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Humanity has Declined: Volume 3, Part 2

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A fairy calls out to me as I make my way to the community center with a bundle of missives fresh out of the mimeograph.

“‘Scuuuse mee…”

“Why, hello, Mr. Fairy.”

“A discussion, got time for one?”

A lone fairy stands atop the stone wall separating the road from the pasture.

I find the fairy’s conduct quite admirable somehow, and it’s cute how it lowers its head timidly. I want to give in to this fairy’s playful lure, but I have work to do.

“Unfortunately not. Maybe another time.”

I take a small, one-centimeter-square milk caramel out of my pocket and hand it to the fairy.


It accepts the sweet, but doesn’t react very much. It instead gives me a vacant stare. Fairies don’t really show much emotion on their faces (Though they appear to always be smiling, that just happens to be a quirk of their natural facial structure).

“… I’m really sorry.”

It does weigh on my mind, but I’m going to prioritize work. I pat the fairy’s head with a finger, then hurry on down the road.

I walk a short distance before turning around to where the fairy had been. It’s long gone.

“We’ll meet later. Later, I say.”

I don’t feel too guilty about my decision.

“I’m tired.”

A few days have passed. I’m swamped with jobs such as rushing messages around and other sundries. It is seven in the evening by the time I’m able to call it a day. The view through the office window is already shrouded in dusk.

“My, when did it get so dark outside… I didn’t even notice…”

I’d been running around delivering things, and at the office, I’d been buried in documents. There was no time for a break, and I’d been so immersed in the work that before I knew it, it was late evening.

Come to think of it, these past few days have all been pretty much the same. Tasks just pile up no matter how much I get done, and with each passing day, I end up working an hour more overtime. But this is the first time I’ve worked all the way till dark without so much as a single tea break.

I’d have to skip straight to dinner if I go home now. I’m at a loss.

“… No, I’d better brew some right away. It’s only proper.”

I feel like I’d be losing if I went home like this. Let’s have a cup before leaving.

“Grandfather… Isn’t here, hmm?”

He seems to be quite busy, seeing as he doesn’t show up much at the office during the day. He’s probably going straight home today.

No doubt, my mind is bogged down by an acute sugar deficiency.

“A dollop of jam should do the trick…”

Strawberry jam. One of God’s own foodstuffs. I love strawberries. They can garnish sweets, you can turn them into jams and sauces, and they’re even lovely eaten plain! Strawberries are a forbidden fruit, able to be used in any which way.


Here, I finally hear the sound of a turning page. The Assistant is at his desk, immersed in a book. I wonder how long he’s been reading that torturous technical treatise for. I can’t remember a single day I didn’t find him reading when I came into the office.

Which reminds me, I haven’t even had a proper conversation with him yet.

You know how when you try talking to someone you don’t know personally, and you get so nervous that it feels like all the screws in your head are just coming undone? It’s like your heart’s turbine is stuck at full power, you know, and you feel like you just can’t control yourself. The more you talk, the more you slip up, until you come to the realization that that turbine is in fact the engine powering that social self-destruction device known as your own mouth…

“Hey, would you like some tea?”

The assistant’s the only one I don’t find myself getting nervous around, somehow. I’m grateful for that.


He turns towards me, his eyes slightly cloudy.

Ah, he’s tired.

Now I understand. Although he would never express it, the fatigue has definitely been accumulating within him. It is as if a heavy rain cloud is forming over his eyelids.

“I-I think… You need a break!”

He should have been taking breaks whenever he got tired, but it seems like he has just continued doing whatever he was told without a word. He staggers to the tea table and plops himself down on a chair.

“Tea is just lovely with a spoonful of jam! And if that isn’t to your taste, here’s a jar of cream as well.”


The Assistant hesitates for a moment, scoops a spoonful from both jars and drops each of the walnut-sized lumps into his cup without hesitation.

“Is it good?”


He takes a sip from the likely richly flavored cup and lets out a satisfied sigh.

