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Cage in Lunatic Runagate: Second Chapter

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第二話 三千年の玉

Chapter 2: Gem of Three Thousand Years

その竹林は深い霧に覆われ、迷い込んだ人間にとって無限の広さを持つと錯覚させられた。規則正しく並んでいない竹、緩やかな起伏、目印になる物が殆ど無い。まっすぐ進んでいるつもりでもいつの間にか元の位置に戻ってきてしまう。そんな竹林ゆえ、迷いの竹林と呼ばれた。

The bamboo forest was enveloped in a deep fog, and a human lost in it would have the impression that it went on forever. The bamboo doesn't properly line up, and the ground gently rises and falls in hills, so there aren't any proper landmarks. Even if you try to walk straight ahead, at some point you end up back at the same place. Naturally, such a place is called the Bamboo Forest of the Lost.

その迷いの竹林に私の永遠亭は存在する。随分と長い間ここに住んでいたのだが、私にとっての時間はあの事件を機に動き出したばかりである。あの二、三年ほど前の地上の民による襲撃事件があってから、私は永遠亭に永遠の魔法をかけるのを止めた。

I live at Eientei in the Bamboo Forest of the Lost. I've lived here for a very long time, but my time has only begun to move since that incident occurred. Since the people of the Earth attacked us two or three years ago, I've lifted the spell of eternity over Eientei.

何故なら、人間と妖怪が協力している様を見て、酷く羨ましく思ったのだ。永遠に月の都からの使者に怯えて暮らす自分が馬鹿馬鹿しく感じた。

I did this because I was so jealous of the humans and youkai when I watched them cooperating. I felt so foolish for living hidden in fear of the moon for a thousand years.

永遠の魔法とは、一切の歴史の進行を止め、穢れを知らずに変化を拒む魔法である。

The spell of eternity is a spell that stops the advance of history, that denies change and knows no impurity.

生き物は成長を止め、食べ物はいつまでも腐らず、割れ物を落としても割れることはない。覆水も盆に返る。私は月の民である自覚から地上の穢れを恐れ、この魔法を建物全体にかけていたのだが、地上の民の魅力を目の当たりにし、自らその魔法を解いたのだ。

Living things stop growing, food never spoils, fragile things don't break even if dropped, and water never passes beneath the bridge. In my self-awareness as a Lunarian, I was afraid of the impurity of the Earth, and cast this spell over everything in the manor, but when faced with the charms of the Earth, I undid it myself.

その結果、永遠亭も地上の穢れに飲み込まれた。食べ物は早く食べないとすぐに腐り、飼っていた生き物は皆一様に寿命を持ち、高価な壷は慎重に持ち運ばないといけなくなった。その代わりに月の都から使者に怯えて暮らす日々は、明るく楽しいものへと変化した。

As a result, Eientei too was enveloped by the impurity of the Earth. Food rotted if you didn't eat it quickly, living things began to age naturally, and you had to make sure to carry valuable vases with care. But, in return, our restless days of living in hiding from the moon's emissaries became cheerful and enjoyable.

それにより永遠亭も永遠亭に住む私達も、地上の一部となったのである。もう月の都に帰る事は出来ないが、後悔はしていない。

And so Eientei, and those of us living there, became a part of the Earth. We can never return to the moon, but I have no regrets.

そんな永遠亭には不思議な盆栽があった。珊瑚のような枝には実も葉も付いておらず、傍から見ると枯死してしまったようにしか見えない。

There was a particularly odd bonsai plant in Eientei. Its coral-like branches bore no fruit or flower, and at a glance it looked as if it could only be dead.

だが私はその盆栽の花が咲き、見事な実がなる事を知っている。ある条件が揃わないと花が咲かない事も知っていた。しかもその条件は揃いつつある。

But I know that this bonsai will some day blossom and bear splendid fruit. I also knew that it wouldn't flower unless certain conditions were met. However, those conditions were beginning to take shape.

 

今夜は中秋の名月である。定例の例月祭を行う予定だが生憎の雨だったので、永琳のいる部屋へ今夜の予定を聞きに行った。

Tonight is the night of the harvest moon. We'd intended to hold our monthly lunar festival, but due to the inclement weather I decided to go to Eirin's room to hear her plans for the evening.

「こんな雨じゃ、今年の中秋の名月は見られそうにないわね」

"It looks like we won't be able to see the harvest moon this year due to the rain."

私は残念そうに言ったが実のところ少し安心していた。というのも、昔は中秋の名月が輝く日を恐れた筈なのに、ここ二、三年の間に満月を見る事を楽しむようになっているからである。その変化が何か怖いのだ。怖いゆえに、満月は見えない方が考える必要が無くて安心する。

I said this as if it were a disappointment, but in truth I was a bit relieved. Yet, though before I would have balked in terror at the idea of a day when the harvest moon shone down brightly, in the past two or three years I've come to enjoy watching the full moon. This change is a bit frightening. But more than that, it was more relieving not to have to worry about being seen by the moon.

「満月は雲に隠れて見えない位が丁度良いのですよ」

"It's better if the full moon is hidden behind the clouds, anyway."

ここの所、細かい雨が降ったり止んだりを繰り返し、秋の長雨を感じさせた。今年の秋は晴れの日が少ない様にも感じる。今日も例外ではなく、朝から小雨が降ったり止んだりしている。

A series of light rain showers had been falling off and on lately, making it feel like we'd entered the autumn rainy season. It felt like there hadn't been very many sunny days this autumn. Today had been no exception, and small showers had been falling off and on since the morning.

「ねぇ永琳、イナバ達に伝えておく? 今日の例月祭は体を冷やさないように気をつけてやってって」

"Oh, Eirin? Maybe we should tell the inaba to be careful not to let themselves catch a chill during today's festival."

「いやいや輝夜、すでに今日の例月祭は雨が酷いようなら室内で行ってもいいと伝えておいたわ。兎だって、雨の中団子を搗くのは嫌でしょう?」

"No, no, Kaguya, I've already told them we'll hold the festival indoors if the rain gets too bad. I'm sure they wouldn't want to make dumplings in the rain."

「そうねぇ、雨水で搗いた団子なんて食べたくないからね」

"That's true, they wouldn't want to eat dumplings that were made in the rain."

