Hagakure Sakura does not lament – Chapter 1

TLN: This chapter is insanely long and complicated. It has many references to JP mythology and some JP parables.

I’ll apologize in advance for the large amount of translator notes. I don’t mean to ruin the reading experience, but there’s so much to explain in this chapter.

Chapter 1 – The first day

–it was September when『her』 fate was twisted. Two months before the young girl was attacked by demonic beasts.

◆ ◆ ◆

The event occurred on his way home.

Against the backdrop of the sound of a distant explosion, Nanase Tsugumi held onto his side where blood was dripping down. His uniform was torn and his white shirt had been dyed red with blood.

「What is this…..」(Tsugumi)

—When he thought back on it, it all began in the morning.

With that in mind, Tsugumi hazily remembered what had happened this morning.

◆ ◆ ◆

On that day, he was met with bad luck all morning.

His alarm clock didn’t ring for some reason and since his twin sister didn’t wake him up, he was left behind. Also the train he had got on with the expectation of being late encountered mechanical issues and got stuck. In addition, at the end of the short road from the station to the school, there was a guerilla rainstorm, soaking him like a wet rat. It was as if he was being kicked whilst he was down. (TLN: Guerilla rainstorms are short, localized downpours of 100mm an hour of rain)

「It’s strange when you think about it. If it was just one thing, then that would be normal, but it’s not normal for bad luck to overlap is it? Thanks to that I arrived at school during lunch break. I feel like I’ve wasted the day…」(Tsugumi)

When Tsugumi, who was annoyed, began complaining out loud about what happened this morning, a friend listening to him looked up and replied in a surprised manner.

「—Well there are days like that. Is Tsugumi-chan’s daily routine bad?」(Friend)

「Don’t say it like that. Besides I’m not doing anything strange…and I don’t want to tell you what I do on a daily basis」(Tsugumi)

When Tsugumi made an annoyed face and said so, his friend, Amari Yukitaka replied in surprise.

「Eh, I wasn’t really thinking of anything」(Yukitaka)

Yukitaka rebukes as if he had never thought of such a thing. From his expression, you might think that he legitimately has no idea at all.

….I wonder which mouth can thing of such a thing. Tsugumi sighed as if exhausted.

「Speaking of which, you were hit on by a junior girl again on your way home yesterday. Did you do it again?」(Tsugumi)

「Eh, Tsugumi-chan? How do you know that when you went home before me yesterday?」(Yukitaka)

「There was a video sent to me with added commentary. Want to see it?」(Tsugumi)

Yukitaka couldn’t help but shout after looking at the video, the contents of which showed a fantastic angle of him getting slapped in a flashy manner.

「How cruel! Who sent the video!?」(Yukitaka)

「Mebuki-senpai and his delightful friends from our class」(Tsugumi)

Tsugumi replied with the sender’s name without hesitation. Rather, there was no point in hiding it because the people themselves were quietly spreading the information.

「That black-belly, glasses idiot…..just because I’m popular with girls, he goes and does this insidious thing」(Yukitaka) (TLN: Black belly means jealous)

「Ah, un. I know you’re popular, but this and that are different matters」(Tsugumi)

—It was not for any kind of reason like jealousy, it’s just that he was hated by those people.

Looking away from the depressed Yukitaka, Tsugumi gently pressed his stomach and began to think without saying anything.

「Then what? Is it because I exposed the scandals of their favorite magical girls online? Or is it because I stole his friend’s girlfriend because I was better?」(Yukitaka)

「….wait a minute, I’ve never heard about that」(Tsugumi)

「Eh, does it matter? If you get angry at something as small as this, I’ll hate you」(Yukitaka)

「…..I think you’re the type of guy that when interviewed after being stabbed to death, would say something like『I thought this would happen someday』」(Tsugumi)

「Ahaha, I’m not that crazy!」(Yukitaka)

When Tsugumi said so, Yukitaka lightly laughed. There was a sense of fearfulness in that carefree appearance. However, probably because of this type of appearance, he had a charm that Tsugumi didn’t particularly hate, despite his broken personality.

…..his friend was very good-looking. He was the epitome of the word bishounen.

