This took longer than expected. Anyways, to new readers, I’m naming the translation machine Ai-sama. Well, you’re all new readers though… Expect the next chapter tomorrow or after tomorrow.
Editor: iwCJ _________________________________________________________________________
Now, back to the present.
I shook off the hands of Reina and the firefighters, I should have jumped into the flames the colour of red spider lilies, yet here I am feeling fine in the middle of a strange forest. (なぜか見知らぬ森でひとり惚けている。Note: Not sure how to TL this).
I waded through the sea of roaring fire to get to the kitchen and picked up the Santoku knife in my hand.
At that moment, the building collapsed with a tremendous noise一一I, as well as the Santoku knife, should have been flattened while being seared by the flames and smoke.
And yet, there was not a single scorch mark on my body, let alone a burn.
And in my hand, was the Santoku knife that should have been burned to cinders along with me.
“I wonder if this really is…..the afterlife after all”
As a test, I tried pinching my cheek. Of course, it hurts.
Since that’s the case, wherever this is, at least it’s clear that this isn’t a dream or illusion of some kind.
The stifling grass.
The humidity and lukewarm wind.
The feeling of sweat on my cheeks.
The smooth texture of the white sheath.
This can’t be a dream or illusion.
“So, I guess I’m dead after all!”
Saying that to no one in particular, I once again lay back down making a 大 shape.
If I died, then it can’t be helped. There was no way I could jump into that sea of fire and escape with my life.
But一一some things can’t be overlooked.
I had to do something stupid like that, because I didn’t want to see my old man despair.
And yet, after failing to protect the Santoku knife, if I die too, then it’s no good at all.
10 years ago, he lost his wife to an illness.
He lost his store.
He lost his son.
In the end, he even lost the Santoku knife from “Sakaki-ya”一一from now on, what’s my dad going to do with his life?
I clutched the Santoku knife wrapped in its sheath with both hands, closed my eyes shut, and bit down on my teeth.
Otherwise, I felt like I was going to break down into a sobbing mess.
(Reina too, is probably crying…..)
My childhood friend’s face as a child came to mind.
When I was earning money on Saturdays, she would come to work-part time for a small wage to help out. (not sure how to TL: 気持ちばかりのバイト代だけで毎週手伝いに来てくれた。)
Even when I was testing my recipes, she would wait for me without complaint.
Studying for school too, she took care of me a lot.
Reina, and dad, we’ll never see each other again一一and Tsurumi-ya burned to the ground.
(…..my life, what has it all been about?)
When I thought that.
The bushes to my side rustled.
Following that, bururururu, was what it sounded like, an unmistakable, beastly growl.
I freeze in my current position, as I prepare myself to turn my attention towards the noise.
Inside the bush, under its shadow.
Two red eyes were blazing.
(What’s that…..is it a demon (oni) or a devil (akuma)?)
This scene looks like that of a southern tropical paradise, but could it be that I’m in hell instead of heaven?
I couldn’t help but think that, as I looked into the eyes blazing with hostility.
Please give me a break. I don’t think I’ve done anything that horrible in this life?
Trying not to provoke it, I sit up slowly.
It doesn’t seem to be that tall, the position of the eyes were lower than that of a human child.
However, the oppressive feeling coming from beyond the darkness was unusual. The scent of wild animals also drifted strongly in the air.
I got up onto one knee and moved into a position that let me run away at a moment’s notice.
And then一一it slipped out of the bush.
It’s a wild boar.
Or at least something that looks like a wild boar.
A massive 90 kilogram heavy wild boar-like four-legged beast.
Its fur, which looked as hard as wire, was in a shade of brown that was nearly completely black, and a mohawk like mane went from the top of its head to its back.
Its limbs are short, though its thighs are rather thick.
On its flat snout are two large tusks.
A huge, stocky, round body.
The more I look at it, the more it looks like a wild boar.
But of course, it can’t be a wild boar.
And that’s because.
On its forehead, a pair of horns that looked exactly like its 2 tusks grew out prominently.
As it kicked off the ground with its hind legs, I ran out of the way like a rabbit.
If it’s the wild boar that I know, I’ve heard that some individuals can run over 40 kilometers per hour, but what about this guy?
If it’s the wild boar that I know, although it’s an omnivore, it shouldn’t have a habit of eating live prey, but what about this guy?
While thinking such things in my mind, I desperately tried to get away.
I ran around a lot when I was still alive, but I didn’t think I was going to have to run after I died too.
Maybe since I’m already dead, there isn’t anything to be afraid of, but being poked by those sharp tusks and claws, would definitely hurt more than a pinch on my cheek.
That’s why, I desperately ran away.
Having no time to look back, I jumped over bushes, scraped through branches and leaves, and slipped between big trees. Basically, I ran.
I ran, and ran, and ran一一and finally, I fell down.
Under the undergrowth, a vine of some sort caught my foot, causing me to dive face first into the ground.
Still holding the Santoku knife in my right hand, I managed to recover with my left arm alone.
I’ll try not to fall down, get right back into position using my hands, and with that momentum, I’ll run even faster!
I calculated that in a moment, and pushed my left hand onto the nearing ground.
The ground fell down from under itself with a crash.
As for me, I ended up falling into the abyss.
The world spun around and around.
After banging my head all over the place, I eventually reached the bottom of the abyss.
“Ouch…..what the heck is this?!”
