girls, dance, staircase // Liz to Aoi Tori End Roll Theme

transcribed by ear

I just finished reading the book the movie リズと青い鳥/Liz und ein blauer Vogel/Liz and the Bluebird is based on, so this was inevitable.

girls, dance, staircase
歌:小野豊
作編曲:牛尾憲輔
歌詞:山田尚子

ことり響いた靴の音をそっと閉じ込めた
柔らかい光ふわり やがて踊りだす少女

kotori hibiita kutsu no oto wo sotto tojikometa
yawarakai hikari fuwari yagate odoridasu shoujo

faint footsteps sound quietly contained
in soft light hovering, her dance begins

君の声響かせて どうか綴らせて
爪先でくるり舞う 刻まれる記憶

kimi no koe hibikasete douka tsudzurasete
tsumasaki de kururi mau kizamareru kioku

let your voice ring, your story be told
on tip-toes turning, memories are written

今私の身体に その鼓動を映して 
このまま この場所で 合いの手を鳴らしていよう

ima watashi no karada ni sono kodou wo utsushite
kono mama kono basho de ai no te wo narashiteiyou

let your heartbeat be conveyed to mine
so that here, right now I may clap in unison

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Blue Beauty

Oh, as a matter of course, kouhai-kun.

Find this album on [bandcamp].

Blue Beauty
デザイアドライブ|東方神霊廟
Vocals: 0P2C
Arrangement: Sieudiver
Lyrics: Amen
Album: Fearless Desire
Circle: Sieudiver
Event: Reitaisai 15 (May 6th, 2018)

願い事 抱きしめ 宙を舞い漂う
雲を抜け ここまで 雨は届かないの
何もかも 綺麗で 全部欲しくなちゃった
木漏れ日 花 星 私の物にするわ

negaigoto dakishime chuu wo maitadayou
kumo wo nuke koko made ame wa todokanai no
nani mo ka mo kirei de zen’bu hoshiku nachatta
komorebi hana hoshi watashi no mono ni suru wa

I embrace my wants, floating through the air
Having broken through the clouds, the rain won’t reach me here
I want everything, everything beautiful I feel must be mine
The light through the treetops, flowers and stars, they’ll be all mine

欲深いと言っても構わない
追いかけ続ける
数え切れない景色が目に
残る 消えない 消せない

yokubukai to ittemo kamawanai
oikaketsudzukeru
kazoekirenai keshiki ga me ni
nokoru kienai kesenai

You can call me greedy, I don’t care
I’ll keep chasing after what I want
All the countless scenes I’ve seen are left
Lingering permanently in my mind’s eye

銀色の涙 ボロボロ
辿り着く所々の宝物
集めては 更に堕ちてく
欲望に溺れるの
沈むのを 止められない 止められない
手にした物 重過ぎて

gin’iro no namida poroporo
tadoritsuku tokorodokoro no takaramono
atsumete wa sara ni ochiteku
yokubou ni oboreru no
shizumu no wo tomerarenai tomerarenai
te ni shita mono omosugite

Silver tears drip down
The countless treasures I reach
Only serve my descent as I collect them
Drowning in desire
I can’t stop sinking, can’t stop sinking
Everything I’ve obtained is far too heavy

星が欲しかったのに 空はもう飛べない
深い海 その底 流されて彷徨う
今はまた 懲りずに 宝物を探す
真珠 渦 サメ 駄目 これ以上抱えきれない

hoshi ga hoshikatta no ni sora wa mou tobenai
fukai umi sono soko nagasarete samayou
ima wa mata korizu ni takaramono wo sagasu
shin’ju uzu same dame kore ijou kakaekirenai

Though I wanted the stars, no longer can I fly
Instead I wander the depths of deep oceans
Searching for more treasures, have I learned nothing?
Pearls and whirlpools, sharks — but no, I cannot carry any more!

楽しいはずなのになぜ
心が叫ぶの
どれだけ集めればいいの
雫 雫 零す

tanoshii hazu nano ni naze
kokoro ga sakebu no
doredake atsumereba ii no
shizuku shizuku kobosu

This should be fun, yet why
Why does my heart cry out so?
How much until I’m satisfied?
Droplets overflow one by one

銀色の涙 ボロボロ
辿り着く所々の宝物
集めては 更に堕ちてく
欲望に溺れるの
沈むのを 止められない 止められない
手にした物 重過ぎて

gin’iro no namida poroporo
tadoritsuku tokorodokoro no takaramono
atsumete wa sara ni ochiteiku
yokubou ni oboreru no
shizumu no wo tomerarenai tomerarenai
te ni shita mono omosugite

Silver tears drip down
The countless treasures I reach
Only serve my descent as I collect them
Drowning in desire
I can’t stop sinking, can’t stop sinking
Everything I’ve obtained is far too heavy

家に帰ると びっくり
その場所で 見つけたのは 見過ごしてた
何よりも 大切な日々
暖かな お茶 飲んで
焦りなく ゆっくりできる 恋しかったよ
私の輝く日常

ie ni kaeru to bikkuri
sono basho de mitsuketa no wa misugoshiteta
nani yori mo taisetsu na hibi
atatakana ocha non’de
aserinaku yukkuri dekiru koishikatta yo
watashi no kagayaku nichijou

Returning home, I’m surprised
What I found there, I had overlooked
Days more precious than anything else
Drinking warm tea
Having nowhere to hurry, O how I missed this!
My shining everyday life

昊飛ぶ郵便屋さん // Sora Tobu Yuubin’ya-San

This song references all of the other characters and songs on the album.

Spunky.

Notes:
“A symbol that looks like ‘te'” is Japan’s postal symbol: 〒 which looks like the katakana テ.

昊飛ぶ郵便屋さん
 Sora Tobu Yuubin’ya-san
 Sky Flying Postal Worker
蠢々秋月~Night Insect|東方永夜抄
Vocal: 神波千尋
Arrange: 飴野ヲルカ (Mano, 平茸)
Lyrics: 飴野はるつみ
Circle: 全自動少女 “Automata Girl”
Album: 櫻雨キネマトグラフ〜大正壹佰年奇譚〜
 “Sakuraame Cinématographe ~Taishou Ippyakunen’ Kitan~”
Event: C83

眞赤な帽子が未だ奇麗な新参者です
鳥渡ばかりの手紙と荷を届けます
てな具合で今日も奔り聲を報せやうか
裏路 近路 渾ての路は何とやらだ
モガの彼奴も通りすがりの簦屋も 花売る彼の子の處だって

maaka na boushi ga mada kirei na shin’zan’mono desu
chotto bakari no tegami to ni wo todokemasu
te na guai de kyou mo hashiri koe wo shiraseyou ka
uramichi chikamichi subete no michi wa nan’to yara da
moga no aitsu mo toorisugari no kasaya mo hana-uru ano ko no toko datte

I’m a brand spanking new recruit, my bright red hat still crisp and clean!
“Miss or Sir I’m here to-day to deliver a few letters, or packages be that the case!”
That’s enough practice — so with a hop, skip and a jump, shall I be off?
A back-way here a short-cut there, after all, all roads lead to… Where was it again?
To that “Modern Girl”, the umbrella seller just passing through, to even the flower-girl I go!

リンと鳴らしてひとつ飛び! キヤラメル齧り亦、昊へ
迷って廻って日が昏て 家路識れず

rin to narashite hitotsu tobi! caramel kajiri mata, sora e
mayotte mawatte hi ga kurete ieji shirezu

Ring goes the bell as I hop off again, a caramel in my mouth, off again to the sky!
Get lost here, turned around there, the sun’s setting and I don’t know the way back home!

「テ」に似た印が未だ煌めく働き者です
其れ相応だけの手紙と荷を届けます
てな具合で今日も奔り聲を報せやうか
路地裡の卜者 ドレス纏った貴婦人も
怪し説教 逃路絶たれ敢無く ポケツト探ればほうら

“te” ni nita shirushi ga mada kirameku hatarakimono desu
sore souou dake no tegami to ni wo todokemasu
te na guai de kyou mo hashiri koe wo shiraseyou ka
rojiura no bokusha dress matotta kifujin’ mo
ayashisekkyou nigemichi tatare aenaku pocket sagureba houra

I’m a fresh snappy worker, the symbol on my uniform still sparkling new!
“As such, Miss or Sir, you’d rightfully expect me to deliver a good number of things!”
That’ll work I think — so with a hop, skip and a jump, shall I be off?
Gotta visit the back-alley fortune-teller as well as that madame in her dress
Cornered again by the woman with her dodgy sermons,
 gotta search my pockets — there goes my change!

参佰米だつてひとつ飛び! キヤラメル齧り亦、昊へ
些し怖くて厭になる日も在るけれど

san’byaku meter datte hitotobi! caramel kajiri mata, sora e
sukoshi kowakute iya ni naru hi mo aru keredo

Three hundred meters for me is but a hop! With a caramel in my mouth, it’s back to the sky!
Sure there are days that are scary or that get me down, but still!

何處かの誰かが明日嗤ふやうにと
詰り其れが妾の意味

dokoka no dareka ga ashita warau you ni to
tsumari sore ga watashi no imi

So that someone somewhere will get a good laugh tomorrow…
That’s the reason I get up in the morning!

