Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka? Bonus Story
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The Girl Who Didn’t Know Anything
Kutori’s heart pounded with anxiety.
She completely knew why. What she was doing violated – no, completely flouted military regulations.
In this case, the regulations stated: The dangerous weapons must remain under control of their respective managers. To leave them strewn around without care is strictly prohibited. In short, weapons – more commonly known as fairy soldiers – such as Kutori were not allowed to leave the sight of the army supervisor.
Although these rules generally weren’t strictly enforced, completely ignoring them like what she was doing right now wouldn’t do either. It would be like if a powerful bomb grew arms and legs, then was turned loose on the street – to any regular person this would be not only ridiculous but terrifying, and so the army forbade such behavior.
The one breaking that taboo right here and now was somebody who truly lived up to her nature as a walking bomb – the fairy soldier, Kutori Nota Seniolis.
The city of Grimbjhal was the most densely populated area on the 28th island. Looking either way on its wide streets, masses of different beast people stretched as far as the eye can see. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that they all seemed to merge into one. Some walked faster with larger strides, while others stopped to observe the scenery. Without warning, shoulders of different people would bump by one another. You might hear somebody’s hearty laugh ring out loud and clear, and the next second somebody else might be spitting out curses, and before you knew it the two would already be fighting.
Ugh… what kind of weird place did I end up in? Kutori sighed, running a hand over her face. I knew it. This really isn’t where I should be.
Kutori pried open a gap between the beastkind and squeezed through it, getting some distance between herself and the overwhelming mass. Unpleasant sensations roiled within her: self-hatred, sadness, regret…
As well as an extra-thick whiff of beast-people odor.
“Agh, agh!” She gagged and coughed, trying to expel the noxious musk from her lungs, and then looked around.
Kutori had no idea where she was, no idea where to go, and not the faintest clue about the places she’d wanted to visit or the sights she’d wanted to see. In short: she was lost.
She looked up. The blue sky, cut into a square by towering buildings, rose away from her, and a natural urge came over her. To spread my wings and fly up there… No!
She fiercely shook that thought out of her mind. If I actually did that, it’d defeat the whole point of coming here! My efforts would go to waste! Her hand brushed her pocket inadvertently, and then Kutori realized another piece of bad news: it was empty. Her wallet had been stolen at some point.
Suddenly panicked, she hastily checked all over herself. Fortunately, only the wallet in her coat’s outer pocket had been lost. Her loose change along with an extremely important brooch both remained safely hidden away in the inner pockets. She let out a relieved sigh.
As her nerves relaxed again, her train of thought returned to where it’d derailed. What is it about this city that’s making me so tense, worried in one moment and happy in the next? How did everything end up like this? What was I looking for… no, what did I hope to find here?
The story began 82 days ago.
A Teimerre had recently landed on a small sub-island of Island 48. Fortunately, it turned out to be a relatively weak one. Thanks to the efforts of the Winged Guard’s 2nd Division and the four leprechauns under its command, the beast was disposed of in less than half a day.
“Geez, seriously…” Kutori grumbled, cleaning her hair with a towel. Since the battle had taken place in a swampy environment, she’d gotten covered with foul-smelling mud. There was no reason to care about her looks during the fight, but afterwards the feeling of dampness clinging all over her body had begun to feel quite uncomfortable.
Wave after wave of continuous laughter echoed from outside of the tent. Noft and Aiseia were probably playing around in the mud. The battle literally just ended… those two really are energetic.
Just then, a somewhat self-satisfied voice drifted out of another nearby tent. “Before heading home, I plan to visit a few other islands along the way. I’ve already prepared the perfect ring and scarf. Still haven’t found the right earring, though.”
“Since it’s already settled,” another voice responded, “you’ll have to make her into the bird of your dreams.”
That first soldier’s voice rang a bell to her. Indeed, the day before the battle took place, he’d said something along those lines: “Once this battle’s over, I’m going home and marrying my childhood friend!”
That had caused quite the commotion in the army. In any typical play, there were characters who would sprout something like I can’t die yet! and then die anyway. The soldier’s comrades in the Winged Guard were well aware of this to the point where it was almost at the level of common-sense, and so they replied to his declaration in various ways.