“We only have this morning’s scones to go with the tea.”

Along with Grandfather’s share, there are six scones in all. We can split them three each. I know it may be a little too much to have just before dinner, but exhaustion and hunger have synergized a little too well. we demolish the tea and scones in an instant.

“I don’t really feel any more refreshed than before, though…”


I suppose he means to say he’s exhausted.

“Let’s go home. But before that…”

I reach for the hand bell so I can say goodbye to the fairies.

“Oh my.”

The fairy in charge of the hand bell isn’t here. The ones that were stuck(?) to various parts of the room have also disappeared.

“Did they all leave?”

The assistant shakes his head; he doesn’t know.

“I wonder what happened…”

Knowing how fickle they are, I’m sure they’ll just pop out of nowhere later. As many as one could wish for.

If only I knew…

I’ve finally gained a grasp on how to mediate between humans unfamiliar to me after a few days of this.

“Running an organization is pretty hard, huh…”

I’m keenly aware of it now.

All that’s left is to stay sharp and make sure everything goes according to the script. If you asked me, this show’s only just getting started, but my role is pretty much over. The only thing that still bothers me now is the disappearance of the fairies.


The Assistant tugs on my sleeve. I turn around and find him wearing his hat, all ready to go.

“You want to go looking for them?”

His chestnut bangs sway as he gives me a quick nod.

I feel like his emotional education is paying off.

“It is your main job, I suppose. Understood. Let’s go searching the plains nearby.”

As soon as I say this, the Assistant equips a butterfly net and insect cage.

“You’re planning to treat your friends like butterflies?”

He tilts his head as if to say, “Is there a problem with that?”

Fairies aren’t guaranteed to be found in the same place every time. They can appear anywhere. They only show up where people are scarce, or in places that look fun. So logically, we must search for them with a carefree and happy-go-lucky mindset; we can’t be meticulous about it.

“Did you find any?”

The Assistant gestures in the negative.

They’re usually so quick to appear…

A fairy had come to me for advice a few days ago. I’d turned it down because I was so busy at the time, but perhaps the fairy had wanted to discuss something very important.

“I might’ve screwed up… But I’d been so busy… And how could I have known if it was important or not… But then again…”

I sink into indecision (I’m an expert at this).

The Assistant has been rendered ineffective by his thirst for critters of the grass-hopping variety.

“Hmm, what shall I do…”

The rarely heard sound of construction has reached even this place, far from the village as it is. I can hear metal clanking, trucks growling, and even the dreadful buzz of chainsaws. And sometimes, I hear a hint of laughter. As if from a party.

Crowds of strangers have gathered here to work on something huge. The prospect appears to have gotten everyone extremely excited. A part of the power supply has already been laid, and now, the work can continue even at night through the liberal use of electric lighting. It’s like a completely different world.

“Miss Huuumaaaannn!”

“Ah! Fairies!”

A large group of fairies has appeared at my feet.

“My, what in the world has happened? And, um… What’s with the luggage?”

Each fairy has a large cloth bundle on its back. It’s easy to think they’re all just going on a trip, but this doesn’t seem to be a peaceful departure, no matter how you slice it. They give off an impression as if they’re running away from home, as if they’re stealing away in the night.

“Sad tidings,” declares the lead fairy with a face that doesn’t look sad in the slightest.


“We’re here to resign.”

“To resign? You mean you’re saying farewell?”


The Assistant looks sad too.

“Time for goodbyes?”

“Goodbye? Why?”

“… They’re coming.”

“Who’s they?”

“Them emmy waves.”

Emmy waves.

“When you say emmy waves, do you mean electromagnetic waves?”

“Yes, the emmy waves.”

The fairy shudders.

“If… If they… If they come…”

“You don’t like electromagnetic waves?”

“No life near them?”

The shadow of death flickers across the fairy’s face.

“Wait, just what do you mean? Is being doused with electromagnetic waves bad?”

