Kyo Kara Ma no Tsuku Jiyuugyou!
Novel 1 Chapter 1It’s not the name that bothers me, but why did she have to choose those characters?
Since middle school I’ve been at a disadvantage, fending off every punk who wanted to make a joke out of my name. I’ve gotten so used to the insults, they just wash past me now.
‘Say something Shibuya Yuuri!’ they jeer. ‘Guess you’re name should be Harujuku instead.’
I’ve heard that stupid taunt fifty-thousand times these last fifteen years.
That’s right, my name’s Shibuya Yuuri: adventurous. It’s not Yuuri the abundant village, Yuuri the gentle pear or even Yuuri the distant lapis lazuli. My name’s Shibuya Yuuri: adventurous.
It was May, with the luxurious leaves surrounding me. I was gliding down the road, riding my bike home from my new high school. That’s when it happened; I couldn’t help that it happened.
For a long time, there was a member of the middle school baseball club I admired. I’ve always wanted to be like them, so I took the step and joined the baseball club in junior high. Since high school, though, there’s been someone else. Because of this, it seemed like the Kendo Club would be the next group I joined. I’d been talking about this with a friend from school just before I began my ride home.
The action of peddling my bike felt so good in the spring air, but my enjoyment was short lived. I passed near the park and saw something I just couldn’t let pass…
Collecting money, that’s what the practical bully calls it, but it’s pretty much mugging when you look at it in the right light. It’s just the age old business of goons extorting money from anyone smaller than them. I’d object to bullying as much as the next person -- I get hassled enough about my name -- but it’s not like I could make two upper classmen stop doing it!
And there he was, corned with his back against the wall of the restrooms, the boy with glasses I barely knew. He was in the same class as me for my second and third year of middle school. Murata Ken.
‘It doesn’t matter. I’m on my bike, already riding away. Sure, I’d advocate for justice any day of the week, but nobodies looking. If I just act like I don’t notice anything it won’t matter to Murata. Besides, it’s not like we’ve even said more than two words in passing! He probably doesn’t even know who I am!’
Just what I needed. I slowly stopped the bike, body moving on it’s own. The words were the same, coming out of my mouth before I could think.
“…what are you guys doing over there?” the words were pasty in my mouth. “Couldn’t be that you’re committing a crime over there.” Everything rotated to face me: thanks to that middle-class sense of justice I was born with; thanks to that stupid sense of honor that says two against one is an unfair match.
“Come off it, you’ve got wires crossed up there or something.” said the first punk said with a smirk, “We were just collecting money. What’s ever in this guys wallet belong to us. It’s all legit.”
Get me a map and tell me where in the world that’s legal.
With bleach-blond hair and colored contacts that rang of lost nationality, the two senior students oozed a foreign kind of danger.
With a hard kick to my stomach, I was shoved against the rough mortar of the wall. Good going ethics!
“Remember, this is all because you went and stuck your nose where id didn’t belong.” one growled, “The son of a banker like you should of all people know how important customers are! And now our little ducks run off! ”
He was right. Murata Ken had left the building. The person I was trying to save turned his back and ran full speed away! I looked around desperately for help, back-up, anything, but at 4:30 in the afternoon, parks are just filled with elementary students.
“So why did you even come to save him? You guys friends or something? Or maybe,” one laughed loud and low, “he’s your secret crush!”
“Shut up! I just like the name Ken! His name’s Ken and it just happens to rank top on my favorite name list!” It wasn’t the truth, but it wasn’t a lie either. A teacher I respect and secretly admires has the name, and my absolute favorite actor from a historical dramas name is Matsudeara Ken.
“Huh, I thought for sure it’d be Harajuku Furi!”
The laugh. Here’s my chance! I draw back a fist, clenched white, ready to pay them back in style. No good. One of the Yankees grabs hold of my hair, clenching it in his own knuckles, and drags me into the building, the dim bathroom.
“He wait a minute! This is the woman’s restroom, it says so right there! What are you bastards blind!” I scream, trying to pull away, really just getting my hair pulled harder.
“That’s the point Harajuko Furi.” one of the thugs chimes, ramming me towards a stall. “It’s the privacy that matters and there are more stalls in here.”