眞赤な帽子が好く似合ふと評判物です
寒さにも敗けずに何だって届けます
てな具合で今日も奔り聲を報せやうか
ヲンナルポライタア 無愛想面の執事にも
深ひ霧を抜け階段昇る先には 未だ見ぬ世界が竢つてゐるんだ

maaka na boushi ga yoku niau to hyouban’mono desu
samusa ni mo makezu ni nan’datte todokemasu
te na guai de kyou mo hashiri koe wo shiraseyou ka
on’na-repo-writer buaisoudzura no shitsuji ni mo
fukai kiri wo nuke kaidan’ noboru saki ni wa mada minu sekai ga matteirun’da

Folks tell me they like my bright red hat, that it fits me nicely!
“Miss or Sir, be guaranteed I’ll deliver, through rain, wind or snow!”
Yeah, let’s go with that — so with a hop, skip and a jump, shall I be off?
Still have to visit that writer-reporter woman and the butler with the unwelcoming face
Through the fog and up those stairs there’s a world yet unseen waiting for me!

凛と構へてひとつ飛び! 遣らねば誰が往けるのか
竦んで震へて戸惑つても進むのさ

rin’ to kamaete hitotsu tobi! yaraneba dare ga yukeru no ka
sukun’de furuete tomadottemo susumu no sa

Let’s hop to it — but with a dignified manner. If I don’t do this job, who will?
Even if I hesitate, get frightened or down, I’ll get right back up and keep going!

今日の自分を追掛けて 光に向つて亦、昊へ
辷つて転んで躓ひたつて嗤ふのさ

kyou mo jibun’ wo oikakete hikari ni mukatte mata, sora e
subette koron’de tsumadzuitatte warau no sa

Today again, I’m chasing after my ideal self, off into the light, to the sky!
Even if I slip and fall or get caught in a rut, you won’t catch a frown on my face!

アンサー // Answer // 3月のライオン Opening Theme 1


This song brings tears to my eyes.

Seeing 姉弟子 led me to watch Ryuuou no Oshigoto, which led me to go back to 3月のライオン/3-gatsu no Lion/March Comes in like a Lion (a far better show) again, when I really should be packing.

We’re all suffering, you and I and others too, but you’re a light for me, and if anything I wish I could be one for you as well.

Notes:
Most of the decisions settling on I/You/We are based on context and other clues, but are by no means definite. The same goes with the first line being framed as a question. (It felt like a question because of the tone, but whether it is a question or statement in this context doesn’t really change anything.) Notable exceptions are “you” in the 5th stanza and the I in “No one else may, but I know”. Switching even a few of those pronouns around would be enough to change the meaning, but this is what I settled on.

アンサー
 Answer
3月のライオン OP1
BUMP OF CHICKEN

魔法の言葉 覚えてる 虹の始まったところ
あの時 世界の全てに 一瞬で色が付いた
転ばないように 気をつけて
でも どこまでも行かなきゃ

mahou no kotoba oboeteru niji no hajimatta tokoro
ano toki sekai no subete ni isshun’ de iro ga tsuita
korobanai you ni ki wo tsukete
demo dokomademo ikanakya

Do you remember those magic words? It was where the rainbow began
In that instant my world was filled with color
We’ve gotta be careful we don’t stumble
But still we must go as far as we can

日差しさえ 掴めそうな手が
酷く 冷たかったから

hizashi sae tsukamesou na te ga
hidoku tsumetakatta kara

Because though it felt they could grasp sunbeams
Your hands were so terribly cold

本当の声は いつだって 正しい道を照らしてる
なんだって 疑ってるから とても 強く 信じてる

hon’tou no koe wa itsudatte tadashii michi wo terashiteru
nan’datte utagatteru kara totemo tsuyoku shin’jiteru

There’s a true voice always shining a light on the right path
It’s because we’re always in doubt, that in this I strongly believe

心臓が動いてることの
吸って吐いてが続くことの
心がずっと熱いことの
確かな理由を

shin’zou ga ugoiteru koto no
suttehaite ga tsudzuku koto no
kokoro ga zutto atsui koto no
tashika na riyuu wo

Believe in a definite reason
For why my heart is beating
For why I keep breathing
For this burning in my chest

雲の向こうの 銀河のように
どっかで 無くした 切符のように
生まれる前の 歴史のように
君が持っているから

kumo no mukou no gin’ga no you ni
dokka de nakushita kippu no you ni
umareru mae no rekishi no you ni
kimi ga motteiru kara

That it’s you who hold the answer
Like the milky way beyond the clouds
Like a ticket I’d lost somewhere
Like history there before I was born

それだけ 分かってる
僕だけ 分かってる

sore dake wakatteru (wakatteru)
boku dake wakatteru (wakatteru)

If nothing else, that I know (I know)
No one else may, but I know (I know)

鈍く残った 痛みとか
しまってしまった 想いとか
滲んだって 消えないもので
町はできている

nibuku nokotta itami toka
shimatteshimatta omoi toka
nijin’datte kienai mono de
machi wa dekiteiru

Lingering dull pain, feelings we’ve shut away
This town is made of these things which
While they may bleed out to the surface again
They will never go away

魔法の言葉 覚えてる 虹の辿り着いたところ
転ばないように 気をつけて
でも どこまでも行けるよ

mahou no kotoba oboeteru niji no tadoritsuita tokoro
korobanai you ni ki wo tsukete
demo dokomademo ikeru yo

Do you remember those magic words? It was at the other end of the rainbow
We’ve gotta be careful not to stumble
But we can keep going, all the way

なくしたくないものを 見つけたんだって 気づいたら
こんなに嬉しくなって こんなに怖くなるなんて

nakushitakunai mono wo mitsuketan’da tte kidzuitara
kon’na ni ureshikunatte kon’na ni kowakunaru nan’te

Once I’d realized I found something I didn’t want to lose
I couldn’t believe how happy I felt, and how frightened

想像つかない 昨日を超えて
その延長の 明日を抱えて
小さな肩 震える今それでも笑った

souzou tsukanai kinou wo koete
sono en’chou no asu wo kakaete
chiisa na kata furueru ima soredemo waratta

Overcoming a yesterday I would have never imagined
Shouldering a tomorrow that takes it even further
Even as you shiver now, still you smiled

迷路の奥の ダイヤのような
届かなかった 風船のような
気づけなかった 流星のような
涙を貰った

meiro no oku no daiya no you na
todokanakatta fuusen’ no you na
kidzukenakatta ryuusei no you na
namida moratta

They were like diamonds deep within a maze
Your tears I received… They were —
Like balloons that hadn’t reached their destination
Like shooting stars that had gone unnoticed

だから もう 忘れない
二度と もう 迷わない

dakara mou wasurenai (wasurenai)
nidoto mou mayowanai (mayowanai)

So never again will I forget (never)
Never again will I hesitate (never)

心臓が 動いてることの
吸って吐いてが 続くことの
心がずっと 熱いことの
確かな理由が

shin’zou ga ugoiteru koto no
suttehaite ga tsudzuku koto no
kokoro ga zutto atsui koto no
tashika na riyuu ga

I know there’s a definite reason
For why my heart is beating
For why I keep breathing
For this burning in my chest

砂漠の粒の ひとつだろうと
消えていく雨の ひとつだろうと
貰った 名も知らない 花のように
今 目の前にあるから

sabaku no tsubu no hitotsu darou to
kieteiku ame no hitotsu darou to
moratta na mo shiranai hana no you ni
ima me no mae ni aru kara

Even if this is just a grain of sand in the desert
This moment, just another rain shower fading away
The answer is here, right in front of me
Given to me like a flower I know not the name of

それだけ 分かってる
僕だけ 分かってる
だから もう 離れない
二度と もう 迷わない

sore dake wakatteru (wakatteru)
boku dake wakatteru (wakatteru)
dakara mou hanarenai (hanarenai)
nidoto mou mayowanai (mayowanai)

If nothing else, that I know (I know)
No one else may, but I know (I know)
So never again will I forget (never)
Never again will I hesitate (never)

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does (291/291)

I reserve the right to remove this translation without warning.

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This an experiment.

Don’t worry. I don’t really understand it either.

If you would like to see more, please donate. [PayPal]

Translation Notes:
[262] As far as I know, Seventh Symphonic Finger, Reverent Door Finger and Memelt are all made up words.

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does

[5]

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: A Night of Unpleasant Rain – 7
Chapter 2: March of the Saints – 95
Chapter 3: An Unbearable Existence in Suffering – 191
Chapter 4: An Emptiness Devoid of Color Contrast – 257

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[257]

Chapter 4: An Emptiness Devoid of Color Contrast

[259]

—Look there to the gates of Hell, opened to welcome ten thousands.

When Maribel Hearn opened her eyes, it seemed that the lecture she had been attending was over. She looked around the fan-shaped lecture hall, followed the rising stadium-style seating with her eyes and found she had taken a seat on the very edge of the classroom.

The thick saliva pooled in her mouth and the slight bruise left on her wrist upon which she had rested her head both suggested she had slept through class.

Merry looked at her watch. It was 12:10 pm.

“It’s not like me to let this happen,” she muttered under her breath.

The all-nighter had caught up with her, and since she had slept in such an awkward position, the area around her lower back and hips stung with pain.

“It feels like…” Merry muttered as she put her writing utensils away in her bag, “…like I had some sort of strange dream. I wonder if it was a nightmare.”

