Seven wonders overtime – Part 2
Not intentionally waiting for Haruhi, who had still not arrived, Koizumi, Asahina-san and I started the completely luck-based game of Old Priest, but we didn’t get much time on that emotional roller-coaster.
No one had drawn the Old Priest yet, and consequently, we were still in the early phases of the game, with multiple cards in each player’s hand. We were competing to see whose luck would finally turn out to be the best, and the relaxed game that was fully dependent on the cards was starting to heat up, when—
Something struck near the door of the club room.
Asahina-san convulsed as if she had been suddenly bounded by chains1, then slowly turned her head to face the door.
Good gracious, that dull noise sounded like someone collided into the door with their shoulder instead of knocking on it.
This time, the sound came from the bottom of the door. I don’t know who was there, but it seemed that our visitor possessed eccentric habits like knocking on the door with the tip of their toenails right after tackling into it. And that person apparently had some business with the SOS Brigade. Such bizarre characters tend to be somewhat rare.
If it wasn’t the Computer Research Society from next door, begging for Nagato to teach them programming, it could be Kimidori-san, Sakanaka, or our third client, whoever that may be. Another possibility was that the Student Council President, who was associated with Koizumi’s agency, was visiting to find fault with our alibis or something. Tsuraya-san wouldn’t bother knocking and Haruhi would just barge right in. I was deep in thought as I considered the possibilities.
Knock knock knock.
The shoe knocker was starting to have an irritated rhythm.
Asahina-san hurriedly stood up, fluffed her apron-skirt and put her hand on the doorknob. She then opened the door, and was met with a question from the person on the other side of the doorframe.
“Alright, is Haru in?”
Looking at the figure that asked the unexpectedly sociable question, the mystery of the unnatural knocks was solved. That person was holding a mountain of books, files and papers which occupied both their hands. That said, I’m not sure why they would try kicking the door.
“Is it fine if I come into the room?”
The visitor asked while staring fixedly at Asahina-san’s maid outfit.
The person let out a sound as if they had just stepped on a common jellyfish washed up on a beach with their bare feet.
“I’d heard the rumors, but…… one of the Wonders is here in this room, isn’t it?”
The guest said some mysterious words.
Asahina-san was showered with the visitor’s curiosity-filled gaze, but she evenly matched the other party with an expression of looking at something rare, and timidly asked a question.
“Umm, what business do you have here?”
Ah, a response befitting of a real maid. How dedicated!
“I’ve brought the stuff requested by your boss. Then again, I2 might not have been requested to do so, but here I am with the stuff anyway, since I’m a kind person and all.”
Stepping into the room with the baggage she was holding, the visitor looked at Nagato, Koizumi and me in turn.
“Alright, Kyam, accept this material already. I want my hands to be free.”
Is there someone named Kyam here?
“I don’t like names that are hard to pronounce, like Kyon.”
I agree whole-heartedly, but at the same time, I won’t stand for being called Kyam.
Since neither Nagato nor Koizumi moved, I reluctantly stood up and received the cumbersome payload. It was quite a huge quantity, so it was extremely heavy.
“Umm,” Asahina-san raised a hand reservedly.
“Who exactly is this……?”
“Ah, she’s a classmate,” I replied. “She’s in the same class as me and Haruhi, someone from Class 2-5.”
I suddenly realized Koizumi also focus his attention on the visitor.
“So, what did Haruhi ask of you?”
I placed the miscellany of books and printouts on the table so that it wouldn’t collapse. Noticing that the book at the top of the pile was titled Kokon Chomonjū3, I picked it up. Below that was Famous Supernatural Tales of All Time, as well as School Supernatural Tales, which might be targeted for kids. In any case, I had a bad feeling about those books. Is Haruhi into this nowadays?
“It was during lunch break today,” our guest remarked with an imposing stance. “I just ran into her in front of the toilet, and she asked me a question.”
“She asked me if I knew about the school’s Seven Wonders.”
Why would she ask that of you?
“I don’t know. Then again, it’s probably because I’m a member of the Mystery Research Society.”
