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Curiosities of Lotus Asia: Chapter 07

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魔理沙のミニ八卦炉を緋々色金で修繕する代わりに霖之助が示した条件とは、なかばゴミのような鉄屑を彼に譲ることだった。彼は、かねてよりそれが気になっていたのだが――。第四話「霧雨の火炉」、その後編! The condition stated by Rinnosuke in exchange for his repairing of Marisa’s Mini-Hakkero was for her to give him her half-garbage metal scraps. He had been concerned with those for a while now... The conclusion to Chapter 4, “Rain Furnace”!

Chapter 7 (Colorful PUREGIRL Chapter 4 Second Half): 霖雨の火炉 後編 ~ Rain Furnace Second Half

「魔理沙は確か……、ちょっと前にゴミのような鉄くずを集めていたよな。何に使うのかわからんが。」 “If I remember correctly, you were gathering some iron scraps a while ago. I have no idea what for, though.”
「宝物のような鉄くずだぜ。」 “That's my iron scrap treasure.”
「どうせ、いつものようにただ集めただけだろう? そこで今回の仕事の条件は、その鉄くずの山と交換だ。どうだ? 邪魔な物も捨てられて良すぎる条件じゃないか?」 “Anyway, you were – as always – gathering them just because, right? So, my terms this time are for doing this job in exchange for that pile of scraps. How’s that? Getting rid of bothersome stuff as payment is really good, isn’t it?”
「宝物だって言ってるだろう? でもまぁ、そのくらいの価値はあるんだな。『ひひいろかね』は。」 “Didn't I say that was treasure? But I guess hihi’irokane is pretty valuable...”
「もともと、その鉄くずには大した価値はないだろうが、これはサービスみたいなもんだ。何しろそのミニ八卦炉はだな……。」 “Well, for starters, those iron scraps don’t really have much value to them, so this job is almost a free bonus. As you know, this Mini-Hakkero…”
「おっと、蘊蓄はいらないぜ。」 “Whoa, I don't need an in-depth explanation right now.”
 魔理沙の性格はわかっている。小さい時からずっと見てきたからな。こいつは物が捨てられない奴なんだ。集めた物は整頓も行われずただ膨れていくばかりで……、あれでは物の価値を平坦化させるだけである。今回の条件も散々渋るだろうが、内心では即決しているはずだ。整理できるチャンスでもあり、ミニ八卦炉自体もなければ生活できないらしいからな。 I know all about Marisa's character. That’s because I've been watching her since she were little. She's the type that can't throw things away. And the things she gathers would just stay unarranged and piled up... That would only serve to reduce their value. Although she seems terribly hesitant about my terms, deep inside she must want to make a decision quickly. But there's a chance that she would agree, since it seems she can’t live without the Mini-Hakkero.
「私があの鉄くず集めるのに、どれだけ苦労したか知らないだろ?」 “Do you have any idea trouble I went through to gather all those iron scraps?”
「持っているだけじゃ、その苦労を無駄にするようなものだよ。」 “So if you're just going to keep them, then all these troubles were for nothing.”
「集めることが目的なんだよ。使うことは考えてないぜ。」 “Just gatherin' stuff was my goal. Never thought about usin' them.”
「じゃぁ、目的はもう達成済みじゃないか。その鉄くずは僕が有効に成仏させてやるよ。」 “Then haven’t you already achieved your goal? Just let these iron scraps rest in peace with me.”
「何か怪しいな。ひひいろかねは稀少じゃなかったのか?」 “Somethin’s fishy here. Wasn’t hihi’irokane a very rare metal?”
「君には頭が上がらない理由もある。この程度の条件で手を打っておかないと、後が怖いじゃないか。」 “There’s also a good reason for you to agree. If you let such an opportunity pass, aren’t you afraid of what’s going to happen later?”
「遠慮なんか、しなくてもいいんだがな。」 “Y'know, you don’t have to hold back.”