[260]

“Oh, I hope I didn’t snore…” Considering where and when she had been sleeping, Merry felt a little embarrassed. “This is all Renko’s fault,” she muttered again as she took her bag and stood up from her seat.

When Merry walked out into the hall, she was the only one there. All the other students were already gone. They all must have either gone to the cafeteria or outside to eat lunch. It wasn’t exactly unusual for it to be this empty inside.

Thinking nothing more of it, Merry started walking down the hall of the deserted building. She fished her handheld terminal out of her bag and opened her message folder . There weren’t any unread messages. With one hand, she started typing out a new message. She wondered where her friend Renko was. They had promised to have lunch together. Even after she finished the message and sent it, she kept the terminal in her hand as she walked.

I wonder what I should do for lunch.

Merry normally grabbed something for lunch from the convenience store on her way to class, but unfortunately that morning, she had overslept and barely made it to class at a sprint. Picking up lunch was out of the question, so now she was empty handed. This was not the best way to start the day.

“Ugh,” she sighed.

[261]

Last night — more accurately this morning — in the name of their usual “boundary searching”, Merry had agreed to go with Renko to some ruins on an abandoned train line, and that was where her luck ended. Renko started to go on about how it didn’t mean anything if they weren’t exploring the area at midnight, and they ended up leaving at eight at night. If she knew it was going to take at least four hours to get there and they had to be back in time for class the next day… of course there was no way they were going to get any sleep. This isn’t the first time Renko had pulled something like this, but this time — this time she had gone a bit too far.

Merry turned a corner at the 79th hallway, raced up the 184th hallway and went down the 24th stairwell. The door leading outside was just ahead, but Merry still had yet to run into anyone on her way there. She began to think it was a bit quiet, but after all it was lunch, everyone was on break — it was always somewhat like this.

Renko still hadn’t responded to her message.

I wonder if I should call her? I guess I could at least wait until I’m outside.

[262]

Merry turned and kept walking down the hall, fiddling with her terminal. She turned a corner at the 198th hallway, and raced up the 572th hallway. All that was left was to climb the 448th stairwell and she could go outside.

Merry pulled open the sliding door in front of her, and looked upon the six mat apartment room where Renko lived.

I knew it. She’s still asleep.

After all, they had been out so late the thought did cross Merry’s mind…

Merry reached out and shook Renko as she lay on her bed.

“Are you sure you’re going to pass all your classes like this, Renko?”

Renko spewed rainbow foam in a retort from the semicircular canals on the side of her third head.

My friend really is a stubborn one when it comes to things like this, isn’t she?

Merry shook Renko harder. Renko must have been in a terrible mood because she put her seventh symphonic finger and her reverent door fingers together in the shape of a Memelt snail.

“Hey, don’t get angry at me. I was a mess too this morning because of you.”

Renko pulled herself up and rubbed the eggplant and cucumber in the middle of her face, spitting out a black caterpillar in an apologetic fashion.

[263]

“If you’re going to feel bad about it later, I’d rather you consider the consequences of your plans before you act on them,” Merry complained with a sigh. “So, are you going to skip the rest of you classes today? What about your part-time job?”

Oh, no worries there, Renko said with a smile. She took the carpenter’s plane she had left by her pillow and started shaving off the slatted boards that were attached to her second head as she looked around for her handheld terminal.

Something about her seemed different from usual. She seemed flustered.

“Did something happen?”

Renko couldn’t find her handheld terminal. I might have dropped it somewhere, she said ominously, starting to panic.

“Oh come on. Pull yourself together. You’ve been acting weird lately.”

Renko folded her arms up with her hands under her chin and tilted her head, as if she was trying to trace back over her memories. Merry decided to try to help, tracing back over the days events aloud.

[264]

You had it when we were on the train yesterday, right? What about when we switched trains? If you didn’t have it, you shouldn’t have been able to get through the gate, so you must have had it at the station at least. How did you get home from the station? There weren’t any taxis available so you walked back to your apartment? In that case, did you think to put it on the charger before you went to sleep? You don’t remember doing that? In that case, what about right before that? Right before you entered your apartment you checked the time, so you must have had it then? But it wasn’t by the front door because I would have seen it there when I came in and it wasn’t there. In that case…

When I got that far, her first head turned.

“Hmm? What is it?”

[265]

It might be here, she said, looking into the flatscreen television hanging from one of the walls off in a corner of the room. After stroking its surface, she took a hammer that was nearby and smashed the screen. A thick greenish fluid spilled out from the screen, but unfortunately it seemed, her handheld terminal was not inside. That’s so strange, so strange, she muttered, taking the hammer and smashing parts of the television nearby at random.

You don’t need to be that flustered about it, how about I try calling it?

Ah, that’s smart, Merry, she muttered. She really must have been out of sorts, because normally she would be the one to think first of something so simple.

Merry started up her terminal and selected her friend’s name from the address book. Merry could hear the ringing tone on her end, so she could tell that Renko’s terminal was not turned off or out of battery, but unfortunately, not a single note of Renko’s ringtone could be heard in the room.

Maybe her terminal was stuck somewhere so that it was hard to hear it.

[266]

Renko checked under the bed, in her slippers, and behind the refrigerator, but couldn’t find it.

This is bad, this is bad, she muttered.

Finally Merry’s terminal got a notification that the answering machine was ready to take her message.

“Hey Renko, how about you call the station. They may have it at the lost and found,” Merry said, handing her terminal over to her friend.

Thank you, she said, and dialed the station. After a few moments, the station picked up. Hello. Um, I think I might have dropped my phone and… uh, yes. That’s right. It was last night, or rather, I think it happened when I was on my way back, on the first train today, yes. Yes, I think it may have been at that time. Yes. It’s a Kelios brand. The model number is LM042. Yes, it’s black. Straps? Um… No, I don’t have any of those attached to it. Okay. Oh, alright. I understand. Thank you.

[267]

“How did it go?”

They said they hadn’t gotten any terminals in matching that description. It’s so strange, this is so strange, she muttered, and twisted the lever attached to her third head’s left ear again and again.

That’s not a faucet you know, no matter how much you twist it, nothing is going to come out, Merry reprimanded Renko in her head, but given how flustered Renko was, she decided not to say anything.

“Where else could you have dropped it?”

Oh, that’s right. Could you call my terminal again? Renko asked. It seemed that something just wasn’t making sense to her.

[268]

It wasn’t like calling Renko’s terminal was a problem for Merry, and so she dialed again and put her terminal to her ear. She heard the dialing tone. Renko checked her bag, the inside of her light fixtures, and the contents of her stomach, which she had spit up and turned inside out. Since it was turned inside out and was out of her body, it twitched when touched and Merry thought it looked like it hurt.

“That’s it. Renko, I know where it is, it must be there!” Merry said, taking Renko’s hand and leading her to the bathtub.

The bath unit was about four tatami mats in size, and there was a mannequin’s arm growing out of the toilet. The skin was made from pigeon droppings and twigs, so Merry thought that Renko hadn’t cleaned the bathroom much.

[269]

Renko was in the bathtub. She had been soaking for too long and her body was bloated, having absorbed some of the water she was soaking in, and half of her had already melted away. Her exposed ribs, the hot water in the tub, and her organs all melted together, and altogether she was like a stew. The brown floating things faintly bobbing in the water were probably her excrement. Merry pointed into the tub.

[270]

“Don’t you think it’s in there?”

I can’t believe you would think I’d be so simple minded as to forget my terminal in a place like this, she sulked, but just in case, she extended her arm. A knife switch on her back became visible through her shirt, and Merry felt a strong and sudden urge to throw that switch.

It doesn’t look like it’s here, Renko said, sinking half of her arm into the bathtub.

[271]

Merry could smell the stench of sizzling flesh.

Oh, it wasn’t hot water, it was sodium hydroxide. I didn’t know. I’m sorry though. Merry said, and threw the switch.

With the snap of of electricity breaking, Renko’s body collapsed into several pieces.

Oh no, what will I do? I cannot figure out whether this is her right head or her left thigh, Merry thought. After all, Renko didn’t say anything after that. With the safety razor at the sink Merry took the only head Renko had left, her first one and shaved off her hair, but the instruction manual was nowhere to be found.

[272]

Maybe it had to be the third head. That’s no good.

When Merry looked up, she saw that the mirror above the sink was Renko’s handheld terminal.

“Oh, Renko, I found it. I wonder why you left it here.”

Merry looked up and saw that the ventilation fan was running. Around the ventilation fan were countless flies, all stuck to the ceiling. As the ventilation fan spun, they buzzed along with it.

From behind the ventilation fan, Renko answered. I must have left it there when I was washing my face. I completely forgot about it.

“Really Renko, you are quite the wreck when it comes to things outside your speciality.”

[273]

That’s mean. Even I am able to take care of myself.

“Are you sure about that? I mean, right now you’re in pieces.”

Well that’s because you threw the switch. Why did you have to go and do that?

“I wonder why.”

Merry tilted her head and thought, but no answer came.

***

When she opened her eyes, Usami Renko was sitting in a chair.

She felt as if she had just woke from a terrible nightmare.

When she stood up from her chair she felt something soft touching the soles of her feet. Looking around she saw that the surrounding area was buried in countless copies of herself. Are they dead or… might they be alive?

“The witch mechanism will not let the story end.” Renko heard a voice at her ear.

