This is Chapter 1 from Volume 1 of the Kanon light novel series.
The text is from Baka-tsuki.
Nayuki called to Yuichi at the door.
“It’s going to get dark if you don’t go now.”
“I don’t want to. It’s too cold.”
Yuichi had his jacket on, but he was still reluctant.
“It’s not that cold. Besides, I’m going out to buy stuff for mum. You promised at noon that you’d go too.”
Pouting her small lips, Nayuki curled her braid around her fingertips.
Nayuki with braids. Nayuki at primary school, those days when Yuichi came to this town every winter. It seemed a dream to him, but it was him all right.
“I didn’t think it would be so cold back then.”
In his dreams, Yuichi, a primary school kid, kneeled at the door.
“You’ll need to swallow a thousand needles if you don’t abide to your promises. It’s in its growing period, so you’d have to swallow one thousand and five hundred.”
The two of them walked outside, shoulders to shoulders. His ears were frozen in pain by the cold air. Yuichi turned around.
“Forget it, I’m not going.”
“Dinner for Yuichi tonight will be red ginger.”
“Filling his bowl with red ginger, and letting him eat red ginger as a side dish. The soup is also going to be juice squashed from red ginger.”
There were only red gingers left in the fridge. So those who don’t buy stuff is going to eat ginger, fair?
Nayuki’s eyes told him.
He couldn’t stop her, now. He turned around again and got out. The snow stacked at a side emanated a biting chill. There was no way he could go out to the shopping district to buy something, Yuichi thought.
“No. I’m going back.”
“You have just come out.”
Nayuki looked troubled. This look on her face drives Yuichi mad. Since primary school, looking back at his dreams, he had always been so repellent.
“Nayuki, you said it isn’t cold, but it is. That’s a lie. So you’d have to swallow a thousand needles too.”
“They’re put on top of each other also, because they’re in their growing period.”
“I can’t swallow such large needles.”
You wouldn’t even be able to swallow normal needles, but seemingly satisfied by Nayuki’s answer, Yuichi turned around and took off.
Yuichi also knew Nayuki didn’t really hate his silly jokes.
Like this, he came to Nayuki’s side every winter. How many years had past? On the first time they met, both of them were very shy. But gradually, they could talk to each other without holding back.
Gentle and leisure-like, Nayuki was almost opposite to Yuichi, who was impatient and dissentious, but this probably made things the better.
“I’m going to buy things before the shops close. Wait here, Yuichi.”
In front of the entrance of the shopping district, Nayuki and Yuichi parted ways. There was a shop for kids nearby, and Yuichi waited for Nayuki while looking at the toys and video games inside.
At that time, Nayuki made a big fuss.
“I told you many times you have to wait for me.”
Right. I should have been waiting for Nayuki…I…
“The sun. The sun is coming out.”
The sudden girl’s voice ringing in his ear made him jump.
“Eat breakfast, and go to school!”
“Is it Nayuki?”
There was no other person who could produce such a sleepy voice. But after a glance at his surroundings, all he could find were paper boxes stacked like a mountain.
“The sun, The sun is coming out.”
And then came a voice completely the same as before. Now he realised it was the alarm clock placed beside his bed.
“Eat breakfast, and go to school!”
Enough. Yuichi pressed the button of the alarm clock. More of its squeaking would only make him more sleepy than awake.
This alarm clock was borrowed from Nayuki yesterday night.
Although he took a day’s rest yesterday home because of fatigue and holiday, he had to wake up today so as not to be late for the first day of transferring school.
Nayuki told him this was her favourite alarm clock, but he couldn’t believe it recorded her own voice as the ringing tone. Giving it a better look, he could find a record button behind the alarm clock.
Let me tell her to give a normal alarm clock for me to use then. Yuichi changed, left his room, and came to a door with the sign ‘Nayuki’s Room’.
And at that moment.
Ding, ding ding. Dong, dong, dong. Beep, beep, beep.
Alarms ringing in unison came from the room.
“What the hell?”
Yuichi couldn’t help but step back. He glimpsed at a corner of the stairs, where Nayuki’s mother Akiko was calling for him.
“Yuichi, breakfast is ready.”
“Oh, okay. Um…”
“I’m going to wake Nayuki up. Please eat breakfast first, Yuichi.”
So Yuichi left the ringing room alone and went to the kitchen, scratching his head.
Minase’s house composed of the kitchen, the living room, Akiko’s bedroom, all in the first floor, while Nayuki’s room and two guest rooms were in the second.
“This house is quite big and lonely for the two of us. It’s great you had come to live with us, Yuichi.”
While they were having a chat, Nayuki’s mother Akiko smiled and talked with a gentle voice much like Nayuki. Akiko was young and beautiful. It was impossible to tell that she had a daughter, Nayuki, as old as Yuichi.
