Hint: To Play after pausing the player, use this button

  Banquet and Hostilities  

Although the seven high school students had come from Earth, they’d crash-landed on another world, in a country called Freyjagard.

They’d all been wounded in the crash, but the diligent care they’d received from the villagers of a small mountain village called Elm had restored them to full health. Their emotions were on the mend, too. Although they’d initially been confused and overwhelmed by their strange predicament, their interactions with the villagers and the staunch leadership of Tsukasa Mikogami—the high school politician who’d gone on ahead and been the first to confirm the situation—had largely set their minds at ease.

A month later, on the day they all finished their recovery, the villagers threw them a celebratory banquet.

“Ahem! Now, then! A toast to the full recovery of our stragglers from another world!”


The one who’d given the toast was an older man with wolf ears, a matching tail, and an impressive beard and sideburns. His name was Ulgar; he was the mayor of Elm Village and Winona’s father. The forty-odd other villagers and the guests of honor—Tsukasa and his six companions from Earth—all followed his example.

Having raised their beer steins into the air, the assemblage began helping themselves to the feast laid out on the floor of Mayor Ulgar’s house, which doubled as the local mayor’s office.

The main course was a freshly hunted wild boar roasted with herbs, but that wasn’t all. There were steamed potatoes with butter, as well as apples, pears, plums, and other fruits in honey that the villagers had bought from the city just for the occasion. Also, each person got their own serving of fresh-baked bread, a boiled egg, and two slices of goat cheese that had been made right in the village. Finally, there was the usual offal stew and sauerkraut.

The fruits proved especially popular, with adults and children alike rushing to grab them up. The region was largely populated with coniferous trees, so they rarely got to eat anything so sweet.

“Bwa-ha-ha-ha! I thought your clothes looked strange, but I never would have guessed that you lot were from a whole other world! Now there’s a shock!” Ulgar downed his stein in a single gulp, wiped the beer froth from his beard, and let out a stereotypically hearty woodsman’s laugh.

Masato Sanada, the genius businessman, responded with a sigh.

“If it was a shock for you guys, imagine how bad it was for us. When we woke up, not only were we being tended to by people with wolf ears and tails, Tsukasa goes and tells us that we aren’t even on Earth anymore. I’d always figured that nothing could make that guy lose his head, so hearing him say that scared the shit out of me.”

“Nya-ha-ha. True that. The first time I saw one of the villagers other than Lyrule, I was afraid I’d gone crazy or something.” Shinobu Sarutobi, the prodigious journalist, popped a plum in her mouth as she agreed with Masato.

“Oh yes, your reactions when you saw our ears and tails for the first time were hilarious. Tsukasa managed to keep a straight face, but the rest of you were all great. After a couple of you woke up, we started having fun with it. A bunch of us all got together and brainstormed about the best way to startle you.”

“A-and like I told you, telling an injured person who just woke up ‘I’m gonna gobble you up!’ is too much, even for a joke! Their situation is hard enough as it is!” Lyrule gave her frank opinion of the tasteless prank Winona and the others had been plotting.

Today, her scolding stopped there, but back when they’d actually been planning to play the prank, Lyrule had been quite indignant. She’d dragged Winona and the rest of the immature adults to the middle of the village, forced them to kneel on the ground, and lectured them like a magistrate judging the wicked until tears welled up in their eyes. Given that one of the adults in question was Mayor Ulgar, it was quite possible that the most powerful person in the village was secretly Lyrule.

“Nah, I think that mischievous side of Winona’s is kinda hot.”

“Oh my, Masato, was it? I see you’ve got quite the eye for women.”

“Good grief…” After a sidelong glance at Winona getting all full of herself off Masato’s flattery, Lyrule sighed and turned around to face Keine Kanzaki, the expert doctor.

“By the way, how are you doing? Are you starting to get used to life here in the village?”

“Yes, thank you,” Keine replied with a mature nod. Other than when she’d awoken, her smile had never broken during her tenure in the village. “It has been a whole month, after all. I’ve gotten used to life here, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that we’re in a different world. Now that I think about it, it might have been a good thing we got injured. If we’d been able to move about freely, some of us might have panicked and done something rash… That said, it appears one of us still seems rather distressed.” With that, Keine turned to look at the one person who hadn’t joined the banquet and was instead facing the wall. Prince Akatsuki, the brilliant magician, sat cradling his legs in his arms.

“This isn’t happening, this isn’t happening, this isn’t happening. This is all just a dream. I’m just having a nightmare.”

They’d all been confused at first, but unlike the other six, who’d acclimated to the impossibility of it all over the past month, he was the only one who still refused to accept their situation. As a magician, perhaps the idea that conjuring “impossibilities” was his job was what made it so hard for him to come to grips with things.

However, the fact that Akatsuki kept cowering—

“““Grah! We’re gonna eat you all up!”””