“I s’pose so.” “They’re coming.” “Things like light are okay, though.” “Emmy fields are bad places to be in.” “No way, no how.” “They mix us up somethin’ awful, I tell ya.” “And they make us go bonkers.” “We lose the will to live.” “They bring sadness.” “Very troublesome.” “And so,” “We gotta leave?”

If they’re exposed to electromagnetic waves, they die. Is that why the fairies are escaping?

“Does that mean…”

I don’t know much, but I do remember one thing.

“It’s this, isn’t it!?”

I hold my left thumb, index and ring finger perpendicular to each other. Each finger extends into one axis. I believe this is called Fleming’s left-hand rule. If memory serves, it indicates the directions of the force and magnetic fields when electricity flows through a wire. It is said Fleming was a powerful Esper who could shoot magnetic fields from his left hand.

“Ah, that’s…”

The fairy stretches its hands towards me in apparent happiness upon seeing the shape my left hand is making.

“Rap music?”

“That’s not it.”

If you point the left-hand rule at the ground, you’ll be able to reenact a pose from the ancient musical style known as rap.

“Yo, Yo?”


“Yo, Yo, Yo, Sup?”

“… Uh, I’m not sure I…”

“It’s Rap. Namsayin’?”

“But why, all of a sudden…”

The fairies look like they’re about to start dancing any second now, but they snap back to their senses and straighten up.

“…We shall depart.”

“Are you really leaving?”


“But where would you be going?”


Of course you don’t know…

“But you’ll be back once the electromagnetic waves are gone, won’t you?”

“I don’t know…” “We can manage either way…” “Maybe we’ll forget” “We sort of exist in the gaps between reality and unreality” “Naught but a fantasy!”

They’re being awfully casual about it, but I’m getting worried now.

“Hey… How bad is this going to be?”

“Well, shucks…” “Y’see…” “If the city’s lit again…” “If it stays a’twinkling…” “We won’t ever be able to show up.”

“So this is about our city ruin expedition, then.”

Our investigation demands the restoration of the city’s power supply. Copious amounts of electricity shall flow through the city once more. And with the city’s flame lit, the countless electrical appliances hibernating within shall awaken as well.

Electromagnetic waves will flood the city’s vicinity and will prevent any fairies from coming near.

Depending on the initial results, we might end up keeping the power going for years to come. The Human Monument project isn’t on a deadline, after all.

And the fairies, fickle as they are, probably won’t return even if those ruins were restored to their former glory.

“My goodness, if only we’d discussed this sooner…”

“We did try, but it didn’t work.”

Of course, it didn’t.

I’d prioritized the work I was given above all else… This is all on me. I shouldn’t have forgotten my job as a mediator no matter how busy I had been.

“Could you wait for a little while? I could find a place for all of you to evacuate to.”

“A delightful disaster drill?”

“Disaster drills aren’t supposed to be enjoyed… Or rather, this won’t be a drill, you’d be evacuating for real.”


The fairies look at each other. But alas…

“But, they’re already here.”

That’s right, the reserve power…

Power distribution has already been set up for the sake of the investigation, and to help the festival preparations along.

“This is as far as we go” “Gotta leave now.” “The zappy-zap nears.” “The magnetism does too.” “I’m afraid.” “It’ll be bad if they’re really here.”

“When the investigation is over…”

I can’t say it.

Either way, anything further is just wishful thinking.


The Assistant’s worried eyes vacillate between me and the fairies. As usual for him, he doesn’t seem to have anything to say.

“Thanks for all the sweets.”

The leader fairy raises its hand, the exact same way fairies always do when asking stupid questions.

“Some advice?”

“After we’re gone…” “Injuries…” “Disease…” “Accidents…” “Suicide…” “And other such things…” “Should be partaken in moderation.”

“… What do you mean?”

“We’re out of time, so,” The fairy holds out a miniature book. “Please use this manual.”

Another fairy walks up to me, holding a pendant that looks to be made of coir.

“A lucky charm for you, if you please.”