Minase’s family consisted of, since Yuichi was a kid, Nayuki and her mother only.
Why were there only two? Were the parents divorced? Yuichi didn’t know and didn’t want to either. Everyone had their own personal affairs. Besides, there were only two people. He would come to know soon enough by living here, for Akiko and Nayuki was spending their days happily together.
On the table were a brown toast, orange juice, half-simmered eggs, and salad with small tomatoes. The juice was self-made, squeezed appropriately. The salad’s seasoning was Akiko’s secret. Look. Even you could tell from a simple breakfast the harmony of this family.
“Thanks for the food.”
Hungry, Yuichi took a big bite of the toast, while Akiko served coffee. It smelled really great. Yes. A peaceful, winter morning.
Having served the coffee, Akiko returned upstairs. The ringing sounds subsided eventually. When she came back to Yuichi, he had finished the toast and the eggs, thinking of whether to ask for another cup of coffee.
Her eyes half-open, Nayuki came out from behind Akiko. Although she had her uniform worn, she looked almost the same as sleeping, wobbling from head to toe.
Making an alien sound, she, instead of sitting, fell into the chair beside the table.
“Have you woken up yet?”
Although her voice and face seemed like sleeping, Nayuki’s hands were busy with spreading strawberry jam on the toast. She then slowly stuffed the well-painted crimson bread into her mouth.
“Yummy. Strawberry jam.”
Nayuki smiled, and slowly drank coffee from her cup with cats on it.
“I think it’s healthy to eat breakfast slowly, but can we make it in time?”
Substituting the function of an alarm clock, the television in the living room was broadcasting the last show, the fortune telling program.
“It doesn’t matter. But we have to run a bit.”
“Doesn’t that imply it does matter?!”
Yuichi got up in a flurry. From what he had learnt through waiting for her and her sleepy mornings, he knew he couldn’t trust Nayuki’s perception of time.
“I’ll be waiting at the door. Hurry, Nayuki.”
Yuichi transferred to the same school as Nayuki. If he didn’t go with Nayuki, he wouldn’t even how to go to school.
“Yes. I’ll be quick.”
Words were merely words. In the end, it was already past eight when they got out.
“It’ll be fine if we run a bit.”
The worst thing on earth was for a transfer student to be late.
Snow was piled up on both sides of the road.
Even the tress and the walls of the house were piled with snow, glowing under the sunlight.
Yuichi had no time to appreciate the scenery leisurely. Neither did he have the time to complain about the cold. He just puffed white smoke and kept on running with Nayuki.
“How many minutes do we have left?”
Although Nayuki ran along with Yuichi who ran with all his might, there was no sign of pain on her face. Yuichi remembered that she was the captain of the track team.
When his stomach was starting to ache, they had passed through the gates of the school at last. It was a white and big building with a large sports ground. And there was a classical lecture room, a thing that no other schools have. Many male students wearing flannel shirts and female students wearing the same uniform as Nayuki walked alongside.
“We made it….starting from today, this is your school, Yuichi.”
Nayuki raised her hand deliberately, as if introducing it to him like a tour guide.
At this moment, someone patted that hand lightly from behind.
“Ah, Kaori. Good morning.”
Kaori had the ribbon with the same colour as Nayuki. There were also students with ribbons of colours green and blue.
“By the way, what a strange uniform we have.”
Male students wear old, dark blue flannel shirts and pants, while female students wear dark red one piece, with a white cape and big ribbons. It looked warm, fit for a school in the coldest place.
“How rude. Our school’s uniform is very popular. Some girls run to this school only for the uniform.”
Kaori refuted, and then…
“Um, who are you?”
“I can’t tell you who I am even if you ask.”
“He’s Yuichi, my cousin.”
“Ah! You’re that person Nayuki talked about on the phone!”
Kaori nodded as if she understood, and said, “Nice to meet you. I’m Kaori Misaka. You can call me Kaori.”
She nodded lightly and smiled, her beautiful brown hair swaying.
“I’m Yuichi Aizawa. You can call me Yuichi too.”
“I’ll remain more polite, Aizawa.”
Kaori smiled mischievously. Forget it, it didn’t matter how she called me.
“Is which class you’re in decided yet?”
Kaori seemed to be a positive, direct young girl.
“Not yet. I’m going to the office now.”
“I’m in the same class as Kaori. It would be nice if you’re in our class.”
It didn’t really matter if we were in the same class. That being mentioned, if someone else knew I was living with a female classmate in the same house and studying in the same school and even in the same class, it would be quite embarrassing.
“Yeah, it would be nice.”
But I had to nod a bit since Nayuki looked at me so intently.
Nayuki smiled ecstatically.
I didn’t know whether god heeded Nayuki’s wish, but I was brought to the classroom where Nayuki and Kaori was in.
“I am Yuichi Aizawa. Nice to meet you.”
