Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Gakuen Kino Chapter Three Part Two

Chapter 3 is complete! This also marks the end of Volume 1. I still haven't translated the author's notes (an extremely daunting task), but I think I'll leave those to when I have some extra time. Next week's update will hopefully start Volume 2.

-----

"Beep beep! Beep beep! Beep beep!"

"Mm… Huh? Wha-?"

"Beep beep- Oh! Kino, you're finally awake!"

Kino, awakened by Hermes' loud beeping, found herself in a dark barn. There were no livestock, however. Deserted stalls lined the walls.

"Huh? Where am I?"

Kino had yet to figure out her current situation. She turned her sleepy face to the side and saw a rusted cart used to transport feed. Above her was a broken window which let the rain into the barn. Its frame shook violently in the winds. Kino sat alone against the wall.

"This is an abandoned barn in a nearby farm! Kino, you've been kidnapped by a demon!" said Hermes. Kino, however, considered it a trifling matter.

"I thought the demons were taking root in my school. Why would one be all the way over here?"

Just as Kino was about to get up, however--

"Huh? What's this?"

She realized that her hands and feet were bound with thick ropes. Hermes, her holster, and the belt with pouches were hanging high up in the barn. Hermes' voice traveled down from above.

"What'd I tell you? You believe me now, Kino?"

"Yeah- argh!"

Kino struggled, but the ropes were too thick. Her hands and feet were completely immobilized. Hermes explained what had happened just after she had taken the drink. The unconscious Kino had been transported here on a small pickup truck.

"You mean that milk delivery lady?"

"Yep. Judging from how she could lift you with one hand, I'd say she's fallen for the temptation of evil. I don't know what they tempted her with, but looks like you're the target again, Kino."

"What? Now they're even dragging in people who have nothing to do with me! This is unforgivable!"

Kino burned with heroic rage. You know Kino, you're the reason for all this happening.

"What are you going to do? The demon's gone off somewhere."

"Isn't it obvious? I'm going to escape like a hero, transform, and show that demon who's boss! Let's seal it away!"

"Good luck with that."

Hermes, who didn't do anything he could, was quite cold. Kino briefly fell into thought. She tried to bite her way through the ropes, but all she did was end up chewing on grass. She tried twisting her wrists and ankles, but it was no use. She put too much force in her leg and ended up pulling a muscle.

"This isn't going to work… Hermes, I have a Type-38 Rifle with a bayonet in my pouch. Can you get it for me?"

"Let's try to stay in the realm of possibility."

"You're useless! I don't remember raising you to be like this!"

Some things were difficult, no matter how much Kino tried. She did everything she could think of, until her face went red. The ropes didn't budge.

"pant… pant…"

Kino was breathing heavily.

"Are you okay, Kino?" Hermes asked with worry in his voice.

"This is nothing…"

Some things were impossible, no matter how much Kino tried. She was all alone in the barn, in the middle of a typhoon.

"Dammit… if I had my guns… if I could just transform…"

The moment Kino began cursing her own weakness--

"Dammit… I'm hungry."

Whoosh!

there was the sound of a blade cutting through the wind, and the thick barn doors fell to pieces. The grey skies peeked out from the doorway, along with a certain man holding a sword.

"Shi-Shizu-senpai!"

"Are you all right, Kino?" Shizu sheathed his katana, completely drenched. His wet hair was sexy, and his cool eyes were dandy.

"Shizu-senpai! You came to rescue me! Thank you!"

Kino was truly overwhelmed by thankfulness.

"You're welcome!" Inuyama replied, poking his head out from the side with a grin. He ran over to Kino, who frowned.

"I'm not thanking you." (Question 3: Translate this sentence into German.)

"I'm the one who figured out where you were, Kino." Inuyama untied Kino with a smile on his face. Kino asked him how he found her.

"I wonder… maybe it's the power of love?" he answered.

Kino turned away from him, appalled. Inuyama knew better than to tell her that he had followed her scent, and that he had attempted to snatch her underwear from the washing machine with that excuse and was almost stabbed to death by Shizu.

Kino, finally free, climbed up the cages, retrieved her belt, and put it around her waist.

"I thought you might be hungry."

Shizu handed Kino a plastic bag. Inside were four rice balls and a small bottle of green tea. It was the lunch Shizu had brought from home.

Kino's eyes sparkled. She devoured the lunch in less than five seconds. Shizu spoke once she had finished eating.

"The kidnapper sent a ransom note to your house. Let's go back. I'm sure your grandmother must be worried."

Kino bowed her head, apologized for worrying them and thanked him for saving her. Inuyama asked, "What about me?"

"I'll forgive you for trespassing into our house."

That was kind of mean.

Inuyama shrugged, water dripping from his shoulders. Immediately afterwards--

"Oh!"

He let out a cry, as if he had noticed something. Shizu and Kino did as well. The trio put their backs to each other without speaking a word and put themselves on high alert. Shizu reached for his katana and spoke.

"Can you sense it? Something is coming this way."

"Yes. I can smell a large number of monsters. They are slowly surrounding this location."

"Argh… out of the fire and into the frying pan." said Shizu, Inuyama, and Kino respectively. Monsters were the strange creatures under the control of demons. They're annoying things that use their numbers to their advantage.

Kino was thankful to the two for saving her, but right now they were just hindrances because she needed to transform. But she couldn't just tell them to leave, after all they'd done.

Shizu made the first move. He glanced at the unarmed Inuyama and Kino.

"I'll take care of this. You two get to a safe location." he said heroically, drawing his sword. He ran outside before anyone could reply. Kino couldn't waste this perfect opportunity.

"All right. We should get away too!"

"I understand. A lovers' elopement?"

"Start running on the count of 3, okay?"

"Okay! The run of love! I'm ready!"

"One, two, three!"

"Go!"

Kino and Inuyama ran for the back door.

Never mind. Kino pretended to run for the back door, but stopped and tripped Inuyama.

"Oh my god--!"

Inuyama, who immediately lost his footing, rolled all the way out of the barn.

When the sound of his rolling stopped, Kino heard the roaring of monsters and the sound of Inuyama being beaten to a pulp.

"Phew. I'm finally alone."

Kino smiled with the intensity of a thousand suns. She was a terrible hero--don't try this at home, kids.

"Good job, Kino. All right! Now you can transform and save them! You can tell the PTA that what you did just now was all planned so that you could save Inuyama at the end!"

"Got it!"

Kino drew the model gun from the holster. It was time to play the transformation sequence. Of course, the animation is recycled. This would use up a few seconds of screen time.

