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Curiosities of Lotus Asia: Chapter 09

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Chapter 9 (Colorful PUREGIRL Chapter 5 Second Half): 夏の梅霖堂 前編 ~ Summer Plum Hall Second Half

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不可思議な雨は、突如として激しい雷雨へと変わった。そこへ、ふらりと立ち寄ったと思しき、黒い濡れ鼠となった魔理沙。彼女がぶっきらぼうに呟くには、この異変の原因は霖之助自身にある。だがそれが意味するのは、はたしていかなる兆しか――。「夏の梅霖堂」その後編! A mysterious rain has suddenly changed into a fierce thunderstorm. Marisa, who is now a black, drenched mouse, aimlessly thinks to drop in for a visit. She mutters a curt remark that the cause of the problem is Rinnosuke himself. But that could mean only one thing... The second part of “Summer Plum Hall!
夏の梅霖堂 後編 Summer Plum Hall: Part 2
――ドン! ガラガラガラ……、バン! ――Bam! Clatter, clatter...Bang!
「おい! どうした!? この雷雨は尋常じゃないぜ!」 “Hey! What happened here!? This is no normal thunderstorm!”
 尋常じゃない状態で飛び込んできたのは魔理沙だった。それに濡れようも尋常ではない。 What wasn't normal was Marisa barging in. And her dripping wet isn't normal either.
「どうした? 尋常じゃないって……、よくある夏の夕立じゃないか。」 “You say "What happened?" like it's not normal... These summer evening showers happen often, you know?”
「嘘つけ、この店だけだぜ、雨が降っているのは。こんな夕立はないだろ?」 “You liar. It the rain's only fallin' around this shop. There aren't any evenin' showers like this!”
 とまぁ、軽い挨拶を交わしたところで、魔理沙に嘘をついても仕様がないから、これまでのいきさつを話した。 And so we exchanged our casual greetings. It was no use lying to Marisa, so I told her what had happened up until now.
「そうか。私ならこんな天気雨くらい、すぐに晴らしただろうがな。まぁ、霊夢は仕事を邪魔されると怒るから、今回はあいつに任せるとするか。」 “Alright. I can prob'ly make this sudden shower clear up in a flash, but I guess Reimu'll get mad at me if I get in her way, so I'll leave it to her.”
「とりあえず、これで体を拭けよ。その――」 “For now, why don't you dry yourself off? I mean-”
「『濡れた服で売り物に腰掛けられたら困る』、だろ? わかってるぜ。でも、飛ばして来たから大して濡れてないんだ。」 “'If I sit down on items for sale with wet clothes, it'll be a problem.' right? I know, I know. But since I flew here, I'm not really wet.”
 それに「雨は店の周りだけだからな」と言って魔理沙は、タオルを手に取り体を拭き始めた。 And with a “Besides, the rain's only around your shop anyways,” Marisa snatched a towel and starting drying herself.
 僕には結構濡れているように見える。雨の範囲は思ったより広いのか、それとも本当は店に来る前に寄り道してきたのか……。こんな異変を前にして、魔理沙がおとなしく黙っているとは思えない。 To me she looks considerably drenched. Had the rain extended over a wider area than I thought, or was it that she stopped by here before coming into the shop... I can't believe that Marisa would act so obediently given such an incident before her.
 魔理沙は適当に体を拭くと、売り物の壷に腰掛けた。 When Marisa had decided she'd dried off enough, she planted herself on a pot that was for sale.
「とにかくなぁ、店の周りにだけ異変が起こっているというのは、原因がお前にあるからだぜ。」 “So yeah, you've gotta be the reason behind this weird thing happenin' around the shop.”
「思い当たる節はないんだけどなぁ……。」 “I really have no idea what you're talking about.”
 思い当たる節はある。魔理沙には言えないことだが。 I had an idea. But I couldn't tell Marisa.