[274]

“Who is it?”

“I am a witch
“We are witches
“We are —
“—so named
“—naught but Jane Does

Overlapping voices echoed throughout space.

Renko walked forward stepping on and over herself. To where? Where did she want to go? What did it mean for her to be here in the first place? Renko did not know.

“Ending a story before it’s over
“Ending a story before it’s finished
“Removing the signature from a story
“Happy endings —
“— and tragic ends
“Denouements —
“Everything just biting upon the sand —
“— we will abandon.

[275]

She could hear the witch’s voices.

Finally Renko arrived at a single coffin made of glass. The inside of it was filled with gold roses and silver columbines, and in their midst was a sleeping girl — an outline in the shape of a girl, and inside that countless eggs were stuffed, pigeon eggs smeared with their feces.

“Something tragic, such a simple term
“If that is all you wish for
“If that is what you wish for then
“We shall search for an incident
“That is to cultivate the void
“That is the same as an empty parade devoid of music
“Not letting things end
“Not letting things converge

[276]

“Infinite division
“There are several options
“We know where all of those paths lead
“However ‘We’ are unable to make the choice

“Are you complaining to me?” Renko laughed sardonically.

“Do you want to end this?”

“I dunno.”

“The you of this story will surely never find happiness.”

Renko reached out to the lid of the coffin.

“You mustn’t open it
“We finally created a divergence
“With the witch’s mechanism
“Your death
“The death of your friend
“This story

[277]

“We locked them all in eternity
“We understand
“Like the irresponsible movies of Alan Smithee
“Everyone desires
“Everyone
“Everyone desires your death
“If you open that coffin
“You will yet again become a butterfly specimen
“Everyone
“Everyone wants only to see your death
“However
“No one will see it
“You are a ghost
“As the most pure white écriture, you do not exist
“If the story does not end
“You will remain eternal

[278]

“A story that has lost its signature
“—is released from the curse of publication
“That is itself
“The Fantasy Release
“Your Release
“Your de-ghosting
“So
“Please don’t
“Don’t open the casket
“Live and be happy!

Renko looked up.

There were countless swords held over her countless corpses. Eyes were buried in each of the blades of those swords.

Renko looked up and laughed.

“If ‘You’ all wish for my death…”

Renko lifted the lid of the coffin.

“No, that’s not it. Not knowing whether my love will ever flower or die, me being stuck here to live among my own corpses, I say to hell with that!”

[279]

Inside the coffin was…

“‘I’ will decide my own happiness.”

…Maribel Hearn, sleeping, buried in gold and silver flowers.

“Come, Merry, let’s go. There’s no use in us staying here.”

She didn’t answer, as she was still asleep.

Renko took her hand.

“In times like this, isn’t what ‘You’ really want a story where love and courage saves us and the whole world along with it!?”

So…

“Let’s go Merry! To the other side of the boundary!”

All of the flowers tangled about Merry’s body began to come undone, the vines holding her in place — everything came apart.

Renko embraced her and called her name. Her eyes opened slightly.

“Merry.”

[280]

“Renko.”

“Let’s go together.”

She seemed in a daze.

“Let’s go together, just like we always have. Let’s go to the other side of the boundary.”

“No,” she muttered.

“Merry…?”

“No, you disgust me.”

The moment she finished her sentence, Merry’s body turned to ash and disappeared.

“Merry…?”

“That’s why…
“We warned you…
“You mustn’t complete the story
“You mustn’t give the story its signature
“Cultivating the void
“That is to write everything on écriture pure white as virgin snow

[281]

“Even if that is criticized
“Even if that is called the product of pure self-satisfaction
“Even if that is not something that is wished for
“Cultivate the void
“The witch’s mechanism creates a divergence
“Then, to keep the story from ending for all eternity
“In order to freeze everything in place
“The story needs no deus ex machina
“These are not holy scriptures
“It must not be ended, ever
“And yet you
“You—
“—ended it didn’t you.
“Ah, the deus ex machina is coming
“Everything
“Altogether everything

[282]

“Without taking any responsibility
“You ended it.

A single mirror appeared before Renko’s eyes.

In it, she could see herself.

She could see herself with her friend Maribel Hearn.

“Ah, perhaps in another world line
“You two may be married
“Ah, perhaps in another world line
“You two may be facing off together against a monster that came across the boundary
“Ah, perhaps in another world line
“Is there really need to say anymore?
“Ah perhaps “perhaps “perhaps “perhaps “perhaps
“—in another world line where your heads aren’t switched.
“Oh, it might have happened
“Oh, it might have not happened
“But you ended it.

[283]

“The witch’s mechanism will now move to another place
“Another world with more possibility for happiness
“After all the effort we put
“Putting so much of the Devil’s mirror in your eyes
“To freeze you
“Why I wonder, did you not freeze?
“No, that’s not it

Renko sat back down in the chair
In the mirror she saw daily life, sitting on countless bodies of herself, imagining — imagining a world in which she could die happy.

[284]

“Ah.
“So that’s it.

[285]

“The witch mechanism’s deepest wish has been fulfilled!

[286]

“I
“We

[287]

[288]

“Destroyed this story!

[289]

[290-1]

(Excerpt of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen “The First Story”) [link]

THE END

Play the Game

I’m still frustrated by how hard Sony makes it to buy this game overseas, so I have not been able to play it yet. One day. One day. I worry the novelization has stalled because I was still planning on reading that.

Don’t forget to love(r) yourself.

Play the Game
歌:亜咲花
作詞曲:志倉千代丸

Do not forget to lover yourself. 果たされぬ約束
想い出が愛に溢れる お願い 止めないでレディオDJ

do not forget to lover yourself hatasarenu yakusoku
omoide ga ai ni afureru onegai tomenaide radio dj

“Do not forget to love yourself,” an unfulfilled promise
My memories of you are overflowing with love —
 Please don’t stop the radio, DJ

学校じゃ教えてない 愛と温もりの意味
この期に及んでまた 理想主義の授業

gakkou ja oshietenai ai to nukumori no imi
konogo ni oyon’de mata risoushugi no jugyou

The meaning of love and warmth they don’t teach you in school
After everything that’s happened again I’m studying it like an idealist —

and Hope is a waking dream. リロード伸びないアクセス
Deep in my soul I know your destiny. 開かれたページは

and hope is a waking dream reload nobinai access
deep in my soul I know your destiny hirakareta page wa

— and hope is a waking dream. I reload, but my access is still limited
Deep in my soul, I know your destiny. The page opened before me was…

目に見えない存在なんて 騙されないよ僕は
肝心なのは触れられる 温もりとその証
笑えないね こんなストーリー
何処に向かうの? Play the game.

me ni mienai son’zai nan’te damasarenai yo boku wa
kan’jin’ nano wa furerareru nukumori to sono akashi
waraenai ne kon’na story
doko ni mukau no? play the game

I won’t be fooled by things I cannot see, not me
What’s important is being able to touch, to feel confirmation in warmth
This story’s like a bad joke, isn’t it?
Where are you going? Play the game.

エレクトリックな鼓動で 駆け抜ける衝動
電極は花火を散らし やがて宇宙に包まれる
Do not forget to lover yourself. 果たされぬ約束
想い出が愛に溢れる お願い 止めないでレディオDJ

electric na kodou de kakenukeru shoudou
den’kyoku wa hanabi wo chirashi yagate uchuu ni tsutsumareru
do not forget to lover yourself hatasarenu yakusoku
omoide ga ai ni afureru onegai tomenaide radio dj

I feel an impulse to reace through the electric beat
As electrodes send sparks and are finally enveloped in space
“Do not forget to love yourself,” an unfulfilled promise
My memories of you are overflowing with love —
 Please don’t stop the radio, DJ

点と点の繋がり 道が結ばれて行く
その先に訪れるスペシャルな好奇心

ten’ to ten’ no tsunagari michi ga musubareteyuku
sono saki ni afureru special na koukishin’

Paths are tied from point to point,
Followed by the overflowing of a special curiosity —

and Hope is a waking dream. 止まり 止まる 止まれ
Deep in my soul I know your destiny. 壊れたクラクション

and hope is a waking dream tomari tomaru tomare
deep in my soul I know your destiny kowareta klaxon

— and hope is a waking dream. Halt Halt Halt!
Deep in my soul I know your destiny. The car horn is broken.

重ね合わせの世界 未来ダイヤル回す
ステージの幕の裏 詠唱された呪文
震えていた あんなシーンが
繰り返される Play the game.

kasaneawase no sekai mirai dial mawasu
stage no maku no ura eishou sareta jumon’
furueteita an’na scene ga
kurikaesareru play the game

Worlds in superposition turn the future dial
Behind the stage curtain, magic words are chanted
The kind of scene that had me shaking
Is looped. Play the game.

不可思議なフェイク気づかず 侵食は止まらない
夢見がちな蝴蝶の群れ それは目を覚まさないまま
Do not forget to lover yourself. 激しい耳鳴りが
運命をあざ笑うから 今は 聴かせてレディオDJ

fushigi na fake kidzukazu shin’shoku wa tomaranai
yumemigachi na kochou no mure sore wa me wo samasanai mama
do not forget to lover yourself. hageshii miminari ga
un’me wo azawarau kara ima wa kikasete radio dj

All oblivious to the strange fakes, their encroachment will not end
While the clusters of butterfly dreamers remain unwaking
“Do not forget to love yourself,” The ringing in my ears is raging
But I’ll show fate, just you wait, so —
 For now let me listen, radio DJ.

