Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi:Volume 3 Prologue 2
 Prologue - --- The School Road of Spiriting Away
When he awoke, the same routine day would start.
As he would have been playing games late into the night, it would be a little tough to get up and, "Geez, feel like skipping school today", he would say.
But somehow, he would struggle up, and then, his neighboring childhood friend Haruka would come wake him up, "Now now Taito, are you still sleeping ~?", she would say and, "Shut up shut up", he would reply.
And while half-awake, "Damn, this sucks", he would say and somehow go to school.
Day after day, unchanging.
And he would continue to spend those ordinary days blandly, he had thought.
With nothing out of the ordinary, an unchanging school life.
Speaking of that, previously, there was a time when he had an exchange with Haruka that went along like this.
Taito would say. "I'm so ordinary", and as if she was disagreeing with something that was aimed at herself, "No way", she would say, "No no, I am ordinary isn't it?", he would return, "No, you're not", "Yes, I am" --- such idiotic exchanges would carry on, and she would then say,
"Alright. Well then, isn't it fine the way it is, to be ordinary that is? It's the best thing that one can wish for to be able to laugh and enjoy a peaceful everyday."
She would say.
Taito recalled those words and her face when she said them. He thought of the smiling face that would gaze at him in a gentle manner.
No, the face he recalled was always the one she had, always smiling in a gentle manner.
Ever since she had moved in beside him during grade six, they had always been together. For some reason, whatever it was, they would be together.
Laughing together, crying together, having fights with each other; whatever happened, she would always have that gentle smiling face.
They would often be mistaken as siblings and, when he refuted it by saying "This fella ain't my little sister", "Eh ~, aren't you the little brother instead ~", she would reply as she smiled.
On hearing that, Taito would smile as well.
And he thought that days like those would continue on.
When he awaken in the morning, the early bird Haruka would be waiting outside and call out, "Time to go to school".
And at that moment, Taito opened his eyes.
With that, he got up from his bed and looked around him.
He was in his room.
Florescent lamp covered by a round lid, and white wallpaper. A bed and a study desk. A shelf filled with manga. And among them, two of them were Shoujo manga lent to him by Haruka.
He looked at the back cover of the Shoujo manga and then looked at the window whose curtains were still drawn.
The time was seven-thirty.
Haruka would normally wake up at seven, an insanely early hour to Taito, but,
She had not been coming over for the past two weeks.
Rather, it might be more apt to say that she had disappeared.
The first three days were in a complete uproar. The police were involved and they had talked to the students, and of course, paid a visit to Taito.
You seemed to be on good terms with her.
Did you find anything strange with her recently?
Like being on bad terms with her family or something like that?
Perhaps, she just didn't want to come home?
Such meaningless questions were thrown at him over and over again.
After the monster-ravaged school was repaired and reopened, a particular topic had been circulating around the school. Haruka had disappeared. She had lapsed into despair after seeing Taito getting friendly with the mixed-blood girl who had transferred to their school.
But, this sort of rumor subsided in about a week.
A week had not even passed before people started worrying about their missing friend. These days, occasionally, a conversation would start with "What in the world happened to Haruka?", which would lead to a series of dark thoughts about what tragedy could have befallen her and as a result, the conversation would trail off.
And two weeks without any clue to her disappearance easily passed.
Initially, Taito had thought, "isn't it my fault that Haruka had disappeared", but the truth was different.
Since, for the sake of attaining power, Taito had told of his wish to the Mistress of Edeluca, and initially, Taito had thought that because of that, Haruka had become the price and was carried away, but in truth, that was not the case.
Because he was making so much noise, Gekkou had taken the trouble to make his way to Edeluca and asked the Mistress of Edeluca whether she had taken Haruka away, but apparently, the price that was paid by Taito was not Haruka.
Then, where on earth has Haruka disappeared to?, Taito fussed again. And he went screaming around, making noises here and there desperately searching for Haruka, to the point where even he was surprised at himself.
And even Himea followed him around.
And without any complaint, Gekkou cooperated as well.
And then, he employed some magic and powers which Taito could not understand to search for Haruka. Searching for her as best as he could. But yet, nothing came up and two weeks went by.
Haruka's mother wept everyday, until she was admitted to hospital.