Kino raised her right arm high into the air, released the hammer with her thumb, and pulled the trigger.

"From my cold! Dead! Hands!"

The sound of the igniting primer was swallowed by the sound of the typhoon.

Kino's body was covered in a bright light. Her spinning form was shown from a low-angle shot. The fact that she was naked didn't matter because it was all in silhouette.

"Transformation complete! Fight as much as you eat, Mysterious Bishoujo Gun Fighter Rider Kino!"

Emerging from the blinding light was a girl in a sailor uniform. The Warrior of Justice, clad in a sailor suit and belt with pouches, had arrived.

"Hmph!"

Kino sneered and holstered her legendary Persuader, the Big Cannon~Shining Iron Demon Destroyer. It was a real revolver that could one-shot any demon.

"It's not time to use this yet."

That was because it was a weapon she could only use once per transformation.

Kino opened one of her pouches and took out a Sterling submachine gun. It had a cylindrical frame about 50 centimetres in length. The grip stuck out from the bottom and a long magazine stuck out of its left side. There was supposed to be a metal folding stock, but it had been removed.

Kino pulled the cocking handle and pulled away her hands. Because it was an open bolt gun, it would be ready to fire when the bolt had fully moved forward. Ammunition was visible through the opening that ejected shell casings.

"All right. First I'll save Inuyama…"

"Yeah. The katana man should be fine on his own for now."

Kino and Hermes headed into the typhoon that Inuyama had disappeared into.

"But there's one good thing about this fight."

"Really? What is it, Kino?"

"Pervert Mask won't get in my way this time. There's no way he'd come all the way to Hokkaido to bother me, right? I can fight without any distractions this time." Kino said happily. Hermes, however, remained silent.

It was still early afternoon, but it was very dark outside the barn. The rain falling sideways drenched Kino's hair in an instant. A Warrior of Justice never uses an umbrella.

"Hey, whitey! You there?"

The back of the barn was overrun with weeds. Kino carefully aimed the Sterling and turned from the left to the right. There was no one around, however.

"You think he's been eaten already?"

"Something's strange, Kino. Look below you."

Below? Kino crouched down on the ground. There were strange marks on the ground. It wasn't clearly visible because of all the grass, but wet ashes were piled up on the ground--they were what remained of monsters. Something else was scattered across the ground--an innumerable number of gold-coloured shell casings.

"Hmm…"

Kino picked up one of the casings. It was from a 9mm handgun. It smelt faintly of gunpowder. Of course, Kino had yet to fire a single shot.

"Hmm…"

Kino tossed away the shell casing and looked up into the sky. Her frown wasn't just because of the pouring rain.

All Kino saw was a rainy sky.

-----

"Hmph."

A smile appeared on a face covered by sunglasses.

A boy was looking down at Kino from atop a storage shed beside the barn. He wore black boots, black pants, a black trenchcoat, and black gloves. The mysterious white-haired boy dressed in black went completely unnoticed by Kino.

In his hands were a pair of 9mm Beretta M92Fs fitted with silencers. How many hundreds of rounds had he fired? The raindrops falling onto the barrel dissipated instantly.

-----

"This should be enough."

A drenched Shizu muttered, as he cut down his 49th and 50th monsters at once.

He was about 100 meters from the barn, at a location that was obscured from view by the typhoon and the rainstorm.

What could he have meant by what he had just said? Shizu was still surrounded by hundreds of monsters. The monsters were 2 meters tall and looked like bears. They walked on their hind legs and had thick arms and claws. Their gaping maws looked extremely powerful.

Despite being surrounded by monsters, Shizu sheathed his katana. Seeing this, the monsters approached him with fangs bared. This was a dangerous situation. If they were to attack at once, Shizu would be torn to shreds.

Shizu put his right hand over his face and tossed his hair elegantly.

Don't tell me-- are you planning to do that, Shizu?

"I am."

I knew it.

"I owe it to the readers to give them something to look at."

So you're planning a striptease? You're trying to generate fanservice? Of course, I take it you're transforming into Samoyed Mask.

"…a foolish author will only make his characters suffer."

What?!

"Pay it no mind. Here I go! My transformation! Transform!" Shizu shouted, spreading his arms.

"Haaaah!"

He then clapped his hands, still surrounded by the swarming monsters.

A shining light! Glowing as brightly as a pearl! Piercing through the darkness! The blinding, sacred radiance!

None of the above occurred.

"One, two…"

Shizu began taking off his uniform. He unbuttoned the top, removed his wet jacket and shirt, and even took off the wrinkled T-shirt underneath. His well-toned upper body was exposed to the world.

"One, two…"

He then proceeded to take off his shoes and socks. He removed the katana from his belt and took off his pants. Oh my! He's even taken off his underwear. His well-toned rest omitted.

"Hmph. A peek is all you get."

A peek? You're stark naked. This is indecent exposure.

"No, it is a transformation. I will accept no complaints."

I don't know much about law, but shouldn't this constitute as a crime?

"Open your eyes. I am only committing the crime of 'Preparing to gather weaponry'."

Shut up.

The naked man standing in the rain began to dig into the ground with a shovel. Where'd he get the shovel, anyway? About two minutes into the digging, the tip of the shovel hit something solid in the ground. Shizu quickly cleared the dirt and took out a metal box the size of a suitcase.

Neatly arranged inside the box was a white school uniform, a white silken cape, a white mask, and a bright red apple.

"It helps to be prepared."

You mean you buried this stuff all over the country?

"Yes. One per every square kilometre, approximately."

Must be tiring, being you.

"Finally, the last stage of my transformation!"

You're just getting dressed.

"Hm… Could I do this alone? Ta-tata-tatatata! Tadada-tata!"

He began to quickly get dressed in order to turn from Shizu to Samoyed Mask. I understand you putting on the mask first, but you've already put on your shirts and jacket and buttoned up all the way, and you've even put on your cape, socks and shoes. So why are you not putting on your underwear?

"This is my transformation philosophy."

More like 'perversion philosophy'.

And then--

"Haa-hahahaha! Dear father in Hell! Your son is still alive and kicking! Aha! Haah! Yoohoo!" shouted Almost Samoyed Mask, as he finally covered his lower body. He then put on his belt, zipped up, attached his katana to his belt, put the apple on his head, made an indescribable pose, and shouted.

"Complete! That's right! I am now--'The Creator of Hopes and Dreams, Samoyed Mask R'!"

Thank you for destroying our hopes and dreams.

-----

Ratatatat! Kino was firing rhythmically. Waves upon waves of monsters turned to dust and scattered into the storm.