 「修復には4日かかる」と言うと、魔理沙は「それまでこの本でも読むぜ」と言って売り物の本を持って帰っていった。うちは図書館ではないんだがな。 When I said “The repairs will take 4 days.”, Marisa in turn said “I’ll be readin' this book until then.”, and grabbed one of my books for sale on her way out. This isn't a library, you know...
 さて、これは久々の大仕事である。最近は滅多に仕事もないし客も来ないので、このままでは自分の“能力”も腐ってしまう。そう、“未知のアイテムの名称と用途がわかる程度の能力”だ。普通の道具屋ではこの能力は活かせないかと思って、珍品も扱う店を開いたのだが……、珍品は奇人を集めただけだった。それにこの能力、ちょっと問題があって……、実は名称と用途がわかっても使用方法がわからないのだ。まぁ、道具なんて用途さえわかれば何とかなるもんだが。 Well then, this is the first big job I've had in a long time. Lately, I haven't had almost any work or customers. If it keeps up like this, my “ability” will end up rusting. Yes, the “ability to know the name and purpose of any unknown item”. Since I thought that I couldn’t make the most of this ability at a normal shop, I opened a shop dealing with curiosities and rare articles, but... curiosities only attract eccentrics. And this ability too has a small problem... The truth is that, even though I can know the name and purpose of something, I won't know exactly how to use it. Well, if can at least know an item’s utility, I can find some way to use it.
 茸汁の妖しく良い匂いが漂っている。食事の準備をしながらミニ八卦炉のことを考えていた。このミニ八卦炉はただの八卦炉ではなく、いろいろな効果が出るよう改良してある。炉の一角から風が吹き、夏には涼むこともできる。持ってるだけで魔除けや開運の効果もある(と思う)。何しろ外の世界のそういう“用途”のアイテムを溶かして混ぜてあるのだ。これらは僕のサービス(趣味)である。……さぁ、食事が終わったら早速取り掛かるとするか。 The mushroom soup's suspiciously good smell was drifting about the room. While preparing dinner, I thought about the Mini-Hakkero. This Mini-Hakkero wasn’t just a normal Hakkero, it was made with a lot of improvements and special qualities. Wind blows from one of the reactor's corners, so you can also use it to cool yourself during summer. And just by having it, it works as an amulet for protection and good fortune (I think). Anyway, it combines many of the “utilities” of outside world items. That is my hobby. Alright, I'll start on it as soon as I finish dinner.

 それから3日たった。今日は晴れだ。灯りを消して本を読むに限る、とはこういう日のことである。 Three days later is a sunny day. One for reading a book with the lights out. That kind of day.
 カランカラン。 Knock, knock.
「香霖、できたか?」 “Done, Kourin?”
「魔理沙か、ああ、できてるよ。」 “Marisa? Yes, it’s done.”
 魔理沙が鉄くずを抱えてやってきた。しかも4日かかると言ったのに3日で来た。まぁそれもいつものことだ。だから僕はいつも1日多く言う。 Marisa was carrying the metal scraps in her arms. And even though I said it would take 4 days, she came back in 3. Oh well, she's always like that. That’s why I always say it takes a day longer.
「おお、悪いね。これはここに置くよ。もしできてなかったらまた持ち帰るところだったぜ。」 “Ahh, OK then. I’m putting these here. If you weren't done, I would've had to take all this back.”
「1日早く来て理不尽な文句を言うなよ。それに、また持ち帰る理由もわからんな。」 “You shouldn't make such unreasonable complaints when you come a day earlier. Besides, I don’t see why you would have to take them back.”
「完成品と交換という約束だからな。」 “Because the promise was to give them to ya for the finished product.”
「まぁいい、これが緋々色金のミニ八卦炉だよ。多分世界に一つしかない。」 “Well, whatever. This is the hihi’irokane Mini-Hakkero . Probably the only one in the world.”
 魔理沙は、これがひひいろかねか、と興奮している。落ち着きなく嬉しそうにしながら、珍しくすぐに帰っていった。 Marisa became so excited and was all “This is hihi’irokane, then?”. She was so pleased she wouldn’t calm down, and unusually went back home soon.

 ――数日後。魔理沙はまだ上機嫌が続いていた。 Several days later, Marisa's happy mood continued.
「何か目覚めが良い。空気がうまいぜ。」と喜んでくれる。 “I feel so good when I wake up! The air feels so great!”, she said happily.
 いやなに、これだけ喜んでくれれば貴重な緋々色金を使った甲斐があったというもの。わざわざ交換条件にしなくても良かったかもと思った。 Oh, my. I thought that if using my precious hihi’irokane made her this happy, then it would've been alright even if I hadn't asked for anything in exchange.
 実は今回、魔理沙には内緒で“空気を綺麗にするというアイテム”を溶かして混ぜたのである。そのアイテムは、マイナスイオンとかいう謎の呪文が書いてあったりと、どうやって使用するのかわからなかったが、かろうじて機能しているようである。アイテムなんてものは名称と用途さえわかれば、後はどうとでもなるものなのだ。 As a matter of fact, this time I secretly mixed in the power of an “item that makes the air cleaner”. This mysterious charm had “minus ion” or something like that written on it, and I couldn’t quite fathom its manner of use. At least it seemed to be functioning. Knowing the name and purpose of an item, I can manage the rest later some way or another.
「香霖。本当に良いのか? こんな効果もあるなんて、これ、かなり稀少な金属なんじゃ……。」 “Hey, Kourin. Is it really okay? For it to work so well, this metal must be really precious...”
「緋々色金は稀少だけど、君の言うような効果はないよ。金属なんて溜め込んだって、何かの道具にしなけりゃただの鉄くずさ。君にはそのことがわからないようだね。」 “Hihi’irokane is indeed rare, but it's not as efficient as you say. Metal is something that, if you just pile it up without ever using it to make a tool, is nothing but a bunch of scraps. This is something you don't seem to understand.”
「どうせ私は集めることだけが目的だ。使えるかどうかなんてのは二の次だよ。」 “But my goal is just gatherin' stuff. Usin' it or whatever is secondary.”
「使えるかどうか、じゃない。肝心なのは使うかどうかだよ。」 “Being useful or whatever is not the point. It's important to put it to some kind of use.”
「じゃあ、私が持ってきたその鉄くずは使うのか? 放置してあるけど。」 “So, are you goin' to use the iron scraps that I brought ya? Even though they're in that junky condition.”