 

最近、永琳が兎達に優しくなった様な気がしてならない。昔は兎に限らず、永琳にとって地上の生き物は自分の手足でしかなかった。月の都でも月の民にとっては、兎達はただの道具でしかないのだから当然と言えば当然である。月の民は他の生き物とは別次元といっても過言ではない程の、高貴な者達なのだ。

I can't help thinking Eirin's been acting more kindly towards the rabbits lately. Long ago, Eirin treated all of the earth's creatures - not just the rabbits - as nothing more than her hands and feet. Even in the lunar capital the Lunarians saw the rabbits as nothing more than tools, so I suppose it's no surprise. Lunarians are of such a higher class than the people of earth it's not an exaggeration to say they're in a different dimension entirely.

それがいつ頃からか永琳は、私達月の民も地上の兎達も対等の存在として扱い始めている様に思える。妖怪と人間が対等に暮らす幻想郷の影響だろうか。

At some point Eirin probably began to start seeing us Lunarians and the creatures of Earth more as equals. This was probably due to having lived in Gensokyo, where youkai and humans lived together as equals.

でもそれが嫌だという訳ではない。むしろ私にとっては特別視されるよりは居心地が良かった。何せ幻想郷には月の民は私と永琳の二人しかいないのだから、地上の民より優れていると思っても孤立するだけだし、地上の民がみんな道具であるのならば道具が多すぎるからだ。

That's not a bad thing, though. It made me feel more at ease than being seen as something unusual. Since Eirin and I are the only two Lunarians in Gensokyo, her superiority to the people of Earth would only lead to isolation, and she would have too many tools if that's all she saw the Earth people as.

 

余り昔の事は思い出したくもないのだが、私は一度も地上の民と同一視された事はなかった。蓬莱の罪を犯して地上に追放された時も、誰一人普通の人間として扱ってくれる者は居なかった様に思える。

I don't want to dwell much on what's happened long ago, but I've never been seen as anyone's equal on the Earth. Even when I was exiled to the Earth after committing the Hourai sin, not a single person treated me as a normal human being.

そういえば追放された時に初めて降り立った地上も、こんな霧の深い竹林だった。そこで私を見つけた老夫婦も、最初は私に奇異の念を抱いていた事を覚えている。

As a matter of fact, when I first came down to the Earth after my exile, it was in a bamboo forest under thick fog, just like this one. I remember how the old couple that found me were especially careful when they picked me up.

それは当然の事だった。何せ私は竹林の一本の光る竹の中に入れられ、人とは思えぬほど小さくさせられていたのだから、妖怪の類だと思われても仕方がない。妖怪に人間が捕って喰われるのが当たり前の時代、何故その老夫婦は私を拾って帰ったのだろうか。

It's only natural. I was found inside a glowing bamboo shoot in the forest, too small to be thought of as a human being, so I wouldn't be surprised if I were taken as some sort of youkai. I wonder why the old couple took me home and cared for me in an age where humans were often caught and eaten by youkai.

老夫婦が私を匿ってくれた理由は、月の都の監視役が定期的に富を与えていたからだと思う。月の都の監視役は、私と同じように光る竹に黄金を隠して、この老夫婦に私を匿ってくれた事による謝礼だと印象付けさせた。当然、老夫婦は私を家に住ませれば富が得られると考える様になる。だからなのか、私は特別視され家から出ることも許されなかった。他の家の者に取られたくなかったのだと思う。

I believe the reason why the old couple took such good care of me is that they were periodically rewarded by the moon for their foster care. I got the impression that the people of the moon would leave gold in glowing shoots of bamboo like the one I was found in as a reward for their care. So, they probably let me live with them because they believed they would become rich. That's why they looked so closely after me and never allowed me to leave the house. They didn't want another household to snatch up their key to fortune.

それに私は地上では目立っていた。何をしていなくても噂を聞きつけ様々な人間が集まってくるようになった。私も地上の表舞台に出る事は避けたかったし、いつの間にか老夫婦に感謝と愛着の様なものも芽生えていたので、老夫婦が家に匿ってくれる事は有難かった。

In addition, I stood out on the Earth. I didn't do anything particularly unusual, but rumors spread, and before long a great number of people had come to see me. I didn't hesitate to make my debut in the social spotlight on the Earth, so before long the old couple's house was inundated with people's expressions of thanks and affection. It must have been hard on them.

そんな日々を経て、いつしか地上を月の都よりも魅力的な場所だと思うようになっていた。その時は永遠の魔法をかける事はなく、僅かだが地上の穢れに侵食されていた影響だと思う。

As I lived out my days in that fashion, I began to see the Earth as a more charming place than the lunar capital. I never used the spell of eternity during that time, and I think it was probably weakened somewhat under the influence of the Earth's impurity, even if only the faintest bit.

ただ、その時はまだ私も自分が地上の民とは違う高貴な者だと認識していたし、地上の民は道具としか思っていなかったのだが……ここ幻想郷はとても不思議な土地であった。妖怪と人間が対等に暮らし、古い物も新しい物も入り交じった世界。そこに月の民と月の都の最新技術が混じったところで、誰も驚かないのだろう。自らを高貴な者だと言っても笑われるだけである。

In those days, I still thought of myself as nobility different from the people of the Earth, and I only thought of the Earth people as means to an end, but ... Gensokyo was truly a mysterious place. It was a world where humans and youkai lived side by side, and where the old and the new were intermixed. Nobody would bat an eye at the presence of Lunarians or advanced lunar technology. People would just laugh if we said we were some sort of high-class nobles.

何とも幻想郷は居心地の良い土地だった。何故なら、わざわざ隠れ住まなくても目立つ事がないのだから。

Gensokyo was a place that put me at ease, because even if I didn't spend my time in hiding I wouldn't seem so out of the ordinary.

「最近の雨はペーハーが低いってよく聞くから特にね。ほら、イナバ達は毛が多いから……」

"Especially since I hear the paper rating for the rain is so low nowadays. After all, the inaba have so much hair ... "

「うふふ、安心して良いわよ輝夜。幻想郷の雨はペーハー6だわ。それに草木が枯れるくらいの雨じゃないと、毛が抜け落ちたりしないわよ」

"Hahaha, don't worry, Kaguya. Gensokyo's rain is around pH 6. It's not enough to make the trees dry up, so the rabbits' hair won't fall out."

永琳は私のジョークに対し「それに毛が抜け落ちるのを防ぐ薬位簡単に作れるわ」と真面目に答えた。

Eirin responded seriously to my joke with "And even if it did, it would be easy enough to make a medicine to grow it back."

私も勉強して地上の事を少しは理解したつもりである。それでも永琳の勤勉さには敵わない。知ったかぶりで難しそうな単語を用いて話しても、永琳は全て受け答えてくれる。正直、私にはペーハーとは何の事なのかすら判っていないのだが……。

I want to study to learn a bit more about the Earth. Of course, I can't compare with Eirin's intellect. Eirin could come back with a response to any complicated words or phrases I used on her. Honestly, I didn't even know what paper or pH were supposed to mean ...