Kino fired away with the Sterling, her back to the barn so as to avoid a surprise attack. Oh! Looks like she was out of ammo. Kino put the Sterling back into the pouch and took out another gun. It was an M60E machine gun, as seen on films like Rambo 2 and Commando. She set down the ammunitions case on the ground, held the heavy gun at her waist, and…

"Let's rock and roll!"

She fired away with reckless abandon.

"It's no use! I'm not gonna let some weakling monsters rampage through my hometown!"

Kino fought valiantly in the middle of the typhoon. However, their numbers were too much. Kino found herself being overwhelmed. Thanks to cautiously putting her back against the wall earlier, Kino was now without a means of escape.

"Damn…"

Kino was quickly running out of ammo, but the number of monsters continued to increase.

"Kino! Let's retreat for now!" Hermes shouted.

"Over my dead body! They're not getting past me!" Hermes' voice, however, did not faze Kino. Oh! It seems Kino's machine gun was out of ammo.

"Damn!"

Sweat formed on Kino's brow. Of course, it wasn't visible because of the typhoon.

"This isn't good. You're in danger, Kino." Hermes worried, but at that moment--

"It seems you may need my help!"

A man's voice.

Click! The ammo-less machine gun went quiet with this last sound. The noisy barn area was enveloped in silence. It was kind of like a transition in a movie where the screen spun away from the camera.

"This voice… It can't be…"

The most terrifying thing to Kino was not her lack of ammunition, nor was it her current state of peril. It was this familiar voice.

"When the maiden of justice finds herself in danger…"

"Hermes, this must be a dream, right? I'm still asleep in bed back home, right?" Kino asked, face pale with panic.

"You have to face reality." Hermes replied.

"A lone knight descends from the distant skies!"

A breeze. The winds were already very strong because of the typhoon, but it seems this man's line just now had made it even worse.

"…"

Kino's jaw dropped. Her machine gun fell to the ground.

"Haaaahahaha! Here I come! Hyah!"

The scene that followed was the kind of thing that could make any member of PETM(People for the Ethical Treatment of Monsters)(1) collapse, foaming at the mouth.

"Hahahaha! Hah! Die! Slash! KILL!"

The white-caped, white-masked, apple-wearing man who stepped between Kino and the monsters began mercilessly slaughtering the cute innocent monsters. In this case, the word "innocent" is spelt with the following kanji -> 純眞(2).

"The death of monsters is no concern of mine! Anything goes for justice! How delightful!"

The man in white madly cut down dozens of monsters.

"Hm? Was that it? Not even good for a warm-up." He rambled annoyingly, sheathed his improbably undamaged katana, and returned to Kino's side.

"Hello there, Mysterious Kino. I have rescued you from peril." He smiled. His teeth sparkled.

"Okaythanksforhelpingme. Now go away! I exorcise you! Move on!" Kino yelled, waving a broken branch.

"How callous, Mysterious Ki-"

"Don't call me 'Mysterious'! What are you doing here, anyway?!"

"That is an excellent question. The answer is…"

"Never mind, you don't need to tell me. I bet you'll just go off on one of your incomprehensible ramblings again and finish with 'Do you understand?'."

The katana man shook his head. He then spoke.

"In reality, I am Shizu. I am currently staying at the home of an underclassman named Kino." he said, with a smile on his lips. In the middle of a typhoon.

"…"

Kino was silent for about three seconds. Before she knew it, the waterproof cassette player between the katana man's feet was playing a touching song. The song was 'Violin Concerto for Shizu-senpai~Everything I Do, I Do for Love', a song that was not included in the soundtrack due to certain reasons.

In the midst of the harmonious serenade of violins--

"Oh…"

Kino softly looked up at the man.

"Hm."

The man also smiled faintly and looked at Kino--Fire! Bullets rained down upon his face.

"That's not funny, you lying bastard!"

Ratatatatatatatatatat! Kino pulled the trigger. She fired away on automatic with her AKM assault rifle on her shoulder. Straight towards the man's face.

Please wait a moment.

-----

"Oh, what a mess."

A man stood in the typhoon, the rain automatically washing away the tomato stains from his face. (Question 4: Explain why a tomato materialized so suddenly. Multiple choice.

A. Because Samoyed Mask can block bullets with tomatoes.
B. Because of a sudden explosion of rage from tomato farmers.
C. Because Princess Tomato lives in the Salad Kingdom.
D. Because the tomato is on a Honda VTR1000F.)

"You make one more tasteless joke, and I'll pump your face full of lead!"

Steam of rage rose from Kino's face. So what was all that soft smiling earlier?

"I'm sorry." Said the katana man as he knelt on the ground. Pieces of the cassette player were scattered over the grass beside him.

"Anyway, stay out of my way! If you're going to stick around, try to make yourself useful, Samoyed Mask α!"

"No, I am not Samoyed Mask α. I am 'The Creator of Hopes and Dreams, Samoyed Mask R'. 'The Missionary of the Blade, Love, and Truth, Samoyed Mask α' from the previous episode has retired due to the injuries he sustained in the last battle. He is back home right now, helping to run the family sundries shop."

"I see. I don't care. You're all the same, whether you're R or α." Kino said coldly. She took out a new gun from her pouch-- a 7.62mm FN FAL light automatic rifle, inserted a 20-round magazine, loaded, and prepared to fire. Info about this gun -> It's thin and long.

"You must defeat the monsters and fight your way to the demon. Then you must seal it away with your Big Lead Gun. Do you understand?"

"Big Cannon!"

"Yes! That one!" Samoyed Mask R replied energetically. Kino frowned. It looked like she was going back and forth between trusting and not trusting him.

"Dammit! If only I had just one more teammate…" Then the third member would be able to get in Samoyed Mask R's way.

"Yes. Three would indeed be better than two, but there is no use trying to deny our current reality." Samoyed Mask R answered, completely ignorant of what Kino was actually thinking.

The typhoon got stronger. The duo was completely soaked. Of course, Kino was wearing her school swimsuit underneath her uniform as part of her transformation, so you couldn't see through her shirt. She was very thorough about things like this.

"There's nothing worth looking at, anyway." Samoyed Mask R muttered quietly.

Ratatatatatatatat! Tomatoes went splatsplatsplatsplat.

A third voice joined the duo.

"Are you in need of help?" It was a cool, clear voice.

"Hm?"

"Who's there?"

Neither Kino nor Samoyed Mask R could sense anyone's presence. As soon as they went into battle stances, however, a boy appeared from the mist. He was clothed in black, had long white hair, and wore sunglasses. His was a very familiar face.

