Characters Translated: 3,688
Woken by a woman’s voice, a being that bore the appearance of a cute young girl opened its eyes softly.
It was the kind of scene that made one believe they were watching the creation of a new existence.
——If you are wondering why…
The beauty, purity and delicate features were far too perfect for any girl. Her unblemished white skin was offset by the jet black hair.
Her lips were the beautiful, pale color of sakura petals, while the outline of her chin and nose were delicate and smooth, and not a little childish. The light illuminating the tattoo that decorated her forehead and cheeks caused it to appear sacred; and served to exemplify her dusk-colored eyes.
But there was something more.
Something that made the rest seem plain by comparison.
It was the noble, yet childish and innocent spirit residing within the flawless body.
No matter how noble or common a child’s birth was, this level of preciousness was of an entirely different dimension; it made the simple act of awakening seem like a miracle.
Her lips parted, and the girl’s throat thrummed.
From the depths, a psalm emerged, as though played on an instrument strung by the hands of the gods themselves——
The sound came from within a simply-made canopy bed.
Through curtains draped between the four posts, dawn’s faint light was streaming in.
This ray of light revealed the young girl, who was covered with down blankets…as well as something of extraordinary size.
It was a dog.
A terrifyingly large, white dog. The beast which looked like it could swallow a hungry bear in one swallow was curled into a tight ball, faithfully fulfilling its duty as the girl’s pillow——or more like her entire bed.
The girl opened her mouth wide, yawning.
Rubbing her eyes to dispel her sleepiness, she turned her gaze to the opening of the canopy bed.
The object of her attention was a woman, one knee bent to the ground in reverence.
The woman spoke in reply.
“You are awake, Toyo-sama?”
That was the name of this tender girl, sleeping regally, with her belly fully exposed.
“Ohh…yeah, it’s morning. Morni…iiiihhwwaa.”
The woman gave a weak smile at hearing the sleep-ridden words.
She was seventeen, or maybe eighteen. Somewhere around there anyway.
Her soft hair was cut shoulder-length, and she wore a kind of religious vestment, dyed orange and white, under a leather chest piece worn by archers.
Her arms and legs were long; tanned by the sun, and she was taller than most men when standing at her full height. Even so, the curves of her body were far more feminine than those of most women.
——Most notably were the two mounds pressing against her leather chest armor, which were of perfect firmness.
“Good morning. I’ve warmed up some red elk’s milk, if you would like some?”
“Hrmmm. Yeah, gimme some, wouldja?”
Toyo said, nodding as she mumbled softly.
Then, as though all energy had deserted her, she collapsed heavily upon the white dog. If given the chance, it seemed like she’d fall asleep again; but the white dog that had been acting as her pillow wagged its tail, and began aggressively licking its master’s face.
A sound like the startled mewling of a cat escaped her lips.
“C’mon, Hinata! Stop it!” Ordered Toyo, agitated and now fully awake. Imari stifled her giggling, and said,
“It’s because you use Hinata as a pillow; it’s hardly something you can be made about, right?”
“…yeah, but…she’s so comfortable y’know? So soft, and warm…”
“Ahh, well it has been rather chilly lately.”
With that, Imari left her kneeling position to climb into the canopy bed, laughing mischievously.
“In that case, how about I sleep with you tonight? I’ll squeeze you tight all night long.”
There was no delay or hesitation in Toyo’s outcry.
“Eehh——why not!? We always slept together when I was little! And now, I’m so much softer than I was back then, squishy, even!”
“Well yeah, you’re all soft and stuff——I mean, you’ve really grown up big!”
With tears in her eyes, Imari wiggled forward on her knees towards Toyo; who couldn’t help but stare at the bouncing swell of Imari’s bosom with a serious expression.
“Forget about when you were little…if we slept together now, I’d look just like a baby next to you. No way I’m gonna let that happen.”
“Oh please, no…I mean, it can’t be helped, can it?” Imari’s head fell dejectedly, and the corners of her mouth turned down as she pouted.
“Toyo-sama, you’re a god, and I’m only human, so of course I’d grow.”
Something that transcended human understanding——an unchanging existence.
“…Exactly. You got old. What a shame.”
The goddess let out a heavy sigh.
“Why can’t you stop growing at around seven? …Every part of you is bigger now.”
“If possible, I wanted to stay small like you, Toyo-sama. Apart from my breasts, of course.”
“Aahh? Where are those insolent words coming from? Here, maybe…?” Toyo said, grabbing Imari’s cheeks and pulling.