何故、彼女はそんなに多くの知識を持っているのだろうか。月の都にいた頃から不思議でならなかった。月の事も地上の事も熟知し、幻想郷にいても外の世界の事すらよく知っている。

I wonder how she's come to know so much. It's so remarkable that I never got used to it, from our time at the lunar capital onward. She was well-informed of Earthly matters even when on the moon, and since we've been in Gensokyo she's even known much about the outside world.

ただ、博識な者特有の癖というか、そういったものもある。自分の知識を判りやすい形で伝えようとしない。わざと難しく言って相手の反応を楽しむのだ。つくづく、教授と学者は似て非なるものだと思う。

However, particularly erudite people do have what you might call their own particular habits. They don't typically relay their knowledge in an easy to understand fashion. Sometimes they'll purposefully say something difficult to understand to enjoy their companion's reaction. I think there's a world of difference between a teacher and a scholar.

「ペーハーが6って事は……えーっとー」

"So, if it's pH 6 ... umm ... "

「雨にとっては至極正常な状態よ。殆ど酸っぱくないって事」

"It means the water is very neutral. It's not very acidic."

ペーハーとは酸っぱさの度合いらしい。今回は永琳にしては判りやすい説明で有難い。

So the paper rating is a measure of how acrid the water is. This time I'm grateful to Eirin for having made it so easy to understand.

「雨水が酸っぱいって事があるのかしら。まぁ、どのみち小雨でもイナバ達には家の中で餅を搗いて貰いましょう」

"Ah, so rain can get that way as well. Well, why don't we have the inaba make their dumplings inside even if it's not raining too hard."

私がそう伝えると言うと、永琳は頷いた。

Eirin nodded as I said that.

 

私は薬くさい永琳の部屋を後にして、台所にいる鈴仙に今日の例月祭の事を伝えた。

I left Eirin's medicine-scented room behind me and told Reisen, who was in the kitchen, about the plans for the day's festival.

「あ、輝夜様。もうすぐ準備が出来ますので……」

"Oh, Lady Kaguya. We're almost ready, so ... "

鈴仙は既に合羽を着込み、外で餅を搗く気満々であった。

Reisen was already wearing a raincoat, and seemed ready to head outside to pound rice cakes.

「あ、良いのよ。今日は家の中で搗いて頂戴」

"No, that's okay. Please make them inside today."

「え?」

"Hm?"

鈴仙は意外そうな顔をしていた。それもその筈、今まで家の中で行った事は、余りの暴風で兎達が立っていられなかった時を除いて無かったからである。

This seemed to take Reisen by surprise. This was probably because the only other time we'd held the festival indoors the wind was so strong the rabbits couldn't even stand up.

「先ほど、師匠も『雨が酷いようなら』と言っておられましたが、ただ見た感じ軽い小雨なので外でやるつもりですけど」

"Master said to stay inside if the rain got too bad, but it's still only a light shower outside, so we were going to go out ... "

「雨が酸っぱくないから家の中で良いわ」

"The rain isn't too acrid, so you can stay inside."

「雨が酸っぱくないから? それは一体……」

"The rain isn't ... ? What does that ... "

「ペーハー6だって、ま、深い事は考えないの。私の言う通りに動けば間違いないから」それは永琳の口癖だ。根拠が無くても口に出してみると非常に気持ちが良い。

"It's only paper 6, well, don't worry about it. Just do as I say, and everything will be all right." This was Eirin's favorite line. It's nice to say it even if there's no real reason to do so.

「は、はい、有難うございます。では今日の例月祭は永遠亭の中で行おうと思います。その代わり少々騒がしくなるかも知れませんが……」

"O-okay, thank you. I believe we'll hold the festival inside Eientei today, then. It might get a little loud ... "

例月祭では兎達が歌を歌いながら餅を搗いている。別に儀式とはなんの関係もないのだが、兎達は楽しそうなので放っておいたのだ。まぁ、永遠亭の中だと逆に緊張するのかも知れない。

The rabbits sing songs while they pound rice cakes during the lunar festival. It's not really a set ceremony, per se, but the rabbits seem to enjoy it, so we let them be. They may even enjoy it less if they were inside.

「不思議ねぇ。神妙なお祭りの筈なのに何で騒がしくなるのかなぁ」

"How strange. It should be such a quiet festival, but it's always so boisterous."

「は、いや、今回は静かにさせます」

"Uh, no, we'll be sure to keep quiet this time."

「いやいや別に良いのよ。貴方達が歌いながら餅を搗いている事なんて知っていたわ」

"No, no, it's quite all right. I know how you all enjoy singing while you pound rice cakes."

「貴方達というか、私は歌っていないんですけどね。てゐ達が言う事を聞かないもんで……」

"We? Well, I won't, actually. But Tewi and the others never listen to what I say, so ... "

「言う事聞かないんじゃ、静かにさせますって言っても無理な話でしょ?」

"If they won't listen to you, then there's no point in promising to be quiet, is there?"

鈴仙は「いやはや済みません」と言うと、お勝手口から「まだ始めないのー?」とてゐの声が聞こえてきた。

Just as Reisen said she was very sorry, Tewi's voice could be heard calling out through the back door in the kitchen, "Is it time yet?"

「じゃあ騒がしくなる代わりといっては何だけど、出来れば団子の味のバリエーションが欲しいわ」

"Well, in return for letting you all carry on, I'd like you to try some variations on the dumplings' flavor."

「それはお安いご用です。何か要望が御座いましたら是非」

"That won't be a problem. Please let us know if you have anything in particular you'd like."

少し考え、とりあえず「三色団子があるんだから、七色の団子なんて如何?」と言っておいた。

I thought for a while, and eventually responded, "We have three-colored dumplings, so why not try seven-colored dumplings?"

 

私は自分の部屋に戻り、奇妙な盆栽を愛でる仕事に戻った。

I returned to my room, and to the task of caring for the unusual bonsai.

例月祭といっても私はやる事がない。いや、例月祭に限らず普段の生活でもやる事が殆ど無い。竹林の外の情報はイナバ達に伝えて貰うし、急患や来客があったとしても永琳が全て対応してくれる。何もしなくて良いという生活は、正直退屈なものだった。

I just don't have any enthusiasm, even though it's the festival day. No, it's not just the festival - I don't have much motivation to do anything at all lately. I get my information about the outside world from the inaba, and Eirin takes care of any emergencies or customers. A life where you don't have to do anything is truly boring.

