsugumi)

On the last page of the book, there was a beautiful envelope with a golden border. What the hell is it?

When Tsugumi took out the envelope in confusion, Yukitaka opened his mouth happily, as if he had just succeeded in a prank.

「Ah, that’s my present for Tsugumi-chan, why don’t you open it?」(Yukitaka)

「Fuun? The contents are—a hot spring trip? Moreover, it’s 2 nights and 3 days, is this really okay? It seems super expensive」(Tsugumi)

「Not really. It was given to me, so I didn’t really spend any money」(Yukitaka)

The trip ticket said『Hakone bus tour, luxury hot spring sightseeing trip!』

The departure date was in the second half of december, three months later. It was around the time when school entered winter vacation.

「Heh, it’s a pair ticket so I can go with Chidori right? That is….」(Tsugumi)

「What’s wrong?」(Yukitaka)

Yukitaka was looking curious as he tilted his head. Tsugumi showed the ticket to him and pointed out the small sentence below. Seeing that, Yukitaka read it out loud.

「Etto, what is it, what?『This is a woman only pair ticket! We will be checking your ID on the day of the event, so please don’t forget it!』….Ah well, this was a gift for Chidori-chan! she can invite her friends!」(Yukitaka)

Ehe, Yukitaka tried to laugh it off, but it was painful to see.

「No, it’s not like I’m complaining. But I’m wondering how you got a hold of this….?」(Tsugumi)

Who was the person who gave this woman-only ticket to Yukitaka? Tsugumi was concerned that he was being harassed by someone.

「Well it was given by an acquaintance who said 『I’ll give it to you since I don’t need it』I only saw the part about the trip to Hakone, I’m sorry」(Yukitaka)

Perhaps he felt this was a little unfair to Tsugumi, he was bowing his head.

「I’m happy enough that you wanted to celebrate it. Thank you Yukitaka, I’ll get Chidori to thank you later」(Tsugumi)

That said, Tsugumi laughed.

Although it wasn’t as bad as Yukitaka, Tsugumi didn’t have many friends. Of these friends, Yukitaka was the only one who would come and celebrate with him. He sometimes complains about him, but to Tsugumi, Yukitaka was an important friend.

「I see. Then please say hello to Chidori-chan—I’m also here today because there’s a place nearby that I had to stop at」(Yukitaka)

「Ah, thanks for your help. Be careful on your way–see you next week at school」(Tsugumi)

「Un, see ya」(Yukitaka)

With that said, Yukitaka left.

Tsugumi exhaled as he saw Yukitaka off, a smile naturally formed.

—It was a good day today, I’m so glad I didn’t die yesterday.

『Being alive』is really wonderful, he thought that because he has experienced the edge of death before.

Tsugumi carefully held the book bag to his chest and returned to the room where Bell was.

「I’m back Bell-sama」(Tsugumi)

「Ah….what is with your face? your cheeks have loosened?」(Bell)

Bell frowned as he said that, as if he had seen something strange.

…..Was it really strange? Tsugumi didn’t intend to show such a face.

「Ano, I need to consult you on something. Can I be free tomorrow afternoon? there is something I have to do」(Tsugumi)

Bell had promised that he would consider allowing Tsugumi to live a normal life. However as much as possible, Tsugumi wanted to act in line with Bell’s wishes. That was the only repayment he could give him.

But only tomorrow afternoon was a different story. He wanted to spend the afternoon as the family of Nanase Chidori, not the servant of Bell.

「I don’t mind, we can’t hunt demonic beasts every day. However for you to say this, is it a really important matter?」(Bell)

「…..It’s mine and my sister, Chidori’s birthday. At our age a『Birthday Party』might seem ridiculous to Bell-sama, but for me my sister is my only family, so I want to do something」(Tsugumi)

「Birthday? Hmm, the ancient people used to celebrate the turn of the new year, but now they celebrate individually? Hey, is the day you were born tomorrow?」(Bell)

「That should be the case, but due to an accident my sister’s memory and my memory is very vague, so it might not be accurate. Regardless, our current family register says so」(Tsugumi)

「Did you even say anything? You don’t know how to reply to me at all do you?」(Bell)

Since the other person is a God, it would be best to properly tell the truth. That’s what Tsugumi thought, but Bell didn’t seem interested. Well, he had thought as much.

「Fumu, it’s the duty of a contractor to look after his servants–Oi」(Bell)

Bell thoughtfully put his paw on his chin and called out to Tsugumi.

「What is it?」(Tsugumi)

「You are free tomorrow afternoon, but go along with me in the morning」(Bell)

To those words, Tsugumi stroked his chest. It looks like he was safe for the time being.

….But what exactly were they doing in the morning?

「That’s okay, but tomorrow we aren’t hunting a demonic beast right? Then what are we doing?」(Tsugumi)

When Bell heard that, he began to grin.

「What—let’s call it a『Date』」(Bell)

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Lonely Otaku – Chapter 24

TLN: Almost done with this arc! You may have noticed, but I don’t translate on the weekend generally unless it’s a special occasion. I’m also still looking for translators because the amount of projects I’m working on is quite a lot right now.

BEST GIRL ALICE HAS APPEARED!

Arc 1 – Changing Everyday

Chapter 24 – Mysterious Girl

Uuu….my head feels heavy….

Yesterday…or rather, because I was playing eroge with Momoi until the morning, I went to bed at around 7am.

No, we stopped playing at about 6am…but since I had a cold sweat, I felt uncomfortable and went to take a shower.

Eh….why did I have a cold sweat?

Try playing eroge with a girl one time…

That’s all….

—If I had written that on the net, I would surely blow up.

But I can say one thing, don’t play eroge with girls.

It’s not like how you imagine it.

It’s awkward when it switches to a H-scene, then when you look at the girl next to you—she’s watching the scene with her cheeks dyed red from embarrassment….seriously, it will be fight against yourself.

Maa, that’s why I had a cold sweat…

Then I went to sleep and it comes to now…

….I want to go back to bed….

Currently it was 11am—I had slept for 4 hours….

But today is a Saturday.

Normally since there’s no school, I could sleep as much as I want….

I have a meeting at 1pm today….

Eh, then why I was playing eroge until late?

…..it can’t be helped, I couldn’t stop it….

When she shows me that expression, I’m reluctant to stop.

So—

「—Seriously, Momoi is too cute….」(Kaito) 

As I went down the stairs, I muttered that.

So this is what they call gap moe…? (TLN: Gap Moe, is literally where there is a gap between how a character acts and how they usually act or how you expect them to act)

Momoi was a different person until now…

I don’t why Momoi, who is popular at school, is so popular, but I can somewhat understand it.

Seriously, what did Momoi’s middle-school classmates do….?

If those guys didn’t stick to Momoi so much, I would have gotten an angelic sister, a womanly beauty and a cute stepsister. …

….maybe she has returned to her usual self when she woke up….?

For some reason I’m scared…

Can I not speak back to Momoi anymore?

Will I end up being teased one-sidedly?

Entering the living room, I was having this discussion in my head.

「Morning…」(Kaito)

「Go–good morning Onii-chan…..rather than that, it’s already afternoon」(Sakura)

When I greeted her, Sakura greeted me with a smile that seemed to say『Itt can’t be helped~』

I’m glad….I’m in a good mood now.

Sakura-chan had returned back to an angelic like sister, I stroked my chest.

「What happened? You usually get up well even on your days off? Did you stay up late reading light novels?」(Sakura)

「Ah—un, that’s right」(Kaito)

I answer Sakura-chan’s question with a smile.

As expected, I can’t say that I was playing eroge with Momoi until morning…

Or rather, I don’t want the pure Sakura-chan to learn the word “eroge”.

….eroge is not just a H-game alright?

In fact, there are many good OP’s, songs and god-like songs, the scenarios are also better than anything!

…..what the hell am I talking about….

「—Onee-chan hasn’t woken up either….should I wake her up?」(Sakura)

Ah—

「Wait」(Kaito)

Saying that, I grabbed Sakura-chan’s arm to hold her back as she was trying to go and wake Momoi up.

「Momoi was creating reports for the student council until late, so let her sleep a little longer」(Kaito)

「Ah….un」(Sakura)

Sakura smiled and nodded to my words.

「—Fufu…」(Sakura)

「Eh? What is it?」(Kaito)

Suddenly Sakura-chan put her hand to her mouth and laughed happily.

「Etto ne, I was happy because Onii-chan and Onee-chan have become friends before I knew it」(Sakura)

Sakura-chan said that with a smile.

By the way, this girl did say that she wanted me to get along with Momoi…

She’s a really good girl to be happy with that…

「Yesterday, I thought I heard fighting on the second floor~」(Sakura)

「….eh!? You noticed!?」(Kaito)

I was surprised at Sakura-chan’s words…

Eh….since she knew we had a fight, did she inevitably hear the conversation we had about eroge…?

A cold sweat flowed down my back….

「Eh? if you speak with such a loud voice with the door open, it’s natural to hear it from the ground floor right?」(Sakura)

Sakura-chan said and looked at me in confusion.

Ah…I see….

I was impatient…

「O, Onii-chan…..you’re a boy after all…..so it can’t be helped….」(Sakura)

「—-!?」(Kaito) 

Eh, Sakura-chan!?

What can’t be helped!?

I mean, why are you glancing at me whilst blushing!?

…..Isn’t this girl worried about my fight with Momoi…..?

If we were fighting, wouldn’t she come and see what was wrong…?

Probably, she was watching us fighting whilst hiding….

…..Eh, then how much does this girl know!?

Does she know we were playing eroge together!?

….What should I do–I’m afraid to hear the answer….

I continue to look at the back of Sakura-chan who was making lunch with a smile on her face—

–Eh, why am I not cooking with her?

…..After Momoi’s complaint, Sakura-chan has been in charge of the cooking…..

「—-Don’t joke with me!」(Kaito) 

I say so, yelling at a man in his late forties sitting in front of me in a business suit.

I’m in the middle of a face-to-face meeting—I was currently arguing with this person.

….Usually I don’t talk this way to people I have met for the first time, but there are things I can’t accept.

If I back away here, it will be a problem.

Or rather I’m already used to this type of response.

That’s why I’m able to speak normally when conducting business.

…..But people aren’t good with things they aren’t good at. Even if I say that I can speak normally, it doesn’t change my bad feelings…

「Please, do something about it!」(Business Man)

The man sitting in front of me says and bows his head.

Honestly I think it’s amazing that he was able to bow to me, who is a lot younger than him.

I was not originally someone worthy of this respect…

「It’s a breach of contract! If you force me to do this, I will not undertake the project!」(Kaito)

I shout and got up from my chair, walking towards the door.

「W, wait! It’s waste to leave your talent as is!」(Business Man)

I heard such a voice from my back, but I opened the door without caring about it.

They only know the part of me called『KAI』…seriously what a waste of time….

DON–!

「「—!」」

The moment when I opened the door to leave, I bumped into something.

However the impact was rather light.

「Uuuu….it hurts….」(???)

「Eh….?」(Kaito)

I look towards my feet where I heard the voice.

There was a blonde girl who had fallen over and landed on her butt.

….Eh?

Why is this girl—

—No, before that I have to apologize!

「Excuse me, are you okay?」(Kaito)

I say so and extend my right hand.

「I’m okay…」(???)

She said so in a quiet voice as I lifted her up with my hand.

….She was very light….

The girl stood up and looked at me.

「–!」(???)

I was astonished after looking at the girl’s face.

Byodoin Aria….

The blonde girl in front of me had fluffy, beautiful, natural straight golden hair.

Her hairstyle was different than the Byodoin Aria I had seen on TV–but it’s not uncommon for someone to change their hairstyle.

Above all, this Byodoin Aria….

This company was under her jurisdiction….

But….why?

Her facial features are perfect, but the impression I receive from her is different.

The eyes of the girl in front of me were a beautiful blue colour, yet at the same time somehow transparent–the eyes were big as if they could swallow me, giving the illusion that she could see everything.

She seems to be a little dazed.

The Byodoin Aria who I saw on TV had bullish eyes and was talking confidently.

…Is she a different person?

「Please think it through–Alice-sama!?」(Business Man)

I was in front of the door when I bumped into her, the man behind me seems to have misunderstood something and came to me–but when he noticed the girl he was surprised.

Alice is it….?

Just as I thought, she’s a different person….

Is she part of Byodoin Aria’s family?

「Wh, why is Alice-sama…..?」(Business Man)

The business man ran up to Byodoin-san and said so.

For him, her appearance seems unexpected.

「Bumped….I fell….」(Alice)

「Who bumped into you!? Could it be—!?」(Business Man) 

Saying that, the man looked at me.

I guess it was obvious.

This is annoying.

Just as I was about to give this man an excuse…

「What have you done!? This person is the daughter of the Byodoin Conglomerate!! How will you take responsibility!?」(Business Man)

…..I thought so….

This guy really wants me to accept the condition.

Fortunately for him, he could take advantage of this situation.

….I used to think this was a person I could respect but….maa, it’s like this I suppose….

When your position is lower, it’s bad for you, but when your position suddenly becomes higher, everything is in the palm of your hand/

Really….I feel sick….

「I’m okay…stop…」(Alice)

「Eh?」(Business Man)

Byodoin-san pulled the man’s clothes and shook her head.

「But–」(Business Man)

「Do you know Aria….?」(Alice)

「「…..?」」 

To Byodoin-san’s words, me and the business man tilt out necks.

Alice looked dissatisfied with that reaction.

What does she mean?

Does he know Byodoin Aria?

