Chapter 10
"Uuugh, I can't believe it, why did it come to this?"
As I stared at the marble corridor outside the guestroom door, I put up with my nausea.
"It couldn't be helped; it's because you declared your were absolutely going to become the king."
Conrad is grinning unlike a noble, leaning against a pillar that could reach the sky.
"Even so, the coronation... I haven't seen a coronation like the one in figure 8 of the history textbook..."
"Only one person can nominate you; the presenter, Mother."
"You talk like it's the Academy Awards."
Until a bit ago Günter was with us, too, but as usual he sang my praises and ran off to prepare the ceremony. He praised my uniform, and one more thing, the incident in the village.
"But I don't remember using so much water magic at all..."
I can't comment on a pinpoint of the downpour; when the village was extinguished it stopped like it never happened. When a group of magicians arrived from the capital city, the smoke was just going up from the smoldering trees and wheat.
I only remember Brandon myself. After that it cuts off to pure white. Even if I get grandiose praise about saving the country, it's hard to believe that I, a completely ordinary freshman, did it.
"As I explained to you, magical power is the soul's nature. Your Majesty, having the soul of the late Maoh, you obey the rules of the four elements with pleasure, without going through the trouble of taking the oath and such things."
Without anyone's consent, it seems Günter spread around my personal affairs. Conrad is a little bit more objective.
"I think a place we rested on the way to the capital is suspicious. You and I drank water then. Though I don't understand magic because I don't have it, I can't help but feel that had something to do with it."
"Don't worry about that."
It's a miracle I didn't remember it myself.
From the far side of the corridor, the blond with wavy hair comes running. The intense navy blue uniform suits him; the mazoku Prince Wolfram. With a sigh I mutter to this beautiful man, Günter.
"What with this plain design?"
I was essentially told immediately after that it was a design developed only for His Majesty, and the black clothes I originally came in suited me the most.
"There really aren't any shoulder straps or decorations? Do you seriously think it's ok for me to look poor if I'm going to become the Maoh?!"
He glances here and there without looking at my face. It might be my imagination but his usually white, smooth cheeks were a slight red.
"Appearing without any treasure, don't embarrass my older brother and me!"
Before I could open my mouth to respond, Wolfram grabbed my chest and fastened a shiny golden decoration to me.
"My uncle Bielefeld gave this to me when I was a child. It doesn't have any special origin, but it suits someone who hasn't gone out on the battlefield, let alone military merit. Anyway, considering Yuuri can't even ride a horse, he's the wimpiest king in history."
"Don't call me a wimp~."
"All right, settle down."
When he says all that in unnaturally fast speech, Wolfram half-runs away. The present fastened to the left side of my chest is a gold bird with both wings spread. Conrad smugly gazes after his little brother's back.
"It seems Wolfram has taken a liking to Your Majesty."
"Eeeeeh?! That haughty Prince Whatever?!"
To escape from that topic I open the door a crack, and peeking inside I get a bad feeling again. Noble princes from here and there have gathered to this country from various places today, in addition to representing various families, and some here and there that had human-like shapes.
The flying bone race that I've befriended and their relatives, the ground bone race, like gargoyles on an American building, people with four legs that look like gray leopards, palm-sized petit-macho men that make the sound of an aburazemi (maybe a fairy), and a huge tuna lying on the soaked floor conspicuously.
I keep reminding myself that I have to get used to it, because they were all citizens. They don't look human, no, they don't look like mazoku. I began to forget my policy speech because of too much tension.
My aspiration as the Maoh; a plan for the Japanization of Shin Makoku.
"Umm, on the dawn of my inauguration as the twenty-seventh Maoh, my ultimate goal is to switch over to pacifism and popular sovereignty.... Oeeh... Conrad, I think I'm going to hurl... I'm so stressed... My stomach hurts... I need to get to a toilet again, where's the toilet?"
"Not 'again', it's my stomach. My stomach!"
"We don't have time for that, Your Majesty!"
The teacher in the white, tight Chinese clothes runs by with a worried look on his face.
"It will begin sooner or later. Are you all right, Your Majesty? As I explained, after you progress down the center, when you ascend the platform the former Queen, Her Majesty Cecilie will coronate you... Of course, even if we didn't perform the ceremony, the people's loyalty to Your Majesty wouldn't waver, your form has that effect in and of itself..."
"Gah, that's enough, so tell me what to do."
"I'm relieved to hear that. You're very determined. Just seeing the promising form of Your Majesty..."
Overcome with emotion, Günter, who was entering the "old geezer" mode, passed by the expressionless man. I panicked as Gwendal lays his hand on the door.
"Wait a minute, shouldn't you go in before me?"
Not just in looks but also in personality, the eldest brother who was probably the most suitable for the role of Maoh with the same pout on his lips as usual, forced a smile. That's a big treat.
"The former Queen has been appointed the honorable role of passing the crown."
"Is that right? I thought you were still going to get me to spoil the ceremony. Because you're opposed to me becoming the king."
His dorsal muscles freeze, looking like a smile, and with one step back he takes my chin in his fingers. Ah, there's an absolute height difference. But this isn't like in basketball or volleyball, or, I'm afraid to say, baseball; being tall shouldn't be related to being a catcher or a king.
"It's outrageous that I would do something like oppose you. I sincerely wish for you to become a good king."
"By 'good' you mean..."
"A compliant, submissive, meek king."
"You just plan on having the king at your disposal?!"
From behind Günter, who has become like an overprotective mother to me, Conrad carefreely said something unrelated. Come to think of it, it feels like that.
"Which reminds me, Gwen, Anissina came over."
The man who was usually a cool sale scowled at that instant. I've never seen such a scowl since I was born. With a click of hi tongue he disappeared on the other side of the door. I was surprised; even Gwendal has a weak point.