月の都にいた頃も同様に、やる事が何も無かった気がする。退屈さ故に地上に憧れたものだったが、地上に降りてきて初めて判った。やる事が無いのは月の都や地上など環境に関係なく、私自身の問題だと。何事も環境の所為にする心が退屈さと窮屈さを生むという事を。

I think it was the same when I was still in the lunar capital. That was more due to my fascination with the Earth than with boredom, but I didn't understand until I first came to Earth. My lack of motivation didn't have anything to do with the environment I was in on the Earth or the moon, but was an issue of my own personality. A heart that relies only on outside stimulation leads to boredom and unease.

だから私は退屈な日々を打ち破る第一歩として、盆栽を愛でる事を仕事にした。それだけだが、毎日やらなければいけない事があるだけで気持ちは大分変わるものである。

So, in an effort to break through that boredom, I made it my job to care for this bonsai. It really does change your outlook to have something you must do every day.

私が眺めている盆栽は、毎日眺めていても何の変化も無い。しかし、変化の無い物は地上には存在しない筈である。形ある物は必ず壊れ、命ある物はいつかは死せる。地上に存在するあらゆる物も、その呪縛から逃れられない様に出来ている。その理由は地上に蔓延る穢れに原因があると永琳は教えてくれた。

The bonsai I've been gazing at so intently never changes no matter how much I stare at it. However, it shouldn't be possible for anything on the Earth to remain unchanged. Anything with a form will break, and anything that lives will die. This is a law that nothing on the Earth can escape. Eirin told me this is because of the impurity that permeates all things on Earth.

穢れは物質や生命から永遠を奪い、同時に寿命をもたらす。地上に存在するあらゆる物は多かれ少なかれ穢れているから、永遠に残り続ける者など無い。ましてや、変化しない事など有り得ないのだ。

This impurity steals the eternity from all things' life force and substance, and at the same time it plunders from their lifespan. Since all things on earth are tainted in this manner to some degree, nothing can last forever. And, of course, nothing can remain the same forever.

しかし、私の目の前にある盆栽は穢れていない。だから変化せず永遠を保っている。成長してないように見えるのは、決して枯死している訳ではなくつい最近まで私の能力により永遠を保っていたからである。私の能力は『永遠と須臾(しゅゆ)を操る能力』。地上には存在し得ない、穢れ無き永遠を作り出すことが出来るのである。

However, the bonsai before me is not so tainted. That's how it can remain unchanged forever. It appears never to age because it's already dead, but because it's still full of eternity thanks to my power. My power is the ability to control the eternal and the instantaneous. It gives me the ability to create a pure eternity that could never exist otherwise on the Earth.

この盆栽の正体は、本来月の都にしか存在しない植物『優曇華』。地上では三千年に一度咲くとも言われている幻の花と同じ名前の植物である。

This bonsai is, in fact, a plant that only grows in the lunar capital called the udonge. It has the same name as a legendary plant that's said on the Earth to flower once every three thousand years.

同じ名前と言ったのは、地上にも別に優曇華という植物は存在するからである。三千年に一度しか咲かないという伝説が元になり、非常に稀にしか咲かない植物にその名前を当てただけの物だ。

The plant on the Earth is a different plant called the udonge. It takes its name from the plant of legend, and only blooms very rarely.

本当の優曇華は、月の都にしか生えていない木である。この木が花を咲かせ、実を付けると綺麗な七色の玉が枝に付くのである。昔、私に求婚に来た男に要求した『蓬莱の(たま)()』と呼ばれる宝物は、この優曇華の木が開花して実を付けた物の事を指していた。蓬莱の玉の枝とは、蓬莱の優曇華にかけたものである。

Real udonge are a tree that only grow in the lunar capital. When it blossoms and bears fruit a beautiful seven-colored jewel appears on its branches. The Jeweled Branch of Hourai that I requested from a man who came seeking my hand in marriage long ago refers to a branch from an udonge tree that has borne fruit. The Jeweled Branch of Hourai comes from the Hourai udonge.

この優曇華は、月の都では葉も花も実も付けていない。見窄(みすぼ)らしいが、実に『わび・さび』の『さび』を感じさせる木である。枯れる事も成長する事も無くただ生えている。しかしこの枝を地上に持ってくると、地上の穢れによりその姿を大きく変化させる。その穢れを栄養とし成長を始め、美しい七色の玉を実らせるのだ。

The udonge never blooms or bears fruit in the lunar capital. It looks shabby, but it embodies the sense of "the flow of time" inherent in the phrase "wabi-sabi". It only grows, never blossoming or bearing fruit. But, if you bring one of its branches to Earth, it changes its form in reaction to the Earth's impurity. It feeds on that impurity and begins to grow, bearing fruit to a beautiful seven-colored gem.

何故穢れを栄養とする植物が、穢れの無い月の都に生えているのかはよく判らないが、大方月の都に住む賢者の誰かが作った植物なのだろう。月の都に穢れを持ち込むと、すぐに花を咲かせて知らせるからである。

I don't know how a plant that feeds on impurity could live on the eternally pure moon, but I'm sure it was created by a certain sage that lived in the lunar capital. As soon as any impurity found its way onto the moon, the plant would blossom, allowing it to serve as a detection mechanism.

他にも月の使者は地上に降り立つとき、この優曇華の枝を持ち寄る。そしてそれを一権力者に渡すと、穢れに満ちた権力者によって美しい七色の玉が実る。権力を持っていればいる程、美しい玉の実を付ける。当然、権力者はその玉を権力の象徴とする。

The emissaries of the moon typically take a branch from the udonge with them when they descend to the Earth. Once there, they give it to an authority figure, and it reacts to the impurity in that person and bears splendid fruit. The more powerful the person is, the more beautiful the gems borne by the branch. Of course, the recipient invariably takes that as a sign of their authority.

だが、地上に存在するものは必ず壊れる。盛者必衰、力あるものもいずれ必ず衰え滅びる。その時、この優曇華の玉の枝は奪い合いの対象となるのだ。そして地上の世の平和は乱れ、戦乱の世へと変化する。

Still, everything on the Earth eventually breaks down. The prosperous will always return to nothing, and even the powerful will eventually fade away. When that happens, the jeweled branch of the udonge will be coveted by many, and a scramble for it ensues. Thus, the peace of the earth is disrupted and turned into chaos.