Doesn’t she know that I bumped into her?

But even if that’s the case, she would tell me to take responsibility for it right here, didn’t she say that it was alright?

「I don’t have to explain, right?」(Alice)

「—!」(Kaito)

Do you mean….that—!

「What do you mean?」(Business Man)

The business man moves closer to Byodoin-san, saying that he doesn’t understand the meaning.

….Does this guy not know….?

Byodoin-san looked tired and sighed.

「Mou…it’s not good right….?」(Alice)

Byodoin-san talked to me this time.

When I nodded in response, she smiled satisfactorily.

「But….I’m not convinced by this person….because….」(Alice)

「Ah…yes….」(Kaito)

I understand what Byodoin-san wants to say, so I turn to the man.

It was caused by my carelessness, so it couldn’t be helped this time around…

「I apologize for bumping into this girl and making her fall over. I’m sorry. However, it was not intentional, it was an accident, so I can’t accept the previous condition」(Kaito)

「But—」(Business Man)

The man was dissatisfied with my words.

But I continued.

「However, apologising with words is not enough, therefore I will do the project I declined earlier」(Kaito)

I say so and bow my head.

「No, that is—」(Business Man)

The man was still trying to push me to accept the other condition.

Maa, from this man’s point of view, it can’t be helped—he doesn’t even know that he’s tightening his own noose….

「That’s enough」(Alice)

Byodoin-san spoke as if to block the man’s voice.

「No, but Alice-sama—」(Business Man)

「Wait」(Alice)

Byodoin-san ignored the man’s words and hinted at me to leave.

「If you’ll excuse me」

「Ah, wait–!」(Business Man)

When I bowed down and turned my back, I heard the man calling out.

When I looked back, I saw Byodoin-san stopping him, so I continued walking.

The man was still saying something, but he was talking to the daughter of the Byodoin Conglomerate.

He can’t insist on anything too strongly.

But—I’m done…..

That girl Alice, was facing her body to me when I bumped into her….

Normally, it might not seem like a big issue, but if you’re hit right after you leave a door, you’ll end up in a weird position.

If you’re hit and fall when walking in the hallway, you would usually fall sideways.

In other words, the fact that she was facing the front meant that she was about to enter the door.

But if the small conference room is used by employees, it would be strange for her, who is the same age as me, to come in by herself.

That means, she had a reason to stand in front of the door.

Well I wonder why she was standing there….I don’t know the exact reason.

Even if she listened to the meeting inside, I didn’t know why she would do that.

However because I bumped into her, it was best to undertake the project I had previously declined.

I had refused because the other side had violated the contract, but I originally came over to get the other side to pay me properly.

So undertaking this project is a plus, not a minus, for both me and the company.

In other words, it’s likely that she made me undertake this project.

Since this project was originally one submitted to me, it should have been approved by the upper echelons in the company. They will naturally know what has happened today.

However what the man was trying to demand, was not planned in advance.

The mystery remains of how much Byodoin-san knows–but proper approval from the higher-ups is required.

That means I’d have to explain myself—even if the man lies and reports me to the upper echelons, I would be dissatisfied because I’d be forced to report『I take full responsibility for causing your daughter to fall this time』

But if he reports it, a detailed description of the situation would be required.

In other words–that man would have to explain how he breached the contract and I in return got angry and walked out the door, causing the collision with his daughter.

That’s right—the man would have to tell his boss about his blunder『I broke the terms of the contract and failed to negotiate for the project』

So Byodoin-san stopped him.

She likely didn’t want the project to go bankrupt and she also didn’t want the man to be held accountable for an incident she caused.

—But all this is just my hypothesis.

Only one girl knows everything—Byodoin Alice.

….Yet–

Byodoin Aria is famous, but I’ve never heard of Byodoin Alice?

Why is Aria’s name so widespread, but Alice is unknown?

Is the girl named Aria so great that Alice is hidden in her shadow?

Or—after all, perhaps I’m thinking too much….?

…..Anyway, when this project is completed, it’s best not to get involved with the Byodoin Conglomerate anymore…

I don’t want to be noticed by Byodoin Aria….

I was thinking that as I headed home–

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Hagakure Sakura does not lament – Chapter 6

TLN: In this chapter, I will be referring to her as “Sakura” and using female pronouns when transformed and “Tsugumi” and male pronouns when not. So don’t forget that Sakura is Tsugumi and vice-versa!

Chapter 6 – A feelings problem

—The demonic beast was furious.

It does not know right from wrong, it only has it’s pure desire for destruction.

The demonic beast was, so to speak, a conceptual body that acts as a terminal for a real body existing in another world. Demonic beasts gather energy by destroying things, harming people and exhausting the land. After performing their sabotage, they disappear in a mist to return the energy they have gathered to the main body.

For demonic beasts, destruction was the act of satisfying one’s own desires–similar to eating a meal. The『Magical Girls』who attempt to stop this are the first obstacle to be overcome.

Besides, a『Magical Girl』is also a mass of high-density energy. Killing one magical girl is far more efficient that 100 ordinary humans. Either way, killing remains a high priority.

The woman who had escaped the tree–the magical girl, had not been found yet.

No, in truth she had been found. But every time the demonic beast attacks the position she’s in, her presence disappears for some reason. It was extremely annoying.

Low-ranking demonic beasts aren’t very intelligent, this is because their energy isn’t focused on getting smarter. Therefore the boar just repeatedly rushes at the tree where the woman is, however those pointless attacks are about to come to an end.

—Ah, found you.

The demonic beast had finally discovered the figure of the woman. Perhaps she had decided to stop hiding and come out.

The woman stood calmly on a tree that had fallen sideways, pointing her index finger as if to provoke the demonic beast. Her reddish-brown eyes were seemingly shooting through the it.

The demonic beast noticed that the woman was trying to do something, but it didn’t care about it.

—It put strength into it’s hind legs, in an instant it was surrounded by a silver light.

A shock wave was produced from the rapid increase in fighting spirit–this was the only attack the demonic beast could use. There was no strategy for low-ranking demonic beasts, they just tried to kill, that was all.

The woman didn’t run away, she just slowly turned her hand that was pointed towards the beast, upwards.

The demonic beast started sprinting.

It launched itself like a bullet, moving above the speed of sound. The giant beast was like a cannonball that destroys everything it hits. No matter how strong a magical girl was, if this attack hit her, she would not survive.

—Got you!! 

At the moment when the demonic beast was convinced of that, the woman swung her arm down as if wearing a kasaya. (TLN: A kasaya is a Buddhist monk’s robe)

—It’s field of vision blurred.

The demonic beast suddenly rolled on the ground for some reason and was looking up at the woman before it knew it.

It stood up and tried to attack, but it’s limbs wouldn’t move. Why?

The woman’s face distorted as she looked down on the demonic beast, her expression was as if she was enduring pain. Why does she look like that when she hasn’t suffered any injuries? the demonic beast didn’t know the answer to that question.

—Ah, but.

—Within it’s blurry consciousness, the demonic beast thinks of something.

—It felt like it’s stomach was full.

◆ ◆ ◆

「What’s up with your face? Everything went well」(Bell)

Bell asked in confusion.

Whilst looking down at the demonic beast whose limbs had been amputated, Sakura clicked her tongue.

「Ah, I feel sick」(Sakura)

Whilst saying so Sakura held up her right hand, innumerable threads were entwined there.

The knowledge of the skill thread manipulation had been given to Sakura. It was a versatile skill that could be used for attack, defense and sometimes intelligence gathering. As a weapon, it may be inferior to magical girls with large-scale annihilation skills like fire and thunder, but it was still an excellent skill.

Firstly, the thread was hidden with【Invisibility】then the delicate finger movements and swinging of her arm had easily cut off the legs of the demonic beast that had shot towards her like a bullet. Then, by instantly creating a wall of woven thread, she was able to receive the charge of the demonic beast.

As for Bell’s feelings, it must have been satisfying to watch for him. However he was annoyed at Sakura’s attitude, and spoke sarcastically to her.

「Feel? Are you saying that you’re not good with blood? Even though you’re not a pure innocent girl, you say such delicate things」(Bell)

「No, a pure innocent girl?….it’s not that, rather it’s a matter of ethics, I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong, but it’s the first time I’ve killed anything even animal-shaped, so I was thinking a little about it」(Sakura)

Sakura gently stroked her right hand. She could easily kill a creature with her power. That fact can be very scary, depending on how you think about it.

Well there was no room for ideas like that, so it wasn’t that serious.

「Well, you can’t quit now. Your fate is to be my possession–don’t forget that」(Bell)

In a strong tone, Bell rebukes Sakura.

In front of Bell, it would be difficult for Sakura to say「I quit」knowing how he feels.

—But that worry is meaningless.

「Don’t worry I won’t say I’ll quit. What I don’t like is the fact that I didn’t feel anything from what I did. I just felt a little sick at my heartlessness. Ah, is this the effect of the【Optimization】skill」(Sakura)

With that said, Sakura tilted her head.

If so, she felt that it was a very useful skill for a magical girl.

Normally, feeling remorse from your conscience is a demerit that was ridiculous. If you can instead get rid of monster happily with a smile on your face, that would be better.

However, although there was no way for her to know, the【Optimization】skill is originally a skill to assist with motion, it has no effect on mental state.

She doesn’t feel anything, so she feels bad. How amazing is that?

Even though hundreds of magical girls mentally break down and quit every year, Sakura doesn’t know how good her talent is. She likely won’t notice unless someone points it out.

「—But I’m sure that if I’m in this condition, I can be a magical girl」(Sakura)

With that said, Sakura looked at Bell and smiled. Her face had returned to a normal color.

Anyway, there is no choice but to continue as a magical girl. She’s died once already, so if she cares about these small details, it would negatively impact her life.

Sakura thought that continuing to work without hesitation wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Looking at Sakura, Bell smiled with satisfaction.

—He may have picked up a good thing.

Thinking like that, Bell squinted his eyes. if this girl continues to be an easy-to-use toy for him, he may soon become attached. That’s when things would become fun.

「By the way, how should I use the other skill【Gluttony】? It’s written that you should use it after the battle is over, so should I use it now?」(Sakura)

「…Who knows? Why don’t you try declaring it now?」(Bell)

【Gluttony】was a word quite familiar to Bell, but he had no intentions of telling Sakura that. It was a pretty unexpected event for Bell too.

「Fuun~ Then, activate skill【Gluttony】!」(Sakura)

The moment Sakura shouted that, the space around the demonic beast shook slightly. Then many large beast-like mouths appeared from the ground and ate the corpse of the demonic beast.

Honestly, for Bell it looked a little ugly. When he glanced at Sakura, she was covering her mouth with a deep blue face….she was more expressive now then when she had defeated the demonic beast.

The beast’s mouths that had appeared, had subsequently disappeared with satisfaction after eating all but the core of the demonic beast and the silver fangs.

At the moment, he was not sure about the effects of the skill, but he had felt the vessel of Sakura had increased in strength a little which was probably the effect.

Sakura slowly opened her mouth whilst rubbing her stomach with anxiety.

「Bell-sama, I might want to quit being a magical girl…」(Sakura)

「….It’s useless」(Bell)

「That’s right…haa」(Sakura)

As she said that, Sakura lowered her shoulders in disappointment. Her black hair that hadn’t been tied back, fell down.

Bell stared at Sakura’s figure. He hadn’t paid much attention to her until now, but she didn’t look bad.

—The way this magical girl defeats demonic beasts both gracefully and cruelly will surely be a spectacle to behold.

Thinking so, Bell laughed in satisfaction.

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Lonely Otaku – Chapter 23

TLN: Sorry for the delay, was celebrating my birthday yesterday. Ironically I have turned the same age as this current chapter.

Arc 1 – Changing Everyday

Chapter 23 – The limit of patience

—Currently, cold sweat was flowing down my body…

Because–

『Haa……Haa……Fe…..Feels good…..ood…..』

『Stop…..but…..the library…..in this room…..somewhere like this…..』

—The voice flowing out of my monitor, was of a heroine doing something to herself alone in the library.

However if I was watching this alone, it wouldn’t be a problem.

That’s right, if I was watching it alone…

Although I was feeling awkward, I glance at Momoi who is looking at the same screen as me from a very close distance.

「….」(Kaito)

….The light has gone from her eyes….

But Momoi was still looking at the screen.

I thought it was amazing…

Because even I can’t directly look at the screen anymore…

Seriously, it’s so awkward…

Ah—why did I choose this game!?

It was after a strange thing had happened–

「Fuu….it’s over」(Kaito)

When I finish cleaning my room, I call out to Momoi who is facing the computer screen.

….Why is Momoi, the person who spilled the juice not cleaning it?

That’s not to say that Momoi wouldn’t clean it up–but I sent her, who tried to take the initiative to clean, to my computer instead.

It’s a stupid reason why I didn’t want her to help with the cleaning, I didn’t want her beautiful hands to get dirty.

I also wanted her to finish her work quickly and go back.

My heart has already reached it’s limit.

I’m not confident that I can bear the burden anymore.

That’s why I wanted her to finish her work quickly and return to her room.

…..mou, please don’t let anything happen today, Kami-sama….

「Hey?」(Momoi)

「Eh? What is it?」(Kaito)

—-As I was sincerely praying to Kami-sama, Momoi called out to me.

「Can you come over here….?」(Momoi)

「A, ah….」(Kaito)

…..it’s strange….

Until now, she was angry whenever I tried to approach, now she was asking me to come closer….

Perhaps my evaluation had gone up because I helped her with that computer issue yesterday?