"Well, Your Majesty, are you all right? Are you tense? Take a deep breath, breathe in and exhale."
"What am I going to do?"
Accompanied by Günter and Conrad, I advanced down the center of the hallway as I was told. Jet-black petals were spread all over. It's a bad omen. Queen Cecilie waited on the platform and I approached on the stone staircase, with shiny golden curls and a sexy crimson dress.
"You, you're beautiful, Lady Cheri."
She had a full smile.
"Thank you, Your Majesty. But you don't need to fawn over me right now. Today, you're the lead actor."
We stood in our positions just like artists at a live venue. There's a small, artificial waterfall at the front of the stage, I spread my hands in the middle leaving a softball sized hole. The water falls quietly to the side, making a thin passageway.
"Well then, Your Majesty, put your right hand in the center of the waterfall, and listen to the will of Shinou."
"Huh? But isn't Shinou dead?"
"Eeh? But only people led to the hole in Shinou's shrine who are allowed to become the Maoh can put a finger in there. And if Shinou recognizes the new Maoh, he'll clasp your hand gently."
All she says about a person who should be dead is "Eeh?"?!
Lady Cheri brought her lips near my ear, only pretending to whisper.
"I was able to put my fingers in, but no one grabbed back. After I waited a bit to make it look important, I slowly took out my hand and raised it high. Like Shinou really acknowledged me. See, Your Majesty, that's not really difficult at all, is it?
From behind Günter pesters me.
"Your Majesty, hurry."
"Even if you say to..."
I stand in front of something like the Mouth of Truth, a tourist spot in Italy, with my right hand hanging in the air, hearing the sound of water cascading with a "swish" sound.
"If I lie won't it bite me?"
"No way. This is made of solid stone. It won't make any sudden moves."
That's right. When I timidly put my right hand near the dark hole, my index finger and middle finger enter together. It's cool as I expected, and the air around it is saturated with moisture. Boldly, I put my hand in up to my wrist.
"Ah, that was good, if you give it a try there's nothing to the ceremony. All that's left it to put on airs and lift up your arm..."
My fingertips hit something. Probably the inside wall.
Günter peers at me worriedly.
"Huh... Uwah, wah, there's, there's..."
Something cold grips my fingers.
"So, something's, grabbed me, uwah, yah, Conrad, what's got me?!"
With frightening strength, my right arm is pulled in. Wait, hey, I'm being pulled into a man-made waterfall, so a wall should be on the other side of the water!
Am I going to be crashed into a wall and finished off?! Before that, who does this power to pull me...
I'm thrust into the face from the face with a shriek like a chorus member. Günter tries to grab the back of my clothes and left arm frantically. Conrad calls my name and grabs my belt. But there's a wall of water between us, and only the warped sounds reach me.
Even though there's a wall of water, the wall of stone that should be there isn't. When I'm drawn in I gasp for air... While I'm gasping I get a sense somewhere in my head. When I came to this world it was through a public Western-style toilet. My return ticket is the same mode of transportation. But this time the water is cleaner, better. I got a little bit of an upgrade; is this business class?!
After that it was just like Star Tours.
What is this, a mark of absence from a sumo match? I don't know whether saying "ya" repeatedly is for yariika, yankees or yanbaru kuina. Yanbaru kuina, that's awful nostalgic.
Close to my ear the "Abarenbou Shogun Theme" rings, and I awoke surprised by Kintetsu's Chance. It's nothing but my own blue cell-phone, ringing to the set timer.
"Uwah, you surprised me!"
It was the "ya" in Shibuya. After he shakes my shoulder I spring to my feet, and I noticed it was the guy in glasses that I went to junior high with that was calling my name. Who was he, aah, Ken, Murata Ken.
My nose is soaked like I was drinking water in a pool. The wet cloth is stiff, hard and heavy, and my skin was cooled by an unpleasant dampness. I narrowed both my eyes to try and shake my field of vision somehow and saw my surroundings. It was a gloomy public women's restroom, with ashen walls, a light blue door, to my back a mismatched brand of Western-styled toilet, and a paper holder that has nothing to do with it. Peering at me is Murata Ken; two or three steps away is a uniformed policeman.
"Murata Ken... You didn't run away?"
"I couldn't run away and leave behind someone who tried to help me."
The policeman asks if I'm ok. And if I wanted to take a damage report, or if I knew the assailant's names and such.
I was dumbfounded.
The night game is starting.
After that, with the soft lights in the courtyard, I recalled a night game with someone else. I recall the promise I made to a child who didn't even know how to spell 'baseball'. I recalled most of my dream.
"Murata... I had some sort of amazing dream."
"What was it?"
I shook my head quietly. I couldn't even begin to tell him, it was too long.
"Ah, I see. Well, Shibuya, I had something I wanted to ask you but..."
The moment I try to stand up, a cold gem touches my skin under the clothes. After that, a momentary flash of light draws my attention to the golden wings on the breast of m uniform. I grip the golden wings tightly in my left hand.
It, wasn't a dream?
Günter, Wolfram, Gwendal, Cheri, Brandon... Conrad.
"...Was it, really a dream?"
Murata Ken reaches out an hand to me with a vague smile.
"But the belt for your pants snapped off and... Well, I didn't want to ask because it's a question about your personal hobbies but..."
Suddenly, when I look down at myself, my belt is torn off, my button has flown off, and my fly is completely open. Peeking out there was the sexy underwear all mazoku purveyors wore...
Damnit, maybe it wasn't a dream...
It's not over.
It seems this isn't the end of the game.
(Translated by Emeryl, originally posted on Onadoru Euphoria. Re-posted with permission.)