When the last of the shell casings had rolled to a stop, the library was overcome by silence.
The sign on the wall that had previously read, "Quiet in the library" was so riddled with bullet holes that it now read, "It usually rains on the plains in the library".(1)
"A--" Kino, who had been staring in wide-eyed shock, began applauding. "Amazing!"
Whoever this guy was, he had rescued Kino from certain death. He was definitely someone that she could count on.
The young man looked at Kino silently. Kino's face was reflecting off his sunglasses.
"That was so cool! That thing you just did, with the whoosh, and the ratatatat, and the other whoosh! It was amazing! How'd you do it? Who taught you?"
"To think I would live long enough to see this technique with my own two eyes…" Samoyed Mask α muttered like an old man, standing next to an excited Kino.
"You actually know what that was?"
"The Septuple-Gun Fist Style."(2) Samoyed Mask α answered, as he nodded seriously.
"The Septuple-Gun Fist Style…
It is the pinnacle of the fist-fighting style, the ultimate in close-range combat techniques. Its base and philosophy is to dodge attacks and position oneself in the most effective attacking stance by predicting the movements of the enemy through careful analysis of past battle experiences--then attacking mercilessly with guns held in each hand.
Its name comes from the fact that 'possession of guns and mastery of this style will increase the user's capacity for battle sevenfold'. According to a recent supercomputer analysis, learning this technique will increase attack power by 120 percent (in comparison to prior stats), and even in times of stress, such as illness or angst, there is still an increase of up to 60 percent.
Like other martial arts, it is said that this style originated in China, but details are sparse. As some of you may have guessed from the name of this technique, its first appearance in recorded history goes back to Prince Shotoku(聖徳太子).
The incident when Prince Shotoku instantly defeated ten assassins sent after him is a well-known historical event--and it would have been impossible had it not been for this technique. His name, you see, was originally spelt '将禿対死' (3)--meaning that even a seasoned general old enough to be bald will die in battle against him. That is how great a man he was. The name 聖徳太子 was given its current spelling in modern times. They say that his reputation made its way into the rest of the world through the Silk Road. Even those living in the Irish countryside would tremble at his name. It's a well-known fact that Alfred Nobel invented dynamite out of fear of Prince Shotoku.
The gun that Prince Shotoku had used all his life, the Kureirikugan(4) (a phrase from a poem that means 'be courteous to your old friends. Even if he is far away, run to his side and do what he asks'), was cutting-edge for the time period. It's currently on display at the Arashiyama Museum in Kyoto. A pair of dragons have been carefully sculpted onto the wooden barrel, which hints at an early form of entasis. The grip is made of ivory sculpted in the shape of a phoenix, and the paper cartridge is studded with jade. It is an intricate piece of art. Along with the Tamamushi-nozushi at Houryuu Temple in Nara, and the Tenjukoku Shuuchou Mandala at Chuuguu Temple, it is one of the priceless artifacts of the Asuka Period.
Due to the influence of Buddhism, the black trenchcoat worn in battle by a master of this style was called a "Monk's Robe". It was an ultra-rare item that only the twelve most accomplished practitioners could acquire, either through internet auction or mail-order.
From "The History of Guns and Japan ~ Guns! People Die When They Are Shot", from Minmei Publishing Company." Samoyed Mask α exposited in reply to Kino's question.
The young Septuple-Gun Fist Style user stood motionlessly this whole time. His mouth didn't even twitch. It was almost as if the boy had no emotions.
"Huh. I don't really get it, but it sounds pretty awesome."
"Yes. I must confess that this is my first time seeing a Septuple-Gun Fist Style successor in person."
Samoyed Mask α turned to the boy and declared, "Nice to meet you! I am The Missionary of the Blade, Love and Truth, Samoyed Mask α! This is my partner, Mysterious Bishoujo Gun Fighter Rider Kino! We are nice people with an infinite passion for justice who will use every dirty trick in the book to keep this school safe!"
"We're not partners." Kino added.
"I admit we were in a bit of a sticky situation, but it was nothing we couldn't handle. We didn't need your help, but I appreciate that you saved us. Danke Schöen!"
Samoyed Mask α's attitude had done a 180 from before. No one would know if he was treating the newcomer like an idiot or if that was his own little way of greeting him.
"Successor of the Septuple-Gun Fist Style! I beseech you, tell us your name!" Samoyed Mask α demanded. What could this cool new character be called?
"My name is--" the young man spoke for the first time. He had a clear, boyish voice.
He repeated himself once more, and added tersely--
"'Detective Wanwan'? Oh, what a hideous name." said a dumbfounded Samoyed Mask α.
"Speak for yourself!" Kino yelled, as she kicked Samoyed Mask with all her strength.