“That’s right, secrets should be kept, well, secret.” the other thug chirps, perfectly in tone with his accomplice. I can hear him behind me, digging through my school bag for a wallet. My phones strap snaps and it tumbles out and hit’s the wall. The ring tone sounds, echoing louder than it should.
“What’s this? I know I’ve heard this before. I remember, it has to be from that TV show, some historical drama.”
The thug holding me laughs. “I can’t believe someone would actually use something like that for their ring tone! And look,” he says craning so even I can see now. “that straps from some professional baseball thing. I don’t believe it! Shibuya Yuuri likes something like that!”
“Shut up! What the hell would you guys know about the merits of baseball anyway!” I struggle again, but the bully just holds tighter, making my head scream in pain. I go limp.
The thug behind me finally found my wallet. He preens the bills and finally pulls out a pair of Souseki-sensei’s. “Fuck, there’s no way you’re really a bankers son. What’s your old man so tight-fisted with money he don’t even lend you any?” he looks at his friend. “Thought he’d be carrying more.”
“My dad’s job doesn’t have anything to do with this!”
It didn’t matter if I told them, but most of my money piles up in 500 yen coins. I’m the type of person who gets change that’s completely useless for vending machines so it just builds and builds.
“Damn, and here I thought we’d be able to get the banker to pay for Murata,” The grip on my hair suddenly tightens. “Looks like his credit just got worse.”
There are three stall doors in the hijacked girls restroom. I’m dragged into the centre one and forced to my knees. Inches from me is the toilet, a foreign-style sit-down toilet.
“Come on, you guys aren’t thugs from the 1990’s…” No way they’d revert to such retro bullying tactics as shoving my head in a toilet bowl.
“For someone who passed the perfectual exams, it doesn’t look like your head’s working too well.” he said, ramming his hand harder against my head. “We’ve gotta give you some reference for the future so you can study up, right?”
Guess old schools making a come back.
The hold on my hair tightened, and in once unsteady motion my head was in the bowl. My chin touched the water and I tried to raise my face, but the thug was holding me down hard. The pressure on the back of my head didn’t lighten up at all. I gave up, took a gulp of air and braced myself.
Nobody’s ever been flushed down the toilet before. I mean, if that sort of thing ever happened I’m sure Guinness would have recorded it by now. Something strong was pulling me down and there was no way to stop, no way to fight back. I could feel myself being sucked in -- the soreness of my back as it was pulled inside.
I let out a final scream, thinking: I’m going to be the first. The first guy in history to be flushed down a toilet.
What is it Yuuri?
Why does Papa always ride the “Star Tours” ride when we visit Disney Land?
Why, don’t you like to ride it?
No, I love it. It’s just, we’ve ridden it so many times I can recite everything the pilot and droid say!
Yuuri, you’re really amazing. You’ve memorized all those lines. Next time we’re in Disney Land we have to ride Star Tours again to see if you’re right! I’m certain it’ll be useful one day.
It really did.
After so many years, with my dad holding my hand as we rode the hazy ride in Tokyo Disney Land ten times straight the swirling, the warping of being sucked down the toilet turned to that. The grainy light of the stars stretched and distorted into long glowing tails, only to turn back into stars. My body stretches, distorts…
No, I can’t really have been flushed down the toilet! I mean, my body’s normal, the average physique of a first year high school student.
I stretch out my arms and lets as far as they can until I’m lying, spread-eagled, on the dusty ground. It’s been so long since I’ve seen an unpaved road. The air’s unfamiliar, the sky cloudless and blue. It’s so pure, so clean that concepts of pollution can’t even cross.
Tilting my head both sides of the road can be seen at once. On my left’s a forest, desolate and wild, but there’s something strange to the right, houses. They appears to be completely made out of stone blocks, and very vaguely, I see some sort of animal grazing nearby. A goat? A sheep?
I’ve been abandoned, that’s what happened. Those two who thrust my face in the toilet bowl probability panicked when I passed out and just dumped me somewhere they thought I wouldn’t be found. Stupid thugs can’t check for a pulse.
So where is this then? The scenery doesn’t look like traditional Japan, more like something from Heidi.
“The Alps?” I mutter, sitting up. Looks like it, but how did I get here?
My uniform’s wet, clinging to my body. The moisture probably came from the public toilet. Oh god, I don’t want to think about that! It’s just water, and water is water, simple H2O.
