Reika-sama – 154

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I was furious. Kaburagi had called Bea-tan, the crystallisation of my efforts all these months, some guard dog of Hell.

The Cerberus!? Was he trying to imply that I was committing the deadly sin of gluttony or something!? Was Bea-tan guarding the third circle of Hell or something!? In the Divine Comedy, Beatrice was Dante’s love you know! How could you call her the Cerberus!? Apologise to Mr. Dante Umewaka! Pape Satàn, Pape Satàn aleppe! Damn you, Kaburagi! Go to Hell!

I picked up the bag as I cursed him internally and fled from the Salon. I needed somebody to vent to!

When I arrived at the Handicrafts Club, I began telling them all about my Bea-tan project, and the photos, and the three heads and everything. Whether or not it actually looked like Bea-tan, it was still so cute, so how dare he!

My club members gave me vaguely worded sympathies.

“Three might have been a bad number…” said one of them.

She might have been right, but look! Look at how cute! How could you call it the Cerberus just because it had the right number of heads!

“There there, Reika-sama,” my former club president gently consoled me, “You should just make a doll adorable enough to surprise him. I’ll help out too. You want the face to look like the dog in this picture, right?”

That was it! This wasn’t the time to be feeling indignant about that athletics carnival-loving idiot. What I needed to be focusing on was getting this Bea-tan doll looking as close to the real thing as possible! First I needed to choose which of the three heads to use!

“Reika-sama, it might be better if you don’t pace around with animal heads in your hand…”

Huh? Oh.

I took the former Club President’s advice and instead started to fix up the heads.

“By the way, Reika-sama, tomorrow the club presidents are all meeting to discuss the School Festival.”

Speaking of which, there was something like that going on, wasn’t there. Was it some meeting to decide what each club would be doing? I’d never gone before so I wasn’t sure.

“Is there anything that I should know?” I asked.

“No, not particularly. The agenda is mostly which rooms we’ll be using, but usually it’s the same as the year before. The budget is already decided as well. I think you should be fine just going along with it.”

“I see.”

So it was just a formality then. Still, you could say that this was my first battle as the President of the Handicrafts Club. I wouldn’t be much of a club president if I didn’t take this seriously. Everything was for the club!

“I will apply everything I have in order to protect this club from harm.”

I flashed her a cheerful smile.

*

*

*

After school the next day, the lot of us met up. Every club president was in attendance, and officiating the meeting was the Student Council.

It was actually my first time learning who the presidents were for a lot of the clubs, you know? I hadn’t ever had that much interest in clubs. I had no idea that Class Rep was the president for the Literature Club.

The presidents of the culture clubs were sitting quietly in their designated spots. On the other hand, a lot of the delegates from the sports clubs were being pretty noisy. It was rather irritating, but they were from famous clubs that did well in competitions, so I supposed it was to be expected.

The meeting progressed as expected until it was time to discuss the room allocations. The former Club President was right; they were planning on handing out pretty much the same rooms as last year. I hummed to myself as I looked down at the handouts for the meeting.

But suddenly, a number of the sports clubs assigned areas outside began to complain.

“Yanno, if we’re stuck outside we’re at the mercy of the weather. Dontcha think it’s time for us to get a room inside?”

“Yeah, what he said. Don’t you have any free classrooms anywhere? A big one, obviously. I mean, that’s fair, right? Our club is doing well every year.”

“Our club has done quite a bit for the school, so I think we deserve a bit of flexibility.”

“Aren’t there a bunch of clubs that nobody visits anyway? Why don’t we just put them all in the same room so that other people have some space too?”

“Oh, good idea! There’s Photography Club, the Literature Club… Oh, and the Biology Club too.”

“Don’t we have like Go and Shougi Clubs too? What do those guys even do for the School Festival?”

“Beats me. Like an exhibit or something?”

Each president went rigid as their club was named. Fellow Stalking Horse tried to warn them with an “Oi,” but they were already too carried away and continued like nothing. Honestly…

I opened my bag and began to unseal my weapon.

“Hardly anybody visits them anyway, so you should just make them place their exhibits in the same room. If we had those rooms, wouldn’t our clubs more than make up for the popularity?”

“What other clubs were presenting exhibits? The Art Club, the Calligraphy Club…”

“Yeah, and there’s also the Handicrafts Club!”

I used his words as the cue to stand up and audibly slap my fan onto my palm.

“What was that about the Handicrafts Club?”

Suddenly, the room froze over. There was no sign of the clamour about taking the rooms of the clubs with exhibits any more.

With a smile, I looked at the faces of the offending presidents, one by one.

“Just a moment ago I had the strange feeling that somebody mentioned the Handicrafts Club. Did somebody have some business with it? Ah, my apologies. I forgot to mention. I am the President of the Handicrafts Club. Pleased to be here.”

“Eh…?”

Apparently none of the noisy ones had been aware that I was the club president for the Handicrafts Club. They looked awfully startled behind those stiff expressions. I guess they let their guard down since Pivoine girls usually joined the Flower Arrangement or Tea Ceremony Clubs. I notice that they never saw fit to mention the Flower Arrangement Club despite it doing an exhibit for the festival as well. The fools!

The main perpetrators were the presidents of the Soccer Club, Baseball Club, and Basketball Club. Every one of them was a prided club of the school that performed well in inter-school competitions. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the reason for their arrogance today.

But no matter how well their clubs were doing, none of that mattered at all. What did matter was that today they had made an enemy of my Handicrafts Club.

I leisurely made my way to them. The sound of each slap of the fan was clear in the silence of the room.

Slap. Slap. Slap.

I began by standing behind the president of the Soccer Club. He tried to turn around, but I restrained him by placing my fan on his right shoulder. He had no choice but to face forward as he sat there stock still, with my fan now tapping his shoulder.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

“The Soccer Club is doing well, I hear.”

“Ye-… Not really..”

“Now, now, no need to be humble. Even I have heard about your splendid results in the inter-school championships.”

“I’m flattered…”

“I wonder, though…”

I stopped tapping my fan and instead stopped it right on his carotid artery.

“It is all well and good to reserve a shop for your celebration party, but as minors should you not be respecting the law? Say, Club President, how was it anyhow? Getting drunk on the taste of ‘victory’?”

“Eh…”

Next, I made my way over to the president of the Baseball Club and placed my fan on his shoulder.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

“The training in the Baseball Club is incredibly tough, I hear. I wonder, though… Could the rumours I hear about beating members for mistakes be true? Society does not look kindly on corporal punishment these days, does it. Some schools would even ban offenders from playing, you know?” I said, tapping his carotid artery and holding the fan there in time with the last line.

Last was the Basketball Club.

Oh my, no need to look so scared. I only have one line for you.

“You laid your hands on your senpai’s girlfriend, did you not?”

After verifying that the three statues were subdued, I leisurely made my way back to my seat. When I sat down, I smacked my closed fan onto the desk.

“Now then,” I said before giving the Presidents of the Soccer Club, Baseball Club, and then Basketball Club a look in turn, “Going back to the previous conversation, I believe you were saying something about room allocations? You must forgive me, I seem to have forgotten. Could you kindly say it once more for me?”

“…The Soccer Club is fine with their booth being outside.”

“…The Baseball Club too.”

“Same for us…”

Not one of them looked me in the eyes as they replied.

“Truly? But I seem to have heard the names of other clubs such as the Literature Club, though…?”

