Monogatari Series:Bakemonogatari Volume1/Mayoi Snail 003
The girl looked around nine or ten, standing in a corner of the park, by the metal billboard with a map--the nearby residential area on it, facing it. There she stares away from me, so I can't tell what she looks like, but her large rucksack was pretty impressive--so, I could remember. Indeed, this very girl had been looking at that neighbourhood layout even before Senjougahara got here. Back then she left soon--well, it seemed like she was back again. Seemingly comparing the board with something like a note in her hand.
I guess she is lost. I'm sure her note has a hand-drawn map or an address written on it.
I look at her rucksack.
There is a sewn-on name sign on it--"5-3, 八九寺真宵", denoted in fat marker strokes.
真宵, "early" "twilight"... should read, "Mayoi"(sounds like "hesitation", "lost").
But 八九寺... How do you read a surname like this? "Yakudera"... or not?
I suck at this language.
I think I'll ask somebody fluent.
"Hey, Senjougahara. Look, by that billboard, there's a grade-schooler, right? How do you read the surname on her rucksack name sign?"
"What?" Senjougahara said slowly. "I can't see that."
I just forgot.
My body is no longer normal--and yesterday, on Saturday, I let Shinobu drink my blood. Even though it's not as bad as it used to be during the spring break, right now I've got remarkably high capabilities. My vision wasn't an exception. If I forget the borderline just a little--I can see stuff across impossible distances and not notice. That by itself not a problem, but being able to see what nobody around can--doesn't feel particularly right.
A discord with the surroundings.
Though, that was Senjougahara's worry as well.
"Er... well, the kanji read 8, 9, and shrine..."
"...? Well, that would be Hachikuji."
"Yes. Can't you read kanji compounds of that level, Araragi-kun? I'm amazed you've graduated out of kindergarten."
"You can graduate from that blindfolded!"
"You're overpricing yourself too much, I have to say."
"Finding faults in a corrective rebuttal!?"
"I am not amused by conceit."
"Now I'm amused by you..."
"Seriously, Araragi-kun, if you just had a bit of interest in history or classic books, that is, if you were a man of intellectual curiosity, you would have known. In your case, I feel it's a shame for life, no matter if you ask someone or not."
"Sure, sure. So I have no education."
"If you think being aware of yourself is a better thing than not, you're making a big mistake."
I think I have done a bad thing to her.
Because she was supposedly talking how she wanted to pay me back, but...
"Oh you... Okay. Anyway. So that reads Hachikuji Mayoi... Heh."
That's a strange name.
Well, that said, it may be more normal than "Senjougahara Hitagi" or "Araragi Koyomi". Anyhow, it's rather improper dissing people's names.
"Um..." I steal a look at Senjougahara.
No matter how you think of it, she's not the type to melt in front of kids... I can imagine a ball coming rolling, and her just tossing it in the opposite direction, though. Or kicking a crying kid away because it's being noisy.
And so, it's easier to just go alone.
Or if it wasn't Senjougahara but somebody else, it could have been better for the child's wariness if I went up together with a girl.
"Hey, could you wait a bit here?"
"Sure, but, Araragi-kun, where are you going?"
"To talk to the grade-schooler."
"Don't. You would only end up hurt."
Seriously, she says the worst things like it's nothing.
No, I'll tell her off later.
Now, the kid.
Off the bench, I go to across the park area--to where the map stands, and where the rucksack girl is, in a quick pace. The girl is so desperately busy checking her note against the map, she doesn't even notice me coming up behind her.
Leaving a step of distance between us, I call her up.
As friendly and cheerfully as possible.
"Hey. What's up, did you get lost?"
The girl turned around.
Her hairdo was twin tails and a short forelock, leaving brows visible.
The girl's features implied intelligence.
The girl--Hachikuji Mayoi gave me a long, exploring stare, then opened her mouth.
"Don't talk to me, please. I hate you."
I got back to the bench, shambling like a zombie.
Senjougahara looks curious.
"Well? What happened?"
"That hurt... I just ended up hurt..."
I took more damage than I would have thought.
Tens seconds before I've recovered.
"...I'll go once more."
"But what for, whence?"
"Obviously enough," I said.
And, to the rematch.
