Intermission: Dream of Summer Day
That is dream, things that happened a long time ago, dream of distant day.
"You too, let's go play together."
I was interested with a girl of the same age who was looking bashfully from behind the offering box of the shrine, so I gathered my courage and invited that girl to play.
"My name is Ichirou. How about you?"
"I am •••"
"Hee~, the name really sounds like a shrine girl."
I lead the girl by hands, taking her to the shrine ground where my cousins are playing. At first she was quiet, but after we began playing song and hide-and-seek, she lets out bright smile that wouldn't lose to her beautiful red hair while laughing.
Fun time quickly passes. The sun is already hidden between the mountains.
"Everyone, let's go home soon. You too, •••, let's go home together until the halfway."
"My house is here."
The girl said so while going back to the shrine.
I had certainly heard the girl's name, but I couldn't remember it no matter what.
"Right at that time, the prince appears, and defeat the bad dragon with one swing of his sword."
"I don't like that story."
Looks like she didn't like the picture book that I tried hard to read.
The girl who sulks a bit plays with her with reddish-orange hair while pouting.
"This shrine is dedicated for a dragon god. Her name is Mizuhana-hime."
The girl sticks out her chests while looking proud.
This shrine worships a god called Ama-no-Mizuhana-hime.
"Then, then. Mizuhana-hime crossed the rainbow and came here. She was angry at a young man of the village who went to see her dancing on top of the mountain of this shrine."
"Why was she angry?"
The girl pouts because she can't remember it.
"Uu~ dunno. She was angry surely because it was not good! Don't look at the practice she said."
"She's shy huh."
"Yes, she must be!"
The girl who awkwardly folds her slender arms is nodding as if convinced by her own story.
"And then! The angry goddess-sama turned into a dragon and flew to the sky, bringing rain that continued for three days and night."
"Eeh~, wouldn't it just fine to forgive him just by poking his forehead."
"Uu~ it's alright! Because this is a legend!"
Seems that excessive retort is forbidden.
"The young man who saw the dancing on top of this mountain desperately apologized to the goddess. And then, the goddess forgave and married the young man."
I don't understand it.
What? that rapid development. The story must've been shortened huh.
Inside the shrine's office, we're eating watermelons while listening to the cicada's sound until our ears hurt. Eating energetically to the point that it ruins her face which is slightly older than me, she bites the watermelon and spouts out the seeds.
"Hey, you're a girl, so get it in your hands and put it back on the plate."
"Ichirou is stupid! It's more delicious to eat watermelons like this! Only children like us are allowed to do this. Stop saying those garish words."
She overreacts while messing with the green hair that has the same color as watermelons on her shoulders.
The girl is always energetic.
Night at the shrine ground, we're enjoying fireworks while being accompanied with the smell of mosquito repellent.
I throb when I see the girl who wears yukata looking like an adult with her light violet hair knitted and put on the nape of her neck, making her looks amorous.
"Do you know Ichirou-kun. The deity enshrined in this shrine, Ama-no-Mizuhana-hime. She married a young man a long time ago. However, since he was a human, he passed away before long. When he was dying Mizuhana-hime promised him. 『When you're reincarnated someday I will come back to your side』, she said, isn't it romantic?"
The girl whispers as if enraptured while looking at me in sitting position.
I throb looking at the girl who's far older than me showing a mischievous child-like smile.
"Does something like reincarnation even happen?"
The girl firmly affirmed so, replying my question.
"But, it's no good if he's just reincarnated. The life span of gods are different than people. They'd be separated again."
"Isn't it fine if she just makes the person she likes become a god?"
"Even gods aren't almighty enough to grant divinity as they like."
Her words are unusually passionate for the cool her.
"It's not enough with the soul of a single person, it'd need a lot more."
I'm a bit scared with those words.
I'm bringing the dog called Satou that grandpa keeps as a pet while climbing the stairs to the shrine ground.
It's a dog with strange name. Seemed that the person who gave the dog to grandpa is called Satou-san. It's really like my family to give the dog name like that.
I pass through the shrine gate with no red stone and enter the shrine ground.
"Ou! Been waiting, Satou."
"I've said to call me Ichirou when it's not in the game."
"Fufun, I was calling the dog."
"Is that right, then let's not do the game today and play outside with the dog."
When I tease the girl, her bossy attitude breaks apart and she gets flustered.
"W, wait, if we're not there, who would save Trojan Union from Akaia Empire."
"Okay okay, let's look for a shade for the place to play."
We sit in line on the shrine's open veranda with a nice shade at the shrine ground. Satou the dog that got his leash unfastened is running around the shrine ground without losing to the summer's heat.
I take out two portable consoles from my bag--I pass one of the Jiopoke to the girl.
The girl loves to hear the clicky sounds from when the buttons are moved. She always have fun by clicking it with her small fingers before the power is turned on. We connect the two game consoles with link cable and turn on the power.
"Oh, it begins."
The game is a space war simulation game with Trojan War as the motif.
Despite being a product for children, it has the concept of searching for enemies and supply replenishment.