“No! The Soccer Club is fine being outside!”

“Actually, the Baseball Club prefers being outside!”

“We want the outside even if it rains!”

“Goodness! What gentlemen! What kindness and magnanimity to turn over the rooms to our pitiful culture clubs! Why, the gallantry that you have demonstrated has me positively quaking in emotion.”

I covered my mouth with my fan as I gave an ‘Ohoho’ of victory.

Fellow Stalking Horse sighed, whilst Wakaba-chan watched blankly with her jaw hanging.

Ooohohoho!


<Previous Chapter | Imouto | Next Chapter>

Arachne – 7

Siren – Second Part


This wasn’t a ship with sails, but a golem ship.

A golem ship… Truly the kind of naval vessel you would find in a fantasy world.

By appearance, it looked similar to a paddle steamer.

Instead of an internal combustion engine, it used a golem to drive the paddle wheel.

Paddle golems themselves used the mana of the spellcasters as energy, so this ship also had several magicians on board to serve as mana suppliers.

By nature, golem engine ships weren’t suitable for long distance fishing or long voyages, but it looked like people usually use them for sailing across shorter distances.

Since the ships didn’t have masts and those other stuffs, the deck felt quite spacious.

Right in the middle of that wide deck, Harn was unveiling his beautiful voice, his pride and joy.

“Aaah, beautiful goddess Kagura. Thou tamed the sacred white beast and sliced apart the ferocious demon of the underworld. And in the end, light filled the land, and hope was returned to the people…”

Apparently, the song that he was singing while accompanying himself with music was based on this world’s mythology.

I can’t deny that it’s quite a clichéd story, but his voice was undeniably beautiful.

He’s completely different from the frivolous man that he was, just moments ago.

The listeners around him were enraptured by his singing, their faces flushed.

The story finally passed the climax, and it ended with goddess Kagura returning to heaven.

And just as it ended, the deck exploded in cheers and applause.

Everyone was throwing offerings non-stop into the donation box put in front of Harn…

“How is it? Quite good, don’t you think?”

Waiting until the listeners scattered, Harn brought the box full of tips to where I was, watching him a little distance away, and showed it to me.

Mostly small and medium copper coins, but considering how many there were, it’s quite the haul.

“Yes, your singing was lovely… Harn, do you always work on passenger ships like this?”

“Ah, naah… this singing is more like a side job kind of thing. My real occupation is an adventurer of the Adventurer’s AssociationGuild.”

“…Wait, so you were an adventurer. Isn’t it quite rare for a bard to be an adventurer?”

“Mm, not exactly. Since a bard travels from town to town, they work together well with the adventurer’s association, which has branch offices in every town… And you need some amount of fighting ability if you’re going to travel alone anyway.”

“I seeeee… So this time, you’re here on this ship because of a job or something similar?”

“Mmmm… Well… Sort of…… Don’t spread this around, ok? Actually…”

Looks like Harn wasn’t someone with very tight lips.

Well, it’s not like I know if he’s obligated to keep the adventurer’s association’s secrets or not.

According to that blabbermouth Harn, recently, ships passing through this area have been constantly getting stranded.

Luckily, no one died and there were only injured people, but according to the results of investigating the damage…

A lot of people mentioned hearing a strange song before the ship got stranded in their testimonies.

Judging from that, it’s likely that the cause of the strandings was some sort of singing aquatic monster, like a merrow1 or siren. And from that conclusion, the association decided to make a request to a bard who can neutralize hypnotic songs, like Harn.

“If that’s true, shouldn’t they stop sending ships out?”

“They can’t do that. Shuren island is a large supplier of magic crystals. Even if trade between the island and the mainland ceases for just 3 days, there’ll be a much too large impact on the islanders and the town of Jiza…”

“Then maybe change the route?”

“They don’t even know where in the route the incidents happened in the first place. One of my duties this time is to find that out.”

“…I see. The request you received wasn’t to defeat the aquatic monsters.”

“…There’s no way I can manage to do that alone.”

I see, no wonder.

“So, what do those merrows or sirens thingy look like?”

“Mmm… Well, first off, both of them are beautiful women with the lower body of a fish. The difference is that merrows manipulate the weather to sink ships, while sirens use their songs to manipulate the sailors to have the ship run aground… so this time, it’s highly likely that sirens were the culprits.”

Hmph. As someone who has the lower body of a spider, I suppose this was where I should show my sympathy… But leaving that aside.

“Lower half of a fish… You mean, like that?”

Around 50 meters ahead and starboard of the ship, a single human floated on the ocean with the lower body half submerged.

Her skin was tinted blue, but she certainly looked like an extremely beautiful woman.

Her long blue hair swayed along with the waves, and I could see something like fins where a normal person’s ears would be.

And once in awhile, *splash*, a large fish tail slapped the water surface.

“Yeah, yeah, exactly like… Whaaaaaaaa?!”

Looks like that was a bulls-eye.

Flustered, Harn took out his harp.

“Ummm, n-neutralization song…”

*ting* *tllling*

Harn began to play his harp even while panicking, but at almost the same time, the water monster began to sing with a voice like the sound of a glass harp.

*Ptwitttlrillllllllriii…tweetwweetwee…*

As the aquatic monster’s song echoed throughout the sea, the song’s magic began to force the ship to deviate from its course.

Looked like it’s stronger than Harn’s neutralization song.

“Grrr… That’s quite some power there, siren, but how about this?!”

*tingtlingting…* *twangggg…*

Harn put more strength into his performance… Beads of sweat formed, crowding his forehead.

And his effort wasn’t in vain. The ship slowly turned back to the right course…

“Hah, haha… How about it, don’t underestimate the power of a bard’s spellsong…”

“Wow, you really are amazing!”

“Of course, right? Right?”

“Ah, but…”

“Hmm?”

“…There’s more of them now, you know?”

“…For real?”

Adding to the first siren, another five showed their upper bodies above the water and joined the fray.

A solo performance turned into a concert.

*Ptwittttwiiiiitlrillllllllriii…tweetwweetweetweeetweetwetwettwee…*

“Waaaarghhhh! Like hell I can neutralize this!!”

“Ahh… Yeah, this really is too much.”

The moment the sirens’ songs harmonized, I could feel the magic inside their singing increased by more than an order of magnitude.

The ship was getting further and further away from its planned course.

Just one person’s ability was certainly not enough to repel their singing.

… If that person was a human, that is.

“Hey, what’s that voice?”

“Sounds beautiful… but sad, somehow.”

“…Hey, look! Over there!”

“Monsters?!”

“They’re sirens! Monsters leading ships astray!”

Whoops, this is bad.

Looked like the other passengers have also discovered them.

The deck began to get crowded, chaotic.

“Hey, at this rate… we’re going to get shipwrecked…”

“So the recent frequent strandings were because of sirens?!”

“H-Hey, sailors! Do something!!”

“We might still make it if we escape on the boats now…”

“There aren’t enough boats for that… or rather, will that song let us go even if we get on the boats?!”

Yeaaah, at this rate, everyone’s going to panic, and worst case scenario, someone might even try to jump off the ship…

No other choice.

“Harn, please stop playing for a bit.”

“W-What silliness are you spouting, miss? … The ship is already going way off track as it is!”

“I have something I want to try. It’ll probably work.”

“… Tch, if nothing changes, at this rate we’re going to lose anyway… Got it, I don’t know what you’re going to do… but try it.”

