The theme toggle, code copy buttons and disqus won't work.
Make sure to leave a review on NovelUpdates if you like the story/translation!
It’s a little past eleven when I leave the house.
A place with many crevices and covered places to hide.
A place with a prolonged lack of human habitation.
A place with abandoned buses, ruins, old playground equipment, trash piles, and other interesting things.
Such a place is where the fairies usually hide.
Normally, they’re just harmless little creatures that live their lives flitting from crack to crevice.
But once there are more of them, they start interacting with each other like some kind of insect colony, and their technological prowess manifests in the most extraordinary way.
They build giant cities and palaces, create technology unknown to old humans and play until they get tired… and then they disperse. This process is commonly known as the aggregation-dispersal cycle.
What’s interesting is that when their population is low, the degree of civilization stabilizes.
Ancient human civilizations probably behaved the same way, with large-scale construction only becoming possible after populations grew large enough.
In any case, there aren’t any fairy communities nearby that have advanced enough to build a village, so I’m just aimlessly searching around for now.
It shouldn’t be too hard to encounter a single fairy.
And if I can find even one fairy to give the gold can to, the rest will line up behind it soon enough.
Personally, I’m hoping to see another great civilization spawn due to the can.
How wonderful it is that fairies can develop new civilizations over and over again!
The office is secluded, surrounded by a sea of pastures. If you were to walk downhill away from the village, you would eventually find yourself in an area with houses but no people.
As I walk through the wide yards, I come across a path resembling an animal trail.
It’s a single-person path.
To the right, behind a wooden fence, lies a grassy field, and to the left is a dense green wall formed from a line of shrubbery. The trees are complemented by daffodils, azaleas, and rhododendrons below, giving the scenery a calming ambiance.
Soon, I reach a fork.
According to the lopsided, rotting sign in the center of the fork, there’s an orchard to the right and a residence to the left.
As I continue to the left, pushing my way through the overgrown weeds encroaching on the path, I catch sight of a half-destroyed white-walled house.
The house is missing the entirety of its upper half, roof, and all. It is as if a giant took a bite out of it.
The walls are painted green by a dense cover of ivy, but the Wordsworth-esque style of its garden is still apparent.
“… They’re probably around.”
I strain my eyes and take a good look around.
Quite a few spots look suspicious, but one place, in particular, catches my eye.
Within a jagged crack in the wall.
I sense the fairy’s presence and call out to it. The familiar, shivering form of a little head pops out.
“It’s ‘kay to come out?”
“Come out this instant.”
The ten-centimeter-sized denizen of New Humanity, a fairy, makes its entrance.
I put down the can and give it the rundown.
“I’ve brought a lot of sweets.”
“Please call everyone here.”
The fairy hops about like a flea and disappears into the bushes.
It returns in thirty seconds.
“I brought them over!” “Yaay!” “A human!” “Looks strong!” “Here to play?”
There are five of them in all. None are familiar to me.
“Eat your fill?” asks the first fairy, standing at my feet.
“I’m not eating any of you!”
Why do you look so disappointed?
I put the can between my knees and crack open the lid. It comes off with a nice pop.
“The long-standing mystery of what’s inside this candy can is now laid bare…”
“Ohhh” “It’s golden!” “What’s inside! What’s inside!” “What an exciting color!”
The fairies dangle on the rim of the can and peer inside it with me.
The can is also golden on the inside.
The light reflects off its interior and dances bewitchingly over the small hill of sweets within.
A fascinating spectacle.
“I-It’s so elaborate…”
Bite-sized chocolate, whiskey bonbons, candy, wafers, cookies, mochi, crackers, fruit gummies, monakas, strawberry mini-pies, lollipops…
There are even factory-produced goods that are hard to come by nowadays.
The colorfully wrapped ones look like the contents of a surprise box.
“…” “…” “…” “…” “…” “…” “…” “…”
The fairies are all in a daze.
Their mouths hang open, and they look dumbfounded as if their souls have left their bodies.
When I poke a fairy’s cheek with my fingertip, it falls off with a ‘poit’. Like a ripe fruit.
They come back to their senses after I shoot them all down.
“Come on, you’re allowed to eat them, you know?”
The sweets form a mountain on the ground when I tip the can over. Its summit quickly becomes crowded, owing to the fairies’ reflexive penchant for mountaineering.
“Why are you climbing it?”
“Coz it’s there?” “Coz it’s there!” “It was just sitting there” “I’d have dunnit even if it wasn’t there.”
“I’m the king of the hill now.” 1
I shave the top off the confectionary mountain, bringing the fairies tumbling down.
After a short period of play, it’s snack time.
“Delish!” “Nice flavor…” “I’m going fruit-and-nuts!” 2 “The gummies… They look like jellyfish…” “Are they squishy?”
It’s a big hit.
“It’s so high quality…”
It’s a memento, so I can understand why they’ve put so much effort into it. However, I’m honestly surprised that it is still possible to manufacture such things even now.
I suppose there are still a few master craftsmen alive to make such things.
Honestly, these are finer and more delicate than what I can make… Delicious. Mhmm.