With a cold greeting, I bowed, lifted my head, and saw Nayuki secretly waving at me. Although it was only I who could see it, I still felt a bit embarrassed.
“Okay, sit there then, Aizawa.”
The position the teacher pointed to was beside Nayuki, diagonally in front of Kaori. Nayuki greeted me with all smiles, and Kaori looked at my face with a weird face, smiling.
After I sat down, the teacher started speaking.
Because today was the opening ceremony, there was only a class meeting but no real lessons. While I was listening without paying much attention and glancing at the new list of textbooks to buy, my back was poked several times.
Turning back, I found an unfamiliar male student looking at me. Well, I didn’t knew anyone save Nayuki, so everyone was unfamiliar.
“It’s a waste to buy the textbooks only for the third semester. Take my textbook and copy it. It’s fine.”
“Who are you?”
“I know, I heard your introduction.”
“It’s only polite to tell your name after the other person tells his.”
“Oh, wait. Could you be a freak?”
“It doesn’t matter. Look, here’s the textbook.”
“Hey, Aizawa. You already have stuff to talk on your first day of transfer.”
The teacher said, smiling wryly, followed by laughter in the classroom. Even Nayuki and Kaori laughed.
I wasn’t the type of person who liked to attract attention.
Escaping everyone’s eyes stealthily, I heaved a sigh.
“You can’t help it. It’s the destiny of a transfer student.”
Kaori commented, after the class meeting.
“But when we talk about sudden transfer students, they should be beautiful young girls.”
Sitting at the back, Kitagawa hopped in the discussion.
“Yeah. I’m used to transferring to schools only to see the boys in the class becoming disappointed.”
“Uh, are you used to changing schools, Aizawa?”
“His parents' jobs made them move around. When he was small, he always moved here and there.”
“So it’s not the first time Aizawa is in this town.”
Hearing Kaori say something out of the blue, I looked at Nayuki at my side. Nayuki, who was just about to go to her club activities, looked back at me with a face of question marks.
“I heard it from Nayuki. That Nayuki and Aizawa always played together when they’re small.”
Yuichi corrected her, saying he had only come during the winter break.
“So you’re coming back to a town you miss.”
“I don’t really miss it…”
I wasn’t quite sure. All of the hectic stuff about transferring schools had kept me quite occupied to think about it. And when I now do, I couldn’t bring myself to remember anything about this town in the past.
Suddenly, I remembered the dream I had this morning. And this dream reminded me some memories I had.
On that day, I was going to buy some things at the shopping district with Nayuki. I…
“It’s time I head to the club.”
Cutting in the time I was silent, Nayuki spoke.
“So I’m heading off.”
“Let’s go down the door below together.”
“Count me in.”
As a result, with Kaori and Kitagawa, we four walked to the corridor.
During our walk, Nayuki talked to me, her face wide with smiles.
“Yuichi, do you remember Kaori and Kitagawa?”
Surprisingly, Kitagawa criticised me.
“So the person who greeted us and got out of the classroom was Saito.”
“Good luck. You only have 36 people left to remember.”
Nayuki put her hands in front of her and clenched into small fists.
“Nayuki, you always say that.”
“Yes, I get full of energy every time I say that before my club activities.”
“I don’t know why every time I hear Nayuki say that I get depleted of energy.”
“I kind of agree.”
Is that so? Nayuki spoke, and Kaori and Kitagawa assented, laughing.
From my copious experience of transferring schools, I could tell these three were originally a small group, and they were inviting me to join them and form four.
“By the way, why aren’t you joining any clubs, Yuichi?”
Nayuki switched the topic back to me.
“Clubs aren’t my thing.”
I immediately replied. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to enter any under any circumstances, but that Nayuki had been carelessly talking too much about me.
Nayuki wasn’t the person who would care about such communication nuances, but thinking it another way, I may have just cared too much.
“What a pity. But no one could do anything about it.”
But once I look at her gentle smile, the more I couldn’t forgive myself for not being able to remember the past, as well as my resistance to this city.
“So I want to go somewhere first.”
Reaching the entrance, I headed off by myself quickly.
Nayuki, Kaori, and Kitazawa couldn’t even hear what he was saying, and tilted their heads in astonishment.
There wasn’t any place for me to go to, as I was unfamiliar with the town.
But a lot of things had happened today, tiring me out. I wanted to be by myself and get some deep breaths the sooner the better.
Even when I was back home, Akiko was at work, so I was all by myself.
Nevertheless, I would only think of useless stuff if I just bore myself in the lonely and silent house, so I went to the shopping district for a walk.
The large shopping district, stretching from the station, through the broad street like a cross, was a good place to kill time. I could look around for convenience stores with commodities, bookshops, CD shops—everything was here.
I must have come here quite a few times when I was small.