"You're…" Samoyed Mask R began. "You're the perverted voyeur I ran into at the secret gymnasium attic, are you not?"

Ratatatatatat! Clangclangclangclang!

The boy the guns in his hands fired away with. Samoyed Mask R them all with his katana deflected. (Question 5: Rearrange the words in this sentence into the proper order.)

"Stop it, both of you!" Kino yelled, bringing the fight to an abrupt close.

"You. Detective Wanwan?"

The boy in black, Detective Wanwan, nodded.

"You're just in time! Thanks for coming!" Kino greeted him, holding both his hands in hers. Samoyed Mask mumbled in the background and kicked a pebble.

Kino spoke with a sincere smile on her face.

"I don't know how you got here, but I'm glad you did! I have to seal away the demon now, so wanna come help me?"

"Oh… yes. I'd love to."

Detective Wanwan looked extremely embarrassed to have been talked to by a girl, but he desperately continued talking.

"This is only our second meeting… but you seem so familiar to me."

What is this guy talking about?

"Oh."

Kino smiled anyway. This were certainly looking flowery.

"All right, then! Let us go, all three of us. Together, we are invincible!" Samoyed Mask R said energetically. "But before that, we should come up with a team name."

He then made his suggestion.

"How about 'Samoyed Mask R and his Merry Friends'?"

"Denied." "I refuse." Kino and Detective Wanwan replied at once.

"No? Then how about 'Mysterious Kino&Samoyed Mask R+Perverted Voyeur in Black'?"

Ratatatatatat! Clangclangclangclang!

"Stop this right now! You can fight later! Let's go, 'Kino Squad Special Forces', follow me!"

"That is a strange name, but no matter. Let us go, black-clad one!"

"Damn you, Shizu… One of these days, I'll slaughter you…"

"Did you say something just now, Detective Wanwan?"

"No, never mind."

-----

The typhoon was nearing its zenith. It was a somewhat cliched expression, but it would be completely accurate to say that it was raining by the bucketful. The skies were dark. Kino stood in front of a certain house.

"So this is where it is…"

It was a normal house with flat roofs that looked kind of like a series of boxes stuck together.

The flat roofs had recently gained popularity because of the lack of lightning strikes and the lack of a need to clear snow off the rooftops. This house had one of those roofs.

The house was situated beside a deserted, paved road. Behind it was a barn from which echoed the mooing of cows.  Scattered in the field beside the barn were bales of hay. The small pickup truck on the property immediately gave away the fact tat this was the farm the delivery girl was working for. A sign that read '______ Farm' rattled in the wind.

"There's no mistake. I can smell the demon in this area."

Team Kino had come all this way, trusting in Detective Wanwan's sense of smell. This farm was about a kilometre away from the abandoned barn.

"I've also picked up the scent of several normal people here. They're probably bound and held hostage inside. I can smell the cold sweat and the ropes."

Detective Wanwan's analytical skills were phenomenal.

"Hmph. We understand that this is the demon's nest. We also understand that there are hostages involved." Samoyed Mask R said, with a serious expression. Kino and Detective Wanwan fell into thought.

"So we should take care of them all by demolishing the house in one go." Samoyed Mask R smiled refreshingly.

"Shut up, you idiot! There are hostages in there!"

"Ouch."

Kino kicked Samoyed Mask R just as he was about to draw. She knew he would have no trouble going through with the terrifying suggestion he had just made.

"Ohhhh…"

Kino and Detective Wanwan ignored Samoyed Mask R, who was eating dirt, and began formulating a plan. They eventually decided that Detective Wanwan, with his superior firepower, would be deployed into the building first to draw away the monsters. Kino would then land the final blow at the very end. They could not think of a better plan. Of course, it was an unspoken agreement that they would both have to keep an eye on Samoyed Mask R so he wouldn't make a mess of things.

"All right then, let's put this plan into action!" Samoyed Mask R said excitedly, as he drew with the energy of a child on the day before a field trip. And from behind him--

"I'm getting a bad feeling about this. Can't we just bury him neck-deep somewhere around here?"

"But wouldn't it be better to have more firepower on our side?"

"True, but… maybe we should put a leash on him."

"I will keep an eye on him. I'll take care of him as soon as he tries anything."

"All right… show no mercy, okay?"

"Understood. I'll wring his neck."

Kino and Detective Wanwan plotted together, making wringing gestures with their hands.

Some say that allies can be scarier than enemies, and there two are shining examples of such. Kino didn't notice, but when Detective Wanwan said the words 'take care of him', he had the look of a predator stalking his prey.

"Let's go!~"

The clueless Samoyed Mask R charged in first. The final battle had just begun.

-----

Whoosh! Samoyed Mask R cleaved open the front door.

"Seriously… can't you open the door like a normal person?"

Kino followed after him, holding an MP52D6 submachine gun with built-in silencer. Behind her was Detective Wanwan, who was holding a Scorpion submachine gun with suppressors in each hand. Detective Wanwan was walking backwards, keeping an eye out for sneak attacks.

Inside the house was dark and silent. The trio searched the home, dripping water everywhere and forgetting to take off their shoes. The demon was surely lying in wait for them somewhere in this house.

"Be on guard. It could be anywhere." Samoyed Mask R said in an extremely loud voice. Kino scolded him quietly.

"Shh. Be quiet."

"Listen carefully! Let not the slightest sound escape you!"

"You're being too loud."

"Yes! Move with stealth! Detect the presence of the enemy!"

"I said, you're too loud. …I'm going to get angry."

"Mysterious One, I'm flattered."

"It's not a compliment! Don't call me that, either!"

"Settle down, Mysterious Kino. The enemy will hear you."

Pew! Kino shot Samoyed Mask R in the back of the head with the silenced gun. A tomato exploded, but Samoyed Mask R was unharmed.

"I've found the hostages."

Detective Wanwan had used his sense of smell to locate a group of people who were bound and blindfolded. It was the milkman, who was an acquaintance of Kino, his wife, and grade school-aged children.

"A-a demon suddenly appeared, and…" The milkman spoke. Kino calmed him down, led the family to the car, and told them to flee to the nearby school while she took care of the demon.

"But my niece from Tokyo's still…"

"Please don't worry. I promise you that we'll save her. So please get yourselves to safety first." Detective Wanwan lied, and the car quickly disappeared into the typhoon. He couldn't, of course, tell them that their niece was the demon.

"Hostages rescued! All right, let's go all out!"