 今この店だけに降っている雨。雨とは、天(あめ)とも読み取れる。店にだけ雨が降るということは、ここに天が下る、つまり天下があるという意味にも取れる。少し前に魔理沙を騙し……いや、ちゃんとした交渉の末、手に入れた剣。あれはただの剣ではない。あの剣の本当の名前は草薙の剣、別名天叢雲剣なのだ。天下を取る程度の力を持つ、いや、それ以上の力もある剣だ。 It was the rain falling around the shop right now. Rain can also be read as “heaven”. That the rain is falling solely on the shop, all is under heaven. In other words, this means that a ruling power is present. A little while back, I had tricked... well, negotiated, a sword out of Marisa. That was no average sword. That sword was the “Sword of Kusanagi”; by another name Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi (heavenly gathering of clouds sword). It holds the power to unite the land.... no, even greater than that.
 この雨は、恐らく天が僕を認めたことの瑞兆であるに違いない。天候を操作するだなんて、なかなか普通の妖怪になせる芸当だと思えない。 As for this rain, I firmly believe it is a good omen that the heavens had approved of me. I think manipulating the weather is a feat that normal youkai can rarely achieve.
「どうした、ニヤニヤして? 思うんだが、この雨。その辺の悪戯好きの妖精の仕業なんじゃないのか?」 “What're you grinnin' about? I've been thinking about this rain. Maybe it's the work of the mischievous fairies around here.”
「へ? そ、そう? 雨を降らせるなんてそう簡単にできるのかなぁ。」 “Ah? think so? Can they make the rain fall that easily?”
「雨を降らすくらいは大したことないぜ。季節を操作する妖怪がいるくらいだし、しかも降っている範囲も狭いしな。というか雨乞いでもした?」 “It's not too hard to make rain fall. There are always a few youkai who can manipulate the seasons, and they have a small range of effect too. Maybe someone prayed for the rain?”
「ここにだけ雨が下る……、か。ふふふっ。」 “The rain is only falling here... hmm. Hmhmhm...”
「あー? 無視するなよ。」 “Huh? Don't you ignore me.”
 僕はすでに天下を統一した気分でいた。でもそのことを魔理沙には勘繰られないようにしないといけない。魔理沙から貰ったあの剣の秘密がばれてしまうと厄介である。 I feel that I've already unified all under heaven. But I have to make sure Marisa doesn't suspect me of anything. It would be a bad idea if I were to give away the secret of the sword I received from Marisa.
 魔理沙はしきりに外を気にして窓を見る。豪雨が気になるのか、ひどく落ち着きがない。 Marisa kept worriedly looking out the window. Perhaps because the downpour was on her mind, she couldn't calm down at all.
「霊夢も、失敗して諦めて戻って来ないかなぁ……。」 “Maybe Reimu will fail, give up and come back?”
「おや、他人の失敗を願うなんて珍しいじゃないか。」 “Wow, that's not like you to wish failure upon others.”
「何言ってるんだよ。暇だからこの店に来たんだぜ? 暇を潰せる出来事が目の前にあるっていうのにじっとなんてしていられるか。」 “What are you talkin' about? I came here just because I had some free time. There's somethin' I can do to kill time right in front of me, and you want me to just wait around?”
「何なら魔理沙にもお願いしようか? 異変の調査。別に二人でやっても、僕はかまわないよ。」 “In that case, shall I ask you to investigate this matter too? I suppose I don't mind if you both do it.”
「また濡れるのは嫌だぜ。」 “I don't wanna get soakin' wet again.”
「まったく、我侭な奴だな、魔理沙は!」 “Really, you're so selfish, Marisa!”
 困っているのは僕の方なんだから、調査してもらえるだけありがたく、あまり強く言うことはできないのだが。こいつらはこいつらで暇つぶしでやっているだけみたいだし、どっちもどっちか。 I'm the one in a pinch, so I'd be grateful if someone will help me investigate, but I couldn't very well shout at her. It looks like these girls spend their time how they want to, so each to their own I suppose.
