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Curiosities of Lotus Asia: Chapter 08

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強い陽射し、青い空、幻想郷に夏の盛りが訪れた。しかし香霖堂の周辺だけは、梅雨明けを忘れ、奇妙な天気雨が続いている―――。「東方」シリーズ原作によるオリジナル連載、不思議な気象をめぐる第五話前編! Strong sunlight, blue skies and the peak of summer has come to Gensokyo. However, the area around Kourindou alone has forgotten that the rainy season has ended, and the strange rain continues...

The first half of Chapter 5, about an unusual weather phenomenon, of an original story based on the "Touhou" series!

Chapter 8 (Colorful PUREGIRL Chapter 5 First Half): 夏の梅霖堂 前編 ~ Summer Plum Hall First Half

1年の中でもっとも温度が高く、いかにも日本的な梅雨は終わり、香霖堂に夏の強い日差しが射し込んでいた。 Once a year, the temperature rises, the truly Japanese rainy season ends, and Kourindou is bathed in intense sunlight, just as always.
梅雨時は、黴が生えたりして木や道具の傷みが進み道具屋を悩ませる。その憂鬱な季節はようやく終わりを告げたのだ。 The growth of mold in times of heavy rain inflicts damage on trees and tools, and this causes no end of troubles to the antique shop. That melancholic season has finally announced its end.

―――たが、僕の悩みはまだ晴れてはいなかった。 ...However, my worries have not yet cleared up.
別に僕は夏の日差しが苦手な訳でもない。その強い日差しは、角度のためか店の中をより暗くする。店の暗さと窓の外の明るさのコントラストが夏を実感させ、僕はその暗さも明るさも好きである。 It's not that I especially dislike the sunlight. The strong sunbeams make the shop's interior darker; perhaps because of the angle. The contrast of the darkness of the shop and the brightness outside the window really makes it feel like summer. I like both the darkness and brightness.
しかし、今年の夏は違った。確かに日差しは強い、まごうことなく真夏の日差しである。でもこの店内はどうだ。窓から射し込む必要以上の光……、まるで湖上に店が建っているかのように、乱反射した光が無秩序に店に射し込んでいるじゃないか。この明るさは夏を感じさせない。どうやら僕の店の周りだけのようだが、もうこんな天気になってから3日目である。 However, this summer is different. The sunbeams are indeed strong, and they are, without a doubt, the sunbeams of midsummer. But what about inside the shop? More light than necessary shining in through the window... It's as if the shop were standing in a high tide zone, the reflected light seems to be illuminating the shop mercilessly. This brightness doesn't feel like summer. For some reason, it seems this type of weather is only occurring around my shop. What's more, it's been like this for three days now.
あいにく、こういう「異変」の調査は僕の専門ではない。普段ならちょっとした異変でもすぐに解決してくれる人がいるんだが……。どうも僕の店の周りだけみたいだし、あいつも気が付いていないんだろう。だからといってこんな天気の中調査を頼みに行くのも面倒だし……。 Unfortunately, this kind of “incident” investigation is not my specialty. Usually, even in the slightest occurrence of an incident, there would be people around to solve it for me immediately. Except... somehow, it seems that only the area around my shop is affected, and it looks like she hasn't noticed yet. But going to request an investigation in the middle of this kind of weather is troublesome...
まぁ、その人間だったら放っておけばいつか来るだろう。いつもどうでもいい時に店に来るか、どうでもよくない時も店に来るのだ。便利なような、邪魔なような……。 Well, if it's that human, she's bound to come even if I leave her alone. Whether it's convenient or not, she still turns up. Like help, or hindrance...