"Doesn't matter, I guess… but try not to damage the house." said Kino. However, the least destructive fighting style among the trio was Samoyed Mask R's swordfighting. Kino and Detective Wanwan, after all, sent stray bullets flying everywhere.

"Let's get this over with quick." Kino was all fired up, concerned that her grandmother would start worrying over her. However, at that exact moment--

"Mwahahahaha!"

A deep laughter echoed from the living room. The trio traversed the hallway towards the source of the laugh.

"'Get this over with quick'? You think you can defeat me so easily?"

So this is where the demon was. It sat on a large TV (one of the ones that have gotten much more affordable as of late) and glared at the trio. It was about human-height, but it was covered in dark grey fur like a stuffed animal. If it were to go to North America, it was likely to be called a Sasquatch or Bigfoot.

"So you've finally shown yourself, demon! I'll show you no mercy, even if you beg and cry!"

"Wahahahaha! I'll slice you to pieces!"

"It is time for judgement! Your sentence is execution, with no appeals granted!"

Kino, Samoyed Mask R, and Detective Wanwan said respectively. The demon sneered.

"Do your worst."

"I will!"

"Cut! KILL!"

"I'll turn you into a beehive!"

The muddy-shoed trio charged the demon in the living room.

-----

"Ohhhh…" "Ouch…" "How…?"

The muddy-shoed trio who had entered a stranger's living room had been defeated.

The room was a mess. There were multiple bullet holes and sword marks, with bent guns lying around the floor, and broken swords sticking out of the walls. It was difficult to believe that not too long ago, this was a cozy family room. The bullet hole-riddled door shook violently in the typhoon. It seemed that the winds had died down slightly, however.

"Hwahahahaha! Too weak. You're all so weak."

The demon sat unscathed, upon the hole-covered TV and sneered at Kino, Samoyed Mask R, and Detective Wanwan, who were all lying on the floor.

"Everyone's in trouble." said Hermes, from Kino's belt. He had been watching everything--the trio charged at the demon, the demon easily evaded everything and counterattacked, and our heroes ended up on the floor in the blink of an eye.

"You cannot defeat me. Go home and cry like babies. And you can stay there until I take over this world."

Perhaps it was thirsty. The demon said all this as it drank a bottle of milk.

"Grk… Hm… I see!" Samoyed Mask R muttered, seeing the demon's actions. He was still lying on the floor.

"What?" "What do you see?" asked Kino and detective Wanwan, who were also lying on the floor. Samoyed Mask R answered.

"I understand now… the reason for the strength behind this demon…"

"Really?" "What is it?"

"It is… milk! Not only does it contain bone-strengthening calcium, it also contains essential proteins well-balanced in amino acids. It also contains lactose and vitamin B2, which is known by some as a growth agent. In other words, milk is an excellent source of nutrition that is also easy to consume. It is a true miracle drink!"

Detective Wanwan agreed with a serious expression on his face.

"Yes… that is common knowledge to any fighter, but…"

"You-you mean we've lost to milk? That's… a pretty terrifying drink."

Kino ground her teeth, angry at her own powerlessness. Samoyed Mask R looked over at her and spoke.

"This is just a side note, but they say that some farms in the USA inject cows with bovine growth hormones in order to increase milk production. The hormones also affect children who drink, it, however, and results in unusually mature young girls. Mysterious Bishoujo Gun Fighter Rider Kino! Perhaps you should travel to America and drink milk! In fact, you should leave immediately! For the sake of your future, you must drink!"

Kino was beating up Samoyed Mask R with a vase, but it was much too horrific to describe in narration.

When Kino finally stopped, out of breath, the demon laughed at her.

"Hwahahahaha! How pathetic you losers are. All you weaklings can do is to fight each other until the end."

Kino couldn't reply. The demon was pretty much correct.

"Dammit… I'm supposed to be a warrior of justice… I'm the titular heroine… If only I were stronger…"

Tears welled up in Kino's eyes. The two men, seeing this, could do nothing but curse their own powerlessness.

"Hmph…" "Grk…"

"I wanna be stronger… I understand now… I was being conceited about my own power."

The tears began flowing. A single stream of salt water fell from her face and sparkled on its way to the ground.

"Don't give up! Your feelings right now will become your strength!" A dashing voice shouted. The moment Kino, Samoyed Mask R, and Detective Wanwan asked, "Huh?" "What?" "Hmm?" and the demon went, "Who's there?", a sudden explosion rang out. The house was blown apart. This sturdy house, built to withstand the weight of heavy snow, fell to pieces from the living room outward.

"Ack!" "Whoa!" "…!" the trio ducked.

"Aaaaahhh!" The demon was taken by surprise.

By the time the dust had cleared, the trio and the demon were outdoors. The house had been blown apart, leaving nothing but its foundations. Light rain fell upon the living room carpet.

"Damn. Another one?!"

The demon leapt off the TV and looked to its left, right, and back.

"Ohohohohoho!"

There was a high-pitched laugh. It was an extremely elegant laugh that contained not a single drop of superficiality.

"Who's there?!" The demon looked to the direction of the laughter. The trio managed to wobble to their feet and follow suit.

"Looking for someone, demon?"

There was a lamppost. It had been standing beside the house. And atop that lamppost was--

"…!" "Huh?" "Whoa." "Oh!"

A person.

She was a slim woman wearing elegant clothing. She wore sharp black pants, a white shirt, and a black jacket. Her long grey hair went all the way down to her back. At her waist as a holstered revolver.

From her face it seemed she was quite elderly, but the twist in her lips betrayed a certain kind of strength. Over her eyes were a pair of expensive-looking sunglasses.

The rain suddenly ceased. The skies cleared in an instant and the gale turned into a light breeze that made the woman's silver hair dance. That's right. This was the eye of the storm.

"Argh! Who are you?!" The demon yelled.

"Hmph." The woman smiled. She then spoke.

"I am…"

She is? She is? She is? The demon, Kino, and Detective Wanwan waited with bated breath.

"No… It can't be…" Samoyed Mask R muttered, mouth agape.

"I am…"

The woman waved her arms about and struck an awesome pose. She continued.

"'The Beautiful Senior Gunman, Granny the Super'!"

Tadada! Dadadada! BGM began playing the moment she announced her name. The community's waterproof announcement speakers blared out the timeless classic, hidden in the Official Soundtrack bonus track, called 'Granny Entrance Rock!'. It was a lively piece. The piece was accented with a female chorus singing things like 'Granny the Super!' and 'Wow!'.

