Friday, 1 August 2014

Gakuen Kino 5 - Prologue

This novel is, as usual, a work of fiction.

It has absolutely nothing to do with real events, truths, Kino’s Journey ~the Beautiful World~, or a certain high school baseball club. Really.

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Chapter 8 - If the Female Manager of the High School Baseball Team Calls on Chako-Sensei of the Take Action Now Club
~Combatfield of Dreams~


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Prologue: Suddenly, Chako-sensei
~a Sunday Morning~


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It was early morning on Sunday one November.

6:30 am. It was already growing bright outside. Though the world was glowing beautifully, the only people out and about at this hour on Sunday were people who worked and people who had plans for the day. That’s generally what you’d call a minority.

And,

“Snore… mm… zzz… yawn… Beretta… Colt…”

The girl sleeping here, mumbling strange things in her sleep—

“Zzz… Remington…”

—was part of the majority. Other than her unusual sleep talk.

This was a certain room in a high school dormitory.

A girl lay on a simple wooden bed, hugging a blue blanket.

She was in her mid-teens. Her short black hair stood in every direction like a bird’s nest—as usual, she must not have dried it before she went to bed last night.

Her choice of clothing were thick pajamas. They were in the style of the Swedish army’s camouflage uniforms, bright green with patterns drawn in straight lines.

Please do not ask the author, publisher, or the Swedish army where you can buy this product.

Hanging from the wall were a green-based winter sailor uniform and a gun belt, presumably the girl’s. The belt was equipped with several small pouches and a holster housing a model gun.

On the desk was a partly-read monthly firearms magazine, several textbooks, and a cell phone strap. A chic strap of green leather and gold metal bits.

Chirp. Chirp. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet tweet. Chirp chirp chirp.

From the distance echoed the songs of little birds. That was how quiet it was this morning in this room.

As there were no classes today, it seems the girl had not set her alarm.

On Sundays, you could have breakfast until later in the dormitory cafeteria, so there was no reason to force yourself to get up early.

I don’t need no breakfast! Some cry, and bravely forfeit the meal. Then they can sleep in until 11:30 am.

I don’t need no lunch! Laziness prevails! Some cry, and sleep in for as long as they want to.

Could there be any greater happiness than waking up when your eyes flutter open of their own accord? I think not.

That was the tranquil peace that enveloped the room. Until—

“HELLO~! GOOD MORNING!”

—an interloper intruded with a spirited cry.

Interloper(n): Someone who enters a situation where they are not wanted.

In other words, the phrase ‘an interloper intruded’ has all the redundancy of ‘my headache hurts’, ‘newspaper paper’, and ‘the earliest first’, but the intrusion was so fantastic that no one would be bothered.

The intruder was a woman in her early twenties. She was voluptuous and tall, and also attractively slender. She had short white hair and emerald-green eyes. It was clear as day that she was not Japanese, but please don’t ask me what country she’s from.

She was wearing green sweats with white lines. The author knows exactly where such stylish clothes are sold. Just google ‘Meg and Seron sweatshirt+sweatpants’.

Back to the intrusion.

“ACK!”

The girl in the bed rose with a very loud start.

She rolled out of bed and reached under her pillow, as though saying, who do you think you are, intruding on a dormitory room that was locked for privacy? You can’t complain about getting shot now. However—

“Ah! Where’s the gun I hid?!”

Vainly enough, her hands caught nothing but thin air. This isn’t your house back in Hokkaido. But then again, concealing guns under your pillow is illegal there, too.

“Wh-who goes there?”

The bewildered girl shot a sleepy glare at the woman in front of her door. She sounded a bit like she’d stepped out of a historical drama.

“It’s me, Kino. Hello, ohayo, good morning, guten tag!”

“Hm? Huh? Wait, Chako-sensei?”

The girl named Kino fell to the floor by her bed, blinking. Standing in her dim room was someone she knew very well. Her teacher, Kuroshima Chako.

She was the English teacher at the school, the supervisor of the Take Action Now Club, and the one who forcibly dragged Kino into the club. She was an incredibly odd duck who was by no means normal. You can tell how far-out she is by reading what Kino thinks of her. ↑

First, Kino breathed a sigh of relief at the fact that the intruder was not a stranger.

She glanced at the clock by her bed without a word, made very sure of how abnormally early it was, and asked the obvious question.

“Sensei, the door was locked.”

Chako-sensei proudly held up a strangely-shaped object(blurred out to prevent readers from trying it at home) and replied,

“This baby was all I needed. It was a piece of cake, really. And FYI, it’s asagohan mae. Before breakfast.”

