Sorry about the long delay with this volume, and thanks for reading!
(I will also add that the Puella Magi Madoka Magica OST provides some wonderful BGM to be translating this series to.)
Chapter 6 - Finale: In the Sunlight
It was the day after the battle. In other words, Tuesday.
Just like yesterday, the weather was clear and refreshing. The mild breeze added a layer of cool to the autumn air.
The school building was still a bit of a mess in some places, but the repairs had been nearly completed overnight. So classes were on as usual. This school really doesn't want to give students a day off, huh?
"Dammit! I fought so hard yesterday that I slept in too long!"
"I'm just going to remind you that I did my best to wake you up this morning."
Kino and Hermes entered the classroom in the nick of time.
The seat next to Inuyama's was empty. Inid was nowhere to be seen.
"What's going on?"
Two seconds later, the homeroom teacher entered the room right on time.
"Good morning, everyone."
Homeroom began. Kino raised her hand.
"Sir, is Inid away today?"
"Oh, yes. That reminds me…" He said, and nonchalantly dropped a bombshell on the students.
"Inid is going back to America today."
The class broke out into hushed chattering.
"What?! Why?" Kino asked, getting off her seat.
Inuyama's cool facade cracked ever-so-slightly.
"I was informed of this just now myself. They said something about a sudden change of plans…" The teacher answered, "She will be going back to school in America. Unfortunately, Inid has to leave from Narita Airport at just past ten this morning, so she could not be here to say goodbye."
Kino plunked down onto her seat in defeat.
Her classmates began whispering in disappointment amongst themselves.
"I see… so Inid's going back to school in America…" Kino mumbled. "I'm so happy for her…"
The teacher began to give the class Inid's contact information, but his voice did not reach Kino's ears.
Where there were meetings, there were partings. Kino quietly shut her eyes.
She silently said her farewells.
-Chapter 6 End-
"HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!!!"
Chako-sensei burst into the classroom, slamming the door open with almost enough force to destroy it.
The homeroom teacher was so shocked that he found himself practically fending off a heart attack. "Kuroshima-sensei, are you trying to murder me?"
It was a completely justified complaint, but Chako-sensei proudly ignored him and smiled at her two underlings--the members of the Take Action Now Club.
"Guys! We're leaving! You have four seconds to get ready!"
"Wait! Where are we going again?!" Kino asked. Chako-sensei answered without missing a beat.
"Narita Airport, where else?"
They were being dragged down the hall by Chako-sensei.
"Sensei, I know how you feel, but I'm pretty sure we won't make it in time even if we left now." Kino commented.
"Even if we were to race down the highway at full speed it would be difficult to arrive on time." Inuyama agreed.
"Young people these days have no determination! Don't you know that it's part of our club's description to make the impossible possible? Have you already forgotten the promise we made that day?"
Though Kino desperately wanted to point out that Chako-sensei had missed the point and that she had never made any such promises, she held back her opinions and followed Chako-sensei.
They had just arrived at the shoe lockers and were changing out of their indoor shoes when their third member joined them.
"Oh? Good morning, everyone."
Shizu was just stepping into the building from the school gates. As usual, he wore a katana at his side. Several doves flew past him. Actually, is he late? Pretty bald-faced for being tardy, huh?
"That's everyone, then! Let's move out!" Chako-sensei neglected to explain anything as she dragged her three students out into the grounds.
And as soon as they stepped out of the building,
They were suddenly overwhelmed by a huge roar and a blast of sand.
Kino looked up into the sky, at the source of the sound.
It was a large helicopter about 17 metres in length. It was painted in two colours, the underside being grey and the top painted white. Only the top of the back of the helicopter was blue. It bore an emblem of a round sun, and the words "Ground Self-Defense Force".
This was an EC225LP Super Puma Mk II.
It is a passenger transport helicopter, part of the First Helicopter Brigade, based in Kisarazu. It is used to transport VIPs, having carried delegates between the airport and the hotel at the Lake Toya G8 Summit.
One such helicopter was now descending into the school grounds, kicking up a veritable sandstorm. Chako-sensei looked up at it and smiled at everyone as though they were about to go on a picnic.
"We'll take this baby to Narita!"
"Of course. It looks like we'll make it on time after all." Inuyama said calmly.
"Perfect day for flying, wouldn't you agree?" Shizu said blandly.
The helicopter touched down onto the ground. A member of the JSDF stepped out and gestured to everyone.
Chako-sensei began to walk towards the helicopter with no sense of shock. Kino ran after her.