His face wasn’t bad, and his words and actions themselves were friendly and likeable. Well, if we only speak of the contents, there was nothing praiseworthy.

『I love people’s expressions when they hate something or get angry!』this friend professes that without hesitation naturally has many enemies. To be honest, it would be more difficult to find someone he is close to.

Many girls are attracted to his appearance, but none can stand his personality and become disillusioned, leaving him after a few days. On the other hand, some girls become weirdly obsessed with him, but it’s best not to talk about them too much. There were some things Tsugumi didn’t want to know about his friend.

「Keep it in moderation. I don’t want a murder to occur in the neighborhood is possible. I’ll likely get involved and injured」(Tsugumi)

When Tsugumi told him that, Yukitaka laughed strangely.

「Ahaha, it’s just like Tsugumi-chan to not say something like『I’m worried about you』」(Yukitaka)

「Because even if I do, you never listen to my advice right? How long do you think we’ve been friends? I naturally know this much about you」(Tsugumi)

From his long relationship with Yukitaka, he knew how to handle him.

…..he doesn’t know why, but he always seems to draw the short straw. Tsugumi grabbed his aching head as he remembered the turmoil Yukitaka was involved in last year.

「Anyway Tsugumi-chan’s timing is really bad, I’m taking the day off today」(Yukitaka)

「What do you mean? I was late due to various reason, but are you skipping class? If I don’t go to afternoon class, I wonder what Chidori would say later…..?」(Tsugumi)

Saying that, Tsugumi has a bitter look on his face. Chidori was the twin sister of Tsugumi…if that honor student of a sister knew that he had skipped class, he had no idea what she would do to him.

When Tsugumi told him that, Yukitaka shrugged and stopped talking about it.

「Tsugumi-chan, you might not know because you missed the morning assembly, but afternoon classes have been changed to a whole school rally. You know there was a pretty famous magical girl in the 3rd year right? Satona something-san. it seems that she died yesterday, so we’ll be holding a farewell party for her. But I suppose Tsugumi-chan isn’t interested in that?」(Yukitaka)

「….in other words, I don’t have to worry about class?」(Tsugumi)

–Satona hmm, what was it? It was a name like Michiko or something, seemed to be a famous senior. However since Tsugumi’s friendship circle was so small, she only made a faint impression on him.

Tsugumi quickly looked around and then whispered to Yukitaka as if muttering to himself.

「Even so, was it martyrdom? –I can’t speak too loudly, but you know don’t you?」(Tsugumi)

「Well I guess. It has been 5 years since she became a magical girl, so she was better than most」(Yukitaka)

—Magical Girl is a really cute name, but the reality is much more murderous.

They are, so to speak, human weapons that have signed a contract with a so-called『God』in order to fight demonic beasts.

—It was thirty years ago when monsters called demonic beasts appeared all around Japan. They killed people and destroyed buildings, eventually Japan stopped functioning as a country.

Their lifeline was cut off by the demonic beasts and people began to lose hope–that was when a『Magical Girl』appeared.

Her name was, Sakura Akane. She became a magical girl carrying the absolute hope of the people, until her battle with a powerful demonic beast eight years later.

Appearing like a comet, she wore a shrine maiden outfit and walked across many battlefields—all to drive out the demonic beasts from her country.

The effect of her presence was dramatic.

「—there seems to be a girl defeating the demonic beasts」

At first it was nothing more than a trivial rumor. But eventually the number of witnesses increased as more and more people were saved by her. How must she have looked to those who only knew fear?

—No matter how desperate the situation was, she would surely come to help. Just thinking that way helped most people survive tomorrow. If you look at it objectively, she was treated as an idol, which at the time was far more useful than some poor religion.

Strangely, with the birth of a『Magical Girl』a new hope came to light. The surviving government officials contacted Sakura Akane and even succeeded in talking to her contractor, Yatagarasu. (TLN: Yatagarasu is a three-legged crow in JP mythology. If I remember right, it is said that those who are unworthy and try to look upon him, will have their eyes crushed)

In that encounter, Yatagarasu started talking about an existence above him—named Amaterasu. (TLN: Amaterasu is the goddess of the sun in JP mythology)

The details of the discussion were classified as a state secret and have not been disclosed to the public, but to put it simply, if we return control of the country back to the god, Amaterasu-Ōmikami, then she will protect us.