“Enough with the silly jokes, Sensei. What are you doing so early? I’m sleepy.”

“Say that in English, now.”

“I am sleepy.”

“Excellent! So change into your sweats and follow me!”

“Could you explain the meaning of ‘so’ in Japanese, now?”

“That’s an excellent question. I said that we’d all be playing baseball today, remember? I waited and waited, but I got so sick of waiting for everyone to show up that I came to get you!”

“Baseball? …You mean that thing where people hit balls and throw them?”

“Yes. Baseball in English and baseball in German. Today’s the game! How could you sleep in on the big day?”

“I honestly have no idea when you mentioned a baseball game.”

“I’ll tell you the details now. And don’t worry about the batting order—I don’t care even if you butt in line.”

“Sensei, I’m sleepy and hungry. I don’t wanna do anything today. Good night.”

“Wait! This is the kind of time when you should be trying your hardest! At this rate, you’ll live your entire life being nothing but a high school girl who loves guns!”

“I don’t plan on being a high school girl forever.”

“But once you take up baseball, you’ll be a high school girl who loves guns and has played baseball! HSGWLGAHPB for short.”

“I don’t need a nickname that sounds like a foreign radio channel. I might bite my tongue if I try to pronounce it. I’m going back to bed now…”

As Kino slowly squirmed back into bed,

“That’s a shame. I suppose I should give up for today…” Chako-sensei sighed, scratching her head.

Great, Kino thought, returning to bed at a snail’s pace and crawling into her still-warm blankets. She pulled them up, and just as she prepared to enter sleep mode,

“I was planning to get us the special breakfast set menu from ________, the world’s tastiest restaurant; the boxed lunch from ________, where you’d have to be lucky to get a meal even after waiting in line; and the full-course dinner at ________. But if you insist on not playing baseball, I suppose there’s nothing I can do.”

Three seconds after Chako-sensei finished speaking, Kino finished changing into the red school-issue sweats.

With her hair still an unholy mess, she looked up with glittering eyes at Chako-sensei.

“Did you really think you could win without my help?”


“I’ll be waiting downstairs, so come on down soon.” Chako-sensei said, leaving the room.

“I can’t slack on club activities. No sir. …ssssp.

Oh, she’s drooling. Kino sucked in saliva.

“Baseball this time, huh? Well, it’s not like we get a lot of demon attacks these days.” Hermes spoke for the first time in this book. He usually keeps his mouth shut when other people are around, so it’s only natural that he doesn’t get many lines.

“Yeah. True.” Kino said lazily. Hermes was right. Students hadn’t been falling to temptation recently. The most recent victims were the villains hunting Inid and the villains who were after Sara.

After half a year of chaos and confusion, the students would no longer be tempted that easily.

And it was true that being a warrior of justice had become pretty boring recently. Hermes spoke.

“It’s okay to take a break once and have fun in a while. As long as you don’t trouble other people.”

“Just have faith in me, Hermes. As long as I’m on the team, victory is a guarantee!”

“Huh. Have you ever played baseball?” Hermes asked surprised. Kino confidently shook her head.

“As if. But—”

“But?”

“It’s a sport where you follow the ball. It’s just like shooting. Piece of cake.”

“I don’t think I follow your train of thought.”


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[Narration: Kino]

The Challenge Menu… developed alongside the rapid evolution of the Growling Stomach, it is a chance for gourmands of all walks to test their mettle.

But this challenge gave birth to a new threat to society—the professional gourmand.

Terrified by the recurrent raids of professional gourmands, each and every branch of eatery created an information network in the main store to fight off the coming enemy. To be specific, when gourmands like Kino appeared, they quickly closed shop.

Kino’s everyday life and the identity of the Annoyed Growling Stomach… ended in a hungry tragedy.


An introduction to the characters of this story:

Kino
A female student in her fourth year at the academy. (Equivalent to her first year of high school)

What’s there to hide? She’s the protagonist. It’s not like it was ever a secret.

With a holstered model gun and a belt with pouches full of firearms around her sailor uniform, she is a perfectly ordinary student attending a secondary school in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture. So common you might as well call her a Zubat.

Growing up with her grandmother in Hokkaido, she learned etiquette and how to use all kinds of firearms. The training made her strong.

Even though no one gives her medals or anything, she transforms into the warrior of justice, 'Mysterious Bishoujo Gun Fighter Rider Kino', and fights day and night against demons—people who have fallen to the temptation of evil—that attack the schools, all in order to turn them back into human form. She is accompanied by Hermes, the talking cell phone strap.