As I roll a whiskey bonbon on my tongue, I think about whether or not I’ll ever have a chance to meet the master patissiers of the world before I die.
“Miss Human, Miss Human.”
“It’d be nice if there were more humans who could make sweets.”
The fairy’s question is eerily similar to what I’ve just been thinking about.
“Yeah… I wonder just how many people are left…”
It’s still fine for now.
There are still people left. They’re alive.
But what about the next generation? And the generations that will come after?
I wonder if the wealth of sweet-making techniques that humanity has built up over the ages will disappear.
“It’d be good if a lot of people were still around to make sweets.”
Fairies aren’t cut out for making sweets. They’re bad at measuring things. Maybe it’s because they don’t understand how quantities work.
But frankly, their creations always end up wherever they need to be.
“It would be nice if there were a lot of me.”
One of the fairies raises his head.
“That, may not be impossible?”"
“What did you say?”
“If we try…”
“Maybe we can make our dreams come true?”
“They’ll come true even if we don’t.”
“There are cases where they don’t come true as well…”
“Our wish, could it be granted, could it please?”
“Ho-how will you do that?”
Five voices sound in a chorus.
“Ah…” “An immediate rejection…” “No good, huh?”
They sometimes say the most astonishing things.
“Clone technology. Humans used to rely on it heavily, but we later banned it.”
“There were some ethical…” is how I begin explaining it, but they probably wouldn’t understand. “It made the bigwigs really mad.”
The fairies turn pale.
“They’ll get mad…” “Let’s not!” “Clones are some nasty business…” “Clones are no good, huh?” “Phew, we dodged a bullet.”
“… Dodged a bullet?”
Fairies sure do love humans.
If these longtime admirers of humanity decide to start copying what we do, it could turn into something truly regrettable.
And if I were the one to kick that off…
“Clones are the one thing you absolutely can’t do!”
My tone sharpens as I repeat myself to drive the point in.
Perhaps having caught wind of my presence, more and more fairies gather around us.
I watch them have their snack time with a smile for a while before realizing I have to pick up the assistant in the afternoon.
And so, I look at my wristwatch, only to find it’s stopped at 11 o’clock.
I don’t know what the time is now.
“That fairy over there, what time is it?”
I suppose it is.
I’ll have to go check for myself. I should also get a replacement watch. Perhaps Grandfather will give me something if I ask him.
And so I head back to the office.
On the way home.
In the path ahead, I spot a strange creature.
My thoughts cloud over when my eyes light upon that lifeform.
Animals that wander around human settlements are usually fairly expressive, but this creature gives off a somewhat inorganic impression. Is that why it feels strange?
I try to get a better look at it, but I feel an unbearable resistance as if an intense light were shone in my eye. I can’t help but shut my eyes tightly.
When I open my eyes next, I see the silhouette of a girl standing where the animal used to be –
But when I blink next, the girl’s figure morphs back into that of the animal –
“BOW” Is the cry it makes.
“… A dog?”
As soon as I realize it, I can see it as nothing but a dog.
The dog looks away in a huff and pads off with its short feet.
“… A strange… Dog?”
The strange feeling vanishes as soon as the dog disappears from my field of vision.
When I get back to the office, it is 12:30.
Grandfather gives me a sour look when I tell him about my broken watch and beg for a replacement.
“…You want a new watch?”
“I don’t mind if it’s a pocket watch. You have a lot of them, don’t you, Grandfather?”
Grandfather collects items from across many fields, and his collection of antiques ranges from guns to even clocks.
“Wait. That’s a bad idea. There’s no easy way to fix these watches if you break them.”
“And just what’s wrong with that? We’re all in decline anyway.” I tend to say negative things if I don’t like what I hear. “I’m even okay with something worthless, you know?”
“There’s not much in my collection that would satisfy that… Hrmm… No, wait, I suppose that thing would …”
He leaves the office and vanishes to who-knows-where.
Five minutes later, he reappears with a wristwatch in hand.
It’s not in a box. Like a turtle out of its shell. It really must be worthless because Grandfather is whirling it around, carefree, like a child would brandish a stick.
“This should do.”
“Thank you very… Little.”
I stop myself in the middle of thanking him, because of the watch he has handed me. It’s a frankly outrageous excuse for a watch.
“What is this supposed to mean?!”
“That’s… an arm sundial.”
Instead of needles, there’s nothing but a single triangular protrusion on its face.
“It isn’t even mechanical… I mean, can this actually be used to tell time?”
“Take this compass with you as well. That way, you’ll always be able to calculate the exact time. Only on a clear day, though.”
“Give me a break… I need something else… a more proper one…”
“You should learn how to use a sundial; it might help you in an emergency.”
“That shall never come to pass. I shall die engulfed in the cradle of civilization.”
“Kh- How indulgent… Fine, fine, I’ll get you something better at some point. Just bear with it for today.”
For now, I put on the arm sundial.
Of course, I haven’t the slightest clue how to read it. I don’t want to be given a compass, either. This watch just isn’t practical for me to use.