つまり優曇華は、月の民が地上に争乱をもたらす為にも利用されている植物である。何故争乱をもたらす必要があったのかは、人間の歴史を見れば容易に判る。人間の歴史と成長は、全て戦争の歴史と成長なのだから。争い事がなければ何も成長しない。現状に満足した時点で人間は生きるのを諦めてしまうだろう。月の民は地上の民の事を思って、日々暮らしているのだ。地上の民の歴史は月の民が作っていた事に他ならない。

In other words, the udonge is often used as an implement by which the moon causes disorder on the Earth. It should be easy to understand why this is by examining human history. Human history and growth are both linked closely to strife. Without conflict, humanity would have no impetus for growth. When humans are satisfied with their present condition, they may as well have given up on life. The people of the moon spend much of their lives thinking of the people of Earth. The history of the earth has progressed just the way the moon has wanted it to.

「輝夜、ほら雨が上がって雲の切れ間から満月が見えるわよ」

"Kaguya, look, the rain's let up, and you can see the moon through a break in the clouds."

背中からかけられた声で目が覚めた。盆栽を眺めながら考え事をしていたら、いつの間にかうとうとしていたようだ。

I opened my eyes at the sound of a voice behind me. I must have dropped off while looking at the bonsai and thinking.

「あらほんと、優曇華の盆栽を眺めていたら軽く眠ってましたわ」

"Oh, it has. I must have dropped off while looking at the bonsai."

私が持っている優曇華の盆栽はまだ実を付けていなければ花も咲いていない。

The bonsai udonge I held in my hands still hadn't borne fruit or flower.

それは私がこの屋敷全体に永遠を与えていたからであるのだが、その永遠の魔法もこの間の騒動で止めてしまった。つまり永遠亭にも地上と同じく歴史が動き始めたのである。すぐに穢れはこの屋敷にも広まり、永遠亭は地上の一部になっていくだろう。この優曇華に花が咲くのも時間の問題であると思われた。

This was because I'd cast a spell of eternity over the entire mansion, but I had lifted that spell after recent events. In other words, Eientei's history had begun to move forward, just like the rest of the Earth. Soon, the Earth's impurity would begin to spread throughout the mansion, and Eientei would become just another part of Earth. It was just a matter of time before the udonge bore fruit.

私や永琳の心境に微量な変化が見られるのも、恐らく地上の穢れの影響であろう。一度地上の穢れにまみれてしまえばもう二度と月の都に戻る事は出来ないが、私も永琳もそのつもりであった。可哀相なのは私達の巻き添えになって帰れなくなる月の兎、鈴仙くらいである。

If the outlook Eirin and I had held has changed, it's probably the effect of the Earth's impurity. Once touched by the impurity of the Earth, you can never go back to the lunar capital, but we'd never intended to do so in the first place. I do feel sorry for Reisen, though, who got caught up in our affairs.

そう言えば、映倫は鈴仙の事を『優曇華』と名付けている。それはどういう意味だろうか? 私達に蔓延る穢れを計る為の存在と考えているのだろうか……。いや永琳の事だ、恐らく穢れを知らなかった月の兎が、地上の穢れに触れて美しい実を付ける事を期待しているのだろう。

Ah, Eirin often calls Reisen "Udonge". I wonder why that is? She must think of her as something to gauge the extent of the impurity that's creeping into us ... Or perhaps it's meant to mean that a moon rabbit that probably knew no hardships on the moon will become something beautiful when touched by the Earth's impurity.

「あら、雨上がりの所為か満月が綺麗に見えるわね。それで、イナバ達は? さっきは家の中で例月祭をしろと伝えたのだけど」

"Oh my, maybe it's because of the rain, but the moon looks so beautiful tonight. Oh, what about the inaba? I told them they could have the festival indoors tonight, but ... "

永琳は笑顔でこう答えた。

Eirin, smiling, replied:

「もう外でやってるわ。兎達も外の方が気楽で良いみたい」

"They're already outside now. They seem to be more comfortable outside."

「ふーん。それはどういう意味かしらね」

"Hmmm. I wonder what that means."

「何をやるにしてもボスは近くにいない方が気が楽って事」

"No matter what you do, you're always more at ease when the boss isn't close by."

「じゃあ、今度からどんな雨でも外でやって貰う事にしようね。野分(のわき)(*注)でも何でも」窓の外から兎達が歌っている声が聞こえてくる。家の中では随分と抑えて歌っていたようだ。外で楽しそうに歌っているのを見ると永琳が優曇華の盆栽を気にしていた。

"Well, maybe we should have them always hold the festival outside, no matter what the weather. Come nowaki (* the autumn typhoons) or anything else." The rabbits' voices drifted in from outside the window. Their singing had been very restrained when there were inside. They seemed to be having a lot of fun singing now. Eirin noticed the bonsai udonge.

「……まだ変化がないみたいね。でも、もうじき成長を開始するでしょう。ひっそりとした花を咲かせた後、綺麗な七色の玉の実を付ける筈です。楽しみね」

" ... it still hasn't changed, I see. I'm sure it won't be long before it starts growing. And after its first little flowers bloom, it should bear fruit to a splendid seven-colored jewel. It will be nice, won't it?"

「ええそうね。綺麗な優曇華の木は地上の民の特権ですから。それに今日は一足早くその七色の玉の実を味わえる様にしてみたわ」

"Yes, it will. The jeweled branch of the udonge is a special privilege of the Earth people. Oh, and I've done something to try to help give us a taste of that jeweled fruit today."

永琳は「どういう事?」と言って首を傾げた。どんな事でも永琳が疑問に思うとちょっと嬉しく思う。

Eirin asked, "What do you mean?" and tilted her head to one side. It's nice, somehow, to be able to befuddle Eirin once in a while.

「鈴仙に今日の例月祭の団子に、三食ならぬ七色の団子を勧めてみたの」

"I asked Reisen to make seven-colored dumplings instead of the usual three colored ones at today's festival."

「なるほど、それは面白いわね。でも、その団子が優曇華みたいな七色だったら私はちょっと遠慮したいわね」

"I see, how interesting. I don't know how much I'd like it if they turned out the same as the udonge's branches, though."

「どうして?」

"Why is that?"

「だって、蓬莱の玉は青とか藍とかあるのだから。食欲そそらないでしょ?」

"Because the Hourai jewels have colors like blue and indigo. That wouldn't be very appetizing, don't you think?"

 

——外から聞こえる兎達の歌の激しさが増していた。大勢で餅を搗く音が和太鼓が奏でる激しいリズムの様に聞こえる。兎達には不思議な能力がある。以心伝心に優れていて、兎同士なら言葉を交わさずとも強い連携が保てるのだ。

The rabbits' singing voices outside became more intense. The sounds they made pounding dumplings sounded just like a Japanese taiko drum. The rabbits have a mysterious ability. Even beyond telepathy, they're able to maintain a strong connection without exchanging a word.