Samoyed Mask α was mercilessly sent flying headfirst into an encyclopedia on the shelf. Kino ignored him and extended her thanks to Detective Wanwan.
"Thanks for saving me, Detective Wanwan." She folded her hands and bowed.
"…oh. I…" Detective Wanwan was at a loss, as if this was the first time he'd ever spoken to a girl. He had a look of embarrassment and anxiety.
Kino smiled at the shy Detective Wanwan. He looked even more bashful than ever. Oh, it's good to be young.
"No need to thank me. After all, it is my duty to fight evil." Detective Wanwan said serenely.
"Still, thanks. You know what? I have to go now and seal away the demon that's controlling all these monsters. So I'm gonna ask you to do something for me. Can I trust you with it?"
Detective Wanwan silently but energetically nodded at Kino's request. The sunglasses went from reflecting Kino to Samoyed Mask α on the ground with his head against the encyclopedia, and back to Kino. On a side note, a flock of tiny chicks were circling Samoyed Mask α's masked, dog-eared head.
"Then I need you to make sure this pervert doesn't get in my way!"
While Detective Wanwan was still taken aback, Kino went ahead with her plan.
"All right!" the cell phone strap on Kino's belt replied, as he rose into the air and was covered by a bright light.
When the light had faded, an offroad motorcycle had appeared in the library. Hermes had transformed. Kino got on, pushed the kick starter, and started the engine.
"I'm counting on you!" Kino smiled, and left. She drove straight over the piles of scattered books, and out the door that Detective Wanwan had kicked down.
"Oh! That was close."
She nearly crashed into the wall because she was going so fast, but let's give her the benefit of the doubt and call it a cutesy moment.
Detective Wanwan silently watched Kino leave in the ensuing duststorm.
"I sense it! The demon's on the rooftop!"
"Got it! I'm not gonna let it get away this time!"
Kino and Hermes raced through the hall and up the stairs. Allow me to remind you to always wear your helmet when you're on a motorcycle. If you fall, you're in big trouble.
Meanwhile, in the library, Detective Wanwan silently looked down upon the unconscious Samoyed Mask α. The number of chicks had decreased slightly, but Samoyed Mask α was still unmoving.
Detective Wanwan lightly waved his arms downwards and took hold of the PPSh-41 submachine guns that came out of his sleeves. It was an Old Soviet Union-made submachine gun. Because of the wooden stock that would normally be placed on the shoulder, the gun was about 84 centimetres in length. It's very long. There was a cylindrical drum magazine near the middle and it held 71 rounds--hmm? What do you mean, he's using a different gun? It doesn't really matter.
Detective Wanwan slowly raised his arms.
The two PPSh-41s were aimed squarely at the back of Samoyed Mask α's head.
"To think… the chance would come so soon…" muttered Detective Wanwan. You couldn't tell because he was wearing sunglasses, but he was probably glaring at Samoyed Mask α.
"How long have I awaited this moment…?"
From the way he was talking, it seems Detective Wanwan knew who Samoyed Mask α was.
"I was disappointed in you."
It seems he was disappointed.
"You've fallen far."
It seems he had fallen far.
"And that is why… I will terminate you."
Termites are scary.
"This planet… shall be your grave."
Detective Wanwan slowly put pressure on his index fingers.
"Die, stupid samurai!"
Kino stopped Hermes on one of the landings along her way upstairs. She looked back in the direction of the library.
When Hermes asked her why she stopped, Kino thought for a moment before giving an answer.
"Nothing. Must have been my imagination."
Kino looked ahead and prepared to continue climbing.
"I thought I heard someone calling my name…"
Kino headed to the next floor and disappeared from the landing.
A refreshing summer breeze swept through the deserted landing.
A lone dove sat on the handrail. Where could it have come from?
The dove would remain perched there, as if it had lost someone it could fly past.
Gakuen Kino Chapter 2: Farewell, Samoyed Mask/Samoyed Mask α! On to an Eternal Journey. Goodbye!
Thank you for reading, everyone! Please look forward to Sigsawa Keiichi's next project!
● Notice from the Editorial Department--Name the Dove!
We're taking suggestions for the name of the dove that appeared at the end of this story. The entries will be judged by Sigsawa Keiichi and Amesawa Megumihajime.
Instructions: Please write the name on a piece of paper (under 11 characters, one entry per person, no purchase necessary), put it in your right pocket, and send a telepathic signal to the eastern sky.
"'John' sounds like a good name! John… John! Also, that's Mister Stupid Samurai to you, you rascal." said Samoyed Mask α.
"What?!" Detective Wanwan turned around, an astonished expression on his face (note: he is still wearing his sunglasses). He was just about to leave the library, having put the PPSh-41s back into his sleeves, turned his back towards Samoyed Mask α's prone form, and having meticulously fixed the door he had kicked open.
