oneill: Scrapped Princess - Pacifica, Shannon, and Raquel Casull stand together as the sun sinks into the sea behind them (free or thus forever bound)
[personal profile] oneill posting in [community profile] sutepri
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Scrapped Princess | Canzonetta of the Unforgiven | The Weak | Part 2/3

Officially, there are only two ways to enter the city of Taurus. The highway runs through the middle of town, as though piercing it through from east to west . . . one can either enter by the road's west side, or one can enter by its east side.

Honest travelers have to choose one of these two routes.

However, the simple walls that surround the town (walls which were constructed primarily to ward off animals) are of course filled with cracks and gaps, whether to allow passage or as a result of neglectful maintenance, and one can come and go by these as well.

For that reason, the Black Hawks who had barred the way to the town had stationed personnel not only along the road but also at each and every point along the wall that appeared to make entrance and egress possible.

Their duty was to detain anyone who attempted either to leave or to enter the town, and to suppress such people until their five-day operation had reached its end.

It was old news that stories relating to the Oracle of St. Grendel of sixteen years ago had spread as an open secret. Such things would likely have no ill effect on the running of the kingdom.

However, it was quite another matter if those stories touched upon the survival of the key figure in this: the Scrapped Princess, who was meant to have been eliminated.

Those involved had already been disposed of, but a thorough investigation of those erasures could well lead to a schism between the royal family and the upper echelons of the Church of Mauser.

The existence of the Scrapped Princess would revive the enormous scandal once more, and stir up political unrest. Because the prophecy concerned the entire world, they could likely expect interference from foreign diplomats as well.

To prevent such difficulties, it was necessary to eliminate any witnesses before news of her could spread.

Accordingly, Teams One and Two had infiltrated the town to gather intelligence, both to investigate just how far news of the Scrapped Princess had spread and, if possible, to disseminate rumors that would isolate Pacifica and her two guardians from the townspeople.

Teams Three through Seven were charged with blockading the town itself, and--should the worst happen--they would work in conjunction with Teams One and Two to eliminate witnesses by wiping the entire town off the map.

That was the mission the Black Hawks had been given.

". . . Hey."

At the sound of that voice, which was very nearly a murmur, the five soldiers of Team Six looked up. It seemed their team leader had spotted something. Wordlessly, they followed their leader's gaze. A figure had emerged from within a grove that stood at a distance from the highway, and that figure was now walking directly toward them.

It was a man whose features were somehow devoid of individuality. If one were to strain for a distinguishing characteristic, it would be his short-cropped hair and his strangely massive physique.

The soldiers exchanged a glance. They knew this man from the briefing materials they had been given. He was . . .

"A Purger?"

There was a tinge of doubt in the soldier's voice. It had been confirmed that four of them had departed the town after being defeated by Shannon and Raquel. Why, then, had only one returned?

For one thing, the Purgers always moved in groups of four.

Besides . . . thought the soldiers. Did the briefs say the Purgers were as big as that? Obviously, numerical errors were a matter of course, but surely there would have been special note made of so monstrous a physique.

The team leader raised his thumb, then pointed it downward.

The signal for "deal with it according to standing operating procedures."

Dealings with the Church were a sensitive matter, but even so, he could not allow anything to throw a military operation into disarray.

The soldiers ran soundlessly to surround the Purger.

The Purgers were certainly masters of hand-to-hand combat, but that went for the Black Hawk soldiers as well. All the moreso if it was five-on-one. They would restrain him before he even had the chance to speak--

"--?!"

The soldiers knit their brows.

Instinct sent a warning chill up their spines.

. . . He was laughing.

The Purger was laughing . . . the Purger who had supposedly cast off all semblance of humanity for the sake of his Creed. His beaming face was suffused by a wild joy.

That . . . that beaming face twisted limply.

"--!"

The soldiers reacted automatically. Some jumped back, others took weapons in hand. Either way, these nimble reactions were born of relentless training . . . but judging solely from the outcome, the former group had been correct.

The Purger's face split apart.

Not only his face. Places all over his body split apart, and arms grew out of them, ripping through his clothes. No, it happened so rapidly, it would be more apt to say that they burst forth.