鈴仙は月の都にいる兎と連絡を取る事が出来るし、てゐ達は何も言わずともリズムを合わせて踊りだす。餅を搗くタイミングと周期をみんなで少しずつずらせば、不思議な音楽の出来上がりである。

Reisen can communicate with the rabbits on the moon, and Tewi and the others can all dance in perfect rhythm without saying a word. The rhythm and cyclical nature of the pounding all came together to make a mysterious sort of music.

私と永琳は居間で兎達が奏でる音楽をお茶請けにして秋の夜長を楽しむ事にした。別に中秋の名月だからといって、外で休憩するのは止めた。

Eirin and I took in the music the rabbits were playing outside with our tea and enjoyed the autumn night. Because it was the harvest moon, we took some time to relax outside.

「それにしても、今日の兎達が搗くリズムは凄いわね。何がそうさせているのかしら」

"The rabbits' rhythm tonight is amazing, isn't it? I wonder why that is."

「中秋の名月だからかなぁ」

"It must be because it's the harvest moon ... "

そう言って永琳はさらに「まるでケチャみたいね」と付け加えたが、私には何の事だかさっぱり判らなかった。

Having said that, Eirin added, "Just like a kecha, isn't it?", but I had no idea what she was talking about.

「ところで永琳。二ヶ月前の話だけど……。何だかあれから不穏な感じがしない?」

"By the way, Eirin. Remember two months ago ... Doesn't it seem like something's been happening since then?"

「ああ、確かに地上では誰が広めたのかあちこちで月の話題が出ているわ」

"Yeah, someone on Earth has definitely been spreading their influence and going around, and everyone's talking about the moon nowadays."

そうなのだ。ふた月前、月の都では永琳をはじめとする反逆群が月に攻めてくるという噂が出てきたかと思うと、神社には逃亡してきた月の兎が降りてきたりと不思議な出来事が続いた。

That's right. I think it was about two months ago that the rumors started of a revolutionary force, led by Eirin, infiltrating the moon, and that fugitive moon rabbit showed up at the shrine.

その前から、月の都では内乱の兆しが見えていたとも聞いていたし、何者かが月の都で暴れようとしているのは間違いなかった。そのスケープゴートとして永琳の名前を使っているか、もしくは自然と永琳の名前が出てきただけであろう。

We'd heard of rumors if internal disorder in the lunar capital before then; someone was definitely trying to wage war against the moon. Perhaps they were using Eirin's name to serve as a scapegoat, or perhaps rumors about Eirin just started naturally.

それに関しては、永琳が月の都で信頼の置ける人物に封書を送る事で解決しているから心配ないと思うのだが、それから何故か幻想郷のあちこちで月の噂をする者が増えたのだ。

I didn't worry too much about it after that since Eirin sent a sealed letter to certain people she trusted on the moon explaining the circumstances, but since then more people have been spreading rumours about the moon in Gensokyo.

「二ヶ月前の妖怪兎が月の兎である事を知っている人間なんていない筈なのにねぇ」

"But there shouldn't be any humans that know that that rabbit from two months ago was a moon rabbit, should there?"

「恐らく、それは予想外の事故だと思うよ」

"Well, that probably was an accident, and not according to plan."

「事故?」

"Accident?"

「本当の黒幕が想定していなかった出来事って事」

"It probably wasn't something the real mastermind imagined would happen."

「……黒幕なんているのかしら? それに黒幕が何を想定しているのか私にはさっぱりだわ。でも事故じゃなくてそれも黒幕が仕掛けた出来事だったら?」

" ... I wonder if there really is such a person? I just don't have any idea what a mastermind would be imagining now. But, what if it wasn't an accident, and that mastermind planned it, too?"

「その可能性があったら……お手上げかもね」

"If that's the case ... then I give up."

永琳は「もう月の都にいる彼女達との連絡手段が無いんだから」と両手を上に向け、肩の所まで持ち上げた。

Eirin said, "After all, I don't have any other ways to contact those two on the moon," raising both hands to about shoulder height, facing the sky.

問題は月の戦争だけではない。吸血鬼が月ロケットを組み立てようとしているらしい。神社や香霖堂など、あちこちを巻き込んで大がかりな装置が完成しようとしていると噂である。

The war on the moon wasn't the only problem. It seemed that the vampire was trying to assemble a moon rocket. According to rumor, they were attempting some sort of large-scale construction and had gotten the shrine and Kourindou involved somehow.

「もしかしてあの吸血鬼が黒幕なのかしら。月ロケットを開発していてもう完成間近だって噂だし、月の都に攻め入る可能性があるのは吸血鬼一味位だし」

"I wonder if that vampire is behind it all. They say they've almost finished developing a moon rocket, and trying to sneak into the lunar capital seems like something she'd do."

「その可能性も高いけど、だとしたら私がスケープゴートになったのも、月の旗が抜かれたのも、月の兎が降りてきたのも偶然ね」

"The possibility is high, but that would mean that my name coming up on the moon, the flag drifting down from the moon, and that moon rabbit's appearance were all just coincidences."

「どうしてかしら?」答えは想像つくけど一応聞いてみたが「あんな子供にそこまでの知恵は無いわ」と予想通りの答えで少し残念だった。

"Why is that, I wonder?" I had an idea of what her answer would be, but I was a bit disappointed to hear the response I'd expected: "Because that girl doesn't know anything about any of those."

 

——ドンドンと激しかった太鼓の音は、ガヤガヤとした兎達の声に取って代わった。今月の例月祭も無事に終わったようだ。

The loud, resounding sounds of the pounding had turned into the chattering voices of the rabbits outside. It seems this month's festival had ended without incident as well.

私と永琳はその様子を見に外に出ると、既に団子が大皿に盛りつけされていた。見事に団子が七色になっていたが、どぎつい赤や色鮮やかな青、サイケデリックな色彩でとても食欲をそそるような代物では無かった。

When Eirin and I went outside to check, the dumplings had already been piled up on a large platter. They were, indeed, magnificent seven-colored dumplings, but the psychedelic colors, such as a gaudy red and a dazzling blue, made them appear quite unappetizing.

「あ、輝夜様、お師匠様。今片付けますので少々お待ちください」

"Oh, Lady Kaguya, Master. I'm still cleaning up, so please wait a bit."

鈴仙はてゐに臼を片付けるように命令した。私は空を見上げて中秋の名月と呼ばれる月を探してみたが、空には満月の姿は見あたらなかった。

Reisen told Tewi to clean up a mill stone. I looked to the sky to try to find the wonderful moon called the harvest moon, but it was nowhere to be seen.