Come to think of it, she did mention that she belonged to the Mystery Society during the class introductions at the start of the new school year. But what’s the link between that and the school’s Seven Wonders?”
“To be precise……”
Here she attempted to imitate Haruhi’s voice.
“‘Does this high school have the Seven Wonders? I think you don’t know about them, but the Mystery Society should have passed that information down each generation, right?’ — Was what she said.”
It was somehow mortifying that her imitation was pretty close to the real thing.
“Did she really say ‘Seven Wonders’? Could you have mistaken that for ‘Seven Lucky Gods’?”
“I’m certain that she didn’t say ‘Seven Lucky Gods’,” the girl proclaimed solemnly. “I was unable to grasp what she meant in that sentence about the school’s Seven Wonders, but now I know what it means. I believe Haru is looking for the so-called supernatural tales. She must think that mystery and occultism are the same thing, right?”
That can’t be it. In her tour of clubs when she was new to the school, she was indignant that the Mystery Society hadn’t run into any murder cases at all.
“Oh, now that you mention it, I did hear about that from my seniors.”
The Mystery Society member who was in my class then shook her head in a manner that gave me the impression that she was overacting.
“The Mystery Society organizes training camps in summer and winter, although I haven’t had the chance to participate yet. However, having the training camp location hit by a typhoon or being locked in a ski resort due to a snowstorm has not happened in the history of North High’s Mystery Society. Not like that’s a cause for regret.”
In the corner of my eye, I could see Koizumi extending his arms and shrugging. We had encountered both situations already, and while summer was fine, the winter one was not fun at all. Right, Nagato? I turned to look at her, and surprisingly, even the humanoid interface who showed no concern to all creation stopped reading for a brief moment to fix her eyes on the visitor, as if the uninvited Miss Mystery Society were a radio star4.
“Well, that’s good to hear,” I replied. “I now understand the appeal of the Mystery Research Society, but how did you answer Haruhi’s question?”
Without any hesitation, Miss Mystery Society responded.
“I ran over to the chairman’s classroom, and asked if there was any folklore in sets of seven that had been passed down from previous generations. The answer was no, so I instantly made a return trip and told Haru about it. All she said was ‘I see’, and then she looked away after that.”
In other words, I can take it that North High doesn’t have any home-made Seven Wonders, right? But if that’s so, wouldn’t the story be over? How did the plot progress such that you ended up carrying all those books and whatnot about paranormal stories to this room?
“About that, I don’t quite know myself.”
Great, now my head’s starting to hurt.
“I accepted my seniors’ suggestion to take all these. And that’s why I came here with this baggage.”
What overly accommodating seniors.
“Since she’s looking for the Seven Wonders, let’s help her out, with this literature. It contains a part of the Mystery Society’s collection, as well as printouts with bits of information I picked up on the internet.”
Well, I’m sorry that your hard work will amount to nothing. I feel bad that you’ve brought this all the way here, but could you quickly take it all back with you, before it catches Haruhi’s attention?
“Why? I carried all these for Haru’s sake, so why are you saying that it won’t do her any good, Kyam?”
We have our own circumstances here. I don’t think you would be able to understand.
Miss Mystery Society folded her arms and stared at me. I was slightly overpowered by the color of her two eyes, and blinked first.
“By the way, how long are you going to call me ‘Miss Mystery Society’ or ‘you’?” You should know my name, right?”
A little less than two months is too little time for me to memorize all my new classmates’ names, aside from Kunikida and Taniguchi, whom I’ve known since last year.
I could sense that she didn’t believe me at all. Alright, how should I fix this?
“Also, you only transferred in this year, right?”
On top of that, her surname is so long that you would probably bite your tongue if you recite it too quickly. That makes it even harder to remember.
“You can call me by the nickname of my first name, then. Everyone calls me that.”
For some reason, I’m not really inclined to do that.
“You’re not making much sense.”
She shook her head in exasperation, as if to say, “Whatever.”
I seized the opportunity to send her away. “By the way, how long do you plan on staying here? Could you leave now that you’ve completed your business here? Ah, I’ll thank you in place of Haruhi for the information about the Seven Wonders and whatnot. Thank you. Bye.”