 ――ドガン! ガラガラガラ…… ――Flash! Rummmmble...
「うわっ! 何だ今の雷! ものすごく近いぜ!」 “Whoa! What's with the lightnin'! That sounded way too close!”
 そりゃ、店の周りしか雨は降っていないのだから、雷も近いに決まっている。だが、その大きな雷鳴の直後、雨は突然ぴたっと止んでいた。 Since the rain is falling only around the shop, then it's a given the lightning is also nearby. However, after that great thunderclap, the rain suddenly ceased.
 さっきまでの滝のような豪雨の音がなくなり、一瞬にして無音になった。最初は大きな雷鳴のせいで耳がやられたのかとも思ったが、代わりに魔理沙がしきりに囃し立てるのですぐに店内はうるさくなった。 The sound of the waterfall-like downpour faded and became silent in an instant. I thought at first the loudness of the thunder had damaged my ears, but due to Marisa's constant rambling the shop immediately became noisy again.
「おっ、雨が止んだぜ。霊夢の奴、やったかな?」 “Ooh, it stopped rainin'. Looks like she did it, huh?”
「さすが霊夢だ。雨が土砂降りになった時はどうなるかと思ったけど。」 “Of course. I was wondering what might have happened to her since this maelstrom started.”
「私だったら、もっとスマートに解決できたんだがな。」 “If it were me, I would've solved this more smartly.”
 魔理沙は落ち着きを取り戻していた。窓の外は強烈な陽射しで夏を取り戻し、それと共に店の中は夏の暗さを取り戻していた。空には雲一つ無い。この空を見て誰がさっきまで雨が降っていたなどと信じるのだろうか。僕にも信じられない。 Marisa had calmed down again. Outside, summer had returned with intense sunlight, and the inside of the shop returned to its summer darkness. Not a cloud in the sky could be seen from the window. Looking at it, you could never have guessed that it was raining just a moment ago. I couldn't believe it either.
 ――カラン、カラン。 ――Knock, knock.
「あー、終わったわ。まったく、私にこんな仕事させてぇ、お茶の用意くらいはしてくれてあるんでしょうね、て魔理沙がいるじゃない。」 “Ahh, it's over. Honestly, making me do this kind of job. I hope you'll at least make me some tea. And oh, Marisa's here.”
「香霖は霊夢にやらせておいて、お茶の準備なんてまったくしてないぜ。自分では飲んでいたがな。」 “Kourin made you do all this, but he hasn't made any tea at all. Only some for himself.”
 僕は慌ててお茶を用意しようとすると、魔理沙は「時間も時間だから、もう飯にしようぜ」と言った。 I started preparing the tea in a hurry, and Marisa said “It's been a while, so let's have lunch.”
「何それ、時間掛かり過ぎだって言いたいの? まぁ、魔理沙が食事の準備してくれるならいいけど。」 “What, you're trying to say I took too long? Well, I don't mind if you're offering to make the food, Marisa.”
「時間掛かり過ぎだ。まぁいい、今日は飯、作ってやるよ、材料は何があったっけ?」 “You did take too long. But whatever, I'll cook today. What ingredients did we have again?”
 人の家なんだけど、まぁそのくらい見逃してやるか。 This is my house, you know. Oh well, I guess I'll let it slide this time.
 魔理沙はお勝手に入っていった。魔理沙じゃないけど、本当に今、材料は何があったっけ? 雨のせいでしばらくこもっていたから、あまり新鮮なものはないかもしれない。まぁ、魔理沙なら何とかしてくれるだろう。いつも食材を持ってくるくらいだから、最初からうちに豊富な食材なんか期待してないだろうし……。とりあえず僕は霊夢に礼を言い、新しいタオルを渡した。霊夢はすぐに髪を拭き始め、「お茶は?」とせかすように言う。 Marisa volunteered on her own, but really, what ingredients were there? Because of the rain, I'd been secluded for a while, so I doubt there would be anything fresh. Well, I'm sure Marisa will manage to make something. She's always bringing ingredients here, so I don't keep much anyway... For now, I gave my thanks to Reimu and handed her a new towel. Reimu immediately started drying her hair, hurrying me by asking “And the tea?”
