Sasami-san @ Ganbaranai is a web novel created by Akira (日日日).
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Chapter 12: And Then, a Witch…
It was a chilly day, right before the end of our spring break.
I had successfully “given birth” and had made a full recovery. I could finally go outside again.
Of course, it’s not like I was pregnant in the normal sense, so instead of “giving birth” you probably should say I successfully performed a “divine birth.”
I had managed to drop all that extra fat I had picked up, and like the legend of Chikarataro, (1) I molded that fat into a human shape.
Within that fat rested the power of the Supreme G.o.d, which I had transferred to it, and my mother’s will which would control that power.
My consciousness had been pretty hazy while this whole divine birth was going on, but…
I think I had a pretty strange dream.
No, it was more a trip to the past that was borrowing the form of a dream.
I remembered our confrontation with Tamamo-no-Mae, the fiendish G.o.d who was trying to alter the past, my interactions with my mother and with Tsurugi, and our parent-teacher conference.
After getting through all that and waking up, I found that my body was back to normal.
I had no idea where my mother was.
She was probably somewhere fulfilling our promise – keeping the power of the Supreme G.o.d safe until I was ready to take it back.
“It certainly seems like you’ve been through quite a bit.”
We were in a dim movie theater.
Kagami was sitting right next to me, whispering in my ear.
Today, I was on a play date together with Kagami.
She was in a pretty cute outfit and had braided her hair. She gave me a slight bow.
“Congratulations on your new baby.”
“Stop it. That’s not funny.”
I would probably never have kids.
Sure, I had made up with my mom, and I no longer felt a strong urge to get away from her and end the Tsukuyomi bloodline… but if we were just going to go through this cycle over and over, then I didn’t need kids.
We would end that cycle with my and my mother’s generation.
“Is there still anything unusual happening with your body?”
Kagami gave me a worried look, and I gave her a bitter chuckle back.
“Nah. My weight was worrying me more than anything, and that’s more or less gone back to normal.”
“More or less, you say? Does that mean you are still slightly chubbier than you were? Ah, certainly… looking closely, it does seem that your cheeks are a bit… squish squish.”
“Stop! Don’t touch me! This is… uhh… this has nothing to do with mom. I locked myself in and ate and slept too much, and so this is the mark of guilt for letting the demon known as inevitability into my body!”
“Ahh, that’s right, Sasami-san… you stayed in your room for the entire spring break, didn’t you? Of course you would grow fat from that. That must be why you feel desperate enough to come out and roam around like this, trying to burn off that excess fat.”
“Yeah. I guess the lesson learned this time is: if you lock yourself in your room and just sleep and eat all day, you’ll get fat! Or something like that.”
“Granted, that lesson is quite an obvious one. Ahh, that’s right, Sasami-san lost the power of the Supreme G.o.d, correct? And she cannot use her spiritual abilities to lose weight, correct? There also still seems to be a bit of snow left in town, so it could be that there remain lingering aftereffects of this little adventure of ours…”
Kagami let out a gloomy sigh.
“Neesan also seems to have completely restored herself from the Underworld and is back to normal. However, perhaps she is slightly unstable because there are times when she still acts rather buggy. Just the other day, she slipped into my futon. ‘Ehehe, Kagami-chan, can I sleep with you. Huff, huff, I swear I won’t do anything pervy,’ she said to me.”
I watched Kagami be a worry wart and suddenly realized something.
“…… By the way, should we really be talking like this? Shouldn’t we be focusing on the movie?”
“I-I cannot. I am adamantly trying not to look.”
Kagami shook her head vigorously and rejected my suggestion.
Well, I kind of understood where she was coming from.
After all, that huge screen was throwing so many images of blood splatter at us that I could’ve sworn we were watching a horror flick.
For a while now, Kagami had been grabbing firmly onto the hem of my shirt, looking down, and trying desperately not to look at the screen.
I put my hand on top of the doll-like Kagami’s head and began to stroke her sleek black hair.
“I guess we should’ve realized when we noticed we were the only ones watching this movie. We really should’ve just picked the safe action movie we were originally planning on, but Kagami got lured away by that cute animal poster she saw and really wanted to see this movie instead.”