"Muu, another surprise attack from outside the range of enemy search. That's why you're Satou nanoja."
<TLN: She refers herself with "warawa" and almost always ends her sentences with "Ja".>
She said something really unreasonable.
"Then, I'll let you use 『Map Exploration』 once on the next map as handicap."
"Yay, nanoja. Might as well let me use 『Meteor Bullets』 then."
"Eeh, 『Meteor Bullets』 is forbidden. The situation would get reversed instantly."
"That's the good part! Just once. Kay? It's fine with using it once~ I want to use it."
I eventually give up to the girl who pleas until her indigo hair got disheveled. Even the lord of the manor can't win against crying child they say. I don't know what lord of manor though.
"Fuhahaha, take this nanoja."
The girl happily use 『Meteor Bullets』 and annihilate my main force.
And then, her face looks overjoyed when she captures my main battleship who has lost all its forces.
"Aah, 『Meteor Bullets』 is satisfying. Thanks to it, I even get myself the battleship as a souvenir."
The girl is in high spirit, but when she takes the battleship to her field, it changes into shock.
This game takes after Trojan War as motif. Of course, that includes the [Trojan Horse] tactic.
"Uwah, robots are coming out of the battleship. Ah, even though that carrier has just been completed. No don't, don't attack that factory, no~~~."
After the robots destroyed the supply equipments inside her army, my main force that I had hidden attacked. Although it's close, it's somehow my win in the end.
"Uu, you're cruel. You don't hold back against a small girl."
"Look, isn't it rude to not fight with all my might in a battle."
"Fuhn nanoja, I hate Satou. I'll put a curse so you'll always be with flat-chests for all your life."
That's a harsh curse even for a joke. Kyonyuu idol is the most popular girl in my class.
Let's take out another game here and change the conversation.
"Yes, yes, shall we play different game next?"
"This is called RPG, it's a game that have you start weak, let you get stronger by defeating small fries, and defeat the demon lord in the end."
It's a blunt description if I do say so myself.
"Ooh, defeating demon lord huh! That's great! By the way, can we defeat demon gods?"
"There are various types of hidden boss in this game, and since there are gods and demon gods too if I'm not mistaken, we should be able to."
"That's good! Okay, let's do it Satou! Quickly start it!"
Her tension is always high, but today it's unshakable. I keep the girl company playing game until nightfall that day.
Play game only one hour a day, you could not possibly do that right.
The girl is reading a thick book on the bank of the small fountain at the corner of the shrine ground.
"Good morning, what are you reading today?"
"Umu, there was this [God is Dead] writing when I was half asleep so it perked up my interest."
"Heeh, can gods die?"
"Umu, they can. However, it's just dying. If you leave them alone they will get revived. Since gods are undying."
<TLN: Same kanji as Satou's immortal/undying.>
"Can you say that as dying? What are other state of deaths?"
"Well, they do die physically. Once they die, gods become spirit bodies, they prepare their own soul, make new body, and complete the revival. Although if it's high-ranking gods, then they don't need go through such annoying procedure. Even if they die, they would get instantly revived since they're universally recognized in the world."
There, the girl laughs, 'kufufu'.
"It's just like you."
My eyes become round toward that unexpected words.
"Yes, you are Ichirou no matter what the era or the worlds. Omnipresence as if exceeding the space-time, no matter how different I am, we always get in contact and become friend."
Before I could hear the meaning of her words, the voice of her mother calling her can be heard.
"Fumu, it's time."
The girl's mysterious blue hair turns black as if it's dripping ink.
It looks like I'm the only one who see her hair in different color.
And then, the girl with black hair talks to me politely as if she's stranger like usual.
"Hey, Suzuki-kun. If it's fine with you, would you see my Kagura dance?"
Kagura dance? Ah, Kagura dance huh.
She bashfully pulls the edge of my shirt, and I, who's charmed by her shy smile, follow her to the stage inside the shrine.
The girl changes her clothes to shrine maiden attire and begins to dance on the stage.
"Hikaru's dance is getting better right?"
"Yes, she looks like a professional Shrine maiden-san."
"Ufufu, it may not be a job since she's not getting money, but that girl is a genuine shrine maiden. The dance is for the sake of descending god to the body. Look well and burn it to your memory, Satou. It will be useful for you someday."
The one who sits beside me who is concentrating in watching the dance; I don't know if it's the girl's mother, or if it's something else.
Rather than listening to such enigmatic words, I watch the dance of my childhood friend with my whole body.
I was watching my dream from bird's eye perspectives.
Even though I can't remember her name anymore, my childhood friend should have had black hair. Her age should be the same as me too.
My past memory must be mixed with the galge that had shrine stages I made myself during the college year. It's normal in a game to have characters with such colorful hairs.
However, I wonder what's with the line that has nothing to do with games?
『Forget it Ichirou, until the time it's needed. Put memories about us deep inside your heart.』
Overlapping voices of many girls whispered to me.
My consciousness sinks into deep sleep hearing those nostalgic voices.