"Maybe 'John' isn't such a good idea? Then how about--"
"How did you survive that…?"
Detective Wanwan's confusion was well-founded. The carpet in front of the counter was stained crimson, and what seemed to be disgustingly pinkish body tissue was scattered over the floor. Not only that, Samoyed Mask α was covered in red from head to chest. Of course, even his cape.
Samoyed Mask α stood up. A single drop of red liquid ran down his chin.
"Well now, Detective Wanwan. Do you know of a vegetable called the tomato? It is known by some to be a fruit. As a side note, it is pronounced 'tomato' in some parts of the world, with a long A sound. Just as they say that 'A tomato a day keeps the doctor away', it is full of essential nutrients for a healthy lifestyle. The soluble fibre known as pectin not only helps prevent constipation, but it may also assist in preventing diabetes."
"It can't be… you mean that these red things are tomatoes…?"
"That is correct. The instant you shot me, I turned my body into a tomato."
Quit joking around. Not even a pervert like you can do something like that.
"I'm sorry. What I actually did was block each individual shot with a small tomato I produced from my pocket. It is nothing amazing once you've learned the trick."
No. It's quite amazing.
Even Detective Wanwan was at a loss for words. As a side note, he had mercilessly pumped Samoyed Mask α full of lead with all 142 bullets.
As Detective Wanwan stood there in shock, Samoyed Mask α began to clean himself up. He produced a silken handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his tomato-stained cape and uniform clean. He was soon back to his pristine white self.
His teeth sparkled under the white mask.
"Judging from everything you've said so far, it seems you know me well, Detective Wanwan. And you also despise me."
Detective Wanwan, who had finally regained his cool, nodded quietly.
"Unfortunately, it seems you are under the wrong impression. I am not the man you hate."
"How do you know that?"
"It is because…"
"It is because my transformation is so perfect that no one could ever figure out my true identity!"
"What I mean to say is-- I merely bear a coincidental resemblance to the man you hate. Today doesn't seem to be my lucky day, being nearly murdered for such a trivial reason."
"… Looks like talking isn't going to get us anywhere. May I continue pursuing my goal?" asked Detective Wanwan.
"As a man who loves justice, I cannot say I enjoy being involved in a battle to the death because of a case of mistaken identity--but I suppose I have no choice." Samoyed Mask α replied, preparing his katana.
Detective Wanwan wordlessly waved his arms. In his hands appeared a pair of P90s, the same gun that Kino had used earlier--these didn't have silencers, however.
There were about 5 metres between the two opponents in this ruined library.
"Round two, is it? Now that I am out of tomatoes, it seems I will have to use my katana." Samoyed Mask α said merrily.
"This is the final round. You will now learn that anyone who wastes food will not die a peaceful death." Detective Wanwan corrected Samoyed Mask α.
"All right then, gun-wielding fist-style user. I hope you can at least keep me entertained."
"Of course. The lovely lady's waiting, so I hope you'll take this entertaining memory with you to hell."
Samoyed Mask α and Detective Wanwan drew/aimed at nearly the same time.
Kino and Hermes emerged from the stairwell and into the sunlight.
Just as Kino said, the 5-metre tall demon stood there as if it had been waiting for her.
Kino immediately braked. The rear wheel rotated to the side and brought Hermes to a skidding stop. Kino pointed at the demon with her right hand.
"I've found you! Stand down and receive your punishment!"
"Were you watching an historical drama last night?" Hermes asked quietly.
The demon roared and thrust forth its arms, as if it had been waiting for this moment. It was burning with determination.
"Do your worst, Devour-ette!" Hermes spoke on behalf of the demon. Kino punched Hermes's fuel tank.
Kino opened one of her pouches and took out a Spanish-made M87. It was a large automatic pistol, weighing over a kilogram. She didn't have a specific reason for choosing this gun--it just happened to be at the top of the pouch.
"Let's do this, Hermes!"
Kino took the gun in her left hand, hit the gas with her right, and stepped down on the gear lever with her left foot. The rear wheel spun on the spot for a moment, but it propelled Hermes forward in an instant.
"Grrrrrowwr!" The monster roared.
The battle had begun on this rather cramped rooftop.
Meanwhile, on the other end--
The battle between the perverted samurai and the embarrassingly-named boy in black had continued in a different location. At the moment, they were in the midst of messily scattered desks in the large, cluttered faculty office.
In the library, immediately after the battle had begun, Samoyed Mask α blocked a barrage of shots from Detective Wanwan's P90 with his katana. Detective Wanwan began stepping back while firing. Then his back hit the door he had just repaired.
"There's nowhere to run!"
Samoyed Mask tried for a horizontal slash. However, this was exactly what Detective Wanwan had been aiming for. Detective Wanwan launched himself into the air with ease, evaded the slash, and landed a kick to Samoyed Mask α's face with both his feet. He propelled himself from the attack and tackled the newly-repaired door with his small frame.