Now I realize that changing your plans so suddenly was just inviting trouble. You really had to be careful on dates…
“To think… what we thought was a heartwarming story about cute animals being all fluffy and happy and kyakyaa~~ and ufufu~~ would turn out to be a movie on how to make delicious food out of those cute animals… seriously, an ‘animal movie’ and a ‘doc.u.mentary about animals’ are polar opposites of each other, aren’t they? Ahh, look what they’re doing to that baby spotted seal…”
“Nooooo, Mr. Seal… Mr. Seal?! No! And with soy sauce?!”
Kagami buried her face into my chest, sobbing a flood of tears.
“I do not think I can eat meat any longer… humans are cruel, cruel creatures…”
Kagami sure was cute.
It was evening on the same day.
Kagami had exhausted all her energy and patience at the movie theater, so we just did some window shopping while taking a few breaks in between, playing out the rest of our date in a pretty normal way.
If we stayed out too late, certain overprotective family members would start worrying about us, so we walked back together as far as we could while making small talk and then said goodbye for the night.
Neither of us had eaten dinner yet.
We were high school students, so as long as we didn’t stay out overnight we could’ve been out a bit longer… but it was our first date like this, and both of us had annoying guardians at home.
Kagami and I lived in the same neighborhood, so when we went our separate ways, I was already pretty much at my house.
Even then, I still sent Kagami a text while walking home.
Today was really fun. Let’s hang out again and go somewhere before spring break ends. We could go eat yakiniku or barbeque or something~~.
I waited a little bit, and I got a response.
Please cease all talk about meat.
Good, a reply.
I tried continuing this exchange without being too annoying.
Maybe we can go to the zoo next then?
In that case, I would like to bring Tama as well. Someone sent some zoo pamphlets to our house, and Tama has been annoying me to take her ever since.
Sure~~. Tama is a good kid, and the more the merrier.
Ah, I have arrived. Thank you very much for today.
It was fun. I’ll text you again, Kagami! I love you (>w
Shut up (=_=).
It was the acc.u.mulation of small things like this that would strengthen our connection with each other.
Okay, I admit it might’ve been a bit strange to be thinking like that about a friend, but the book I was referencing was a book that was supposed to bring you closer to someone you loved.
Why was it that there were mountains of books on how to flirt with a lover, but none on how to deepen a friendship with the first friend you made in high school?
“Welcome back, Sasami-san!”
My brother was shoveling snow in front of our house.
He was in a raincoat, ready to get a bit dirty, and busily working his shovel.
It seemed that there were some alterations still left over evident from the snow that was still piling up on the ground in my town.
I smiled at my brother as his breath misted white in front of his face.
“I’m back, oniichan.”
“Your oniichan is also relieved that you’ve been going outside again~. At this rate, you’ll probably be able to go to school normally too when spring break ends.”
“Ugh, that’s what I’ve been saying. When I locked myself in my room, I was just taking a bit of a break.”
Well, it’s not like I didn’t understand where his worry was coming from.
I looked at my brother in slight disbelief. But he remained just as cheerful.
“How was your date with Kagami-san? Was it fun?”
My brother still seemed very calm on the surface, but I could hear him grinding his teeth.
“Dammit. Ah, your oniichan isn’t jealous at all. Sasami-san’s happiness is my happiness, after all. I’m definitely not jealous of Kagami-san for taking Sasami-san all to herself or anything and I definitely haven’t been out here since the morning shoveling snow to try and vent all that jealousy out.”
“Uwah, now that I look at it, all that snow is gone already! There was so much of it this morning too! Are you seriously that jealous?!”
I had thought that with my brother the way he is, he would definitely come and b.u.t.t in on my date. I guess he had been able to relieve his stress by shoveling snow, and that’s why he didn’t show up.
Even my brother had learned a bit of tact, hadn’t he…?
“I’ll be done soon so please wait a bit before dinner is ready.”
“I’ll help too, oniichan.”
I felt a little bad for making my brother do all this work while I went out and played with friends, so I took the shovel from my brother and stuck it into a nearby snow pile.
Also, this was the first time I’d ever shoveled snow, so I was a bit curious.
I put strength into the shovel and moved some of the surprisingly heavy snow out of the way.
And that exhausted all my strength.
“Agh, ow ow ow ow, my back hurts. I’m done. Oniichan, you can handle the rest.”