The government accepted the deal, because she had promised to do her best to protect the country.

According to Yatagarasu, who stood at the negotiation table, these『Demonic Beasts』seem to be a concept-like life form that gains energy from the bad feelings of living creatures. These conceptual beings live in a distant dimension, feeding off of the colorless energy that pours out of the dimensional crack. They had descended to feed on the despair of humans. That was the true identity of the demonic beasts.

The reason they had appeared in Japan, was due to the crack in the sky.

However, Yatagarasu did not explain why the sky broke, he just said「It’s a horrible thing」

—Just what that『Horrible Thing』is has not yet been established.

In addition to this, after a huge number of trades, Amaterasu created a barrier called『Gate of the Heavenly Rock Cave​』to counter the demonic beasts. The barrier covered the entirety of Japan, and Amaterasu used her own connections to approach existences similar to herself in order to create more soldiers to use to protect the country. (TLN: Heavenly Rock Cave -> Amano Iwato, long explanation but you can read the story here. Basically it’s a cave Amaterasu hid in because of Susano’o, who is a God of storms)

—The result was the system known as『Magical Girl』

According to Amaterasu, they are so-called spirits who have manifested themselves in the real world due to the pure energy leaking from the rift in the heavens. Among them, Amaterasu-Ōmikami was the first to emerge.

—Originally, Ancient Gods could not interact with mortals. This was the result of the decreased in belief on the mortal side, as well as the emergence of new religions.

If they try and interfere with the mortal world, it’s possible their entire existence would be shaken. If they were really unlucky, there’s a chance that they could lose their divine power and fade out of existence entirely.

It was an unwritten rule for the Gods, never to interfere with the existence known as humans.

–But the existence of the energy from the rift turned that common sense upside down.

If you can manipulate the colorless energy well, you can create a spirit with a certain amount of power at no risk.

—What do you think would happen if the Gods, who essentially have nothing to do, suddenly find a way to come to the mortal world?

—Naturally they would come over to see everything.

Amaterasu who first noticed this sent her subordinate Yatagarasu to the lower world, who then made a contract with a human, leading to her becoming the legitimate owner of the land. On top of that, she carved into the Earth a technique to deflect the God’s who had malicious intent. That was one of the effects of the 『Gate of the Heavenly Rock Cave​』barrier.

After finishing her preparations, she approached the God’s who were curious about Japan.

『—Why don’t you do something more fun?』she said.

The result was the birth of the『Magical Girl』

The Gods who had descended as spirits had the right to interfere with the world by creating contracts with emotionally sensitive girls. As compensation the girls were given the power to kill the demonic beasts.

From the human’s perspective, becoming a magical girl was the equivalent of transforming into a prestigious warrior and from the God’s it was like an easy training game. (TLN: Imagine a game where you train a character to fight monsters, that’s how the Gods thought of it)

Human beings were striving to survive, but the Gods only offered their strength for their own enjoyment.

The system known as『Magical Girl』was created by making new rules and adjusting existing ones so that everyone profits.

Well, the initial contract that the God’s formed became a little inconvenient as their freedom of movement was reduced as time went by, despite the fact that they still had their form. But in the end it didn’t matter, the merit of being able to move to this world was far too tempting for the Gods.

In addition, polytheism was originally the standard for Japan. In this country the ara-mitama and the nigi-mitama were the same, there was no inferiority or superiority there. (TLN: Really complex explanations for these, basically ara-mitama can be thought of as “rude soul” and nigi-mitama as “harmonious soul”. The theory is that both gods and humans consist of 1 spirit and 4 souls. Read more here)

With such a unique sense of religion, even Old Gods, who had been driven to remote regions by the other religions, began to co-operate. On the condition that they were worshiped again.

—As the magical girls controlled by the government began to appear on the front lines, Japan’s domestic situation gradually began to calm down.

