Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Kino's Journey II: Frontispiece+Prologue

Here's the first update of the Kino's Journey re-translation project.

One thing you may notice from the outset is that double-page illustrations have not been put together. That is because I am 1. terrible at image editing, and 2. currently without any image editing software. If anyone could lend a hand with the illustration scans, I'd very much appreciate it. Problem solved. Thanks to Ella.servantes for the scans!

Oh, and I lied about the updates: I won't be posting one chapter every Wednesday--sometimes I'll post two, or maybe even more, depending on how much I have completed by that point. I may still miss a few Wednesdays for longer chapters, though.

I've made one change in particular that I'd been meaning to make for a while. The in-story term 'liquid gunpowder' (which is not an oxymoron in the Japanese language!) will be replaced by the made-up term 'gunfluid' until I (or possibly one of you readers) come up with something that sounds better.

Welcome back to Kino's Journey!

* * *

The Story of a Sniper

Once upon a time, there was a deep, deep forest.
Nearby was a hill. A hill with a view of the whole forest.
On the hill was a sniper. A sniper lying on his stomach, curled up with a long sniper persuader.
The sniper scrutinized every dark and distant inch of the forest through his scope.
Suddenly, something stirred by the beautiful lake in the forest.
The sniper spied a man splashing and frolicking in the water, completely naked.
The sniper lay completely still for a time, but soon took aim precisely at the slightly short but handsome man in the lake. One pull of the trigger and a bullet would be fired at terrifying speed, taking the man’s life. The lake would turn red.
The sniper composed himself and—
“Don’t shoot.”
He heard a clear, beautiful voice from above the back of his head. Startled, he slowly looked up. There stood a woman.
She was a stunning woman in fashionable clothes and shimmering black hair. In her right hand was a large-caliber revolver. It was pointed precisely at the sniper’s head.
“Sorry for scaring you. But don’t move. It’d be a waste of bullets and gunfluid if I missed,” said the woman.
The sniper slowly responded. “Why are you doing this?”
The woman replied with a smile, revolver still trained on his head, “Because you killed the people in the forest. The families, friends, and lovers of your victims hired me to kill you.”
“In other words,” said the sniper. “You’re here to kill me?”
The woman nodded.
The sniper spoke again, “Then why aren’t you pulling the trigger?”
An uncomfortable look rose to the woman’s face. “That’s a great question,” she said, and began to explain. “Actually, right after I took this job, a different group of people from the same country matched the first group’s pay and asked me to not kill you. A lot of people wanted you dead, I can tell you, but at the same time, just as many people said that you avenged them, got rid of trouble for them, helped them get their inheritance faster, put a terminal patient out of their misery, or took care of pests, et cetera. To them, you were fortune incarnate.”
“I see.”
“So I wondered what I should do with you the whole way here. I’m still wondering.”
“If that’s the case…”
“Then give me an order. So far, I’ve shot every person I’ve seen. But from now on, I’ll only shoot one person out of a certain number—a number that I’ll leave up to you. I will do as you decide. Now fewer people will die in this forest, but never none.”
“That’s an excellent idea.”
The woman decided on a number and told the sniper. The number was very complex and required difficult calculations, so it will not be written down here.
Without shooting the sniper, the woman went down the hill and into the forest.
The man was still wading in the lake. The moment he spotted the woman, he rushed to her side—still naked—on the verge of tears.
“What took you so long, Master? You almost had me thinking something had gone wrong!”
The woman seemed a little taken aback, but told the man that his job was done and that he should put his clothes back on.
The man scrambled into his clothes and asked the woman, “in any case, seeing as we’re both still alive and well, I suppose you’ve killed the target?”
The man was stunned. So stunned, in fact, that he strung both his legs into the same pant leg and wobbled to the ground.
The woman explained what had happened.
“B-but doesn’t that mean he could pull the trigger on us any moment?” the man pointed out, but the woman simply strode over to her car—a small, old piece of rust that looked just about ready to explode. The man hurried after her.
In the car, the man asked, “What now, Master? Without his head, we’re not going to get the bounty. And you haven’t simply left him to do his business, which means we’re not going to get the other fee.”
“I know,” the woman said with an elegant smile, starting the engine. “But I have the down payments from both clients. We’ll take off with those.”
The man seemed to want to say something, but the woman ignored him and hit the gas.
A large bullet came zooming at where the car had been only a moment ago. It hit a tree instead and severed the trunk.
The car continued.

The forest is still there today. The sniper is still on the hill.

What is right? Who is right?
Is something right? Is someone right?

-What is ‘right’?-

* * *

Prologue: In the Middle of the Desert・B
-Beginner’s Luck・B-

It was raining.
Sheets of rain pounded the ground without end.
All around was nothing but mist and rain. The drumming of the droplets showed no sign of ceasing. It was a dark afternoon.
Someone stood in the heavy rain.
A young human, about 15 years of age.
The human’s long brown coat was only enough to shield her body from the droplets. Rain soaked her short, black hair, which clung to her forehead and sent water streaming down her face. The human stuck out her tongue to lick at the water on her lips.
“Not every day you see this much rain in a place like this. It’s really strange,” someone said. The voice sounded like that of a young boy, but it seemed to be disembodied.
Suddenly, the human in the brown coat looked into the sky.
The rain splattered against her face and shot into her mouth. Water flowed down her cheeks like tears.
“Aha hah! Hah hah hah hah!”
Without warning, the human burst into laughter. With her face to the sky, mouth wide open, and arms stretched toward the heavens.
“Aha hah! Hah hah hah hah!”
The human laughed joyously, spinning as though in a dance. Her coat fluttered like a long dress.
“Aha hah! Hah hah hah hah! Hah hah hah hah hah!”
The human laughed and danced for some time before pointing a finger at a place beyond the sheets of rain.
“Well?” she asked.
There was no answer. The human spoke again.
“What do you think, Hermes?”
This time, she received a response.
“Not much of it, I guess.”
“Not much of it?”
The disembodied reply came a moment’s pause later.
“This doesn’t make things very exciting for me. So I guess I feel a mix of emotions.”
“Aha hah hah! Hah hah hah hah!”
The human looked up once again and laughed.
“What are you going to do now, Kino?” asked the voice.
“I don’t know. What should I do? Keep wondering what to do?” the human called Kino replied before bursting into laughter again.
The rain showed no sign of letting up anytime soon.


  1. Now this is amazing news! I'm really glad to hear Kino's getting the attention it so deserves once again. Thanks very much!

  2. May I ask as to why you went with calling her human. Also out of curiosity what would you say you do differently to baka tsuki both in format and translation style and personal preferences of your own. Thank you also for taking this damn old series on.

  3. How about changing gunfluid to liquid propellant?

  4. That's a great idea! I'll use 'liquid propellant' for all future instances of the word, and go back to change it in earlier updates (eventually). Thank you for your input.