This is the Prologue from Volume 3 of the Kanon light novel series.
The text is from Baka-tsuki.
Mai was in the classroom alone.
Correctly speaking, there were always monsters hiding beside Mai, but if you talking about people, she was alone.
She hadn’t been long in this school, but her other classmates had already formed their own social circles. After school, she would sit alone in the busy classroom.
She didn’t feel alone or depressed.
There was only one thing important to her.
It was hunting monsters.
Beside her was the sword she had prepared.
It was wrapped with white cloth, but she would always put it somewhere she could easily reach.
Whenever night has fallen, monsters would appear as if spreading apart in the darkness they had blended into. Mai couldn’t see their real faces too. But the cold feeling and the low vibrating breathing sounds, and the conviction of engulfing her and crushing her into a part of the darkness were everything she could discern.
She had to protect this place from monsters.
When had she started this? Why did she have to protect this place? It didn’t matter to her.
She only lived hunting monsters.
Beside the window, the bright sunlight shown on the surroundings of the seats. It was a delightful scene.
“Kurata’s hair is dazzling.”
“And these hands. Don’t they look like hands of idols?”
“She must have been talked with idol agents.”
Being surrounded by girls, the girl smiled in a helpless way. She was a beautiful girl that would attract anyone on first impression. Behind her gentle smile there was no haughtiness. Even the boys in the classroom, who held themselves back and sat far from her, were clearly staring at her.
Mai, who held no interest in people around her, knew her. She was the only person she could remember, including her name and her face.
When she first entered school, and she first saw her, Mai had an inconceivable foreboding.
This person entered the depths in my heart.
We are fated to meet here.
This was the second time she had had this feeling towards someone.
The first time was…forget it, there was no use mentioning that.
Anyway, truth be told, Mai hadn’t really talked to her. Even though Sayuri would energetically greet Mai with a “Good morning,” and smile to her, every time Mai replied, “Good morning,” someone else would quickly step in, snatch her opportunity and spin around Sayuri.
…Perhaps, I’m thinking too much.
Perhaps, Mai was only one of those who were captivated by Sayuri’s charm.
Mai quickly averted her eyes from Sayuri.
To Mai, she should have kept her distance from others.
But Mai didn’t know that Sayuri noticed Mai wanted to talk to her, during the time to change classrooms for lessons, and the time before going back home.
Every time they split into groups, Sayuri would invite Mai to their group, even though Mai would think that she did so because their surnames were aligned close, so it was more convenient to do so.
Close to the back of the school was a forest.
On the other side of the forest was a hill. In old times, there lived foxes and other wild animals, so the legend of humans interacting with animals had continued till today.
But several years ago, humans started to abandon this hill. Cats and dogs that were abandoned by these impetuous humans survived as wild animals and would often climb downhill and appear on the streets in search for food.
On that lunch break, a thin dog that lost its way into the court was one of them.
“Rats, it’s a stray dog!”
“Tell the teachers to take care of it.”
The hungry dog looked covetously at their lunch boxes. Everyone furrowed their brows.
“Go, go away!”
A student picked up a short stick and threw it at it. The stick hit the dog’s abdomen. Attacked, the dog howled and laid down. It was the prepared action for leaping out.
And at this moment, Mai was at the front of the dog.
Even if she didn’t take out her sword, she could attack the dog’s forehead if she swing her wrapped sword.
But Mai didn’t do so. She just shooed the dog away with nothing in her hands. The dog was laying down, but then it flew and lashed onto her. Checking her surroundings and knowing other students had left, Mai stretched out her relaxed hand to the stray dog.
The dog bit Mai’s hand. Because of the sudden impact of opening a wound, the hand was numb. Someone screamed somewhere.
Mai spoke, using her eyes, to the dog who bit her.
Little dog, you’re hungry, aren’t you? But I don’t have any food on me.
So if you want to, bite on my hand.
The dog sucked on its saliva. “Haven’t the teachers come yet?” Someone asked far away.