“Hmph. ——By the way, isn’t it about time for you to take a husband?”
With those words, she released Imari’s cheeks from her torture.
Imari rubbed her cheeks, red from being pinched, her expression blank.
“Don’t worry so much. I’ll find a really good man, just for you.”
Toyo continued speaking, concealing the melancholy she was feeling behind the words.
“Then he’ll put a baby in your stomach, which will grow bigger and bigger, like your breasts; until you give birth. You’ll be busy with your new home, and grow fat…then it’s only a short while before you’re wrinkled and old; then you’ll die.”
Calling out to Toyo with this long-unused title——not used since Imari had been a child, she squeezed Toyo tightly, patting the goddess’ back as though cradling a toddler, and whispered,
“I won’t ever be somebody’s bride!! I’ll always be with you!”
“Ugeh…Stop it, you’re being annoying and making me sick.”
Furrowing her brow, the little girl spoke softly, in a chilly voice. But, contrary to her words, a gentle smile was tugging at the corners of her mouth.
“Hurry up and find a husband, then get on with baby making already.”
“Toyo-sama, are you dissatisfied if I stay by your side, serving you?”
“Well, it’s not like I dislike the idea or anything…” Toyo muttered quietly, smothered in the incredible softness that protruded from the top of Imari’s breastplate.
“But if you don’t hurry and make a child for me, I’m going to be the one in trouble, you know? I won’t know who to make the next Miko after all.”
Repeated those words, the woman who served a god placed a hand to her stomach. Almost as though sending her thoughts towards the yet unknown life that would one day dwell there.
“My very own child…will my child serve you too, after me?”
“Of course. Your mother, your mother’s mother, and her mother before her all served me. A long time ago, that’s how I decided things would be.”
Whispering these words, Toyo turned to look at Imari.
The face of the Miko which served her now——was overlaid with the faces of the many that came before her.
“…I understand.” Imari nodded, speaking in a tight voice. “One day, I will take a husband, and have a child. …But, that is still a long ways away, so for now, I can still be by your side?”
Her voice shook with uncertainty, but Toyo smiled a gentle smile, patting Imari’s back gently.
“Of course. C’mon, cradle me in your arms already! You’ve warmed some milk, yes?”
“——Right away! I totally understand!”
Receiving the order, Imari lifted Toyo up, delighted——but drawing the tiny body close, she whispered one final question.
“Uhmm, Toyo-sama. Don’t you dislike being treated as a child…?”
To an outsider, the way Imari was holding Toyo resembled that of a mother holding her child. Or, perhaps they were sisters, separated by a large span of years. Imari’s question was asking about being seen like this by the people——but,
“I guess so. But it’s fine.”
The goddess curled herself into a small ball, nuzzling her nose into the base of Imari’s neck.
“I rather like being held, and you have a wonderful smell.”
“Well, how convenient then.”
Giggling, Imari began backing out from the canopy bed. Stooping slightly as she passed through the opening in the curtains, they were suddenly surrounded by bright, morning sunlight. At the same time, the mountain breeze which washed over them carried with it a faint, sulfurous stench.
Spread out all around them were the rise and fall of numerous mountains, all connected together; their peaks stark, and beautiful. The plain created from the ancient volcanic activity, would one day form a great caldera.
The outer circle of mountains surrounded the lush, green plain and large lake, while the volcanic mountains clustered in the center——
“Hakoné——it’s truly as beautiful as the stories say.”
It had been yesterday when they finally arrived in this new Eden, and taking a good look around, Toyo’s expression broke into a grin. Looking back behind her, she saw the countless white tents set up throughout the camp, situated along the rocky shoreline of the great lake.
Under the light of the morning sun, smoke from the many breakfast fires drifted into the sky. Bustling among the tents were simply dressed people. Men carrying buckets of water, and women grouped in a circles, cooking. Meanwhile, the bugling and grunts of red elks as the children pulled their leads added to the cacophony of noise——
They were each busy with their own tasks, but upon noticing Toyo, wrapped up in priestess Imari’s arms, they fell to both knees, and quietly bowed their heads. Within these actions was shown the fear and respect mankind has towards someone in a position of absolute totality.
As she felt their worship permeate to the depths of her soul, she had but one thought.
These are my people——my country.
This story is so well written…the vocabulary is also difficult, and I’ve had to ask some friends about some meanings, but I managed to pull it off, and be relatively pleased with the results. This takes a long time to translate right, lol.
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