The summer sun shone through the clouds, and a powerful ray of light acted as the woman's spotlight. Rooooooar! Six fighter jets appeared in the air above them in perfect formation. It was 'Blue Impulse', the Air Self-Defense Force's Acrobatics Team. The jets scattered, leaving smoke in their trail. They began writing letters in the sky with their amazing piloting skills.

The words 'Granny the Super' appeared in the sky, and the last of the jets drew an underline beneath the words for added emphasis. The moment the jets disappeared into the skies, the music drew to a climactic close with the lyrics, 'Granny the Super! Ooh! Hah! Shoobie doobie doo!'

All of the above was the introduction sequence. It took up about three minutes.

"'Granny the Super'?! What the hell are you supposed to be?!" The demon yelled violently. Granny the Super, still standing on the lamppost, smiled and looked down at the nervous demon.

Kino and Detective Wanwan muttered, "Who in the world is she?" and looked at each other.

"Granny the Super… So she truly existed…" said Samoyed Mask R.

"You know her?" You know of her?" the others asked him at once.

Samoyed Mask R looked at the duo and nodded vigorously.

"Granny the Super…

'The Strongest Senior', 'The Murdering Grandmother',  and 'The Triple-Strength Hag' are some of the names she is known by. She is a mysterious old woman who is feared by every military and government institution in the world. A legendary warrior who comes and goes like the wind, rampaging through battlefields with no regard for allegiances. It is said that her strength is comparable to that of an entire division of US Marines, and many countries' militaries have a flee-on-sight order especially reserved for her. Rumours about this individual are numerous, ranging from her having been a Special Forces Captain to an Extraterrestrial Warrior, but the truth is still shrouded in mystery.

The number of Hollywood film adaptations she has received are testament to her mysterious allure.

1. From Prussia with Love: Her Name is Granny the Super (1962)
2. Granny the Super II: You Only Live Thrice (1972)
3. Granny the Super III: On His Highness' Secret Service (1978)
4. Granny the Super IV: Rubies are Forever (1987)
5. Granny the Super V: The Woman with the Golden Gun (1994)
6. Granny the Super VI:  For Your Ears Only (2002)
7. Farewell, Granny the Super - The Universe is Not Enough (2005)

The eighth film, New Granny the Super: Granny 8 is currently in production.(3) The new series is regarded as the ultimate Granny the Super experience and is likely to receive rave reviews worldwide.

From 'Where has the Senior Gone After Leaving the Spotlight', from Minmei Publishing Company."

Samoyed Mask R Recited all of the above in one breath in order to answer Kino and Detective Wanwan's questions.

"So you mean she's the one?"

"A… legendary warrior…?"

"There's no mistaking it… to think one so lowly as I would be granted a chance to meet her in person… I'd better get her autograph later!" said Samoyed Mask, heart aflutter.

"Gaaaaah! Stay out of my way!" The demon yelled, as it pulled out its own fur. It tossed the fur into the air, and each strand grew into a monster. A monster army was formed in the blink of a eye. There were simply too many of them.

Granny the Super, however, did not even flinch. She elegantly flung herself from the lamppost with a battle cry.

"Haah!"

She did a triple cartwheel in midair, with the blue sky as her background. She landed beautifully on the road and aimed her M14 automatic rifle equipped with a dot sight at the same time.

Rooaaaar! The demon charged at the old woman. Oh, Granny the Super was in danger! However--

Bang! Bang! Bang!

With a heavy sound befitting a large-caliber rifle, demons began turning to dust. The bullets flawlessly pierced through the rushing monsters, starting with the closest ones. However, the magazine only held twenty rounds. She was just about to run out of ammo! Granny is in danger! However--

"Hmph."

With her left hand, Granny the Super took out another magazine from her pocket and tossed it lightly into the air. She twirled the M14 once in front of her. By the time the heavy gun returned to her grip like a cheerleading baton, the empty magazine was on the ground, replaced by the new one currently loaded into the gun.

"Amazing…"

Even Detective Wanwan was impressed by this display of skill.

"Ain't it marvellous?"

Samoyed Mask R began speaking with a different accent, impressed by rest omitted.

"That elegant but merciless fighting style… I've seen someone use it before… but who?"

Kino was intrigued.

Granny the Super, however, smiled at the trio as she fought.

"You three!"

"Oh!" "Hm!" "…!"

That's right. A protagonist shouldn't be just standing around in awe. Kino, Detective Wanwan, and Samoyed Mask R entered the battle.

Kino took out a Steyr AUG HBAR and prepared to fire. It was a Squad Automatic Weapon that was a heavy-barrelled automatic rifle with 40-round magazine attached to a rifle with the unusual design of having the magazine attached behind the grip. This particular model had a scope, just like a rifle. Kino called this gun 'Layla'.

Whoosh! Detective Wanwan took out a pair of HK MP7 submachine guns. These were the slightly smaller models that fired SCHV(Small-caliber/High velocity) rounds.

Samoyed Mask R, of course, drew his sword. Even a broken blade was fixed when it was sheathed and redrawn!

"Hmph! Attack all together!" The demon ordered the monsters. The monsters cried out loudly and attacked the trio. A bloody fight had begun.

"Is that all you've got?!"

Ratatatat! Layla gave a vicious battle cry as Kino fired away, spilling shell casings everywhere. The monsters quickly began dematerializing. It wasn't quite at Granny the Super's level, but Kino quickly switched out magazines and just kept shooting.

"Haah!"

Whoosh! Swoosh! Flash! Samoyed Mask R nimbly cut down the lines of monsters heading his way. He struck the ones coming from behind him with the scabbard and sliced them in two afterwards.

"Maintain discipline!"(4)

Bang! Ratatatat! Detective Wanwan leapt into a mob of monsters and showed off his specialty, the omnidirectional fist attack. Shell casings flooded the ground.

"Ohohoho!"

Granny the Super continued to fire with superhuman power.

Please wait a moment.

-----

The winds picked up again, and the debris from Mr. _____'s ruined but still-28-year-mortgaged house began to rattle.

Ting! The shell casing from Kino's final shot rolled away at hit the collapsed mailbox. The shell casing continued to roll, and hit yet another shell casing. It was surrounded by a sea of sparkling golden casings.

"Damn… dammit!" The demon could not hide its shock. Every last monster had been--

"Defeated. All 260 of them… in less than a minute…"

"You're the last one." said a smiling Granny the Super as she put her M14 into her pocket. She then took out a Smith & Wesson M29 Revolver. It was a .44 magnum gun that rose to fame in the film Dirty Harry.