Meanwhile, a method of converting the bio-energy released when a demonic beast is defeated into a solid substance was created. A method was then created to draw that core energy out as substitute for oil in generating electricity. Also, drugs with various effects were created one after another.

In less than a decade after the sky had cracked, commonly known as『The day of creation』Japan rebuilt it’s country in a magnificent way.

It is often said that humans are like the horses of the old man Sai, but it was rarely the case that good luck and bad luck are reversed that much. (TLN: It’s an old Asian parable, you can read it here. Basically in the story the man lost his horse (bad luck), but it returned with some strong barbarian horses (good luck), he rode one and broke his leg (bad luck), but because he was resting his leg he survived a bandit attack (good luck) )

As Japan started to improve for the better, other countries applied to re-open diplomatic channels, but the current Government rejected all applications.

Of course there were criticisms from other countries, saying that one country can’t afford to do everything, but those criticisms made little sense.

Since people left all the hard battles to the magical girls, through their sacrifice, peace was returned to Japan.

For the record, the age at which a girl can become a magical girl is 12 years old, but it is said that few survive more than 10 years. It sounds good, but being a magical girl is a dangerous profession with dozens of deaths every month. Most magical girls end up retiring alive after 5 years of service.

—However, if you survive long enough, you can enjoy status, honor, and money. The exact definition of high risk, high return.

Recently, famous magical girls are treated as idols. But they are too busy protecting Japan to deal with things like popularity votes.

Because of that, someone like Tsugumi who wasn’t there at the beginning, doesn’t have a good impression of『Magical Girls』

He knows they are heroes, but he doesn’t trust them.

….However he did feel that it was unlucky for that senior, who had been doing her best in such fierce battlefields, to have died.

「Isn’t it just a rally? It seems really troublesome…」(Tsugumi)

When Tsugumi said that with a hint of boredom in his voice, Yukitaka squinted as if seeing something interesting.

「Tsugumi-chan, you just don’t like crowds」(Yukitaka)

「It feels like I’m being pushed into a shelter, it’s suffocating. There’s nothing I can do about it」(Tsugumi)

As Yukitaka said, since there’s no class, so it would be fine to go home alone. Thinking so, Tsugumi loosened his cheeks.

「I wonder if I should go home too, Chidori knows that I’m not good with crowds , so she shouldn’t get angry…」(Tsugumi)

「What’s wrong?」(Yukitaka)

「No, I was going to contact Chidori, but I forgot that my phone was out of charge. Sorry, can you contact her instead?」(Tsugumi)

「Un, it’s fine, I’ll handle it」(Yukitaka)

When Yukitaka said that, he quickly pointed his phone at Tsugumi and snapped a photo. Then made some edits to the photo and presented it to Tsugumi. The screen showed Tsugumi with a pale face.

「Un, it’s edited nicely, I’ll sent it to Chidori-chan with the message『He went home because he looked pale』」(Yukitaka)

「…..ah, un…..thanks, you really saved me」(Tsugumi)

….should he get angry at him for sending doctored photos? or thank him for not angering his sister? With some hesitation, he finally thanked Yukitaka. He probably meant no harm. Probably.

After Tsugumi had thanked him, Yukitaka began to pack up the things on his desk without any particular concern. Once he had finished packing away his useless accessories like a girl, he turned to Tsugumi.

「Then I’ll be going. Please be careful on your way home too. Well we have alarms, so we should be ok—ah, if you meet Nagisa-chan, tell her I left early」(Yukitaka)

When Yukitaka said that he tapped Tsugumi’s shoulder, then waved his hand as he walked out of the classroom. He was a really carefree guy.

When Tsugumi looked around, more than half of his classmates had already disappeared….it was terrible, though to be fair it won’t affect their grades. However the 2nd grade F-class, of which Tsugumi belongs, is a gathering of problem children. Though to be fair, there was rarely anyone who attended school meetings. (TLN: 2nd grade senior high school puts his age at about 16-17)

Tsugumi shrugged his shoulders as he raised himself from his chair, he stared into the blue sky as the rain began to lash against the windows. It was a clear and refreshing day, completely offsetting the events of this morning. There was even a beautiful rainbow.

