Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Kino's Journey VI: Frontispiece+Prologue

Enjoy.

* * *




Frontispiece: The Countries that Bar Entry
-Reasonable-


One spring day, a traveler knocked on the gates.

The traveler was young, wearing a brown coat and a black jacket underneath, along with a hat, goggles, and a holstered hand persuader.

The traveler was riding a motorrad.

“May I enter?” asked the traveler.

The gatekeeper scowled. “You may not! We do not permit entry to people like you. Please leave immediately!”

The traveler asked him why.

The gatekeeper replied, “Because you’re carrying a persuader! A traveler with a persuader once came to our country and wreaked havoc inside. It was the worst incident in our history. Since then, we have been turning away anyone who was armed with a persuader. You have your reason now; please turn back.”

“Couldn’t I just leave my persuader at the guardhouse here?” the traveler asked.

The gatekeeper was livid. “Certainly not! Anyone who carries a persuader is as good as insane. We couldn’t let you in even if you threw yours out!”

Disappointed, the traveler gave up and left on the motorrad.


One summer day, a traveler knocked on the gates.

The traveler was young, wearing a brown coat and a black jacket underneath, along with a hat, goggles, and a holstered hand persuader.

The traveler was riding a motorrad.

“May I enter?” asked the traveler.

The gatekeeper scowled. “You may not! We do not permit entry to people like you. Please leave immediately!”

The traveler asked him why.

The gatekeeper replied, “Because you’re on a motorrad! A traveler on a motorrad once came to our country and wreaked havoc inside. It was the worst incident in our history. Since then, we have been turning away anyone who rode on a motorrad. You have your reason now; please turn back.”

“Couldn’t I just leave keep the motorrad’s engine turned off?” the traveler asked.

The gatekeeper was livid. “Certainly not! Anyone who rides a motorrad is as good as insane. We couldn’t let you in even if you threw yours out!”

Disappointed, the traveler gave up and left on the motorrad.


One autumn day, a traveler knocked on the gates.

The traveler was young, wearing a brown coat and a black jacket underneath, along with a hat, goggles, and a holstered hand persuader.

The traveler was riding a motorrad.

“May I enter?” asked the traveler.

The gatekeeper scowled. “You may not! We do not permit entry to people like you. Please leave immediately!”

The traveler asked him why.

The gatekeeper replied, “Because you’re wearing a black jacket! A traveler in a black jacket once came to our country and wreaked havoc inside. It was the worst incident in our history. Since then, we have been turning away anyone wearing a black jacket. You have your reason now; please turn back.”

“Couldn’t I just take off the jacket?” the traveler asked.

The gatekeeper was livid. “Certainly not! Anyone who wears a black jacket is as good as insane. We couldn’t let you in even if you threw yours out!”

Disappointed, the traveler gave up and left on the motorrad.


One winter day, a traveler knocked on the gates.

The traveler was young, wearing a brown coat and a black jacket underneath, along with a hat, goggles, and a holstered hand persuader.

The traveler was riding a motorrad.

“May I enter?” asked the traveler.

The gatekeeper scowled. “You may not! We do not permit entry to people like you. Please leave immediately!”

The traveler asked him why.

The gatekeeper replied, “Because you’re carrying a persuader, riding a motorrad, and wearing a black jacket! A traveler with a persuader wearing a black jacket once came to our country by motorrad and wreaked havoc inside. It was the worst incident in our history. Since then, we have been turning away anyone who was armed with a persuader, wearing a black jacket, and riding a motorrad. You have your reason now; please turn back.”

“Couldn’t I just leave my persuader at the guardhouse, turn off the motorrad’s engine, and take off my jacket?” the traveler asked.

The gatekeeper was livid. “Certainly not! Anyone who carries a persuader, rides a motorrad, and wears a black jacket is as good as insane. We couldn’t let you in even if you threw them out!”

“That’s unfortunate. I have furs from all sorts of unusual animals from the forest with me, but it looks like I won’t be doing business here.”

Disappointed, the traveler gave up and turned.

But the gatekeeper stopped the traveler.

“Now that I think about it, a persuader is vital for traveling through the dangerous outlands, and a motorrad is a convenient way to get around. And black jackets are elegant, to boot. It suits you. I think it would be a real shame to turn away a traveler in the winter. Please come inside.”

“Really? Then by all means.”

The traveler entered the country.

* * *



Frontispiece: The Neutral Stories
-All Alone-


Once upon a time, a traveler lay dead on the roadside. His bags were stuffed with valuables.

A pair of travelers happened to be passing by. They each insisted on taking all of the dead man’s valuables and refused to give an inch.

That was when another traveler happened to pass by. He asked the pair what they were arguing about.

The pair explained the situation and asked him, “Who are you going to side with?”

“Neither. I choose to be neutral,” said the traveler.

“Really?” “Really?”

The pair shot him and happily split two people’s worth of valuables amongst themselves.


Once upon a time, a traveler lay dead on the roadside. His bags were stuffed with valuables.

A pair of travelers happened to be passing by. They each insisted on taking all of the dead man’s valuables and refused to give an inch.

That was when Shizu happened to pass by. He asked the pair what they were arguing about.

The pair explained the situation and asked him, “Who are you going to side with?”

“Neither. I choose to be neutral,” said Shizu.

“Really?” “Really?”

The pair tried to shoot him. Shizu deflected the bullets with his sword.

“Please get along and divide the valuables amongst yourselves. Or I will cut you both down,” Shizu told the pair as they stood in shock.


Once upon a time, a traveler lay dead on the roadside. His bags were stuffed with valuables.

A pair of travelers happened to be passing by. They each insisted on taking all of the dead man’s valuables and refused to give an inch.