“Mmm. Right, then…”

*swish*. I took the aforementioned shamisen out of the bag.

I might not have the tortoiseshell, but otherwise, the shamisen was made with all the best rare materials, and I even enchanted it with magic… If I were to give it a name, it would be a ‘Magical Shamisen’.

“H-Hey… That instrument… What the hell is it? I’ve never seen such a shape before… but more importantly, I don’t know if it’s magic or demonic power or something, but it’s giving off some crazy vibe… Just what was it made of?”

“Mmm… Nothing special. And it’s still incomplete, anyway. The body was made from Sword Wood, Stampede Beasts’ fangs, and Firefoxes’ skins… The string is Arachne Silk, I guess.”

“… That’s plenty special already. With all that rare materials, no wonder it’s giving off that devillish aura.”

Streams of sweat ran down from Harn’s forehead. Maybe he’s nervous due to the shamisen’s aura.

“So, are you going to play a neutralization song on that?”

“No… As you would expect, I’m not so omnipotent as to have learned any of the bard’s skills.”

“Then, what are you going to do…?”

“Since sirens themselves sing, I think they should be really sensitive to songs and music, right?”

“Huh? Yeah… Well… From what I’ve heard, there have been cases where they got attracted to a normal song, played without using skills, and approached the performer… At least, such reports exist.”

Then this might work.

I didn’t have any skill to sing or perform spellsongs, but I do have [Charm].

Combine this with the music and the singing…

*peng!* *prreng!*

The sound of the shamisen, which has pretty much transformed into a cursed magical tool already, cut through the ocean waves to reach the sirens.

“In the midst of the o~cean, flowers of camellia~a… Bloom red, unflinching from the waves…” *prrreng*

I sang a song about a fisherman who lost his life at sea, and his sons who followed his footsteps…

This song, Flower Ship, is one of my favourites.

I sang with the best vibrato voice I can, pouring all of my soul into it.

In my opinion, while there can be any number of good songs throughout the whole world, nothing can beat the style of enka in terms of conveying emotions within a song.

Especially when the songs are about loneliness, sadness, sorrow, honor, human love, and the likes.

“Cutting through the wa~ves… Braving through the storms…” *prrengpeng*

Before I knew it, the sirens have quieted down.

Even though they got closer to the ship, they didn’t seem to plan on singing the hypnotic song again any time soon.

“Once again, heading for the sea~… Flower ship of the so~ul…”

With the vibrato coming to a climax, I let myself be carried by the flow and finished the song… And then, after a delayed moment, a rain of applauses fell upon me.

The passengers, who were just moments ago panicking, applauded with tears streaming down their cheeks.

And they’re not the only ones moved. The sirens were crying too.

*Piiikkyurliiii…*

Let’s see… you’re saying that it’s the first time you’ve heard such a heartrendingly sad song?

*Ptryulli. Krkrkrrrrurr… Kyurrrli.*

“Nyahahah, you flatter me. I see, you girls also have it quite rough… That’s why you called the ships?”

*Kyurrllii…*

“Yeah, in the end it just led to ships getting stranded. I’ll need you to stop doing that, learn from your mistakes.”

“Uh… Excuse me?”

“Mmm, what’s up, Harn?”

“… Are you conversing with the sirens?”

Ah. Shoot.

I just talked to them without thinking much about it, but that was because I’m also a monster, specifically an Arachne… Normal people shouldn’t be able to understand their speech.

“Y-Yeah, magic! I have an enchanted ring that allows me to talk with monsters!”

I raised my hand and showed him the silver ring on my middle finger.

In actuality, the ring was enchanted with the spell [Light, cleanse my bodyClean Body].

“Ah, yeah… I see. So what did they say?”

“Mm. Looks like they weren’t intending on getting the ships stranded.”

“Hahhhh? No way they weren’t…”

“In fact, they were looking for help. They used to live in the Dead Ocean region, but then the Kaiser Archelon attacked their nest and chased them out. Since then, whenever they spotted a ship with some powerful-looking human on it, they would use their songs to guide the ships towards their nest, but it seems like the path would cut through a reefy region full of rocks…”

“And so, the end result was that the ships got stranded, is it?”

“That’s right.”

“Aaaah… But… If that’s true… Then probably even S-rank adventurers wouldn’t be able to deal with it, yeah? That monstrous Kaiser Archelon can reach over 20 meters in length. It’s already difficult enough even if we fight it on land, but this time the battlefield is the ocean.”

“Yes, which is why I’ll try to convince the sirens to move to another ocean area.”

“Aaah… No other choice, I guess… Sorry about this, can I request you to handle the problem instead?”

“Leave it to me… In return, can you ask the captain to give me one of the small boats on this ship?”

“Yeah, you’ll need a mean of transportation for guiding the sirens too… Got it, I’ll go ask.”

Moments later.

Seemed like the captain was quite averse to the idea of sending a girl alone off on a boat, but after I convinced him by showing how obedient the sirens are to me (to be precise, by having them perform something like a dolphin performance), I finally acquired the boat.

“Listen, don’t try to do anything over your ability, got it? Return to the ship immediately after you finished guiding the sirens.”

“Yes, don’t worry. I’m not going to do anything over my ability.”

“Alright… I’m leaving this to you, Shiori.”

“Yes. By~e!”

As the sailors and passengers sent me off with grim faces, the boat carried me away from the ship together with the sirens.

To those people, I probably looked like a brave girl sacrificing herself to save the passengers, without any fear for her own life.

But they got it completely wrong.

Just like I promised Harn, I totally did not have any intention to overreach myself.

I simply coincidentally encountered the Kaiser Archelon while guiding the sirens, then luckily managed to defeat it, acquired its materials, the Kaiser Tortoiseshell, and safely returned to the ship after about an hour.

Yup, 100% honest, no lies.

… I did feel a bit guilty when the sailors hugged me with tears in their eyes when I got back, though.

Ah, by the way, after that, when I used the Kaiser Archelon’s meat in a collagen hotpot and ate it, I also got skills like [Underwater Movement I], [Water Cannon], [Expanded Lungs II], [Intimidate Aquatic Creatures], [Increased Physical Defense – Large], and some others.

Mr. Turtle was truly very generous. The end.


Author’s notes:

The whole shell of the Kaiser Archelon was indeed too large to carry along even while using the magical bag, so after Shiori took the necessary parts, she asked the sirens to keep the remains for her.

Also, the lyrics sung to the sirens in this chapter does not actually exist. Though I did use a real song as the model… or to be more precise, I mimicked the atmosphere of the song.

As usual, below are stats of Shiori’s products:

——

Shamisen [Songdancer Enhanced]

Type: Shamisen (Medium Neck)

Attack Power 0

Basic Stats Intelligence +1

Basic Stats Charm +1

Mental Status Effects Resistance +30%

Damage Received from Sound Attacks Reduced by 50%

Bonus to Musical Performances +50%

Bonus to Singing +30%

Bonus to Chanting (Chanting Failure Rate -50%)

When performing, the performer’s music and singing can reach any location within 1 kilometer.

Kaiser Archelon Pick

Attack Power 69

Critical Rate +30%

Bonus to Performances with Stringed Instruments +30%


Footnotes:
1. Merrows are mermaid/mermen in Irish folklore.

Previous Chapter | Next Chapter

Arachne – 6

Siren – First Part


The stagecoach shook and rattled.