「雨は上がったけど……また月は雲に隠れちゃったのね」

"The rain has cleared up, but ... the moon is hidden behind the clouds again."

「ええそうなんですよ。月が見えていたのはほんの一瞬だけでした。折角お月見が出来ると思っていたのですが……どうなされました?」

"Yes, it is. It was only out for the briefest of moments. I'd hoped we'd finally be able to sit and watch the moon, but ... what's the matter?"

「いや、月の都から逃げてきた月の兎の癖に『折角お月見が出来ると思って』だなんて可笑しくて」私は軽く笑ってしまった。

"No, I just didn't think I'd hear the words 'I thought we'd finally be able to sit and watch the moon' from a fugitive moon rabbit." I couldn't help laughing softly.

鈴仙は少々照れるように「そりゃこれだけ地上にいれば、そこら辺の地上の民と変わらなくなりますよ」と言った。

Reisen said, a little shyly, "Well, if you spend time on the Earth, you start to do the same things Earth people do."

地上の兎達は大人しく臼を全て片付けている。いつもなら片付けも中途半端にして何処かへ消えてしまうのに、と鈴仙が不思議がっていた。

The earth rabbits were obediently cleaning up all the mill stones. Normally they'd halfheartedly clean up for a while before disappearing off somewhere, and Reisen was bewildered by their obedient behavior.

それもその筈、今日の団子にはいつもの薬を混ぜていないからだ。いつもなら兎達が摘み食いする事を想定して、興奮する薬を混ぜて祭りを盛り上げるのだが、今日は私達も団子を食べるつもりだったので薬は滋養強壮の薬に変えておいたのだ。興奮の少ない兎達はいつもより従順である。

Of course, that was because we hadn't mixed in the usual medicine with the dumplings. Normally we'd sneak in something to make them more excitable as they snuck a few dumplings during the festival to make it more lively, but we exchanged it with a nourishing strength medicine because we wanted to have some dumplings tonight, as well. Without the usual stimulants, the rabbits were more obedient.

それでも兎達は祭りを盛り上げていた様である。薬なんて関係無しに盛り上がれるのならば、それに越した事はない。

Still, it seems the rabbits had a very busy festival, regardless. If they can enjoy it so much without us having to add medicine to the dumplings, then nothing could be better.

「それで、鈴仙。七色の団子って言ったけど……本当に鮮やかな七色の団子を作ったのね」

"Oh, Reisen. I asked for seven colored dumplings, but you really did make them into a dazzling array of colors, didn't you?"

私は「三色団子は桃色と白とヨモギ色で食欲をそそるのに」と皮肉を込めて言った。

I added to myself, "I don't think three colored dumplings would be as appetizing if they were peach and white and dark green."

「説明しましょうか? 紅、橙、黄、緑、青、藍、紫の虹色団子になっています。それぞれの色は頑張って材料を探したのですが……割と色しか考えていなかったので、内容を聞くと食欲をそそりませんけど聞きます?」

"Ah, why don't I tell you about them? We made rainbow dumplings with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. We did our best to find ingredients to make each of the different colors ... but we really only had the colors in mind, so you may not think the contents are very appetizing. Do you still want to hear about them?"

「いや、聞かない」聞く前から余り食欲はないし、これ以上食欲を削がれたら今夜はうなされそうだ。

"No, thank you." They weren't all that appetizing before I knew what was in them, and it would be a shame if I had any less desire to try to finish these tonight.

永琳は青色の団子を掴み口に放り込み、「これは意外といけるわね」と言っていた。なるほど、永琳の知識は何にでも挑戦する所にあるのか、と感心した。

Eirin placed a bit of a blue dumpling in her mouth and said, "This is actually really good." So Eirin's knowledge is such that it can stand up to any challenge anywhere. I was impressed.

「ところで話が変わりますが、先々月から何か地上に不穏な空気が流れているのを感じていませんか?」

"Sorry to change the topic, but don't you get the impression that the disorder on the moon is spreading to the Earth now?"

私と永琳は顔を見合わせ「兎が心配するような事じゃない」と声を合わせて言った。

Eirin and I glanced at each other and said together, "It's nothing for a rabbit to worry about."

鈴仙は少し不安そうな顔をした。

Reisen looked a bit uneasy.

「いや、大した事じゃないのかも知れないですが、この間吸血鬼のメイドが家に訪れて、月に行く為の資料は無いかしらって言ってきた事もありましたし」

"Well, I don't know if it's a big deal or not, but the vampire's maid has come around here a few times asking about a propellant to take them to the moon."

「あら、うちにも来ていたのね」

"Oh, she came here, too?"

「うちにもって?」

"Too?"

「さっきまで、永琳と二人でその話をしていたのよ。吸血鬼が月に行く為のロケットを作っているって。その為の資料をあちこちで探しているみたいなの」

"Eirin and I were talking about this before. The vampire is trying to build a rocket to go to the moon. It looks like they're going around trying to find rocket fuel for it."

「そうなんですか。でもその時はすぐに追い返したんですけど……」

"I see. Well, I chased her away immediately when she came here ... "

「何故すぐに追い返したのかしら?」

"Why was that?"

「え? だって、地上の妖怪が月に行こうとする事に協力する訳が無いじゃないですか。そんな事で輝夜様やお師匠様の手を煩わせたくないと」

"What? Well, there's no reason for us to help Earth youkai try to get to the moon, is there? That, and I didn't want to disturb either of you about it."

「鈴仙が追い返していなければ、お茶位は出せたわ。資料は出せないけど」

"If you hadn't chased her away, we could have brought out tea. Just not any reference materials."

 

雨上がりの所為か、冷たい風が吹き込んできた今月も無事に満月の夜を過ぎる事が出来たようだ。本当のところ、もう満月の日に月の都からお迎えが来るなんて事は考えてもいなかった。もうそんな事は有り得ないと思うようになっていた。

A cold wind began to blow, perhaps due to the rain earlier. It looked like we'd passed another full moon safely. Honestly, I didn't believe we'd have to worry about someone from the lunar capital coming to find us during the full moon anymore. Such things were out of the question.

何故だろう、この屋敷に永遠の魔法をかけていた千年以上もの間はずっと怯えていたと言うのに、三年ほど前に魔法を解いてからすぐに心境の変化が現われた。

I wonder how it could be that my outlook changed so much in three years after having spent over a millennium in hiding behind my spell of eternity.