"And I worked so hard to repair it, too…" Detective Wanwan muttered, as he threw himself into the hallway. He rolled and came to a controlled landing, got up, and fled down the stairs to buy himself some time.
"Hmph. Not too shabby." Samoyed Mask α mumbled. He began chasing after Detective Wanwan. His nose was bleeding comically.
Having relocated to the faculty office, Detective Wanwan took out a pair of Beretta M12 submachine guns from his sleeves. He took a seat with his back to the desk of Nishizaki-sensei, the math teacher. For reference, here's some info on the M12. Full length: approx. 40cm. Machine gun, 40 9mm rounds. There is a grip near the front for ease of use, but Detective Wanwan doesn't use it.
A shadow passed over the windows between the office and the hallway.
"Found you! Ready or not, here I come!" said the shadow, as if playing a game of tag. With a whoosh and a swoosh, the door fell to pieces (nine of them, to be specific) and Samoyed Mask α entered the faculty office. Why couldn't you just open the door, like a normal person?
Detective Wanwan rose to boldly face his foe.
"To think, this faculty office would be the end of the line." Samoyed Mask α said a vaguely familiar line (5).
"This isn't a faculty office--this is a grave. A grave for both of us--is what I might say, but sorry. You're on your own." Detective Wanwan was playing along surprisingly well. However, the way these lines went, Samoyed Mask α would be the villain. Well, that doesn't really matter.
Samoyed Mask α raised his katana in the attack position.
"Do your worst."
Detective Wanwan crossed the Berettas in front of his face.
The battle began in the following instant.
Let's see here… Since they're in the faculty office, test papers were sent flying, half-empty coffee mugs were shattered by bullets, and photographs of previous principals were destroyed in the battle, but…
"How about this?!" (Samoyed Mask α)
"That's not going to work!" (Detective Wanwan)
Bang! Bang! Whoosh!
Hey. You guys are moving too fast for me to describe anything properly. Slow down a bit.
"Is that all you've got?" (Samoyed Mask α)
"From the left, huh?!" (Detective Wanwan)
I said, slow down! Let's see… the guy that talked just now was Samoyed Mask α? I thought I saw the katana flash… Detective Wanwan blocked with the Beretta in his right hand--or is it his left? He blocked with the left… Argh, hold it, Samoyed Mask α! You're still going too fast!
"Take this!" (Samoyed Mask α)
"Haah!" (Detective Wanwan)
Clang! Clang! Swoosh! Ratatatat!
Then… dammit, screw this. Samoyed Mask α and Detective Wanwan were moving too fast for the eye to follow. The cluttered faculty office became even messier. The walls were destroyed by a hailstorm of bullets.
"Now, see here! I need you to describe my actions in proper detail!" (Samoyed Mask α)
"Mine too!" (Detective Wanwan)
You're both too fast. Maybe I'll get some description done if you would slow down.
"There are no brakes for true battles. You are a truly lousy author." (Samoyed Mask α)
"I agree." (Detective Wanwan)
Shut your mouths, both of you! The narration doesn't just include actions--it includes descriptions of your psychological state! In other words, your thoughts and actions are all under my control!
"Who cares?" (Samoyed Mask α)
"A third-rate author like you doesn't have any right to complain." (Detective Wanwan)
"What do you say to getting rid of him first?" (Samoyed Mask α)
"Sounds like a good idea. We don't need narration." (Detective Wanwan)
What did you just say?! Did you just insult the power of narration? You're going to turn against your own author?!
Fine, then! Bring it on! They say that "The pen is mightier than the sword"! I'll show you that fictional characters are nothing without the power of the author at the computer! A single keystroke and I'll have defeated you both!
What's going on? I can't see anything.
Huh…? I don't--
"Well now, Detective Wanwan. Now that we've taken care of the unexpected intruder, shall we return to our bloody duel to the death?
I, Samoyed Mask α, lightly shook off the blood from the katana that had slain the author, and faced Detective Wanwan, my mortal enemy. It has been a long time since I have faced such a powerful foe, but of course, I could never lose."
"Let's continue this fight.
I, Detective Wanwan, threw aside the Berettas that had shot the author and produced from my sleeves a pair of Bullpup Bushmaster submachine guns. My foe deflects bullets with his katana, so I had no choice but to utilize the 5.56mm SCHV (Small Caliber/High Velocity) and its extreme speed."
"En garde! Haaaaaah!
With a sharp cry, I jumped over Goto-sensei's desk. Goto-sensei is a middle-aged history teacher. I chose his desk because it is relatively well-organized, as per his scrupulous personality. In other words, his desk is a perfect stepping stone. If you can't deduce all this within a moment's notice, it's best you never fight in a faculty office. I used my momentum as I fell to make a diagonal slash from Detective Wanwan's left. How will he counter?"