My butt jumped off the floor and slammed back down whenever the carriage hit a bump.

Man, humans really are amazing. How can they handle this sort of transportation without even breaking a sweat?

If I were a normal human being, I think my butt would have been in pieces by now. Totally.

Yes, welcome back. The spider monster womanArachne, Arakura Shiori (24), is here.

And if you can remember me as the owner of Arachne Tailor, Shiori Arachne, I would be very much honored.

To speak of my whereabouts, currently, I am on the path leading to the port city, Jiza. To be precise, I’m inside of the stagecoach going there.

For a stagecoach with a capacity of 8 passengers, it was quite empty. Aside from me, there’s only a pair of mother and daughter, plus a man in his thirties.

Of the mother-daughter pair, the girl looked to be around 7 years old. Perhaps because she’s not used to the horrible shaking of the carriage, she seemed extremely distressed, and it wouldn’t be surprising if she started crying at any moment now.

“Mom… Mommy… My butt huuuuurtsss…”

“Endure it. Weren’t you the one who wanted to go to the town?”

“B-Buuuut… Uuuu…”

Her eyes were pretty much flooded already.

True, this carriage was shaking terribly. It’s a bit too rough for children, I think.

I did want to help somehow… but I didn’t have any springs or rubber tires.

If there were at least some cushions… Ah, wait.

I did have them. Cushions.

I put my hand inside the large hemp bag that I’m using to carry around my musical instrument, and started to create threads from my fingertips.

I granted the threads some viscosity, then wove them into a fine sheet of fabric.

Next, I knitted the cloth into the shape of a bag, then shrunk the bag’s opening.

Viscous threads would harden and turn into a material similar to rubber after some ten-odd seconds or so. When they do, my air cushion will be finished.

One disadvantage is that the threads I create from my fingers don’t last for very long.

After a month, its composition will change, and the fabric will deteriorate.

Well, it’s just for the duration of the ride anyway. There shouldn’t be a problem.

The threads I create from my butt can last for quite a long time… In fact, it seems like they won’t degrade even after several hundred years, so if the cushion I made here is well received, I’ll think about adding it to my line of products.

First, let’s see how the little girl like my test prototype.

“…Excuse me. If you don’t mind, please try using this.”

I pretended to take my home-made air cushion out from the bag as if it has always been there, and give it to the mother.

“Thank you, umm, what is this?”

“Yes, this is a prototype for one of our store’s products. First, you’ll need to blow air into it.”

*Pfffffff*… When the girl saw me using all my strength to inflate the cushion, her eyes lit up.

“Waaaaa!! What’s that?! Looks funny!!”

“This thing is, *pfffff*… supposed to be like this… *pfffff*… And done!”

Once the bag filled up with air, I tied up the opening to finish the job. It looked like a thick seat cushion that’s about to burst.

“Here, this is for you. Put it under your seat.”

“Y-Yes… Like this?”

“Right, that’s it. How is it?”

“… Amazing, it doesn’t hurt at all! Mommy, this is really fluffy!”

“… My, my… No air escapes this bag at all… J-Just what is this made of?”

Alright. The girl’s mood got better instantly, so I could consider this a success for now.

“Excuse me, umm, can we really have this…?”

“Yes, please take it as an advertising gift, since this is the prototype for a new product of our store. I think this cushion will only last for around a month, but the official product should last for years.”

“Store…?”

“I’m sorry for my belated introduction. I am Shiori Arachne, owner of the Arachne Tailor.”

“Oh my… That recently famous shop…? Which reminds me, I’ve heard people said that a girl who looks just like an angel is running that store!”

“A-Angel…”

It wouldn’t be a problem if I were an actual kid, but mentally I’m an adult woman.

Anyone would feel embarrassed if people told them they’re an angel, and I’m no exception.

“Oh? Miss, I thought you were a bard like me. Turns out I was wrong.”

The man in his thirties talked to me.

The good-looking lady-killer with brown hair was wearing some slightly gaudy clothes colored red-white, and in his hands was a harp.

“There, that thing peeking out of the bag. I haven’t seen anything like it before, but it’s a stringed instrument, right? I was convinced that you were also in the same trade as me.”

“Aaahh… You’re talking about this shami-… this instrument? It’s just something like a hobby to me…”

“Hobby?”

“Well, something like that.”

While giving some vague reply to the bard, I recalled the happenings of last night.

“Aaaaaaaaahhh… Nothing to dooooo…”

I unintentionally let slip a complaint while lying on the bed.

My work is going well, so normally I don’t have any free time…

But the problem is that I have nothing to do during the holidays, or when I close my shop for the day.

Since this world doesn’t have BL… ahem, light novels or television or the internet.

When I’m not working, I have absolutely no way to pass the time.

“So something to do beside those things… Karaoke? Yeah, that’s a no go…”

Hmm, what’s next?

A hobby that I was doing back in that world that I can also do here would be… embroidery… but I’m doing that as my work now.

A long time ago, I did learn to play some Japanese traditional instrument for a little while… But this world doesn’t have those instruments.

“Hmm? If it doesn’t exist, can’t I just make it…? Luckily, I can use my threads as the strings… Hmmm…”

Once the idea popped up, I immediately got to work.

I jumped right off the bed and grabbed some materials from the storeroom that looked like they might be useful.

“If I remember correctly, the neck and body was made from the slightly hard type of narra wood, I think…? Then let’s use some fully grown Sword Wood… Ivory for the string winders? …  The fangs from a Stampede Beast should work as a replacement. The bridge and the pick would be made from… tortoiseshell… turtles, is it… Adamantite Turtle materials… oh, I’m out of that. No wonder, I don’t often go hunt aquatic monsters. So for the time being, let’s use some hard wood… Rosewood would do… Then I’ll think about the shell once I get them, yeah. Next is the skin. I think it’s normally made from skins of a small animal like a dog or cat, was it? Then the skin of a Firefox should be fine.”

I voiced my decisions on the construction of the instrument out loud, while using my claws to cut and shave the materials at the same time.

Just like always, my sticky threads worked perfectly fine as an adhesive, and the creation of the instrument went quickly.

Possibly because I was absorbed in the work, two hours went by in a blink of an eye, and this traditional Japanese stringed instrument with a long neck and a slightly small body – a shamisen – was almost complete.

“And finally, stringing it up. A shamisen’s string is made from multiple threads of silk, so my threadArachne silk is exactly the best material to use… And done!”

Well, it’s not like I ever made a shamisen back in my old world… I only learned to play it as a hobby, so what I created was only a ‘shamisen-ish thing’.

It’s probably good enough to pass the time with.

And so, I got right to it and played a few songs.

Personally, instead of those performances specifically written for the shamisen, I actually prefer enka, so let’s begin with enka songs such as Kita 〇 Yado kara or Tsugaru Kaikyou Fuyu〇shiki!

.

.

.

.

.

.

Whoa!

I completely lost track of time.

It was in the evening when I began making the shamisen.

And right now, dawn was already breaking.

Which mean I pretty much played and sang throughout the night.

The sound-proof barrier covering this work room is always active, so I probably didn’t annoy any of my neighbors…

Oh man, enka really is nice. That unique sort of vibrato1 just sends shivers down my spine.

But, yeah… I really wanted to use tortoiseshell for the pick and those other parts.

Perhaps because I used good materials, but this shamisen-ish thing almost managed to replicate the sound of an actual shamisen, even though I just made up the design as I went.