What lies in her heart? Justice? Or food?


Hermes
A mysterious talking cell phone strap.

The one who granted Kino the power to become a warrior of justice—AKA the series mascot.

Because he is shaped like a cell phone strap made of leather and metal, he’s not a very cute mascot. But many magical girl series have already proven that cute mascots aren’t everything.

He is a character of many mysteries, and one day the power he hides within will be unleashed. Maybe.


Shizu
A male student in his sixth year at the academy. (Equivalent to his third year of high school)

The top student in his year, a handsome and popular young man who always carries a sword at his side.

He met Kino by coincidence and is quite close to her, and he is a member and cornerstone of the Take Action Now Club. Chako-sensei trusts him with the firmness of the ice covering Antarctica.

All that makes him look like just another good guy, but his true identity is the incurable pervert and self-styled warrior of justice known as Samoyed Mask.

There’s something about his actions as he gets in Kino’s way each time she tries to seal a demon that makes it almost seem like he’s actually the guy behind the demon attacks. Kino shoots him on sight every time.

His greatest weakness is Ti. Every time he sees her, he is struck by a wave of agony that paralyzes him on the spot. The reasons are not yet known.


Samoyed Mask
See:Shizu

This subheading is unnecessary, but I always end up putting it in. Must be because he’s Samoyed Mask.


Inuyama Wanwan Rikutarou
A mysterious student who transferred into Kino’s class. There’s a lot of mysteries in this story. He is a beautiful boy with long, soft white hair who almost looks like a girl. Chikyū bishōnen desu.

Because he pursues Kino with irritating stubbornness, Inuyama has earned her hatred. But since entering the Take Action Now Club, she’s allowed him to at least be near her for club activities.

He also shows a great deal of hostility towards Shizu, but the reasons are still a mystery today and will probably remain a mystery tomorrow.

Chako-sensei is very fond of Inuyama, often hugging him from behind and putting her chin on his head as she teaches class. It’s just another day in the classroom for the students.


Detective Wanwan
A mysterious white-haired boy in black clothes and sunglasses who fights using the Septuple-Gun Fist Style, a dangerous martial art that involves dual-wielding guns while evading attacks. He looks a lot like someone, but hey, they say everyone’s got a couple of doppelgängers in the world.

Ti seems to be very fond of Detective Wanwan. Once she gets a hold of him from behind, he is rendered powerless. He can’t throw her off now.


Kuroshima Chako
An English teacher of unnecessary beauty who suddenly started teaching at the school. Her white hair and emerald-green eyes are incredibly attractive.

However, she acts like a complete weirdo. She shows little—in fact, no remorse about causing people trouble. But she’s very popular with the students. She’s also the one who founded the Take Action Now Club.

For some reason, she is extremely fond of Inuyama and has a tendency to hug him from behind and rest her chin on his head. The reason is unknown. Because it is.


Ti
A little girl who suddenly appears in the midst of battles against demons, just like a zashiki-warashi(1).

She looks to be about twelve years of age. She has white hair and green eyes. She uses Mk 2 grenades(the type used by the US military) and doesn’t deign to face most demons.

She is Samoyed Mask’s greatest weakness. What in the world happened in the past, and who in the world is she? Will anyone ever find out?


Sara
A female student in her first year at the academy. (Equivalent to her first year of junior high school)

Her long hair is tied in pigtails, and there are freckles on her face. She is a relatively homely girl at first glance. But in reality, she is a singer of terrifying skill who was secretly the singing half of the nationwide idol, Anete Harami.

Now that the truth has been revealed, she attends school while walking the path of the singer. She is a temporary member of the Take Action Now Club. Because she is an orphan, she lives in the dorms like Kino.

FYI, she loves Elias. What a charming couple.


Elias
A male student in his first year at the academy. (Equivalent to his first year of junior high school)

His parents are foreigners, but he was born and raised in Japan.

He’s a bit weak-hearted, but he sympathizes with Sara’s situation more than anyone and supported her emotionally. But that’s not that well known to readers, since it wasn’t really shown in the previous volume(Editorial dept.: Obviously.).

He fell to demonic temptation and became a demon to help Sara, but he wasn’t turned back by Kino. He just came back on his own.

He has no memories of his time as a demon, but what kind of power his tiny form holds is a complete mystery.


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Chapter 8 (Part 1)


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(1) A childlike spirit that haunts homes.


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