"From the left!
As soon as I deduced the direction and method of his attack, I ran through the statistical probabilities in my mind and figured out the approximate attack pattern. If I were to remain still, the sword would cleave me from my left shoulder all the way down to my right side. I moved without wasting a single millimetre's worth of energy. My feet were fixed to the spot. I put 70% of my weight on my right foot and prepared to relax it at any moment. I raised my left arm parallel to the ground, opened my arm 140 degrees, and bent my wrist at a 20 degree angle. Now I was in position to block the katana with the Bushmaster's main body, its most sturdy part. As Samoyed Mask α is physically larger than I, he would try to knock me off my feet immediately. Then I would quickly relax my right foot and syphon all the impact away from myself and throw Samoyed Mask α off-balance, giving me a 0.002 second opening. His next view will likely be down the barrel of the Bushmaster in my right hand, 12 centimetres from his face, and a flash of light."
"Not bad, Detective Wanwan.
The moment I saw the sparks from the katana's impact against the gun, I realized that my attack had failed. Detective Wanwan had read the arc of my blade perfectly and prepared a counterattack. There was no need to continue with my plan when it had already failed--I put all my strength into the katana, but not in order to throw Detective Wanwan off his feet. A man of his skill level would have no trouble seeing through such an attack. A duel is also a battle of wits--one must see through the foe's lies and pierce the truth. I had put all my power into the blade in order to use the momentum from his block to rotate my body."
"I knew it! The impact on my left arm proved that my theory was correct. Soon my enemy would be bound for the great beyond. However, just as I was about to relax my right foot, I heard the faint sound of Samoyed Mask α's cape fluttering. Why? Such a thing could never happen if he had been planning to knock me down. I see--I put my weight on my right foot again. If I broke formation now, it would be all over!"
"Hahahaha! The fantastic dance of the elegant white knight. Oh, Samoyed Mask α roams the faculty office with his phenomenal athletic skills. How marvellous! The fluttering cape is like the wings of a swan. He is a hero~ A true hero~ A bright-white comet that defends the school~ I began to sing my second theme song without even realizing it. It was unfortunate that I didn't have a cassette player for the instrumentals. It seems I will be raiding the choir room next time. Of course, first I have to defeat Detective Wanwan. Here's my next attack. Hyah!"
"Ugh--is this some sort of psychological attack? Samoyed Mask, who had sung an odd song with his amazing singing voice and jumped over me, rotated himself forward and used the momentum to slash with his sword. The blade was slicing up from the floor. If I had aimed the Bushmaster in my right towards the left as I had originally planned, my right arm would have been severed. Clang! *Sparks* This time, I felt an impact on my right arm."
(Note: From this point on, Amesawa Megumihajime will be taking over in place of Sigsawa Keiichi, who was taken out by Samoyed Mask α and Detective Wanwan.)
Samoyed Mask α, who had swung after spinning thrice in midair, left Goto-sensei's desk and landed on Mr. Baker's desk in another row. The picture frame with a photograph of his smiling wife and baby was broken to bits. As a side note, Mr. Baker was the English Speaking Class teacher from Missouri, recognizable by his golden beard.
Samoyed Mask α turned to Detective Wanwan and lowered his katana to guard against gunfire.
It was not a bullet, however, that flew at Samoyed Mask α, but words. Detective Wanwan had lowered both his hands and was glaring at Samoyed Mask α from under his sunglasses.
"You have so much strength, yet…"
"What is this, Detective Wanwan? Praising me now won't make me go easier on you."
Detective Wanwan shook his head many times, as if he couldn't understand.
"Stop running away!" Kino shouted as she drove Hermes and fired the M87 with her left hand. The demon, despite being peppered with gunfire, turned away and ran across the rooftop. It then ran behind the rectangular structure that housed the stairwell.
"You're not getting away!" Kino yelled, and gave chase. Just as she and Hermes made it to the back of the structure--
The demon's gigantic hand appeared before her.
Poor Kino ran herself into the demon's arm and was knocked away. Hermes, having lost his rider, kept going until he crashed into a wooden fence. A mirror and the blinker shattered.
"This isn't good… Kino, why do you always have to act without thinking?"
The demon raised its elephantine leg in order to stomp on Kino.
"Ack!" Kino rolled away just in time to avoid being turned into a pancake. However--
The demon took hold of Kino's feet and held her upside-down in the air. Kino tossed aside the M87 and desperately grabbed at her skirt, trying to keep it up.
The demon snarled as it stepped forward. In front of it was the fence. Beyond the fence was nothing--about 20 metres below the fence was the deserted track field.