Which just made it all the more frustrating!

If only I could make the bridge and the pick out of tortoiseshell, just how much better would it sound?!

Once that thought showed up in my mind, I could no longer sit still.

“Right, once morning comes, let’s go to the sea. There should be several species of turtle-type magical beasts living in the ocean.”

After hanging a ‘Temporarily Closed’ sign on the shop door, I began to make my preparations to go to the port town of Jiza.

…And that was why I’m currently being rocked back and forth inside of this stagecoach.

To be honest, running in Arachne form would be far faster, but doing that on the road in broad daylight is obviously out of the question.

“Hmmm, I was hoping you can perform a song for me, since I’ve never seen that instrument before… but it looks like we’ve already arrived at Jiza. Miss, do you have any business in town?”

The traveling bard guy’s eyes were sparkling with curiosity.

Yeah, just like a little kid’s.

Maybe because of his occupation as a bard?

“…No, after this, I plan on getting on a ship to Shuren island.”

The island of Shuren is about half as big as Japan’s Sadogashima2.

There are constant ships going from Jiza to the island, and trade between the two is well developed.

…Of course, my objective lies between the town and the island, in an area of reef called the “Dead Ocean”, a holy site for oceanic monsters. My plan is to silently disappear from the ship mid-way through.

My destination is quite far from the path the ship takes, so I’ll have to swim for quite a distance, but I have no other choice. Ships can’t get inside this reef full of rocks.

The ship will just get stranded if it tries to force its way in.

“Oh, you too, miss? I’m also going to Shuren island. So we’ll be accompanying each other for a little while longer.”

“Yes, so it seems.”

“Well, let’s get along… My name is Harn. A traveling bard, Harn Trad.”

He smiled, showing rows of pure white teeth, and stretched out his hand.

When I gingerly grabbed it, he tightly squeezed my hand and gave me a few vigorous shake.

“S-Shiori Ara-rachne. S-Stop, bit my t-tongue!”

“Ah, whoops, sorry! So your name is Sshiori Ararachne then!”

“… It’s Shiori Arachne.”

“Oh, sorries. Shiori!”

“Aaaah… Well, nice to meet you, I guess.”

Looks like the world has forced a traveling companion upon me.

“Sis, thaaaaanks! ♪”

The destination of the pair of mother and daughter whom I’ve given the air cushion to was in Jiza, so they parted with us near the harbor.

Seemed like the girl really liked that cushion. She hugged it close to her chest, even when it was time for us to say goodbye, and energetically waved her hand. So cute.

Her mother also bowed to me repeatedly as they left.

“…Right, let’s get on the scheduled ship, miss. It should leave soon.”

“Indeed. The weather is good too, it seems today is a good day for a voyage.”

“…Yeah, it’ll be good if that was so.”

Harn didn’t look happy, somehow.
Perhaps there’s something weighing on his mind.

While occupied with thoughts about the bard, I followed him and got on the ship.


Footnotes:
1. A sort of quavering voice, often seen in enka.
2. Sadogashima is around 850 square kilometers, so half that.

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Reika-sama – 153

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Prince Arima was son of Emperor Koutoku. It is said that Emperor Koutoku was blessed with his heir, Prince Arima, because he stayed at the Arima Hot Springs in Hyougo Prefecture.

He was accused of, and executed for treason. In part due to two famous poems that he wrote shortly before his death, he is remembered in Japanese culture as a tragic hero.

As for another prince accused of something similar, Prince Sawara was the heir presumptive to the throne when his older brother was inaugurated as Emperor Kanmu. There were plans to move the capital city but Prince Sawara was opposed, and implicated in the assassination of a key individual, Fujiwara no Tanetsugu, supposedly in order to overthrow the court with the aid of the Ootomo and Saeki families.

His brother, Emperor Kanmu, confined him in Otokunidera Temple, and then exiled him to what is now somewhere in Hyougo prefecture, but Prince Sawara died from causes that are still disputed.

After his death though, things did not go well. The Empress Dowager and then the Empress died in succession, and the new Crown Prince, Ate, fell deathly ill. Divination revealed that the cause was Prince Sawara’s vengeful spirit.

In fear, Emperor Kanmu posthumously awarded Prince Sawara the title of crown prince, and then soon afterwards was posthumously raised to the rank of emperor, and bestowed the posthumous name Sudou(‘崇道’, Path of Worship).
Changing just two strokes in the character 崇(worship) gives you 祟(curse).

Incidentally, Kisshouin(吉祥院) literally means ‘house of good fortune’.


While the Athletics Carnival was over, there was still something I couldn’t accept. After the Athletics Carnival, I went and asked the costume race team why they had worn reggae curls.

The story they told me was shocking. Earlier I had used Kaburagi’s costume criticism from last year as an excuse to get out of participating. Apparently the boys had actually believed me, and decided to humour Kaburagi’s expectations by going in my place. What the hell. So it was him again? So it was all his fault again!?

One of the boys even happily told me that that athletics carnival maniac had told them that it was a funny idea. And then the boy said,

“Actually, he also told us to do our best because the ‘dragon’ and the ‘serpent’ were going to be difficult. Do you know what he meant?”

The Chinese Zodiac again!

Huh? But if I was trying to complete the Chinese Zodiac Set, did that mean Wakaba-chan was trying to complete some kind of ocean set? During the excursion in first year she played the sea in the play. First the sea, now the fish. I wondered what she was going to do next. Seaweed…? Boats…? Wai-, was the idiocy contagious!? Now I was thinking like that idiot too!

Nooo, I didn’t wanna complete the Chinese Zodiac…

*

*

I still didn’t know who had come up with it but the nickname ‘Prince’ had managed to stick, at least among some people.

The Arima Onsen was a great place, wasn’t it~ Japan’s oldest hot spring. In my old life I’d enjoyed bath salts from the Arima Hot Springs in my family bath, but since I was rich this time around I had gone to the real thing.
Haahh, it was a great trip. My skin was silky smooth when I got out of the water. And the eggs cooked in the hot springs that I had for dinner that night were delicious too! Onsen-boiled eggs were an excellent idea. They went great with caesar salad!

Going back to the nickname though, was Fellow Stalking Horse okay with this? Being nicknamed after that tragic prince I mean. On the other hand, I suppose the Pivoine was lucky that he wasn’t named Sawara. Curses were scary.

This school, or rather my grade, was oddly fond of nicknames. We had ‘the Emperor’, ‘the Prince’, ‘Afrodite’… Hm, and I suppose my… ‘Goddess’ or something?

Mmn, I still didn’t really get it but the boys called me Goddess for some reason, according to Satomi-kun. I mean, I suppose I did have a certain refinement that could remind people of a goddess. Actually calling me a goddess was stretching it though. And kind of scary, besides.

And I still wasn’t sure which goddess they meant. The goddess of happiness, Kisshouten(吉祥天) maybe? It was just a character away from my surname. It was the same sort of thing as the ‘Prince Arima’ nickname.

Oh, speaking of which, Kisshouten was known as a goddess of beauty too, wasn’t she. Not that it really meant anything. I just happened to remember, that’s all. Really.

*

*

No sooner had the Athletics Carnival ended did the mid-term exams arrive. Last time I was rank 30, and the time before that rank 29, so I wanted to get onto that ranking board again this time! Sure, it was not a good sign that my rank was actually going down with time, but I was hoping that the studying I did during all those trips to the library would kick in.