Feeling somewhat annoyed, Tsugumi glared bitterly at the sky for a moment, before sighing as if he had given up and picking up his school bag. No matter how much he hates this natural phenomena, he can’t do anything about it.

When Tsugumi opened the classroom door, he almost collided with someone who was trying to enter from the outside.

Tsugumi quickly supported the person who was staggering in front of him. A sweet scent filled his nostrils.

「A, ara? sorry, Sensei was a little careless」(Sensei)

「Suzune-sensei, didn’t you say that in the past after nearly falling down the stairs? Please be more careful」(Tsugumi)

When Tsugumi said that, the teacher–Suzune Nagisa’s cheeks grew red. He removed his hands from her in amazement.

—She was in charge of Tsugumi’s class, but there was a risk that she wouldn’t reach old age with the way she was going. As such, it would be dangerous to keep your eyes off her. Because of this, even though it was a class filled with problem children, she was treated as a clumsy mascot and not shunned by them.

The person herself seems dissatisfied with that treatment, but considering that she was the first one to get lost during orientation in April, it was the correct treatment.

By the way at the time, even the delinquent students in class went looking for the lost teacher. Thanks to that, class F, which is filled with problem children, had a certain sense of cohesion.

At one point, Tsugumi wondered if this was her aim, but looking at her daily appearance, he felt a little uncomfortable at thinking that wasn’t the case. After all, is it okay for a 26 year old to act like this?

Despite such worries, Tsugumi began to sweat inwardly as he thought about the current situation.

Suzune’s gaze wandered over the classroom filled with only a few people. No matter how bad you were at reading the mood, you’d be able to notice the strangeness of the atmosphere.

「…I wonder if the kids who aren’t here have already left」(Suzune)

「Ah, that is, probably right」(Tsugumi)

「Eh, no way, how cruel…」(Suzune)

Suzune said in a quiet voice as tears filled her eyes.

—Ah, this is bad he thought, but he was too late.

From Suzune’s eyes, bit glittering drops fell under the force of gravity. Classmates who were looking at this situation were grinning in a joyful manner.

「Ah-! Nanase is making Nagisa-chan cry」(Classmate)

「Oi oi, what are you doing? Isn’t Nagisa-chan too pitiful?」(Classmate)

Whilst laughing, the remaining classmates begin to heckle Tsugumi one after another–despite being introverted, Tsugumi turned to speak to his classmates.

「It’s not my fault. Complain to those who left early」(Tsugumi)

Tsugumi who was dissatisfied, complained to his classmates as he lightly patted Suzune’s back to comfort her.

「But you’re going home too right? Then you’re the same」(Classmate)

「Guh! That’s….right」(Tsugumi)

What his classmate said was justified.

He had intended to go home secretly, but since he met his homeroom teacher along the way, he would have to tell her he was leaving early. However it was a little difficult to tell her when she was shedding tears.

Even so, more than half of his classmates had already disappeared, if the whole school rally was held in such a state, it would be inevitable that she would be blamed by the other teachers later.

…Just when he was worried that he might have to stay due to feeling sorry for her, he noticed that Suzune was staring at him with wet eyes.

「Sensei? What’s wrong?」(Tsugumi)

Maybe she was going to blame him for trying to go home, that’s what Tsugumi thought, but instead Suzune said something unexpected.

「—Nanase-kun, are you okay?」(Suzune)

「Ha?」(Tsugumi)

It was a voice filled with concern. He couldn’t understand why she was asking him that, so he asked again.

「What is it?」(Tsugumi)

When he asked that, Suzune hesitantly opened her mouth, as if it was difficult to say.

「Well if you’re feeling sick, you don’t have to overdo it. I’ll explain your situation to the head of year…」(Suzune)

Usually when a classmate tried to relax or leave early, she’ll stop them with a sad look on her face, so what kind of play was this now? Whilst tilting his head at Suzune’s words, he replied.

「Etto, do I look sick?」(Tsugumi)

「…Nanase-kun, don’t think I’m unaware of it, your complexion isn’t very good. No matter how much I want people to stay, I can’t force a sick kid to remain here」(Suzune)

When Suzune said that, the classmates who were listening in on them suddenly called out to Tsugumi.