“A charm…”

I accept it, but I can’t find any joy in it. What do you mean, a parting gift? This feels like a sad joke.

I can’t stop them. But even though I know this in my mind, my heart is still aflutter. I’m of two minds about it all, and the conflict is a little too much for me to bear.


The fairies let out a scream of collective woe.

“They’re here!” “They are, huh?” “Aww, maaaan” “I feeeeeeellll slllloooooowwww” “These ’lectro magic waves are anything but heart-throbs…” “No wonder, they can even stop pacemakers” “They just switch things off.” “They’ll switch us off too…” “Let’s scram…” “Fly, you fools…”

It feels like the fairies are making their discomfiture known in their own way. The way they speak is ever so slightly off-kilter, in a way that prevents me from just smiling and playing along with them as usual.

“Au revoir!”

The lead fairy springs up like a flea and disappears as if melting into the air.

“Alohaa~” “Ts’tesut’yun”1 “Seeya nara~”

The others disappear into the grass in the same way, leaving behind only their goodbyes. The early summer air feels particularly chilly, once all the fairies leave.


The Assistant is pacing about in a fluster.

I’m just as shaken. It doesn’t show, though, rooted at the spot, statuesque as I am.

But still… Ah, how can this be?

The fairies have left.

It’s probably not just this one group, it’s likely the entire population across the village has left… If one could treat the fairies’ sudden disappearance as a daydream, the reality of my responsibility in this lapse setting in can only be described as a nightmare.

“…I don’t know how I’m going to report this.”

Considering how anticipated the fair is, I don’t think they’re going to cut the power even if I were to submit a report now.

The only things left of this dream are the miniature book and the charm.

“…?” The Assistant’s cloudy eyes ask me a question.

“Huh? What this book is? Let’s have a look. Perhaps it has a recipe for how to create a new fairy.”

“Not a chance,” the Assistant waves his hand. I mean, I think even I am allowed to say something dumb like this given half my soul just left my body.

The Fairy manual is tiny, making it hard to read. I use the magnifier built into the compass I always carry around to painstakingly parse the tiny letters.

It goes something like this.

【 How to use this book 】

Please select one of the people closest to the fairies in your area. If you average out the number of fairies that visit said person each day, you will be able to estimate the Fairy Density (The fairy version of population density) of the area.

The unit of fairy density is f (for Fairy).

For example, a fairy density of 1f would indicate that one may meet around one fairy per day.

As the number of fairies increases, rigor tends to be compromised and measurements become meaningless. Therefore, this number is capped at 15f, and anything above that is indicated by a capital F, which represents overcrowding.


“I see, so because it’s hard to just count the number of fairies in an area, this book suggests using people close to them as a way to count them instead.”

The question is, what does fairy density signify?

The book goes into quite a lot of detail for various density values, but let me summarize for you.



Fairies everywhere. Just drowning in fairies. Fairies, enough to be sick of them.

Danger abounds, but conversely, it is extremely safe.

You’re in for a bad time.

But you won’t die, so don’t worry.

Situational examples (For reference)

『 You fall from the twentieth floor of a high-rise building 』→ Your odds of survival are extremely high. For example:

  • A hero catches you in midair.

  • Some manner of flying creature rescues you.

To maximize your chances of survival, make sure to tame something like a Pegasus in the early game first.

『 You are shot at point-blank range 』→ The bullet will be stopped by your treasured pendant.

『 You are attacked by a man-eating monster 』→ An object such as a large boulder shall fall on the monster’s head. Your survival is guaranteed.

『 You face your rival in your final battle 』→ You will likely awaken to your hidden power. You win. If your rival is family, they shall perish. There’ll be no way to save them, so you may as well give up.

I’m not going to bother getting into any of the more frivolous examples.

“… How come you won’t die?”

I flip through the manual, but no explanation is forthcoming.

From this description alone, it is clear that the probability of there being trouble is maximized when the fairy density has saturated.

But this bit about “never dying” makes no sense.

Perhaps there’s some kind of causality-violating effect that occurs.