I sat down at my desk and opened up my textbook. I wonder if Wakaba-chan was studying right now~

You know, Wakaba-chan’s family wasn’t poor or anything. For one thing they were living in an actual house, and for another their cake shop was doing pretty well in their area.

By no means were they using milk cartons as flower vases, or saving their bath water in plastic bottles for later use. I saw no signs of such money-saving techniques.

Well, not that I had actually seen them taking their baths, but at the very least they hadn’t done that in the manga.

Just the other day they were using the aircon when I visited.

It was just that she had a lot of siblings. After Wakaba-chan was two younger brothers, and a younger sister, so four of them in total. That’s why Wakaba-chan was trying to save money by becoming a scholarship student at Suiran, in preparation for her sibling’s futures. She was a really filial girl.

Her younger siblings were a naughty bunch, and weren’t attending Suiran.

“Uwah! This oneechan’s hair is like chocolate cornets or something!” was the first thing her brother said when seeing me.

“Owww!” was the second thing because Wakaba-chan had immediately smacked him across the head.

The Takamichi household really seemed like a fun place.

Mmn! I decided that I would follow Wakaba-chan’s example and study. I was going to cling to the ranking boards with everything I had!

That was the mindset I faced the exam with. I think I did pretty well, for me at least. For me at least…

Anyhow, during the days after the test when I was waiting eagerly for the results, I was spending all my time on the Bea-tan doll. There was only about a month left until the School Festival. I needed to finish it on time.

Thanks to Sasajima-san’s help the torso was done, as were the arms and legs now. All that was left was the face, but it just wasn’t going too well. I had made a number of them but all of them were different to the Beatrice photos. And thanks to the regular photos that Umewaka-kun sent, I already had Bea-tan’s face memorised anyhow.

Maybe it was the position of the nose and eyes… And I hadn’t added the curled hair yet, so maybe that’s why it looked different. The plan was to add on Bea-tan’s iconic curls later, in order to avoid tangles.

Maybe I’d talk to the Handicrafts Club for some advice,

*

*

Finally, it was the day of the results. As for my own results… Ohh! 28th place! I went up! And by two ranks, compared to last time! You’re amazing, Reika!

“Goodness, Reika-sama! 28th place! That’s spectactular!”

“Reika-sama was 28th place! Last time you were 30th, weren’t you? That’s wonderful!”

I was basking in the glow of the compliments from Serika-chan and the others.

“Thank you, everyone. But is 28th place a good score, or an average one, I wonder… I am not quite sure myself.”

“Goodness, I think that’s a splendid achievement already. You probably don’t understand since you don’t have much interest in these things though.”

“She really doesn’t. Reika-sama, you should be a little more proud of your own achievements, you know?”

“Goodness…” I replied.

Ohohohohoho. Praise me more.

Still, there were plenty of people beyond me. This time 1st place was taken by Kaburagi again, with Enjou in 2nd and Wakaba-chan in 3rd. Sometimes I wondered what was inside of their skulls.

Wakaba-chan had learnt from her past experiences. She was standing there looking at the rankings, but her mouth was set in a straight line, and not an speck of celebration could be seen on her face. But. Wakaba-chan, your nostrils are twitching in excitement, you know.

I’ll bet she was happy. She was probably thinking of the scholarship bonus that she was getting again.

She told me a while back that on days when she received a bonus she would quietly treat herself to one of the luxury items on our cafeteria menu. Good for you, Wakaba-chan.

I wondered what she’d get this time. This month’s theme was nouvelle cuisine.

“You’re amazing, Wakaba-chan!” exclaimed a student council member.

“Ehehe, thanks.”

Apparently Wakaba-chan had grown close with some of them since entering the Student Council. Sometimes I spotted her with them.

“Looks like I lost to you this time, Takamichi,” sighed Fellow Stalking Horse in good humour.

He was 4th.

“Ah well. Try harder next time,” she said.

Somebody sounds damned confident,” he joked.

The two of them seemed pretty close as well. It was good that she wasn’t alone. The looks she was getting from Prince Arima fans were pretty harsh though.

That was when Kaburagi and Enjou came along. Although the people around them made a fuss about their arrival, they just came, looked at the results, and then casually walked away.

Wakaba-chan was still talking to Fellow Stalking Horse. I did not miss the glance that Kaburagi gave her as he walked away.

I wonder how Kaburagi actually felt about her…

*

*

With the Athletics Carnival and the mid-terms over now, all anybody had on their minds was the School Festival. My class was doing a Chinese tea café this time. I had a bunch left over from that time with Ichinokura-san in Taiwan. Hopefully I contributed something with the idea.

Besides that was the preparations for the Handicrafts Club’s exhibit. I was the Club President, so I couldn’t be dragging us down now, could I!

Alright! Leave it to me, your Club President, everybody!

And my first job as Club President was to get my own exhibit ready. Today I brought my Bea-tan doll to school, hoping to get everybody’s advice.

Before heading to the club, I popped into the salon for a bit to have some tea. I looked into my bag at the doll. I had what I thought were the three best heads with me, but which would I go with~? Personally, I thought all of them were cute, but…

While I was sitting in the corner of the salon, holding each head up to compare, Kaburagi suddenly came over with a confused look on his face.

“The heck is that? The Cerberus?”

Haaaaaahhh!?  Fight me, damnit!


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Reika-sama – 152

Everybody, please check the FAQ first before asking me questions.
If it’s not on there, please feel free and ask. I only get annoyed at questions when the same one has been asked 10+ times, and by then I’ll have updated the FAQ. Thank you for your consideration, guys!


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Urashima Tarou is a Japanese fairy tale.

Long ago, a man named Urashima Tarou found a turtle on the beach being tortured by a group of children, and rescued it. Later, while he was fishing on a boat as always, the grateful turtle came and told him he would carry him on his back for him to see the underwater palace known as the Dragon Palace. At the palace, the princess, Otohime, thanked him for saving the turtle, and was entertained for many days with a rich feast and dances performed by various sea creatures.

But remembering his mother and father and feeling homesick, he bid his farewell to Otohime. The princess tried to dissuade him from leaving, but finally let him go with a parting gift, a mysterious box called tamatebako which he was told never to open.

When Tarou returned to his hometown, everything had changed. His home was gone, his mother and father had perished, and the people he knew were nowhere to be seen. Thinking that opening the box might do some good, and not remembering the princess’s warning, he lifted the lid of the box. A cloud of white smoke arose and touched his face, turning him to a wrinkled old man, his hair and beard turned completely white.


For the boy’s baton relay, Kaburagi’s team formed a huddle and gave a warcry. Uwah… One team was very out of place here…

The starting signal fired and the athletes all shot off at once. Ohhh dear! Team Kaburagi’s first runner was trying too hard and tripped over! His baton went flying through the air! Even if he ran to pick it back up, he just lost Team Kaburagi some crucial seconds in the race. Uwahh, uwahhhh, I couldn’t imagine how he was feeling right now…

When that boy finished his lap his face was sheet white. Anybody would be. But Kaburagi just slapped the boy on the back in consolation. He even whispered something in the boy’s ear. I guess he wasn’t angry about the mistake. Thank goodness, boy-I-don’t-know.