Although I was waving goodbye, Miss Mystery Society didn’t move, like a flamingo trapped in ivy. She isn’t staying here until I say her name, is she?
“No, I still have one important matter.”
She then turned her body to face Nagato, who was sitting in a corner of the club room.
“I was assigned to request something of the Literary Club President.”
Nagato looked up at the assassin from the Mystery Society with a straight gaze. That was a shocking development. It was rare for Nagato to be so concerned about a visitor’s words or actions that she would interrupt her reading.
“We’ve read your club journal5.”
Without notice, a killer pass was thrown into our field.
Nagato slowly closed the book that was open on her lap, allowing me to get a fleeting glimpse of the title, Image Symbol Encyclopaedia. I thought it was thick like an encyclopaedia, and it turned out to be an actual, honest-to-goodness encyclopaedia. Figures.
The fact that Nagato had not only stopped reading, but had also fully closed the book just to listen to someone talk was something truly deserving of my astonishment. Asahina-san’s attention was still focused on Miss Mystery Society so she did not notice it, but Koizumi looked at Nagato with a discerning eye, as if he were an astronomer able to recognize an RR Lyrae variable6 in the Andromeda Galaxy with his naked eye.
However, Miss Mystery Society was not cognizant of that miracle which was, in a sense, cosmic.
“To be frank, it’s hard for me to say that I understood what was good or bad about it.”
That’s a good opinion. It’s probably the right one to have.
“Even if it’s workmanship as an anthology might have been a little out of left field, my seniors at the Mystery Society said that they could appreciate the publication of the journal itself.”
So what is her request to Literary Club President Nagato?
“The Mystery Society is also planning to compile a club journal, so we would like Nagato-san to please contribute. We will be very much obliged if you help us.”
She even bowed sincerely.
“I’ve become really interested in Nagato-san’s fantastical and poetic writing. The other club members agree with me as well. We realized that your title as Literary Club President was neither just for show nor based on a whim.”
If that’s so, then why didn’t you come here to officially request for Nagato to be a contributor, rather than mentioning it as a casual aside? Anyway, the journal was published quite a while ago. Just what have you guys and your chairman been doing up till now?
“The chairman said that he7 had a meeting in which he made the request.”
“But apparently he was ignored.”
Well, I suppose that’s not surprising.
“So how about it?” Miss Mystery Society pressed for an answer. “The publication date has not been finalized yet. We’re just at the planning stage, and it would be great if we could make it for the Cultural Festival.”
The Cultural Festival is in autumn, so that’s quite far in advance.
“We don’t mind what it is about, but we would like you to write up a few lines, no, a composition. What do you think?”
Nagato slowly rotated her head horizontally to face me.
She took about three seconds to lower her head by two centimeters, then used another three seconds to lift her head back up by that two centimeters.
Miss Mystery Society whispered into my ear with an uneasy expression.
“Oi, Kyam, can I take her gesture as evidence that she agreed to do it?”
Yeah, I can guarantee it.
“Thank you very much, Nagato-san.”
Miss Mystery Society leapt up and, with a speed similar to that of teleportation, grabbed Nagato’s hand and shook it excitedly.
Just like with the Computer Society, Nagato was probably unknowingly gaining high regard from various circles of the school. In any case, it’s definitely not a bad thing for the girl whose existence in the clubroom was like that of a Zashiki-warashi8 to get to know more people. Just a thought, but was that person dispatched here for the main motive of approaching Nagato, under the pretext of helping out with Haruhi’s pursuit of the Seven Wonders? If that’s the case, they must have a pretty good strategist over there.
Having obtained Nagato’s consent and gaining some leeway, Miss Mystery Society clasped her hands behind her back and wandered around while scanning the Literary Club’s bookshelves from end to end, on a journey to check out the spines of each book.
“You have pretty good taste. There are lots of fantastic mysteries here. This is amazing! Oh? Mm!”
Just when I thought that she had fallen silent, she pulled out another tome at the speed of lightning and swiftly turned its pages.