The most common response was sarcastic. “Why are you saying unlucky stuff? If you want to die, go die on your own! Don’t raise a flag and kill us all!”
Others offered their blessings for the two lovers: “Is your bride cute?”
His commander warned him that it was up to him to schedule island return routes, all the while secretly preparing wedding gifts.
Of course, reality wasn’t a play. The person in question hadn’t followed the overused trope and died heroically. The battle unfolded dramatically and then was swiftly resolved, just like that.
“So what color will you pick? How about the tea-colored triple wave style?”
“Ehh… I was just going to go for the red version.”
“Oho? Nothing matters more than her happiness!”
One after the other, incomprehensible words flowed in from outside. “The bird of your dreams…” Still struggling with her wet hair, Kutori mumbled to herself. “What is that?”
Another fairy soldier – Lantolq Itsuri Historia – sat down next to her, having overheard her words. “A ring, earrings, and this so-called bird of your dreams. Do you know what those are, Kutori?”
“Huh? Uh, hmm…” Kutori tried to remember if she had. Nothing came to mind. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of them before.”
“For marriage, one would have to prepare gifts for the person they’re proposing to. I believe those are similar customs.”
“That… oh right, I’ve heard of marriage customs before.”
“Do you care about them that much?” Lantolq picked up a towel and started to clean her own hair. “Ah, could it be that you’re interested in getting married?”
“No, it’s not that. We’re…” Leprechauns are bombs. Bombs don’t have genders. Bombs don’t have the privilege of experiencing love and marriage.
“I’m probably just frustrated. I was born and grew up in Regul Aire, I’m fighting on the front lines now, one day I’ll disappear to protect the islands, and yet I still know almost nothing about what happens on them.”
Of course, frustration alone couldn’t explain the cheerful, uplifting emotion lingering in her heart. But that was ridiculous to say out loud.
Regul Aire was vast, and all kinds of different species with all sorts of different cultural practices called it home.
“We’re not allowed to wonder about such things, right? You see, it’s like if sheep on a farm weren’t raised to be consumed. In that case you wouldn’t be thinking about which sheep you’re going to eat next, but rather your purpose in life as a shepherd.“
“That’s true… I think?” Lan tilted her head to the side, perplexed. “To put that aside for now, Kutori, the metaphor you just used sounds a lot like Naigrat’s way of speaking.”
“Hmm… it does seem pretty similar.” She’d have to self-reflect.
To the fairies of the warehouse such as Kutori, any mention of the troll Naigrat would make her face, both sisterly and motherly at once, pop into their heads. She was, without a doubt, a respectable person that Kutori still had much to learn from. Nonetheless, there were certain differences between them as individuals.
“But I still want to know what exactly we are, what we’re fighting to protect, what we’re fighting against, the purpose of our existence. Are these questions of mine unnecessary?”
“No, Lan, I think it suits you just fine.”
To be honest, Kutori had to admit that although Lan was younger than her, the other fairy behaved much more like a mature woman. She’d always been jealous of that. Despite her best efforts at imitating her seniors in the warehouse, Kutori had only ever managed to scratch a bit of the surface.
“What’s the purpose of our existence…” Kutori muttered, contemplating the question.
I don’t think this is a topic that I should dwell on. If I think about it, the fear would overwhelm me. Despite knowing that my deadline has already been decided, as long as I don’t think or care about anything and just embrace my demise, I won’t have to suffer.
But even so, if…
At that moment, Kutori’s thought process was abruptly and brutally interrupted.
First, the entrance of the tent was flung open and a muddy figure sprang in. Noft chased after her, hurling an extra-large glob of mud in the figure’s direction. However the figure – perhaps better known as Aiseia – was a well-trained soldier capable of sensing a fatal attack from behind herself. She nimbly jumped to the side and dodged it. The lump of mud missed its initial target, sailed in an arc through the tent, and then–
Kutori’s clean face, the result of painstaking effort, received a direct hit.
Time skidded to a near-halt, a sudden chill freezing everybody solid in the middle of what they were doing. They turned slowly to Kutori’s muddy face. A few seconds later, she drew in a deep breath.
The flow of time restarted as Aiseia dashed out of the tent at lightning speed, Noft close behind her. Lan exhaled softly, a slightly shocked expression on her face
That conversation was the spark of today’s story.