I approached Momoi with those expectations.

Momoi then opened her mouth, pointing towards the screen.

「What is….this?」(Momoi)

「Eh? That is……? Haa….!?」(Kaito)

Eh, what’s going on!?

Why is this on the screen!?

Momoi was pointing to the eroge icon I had hidden.

Am I an idiot!?

Wasn’t this a hidden file!?

I had hidden it within a few folders in order to make it hidden!

At least if Momoi was working normally, she would never have found it.

I check the URL in the file explorer (which shows the location of the folder, file, etc…) and saw it…

Ah–!

This girl was looking for it!

She was searching for the folder where I hid the eroge and managed to find it!

「Y, you, did you look for it…?」(Kaito)

「Yes. I thought if it was you, an Otaku, you would definitely have something like this…..really, despite being a high school student, you have a gross personality….」(Momoi)

…..I don’t know what you mean!

Did she come all the way to another person’s room to look for eroge, rather than working!?

Ah, so that’s why she was asking if I was playing eroge at that time!?

But why would she do this!?

Is she taking a note from Saijo’s book!?

「Hey, isn’t this game gross? how perverted are you?」(Momoi)

With that said, Momoi turned to me with a proud smile on her face.

—I had already reached my limit, and seeing her expression like that exceeded the limit of my patience.

「You….are the worst….」(Kaito)

「Eh….?」(Momoi)

「I’ll tell you this clearly—I hate you」(Kaito)

I say so and stand up, preparing to leave the room.

Then–

「Wa, wait!」(Momoi)

—Momoi grabbed my arm with an expression like she was about to cry.

「….What is it?」(Kaito)

I stare at Momoi.

Momoi was looking at me as if she was holding back her tears.

「Please wait….」(Momoi)

「Would someone usually stay after being called gross?」(Kaito)

I say so and try to remove Momoi’s arm.

However, Momoi stubbornly refused to let go.

「I, it can’t be helped! There was no other way but to do it this way!」(Momoi)

「….What?」(Kaito)

I asked Momoi, but I didn’t intend to forgive here regardless of what she said.

To trample on a man’s dignity….honestly I didn’t think Momoi was like that.

「B, because….」(Momoi)

I stare at Momoi who begins explaining.

She sank to the floor and opened her mouth weakly.

「Because I had to do this…..I don’t know how to get along with you…」(Momoi)

「….eh?」(Kaito)

…..What did she mean?

How to get along?

If she does it this way, it would look like harassment no matter what you think right?

「That boy….when the girl asked to play eroge together….it was written that he was happy about it…..so I tried to make fun of it….so you would recommend it to me like before….」(Momoi)

Ah…..I’m sure that was written in the light novel I lent her…

But so what?

When a H-scene appears, it will definitely be awkward right…?

However eroge has a lot of different scenarios, there are also some quite moving moments that are interesting. Quite a few of them are even animated or made into movies.

A lot of them have had an anime made for them….

So she thought it would be fun to do them together.

Besides, I’d prefer a girl who understands eroge too….is that what she was trying to do for me?

Eh, does that mean she really wants to get along with me like a family?

I recall Momoi’s recent actions—

….Really, I didn’t see anything pointing to that at all….?

Is she lying so I won’t get angry?

I think so and look towards Momoi.

Momoi had a crying expression on her face–or rather, she was crying.

Eh…..

Something like that made her cry…?

…Ah, no, is it because I said that..

『I hate you』

But is she crying because of that?

Maa, it seems that she’s not faking it….?

In other words, it must be her true feelings….

There are various problems with the way she went about it but….

Sometimes Momoi really acts like Sakura-chan.

I had tried to wipe it from my memory because it didn’t fit Momoi’s image at all…

I mean…..uwaa….she’s crying, but right now she’s so cute…..

At the same time, my feelings of guilt rise.

I wanted to make her cry someday, but when she cries like this, my heart hurts,

Because now it’s like I’m shaking off the girl who walked up to me trying to become my family, causing her to cry….?

….No, Momoi’s approach was wrong in the first place, that’s why this happened….

But, I can’t leave her like this….?

「Then….shall we play it together….?」(Kaito)

I bent my knees so that I was at the height of Momoi’s face and called out to her.

「Is, is that alright?」(Momoi)  

「Y, yeah….」(Kaito)

「Thanks」(Momoi)

When I nodded to Momoi’s question, her expression brightened up.

…..Stop….if you show me such an expression….don’t you think I’d misunderstand you….?

I started preparing the eroge as my heart was pounding from Momoi’s smile.

When I sat down in front of my computer, Momoi walked to me and sat next to me.

However our distance was quite close.

That’s right, it feels like Sakura-chan is sitting next to me…. 

……Maa, Momoi said that she wanted to do it.

This eroge is a moving masterpiece.

If that’s the case, Momoi will surely like it too—

—That’s what I was thinking at that time.

No, to be fair the first part was good.

Momoi also watched the opening and said『I want to see the anime!』which surprised me, she then went on『Waa, the facial expressions of the characters change and the pictures are so cute! The voice of the VA is also cute!』

…..who even is this girl

I was thinking a lot about that….

I’m sure this is Momoi’s true nature…

Otherwise the story of Momoi who was crying earlier wouldn’t make sense.

As such, it’s clearly my fault that Momoi has the eyes of a dead fish….

The eroge plot is that a witch girl contracts a person who becomes her familiar. They go around collecting heart fragments so that their wishes can come true.

In order to collect people’s heart pieces, they have to get rid of that person’s troubles, it’s a very good story in every route.

Especially the route of the main heroine which was particularly tear-wrenching.

That’s why I recommended it to Momoi.

I was sure Momoi would enjoy it too.

But–there was a pitfall within such a masterpiece.

The price of being the best girl, was that her libido was unusually high.

She will eventually become involved with the protagonist, but right now she was doing the act to herself alone….

In other words, 20 minutes after this scene starts, “that” scene comes…

In normal eroge, such a scene would come after entering a route. So depending on the route, you would have to play for about four hours–the tagline of this game is 『Love begins with the act of doing it alone!』what….

Ah….I’m sorry, I failed….

This will probably decrease my favourability….

「Mo, Momoi…shall we stop here….?」(Kaito)

I call out to Momoi, who probably wouldn’t want to stop because she said she wanted to play together.

However Momoi shook her head.

Seriously….we’re going to continue….

But if Momoi says so, then it can’t be helped…

Maa…tomorrow is Saturday so school is closed and I’ll be going to work in the afternoon.

I decided so, but I eventually regretted the fact that I didn’t stop at that time…

「Mo, Momoi?」(Kaito)

「What?」(Momoi)

When I call out to Momoi, she stops clicking the mouse and looks at me in confusion.

Momoi couldn’t be said to be normal anymore—-but I could at least talk to her as usual now.

….That’s right….

Currently it was 04:00–I’ve been standing for 6 hours since I started the eroge with Momoi at 22:00.

「Isn’t it time to go to bed….?」(Kaito)

「What are you talking about!? It’s just reached a moving scene where the heroine is reunited with the main character! We can’t stop now!」(Momoi)

「I, I see….」(Kaito)

….Like this, Momoi isn’t stopping….

I had asked her previously about stopping as it would be bad if we didn’t sleep soon–

『Eh, the protagonist has confessed to the heroine, but she’s still confirming her feelings!? If I stop here, how could I get to sleep!?』

『Ah, ah…is that right…?』

I could only think『Maa, I’m off tomorrow, so it’s okay if I go to bed a little late』

So at that time I backed off—

『Momoi, it’s time to go to bed…..』

『Eh–? It’s just reached an important scene where the main characters are saying their farewells!? It may be okay for Kanzaki-kun because you’ve played it once, but if I stop here, I won’t be able to sleep from worry!』

『A, ah, that’s true….』

I was pushed away by Momoi’s power and withdrew again at that time.

So–

『Mo, Momoi, this might be a good place to stop–』

『Where is it!? Where is it good!? It’s a scene where the main characters have separated right now!? Well, the protagonist might be okay, but the heroine isn’t at all!?』

I really wanted to sleep, but the heroine had time slipped into the past, and the protagonist had lost his memory and hard to start over with a newly appeared heroine–so when she reached the home screen, I urged Momoi to finish.

Momoi didn’t miss the restart button on the home screen, so immediately restarted it.

…no way, this girl is going to play it until the end….

In fact, Momoi who was watching the H-scenes with dead fish eyes at first, could barely look at the screen now, with red cheeks as she glanced back and forth.

….Does she finally get it…?

That was the feelings of the man who had been next to such a girl…

Is this the first time my reasoning has been tested so much….?

What’s more, Momoi is so cute right now, completely different to the usual Momoi…

I feel like I’m dying….

—-Momoi continued playing the eroge until the heroine’s route was over, finishing at 6 in the morning.

「U~n, it was fun! A very good story!」(Momoi)

「Ah….is that right?」(Kaito)

To Momoi who seemed satisfied after finishing, I returned a tired voice.

「Why aren’t you energetic?」(Momoi)

With that said, she tilted her head in confusion.

Compared to her thorniness until now, she seemed more like an ordinary girl.

….hahaha, is this girl actually an idiot!?

「I didn’t expect you to stay up all night!」(Kaito)

「Waa!? Why are you angry!?」(Momoi)

「Isn’t it normal!」(Kaito)

I say so and get angry at Momoi.

…..Maa, its true, I should have forcibly stopped her….

I was reluctant to force Momoi to stop, as she was having such fun playing eroge.

Besides, it can’t be helped as it’s already happened.

So let’s hit the nail on the head now, so we won’t be playing all night next time.

…Will we be playing next time?

I haven’t made such a promise, but seeing Momoi’s expression, I feel like it would happen.

「E, etto, sorry….」(Momoi)

I was shocked by Momoi’s words…

…..who even are you….?

No, this is Momoi….

I’ve been going along with her so far.

Let’s get her to spit out everything.

「So, are you really you now?」(Kaito)

I asked Momoi.

….eh?

I feel like I’ve heard these words recently….?

「U….un….」(Momoi)

Momoi nodded to my question as I was wondering where I had heard it.

Un, she nodded—-why!?

Why does she look so cute just by nodding!?

「Etto, why did you have a cold personality until now?」(Kaito)

「That is…boys were obsessed with me since middle school…so in high school I adopted this personality so it wouldn’t turn out the same way….」(Momoi)

I see…so that’s why….

Doesn’t she have a great acting ability?

Was she pretending to verbally abuse me?

……Un, eh, that was really acting!?

「Hey, does that mean you were acting coldly forcibly? You know, you said bad things to me」(Kaito)

「Ah, no! from the second half of the first grade, everything was true you know?」(Momoi)

….that’s not acting!

「Momoi…」(Kaito)

「Nn?」(Momoi) 

「…..Why don’t you use your cold personality anymore? If that was your intention, isn’t it strange to change now?」(Kaito)

When I was about to complain, I suddenly said something else as Momoi looked too cute.

….I wonder if both me and Momoi have gone crazy due to the all-nighter….

「Why do you think that is….?」(Momoi)

「Eh….?」(Kaito)

Momoi didn’t answer my question and just puffed her cheeks up, but I seriously couldn’t understand it.

「Nothing! Is that all you want to hear!?」(Momoi)

Momoi turned red and shouted at me.

「Ah, wait. One last thing, you actually love light novels and anime right?」(Kaito)

「Ugh–」(Momoi)

Momoi’s face drops at my words.

If she’s come this far, it’s impossible that I’m mistaken.

「Th, that’s right? Is it wrong that I like them?」(Momoi)

With that said, she turned away from me.

Eh…the real Momoi has come back a little right?

Well, I don’t care about that now…

「Isn’t it fine?」(Kaito)

「Eh?」(Momoi)

Momoi stared curiously at me.

「What is it?」(Kaito)

「That’s because, it’s funny isn’t it? For an honour student to have the hobbies of an otaku?」(Momoi)

「Why? Being fond of light novels and anime has nothing to do with honour students」(Kaito)

「—!」(Momoi)

She looked at me in surprise.

Eh…why is she so surprised?

I guess she tried to hide her hobby.

But from my perspective, I want a friend who I can talk about my favourite works with.

So for now, let’s just say–

「I don’t know what other people think, but at least I don’t think it’s weird. If Momoi likes light novels and anime, then why don’t we talk about them again in the future?」(Kaito)

「Ah–un!」(Momoi)

She replied with a lovely smile to my words.

To that, I return a smile.

In the beginning we fought with each other–or rather, I thought I was seriously out of luck today, but in the end we got to know each other better.

This was a big step forward for us.

…or rather, it would have been more odd to get along immediately with her like Sakura-chan.

I didn’t realize at that time, that I was jumping into a sea of misfortune–

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Lonely Otaku – Chapter 22

TLN: Just so you know, it seems like he’s making up names for this anime. Even the anime itself isn’t actually classroom of the elite, but it’s pretty clear it’s what he’s talking about.

Arc 1 – Changing Everyday

Chapter 22 – Careless remarks are fatal

Currently I was watching my favorite anime on blu-ray『Classroom of the Elite』

This anime—because it was quite different to the original, it got a lot of fans angry….but honestly I really like it.

Certainly, the story is so different even I said『Haa!?』in the middle of it.

In particular, my favorite character『Karasawa Megumi』started out as a mob character, who seemed understandable from the eyes of the viewer, but eventually became popular with girls.

However in the original, she became the only friend of the main character.

Because she had worked with the protagonist from the start, she was torn down by a classmate looking for the protagonist’s identity, but I liked the preciousness of trying to protect the protagonist without betraying him.