"Look out, Granny the Super!" Kino yelled.

"Yes, this is a powerful demon." Detective Wanwan added. The trio, a powerful force to be reckoned with, had been defeated by this enemy. Even the legendary Granny the Super might have trouble with this one.

"Die!"

The demon moved at lightspeed to charge at Granny the Super. His right claw headed straight for her face.

"No!" Kino yelled reflexively. However, the claw sliced apart nothing but thin air.

"What?!"

A voice came from behind the demon.

"Over here."

The demon turned around. It was staring down the barrel of the M29. BANG!

"AAAAAHHHH!" The demon, having been shot in the face, tried to lean back and land a spinning kick. Whoosh! This attack also failed.

"I'm right here."

Bang! Bang! Bang! The demon took three shots to the back this time. It was tossed back one meter and landed on the ground, sending shell casings flying.

"Unbelievable…"

Kino's shock was completely justified. After all, Granny the Super's movements just now were too quick to be seen with the naked eye. It was practically at warp-speed levels. If this were an anime, there would be no need to animate her movements.

"Such power…"

"Yes. What strength!"

Not even Detective Wanwan and Samoyed Mask R could hide their astonishment. How could she have so easily overpowered a demon powered by milk?

"How is she so powerful?" "How…?" Kino and the demon though simultaneously. Then--

"What?!" "Oh!" "Hmph!" "Wha-?"

The trio and the demon spotted something. Granny the Super was taking a moment during the battle to take a drink of something. In her left hand, the one that wasn't holding the gun, was a small bottle. It was filled with pink liquid.

"I got it!" said Samoyed Mask R. Granny the Super continued to drink, enjoying the taste. She finished it all.

"That liquid is… Strawberry milk!"

"Wha-what?!"

Everyone, with the exception of Samoyed Mask R and Granny the Super, was in shock. Samoyed Mask R continued to explain.

"I've spoken earlier about the miraculous properties of milk. Now I will add that strawberries contain 1.5 times the amount of vitamin C contained in lemons. That is the largest concentration out of any fruit. Vitamin C maintains supple skin, prevents freckles and wrinkles, improves the immune system, dissipates alcohol in the system, lowers blood cholesterols, lessens oxidative stress, and even prevents the formation of the carcinogenic compound known as nitrosamine."

"Vitamin C… that's a pretty terrifying nutrient…" Kino muttered. Detective Wanwan spoke.

"I see! Not even the cure-all drink known as milk contains vitamin C…"

Samoyed Mask R nodded vigorously.

"That is correct. There is simply no way for a drinker of strawberry milk to lose to a demon that drinks only plain milk!"

"I get it!" "I understand now!" said Kino and Detective Wanwan, who had finally understood the truth. They smiled. (Question 6: Please write your honest opinion on everything you've read so far. Over 20 words, under 30.)

"Argh…" The demon stumbled and stepped back. It was in a state of disarray.

Granny the Super did not toss away the empty milk bottle just anywhere. She Placed it in a recycling box and returned. She then pointed the M29 at the demon and spoke.

"Move forward. Grasp your own future."

"Shut up!"

The demon attacked Granny the Super anyway. Ratatat! Granny the Super mercilessly pulled the trigger.

"Aaahh!"

The demon seemed to be in great pain.

"Now, Mysterious Bishoujo Gun Fighter Rider Kino!"

Kino, who had been watching with her jaw on the ground, snapped back into reality.

"Oh, right. Yes!"

"Use your powers to seal away this demon!"

"Understood!"

"Finish it, Kino!" Hermes shouted. As a side note, the fact that Hermes didn't get many lines for a while is definitely not because the author forgot to involve him. Please believe me.

"Not a chance!"

The demon fiendishly ignored the pain and charged at Kino with all its might. It was pretty fast for an injured creature. It might have been even faster to attack than Kino was able to draw Big Cannon. However, at that very moment--

"Aren't you forgetting someone?"

Samoyed Mask R tripped the demon's right leg with his sword.

"Me too."

Ratatatatatat! Detective Wanwan fired at the demon's left leg.

"That was cheap!"

Boom! The demon fell to the ground.

"'Cheap'? Nothing's too cheap in battle! As long as you win, who cares? Last man standing is justice!"

Kino pointed Big Cannon straight at the demon.

BANG!

-----

"She should be all right now."

Kino laid down the young lady, who had returned to human form, onto the sour milk-scented back of the pickup truck. The young lady was asleep, cellphone in hand and ignorant of the events that had just occurred.

Kino shut the door and returned to face the others. The sky was even darker than before and the winds were howling.

"Good work, Mysterious Bishoujo Gun Fighter Rider Kino." Granny the Super said softly.

"…" Looking at her face, Kino was sure that the elderly woman looked very familiar. Granny the Super wondered why Kino was staring at her.

"Huh? N-no. It's nothing." Kino answered awkwardly. She then asked, "Granny the Super? Who are you, really?"

"That's a secret. But I'll tell you that I'm just like you and your friends--I fight because of my love for justice."

Granny the Super lightly put her hands on Kino's shoulders.

"You can become even stronger. And then you'll be able to defend this world, and the peaceful lives of others. Can you do it?"

"Yes!"

"I expected no less from you. I'll leave the rest to you young people now. Seniors can't hog the spotlight for too long, you know." with these words, Granny the Super disappeared from sight. She was gone in a flash.

Kino, hair blowing in the wind, mumbled to herself.

"Granny the Super… One day, when I get stronger, I'll see you again.  I'm sure we'll meet again…"

"That's right. Our battle has only just begun." said Detective Wanwan, as he stepped to Kino's side with a smile.

"That is correct. I suggest we start by getting rid of picky eating habits and drinking milk every day."

Samoyed Mask R followed suit.

The trio stood together, looking up at the sky. It was an endless blue filled with white clouds. They then shouted in unison--

"Milk is definitely the best!"

The eye of the storm was about to depart. Soon the trio would be besieged by torrential rain and gale-force winds.

However, their justice-loving hearts would remain cloudless and clear…

Forever.

-----

"Ack! I'm soaked! It's so cold!" Kino yelled, as she ran along the forest path.

There were still 100 meters of typhoon to run through until she arrived at her house. Kino had said goodbye to Detective Wanwan and Samoyed Mask R back at the farm, changed back, and was running back home.

Oh! Someone appeared from somewhere in the downpour. Upon closer inspection, it was Shizu-senpai, dressed in his white uniform and completely drenched.

"Senpai!"

"Kino. I'm glad you're all right."

"Yeah. Sorry if I worried you."

