"This is bad. What am I going to do? For it to turn out like this… Aah. I can’t recover from this. I thought I was an idiot, an idiot, but to think that I could be this much of an idiot… I can’t even follow-up on this."
Muttering these words of regret almost deliriously, I nervously raised my head and glanced at the the bed.
What I thought from that glance was, of course, “it would be nice if this was a hallucination~”.
That’s right, I wonder if this was just be a dream.
Something like this couldn’t possibly occur in reality.
"Akirame-san." (akirame, "resignation")
The hallucination sitting on top of the bed spoke to me.
"No matter how much you pray to be rescued, I’m not going to disappear, and you aren’t going to wake up, Akirame-san."
Rather, Hachikuji Mayoi said.
"…No, it’s true that right now there isn’t a more appropriate name for me, and I have no choice but to resign myself (akirameru) to the fact that right now it’s a perfect example of how names and natures do often agree, but Hachikuji, my name is Araragi."
"Sorry, I stumbled over my words." (kamimashita)
"Wrong. It was on purpose…"
"I stumble-fumbled!" (kamimamita)
"Oh, so it wasn’t on purpose?…"
"I got tired of stumbling." (kamiakita)
"Well of course with how many times you’ve stumbled now…"
I wasn’t even in the mood to do the usual exchange.
Well, of course.
At any rate, right now, to an extent that couldn’t even be compared to spring break or Golden Week, my life had been raised to a critical moment of unprecedented scale.
Now then, for the sake of explaining the current situation, we have to turn back the hands of the clock just a little bit—yes, it was just one hour ago (it’s really just a little bit).
I had just taken a break from studying and gone out cycling when, in the middle of the road, I discovered the backpack-carrying figure of a twintailed, fifth grade girl.
"Oh, isn’t it Hachikuji? It’s been awhile."
I can only remember up until I thought that.
That is, I was conscious up until that point.
But, immediately after, as if suddenly overcome by something, I rushed up to Hachikuji, grabbed her petite figure, tied her onto the bicycle behind me, and took her all the way home like that.
"…This is abduction, isn’t it."
I had become a criminal.
Not to mention it was abduction of a minor.
As far as I know, isn’t this one of the worst crimes that humanity is capable of?
"The word ‘abduction’, it’s really easy to stumble over, huh… ahaha."
Already my thoughts had turned towards escaping from reality.
My mentality was surprisingly fragile.
"No, it’s not my fault… It’s because Hachikuji was just too cute… Really, I’m the victim here."
"That’s the worst thing to say, Araragi-san."
Wearing that backpack on her back, on top of the bed, with those eyes that said “I always thought you would commit some sort of crime, but you finally went and did it, didn’t you,” Hachikuji went “haah” with an exaggerated sigh.
"You’re being extremely nonsensical as usual, you know~"
"To think that you would take me, a ghost who haunts the streets, and bring me back to your home. Moreover that you would drag me into your room! You’re completely disregarding the rules of abnormalities. Oshino would be astonished at you, not me."
"Eh? But, since you were promoted two ranks up from a ghost that haunts a specific place to a wandering ghost, can’t you freely go wherever you want now?"
"The basis for myself doesn’t change like that. Like humans, I’m not at that level of freedom. It’s just that the idea of ‘I won’t be able to arrive anywhere’, the binding of the lost cow is what’s gone. I’m just not a lost child anymore."
"They say that vampires can’t enter the homes of others, right? Without the permission of one of the residents, they can’t even open the door—Well, it’s something along those lines. In my case, the streets are my place of residence."
"Hmm… The streets, huh?"
Like a guardian deity for travelers?
I never really thought of it like that, but for Hachikuji, even after the lost cow incident, I’ve only met her on the roads.
"For this kind of spoilery conversation to happen, it’s good that we’re in a special extra story, right?"
"Don’t say something so meta. Er, don’t say something so careless. Just try being me, who may very well get arrested because of this extra story!" (Araragi changes "meta" to "metta", which means careless.)
"It’s fine, you know. I’m only just saying this, but since you only abducted and confined a ghost that’s been dead for over ten years, it won’t become a crime."
"These days, you never know if it might be a crime…"
After all, there’s been trends to protect the rights of characters that don’t even exist that have been rising day after day.
"Well, isn’t it all right? Let’s just move on from the fact that it happened like this and leave fortune to the heavens. It’s also the first time I get to visit the room of a boy, so let’s just call it a room date."
"A room date?"
Well, all right.
No use crying over spilled milk, so I’ll resign (akirameru) myself to it.
I really am Akirame-san.
"Shall we play cards? Like Rich Man, Poor Man?"
"Oh, sounds good. I’ll get my two little sisters, too."
"It’s all right to play with the ambulance rule, right?"
With a heave-ho, she changed her sitting position.
For the first time as far as I could remember, Hachikuji took off her backpack (though she took it off before in the anime), opened it, and began to dig around inside.
"Excuse me, Araragi-san. I’d like to change clothes so could you please turn the other way?"
"Eh, what? Are you joking?"
"I am not."
She told me so firmly.
I reluctantly obeyed.
But changing clothes? Into what? Why?
Speaking of which, earlier when Sengoku came to my room there was the same sort of situation. When I turned around, I thought Hachikuji would be bra-less and in bloomers and got excited, or rather my heart pounded (even if I correct myself it’s amazing how the impression doesn’t change), but no matter how long I stood she never said “It’s all right now”.
Feeling like the old man and woman from Tsuru no Ongaeshi, the story of the crane’s return of a favor, I turned around, unable to wait any longer.
Hachikuji, having untied her hair and changed into pajamas, was sleeping soundly.
Her backpack off and her hair untied, Hachikuji was—
She didn’t look like a snail at all.
She was a very cute girl that suited her age.
"Ah, that’s right, she was on the way to her mother’s house, wasn’t she… That’s why she had nightclothes in her backpack."
And she—had walked the whole way.
Ten years ago.
And even since then, she had been walking this whole time.
If that was the case then surely she’d be tired.
"In that case, just rest for a while. Sleep tight, okay."
Because I’ll let you sleep whenever you want.
The face of Hachikuji sleeping so peacefully, so happily.
That sleeping face makes me completely happy.
I thought today was the best of days.
…By the way, later on this crime was discovered by Hanekawa, and I was treated very cruelly after that.
But we've seen Adult Mayoi and she doesn't bring the bantz like normal Mayoi does. She's just really really really genuinely nice and possibly super hardcore since she's living in a town full of zombies with just a bag of rice and a knife.
I love you! Hachikuji! The conversations I have with you are so fun I can't stand it! The sharp bite you have in your retorts! The way your body is so well developed for your age! The way you so nonchalantly accept that I sexually harass you! The way you yell at me in nonpolite speech when I pull on your twintails! >Ah, err, I love your superficial politeness! I love how you mess up my name every single time! The way you're cold to people when you first meet them! The way you revert to a wild beast when you get sexually harassed! I love that you know how to play Hanafuda! I love the way you break the fourth wall so brazenly! I love you! I really love you!
>>122195732 Araragi said it himself. She spent years telling everyone she met to fuck off so that they wouldn't be haunted by her. She's so kindhearted it's unbelievable. She fights with and abuses Araragi because he loves it.
It'd be harder to seduce him since he's a pedophile, but I'm sure that after she spent just a bit of time getting to know him, adult snail would find ways to tease him just as hard.
>>122196190 Hm. I think the real difference is that snail puts herself into it. She has a self image that colors her niceness. "Unbelievable" was going a bit too far I think. She's extremely nice, though.
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