There were eight arms in all.

His face and back, his knees . . . the arms grew from impossible places. What was more, they possessed myriad joints and far surpassed human arms in length.

Those bizarre arms that resembled arthropod legs . . . no, that were more like tentacles . . . they nimbly seized the two soldiers who had drawn their weapons.

"--!"

They could not possibly have expected such an attack. Those soldiers froze in place, their weapons still in hand.

The word spider passed through the soldiers' minds, but they quickly dismissed the thought. Spiders were downright lovely compared to this.

As living creatures, spiders' bodies possess proper proportions, but this thing had nothing of the sort. If a small child were to tear apart a clay doll, then knead and stretch the resulting pieces, it might end up looking like this. Its was a shape of mad absurdity.

A buldge swelled up from the creature's chest with a pop.

It tore its way out through the creature's clothes, revealing itself to be a human face.

It was laughing. Laughing brightly.

"Ohh, ohhhh . . . here in the heart of bliss have we attained the enlightenment of all things . . . We are become All-in-One and One-in-All1; there can be no treachery, no betrayal, for we are truly become one . . ." The creature sang these joyful words in a ringing voice. "Ohh, this is rapture, this is a miracle . . . and we shall bestow this beatitude on you as well!"

"Sto--"

The soldier had probably meant to scream, "Stop!" But one of the Purger's arms sank into his face. Another arm stabbed into the body of his fellow captive.

For a moment, none of the soldiers--even the captured ones themselves--had any idea what was happening.

"Ah . . . AHHH?!"

They were melting into one another. Their flesh was dissolving like wax from a melting candle, blending together, losing all that made them separate entities.

The soldiers' bodies convulsed. The contours of their bodies broke down and in the next moment, split apart in countless places.

And those rents . . . In the blink of an eye, they grew teeth, tongues, and lips, became innumerable mouths of varying sizes, and began to laugh.

"Ahh . . . ah, ahhhh--!"

Even those hands that reached madly, desperately for their comrades distorted and went limp, taking on an entirely different form. Dozens on fingerlike appendages grew shudderingly from wrists and elbows, squirming upward as though to snatch at the empty sky.

". . . This thing--?!"

The soldiers understood instantly. This creature could freely alter its form by fusing with its prey.

"S--spread out!"

As though they had been released, the remaining soldiers leaped back with all their might. However . . . in the next moment, ten arms exploded from the monster and seized them.

"--!"

A feeler exactly like that of a mollusc wound sinuously through the air; its tip retained the form of a human palm.

Its fingertips pierced wetly through the soldiers' eyes and fused into their bodies.

With a burbling sound, a human face rose up from the palm.

"Now . . shall we become one . . . No more fear . . . or pain . . . only beatitude . . ."

A small human face, wearing an incongruously bright smile. Those sturdy soldiers, who should have overcome their fear of death long ago, screamed in unison.



The scene laid out before her was a familiar one.

When the group of four assassins had attacked them, Shannon and his sisters had swiftly packed their luggage, the same as they were doing now. With the ease of long practice, Winia committed the sadness she felt to memory.

"Kind of gives me déjà vu." Pacifica placed a bag stuffed with traveling clothes on the coach's roof rack, then laughed. Looking back at Winia, she spoke as though none of this were any of her concern. "Just kidding. So I know I said the same thing before, but . . . I'm sorry, Winia."

Winia silently shook her head.

If she tried to say something, she was sure she would break down in tears. Because she was painfully aware of Pacifica's own efforts to keep her composure.

"We'll come to pay you back for sure. It might take a little while, though, so I was thinking it'd be nice if you kept the interest as low as possible . . . you know."

"Quit talking like you've got no damn shame," Shannon called over as he inspected the coach itself.

"What's your problem? You're the one who wrecked the wall in the first place, Shannon-nii! As the kind-hearted little sister, I'm just trying to make amends for my big brother's failings!"

"Yeah, yeah. I'm ever grateful."

". . . Shannon, Raquel, Pacifica," called a low voice. Safir, of the Wild Horse, came around the corner toward the Big Bear's back entrance. The elderly innkeeper saw Shannon and his sisters packing up and let out a sigh, saying, "I came over, thinking it might have come to this, but . . . you really are leaving, aren't you?"