Something moves to my right. A young woman carrying a wicker basket is walking down the road. The basket drops, falling from her hands simultaneously. Huge fruit that look sort of like apples drop, thumping on the road. They roll down the road, finally settling in the dust.
“Excuse me.” I try, gulping. The woman just stares at me with those huge wide eyes. She’s a cosplayer, she has to be. Why else would she be wearing that skirt, so long it drags on the ground, that old-fashioned kercher tied beneath her chin. And those blue eyes, that golden hair. She looks like a foreigner.
“Wait, I’m sorry I scared you. It’s just that I was abandoned here. I’m really not going to hurt you so don’t worry, nothing like that.”
Her voice is like a siren. One after one, people come out of the fairy-tale houses and rush towards me. There are men, there are women, there are children but they’re all --
No, that didn’t make sense. The people here were not Japanese at all. All of them are foreigners. These people with golden brown hair and blue eyes can’t be anything but another race. And all of them, in their army formation, carrying farming tools like weapons, surround me and the screaming woman. My legs almost give way.
“Wait a minute. Please hold on! I was just dumped here!” My brain and tongue move ahead of another. And everything suddenly makes sense, clicks right in my head. “This is a theme park, right?”
That’s right. I sigh and begin to finally relax. This can’t be anything but one of the theme parks they use for two-hour suspense dramas. I’m so stupid not to realize it earlier. I’ve been dumped in a theme park. But which one? From the look of it, it’s a the ‘village’ in Niigata, but that’s so far to go just to abandon me.
A rock hits me in the leg. Wait, why would theme park staff do that? All the foreigners working here should at leas know some Japanese, so why are they throwing rocks at me when I’m just trying to explain. It has to be the ticket: I got in without paying. But using rocks and farm tools? That’s going a bit overboard, isn’t it?
“Wait, my wallet was taken earlier, so I came without paying.” I stammered, frantically trying to get the actors to stop throwing rocks, “If you let me, I’ll definitely pay another day. Or, can you let me make a local phone call.”
Local? If I’m in Niigata who could I call locally?
Warding myself against the stones and mud, I turned my back towards a farmer just as he thrust a spade like a gigantic fork right at me. I stared, dumbfounded as a frightened baby, ready to burst into tears.
This doesn’t make sense; this is too much!
A commanding voice cut abruptly through the crowd. The rocks stopped.
“Who…” I asked no one in particular and nearly choked. There was a man on a horse, cloths in the same design of the villagers but of richer quality. He jumped off the horse and moved to me.
Football player -- he couldn’t be anything else but an American football player. Those biceps, the chest, even the blond hair and turquoise eyes. With a prominent aquiline nose crooked to the left and split chin, he looked like the prototype of a classic Caucasian.
“Thanks’ for calming everyone down…” I try
A hand wraps around my face, seizing it firmly. He could probably do a ninety-yard pass with a grip like that. But why? His fingers tighten around my neck.
I moan involuntarily in a small voice. The path from my ears to my brain blazes as if water is running through it. The man lets go and it all pours into me. Wind, trees, animal sounds and finally words.
Everything is suddenly in Japanese. The huge man grins broadly.
“Well, you can understand me now?” His voice is a deep base that only makes mine seem higher.
“It’s so strange to hear a foreigner speaking fluent Japanese.” I laugh and rub the place where he had held. “So, like I was trying to say, I don’t know exactly where I am. I was abandoned, but I don’t know really how far from home am I.”
“What.” the man says, looking down at me, hands poised on his hips. “I thought you looked promising, but we get a simple idiot for Maou this time?”
My bad habit rears its head. “How can you call me an idiot? You only just me!” My brain just ceases to function. A read light starts flashing and I start talking. It must be that I’m trying to give myself time to think while chattering like mad. It never works. “I enrolled in a medium rank prefectual school, and while no one’s really jealous of my grades, I get decent ones. And I’m pretty good at English. I lived in Boston for half a year after I was born, and my parents speak the language. So what’s with calling me an idiot? It doesn’t matter how I look, my dad’s an elite banker an my brother passed his college exams on his first try! My mom even graduated from Ferris!”