Running through the rain, the duo encountered a third person along the way.

"Oh, senpai! Kino! You're both okay!"

It was Inuyama. Shizu stoically said, "I'm glad you're safe", and Kino coldly added, "yeah. Glad you're okay."

-----

"We're home! Grandma, could you get us some towels?"

They finally managed to catch their breath after entering the house. Grandma came to the doors, having heard Kino's voice, and welcomed them with three fluffy towels in hand.

Kino thanked her and handed one of the towels to Shizu. She was just about to hand another to Inuyama, but--

"Huh? What's going on?"

Inuyama was not at all wet. His pants and shirt were completely dry, as was his swishy hair.

"Inuyama? How'd you…?"

Inuyama answered promptly.

"Conviction."

Inuyama was quite the fashionista.

-----

Evening.

After the typhoon had passed, the clouds had cleared. Stars shone brilliantly in the summer  sky.

And underneath that sky--

"Please, dig in, everyone."

Grandma, Kino, Shizu, and Inuyama were sitting around a large grill. The coal was glowing red, and meats and vegetables cooked crisply over the fire. It was a backyard barbecue party, complete with lanterns to light the evening. Of course, the meat was lamb. It was a dish called Genghis Khan that you could buy even at convenience stores in Hokkaido.

Kino took to the meal like a fish to water. Stacked over her overflowing rice bowl was medium-rare lamb. Kino had a look of delight on her face. Her eyes sparkled.

Shizu elegantly reached for a piece of well-cooked bell pepper with his chopsticks. However--

"Hm?"

"What?"

He was soon locked in battle with Inuyama, who had also reached for the same piece. Their chopsticks took hold of opposite ends of the bell pepper.

Inuyama ceded possession of the piece with a smile.

"I thank you."

Shizu took the bell pepper to his plate and began eating. Inuyama watched for a moment, and spoke.

"It's definitely nice to be alive to enjoy a great meal like this."

"Yes. It is." Shizu answered cooly.

The fun party went on through the night. Bright voices echoed through the forest.

"Oh… This isn't fair. Why don't I get to have some of that awesome food?"

Hermes' complaining also went on through the night.

-----

Night.

The quiet house was illuminated by the stars. The sound of insects softly provided ambient noise.

Drrr! The front door slid open quietly. Exiting was the white-haired Inuyama. He was dressed not in a yukata, but in plain clothes.

"Are you leaving so soon?"

Grandma asked softly from the doorway, scaring Inuyama. However, he put a smile on his face, turned around to face Grandma, and answered "Yes".

"That's a shame. Feel free to come back anytime."

"Thank you. Thank you for your hospitality."

Inuyama bowed politely and asked one thing before he left.

"Who won the challenge? Me, or Shizu-senpai?"

-----

Night. 
The quiet house was illuminated by the stars. The sound of insects softly provided ambient noise.

Drrr! The front door slid open quietly. Exiting was the katana-holding Shizu-senpai. He was dressed not in a yukata, but in plain clothes.

"Are you leaving so soon?"

Grandma asked softly from beside the fridge, scaring Shizu. However, he put a smile on his face, turned around to face Grandma, and answered "Yes".

"That's a shame. Feel free to come back anytime."

"Thank you. Thank you for your hospitality."

Shizu bowed politely and asked one thing before he left.

"Who won the challenge? Me, or Inuyama?"

-----

In both cases, the old woman's answer was identical. She widened her eyes happily and said--

"Both of you."

What she said after was also the same for both.

"I'd love nothing more than to have either one of you marry my granddaughter."

Inuyama and Shizu also gave identical answers.

"Someone like me is not yet worthy. If you'll excuse me."

And they each silently disappeared into the darkness.

-----

The next morning, Kino awoke to the feeling of murderous bloodlust.

"Oh!"

The moment she sat up, ratatatatat! Rubber bullets showered the place Kino was lying on just a moment ago. Kino, still in her PJs, tossed her blanket in the air to block her enemy's line of sight, took proper hold of the revolver she took with her last night, and pulled the trigger mercilessly. Ratatatat! The bullets left through the empty doorway, flew into the halls, and bounced off the wall.

When the gunshots stopped and the blanket fell to the floor--

"That's enough." said Grandma, as she came in from the hallway. She was also holding a smoking revolver.

"Good morning, Grandma!"

"Good morning, Kino."

It was a morning like any other.

"Huh? They both left?"

Kino was in her combat suit, holding a Barrett M82 Special Application Scoped Rifle in her right hand and a cartridge box in the other. The weather was wonderful today.

Grandma followed Kino, holding an M240B machine gun and a cartridge box.

"When?"

"Probably this morning. there was nothing but a note by the time I woke up this morning."

"What'd they say?"

"'Thank you for your hospitality. I have an urgent errand to attend to, so please excuse me'."

"Tch. They're both so tactless."

Kino was a bit upset. But she cheered herself up with the understanding that she would be able to enjoy a normal summer break now with both of them gone.

"Oh well."

Kino looked back happily, and saw Grandma smiling at her.

"Huh…?"

Kino tilted her head.

"What's the matter?"

"Hm? Something…"

"Something?"

"No, never mind. I met someone yesterday who looked kinda like you."

"Oh? Who was this person?"

"N-never mind! It can't be. It must have been my imagination. Yeah."

"Is that so?"

Kino and Grandma arrived at the firing range. Grandma placed the M240B on the table, took out the ammunition belt, and prepared to fire. Kino also unfolded the Barrett's bipod.

"What kind of a person was she?"

Kino answered honestly.

"Well… she was really strong…"

Kino continued with a "but".

"But?"

"But she was so strong and nice that she didn't seem like someone who could possibly be real. Maybe…"

"Maybe?"

"Maybe… she's a legendary ghost who protects the Earth from evil."

Ratatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatat!

Grandma began firing away like a terrified madwoman.

"DON'T TALK TO ME ABOUT GHOSTS!"

Kino, crouched on the ground, tried to stop her rampaging Grandma.

"Kyaaa! Grandma, calm down!"

"I don't believe this." Hermes muttered, dumbfounded.

Kino's summer break had only just begun.
-----

(1) PETM, is, of course, an entirely fictitious organization made up during the translation process.
(2) These kanji are homonyms to the actual word for "innocent", but are themselves meaningless.
(3) The list of films in the Korean text seemed to be references to actual movies, but I couldn't figure out all of them and ended up improvising.
(4) This is one of Inuyama's catchphrases from here on. The original text was heijoushin, which I couldn't find a good English equivalent for.

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