“What?! That fast?! W-Wait, Sasami-san! I’ll go bring another shovel, and then we can shovel snow together! And then all the old ladies in the neighborhood can be like ‘Ohh, look at those siblings. They get along so well,’ and I can respond ‘Siblings?! We’re husband and wife!’” And then-”
“Don’t come hugging me from behind while spouting out all that nonsense!”
My brother must’ve been really lonely from having been left at home alone. He came up from behind and wrapped his arms firmly around me.
We’ve been through a lot, but it seems things had finally kind of returned to normal. I sighed a sigh of relief.
Suddenly, someone’s voice echoed around me.
It was a sweet, melting voice, reminding me of a piece of diligently crafted sugar candy.
I stopped trying to pry my brother off of me and looked to the side, a bit surprised.
She was standing there.
A girl who looked to be around the same age as me.
She was wearing a Konohana Sakuya Academy uniform.
Her long hair was pale but still managed to have a luscious-look, and it was bound in two tails which hung down on both sides of her head.
She was pretty small, but her lips were plump and her b.r.e.a.s.t.s definitely a.s.serted a sense of presence.
This is probably a pretty weird way of putting it, but she was like a pretty, young girl who had jumped out from two dimensions right into our three-dimensional world.
I looked around to make sure that there was n.o.body else she could’ve been talking to. I figured she was a neighbor or something, so I gave her a small bow.
I was planning on getting back to shoveling snow after those obligatory pleasantries, but she began to walk towards me. “Ku ku ku,” she chuckled, sounding almost like a witch.
Unlike me, who kept on looking down at the ground, she looked me straight in the face.
And called me by name.
Startled, I lifted my head and took a long, hard look at her.
“Umm… have we made each other’s acquaintance before?”
She looked like she was the same age as I was, but for some reason I spoke formally.
Well, we also were just outside my house, and there was a nameplate there with “Tsukuyomi Kamiomi Sasami” written on it, so it’s possible she could’ve just guessed my name right.
But… this girl… she was acting really friendly.
That’s why I suspected that maybe we had met somewhere before.
“You don’t have to be so guarded.”
She leaned her face close into mine, like a snake preparing to swallow its prey.
“Pretty sure this is the first time we’ve met. Look, I’m also a student at Konohana Sakuya Academy.”
She lifted the hem of her skirt and gave me a little bow.
“Like you, I’ll be a second year from April. Ahh, you’re pretty famous though, so of course I’d know your name. I mean, you never came to school before but come February suddenly you start showing up. On top of that, you’re the little sister of one of the teachers, so of course everybody would be curious. Everyone’s really really interested in you.”
Really? Was that so?
“We were in different cla.s.ses until now, so I didn’t really have the opportunity to speak to you.”
The girl gave me a pure smile.
“I’d be happy if you remember me from here on out. I’m the president of the student council at Konohana Sakuya Academy, so if you need anything just let me know.”
Our student council president?
Was our student council president really this girl?
Also, she said she had been a first year… how could you become the student council president as a first year?
“Let’s be friends.”
But I saw her holding a hand out to me and tempting me with sweet words like “friends.”
So, I didn’t think about it too hard and took her hand with my own.
After the events of the other day, the G.o.ds in our school weren’t raising a fuss anymore, so they wouldn’t cast alterations to make other students be friendly with me.
Kagami had told me that if I could make a friend now, it would be out of my own strengths and efforts.
If she was right, then I could take simple and honest joy at this girl’s proposal.
I blushed a bit at my own thoughts. The girl then suddenly frowned with a suspicious look on her face.
I c.o.c.ked my head to the side in confusion. What was wrong? I mean, we’re here still shaking hands, and-
“My my, aren’t you happy, Sasami-san? You’ve made another friend.”
My brother, who was still hugging me from a moment before, suddenly spoke up.
For some reason, his tone was serious, almost biting.
“Let me make a request as well… please get along with Sasami-san. She does not have many friends, and so I always worry about her.”
At that point, the girl seemed to finally notice my brother’s existence, and she widened her eyes in surprise. However, my brother just continued without pause.
“However, if you plan to use Sasami-san for your own purposes, if you’re planning something and hurt her… even if you’re her friend, I’ll never forgive you.”
“Oniichan, your face…”
I realized then.
My brother was not hiding his face.
Of course, he was hugging me from behind and the sun was. .h.i.tting his face at a weird angle, so I couldn’t see him very well.
But his vivid eyes left an impression in my mind.