—made him an excellent toy for the more mischievous kids of the village.

“I’m not looking! I’m not looking at it! This is all just a trick! It has to be! That morning TV station director must have set this all up! That asshole always comes up with crazy-elaborate plans to mess with me! This is just another one of their high-budget pranks; I’m sure of iiiit!!!!”


“Miss, you’re funny!”

“Wh-wh-what, no, that’s wrong! I’m a guy! It’s ‘mister’!” Upon being called miss, Akatsuki finally stopped screaming long enough to correct one of the kids.

Indeed, his facial features were too pretty for a guy. Between that, his short stature, and his low muscle mass, he was often mistaken for a girl. So much so, in fact, that he’d developed a complex over it. It was so easy to get Akatsuki’s gender wrong that, in all his life, the only person who’d gotten it right on the first try had been the preeminently observant Tsukasa. And the people of the village were no different. Lyrule and the others all look shocked.

“Wait, Akatsuki, you’re a boy?!”

“Huh. For a boy, his face is pretty darn cute… Wait, hmm? But Lyrule, I dealt with the boys’ bedpans, and I left you to deal with the girls’, right? How did you not notice, then?”

“I assumed his chest was just on the flatter side… Nothing seemed particularly off, so I guess I just never realized…”

“Oh? So does that mean that it was just so small you couldn’t even see—?”

“Stoooooop! I’m gonna cryyyyyy!”


“WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!” He actually started crying.

“…Poor Akatsuki…” Master inventor Ringo Oohoshi unconsciously let out a sympathetic murmur at seeing the small boy so thoroughly mocked.

When Masato heard her, he quipped: “Hey, the kids are happy. What more could an entertainer ask for?”


Not having expected to be heard, Ringo leaped in her seat, went as red as an apple, looked down, squirmed, and finally elected to immerse herself in her food. Due to her inherent disposition and limited opportunities for human interaction, she tended to be shy and anxious around others.

“Seeing how surprised he looks, I guess you all really did come from a world without byuma, huh?” Winona remarked.

“Back in our world, the prevailing theory is that humans evolved from monkeys.”

“So, Tsukasa, you’re saying that this Urth of yours only had hyuma?”

“Wait a minute, wait a minute. What’s this about hyuma and byuma?” asked Shinobu.

“Oh, that’s right. You hadn’t woken up yet when we talked about this last time, had you? Basically, byuma have animal features, like the people from this village, whereas hyuma are apparently people like you and me who don’t,” replied Tsukasa.

“There are a few differences besides our appearances, too. Byuma tend to be stronger, but there are some rare hyuma who can use a strange power called magic.”

“Whoa! This place sounded like a fantasy world from the get-go, but you’ve even got magic here?”

“My, my, how surprising. Incidentally, what kinds of things can this magic do?” asked Keine.

“Well, they say that you can talk to spirits and control things like wind and fire… But I’m sorry, all I know is what I’ve heard from Winona’s husband,” replied Lyrule. “I’ve never actually seen magic myself or met anyone who can use it. It’s extremely rare, after all. But because there are so few with the gift, even commoners who can use it are respected among nobles.”

“Ah, I do remember him mentioning something about that…”

“…At any rate, it sounds like magic is something we’ll need to look into at some point,” Tsukasa murmured to himself.

During his life in the village over the past month, he’d come to learn that most of the civilization in this world roughly corresponded to life on Earth back before the Age of Discovery. However, he still knew almost nothing about magic. At some point, that lack of knowledge was liable to hinder their search for a way to get back home. And more importantly…

…It might hold the key to whatever fantastical phenomenon got us here in the first place.

Someone might have used magic to summon them. It sounded like a story straight out of pop fiction, but it was still the most plausible explanation. At that point in the conversation, Winona suddenly clapped her hands together.

“Ah, that’s it!” She then went on to say something truly outrageous. “You know, when you guys said you came from another world, I thought it sounded familiar, but I only just remembered where I’d heard it before. It was a story he told me back before we’d even gotten married. A tale about seven heroes who came from another world.”

“““ ?!”””

Everyone, even Akatsuki, who’d been plugging his ears and covering his eyes, turned to her in shock. It was a natural reaction. After all, the story she was talking about bore a striking resemblance to their current situation. It wasn’t something they could just ignore. They all started rushing toward Winona with questions.

Tsukasa, sensing that, raised his arm to cut the other six off. Having everyone pile on her at once would have been terribly poor manners. It was a politician’s job to keep his friends in line. Immediately realizing what he was doing, they swallowed their questions and plopped their butts back down on the ground. After making sure they were going to stay put, Tsukasa turned his attention back toward Winona, presenting himself as the group’s representative.

“Forgive us. Would you be so kind as to elaborate?”

However, Winona’s response wasn’t quite what they’d hoped for.