"Huh? Wait a sec. Is this…?" Kino was now starting to worry.
"Looks like trouble." Hermes grumbled quietly.
The faculty office.
Loud gunshots rang out as Detective Wanwan fired the Bushmasters he was holding. He was aiming with his arm held straight, right towards Samoyed Mask α, who was standing on a desk about 5 metres away. He fired on automatic.
However, Samoyed Mask α deflected each and every shot. "I've said this before, but guns don't work on me as I can read the movements of your hands and your aim. Actually, guns are inefficient weapons. These tiny bullets can only travel in linear directions with a small diameter of effect. It only attacks in a two-dimensional line in this three-dimensional space. It's truly a cumbersome weapon."
Detective Wanwan was out of ammo.
"Ugh!" He angrily grit his teeth and tossed aside the Bushmasters. the guns fell to the shell casing-covered ground with a heavy thud.
"Hmph. So now you plan to waste more bullets?" Samoyed Mask α taunted. Detective Wanwan had drawn from his sleeve a Glock G26 semiautomatic. It was a gun small enough to hide under a coat, and could shoot 10 9mm rounds.
"Oh? Is that all you have left? What use is such a weapon when you couldn't even defeat me with a machine gun? Of course, I couldn't be felled even by the most powerful of guns. Hahaha! I shall dodge each and every bullet!" said Samoyed Mask α. Surprisingly, he sheathed his sword and jumped off the desktop.
"Well now, Detective Wanwan. Now do you understand that you could never defeat me? You were quite the opponent, I must admit. Now, give up trying to avenge yourself upon an innocent man and let us go cheer on Mysterious Kino together." said Samoyed Mask α as he approached Detective Wanwan.
This was, of course, a ploy to get into slashing range of the enemy before he could be shot at.
"This time, I'll finish you…"
Detective Wanwan lowered his Glock G26 and purposefully waited for his enemy to approach him. He knew full well that Samoyed Mask α would draw as soon as he took aim.
"I only have one chance…" Detective Wanwan's lips barely moved.
Samoyed Mask α walked along the rows of desks, one step at a time.
There were now 3 metres between them.
This heated battle would soon come to a conclusion.
Detective Wanwan was already within Samoyed Mask α's attack range. However, he didn't even twitch when Samoyed Mask α prepared to draw. And--
Detective Wanwan suddenly yelled. His gaze was fixed, not at Samoyed Mask α, but at the window on his right.
"Mysterious Bishoujo Gun Fighter Rider Kino is falling with her panties showing!"
Samoyed Mask α turned to the window. He saw nothing but the clear summer sky.
"Where?! Where?! I didn't see! Did she really?!"
When Samoyed Mask α turned to face his opponent again, he was staring down the barrel of the Glock G26. There were three centimetres between the Glock G26 in Detective Wanwan's outstretched arm and Samoyed Mask α.
Detective Wanwan asked Samoyed Mask α, gun still aimed at his face, "Do you see this?"
"Well… yes. I see it very clearly. Even the bullet inside the barrel." Samoyed Mask α replied.
And Detective Wanwan--
Pulled the trigger.
The two gunshots that rang out near-simultaneously blended into one loud noise.
Samoyed Mask α fell to the ground in slow motion and landed on his back. The scattered test papers were tossed into the air. Several of them fell on his face and slowly turned red.
"I've done it…" Detective Wanwan muttered. He wasn't smiling.
Detective Wanwan put the Glock G26 back in his sleeve and walked away. He left the faculty office, stepping on the shell casings he had sprayed.
The sound of a dove's wingbeats.
After Detective Wanwan had left, a single dove flew into the dead-still faculty office.
The dove circled the messy desks a couple of times, and descended upon the chest of the white-caped man lying on the floor.
Peck. Peck. Peck.
The dove pecked at the man's chest several times, then took hold of the test paper over his face with its beak. The test was marked 34%. When the dove moved its head slightly, the crimson-stained test paper fell to the right side of the man's head.
From under the paper was revealed a bloodied face. The sunglasses over the white mask had been shattered. There were a pair of red holes.
An eye opened from the hole. The red eyelids spread apart to reveal black and white eyes.
The man slowly raised his head. There were very light wounds over his eyelids, each only about 3 millimetres in size. The cuts were bleeding very slightly. The tomato that was between the mask and his forehead had been brutalized.
The man's soft eyes looked up at the dove on his chest. The dove stared back with its round eyes.
I thought you asked us to name the dove! It already has a name! And it wasn't even 'John'!
The dove called Carl flew into the air. The man sat up, took out a white handkerchief from his pocket, and wiped his face.
"If it weren't for this mask, I wouldn't be alive…"
The man who muttered this while wiping his face was--! he was--!
What a shock! He was Shizu! He was the Shizu-senpai!