When it was Kaburagi’s turn, as the anchor of the race, his team was in 4th place thanks to the Spartan-like efforts of every runner since. Kaburagi took the baton in hand and began running like the wind, immediately passing somebody to 3rd place. Before long he caught up to 2nd place, and then brought himself in range of 1st place. He was so fast!

The crowd roared in excitement. The goal was just in front. Could he do it? He did ittttt!

When Kaburagi broke past the goal tape all of his runners ran up to surround him. Ah, the first runner was openly crying. He must have felt so responsible… Kaburagi saw him and smiled with a thumbs up. Yet another person joined the Kaburagi Cult that day.

My next game was the ball-toss. Since it was a team game there would be no accommodating for me! I’d show them I could win for real!

I looked to see who our opponents were only to notice that Wakaba-chan was standing next to Enjou of all people. Eh-, Enjou was going to be competing in the ball toss!?

With Enjou standing next to her, hitting him with the sacks accidentally would be too big of a risk. Even the girls who had come in determined to throw balls at Wakaba-chan gave up and meekly aimed at the basket like they were supposed to.

Could it be that he was looking after her? Was it a coincidence?

Unremarkably, we came 3rd place.

*

*

The costume race was held in the afternoon. I was looking forward to seeing just how Iwamuro-kun would look after they were done with him~

One by one, each class filed out.

“Hmm!?”

Even though my class was supposed to be the Town Musicians of Bremen, for some reason every animal had a head of roll-like locks.

What the heck was that supposed to be!?

“Class Rep! Class Rep!”

“What’s wrong, Kisshouin-san?”

It was so strange that I came all the way over to demand an explanation.

“Why do all of those animals have that strange hair attached to them!?”

“Ohh, that. It’s supposed to be your hair, Kisshouin-san.”

I knew it!

“You’re the face of our class, so I guess they wanted to show that off? Hm, or maybe more like honour you? Mmn, something like that.”

“Something like that, you say… I have heard nothing about this, you know!”

“Aaah, well, I guess they thought that you’d tried to stop them if you knew. Sorry, Kisshouin-san. I mentioned to our class about how Iwamuro-kun was wearing a wig in your hairstyle, but then they got weirdly competitive. You were in their class, so Iwamuro-kun was intruding, or something like that.”

“Are your heads on right?!”

What were these guys smoking?! And anyway, their wigs weren’t anything like the quality of Iwamuro-kun’s. Rather than the Rococo Queen they looked more like the King of Reggae!

Look! They were getting weird laughs already! It even felt like I was being laughed at!

“Kisshouin-san, the race is starting. C’mon, let’s cheer.”

Even if he told me that, I couldn’t bring myself to cheer properly for those animals with the weird rolls attached to their heads.

“Oh! Iwamuro-kun came out!”

Iwamuro Wendy burst forward with splendid golden locks and a sky blue dress. In no time, he overtook the Reggae Artists of Bremen. The one in the full-faced donkey mask was clearly dragging the team down. Must have been oxygen deprivation.

Actually Wakaba-chan was competing too. The theme that her class picked was Urashima Tarou. Behind Urashima Tarou and Otohime was Wakaba-chan, plastered head to toe in sea bream, and snapper, and other sea creatures. Wakaba-chan…

I had wanted to say a few words now that my classmates were finished with the costume race, but my three-legged race was coming up next. I decided instead to use these feelings to fuel my performance in the race instead.

While I was heading to Ru’ne-chan and thinking about the difference between ringlets and dreadlocks, Kaburagi approached me from in front.

“Kisshouin!”

And for some reason called out to me. Ru’ne-chan was showing consideration in a weird way again, and put some distance between us.

“Kaburagi-sama.”

As always, there was a huge crowd of girls gathered around him from a distance away. Was he the Pied Piper of Hamlin or something.

Kaburagi placed a hand on my shoulder. The girls around us started squealing in response.

“I finally realised your ultimate goal for these school festivals. You’re trying to complete the Chinese Zodiac, aren’t you!”

“Huh? Zodiac?”

Suddenly grabbing me and then talking about ultimate goals, or the Zodiac… As usual I had no idea what this guy was talking about.

Kaburagi paid no heed to my confusion though, and nodded to himself knowingly.

“You weren’t competing in the costume race this year so I thought you had run away from the nose problem. Who would have thought that you’d be using copies of yourself to compete instead. Last year were the rat and sheep, and now this year you have the Bremen animals. It didn’t take long for me to realise you were aiming for the Chinese Zodiac.”

“Haaah!?”

What the hell was he on about?! Was he actually an idiot!? Not once had I thought about completing the Chinese Zodiac in costume since the day I was born!

And to begin with, look carefully! Wasn’t there a cat in the Bremen animals? There was no cat in the Chinese Zodiac! Everyone knows that the Rat had cheated the Cat out of it!

And why was he nodded to himself again!? No, stop, stop coming up with your weird conclusions. It’s scary!

“You made up the numbers this time, so you might make it before graduation. Well, do your best.”

Satisfied, he pat me on the shoulders before walking away like some war hero. Come baaaaack!

By no means was my goal in high school life to complete something as stupid as the Chinese Zodiac in costume! Don’t lump me in with athletic carnival maniacs like you! No normal person behaves like this! Wait, Kaburagi!

“Um, Reika-sama… I’m sorry for interrupting while you’re still feeling moved and all, but if we don’t hurry…” Ru’ne-chan said hesitantly while I was frozen on the spot. Huh? Moved?

I guess they couldn’t really hear our conversation over all of the cheering.

I could hear girls here and there commenting enviously, ‘Kaburagi-sama came to cheer Reika-sama on’.

You’re wrong!

“Isn’t that great, Reika-sama?” said Ru’ne-chan.

You too!?

The only thing that happened was that an idiot arbitrarily branded me as some strange woman who was fixated on completing the Chinese Zodiac in costumes!

Thanks to Kaburagi I was feeling out of it during the three-legged race and didn’t do as well as I’d hoped.

“It’s a shame,” consoled Ru’ne-chan, “After Kaburagi-sama came to cheer you on too.”

I told you, that wasn’t it…

*

*

There might have been troubles along the way, but the Athletics Carnival moved into its final stage. It was time for the cavalry battle. The teams trained by Kaburagi were raring to go. This was what everyone had been waiting for. Even Kaburagi was standing watch with folded arms.

Fellow Stalking Horse appeared. The cheering got even louder. Even though he had bad blood with the Pivoine President, Fellow Stalking Horse was popular. Why. Was it the face?

“Mizusaki-kun!”

“President!”

“Princeee!”

Prince?

Apparently Fellow Stalking Horse had been nicknamed ‘Prince’ without me hearing about it. Prince… I guess maybe based on Prince Arima of Asuka?

The real Prince Arima was tragic, though. Was that okay? Oh, but I suppose Prince Arima was like a stalking horse as well. I guess that actually made it the perfect nickname then? They gave off completely different images though. Not that it would fit the likes of Afrodite better.

Anyway, Prince Arima took the headbands off his opponents, one by one. His aim was none other than the teams trained by Kaburagi!

But the two teams surrounded him. Despite that, he grabbed the headband of one with his right hand, and used a daring headbutt to crush the other.

There was even a standing ovation for his gallantry and prowess. Even Kaburagi, who had just seen his personally trained team crushed, was standing there clapping with a grim expression.

Ahh geez. He was frowning now. I thought this last year too, but if he wanted to be involved this badly why not just compete?

And as pained as his expression was, it all just seemed stupid once you remembered it was about.