“Fer-what? Is that some provincial aristocrat?” He responds and I stop short. Bragging about academic history doesn’t seem to be globally effective.
It doesn’t matter. I calmer to my feet.
The spell is broken and the people in the village start shouting again. “The Mazoku is standing up!”
“He’s clad in black! He’s a real Mazoku! Hurry up and get the children inside!”
“He’ll burn down the town like Kentenow twenty yeas ago!” one old woman yelled, feigning dizziness.
“Wait a minute,” the farmer who had tried to stick me earlier tries to quiet the crowd, “this one’s still young, plus he’s unarmed. And look! He’s got black and black eyes. I hear that if you catch someone with the twin black, you can get the power of immortality! There’s a western dukedom offering a reward for one!”
“I heard the reward could fetch a small island!”
“Be careful,” someone warned, “no matter how young he is he’s still a Mazoku and he can use majutsu.”
“But Lord Adalbert is here! Protect the village and keep us from harm!”
What was this? What were these people saying? No one was making any sense. It was all just complete panic!
“Calm down everyone.” said the huge man, Adalbert, “He’s not understanding. The kid’s no harm like this.”
A rhythmic sound comes from the distance, pounding and growing very rapid. The panic turns to confusion.
That sound is familiar, like hooves.
My name is called and I start to turn.
A knight of a white horse come to save me…
I’m not seeing this! The three riders galloping towards me aren’t knights and they aren’t white horses. They’re not even galloping -- they’re flying! I never would have imagined this in my fifteen years and nine months of existence.
A model skeleton, worn brown from age with wings made from bamboo frames with oiled paper sprout from its back. And yet, the wings are flapping noisily, and the model is flying through the sky as if it were absolutely natural.
“Get away form him, Adalbert!”
There are the horses, galloping towards us the color of liver chestnuts with black on their foreheads. Riding them are men holding drawn swords. And at the head, the man who appears to be the leader bellows. “Don’t use your swords against the inhabitants! They’re not soldiers!”
“But your Excellency!”
“Just disperse the crowd!”
Three horses push through the crowd, neighing unhappily. I cover my mouth to keep the dust out, but still cough -- wretchedly, violently. When I look up again, all I can see is the beige cloud, broken by sparks and the sound of metal on metal.
Someone grabs at my arm and everything recedes into a tan colored darkness.
“Adalbert von Grantz, why are you encroaching upon our boarders!”
“Same as ever I see, Lord Weller, hero among cowards.” The big man laughs and I cringe.
I’m pulled up, my body slowly lifted from the ground. The dust is finally clearing, chased away by the sudden stillness. My arms, bearing my full weight, blaze with pain.
The elaborate model skeleton whose construction makes no sense is carrying me effortlessly. No matter how much I look at it, the skeleton still looks like a model with wings attached. Even staring directly up at it, I only see the expressionless aw and curved hollows of its eyes.
“I guess, thanks.” I try, but the skeleton only chatters.
Adalbert throws his gaze up, “You come well prepared,” he says calmly, face plain, “using the Kotsuhizoku to carry him away.”
Lord Weller nods, as emotionless as the big man. “They are loyal to us and don’t’ loose themselves over personal grudges.”
I crane my neck to see Adalbert lunge at the soldier, thrusting his sword at the apparent leader. “Don’t’ you think it’s a waste of your skill to be using that lot?” his voices is venomous.
“Unfortunately, Adalbert --”
I can’t see Lord Weller, only the back of his kakai uniform and dark brown hair. Somehow I know that for a moment he smiled.
“-- my love isn’t as single minded as yours.”
The horses turn, and all three gallop back at the same time. Adalbert flies to his horse, yelling to me.
“Be patient! I’ll come save you soon!”
Save me? I don’t even know if you’re the good guy or not!
Below me, the brown-haired leader stops his solders who are about to chance after the enemy.
“Leave them!” warns Weller.
“He’s one man. He’s at a disadvantage as it is.” Lord Weller snaps. “Our top priority is to get His Majesty to safety.”
I can't help think how cool he sounds there, how absolutely sure of everything. It makes me want to know more about him.
This His Majesty they’re so concerned about, could they be talking about me? I guess I’m participating in the production of some elaborate theme park attraction now in the role of His Majesty. “For now, could you at least get me down from this sky ride?”