Toranora special short story: The winter moon is…
Editing: Xenthur, Ulti
The two Crimson Demons warily gazed around the clearing on the outskirts of town before whispering to each other.
“You’re here, Megumin. Did you have any problems? You weren’t seen by the others, were you?”
“Don’t worry, I confirmed that no one was following me before coming here, and I also asked what everyone back at home was planning on doing today. Kazuma said that he didn’t want to be woken up before evening, Aqua was heading out to the river to gather interesting looking pebbles, and even the recently free Darkness has gone out to oversee the engineering crew in filling in the nearby craters that the Explosion Devil created last night.”
It’s really handy to have the Lip Reading skill at such times.
Regardless of the distance, as long as I can see their mouths, I can follow their conversation.
“Make sure you properly apologize to Darkness-san after this, okay?”
“Forget after this, ever since last night, I’ve been lectured by her all the way until this morning. I vehemently denied it and demanded that she show me proof, but it seems like that just made things worse.”
“I don’t know why you would deny it to such a degree, but nevermind. Let’s just hurry up and get it done while nobody’s here.”
Saying that, Yunyun started piling up the bricks in the clearing into what appeared to be a simple stove.
Megumin then placed the pot she carried with her on top of the stove, and brought out something from it.
“This color and fragrance… I can’t believe you managed to get your hands on this…”
Yunyun showed a very intoxicated expression after taking a whiff from the bottle.
“This is a pretty top grade item if I say so myself. Heheh, this will definitely become the best ritual ever!”
Seemingly satisfied, the two nodded at each other before throwing the items they brought with them into the pot and lighting a fire underneath it.
“Hehehehehe… Right, now, all that’s left is the secret technique passed down amongst the Crimson Demons…”
Sneaking up on Megumin as she mumbled about some strange things while stirring the pot, I asked,
“What secret technique?”
The two of them screamed in surprise after hearing my voice and hastily turned around.
“K-K-K-Kazuma, don’t scare me like that! No, wait, that’s not it, what are you doing here!?”
“This is bad, Megumin! Someone else saw the contents of the pot!”
I don’t know what kind of suspicious ritual they were performing, but the two of them flew into a panic after seeing me.
“Damn… Now that you’ve seen it, we have no choice. You should gather your resolve, Yunyun.”
“H-How did this…”
“Hey, hold on a minute, you two aren’t thinking about doing something dangerous, are you!? If it’s some kind of top secret ritual passed down through the Crimson Demons, I can pretend I didn’t see it, so let’s calm down and talk things through!”
Looking at me slowly retreat, the two of them looked at each other and nodded.
“… Right, why don’t you lend us a hand, Kazuma? We’ll give you a portion of the secret Crimson Demon rabbit hot pot if you do.”
“Yeah, it’s a secret, but it can’t be helped if you saw it. Kazuma-san, can you help us stir the pot?”
“Wait, rabbit hot pot? You snuck out here and did all those cloak and dagger stuff just to make a hot pot? Weren’t you doing something like calling down an evil god or something?”
“What are you talking about, Kazuma? We don’t need stuff like evil gods and the like. We’re planning on going moonwatching after this. This is the best day of the year for that.”
“Should you really be doing such things in autumn? It’s freezing.”
“Kazuma-san, the colder it is, the clearer the air will be, and thus the moon will appear to be more beautiful.”
I see. Yeah, I have heard that you can see more stars during winter.
“I’m surprised. To think that the Crimson Demons that are the furthest away from any sense of aesthetics and elegance would have a tradition of moonwatching…”
“Hey, hold on a minute, just what do you think Crimson Demons are, Kazuma?”
“There are artists amongst the Crimson Demons too! And we also do stuff like picnics and hikes, you know!?”
Ignoring the two of them, I started stirring the stuff in the pot.
“Anyway, why rabbit hot pot?”
“We aren’t really sure about that either. It seems like a famous Crimson Demon once said that talking about the moon brings rabbits to mind, or something along those lines.”
Guess it’s the same old story. This world really does have a lot of warped Japanese legends.
— The sun has started to set beyond the horizon, and the beautiful moon is slowly rising to the heavens.
“Well, I think we can start moonwatching now. Are the two of you ready?”
“Yeah. I’ve put in a lot of practice in preparation for this day.”
“It’s really cold, so I would like to hurry up and finish my hot pot and head home… And what do you mean by practice?”
Yunyun seemed to have said something strange while I was distracted by the delicious smell wafting from the hot pot.
“Right, we’re starting. Yunyun, make sure you go along with me.”
Just as Megumin said that, the two Crimson Demons started howling at the moon.
“What are you two doing!? I don’t get it at all! Are you two trying to become one with nature!? Do the Crimson Demons have werewolf blood in them as well?!”
“Moonwatching obviously involves howling. Come on, Kazuma, join us!”
“It might be embarrassing at first, but it’s really fun once you get used to it. It’s just like working together with companions…”
No, this isn’t the moonwatching I wanted to experience!
“Look, Kazuma, isn’t the moon beautiful…”
“Yeah, that’s a very famous line in my country, but with Yunyun howling at my side, I can’t feel a single shred of romance in this situation at all!”
The beautiful moon shone brightly in the sky on this cold winter night.
The Crimson Demon moonwatching ceremony continued until a couple of patrolling policemen came around to admonish them-
<TL note: The phrase “Tsuki ga Kirei desu ne” (“Isn’t the moon beautiful?”) is a famous Japanese way to say “I love you”. The phrase was translated by Meiji-era novelist and teacher Natsume Souseki since he believed that two people in love do not need direct words to convey their feelings>