これが地上に蔓延る穢れの影響だとするならば、地上の民というものは如何に変化が早く気楽なものか。いつまでも同じ不安に悩まされる事も無く、嫌な事は次から次へと忘れてしまう。私がそう変化したという事は、やはり永琳も同じなのだろうか?

If it's due to the effect of the impurity that wears down everything on the Earth, Earth people must adapt quite quickly to change. They're not always worrying over the same thing, but rather always going from one problem to the next, and forgetting their last troubles. If I've changed that much, I wonder if Eirin has, as well?

永琳は私なんかよりずっと長く生きている。月の都にいた時間も長ければ、月の都では賢者として重要な立場にいた。地上に降りてきても人間離れした考え方を持っていた。

Eirin has been alive for much longer than I have. Due to her longevity, she's seen many different circumstances in her role as sage of the moon. Even since coming down to Earth she has a way of thinking that's quite different from most people's.

だからなのか、私が永遠の魔法を止めたとしても、きっと変わりないのだろうと考えていた。何となく、地上の穢れとは無縁なのではないかと考えていた。当然、そんな筈もなく、少しずつだが永琳の行動にも変化は見られる。

That's why I thought that even if I lifted my spell of eternity, she wouldn't change much. I thought that the Earth's impurity had nothing to do with us. Of course, reality was not like that, and one can begin to see change even in Eirin's behavior.

永琳は地上で医者を開業した。今や、里の医者では治せない病気を患ったら永遠亭に行けと言われる程の名医である。昔の永琳では考えられない出来事だった。地上の民は手足でしかないと考えていた人物が、今では地上の民を助ける手足でもあるのだから。

Eirin opened a clinic on the Earth. Now she's well-known enough that people in the village refer cases to Eientei that their doctors cannot heal. The old Eirin would never have thought to do such a thing. Before she would have only seen them as means to her own ends, but now she goes so far as to help maintain their health.

病院を始めた理由は、永琳曰く「これからは地上の民として暮らすのですから、地上の民の勤めを怠ってはいけません。お互い他人の為に働く事が地上の民の勤めなのです」という事らしい。つまり、働かざる者食うべからずという事だろう。

As for why she opened the clinic, Eirin herself said, "We'll have to live as Earth people now, so we can't neglect our duties towards others. It's customary for Earth people to help out strangers in need," she said. It must be like that saying, a day's work for a day's bread.

私には何となく理解できる。私を匿った老夫婦も、なまじ月の都から財宝を頂いたが為に、平穏な暮らしを奪われてしまったのだ。地上の民は自分の働き以上の見返りは期待してはいけない。必ず不幸になるからである。

I believe I can understand that. Even the couple that raised me had their peaceful life taken away by the moon's opulent rewards. Earth people can't expect results for anything beyond their own actions. To do so would be to invite unhappiness.

ただ、理解できるのだがまだ実践できていない。私に限らず、幻想郷にはその地上の民の勤めを果たしていない者が多い気がする。そんな悩みを永琳に打ち明けると「輝夜は自分のやりたい事だけすればいいのよ。もしやりたい事がなければ、やりたい事を探す事を仕事にしなさい」とはぐらかされる。

It's just that I can understand it, but I can't put it into practice myself. And I get the feeling that there are many people, not just me, who aren't working for the good of other people. When I tell Eirin about these worries of mine, she avoids the question and says, "Kaguya, just worry doing what you, yourself, want to do. If there's nothing you want to do, then make finding something to do your work."

今はまだ、地上の民として自分がやるべき仕事は見つかっていないが、優曇華の花が咲く頃には何かを始めている筈である。むしろ、何かやりたい事を見つけた時に花が咲くのかも知れないと思った。

I still haven't found a role for myself as a member of Earth society, but something should start around the time the udonge blossoms. I thought that the flower might bloom about the time I found something to do.

 

「鈴仙。吸血鬼の使いが来たのなら、私の所まで通してくれれば良かったのに」

"Reisen. If one of the vampire's servants comes here again, I hope you'll bring them to me."

永琳が少しきつめの口調で鈴仙に忠告したので、鈴仙は慌てた様子でこう言った。

Eirin's advice to Reisen was worded a bit sternly, so Reisen appeared a bit downcast as she said:

「お師匠様。すみません、もしかしてそのメイドから何か情報を得ようとかそういうおつもりでしたか? でしたら、もう一度呼んでくる事も考えますが……」

"Master. I'm sorry. Did you want to try to find out something from that maid? I think she intends to come around once more ... "

永琳は「通してくれれば、丁重にお断り出来たわ」と言って笑った。鈴仙も安心した様子で「じゃあ今度からはお師匠様に追い返して貰いますよ」と言った。

Eirin replied, "If you bring her to me, I can turn her down politely," and smiled. Reisen seemed a bit more at ease on hearing this, and said, "Well, then, next time I'll be happy to bring her to you."

「ま、もう私達には月に行く手段が無いしね」

"Well, we don't have a way to get to the moon anymore, after all."

「そうですね……。私達だって月に行く手段がないというのに、吸血鬼がどうやって行くって言うのでしょう」鈴仙は名月がある筈の方向を向いてつぶやいた。

"That's true ... but even so, the vampire will want to know how to get there," Reisen whispered, gazing at where the harvest moon should have been.

永琳は、鈴仙の表情が僅かに変化したのを見て安心させるようにこう答えた。

Eirin, noticing the subtle change in Reisen's demeanor, said this to put her at ease.

「だから、鈴仙も地上に不穏な空気が流れていても全く心配する必要はないわ」

"Anyway, there's no need for you to worry even if whatever disturbance comes to the Earth."

鈴仙は何かを吹っ切った様にお師匠様の方を向いて、再確認の為に質問をした。

Reisen seemed to achieve some sort of break through, and turned to her master to ask for confirmation.

「つまりそれは、地上の誰も月の都に行く事は出来ないから安心して良いって事ですか?」

"Is that because there's no way for anyone on Earth to get to the moon?"

それを聞いて永琳は何故か大笑いをして、次のように返答した。

Eirin smiled mysteriously upon hearing that and responded thus.

「あはは、違う違う。私達はもう月の民ではなくて、ただの地上にへばり付く人間と妖怪なんだから、月の都の心配しても仕様が無いって事よ」

"Hahaha, that's not it. We're not members of the lunar society anymore - we're just a simple group of humans and youkai living on the Earth, so there's no need for us to worry about what happens on the moon."

それを聞いて私も大笑いした。それと同時に、今起きている不思議な出来事は永琳に任せておこうと思った。

Once I heard that, I smiled as well, and decided to leave the strange goings on in Eirin's hands.

 

pg.41 *注 秋の台風の事



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