That was when Kino happened to pass by on Hermes. She asked the pair what they were arguing about.

The pair explained the situation and asked her, “Who are you going to side with?”

“I’m afraid I’m not interested. It’s up to you,” Kino said, and departed on Hermes before they could respond.


Once upon a time, a traveler lay dead on the roadside. His bags were stuffed with valuables.

A pair of travelers happened to be passing by. They each insisted on taking all of the dead man’s valuables and refused to give an inch.

That was when Master and a slightly short but handsome man happened to pass by. She asked the pair what they were arguing about.

The pair explained the situation and asked her, “Who are you going to side with?”

“Me,” Master said, as she and her partner held up the pair at gunpoint.

* * *



Frontispiece: The Story of a Tank
-Life Goes On-


Once upon a time, there was a traveler named Kino.

Kino was a human, very young but a master with a persuader.

Kino’s traveling partner was Hermes the motorrad. His luggage rack was stacked with travel gear. Because Kino was a traveler, they were visiting all sorts of countries.


One afternoon, Kino and Hermes were resting in the woods.

The forest was dark. Barely any sunlight filtered in between the leaves. That was when they heard a tremendous noise, the sound of trees collapsing. Birds fluttered loudly into the air.

“What was that?” Kino wondered out loud, rising from a fallen tree.

“It’s a tank, Kino,” Hermes said from the narrow road.

The sound of snapping bark grew louder and louder, and the ground began to rumble.

Eventually, a floating tank emerged from the woods, leaving a path as wide as its frame. With a thud, the tank felled one last tree and came to a stop.

The tank floated at about Kino’s shoulder-level. Its body, armor, and rotating turret were covered in broken twigs and leaves.

“Hello, Motorrad. Hello, Rider,” said the tank.

“Hello, Tank. How’s your lifter doing?” asked Hermes.

“Hm. Not too bad. I almost never have to fly very high anymore,” the tank replied. “What are you doing?”

“Traveling. And you?” asked Kino, looking up at the massive tank.

“Excellent question,” the tank said, “I’m looking for a tank.”

“A tank?”

“What’re you gonna do when you find it?” asked Hermes.

“Shoot it down, of course.”

Kino glanced down at Hermes. “You mean with your cannon?”

“That’s right. The strongest weapon in my arsenal. A 200mm smoothbore cannon,” the tank replied, moving the barrel to show Kino and Hermes. The cannon was in the shape of a long cylinder with a slightly thick section in the middle. Thin white lines were painted on it from front to back, like the pattern of a zebra.

“Why?”

“Because I was ordered to.”

“Ordered?”

“That’s right,” the tank replied, moving the turret up and down.

“By who?” asked Hermes.

“The captain. The human who used to ride inside.”

“Used to? Where is he now?”

“He used to sit inside and give me orders or look after me. We fought together through many battles and defeated countless enemies. Look at the kill count on my barrel. We destroyed a lot more, but there wasn’t room there to paint any more. Isn’t it amazing? But the captain fell in battle half a year ago. The hatch was ajar, and a bullet flew inside. It ricocheted all over, and he died in agony. He’s all decayed now. All that’s left are his clothes, helmet, and bones. Would you like to see?”

“No thank you,” Kino said politely. “What about his orders?”

“When he died, the captain gave orders to destroy a tank. It was a black unit with three vertical red lines on the right side of its turret, and a tapir painted on the side. He said the tank had to be destroyed at any cost, so now I’m looking for it. My sensors can find enemies day and night, rain or shine or fog, but it just hasn’t picked up on this one. Traveler, have you by any chance seen this tank on your travels?”

“No,” Kino replied with a shake of the head.

“I see. But that’s fine. I’m going to keep searching. I’ll find it, no matter what. Because that is my mission. My duty.”

The tank seemed to be talking to itself as much as it was to Kino and Hermes.

“I understand. Please go ahead. Hermes and I will rest here a little longer,” said Kino.

“Really? Then I’ll be going now. Still lots of places to look in. Goodbye, Motorrad. Goodbye, Traveler.”

The tank went on its way again, floating through the forest and felling the trees in its path. It went on and on without turning even the slightest to the side.


Kino watched the floating tank depart.

“That’s it, right?” Hermes asked.

“Yeah. But…”

Kino gazed at the tank in the distance. It was black with three vertical red lines on the right side of its turret, and a tapir painted on the side. Kino’s eyes did not leave the tank until it had disappeared into the woods.




I vow that I cannot vow.
I can vow that I shall not vow.

I can vow that I cannot vow.
-I don’t trust me-



Prologue: A Vow・B
-A Kitchen Knife・B-


And…and…

I don’t know what to write anymore.

I think I’m tearing up again.

I can’t get it out of my mind. The basket and the darling thing inside. I’m choking up.


I’m so happy.

I’ve never been so happy in my entire life.

This day will stay with me forever. I will never forget what happened today.

What else is there to say?

What more could I add?

Is there anything more I should write?

That today was a wonderful day. I’ve written that over and over again already. But have I written that no matter how many times I repeat it, it will never be enough?


This is what it means to love. This is adoration for the most precious treasure in my life. I will protect this treasure with all I have, forever and always.


It’s too much. If only it weren’t the middle of the night, I’d break out dancing and shouting for the whole country to hear.

I will never, ever forget how wonderful today was.


I am the luckiest man in the world.

And today is the greatest day of my life.

No, from today on, every day of my life will be great. Always.


I don’t think I’m making sense anymore. It’s too hard to go on without rambling. I should stop writing for today.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for translating this series, love your work, and you always pick great series. Kino no Tabi is probably the most consistently great light novel, I swear I've yet to read a volume where the quality takes a dive. One of the best light novels, along with Bakemonogatari and Spice and Wolf imo.

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