Unbelievable! This is truly out of left field! All along, Samoyed Mask α had been Shizu-senpai!
What a twist! This was completely unexpected! No reader could have ever guessed!
Not even I, Amesawa, was told about any of this from Sigsawa!
Oh, this is truly a shock!
To think Samoyed Mask α was Shizu-senpai! I'm looking forward to seeing how this will work out!
Now all that's left is the identity of Detective Wanwan. I honestly haven't the slightest clue.
"Aaaaahhhhhhh!" Kino's scream spun around the rooftop. Actually, it was Kino herself who was spinning. The demon had taken her by the feet and was spinning her around like a rag doll.
"Ugh… the blood's rushing to my head…"
Thanks to centrifugal forces, Kino was on the verge of a red-out.
"What am I supposed to do…?!" Kino complained. She considered getting out a gun from her pouch, but decided against it since the bullets might come flying into her face.
"Kyaaaaa! Someone help me! I'll buy you melon bread if you help!" Kino screamed. The rotations became faster and faster. If the demon were to throw her now, she might get close to approaching the stars.
Whoosh! The demon let go.
"Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!" Kino flew into the air.
"Kino!" Hermes shouted.
"Haaah!" A black shadow also flew into the air. It had come out from the stairwell, and leapt gracefully to catch Kino in midair before she fell from the edge of the rooftop.
Kino was shocked to see the one who had saved her. He was wearing sunglasses, had white hair, and was dressed in black.
It was Detective Wanwan. He jumped over the demon and landed on the floor on the other end of the rooftop, and gently let Kino down.
"W-what is it?" Detective Wanwan asked, surprised that Kino was looking directly at him. He almost looked like he was embarrassed.
"Thanks! You stopped Samoyed Mask α, and you rescued me! You're so reliable! Oh right! I'll buy you melon bread later! I promise!"
Looking at the energetic Kino, Detective Wanwan had a conflicted look on his face.
"There's no need to thank me. You should seal away that demon quickly." said Detective Wanwan. He looked back at the demon that was coming their way.
"Got it!" said Kino, as she drew Big Cannon from its holster.
"Dammit! Why are you the only one?!" the demon yelled at Kino in a human voice.
"The only one of what?!" Kino asked back, taking aim with Big Cannon.
"Why are you the only one that they like?!"
"Because she's the main character." said the still-collapsed Hermes, but no one could hear him.
"How should I know?!" Kino yelled.
"I can't forgive you!"
It appeared as if the demon that was approaching them was gradually shrinking. Actually, it was shrinking. It went from five metres to four, then down to three. It began to resemble a normal girl in a sailor uniform.
"She's regained her sense of self." Hermes muttered to himself. Then he added, "w-wait! How did that girl know that Kino was Mysterious Bishoujo Gun Fighter Rider Kino? This is weird…"
Of course, no one heard Hermes' voice.
"What do I even need to be forgiven for?! I'm turning you back to normal right now!"
"I won't let that happen! I hate you!"
The demon came closer. It now had the appearance of a normal high school student. She still had a terrifying look on her face, though. The bell on the cell phone at her side rattled.
"Should I take care of her?" Detective Wanwan asked calmly.
"No, it's all right." Kino replied.
"You're showing me sympathy? Don't you even try! I'm going to kill you!" The girl replied to Kino.
"That doesn't matter! I'm still turning you back!"
Hearing Kino's resolute declaration, Detective Wanwan silently looked at Kino from beside her.
"Why? Why do you insist on fighting so desperately?" He wondered.
"Don't tell me you're one of those friendship freaks!" said the girl as she approached Kino. Kino had a sheepish look on her face.
"Well, kind of… but my real priority is…"
"Your real priority?"
"My real priority's curry udon. If you get killed, I can't eat guilt-free, right?"
How can anyone say something like that with a straight face? A strange silence came over the rooftop.
The girl came to a stop right in front of Big Cannon. Her face was no longer contorted with rage, but a bitter sort of smile graced her lips.
"Haha! I can't even hate you and your outrageous appetite."
Kino pulled the trigger.
The students and teachers returned to the school once the crisis had finally passed.
With the frequency of these attacks, people got used to them. Teachers and students alike began cleaning up, mumbling, "Everything's a mess again".
A lone girl lay collapsed on the rooftop. Rather, she was lying on the roof, looking up at the sky.
She looked sort of angry for a moment, but her frown had given way to a laugh.
She slowly got up and disappeared into the stairwell. The sound of the rattling bell followed her down.
Lunch period was almost over.
An old man was sitting at the cafeteria store.
A female student ran over to him. She had a model gun holstered on her right side. For reference, there is only one girl at this school who carries around a model gun. One person is more than enough.
"Hello there Kino. You're running late today."