The story of where she eventually got closer to the protagonist was stolen by another heroine, I was quite shocked—but it didn’t negatively affect my enjoyment of the work.

The opening of the anime was very good, and they had selected voice actors that matched their character’s image perfectly. The story has changed, but I still found it interesting.

A strategic battle that revolves around the intelligence of the students.

The protagonist who hates to stand out and tries to work behind the scenes.

The animation of the strategic battles was extremely addictive.

Therefore it was well received by the people who had only watched the anime, without knowing of the light novel.

That aside….I also liked the Chinese girl who didn’t come out much.

I also liked this character—the girl on the TV’s voice at dinner was very similar to hers.

The voice actor who plays the Chinese girl is a newcomer to the field, Akigatana Uoharu.

…..I have a lot to say about her name….but she was popular with newcomers due to her cute voice. (TLN: Her name is 秋刀魚春, 秋刀 literally means “Autumn” then “Sword” whereas 魚春 means “Fish” then the season “Spring”)

That person’s voice—was similar to Haruka’s.

…..did I think she sounded feminine?

Do I like the wavering voice of a woman….?

It can’t be helped, I like what I like.

So why am I talking about anime by myself…?

Leave me alone….sometimes I also want to escape reality….

That’s right—my heart has been exhausted these last two days.

Mainly because of the unspeakable allegations made by the blonde gal that was chasing after me so persistently….

GONGONGON–!!

「—-!」(Kaito)

Whilst I was meddling in my depression alone, the door to my room was knocked on.

…..is it Sakura-chan….?

Eh…..maybe she only forgave me because she was in front of Momoi, but was actually still angry…?  

That said, I can’t ignore it…

「Who is it…?」(Kaito)

After pausing the anime, I said so and opened the door.

「Good Eve—」(???)

BAN–!

—I immediately closed the door.

「Wait–!? Why did you close the door!? Open it, hey!!」(???)

I thought Sakura had come, but it was Momoi instead….

「No way! You complained so much earlier, but you still want to complain even now!」(Kaito)

「That’s not it! I have something I need to do!」(Momoi)

「What do you need to do!?」(Kaito)

「For the time being, open the door! Then I’ll explain everything!」(Momoi) 

With that said, Momoi pulled the door hard.

Opposite of Momoi, I kept pulling the door from the inside.

Damn–!

Why are there no locks inside this house!?

Until now I didn’t care because it was only me and my dad, but if Momoi and her friends come here, won’t it become a problem if I can’t lock it!?

「Wait, why won’t it open!?」(Momoi)

「For the time being, I’ll open it after listening to your requirements!」(Kaito)

「Why!? Is it a problem if I see it!?」(Momoi)

「Wh, what do you mean see it!?」(Kaito)

「For example, that’s right Eroge! ……~~~~~~~! Why did you make me say that!?」(Momoi)

「You should know! I didn’t think you would say that, I don’t even have such a thing!」(Kaito)

……wait a minute….

Why is this girl focusing on eroge?

Usually, wouldn’t you think of AV or erotic books? (TLN: AV means Adult Video AKA porn)

No that’s not the problem, I don’t have any of those two!

Or rather it would be difficult to find my eroge, I’ve used a hidden file properly.

Therefore there is no problem.

But–!

「Then, open it quickly!」(Momoi)

「If I open it, will a storm of rants fly towards me!?」(Kaito)

「Do you think I would do that!?」(Momoi)

「You, look back at your previous actions for once!」(Kaito)

「…..」(Momoi)

Momoi fell silent and stopped pulling the door.

Apparently she was really looking back on her previous actions.

Really, this girl is so serious…

「—it’s fine isn’t it, open it!!」(Momoi)

「Y—you, I thought you were seriously looking back just now, but you cheated!!」(Kaito)

「It’s your imagination! Ah, Sakura it’s fine!」(Momoi)

「Eh—-!?」(Kaito)

Hearing Sakura-chan’s name, I reflexively stiffen.

In that gap, Momoi managed to open the door.

I seem to have been traumatized by Sakura-chan….

「Finally….haa…it’s open….seriously….haa….haa….what…bad things from the past are you even talking about…」(Momoi)

Momoi said that whilst out of breath.

….she got me….!

「You, Sakura-chan isn’t even there!」(Kaito)

「Ara, I see, it must have been in my mind right?」(Momoi)

To my words, Momoi tilted her head to the side in confusion.

「Oi, honor student. Why use such dirty methods….?」(Kaito)

「You don’t need me to tell you right? Would you have let me in earlier?」(Momoi)

「….Why do you need to come inside? I just have to listen to the matter right?」(Kaito)

I say so with a frown and turn to Momoi.

Actually, when Momoi tried to enter, I knew she had something to do on my computer, but I wasn’t convinced so resisted.

Besides, she had brought two PET bottles….

Will one be given to me….?

Because of her personality, I feel like she would dare to drink both in front of me….

「Haa….I don’t know….can you lend me your computer? I need to prepare the necessary materials for the student council」(Momoi)

「Guu—-!」(Kaito)

Despite expecting Momoi’s action, I still complained.

Why does this girl have this attitude when she came to borrow something?

I mean, how is the student council even managed…?

If you have to take it home to work on it, then reschedule it properly…

Well it can’t be helped as she’s already brought it back.

If I don’t lend her my computer here, she’ll be in trouble in school…

「Got it, come in….」(Kaito)

「Thanks」(Momoi)

Following my words, Momoi enters my room.

…..eh?

Did she think I wouldn’t let her borrow my computer and get her in trouble?

…..No I’m afraid to hear the rest, so let’s stop that line of thinking….

「…..」(Momoi)

Momoi who came inside, stopped for some reason.

What happened?

When I followed Momoi’s gaze—she was looking at the TV screen, where the anime was currently paused.

….come to think of it, was this girl happy with the light novels from last time…?

What’s more, it was a light novel with the title『Eroge』in it’s name.

Perhaps that’s why she answered with Eroge when she was fighting to get into the room.

Well, this is interesting.

「What’s wrong Momoi? Are you interested in this anime?」(Kaito)

To my question, Momoi glared at me.

I’m sure she’s interested….

So let’s provoke her and see.

This anime is interesting, what’s more it’s a battle of strategy. So the smart Momoi should enjoy it.

「Mhm, that’s right. Do you like this anime too?」(Momoi)

「I see I see, if you make that stupid……eh? You like it?」(Kaito)

「Is something wrong?」(Momoi)

「No….」(Kaito)

Eh….?

Do I not know this girl?

The story is very interesting, but the only people who know of it are otakus right?

…..ah, I see.

Maybe she liked the light novel I lent her and read the light novel Sakura-chan had borrowed from a friend.

After that she probably started watching the anime.

…..eh?

But doesn’t that mean that Momoi liked the light novel with『Eroge』in the title…?

No, that novel is certainly interesting.

All the heroines are cute and unique, even though one of the heroines is a perfect honor student like Momoi, she tries to do things to the protagonist like from an eroge, annoying him and causing embarrassment. The guy’s sister is also an airhead, so the protagonist’s life is like a typhoon.

But that novel is a harem that only boys would like, right?

Some girls might like it, but not Momoi right….?

Momoi is actually aloof and an honor student like the heroine from the light novel, could she actually be gentle?

…..no way.

That’s not possible.

If Momoi had such a personality, I don’t know what I’d look like anymore.

…..I wonder if I can change her personality like the heroine and start our family life all over again?

Whilst I was thinking that, I saw Momoi staring at me.

Damn…

Did it show on my face…?

「Hey by the way, which character do you like most in the anime?」(Momoi)

Momoi asked.

I thought『Eh?』but remembered the rant I received last time I reacted like that, so quickly swallowed my words.

Then, I casually answered the name of my favorite character.

「『Karasawa Megumi』is it?」(Momoi)

When I answered like that, the light disappeared from Momoi’s eyes.

….eh!?

Why those eyes!?

I just answered the name of my favorite character!?

「….you said the name of a character from the anime right…?」(Momoi)

「Eh….ah, that’s right…」(Kaito)

I nod with a bitter smile to Momoi’s words.

…..『Karasawa Megumi』even though she only comes out once in the first episode!?

Is that it?

Should I choose someone who appears properly after the first episode….?

So–

「I meant『Ichinose Nami』」(Kaito)

—-I said. She was a heroine from another class, her smile is cute and she’s an excellent friend to her friends.

It should be fine as she has a firm role in the anime.

Guju–! 

….eh, what kind of sound was that?

I look at the person who made that sound.

Then–

「Aaaaaah! What are you doing!」(Kaito)

—Momoi was squeezing the bottle she was holding in her right hand.

Eh, what’s up with this girl’s grip strength that she can squeeze a PET bottle with a closed lid!?

Thanks to that, juice has sprinkled all over my bedroom floor.

「…..What is it?」(Momoi)

「No, nothing….」(Kaito)

Momoi, who had lost the light from her eyes, glared at me.

What do you mean!?

What’s wrong with this girl!?

「I see….then what about『Horiyama Suzu』…..?」(Momoi)

Dangerous…with this pattern, will this girl act crazy if I get the answer wrong?

Why are you smiling at me with your eyes devoid of life!?

You, you never usually smile at me!?

……no, there was one time….but I don’t feel that sense of kindness now….!

My brain works at full capacity to derive an answer.

Certainly『Horiyama Suzu』is good at studying and exercising like Momoi, but she’s a character who gradually shows here compassion!?

Eh, but in the anime she hasn’t grown to that extent yet!?

……Yosh, let’s answer like this.

「She’s certainly a beautiful character, but she’s lonely because of her bad mouth and aloofness, however in reality she’s a girl who works hard to get closer to her brother, and I like girls who work hard on something like that」(Kaito)

—By saying both the good and the bad about the character, I had lost the feeling like I was smoothing it over, but I just gave my honest impressions.

Then–

「I see….you thought about that character a lot. She’s lonely, but really kind」(Momoi)  

–Momoi smiled.

I feel relief at that.

I’m glad…apparently my answer was the right one.

…the kind part of her doesn’t appear in the anime, but I’ll stop that tsukkomi.

If I said that, Momoi might fight back again…

Perhaps that girl is her favorite character.

Maybe she was watching it by herself.

….Isn’t is amazing how similar Momoi is to the character that appeared in the anime?

It’s easy to forget recently, but she’s still a high-spec character…

Will her personality get better like『Horiyama Suzu』?

The chance of that is probably 1%….

It’s been a while since this girl has shown any compassion…

….Oh, that reminds me.

「—Recently the original has been overshadowed….」(Kaito)

—-ah!

Did I say that out loud!?

Perhaps I was too relieved, I said something I was thinking.

I look at Momoi nervously.

There–

「Fufu, right? I wonder why the girl who was the main character is getting a thinner presence?」(Momoi)

—Momoi looked at me and laughed. 

Of course, she lost the light from her eyes…

In Momoi’s left hand, there was only an empty PET bottle that had been crushed and it’s contents spilled everywhere.

….It’s unnecessary to explain why this is happening anymore…

—-Un, you’re in the most danger when you begin to relax…

I didn’t care that my room was dirty anymore, I just regretted my careless remarks–

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Hagakure Sakura does not lament – Chapter 5

TLN: I will be releasing Loner Otaku today as I was resting over the weekend. My illness is pretty much gone and didn’t require hospitalization luckily, but I was still told to rest.

Chapter 5 – First Battle

The response of magical girls to demonic beasts is generally controlled by the government.

The government also handles selection–those who become magical girls after so-called auditions come under the control of the government. From there, they are directed and dispatched to subjugate demonic beasts of a suitable level for them.

—So, how does a magical girl like Tsugumi, who does not belong to the government, subjugate demonic beasts?

Bell provides the answer to Tsugumi’s question.

「Do you know that demonic beasts have grades? they are classified according to the amount of magical energy contained within them. They are brought into this world by creating a Yorishiro containing the exact same amount of energy. Because of this, the time of energy observation and the time of appearance are different. Well, this much is common sense」(Bell) (TLN: Yorishiro is an object representative of a divine spirit)

「Ah, I know that much. That’s why the estimated appearance time changes based on the grade」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

There are 5 grades that classify demonic beasts, from E at the bottom to A all the way at the top.

The government has a machine for predicting the appearance of demonic beasts called『Yata no Kagami()』. The map projected onto a mirror is capable of predicting the time and location of demonic beasts with high accuracy. (TLN: Yata no Kagami is also known as the Eight-Span Mirror, read more here)

Class A demonic beasts take 5 hours to appear.

Class B take 3 hours.

Class C, 2 hours.

Class D, 1 hour.

As for class E, there is a time lag between prediction and appearance, but it is generally 30 minutes.

Magical girls are also ranked according to the class of demonic beast they are capable of defeating.

According to that, the current class of Tsugumi—no, the current class of Hagakure Sakura was class F.

「Taking class E for example, they take about 30 minutes to appear. During the first 5 minutes, the government will contact the person closest to the scene amongst the magical girls on standby and send them to the scene. The system is not so different to the fire department」(Bell)

「Etto, then isn’t there no chance for someone not involved with the government to subjugate demonic beasts? If I get in their way, they’d be annoyed」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

「There is a loophole. Since you have the ability of transfer, it’s easy to do. In your case, in those 5 minutes after a prediction where the government is deciding on which magical girl to send, you arrive on scene and declare to the government that you will handle it. That way you automatically get the right to subjugate the demonic beast」(Bell)

「Is that really okay?」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

「There’s no problem. All the other strays and those with high aspirations within the government are doing the same thing–think about it, in this country there are over 100 demonic beasts appearing a day right? If there are people who move voluntarily, it would immensely helpful for them」(Bell) 

「Well, that’s true」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

In addition, depending on where the magical girls are waiting on standby in comparison to the appearance location, the city could be damaged in the meantime. It would certainly be of benefit to the government to have magical girls who can move at any time and immediately subjugate demonic beasts.