Even though Haruka herself had said how nice it was to be ordinary, but before she even knew it, she had become the protagonist of an incident.
As such, Taito's days were filled with gloom.
His childhood friend had disappeared; perhaps, she was kidnapped? Or maybe, something worse than that had happened.
To not think about what that worse thing could be and continue smiling everyday was something impossible to ask of Taito.
No, not just Taito.
Even his classmates who had stopped talking about Haruka were somewhat filled with gloom daily.
Clearly, for the most of this year, it was just not possible for anyone to laugh this off as if nothing had happened.
Just by looking at that empty desk was enough to bring a tinge of sadness to anyone.
Next week, it seemed like there was a counseling session for the entire class.
And Taito wondered what that would be for.
Was it a counseling session to prepare them for the actuality that Haruka was no longer coming back?
That was what.
There was no way he would accept that, he thought. I will definitely find her. Wherever she is, I will definitely find her with my own hands and save her.
Believing in that, he continued searching.
Even when nothing turned up, he kept on searching.
As time passed, his anxiety gradually increased, but even so, he never gave up and kept on searching.
But yet, not even a clue was found.
He could not even find a trace of her disappearance.
Even while he was on the verge of crying, searching high and low desperately for her, he could not find anything at all.
Everyday, he was cursing and swearing.
Everyday, damn, damn, damn, damn, as if he was cursing at his own powerlessness, he cried out.
However, his self-reproaching stopped yesterday.
From today onward, it would be different.
From this morning onward, it would be different.
He stood up. And from the pocket of the school uniform that he had not changed out of since yesterday after searching for Haruka until the middle of the night, he took out his cellphone.
And flipped open it.
A mail had come. A mail from Gekkou. Two hours ago. A mail that came at 5.30.
He opened that mail.
And read the contents.
The title went like this.
"You owe me another one."
And the body went like this.
"I've caught hold of Shigure Haruka's trail. Somehow, it seems like this is work for us. It was not the work of humans, but something else altogether. Even though I know not what they are yet, but I've caught hold of their location. Prepare yourself, we're heading on a rescue mission. Let us go teach those non-humans what will happen to them if they lay a hand on our student. The move out timing is 7.30. Until then, get prepared for a trip to another world."
That was what was written in that mail.
Of course, as to what kind of preparation he had to make for a trip to another world, he did not know, but at any rate, he would go to the place where the monster which had kidnapped Haruka was. If so, he would need his stamina, he thought, and he shut his eyes for two hours to rest.
However, as expected, he could not sleep.
Without catching any sleep, the two hours passed.
Taito looked at the clock.
The time now was the appointed 7.30.
And at that moment, on the wall at the side of his bed, a rift opened.
A << Way >>.
And from that rift, Gekkou's face poked out.
"Let's go trash. Have you made your preparations?"
He said, and Taito looked at his face,
But on hearing that, a smile floated on Gekkou's face.
"You should say your thanks first right?"
"Yeah, perhaps. But, for the notorious Mr Genius, isn't this a little too slow?"
"Ha. A genius had far-reaching plans that a small fry would not be able to understand."
"But well. Forget that for now and let's go. Let's go save Shigure Haruka."
And once again, his face went back into the student council room,
"Oh yeah. This time round, the one who had found Shigure Haruka was not me. It was Saitohimea. So say your thanks."
And Gekkou stepped away from the front of the portal. As he did that, Taito could see Himea on the other side.
Looking at him, with a somewhat weak smile for some reason, she waved.
On seeing that,
"Thank you, Himea."
And she smiled back,
After acknowledging that, he stepped into the student council room. Another portal had already been opened on the wall of the student council room. A place that looked like grassland with a green grass and a blue sky above.
"...... is that another world?"
"It's full of monsters. But, fortunately, it's a place inhabitable by humans."
"Right, that's great."
"Yeah. Now, let's get going. Stop tarrying around, blockhead."
And from the portal that was connected to that grassland foreign world, Mirai's face appeared,
"It's awesome here ~, com'on com'on!"
And with the last.
With the last bit of hesitation,
"Alright, Taito...... let's go save Haruka-chan."
On hearing that, Taito gazed at her face and nodded.
Through that << Way >>, they passed from this world into that world.
 Translator's Notes and References
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