"I had some stuff to take care of. Anyway, do you have curry udon today? Do you have any left?" Kino asked, despite her suspicion that they would have been sold out. The old man's reply came, then, as a pleasant surprise.
"It's your lucky day today. Looks like we have one bowl left."
"Yeah!" Kino struck a victory pose. This wasn't too unusual. However, the moment she took out her wallet--
"One curry udon, please."
"Curry udon, please!"
Of course, Kino neither asked for nor wanted two bowls.
Kino turned around, surprised.
Behind her was Inuyama Wanwan Rikutarou, a refreshing grin plastered across his face.
"I thought you might be at the cafeteria, Kino."
Kino ignored him and looked at the old man. However, the old man hesitated.
"Well… We've only got one left for today. Why don't you two decide for yourselves who gets it?"
"Me! I got here first!"
"I disagree. I was slightly quicker to order."
"What?!" Kino turned around and berated Inuyama. "Whatever happened to Ladies First?!"
"There are some things in a man's life that he can never yield, even to a lady." Inuyama replied cooly to Kino's attack.
"Argh…" The moment Kino began pouting, however--
"Curry udon, please."
Another voice joined them. It was clear voice. A breeze, rest omitted. A dove, rest omitted.
"Huh? Shizu-senpai?" Kino called him by name.
"What?!" Inuyama turned around, hair swishing. Shizu stood before them with a calm expression on his face.
"How…" Inuyama found himself muttering, and ground his teeth.
"Hello Kino, Inuyama. I also had some business to care of, so I'm here for a late lunch. I'm quite surprised that they still have curry udon left. Sir, I would like to have the curry udon."
"But…" The old man was in a difficult situation. He then turned the decision over to the trio, refusing to take sides.
"I got here first! Therefore, I get it, end of story."
"I ordered first."
"I am a man who has dedicated his heart to the sword."
None of the three were showing any signs of backing out. Kino, who was particularly incensed because of her empty stomach, was being much more stubborn than usual.
By this point, Hermes was dumbfounded.
"It seems this conflict is becoming unnecessarily antagonistic." said Shizu.
"I agree. However, I wish to try this curry udon that the one I like loves so much." said Inuyama. Kino sighed.
"I don't want to give up, either, but we shouldn't fight over something like this."
The men nodded. Kino made a suggestion.
"How about rock-paper-scissors?"
"I understand. No sore losers."
"Seems like a good idea."
Inuyama and Shizu held out their right hands. Kino spoke first.
"All right! Rock, paper…"
Instead of saying "scissors", however, Kino quickly turned to the old man, handed him a 500 yen coin, and ordered.
"Curry udon, please!"
Hermes muttered something about Kino not playing fair.
Inuyama, who had played rock, and Shizu, who had played paper, both had incredulous looks on their faces.
The old man was won over by Kino's actions and handed her the change and the meal ticket.
"…Hahaha…" Inuyama began laughing.
"… Ahaha…" Shizu laughed loudly, following Inuyama. Inuyama silently stared at him.
"Senpai. Let's postpone our fight… for now."
Shizu returned Inuyama's gaze.
"Yes. We'll put an end to this someday."
"Thanks for the meal!"
Kino clasped her hands, holding her chopsticks. In front of her was an aromatic bowl of curry udon. Chicken, green onions, and ginger were clearly visible through the steam.
"Thanks for the meal."
To Kino's right was Shizu, with a bowl of hashed beef with rice and a spoon.
"Thanks for the meal."
To Kino's left was Inuyama, with a bowl of miso ramen.
The student cafeteria was relatively deserted, but a few stragglers were still there.
"Look at that girl. She's sitting between Shizu-senpai and the cute transfer student!"
"Who is she?"
"I'm so jealous…"
The students' sights were focused on Kino. Their murmurs spread through the cafeteria.
However, none of this bothered Kino one bit right now.
She energetically dug into her curry udon.
"Life is great."
Many suspicious things happened at once. The demon's knowledge of Kino, and the new transfer student Inuyama--these were the kind of things on Hermes' mind as Kino continued to eat her curry udon. However--
"Life is great."
Hermes knew that none of this would get through to Kino at this particular point in time.
Something terrible may happen soon.
The battles would only become harder.
Hermes was lost in thought.
To be continued!
Continued in Colour Page Short Stories.
Continued in Colour Page Short Stories.
(1)This is likely a gag involving the original Japanese characters for "Quiet in the Library".
(2)The original kanji is 銃七乘拳法: I took some liberties with translating this name.
(3)The kanji 聖徳太子(Prince Shotoku) and 将禿対死 are homonyms. The latter phrase likely means exactly what Samoyed Mask α claims it means.
(4)Kureirikugan(久禮離駆願) is a homonym for the Japanese pronunciation of 'cleric gun'.
(5)I have no idea what this line references. Any ideas?