The number of demonic beasts appearing every year numbers 30,000. In other words, an average of 160 demonic beasts appear in Japan every single day. It would be difficult to deal with on their own.

30 years ago, only a few appearances were confirmed every day. However over the next decade, the numbers gradually increased until it settled down with the current number. The number of appearances has been the same for the last 20 years, so it shouldn’t change anytime soon.

On the other hand, the total number of magical girls is just under 3000. The quota can be approximately reached if every magical girl fights an average of 10 times a year.

—However the issue is the retirement rate of magical girls, as well as the amount lost in the line of duty.

There are 500 retirees and 500 deaths in the line of duty every year for magical girls….more than 30% of the personnel have to be replaced every year. Despite the illustrious social status and fancy name, it can be said to be a tough profession. It was scary for Tsugumi to think that he’s joined them, but when he thinks to deeply about it, his head starts aching, so he decided not to care about it much.

「—Then, the enemy will appear in 3 more minutes….」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

Tsugumi muttered.

Tsugumi was currently standing in the woods, on the outskirts of Kanto. According to Bell, a class E demonic beast was to appear in this place.

For the record, the government had been contacted in advance by Bell, so there was no problem on that end. Tsugumi felt it was okay if he told them himself, but Bell refused saying「they’ll throw you out」–but he didn’t believe it would go that far.

「…but is it okay? It’s a thread you know? Do I sneak up on the enemy and strangle it?」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

Whilst waiting, he was trying to figure out how to use his skill【Thread】however roughly speaking, he had only gotten the hang of『putting out a thread』

A thin thread like Tegusu, a thick thread like rope. He was able to output most threads he could imagine. As for strength, he could make it hard enough that a knife couldn’t cut it. (TLN: Tegusu is a Japanese thread used for jewellery, similar to Nylon)

He hadn’t verified how far it could be stretched, but if it was a thin thread, he could stretch it to an extent that it covered the entire forest.

However, the color of the thread was fixed as red for some reason, so it may not be possible to do surprise attacks with it.

When Tsugumi complained, Bell looked at him as if he was looking at something annoying and replied as a matter of course.

「Fuun~ when it comes to battle, you will naturally know how to use it. That’s just how unique skills are」(Bell)

「I hope that’s right」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

As he continued to talk as if to deceive his anxiety, he suddenly felt a feeling as if numerous small needles were piercing his back. He instinctively looked up.

「The sky is distorting」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

「Ah, it’s coming. Get ready」(Bell)

He had wanted to take a deep breath, but in the next second it was blown away. He honestly hadn’t prepared his heart much.

—But well it can’t be helped, he could think about the details later. Tsugumi had always been like that, so it should work out this time as well.

In front of him, a black mist began to gather in a circle, before slowly turning into a sphere. Without warning–it suddenly split into two.

「Uwaa, it’s big–」(Tsugami [Sakura])

What stood there was a 3 meters tall wild boar. It looked exactly like a normal wild boar, except it was 3 meters tall and it’s fangs were shining silver.

「Don’t be afraid idiot!–activate the barrier!」(Bell)

Bell kicked the back of Tsugumi who had retreated slightly due to the appearance of the demonic beast. He shouted at him as he erected the barrier.

Originally it was the magical girl’s job to activate the barrier, but since Tsugumi is a special existence, some techniques are done by Bell instead so that no problems will occur.

With that declaration, the barrier spread out like an umbrella covering the entire forest. Tsugumi could feel the sound of gears clicking in his head, he was sure that this was the feeling of the barrier being completed.

Now then, what should I do?–the moment he thought that, the wild boar suddenly charged at him with frightening speed. Too fast!

「—U, uwaaaa!」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

Tsugumi reflexively jumped onto a tree whilst involuntarily screaming.

Using the branches as a foothold, he climbed up the thick trunk in order to take a breather somewhere safe. The wild boar approached the base of the tree and grunted at Tsugumi in anger.

「….there’s a lot I want to say, but within the barrier, magical girls can move so well, like a ninja」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

Moreover, his body moved before he even thought about it. Even he was surprised by the potential of the existences known as Magical Girls. As expected, the people who protect Japan on the front lines are different.

「Oi, don’t run away! If my contractor is seen doing this, my reputation will go down!」(Bell)

Bell flapped his bat wings and flew to the side of Tsugumi, shouting at him angrily. He knew how he was feeling, but he was hoping that he would be allowed some mistakes since it was his first time.

「No no, this is a strategic retreat…just in case, I thought I should check my other skills first. Is that okay?」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

He forcibly tried to deceive Bell. However checking his skills was important, he wanted to confirm them in advance since they had been unlocked recently.

「I see, hurry then」(Bell)

Saying that, Bell quickly handed over the status board to Tsugumi. He felt like if they didn’t hurry, the boar at the base of the tree would do something bad.

「Thanks, Bell-sama…huh? Is only the name of the skill written here?」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

In the passive skill column,【Optimization】and【Physical Enhancement】were written. A step down from that, there was the skill【Thread Manipulation】printed there. No further information was given. Perhaps the above 2 skills are ones that all magical girls have in advance, the thread manipulation skill is probably related to Tsugumi’s unique skill【Thread】

On the active skill column, the skills【Invisibility/15 minutes】and【Gluttony/After the battle is over】were written with a brief explanation. He understood invisibility, but what did gluttony mean?

As he was thinking whilst tilting his head, Bell called out to him.

「You’re watching it carefully, but is it okay?–it’s coming」(Bell)

Bell said and dexterously stroked his chin. With those words, Tsugumi looked towards the base of the tree.

The first thing he saw was a twinkling light–that silver-white colored light was surrounding the boar completely.

That wild boar then put a large amount of strength into it’s hind legs and seemed to want to ram into the tree Tsugumi was standing on.

….This is bad. The moment Tsugumi thought so, the boar disappeared.

Bekibaki-!!! A terrible noise was produced as a large portion of the tree was gouged out. As a matter of course, the aftermath of the strike caused the trees in the surroundings to collapse and break one after another, changing the landscape of the forest in an instant.

「….I’m really glad I have the【Transfer】skill」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

Whilst watching the destruction of nature from the top of a tree on the other side, he muttered so. He had decided to use transfer as soon as the boar disappeared, that decision turned out to be correct.

Even so, were class E demonic beasts always this strong? On the special feature programs on TV, he had always thought they were just big versions of existing creatures, he didn’t know they could use this type of technique.

The wild board was currently destroying the surrounding trees whilst screaming「Bumooooooo!!!!」from it’s ferocious scream, it seemed to be looking for Tsugumi.

Whilst paying attention to the movements of the wild boar, Tsugumi decided to try another unique skill. If he couldn’t come up with any countermeasures, he would just keep escaping using transfer until it was no longer possible to do so. At that point, he could only wait for death.

Impatience bloomed in his heart. He tried to deny it, but the pressure from Bell next to him was too great.

Fuu, he exhaled slightly–it was time for his decision.

He created threads between the palms of his hands as if praying. At that moment, information flowed into his head.

「【Thread】and【Thread Manipulation】–I see, that’s what is is」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

This is probably why Bell said「you’ll understand when you use it」

What to do was imprinted into his mind.

「Have you finished preparing? I’m getting bored」(Bell)

Bell was rushing him, but he put down the irritation in his heart.

「Ah, mou. It’s fine –I’m beginning my counterattack now」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

With that said, Tsugumi laughed fearlessly.

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Hagakure Sakura does not lament – Chapter 4

TLN: Whenever Tsugumi turns into a girl, I will be using Tsugumi [Sakura] next to the speech boxes to let you know that he is transformed. If this reads a bit strange, I’ll look into changing pronouns and stuff.

Also I was surprised when I saw what type of skills he got as that particular fighting style is very rare in web novels.

Chapter 4 – Unique Skill

—The next day, Tsugumi and Bell stood facing each other in the living room of his house. This was because Tsugumi insisted on practicing transforming first before fighting a demonic beast.

He had told Chidori in advance that he would be absent from school and asked her to inform his teacher. He felt bad for Suzune-sensei who was worried for him, but he couldn’t go to school given his current situation.

Of course, his plans after school with Yukitaka were also cancelled, but it was strange that Yukitaka accepted that so easily. On the contrary, he even offered to collect the book from the antique bookstore in Tsugumi’s place. This is what it meant to have a good friend.

—But how did Yukitaka know he hadn’t collected the book yet?

Well, he must have guessed that Tsugumi had forgotten to collect the book.

「So, what do you think?」(Bell)

「How do I say it, it’s amazing…even my voice has changed」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

With that said, Tsugumi gently touched his throat. The feeling of incongruity was amazing…he was wondering what was going on under his clothes, but judging by the feeling, everything had changed.

–That’s right, Tsugumi had transformed into a girl.

As for the her height, she was probably less than 170 centimeters. She was thin and had a slender figure overall.

…It was easy to change into this body with a simple thought. Along with surprise, he felt awe that this was clearly the work of a God, that no ordinary human could do.

Bell laughed with satisfaction when he looked at Tsugumi.

「The contract tool I gave you is a special one I made. There will be a small sense of incongruity, but it should go away in time」(Bell)

「Despite being such a small ring….the power of the God’s is really crazy」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

Contract tools were needed to transform into a magical girl. Tsugumi had received a ring with a round, green stone embedded in it. An obscure emblem was engraved on the stone. It was a design that tickled his male heart.

「So the outfit is a black skirt and a collared jacket. It’s basically similar to the outfit I always wear」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

It felt as if the men’s school uniform he always wore had turned into female style clothing. There was a danger because of how plain it looked.

However when he thought about it calmly, wearing a knee-length skirt was kind of embarrassing. It was so cold, do women really wear this type of thing?

「No, the clothes of a magical girl differ according to the imagination of the person. Other than your appearance, the only thing that hasn’t changed much is your poor imagination」(Bell)

「Then should I think about the glittery, shiny clothes magical girls usually wear?….I don’t think I can do it」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

From the so called gothic lolita clothes, to the idol-like clothes and even fancy dress like costumes. Tsugumi had thought that the clothing would be automatically chosen to best fit the user, but it seems that it’s the user who chooses instead.

「Fuun~ You’re too soft, tomorrow I’ll fix the contract tool and change your clothing. I’ll dress you up instead」(Bell)

「Eh…」(Tsugumi)

「What do you have a complaint?」(Bell)

「No, un…..that’s okay」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

To be honest, he was afraid of the final product. He wouldn’t know how to react if was full of frills or something.

However, considering the design of the ring, he felt like the finished product would be of good quality. He decided to believe in Bell here.

Or rather, there was something more concerning than that.

「Can I look in the mirror for a moment? I’m wondering what my face looks like right now」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

Speaking of the transformation, it would be amazing if he had become an outrageously beautiful girl.

When Tsugumi said that, Bell sighed as if amazed.

「Humans always care about their faces—it’s just a piece of skin」(Bell)

「Don’t say that. Etto, where is it. Where where?」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

As he looked in the mirror, he saw his reflection–

「This is, me—? I don’t seem to have changed too much?」(Tsugumi [Sakura]) (TLN: He uses Ore here, but the furigana above it is Watashi. Watashi is feminine for “I” and Ore is masculine for “I”)

Tsugumi said so and looked at Bell in dissatisfaction.

From the appearance of the girl in the reflection, straight black hair extended to her shoulder blades, her eyes were pale with a light hue. Her features were very similar to Tsugumi’s. It was as if he had a younger sister who had a similar face to him.

He considered himself someone with a level-head, so he didn’t feel too strange about becoming a woman, instead he felt disappointed.

「People will know me by my face….」(Tsugumi)

「At that time, you can pretend to be ignorant, besides no-one would normally think that a man could become a magical girl. Well, if someone says anything you can say you’re a long-lost sister」(Bell)

「Don’t say it like it’s easy. I don’t even know what the other magical girls look like and there’s lots of things I don’t know….」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

He wasn’t familiar with the magical girl industry, so he has no point of reference. However there is no problem if Bell, who is more familiar with Magical Girls than Tsugumi, says it’s ok.

But the long-lost sibling setting is really bad. It’s a known fact that Tsugumi and Chidori have no knowledge of their past, so someone with good intentions might try and put『Hagakure Sakura』and them together.

「But you can’t change your facial appearance anymore as there is no more capacity for further transformations」(Bell)

「…Then it can’t be helped. Is there no choice but to wear glasses and protect my identity like that?」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

He couldn’t help but complain.

「By the way, what kind of state is『Magical Girl』? I don’t feel any different than usual?」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

「Stupid. The function of strengthening a magical girl can only be done within the space between worlds. Don’t you even know that?」(Bell)

「Is that so? I’ve never heard about that?」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

When Tsugumi answered like that, Bell frowned with an annoyed expression.

「…so that’s it. It’s kept secret to protect the magical girls? If a little girl can’t use her power as a magical girl, she could be easily dealt with」(Bell)

「But that would make everyday life dangerous wouldn’t it? When they sell their names, numerous people with bad intentions would be come out of the woodwork」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

「To prevent that from happening, magical girls can use two unique skills without transforming. Unless they deliberately lose, a normal person can’t beat them. The issue is organizational-level foreign agents, if you are surrounded by a group of people wielding firearms, you won’t be able to do anything」(Bell)

Foreign agents? Japan has been isolated for a long time, but a limited number of diplomatic officials are allowed to enter the country. Staying for more than a week is not permissible under law, but there’s no guarantee that abductions or other acts weren’t committed during that time.