“Ohh! This is…… A hardcover Viking Press edition of Thomas Pychon’s Gravity Rainbow9! And it’s a first edition from 1973?!”
She raised the Western book as if she were lifting it to the heavens.
“Nagato-san, do you mind lending me this book?”
I have no idea what value that old, musty book held, but Nagato silently responded.
Once again, she executed the nod that took approximately six seconds.
“Hey, Kyam, her gesture means……”
“She’s fine with it.”
“Thank you, Nagato-san!”
Miss Mystery Society calmly placed the book on the long table by her side, then bounded over to Nagato and shook her hand enthusiastically again. If Nagato hadn’t been sitting down, she would have probably been hugged.
“I’ll definitely return it after some careful reading. Could I pass it to Kyam when I’m done?”
I don’t want that. Come here and return it yourself, to Nagato.
“Alright, that’s what I’ll do.”
She nodded deeply and held the book under her arm reverently.
“I will be taking my leave, then. I have a great amount of gratitude for all of you.”
Like a creature of the Felidae family10, she took a bow in one supple move, then disappeared from the club room with a skip.
All she left behind was the afterimage of her blond hair dancing in the air.
Even so, that was a long standing conversation.
Asahina-san, who had also been standing for the whole duration, finally came to her senses.
“Ah, I forgot to serve tea…….”
That was probably because it didn’t feel like the visitor was going to stay for a long time, and also because it was a strange course of events. I suppose you could say that there was no leeway for Asahina-san to display her avocation at that moment.
Thanks to that, a large quantity of materials regarding supernatural tales have been forced onto us. We should probably hide them somewhere before Haruhi gets back.
I went over to the Chief’s desk and was checking if there were any blind spots from that position, when I came across Koizumi’s strangely languid countenance. What’s the matter, are you that interested in the transfer student who only came into my class last month?
“I am indeed interested.”
Then, are you disappointed that she didn’t refer to your cat story that was also in the journal?
“That’s…… well, not that I care.”
Koizumi indicated Mystery Society member’s parting gift with his eyes.
“In any case, the school’s Seven Wonders is more important.”
As if displeased by my reaction, Koizumi bent forward.
“Suzumiya-san seems to be seeking out stories of the school’s Seven Wonders, passed down by word of mouth, if they exist at all. As our visitor mentioned earlier, there is no such thing. Then, we have a simple conclusion. Try predicting Suzumiya-san’s thought process.”
……I believe her motto is “If there isn’t one, I just have to make it myself!”
“Of course, that is what she will think. What happens after is also obvious. Suzumiya-san will definitely create a new Seven Wonders for this school. With her extraordinarily rich imagination, we will be beset with phenomena fully loaded with outrageously implausible occultism.”
Koizumi made a hopeless pose.
“And then there is a chance that some, or even all of the seven phenomena will become our reality.”
I drained the teacup of any remaining sencha.
Come to think of it, Haruhi did have the power to turn her wishes into reality.
Read at pigcow-translations dot com
- Reference to Himeko Tsuruta’s reaction (ビビクン ) whenever Mairu Shirouzu uses her skill “Reservation” from the mahjong manga, Saki.
- Here the visitor uses あたし, or a female version of ‘I’. This is the first time the visitor’s gender has been alluded to, which might explain the lack of gender-related pronouns in the previous few paragraphs.
- Meaning “Notable Tales, Old and New”, this collection was completed in 1254 by Tachibana no Narisue.
- Stellar objects that produce copious emissions of various radio frequencies.
- The one that was written in Editor in Chief★Straight Ahead!, in which Nagato wrote a fantasy horror story.
- Periodic variable stars (Stars whose brightness as seen from Earth fluctuate) commonly found in globular clusters.
- No information was given regarding the gender of the Mystery Society’s Chairperson, but it would be weird for the member to refer to her leader as ‘they’, so I assumed their gender. Please do not crucify me for this.
- Spirit-like beings who appear like children and live in storage rooms.
- A story published in 1973 about people trying to uncover the secret of a mystery device named “Schwarzgerät” at the end of World War II.
- Another term for felines, but Kyon apparently wants to show off his vast knowledge.