"Is that chopper yours, too? Did you take out a loan for it, sensei?" Kino asked loudly, not willing to lose out to the sound of the helicopter.
Chako-sensei turned around and winked.
"Of course not! I'm just borrowing it!"
Morning. The departure lobby at Terminal 1 of Narita Airport.
Announcements in Japanese and English were being made in the somewhat crowded lobby. The people began to all move in one direction.
And in the crowd was Inid Smith.
Her long blonde hair was tied into a ponytail. She wore jeans and a T-shirt with the character Katsu(喝) printed over the chest. Over her shirt she was wearing a blouson.
It was a rather humble manner of dress, but that was offset by the men in black suits standing around her, eyes glinting. However, they didn't seem to be terribly tense.
A man in his early sixties, carrying her bag, spoke to her in English.
[Miss Inid. I'm sure you must be sad to have to leave Japan, but we must be on our way now. There are many people waiting at the departure gate.]
[All right, Sebas.]
[Miss Inid, my name is Johnson.]
[Haha, I just wanted to try calling you that. Let's go.] Inid said, stepping onto the escalator going down to the departure desk.
"There you are!" Kino's voice echoed form the lobby.
Inid turned around.
Running towards her was Kino, waving her hands frantically with her face covered in sweat. Behind her was Shizu. Following them was Inuyama, and Chako-sensei, who was hugging his head from behind him for some reason.
[Kino! Everyone! How did you get here?] Inid stood in shock. Kino ran up to her.
"We came to say goodbye! I'm so glad… so glad we made it! You're going back to school in the US, right? That's awesome! Goodbyes are supposed to be sad, but I'm so happy for you right now!" She said first.
Inuyama translated for Inid. Her green eyes grew hazy with tears.
Tears ran down her cheeks. Inid reached out and embraced Kino tightly.
Kino grinned embarrassedly and also hugged Inid back.
After a moment, they looked one another in the eye.
"I still have a place to which I may return. There can be no greater happiness."
"Yeah! You have to make up for all the fun you missed out on! And come visit Japan again sometime!"
Kino reached into one of her pouches and took out several varieties of canned ramen noodles she bought in Akihabara.
"I actually bought these for myself, but I guess this is my goodbye present for you. Sorry, I didn't have time to go shopping. But you probably haven't tried all the flavours yet, right?"
[My gosh! Thank you, Kino! I'm going to share them with my parents when I get back to America and tell them all about Akihabara, and how amazing it was!] Inid smiled. There was a laughably large quantity of cans, so her butler took them instead.
[I've prepared something for you as well.]
Shizu gave to her with both hands the katana that had been at his side until just now.
[I feel the same way as Kino. Please take this in memory of all the times we all spent together. I have multiple katanas in my possession, so I ask that you take one. I'm sure your butler could not object as long as you didn't buy it yourself.]
Inid burst into laughter at the last part and glanced at her butler.
[Is that all right with you, Johnson?]
The butler shrugged in defeat and nodded.
Inid took the katana in her arms and hugged it tightly.
[Thank you. Thank you so much.]
This katana would soon cause her a great deal of grief in the baggage checks, but let's put that aside for now.
[Something for you, Inid.]
Inuyama took out from his pocket a pair of sunglasses. A very familiar pair of sunglasses. Where could we have seen them before?
[Thank you so much. I'll take good care of them.] Inid took the sunglasses and offered Inuyama a handshake. Inuyama took her hand a tight grip.
It was time for her to go, the butler said.
Finally, Chako-sensei stepped forward.
[And this here's from me. A souvenir from your trip to Japan!]
Chako-sensei handed her a large, bulky brown envelope. Inid took out the contents.
It was a pile of photographs.
The photo on top of the pile was one they took together in front of the Great Buddha statue at Kamakura.
[Oh my gosh!]
[I was actually our photographer! Sorry I didn't ask permission to take pictures beforehand!] Chako-sensei said. Hey. I thought it was pretty obvious you were taking pictures.
[There's a lot of pictures, so why don't you take your time looking through them after take-off?]
[I'll be looking forward to it. Thank you so much for everything, Kuroshima-sensei. I'll never forget this week I spent with the Take Action Now Club.]
[Come visit anytime! The Take Action Now Club will never die!]
[That faith you've found will never disappear. The world's not that nonsensical of a place, you see? The only nonsense here is a bunch of weird parody novels, and that's more than enough!]
I'm terribly sorry. For so many things.
Afterwards, Inid stepped onto the escalator going down, holding a katana in her right hand, a brown envelope in her left, and a pair of sunglasses tucked into her shirt. Her butler followed, carrying an armful of canned ramen noodles.