She leaned back and replied apologetically, “…Sorry, but I don’t know any of the specifics. My husband was a peddler who traveled the whole of Freyjagard, from up north around Elm Village to all the way down south. When he was working down there, he heard a story that began ‘Long ago, seven heroes arrived from another world and saved the continent from an evil dragon’s rule’…or something like that. But I’m afraid that’s about all I know.”

“Is your husband around here somewhere?”

“…He got caught up in the war and passed away three years ago.”

Tsukasa found himself at a loss for words.

“…I’m so sorry; I shouldn’t have.”

“Oh, don’t worry about it. It sounded like an important clue toward getting you back to your world. I can hardly blame you for being eager about it. In fact, I’m the one who should be apologizing for not being able to help more.” An awkward silence hung over their banquet after Winona finished.

The reticence was suddenly shattered by a young man’s outburst.

“This is horseshit!” A biting shout suddenly cut through the room. Its source was a boy about Tsukasa’s and Lyrule’s age who’d been drinking beer alone and off to the side. He slammed his stein onto the table with a bang. Although they’d never personally talked, Tsukasa knew who he was. The boy’s name was Elch, Ulgar’s grandson and Winona’s son.

“What’s wrong, Elch?”

Elch responded to the mayor’s question in a tone dripping with irritation. “What’s wrong? Ha! Everything’s wrong, that’s what—you and Mom and Lyrule and everyone else in the village! These guys are all ‘Golly gee, we flew in from another world on an iron bird,’ and you’re taking them seriously! You guys actually buy this nonsense?! And also, the village’s coffers were running low because of how bad the harvest was this year, and you’re all throwing them a feast?! Now we’re flat broke and heading into winter! How do you expect us to make it till spring?! We’re certainly in no position to be taking in seven deadbeats!”

“What’s the harm? It’s a happy occasion.”

“As the village treasurer, it sure isn’t happy for me! We should have just left them there to die!”

“Elch. Watch your mouth. A mountain man of Elm should never say something so cowardly.”

“Rrr…” Elch winced after being scolded by his mother, Winona. His confidence quickly returned, however.

“A-anyway! You guys are all better now, so hurry up and get out of here! This village doesn’t have food for con artists like you!” Still making no efforts to conceal his animosity, he stormed out of the banquet hall with his shoulders squared. Shinobu grinned bitterly as she watched him go.

“Nya-ha-ha. He tells us to get out, then goes and leaves himself…”

“I’m so sorry about that. He knows his numbers and letters and is a natural with a bow, but…his character needs some work.”

“Don’t worry about what the kid said. You got thrown here out of the blue from another world, so you don’t have anywhere to go, right? You’re more than welcome to stay until you figure out a way home.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“There’s no rush, after all.”

“I’m sure you guys’ll figure something out eventually.”

The villagers all nodded in agreement, offering encouragement.

Help and support everyone, no matter who they are. A philosophy indispensable in these barren, conifer-filled mountains.

“We thank you for your kindness, good people of Elm,” Tsukasa said, bowing, grateful for their hospitality. The seven of them were in a completely unfamiliar world. Without this kind of home base, they might not even have been able to survive the night. As a result, Elm Village’s goodwill was a sorely needed blessing. That said…

“Still, Elch has a valid point. The soil around here is white, hard, and too infertile to grow even wheat. All you have are small fields of potato and other roots. I hear your feudal lord also collects taxes on the meat and pelts from the animals you hunt, leaving you with nothing but offal and scraps. I can’t imagine your lives are luxurious… And even if you did have a small surplus, asking a village of fifty-odd residents to take in seven new people and care for them for a whole month borders on insane.”

After all, that was a population increase of over 10 percent. Furthermore, the newcomers had been too injured to work. All they’d done was consume resources without giving anything back.

“…I can see that we’ve caused you quite a bit of inconvenience. We’re healthy enough to move around now, so please, let us help around the village starting tomorrow. If we’re going to live here, we need to at least earn our keep.”

Masato piped up to add on to Tsukasa’s declaration. “At least. I’ve got a policy of repaying both my debts and my grievances twice over.”

Ulgar seemed to take a liking to their assertiveness, as a broad smile spread across his face. “Ha-ha! I’ll take you up on that! All right, then, another toast for the new members of our village family!”

And with that, the villagers greeted their new residents by letting out another cheer.


The air was filled with beer steins and happy laughter. Amid the hustle and bustle, Lyrule scooted nimbly over to Tsukasa without standing up. She was holding a stein and making an adorably bashful smile.

“…I look forward to spending more time with you, Tsukasa.”

“Likewise, with you.” A quiet clink sounded out as they gently tapped their steins together.

And thus, the Seven High School Prodigies became members of Elm Village.

Share This :


No Comments Yet

Post a new comment

Register or Login