―――カラン、カラン。 ―――Knock, knock.
「ちょっと!何であんたの店の周りだけ雨が降っているのよ!」 “Hey! Why's the rain only falling around your shop!”
ほら来た。こういった異変調査の専門家だ。 Oh, there she is. The incident specialist I mentioned.
「霊夢じゃないか。」 “Well, if it isn't Reimu.”
ちょうど良い―――、と言いかけたが、とりあえず調査の専門である霊夢の様子を見てみることにした。この異変について何かわかっているかも知れない。 “You came just at the-” is what I was about to say, but for now I decided to see how things would turn out with Investigative Specialist Reimu. She might know something about this incident.
「じゃないか、じゃないでしょ?もう、霖之助さんは自分の店が今どういう状態になっているかわかっているの?」 “Of course it's me. Jeez, do you even know what kind of state your own shop is in right now?”
そう異変とは、梅雨は空けてからなぜか再び天気雨が降り続いて一向に止む気配がないということだ。空は雲一つない青空でというのに……。それも店の周りだけである。でもとりあえず僕は知らないふりをしてみることにした。 Although the rainy season is over, why has the seasonal rain continued to fall with no sign of stopping? It is indeed a strange occurrence. Even though the blue sky hasn't a cloud in sight; this phenomenon is solely located in the vicinity of my shop. However, for the time being, I've decided to pretend to ignore it.
「どういう状態って、何のことかな?」 “What kind of state would you be talking about?”
「呆れたわ、まったく外に出てないのかしら?この店の周りだけ外から見えないくらい雨が降っているじゃない。雲一つないのに……。遠くからみてこのへん一帯だけ白い布で覆われたようになっているわ。もしや、またおかしな実験とか始めたんじゃないでしょうね。」 “I'm amazed. Don't you go outside at all? It's raining so hard around your shop you can't even see outside. And there aren't even any clouds... From far away it's as if there's a white blanket covering just this area. Do you think another strange experiment has started?”
「そうか、やはり店の周りだけなのか。」 “Ah, so it really was just around the shop.”
それはわかっていた。 Well, I knew that.
「何をたくらんでいるの?」 "What are you scheming?"
「霊夢、僕は何もしていないよ。」 “I'm not doing anything like that, Reimu.”
「それにしては、豪快な狐の嫁入りだわ。普通の狐じゃなさそうね。」 “Even so, this is an amazing fox's wedding you have here. It doesn't look like this is your average fox.” (NB: According to folklore, at a fox's wedding (kitsune no yomeiri) rain falls from a cloudless sky.)
霊夢もそれといって情報を持っている訳ではないらしい。まぁ、ここから上手くけしかけて霊夢に調査を依頼するとするか。僕は霊夢にタオルを渡し、濡れた体を拭くように言った。 Though Reimu says that, it probably doesn't mean she has any information. Perhaps I should devise a way to get her interested and request an investigation. I handed a towel over to Reimu and told her to dry her dripping form with it.