盲目な神の支配 残酷の真実
引き伸ばされた時間なら きっとあの日に帰るから――

moumoku na kami no shihai zan’goku no shin’jitsu
hikinobasareta jikan’ nara kitto ano hi ni kaeru kara

Under the reign of a blind god, the truth is cruel
But if time is stretched out, surely I’ll be able to return to that day.

エレクトリックな鼓動で 駆け抜ける衝動
電極は花火を散らし やがて宇宙に包まれる
Do not forget to lover yourself. 果たされぬ約束
想い出が愛に溢れる お願い 止めないでレディオDJ

electric kodou de kakenukeru shoudou
den’kyoku wa hanabi wo chirashi yagate uchuu ni tsutsumareru
do not forget to lover yourself hatasarenu yakusoku
omoide ga ai ni afureru onegai tomenaide radio dj

I feel an impulse to reace through the electric beat
As electrodes send sparks and are finally enveloped in space
“Do not forget to love yourself,” an unfulfilled promise
My memories of you are overflowing with love —
 Please don’t stop the radio, DJ

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does (256/291)

I reserve the right to remove this translation without warning.

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This an experiment.

This post is the entirety of chapter 3. If you read the last post (now deleted) already and do not want to re-read the edited portion, start at page 211. There are a series of pages that only have images with captions, and on those pages I have done my best to describe the images in words, and I have put those descriptions in parentheses.

We are almost done with this crazy book, can you believe it?

If you would like to see more, please donate. [PayPal]

Translation Notes:

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does

[5]

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: A Night of Unpleasant Rain – 7
Chapter 2: March of the Saints – 95
Chapter 3: An Unbearable Existence in Suffering – 191
Chapter 4: An Emptiness Devoid of Color Contrast – 257

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[191]

Chapter 3: An Unbearable Existence in Suffering

[193]

―”Thrust the knife, my child, for you are a little saint… and all is inhuman.”

“Do you know of the tale of the hundredth monkey?”

So asked the witch, who went by the name of Kirisame Marisa.

The Otherworld Release Research Facility was about thirty minutes away from West Kyoto Station by train, with a few transfers in between. Honestly, I do not remember the reason why I first ventured to come to this place. I have a feeling it may have been due to some solicitors at the university, or because I saw a poster for it on a bulletin board, but it’s not as if I have any clear memory of either of those things happening. There was probably no real reason for me coming at all — I just… did.

Though I knew this was one of the headquarters of the Fantasy Release Movement, my first impression was that it was more like an underground bar. It was part of an old western-style mansion, and you could tell from a glance that the building had not been used for a long time. I wonder if they chose this location because they were able to get a good deal on the building… if they bought it at all. Maybe they thought no one would chase them out if they chose to squat here. The research facility was in the basement.

All of the windows were boarded up, and there was no other lighting in the main part of the building, so even though it was noontime outside, it was dark as midnight inside — except for the basement. From the basement came a bright glow like light of a full moon. I was certain electricity was cut from the building, but I didn’t know from where they could have brought an alternative power source. The impression I got was not that this light came from some sort of electric or gas lamp, but from something else entirely I did not know.

[194]

The “Fantasy Release Movement” — what I entered into felt less like its headquarters and more like the underground gathering place of some old society. The walls of the room were bare concrete, and all they contained was a collection of round tables and chairs. The only other thing of note was a white curtain hanging from one of the walls. It was for use with a projector, someone said.

That was all.

When I arrived, there were already a few young men and women who looked like students gathered around one of the tables, talking. There were papers and books scattered around the table. I was told that you couldn’t bring portable terminals or any other electronics into the room. Those devices ran contrary to the other side of the boundary, they said.

Even so, I thought, I’m surprised they were able to get their hands on so many paper books.

In this scientific age, paper books are no more than collector’s items. They are an unnecessary medium, prone to immediate degradation.

[195]

Digital records are easily lost.

— someone said.

Digital records containing the boundaries and everything beyond them have already been lost, they said. Therefore, we must rely on print, for only in print does the truth lie — they said.

In the beginning I thought that was nonsense, but…

There was a girl sitting cross-legged on the table, smiling.

She had on a black apron dress, like a character out of an old story, and wore a black witch’s hat over her blonde hair. Everyone seated at the table had turned their chairs toward her — and I was no exception. It felt almost as if we had come to worship her.

I heard the sound of gears quietly clicking and clinking together, and that sound came from the machine set behind the girl on the table, behind Kirisame Marisa.

It was an old analog computer, similar to the kind used by the Japanese military long ago. It looked like a box, with the bottom tapered, so that it was larger at the top. On the side of the box were countless dials and gauges, along with buttons and levers to operate it. Four legs extended from the bottom to hold it up, but otherwise there was nothing else to describe about it. I wondered what powered it. It didn’t look as if it were being supplied by any power source. If it was something that was originally designed for use in wartime, perhaps it was powered by wound-up springs.

[196]

Marisa leaned back against the machine.

“The ‘tale’ is really a thought experiment proposed by Lyall Watson, but it is based on the behavior of the Japanese macaques of Kojima, an island off the coast of Kushima’s Ishinami Beach, in what used to be Miyagi Prefecture. One day, a few of those monkeys on the island began to wash sweet potatoes with seawater before eating them. They must have discovered that it added an interesting flavor to their food, and as time went on, more of the monkeys began to wash their potatoes with seawater.”

I could hear the sound of gears turning, click click clack.
I could hear the sound of gears turning, click click clack.
I could hear the sound of gears turning, click click clack.
I could hear the sound of gears turning, click click clack.
I could hear the sound of gears turning, click click clack.
I could hear the sound of gears turning, click click clack.

Everyone listened intently to the witch’s words.

She looked far younger than me — in fact, she looked by far to be the youngest in the room — and yet everyone still acted as if she were an object of worship. The way she carried herself, her actions, her tone of voice — it was as if gravity itself had bowed to her, drawing our gazes toward her, as if there was nothing more natural.

[197]

“More and more of the monkeys washed their potatoes, so that ten became twenty, and twenty became forty. Finally, when their number became one hundred, what do you think happened?”

There was whispering. I could still hear the gears turning.

“Not only did all of the monkeys on the island begin to wash their potatoes with seawater, but all of the monkeys in the surrounding area began to as well. Once the hundredth monkey appeared, the learning was telepathically transmitted, in much the same way the crystallization of glycerin occurs.”

The gears were crying.

“Are you talking about the Sheldrake Hypothesis?” someone seated at the table asked.

“Yes, exactly. You might call the hundredth monkey the threshold of synchronicity.”

“Threshold?”

“Or you can call it the boundary threshold if you’d like. It’s the threshold that when reached, causes what you are currently seeing to be synchronized across the boundary. Now this doesn’t just take one or two people, it takes at least ten — no, a hundred people. Once that threshold is reached, other communities will be able to see across the boundary — no, it’s more than that, both sides start to become synchronized. If this synchronization continues, humanity will completely merge with the other side, accept ambiguity, and become the way it was meant to be.”

[198]

That is the true goal of the Fantasy Release Movement, they say.

I wonder just who this girl is, anyway. Everyone at the table just stares at her with empty eyes. Not one of them seems to doubt her.

“When they reach that point, people will be able to find what is truly important to them. ‘What did I like?’ ‘What did I really want to do then?’ ‘Who did I like?’ and ‘Who did I want to be?’ You hesitate before these questions because you have lost ambiguity. You lack the answer to these question because you have lost ambiguity. You have been led astray by the need for black and white, for one and zero.”

“Um, excuse me.”

When I spoke up, all of the people around the table looked my way. Their eyes were empty, with nothing reflected in them. The indistinct glow of light within this dark building — the bright light like that of the full moon that lit this room, began to flicker.

It seemed as if everyone’s head was swelling.

[199]

“What is it?”

“Well, I was wondering… You call yourselves the Fantasy Release Movement, but… What do you plan on doing once the fantasy has been ‘released’ so to speak?”

“This world is a butterfly specimen,” replied the girl, Marisa.

“A… butterfly specimen?”

“Exactly.”

*

Let’s talk about some butterfly specimens and the exhibitions in which they were displayed.

There was a large exhibition of butterfly specimens held once or twice a year by a certain group, with smaller exhibitions held once a month. In the beginning, these exhibitions consisted solely of collectors and connoisseurs displaying their specimens and viewing others’. Both those who manufactured the specimen displays and those who came to view them were satisfied with the exhibition as it was.

But as we are, such things begin to feel mundane after a while.

There was a person who began to pay more attention to the box that the butterfly specimen was housed in. A standard box purchased at the market could not possibly hold in the butterfly’s beauty, he thought, and so he prepared a box made of glass on all four sides, and placed four of the same kind of butterfly in it.

[200]

One of the butterflies was pinned to flower. One was pinned as if in flight. One was pinned laying eggs. One was pinned caught in a spider’s web. This specimen of butterflies, as a whole, showed all of these things.

When the specimen was put on display, all those at the exhibition showered it with praise. There were many who wondered aloud whether, up until now, they had put too much emphasis on the rarity of the butterfly as opposed to other factors concerning its display.