This Hachikuji girl was once again looking at the billboard, and it felt like our sudden encounter had never happened. Apparently comparing it with her note. I try looking over her shoulder--so it wasn't a map, but an address. I'm not local so I can't recognise it, but, well, it is around here.
"You're lost, aren't you? Where do you want to get to?"
"Let me see that note of yours for a moment."
I shambled back to the bench like a zombie.
Senjougahara looks curious.
"Well? What happened?"
"She ignored me... A grade school girl just didn't care..."
I took more damage than I would have thought.
Tens seconds before I've recovered.
"This time...I'll go do it."
"Araragi-kun, I'm not even sure what you want to do, or what you are doing..."
"Never mind..." I said.
And, on to another rematch.
This Hachikuji girl is facing the billboard.
The first strike decides the battle, eh. I slapped the back of her head. Apparently Hachikuji really hadn't seen that coming, because as a result, she hit the billboard full-force with her open forehead.
"W,what are you doing!!"
You turned to me.
"Anyone would when they're hit from behind!!"
"Uh... Yeah, sorry about that." My feelings have changed due to repeating shocks. "But you know? In the "life"(命) kanji, "hit"(叩) kanji is a part."
"What are you getting at!?"
"Life especially shines up after you get hit."
"I felt very sparky!"
I couldn't brush it off.
"Just that you looked troubled, and I thought I'd be able to help."
"Somebody who hits a little girl's head out of the blue and then gets to help her does not exist in this world!! Absolutely none!!"
She was really cautious now.
Can't blame her, though.
"Ugh, so I'm sorry. I'm apologising for real! Eh, I'm Araragi Koyomi."
"Oh, Koyomi. Oh, that's a girly name."
Way to go.
I don't get usually told that on the first meeting.
"You smell woman!! Please don't come near me!!"
"Can't let that pass from a woman, even so little, telling me that..."
Calm down, calm down.
Trust comes first--right?
Gotta soften the air a bit, or there won't be a talk.
"So, what's your name?"
"I am Hachikuji Mayoi. My name is Hachikuji Mayoi. It's a Mum and Dad-given name which is very dear to me."
Apparently, the reading was correct, but...
"Anyway, please don't talk to me! I hate you!!"
"Why is that?"
"Because you hit me from behind!"
"You already said you hated me before getting hit."
"In that case, it's karma from the previous life!!"
"That's a fresh way of being hated."
"We've been sworn enemies in our preexistence!! I was a glorious princess, and you were the evil lord!!"
"You're getting carried off alone."
Do not follow strangers.
Ignore strangers trying to talk to you.
The times aren't pretty, and kids get such teachings drilled in down to the bone... Or maybe it means that my looks simply aren't the sort a kid would like.
Either way, it's depressing when a child hates you.
"Let's just calm down. I'm not meaning you harm. I just live in this city, and I'm man or beast-friendly like no one else here, you know?"
Okay, that was too much to say, but to deal with her, that should be the right level of exaggeration. The best plan with kids or not is having people think you're easy to deal with. Whether Hachikuji has been convinced or not, she hummed in a way very fitting to her, then said, "All right," and added, "I won't be that suspicious."
"Man-or-beast-san!? Who is that person!?"
The expression itself wasn't much, but she merely left the first half out, and I've become some half-assed despicable creature... Sure, she misheard, but what if it's something people mishear a lot? And I've been using it, even calling myself that...
"He's yelling at me!! I'm scared!!"
"Look, my bad I yelled, but it's awful calling someone Man-or-beast! Anybody would yell!"
"Really?... But, you called yourself that first. I've but complied in due sincerity."
"The world doesn't work like anything goes as long as it's done with sincerity... And you misheard."
Actually, the expression makes perfect sense, it's only when people try shortening it that it begins sounding like a mutant... But nevertheless.
"So I'm saying you mustn't shorten that expression even given you don't understand it."
"Right. Is that so? I see. So, it must be like the word "wild"... So it's the same thing as, whilst you accept characters who get excited and yell, "Wild!" in a delirious voice, you can't accept a character who would be introduced in narrative as, "He was prone to letting himself go wild..." Isn't it?"
"I'm not sure... I, for one, really can't accept a character that would get excited and yell, "Wild!" in a delirious voice..."
"So, how do I call you?"
"Normally would be fine, obviously."
"Very well. Araragi-san?"
"Yeah, that's normal, go normal!"