But I didn’t know whether this street had changed or remained the same.
I stopped suddenly in front a shop. It was a shop selling kid stuff. Beside the round door were toys and games boys would like, as well as decorations and beautiful stationery for girls.
I did dream of this shop this morning.
And the child waiting for me was Nayuki…and then…
“That person there!”
Then suddenly something hit me at the back.
Swaying from side to side, a short girl with wings at her back held her nose with her gloves.
“Ugu…I told you to move aside.”
“Did you say it?”
The young girl still showed a crying face while she scratched her nose, but her other hand was holding a brown paper bag.
Looking at that face, I could tell something was forming in my memories.
The sunset at the shopping district. A crying girl. A brown paper bag.
“Ah, let’s talk about it later!”
The young girl took my hand and ran off.
“I’m being chased right now!”
“What are you saying?”
I followed her and ran along the shopping district, a girl I had no idea where she came from.
Of course, I did run with another girl this morning.
Within my vision, I was seeing the running girl, her white feathers dancing lightly.
Then it ran left and right like playing tricks. Finally, the girl went through a small path in the shopping district and stopped at a big open space at the end.
“I-It’s fine now, being here.”
Panting, the girl held the paper bag tightly.
“So who and why are you being chased?”
There was a lot of things I wanted to ask, but let’s start with the basics.
“I can’t tell you.”
The girl looked depressed.
“Because I don’t want to pull irrelevant people in.”
“I think I’m totally pulled in.”
“Ugu…ah, right. Do you want to have a bite? Taiyaki.”
The girl was obviously trying to change the topic, as she took out a hot taiyaki from the paper bag.
“Don’t you want it?”
Looking at my reluctance, the girl was astonished.
Actually, I had stole glimpses behind me as I was running.
An old man wearing an apron looked around, searching for someone, and ran along the shopping district. Although I wasn’t a-hundred-percent sure, I did remember seeing him sell taiyaki.
By common sense, there was only one reason for someone to hold a taiyaki bag while being chased by a taiyaki seller.
“Taiyaki is most delicious when eaten after it is just baked.”
The young girl took a taiyaki from the paper bag and took a big bite.
Looking at her, I also felt my hunger unable to withstand.
Besides, the sweat I produced by running had cooled down by the night wind.
I needed something to eat.
“Give me one.”
I quickly took a bite and talked to the girl while munching.
“But you have to pay for it when you have the money.”
The two of us sat on the old tires on the ground and ate the taiyaki.
I took one, while she was eating her third.
“You eat quite a lot, for someone as small as you.”
“I’m not small. You’re a student, right? My age is similar to yours.”
“Really? For someone wearing wings at her back.”
The young girl widened her eyes, tilting her head.
“What are wings?”
“Wings are wings. Those wings at your back.”
At first glance it looked like those pair of wings were on her back, but with a closer look, you could tell they were on the bag.
The young girl stood up and turned around. When she turned to the back, the wings came to the front.
“I can’t see them.”
The young girl spun a good few circles to see them, but she couldn’t.
“Ugu…I can’t see them.”
After looking at her spinning circles, I was certain of one thing.
This girl was a freak.
I had forgotten I had been said the same thing by my classmate before.
“Hear me. Don’t move your legs and try turning your head around.”
Doing what I had said, the young girl seemed to have finally noticed her wings and smiled.
“Woah. It’s real.”
The young girl shook her back, vibrating the wings.
“How cute wings.”
“Do you know there were wings on your backpack?”
I tried to touch the dancing wings. They were light wings made of plastic or the sort.
“This must be quite popular now.”
“I’m telling you.”
The short, young girl, with small legs, and who calls herself boku (used exclusively for young boys in Japanese), looked well with her toy-like wings.
Finishing the last Taiyaki, the young girl squeezed the open bag with a flapping sound.
Speaking of which, I remembered I hadn’t told her my name.
“I’m Yuichi. Yuichi Aizawa.”
Ayu repeated my name.
“Yes, what’s the matter? Why the weird look on your face?”
“Weird looks are not needed…”
Ayu repeated my name, with a sophisticated look.
Could we have seen before?
Although I wanted to ask, I hesitated.
Ayu was certainly a strange person, but it made me quite spirited from talking with her.
There was no need to add in those memories I couldn’t remember to our spirited talk.
The orange sunset had, when I had not noticed, turned into a dark blue colour.
“So let’s say goodbye now!”
“It would be nice if we could meet each other again.”
Ugu seemed to be a constant expression of hers. When we meet the next time, I would probably pretend to make one at her face.
“Yeah. It would, if we could.”
Ayu nodded with a spirited, smiling face.
I felt a bit sorry for having her to smile at me so genuinely.
She ran off, waving her hand incessantly and saying ‘goodbye’, her wings swaying.
I didn’t even have a single idea of where she would be going back.