There was a person who made a specimen out of a dissected butterfly. In the box was a butterfly’s wings, the body the wings were ripped from, and its feelers all pinned apart from each other.

There were more than a few at the exhibition who were bothered by this display, but there were other who remarked that more closely represented the original purpose of a biological specimen. One could say that given the controversy it produced, it was a particularly groundbreaking specimen.

There was a person who selected a number of particular kinds of butterfly and pinned them so that they formed a circle in the display box. This specimen was modelled after a well known fairytale. The butterflies were placed in such a way that they followed the outline of the tale, and attention was also paid the color of the pins to further enhance the feeling that a story was being told.

[201]

Was not the true nature of butterflies to be found in their potential for the expression of a story? Because the story the specimen referenced was a story everyone knew, the butterflies on display were alive in the story, alive in the viewer’s mind, and that moment of life was all contained in this specimen as a whole. Was not this phenomenon itself meaningful? So the viewers of this specimen praised it.

There was a person who put in a specimen box the larvae, chrysalis, and eggs of a butterfly preserved in alcohol. But was this even a butterfly specimen? It did not even contain a butterfly — the butterfly itself was absent.

But was not the butterfly proven in its absence? What not it this absence itself which proved the butterfly? That is what this specimen seemed to be trying to say. Those that saw it debated the specimen, with some calling it nothing more than a work made purely for self-satisfaction, and others suggesting that it called into question the very definition of a butterfly specimen.

There was a person who recreated a scene from a film in their specimen, but all that was in the box was wire, cotton, and the preserved skins of fruit — all arranged in the shape of a butterfly. The backdrop was a landscape make of twigs and leaves, and upon this backdrop the artificial butterfly danced. It is as if this butterfly is alive, some praised, but an equal number of others could only remark that they did not understand the creator’s purpose.

There was a person who made an artificial butterfly out of the wings of real butterflies. The box of this specimen was the largest in the exhibition. The wings used were from four types of butterfly, native only to a certain area, and after being removed from their respective bodies the wings were pasted together so that they formed the shape of an entirely different butterfly — a butterfly that did not exist anywhere.

[202]

Is not a butterfly specimen made for the purpose of decoratively displaying a butterfly? Then, must not the butterfly on display be an actual butterfly?

But when the real butterflies used in this specimen became material for the false one, did they not serve a purpose in allowing us rediscover what exactly a butterfly is?

There were several of these various butterfly specimens, and they made waves which spread out both among those who created specimens and those who viewed them.

The next exhibition and the next —
The next and the next and the next —
Over and over and over again butterfly specimens like these were made.

Those that were impressed by the butterfly specimen in the glass box made specimens with larger glass boxes, specimens in glass dodecahedrons, in spherical glass tanks, in picture frames, in cardboard boxes, in boxes of paulownia wood, of wisteria vine, of charcoal, among many other types and materials. The types of butterflies in these boxes were also varied: pieris rapae, papilionae, nymphalidae, minois dryas, danainae, libythea celtis, lycaenidae, and others. There were precious butterflies, rare butterflies, common butterflies, butterflies of no consequence, butterflies that were actually moths.

[203]

Then there were the pins — there were pins made of gold, made of silver, made of copper, onyx, ruby, jade, amber, iron, wood. As for the poisons made to kill the butterflies, some used ethyl acetate, others used soapy water, saltwater, or various medicines no one knows or cares to know — medicines to freeze things for eternity, to make them forget rot, to simply cause them to sleep — several different medicines.

Over and over again and again butterfly specimens like these were made.

No longer could you simply capture a butterfly from your garden and put it in a box — no one would give it the benefit of a glance. The same issue plagued these creators. For whom should butterfly specimens be made? What is it that makes an excellent specimen? So they wondered and talked among themselves.

One day, someone pointed at them and yelled, “But are these really butterfly specimens!?”

There were those who agreed and those who disagreed with this detractor.

Are not these manifestations naught but specimens of butterfly specimens? Are not these creations worthless garbage to which we can only affix the name of butterfly specimen? But do not we make these specimens, because of our love of butterflies? Are you sure you are not mistaking love for the desire to stand out? Are you not only using the medium of butterfly specimen to satisfy your desire to present, to in someway fulfill and audience? Are not these but borrowed things, fake things to which you have only affixed the name of butterfly specimen!?

[204]

Are what you are producing, really butterfly specimens?

All you are producing is an expendable item, not a butterfly specimen but a fake.

Everyone denied these statements.

Everyone agreed with these statements.

Everyone, while having these arguments, kept making butterfly specimens.

However…

*

“They discussed nothing of what was most important,” Marisa said softly.

“What was most… important?”

“No one realized, even though it was such a simple thing.”

The clicking and clacking of the gears from the machine echoed in the room.

“The butterflies were, as they were always — dead.”

[205]

“Butterflies…”

“Every time a specimen is prepared, a butterfly dies. Countless numbers of them die for this purpose. No matter how you might try to dress up the act, the fact remains: they were decorating butterfly corpses — and were oblivious it.”

“Butterfly… corpses…”

“This world is in an exhibition, and we are all nothing but butterfly specimens in our boxes. Yes, we are nameless, and yet are nothing but our names. We are nothing but butterflies.”

Marisa laughed quietly.

“Still, we point our fingers at others’ butterfly corpses and say that they are different from the butterflies we are. But corpses are corpses, nothing more. No one talks about this, for the exhibition is a city, and the city is a morgue. There is no meaning in ‘us’ being ourselves. No matter how we celebrate, no matter how we grieve, we are all long dead in our glass boxes — nothing more.”

“Dead…”

“Are you digesting my words as you repeat them back at me? Is that the only reason you have come here, to echo me?” She pointed straight at me.

Everyone who was sitting down was… No, no one was sitting down. There was only a table, Marisa, and the machine — and several hemispheres hanging from the ceiling. From those, several human bodies were growing. Naked men, naked women — they had no hair, and the lower halves of their bodies were buried in the hemispheres. Click clack click, the machine was groaning. The lighting formed a spiral as it illuminated the room. Half-spheres, there were a countless number of them hanging from the ceiling. Half-spheres with people planted into them, and the skin of all of these things was mottled with blackened spots, everywhere, the edges of these spots were swelled up, like a bruise just beginning to heal. They were countless shallow holes. They were all over the bodies. Click clack click, the machine was groaning.

“Tell me, you. Why are you here? No, rather — What is your name?”

“I…”

Who am I?

My name…

What is my name?

“I don’t understand my girlfriend.”

My lips moved all on their own.

[207]

“I see. What is your girlfriend’s name?”

“Maribel Hearn.”

“I see. So then, what is your name?”

“I don’t understand my girlfriend.”

“I see. So tell me, where are you from?”

“Lately, it feels like she’s been cold… keeping her distance from me. I wonder when it started… It was her friend. It was once she started hanging out with her friend Usami Renko, and…”

“I see. So tell me, what are you studying at the university?”

“I think she said something about going to… Torifune, or something like that. Afterwards, she was hospitalized, taken to a sanatorium in Shinshuu. After she got out… every since it feels like she’s been keeping her distance from me. Even when I went to see her, while she was hospitalized, her eyes they were… It felt like she was distant from me.”

“I see — and your girlfriend’s name is?”

“Maribel Hearn.”

“I see — and your name is?”

“I don’t understand my girlfriend.”

“I see — and where are you from?”

[208]

“Lately, it feels like she’s been cold… keeping her distance from me. I wonder when it started… It was her friend. It was once she started hanging out with her friend Usami Renko, and…”

“I see — and what are you studying at the university?”

“I think she said something about going to… Torifune, or something like that. Afterwards, she was hospitalized, taken to a sanatorium in Shinshuu. After she got out… every since it feels like she’s been keeping her distance from me. Even when I went to see her, while she was hospitalized, her eyes they were… It felt like she was distant from me.”

“I see — and your girlfriend’s name is?”

“Maribel Hearn.”

“I see — and your name is?”

“I don’t understand my girlfriend.”

“I see — and where are you from?”

“Lately, it feels like she’s been cold… keeping her distance from me. I wonder when it started… It was her friend. It was once she started hanging out with her friend Usami Renko, and…”

“I see — and what are you studying at the university?”

“I think she said something about going to… Torifune, or something like that. Afterwards, she was hospitalized, taken to a sanatorium in Shinshuu. After she got out… every since it feels like she’s been keeping her distance from me. Even when I went to see her, while she was hospitalized, her eyes they were… It felt like she was distant from me.”

[209]

“Maribel Hearn.”

“I see — and your name is?”

“I don’t understand my girlfriend.”

“I see — and where are you from?”

“Lately, it feels like she’s been cold… keeping her distance from me. I wonder when it started… It was her friend. It was once she started hanging out with her friend Usami Renko, and…”

“I see — and what are you studying at the university?”

“I think she said something about going to… Torifune, or something like that. Afterwards, she was hospitalized, taken to a sanatorium in Shinshuu. After she got out… every since it feels like she’s been keeping her distance from me. Even when I went to see her, while she was hospitalized, her eyes they were… It felt like she was distant from me.”

“I see, I see, I see. So that is all you have, and that is all you are. After all, right now you need nothing more. Now tell me, what did you come here to do?”