"I hate you, Araragi-san."
The air was stiff.
"You smell!! Please don't come near me!!"
"It's gotten worse than me smelling woman!?"
"Um... Indeed, "smell" may be a cruel description. I'll correct myself."
"Yeah, if you could."
"You smell stranger!! Please don't come near me!!"
"You're incoherent, we're officially not strangers!"
"Whatever, I do not care!! Please, promptly go elsewhere!!"
"Nah... So, are you lost?"
"This isn't much of a dire situation to me!! This much trouble is well-familiar to me!! It's a very usual thing for me!! For I'm a travel maker!!"
"A travel agent or a troublemaker?" If that were true, it would mean she wasn't lost, but alas. "...Wait, what are you acting all obstinate about?"
"I am not!!"
"I can tell."
"Have at you!!"
So Hachikuji shouted as she put her weight in a high kick that hit me. I hadn't thought a grade school girl capable of a kick like this, in a perfect position, feeling like my spine got clubbed. However, o hear and wail, there is an obvious difference between a grade-schooler and a high-schooler's body length. That's a difference you just can't step over. Hachikuji's high kick that could have well been aimed at my face, only hit my side at most. Surely, a damage will be taken either way if somebody lands their boot tip at your side, but that has no "unbearable" quality. Quickly, as soon as Hachikuji's leg hit me, I caught that leg in a hold around the ankle.
"Oh noes!" Hachikuji yells, but it's too late. ...I'll ask Senjougahara later about how grammatically correct the "noes" was, I decided, never letting Hachikuji, who was now standing on one foot, get any ideas before I, much like pulling out a radish in the field, pulled her other leg up. In jūdō, this was a form of one-armed shoulder throw. In jūdō, though, there's a rule against holds like this one, but alas, this is a street-fight. Hachikuji went airborne, and at the same time I saw the insides of her skirt right before me, at quite a daring angle too, but I, not being a pedophile, wasn't distracted this little. I jerked her across my back.
But, our difference played the other way this time. Hachikuji was small, and, while all it takes to hit the mat is a split-second in the air, a guy like me would have that little distance, too--just a little. However, in that little time, that little distance, Hachikuji could switch her thoughts, and used a free hand to grab my hair. I was, for a reason, growing it, so--even Hachikuji's small fingers could easily hold the clutch. As pain ran through the skin on my head, I let Hachikuji's ankle out of my hands.
But Hachikuji wasn't so naïve as to run. Still on my back, not waiting for touchdown, she turned, using my shoulder-blade as pivot, and proceeded attacking my head. It was a rebuff. She hit. However--shallowly. As her feet weren't steady, the power conveyance wasn't normal. Differences in age, in street-fighting experience became clear. I didn't rush with the finale; I calmed down and could have ended the fight with a single strike right now. Had I done that, it could have been my retaliation scene. An alley to my triumph.
I managed to catch her arm she had hit me with--it felt like left--wait, we're back-to-back, so it should be her right arm, so I caught her right arm and from that stance moved on to complete the new shoulder-throw!
This time--it worked.
Hachikuji hit the ground and was on her back.
I take my distance, accounting for a kick-back--
But it didn't look like she'd get back up.
"Damn, you stupid bitch--did you really think a grade-schooler could beat a high-schooler! Fuhahahahahhahah!"
One could then witness a high-school boy who fought a grade-school girl all-out, sent her over his shoulder full-force, and actually laughed haughtily, victorious.
That is, myself.
So Araragi Koyomi was somebody capable of bullying a little girl and laugh with joy... I got sick of myself.
"...Araragi-kun," an ice-cold voice called.
I turned around to face Senjougahara.
I think she couldn't stand watching and came over.
With an expression of utter suspicion.
"I did say I would follow you to hell, but, seeing how petty a human you were, my, eh, pain is absolutely another thing, so don't misunderstand me about that."
"...Please allow me to make an excuse."
I didn't make any.
There weren't any to be found.
So I toe the mark again.
"Well, leaving what's in the past for later, it's about her--" I point my finger at Hachikuji, who's still there biting the dust. I mean, she fell on her back, so not exactly, and then there's her rucksack that had cushioned her, so she should be okay. "She must have lost her way. I'm guessing she hasn't been with her parents or her friends, either. Uh, I've been here, in this park, since morning, so it's been a good while, and she was here once before you came, staring at the same billboard. I didn't think anything about her back then, but a lot of time passed and she came back, so she should be actually lost, right? It's not funny if someone's waiting for her around, so I thought I could help her."