「まぁ落ち着け、今淹れているよ。それで、なんだったんだ? この異常な狐の嫁入りは。」 “All right, be patient, I'm making it now. So, what was it? Our strange fox's wedding.”
「ん? いやなに、梅霖(ばいりん)の妖精が店の屋根裏に住み着いていただけだったわ。ちょっと脅してやったら、逃げて行ったわよ。なんで途中で急に雨が強くなったのかはわからないけど、誰かが邪魔をしたのかしら?」 “Hmm? Oh, well, it was only a rain fairy that starting living in your attic. I threatened it a little, and it ran off. I don't really know why the rain got heavier midway though. Maybe someone interfered with it?”
 梅霖の妖精? A rain fairy?
「雨を長引かせる悪戯好きの妖精ね。霖之助さんみたいに。」 “A fairy that mischievously lengthens the time of rain. Just like you.”
「何言ってるんだ? 僕は雨なんか降らせないよ。」 “What are you talking about? I can't make rain fall.”
「だってその名前、霖(ながめ)でしょう?」 “I'm talking about your name – (霖) long spell of rain – right?”
「それはそんな意味で名付けた訳じゃないよ。それで? その妖精が何だっていうんだ?」 “I wasn't given my name for that particular meaning. So, then what? What about that fairy?”
「貴方の店、いつも黴が生えるくらいに汚くしているから、居心地がよくてうっかり住み着いていたみたいね。梅雨は黴雨ともいって、黴を好むのよ、たまには店の隅々まで掃除することね。今回みたいに何かが棲み着いても知らないわよ。あ、お茶ありがと。う~ん、新茶ね。」 "Since mold has been growing your shop for such a long time, it happened to settle down because it felt like a nice place to live. It liked the mold! It'd help if you cleaned out the shop thoroughly once in a while. You never know when something like that might settle in again. Ah, thanks for the tea. Ahh, fresh green tea.”
 店の外は鮮やかすぎる緑と、繊細さに欠けるほどの眩しい光であふれかえっていた。さっきまでの雨が盛大な打ち水であったかのように、今は涼しく、そして心地のよい風を暗い店内に運んでいた。 The outside was awash with beyond brilliant greenery and dazzling light, not subtle in the least. The rain was now like a magnificent sprinkling, and carried a cool, welcoming wind to the dark interior.
 店の奥から魔理沙の声が聞こえる。どうやら食事ができたらしい。 From the back of the shop, I can hear Marisa's voice. It seems that she's managed to prepare something.
「駄目だな、香霖。いろんな食材が黴びてるぜ。いくら雨が長引いたからって少しは整理しないとな。仕方がないから今日は味噌と香の物がメインの料理だ、侘しいとか言うなよ。」 “It's hopeless, Kourin. There's mold on a whole lot of the ingredients. The rain lasted for a while, so you're gonna have to sort this out. I didn't have much of a choice, so today it's miso soup with pickled veggies for the main dish. No complaints outta you now.”
 それにしても、黴かぁ……。僕の天下はまだ遠い。僕は店内に飾ってある剣を見やってそう思った。 Even so, mold... I guess my sovereignty was still far away, I thought while gazing at the sword that decorated the inside of my store.

A note on Kourin's sovereignty: When Rinnosuke explained that the Sword of Kusanagi unites all under heaven, and therefore proclaims him as emperor, he believed the rain was an omen ( in Japanese) of his sovereignty. But the real reason behind the rain turned out to be mold ( in Japanese) resulting in the fairy's residence. The two kanji, omen and mold, share the same radical, and hence look rather similar. Thus Kourin came rather close to receiving an omen, but in the end it wasn't quite what he'd expected. Once again, ZUN's wordplays come to light in the most wonderful way.

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