“I want to lose ambiguity. It was suggested to me that the reason things aren’t going well with me and my girlfriend, the reason we aren’t having sex, the reason things aren’t going well at work, the reason for all of that is because reality has lost its ambiguity. That’s right. It’s not my fault. It’s just that the world is not fitting into me. I’m sure it’s because something is wrong with it.”

[210]

“Yes, you are right. The world as it is now is wrong. It should embrace the other side of the boundary, become more fuzzy.” Marisa chuckled.

“It is right for us to be the hundredth monkey. This should be the start of it all.”

“The starting point.”

I could hear squirming and grating sounds from the hemispheres hanging from the ceiling above.

“Before our thousand souls are sacrificed to Izanagi’s curse, we must escape from this world. Let us flip the road leading down to the netherworld, so we may decide on who really should be crucified.”

I could hear squirming and grating sounds from the hemispheres hanging from the ceiling above.

“Let me tell you — I mean ‘you’, just exactly what the fantasy meltdown really was.”

***

[211]

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there were two families, of sheep and of goats, and they both lived together in harmony, united in their faith in God. However, one day snow fell upon the world — not just any snow, in fact it wasn’t snow at all, but fragments of the Devil’s mirror, a frightening object which distorts everything it reflects in the most ugly form imaginable.

Some of those fragments made their way into the eyes of the goat family, and from that day forward, they changed. It was as if their hearts had frozen, and the biggest change of all was that they no longer believed in the miracles of God.

The family of sheep thought to themselves, “If only our brothers and sisters were to witness one of God’s miracles, surely they would find their faith again,” and so they met the goats. “Let us not eat for a week,” they proposed. “It will be alright. God saves those who believe in His miracles. If God performs His miracles and we are saved, please believe in Him once more.”

[212]

“What will you do if God does not perform a miracle?” the goats asked.

“In that case we will leave, and this home will be yours,” the sheep replied.

The goats decided to go along with this bet, but in the end, God’s miracles came only for those who believed in Him.

The goats accused the sheep of cheating, of hiding food. They claimed the wellness of the sheep only proved they themselves lacked faith in God, and not that God had performed miracles.

The sheep and goats argued, and in the end it was decided that the trial would be redone with stricter rules.

“Board this empty ship,” the goats proposed. “Let us send you out to sea. If after a month you return, kept alive by the power of God’s miracles, we will believe anything you have to say.”

[213]

And so, the sheep set out to sea, but God performed no miracle for them.

And why should He?

While God may have kept the sheep in his thoughts, he was never thinking of them on their behalf.

Whether you believe in God or not, the probability a miracle will occur is within the bounds of statistical error.

So the family of sheep began to die off, one after another until just one of the daughters remained. It was then that she realized she had been tricked by the goats.

Oh, by the way, a fragment of the devil’s mirror had found its way into her heart as well.

[214]

When did that happen, you ask? It must have happened the moment she became one and alone.

As she was rocked back and forth by the waves, she cursed the goats at the home they lived in.

On the boat she drew a picture, a picture of all of her family who had died on this ship with her.

Ah, this ship was God’s true miracle.

One night, as the full moon lay reflected on the waters, the daughter thought to herself as she gazed upon it.

“This must be God’s miracle. In this moon, is a world where everything finds salvation.”

She had been alone so long you see, she had started to lose her mind. She jumped off the ship and into the full moon reflected in the sea. As she sunk to the bottom, her body shattered into countless pieces. The Devil’s mirror fragment had entered into her heart, and had made her like ice.

[215]

The fragments of her heart were ingested by fish in the sea, and one of these fish were caught by one of the goats, who served it for dinner. Now that the home of sheep and goats had become home only to goats, it was only those goats who ate the fish.

All of them, all of them, were covered in what was once the sheep daughter’s heart, and died.

After all, it was what was once a sheep’s heart.

But, it was what was once a sheep’s heart.

It was what was once a sheep’s heart, frozen by the Devil’s mirror.

What was once a home of sheep and goats, was now something else, something frozen.

Now this is a fairytale.

Obviously, not all of it is true — it’s a fairytale.

A couple plot holes here and there shouldn’t matter, don’t you think?

[216]

***

The GPS coordinates sent from Usami Renko’s handheld terminal put her location at a place about thirty minutes away from West Kyoto Station by train, with a few transfers in between. When Maribel Hearn got off the train at the local station she had a feeling that something was off about the place. The station platform was made of clear glass cubes, and inside those cubes were countless butterflies. It was as if the whole station was some sort of specimen display. The thin glass clicked and cracked loudly with every step as she walked across its surface.

But Merry focused her attention on the location — Renko’s location — displayed on her terminal screen, and kept walking. She knew this place was once known as a high-end residential district, and she knew that it was dead. Because it was dead, all of the buildings had become jars — large jars stuffed of jam. Inside were spiders and snakes pressed together and preserved in sugar.

Merry kept her focus on the path to Renko displayed on her terminal screen.

The boundaries were going to break. She wasn’t wrong when she thought that before. She still thought that, even now — but at the same time Merry no longer had a firm grasp on how the world was really supposed to be.

[217]

Everything that Merry could see, everything — everything was a mix of this side and the other. Not one thing was only of one side. She didn’t know why it was this way, and she didn’t know what started it happening. The only thing Merry was certain of was that Renko was caught up in it.

She had to hurry. It was that single thought that kept Merry going.

Under Merry’s feet, the tiles of the pavement were squirming, squirming in spirals of black and red, as if they were pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. She did not see any crows, and she did not see any other human being.

Alone, Merry ran.

Eventually, her route took her to a red, Western-style mansion. Merry had a feeling she had seen it before… in her dreams — somewhere, sometime in her dreams.

[218]

What did I do there then? Merry wondered.

She opened the iron gates covered in rust and vines, and they creaked loudly. It felt as if they could collapse at any moment. After crossing the front garden, she opened the front doors.

The inside of the mansion was completely empty. There were no rooms or windows. It was just a box — and in the very center of this box was a spiral staircase leading below. It was a long staircase, with no supporting pillar, a St. John’s Staircase. The location shown on Merry’s terminal was now marked by a bizarre geometrical pattern, a fractal, Sierpinski’s gasket, drawn in red and black. Eternity was within it. The icon of Renko’s location was was in the center of this eternally expanding gasket. Merry was sure Renko was down below and continued on her way to find her.

***

“You see there’s this thing called binaural beats, or Hemi-Sync.”

Kirisame Marisa smiled as she put a pair of headphones on over my head.

[219]

“When sound waves at two different frequencies are played in each ear, a third wave at the frequency of their difference is generated in the brain. It’s a beat wave that follows the interference pattern, so to speak. By adjusting these wavelengths, it becomes possible to induce a certain phenomenon.”

“Phenomenon…”

“It’s a way to get to the other side of the boundary. By releasing yourself from your current self, you become able to let go of ambiguity. By using these binaural beats, we can artificially force biolocation. Yes, we can destroy the boundary between your physical and emotional self.”

I heard a sound, a whirring sound.

“Then, you should be able to see it.”

It was the sound of the world breaking.

***

[220]

(A picture of a numbered #32 apartment building for factory workers)

A Box Named “Was”.

[221]

(A portion of a framed picture of the roots and seeds and leaves on the ground with a photographer silhouette pointed up, with forward and backward stop arrows printed on top of the silhouette. ↹ (U+21B9) or ⇤(U+21E4)+⇥(U+21E5))

Control 1

[222]

(A photograph of a cafe table laden with drinks and two people, various artifacts and books strewn about, with an eye symbol in the upper left and lower right corner.)

Tu m

[223]

(A glyph with 3 complete triangle-dress ‘woman’ symbols and two partials, so that the sum is 4 complete. The heads are removed from all of the symbols except one that has a box with a check mark in its place. It is the first complete from the left, second counting the first incomplete.)

Selection, Switching Heads

[224]

(A photograph of an egg in the dirt of a flowerbed.)

Dependence on a device which leads us outside is not what we call ‘love’.

[225]

(A roof and treeline silhouette, with the upper right corner blacked out with white ink blotches confusing which of the colors, black or white is negative and which is positive space.)

The stage is always leveled.

[226]

(A wide-angle photograph of an intersection, partially clouded but shining with a glaring sun.”

This intersection is not an controlled operation.

[227]

(A QR code which leads to the title’s theme song: Self Talking)

An Incident

[228]

(A symbol silhouette of a child holding a balloon. The head is replaced with a thumbs-up glyph.)

This balloon is not valued. What is valued is everything below the girls’ heads.

[229]

(Alphabet crackers spilled in a disorderly fashion across a tabletop.)

It is always everyone else who dies.

[230]

(Droplets falling in milk — but the droplets do not form the so-called ‘milk crown’.)

Your girl will not talk about the milk crown?

[231]

(Clip art of construction and demolition with houses, cranes, and sky rises.)

Intentional Labyrinth

[232]

(An extremely dim picture of someone (possibly Renko) sitting on the stairs, with a variety of checked boxes printed over it.)

Digestion of an Incident

[233]

(Glyphs of a headless person sitting on a couch with a remote pointed at a flat screen TV. In place of the head is written [B3 777 JPY+Tax] in a box. Hovering businessmen in suits hover over the TV.)

Control 2

[234]

(A photograph of a train’s suspension.)

The Sad Young Man in the Steam Train

[235]

(A dim photograph of a hallway tunnel, most likely underground. Part of the left is cordoned off with cones.)