“But I’m surprised you had something like this…”
“Well, now… Hrm, how was it again… I don’t remember when I came across it.” He taps the back of his hand against his wrinkled forehead. “Ohh, right. It was given to me by a woman who left me a long time ago.”
“She was a beautiful woman,” he says matter-of-factly.
“Are you talking about Grandmother?”
“No, not her.”
Grandfather makes no bones about admitting it.
“No, you cheated? Even when you had Grandmother-”
“Wrong. This was from before we’d met. And I was just a whippersnapper back then!”
Given how indignant he looks, he’s definitely got something to feel guilty about.
“How far… how far did you go?”
I’m not very good at talking about love.
But even I can’t turn a blind eye when it comes to a blood relation tarnishing the family’s honor.
“I didn’t go anywhere. Nothing you could ever attempt to imagine happened. She just had a one-sided crush on me.”
“So you’ve sinned?”
“Why would I ever? I’m sinless I tell you. Completely innocent.”
“To think you’d forget a gift such as this… And you can’t even give me a mechanical watch, you said this is good enough for me… I feel sorry for your first love.”
“… No, I’ve been taking good care of it, I even replace the worn out nubs on it every now and then…”
He weakly voices his protests.
“… How perfidious.”
“It wasn’t my first love in the first place. It was beautiful, but we soon broke up.”
Oh me, oh my, so it’s a beautiful story like that?
“Put all that aside and get going already. It’s about time. I have a ride I’ve got to pick up too.”
He stands up, putting on his lab coat.
“If you’re going out, you should just pick up the assistant while returning.”
“I don’t know if the handling of my two-wheeler would agree with him. Take good care of him after you’ve brought him back, you hear?””
I somehow end up leaving the Center-building behind, with a myriad misgivings, and this useless arm sundial around my wrist.
It’s now, well, about 12:40.
It’s a brisk, twenty-minute walk from the office to the village square.
I should reach by one o’clock if I hurry.
But I just can’t bring myself to hasten my pace.
The fact that the assistant is (possibly) a ripped youngster is such a bother that it naturally slows me down.
It’s not like I’m worried about what’ll happen when he returns with me or anything. 3
It’s probably just a matter of getting used to him.
Some people quickly open up to others, but I believe I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum. It takes me time.
If the opponent is of the same sex, that time will be shortened considerably.
If we’re apart in age, that time will be even shorter.
If the other party isn’t strong of will, that time will just shrivel up.
I still don’t know how to interact with people with personalities outside those categories. I sure would like to be able to handle myself with poise like a refined lady whenever that time comes.
At the very least, I’d feel a lot better if the assistant was just a kid.
Just as I approach the pasture halfway between the office and the village, a fairy pops out from behind a stone wall to hit on me. 4
“Yes, yes, what is it now?”
The fairy pulls out a yellow fruit on its back and holds it up to me.
“Here, this is for youuu~”
I receive a single, teeny-tiny little banana.
“My, where did this come from? Bananas are quite rare.”
The fairy stays silent; perhaps it didn’t hear me.
Well, they’re fairies; I suppose they managed to find a banana or two somehow.
“This feels like something you’d eat when you’re sick. If I had more bananas, I could make all kinds of delicious things with them…”
While I bite into it, a thought occurs to me -
Come to think of it, fairies don’t eat fish or vegetables, so I get the impression they only eat sweets… I wonder if fruits are treated as sweets too?
“How is it?”
“It’s pretty bland, I’d say?”
“But, we added in the flavor, didn’t we?” comes the bewildered reply.
“Whatever do you mean by that?”
Hearing the fairy say this as if they forgot to add the flavor to the banana makes me wonder whether the object I just stuffed into my stomach was even a banana at all.
“The next one’ll have the flavor added in.”
“… It’s not dangerous, is it?”
“Courseware! (Translation: Of course!)”
Then that’s fine.
“Did you get a share of the gold can?”
“Aye, it was super shiny, yanno?”
“Indeed. It would be wonderful to have a gift like that every day, wouldn’t it?”
“I know, riiiiight?”
The fairy jumps down to the other side of the stone wall.
I spy a few tricornes darting restlessly in and out of view in the lush grass. A ball is bouncing about between the tricornes.
“They’re playing ball.”
I’m not very good at sports, but I like watching people play.
I sit on the stone wall and watch the fairies play for a while.
The original text says “棒倒し”, which reads “Boutaoshi” (Pole toppling) - it’s a popular school sport in Japan similar to Capture the Flag, where each team defends their pole and must bring down the opposite team’s one. See here for details. ↩︎
The original text is “おかしくなるです” (okashikunaru), which has a bit of wordplay; “お菓子” (okashi) is a term for sweets, while おかしい (okashii) which is the normal form of the word with connotations like weird, funny or crazy is conjugated as okashiku when used as a qualifier. ↩︎
Thank you, Watashi, that’s very tsun of you. ↩︎
The term used here is “nanpa”, which is what japanese people call salacious rakes who try to smooth talk every girl they can get their pretty-boy hands on. ↩︎