There’s no doubt about it. (not sure how to TL: 何なんだもへったくれもない。)
No matter how you put it, it’s a man-made pitfall.
And it’s pretty well made.
I looked up while sitting slumped at the bottom of the hole, and saw that it was about 3 meters to the surface.
As for the size, it was just barely wide enough for me to stretch out my arms.
“This is too much, geez…..”
Thankfully, the walls were made of soft, black soil, so I couldn’t see anything wrong with my head or back. There’s nothing wrong with the Santoku knife either. However, my white cook’s clothes that I take pride in are covered in dirt.
“I don’t know if this is the afterlife or whatever, but my body can’t take anymore of this…..” I said. Just as I was about to stand up, a dull pain throbbed through my right ankle.
I didn’t have any injuries on my head or back, but I had sprained my ankle at some point.
Putting hands on the wall, I slowly got up.
When I put some weight onto it一一it throbbed painfully.
“Oi oi, you have to be kidding me”
While putting the dirt covered Santoku knife inside my outer shirt, I looked up once again.
The shadows of the forest are cut out in a circle.
A bit of sunlight twinkled through the treetops, but it was a bit less bright than before.
The arrival of nighttime, is nearing.
“Oi一一i, is there anybody out there!?”
My voice echoed in vain. Neither a savior nor the wild boar came into view.
With my leg like this, it’s impossible to climb up a wall of dirt that crumbles from simply being touched.
I dropped my shoulders disappointedly, and sat back down again.
“In such a place, having to stay up until dawn…..” (probably as in if he sleeps in the cold he’ll never wake back up)
I was suddenly thrown into the middle of a forest without knowing why, chased around by an unidentified animal, finally I fell to the bottom of a pit. I even got the bonus of having a sprained ankle.
This is the worst.
It’s so bad that it’s funny.
“No, it’s not funny!”
It’s not funny at all, I’m getting angry.
“Dammit! I don’t know if it’s because of a god or a devil, but what do I do!? In my life, was I that bad!? Maybe it wasn’t a death that I could brag to others, but I don’t remember deserving such an insidious punishment game! If you disagree, at least try to put me in a nicer hell!”
“…..you’re a very noisy man”
I was so surprised that I hit the back of my head onto the wall so hard that it felt like getting hit by a metal bat.
How, in the round sky, which was definitely empty just a little while ago, a black figure suddenly appeared.
“…..Why make so much noise in such a place, you?” (she uses omae)
The voice spoke like a man, but the sound of it was no doubt that of a young girl.
It sounded a bit husky and blunt, but pleasant to the ears.
The view is backlit by the remaining sunlight, so I can’t yet see what she looks like.
I put my hand on my chest, relieved, so there are people in this world too. Putting that aside, I answered.
“As you can see, I’m stuck in this pit. I don’t know who did it, but it’s a terrible prank”
After a few moments of silence, the voice of the girl could once again be heard, this time sounding even more unfriendly than before.
“…..this, I set this trap up”
“It was a trap to catch Giba, though no human likes eating it (pls help: 人間なんかでは腹もふくれない). How much trouble do you think I had to go through to set this trap, you?”
“ehh? Well, uhh…..I’m truly sorry? are? Should I be the one apologizing?”
“un. But, well, it’s my bad that I ruined your hard work. I apologize. I apologize, so can you please help me get out of here?”
“……if it’s only this high, then you should be able to climb out on your own”
Because the figure was about to retract, I hurriedly piled on all my words.
“No! Actually, when I fell, I think I sprained my ankle! I don’t think it’s a serious injury, but I don’t think I’ll be able to escape by myself. I’m sorry, but, please help me”
“……I don’t know. Die in the wild on your own”
The black figure, frames out. (フレームアウトする)
“What a second! That’s too heartless! O一一i, help!”
It couldn’t be, you’re actually going to abandon me?
“O一一i! I’m begging you! I’m really going to starve here! If you have a heart, then come baaack”
“……you’re a noisy guy”
I couldn’t see the figure, I could hear the echo of the miss’ voice.
And then, a strange object was hung down in front of me.
They were infested all over the forest, a vine.
About five vines were twisted together, and when I tugged on them to test their strength, enough of a resistance could be felt with my ten fingers.
“……get your butt up here”
What, you were going to help me from the start.
This miss is such a badass. (not sure how to TL: まったく人の悪い娘さんだ). Is this what the world calls a “tsundere”?
At any rate, the compassion of other people stings. Especially since I’m in such a ridiculous situation, I’m very grateful for that. When I get up there, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I thought, as I put my foot on the wall.
My ankle was still throbbing, but it wasn’t unbearable anymore. Struggling against the loose, crumbling black soil, I desperately climb my way up the wall.
(But……this is just getting more and more confusing)
If it’s hell, if it’s hell, it would be strange for a savior to suddenly appear and help you out of your predicament. My five senses still sense the same things as when I was alive too, I don’t really feel dead at all.
(Well, let’s focus on this for now) and, with the last of my strength, I struggled out of the hole.
The pit, I finally made it out.
“owowow, thanks a lot for the help, you’re a lifesaver”
Staying slumped on the grass, I bowed to the miss, my savior.
The miss was standing and waiting for me, remaining silent, and then she thrust the thing in her hand in front of my nose.
That was, the tip of the blade of a barbarian sword with a silver sheen.