Currently Japan is attracting attention from all around the world. The demon cores of the『Demonic Beasts』seem exactly like a miracle from God. Japan who monopolizes them, has become the target of jealousy from the other countries.

「I guess there’s no choice but to be careful then?…so what are these unique skills? Is it like a game? Where status is displayed as numeric values?」(Tsugami [Sakura])

When he asked Bell about that, he was looked at with disdain. Bell also flew above the line of sight of Tsugumi to look down on him.

「In the first place, the efficiency of the use of divine power, the permissible range and the type of technique vary depending on the person. It’s not just quantifiable information that is useful, this is why idiots are troublesome」(Bell)

Bell laughed through his nose, whilst shrugging his shoulders. Well in retrospect it was certainly a strange thing to say. It was rude to consider it a game when magical girls are fighting for their lives every day. Tsugumi decided to reflect on that.

「There is only this『Skill Sheet』Why don’t you take a look」(Bell)

With a mechanical sound, something resembling thin shining board appeared in Bell’s hands.

Tsugumi was initially afraid to receive the board, but when he did, he found that it wasn’t heavy at all and felt as if he was holding onto nothing but air.

It acted like a touch screen where you could scroll down the page, Tsugumi began to read the information on the board.

「…..ano」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

「What is it?」(Bell)

「To humans we would instinctively call this a status board」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

Tsugumi squeezed those words out in a small voice.

There was a pie chart displaying remaining divine power, as well as consumption. Skills were recorded as well as their relevant levels. There were even columns for the number of defeated monsters and frequency of battles. It was a status board by all means.

「I didn’t say there was no indication of status, I just said there was no numerical representation of your strength」(Bell)

「In the future it may be necessary for us to share opinions to ensure mutual understanding」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

Tsugumi said in a serious tone. If they weren’t on the same page, it would certainly cause problems later and it would be Tsugumi who would suffer the effects of it. No matter what, he wanted to avoid going in a bad direction.

「Etto, this skill sheet? According to it, my unique skills are—【Transfer】and【Thread】. Thread?」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

He could understand transfer. It was the ability to teleport himself or other things to a place. At least, that was what was written in his skill introduction column. But what kind of effect does【Thread】have? In the skill introduction column, it only says「create and manipulate threads」

In addition to the unique skill column, there were also columns for passive skills and active skills, but they were currently filled in black. Perhaps he’ll only be able to confirm those once he’s within a barrier.

「I’m glad. That skill【Transfer】is a hit. As a result of my investigation, I discovered that there are only a few people working for the government who have that skill. From our point of view, it would help us move about unseen. Accept my praise」(Bell)

「Then what is this【Thread】skill…?」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

「Dunno. I’ve heard that the first skill is always random, but the second skill comes from the person’s individual characteristics. If you don’t know, then I don’t know」(Bell)

Bell was the only thing Tsugumi could rely on right now, but he had no idea. He felt like grabbing his head, what should he do?

A skill that depends on Tsugumi’s characteristics….could he manipulate thread..? Honestly, he doesn’t remember at all.

「…..I’ve been thinking about this since a while ago, but who came up with『Unique Skills』and『Skill Sheet』? It’s easy to understand, but it somehow doesn’t feel real」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

He had thought since earlier that this system was similar to a『Game System』that young people were familiar with nowadays. From Bell’s words, he could infer that this system was available to all magical girls. Tsugumi had a hard time believing that the government would make such a playful thing.

「I don’t know the details, but it seems your Sun God Amaterasu created it as part of her hobby. The government were the ones to come up with the name though. I think it was made this way so that even people with empty heads like you could understand it. The reason why unique skills became random and dependent on inherent qualities were because people would attempt to come up with their own skill combinations, which would sometimes end up destroying them」(Bell)

「I, is that right?」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

He wanted to accept it, but it made him have a subtle feeling that he was dancing on the palm of the government.

Those who self-destructed when creating their skills must have misread their limits. There is a time during puberty when all kids think like that.

He felt that he was lucky to some extent to have become a magical girl after the current system was implemented.

Tsugumi dropped his shoulders and sighed.

「—I wonder if I’ll be able to survive in the future」(Tsugumi [Sakura])

It was a terribly depressing feeling.

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Lonely Otaku – Chapter 21

Arc 1 – Changing Everyday

Chapter 21 – I don’t know where the landmines are, so many landmines…

「「「…….」」」

….Aw, awkward….

We are currently silently eating at the table, all 3 of us.

Although we are being silent, it’s not quiet as the TV is on in the background.

As always, Sakura-chan who is eating in front of me is smiling.

It’s supposed to be the smile of my cute imouto, but for some reason I keep feeling a cold sweat on my back.

Speaking of Momoi, she was looking at me as if saying『You broke your promise again didn’t you?』

No no, certainly that happened….but the cause of this is different…..

No matter how much I think about it, the cause is likely my interactions with Saijo…?

But I can’t say that in front of Momoi…

Even yesterday, she was probably angry that I was caught『Playing with the girl who cornered her』so I was scared of what type of gaze I’d be subjected to if she knew what happened today…

Above all, I want to do something about the girl who keeps smiling at me.

It was usually a healing smile, but this one made me feel uncomfortable…

「—-That person….looks like Onii-chan’s girlfriend…」(Sakura)

「「—-!?」」(Momoi & Kaito)

The cold sweat running down my back doubled at the words of Sakura-chan, who was watching TV.

「Heh—is that right?」(Momoi)

Momoi, who saw the person on TV, turned cold eyes towards me.

I pretended not to notice and looked towards the TV.

What was projected there, was a blonde girl with her hair tied into a pigtail.

At first glance, it certainly looked like Saijo.

Maa, in comparison Saijo only ties her hair to one side in a pigtail.

However, unlike Saijo who dyes her hair blonde. For the girl on TV–whose name seems to be Byodoin Aria, it was likely her natural hair colour.

Her hair was a pretty shade of gold and her eyes were a deep beautiful blue color.

She was the daughter of the Byodoin Conglomerate, one of the 3 major conglomerates in Japan, similar to Saijo.

The reason why such a girl is on TV is that she is a talented president in an elite high school that had become a hot topic recently.

This girl was currently running four companies whilst studying in an all-girls school. One of them seems to be the TV company that is currently interviewing her.

Perhaps she inherited the companies from her parents, regardless she was a hot topic because she was running these companies whilst still at school.

I wonder if one day she’ll appear on her own TV show…she seems to be half-American and her appearance is cute. Because of that she seems to be attracting a lot of attention.

That’s probably why she was appearing right now, to boost the TV shows ratings.

I knew about her for a while.

But you couldn’t call us acquaintances.

This girl has been the subject of rumors online for a long time.

Apparently, she has a very strong personality with an aggressive negotiation style where she grasps and exploits the weaknesses of the other party.

Despite never diving in too deeply, she has never failed in a transaction before using this style.

I wondered if it was possible to have an aggressive negotiation style without diving in too deeply, but it’s what she’s known for.

But….Byodoin Conglomerate…?

To tell the truth, on Saturday I’m supposed to visit a branch company of the Byodoin Conglomerate.

It was a meeting to discuss a new programming project…

To be honest, I feel like not going…

For me who is not good at talking to people, a face-to-face meeting is not something I’m good at.

That’s why, I’m hoping we only have to meet in the beginning, then exchange everything through email.

As expected, the face-to-face meeting seems a little useless…

By the way, I use the handle KAI to communicate with companies without using my real name.

When I first started, I was using my full name, but later on I changed it to my current handle. I never gave my home address, just my email address.

Well usually it would be impossible to hide my name as I receive the money after the project is completed, but there are exceptions as well…

Eventually I understood why special cases were allowed and why companies accepted them…

Regardless, the reason why I take these jobs is because it’s my hobby.

No at first it was just about the money.

However, I enjoyed the feeling of exhilaration when the program I wrote from scratch started working.

If I was going to write programs anyway, so it would be better if I got money for doing it as well. That way I can buy a lot of light novels and eroge, so I kept taking jobs from these companies.

Maa…I was making a lot of money extremely quickly….but alot of it was spent on the incident with Momoi…

「—-It seems that way….」(Momoi)

「Ha….?」(Kaito)

Whilst I was concerning myself with this weekend’s plans, Momoi said something that didn’t make sense.

Momoi was staring at me with eyes that had lost their light.

….I had forgotten…

Because I was lost in my thoughts, I had been staring at the girl on the TV for a while….

「You were staring at her so much, do you really like blonde girls…?」(Momoi)

「No, it’s a misunderstanding…」(Kaito)

「Misunderstanding? Then are you leading that girl on?」(Sakura)

Sakura-chan responded instinctively to my words.

Ah—her smile is finally gone, but her cheeks are puffed up.

Why!? I’m not scared or anything!

But it’s clear she’s angry from her facial expression!

「Um, Sakura-chan. I’ve said it many times, but I’m not dating Saijo okay?」(Kaito) 

「But didn’t the blonde Onee-san say she was?」(Sakura)

How many times are we going to do this exchange…

「That’s why I’m saying….Saijo said it without permission」(Kaito)

「I thought I saw you with a loose-face when you were Saijo, but maybe I was wrong?」(Momoi)

When I responded to Sakura-chan for the umpteenth time, Momoi responded instead.

Wait what’s with this situation!?

The Momoi sisters are ganging up on me!?

「Momoi, what are you saying?」(Kaito)

I ask Momoi to find out what she’s talking about.

「Who knows? All I know is that you gave Saijo a Kabedon and an Agokui」(Momoi)

「Heh….?」(Sakura)

Aaaaaaaah!

I stepped on a land mine!

Momoi, what are you talking about!?

I don’t know why, but Momoi’s words made Sakura-chan start smiling again!

I can see the letters『Gogogogogogo』in the background!

—I spent an hour after this trying to convince the Momoi sisters–

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Hagakure Sakura does not lament – Chapter 3

TLN: Just realized a pun with Chidori and Tsugumi’s names. Tsugumi’s name is 鶫 which means “Thrush” as in the bird. Chidori’s name is 千鳥, which means “Thousand Birds”

The next chapter he actually transforms and I was struggling with how to refer to him when he’s transformed. Do I use his pseudonym next to the speech to make it clear he’s transformed? rather than “he gently touched his throat” should is be “she gently touched her throat”?

I’ve rewritten it so many times because it sounds a little weird to change to female pronouns midway through.

Chapter 3 – Someone called Hagakure

—Even if Tsugumi stops here, he will likely get caught up in the battle and die.

He supported himself with his hand against a battered wall nearby, attempting to move to a place where he could escape from the aftereffects of the battle, even if just a little. However, it was difficult for him to navigate past the rubble due to his hazy vision.

The severe pain that previously spread across his entire body, gradually turned into a dull pain. It may be due to his senses becoming numb.

Inevitably Tsugumi continued walking. Then, when the sounds of battle faded away somewhat, he ducked into an alley so that the enemy couldn’t find him.

「…Haha, I can’t stop trembling」(Tsugumi)

As he says that, he laughs as if to mock himself.

…He can’t move anymore, but at least he was able to move away from the center of the battle. Whilst crouching down, he had no other choice but to wait for the battle to end, he had to endure.

—But no matter how much he encouraged himself, he knew that the calm part of his mind no longer had control of his body.

His eyes were dyed red, for some reason his heart was feeling uncomfortably hot.

He suddenly coughed up blood and closed his eyes. Through his closed eyelids, he could see a red light fluttering around. He felt that if he fell asleep here, he would never wake up.

「…I’m sorry」(Tsugumi)

He muttered, almost like a sigh.

He doesn’t want to die, but there’s nothing else he can do anymore. If this was a manga, he could survive on guts alone, but if wounds could be healed by thoughts, then there would be no need for doctors in this world.

He opened his blurry eyes, the blood dripping from his limbs looked like red string. If there was a God of Death nearby they might say something like「you are entangled with the string of death」

Even though he was lightly joking around in his heart, he didn’t have the energy to actually say it. He couldn’t even lift a finger.

—If he wanted to change his fate of death, he could only pray for a miracle. Yes, the type that a God could provide.

Thinking of that, Tsugumi smiled dryly.

—Miracles weren’t that common.

Tsugumi wasn’t a brilliant man full of talent, he was just mediocre. A God wouldn’t help such an insignificant existence.

Reaching out to a dying person is more the work of a devil, someone who takes advantage of human weakness.

….But he would be happy even if it was a devil. It didn’t matter to him who came to save him now, as long as he could live.

As such, this encounter–was surely not a miracle.

Instead it must have been fate.

「—Young one, do you want to be saved?」(???)

Suddenly, these words were spoken to Tsugumi by a black shadow in front of him.

When Tsugumi slowly raised his head, the shadow revealed itself to be a black cat. The cat repeated the words again whilst looking at Tsugumi with his golden eyes.

「Do you want to survive? or will you die as you are?」(???)

—Depending on your reply, I may not help you. The cat added on with a laugh.

Those words held an irresistible charm to Tsugumi. He felt a strange feeling from the cat, it was a feeling of sacredness that made you want to cling to it and disgust that made you want to turn away, all mixed together. Still there was some level of attraction.

—This was surely a『Devil’s Deal』

…It was clear to Tsugumi that the cat was not a good thing.