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Reika-sama – 151

Everybody, please check the FAQ first before asking me questions.
If it’s not on there, please feel free and ask. I only get annoyed at questions when the same one has been asked 10+ times, and by then I’ll have updated the FAQ. Thank you for your consideration, guys!


Join the Evil God Army on discord!
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Hi guys! Looking for experienced cleaners or type-setters to help with the Tashinami scanlations.


I owed Wakaba-chan a lot now. I wanted to thank her somehow but couldn’t think of any good gift ideas.

Normally I’d be gifting something from the stores that my family were in with. Fruits from an expensive fruit store, or cookies from an exclusive confectionary that you needed connections to buy from. But it would be a bit rude to give cakes and stuff to a family of bakers, huh~ And it felt a bit like flaunting my money. Hmmmm…

After a lot of deliberation I ended up gifting her family some black tea and coffee that would go well with cakes. As for Wakaba-chan herself, I gave her some stationery with Suiran’s crest on it. Notepads and other consumables. After all, gifts that you could use up felt a lot less serious than durable gifts, didn’t they!

Since we were keeping that day between us, we still never really talked at school. After a while I started to wonder if I really had gone to her house. It couldn’t have been a daydream or something? I really did go, right?

*

*

*

There was only a little time left until the Athletics Carnival so every class was practising harder than ever. Everybody in my class was aiming for high scores as well, but I wonder how we would really go~

Everybody seemed to laugh as they trained, so it felt like we weren’t being serious enough. The boys were training for the cavalry battle too, by the way. I wonder if it was because of experience that running away from the start was a valid strategy to them. But considering the competition this year, wouldn’t they have a fair chance of winning as long as they tried harder?

Emperor was still sticking to his retirement.

According to the girls in his class a lot of people had asked him to participate but the Emperor had silenced them all with a wave of his hand.

He had retired, and there was no two ways about that.

Some people insisted anyhow, so the Emperor said this:

‘I’m retired so I won’t participating. But I’ll be happy to train you.’

Mmn. Thank goodness I wasn’t in his class. And more importantly, thank goodness I wasn’t born as a guy. Watching those poor boys train under him was like watching drills performed by the Spartan army… And it was scary the way their eyes shone.

*

*

One day, the Pivoine’s President butted heads with Fellow Stalking Horse.

Apparently it had all started when some Pivoine members demanded a couple of students yield some seats with a good view to them. Worse yet, those Pivoine members were only first years whilst the students sitting there were in Third Year. Fellow Stalking Horse had been of the opinion that the Pivoine kids should have respected their upperclassmen.

The President and her Pivoine supremacists on the other hand had taken exception to that. They came in and demanded to know who dared to question the Pivoine.

Right now, the air in the cafeteria was like a powder keg.

“To begin with, demanding that somebody give up a seat when they got there first is nothing short of tyranny. As if that wasn’t enough, they were upperclassmen as well. That would offend anyone’s sensibilities.”

“Upperclassmen or not, they were Pivoine. This is Suiran; common sense dictates that being a Pivoine takes precedence above all else. It matters not who they are. And even by your own admission, upperclassmen should be respected. Are you not violating decorum right this moment by arguing with me?”

“I’m the Student Coucil President. Protecting the students is the duty of the Student Council. You’re mistaken if you think the Pivoine can do whatever they want. You already have seats reserved for yourselves. And there were plenty of empty seats. But instead they decided that they wanted that seat and forced the person sitting there to vacate it. Don’t you think that’s being a little too outrageous? The Student Council won’t overlook selfish behaviour like that.”

“Outrageous!? Who do you think you are! How dare you speak to us like that!”

Anger crossed her beautiful features. But Fellow Stalking Horse was unperturbed.

“A member of the Pivoine is a student like any other. If they have done something wrong then I believe it falls to the Student Council to warn them.”

“Enough, you hateful upstart!”

Upstart!?

“At the end of the day, is your “Student Council” anything more than a collection of upstarts? The only reason you’ve been able to throw around the words ‘Student Council’ to have your way around here is because we have kindly allowed you to. For you to misunderstand, and even defy the Pivoine… Know some shame! The Pivoine is the symbol of Suiran! Comparing our positions with a gathering of glorified commoners like your Student Council is like comparing heaven and earth!”

“…!”

The President’s excessive words caused anger to flash across his face.

That was when the teachers rushed in to stop them in a panic. Fellow Stalking Horse allowed himself to be led away, whilst the other Student Council members followed behind in worry. The President and her supporters watched their retreating figures with baleful gazes.

I was frightened so I had hid amongst Serika-chan and the others early on. All I had done was watch how things developed but my stomach was still hurting and I had lost all appetite.

“This has turned into a huge deal, hasn’t it…”

“Mizusaki-kun should have just picked his words a little better. I hope he’s okay…”

As I considered my position as a Pivoine member, my hands couldn’t help but shake in the face of the inevitable conflict to come.

Scary… I wish I had a tougher heart. I might have looked like a Rococo Queen on the outside, but inside I was just a petty bourgeois.

Where had Kaburagi and Enjou been for all this?

I looked around and realised that Kaburagi had been sitting at the reserved seats, right in the middle of the fiasco. He had a fed-up look on his face.
When he noticed Wakaba-chan following after Fellow Stalking Horse in worry, he stared at her until she was gone.

*

*

The Principal personally cautioned Fellow Stalking Horse. Naturally he said nothing to the Pivoine.
I personally thought it was ridiculous too, but this was Suiran after all. Fellow Stalking Horse must have been incredibly frustrated, but there was nothing he could do about it.

Since the school administration had given the Student Council a warning over their attitude towards the Pivoine, the incident with the seats was tentatively settled. I could only pray that no further troubles arose though.

*

*

*

*

The day of the Athletics Carnival came.

Emperor and his Spartan Army were taking heads from the get-go. I could only imagine the hell they had gone through in training. Their enthusiasm was on another level. It didn’t even feel like an athletics carnival to them.

Well, the girls in their class were just cheering and squealing without a care in the world though.

Fellow Stalking Horse was doing just as well. Yep, yep. Exercise was the best for releasing your stress, wasn’t it. Do your best, Fellow Stalking Horse.

Before long it was time for my 100 metre sprint.

When I arrived at the gathering point, Wakaba-chan looked me in the eye and pumped her fist.

“I’m going to give it my all!”

Ahaha! Somebody was enthused. Wakaba-chan, we’re not even in the same group.

I smiled and was about to reply when some of my participating group members moved between us.

“Who are you acting so familiar with! Do you know who this person is!?”

They glared at her and pulled me away.

“Come, Reika-sama. That girl really needs to learn her place!”

And you even went out of your way to talk to me. I’m sorry, Wakaba-chan…

Still, I mean, it was a bit weird saying this about myself, but Wakaba-chan sure was fearless to talk that way to Kisshouin Reika of the Pivoine…

Considering they were basically there to give me a good experience, naturally I came first in my group.

“You were magnificent, Reika-sama!” clamoured my followers as they added to the experience with clapping.

Could it have gotten any more fixed. I wanted to bury myself in a hole…

Wakaba-chan only made 2nd place, unfortunately. She seemed to have fun though.

There was still a lot of the day to go.


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「今日のお兄ちゃんはおかしいよ!怖いよ!ッ!?いやだよっ!いやぁ!やめて!やめてぇっ!!」