His voice held no trace of fear. Winia felt just a bit better for it.

"Thank you for everything, Colt-san," Raquel said, offering a bow in place of her brother and sister, who were hustling to and fro.

"Such a pity."

"Yes, it is."

"That lot in the volunteer watch were probably gonna run you all out of town tomorrow . . . Got no idea where those ridiculous rumors came from, but to think something like that could happen again . . . Well, anyway, I think you're making the right choice, leaving on your own before they come to chase you out."

There would be nothing pleasant nor comforting about being driven out. If it had to be this way, it was better for everyone involved to end things without having to come face-to-face.

". . . It's discrimination, is what it is. If it won't be in the way, I'd like you to take this with you."

Safir held out a cloth bundle he had been carrying under his arm.

Raquel accepted the bundle and opened it up. Inside was a rather worn musical instrument. It was the lute Shannon had used at the Wild Horse.

Perhaps as a result of long use, one could see small scratches here and there, but those lent it a certain character. It seemed to be of quite high quality. Certainly, this was not a shoddy piece of poor craftsmanship.

"Iris has been going on about wanting a new one, anyway. Sorry it's second-hand."

"But, I mean, we . . ." Shannon said, sounding disconcerted.

In all likelihood, he had probably believed that he would never so much as touch another instrument again. At the very least, that had been his intention when they set out from their hometown. They had cast aside all nonessentials. They made no allowances. That is what it means to fight.

"I got no idea what you all are fighting. I got no idea, but . . . Anyway, you can't go throwing away your past. Your hopes and dreams, your memories . . . it's easy enough to be free if you throw them all away. But you know, humans just weren't made to live by the sword alone. Even if you could, it'd be a damned twisted way of life."

"Safir-san . . ."

Somehow, the innkeeper's words held a terribly solemn conviction.

"So don't throw 'em away. Don't turn your back on the everyday world. It's fine to take a breather now and then, and it's fine if you end up making the same mistakes. So . . . don't become the kind of person who's got nothing but battle going for him," Safir said, wearing a faint, tired smile. "Consider it advice from someone's who's lived twice as long as any of you. I'll be glad if you remember it."

"Thank you . . . I'll cherish it2."

---

[Next] [Previous]



Notes:
1) I'm pretty sure "個にして全、全にして個" is meant as a reference to Yog-Sothoth (given the nature of the fused Purgers), so I borrowed this phrasing directly from the description in "Through the Gates of the Silver Key." Back

2) I think the original text means to imply both that Shannon will take Safir's words to heart and that he'll be sure to take good care of the lute. I tried to make the translation similarly ambiguous. Back

Date: 2014-10-03 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] badtzhobby
What a pleasant surprise. Thank you. How have you been?
This made my day. Safir's advice, so profound.
The Purger's scene. Ugh!
Have a nice weekend.

Date: 2014-10-03 11:41 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] badtzhobby
Same old same old. I'm still stalking this community :) I do hope that there's more readers reading the translation. This series is so good.
I had meant to nudge you or stalking your journal for news, but I figured you'll post when you have time. See, patience pays off.
2 years? No matter, slowly but surely, right?
This is the last chapter for this book, right? I can't wait until Leo shows up in book 4. He's such a nice/innocent character.
"Lovecraft"
Ready for Halloween, aren't you? Horror isn't my cup of tea. Small doses are ok but not full force!

Chaika: The Coffin Princess

Date: 2014-10-11 02:36 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] badtzhobby
Hi, off topic, have you read "Chaika: The Coffin Princess" by the author? I'm curious since Yen licenses it I may check it out.

Re: Chaika: The Coffin Princess

Date: 2014-10-11 03:24 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] badtzhobby
I didn't even know that there's anime. It's on crunchy roll and only 1 episode so far, I'll check it out and let you know. I'm way behind with anime and reading, too many distractions. Have a nice weekend.

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sutepri: Scrapped Princess - Pacifica Casull beams while the sun rises in the background. Also, Shannon's shoulder. (Default)
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