The barrier created by Amaterasu-Ōmikami was by no means all-purpose. The current situation in front of Tsugumi was a good example, sometimes even bad things can slip through.

Despite that, he didn’t see anything wrong with the fact that the being in front of him might be a devil. If he had to suffer an unreasonable contract, he felt that it was still ok. It was much better than dying here in a place that no-one knew.

He grabbed the black cat’s forefoot with a dark, blood-stained hand. He no longer had the energy to speak–so he nodded in affirmation instead.

Seeing that, the black cat laughed. It’s mouth then stretched into a grin, which should be impossible with a Cat’s skeletal structure.

The black cat gently put his face close to Tsugumi’s ear and spoke mockingly.

「I see —Then I’ll haunt (save) you」(???) (TLN: This is a pun on “Save” because there is a 1 character difference between “Save” (Sukuwa) and “Haunt” (Sukutte))

—Then, the black cat thrust his fangs into Tsugumi’s neck.

◆ ◆ ◆

「Tsugumi! You’re going to get a cold you know!?」(Chidori)

「Uwaa!」(Tsugumi)

Suddenly a loud voice caused Tsugumi to involuntarily scream. Due to the sudden awakening, his heart was beating rapidly.

He couldn’t help but look around in surprise.

He thought he was lying in rubble, but instead he was somewhere he was very familiar with–or rather, he was outside his front door.

…Not just the rubble, his wounds had also disappeared. He tried touching his side and his legs, but he couldn’t find any abnormalities.

—Was that a dream? such thoughts occupied his mind.

Chidori opened her mouth to speak, staring worryingly at the behavior of Tsugumi.

「Mou, I had already taken a break from club activities and came back early because I was contacted by Amari-kun, but I never expected I would find Tsugumi collapsed at the entrance. I thought my heart would stop…hey, are you really okay?」(Chidori)

With that said, Chidori looked at Tsugumi’s face with concern. Anxiety was visible in her eyes,

「Eh, ah, sorry….my memory is a little vague…」(Tsugumi)

「Did you catch a cold after all?」(Chidori)

Chidori gently brushed Tsugumi’s bangs aside and placed her forehead against his. The warmth of her skin was gradually transmitted to him.

However with the beautiful face of Chidori so close, it made him feel uncomfortable, as if he was doing something wrong.

Chidori, who had no idea about the complicated feelings of Tsugumi, exhaled after releasing their foreheads.

「That’s good, you don’t have a fever. But just in case, you should rest for today. If you’re hungry I’ll make porridge later」(Chidori)

「Sorry for making you worry…」(Tsugumi)

Seeing the smiling face of Chidori, his body suddenly lost power.

Ah, that’s good. She can keep smiling today too–it’s really great.

「…I’m sorry, I’m feeling sleepy today so I’ll skip dinner, I’ll get something tomorrow」(Tsugumi)

「Is that so? if there’s anything wrong please tell me, Tsugumi always acts so reckless at times」(Chidori)

He laughed to reassure her that she had nothing to worry about, then returned to his room.

He closed the door with a bang, then leaned against the wall, eventually sliding down into a sitting position. His head was hurting.

He had managed to stimulate his hazy memory–but no matter how much he thought about it, the situation was strange.

Seeing his school uniform without and rips or tears caused him to frown.

He couldn’t explain it properly, but the injury he sustained was definitely real. He thought he would die. However when he looked at his clothes and his side, there was no damage or pain.

If it was a dream, then there was a contradiction. He doesn’t remember returning from the station to his house on his own. Which part was the dream and which was reality? perhaps he has already died and is now just dreaming.

…Even when he thought deeply about it, he couldn’t come up with a conclusion. Regardless, he decided to get checked up at the hospital tomorrow at once.

「–That cat, I wonder what was up with it?」(Tsugumi)

He mumbled to himself that the events that occurred were a bit extreme to be called a dream.

Tsugumi stood up and laid down on his bed. Surely if this was a dream, it would be better to end it as a dream. Tsugumi was already satisfied, that was what was most important.

In that way in the end Tsugumi could say–ah, I’m glad I had that dream.

As he closed his eyes in relief, he suddenly heard a voice above his head.

「—What are you dreaming about?」(???)

He reflexively raised his upper body.

「Eh…..eh?」(Tsugumi)

「What a dumb expression you have. Since your master has turned up like this, you should be rubbing your face on the ground and prostrating yourself」(???)

A black cat with four thin wings like a dragonfly said so, whilst floating in front of Tsugumi.

Tsugumi stared at the creature with his mouth wide open, as if he couldn’t grasp the situation.

「Ha…..?」(Tsugumi)

「That’s why I’m saying don’t hold your head up so high!!!」(Black Cat)

As the black cat yelled, he slapped Tsugumi furiously with his forefoot. Puni Puni~

「Guu!?」(Tsugumi)

Contrary to his elegant appearance, his attacks were fierce.

Due to the momentum of being hit, Tsugumi fell back onto his bed. His cheeks felt dull and painful.

「Fuun~ Idiot. I finally got you to bow your head」(Black Cat)

—No, you just hit me until I fell over. He thought so in his heart, but did not say it, this proved to be a wise decision.

「Yo….no, who are you?」(Tsugumi) (TLN: He uses Omae initially, then switches to the more polite Anata)

Despite being confused by the situation, Tsugumi managed to ask that.

「What? do you not remember anything? are you that incompetent, or just pretending to have forgotten?」(Black Cat)

The black cat’s relentless insults made him silent, he couldn’t think of any words to rebuke him…

He vaguely remembered that he was dying. He experienced pain as if his body was breaking apart–then, he heard the words of his savior.

『Do you want to be saved?』

Tsugumi certainly remembered nodding to those words. Then this cat is–

With confident eyes, Tsugumi stared at the black cat.

「Did you save me?」(Tsugumi)

「Ha, you finally remember」(Black Cat)

The black cat threw out a sigh as he laughed sarcastically, sitting down on the bed.

「I am your god, your king, your master–rejoice servant, you have been chosen as my time-killing toy, you will dance for me and hopefully you don’t break too quickly」(Black Cat)

「Toy? Dance? What on Earth are you going to do to me?」(Tsugumi)

At the mocking words of the black cat, an indescribable chill ran up his spine. He remembered this feeling. Yes, it was the same feeling he got when he was dragged into the evil plans of Yukitaka.

「You saved my life, but I’m sorry, I refuse to break the law at your command. I also don’t want to cause problems for anyone. I know I’m being selfish, but if you can’t accept my conditions, then please return my wounds to me」(Tsugumi)

His life was saved, but he refuses to cause harm to his family. He didn’t want to die, but it was better than causing trouble for Chidori. It won’t be a pretty death, but it would be better than being killed in a battle between a magical girl and a demonic beast.

However, the black cat—the God’s reaction was different than Tsugumi expected.

「Don’t be an idiot brat. Do you think that I could do evil things with a human like you!? My former subordinates would laugh at me!!」(Black Cat)

—The god had gotten angry in a completely different way than Tsugumi expected.

「Etto, so I can take that to mean that you won’t make me cause trouble for my family or commit criminal acts?」(Tsugumi)

「Fuun~ that’s right, I’m not interested in your family」(Black Cat)

「Then, what do you need me to do?」(Tsugumi)

It must be something and ordinary human can do, but Tsugumi had no confidence in being able to satisfy a God.

When the God heard that, he stared at Tsugumi with his beautiful golden eyes and began to laugh. He then said something outrageous.

「In this amusement park, you have toys called『Magical Girls』right? —I want you to become a magical girl. I’d be crazy not to participate in such a fun event. I’m going to enjoy it to the fullest」(Black Cat)

「Wa, wait a minute! you said magical girl, but I’m a guy right!? I don’t have any aptitude nor right to be one!」(Tsugumi)

「Shut up. You have no right to veto this. If I say you are going to do it, then you’re going to do it. End of discussion」(Black cat)

The black cat spoke in an intimidating voice, silencing Tsugumi.

「—However, I have no intention of getting involved with that Sun God. You will have to move inconspicuously within the scope of the rules, so I’ll treat you as a general toy」(Black Cat)

「But, as I said I’m a man. I don’t know the details, but there’s no precedent of a man becoming a magical girl. Males don’t seem to have suitable vessels to accept the power of God or something? I’ll definitely stand out」(Tsugumi)

「You don’t have to worry about that, I’ll use my authority to transform you. I can do whatever I want with the vessel after all–I noticed after signing a contract with you, you have a better affinity for divine power than most. Did you train as a shrine maiden before?」(Black Cat)

「I don’t think….that’s the case….」(Tsugumi)

He doesn’t think it’s possible, but then again he doesn’t remember his childhood at all. His family records were burnt to ash in the catastrophe ten years ago and all the data crashed, so he no longer knew his roots.

「Well, tomorrow I will have you transform and fight a demonic beast. You’ll find out then, so stop concerning yourself with it」(Black Cat)

Although he wanted to advocate for a clearer explanation, he knew that he had no power in these discussions. So, he swallowed what he was going to say and nodded quietly. However, that doesn’t mean that he had no questions to ask.

「I’m really grateful for your help and I’ll pay you back in anyway I can—but why did you choose me? You seem to be a high-ranking God, you could have had your pick of any girl at all, so why me?」(Tsugumi)

In Japan, the main deity was Amaterasu, a Goddess. That was the reason why women were seen as being closer to God. That’s also why there was a public perception that “God favors women” and as such there was no need to choose Tsugumi, who is a man.

However, the black cat distorted his expression and Tsugumi’s question and his response was completely out of his expectations.

「Unlike the other trashy shitty Gods, I don’t like women that sell themselves」(Black Cat)

「Tr, trashy….so in essence, etto, you hate women?」(Tsugumi)

Despite being shocked by the words of the God, Tsugumi still asked his question.

「I went to see a couple of girls selected by the Government, but I couldn’t even speak to them. They sneak around to gain any advantage, then hide their rotten personalities behind fake smiles—they looked like religious men who had gained a little power, it was sickening」(Black Cat)

God spits out those words so easily, perhaps he has a trauma due to religious people?

「Not all of them are like that, there are many girls all over Japan who want to be magical girls, some of them are bound to be pure-hearted kids」(Tsugumi)

From that criteria, Chidori had a passing score. No, he forbid her from becoming a magical girl.

When Tsugumi said that, the black cat looked at him like he was looking at a crushed insect. Tsugumi was surprised that a cat’s expressions could be so varied.

「Unfortunately, I can only contract with girls after they have exceeded 12 years old…..I tried to compromise and go older, but they weren’t innocent enough. Then I thought about doing it with a reckless guy instead」(Black Cat)

「….God wanted little girls….」(Tsugumi)

When Tsugumi tried to comment on the God’s hobby, a tail was ruthlessly swung and smashed into his face.

「You’re a fool who can only talk about creepy things!! I have plenty of tolerance!!」(Black Cat)

「…..I, is that right」(Tsugumi)

—-Was that really something to be proud of? he wanted to say, but kept it in his heart. Silence is golden after all.

「That’s why I compromised and went with someone like you. Feel free to thank me with tears in your eyes」(Black Cat)

「….yes, thank you very much」(Tsugumi)

In other words, this God wanted to sign a contract with a girl, but because women over the age of 12 were out of his strike zone he compromised with the dying Tsugumi after seizing his weakness? It seems like a rushed decision.

…In any case, Tsugumi can’t escape from a God. After all, the contract has already been made, he could tell instinctively that this black cat was now his master.

The black cat smiled looking at the silent Tsugumi.

「You’re looking forward to it aren’t you? That’s right my miserable contractor」(Black Cat)

「Before that, can I ask one thing?」(Tsugumi)

「….Just as I thought earlier, you’re rude. Well I’m a generous God and we will have a long relationship, so I’ll forgive some indiscretions with my big heart. So, what is it?」(Black Cat)

「What should I call you?」(Tsugumi)

To that question, the God opened his eyes wide and tilted his head.

「Un? I haven’t told you yet? My name–that’s right, you can call me『Bell』」(Bell)

「Bell…」(Tsugumi)

—Was there a God or devil with such a name? At least Tsugumi didn’t remember one.

「Attach -sama, a bastard like you should show courtesy to the one you serve」(Bell)

「Ano, I have a name, Tsugumi….」(Tsugumi) (TLN: Bell has been calling him “Kisama” which is a super derogatory version of “you” )

「Why would I use that? –Ah, I forgot to mention, I used a pseudonym when registering you as a magical girl. Since you haven’t been collared by the government, but are instead a stray, they were flexible with the naming. Because of this as long as you aren’t seen transforming, no-one will know you’re a magical girl」(Bell)

Tsugumi felt somewhat depressed at the words that Bell had replied with almost instantly…..no, he abandoned those thoughts as he had something more important to ask.

「A pseudonym? What kind of name is it?」(Tsugumi)

What would he do if it was an embarrassing, sparkly name that he would be ashamed to call himself? He anxiously awaited Bell’s reply.

「—Hagakure Sakura, it’s a good name I came up with right?」(Bell)

Tsugumi nodded which caused Bell to laugh proudly.

「Did you take the name from the bushido? It’s pretty obscure now, but it’s from the『Hagakure Kikigaki』right? It’s appropriate because I’ve already died once」(Tsugumi) (TLN: TLDR, it’s a book on bushido (warrior’s code) where it asserts that bushido is really the “way of dying”)

There’s a line in the book that is often misunderstood which is 『The way of the warrior is death』to mean that bushido is the art of dying, however in actual fact it teaches the reader to be conscious of death instead.