(1) falling water,
(2) gas used for lighting,
Make it be that these were provided.

[236]

(A mute icon)

the Inevitability that it is ⇆ the Probability it is not

[237]

***

Merry descended the staircase — the St. John’s staircase.

It was a spiral of black and red. There were countless eyes embedded in the walls. The eyes of humans turned pictograms turning — turning, yes everything was turning.

Merry felt as if her brain was shifting, swaying back and forth.

“What is this?” she kept muttering to herself.

What has begun? What is going on? I don’t know, but I also feel like something is about to end.

How much further do I need to go down?

At this point, no longer could you discern up from down.

[238]

The display on Merry’s terminal was constant, except for the expanding fractal gasket. The more it expanded the more its surface area increased, but the volume was converging.

Was that how this thing was supposed to work?

Merry tried to remember her friend’s words, but in the midst of all these revolving eyes she could not remember the details.

She began to feel as if she would soon forget where she was, and even what she was.

But now she could hear a sound.

Ah, this is…

What opened before her was a parade.

There was ballet music.

[239]

There were sirens, typewriters, radio noise, pistols, a revolving lottery box, the sound of empty jars being hit, the sound of pipes being hit, a cacophonous mixture of everyday noises — noises that were not instruments. What the dancers were and the background was was unclear, ambiguous, a collage. In there was — in the midst of all of that was, a stage mechanism showing it all. Am I descending the stairs or are the stairs rising past me?

[240]

Merry continued to descend the stairs, in an automated fashion, when suddenly a door appeared in front of her. The door was set with gold chains, a silver lock and bronze doorknob.

On the door was written “23/17th Floor”.

Merry grabbed the doorknob and turned it. The lock came undone, and the surface of the chains was covered in an instant with a bluish black rust, before rotting away into ashes.

Merry opened the door. It was one that opened inward.

In front of her, past the door, were humans — humans who had lost their boundaries, humans with scabs, holes — humans with holes sprinkled over them like freckles, indentations.

[241]

Spheres — their heads were swollen, and all the details were wiped away. Growing — the hole-freckled humans were growing, half buried in the walls, lying on the floor, creating strange symbols. Humans — humans who had lost their boundaries, humans with their eyes and mouths interchanged, skin without features, shrivelled arms and legs unusually elongated.

[242]

Humans — humans who had lost their boundaries, they were overlapping, faces upon faces, their bodies like columbine petaals, their feet — their feet were like caterpillars all in a row.

Humans — humans who had lost their boundaries, what was it they wanted to become? Truly they wished to change the present, but in the end it is only a symbolic matter, and at this stage it is safe to say their worries were unnecessary. They did not matter. Their personalities have been deemed unnecessary. By whom? By the mechanism in the center of this room.

[243]

The mechanism was a cube that narrowed near the bottom, things like twisted telescopes stuck into it, a planetarium device. That is the way it looked.

However, it was supported with countless human torsos. On top of a table were girls’ bodies tied together with black and red threads, and on top of that the cube was set.

Beside it was a single hat — a black witch’s hat.

[244]

“Would you not say this to me now? Say to me that I, using obvious and blatant exaggerations have blasphemed not only you and your god but myself as well? Say to me that for this reason my duties have already been fulfilled?”

I could hear someone’s voice. It was the voice of the mechanism in front of me.

My brain is burning.

Inside the room a white centipede was crawling, a white centipede made out of countless combined human arms.

There was also a butterfly — a white butterfly made only of human eyes, and a spider — a spider made only of human legs.

These things distorted my depth perception as they marched in the gaps between humans.

[245]

The backs stood out the most, while limbs were thin and seemed far away. Heads and tales were so far away they were tinted blue from the air in between, while a part of the torsos seemed as if they were right before my eyes. The perspective of everything was off.

“Quiet! A funeral procession will now pass before you. Put your two knees to the ground and a song of mourning shall begin,” so the mechanism spoke.

“What are you?”

“Me? I am a witch, Ms. Ghost. Aren’t you tired of all these introductions by now? Really, there’s no need for me to repeat myself again! But there is meaning in such repetition. I am a witch, or a magic lantern projector. I am what was once Kirisame Marisa, and but calling myself Kirisame Marisa now, I am a mechanism for proving her absence.”

Convulsing, my brain was burning away.

“Well then, an incident has begun. We realized, the witch’s mechanism discovered, that we cannot let this incident end.”

[246]

“What… are you talking about?”

Convulsing, my brain was burning away.

“Where is… Renko…?”

“Oh, she’s here. Well somewhere around here. But Ms. Ghost, you are the ghost of this story, you know? Even if the person you seek was right here beside you now, nothing could change — not for all eternity.”

“What are you…?”

“What am I what? What am I talking about, you ask? I’m just explaining the current situation to you — nothing more, nothing less.”

Convulsing, my brain was burning away.

Something was rubbing against my feet.

“Anyway, soon the other side of the boundary should make a compound connection with this one. That’s part of the process.”

It was a spindle shaped clump of flesh. In its center was a circular rip, probably a mouth. Out from it came a long thing tongue-like thing. It licked Merry’s feet. The very instant this happened the surface of that clump of flesh begame covered in a reddish purple celluloid, and as if it were rotting it bubbled up, releasing a cloud of gas as it melted away.

[247]

“Lick the skin of a criminal, and you melt away and die.”

The mechanism turned, clicking and clacking.

Convulsing, my brain was burning away.

Burning, my brain was burning, my brain was…

***

When Maribel Hearn opened her eyes, she found that she was lying on a bed, dead.

Nothing could have been done.

Her brain was broken and no longer useful.

Nothing could have been done.

She was dead, and so she could not move.

She could only stare lazily up at the ceiling.

The ceiling — it was a familiar ceiling.

[248]

“Today with Merry, I “In other words, Izanami loved “Orpheus’s mirror shattered “The completion of Izanagi’s curse “St. Anthony’s fire “Today with Merry, I “A scarlet mansion and bamboo forest “Today with Merry, I “She did not understand the weight behind that playful kiss “Love “Do not love me “Today with Merry, I “It’s nothing “Even though I knew the truth “Temple Ruins “There is a 74 percent chance of rain “If we’re going to kill a thousand, then let us save a thousand five hundred “However, there is no chance we will say you can excuse yourself from the thousand “Kill meaninglessly, meaninglessly let live “Love “Don’t look at me with those eyes “Today with Merry, I

“Turn the grave “The meaning of turning the grave “Turn the grave “The meaning of you turning it

[249]

“Today with Merry, I “In other words, Izanami loved “Orpheus’s mirror shattered “The completion of Izanagi’s curse “St. Anthony’s fire “Today with Merry, I “A scarlet mansion and bamboo forest “Today with Merry, I “She did not understand the weight behind that playful kiss “Love “Do not love me “Today with Merry, I “It’s nothing “Even though I knew the truth “Temple Ruins “There is a 74 percent chance of rain “If we’re going to kill a thousand, then let us save a thousand five hundred “However, there is no chance we will say you can excuse yourself from the thousand “Kill meaninglessly, meaninglessly let live “Love “Don’t look at me with those eyes “Today with Merry, I

[250]

The ceiling was covered in paper clippings.

“Merry…”

I heard a voice.

Ah… It’s Renko.

My friend was on top of the bed with me.

She only had half of her face. The other half seemed to have broken away, and there were countless gears packed in its place.

[251]

With all of them packed together like that, there is no way they would be able to turn properly.

As I thought, with every movement, gears fell out of her face.

But at the same time, I thought that it was very fitting for Renko to be that way. I felt that it was cute.

“Merry…”

I heard her voice.

Renko peeled off each article of my clothing, one by one. There was nothing I could do. As my clothes with attached with paste, peeling them off required a cat. The cat was omnipotent — omnipotent, as you could put it in a mixer, blend it up and drink it.”

“Merry…”

I had become completely naked.

Renko too, was naked.

While massaging my breasts, she licked my armpits, nipples and then my bellybutton in sequence. She ran her tongue all over my body. She was so meticulous that I had to wonder if there was any part of my body she had not made wet.

She then proceeded to mount my wet thigh and rub her crotch against me.

[252]

Some fluid was dripping out, probably warm. Unfortunately, as I am dead, I could not sense the temperature of anything. After a while she twitched a bit, her back muscles tense, and after that she opened my legs.

There was my vagina.

I couldn’t see it, but all signs seemed to suggest that there were countless arms extending out of it. They ripped Renko’s broken face from her. I thought that was unfortunate. They ripped and discarded each bit, until there was almost nothing but a flat featureless outline of a face.

All that remained was countless small pieces of glass embedded in her face’s flesh, piercing it.

Despite the way everything seemed, I felt that, tangled up in these sticky body fluids on top of my own flesh she was forcing herself to stop.

She was shivering.

With no other choice, I ripped my own face from my body and put it on to her.

***

“This is what the world calls double suicide

“Come, let us search for fantasy together

“I have no choice but to eat your flesh

“Ah, please forgive me for I am about to die

[254]

“Come, let us explore the boundaries together

“I love you

“Please, do not let go my hand!

“It’s your fault, because you threw me away

“Due to an error, the system will restart

“Tktntktntktntktntktn

“Come, let us go on an adventure together

“Turn back time! We’re going back!”

“Come “Together “Depart “Together “Come

“Let us begin

[256]

END OF CHAPTER 3

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