The girl took a few steps back, her body now tense and guarded.
She put her hands on her hips, scrutinizing my brother.
At which point, she asked a rather strange question.
“Who are you with? The Emishi? The Tsuchigumo, maybe? Or perhaps the Arahabaki?”
“I do believe you have the wrong idea.”
My brother gave a nonchalant response to which the girl laughed again.
“Ku ku ku! I see.”
She gave us an ecstatic nod and then turned the other way.
“Things are becoming more and more fascinating. You two are certainly interesting.”
Her angel-like, white tufts of hair seemed to flap like wings in the air.
“Well then… I will be on my way. It would be nice if we could be in the same cla.s.s together in our second year.”
“Umm, what’s your name?”
I just realized that I had never asked that question.
The girl looked back for just a moment and gave me a devilish smirk.
“My name is Edogawa Jou. A strange name, isn’t it? Let’s get along from now on… Sasami-san.”
The following is something I heard later and second-hand.
The girl who had given her name as Edogawa Jou left me and gracefully walked up the path to Konohana Sakuya Academy.
Soon, in the midst of this wintry desolation, she came upon a girl sitting on the guardrail that separated the sidewalk from the road. Bare trees surrounded both of them as the girl dangled and swung her legs to and fro.
She looked young enough to be an elementary schooler, but she certainly had a set of features that stood out and made her seem like a foreigner.
For some reason, she was wearing a maid outfit that looked completely out of place in a normal town like this, and she was also sprouting an even more out-of-place pair of fox ears.
One could see a number of fluffy tails coming from her skirt.
“It is quite cold out here, you know.”
The girl grumbled, her voice way too bewitching to belong to someone in such a young-looking body.
“It is quite rare to see you acting directly. What brought this about? Usually you do not even give out orders, and instead leave everything to us.”
“My, did you not hear? I’m quite interested now… in that girl.”
Jou smiled and continued to walk.
The girl in the maid outfit also stood up, sticking to Jou like a shadow and letting out a gloomy sigh.
“However, it seems we did not accomplish our goal.”
She sounded very disappointed.
“That girl… she’s lost the power of the Supreme G.o.d.”
The maid girl’s eyes widened.
“T-That… cannot be. It did not feel that way at all. I was too terrified to get close, but I can feel her immense divinity even from here.”
“It’s all a mask. Even an empty sh.e.l.l that used to house the power of the Supreme G.o.d would contain quite a bit of divinity. If you think about that Yagami Tsurugi, the dredges left over from Amaterasu, then you should understand what I mean.”
Jou held up the hand she had used to shake mine in front of her eyes and shrugged.
“It seems our aim was a bit off. I believed that through shaking hands, through physical contact, through that point of invasion, the divine spirit of the Eternal Rebel Arahabaki which resides within me would be able to absorb the power of the Supreme G.o.d from her.”
In contrast to her tone, Jou had a full smile on her face and seemed to be enjoying herself quite a lot.
“But all is well. We seem to have picked up something unforeseen as well… I’m looking forward to what will happen now. I am looking forward to becoming a second year… no, to the entire spring.”
And then, as if in response to her words…
Perhaps it was a coincidence, or perhaps… just like the other G.o.ds had done that one time when they sensed my feelings, all the sakura blossoms around us burst into full bloom, sending pink petals everywhere.
“I cannot claim to know what you are planning.”
The girl in the maid outfit ran after and caught up to the beautiful Jou, through the middle of this befuddled spring.
She was like an innocent child who had been told never to stray away from her parent.
“You are our master. You give us a place to belong, a reason to exist. Even if you desire destruction, we will do nothing but obey.”
“Yes. I will be counting on it.”
Like a stage actor, Jou spread her arms out and made a declaration.
“All things in the world exist purely for my happiness. In other words, all things in the world exist purely to fulfill my every desire. Through the combined power of the sinister occult society Arahabaki, let us take to task all the G.o.ds of this land… all the G.o.ds of this world who recline comfortably in their seats, shouting their divinity out arrogantly as if it means something. Let us make them eat their words.”
“As you wish, milady.”
The witch and the fox walked onwards.
Walked on as they wished… arrogantly, but freely.
It was only a little bit later that I discovered this girl’s – Edogawa Jou’s – true ident.i.ty.
(1) A folk tale in which a baby is born from the dirt that an old couple has on their skin.
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