Even with a comparatively smaller number of fairies present, the situation is likely to be just as chaotically safe as the preceding 【~F】 section.

The odds of trouble occurring are rather low, owing to the reduced fairy presence.

However, absolute safety is not guaranteed. Be aware that an injury of a second could very well last for the rest of your life.

Situational examples

『 You fall from the twentieth floor of a high-rise building 』→ Survival is possible for the most part, but if you don’t bother to prepare in advance through actions such as saving a Pegasus from a bear trap or other such things, you may find yourself meeting a tragic or mythical death by way of the virtual manifestation of some god “feeling sorry for you falling and dying so pitifully.”

『 You are shot at point-blank range 』→ Someone who cares for you may die shielding you.

『 You get into trouble over a relative’s inheritance (with, perhaps, a hint of murder mixed in) 』→ It’s important not to get too attached to the inheritance. Consider appealing to the detective in charge of the investigation about your virtuosity by stating that you “don’t even want the money”; you will likely benefit from this similarly to the folkloric trope of the youngest child of the family2.

『 Man-eating monster attack 』→ After being eaten, there is a possibility that you may encounter an old man who’s been stuck in the belly of the monster for over ten years, and embark on a brand-new adventure.

“… Material like this is hard to read at such a sad time.”


The Assistant gives me a consoling look with his moist eyes.



You’re in a pretty realistic situation.

If you run into danger, you can get hurt, and depending on the situation, you might lose your life.

However, as long as the fairy density is above 5f, your chances of survival are guaranteed to be greatly increased. You should be able to overcome any hurdle as long as you keep your cool at all times.

Situational examples

“Falling from the twentieth floor of a high-rise building” → This is a difficult situation. In order to escape this crisis, please quickly fire a grappling hook or other similar tool on your own. If you are able to do this, you are guaranteed to have secured mooring of godly strength. Another rather unforgiving method available is the drastic measure of awakening the power hidden within you mid-fall. If you are a little girl in possession of a ring or pendant of the more significant sort, this method is recommended.

“You are chased around by a mysterious interloper” → You’re going to be running for your life for a while. You should likely be able to fight them off in the end with some quick thinking. In some cases, you may find that your opponent has a chainsaw or razor-tipped gloves, but please do your best to survive. The situation may not be as hopeless as it may appear to you. However, the chances of your death will skyrocket if you are a young delinquent. Please be careful of your behavior.

“A final battle against your rival” → The match might end in a draw. While such an ending may have a beauty of its own, it is recommended that you exercise caution if you value your life.

“I think I’m beginning to get the gist now…”

I don’t know exactly what era this manual is from, but it is most definitely of human origin. The fairies must have discovered it and miniaturized it. Into an instruction manual for themselves.

Do you see how ridiculous an existence the fairies are?

The manual proceeds to explain in detail the differences in effect for each value from 5f and below.

I skip over most of it and scan 1f’s explanation.



A situation with naught but one fairy present.

You may think, “This is no different from base reality!”

And you would be partially correct in your assumption. The fact is, the shadow of death flits by quite plainly in this situation. You can die normally. The world of 1f and below is extremely realistic. This is no time to be dreaming of being rendered in elegant prose like in the legends.

It is important to not lose hope even with just a single fairy around. At the least, please aim for a more comedic angle instead of a tragic one. Your body is likely to be taxed, but you must forge on regardless. Haphazard changes of course are inadvisable. Stay true to your initial convictions. For example, if you were to come into possession of a rusty sword, do not discard it on a whim. You may be able to cause events to converge in a more comedic fashion through the effect of foreshadowing by undergoing hardships through some manner of “childish disaster”. I shall spare you the examples.



This is a cold, harsh reality. It is the world we inhabit.

What must happen, will.

Beware accidents and illness. Endeavor to live out your natural lifespan.

Situational examples

『You fall from the twentieth floor of a highrise』→ You’ll go splat.

『You are shot at point-blank』→ You will die.