「Eh, what is it? Are you feeling sick Nanase?」(Classmate)

「No that’s not the case, but is his complexion bad…?」(Classmate)

「Hmm, I don’t get it」(Classmate)

Other classmates listening in started commenting on how he didn’t look like he was ill.

「Nagisa-chan is misunderstanding it. After all, idiots don’t get colds」(Classmate)

Tsugumi shouted back at them as they were joking around with each other.

No matter how sick he looks, was this the way you would treat a sick person?

「Come on you guys, show some concern. Besides I’m not an idiot okay!?」(Tsugumi)

「What, so you’re fine after all」(Classmate)

「Tsugumin isn’t angry at that heavenly bastard, but he yells at us?」(Classmate)

「Oi, don’t call me Tsugumin, it’s embarrassing」(Tsugumi)

—Ignoring his dissatisfied classmates, Tsugumi tried to leave with his bag. After all, Suzune-sensei had given permission so there was no problem with it.

As he left the classroom after saying bye to everyone, he heard the sound of footsteps approaching him from behind. When he turned around, he saw someone rushing towards him.

「W, wait, Nanase-kun」(Suzune)

「Yes?」(Tsugumi)

「Haa, haa, I’m glad, I got here in time」(Suzune)

Perhaps she ran down the hallway, her shoulders were shaking and her breathing was ragged. But why did she do that? maybe she had forgotten to say something.

「Etto, are you okay?」(Suzune)

Tsugumi asked, looking anxiously at the out of breath Suzune-sensei who was leaning over and coughing. She suddenly produced something and handed it to him.

「Take this」(Suzune)

「This is…a talisman? I can’t accept such a precious thing」(Tsugumi)

Tsugumi shook his head and refused after looking at the talisman, it was in the form of a black bag with a flower design sewed onto it with red thread, exuding a sense of majesty. He wasn’t sure why, but he felt afraid to take it.

「It’s fine」(Suzune)

Suzune seemed adamant that he take it, and practically forced it into his hands. The unexpected desperation surprised Tsugumi and he opened his eyes wide. He had never seen Suzune act so forcefully before.

「I have a bad feeling….can you bring this talisman with you and think of it as Sensei?」(Suzune)

「….eh, what is this? it’s a little scary」(Tsugumi)

Although Tsugumi was curious, Suzune just shook her head and refused to provide more detailed information. Whilst pushing his thoughts into the back of his mind, he placed it within the chest pocket of his blazer. There was no particular problem in carrying it with him.

「Sorry. I said something strange」(Suzune)

「Well, if Sensei is happy with this then it’s fine」(Tsugumi)

「Really, be careful on your way home」(Suzune)

To Suzune who repeated the same sentence over and over, Tsugumi just nodded, half asleep. He felt that there was no need to say the same thing over and over, he wasn’t a young child anymore so there was no need to worry.

「It’ll be fine, I’m not sick or anything」(Tsugumi)

「….that’s, right」(Suzune)

Suzune still turned an anxious and worried gaze to Tsugumi, even after he reassured her.

When he thought she was going to open her mouth to say something, she instead closed her eyes and seemingly hesitated, before smiling gently as if regaining her state of mind.

「—well then, see you tomorrow. Come to school tomorrow without being late」(Suzune)

「….Ahaha. See you later, Suzune-sensei」(Tsugumi)

Then he turned his back on Suzune and walked towards the front door.

However, without even noticing it, Suzune was staring deeply at his back–

◆ ◆ ◆ 

When she finally couldn’t see Tsugumi anymore, she quietly muttered to herself in a voice that no-one could hear.

「….that kid, his whole body was bright red」(Suzune)

Although Suzune had said that, if any of her students heard this, they would say that Tsugumi looked just as he usually does.

—What on Earth could Suzune see?

「He’s probably already….no, that’s why…」(Suzune)

Suzune quietly put her hands together to pray whilst lowering her gaze.

「I can only pray, please–don’t die」(Suzune)

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