The dog seemed bored, biting on Mai’s hand as if it was leaning on her arm.
Someone called from behind. Sayuri had somehow come, ran to Mai’s side from the faraway crowd who was only looking.
“If you want, take my lunch box, don’t bite her hand…”
Sayuri opened her lunch box and took it to the dog. Attracted by its smell, the dog immediately let go of Mai and sniffed the lunch box. It then started to wolf it away.
“What a poor thing. It’s so hungry.”
Sayuri kneeled down beside Mai and decided to pat the dog’s head. Mai held her hand and stopped her.
“It’s not a good idea to approach it when it’s eating.”
Sayuri gave a puzzled smile.
After the dog had finishing munching Sayuri’s lunch, it quickly ran away from the court.
The both of them passed through the discussing students who were looking at them and left the court.
“Let me treat you to lunch to make up for that.”
Mai and Sayuri walked to the cafeteria.
Sayuri must have been hungry after she had given her lunch box to the stray dog.
Mai ordered two servings of beef rice and placed one of them in front of Sayuri.
“Here, beef rice.”
Sayuri widened her eyes in surprise, but soon smiled happily.
“Kawasumi, you must like beef rice.”
Mai didn’t know why Sayuri was smiling. Even after a long time after that incident, Sayuri said she thought it funny that Mai picked the food without asking her what she wanted. But till now Mai was confused how this was funny.
“Thanks for the food.”
Sayuri clasped her hands politely and had a bite of the beef rice.
Looking at her happily eating it, Mai’s chest would become a bit more warm.
“Is that the girl who fought the dog with her bare hands?”
“I heard some other rumours too. She wields something like a sword wherever she goes.”
The murmurs came in crisply, but Sayuri looked she was only with Mai in this place. She was looking at Mai, smiling.
The inconceivable foreboding Mai had when she first saw Sayuri had become true. The strong feeling spread in her heart.
Mai picked some beef in her bowl and placed it into Sayuri’s bowl.
Mai had a hunch that even if she didn’t explain, Sayuri would understand this was the extension of her gratitude for helping her to give her lunch to the dog. And also some sophisticated gratitude Mai didn’t know how to describe.
“So it’s the proof of our friendship.”
Sayuri also placed beef on Mai’s bowl. Friendship’s proof—this was also what Mai wanted to say.
Mai ate her beef rice slowly. Beef rice was great on normal days, but that day it was even better.
And so they become good friends.
Because Sayuri was with Mai, people who circled Sayuri immediately halved in number.
Nevertheless, Sayuri didn’t seem to care. She didn’t liked to be the centre of attention in the first place anyway.
“I’m not smart. I’m just an extremely normal girl.”
Sayuri would always say, smiling.
If that was the case, then Mai would be an extremely dumb girl.
Mai always reckoned Sayuri was a lot smarter than she, as there were a lot of things Mai didn’t know; for example, television wasn’t only a thing to put at a side to look at, but you can also choose your own television shows. And if you have a CD you can listen to music you like anytime you want. A lot of these things Mai learned it from Sayuri.
The two of them got along intimately for a long time.
Like her foreboding, Sayuri entered the depths of her heart.
But only the thing about monsters Mai had kept secret, even to Sayuri.
She wasn’t afraid Sayuri would leave if she said.
She just didn’t want to make Sayuri involved.
Because only Mai should shoulder the destiny of hunting monsters.
After two months, she would be graduating. This was her last winter.
During this time, monsters had become more ferocious.
Do they plan to make an ending once and for all before I graduate from here?
No. Those monsters don’t graduate. Only students do.
But then why?
My temple has a tensed foreboding.
Someone is coming.
Something is changing.
It is a scene that comes before my eyes.
A wide wheat field shining under the sun.
It is a memory that pains my chest.
What is this?
Mai closed her eyes forcefully, and reopened them.
Before her was the school at night. It was the place she fought with monsters. If she was careless, she would be defeated.
Shutting away the scenes in her memories, she walked gently towards school.