『A man-eating monster attacks』→ You will become lunch.

『A final confrontation with your rival』→ You will lose.

I close the book.

“What to say…”

I think I understand now why the world has taken on such a mystifying aspect as of late (albeit limited only to my own surroundings).

No matter how irrational a mechanism may now rule the world, we humans haven’t the right to stop applying our minds as they are wont to do.

A distant tremor in the air reaches my ears.

The Assistant points to where someone seems to have set off a firework. The cheery sound of detonating fireworks continues to shake the blue sky.


“That’s the festival opening ceremony’s firework display! Of course, the festival proper isn’t starting yet.”

The main event is tomorrow. The expedition and the festival of electricity are scheduled to be held simultaneously.

This is an event everyone in the village has been eagerly waiting for. This ceremony marks the beginning of a once-in-a-lifetime chance for the villagers to peruse the afterimages of the past, once known as “civilization”.

Even I’m looking forward to it, somehow. This was a huge, huge endeavor that I’d slogged like a workhorse to put together.

“… Hmm?”

But, it feels like my happiness may have also fled into the grass along with the fairies.

“I’m terribly sorry to have kept you waiting, ladies and gentlemen. Please, help yourselves to a nearby drink. All good? Now then, I hereby declare the exciting, electrifying ‘Summer Festival of Electricity’ open for all to enjoy!"

As soon as the Chief finishes his announcement, the square erupts into a wild, joyful cheer.

It is finally time for the electric festival to begin.

Still, I wonder how many people there are.

I’d feared that only the elderly would come to the festival, but now that it’s been flagged off, that fear turns out to be unfounded. It’s an agglomeration, of crowds, upon crowds, upon crowds. Of course, it isn’t only the denizens of Camphorwood attending. People have come here from many other places.

Stalls for cigarettes, alcohol, food and various other things are set up all over, doing all they can to quell the demand of the surging crowd. And as if the crowds of customers weren’t enough, people have gathered bucket-brigade style to effectively transport goods to and from the stalls as well. The plaza has now become a veritable maelstrom of people weaving about.

“Excuse me, please let me through… Make… way- WahaAAAhhhhhhh!?”

I’ve barely even made contact with the outer edge of the whirlpool, but even that is enough for the unrelenting, turbid waves of humanity to pull me in, leaving me stuck in the middle of it all.

“I-I can’t get out?!”

The center of the plaza is overcrowded to the point where there is little room to even stand.

I mean, I’m not even supposed to be here! I’m a part of the expeditionary force, and I just happened to stop by on the way back home!

But before I know it, I find myself holding a drink and a hot dog.

“No-I’m-I’d like to be let out, please…”

But alas, my desperate assertion fizzles away fruitlessly when it encounters the wild enthusiasm of the plaza’s goings-on, which seem poised to recreate the turbulence of eras long past.

“They say humanity once prospered in the sky, the earth, and the oceans, even. What supported such an advanced urban civilization… was the awesome power of electricity. Up until now, we have had access to only the barest of dregs of humanity’s technology. But we shall wait no longer. The power of electricity shall make a comeback. We of the village of Camphorwood are the first to be granted this glorious blessing by UNESCO. We pray that the golden age of us primates shall shine ever brighter-”

The crowd responds once again with an overwhelming cheer and a barrage of claps.


I plug my ears, quite overwhelmed.

“Now then, let there be light. Over to you, gentlemen.”

An engineer proceeds to operate a machine on stage. With the microwave antenna array up and running, the lights and appliances set up in the plaza come alive all at once. Monitors light up, washing machines spin up, cookware trembles, cleaning tools jump about, and electronic toys begin to whir…

“D-does anybody else find this a tad creepy?”

To think the movements of these mechanisms, which have all but lost their purpose, would appear so divested from reality… The display has transgressed into looking like some kind of avant-garde art installation. The people in the crowd don’t seem to care too much, though. As the drinks flow down their throats, so are their cheers amplified.