The original meaning was that if you go into battle with the state of mind that you are already dead, you will produce better results. Tsugumi never thought that a seemingly foreign God like bell would have such a deep understanding of Japan.

When Tsugumi was impressed and complimented Bell, Bell tilted his head in response.

「No, I just thought it was cool」(Bell)

「……」(Tsugumi)

「Oi, say something」(Bell)

「….No! It’s the coolest name! God’s naming sense is outstanding!」(Tsugumi)

Tsugumi raised his voice to deceive Bell. He would be ashamed to have to receive an angry lecture from him.

「Ah, that’s correct! Praise me more!」(Bell)

Whilst sending compliments to the God, Tsugumi stroked his chest in relief. It seems that the God was a better person that he originally thought–he may be a good God.

「Bell-sama」(Tsugumi)

「What is it, servant?」(Bell)

「—Please look after me from now on」(Tsugumi)

「Umu. Work hard for me」(Bell)

As usual, the God held a dignified figure. There was no strangeness of disgust when looking at it.

—This was the second encounter between Tsugumi and the『Devil』Bell—as well as the beginning of everything.

This is the tale of a boy saved by a God.

As well as the story of Hagakure Sakura, the magical girl eaten by the devil.

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Hagakure Sakura does not lament – Chapter 2

TLN: I’m changing the barrier name to it’s romanji variant because the English translation sounds weird. So it’s now 『Amano Iwato』which is the barrier set up my Amaterasu.

Chapter 2 – Creeping Shadow

As he left school and walked along a road with low-traffic, Tsugumi tilted his head in confusion. He was concerned with the appearance of Suzune at that time.

「—I don’t really understand that person」(Tsugumi)

The woman named Suzune Nagisa was a little unreliable as a teacher, but her personality as an adult was reliable. If you consult with her on an issue, she will be friendly and cooperative and never say anything unreasonable. Perhaps because of this kindness, she was oddly accepted by Tsugumi’s class which was only filled with strange people.

—However, she was unstable on her feet most of the time. It was if she was looking where she was going, but at the same time not. There were times when Tsugumi felt that way.

—In addition, there were various rumors circulating about the teacher named Suzune Nagisa, that she was involved in the occult.

There were various variations of the rumor, from her being a retired magical girl, to being an heir to a famous shrine, to being a powerful psychic with great skill.

Recently, there was even talk in class of her predicting someone’s death, who later died in an accident, but since it was something that Yukitaka explained whilst joking around, Tsugumi didn’t take it seriously.

As a matter of fact, there were rumors since a long time ago that Saegami High School, which Tsugumi attends, had been haunted by ghosts. In fact, he still often hears stories of people seeing things in the middle of the night.

Although Tsugumi himself has never experienced such things, his sister Chidori often said that she had a strange feeling sometimes at school. Tsugumi doesn’t believe it and thinks that it’s all likely in her head, but he can’t say anything as he can’t disprove the existence of ghosts.

—Well regardless, it’s still best to be careful.

Whilst lost in his thoughts, Tsugumi slowly walked to the station in order to go straight home, when suddenly, he felt like he had forgotten something.

「….Ah, that’s right. I have to buy a book」(Tsugumi)

He suddenly remembered that the owner of the antiques store had contacted him to inform him that the book he had ordered a month ago had arrived.

Chidori, Tsugumi’s sister, had a habit of collecting foreign literature and children’s books. On her days off from school and club activities, she would often visit second-hand bookstores. Tsugumi had finally gotten his hands on a book that she had been wanting for a long time.

It was an old foreign book that was quite difficult to obtain now, Tsugumi was having difficulty finding a store that stocked it. He only managed to find this store because Yukitaka found it for him.

「Chidor’s birthday is the day after tomorrow. I have plans with Yukitaka after school tomorrow, so it would be more convenient to get it today…」(Tsugumi)

The day after tomorrow was the 17th birthday of both Tsugumi and Chidori. They don’t hold a special event every year, but on their birthday, it was customary for them to bring food and cakes and exchange gifts with one another.

—He could go home early, but the devil in his heart was whispering to tempt him to take a small detour.

He had originally been told to leave early by his homeroom teacher, normally the detour would end up with him getting home late, however now was the most convenient time to get the book. Fortunately, the store itself was within walking distance of the nearest station, there should be no problem.

「Well, I’m sure it’ll be okay」(Tsugumi)

—Sorry, Suzune-sensei.

In his heart, Tsugumi apologized to Suzune. Such detours were rare and far between.

As a matter of fact, his physical condition wasn’t that bad, so even if he heard an alarm he was confident he could evacuate and avoid encountering any demonic beasts. In addition, Tsugumi’s mobile phone was fitted with an alarm terminal, so it would be unlikely that he would miss an alarm.

The alarm usually rings 30 minutes before a demonic beast appears. So even if you miss the first alarm, you will still have enough time to leave the effective area that the demonic beast would spawn in. Tsugumi was feeling optimistic, so he broke the promise with Suzune and proceeded to the other side of the station.

—Without knowing that the choice he just made who lead to future life-shaking events.

◆ ◆ ◆

—Holding onto his side in an attempt to stop the bleeding. He knew it was fruitless, but it was better than doing nothing.

Through the rubble, dragging one leg that could no longer move after being hid with flying debris, he hid within the shade of a building that had not yet collapsed. The pain almost caused him to lose consciousness.

「Why did this happen….?」(Tsugumi)

Tsugumi thought back on what had happened to him.

When he broke his promise with Suzune and went to the antique shop behind the station, he had a strange feeling.

He believed it was caused by a cold, so he moved forward anxiously with that thought in mind. However the cause of his discomfort soon became clear.

—aren’t there too few people out?

It was as if everyone had evacuated, but that was strange. His alarm didn’t ring and until just a few moments ago, there were many people walking by here and there.

Suddenly there are no people? It’s not the Mary Celeste, so what was happening here?

—No that’s not it, there’s an even bigger problem.

—Just where is this place?

The location of the antique shop should have been along a straight road from the station to a nearby shrine. He had visited the store many times, so it was unlikely that he had made a mistake, and yet the place he was standing in now, was a place that he had never been to before.

Feeling anxious, Tsugumi hurried back the way he came. He wasn’t sure why, but he felt uncomfortable staying there.

—At that moment, he heard the sound of something like a bomb exploding above him. He thought it wasn’t possible, so he looked into the sky. There, he saw something incredible.

A magical girl and a giant gargoyle like creature were engaged in an aerial battle at dizzying speeds. It was the type of battle you would usually never see throughout your entire life.

「It, it’s a lie!? Why am I within the barrier!?」(Tsugumi)

The barrier was an isolated space magical girls set up before a battle. By trapping demonic beasts within it, they could prevent damage to buildings and harm to those who were late to escape.

—There would be no point in fighting if you destroy the city every time you defeat a demonic beast. The first magical girl appealed to Yatagarasu about this.

For the demonic beasts that appeared thirty years ago, only magical girls blessed by the Gods could fight them. However every time they fought, they would cause terrible damage to the city and the people who live there.

—Upon receiving the report from Yatagarasu, Amaterasu added a system to create an isolated space within the barrier of『Amano Iwato』. This way, whenever magical girls create a barrier, they move themselves and the demonic beast to『Another World』so to speak.

The the help of the God contracted to the magical girl, the demonic beast moves to this mirror space. By doing so, they reduce the damage to reality.

Objects destroyed by the demonic beast from within the barrier, are returned to their original state once the demonic beast is defeated. In this way the damage caused can be reduced to almost zero.

—So no matter how flashily they fight within the barrier, no matter how much of the city they destroy, it doesn’t matter.

However, the seemingly all-purpose barrier has a fatal flaw.

The barrier created by the magical girl won’t be released until either the demonic beast or the magical girl die.

Moreover, if the magical girl dies and not the demonic beast, the damage inflicted to the buildings will be fed back into reality after the barrier disappears. For that reason, evacuation is recommended whenever a demonic beast appears, to avoid any potential damages.

—That’s why magical girls are not allowed to retreat. Will they win or die? They can only choose one option.

But it’s not without it’s exceptions, if another magical girl re-establishes the barrier during the slightest time delay before the barrier dissipates, they can postpone the feedback into reality.

In the past, there was a lot of damage to the cities and towns as the magical girls didn’t receive much support, however now, since the movements of the magical girls has been organized significantly in the past decade, it was rare for damage to be caused.

….The explanation was long, but the current situation for Tsugumi was a different story.

The battles of the magical girls can be seen on monitors all over Japan, but what exactly is the spectacle Tsugumi is seeing right now?

Naturally, no ordinary human can enter this isolated space–that was one of the functions of the barrier.

He had never heard of another case where an ordinary person had walked into the barrier of a magical girl. It was certain that something unusual was happening to Tsugumi.

「Stop joking with me! What am I supposed to do here!?」(Tsugumi)

He shouted involuntarily, but he knew it was wrong to get angry in this situation.

…It seems that Sensei’s『Bad Feeling』had hit the mark in the worst way possible.

—For the time being, he had to leave the area. If he ended up getting involved in the battle, there wouldn’t be a scrap of him left.

Then, just as Tsugumi was about to escape, the magical girl who was fighting in the sky was blown away by the thick, rock-like arm of the demonic beast. A cold sweat flowed down his back.

—Ah, danger. By the time he thought that, it was already too late.

—The demonic beast was staring at Tsugumi standing on the road.

….His memory of how he escaped to the back alley was hazy after that.

Tsugumi supported his weight against the concrete wall as he tried to adjust his rough breathing. To be honest, he no longer had the energy to stand anymore.

He couldn’t move, and above all he was bleeding heavily. If he didn’t try his best to stay awake, he would lose consciousness as is.

—He regretted not taking Suzune-sensei’s advice more seriously, but he never thought he would encounter a situation like this. If he ever gets home alive, he wanted to ask her what she meant. Yes, if he gets home alive.

Tsugumi bit his lips. The worst possibility flashed through his mind, he was going to die in a place like this.

Why didn’t the alarm sound in the first place? and where exactly is this? He felt like he was in a strange world.

「—damn it」(Tsugumi)

There was nothing he could do about, even if he cursed his fate. This was the barrier of a magical girl, isolated from the outside world. Unless their battle reached a conclusion, Tsugumi couldn’t escape from the battle zone.

If he hadn’t been injured, he could have at least escaped from the center of the battle, but unfortunately he was attacked by the demonic beast and fragments of the building it had smashed into in the aftermath had pierced his legs and side.

Power gradually left his body as he slumped down onto the ground. Little by little, he found his surroundings growing hazy.

—He couldn’t think straight anymore.

Now that dozens of demonic beasts appear randomly throughout the day, it was not unusual to be rescued just in time by a magical girl after being attacked by a low-ranked demonic beast. In other words, it was not much different to the number of serious injuries caused by car accidents.

Although Tsugumi’s situation was a rare case, the result doesn’t change.

….In retrospect he felt like he had lived a short, but good life. He wondered what it was that made him want to look back on his life this way.

—Nanase had no memory before seven years old. His earliest memory was his sister, covered in ash, pulling his hand as they ran through a sea of flames.

A catastrophe caused by a special A-class demonic beast had occurred ten years ago. One of the few survivors that had survived the annihilation of the city, were Tsugumi and his sister Chidori.

Neither Tsugumi nor Chidori remember anything about it themselves, but they knew with certainty that they were a family. The two were taken in by an old man for protection and had lived their lives as brother and sister, supporting each other.

—What would Chidori think if he died?

Would she be sad? or would she be happy that her troublesome brother was gone?….he laughed to himself bitterly as he wondered if she would cry.

「—not…yet, I won’t die」(Tsugumi)

—Because when he dies, his sister Chidori would be left all alone. Thinking of her crying by herself in that large house, the thought was too sad.

Furthermore if Tsugumi dies in such a inexplicable way, she would be sure to find out eventually. When he thinks that she might try to become a magical girl in the process, a shiver ran down his spine. Fighting didn’t suit her.

—But what could he do? How could he survive this situation?

From the sounds of battle he could hear above, it was clear that the fight between the magical girl and demon would not end soon. Tsugami’s physical strength wouldn’t be able to hold out until the battle was settled.

He scratched his nails against the ground, feeling sick at his own helplessness.

But still, he can’t die, he refuses to die.

Because–he hasn’t been able to repay the favor to his sister yet.

—Ten years ago, she desperately pulled the hand of Tsugumi, who was crying within the ruins of the burning city. She should have been scared as well, but she continued to smile to put his mind at ease.

To Tsugumi, that strength of hers was more precious than anything else.

His sister stayed with him throughout everything, both the good and the hard times. Yet Tsugumi hadn’t given anything back to her. If he died like this, he would regret it forever. He hated that idea.

Whilst embracing such a thought, Tsugumi squeezed out a voice.

「I’ll live—in an unknown place like this, I won’t die…!」(Tsugumi)

Forcibly raising his weak body, he tried to support himself on trembling legs. It can’t be helped, his uniform had absorbed his blood and become very heavy. The ground on which he was standing was already covered in blood. But he was still alive.

The situation was awful and he didn’t know when he would be affected by the aftermath of the battle again. Even though the current situation was the worst, Tsugumi still smiled. It was an expression that showed his determination not to give up on anything.

—There was a black shadow staring at Tsugumi as he tried to walk with his body full of wounds.

The black shadow shook it’s lustrous tail, as if it had seen something interesting.

「—This is why humans are stupid」(???)

But that’s part of the fun right? With that said, the black shadow slowly began to move towards Tsugumi.

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