I want to see with my own eyes what we’re fighting to protect. Only then can I understand the reasons for which we’re fighting. After all, it’s related to the purpose of our existence.
Thoughts like those had been in her mind already, before the exchange with Lantolq, but Kutori had viewed them as not her own – merely ideas borrowed from other people. Talking to Lantolq had caused those questions to become rooted deeper and deeper into her subconsciousness, to the point where they couldn’t be ignored anymore and she actually wanted to learn what their answers might be.
Due to that, she hadn’t been in a good mood recently.
After the battle on Island 48, Kutori mustered up the courage to ask First Officer Limeskin for a bit of free time on the way back home. She had quickly realized how stupid and reckless her request was and braced for what would surely be a lecture, already taking back her words: “Sorry, please forget what I just said!” And then, just as she was about to slink away with her tail between her legs–
“One who spills crimson honor upon the battlefield deserves respect and reward from the unscarred. Though your wish is beyond reason, I shall grant it.”
His way of speaking was difficult to understand, but Kutori realized that the First Officer had immediately approved her ridiculous request with a straight face (If his expression twitched just a little, it passed underneath Kutori’s notice).
She knew that regulations such as those monitoring leprechaun activities weren’t exactly easy to bypass. It wasn’t impossible to do so, but a lot of files – everything from personnel reports to military airship loads – would have to be forged, which certainly would be troublesome.
“I’m so sorry, First Officer…”
Walking on the streets of Grimbjhal all alone, distress jolting through her heart, Kutori realized that it was actually a lot more noisy than she thought. There was no sense of security, and her eardrums were endlessly tormented by all sorts of loud noises.
I’m so scared. I truly know nothing about Regul Aire.
Utterly exhausted, she sat down on a long bench beside the road. Never mind walking, I can’t even stand anymore. Sighing, she stared up at the sky with a blank face. Second by second, her precious free time was slipping away, consumed by pointless actions.
My throat’s so dry. I want to drink something.
Covering her head with a thin hood, she decided to find something to relieve her thirst. I remember seeing a stand selling freshly-squeezed fruit juice. The tastes of beast people and leprechauns shouldn’t be that different, so it’s probably something that I can drink. To verify the the amount of change she had left, Kutori carefully reached into an inner coat pocket and took out her spare wallet. As she did, a small ding rang out. She looked down, tracing the sound’s source to the ground.
Her brooch had fallen out of the pocket.
A blue gemstone shone brightly, reflecting rays of sunlight.
Oh no, I have to put it back in immediately! I can’t afford to lose my most precious belonging! She quickly reached down to pick up the brooch.
A rustling sound came from a nearby bush just then, and a black shadow leapt out.
“Huh?!” Kutori’s outstretched hand closed on air.
Just as she recognized the shape as a little black cat, it dashed off with a swish and what seemed like a ray of light in its mouth. Not yet realizing what had happened, she slowly looked at her hand. Both it and the patch of ground she was reaching for were empty. Which meant that glimmer of light in the cat’s mouth was…
Her vision went black. Without the chance to recover from the shock, Kutori mustered up all her remaining strength and stood up. Then – swish – she chased after it at the fastest speed she’d ever ran in her life.
Dashing off with everything she had, speeding through crisscrossing streets, there was no time to appreciate all the scenery that flew past. If I lose focus for even a second, I’ll definitely lose track of that cat!
Squeezing between beastkind, jumping off rooftops, climbing over walls and leaping over drains, Kutori ran with all her might, chasing and chasing and chasing.
Ah, why did this all happen?! Her heart was heavy with regret. I shouldn’t have come here after all. I shouldn’t have tried to learn about anything. I’m just a disposable bomb. Why would a bomb hope for anything? I shouldn’t have done anything to begin with!
“You stop right there!”
Wailing and crying, Kutori continued her chase, passing through places she had once never known about, places she didn’t know anything about, scenery she had never seen before, leaping over all sorts of obstacles.
I thought that I might experience something by coming here. If I came and still couldn’t find an answer that filled the hole in my heart, then I would give up for good.
So the girl who didn’t know anything gave up trying to find something. She hurried after the black cat, chasing and chasing and chasing.
She had no clue whatsoever of the events that awaited her.
Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka? Bonus Story
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Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka? Bonus Story summary
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