“Th-this is just a normal party at this point, isn’t it?!”

And it’ll last for days on end, too. Just the thought of it is tiring me out.

“I need to escape.”

By the time I slip through the gaps in the stampede and escape to the edge of the vortex, I’ve exhausted my stamina.

“…I’m exhausted.”

But if I were to fall flat here, I might perish under the crowd’s feet. It’s far too soon for me to be returning to the earth, how sorrowful. As I waffle about in place, one of the herd shoves me down from behind as they pass by me.


Just as I am on the verge of death, the Assistant pulls me to my feet.


He is obedient, well-behaved, and has the singular talent of not putting pressure on anyone he is confronted with, truly a wonderful individual. He’s found me at just the right time.

“Good job, Assistant… I want to give you an award.”


The two of us leave the plaza and walk the other way. I feel a lot better now that I’m away from the crowd.

The village’s main street is also lined with stalls, and though it isn’t as crowded as the plaza, there are a lot of people coming and going. But what weighs on me more than anything is the smell of warm food wafting through the air.

“Assistant, all of this food is free. You better help yourself, okay?”

A sprig of basil clings to his lips as he nods.

My first stop is at a nearby stall, which is serving chocolate mousse sandwiched between two thin waffle slices.


It feels like I’ll find plenty of sweets I’ve never seen before here. And they’ll only be around for a limited time. I feel the urge to take a break from the expedition and just walk around the stalls. Well, it’s not like I’m seriously considering it, but as I look around the street… I spy a girl.

She looks to be somewhere between twelve and fifteen years old. She’s dressed in a weird outfit.

By “weird outfit,” I mainly mean she’s got cat ears.

This girl’s just a measly human, but she’s got cat ears. This alone, I can’t stand to ignore for some reason.

The rest of her… Is quite sooty, or perhaps I should say dirty. But she doesn’t seem to have a weary look to her. Indeed, she is mechanically scanning her surroundings in a way that moves only her neck, with wide-open almond-shaped cat eyes, and her mouth held tight.

She has her back to a wall and is rotating her head left and right, covering a full 180 degrees in front. Her gaze focuses on every person who passes through the street. It’s as if she’s a human radar.

Nothing is more relieving than seeing somebody acting even more suspiciously than you are, wouldn’t you say? No? You’ve never felt that way? Never mind, then.

As I continue to stare at her, my mood elevated, she suddenly traces my gaze back to me.3

“Aw, I’ve done it now…”

Her eyes have locked on. She’s staring right back at me. She’s practically glaring. By the time I look away, it’s already too late; I can see the girl making her way over to me. I-is she picking a fight?

“You were analyzing me just now. Please explain to me why you were doing so.”

Analyzing? What do you mean, analyzing? I was just looking! This is the first time I’ve ever been accused of such a thing! I explain myself in a fluster.

“Umm… I’m a native of this village, you see, and you didn’t look like anybody I know…”

“You are a member of the local staff? My apologies. I am… Pi-pi-pion…”


“It’s Pion… probably.”


“I’m American.”

“Huh? America?”

I can’t keep up with this conversation.

“So you’re from the American continent?”

“I don’t know.”

The girl holds herself up with dignity, and says, “But it is a fact that I’m an American. That is what is recorded in my database… or, uh… Something like that. That much is certain.”

Ah, I suppose people do get like that sometimes. Where they’re absolutely certain of something, somehow.

“But, it’s exactly at times like this that one gets their facts horribly wrong.”

“Is that so? Am I perhaps a stray?”

“D-don’t ask me…”

She’s even weirder than I expected. I want to run away as soon as possible.

“I was supposed to be smarter than this, but… for some reason, my head is not working correctly…”

“Aren’t you here to see the sights at the festival?”

“Ah, me being here at the same time as the festival is but a coincidence; I came to this land for a different purpose.”

“I am the mediator of this village. If you don’t mind, perhaps I could hear you out?”

“It may be presumptuous of me to ask, but what manner of position is a mediator?”