 僕が魔理沙に頭が上がらない理由。それはいつも、蒐集癖のある魔理沙が集めるゴミを“不当に安い条件”で僕が手に入れているからに過ぎない。どうせ魔理沙には細かい材質の違いなどわからないからな。この鉄くずだって、本来交換条件など成立するような代物ではないのだ。 I have a reason to be indebted to Marisa. It's nothing more than the fact that I always end up obtaining garbage that she obsessively collects. Anyway, it’s not like Marisa would understand things like the small differences in the properties of materials. These iron scraps, the exchange wasn't a made-up-at-the-last-minute condition.
 ただ魔理沙が成長していく度に、いつかバレるんじゃないかと不安に思っていたのだが……。魔理沙は何にも変わらない。いまだ集めるだけだ。これだけ変わらない人間も珍しいと思う。 It's just that as Marisa grew up, I was afraid that she would end up finding out... Marisa hasn't changed even a bit; she’s still collecting stuff even today. A human that doesn't change even this much is a rare sight.
「何だよ、人の顔見て。使うのか? 使わないのか?」 “Don't just stare at my face like that. Are ya gonna use it? Or arent’cha?”
「そうだな。記念に使わないで取っておいてやろうかな。」 “That's it. I’ll take them and keep them untouched as a memento.”
「さっきと言ってること違うぜ。」 “That’s not what ya said before...”

 鉄くずの中から一振りの古びた剣を取り出した。魔理沙が緋々色金を知っていた訳がない。なぜなら、この剣は緋々色金でできているのだ。魔理沙はずっと昔から緋々色金で出来た剣を持っていたのだ。 From the middle of the iron scraps, I pulled out an old sword. There's no way Marisa would really know about hihi’irokane. That's because this sword is made of hihi’irokane. Marisa always had a sword made of hihi’irokane in her possession since a long time ago.
 この剣、名前は「草薙の剣」という。恐ろしく稀少な品だ。何しろ、外の世界を変えてしまう程の品である。魔理沙は気が付かないうちに大変なものを手に入れていたのだ。そこで魔理沙に持たせていたらどうなるのかわからないから、僕が預かっておくことにしたという訳だ。我ながら正しい判断だと思う。 This sword’s name is “The Sword of Kusanagi”, and it's a horribly precious item. One that could change the outside world, at least. While unaware of it, Marisa had a very precious thing in her hands. Since I have no idea what would happen if I let Marisa keep holding on to it, I wanted to keep it in my custody. Even if I say so myself, I believe this is the right decision.
「どうした? さっきからそんな汚い剣を持ってニヤついて。気持ち悪いな。」 “Whattza matter? You’re just holdin' that dirty sword and smirking. It’s kinda creepy.”
「あ、ああ。この剣は良いな、と思って。」 “Ah... hmm. I just think it's a nice sword.”
「そんなボロい剣じゃ、大したもん斬れないだろ。」 “A junk sword like that? I bet it can't cut anythin'.”
「この剣、名前がなきゃ駄目だなぁ。君の宝物のくずだったし、『霧雨の剣』にしておこうか。」 “We can't keep this sword nameless, can we? It was one of your garbage treasures, so what if I name it ‘The Sword of Kirisame’?”
「なんだ? 嫌味か?」 “What? You bein' sarcastic?”
「良い物だと言っている。」 “I’m telling you it's a nice sword.”
「そろそろ香霖の名前がわかる能力が鈍ってきたか。まぁ、良いけどな。ただ、私に遠慮しなくても良いぜ、香霖の剣とかでも良いんじゃないのか? 私はもう実家には戻らないぜ。」 “I think your ability to know names might be gettin' dull, too, Kourin. Oh well, whatever. But you don't have to be so stiff with me. Can't you just call it The Sword of Kourin or somethin'? I'm not goin' back to live with my parents, y’know.”
「遠慮なんか……、してないさ。」 “I’m not... being stiff.”
 魔理沙を騙してばっかじゃ後が怖いから、予防線を張ってるだけである。魔理沙が成長して騙していたことがばれたとしても、返せと言われないようにするためだ。他にも命が短い方の名前を使わないと意味がない、というのもあるが……。 It's just that since I just fooled Marisa and am afraid of what may happen later, I'm putting my guard up. So that even if she finds out she has been fooled when she grows up, she doesn't come asking for it back. And besides, if I don't give it a short-lived name, then there's no point to it.
 ただ、香霖堂にまた一つ非売品が増えてしまった。店内が非売品だらけになってしまったら、魔理沙の蒐集癖のことを強く言えなくなってしまうだろう。僕も集めることだけが目的になってしまう……、それだけが心配だ。 But then, the Kourindou’s collection of items not for sale has just increased by one. If the shop becomes full of these, I won't be able to speak up against Marisa's collecting obsession. It appears that collecting for the sake of collecting is becoming my objective too... That alone worries me.

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