「それはともかく、この前は大変だったな。」 “Anyhow, it sounds like you had it tough back then.”
「この前、っていつの話のこと?大体いつも大変だから覚えてないわ。」 “What do you mean 'back then'...? I always have it tough, so I don't quite remember.”
「梅雨になろうって頃まで雪が降っていたことがあったじゃないか。あれを解決したのは霊夢なんだろう?」 “Snow fell until the rainy season started. Weren't you the one who solved that, Reimu?”
「ああ、そのこと?あんなの大したことじゃなかったわよ。もっと酷い目に遭ったことなんていっぱいあったわ。まぁ、どれも大したことじゃないけど。」 “Ahh, that? It wasn't such a big deal. I've had far worse run-ins than that. Actually, they weren't even that big either, I guess.”
「大変なのかそうじゃないのかさっぱりわからないな。」 “I never have any clue whether it's tough for you or not.”
「普通よ、普通。どっちかっていうと、放っておく方が大変になるの。春が来なかったら困るから解決する訳だし、霧が晴れなかったら困るから解決する……って、やっぱり霖之助さん、困ってるの?」 “That's just how it is. If you ask me, it'll get worse if you leave it alone. If spring hadn't arrived, it would be trouble so it had to be fixed. If the mist didn't clear up, it would be trouble, so that's also had to be... Just as I thought, you're in trouble, right?
「よくわかってるじゃないか。そう、困っている。」 “It seems like you understand perfectly. Yes, I'm in trouble.”
「最初からそう言えば良いのよ。仕様がないわね、この狐の嫁入り、調べてみてもいいわよ。」 “You should have said so in the first place! I guess I have no choice. I'll investigate this fox's wedding for you.”
霊夢はちょっと楽しそうだ。誰かどう見ても大変そうには見えない。困っているから解決するというよりは、何かおかしなことに首を突っ込むのが好きという風にしか見えない。 Reimu seems to be having fun. However anyone looks at it, she doesn't look troubled. Rather than solving it because I'll be in trouble, she looks nothing else but thrilled at the thought of flying headlong into strange happenings.
「悪いな。僕は別にやることがあるんでね。どうしたものか悩んで痛んだよ。」 “Sorry, but I have a few things I need to do. I'm worried as to what I should do about them.”
別にやることはない。はっきりって暇だが、僕はこういう異変は専門外なのだ。 I don't really have any particular things to do. You can clearly see that I'm unoccupied, but this kind of incident is outside my field of knowledge.
「まぁいいわ。どうせ服は濡れてるから、もう一度雨の中に出ても大差ないし……。霖之助さんは自分の「やること」でもやって待っててよ、まぁこの程度の小事、すぐに片付くと思うけどね。」 “Well, whatever. My clothes are soaking wet anyway, and it won't make a big difference if I go out in the rain again... You should do your 'things I need to do' and stay here. Though I think this kind of minor problem can be tidied up in an instant.”
そう言うと意気揚々と霊夢は店を出ていった。予想通り霊夢はすぐに任事を引き受けてくれたのだが、よくよく考えると、霊夢側は特に用事がないのに店に来ていることがわかる。いや、今回は最初から異変を解決するつもりで来ていたのかもしれない。 Upon saying that, Reimu left the shop in high spirits. As I had predicted, Reimu had taken up the job for me. But if you think about it very carefully, you'd follow that Reimu came to the shop even though she had no special appointment. Actually, maybe this time she had come with the intention of solving this incident all along.
なぜなら、霊夢は渡したタオルはまるで濡れていない。霊夢は体を拭いていないのだ。最初からもう一度外に出る気だったように見える。それとも、濡れていようがなんだろうがかまわないだけかも知れないが。 As for why I think so, the towel I had handed to Reimu seemed not to be wet. Reimu hadn't dried herself. It looked like she had intended to go out again right from the start. Or maybe she didn't care whether she was soaking wet or not.
 霊夢に任せておけば、数時間後にはカラッとした夏の陽射しが店を照らし、店内は再び夏の暗さを取り戻すだろう。霊夢が動き出したら、大抵の異変は2~3時間から半日、長くても1日あれば元通りになる。いつものことだ。 If I leave things up to Reimu, after a few hours the crisp summer sunlight will beat down upon the shop, and the shop's interior will once more regain its summer darkness. Once Reimu starts working, the usual incident will be resolved if I give it from two to three hours, up to half a day and at the very most a day. That's usual.
 僕は、新茶を淹れて本でも読むとしようか。後は放っておけば良いだろう。お茶の良い香りが時間を忘れさせる。こんな姿、頑張っているはずの霊夢に見られたら怒られるかもしれないが……。 I wondered if I should make some fresh green tea and read a book. I can leave the rest until later. The pleasant smell of tea makes you forget the passing of time. Though if Reimu working hard were to see me like this, she might become angry...
 それにしてもこの狐の嫁入り、霊夢にも原因はわかっていないようだったが、実は一つだけ思い当たる節がある。まさかと思うことだが……、そうだとすれば瑞兆だ。しばらくすれば元に戻るだろうし、もしかしたら霊夢にも応急処置くらいしかできないのかもしれない。それに、これに関しては誰にも言うことができないのも厄介だ。特に魔理沙には言えない。 Even so, Reimu didn't seem to know the reason behind this fox's wedding, but actually, I think I have an idea of what it is. I never thought it would be possible, but... if it is what I think it is, it's an omen. If I wait a short while, things will return to normal, so perhaps this is something that can only be handled by Reimu's emergency treatment. Besides, it would've been dangerous to tell anyone else. I especially couldn't tell Marisa.
 ――ガン! ガラガラガラ…… ―――Boom! Craaaaack...
 一瞬のことだった。店内は本が読めないくらいに明るく青白く光り、窓の外と共に一瞬にして暗くなっていった。次第に雨は強くなり、晴天だったはずの空は暗く、遠くの景色も見えなくなっていく。 It happened in an instant. The shop's interior lit up with a blue-white light so bright that I couldn't even read my book, and then along with the exterior, darkened in the next instant. Following that, the rain became heavier, the sky that should have been clear darkened, and the distant scenery became obscured.
 夏の強い陽射しと夏の暗さを期待していた僕は、突然の雷鳴と暗転に正直に驚いた。青天の霹靂とはまさにこのことか……、って晴天でも雨は降っていたのだけど。 I was expecting the strong sunlight of summer, but was honestly shocked by the sudden thunder and the blackout. To think that a blue sky's thunder was truly like this... Although I suppose even in fine weather, it can start raining anyway.
 一気に強まった雨に、ちょっと霊夢のことが心配になってきた……、といっても解決後の霊夢の愚痴の心配である。どうせ解決はするだろうが、この土砂降りは想定してなかったに違いない。霊夢の服の着替えくらいは用意した方が良いだろうな。どちらかというと霊夢の機嫌の問題なのだから。 The sudden heavy rain made me worry a little about Reimu... but it was her idle complaints after she solved the matter that really worried me. I don't doubt that she'll solve this matter, but clearly I had not predicted the pouring rain. I should probably prepare a change of clothes for Reimu. As for which was the real problem, it had to be the issue of Reimu's mood.
 外の様子を見てみようと思い窓に近づいて外を見た。でも、霊夢の姿はまったく見えない。雨はますます強さを増し、世界から完全に色を奪おうとしている。徐々に森も山も輪郭を失い、ついには一面暗い灰色の世界になってしまった。屋根を打つ雨の音だけが聞こえている。 Thinking to see how it was outside, I approached the window and took a look outside, but I couldn't see Reimu's figure at all. The rain just kept getting stronger, like it was trying to drain the color from the world. The outlines of the forest and the mountains gradually began to fade, finally becoming a world of dark grey. The only thing I could hear was the sound of the rain striking the roof.
 そんな時、店の前に走ってくる人影が見えた。今の風景と同じく色を持たない姿。白と黒のモノトーンの人影だった。 At that point, I saw a human run past the shop. A figure that, like the current surroundings, possessed no colour. It was a white and black, monotone shadow.

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