You see, we act as a figurative bridge between human and fairy-kind.


“I’m an employee of the United Nations, the UN. Doesn’t Uncle Sam have quite a long history with us? A mediator is just a humble UN-affiliated worker, basically.”

A loud “DING!” sounds from the girl’s head.

“Huh? What was that just now?”

“The UN?! Records of that organization do remain in my database!”

“Hm? Did something happen to your memories?”

“Yes. The truth is, I am currently suffering from substantial data loss.”

I exchange glances with the Assistant.

“Do you perhaps mean to say that you have amnesia?”

“If that is how you would like to put it.”

“… Now this, this is quite the doozy.”

I suppose her memory loss would explain this absurd conversation we’ve been having.

“Fortunately, I have a self-repair function, so I am confident that this issue will be resolved in due time.”

“You mean healing power, right?”

“If that is how you would like to put it.”

This strange girl seems to be human only on the surface.

“So you don’t even know why you’re here?”

“No, I have not lost sight of my goal. I am searching for my friend.”

“And who might your friend be?”

She lowers her eyes uneasily. Her cat ears flatten in sync.

“They-they just m-moved…” I groan.


“Ah, well, I suppose people can choose to be however they wish…”

You’re free to put on your cat ears and move them with piano wire mechanisms and stuff… You’re free, free, free to do annnything you want!

She tilts her head in confusion at my internal conflict but proceeds to talk nonetheless.

“Usually, as long as we are in space, we should not have any problems establishing a data link and sharing information, but as of now, their signal is cut off. I do not know the cause, but communications have been interrupted. And thus, I have stationed myself here in hopes of monitoring the situation, and making direct contact.”

“Right, right, I understand now… So, what’s this friend of yours called?”

“That person is … O-O-Oyaji…”4


“It’s Oyaji, probably.”


Silence falls.

“I-I see. Well, that’s fine. You’re well within your rights. It’s a free country, after all.”

Long live this sovereign state of ours.

“So, Your Excellency, do you have any useful information regarding this matter?”

This is the first time I’ve been called “Your Excellency”. (It’s rather fun)

“…No, unfortunately.”

“I see… That is too bad. I shall continue my investigation in parallel with my self-diagnosis. Please report any future developments to me.”

“I sure will.”

Amnesia is a very difficult thing to deal with, huh.

“Excuse me.”

She clicks her heels together, salutes, and flips back to her original position.

The Assistant immediately pulls on my sleeve.


There is a cat-eared illustration in his sketchbook.

“…No, I know that. But we can’t meddle… It’s scary…”

It seems the Assistant is curious, too.

“Let’s pretend we don’t see them. I’m sure things like this happen all the time at festivals.”

“What have you gone and done now?”


Grandfather is standing behind us, dressed as usual in his white lab coat.

“It’s time for us to leave, and yet you didn’t even come back, so I come looking for you… And what do I see but you and the Assistant playing hooky.”

“I was on my way back…”

“The cars are waiting, so hurry. We don’t have much time left.”

“Yes… Um, by the way, Grandfather.”


“Do you know what an Oyaji is?”

“It’s an old Japanese word that means father. What about it?”


I’m not sure I’m connecting the dots here.

“One more question. What do you think of Pion as a girl’s name?”

“It makes me cringe.”

“Yeah, I suppose it would.”

“Alright, now what’s with all the questions?”

“Oh, nothing worth worrying about… I’ll go change.”

“Don’t forget your luggage. You too, Assistant. I’ll head on over to the rendezvous point, so you’d better not go wandering on your way there.”

Grandfather seems strangely flustered. Meanwhile, the Assistant just silently salutes him.

  1. Armenian for goodbye. ↩︎

  2. This refers to the classic folklore trope of the youngest child beating the odds and prevailing over his/her elder siblings. JP wiki article for your reference↩︎

  3. The original word used literally means phone trace. ↩︎

  4. Japanese for “old man”, a rather casual way to address one’s father. ↩︎

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