Senjougahara nodded, which was something, but her dubious expression didn't change. Well, I could well see she was chock full of the question how that intention had come to blows, but I can't really explain that. I can but say it was two warrior souls crying out at each other.
"I mean, that makes sense... I understand the situation now."
I wonder about that part.
It could be she had just pretended that she did.
"Oh, yeah. Senjougahara, you mentioned you lived around here? Then you should know the place by address, right?"
"Sure... Well, as much as anyone."
That specification didn't bode well.
I wondered if she wasn't seeing me as a child abuser perchance. That was supposedly a step worse than even being a pedophile.
"'Ullo, Hachikuji. I know you're actually awake and playing dead or something. Show this lady here that note of yours."
I bend and peek into Hachikuji's face.
Her eyes are white.
...She's actually unconscious...
A girl showing the whites, well that's disturbing...
"What's wrong, Araragi-kun?..."
Using my back to shield the sight from Senjougahara's eyes, I nonchalantly slapped Hachikuji's cheeks twice, thrice. Not adding up to the violence, naturally, but to wake her up.
Presently Hachikuji comes to.
"Ngh... I was seeing a dream of sorts."
"Aw, really? What sort of dream?" I try being very kind. "Tell me, Hachikuji-chan. What kind of a dream was it?"
"A dream of a barbaric high school student boy abusing me."
"...Ah, isn't it a dream that means the opposite?"
"Oh. It was that kind of dream, wasn't it?"
Obviously that had been real, right before she lost consciousness.
I felt a heart-rending regret.
I took the note from Hachikuji, and handed it right to Senjougahara--except Senjougahara didn't move to take it. Instead, she stared at me, her eyes colder than the freezing point of water.
"What? Take it."
"...Somehow, I don't want to touch you."
Her poison, which I was supposedly used to, really hit the mark...
"But you're just taking the note."
"I don't even want to touch the things you have touched."
She hates me...
Senjougahara hates me in the commonest way now...
Huhh... It's weird, it had felt surprisingly good talking with her just recently...
"Okay, I got it, then... I'll simply read it aloud, okay? Umm..."
I read the address written on the note. Thankfully, there weren't any ambiguous characters in it, so I was able to read it fluently. Senjougahara heard me and said,
"Hm. I know where that is."
"Go past the place where I used to live then go a bit further. I'm not sure about the precise place, but once we're there, I can feel the right place. So, shall we go?"
No sooner said than done, Senjougahara turned on heels and started walking towards the park gate in a large pace. I had thought she would grumble more about how she didn't want to guide children, but she, surprisingly, just abided--no, rather, as Senjougahara hadn't even introduced herself to Hachikuji, hell, she hadn't looked in Hachikuji's eyes, so, somehow, Senjougahara hating children was probably a good prediction on my part, though. Or, as she'd said she wanted to do "one thing" for me, it could be she heeded my call there.
If that's true, it feels like a total waste...
"Oh well... Let's go, Hachikuji."
"Eh... Go where?"
Hachikuji seemed honestly puzzled.
Can't she assume things on other people talking?
"The place marked on your note, of course. That lady knows it, so she's going to guide you. Lucky you."
"...Sigh. A guidance, then..."
"Hmm? Weren't you, like, lost?"
"Yes, I am," Hachikuji admitted clearly. "I'm a lost snail."
"No, I--" She shook her head. "I, it's nothing."
"...Okay. Uh, so, let's just follow that lady! Her name is Senjougahara, as in battlefield. Her crabbiness is on par with her name, but you just get used to it, then the extremeness of it becomes your habit, and then, deep inside, she's a comparatively frank, good person. A bit too frank, even."
"Oh jeez. Come on..."
Hachikuji still wouldn't move, so I got firmly a hold on her hand, and, pulling, or rather, dragging her, chased Senjougahara's back. Hachikuji was squeaking, "Ah, auh, au, ouuou," like a seal or a sea lion, but despite several tough moments, she managed to follow me without falling.
I decided I'd go pick my mountain bike up later.
For now, we left the 浪白 park behind.
Me still none the wiser as to how that reads.
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