And with that, Inid disappeared from view.
The jumbo jet carrying Inid began to make its way down the Narita Airport runway.
It lifted off the ground and took to the skies.
Inid sat in her window seat in business class, wearing the strangely familiar sunglasses Inuyama had given her.
When she arrived in Japan, it was raining. But now it was clear. She could see many things clearly.
The Narita Airport Terminal building slowly grew smaller.
[What an interesting group of people.] Her butler commented from the seat beside her.
[Yes…] Inid nodded.
She waved at the window.
Narita Airport Terminal 1 rooftop, the airport observatory.
"Hm? Is that it?"
"Yes, that must be her plane."
"I hope she will be all right."
"Inid's going to be fine."
Kino, Inuyama, Shizu, and Chako-sensei looked up at the airplane as it zoomed away into the distance with a roar.
Enveloping the plane was a clear blue sky.
"Let's meet again! Try the miso flavour!" Kino yelled, waving her arms. Again and again.
"Whoa, she's answering." Hermes said quietly, but Kino didn't seem to hear.
The plane grew smaller and smaller until it finally disappeared from sight.
"Well then…" Chako-sensei said. Oh! The ending song's started playing, starting off with the piano solo.
"Since we're all here, why don't we do some sightseeing and have lunch together before we go back? Who wants to go to Narita-san Shinsho Temple?"
Are you planning to skip classes?
"Excellent idea. I'm all for it."
Shizu and Inuyama answered. Kino thought for a moment.
"Do they make anything tasty there?"
"The area's famous for eel. How about unagi-don for lunch today?"
The moment Kino voiced her agreement, the ending song transitioned into an energetic rock tune.
The final image was a still shot of of Kino and the others, smiling as they walked forward, with the airplane in the background.
The ending credits began, along with the vocals.
Actually, it might be a bit of a bother to write out the lyrics, so I'll stop myself here.
After the ending song--
"This is delicious! Can I have seconds, sensei?"
"Go right ahead! After all, all of this is being paid for by the club budget. Just make sure to finish your portion."
"Of course! Anyone who doesn't finish food they ordered should be thrown into hell! Excuse me, one more unagi-don special please!"
As Kino happily munched on her unagi-don, Inid was flying over the Pacific. She was slowly looking over Chako-sensei's photos one at a time.
The picture they took in front of the Great Buddha statue.
A photograph with Yuigahama as the background.
Herself, smiling at the "Great Luck" fortune she drew.
A picture she took with the cats on Enoshima.
Playing with the waves in the Shonan sea.
Was it the camera, or was Chako-sensei that good? Every picture looked good enough to be on a magazine cover.
In the photos, Inid was surrounded by Kino's smiles, Inuyama's cool demeanour, and Shizu's handsome visage. She was smiling.
Inid in real life was smiling, too.
She flipped through the countless pictures. She looked at a one from the time when they visited a conveyor belt sushi restaurant after their visit to Akihabara. Kino had a pile of dishes reaching towards the ceiling. Inid was staring with her eyes the size of dinner plates. She flipped over to the next picture.
There were still some pictures left.
She didn't remember taking any pictures after the restaurant. Inid tilted her head and looked at the next picture.
[Oh my gosh!] She yelled out loud in surprise. The butler asked her if everything was all right.
[No, it's nothing.] Inid lied, still reeling from shock.
In the picture was herself and Mysterious Gun Fighter Rider Kino, who was firing her MG3 as if protecting her.
It was a messy picture taken from a security camera, but that only made the scene more real.
Inid smiled and turned over to the next picture. This one was of her carefully walking through the hallway with Kino and Detective Wanwan.
The next was of the three of them, plus Samoyed Mask ƒ, discussing a battle strategy on the rooftop. Upon closer inspection, she found that Samoyed Mask f was making a V with one hand behind his back, towards the camera.
After that was a picture of herself, bravely firing the KRISS Super V with her thigh bared.
The final picture was of her pointing a revolver at the demon alongside Kino. Even Ti was visible in a corner.
Inid placed all the pictures back into the envelope.
With the warm weight on her lap, she mumbled to herself.
[That was a wonderful holiday.]
[But still, Kino, Inuyama, and Shizu-senpai all have it so rough. The Take Action Now Club is fun, but I don't know if I could take so much.]
She cocked her head as she said:
[Who'd have thought they'd have to wear cosplay while fighting demons?]
-Chapter 6 End (For real this time!)-
To be continued?